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On the Rooftops of Jerusalem

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This must have been the hottest day Jerusalem had ever witnessed. Altair’s robes did not have a single dry thread on them; he was sweating like a horse. After he let himself drop through the opening of the bureau, the first thing he did was splashing water from the fountain into his face - disgusted, he shook his hands. The water was piss-warm – no relief at all from the suffocating heat. He growled and yanked back his hood, then opened the clasp of his robes, dropping layer after layer of his sweaty clothing on the floor. He wished he could punch the heat in the face to make it go away.

“Altair, would you mind?!” Malik shouted from behind his desk, “I don’t know where you’ve been the past weeks but I see you must have resided with the Sultan himself in his palace?”

Altair did mind indeed. He’d been running up and down Jerusalem the whole day just to get some information from these novice informants, who even had the cheek to make him fix their blunders before they were willing to share with him what they knew. So not only could he not accomplish his mission today like he had planned – the stars were already glinting in the darkening azure of the sky – but he had to jump around on rooftops that even cats and pigeons avoided today because even those creatures only could stand so much heat. And on top of all that when he had to fight off some guards, one of them landed a lucky hit that sliced right through the skin of his knuckles. The wound wasn’t deep and he could still bend his fingers but it burnt like white hot iron every time he moved his hand.  He deserved a fucking break. That’s what the bureau was for and he wouldn’t take any abuse from Malik today.

“What do you want Malik? I’m tired and hungry. My hand hurts and I didn’t have the comfort of sitting on my ass all day long!” he said acidic.

Malik suddenly looked startled. “Oh, I am so incredibly sorry! Forgive me, your majesty, I seem to have mistaken you for our most honoured and skilled master assassin Altair. How can I be of service? Please have a seat in our humble accommodation while I prepare some jasmine tea for you.” He bowed with a submissive smile before he snapped up again, eyes shooting daggers at Altair. “If those robes have not disappeared from my floor the very instant I return here, you can go sleep in a haystack outside tonight." And grumbling he added, “I see you managed to get yourself injured, novice. I’ll fetch some bandages."

Altair demonstratively dropped his leather gloves on the floor as Malik turned to disappear in the storage room.

“Your choice, novice!” Malik grumbled from behind the shelves.

When he heard Malik rummaging, Altair picked up the gloves again and scrambled into the other room to also collect his garb and undershirt. With a suppressed hiss he dumped the wet bundle into the basket that would go to the washing women tomorrow. Exhausted and defeated he sat down on the floor to wait for Malik to return with the bandages and further insults. He felt too weak and annoyed to start a fight with him today. They hadn’t seen each other for weeks and this was probably the only night they could be together in a long time. Also, this would not be the first time Malik made him sleep in a haystack… The heat was driving them both crazy; He realized that even the stone floor of the bureau was not soothing and cold as usual and the air was still wrapping around his body hot and unforgiving.  He wiped the sweat from his forehead and winced when the salty water stung in the cut on his hand. Malik must have watched him from the door because he almost magically appeared with a bowl of water and some linen wraps.

“I see you have found your good manners again.” he said in a mocking voice as he knelt down next to Altair, letting him bathe the sore hand in the clean water from their cistern.  “Ffffffff!” Malik waved his hand in front of his nose, “I’m afraid that won’t suffice. If we don’t want the guards to literally sniff out the location of our bureau, you have to wash.” He yanked Altair up by his good arm and pushed him into the entry room where the fountain was.

Oh why, for crying out loud? All he wanted was to lie down and rest before his busy day tomorrow. Lethargically, he lumbered to the fountain of which he knew it wouldn’t bring any refreshment. With his left hand, he fumbled the knot open that was holding his breeches up and kicked off his boots. Ok. He did smell.

He climbed over the brim and let his legs dangle in the lukewarm water. From the lattice he could feel a slight breeze blowing over his hair. Maybe it would cool down for the night, he thought while getting up to stand in the fountain and splash some water in his face and over his arms and chest. Eventually, he climbed back out and plunged his head under water. Realizing that he had nothing to dry himself off with, he sauntered towards Malik’s counter, leaving wet puddles all over the floor and the carpets.

