Thanks to Mistress 0f Dragons for leaving me a review ^^
And special thanks to Evil . lil . Angel for needling me on and threatening me when I wasn't writing ^^ And also for showering me with art! Loads of MalMal hugs for you!
Also, thanks to all the favvers and alerters I got during the past couple of weeks! YAY!
Now, this chapter is pretty intense near the beginning and it's made me hate Cesare with a vengeance! RAWR! Also, after the events at the start, Ezio is totally fucked in the head emotionally. I did however try to add a bit of...humour to go with the utter darkness in this chapter by use of the...Broom of Doom...
Now, there is a small spoiler in italics near the end of the chapter for the trainwreck that was the Secret Crusade...I'm sure we all know what bloody well happens!
And, if you have heard the latest news about Revelations...ah fuck it! This fic is my universe so go away updates from Ubisoft!
Rosa had waited for what felt like a million years, hidden from site at the entrance to the Vaticano District.
She spotted the recruits making a beeline for the bridge leading away from the Castello and let go a sigh of relief. The recruits leaving meant that Ezio was successful and had ordered them to head back to the hideout.
Rosa made to hop down from the rooftop she was perched on when a blur of black and red robes flew over her head. Why Ezio had decided on his black robes this day was beyond her. She didn't like black. To her, black meant death.
Peering over the chimney she was hiding behind, she made out Ezio dodging guards while skipping from rooftop to rooftop, heading in the direction of the Vatican.
"Kill that fucking Assassin!" Came the yells from the street below.
Rosa spotted a younger male with shoulder length black hair charging towards the Vatican with a small army of brute like guards trailing behind him.
"Fuck." Rosa hissed as she took off after Ezio and the rooftop archers, taking a round about route so she wouldn't be spotted.
On reaching the courtyard to the entrance of the Vatican, Rosa lay flat on the rooftop and watched Ezio prowl around about 15feet below her.
She watched confused as he stalked up to a large gold plated pinecone structure in the middle of the courtyard and climb up the side of it, seemingly knowing exactly what he was doing.
"I don't believe it." She whispered to herself as s small compartment opened to reveal a leather pouch which, when Ezio opened it revealed the Apple of Eden.
Her keen eyes spotted Cesare and his soldiers charge into the courtyard, rage filling the younger mans face when he realised he had been bested and beaten.
"Beat you to it." Ezio goaded while holding the Apple aloft in the air.
"My sword will end your life today Assassin." Cesare announced as he drew his blade.
Rosa knew she shouldn't interfere….not when….no, Ezio couldn't handle all those brute guards and Cesare while guarding the Apple could he?
"Lets even the odds!" Rosa shouted as she dropped gracefully down from the low rooftop.
Drawing her own blade, she moved to stand by Ezio's side, never once looking at the shocked and angry expression on his face.
"Well well, if it isn't the Assassin's little bitch. How's your son? Altair was it?"
Rosa's eyes widened. Fair enough the thief who had betrayed them was long dead but, had he disclosed the name of their innocent son?
"Oh do not worry your pretty little face she-whore. Once you and him are gone, I shall take good care of your boy."
"You will not touch him you pox ridden louse!"
Rosa started slightly when Ezio lightly gripped her wrist and whispered, "Calm," into her ear.
"Perhaps I shall keep the Assassin whore too shall I? Make an example of her. Show Rome what happens to infidels when they are caught by the Borgia."
Rosa was boiling with rage. Throwing the cowl back off her head, she glared death at the smirking Cesare.
"I am not a whore. My name is Rosa Auditore and you will not touch Ezio or my son you bastard!" Rosa shouted, not noticing the sideways glance Ezio shot her when she used his surname.
"Doesn't look like you will do too much damage to me Assassin bitch. Looks like you have let yourself go a bit!" Cesare laughed out at Rosa.
Her eyes widened as she stared into the mad mans eyes.
Surely it wasn't noticeable was it?
Sheathing her sword and instead activating her twin hidden blades, Rosa took another step towards Cesare.
"Oh just you wait whore, when I have finished with your rotting carcases, your boy will not be spared any more. I will rip him apart limb from limb. What's the point in keeping another Assassin around anyway, better to rid the planet of the stain your kind leaves."
Foolishly letting anger cloud her judgement, Rosa, with a guttural battle cry lunged towards Cesare, taking no heed of Ezio shouting on her and trying to grab her back.
Her blades locked with Cesare's sword as the two started circling each other.
Ezio couldn't come to her aid as the brutes had rounded on him, backing him against a wall as he fought tooth and nail against them.
