When a college despaired Hikaru comes across Sai, a spirit haunting her grandfather's goban, she deems it a good opportunity to secure herself a job. The only problem being her confused parents, incredulous friends, and the ever growing chaos she'd stir up in the Go Pro world. Fem!Hikaru.
Disclaimer: Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata own Hikaru no Go. I own nothing, you better not sue me.
Chapter 1: Meeting the Ghost
Shindo Hikaru was not an idiot. Why she found herself laughing, a silly laugh that didn't quite reach her eyes, and nodding along though, was another matter. The girl understood enough of social diplomacy to know that simply choking her homeroom teacher to his timely death just wouldn't do.
"Shindo-san, I just want you to know I'm only doing this for your sole benefit. You're quite a sociable girl, but if your grades are going to pay for that, then is it really worth it?"
What had frustrated Ueno Yusuke, more than anything, was just how gifted the girl was. She barely attended any of her classes, and when she did, she was either snoring her life away or cracking jokes that sent the class into a state of wheezing buffoons. Although, he personally found her jokes to be very witty, often finding an underlying meaning hidden behind a grin that he swore was roguish. Yet, she has only been putting forth just enough effort to pass, a common problem among exceptionally bright students. Not to mention she doesn't study at all, a decision he's made solely by the sheer amount of connections the girl has. When would she have time to maintain them let alone study? Shindo was a waste of talent, especially in a grade oriented country such as Japan.
She fidgeted with the hem of her skirt, not being one for standing still, the idea of choking him sounding better by the second. It was not as if she hadn't thought of the future at all, it was just that she didn't really want to do anything. She was contenting her lack of aspirations with making new friends and enjoying what life had to offer a seventeen year old girl. Sure she was good at things, but what good would it really be, living as an office worker, if all she ever had time to do was work?
"Entrance exams are right around the corner, and you haven't even attended one single guidance counseling session! Are you even planning on attending college?"
She sighed. It seems the entire world had found it interesting to remind her just how little time she had left to enjoy her life. First it had just been her teacher, then her parents, but now, even Akari and the rest of her classmates have started to question her 'plans' for next year. Not really feeling like opening up, she ended up reciting her now weekly "Yeah, you're right Ueno-sensei. I really should think about my future more. I'm being quite unreasonable right now."
"Shindo-san! That's what you said last week! And the week before that!" he complained, at wit's end.
She pouted her pretty pink lips, and grumbled about how unfair Sensei was being. Flustered, he dismissed her with an "I'm serious Shindo-san!" and eyes trailing her back.
Well that still seems to work, she thought. Hikaru was aware of her own attractiveness, with old women oohing her, and people gaping at her whenever she made a semblance of effort to talk, really. Her dark hair fell past her shoulders, with bleached bangs framing her pretty face. Her beauty was a striking and commanding one, with harsh green eyes that were often sardonic.
She found herself bombarded with comments as soon as she got out of that hellhole teacher lounge.
"Hey Shindo, I heard you were involved in a gang fight, you delinquent," one of her classmates wrapped an arm around her slim shoulders. She shrugged his arm off, "Shut up, Kureno!"
Kureno was a delinquent himself, and often invited Hikaru to join his gang as the "sukeban to his bancho" whatever that meant. Although she had joked around about it, even dressing like one at one point, she never really found interest in such a lifestyle. It was so limiting, she felt.
"So, Kaio huh?" another shouted across the hall, making her bust a gut laughing. Because her? In that prestigious, noble-ass college?
It has somehow become tradition to guess whatever shenanigan she was called in for after school. Everyone found it funny as hell, and even Hikaru found herself looking forward to it.
Once Hikaru made her way to the shoe lockers, a manicured hand harshly resounded with metal, and she was met with a glare, "Word has it you're leaving for Kaio."
Hikaru turned her face away from the pretty brunette besides her, hastily opening her locker to retrieve her shoes.
"Akari, if word is that scumbag Takeba, then I pray to God he what he says is true."
At that, they both busted a gut.
It was a running joke that, Takeba, the moral compass of their generation, was actually a petty liar, with everyone acting skeptical at whatever he says. He'd taken it in good humor, so all was good.
As usual, the two walked home together. It was an uncharacteristically quiet walk, as they were usually prone to gossiping and various bouts of bantering, and by the time they got there, the sun was already an orangey hue dusted with pink, as if blushing.
