Disclaimer: Not Mine. The end.

Note: This is entirely based on a small two page fan comic I fell in love with on deviantart. I encourage you to go and give the artist all the credit for coming up with such a brilliant idea.

http:/ pilot-star .deviantart .com /gallery/24374291#/d2iss12 (Remove the spaces to link up to the piece).

Comments are always welcome.

Letters to the Sky

By Nicole Silverwolf

Fall was a good time to be in Venice. The blistering heat of summer was fading, and on days like today brisk winds swept refreshingly down the tunnels formed by winding, narrow streets. The sky was a bright luminous blue, and heavy white clouds billowed while migrating far above. Shouts from the merchants and the bustle of a large city at work mingled with the slosh of water as it lapped against the buildings

It was a day Ezio might have once taken for granted. Thousands of days like it would have surely been in front of him, days to spend racing the rooftops with Federico or maybe Petruccio if sickness was not plaguing him. Some day racing with maybe a son or a daughter before he grew too old or too responsible to climb the walls of the city.

Time's cruelty had tempered that frivolous dream.

But it had also instilled a personal promise to never take such days for granted, especially when he had a few moments to himself.

It wasn't a free afternoon in the most technical sense. There was a blacksmith to see about his dented pauldron and an assassination contract that required information gathering in order to perform flawlessly. Ezio did have obligations, they just weren't tied to exact moments today.

Hence the leisurely pace along city streets instead of the more direct roof to roof running he took to most days.

Observant brown eyes caught its drift before the parchment touched ground. Insignificant to anyone else, it would have likely joined the rest of the street's refuse and been swept away the next morning. Not much got past Ezio these days. The paper folded oddly, looking much like a bird and somehow more at the same moment. It had been crumpled at least once before being folded into the odd shape.

The way it had glided on the air. He'd never seen anything like it. And immediately wondered where such an invention could have come from.

A glance up from under a shaded hood discovered several more of the strange objects in various trajectories across the rooftops. One drifted a few seconds, buoyed by a steady wind before taking a violent dive to the ground.

He gingerly picked it from the cobblestone, curious but deliberately wary in his gesture. One could never be sure of anything's intentions these days.

Inspecting it from all angles he opened the folds cautiously.

Instant recognition lit his features. Part confusion, part honest joy. He hadn't seen Leonardo in weeks, maybe a few months if he thought honestly about it.

The writing was in his oldest friend's messy script, mirrored and impossible to decipher at a single glance. The sketches were filled with excited energy, every line bold and sure. Except for the aggressive, jagged, clearly frustrated slashes. They cut across each render, the drawings flawed in some way that Ezio couldn't see.

Each sketch (schematic? plan? idea?) resembled the wings of a bird in a vague but definable way.

The confusion came from the casual way in which they floated about the Venice street. Ezio always remembered overflowing stacks of drawings, ideas and writings piled haphazardly around the artist's workshop. Leonardo kept everything he drew, whether it had value to anyone else or not. The reams of sketches had come in their entirety from Firenze to Venezia and Ezio suspected they would multiply and follow the artist until the day he died and well afterward.

Why was someone so casually throwing them away?

A thoughtful glance to the rooftops offered no explanation. But that didn't stop Ezio from folding the crumpled paper into a pocket and scaling the walls with a grace that belied his weight or age.


Leonardo was in a foul mood. There were certainly days that would count as far worse in his experience. But to an inventor, a frustrating lack of ideas and workable designs ranked high on his personal list.

Two days prior he'd taken a large scale model of one of his most promising flying machines to a rooftop for a field test. The result of either a flawed concept or a calculation (with his current luck both) lay in pieces in the water where they'd crashed.

None of the materials could be salvaged. He'd wasted hours on the design and now had literally nothing to show for the time. The drawings and hand sized model had been tossed into a fire in a moment of unthinking anger.

Blank pages had mocked him for a day and when he'd opted for a change of venue, inspiration still hadn't come. The new drawings and designs were all similar if not identical to those that had so recently and spectacularly failed.

He'd observed nature, birds at every level of detail and still the ability of flight eluded him.

Frustration had led to the first balled up piece of paper. Observant despite his frustration, he'd modified the discarded work until he'd found something that actually glided a few inches. Then a design that flew a few feet. But these were just silly toys, something to perhaps entertain children with, not change the world.

'I'm wasting my time,' the artist mourned with a small tinge of self-pity.

Procrastinated over commissions pressed at deadlines in his mind. There were panels to prep, things to do that day, but Leonardo knew better than to head back to the workshop. Taking out his frustrations on the canvas would only lead to a mistake and likely ruin days of work.

It was instinct to shift his gaze. The air had settled differently and though there had been not a sound, someone had joined him on the gently sloped tiles. Leonardo knew of only one other person who could move so silently and with such confidence. A hand raised in one jaunty, confident salute met his gaze.

"Ezio," he acknowledged warmly, spirits already lifted by his presence. It had been too long since he had last seen the younger man. Ezio was a capable-some might even say extraordinary-assassin but there was always a lingering worry of a knife seen too late, a blow not evaded.

Slumped in a chair, exhausted beyond endurance and occasionally bandaged more than covered in clothing. That was the Ezio Leonardo had known in equal measure to the invincible assassin presented to the whole of Italia. And Leonardo suspected that he would always worry over his friend until his dying day.

"It is good to see you my friend."

"It has been too long Leonardo. What brings you up here?" Roaming eyes took in the rooftops spreading for several kilometers in any direction, towers brushing the clouds and in the far distance the more magnificent basilicas the city was known for.

"Searching for a bit of perspective. I had hoped a change in venue might inspire something and it has most definitely had the opposite effect." Here Leonardo punctuated his frustration by violently pitching another folded drawing into the air, watching as it made a short and sharp dive to crumple a few feet away.

Ezio sat at a loss, unsure of how to continue in the face of a friend he'd never seen so dejected.

"This was a flying machine right?" the younger man ventured after a moment, pulling the folded plane from a pocket and extending it let Leonardo glance at its content.

"A failure of one if you can call it that. Perhaps man is just never meant to fly. And if that is the case, I have been wasting an awful lot of my time."

"I don't know my friend," and here he folded out the edges until it took on a three dimensional shape, "it's remarkable to me." With a gentle, firm grace he sent the paper into the air. The wind took that exact moment to gust at just the right angle, and lifted the plane high above them both. Blotted in the sun's brilliant rays both men were forced to squint in order to make it out.

Leonardo almost wanted to make a scathing remark. One he knew would cut when he didn't really mean to. Some inner sense held his tongue for a moment, enough to turn his gaze from the floating paper to Ezio's face.

There were few moments that Leonardo was forced to consider the near decade of life that separated both of them. A lifetime of pain and loss had forced Ezio to step into true adult responsibility only a handful of days after Leonardo had met the man. How else to account for the expression on Ezio's face that could have belonged to a child? Warm and open in a way he had never seen on the assassin's face.

Entirely lost in this moment.

In the best way.

Leonardo snatched another failed sketch in his hands, folding it quickly into the appropriate shape. The design was slightly longer, wings wider and flatter than the previous attempt. But the design was not the first thought he had.

"I bet I can fly this across two rooftops," the artist challenged.

Ezio glanced down, one of his trademark smiles twisting at the corners of lips.

"You are on my friend."

The sun was melting from the sky by the time they'd exhausted all of the paper Leonardo had brought with him. Venice's streets and several nearby rooftops were littered with planes.

Neither Ezio or Leonardo had accomplished anything pertaining to their responsibilities.

To both of them, it was one of the most valued afternoons of their lives.

Owari

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Thanks for reading.