HEY GUYS IT'S BEEN A WHILE. (shit) Well I haven't been updating lately 'cause a little hobgoblin named Life came knocking on my door. He wanted to chill out and smoke crack rocks with me at my house. And we had hot kinky sex on my dining room table for 3 months straight. Yeah.
Oh God, I got some amazing reviews that actually made me laugh. Seriously, I was choking on my own saliva. I'm totally looking at you, anonymous Liz. I'm giving you bedroom eyes through the computer. I hope you can feel my lust.
I didn't proofread this. So feel free to ignore any errors, yeah?

PLUG WARNING: You should look at my formspring and ask me awkward questions anonymously. Click on my profile thing for the link. This isn't shameless plugging because Atlas has no shame. Censor-fuck you in the anus with an unhappy slice of pineapple upside-down cake desu desu? (I'm totally expecting some dA tartlet to draw a picture of someone getting censor-fucked in the anus with an unhappy slice of pineapple upside-down cake with the captions "desu desu?" plastered somewhere.)

Chapter Nove



Just a note for you pyromaniac enthusiasts out there: you can't 'accidentally' burn down a church. Well, okay, maybe you can, but those of us that actually use more than just one eighth of our brain know how to turn the damn stove off.

Accidentally burning down a church requires a great lack of wit. Antonio didn't have a great lack of wit. He had a little too much wit, to be honest. So he didn't burn the church down on accident. Which brings us to the rather sad conclusion that he burned it down on purpose.

"Fuck," the thief hissed as he tapped his fingers against his desk. He went quiet for a moment. "Fucking fuck," he repeated.

There was a lot to be worried about. First, he burned a church down. He was almost positive that he would be discovered and if Leonardo found out then he could kiss his meal ticket goodbye. Secondly, Ezio was most likely going to come to his hideout in the middle of the night and beat the ever-loving shit out of him. (Ever-loving?) Thirdly... Well, there was no third thing. But his circumstances were so dire that he really didn't need a third. Antonio frowned to himself and licked his lips in a non-sexual way.

It wasn't like he wanted all of this to happen. He wasn't even sure why he was going this far for Leonardo. It's not like the artist had ever done anything for him. He was pulled away from his worrisome thoughts when there came a loud knock at the door.

"I'm coming!" he called as he put his clothes back on.


Once he was sure that he was decent, he walked up to the door. However, being the smart man that he was, he knew not to open it right away. Because you never know. It could be a serial rapist with daddy issues. "Who is there?" he asked.

"You know damn well who it is, pezzo di merda," Ezio hissed.

Well so much for that whole 'come-in-the-middle-of-the-night-and-beat-the-ever-loving-shit-out-of-your-freshly-dead-corpse' thing. Antonio had forgotten that Ezio knew how to murder in broad daylight. Gulp. "I am sleeping. Would you like to come again later when I am awake?"

"Antonio, open this door right now. Or else." Ezio spoke with more venom than a motherfucking arrow frog.

"Or else what?" Once a smart ass, always a smart ass.

"Or else I will just come through the window."

"I don't have any windows."

"I will make a new one."

Antonio didn't squeak like a little girl. No, really. He didn't. That was just your imagination. And what a vivid imagination you have. Really, the things that you kids –

"Grazie," Ezio said sarcastically as the thief opened the door for him.

"So... Ezio," said Antonio, the grandeur of his voice almost non-existant at this point. "How... er... How have you been?"

The assassin's eyes narrowed. "Me? Oh, I am absolutely wonderful. What about you, my friend? How have you been doing?"

"Well, it is funny that you should ask," Antonio said lightly, perking up a bit. "I've been – "

His sentence was cut short when Ezio's knee was politely introduced to his groin. There weren't enough swear words in the Italian vocabulary to even begin to describe the sensation of an Ezio flavored dick-kick.

The thief wasn't aware that he had fallen to the floor until he felt himself being pulled back up to his feet. Now usually he'd be grateful that the younger man was nice enough to help him up. But since he was being pulled up by his hair, it was hard to feel anything except pain. Lots and lots of pain.

"I am quite upset with you, amico mio," the assassin snarled.

"Well," Antonio rasped, his voice barely above a whisper as he tried to remember how to breathe. "I never... w-would have guessed... friend Ezio... You are quite su... subtle in your... emotional outbursts..."