Hikaru turned around, to bid their usual sendoff, only to be met with the silhouette of Akari's back, and a muttered "Hikaru, I wonder where we'll find ourselves next year."
That was Akari for "Hikaru, I'm actually worried we are not going to stay together next year."
She found herself smiling, although she was a bit worried too.
The next morning, Shindo Hikaru had forced herself awake somehow. Her grandfather was back from another auction, and judging from that triumphant harharhar he'd ended his last phone call with, he bought something interesting. Dressed in some fashionably ripped jeans and a white top, she quickly made her way to the train station, styling her hair into a messy bun. A few stops and many appreciative glances later, she navigated her way through the familiar neighborhood and into her grandparents' home.
When he heard a loud thud sounding from the hallway, Shindo Heihachi sat himself at the coach, looking utterly at ease. Soon after, a gasping Hikaru made herself known, as if the theatrics by the entrance were not enough.
"Jii-chan! What is up with all those things on the floor? It's nothing but junk!" she complained.
"Don't call my prized collection junk just because you're a clumsy airhead," he retorted calmly, hiding an amused grin.
"Okay, spill. What's gotten you in a good mood huh? Maybe you brought something worth selling this time!"
He scoffed, "I wouldn't sell any of my treasures, even if my life was on the line!"
"What's left of it, you mean." she smiled snarkily.
"I'll have you know that my father lived to be a 110 years, you brat!" he huffed indignantly.
"You know what else is a 110 years ol-"
"Quit squabbling like kids you two," intervened Shindo Tomoko, "Heihachi, you know better than that!"
"You see brat? I know better than that," he looked at her condescendingly.
"You know what I kno-"
Her grandmother coughed pointedly. Hikaru took it as a complement since it was always her insults that got cut off.
"Ah, Heihachi dear, why don't you show Hikaru the goban?"
"Tomoko! You ruined the surprise!"
"If this is about me playing Go, forget it. It's such an old man's game, Jii-chan!"
Shindo Heihachi, being a regional champion of year 1193 or God knows when, found it in himself to "uphold and ensure the family's Go reputation." This often resulted in a forced game of Go, and a disappointed Heihachi, as no member was really willing to learn.
He led Hikaru by the elbow, and sat her down by an old, worn goban. She looked at it exasperatedly, only to notice a blood stain on it.
"Hey, why's there blood on it?" she made an attempt to wipe it off.
Her grandparents looked at her worriedly, and Tomoko was the one to answer, "Hikaru, honey. There is no blood on the goban."
She reached to feel Hikaru's head, growing more concerned at her granddaughter's disbelieving look.
"Are you guys messing wit-"
The sudden appearance of a white clad man made her stop mid-sentence.
"At last, at long last. To the gods I offer my gratitude. Finally, I am allowed to return to this world."
It was not that strange, tall hat he wore, or that beautiful face he had that shocked Hikaru to silence. It was the fact that he was floating midair, his tabi not quite touching the ground. And just like that, Hikaru let out a yelp of "Ghost!" and was knocked out cold.
Hikaru woke up to a white ceiling, and the worried faces of her parents. She relaxed. She could deal with her parents, parents are fine. All it took was giving the impression of being okay, nodding, smiling, and saying all the right things that they never take the time to see past. She turned her head to smile at them, only to spot that medieval atrocity looking at her in, dare she say it, concern?
She pointed at him with a shaky hand, "Who the fucking hell are you?"
Her mother let out a sob, "Hikaru, honey I'm your mom!"
"Not you! That! That thing behind you!"
Her parents looked behind them and met her eyes warily, "Hikaru, it's only us three here. You passed out at your grandparents' and they rushed you in here. I think it's just the fatigue getting to you."
Her mom kissed her head, "Just rest dear, I know we've been stressing you with college and everything."
Hikaru nodded mechanically, eyes unmoving from that peculiar man in the back, which he seemed to take as a cue of some sort.
"Ah, Shindo-san. I believe I haven't introduced myself yet! I am Fujiwara no Sai," he bowed, "I apologize for frightening you, and I assure you I'm quite a harmless-"
Hikaru turned away and ignored him the entire week. She'd heard his sob story, and some shit about the divine move and a Shoezaku or another. It wasn't until she started feeling like puking her stomach's entire content when she angrily asked him, "Are you the one doing this?"
"I can't help it! Shindo-san is ignoring me, let alone refusing to play Go with me!" he wailed.
