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I Could Get Used to Being in Love

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                Yuri was one to find himself in various predicaments all his life. From being imprisoned by the knights, to helping a princess escape her castle, to falling off of a giant fortress, and finally to being dragged along on a long and arduous journey to save the world from its destruction, trouble seemed to have a knack for finding him. He was a catalyst for problems, but unfortunately, that was just his way in the world.

                However, he was now regretting his propensity for predicaments as he lay in the castle’s gardens, clutching his arm close to his body. Compared to the other problems he had been thrust into, falling from the balcony of the Commandant’s office was nothing. Hell, he had fallen from further than this when a certain knight decided to stab him. But there had been an ocean to catch him, and some mysterious guy who saved his life.

                He swore under his breath as he tried to move his arm a bit. Something was broken or at least out of place. His arm was swelling, and a dull throb in his shoulder mimicked his heartbeat. Moving again proved to be futile and Yuri let his head fall back against the bush that had cushioned his fall. He needed a minute before he could get up.

                His supine position allowed him to stare at a variety of different things. Namely, he could see the broken garden lattice panel that had cracked under his weight, as well as the storm clouds that decided the perfect time to rain was when Yuri was nearly to the balcony of the Commandant’s office. Normally he was very dexterous and could recover from slipping but Yuri’s foot had gotten caught in the lattice and before he knew it, he was falling backwards into the castle gardens. So here he was, laying in a rose bush.

                Yuri thought of how normal his day had been before this mess. The streets of Zaphias had been quiet, especially in the aristocratic quarter. Much quieter than the din of the lower quarter, Yuri had thought to himself as he moved through the night. It was not an unpleasant silence, but Yuri had grown up around noise, and he now had a second home in the noisy city of Dahngrest. So, silence was a rare respite for him. And he was not sure he liked this kind of silence too much.

                He noted the way guards seemed to let him pass more easily than before. They simply offered him a nod when they saw him and let him walk through the formerly restricted area unbothered. It was hardly any fun to visit the aristocratic quarter anymore.

                Well…that was a lie. But the fun in question lived and worked in the castle. Which meant that Yuri usually had to trudge around nobles and disinterested guards. At least he had the pleasure of dropping in on his best friend from his second story window, right?

                The universe was never quite so easy on Yuri though. Whatever forces that controlled luck must have really hated Yuri that day. Why did bad luck only seem to come to him? Did whatever higher power that existed in the world want to punish Yuri for his hubris? Or was the universe just amused by Yuri’s pain? Whatever it was, Yuri had some rather strong words for them.

                Getting up on his own was proving to be a futile endeavor. Yuri could not seem to pull himself up. The thorns in the rose bush had tangled in his clothes and his hair and snagged on him more with every movement. Plus, he was trying to maneuver with his injured arm and incredibly sore body. And it certainly did not help that it had begun to rain harder.

                After a few long and embarrassing moments of struggling and a wide array of cuss words, Yuri accepted defeat at the hands of both nature and gravity. He glared at the sky which only hit him with a large raindrop on his forehead in return. Not that it mattered, the longer he lay in the bushes, the more his clothes became absolutely soaked. It was not enough that he had to be injured, he had to be wet too.

                A yawn brought Yuri out of his frustration and he turned his head toward the source. Repede sat staring at Yuri. If Repede could emote like a human, he would have had a raised an eyebrow at his friend’s predicament. And then he would have laughed.

                “Shut up, Repede. Could you give me some help?”

                Repede only looked at him for a long moment before laying down on the ground.

                “You’re gonna get wet, dumbass,” Yuri rolled his eyes before he became a little more pleading. “Please help…or go get some help? Anything?”

                Repede only looked at Yuri. He blinked slowly, before standing up and shaking out his fur. He barked and ran off toward the castle, leaving Yuri alone once more. However, Yuri’s solitude did not last all that long, because he heard a voice call out his name.

                “Yuri Lowell?” Came the voice of a female knight, who sounded more confused than disgusted. That was new.

“Yeah, yeah. Hey, Sodia.”

                Sodia made her way to the bush Yuri was trapped in and looked down at him before looking at the broken lattice and up at the balcony above them. She stared for a moment before she turned back toward Yuri.

                “You know, you could always use the door,” she snorted before she knelt next to Yuri and began to untangle him.

“And risk getting caught by the guards?”

“They knew you were coming.”

“Exactly why I needed to use the window,” Yuri retorted, before Sodia jostled his injured shoulder and a gasp of pain escaped his lips.

