suspicious_popsicle: (Default)
Story: Unseen
Series: Tales of Vesperia
Pairings: Fluri
Warnings: adult content

A/N: A PWP based on a really stupid idea that popped into my head one night.

Disclaimer: The characters and settings in this story are from Tales of Vesperia and do not belong to me.


Yuri's voice came to him out of the warm, dancing darkness beyond Flynn's tightly closed eyes.

“Are you going to refuse to look the whole time?”

Flynn nodded. Then, in the next moment as Yuri ground their hips together, he sucked in a breath and pressed his head back into his pillow. He lay naked on his bed, breathing gone ragged as Yuri straddled him, thighs hot where they fetched up against Flynn's skin.

“It's...unsettling,” Flynn murmured.

Yuri's laugh jostled them both, and Flynn swallowed back a moan. Fingertips settled on his stomach and trailed lower, and he groaned as Yuri's fingers curled around his erection. Back arched, he peeked almost involuntarily out from between his lashes, but saw only the top of his headboard and the wall in the shadows.

“You don't seem that unsettled.” Yuri's voice was low and teasing. At the first dip of the mattress as he moved, Flynn squeezed his eyes shut once more.

Yuri's lips were soft against Flynn's throat, and hot when they met his mouth and melted into a kiss. Exploring with his tongue, Flynn felt lips and sharp teeth, soft tongue and hard pallet. Humid breath mingled and collected between them. The slow roll of their bodies moving against each other set off pleasurable sparks. He wrapped his arms around Yuri, feeling the shift of muscles in his back, the sweat that left his long hair tangled and sticking to his skin. He felt the warmth of Yuri's hands gripping his shoulders, and Yuri's own stiffening erection pressing against his stomach.

It was Yuri who broke the kiss, pulling back to murmur against Flynn's lips: “It's a bit disorienting for me, too.”

He sat back, rocking his hips to stir up a more than agreeable sensation. His hands skimmed down over Flynn's chest, fingers spread, before lifting away. One fingertip touched down again to trace lines on Flynn's stomach: a wide curve, another next to it, a long line running straight up between Flynn's pectorals before coming around and back down towards the start. Abruptly, Flynn recognized the outline as a cock and balls.


There was more exasperation in his tone than reprimand, but Flynn's eyes still flew open reflexively for him to see...nothing.

Where Yuri should have been grinning down at him, softly lit by the lamp on the nightstand, there was nothing but empty air. The heat of Yuri's legs and groin, his weight, the movements of his body, his breathy laughter—his presence surrounded Flynn, while Yuri's body remained entirely invisible. Where the tip of his finger rested was only a spot of pallor in the middle of Flynn's flushed skin, and that faded instantly away when the pressure of his touch receded. His voice, issuing from unseen lips, was wry.

“I can't see myself either, you know.”


The trouble actually started well before Flynn had gotten wind of it, which, when Yuri was involved, was actually somewhat unusual. On his way to a meeting with Ioder earlier that afternoon, Flynn had chanced upon Captain Leblanc speaking with a member of his brigade. The conversation had been a strange one.

“There is no such thing as ghosts,” Leblanc insisted with rock-solid certainty.

“Yes, sir! I mean, nossir! I mean, sir...there've been reports from every patrol today.”

“Pranks! Nonsense! I'd almost say it was Lowell, but sneaking around isn't his style.”

That had been enough to draw Flynn into the conversation. He'd approached, further unnerving the young knight who had saluted so stiffly and with a look of such mingled awe and terror on his face that Flynn hadn't known whether to laugh or sigh. Leblanc turned to see what had caught his subordinate's attention, and performed a businesslike salute of his own.

“Good day, Captain. I couldn't help overhearing part of your conversation, and you've caught my interest. What's going on?”

“Nothing I'd trouble you with, Commandant.”

“The Lower Quarter's haunted!” blurted the young knight.

“Jokesters in high spirits!” Leblanc snapped instantly. If he'd meant to make a pun, it didn't show when he turned back to Flynn. “Begging your pardon, sir. My men have been jumpy today is all. A few extra hours of drills will have everything right again.”

“If you don't mind—” As Commandant, Flynn was conscious of the fact that it didn't matter whether Leblanc minded or not, but the courtesy kept the burden of rank settled more comfortably on his shoulders. “—I'd like to hear about these reports.” Even if this had nothing to do with Yuri, Flynn considered problems in the Lower Quarter to be his personal concern.

Leblanc, who looked very much like he did mind, but understood just as well that an order could be forthcoming, nodded to the young knight who remained stiffly at attention. “Tell him. Quickly.”

“Ghosts, sir! Can't see as how it'd be anything else! They've been harassing the patrols down in the Lower Quarter: poking and prodding us, putting a chill down our backs, all sorts of mischief. We'll be walking along and trip over something solid as you like, but looking down, there's nothing there. Someone chucked an apple at my head, sir, rang true off my helmet. When I turned to look, there was no one in sight but the man behind the apple cart, and him busy setting out stock. I asked him if he seen anyone, but he hadn't, and then we both heard a sort of laugh and a 'clink!' and something landed in his scales.” He stared at Flynn with wide, beseeching eyes, knowing his story sounded ridiculous, but desperate to be believed. “It was a coin, sir, an invisible coin. I felt it myself. Ghost money to pay for the apple it threw.”

Leblanc snorted and rolled his eyes.

“If it's a ghost,” Flynn said cautiously, “it's an oddly conscientious one.” He met Leblanc's eyes, understanding now why he'd thought of Yuri in connection with the reports. “Tell me, is this ghost only targeting Knights, or is it causing mischief among the citizens as well?”

“Only been the Knights, so far as we know, sir, and I think people would have told us otherwise.”

Flynn remembered a time when the people of the Lower Quarter wouldn't have bothered telling the Knights anything, a time when it wouldn't have made any difference. Reminded of how far they'd come in only a few short years, he couldn't quite hold back a smile.

“Captain, would you mind going down to look into the situation personally? I'd do it myself, but Emperor Ioder is expecting me shortly. I won't be able to help investigate until later this evening.”

“No need for you to concern yourself with this, Commandant. I'll get it handled right away, and bring you my report tonight.”

“Thank you, Captain.” He watched them salute and march off, no longer trying to hide his grin. Ghosts that played tricks on the Knights? Yuri was going to love hearing about that.

The luncheon meeting with Ioder ran long, but left Flynn in high spirits. Ioder's vision for the Empire was much the same as his, and he was supportive of Flynn's plans for the Knights and open to his opinions on policy in ways that many of the Council were not. Filled with hope for the future and bubbling over with energy to burn, Flynn decided to visit the Knights' training grounds after leaving the Emperor's state room. Had Yuri been in town, Flynn would have sought him out for a match. In his place, the trainees would do, and it would be good to interact with them and spend a little time getting to know the men and women who were protecting the Empire.

As he made his way through the halls, a familiar sensation stole over him. He felt the weight of a stare, though no one he passed seemed to pay him more than a moment's mind. Despite that, he couldn't shake the feeling that he was being watched. It made him want to pick up his pace, that or put his back to a wall until he discovered the source of his unease. Such impulses felt foolish in the halls of the imperial palace, yet still he paused, meaning to study his surroundings. The moment he did, a puff of air, humid as a breath, blew into his ear.

Flynn started. He clapped one hand over his ear and swung out instinctively with his other fist. There was nothing but empty air.

He thought briefly about ghosts that harassed Imperial Knights, then, in the next breath, shook his head over the idea. There were no such things as ghosts. He had just passed one of the palace's interior gardens. The gust had likely been nothing more than a draft. The sense of being watched, too, might merely have been goosebumps raised by air currents. Flynn forced himself to accept the explanation and continued on.

Even so, doubt stalked him. The phantom rustle of fabric reached his ears, somehow incongruous with the movements of those he passed. And there, every now and again, not quite in sync with his own footsteps, a whisper of sound like something soft and fleshy—a bare foot, for instance—touching down on the marble floor.

