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Mi Dispace Amico Mio

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Mi Dispace Amico Mio

 

 

 

 

 

Leonardo tightened his cape around him and hurried through the alleyways of Venezia, ignoring the stinging pain. It had been a close call, the guard had turned just as he stepped in front of him and in a moment of panic, Leonardo had stabbed the man with his stiletto. The guard too had lashed out, his blade tearing Leonardo’s sleeve and skin, drawing blood. 

 

The guard would survive, Leonardo did not stab any of his main arteries...he hoped. He was no killer but he knew a human body’s vital points well enough. Quickly entering his workshop, Leonardo locked the doors and windows before rushing down to his basement where he knew he would not be disturbed. He had traveled to Venezia for his work, sì, but there was more. Slowly, ignoring the stinging pain, he hid the golden box beneath a loose tile. 

 

“I can’t believe I’m actually doing this.” Leonardo muttered to himself as he stood up to look for supplies to bandage his arm. It was a good thing Ezio was away in Monterigionni. That man was sharp and hiding things from him, especially things that affected his family...Leonardo shut his eyes. 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Leonardo was startled awake but someone banging against the door and shouting his name. He must’ve fallen asleep after dealing with box yesterday. “I’m coming! Un momento!” He shouted as he ran up the stairs to the main floor of his workshop. The banging had not stopped, in fact it had gotten louder with the person on the other side threatening to break the door down. 

 

“Coming! Have some patience...” Leonardo froze when he opened the door, “Ezio...”

 

“Leonardo! I thought you left me again. I was almost ready to break down the door.” Ezio looked visibly relieved as he pushed pass Leonardo to enter.

 

“Mi Dispace Amico Mio. I was asleep and didn’t hear you.” He apologised. “But what brings you here to me? Ah! Is it another codex page? Here, hand it over!” 

 

It was fleeting but Leonardo was certain Ezio looked a little hurt. But it couldn’t be, he was probably imagining it. 

 

“You know me too well Leonardo.” Ezio was pulled an old scroll from his pouch and was about to hand it over to Leonardo when he suddenly stopped. “Leonardo, you’re injured! What happened?” 

 

Leonardo took this moment to try and grab the scroll but the assassin was faster and he he shoved it back into the pouch. Instead of grabbing the scroll, Leonardo felt Ezio’s strong grip on his arm. 

 

“It’s nothing to worry about. I- I fell.” He chuckled, hoping that Ezio would accept it and not probe any further. 

 

“Uh-huh.” He tried not to fidget under the Florentine’s scrutiny. 

 

“Fine. But you will tell me if you need my help, sì? I trust you Leonardo and I hope you’d trust me too if you need anything.” 

 

“Of course my dearest friend, always.” Leonardo let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. “Now, the codex?” 

 

“Here.” Ezio handed him the scroll and went to the usual spot to sit and wait for him to decode it. It didn’t take too long this time around and he was done with it in two hours. Ezio took the scroll and translation and left but not without giving him a hug. It's almost customary and it always made Leonardo happy when Ezio returned the hug.

 

Later that afternoon, Leonardo headed back down to the basement and took out the golden box he hid the night before. It was simple and unassuming, like any other lady's trinket box but inside...

 

"...were a list of where all the Assassin's hideouts in Italy were." Leonardo gently unrolled the paper, feeling the weight in his hands. Funny how such a small thing could cause so much chaos. If he hadn’t replaced the original list with a fake one he made, the consequences would have been dire. Leonardo took one last look at it and threw the paper into the fire, watching silently as its edges turned orange then black before disappearing entirely. 

 

Giovanni had requested the forged list along with a handful of paintings years ago after discovering Leonardo's talent. It was also a form of apology after Giovanni had almost sliced his throat with the hidden blade upon discovering Leonardo's affiliation with the Templar order.

 

Leonardo was a young boy of fifteen back then and was simply content to follow along the order of this family and some patrons since it provided him with the means and access to expensive materials, important meetings, interesting places and of course potential patrons. But everything changed one night when he saw his sketches being used as evidence against an innocent man that resulted in his death. 

