Ezio's fingers missed the ledge by a hair's breadth. He hissed and twisted in the air, rolling when he hit the ground in an attempt to lessen the impact. Still, the fall hurt and for a while all he could do was lie quietly on the ground in the dirty Milan back alley, waiting for his ears to stop ringing and for the pain in his side to lessen. Between his own reaction and the armor he wore the Assassin was pretty sure that he hadn't managed to break anything, even if he had to grit his teeth to keep himself from groaning when he finally pulled himself back onto his feet. His ribs and shoulder ached as he moved, but he breathed through his nose as deeply as he could and took a step forward, then another, then another. The pain lessened a little, though Ezio knew that it'd take time to heal completely.

Eschewing the rooftops he continued walking down the alley until he came out in a much livelier street, then continued in the direction of Porta Orientale, only pausing for a few moments to check whether the contents of the back he carried were intact. To his relief the wine bottle was in one piece.

By the time Ezio reached Leonardo's house in the Santa Babila the pain in his side had subsided to a dull throb and he straightened his shoulders before knocking on the front door. For a few moments there was no response, only silence, and Ezio was about to turn around when he heard a familiar warm voice coming from the inside.

"Just a moment!"

Shortly after that the door opened and his friend stood in his frame, dressed in his usual work clothes, cleaning the paint off his fingers with a rag. He looked tired, Ezio thought, though much happier than he had been last time he saw him while still in Cesare Borgia's employ. There may have been a little more gray in his hair than before, and the wrinkles at the corners of his eyes may have been deeper, but he looked good. His clear blue eyes widened when he saw Ezio standing on his doorstep and he gave his visitor a wide, welcoming smile.

"Ezio! My friend!" Leonardo exclaimed and spread his arms to hug him, a gesture Ezio gladly returned, despite the flash of pain in his shoulder. "I did not expect you so soon, even though I got your messenger pigeon. Come in, come in!"

Leonardo ushered him inside the house and they entered a spacious vestibule leading to an even more spacious studio which, Ezio knew from experience, doubled as a dining and living room as well. The place was well-lit, and as usual, covered in Leonardo's various projects, all in different stages of completion.

"I see your procrastination habits have not improved." Ezio said with an impish smile which Leonardo returned.

"You know me so well, my friend."

Ezio reached in his bag and took the bottle out, then offered it to Leonardo.

"I come bearing gifts."

Leonardo took the bottle from his hands and grinned.

"Both you and the gift are quite welcome. Now…" he paused and looked Ezio up and down with critical eyes. "…actually, what happened to you?"

Ezio followed Leonardo's gaze and noticed that his white coat and the robe were stained, probably from his little mishap in the alley. Ezio cleared his throat in embarrassment – he wasn't about to admit that he had miscalculated the jump and had fallen over like a rookie.

"A little accident. Nothing to worry about." He reassured him.

Leonardo frowned at him for a moment, then said:

"Well, why don't you go upstairs to refresh yourself a little while I find something for the wine to go with, hmm?" he paused. "Where are you staying in Milan?"

"In an inn, north of here."

"An inn? Ezio, don't be silly. Stay with me, there's no need for some noisy inn."

Ezio hesitated only for a few moments, then bowed minutely.

"You are most generous, my friend."

"Hey, Salai!" Leonardo yelled and a few moments later a young man appeared. He noticed Ezio immediately and gave him a belligerent look before looking back at Leonardo. Salai, Ezio knew, did not like him for some unfathomable reason. He certainly had never done anything to provoke his animosity.

"Bring Messer Ezio upstairs to the guest room and prepare for him water to wash, as well as fresh clothes to change in. Then go to the inn he's staying at and bring his possessions here." He turned to Ezio "I assume that you're carrying whatever valuables you have on you?"

"Of course, Leonardo!" he said with mock outrage, then turned to follow Salai upstairs. The young man did not say a word as he prepared the wash basin and the jug full of water he left next to it on the washstand, only bidding Ezio a cool goodbye after the Assassin told him where he needed to go. Afterwards, he was alone.

The room Salai brought him in wasn't very large but it was clean and well-furnished and when Ezio sat on the bed the mattress sank pleasantly under him. With a sigh he reached and undid his cloak, setting it next to him on the mattress, then found the buckles that held his armour together and undid them as well. Taking it off proved more painful than he anticipated it would be and he had to stop several times before he finally succeeded and the steel plates joined the cloak on the bed. He got up, then busied himself with the clasps and drawstrings of his clothes – his robe, his coat, the shirt underneath. Finally he stood dressed only in his boots and pants.

