Series: Tales of Vesperia
A/N: Written for Fluri Month 2016. The prompt was 'discretion, secret bond of love.'
This is still my favorite out of what I wrote for Fluri month.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are from Tales of Vesperia and do not belong to me.
Even though they'd been told it was coming, a chorus of shouts and squeals went up from the kids as the overhead lights went out, plunging the ground floor of the aquarium into near darkness. A few emergency lights still glowed pale orange, and the massive, two story tank of tropical fish that dominated the entryway was lit with a faint, bluish light. Standing next to his brother, Karol, Flynn took a moment to let his eyes adjust to the darkness. Karol had let out a surprised squeak a moment after the lights had been turned off, probably more from his classmates' unexpected reaction. Flynn knelt down and smiled at him. He could just barely see Karol smile back from where he lay bundled in his sleeping bag. Giving him an affectionate pat on the head, Flynn got back to his feet and went to assist the other chaperons. They were checking on the rest of the class to be sure that everyone was laying down in their assigned spot to go to sleep.
Nine o'clock on a Saturday night, and Flynn was helping to be sure a group of excited grade schoolers went to sleep during their overnight stay at the aquarium. It wouldn't have been his first choice of activity, but Karol and Yuri had ganged up on him, and Flynn hadn't been able to say no to both. Actually, Yuri had been responsible for the trip in the first place. He'd been working at the aquarium for a little over a year, and had been the one to tell Karol about the outreach program that allowed schools to schedule overnight field trips. Karol had passed on the information to his teacher, who had thought it sounded like a fun opportunity and proceeded to get the event organized. Yuri had contrived to be on-shift for the overnight part, and when members of the children's families had been asked to volunteer as chaperons, he and Karol had teamed up to cajole and beg Flynn to sign up.
That was how he had ended up corralling stray fifth graders away from the closed tank where earlier they had gotten to pet sharks and horseshoe crabs, and trying to make sure no one wandered off the wrong way after one last visit to the restroom before bed. All in all, it had been a fun day, and Flynn had found that he'd enjoyed himself almost as much as the kids. The Program Director had been their exclusive tour guide throughout the afternoon, leading them from exhibit to exhibit and keeping up a running commentary that included and far surpassed the informational plaques that were posted next to each tank or activity. They had seen every show the aquarium had scheduled for the afternoon, and had been invited to pet not only sharks and horseshoe crabs, but rays and even jellyfish. The kids had had an absolute blast.
The day was finally taking its toll though, amid a last burst of resistance against bedtime. Exhaustion was setting in, and they were all slowly getting comfortable in their sleeping bags and drifting off. Flynn watched over them, backing away toward the place where he'd laid out his own sleeping bag. Earlier, it had been decided that each of the chaperons would be sleeping across one of the exits from the atrium to discourage any potential unsupervised midnight explorations. His spot was in front of the entrance to the viewing tunnel which curled snake-like through the first floor of the aquarium and allowed guests to be surrounded both sides and above by fish and sharks, eels, lobsters, rays, and sea turtles. Taking one more step back, he felt more than saw someone standing behind him, and bumped into them before he could stop. Startled, he turned to find Yuri grinning at him.
“Did you have fun playing shepherd?”
“Are you going to make it up to me somehow if I didn't?” he murmured.
They sat down side-by-side, close enough that their knees pressed together. Yuri was still in the khakis and polo shirt that made up his uniform, and it wouldn't have been surprising if he'd planned to sleep in it. Flynn had changed into an old pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt. He leaned a little bit closer to Yuri. The warmth between them made the air in the room seem far cooler.
“Pretty sure you volunteered for this, so...not my problem.” Yuri laughed softly as Flynn bumped him with his shoulder. “Karol looked like he was having fun.”
“Yeah.” Flynn smiled fondly. A few times throughout the day, he'd seen Yuri in passing. As often as not, Yuri looked like he had been checking up on Karol. He was practically a second older brother to him, and Flynn found the attachment that Yuri showed to be particularly endearing. “I suppose since he enjoyed himself so much I can let you off the hook for getting this whole thing started.”
“What, you're blaming me?”
In the darkness, his hand found Flynn's braced against the floor behind them and pinched his skin. Flynn barely bit back a yelp, and there was a brief scuffle as he fought to catch hold of Yuri's wrist. They shushed each other in the dark, Yuri with a grin, and Flynn with several glances over to where the children were dozing off and the other chaperons had bedded down. He didn't think they'd disturbed anyone until he saw the glint of light off a pair of glasses and realized that Karol's teacher was watching them from across the room.