"Fuck you."

"I do believe that... Ah, please hold on... let me just... hah..." There was a small pause as the thief recollected himself. "All right. I'm a bit better. As I was saying, I do believe that my phallus will be unable to deal with any amount of sexual stimulation after the unfair assault it just received."

"The 'assault' that your sorry excuse for a dick just received was anything but unfair. You deserve much more than just that, but I am feeling fairly generous today."

"Oh? And why is that?"

A punch to the face told Antonio that it was really none of his business.


It took a lot to calm Ezio down. And by 'it took a lot to calm Ezio down', I mean that it took a lot of wine to calm Ezio down. Antonio was relieved that he only got one black eye out of the encounter. Because it would be kind of hard to see if he got two. Not like he knew what it was like to have two black eyes or anything. He didn't get beat up by Ezio that often. Nervous chuckle nervous chuckle nervous chuckle.

Aside from the black eye, the thief hadn't really gotten beaten as hard as he thought he was going to be. Sure, he had gotten kicked in the crotch. Sure, he had gotten punched in the face. Sure, he had gotten thrown halfway across the room. But hey, that was better than being... um... thrown off a roof... Right?

Actually, Antonio was beginning to feel tiny hints of guilt rather than physical pain. He watched as Ezio sulked over in a corner, fathering a glass of wine in his hand. The assassin was acting like a child who had been denied a pastry. Or, in this case, a Leonardo pastry. And yet Ezio was so dense that he didn't even realize that he wanted a Leonardo pastry in the first place. Antonio frowned a bit, remorse forgotten. "I suppose it's time for round two," he thought sadly to himself.

And no, that's not what he meant. Fucking perverts.

"Ezio," he said calmly. The assassin turned his head so fast that Antonio almost thought he was going to break his neck. "Dio mio, calm down. I was just going to say that if you don't want anyone to hug Leonardo, you should put a sign on him. You know, to claim him."

To Antonio's great amazement (and relief), Ezio only chuckled. "Yes, and while I'm at it I might as well piss on him too."

"You could try that."


So far so good. The thief smiled to himself. "I did not realize that you were so territorial. Perhaps if you two were dating, we wouldn't have this problem in the first pla –"

"I do not like Leonardo like that." The response was quick, almost automatic.

"Yes you do, you just do not know it yet because you are an idiot."

Ezio bristled and puffed out his chest a little, but the tiny pout on his face ruined the masculine gesture. "I am no idiot."

Antonio rolled his eyes. "Then why did you barge in here so violently?"

Now there was a question. The thief tried his hardest not to burst out laughing as he saw Ezio stumble over himself, trying to come up with an explanation. "I... well, it's because... because I know what you did! And I am so upset with you!"

That took Antonio by surprise. 'No,' he told himself. 'No, there is absolutely no way he could have known that I burnt the church down. I had concealed the gunpowder very carefully, and my actions were careful and precise. There is no way he... Unless... he was there too?'

A look of sheer horror came over Antonio's face. Ezio couldn't have looked more smug. "You – You were there at the church! How – you couldn't have – you must have followed us! But I made sure that no one followed us... And I know you couldn't have seen me hide the gunpowder... Wait..."

Ezio's smug look slowly turned into one of realization. Antonio almost smacked his own forehead.

"You were bluffing, weren't you?" the thief asked quietly.

"Si," replied the assassin.

There was a long silence.

"So you were the one who burned the church down?" came Ezio's somber question.

"It... It wasn't on purpose."

"And Leonardo was in the church with you, no?"

"He might've been... somewhere... within the... uh... area."

"And it was completely possible for him to get hurt?"

"I would never let that –"

"He could have gotten hurt. Right?"

"I – "


"... Right."

"I see." Ezio drank the rest of his alcohol in absolute silence. Then he turned towards Antonio and smiled warmly. There was another short pause before the younger man began to hum to himself, the grip on his now-gone beverage slowly beginning to tighten. If Antonio had only been a little more careful, perhaps he would have noticed that Ezio's smile had turned into a rather fearsome glare.

The last thing that the thief saw before he blacked out was a wine glass flying his way.


