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Expressions of Love

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Yuuri knows that Victor is a romantic, but it's never been more apparent than it is now as they walk out of the cinema, having watched the year's most popular romcom. Judging by how excited Victor was as they walked into the theater, he'd definitely been watching trailers and cast interviews, but the only reason why Yuuri even knows about the movie is because it's impossible to walk two blocks without seeing the lead couple plastered on a telephone booth or a passing bus covered in movie review quotes.

The movie hadn't been amazing, but Victor seemed to really like it. His arm is hooked around Yuuri's, and he's looking off into the distance and sighing happily while they leave the theater. "What a beautiful story," He gushes, leaning into his boyfriend. "I can't believe Logan showed up in the middle of that hurricane to declare eternal love! And with a big bouquet of flowers, too!"

"Yeah, I can't believe that either." Yuuri remarks, with less wonderment than Victor's gushing with. "I just think that she showed up at, um," he pauses, trying to recall the other protagonist's name from his memory, "under Kendall's balcony with an digital piano and a speaker set up just to play their song, that was kind of silly. I mean, a guitar, sure, but a piano, a piano stand, a bench, a speaker, and a battery? I mean, what if Kendall wasn't home?"

"What matters is that he was, and now they can live happily ever after." Victor concludes, pulling Yuuri with him as he heads into the bathrooms.

Yuuri simply hums in agreement, a little too distracted by his bladder to do anything other than head into a toilet stall. He'd had too much soda during the show.

 


 

It's evident by the third day after the movie that Victor is a totally hopeless romantic.

It's evident because, in the three days since the movie, Victor has sent more text emoji hearts than usual, stared wistfully at the rose display at the shop (with sighing) more than twice, and attempted to create "romantic ambience" throughout his apartment with scented candles, nearly setting off his smoke detector.

It was difficult to air the conflicting summer rose and patchouli scents out of the apartment, and they got it done eventually, but not before the fragrance had seeped into their clothes and their hair. It's still on Yuuri's hoodie, at the very least, and when he holds his collar to his nose, he gets a deep whiff of it. It's tinged with Victor's cologne, but it brings back the frantic window-opening and fanning that took place yesterday evening. Yuuri would take a moment to laugh at the memory, but the shop door swings open, chiming the bell above it, and he looks up to see a hoodie-clad teenager make their way to the counter.

Yuuri bites his tongue to stop himself from asking why he's wearing a zipped-up hoodie in mid-August, and the customer peels the hood away to look down at Yuuri with one piercingly blue eye.

"Are you Yuuri?" He says brusquely, leaning on the counter. Yuuri blinks confusedly at him from his seat.

"Um, yeah. Can I help you?" He's not the best at dealing with rude clients, but he'll do his best.

"Victor sent me to deliver this. He said it was 'important.'" The teenager retrieves a periwinkle folder from under his arm and tosses it across the counter. Catching the folder, Yuuri opens it up to find a little note stuck to the documents inside. There's a little message in nice handwriting on it apologizing for sending "Yurio" instead of coming in person. Yuuri smiles at the little "xo"s and hearts above Victor's signature, only looking up when he hears footsteps heading away from the counter.

"Hey, uh, Yuri— hold on!" Rising up from his stool to stop the teen from leaving, Yuuri relaxes when Yuri turns to face him, hand already on the doorknob.

"What?"

"You're the Yuri who works at Victor's office, right? This is my first time meeting you." Yuuri babbles. "It's a long subway ride up to the office; do you want a drink?" When Yuri tilts his head in suspicion, Yuuri adds carefully, "it's hot out."

Even with Victor's stories from work, he hadn't been fully prepared for the teenager's bluntness— but the way the younger man hesitates, gaze fixing on the empty juice carton Yuuri had set aside on the counter for recycling later, is almost child-like.

"Do you have another of those?" He mutters, pointing his chin towards the drink.

Yuuri nods, and he runs to the fridge in the back room to grab an apple juice as Yuri hops onto the stool by the counter. As soon as the straw is poked into the box and in his mouth, he takes a hasty gulp, relishing the cool juice.