Ezio took a step forward and looked at his reflection in the mirror hung above the wash basin, inspecting the damage. A pale, dark-haired man with well-maintained beard stared at him back from the mirror. His shoulders were as broad as ever, and his body did not show even a hint of weakness, of softness, even if it was covered in scars – knife and sword and arrow and bullet wounds, all of them marred his skin, telling the story of a lifetime of violence, of struggle against overwhelming odds. A little bruising was nothing compared to that. And yet, it hurt when he moved. Fifteen years ago that pain would've faded by now and he would've forgotten that he had even fallen. Now it would be days, maybe even weeks before the pangs and aches disappeared, provided that he didn't manage to get himself hurt in some other way.

The truth was, he hadn't miscalculated the jump. He had miscalculated his own body. Age was creeping up on him, regardless of how much he trained and how much he scoffed at people warning him he wasn't a seventeen year old boy anymore. He was slowing down and…

"A little accident, indeed." Leonardo's smooth voice came from the door and Ezio turned to look at him, cocking an eyebrow. Leonardo was probably the only person in his life who ever managed to sneak up on him, probably because he felt completely safe in his presence that let his guard down and stopped paying attention.

The older man came in and walked up to Ezio, standing beside him in front of the mirror.

"May I?" he said quietly as he reached for him. Ezio nodded and turned to give him space. Leonardo's fingers were warm and gentle as he examined his ribs, moving in tiny circles up and down. Ezio winced at the pressure but said nothing. Leonardo moved a little closer and his warm breath ghosted over Ezio's bare chest as he examined his shoulder as well.

"How high can you lift your arm?" he asked quietly and Ezio showed him. The fingers paused at the ugly star-shaped scar of the bullet wound he received during the attack on Monterigionni. "You've injured the same shoulder." Leonardo noted, displeasure colouring his tone. "Still, the good news is, you don't seem to have anything broken. Still, I suggest that you favour that side for a while. If you have some business in the city…" he trailed off. Ezio shook his head.

"I have no business in Milan, my friend. The Templars have been quiet since Rodrigo and Cesare's deaths for over an year now. I simply wanted to visit you." He paused, realizing that he would reveal too much, but then went on anyway. "I missed talking with you."

"Oh." Was all Leonardo could say for a few moments, but then he smiled again. "You are most welcome to stay for as long as you want then." Suddenly he realizing he was still crowding Ezio, standing far closer than what was appropriate and took a step back. "I'll just leave you to change then. I'll be downstairs when you're ready, waiting you with the wine." And with that, he turned and left.

Ezio stared at the door for a few moments, swallowing around the lump in his throat, then moved to take off his boots and pants as well so he could change in the clothes Salai left for him. It took him a little while, but when he was done he was dressed in simple breeches and white linen shirt laced on the front, his feet in the slippers Leonardo's assistant had provided for him.

When Ezio finally returned downstairs he noticed that Leonardo had cleared his worktable, well, he had mostly cleared his worktable, and he had set the now open bottle of wine on it, along with a pair of chalices, a plate of cheese and bread and a bowl of fruit. An unpretentious meal, but shared with his friend it became a feast.

He sat down quietly, feeling more comfortable than he had in months, and Leonardo soon joined him, pouring the wine in the chalices with a practiced gesture.

"I am so glad you're visiting." Leonardo admitted as he sat down as well. "I love Milan, but despite all that happened, I miss Roma. I miss…" he paused, suddenly cutting himself off and looking away.

Ezio stared in his chalice for a few moments, suddenly intensely uncomfortable, despite not knowing why he felt that way. Or more likely, because he didn't want to admit even to himself why. Not yet, anyway.

"Ezio?" Leonardo's gentle voice brought him out of his reverie and he looked up sharply.


"You've been awfully quiet since you arrived. Is there something that's bothering you?"

Ezio shook his head and smiled.

"Nothing. I am just tired, Leonardo." He paused, his eyes going back to the depths of the cup and the dark liquid swirling there. "And not just from the journey here…"

Suddenly Leonardo reached over the table and covered his hand with his own. The touch was warm and soothing.

"The past several years were unkind to all of us, but we persevered. You, most of all." He raised his chalice. "What shall we drink about?"

Ezio thought about it for a few moments, then answered:

"To the future, I think. May it be kinder to us."

Leonardo nodded.

Later, much later, the wine was gone, as well as most of the food, and they both sat sprawled at the table, relaxed and pleasantly buzzed.

"That was a good wine." Leonardo said, slurring over a little.

"Mmm. I have an impeccable taste."

"And complete lack of humility." Leonardo deadpanned. They both chuckled. When they calmed down, Leonardo turned his head to look at him, still sprawled on his chair. "You know, there's something I've been meaning to ask you for a long time now, but it never seemed to be the right moment…" he trailed off, suddenly apprehensive, despite the effects of the wine.

"Hmm?" Ezio mumbled sleepily.

"Would you like to pose for me? I mean, for a picture."

That definitely drew Ezio's full attention, but Leonardo barreled on before he could reply, as if worried he'd lose his courage if the other interrupted him:

"Up to now you've always been so very busy, and I knew that you didn't have the time for it, but seeing as now you don't seem to be hunting anyone, and you don't seem to be running from anyone…" he trailed off again.

