To My Sunflower - BestLightNovel.com
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Mei and Yuri Sakamoto greeted him with a polite bow. Hinata felt awkward by Yuri's jerky movements and offered him a seat. Yuri abruptly declined with a scowl.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend." Hinata instantly apologised to the grumbling man who copped a whack to the back of his head from Mei.
"Onii-san! Dont be rude!" She scolded her brother and forced his head in an apologetic bow with her own. "Sorry Chikafuji-san. He didn't mean to be rude."
"No, no, please get up. It's okay. It's my fault for not being mindful." Hinata politely countered their apologise with his own.
"So, what do you need?" Akira coolly got down to business.
Akira and Hinata held in their gasps when Yuri sat in the chair that was earlier offered to him and rolled up his pants that covered his fake foot, so they could see the clear damage that was done to it.
The supporting leather braces, holding the fake bottom part of his leg, was torn out of the pylons that represented Yuri's calf. The pylons were bent out of shape and the small strut block that acted as the ankle was absent, leaving the wooden block-foot dangling unsupported by a strip of leather. The attachment was virtually a write-off.
It looked like he had an accident that made him fall on his leg or use it to stop further damage to the rest of his body.
"Otōsan isn't good with these sort of fixes. So, I thought maybe you could fix up at least the leather braces," Mei softly said with hope that Hinata would be able to do something.
Hinata knelt down to take a further look at the leg, which made Yuri flinch uncomfortably.
"You don't need to worry Sakamoto-san. I won't be bothered by this nor will I ever judge you." Hinata looked up to firmly meet the man's sober brown eyes.
Yuri acknowledged Hinata's words with a nod.
"Can I remove it?" Hinata politely asked and received another nod from the man.
Yuri gulped awkwardly as he felt Hinata's gentle fingers remove the prosthetic, taking note of the man's harden expression and frown as he turned the fake limb over in his hands.
"Takaki's wife." He thought as Hinata turned the broken attachment over in front of him.
Yuri's mind went back to the memory of when he found out Eiji's secret by accident. Their squad had been granted some R&R, having arrived to Pearl Harbor earlier than antic.i.p.ated. There was a lot of partying and letting loose with soldiers from other countries, most who were American. j.a.pan wasn't at war with them back then. Eiji had been having a pleasant English chat with an American man at a bar upon their arrival. Yuri went his own way.
He had made the most of the time by having a pretty woman to warm his bed and let him release his stresses from war with merry love making.
Eiji never took part of any of that sort of activity. Instead he had his drink and chats, shopped for a souvenir to bring home (he was always adamant he was returning home) and spent the remainder of the R&R night back at their bunk at the wars.h.i.+p.
Yuri had returned early and stumbled upon Eiji in a moment of arousal and calling out a name he presumed was his lover's. He had waited awkwardly outside the sleeping cell for Eiji to finish. When he did, he was shocked to hear the bravest and stoic man he had ever known, crying and telling himself how much he missed his Hinata whom he had vowed to protect from other peoples' ill intentions.
Yuri was moved by Eiji's undying love for his partner that he revealed himself, stirring Eiji into a conversation with him. Eiji had blurted Hinata to be a man through his crying. At first Yuri was shocked and wary, but he quickly a.s.sessed that Eiji was honestly devoted to his lover and no one else. Especially when they had been bunk mates for so long and it was the first time learning his mate was gay.
"Takaki stayed devoted to you." Yuri blurted without showing any remorse that he did.
This caused a thick silence to drop on everyone in the shop. Hinata paused, still holding the broken prosthetic in his hands.
Yuri stared at Akira, noticing the man's tight jaw and glare directed his way.
"I can help Onii-san back to our shop. If there's anything you can do." Mei fumbled, with an apologetic voice.
"Go back to the shop yourself Mei. I'll wait here until the job is done." Yuri c.o.c.kily dismissed his sister.
