After Flynn was given orders to move into the castle, Yuri showed up both to congratulate him on the promotion to lieutenant and to help move a few boxes around. Yuri had felt painfully out of place at the time, struggling to check the urge to hide behind Flynn to avoid dealing with the suspicious stares of the knights on duty or the dismissive sneers of any noble who might walk past. They all probably thought Yuri was a servant or a thief or something.
The truth was probably that no one really paid any attention to Yuri and it was mostly his own anxiety freaking him out, but Yuri remained edgy the entire time he was there nevertheless.
Unfortunately, Yuri didn't really get to spend much time in Flynn's new rooms. Almost the second the last box touched the floor, Flynn brought up the possibility of Yuri re-enlisting. Yuri's response was less than polite and Repede slunk out the door in anticipation of his humans having another shouting match.
And indeed they did shout a great deal. Yuri stormed out of Flynn's room and all the way back to the lower quarter before collapsing on his bed in the Inn. Repede had trailed along after him and curled up on Yuri's chest.
"You're getting too big for this," Yuri huffed, shifting the dog aside. "I still need to breathe, Repede."
Repede just nuzzled into Yuri's arms and licked away a few tears that Yuri pretended weren't on his face. Eventually he sat up and went to his desk, scribbling out a sketch of Flynn's face with his mouth open unattractively mid-shout. But Yuri couldn't stand the sight of it and balled it up and threw the paper at the trash bin, though it bounced off the side to hit the ground.
"I'm not going back to the palace until he apologizes," Yuri muttered. "Jerk."
Because Yuri did not stay to help unpack Flynn's things as originally planned, he never did see the framed picture that Flynn hung above his desk by the window of his room. It was clearly a child's work of art, with Flynn's face and hair scribbled onto the page in yellow crayon with a much smaller version of Yuri's face added to a corner like an afterthought.
Flynn touched the picture frame and then sighed, shaking his head, and finished unloading his things. A few more sketches found their way to his desk, filed away in the drawers. Those sketches show the increasing skill of the artist and Flynn pauses here and there to smile over some of them. Most are of Flynn, which he likes well enough because of who drew them. It's the images of Yuri, however, that Flynn treasures most. Those go to the top of the drawer and Flynn hopes he doesn't wear out the edges of the paper whenever he flips through them.
And Flynn is certain he'll be flipping through them fairly often.
He hopes, despite their argument, that Yuri will add to his collection soon.
A few days after their fight in Flynn's new quarters, Yuri is arrested. Shoving the tweedles into the fountain, which they totally deserved. Just doing their job was no excuse for scaring a kid like that.
Flynn comes down to see Yuri in his cell. (Coincidentally, the cell Yuri winds up in nine times out of ten visits and at some point somebody - probably the tweedles - adds a sign to the top reading 'Yuri Lowell's private cell'. Yuri is amused. Flynn is not.) They wind up in another shouting match and this time Flynn storms out since Yuri can't.
Yuri's not jealous that he can't be the one to storm out this time. Not jealous in the slightest. (He likes storming out, okay? It soothes his nerves, makes him feel all dramatic.)
His fingers twitch with the desire to sketch the whole time he's in the cell, but the knight on duty won't give Yuri a pencil or pad of paper. So he's stuck there until the sun comes up and his short sentence is served, trying to figure out what his fingers want to tell him. When he gets home, Yuri can finally put pencil to paper, but when he does it's Flynn's disappointed expression looking up at him. Another one balled up and tossed at the trash bin.
This one sails neatly into the bin. Yuri's aim is improving.
The next time Yuri is thrown in jail, Flynn doesn't come to visit him.
Yuri tells himself he isn't disappointed. All he's missing out on is another self-righteous rant.
When he gets home he tries to draw the two of them together, like they used to be. But he can't seem to draw their faces and he's left with awkward bodies in stilted poses and ovals where their faces should be. Another wasted sheet of paper.
They patch things up. They always do. But...
