Hikaru no Go - The Scoundrel of Go
The Scoundrel of GoPG-13
Niklas "Hawk" Jonsson

Summary: AU. Hikaru already knows Go when he first comes across Sai. How will this change things, as we delve into the Hikaru no Go world, Hawk-style? Come on in and find out...

Disclaimer: Hikaru no Go, Hikaru, Sai and whatnot are not mine, though I certainly wish they were. I could use the money! The story is mine though, all mine.

Feedback/Flames: Yes, please. Both of them are equally fun to read, although I must admit that I greatly prefer the first variety. :)
I can be found on ICQ as 21771860 or through e-mail as , more stories are available at my nifty lil' site at or by clicking on my handle up above.

"speech"
emphasis/shouts/Kindred Domination/post-hypnotic triggers
/thoughts/
/telepathy/
translation
soundeffect/radio/telephone conversation/TV




Chapter One:


"Crummy old board." Hikaru groused, staring down at the two now separate pieces of a once-foldable Goban. It was now once foldable, because both hinges had come off by now. One had come off almost two months earlier, but since one was still good, he'd kept using the old board. The wood was cracked underneath both hinges, so it would be hard to fix it and with his pitiful allowance and extensive Ramen consumption, he wasn't going to be able to afford to buy a replacement.

He sighed and picked up the two pieces, thinking back on the games he'd played on that board, the games he'd recreated on that board and he even somewhat fondly recalled his tutoring games with Akari. He supposed it was sort of an odd hobby for a kid his age and he couldn't even claim to be really fond of the game itself, but he kept up none the less.

For the money.

It was his grandfather who had taught him how to play and first enticed him to play by offering up small amounts of candy if he managed to win. As he grew older, the candy treats changed to money. His grandfather still slaughtered him if they played an even game, but about three months ago, he had managed to win his first game with only a three-stone handicap.

Hikaru looked at the Goban again, pondering matters. He needed to practice to get better, to practice he needed a Goban. He could not afford a new Goban. Neither of his parents were likely to buy him one and his birthday was still a ways off.

Hikaru blinked.

His grandfather had supplied the original Goban, perhaps the old geezer would be willing to dig into his wallet again and buy a new board?

Deciding that it was better to take action straightaway, Hikaru got up, walked downstairs and got his jacket.

"Mom? I'm heading over to grandpa for a while." he called out, then strode out as his mothers just barely audible 'Dinner is at six. Do not be late.' echoed through the house from the laundry room. "Yeah-yeah-yeah..." Hikaru grunted as he dashed outside.

"Hikaru!" Akari gasped, having had to take several steps back to avoid being smacked by the door and then barreled over by Hikaru storming out.

"Akari. What are you doing here?" Hikaru inquired, coming to a stop as the door closed behind him.

"Just thought I'd visit." she replied, suddenly sprouting a faint blush for some odd reason. Girls were weird, no doubt about that. "Are you going somewhere?"

"My Goban finally fell apart. I was just going over to grandfather to see if he'd give me a new one." Hikaru replied and for once noticed the wistful look on his friends face. "You want to tag along?" he offered after a moments hesitation and careful deliberation.

Girls could be a pain, but grandfather was fond of Akari and overjoyed that Hikaru was teaching her Go. Having her along would be a big advantage when asking the old geezer to open up his wallet.

"Sure!" she exclaimed, happy to have been asked and overjoyed at the prospect of doing something with Hikaru other then spend the afternoon cooped up in his room, playing video games, reading boys manga or facing each other across the Goban. Neither activity was in itself very pleasing to Akari, but that was balanced out by the fact that she got to spend time one-on-one with Hikaru.

Unfortunately, it turned out that neither his grandfather nor grandmother was home.

Hikaru sighed, then his gaze traveled towards the attic where his grandfather kept all his old stuff. He smiled. Some of that crap might actually be worth something and what grandfather didn't know, wouldn't hurt him. In fact, considering how much stuff was up there, Hikaru would practically be doing him a favor by getting rid of some unnecessary things!

But after rummaging through the storage, he found something even better. It turned out that the old fart had a Goban, a real one, with legs, in the attic. It was a bit dusty, but looked to be in good shape. Hikaru carefully tapped the side of it and nodded to himself, it gave off a nice sound. He was certainly no expert, but it seemed to be a fine board. Much better then his old foldable piece of crap.

