Recovered memory fragments

Recovered memory fragment 1 of 2

Anno 1497, outskirts of Firenze

Ezio jumped the low stone wall, not bothering to divert to the opening, and continued on the other side; he was walking with fast determined steps. He had already passed through the gates of Firenze without trouble, the guards none the wiser. It was going almost too well so far, surely this could not last? As he thought so, he heard a shout cry out behind him, he cast a quick glance over his shoulder and saw a group of armed men pointing at him and talking excitedly among each other. For some reason he found himself smiling as he turned back and allowed himself to gain in speed; legs stretching out before him.

He looked back again as he reached the dirt road, the men had just sat up on horses and were setting out, clearly in his direction. He broke into a run and wished he had risked stopping to obtain a horse. Behind him he could already hear the thunder of approaching cavalry and in his mind he saw drawn swords and aimed crossbows. He ignored the sudden itch between his shoulder blades and instead increased his speed, running in a slightly haphazard sick-sack pattern. He passed round a bend in the road and the pursuers were so close now that he could imagine feeling the warm breath of horses on the back of his neck; he needed a way out and fast.

He doubled his effort and leaped down the hill, eyes scanning the deserted landscape for his cue; and there it was. A carriage, sleek and low, built for speed with two fast horses emerged from behind a barn and came at him from the side. The wood screeched at the rough treatment as it turned at an angle so steep it almost turned over. He saw a man on horse coming up side by side to him on his left, sword raised and he jumped for the carriage, hands grabbing hold of the wooden railing. He was immediately pulled of his feet as the speed of the vehicle was far faster than he could run and for a moment he feared he would be crushed under the metal clad wheels. Then a hand was reaching out for him, he grabbed it and used it to haul himself up and away.

He rolled over on his back as the cloaked driver leaned back over his reins, urging the beasts on faster. He grabbed a crossbow, lying loaded and ready for him, and raised it towards the pursuers. The bow shivered as he pressed the trigger and the bolt flew faster than a crow, hitting the closest man straight through the left eye. His body went rigid and then it soundlessly tumbled down to the ground and disappeared under the hooves of approaching horses.

He threw down the bow beside him and reached for his sleeve and rapidly aimed and threw three knifes, crippling the mounts of the rest of the pursuers. The horses screamed and the men cursed as they worked to control them and the distance increased rapidly and soon the men were but silhouettes far behind.

Ezio allowed his smile to change into a laugh, it rumbled through him, deep and victorious as he splayed his arms out and turned his head to the pale spring sun. He closed his eyes for a moment and allowed himself to revel in the moment.

"Scuse Ezio, surely you are not standing there all day?" the driver shouted over his back to be heard over the steady beat of the running horses and wheels passing smoothly over the packed dirt of the road. Ezio turned around and laughingly seated himself beside the driver pulling his hood of as he threw his arm over the man's shoulders.

"Who knew Leonardo what a fine driver you would turn out to be," he said, still unable to stop grinning.

Leonardo ignored the teasing tone and instead asked, "Did you get it? Please say you have it?"

Ezio stilled and pushed a hand inside his coat and brought out a golden orb, "Yes Leonardo, I have it."

Leonardo glanced at the Apple quickly before turning back to eye the road, he slowed the horses slightly and loosened the reins. He laughed as well and leaned back as Ezio hid the apple again, his shoulders visibly relaxing.

They drove in silence for a while; each man content to simply live the moment and allow realization to sink in, years of work was finally paying off. They had struck a blow so hard to the Templars it would be years before their ears stopped ringing. The horses trotted on and Firenze was soon lost behind them, the road reaching wide and smooth before them all the way to the horizon.

"What will you do with it?" Leonardo said finally, breaking the silence.

"Hide it where no one can ever find it," Ezio replied with a faraway look in his eyes.

Leonardo nodded, better not even he knew where. That was a burden he was glad not to bear.

They hide the wagon in a small hamlet, horses already saddled and waiting for them. The woman making the change avoided looking at them as she led the spent horses away, she had already been paid. They sat up and continued on their way. They rode until it was dark enough that they couldn't see the road in front of them anymore.

Ezio put blocks around the horses legs to keep them from straying while Leonardo put a blanket out on the ground. They could not risk a fire yet he felt safe. No one would find them here, the glade was small and well hidden; a place he had stayed at many times before while making the journey back to the Villa.

"Here, bread," he took the lump Leonardo gave him and sank down on the ground, glad to be resting.

He stretched his legs out and looked at Leonardo lying on his back, eyes on the starry night sky.

"You're not eating?"

Leonardo turned to face him, "Cold bread and sleeping on the ground? I think I wait until we get home," there was a smile in his voice and Ezio knew he was not really displeased. He grinned at himself, after all these years his heart still jumped a little whenever he was reminded that his home was also Leonardo's home.

