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Disclaimer: I don't own 'Davincis demons' its characters etc.

M Note: I missed writing for this one so I went for it. Au & ooc. Ty for reading.


"Leo. I need to stop thinking of you. Artista, why are you burrowed so deep in my thoughts?"

The image of Leonardo in one of the cave's many torture chambers refuses to vacate his mind no matter what place nor time.

Thinking of how dreadful it must have been to feel so exposed. How liberated he felt at having him under his control. Even if Leo had played into his illusion for an instant.

It creeps up leaving him flustered, ashamed, worried yet with a goal in mind.

He has to help hasten the search for the Book of Leaves knowing the sooner his Artista has it in his grasp the quicker he can study, practice. Learn it's secrets, destroy it then vanish.

Lose himself to the public because he never was a simple man however implying anything further would be blasphemy even to himself.

Gone on into the world as if it never existed in the first place and live his life surrounded by friends, family and art.

The kind of life he would not have if he spends his time running around the old world and the new in search of a scheme much bigger than his own.

Leo would be happy with his cousin. A free spirit and an eccentric.

Both indomitable. An even match. Still he thinks no one word or person defines him.

They have to survive this ordeal. He wants to make sure of it. Girolamo sighed as he picked at his food with disinterest.

.

He has to get out of the Vatican in search of a new lead because this time he has a tangible piece of evidence that he is closing in on the Book of Leaves.

"Am I interrupting." Choosing to ignore the answer even if one were to come Pope Sixtus IV showed a small kindness by giving him a minute to collect his thoughts.

Watching him as he touches his temple. He will not give into worry knowing that Zoroaster would let nothing happen to his best friend.

"Even if you were it would make little to no difference. You have my attention now, Uncle."

He looks at him just staring straight ahead as he sees Leonardo in his mind, replaying the conversation they had held a while ago.

Whilst pretending to listen to Sixtus because he has never paop enough attention to him to ever really call him out on it.

"Artista, I have something to confess. If you are to trust me so readily as you have in the past with our lives on the line, I must return the courtesy. Confide with you. The man you see standing before you. Have come to know as Pope Sixtus. He is not the true Pope but an imposter. The real Pope-"

"I know where he is, met him actually. A man chosen by God himself. He is kind and he beats me in chess all the time. My kind of man."

The way Leo had looked at him by the end of his sentence had Riario wondering if he was coming into him but it doesn't seem to be the case because Leo dropped his gaze as if disappointed when he did not see a reaction.

"Funny, Uncle has oft said he has what he does because he took it. By His grace of course."

Before he can recall the Artista's less than prudent response he is drawn back to the moment with the lingering words 'Holy Crusade', war plans and Da Vinci's blueprints.

That held most of his inventioin to date. Those words had caught his attention immediately. Thinking of the madness and havoc the countless bodies, unwilling. Innocent nonetheless sacrifice to a 'holy' cause.

Of Da Vinci's heartbreak and mental anguish, torment. He will think he caused this. It will be his genius the world will marvel at and fear.

Attempt to study, emulate. His concepts corrupt.

"Uncle. You must allow me to handle this situation in my own way, time. I will not fail you again."

Riario meets his eyes mentally playing chicken at this point because he wins when Sixtus gives in.

"Very well." Sixtus moves towards the table as he spoke waving a servant away because he will be leaving shortly.

"I will confined myself to my main chambers within the Vatican whilst you are the face of my Crusade."

"If His Holiness remains in hiding, he will find it increasingly difficult to sell courage to others." He needs the people to see just who their leader is.

What a nicely dressed monster. A coward. A persuasive devil, an imposter.

"Our sins allow us no cover. The Almighty is always watching. And the sinners will always pay. Everyone wants absolution, at least most will when faced with their last moments. When death's cold grasp is an inch away. Do well to remember."

"Really? Sometimes I really do hope He enjoys what he sees. Still I understand you intend to summon the leaders of the Republics to Florence rather than Rome. Why would you do such a thing."

Riario takes a bite of his food taking an interest only to keep himself occupied because Sixtus should under no circumstance think him too interested in any one thing or person.

"Florence has always resisted the Vatican. Therefore it will be ground zero. A lesson to all heretics. With blessings from Heaven itself." He sets his fork aside and pushes his plate away suddenly disgusted.