 

The man was caught in the crossfire of an age old conflict. With Leonardo being more curious and rebelling against certain Templar ideologies, it would seem apt that they would eventually try to teach him a lesson. And what better way to make him learn his place by going after the very first man that actually returned Leonardo’s affection. 

 

 Vittorio was charged with sodomy, along with Leonardo although no such thing happened. Leonardo was sparred but he lost the one man he almost dedicated his life to. 

 

He tried to pull away but the snares of the order were tight and while entering was easier, leaving was almost impossible. And that was how he had ended up on Giovanni's hit list. The assassin had the impression that Leonardo had framed Vittorio and sketched the evidence that led to his hanging. 

 

Giovanni had offered him a way out and he was forever indebted to him. Leonardo remained in the order as a spy for Giovanni, gathering essential information for the assassins and occasionally stealing and replacing Templar information with forged ones. It was a perfect life and he was happy, until the day Giovanni, Federico and Petruccio were hanged.

 

The Templars were fully aware of him defecting to the Assassin's side. And they had fed him with false information which he in turn, had fed Giovanni. It led his benefactor right into their hands and now his mentor and half of his family were dead. If Ezio had not come to him and provided him an opportunity to redeem himself...

 

Ezio...Speaking of Ezio, the boy was young and naive at times but he was a good man at heart. In fact their interactions over the years had made the boy dear to Leonardo, maybe a little too much but that was his secret to keep.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Ezio could not put his finger on it but something was off with Leonardo ever since that day. The excited, cheerful artist would sometimes disappear and for a moment, it was replaced by someone else. Someone who has seen more than his fair share of tragedy. Ezio had pushed for it, hoping Leonardo would spill whatever it was that was bothering him but the man held firm.

 

He suppose he could wait until Leonardo was ready to tell him. His friend tend not to keep quite for Long after all. 

 

————————

 

It was a good thing there was nothing much to do today, well, at least nothing life threatening. Which was why he turned straight into the market and bought a cage of doves. Leonardo and the merchant had an odd relationship. He’d frown and slam the money on the table as he snatched the cage filled with doves away. The merchant would glare at him as he took the coins. 

 

“You’re really wasting my birds and your money Messer Leonardo.” The merchant would say. 

 

“It’s not a waste. These birds are free creatures of God. They’re not for anyone’s amusement.” Leonardo would reply before flipping his cape and making his way down to one of the quieter canals to release the birds. 

 

“Peace little birds. I’m sorry you got caught again.” He tried to soothe them as he made his way down a flight of stairs. A few more corners and he was at his favourite spot. 

 

Leonardo placed the cage down gently and stretched his back. Were those things ever that heavy? Or maybe he was just getting older. Looking around once more and seeing that it’s empty, he carried the cage once more and descended down the steps, closer to the water. 

 

“All right. Andiamo uccellino. Out you go.” He tried to grab one of them but retracted his hand when one of the birds pecked it. “Stubborn aren’t you?” Leonardo smiled. He supposed it’s not surprising. He’d be afraid and untrusting too if he was being caught and locked up in a cage. 

 

“Coo Coo.” He tried again and sighed when the birds simply flapped it’s wing and tried to peck at him again. 

 

“I didn’t know you speak bird Leonardo.” Ezio sudden appearance startled Leonardo into knocking into the cage, which startled the birds dashed out. Not the way he’d expected it to go but at least they’re free. 

 

“Ezio!” 

“The one an only.” 

Leonardo stood up to give his friend a hug. But he moved to quickly and slipped on a moss covered step. 

 

“Leonardo!” 

 

Everything happened in slow motion. The world tipping over as he lost his balance, Ezio dashing forward as his eyes widened in fear and him reaching out and grabbing Ezio’s sleeve. It all ended, of course, in the inevitable. Both Leonardo and Ezio ended up in the water. 

It was a good thing the both of them could swim. It wasn’t easy with all the layers of clothing but both men managed to pull themselves out of the canal eventually. Leonardo didn’t do too bad, being able to hold his breath before plunging in but Ezio wasn’t so lucky. He was caught by surprise and had swallowed a little bit of a canal. 

