It’s all Victor’s fault.
Yuuri goes to visit his parents for a week, and upon returning to the St. Petersburg International Airport he strolls through the door to the Arrivals area to find his fiance standing at the barrier, beaming like a kid on Christmas, wearing a chauffeur’s cap and holding a sign that says “Flight 893’s Cutest Passenger.”
Yuuri can feel his face turn bright red, and he stops in his tracks, accidentally causing a woman behind him to bump against his backpack and sending him into a cascade of apologies before he finally manages to make it over to Victor to give him a hug.
“How many people stopped by the sign before me?” Yuuri wonders.
Victor chuckles. “Five.”
Next time, Victor has to fly out to Moscow for a quick daylong trip to verify his credentials with the Figure Skating Federation of Russia. After a gruelling flight in first class in which he watched three episodes of Steven Universe and drank half a flute of champagne more than was strictly necessary, Victor saunters out of the gate in his second-most expensive pair of sunglasses, chest puffed out like a peacock, looking for the man he loves.
And there he is, standing awkwardly at the barrier, holding a sign as if it might burst into flames at any moment: “Lost: 1 Russian Weirdo, If Found Please Return, I Guess.”
Victor looks from the sign up to its writer, who’s literally trembling with anxiety, and bursts out laughing. Yuuri visibly deflates with relief.
“I’m sorry,” he croaks as he leans in for a kiss. “Is it too much?”
Victor beams. “It’s the best,” he coos. “I’m going to keep it forever.”
“You really don’t need to—”
“—I insist,” Victor says, grabbing the sign as they walk towards the exit. “I’ll cherish it. My fiance made it for me.”
He puts it up over his desk at home and it takes five weeks before Yuuri stops blushing every time he sees it.
Of course, most of the time they’re traveling together, to competitions or to visit friends or just for the hell of it, like that one time when Victor learned that Yuuri had never eaten a certain type of French cheese and had booked them a spontaneous weekend excursion to the City of Love specifically so they could try it. So Yuuri isn’t actually expecting a sign at all when they return from Paris, but when he turns around after retrieving his suitcase—there’s Victor with a hastily scribbled sign written on the back of a placemat from the Paris airport bar. It says “The Incredible Flying Pork Cutlet Bowl.” And he’s wearing that goddamn chauffeur’s hat again, somehow.
Yuuri glowers. “I can’t fly, Victor. Also, what the fuck?”
Victor grins back, and Yuuri can’t decide whether to kiss him or wring his cheerful neck. “You were just flying!” he beams, pointing upwards. “In a plane! Remember planes? They—hey! That’s my hat!”
“Not anymore,” Yuuri deadpans, plopping the oversized cap on his own head. “I’m confiscating it due to excessive shenanigans. Now let’s go home.”
He’s expecting Victor’s pout to reach an 11.0 on the Richter Scale of Nikiforov Extra-ness, but instead Victor looks him up and down and cocks an eyebrow.
Yuuri tries his best to glower. “What?”
A smile tugs at the corner of Victor’s lips. “Nothing. You just look really hot in that hat.”
Yuuri rolls his eyes dramatically. “Come on, Victor, let’s get a cab, I’m tired.”
As they slide into the back of a car Victor leans over and whispers “Going my way, driver?”
“No, Victor,” Yuuri mumbles sleepily, eyes screwed shut. “Bad Victor.”
“How well can you blow a headgasket?”
This is the man I’ve married, Yuuri realizes.
“Can you—” Victor starts giggling.
His eyes fly open. “Victor, I swear to god, if you—”
“—c-can you drive stick?” Victor manages, before dissolving into howling laughter.
When Victor has to go attend a distant cousin’s wedding, he leaves Yuuri with Makkachin alone for the first time, and spends no less than 90% of the destination wedding failing to be subtle about texting Yuuri for updates. When he totters through the Arrivals gate, he sees Yuuri standing proudly, and Makkachin is sitting at his feet, with the chauffeur’s cap perched between his ears and a sign hung around his neck that says “Dad You Better Have Treats I’ve Been Good as Heck”
Victor kneels down to ruffle the poodle’s ears. “Hecka good doggo?”
Yuuri beams. “13/10, would dogsit again.”
Victor’s eyes gleam with pride as he looks at Makkachin, and Yuuri thinks he might melt into the ugly carpet right there and then.