"Onii-san!" Mei yelled at her brother then instantly apologised to Akira and Hinata for his rudeness.
Hinata sighed. "Sure, wait here. I can't guarantee if I'll be able to do anything."
"Run along now baby sister." Yuri smugly dismissed his sister who was fuming with rage directed towards him.
She controlled her anger with a sigh and low bow to Hinata and Akira, then left the shop.
"Yuri-san, come on, spit out what you want to say to us." Akira coolly challenged the man.
Yuri leaned back in the chair and stared Akira hard in the eye when he said, "This man is not yours."
Finis.h.i.+ng his declaration with a finger pointed at Hinata and dropping it with a condescending wag.
Hinata was burning with rage at the man's audacity.
"How dare you! Do you want my help or not!" Hinata shouted at Yuri who was looking smugger by the minute.
"My sister wanted your help. I can live without the thing just fine." Yuri was unperturbed.
"Then live without it and leave us be." Akira coolly came back at the man.
Yuri slowly rose from the chair, wobbling unsteadily, but able to stand on one leg before them. He managed to stand for a few seconds before stumbling into Hinata's arms.
He was ungraciously dumped back into the chair, heaving for breath and cursing his failed body. Hinata ran to the water pail in the back room and scooped up a cup of water he gave Yuri to drink.
"I respected Takaki. Understand that." Yuri's whispered voice was absent of his earlier smugness.
"Is it okay to close the shop early for the day Hondsan?" Hinata said.
"Chikafuji-kun," Akira began his protest and stopped, catching the stubborn expression on Hinata's face. He knew him well enough to know that he was determined to solve a problem on his own. At those times, he couldn't get through to him until the matter was no longer a matter.
Akira grabbed his coat off the rack near the door, bag, and stormed out of the shop.
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Hinata picked up the fake limb and carried it to the shop counter. He locked up the shop, closed the blind over the door and returned to the counter to study the limb's construction further.
The attachment really was a broken mess, like the state of his own heart.
"How well did you know Eiji-san?" Hinata said without taking his attention off the prosthetic.
"We were bunk mates for months on our tour, so well enough he'd give me his letter for you." Yuri replied.
"How did you know I was his?" Hinata frowned.
"Takaki wasn't the guy who chased skirts. He cried out your name one night. Things sort of clicked." Yuri answered and softened his voice. "I was surprised to find out you were Old Man Dai-chan's nephew. Talk about six degrees of separation."
"And this means what?" Hinata stared Yuri in the eye. "So, it gives you a right to judge me."
Yuri scoffed. "I don't know you, but I know Takaki. He was a man worthy of respect."
Hinata went to Yuri and sat down on the ground in seiza before him, his face showing all of his vulnerability and loneliness.
"There's not a day, I don't find my heart beating for Eiji-san to walk through the door of our home."
Tears slipped down his cheeks as he poured out his heart to Yuri.
"The season is changing and Eiji-san isn't home. How am I to cope without him in my life? Isn't it cruel that I'm left behind."
Yuri's heart softened to Hinata's lament, realising the man was facing his grief alone. He kicked himself for his earlier cruel words and judgement.
"Sorry. War brings out the worst and most shameful in people. I was hoping that somewhere that strong love Takaki held for you towards the end was still unbreakable."
Hinata sighed, understanding Yuri's earlier words and att.i.tude.
"Nothing is unbreakable Sakamoto-san. We can try to make it better with what we have and continue to hope that it would last longer this time." Hinata calmly responded, feeling his own heart calm with a resolve.
He had made his decision to be with Akira and was going to honour it. This didn't mean replacing those treasured memories he had with Eiji. Nothing could ever replace the life and love he had with him. He felt sure of that now.
"Is that so? Then you think you can make my fake leg better?" Yuri politely asked Hinata.
Both of them smiled at each other.
"I'm confident I can." Hinata wiped off his tears.
He rose and returned to the broken attachment to make it better and fitter for purpose than ever before.