"You think I don't know Rosa? You think me so ill informed? I just find it strange that you have not told Ezio."
Saying nothing, Rosa pushed her whole weight against Cesare but to no avail. He was so much stronger than she.
Beads of sweat ran down her face as he began doubling her back, pushing her own blades against her neck.
"Why remove your head when I can totally crush you?" Cesare whispered into Rosa's ear, punctuating 'you' with a flick of his tongue against her earlobe.
Before Rosa could fathom what he was talking about, she felt her feet sweep out from under her before she clattered painfully onto the floor.
Quicker than she could move her head, Cesare's blade was poised at her throat.
Her green eyes burned defiantly as she stared into Cesare's own cold, dead eyes. She could hear Ezio battling the brutes not too far from her. If only she could….
"Such a fool to come here today whore. I do not know mercy or compassion. You only have yourself to blame."
Rosa's eyes opened wide as she tried to alert Ezio. The blade to her throat which was slowly digging into her flesh stopped her speaking.
Staring up at Cesare, her heart lept into her throat as he raised an armoured boot into the air.
"No….don't do this." She whispered helplessly.
She tried to scream, yell, shout, anything but the sound died in her throat as Cesare's boot came down hard onto her stomach not once or twice, but three brutally hard times.
Finally, her voice found her and she let out a bloodcurdling scream the third time Cesare's boot crushed her stomach.
Just as Ezio reached her side, Cesare staggered back, gagging slightly, calling out for more guards.
The poison that the Pope had given him must be taking effect but, Ezio didn't care. His eyes bore into Rosa, trying to see what was wrong.
She lay on the ground, curled in on herself, moaning lowly, her arms curled round her stomach.
Panicking, Ezio tried to lift her up, in doing so, he caused another ear piercing scream to erupt from Rosa's throat.
"Rosa….what?" Ezio shouted as his heart hammered in his chest. Surely Cesare had not done that much damage?
After a few seconds, Rosa, despite the agony she was in, forced herself up and threw her arms round Ezio's shoulders.
Ezio curled his right hand round her back and clutched tightly onto her robes, head buried in Rosa's shoulder as she sobbed into his.
"I'm sorry!" She cried into his shoulder, tears soaking through the thick fabric. "I'm so sorry!"
A small snigger from the collapsed Cesare roused Ezio from his panic. He stared right through the younger male, daring him to open his mouth.
"As I told your whore, why remove your head when I can crush you?"
Ezio's eyes widened, his pupils almost vanishing under his blazing yellow orbs.
Clanking armor entered the courtyard with one of the guards pulling Cesare to his feet.
Ignoring the threat of the guards, Ezio turned his attention back to the shivering Rosa.
"What is he talking about?"
She shook her head against his shoulder, muttering under her breath. It was then that Ezio noticed the deep red blood staining the ground where Rosa had previously been lying, the same blood was staining the lower half of her white robes.
"I'm sorry my love. It's gone!" Rosa cried into his neck.
Ezio froze on the spot, ignoring the advancing guards, ignoring the hot tears spilling down his cheeks.
The Apple in his right hand was burning through his glove, pulsing with a great light. Snapping his eyes shut and holding the orb aloft, Ezio screamed out his anguish as the Apple burst into life.
He didn't even look to see the destruction left behind in his rage. He grabbed Rosa and darted from the Vatican.
As he barrelled through the streets, his mind jumbled round both Cesare and Rosa's words.
"Why remove your head when I can crush you?" "I'm sorry my love. It's gone!"
Finally, he spotted Rosa's horse tethered just outside the district. Throwing both himself and Rosa into the saddle, he wheeled her round and kicked her into a gallop, racing at breakneck speed through the streets of Rome. All the while feeling Rosa's blood seep through his robes and breeches.
Her blood….no….correction….the blood of their unborn child as it slowly passed away inside her.
Machiavelli jolted from his position on the worn couch at the far end of the main hall of the hideout.
He had been listening to the recruits tell of their battles with the guards while their Master snuck into the Castello.
Machiavelli had to admit it but he was proud of how well they had fought to help Ezio. From what they had told him, everything had went well and Ezio should be returning soon. Hopefully with Rosa due to the fact that Altair was becoming restless.
Maria had been walking about with the boy in her arms for the best part of an hour lightly singing to him and trying to coax him into sleeping but he just wouldn't settle.
The door to the hideout crashing open followed by Ezio screaming frantically for help jolted everyone into action.
Maria and Claudia took Altair into another room away from the commotion, Machiavelli instructed a few recruits to find both their 'silent Doctor' and Leonardo.
