Ezio had seen Federico leap off buildings before. It was impressive how he did it so easily despite only having hay or flowers to land on. Jumping from one building to another was simple enough and even though he had never attempted it before, Ezio knew he could dive off of them just as fearlessly as his brother. He had no doubt about it.
That is, until he was actually standing upon a wooden platform five stories above the ground.
It was dark except for the bright light of the moon shining overhead and there was a cool breeze that chilled the nervous heat that he gave off. He stared hard at the hay piled up down below, far past the creaky wooden beam he was standing on, far past his feet balancing at the very edge. He slowly sucked in a deep breath.
"Come on, Ezio." The voice directly behind him was like a teasing nudge to his ribs. "Don't tell me you're scared now."
Scared? Ezio wasn't scared. Completely sane, that's what he was.
He didn't even glance back to his brother, too busy eyeing the people that were safely on the ground to give him the dirty look he deserved. "Shut up," he said absently. "This isn't easy."
Federico placed his hands on his hips and smirked playfully. "It is easy," he said, tilting his head to the side. "All you're doing is falling."
Off the top of a very tall building. Into a measly pile of hay. Federico was crazy.
Ezio felt a hand on his shoulder and he jolted. Afraid that he was about to be pushed forward, he jerked backward a few steps, stumbling into his brother. Hands grabbed at his upper arms to hold him up.
Federico was right there, speaking reassuringly to him. "Hey. Calm down. I wouldn't help you do this if I didn't think you could handle it."
Ezio glanced over his shoulder to his brother, at his encouraging smile. As much as he could be a taunting pain in the ass, he could just as much be warm and comforting. So Federico thought he could do this?
"How?" Ezio asked.
The answer was simple and given to him with a gentle squeeze to his shoulders. "Trust."
Federico brought his hand in front of Ezio. He held it out, palm up while leaning against his back. "As in, trust me."
Ezio stared at his brother's hand. He didn't even have to think about it.
He reached for him and gripped tight.
The second after he held on, Federico smiled eagerly and shoved the both of them off. There was no sudden rush through Ezio's veins as they fell. His heart didn't pound faster; it didn't stop. All he felt was a calming, peaceful sense of relaxation. He barely felt the wind hitting his face or the warmth of his brother as they held each other. He simply focused on the moment.
Their landing came too soon. He shut his eyes at the incoming hay, the crackling crunch surrounding him.
They both flopped halfway out of the hay, lying on the ground next to each other. Ezio stared up towards the wooden perch stories high where he just was.
He couldn't stop the corners of his mouth from pulling into wide smile. "That was the dumbest thing you've ever made me do."
"You enjoyed it." Federico grinned at him. "Want to do it again?"
Ezio grinned right back. "Race you to the top."