“Cazzo.” Leonardo patted Ezio’s back as he coughed out the water. He didn’t mean to drag the other man down with him but he panicked and it was his immediate reaction. 

 

“Mi Dispace Amico Mio.” Leonardo smiles guiltily and placed his hands together hoping that Ezio won’t be too angry with him. Ezio coughed a few more times before straightening up and looking at Leonardo with a grin. It was a grin he’d seen directed at the many women Ezio pursued and it sent his heart into an erratic beat. He could feel his face heat up but hope that the other man would attribute it to him being wet and cold.

 

“You’re forgiven Leonardo. But I’m afraid I’ll need a place to dry up.” Ezio pouted as he squeezes more water from his clothes. 

 

“Sì, sì. Of course Ezio. Of course.” Leonardo nodded and did not wait for his friend to respond before picking up the empty bird cage and grabbing his hand and dragging him back to his studio. 

 

Once back in his studio, Leonardo lent Ezio some of his clothes and laid out his wet ones in front of the fire after rinsing it. Falling into the canal was never fun, no matter how tempting the water looked. He hope Ezio won’t fall ill from this little incident. Today had been a little cold and windy thought Leonardo as he added more wood to the fire. 

 

“Leonardo.” 

 

“Hmm?” Leonardo used a metal rod to push the wood further in. The fire was way too small for Ezio’s attire to dry quickly. 

 

“Leonardo. You’re still wet.” Ezio’s face looked flush. 

“Oh! Right!” He didn’t realise that. Well, it won’t do him any good to fall ill either. “Make yourself at home Ezio, I’ll be back.”

 

His room on the second floor was not as messy but it was still filled with interesting and wonderful things he picked up along the way. There were also a ton of private sketches, mostly of Vittorio and more recently of Ezio. Ezio when he fell asleep waiting for his codex. Ezio, when he was flirting shamelessly with the ladies. And his favourite, Ezio, when he was smiling at him. He took all the drawings and placed it in a little drawer, can’t have it being seen or worse, dirtied.

 

He really hated it when his clothes were wet, it made it hard to move and there’s that underlying salty smell. Leonardo removed his doublet and his tunic before heading over to his drawers to look for some clean clothes. 

He was about to remove his trousers when he head a yelp followed by someone tumbling down the stairs. His immediate thought went to the possibility that he had been discovered and the Templars were attacking. Leonardo grabbed the candelabra sitting on the side table and rushed out his door, ready to defend his friend and home. 

 

But instead of a horde of Templars, the only person on the floor was Ezio who was curling on himself, holding onto his toe. 

 

“Ezio! Are you all right?” Leonardo place the candelabra down to check on Ezio.

 

“I’m fine. I’m fine.” Ezio waved him off and stood up, “I just stubbed my toe.” 

 

“You tumbled down the stairs. Are you sure you didn’t hit your head or anything?” Leonardo kept trying to look at his friend’s face but Ezio kept looking away. 

 

“I’m fine Leonardo.” 

 

“Very well. If you insist. Seriously Ezio, you really need to be more careful.” Leonardo picked up the candelabra again. “I’ll be down soon, try not to break anything.” 

 

Despite being a deadly assassin, Ezio can really be a child sometimes. Leonardo changed into his dry clothes and went down to find the assassin admiring one of his inventions this time. At least we wasn’t touching it or trying to take it apart.  

 

“It’s suppose to fly.” Leonardo offered some information. 

 

“Have you tested it?” 

 

“Not yet. I haven’t found anyone crazy enough to jump of a building.” 

 

Leonardo regretted saying that when he saw the way Ezio’s eyes light up mischievously. 

 

“Leonardo, I believe you have found your man!” He raised his arms and turned around, presenting himself. 

 

“I’ve never thought about it. But if you’re willing Ezio, I’ll see what I can do. I’ll just need to modify the structure, no wait, maybe it’s the wing span.” Leonardo was too lost in his excitement and thought to notice Ezio leaning into his personal space. “But it’s still too raw, give me a while more. It won’t do anyone any good if you fall to your death.”