"Ne, Akari. Got a hankie I could borrow?" he asked and she hesitantly handed one to him. He looked at it and gave a mental shrug at the impracticality of the female mind. The thin lacy embroidered thing she handed to him wouldn't contain a decently sized booger. Heck, it'd probably tear from a good sneeze. He shrugged and put his left arm down on the board, then wiped the worst off with the sleeve of his jacket, then used the hankie for the delicate work. "What's with this stain?" he grunted, scrubbing at a particularly difficult spot.

That stain must be why it was up here, instead of in the house.

Hikaru didn't mind much though, it would work well enough for his purposes. All he needed was something for practice games, replaying games and tutoring Akari.

"What stain?" Akari inquired, leaning forward over the board. "It looks fine to me." she shrugged.

"This one." Hikaru announced, pointing it out to the blind girl.

"I can't see any stain." she protested. "It's clean."

"Stupid girl." Hikaru muttered under his breath. "Here, it looks like blood. As if someone bled all over this thing."

"Where?" Akari asked again, more curious, but also a bit apprehensive at the mention of blood.

"Here." Hikaru announced, putting a finger right on the biggest spot.

"... Where?" Akari asked again, a befuddled look on her face.

"I said here!" Hikaru repeated, stabbing his finger down on the board for emphasis.

/Can you see it?/

"That's what I've been saying..." Hikaru tiredly responded.

/Can you hear my voice?/

"Huh?" Hikaru inquired, looking up at Akari as if she were crazy. But she appeared transfixed by the board, staring intently at it.

/You can hear my voice, can't you?/ came a question and Hikaru only now realized that it wasn't Akari who had been talking, as her lips didn't move.

"I don't see it..." she mumbled.

"Akari, someone's here..." Hikaru said, his eyes darting all over the room. "Who is it? Old man? Come out!" he demanded.

"Stop it! Stop saying weird things. You're scaring me! I'm leaving, Hikaru." Akari exclaimed, then darted away, casting fearful glances at all sides.

/You can... You can!/ the voice announced, startling Hikaru who couldn't find any sign of whomever it was who spoke. He didn't recognize the voice either. It certainly didn't sound like grandfather and definitively not like grandmother. /Kami, I thank you!/ it continued, then Hikaru gasped as a pale spectre appeared in front of him.

"Aaaaaah!!!" he shrieked, falling backwards with a terrified look on his face, eyes bulging as he stared up at the ghostly image in front of him.

/I will now return... Return to the living world./ the ghost announced, a statement which caused Hikarus eyes to roll over in their sockets, before he slumped to the floor.

"Hikaru? What's wrong, Hikaru? Ah!" Akari called out, nervous and scared. "Hikaru's fainted! Someone! Hikaru needs help!" she called out, after having seen what happened to Hikaru.

And that was how it started. That was how Shindo Hikaru, the young scoundrel of Go, met up with Fujiwara Sai, the ancient Ghost of Go.




Hikaru sighed as he finally stumbled into his room and put the Goban down. Going to the hospital, his grandfather berating him, his mother berating him, his father berating him, Akari berating him... All in all, it hadn't been a good day for Shindo Hikaru with all that berating going on.

He glared at the Goban. Grandfather had been very reluctant, but had eventually been persuaded to loan his 'ancient treasure' to Hikaru. While it was a step up from his old foldable Goban, it was one heavy piece of shit and it took up a lot of room. The old one could be kept in a drawer when he didn't use it, which was most of the time.

He sighed again, well, considering how much berating he had to endure for the bulky thing, he guessed he owed it to himself to get plenty use out of it. In fact, he'd start right now with the game he had been about to recreate when the foldable one broke down. He walked over to his desk and got the magnetic 'stones' from his old board. Grandpa apparently still used the ones that had come with this Goban and didn't have any to spare, so the old ones would have to do.

He sat down at the Goban and picked up a three week old issue of Weekly Go from the floor where he had thrown it earlier, then flipped to a couple of interesting-looking Kifu. While his grasp on the basics was good, some of the deeper aspects of the game still eluded him which the Kifu was a great help with. But his grandfather was impressed at the rate he was improving, apparently he had some sort of knack for the game and was lyrical about how much time Hikaru must be spending studying the game.

