Sorry for the huge delay! Was abroad and I log in one day and a hundred something follows, holy shit you guys. I'm so happy. Also I would like to clarify that I know next to nothing about how Go games really flow. Hence, the bullshitting (pls don't kill me).

"Life's little crossroads are often as simple as the pull of a trigger." - Joshua, The World Ends with You

Chapter 3: That One Time I Met the Oza

By the time Hikaru had neared her Grandpa's house, she had learned three things about this 'Akira' character.

One: he was not one for small talk. Any and every one of her advances was painfully eliminated by one or two worded replies and a forcefully polite smile.

Two: He does not particularly enjoy covert attempts at improving his, in her courteous opinion, deplorable fashion sense. Yellow and pink are never a good idea. Hikaru briefly wondered if he took offense at her slight jab, and if it was the reason for his insistence on not having small talk, which leads to the third and final observation.

Three: For all his worth, he could hardly disguise his annoyance, even with his seemingly refined demeanor. His smiles consisted of lips stretched thin and feet taking on a faster pace, as if he wanted to get this over with even earlier. Hikaru, on the other hand, was enjoying every second of the way, throwing comments left and right, and laughing in an extra boisterous voice. Pushing people's buttons, especially ones inclined on acting conserved, was a favorite pastime of hers. Sai gave up his conquest of making her act respectably quite a few streets ago.

"Oh! This is it, Touya-san," she beamed, pushing the door open. "Come in, come in!"

Touya, relieved, smiled in earnest for the first time, "Thank you, Shindo-san."

"Hikaru, I think he is under the impression that this will be the last of you he'll have to deal with," Sai noted, though not without a bit of mirth himself.

"Well, today must not be his day. I can tell as much by his purple striped tie." Hikaru retorted while stifling her oncoming laughter, settling for a plastered smile instead.

"Hikaru, is that you?" Soon enough, her grandfather's head popped from the hallway, "C'mon Hikaru, in the study roo-" he paused, looking at a figure standing behind her. "Touya-sensei!"

She choked. Touya what?

After regarding her reaction, Akira gave her a small smirk, and with a noticeably more confident stride, made his way to her grandfather. He bowed, "Shindo-san, I apologize for my tardiness. I'll try to make up with the lesson though."

Heihachi chuckled, "I'm glad at your eagerness to teach, but it's really my granddaughter there who you'll be working with."

Akira turned to face her with an appalled look, and an abstruse smile quickly replaced the gaping face she wore a while ago. She bowed, taking advantage of his momentary lapse in conduct, "I look forward to the lesson, Touya-sensei.

He winced, but took no time at all to bow back, "As do I, and I rather prefer you call me Akira lest you confuse me with my father."

"Eh? Is he someone I should be familiar with?" she tipped her head in honest curiosity.

"What are you saying Hikaru?" Heihachi laughed nervously. "Don't mind her Akira-sensei. She has much to learn about the professional world, which is incidentally why I asked for you."

"For me?" Akira asked quizzically, furrowing his brows.

"You've been a professional for quite some time now, and you're about Hikaru's age right? I thought it would be best for her to learn from you," Heihachi explained.

Hikaru and Sai silently witnessed the exchange; neither thinking it would be wise to mention that they'd already found another pro, two actually, who were close to Hikaru in age. Hikaru definitely didn't want to miss the opportunity of being taught by this walking wardrobe malfunction, especially with the way he'd react to any remarks of it. Sai though, just wanted to play a game, the sooner the better.

Akira nodded, "I see, it does make sense."

"So are we starting anytime soon, Touya-sensei?" she drawled, taking on a bored tone.

"I said it was Akir-"

"Meh, it doesn't matter. It's your last name too isn't it?" she stated more than asked, with a glint to her eye that suggested another meaning to her words.

For once, he didn't feel he was being shackled to the weight of his last name.

He smiled, "I suppose it is."

Maybe Shindo Hikaru isn't as bad as he thought.

