He circled around the suspended figure, hungrily taking in every detail of the nude body revealed by the reddish, flickering light of the torches. He was a large man, tall and well-built, each muscle a work of perfection, likely developed after decades of training and active combat. His long, graceful hands were shackled above his head, high enough that his toes barely touched the floor as he hung, stretched out and helpless. His pale skin was marked by numerous scars that told a tale of a violent life, of many battles fought, battles Cesare knew that the man had won, crippling their organization in Italy.

Still, as he was now, tied up, strung out, unconscious and helpless, Ezio Auditore didn't appear that threatening, didn't seem like the ominous specter of a bird of prey, ready to swoop in and extinguish the lives of their allies. He was just a man, after all. And age was beginning to creep in on him, Cesare could tell. There was no sign of softness and weakness in his body, sculpted to perfection as it was, but his face betrayed him, especially now, slack in sleep. There were tiny crow's feet at the corners of his eyes, frown lines on his brow, a tired twist to his full, soft lips. His dark hair had come loose of its binding while Leonardo patched up the wound on his shoulder and Cesare carefully tucked it behind his ear to take a better look at his face, silently marveling at the silken texture under his fingers. The gesture revealed a slightly graying temple, silver creeping over the raven.

He smiled. Yes, the man was a predator that had spent most of the last two decades on the hunt, picking out victim after victim, gorging himself on their blood, but he was at the end of his prime, and a new predator had emerged. Younger, willing and eager to prove himself by taking down such a worthy adversary. Cesare loved the challenge, loved the hunt, the conquest. The intangible strings of power his father yielded did not interest him, and he had let go of them by resigning his commission as Cardinale. A sword in his hand, leading his army to victory, reaping the spoils of war – that was the kind of power he wanted, and the kind of power he enjoyed. And Ezio, he was the sweetest spoil of all, for he had been a thorn in their side for as long as Cesare remembered. He grew up at his father's knee, listening report after report of their failure to stop him, to kill him. Ezio was already a legend to him by the time he grew strong enough to learn the sword.

The more he grew, matured, the more he learned, the more he wished to conquer that bogeyman, to bring him to his knees and tame the predator that had stalked them for years. And now, finally, after years of preparation, the predator had become prey.

His hand cupping Ezio's cheek gently slid down, almost reverently tracing the elegant line of his throat, spreading over his naked chest, the sensitive pads of his fingers feeling the slight irregularities of scars and cuts underneath them.

"I see you are enjoying yourself, Duce." Leonardo's smooth voice came behind him and only the younger man's steel will and experience on the battlefield prevented him from jumping in surprise. He slowly turned to greet the newcomer – a tall man in elegant clothes, his blonde hair framing an ageless, patrician face, too beautiful to belong on a male, too masculine to belong on a female. The man was an enigma, an agent who had long maintained his relative neutrality during the conflict between Assassins and Templars, not taking part in any active combat though Cesare knew he put his considerable intellect in favour of the Auditore family and had built some of Ezio's impressive arsenal of weapons.

It had been quite the surprise when they had learned through their eyes and ears in Monteriggioni that there had been a falling out between Leonardo and the Assassins, a falling out that had eventually driven he engineer to their doorstep, offering his services. Cesare had not trusted the man at first, especially considering his history, but his dedication to his work, his odd, almost vicious determination to see the Assassins fall, and most of all, the several attempts on his life by Assassins' agents had finally been enough to convince Cesare of his loyalty.

It had taken considerably longer time to discover the reason behind his animosity towards Ezio specifically – his information had previously painted them as close friends, and some of the more malicious rumours spoke of a much closer, more intimate relationship.

Only in the night before their assault on Monteriggioni did Leonardo divulge his secret to him, after they lay in his tent, shivering in the aftershocks of pleasure. Cesare understood possessiveness, and he understood jealousy. The artist's actions no longer seemed illogical.

He smiled at the man, careful to conceal his own intense desire to possess him, to own, to erase any mark that Ezio might've left on him. People were most obedient when they did not realize that they were leashed.

"He is a fascinating individual, Leonardo. You are a brilliant artist, my friend, but even your sketches cannot be compared to the original."

Blue eyes narrowed in a brief show of displeasure before the man's face smoothed out again.

"You've been going through my things." It was a statement, rather than accusation – he was far too smart to accuse Cesare Borgia of anything.

"So I have." He shrugged unapologetically. "I am surprised you kept those, though. I'd have thought you'd have burned them by now, considering how you feel for the model."