Ezio was looking at him with an unfathomable expression on his face. Finally, he nodded.

"I would be honored if you were to paint me, my friend."

Leonardo actually seemed to blush a little under his beard, relief written all over his face.

"But" Ezio began "if you don't mind, that would happen tomorrow. I don't think it'd be good if your model fell asleep, yes?"

Suddenly Leonardo realized that it had long gone dark outside, the torches that burned day in and day out having masked that fact. Ezio had travelled far and for a long time – it was natural that he would be tired. Ezio stood from his chair and headed upstairs with surprisingly steady feet after he bid his friend a warm goodnight. Leonardo sat at the table, dreamily staring at the flickering flame of the torches until Salai finally deigned to appear with Ezio's possessions

In the next morning, after a generous breakfast and after Leonardo handed Ezio his bag, they headed for the upper floor of his house, which, apart from the guest room comprised a smaller but much better lit studio than the one on the first floor.

When they entered, Ezio turned to him and said with a curious half-smile:

"So? Now what do I do?"

Leonardo led him to a draperied sofa and gently pushed him down to sit on it.

"Make yourself comfortable."

Ezio nodded, still wearing the same curious and bemused expression, then just shrugged, removed the slippers from his bare feet and pulled his legs up onto the sofa, settling on his side, a pillow under his elbow, his head perched onto his hand, elevating his upper body, his other hand casually thrown over his stomach. He wore simple breeches and shirt that morning with no coat or armor. The laces of his shirt had come undone and revealed a strong chest with a very light smattering of dark hair. As he lay down and lifted his hand to support his head the opening of the shirt was pulled aside and revealed a delicate, tawny nipple that peaked and pebbled in the still cool morning air.

Leonardo paused, staring at him for a few moments until Ezio smiled right back, eyes glittering mischievously back at him and the artist quickly looked away, dragging his canvas closer and preparing his tools. When he was done, he walked up to Ezio, who did not move from his position on the sofa and simply looked up. Leonardo reached for him and gently gripped his ankle through the breeches, pushing his leg slightly up, rearranging his position.

"Could you…" he trailed off, voice oddly choked and hoarse "Could you undo your hair, please?"

"Of course." Ezio nodded and reached behind his head, untying the ribbon that held his hair and pulled it away. His hair fell around his face, dark and wavy, only slightly graying at the temples. "Is that better?"

Leonardo said nothing, only nodded, his usually bright blue eyes now dark and preoccupied. When he picked the piece of charcoal used for sketching though his hand was calm and steady. Once he began to work he seemed to calm down and immersed himself in his drawing, leaving Ezio alone with his thoughts.

For his part, the Assassin had nothing better to do but lie there quietly, watching his friend work. When he thought about it, he had never actually paid attention when Leonardo was busy painting or designing his inventions – as warm as their relationship was, when he visited usually it was on business – for Leonardo to translate another of Altair's Codex, or to construct yet another deadly contraption for Ezio, and while he worked the younger man tended to catch onto much needed sleep, Leonardo's studio being one of the few places in the world where he actually felt safe. And when he wasn't sleeping and waiting for the man to finish working they just talked. They had known each other for thirty long years and this was the first time when he actively observed his friend working. Ezio wasn't sure if he should feel sad, ashamed or amused by that fact.

Leonardo was completely immersed in his work, focused on the task at hand, his cerulean eyes glancing at Ezio for reference now and then, but mostly looking at his canvas, his hand moving with sure, practiced grace. He looked happy, Ezio realized after a while, as if lit up by an inner fire that didn't make itself known otherwise, or perhaps he had just been too preoccupied for the past thirty years to actually look. He took pleasure in watching him now, basking in the quiet serenity these moments provided.

After a while, when the sun was already high up in the sky Leonardo suddenly stopped, put the charcoal back down and looked at Ezio.

"Your hand must've fallen asleep by now." He said softly and Ezio blinked from his sleepy reverie, suddenly realizing that indeed, his hand felt quite numb. He moved, if a little stiffly, and set his feet back onto the floor, straightening up. Leonardo walked up to him and sat down on the sofa next to him, hesitantly reaching for his hand.

"May I?"

"Of course."

The older man gripped his wrists gently and pulled Ezio's arm forward, then began to massage the numb muscles carefully.

"I didn't realize that you must be still sore from yesterday." He said softly. "I apologize."

Ezio shook his head.

"The bruises are on my other side, so I was actually quite comfortable."

Leonardo smiled with relief at those words, then focused back on his hand. There was unpleasant prickling sensation as proper blood circulation returned to his limb, but it was quickly chased away by Leonardo's expert touch. Soon the hand felt just fine but Ezio did not say anything, just kept looking at the man, the focused, concerned expression on his face, the silver that streaked his formerly golden hair and the tiny creases at the corners of his eyes. He had wasted so much time. It was almost unforgivable.