“Yuri.” His voice was barely a whisper, but it got the right reaction. Yuri stopped playing around and looked to where Flynn nodded.
“Guess we shouldn't risk waking the kids.” He got to his feet and ruffled Flynn's hair. “'Night.”
He watched Yuri walk away, an indistinct shadow in the gloom of the atrium until he entered the blue glow of the tank in the entryway. His sleeping bag was laid out there, and he sat down upon it, drawing his knees up and staring at the fish swimming serenely past. A trick of the light left him pallid and ethereal, a beautiful mer-creature who had surfaced into a minimum wage job and left his tail behind.
Flynn shook his head, smiling to himself over the fanciful turn of his thoughts. Having grown up together and been rarely apart for long, Flynn sometimes forgot how stunning Yuri was. To him, Yuri was and had always been The One, as ordinary a miracle as the beauty of sunrise. The real miracle, which he offered up silent gratitude for, was that Yuri felt the same about him. As he wrapped himself up in his sleeping bag, he saw Yuri glance his way, a smile curving across his lips as he blew a kiss. Bathed in the light of the aquarium, he couldn't have seen Flynn in the darkness all the way across the room. Still, somehow he had known or sensed that Flynn was watching. Feeling just a little silly, but mostly wishing that he and Yuri were home in their shared apartment, he mimed catching the kiss as it flew to him. When he laid down, he kept his fingers curled around it on his pillow next to his cheek.
Flynn's hair was tickling his face. Groggily, he reached to push it aside and realized that something warm was weighing him down. He heard Yuri whisper his name and felt a humid breath against his ear a moment before teeth closed around the lobe. With a quiet groan, Flynn rolled over onto his back. Yuri shifted with him, chest pressed down against Flynn's, lips trailing over his chin and jaw. He nuzzled against Flynn's neck, seeking for his other ear to nibble on it. Flynn let sleep cling to him, enjoying the sensations Yuri's affection brought. He wrapped his arms around Yuri, hands seeking the hem of his shirt to slip beneath and rub slow circles against his back.
“Get up,” Yuri murmured in his ear. “I've got a surprise for you.”
Yuri clamped a hand over his mouth, cutting off the question. “Shhh,” he whispered. “We can't wake anyone.”
Flynn cracked open his eyes, noticing now that the mattress beneath him was hard rather than firm, that the light was strange, that even the quiet sounded wrong. It took a moment longer for his waking brain to catch up and recall that he was acting as a chaperon on a field trip.
That knowledge made Yuri's position atop him more than a little awkward.
“Yuri!” The whisper was hardly more than an indignant breath. He felt Yuri shake with silent laughter.
“It's three in the morning,” Yuri murmured. “Everyone's asleep. Just keep quiet and follow me.”
He got up then, carefully so as not to make any noise, and backed a short ways into the darkness of the viewing tunnel. Awake now and curious, body aching for Yuri after that wake up call, Flynn got out of his sleeping bag as quietly as he could and followed him away from the atrium. They snuck through the darkness of the underwater tunnel, guided by the light of Yuri's phone. It was black-on-black, silent except for the sound of their footfalls, the rustle of their clothes. The faint light gleamed dully against the viewing tunnel, revealing nothing beyond. With no overhead light, the water was a sea of shadow with no way to tell what moved within it. Flynn shuffled forward over the carpet and reached out to take Yuri's hand. At night, dark and silent, the tunnel felt much smaller than it had lit up and alive and swarming with excited children. Yuri gave his hand a quick squeeze, then pulled forward, hurrying them along through the twisting corridor.
“Should we be doing this?” Flynn whispered. He glanced back over his shoulder, but, of course, it was too dark to see the atrium, too dark to even see where he had stood two steps ago.
“No one's awake to catch us. Keep quiet and we'll be fine.”
That wasn't as reassuring as he'd hoped, but Flynn let Yuri lead on. After another minute, he saw something move above his head. He looked up to see the murky shadow of a shark melt away into the deeper darkness that shrouded the way they had come. It was the first movement he had seen from the tank, and he peered ahead, now picking out a faint illumination spreading through the water.
“Almost there,” Yuri said quietly. He glanced over his shoulder to smile at Flynn before putting his phone away. Flynn was left in utter darkness for a moment, tethered only by Yuri's fingers laced with his. Then, barely perceptible at first, but growing quickly as they continued forward, light filtered down to them.
“They put me in charge of shutting down the lights in this place tonight. Every section's on a separate switch. Easy enough to light up just one bit.”