She sighed. She wasn't going crazy, was she? She had looked up some of the things he was saying, and to her relief, found many of the Heian era information he'd been endlessly sprouting to be correct. Something about being haunted by a ghost felt oddly more comforting than being schizophrenic.
Finally deciding she has had enough of this, she gave the ghost a pointed look and told him to go haunt some lame fucking nerd who was interested in a dumb game like Go. What she got instead was an even more upset stomach, and ended up throwing up in the school toilets.
That bastard Sai had it in him to look abashed at entering "women facilities". She grabbed a toilet roll and threw it at his face, disgruntled. It just went through that shit head, but he looked offended anyway.
"Shindo-san, that is no way how a lady should act!"
"Then what is a man doing in 'women facilities' huh? Although with a face like that you'd pass for one!"
Sai visibly fumed, "Shindo-san! Such an idea is preposterous! I would never entertain such thoughts as to-"
She didn't know whether she should be amused or disturbed that he took more offense at her first jab, and found herself holding back a laugh.
"Shut up Sai!"
Sai was stunned into silence. This was the first time Hikaru had called his name, and he took it as a sign of marginal acceptance. It was definitely an improvement. He looked at her apologetically, and whispered, "I'm sorry Shindo-san. It was never my intention to hurt you or anything. All I wanted was to play Go."
It all circulated back to that stupid game, "Fine. I'll let you play go. But you have to let me live my life normally," she stared pointedly at the remains of her breakfast.
Sai winced, but was unable to contain his excitement, "Yes, of course!"
He was such a kid.
During the next month, Hikaru would come to know just how true that statement was. She'd had to explain magic boxes, giant metallic birds, and her favorite as of yet, beverage spitting machine.
She reluctantly admits however, that Sai had grown on her. They had long gotten over the initial awkwardness of "sharing quarters", which Hikaru blames his rather androgynous appearance for. Sai had looked so scandalized at how much Hikaru seemed at ease with his presence, that Hikaru suspected he thought of her a harlot or something. Her daily commute to school (and anywhere really) was never dull, as she still found Sai's unintentionally offensive passerby commentary the funniest shit ever.
His last, "Hey Hikaru, why is everyone's pants all ripped, are we in the plebeian part of town? Are you disguising yourself as one to avoid ambush?" when she'd been in Shibuya with friends last week was one Hikaru would remember for future reference. Also his disbelieving screams of "unhand her, you uncouth youth!" at whatever remotely romantic attempt boys had made on her, were a bit endearing.
She has also been a history whiz as of late, since Sai seems to have knowledge of every bit of transpired event during his time, in contrast to herself, who didn't even so much as glance at the news. Her classmates and teacher had been so skeptical, they'd often find themselves slack jawed at her too specific and detailed answers. Hikaru sniffed whenever that happened, dramatically accursing her "too good looks" for making people think she was stupid, effectively sending her class into uncontrollable chortles. Akari, although laughing along with the others, stole worried glances at Hikaru, which has not escaped the observant girl's attention.
When her homeroom teacher caught wind of the news, he'd all but jumped at the chance of scheduling a career counseling session. Apparently he thought she'd study Japanese history and be a lecturer or something, but Hikaru thought he was out of his mind.
She'd been fulfilling her part of the deal with Sai by playing Go online every night or so. They'd been getting so many requests and messages, that Hikaru often found herself wondering just how good of a Go player the ghost was. She didn't even know so many players were even interested in the dull game. Hikaru had learnt the basics from him, but has not quite grasped enough to understand the intricacies that went through each unyielding hand. She thought they'd just go on like this, enjoying each other's company and playing Go online, never really impeding on her personal life. Recently though, he's been rather picky and says he actually wants to play "a real game, not the magic box."
The gall of that ghost. As if she'd be caught dead playing that game, she scrunched up her nose in disgust.
She decided her grandfather would be real enough for Sai, though just imagining the entire fiasco of happy tears from either of them made her want to re-evaluate the, in her mind, dismal decision.
A/N: Hikaru is still his/her boisterous self. I always found him brilliant(or how else would he learn such a tactical game in so little time?) and thought to bring that aspect of his character out. As for the story, she hasn't thought of playing as a pro yet because she isn't even aware of the job. She'll be aware of that soon and take the Go world by storm and gradually begin to find herself entranced by Go. I might write more than one interest with Hikaru, but am sort of leaning towards Akira. What do you think? In any case, thanks for reading! :)