Hikaru no Go – German King

Summary: Tragedies hits Hikaru one by one, and all he has left is Go and memories. He will grow older, he will grow colder, but he will also take you by storm. AU. No pairings decided as of yet.

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I don't own Hikaru no Go

Hikaru's thoughts and talking with Sai

Sai speaking

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"I would prefer the temporary-placement facilities at a child-guidance centers if possible, if not a room at a residential child-protection institution. I won't need to stay long so you shouldn't bother with anything permanent." Hikaru said as the man stood up to leave, obviously he had gotten enough information to proceed with the case.

Tanaka-san turned around as he opened the door and looked over Hikaru with a dismissing look. "You leave the thinking to the experts' boy. Don't think we have open rooms just waiting for wise ass kids like you to fill up. Now, good day Shindou-san, you will hear from us soon. You can tell the Head Nurse that we allow you to spend the night here again before I'll send someone tomorrow to pick you up. Hope you look forward to an exciting and different future. The good night stories has ended for you boy, better learn to do as you are told, or you might not like the consequences." He said with an unpleasant grin.

But Hikaru wasn't looking forward to it, not at all.

Chapter 23

The nurses sent him sympathetic glances every time they past him now. It seemed that the news of his immediate departure was the ICU's newest gossip. Getting picked up by the Child Services was obviously the same as getting sent to the butcher.

He got miso soup again with some soggy nuddles; his last meal considering the teary look of Head nurse Keiko's eyes. And when she came to pick him up, Heihachi was still asleep.

He couldn't decide if that was a bad or good thing. On one hand he was glad Heihachi was sleeping. His grandfather needed his rest and to preserve his energy. But on the other hand Hikaru would have liked to say goodbye to him. He didn't know when he would see him next. And what if something happened when he was away? He wanted to ask Sai to stay behind with Heihachi like he did while Hikaru went home for their things...But again, he also wanted Sai to stay with him. He was hardly a 'scardy cat', but that man yesterday gave him the creeps.

In the end he kept his mouth shut as he was guided down the hall. His grandpa slept on, and Sai drifted after him and the nurse.

He was brought to the same place as yesterday. The atmosphere of the room was just as cold and sterile, and the chair hadn't gotten any more comfortable either. And so the long minutes ticked by.

Sai... His fingers turned white around the armrest.

I'm here Hikaru.

"I just...stay by me..." Hikaru whispered harshly, not taking his eyes of the steel gray door in front of him.

Sai flouted down and wrapped his ghostly arms around his stiff shoulders. I'll be here.

I don't know what will happen from here on and I'm...anxious. I might be shipped of to God knows where so I...I just need someone to be there...

I'll always be there for you Hikaru. Sai whispered into his hair and his arms tightened around the boy. I'll never leave you, even if you want me to or not...

...Thank you. Hikaru whispered back, softer this time, but his voice still had a slight crack to it.

They stood like that – just enjoying each others present – until the peaceful and silent atmosphere that had descended on them was broken as the door to the room slowly opened.

Hikaru's grip on the armrest had become painful, but the pain helped him concentrated and not let his vision swim with his high pulse. This was it, this was the end. Tanaka-san would take him away from his last connection. Hikaru wanted to close his eyes to this reality, but his stubborn natured refused to show his fright so openly. He had been numb and indifferent to this decision before, not letting himself think too deep about it...now all his anxiety was focused on the slowly opening door of fate.

The door opened fully and Tanaka-san stood there before him, leering down at him. Grinning and reaching towards him. He was closing the door behind him. Walking up to Hikaru, smirking and imitating.

Hikaru shock in panic, his body betraying his anger towards this disgusting man. Showing to the world his weakness, his fright. His breath was fighting to get out, his fingers was pressing against the hard plastic of the chair. Green eyes – normally cool and collected – was vibrating with panic as they could only watch the fat and dirty hand reaching forward to cup his cheek.

"Hikaru-kun? Hikaru-kun? Is everything alright?" The hand on his cheek was surprisingly soft and gentle, not at all as he thought Tanaka-san's hands would feel like.

He was brought back from his panic attack by Sai's worried voice. Are you alright Hikaru? Hikaru say something!

