PART THREE .
Leonardo had hardly slept, reading again through his own biographies.
The world felt slightly off kilter when he sat up and stretched.
It was the year 3000 and he’d died over a thousand years ago. Salai, Melzi were dead. There was no more royalty in Italy or anywhere else. The titled ‘Mona Lisa’ was the best regarded painting in history, even if couldn’t be exposed to direct light anymore, due to its faded colors. The Last Supper had its own funeral.
Leonardo was both dead and alive.
He flexed his hands again, and longed for his charcoal pencil. Leaving the rather cramped and cluttered room that the doctor, Rain, had allowed him to stay in, Leonardo looked around.
She’d said he had free rein of her ‘lab’. So what did that mean? Could he use the box where she’d made his clothes yesterday?
Guessing it was a safe bet Leonardo traced his steps back to where he’d ‘woken up’ from yesterday.
Rain was hunched over the glass desk, eyes far away. Her brown hair was messily curled around her face and the light from the glass was casting her in harsh shadows. She didn’t look up when he called.
Shrugging, Leonardo guessed it was probably safe to go and use the machine. He took his time to study it, running his fingers around the edges of the box, trying to see if could be removed at all from the wall. It seemed to be part of it, and the display at the top lit up when he ran a finger across it. Word were displayed but Leonardo couldn’t read them. He tapped some of them, but the machine simply beeped at him. He frowned and considered it for a moment.
“Italian?” He asked aloud and the machine blinked and the words reappeared, this time in perfect legibility.
Leonardo had to admit this century seemed to be a lot more convenient than the one he had died in.
“May I have a stick of red chalk?” He asked aloud, again. The machine blinked at him again and the within a moment it appeared. It was already sharpened to a point, ready to use. Leonardo picked it up and turned it over, marveling.
“And a notebook, maybe eight inches by ten inches?” He held his hands apart to demonstrate, unsure if the machine would need a visual example.
That too was ready for him, neatly bound with wire spirals and cream colored paper. Leonardo grinned.
The machine beeped and Leonardo might have imagined it, but he could swear it sounded pleased with itself.
Leonardo took both of these and walking back out of the room, traced his way back to the kitchen. Kam was standing at another panel in the wall talking to a young woman. Leonardo stayed just out of sight as he listened.
“I don’t know when I’ll be home. Rain…She’s working on something big, really big and I need to be here.”
“Ugh, that sucks but I understand.”
Leonardo tilted his head. Her sister? The woman’s skin was darker than Leonardo’s or Kamala’s.
“Thank you sunshine. I love you.” Kamala pressed her fingers to her lips then to the screen. Leonardo’s heart jumped up to his throat. That was not her sister.
“Kisses babe.” The woman copied what Kam had done and smiled at her. The two shared a quiet moment before Kamala turned off the the screen.
Leonardo walked in right as Kamala was turning around from the communication board, rubbing a hand over her face. She jumped slightly.
He held up a hand. “Mi displace, I am sorry signora.” He had questions but from the wary look on her face he guessed they would have to wait.
She shook her head, her long black hair slightly tangled from sleeping on it. “Sorry it’s okay. I just wasn’t expecting you.”
He sat down and Kamala rubbed her arms awkwardly.
“Uh, did you sleep okay? Were you comfortable?”
I’m having this conversation with Leonardo fucking Da Vinci, and that’s the best I can come up with?
He gave her a frighteningly familiar half smile, one found in every art book for a thousand years and she nearly fainted.
“Ah, not really. I found my mind too alive to sleep.”
“Yeah I bet,” she muttered. “Do you want coffee?”
He tilted his head. “Coffee?”
“Oh was that not a thing yet for Italy yet? Weird. Uh here, We’ll start with a dark roast that has cream and sugar and go from there, okay?”
Soon Kamala had plied him with a cup, and Leonardo found himself warming to the slightly bitter beverage. Kam had settled in with hers, and she seemed to be both trying to avoid looking at Leonardo and watching him intently, her eyes wide and head tilted.
He waited until after she’d set her coffee down to clear his throat and ask, “That woman you were talking to, who is she?”
