freezingrayne: (yuri lowell)
[personal profile] freezingrayne
My [community profile] newgameplus assignment! Thanks to [personal profile] vector for the awesome prompt.

I've been writing a lot of rockin' ladies recently, and I'm likin' it.

Title: Pleasure Doing Business with You
Fandom: Tales of Vesperia
Pairing: Kaufman/Yuri
Word Count: 2500~
Rating: Explicit
Teaser: That makes something coil low and hot in her stomach, but business should always come before pleasure. “The gentlemanly thing to do would be to give me a discount, since you’re a part of the reason I need backup in the first place.”



Madam Kaufman of Fortune’s Market is, above all things, a businessman. Or business woman, as they’d called her the time she’d been in Zaphios for a job. But there isn’t a whole lot of time for political correctness in the guilds.

The first time she’d seen Yuri Lowell, watched him rescue a child from the Lord of the Plains just in time, her business sense had told her two different things. That he would be a brilliant addition to her guild, and he would look a lot better naked.

Never mind that he wouldn’t take her offer of a job. Kaufman knows the value of patience, especially in a business like hers.

----

It’s been awhile since she’s been in Dahngrest, a few months at least, and things have changed.

Well, obviously, since things have changed everywhere. With the disappearance of blastia life has gotten harder, but most people seem to be adjusting to it alright. Advancements have already been made in a whole number of areas— people figuring out how to get along. She’s even heard that Aspio’s top mage, Rita Mordio, has already come up with a new source of energy. Something about trapping storms.

Of course, this all means the goods that Fortune’s Market deals in are in even higher demand than before—people needing things from farther away, in bigger quantities. Business, as they say, is booming.

They’ve got a new shipment of leather and sword-silver going out through the forest, the they need muscle. Without blastia they’re mostly just a motley crew of skinny traders. Well, most of them. Kaufman likes to think she can hold her own in a fight, but she would never let over-confidence get in the way of a job.

She’s on her way to the mercenary guild—they’re always looking for work and they’re typically pretty easy to strike a deal with—when she sees an unfamiliar sign.

It’s hanging above the door to a building that until recently had been boarded up and silent. It’s purple, embossed with a silver star, the words “Brave Vesperia” painted across it in looping script.

Kaufman grins, changing her trajectory and opening the door. A bell chimes somewhere deep within the building. A boy she recognizes comes around the corner, eyes widening when he sees her. The only other occupant of the room is a very familiar-looking dog sleeping on a soft blue rug. He flicks an ear when she comes in, but he doesn’t open his eyes.

“M-Madam Kaufman!” The boy runs over to the counter (which, Kaufman notices, he can barely see over) and picks up an enormous book. “Did you have an appointment?”

Kaufman glances at the open book. It’s completely blank.

“No, I don’t, Karol. But I wonder if the guild leader might spare me some of his time?”

Karol seems genuinely shocked that Kaufman knows his name, though she doubts there’s anyone who doesn’t. The six people (or rather, five people and a dog) who prevented the annihilation of the world and simultaneously destroyed the blastia. They are famous in some circles, infamous in others.

“I-I’ll go get him!” Karol says quickly, scuttling back up the hallway into the dim interior of the house.

Kaufman is left standing in the front room, with the itching feeling behind her shoulder blades that someone is watching her. She turns round to find Repede staring her down from his rug.

“Hello, Repede. How are you this morning?” It’s important to be on cordial terms with all members of a guild you’re looking to do business with.

Repede thumps his tail once against the floor and goes back to his nap. Either he’s decided she isn’t a threat, or that she isn’t worth the trouble.

The sound of hurried, excited feet reappears, along with Karol, who is nearly dripping with nervous energy, followed by Yuri Lowell. He emerges from the back hallway, wearing nothing but a loose pair of cloth trousers and a wide grin. His chest is shiny with sweat, skin flushed with exertion.

“Am I interrupting something?” Kaufman asks, when the fourth member of Brave Vesperia follows, in an equal state of dishevel.

“Just training,” Lowell answers, though from the looks on his and Judith’s faces it looks like it might have been something much more interesting. Yuri leans on the counter. “What can I help you with today, Madam Kaufman?”

“Are you available for hire?”

“This sounds like business talk to me,” Judith says, with an air that says she’s totally uninterested. She moves her trajectory back toward the interior of the house. “Swords next, Yuri?”

“Sounds perfect. I’ll be back in a minute to kick your ass.”

Judith makes a sounds that could have been a laugh. “We’ll see.”

