Series: Tales of Vesperia
A/N: Loosely inspired by the first pic of Yuri in this post by Sato.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are from Tales of Vesperia and do not belong to me.
Sunrise. Rosy-fingered Dawn lightens the sky to a warm gray as the sun hovers pink and molten above the ancient bridge. A figure stands alone upon the stone, hands raised to gather long, wind-whipped hair, white button-down left open and flapping in the breeze, translucent in the early light so that his lean form is silhouetted. Staring helplessly, Flynn raises his camera. A flock of birds flies past in the background, twittering, as he takes the photo.
Flynn had always wanted to travel abroad. When his personal stars had aligned to provide him with three weeks paid vacation on top of an opportunity to join a tour group on top of enough savings to actually manage it, he decided that his work could go on without him for a while, and took advantage of the chance.
It had been a wonderful trip so far. They'd come to a city cradled by natural beauty: from the mountains with their stunning waterfalls, to the steel blue lakes with their sparkling waves. Nineteen other people had come on the tour, not counting the guide, and together they had visited museums, picturesque villages, orange groves, and even a castle. They had taken a day trip to the seaside and soaked up sun on the beach. The weather had been perfect: sunny without being too hot and cooled by balmy breezes. Flynn hadn't realized how badly he'd needed the vacation until he'd arrived and felt his stress melt away.
Although the group traveled together and ate together as often as not, Flynn still felt like something of an outsider. Everyone was friendly enough, but they were all couples or families—people who already had someone to make memories with. Only one other person had come alone, a man about Flynn's own age named Yuri who had missed the initial get-together before they had all left, but now flitted from group to group, always grinning and at ease. His energy and antics had made him popular with the children, but despite the fact that he shared a room at the hotel with Flynn, the two of them hadn't spoken much. Yuri had a habit of rising early and turning in late, going off to explore the city alone so that Flynn was usually asleep in bed whenever they were actually in the room at the same time. Still, even though they hadn't talked much, there was something about Yuri that had caught Flynn's attention.
Sitting by himself in the hotel room the night after they had visited a bridge as famous for its age as the legend behind it, Flynn had been going through the photos he'd been taking since the start of the trip. He had a number of photos of the mountains, intensely green beneath a pure blue sky. He had pictures of the orange groves, lovely even without their fragrance perfuming the air. He had views of the castle and the bridge, shots of the streets, panoramas of some of the most beautiful horizons he'd ever seen, pictures of a sunset over the wine-dark sea....
And he had photo after photo of Yuri.
As part of a tour group, it was understandable that he would have photographed other members, but most of them were side notes, figures out of focus in front of weathered stone walls or frothy waterfalls. Yuri, on the other hand, turned up again and again in the images, sometimes off to the side, admiring a view that would show up in the next photo, sometimes almost centered in a landscape. There were pictures of him on a ledge as he leaned out to look down into a valley, a low shot when he had climbed up onto a rock next to a waterfall, photos of him playing with children, juggling fruit in the market, making faces, laughing, chatting, grinning. He was in half the pictures or more, enough so that Flynn had been forced to admit that his inclusion was due to more than Yuri simply being photogenic. He had become as fascinating a subject as the landscapes and architecture.
With a sigh, Flynn turned off his camera and put it away. Wanting to finally break the ice between himself and Yuri, he tried to stay awake until his roommate returned...without success.
Flynn woke up the next morning covered only by the book he'd fallen asleep reading. Yuri, unsurprisingly, was nowhere to be seen. Out so late that Flynn had drifted off waiting for him, and now gone again before dawn. It was hard not to think that Yuri was actually avoiding him.
Confused, disappointed by his suspicion, Flynn got up and got dressed. It was still far too early for the rest of the group to be meeting up for breakfast, so he decided to take a page from Yuri's book and do some solo exploring. He brought his camera along, of course, and decided to take a walk back to the stone bridge in the hopes of getting some nice shots of it and the river during the sunrise.
Yuri turns slowly to face him. He doesn't look surprised to see Flynn there. A black hair tie protrudes from between his lips, and as Flynn approaches, walking over stones that have seen centuries of use, he finishes tying back his hair.
“Looking for me, Officer?” Yuri asks. The question startles Flynn, and not just because of his tone.
“How did you know I'm with the police?” And why is it a problem?
“The lingering smell of doughnuts. How's the withdrawal going?” A pause as Flynn realizes he was trying to make a joke, then Yuri grins, though the expression isn't unreservedly friendly. “Just yanking your chain. Heard about it from some of the others who made it to the meet-and-greet.”
“Why weren't you there?” Flynn still doesn't know what Yuri does for a living. Doesn't know much of anything about his life, really, only that he's captivating.
“It was the night before we left. Didn't want to be worn out for the trip.” He catches Flynn's eyes, but looks away just as quickly. Apparently, he was joking again, because he adds the truth offhandedly: “I've never been much for that sort of get-to-know-you party.”
Yuri sets off across the bridge, and Flynn follows automatically. He thinks maybe he knows what Yuri means. Sitting around and taking turns to toss out name, occupation, and one interesting personal fact was unarguably a stilted and inefficient way to really get to know someone. He thinks he's gotten to know Yuri better through his photos than he would have through a sixty second introduction. He's seen Yuri's adventurousness, seen his playful side and his kindness, seen him light up over the beauty of nature, seen glimpses of a restlessness that drives him to walk a foreign city at all hours.
It is because of all the things he's seen, all the little observations, that he dares to ask: “Does it bother you? That I'm a detective, I mean?”
Yuri shrugs. He's wearing flip-flops, and they slap loudly against the stone. At the middle of the bridge, he comes to a stop and turns to stare out over the water. The pastels of the sky are shading toward blue, and the river is picking up color. By noon, it will be a brilliant aquamarine. Flynn takes a couple of photos of the water and the sun's progress, but he's watching Yuri. He catches him just within the frame of the photos.
“In my experience,” Yuri says, gaze fixed out across the water, “cops aren't always the most stand-up guys.”
“We're working on that.” Flynn doesn't even consider trying to argue with him. He's seen enough corruption and burnout on the force to know better. The only thing to do is to fight to make a difference, both in the station and out on the streets. It's what his father had done, and it was what he has sworn to continue.
Yuri looks at him briefly, surprised maybe, but he doesn't comment on Flynn's response, only relaxes a bit and goes back to watching the river. It's not quite chilly, and the silence between them is comfortable, although not really what Flynn wants. Still, it's a step in the right direction, and maybe Yuri's wariness of police officers will ease after this. Flynn hopes there's nothing too objectionable in his past to have engendered such dislike, but he's got a feeling that Yuri isn't a bad person, and he's willing to trust his gut on that.
“Get any good shots of me?” Yuri asks with a nod at the camera.
Several, Flynn thinks. Embarrassed that Yuri has realized, he finds himself at a loss for words.
Having flustered him, Yuri laughs. “I'll give you my email. You'll have to send them to me.” His eyes are bright with interest, and he's no longer focused on the scenery.
“Sure.” He'd been afraid that the end of the trip would be the last he saw of Yuri except for in his photographs. Now, offered a connection, he can't help smiling. There's potential in the air as the sun rises to warm the earth. Flynn can practically sense it, and he is more delighted than ever that he decided to take this vacation.