Machiavelli watched as Ezio placed the shivering Rosa onto the bed in his chambers, eyes widening at the amount of blood all over Ezio's robes. He couldn't see any injuries on the older male but Rosa? All he could see was blood covering her robes.
She lay on the white sheets shivering yet sweating at the same time, rolling slightly from side to side clutching her stomach muttering, 'it's gone,' under her breath over and over again.
"Ezio? What happened?"
"Why did you not stop her Machiavelli?"
"What? I had no idea she was planning to follow you. Had I come after her, I could have jeopardised your whole operation today."
"Did you know?"
"Did I know what Ezio?"
"Don't fuck with me Machiavelli! Did you know she was pregnant?"
Machiavelli took a step backwards as Ezio became further enraged.
"No….well….I had an inclining but I couldn't have been sure."
"You should have told me! Cesare….he…."
Ezio snapped his eyes shut as he turned away from the younger Assassin and crouched down at the side of the bed, blood covered hands grasping one of Rosa's hands tightly.
"He knew didn't he?" Machiavelli whispered as he too shut his eyes.
"Yes….he knew. He showed no mercy when he forced her to the ground and crushed her under his boot."
Machiavelli muttered an apology and started backing out of the room. Ezio was going to snap and he certainly didn't want to be in the vicinity when he did.
Rosa felt like she was dying. Her body shook out with her control and her limbs felt like lead weights strapped to her body. He stomach cramped and convulsed as she tried to sit up, only to be pushed back down onto the bed.
Teary green eyes opened to see ochre yellow staring back at her. She had never seen Ezio look so pale and defeated.
"I-I'm…." "No, don't say anything Rosa. This was all Cesare. He will die ten fold for what he has done to you today."
Ezio started slightly as the Doctor rushed into the room, followed by Leonardo who was demanding that Rosa's bottom half be stripped.
Ezio's mind blacked out as he barely heard Leonardo and the Doctor inform Rosa that she was indeed having a miscarriage but, she would still have to technically give birth.
Her stony silence crushed Ezio the most as he fled the room only to crash into his mother.
Ezio stared at his mother until he heard Rosa start crying from inside the room. His eyes blurred with tears as he fell into his mother's arms.
The two sat on the large window sill as far from the bed chamber as they could, Maria cradling her son's head against her chest as she whispered calming words into his ear while her hands ran through his hair.
It was Maria who spotted Leonardo exiting the room, his face ashen, hands shaking as he held something in a thick swaddle of bloody linens.
Shielding Ezio's eyes so he wouldn't look up, Maria nodded to Leonardo, signalling that he remove the dead child from the premises.
He or she would have a proper send off once it's mother and father had recovered.
"Mother? What?" Ezio began before he was cut off by Maria quietly shushing him.
After about an hour, Ezio had fallen asleep, head resting on Maria's knee when the Doctor shuffled from the bed chamber.
"How is she?" Uttered Machiavelli from his position at the far end of the room where he sat waiting with the recruits.
Maria sat back as Ezio scrambled back into a sitting position, ready to pounce on the Doctor.
"She is awake but is rather tired. My guess was that she was just over 4 months gone given the size of the foetus. I have examined her and there appears to be no internal damage so I don't see any reason why she cannot have any more children."
"Well that's one piece of good news." Maria mumbled to herself.
Ezio didn't even hear his mother speak as he got to his feet and stalked past the Doctor, nudging him out of the way as he went.
The main bed chamber smelled like death. Rosa was ashen white on the bed, her black hair a stark contrast to her deathly pale skin and the white bed linens.
Ezio froze slightly in the doorway and just took in the room. Bloody robes still hanging over the chair, Rosa's weapons strewn about the room in their haste to disrobe her. Rosa herself. If Ezio hadn't known any better, he would say that it was not Rosa before him but a corpse. She was so still in the bed, had it not been for her chest rising and falling, she would appear to be dead.
"Ezio?" Came the quiet whisper from the bed.
Immediately snapping back to reality, Ezio made for Rosa's bedside.
He was half way to crouching at the bedside when Rosa scooted over slightly and raised the covers. Scrutinising the linens under Rosa, Ezio found that the Doctor had managed to change the sheets, probably with the help of Leonardo, who he had to thank for helping Rosa.
Gingerly climbing in beside Rosa, Ezio pulled her into his arms almost in fear of her shattering before him.
He felt Rosa's arms curl tightly round his waist and her head bury into his still clothed chest, although he had removed his armor earlier. One of her legs also looped over his.
He tried to think of everything and nothing. So many things came to his mind to say but nothing would take back what had happened. Nothing would bring back the life that had only had a 4 month chance inside it's mother.
