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[HnG Fic] Fuseki 5/6

FUSEKI | by: e.N Black
Word Count Total: 19,119 | Complete: 06.25.2004
Pairings: Maybe Sai + Hikaru, Akira + Hikaru, Ko Yeoung-Ha + Hikaru *shrugs*
Disclaimer: Hikaru No Go © Hotta & Obata. e.N. Black does not own.

Chapter Five: Admissions

Touya Akira’s hand hovered over the phone’s handle suspended in animation as indecision warred within the young man. This was what his life had come down to; he was but a call away from sealing his fate . . . And he just couldn’t do it. Yashiro, the one who had seen through his façade, would laugh if he could see him like this now.

Shindou . . . the name that was like sugar on his tongue and poison to his mind lingered in his thoughts. He was such a fool. After all the time he’d invested in chasing after the spunky, punk prodigy, Shindou still didn’t consider him as more than just . . . How to put it?

Shindou hadn’t shown up at his father’s Go salon all week. When he’d asked Shindou why, Thursday after their matches, Shindou had offered an evasive ‘I was busy’ without further explanation. When Touya had asked the shodan if he would like to come over to his apartment for a study session with the rest of the former Touya Meijin study group over the weekend, Shindou had claimed he was meeting Waya and Isumi. And while Touya didn’t doubt Shindou's truthfulness it had hurt that he hadn’t at least been invited along. After all this time he’d thought . . . well admittedly he’d felt that they were friends and he’d been shot down and proven wrong on that account. But still, glutton for punishment and desperate for understanding from the one person he considered his eternal rival, Touya had practically begged for Shindou to meet him Monday at the Go salon. To his profound relief Shindou had agreed.

However, Touya was still irritated. It wasn’t enough. Over the months they’d spent together Touya had begun to believe that Shindou had been hinting that maybe they should have a relationship based less on rivalry, more on friendship, and a bit on the romantic side. Or maybe Touya had merely wanted to believe this was so because those ideas went along with what he desired from Shindou. He was no expert on these things under any circumstances, but he was sure that Shindou was cute. Very cute. He was also fun and animated. Shindou said what was on his mind and damned the consequences. He was everything Touya lacked, but wanted in another person. Shindou always inspired the best in him to be brought out. Shindou oozed so much life that, like a contagious disease, it attacked Touya’s immunity to expressing himself. Things were not allowed to be boring when Shindou was around. He was the one person that Akira knew to be able to invoke anger in him. And Touya reveled in it. He loved feeling that much emotion; he loved being able to produce it. He loved the idea of Shindou feeling that much about him.

Touya let his hand fall away from the telephone. These kinds of admissions should be said face to face he decided. Regardless of the consequences, Touya Akira would tell Shindou Hikaru how he felt about him tomorrow when they met. He would admit that for a long time he’d misunderstood the shape of the stones Hikaru had placed around him, but he now comprehended that he’d been in atari for a long time. And he was more than willing to be captured.

: ‡ * ‡ :

Ko Yeong-Ha stared at the volume in his hands in incomprehension as Su-Yeong stood before him with a gloating expression on his face. They were in his small apartment’s living room, Su-Yeong having come over a few minutes earlier. “W-What’s,” the auburn-haired Korean began.

“That’s for baiting Shindou,” Su-Yeong beamed, effectively interrupting him.

“You get me a book of Shuusaku’s kifu for doing exactly what to Shindou?” Ko managed to say as he studied the book cover. It was one of the best presents he had ever received. Of course he’d seen most of Shuusaku’s kifu in the institute’s library, but this was a complete collection with commentary from eight and nine dans from around the world. This was a generous gift and he was curious as to what twisted logic in Su-Yeong’s mind had prompted the giving of such a present.

“For being a complete jerk,” the younger boy remarked cheekily, his tone was the only thing cheerful about him though. Su-Yeong’s eyes were absolutely forbidding and his mouth was set in a straight line.

“Allow me a moment to understand this correctly.” Yeong-Ha’s mouth twitched as he fought a grin. “Are you congratulating me on beating the guy you couldn’t, or punishing me for getting the job done for you?”

“Neither, you arrogant prick,” Su-Yeong scoffed irritably, taking advantage of their long friendship to speak his mind. “I’m giving you this because you allowed Shindou to believe that you thought you were greater than Shuusaku of all people. And he’s Shindou’s hero. You were also a complete ass the entire time we were in Japan. So I’m giving you this so that every time you look at it you will think of Shindou and know that next year you won’t be able to leave the battleground with your head held quite so high—cause Shindou will crush you.” Ko was actually cringing but Su-Yeong wasn’t finished yet. He turned his back on Yeong-Ha and proceeded to the door, haughtily tossing over his shoulder as he went out. “Remember, the difference between you two is only half a moku.” The door closed with an ominous thud and Yeong-Ha fell to his couch.

