Wow! So I usually don't write romance (my first romance fic) because well I'm always afraid I'll make it too cheesy or cliché and I'm surprised that assassins creed is what inspired me to write this romance fic. So tell me what you think. The normal text is Malik and the Italic is the girl he met.
It is decently early in Jerusalem. The city is near silent, almost a mockery of what occurred only weeks ago in Masyaf. I cross the street toward the smithy which although not owned by a brother of the order is held by a man who supports our cause. I'm not sure why it had to be me that must run these new designs by the blacksmith, but Altair had insisted he wanted the new weapon under lock and key until we perfect the design and who am I to refuse the new Master of our Order? I try not to grumble under my breath as I open the door. If I knew right hand man meant errand boy I doubt I would have accepted the position as easily as I had. The door is open and I am met with a woman who is busy bustling with the weapons display behind the counter and who I assume is either the wife or daughter of the man. Rumor has it that bandits attacked his caravan as it was traveling to Damascus. Perhaps this confirms his death or perhaps he is merely ill. Whatever the truth I will know it before the general mass is informed. I may be missing an arm but Jerusalem is under my watch. As long as I am here not a bird will take flight without my knowing. The woman looks up. She is fairly young, so daughter it is then. I wouldn't call her exceedingly beautiful but she is decently pretty and to be fair green eyes are a rarity so I suppose I could judge her exotically beautiful. I quickly look away at a display of blades on the wall behind her. There were two things I knew after that fateful night in Solomon's temple one that I would probably never forgive myself for Kadar's death and the second that I would never marry. For a woman male fitness is a primary concern when searching for a husband. And with a missing arm and the fact that I was never very good with women the chances are close to none. So I guard myself from such thoughts. They are unbecoming for men regardless.
Goodness another customer? This one is fairly handsome. And he has such an intense and penetrating gaze. His eyes are so sharp that it almost feels like he is looking right though me and peering at my soul. It would be slightly unnerving if it wasn't a refreshing change from other young men who look me up and down when I pass. There is a strange yet guarded sadness in his eyes so intense that I almost miss the fact that he slaps the sheets down on my counter with only one arm. My eyes instinctively linger to his other and I realize for the first time that it's missing and the sleeve is mostly empty hanging loosely at his side. I try to school my features from pitying him. Someone as built as he probably lost it maybe even recently and would most likely resent the pity. But it is a shame the way his robe hugs his frame nearly forces me to blush. It's not after all every day that young and polite men enter the smithy.
I leave after explaining what is required of her father. I don't know what is making my eyebrow twitch in irritation more. The fact that I saw pity in her eyes when she realized I had no arm or the fact that she completely ignored my shortcoming and ogled me as men often do women slowly undressing me with those green eyes of hers. It was an unnerving experience one I have not often encountered. It feels strange to be seen in such a way with my condition. That is another reason I now shun female company. Unlike my brothers who have quickly overlooked my infirmity after several up close and personal lessons on underestimating an opponent in sparring, women will always see me as I am now a cripple.
He leaves, and will return tomorrow. I review the new design with a sigh. He will return in three days for a prototype and I now wait for my fathers close friend Aram. After my father's recent death he has agreed to work full time at the smithy. He needs the money regardless what with a child a third child on the way. I suppose I am lucky he is married. Otherwise my mother would push me into an engagement with him even though he is twice my age. At twenty three I am almost too old for any "decent" men as my mother calls them as most of these men from good families marry young. My friend married a "decent" man three years ago. Thoughts in her direction always place me in a dark mood so I think of happier things. Like that handsome man from earlier.
After several runs between Masyaf and Jerusalem I can almost pity the messenger. Altair is still not satisfied. Either the blade is to thin and breaks easily or is too thick or too uncomfortable to retrieve from its hidden location at the wrist. I am starting to suspect that Altair has a finishing design but is stalling because of my lack of leaving the bureau. If that is the case he better fear our next sparring match. And I swear if I have to hold my sleeve one more time because the guards can't realize I'm missing an arm and not a threat I will throttle Altair myself. I definitely don't need both arms for that.
