A/N: I tried writing a nested story for this one. I wanted to do that for Yuri's half as well, but it sort of wrapped itself up neatly without giving me a real opening for what I'd wanted to put there…which I guess is okay since I would have had to abridge that part to post here anyways, so that saves me some trouble.
This is another story from the College Town set I've been working on, which is entirely unrelated to the high school AU. Plot bunnies and snippets of backstory keep popping up for this set, so expect more.
Also, I finally noticed last night that the 'general' tag under genre isn't actually a category you can choose. Every time one of my fics shows up categorized as romance, it's because I meant it to say General/Romance and just didn't know would ignore that first one. It's hard to categorize the damn things. They aren't really all that romantic, though there are some elements of that. :/ Oh, well. Whatever.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are from Tales of Vesperia and do not belong to me.
Yuri's little end of finals party was in full swing by the time Flynn got home. Of course, given that their apartment could be generously referred to as 'cozy,' it wasn't a particularly big party. There were less than ten people filling up the living room, only half of which Flynn knew by name. Estelle was the first to notice his arrival and made her way over to greet him.
"Welcome home. Thank you for letting us use your apartment."
"Flynn!" From his seat on the couch, Yuri raised his beer in greeting and called out over the small crowd. "We've got one more finished with the semester! Someone pass him a drink!"
There was a brief chorus of cheers and a stranger offered Flynn a beer from the cooler next to the couch. He accepted, more to be polite than out of any inclination to begin drinking at—he checked his watch—just after four in the afternoon. As soon as he could slip past, he was on his way to his room to put away his books. He would join the party in a few minutes, but first he wanted to sit down and take a breath away from the chattering group of strangers that Yuri had invited into their home.
Passing by the couch, Flynn noticed the girl sitting beside Yuri, noticed the little mole at the corner of her jaw line and the way she was running her hand casually through Yuri's hair, and he realized he knew that girl, or at least recognized her. He'd seen her several times before, but had first taken notice of her at another party Yuri had hosted almost two years ago. She'd been playing with Yuri's hair that day, too, perched on the couch behind him while he sat on the floor, jerking the controller back and forth as he raced a couple friends along Rainbow Road. He'd never even seemed to realize the girl was behind him, and Flynn had watched in growing frustration as she touched Yuri so casually when he couldn't work up the nerve. That had been the night he'd finally gotten up the courage to ask Yuri out, though of course, things hadn't gone the way he'd expected. Yuri had a way of throwing a wrench into Flynn's plans no matter what he did.
Smiling at the memory, Flynn began unpacking his book bag. It was sort of funny now, but back then, he'd found himself in the miserable position of having developed feelings for his apparently asexual roommate. He had known Yuri since they were in kindergarten together, and had never seen him express anything more than friendship for anyone. That had never been a problem until after they decided to get an apartment together after high school and Flynn discovered that, while Yuri may not be interested in dating, Flynn was developing an interest in him.
It started with little things. He found himself wandering into the kitchen when Yuri was cooking despite being repeatedly chased out. He got distracted during their matches in the judo class they took together and wound up losing more often than he should have because his focus was on the warmth of Yuri's body rather than the appropriate counter to the move he was using. He began catching himself staring at Yuri: at the way the sunset burnished his hair, or the way he twirled his pencil around his fingers when he concentrated on homework, or the way he smiled when he enjoyed his favorite desserts.
Intellectually, he'd always known that Yuri was attractive. People had said as much before. Girls had pressed Flynn for information about whether Yuri was seeing anyone, what his favorite foods were, what kind of girl he liked, but Yuri had always seemed sort of careless with his looks and Flynn had never given it much thought. After they moved in together, though, he began to notice Yuri in ways he hadn't before. He'd known Yuri was strong, but now he saw that he was graceful, too. He knew Yuri had gray eyes, but he started paying more attention to how anger made them flash and amusement made them sparkle, how they darkened with his bad moods and dulled when he was sleepy, and how they could focus so completely on Flynn at times that he felt sure Yuri could read his mind. He knew Yuri could act cool and aloof when it suited him, but he realized how warm it felt to be near him, even if all they were doing was watching TV together.