While Yuri sucks enthusiastically on his drink, Yuuri attempts to distract himself from laughing by busying himself with misting the flowers on display.

It's strange to have someone else seated at the counter while he works— and especially someone he's heard so much about. Victor always comes from work with fresh stories about the prickly intern, and despite all "Yurio's" griping, Victor seems to genuinely like him. His grandfather, who dog sits for Victor, seems nice enough, from the one time Yuuri met him.

"So, um, Victor's told me a lot about you." Keeping his voice light, Yuuri attempts to make some conversation.

Yuri drains his juice box before scoffing, "oh, he's told us a lot about you." He rolls his eyes. "It's all he does now."

"Oh?"

"He's been weird ever since he met you." Yuri grumbles. "He used to stay late a lot more, and he was a quieter at work. Now he sighs all the time."

"Bad sighing?" Yuuri asks, turning to frown at the teenager out of concern.

At the question, Yuri furrows his brow and grimaces. "He smiles so hard his cheeks should fall off. It's sickening." Yuuri comes back to the counter and sets his spray bottle down, unable to help a grin at the mental image; it makes Yuri narrow his eyes and look away. "Ugh, not you too."

"Sorry, it's just… So he's like that at work, too?" Yuuri inquires amusedly, bringing a hand up to cover his smile. For all the endearment Victor displays in private, Yuuri doesn't know much about him in the office— he's seen Victor at wedding venues, yes, but not in his actual workplace.

"All the time. He's been kind of moody the past two days, though."

"Oh." Yuuri bites his lip. "You can tell?"

As if it's the most natural thing to notice in the world, Yuri tilts his head. "His sighs are different."

"Oh."

It's admittedly still hard for Yuuri to read what Victor's thinking at times, even after spending countless hours together. He'd just always assumed that Victor didn't want to bring work into his leisure time, and he always seemed happy to just have Yuuri around, so he didn't give it much thought. But if Victor's co-workers— or at least Yuri— have noticed something he hasn't, then Yuuri wants to know what that something is. Is work not going well? It's late summer, so the summer wedding season must be waning— no, that can't be it. The flower shop's demand hasn't gone down too much. Maybe Victor is struggling with another client. Or maybe, Yuuri frets, it has to do with them.

It's totally irrational, considering how happy (he thinks) they've been together. But this is the first he's heard of any difference.

Taking another petulant sip of his juice, the teen adds, "and he keeps playing the soundtrack to the same movie over and over. Get him to wear his stupid expensive earphones."

"I'll work on it." Yuuri shrugs. The mention of a soundtrack piques his interest, though. "Wait, from which movie?"

"It's that new super cliché romance film." Yuri replies. "We've heard the main theme a hundred times and it's only been two days."

"We watched it on Sunday— he's been humming it around me too." Yuuri sympathizes, sitting and resting his elbows on the counter. "It's not a bad song, but I wouldn't mind hearing something else."

"I don't care what he listens to as long as he does it with earphones on." Yuri hisses, crushing the now-empty juice carton in his fist.

Teenagers are fearsome, sometimes.

Suddenly, everything clicks together in Yuuri's head. The hearts. The roses. The candles. The soundtrack related workplace disturbances. Victor's so enthusiastic about the movie that Yuuri just brushed it off as Victor really liking it— but it isn't just the movie, is it?

"Hey, Yuri?" He muses, staring at the silver embossing on the folder in front of him. "Do you think I should… send Victor flowers at work, or something?"

"Huh?"

"I think he just wants some of those cliché romantic things to happen to him," Yuuri explains. "I don't know. I could probably do more stuff like that. Do you think that would be okay?"

Yuri scrunches his nose. "Don't ask me. I don't want any part in this."

"Then is there anyone else at the office who can help?" Yuuri presses. If he's going to surprise Victor at work, he's going to have to get the address from someone other than Victor.

It looks like the teenager in front of him has lost interest completely, tapping around on his phone instead of listening, and Yuuri's about to dismiss the idea when Yuri puts his smartphone to his ear and, a few moments later, shoots off a gruff string of Russian. He holds out his phone to Yuuri, and motions for him to take the call. "She can help you."

