M/M slash. Altaïr and respites and the taste of cheap peppers. I know that it's short, but I feel that this is the right length.
There was a crusader in the room, and he was staring at Altaïr like he had seen an angel, or perhaps a devil.
And Altaïr was tired and hurting and harsh, and they were both surprised when he placed his arms around the knight's neck, and smelt lust on his breath like cheap peppers. It had been a long time, and the warmth burnt between his thighs, sharp as spice and bitter thoughts.
The crusader untied the sash at Altaïr's waist, red as lotus lilies in the sunset, and the assassin kissed him on the mouth just to taste blood. The knight's chain mail was heavy and stained with rust as it cracked against the floor. Rust is just blood and rain and steel and neglect, and Altaïr almost kicked the armour as he allowed himself to be pushed onto the bed. Finally naked, he felt hands between his thighs, across his hips, and wondered if this world was purgatory.
Fingers touched his scars, ridged and raised and ugly. Arrow and sword and knife and nail and chain. Would Malik see the past in his eyes? See the knight and the bed and the rust? Altaïr decided that he didn't care (but rejection was sharp as broken steel). He ran his hands roughly through pale hair and kissed a thin mouth again.
When it was over, and Altaïr was pulling his robe over his head with sweat stinging between his knees and rust on his mouth, the crusader said nothing. The assassin tied his sash and belts, and left the room with hair unbound and the scent of cheap peppers and spice and salt about him.
And that was how a master assassin and a crusader coupled in Richard the Lionheart's bed.
Malik looked into Altaïr's eyes for only a moment before giving him a new target and dismissing him, and Altaïr thought that he had seen more than tiredness there.
The knight was striding through the hallways this time, and Altaïr allowed himself to be taken on the corridor floor, shaking as they listened to servants passing on the other side of the tapestry and their own heavy breathing. The knife edge of tension was too familiar and customary by now to give Altaïr more than a heartbeat's pause as he parted his knees.
Pride would not suffer him to crawl to the brothels, and the floor felt cold and hard and real beneath him as hands clenched over his shoulders hard enough to leave nail marks and he bit down onto a freckled neck until his teeth drew blood that shone red against his pale teeth. He felt like a leech, draining essence and life to sustain himself, whether it was with the stab of a blade or the parting of his thighs. His legs were damp as he finally closed them and reached for his clothing.
The third time, his knight took him on King Richard's council table, that was most assuredly and definitely not in use today, and they hid underneath it together when the council was convened. Altaïr pinched the other man's arm so hard that it whitened to show his displeasure.
The crusader settled an arm around him that felt warm as sunlight and Altaïr could not help but to relax just a little.
And when he heard Malik's voice, somewhere from around the table, he managed to close both hands around his knight's throat, silently hoping that the choking sounds weren't audible over the shouts of the squabbling dignitaries.
Altaïr wasn't quite certain what the word surreal meant, but it sounded about right as the king of England almost kicked him in the side as he stretched out his legs.