Chapter 21:

Chapter Twenty one

The Foreign Yakuza

As he tied the scarf around David's neck, he said, “Are you really sure? You really don't need to act like the Japanese in this cold weather and go to the temple for the New Year.” The foreign boy rolled his eyes in the bowl and said, “Is it bad… if I like… the customs of… the people of… this country? This is… my first Christmas… in Japan!”

Akira pulled away from him a bit and said, “I know you're interested in Japanese customs, but it's nothing special. You're not even a Shinto or Buddhist; there's really no reason to go to a temple.” David frowned, looking away from him. He put his hand on the wheel of the wheelchair and said as he took himself to the corridor, “If you… don't want… to come, you can… stay home! I didn't… force you to… come with me! I can… go myself!”

Shocked by his friend's anger, Akira walked after him, pausing, grabbed the handles of the wheelchair, stopped him, knelt in front of him, and said, “I'm sorry, I didn't mean it, I just don't...” David yelled, “You don't… what?! Why are… you treating me… like a child?! Did you think… that because I… can't walk and… I sit in a wheelchair, I can't… take care of… myself?! I don't need… a babysitter! Go away!”

As David tried to push the Japanese boy away, Akira said sadly, “I'm sorry, David. I didn't mean to bother you. I'd love to go to the temple with you, but it's very crowded there during the New Year and...” with a little pause added, “and most temples have stairs.”

Hearing this sentence, David stopped struggling, sadly lowered his head, and fisted his healthy hand on his leg. Seeing this scene, Akira felt even more guilty, but suddenly something came to his mind, and he said, “There is a temple in Toshima City that has few steps and no steepness. By car, if we don't get into traffic, it will take 10 or 12 minutes. It's called Kishimojin Temple; do you want to go there?”

As his head was down, David said in a hoarse voice, “No, as you… said, this is a… Japanese custom.” Then he raised his head and added with a fake smile, “I'm sorry, I raised… my voice; it's better… to change our clothes… and stay home. Sorry… for wasting… your time.”

Akira stood up, put his hands on his shoulders, and said, “I should be apologizing, not you; now that we're dressed, let's go; we'll come back if it's too crowded.” David said confidently, “But-but you… don't need to… bother yourself because… of me.”

The Japanese boy said with a smile, “It's okay, Big Boy; have you forgotten? In addition to being my savior, you are also my friend, and I want to start the new year with my only friend at the temple.” Then he raised an eyebrow and asked, “Do you have any problems?”

David paused, smiled, and said, “Thank you, Akira. You… took care of me… all this time, and now… you're going… to spend your time… and vacation… with me.” Akira sighed. The wheelchair took him to the door, and as he put on his shoes, he said, “By the way, this year I think good; in past years, when I was unemployed, even during vacations, I went to the headquarters building to have something to do.”

Then, as he opened the door and took the wheelchair out, he added, “By the way, I didn't take care of you so much.” David looked at him with confusion and asked as he locked the door, “What do… you mean, you didn't take… care so much? Both in… the hospital and… at home, who could… it be but you? Are you… trying to be… modest?”

Akira put the key in his pocket, and as he pushed the wheelchair towards the elevator, he said, “I'll explain later, although you might think I'm a weirdo and ungrateful later.” He sighed and added, “For now, let's go downstairs and find a taxi.” David nodded hesitantly and asked no more questions.


It took them about 20 minutes to reach the temple by taxi. Fortunately, due to the light snow that was coming, the crowd was relatively balanced. Kishimojin Temple was founded in the late 16th century. This temple is one of the tangible cultural points in Tokyo that draws thousands of visitors every year. Most people pray for the health of patients and safe delivery in this temple. Although Akira did not tell David this, this was one of the reasons why he chose this temple.

As he pushed the wheelchair forward, he said, “Here's crowded! But it's nice; it's not like some temples where people line up,” David said as looking around curiously, “It's a… beautiful place! It's a… shame it's so… crowded. I think once… I'll have to come… back after the holidays… when it's quiet… here to enjoy it,” Akira laughed and asked, “You never get tired of seeing these old buildings, do you?”

- These are… not just old… buildings, Akira. These are… part of the culture… and history of… this country. These temples… are all… attractive.