She was worse. He wondered how one could turn absolutely any topic back to his "so last decade" style. It took skill, he admits, after accursing why he agreed to this in the first place. They haven't even played a single game yet, and to say the girl knew absolutely zilch about professionals was giving her too much credit.

"Say, Touya," she started. She had dropped the sensei after she decided it simply wasn't pulling a reaction anymore. "Have you ever regretted your decision?"

He glanced at her, unsettled by her sudden morose tenor. She had discarded her hoodie a while ago, and a bulky graffiti shirt hanged from her sylphlike frame. The words "Never give in", splayed in blood red, stood out from the rest of the scrawls. With the dusking sun turning her pretty face a few shades too gold, and limbs sprawled almost carelessly in front of the goban as he maintained his seiza, she struck him as an oddity. Her gaze wandered elsewhere, as if she didn't really want to hear an answer. He graced her with one anyways.

"No," he stated firmly. "I never imagined myself doing anything else."

At his reply, Sai smiled knowingly. He has, after all, devoted his entire life to the game.

She slowly returned her gaze back to him, and he could see a question in them. Her lips paused as she contemplated what to say. She settled with a hum and nod of head.

The sliding of the screen door interrupted their silence, and a pleasant old lady came in with a tray. "Pardon my intrusion, Akira-sensei, Hikaru-chan, but I think it's about time for a break!"

As she set the tray of snacks and tea on the tatami, Hikaru crawled to it in childlike excitement. "Are those cookies grandma? I luff ywor cewkiesh!"

"Hikaru! Mind your manners!" she scolded, but let out a small chuckle.

"Yeah, Touya-san is a guest!" Sai added.

"Shut up Sai, these cookies are a gift from God."

"It's fine ma'am," he assured with a smile, he had gotten used to her antics by now. "Thank you for the snacks."

"Such a well-mannered boy," she sighed jokingly. "Call me if you need anything, alright?" she kindly told them before leaving.

"Your grandmother seems nice," he commented politely.

"I'm sure your grandma seems nice too," she threw offhandedly. "No need playing Manners with me," she laughed, impishly eying him as he drew his mouth into a thin line.

He sighed, "How about we play a game now? I can only teach you about titles and exams for so long. You know, this could all be wasted time if you were not at the level the exam requires."

"Well, why don't you test me then?" she asked in a voice that suggested a hidden challenge.

"You took the words right out of my mouth," he told her, before adding in, "your grandfather only asked me to inform you of what is expected of professionals to know for today, but I see no harm in playing a game."

"Finally!" Sai yelled in exasperated joy, and just before he could initiate his newly practiced victory dance (a choreography of some pop song Akari was hung up on), Akira's phone rang.

With a glance at the caller ID, he excused himself, "I'm sorry, I have to take it."

Hikaru nodded, "Yep, lover boy. Go take the call, wouldn't want to make her worry."

"It's my mother," he indifferently clarified.

"Mhm," she responded halfheartedly.

Choosing to ignore her larks and teasing, he stepped out, leaving a Hikaru laughing crazily behind. "Hello?"

"Akira," He tensed at his mother's voice.


"Your father, he's in the hospital," she whispered worriedly. He froze, "It happened again didn't it?"

"Yes. He's in the intensive care unit. Just come when you're done alright?" she let out, "Take care on your way here." Her son tended to be reckless in situations like these.

"I will."

He mechanically made his way back to the room, slowly seating himself.

"So, what did the lady friend wa-," she quieted down, studying his face cautiously.

"Touya? Touya what's wrong?" she questioned, noticing his clenched hands and stiff face.

"It's nothing," he insisted with a smile that failed to convince Hikaru one bit.

"It's definitely not nothing Hikaru," Sai added warily.

"You think I can't tell?"

"Don't bullshit me," she harshly responded, eying his clenched fists.

"You could've phrased it more politely Hikaru," he sighed.

After a silent pause, Akira exhaled, and confided, "It's my father. He's in the hospital."

Overcoming her initial shock, she got up and pulled him with her.

