Disclaimer: HnG isn't mine. If it were, HikaruAkira would be canon. O WAIT.

Um. So. This is what happens when I take a break from my shiny new fandom to watch X-Men cartoons. Written, edited, and posted during a bout of insomnia. Aaaand that's all the warning y'all should need.

Apologies to anyone who's been trying to get in contact with me. Real Life troubles abound, and I've been incommunicado since my last fic.

Better Than Spandex

"I had a dream last night," Shindo announced gravely, throwing himself into the seat across from Akira, limbs flopping everywhere because he was totally and utterly incapable of doing anything quietly and gracefully.

"Congratulations," Akira offered uncertainly.

"Huh? Oh, thanks," Shindo said. Akira resisted the urge to massage his temples or pinch the bridge of his nose, because that was what Ogata did whenever he had to deal with Shindo. Well, he also had that bizarre little habit of throwing him up against walls, but Akira was pretty sure he couldn't pull that one off if he tried. Not that he wanted to try--he had no desire to emulate Ogata. Ever. "Anyway, the dream. It was awesome--Waya was, like, flying around Tokyo, and Ochi shot lasers from his thumbs, and they got into this huge fight in midair--"

Akira stared. They were in his father's Go salon, seated across from each other over a goban. Akira was Hikaru's eternal rival--in Go. Thumb-lasers were, as far as he knew, entirely unrelated.

"Which got me to thinking," Shindo said, and Akira waited, somewhat fearfully, to hear how Waya and Ochi's super-powered airborne brawl could possibly relate to Go. "If you were a mutant, what would be your power?"

In that moment, Akira learned that it was indeed possible to articulate ellipses.

"My mutant power," he repeated flatly. He was positive he could hear one of the regulars nearby snickering. Shindo nodded, watching him expectantly, apparently under the entirely false impression that Akira would honestly give his question a moment's thought. "Shindo. What does this have to do with Go?"

And now Shindo was looking at him like he was the brain-damaged one. Excellent. "Well, nothing," his rival said slowly. "Unless, I dunno, your mutant power is reading minds or something, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't use telepathy to cheat. Really pretty sure. Positive, actually." Akira might have even felt a little touched by Shindo's staunch faith in his sportsmanship, if they hadn't been talking about their hypothetical mutant powers. As it was, Akira mostly just wanted to punch Shindo in the face. He didn't, of course, because he'd never punched anyone in his life and it looked awkward and painful and not at all genteel, but he was going to dismember Shindo on the board when they finally got around to actually playing.

"Shindo. We're here to play Go," Akira said, attempting patience. Nothing else seemed to work, so he supposed it was worth a try. "Why are we even talking about this?"

Incredibly, Shindo had to absolute temerity to look confused. "Waya and I talk about stuff like this all the time," he said, shrugging. Akira was about to say something terribly logical and sensible, like, 'Then ask Waya about his alternate mutant self', when Shindo added, "And we're friends too, so, you know, I figured not everything we talk about has to be about Go."

Shindo, Akira decided, was a manipulative bastard, and not just during his matches. And if Akira was silently repeating 'we're friends, too' in his head, well, no one needed to know. Unlike Akira's honorable mind-reading alter ego, Shindo wasn't a telepath.

Probably. It was difficult to be too definite about who or what Shindo was, to be honest.

"I think you'd kill people with your glare," Shindo decided cheerfully. "Yeah, that's definitely your mutant power. I mean, half your opponents practically burst into tears when you get that look--yeah, that one right there. Like when I start fiddling with my fan when people are taking too long or playing really crappily." They shared a quiet moment of total understanding and mutual commiseration at that--one of the downsides of being notoriously strong was that other lower-dans tended to let their nerves get the better of them during matches.

"A literal death glare," Akira repeated thoughtfully, secretly kind of pleased. There were worse powers out there, of that he had no doubt. It was better than thumb-lasers, that was for certain. He considered Shindo's strange excuse for logic, and had to ask, "Does that mean your secret mutant power is...fan-tapping?"

"Shut up," Shindo said, glowering. "I'd totally have a better mutant power than that. I'd--uh--"

"Sprout ramen from your fingertips?" Akira asked innocently.

"Didn't I tell you to shut up?" Shindo snapped. "No, I'd--I'd--"

"Radiate poisonous yellow?" Akira suggested, wincing at the brightness of Shindo's shirt.

"Why the hell are we even talking about this?" Shindo growled. "I thought we were here to play Go. Let's nigiri already, for crying out loud."

"You really shouldn't glare like that," Akira told him smugly, digging into his goke and pulling out a few stones, hiding them in his fist. "It's just so laughable, in comparison to my killer stare."

Shindo pouted--there was no other word for it. Akira fought back the urge to laugh at his rival's petulance. "Yeah, well," Shindo muttered. "You just wish you had my expert fan-tapping skills. Hell, your superhero uniform would probably be an argyle bodysuit."

Akira frowned, puzzled. "What's wrong with that?"