Victor Nikiforov is forgetful as all get out. He doesn’t remember his own birthday half the time, and when people ask him how old he is, he has to count backwards using his fingers.
But he knows the names of all the dogs he encounters in Hasetsu.
“Aki!” he says to the storeowner’s dog, as he bikes past on his way to the Ice Castle. Aki is a terrier mutt, small and a determined barker. “Good morning, Aki!” Which store owner? Damned if he knows. He’s been introduced a few times. Aki’s person. Victor is fairly certain he has two eyes and a face?
“Hi, Masa,” he says at lunch. Masa is the dog that lives somewhat near the castle. Masa is a shiba inu, and really likes tuna onigiri. He can detect the sound of a bento being opened from half a mile away; it never takes him more than a minute to materialize in the middle of Victor’s lunch. He sits two feet from Makkachin, giving Victor soulful sad eyes as he goes through the bento that Yuuri’s mother has made for him. Victor is no idiot–Makkachin has taught him well that a dog that knows how to make “I’m a poor neglected dog that never gets fed” eyes is almost certainly a dog who has a devoted human who is a sucker for sad dog eyes. But Victor is also a sucker for sad dog eyes.
Hiroko Katsuki has started adding extra onigiri, just for Masa. (“No salt,” she explained to him. She’s a good egg.)
Yori plays with Makkachin in the afternoons when Yuuri is cross-training. Yori is a brown dog with three white paws, not to be confused with Toshi, who is a slightly browner dog with two white paws and one yellow paw. Toshi lives closer to the onsen, anyway.
“Which dog is that?” Yuuri asks, as they’re walking home. Victor sees a flash out of the corner of his eye before the dog disappears. It’s enough. “Kouta. You can tell by the freckles on the paws. Riku has the same coloring but no freckles.”
“Who does Kouta belong to?” Yuuri asks.
Someone, Victor is sure. He’s been introduced a time or five. Some human…with two eyes, probably a face? He’s not really sure.
“Kouta’s owner,” Victor finally says.
He doesn’t know why Yuuri is cracking up. Why would he waste precious brain space on human names when there are so many dogs to remember?
(catalyzed by this post)