Series: Tales of Vesperia
Warnings: another attempt at writing a character a little bit drunk
A/N: A post canon confession fic. I kinda like this one, but I'm also really unsure about how I wrote Yuri here. He's supposed to be a bit drunk, but.... Anyways. It is what it is.
Disclaimer: The characters and settings in this story are from Tales of Vesperia and do not belong to me.
Yuri watched with half-lidded eyes as Flynn loosed the towel from around his waist and set it aside to step down into the steaming water of the hot spring. His tanned skin was already damp from having scrubbed off, and bronzed by the light of sunset. Flynn was all hard muscle and scars, a formidable knight with a warrior's body. It was only up close that his freckles became apparent, the small gap between his front teeth, the hopeful brightness of his eyes. He still had the spirit of a determined Lower Quarter brat out to make the world a better place, come hell or high water. Still the same old Flynn, but now the sight of him caused a stirring, a twist of heartache. Yuri closed his eyes and listened to the sloshing of water as Flynn waded to his side and took a seat.
“If you'd waited, I could have scrubbed your back for you.”
Yuri grunted a reply, noncommittal. The thought appealed to him in ways that it wouldn't to Flynn; a false intimacy created by camaraderie. Beneath the surface, Flynn might be much the same as he'd been when they were boys, but Yuri's feelings for him had changed. He sank a bit further into the water, toying with hazy imaginings of his hands on Flynn's back, fingers shaping themselves to the contours of muscle and spine, soaking up warmth and leaving shivers in their wake. How sweet it would be to have the freedom to touch. He left off when his thoughts came too close to wakening parts of him from the pleasant languor brought on by the combination of rice wine and a hot soak.
“I'm glad you were able to take some time away from your guild to meet me here. Things aren't the same back home without you.”
That brought a grin to Yuri's face, and a short bark of laughter escaped him. “You mean it's quieter.”
“It is that,” Flynn agreed, a smile warming the words. “Though, with everything going on, I can hardly say that things are peaceful. To be honest, some days are so busy that I don't remember it until I fall into bed at night but...I miss you.”
That ache again, that knife twisting in his heart. Yuri laughed it off. “You don't need me causing extra trouble. Especially not now that I've just gotten my slate wiped clean.”
He smiled bitterly at that, glad to be free, but not hypocrite enough to completely ignore the lack of justice. Criminals should be punished equally under the law. Hadn't that been part of what needed fixing? Shaking his head left him with a momentary dizziness, a sign that maybe he'd drunk a little too much and stayed in the spring a bit too long.
“Why are we talking about this?”
“I was only saying that I missed you.” Flynn sounded the tiniest bit defensive, and fell quiet.
Sweat beaded on Yuri's brow. It trickled down his neck, tickled against his chest. He knew he ought to get out of the water. His nerves were overcooked noodles, incapable of transmitting the command to move. He could melt away, dissolve into the spring. Yuri soup.
“Do you really believe that there's someone better suited to stand by my side?”
The question focused his mind instantly. Yuri raised his head, eyes wide, homing in on Flynn's soft, serious voice. Flynn was staring at the broken reflection on the water's surface, a shifting kaleidoscope of shadow and smoked glass and sunset flame and brilliant pink. Yuri composed himself before Flynn looked up to meet his eyes, but only just barely. Some of his shock must have been still apparent.
“Where'd you hear that?” Only one possible answer.
“Sodia told me you'd said as much to her. I didn't want to think it might be true, but I also saw no reason for her to make up such a thing.”
Yuri could think of any number of reasons. He'd been coming up with them for years.
“So it is true,” Flynn said quietly, once the silence had gone on long enough to answer his question. Yuri turned away from the disappointment in his voice. “Why would you say something like that?”
Remembering the conversation, he shrugged. He wouldn't ask what else she had said. Either she'd told Flynn what she'd done, or she hadn't. There were worse things he had hidden from Flynn. The funny thing was, Yuri didn't even feel as if it was his secret to keep. He hadn't done anything, after all, nothing except fall, and he'd been all right in the end. The wound didn't ache anymore, and the nightmares rarely troubled him. He'd long since apologized for having caused everyone to worry. If Sodia was smart, she would let the past lie.
Dimly, he thought maybe he should be troubled by the dishonor inherent in her holding her peace. He was more annoyed, however, by the fact that she had revealed his secret and probably kept her own.
Yuri was startled out of his thoughts when Flynn's hand touched his arm just beneath the water. He looked down, feeling more than seeing that touch travel lower, skimming over elbow and wrist until Flynn's hand rested atop his.
He couldn't look up. What he'd said was still true, though it didn't hurt him quite so keenly as it had when he'd first realized it, or when he had first given voice to the thought—to Sodia, of all people. There was no changing what he had done, and pardons didn't make him less of a murderer. He could strive to be better—he would strive to be better—and maybe one day he would no longer have any fears that Flynn might be tainted by their connection, but Flynn still deserved someone more suited to him. He deserved someone less troublesome, someone who could put his heart at ease, someone who could bear him children and give him a family again.
Flynn's fingers curled in between his, the tips of them pressing into Yuri's palm.
“There's no one else I'd rather have beside me, Yuri.” He spoke softly, though there was no one around to hear. There was only the two of them, the lapping of the water, the lazy clouds of steam, the fading sunlight, the languorous heat. “You're the only family I have left. I don't want to lose you, too.”
He lifted their hands from the water, and Yuri, unable to keep his eyes averted, turned back just as Flynn placed a tender kiss on the top of his ring finger.
Yuri gaped. His brain was simmering, boiling over. The heat must have gone to his head, made him misunderstand.
“Not—not a very brotherly gesture.” His voice emerged at first as an embarrassing squeak, ruining the attempt to brush off the moment.
Flynn wasn't to be deterred. He ran a hand reflexively through his hair, the way he always did when nerves had gotten him started but determination would see him finished. His hair was left partially slicked back, the rest clinging damply to his forehead and cheek, curling around the blue whirlpool of one of his eyes. He was leaning too close, Yuri's hand still held to his lips as he smiled, almost bashfully, and admitted: “It's been some time since I could call my feelings for you 'brotherly'.”
Yuri was chin deep in the water. He'd retreated without realizing it, shrunk down as Flynn pressed closer, because he'd been prepared to live with the knife in his heart, the unspoken hope leading to unending hurt, but he hadn't ever allowed himself to consider the possibility of this. His head was swimming. He was at a loss.
“What—” He stopped, licked his lips, tried again, treading carefully as if the moment might burst and boil over leaving nothing but his most private wish evaporating like steam. “What would you call them?”
The freckles that spotted Flynn's cheeks were nearly invisible over his tan and the heat pinking his skin. Heat from the spring? From embarrassment?
“Can I show you?” His fingers squeezed around Yuri's hand, holding tight.
Heart thundering so hard in his chest that Yuri felt his pulse pounding in his ears, he gave the barest of nods. There was almost no space left between them. Their arms were crushed between their chests, fingers twined together beneath their chins. Only a breath away, now only the space of a wish made to a shooting star.
Flynn's lips against his were damp and warm.
Yuri's heart swelled too large in his chest. His eyes prickled and burned. He laughed, shortly, shakily, and when Flynn pulled back to look him in the eye, Yuri practically leapt forward, wrapping his free arm around Flynn's shoulders and so lightheaded he didn't know what to do with himself. Stupid of him to have given up without ever even trying.
Trails of heat trickled down Yuri's cheeks as they kissed. Just sweat, of course. He'd just been soaking too long. He wouldn't admit to tears.