Disclaimer: I own an Akira key chain! That's about all I own.
Author's note: Hello people! Long time no see. Sorry to grace you with the same old title again, but I just can't seem to start on a new piece leaving the old one so tattered and messy. I assure you this will be my last version, and I hope it will be the best one of them all. Please enjoy and feel free to comment.
"Can't you just stop looking for my mistakes and start to notice your own!" Touya shouted rather angrily.
"What? But that's what discussing is all about! It's about telling the other person where he could do better!" Shindou retorted, "Why can't you just admit that you are so damned arrogant that you can't stand people pointing out your flaws! Oh that's right, 'cause you are just so damned arrogant!"
"You are right! You tell the person where he could have done better! You don't shout in their face or mock them for a simple mistake! Not that what I did was a mistake! It was the best move available in that situation!" once he made up his mind, no one could tell Touya that his opinion was wrong. "And I'm not arrogant! I can accept other people's suggestions… if they happen to be right!"
It was midwinter in the busy city of Tokyo. A thick layer of snow was covering everything from the roof of the buildings to the bike outside Shindou's house. On that freezing evening, Touya Meijin's salon was unexpectedly closed due to the upcoming blizzard. Sadly, no one cared to inform the two teenage pros, and they were left staring at the notice posted on the glass door. Yet the two dedicated rivals had still agreed to play at Shindou's house, since it was much closer to the train station, and Touya really couldn't stand Shindou's complaints about the cold.
After a few hours of silence as the pair preceded in the game, Shindou's mother was wondering if they had fallen asleep or somehow gotten frozen because no sound came out from that room for ages. Maybe they killed each other? She thought momentarily.
Just as she was about to check on them, she heard "can't you just stop looking for my mistakes and start to notice your own?" coming out from the closed door.
Ah…I wonder what Hikaru had said to make Touya-kun so mad? They had been getting along rather well these days. That is, if they don't play Go. Shindou's mother thought to herself. In fact, I think they are getting along a little too well. They tried to hide it but as if I couldn't tell; not to mention Hikaru's father caught them cuddling in the living room when they thought we were asleep.
She smiled as she recalled the way her husband looked when he returned from the trip to the bathroom, the way he mumbled on long after they shared the hints they noticed since the day Shindou invited Touya over for dinner.
She also wondered to herself exactly why was she ok with all this. Why wasn't she worried or disgusted? Well… she reasoned with herself, it's not like you are not normal; it's just that you got an open mind. Where do you think Hikaru got his personality? You and his father, of course!
"What? But that's what discussing is all about! It's about…"
Uh… if they are talking about Go, then I shouldn't interfere. They are the pros and I don't even count as an amateur. I can't help them, and they would just get mad at me. I will just go make them some tea in case one of them needs extra saliva or the other loses his voice.
With that, Shindou's mother retreated back into the kitchen.
"'If they are right' how could you say that? If they weren't right, why would I tell you! If I'm your rival, don't you think you can at least trust me on things like this?" Shindou bounced up from the floor and pointed at a stone, "Think about it. This stone, if used properly, would have clearly cut my shape here and then this whole territory would be yours in just two more hands!"
Touya's gaze followed his accusing finger and stared at the stone. He thought about it. So maybe he was right...
Nevertheless, Touya could feel a hint of frustration rising from his chest. Before he knew that his mouth was moving, he blurted out, "So what if you are my rival! You don't have to be so cocky! It's not like you always make the best move. And what I did wasn't wrong either! You just got lucky and found a better path! And anyways, I still win by half a moku!"
"It's not the point of winning! You clearly don't give a damn about my opinions! Everything I said is either wrong or not good enough! So what if I'm your rival?! Then I guess it would be 'so what if you are my lover' someday, huh! Forget it! Suit yourself… I'm leaving!" Shindou screamed at the top of his lung.
"What does that have to do with anything?! You know, it never ceases to amaze me how abrupt you change the subjects. It's as if you have no attention span or something." Touya grumbled while blushing, but then he realized something before the other boy, "Eh? Uh… where are you going? This is your house, stupid!" He said somewhat amusingly.
"Seriously though, not so loud on the lover thing… you want the whole world to know?"
"Touya, give me a break! We are in my house. Do you see a whole world of people in here? And I am planning on telling my parents; I'm not used to keeping secrets from them!" Shindou sat down again, feeling embarrassed for his impulsiveness. He looked straight into Touya's eyes, preparing himself for a serious discussion.
"Secrets, you kept a lot of secrets. And you still are! Taking Sai for example…" Touya started in his matter-of-fact tone.
"Shut up! He is different!" Shindou said, narrowing his eyes. Sometimes he wondered if that was all Touya cared about--Sai.