He started finding more and more excuses to be near Yuri, to touch him. He helped clean the kitchen, the only room in their apartment that Yuri kept spotless. He began insisting on going along to the grocery store, even though Yuri put back half of what Flynn picked up in favor of something fresher or less expensive or a different brand. He sat closer when they shared the couch, jostled him more often when they played games, snagged the seat next to him when they went out with Yuri's friends. One time when Yuri had a job interview scheduled, Flynn must have spent a good ten minutes helping to pull back his hair into a nice ponytail and straightening his shirt and tie. Then, after Yuri had left, he couldn't stop fantasizing about undoing all of it: running his fingers through Yuri's hair as he let it down, loosening that tie and feeling it slip free from under the collar, popping open the buttons of his shirt one by one.
That was the day Flynn had realized that he couldn't just keep quiet and hope that things went back to normal. He knew he would have to face Yuri and confess because even the little things were getting to him and they lived in too close quarters for Yuri to stay ignorant for long.
So, he'd worried over what to say and how and when. He started looking at single bedroom apartments nearer to his college, as well, since he wasn't sure how Yuri, who had never expressed any romantic interest in another person before, would take to hearing that his roommate was harboring a growing attraction toward him. Flynn hoped he could manage to salvage their friendship at least, but he couldn't really blame Yuri if the news made him too uncomfortable to share an apartment.
With that uncertainty hanging over him, he'd stalled and reconsidered and put it off until that night Yuri had invited a group of friends over. When Flynn had seen that girl running her fingers through Yuri's hair, he'd never been so jealous of someone in his entire life. That night, he'd waited in his room until he was absolutely sure all of Yuri's friends had left. When he ventured back out into the living room, Yuri was alone, sitting on the edge of the couch, playing a video game.
"We need to talk."
Something about the words or his tone of voice must have gotten through, because Yuri actually glanced up at him briefly before going back to his game.
"I haven't done anything recently."
"This isn't about something you've done. It's me."
At that, Yuri had paused the game and set aside his controller. Flynn almost had time to think that he was actually going to be serious before Yuri smirked.
"Flynn, are you breaking up with me?"
Of all the stupid remarks he could have made…. Well, Flynn had forged ahead through worse and he'd made up his mind to get this over with, one way or another.
"I have to tell you something. It's…this isn't easy for me to say. Since we moved in together it's gotten—I mean, I've noticed it more, so I don't feel I can just keep quiet about it. And if you want to move out—"
"Spit it out, already. I'm in the middle of a boss fight."
For a moment, Flynn had just stared and fought back the urge to shout at him for being, well, Yuri. It wouldn't have helped. It never did, and the real problem was that, no matter how irritating or messy or contrary Yuri could be, Flynn still liked him. He'd always liked Yuri, but that feeling had grown way past fondness for a friend, enough so that Flynn couldn't ignore it any longer. It wasn't fair to him, and it wasn't fair to Yuri, living under the same roof with no idea how Flynn felt about him. So he had to tell Yuri, to spell it out in three little words that contained the power to absolutely shatter their relationship if he'd misjudged Yuri's tolerance of all things romantic.
"I like you."
Yuri's expression hadn't changed. He didn't look bothered or disgusted, which was good, but he didn't look happy, either, which left Flynn wishing desperately that he could take it back and have things be the way they'd always been between the two of them, before the thought of Yuri showering one room away was enough to make Flynn need a cold shower of his own.
As Flynn had stood there, fidgeting with the cuffs of his sleeves, Yuri studied him, cocking his head to the side and setting a lock of his hair slipping over his shoulder. Flynn wanted to tuck it back behind his ear. He wanted any excuse to touch Yuri. How had it taken him so long to notice Yuri this way? Some days, it seemed to be all he thought about.
