Malik really couldn't help himself when it watched Ezio's lips when he talked instead of actually listening to what he was saying. Oh he heard Ezio, but the man was completely distracting and he only heard half of what he was saying because damnit if Ezio didn't have the nicest lips Malik had ever seen and he felt terrible for thinking that since he'd known Ezio since grade school.

"Malik," he snapped out of his trance when Ezio said his name. "You listening man?"

"Ah yes," he managed awkwardly but couldn't for the life of him remember the last sentence Ezio had just said; he just got the idea of what he was talking about.

"As I was saying, when my crazy family comes to visit; do not show fear, they can smell it."

"You make them sound like animals Ezio," Malik sighed and rolled his eyes.

"They're just… very intense."

"I know your family though-

"You know my parents," he corrected him, "This is my extended family from Syria, they are wicked intense," he gave Malik a stern look; he wasn't joking.

"Do they speak English?" Malik asked.

"Yes, but you speak Arabic don't you?" he questioned.

"Not for a long time," Malik admitted, "I only had to talk to my grandmother in it, she refused to learn English remember?"

"Oh right," Ezio nodded.

"When are they coming again?"

"Next week."

"Great, so they get to ruin my birthday," Malik rolled his eyes.

Ezio laughed, "That my friend is one thing I will not let them ruin," he grinned, Malik found himself grinning back.

Malik had been sure Ezio had been exaggerating when he said his relatives were intense. But after visiting his friend and meeting his cousin; Altair, he realized he'd been the one that had been mistaken. The Syrian looked surprisingly like Ezio but it was polarizing and disturbing how opposite the two acted. Malik had felt insanely awkward talking to Ezio while his cousin just watched them silently. In fact it had kind of freaked him out a little and he'd had preferred Altair join the conversation instead of just staring at them almost the entire time.

He'd finally managed to get away once he figured he'd spent enough time there not to appear rude and it was only once he was outside the door of Ezio's apartment did he actually hear Altair speak since he'd only said about five words the entire time. Christ, he really hoped he didn't run into the man to much more during his stay, it was just weird and awkward as hell.

Unfortunately that wasn't the case. For it seemed the cousins actually got along very well, how that was Malik couldn't begin to guess seeing as how Malik never heard them speak to each other in his presence other then passing comments. And whenever Malik hung out with Ezio Altair always seemed to be there. It was really fucking annoying, especially since Ezio was making a big deal about Malik's "decent" into being an old man at the ripe age of twenty-seven and it was about the last thing Malik wanted some freaky Syrian knowing about.

At least most of the time there were others around to act as distractions. Malik even tolerated Federico borderline stalking his younger brother just because the Syrian weirded him out so much. Then of course there was Leonardo who actually managed to pull a conversation from the quiet man, though what the conversation was Malik didn't know since it was only second hand information. And all the while Ezio kept making plans, much against Malik's will (he should have learned by now it was useless though), about Malik's party. Finally the day before he decided to just give up and let Ezio do whatever he wanted; which really had been the right course of action the entire time and he knew it, he was just to stubborn to let it happen without a fight.

Malik didn't know half the people there. Not that it really mattered. His birthday was, after all, just an excuse for Ezio and Federico to throw a giant party. He was happy to be the enabler too since Ezio seemed particularly excited about the whole thing acting more like Leonardo did when he got a new set of paints.

He sighed and found a stool to perch on looking over the large room of the Auditore mansion. The older Auditore's and La'Ahad's had left for the night though Giovanni had threatened death on his sons if anything was broken in the house while they were away. So far nothing was broken and neither of the Auditore boys faced a gruesome, painful death; probably along with Malik since Giovanni practically treated him like family anyways and this was his party after all. Despite not knowing anyone though everyone seemed to know at least who the guest of honor was, even if they couldn't remember his name. That was fine with Malik because he kept eyeing the growing stack of gifts on one of the tables, many of the gifts looking like wrapped bottles of booze.

"Drink?" Malik started at the voice and wondered where the hell Altair had suddenly come from. It was like the Syrian had just appeared out of god damn thin air, which left Malik staring for a moment before realizing indeed Altair was holding two cups; one obviously for him.

"What is it?" he finally managed to find his voice.

"Rum and Coke," he said and that was probably the longest sentence Altair had ever said to him. He took it, feeling awkward, and drank.

"Thanks," Malik said easily navigating the ability to rest his elbow on his knee, hold up his chin and hold the cup all one handed; not that he had much of choice in doing it like that anyways.

Altair leaned against the wall next to him, "You must really be a good friend of my cousin for him to throw you such a party," he said and drank from his own cup.

"He throws it for himself as much as me," Malik said and easily spotted Ezio out on the back patio dancing with a bunch of girls and feeling retardedly jealous. He wasn't exactly hard to miss since he was constantly surrounded by a fist full of people all of them looking like they were having an insanely good time.

"A party is party to him then?"

"Sort of," Malik said slowly taking another drink, "You're oftly chatty all of the sudden," he shot Altair a look.