"Let's go," she glared at him, "I'm not exactly sure what you were waiting for, some divine intervention? I told you to quit the act, didn't I?"

"I suppose so," he answered vaguely, questioning whether ending up with an observant and pushy person such as Hikaru could be considered divine intervention.

They left hastily, her Grandfather calling out to them in confusion, "Hikaru? Akira-sensei? Where are you going in such a hurry?"

"Later Gramps!" she yelled out to him, pushing the boy in front of her before starting another series of well executed bows.

Before long she rushed him through the cold Tokyo night, pushing through the crowds (and taking particular joy in elbowing them back) and into the subway station. "This line should get us there in four stops," she pointed at a specific route on the map. Akira gave her a hasty nod, turned around, and before he'd keep going she dragged him the other way. "Touya, you don't deal with situations like these too well, do you?" she sighed. "It's that way."


They wordlessly entered the train, opting to stand for a quicker exit. As the onslaught of people kept crowding them, she, again, elbowed a stranger while attempting to steady herself.

"Hikaru I told you hitting people was bad!"

"But they're asking for it Sai, I'm telling you!"

The stranger turned angrily, and before Hikaru could blankly apologize, they both froze.

"Hikaru? Bahahaha! Just when I was about to yell at you," he laughed, punching her shoulder in a friendly manner. "You can elbow me all you damn want."

"Shut up Kureno! Out of all times to run into you," she huffed and crossed her arms.

Akira evaluated them, trying to find how exactly someone like Hikaru knew a person like that. He was gruff looking, tall, and dressed like hoodlum. A menacing expression seemed to be plastered to his face. One would describe him as a delinquent.

"Of all times? Oh wait, who are you?" he growled out, staring Akira down.

Hikaru pushed him aside, "Kureno, go vandalize a wall or something."

"Damn, is it that time of month?" he scratched the back of his head, "anyways, who's this guy?"

"Touya Akira," he responded steadily, not flinching at the tone of voice he was using with him. The guy probably liked Hikaru, he figured as much. Well, she was pretty he'll give her that, but otherwise unconventional, offensive, forceful, he could think of a few words.

"Well listen here Touya, Shindo is mine," at this he pointedly grabbed her shoulders, to Sai's dismay, "you even try to, no, think of trying anything on her you dead meat. You got that?"

"Well why don't you start by letting go of her you lout!" Sai repeatedly bashed the boy's head with his fan, albeit uselessly.

Seems like Akira was right on the mark. Shindo shrugged his arm off, seemingly unfazed, "Kureno it's not like that," she started calmly, "but even if it were you should mind your goddamn business!"

"Oi Kureno," a voice interjected, "this is our stop."

Kureno turned to his companion, who looked, to no one's surprise, equally as menacing if not more. Akira thought the redhead looked familiar though, but couldn't pinpoint exactly where he'd seen the boy before. Upon spotting Hikaru, the boy acknowledged her with a nod before shifting his gaze to him in recognition. He looked away then, an unidentified expression on his rugged, handsome face and stepped out of the train, leaving his friend in his dust.

"Cheh. Fine." With one last warning glare at Akira and a bright smile at Hikaru, Kureno left the train to both Hikaru and Akira's candid relief.

"Well, he seems like a good fellow."

She stared at him before sighing and leaning by the window side, "He's really not so bad. He tends to come on a bit strong though."

"A bit?" he asked skeptically, "he looked ready to dismantle every last bit of me."

"And I, him" Sai added angrily.

"That is an interesting way to describe it. Dismantle every last bit of you, huh," she nodded approvingly, "and Sai, good going with the fan, that was a 70 hit combo." Sai huffed proudly, "at your service milady."

She then met his eyes for the first time since they got on the train, "You're probably wondering how I even know him right?"

Akira stiffened, he was beginning to dislike how seemingly effortless she made reading him to be. She snorted, "I've met a lot of people like you, Touya. Right now you're probably formulating your own assumptions and jumping to conclusions. Just spit it out already, I'd pick a blunt truth over feigned consideration any day, you know."