The light was growing bluer, brighter without ever becoming stronger than an overcast winter morning. Flynn could see the fish all around them now, shadow puppets becoming living creatures as they darted forward through the water. Sharks swam by overhead. A ray glided up, skimming over the curve of the tunnel to expose its pale underbelly. It veered off abruptly and was gone with a lash of its whip-like tail.
Caught up in watching the creatures swimming all round them, Flynn didn't realize where they were headed until they arrived. The very end of the tunnel opened up like a bulb of blown glass at the end of a pipe. An enormous window a full story tall showcased part of the tank where visitors could watch divers interact with the animals or—for a price—be allowed to dive with the sharks and rays themselves. The viewing windows curved around two thirds of the room to showcase the aquarium. The other third was given over to carpeted risers where guests would gather for shows and presentations. That area was deep in shadow, tucked away from the unseen lights that Yuri had turned on to filter down through the aquarium. As they left the tunnel behind for the blue-lit grotto, a whale shark swam into view, massive and serene. It had been the sight of that creature earlier in the day that had given Flynn a sense of how massive the tank above the tunnel really was. Something that large needed plenty of room to move.
There was a blanket already spread out on the floor right in the middle of the curving window. Yuri dropped down onto it, stretching out his legs. Flynn sat down next to him, tired, but undeniably captivated by the graceful movements of the creatures in the aquarium and the intimacy of this private viewing. For a while, they simply sat side-by-side and watched, pointing out different types of sharks and rays, remarking on the colors of the fish and their sometimes odd shapes, talking about how school was going for Flynn and how Yuri was getting along on the job. They were leaning against each other. Yuri was pleasantly warm beside him, but as the minutes passed, Flynn could feel himself beginning to nod off. He turned his head to suggest that they get back to the group to get some sleep, and Yuri met his lips with a kiss.
Warmth suffused Flynn, flowing from Yuri to fill him up. Dreamily, he tilted his head, savoring the way their lips fit together, the way Yuri coaxed him closer with languid kisses. They rocked against each other, gently as the swell of waves in a tropical sea. Yuri's mouth molded to his, their chins bumped together, noses brushed cheeks. Shoulder-to-shoulder, his hand over Yuri's braced on the floor behind them, Flynn could almost feel the combined echo of their heartbeats fluttering between them. The tide of his pulse surged with the flow of the kiss, beating against the roof of his mouth, his neck, his palms. Peeking from beneath heavy lids, he saw Yuri's face as a pale blur smudged with the shadows of his hair and lashes. In the cold, blue glow of the tank, fish swam by, as uninterested in the display of warmth as ghosts. Flynn let his eyes slide shut. The kiss felt more intense in the darkness.
It was so easy to give in, to let himself be swept away. Flynn shifted, bearing Yuri down onto the blanket as if they were settling to the bottom of the sea. Yuri was sweet as a siren song as he drew Flynn closer, all soft lips and warm tongue, insistent hands on Flynn's neck and back and then beneath his shirt, fingertips hot along Flynn's spine. Yuri tasted like Cherry Coke, thick and sweet and oh so good, but still....
This is a school trip.
The protest never surfaced. Yuri nibbled Flynn's lower lip, and his thoughts splintered in his brain like so many tiny air bubbles left to fizzle out into nothing. Yuri's hands sifted through Flynn's hair like the shifting of the sea. His chest was pressed flat to Flynn's, expanding with every breath, shifting with the lazy undulations of his body. Caught up in the current that moved them—Or were they generating the current?—Flynn slipped a hand down Yuri's side and into the hollow at the small of his back. He tugged Yuri closer, grinding their hips together. Yuri's neck arched, his lips slipped from beneath Flynn's with a feather-soft gasp. His eyes were closed, his mouth hanging open, every line and curve of him graceful as a leaping dolphin. Flynn chased after him, sealing Yuri's mouth with his as he dove back into the depths of the kiss. He was drowning in Yuri, and he opened himself up to the flood of tiny sensations, drank them down. He had no desire to surface.
Flynn rolled, pulling Yuri with him to reverse their positions--he the sloping beach and Yuri the gentle wash of waves. Their legs entwined as Flynn wrapped his arms around Yuri's back and held him close. The blue light of the aquarium filtered through his eyelids as the deep cobalt of a summer evening, and he couldn't help but recall that they had shared their first kiss on a night dyed such a blue. On an empty street, as they had walked through his sleepy neighborhood beneath streetlights the same ghostly green as luna moths, Flynn had stopped and dared and pressed his lips to Yuri's. It had been quick, a darting, nervous movement like a fish, there and gone. Flynn still remembered the way it had made his heart jump, the way the summer night had suddenly seemed twice as hot, the way he'd felt sweat slippery on their palms as he had reached out reflexively to take Yuri's hand, squeezing tightly because he had no words to give voice to the yearning and half-formed anxieties filling him up. He could remember feeling dizzy and breathless, unable to get enough air even though his head had felt light as a cloud, as if he could have swum up into the heart of that cobalt sky and pulled Yuri with him.
