I've signed up for BG, uh.... 5 times? In five signups, I've written ONE fic, a scrawny ficlet that was like 1200 words at best. I've started, flailed over, and failed to finish four other fics, including the one from this round which I will absolutely finish.
(Zoe: so it's another epic hikago fic that will never be finished)
Here, in honor of all the fics that actually got posted, is my BG WIP dump. :)
- Epic BG Fic #1: Started for BG Round 2, August 2006:
This is the one I want to finish most, but over time I've let go of it, I think. I'm still proud of what's here, though.
The train ride back to Akira’s house after the Hokuto Cup is silent. Akira can’t help thinking, as he looks at Shindou’s solemn, bent figure on the way home, that he has never been this close to Shindou after an official match before unless it was between the two of them. He has come to many of Shindou’s games, and vice versa, but after they are over and the discussion has ended, they’ve never stuck around to talk. They meet over the goban and then separate like stones returning to different go-kes.
Not that they’re talking now. Shindou isn’t taking much notice of Akira sitting beside him. But Akira is still glad to be next to Shindou right now, even if the only reason Shindou is riding back with him is that in all the excitement before the opening ceremonies he left half his things at Akira’s house.
Akira nudges him and says, “Shindou,” gently when they reach their stop.
Shindou has been staring down at his fan most of the ride, but this rouses him slightly. “Touya,” he says as they start the brief walk to the Touya residence. “Thanks for having us over all week.” He shoves a hand in his pocket and adds ruefully, “Not that it did us much good.”
“Shindou…” Akira gets a good look at his face as they pass beneath a streetlight. Shindou’s held up under the strain, since the end of the game, but his eyes are still red and his expression is drawn, thin. Akira would typically never watch Shindou do this to himself, only his attempts at talking to him about the game have met with clipped answers at best. He’s not sure what he can say that Shindou will listen to.
His play impressed everyone today, as it always does. Nobody expected him to play so well as a first-board—nobody except Kurata-san and Akira himself. Even with the half-moku loss, Shindou has more than answered the skeptics and doubts surrounding his being chosen as one of Japan’s three representatives. Akira’s not sure even he could have come out so well against Ko Yongha. In the last three days alone, he has seen Shindou’s strength double. Sometimes the glimpses he gets of Shindou’s depth, his potential as a player, terrify Akira. Today was one of those times.
But he can’t say all of that to Shindou right now. Ordinarily he wouldn’t need to – Shindou would take strength from all those things on his own. Now, though, Shindou is staring somewhere far away, wearing an expression like the one he wore the time Akira came to Haze to find out why he had stopped coming to his matches.
Akira knows that this is part of the mystery, part of what he doesn’t understand and may never understand. Sometimes he thinks everything in Shindou’s life is a part of that secret – himself and his father included. But Shindou had said, “For you, maybe I’ll tell,” and Akira has been holding on to that promise too long to grow impatient now, even though moments like this make it hard and all he wants to do is reassure Shindou that whatever he has to tell, it won’t change the rivalry they have.
All the same, he feels a pang of bitterness that he’s still shut out. He’s okay with waiting, but he’s not okay with the giant gap that’s sprung up between them within the last hour. If Shindou were upset for any other reason, he’d be able to reach him, get him to listen and respond to Akira’s moves, until he was past this.
He sighs. “Do you want to come inside for tea? You could even stay over again if you like.”
Shindou shrugs and walks on without saying yes or no.
When they get back to Touya’s house, the lights are on and there are voices coming from the Go room. Stepping inside, Touya realizes that his father is back. He must have been present for today’s match, even though Touya didn’t see him at the post-game discussions. Ogata-san is the other person here, judging by the expensive shoes in the hallway. Touya throws Shindou a sideways glance. “I can get your things, if you like,” he says, knowing that Shindou would rather not be around people just now. “Stay here, I’ll be right back.”
As he walks into the guest room where Shindou and Yashirou stayed two nights previous, he can hear his father’s and Ogata’s voices drifting from over the goban. Their voices are indistinct, but from the snatches of conversation he catches, it’s as he thought: they are discussing the tournament, and specifically the outcome of the first board match against Korea. Akira doesn’t worry about Shindou overhearing them—both men only ever have good things to say about Shindou’s performance over a go board – but he wishes they weren’t here, that he could have a little time alone with Shindou so he could help Shindou straighten out whatever is weighing on his mind concerning their game. It’s moments like this that make him reconsider his decision not to leave his father’s house just yet; for a private house, it often feels like an extension of the Go Institute, and neither he or Shindou are very public by choice.
He ignores the voice in his head suggesting that if they were alone they could talk until Akira has gotten to the bottom of the Shindou – Shuusaku – Sai mystery. Satisfying his curiosity isn’t important now; he meant it when he said that his games with Shindou were enough, that Shindou’s go was enough.
He wonders, though, if Shindou believes that – if he believes in himself the way Akira believes in him. Akira knows how far Shindou has come in silencing the universal disbelief that Akira could seriously view Shindou as a rival. He gets tired of telling people not to underestimate Shindou, when it should be so obvious that he has climbed farther faster than anyone else in the world of Go, and he’s never going to stop. He knows more people are starting to realize this and acknowledge Shindou’s future, but it can’t happen fast enough to suit Akira - maybe because of all the time he spent underestimating Shindou himself.
He gathers up the toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, Jump volumes, and blank kifu paper that Shindou has left behind and brings them back to the corridor. Shindou is still standing in the same place, looking lost. Akira’s throat tightens. “Here’s your stuff,” he says, holding Shindou’s things out to him. He doesn’t take them right away, and after a moment, Akira sighs and puts them by the door. Then he puts his hand on Shindou’s arm and gently tugs him outside to the front steps. Shindou’s hair falls forward as he sits down next to Akira so his eyes are hidden, but Akira has read them already.
“I couldn’t do it, Touya,” Shindou says, and it sounds as if he has been fighting back tears ever since he walked away from the goban. They spill over now, into his voice. “My go wasn’t enough to keep Shuusaku alive. My go wasn’t. He laces his fingers behind his head and stares up at the sky. It’s the first time he’s let go of his fan all evening. “I should have let you play Ko Yongha,” he says with a sigh. “Everybody knew you were stronger. You should have played. Why am I always so stupid?”
“A half-moku loss isn’t stupidity,” Akira says. “Kurata-san wanted you to play too. If he didn’t think you could do it he wouldn’t have let you play first board. And neither,” he says, injecting a little indignation into his voice, “would I.”