"It is prudent to keep reminders of one's mistakes, Duce, lest one forgets them." His eyes moved to Ezio's prone form and his expression darkened. "I see he has not awakened yet."

"Whatever you gave him after our men found him seems to be quite strong." Cesare observed.

Leonardo moved to the table behind Cesare and lit one of the candles there, then walked up to Ezio and reached for his face, lifting his eyelids and slowly moving the candlelight back and forth before his eyes.

"The fall has had no long-term effects on him." He stated, then placed the candle back on the table. When he returned he removed a small vial from his pocket, uncorked it and pressed it under Ezio's nose. The reaction was almost immediate – the man jerked sharply in his restraints, his head whipping back to avoid the sharp, unpleasant smell of the contents of the vial and regained consciousness in the process. Leonardo pulled back, quietly watching as their captive blinked several times attempting to clear his vision and shook his head.

After several long moments the Assassin was finally fully conscious and his eyes snapped open, immediately zeroing on Leonardo. Cesare was surprised at their colour, now that he could see them up close – an intense golden brown, almost as vibrant as the eyes of the bird he was named after. Despite the colour those eyes were cold and calculating, hinting at no emotion other than quickly repressed anger. The reports Cesare had heard over the years suggested that Ezio was a hot-headed, passionate man, but time and experience had obviously taught him well to control his emotions, to remain cool and collected in a time of crisis. He couldn't help but admire him for that.

The cold golden eyes moved from Leonardo to the other and Cesare knew what he would see – a young man in his twenties, tall and thin, with chiseled, almost gaunt features, their sharpness even more emphasized by his well-groomed beard, pitiless, deep-set black eyes and dark hair falling to his shoulders in gentle waves.

"Have you no dignity, Leonardo, to ally with Rodrigo's whelp?" Ezio asked, his voice calm and cultured, surprisingly dignified, considering his situation, containing only a hint of a barb.

"It was my dignity that brought me here." Leonardo answered in the same tone. "Though one might think you believed I had none."

The assassin actually looked stunned and guilty at the rebuke, even if it were for just a moment. Afterwards his impervious mask slammed back down and his features became smooth and cool again as he turned to look at Cesare.

"And why am I here, exactly, whelp? If you believe that I will give up whatever allies and accomplices I have, you will be sorely disappointed."

Cesare shrugged minutely, an elegant, graceful gesture, and spread his arms.

"Ah, that won't be necessary. We got a hold on most of your archives when we stormed your villa, Auditore. We know more about your order than ever. I'm afraid that the Italian branch will soon be completely obliterated."

The mask shattered then, much to Cesare's delight, and the chained man growled, suddenly straining against his restraints in a wild and fruitless attempt to free himself and launch himself at Cesare, golden eyes flashing and narrowing in rage.

"He roars like a surly bear, Leonardo." The younger man noted with a mocking smile. Leonardo's expression though was not exactly amused – he watched the angry display with keen interest, his own blue eyes flashing coldly.

"He should've learned by now that everything has its price." He said coolly as he walked forward to stand before the Assassin, who glared down at him with such ferocity that if looks could kill, the artist would've turned into a smouldering oily spot on the floor. "I have been more than patient with you, Ezio." He said gently as he reached to caress his cheek, but the Assassin jerked his head back with a hiss. "I put up with your absences, knowing that the work you did was important to you, I have never begrudged you that. I put up with all the whores you slept with, patiently waiting to come to me, I have never judged you, never demanded more than you could give." Suddenly he gripped the soft, wavy locks of Ezio's hair and pulled his head back. The Assassin's lips pulled in a snarl but he still said nothing. "But even my patience and understanding has limits. I put up with the prostitutes, because I knew I was the one you'd return to, I was the one who gave you stability, and shelter, and love. And then she came, and I was brushed aside with barely a word, after all I've done for you. And suddenly, I was no longer even welcome in your home.

"So this is about Caterina, then?" Ezio hissed, trying to pull away from Leonardo's punishing grip, but having no leverage as he hung from the chains it was impossible. "You did this because you're jealous? And what is this nonsense about not being welcome in my home? I have never…"

"You? No. You didn't have the courage to throw me out, Ezio, but she had no such problems. She made it abundantly clear that she wanted no competition and that I was to leave. And you… you just let it happen."

Cesare watched with amusement as the Assassin's jaw worked as he processed the information and much to his surprise, the man actually deflated, looked away, his rage draining from his face.

"I never knew…" he whispered and Leonardo nodded.