The implications of what's to come setting in the pit of his stomach. He speaks without measurement to his words as he stands looking him dead in the eyes.

Tone ablaze.

"Your Holy war is all thanks to Leonardo. Does that mean he was blessed by God himself, above all of creation. Above you the Pope, because despite my ideals I think it so."

"You tred a fine line, nephew."

"Is that a threat."

"From myself of course not. And yet you will find out soon enough. Once you behold his creations. A man such a he is an abnormal." With that Sixtus gives him a final look before turning around and walking away.

.

.

"Vanessa..? Va-" She holds her finger to her lips clearly signaling for him to stay silent until she can get them to safety.

"Why are you here? The guards can see you. You know that right." Vanessa pulls him into a room without looking at their surroundings. If they were going to be caught it would have happened already.

If she's learned anything from knowing the boys all her life is that if violence and nice words don't get you out of less than ideal situations, the promise of information and clean currency can.

"I missed you and I wanted to see the baby. Have you heard any news on Leo or Zo?" Nico goes for the crib only to find that there is no baby in sight.

Turning to her he thinks it best because a baby would signal a handful of nannies and others he cannot outrun if the gaurds are close by or without causing injury.

"No where are they?" Vanessa looks worried about it because he can't just come here without news of them. It's rude.

"The Vatican."

.

.

.

"You have to tap it. There is a rock or you could use your head. Either works to get same result." The way Zo looks his way makes Leo smile broadly despite his current predicament.

"Zo, Zo. Zo stop already. I really need your help. I would still be asking if I didn't but that is because I believe in you."

"You rely on me, there is a difference. And all right. I will help you but what could have possibly brought you to this conclusion. I am serious. Leo I want an answer, did you actually have to do that."

"Yes." Leo has no regrets in life ever and this certainly won't be the day he begins accumulating.

"You poured charcoal in your eyes! Why?" His voice was breaking towards the end there as it increased in volume and he wants to punch Leo because then he'd be asleep and the he would have a few hours of silence.

And he less things to worry about. Still he knows his best friend wouldn't be able to make himself blind by experimenting with compost's third cousin and he also knows Leo can't handle that amount of sleep.

Even though his body is sluggish with fatigue his mind is always too awake even then. He can go on for days in this state maybe even weeks if he puts his mind to it.

The stubborn, stubborn man is going to be his own undoing if he keeps it up.

"It was there and I think I have begun to hallucinate. What I am doing is just making sure it lasts longer than the last time. My eyes feel better now, everyone wins."

Leonardo smiles and slumps onto the floor. He has not fainted but his eyes are closed.

He can't exactly move. It doesn't matter. All he can see is brown hair flowing in the wind and eyes that see into his soul but more importantly his mind.

A smile that would undoubtedly take him years to draw. To capture perfectly.

The keeper of all my secrets.

"Do you even know what you wrote this time?"

"Yes. Gibberish..the enemy isn't simply at the Vatican anymore. Riario helped me see it clearly. You see it began with the schemes of the Mediciand Pazzi families but that is not where it ends. This isn't just a dispute of politics. Or a murder mystery."

"I think you have made it out to be bigger than it is. A conspiracy theory. It's always one with you. Nothing is black and white with you. It's never even grey."

"Zo, amico mio when have I ever been wrong?" Leo for once doesn't look smug just watching him actually curious to hear an answer.

Zoroaster wants to argue against him, his logic. Look at him and prove him wrong yet he knows that for all Leo's shit.

Too often to count is in this man right and saying otherwise well it would be a lie especially when-where it counts.

"Your message it is backwards, upside-down and in code. That is just great. It's easier to figure out the location to the fountain of youth. The answer to life itself. Than to decipher this. You didn't hide a tune in there this time, right?"

His arm are crossed, his jaw is tight and he is looking at him with a fixed gaze that has him wondering what he can say to get out of here without losing Zo's friendship over a disagreement in opinions for the day.

"Not this time and I like music. In all fairness anything worth seeking is compared to this. Always a puzzle. Cryptic. Do you remember that time we thought we could take on a river."

He pours water inhis eyes wanting to get more charcoal but knowing that Zo isn't going to budge on the matter.

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