As he wheeled the wheelchair up the short stairs, he said, “Okay, Mr. Archaeologist, you don't need to flaunt your scientific knowledge on me.” David laughed and said, “What… happened? Are you… regretting coming… with me?” Akira gently hit David's head and said, “No, idiot.” The foreign boy pretended to rub his head and jokingly said, “Ouch! Are you… bullying a… crippled person?”

Akira, not realizing his joke, stopped moving, came in front of him, and asked worriedly, “I'm sorry, did I hit too hard?” David laughed at his worried look and said, “You look... funny.” The Japanese boy frowned, then sighed and said, “Damn Big Boy.” He got back behind the wheelchair and started pushing it towards the New Year's prayer area.

He stopped the wheelchair facing the altar, stood next to it, and asked, “Are you ready?” The foreign boy nodded and looked at the altar. They both clapped their own hands together twice, then closed their eyes and prayed.

After a few moments, as they walked away from the altar, Akira asked, “What did you pray for, Big Boy?” David shrugged and said, “It's a... secret; what about... you?” The Japanese boy felt himself turn red with embarrassment as he pushed the wheelchair forward. He couldn't say that he prayed for his health, so he said confusedly, “D-Did you think you were smart? Mine is secret too.”

David laughed and said, “Okay... okay.... You don't... have to say” Akira stopped the wheelchair in the corner and said, “It's true there's not much snow, but it's cold. Wait, I'll go get a hot drink and come back.” David, who felt better from this excursion, joked again, “I don't think… I can go… anywhere with… this wheelchair… unless I have… wings.” Akira forced a smile and went to the small stall next to the temple.

A few minutes later, he returned to David, who was taking pictures of the temple with his mobile phone, with two cups of hot coffee. He held out a cup to him and said, “Be careful not to burn; it's hot.” The foreign boy put his phone on his lap, took the steaming cup with a smile, and said, “Thank you.”

Akira leaned against the base of a statue with a smile and slowly began to drink his coffee. After the first sip, David said, “Now, what… did you mean… by that?” The Japanese boy raised his eyebrows and said, “What you mean?”

- The same… thing you said—you said… you didn't… take care of me.

Akira paused, played a little with the cup in his hand, and as he looked at the steam, he said, “When you were in the hospital, I visited you almost every day for the first two weeks. Of course, everyone else came too, like your professor, your university friends, your colleagues at the cafe, and...” he added with a sigh, “and Riki.”

David raised his eyebrows and asked, “Riki? Was he… in Tokyo… then?” The Japanese boy, who clearly didn't want to talk about that boy, took a sip of his coffee and replied, “No. As long as you were hospitalized, he would come from Kyoto every Sunday morning to be by your side. He was shaving your face, and then he was going back to Kyoto with the evening train.”

David nodded and said, “I should keep in mind to thank him later,” then he took a sip of his coffee and added, “The same for you. I don't know what happened after the second week, but you did enough. Besides, after my discharge, you took me to your home.”

As he looked at the people in the temple, Akira said, “After those two weeks, I would come to you less often, and after a while, I wouldn't come to the hospital at all.” He added guiltily, “I know, I'm a terrible person. I left the person who saved me in the hospital bed, but... but when I was seeing you in that state, I felt guiltier than before. I... I...”

David reached out, touched his arm, and said, “You're not… a horrible… person, Akira. You're a… good friend. You shouldn't… judge yourself… like that.” Akira smiled sadly and said, “That's not all. After you were discharged, I took you home. I really didn't know how to take care of you; I didn't want to hire a nurse. until he came.”

David asked when he saw his pause, “He? Who's… that?” The boy sighed and replied, “Riki.” The foreign boy raised his eyebrows and said, “Oh, so when… you took me… to your house, he also comes… to your house… on the weekends? It seems… I owe him… a lot.”

- No, he was with you every day.

- What do… you mean? Does that mean… he commuted between… Kyoto and Tokyo… every day?

Akira, who felt that he was getting nervous, said, “No, idiot. I took care of you for the first 5–6 days, but then that damn fox came with a suitcase and said that he would stay at my house and take care of you! He was here until the day before we went to the park!” Remembering the events in the park, he suddenly became silent and turned his face away.

David frowned and asked, "You mean… from the beginning… of my discharge… until a few… days ago, he was… here taking… care of me?" Akira slowly nodded in approval, and just as he was about to speak, his phone rang. He took it out of his pocket, then frowned and said, "Damn, speak of the devil!"