 

“You’re really good at this Leonardo.” Ezio’s voice was a pitch lower and Leonardo could feel the warmth of his breath as he spoke, sending shivers down his spine. Leonardo almost leaned back against Ezio but stopped himself in time. The last thing he wanted to do was get Ezio into trouble like he did Vittorio. 

 

“I’m glad you think so Amico mio.” Leonardo moved away and gave Ezio’s shoulder a friendly pat before quickly moving towards the fire place to add more wood to it. He tried not to notice Ezio’s disappointment but it wasn’t easy. The man was too much of an open book emotionally sometimes. 

 

Leonardo woke up the next morning to the his clothes neatly folded and a small ‘Grazie’ note from Ezio. Looks like it’s back to business as usual then. Leonardo folded and kept the note in his pocket before taking out his note nook and checking his to-do list. Apparently he’s supposed to ask a soldier how a Canon works and observe people in the marketplace. Perfect! 

 

The soldiers, as usual, were suspicious of him, especially with some of them suspecting his association with the Assassin running around in Venezia. But a few did talk and he did get a little bit of what he was looking for. 

 

Leonardo walked around the marketplace and made a short trip to the bird merchant again before returning to his workshop to consolidate his notes for the day. He was about to open the door when he felt something sharp pierce him on the neck and he pulled it out. A needle...

 

It was a needle coated in just the right amount of poison to knock him out but not kill him. Whatever they used, it was a fast working poison. Leonardo was already losing sensations in his arms and legs, causing him to drop the materials he was holding. 

 

“Good evening Messer Leonardo. You don’t look too good. Here, let me help you.” 

 

Leonardo tried to push the man away but the poison had sapped all hi strength away. The man was dressed as a dottore, his face was covered with the mask but there’s no mistaking the man behind it. 

 

“Vittorio?” 

 

“Sì. Amore mio.” The last words were said with such disgust and venom. 

———————————

 

Ezio was having a panic attack. It was like in Florence all over again when he couldn’t find Leonardo. According to witnesses, the artist had fainted and a kind dottore had assisted him. But it stops there and the bits and pieces of reports he received from

Antonio and Rosa weren’t helping as well. Whoever took Leonardo knew how to cover their tracks and Ezio was afraid that his constant visiting of the artist had dragged the man into their Assassin and Templar conflict.

 

But he was not one to give up, especially when it came to Leonardo. The man had been there for him for so long and he could not deny the growing attraction he had towards his friend anymore. It was made even clearer that night when he accidentally walked in to Leonardo almost removing his trousers. He recalled the sudden spike of arousal and panic that caused him to trip and tumble down the stairs. It was embarrassing as it was enlightening. 

 

 

Ezio was about to put his plan of interrogating a potential witness to the whole scene when he saw Leonardo. It has been three days and Ezio had never felt more relieved in his life. He was about to run to the man when he noticed the person beside him. The mysterious dottore.

————————

 

“Was poor old me dying not painful enough for you Leonardo?” Vittorio tightened his grip on Leonardo’s arm, ignoring then whimper that came out. “You couldn’t contain your unnatural lust, could you? Is that why you’re so close to the boy?”

 

Leonardo had woke up that evening in an abandoned house near the outskirts of Venezia with Vittorio and Rodrigo Borgia standing over him. They were aware of his affiliations with the assassins and had tortured and beaten him into submission. It wouldn’t have worked if it weren’t for the fact that Rodrigo had men in Moterigionni watching Ezio’s mother and sister. And they made it very clear that both women would die if he refused.

 

There was no other way. Either he did what they wanted him to do and find an opening to warn Ezio or refuse and live with the knowledge that he will be the cause of another Auditore’s death. 

 

Leonardo reluctantly agreed to their demands but not before stealing some documents from the bastardo. If he’s going to die then he’s dragging them down with him. Hopefully it will never come down to that and he finds an opportunity to warn Ezio but with his luck, chances are that might never happen. 

 

“Your death hurt me a lot Vittorio but that was in the past, I’ve moved on. This has nothing to do with the Auditore boy, leave him out of this.” Leonardo spat. 

 

“Leave him? You are in love with him.” Vittorio chuckled to himself, “No matter, it’s not like he’ll love a traitor.”

