Before Yuri could really register what was happening, they'd crossed campus and Flynn was ushering him into his dorm room. This was technically the first time Yuri had been in here, and the scenario wasn't exactly how he'd imagined it. The first thing he noticed was how just about every available surface was covered with open books and loose papers, some of them crumpled up. Completely anti-Flynn, in other words. Yuri would think it was his absent roommate's side of the room if it weren't for the fact that the other side didn't really have the type of stuff that Flynn liked. (And since when was he an expert on that, anyway?)
"Alright, what's this about?" Yuri asked—for something like the thirteenth time, actually, but Flynn hadn't said a word since he burst into the coffee shop.
In response, Flynn dug through the haphazard pile of books on his bed, pulling out a volume that had a neon orange Post-It note stuck out of the top and flipping open to it. He turned the book around and stuck it under Yuri's nose, watching him expectantly as he scanned the pages.
"Uh. I don't know if I need to remind you, but I'm not majoring in law." Yuri pushed the book down gently with the tips of his fingers, meeting Flynn's eyes. Flynn let out a breath that was something between impatience and distress, closed the book and let it fall back among the others.
"My World History professor is being let go. He won't be back next year," he finally said, blue eyes steely, dangerous. Yuri blinked.
"Neither will my Psychology professor."
"And," said Flynn, pacing across the room toward his desk and picking up a piece of paper covered with handwriting much messier than his usual, "it's not just my professors. I've come up with a list of at least a dozen more at this university that have been fired in the past month."
Okay, so that definitely didn't sound normal. Yuri raised an eyebrow as he read the list that had been handed to him. He tapped his free hand idly against his hip, noticing that the professors were spread out pretty much evenly among the university's programs and subjects. Everything from physics to elementary education to women's studies.
"So," he finally said, "any idea what this all means?"
Flynn made a noise that sounded kind of frustrated in the back of his throat.
"If I knew that—"
"You wouldn't need my help. Gotcha." He handed the paper back, which Flynn set carefully on his desk, away from most of the mess. "Well, what do we know so far? Do they have anything in common?"
"Not that I've been able to figure out so far," said Flynn, shaking his head. Yuri wondered how long it had taken Flynn to put together this information, how many hours he'd already spent poring over the books that threatened to spill off of his narrow college-issue twin bed. On a more thorough glance, there were an awful lot of Post-Its, a rainbow (if rainbows came in only bright yellow, orange, pink and green) of scribbled-on papers peeking out between the pages.
"…Man, have you been sleeping at all?" Yuri peered at his face, reaching out to poke at the dark circles that his glasses frames perched on top of. His hand was batted away, though not with much irritation.
"I'm fine." And if Flynn's eyes (which were definitely bloodshot, by the way) blinked a bit too much, Yuri wasn't going to call him on it. He shrugged.
"If you say so. Okay, so we know that a whole bunch of professors are getting the axe, but have no idea why them or why now. What's the next step?"
It occurred to Yuri that it might be a little strange that he was immediately willing to help Flynn with this. It wasn't like he was particularly attached to most of his professors, Kaufman being the obvious exception. And even with her, he was far from being teacher's pet. He wasn't as concerned and outraged as Flynn obviously was, but also had to admit that it presented a sort of mystery, a challenge. And that was more up his alley.
Flynn rubbed a hand across his eyes, another betrayal of his fatigue. "I know I'm just a pre-law student, but I have this gut feeling that something's very wrong about this. And I can't sit here and let people that I know are good teachers lose their jobs. So…somehow I have to figure out if something illegal's going on. I doubt the administration would simply answer my questions about it. I'm probably not even supposed to know that more than a couple of the professors are on their way out at most."
He exhaled. "For now, I can't think of anything to do except more research. I feel like I've already looked at every law volume in the library…"
"Yeah, well you're wrong about one thing already."
Flynn looked up, eyes questioning.
"We are going to figure out if something's going on." Yuri stretched his arms behind his back and cracked a yawn. "But first…"
Hands on hips, Yuri considered the situation in front of him for a moment. Then he leaned forward, scooping up an armful of Post-It adorned law books and depositing them on the floor.
