Bundle of joy
Chapter 2: Dear diary

MY HANDS ARE SIO SMAL, I CANNOP HOLD THE PEN WELL. I TRAI TO WRIT IN THE OLD CHINIS CHARACTRS, SO NONE CAN READ IP.

...

I get better wip the pen. I hope I can writ popper soon.

...

I have been practicing hard, but like holding the Go stones, this tiny body is not used to it. In my first life I didn't start writing or playing Go until I was six.

...

It is the strangest thing to be so small again. I don't remember much from my first time around, other than being bored. I think that is why my uncle taught me Go; to stop me fussing. I think it worked too. But then I really was a small child that had trouble sitting still, now it's quite different, now I have a grown up ability to concentrate even if my body is that of a child and tires easily.

...

Hikaru comes to the orphanage as often as he's allowed. I miss him when he's not here.

On the one hand I'm sorry he wasn't allowed to adopt me, but maybe it's better this way; he really is too young to be tied down with a child to care for. This is better; this way I can be his friend, plain and simple.

...

In the childhood of my first life I had no friends my own age. This was not unusual then, but in this modern age they take these things very seriously; they are convinced that not having friends your own age is not healthy.

I've already made one friend, she reminded me of one of my pupils from back then; shy and unassuming. And seemingly friendless. So I've befriended her and found that she is willing to play Go with me, what could be better?

I wasn't fooled for a minute; I could see she was so desperate to be included in the play she would have happily agreed to play any game I wanted, be it tag, kick the ball or Go. Turns out, with some work, she is able to learn the game fast enough. Ah, it's so nice to see I haven't lost my teaching touch, stuck in this small body.

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

...

Time goes so slowly. I wish it were Wednesday already, so Hikaru would come.

Watching him trying to hide in the bushes to get out of being tagged is always fun!

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

...

School is boring. We are doing kana writing and basic arithmetic. Luckily the teacher lets me work on my own projects when I've finished the assignment early; as long as I'm quiet about it, she's satisfied. My hand writing is much improved; these modern ballpoint pens are amazing, but still I should consider asking Hikaru for a good thick brush and some nice rice paper so I can regain my skill at calligraphy, next time he's here.

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

...

We're going on an outing. Hikaru organized it; something about a roller coaster. I'm asking if my friends can come; you should have seen Toto's eyes pop when I told him and Keiko about it, so I wouldn't want to go without them!

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

...

I got to play Touya Akira today. I cannot express my delight. [kifu]

Hikaru vs. Touya A. [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

...

Touya Meijin.

Touya Meijin Touya Meijin Touya Meijin Touya Meijin.

Oh I could write his name ten thousand times and still look for a clean bit of paper to start on another ten thousand.

[kifu] This time he won, but it is of no matter; we will play again and again! And win or lose, 'tis of no matter, for the Experience is the Glory; the shared search for the Divine Move! I fully believe we will find it, together.

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Touya A. [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

Me vs. Touya K. [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Touya A. [kifu]

Me vs. Touya K. [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

Me vs. Ogata [kifu]

Me vs. Touya A. [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Waya [kifu]

Me vs. Isumi [kifu]

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

Me vs. Touya A. [kifu]

...

I have decided not to let my Go obsession come between Hikaru and myself. I do think it could, and thinking about it, I think that's what happened in my first life; I only lived for playing Go and when that was taken away from me I died. Not so here, not so now; I'll not make that mistake again!

...

I can see that Hikaru is happy to see me, as I am now, but also I see him looking at me wistfully, like something is missing. I tried to tell him I'm all here and sometimes he seems to believe that but then we see each other again after a few days and he treats me like a real child.

It's so easy to play the child; there are so much fewer questions I'm expected to know the answer to. It's so easy that I find myself playing the child with Hikaru too.

In our time together, before, apart from being a companion to Hikaru I was the teacher at times too, but not so now. In a strange way Hikaru doesn't accept me when I try to teach him something about Go. It hurts to see his rejection of me so I'm ashamed to say I've given up trying; I'd rather be what he can accept than hurt him for something he can't.

I so wish I was grown up again.

I hope that when I am Hikaru can accept all of me again.

[kifu file : 5]

[kifu file : 7]

...

It happened almost without me realizing, which is odd since I helped with the redecorating, but slowly Hikaru has transformed the place. It's not just the brighter colors but he also had something done about the draft in the boy's dorm and wonky plumbing in the girl's bathroom. I'm extremely grateful but the only way that Hikaru let me express it was by letting him feed me too much candy.

It was worth the painful tummy, though.

[kifu file : 7]

[kifu file : 3]

I hate Adoption Day.

It always ends with Keiko in tears at the end of the day and Toto sobbing in his pillow at night.

I do understand from a grown up point of view; Keiko is homely at best and Toto is not known for his smarts. But both are my dear dear friends and I love them the way they are, why can't some lovely couple do the same?

Well, maybe this time...?

...