The years before this had been good years, hard as ever, yet good. Having the artist by his side had changed him in ways he had not known he could change. He was calmer, that burning itch just below the surface of his skin had subsided and whenever he grew too restless Leonardo was there with tolerant reasoning to calm him down. Without him he would never have gained the endurance needed to regain the Apple.

He was a better man he thought then, his life a better one to live. He was sure that was why his sister had taken to Leonardo like a second brother and he to her like a sister, and a certain peace had settled over the house that he thought even his mother must feel. He swallowed the last piece of bread and wiped his hands on his coat. This was also different he thought, in the past he had never had the patience for thoughts like this.

He smiled wickedly and kicked his boots off before lying down, "If the ground is too hard for you my old friend you can always lie on me."

Leonardo chuckled beside him, deep in his throat and it sent shivers through Ezio's body, he marveled that the man could still make him feel like this, without even touching him. After that all thought was lost as Leonardo climbed on top of him, knee spreading his legs apart and settling in between. His head bent down and traced a wet line up his neck before his lips closed over Ezio's, kissing him roughly. Ezio closed his arms around his back, hugging him tightly to his chest, hips grinding up as their tongues fought.

Soon they where panting at each other, hands pushing in under layers of clothing. They rolled to the side, facing each other and Ezio inhaled sharply as Leonardo's hand closed around him. The long fingers, smooth and strong, stroke him up and down, thumb sliding over the head at each turn. He bit into the cloth of Leonardo's shoulder trying to keep silent as his own hand worked over the long, silky shaft of Leonardo's dick.

Leonardo was breathing heavily in his ear, his other arm under Ezio and holding him tight as they rocked together.

"Oh mio dio Ezio," Leonardo said voice shivering, "I am never letting you go, you know that don't you amato."

Ezio came then, hot and hard in Leonardo's hand and the man himself followed shortly after.


Recovered memory fragment 2 of 2

Anno 1499, Villa Auditore, Monteriggioni

The little brown tit was sitting perfectly still as if posing for Leonardo. The tiny beak was glistening from water it had just drunk and the feathers shone in the sun. Leonardo drew fast, his fingers flying deftly over the paper on his knee without him even looking at his hands. The outline of the bird was already visible beside a dozen more on the pale canvas.

He was sitting on a stone bench in the small yard behind the Villa. His preferred place for drawing and lately he had found the spot perfect for watching birds. Flight had always held a special place in his heart; there was something so stunningly beautiful in watching something fly and birds especially. They defied what seemed to be the very laws of nature as they soared high in the sky, so free from the toils of life.

A shadow fell over him and the bird took off, small wings flapping frantically for a moment before it gained altitude and disappeared over the city walls. He followed it with his eyes admiring the surety in its movements.

"Birds again Leonardo?"

He smiled; he had heard the horse a while ago and had been waiting.

"Can you not see how they move, so graceful and sure through the air. I wish I could fly like a bird Ezio."

"I still wake up from nightmare from when I tried it friend, I prefer to stay with my feet on the earth," Ezio came around and sat on the ground in front of Leonardo, his head leaning back on the bench, almost but not quite resting on his leg.

Leonardo put a hand in his hair and watched Ezio's face, his eyes were closed and he hummed appreciatively as Leonardo treaded his fingers through his hair. It was still dark with no signs of gray, unlike his own which had started to turn years ago. He was still surprised each time he looked into a mirror and saw the white in among the blond, yet he liked it, in moments of vanity he thought it made him look wise.

Ezio looked dusty from the road. He had not been gone long this time and Leonardo had not expected him back yet, but he was glad as always to see him. He had thought it would pass with the years, the worry and fear, it had not. Yet he had learned to live with it, to have faith in things, that the world would move the way it did and that it was not yet Ezio's turn to leave. He supposed he had grown into a more patient man with age.

Ezio opened his eyes and looked at him and suddenly Leonardo saw what he had missed earlier, a line of worry creasing his forehead and a harried look in his eyes. He withdrew his hand and suddenly expected bad news.

"What is the matter?"

Ezio grimaced, "Am I so obvious?"

Leonardo only snorted in reply. Ezio sighed and rose to his feet, rolling his shoulders. Leonardo didn't say anything, he simply waited; he had learnt that it was best to give the man time to collect his thoughts in moment like this. However, it only sharpened his sense that something was indeed wrong. His stomach churned as his mind whirled through all the possibilities, of people dead or wounded, cities burned or looted, and in the end he almost cried out for need to know. Yet nothing prepared him for when Ezio finally spoke,

"I have found him."