Hikaru blinked once, twice, as the gentle hand reached into his hair and the man in front off him knelt down to his level. His vision cleared and the self-imposed illusion of the bastard Tanaka-san melted into the worried face of Hanataka Ichimaru, Heihachi's old Go-friend.

"Hikaru-kun?" The elderly man asked as he noticed Hikaru's eyes concentrate on him for the first time since he entered the room. The poor lad had been in a dreadful stat, fighting for each breath and shaking. Ichimaru had no idea what was going on, but thought all the stress, anger and sorrow over his situation had finally caught up with the brave little boy.

"...yeah. Yes, I'm alright..."

"Well thank goodness, one Shindou in a bad shape is the most I can handle at the time." Ichimaru smiled in good humor, relieved that Hikaru seemed to be okay.

Hikaru looked at Hanataka-san's wrinkly face stretched into a good humored smile. He had – in his childish panic – though this kind old man was the dreadful Tanaka-san coming to take away from all he was and had know. He was ashamed to have shown this weak side of himself to anyone, even ghost and old men. He had to get his act together or it might be him staying in the hospital for an undecided amount of time.

God, he needed a good night of sleep, his nerves were on edge!

Hikaru! Are you sure everything is alright? You were really out of it for a moment there, you didn't seem to see or hear anything going on around you!

Hikaru didn't need to move his head much to see Sai's worried eyes as the ghost where practically on top of him.

I'm fine now Sai, it was just a moment of...confusion on my part.

Sai didn't seem impressed by his explanation, but Hikaru had already forgotten and buried the issue. Hanataka-san had sat himself down on a free chair and was now watching him with serious eyes.

"What are you doing here Hanataka-san, I was expecting someone else to entered that door."

"I'm that person Hikaru-kun, no one else is coming to get you."

"I don't understand...I was told someone from the Child Service was coming to day to pick me up. Being in the situation that I am it was the only available possibility." Hikaru explained, confused about this unexpected outcome.

"Ah, but that's were you're wrong Hikaru-kun, I'm the other possibility." Ichimaru said with a smile, somewhat pleased with himself. Seeing the boys narrowing stare he decided to cut the case.

"I got a call from Heihachi late yesterday evening. Somehow he had snagged a phone of one of the nurses he told me, that cunning devil. I was of course shocked at first, the news of his hospitalization had not reach me or any that I know of. He didn't have anything planned with any of his Go buddies, so it isn't too strange no one knew. But anyway, he told me the situation – not all of it I'm sure – and his reason for calling. It seemed he had heard about you predicament with the Child Services from the Head Nurse of the department, Keiko-san. He said he hadn't had the time to talk with you, but that he was sure neither of you would like the outcome if you were to go with the organization. We both have heard rumors about the Child Services in the last years that paint a grim picture and had us worried about your future."

"Ah...well yes, the representative that I've been meting with didn't really seem like your mother-in-law's favorite." Hikaru said while trying to get the blood to flow through his stiff hands.

"I'll bet! Well, the conclusion we reached was that since neither of us wanted you taken away for God know how long, I would get myself a temporary grandchild!"

"What? You...you're going to take me in? Just like that?"

"Yes of course! You're Heihachi's precious grandchild, and a damn good Go player, one can't send such potential and grace to the God forsaken child-guidance centers now can we? It will be my pleasure to take you in and house you until your grandfather regains his health."

Isn't this great Hikaru? We got away from that Tanaka-san just like that, he must have gritted his teeth when he got the message!

Yes...yes this is good news. I can't think of a better outcome considering the situation.

Right? Take that Tanaka-monster! Sai said with a grin and flouted happily around in circles.

"Thank you...I hope I won't be of inconvenience." Hikaru said with a small bow.

Ichimaru waved away his concerns and told him it was not bother at all. He was quite looking forward to the company. Having never been married and only seeing his nieces in the school breaks made his days long and lonely.

"Are you finished Hanataka-san?" Head Nurse Keiko popped in to ask. "You wanted me to brief you more closely on Shindou-san's condition and possible treamtents?"

"Yes, please Head Nurse Keiko-san. I want to get all the facts clear." Hanataka-san rose and waited for Hiikaru to do the same. "Come Hikaru-kun, let's hear what Keiko-san has to say, but lets find some better place to discuss this. I personally won't be against some good comfortable sofas or some tea." Ichimaru said with a easy grin towards the boy.

