A/N: Hi there! Erm, well, this is my first - and definitely not my last - fic for Assassin's Creed! I've been toying around with a serious idea based in the 'verse, but then this flying tackled me out of nowhere. The moment I saw kidavi's (on deviantArt) picture of Shaun asking Leo for an autograph, I knew I had to write it. I couldn't NOT write it! So, yeah, here it is. It's a little cracky, a little funny (I hope), and a little sweet (argh, I totally ship it now, and it hurts).
"What do you mean: he's here?"
Rebecca stared at him, jaw almost completely slack. "I mean, he's here. In this building. In our office. Looking through everything." She paused before lifting her hands and waving them around to punctuate the fact that she needed his assistance. "If he's in there unattended for any longer, we're going to fuck up history." Her entire expression seemed to melt downward, the flush of her cheeks retreating. "We're going to fuck up history," she repeated, utter terror creeping into her voice."
"You mean... the Leonardo da Vinci is in our office?" She glared at him; he stood up from the foot of his bed, where he'd sat there a moment before from the shock. "Here? Out-- outside?"
"I swear to God, if you don't get in there right now, I am going to strangle you."
Shaun shot up at her words, nodding dumbly – there was a first time for everything, evidently – and smoothing his hands over his sweater. If she wasn't so worried about causing a rift in history itself, she'd have probably teased him for his obvious nervousness. As the situation was, however, she bit her tongue and pushed out of the door.
He followed quickly behind her, their pace brisk as they made their way through the halls. "Do you have any idea what year he's from? If we're going to go about this the right way, I want to be careful."
"Nah, I think we should hand him a bottle of penicillin, a copy of The Da Vinci Code, and a list of all the United States presidents and send him on his way." Her bland tone was just a bit breathless as they rounded a corner. She was much smaller than he was, but he had to actually work to keep up with her. She was clearly not messing around.
She shot him a look that could've made a man with twice his IQ feel idiotic.
"I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt right now, Rebecca," he pressed. "It was your mistake that... brought him here." Pausing for a moment, he reached out and grabbed her shoulder, spinning her around to look at him. The tiny brunette stared up at him, eyes narrowed, chest puffing in and out with each breath. "I'm guessing Lucy isn't here. I doubt you would've lived long enough to get me if she was."
He could see her fingers twitch. "No. She's not here. She stepped out. To tend to something. Happy?" Arching her brows, she turned around to continue her way towards the office. It took her three steps before she twirled back around to glare at him. "And it wasn't a mistake. It was some kind of glitch."
"Which would still be your mistake, wouldn't it?"
Rebecca gave a near-scream of frustration, tossing her hands up in the air before jerking away from him and continuing her trek towards the door.
She stopped cold in her tracks, ready to turn around and rip him a new one. If he didn't hurry the hell up, they'd have a really big problem on their hands. A really big, Leonardo da Vinci-shaped problem. Finally, she swallowed down the shout that was solidifying in her throat and turned slowly around. "What?"
"You left him in there with the Animus." Dark eyes went wide behind glasses. "You left him in there with the fucking Animus."
Rebecca's mouth fell open to explain that she'd only left him because she'd panicked and couldn't think of anything else to do, but she was forced to shut it with an audible snap when her comrade shot past her in a run. Whirling around behind him, she sprinted the short distance to the office in his wake, catching up with him just in time to see him fling the door open and step into the well-lit room.
Crimson cape. Matching hat. Large navy sleeves. Light brown hair falling just over his collar.
Bloody hell. It was actually him.
Leonardo da Vinci, the prolific painter – and sculptor, architect, inventor, mathematician, writer, cartographer, anatomist, musician, scientist, etc, etc – he was there, and he was moving around their office in wide-eyed wonder. He shuffled through papers, brushed his fingers over the spines of books, stared at the cascading numbers on the computer screen, pressed his nose against the window that opened up to the rest of the enormous city (though he politely wiped the hardly noticeable smear of oil he'd left with his sleeve).