Sometime Touya wondered if Sai was more important to Shindou than him. Or if Sai is the boundary he had to cross to truly become Shindou's companion. The room was quiet for a second, as they both got lost in their private thoughts.
"Whatever, let's drop it. This has nothing to do with Sai anyway." Shindou said as he stood up once again and walked to the door. Touya was jolted back to reality by his words. He looked up and noticed that his rival/boyfriend had risen once more and had made his way to the door.
"Where are you going now? You can't still be upset about the lost game? Don't act like it's the first time." Touya teased.
"No. Since I know I was right and all," that earned him a halfhearted glare.
"I'm going…no…we should both go and tell my mom about…well, us. I have wanted to do it for some time now."
"HUH?!" Touya dropped the go stone that was trapped in-between his finger.
"Well, since you brought it up, I think today is as good as any other day. Don't worry about it, my mom is cool, she will be okay with it! Not like that woman has any extreme opinions on anything anyway…Then we won't have to hide anymore, at least not in my house." Shindou leaned on the opened door, seemingly waiting for Touya to come along.
"I brought what up, when?" Touya looked to be in mild confusion but wild panic. His mind seems to have rejected Shindou's words. It's apparently too much information to digest in such a short time. Looking at him then, Shindou had an urge to attack him; and he might have very well done so if there weren't something serious on his mind.
"It doesn't matter! Come on, let's go tell my mom that we are madly in love with each other, and if it was acceptable, then we would have married long time ago. Of course…you will have to put that in a more round-about way." Shindou chuckled at his own joke.
"WHAT? Wait, wait, what?! I thought you were just joking! You are joking right? You can't be serious about that?! NO! There is no way!" Touya bounced up, sprinted forward, and grabbed Shindou's arm, trying to stop him from going any further.
"What do you mean 'what'? Are you serious about us, Akira?" Shindou was surprised by the sudden outburst. He knew Touya would be more conservative than him, but this?
"Well…yeah, but, we are not fully prepared or anything. I didn't even bring any gifts. Besides, we didn't give her any warning. Isn't it cruel to just tell her bluntly that her son is gay and in love with another guy?" Touya frantically searched his mind for excuses to stop Shindou's thoughtless act.
"If that's what you are worried about, don't. My mom isn't the type that cares for all those formality. She feels uncomfortable when people get too serious." Shindou waved the concern away.
Another look at Touya's anxious face, and the answer slowly dawn on him, "Are you planning to hide this for as long as humanly possible?" Shindou asked lightly, a little shocked, a little disappointed, and a little hurt.
"I think that's best fitting, yes. I was sure you felt the same." Touya tried to explain this calmly. "The timing is not right, and I don't think we are ready. That is why we can't tell anyone! Neither your parents nor mine! Not Isumi and definitely not Waya! He would certainly broadcast it as soon as the information reaches him. Do you know what would happen to us and our future if the Go world finds out that we are…we are abnormal?"
"Abnormal? So that's what you think huh! You are ashamed of this, aren't you!" it was an accusation, not a question.
"Hikaru, try to understand. I'm not ashamed but I'm not very proud of it either!" Touya sighed, looking for the right answer to satisfy his unusually unstable partner, wait no, that's not quite right. When he saw how Shindou's face darkened, he knew that he said the wrong thing.
"Oh…I see" Shindou looked away, trying hard to cover the sadness that was suddenly so overwhelming. "Well, Touya, you are regretting it then? I know I'm proud. I'm proud to have someone who understands me by my side. I'm proud that I can love someone this much, and what I'm proud of the most, Touya, is that this 'someone' is you."
"I know... You know I didn't quite mean it that way. I mean, let's just keep this to ourselves for now, alright?" Touya softened his tone, his heart pounding fast at the rare words that escaped his lover's mouth.
"If that's what you want. I will do my best." Shindou was truly disappointed that his rival was so secretive about their feelings toward each other, but he was touching base with one of the relationship components: respect, so if that's what Touya truly wants, then….
They walked back to the goban and sat down. Shindou looked at the game on the board silently, clearly somewhat fuming about the rejection. Touya frowned; he could sense trouble, because after all, how long is he going to hold off this matter? It's highly unlikely that Shindou will just let it go.
After several minutes pasted in silence, Touya started to fidget. He glanced at the still motionless Shindou and wanted desperately to say something to lose the tension. Besides, something was nagging at him, making his chest burn…
"You know, it's amazing how well you keep Sai your deepest secret! You are willing to expose our secret to everyone, but you are protecting Sai with your dear life." Hearing himself, Touya could feel his blood cooling, since when was he such an inconsiderate, bigmouthed idiot? Isn't that the topic they were trying to avoid?
"Anyhow, I wonder if I should be jealous." Touya finished hesitantly, trying hard to cover it up. He didn't mean at all to bring them back to the argument again.
