A chance meeting: - An Assassin's Creed II Fanfiction :3

Hii! ^_^ It's me again! :D this idea popped into my head a few days ago and I simply had to write it! xD

This is my first ACII FanFic, so sorry if some of the characters are a little OOC, or I get anything wrong :] (Spelling mistakes etc) Also, just incase it isnt obvious (and so you know before the story), in this fic, Ezio is 10, Federico is 13 and Leonardo is 17 (did I get my maths right? o.O).

Warnings: Possible implied stuff if you really really really squint, although I do not in any way intend this story to be of yaoi-ful nature at all (I would have rated it an M if so -.-).

Anyway enough of my ramblings! Hope you enjoy if you do, drop me a review! I really appreciate it! :)

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The sun was setting over Florence as the two young boys raced over the smooth red tiles of the roofs in the direction of the Palazzo Auditore. The streets were quietening as merchants went about packing up their stalls and storing away wares left over from the day. But for these two, the tiles of the city were empty (save for the occasional guard, who were easy to get around or hide from) and provided a much faster route of travel for them.

"Come on Ezio! You know father will be angry if we're not back by sun down like we promised!"

"I know Federico! I know!" Came the huffed response.

"Well Hurry up then!" Federico slowed his pace slightly to allow his younger brother, who was less experienced at free running, to keep up. Even though he was still a child, he was learning fast and eagerly soaked up all the tips and pointers his older brother gave him. Today was Ezio's 10th birthday, which he considered to be 'old enough to care for himself' but was still only allowed out until sundown.

It wasn't long, however before the brothers were running quickly for a completely different reason. The trio of guards chasing them across the roofs were shouting and calling out angrily as Ezio and Federico easily out-manoeuvred them. As they neared the edge of a roof, Federico looked behind him to check his younger brother was right behind him before jumping lightly onto a lower roof and then again onto the streets below. Ezio was quick to copy, and - as he jumped off the lower roof - felt the wind rush past him, weightless for a moment before landing agilely in a crouch on the cobblestones next to Federico.

But they weren't out of the forest yet. Darting and weaving through the people still out on the streets, narrowly avoiding the merchants carrying their heavy boxes, they ran with all their might towards the shelter of their home.

Ezio, feeling himself tiring after the excursion he was putting himself under (having been running for quite some time now), but mindful that the sun was inching towards the horizon all the time, called out to Federico, who slowed his pace around a corner before pulling them both sharply into the dark cover of an alleyway.

Feeling the adrenaline wearing off, but feeling thrilled at the closeness of their escape, Ezio turned to look up at Federico, who was grinning down at him, trying not to laugh as the guards who had been previously chasing them ran straight past the alley. Holding a finger up for silence, the eldest Auditore brother waited a full minute before whispering.

"I'm going to go check if it's safe, you coming?"

Ezio nodded excitedly, and they both snuck silently towards the alley entrance.

Coming face to face with a guard.

"Cazzo! Run Ezio!" Federico yelled, ducking under the guard's meaty, grabbing hands that grappled for his arm and leapt backwards into the alley. Ezio, registering their danger, and that they would have to stick together in the darkness so they wouldn't get lost, followed his brother, frantically trying to keep sight of him. In about 30 seconds they had already lost the guard, but it only took 15 more seconds and a wrong turn for Ezio to realise he had lost his brother too. Turning on his heel he ran back the way he had come, and through what he thought was the right way, but he just seemed to be getting more lost.

"Fratello!" Ezio shouted, hoping Federico would hear him, the walls around him were smooth and high, providing no way of climbing up, and the sky was a navy blue colour by now. He tried calling again and again, wandering around the maze of dingy alleys. "Federico! If this is one of your games it's not funny!" Ezio heard his voice crack, and forced back the thought that he was on his own, and he was cold and lost. No answer came, and without it, his fears became more apparent. Hadn't he seen that cracked bit of wall before? Wasn't that archway he just went through the same alley he'd just exited?

After an hour of wandering around, Ezio saw a light shining at the end of the alley ahead. Running towards it, hope rekindled, he burst out of the alley to find himself on the edges of the city. The light was coming from a lamp on a bench, and sitting on the bench was a young man who looked to be in his late teens. Frowning, he was about to begin looking for one of the entrances into the city – he'd walk all the way around if he had to! – when the young man looked up at him and smiled warmly. The smile reminded him of his brother's smile when he was pleased to see him, but he had never met this person before in his life!

"Buonasera, can I help you?" The man's voice had a gentleness to it that Ezio instantly took a liking to. It was unlike the rough authority-streaked manner of the guards, who all knew of the brother's infamous impish behaviour. Ezio felt compelled to join the young man on the bench.

