Title: Child's Play
Fandoms: AC2/Doctor Who new series
Spoiler warning: AC2 finale/DW- S5 business
Other warnings: slash! Shaun/Desmond, Ezio/Leonardo, crappy jokes
Rating: R for current chapters/eventual NC 17
I do not own AC2 or DW.
Previous chapter is here. Needs to be read in order to make any sense. Might not make sense in any case.
Desmond felt himself moving before he could figure out what was happening. All he knew was that he hadn't gotten kicked out of the memory again but his exit was just as turbulent- his gut twisting in waves and rolls. Oh- oh god. It was totally unfair to get saddled with a hangover when you didn’t get to do any of the fun stuff to deserve it. Reaching blindly for the waste basket, his arm hit somebody's thigh instead and the basket magically appeared in his lap. His body heaved and heaved until his stomach was empty and then he heaved some more, hard enough that a hand settled on his shoulder in sympathy.
Coffee and scrambled eggs tasted pretty fucking awful on the rebound.
He was still too dazed to offer anything more than a feeble 'thanks' as Shaun pressed a glass of water into his hands. It took a few sips before his mind was clear enough to take in what was happening, acid still burning the back of his throat.
Rebecca was elbow deep in the computerized heart of the Animus, the wall of equipment looking more than a little disturbing without its usual ethereal glow. She let off a string of curses that would have impressed a sailor as Lucy hovered over her, handing off tools like a surgical nurse as she relayed diagnostic codes to the frazzled woman.
Feeling a little more human didn't make figuring out what was going on any easier. "What the fuck happened?"
The Englishman didn't respond right away, too fascinated by Rebecca's swearing prowess. "That is an excellent question. The Animus was overheating while you were in there so they pulled you out before it or you a meltdown."
Giving himself a little shake, Desmond tried to clear the last of his mental fog. "Didn't Lucy fix the overheating problem back at Abstergo?"
Looking over her shoulder, Rebecca calmly explained what she thought of the bartender’s question which involved dealing with his scrotum with a dull, rusty knife.
The two men shared an involuntary shudder.
Shaun was surprisingly sympathetic as he looked back at Desmond, but it vanished in an awkward little jump once he focused on the other man. The hand that neither man realized was still on Desmond's shoulder was snatched away as if scalded.
It was easy to dismiss this un-Shaun-like behavior as the delusions of Desmond’s addled brain. Focus. "If the machine's fucked up it might explain the problems with the memory. The point you picked got me in but it was there was some seriously weird shit going on."
"Weird?" A more typical sneer settled on Shaun's face. "What could possibly be weirder than a five hundred year old note hard wired into your DNA that could be summed up as ‘Dear, Desmond. There's a fucking big explosion on its way. We'd be more specific but we're too busy being all dead and mysterious. Best of luck. Love, Those Who Came Before.’?"
Heh. "Maybe. How would you explain people wearing modern clothes? There was a redhead and some goofy looking guy who was a doctor. He was wearing a suit and this-" Desmond's fingers waggled over his throat, brow furrowed as he tried to extract more detail. "This dorky bowtie. And suspenders. Did they even have suspenders back then?"
"What?" The word came out like a gunshot.
The bartender was too lost in the memory to realize he was being spoken to. "What they were saying was messed up and it wasn't the translation. The guy talked about the future as if it were the past. I mean, it was still in the past but it would have been their future but the guy knew stuff. Like how Leonardo was going to paint the Mona Lisa, about Venice sinking... uh, are you all right?"
Shaun had gone pale, gaping at him like a fish. "This man. You said he was called the Doctor?"
"Well the girl called him Doctor but-"
The historian turned on his heel. "Rebecca! Darling! Love of my life!"
All eyes turned on Shaun as if he'd grown another head. He pointedly ignored their suspicion, rubbing his hands together as his face flushed in fierce glee. "How may I be of assistance? Must have the Animus up and running, right?"
The wrought iron trellis shook under his weight as Ezio pulled himself to the rooftops, taking off at a sprint as soon as he was able. Ally or no, there was no way he would let Leonardo deal with the insane couple on his own. The crowd was sure to slow them down. Another jump and he curled into a ball to roll into his landing, on his feet and running again without missing a beat.
A long-memorized pattern of roofing tile brought a faint smile to his face. He was exactly where he needed to be. It had been too long. He landed lightly in front of the familiar door and knocked in his usual way. It opened for him easily.
"Ezio! How good- mmph!"
Speaking was a waste of time when the assassin had better uses for Leonardo’s tongue. The exploration of lips and teeth could have gone on and on but Ezio knew he had to stay on task. He pulled apart with reluctance.
"Roma left me with nothing but questions that I came to share with you but there is little time for that, amore. I suspect you will soon have visitors of questionable sanity."
The artist chuckled softly. "Madness is not so terrible of a thing. I’ve often called into question my own mental state." Elegant fingers brushed back the dark cowl and curved around an ear. "How is it anything but a delusion that a man who could have his pick of sweeter fruit still chooses to return to me?”
"Does it seem so impossible?” Ezio rumbled, capturing Leonardo's hand with his own. He introduced a long digit into his mouth to gently suckle at it, bringing a delicious heat to the other man's face. The artist let out a throaty murmur of disapproval when the mouth withdrew with a slow smile. "That you would prove irresistible?”
Blue eyes fluttered as Leonardo tried to collect his wits. "Wh...what brand of lunacy do you think will arrive at my door?"
"A pair of foreigners -man and woman- that seem harmless enough." Ezio grew serious. "But looks can be deceiving."
A loud knock rattled the heavy wooden door. "Leonardo! Count Melzi? Oh wait, he hasn't met Francesco yet has he?" If the distinctive voice hadn't made it clear who was at the door, the babble surely gave it away.