“Who is it?” asked the foreign boy. But Akira just let out a loud breath, answered the call, and said, “What do you want?” A voice from the other side said, “Can't you say hello? When are you going to learn manners?” The Japanese boy said angrily, “You don't have to teach me! Speak up!” The voice said, “Of course I have nothing to do with you, idiot; I just wanted to ask about David.”

Akira looked at the boy in the wheelchair and continued, “He's fine; you don't need to worry about him.” David, who was surprised, asked quietly, “Who… are you… talking to?” The boy slowly moved his lips and said “Riki” as he listened to the voice behind the phone.

The foreign boy smiled and motioned for him to give him the phone. Akira paused, not wanting to do it, but finally handed him the phone slowly. Riki was just as he was talking when David said, “Hi Riki.” The Kyoto boy's voice suddenly went silent for a moment before he hesitantly asked, “D-David?”

“Yes?” said the foreign boy as he smiled. Riki said with a trembling voice, “A-Are you really you?! Akira, I swear if you're trying to make fun of me by imitating his voice...” But the foreign boy laughed and said, “Akira didn't do anything. It's me.”

Riki excitedly said, “Damn! He should have told me you were feeling better! When I come to Tokyo, I'll punch him in the face!” David laughed and said, “Calm… down. I asked… him to not… say anything… for now. You're the… first one… to know.” The boy's voice paused from behind the phone and asked, “Are you really better? You are speaking slowly and heavily.”

- I'm fine; I haven't talked for a long time. I'm getting better little by little.

- I am glad that you are better. I will definitely come to see you. I know it's hard for you to talk now; please give the phone to Akira.

- OK

David turned the phone to Akira, who was leaning against the statue in a bitter mood. The boy put the phone to his ear and said, “What?” Riki said something that angered the boy, and he shouted back, “Go to hell! You smug bastard!” and then hung up the phone.

David looked at him worriedly and asked, “Did you... two fight... again?” Akira, who was trying to control his anger, said, “It's nothing,” then added with a sigh, “We'd better go back home; it's getting too cold.” Despite the fact that he wanted to stay longer in that environment, the foreign boy nodded in agreement and remained silent.


“Can I ask you something?” he said as he helped David lie down on the bed. The foreign boy laid back and replied, “Yeah, ask.” Akira paused and then hesitantly asked, “Do you feel regret for meeting me?”

David turned his head towards him and looked at his sad and confused look, then he said softly, “No.” The unsatisfied Japanese boy continued, “You mean you never wished you hadn't met me?” The foreign boy sighed and said, “Well, it... happened. But only... in the beginning.”

- in the beginning? When we first met?

The foreign boy nodded and said, “That's when… you wanted… to hit me… with scissors.” Akira turned red from embarrassment and said, “T-That was because I didn't know you. I woke up. I was in an unfamiliar place, and I wasn't wearing my own clothes. Well, - Well...” David laughed and said, “I know; you… don't need… to explain. Anyway, now… I'm glad… to meet you.”

Akira smiled and said, “Me too. You changed my life. Thank you” David replied with a smile, “Mr. Thunder... getting emotional?” The Japanese boy laughed and said, “What? Do you prefer me to yell and beat you all the time?” David politely shook his head and said nothing.

Akira paused. He wanted to tell the boy what was in his heart, but he didn't know how. It was too hard to say. He is afraid that by saying it, all the things that are between him and the foreign boy will disappear, and he won't be able to see him anymore. He is afraid of this risk.

David, feeling sleepy, said, “Please, when… you want… to go to your room… turn off… the light.” Akira sighed and thought, maybe it's better to not say it now until David's condition gets better. He got up from the bed, turned off the light, and as he was going to his bedroom, he said “good night,” but he didn't get a reply because the foreign boy had fallen asleep.


Three days have passed since the new year and five days since David's partial recovery. Now he could stand and walk two or three short steps. He didn't speak heavily anymore, and he was just a little slow in speaking sentences. As he looked at the snow falling from the sky through the glass balcony door, Akira approached him, gave him a mug of hot chocolate, and said, “Why are you always looking at the sky like that?” David asked in surprise as he took the mug from him, “Always?”

- Yes, since you regained consciousness, both inside the hospital and when I brought you home, most of the time you just stared at the sky.

David took a sip of his hot chocolate and said, “I don't remember anything in particular, but looking at the sky in general relaxes me, especially when it's raining or snowing.” Akira sat down next to him and said, “You've always been weird.”

