If Victor is going to be in Japan (and really, he feels like he could live here the rest of his life, even if there are things he misses about Saint Petersburg), he ought to learn Japanese so he can talk to people besides Yuuri and Mari and Minako and the Nishigoris. Like the fishermen on the bridge, or the people in the shops, or Yuuri's parents.
Victor has always been good at picking up languages, French and English and smatterings of Italian and German. He buys a textbook and speeds through it, cheerfully applying every lesson to his newfound everyday life.
This lesson is all about counting, so Victor counts. Hitori, futari, sannin. One person, two people, three people. When Yuuri skates, he's hitori. When Victor coaches him, they practice futari. When Yuuko takes off from the front desk to watch them, they're sannin. Easy.
He surprises Minako buy ordering beer at her small bar by the hai. He puts an expression of relief on the face of the girl working at the post office who doesn't speak English when he orders stamps by the mai so he can send Mila postcards like she teasingly suggested he should. (There's one for Yuri in there, too, with a traditional-style picture of a cat on it.)
One day, he's browsing through a bookstore when he happens to spot a rack displaying CDs. CDs that have Yuuri's face on them, his expression gentle, alongside that of another young man that Victor doesn't recognize. He can only read half the title – something about a goodnight series? But of course he has to buy it.
Later, when they're talking in his room, Victor remembers it and dives for his bag to pull it out. "Yuuri! What's this?"
Yuuri goes bright red and tries to snatch it away, but Victor is quicker than that. "It's, um. There was this thing, it's called Hitsuji de oyasumi. Goodnight with sheep. Basically, two people are recorded having some light conversation in-between counting sheep. I don't know why people buy it, please don't listen—"
Too late. Victor's already popped open the CD tray on his laptop. Yuuri covers his face as the CD loads, and sure enough, there's his voice, soft and lower than usual. "Who's the other person?"
"An actual voice actor. Apparently he likes skating,"
Victor can't parse most of the conversation, so he skips ahead. What was this about sheep counting? Ah, here it is, in Yuuri's voice again: "Hitsuji ga ippiki. Hitsuji ga nihiki." And on and on.
"Victor," Yuuri whines, hands still covering half his face – they've slid down enough that Yuuri can make begging eyes at him.
"Okay, okay. I don't like listening to recordings of myself, either." Does anyone? He pauses the CD and watches Yuuri's shoulders sink with relief.
That night, though, as he strokes Makkachin's fur (she's another hiki, according to his textbook), he listens to Yuuri's parts of the CD and counts along: one sheep, two sheep, three sheep....