"Harder! It has to be harder than that!"

"Merda, can't you see I'm trying?"

Kadar openly gaped at the door in silence—an appalled 'o' plastered onto his face.

"Quit losing your grip! How in Allah's name are you good at this? You're horrendous."

"Not everyone can fulfill your inhumane criteria, old man! I'm already trying my best."

"Well, you certainly are good at making a racket when I'm the one bending over in exertion."

"Che cazzo? Who's the one doing all the work?"

Though he wanted to yelp, his voice was rendered useless—broken, as he forced his unresponsive mind to regain some sanity and hurry along; however, his body wouldn't move, and instead, he found himself standing closer to the large kitchen door, a trembling hand pressed against the surface as he leaned forward in a mixture of shock, fear, abashment, and confusion. Good god, what the hell was he doing, playing spy when his brother—oh, his own dear brother—was partaking in ….

The powerful blush threatened to sear his entire being.

"Like that! Do what you just did."

"Um … so, it's sort of … as such?"

"Yes, for God's sake! You finally got it."

"Really? It was that easy?"

"Silence, fool—your mind is already pea-sized as it is; don't let your ego crush it any further."

"Ah, insegnante: I am so honored to please you."

Oh, my god! the young assassin weakly ranted. Big brother, he's …! with Sir Auditore!

He needed to do something: Sooner or later, the three of them, counting his espionage, would be caught, and lord knew what punishment the Creed had in stall for them.

"Damn! These are huge! No wonder the geezer looked sick."

"Hmph—Altair's just jealous because his were never that large."

"I can understand that: They look so good that I want to bite into them."

Salahadin have mercy! Such dirty … dirty … oh!

If Kadar was going to faint, which he really was going to, now would be a perfect moment; but alas, he stood, rooted to the spot, one hand apprehensively clutching onto his chest as the other slid a few inches down to the burnished copper knob. Why couldn't he move?

And why was Malik doing … that with the Grand Master's pupil?

"Hey, I think I'm getting the hang of this: All I have to do is not make it go soft, right?"

"Ho, I applaud you greatly for your revelation: No wonder the idiot picked you as his student."

"You make it tempting for me to make you scream, rafiq: And I hold true to my promises."

"Then why don't you hurry up and finish while the hardness is still intact?"

Brother, don't! No more, please!

What if someone was going to walk down this hallway? It was most probable, since agents were often milling about here, tucking slices of bread and meat into their packs for rations. The aforementioned statement was what he was about to do.

Until he ran into this predicament.

Perhaps it would've been best if he had gone on the mission with Federico.

And exploding was an understatement.

"Shit, that's perfect! You're so good at this."

"Obviously, novice—they don't call me omniscient for nothing."

"But still! I've never seen someone go that fast in my entire life."

"Do you jest? I thought that you had plenty of experience."

"It's not always like that: Sometimes, you know, it just doesn't work, and I end up being frustrated with a mess on my hands."

"I see—I guess reputations don't take reality into account."

"I'll try to take that as advice."

Much to his horror, a strong thumping noise came from behind the door, and it completely raised the hairs on the back of his arms—he wasn't stupid: The sounds of intimacy were not foreign to him, as many of his travels with his companions forced him to hear whatever noises were emitted; it was simply different because it was his precious—

"Zarba! Now you're the one who's rushing it! Savor it until it goes to boiling point!"

"My insatiable appetite says no to that."

"If you do that, it'll get on our clothes, and I do not want to explain to my brother how the stickiness covered the entirety of mine."

Blackness threatened to swallow the poor idiot.

"I'm so close: What about you?"

"Same here; it's been a while since I did this, much less with a baby bird."

"Hell, I don't think a baby bird could go at this with blind determination."

"Begging for a compliment?"

"You already gave me one last night."

"Smart."

As red panic buttons started to flash behind his eyes, Kadar wearily groaned and rubbed a calloused hand over his brow, capillaries on the verge of bursting and his heart pleading for mercy. His beloved sibling! How could he … he … he … want to do such a thing, particularly, in the kitchen? Modesty was cherished in their family, and now, it was to be swapped by naughty challenges? Indescribable desire to wrench open the gigantic door was overwhelming: If need be, he somehow determined, he would not think about intruding and saving Malik, because—

"Almost … almost there!"

"Keep at it, like that, yes, as before!"

"Rafiq, I … I don't think I can take it anymore! I'm gonna—"

"I said, keep at it!"

"No, mercy! J-Just let me—"

"Not till I'm finished!"

"B-But!"

Gaahhh! This has to end!

And Kadar raced to the battlefield.

—to find Ezio and Malik stooped over the stove with chef hats on their head.

"B-B-B-Brother?"

The older of the brothers owlishly blinked at his younger counterpart, currently gaping at him in a way that would've made a fish proud, and cocked his head to the side. "Kadar? What are you doing here?"

Perplexity in Ezio's eyes didn't make matters any better—mainly pointing out the awkward position of the spatula that was resting in his right hand, the left holding onto a sleek knife. "Huh? So this is your fratello?"

"I-I-I … wha … I just … "

What a fail.

All because of the simmering pot that was filled with hot water and noodles, the cutting board hosting a wide array of chopped vegetables, a deeply scooped drainer containing the fattest tomatoes Kadar had ever seen—all because of that, plus the two assassins plotting over the ideal make of what seemed to be genuine spaghetti …

That he lost his nonexistent innocence.

"I … um … o-oh … came … because missions and … " he mindlessly murmured, keeping his head as low as the state he was in right now. "Leave … I-I'll go … and … n-no more … bye."

In total puzzlement, the makeshift cooks silently watched the shy male beat a hasty retreat to the wide exit, sweat on their temples that complimented an indecisive frown; they had no idea why the man was looking as faint as a wraith, but the predicament of perfection and hunger overrode their sensibility as they met each other's gazes. What was with him? Was he not here for the same reasons they had?

The brazen Italian suavely leaned on the counter while he cleared his throat. "God, Kadar, you have no need to be so formal: If you wanted to join so badly, why didn't you say so?"

C.P.R. had never been so precious.