Yet always—from the corner of his eye, or in the occasional glance back—nothing.

Flynn shivered and walked faster.

Outside, the sky was overcast, turning the autumn afternoon's fading sunlight murky gray. A fine drizzle had begun to fall, and the grass was slick with it beneath Flynn's boots. The training yard was separated from the palace by the barracks and stables. It was a fenced-in area of stamped-down dirt, ringed by torches and open to the elements. As Flynn approached, he began to hear shouts and the ring of steel against steel, the dull thud of armored bodies slamming together or falling to the ground. A little rain wouldn't be enough to halt the day's training. Knights were expected to be able to fight in any weather, after all.

Smiling to himself, Flynn checked the draw of his sword, made sure it would slide out quick and clean. His stride lengthened as anticipation drew him on. The uneasiness he had felt in the palace vanished like mist before the sun. As he joined the throng of Knights and waited impatiently to participate in the next set of sparring matches, it became easier to believe that the drafty halls had been responsible after all, that he'd only been spooked because of that talk about ghosts earlier in the day. He stretched his arms and legs, working kinks out of muscles left idle far too often nowadays. He wore no gauntlets, bracers, chest plate, or greaves, not even any gloves, and he waved away offers to loan him any of the leather armor worn for practice bouts. His sword was a welcome weight in his hand. He approved of the determination in the face of the Knight who met him in the training yard.

For a short while, Flynn forgot about strange goings-on in the Lower Quarter. He set aside his plans and forgot about his status as Commandant, which would have him building the future he'd dreamed about largely from within the walls of the palace. For just a while, he felt like merely another face in the ranks, sparring in the rain and the mud like all the others. It didn't matter that his boots and uniform were soaked and dirty and disheveled. There was no one making demands on his time, no paperwork, no complex manners or intrigue, no two-faced Council members, none of the organizational nightmare that had awaited him upon his appointment to the office. He had a sword and an opponent. Things were simple.

Flynn was well-immersed in his third match when he heard it. Someone whistled from the sidelines, and the sound shot straight through him. He knew that sound, knew immediately who was there watching him, and the surprise was enough to yank his attention away from his opponent for a crucial moment. As his head automatically whipped around, eyes scanning the group of watching Knights without finding the figure he sought, he was taken off-guard and his feet were swept out from beneath him. Instinctively, he started to roll aside to avoid the blow he knew would be coming, but acceptance of his mistake stopped him. He went still, allowing his opponent to level a blade over his heart, and Flynn yielded the match.

The Knights were silent. They had never seen him lose before. As he picked himself up, Flynn was chagrined to have allowed it to happen, but he comforted himself with the excuse that it could serve as a lesson.

“I owe you an apology,” he told his gaping sparring partner as they shook hands. Louder, for the benefit of all present, he said: “I was careless. I didn't take the fight seriously, and I allowed myself to be distracted. Remember to always take your enemies seriously and to be aware of your surroundings. Skill and training won't help you if you're careless.”

“You could have gotten out of the way and kept the match going,” the young Knight muttered. “You'd have beaten me, then.”

Flynn turned back to his opponent with a smile. “Perhaps. But it made for a better example this way.”

The man still looked unhappy with the outcome, and maybe he had a right to be. Flynn had let him win, after all. Yuri would have been livid, and Flynn could see echoes of his friend in the way this young man carried himself, in the set of his jaw, and particularly in some of the small flourishes he'd obviously been practicing during his drills. Had he been one of the crowd when Yuri had convinced Flynn to spar with him in the training grounds months ago? It was impossible to remember. Yuri was not an opponent who ever afforded Flynn a chance to be distracted.

“If you'll excuse me, there's someone I need to speak with.”

It was all Flynn offered him for his wounded pride. He left the field, searching fruitlessly for Yuri among the crowd. The rain had picked up, but he was nowhere to be seen in the small, covered area for spectators. It was unlike him to have vanished despite having such a perfect opportunity to needle Flynn over a mistake. His absence was enough to make Flynn wonder if he'd been wrong about the whistle, if maybe it hadn't been Yuri after all. He hadn't had word that Yuri would be back in town, after all, so he hadn't been expecting him. It was only that when he'd heard that whistle, he'd hoped....

He left the training grounds behind, becoming aware as he did so of his sodden state, of the mud caked thick and cold in his hair and on his clothes, of the mess he had just created for the laundresses, and of the dignity of his position as Commandant. With the same sheepish feeling he used to get knowing that his mother was going to lecture him on having dirtied a new set of clothes, Flynn slipped back into the palace, taking a circuitous route to his rooms and hoping he didn't run into anyone who might care overmuch about his appearance. As much as he tried to tell himself that joining such training was acceptable—even, perhaps, to be expected—he still couldn't help feeling obscurely guilty. The Commandant was supposed to be leading the Knights, not roughhousing with them.

Along with his awareness of his position, the hair-raising sense of eyes trained on him also returned as he hurried through the nearly empty halls. He tried to put it down to his embarrassment over being so disheveled, but the feeling didn't let up until he was nearly back to his rooms. A gust of cool air blew past him, making him jump and turn to look back down the corridor. There was no one in sight, and he scowled, annoyed to have no target for his growing irritation. He continued on, only realizing as he turned the final corner before reaching his door that the feeling of being watched had vanished.

That relief lasted only long enough for him to enter his state room. Having spent most of the past few years in that room, he could tell immediately that something wasn't quite right. His window was closed, unlocked, but if Yuri had come in, he'd have left a trail of mud and raindrops. The door to his private quarters was shut, just as he'd left it. All the same, he was convinced that he wasn't alone. Stepping forward cautiously, he strained his ears, listening for any out of place sounds. He heard no breath but his own, no soft shuffle against the carpet that couldn't be attributed to his own slow footsteps. There was nothing to support the goosebumps prickling his skin, nothing until he felt the slightest breeze against the back of his neck in that closed, still room.

“Show yourself!” His sword rang out as he drew it and spun to slash at who- or whatever had slipped around behind him.

There was a clash as his sword was brought up short by a jarring impact that he felt up to his shoulder. It was a sound he knew well. Another blade had caught his, although there was nothing to be seen. Flynn gritted his teeth, pressing forward as he glowered into empty air. It was only when a familiar laugh sounded from right before his eyes that he faltered and goggled, incredulous.


“In the flesh.” The resistance against Flynn's sword increased, nearly forcing him back. “You really want to keep this up? Pretty sure I have an advantage over you right now.”

Flynn eased back, carefully, so that Yuri would do so as well. There was no distortion in the air, no shadow, no sign of his presence. Flynn had to squint to even see where the carpet sunk beneath his feet. He looked up again just as quickly, scanning the seemingly empty air between himself and the door.

“Yuri? Are you really...?” Reaching out, he took a hasty step forward. His palms fetched up against the warmth of a chest, the worn material of Yuri's vest, the curve of his arm. “Why can't I see you?”

The question—or Flynn's bewilderment—made him laugh again. “Neat, huh?”

Warmth settled over Flynn's hands and made him jump. He let Yuri guide his hands up, and felt beneath them the ridges of collarbone, the delicate skin of Yuri's throat, the curve of his jaw, the softness of his cheeks. His fingertips brushed over Yuri's ears, thumbs coming to rest at the corners of his eyes. Flynn felt the tickle of Yuri's hair, the twitch of his blinking. He held Yuri's face in his hands, and saw nothing but emptiness cupped there.

“How did this happen?”

“Hey.” Yuri tightened his grip on Flynn's hands momentarily. “No need to look so worried. It's just one of Rita's inventions. She wouldn't have loaned it to me if it wasn't safe. Probably.” He laughed, making a joke out of that last comment.

Flynn hadn't realized he'd looked so in need of reassurance, and offered a tentative smile. “So it was you sneaking around after me in the halls.”


“I didn't know you were capable of being so quiet. Are you barefoot by any chance?”

“You caught on to that?”