"You didn't want to, did you?"

He let go of his hair and cupped his cheek again, caressing it gently.

"And here we are, my love."

"Don't call me that."

Cesare decided he had enough of watching without participating – he had never enjoyed being the passive player in any show. He walked up to Leonardo and wrapped his arms around him from behind, enjoying the way his slender body moulded against his much more powerful figure. The artist leaned into his touch and he grinned at the Assassin, the expression on his face – disbelief, rapidly being replaced by rage and jealousy all over again – bringing as much pleasure as the way his new lover pressed himself against him. Cesare smiled thinly at the older man, his teeth flashing like those of a hungry predator, and then slowly, sensually captured the delicate shell of Leonardo's ear between his lips, worrying it with his teeth before soothing it with his tongue. Leonardo's sighed and leaned into it, bending his head to bare his neck for him in open invitation. Borgia's graceful hands roamed over his chest, finding the buttons of his coat and deftly undoing them, pulling the velvet cloth aside before delving under it to undo the laces of his white shirt. Cesare released the artist's ear and pressed his mouth to his throat, feeling his pulse flutter wildly under his lips as his fingers found a nipple and pinched it before rolling it between thumb and index finger. Leonardo arched into his touch and his hand shot behind him, burying itself in Borgia's sable hair, keeping him in place as he turned to capture his mouth in a passionate kiss. His tongue slid between Cesare's teeth and curled wetly around his own, the younger man happily letting him take the initiative – he had already discovered that his new ally wasn't nearly as submissive as his placid nature might appear at first look.

His arm around Leonardo's waist tightened and pulled him closer, pressing his still clothed behind against his growing erection as he grinded against him, the other hand still teasing and pinching his bared nipples and caressing his chest, the pale flesh gleaming in the torchlight.

When he finally looked up, gasping for breath, knowing that his face was flushed and lips moist and swollen, he eyed the Assassin who had remained quiet throughout their little display. Despite his utter silence Ezio's expression betrayed his emotions, his mask finally shattering completely. His eyes flashing, teeth bared in a grimace somewhere between disgust, rage and arousal, powerful chest heaving in rapid breaths, naked cock semi-hard against his thighs, the Assassin was a curious mix of wrath and lust.

Cesare gave him a cocky little grin before reaching up and caressing Leonardo's swollen lips with the tips of his fingers. The lips parted and he felt his lover's tongue lap wetly at his digits before he slid them in the willing mouth. The Assassin stared helplessly, obviously wanting to look away and yet unable to, his hands curled into angry fists in their restraints.

"You spent the last twenty years methodically destroying all our order held dear, Auditore." He said mildly, sighing with pleasure as Leonardo suckled on his hand in manner that was more than a little suggestive. "I have to say that doing the same to you is a pleasure. But then again, you probably already know that."

"You will pay for this." The other man suddenly stated, his voice low and cold in contrast with his aroused state. "I will make you pay even if it's the last thing I ever do. Both of you."

He could feel Leonardo tensing unhappily at the threat and he kissed that elegant throat again before whispering in his ear:

"Show me what you've been doing to him. Show me what he has lost."

The artist turned and looked at him, his expression surprised though not unpleasantly so, his blue eyes suddenly filling with decidedly vicious fire. Cesare had long learned that it was the sweet and quiet ones you should be the most careful of. The corners of the cupid-bow mouth lifted in a pleased, minute smile and he faced Ezio again before extricating himself from Cesare's embrace and walking up to him again. The Borgia circled around them and stood at their side to have a better view of what Leonardo was doing and he was not disappointed. After holding the Assassin's angry, heated gaze for several long, painful moments the artist slid gracefully to his knees, his hands gently caressing the captive's calves before sliding up to the back of his thighs, tracing his well-defined muscles with the deft fingers of a man who knew each detail of the body of his lover after years of intimacy. He cupped his toned behind and squeezed and massaged it gently and the Assassin actually shuddered at the touch then suddenly tried to jerk away from his grip, a growl rising in his chest but Leonardo didn't let go of him, his right hand sliding forward until it was caressing the tender place where his thigh met his hip and the captive went slack in his grip.

Cesare carefully filed that information in his mind – Leonardo did know all of the Assassin's weaknesses - both the physical and the mental ones, and he was capable of playing him like a fine-tuned instrument, despite his anger at his betrayal. It was most curious that a man like the Auditore, a man who had proven himself over the years to be a formidable enemy, would've allowed another to get to know him so intimately, to learn all that made him vulnerable. It was a lesson Cesare would learn and a mistake he'd never repeat, lest he find himself in a similar position one day.

