Looking back, if anyone had told Malik that he would be in the most dangerous prison in the entire United fucking States of America, he would have told them to stop smoking camel shit, and grow the fuck up.

Okay, so he wouldn't have done that—exactly; he would have stared at them, like a damn horn was growing out of the moron's ass, stepped back, and chucked his cup of cold jo at their head.

And then, he would have told them to stop smoking camel shit.

But life was always a bitch, starting from the time he fell on his head at Solomon's Pre-K, and it dished out things he never expected, although that wasn't really a surprise.

Like now.

Except for the latter portion of the statement.

Because Malik A Sayf, a former straight A student with five sororities lining up his degree, was now piling the week's mystery meat onto every passing body's plate

And he wanted to fuck the world, right in its fiery anus.

Darkening his gaze, Malik slopped another portion of the disgusting pile of shit onto Vieri's tray, already glaring at the other to fuck off and keep his smart comments to himself, especially after his humiliating ordeal with dropping the soap in front of Federico Auditore. Today was not his day, other than the fact that every day was not his day, and he wanted to actually kill Officer Sable for forcing him into kitchen duty, as if he was a servile dog meant to increase that lopsided smirk; it was bad enough that the entire prison thought he was a great piece of meat to fry, but being coerced to face each and every fat bastard out here was pure asphyxiation: Now, all they needed was the fatass head warden King Richie to be the makeshift Satan, and voila, Hell on earth.

Quite literally.

Bartolommeo, who was spooning "beans" into the designated areas with the blackest aura possible, voiced the frustration he never expelled aloud. "I'd rather take it up the ass than stay here—at least, Ezio knows when to show his cock, and when not to."

Sighing, Malik grit his teeth: As much as he wanted the other to not tell who exactly was violating his ass, he had to completely agree—even having the most intense laundry duty with a man who everyone called Sub 16 was better than his current position. Thousands of pairs of eyes seemed to roam over his body, as if they all belonged to deprived vultures that could not be sated with just one kill. It was more repulsive than the muddy substance he was made to serve.

That is, if he left out the imagery of what went on behind closed cells.

He put up his guard immediately when the sick fuck Sibrand stepped up, clearly eyeing the open expanse of his chest that could not be covered, due to buttons that had gone missing after a nasty fight with that Borgia scum. The lascivious look caused Malik to haphazardly—and extremely quickly—splatter the mystery meat onto the metal tray, which made his adversary snarl before he simply smirked and licked his lips without breaking eye contact. Only the warning grunt from his older companion made him leave the line, and albeit Malik was treated to an unwelcoming sight of Bartolommeo rubbing his sore behind post-caveat, because of what, he did not want to know, he was grateful for the interruption. His ally had saved him countless times from revolting assaults that he had never imagined were possible, especially by that creepy janitor known as La Volpe, Al Mualim the hookah bitch, and the hierarchy.

He swallowed as he swept his gaze over the crowded cafeteria.

The hierarchy.

No shit.

The hierarchy of prisons, what every sensible man feared, what every sham of an idiot thought was glorifying before he got his balls ripped out right under his nose; the order of receiving food in the mess hall was all by hierarchy, as was all things, and through today's crucible of sanity, Malik realized that the order was as unchangeable as Machiavelli claiming some sort of apple was the key to whipping the holy buttocks of Roman deities. It was a fucking caste system everyone knew about—what everyone needed to be in, to provide coverage or be taken under someone's wing, in order to not get shanked and left to die with his head in a toilet full of piss. The bastards he had served shit that was supposedly food to had all lined up by the strength of the gangs they were in, and the rules were simple.

A: If you were not in Ibn La-Ahad's posse, then you needed to get the fuck out and wait.

B: If Ibn La-Ahad did not get there before you, then you needed to get the fuck out and wait.

C: If you were hungry, then you needed to get the fuck out and wait.

D: If the rules made sense, then you needed to get the fuck out and wait.

"—for a cock in your ass," someone ironically finished. "For a fucking eleven-inch dick to—"

"Are you going to fucking eat, or not?" Shaun, who held up a spatula filled with "fresh chili" to the right of him, forebodingly glared at Shalim—a tinge of what seemed to be sympathy made Malik knowingly nod at Pietro, even though he didn't really care about the poor fool's problems with Cesare, over the matter of some whore named Lucrezia. He knew what it was like, however, to have a jackass continually hit on one until they went mentally instable.

The British male haughtily posed the utensil the side, as if he was an absolute ruler who had to deal with a pauper covered in horse manure. "Life goes on, you know." A guttural threat. "Now, put out that plate, or have the jalapenos sizzle your circumcised penis, instead."