"…What are you doing?" said Flynn, forehead wrinkling a little. And hey, Yuri thought that he deserved points for not just sweeping them all off onto the floor in one go. He picked up more books, and some of the more precariously stacked started sliding off the comforter. Flynn bent down to stop their descent, eyes flashing up at him in slightly irritated confusion.
"You're not making it better, you know."
Yuri rolled his eyes as he set more books on top of the others. "Mess on the bed, mess on the floor, does it matter?"
Flynn opened his mouth as if he had an answer to that rhetorical question, but Yuri didn't give him time to say anything. With the last of the pile cleared away, he flopped down onto the bed, fluffing one of the pillows behind him and lacing his fingers together behind his head.
"Hey, I just worked my ass off at the coffee shop for four and a half hours. We can't do anything about the professor thing right this second, yeah? I don't know about you, but sleep sounds pretty awesome right now."
"Nap first, investigation later. Now c'mere."
Yuri tugged at the shirt-tail that was just barely within his reach, not really expecting Flynn to do anything except maybe complain about his laziness. So it was kind of surprising when Flynn slid down next to him, poking him in the ribs to get him to scoot over. The bed wasn't exactly designed for double occupancy, certainly not two lanky eighteen-year-old boys, so Yuri turned over onto his side, chuckling as Flynn's eyes flicked over to look at him.
Instead of responding, Yuri plucked Flynn's reading glasses off his nose by the bridge, sliding them off and reaching over him to set them on the nightstand.
"Haha, you totally forgot you were wearing them. Dork."
But Flynn's mouth was turned up in one corner even as he rolled his eyes, messy bangs half-covering them. Yuri was struck with the sudden urge to reach out and brush them away; his fingers twitched. This impulse seemed less dangerous than the others that flashed through his mind as Flynn twisted around and mirrored his position, facing away from Yuri. To scoot forward, drape an arm across his chest, press his face into the hair at the back of Flynn's neck. To reach for his shoulder and pull him back down, lean over him and kiss him breathless.
Just because he kind of wanted to do those things, didn't mean he should. Not when he knew that it probably meant something, something he didn't want to think about yet.
He closed his eyes.
It was a weird feeling, waking up in the almost-darkness of twilight and taking in his surroundings blearily. Right. Flynn's dorm room. He was still on top of the neatly made bed, and Flynn…
At some point, Flynn had twisted around to face him again—his eyes were closed and each even breath puffed on Yuri's cheek. One of his legs was thrown over Yuri's at the ankle, and his right hand lay open and relaxed between them. Unable to resist, Yuri poked lightly at one of Flynn's curled fingers—his hand twitched, then his eyes blinked open. Yuri could read the same brief disorientation in them.
"Mm," said Flynn, still blinking. He pulled his hand up and rubbed at his face. "What time is it?"
Apparently the question wasn't one that he expected Yuri to answer, because Flynn craned his neck to look at the alarm clock on the bedside table.
"Hmm, slept a lot longer than I thought."
"Probably needed it."
"Maybe." Flynn sounded dubious, as if the biological necessity of sleep was in question. Which was pretty ridiculous. Yuri was a big fan of sleep, himself. In fact, he wouldn't mind a little more.
He opened his eyes halfway from where they'd been drifting shut, made a vague sound of acknowledgement.
"I still need to study for a test tonight. I'm behind already because of all the time spent trying to figure out what's going on with the professors."
"Mm, no you don't."
"I kind of do. It's worth a large portion of my grade, and…"
Yuri rolled his eyes. "Have you ever not gotten an A, Flynn? You should really try it some time. Could be liberating, or something."
"Hey, I mean it. Take it easy."
Eyes still half-lidded, he slid an arm around Flynn's back; he stiffened briefly in surprise, then relaxed into it. Yuri kissed the corner of his mouth, trailed along his jaw line, lips pressed to the pulse point there. He was moving up to Flynn's ear when a cleared throat made his eyes snap open.