Still processing Yuri's sudden actions, Yuuri nods quickly and takes the phone with both hands, putting it to his own ear and hesitantly greeting the person on the other side.

"H-Hello?"

"Um, hello!" A higher-pitched voice comes from the receiver. "This is Weddings by V, Mila speaking. How may I help you?"

"Oh, this isn't— I mean, it's not for work." Yuuri clarifies, worrying his bottom lip between his teeth. "Is Victor there?" A short silence ensues.

"He's out, actually, but you can leave a message." There's a click of a pen in the background, and Yuuri shakes his head, even if Mila can't see it.

"No, no," he sighs, trying to form words. "I'm… I'm Victor's boyfriend. I wanted to-"

"Oh! Wait, so you're…"

"I'm Yuuri." Yuuri states, a little nervous. "Sorry. I'm sure you're busy."

"No, it's okay! He talks about you a lot, that's all; what did you need?" Mila asks.

"I… want to surprise him with flowers. Tomorrow, preferably. What would be a good time to come by?"

"Maybe around one? We usually have lunch around then." Mila answers. Yuuri takes note of the time; it should be okay to drop by around then between deliveries. Suddenly, Mila gasps. "Wait a second! Are you Yuuri from Katsuki Flowers?" Yuuri replies that he is, and Mila snaps her fingers. "I guessed right! No wonder. The boss used to jump around different florists, so his sticking to your shop makes total sense now." Yuuri makes a confused noise, and Mila rushes to clear up her statement. "Not that that's a bad thing! The flower arrangements you guys do are incredible. I'm sure even if you weren't dating he'd choose your floristry."

"He did even for the couple months before we started dating, so I'm pretty sure that's the case." Yuuri points out, nodding to himself assuredly. "Anyways, I meant to ask: do you know anything about flower meanings? I could use some help."

"Oh, Victor has me research that stuff all the time," Mila laughs. "Are you trying to convey something to him?"

"Yuri— uh, the other Yuri, the one who works with you— mentioned that Victor's been moody the past two days, so I want to do something romantic. To cheer him up, you know?"

"That's so sweet!" Gushing, Mila begins typing something, the loud clacking of her keyboard picking up on the call. "Okay, I have just the thing."

It's only a while later, after Yuuri and Mila iron out the plan to surprise Victor, that Yuri snaps that his phone will run out of battery. He takes another apple juice Yuuri offers him as thanks, and the florist waves the teenager off, feeling hopeful about the next day.

 


 

Victor, on the other hand, wakes up in a cold sweat the next morning, way before his alarm is set to go off.

God, what a terrible dream.

It's all fuzzy now, but Victor remembers having hay fever in it. Hay fever. And he was sniffling and crying, eyes stinging and nose itching from pollen. Yuuri refused to get close to him, and that devastated Victor most of all.

"Victor, I'm going to keep hurting you. Pollen sticks to all my clothes... I don't think I should stay."

"Yuuri, please— we can work this out! All it takes is a shower. I have clothes you can wear!"

"There's no washing away what will hurt you most."

"I can take medication! I'll wear masks! Goggles, if I have to— just stay with me."

"Goodbye, Victor."

Victor's tearing up just thinking about this dream. It's ridiculous. What he needs is a glass of water, and he swings his legs off the bed to go grab one, giving Makkachin a fur ruffle before heading to the kitchen. Just to be sure it was just a dream, he takes an experimental sniff of the vase of tulips sitting on his dining table— when it doesn't result in any sneezes, he breathes a sigh of relief.

No, that'll never happen, Victor thinks as he saunters along the block with Makkachin trotting ahead. It's just an irrational dream, one that his mind made up to remind him he has insecurities. It's not that he doubts their relationship, but Victor likes to make his love clear through action, and Yuuri is very quiet. His quietness lends itself to wonderful surprises, at times, but it would be nice to get reminders that are a little more concrete.

Shaking off some of the tension from the dream, he hands Makkachin off to Nikolai and makes his way to work. As is customary with their mornings, he texts Yuuri a "good morning" and peers over at the shop's window to catch a glimpse of him. This morning, Yuuri's nowhere to be seen, but the text he receives in return, explaining that he's in the basement preparing orders, is an adequate substitute.

