After six hours of continuous delays, Japan Airlines finally announces that Yuuri’s flight to Bangkok has been cancelled. In fact, every international flight out of Tokyo has been grounded due to a particularly nasty storm. Inside the terminal is a storm of a different kind as flocks of exasperated travelers flood the airline help desks.
The silver-haired man in front of Yuuri in line is the only good thing to come of the situation.
“I’m sorry, sir, but I do not understand you,” the airline representative tells him in crisp, accented English.
The man replies in a language Yuuri does not speak, but he catches a word that sounds something like “français.”
“Excuse me,” Yuuri cuts in, speaking to the airline rep in her native Japanese. “I think he speaks French.” He turns to the man and asks, in English, “French? France?”
The man’s face brightens, all frustration evaporating from his posture. His eyes are clear blue, like the sea on a spring day. Yuuri swallows and looks back to the airline rep.
“Yes! Thank you!” he replies in heavily accented English.
“I can call a colleague that speaks French to come help. In the meantime, sir, if you could step aside while I help the other customers…” She gestures to the side of her desk.
The man has already handed Yuuri his ticket: destination LED - Pulkovo Airport, St. Petersburg, Russia. He asks something that Yuuri doesn’t understand, but from the puppy-dog eyes Yuuri gets the message: please help me?
Considering they’re all in the same boat, Yuuri thinks he ought to be able to negotiate on the man’s behalf.
“We’ve all been waiting in this terminal for hours, and I think he just wants what we all want—to get on another flight to his destination as soon as possible. When is your next flight to St. Petersburg?”
The airline rep turns back to her computer. After a moment, she replies, “Tomorrow morning, 7:34am.”
“That’s the soonest?”
“Yes, sir.” She turns her monitor around for Viktor to see the new flight information. He seems disappointed but agrees.
After negotiating for his own flight to Bangkok (8:22am; he’ll have to text Phichit to let him know when he’ll be arriving), Yuuri ducks out of the line. When he finally breaks free from the hordes of weary travelers, he looks up to find the French man at his side.
“Arigato go-zai-ma-su!” he exclaims. His smile nearly knocks Yuuri out cold, it’s so beautiful and bright and heart-shaped. He places his palm on his chest. “Viktor Nikiforov.”
“Viktor,” Yuuri repeats, smiling back at him. He places his hand on his own chest. “Yuuri desu.”
“Oh, uh— no, sorry.” Yuuri waves his hands. “Yuuri. Yuuri.”
Yuuri blushes. “Enchanté, Viktor.”
Viktor laughs. He points to himself again and says a few words that sound like, “Ruski. Uh— rossiya. Russe.”
“Russian?” Yuuri guesses.
Viktor’s face lights up with an idea. He pulls his phone from his pocket and opens up a translate app. He types for a moment before shoving his phone in Yuuri’s face to read the translated Japanese: I have access to business lounge. You can be my guest?
Yuuri takes his phone, reverses the translator to Japanese→Russian and types back, They allow guests?
Viktor’s face falls. I think only family. I can say you are family?
Yuuri quirks an eyebrow. Viktor sighs, then presses a thoughtful finger to his lips. A moment later, an idea visibly strikes him. He types something back and hands it to Yuuri. The translator app reads:
Be my husband!
Yuuri nearly drops the phone and chokes on nothing but air. After taking a moment to recover, he points to his empty ring finger to prove just how much that would not work.
Viktor looks unfazed. He takes Yuuri’s hand and pulls him toward the terminal’s row of shops, their suitcases dragging along behind them.
They stop in front of a souvenir store. Once inside, Viktor leaves Yuuri in the dust, ducking between aisles as he combs the shelves for something specific. When he finds it, he heads to the cash register and pays with a very fancy looking credit card.
He approaches Yuuri, a very solemn expression on his face, and gets down on one knee. “Yuuuuu-ri…”
“Oh my god. Oh my god, Viktor, get up.”
“Yuuri, mon chéri, mon amour—”
Viktor finally gives up the theatrics. He stands up and gestures for Yuuri to give him his hand. Onto Yuuri’s ring finger he slides a black plastic band with I <3 TOKYO written on the top in red. His hands are steady and warm against Yuuri’s skin as he rotates the ring to hide the lettering.
There are two rings. Viktor moves to put the second on his own finger, but Yuuri snatches it out of his hand before he can. Then, slowly, he slides the ring onto Viktor’s finger, praying his hands don’t start sweating. When he looks up, he sees Viktor gazing at him with widened eyes.
is everything okay?!!?!?!!?
did you crash??!??!??!?!
oh my god that’s not funny
no, flight is cancelled
I’m getting in tomorrow at 12:55pm
but i met the CUTEST MAN
PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN
I’m walking next to him!