On the opposite side of the room, at a desk in the corner diagonal from Flynn's bed, was what Yuri could only assume was his roommate.
The guy grinned in a friendly but sheepish way, scratching at his short beard. He looked kind of preppy with his plaid button-down and khakis, but not the douchey kind. Probably.
"Hey, uh. Sorry. I just…didn't think you were aware you had an audience. I'm Kyle, by the way. Flynn's roommate, but you probably guessed that. I probably should've left when I noticed you guys in here, but I mean, you were just sleeping and looked really peaceful so I didn't want to, um… yeah. Sorry."
He laughed, rubbing at the back of his neck now. Flynn had already sat up by this point, had done so just about as soon as Kyle had announced his presence. Yuri noticed that he didn't move away from him, but he did run fingers through his hair in an attempt to neaten it, blushing so hard that his ears were red.
"Nah, it's cool. I'm Yuri." He lazily raised a hand in greeting, getting a nod from Kyle in return. "Anyway, I should probably head out and let this guy do his studious thing…"
It wasn't that Kyle being there really bothered him; not that he was about to make out with Flynn in front of him or anything, but Yuri wasn't particularly embarrassed. But Flynn already seemed flustered and the situation could only get more awkward from here. So making as graceful an escape as possible seemed to be the best option.
"Alright, see you around, man." Another nod from Kyle, the signature head-jerk of casual male acknowledgement. Yuri headed for the door and when he turned to say something to Flynn, he found that he had followed him. They both exited the room, letting the door click shut behind them.
"So…this is like a theme for us, or something," Yuri said wryly, after a beat of silence. A smile curved on Flynn's mouth; he huffed a laugh.
"Your roommate seems cool, though. Y'know, minus the whole voyeur thing." That got him a look. "Oh come on, I'm kidding. Nah, you're pretty lucky. He didn't seem bothered at all by, you know…"
Flynn nodded. "I knew Kyle from high school. We were never extremely close or anything, but he's a good guy. Open-minded."
Yuri briefly thought of his own roommate, who still barricaded himself into his side of the room at night, still went out of his way to skirt around him whenever they passed each other on campus. Nice to find someone that was on the opposite side of things.
"Alright." Yuri clapped Flynn on the shoulder. "Where do you want to go for dinner?"
Flynn just looked at him, clearly confused. "I only came to see you out. I still have to—"
"Uh-uh. I'm hungry, and know for a fact that you haven't eaten either. In fact, I doubt you've even had lunch." Yuri raised an eyebrow, challenging him to deny it. When Flynn said nothing, only lowered his head and sighed, Yuri took him by the arm and started down the hall. He thought he could hear Flynn muttering to himself, something about how Yuri was going to be the death of him one day.
Flynn drove, mainly because his car was parked closer. It was probably the cleanest car that Yuri had ever ridden in, without a single balled-up napkin or fast food wrapper littering the floorboards. And stick-shift, because it wasn't like Flynn could even do something as simple as driving without that somehow being a challenge, too. He didn't seem to understand Yuri's grin and eye roll as he took this detail in while sliding into the passenger seat.
The burger place just off campus was crowded and noisy; they practically had to yell for their order to be heard by the guy behind the counter. They shuffled out of a constant stream of people's way while waiting for their food—Yuri looked around, and when he didn't see any tables opening up he leaned in close to Flynn's ear.
"I don't think eating here is gonna work—let's drive back to the dorms, I have an idea."
The plain white bag, rolled at the top and spotted with grease, sat in Yuri's lap as they headed back. Despite it being shut, promising scents filled the car, making Yuri's stomach complain and Flynn's eyes flick over in amusement.
"Okay, stop in front of my dorm hall."
Surprisingly, Flynn didn't ask questions as they ascended the stairs. Not even when they passed Yuri's door and kept going. It was only when they reached the utility access and Yuri started jimmying the lock that Flynn's rule-abiding nature snapped into action.
"What are you doing? That's university private property, we can't break in." Flynn's voiced dropped into a hushed but frantic tone, looking over his shoulder as if campus police would immediately sense what they were doing and show up at any second.