The handsome man is back again. I am almost getting used to his company. My mother has been pestering me to marry these past few days. Ever since my father's death she has been fearful. A man is protection and stability, as she sees it anyway. But after I saw what my friend's husband is capable of being around young unmarried men makes me highly nervous. It is why I took a vow to never marry a man. I know that most men are decent but the fear of landing an abusive husband is too great. My friends husband was decent at first and after the wedding he became a different form of "decent" I've seen what one sick man can do and I don't want to take my chances. But this man standing in wait and studying me silently. He has such a temperate and damped aura so full of incalculable sadness that it is hard to imagine him as anything but cruel. How ironic that I feel safe when he is around when there are more able men who could better protect me from outside threats.
She's staring at me again in that way of hers. It's hard not to stare back sometimes and I can't say I'm not attracted to her. And it's not helping that I have to come and see her every few days or so for the new design. Her father is dead which is a pity. He was a good man from what I heard. I'm tired of all the waiting around I have to do as she makes adjustments to the blade so I ask if I can use the practice field the smithy has. If I am to keep up with Altair I need to keep in top shape and standing around in the shop isn't helping. She doesn't seem surprised though she does that eye thing she does when she thinks I'm not watching and then nods. I use the side door and then it's just my blade and me. Altair prefers the hidden blade but I have always preferred the dagger. The curve has a certain finesse the hidden blade never held for me. The blade slices through the air and I am back in a time when my mother was still alive as was my brother and father. My father standing at the side appraising my form as I showed him a new move I created for the blade.
I fumble with the blade and I adjust it again. Hopefully this time it is to satisfaction. I suppose I shouldn't mind so much after all I'm getting paid a hefty sum for the final product. And I don't mind the company. But I do hope it's not the man outside who has to ride back to wherever his master is to deliver it. My father never told me much but from what I gathered he worked closely with a very wealthy but secret society. I wasn't very surprised when he asked to use the training area. Wherever he works he probably feels self-conscious to train what with his missing arm and all. I'm generally not a curious person but he has been at it for hours and to be fair I'm done adjusting the blade. I open the side door as silently as I can and the image that greets me is surprising. The mastery of the blade is near perfect. For a few moments I almost forgot he was missing an arm. If this is his wielding the blade with only one arm with both well he could be a deadly killer. He notices me I can tell he feels mildly self-conscious about it. He then asks to test out the hidden blade. After a few swings we're back at the shop and he's making a new sketch of the blade. For someone who has spent his whole life honing skills of lethality he is a surprisingly masterful artist.
I could sense a pair of eyes on me in my last sequence of the new technique. The sudden reversion to reality is unnerving. Working out new techniques is a private ritual it feels odd to have someone else witness a move that I have not brought to completion. I am also exceedingly tired of sending back the prototype so I finally test it out myself. Either Altair really is as brain dead as I have always suspected or he simply does not have the time I do not care. I am back in the shop redrawing the designs. Instead of having the blade come dangerously out, by dangerous I mean could potentially harm the user, I alter the mechanism and add a few more strips of leather to the design. I can sense eyes peering over my shoulder. A pang of nostalgia slams my chest with memories. Drawing comes naturally to me if I study an object long enough I can draw it but I have always been self-conscious about my art and I whenever Kadar tried looking over my shoulder I would stop demanding privacy. Sometimes the argument would turn to blows as Kadar was always looking for a good brotherly brawl. I move the sheet to let her see the design. No need to be rude. And then I leave quickly before the tears start to fall. I am thankful it is late and I am back in my rooms in full control of my expression by the time Jalal returns with his report.
