Blind Man's Go
AU: "Not buts. No more excuses. No more self pity" insisted his grandfather, not unkindly, but sternly. "It's just a 19x19 board. A miniature world. If you can conquer your fears here, the real world is nothing. Just focus." Note: This story was loosely inspired by an idea in "Blind Go" by Aishuu: Enjoy!
The last thing Hikaru remembered seeing was his grandfather's goban. The old man had painstakingly taken the time to teach his young grandson how to play. And though he had enjoyed the experience, it was not surprising when the 7 year old boy fell asleep before the goban. Eventually his mother picked him up and placed him on the passengers seat, still fast asleep.
The accident wasn't really all that bad. Neither car was totalled and, a few bruises aside, everyone escaped unharmed. Except Hikaru.
As the air bag exploded within the car, it became obvious that it was broken. The chemical burns from it left him blind.
The doctors said there was nothing they could do.
Nearly three weeks has passed and though the boy had been discharged from the hospital, it was clear he was anything but fine. He had barely spoken a word since that fateful day and gloomily stared off into space, far from his normal cheerful self.
"I'm really worried about Hikaru" he heard his mother tell his grandfather. They were whispering at a distance, but his hearing had vastly improved in the time since the accident. "This is all my fault... if I had put him in the backseat... if I had been more careful..." He clutched his legs tighter around his knees, burring his face in his knees, not wanting to hear more of his mother's pains.
"Give him time" his grandfather reassured her, and Hikaru wished he too could be reassured so easily. Since the accident, everything had change...he hadn't even been able to play with his friends. After all, how could he? Nothing was the same! Even Akari came to visit and simply burst into tears upon seeing him. Was there anything he could still do? He was so caught up in these thoughts, he barely heard the approaching footsteps until his grandfather already stood by his side.
"Hikaru, come, let's play a game of Go" said his grandfather only to see the kid's face scrunch up, about to cry. A week ago, had anyone told him his grandson, the bright and exuberant Hikaru, would cry over any little thing, he would have laughed himself silly. Now, he wondered what it would take to get his grandson back.
"Don't start that on me. Just because you're blind doesn't mean you're useless" his grandfather was a kind man, but he knew how to be forceful when necessary. It was clear Hikaru's mother wasn't strong enough to help the boy snap out of it. And given the remarkable absence of Hikaru's father, it became clear that the responsibility fell on the grandfather.
"But I can't see the grid and..." Hikaru felt a finger lightly tap him on his forehead.
"You are way too young to have answers for everything" laughed his grandfather, taking his hand and walking with him towards the goban. Hikaru struggled to wave his walking stick around, trying to get used to his new way of "seeing".
"You remember the rules, right?" he began, and his grandchild nodded fervently. "Well then, call out your moves. You can be black. I'll tell you mine as soon as I play it."
"Not buts. No more excuses. No more self pity" insisted his grandfather, not unkindly, but sternly. "It's just a 19x19 board. A miniature world. If you can conquer your fears here, the real world is nothing. Just focus."
"A miniature world..." contemplated Hikaru, with a seriousness that seemed alien given his usual lighthearted self. For the first time in his life, Hikaru put aside his restless nature and focused. "Onegaisimasu"
The first game was nothing short of a slaughter. Hikaru had been keeping track of the game well enough even if he was by no means winning. That is, until his grandfather played a move outside of their ongoing battle in one of the corners. He had completely forgotten the pieces in the rest of the grid.
"That was a good game Hikaru" said his grandfather, and the boy could hear the old man smile. He too allowed himself the smallest of a grin.
"Hikaru, say goodbye to grandfather, it's time to leave" called out his mother. He could still hear the remnants of tears in her voice.
"Can I come play with grandfather again tomorrow?" he dared asked, wanting nothing more than some sense of normalcy. He couldn't play with his friends in the playground, he couldn't even make it to school for classes. But at least before the Go board, he could see. All I need is to conquer this miniature world...
"Yes, yes of course!" exclaimed his mother, happy to hear her son sound so normal. It was the first time he has expressed any desire to do anything since the accident, and she let out a sigh of relief. Perhaps it really was just a matter of time.
------------ That night, his grandfather did something he hadn't done in years. He prayed.
"Whatever Kamis are up there, you really screwed up" he lashed out bitterly. "My little boy did nothing to deserve this. Nothing!" He swore under his breath, before falling on his knees before the small shrine. "But I beg of you. If you have any ounce of decency in you, help him. I can only guide him so far..." He stood up and walked away, feeling defeated for the first time in years.
Elsewhere, the soul of Sai woke up from its slumber. 'Why am I awake?' he wondered, knowing he had already lived his second chance, and though he still longed for more Go, he knew he had gotten more than he deserved.
'We gave your wish, Sai, now we have a request to ask of you'
By the time Hikaru woke up, he knew he was no longer alone.
Author's Note: Leave a review if you can. I have a lot written for this story, but I want to know if people are interested in reading before I continue.