Finally, Leonardo stopped and looked up, realizing that Ezio was staring at him. He flushed, suddenly uncomfortable.

"Uh… do I have charcoal on my face or something?" he asked, obviously flustered. Ezio shook his head.

"No, not at all. I was just thinking."

Leonardo curiously cocked his head on one side, his expression inquisitive.

"About what?"

"About how I was such a clueless fool for so long."

Leonardo blinked at those words, the blush suddenly intensifying.

"Ezio, what do you mea…" he began, but his friend continued, as if afraid that if he stopped he wouldn't be able to say it again.

"What you said, back in Roma, remember? How women… were not a distraction for you?"

Leonardo just nodded, his apprehension and concern visibly growing. He looked worried, uncomfortable. The hands on Ezio's wrist pulled away.

"Back then, I told you I didn't understand, remember?" Ezio said softly, peering up at him, trying to meet his eyes, but that proved an impossible task. "I do understand, Leonardo."

"Ezio, don't do this to me…"

"I do understand, I've understood for years now." He continued, determined to get it all out. He had been bottling it up for so long, denying how he felt even to himself. But now that he had finally put an end to the Borgias, now that the Apple was safely hidden away, he had the time to sit down and think about it, and the regret for his denial had slowly become overwhelming. No more. He wasn't going to waste even a minute longer. "I have been such a fool, and a coward for all these years, refusing to see what was right in front of me." He reached and took Leonardo's hands in his own, feeling them shake in his grip though the artist did not pull away.

"Ezio…" he whispered and took a shuddering breath.

"My only hope, Leonardo…" the Assassin pressed on, swallowing past the lump that formed in his throat. "…is that I am not too late. That you would find it in yourself to forgive me for wasting so much time."

Leonardo did look up at those words, many emotions warring on his face – hope, fear, apprehension, anger even. Ezio took a deep breath and leaned forward pressing his mouth to Leonardo's. It was a soft, chaste kiss, his friend's lips warm and chapped under his own, and sadly unmoving. The perceived rejection hurt more than any blade that had ever pierced Ezio's flesh, and the Assassin pulled away, feeling like a fool that he had even entertained the idea. It was too late, Leonardo was settled comfortably in his life and had no time for…suddenly a hand gripped his shirt and forcefully dragged him forward, Leonardo's mouth slamming against his own, sucking, biting, nipping, devouring. Ezio moaned and opened his lips under the onslaught, a hot tongue sneaking into his mouth, wetly curling against his own. The tension bled out of Ezio's shoulders and he wrapped his arms around Leonardo, pulling him closer, answering the kiss with just as much fervor. Eventually, they needed air and they pulled a little apart, still holding each other, panting against each other's mouths, golden-brown eyes focused on clear blue ones. Leonardo gave him a wry smile.

"I am very pleased, Ezio, that you finally got a clue. I was afraid I'd turn into a decrepit old man before you did." He said lightly. Ezio growled and pulled him for another kiss, just as passionate and needy as before.

Afterwards, it was all a blur. He remembered Leonardo getting up and dragging him away to the guest bedroom, muttering that they were both too old to be doing this on a tiny, rickety sofa. Ezio wholeheartedly agreed. Once inside the Assassin's room his friend, no, his lover pushed him towards the bed, still kissing him in a way that left them both breathless. Ezio's knees hit the bed and he sat down with a slight grunt, then Leonardo kept pushing him until he was flat on his back, the older man straddling his hips, eager hands caressing Ezio's chest, pulling on the strings of the shirt and then roughly gripping the edges. There was a tearing sound and the shirt fell apart in miserable tatters around Ezio's broad shoulders. If he had any doubts that Leonardo wanted this they dissipated completely. Only passion remained, passion that had simmered for decades only to finally be allowed to boil over.

Ezio tried to be a little more careful with Leonardo's vest and shirt, unbuttoning and undoing the garments, then pushing them off his shoulders, drawing himself up until he was sitting on the mattress, legs slightly bent at the knees and his lover still straddling him. Leonardo had always been somewhat smaller than Ezio, of lighter build and fairer complexion, but he was unmistakably male – with broad shoulders and back that tapered to a narrow waist and hips, flat chest, and even if his musculature wasn't as well defined as Ezio's he was still undeniably strong, having spent so many years working on his many and often large and bulky inventions.