I can’t get a picture!!!
be creative. this is life or death.
channel your inner phichit
that is not a ‘cute man’
that is a SUPERMODEL
he’s cute too
what even is my life right now
we’re pretending to be MARRIED
to get into the business lounge together
W H A T
Yuuri don’t you dare arrive in bangkok without a ring
It’s fake, it’s from the souvenir shop
he loves you
he does not!
he does, and you’re going to marry him
we aren’t going to get married
there’s no way he likes me
Katsuki Yuuri, you’re testing my patience
we don’t even have a language in common
he’s russian, he speaks french too but not english
we’ve been talking with google translate
then you get to work learning french Yuuri
look at that man
you don’t let opportunities like this pass you by
oh my god if you get married you can sell the rights
to your life story to make it a movie
I have to go now
I’ll keep you updated
...on the flight and on Viktor
His name is Viktor???
Will you be my best man?
Oh my god
You met someone
His name is Yuri
He’s the most beautiful man I’ve
ever seen and I’m going to marry him.
I’m already planning the stag night
Was he next to you on your flight or something?
No I’m still at the airport in Tokyo
My flight got cancelled
We met in line to switch flights and he helped me
He’s so KIND, Chris
Ask him what kind of alcohol he likes for the stag night
He only speaks english and japanese (((
So how are you talking?
Your english is total shit
My english is nonexistent
We’ve been using google translate
Oh my god
Viktor Nikiforov you are hopeless
I think it’s romantic!!
I’ve already proposed
I thought you were joking!!
I’ll explain later
Got to go!
Viktor and Yuuri stand shoulder to shoulder in the elevator on the way up to the business lounge. When the doors open, they approach the concierge’s desk together.
“Good evening. May I see your tickets, please?” the concierge asks in Japanese. He looks at Yuuri, assuming that Viktor does not understand. The concierge scans their tickets and frowns.
“This is my husband,” Yuuri explains, before the concierge can note that Yuuri is very much not a member of their program.
The concierge lifts an eyebrow. “You have different last names?”
“For professional reasons.”
Viktor, who does not understand any of this conversation, listens with a pleasant smile.
“You’re going to different locations?”
“It’s a long story.” Yuuri waves this off, making sure the man catches a glimpse (and only a glimpse) of the ring on his left hand. “We live together in Russia but took a trip here together to visit my family. Now I’m continuing on to visit a friend in Thailand, but he has to go home early because of work.”
“Hm. I see.”
Sensing the man’s hesitation, Viktor leans up against Yuuri’s shoulder and croons Yuuri’s name, then a lot of rapid-fire Russian.
Yuuri smiles at Viktor then turns back to the concierge. “My husband says that he thought family was allowed into the lounge with him. He’s very tired from being in the airport all day as his flight got delayed over and over again, only to be cancelled at the last minute. He was really hoping that we’d be able to spend the night somewhere quiet…”
(What Viktor actually said was: “ Yuuuu-ri, darling, you are so cute when you take charge, I think you would make a great husband, maybe I should move to Tokyo after all.”)
“Yes, Katsuki-sama, I see. You may both have access to our lounge. We have free Wi-Fi, food, and power outlets spread throughout the area if you need to charge any of your devices. We hope you have a pleasant stay with us and safe travels.”
Yuuri smiles. “Thank you very much. Come on, darling.”
Viktor nods at the concierge. “Arigato go-zai-ma-su!”
The lounge is a picture of quiet comfort. Yuuri and Viktor head straight for a set of chairs in the corner that look particularly secluded. Viktor swipes a few bananas from the buffet table as they pass.
“Yuuri?” He holds out one of the bananas as an offering as they settle into their chairs.
Yuuri shakes his head. “No thank you.”
Yuuri tries very, very hard not to stare at Viktor as he eats the banana. He fails. Viktor notices him looking and winks at him.
Viktor pulls out his phone and types something. He hands it over to Yuuri with the translation. So, what work do you do, Yuri?
I’m a manga artist. Do you know what manga is?
Yes! That’s so cool! I’m an artist, too.
Yuuri smiles, nonverbally encouraging Viktor to continue.
I’m an interior designer. I’m here visiting our firm’s Tokyo office. They have a job opening I am considering taking.
Yuuri’s jaw drops. You’re moving to Tokyo??
Viktor shakes his head as soon as Yuuri shows him his response. He starts typing his reply, but pauses after a minute as if he doesn’t know how to continue. Yuuri holds out his hand to see what he’s written so far.
I do not know yet. Tokyo is very big and I do not speak Japanese or English, and I do not know anyone here. It seems very…
Yuuri frowns. Isolating? he types back. Viktor sees his response and nods.
