Title: Light of a Beautiful Stranger
Summary: Sai returns, but not for the world of pros and not even for Go. (I'm going to exist for you)
Light of a Beautiful Stranger
The man came from nowhere. He stepped from nowhere, looking off to the side facing his associate instead of forward at where he was walking, and knocked Akira down. The man was willowy, slender and tall; he wore a gray business suit with white dress shirt and a blue tie. His long, shining, dark hair was held back at his nape with a black clasp. His face was beautiful, smooth, dispassionate, and indigo eyes flicker over him coolly; saw Akira unhurt and then dismissed him.
Which was fine. Any other day and Akira would pick himself up from the ground, brush off the dust, exchange polite apologies and continue on his way. It didn't matter about the way the man and his associate were dressed in high and expensive business suits, that he was clearly being snubbed as a clumsy teenager. The two men were in the middle of an argument judging from the way the associate's lips were set in a stiff line and ice blue eyes stared intensely back at the long haired man.
Everything was fine, Akira pushed himself up from the tumble with minimal embarrassment, regarded the man civilly, nodded in acknowledgement at the offered apology, and brushing the dirt from his clothes, he turned to go. The man's smooth face was set politely and his associate ran an agitated hand through short blonde locks. The blonde man also mumbled an apology and Akira nodded courteously and repeated his well-mannered acceptance. He and the man obviously had come from work, and there were clearly some issues that the two men had to work out that did not involve Akira or any other bystander.
Which was fine. Everything was fine except that Shindou and the man were staring at each other and Shindou seemed to have trouble breathing. Shindou stared at the man blankly and took slow, laboring breaths in and out. The man in turn stared at Shindou without a trace of expression on his face and addressed his companion.
"What's the date?" The man said softly.
"May 10." The associate replied, frowning.
"It's been three years." The man said quietly.
"Yes. Yes." The associate said, voice stiff. "Three years since that fateful morning when Sara found you. Three years since we've tried new beginnings. Three years since you started living in this world again. So what? Why are you so obsessed with that date? Why does everything have to happen relative to that day? Three years have passed and it doesn't matter that you don't remember your past. Why can't you just. Move. On. Fujiwara?" The associate bit off. His face was pinched, emotions lurking very close to the surface. This was obviously an old issue.
" I can't." the man replied in that quiet voice and took one, two, five steps and gathered the wide-eyed, silent, trembling form of Shindou Hikaru in his arms.
The expression in Shindou's eyes was disbelief, amazement, a strange mixture of pain, terror, and the most hurting of all – hope. Shindou's leg buckled and his form slid to his knees. But that was fine because the man went down with him and there the two of them were: silent, holding on, kneeling on the public sidewalk where anyone could see.
" Fujiwara?" the associate's voice was small; shock, inquiry, and confusion expressed in the one word.
Akira stared uncomprehending at the silent, trembling form of Shindou held tightly within the circle of the man's arms. He waited for the other teenager to push the man away, shout, make rude or confused inquires; but Shindou's arms were limp at his sides, fingers lax, and his eyes stared blankly forward.
" Shindou?" Akira questioned and then there was a brief, low, keening sound: like a puppy that just got kicked while it was down.
Don't think. Don't move. Don't breathe.
Hikaru was in a dream. Hikaru was in a dream and he couldn't move, speak, or breathe too loudly or it would disrupt the dream and he would be forced to wake up.
Sai's arms were around his shoulders and Sai's body was warm, solid, and real in the way it had only been to Hikaru.
Hikaru was in a dream because Sai was in front of him, holding him, touching him. Sai had on modern clothes; no lipstick; no fan; no large Heian era hat. Sai had walked down the streets of modern day Tokyo like he belonged there, spoke to someone, bumped Touya down by accident, and the other person who Sai was traveling with was speaking to him. To Sai. Asking questions. Talking to Sai as if he could hear Sai's voice and knew he was real. He called Sai, Fujiwara, as if he knew him.
Hikaru was in a dream; Hikaru was dreaming. He was dreaming the best dream in a long time because he was finally seeing Sai again. He couldn't move suddenly, make any loud noises, or speak even when Touya asked him, otherwise he would wake up from the dream and Sai would be gone again.
" Are you alright?" Touya asked, approaching hesitantly.
