Akira opened the door and couldn't keep the surprise from his face.
"TOUYA!" Hikaru's voice rang out.
"I've been here since earlier this morning. Please come in."
"Neat! So how was your test?" Hikaru asked eagerly stepping inside.
"I managed to pass." Some laughter streamed through Akira's voice.
"Managed? You probably taught that unlucky examiner something. So, what was the test about?"
"You don't know too?" Hikaru asked surprised.
"It was a test for getting a license." Akira's annoyed voice was a decibel too loud.
"License? Aren't you a couple of years too young Touya?"
"Not a marriage license - driving license." Akira gritted his teeth.
"I was talking about driving license Touya." Grinned Hikaru
"So, they gave you one? Man! I can't even dream of crossing the roads safely now."
"I'm a good driver." Touya managed.
"I'll take you back to the station and show you that I'm a good driver."
"No way! What do I look like? A guinea pig?"
"SHINDOU! I am a good driver!" Akira sighed. His vocabulary always deserted him when he was speaking to Shindou Hikaru.
"You know what? I think now that you can drive, the frequency of your unwanted presence appearing at a totally unwanted time will increase." Reasoned out Hikaru.
"I do drive well." Akira mentally kicked himself for not listening first, "I mean-"
"What ever! Now that you're here, let's play a game. There is this totally Super Strategy I want to beat you with."
"Beat me with? Beat me if you can! But brag about it after that!"
"Touya, you're such a spoil sport! Oh and hey! Will you give these kufus to Touya san? Sensei sent them over. And you know what else? I just came back from that new place - Wearhouse! Look what I bought! What do you think?"
"Is that a jacket?"
"Well it's err…words can't describe it."
"I knew you'd like it! Mom can't complain now!"
"Actually, the jacket is well…Yellow!"
"Just a tad bit too bright…"
"Touya! You have no fashion sense!" Hikaru straightened out the yellow jacket.
"Fashion? This?" Urgh!
"That's why I said you have no fashion sense!"
"Hey! Let's get going! It's already six."
"It took you that long to come from Jubaan?"
"Err…Jubaan is close isn't it?"
"You lost your way again?"
"Hey! All the roads look familiar. That's why!" Hikaru said defensively, stuffing the jacket back into his bag.
"That's because you've seen them all that last time you got lost you idiot."
"Baka yourself! Who asked you to go and live so-"
"Shut Up! Let's play! I've been bored to death without an exciting game." Realization dawned, "I mean -"
"Bored to death huh?" an evil tone took hold of Hikaru's voice, "Watch it - you nearly complimented me."
"That was not a compliment."
"An insult? I'm going to beat you real bad with this super strategy Touya."
"I will, I will."
Akiko peeked into the hall, "Oh! Shindou kun! Nice to meet you again."
"I originally came to drop off some kufus from Senssei."
"Come on in, or do you have to go?"
"I planned to stay for a while – even a game with Touya."
"Great! We'll be upstairs – my room, Oka san." Akira said already at the stairs with Hikaru following him.
"Touya, let's keep a bet." Hikaru said as he entered Akira's room.
"If I win you have to do something I say or vise versa."
"Spell out the vice versa."
"If you win I'll do anything you say."
"Fine – deal! But what do I have to do?"
"He he! I get to dress you up!"
"WHAT! That's it? No way!"
"Afraid of losing?"
"Of course not!"
"Fine. The vice versa exist right."
"I'm going to crush you and your strategy."
"Crush me? Beat me if you can! But brag about it after that!"
"Hey! That's my line."Akira scrowled.
"Let me take out the board first!"
"That's so ancient! Get modern for heaven's sake."
"That is modern."
"STONE PAPER SCISSORS!"
"I won - yahoo!"
"You get to be black. That's got nothing to do with winning!"
"Hey is that the closet?"
"Yes but – what are you doing!"
"You should have some casual wear! At least jeans or something!"
"Shindou that's rude! You can't just – hey! Stop that!"
"Touya…mrfm…stop closing the closet on me."
"That's my closet. Get out of it."
"All I want to do is check whether you have any – "
"I'll get it." Akiko announced as she opened the door.
"Huh? May I help you?"
A lady with brown auburn hair and gentle frame stood there. Akiko had a vague impression that she had seen her somewhere.
"Hello, I'm sorry to disturb you but – is Hikaru here?"
"Shindou – kun?"
"He arrived just a while ago. Please wait, I'll call him." Ah! Shindou kun's mother, she realized.
"Oh, I'll call them myself then, I'd rather you don't trouble yourself." Shindou san started on the stairs.
"It's alright, come on up."
"Shindou - get off there!"
"Instead of just standing there and yelling, do something – pull me out or drag or kick or whatever."
"I do not restore to corporal violence."
"You'll send Gandhi running for his money." Hikaru teased.
Shindou san peeked in to find Akira at an arm's distance to Hikaru who was rummaging through the closet. The taller boy suddenly dashed at Hikaru pulling him out of his closet and shut the closet door with his left foot.
"You said - " The surprised Hikaru started.
"NOBODY beats Gandhi." Akira cut him off and proved his point by holding on to Hikaru with an amazing strength and keeping his attempts, to open the closet, at bay.
"Oh! Mom!" Hikaru suddenly noticed both the mothers at the door.
Akira let go instantly, a flush staining his cheeks.
"I came to get you on my way from Kure san's place, Waya kun said you left quiet a while ago and must have caught up playing a game or something." Shindou san pointed at her handbag where her mobile was kept.
"Oh! Looks like we can't play then – well tomorrow – Friday ne?" Hikaru turned to look at Akira.
"Gomen Ne!" Akira said suddenly, blushing, "My name is Touya Akira. Glad to meet you." He bowed.
"I'm Hikaru's mother." Shindou san smiled. What a well mannered boy. If Hikaru was half of– well, she'll dream later.
"Mom, look at this." Hikaru held up two polite designed button down shirts, "Touya keeps only these kinds – ties and bows and suits and Hakamas and-"
"Hikaru!" Shindou san pulled on her best shocked expression as she saw the taller boy's face take on a deep pink shade – she realized he was not used to Hikaru's blunt ways, "Where are your manners? Apologize now!"
"All I was doing was- "
"Apologize." Shindou san shot a death glare at her son.
"It's quiet alright Shindou san." Akira, who had finally fought down the blush, spoke up.
"That's no reason - " began Shindou san.
"But it's weird!" Hikaru insisted, not realizing how much he was hurting the dark haired boy.
Shindou san decided to pull things in the taller boy's favor, "Hikaru, Akira kun is wearing the correct dress code. You see, when the majority does the wrong thing – the wrong thing looks right sometimes."
"Really?" Hikaru could not imagine such a situation, but since it was Mom saying so then…
"Akira kun is just different since he was brought up in –"
"Touya is not any different from Waya or Isumi or…even me – right Touya?" Hikaru shot his rival an enquiring look. Finding the total lack of encouragement in Akira's surprised look, he continued anyway, "He just plays Go a tiny wee bit better than us, that's all - right Touya?"
Touya's surprised and amazed face gave no indication in agreement to this…or in disagreement to this.
"It's really time to go – we should start out now if we have to reach home safely. Thank you for everything Touya san, Akira kun." Shindou san said hurrying her son downstairs.
"Please come again." Touya san smiled and Touya bowed as they waved and left.