Characters: Leonardo/Cesare, Miguel
Word Count: 700
A/N: Written for Michalyn
"What... are you doing?" Cesare glances up from the sheaf of papers Leonardo has left out for his perusal. Maps, mostly; plans for cities unbuilt and bridges unstruck; phantasms, their bold lines reaching into nowhere.
"I knew those would interest you," Leonardo smiles. "You have an eye for greatness."
Greatness. Yours, I assume, Cesare silently snaps, but he keeps his mien pleasant. Carefully, he gathers the papers (cheap sheets, coarse-grained, their fiber decaying faster than Leonardo will be able to build) and sets them aside. "What are you doing," he repeats.
"Sketching you," Leonardo laughs.
"You. May I not?"
Cesare hears the challenge and shrugs. "Suit yourself. Although I don't know what you see that would warrant a waste of good graphite."
"Most comely and humble, the young dottore." Leonardo sits and sketches more freely now. His tongue is tucked into the corner of his mouth, a pink nub nestled in reddish scrub.
It looks vaguely obscene, Cesare thinks. He's not at ease with the attention, the scrutiny. It makes him an object, much like the bowl of peaches on the table. Idly, he starts playing with his dagger, starts cleaning his finger nails. "You've made a name for yourself in Milano," he says in an attempt at conversation.
"Mh." The little nub slides in, and Leonardo raises his eyes. "Il Moro deigns to honour me with a little patronage, yes."
"They say he wants to become Duke of Milan." Cesare blinks and takes a peach. "Does he?"
"I would think so," Leonardo laughs, cross hatching. He's left-handed, Cesare notes. "Would you not, if you were in his position?"
Juice runs down Cesare's hairless chin. "As usurper of a throne that is rightly my nephew's?" He snorts into the peachy pulp. Definitely. "I don't know. It doesn't seem right." Worried all of a sudden, he resorts to lapping at the fruit. Where did that definitely come from, an instantaneous, cool, and collected answer if ever he gave one? 'Right' is relative. Might is right, that's all there is to it, non è vero? You don't approve, of course, because you're a humanist and an Epicurean, you believe in the betterment of people, but you have to live, you need hard coin to pay for the good coat you're wearing and other robes like it, so you have to suck it up, suck Il Moro's cock, and you hate it.
Leonardo looks at him askance. Studies him, shrewdly, and Cesare is afraid that the man can read thoughts.
"Are you done yet?" Cesare asks eagerly.
His lips hang slackly, which redoubles his pout. A flush of heat is creeping up his neck and makes his face blotchy, he can feel it. "Why... like this?" Cesare swallows and holds the paper out to Leonardo. It trembles, because his hand trembles. "Is that your art? Is that how you see me?"
Leonardo tries to get a hold of Cesare's hands, but all he achieves is a tear in the lower left corner of the paper. "I see great potential," he says. "I see a mind chafing at the shackles. I see Zeus' beloved, the cupbearer to the gods."
"You see a whore," - Cesare pushes his chair back with a screech and raps on the sketch, hard enough to smudge it - "about to spread his legs for you."
Amused, Leonardo lifts his hands to project innocence. "I'm an artist, dottore. I worship at the altar of beauty. I beg you, do not fault me for it."
"You..." Cesare sits back down, heavily. His blush isn't abating. He is feeling hot and has to open the string of his camacia. "Zeus' beloved, you say."
Lips parted, sweaty curls thrown back, the curve and dips of his collarbone perfect and life-like. A boy's body, still downy and soft, here, and there, yet proudly erect.
Miguel lets the sketch sink and gazes at the bed. Cesare is asleep, lying in a familiar sprawl of limbs (downy and soft, there, and there; clumsy and gentle and always coming a little too early; smelling of sweat and lavender, of horses and hay) but for the first time in his life, Miguel does not wish to climb next to him.