"How dare you—"

"Next."

Malik snorted when Bartolomeo shoved the offender out of the line with only one finger. "The day just gets better and better."

"Don't start," his companions called out in unison.

At that, he settled his jaws and shrugged, flattening his features once more; Pietro and Shalim were good examples of the "have-nots", those who were in limbo, never really belonging into a specific gang or category, open to hostility and sexual offences. He mindlessly served the enigmatic gunk to the nameless faces that moved along the line as he looked about in what he now deemed to be boredom, with that tight wall of wariness keeping his spine upright. The "pimps", the "bosses", the "old fucks", or whatever the heads of the gangs were called, were all mainly perched on top of the tables, like they were on top of a watchtower, supervising and making sure no one went apeshit in or with their group; a myriad of officers created the perimeter that enclosed the inmates, and high-tech security cameras lined the walls, scrutinizing the environment. If Malik was not in prison, as a damn prisoner, with the entire lot of cannibals being imprisoned for however many years, he would have scoffed and named this a nativity scene of gay penguins being stalked by polar bears. He found himself unable to resist the itch in his mouth, especially with all the ludicrousness, and promptly told Shaun and Bartolommeo of his artistic perception of the congregation.

The former snorted, and the latter could not stifle a laugh that complimented the mighty clap to his back.

Which had—somehow, if he could stand straight—him staring into the eyes of the last fucker he had ever wanted to see.

Moloch smugly leered at him. "Well, well, well: What coincidence is this?" he drawled, placing his meaty hands on the table, hands that were all too close to the region Malik never wanted him to touch, if he was not appalled by his mere presence, at all. "It's been a while, right?"

Some inmates who were seated near the line perked their heads up in interest at the baritone voice, knowing that "The Bull" was one of those people you never fucked with, only get fucked by. Malik hid his scowl, though feigning neutrality was much more difficult than reining in the urge to throw the shitty food in the other's face—he could feel the watchful yet menacing states of his companions, and the shift in disposition provided a bit of relief to him, although the dilemma still pressed into his head, like a torturous migraine. Fisting the ladle, he snapped his head to the side and scooped up more of the mystery meat, attempting to dunk it into the metal plate and get it over with.

But Moloch had other plans.

"Come, why are you turning that pretty little face, hm? Indulge a man."

Malik withdrew his hand and did not look.

And the fingers that gripped his jaw were like ice.

Sardonically chuckling, "The Bull" wrenched his face to the font and grinned, much to the rampant amusement that flooded around the entire cafeteria, seeming to feed off of the excited chatter and looks of great interest. His heavy breathing gusted over Malik's ear as he widened his sign of pleasure, and the latter had to bite back a growl, as well as bile that rose to the back of his tongue. Damn the implied laws that were set in stone, aside from his status: He was not that same "fresh meat" from last year, but it still grinded his gears to know that all he could do was back off as best as he could, unless he wanted to get into deep shit. The very thought of his futile struggle winning the desire to punch the fatass' lights out had his fingers locked around the kitchen utensil—not even Bartolommeo and Shaun could have done much, particularly when the physical and social matters clashed into one big mess.

"Impressive; should I have you drop your pants for me, right here, right now?" the older male continued, his ego inflating as the inmates around him snickered satirically at Malik's state. "You would love a fucker's cock up your virgin ass, bitch." A smirk. "I bet you think about cock all the damn time."

Someone from Moloch's gang—since when did they arrive?—jeered at the bruise that was now forming on the line of his jaw. "Probably loves cum more than water."

Another: "That fucking slut."

"Isn't he a damn virgin?"

"No: I swear he begs to get fucked every night."

"I bet he'd love to have four dicks in his asshole."

"Who knows; perhaps, you would love it more."

The entire cafeteria fell dead silent at the sound of a single voice.

Curling his fingers into a fist, Malik resisted the urge to break free of the vice grip on his chin, knowing that the pain and raucous was not worth it, because the source of pressure allowed the light tap of his Converse to wreak havoc.

Or possibly save his fucking ass.

"Remove your hand."

Altair Ibn La-Ahad, the most notoriously known inmate that not even court could pull shit on, stepped forward and was suddenly in front of "The Bull" sans a hitch in his stride, his disposition unreadable; however, judging from Malik's experiences with the infamous man that had seized hold of him the minute he saw him, something obscured, something vital, something carnal, bled from his eyes as he leveled his gaze on them—and he wanted to claim liberty as much as he felt the clear threat the other imbued. Those obsessed looks of part anticipation and horror were not only fixated on him, with all his fucked up glory; they were hungry, now ravenous, for Number 5,294 to either sow the shit, or get the shit bitchslapped back to him.