"So…was that your big announcement, or were you using it to soften the blow for whatever you really want to say?"
Now he had to explain? Yuri had to be doing this on purpose. There was no way he was that dense.
"When I said I like you, I meant—"
"I know what you meant. You wanna go out?"
"I—what?" Something had gone wrong or maybe right or possibly sideways.
Looking entirely too amused, Yuri leaned back against the cushions. "Do you want to go out with me?"
Yuri had asked the question slowly and carefully, mocking, but Flynn wasn't sure which part was the joke. He had been prepared for rejection, he'd even been prepared for Yuri to move out. He had barely allowed himself to hope that things would work out in his favor. He had not considered that Yuri would wind up asking him out.
"You want to go out with me?"
"Why so surprised? That's what you wanted to ask me, right?"
"Yes. Well, no. I mean, if you felt the same, sure. Do you?"
"Do I what?"
He laughed. "Would I have asked you out if I didn't?"
Probably not, but…. "That isn't really an answer."
Rolling his eyes, Yuri leaned forward and beckoned Flynn closer. "Come here."
The second Flynn was within reach, Yuri grabbed the front of his shirt, yanked him in close, and pressed their lips together.
The shock of it froze Flynn for a few seconds until his brain kicked in again and informed him that: yes, Yuri was kissing him; so far, it wasn't really much of a kiss; and that, if Yuri was only joking around, he'd better make the most of it before he was forced to kill him.
Steadying himself with a hand on the back of the couch, Flynn leaned in a little closer, tilting his chin and parting his lips a bit, changing the press of mouths to an actual kiss. Surprisingly, Yuri let him take the lead, mimicking Flynn's movements at first until he started to get comfortable with what was happening between them.
It really was his first kiss, Flynn realized, and the unexpected sweetness of being the first person to touch Yuri like that filled him up, made him feel warm and excited and a little dizzy, fizzy, like the time he'd had too much champagne on New Year's. He pulled back a little, grinning, and ran a hand through Yuri's hair, tucking that errant lock back behind his ear. Yuri was smiling too, crookedly, and it thrilled Flynn because that wasn't a ha-ha-just-kidding look, or an oh-that-was-a-mistake look. He pulled Yuri to him, palms against those flushed cheeks—he'd made Yuri blush!—fingers threading through that long hair, and kissed him again, boldly this time, parting Yuri lips with his tongue and teaching him by example what it was to kiss someone.
Eventually, they broke apart because Flynn was getting a crick in his neck. For all that he was still noticeably pinker than usual, Yuri somehow managed to look collected.
"Huh. So that's why people like doing that." He licked his lips and, again, Flynn felt unfairly tested. "Why'd you stop?"
"That's a good question."
His thoughts were rushing madly through his mind, slipping away as soon as he tried to focus. He was wary of moving too fast, of what might have happened if he had pressed Yuri back into the couch and followed him down, caught up in the moment when he didn't really have a clear idea of how to proceed much further. Back in high school, Flynn had dated a girl named Sodia for a couple of years, but they'd never gone much past kissing and, while it gave him a little bit of experience that Yuri didn't have, it hadn't really prepared him to pursue this change in their relationship. He sank to his knees on the floor, resting the tips of his fingers on the couch to either side of Yuri's legs and smiling as Yuri leaned in for one more kiss.
Things had gone extremely well, so well that he still thought he might have misunderstood somehow, that things couldn't have wrapped up that neatly.
"So…are we dating?"
Yuri laughed, and his nose bumped against Flynn's. "Well, if you'd rather, there's this thing called 'friends with bene—'"
"No. Dating is fine. Dating is good."
And it had been, it was. It was wonderful, if occasionally infuriating, but that part was probably to be expected in any relationship with Yuri. Being with him was nothing like the two years Flynn had dated Sodia and, as he picked up his beer and joined the party in the living room, Flynn couldn't help smiling about how lucky he really was.