The artist was still tenderly licking and sucking the juncture of Ezio's thigh, the flickering light of the torches highlighting the gold in Leonardo's hair as he ran his tongue over the smooth flesh, leaving a glistening trail behind.

Finally he pulled back and let go of Ezio's ass just for a moment before reaching to wrap elegant fingers around his still growing erection and another around his balls, massaging them in his grip. The Assassin growled again but still said nothing, apparently determined to remain passive during the whole ordeal. Cesare could understand his logic – in his position, tied and naked and helpless, he had no chance to struggle in any way, the only resistance he could offer was to deny his captors the pleasure of seeing just how deeply affected he was by his ordeal. If Cesare were in his place, he would've done the same.

Leonardo seemed to have reached the same conclusion, and seemed to be as displeased by it as Cesare was, because looked up and held Ezio's burning gaze in his own cerulean eyes before leaning forward and giving him a long, wet lick, his pink tongue sneaking out of his mouth and trailing the whole length of his erection, from root to throbbing tip. A helpless moan escaped the Assassin's clenched teeth at the sensation and the large man shuddered, then quieted down again when his former lover kept licking him before taking the engorged tip of his erection in his mouth and slowly lowered his head, taking more and more inside until his nose pressed against the well-trimmed hairs at the base of his cock. Cesare licked his lips and resisted the urge to adjust himself in his pants – he knew very well the pleasure of the wet heat of Leonardo's mouth. Ezio's eyes were firmly closed, lips pressed in a thin, pale line, though his clenched hands were trembling with the effort to stay still and quiet. Leonardo slowly pulled back, and Cesare could practically see his lips reddening at the friction. He remained there for a moment, mouth wrapped around the swollen tip, before he pulled back a little more and swirled his tongue around the engorged heard of his erection, stabbing the moist hole before engulfing the erection back in his mouth. Cesare knew that the last action was a show aimed at him more than at Ezio and bit his lip in an effort to remain as quiet as the Assassin – he wasn't going to lose control before even being touched and embarrass himself before their captive.

Leonardo pulled back again, the erection leaving his mouth with a moist pop, and wrapped his graceful hands around the considerable girth of it.

"Look at me, Ezio." He said quietly, his voice holding an unmistakable command. Much to Cesare's shock the Assassin's eyes opened and focused on Leonardo, wild and pained, unable to look away. The Borgia briefly wondered at this reaction, for Ezio had shown considerable self-control up to this moment, and yet Leonardo's very presence was enough to break through his façade. The artist had him trained so well, how could he have possibly lost his grip on him, even with that witch Katerina Sforza in the picture?

Leonardo reached and gently caressed his side, the touch oddly soothing and comforting, especially considering the circumstances. The hurt creeped on Ezio's features, the older man no longer able to keep his emotions at bay.

"Why are you doing this to me, Leonardo?" Ezio asked softly.

Leonardo's elegant hands were running up and down his swollen erection, caressing him tenderly, fingers flicking over the leaking tip.

"Take this as a lesson, Ezio." The other responded quietly, though his voice held an unmistakable undertone of sadness.

Ezio didn't ask for a clarification, he simply looked away, the anger draining from his face, acceptance and resignation slowly settling in its place.

Cesare felt disappointed, robbed even. In the end, it had been the artist with the kind eyes and the gentle hands who had broken the great Assassin, rather than himself. The bitterness of that realization threatened to overwhelm him, but he refused to allow it. He had won a great victory, he had brought a great enemy of the Templars to his knees. And he intended to enjoy the spoils of his victory.

Leonardo was leaning forward to take Ezio in his mouth again when he moved quietly moved behind the older man, spidery fingers running up his arched spine. Ezio stiffened under the touch and Leonardo felt it. He looked up, cerulean blue meeting pitch black over Ezio's shoulder. For a moment the artist's eyes narrowed, possessive and unhappy, but under Cesare's relentless stare he looked away in submission. Leonardo was a dangerous man, but he was under the Borgia's power now, and he was going to play by Cesare's rules.

He wrapped his arms around the Assassin's naked, powerful torso and buried his face in the mane of his dark hair, taking in his scent – sweat, blood and leather, with an undercurrent of fear. Finally. He reveled in it, tenderly mouthing the flesh of Ezio's throat. He didn't want to harm him yet, the Auditore was too precious a prize to be broken so quickly. Ezio tried to pull away, but Cesare's grip did not allow him.