 

Leonardo did not reply. There was no need to, whatever the Templars had it mind was sure to break Ezio mentally and Leonardo in more ways than one. It was the ultimate punishment for trying to leave, for trying to find out the truth. He should’ve known they’d planted Vittorio in as well. The whole thing was a ruse but in all those years it had damaged him emotionally and now, even as he began to recover, they held the one evidence that could condemn him to the gallows. His preferences of men. His close friends didn’t care but as his reputation grew, letting on this information could undo him. And Ezio...everyone knew they were close friends, it would ruin Ezio’s reputation as well.

 

—————————————————

Ezio watched from the tiled roofs as Leonardo and the mystery dottore made a few more turns before walking straight into the Palazzo della Seta.

 

"What the-" Ezio's eagle vision identified the entire place as red and watched in horror as the only blue disappeared in them. "Cazzo! Leonardo, what are you doing?"

 

He would need to enter the building without being detected, not an easy feat but not impossible either. Ezio dashed across the roof and made a jump, then he pulled himself up just as guard walked by. A quick punch to the throat and knock to the head ensured that the guard remain unconscious and quiet. He needed a disguise, there's simply way to many guards for him to slip by as usual, he needed to blend in. Ezio worked quickly, removing his cape, tunic and doublet, replacing them with the guard's. As for his clothes and gear, he'd bundled them up in a waterproof animal skin bag with a weight and dumped it in the canal below. He'll get it later, right now, he needed to find Leonardo.

 

The place was not exactly massive but it was confusing enough. He had almost gave himself away twice with him getting lost. He did find Leonardo eventually and he was talking to another man who looked familiar. Ezio did not like were this was going.

 

"I have what you need." Leonardo held the golden box in his hands, his posture resigned.

 

"Do you now?" The other man spoke and Ezio was certain he had heard that voice before. "Place it on the ground. If it is a fake and I find that you have lied to me, I'll cut you down where you stand Leonardo. Are we clear?"

 

"Crystal." the blonde nodded and placed the golden box on the floor.

 

Ezio felt his stomach drop when the other man stepped forward and removed his hood. It was the same man, he could never forget that face. It was the bastardo that was behind all of this! His family's blood was in this man's hand and Ezio had to tighten his fist to not run up and stab the man in the face. Rodrigo Borgia.

 

"Ah~ the safe houses of our little rebel group. It looks like we were wrong to keep you out of the loop after all Messer Da Vinci." Rodrigo smiled as he admired whatever it was in the box. "It was a shame, we really thought we'd lost you to the Assasssins, to the Auditores. It looks like you’re one of us after all.”

 

What? At that, Ezio lost all interest in Rodrigo and shifted his focus entirely on Leonardo. It couldn't be, no.

 

“May the father of understanding guide us.” Rodrigo uttered the same words Ezio heard all those years ago. 

There was a pause and then...

 

"Uphold the principles of our order and all that for which we stand." Leonardo spoke the words with such confidence and familiarity. "Never share our secrets nor divulge in the true nature of our work."

 

It felt like he was watching his family die all over again. With every word Leonardo uttered, Ezio felt his heart shatter. Was his family's death not enough, must they take away his friend as well?

 

"Do so until death, whatever the cost." Leonardo nodded and turned to leave.

 

"Wait." Rodrigo ordered. "I have another task for you."

 

Leonardo appeared hesitant but nodded.

 

"You're close to the Auditore boy no? I want you to kill him."

 

Ezio watched as his friend stood there, frozen. Rodrigo wanted to test his loyalty, that much was obvious but would Leonardo really do it? And then Leonardo nodded. His shock and hurt at the sudden betrayal was too much to handle and Ezio did what he knew best. He turned it all into anger and instant action.

 

"Bastardo! The both of you! Vaffanculo!" He went right for Rodrigo but was blocked by a guard who Ezio took out with ease. But in the fallen man's place, more came. In his haste, he had alerted the entire palazzo of his presence. No matter, if he can't get that Borgia bastardo, he could at least get the other traitor. Leonardo.