Malik received him with a towel in hand and a slight smirk on his lips, eyes wandering up and down Altair’s body. “That’s better.”

Altair plucked the cloth from Malik’s hand and started to rub himself dry, feeling Malik’s eyes still on him even though the other was busy preparing something in the opposite corner of the room. He picked up a fresh pair of pants from the counter and sat down on a wooden stool Malik had put out for him. His hand was taken, bent, turned and thoroughly examined.

“Here,” Malik nodded towards a plate on the counter.

Food – finally! Altair grabbed the bread and shoved it into his mouth to wolf it down almost entirely in one piece. “Hrmpf,” he snorted, “Now I know how you feel – useless hand!” He wiggled it, “You could say, we’re ‘brothers in arms’ now. Heh.” He grinned at Malik, happy to break the silence with his joke.

Whoops. That didn’t go down well.

Malik’s eyes were reduced to slits and his eyebrows formed a dark line above his nose.

“Ooouuuuu!” Altair protested as the knot of his bandages was tightened with a sharp yank.

“That’s it, Altair. You can sleep in the entrance room.”  Malik said and disappeared into his personal room behind the counter. Normally, Altair would follow him to spend the night there but he had probably crossed a line that he wasn’t allowed to cross yet. Probably never would be. Dammit! He and his loose tongue…

“Malik! I’m sorry…” he made some steps towards the counter. No answer. “Malik?” Nothing.

What a wretched excuse for a day that was… Time to bloody end it and get some sleep. Grumbling, he collected some pillows and arranged them so they would form a makeshift mattress for the night before letting himself plump onto it with a deep sigh.

After half an hour of rolling from one side to the other, he gave up. It was just too bloody hot in the bureau. The walls, the floor – everything – was giving off heat!

He found his way behind the counter and waited at the entrance to Malik’s room. “Malik!” he whispered, “Hey Malik!” When he got no reaction from the person under the white linen spread, he went on: “Come on, you can’t fool me – I could hear you shifting. Look, I said I’m sorry. I didn’t want to make fun of your arm.”

“Yes you did.” A hushed voice came from the bed. “You are such an arrogant ass Altair,” Malik threw off the blanket, “but unfortunately you’re right. The bureau is a goddamn oven tonight!”

“Maybe we should sleep in a haystack…” Altair mused.

“Ha!” Malik laughed deep and throaty. Finally. “But that might not be such a stupid idea after all.”

“You can’t be serious” Altair snorted condescendingly until Malik looked at him with an expression that people usually reserved for ungainly children. Why? The haystacks would be even hotter. And unprotected. What was he going on about?

“You still don’t get it, hm?” Malik shook his head. “We’ll sleep in one of the roof gardens tonight. It will be cool enough there to get at least some hours of sleep.”

Oh. Right. Why hadn’t he thought of this? Once again, Malik made Altair feel like an idiot.

“Then what are we still doing here?” he asked sourly.

“Well, you just need to pick up some cushions for us and we’re ready to go. I need my arm to climb out so get going. Otherwise, we might as well stay here.”

Altair climbed up the wall effortlessly, even with the bulk of pillows stacked under his arm. He threw them onto the roof before he grabbed the ledge and hoisted himself up, out of the bureau. He watched Malik follow his path, somewhat slower but impressively athletic, using his legs to press himself upwards from the tiniest cracks in the stone, pulling his body up with his good arm. He looked nothing less than dignified in the crisp moonlight trickling through the ivy above him, painting bizarre patterns on his smooth muscles.

Malik ignored the hand Altair held out to help him on the last meters. “Please, Altair. You may not witness it that often and, by god, you sure have the ignorance to deny me this skill, but I do this every day. Without your help – believe it or not.”

Could he never make anything right? Altair thought grimly, but he still felt that sharp tang of guilt in his stomach. He closed the lattice of the bureau and followed Malik to the nearest roof garden. He pulled the blue curtain aside and jumped over the wooden panel.

“Careful!” Malik hissed. It was less spacious in there than Altair remembered. He squirmed himself into a reasonably comfortable position opposite Malik, who followed his efforts with furrowed brows.

