Disclaimer: The characters in this story are from Tales of Vesperia and do not belong to me.


With the semester finally over, Yuri was looking forward to relaxing for a couple of weeks. His third shift job and the class he taught at the Y would still be continuing, but at least he wouldn't have to worry about projects and papers and dealing with his slackass coworker at the campus coffee shop for a while.

The girl who had been sitting beside him ran her fingers through his hair again which was getting distracting. With most of his attention on the game, he kept thinking she was Flynn, and he would remember just in time not to lean into the touch. Still, it was dividing his focus and he realized his disadvantage when he ran straight over a banana peel and Judy raced ahead to the finish line. With a groan, he passed the controller to the next challenger and was about to ask the girl to back off when Flynn came walking in. He hurried around the table as the next race was getting started, and sank onto the couch beside Yuri, brushing a hand tenderly over his hair as he did.

The gesture caught Yuri by surprise, more because of the audience than the affection behind it, but he gathered himself quickly and tried not to smirk. If Flynn didn't mind others finding out, then Yuri was perfectly happy upping the ante. He tilted his chin up, practically daring Flynn to kiss him.

Flynn took the dare. The brush of lips was chaste and very brief, probably the least passionate kiss they'd exchanged since their very first when Yuri'd had no clue what he was meant to be doing, but it left Flynn blushing pink as Estelle's hair when he pulled back, smiling.

The girl to Yuri's other side didn't touch his hair again.

Their little PDA stirred up some surprise and curiosity of course, enough to pull Estelle to Flynn's side to pepper them with questions while Judy used the distraction to cream her opponent. Everyone settled down pretty quickly, though, and let it go like Yuri knew they would. He didn't deal well with people who would have reacted badly to that sort of thing, and wouldn't have invited anyone like that into his home, much less his life. It was a pity Flynn still associated with his old girlfriend. She always had some sort of cutting remark to make about Yuri behind Flynn's back. One of these days, Yuri was going to let slip about the change in his and Flynn's relationship just to watch her head explode.

The afternoon wore on into evening filled with easy conversation and laughter, games and trash talk and cheering. Yuri's friends had brought drinks and snacks and everyone chipped in for pizza, but Yuri capped off the evening with homemade crepes. By the time everyone was leaving, he was half expecting a few of the girls to start showing up at his cooking class. After the last goodbye, he was left tired and pleasantly buzzed, and feeling pretty good about life in general.

Flynn was standing in front of the couch, bent over their coffee table to collect the assortment of beer bottles and plastic cups that had been left behind. Yuri shoved him back onto the couch and dropped down after him to use his lap as a pillow. As traps went, this one was pretty effective. Flynn wouldn't move when he thought Yuri was being affectionate. After a couple seconds, he let the trash bag he'd been holding sink to the floor and a moment later Yuri felt fingers stroking back his hair.

"Enjoy your party?"

"You sure seemed to. Good to see you can loosen up once in a while."

Flynn laughed softly and let his fingers trail from Yuri's temple, around his ear, and down along his jaw. Yuri felt the tickle of fingertips slide beneath his chin and around to the back of his neck as Flynn gathered his hair and pulled it back.

"Who was the girl that sat beside you earlier?"

"Hm? Oh, Sunny? I know her from school."

"Are you two close?"

"Not really. Why?"

"Just curious."

They lapsed into silence and Yuri let himself relax into the moment. Since his grandmother had died more than ten years ago, Yuri had very rarely felt at home anywhere. Flynn, for all that he could be a stubborn idiot and a goody-goody, was the only person Yuri ever felt so comfortable with. Flynn had known him since before he went into the foster program, so he'd seen Yuri at his best and, once, when there was nowhere else for Yuri to go, at his worst. Flynn could be naïve, the two of them argued and fought and sometimes Yuri still hid from him, but there was no one else he trusted more, no one else who could make him feel safe the way Flynn did. Flynn was strong and he was faithful and, as often as Yuri tested him and his patience, he never seemed to reach a breaking point. On his bad days, Yuri wondered what it would take to sever their bond.