Hikaru stared blankly over Sai's shoulder and nodded. Sai's hold tightened and Hikaru reached one arm up to clench at the cloth of the suit in front of him. He met Touya's eyes and slowly nodded once more.
" Fujiwara?" The man who had been traveling with Sai questioned just as hesitantly as Touya.
Sai took a deep, quiet, wavering breath that made his ribcage expand and pushed his chest out onto Hikaru's. Hikaru shuddered and breathed his air in and out in the same trembling timing he had the whole time.
Don't think. Don't move. Hikaru repeated to himself. Hikaru was in a dream, the best dream in years, and he did not want to wake up yet.
Sai pushed up to his feet and Hikaru came with him. He leaned onto the body with shoulders just broader than his own and his eyes fluttered open and closed at the feeling.
Hikaru was mute as Sai made his apologies and said quietly, "We need to be going," to his associate and Touya. Touya stared at Hikaru confused but all Hikaru could do was keep breathing and clench Sai's hand tightly.
The other man stepped forward and looked from Hikaru to Sai. "Fujiwara?"
"I'll speak with you later Ruma." Sai said quietly, and tightening his hold on Hikaru's hand, he turned and left. This time he took Hikaru with him. They headed towards the station and were lost into the crowd.
Hikaru was silent when they got to his house. They had been quiet the whole way, neither speaking as they boarded the train, stood at the corner, and exited the station. They held hands the entire time, despite the giggles and whispers. Hikaru moved forward to the door and at the last moment Sai tugged him back. Hikaru turned and Sai stared at him silently; flicking his eyes from the door and back down the way they came. Hikaru nodded.
Hikaru pulled out his keys and unlocked the door. He did not call out to his mother the customary greeting, merely took his shoes off but did not place them on the rack, he walked past his questioning mother in the hallway and up the stairs to his room.
He heard Sai speak with her, thanking her for her hospitality and kindness but Sai did not move from beyond the entryway. He did not take his shoes off and shook his head at the invitation. He introduced himself as a long time Go friend of Hikaru's. He told her he was merely waiting for Hikaru to gather his things, that Hikaru was planning on staying at his place for a few nights so they could catch up on the times and discuss Go, and he questioned her for a piece of paper and a pen so he could write down his number and address for her so she could reach them if she needed.
When Hikaru came back down the stairs with a bulging backpack and a large duffel bag held in his hands, Hikaru's mother held a piece of paper with the contact information. Sai looked at Hikaru and smiled. His mother told him not to impose on his friend too greatly and to be mindful of his manners at other people's homes. Hikaru nodded as he put on his shoes and nodded again solemnly when she repeated her instructions at the door. Sai reached over and took his duffle bag, slinging it over his shoulder. Sai thanked his mother courteously once more as she shuts the door and reached out for Hikaru's hand.
Hikaru intertwined their fingers and squeezing lightly, they headed off.
That night Sai spoke quietly into his cell phone as Hikaru sat next to him on the couch eating popcorn and watching anime. Sai had taken off his blazer and tie, unbuttoned the top button of his shirt and placated the man on the other end of the line with a quiet voice.
Hikaru ate his popcorn and ignored the conversation; watched Ichigo take on a Hollow and tilted his head on the new plot twist. When Sai finally flipped the phone shut, Hikaru turned the TV off. He put the bowl of popcorn down on the coffee table in front of them and wiped off his hands. Sai and Hikaru turned to each other and Sai finally spoke of how he came back to the world.
They found him washed ashore naked on a small private beach. The date, they told him when he asked, was May 10. Five days after Sai had left Hikaru. Sai remembered fading from Hikaru's room, an interminable time in between, and then the sunlight waking him near Hawaii.
The people who found him were coincidentally Japanese actors on a shoot. They were filming a movie and one of the standby technicians had come upon him on a walk. They offered him clothes, some food, and asked him about how he came to be. They wouldn't believe his version of what had happened, shaking their heads that he had probably had some kind of psychological shock that had disrupted his memories, implanting fantasies. Some suspected him to be a spy from a rival company but that notion was soon given up, as he had no one to contact.