His arms still tightly wrapped around Leonardo's middle, their chests pushed together, he latched onto the artist's throat, kissing and nipping the delicate flesh he found there, breathing deeply the musky, masculine scent, rubbing his cheek against the short, still golden hairs of his beard. It was so strange at first, for the body in his arms to so different than what he was used to – no soft curves, just hard lines and angles and strong muscle, hair where there should've been just silken skin. And yet, for all these years, in the darkest hours of the night when he was alone in his bed – when he did have a bed to sleep in – he had thought about this, he had imagined it, the way Leonardo's form would feel in his arms, the way his mouth would taste, the guttural moans he'd make as he'd lick and kiss his chest, his teeth worrying pale, rosy nipples until they darkened and reddened and hardened. The reality, compared to the fantasy, turned out to be far more intoxicating than anything Ezio had dared to imagine before. Leonardo was warm and alive in his arms, just as eager to please as Ezio, his graceful, elegant hand exploring his back, short nails digging into his skin as his lover found sensitive spots and exploited them mercilessly, his body rocking and writhing in the Assassin's grip in a sinuous, almost serpentine way. Suddenly those same hands gripped Ezio's dark locks and pulled his head back so Leonardo could kiss him again. Ezio caught a glimpse of his eyes just as that eager mouth descended on his, the clear blue colour having darkened to stormy grey.

When Leonardo broke the kiss he pulled a way a little and Ezio's grip slackened around him, the Assassin looking up apprehensively, but his lover only placed his palms on his shoulders and pushed him to lie back down against the soft pillows, then reached between them and began to work on the drawstrings of Ezio's breeches, undoing the garment and pushing it past his hips, momentarily getting off him to remove them completely and unceremoniously drop them on the floor, then took a small step back to enjoy the sight his lover presented.

Ezio lay sprawled on the bed, long, powerful limbs and chiseled muscle, so reminiscent of the statues of the old Roman gods Leonardo had seen so many times in the ruins around Roma and other places. He had lost some of his youthful tan and he had acquired more than a few scars not to mention the several dark splotches on his side where he had hurt himself the previous day, but otherwise it seemed as if time had not touched that body. His organ lay against his hip, dark and ruddy against his thigh, semi-hard but filling out under his gaze. The Assassin was looking up at him, his face relaxed, his eye-lids lowered over glowing amber eyes, dark, silken hair strewn around his head on the pillow.

"You know…" he said softly "…this is how I should draw you."

Ezio gave him a familiar crooked smile, his own hand sliding over his chest and coming to grip his organ, giving it several lazy tugs, completely shameless under Leonardo's scrutiny.

"I think I would not have the patience to stay in this state without any satisfaction for that long, Leonardo."

The stormy grey of Leonardo's eyes darkened to slate as he looked at him, expression so hungry it appeared almost predatory.

"We shall see about that, Ezio." He said quietly and crawled on the bed again, settling between Ezio's powerful thighs and wrapping his fingers around his erection, their fingers tangling together as they pleasured him. Ezio growled and his head fell back on the pillows, his stomach muscles fluttering as Leonardo's mouth wrapped around his swelling head, the soft, wet tongue swirling around it and stabbing at the slit. Leonardo pushed his lover's hand away and got down to business, licking the organ from base to tip, his other hand gently kneading and massaging the heavy sack underneath. He could feel Ezio's muscles tensing under him, trembling with the sheer effort not to thrust up.

For a moment, Leonardo pulled away and looked up, taking in Ezio's flushed, heaving chest, his darkened face and sweat-slicked hair, his eyes closed and long, dark lashes trembling against his chiseled cheeks, lips almost blood-red from where he had bitten them in an effort to keep quiet.

"Ezio…" he said softly "Ezio, look at me."

Oddly obedient, the Assassin opened his eyes and looked down at him.

"Look at me, love." He whispered and that word should've given them both a pause, but it didn't. After all these years, there was no more time for second thoughts.

Still holding Ezio's gaze in his own, Leonardo lowered his mouth again and took him in, more and more of him until his nose pressed against the short, coarse dark curls at the base of Ezio's erection. The other man gasped, then growled, one of his hands twisting furiously in the sheets, the other going to Leonardo's graying golden tresses and petting them with almost desperate gentleness. Leonardo swallowed around the thick organ and hummed deep in his throat and Ezio suddenly yelled, an anguished, primal sound that shook both of them to the core. Had Leonardo's mouth not been that full, he would've grinned.

The fingers in his hair curled and gripped a few locks lightly, pulling a little more in an indication he wanted the artist to withdraw than to force him to do it and he fulfilled that request, letting the hard cock slip from his lips with a wet pop.

Ezio tugged him forward for another hungry kiss before using his superior strength to turn them over and push Leonardo to lie down on the bed. His expression eager and mischievous, the Assassin said:

"My turn."

All Leonardo could do was to give him an encouraging smile.

Still, despite Ezio's enthusiasm, he felt somewhat unsure and apprehensive, two emotions he was very unused to associate with sex. Still, this was neither a blushing maiden nor a self-assured hooker, and he suddenly realized that he probably wouldn't be able to measure up to what Leonardo had just done. As if sensing his unease, the artist reached and gently caressed his cheek.