 


 

It's a miracle that Victor doesn't notice something is up from how odd Mila and Yuri are acting. From his desk, Georgi can see Mila fidgeting at the desk next to him, and Yuri keeps glancing at the door from his laptop, and Victor— well, he can't see Victor's face from behind his monitor, but he seems as carefree as always.

Is there some secret that he isn't in on? Georgi hates surprises. The last surprise he got was Anya throwing an empty cardboard box at him and telling him to take his things and leave, completely shattering his heart and leaving him to weep on the curb and cancel their nonrefundable couple's pilates session that Monday—

Okay, maybe he just hated that surprise. Not all surprises are bad. Some surprises involve ice cream cake or presents. But it's nowhere near his birthday, so whatever surprise they have planned probably doesn't include either of those things.

It's very suspicious when Mila answers her mobile phone and bends to answer it with a hand over the receiver. It's even more suspicious when Yuri flashes her an unreadable look; his looks are never ambiguous, they're always very specific.

"Mm, it's time for lunch!" Victor remarks, stretching in his office chair and beginning to rise out of his seat.

"Ahh, wait!" Mila yelps, stiffening and glancing at the wall clock above the door. Gathering a couple of folders in her arms and charging up to Victor's desk in the back, she drops them on the table. "V-Victor, can you look over these planning timelines with me before you go to lunch?"

"Right now?" Victor replies, scanning over the stack. "It can't wait till after lunch?"

"Yes, right now. I need to send these off by one-thirty." Smacking her hand on the gloss-finished folders, Mila demands. She walks around Victor's desk to perch on the cushioned chairs in front of it and watches Victor intently as he sits back down, defeatedly taking a pen out to mark the documents.

Mila glances at her phone a few times, always bringing her gaze back up right as Victor's doing the same and motioning at some other field that needs checking.

Suddenly, the office doorbell chimes, and just as Victor's reaching for the phone to listen to the intercom, Yuri grabs the phone off Mila's desk, to Georgi's surprise, leaving Victor to gape.

"Oi, Apples. The door's unlocked; just come in." Yuri mutters, putting the receiver down as soon as he finishes speaking.

"Apples?" Georgi mouths, perplexed, as a bespectacled man opens the glass door into the office from the small waiting area. He looks around, standing aimlessly in front of the bathroom door, holding a bouquet of flowers, a bag, and two coffees in his hands. It's a wonder he managed to open the pull door.

That's when Victor drops his pen, letting it thud dully on the papers on his desk. He stands up, staring in disbelief before bursting out the glass door of his private office to greet "Apples."

It's only a few yards between Victor's office door and the entryway, but he's already breathless, or rather, more speechless than Georgi has ever seen him, stopped in front of the visitor with his hands raised like he's holding back from a hug. Probably a wise decision, considering the coffees and flowers in "Apples'" hands.

"Hi," Victor murmurs, still processing the shock of his boyfriend's presence.

"Hi," Yuuri says back, looking up at Victor bashfully, already feeling his face burn red with three other pairs of eyes trained on them. "I brought you some flowers. And lunch." He holds the sizable bouquet out to Victor, who takes it from him with a grin spreading from cheek to cheek.

"You… Oh, this is so sweet, Yuuri," Victor marvels, admiring the hydrangeas and roses for a moment before putting them down on the coffee table in the sitting area to his left. He takes the coffees and bag of food from Yuuri and sets them next to the flowers just as quickly, not wasting a second in bundling his adorable, amazing, caring boyfriend up in a hug. Feet coming off the ground as Victor swings him around, Yuuri yelps, and Victor releases him a moment later, looking as giddy as ever and nearly bouncing on his heels. "We're having lunch together?"

"If you want," Yuuri nods. "I got us some Vietnamese food; I hope that's okay."

"That sounds perfect."

Nodding to himself, Yuuri glances behind Victor and sees a red-haired woman walking up to them.