 

 

 

Leonardo felt his entire world shift when he heard that voice. Ezio! Ezio was here and he had witnessed the entire thing! The man was fuming and to have the Assassin's anger and violence directed towards him made him realize how deadly the man actually was. Leonardo stole a glance and Rodrigo's retreating figure and knew the Templar was watching. He did not have a choice, if he wanted to save Ezio, he needed to get him away from all the Guards first. He needed to make himself the target.

 

"Ci sei cascato come una pirla Ezio." Leonardo turned on his charms, he knew this would agitate the man but he'd forfeited his life long ago. He could not save Giovanni but he could save his son. And it seems to be working as the assassin turned his attention towards Leonardo, hidden blade extended. He was about to head right into Ezio when Vittorio, desperate to proof his worth to the order, stepped in front. 

 

“You must be the fool Assassin Leonardo is in love with. I Guess I can see why.” Vittorio licked his lips as he stared at the man. “ No matter. He belongs to me, he belongs to us. You useless Assassins should know your place.” He roared ,drew his sword and charged at Ezio who withdrew his hidden blade and went for his own weapon. 

The clash of metal rang out as assassin and Templar tried to out manoeuvre one another. Ezio was fast but Vittorio had more force and strength. 

“Is that all you have? It’s no wonder Leonardo returned to us.” Vittorio sneered.

“Shut up!” Ezio used his momentum and slammed down on Vittorio who stumbled back a little. It was obvious Ezio was angry and unstable and Vittorio was using it to his advantage. 

“Must’ve hurt. To be betrayed by one you trust.” He mocked. Vittorio was about to add on the insults when he noticed Ezio’s expression. “Oh my. This is even worse, isn’t it? It isn’t just a betrayal but someone you trust, it’s by someone you lo-“

Whatever he was about to say was cut off with the Assassin embedding his blade into the other man’s eye. Leonardo watched as Ezio retracted the blade and stepped over Vittorio. And headed straight for him.

Rodrigo was still there, at the back of the palazzo but he was watching. He could try to defend himself here but then he would never be able to let the truth slip to Ezio or he could try and lead his friend somewhere else. No, he needed to lead Ezio somewhere with fewer Guards. If Leonardo did die, then Ezio would still need to make his escape. He must be away from Rodrigo and the Guards.

 

Leonardo turned and ran. He had never ran so fast and far in his life. Scaling buildings, jumping across canals and sliding beneath railings, it was starting to tire him out but not Ezio and the man was gaining on him. If there's one good thing, it's at least Rodrigo was out of sight. He made a couple more odd turns before running into a deserted corner. He could not hear the footsteps any longer. Did he lose Ezio?

 

He was breathing hard and he knew that running anymore was not going to save him. Just as he was about to leave, a flash a white dropped in front of him and he found himself slammed against a wall. His disguise discarded, he was back to being the Assassin. Not Ezio his friend, just a pure killer in white. 

 

"Just like your father Ezio. He almost killed me too." Leonardo couldn't help but notice the similarities. It's almost deja vu. 

 

"Well he should have." Ezio growled and pressed the blade against Leonardo's throat, drawing blood. "Why Leonardo?"

 

"W-why?" Leonardo did not realized he had closed his eyes and slowly opened them. Ezio looked devasted, even worse then when he came to Leonardo after his family's death. But this time, it was his doing. Not the templars, not Rodrigo but him. And it made Leonardo hate Giovanni for making him promise this and himself for carrying it out. 

 

"You're a Templar! You've been a Templar all along! I thought you were my friend! I trusted you!" Ezio did not seem to realize he had tears rolling down his face. 

 

Leonardo felt his heartbreak at the sight but he kept reminding himself of Ezio’s mother and Claudia. He was not family, Ezio can survive without him but without his mother and sister...no, Ezio needed them. 

 

But his heart had other ideas and could not bear to see the man in front of him in such pain and was about to let out the whole truth when he caught a glimpse of red robes at the corner. Rodrigo had followed them. 

 

 

Perhaps it was fated that he should die at the hands of an assassin after all. At least it was Ezio and not a random killer, he could at least take comfort in that. Taking a deep breath, Leonardo looked into Ezio's brown eyes and gave him a watery smile before grabbing his hand where the hidden blade was attached and plunged it into his own chest. He felt Ezio attempt to withdraw the blade but Leonardo held on and leaned into the other man.