"That's because our -your so called-'secret' doesn't have to be a secret! I don't know how you connect those two completely different things together! Why? What are you so afraid of?" Shindou asked.
Touya sighed; he was hoping Shindou wouldn't bring it up, he was praying that Shindou had ignore his yakking or maybe decides to just let it go.
"What's not to be afraid of, the fact that my parents are going to be completely and utterly disappointed in me, that they may even relentlessly discard me? Or maybe you think it's no big deal if the Go world reject me? It would pretty much ruin me!" he was going to say 'us', but he knew Shindou would just argue that he wouldn't mind or care.
Shindou's eyes widen at that confession. It would ruin him! Oh no! I wouldn't wanna ruin his life and reputation! Maybe I shouldn't stay with him at all! After all, how long can I hide this! I wouldn't want to be blamed when he is ruined!
Ruining him, I don't want that to happen because of me…I want him to be successful. I want him to play Go. I want him to reach the hand of God. I want him to be happy. I'm so selfish. I… hey, who here is the selfish one? Shindou thought sarcastically, and then sarcasm turned into guilt, then sadness, and lastly, anger.
"Why didn't you just say so...?" He said ever so calmly.
"Wha--?" Touya was caught off guard; he looked up from the Goban. He froze when he saw the expression on Shindou's face. The way his hair fell into his eyes, making a shadow unsuitable for the cheery boy. The way his hands clench tightly to form two fists…
"Leave please." He raised his volume.
"What's wrong? Hika-."
"I said leave! Just go! Leave me alone! Better yet, I will leave you alone!" Shindou exploded; he tried not to notice the concern and confusion on his lo- no, his rival's face.
Touya finally remembered their conversation before he got absorbed into their former game. He quickly shouted, "Let me explain! I didn't mean----"
"You didn't mean it? Akira, of all the things you said to me during our time together, what did you mean and what did you not mean? Was all that 'I love you' 'I missed you' and 'I want to be with you' crap? Can you tell me what is true? Because see, I'm confused here! Taking right now for example, you already said numerous things that you didn't mean. Can I still be damned to trust you?"
"Don't use that tone with me! Hikaru! I mean everything I said! I… you are not making this easy!" Touya felt like he just stepped into Shindou's trap.
"Well, guess what, maybe I don't want to! It wasn't supposed to be easy! From the moment we confessed, from the moment I kissed you, I was ready for whatever hardship that was coming. I was ready to face anything…with you, Touya, not by myself! Apparently, even if you care about me, you are not ready for this!" Shindou went to face the door, his hand slowly reaching for the doorknob "So that's how you felt…why didn't you tell me sooner? And here I am, feeling all happy and in love. Why didn't you tell me…your fear…ruining you? I didn't know…I didn't…"
"Hikaru, listen! You misunderstood! " Touya walked towards him. Feeling terrible for what he said.
"No, don't touch me! You know what? Damn this! Damn it all! I don't need this! I'm such a fool! I want you to leave, NOW!" with that he opened the door wide.
What was that? Their fight never got this serious before. They screamed, yes. They shouted insults, yes. They threw things at each other, maybe, but Hikaru ordering Touya-kun to leave, never before. Shindou's mother dropped her teacup when that scream leaked through the door. She hurried out of the kitchen and went for the staircase; she made it just in time to see a miserable Touya breezing by and rushing for the door.
Touya saw her and slowed down. His pained face changing to the usual politeness, and he muttered: "Shindou-san, thank you for everything."
Then he was gone.
"Hikaru! That was a horribly rude thing to say! I don't care what the reason, go and apologize, now!" she shouted while running up the stairs, ready to give her son a lecture.
What she expected to see was a fuming Shindou glaring at the air in front of him. Except, what she really saw was a broken hearted boy, who buried his head in his pillow and let out a big sigh. He once again looked so small. However, unlike when he was a carefree child, exhausted from playing soccer, now there is a different kind of tiredness. Despair and hurt was written all over his lean body that hung half in, half out of the bed.
"Oh. My…" was the only whisper she could manage at the moment.
No one knows it then, but that was just the beginning.
To Be Continued…
Previews for the next chapter:
-He stopped and stared longingly inside. It looked like the gardens in the Christmas globe his mother gave him when he was five.
-A few seconds later, a panicked voice shouted from inside the crowd, "Call an ambulance! 911!"
-Touya wiped the icy droplets from his face and smiled sadly.
-And that was the perfect resemblance of happiness.
Author's note: So that's all for this chapter. I'm not sure if the storyline will interest everybody, being Shounen-ai and all. If you like it however, I would feel very encouraged if you come back for more. Also a few things:
Bold words- thoughts of various characters
Italic words- flashbacks
Underlined words - greater emphasis
All in all, I truly hope you liked it, and if you must, the review button is right below. That is, if you must ;)