"Not really, unless you have a map of Florence that tells you how to navigate your way through those accursed alleys." Ezio plopped himself down on the bench, sighing. Federico was probably looking for him right now, regardless of how much trouble he would be in for staying out late. With a small chuckle, the man beside him turned so he was completely facing Ezio.

"Now that would be useful wouldn't it? Tell me, how did you manage to get lost in those passageways anyway?"

"I was running from the guards…" Ezio began, his gaze dropping to a box next to the young man. It contained a large number of art utensils, and a collection of papers that all had various sized sketches on them. One of these were laid across the man's lap on top of a board, and a paintbrush was in his hand. "Wait, what could you possibly be painting in the middle of the night? There is nothing to see!" He blinked, confused, and the artist laughed again.

"Whatever comes to mind, I guess." Was the simple response. Ezio pressed though, interested.

"And what are you thinking of now?" But he received no answer. The man had already begun his work. Sitting next to him, Ezio watched enthralled as he tried to guess, both in his head and out loud what it was.

After 15 minutes, The man took a pause from his work, and Ezio frowned, still no closer to guessing than if it were a blank sheet of paper. Feeling awkward, Ezio hastened to fill the silence, somehow feeling compelled to converse with this man, who was both mysterious and fascinating, like an intricate puzzle. Why, he didn't even know his name yet!

"What time do you think it is?" He asked the artist, who looked up at the moon, then around at Ezio and said in that quiet, thoughtful tone of his.

"About 8:00?" Ezio paled, and murmured.

"Madre will be troubled that I didn't arrive home for the party…"

"Party?" A brow raised along with the question, and Ezio nodded.

"Yes, it's my birthday today, I was supposed to be back at sun down." Ezio covered his face with his hands to hide the beginnings of tears. He was so worried for his family. He felt an arm wrap itself around his shoulders and a rustling sound, which made the Auditore boy look up. He stared at the paper that was in front of his face. The man was giving him the drawing? Ezio took the paper gently, wiping his eyes free of moisture and lifted his gaze to the others, who was smiling at him again with that comforting expression.

"Happy birthday." He thoughtfully tilted his head, before chuckling. "It's getting late, Do you know your way home from the Palazzo Vecchio?"

"Yes, and thank you Messer….?"

"Leo, just Leo is fine." The man answered cryptically, and within minutes the two were walking through the streets of Florence, chatting in friendly tones. Suddenly there was a cry of:

"Ezio! Fratello!" And the figure of Federico came jumping from a nearby roof, startling Leo, though he was quick to recover. The eldest Auditore brother ran to Ezio, throwing his arms around him and hugging him protectively. "Thank goodness you're alright, I've been looking through every street, alley, roof garden and hay stack! I thought the guards or one of the Pazzi had gotten you!" His voice tumbled out, muffled against Ezio's hair, making the shorter boy laugh and pat Federico's back, reassuring him that he was fine. Leo shifted on the spot, and watched the two siblings. He was happy to reunite the boy with his brother, and smiled at his cheerful laughter.

Ezio pulled away from Federico slightly, thanking Leo for helping him and keeping him company, but he found that he had gone. Frowning, Federico also noticed this, and looked around. The artist was nowhere to be seen.

"That's odd, you'd think he'd at least stick around to be thanked?"

Federico shook his head at Ezio's comment, and led his younger brother back home. Ezio gripped Federico's hand tightly, telling him all that had happened since he had lost him that evening, and only let go when he climbed onto the balcony of his bedroom and crept across the floor to crawl into bed. Federico laughed under his breath at his brother's absurd act of stealth. Both knew full well that they would be in trouble the next morning. Federico climbed into his own room, unfortunate to stand on a squeaky floorboard.

Footsteps echoed on the floor outside, and he didn't even bother hiding himself when Maria Auditore stormed in, though her anger was quickly replaced with the comfort to her heart that both her missing sons were home safe. Though this did not hinder her scolding his head off until he had patiently heard all of the things that 'could have happened to him', and why his mother should 'ban him from the streets', and of course… "Just wait till your father gets home!". He only prayed that Ezio got less of an admonishment, since it wasn't his fault that Federico hadn't checked that he was behind him at all times.

In the room next door, Ezio placed the drawing on his bedside table gently, staring at the strange image on it. Although he couldn't quite discern the shape or picture it showed, it gave him comfort (regardless of the impending doom of facing his parents in the morning).

And since then, even when he was grown up and had the life of an assassin and the dangers that came with it, no matter how hard it got to carry on, he would only have only have to look at the drawing to feel a warm hope in his heart. The hope that reminded him of that kind stranger, 'Leo', now known as 'Leonardo' that he had met on that bench on his birthday, all those years ago.

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Heey again! :D

Hope you liked/loved it! :) Reviews are highly appreciated and I'll see you again soon!

Jen xx