~*She's the One*~
"And I'll be able to stay with everyone. With you."
It was a discussion from ages prior, but for some reason Yuri thought of it today.
He and Flynn had been around, oh, fourteen or so in the Lower Quarter of the Imperial Capital, Zaphias, where they had grown up. They were on the rooftop of the inn, watching the sun futilely attempt to make the murky water shine, and they had been watching the hustle and bustle of the city with excited children's eyes.
"Yuri, do you ever think about where we'll be…twenty years from now?" Flynn asked, swinging his legs over the side and kicking the air absently.
Yuri had arched his eyebrows until they disappeared into his (even then) long dark hair. "Where'd this come from?"
"Just wondering," Flynn replied defensively. He hunched his shoulders and stared off to the side, pulling his tattered jacket around him tighter as if to ward off his friend's frosty glare.
Chuckling, Yuri leaned back on his hands. "I…dunno. You?"
Flynn scowled. "Of course you don't know." His eyes became distant. "Where I see myself twenty years from now changes, but sometimes I see myself with…a girl." He blushed and Yuri snickered.
"Haha, you lovesick loser," he teased good-naturedly.
The tips of his friend's ears turned red. "Sh-Shut up!"
Realizing he might have actually offended him, Yuri cleared his throat. "Well…?"
"What's your future girl like?" Yuri prodded. "Beautiful, smart, knows how to use a sword…?"
"Why do I have a feeling you're implying something else?" Flynn didn't wait for an answer. "I think she'd have to be…brave, but intelligent, and committed…"
Yuri watched his companion curiously. "What, not beautiful?"
"Looks aren't everything."
"Certainly a plus, though."
Flynn rolled his eyes. "What about you? Can you give me even a little hint?"
Yuri frowned. "I guess…she'd…"
He realized then, he didn't have an answer.
"Flynn! You look wonderful!"
Yuri was lounging on the bed in Flynn's spiffy new Commandant room as if he owned the place, his sword sheathe strapped to his hand like always. He toyed with the leather strap absently as he watched Estelle squeal happily over how magnificent Flynn looked as he dressed up for his date with Yuri's own wonderful would-be murderer, Sodia.
"Do you really think so?" Flynn asked nervously. He was wearing a tuxedo that was as white as snow, but in Yuri's humble opinion, it looked awfully plain. He wasted no time in telling the Commandant just that.
"Plain? Really?" Estelle frowned and circled her friend three times, her blue eyes wide. "I think…it is. Flynn, I'll be right back!" She rushed out of the room and Yuri smiled and watched her go. Finally, at long last, there was absolutely no sign of Alexei's torture lingering in her smile or her gaze. She was one-hundred-percent recovered from that incident about a year ago.
Alexei hadn't suffered enough, in his opinion…
The door closed and Flynn spoke suddenly. "You really care for her, don't you?"
Yuri looked at his friend levelly. "Hmm? Yeah, sure."
"I know you better than you think," the blonde knight continued. "I've never seen you get more protective over anyone else. If she's in the room—"
"I could say the same for you," Yuri replied in an attempt to deflect the statement. "She is the Princess after all. And she's one of ours."
Flynn merely shook his head, and then Estelle returned with a big red flower in one hand. She tucked it securely into the lapel of Flynn's tuxedo, and stepped back to admire her work.
"Better," Yuri put in for her benefit. "Don't keep your lovely date waiting now, Flynn."
He shot the dark-haired vigilante a look before bowing low to Estelle. "Thank you for helping me prepare, Lady Estellise."
"It was my pleasure Flynn," she said in that adorably earnest way of hers.
I did not just think she was adorable.
"Good luck with the man-eating tigress," Yuri encouraged with a lazy wave towards his old friend.
"Her name is Sodia," Flynn responded dryly, but he smiled and exited the room, leaving the two friends alone in the Commandant's own personal chambers. Estelle turned to Yuri with her hands folded in front of her like always.
"Shall we, Yuri?"
"Hm? Sure." He got to his feet and followed the Princess into the hallways of the castle, casting an instinctively wary eye towards the Imperial Knights that patrolled the corridors. Estelle walked along cheerfully, and Yuri remarked, "You're pretty happy, aren't you?"
She laughed softly. "Yes, I am. I try to help Ioder maintain order when I can, but staying in the castle has become so much more fun since Rita agreed to move in!"
Ah yes, Rita. Yuri supposed he owed the feisty mage one for staying in the room next to the princess, but on the other hand, Aspio had been blown apart…where else could she have gone? Halure? She was an outcast amongst the other scholars…why go there when she could stay near her best friend?