"Be still, Assassin." He whispered quietly in his ear. "Or I will leave and let the guards in to have fun with you." The fear in his scent intensified for a moment before being smothered by obvious rage, but the Assassin obeyed the command. Cesare's power over him was far different than Leonardo's, but just as effective. He returned to kissing and sucking on his throat, Ezio's beard tickling the tip of his nose as he did so. His hands caressed the powerful, chiseled chest, tracing the elegant lines of his muscles, feeling the heart fluttering wildly under the ribcage, pinching the already peaked nipples. A quick look down told Cesare that Leonardo was still sucking him off, mouth wrapped around his swollen cock, golden hair bobbing up and down. Cesare could imagine the tight, wet heat of that mouth, having been on the receiving end of that affection several times now. The fact that Ezio could take it without making a sound was impressive in itself.

Cesare pressed his hips against Ezio's bare behind, letting him feel his own erection through his breeches, smiling when the Assassin tensed again, a growl escaping his clenched teeth.

"There is no escape from this, Assassin. Accept it and maybe you'll still be in one piece when I am done."

Ezio was looking down, obviously meeting Leonardo's eyes again, and whatever he read in them made him relax once again. Jealousy coursed through Borgia, jealousy at the power the artist had on their prisoner that he lacked, jealousy at the still lingering feelings between them, so intense that for a moment he lost control and sank his teeth where Ezio's throat met his shoulder, breaking the skin and leaving a cruel mark on the man. The Assassin let out a pained hiss but offered no resistance which enraged him ever further. His fingers found his entrance and he shoved two inside, reveling in the miserable moan that elicited from the prisoner. His body was hot and tight, and the urge to insert a third without anything to slick the way was so strong that he almost gave into it. He wanted to hurt this man, cause him pain, both physical and emotional, wanted to break him worse than the artist had. This was supposed to be his victory, his triumph.

With a shuddering breath he reigned in his rage. He couldn't use Ezio like this, not yet. He needed him alive, he needed to draw this out, to savour it. If he broke his body now he'd be useless afterwards and he'd completely lose face. Cesare needed to remain in control – of himself, of the situation, of the Assassin.

He withdrew his fingers and rummaged through his pockets until he found what he was looking for – a small vial of oil he had prepared especially for the occasion, the same vial he had used when he took Leonardo in his tent before the walls of Monteriggioni.

His fingers were slick when he inserted them in Ezio again, and his body gave in much more easily this time, though the Assassin also appeared to be tensing less. Part of Cesare wished he hadn't, wished that he would tense so it would hurt more, but he knew that the less he damaged the man, the longer he'd be able to play with him. The hot, tight channel easily accepted a third finger and Cesare briefly mused that apparently the man wasn't unused to that kind of intrusion. Interesting. So he had allowed Leonardo to be the giver in their liaison, and more than once. His gaze once again slid over Ezio's shoulder and saw that Leonardo had abandoned sucking his cock for kissing and caressing his stomach, one hand still wrapped around his erection, rubbing it up and down in a lazy pace. The Assassin's flesh under his touch was sweaty and hot, and he could see the tell-tale blush of arousal on his cheeks, running down and staining even his shoulders and chest. He was enjoying this, on a purely physical level. Good. Part of the conquest was forcing the enemy's body to turn against him.

He freed his erection from his breeches and slicked it up with the oil, closing his eyes at the pleasure of his own hand over it, before guiding the tip to Ezio's entrance and slowly pushing in, feeling his body giving in and spreading around his girth. Ezio's deep, guttural groan reverberated through all three of them and Cesare closed his eyes at the sensation of having his erection sheathed in the tight heat of the man. He could feel the Assassin tensing around him, struggling to expel the intruder, but he held on and pressed even further forward until his balls were nestled against the taut cheeks of his ass. One hand fisted in Ezio's thick hair, pulling his head back, the other pressed a tender spot at the base of his cheek he knew would prevent the man from snapping his jaws and biting him, Cesare leaned and kissed him, thrusting his tongue through the slack, soft lips. Ezio let out another growl, even deeper this time, his tongue trying to recoil from the invader, head jerking in an attempt to dislodge the grip on his jaw, but strung up as he was he had no leverage to struggle. Cesare continued the kiss, deep and wet, his hips snapping back and forth as he began to fuck his captive.