"Just do what feels good to you, Ezio. We'll have plenty of time for lessons later." He said soothingly. He gave the man another of his rougish smiles, then proceeded to explore his body with his hands and mouth, wishing to satisfy his own curiosity and to make his lover feel just as good as he felt. True, he lacked experience when it came to pleasuring men, but he more than made up for it with sheer enthusiasm. Or so he hoped. If Leonardo's reactions were an indication – moaning, writhing, not to mention a few undignified giggles – he was doing okay so far. Ezio explored his pale torso for a while, his sensitive fingers tracing the lines of his muscles, the little fat that age had accumulated around the middle of his otherwise slender form, dipped his tongue in his navel and grinned when that produced a hoarse moan, then repeated the action for a good measure.

Finally, his lips encountered the hem of Leonardo's own breeches and paused there, suddenly feeling like he had reached the point of no return. He looked up and met the artist's eyes – he was looking down at him with a patient expression on his face.

"Ezio…" Leonardo began softly "…we can stop if you don't feel comfortable."

Ezio shook his head, stubbornly pressing his lips together.

"No. Just… just give me a moment."

"Take all the time you need." Was the graceful response and suddenly Ezio felt almost overwhelming gratitude. He had made this man wait for him for thirty years, and yet he still had patience for him. He planted a wet kiss right where the cloth met soft flesh, then undid the garment with clumsy fingers and pulled it down Leonardo's hips. He didn't look up until he had taken them off completely. When he did look up it was almost anticlimactic – the artist looked like any other naked man Ezio had seen in his life, the only difference being the hardening organ nestled between his thighs, surrounded by silky golden hairs

Feeling oddly shy to look up at meet Leonardo's eyes he reached and carefully wrapped his fingers around the length of him and rubbed him a few times before it occurred to him that when he did that without anything to slick his palm it began to chafe. He let go and licked his hand before reaching for him again, trying to be as gentle as possible. The flesh in his grip filled out more and more with each flick of his wrist and Ezio smiled, pleased with his success. It wasn't all that different than when he touched himself, really, and he quickly learned to compensate for the different angle. Soon, he began to feel a little bolder and he leaned to pepper small, sensual kisses all over Leonardo's stomach and thighs. His efforts must've definitely felt good, because the older man was shifting under him, his left hand fisted in the sheets and the right coming to rest on Ezio's shoulder.

When he finally gathered the courage to look up, Leonardo was watching him through heavy eyelids, his full lower lip caught in his teeth. Ezio could not resist the temptation and crawled up, hand still busy, and kissed him, sucking the abused lip between his own. The older man sighed happily in their kiss and relaxed, allowing him to explore his mouth, his nails digging in Ezio's shoulder again.

When the Assassin withdrew, he took a deep breath and looked down at the hard length in his grip, then murmured quietly:

"You know, I don't think I'll be able to take you in as deep as you did me."

"This is not a contest, Ezio." The hand on Ezio's shoulder moved to cheek and the artist cradled his face. "I told you, you don't have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. Besides…" Leonardo's eyes glittered "we have plenty of time to teach you how to… take it deeper."

Ezio closed his eyes and leaned into the touch, nuzzling the hand on his cheek and pressing a soft kiss on the open palm before focusing again on the erection in his grip. There was a small drop of liquid that had gathered at the tip and glistened invitingly in the warm afternoon light seeping through the large windows. Curiously, he leaned and pressed his tongue flat against the flaring head, letting the liquid smear against it. It tasted unfamiliar, both bitter and salty at the same time, but not as unpleasant as he had imagined it would be. Still, it was a taste that would require some getting used to, but he was more than willing to learn. Determined to make this feel good despite his lack of experience he tried to emulate what Leonardo, as well as what he could remember from his previous partners. He did not try to take the hard, thick length in his throat the way Leonardo had – that would probably result in a disaster – but he was more than capable of doing everything else that had been done to him. Soon, he had Leonardo writhing and groaning in wanton ecstasy under him and the sight alone was enough to make his own need ache with desire. The fact that he was still straddling and rocking against one of Leonardo's shins also helped. He could feel the man drawing closer and closer to his orgasm in his grip, harder and more engorged than ever, could feel himself throbbing against the artist's leg. It made him pause and withdraw, putting his hands on Leonardo's hips.

It took the older man a few moments to realize that Ezio had no intention of bringing them off, but when he did he looked up to him curiously and a little accusingly.

"Why did you stop?" he asked breathlessly.

Ezio's expression was awfully serious, almost comically so.

"I… there's something I've been thinking about for a while now." He began, suddenly uncharacteristically embarrassed. Leonardo said nothing, waiting for him to continue, though Ezio seemed to be deflating quickly, apparently too flustered to be able to explain properly. It was amusing, watching the usually cocky and self-assured Assassin so out of his element and under different circumstances Leonardo would've been tempted to let him stew for a while and enjoy the show, but now he just reached and gripped his chin, feeling the dark beard scratch against his fingers, then lifted his face so he could meet his gaze.

"You want to take me." He said quietly without an ounce embarrassment or hesitation. Ezio's eyes widened, but then he shook his head.

