Summary: Written for the prompt 'Leonardo is a vegetarian, but Ezio makes a meal for Leo that includes fish or meat, because he doesn't understand that vegetarianism is a way of life for Leo.'
For classics_lover and the prompt "Leonardo is a vegetarian, but Ezio makes a meal for Leonardo that includes fish or meat, because he doesn't understand vegetarianism is a way of life for Leo."
Leonardo's smile was brighter than the sun. "Ezio, my friend!" he said. "Please, sit! I have just prepared a meal!"
Ezio blinked. The Assassin had long been accustomed to strange sights whenever he entered Leonardo's workshop. One thing he had never expected was a freshly cooked meal. Leonardo subsisted on bread, olives, cheap wine, and the odd dubious pie purchased from street traders.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." Leonardo stood-with difficulty, his atelier was crowded-and removed a telescopic lens and basket of kittens from the stool opposite. He cut a fresh slice of bread for Ezio to use as a plate and spooned over some food from his bowl. "There's plenty. Really, I will be offended if you do not."
Ezio climbed over a pile of papers to take his seat, placing his feet carefully to avoid the mewling kittens. He took a bite, and then another bite, and then poked through the food with a suspicious expression on his face. "Only vegetables? It's not like you can't afford meat." He held up a carrot. How do you expect me to climb the Duomo eating vegetables?"
"Of course," Leonardo said. "How stupid of me. I should have thought of that." He reached beneath some papers and emerged with a small bag in his hand and a smear of burnt sienna on his knuckles. "I bought you some nuts."
Ezio took the bag. "Nuts?"
"They're good for you."
Ezio presented the nuts to the kittens, who sniffed them and began to bat them across the floorboards. He pulled some beef jerky from his doublet and offered it to Leonardo.
"Ezio," Leonardo said disapprovingly. "I am a vegetarian. The time will come when man will look upon the murder of animals as they look upon the murder of a man. The consumption of meat makes graves inside us all."
"Some more than others," Ezio retrieved a few nuts and cracked them on the plinth of a hook-nosed plaster bust. The atelier was more than usually chaotic. The kittens were a new addition, as was the telescope set optimistically in the highest window. A pile of empty wicker cages lay stacked in one corner. Ezio nodded towards the cages as Leonardo chewed stoically.
"You've been releasing birds in the marketplace again, haven't you? No wonder you're melancholic. What do you think happens to them?"
"I prefer to think they lead a long and happy life," Leonardo said. He gave a piece of aubergine to one of the kittens, who pounced upon the titbit with an ecstatic mew.
Ezio leaned backwards on his stool. "Let me tell you what happens to those birds. If they're lucky, they're eaten by a hawk within an hour. If they're not, then they catch the pox from the pigeons and die a terrible drawn-out death. "
"But if they're sold they'll be only be put in the pot," Leonardo said earnestly. "Or they'll spend their life in a tiny cage and then die from neglect, or someone will drown them in their cages in the river when their singing becomes tiresome. Is it not better for them to know freedom, even if it is just for one hour? Is that what your Assassin's Creed is all about-escaping control?"
"You have a point," Ezio admitted. "You are surprisingly soft-hearted-for a man who designs war machines.
"Exactly," Leonardo waved a finger. "I design them. People don't have to use them."
"And you draw on vellum," Ezio continued, "And you use hogs-hair brushes."
"Nobody is perfect. I love animals. People I can take or leave -especially when they criticise my morals. Assassins living in glass houses, Ezio, should not throw stones."
"Point taken," Ezio said. "As long as I never have to taste your cooking again."
Turned out okay, if you substitute 'offers him some beef jerky' for 'makes a meal'. Leonardo da Vinci fic pretty much writes itself. It's not certain that Leonardo really was a vegetarian, ( the main source for this is a historical novel about his life written some years after his death, but several parts of Leo's dialogue are paraphrased directly from his writings.