Shindou looks down at his fan. His upper lip is trembling. “What if I’ll never be strong enough? I know what I’m supposed to do, but what if—what if I’m not enough? If my go is weak—”
“Shindou,” Akira says with all the disdain he can muster, “do you think I’d spend time waiting for you to catch up to me if I thought you wouldn’t?”
Shindou looks over at him then. “Touya…” he searches Akira’s face for something, and Akira doesn’t question what. Then he smiles at him then, a little sadly. “Don’t you get tired of always winning when we play?”
Akira laughs. “Do I get tired of beating you?” He reaches out to give Shindou a punch on the arm, but Shindou blocks it and tries to push back, and they are grappling and squabbling and fighting when Ogata-sensai finds them moments later.
“Akira, we thought we heard you. Shindou.” He nods, then leans casually against the doorframe while Akira and Shindou hurriedly untangle themselves and attempt to look like go professionals instead of two kids caught having a shoving match. “You both played excellent games today. You each represented Japan well.”
“Thank you very much,” they chime in unison, though Shindou’s voice flags a bit. Akira sees the shrewd way Ogata-san is eyeing Shindou, and feels his cheeks flush. Ogata has never hidden his deep fascination with Shindou, whereas he has made it very clear that Akira’s go doesn’t give him any cause for concern. The memory of that game unfailingly causes Akira’s stomach to tighten. Not yet, he thinks. Not yet it doesn’t. But it will.
“Your father returned two days late from China because he was having so much fun,” Ogata remarks. “It’s as if he forgets all about Japanese go when he goes elsewhere.” He shoots a glance at Shindou, whose eyes widen. Of course the remark is meant for him, and Akira, not feeling like playing games with Ogata-san tonight (he and Kuwabara-sensai are more alike than Ogata will ever admit), replies first.
“But he made it back before the end of the tournament,” he says. “He’ll never lose his love for something he’s been so much a part of.”
Ogata regards him critically; it takes another moment for Akira to realize that what he is regarding is Akira’s hand on Shindou’s elbow. If Ogata feels like making ridiculous assumptions then Akira doesn’t feel like giving him satisfaction by acting embarrassed, especially not when he has a feeling that the steady pressure of his hand on Shindou’s arm is the only thing keeping Shindou from some sort of outburst. Akira shifts a bit and raises his eyebrows.
“No,” Ogata agrees, and it sounds to Akira like a concession that he is free to do whatever he likes by way of manhandling go players outside the institute. “But he seems equally un-concerned about where he plays go these days, wouldn’t you agree? The country doesn’t matter – the opponent doesn’t matter to him anymore. All that matters is playing more go.”
To a player as strong as my father – ” Akira inadvertently thinks of Sai, and has to stop himself from looking at Shindou – “those things wouldn’t matter as much as the opportunity to search for the divine move. The more he plays, the more possibility he has to find it.”
Beside him, Shindou draws in a slow breath and gets abruptly to his feet. “That’s it,” he says. “That’s it.” He looks at Ogata, then at Akira, more lingeringly. “Touya…” he opens his mouth, then closes it, then blurts, “I have to go!” and grabs his things from inside the door. “Shindou?” Akira stands and stares as Shindou brushes past him.
“I’ll see you Thursday!” Shindou shouts over his shoulder, and then he is gone, leaving Akira spluttering on the steps after him.
Another moment, and Ogata’s hand drops onto Akira’s shoulder.
“Bringing your work home with you?”
“If you’re going to mock me, do it over a goban,” Akira huffs, and leaves him on the doorstep chuckling.
The following Thursday, Shindou is present and back to his normal self. He absolutely obliterates a six-dan whose name Akira can never remember, and since all eyes are on him anyway after the first-board match at the Hokuto Cup, the match is the talk of the Institute the rest of the day. Shindou hurries away immediately after the post-game discussion. Akira, concerned with his own schedule, ever-more full of guest appearances, interviews, and shidou-go, doesn’t give it much notice; so it is over four weeks later that Katijima-san says brightly, “That brat hasn’t been coming here anymore. Did you finally get rid of him?” and the nagging feeling in Akira’s gut that something is out of place finally makes sense.
He tries to remember the last time he saw Shindou outside league matches, and can’t. He tries to remember the last time Shindou joined him in a post-game discussion, and can’t. When he considers Shindou over the past month he has an impression of Shindou rushing off to some undisclosed location after the match, and generally leaving destruction in his wake: he has beaten his last three opponents as decisively as his first one after the Cup. Some of the middle-ranking dans have taken to calling him Shindou the Tiger because of his fierceness on the goban lately. Or maybe just because of all the yellow and black. Akira is uncertain. He doesn’t know what’s going on in Shindou’s head, and it is this that alarms him, because somehow, knowing Shindou even at his most enigmatic, even with all the things he doesn’t know about Shindou, is his private victory.
That evening, he calls Shindou’s house. His mother answers. “Oh, Hikaru isn’t home,” she tells him. “What did you say your name was?”
“Um, Touya. Touya Akira.”
“Oh. Oh, of course, you’re the boy he talks about so much.”
Akira almost snorts. He can just imagine how Shindou talks about him to other people.
“He seems to really want to beat you,” Shindou’s mother says worriedly. “Have the two of you been fighting?”
“Oh, no! We’re–” and the word feels clumsy on his tongue. “We’re friends.”
“I see…” his mother sounds unconvinced. Akira turns on the charm.
“He stayed at my house before a tournament recently,” he says politely. “Thank you for cooking us dinner. It was delicious.”
“Oh! You’re very welcome – I wish Hikaru had your manners…” and Akira has to laugh, because he knows he loses all his manners when he is around Shindou.
“Do you know where Hikaru went?”
“Yes, he’s off playing Go,” his mother says. “He has a salon he goes to sometimes – he’s been going there nearly every night.”
“Another go salon?” Akira echoes. “Do you know where it is?” His mother doesn’t. Instead of leaving a message for Shindou, Akira hangs up feeling awkward and more than a little betrayed. He knows Shindou likes to slum around at other Go salons, but this is getting ridiculous. He only just started coming again to Touya’s salon after making him wait four long months. Akira had known why he’d needed the break, but to do it all over again? Akira is seriously annoyed. He’s so annoyed that he goes for a long walk around his neighborhood, contemplating Shindou and all the ways he’s vastly more annoying than anyone else Akira has ever met. He gets a good ten minutes’ vitriol out of his hair alone, and by the time he has walked out all his frustration and loneliness, it is nearly dark. Later that night he sits in front of the goban where his father sat late one night months ago, one go-ke on the opposite side of the board. He thinks he knows who his father was waiting for.
