Whatever Shaun had been expecting when he had walked into the office, it wasn't the complete personality change that his new coworker was displaying. Since he had been hired, the man had been a very intent force of nature, one who had perfected the art of being a cold-hearted arse down to perfection. Shaun was mildly impressed, honestly.
Of course, this had been a rather rough few months for Shaun, given the entire being kidnapped by Templars, and then re-kidnapped by a group who went by the ever so charming name of Assassins. A group who had offered him a choice. Join, or lose what protection they might offer. Given the fact the Templars were still looking for him, Shaun knew he had very little actual choice in the manner.
Thankfully, it didn't seem as if they expected him to actually kill someone, though just the memory of training made him ache. Instead, the Assassins had seen his strengths and put him in more...sedate situations. First had been helping update several computer systems, working alongside Rebecca, then into a more research oriented position.
Then -Malik- had appeared and asked how his ability with researching and computers transcribed to office and lab work.
That was when Shaun got to meet Leonardo, who had apparently gone through a half dozen assistants before Shaun had been brought in. After meeting the man. Shaun was honestly torn between two urges when it came to the man.
First was admiration tinged with awe at just how brilliant Leonardo was. The man was on a level of intelligence that Shaun couldn't even be jealous of. It was simple unimaginable. Not that he ever planned on letting the man know this aspect of Shaun's reaction.
The other urge was to take the nearest blunt object and introduce it to Leonardo's skull. Possibly several times. Everything he had read on him before accepting Malik's offer said that Leonardo was personable and interesting to work with. But once he started actually working with him, Shaun realized just why Malik had come to him. Shaun was indebted to the Assassins for the rescue, and this was them calling it in.
Thankfully, Shaun was more stubborn than those who had come before, and he hadn't let Leonardo drive him off. The man had been cold and intense. In a way, that only intrigued Shaun more. He had gotten used to more lackluster co-workers, and that sort of intensity was refreshing. Didn't make it any easier to deal with the almost absentminded dismissal that Leonardo displayed.
Today, however, there was a box of what smelled like hot, fresh baked goods. Which smelled like a bribe if there ever was one. Eyeing the box as if it was going to bite, Shaun sat his things down and just glanced at Leonardo.
The other man was lounging in his chair, eyes focused on Shaun. As far as Shaun could recall, this was really the first time the other had looked at him after the initial introduction. And even that has been more of a predatory look than anything else. This time, the look was still measuring, but the coldness was gone. Now there was a lot more curiosity in it, and Shaun had the dawning realization that Leonardo was one of those annoyingly perky people. Rather like Rebecca when one got her going on one of her pet subjects.
Ignoring the look for now, Shaun simply investigated the box instead. Well, it seemed that he couldn't really say that Leonardo had been ignoring him as much as Shaun had assumed. There were several things in the box, including things that he had brought in for himself the last week or so.
"Bribery?"he asked bluntly, looking at Leonardo finally. The was a bit of a chuckle from the other man, who looked completely shameless.
"Of course. You haven't attempted to kill me or run off in tears. That deserves some sort of prize for putting up with my attitude."
Shaun frowned, something about this didn't fit. He just let his eyes rest in Leonardo, mind busy turning over the details of their entire interaction with each other. Then something shifted.
"You absolute bastard," Shaun scowled. "You were putting out an act!"
He paused. "But not totally." There had been a distinct shift of attitude about a week in. Frowning, he met Leonardo's eyes. The other was looking back at him calmly, observing Shaun as he worked at the puzzle. "Though a good part of it was an act, wasn't it?"
Leonardo grinned. "It was. I've discovered, over the years, if I'm going to work closely with someone, they have to be of a certain temperament." The smile turned just a little bit sheepish. "I tend to ignore people who aren't persistent in getting my attention, and part of your job is making sure that I stop from time to time." A cough. "As you've noticed over the last few weeks, I tend to get very focused. So I need someone who will not be put off by my focus and push me to do things such as take a break." The pale eyes were full of amusement. "And you have definitely proven yourself capable of that so far."
There was a moment of quiet as Shaun processed what he was being told. He was shifting from indignation to anger to curiosity. Damn that side of his personality. That was what had gotten him tangled up with both sides of this secret war to start with. His need to know, and his love for finding out things other people didn't.
"As for the fact that it wasn't all an act, let's just say that I am human, and real life can, ah, have an effect." Leonardo's expression made Shaun snort.
"Yeah, and I bet those marks you got on your neck didn't have anything to do with it." Shaun wasn't blind, and there had been a pretty clear mark that was only mostly covered by the other man's shirt. Now that he knew part of it was an act, he could pinpoint when the really, really vicious aspect of Leonardo's behavior had vanished, to merely annoying.
There was a sudden stillness in Leonardo's body language, and Shaun scowled mentally. After all the shit he had gotten over the last few weeks, he had forgotten to watch his mouth now that he realized how much of it was a test. Of course, Shaun had a strong sarcastic side that anyone he dealt with had to learn to accept.
Then Leonardo started to chuckle. "I deserve that, yes. Shall we call a truce and start over? I think that we can work together very well. If you can deal with my distraction, I can deal with your sarcasm, and I think both of us can roll our eyes greatly at the Americans around us. Deal?"
He looked at Shaun with such delighted hope, that even Shaun's nice thick walls of sarcasm and disgust at overly cheerful people were weak against the look. Scowling, he sighed. "Fine, fine, but you owe me many more of these things." He waved at the box of treats.
"Well, we will see how things go. I shall tell Malik that you fit in nicely. I think he was starting to despair that anyone would manage to put up with me long enough to get hired. Ezio had dropped the whole issue in his lap once I drove off the first three." Leonardo said it with such innocence that if Shaun hadn't seen first hand just how annoying Leonardo could be, he would have wondered just what was wrong with the other people who had help this spot.
Muttering something that was definitely not fit for polite company, Shaun snagged the box and helped himself to a treat. Then he just moved the whole box to sit by his computer. Sitting down, he hit the button to turn on the machine. "Don't do this again," he said, huffing faintly as he said it.
"I can't promise that, but I can promise it won't be a test, and that you have my full permission to call me out on it."
"Oh, I definitely will. No worries about that."
That got him a grin, and Shaun smirked back.
This might work out after all.