"What makes you assume other people don't?" he asked.

Caught off guard, she furrowed her brows "Huh, what do you mean?"

He gave her a side gaze, taking in her confused countenance. "Back in the study," he reminded her. "You looked like you had a question yourself."

Understanding crossed her exquisite features, and after a moment of arbitrary silence, she mustered a bashful smile. "You caught me there."

"It was about my father wasn't it? And if that's why I never thought of doing anything besides Go," he asserted.

"You're acting so smug for figuring that out," she laughed, mentally noting that she should be more careful around him.

"Not really," he pointed. "You're the one trying to downplay this conversation. You should just say so if you feel uncomfortable," he goaded her, and in impeccable timing, the doors of the train slid open for him to casually stride out of.

A stunned Hikaru took a while to process what he'd just said before running after him. "Hey! The heck do you mean? If there's anybody uncomfortable here, it's you!" She angrily huffed, "Well it's no time to argue so I'll let it slip."

"Fine with me," he said indifferently before walking ahead of her. That girl seriously got on his nerves.

She bit her tongue before she could yell out more insults and stomped hurriedly until she matched his pace. "So, you know the way there?"

"Yeah. I only got lost on the station because I've never been in your area before."

"Hm. Well that's good, I'm usually horrid with directions" So it mustn't be the first time his dad's been admitted. That, or he lives by here, which she really doubts.

"My father isn't in the best shape recently, it's the second time this has happened," he looked downcast.

She didn't respond, an insincere 'I hope he feels better' wouldn't do any of them any good, so she settled on picking up her pace and a tug of his sleeve.

After entering the hospital they darted over to the reception lady to ask her for the Meijin's room. She willingly gave it to them upon learning who Akira was, and a nurse offered to take them there.

"Well, this is where I leave," she turned to him. "Go check on your dad."

"Thank you for everything," he said, though he seemed to be struggling to say something else.

She made to leave before he called out to her, "Shindo, will I see you again?"

She turned, sycamore eyes meeting slate, "Sure, I'm still taking you up on that game yeah?"

Satisfied, he gave a slight smile and nodded before following the nurse.

The next morning, it dawned on both of them that they hadn't even established a method of contact. Hikaru found it hilarious and thought of asking her grandpa later. For now, practicing in go salons as Akira had suggested after she told him she hadn't played many opponents face to face would suffice. He'd given her such a skeptical face then, and she felt he wasn't taking her seriously at all, just humoring her, an "aspiring" pro whose definition of Go mainly involved sitting behind a screen, and started since, when was it? Two months ago? Although skeptical, his advice was sincere and reflected experience, giving her a sense of what being a "pro" was like. Well, she'll find a way to contact him somehow.

After school, she was about to hunt for go salons when some classmates had invited her and Akari for some outing.

"Oh come on Hikaru-chan! Akari said she wasn't busy!"

She wasn't certain when she and Akari had become a collective entity, but she laughed anyways.

"Yeah, yeah but I really got something to do right now. Hm, if I happen to finish early I'll meet up with you guys." She hauled her bag over her shoulder and left, not giving them anytime to oppose.

"Gah! That Hikaru's always up to something," one of the girls sighed.

"Tell me about it. It was soccer just last month, and tennis before that. I think she even played shogi for a while. I wonder what it is this time."

"What's what?" A brunette chirped, only in time to catch up on the last of the conversation.

"Oh, Akari-chan! Hikaru just left, said she was busy with something," the girl explained.

"Oh, did she now?" Akari frowned, before allowing herself a smile. "Hm, that's right she did mention something this morning," she lied. Letting those girls have an upper hand on what she knew of Hikaru's hectic probably nonexistent schedule was the last thing she'd need. For now, she'd fake her knowledge of Hikaru's whereabouts, but later, it would grant the girl a full-fledged inquisition.

"Well, let's go!"