Leonardo could see his tense back and hear the pain in his voice and there was no doubt as to whom Ezio was referring; the Spaniard, the man who had ordered the deaths of Ezio's family all those years ago. His mind spun suddenly and his mouth went dry. He had dreaded this day for so long, yet when the days and years had passed he had started to allow himself to hope that it would never come. Now he was afraid, afraid he would lose the man he loved to the easy lure of revenge.

They were quiet for a long while as Leonardo let the news sink in. The day was still young yet the sun did not appear warm anymore and Leonardo found himself shivering slightly.

"What will you do?" he asked eventually.

Ezio turned to face him then and Leonardo almost shied back at the hard determination he found there.

"I will go to him," he said and his voice was sharp as steel and Leonardo had to look away.

"The others say I have to kill him, make sure the Templars' plans dies with him."

Leonardo nodded, it made sense, he knew that, yet he did not have to like it. He believed in his heart that vengeance was not the end of anything, that it gave no rest or satisfaction. He feared what Ezio would become after he had his revenge and realised that in the end it mattered naught.

"So you agree?" Ezio asked and Leonardo was not sure but it could have been uncertainty in his voice. He took a deep breath before answering.

"You must do what you must do."

Ezio met his eyes and just looked at him for the longest moment, Leonardo steadied himself and forced himself not to look away.

"I have decided that I will not," Ezio said at last and broke eye contact with Leonardo, eyes instead roaming the Villa behind him.

"What?" he said.

"I will not kill him," Ezio answered, voice calm and filled with uttermost surety.

Leonardo stayed quiet and licked his lips, he was not really sure he understood.

"You cannot tell my uncle if he asks you, they all expect me to do it," and he looked back at Leonardo.

"But why Ezio? Have you not been searching for this man you entire life, now you have him and you tell me you will not kill him?"

"I will not kill him," Ezio repeated again. still as serious as Leonardo had ever seen him.

Leonardo looked at him and saw the truth of it in him and nodded.

"You must know I agree with you, yet I cannot fathom why?" he could not understand, this was the thing which had driven Ezio, had been part of him always.

At that Ezio smiled, with all his face and Leonardo was transported back in time. His hair became blond again and mind younger and he was standing on the doorstep to his old workshop in Firenze. He had just opened the door and Maria Auditore de Fireze was standing outside, she greeted him.

Her posture was strong and proud but he did not see her, he could only see the young dark eyed man standing impatiently behind her. He looked like he was dancing, feet moving restlessly to a tune only he could hear as if being still but for a moment would make him miss out on life. Leonardo dimly heard his patron introduce her middle son to him, "This is Ezio," the man turned to fully face him, a smile on his face which swept over Leonardo, slipped in beneath his very skin and straight into his heart. He must have said something because Maria had nodded and the young man had grinned even wider and blinked at Leonardo as if they shared some secret joke only the two of them were privy to.

From that day on he had known that he was lost, they had walked to Maria's home with her son trailing behind, carrying the paintings she had ordered. He had made small talk to her yet he had no idea what he had been saying, his entire being swallowed up by the man behind him, and he had known that he would search for that smile in all of his days to come, whatever the cost.

Leonardo returned to the present and saw that very same smile, a smile he had thought died as Ezio's father and brothers did, yet here it was as bright as then and he found himself falling in love all over again.

He must have looked stunned because Ezio laughed at him.

"It seems I can still surprise you," he said.

Leonardo shook his head trying to clear it, his mind still dazzled, "Enlighten me Ezio, please."

The smile left Ezio, yet the memory of it was still there, promising to return.

"You told me once that revenge would not bring my family back," he paused, "You were right, it simply took me a while to see what you meant."

Leonardo stared up at Ezio who bent down and kneeled in front of him, he placed his hands on his knees and Leonardo could feel the calluses from handling a sword through the fabric of his trousers.

''It might make you feel better," he ventured, not really wanting to say it, yet he felt like he had to.

"It might," Ezio agreed, "but I will not even so."

"Because you know better now?" Leonardo asked tentatively, still not fully understanding.

Ezio's hands gripped tightly around his tights, thumbs rubbing back and forth, he leaned forward and looked into Leonardo's eyes and replied seriously,

"No. It is for you. It has always been for you."

He did understand it then.

Il fine

The end. Thank you all for reading and an extra warm thank you to MelodicMadness for constantly cheering me on=)

Some notes:

The dates, characters and major events are all taken straight from the game, except the very first assassination. Off course, even though I have tried to keep it close to the canon there are some discrepancies, not the least in the relationships=). A final note, for all of you who played it till the end you know that Leonardo does indeed move in with Ezio around 1490, although you are never told why or how it happened. He is also still living there in 1499 when Ezio finally goes after the Spaniard, whom he does not kill.