Then I am in bed. I think about her the pretty girl in the smithy. She has a nice laugh, some would call it rudely unrestrained but in my line of work it's rare to hear someone laugh in such a care free manner, it's almost contagious, I would laugh too if my muscle memory for smiling was even slightly developed. I don't know her name. I never asked, never because names give a form of attachment. My thoughts linger and I force them under control. We have talked occasionally while she worked. The smithy is on the other end of Jerusalem and its exceedingly time consuming to travel between there and the bureau so I'm usually stuck waiting around for her to finish. She's an impressive conversationalist and an exceedingly good story teller though she swallows my half-baked and wildly exaggerated stories of assassins with scholarly zeal. It was my decision to let her in on the secret but as she is going to be working closely with us in the near future secrecy would only hinder progress, that and better she choose a side now then decide to aid the Templars in their cause betraying us one day as others on occasion have. It feels wrong but I feel oddly at peace with her around, more so then I have ever been since Kadar's death, truly any man would be lucky to have her, but no matter my feelings she deserves more than I could ever offer her.
Then it rains. I hate the rain. It reminds me of the night my father died. It is also on these nights that my left arm feels like it's on fire. It is there and it is not there the subconscious wants to move the hand to will it back onto the stump that was once my arm even with my conscience trying to will my mind to understand I have no arm there. The physician says the pain is natural and he is surprised my arm bothers me as little as it does regardless of his verdict the pain is excruciating. I have to bite down on the leather of my glove to stop myself from crying out. I can feel cold sweat beading my back and forehead I pray it is not from fever I have much work to do more raids to plan with the Templar order building itself back as we are. Vaguely my mind wanders to the release of pain through alcohol as most anesthetic herbs do not work for the pain in my arm but it is merely a thought. I have only tasted alcohol once in this condition and what followed was not something I would wish a repeat off. I can sense a long night ahead.
It's been two days and he has returned. I can see shadows under his eyes. It looks like he hasn't been sleeping that well. He is satisfied with the weapon and said he will return when it is approved by the one he serves. I vaguely wonder whether Altair deserves such loyalty. From what I gathered in our conversations it is hard to gain this man's respect and even harder to command the loyalty he gives his master. Whatever his station it seems he has quite a high position as well. A cowled man once entered to speak with him and I overheard him calling my frequent visitor Malik. I can't say I won't miss him. In the past month I have grown attached to our visits and talks. It is not often that I can have intelligent company without well men attempting to woo me in an obvious and blatantly lavish and ridiculous manner. Whenever I see their eyes on me I can't help but wonder how his eyes would look when he looked at me in such a way. Sometimes I wonder whether he prefers women at all with the way he blatantly overlooks my advances. I can't say for sure what I feel for him as we have never met outside what he has made obvious a work only professional atmosphere but I think I can guarantee that I would still like him regardless. I wonder whether he cares. He seems interested enough but my every attempt to flirt is responded to by a diversion of the conversation. It's obvious he likes me even if it's just as a friend but he's never outright rejected my advances by saying he's married or otherwise engaged with another so I assume he merely sees me as a friend which saddens me but then again he never asked my name so perhaps he really isn't interested. I feel like a fool now for thinking of him as anything but a friend. But I suppose accidents happen and I can always brush it off as a misunderstanding on his part.
He leaves and I am alone. It is suddenly drafty with the workshop off so I add more logs. Aram comes around and I beat the leather while he works on an order of swords the Jerusalem city guard has requested. I try not to think about Malik or the fool I've been. I really am a bit too forward and blunt sometimes. It is evening and the work for the day is done. Aram finished the shipment and asked for a week's leave which I gladly give him. He has been working far too hard to cover for my father's absence and his wife is due any day now. I close shop and I start on making supper. My mother is helping me and at the same time going through the list of all my married friends until I lose it and yell at her to stop. She doesn't understand why I'm so angry with her constant urging me to marry. I just pray she hasn't already tried to arrange anything. I go to sleep disappointed that she doesn't understand me. I try as hard as I can to forget Malik and try to concentrate on other things like what weather Aram will have another son or daughter. But my thoughts turn back to him. I can't forget his eyes or his witty remarks. That man can out argue me with logic in anything and considering the fact that my friends gave up on such contests with me that's saying a lot.