They hadn't believed his story and Sai, although having been with Hikaru for a few years, did not know how to work the technologies especially in a foreign country. They refused to contact Hikaru for him, shaking their heads sadly in denial as the psychiatrist they made him see told them that it was bad to encourage his delusions.
Sai threw fits and temper tantrums, which they seemed to take as an affirmative sign of his memories being delusions, as they kept denying him and refused to teach him how to contact Hikaru himself. The doctor had told them the people would lash out in anger before they could see how wrong they were. 'It's bad for you' they said to him when he asked to be taught long distance calling, 'the Doctor said it would be a step back'.
They stayed on the site for 9 months before the crew came back to Japan. In that time Sai had endeared himself to the crew, and some of the higher-ranking corporate leaders in the show business industry. In the 9 months they slowly accustomed him back into technology, his sporadic knowledge of some devices and ignorance in others, seemed to compound their conviction that his memories were twisted fantasies of what his life had been before.
The Doctor deemed him safe enough to go out into the real world but warned that the possibility of his past memories returning were slim to none. It seemed that there was a block in Sai's mind and that he did not want to remember whatever tragedy he had experienced. He told the others to advise that Sai start a new life, build a future with new memories, as his old ones would never be the same.
When they had come back to Japan Sai had wanted to immediately go search for Hikaru, but they had first stayed in Kyoto, then Osaka, then a myriad of places. There wasn't that much free time around rising stars and busy socialites, and they refused to allow Sai to go off on his own.
Sai was beautiful. Not something he thought about often, but he had to be at least moderately pleasing to look at. He had been a tutor to the Emperor in his first life, and the Court did not take kindly on those they could easily see faults with. Sai started with a small roll as an extra, then filling in for an absent model, then a small acting scene as a friend of a friend, and then it all exploded from there. Sai's grace, soft expressions, and subtle manners were not seen commonly in the modern time period and they gave him large attractive powers for the public. His friends that he had made, although very nice people, were in the entertainment business and they would use any talent they found to get an edge over their competitors.
When asked what he had wanted to be known as to the world, alluding to a stage name and a real name, Sai had said simply 'Fujiwara'. Sai knew that if he used his whole name, there might be troubles ahead for himself and Hikaru. He also hadn't wanted to let the Go world know of his return until Hikaru knew. And then an inspiration had struck. 'Hikari' he told them, his stage name would be Fujiwara Hikari.
Ruma and Sara had taken Sai under their wing but at the name they asked if he meant 'Hikaru' and not 'Hikari'. But Sai shook his head and was adamant. He couldn't be Hikaru, because there was already a Hikaru waiting for him. He wanted to me Hikari, so when Hikaru heard, Hikaru would know he was waiting for him too.
Hikaru was currently wide-eyed and starting to flush. "Hikar-I-?" he asked incredulous. "Sai…that's…" the feminine equivalent of his name.
Somehow it was absurd, endearing, shocking, nonsensical and an utterly Sai thing to do.
"You existed for me through the electronic box." Sai explained, mentioning that summer. "You gave me my existence back, my name. They said they would show me on te-le-vi-sion, another electronic box. So this time, I'm going to exist for you."
There was a lump in Hikaru's throat he couldn't swallow no matter how hard and many times he tried. His eyes stung and he rubbed them hard. "That's stupid Sai." He said, voice wavering. " Really stupid. I mean, of course I exist. I always did. I-I" I was stupid. I didn't deserve you.
"Hikaru?" Sai asked but he kept his sleeve over his eyes, body trembling. "It's okay you know. I missed you to."
Suddenly he threw himself at Sai, or maybe not so sudden because Sai had his arms ready to catch him. He burst into tears and cried, long and hard, into the expensive shirt. " I was stupid, I was selfish. I didn't mean it. Don't leave me again. Don't leave me again." He was blubbering but he couldn't stop himself. "It was so hard. I went everywhere and I thought you left me for Torajiro because he let you play and I didn't and I was selfish and stupid and a brat and I'll let you play all you want just don't leave me again."
"I won't. I won't." Soft hand smoothed back dual colored hair. "Together forever, ne?"
Sai's touch was comforting and his voice was warm. He never once told Hikaru to stop crying and that made it all better. Soft skin, gentle murmurs and warm cloth under his cheek were the last things Hikaru felt before slipping into an exhausted sleep.
. : awake and dreaming : .