He wonders if there will ever be a day when he will no longer be happy to wait for Shindou.
At the Institute the following Thursday he has every intention of walking by Shindou without a word. But then Shindou smiles when he sees Akira as if nothing is wrong at all, which simultaneously infuriates and relieves Akira so much that his resolve slips. It turns into concern, however, when he gets a good look at Shindou’s face.
“Have you been sleeping?” he demands. “You have circles under your eyes.”
“Yeah, of course,” Shindou says. “Geez, Touya. I’ve just been playing lots of Go.”
Akira wants to shake him. “Have you?” he says, as coldly as he knows how. “I wouldn’t know.”
Shindou blinks in confusion for a moment; then he has the decency to look embarrassed. “Well…” he laughs. “You have been really busy, Touya.”
“I haven’t gone anywhere,” Akira snaps. “What is it, Shindou? Are you that tired of losing to me already? I thought you’d have more stamina.”
Shindou goes red all over, even down to his collarbones. “I won’t lose to you the next time he play,” he mutters after a moment. Akira sees him clench his fan.
“So play me, then,” Akira hisses, noting that the people around them are quietly starting to slip out of the room, knowing that they are attracting stares but feeling his composure slipping steadily away anyway. “I’m right here!”
Shindou rolls his eyes, and Akira feels a vein in his temple throb. “What are you in such a hurry for, Touya? We have plenty of time—”
“I won’t wait for you forever, Shindou!” Akira bursts.
Shindou’s eyes go large and round and wobbly, and his mouth slides slowly into a kind of horrified oval.
“Touya,” he breathes, and if Akira weren’t feeling so inexplicably hurt and vengeful, he would probably forgive Shindou everything for the shocked, lost tone of his voice. Instead he takes his seat on the tatami without a glance back at Shindou. It’s time for their matches to start, anyway. He hopes Shindou loses.
He quickly finds, however, that in his game against Saeki 6-dan he is the one whose concentration is shattered. His father has drilled into him over many years the practice of finding his center and his focus on the goban no matter what is happening in his life. Today, however, every pachi makes him angrier, and every embattled shape of the stones on the board is a reminder of all the games he should be playing with Shindou, but can’t because Shindou is an ass who made him wait four months to play an unofficial match and then stopped coming to his go salon without so much as an explanation. And what was with his inviting himself over to Akira’s house? Had he only been interested in playing matches with Yashiro?
Akira slams a stone down for watari in a corner that’s already dead, and then the buzzer rings for lunch. He glowers at his misshapen formations. After a moment, Saeki-san says gently, “You know, as happy as it would make Morishita-sensei, I really don’t really feel like beating you this way.”
Akira swallows and bows his head over the goban. He knows he’s playing horribly. Saeki deserves a better match than this.
Saeki stands and claps a hand on his shoulder. “Maybe you should resolve your differences with Shindou-kun,” he says. “He doesn’t look too happy either.” Then he drifts off to where Ashiwara-san is waiting, leaving Akira alone with the goban.
With the accuracy of frequently practiced intuition, Akira knows exactly where Hikaru is sitting in the room – behind him off to his right. He also knows that, like him, Shindou hasn’t left his position in front of the goban. He stares silently at the board, at the catastrophic arrangement of stones, and wonders if Shindou’s game has gone much better. It was a terrible idea to confront Shindou like this, before an official match; he hadn’t intended to, but he’d seen Shindou and the words had come spilling out before he could help himself. It was a horrible thing to do to Shindou, he thinks, just before his crucial match with Kurata-san; his ascent through the dan levels is already enough of a struggle without Akira making it any harder for him.
Akira clenches his fists on his knees. It’s not as if Shindou cares. It’s not as if it’s his problem if Shindou is weak. And if Shindou’s waiting for Akira to come over there and apologize he can just keep waiting. He –
A rustle of synthetic fabric, and Shindou sits seiza across from him on the other side of the goban. After a moment, he laughs a little embarrassedly. “My game sucks,” he says. He doesn’t say anything, but glances a little cautiously at the board. Akira can see him take in the disarrangement of stones, can see his face soften with the knowledge of how upset Akira must be to play a game like this – can see it all without Shindou ever raising his eyes. “Touya,” he says gently after a moment.
“You just stopped coming,” says Akira, eyes still lowered over the board. “What was I supposed to think?”
“It didn’t have anything to do with you,” Shindou says gently. Then he frowns. “Well, I mean, it kinda does, but not in the way you think.” He hesitates.
“You’re avoiding me, Shindou,” Touya says in a flat voice. “Even when you stayed away from the salon before, you didn’t do that – not in all the four months.”
He sighs. He can feel Shindou’s gaze. Reluctantly he looks up. Shindou’s eyes are all apology, and Akira’s shoulders tighten with the sudden swell of emotion in his chest.
“I – “ Shindou sounds as if he is forcing the words. “I don’t want to play you anymore until I know I can beat you,” he says almost guiltily.
“Shindou,” Akira says on an involuntary inhalation. Then, because Shindou can’t just give him a bunch of airy promises and puppy eyes and think things are going to be okay again: “So, what, you’re going to hide from me every time you get tired of being defeated?”
“I’ve been playing,” Shindou responds firmly, placing his hands on both sides of the goban. “I’ve been playing lots of Go. What Ogata-san said that night - about how the opponent didn’t matter, all that mattered was the game – I knew if I wanted to gain the strength I needed, I’d have to play and study twice as hard as before.”
“If the opponent doesn’t matter, then – ”
“Not you,” Shindou says softly, ducking his eyes. “Don’t you get it? I can’t measure how much I’ve grown if I’m playing you all along.”
“Fine,” Akira concedes, avoiding Shindou’s eyes in turn, because the thought of not playing him again, of having to wait longer for the only thing he wants, suddenly feels like dead weight in his chest. “But you don’t have to play me to – it doesn’t mean you can’t –” he grapples for the words, then blurts, “Shindou, all I ever see of you anymore is your back over a goban.”
Shindou stares at him wordlessly, looking hopelessly gratified and sorry and confused all at once. Akira’s never known anyone whose eyes can look that impossibly huge and green and earnest all at once. Then his lips twist and Akira can see the wheels turning in his head.