He shrugged, "Sorry for being friendly," and he pushed off the wall and left Malik to his own devices. Well that was insanely rude. It of course didn't even occur to Malik that Altair might have been silent since he found hanging out with his cousin and friends about as awkward as Ezio's friend's found it.

Given about another twenty seconds he would have come to realization and felt like an asshole. Luckily Federico came around to stop him and dragged him away from his stool and started to introduce him to everyone in the god damn room. After about ten names and faces they all started to blur together since while this was going on they also were shoving shots and cups at Malik full of alcohol. Eventually after Malik was sure he'd been introduced to the same girl three time (not that either of them really remembered the meeting) the party was put to a meandering halt because very obviously a giant cake had appeared on one of the tables next to the pile of gifts.

After a (slightly drunken and off key) rendition of "Happy Birthday" the candles were blown out, the cake was cut and everyone got to have some before the music started back up.

"Enjoying yourself?" Ezio clapped Malik on the back as one of the caterers handed out slices of cake to the guests.

"I'm definitely drunk enough to be enjoying it," Malik said since they both knew Malik wasn't exactly a party animal like Ezio. That made them both laugh.

"Good to hear mio amico," Ezio gave him a giant smile that made Malik's chest tighten and he was glad he could blame the alcohol for his flushed face. "I can not wait until you get to go through those boxes," he looked at the stacked pile of gifts.

"I bet you five bucks half of them are bottles," Malik said.

"I won't take that bet," Ezio declared, "Because you're probably right!" they both chuckled again, even though nothing was exactly funny alcohol just made everything funnier.

They were both right as it turned out an hour later as Malik plowed through the pile of gifts from people he didn't know (though he did recognize quite a few names) and the pile of bottles grew progressively larger while the one with real gifts remained about the same size. Malik didn't have any idea what the hell he was going to do with all this alcohol, he figured he could pawn it off to Ezio's other cousin, who was apparently a rather good bartender. He was sure they'd appreciate it.

After that the rest of the party was kind of a blur. Malik lost track at around the tenth shot how much he drank after that and most of what happened after that tenth shot was just a lot of noise and color and blurred movements. Eventually though he ended up pulling himself out of his inebriated state and found himself lying face down on one of the lounge chairs by the pool. He couldn't for the life of him remember how the hell he got there, but he did know he had a blazing hangover, a massive headache and it was way to damn bright out.

Maria Auditore was in the kitchen when he finally stumbled into the house, "Hello Mrs. Auditore," he managed to say.

"Ah, Malik, you're up," she smiled at him and he was grateful she didn't mention that he probably looked like six week old death that the dog had thrown up; cause that's how he felt. "Would you care for some tea?" she asked.

"Ah, sure, anything sounds fine," he said and fell into one of the stools and waited patiently as the Auditore matriarch fixed him a cup of tea. "Is-is anyone else awake?" he asked her scratching the back of his head, "Or was I the only one who fell asleep here?"

SHe laughed softly, "Luckily we only found two strange people sleeping in our house," she said mildly as the pot started to whistle causing Malik to flinch for a moment before she took it off the heat. "But no, no one else is awake yet."

"Sorry I fell asleep out there," he apologized awkwardly and she handed him a cup.

"It is fine Malik, you're like family. It isn't like the boys haven't woken up in odder places," and she patted his hand with a smile and Malik realized it was best not to ask and instead sipped his tea glad there was something in his stomach finally. He didn't feel sick though, so there was nothing in his stomach other than the tea, which meant he didn't have to hurl. That was probably his least favorite part of drinking; throwing up afterwards.

"We didn't break anything did we?" he asked fearfully after a few minutes of enjoying his tea as Maria moved about the kitchen with purpose.

"Much to my husband's relief," she laughed, while normally a nice sound it made Malik wince again.

"Good," he bobbed his head and downed the rest of his tea. "Um, will you tell Ezio I went home?" he asked. After drinking that tea he realized his mouth had tasted like ass and he really wanted to go home, brush his teeth and go back to sleep.

"Ah, you can tell him yourself, he just came down stairs," Maria nodded behind Malik and he turned. There indeed was Ezio, coming down the stair a little less than gracefully and shambled over to the kitchen and filled a glass with water, not looking at either of them before chugging it down. "Have a good night sleep sweet heart?" Maria asked her son.

"Good enough," Ezio muttered and looked over at Malik, then away and Malik wondered why he looked irritated, and why he was suddenly red faced. "Said you were going home?" Ezio said to Malik lowly.

"Ah- yeah," Malik rubbed his face, fuck he felt like shit and really wished he could remember half of last night. The parts he could remember had been pretty awesome, he really wished he hadn't drunk so much now. "I'll see you later Ezio. Thanks for the tea Mrs. Auditore," he said slipping off the stool. Ezio didn't reply in any way while he left pulling out his phone to call a cab. He was in no position of sobriety to drive home at the moment and even he knew it. The cab was there in less than five minutes and on the way back home he totally zoned out.