Flynn couldn't tell if he was shocked or delighted. He wished he could see Yuri's face.

“My boots were too loud, so I left them behind. Of course, I won't be able to find them again until I'm back to normal.”

“Which will be sooner rather than later, I hope. What was Rita thinking, using an invisibility spell on someone like you?” He grinned, to take the sting out of the words.

“Not a spell. A cloak.” Yuri slipped out from between Flynn's hands and was immediately lost. His voice was Flynn's only clue, and he turned to follow it as Yuri continued speaking. “Go run yourself a bath, Commandant Mudpuddle. I'll tell you all about it while you wash up.”

“It's a little disconcerting to hear you when I can't see you.” He started toward his private quarters. Yuri wasn't trying to hide his footsteps anymore, but the carpet muffled the sound of his movements.

“Pretend I'm outside, then, instead of ogling your ass.”

Flynn's next step brought him close enough for Yuri to reach behind him and pinch him through his pants. He jumped, startled, and smacked at the space where Yuri had been, barely catching him with the tips of his fingers. Yuri's laughter came from several steps away, elusive and taunting. Knowing this was a battle he couldn't win, Flynn merely rolled his eyes and headed for his bathroom. He shed his mud-stained clothes as he went, laughing as Yuri whistled.

Having no doubt that Yuri intended to follow, Flynn pushed the door closed, anyway. He watched as it opened again, revealing nothing but the room beyond. Yuri didn't bother to close the door, and it only took a few seconds for Flynn to begin doubting his location. Was he still standing in the open doorway, or had he moved to one side or another? He was being quiet again, playing games. Flynn could picture him muffling his laughter.


Silence, for a moment. Then, the tap squeaked and water gushed forth. Flynn spun around to see the tub filling. When he came closer, there was a disturbance in the rising water that ran occasionally against the flow—Yuri's hand, trailing through it. Droplets rained down as he raised his hand. The thin sheen of water and silvery rivulets gave vague shape to his fingers, made him seem ghostly rather than merely invisible.

“You jumped,” Yuri accused, voice warmed by a grin.

“You're seeing things.”

“I'll say.” He whistled again, a different sort of teasing coloring his voice. “Want me to wash your back for you?” The bar of soap leapt from its tray and flew back and forth in short arcs.

“You'll have to take that cloak off first,” Flynn said. Privately, he was relieved to have an excuse to ask Yuri to take it off. Admitting that he was unnerved by his friend's invisibility would have only encouraged Yuri to keep messing around.

“Ah. I'll explain about that later.”

About to step into the tub, Flynn paused. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Slight complication. No big deal. Get in before your water gets cold.”

The water was still running and in no danger of cooling off any time soon, but Flynn got into the tub anyway, eyeing the hovering bar of soap suspiciously. The heat was heaven against his chilled skin, but he couldn't relax when he obviously wasn't going to like what Yuri had to say.

“Like what you can't see?” Yuri joked as the silence stretched out. The soap shot upwards. “My eyes are up here.”

“Ha ha. Weren't you saying something about washing my back?” If Yuri was out of sight behind him, maybe it wouldn't matter so much that he was invisible.

“Yeah, sure.”

The soap was set down. Flynn heard the rustle of fabric, and the soft noise of clothing being dropped to the floor. Yuri still didn't appear.

“You said she'd made a cloak of invisibility, right?”

“Yeah. Well. Technically, there was a spell involved. I think she sewed it into the cloak.” His voice traveled around the tub.

“If you just took it off, then why can't I see you?”

“That was only my shirt. I didn't want to get it wet.” He nudged Flynn's shoulder. “Hand me the soap.”

He obeyed automatically, passing it back over his shoulder. “But obviously you don't mind the cloak getting wet, so long as you can keep goofing off.”

Yuri had nothing to say to that. Watching the water rise as Yuri dunked the soap and began running it in circles over his back, Flynn wondered about his silence. As Yuri abandoned the soap and began massaging through the thick lather, an unpleasant possibility occurred to Flynn. He reached out to shut off the water, delaying for a moment longer before he had to ask.

“Are you or are you not currently wearing a cloak that makes you invisible?”

“Not.” He didn't even pause as he applied his nails to scratch Flynn's back. The gesture lacked some of its usual appeal.


“It's not what you think!” He laughed softly and ruffled Flynn's hair, forcing his head forward. “Rita figured out the spell, but it's apparently a pretty complicated piece of work. So, to make it easier and quicker, she put the spell into a cloak. Put it on inside out and you're invisible—even if you take it off again. To reverse the spell, all I have to do it put the cloak on right side out.”

Heaving a sigh of relief, Flynn sagged and let himself relax as Yuri worked kinks out of his shoulders and neck. “I'm glad to hear it. Did you hide the cloak in my room before coming to find me? I'm assuming you're staying the night.”

He smiled, gentle teasing in his tone as warm desire woke slowly to the implications. Reaching up, he caught Yuri's fingers where they were rubbing the crook of his neck. He'd have kissed them but for the soap, and settled for nuzzling his cheek against them instead.

“The cloak isn't here.”

“Your room, then?”


“Then where...?” He was slow to take alarm, thinking that even Yuri wouldn't be careless enough to—

“I lost it.”

“You what?”

Flynn scrambled to turn around, slipping against the slick porcelain as he did and sloshing water over the sides of the tub. He barely noticed. Yuri had pulled his hands back and now held them up, the thick, white lather defining fingers and palms against nothingness. Stray flecks of suds sat upon his wrists and forearms, and one speck had found its way onto his chest. These were the only clues Flynn had to direct his gaze. He tried to glare where Yuri's eyes ought to be, but in the back of his mind, he was certain that it only looked as if he was scowling at the wall across the room.

“How could you lose something like that?”

“Pretty easily, actually, since its invisible.”

“How can you be so calm? Without that, you're stuck this way, right? And what happens if someone unscrupulous stumbles over it and realizes what they've found?”

“Look, just—”

“Don't tell me to 'look' when you've lost an invisible cloak!”

He heard Yuri choking back a laugh, and that more than anything convinced him to take a deep breath and try to calm down. As exasperated and worried as he was, shouting wasn't going to help anything.

“Listen, then. I borrowed the cloak from Rita—”

“Remind me to ask her not to loan you any new creations in the future.”

“Shut up. I was just having a little fun with it—playing hide-and-seek with Repede and, you know, keeping your Knights on their toes.”

“Leblanc knew it was you,” Flynn muttered.

“Leblanc would blame me for hiding the sun every night if he could get away with it.”

“He doesn't actually dislike you, you know. Although you do cause an awful lot of trouble.” He lunged, actually managing to shove Yuri before his friend could dodge. Yuri laughed and shoved him back.

“Duck your head. I'll help you wash the mud out of your hair.”

Flynn took a breath and dipped his hair briefly into the water. He slicked it back out of his face as he came up, then turned back around to settle down facing away from Yuri.

“...Maybe I should join you after all.”

Yuri's voice had sounded a little tight, and he cleared his throat. Even knowing there would be nothing to see, Flynn couldn't quell the urge to glance back over his shoulder. Being unable to see Yuri's face was making it hard to tell what he was thinking. They'd been together for so long, that Flynn had started to feel almost like they could read each other's minds. Maybe the reality wasn't that strange, though. Maybe they were just finely attuned to each other. Unable to see Yuri's expressions and read the cues there left Flynn off-balance. He turned his head to face forward again, listening to the rustle of cloth as Yuri stripped off his pants.

“What changed your mind all of a sudden?” Flynn asked.

“Oh, nothing much.”