All of this would terrify someone else. They'd be sitting in the corner, knees pulled to their chest, no doubt rocking back and forth out of absolute fear. But not him. He looked like a child who'd just been given an entire year's worth of chocolate on Christmas morning. And, really, Shaun shouldn't have expected any less.
"Have you tried speaking to him?" Shaun asked her in a whisper, careful not to disturb Leo as he began flipping through one of the history books lining the shelves. At first, his grabbing for a book had sent a spark of fear down his spine, but he'd relaxed once he realized it was a book on Ancient Mesopotamia. From what he could tell, the man hadn't realized either of them were standing there. Either that or he was too enthralled by the tiny printed letters and smooth, glossy pages that he really could've given a rat's ass.
"When he first showed up," she replied, her voice equally as quiet. "He ran up to me and started touching my hair and my headphones. He tried to talk to me. Only speaks Italian from what I can tell."
Shaun nodded. "And Latin. He may know some English."
They were interrupted by Leo giving a sigh of delight from his place, sitting cross-legged in front of the window, eyes glued onto the book hung across his lap. He kept murmuring to himself, repeating phrases such as, "bello" and "magnifico," though it was clearly difficult for him to speak due to the smile on his face.
"Go talk to him. Figure out how to make him forget he was ever here, while I try to figure out how to put him back."
With that, she gave him a rough push between the shoulders in the direction of the artist, her frame tense as she moved in the direction of her station, but not before giving Baby a once over to make sure both she and Desmond were still okay. When she was satisfied with the look of things she sat down, the wheels of the chair squeaking beneath her.
This was enough to tear Leo's attention away from the text book, glancing up from it with wide, blue-gray eyes, first to her and then to Shaun. His grin never faltered, not even when he shut the book and placed it at his side so he could clamber up from his seated position to hurry over to the other man.
"Buongiorno!" he greeted, arms flung in a wide semi-circle before dipping at the waist. "Mi chiamo Leonardo da Vinci." Popping back up, he tilted his head once again in Shaun's direction, a gesture that looked and felt like respect. "Lei come si chiama?"
God damn it all. He was blushing. He could feel it.
"I... uh..." he stammered, and he could hear Rebecca smirk clear across the room. "Mi chiamo... Shaun Hastings."
Leo's brows shot up at the odd name. Not only the odd name, but the almost artificial sound of his accent, which all but disappeared when he hit the end. The look was not one of surprise or distaste, but of curiosity – an expression that fit his features like a glove.
God, he's handsome... What? Why are you – now is not the time! Argh!
Clearing his throat, Shaun took a tentative step forward. "Parla inglese?"
"Parlo poco inglese." The artist's smile quickly turned into a smirk, and he brought a balled fist to his mouth as he coughed, embarrassed. "I... speak little English."
"You are not in Firenze," Shaun began, quite unsure how to brace this subject without tearing a whole right into history. That would be bad. That would be very, very bad. He'd die. Lucy would actually kill him, and probably with her bare hands. But it wasn't just that, not to him. He could deal with being thrown out of this fortieth story window. What he couldn't deal with was the idea of taking such a historically significant man and turning him on his head. Hell, if he said something incorrectly, that little postcard of "the Last Supper" pinned by his console might disappear completely.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit.
Taking a discreet step towards his desk without turning away from Leo, he lifted his index to the man and murmured, "Un momento," before turning and nearly running over to the board. In a few swift moments, he'd removed the tack, twisted the card over to shield the picture, and stuck the tack back in. When the painting was finally out of sight, he gave a quiet sigh. That felt better. He felt better. Things would go better. Yes. He'd live to see another day, and Messer Leonardo could pick up another brush. Yes. Yes. Everything would be fine.
Whirling back around, he gave a harsh gasp when he saw Leo standing not two feet away. The shock of his sudden closeness nearly thrust the assassin back until he was sitting on his desk, his mouth opening and closing in a surprised, mute state.
Rebecca snickered over his shoulder.
