Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of Vesperia. I'm not making any money off of this either.
A/N: There's just something about Judith and Yuri. Whether its that flirty atmosphere or Judith's unique personality, I have no idea, but I love it.
The night was clear and crisp, with a slight wind carrying the scent of frost and wood smoke. Beneath the abundant stars lay a small encampment by the side of a dry dusty road.
Yuri stoked a small glowing fire with a stick before settling back onto the rock where he sat. He looked down the road until the dirt track disappeared over a grassy hill and into the darkness.
Unable to sit still any longer, Yuri carefully got up and stepped over Rapede who was sprawled out on his side. The canine cracked open his single eye, but stayed where he was and quickly drifted back to sleep.
The young swordsman figured they would reach the port city of Capua Nor by late morning tomorrow. They could have pushed on to the port city, but Estelle and Karol were too tired to press on any farther. So Raven had whipped up a thin vegetable soup and they had settled down for the night.
Yuri wandered around the camp with his sword strap firmly in hand. Other than chirping crickets and the occasional wind gust, it was completely silent.
Night watches were boring. Not that he had anything against uneventful and peaceful nights, but a little stimulation wouldn't have hurt.
Yuri checked his comrades by the fire. Rita and Estelle were sleeping huddled close by the fire to stave off the night chill, and Raven was sprawled out in his own little nook between two large rocks. Likewise, even Karol and Rapede slept undisturbed. That only left one more.
The crunch of gravel beneath booted feet alerted the dark haired fighter to the presence of the missing party member.
"Out for another stroll I see," Yuri smirked lazily as he turned around to see Judith walk up the dirt road with a lance casually swung over her shoulder.
"Why not? It's a beautiful night," Judith matched Yuri's cool and playful smirk as she sauntered over. She carefully propped her lance against a waist high boulder and looked up at the stars.
Yuri never questioned where she went at night. Not that Judy was alone in late night excursions. After running into each other on more than one occasion they'd come to a silent yet mutual understanding about both their clandestine activities.
"You turning in?" Yuri asked.
Judith took a hold of the light blue plumage from the back of her head and absently began untangling brambles and burs that had accumulated during the day's travel. "No, just yet," she replied smoothly.
Yuri made a noncommittal sound in his throat; he wasn't surprised. Since he'd known her he had never seen Judy sleep. She either took her mysterious walks or volunteered to take night watches whenever they camped out. But that was Judy for you; she did things here own way. And frankly that's one of the aspects Yuri liked about her the most.
Yuri let the conversation die, and instead watched with growing curiosity as the Krytian nimbly worked her fingers through the pale blue plumage.
Furry? Feathery? He was hard pressed to classify that particular feature of Judith. And come to think about it, what were those things for anyway? Maybe some kind of Krytian telepathy?
Normally Yuri would let such thoughts fade away as soon as they'd come. But on slow nights like this, he let his mind entertain such notions.
Soon he started to wonder how they would feel? Did they feel as soft as they looked? Or smooth as the hues of blue lightened all the way to the tips?
That did it; his curiosity was thoroughly piqued.
"Hey, Judy. Mind if I ask you a something?"
Judith turned her mildly humored crimson eyes towards Yuri. "No one's stopping you."
Yuri paused. How exactly was he going to go about this without looking strange? Then he remembered, its Judith he was dealing with. She certainly marched to the beat of a different drummer.
"What are those deel-i-bops that stick out the back of your head? I've always wondered about that those."
There was a pregnant pause. Confusion and doubt ghosted over Judith's eyes as they widened a tiny fraction.
"I'm sorry," she confess and then smiled mockingly, "It's that I'd never imagined I'd hear the word 'deel-i-bops' to come out of your mouth."
Yuri opened his mouth to answer but then shut it. Come to think of it where had that word come from? Was it even a word?
"Then what do you call them?" he asked weakly.
"Hm," Judith looked at him silently and then examined the plumage in her hands. "I never really thought about it. Antennae. I suppose."
"So they're like feelers or sensors or something?" Yuri casually slid next to Judith who was still examining the delicate plumage.