 

"Mi Dispace, amore mio." Leonardo whispered before pushing a startled Ezio away and walking backwards towards the edge of the building.

 

"NO!"

 

Ezio's devastated expression was the last thing Leonardo saw before he let himself drop backwards into the canal below. He felt the water hit him and felt it engulf him. Funny how they’re always falling into canals. He just hoped Ezio noticed the note he slipped into the man’s coat. The details, plans and names of people who threatened his family were all there. Ezio would be save and so would his mother and sister. 

 


 

 

 

 

 

It was flickering, his eagle vision of Leonardo kept flickering between red and blue. But it was blue eventually and till the end. Leonardo was blue! He did not betray Ezio and Ezio had foolishly rushed in and now his closest and dearest friend was dead. Dead by his hand.

 

Ezio sat by the canal, ignoring the whispers and stares he was getting because of his blood stained hands. The water was calm. He had been staring at it for awhile, hoping, praying that whatever happened was just a bad dream and that Leonardo would pop right out of the water and laugh at him for being such a child.

 

But nothing of that sort happened. Antonio was the one to have eventually found him and had half dragged him back to their hideout. He was certain Antonio was talking and saying something but he didn't register any of it. He kept replaying today's event in his mind. It was only when he felt a stinging pain on his left cheek did he register the person in front of him.

 

"Uncle Mario...?"

 

"Snap out of it Ezio! What are you doing?" Mario was fuming and Ezio did not know why. Was it because he did not know of Leonardo's betrayal?

 

"Leonardo betrayed us uncle! He was a Templar! He doesn't deserve our aid!" It felt empty even as he tried his best to convince himself that his words were righteous.

 

"He was protecting us you idiota!"Mario boomed. "Leonardo is our ally."

 

"No. He was working with Rodriogo Borgia! He was, he-"

 

"He was forced to do it! Monterigionni was attacked by Templars and they went straight for your mother and sister." Mario sighed. "I didn’t think he’d go this far for us.Your father  saved Leonardo a long time ago and he’s been one of us since then. How did you think I got to all of you so quickly before the Pazzi got to you all those years ago?”

 

Ezio felt sick. Leonardo died thinking Ezio hated him and after all that he had done for the Auditores, for Ezio, he killed him...

 

———————-

 

Leonardo felt something stuck in his throat and started to panic when he couldn’t draw breath. He must’ve been thrashing around because he remembered hitting someone or something and he recalled hearing voices as well. 

 

“Leonardo! Calm down!” Whoever the voice belonged to seem to know him personally. That’s a good sign, isn’t it? 

 

He felt something touch his lips and followed by some cool liquid. Water. Feeling less worried, Leonardo drank the water, allowing it to wet his throat. 

 

“W-where am I?” He could barely recognize his own voice. And his chest hurts, a lot. 

 

“You’re among friends Leonardo.” The voice replied. 

 

Among friends? That’s one good news today. The last thing he remembered was stabbing himself with Ezio’s hidden blade and then throwing himself into the canal. Everything else after that was a blur. 

 

“You’ve been out for a week” The same voice replied. Leonardo was about to ask for a name but he felt gentle hands push him back down asking him to sleep. He did not want to, there’s just too many unanswered questions but pain and exhaustion eventually won and he succumbed to both.

 

The next time Leonardo woke, it was to something warm and comfortable beside him. It was nice and he leaned towards it, feeling like a child in his mother's bosom once more. It was only when he felt a jolt from the source of warmth did he stop and open his eyes.

 

Brown eyes were looking directly into his, eyes that he'd recognize anywhere. Panicking, Leonardo tried to push the man away but ended up crying out in pain when he moved too quickly.

 

"Leonardo!"

 

"Don't!" Leonardo pulled away from Ezio as he tried to get his breathing under control. He could still feel the pain from where he had stabbed himself. He was alive, so at least he knew that Ezio won't be killing him anytime soon.