“Is your guild busy over the next five days?” Kaufman asks when he turns back.

Yuri snorts. “Have you seen the book?”

“I have some goods I need moved through the forest, across the plains, and down the coast to Capua Torim.”

“So it’s courier work?” Yuri asks. He leans a hip against the counter, another drop of sweat chasing its way down his chest. It’s not the most professional client/patron meeting she’s ever been to, but it has certain aesthetic qualities.

“No, I’ll be moving the merchandise personally. We need muscle.”

“Muscle, huh?”

“Yes. I remember it worked out fairly well last time.”

“For you, maybe. You didn’t have to enjoy the enormous ghost ship.”

Kaufman chuckles. “Please. You loved it.”

Yuri’s lips twitch. “Maybe.” He drags over the empty appointments book. “Why not just hire someone from the mercenary guild?”

“I was planning on it, but I thought I’d see what you’re going rate would be, what forms of payment you take.”

Yuri arches a brow.

That makes something coil low and hot in her stomach, but business should always come before pleasure. “The gentlemanly thing to do would be to give me a discount, since you’re a part of the reason I need backup in the first place.”

“How do you figure that?”

Kaufman shrugs a shoulder. “Well, you and your friends are the reason we can’t use blastia anymore. You did use up all the aer.”

“Yeah. When we saved the world.”

She waves a hand. “Details. What do you say to…five thousand gald?”

There’s an irritated ruff from the other side of the room. Kaufman glances around to see Repede on his feet, looking reproachful.

Yuri nods. “Repede’s right. We could find that much lying around on the street. How about ten thousand?”

Kaufman chuckles. “You seem to have taken to this quite well.”

“Hey, Repede’s the one with the head for math.” His smile changes slightly, becomes more like a look he might give her across a bar than across a business counter. “I just hit things with a sword.”

Kaufman tries desperately not to snort. It’s a near thing, but she manages it. “And I’m sure you’re excellent at it. Six thousand.”

“Eight.”

“Seven.”

“Eight.” He cocks his head a little. It’s very clearly a look that says, how badly do you want me?

Kaufman looks him over and wonders if he came out here without stopping for a shirt specifically for this reason.

“Eight,” she agrees.

----

“You having fun up there?”

Kaufman glances down from where she’s sitting up on the lead wagon. “Loads. How about you?”

Yuri’s jogging beside the caravan, sword in his hands. Kaufman doesn’t think she’s ever actually seen him wear it. They’ve been on the road for a few hours by this time and he has yet to show any signs of tiring.

“Never better. Easy work so far.” He tosses a grin up his way. “I’m starting to think you hired me to watch me sweat.”

“Is there something else I could hire you for?”

“Why don’t you come down here and find out?” There might have a been a wink thrown in there at the end, but before Yuri can finish the movement, a blur of feathers and talons hits him from the side, launched out from the foliage on the side of the road.

It sounds like it’s a coordinated attack. She can hear shouts from the other wagons, the guild jumping for weapons. A krityan war cry rings out, signaling Judith’s entrance into the fray.

Kaufman grabs her own sword, leaping down onto the dusty road, before realizing that there isn’t much left for her to do. Yuri moves almost too fast for her to see, throwing himself out of the way of the monster. He rolls across the dusty track in a flash of purple and grey, back up in an instant, sword moving in a glittering arch.

If she’d thought watching Yuri run had been good, it was nothing to watching him fight. He moved with the easy grace and precision of someone who had been doing it all his life, to whom it was now a dance, a study in fluidity. Kaufman had to remind herself that he was doing this without blastia.

He doesn’t even give the monsters surrounding him a chance to get close. He seems to know, instinctively, which one will strike next, when they’ll all rush in at once, striking them down with wide slashes and concentrated thrusts. Kaufman ends up just dealing with the few that manage to slink by, heading for the other side of the wagon.

It only takes a few more seconds for one of the clerks to yell an all-clear. Bluish-black blood stains the dirt track, feathers flying everywhere.

Kaufman sheaths her sword. “Is everyone alright?” she yells. “Any casualties?”

Halin, her second in command, limps up, pressing a hand to the meat of his thigh. “No casualties reported, ma’am. Some cuts and bruises.” He makes a face, twitching a hand toward his wound. “And one of the little bastards got lucky.”

Kaufman nods. She climbs into the back of the lead wagon, popping the catch on one of the trunks. She tosses Halin a gel. “Pass them out. Make sure everyone who needs one gets one. Apple for bruises, Lemon for wounds like that.” She points at his thigh.