The solid warmth of Yuri's arms settled over his shoulders and across the top of his chest. He felt a hot breath against his ear right before Yuri murmured: “Just remembered how much I missed you.” The rare admission was followed by the feeling of teeth closing around his earlobe. Tingles ran down Flynn's spine as Yuri nibbled his ear. Gradually, the sharp pinch of teeth and soft brush of lips moved lower, seeking out his neck, sucking at the skin just below the hairline and making Flynn shiver despite the heat of the bathwater. Yuri's nails were grazing Flynn's chest, tracing circular patterns on his skin. His arms were solid beneath Flynn's palms, and Flynn found that if he kept his eyes closed, it was as if nothing was wrong. He hummed his pleasure as Yuri shifted, trailing his hands lower as he left his mark on Flynn's neck.

“Said you were going to join me...” Flynn murmured. Much as he was enjoying Yuri's show of affection, he craved the weight of Yuri's body against his, the tangle of their legs, the feel of him held close, the ticking of his heartbeat against Flynn's wrists and palms.

Yuri licked up from beneath Flynn's chin, a slow, indolent caress. He didn't tease by running away when Flynn turned his head to catch his lips. Rather, it was Yuri who had to guide the kiss, tilting his face just so when Flynn's mouth had caught his cheek instead. He moved slowly, arms loose around Flynn's shoulders. Water ran down Flynn's arm, splashing back into the tub as he reached up to trace the map of Yuri's features with his fingers, carefully following the contour of his jaw, the ridge of his cheekbone, the feathering of his lashes and delicate skin of his eyelid, his brow, shadowed by soft hair, his temple, the curve of his ear.

They broke the kiss with a soft, wet smack, both breathing a little heavier than before. Flynn peeked. The spell was broken. Yuri remained invisible. Hurriedly, he closed his eyes again and turned his face away.

“Maybe we shouldn't—”

If Yuri had heard, he paid no mind. Water sloshed over the edges of the tub as Yuri climbed in, straddling Flynn's lap. Minuscule bubbles clung to his skin, silvering his legs. His outline was visible beneath the surface like a bubble of air. His body left a hole where it parted the water.

“Look at that!” Yuri laughed and raked his hand slowly through the water. “Like a bubble. Pop!” He poked at his own thigh, and Flynn was embarrassed to feel relief when nothing actually happened. “I'll have to tell Rita it doesn't work too well in water.”

“It still works,” Flynn said. He was having trouble finding a place to look. As much as it unsettled him, the gap in the water where Yuri sat also fascinated him. Reaching out, he tried to poke it, only to be brought up short when his finger jabbed Yuri's stomach.

“Hey! If that's how you want it, then how's this?”

Yuri scooped up a double handful of water. It hung suspended for only a moment, a floating lake surrounded by waterfalls, before he dumped it all onto Flynn's head.

“Wha—! Yuri!”

Again and again he doused Flynn, laughing the whole while as Flynn flung up water to splash him back or tried to catch his arms. Yuri slipped free every time, and it was impossible to keep track of where his hands were until they plunged beneath the surface for more ammunition. They were both thoroughly soaked by the time their battle had ended. Flynn could tell by the water that beaded up and streamed down air in the shape of Yuri's chest, and by the few, brief moments where, grasping blindly, he had felt Yuri's hair becoming increasingly sodden. Laughter echoed off the tiled walls, dying down slowly.

“Bet you've still got mud in your hair,” Yuri said. Flynn could tell he was grinning.

“And whose fault is that?”

“Still want me to wash it for you?”

There was a pause as the water shifted around the empty places where Yuri knelt. Flynn felt him lift himself higher, felt the press of his legs as he turned. The shelf that held the soap and shampoo was just within reach behind him. He lifted a bottle off, and Flynn was so caught up watching it float through the air that he missed the second bottle until Yuri held it practically right under his nose.

“I'll take care of your hair,” Yuri said. “You take care of me.”

The second, smaller bottle, the one he handed to Flynn, was a vial of oil. They'd gone through a whole bottle during his last visit, and Flynn was suddenly very glad he hadn't put off buying more. He clutched it against his chest, watching Yuri squirt a dollop of shampoo onto one invisible palm. Then, Yuri's hands were on his head, fingers tangling in his hair as he lathered up the shampoo. Flynn let Yuri guide his head back. He parted his lips in welcome as he felt the heat of Yuri's mouth on his. They kissed as Yuri massaged his scalp with a languorous rhythm, cradling Flynn close as much as working the shampoo into his hair.

The slow give and take of the kiss lulled Flynn into warm contentment. He felt he could stay like that forever, as the feel of Yuri's lips against his, the twining of their tongues, the carding of fingers through his hair, the gentle press of their bodies all combined to build him gradually up to perfect bliss.

Yuri broke the kiss only once. He rested his forehead against Flynn's, breath hot between them.

“The oil, Flynn,” he murmured. “Do you want me?”

“Yes,” he breathed. When Yuri lowered his hips, rolling them forward against Flynn's, a gasp broke from his throat.

“Then work with me, here.”

He pulled away, leaving Flynn momentarily reaching out after him. He had only stopped in order to pull the plug on the tub, however. The water gurgled and began to drain away. Yuri returned, fingers threading into Flynn's hair, pulling him close once again, plunging his tongue between Flynn's lips to kiss him with renewed vigor. This time, Flynn fumbled the cap off the bottle. He poured a measure of the oil onto his fingers, and followed the trail of Yuri's body, skimming over ribs around to his back, down to the curve of his ass, the cleft there, the small ring of muscle. Yuri's hips were still beneath the water, though. That was why he had pulled the plug, Flynn realized hazily. He teased, circling and prodding, knowing most of the oil would have been washed away. The water continued to drain, agonizingly slowly.

For the moment, Yuri was satisfied with such touches. He rocked back against Flynn's hand, laughed as Flynn playfully pinched his thigh. He was all heat and eagerness, pleasant noises spilling from his throat, knees clamped around Flynn, body swaying like breakers rushing gently up a beach.

The kiss grew more demanding as they moved from welcome to re-acquaintance, finding shared rhythms, remembering what it felt like to hold each other. Weights were lifted, burdens set aside. Talk would come later, a quiet murmuring in the darkness once they had sated themselves. Consumed by the kiss, feeling giddy delight lick like flames beneath his skin, Flynn played no roles, had no fear that he might say or do the wrong thing, that he might disappoint, that he might not measure up. There was no need for any of that with Yuri. They were childhood friends with big dreams, they were each what the other lacked.

Holding the small bottle awkwardly, Flynn stroked Yuri's hair back, feeling it thick with water beneath his fingers. He rubbed Yuri's shoulder, his back, fingers skimming over scars that illustrated some stories he knew and some he had yet to hear. He felt his way down over Yuri's ribs, less prominent now than they had been during the lean, childhood years. Yuri's stomach quivered with a hitch of breath. He was ticklish, a temptation. Flynn's fingers hovered, moved on, re-learned the topology of Yuri's skin. Here, a puncture wound; here, a knife scar. His fingers searched out Yuri's heart, felt it beating reassuringly strongly within his chest. Flynn let his touch linger there a moment in thankfulness, in prayer for many more safe homecomings.

With a moan, Yuri surged forward against him. He swiveled his hips as he settled, rubbing up against Flynn with a teasing burst of sensation. The water had sunk low enough to leave him almost completely exposed. Only the outlines of his lower calves, his ankles and feet remained when Flynn looked. The sight made him shiver, as much because it called his awareness to the chill of the air against his own bare skin as that it freshly reminded him of Yuri's invisibility. Closing his eyes once more, he hid his hands in the warm crevasse between their bodies and poured more of the oil onto his fingers. This time, he didn't bother teasing.

Yuri sucked in a slow breath as Flynn pressed a finger inside him. Breaking the kiss, he tucked in his chin and raised his hips. Flynn stroked him gently, taking his time with small, careful movements. He kissed Yuri's forehead through a fringe of wet hair that left the taste of shampoo on his lips.

Knowing what he would see, but unable to resist, Flynn peeked. He saw only his own body, shining with droplets of water and traces of soap, the beginning of an erection swelling between his legs. His hand curved around air that felt as warm and solid as flesh. One finger was crooked inwards. Flynn watched with incredulous fascination, seeing the movements perfectly clearly even though he could feel the tight barrier of Yuri's flesh surrounding his finger. The oil made it easier to move. He slipped his finger in and out, hearing Yuri's encouraging moans, feeling the wetness of Yuri's mouth against his throat.