“It was your idea,” Altair scoffed and pushed Malik’s legs away to have more room to himself.

When they had both settled in their position, the calmness of the night descended upon them. It was still warm but a gentle breeze moved the curtains and brought delicious cooling. They were breathing free and deep now, relaxing their backs against the walls of their hiding place. The city was humming softly around them with the characteristic mixture of scurrying rats, wind brushing against carved wood and the occasional song of a melancholic night bird. But something still wasn’t right…

“You’re breathing into my face Malik…” No answer. “Stop it! I know you’re not asleep yet.”

“Of course, majesty, I shall stop breathing so you can hold your beauty sleep.” Malik replied coolly.

Altair felt Malik’s breath in his face getting stronger. Oh that bastard! He saw a row of white teeth grinning at him in the darkness. He kicked Malik; the grin only grew wider.  Then Altair felt the breath travelling down his neck and his chest. Malik must be blowing it there intentionally… They both wore nothing but breeches – it was still too hot for more clothes – and the stream of air made Altair shudder slightly even in the warm night air. Altair kicked Malik again; harder this time but it was no use. His toes began to tingle when Malik blew into the hair right behind his ear. He heard him chuckle.

“What is it you want Malik?” he growled.

“Nothing. What are you talking about? I’m trying to sleep but you just cannot shut up, can you?”

Altair felt Malik’s chuckle more than he heard it and shortly after, he also felt a finger trail along his collarbone. He had to close his eyes. Not because of the tiredness. Far from that. The frugal caresses and the rich, powdery scent of Mlaik, wafting towards him in gusts every time the breeze blew through the curtains, made him forget his tiredness and all the hardships of the day. They melted away in one single sigh.

“Malik,..” he whispered but his mouth was suddenly covered by a hand. “Mmff!” he protested but saw in time the warning glare of Malik, who seemed to have heard something. Oh yes – there it was – muffled steps in the distance and shreds of a whistled song. An archer must be patrolling the rooftops next to them. Altair wasn’t as concerned about that matter as Malik seemed to be. He knew they were safe there as long as they were reasonably quiet.

Time to turn tables.

With his good hand, Altair trailed his fingers on the hand covering his mouth along the arm to Malik’s sensitive armpits and flanks. Malik shot him a look like he wanted to kill him but Altair didn’t care in the slightest. Revenge was a dish best served cold and this was exactly what he was doing. He let the back of his hand brush from Malik’s chest to his loins and relished how the other exchanged the panicked look on his face with that of pleasure – pressing his eyes shut and letting his mouth fall open slightly.

Malik furrowed his brows – he was not happy with this. But the breaths Altair could feel on his skin came quicker now than before, he thought with a feeling of victory.

“Hssssss!” his nipple was twisted just hard enough not to hurt. “Mmmm… Malik, stop that!” Altair wheezed, but at the same time shuffled closer so their hips were pressed against each other. Apparently, none of their teasing had left the other unaffected.

He couldn’t help it; Altair moved in even closer so also his chest was touching Malik’s and they could feel each others racing heartbeats. They were almost breathing the same air now and Altair felt the heat radiating from Malik’s mouth inches away from his own.

Their lips touched. Softly. As if they were afraid it would make a sound and alarm the archer on the other side of the roof. They both held their breath, unmoving.

Then Altair let his tongue slide out to caress the small opening between Malik’s lips and cover them with warm saliva. He didn’t have to wait for long until Malik opened his mouth and let Altair’s tongue lick over his own, his upper lip and chin before he answered with a desperate kiss, cupping Altair’s face in the one hand he had left.

Altair pulled Malik closer, roaming his hands across the others back, inwardly cursing the guard who cut him today as his right hand couldn’t feel anything of Malik’s velvety skin under those bandages.

He felt a warm hand creeping into his trousers and had to suppress a moan. He wanted to tell Malik to stop – this was not a game after all – but he was already too aroused and hard as a rock. Sly fingers were brushing his hair, occasionally stroking his cock just enough to make it twitch and ache for more. Then the delicious touch vanished and Altair opened his eyes, disoriented.