Ezio wasn't upset that he had caught Antonio groping his best friend. He really wasn't. Well, okay, maybe he was a little upset. But really, what was he to think? He couldn't stop thinking about that vicious smirk the thief had given him.

Letting out a lazy sigh, Ezio leaned against a cart of hay. There really wasn't much to do when he wasn't on a mission. That was one of many things that he missed about visiting Leonardo; the artist always knew how to make boring days more interesting. The assassin briefly thought about going over to his friend's workshop, but then he stopped himself. No, Leonardo was probably out with his boyfriend again. Ezio crinkled his nose.

It wasn't like he was jealous or anything.

He was merely upset over the fact that Antonio had been keeping so many secrets from him for the past few weeks. It was more than just a little suspicious. Ezio didn't mull over it, though. Instead, he yawned. He felt strangely sleepy all of a sudden. Luckily he remembered there was that cart of hay behind him and even though hay wasn't the nicest thing to sleep on, it would have to do for now.

Ezio climbed into the cart with relative ease. The hay scratched at his skin, but he tried to ignore it. It was a good thing that Italy had a lot of random haystacks around or else he'd never be able to do this as often as he did. He rolled over and yawned again, startling anyone who happened to pass by.

"Demons are among us! It is a sighing haystack!"

Ezio grinned sleepily to himself. Scaring the shit out of citizens never got old. He closed his eyes and began to drift to sleep... But things never go that smoothly. He was startled from his sleep when hand reached in and yanked him out.

"I had a feeling that I would find you in here."

Ezio glowered at the old man. "You could have just poked me. Pulling me out like that was unnecessary."

"That is unimportant now that you are awake. Besides, I have been meaning to ask you something."

"What do you want?" grumbled Ezio as he brushed bits of hay off himself.

"I have not heard you speak of Leonardo at all lately. Are you two fighting?"

"I hope you are joking. You hunt me down just to ask about my personal life?"

"Well? Are you fighting?"

"Not that it is any of your business, but no. We are not fighting."

The old man chuckled. Then he nodded his head, eyes shining beneath his hood. "Well that is good to know. He is a kind man; I met him the other day." He paused to tilt his head. "I was only asking because I hear that he has replaced you with Antonio."

Ezio's mouth went dry. "Excuse me?"

"Yes, I hear that they are the very best of friends now."

"Who... Who told you this?"

"That loud, brash woman. Rose, was it?"

"... Rosa?"

"Si, that was her name. Rosa. And I just wanted to ask you if it was true." The small smirk on the old man's face told Ezio that he wasn't really asking if it was true. He was telling him.

The assassin couldn't deny the cold pangs of jealousy creeping up into his chest. He clenched and unclenched his fists, unsure of how to reply to that. The two men stood in silence for a few beats. Then the old man spoke again. "Would you like to see?"

A pause. "... All right. But I do not wish for them to know that we are there."

"Ezio, my dear boy. Do you not know me? I wouldn't have it any other way."

"... You speak as though you have watched them from afar before."

La Volpe only smiled.


Leonardo wasn't an impatient person. He really wasn't. It was just that he had been waiting for Antonio to show up since early morning, and now it was late in the afternoon. He tapped his foot repeatedly against the ground. Where was that man?

The artist waited a few seconds longer before sighing loudly, pressing his palms to his temples. "I finally agree to go along with these stupid lessons of his, and now he is nowhere to be found," he muttered under his breath. "Well, I suppose there is always a good side to things. Now I can actually work on my commissions without being disturbed by that old –"

"Why must everyone insist on calling me old?" whined Antonio as he jumped down from the rooftop he had previously been sitting on. He landed with a solid 'thud' right in front of Leonardo. "I mean really," he continued , furrowing his brows.

Leonardo, however, couldn't get past the black eye forming ever-so-nicely on the thief's face. There was also bloodied bandaging wrapped sloppily around his forehead and arms. "My God, what happened to you?" he asked.

Antonio grinned. "I threw Rosa's portrait of a lion into the canal."

"...Oh. I see," Leonardo replied dully. Then his eyes widened as he remembered Rosa's words the other day. "You stole that painting and blamed it on Ezio, didn't you?"

Antonio shrugged his shoulders, but the lecherous grin on his face gave him away. "Have you spoken with Ezio lately?" the thief asked, changing the subject with much less grace than usual.