"Oh, I should probably introduce you to everyone!" Victor gasps, turning to stand beside Yuuri, one hand anchored on Yuuri's waist. "Everyone, this is Yuuri! We're dating."

"We know," Mila chimes. "From Katsuki Flowers, right? He delivers flowers to our weddings."

"Yeah, and you won't shut up about him. You even sent me to his shop yesterday, old man," Yuri scoffs with a full mouth, looking up from his lunch of dense-looking pirozhki.

Victor tilts his head. "But he's my boyfriend now. Doesn't that warrant another introduction?"

"No." The teenager retorts quickly. "Just go do your mushy romantic stuff and get it over with."

How Yuri had automatically assumed they'd be doing any "mushy romantic stuff," Victor has no clue— that is, until things start to make sense. "Yuuri," he tuts, turning his head to look at Yuuri. "You planned with Mila and Yurio to surprise me, didn't you? For our four month anniversary?"

Yuuri looks remarkably like a fish with his reddened face and gaping mouth when he admits, "I, uh, actually didn't know it's been four months. I did ask Mila and Yuri for help, though."

"That's okay." Victor shakes his head before clinging even closer to Yuuri, wrapping his other hand around to meet his other hand, locking Yuuri in his embrace. "I love you all the same." He lands a quick peck on Yuuri's forehead, making the other Yuri curse under his breath and put his earphones back in.

"L-Love you too," Yuuri replies honestly, though it's muffled in Victor's shoulder.

It makes Victor pause, and he releases Yuuri's waist to take his hands instead, smiling completely helplessly with his eyes crinkling at the edges. Yuuri doesn't think he's ever seen Victor so fond, and he's been fond dozens of times before. What a difference one word can make.

"Did you just confess to me in front of all my employees?" Victor laughs, swinging their hands from side to side.

"What? I…" Yuuri trails off momentarily before admitting defeat with a soft smile. "Okay, I guess I did." It was easier than he thought to say, to be honest; and Victor's reaction was more than worth it.

A pat on Yuuri's shoulder from Mila alerts them that she, Georgi, and Yuri are walking out of the office.

"We're going to eat now," she states. "Enjoy your lunch date!"

"Ah, alright. Thanks Mila, Yuri!" Yuuri slides a hand out from Victor's grip to wave curtly. "It's nice to meet you."

"See you later!" Victor lilts, waving along with Yuuri.

 


 

Georgi and Yuri are already outside the office's glass doors when Mila closes the entryway door behind her, and she breathes a sigh of relief. "Well, Victor looks happy."

"He's going to be unbearable when we get back." Yuri grumbles. "I should never have helped."

"Oh, come on. It's better than having him mope all day, right? At least this way he'll be in good spirits— and I think it's really cute of his boyfriend to go to that trouble." Mila replies.

Georgi's silent through this exchange, staring holes into the stainless steel of the elevator doors as they wait for the elevator to arrive.

Wasn't everyone in this office perpetually single? Was he the only one who hadn't noticed Victor had begun dating someone? This is the first he's heard of Victor's dating anyone in a long time. An impromptu visit at work with flowers, lunch, and coffee? How infuriatingly lovey-dovey.

"Say, Mila, Yuri?" Georgi says, keeping his voice light. "What do you say we go to the Avenir for lunch today?"

"The Avenir? That's pricey, though." Mila sighs. "Unless you're treating us?"

"No, not me." Shaking his head as they enter the elevator and press the lobby button, Georgi smiles. "We'll put it on Victor's personal tab."

"Let's do it." Yuri narrows his eyes, nodding decisively. "He deserves it for putting us through that sap fest."

Although Mila protests, they end up going to the Avenir anyway, to Christophe's surprise. Once they explain the situation, however, he laughs heartily and agrees to send the charges Victor's way.

The delicious food almost, but not quite, makes up for Victor's disgustingly doting look and reddened mouth when they all return from lunch an hour later.

Mila wisely turns a blind eye, but Georgi, whose desk is stationed the closest to Victor's office, wants to stick his head in the nearest trash can and scream from all the happy sighing coming from behind him.

Georgi hates love.

It's really too bad that Victor's just learning how addictive it can be.