“Keep it down, Altair,” Malik whispered, half amused, half concerned, “or our heads will be displayed on a spear in front of the city wall before sunrise.”

Altair nodded silently with a tortured face. He just wanted Malik to continue. His cock was pressing against the ties of his breeches and a dark spot of precum slowly spread along the seam. His right hand was useless and his left just too clumsy – he had to rely on Malik if he wanted release.

To his relief, he felt Malik’s fingers expertly untying the knot of his pants, pushing them down to let his erection spring out.. Malik gave him three quick strokes, always twisting his hand a little on its way down. Altair bit his lip to let no sound escape. He breathed out carefully; he didn’t know if he could do this.

Two more strokes and the hand was removed again. Altair let out a small cry of protest, which earned him a kick from Malik.

“So… brothers in arms you say, hm?”came his voice close to Altair’s ear. “What can your good arm do now?” Malik was seemingly busy with his own pants.

“Nothing…”Altair whispered, trying to grind against Malik’s thigh but was held off by the hand.

“And what can I do with my good arm?” Malik purred into his ear.

“” Eh-everything”.” Altair breathed the words.

“What was that?”

“Everything!” Altair hissed, “Everything! Please, Malik! Please…” he kissed Malik desperately to convince him to continue. He felt Malik smile before he broke the kiss.

Then the other spat into his palm and held it in front of Altair, who understood and added his own saliva to that of his lover. Malik brought his hand down to where their cocks lay next to each other and generously covered them both with what he had just collected. Altair huffed at the first touch and was relieved when he also heard Malik’s suppressed moan. Long, hard fingers started stroking in a quick rhythm holding both of their erections in one sweet embrace.

They both couldn’t keep the promise to be silent – every so often a throaty groan would escape one of them in their frantic symphony of stroking and thrusting against each other. They muffled their groans with kisses – deep and longing – desperately biting the other’s trembling lips.

Altair was so close, he had almost forgotten where they were; who he was and what his purpose in life was. The only thing he knew was that this godly hand sliding up and down his oversensitive tip must never stop. He panted through his wide open mouth while he felt the waves of orgasm flaring up in his toes and knees and shoulders to crash together above him in one big tidal wave that made his body stiffen and quake soundlessly, but with such force that he knocked his head on the wooden panel several times. He hadn’t even noticed that Malik had bitten his shoulder for the whole time they rode out their orgasm. Only when he removed his teeth did Altair notice the stinging in his skin. Another wave washed over him as Malik slowed down before softly releasing both of their cocks and wipe his hand on Altair’s pants.

As much as they had wanted to be careful, their erratic pants were unworthy of stealthy assassins. Malik breathed into the crook of his elbow and Altair into one of the pillows next to him.

There were footsteps coming closer towards them. God, if the guard had heard them… If he would pull the curtains aside and find them like this. Two grown men in a nest of pillows; their pants pulled down; trying not to breathe… Another eruption shook Altair silently. This time it was laughter – he couldn’t help it. This situation was just too absurd to be actually real. His shoulders trembled with suppressed giggling and Malik’s huge, warning eyes, shooting him death glares from underneath his arm, made it only worse.

“Hello? Anybody?” The archer shouted half-heartedly. He probably stood only a few meters away from their hiding place. “You have no business up here!”

Tears were rolling from Altair’s eyes when he imagined the clueless face of the guard.

“Hrmpf, those damn cats will take over this city someday…” the guard mumbled.

Altair bit his pillow as hard as he could not to scream out laughing. Malik kicked him as hard as he could without making a noise but it was only when the guard had returned to his post, enthusiastically whistling a wavering song from the old days, that Altair calmed down and could breathe normally again.

“I will never understand how you managed to trick people into thinking that you’re a master assassin, Altair. You’re absolute rubbish at stealth!” Malik said while readjusting his pants.

Altair said nothing but gave Malik a long kiss before he turned around and halfway pulled up his own breeches before he passed out within half a minute. The darkness and the silky night air encapsuled him. The last thing he felt was one hand sliding under his arm, around his chest and with a last grunt he fell into the bottomless pit of merciful, dreamless sleep.