Transfixed, Flynn watched the flexing of his finger, trying to mesh the conflicting accounts from his senses. He could see nothing but himself, but he felt Yuri surrounding him, sucking on his neck, pressing him against the cooling porcelain, clenching reflexively around the finger that Flynn moved inside him. He felt Yuri's soap-slick hands relax their grip on his shoulders and move down to his chest. Dripping suds in the vague shape of fingers pinched his nipples, making him gasp. When Yuri moved, the light caught the remaining droplets on his skin, making them shine, and illuminating a stretch of his back, a glimmering of thigh. He was a ghost of quicksilver and reflected light.

Flynn pulled free, fumbled again with the bottle of oil. He had to search Yuri's body by touch once more before he could slip in a second finger. Yuri moaned happily, mouth going slack against Flynn's neck. Their kisses, when they resumed, grew sloppy, hastier. Given a taste, both of them found that they were starving for the other's touch. Yuri's hands couldn't find a place to settle. His touch roamed, rubbing warmth into Flynn's skin, pinching, teasing, caressing. He squirmed with impatience, eager and unsatisfied with only the feel of fingers moving inside him.

Flynn was still caught up in the contradiction between sight and sensation. He watched his fingers, slick with oil, curling and scissoring, thrusting gently into the air, and he felt Yuri around them, felt him moving his hips to urge that touch deeper, felt his searching hands and hungry kisses and hot breath. Shampoo stung his eyes. He squinted as cleansing tears blurred his vision, but still he watched and saw only himself. His heart hammered in his chest. He felt lightheaded, and the blood ran hot and cold in his veins—cool air against wet skin warring with body heat and desire. Without the allure of seeing Yuri, his touch was the only conduit between them. Lips and tongues thick with saliva, fingertips and nails, skin and pulse, a myriad of sensations without visible source assailed Flynn and aroused him. The choppy moans in Yuri's voice that escaped the kiss, the familiar smell of his skin, the particular way Yuri touched him—these were the things that gave Yuri identity. Feeling as if he was being washed away in a flood of stimulation, Flynn clung to such flotsam.

“Hey.” Yuri broke the kiss, and a moment later the weight of his head came to rest in the crook of Flynn's neck. His breath tickled over clavicle and collarbone. “Close your eyes. It's weird seeing you looking through me like that.”

Such an unexpected complaint left Flynn laughing helplessly. He felt the chill of the air as Yuri sat back, pulling himself away, and could guess at the reproach that must have been in his gaze. Unseen, it did no good, and Flynn didn't consider apologizing.

“If you didn't want me looking through you, then you shouldn't have lost the cloak,” he scolded. “Right now, I don't have much choice.”

“You could close your eyes. Or at least pretend you're looking at me.” Yuri's hand cupped his face. His breath ghosted across Flynn's lips, parting them with the mere suggestion of closeness. “I'm right here. I don't know what you're so focused on....”

There was a moment of silence during which Flynn knew that if he hadn't already been flushed, his cheeks would have heated up and given him away. He had just enough time to hope that Yuri wouldn't think too hard about it before he felt a palm on his other cheek, holding his head in place.

“Flynn. What were you looking at?”

His face felt intolerably hot. He swallowed and realized to his annoyance that it was somehow more difficult to avoid meeting someone's gaze when they were simultaneously right in front of him and invisible.

When he spoke, Yuri's voice gave away his grin. “What could you have seen...straight through me...that would have had you so fascinated?” He wiggled his hips, and Flynn yanked his fingers free, guiltily. Yuri's soft laughter filled the air like steam. He leaned in, bringing with him heat that made Flynn shiver as he trailed one hand down Flynn's chest. His lips tickled Flynn's ear as he whispered: “You pervert.”

“And whose fault is that?”

He shivered again as the warmth of Yuri's body receded. Coldness slithered over Flynn's skin, tendrils of wet hair. They fell to coil atop Flynn's thighs as Yuri shifted. His fingertips settled just above Flynn's hipbones. His breath buffeted teasingly against Flynn's stomach.

“Yuri....” Flynn knew what was coming. He swallowed, fists clenching at his sides. The slight pressure of Yuri's fingertips moved, the weight behind his touch only barely enough for Flynn to see it glide along as the dimpling of his skin. He watched, wide-eyed, feeling far more than he saw as Yuri's touch ran inward along the tops of his thighs. A sweet frisson of excitement shot through him as a finger rubbed against his balls. He spread his thighs as best he could in the narrow tub, and sucked in a breath as Yuri curled a hand around the base of his manhood.

“If you really want to watch,” Yuri drawled, a hint of mockery in his voice, “I guess I don't mind giving you something more interesting to see.”

As he spoke, his lips had tickled against delicate skin, quickening Flynn's erection. The wetness of his tongue followed immediately, swiveling around the tip. Flynn let his head fall back against the rim of the tub, clamping a hand over his mouth. His stomach tightened as Yuri hummed against him, setting off sparks. He still cupped Flynn's balls in one hand, fingers fondling them playfully. The wet heat of Yuri's mouth slowly took him in, tongue working at his stiffening flesh, teeth a barely-there pressure. Yuri let them scrape lightly as he started to bob his head, teasing a little. He was going slower than usual, moving with a sleepy rhythm that sent waves of pleasurable sensation coursing down to pool between Flynn's legs.

What would he see if he lifted his head and looked down? Would it be different, having part of him in Yuri's mouth? Would he see the tip of his own penis disappearing into thin air and reappearing as Yuri moved? The need to know buzzed in his skull, swarming through the fog of pleasure until he had no other choice but to look. His head felt too heavy on his neck. Lifting it seemed to take an effort of will. Cautiously, he opened his eyes, peeking down at the source of the ecstasy flooding his body.

His manhood stood erect, dark and swelling, bobbing with Yuri's movements, molded in places by the pressure of his tongue. Yuri's teeth left pale streaks that faded in an instant. Flynn watched, unable to tear his eyes away from the sight. As he stared, a drop of milky whiteness formed at the tip of his erection. Almost immediately, it dissolved into invisibility as it was broken down by Yuri's saliva. The sight was too much. Flynn closed his eyes.

If Yuri noticed, it didn't stop him. But then, Flynn wasn't even sure he wanted Yuri to stop. It was bizarre, not being able to see him when he was so undeniably present. Since they had last parted, Flynn had been craving his voice and his touch, more sharply some days than others. That made it hard to push Yuri away, hard to consider asking him to stop, to hold off until they had found the cloak and reversed the spell. He'd been craving the sight of Yuri, too, wanting to confirm with his own eyes that his friend was happy and well, wanting to get his fill of Yuri's grins and frowns and the brightness of his eyes, the beauty of him, the grace of his movements, the way light and shadows collected on his body. He wanted all of Yuri to himself during these too-brief times when they could be together, but it was so hard to hold off until he could have that when Yuri was so eager, his warmth so immediate.

Without conscious direction, Flynn's hands had found their way into Yuri's hair. He carded his fingers through it, and held Yuri's head loosely, riding his movements, fingertips lightly kneading his scalp against the urge to guide his motions, to hurry his pace. It was enough of a signal for Yuri. He pulled free briefly to lick Flynn base to tip, tongue lapping at heated flesh in stark contrast to the cool air. It was a momentary change of sensation before he took Flynn in again, humming against him, breath huffing ticklishly against exposed skin as he breathed out through his nose. He had the satisfaction of coaxing a moan from Flynn, and dragged his lips slowly back up, as Flynn's toes curled and his hips jerked upward with a will of their own.

His breath was coming harsher now. The heat generated by his need was almost enough to replace the lost warmth of the bathwater. Yuri's name slipped from his lips, a whisper of gratification, a plea for more. They had settled into a rhythm that would work him steadily toward release when there came a banging on the door to his state room. Flynn automatically started to get up, though he was aborting the motion even as the heat of Yuri's mouth receded. He groaned plaintively over the loss.