Halin hesitates. “But Madam, the cargo—. We’re supposed to deliver it unopened…”

He trails off as Kaufman jumps back down onto the path. “My people are more important than that, Halin.” She grins. “Besides, we’ll never make it to the port if you all fall down dead on me, now will we?”

Halin gets halfway through a salute before he remembers his wounded leg. “Yes ma’am!”

“So you do have a heart.”

Yuri’s leaning up against the wagon, arms folded, looking dusty and a little blood-spattered, but happy.

“You were thinking otherwise?”

“Well, the talk around Dahngrest is that you’re ruthless.” He’s still smiling. It doesn’t sound like an accusation.

Kaufman takes a couple steps closer. “I am ruthless. To my enemies, at least. There’s no point in being that way to my friends.”

“Bad for business, huh?”

Kaufman grins. “Exactly.”

----


They stop for the night in a clearing against a cliff face, easily defendable against monsters and anyone else who wants to try their luck. Bandits have become more of a problem now that there is no blastia to keep them at bay.

Kaufman’s in her tent, sitting in front of the latest map, plotting out a course for the next day by wavering lamplight. They used to have map stones to tell them where they are, but those don’t work anymore.

There’s a rustling outside the tent and Kaufman reaches for her blade, but it’s only Yuri. He gives a lazy salute. “Evening, boss.”

Boss. She could get used to hearing that from him. “How’s the perimeter?”

He grins. “Secure. Repede and I had the first watch, and now it’s Judy and Karol’s turn.” He glances down to the little camp-table. “How are the maps?”

“Boring,” Kaufman answers, getting up. “Can you think of anything more interesting to do?”

Yuri hums low in his throat and his eyes go dark. Up close he smells like sweat and sunlight.

“So is this part of my discount?” Kaufman asks, when she’s almost flush against him.

She feels more than hears him chuckle. “Let’s call it a perk.”

“Pleasure doing business with you,” she manages to murmur before he kisses her.

And fuck is he good at it. Kaufman feels shivers flying up her spine, things clenching tight in her stomach, all from just a kiss. She manages to hold out for about five seconds before she’s pulling at his belt, pushing his coat back off his shoulders.

“C’mon,” she groans, biting at his ear. “I have no idea how to get this fancy stuff off you.”

Yuri shudders as she bites harder, a tiny noise escaping his throat. His neck tastes like salt, pulse jumping under her tongue.

She pushes him back toward her bedroll, past the maps and the table. He trips on the way down and she has to half-catch him. They end up in a sprawl of limbs and half-removed clothes. Definitely one of the better sprawls Kaufman’s been in.

“In a hurry, boss?” Yuri asks, as she shrugs off her coat.

“Any reason not to be?” She rubs his cock through his trousers. “I know exactly what I want. Why wait?”

“That’s—.” Yuri groans, hips following the motion of her hand. “Good business sense.”

“That’s my thinking.”

They make it a combined effort to get the rest of his clothes off before they start on hers, Yuri nearly ripping her shirt as he tugs the buttons undone. His hands smooth up her stomach to her breasts, making her moan.

When she pushes him back down onto the blanket he goes without a protest. He seems perfectly happy to let her take the lead, which suits Kaufman just fine. Better than fine, really. He puts his arms above his head in a stretch—showing off judging by the smile that goes with it, and she thinks what a shame it is she doesn’t have anything to tie him up with. Maybe next time.

But for tonight, just like this is perfect—pinning his shoulders against the ground, sinking down, feeling him fill her up. Feeling him rock his hips to meet her as she rides him.

Fuck,” she groans out. “Fuck, that’s nice.” She opens her eyes and grins. “I knew it.”

His hands go to her hips. “Knew what?”

She threads her fingers in his hair. “That you’d look better naked.”

----

They reach Capua Torim without further incident or injury, unless of course you count the bruises on Kaufman’s hips, or the fine line of bites across her neck and shoulders. Walking is a little hard too, for about a day, but it’s nothing she can’t handle, nothing that doesn’t make her shiver when she thinks about it.

“Well, I believe this concludes our business, Mr. Lowell,” she says, as a couple hired dockhands unload the wagons. “It’s been a pleasure.”

Yuri looks as if he’s having trouble keeping a straight face as he shakes her hand. “Likewise,” he says, and it looks like he isn’t expecting it when she pulls him close, talks into his ear.

“Next time I’m in Dahngrest, let me take you out. Have you ever been to any of the clubs in the south end?”

Yuri laughs softly. “Not yet. But I can put it in the book.”


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December 2011

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