Su-Yeong was generally more understanding of his ways . . . and if not completely understanding, he could tolerate Ko better than anyone else. Su-Yeong probably knew him better than anyone else too. The shorter boy was more than likely irritated with him because Su-Yeong knew what was wrong with him and why he was behaving the way he was. Ko Yeong-Ha only teased the people he liked. And Shindou rose to the bait without fail every single time. The Korean didn’t think that Shindou even realized it.

He stared at the book in his hands and couldn’t help but shudder because he did remember Shindou when he saw it. He avidly recalled those grayish-green eyes looking at him with such determination. The fire blazing through those eyes had scalded him, and if the game hadn’t presided over his actions Ko could have fully seen himself being consumed by them. And he would have welcomed it.

Ko Yeong-Ha blinked in momentary confusion, but then smirked as he decided not to fight it. So he had a . . . a thing for Shindou Hikaru. So what? He would either get over it, or not. But if he didn’t get over it before the next tournament . . .

Well then . . . It’ll be all the more interesting won’t it?

: ‡ * ‡ :

When Sai woke up the following morning his first impulse was to acknowledge that he had indeed woken up. He hadn’t been awake thinking about random things all night long, watching Hikaru sleep, or gazing at the goban with longing and remembered sadness. He’d actually been unconscious, he’d been tired, he’d slept, and now felt rejuvenated — if still weak and heavy. Flesh sure did weigh a lot to one who had been dead for such a long time. All in all however, Sai was happy.

He inhaled deeply, after finding that he could move if he concentrated, he shifted on the bed and looked around at the room that hadn’t changed since he’d disappeared. He looked down at Hikaru, who never did make that pallet on the floor and he noted that things, thoughts in his head, were very clear in a murky kind of way. Hikaru was . . . Hikaru was . . . The corner of Sai’s mouth quirked up. Hikaru just was, and needed no other definitions than that. And being what he was, Sai couldn’t find it in himself to bring Hikaru any more pain than he already had. He’d died, he’d gone to Heaven, he’d come back, but Hikaru had cried because of it. Also, they were both trying very hard not to hurt each other’s feelings in the least, and as a result they hadn’t been completely honest with each other the night before. But Sai was certain, they both knew, or perhaps, Hikaru didn’t know that he knew, which was alright for now.

What did they know?

What didn’t they acknowledge?

Hikaru cared for Touya, just as Sai had cared for Torajirou a little more than they’d both admitted to. One just couldn’t spend the amount of time and effort into thinking of someone in some way and then suddenly not think of them in that way. One could say so. One could tell oneself so. However, one would know better. No one could ever replace that part that one had given to somebody else.

So they’d exaggerated a little. Sai did indeed value Hikaru’s friendship above everything in this lifetime, but only in this lifetime — which made what he’d said about Torajirou true. At this moment, he couldn’t compare to Hikaru. But also, in Sai saying so, Hikaru could now visit the various Shuusaku sites with him and not feel any resentment or jealousy as he had before, and genuinely wish the soul of Torajirou well in his afterlife. Hikaru may have said that there was someone much bigger than Touya to do battle with, but rivalries were funny things. The moment Hikaru beat Ko Yeong-Ha he would no longer consider him a rival. But once Hikaru beat Touya Akira, he would want to do it again — and that was the difference.

: ‡ * ‡ :

Hikaru woke up to Sai precariously leaning over him, with a serious look upon his face as he stared. “What?” he questioned.

Instantly the former ghost’s face transformed with his smile. “Are we going to play Go today?” he cheerfully inquired.

Hikaru grinned. “Are you even strong enough to lift the stones?”

“Probably not,” Sai admitted ruefully. “But you could . . .” he began hopefully.

“I don’t think so.”

Sai wilted. “But Hikaru . . .”

“No. That’s tiring,” Hikaru stated. “And we have a full schedule today.” He slipped out of bed and was halfway dressed before he spoke again. “I’m glad you’re sounding much more like yourself though.”

“More like me?” Sai wondered.

“Yes. Yesterday you were really serious and you didn’t mention Go until after I’d brought it up.”

“Oh,” Sai breathed. “I was a little disoriented. I mean, I was dead until yesterday afternoon. And after seeing the foyer of Heaven . . . I want to say it’s like — everything is a little dimmer here on Earth but at the same time very clear.”

Hikaru paused in putting on a shirt as his brows knitted together in thought. “I’m sorry, one more time.”

Sai exhaled loudly. “You’re as dense as always . . .”

The shirt hit Sai in the face. “Take it back!”