“Touya,” he says. “Didn’t Ogata-san pick up your dad’s study session when he started traveling?”
Akira smiles at him before he can stop himself, excitement coloring his voice when he responds. “Yeah. It’s the same night, still Tuesdays from 8 – 11.”
“I can’t drop Morishita-sensei’s sessions and they’re on the same night, but I can probably get out of every other week.”
“I can come to Morishita-san’s,” Akira blurts. “I mean – if he won’t be too mad.”
“Are you kidding? He’ll gloat about this to your dad for months.”
Akira offers, “Kurata-san has one on Sundays for the younger dans. I’ve been a couple of times. The only requirement is that you have to bring food.”
“Great!” says Shindou, who is bouncing on his heels so eagerly that his knees are bumping the goban. If he keeps it up he’ll topple sideways, and Akira can’t help laughing.
“Except can we not go to Kurata-san’s this week,” Shindou adds, looking back over Touya’s shoulder at his own game. “He’ll totally want to scold me for playing so poorly against him today.”
“If you’re not facing him then I’m not going to Morishita-san’s,” says Akira gloomily, tapping the board. “I don’t want to face Saeki-san so soon after a game like this.”
Shindou eyes the board, then huffs. “I could come back from that.”
“You?” Akira rolls his eyes. “How many hands have you lost to Kurata-san so far?”
“Less than you!” Shindou waves his hand over the board. “It’s like you’ve completely forgotten how to connect.”
“Says the moron who lost four moku to me because he couldn’t figure out where to attach by the third hand.”
“I told you I was experimenting–” Shindou stops in mid-retort and blinks. “Oh, hey, Akira, we’re going to miss lunch!”
Akira stares at him so long Shindou blinks at him and asks him what’s wrong.
“Nothing,” Akira says after another moment, getting to his feet and tugging Shindou up after him. Ordinarily, he’d stay behind and try to figure out how to salvage his game, but for some reason, he’s not worried anymore about his match. He’d rather eat lunch with Hikaru.
When they separate after lunch Shindou is smiling, and when he takes his seat at the goban Akira thinks he looks more like the tiger everyone says he is than ever.
“All better?” Saeki says when Akira takes his seat.
“Yeah,” Akira says, throwing a last look over his shoulder at Shindou.
“Good,” Saeki smiles. “Then let’s have a good game.”
“Yes!” Akira agrees, bowing his head, and when he looks back at the goban, a universe of space and black and white, infinite possibility and infinite beauty, he suddenly knows that he has a whole universe of time to make this game his own.
The next day, Shindou shows up at the Touya go salon, and Akira hides his smile between insults until they run out of things to bicker about. Then Shindou pulls his chair up to Kitajima-san’s table and requests a match.
Kitajima-san is flabbergasted, but not so much at the start of the game as he is at the end of it. He is still gaping at the board while Akira and Shindou get into a screaming match over Shindou’s stunts during vose, and upon Shindou storming out in a huff, all he can muster is a weak, “So that’s why you call him a rival.”
Akira only shrugs and remarks that he’s still got a long way to go, and writes a kifu in his head of Shindou’s crazy, insane, brilliant joseki.
(I've totally been using "joseki" the wrong way, but I like that line too much to change it, and if i never finish this fic, then I'll never have to!)
- Epic BG Fic #2: started for BG Round 3, Spring 2007.
Everyone hates this fic but me, although I don't blame them. :D Sorry, toko!
So this dude is friendly and brilliant and clever and funny and a better Go player than anyone Hikaru has ever seen who isn't Touya or Sai, and his joseki is exhilarating and everyone loves him.
And if that’s not enough reason for Hikaru to hate the guy on sight, he beats Touya by a half-moku with no handicap.
“Hey,” Hikaru says, a little too sharply. “What’s your name again?”
Touya gives him a look, because he knows Hikaru hasn't actually forgotten the guy’s name. As if Hikaru could.
"Jared Stone," is the answer, with a gleaming smile in his direction.
"Oh! Oh, right." Hikaru laughs his fakest laugh. "I forgot, you're American.'
Jared Stone is seventeen and a natural blond; currently, he is wearing Birkenstocks, khaki shorts, and a daisy yellow v-neck, and he’s looking at Hikaru like Hikaru’s the one who’s out of place, as opposed to the moron who just stepped out of a Gap ad.
Hikaru elbows Touya in the side, which is Hikaru-code for ‘will you get a load of this guy?’ But Touya doesn’t even notice. Hikaru does a double take. Touya’s staring at Jared Stone with this sunny dazzled expression.
"I don't understand why a player of your skill hasn't come before us until now," he says, and he sounds…
Eager. That's how Touya sounds. Eager. Like he can’t wait to have another match. He’s off in Go-land, Hikaru realizes. He looks like he’s just found his true rival.
Rage eddies around in Hikaru’s chest. He looks around, hoping to catch the attention of anyone else in the room who might be on the same page as he is – namely, full of disgust. But they’re all eyeing up Jared Stone, who shifts positions and moves from sitting seiza to sitting cross-legged like some kind of guru.
"I didn't actually begin playing professional Go until last year," Jared Stone says. "Before that, I was part of a Goodwill tour to Kenya. A group of American Go amateurs spent a year working on the Sarengheti plains, promoting sustainable living and teaching the Kenyan people about Go."
Everyone oohs. Waya lets out a low whistle. Touya sits back, looking extremely impressed, which is probably why Jared Stoned continues modestly, "after that I made a brief tour of Southeast Asia with my tutor, and spent six months in a Tibetan monastery undergoing purification rituals and cleansing my soul of disharmonious impulses. I emerged ready to play a higher level of Go."
He bows his head over the goban. Everyone oohs and ahhs appreciatively, except for Hikaru, who snaps, “So why’d you come to Japan first? Why not start with Korea or China?”
Touya shoots Hikaru a heated glare at that, and Hikaru flits for a moment between guilt and indignation before letting the indignation win. “Come on, Touya, Korea’s pros are at a higher level. Everybody knows that.”
“That’s not exactly true,” says Jared Stone. And then? And then he looks directly at Touya, and he adds, “Some of the best players are here.”
Touya starts to nod agreement, realizes he’s being shamelessly flattered, and goes red with embarrassment. Panic blossoms in Hikaru’s chest and hijacks his limbs, freezing him stupidly in place as Jared Stone bends forward and says, lowering his voice just for Touya: “Would you like to hear about my experiences abroad?” He’s looking at Touya as if he’d like nothing better than to whisk him away to some Himalayan Go cult right now. "I think you’d enjoy hearing about the way Third World players have adapted joseki to fit their life coping mechanisms.”
