Disclaimer: "Hikaru no Go" was written by Hotta Yumi and illustrated by Obata Takeshi. This is a fanfiction.

Hikaru no Ghost

Sai is Japan's greatest living go player. Hikaru is the Heian ghost haunting him. reverse!verse

Chapter 1: Hikaru Appears!

The electronic lock re-engaged with a soft, melodic beep as the door closed quietly behind him. Sai barely even registered it in the background of his life anymore, even though it used to make him jump whenever he walked into his apartment. Though, on days like today, when he felt weariness grind deep into his very bones, Sai wasn't likely to notice anything.

Blindly groping along the wall of his entrance hall, it wasn't until his fingers found the light switch that Sai let go of the tension curled tight along his shoulders.

Walking into his apartment was not unlike falling into a deep, dark hole. And as he had been gone for the past few days, the heavy curtains had been drawn over the city-bright panorama outside of his windows, obscuring the moving landscape that would have greeted him otherwise.

The lights came on in a calming wave, bathing the neat, modern high-rise apartment in comfortable ambient lighting. Everything in this building was luxurious, from the designer lighting to the garden architecture to the first class security system. Sai had been stubborn in wanting to live alone, without any servants monitoring him at all hours of the day. And he had moved into this apartment because of how safe it was.

It was just that Sai hadn't expected living alone to feel this lonely. And now he even regretted having hired a firm to decorate his apartment. The interior design matched the building itself (sleek, modern, clean lines, open concept) rather than Sai's personality. And that left the rooms never quite feeling like home.

Sighing tiredly at the sight of his spotless, empty apartment, Sai left his suitcase by the door and toed off his shoes. He shuffled further and fell exhaustedly onto the sofa (a low white thing that wasn't comfortable for sleeping or sitting), shut his eyes, and ignored the unsettling silence around him.

There was an enormous state-of-the-art TV hanging on the wall in front of him. But Sai never did figure out the remote (a touchscreen tablet thing that he kept on the coffee table and charged diligently even though he was afraid of even turning it on), and the unit itself had no buttons (or at least none that Sai could find).

The only piece of decoration which Sai had placed personally was the goban. An old, ancient, beautiful board which had been in his family for over a century. Supposedly, it had been the personal goban of Honinbo Shusaku himself. And Sai had had it for as long as he could remember.

Carefully cherished and taken care of, Sai had never thought of it as a toy, even as a young child. It had always been his greatest treasure, just as important as a person. And Sai considered the goban his oldest friend. He didn't really have any others.

"Tadaima." Sai spoke softly.

Despite the cool-toned lighting of his apartment, the goban glowed rich red and warm gold. It always felt as if it were greeting him when he returned, a welcomed presence in his otherwise sterile apartment.

The corners of Sai's mouth almost lifted into a smile. For whatever reason, he always had the impression of a bright and happy wave welcoming him back.

Sai sat there, just staring back at the goban. He was too tired to move, to think, to feel the sense of self-consciousness that lingered still in essentially talking to himself. It was an exhaustion beyond the physical, one buried deep and which had been allowed to settle for far too long, leaving him drained from the very core of him.

"It didn't help." Sai said aloud to the goban.

There's silence. There's always silence. In his apartment, in his family home, in Sai's world. Sometimes, Sai wonders if the world would shatter the moment he speaks too loud.

"Moving out didn't help matters," Sai hugs his legs close and tiredly presses his forehead into his knees. "Maybe I made it even worse."

Sai doesn't want to remember the past few days he had spent in his childhood home. He doesn't even want to remember his entire life spent there, under heavy scrutiny and disapproving glares.

"And you weren't even there this time. I should have brought you back with me." Sai sighs into the little pocket of darkness he's made. "You know how they think of me; it wouldn't have made much of a difference to let them think I can't live without a goban."

Sai is only thirty-years-old but feels far, far older than his years. Weariness is carried in all his bones. Exhaustion grows in his very heart. And some days, Sai just wishes for it all to…stop. Sometimes, Sai entertains fantasies about shedding his problems and worries and all of the weight he constantly carries with him and just...going away. To leave and never come back.