Keiko-san mimicked the grin and open the door wider for the two visitors. "I know just the place."

Keiko-san had directed them to a comfy looking waiting room with both sofas and tables, and brought along three steaming cups of tea. The news she had to tell the 'made up' family wouldn't be what they wanted to hear she was sure. So tea and comfort was the least she could do. She was just glad her stubborn patience had manage to call his friend and saved Shindou-kun from some extra stress.

She handed them each their cup and sat them down to explain Shindou-san's treatment more in detail, especially to Hanataka-san who just got the message that his friend was hospitalized. She was sure Shindou-san had glossed over all the most terrible facts of his illness.

"I'll be frank, Shindou-san's illness –Ischemic cardiomyopathy– is a very serious disorder. Patients with this condition, in general, do not have a normal lifespan. For some, the prognosis is just as bad as for many forms of cancer. Thus, it is very important that you discuss the situation with either me or Shindou-san's doctor to ensure that we can improve it as much as possible.

Ischemic cardiomyopathy results when the arteries that bring blood and oxygen to the heart are blocked. The cause may be a build-up of cholesterol and other substances, called plaque, in the arteries that bring oxygen to the heart muscle tissue. It is a common cause of congestive heart failure, and a very common type of cardiomyopathy. It affects approximately 1 out of 100 people, most often middle-aged to elderly men.

Patients with this condition may at one time have had a heart attack or angina. But a few patients may not have noticed any previous symptoms. In Shindou-sans case we know he has had several minor heart attacks in his later years.

Symptoms of heart failure usually develop slowly over time. However, sometimes symptoms start very suddenly and are severe. I don't know how sudden Shindou-san's symptoms started, you might have seen them in him without knowing it was significant. The most common symptoms include awakening from sleep after a couple of hours due to shortness of breath, coughing, fatigue, weakness, faintness, a loss of appetite, irregular or rapid pulse or heart beat, swelling of feet, ankles and abdomen, and shortness of breath after lying down and especially with activity. Shindou-san is an elderly man so many of these symptoms you would not find outside the ordinary, so please don't blame yourself for this outcome.

Now there are several types of medications, drugs and treatments that have been found to help patients live longer with this disorder. There are inhibitors drugs, receptor blockers, and drugs that dilate blood vessels.

But not all of these treatments might suit or be even possible for Shindou-san. I'll make sure a cardiac catheterization will be done after he's been stabilized and removed from the ICU, to see if we can have bypass surgery or angioplasty, the "balloon procedure". These treatments can improve blood flow to the damaged or weakened heart muscle.

A number of studies have also shown that heart failure symptoms can be improved with a special type of pacemakers placed on both the right and left sides of heart. This is referred to as biventricular pacing or cardiac resynchronization therapy. You will have to ask Shindou-san's doctor if this treatment is possible for him. The operation is a huge risk for some patience, and even with a successful operation the patience's body might reject the pacemakers.

As a last option we have a heart transplant. It may be recommended for patients who have failed all the standard treatments and still have very severe symptoms. But again, this is a huge risk for some, and the list for new hearts are very long, Shindou-san might never reach the top of the list considering his age. Similar to a heart transplant we have implantable, artificial heart pumps. These have just recently been developed and at this point, very, very few patients will be able to undergo either of these advanced treatments."

Keiko-san looked at their serious and contemplating expressions and decided to leave them to their discussion of Shindou-san's future treatment.

"I have said all there is on Shindou-san's condition and possible treatments, please talk amongst yourself about your options, but remember that the patient is the person that has to decide what he wants. But I'm sure he would be glad to hear your options. I'll say it again though. Shindou-san's condition is a serious disorder, especially for a man his age. Some treatments are better then others, but more expansive and risky. Some I would not recommend, like any major operations. Please think about this carefully with all parties in your thoughts. And come to me again if you have any questions, I'll answered them to the best of my knowledge."

With that the Head Nurse rose from her seat and picked up her empty cup of tea. "I hope I've been of some help, good day gentlemen."

Keiko-san left with the mumbles of 'thank you's in her wake. This was one of the less pleasant task of her job, but someone had to do it.

Ichimaru and Hikaru were left with their dark thoughts and cold cups of tea. Nobody said a thing the first ten minutes after the Head Nurse had left. Even Sai couldn't manage to break up the gloom.

