Leonardo was soon dressed in cotton clothes, softer than anything he’d ever worn and sitting at a small glass table, scrolling through his own body of work by sliding his finger along the surface.
“See, I said he’d be a quick learner.” Rain bragged to Kam, who was holding a coffee in shaking hands.
“He’s Leonardo fucking da Vinci and he’s sitting at your table and that’s all you can say?” She demanded.
“Yes. What else is there to say Kam?’
‘This is a miracle and I want you to acknowledge this damn it.”
“We are on America?” Leonardo spoke up, looking up at the two. Kam gaped at him.
“What? How do you-“
Leonardo pointed to the map he was studying. “That is where the little green candle says we are. It keeps telling me how long it would take to get back to Italy.”
“You accidently entered ‘Italy’ into the directions search tab. Here, look.” Rain reached over, and with a flick of her fingers removed the dotted line from the map, leaving the image to slowly rotate. With an upward dragging motion she raised the image to be 3-D. The see through globe spun before Leonardo.
Leonardo’s light brown eyes widened. Rain watched him in fascination.
There was so much she could study from him… and he’d ask for nothing but some sketching supplies in return. Not as if he could. She had no intention of letting him go and wander the streets of North Dakota.
“Seriously, Rain, what are you going to do? You have a grown ass man, a genius in your basement now.” Kam asked when she stood up straight again. Leonardo was having fun with the globe, he’d discovered he could control the speed by spinning it with his finger.
Rain shrugged. “I don’t know yet.”
“You don’t know yet?!” Kam half shrieked half whispered, looking exasperated as hell. “Are you telling me you brought back a human and you have no plan?”
Rain did have plan. Lot of plans, probably one for every letter but she didn’t need to tell that to Kam so she smiled and simply said nope, before going to help Leonardo navigate the map.
Kam turned around and held a hand up over her eyes, her whole core shaken.
They’d brought back a person. A whole person, with a past and thoughts and feelings. Kamala was forcibly reminded of her primary school English class and Frankenstein.
She should have taken Rain’s firing her for a cosmic sign and found a different scientist to work for. Someone less arrogant.
Leonardo spent a solid two hours simply reading in silence, slowly tapping his fingers on the glass table.
A world with people so rich they could use glass a table surface. Leonardo was amazed.
The first thing he’d read about was himself, curious to know how people had viewed him after his death.
‘Extremely well’ covered it. His popularity and the interest in him had ebbed and waned over the years, but his art it seemed had always been revered. Apparently Melzi had also taken his notebooks, compiled them as best he could (Leonardo didn’t envy the task) and published them. His sketches and paintings had ended all up over Europe. The Mona Lisa was revered, still considered the greatest painting ever made. In the 1800s he’d been ‘analyzed’ by a man named Freud who believed his unnatural attraction to his own sex stemmed from a problem with his mother. In the 2000s someone wrote book claiming that he’d been a part of a secret society. As the Catholic Church crumbled during the late 2300s, someone had torched the Last Supper and it never recovered from trying to repair the smoke damage.
Leonardo wondered if they would let him have a second shot at it. He’d never been truly satisfied with it the first time around.
Salai had died five years after him, from a duel. Leonardo stored this information away, emotions mixed.
Melzi had died much later, and looking at his pupil’s works, Leonardo felt a painful mix of pride and sorrow rise in his chest. He sighed.
“Okay?” Rain asked, where she was seated across from him. Leonardo had noticed she was subtly trying to take notes on him, her eyes always focused on him when she thought he wasn’t paying attention.
“Yes, I suppose so. It is just very strange to read about the deaths of people I knew were alive only hours ago,” Leonardo explained. His fingers were still tapping, and he nearly ached for a pen and paper.
“Do you regret being brought back?” Rain asked, peering at him intensely. Leonardo suddenly had empathy for the bodies he used to dissect. He licked his lips, and with sudden incite realized that it didn’t matter how he answered, Rainbow wasn’t about to let him leave. He could sympathize with her in a way. If a dead body had opened its eyes on his dissection table, he would have kept it too.
“My last feeling before death was regret that I had not done enough with my talents for humanity and God. I’m glad to have another chance to try and work more this time,” Leonardo answered neutrally. Rain tilted her head, her heavy dark braid falling over her shoulder. Her fingers rapidly typed on the ‘tablet’ she used. She smiled at him.
“I can understand that. It’s what I’d want too, I think.”
Leonardo nodded, feeling uneasy.
“Excuse me please, I think I need a moment,” he said softly. Rain hesitated and nodded.
“There’s an empty room if you go down the hall and to the right. Take all the time you need.”
Leonardo nodded again and left the table. He could feel her eyes on him as he left. His thin clothes suddenly seemed like they were too loose and he shivered in the chilly air.
He found the room Rain had directed him to, a small storage room with a cot squeezed into a corner past a maze of clutter. Leonardo nearly smiled, feeling immediately at home. His own workshops had been less than neat. He made his way over to the cot, and sat down on it, running a hand over his face.
He’d never been very religious, but at least understood the rationale for it after Melzi had started dragging him to mass every week. However now, sitting alone in the dark, over a thousand years from where he’d been, Leonardo felt alone. His fingers twitched for a pen and he grasped them tightly together.
He worked best with his hands occupied, his thoughts having an outlet rather than just swirling against the boundaries of his mind like rain that was trapped into a dirty puddle. Leonardo desperately wanted a notebook, but none had been offered and until he was surer of where he stood to Rain, whether he was to be used for his mind or as a decoration, he didn’t know if he should ask yet.
So Leonardo sat in the dim room and was still, mind bubbling.
Kam was passed out on her desk, snoring slightly. Rain couldn’t sleep, too hopped up on her adrenalin. She let Leonardo stay on a bunk in one of her storage rooms and gave him an older tablet she had laying around.
“Get some sleep. You’ve had a long day.” She told him seriously. Leonardo still had the slightly stunned look of someone who had just been hit over the head and didn’t quite know what was going on yet.
Rain paced the labs, mind buzzing, even as a smile crept onto her face.
She’d done it, she’d really done.
She stared down at her computer, and starting flicking through databases.
What if she did it this way next time?
How could she make the experiment better? More perfect?
She’d spent years cross breeding dogs and messing with their genetic code to bring them back more and more perfect. Baby the Pomeranian was her coup de grace, guaranteed to live twenty years, maybe more.
Could she do it to human?
The night passed and morning found Rain sitting over her desk, eyes flicking so fast over biographies and data that they looked slightly blurred.