“Ignore it,” Yuri ordered. His lips were spreading over the tip of Flynn's erection when the knocking came again. This time, they heard Leblanc call out, and both groaned in frustration.

“Flynn....” Yuri's tone made his name a warning.

“He won't just leave without some sort of response.”

Yuri growled, but Flynn's fingers were still tangled in his hair. He drew Yuri up, pulling him closer until his intention sparked between them and Yuri pressed forward to kiss him. Flynn could taste himself on Yuri's tongue, and he saw again the drop of seed swallowed into invisibility. He broke the kiss, fingertips gently stirring Yuri's hair as he kept his eyes resolutely shut. With Yuri's forehead pressed reassuringly against his, it was almost easy to pretend that everything was normal.

“I'll only be a minute. Wait for me in the bedroom.” He kissed Yuri again, a quick show of affection. “I'm sure we'll be more comfortable there, anyway.”

Yuri caught him in another brief kiss as Leblanc hammered on the door.

“Coming!” Flynn shouted as he tried to pull away.

“Not yet you're not,” Yuri muttered.

He was immediately dragged back down as he tried to stand. This time when Yuri kissed him, as the knocking had subsided, he lingered. Neither of them had as much patience for distractions during their time together as they used to.

When they finally broke apart, he was grinning helplessly. As he got out of the tub and threw on a robe, he realized how he must look: red-faced and fresh out of the bath, hair a sodden mess, dressed only in a robe. However, it didn't take him long to decide that he didn't care. Leblanc had seen him grow up from an unruly Lower Quarter brat. If that hadn't impacted the respect he showed Flynn, then catching him freshly-scrubbed shouldn't be an issue. Flynn tied the cloth belt tightly shut and went to answer the door.

He wasn't quite quick enough. Leblanc began knocking again just before Flynn reached the door.

“Commandant?” Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam.

“One moment, Captain Leblanc.” He unlocked the door and opened it just wide enough to peer out. The robe didn't do much to hide his arousal, so he tried his best to keep mostly hidden.

Leblanc had immediately stood at attention, though Flynn didn't miss the moment that his eyes flicked down, then quickly back up again. “Didn't mean to disturb you, sir.”

“It's all right, Captain. I was just getting cleaned up after an incident in the training yard. I'll forgive the interruption if you'll pardon my appearance. What can I do for you?”

“I came to give my report on the situation in the Lower Quarter. I can wait while you dress.”

“Yes, please.” Maybe Leblanc would have some sort of clue about where Yuri had lost the cloak. Flynn stepped aside to open the door, but ran right into where Yuri must have been standing. An arm wrapped around his waist, making him jump.

Unfortunately, Leblanc hadn't missed his moment of surprise. “Commandant?”

“It's nothing, Captain. Just a—”

Flynn felt fingers pinching above his hipbone, seeking out a sensitive spot that Yuri knew too well. He couldn't bat away the invisible hand, but he did his best to capture Yuri's fingers while pretending merely to be resting a hand on his hip.

“Just a sudden chill. As for your report—”

Fingers dipped into the collar of his robe, tugging it down. Lips pressed against the back of his neck, followed by a light scrape of teeth that made him shiver. He fought to keep his expression bland as Yuri began sucking on his neck.

“If it's possible to hear it in the morning...?” Flynn managed. With Yuri in such a mood, he could only imagine what might happen should he invite Leblanc in to try to hear him out. Although Leblanc might be perfectly capable of looking past Flynn's age and background, and of ignoring lapses in decorum, it was unlikely he would stand for the Commandant being sucked off beneath the desk while hearing a report.

Of course, Leblanc knew that something was going on, but he did Flynn the courtesy of not asking any questions.

“Yes, sir. Tomorrow morning, first thing.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

He shut the door as quickly as he could and locked it immediately. When he spun to face Yuri, his friend backed off, leaving it practically impossible to tell where he was. Flynn frowned in what he hoped was Yuri's general direction.

“Enjoying yourself?”

“Oh, yeah!” His voice was a little more to the left than Flynn had guessed.

“I suppose that was a stupid question.”

“Well, if you're ready to join me, we could both have some fun.” Hands slipped into Flynn's robe, palms pressing flat against his chest before sliding up, fingers curling over his shoulders and pushing his robe down his arms. He jerked away.

“Maybe we should wait. We could go down to the Lower Quarter, instead, try to find the cloak....”

Leblanc's interruption had given him the distance needed to cool his head and speak those words. His body still ached with need, but he wanted to be able to see Yuri as they made love.

“Listen.” Yuri wrapped his arms around Flynn's shoulders from the side. Rolling his hips forward, he ground his erection against Flynn's thigh. “I can take care of this myself, but I'd much rather help you with yours at the same time.” Reaching down, he squeezed Flynn through his robe. “'s pouring down rain outside.” He traced the contours of Flynn's ear with his tongue before gently biting the outer curve. “Can't you hear it?”

Flynn tried to listen past the sounds of Yuri nipping at his ear, over the pounding of his pulse. He saw his reflection in the window, golden against the darkness outside. His face was flushed, eyes heavy-lidded, jaw slack and robe hanging open over his chest. He could see the bulge of his erection and was startled by how wanton he looked. Gazing at his reflection, he lifted a hand, threading his fingers through Yuri's hair. His reflection cupped nothing, but he saw his head nodding with the tiny movements that transferred from Yuri to himself. Slowly, the sound of the rainstorm outside filtered into his awareness. There was no sense in them going out in that. His objection, halfhearted to begin with, no longer seemed at all worthwhile.

Unseen fingers pulled loose the knot that held his robe closed. “You've still got shampoo in your hair,” Yuri murmured. He nuzzled Flynn's ear. “Want me to help you rinse it out?”


'I can't see myself either,' Yuri had said. So maybe this was a little strange for him, too. Strange and exciting, obviously, given the enthusiasm of his kisses as he continued lavishing attention on Flynn's throat and chest. He had Flynn pinned to the bed, and was rocking atop him. The friction between their bodies sent thrills of pleasure and arousal shooting through Flynn, leaving him charged and aching for more. His hands were curled around the backs of Yuri's upper thighs, guiding his movements, encouraging him on. Whatever doubts whispered through his mind hadn't been strong enough to stop his body following Yuri's lead.

Open-mouthed kisses melted into Flynn's skin, driving back the chill in the air. Love bites throbbed in time with his pulse, promising reminders of Yuri's visit that would last long after their tryst. He pinched the soft skin of the insides of Yuri's thighs, smiling to feel him jump, savoring the gasps, the approving hum of his voice that vibrated softly through the connection of the kiss. Yuri rolled his hips, settling himself more firmly against Flynn's hands. He swirled his tongue around one of Flynn's nipples, then settled his chin on Flynn's chest.

“I can blindfold you, if you want. Easier to pretend that way.”

He made the suggestion offhandedly, if a little breathlessly. The tips of his fingers traced delicate, aimless patters over Flynn's shoulders and collarbone. A blindfold meant he would have to get up, search for a piece of suitable fabric. It meant another interruption when Flynn had already reconciled himself to making love without having so much as a glimpse of his lover. The offer went unanswered as Yuri thrust leisurely against him, flooding his brain with heat and sensation so that his thoughts were nearly drowned out. Pleasure washed over him. His hurried breathing, loud in his ears, was the rush of waves. The bed seemed to rock beneath him like a boat. Cradled in Flynn's hands, Yuri eased back, surged forward, moaned quietly as he swiveled his hips just right.

“Flynn.” He pressed forward, stretching to kiss a trail up Flynn's chest, in the hollow of his throat, along his neck and beneath his chin. “Come on, Flynn,” he murmured, lips on Flynn's lips, slurring the words. “Don't make me beg.”