“Thirteen out of ten!” Victor coos to the dog. “Dad’s never been so proud.”
Once, when Yuuri comes home from the grocery store, he finds Victor standing in the living room wearing absolutely nothing but the chauffeur’s cap and holding a sign that says “Future Gold Medalist.”
The next week, Victor comes back from a run to find Yuuri sitting casually on the couch, wearing the hat and draped strategically in each of Victor’s medals, holding a sign that says “Current Gold Medalist.”
“I feel like we’re losing the thread of this,” Victor says. Yuuri pouts dramatically.
“Oh, well, then, I can put these away.”
Victor holds up his hand, stopping Yuuri in his tracks. “Oh, I never said that.”
Three months after their honeymoon, they’ve had some serious discussions about children (neutral to negative, with Victor reluctant to give up his spontaneous lifestyle and Yuuri jokingly sighing that his childbearing days are finite), buying a house (neither of them feel remotely enough like adults to even know where to start), and a new puppy (Yuuri obviously wants one but insists that Makkachin’s happiness comes first, and that Victor knows him best), and have generally settled into a comfortable life which borders on routine. And then one morning Victor sets down his coffee cup and says, “I’m flying to the US in a few hours. I won’t be gone long, just a day.”
Yuuri almost drops his tea. “You’re what?”
Victor winks. “Nothing bad, my love. Don’t you worry. All will be revealed.” And with that, he puts his mug in the sink, plants a kiss on Yuuri’s shocked face, and disappears into the bedroom to pull out a packed suitcase that Yuuri had somehow completely missed.
“What is all of this?” Yuuri snaps, still incredibly confused.
Victor cups Yuuri’s face in his hands. “Yuuri,” he croons. “Just...trust me. Please. And also can you pick me up from the airport tomorrow at around six?”
Realization hits Yuuri like a meteor. “Oh. Okay. Yeah, sure,” he smiles, and gives Victor a too-quick kiss goodbye. As he watches his husband close the apartment door, Yuuri can’t help but roll his eyes. Victor has done some silly shit in the name of coaxing big romantic gestures out of me but this is probably the most ridiculous.
Still, he digs the chauffeur’s cap out of the closet. He’s a sucker for tradition, even if Victor really has gone too far this time.
Yuuri grabs a marker and a piece of paper with a grin. He knows how to end this.
The next day, Yuuri stands at the Arrivals gate, wearing the cap, with a genuinely warm smile on his face. Victor walks out of the gate holding a new bag, which is weirdly plain and awkwardly shaped. Yuuri has long since given up on trying to fathom what is and is not fashionable, so he’s willing to bet that the bag cost something ridiculous like a thousand dollars even though it looks awful. Fashion people are the weirdest, his husband included.
But all those thoughts melt away as Yuuri watches Victor’s face transform as he reads the sign Yuuri is holding up: “The Love of My Life”.
Tears fill those gorgeous blue eyes. “Yuuuuuuuuuri,” Victor coos, coming in for a kiss. “You dork.”
Yuuri sputters. “Excuse me?! You’re the one who flew out to god-knows-where just to bait me into making a sign!”
Victor cracks up laughing. “Oh my god, did you think that’s what this was?”
Yuuri almost flings the sign at him. “What else could it be?!”
Victor loops his arm through Yuuri’s, walking them a little ways away from the main arrivals area to a quiet nook with a bench, and sits them down. With a sly glance to either side, Victor pulls the awkward bag onto his lap.
“I have a surprise for you,” he says.
Yuuri blanches. “Victor, I love you, but that bag—”
“—hush, you, that’s not the surprise,” Victor says softly, unzipping the top flap and pulling it aside. “I had to go pick up this little one.”
He lifts a puppy out of the bag and hands it over.
Yuuri’s jaw drops. “What.”
Victor looks sheepish. “I’ve had our name on a breeder’s wait list for a few weeks and the litter was ready yesterday. I wanted to surprise you.”
Yuuri watches the puppy yawn, then push its nose into the crook of his arm and fall back asleep. He doesn’t realize he’s started crying until he sees a tear splash onto the brown fur.
“This is the best,” he croaks. “Thank you.”
Victor leans over and kisses him. “Happy birthday, Yuuri Katsuki.”