“They would let you in”

                For someone who supposedly hated Yuri and hated how close he was to the Commandant, Sodia was surprisingly civil with Yuri. Whether that was to make up for stabbing Yuri at Zaude or just maturity since they last met, he did not know. But she was definitely treating him differently, and he was not sure he liked it.

                “Wow. Security here must suck.”

“Bold words, coming from you,” Sodia muttered, and a smirk crossed her lips.

“Huh?”

“Nothing.”

“No. No, did you just make a crude joke about me sucking—”

“Sh-Shut up!”

                A blush crossed her cheeks, causing Yuri to let out a loud laugh. However, his joy at finding out that Flynn’s fussy lieutenant could actually make a joke was short lived. Sodia had punched Yuri’s bad shoulder, causing him to cry out in pain.

                “What?” She gasped and pulled away quickly hearing his exclamation.

“Gah…I think…I think I hurt my arm when I fell.”

“Ugh…you could have told me before I punched you!”

“It’s your fault for making a joke for the first time in, like, ever. I wouldn’t have made fun of you”

“What if I just left you here in the rain?” She snapped back.

“Sorry.”

                She barely dignified his apology with a short huff before she went back to freeing Yuri from the bush. He refrained from making a snide comment when she pulled out her knife to cut away the stems that had gotten caught in Yuri’s hair. He did not want to anger her while she had the upper hand and while she had a knife so close to his long hair.

                It was not long before Yuri was freed from the bushes. Sodia helped him to his feet but he found his ankle had been injured from the fall. So, he needed to lean on Sodia to even walk. Neither of them were happy about this, but they powered through their distaste of each other.

                However, Yuri noticed that Sodia was not as harsh with him as she had been in the past. She did not get as worked up over his teasing as she used to, and she was currently leading him through the castle as if he had not been trying to break in. Perhaps the knights had grown soft since the Adephagos was defeated.

                Had it really been five years?

                Yuri shook his head slightly to clear it. Dwelling on sentiments would not help him in this current predicament. He found that when he thought too much, he would be thrown off of his edge. Sure, he had been thrown off by falling and likely breaking his arm, but he did not want to make it any worse.

                “I should warn you that the Commandant is in a meeting with Lady—” Sodia was cut off by a loud gasp.

“Yuri!”

“Estelle?”

                Estelle ran toward Yuri and almost immediately started badgering him with questions about how he hurt his arm and telling him that he needed to be far more careful and that her healing magic was not like it used to be and that Yuri was lucky she happened to be visiting Zaphias. Following Estelle was Flynn, who looked just as worried.  

                “Sodia, we can handle him from here.”

“I was taking him to you anyway, sir.”

                Sodia turned on her heel the second Yuri had moved away from her and walked down the hallway without even a glance back at them. Since when was she so casual around Flynn? She really had been acting different. But his attention was soon pulled away by Flynn and Estelle’s fussing.  

                “Let me guess, you fell trying to get into my window.” Flynn’s face was worried but there was the slightest hint of amusement in his eyes.

“Yeah. Yeah. Next you’re gonna say ‘I told you not to climb in the window’ and I frankly don’t want to hear it.”

“Well, in any case, we should get you to my room. So we can see the extent of your injuries.” Flynn sighed.

                Flynn, Yuri, and Estelle made their way to Flynn’s bedroom. Yuri could definitely feel that his ankle was sprained, especially when he stepped wrong. His shoulder felt swollen now and he kept his arm close to his stomach. There was no way he could swordfight like this. He could hardly walk without someone supporting him.

                It did not take that long to get Yuri to Flynn’s room. The moment he was deposited on the bed, Estelle started tending to his wounds. Her healing artes certainly were not as powerful as they were on their journey, just as she said. With the change from aer to mana and her settling down in Halure, Estelle’s abilities seemed to have weakened slightly. It was another change yet one she seemed to welcome. All she wanted was a normal life and embraced that choice wholeheartedly.

                Despite the change in magic power, a combination of both physical and magical first aid took some of the pain away from Yuri’s injuries. Flynn helped to bandage his ankle and shoulder, and delicately picked out the thorns that had ensnared themselves in Yuri’s skin and clothes. Of course, Yuri complained the whole time, only being silenced by Flynn shoving a gel in his mouth whenever he got too dramatic.

                Yuri would need to rest up for a few weeks, however. A dislocated shoulder and a sprained ankle were still serious injuries, even if the healing process was sped up. What was supposed to be a few days off of guild work turned into an extended leave of absence and Yuri was rather unhappy. He had jobs to do and he hated being a liability to the guild. Sure, Karol, Judith, and Repede could handle a lot, but it still left Yuri feeling useless.

