STANDARD DISCLAIMER APPLY throughout story

CHAPTER 1

By id62000

"….To link the far past and the far future…. That's why I am here…. I am every one else ….too."

"Shindo?" Yashiro stared at the boy who was lying on the bed, eyes fixed on the ceiling, "You should have packed up by now!"

Getting no response he added, " Touya's already ready."

Emerald eyes shifted from the ceiling to Yashiro.

"I'm ready too.", Shindo answered and stared back at the ceiling, oblivious to the unpacked suitcase and the cloths lying around. Yashiro felt the all too familiar headache coming on. 'Don't break your head over it.', he instructed himself. But all the same he couldn't but help feel that there was a deeper meaning in those words.

'Geesh' thought Yashiro. '….Shindo. Why is he so worked up? I lost both matches too.'

Shindo did better than him. Losing by only half a moku to the first board of Korea - that just proved that the second board was no match for him. It was an easy win for Touya, reflected the third board, the second board was no match for him, even then he pulled through gracefully, making the match worth watching. That, he suddenly realized, is the power and passion of a real pro.

"Everyone ready?" Kurata-san's head poked in through the door.

"What now?" Shindo asked shifting his glance to Kurata san.

"….." Yashiro could swear that Shindo was talking in riddles today.

"Well, we'll while away this evening together, if that's all right with you, because Yashiro is returning to his home town tomorrow afternoon. We probably won't meet until the next blue star cup, ne?" He looked pointingly at Yashiro who bowed his head.

"We're not taking you anywhere if you're coming in that suit by the way, so hurry up and get ready." Kurata san turned to go, "Touya's luggage is already sent to his house and he's waiting in the lobby. I'm joining him there. By the way, do you want me to order some tea for you two?" He sang as he descended the stairs.

'Doesn't he think about anything other than food?' Yashiro thought disgusted. 'Oh! that's right - GO'

"Want any help with the packing?" Yashiro asked the now bustling blonde.

"Nah. I'll manage." He picked a handful of cloths and dumped them ungraciously into the suitcase, closed it, realized he had not taken out any cloths to wear and plopped it open again.

Yashiro stared and closed the door behind him as he left for the lobby. 'He'll probably open it again to put the used cloths inside.' He thought. He wondered what Shindo was thinking about so seriously.

Touya Akira was having a polite conversation with the Chinese pros and Kurata san was munching on some biscuits, that half eaten packet of which he thrusted at Yashiro. Yashiro shook his head and sat down on the lobby sofa after accepting the tea which a lady brought.

One of the Chinese Pros smilingly said some thing in his direction that sounded like gribbish to him. He almost snorted in disgust. Touya may understand, but it was stupid to think he could.

"Wang san wanted to know if you'll be participating next year too" Touya Akira translated smoothly.

"Whatever!" Yashiro replied. He had better things and problems to think about…like his parents.

Akira said something that suspiciously sounded like he would be delighted to do so.

The Chinese pros smiled and replied.

"They asked you not to be so rude" Akira said and turned back to the animated Chinese pros.

"Ah! Shindou!" Kurata san offered the biscuits to the blonde who was walking at a fast trot towards them.

The Chinese pros graciously bowed as Akira and the others rose to leave.

One of them commented on something in Shindou's direction.

"Chi san says you played well against the Korean pro." Akira translated.

"Ah!" Shindou accepted the tea the lady gave him, "I liked my first match better."

Akira hesitantly translated it to the pros who looked surprised.

"Shindou did play a strong game against Ko Yongha" said Kurata san casually, "but it was in the Chinese match that I saw him grow."

Akira translated this as well and bowed them away before turning to the team manager in surprise.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Akira asked nobody in particular.

Yashiro shrugged and Hikaru just looked surprised.

"Well! Let's go eat!" Kurat san said with enthusiasm bouncing off each word.

"RAMEN" caught up Hikaru delighted.

"Sushi" Akira muttered.

"Mesu" Yashiro said decidedly not wanting to be left off.

"Fishumushu" said the buoyant Kurata 9-dan.

"WHAT?" Hikaru yelled.

"SHUT UP SHINDOU!" yelled Akira, "DON"T YELL!"

"WHO'S YELLING!"

"What's the fishu thingy" Yashiro asked willing this verbal war to end.

"It's a Chinese delight" answered Kurata.

"Rock, paper, scissors" Hikaru offered at once.

"I represent fishumushu" decided Kurata san, "Touya kun - sushi…"

Akira looked surprised when he realized he was to represent a food type.

'Then again, whether representing Japan or Sushi I must play my err…best' He consoled himself with that wild thought. 'This is what happens if you mix encouraging lectures and Shin- er…Sushi.'

Shindou looked delighted at representing Ramen and Yashiro rolled his eyes at Mesu but agreed to play anyway.

"First I'll eliminate Sushi" Shindou declared and a second later Akira was out.

"Next that ridiculous mesu" Yashiro joined Akira.

"Finally, a mysterious worthy opponent. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS"

"Look's like it's Chinese delight!" grinned Kurata at the crest fallen Hikaru.

"Once more" whined the second board.

A music, that sounded like the trumpet blown before a war, filled the room much to the players' surprise.

Kurata picked up his ringing cell phone and motioned the gaping second board to be silent.

"Isn't that the music from 'The raging dead?'" questioned Yashiro.

Akira shrugged while Hikaru said that he hasn't seen movies in a while.

" 'The raging dead' was released two years and three months ago for the first time in Japan." Supplied Akira.

"Two years and three months ago I was busy chasing you" muttered Hikaru.

"AH!" Kurata san switched off the phone and turned to them in dismay, "The team managers want to have a tête-à-tête at a Chinese restaurant and they want me to come along."

'They'll soon regret it' thought Yashiro scrowling.

"That's alright Kurata san , we'll manage ourselves." Akira said bowing.

"I'm sure! Enjoy yourselves!" Kurata san turned and left the room.

"It's Ramen time now!" said Hikaru grinning.

"RAMEN? What happened to that fishy thingy that Kurata san won? It's the fishy thingy right Touya?"

"…….."

"Touya?"

"Touya completely agrees with me." Beamed Hikaru, "You see, when Kurata san left, I got a default win!"

"It's still the fishy thing!" Yashiro said firmly.

"…….."

"Right, Touya?"

"…….."

"Touya?" Hikaru looked at a green faced rival.

Finally Akira spoke, "The Chinese delight has nothing to do with fish, that I guarantee."

"Well, what is it that it has to do with?" asked an impatient Yashiro.

"……Octopus?" suggested Akira politely.