It had only come to Hikaru's mind that she had Waya's number after a useless hour of searching. She looked through her contacts until she came upon 'kidnapper' and dialed. He picked up surprisingly fast, before she'd even thought how to start the call. "Shindo?" his voice sounded a bit out of breath. Was he running?

"Ah, Waya. Heya, how's it going? I may or may not be in need of a salon name because I don't seem to have psychic powers like so many believe."

"Uh, sure. Well how about telling me where you are right now so I can get you to the closest one."

She looked at his contact name before snickering and describing her location.

"There's a pretty decent one nearby actually! Tell you what, I have a game right now, but you head there and I might catch up with you later."

"That sounds good," she nodded, before noticing how useless the action was.

She wrote down the directions, and before she hung up remembered, "Oh, and good luck with your game!"

"Thanks, thanks. Not like I need it though," he let out a laugh that had her move the phone away from her now almost deaf ear.

"You know what I changed my mind I hope you lose." She stated plainly before ending the call.

"Who was that huh? Never seen you so happy to pick up a phone in your life. Scratch that, only when you order pizza."

"Just a friend, Nase. Sheesh, give a man his privacy," he huffed, still staring at the contact name.

"Shindo Hikaru," she said after peeking at his phone. "Sounded like a girl through the phone too."

"Your point?" He motioned with his hand, annoyed.

"You never talk to girls," at his quizzical stare, she corrected herself, "well other than me obviously, but we wouldn't have ever met without go."

"Wait, that address you gave her, isn't that the institute's? She plays go?" she exclaimed, pounding her hand on the table. A couple of heads turned from their books and pre-game reviewing. Nase slowly sat back down. "You said you were gonna meet her, I'm coming too."

"Where are you going?" Isumi asked before seating himself right next to them, a canned coffee in hand. Judging by his black circles, he probably hadn't slept much last night.

"We're meeting Waya's girlfriend," she stated.

"Friend that happens to be a girl. And no you aren't," he glared.

"She plays go too, Isumi."

Isumi sipped some more of his coffee, "Doesn't sound like anyone Waya's told me about."

"Right? You should've seen his face picking up the phone."

"Don't talk about me like I'm not here!" Waya yelled indignantly.

Isumi smiled apologetically, feeling a bit petty. He was only getting back at Waya for not telling him.

He settled for patting his back, "We're only teasing."

"No we're not. Listen up, I beat Waya and we're meeting her. If I lose, well then it's his lucky day."

Isumi sighed, there wasn't much he could do when his girlfriend settled on something. It was a side of her he found endearing, although a bit overwhelming, and he found himself wanting to help Waya but they both knew just how much that'd work. It wouldn't.

He shared a look with Waya, sending him unspoken prayers before he'd be smashed to pieces on the board.

"Is this the place Sai?" she asked after stopping in front of the building. It took her about half an hour or so, record time with her sense of direction.

"I think it is! It says 'Tokyo Go Institute'. Let's go in Hikaru!"

"That Waya, why the hell am I here? Well let's check anyways."

She entered through an automatic door, met by the cold air of the facility and a scent that vaguely reminded her of a field trip to the museum they'd had years ago. Sai was excitedly exploring the lobby, singing "go,go,go!" She slowly made her way to the counter, the receptionist a pleasant looking old lady. When she noticed Hikaru, she smiled warmly. "And what can I do for you dear? Are you waiting for someone?"

Hikaru's eye twitched just a bit before smiling herself silly. What was with people not thinking she'd play Go herself? Wait, maybe this was a complement, all the Go players she'd met this far weren't exactly normal.

"Not really, I was looking for a place I could play Go. This is the Go Institute right?"

Sai yelled out, "Look at this Hikaru! It's amazing!" To which she didn't bother looking at.

The lady smiled abashedly, noticing the offense she'd caused. "You're too pretty for go," she laughed, "but if you take the first right you should get to an area where anyone can play. It's free of charge."