All Ezio could really think of was that he had failed. Failed to keep Rosa safe from harm. She was an Assassin though….danger was now a part of her life and death was around every corner. No, that was not a fair judgement. The unborn child inside her was not an Assassin. It didn't deserve to die.
He didn't even notice the warm tears trickling down his cheeks until Rosa reached up and wiped them away.
"Shhhhh, it's my fault. If I had not followed you…."
Ezio placed two fingers to her lips and silenced her.
He watched as her bloodshot eyes filled with tears again before her head buried into his chest once more. Her whole body shook as silent sobs wracked her frame followed by a low groaning cry from her throat, echoed by her nimble fingers tightening painfully against his still blood stained robes.
Saying nothing more to Rosa, Ezio sat in silence, hating every second of Rosa's low, heartbroken cries into his chest.
The lump in his throat was unbearable but, Ezio refrained from letting Rosa see his tears fall again. Holding her tightly to him, he turned his head towards the door, immediately locking eyes with Maria, now holding a worried looking Altair in her arms.
"Give him here." Ezio whispered as he reached out with one arm, trying not to jostle Rosa.
Maria silently crept into the room, trying to ignore but failing miserably Rosa's low cries.
On giving the child to his father, she backed out the room to join the others.
Rosa felt two small hands atop her head. Looking up she was staring right into unusually sad ochre yellow eyes. Almost grabbing her son with one arm, She buried her nose in his light brown hair while pushing herself closer to Ezio.
Ezio looked down at the boy and his mother. Watched her fingers twirl constantly with Altair's soft hair as he slowly fell asleep in his mothers arms.
Ezio's eyes drifted shut to the sound of Rosa's constant sobs and the feel of a solitary tear tracking down his stubbled cheek.
The following weeks were as Machiavelli said, critical. Ezio and Rosa tried to put their personal grief on the back burner until Cesare was weeded out and destroyed.
So far, they had no real information as he was in hiding until the effects of the poison he had ingested wore off.
Rosa was slowly coming back to herself.
The first few days she didn't speak. Not even to Ezio. She simply sat in the far corner of the main hall in the hideout and stared out the window, arms wrapped around her no longer slightly curved stomach.
Claudia and Maria took it in turns to look after both Altair and Rosa by making sure she was looking after herself….which she was not. In the first week, she didn't bathe, barely ate and didn't sleep. She couldn't even spend time with her young son. Exactly a week after she had lost the baby, Maria approached the grieving mother, sat beside her and quietly drew Rosa into her arms.
Maria would never forget the look in Rosa's face as she stared at her. It was then that Rosa uttered the first words she had spoken that week.
"M-mother…." She whispered as she buried her head in Maria's shoulder once again.
It was that night that Rosa let herself be guided to the bath hall and was gently and lovingly bathed by Ezio's mother. Had she been completely in her own mind, she would have been affronted at having the older woman bathe her so but, with how crushed she felt, Rosa welcomed the mothering embrace that she had never felt in her life. It then hit her with clarity that her young son was missing out on her motherly touches.
After she had been bathed and had managed to eat, Rosa stole quietly into her sons room, not even noticing Ezio slumped in the high backed chair up against the wall.
She crouched down at the boys bedside, gently carded fingers through his soft sandy brown hair and murmured, "I love you my baby."
She started slightly when powerful arms wrapped round her chest. Immediately relaxing when she felt Ezio rest his cheek atop her head.
"Do you think it was a girl Ezio?"
Rosa felt her stomach churn when Ezio remained silent.
"I think this one was not meant to be Rosa….that's what I believe anyway."
She simply sighed and tilted her head back against his shoulder, both never taking their eyes from their son.
Even after Rosa began to accept what had happened, she still burned with desire for revenge. She Wanted to make Cesare pay for what he had done to her.
She knew that he had a young daughter, still a baby herself.
No! She couldn't do that. Couldn't end the life of a child. She was not a monster like Cesare.
So, Rosa quietly trained with the rest of the recruits and worked her way through her grief.
Ezio however, had become unpredictable. His temper was like a volcano. One minute he was quiet and sat at his desk staring into the Apple….the next, he was a raging beast yearning to rip the head from anyone who crossed him.
Machiavelli had received the brunt of one of his fits just a couple of weeks after Rosa's miscarriage.
The two had been walking the streets of Rome, discussing next steps and where to place their spies throughout the city when, out of no-where, Ezio rounded on Machiavelli and dragged him to the ground yelling, punching, kicking and calling him every name under the sun, all in broken Arabic with almost every sentence ending with the name Malik.