Saint Petersburg is isolating too sometimes. But at least it is familiar.
Yuuri thinks for a moment of how to phrase his response. Sometimes if you’re unhappy, it’s best to do something different. Even if it is unfamiliar. He hands Viktor the phone to read his response, but before Viktor can type anything back, Yuuri thinks of something else to say and gestures for him to give the phone back. Yuuri adds:
Besides, I live in Tokyo. The city is big, but the people are friendly. I can show you around, if you want.
Yuuri expects Viktor to smile like he did when they first met, with his bright teeth and charming, heart-shaped mouth. Instead, his mouth forms a little “o” and his cheeks flush ever so slightly.
I would love that, he types back. Then out loud, he says, “Thank you, Yuuri.”
“You’re welcome, Viktor.”
“You, um…” Viktor thinks very hard. “Fatigue?” He pronounces the word strangely. It sounds vaguely French, which Yuuri figures it probably is.
“Yes. And you?”
“Yes. Uh…” Viktor points to Yuuri then taps his own shoulder.
“You’re saying I can sleep on your shoulder?” Yuuri asks, miming the words back to him.
Yuuri sets an alarm on his phone then scoots closer to Viktor, leaning up against him and slowly lowering his head to Viktor’s shoulder. The Russian man is very fit and Yuuri can feel his biceps from this angle. Yuuri sends up a prayer to whoever might be listening that he doesn’t embarrass himself.
“Are you okay? Comfortable?” Yuuri asks, hoping Viktor will hear the concern in his voice and understand what he’s asking.
“Mmm,” Viktor sighs. “Good, Yuuri.”
Yuuri shouldn’t be able to fall asleep like this, considering that his heart beats in double time the second their bodies touch, but he’s exhausted and Viktor’s shoulder is actually quite comfortable. In the quiet lounge, with his head pillowed on something warm and soft, he falls asleep quickly.
“Spokoynoy nochi, Yuuri.”
A very loud alarm wakes them up an hour before Viktor’s flight is set to board. Outside the window, the horizon has begun to lighten. They take turns watching the luggage as they each go to the bathroom to freshen up, and in the mirror Yuuri notices a giant patch of red on his cheek where he’d lain against Viktor. His eyes, too, are red from exhaustion.
His neck is stiff, but he regrets nothing.
They grab some breakfast and coffee from the buffet before heading out to the lounge to Viktor’s gate. They make the long walk through the terminal in silence, with Yuuri stealing glances up at Viktor’s face in profile as discreetly as he can. A few times, he catches Viktor looking back at him with a soft smile on his lips.
At the gate, Viktor hands Yuuri his phone, but it’s not the translate app on the screen. He’s handed Yuuri his contacts page, a new entry opened and waiting for Yuuri’s information. Yuuri adds his name and phone number, then puts his Instagram handle in the notes section in case Viktor doesn’t have an international texting plan. Then he opens his phone and has Viktor do the same.
Yuuri’s flight will be boarding soon. He really needs to get to his gate, but the thought of turning around and leaving Viktor behind turns his feet to lead.
Viktor opens his translate app one last time. Will you really give me a tour if I move to Tokyo?
Definitely. And maybe we could go for coffee sometime? I noticed your phone case has poodles on it. I know a dog cafe in Shibuya that has some poodles.
Viktor beams. It’s a date.
“Oh!” Yuuri realizes as he takes the phone from Viktor and catches a glimpse of the souvenir ring still on his finger. “This is yours…”
Viktor stops him. “Nyet. You.” In his phone, he types, A good luck charm for safe travels. When you see it you can think of me.
Yuuri blushes. “Like omamori.” At Viktor’s questioning look, he types, In Japan, we call that ‘omamori’.
“Omamori,” Viktor pronounces, his mouth forming carefully around each syllable. “For you, Yuuri.” Then he takes Yuuri’s hand in his own, brings it to his lips, and presses a kiss to the cheap plastic like it’s something to be cherished.
Like Yuuri is something to be cherished.
Yuuri can’t hold back anymore—he surges forward and presses a kiss to Viktor’s cheek, right by the corner of his mouth. His skin is warm and soft and Yuuri wants to kiss his lips so badly.
But he can wait. They will have time for so much more if Viktor decides to move to Japan, and from the look of stunned delight on Viktor’s face, Yuuri thinks Viktor just might take the job.
“Bon voyage, Viktor.”
“Bon voyage, Yuuri.”
Yuuri manages to walk past two gates before turning and looking back at Viktor. His new friend is still there, watching him leave and waving goodbye with a heart-shaped smile on his face.