David laughed and said, “Let me ask the same question as that one you asked a few nights ago: do you regret meeting me?” Akira coughed and said, “Of course not, stupid! What is this question?!” David shrugged and said, “You know, sometimes I think you'd be in less trouble if you hadn't met me.”

The Japanese boy frowned and said, “What do you mean?” David sighed and said, “I've never been a lucky person. If you hadn't met me, you certainly wouldn't have been on the path to take you to that warehouse that night, there certainly wouldn't have been a bombing, and you wouldn't have had to spend a lot of money on my care. Besides, you went to the park because of me, and you almost got killed.”

Then, with a bitter smile, he looked at the sky again and added, “I'm sorry, Akira. Maybe I really should have been left alone.” The Japanese boy who felt angry said, “Why are you talking ridiculously? I was the one who got you into trouble! If you hadn't found me in that alley or when my house was destroyed, I wouldn't have come to you, now you didn't have any problems, and you were enjoying the New Year's holidays with your friends, classmates, or even your family! Not with a cursed yakuza like me!”

David shook his head left and right and said, “You're not cursed, and like I said before, I don't regret meeting you and helping you. You are very important to me; I am glad that I could at least use this big body to protect you.”

Akira felt his face turn red. He couldn't stand it anymore; this boy's words smelled like farewell. He didn't want that; he mustered up all his courage and said, “You're stupid, but I'm stupider.” He stood up, stood in front of David, and said with a serious look, “However, you should know this: I'm a yakuza. I'm cursed, I'm a violent person, and I don't know how to communicate with others. But...” He paused and said, “But this person has a feeling...”

The sound of the doorbell stopped him from speaking. He cursed under his breath and went to the door. This was bad luck! At the exact moment when he had gathered his courage to talk to her after a long time, there should have been an intruder.

He opened the door with a frown, but when he saw Riki, he dried on the door and asked, “W-What are you doing here?! Weren't you supposed to come next week?!” The Kyoto boy walked into the house, ignoring him, and said, “It's none of your business; I didn't come for you.”

Before Akira could stop him, he kicked off his shoes and ran towards the living room like a playful child. Hearing the footsteps, the foreign boy turned his head to see who the guest was. Seeing the Kyoto boy in the doorway, he smiled and said, “Ah, Riki! Happy New Year!”

As he was getting up, Riki ran over to him, gave him a big hug, and said grudgely, “I'm glad you're okay." David, trying to keep his balance, smiled and said, "Calm down, boy. I can't stand up well yet. Don't hug me suddenly like this; I might fall.”

Akira had reached the living room when Riki raised his head and planted a kiss on David's lips in an unexpected gesture. The foreign boy, who was confused, just looked at Riki's face and eyes in surprise.

But for Akira, this scene was nothing but pain and anger. Involuntarily, he stepped forward, pulled Ricky away from David, slapped him hard across the face, and said, “You really are a dirty bastard!” David, who had come out of shock, gently grabbed Akira's wrist and said, “What are you doing? Calm down.”

Riki rubbed the place of the slap on his face, wiped the drop of blood from his lip, and said, “Yeah, I'm a dirty person, and I used to be a slut, but not anymore!” He pointed to David and said, “I don't care what others say; I love this boy, and I want to belong to him and live with him from now on.”

Shocked by his words, David said, “Wh-what are you saying, Riki? Are you drunk?” Akira freed his wrist, grabbed the Kyoto boy's collar, and said, “You damn bastard! A whore like you who has slept with dozens of people has no right to talk about feelings here!”

Riki smirked and said, “What does that have to do with you? This is between me and him. He has to decide if he wants to be with me or not; who are you to decide for him?!”

David said, completely confused, “Hey, please stop this ridiculous fight.” Akira turned his head and angrily said, “You shut up, Big Boy!” Riki took the opportunity and said with a smirk, “See? You only know how to treat him badly and hurt him. What? You won't be satisfied until you kill him?!”

Akira angrily turned his head towards him and yelled, “Shut up, damn it! Say one more word, and I'll break your bones!” Seeing the awkward situation, David barely took a few steps, walked over to the two of them, wrapped his right arm around Riki's neck and his left arm around Akira's neck, and said, “Please, stop it.”

Meanwhile, his legs trembled, and as he fell to his knees, the weight of his body forced the two boys to their knees as well. They both looked at him worriedly and said at the same time, “Are you okay?!” David lifted his head and smiled as his arms wrapped around their necks and said, “I'm fine, but not too much.”

