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"Is he your lover?" Salai asked, interested, leaning coquettishly across Leonard's work table.

Leonardo looked up suddenly from his writings, eyes wide, his cheeks coloring. "My lover?" he repeated.

"Si." Salai drew the word out, dabbing his finger in the place where, in his surprise, Leonardo had unwittingly dotted the paper with excess ink from his quill. Salai lifted his finger, examining the ink stain there, rubbing his fingertip absently against the tip of his thumb and spreading the stain. "Ezio Auditore. He seemed... particular about you."

Leonardo gently swatted Salai's hand away from the paper, dipping his quill back into the inkwell and getting back to his work, not meeting Salai's gaze. "You need to be more careful," he stated, quickly. "More discrete. Do not speak so freely. I was nearly put to death for saying and doing much less." In Firenze, of all places.

"It is only you and I here," Salai insisted, smiling, cat-like. "We do worse alone."

Leonardo did not reply. Salai sighed dramatically.

"You will not answer my question," he complained. "That seems unfair, Maestro."

"You should focus your thirst for knowledge in other topics," Leonardo replied, stiffly.

"I am very interested in this topic." Salai reached over the thin table, running a hand down Leonardo's arm, slowly, and then back up. "Per favore?"

"I believe you are smart enough to draw the correct conclusions on your own," Leonardo said, finally, leaning minusculy into Salai's touch.

Salai grinned. He knew it. Sighing, he leaned once more against the table, resting there. "He cares for you very much," he noted, closing his eyes. "I am jealous."

Leonardo blinked, surprised, before laughing. "Calmatevi, Salai," he stated, running his free right hand through the younger man's curls. "There is nothing to fear. Our relationship is not... exclusive."

"He looks very strong and handsome," Salai purred, rubbing up against Leonardo's hand. "Does it feel good?"

Ah. What a personal question. Leonardo sighed, stilling his hand. "What kind of a question is that?" he asked.

"An important one," Salai clarified, grinning. "Perhaps I should simply work to discover the answer myself?"

"If it will keep you out of trouble," Leonardo sighed, returning to his writing. He was certain that, within two weeks, Ezio would be back at his workshop asking Leonardo to keep a tighter leash on his assistant. Still, if Salai was following Ezio around instead of gambling, that would be less money he would spend...

"Or you could show me yourself." The younger man poked at his master's calf with the tip of his shoe (new, and leather, a gift from Leonardo - he was spoiled beyond the man's means, and Salai knew it). "Call him here, and let me watch from up there." He gestured towards the loft, where Leonardo stored unused or half-finished canvases and various supplies. "Or let me join in..."

"Now you are daydreaming." Leonardo waved Salai off, playfully. "Ezio is too private for such a thing. Not everyone can be as adventurous as you."

"Then I will have to do the work myself," Salai said, with a dramatic sigh, turning so his back rested against the table as he stared up towards the rafters, gears slowly turning in his head. "I think I will be able to find him at La Volpe Addormentata..."

"If you think so," Leonardo murmured, signaling an end to the conversation. Salai grinned, newfound purpose to his day, getting up from the table and moving towards the door.

"Can I pick you up anything as I'm out?" he asked.

"I am alright."

Salai blew Leonardo a kiss, which Leonardo acknowledged with a strange sort of smile, before waving and darting out the door, preparing to stir up just a little bit of trouble. If he was lucky, he'd be back tonight with an Assassin on his heels.

How many men in all of Roma could call that luck? Salai laughed to himself as he turned down the road, headed towards La Volpe's sanctuary.