Hikaru wrinkled her nose and after thanking the lady, took the first right. Just like she said, she was met with a couple of go boards and chairs. Her eyes scanned the room for someone to play when they landed on a white clad figure. The man seemed to be replaying a game, and his hand twitched at something in his suit's pocket. A smoker, huh.

Without further ado, she took the seat in front of him, and his sharp eyes immediately snapped to her, startled. Whoops.

She coughed abashedly, "You up for a game? There's no one else here." She looked around the room, just in case someone who didn't look ready to kill her magically popped out.

After a glare fest sponsored by his glasses, which reflected the sunlight straight into her burning eyes, he tch-ed. "Kids."

Then, putting back all the stones, "We might as well. How many stones do you want?"

"Let's play him equally, Hikaru!"

"I'll how about none? That sounds about enough," she stretched.

After staring at her for a few moments, which felt like an eternity of being judged, he shrugged and told her to nigiri. She ended up with black.
"Alright Sai, do your thing!" she turned back to glance at him, but he was already next to the board, bowing down. "Onegaishimasu."

She quickly followed suit, and as if the man didn't seem to expect her to show any sign of formality, he took a while before returning it in a bored tone.

She smirked; bet Sai would give him a run for his money. He was not taking her seriously at all, she could tell as much from his mannerisms.

Her hand moved automatically to place the stone in what was Shuusaku's traditional opening, guided by the man himself. Her opponent, which she deemed the nickname "Whitey" suitable for, raised a skeptical brow but said nothing. He mirrored the move onto the opposite side of the board.

"Sai, what's he trying to do?"

"Testing us Hikaru."

"You said you used to tutor the Emperor? Guess that makes you a teacher, huh."

Sai smiled slightly, attempting to hide his face behind his fan, as if it were somehow rude to smugly smile at strangers who couldn't even see him. "Shall we, Hikaru?"
Even she admits her heart melted a little at the sight of a complacent Sai. "We shall, my dear sir."

A few hands later, Whitey was still mirroring every single hand of theirs, and Hikaru concluded the man a sufferer of passive aggressive tendencies, because she was on the brink of slapping his glasses off his questionably satisfied looking face. Was he doing this because of her interrupting his game review or whatever? Sai on the other hand maintained his calm, and pointed at different segments on the board at such a steady pace, she thought he had a memorized strategy to counter such vile passive aggressive atrocities. Yes, she had developed a strange dislike for "Whitey". Something about him irked her, though she couldn't pinpoint it quite yet. She settled on glaring at him while shakily following Sai's orders.

She soon grew bored, with the pang-pang-pang of stones on wood, until along with one pang, Whitey's sharp eyes shifted to meet hers, taken aback. He stared at the board, and she moved her eyes to it as well, reviewing the terrain of black and white. She let out a whistle. Sai had transformed the entirety of the board. He'd shifted the balance. No, it wasn't shifting. Shifting was for something small, a moku or two. This was hauling.

"Sai what in the name of Mother Teresa did you do?"

"A student of mine found humor in mirroring every single move of mine. Needless to say, I've devised a plan against such attempts," he smiled. "But you see Hikaru, there's still a hole in there. Our play must now center around distracting him from it."

"And how do we do that?"

"This is why Touya-san wanted you to try playing real games Hikaru. There is much to learn about your opponent from their expression and posture. Moreover, you can affect theirs with your own."

"Sai are you saying we're going to bluff?"


"Wow, I never imagined you of all people would suggest that."

"Hikaru, Go is a tactical game. The way traps are set on the board is no different. Filtering the truths from the lies to assess your current situation is a skill only acquired by playing people face to face like this." He patted her back, "It's not usually my style, but I think you could pull it."

"Okay I think I'm starting to like this game. It's like poker but for uptight people. Well there's also the shit ton of strategy and rules too."

"I'm glad you like it Hikaru, but what is this po-ka?"

"That's for another day Sai."

"Is it engrishu?


"I hope the day never comes then."

