Disclaimer: Hikaru no Go does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended.

A/N: An AkiHika fic. Yaoi. Not much of a plot.

:: 0.1 :: Can you not see? Even if we are both not God, in our callused hands, we hold the Universe. ::

It is his hands that Hikaru notices first. Pale hands with long elegant fingers, flitting across the goban, setting down the stones, and with each move a universe springs forth amidst this Infinity they create, perfect in its transience.

He gestures as he speaks, fingers tracing delicate patterns upon the air, disturbing dust motes drifting in streaks of sunlight. An elegant wave, and he sweeps aside the 'perhaps' and 'maybes' and 'what ifs' that gather upon their minds. Hikaru cannot help but follow the movement, drawn to this existence weighted down by stardust.

Akira's hands always hold the stones delicately, as though they were infinitesimally more important than fragments of melted black and white. And he carefully scatters these stars - Aldebaran and Betelgeuse and Orion - so that they bloom into constellations in the sky. (In the upper right Hoshi, Hikaru thinks he sees Pleiades in their flight.)

He builds his own worlds also. Satellites that orbit around Akira's stars, sometimes they live, but not always.

He is learning though, so that they live a little more than they did yesterday, and yesterdays do not matter.

Sometimes, their fingers would brush as they reach to lay down stones (it might be coincidence, but fate is made up of coincidences), and Hikaru would look up, drawn to those green eyes like the way his own stones on the board are drawn to the patterns Akira creates. It is the passion in those eyes that blinds him and binds him, the way it is Akira's joseki that ensnares his stones. It is not deception - he is merely compelled, like a moth, towards his own destruction.

Those eyes, and the blazing spirit in them do not let him go. They cage him behind gilded bars, and yet at the same time draw him on. For those eyes he had reached for the edge of his universe; for those eyes, he still travels on. (Towards a distant sky.)

Do you know where we are going? I will follow because I play Gote, but can you not see Sente either?

:: 0.2 :: We only have to remember to lock the door after we leave. ::

In the darkness, they forget the Universe. Bent over the goban, they scatter the stones (they scatter Shuusaku's joseki and forgotten kifus), and the pieces fall onto the ground like supernovae (but new galaxies are formed from these dying stars). Ishikawa-san might have complained, but Ishikawa-san is not around and does not know. She allows them to stay on late and leaves them a spare key, trusting them to lock up after their games end. She does not know that in these after hours, what she is leaving behind is the two of them, their rapid breathing and this broken night sky.

Akira's mouth is hot against his, fingers parting his shirt with a kind of fevered desperation, and he is helpless to resist even had he wanted to. Clothes are discarded with abandon, and skin against skin, they gasp and pant, bodies arcing at the burning contact.

Touya's taste, Hikaru has learnt, was addictive, and he could never seem to have enough. The more he had, the more he wanted. Mouth at the other's throat, biting and licking, feeling the delicate body arch and writhe beneath his touch, Hikaru allows himself to revel in Akira's helplessness, in the way his cold composure falls apart and his nails dig into the skin on Hikaru's back.

In this heat, they abandon their indifference, like the cool glass of a Go stone held in the palm of a player who hesitated too long, and in his hesitance the next move never played.

:: 0.3 :: I do not understand loneliness, but if you said loneliness was a deep coldness, that, I can understand. ::

They replay Shuusaku's game because it was Hikaru's turn to choose today. Akira does not understand why - when it comes to Shindou - it is always Shuusaku, always Sai. Stone by stone, they recreate another universe, one in which he does not belong. He can read the patterns of the stars, yet it is an old, old pattern, already dead before they even began.

"Why?" he asks, and he fears that his voice betrays his insecurity; but in the end, he fears not knowing most of all.

"Because in his games, I can see the one who is important to me."

And Akira wonders, a little reluctantly, who this person could be. This person who was more important than himself. He dislikes thinking this way, and yet he feels that he cannot help himself, cannot help wanting to understand in entirety the one who was his counterpart upon the goban (and maybe some places else, but he cannot see them yet.)

"Do you... know Shuusaku, Shindo?" It is a silly question, but he did not think before he asked.

"No, not Shuusaku." The green eyes dim, and Akira knows that right now, what Hikaru sees is not the universe spread out in black and white, but rather a long forgotten memory - a ghost perhaps, or maybe just an unrecorded kifu. "He was not alone."

Sai. Although the boy with bleached bangs does not say it out loud, he says it in the tone of his voice. He says it in the way he plays his moves (Shuusaku's joseki, Sai's joseki, Shindo's joseki), and in the strange distant longing in his eyes which makes him seem so far away that Akira could never hope to understand - it was a place beyond his universe, a place so close to him but where his heart could never touch.

Who is the one chasing, and the one being chased? Is it you or I?

"Are you lonely, Shindo?" Although Akira cannot understand how he could possibly be. To him, loneliness was a deep, deep coldness. It was rainy days after a tournament and finding that the one to pick him up is not his mother, but one of Father's students. Loneliness was standing alone, looking out at the adults who treat him with a forced politeness because of who he is, not what he is. And loneliness - loneliness was looking across the goban and seeing that the only person who had ever smiled so easily at him was also not his to have.

