No.

Not like this.

Not ever like this.

But Malik can't sense rationality from blinding anger, at this point, and there's something stranger than fire burning through the points of his fingertips, a chance to struggle, a chance to seethe, to rake his nails down his bloody back and spit curses through his eyes; it's numbing, contagious, infectious enough for Ezio to give him what he wants, what he doesn't want, setting his tempo higher into fierce brutality—mark, take, reap, discord imbuing the way he fucks the older man into his maps, the ink smudging his face as if it wanted to seep into his pores. Yet, no matter how much he reaches for that flame, attempts to embrace it, he is invariably burned beyond comprehension, not unlike the fashion in which the rafiq tears at his flesh as he meets his thrusts, carnal desire annulling the dying conscience of his core.

Because Malik doesn't care.

"Move harder."

He never has.

"Didn't I say to go faster?"

And he never will.

—because it's invariably been as such, the way he stares at his back, the way his eyes linger too long, too short, the way he wished for the assassin to look at him—and him only, just tear that gaze away from the footsteps of the man he'll never be, the Grand Master he'll never become: To simply acknowledge that he was Auditore, never the man who melded an eagle into his bones, for Malik to look at him and see the man he is, not a boy, not the bastard who has no self-restraint in burying himself deeper in primal want. And he wants it: He wants it all, as if the only path he could ever show his affections was through the mere handling of a puppet, to be the replacement of the man that the latter burned into his mind.

Like his demands.

"Fuck me," said being acutely stated. "Fuck me, like you affront this circumstance."

He can't.

"Fuck me."

He can.

Impatiently, always without that acceptance he craved, Malik slammed him back down against the floor and snarled, forcing himself to descend the entirety of his cock. He chokes, he chokes, he struggles for something imaginary—please look at me see me for who I am please I've never felt this way please please please—as his hips involuntarily shift upwards, the battle long from over, because there's nothing he can do but revel in the raw vehemence within that hate, that unrequited passion, in which he'll never partake. And he hates it.

He hates it.

He hates it so much.

He hates him.

Only, he doesn't know when it started.

Because it's Malik; because it's not the rafiq, the brother, the assassin, the man, but of a monster who hates the monster inside him; because Ezio doesn't know from first to last, when he began to resemble the man who fell into the Apple and never came back, whispered immortality, his eyes as brown as the god who looked into Eden: Because Malik doesn't see him, he won't, looking for those traces of telltale arrogance as he scrambles for his hand, a need to reassure that the missing finger was always there, not of the soft digits of youth; because he hates him for not being him, because there's a fine line between the scars on their lips and the revelation that all ten fingers were stitched onto his flesh, that he was a doll dragged in the mud for that one sliver of acknowledgement.

But he is not the man Malik chases.

He is not

Yet, Malik perceives him through blood and skin.

"Isn't this what you want?"

The truth.

"Isn't this what you want?" A slam. "Isn't this what you fucking wanted, to fuck me?"

No.

Not like this.

Not ever like this.

His body's a traitor.

And Malik scoffs before snarling, fisting his cock as he bores his eyes into his, searching for that lost streak of gold, his temperament getting the better of him for that one bitter smirk to override his features—he takes his pleasure while he closes his eyes, dreaming of that damned boy who shied from the sea and bit into the Fruit of Knowledge, for man with keener eyes and nonexistent innocence. Mechanically, he arched into his shaft and his scent and his touch, he wants it harder and angrier, to show that no matte how many years he pined for the bastard who never looked back once, he would still taste his shadow.

"Fuck me; fuck me till I can't think—fuck me, you hypocrite."

Because it will never be.

Like this.

And there was nothing left of a man long ago.