He released his mouth, one hand still gripping his hair, the other wrapped around his middle to keep him in place, hips pistoning sharply in and out of him, pushing Ezio's own erection deeper in Leonardo's mouth and down his throat. He was like a rag-doll between them, at their mercy, unable to refuse and reject the pleasure their ministrations brought him. And Cesare could tell that the man was enjoying it, if only physically, because he finally began to make sound when the Borgia's erection began to press insistently against his pleasure spot, tiny, pitiful whimpers that went straight to Cesare's balls. He made note of the angle that produced the neediest moans and he aimed for that, feeling Ezio's inner walls ripple and shudder at the beginning of climax. It occurred to him to stop, to deny him even that, but on the other hand, was there something better than making your enemy lose control of his own body while you were fucking him like a cheap street whore?

Ezio came with a sound that was more a whimper than a growl, shuddering and spasming around Cesare's length, shooting his seed in Leonardo's throat. Cesare would've felt angry had he been more coherent, but the rhythmic, desperate spasm of the hot channel around him milked his own orgasm out of him and he bit down on Ezio's other shoulder, hips thrusting sharply as he stained him from inside and out.

When he regained his faculties a few moments later he saw that Leonardo was getting back to his feet, rubbing his mouth with the back of his hand, blue eyes unreadable under the blond hair. He gave the artist a vicious, triumphant grin and pulled away as well, feeling his come gushing out the captive and seeing it slide down his naked thighs under the flickering light of the torches.

Pulling a lacy handkerchief from his sleeve he carefully cleaned himself before tucking himself back in his breeches and stepping away from the prisoner and circling around him.

Ezio was looking down, hanging limply in his restraints. The legend Cesare had grown up with was tarnished, brought down back on a mortal level. Cesare smiled with immense satisfaction at his victory.

"Rest now, Assassin. This is only the first of many nights to come."

With that he turned on his heel and left. He didn't see Ezio looking up, amber eyes flashing coldly after his back, didn't see the murderous rage that gleamed in their cold depths, didn't see the anguished expression on Leonardo's face when he met those eyes.

Later that night Ezio lay in his cell, curled on his side, ignoring the various aches in his body. They were inconsequential. Only survival mattered, and the Borgia whelp didn't know the hell that waited him when he recovered. He wasn't as easily broken as Cesare thought, but he didn't intend to notify him of that mistake until he had his blade lodged deeply in his throat.

The door behind him opened quietly and he heard familiar graceful steps. A gentle hand came to rest on his shoulder and he reached and covered it with his own.

"Ezio." Leonardo's voice was so pained that he thought the older man was close to tears, holding them back through sheer force of will. "I'm so sorry."

He turned to look at the older man, only seeing the silhouette of his face in the twilight of the dungeon.

"No, my love. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I got you into this mess. I should've never asked you to spy for us." He was surprised at how hoarse his own voice sounded.

"No. It was my choice, and the consequences are my responsibility." The other responded firmly, slowly regaining his control. A key was suddenly tucked into Ezio's hand.

"The guards are deeply intoxicated, both by the wine and the little something I added to it. You can take one of their uniforms, then escape."

Slowly he unfolded himself from the floor, and pulled himself up to his feet. His entire body ached, but the determination to see this through helped him ignore it. The Borgias would suffer and die for all they had done to him and to those he loved. He wasn't going to be nearly as merciful to the son as he had been to the father.

Leonardo was standing a step away from him, shoulders tense, face still hidden in shadow, but he could feel the misery radiating in waves from him. He stepped forward and pulled him into his arms.

"Come with me."

"No."

"Leonardo…" he tried again, pleading, the thought of that man's hands all over his lover filling him with revulsion. He refused to think of the memory of those hands touching his own body, not yet. That was something private, something he'd deal with when he remained completely alone in a place he could call safe.

"You need someone on the inside. I'll stay." Leonardo insisted.

"He'll suspect you if I escape." Ezio pointed out.

"The drug in the wine imitates alcohol intoxication. And his…" Leonardo's voice broke for a moment, but quickly regained control and finished firmly "his passion for me clouds his judgement. I will be safe."

He couldn't struggle with Leonardo's determination, save for clocking him on the head and physically carrying him out of here when he escaped, and much to his fury he wasn't physically capable of that at the moment. He nodded with resignation against his lover's shoulder.

"Thank you." Ezio whispered in his ear. "For being there. I wouldn't have been able…" he paused. "I wouldn't have been able to take it if you hadn't been there."

Leonardo's arms tightened around him possessively, protectively.

"Make him pay, Ezio."

"Oh, I will. I will."