But he's not sure if he means simply picking up and moving to a different city, or something more…permanent. Because it would be so easy. And the more time that passes, the less the ideas horrify him. All it would take is a handful of pills in bed. Merely one step off his balcony. To sink into the waters of his bath and just never come up…

"NO, SAI!"

Sai startles so violently that he falls off the end of the couch, landing in a heap upon the cream-colored carpet. (Just why was everything in his apartment white?) The fall was in no way dignified or graceful. It was exactly as opposite as Sai could get, actually.

"NO! No, No, No, No, No, Sai! Stop thinking those thoughts! Stop it! Right now! Stop this instance!" The voice protests dramatically and loudly, echoing throughout the silent apartment in a truly haunting moan.

Sai turned even more pale than he naturally was, violet eyes widening in terror. He frantically searched for the origin of the voice, but there's no one in the apartment with him. A team of security guards would have stormed their way up here if Sai's security system had been breached. Yet, no matter where he looked from his low vantage point along the ground, there wasn't a pair of feet anywhere in sight.


In his shock and confusion, Sai's neck snapped upwards at the command.

Then he screamed in absolute terror.

There's a boy on his ceiling. No, almost on his ceiling. There's a boy floating in the air almost at his ceiling!

The boy was obviously a child. About twelve years old. With (strangely) bi-colored cut short in a modern style, bright bangs obvious amongst otherwise dark hair. And all of this wouldn't have been that odd at least, if it weren't for the way the child was dressed.

He's dressed in the long rich robes of the classical Heian period. There is a tall, ornate black hat atop his head. Long white robes atop more colorful silk, all of it floating in the air outside of gravity and reality. And a transparent veil is draped over the boy's head, falling past his feet and floating above Sai's head.

Brilliant green eyes stared down at Sai, harsh and determined.

Sai blinked up at him, gaping.

"You…" The boy addressed him directly, possessing the unyielding authority of a noble class capable of controlling armies.

Sai felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, a hard shiver of apprehension slithering down his spine, awaiting the command.

Then the boy pouted, cheeks puffing out in agitation.

"…ARE SO STUPID, SAI!" The boy shouted in fury, large robe sleeves waving through the air as he shook them in outrage.

He raised one silk-clad arm and pointed a very old-styled folding fan right at Sai's face, punctuating each of his next words with a hard shake.

"Dumb! Dummy! Loser! Moron! Fool! Slow! Simple! Senseless! Dense! Dull! Futile! Insult! Offense! IDIOT!"

Sai continued to gape upwards as the boy then began to fly around the ceiling, spinning again and again in a great circle as he threw his arms up in exasperation and wailed offenses.

"Who are you?" Sai blurted out, interrupting the temper tantrum being thrown along his ceiling.

"I'm Hikaru!"

The boy slid to a stop, turning to glare at Sai (who flinched), before he huffed and placed his hands at his hips. He glided smoothly down until he floated just above Sai's coffee table.

"Who's Hikaru?" Sai asked in confusion.

Hikaru huffed again in irritation, cheeks puffing out adorably.

"Me! Duh." Hikaru then rolled his eyes dramatically at Sai.

Sai continued to sprawl along the ground and gape.

"Get up, Sai!" Hikaru ordered.

Sai blinked a few times before unsteadily getting to his feet as quickly as possible when he couldn't feel any of his extremities.

"Sit down, Sai!"

Sai fell sideways onto the end of the couch, clamoring into a more suitable position as he felt an impatient glare at the back of his neck.

Hikaru waited, arms crossed, still floating gently over the coffee table.

"I…uh…" Sai stammered, unable to take his eyes off Hikaru. "Hello, Hikaru."

Hikaru gave him a decidedly unimpressed look.

Sai nervously smoothed the fabric of his pants, wondering if he had offended Hikaru by attempting to be polite.

"So…are you…I mean…you're…"

Hikaru rolled his eyes at him again.

