37 - The Preacher

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August 16, 1478

San Gimignano, Toscana, Italy

Catherine yawned as she held onto the reigns of their horses in one hand, a lamp in the other, glancing around at the house Mario had directed them to—one of his many safe houses. It was a smallish farm home, with a barn and another house all close by. There was a pen for the horses that she'd take their rides to soon enough, and the small house looked accommodating. It wasn't the most pleasant place, and certainly it was nothing like home, but it was holding up and provide them the shelter they needed. If they were lucky, they wouldn't need long to find the monk and end his life. For now, though, she was letting Ezio handle the negotiations—in other words, explaining who they were and their connection to Mario.

That, and she was a little tired. They had decided to leave right at nightfall so no one would really notice them come in, and they'd taken the longer route through the woods to help further. There was always the danger of the wildlife or rouges, but they weren't worried; they were well armed and the steeds of Monteriggioni were war horses. They knew how to fight. Of course, they ended up not needing it as the hours passed and they finally came into view of the city—visible thanks to the many fires lit in the night. From there, they just followed the main road while keeping an eye out for guards and made their way to the safe house. Mario had said an older couple lived there, and it proved true. Now all that remained was getting a spot to sleep.

The redhead yawned again as Ezio shook hands with the husband and turned around to walk back towards her. He had an easy smile that she made out once he lifted his lantern to take his horse's reigns from her and gestured towards the smaller house.

"They said it's ours to use as long as we need," he told her as they headed to the horse pen.

She rolled her shoulders, "Sounds good.... Wait, what's the catch?"

"Well... there is... one," he chuckled, much to her chagrin. She sighed, knowing he wouldn't say it right away, and so went about freeing their rides of their burden and letting them roam free in the pen. From there, they headed to the small building where Ezio was "gentleman" enough to open the door for her, revealing the catch: there was only one bed. And it was kind of small.

Catherine paused, giving Ezio a look, and he kept on grinning. She raised a brow, deposited her saddle and pack on a chair, the lantern on a nightstand, and then folded her arms over her chest.

"You're sleeping on the floor."

He laughed, setting his things down, too, "Oh, come on. We've slept in the same bed before, and the floor is very hard. Surely you can allow one night? I promise I won't be a bother."

"Uh-huh . As I recall, I woke up that one time with you using my boobs as a pillow," she mused sharply, giving him a harsh glare. Of course, he just grinned like the cheeky little monkey he was and held up his hands in surrender.

"In my defense I was drunk that night and barely remember a thing!"

"You weren't drunk when you woke up."

"I was drunk on your womanly wiles?" he tried, and her deadpan "are-you-fucking-joking" expression only served to make him grin more. "It will only be for a night or two—that's not so bad! We shared Leonardo's spare bed, too."

"Also, different."

"Catherine, come ooon," he groaned, shoulders slumping and trying to give her his best pouty, "please-forgive-me" look. She narrowed her eyes, and tried to stay strong. Normally, she could, but this was Ezio, and he looked so freaking ridiculous when he made that face. She had to bite her lip to keep from smiling and just tell herself it was just for a night or two. That, and she could just shove him off if he decided to be a jerk. He wouldn't do anything purposefully unless to mess with her, anyways. He was a good guy, and she knew she could trust him, which briefly served to make a sense of weirdness, but also something nice, too. She wasn't used to being able to trust someone so much.

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