A year seemed a vast remove from that night. They had learned about themselves and each other, about how they fit together, against each other, inside each other. They had discovered how to satisfy those unformed desires that had left them scuffing their sneakers and short on words after that hasty first kiss. Over the past year, they had traded away much of the excitement of the unknown for the pleasures of the familiar. Yuri could still make Flynn's heart leap, could make it dance, make it soar, but the thrill of that first kiss, the swirl of affection and formless need it had sparked was a memory Flynn treasured.
He opened his eyes to look into Yuri's and saw, over his shoulder, a manta ray rising pale as the moon within the blue night of the tank. Behind it, the whale shark banked, a moving body of stars. Yuri seemed to have forgotten the wonders of the aquarium. He was studying Flynn's face, a small smile playing across his lips. The light tinted his gray eyes so that they took on the dusky blue of ocean waves. His hair hung around them like spills of midnight ink, like a mermaid's locks rising sinuous and dripping from the sea. Entranced, Flynn stared until Yuri grew impatient and lowered himself back down. The heat of his mouth unerringly found Flynn's, tongue slipping past lips and teeth to caress, to coax Flynn back into the ebb and flow. His fingertips traced the sides of Flynn's face, brushing over temples and ears, cheeks and jaw. His nails tickled Flynn's neck, skated inward over his collarbone, caught in the collar of his shirt. Holding him, Flynn felt the roughness of Yuri's polo beneath his fingers as he rubbed his back inward over his shoulder blades then down along the dip of his spine. He found the place where Yuri's shirt was rucked up, where fabric gave way to the heat and softness of skin. His hands burrowed into that warmth, palms pressing against Yuri's back. Flynn felt him shiver as cool air kissed exposed skin.
Yuri was the rush of waves over the shore. His rhythm matched Flynn's pulse, or perhaps it was the other way around. Flynn was drawn to Yuri sure as the tides to the moon. He slid one foot up over the blanket, bending his knee, lifting the thigh that rested between Yuri's. His hands traveled higher up Yuri's back, pushing his shirt up toward his shoulders. His own clothes were in disarray, and his stomach tingled with warmth where Yuri's brushed against it. Shivers lifted the hair on his scalp and arms. Yuri was pouring into him through the kisses, through every breath, every pore. Flynn could barely breathe as the ocean of sensations rushed over him, currents hot as blood rolling back and forth over his body and breaking against the raised bend of his knee. Yuri canted his hips, grinding against Flynn's leg. He threw his head back, mouth open yet silent, features blue-tinted, need clear in his expression. His hands moved to grip Flynn's shoulders, palms cupping briefly around them as he rocked, thrusting himself against Flynn's thigh. It wasn't enough. He shifted, bracing himself against the floor as he sought the right angle, the right fit to elicit the pleasure teasing him on. His breath came heavier. His voice, when it caught and slipped out as he exhaled, was startling in the quiet that had shored up around them.
It startled Flynn, reminding him where they were and why Yuri had been so quiet in the first place. He clapped a hand over Yuri's mouth and started to sit up. Anything he might have said was lost, however, as Yuri surged forward, trapping Flynn's hand between their lips as he kissed the palm muffling him. His teeth tickled Flynn's skin, his tongue probed between retreating fingers. As Flynn pulled his hand fully out of the way, Yuri met him in earnest, hunger in the burning kiss. Yuri rocked between the kiss and the hardness of Flynn's thigh, still raised between his legs, only slowing when Flynn stretched out once more to leave nothing for him to grind against. Gradually, Yuri stilled, arms braced to either side of Flynn, lips parted as his soft, panting breaths heated the air between them.
“We can't get carried away,” Flynn cautioned. That winding tunnel choked with darkness was all that separated them from the class.
“No one will come if we're quiet.” Yuri reached up to cup Flynn's cheek in his hand, grinning even as he brought their lips together. Flynn hung suspended between the need for discretion and the alluring feel of Yuri's grin being eaten away by the kiss until it was lost in the shaping of their mouths one to another.
It was a long tunnel. And very dark.
