EDIT: Chopped off unnecessary crap = =;; guess I'll make chapters kinda short.

AN: Ehehehe... Hello? I know I should be updating my other fics but I'm currently playing ToV and heck is it addictive. Did I mention Yurita is adorable? Anyway, hope there are still ToV fans looking for fics, otherwise my efforts are in vain D:

DISCLAIMER: ToV? Mine? Hahahahaha... There would be waaaaay more Yuri/Rita if it was.


The material gathering had been Karol's idea. Raven had agreed quickly, complaining that they had been under-equipped for days, the monsters being too strong for an old-timer like him. Yuri, who found the more challenging battles fun, reluctantly consented but only if they split up so the job could be done faster. The group agreed to separate into three teams of two, Raven instantly (and predictably) opting to go with Judith.

"Oh? But I want to go with Yuri," Judith said innocently. Estelle made a little squeak of protest, which she tried to cover up by going into a coughing fit.

"Um, are you alright Estelle?" Karol quipped. Estelle smiled at the boy. "I'm fine, thank you Karol."

The rest of the group were a little less oblivious.

"Okay! So how about I go with Judith, Yuri goes with Estelle, and the kids go together?" Raven said cheerfully. Rita shot her trademark death glare at him.

"Like hell I'm going with that runt! And I'm definitely not gonna go with you either, pervert old man!"

"I wanted to go with Judith anyway-"

"But Yuri…"


"Hey! I'm not a runt!"

Yuri sighed. "Guys!"

The group quietened and looked at him quizzically. Yuri shook his head.

"There's a really easy way to settle this you know…"


And so, the teams of two were determined by an odd variation of rock-paper-scissors, Rita silencing any protests from Raven with a swift chop to the head. As it turned out, Judith was paired with Karol, Estelle with Raven, and Yuri with Rita.

"We'll meet back at Mantaic before sundown!" Karol called. Yuri just waved a hand dismissively, noticing that Rita was already far ahead of him. Knowing how much the young mage hated the Sands of Kogorh, Yuri assumed she probably wanted to get this over and done with as quickly as possible. The sounds of his companions faded away, leaving him alone with a certain Rita Mordio.

Not that he minded. Much. Or rather, he wouldn't have, if there wasn't a very big problem concerning her current attire.

The next hour or so in the desert passed by slowly. Yuri had somewhat successfully distracted himself with the battles, but they were hardly facing difficult opponents. Not to mention the fact that he and Rita made an admittedly decent team – He held the enemies at the front, she blew them up when she was done casting. It was becoming more noticeable however that with each passing encounter, Rita's casting speed gradually decreased.

Once Yuri delivered the finishing blow onto a fire spirit, he glanced behind him. Rita's posture was slightly hunched over, and she swayed slightly. He took a few long strides towards her and held her by the shoulders, when she looked like she was about to pass out. He examined her reddened face and slightly laboured breathing.

"Rita?" he murmured, concern lacing his voice.

Weakly, Rita batted his hands away. "I'm fine."

Yuri scratched his head. Maybe he did get a little carried away with the excessive fighting. Estelle wasn't here, so healing artes were out of the question.

"Anyway, we should head back. We've done enough."

Without protest, Rita turned towards the direction of Mantaic, speed picking up slightly now that she knew she would get a break soon. Yuri watched her for a moment, before exhaling and proceeding to follow her.

Yuri Lowell didn't think he was the type of man to go after jailbait until he met her. Scratch that – Upon their first encounter, he was fully convinced that she was the aque blastia thief he had been trying to track down and confronted her accordingly. She was sharp-tongued, caustic, temperamental, and downright unpleasant to be around, so he never would have dreamed that he'd want her in any way –

Or that he'd have to try so hard just to keep his poker face up.

Easy, Lowell. Keep your cool.

It was difficult, however, when a furry black tail kept swishing right in front of him. And naturally (it's not like it was his fault) his eyes occasionally trailed along the swishy tail to rest on the derriere of a certain short-tempered mage. Inwardly he smirked. He would definitely be at the receiving end of a series of fireballs if he was caught staring. Along with much shrieking of "pervert!" and "you're no better than the old man!". As if the girl in front of him read his mind, she stopped abruptly and spun around, eyes narrowed.

"Yuri! Behind you!"

Yuri whirled around instantly, pulling out his sword to block the oncoming attack from the cockatrice. With ease, he swung to put some distance between himself and the creature. It squawked angrily, preparing to strike again, but Yuri closed in on it swiftly, slashing vertically at its heart with pinpoint precision. His blade spun through the air in an arc above his head before he caught it lazily in his left hand. He glanced behind him to see the runic circle beneath Rita's feet fade.

The said mage placed her hands on her hips and glared at him.

"The hell was that?" she shot at him. Her words were barbed and dripping, like always, but he knew that underneath the thorny layers lay a well of concern. He was about sixty percent sure, anyway.

"The monsters here are weak," Yuri replied with a shrug. Rita looked unconvinced.

"You know, you've been really out of it lately," Rita stated pointedly. Her eyes were drilling holes into him he was certain, but he refused to look at her. He couldn't. The silence stretched out, becoming unnerving even for the short-fused teen.

"H-Hey… You alright?"

Yuri blinked, and finally turned to face her. His mouth curved upwards slightly. Rita noticed this and scowled.

"W-what's that look for? It's not like I'm worried about you or anything, it's just that… I…" Rita trailed off, flustered. She stared at the ground. "Well I wouldn't want you to get us killed just because you were zoning out!"

"Alright, alright, I believe you," Yuri said in amusement. He was pleasantly surprised that she could even muster up such concern for him, exhausted as she was. He reached his hand out to ruffle her hair. He realized too late that it was a mistake however, as his hand accidentally brushed against the object of his unnatural fixation. He froze, willing himself to tear his hand away, but unable to do so. Thankfully, Rita swatted his arm off with a glare.

"Idiot!" she bit out before stomping off. Yuri sighed. Things were going to get out of hand soon if he didn't control himself.

…Why was she still wearing that get-up anyway?

He remembered when she first put it on at Dahngrest not too long ago, after the manager had insisted that she keep it for her excellent service. And then… well…

"Yuri! You coming or what?"

Yuri sighed, following after the girl with more than a little reluctance. The ears were the problem, anyway.

FIN. Hmmm. Was originally going to be a oneshot, but I'm splitting the chapters. Soooo it'll (hopefully) end up with a few chapters. Not too many though.
And yes I know the cat ears thing is overdone. Gimme a chance ok? :D It just... can't not be done XD