Which, Malik noted, was unlikely to happen.

Because Moloch may have been the biggest man he had ever seen, but his brain apparently left his sorry ass the moment he took his first breath, and he did not have a single sliver of cognizance at the slanting of Altair's gaze, whatsoever; because Moloch was tightening his hold on his damn jaw, as if he could make Malik his ho by displaying his possessiveness; because Shaun and Bartolommeo were somehow backing up for some reason; because he could see Ezio and Federico out of the corner of his eyes, their casual states still not enough to cover what seemed to be aggression at the scene; because Malik couldn't fucking breathe in the tension.

Because Altair moved.

"Unless you want it gone."

And it was fucking over.

Over.

So, Malik blinked.

To see Moloch.

On the floor.

And blood.

And Officers.

And Altair.

"Yes?"

Altair.

"Malik."

"Get the fuck down!"

"Security 60FJ; Ibn La-Ahad!"

"All of you! On your knees!"

Altair.

"Shit!"

Altair.

"Malik."

Altair.

"I am right here."

Wordlessly, Malik dropped the ladle into the vat of mystery meat and only perceived his legs moving over to where Altair was—unnoticing of the uproar in the entire cafeteria, every entrance and window mechanically barred to the sound of outrage, not even the fact that he had voiced the damn martyr's name aloud, like he was drunk off his mind, like he was desperate. He did not realize Shaun and Bartolommeo, who were later joined by Desmond and William, holding the random guards and chaotic inmates at bay as he numbly tripped over Moloch's body and stumbled over to Altair, somehow calm, even when the room had become a warzone. Over and over, he only saw the other: not the twenty guards restraining him, not the idea of him possibly dying from some retarded attack, not even the sudden presence of the head wardens roaring at all of the fuckers to stay their asses.

Just the mundane voice of that idiot.

"I am here," he amazingly heard. "Malik."

"Altair." Damn, since when did he get here? "Altair."

He almost wanted to punch him when the other merely sharpened his eyes and clenched his teeth, lingering all too long on his face. "Your jaw: It will bruise." A curse. "I should have come here sooner."

"Shut the fuck up, La-Ahad! Get on your damn knees!"

"It's about Inmate 923, sir; he's dead."

"Fucking bastard!"

"Altair."

"Did anything else happen?"

"Altair."

"Did he … touch you?"

"Altair."

"It seems as if that retribution wasn't enough."

"Get the Auditore!"

"Damn fuckers!"

"Did he—"

"Altair."

Malik grabbed Altair.

Pressed his lips against the other's.

And allowed the roar to create their own silence.

Silence, he found out, somehow able to touch the curve of the fool's cheek with fingers that were definitely not trembling, that rang louder than the fray around them: But Malik couldn't have given a damn at the moment, not when he pushed his mouth to Altair's without words, something initiated on his part for the first time, without the ability to say anything, at all. He expected the response to be aching, turbulent, primal, as was all their heated exchanges had come out to be, but when the latter simply applied the slightest pressure that had his head spinning, he dropped to his knees, and his eyes finished off the distractions that were now restraining his own form.

Fuck, he wanted to yell: to demand why the other had acted to brashly when he knew about things—very fucked up things—that happened everyday, what even the most "protected" inmates could not avoid; because Altair Ibn La-Ahad was a damn idiot that had not let him go, ever since Malik had seen him the first time he stepped foot into the prison. That had to be it.

Or Malik would not have perceived his gut lurching forward at the quirk of scarred lips.

"That was worth the wait, Malik."

"We got him! Open cell 54KD!"

"It's open."

"Altair."

Altair displayed his satisfaction, satisfaction that was meant for him only. "If I had known that something like this would make you do that to me, I would have gotten rid of that bastard sooner."

"Get him in!"

If only he could breathe. "Altair, you dumb fuck."

A laugh.

"Your welcome, Malik."

"Now!"

"Your welcome."

And later, as Malik stared up at the cracked ceiling in his cell, after he had been reassured by Ezio that no one, not even God, was able to do anything to the "Old Fucker", he realized that he could solely shake his head.

Smoke his cigarette.

And grin, as if he was the greatest idiot in the world.

Since, looking back, if anyone told Malik that his life was fucked up to the negative degree in every single aspect:

He would have told them to stop smoking camel shit, and eat it, instead.

Because he was completely fucked up.

And he already knew that.