 

"Leonardo..." sounded soft and uncertain, as if speaking out suddenly would scare his friend away. It's endearing thought Leonardo but also a little annoying since he was no fragile porcelain doll.

 

"You should've let me die Ezio." Leonardo ignored the way Ezio's eyes widened when he said it. "If Rodrigo knows I am alive, he’ll kill your mother and sister." It was the truth, a painful truth but it is what it is. There is nothing he can do about it. He knew Rodrigo saw their entire altercation and he also knew that Leonardo is dead.

 

"Don't you dare." Ezio held Leonardo's face in his hands, "Don't you dare say that. You've no idea what that did to me."

 

"Mi Dispace Ezio. I didn't mean to say that. I didn’t mean to hide things from you, I understand if you don't want to see me. I''ll leave-" whatever it was that Leonardo wanted to say was cut off abruptly by Ezio's lips against his.

 

It was soft, a little chapped but warm and it felt like home, comfort and safety. Leonardo immediately returned the kiss with fervour, swallowing the other’s moan. They eventually paused to catch their breath and Ezio was grinning like crazy. It was no wonder the ladies kept falling for him. Pupils blown wide, olive skin and lips kiss-swollen, he was the epitome of roguishly handsome. 

 

“If I knew you could kiss like this Leonardo, I’d done this earlier.” Ezio was about to lean in for another kiss but Leonardo turned away. 

 

“Ezio. Stop.” He needed the man to know that they were crossing the line of their friendship. He didn’t want the elation, relief or worse yet, guilt to cloud Ezio’s judgement. Leonardo don’t think he could bear it if Ezio decided to leave after that. 

 

“What’s wrong Leonardo?” Ezio gently swept his blonde hair and placed it behind his ears. 

 

“Ezio. I-I’m sure you know of my presences. That being said, I am a one man person. I-if you want this, it’s the whole package.” He looks at Ezio, willing him to understand.

 

“Sì. Of course.” 

 

“No Ezio. You don’t understand. What I am asking for, you might not be able to give.” Leonardo was rubbing circles on both of Ezio’s hands. “I am asking for your heart.” 

 

He could feel the man freeze. To make matters worse, Ezio was silent. It’s an expected reaction and knowing that did not make it hurt any less. 

 

“You see Amico Mio. You’re really too rash sometimes.” Leonardo was about to remove his hands from Ezio’s when the other man tightened his grip. 

 

“Amore mio.” 

 

“What?” 

 

“You said Amore mio before you made me stab you.” 

 

Leonardo didn’t think Ezio caught it but he did. 

 

“I-“

 

“Leonardo. You’ve already had my heart for a Long time. But I need to know if I have yours...” he trailed off suddenly looking shy. Leonardo felt his heart swell with affection and pulled Ezio into a hug, ignoring the sting of his wounds. 

 

“So...can I continue to plunder your lips?” Ezio grinned cheekily.

“Ezio. You can do what you want to me once I’ve healed but right now I think I just re-opened my wound.” He winced as he felt the slow spread of warm liquid of his chest. 

“Cazzo!” Leonardo watched with amusement as Ezio stumbled out the bed and down the stairs shouting for a doctor. Maybe he did not have a good start but maybe, he could have a good ending. Sighing, Leonardo leaned back against the pillow, slowly letting himself fall asleep.

—————————-

 

Rodrigo should have anticipated other assassins. He was careless and now whatever power he had over them was gone. The Auditore were alive and Leonardo was under their protection. 

 

Mario watched with amusement as Ezio tried to attend to Leonardo. It was obvious they were in love and he was glad his mercenaries managed to pull Leonardo out of the canal in time. He was also thankful that Antonio was able to stop the bleeding and that Leonardo really good at anatomy because just a few centimetres to the left and he’d really be dead. 

———————————-

 

A few months later 

 

 

Leonardo laid back down and watched with anticipation as Ezio climbed on top of him. His toned body, expression and movement was something Leonardo wanted to commit to memory. The feeling of having another person in him for the first time, the soft moans and rough bites on his shoulders. It was something Leonardo could never forget.   And he was certain it was the same for Ezio as well.

 

 

-end-