“Live a little.” The words were muffled as Yuri fed them to him via the kiss, but Flynn had already made his decision. Fingers tangling in Yuri's hair, Flynn dragged him back down, startling a breathy laugh out of him. When Yuri shoved him in playful retaliation, Flynn pushed back. It set off a brief wrestling match punctuated by snorts of muffled laughter and the squeak of quick, purse-lipped kisses pressed anywhere they could reach. The scuffle ended with Flynn once more on top, holding Yuri's wrists pinned to the floor above his head amid the seaweed tangle of his hair. Yuri surrendered happily when Flynn settled atop him and kissed him deeply. Quiet returned, broken only by soft exhalations and the faint, wet smacks of the kiss.
As they relaxed, Yuri slipped one of his hands free. Absently, Flynn chased after it, fingers trailing down Yuri's arm. Squirming beneath him, Yuri worked his hand into his pocket, fishing around for something as Flynn reached his wrist. When he drew his hand out, he slipped deftly from Flynn's hold, but left something pressed against his palm and closed Flynn's fingers over it. It was a long moment before Flynn even realized what had happened, but when his fogged brain recognized the shape of a small, plastic bottle in his hand, he pushed himself up, breaking the kiss.
“Yuri!” In his shock, he nearly forgot to whisper. Yuri was grinning up at him, eager and unashamed. The fact that he had even brought it, that he had planned to—
“Gotcha,” Yuri murmured.
Flynn lifted his hand to take a closer look at what his desire-addled mind had taken for a bottle of lube. Squinting, he tilted it toward the aquarium to get a better look at the label: hand sanitizer.
He glared at Yuri. “You tricked me.”
Beneath him, Yuri began to shake with silent laughter. He rolled onto his side as Flynn got off him and moved to sit on the blanket. His shirt was still bunched high up on his side, his khakis pulled low on his hips. Pillowing his head on his arm, he watched Flynn as the laughter faded, leaving only a mischievous smile in its wake. His hair fanned out, coiled across the wrinkled dunes of the blanket, and Flynn thought again of mermaids.
“Come on,” Yuri said quietly. “I'm not that daring.” His eyes raked over Flynn's form, and his smile sharpened just the tiniest bit. “Yet.”
Flynn shivered. He turned his face away from Yuri, casting his gaze into the calm, blue waters before them. A large, yellow fish swam by with a half dozen smaller, silvery ones in attendance. The turtle put in an appearance near the top of the window where Flynn could see light breaking up against the choppy surface of the water. Beside him, he heard Yuri stir, but he kept his eyes on the aquarium. It was a good thing that they had stopped. As it was, he needed to give his body time to calm down before returning to his sleeping bag.
A second after that thought had crossed his mind, Yuri laid his head on Flynn's thigh, startling him. Sex was still on the brain: the pleasure of Yuri's touch, the suggestion of going further, the certainty that it wouldn't take much to recapture the mood, the feeling that Yuri had been right when he'd said no one would find them so long as they kept quiet.... Flynn felt a momentary thrill shoot through him at the idea.
The fantasy would remain merely a fantasy, however. Yuri wriggled, making himself comfortable. For the time being, he was only interested in Flynn as a pillow. They watched the fish together in silence for several minutes. As the warmth they'd built up fled, Yuri reached back to drag a corner of the blanket over himself.
“We should do this again next year,” Yuri said suddenly. “Get Karol to convince his teacher to set up an overnight trip.” He turned his head so that he could grin up at Flynn, eyes tempest-dark and shining with mischief. “Maybe I'll come better prepared.”
Flynn snorted and ruffled his hair. He let his hand rest atop Yuri's head for a moment, then, cautiously, unsure what sort of reaction he would get for the gesture, stroked Yuri's hair. It was soft beneath his touch, even considering the few rough tangles that tickled his palm. It had always seemed a little strange to him that someone as active as Yuri would let his hair grow out so long, but Flynn had to admit that it suited him. Yuri lay perfectly still right up until Flynn stopped petting him. He lifted his head just the slightest bit then, mimicking the motion a cat demanding attention. Smiling to himself, Flynn resumed stroking his hair.
The day caught back up to him. His eyelids drooped, blurring the shapes that swam past. His hand continued to move rhythmically, automatically, and he felt sure that Yuri was drifting off beside him.
Just a few more minutes, Flynn thought. He only wanted a few more minutes in this blue grotto of shadows and the drifting parade of sea creatures, just a few more minutes to float in dreamy silence with Yuri nestled at his side, hair silky beneath Flynn's fingers, legs curving beneath the blanket like the graceful sweep of a long fish tail.