                “Is the rest of Brave Vesperia in town?” Estelle asked Yuri once she had finished healing him.

“They’re staying at the Inn in the lower quarter. I should probably go and tell them I got injured—”

“You’re not going anywhere because you need rest!” She huffed before her eyes brightened up with an idea. “I’ll go see them and tell them! It’ll be nice to see Karol and Judith again!”

                Before either Flynn or Yuri could argue, the princess had rushed out of the room, excited to go see her old travelling companions. Yuri could only smile seeing that Estelle had not changed too much in their time apart. She had not lost that energy he and his companions grew to treasure.

                Though, Estelle’s sudden departure now left Yuri alone with Flynn who still held that disappointed gaze. Yuri did not even have to look to know that Flynn was giving him that stare.

                “Like what you see?” Yuri asked, pretending to be nonchalant.

“Yuri.”

“I know, I know. Use the door next time. But when the guards arrest me for trespassing, that’s your fault.”

“How many times do I have to tell you that you are never trespassing here?”

“Hey, Tweedle A and Tweedle B still try to arrest me every time I see them!”

“That’s because you keep provoking them, dumbass.”

                Yuri shrugged slightly, still facing away from Flynn. But he heard movement behind him, and soon, a pair of arms had snaked around his waist. A familiar weight pressed up against him, and he could feel Flynn nuzzle his face into his good shoulder. Yuri’s breath hitched. He was suddenly aware of how much he missed Flynn’s touch, his warmth. It took all of Yuri’s resolve not to melt and to keep up his teasing.

                “Awfully cuddly there, Commandant.”

“Shut up,” came Flynn’s muffled retort.

“Make me.”

                A grumble escaped Flynn’s mouth and he squeezed Yuri tighter. Yuri could not help but laugh and lean back into Flynn. He was glad that in the five years since they saved the world, this had not changed. They bickered like an old married couple, teased each other endlessly, and yet could always find a place in each other’s arms at the end of the day.

                Flynn pulled away after a moment and Yuri had to resist the urge to lean further into the man.

                “Your hair is a mess. Can I untangle it for you?” Flynn asked, his voice now incredibly soft.

“Mhm…yeah, sure. Go nuts…just don’t pull it.”

“Oh? But I thought you liked it when I pulled on your hair—”

                Yuri reached behind him to try and swipe at Flynn with his good arm, his face now flushed a bright red. If he were uninjured, he would have tackled Flynn at that comment. Instead, he had to listen to Flynn’s mischievous laughter from behind him without any retaliation.

                “You’re lucky I can’t fight right now, Flynn.”

“What can I say, I saw the opportunity and took it.”

“Shut up!” Yuri whined, turning around slightly to glare at Flynn.

“Make me,” Flynn retorted, using Yuri’s previous statement against him.

“You are the worst, you know that?”

“Yes, I’m perfectly aware, now hold still so I can fix your hair.”

                With an eyeroll, Yuri moved so that Flynn could easily attend to his hair that had been tangled in the branches of the rose bush. Fingers gently worked out the knots in his mane, dislodging sticks and leaves from every strand. It did not help that Yuri was still pretty soaked from the rain, but Flynn managed to untangle Yuri’s hair with patience and a slight bit of swearing from both of them.

                “You know, that would have gone faster had you not fought me the whole way,” Flynn chided, though without any actual forcefulness behind his words.

“You kept pulling on it too hard!”

“Because it was incredibly tangled, which would not have happened had you taken the front door.”

“I wanted to surprise you.”

“It’s not a surprise for you to come in my window anymore. I leave it unlocked because of your insistence on making a dramatic entrance.”

“Oh, so you’re telling me to find something even more ridiculous?” Yuri grinned, forgetting that Flynn could not see it.

“Says the man with a dislocated shoulder.”

                Yuri fully turned his body around so that he was properly facing Flynn. There was a look of exasperation on his features but nothing super serious. Sure, Flynn was concerned about Yuri’s injuries, but there was an easiness in his face that reassured Yuri. Perhaps being injured would not be all that bad if he could spend his time recovering with Flynn.

                He made a motion to move closer to Flynn, but Yuri suddenly became acutely aware of how gross his wet clothes felt. Flynn’s teasing and gentle embrace had made him all but forget that he was soaked through to the bone. That and it was not the first time he had been caught in the rain. And, if he was being honest, he had gone through much worse ordeals than simply being rained on. At least he did not end up in the ocean this time.  

                “You got a change of clothes I could use?” Yuri asked sheepishly, hating asking for anything.