But Hikaru. Hikaru was always to happy, always so full of energy and the will to live. How could he possibly be cold? How could he possibly be cold when just standing near him makes Akira feel as though he could burn him. He was a warmth Akira could never escape.

"I might be," comes Shindo's answer, and not for the first time, Akira realizes how much he does not understand.

:: 0.4 :: They do not need anything else, because theirs was an understanding which went beyond words. ::

For the two of them, there has never been things like first dates or getting to know yous or late night phone calls - only games over the goban every Friday, and the pro tournaments every now and then - learning more about the other through the moves they play.

They do not say 'I love you', for they both know that words will taint the permanence of their feelings. Such promises can only belong to the foolishness of human existence, and that which is human is always fleeting. For them, they have a world hidden within patterns on the goban, and within the constellations of the stars, and it is with these patterns that they hear the unspoken whispers of the other's heart.

They understand each other - and with each move, their stones respond to attack or defend. Always, they keep moving forward, reaching further, climbing higher, pulling or being pulled along. With every win or every lose, they are closer to the Hand of God which they seek.

It is not with words that they pronounce their love, because languages fade and die, 'perhaps' and 'maybes' and 'what ifs' disappearing beneath the restless tides of time.

They preserve it in their kifus - in black and white - and within a game (and a universe) that will live a long, long time.

:: 0.5 :: But what they do not understand is that every defeat brings them both a little closer, no matter which one lives or dies, they rise and fall together. ::

Akira finds Hikaru curled up in bed on the morning of May 5th, and his eyes flash the way it does when he is angry.

"Why?" he demands because he still cannot understand. Why would Hikaru give up his entire life, his entire self, his entire existence, to a person who has abandoned him? Why is it that even after so many years, the emptiness in his heart is still a hollow void of echoing silence?

Hikaru does not answer, and only curls into himself even more and tells him to go away.

Akira pulls him up, forcing him to meet his eyes, and Hikaru cannot help but falter a little. Akira's eyes flare up when his angry, turning a bright green that felt as though it could burn. It was a look of fierce determination, one which had fascinated Hikaru from the very beginning and which he had sought to chase after and possess.

And he is getting a little nearer day by day.

"What-" he protests weakly.

Akira's eyes narrow. "Snap out of it, Shindo," his words are harsh as he pulls the other boy forwards so that their noses are almost touching. "Give me one good reason," he bit out. "One, just one."

Because he needs to hear, from Hikaru's own mouth, why he is not good enough. Why Sai is so important that even now, so many somedays later, he is still a sacred untouchable memory Akira cannot hope to compete against.

"He was always with me," came the reply. "Always, always. And then he left without saying goodbye, and I - I don't know why."

"You have to move on, Shindo!" Akira uses the anger in his voice to mask his own desperation. "You cannot keep pining over somebody who will never come back! It is just like you said, he left you! Sai left you, Shindo! Why can't you face it-"

"Shut up!" Hikaru is glaring now too, fierce, angry, distressed. Sai, Sai gave me the universe, Akira, and you- "You don't understand, how can you understand! You have never lost anybody in your life, so you don't know how much it hurts! I don't want to remember either, but to forget-" -to forget will be like losing him all over again.

And this time, Akira finally understands. Maybe not everything, but he has unravelled a little of the pain in Hikaru's eyes, a little of the coldness which Hikaru tries so hard to hide beneath his laughter. A little of his loneliness.

Akira finally realizes how abandoned it feels to stand solitary against the dispassionate world - he knows it too, after all.

Hikaru is crying now, silently, the way the forget-me-nots might cry - masking their sadness with their neglected beauty and their tears with the rain from the sky. Akira wraps his arms around the huddled form a little awkwardly because society has not taught him this. Society has not taught him how to understand another's heart - to keep away, definitely; to love, perhaps; but to understand, never.

"That's why I am here, Hikaru," he murmurs softly, hesitantly. "I may be your rival, but I am also your friend."

Because rivals are a little like Lovers. They are like binary stars forever encircling in the sky; like the day and the night; the light and the darkness; like the black and white go stones upon the goban (although the world is various shades of gray and never truly black or white). One is meaningless without the other, and alone they cannot go anywhere or be anything. Only together are they rivals, and only then can their universe upon the board burst into galaxies of stars that live a fleeting eternity of lives

A bitter laugh. "Even you cannot give me the world Akira."

Touya pauses, before saying, "True. I cannot give you the world, but I can give you my world, Hikaru. I can give you our universe spread out upon the go board and in the unremembered kifus that only we can forget. It may not be perfect - but it will be enough."

Hikaru is silent for a long moment. It is the silence of the universe he holds within his eyes, it is the silence of the forsaken world Akira has lost himself within. It is the silence of Go, and of other things that cannot be put into words without tarnishing their sanctity.

Then the silence ends the way silence always does, and Hikaru reaches up his arms and returns other's embrace.

"Thank you, Akira."

And it is so easy to call your name.

:: 0.6 :: Only then can they reach the Hand of God, because nothing was created alone. ::