It was the little things that Ezio found extremely fascinating about the old man, aside from the other displays of stealth and wit that could overturn the security of an entire empire. Perhaps it was due to the fact that his insegnante only allowed a person a brief glimpse into his personal life, but the young pupil found everything the completely the older man did to be completely opposite than what his cool façade advertised—no words could explain the small warmth that would blossom whenever said habit would arise to the surface: whether or not the stingy geezer realized he was surveying his actions.

Like how he would plaster on his subterfuge and steal Malik's baby blanket for himself, or when he would sneak out to the highest viewpoint in Masyaf and tend to the wounded birds on the board, talking to them whilst he installed fresh bandages onto their injuries. Sometimes, he would be forced to stifle his chuckles when he'd catch the Grand Master scooting none too affectionately from a nearby source of water, and if he got even luckier, the opportunity to spy on him from beneath his monstrous armor cabinet would lead to the scene of the mundanely stoic man chucking an armful of throwing knives at an innocent washbasin. The funniest moments were the ones when the two of them would be tucked—more like, tangled,, with sweat on their naked forms—into bed after running certain away from a rafiq who swore to castrate his smug mentor for "fucking up" his life; then, when the tired assassin would drift off, the satisfied teen would be treated to the former crushing him snugly against his chest, much like a favored plush doll, and whisper to him the reason why he thought the holy Candyland was destroyed by evil mini Templars.

But it was invariably the possessive thought that solely he would be the one to see his counterpart in his every state that made nothing else matter: Only he could tell Malik a lie that his tutor had gone off to Jerusalem, when he was perfectly safe in a wine crate to hide the prized blankie. Only he could gather up the roosting birds and take them to Leo for additional care. Only he would hold the other male close when they took a bath, and dangle a rubber eagle toy in his face. Only he could respond back that Robert de Sable was held in prison by the vicious Candy Cane Malik, the two of them intertwined with no beginning and end.

And only Altair could know that he memorized the nooks and crannies by heart.

But that'd just be their little secret.