This hadn't been a bad day, though, far from it, and Yuri sighed contentedly as Flynn continued petting his hair. That had been an unexpected benefit of letting his hair grow out. It felt really nice having someone finger-comb his hair, and Flynn seemed to enjoy doing so even more than Sunny with her obsession with long hair.

He was just drifting off when Flynn leaned over him to murmur in his ear: "You'll wake up with a sore neck if you fall asleep here."

"Mm." Rolling onto his back, he looked up into Flynn's face and couldn't help but return his smile. "What put you in such a good mood?"

"Just remembering." His palm cupped Yuri's cheek, fingers stroking his temple, and he bent close again to bring their lips together.

Flynn still tasted a little like the pineapple from his crepe, and Yuri licked his lips when he pulled away. "Why'd you stop?"

Something about that started Flynn laughing, his whole body shaking from it until Yuri sat up, a little annoyed by the mystifying reaction and the loss of the calm he'd sunk into.

"What's so funny?"

His laughter had slowed, but not stopped completely as he said: "I love you."

Yuri could tell that the words had just slipped out, that Flynn hadn't really meant to say them, whether they were true or not. Still, he felt frozen as he watched the smile fade from Flynn's face into shock and then seriousness. His brilliant blue eyes were still too bright, and he slowly, slowly reached out and pulled Yuri close to him.

The kiss wasn't anything like that quick peck during the party. It wasn't soft like the one they'd shared only a minute before. This kiss was desire and devotion and the truth behind the words that Flynn had voiced so carelessly and now didn't seem to care to take back.

Words. Words didn't mean a thing. Yuri had seen enough lies and deceit to know that people could say anything they wanted. What really mattered were people's actions. If Flynn was trying to prove something with a kiss, then that shy little touch of lips in front of a room full of people he barely knew had been way more telling.

"I'm not taking it back," Flynn murmured. He nuzzled beneath Yuri's jaw, forcing his chin up to leave a trail of lingering kisses down his neck.

"Who's asking you to?"

Flynn's head snapped up so fast that his chin clipped Yuri's. He studied him, searching for something in Yuri's face, as he stumbled over his words.

"You don't…. I mean, I thought…." He sighed. "You didn't look particularly happy to hear that."

"It's no big deal. They're just words."

"Not those words. Those are important. I meant it, Yuri. Maybe I didn't mean to say it, but I meant it. It's the truth."

"I know."

"Then why—"

"I love your cooking."

Confusion creased Flynn's brow. "No, you don't. Why would you say that?"

"Just trying to prove a point. Words don't mean anything. People should be judged by what they do, not what they say."

"I told you I love you, and all you can say is that words are meaningless?"

"You're missing the point. Look, why'd you kiss me in front of everybody earlier?"

"I thought you wanted me to!"

"Yeah, but why did you kiss me? Why did you touch my hair like that?"

"Because I…." He was blushing, which was amusing as hell. "Are you really going to make me say it again?"

"You don't need to. That's what I'm trying to tell you." He slipped his fingers through Flynn's hair and bumped their foreheads together lightly. "You've shown me plenty of times."

"Oh." Comprehension was a beautiful thing. Now that Flynn had finally gotten the point, maybe they could forget talking and go back to doing.

"So…since you wanted me to kiss you in front of everyone, that means—"

"Don't read too much into it," he cautioned, but Flynn was grinning, and Yuri knew it was already too late.

"You love me."

"I'd like to see you prove it."

"According to you, actions matter, which means you're the one to prove it."

"Well, there's still some interpretation for—"

"Why do you cook for me?"

"I like to cook." He couldn't look Flynn in the eyes, though, and he could feel his face heating up. Fuck. He never should have tried to explain. He should have just let Flynn stay in the dark about it all.

Luckily, Flynn took pity on him and closed the tiny distance that still separated them. As they kissed, Yuri knew that it didn't matter what was said, not because he didn't believe Flynn, but because he knew what they had between them and he didn't need it spelled out in something as simple as words.