"A ghost, Sai." Hikaru answered him promptly. "I'm a ghost."

Sai paled even further.

"A Heian ghost." Hikaru added, looking distinctly amused by this fact. "The oldest ghost!"

Hikaru threw up his arms, the sleeves of his robes fluttering through the air as he chuckled and floated back at an incline.

"At least, I've never met anyone before my time." Hikaru amended, quite sensibly.

Hikaru then twisted around to lie on his stomach and study Sai, hands folded over his chin, still floating in the air.

Sai nodded. He didn't think he had anything to add to that.

"Anyway!" Hikaru threw himself up, sitting in seiza upon thin air. "We have some things to discuss, Sai!"

Sai's head whipped upwards, eyes wide.

"We do?"

"Naturally." Hikaru nodded with sombre authority. And Sai could almost see Hikaru within the halls of a castle, separated by sliding shoji screens, bathed in candlelight.

"Firstly!" Hikaru exclaimed, causing Sai to jump in his seat. "You're not allowed to die, Sai. Ever. I forbid it!"

Hikaru slammed his palm in front of him to emphasize the point. And though there was nothing at all to come into contact with, the sharp slap rang through the emptiness of Sai's apartment as if Hikaru had impacted with the non-existent tatami mat below him.

"W-Wh-What?" Sai stammered anxiously.

"FORBIDDEN!" Hikaru shouted resolutely, glaring at Sai with a cutting emerald gaze.

Weakly, Sai nodded in understanding. Certainly, there had been finality in those words.

"Secondly!" Hikaru held up another fan, this one of the samurai variety rather than the closed folded one from before. "You are no longer trusted to act on your own. Until such a time that you have once again proved your competency, I shall be the general and you shall be the horse."

Sai's mouth opened, gaping at Hikaru again.

"The horse?" Sai asked weakly.

"Yes! You have something against horses, Sai? They are creatures and friends worthy of even the highest nobility! I was given a horse in my third spring. He was a loyal and steadfast friend. I loved that horse, Sai!"

Sai's mouth shut with an audible click. He had no idea what was happening.

"Thirdly!" Hikaru continued, fan gone. "As your master—"

Sai sputtered.

"—changes shall be enacted to better reflect my honorable personage within this household…if you even deign to call it as much." Hikaru sniffed disdainfully at the apartment around them.

"What changes?" Sai exclaimed, ignoring the jab at his apartment. (It wasn't as if he much liked it either.)

"Well, for one thing, you could put me in a better place, Sai!" Hikaru snapped.

Sai just stared at him in complete incomprehension.

Hikaru dropped down to stand atop the coffee table, legs apart, hands on hips.

"The goban! The goban, Sai!"

Sai stared down at his treasured goban. And then back at Hikaru.

"That's my house, Sai! Where do you think I sleep?" Hikaru pointed down to it, before stopping to frown at it a little. "Or…haunt? Is that what you people say? Well, whatever you want to call it then."

Sai opened his mouth, only to close it slowly.

"And it wouldn't kill you to use it once in a while." Hikaru continued, oblivious to Sai's inner crisis. He floated to sit down on the coffee table, light as a feather, kicking his legs childishly. "It's a goban, Sai. You're supposed to play go on it; not stare at it. It's not one of the great precious jewels of the Hōō-dō."

Sai looked away from Hikaru to focus on the goban he had had his entire life. The goban he had treasured and taken care of with only the greatest of care. The goban he had poured his thoughts and feelings into when he had no one else. The goban he had spoken to. The goban Hikaru resided in. That haunted goban.

"Err…Sai?" Hikaru asked with some concern, finally noticing Sai's rapid-onset panic attack. "Are you feeling unwell?"

Sai couldn't breathe. He had forgotten how to do that. He had stopped breathing.

And ready for a break from reality, Sai gratefully fell into unconsciousness.

Author's Note:

Yes, I'm aware that the title means "Hikaru's Ghost". But is not Hikaru everyone's ghost?