Kam stared at him, eyes wide and hands frozen around her cup. “How much did you hear?”
Leonardo shrugged. “Just the last part of it, when you were saying goodbye.”
The women rubbed a hand over her face, then dropped it to rest listlessly in her lap.
“Okay, look. What you need to understand is that it is the year three thousand. I know things were different back in your day, witch burning and crusades and all that, but things are different, better now.” Kamala paused, looking at Leonardo. “So you can’t come at me with ‘It’s against the bible or whatever’, okay?”
Leonardo swallowed. A large bubble of warmth seemed to be pressing it’s way upwards to his throat, making it difficult to speak.
“She is your lover?” He asked, voice hoarse.
Kam sat back with a defiant look. “Yes. She’s my wife.” She stuck out her hand. On her ring finger was a simple white gold band, with a single sapphire embedded in the middle. Leonardo was hardly aware that he was smiling until Kamala snapped “What?”
He looked up at her. “It is legal, here? To be with your own sex?” She nodded, and Leonardo burst out laughing, feeling a weight he didn’t even know he had lifted from his shoulders.
To pursue whoever he wanted, even if they weren’t the right kind of person? Not to forever be looking over his shoulder whenever he touched Salai a moment too long, or couldn’t muster his excuses for his continued bachelorhood?
The future was magnificent!
In between his gasps for breath, Leonardo explained his reaction to Kamala, whose face cleared after she understood.
“Oh my god, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were gay.” She covered her face with a hand. “I thought you were going to be super devoted to god, or something.”
Leonardo waved it away, still grinning. “It is fine. I’m just glad I know now.” Kamala tentatively smiled back at him.
“Where is your wife then, she doesn’t come with you?” He asked.
“We live in Cairo. She works for the bank there,” Kamala explained. Leonardo nodded.
“Ah, so she is Egyptian?” That would explain the darker skin tone.
“No.” Kam tilted her head to the side. “She’s from Louisiana.”
“Where?” Leonardo leaned forward. Somewhere in France, perhaps?
Kam shook her head. “Here, let me show you.”
When Rain came bounding up to the kitchenette, Kam and Leo were bent over the table, looking at the Wikipedia articles for the Union, of all things.
“Making friends, Kam?” She asked lightly. Kam turned around.
“I figured one of us should.”
“Hey, we’re friends. Right Leonardo?” Rain tossed the question over her shoulder.
“Of course,” he demurred, lowering his eyes and dipping his head.
“Oh don’t roll over for me Mister Leonardo. I’m not one of your patrons,” Rain sang out, arranging her own coffee now. She was so old fashioned, to still have a single machine dedicated to making beverages.
“But you did do me a service, bringing me back to life.”
“Who else would I have done?” Rain questioned seriously, curious to know his thoughts. Leonardo spread out his hands.
Kam let out a little huff of amusement. “See?” She mouthed at Rain.
“How’s it going?” Clio let out a little gasp when Spectra walked out of the room adjacent to where she was standing. Dressed in formal wear, the hyena was oddly out of place compared to the two women wearing lab coats in and da Vinci in pajamas.
“Fine. Rain’s done it,” the Muse answered, gesturing with her chin at the formerly dead man. Spectra let out a little chuckle.
“Impressive, for a human.”
Clio scowled. “I like him.” He reminded her of when she was younger, and when her sisters still existed. Although, he was much younger than she was.
Spectra grinned. “You have such a soft spot for humans.”
“And you don’t? Aren’t you following some human boy right now?” Clio snapped.
Spectra shrugged. “Frank is fine without me. He’s barely doing anything important right now anyway. Bothering you is more fun.”
Clio huffed, and waved a hand at the Trickster. “Go away. Bother Monaco. He’s on an assignment right now as well.”
Spectra grinned. “Oh yes. I heard. Big one too.”
Frowning Clio turned her solitary eye to Spectra. “What do-” But the Trickster was already gone. The Muse crossed her arms over her toga and huffed.