She played the next few hands in a laid-back manner, until Sai froze on her. It was Whitey's turn to smirk now, "Did you think I hadn't seen anything like this before?" He scoffed. "I just didn't expect you to play like that, that's all."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she angrily retorted. Sai was calmly assuaging the board, and she did the same. "This is going to be tough Hikaru, this man is a brilliant player. I could only tell now that he is no longer mimicking our moves." She gave Whitey another glance, reassessing him as he pushed his glasses back, confident smile on his face. She found herself growing angrier, and resumed her study of the board; she was going to find a way. Hell, she wanted to do it herself.

"I have found it, Hikaru we need him to play at 13-5." Sai turned to her, surprised to find her eyes intensely trained on the board. "Hikaru?"

"17-6." she repeated, "Sai, 17-6."

"But Hikaru, that wouldn't-oh. Oh I see." He smiled.

"He'll take bait, he'll think we're desperate to protect our north formation, but then what we really want is for him to play at 13-5. Playing at 17-6 will eventually lead him there."

"You found our route to the hole in his territory, Hikaru that's significant improvement."

"Hey don't underestimate my stratagems, I used to play shogi" and with that her face morphed into a worried expression, her foot pattering the ground nervously, and shakily placed the stone. Whitey smirked, placing his own stone.

"Hikaru I know I said your mannerisms influence your opponent, but this is a bit excessive."

"Oh hush Sai, you want this over with faster don't you? And I can't wait to see the look on his face when he discovers that I, a nervous wreck, am in fact conning him into playing faster hands. I'm brilliant."

"Well I doubt this is considered proper go etiquette, but you seem excited to say the least."

"What happened to 'Hikaru, go is a tactical game' Sai?"

"Well I meant not showing your nervousness or weakness, not this!"

She'd laugh if it wouldn't have given her away. This was so typical of Sai.

When they succeeded in luring Whitey to said coordinate, and their win was practically guaranteed, she snickered, Whitey looking at her confusedly. "Sai, your turn."

They caught up pretty quick after that with Sai's genius, and managed a 1.5 moku win. Whitey stared at her in silent disbelief, then slowly pulled out a cig, lighting it right then and there. "Unbelievable," he muttered. He then met her eyes again, "Hey, who are you kid?"

She laughed, "Now you ask, after all that? You should've played without looking down on me."

"Yeah, that would have been amazing. Hikaru I want to play this man again."

Whitey studied her curiously, "You aren't an insei either. I would've noticed someone like you."

Ignoring his comment she started to clean up the board when he stopped her, "Don't, leave it."

She raised an eyebrow, "Why? Impressed by my tactical virtuosity?"

"Mostly your acting skills, those were exemplary," he let out a dry laugh, "tapping your fingers on the table, brilliant."

"Why thank you, you weren't half bad yourself Whitey," she hesitantly admitted, it was a scarily close game. "In fact, although I've hated your guts for more than half of the game, I will allow you another one if you'd like, where you don't y'know, copy my every single hand like a passive aggressive dolt who just couldn't be bothered to play a game with a dud like me."

"Whitey, really? Of all names, kid."

"Fine then, fetching stranger in a white suit."

"While I admit that has a nice ring to it, its-"

"Ogata-Oza!" a surprised yelp came from the door. The two followed traced the sound to a Waya who stared at them, flabbergasted. He soon made his way and bowed. "I see you met Shindo already, I was just about to give her a tour of the place, maybe show her around the insei facilities," he rambled.

So this was the Oza. Akira did mention the title and the man who used to be in his father's study sessions, though she thought he'd be older. "Wow Sai, we just played a title holder."

"I'd very much like to play him again. He was a tough opponent."

"Insei facilities?" he questioned frustrated, "why haven't you taken the pro exams already?"

Waya looked between them confused, then at the board. "Woah, you played each other?"

"I was under the impression that one usually plays go in front of a goban in the goddamn Go Institute." she elucidated.

"However did you come to that conclusion?" The Oza accommodated her sarcastic endeavors.