Its two days later and I am waiting for the guards to pick up their order. A few men I've never seen enter. I don't know what they want but they don't look very nice. The man at the front who is obviously in charge of the lot demands I give him the shipment meant for the guards. I really don't want a fight so I point to where the weapons are. He is suddenly pulling out a knife saying something about me being a loose end. I've never had much practice with weapons but growing up with a father who served once in the military I pick up a thing or two and I instinctively block with a blade on the counter. He reverses his knife and I try to move but the blow will land. I am to slow. But his dagger is suddenly released and he falls down sideways. The other guards are all yelling assassin. And they run at the figure by the door. Heavens! It's Malik. He can't fight! He's missing an arm! I suddenly curse that I'm so helpless that someone like him must defend me. Run! Get Away! He doesn't seem to hear me. He's standing there unfazed. He moves suddenly like a snake weaving death. The three bandits are on the floor, two are moaning in pain. He steps back and slits their throats. He is suddenly shaking badly. I can here him vaguely ask me weather I'm okay and then he is passed out in my shop. I'm not sure whether I'm in shock from being nearly killed, seeing my attackers throats slit or from seeing Malik just collapse. But I don't have much time already I can hear the guards approaching I drag his body upstairs and when the guards arrive for their shipment I bake up a story they buy. One that doesn't include Malik or assassins.
I wake up my head feeling like it's been trampled several times by horses. In between my nights awake to coordinate strategic attacks on the Templars and my sleepless nights due to my arm I'm surprised I could have even taken one bandit down. Someone's putting a cloth on my forehead. I look down and thankfully I'm still fully dressed. If there is one thing Altair will never let me down its passing out from overexertion then finding myself naked in a woman's bed. Although in truth I doubt he will find out of this. I'm certainly not telling.
He really doesn't look so good but he attempts to rise regardless. Not on my watch he doesn't. He is stubborn and being that he saved my life I suppose I shouldn't be so overbearing. He leaves though I would have him rest up first but not before he gives me the final designs. It seems I will see him one more time and after that only when more shipments are required. I feel like something will be gone when he leaves. How strange he hasn't said goodbye yet but I miss him already. I wonder what my mother would say if I ever told her that this is the man I love. I suppose she would comment on his missing an arm but at this point well I doubt she'd care if he had webbed feet or a lizard's tail. I downplay what happened earlier that day to prevent anymore hand wringing from my mother and then I beat more leather for the order.
I leave. I suppose my exit was rude but I was only planning to stop for a few minutes. Jalal is due back any day now and I need those maps to plot our next attack. Time is of the essence and I can't afford any more delays. I feel a strange hollowness in my chest leaving the shop and when that man was about to run her though I felt fear and anguish and something more than just wanting an innocent life spared. It is a new feeling and perhaps I will think more on it more later. I return to the bureau and Jalal is back. The next few days are spent tracking down the rats. The mission is successful and it is the day the order is due in completion.
He's back. He lingers after the last of the crates are packed by his men. He is hesitant as am I. Saying final goodbye will be easier said than done. I doubt I'll ever forget him.
"I will be busy in the next few days but…" He is hesitant and I grow hope full. "Would it be fine if I came to see you again? In the near future?"
"Of…of course I would lov- like that." My words are stammered awkwardly but he doesn't seem to notice or care.
"Thank you..." He is hesitant again as if fighting an inner battle. "I'm, I'm Malik by the way."
"I know." He raises an eyebrow in surprise. "Well then I am at a disadvantage may I have the honor of knowing yours?"
I laugh for the first time in a while. "You're an assassin aren't you? Why don't you put your skills to use?" He is smiling now. He is even more handsome when he smiles. Not the half smiles that he sometimes gives when we are arguing but a full genuine smile reaching up to his ever cold now full of warmth eyes. And somehow I feel like something right has for once happened in this strange cold world.