Things are awkward this time. Topics they have to dance around. But Yuri can finally draw them again and Flynn smiles as he adds a picture of them sparing to his little collection at his desk.
Yuri never did go back to Flynn's rooms. At least, not until a certain princess nearly brained Yuri with a vase. With Estelle in tow, Yuri walked the halls of the palace like he was there every day, his feet unerringly taking him back to Flynn's rooms.
He starts to poke around Flynn's stuff when he realizes the other man is gone on pilgrimage, but he doesn't get very far before an irritating assassin literally knocks the door off the hinges. So Yuri doesn't notice the old child's drawing, still framed above the desk. It's too shadowed in that corner with the lamps unlit and probably for the best Yuri didn't catch sight of it. He'd have been quite embarrassed.
As Yuri's friend group evolves, so does the number of people he likes to sketch. Though, as always, Flynn remains his favorite subject.
He tells Judy, repeatedly, not to read too much into that. She just smirks and asks innocently, "why would I read too much into something like that?"
Yuri's sketchbook comes to be filled with images of Hanks and Ted and the lower quarter on market day. Estelle's bright smiles as she sees the ocean for the first time. Karol's joy over the creation of their guild. Repede yawning after battle. Judy and Ba'ul framed in the sunlight. Raven's rare serious expression as nocks an arrow. Rita with her hands disappearing into a blastia body.
Flynn, radiant in his new Captain's uniform. And Yuri... falling into the dark.
If one's own art is a window into the soul, then Yuri wondered what it said about him that he could no longer draw himself in the light. He could put everyone else in the brightness of day, Flynn most especially. But Yuri... draws himself alone and often tears out the pages rather than leave them there where the others might see.
After Zaude, Yuri can't draw at all. Not people anyway. He sketches furiously, half remembered images of blood in the water and ruins rising above him as he sank into the sea.
But then Karol saves their lives in Zopheir and Yuri can finally start to draw something else. He's not sure he should show the kid what he sketches, though. Karol still has a hard time seeing himself as anything but a coward and, well... the kid would be embarrassed to see himself depicted as a hero.
Yuri's proud of just how much Karol's grown since they met. He's going to be a great leader for their guild one day. And that day's going to be there sooner than any of them think.
On the way to Tarqaron, Yuri draws page after page of the moments after his spar with Flynn. The two of them lying together in the grass. Hands raised to the sky or finger's tangling together in the space between them. Of the way Flynn looked at him...
Even if being captured on paper doesn't quite ever seem to do Flynn's expressions justice, Yuri's breath still catches at the sight of the imitation his hands wrought on the page and he has to close his sketchbook to keep from being lost.
Yuri finally sees the old artwork in the frame one morning, after the world is saved and, somehow, Flynn managed to talk Yuri into his bed.
And it was less the talking and more the kissing and soft touches that brought Flynn that particular success.
But Yuri wakes and of course he has to finish the snooping he'd started so many, many months earlier. And there's that picture. Not Yuri's finest work by far, though he does understand why it's so important to Flynn.
When they first met, Yuri couldn't read or write. And those still weren't his favorite pastimes, though he was passable at both these days. Flynn started teaching Yuri when he realized his new friend didn't know how. When Finath brought Yuri into his house, he took over the lessons, likely realizing that doing so would avert some of the ongoing arguments between the two boys.
But after the first lesson Flynn gave Yuri - teaching him all the letters in the alphabet with a silly little song to memorize them with - Yuri had drawn that picture as a thank you, hastily 'signing' it with his own face in the corner.
Smiling to himself, Yuri drew a new picture. Flynn standing by his desk while Yuri was in the process of coming into the room through the window, the sun streaming in behind him and joyful smiles on both their faces. He left that picture atop Flynn's desk before leaving for the day, a short message scribbled on the back.
"This would look a lot better in the frame over your desk than what's there currently, don't you think?"
There are now two pictures framed above Flynn's desk. He still won't let Yuri talk him into taking the older of the two down, though he rather enjoys Yuri's attempts to convince him that he should.