"I have... una domanda," Leo said, thumb absently stroking over the patch of hair beneath his bottom lip as the other four held his chin. "A book... There." Tilting his head in the direction of the bookshelf, he then followed his eyes toward the filled case. "It is una biografia, sí? Of... my life?"
Shaun couldn't feel his face. He simply couldn't feel it. No cheeks, no nose, no mouth. No nothing. This shouldn't have been his main concern, considering he wasn't remembering quite how to breathe either.
Finally, he came to with a gasp of air. "Ah! That! Yes! That! That is, ah..." His eyes left Leo's face until they reached the ceiling, praying to anyone that'd hear him, be it God, Jesus, Mary, a disciple, an angel, or his great-great-grandmother, father's side, that he wouldn't realize he was blushing. "That is, ah, that is – that is a different Leonardo da Vinci. Not you... Capito?"
"There is... another Leonardo of Vinci?" he heard Leo ask, and his heart fell right to his feet. Or it would have if it hadn't been too busy racing and trying to figure out the various ways it could kill him right there, please, God. "I did not know there was another. Should I?"
God. Damn. It. All of it. If Lucy wouldn't fling him from the window, he'd do it himself.
Oh, and now I'm walking over to the bookshelf, the acidic voice in the back of his head began to mock. Just what am I going to do at the bookshelf, I wonder. Oh, I'm going to take out the book! And I'm going to show it to him! Oh, that's just a fucking splendid idea, self! Absolutely splendid!
On the cover of the large, black edition there was a self-portrait. Great. Thankfully, the self-portrait was of a wizened, much older version of the man now standing right in front of it, peering with the trained eye of a master artist. Even more thankfully, portrait done in red chalk looked nothing like him as he was at the moment. "See? He doesn't look anything like you!"
"I do not know him," Leo murmured, mostly to himself and clearly a bit put out over the whole deal.
Shaun choked back a sob of relief.
"I will... ask for him. In Vinci."
"No!" Clutching the biography to his chest, Shaun held a hand to his mouth. He hadn't meant to shout at him, but the idea of Leo going back to Vinci and looking for another, much older Leonardo almost hurt. He could hearthe ridicule Leo would face, all the mocking. Either that, or he'd spend a good chunk of time looking for this man. "Not many... know... of him. He's... still a mystery. I mean, no one knows if he's even from Vinci."
Leo didn't seem phased at all, merely shrugging, one corner of his mouth tilting in a smile as his attention moved to the other books.
Distract him. Find some way to distract him.
He has such a nice mouth... Shame to see that go to waste.
Oh, fine, ruin all the fun!
And then it hit him. "Leonardo!" The artist jerked his gaze towards Shaun, eyes wide, but not shocked or displeased. Indulgent. God, he looked so indulgent and nice and argh, it wasn't fair.
"Could you, uh, draw... me... something? Maybe?"
"Ah, sí, a drawing, of course," Leo replied, the smirk on his mouth widening to a full grin. When he began to look around, his hands patting over the dark navy doublet, clearly looking for any sort of drawing instrument, Shaun felt another surge of panic. That feeling was becoming far too commonplace in such a short time. Biting down on his bottom lip, Leo looked to the other man, clear blue eyes almost confused. He never traveled without his supplies. "Do you have...?"
"A pencil?" When Shaun saw Leo brighten, he, too, felt a hint of a smile on his lips. Oh, look, I've done something right for a change. Excellent. "I'll get you one."
Holding up the same index finger as before, he slipped past Leo and half-jogged over to Rebecca's desk, opening a hand. He opened his mouth to speak, but before he was able to get a word out, he felt something in his palm. His eyes fell to find a pencil, followed by a slender slip of paper.
He was just about to thank her when she spoke, voice lowered. "Hurry up. I've almost got it fixed."
Nodding to her, he turned and made his way back over to Leo. The man snatched the supplies away from him with an impish grin, moving over to Shaun's desk and clearing just enough space to work. Other than the moment he took to consider the odd pink thing on the end of his pencil, the rest of the next thirty minutes was spent in relative silence.