Yuri dove into the kiss, tongue delving past lips and teeth, entreating Flynn to join him, to be one with him or come as close as they could. His hands came up to frame Flynn's face, thumbs stroking his cheekbones, fingers stretching out over ears and into the hair at his temples. He ground his hips against Flynn's, chest heaving with gasps that were poured into the kiss as sparks of pleasure ignited between them. He spread his legs wider, pleading with the language of his body for more of Flynn's touch, for gratification, for release.

How long since they'd seen each other? Two months? Three? Infrequent letters had arrived on Flynn's desk, stained and torn, jumping from one tale to the next with little continuity, assurances that Yuri was doing well, unspoken reminders that he was happy, but no promises to curb his recklessness or return from his next job. Flynn's own work kept him too busy to worry during the day, but lonely nights were a curse. He still had the occasional nightmare of an empty platform where Yuri should have been, high above an endless, icy sea.

Now Yuri—his Yuri, as much as Yuri belonged to anyone other than himself—had returned to him as this incubus, this invisible presence of warmth and need and, oh, Flynn wanted him so very badly. Wanted his touch and his quiet, rumbling laugh, his heated kisses and teasing touches, the scent of his skin and his frustrating impatience, his hair like tangling vines, his gasps like prayers, his curses like pleas, his playfulness, his passion, his love.

Flynn had to turn his head aside from the kiss in order to speak. “There's a cravat...hanging inside the door of the wardrobe.”

For a moment, Yuri grew still. Then, his weight and his warmth moved away, and Flynn shivered as he sat up. The room was dim, lit only by the light of the lantern on his desk. Rain pelted the windows, and not even the occasional flash of lightning came to dispel the gloom. The emptiness made the space seem too large, made Flynn fear suddenly that he'd woken up out of a dream, that Yuri was still far away, off on some adventure or another while the work of leading the Imperial Knights bound Flynn to Zaphias. He stared wide-eyed into the shadows, hearing the too-loud beating of his heart, and holding his breath. It was only when he saw the door of his wardrobe flung open that the frozen moment of anxiety shattered. In seconds, a cravat of fine silk fluttered free of the wardrobe to hang suspended in mid air.


“Yes.” He leaned forward, so eager to have Yuri back in his arms that he crawled to the edge of the bed. “That's it.”

He watched avidly as it floated back across the room to him, and tilted his chin up once Yuri was near enough. Yuri's soft laughter filled his ears as the cravat stretched itself across the air and floated forward. Flynn closed his eyes at the last second before the silk settled cool and soft against his skin.

“What's so funny?”

“Never seen you wear one of these,” Yuri replied. He had leaned in close to tie the knot in back, and Flynn pressed his face against Yuri's chest, breathing in his scent. Yuri was warm and solid. His voice rumbled in his chest. Like a spell, the blindfold cast away his invisibility. Flynn wrapped his arms around Yuri's back with a sigh. Everything was as it should be.

Fingers stirred his hair. “Flynn?”

He lifted his chin toward Yuri's voice. His cheek was pressed up against the inside of Yuri's arm, and all it took was as sight turn of his head to be able to place a kiss there. “Come to bed,” he said quietly.

The mattress dipped as Yuri started to climb onto it. Flynn was already moving back when lips met his, unexpected but welcome. They kissed clumsily, grinning and laughing as Flynn crawled backward to make room and Yuri followed, practically on top of him. The mattress dipped and bounced beneath them as they moved, arms and legs tangling and getting in each other's way. Flynn stopped only when his hand came down on a pillow, and then Yuri was bearing him down against the bed, all hasty kisses and wandering hands. They fell quickly into a rhythm of thrusts and panting breaths that only served to make Flynn want more. Their kisses grew messier: sloppy, hungry, desperate and devouring. He hugged Yuri closer, fingers digging into his back, slipping down along the dip of his spine, flying back up to clutch at his shoulders. Sweat and saliva, breath and the heat of their bodies mingled between them, and it wasn't enough, would never be enough. Flynn's heart thundered against his ribs, his blood sang in his veins, calling for union with his beloved. A whimper of protest escaped his throat as Yuri pulled away.

Flynn propped himself up on one elbow, chasing the closeness he desired. Reaching out, he felt Yuri's arm, followed it up to his shoulder, curled his hand around the back of Yuri's neck and pulled him into a kiss. Although Flynn tried to drag him back down, Yuri resisted. One arm was flung out onto the sheets, sweeping back and forth, searching. His fingers collided with Flynn's hand, the one braced against the mattress. As Flynn sought to lace their fingers together, Yuri pressed something into his palm. It sat hard and cool between Flynn's hand and the sheets, ignored in favor of the immediacy of Yuri's kisses, until recognition penetrated Flynn's thoughts. The bottle of oil.

Yuri let loose a short huff of laughter as Flynn's fingers finally closed around the bottle. “We're going to need that,” he murmured. “Or had you forgotten?”

In all honesty, he had, but he kept that admission to himself as they adjusted around each other, he sitting and Yuri on his knees, straddling him. Flynn swallowed hard as Yuri swayed forward to rub deliberately against him. Arms twined around behind his neck, and Yuri's lips found his again, mouth shaping itself to Flynn's. As Yuri clung to him, Flynn opened the bottle of oil and poured some out over both hands, ignoring the soft patter of droplets hitting the sheets. He reached around, blindly feeling his way across the curve of Yuri's ass. Yuri moaned for him as Flynn pressed two fingers inside, rolling his hips and fidgeting, always impatient and ready for more.

Trailing the oiled fingers of his other hand swiftly down Yuri's stomach, Flynn sought out his erect manhood. Yuri's breath hitched at the first touch, and soon his every exhalation carried with it a soft moan as Flynn stroked him with the same gentle tempo as the thrust of his fingers. His muffled voice was thick with pleasure and sweet as music. Though Flynn's awareness was made hazy by his own need, by the breathless kisses they shared, by the tingles of pleasure from every brush against his own erection, he still took delight in pleasing Yuri.

Pressing in a third finger earned him a prolonged groan, a tightening of the embrace around his neck. Yuri let his head fall back. His breath was coming fast and heavy, occasionally catching in his throat. Denied his lips, Flynn bent his head to kiss beneath Yuri's chin and along his neck. He nipped at the soft skin, sucked at sensitive spots that made Yuri quiver and clutch at his hair. Yuri had marked him earlier. It was only fair that he leave a few love bites of his own for when they could be seen again.

Yuri began thrusting his hips up to meet the strokes. His gasps gained volume and a whimper of voice. He leaned forward, pressing his cheek against Flynn's.

“How long are you gonna play around?” He gasped and hugged Flynn tighter. “Flynn....” His hips were rising and falling, driving Flynn's fingers deeper with every thrust. “Flynn, come on....”

He kissed the corner of Flynn's jaw, nibbled weakly at his earlobe. His hands loosed their hold on Flynn's hair and fell forward over his shoulders, trembling slightly as they made their way down his body. It didn't take him long to find the fallen bottle of oil and fumble it open, and then his hands were on Flynn's erection, a sudden burst of pressure that had Flynn seeing stars in the darkness. Yuri massaged the oil into his skin, drawing groans from him. The pleasure of touch mounted until both of them were faltering, movements turning jerky and desperate, requiring more from each other to sate the growing need.

“Tell me how you want me,” Flynn gasped. In addition to hiding the fact that his friend wasn't all there, the blindfold added a touch of excitement, something Flynn had only gotten a hint of that they would have to explore more fully later. For now, let Yuri be in charge. Let him decide how and exactly when.

“Lie back,” Yuri ordered.

Flynn let him go, feeling keenly the loss of his touch. He lay back on the bed, head propped up against the pillow. Yuri remained atop him, his calves hot against Flynn's thighs. Then, strangely, Yuri grew still. Flynn waited for him, heart racing, wondering what had given him pause. What expression was Yuri wearing? What did he see, looking down on Flynn, hard and aching for him, blindfolded, obedient to Yuri's command? Was he intrigued? Not one to savor anticipation himself, Yuri could be an awful tease. Perhaps the potential for such games appealed to him. No doubt they must, Flynn realized, otherwise he wouldn't have been so ready to make love in his current state.