"Doctor..." It was easy to hear the girl growl her warning. "Inside voice when we’re in public, remember?"
"This is my inside voice!" the man answered crossly, pounding on the door once more. "Halloo! Any geniuses at home?"
A spark of recognition made Leonardo light up from within. This delight, so obviously directed at another, tied Ezio up in knots. He would trust his eagle vision, trust the judgment of this brilliant man before him over anything but his jealousy was a poisonous thing. He covered Leonardo’s hand as it reached to permit the stranger entry, using his body as a barrier between door and artist. It was a struggle to keep the bitterness from his voice. “What do you know of this man?”
“He is an old friend and friend only, “ Leonardo answered gently, tracing the line of beads that ringed the tense line of the other man’s throat. “A good man who sometimes creates as much mischief as he solves but battles against the evil of this world with passion and principle.” A smile tugged at the older man’s lips. “Much like yourself.”
The door vibrated against the assassin’s back as the knocking resumed.
“Leave it! He’s not in!” the girl chastised. “Let’s go before those guards decide to check out the loudmouth making all the fuss!”
You could hear the man blow a solidly petulant raspberry and give an even more solid kick at the door. “We need to come back later! I haven’t seen him since I was the curly mop with impractical taste in scarves.”
The girl barked a raucous laugh. “You are not the one to be critiquing anyone else’s neck attire!”
This discussion continued in a similar vein while Leonardo patiently watched the assassin and waited for him to give way.
A long slow breath snaked its way from Ezio’s lungs and he gave up on his juvenile barricade. He leaned in to the gentle kiss that Leonardo offered in thanks, scrape of beard against beard more thrilling than it had any right to be. His throat rattled in appreciation. “One might hope for a more thorough show of gratitude later.”
‘Most certainly.” A wicked grin briefly crossed the artist’s face that would have had Ezio mauling the man if Leonardo hadn’t flung open his door. “Dottore!”
The odd doctor did a delighted little dance as the flame headed woman peered curiously over his shoulder. “Leo my friend!” The two men descended on each other and shared a thorough hug.
Ezio kept to the shadows, struggling to keep his temper in check.
Leonardo studied his visitor’s face with open fascination. “Doctor, I must say you are looking considerably… younger than last we met.”
The question didn’t seem to bother the Doctor in the slightest, eyes soaking in every detail of the workshop. “You know how it is. After a few centuries you get tired of the same old, same old. Oww!”
This little outburst was caused by a feminine elbow delivered with deadly accuracy. The pale woman had a smile a mile wide but still managed to whisper coherently through her teeth. “You didn’t bother to mention he’s gorgeous!”
The Doctor looked slightly flustered for the first time. “He.. ah, well… I believe you’re not his type.”
“So? Can still look can’t I?” she hissed, tugging on his sleeve. “In-tro-duce-us!
“Oh. Oh yes! Where are my manners? Leonardo da Vinci? Meet Amy Pond.”
Amy grabbed the artist’s hand and pumped it with vigor. “It’s a pleasure to meet you! Big! Huge fan!”
The blonde man flushed slightly and nodded, unused to such enthusiasm.
Ezio was not at all surprised to see the Doctor swing a finger at him, all without ever looking in his direction. “Aaand I’m afraid I don’t know the name of the gentleman with a fondness for pointy things.”
The girl let out a little squeak of surprise as the assassin stepped noiselessly into the light to answer. “Ezio. Ezio Auditore.”
He felt the girl’s gaze on him as she sized him up. “We should visit Italy more often,” he heard her murmur in a breezy sigh.
“So what brings you to Venice, Doctor?” Leonardo clapped a hand on the man’s shoulder.
“Oh, the usual. Visiting friends. Seeing the sights. Tracking down cracks in the fabric of spacetime- that sort of thi- oh what! What! Is! That!”
He rushed forwards, bending over to examine Ezio at the waist, too fascinated with the pouch at the man’s belt to notice the ominous sound of metal slipping across metal that was close enough to his head to make a sane man wet himself.
Leonardo coughed politely, shooting a look of apology at the quietly fuming assassin. “Doctor, I would take a little more care if I were you…”
“Goodness, where did you get this?” The insane man snatched the pouch before anyone could react, slipping the Piece of Eden into his hand. “I haven’t seen one of these in a dog’s age!”
Those words were the only thing that stayed Ezio’s hand. “You have experience with the Apple?”
The Doctor seemed oblivious to the question, letting loose a merry little laugh as he tossed the Apple into the air as if it were, well, an apple. “A dog’s age. What an odd expression. Mind you, dogs live quite a bit longer where I come from.”
“Is it dangerous?” At least the girl seemed to have more sense as she darted a worried look between all three men.
“Very much so,” the artist answered grimly.
“This? Dangerous? Nah!” Ezio scrambled to catch the Apple as the Doctor casually flung it over his shoulder. “In the wrong hands, I suppose. Tell me-“
Darting across the workshop, the man took up some chalk and began sketching, hands moving faster than any of them could follow. “Did the people who gave you the Apple look anything like this?” Standing aside, the man revealed his work with smug satisfaction.
All of the doubts that plagued Ezio about the man’s veracity disappeared in a wisp of smoke. A figure appeared out of the simple lines, tall and statuesque; no specific gender but attired in much the way Minerva had been.
The assassin approached the drawing in disbelief, scarcely able to touch it. Questions tripped off his tongue. “You’ve seen them. Who are they? She had a warning, a terrible warning that she said was not meant for me. What did she mean?”
“A warning you say?” The Doctor stared off into nothingness, cogs turning inside that daft skull. “I’m not precisely sure,” he murmured. “If you’ve traveled as much as I have, you’ve come to learn that you should never trust anyone who wears a silly hat.”