"No, actually. I mean, I do, but not right now. I mean…" he paused, aware that he was just digging himself deeper, then tried again. "I was thinking…hoping that you would want to take me."

Leonardo gaped at those words.

"…Really? You do…?"

Ezio nodded, still visibly embarrassed, but no longer hesitant.

"I cleaned myself up in the morning and all…" At Leonardo's still dumbfounded expression he explained "You'd be surprised the kind of things one can find explained in the Assassin archives."

Finally the artist closed his jaws with an audible click and said teasingly:

"So you were so sure that I would accept?"

Ezio's face suddenly grew sad and he looked away.

"No, actually. I was hoping that you would and I intended to do so every morning while I was here."

At those words Leonardo reached and wrapped his arms around him in a tight hug. There was nothing sexual about it, despite their highly aroused state – it was simply the only way he could express the warm feeling that washed over him when Ezio said that. The man was the closest, dearest friend he had, and being his lover wasn't going to change that. Leonardo would see to that.

Ezio relaxed in the hug but asked quietly in his ear:

"Well? Are you…?"

Leonardo nodded against his shoulder, then pulled away and kissed him again before gripping his forearms and pushing him to make him face away from him.

"Get on your hands and knees for me, please. Stay here for a moment, I need to go and fetch something."

Ezio obediently settled in the pose Leonardo described and watched him hurriedly walk out of the room, still as naked as the day he was born. In a few minutes Leonardo returned, carrying a phial of clear fluid with him. He crawled onto the rumpled bed and shook the phial before Ezio's face.

"To ease the way. Did your Assassin document explain this part too?"

"In passing. Teodora, however, elaborated on it years ago." Was the deadpan response Leonardo gave him a flat look.

"I see. Well, remind me to thank her when I meet her again."

He crawled behind Ezio and settled between his spread legs, the Assassin's firm, round behind in his full view. It was more than alluring sight and he couldn't help but cup a cheek in each palm and squeeze greedily, then push them apart to reveal the tiny circle of muscle. There was some hair here too and he made a mental note to teach Ezio about removing it in the future, for hygiene's sake. Still, hair or not, he was the most desirable man who had ever graced his bed. The temptation to lean and kiss the twitching muscle was almost overwhelming, but he firmly pushed the thought away. One thing at a time. There would be opportunity to teach Ezio about this type of pleasure later.

Leonardo unstoppered the phial and generously poured the oil over the small of Ezio's back, letting it drip between his cheeks. It must've been a cold because the man shuddered a little and Leonardo kissed the taut muscle of his behind in silent apology. Then he poured more oil over his hands, rubbed them together to slick them up and ran his fingers up and down his crack, feeling him tense against his touch. He kept at it for a while, up and down, until Ezio relaxed and settled down again, then gently rubbed small circles around the tight muscle. There was no tensing this time, just a surprised little gasp. Leonardo smiled with delight – apparently Ezio had never realized just how sensitive the place was.

He kept massaging his entrance from the outside, fingers gentle yet firm, the oil dripping down Ezio's tensing thighs. The man shivered under his touch but then pushed against his finger. He reached around him and palmed him a few times with an oil-slick hand, pleased to discover that he was just as hard as before, if not more.

Ezio definitely liked what he had done so far, so he decided that it was time to take the next step and pushed his index finger in him, feeling it pop through the tight muscle and slide in to his first knuckle.

Ezio jumped a little in surprise, but otherwise made no attempt to pull away. Twisting and pushing, Leonardo slowly slid his finger all the way inside and paused there again, waiting for the muscle to relax a little before he began to slide it in and out of the now quiet man. The erection in his other hand did not flag at all, still, Ezio was laying there quietly, apparently too confused by the sensation to be able to decide whether it was good or bad.

It took him quiet a while to loosen the muscle even with one finger, but Leonardo had vast experience and almost infinite patience, not to mention that this was Ezio, not some street hooker who could do this with little to no preparation at all. It was silly to feel this way, but he had waited so long for this moment that when it finally came he wanted it to go well, wanted it to be as he had imagined it, if not better.

Ezio shivered when he finally pushed a second finger in but still said nothing, obediently kneeling before Leonardo. The lack of reaction, both positive and negative worried the older man a little, though he wanted to help him relax a bit further before he twisted his fingers to find that special spot inside him that was bound to cause quite the reaction.

For his part, Ezio kneeled there with a pair of finger shoved in his ass and pondered exactly why men engaged into that sort of thing. The few women he had done it to in the past had liked it just fine, but then again he had enough understanding of human anatomy – mostly studied to make him a more efficient killer – to know that males and females were built quite differently, especially in that region. So far, all he felt was some slight stinging – which didn't bother him at all, he had experienced some quite debilitating injuries in his life – in an unusual place, and a curious feeling of fullness that wasn't exactly unpleasant but also wasn't exactly passion-inducing. The massage on the outside had felt quite good though and he half a mind to suggest to Leonardo to go back to that when suddenly the artist touched something in him that set every nerve on fire. He gasped, rocked hungrily against the invading fingers and almost lost his balance and fell on his shoulders on the bed.

