A/N: Just got issue 14 of Shounen Jump. Someone tell me, when did I forget how goddamn MUCH I loved Hikaru no Go?

Akira's POV. Introspective, whoo. XD

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"Your Expression"

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Your expression was the first thing that caught my attention. There was a certain excitement and relief there, an honest pleasure at finding someone your own age to play against. I suppose you thought, that day, that it would be boring to play against an adult. Certainly, almost all of the players were much older, and none of them would have been any challenge at all for you.

But then again, neither was I.

That day . . . that go you used was so far above mine that I could hardly believe it. But I couldn't deny something I'd seen myself.

To play that go again with you . . .

I used to think I would have done anything to get to play that you again. But now . . .

As much as I want to play that incredible opponent that you were, it's Shindou I want to see before me. It is Shindou that I want to play more than anyone. Even more than Sai or my father or anyone else.

It is you I want to defeat the most thoroughly, and you only who I can let beat me.

The Hand of God . . . how long, do you think, until we find it? Because I know it will be one of us who does.

Nothing else is acceptable.

No one else is acceptable.

Not Sai or my father or anyone but you and I. Because I could never stand to lose to anyone but you, and there is no one that I want to surpass more.

All my life, I've wanted this. You just stumbled across it one day, more or less came in off the street a genius. And then you broke and couldn't do it at all anymore.

And then you rebuilt it.

Not the same go, but something that actually seemed less awkward with you. Both the modern and the archaic, but looser, more comfortable, more certain. Before, you always seemed a little bored . . . but when you started over, there was a different light in you. A different look, even while you lost.

You were prouder of those losses than of any of your previous victories.

This confused me for a long time.

Now, strangely, I think I might be starting to understand. I don't know how you learned that first style, but it was not yours.

And everything else aside, your style is the one I like the best. The one that I don't have to chase nor to have chasing me . . . the Shindou who is running beside me.

I expect to beat you. But I won't be sorry if I don't.

Because . . . I still remember that first expression . . . that happiness in your eyes when you met me that day.

And I intend to see you look at me that way forever.

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* fin *

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. : the face you wear for me : .