“I want to make another,” Rain whispered to Kam after dinner. She dropped the plate she was holding, the little paper thing floating to the ground. She wished it had been glass so it would have shattered satisfyingly but replicated Chinese didn’t come with glass plates.
“Excuse me?” Kam demanded.
“I think we should try something different this time. I have a theory that we could-“
“Rain. No.” Kam was shaking her head vehemently. “I won’t help you again. Absolutely not.”
“I didn’t even finish-“
“Because I’m not helping you bring back another living breathing human being, damn it.”
Rain froze and raised her eyes to Kam’s face slowly. Her amber gaze was as hard as stone.
“Okay, fine. Fine,” Rain said coolly. “You don’t need to help. I’ll leave you out of it, Kam. Don’t worry.”
Kam was standing rooted to ground as Rain brushed past her.
“I can do it myself.”
“Then I guess I’ll leave,” Kam said, matching her cold tone. She clenched her hands at her sides. “You’ve made it clear this entire time you’re just going to go on with whatever you want to do, so I might as well not even be here, huh?”
Rain didn’t turn around. “If you think it best, then go Kam.”
Kam swallowed the lump in her throat, croaking out an ‘Okay fine,’ before spinning away on her heel.
Rain continued into the lab.
Kam left within the hour. When Leonardo asked her where she was going Kam just shook her head and wished him luck. As far as she was concerned, Rain could do whatever she liked, but Kam wasn’t going to be dragged into the consequences of what she was realized was a terrible idea.
Leonardo was in the kitchen, fingers working as fast as his mind. It was refreshing to have something that worked as fast as he does. In one hand his charcoal pencil, and the other skating over the glass surface. The charcoal sketches over the paper, the texture feeling just right while his eyes go over his own notes and the newest medical studies. It’s nice, having to put forward some genuine effort to learn about the human body all over again. He was mildly impressed by how much of it he manage to get right.
Rain had been down in her lab all morning after Kamala left. Leonardo didn’t know what she was working on but he had his own hypothesis on it. However, prudence made him keep his mouth shut.
Rain carefully dropped her blood onto the DNA sequencer. If she was correct then this time wouldn’t require any breaking into famous landmarks to steal skin cells.
She ran the search program that she’d complied last night, watching as possible matches to her DNA were found and discarded. There were more than she expected, Genghis Khan, Marco Polo, English royalty, minor French landholders, until finally…
“98% Match Found.”
Rain smiled to herself and looked at who had enough of her DNA sequence to be able to modify into another historical figure, this time created from nothing but her blood.
She brought up the profile and for the first time in her life, hesitated.
“That… is not who I was expecting,” she muttered to herself. A genius was one thing, but a man like this was not someone to resurrect lightly.
Maybe Kam had been right.
However the thought of Kam’s words made Rain see red for a moment and she smiled savagely as she opened the DNA sequencer.
No one could tell Rain when enough was enough.
Leonardo did not see Rain for hours, and was left alone to his own devices, so he started trying to figure out what some of the derelict machinery that was in ‘his’ room was used to be used for.
Having no instructions, Leonardo allowed his mind to run free, connecting this and that, with whatever he bits and pieces he found. By the time Rain came back upstairs, there was a small blinking box in front of him and a million pieces of metal on the glass table.
Rain paused, seeing the kitchen covered in machinery.
“Remind me to set you with your own lab. What’s that do?” She asked, pointing to the box.
Leonardo shrugged. “I don’t know yet.”
Rain nodded absently. “You know how to use the replicator well enough, right? You can make yourself food?”
Puzzled, Leonardo nodded. He’d been using it successfully all afternoon.
“Good. I’m going to be in my lab. Please do not interrupt me until I come back out. I’m working on a delicate experiment.”
Leonardo nodded again. “Are you making another one?”
Rain hesitated before she headed back down and that told Leonardo all he needed to know.
Rain finished preparing, the machines once again humming to life and the raw material used for the bone structure and organs in place on the table. She had her own blood transfusion in a couple of bags next to the table. She nearly shook with eagerness as she punched in the last of the information.
“Okay, Robespierre. Let’s see what you’ve got.”