“Oh! Right! Sorry! I was so distracted by your sudden arrival that I—”

“Yeah, yeah, you were too busy ogling how hot I was, I know.”

“Whatever you want to believe,” Flynn replied, rolling his eyes again, though, his cheeks had flushed a bit. “You might be better off getting a bath first.”

“Only if you join me,” Yuri smirked.

“That’s surprisingly romantic coming from you.”

“No, it’s really just to save water.”

“Liar, you want to spend time with me.”

“Ew, no, that’s gross.”

There was hardly any force behind those words as a lazy smile curled up Yuri’s lips. Flynn simply smiled back. However, Yuri noticed that look in Flynn’s eyes and he hardly had time to react before Flynn had swift scooped him up into his arms and held him bridal style.

                “Flynn!” Yuri whined, struggling in his newfound position.

“What, you can’t walk properly anyway.”

“Just you wait. The second my arm is healed we’re gonna—”

                He was silenced by the laughter that shook Flynn’s body. The happy chuckles caused a wide smile to spread across Flynn’s face and his eyes to crinkle at the sides as they closed. Yuri could feel the wind leave his lungs as he looked up at Flynn in all of his happiness. His willpower not to give in to Flynn’s sappy and romantic antics faltered and Yuri lurched up to catch Flynn’s lips with his own.

                Yuri had forgotten how much he missed this. He missed how warm Flynn felt against him. He missed how Flynn’s lips felt, how they seem to fit against Yuri’s almost perfectly. The pounding in Yuri’s chest grew faster, excited to finally kiss Flynn after being apart for so long. It was all so gross and romantic, and Yuri lived for every second of this.

                They pulled apart after a moment, Yuri suddenly growing very embarrassed at his display of affection and the now toothy grin that lit up Flynn’s face.

                “Missed me that much, huh?” Flynn asked, barely containing his utter joy.

“Just take me to the bath already, you sap.”

“You’re the one who kissed me.”

“Because you looked so happy…” Yuri mumbled.

                Flynn only hummed in response to that and carried Yuri off to the bathroom that was attached to the Commandant’s chambers. He could not help but drop his forehead against Flynn’s shoulder. A soft and contented sigh escaped his lungs. He would never admit that he enjoyed being taken care of like this, but he figured Flynn knew from how he had pulled Yuri closer.

                Yuri was deposited gently on the floor near the tub as Flynn drew the hot water for the two of them. It took a moment for the water to heat up, so Yuri tried to peel off his wet clothes, which proved to be difficult with one hand. He struggled for a moment, swearing under his breath each time he jostled either his swollen shoulder or his sprained ankle.

                But a pair of hands soon helped Yuri strip, careful not to irritate his injuries further. It frustrated Yuri that he could not do such a simple task by himself, but he was grateful for Flynn’s help. Yuri also needed Flynn’s help to get into the bath, which was another ordeal full of various cuss words on Yuri’s part. However, once he felt the warm water on his sore body, all his frustration dissipated.

                Yuri closed his eyes as he leaned back in the tub and listened to the sound of rustling clothes and the clanking sound of armor pieces being removed. The water splashed slightly as Flynn slipped into the tub and wrapped an arm around Yuri’s waist to pull him close into a cuddle. Yuri’s head found its way into the crook of Flynn’s neck again, nuzzling closer to him.

                They stayed like that for a while, just resting against each other. Neither really wanted to move from their position and all thoughts of getting clean were lost to the warmth they found within each other.

                Reluctantly, Flynn moved away to reach for the bar of soap and passed it to Yuri so he could clean himself. Yuri let out a whine at Flynn pulling away from their embrace but slowly started to clean himself, removing the garden’s dirt from his body.

                “Could you help me wash my hair? It’s kind of hard with one hand” Yuri asked.

“Mhm…” Flynn hummed before grabbing a bottle of shampoo.

                Yuri shivered the second he felt Flynn’s fingers in his hair and against his scalp. He would never admit it, but he loved it when Flynn played with his hair, and since Flynn had already detangled it earlier, there was a significant lack of swearing this time.

                When Flynn had finished washing Yuri’s hair, Yuri submerged his head under the water to rinse off before reemerging with a big splash. He laughed seeing Flynn duck away from the water and the stern look that followed.

                “You’re going to get my floor all wet,” Flynn stated, though without any hint of disappointment in his voice.

“Oh no,” Yuri deadpanned, splashing more water at Flynn.

                He laughed again as more water sloshed out of the tub before Flynn sent a wave of water crashing back at Yuri. Yuri sputtered as water got into his mouth and he shot a glare at Flynn who looked all too pleased with himself.