Hikaru smiled.

He wondered what grandpa would say if he knew that he only rarely spent more then an hour at a time studying Go and that only once or twice a week. Perhaps two hours more, if one counted tutoring Akari. He returned his attention to the Kifu, slowly playing out the game, studying the board as the game progressed.

/You play Go?/

/Oh no./ Hikaru thought, as he heard the odd voice again. /No, no, no, no, no.../ he repeated in a mental chant, slowly raising his eyes from the magazine. In front of him was a pair of feet, above them, odd clothing. He tilted his head back and came eye-to-eye with the Ghost he'd seen in the cluttered storage.

/Interesting./ the Ghost commented, studying the Goban intently. /It would seem as if the game has gone through quite a few changes since I last had the opportunity to play. When did they decide to make the stones smaller and flatter, like these?/ he asked, pointing out the small magnets that Hikaru was playing with.

"Who are you? What are you?" Hikaru croaked, shivering and trembling as he slowly backed away from the Ghost.

/I am Fujiwara Sai./ the Ghost introduced itself with a courtly bow.

"You're... Not what I expected... From a Ghost." Hikaru ventured.

/I am what I am./ Sai stated with a faint dismissive gesture. /Now, who are you?/

"Shindo... Shindo Hikaru." Hikaru replied.

/I am pleased to have met with you, Shindo-kun./ the Ghost assured him, then couldn't contain it's eagerness any longer and returned it's attention to the Goban, studying the shape with a deadly intensity. /Neh, Shindo-kun? Tell me, how will this play out next? You were playing from a Kifu inside this colorful flat scroll, right?/

"Colorful fla... Ah, the magazine? Yes, yeah, I was. It is a Kifu from a game between the Meijin and the Kisei a month ago." Hikaru slowly replied. "You play Go?" he inquired, repeating the Ghosts question from earlier.

/Yes!/ Sai empathetically agreed. /I taught Go in the Heian Imperial Court, when I was alive. I also met someone else like you, someone who could see me. I played many wonderful games then./ he revealed. /Neh, Hiiikaruuu. The game? How does it play out?/ Sai inquired, futilely trying to turn the magazine over, only to have his fingers pass right through it.

"Well..." Hikaru said, scratched his head, then returned to his seat. No matter how insane he must be for having a conversation with an imaginary Go player that must be some sort of result of bumping his head hard against a floor or something, he was rather curious himself at how the game would play out. With any luck, the hallucination would be gone by the time the game was over. He picked the magazine up and kept on recreating the game, under Sai's watchful eyes.

Much to his surprise, Sai provided insightful commentary and he found himself nodding. Much of what Sai said made sense, he also pointed out a few moves that hadn't been played, but which Shindo thought looked promising, even if he lacked the ability to look ahead far enough to tell if they would have been better then what was played or not. But it was enough to let him know that Sai was good, very good.

Better then he himself was, certainly. Which made him suspect that perhaps this wasn't some sort of figment of his imagination. Perhaps it really was a ghost!

Once the final stone was placed onto the board and Hikaru declared that this was where the Kisei had surrendered, Sai nodded to himself, then slumped down in relief, letting out a great pleased sigh of contentment.

/That was a beautiful game. No matter what else changes, Go will always be Go./ he announced.

"Hey, do you want to play a game with me?" Hikaru inquired, curious to see just how good this Fujiwara Sai really was. Was he better then grandpa?

He was, as it turned out.

With Sai constantly at his side and since he now spent a great deal more time playing and studying Go due to the fact that Sai made him sick whenever he didn't get to play enough Go, Shindo's rate of improvement increased greatly. In just a month, he managed to beat his grandfather with a one-stone handicap as often as he lost. One month after that, his grandfather was the one who placed a stone at the beginning of each game.

Once that happened, Hikaru's grandfather started dragging Hikaru along to the Go Salon he occasionally visited, introducing him to the players there, getting him started playing others. Occasionally, Hikaru would let Sai come out to play, but kept those times at a minimum since the difference between the two of them was just too great. People took note when he let Sai play a game, people were stunned when he let Sai play a game.

This continued, for a almost a year and that was when this particular incarnation of Shindo Hikaru walked into Touya Koya's Go Salon for the first time...

The End! ( For now... )