"We should go for several treatments, the safest and cheapest first. Me and grandpa still have some of the Shindou heritage left, and I want to spend all of it on Grandpa's treatment if I must." Hikaru said finally, with determined eyes burring into his new guardian.

"Yes, more treatment is better than non, I'll ship in to lighten the load too. But Hikaru-kun, we can't just expect Heihachi to except treatment upon treatment if it's a painful process. He's the one that has to decide in the end, and if he doesn't think he can manage anymore doctors and test, then we must not be selfish and accept that."

Hikaru wanted to bite out that he would do anything for his grandpa besides watch him die, but the words was forces down by Sai's hand on his shoulder. That's right, people all had the choice to decide over their own life and death. Sai had decided that drowning himself when he could no longer play Go was the right discussion. And Hikaru didn't blame him for it, if he hadn't they would not have met. Sai might have left someone behind, like how Hikaru had been left behind time and time again, but it was still each persons choice. Who was he to demand attention, pain and suffering from his grandfather? Hikaru would be happy if Heihachi wanted to fight to stay another day with him, but his father and grandmother would be happy to welcome him again if he didn't.

But even if the final decision fell on Heihachi Hikaru still wanted to do all he could for him.

"Be that as it may, I will still do all I can to get him well again."

Ichimaru smiled and nodded his agreement.

"I was thinking the pacemaker option sounded best, but it is probably both very expansive and risky. But I still think it's the best bet if we can't get him better with drugs."

"Yes, but even if the risk wasn't so dreadful, were would we get the money for such a operation? I've heard that a pacemaker is very expensive, but we are talking about using two of them. I'm sorry to say that I don't have that kind of money laying around, most of my pension goes into the house and food."

"Well...I'll use the heritage, most of grandpa's pension and...I'm good at Go right? I'll enter the pro league and earn the necessary money that way."

Hikaru's eyes found Sai 'sitting' on Keiko-san's unoccupied chair looking confused and sorrowful.

You'll help me right Sai? I'm not good enough to rise in the ranks fast enough with my own strength. I'll let you play all the games and we'll win us a title that way.

Ah...sure Hikaru of course I'll help...but–

"That just won't be possible Hikaru-kun, no matter how good you are it would take too long for you to earn enough money for the operation." Ichimaru said with a sad shake of his head.

"But I can do it, I'm sure I can win my place as a pro the first time I try. If I set my mind to it no one can bet me!" Hikaru glared back with determination, no one could beat Sai, he was going to run through all the competition.

"That might be correct Hikaru, but you forget that the Pro test isn't held until April and will take a month even if you win all you games. After that you must wait again some months to begin your Oteai games that decide your rank, only at the end of the year may your winnings allow you to rise a rank. You might say that you can just enter one of the leagues and win the money that way, but some of them demands that you have a higher rank then 1-dan. To enter the Gosei tournament you must be at least 5 dan. And then there is the preliminary games to get to challenge the title. It will all take too much time Hikaru, no matter how much I believe you would manage to win your way to the top as fast as you could, it would not be fast enough. I'm sorry..."

Hikaru and Sai hung their heads low at the reality of the situation, there was no time...

"We will just have to make sure he is tested for that 'cardiac catheterization' Nurse Keiko mentioned. If we could have a bypass surgery I believe it would be the best alternative together with the help of some drugs. In the mean time, let's try our best to gather some money. Maybe some of the guys at the Heart of Stone, Heihachi's old friends, and even your mother and her boyfriend will help us. We will just have to hope for the best, we don't know how bad his heart is, no one know, it could last for years before another attack for all we know. Have faith Hikaru and hope." Ichimaru said as he wrapped an arm around Hikaru's stiff shoulders.


After their agreement, they went to visit Heihachi. He was informed about the test they would take once he was better and agreed with their option. He was still pretty weak, but he held himself up and stayed awake for far longer then he had manage before. It was a good sign that he might fully stabilize soon.

After he finally fell asleep again, Ichimaru took a exhausted Hikaru with him to his home and let the boy sleep on a proper bed for the first time in days. Hikaru was asleep before he manage to undress. Sai smiled gently and set himself down on the end of the bed to watch over him.