                “What happened to not getting your floor wet?”

“You started it,” Flynn snorted, splashing Yuri again.

“Okay, okay! I surrender! I only have one hand right now, jeez,” Yuri said rolling his eyes.

“Are you pouting because you lost—”

                Yuri cut Flynn off with a swift kiss. If there was one way to shut Flynn up, it was this. It totally was not because Yuri liked how happy Flynn was and how that smug grin on his face made his heart flutter and his mind race with thoughts. He pulled back to look at Flynn, who looked all too content with this development.

                His heart was absolutely pounding in his chest as he looked at Flynn. He was not really one for emotions, but Flynn made Yuri feel like fireworks. Each kiss was an adrenaline spike, as was every smile, every single glance, everything. Flynn made Yuri feel so alive and each heartbeat emphasized this feeling.

                They leaned in to renew their kiss, but a knock on Flynn’s door interrupted them.

“Commandant Flynn!” A knight called from outside the bathroom.

“Yes?”

“I don’t mean to interrupt your break time, but Leblanc’s brigade is back with their report…uh…is this a bad time?”

“Considering you’re talking to me through the bathroom door? Yes, a very bad time,” Flynn responded, his eyes narrowing slightly in annoyance.

                The expression on Flynn’s face was interesting to watch. Yuri could see how Flynn was wrestling with his duty to the knights and his desire for just a few moments with Yuri. Some things never changed even after all these years. It kind of relieved Yuri to know that this was constant in their ever-changing world.

                “Hey, if you need to go do work, I don’t mind. It’s not like I’m going anywhere anytime soon,” Yuri offered, leaning back against the tub nonchalantly.

“…I should go now, shouldn’t I?”

“I’ll be here when you get back. I promise.”

                Flynn’s eyes scanned over Yuri, seemingly reading him like a book and weighing his options. It almost made Yuri shiver, feeling those blue eyes poring over his face, but he resisted the urge. After a moment, Flynn sighed with resignation.

                “Go tell Leblanc I’ll be down there in 10 minutes!” He called back to the knight.

“Aye sir!”

                The knight scurried off, and Flynn started to drain the tub. He helped Yuri out and into a bathrobe before helping him limp back to the bedroom. Yuri found his place back on Flynn’s bed, still wrapped up in one of Flynn’s bathrobes.

                Flynn was pretty quick getting dressed and Yuri could not help but watch the methodical way Flynn donned his uniform and armor. Yuri had watched him get dressed so often that he had almost memorized the exact movements Flynn made. It felt weird to know Flynn this well, but he suspected that he was just as predictable to Flynn.

                “I’ll have the castle staff clean and dry your clothes for you, but I have some spare clothes you could borrow. And I think you left your sweatpants here from last time if you want those. Want me to get those for you?”

“Don’t worry about me. I know where your clothes are. I’ll figure something out,” Yuri waved his hand dismissively.

“Are you sure? Won’t you need help getting dressed?”

“Go to your meeting. I’ll be fine, I promise.”

“I promise this should not take too long. I’ll be back before you even know I’m gone.”

“Take your time, Commandant,” Yuri teased, a sleepy smile curling up his lips.

                Flynn responded to that with a quick yet gentle kiss that left Yuri feeling lighter than air even when Flynn had quit the room. He felt his cheeks burn with embarrassment that Flynn could turn him into putty, but he supposed he did not mind that much.

                Yuri made no move to get dressed, instead flopping against the bed, careful to avoid his bad shoulder. He stared at the door that Flynn had left through before a soft sigh escaped his lips and he nuzzled his face into the collar of the fluffy bathrobe Flynn had given him.

                Between the robe and the fluffy pillows and the soft blanket that smelled too much like Flynn, Yuri found himself increasingly drowsy. He felt so warm and safe that he did not mind closing his eyes for a moment. Just a brief moment.

                His heart was still pounding in his chest, still excited over being near Flynn again. This visit was not any different than the others. In fact, he always felt this way around Flynn. There was something so incredibly thrilling about him that Yuri could not help the adrenaline that ran through his veins from simply being in Flynn’s room.

                He let out a long sigh, trying to calm his excited heart. However, he could not help the wide grin that creeped his way to his face, or the butterflies that fluttered in his stomach.

 So, Yuri lay in Flynn’s bed for a long moment, feeling so incredibly in love that he did not notice when his consciousness gave way to a well-deserved dream. And he fell fast asleep, a smile on his face the entire time.

He could get used to this.