The question surprised Leonardo. He furrowed his brows. "He hasn't come to my workshop for weeks. And I know he is in Venice." Leonardo frowned a little and shuffled the dirt underneath his feet. "Have you spoken with him?"

"Not for a few days."

"Do you know if he is upset about something?"

"Oh, Leonardo," the thief said with a chuckle. "Ezio is always upset about something. He's either mulling over a mishap with an assassination, frowning over a lack of communication between he and his uncle, cursing over an argument that he had a few weeks ago with a random street vendor, sulking over something I did, whining over something I said, mourning the loss of his family –"


"What? I am only speaking the truth." Antonio stared at Leonardo, wondering why the other man returned no words of conversation. Then he rolled his eyes. "Come with me, artist."


When they finally reached Teodora's place, Leonardo felt like ripping his own hair out. He knew he shouldn't have trusted Antonio to take him somewhere decent. What was he going to learn here? How to have man sex?

… Actually he already knew how to do that, but that was beside the point.

"Why the long face, Leonardo?" cooed Antonio as he opened the door to the mock beareu.

"You brought me to a whorehouse."


"And you are despicable."


"And... you are despicable."

"You already said that."


Antonio laughed. "Touche."

It wasn't long before Teodora came bouncing down the staircase. Leonardo wanted to let out a sigh of relief at being in the company of someone relevantly sane; but when he noticed that she was wearing a shit-eating grin very similar to Antonio's, he realized that she must've been in on the whole lesson thing too.

"Leonardo," she purred, sweeping across the room to give the artist a bone crushing hug, "it is so nice to see you again."

"I wish I could return the sentiment, signora," he grumbled.

Teodora tilted her head as she let go of him. "What was that?"

The artist smiled warmly. "Oh, nothing."

Antonio coughed.


In general, the day went by a lot more smoothly than Leonardo had thought it would. Antonio had gotten, ahem, 'distracted' by a few of the women, so it was just Teodora that he hung around with. The actual lesson itself went by just as well.

"All right, Leonardo," Teodora had said with a tiny smirk. "Let's see what you can do." Leonardo's natural response was to stare at her like she had mushrooms growing out of her ears. Strangely enough, however, she hadn't meant that in a sexual way. In fact, everything she taught him had to do with masculine gestures, facial expressions, and body language. (The only downside was that by the end of the lesson, Leonardo was almost positive that Teodora was a man. Because really, what the fuck?)

It was almost nightfall by the time that Antonio and Leonardo finally left. The thief was, for once, relatively quiet on their journey back. Leonardo was certain that this was because Antonio had gotten screwed by so many women that his brain was probably short-circuiting.

As they crossed a bridge, Leonardo giggled.

This snapped Antonio out of his daze. "Damn it Leonardo, men do not giggle. Did you not learn anything at all today?" he spat.

But the artist was already off in his own little world, because there (right there) sat the most majestic, beautiful eagle he had ever seen. "Oh, Antonio!" he swooned. "Look at its feathers! And its beak! And it has such a perfect form; such a perfect pose! And... and... Oh, Antonio!"

"Yes yes, it's wonderful. Now can we go home? I have a thieves' guild to run, you know. I have things to steal."

"No, I must get a closer look."

"It is perched on the bridge directly opposite us. How do you plan on doing that?"

"I will sit on the wall of the bridge."

"Ah, yes, that's very safe. You're a smart man, Leonardo," mumbled Antonio, crossing his arms over his chest as he looked at his feet. By the time he looked back up at Leonardo, the artist was already propped up along the bridge's wall, his boots barely touching the water. The thief's eyes widened in alarm. "Dio mio, I was only joking!"

"It is such a pretty bird..."

"Get down from there!"

"I wonder if its feathers are gray or just light black...?"

"You're going to fall in if you keep it up!"

"And it has the prettiest brown eyes..."

Leonardo went silent for a moment, but he came back to reality when he heard no more complaints or yells coming from Antonio behind him.

"Ah, mi dispiace Antonio," he said with a small laugh.

He frowned at the lack of a response.

"... Antonio?" Still no response.

As Leonardo began to turn around to face the silent thief, he felt a pair of hands slam into his back. There wasn't enough time to yell out, because he had already been swept up by the non-existent current of the canal.