Rebecca continued working on her console, though Shaun felt himself wishing she would just give up and take a break for the time being. He wanted to spend more time with da Vinci. Even if he'd been dusted away by the artist the moment he wandered over, peeking curiously over his shoulder. "No!" Leo urged him, free hand pawing blindly at his chest as he tried to push him without actually pushing him. "Vattene!" And go away he did. Sort of, if a yard with a craned neck could be considered "away."
Watching Leonardo da Vinci – the Leonardo da Vinci, in the flesh, right there, full costume, from his hat to his leather boots – work was unlike anything he'd ever imagined experiencing. Even far enough away not to arouse suspicion, he could see even the slightest change in his expression, from a dip of his brow to the darting of the tip of a very pink tongue between his teeth. He couldn't believe it. He honestly could not believe it. Even with the man sitting right there, sketching, on his desk with his pencil (or, rather, Rebecca's... though it would no longer be hers once Leo set it down), the entire situation seemed almost like a dream.
And then the sketch was finished. And Leo handed it to him. And it was him.
In perfect detail.
"It is... only un abbozzo, but I am molto proud of it," he said, his smile only widening once he saw the look of utter awe on Shaun's face.
"Only a first draft?" Shaun replied, flabbergasted. "This is amazing." He paused, eyes searching over the slip of paper with reverence. The entire time Leo was in this office, he'd only seen him smile once, and only for a moment. Of course, he'd heard stories of da Vinci's memory, and he knew of his skill. But this was here. In his hands. And it was of him. "You caught the details perfectly. I smiled once. Just once!"
Leo gave a little shrug to match the increasingly smug grin on his face, as if to say, 'All in a day's work, my friend!' What words actually passed his lips, however, Shaun was sure he'd never forget. Ever. In his entire life. "Maybe you should, ah... do it more often, sí?"
All Shaun was capable of at that point was a tiny smile and a nod.
I said: shut up!
From behind them, they heard Rebecca clear her throat. "Not to interrupt this... whatever you're doing, but we're fixed over here. Can I get this guy back to where he belongs now?" Leo turned to shoot an inquisitive look back at her. Even if he hadn't caught all of her words – she spoke too quickly as opposed to Shaun's slow, even tempo – he understood the feeling behind them. Impatience and relief were obvious. He moved over to stand beside her desk, turning on his heel to look back at Shaun.
"What... was this?" he asked, brow furrowing for a moment. While he was more than content to imagine this to be nothing more than a hallucination, he needed to hear it from someone's mouth in order to believe it.
"A dream," Shaun offered, "Un sogno."
Leonardo grinned, very nearly from ear to ear. "Un dolce sogno." His hand went to his hat, lifting it from his head as he tilted his torso forward in a casual bow. While Shaun didn't have the artist's photographic memory or even a scrap of creativity in his entire body, he committed his face to memory as best he could. "Arrivederci, amico mio."
Within a few triumphant keystrokes, Leonardo da Vinci was gone, leaving nothing but the faint smell of oil and clove in his wake.
Shaun turned to his desk without a single look towards Rebecca. She'd be leering at him; he just knew it. Instead, he busied himself with placing the slip of paper beside his computer. He couldn't put a tack through it. He couldn't lose it among all the other things that littered his board. No, this would go in a frame, and he'd keep it close. He'd keep it safe.
Settling down onto his chair, his fingers smoothed absently over the length of the pencil.
A sweet dream, indeed.
More A/N: I don't actually KNOW Italian, but I've taken enough other languages to sort of know what I might be doing, but here's the translations. At least, the ones I didn't go behind and translate right there:
bello - beautiful.
magnifico - magnificent.
Mi chiamo Leonardo da Vinci - My name is Leonardo da Vinci.
Lei come si chiama? - What is your name?
una domanda - a question.
un biografia - a biography.
Capito? - Understand?
I think that's all! Thank you for reading!