Yuri touched a fingertip to the hollow of Flynn's throat. It rode the movement as he swallowed.


“Can't see me at all....”

Flynn gasped, back arching, as Yuri flicked one of his nipples. A second passed, and another. Yuri ran his nails along the sensitive skin over Flynn's hipbone. Tingles raced through him, feeding his arousal, and he dug his feet into the mattress, toes curling. He heard Yuri's soft laugh a moment before he felt a soft touch against his stomach. Humid breath rolled across his skin, and the touch of lips became an open-mouthed kiss, hot and wet. He squirmed just as Yuri was stretching forward to kiss higher up along his body, and they came together just right. Yuri froze for a moment, then ground their hips together, echoing Flynn's soft moan. His hands had immediately latched onto Flynn's sides, and he paused a moment, as if needing to steady himself.

“Gotta remember this,” he muttered, amused.

“Yeah,” Flynn breathed. “Yes. Definitely.”

“But for now....”

“For now.... Please.”

The mattress dipped, rocking Flynn's hips side-to-side as Yuri positioned himself. He'd flung his hands out to the side, and now gathered up handfuls of the sheets as Yuri's fingers guided his manhood. The tip pressed against Yuri's entrance, oil-slick and ready, and, slowly, Yuri took him in.

So good...! It felt so good! Flynn pressed his head back into the pillow, clenching his fists around the sheets. His thighs trembled as he fought the urge to buck, to thrust up into Yuri. He'd waited months for this. He could wait a few moments more for Yuri to adjust.

“What a face,” Yuri said, lowering his hips a little more. “Miss me?” His voice was thick.

“Yes,” Flynn whispered. “Got your letters.” A smile flickered across his face. “Wish I could join you.”

“Hah. The price of power.” Yuri's hips lifted, dropped again. He sucked in a breath and let it out as a moan. “Fuck. Missed you, too.”

Releasing his grip on the sheets, Flynn reached out, finding Yuri's knee and letting his touch travel up to his thigh. When he lifted his hand, searching, Yuri finally figured out what he wanted and held his own hand out. Flynn laced their fingers together, squeezing as Yuri began to move, slowly at first, but quickly growing faster. Yuri's movements became rough, urgent. In this, as with so much else, he refused to hold back. The pace he set wrenched cries from his throat, and even Flynn was nearly overwhelmed. He felt as if he lay in a forge, as if he was being melted down into a molten core. Yuri was the bellows that fed the flame, crying out and cursing, chasing headlong after ecstasy. Flynn joined his voice to Yuri's, crying out his name and pleading, though even he couldn't say if his pleas meant either 'Gently!' or 'Don't stop!'

Yuri crashed against him, taking Flynn in deeper and deeper, hot and slick and wanting so badly that Flynn could feel it. He pressed Yuri's hand against his chest, over the pounding of his heart, and held it there, his heart in Yuri's hands, Yuri's safe in his. Yuri was bent over him, drops of sweat or saliva dripping onto Flynn's stomach. He reached up with his free hand, finding Yuri's arm, muscles taut as he stroked himself, and followed it up into the tangle of his hair. Flynn threaded his fingers through the hair at Yuri's temple, cupping his cheek with his palm. He felt Yuri turn his head, felt his lips press against the center of his palm, felt a harsh gasp of breath, the pinch of teeth. More than anything, he wished he could see Yuri's face.

“Yuri...! Yuri, Yuri.... Love you.... you...!”

His hips were thrusting upwards to meet Yuri, following the call of rapture that sang through his veins. He was swept up in blissful sensation so fiery as to border on pain. There was no more thought of slowing. Everything he was had been melted down, concentrated into desire and the pleasure of Yuri tight and slick around him, as close as they could possibly be. Two hearts, two minds, one soul, one hope split into two bodies where in moments like this Flynn felt how acutely unfair it was that they couldn't become whole, not completely, without the other. Tears welled from the corners of his eyes and were absorbed by the blindfold. Yuri's name slipped endlessly from his lips.

“Here, Flynn...! I'm still right here with you. Right here.... Close, so close...!”

Flynn's hips jerked upward once and again. Heat coursed through him, leaving him crying out wordlessly as he spent himself deep inside Yuri. The strength of his muscles fled, and he sank limply against the rumpled sheets as Yuri still gasped and rolled his hips atop him. Gathering himself, feeling weak and watery, Flynn sat up, wrapping his arms around Yuri and kissing him soundly. Between them, Yuri stroked himself to climax, heat splashing over their stomachs as he groaned into the kiss.

Their fervor drained away with that, and the kiss gentled, losing its desperation. They calmed to the feeling of soft kisses punctuated by the quiet smack of lips, fingers stroking slowly through hair or down sweat-dampened sides.

With a sigh, Yuri lowered his head to rest it in the crook of Flynn's neck. “We need to get cleaned up.”

Flynn nodded. It was Yuri who stood first, and Flynn accepted the hand that curled around his. He let Yuri help him out of bed and lead him into the bathroom and untie the cravat that had served as a blindfold. They rinsed off in silence, trading touches because Flynn was loath to let Yuri out of his reach so soon. Even on the way back into the bedroom, they were hand-in-hand. He tried not to look down to where their fingers laced together, not wanting to see nothingness where Yuri ought to be.

Flynn stripped off the soiled coverlet, and Yuri caught him up from behind and tumbled him laughing into bed. As they got comfortable beneath the sheets, Flynn wrapped an arm over Yuri's shoulder.

“Stay close tonight,” he murmured against Yuri's hair.

“Come on, Flynn,” Yuri said, yawning as he settled in closer, one arm draped over Flynn's side. “You know I don't like to get cold.”


Yuri was, of course, still invisible the next morning. Flynn woke up too warm and half smothered by his weight, and was merely sleepily amused by that until he actually opened his eyes and saw nothing where he had expected Yuri to be. It startled him enough to sit up, throwing back the blankets as the last traces of sleep vanished completely, but he remembered the previous night soon enough and relaxed. Still half asleep, Yuri groaned and curled closer, tightening his hold around Flynn's waist. The shapes of his hips and legs were loosely defined by the blanket, but nothing hinted at his form where he lay uncovered.

“Lay back down,” he grumbled. “'s cold.”

“I've got to get up. Some of us have work to do.” He felt for the top of Yuri's head and ruffled his hair until his hand was batted away. Dropping his teasing, he sighed and rubbed his hand up and down Yuri's back. “I wish you'd told me you were going to be back in town. How long are you staying?”

“Mmm.... Gotta take the cloak back to Rita, tell her about how things went. Then...figured I'd come back. Was thinking about wintering here. Been a while since I had time to visit everyone.”


The news delighted him. They would have plenty of chances to talk and catch up. They could spar, although Flynn was slightly worried that Yuri would be able to tell he hadn't been training regularly. They would have nights together where neither one was expected to be somewhere else in the morning. They could indulge in sleeping in on a chilly morning after a late night spent making love. They would have chances to make better use of the blindfold....

“Yeah, really,” Yuri said. He sounded more awake, and Flynn could hear a grin to match his own in the words. “If you can stand to have me around making trouble for that long.”

“Don't be stupid.” He lightly swatted Yuri's shoulder. “But that means you'd better go find that cloak soon. The quicker you return it, the quicker you can come back home.” He stroked Yuri's hair affectionately.

“Oh. Don't worry. Leblanc'll probably bring it.”

Flynn went still, certain that he must have missed something. “What?”

“He's the one that snatched it off me when we ran into each other yesterday. Even he should have been able to figure out what it is.” He snickered. “Did I forget to mention that?”

Not caring that it would set off a scuffle or that Yuri would most certainly have the advantage, Flynn curled his fingers into a fist and punched the top of Yuri's head.


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