Touya blinks at him. Then he says, “I’d enjoy that,” and the words are polite, calm enough, Touya-enough. The voice, though – the voice is like ‘Yes! Give me the kool-aid now, please!’
Hikaru has to make himself unclench his fist before he accidentally snaps his fan.
Jared Stone sits back, leaning on his hands, and looks at Touya. It's not a look people normally give each other over gobans, and it confuses Hikaru for a moment. He's used to the kind of looks that are related to games and strategies. Specifically, when people look at Touya from that position, usually the looks are variations of: 1) I am terrified 2) How soon can i resign without looking like an utter wimp? and 3) I always thought getting fucked over a goban would be fun.
This look doesn't mean any of those things, though, and Hikaru can't decipher it at all, especially not when freaking Captain America follows it up by standing and shaking Touya's hand. Everyone else rises too, as a courtesy – but then the guy doesn't let go of Touya's hand, just keeps shaking it. Then he stops shaking it altogether and just holds it, and this is so weird that Hikaru doesn't even try not to raise his eyebrows.
"Actually," Jared Stone says, leaning in, "Why don’t we continue our discussion over dinner? I’ll tell you all about India. They're doing wonderful things with the higher komi there."
Touya's eyes light up. Hikaru rolls his.
"Perhaps we could even have another game of Go," says Ghandi. "What do you think?"
"I..." says Touya, his mouth falling into a lazy, oblong gape. "I think I'd like that."
Jared Stone smiles, and Hikaru sighs because he can't think of anything else to call the guy. "Great!" Stone says. "Tonight, then? We can meet at your house and you can show me around Tokyo."
Touya smiles back, and ducks his head so his hair swings down over his cheeks. He nods and makes some sort of reply that must be an assent, but it’s too low for Hikaru to make out.
Still on the opposite side of Touya, Waya suddenly goes wide-eyed and incredulous. Finally, Hikaru thinks. Someone else is catching on to this guy. Except then Waya reaches around behind him and starts tugging hard on Isumi's flannel shirt, making wild wordless gestures at Touya. Like Touya’s done something shocking.
Well, he has, Hikaru thinks grouchily. He's totally snuffed up their weekly Go night.
Touya can read his thoughts, maybe, because he suddenly turns to Hikaru. "Oh,” he says, sounding briefly recalled to his senses. Hikaru prepares to enjoy the rejected look on Jared Stone’s face when Touya tells him he’s got a previous engagement to play Go with his real rival, sorry, so long, bye-bye.
“Shindou, is it okay if we play another night?"
“Well, you know, we – “ Hikaru begins airily, and then stops. Oh.
He swallows and tries again. "Sure," he says, waving his hand. "After all -" he laughs - "I can play games with you every week, right, and this guy's only gonna be here - how long, again?"
Jared Stone grins. "Six weeks," he says.
"See? Just six weeks!" Hikaru proceeds grandly –
- and then the reality of not being Touya's true and ultimate Go rival for six weeks hits him, and he kind of just stands there, shell-shocked.
Touya doesn't notice. "Thank you, Shindou," he says courteously, and the polite/eager thing just feels all wrong when he's saying "Shindou," because he's supposed to say "Shindou" like he's exasperated and fed up and ready to commit homicide – not like he’s distracted and eager to be somewhere else.
Hikaru wobbles a bit when he tries to move and covers it up with a laugh. "Yeah, well - have fun getting beaten again, Touya!"
He laughs once again for good measure. Touya gives him an odd look, but Hikaru doesn’t feel like hanging around to have telepathic conversations with him about his complete and utter betrayal of their rivalry right now, so instead he high-tails it out of the Go Institute as fast as his shaky legs will take him.
He gets as far as the elevators when Waya chases across the lobby, dragging Isumi with him because he's still clutching his flannel sleeve. "Can you believe that?” he says breathlessly.
Hikaru snorts by way of reply.
“Come on, Shindou, did you know?" Waya persists.
Hikaru blinks at him. "Huh?"
"About Touya!" Waya has this gleeful excited look, not unlike the kind he used to get when he was trying to figure out Sai's identity.
"What are you talking about?” Hikaru sighs. “What about Touya? Did I know he’d lose like that? No way."
Isumi covers up his mouth with his hand and stifles a laugh behind it. Waya exchanges a look with him Hikaru doesn’t understand.
"Shindou," says Waya slowly. "You saw what happened, yeah? You were right there."
"Well, yeah," says Hikaru. "He's totally blowing off our game tonight just so he can have a rematch with that Stoner guy."
He scoffs in disgust. Waya and Isumi exchange another sidelong glances.
"Actually," says Waya, "Shindou, that wasn't a rematch. That was a date."
"Well, duh," says Hikaru. "A date to play Go!"
Isumi grimaces. Waya just stares at Hikaru like he's grown an extra head.
Suddenly Hikaru understands.
"Wait, what?" he says. And then, "BUT TOUYA'S A GUY! GUYS DON'T -"
Waya clamps his hand over Hikaru's mouth, which is probably for the best since Hikaru doesn't even know what it is that guys don't do anyway. He settles for mouthing, "--WITH OTHER GUYS!" against the muffler of Waya's palm. Waya says, "Ew, gross, Shindou," and wipes his hands on his jeans.
"Shindou," Isumi says calmly, "Touya's never given you any idea - you never suspected he was like that?"
"Like what?" Hikaru says. "Oh, no, no way is Touya like that!" he laughs. "You don't think Touya realizes it's a date, do you? Come on."
Isumi and Waya just look at Hikaru. Hikaru fake-laughs. A lot.
"This is the best joke ever. Wait til he finds out what that guy wants," he says. "Can you just see his face?"
Isumi and Waya are still just looking - just staring. Something in Hikaru twists ungently, the way it did at the thought that Touya might not play Go with him for six weeks.
"Fine," he says. "I'll ask him. When he comes out."
Isumi says cautiously, "That might not be the best -" but Waya stops him with a touch.
"No, no, let him ask," he says, grinning. "This'll be good."
Touya comes out walking slowly, looking down at his suit reflectively like he's contemplating something deep and serious and Touya-like. He stops when he sees Hikaru. "Shindou," he says. "I thought you left already."
"Nah," Hikaru says. "So," he says, and grins. "You've got a hot date, right?"
