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Never been one for patience, but this may take a while

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They’re all sitting at the campfire, waiting for Karol and Estelle to finish cooking dinner, when Rita straight up watches Flynn tuck a stray hair behind Yuri’s ear, and then almost drag his fingers down the side of Yuri’s neck.

Almost.

He hovers for a second instead, hesitating just enough to show that he caught himself in the act, before he finally brings his hand down to squeeze Yuri’s shoulder.

Rita wants to scream.

This shit happens every time Flynn decides to travel with their little crew, this whole weird pseudo-flirty, not quite there yet relationship that the two of them have going on. They’re into each other, everyone knows it, even fucking Ioder knows it according to Estelle. Everyone knows it besides the two of them which is absolutely the most infuriating thing Rita has had to deal with.

It’s just, they’re so damn romantic with each other. Rita knows this as an established fact. She has learned to recognize romance in these past couple months, has been shown the difference between romantic interest and platonic through her own experiences and the actions of one very determined princess. So if Rita goes out on a limb, this whole thing is actually Estelle’s fault since she’s the one that gave Rita the ability to recognize the romance in seemingly ordinary gestures.

(Rita says as much to Estelle one night while the two of them are getting ready for bed. Estelle just laughs and smoothes down the collar of Rita’s shirt which is exactly what she’s talking about.)

Yuri is talking with Judith when this whole thing goes down, one of their weird half psychic talks that come from basically being the same person. He barely reacts to Flynn’s hand in his hair, doesn’t stop or even briefly pause to acknowledge what just happened. Instead he moves his knee to the side, briefly bumping it against Flynn’s without even breaking conversation which is somehow the most sickening thing Rita has ever seen.

Sometimes they have the audacity to act like they’ve been dating for a decade, then turn around the next second and ruin the whole thing with weird romantically charged eye contact. It’s the worst. It’s Rita’s worst nightmare. She kind of prefers their group without Flynn in it because that means she doesn’t have to deal with whatever the fuck this is.

She’s honestly about to get up to help with the food just to be away from this scene, when surprise of all surprises, Raven gives his un-asked for two cents. “Just give them time. They’ll figure it out eventually.”

Rita turns to where he sits next to her and is almost about to say something routine like ‘who asked you old man?’ before she notices his eyes. He’s looking at Flynn and Yuri, but not really seeing anything at all. He looks older like this, like he really may have lived three separate lives, like he truly has earned the early grey that is steadily taking over his hair.

Still, Rita has her limits. “How much time?” She asks as if he would know the answer. “They’ve already had like 21 years.”

“Maybe two days from now,” Raven says with a shrug. It gets him to focus his attention on Rita which she is, for once, thankful for since it seems to drag him back to the present. “Maybe another 21 years. Who knows?”

“Wow. That’s real helpful. If they’re still doing this 21 years from now, I’m going to need you to put me out of my misery and just shoot an arrow right through my temple,” Rita replies

Raven suddenly leans into her space, his hand raised to his mouth as if he’s trying to whisper even though he says at full volume, “Oh ho! I’m included in this 21 year future forecast? Does that mean you’ll still be hanging around this old man two decades from now?”

‘I hope so,’ her brain supplies before she can fully stop it. It’s a real good thing she doesn’t have Karol’s brain to mouth filter, or rather lack thereof, because she can’t just say shit like that out loud. It’s embarrassing, even if it’s true, and Rita has just gotten to the point of admitting to herself that she likes these people, maybe even loves them and their weird little family unit. She sure as shit isn’t ready to admit that to Raven of all people, so instead she replies, “Oh right, by then you’ll be decrepit and probably senile. I’ll just ask Karol to clock me across the head with his hammer instead.”

Which still somehow serves as an admission. Raven clearly catches on because Rita is able to watch his sharp grin turn soft around the corners. It’s obviously intentional, as everything is with him, and it’s still somewhat of a surprise to Rita that she’s someone he’s chosen to trust.

“I’ll still be kicking 21 years from now.” He says just soft enough so only Rita can hear. “Maybe even longer than that if my favorite genius mage comes to visit me in my old age.”

And there is nothing in the world right now that could get Rita to admit that she’s been hoping they all end up in the same place when this journey is over, that they could be those annoying neighbors that all live out of each other's pockets and see way too much of each other, so instead she says, “I feel like you don’t need any more encouragement for that. You’re probably going to outlive all of us just by stupidity and sheer power of will.”

It gets Raven to laugh which shouldn’t feel like an accomplishment, but somehow does. “I don’t know about that hun. Those two sure are sucking the life out of me.”

He gestures back across the fire to where Flynn and Yuri are sitting shoulder to shoulder, their sides almost entirely pressed together, and yeah he might be right.

Rita scoffs, “That’s disgusting.”

“It’s making me nauseous.” Raven replies a little bit louder.

“Absolutely sickening.” Rita says at full volume.

“Just completely revolting.” Raven all but yells.

“Hey you two,” Yuri says over the sound of the fire. “If you’re going to be a pair of gossips, can you at least pretend to keep it down?”

“No can do,” Raven says simultaneously as Rita replies, “Absolutely not.”

Yuri just gives his trademark ‘nothing can phase me’ shrug, and turns back to talk to Judith. Flynn gives them both a hard look, one that could be vaguely disappointed but is entirely unsurprised and Rita recognizes it as the look he gives Yuri pretty much all the time.

She didn’t quite realize they were on that level, one where she recognizes the nuances behind his expressions, one where he can give her a knowing look over a comfortable fire and have his thoughts known. In comparison to the rest of their group, Flynn is the most unknown to her, but Rita is starting to realize that comparing anyone to their tight knit little gang makes for some seriously skewed results.

It’s times like these when Rita is glad she has resting bitch face, because Flynn doesn’t read her at all. Instead, he turns back to stare at the side of Yuri’s face or something. Thank god. She already let herself slip in front of Raven, she doesn’t need to go two-for-two in the span of 5 minutes.

Rita jolts a bit when she feels Raven sharply jab her in the side. “What the hell? What was that for?”

She whips her head over to look at him, and almost wishes she didn’t. He’s got one brow cocked and is giving her the most wry, knowing grin she’s even seen. It takes all she has not to smack him across his smug fucking face, and it takes her another second to even wonder why she’s stopping herself.

“Yer just a big damn softy ain’tcha?” He says, dragging out the syllables in that way he knows she hates.

Which is rich coming from him. Rita straight up watched him re-tuck in Karol the other night when the poorly timed thunder storm had him sleep flailing to the point of throwing off all his blankets. “You have absolutely no room to talk old man.”

He stares for a second, then laughs again, briefly but honestly before he replies, “Maybe you’re right. Just maybe. Probably not though.”

Which gets Rita to roll her eyes. She elbows him back, not hard but not soft, and finds her eyes trailing back to where Flynn and Yuri sit across from her.

21 years, huh. Did the people they grew up with say the same thing? That they'll 'figure it out eventually', and 'just give them some time'? Well, it's not like either of them are going anywhere really, even if Flynn disappears for a bit, they always end up back together. Besides, even if it does end up taking another 21 years, at least Rita will have at least one other person to commiserate with.