It took some effort but Sai removed the shirt and glared at Hikaru. “Fine, all I meant to say was that Go is important to me, but there are other things that are important to me too. I’ve already lived and died for this game. I love this game and I always will and I’ll do anything to play it, but at the same time I want to live my life without you or anyone thinking I’m behaving out of character because I don’t seem overly concerned with Go.” Sai smiled then. “You taught me that, Hikaru.”

The other boy gaped. “I did?”

“Uh huh. 'All you are is the Go you play, but Go isn’t all you are'. Now then, take your shirt and help me get dressed. What’s first?”

“I could have sworn that I went over this yesterday . . .”

“Disoriented . . . remember?”

“Oh yeah.” Hikaru grabbed his shirt and slipped it on in a fluid movement. “We’re going to look in the newspaper for apartments over breakfast and then we’ll go see them on our way to the hospital. And then later today I’m playing Touya.”

“Good. I’ll finally be able to see how much better you’ve gotten,” Sai replied with a smile.

: ‡ * ‡ :

“Hey-hey, Cat! My face is getting kinda close to this pavement here!” Saint Peter reprimanded as his afro nearly brushed the front porch of the Shindou residence. He placed the rolled piece of newsprint wrapped in plastic down carefully and murmured a prayer.

Above him, perched on the roof and holding the gatekeeper by his overly tall platforms, Archangel Gabriel shrugged. “You’re the one who insisted on coming along.”

“Y’know, if you keep this up you’re gonna be demoted.” Peter muttered. He was well aware of how close and how hard the concrete was. Gabriel had a tendency to be vindictive at times.

“What was that?” the angel asked in a deceptively smooth voice.

“Nothing. We’re done here. Pull me up so we can get going.”

: ‡ * ‡ :

The woman of the Shindou house had just laid down the last of the three plates full of breakfast food when her son and his guest descended the stairs. Her feelings on the whole matter of the guest were complicated. On the one hand she knew that Hikaru and Fujiwara Sai had been friends for a long time, and it would be a shame if they ever fell out because friendships that last as long as theirs were rare. However, on the other hand, Fujiwara — with maybe a little help from that Touya boy — had very neatly taken her son away from her. What rankled that much more, was that they had beaten her importance to Hikaru with a game. Perhaps some of that was her fault. She hadn’t been extremely supportive of Hikaru’s passion for the game and she had backed away because she didn’t understand it.

If Hikaru didn’t need to eat, Mitsuko was sure that she would never see her son. Even that was suspect now though. Often enough Hikaru came home and went to his room, having already stopped at some ramen stand. It wasn’t as though he needed her for financial support either. He made a disturbing amount just for playing the game Mitsuko was rapidly learning to despise.

She happened to glance upward and see Hikaru carefully helping his friend into a chair. Fujiwara’s smile was gentle as he gifted Hikaru with it. A soft “Thank-you,” reached her ears. She somehow refrained from bristling. This was the boy who had seduced her son away with black and white stones and a board; it wouldn’t be right if he succeeded in the exact same thing again — only this time with beautiful smiles. But that wasn’t a fact, and she shouldn’t have thought it. It was wrong of her to assume such a thing.

However, the facts as she knew it was that Hikaru had never been interested in girls. Fujisaki Akari was more than proof of that. And an even more interesting twist to the whole situation was that Akari could play Go, not on the same level as Hikaru of course, but she understood the concept behind the game. Hikaru still wasn’t interested. Shindou Mitsuko had been up for a good portion of the night contemplating this. She’d analyzed the facts, she’d made sure she hadn’t included any biased inferences; she’d taken the reactions and testimony of others into account. Mitsuko had paced her room, laid in her bed, and taken two showers as she thought. It had crossed her mind numerous times that she shouldn’t be so put out about this situation; she shouldn’t be up at all hours of the night worrying about something that may not even happen. Perhaps Hikaru would just find girls attractive later . . . though that was also dubious when his best friend was more beautiful than most women she knew, and they had more in common. Not many women would be able to stay with a man whose first passion was Go.

“Hey, Mom?” Hikaru began, interrupting her thoughts.


“Has the newspaper been delivered yet?” her only child asked cheerfully.

A chill raced down her spine. “Newspaper?”

“Uh huh, now that Sai’s out of the hospital for good, we’re gonna find an apartment.”

“Oh,” Shindou Mitsuko breathed hollowly. “I’ll just go look.” She suddenly felt as though someone had thoughtlessly aimed a blowtorch at her and pulled the trigger; she could taste ashes in her mouth.

The paper was just outside the front door and Mitsuko stooped to pick it up, her fingers shaking with trepidation. She knew this was it. Hikaru and Sai would definitely find a place today and he would leave physically just as he had mentally. She schooled her features; she had to be able to smile when she sent her only child off.