Touya gives him a weirded-out look (though weirded-out on Touya looks basically like the normal Touya, because Touya's a freak) and responds slowly, "If you say so."
Hikaru laughs. "Come on, Touya, that guy was totally asking you out. Didn't you notice?"
Touya tilts his head and the weirded-out look turns into one of bemusement. He leans back and crosses his arms. "Not only did I notice," he says appraisingly, "I said yes. Didn't you notice?"
From somewhere behind him, Waya snorts and is promptly shushed by Isumi. Hikaru stares at Touya. "You mean - you knew that's what he wanted?"
Touya narrows his eyes.
"And you still said yes?"
Touya looks flustered. "I..." His hair swings into his eyes and he doesn't bother to push it back. "I didn't see any reason why I shouldn't."
"But Touya," Hikaru says reasonably, wondering how thick Touya is if Hikaru has to explain this to him, "he's a guy. You're both guys."
Touya's stare turns cautious. "If that's a problem, Shindou, then maybe - "
"It's not a problem for me," Hikaru yelps. "I'm not the one who has to go on the date!"
Touya's confusion suddenly clears, and he shakes his head. If it weren't for the fact that he looks ready to brain Hikaru with a goke, Hikaru would say he was smiling.
"I want to go on the date with him, Shindou," he says. "I want to..." the smile grows. "See what happens, I guess."
"But," Hikaru says blankly. "You don't like guys."
When Touya just stares at him, Hikaru adds, "You like Go!"
Touya just rolls his eyes and breezes past him. "Apparently," he says with a low, dry laugh, "it's possible to like both."
He has almost made his way to the elevator when Hikaru finds his brain again, and calls, "Yeah, whatever. You just want to kick his ass in your next rematch." That's all it is, he knows, because this is Touya, and Touya doesn't think about anything except, well, Go.
Touya just throws him a shrewd look over his shoulder, as if there are all kinds of retorts he is deliberately holding back, and then steps into the elevator.
Hikaru glares at the doors as they slide shut.
After a moment, Waya says, "Well, Shindou, you were definitely half right. One of you is totally clueless.”
When Jared Stone and the upper dans all enter the lobby, Hikaru has Waya by the knee, Waya has Shindou by the hair, and Isumi has them both by their elbows attempting to pry them apart. The three of them separate once the stares of a roomful of Go pros land on them, and Hikaru attempts to flatten his messy hair and look like one of them, and not like a kid who just got caught trying to give one of his best friends a wedgie.
They stare at the adults, who stare back. Isumi looks as if he wants to cross over onto the big people's side of the room.
"Japan's finest," says Saeki with amusement, and everyone laughs. Jared Stone laughs the loudest of all.
Hikaru bets he's never had a wedgie in his life.
Normally Hikaru's week follows a basic routine: Shidougo sessions on Monday nights, Go lectures, exhibitions, and other Go-related activities at the Institute on Tuesdays, Go thereafter with Touya on Tuesday nights, Morishita-sensai's study group on Wednesdays, Thursday matches at the Go Institute, study session at Waya's on Saturday, and various times in between spent popping into various Go salons, usually Touya's, though if he doesn't visit at least twice a month Kawai-san will tell him he's getting too good for them.
Now that Touya's disrupted the entire flow of his normal weekly pattern even though it's only Tuesday, Hikaru doesn't feel all that guilty for blowing off his mom for dinner that night and hanging out with Akari instead. That doesn't last long, however, because Mitani calls halfway through the movie they're watching, and after that it's like Hikaru might as well not even be there, really. He excuses himself and then goes for a walk around the neighborhood. What is it with boyfriends all of a sudden?
He winds up going to the movies with Waya, who definitely doesn't have a boyfriend. Isumi meets them there, though, which is okay except that Hikaru can't bitch about Touya with Isumi around, because instead of humoring him like normal, Waya just exchanges amused glances with Isumi as if they have a private joke Hikaru's not in on. At least that part’s harder to do when they're actually in the movie theatre.
They go to see Onmyouji II, which is basically exactly like Onmyouji I, except that where before there were these two guys swearing eternal loyalty to each other and crying over each other and following each other into the otherworld and stuff, now there's even more eternal fealty, more crying, and more following each other into the otherworld. Oh, and one of them's in a dress.
Hikaru loves these movies because they're set in the Heian era, and the dress-guy has a fan and sort of looks a little like Sai (not when he's in the dress, though, then he just looks girly). He can't figure out why Waya keeps snickering during the eternal fealty parts, though in all fairness it may be because Hikaru is kind of teary and trying to hide it by sneezing a lot. He thinks he hears Isumi giggling a couple of times, too.
Also, Waya is sitting in the middle and keeps sharing all the popcorn with Isumi. Hikaru can’t even manage a handful.
After the movie ends, the three of them exit the theatre with Waya still snickering. The moment they're on the street Waya says vaguely, "Well. That was..."
Isumi giggles again.
"I liked it!" Hikaru snaps, crossing his arms. "I don't see what was so funny, either."
Waya and Isumi exchange another one of those looks. Then Waya pats Hikaru's shoulder and says, "Don't get me wrong. It was a good movie. But didn't you think it was kinda..." He waggles his eyebrows and waits for Hikaru to fill in the blank. When Hikaru stares at him blankly, he sighs and continues. "...kinda gay?"
Hikaru snorts and begins to retort that Waya is clearly some kind of pervert if he thinks a movie is gay just because it's got two men living together and swearing eternal love to each other and putting on makeup and dresses and...
He settles for glaring at Waya. "Well," he fumes. "I didn't before you had to open your big mouth!"
Waya bursts out laughing. Hikaru rolls his eyes and goes home.
Hikaru wakes up the next morning feeling dreadful for one horrible moment without knowing why, as if something awful is hanging over his head. He lies in bed with his eyes wide open, running through a number of things - he hasn't missed a match, it's not Monday, he totally dyed his hair last week so the roots aren't showing - until he remembers. Touya blew him off last night for the Dalai Go Lama. (Oh, and his favorite movie is gay.)
He sits up and laughs. Of all things to get antsy about. Touya. Imagine how flustered Touya must have been last night when he realized he was really on a date. Knowing Touya he probably thought the guy was just looking for the Hand of God.
Hikaru smirks. Maybe that's what they're calling it these days.
Then he realizes he’s just thought about sex and Touya in the same moment and has to go brush his teeth to get the unclean taste out of his mouth.