"What kind of game was this?" Waya, who had been confused at first, looked lost to the world now. "Ogata Oza, this looks too weird to be a shidougo game either."

"It was a close game, we weren't playing shidougo," she replied.

"Well yeah, 1.5 moku. Just how much was the handicap," Waya laughed.

"No, we were playing evenly," the Oza denied.

"Too evenly," she quipped, still a bit bitter at his mirroring moves.

He responded with a shrewd smile, to which she sighed.

Evenly? But that suggested that Hikaru had to be good in the first place. Waya took the entire exchange in, apprehensive of how the usually detached Oza was getting along with the girl. He contemplated the idea of him going easy on her, but quickly shrugged the thought.

After giving a final glance to the board, Ogata stood up, "I have matters to attend to. Shindo was it? I hold sessions of my own, I could use some insight."

'Lo and behold, was Ogata Oza inviting Shindo Hikaru to his well sought after sessions?' Waya wondered.

"Oh, I might drop by," she nodded as he gave her his card and left.

"What was that?" Waya grabbed her shoulders.

"What was what?"

"Holy shit, the Oza himself invites you to the session, he's only met you today, you only lost by 1.5 moku, what sorcery is this?"

"Won by 1.5 moku," she corrected gleefully.

"What?" he asked, genuinely not comprehending the concept of the Oza losing to her.

"I won by 1.5 moku," she huffed, "geez Waya, pull yourself together man."

He laughed, "Okay I know many crazy things happened just now but winning? You've got to be kidding me." He stopped, taking in her absolutely serious face, "you are kidding, right?"

"He underestimates us, Hikaru."

"Dead serious," she assured.

"But that's crazy," he furrowed his thick brows.

"Life is crazy my friend." She never thought she would be haunted by a go playing ghost and being on her path to pro-dom, but there they were, beating a title holder already.

I cannot stress how thankful I am to each and every one of you. I apologize for the hella long delay, seriously.

Reviewer time!

Mokina: Yes they have finally met! I'm glad you like it, it means a lot to me!

The Ruffler: Thank you! I watched and read the anime as well, but honestly I have not grasped much of the game either, we're in the same boat. Just look at me crapping my way through the games as well hahaha.

EternallyInternal: Thanks, I was hoping that'd surprise some of you! Bet you enjoyed this chapter then.

Gaul1: Thank you, I will!

Otaku-ka-ren:fingers crossed as well. I'm leaning towards that too but man my writing tends to be unexpected even to me

Terrabite:Yep, I tried to keep their relationship the same as before, Hikaru was always pushy hahaha

Alice: Merci! Thank you so much for your continued support, I hope I don't delay anything this much again! Well I'm planning on involving Yeongha yes! We'll see how that goes (my writing is pretty much unpredictable she wasn't even supposed to meet Akira so soon but here we are)

Ellinmara:Thanks! I tried going for a different take on it, glad you do!

Z: Thanks, I worked extra hard on them!

SleepyPuppy: hope this chapter answers your question;p Ogata will be pretty involved I love Ogata

doremishine itsuko: it does doesn't it?! Although I'm leaning more on Akira I still find Waya and Hikaru adorable...yeonha I'm gonna have to decide.

musme: Thank you! I really appreciate it

Guest: Guest oh gUEST I HAVE UPDATED! lol thank you!

Zeynel: thank yous ;D

StarsEternal:okay first of all I love your username. second of all boy am I glad you think so! thank you

flame55: you are great. you made my day

Loucyanna: Merci fellow french friend! I swear I love your and alice's reviews I just excitedly translate them. Thank you so much Loucyanna, here's your update!

Nea-Nyx:OHOHOHO Here it is! Here is what happens next.

Guest: Dear Guest, YOU buddy have no idea how much it means for me for you to say that. I honestly smiled so much.

Liu Yue Wangfei: Thank you so much! I won't! ALSO I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU cause I found it really funny and exciting, that I found your review just before posting and I went damn! This Wangfei person didn't have to wait. I updated just when they said they wanted another chapter! hahaha