"Relax, I do this all the time."
"Somehow that's not comforting, Yuri."
The lock finally caught and Yuri ushered Flynn through the door with a smirk and a flourish. Flynn frowned at him and didn't move.
"Come on, our food's gonna get cold." Yuri sighed as Flynn continued to look at him dubiously, shook his head. "Look, if we get in trouble—which isn't going to happen—this was my idea, alright? I'm a terrible, terrible influence."
"Damn right you are," Flynn muttered, but shouldered past him into the closet. He followed closely behind Yuri as he navigated through the small, dark room toward the stairs that he knew were on the other side.
Yuri's luck was with him. The rooftop was empty, a light breeze blowing across to cut through the heat of a spring night that was just this side of balmy. He grinned back at Flynn, who was still looking at him like he was sure that he would come to regret this decision. And in that case, Yuri would just have to prove him wrong.
"Nice, right? Hardly anyone ever comes up here."
"Because they're not supposed to," Flynn pointed out. Yuri made a dismissive noise, waving his free hand as if to brush the argument away. Still carrying the paper bag containing their dinner, he crossed to the far side and slid down to sit with his back against the low wall, legs stretched out in front of him.
"Coming?" he asked lightly, pulling the paper-wrapped burgers out of the bag. Digging around for the fry containers next, he smirked down at his lap as Flynn sat next to him, sighing a bit defeatedly. He set a plastic bag of bottled drinks between them, held his hand out for a burger and started to unwrap it. For a while, the crinkling paper was the only sound other than the distant, low roar of cars on the street behind the dorm buildings. Yuri thought he could hear some frogs in the distance. But maybe it too early for that.
The hiss of escaping carbonation as Yuri untwisted the cap to his bottle of Coke was a crisp sound that seemed almost unnaturally loud. Flynn was absorbed in taking careful bites of his burger; Yuri tapped a foot restlessly on the concrete.
"Hey Flynn," he said, waiting for him to look up. "Truth or dare."
Flynn froze for a second, eyebrow lifting as he swallowed and set his half-wrapped burger on the flattened out paper bag beside him. He brushed sesame seeds off of his hands.
"First of all," he began, "I wasn't aware that we were twelve-year-old girls at a slumber party."
"Second of all," Flynn continued, not allowing Yuri to defend himself, "we're alone, on the roof of a dorm hall. I can't begin to imagine what kind of dares you might come up with, but I am pretty sure that I don't want anything to do with them."
Yuri snorted. "Alright, fine. No dares. But just for that," he said, picking up a seasoned fry and gesturing with it at Flynn as he spoke, "my questions are going to be extra obnoxious."
He bit down on the fry with a smug smile.
"…And that's different from your normal behavior how?"
"Ha. Oh, Flynn. Now you're really asking for it."
"You don't scare me, Yuri." As if to prove that fact, he calmly took another bite out of his burger, gaze steady.
"Alright. But remember, you're agreeing to answer the question. No matter what."
"Okay." Yuri drummed his fingers on the roof. "You have to tell me…how you lost your virginity. Y'know. Assuming that you have."
Flynn immediately made choking noises and reached for his soda, Yuri patting him helpfully on the back.
"Don't say I didn't warn you," said Yuri, as Flynn swallowed the drink and took in a gulp of air. He set his burger aside again, knees drawn up to his chest, and looked out over the roof.
"Dammit, I'm going to have to tell you this story, aren't I," he muttered, picking at a loose thread on the hem of his jeans. Flynn didn't seem reluctant enough for it to be necessary to remind him that it was actually just playful coercion, so Yuri didn't bother mentioning it.
"Yep. Tick tock."
Flynn smiled a little, shook his head, still playing with the string. "Okay, fine. …So every year when I was a kid, I would go to this summer camp for a few weeks. The last year that I went was the summer that I turned fifteen."
Yuri made a sound of acknowledgement. He'd never been to a camp, himself. Everything that he knew about them came from various movies and TV shows.