He doesn't think of Touya again during the morning, but when he gets on the train to Morishita-sensai's that afternoon, he magically finds himself on the other side of the city standing on the corner across from Touya's Go salon. It's a busy corner, and he stands there wondering if he should go inside until a tidal wave of jaywalking pedestrians makes up his mind by taking him with them.
So then he stands on the other corner, right in front of Touya's Go salon, scratching his head and trying to peer in the windows. It's not like there's anything odd here, really. He's just stopping by to play go with Touya like always, and maybe find out how his date went. Nothing wrong or weird about that, right?
There's a giant Final Fantasy poster (XXVIII or whatever) looming down at him from above the salon. Cloud glares down at him, wearing Touya-Meijin's face for a moment. Why are you stalking my son, Cloud wants to know. Hikaru wavers for a moment, quelled momentarily by the thought of Touya-Meijin’s wrath, before remembering that Touya-Meijin couldn’t even kill Sephiroth until like the thirtieth try. He takes a deep breath and enters.
Ichikawa-san smiles at him when he enters. Normally, they have this whole routine: he comes in and tries to pay, she replies that Touya's best friend doesn't have to pay, and he says something about how he's not friends with that guy, he's just here to kick his ass. At which point Touya emerges and raises his eyebrows and says, "You can try," or something else calm and cocky and Touya-like, and Hikaru starts mouthing off, conveniently forgetting to leave the money on the counter when he and Touya go off together.
Today he doesn't get that far, however, because he can hear Touya's voice inside. He sounds - well. Touya doesn't laugh very often, and he's laughing now. Hikaru doesn't say hello - just stares past Ichikawa-san, who gives him this look that could be sympathetic, which would embarrass him on any other day when he didn’t sort of feel painfully grateful for it.
“I’m sure you can go on inside,” she says to him, but Hikaru’s already moving, approaching the inner room where he first played Touya four years before.
"Kurata-san thought he'd won," Touya is saying. "He never even knew the difference, and neither did anyone else watching the game." Toyua laughs again, and this time he is joined by Jared Stone, whose loud, easy laughter sounds jarring next to Touya's guarded, soft chuckle, like two wrong notes played together.
"After the game, I took Shindou aside and asked him why he'd switched hands in mid-game. He just laughed and said he wanted to see if Kurata-san would notice."
Hikaru stiffens. He'd never told anyone else about that game. One-color Go is hard, and only he and Touya had known that Hikaru had switched from playing black to playing white mid-game. He hadn't ever thought Touya was the type to share things told to him in confidence with total strangers, but then, until yesterday, he hadn't thought Touya was the type to date American Go pros who were male, or to date anyone for that matter, or to blow off his best friend.
As Hikaru stands there stupidly, Jared Stone covers Touya's hand with his own, and says, "His Go energizes you, doesn’t it? I enjoy that about you - it's very sexy."
Hikaru can feel his face going incredibly red, from embarrassment or rage or both. It matches the flush on Touya's own face as he says, in that low, 'I'm-playing-the-best-match-with-Shin
dou' voice (which is now apparently also his 'I'm-betraying-Shindou-in-order-to-be-sw ooned-over-by-some-idiot-blond-American-w ho-thinks-Zen-living-means-wearing-t-shi rts-to-tournaments-and-probably-thinks-h e-can-find-the-hand-of-God-in-my-pants-o nly-I-can't-see-it-because-I'm-too-busy-b eing-impressed-by-the-fact-that-he-beat-m e-by-a-half-moku-one-time-because-I-am-a n-idiotic-romantic-fool-who-doesn't-dese rve-an-eternal-Go-rival-anyway' voice), "Yours does too." He drops his head so his hair falls over his cheeks and covers up his blush. "I mean - I mean..."
Touya, flushed and stammering and utterly discomposed.
Hikaru, suddenly and with an agony he has only ever felt once in his life, understands what that feeling of dread was that he woke up to this morning. It's the feeling of finding yourself replaced, when all along you had thought you were the only one who could make him – make him feel, make him look – like -
Well. It doesn't matter.
Hikaru realizes his fists are clenched. He unclenches them with an effort, just as Jared Stoned-by-an-angry-mob replies, "Just my Go....?" and Touya starts all at once at the sight of Hikaru's head poking a bit too far around the doorway.
"Oh!" he says, and smiles at Hikaru like he's happy to see him, like Hikaru hasn't just, oh, walked in on the cheesiest love scene since Akari dragged him to see Moon Child.
And come to think of it, suddenly Hikaru isn't sure which scenes from that movie were the real love scenes.
Why is everything suddenly gay?
"Hey,” he says to Touya, hoping his voice is wracked with condescension. “Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt anything.”
"What?" Touya says, far too calmly for Hikaru's approval. "No, we were just about to play a game."
“Was that all?” Hikaru blurts out, unable to stop himself.
Touya’s eyes narrow. “This is a Go salon,” he says coolly. “Normal people do actually come here to play Go." He hesitates, and then adds with a smile, as if he can’t resist, “Not just to throw things and upset the goke all over the floor.”
“I only did that once,” Hikaru retorts.
“Four, actually,” says Touya, unsuccessfully holding back his laugh.
"Shindou,” interjects Jared Stone, motioning to their table. “Why don’t you join us?” He sounds eager and obnoxious all at once. “There’s nothing like a little friendly competition. And I haven't seen one of your famous matches with Akira yet.”
Hikaru isn't sure what to be horrified at first: the idea of Jared A-few-stones-missing-from-the-goke calling Touya "Akira" like he's known him longer than a day, or the idea of him wanting to sit in on a match between the two of them like it's a sight on his travel itinerary. Right between 'Climb Mt. Fuji' and 'Take in Ayu concert,' 'Watch true rivals attain Divine Move together.'
Hikaru looks at Touya, who looks vaguely unsettled by this prospect as well. Great, he thinks. Now Touya doesn't even want to play him in front of this moron. He thinks, 'three's a crowd,' and then he has to choke back the hard knot in his throat, because now he's thinking about Touya and sex for the second time today, and this time it's not even funny.
"I--I," he begins, and then Touya intervenes.
“You have your study session,” he says. “With Morishita-sensei.”
“Oh,” says Hikaru. “Oh. Right. Yeah!”
“What are you doing here?” Touya asks. “Did you forget again?”
"No, I – well, yeah," Hikaru manages. Coming here was the stupidest idea. “I’ll see you later.”
"What happened to the agenda I got you?" Touya calls over his shoulder, but Hikaru is already out the door. Ichikawa-san calls after him, but Hikaru keeps moving.