Being of sound mind, Machiavelli quickly gained the upper hand and knocked Ezio out. When the older male came round, he had no recollection of snapping and attempting to beat the other Assassin black and blue. He did however recognise that somehow, he had experienced losing a child before, a very long time ago.
Ezio knew he had to end this but, ever attempt to confront Cesare ended with the younger male running away, leaving Ezio facing hoards of soldiers.
However, with the power of the Apple on his side, Ezio was almost invincible. Almost invincible apart from his mind. He could feel the effects of the artefact seeping into his mind, warping and swaying it. At times he looked at Rosa and saw her falling away from him, her throat slit. He often saw his young son lying in his bed surrounded by a pool of blood. Murdered as he slept.
After his second attempt at Cesare after Rosa's miscarriage, Ezio could no longer stand it. Early one morning he took himself from the hideout and made for the early morning streets of Rome. He guessed it was perhaps only around 4am. The taverns had closed and the market place was still deserted.
Wearing nothing but his breeches, boots and white tunic, not a weapon to his person, Ezio wandered the streets going no-where, seeing no-one.
His mind buzzed. He missed the warm glow of the Apple, missed the things he seen when gazing at its wonders but, most of all, he missed the power it possessed. He knew he should bury it, deep underground where nobody would find it but, not just yet. He still needed it, still relied on it's powers.
His footsteps slowed as his head pulsed and throbbed painfully, his Eagle Vision slipping in and out of focus.
Ezio didn't even notice a lone guard slowly approaching him, a look of concern on his face.
"Are you alright friend?"
Friend? Since when had any guard called him friend. Yes, that's right, he was not wearing his usual Assassin robes but simply the white tunic he wore under them. The only clue as to who he is was the massive leather belt complete with Assassin insignia fastened round his stomach.
Ezio looked at the hapless guard. A rookie by the looks of him as he wore no real armor and his head was left uncovered. His black hair was plastered to his head with the heat in the air. A well trimmed beard surrounded a concerned frown.
Abbas peered into the sack with a look of mock concern.
"Poor Malik." He said as he pulled out a disembodied head.
Ezio wasn't even aware he had screamed until he threw himself on top of the guard. A well aimed punch crushed the man's nose as blood spewed down his face.
Stumbling back from the guard, Ezio only heard one name whirl around inside his head. Abbas.
Roaring an anger that he had never felt before, Ezio rounded on the younger guard, knocking the sword that may have well have been a butter knife from his hands.
His fists pounded into the guards unprotected stomach, chest and face until his own knuckles split and bled out.
Leaping back once again, Ezio looked around with a frantic expression, eyes blazing yellow darting back and forth.
He found what he was looking for.
The guard slowly pulled himself to his feet, legs shaking, face a beaten mess, bloody and broken.
His one good eye widened at the enraged older man. He raised his hands in the air as a surrender.
Ezio lowered the weapon he had found. A well worn broom but, deadly none the less. His heart was pounding, aching almost with pain much greater than that he had already been feeling.
Rosa was alright, Altair was….wait….Altair? His head throbbed once again on thinking about his young son. Why did he choose that name? An echo of greatness? No, that wasn't it….it was something else. Something that was buried deep inside him. His blood perhaps.
Unquenchable anger flooded his mind again as he raised the makeshift weapon. By now, the guard must have worked out what or who he was dealing with.
Ezio saw the guard back down. Saw him raise his hands. Saw the man piss himself in fear.
"N-nice Assassino….put it down yes?" The guard stuttered out as he took a step away from Ezio.
"Nice Assassino? No such fucking thing!" Ezio shouted as he swung the broom in a swift and powerful arc, smashing it into the guards head, almost snapping his neck with the force behind the blow.
His mind cleared causing him to drop the broom to the ground and stumble backwards.
The younger man was unconscious but breathing.
He could hear his fellow guards coming to look for him.
With quivering hands, Ezio scrambled up the side of the building nearest him. On reaching the top, pale hands shot out and grabbed his wrists, pulling up onto the roof and out of sight from the guards below.
His tired eyes looked into green.
"Ezio? What's wrong with you my love?"
He shook his head before collapsing into Rosa's arms, head cushioning in her breast.
"There's something in my head. A sad soul….vengeful almost."
"Machiavelli was right. We must bury that Apple. You have held it for too long Ezio."
Ezio looked up at Rosa.
He was alive?
"M-Ma….Machiavelli is alive?"
Where had that come from? He was never dead.
"Come on Ezio. The sooner we can get that bastard, the sooner you can rest. Bartolomeo has requested you meet him at the Barracks. He has important information for you."
Done...not too much longer to go now ^^