"…Wha…What…?" he began but the fingers pressed against the spot again and his vision turned white, his back arching wantonly as he moaned out loud in sheer pleasure, this time his hands giving out for real and falling onto his face and shoulders, his ass still sticking up in the air.

"I was pretty sure you'd like this." Leonardo stated somewhere behind him and had Ezio not been that overwhelmed with desire he would've noted the smug tone and answered accordingly. All he could do now though was to moan and beg.

"Oh, oh, please, do it again, please, Leonardo!"

The hand around his erection tightened at the base warningly.

"Easy. We don't want you to come yet, do we?"

Ezio growled and bit onto the sheets to stop the snide remark that bubbled in his chest at being denied orgasm.

Still, Leonardo did have mercy on him because his fingers pressed against that spot again and Ezio forgot that he had been angry. After a few more such torturous thrusts a third finger was added and the Assassin idly noted that the sensation of fullness itself had become pleasurable, adding to the waves of heat that radiated from that sensation inside of him, his erection almost painfully hard in Leonardo's now still grip. One last feather-light touch against that amazing spot finally broke his resolve to lay still and allow Leonardo to take the lead. He shook the man off, wincing at the sudden emptiness inside him and, and turned with grace and speed that few people half his age could replicate. He faced Leonardo and pushed him down onto the bed until he was laying flat against the pillows, then searched for the phial with oil, finding it still open on the bedside table where his lover had left it earlier. Ezio grabbed it and poured more oil onto his fingers, then reached between them and quickly slicked up Leonardo's own erection. The artist stared up at him in silent wonder and made no attempt to stop him until Ezio crawled over him and straddled him, lifting himself up and positioning his hard cock under his entrance. Strong hands gripped the Assassin's hips and stilled his movement.

"Ezio…this will hurt, regardless of how well I prepared you." The older man warned quietly, but Ezio just smiled down at him and shook his head.

"Pain is nothing new to me, Leonardo. And I have a high tolerance for it." Then he lowered himself onto the hard cock, impaling himself on it until it was fully seated inside of him and he was propped onto Leonardo's lap. They both gasped then, the artist in sheer pleasure and Ezio both at the sting and the ecstasy when the thick organ stretched his inner walls. That felt much fuller than three fingers and his lover was right – it did hurt, quite a lot, but Ezio also did have a high tolerance for it. He remained in place for a some time, waiting for the sting to pass, for his muscles to relax and when the pain faded to a dull throb in time with their wildly beating hearts he reached over Leonardo and gripped the bed's headboard and began to move.

He rocked tentatively at first, unsure in the movements and pace, having never been on the receiving end of this before. Leonardo's hands returned to his hips and gripped him again, carefully guiding his movements, showing him how to do it, how to rock and writhe and twist on top of him so that both of them would derive the maximum pleasure for this. Ezio's clumsiness born of his inexperience quickly caved to his natural grace and agility and he began to move with more confidence, finally figuring out the best angle that stimulated that spot inside of him and sent wave after wave of heat coursing through his body. He let go of the headboard and arched back, his hands gripping Leonardo's legs behind him as he kept bouncing on his lap, faster and faster, guttural moans leaving his bare throat.

All Leonardo could do for a while was watch and thrust up in the tight, slick heat of his lover, awed at his grace and agility, at the sheer, unashamed sensuality of his movements. Ezio felt good doing this and he had no qualms to show it, felt no hesitation to search for the pose that gave them the most pleasure. His entire body moved in synch with his hips, each muscle tightening and relaxing with his sinuous rocking, glistening with sweat, his long hair curling over his neck and forehead, a deep flush spreading from his cheeks all the way down to his chest, his hand curled around his erection between them, pleasuring himself in time with his movements.. He was simply beautiful in his pleasure and Leonardo could not control himself anymore, he sat up and began to lock and suck his exposed throat, his shoulders, his chest and finally his lips when the Assassin lifted his head and found his mouth. They devoured each other until finally, Ezio growled into the kiss, if it could even be called a kiss, and shuddered against him, the tight sheathe around his cock spasming rhythmically, warm wetness hitting his stomach. Ezio bit on his lip when he came and that sharp sensation, combined with the frantic tightening around his erection, finally brought Leonardo over the edge as well. They rode the wave of ecstasy together, still rocking slowly long after the first sharp, almost painful spike liquid heat rolling through them.

Later, much later, they lay tangled together on the messy bed, facing each other, sharing tender touches and kisses. Ezio turned out to be a cuddler, which wasn't all that surprising, actually.

"You know" the Assassin began quietly, sighing when he felt a hand slide between his cheeks and tease his sore opening "I cannot believe I've through my entire life NOT doing this on a regular basis."

"Mmm. We have much to make up for then."