Ichimaru had given Hikaru one of his nieces regular rooms. The Go genius was too tired to noticed the pink paint, purple frills and the dozen stuffed teddies and dolls that infested the room, or he might not have slept so soundly.

Sai chuckled lowly. All the better, he thought, this way I might get to watch a entertaining scene tomorrow when he wakes up!

Sai had been right about Hikaru making a scene in the morning when he open his eyes to pinkness...but who can blame a guy?

The rest of the house was thankfully not so obviously contaminated by candy and stardust, so Hikaru manage to swallow his breakfast just fine before he and Ichimaru went back to the hospital. It went much like that the next day too; he and Ichimaru would visit Heihachi in the day and go back around dinner time. They would then spend the rest of the night playing some Go, reading and eating. Much of their day circled around Heihachi. Ichimaru, when he found some time in the evenings, would call up friends of Heihachi and inform them about the situation. He would then also ask about a small donation for hopefully Heihachi's coming operation or at least minor treatments. To both Hikaru and Heihachi's delight most of their answers were positive.

The third day of visits didn't go quite as smoothly. Hikaru had gone ahead to the hospital in a taxi since Ichimaru said he needed to do some shopping and visit some guys from the Heart of Go.

The issue was that they had moved Heihachi out of the intensive care unit, without notifying either Hikaru nor Ichimaru.

Hikaru had a awful moment of disjoined confusion when he stared into the empty ICU room that had held his 'last' living family member. He had seen this in half a dozen TV shows, where the main character looks at the empty hospital bed and knows that it means whomever had been there is now dead. But he was quite sure Hanataka-san or the nurses would have mentioned if his grandpa had died, so he just went back down the hall to the reception desk.

The woman at the desk made him wait while she did mysterious and very slow things with a computer, answered the phone, and talked with two of the nurses who were leaning nearby practicing the art of wasting away their working hours. The air of the barely controlled panic that everyone had shown in the ICU was completely gone now, replaced by an apparently obsessive interest in phone calls and fingernails. But finally the woman admitted that there was a slim possibility of finding his grandfather in room 173 on the 3th floor. That didn't help peel away Hikaru's newfound hatred for receptionists and nail polish. But he still had so much sense and manners that he actually thanked her, and trudged off to find the room with Sai drifting along.

Room 173 was indeed on the third floor, and right next to room 171, so there still seemed to be a little order in the world. He stepped in to see his grandpa laying still as the grave in bed, and a plump, but friendly looking nurse on the far side of the room. She was looking over the still impressive array of machinery that surrounded Heihachi, and the tubes that still went in and out of his frail body. Hikaru couldn't see much improvement from the ICU room, but maned up and steeped up to the bed and looked down at his grandpa's thin form.

Nurse Plumb saw him walk in and gave him her best 'All will turn out okay' smile.

"Don't worry dear, he's stable now. He even woke and sat up an hour ago, and the first thing he did was asked about his darling grandchild." Nurse Plumb commented with a smile.

There seemed to be very little to say to that, so Hikaru muttered a few well-meaning and empty syllables, and sat down in a nearby chair. The nurse fussed some more over the machines and her billboard before she patted Hikaru on the head and left. But although he waited very patiently for hours, Heihachi did not wake up for more than half an hour to smile at him and chat about small meaningless things. Other than that he didn't even so much as move. In the end Hanataka came to pick him up again and he tottered back to his pink and rainbow infested room without feeling any of the bubbly nurse's certainty.

An positive thing about getting Heihachi out of the ICU room – besides having the chance to take the pre test for the bypass surgery – was that Hikaru finally could bring out the things he had brought along from their home. He had wanted to do so before, but the nurses refused him, saying such things would just be a hassled for Heihachi should anything happen.

He found the bag again and started decorating the gloomy room with Heihatchi's favorite pillow and a picture of his grandma. It was a old picture from their younger days. Usually it decorated Heihachi's nightstand, but Hikaru was sure he would appreciate the gesture of Hikaru taking their grandma with him. Other necessary things such as Go books and stones, a traveling board, clothes and toiletries were also unpacked. The money and snacks he had brought along had been already consumed by him in the first few days of stress and panic. Though Hikaru thought he deserved every bit of pokey.

Now all they could do was wait and hope...Hikaru had never given much faith in hope before, but he liked to be proven wrong just this once.