Still looming above the salon, Cloud-Meijin stares at him in wordless disappointment. "Your son is a freak!" Hikaru yells at him.
Then he skips Morishita’s study session and rides the train around aimlessly until he winds up at Kawai-san’s. He’s full up with the need to beat someone, anyone, so he challenges every customer to three-on-three speed Go, and plays without stopping until Kawai-san hauls him out of his chair in mid-game.
“Hey,” he says, shaking Hikaru around by his collar. “What’s with you?” Hikaru grumbles something indistinct so Kawai-san shakes him some more. “You haven’t lost any games lately.”
“You’re right,” Hikaru says viciously. “I totally haven’t.”
“Oh,” says Kawai-san. “You have a fight with that genius kid again?”
Hikaru looks down at the scuffmarks on the tiles and mumbles something.
Kawai-san sighs. “Go on, get outta here,” he says. “Go deal with whatever has you so upset and stop bullying the weak.”
Hikaru just nods and leaves. He rides the Shibuya train to the end of the line, then back again, feeling lost even though he knows exactly where he is.
He tries not to cry himself to sleep. It doesn’t quite work. He dreams of Sai sitting quietly beside him on some mythical riverbank, smiling away while Hikaru tells him about how Touya’s letting some idiot hold his hand and talk him out of wanting Hikaru’s Go. Sai’s borrowed one of those girl dresses from that guy in Onmyouji, but that’s okay.
For a moment when he wakes he feels purged, as if all of the unease is gone and all that’s left is the comfort of Sai wrapped around him. Then he remembers that Sai’s gone and Touya’s gone too.
And he still has to play Go.
He drags himself out of his bed, drops everything in his shower at least twice, and is still bleary and sluggish when he finally makes it to the Institute.
Then he gets there and nearly turns around again, because there, in the hallway, is Jared Stone, and he’s got his hand on Touya’s arm.
Hikaru stops short and just stares. He can’t help himself. Touya looks up immediately, of course, because you can’t switch off ultimate-rival sense in a day, and when their eyes meet the look he gives Hikaru is completely unreadable.
Jared Stone has been in the middle of saying something that clearly no one but Touya would find the least bit fascinating. When he follows Touya’s gaze he grins and waves at Hikaru. “At last, I get to see you play, Shindou-kun!” he says.
Touya has the grace to wince, just a tiny bit, at the familiarity. Hikaru can almost forgive him for that.
Then he says, “You won’t be disappointed,” and smiles at Hikaru, and, okay, yeah, forgiven.
“Touya certainly thinks highly of you,” says Jared Stone. “And don’t you have the longest winning streak of any first-dan in the Institute’s history?” He says it with a bit too much emphasis on the words first-dan.
“He was held back because of a technicality,” Touya interjects. “Everyone knows rank doesn’t mean anything with Hikaru.”
Hikaru does a double-take.
So does Jared Stone.
“I see,” says Jared Stone. This time he looks at Hikaru.
Hikaru breezes through his match, barely aware of the opponent across from him. He doesn’t really know or care when this became some kind of competition, but Touya has called him by his name, and that’s gotta mean that Round One just went to Hikaru.
“Impressive,” says Jared Stone later, examining the game during the post-match discussion. “But wouldn’t it have been better to connect here and fortify your territory instead of branching out into the middle so soon?”
“No way, that’s – “ says Hikaru. Then he stops. Oh, wow, how did he even miss that? “Huh.”
Touya lets out a little exasperated huff.
“I see a great deal of energy in your play style,” says Jared Stone. “I can definitely see why Touya considers it to be a foil for his own.”
Hikaru smirks. Touya looks at his sleeves.
“But you’re terribly inconsistent,” Jared Stone continues, with the voice of authority – like he’s telling Hikaru something he didn’t already know, something he hasn’t heard from every Go pro who’s ever critiqued him. “It’s as if you’re nursing two separate styles here.” He points to the formation in the lower left, one Hikaru had been proud of – it’s a solid, stable play, sprung out of basic Go strategy, Sai’s teaching at its most flawless. “Almost as if you’re playing in someone else’s shadow.”
Hikaru’s head jerks up. So does Touya’s.
Jared Stone looks between the two of them. “Obviously you’re a huge fan of traditional Go methodology,” he says. He nods at Hikaru’s fan – then at the board. “But there are moves here that conflict with those ways of thinking. Have you considered continuing your study of Shuusaku’s games? You might deepen your understanding of his play style.”
Hikaru stares at him.
Touya says, “Actually, Shindou’s never studied Shuusaku.”
Then he smirks, just a bit, at the expression that crosses Jared Stone’s face.
“But that’s…” Jared Stone begins, and then he trails off and stares back at Hikaru for once.
“Shall we have lunch?” continues Touya smoothly, ignoring Jared Stone’s stricken reaction and standing up. “I’m starving.”
“You’re supposed to eat during the break,” says Hikaru, feeling infinitely happier all of a sudden. “That’s why they call it a lunch break.”
“And you’re supposed to remind me,” says Touya primly.
Jared Stone breaks away from studying Hikaru at that and gets to his feet. “Shall we go?” he says, taking Touya’s elbow. Touya doesn’t seem at all flustered by the touch, and Hikaru’s mood re-plummets. “I’ve been reading through back-issues of Go Monthly to get a sense of your institution’s recent history,” says Jared Stone, tugging Touya gently away. “I’m hoping your father will talk with me about what the game was like during his era… maybe at dinner tonight?”
“Certainly,” says Touya, his voice doing that polite-eager thing again, and Hikaru waits until they are safely out of the tournament room before he calls Touya the nastiest thing he knows.
His opponent, a younger pro who has been quietly, awkwardly waiting the whole time for the post-game talk to resume between the people who actually played the game, gives him a look of shock and mild disdain. Hikaru tries to remember if he’s ever even met the guy before.
“Hey,” he says by way of apology. “It was a good game, all right? But you need to take more risks. I was all over the left before you’d gotten used to the playing field.”
His opponent says dryly, “Wasn’t that when you were playing in someone else’s shadow?”
“Look,” says Hikaru, desperately biting his tongue. “I don’t – it’s not – you know what? Forget it.”
Then he stands up, kicks over his goke, and goes home.
Aaaand I'm running up against the character limit, so let's make it 2 posts and 4 fics. Next up, the 2 fics I didn't write for BG 5 and BG 6! ♥ yay, Blind Go! Yay Hikago!!! Yay fic! Yay!