"Not quiet. I think they help me talk with Ba'ul. Or maybe they help me in battle, I don't use a bodi-blastia after all," Judith shrugged nonchalantly.
Yuri's dark eyebrow rose skeptically, "You don't know?"
"Like I said. I never thought about it much," Judith replied coolly.
"Can you move them?" Yuri feigned indifference, but his grey eyes gave away his growing curiosity.
To answer the question, Judith flicked the one she wasn't holding up and down.
Yuri braced himself for the next question.
"Can I feel one?"
Judith paused again and looked Yuri in the eyes. She didn't look offended, but mildly curious and perhaps a hint of alarm, but maybe he was reading too much into things. It was dark, and the crescent moon did not provide all that much luminescence.
Judith looked up from her task then back at her antenna. The hesitation coming from Judith was a first for Yuri; he was almost as curious about that as he was her pale blue plumage in her hand.
Judith seemed to recover her lackadaisical attitude and grinned, "Well, I don't see the harm in it."
Judith gently held the plumage she was working on slightly away from her body towards Yuri.
Yuri suddenly felt extremely self-conscious, but this was a chance he'd be a fool to pass up on. He slowly reached out and Judith let the antennae fall into his outstretched palm.
It was slightly heavier than he thought it would be. Yuri had imagined the antennae as feather light as they appeared. Instead, the dense feather-like strands had some bulk to them, kind of like locks of fur or hair. The feathery strands were also smooth and soft in his callused hand, and insanely silky.
It felt good, so cool and smooth. Yuri couldn't help but want to feel more. Curiously he reached up a bit farther.
A sudden thought hit Yuri as he played with the pale blue plumage in his hand. He couldn't help but think it strange that Judith let him (anybody) touch her so long, for she was not a "touchy-feely" person to begin with. So he couldn't stop asking himself, why?
Yuri managed to pry his attention away from the silky blue antenna and back onto Judith, the answer was unintentionally provided.
Yuri's entire body tensed.
So much for the cool poker face he used to take pride in. But given the fact that a slight quiver worked its way from Judith's smooth flat belly, up to those sinfully bountiful breasts and into her shoulders, Yuri was no match for such an intense reaction.
Every detail was singed into Yuri's brain. But the nearly inaudible catch of her breath through barely parted lips almost undid the young swordsman.
For a split second their locked gazes. Gone was the mild amusement, the cool indifference that defined most of Judith's expressions. Now her crimson eyes were filled with both rare shock and alarm. The very sight made Yuri's stomach flip not so unpleasantly.
"You ok?" he asked thickly, and a little more huskily than he would have liked.
The seconds ticked by, and Yuri watched Judith forcefully mask her reaction. Instead, of replying to his question she reached out and took a lock of Yuri's dark hair between her long fingers.
"I think this should be a two way street. Don't you?" She smirked, albeit a little shakily, letting Yuri's hair fall through her fingers.
The breath in Yuri's lungs froze; the slight tug on his hair sent goose-bumps prickling all over his scalp. Until this day the only way that Judith was ever willingly touch another person was if she were going to do them bodily harm.
Yuri was convinced that all these firsts were going to be the end of him.
Judith examined the dark strands with feigned seriousness, "Hm, Lets see. A little oily, but silky too…Not bad."
Judith smoothly took a step away. Though if Yuir had not been so distracted he would have noted that she moved a little too quickly; far from her usual unhurried grace.
"I'll take the last watch. Why don't you get some rest?" Judith said picking up her lance.
Yuri, still frozen in place with his hand stretched out, watched those rounded hips as Judith sauntered to the edge of the encampment.
Somehow Yuri made it to his bedroll where he plopped down heavily. His nerves pulsed and smoldered and his entire body felt unusually sensitive. Yuri took a deep breath and waited for his body to calm down, until an unmistakable voice filled the silence.
"You dog, you," Raven leered suggestively with one eye open.
Under the night sky the sound of a boot meeting flesh, and a loud "Ooph!" echoed into the distance.