"That was also the summer that I had a huge crush on my cabin's counselor, Jake. He was—"
"Wait. Wait, wait, wait," said Yuri, making the time-out sign with his hands. "Don't tell me that you and your camp counselor…"
Flynn's eyebrows shot up. "What? No. Oh, believe me, I wished. But no. Wow. That would be…super illegal." He made a face.
"Alright, alright. Go on."
"Right. So, as you might imagine, I spent a lot of time looking at this guy when I thought he wouldn't notice. One afternoon he was digging around for something in his duffel bag and I was…ah, admiring the view, from my top bunk." Flynn cleared his throat. "Just looking. Then I realized that Jake wasn't the only person being watched. The kid on the top bunk directly across from me had followed my gaze and was smirking at me. I thought I was done for, destined to be ridiculed for the rest of camp."
"I froze, our eyes locked…and this kid, still smirking, flicked his eyes over at Jake and mouthed 'I know, right?'"
Yuri threw his head back against the wall and laughed. "That's awesome."
"Yeah," said Flynn, smiling. "It was. That moment was so full of possibility for me. I hadn't really known any other kids like me in school at that point. So…"
He chuckled. "As soon as I had a chance to chat with him away for some of the other kids, we kind of hit it off. His name was Cameron." Flynn shrugged a little, smiling ruefully. "It wasn't an epic story of summer love or anything like that. We feigned sickness a few times while the other kids went to activities, being careful not to be suspicious about it. Probably too careful, really. I doubt most counselors suspect that the kids in their same-sex cabins are hooking up."
Flynn cleared his throat. "We couldn't do much. There was always the threat of someone coming back to the cabin early and wondering why both of the supposedly sick boys were in the bathroom. At the same time."
"Nice," said Yuri, chuckling. "So, what happened after that? I'm guessing you never got caught, yeah?"
"No. No one ever caught on that I know of. After camp, Cameron and I exchanged addresses and he said he'd write letters. I wrote one. He never replied."
Flynn shrugged a shoulder. "It's alright. Like I said." He left it at that, and Yuri nodded. Then a thought occurred to him, and he voiced it before he could think about whether it was a good idea.
"Hey, I thought you said you didn't do that sort of casual thing, though."
Well. That was out there now. Flynn's forehead creased.
"I don't. I mean, obviously I did, but…not anymore. Not since then."
It answered a question that had been floating in the back of Yuri's mind, largely ignored, since that day in the coffee shop.
"Ah. Got it," he said, after a moment. "That makes a pretty good story though."
"I guess," Flynn said, sounding amused. "It's not one I care to tell many people, obviously. But yeah."
"Well, hey, I'm glad you told me," said Yuri, grinning like he hadn't practically drug it out of him. Flynn rolled his eyes.
"Right. Well, it's your turn now. Same deal."
"What, you think that's gonna bother me? Sixteen, my friend's basement, his older brother."
"Relax, Flynn, he was only a year ahead of me. C'mon, eat more fries, they're getting cold."
Flynn stared at him for a moment, then laughed, bangs swaying as he shook his head and reached into the fry container that Yuri was holding out to him. When his hand was halfway to the container, a distant wailing sound made them both freeze.
"…Yuri, was that…?"
Cursing, Yuri stuffed the food back into the bag. The sirens were getting closer as they hustled back down the stairs, through the dark utility closet, Yuri peeking out of a crack in the door to give the all-clear before they slipped out. A campus policeman drove by in a golf cart-like vehicle as they were making their way down the stairs of Whitehorse Hall, on his way to some emergency; Yuri waved at him until Flynn pulled his arm down and called him a reckless idiot.
"Can't believe I followed you up there," he muttered.
"You'd do it again," said Yuri, smirking.
He took Flynn's silence as answer enough.
A/N: Wow, I really didn't mean for so much time to pass between updates for this story. In fact, I left last chapter on a cliffhanger partly so that it might inspire me to write the next part. :X What I didn't count on was real life stuff messing that plan up. But things have gone a lot better recently and I managed to write a whole bunch. Mostly just Yuri and Flynn this chapter, I guess. Haha. I hope you liked it!