Made sense to him.
(He also secretly felt a lot better, knowing that Rita was staying close to Estelle when he wasn't there to…to protect her. The mage was the only one he trusted to fight to protect her as much as he himself would.)
"I'm so glad you came to visit Yuri," Estelle was saying, and he quickly tried to catch up with what she was talking about. "Maybe I'll even be able to leave with you soon, when things have settled down here."
"Yeah, you know you're always welcome." Yuri spotted Repede coming up a flight of stairs. The blue dog silently trotted to his master's side and padded along, gnawing on his pipe. His one good eye was fastened on Yuri, and his long tail swished once in way of greeting. "It's nice of you to try and help Ioder."
"It's the least I can do. He has a lot on his mind lately." Estelle wrung her gloved hands, her smile turning into a thoughtful frown.
"Just remember not to overwork yourself," he warned. "Princesses need rest too."
"I will," she promised. They came to a halt outside of a long window that overlooked the courtyard. Yuri spotted Rita down below, sprawled on the rim of an ornately carved stone water fountain, a book open on her lap.
Yuri stood beside his friend, Repede on his right. "Well I hope that things start to settle down soon. Judith wants to take all of Brave Vesperia around on Ba'ul for a little exploring."
"Why is that?"
"Because she found a treasure map." Yuri smiled mischievously. "We can't very well solve it without our genius mage, now can we? She refuses to leave your side until this thing is resolved. And to be honest, I can't imagine starting another journey without you."
Their eyes met, one pair dark, the other bright, and Estelle stepped a little closer. "Really? I'll try my best to speed things up. But the loss of blastia…"
"Don't worry about it, take all the time you need. Though I don't know how much the old man has left…"
"Relax. I'm joking." Yuri grinned slightly, and Repede chuffed in amusement, resting on his haunches with a knowing expression on his furry face. "Did Karol stop by recently?"
"Oh, yes. He says Nan has expressed interest in joining Brave Vesperia." She smiled again. "I'm glad."
She smiled a lot. For some reason, the thought made him do the same. "But you're not bothered, staying here in Zaphias most of the time dealing with worried citizens?"
"No. Raven is in and out pretty often, and with Rita here, I'm not bothered at all. And I'm not imprisoned in the castle like before; I'm here because I chose to be here."
"To live is to choose," he echoed.
She blinked in surprise as he repeated her words back to him from the night before the battle with Duke. "And…are you happy, Yuri?"
"Are you just traveling around, like you said you would?"
"Yeah. Sometimes it's just me and Repede again, sometimes I'm with Karol and Judy, sort of depends on the situation."
Estelle nodded like this answer satisfied her. She went back to looking out the window, and then she waved. "Oh, Rita's seen us!"
She had indeed. The genius mage had glanced up from her tome and ended up spotted the trio. She gave a small wave and stood, tucking her book under her arm and heading for the stairs that led up to their level.
"Rita still working on her new energy formula?" Yuri inquired casually.
"She's perfected that already." Estelle sounded proud of her friend's achievements, as if they were her own. "She says that twenty years from now, the world will be filled with her inventions that should be better than blastia!"
"Twenty years from now…" Yuri heard Flynn's voice reverberating in time with Estelle's. "Estelle, do you ever think about where you'll be twenty years from now?"
The question caught her off guard, but she tried her best to answer. Her pink brows furrowed. "I think…I think I'll be married. Maybe even with a family."
Yuri had expected something like that from her. "Really?" He tried his best to keep his flippant tone. "Who's the lucky guy?"
Her eyes turned distant, just like Flynn's had. "Someone…like a knight, brave and strong and maybe…"
He never got to hear what she was going to say, because then Rita joined them and ended up accidentally stepping on Repede's tail. The dog yelped and then growled crossly.
"Sorry Repede," Rita said hurriedly. "Hey, Yuri, Estelle."
"Estelle tells me you have some world changing perfected energy formula?" Yuri remarked wryly.
Rita's eyes flashed as brilliantly as lightning and she launched into a spiel about her new energy, which was more effective than Witcher's in her opinion. However, Yuri did that mainly as an excuse to buy him some time to think, because he wouldn't understand her anyway.
When he tried to do the impossible and imagine himself with a family, for some reason he couldn't help but think of Estelle. That alone answered his question from earlier, all of those years ago.
She's the one, Yuri mused to himself as he caught the eye of the princess and smiled. She smiled back.
Rita looked back and forth between the two of them. "What are you two grinning about?"
Author's Note: Short story I put together for the heck of it. Get it? She's the One...the date it was published on...fail. Review if you want. XD