Akira said worriedly, “Do you want me to take you to the doctor?” David shook his head and said, “I don't have a physical problem.” Riki asked with a frown, “What do you mean?” The foreign boy sighed and said, “You two are my problem,” and as the two of them looked at each other in surprise, he continued, “How many times do I have to say that I don't want to see you two fight? I don't understand what's wrong with you two, but am I a girl you're fighting over?”

Both boys stole their glances from him and remained silent. David pulled his arms back from around their necks; he couldn't stay on his knees for long, and it was hard for him to sit on the floor after breaking his femur from that fall.

He slowly stretched his legs between the two of them to make him sit more comfortably and said, “You two are older than me, but every time you meet each other, you act like kids.” He looked at Riki and said, “How many times did I tell you not to hurt Akira with your words? You know he is sensitive and gets angry easily,” the Kyoto boy just lowering his head with a sad face.

David looked at Akira and said, “It's your fault too. Didn't I tell you not to curse Riki and not humiliate him with his past?” The Japanese boy frowned. “But he...” David raised his hand, interrupted him, and continued, “Your work is indefensible, so don't make excuses.” Akira stole his gaze from him with the same frown.

David sighed and sadly said, “I don't have many friends in this country. You two are the closest people to me; even when I was left alone, you two took care of me.” He gently placed his healthy hand on the Kyoto boy's shoulder and said, “Akira told me how hard you worked and took care of me all the time I was in the hospital and here. I owe you a lot.”

Riki looked at him and said with determined eyes, “No, you're not; you're important to me; you're the only one who sees me as a human being. I know I'm not a good person and I have a dirty past, but I really like you, David!” The foreign boy smiled kindly and said, “I like you too.” Then he turned his head to the Japanese boy, whose fisted hands were shaking, and added kindly, “Just like I like Akira.”

Akira looked into his eyes and said in surprise, “What?!” The foreign boy laughed and replied, “What? It's a surprise? Both of you are important to me, and I like you.” Riki said confusedly, “But I don't mean that kind of feeling; I-I love you.” David smiled and said, “Come on, let's be reasonable. You two guys are 27 and 28 years old, and I am a 25-year-old guy. All three of us are men. I am aware of your past, but it was not your choice. You can have a better life. Your feelings for a boy like me, who is a foreigner and physically injured, are of no use to you.”

Then, looking at Akira, he continued, “Akira is a loner like me, and when he sees you getting close to me, he feels like he's going to lose his friend, so he gets angry; otherwise, he doesn't have romantic feelings for me either. Right, Akira?”

Without looking at him, the Japanese boy said, “No.” David laughed and said, “You see? He too...” But suddenly he noticed his friend's negative answer and said in surprise, “What?!” Akira said in a weak voice, “I said no. I don't feel for you just as a friend.”

David, completely shocked by this situation, looked at both of them in surprise, then paused and said, “Look, you two are kidding me? Did you already arrange to prank me like this?” Riki just shook his head in denial, but Akira scowled at the foreign boy and said, “No, you idiot! Why do I have to scheme with this damn fox?!”

David closed his eyes, rubbed his forehead, and said, “Are you saying that you two big yakuza really have romantic feelings for a damaged foreign boy like me?” Riki replied, “I'm serious; I don't know about this algae brain.” Akira scowled and said, “Shut up, you rotten fox! I'm serious too!”

David opened his eyes and looked at the tension between the two of them and said, “You know, I always thought these situations only happened in Japanese manga; I never thought it could be real.” Then, with a sigh, he raised one hand to Riki and extended the other to Akira and said, “Can you help me get up?”

They both paused for a moment, then took the foreign boy's hands and helped him to his feet. David held both of their hands and said, “I really don't have an answer to give you two, but can you give me some time to digest this situation and think about it?” Both boys just nodded their heads to confirm his words.

David smiled kindly and said, “I feel like an old man who wants to get along with his grandchildren.” Then he added with a small laugh, “For now, please call a truce for my sake.” Then he turned to Akira and said, “Make hot chocolate for all of us, please.” and when he saw Akira's hesitation and his looks at Riki, he added, “Don't worry, he won't steal me.”

Akira took a deep breath and went to the kitchen. David said as he sat on the chair with Riki's help, “Please sit down and, without provoking Akira, tell me what happened while I was unconscious and dumb.”
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