I'm going to be childishly unreasonable about this: I'm not forgiving Nana-san for foisting me off on that couple on Adoption Day.

I fully intend to have a proper three-day sulk.

[kifu file : 8]

[kifu file : 10]

...

I'm to be an insei.

It's almost surreal how much I want that. Be an insei first and then a pro!

[kifu file : 33]

...

[kifu file : 11]

[kifu file : 27]

Or maybe not a pro just yet.

First Shinoda-sensei and now Hikaru are against me taking part in the pro exam; they say I'm too small. Well maybe; I am literally the smallest one there.

And anyway, I do very much enjoy playing the other insei even if I'm top of the class already. But still, I would have liked to become pro this year.

I'll not let my disappointment show though; Hikaru might get upset.

[kifu file : 4]

[kifu file : 35]

...

I'm oddly lonely in the insei class; I miss playing Keiko. Oh, we still play but since I spend all my Sundays at the institute and sometimes Saturdays too, and the Saturdays I'm not at the institute I spend playing the Touyas at their club. And Wednesdays are all Hikaru's. I don't get to see her nearly as much as I see Toto, since he's in the bunk below me in the dorm. So I miss her.

At least when we play Go together, I can see her improving; I think she's playing someone else regularly, possibly Nana-san's brother Chiro-san, who does odd jobs around the house sometimes. I played him a couple of times before I became an insei, not bad. And of course she's playing Hikaru, well sometimes anyway.

[kifu file : 3]

[kifu file : 7]

...

Keiko is good enough to become an insei.

I think.

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

...

Yes! Keiko can join the insei class! Thank you, Hikaru!

It'll be so much fun with her there; we can conspire 'us against them' like we used to!

[kifu file : 17]

[kifu file : 55]

...

'Arithmetic sucks'

There. I can write that in perfect calligraphy but I can't actually follow the subject.

It's so different from my own time in school; back then it was reading and writing the Chinese kanji, in poetic calligraphy and everyday hand, and learning the musical arts of the fue and the biwa. What would a nobleman want with arithmetic? Nothing, that's what; it's a subject for lackeys and merchants*!

[kifu file : 22]

Me vs. Touya K. [kifu]

[kifu file : 44]

...

I've been thinking long and hard about the future. It's true I don't have to worry about having to go to the Big Orphanage for another year yet, but soon it will be Keiko's and Toto's turn.

This must not be; I must do something!

Me vs. Keiko [kifu]

...

I've looked up what options are out there; there seem to be three:
1. Adoption
2. Fostering
3. Apprenticeship

Keiko is a sensitive girl and I think it would be best if she got adopted; she needs the security adoption would give her. There MUST be some family out there who will want a nice girl like her!

Toto is a boisterous boy (he reminds me of Hikaru, when I first met him), and he's not too worried about security, just about having a good productive time. He's really good with his hands; he's been helping Chiro-san for a while now, and he makes the nicest wooden animal figurines. I think he should apprentice somewhere with a master craftsman.

As for myself, I certainly don't want to go to the Big Orphanage. And the reason I didn't mind going into this little one has since passed; Hikaru is now 20 years old and I will be 10 when we move in together. The question remains: under what header will we live together?

I have to be honest with myself. I love Hikaru. Oddly enough it wasn't until I came back as a child and watched Hikaru become a man that I realized how deep my affection went; my body may be that of a child but my affections are not. I remember from my first life what it was like to to fall in love. At that time, so long ago, my love was fruitless; class distinctions kept me from ever telling my love anything. It hurt to keep my love secret, but in that time and place it was the right thing to do. However I know it cost me; now in hindsight I realize the hole in my heart that had been created by my unrequited love, tainted the rest of my life with a melancholy that made the loss of my position as Go tutor weigh even more heavily.

Hindsight. In hindsight, after I lost my job, I could have gone south to Osaka; it was known that there were many nobles and samurai that were playing Go at a decent level. But the sadness had been allowed to eat at my soul for years and my zest for life had all but seeped out of me.

I don't remember going into the water; I had left the Gate to the palace at Heian-Kyo and the next thing I remember was being in the water almost up to my neck. I remember still wanting to play Go. Right at the end that single desire overrode everything else, even that hole in my heart was filled with it! And that is what brought me back to my ghostly half-life, that fierce longing for the game.

Well, Hikaru's wish for my return brought me back to a full life again and I am determined that this time my love shall not go unexpressed! The question is not 'if', it is 'when' and 'how'!

And then I look in the mirror, as I do every morning when combing my hair, and I'm still only 9 years old. Why? Why must I wait to grow up? But I know why; Hikaru doesn't see me as his Sai. Not yet. I think.

But I dare not ask. For fear of being rejected. For fear he might not feel as I do. No, I have to believe he's waiting for me to grow up; anything else is just unthinkable.

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

...

It must be fostering, not adoption. If Hikaru adopted me he'd be my legal father for the rest of both our lives. If that were the case I could never admit my love and that will not do!

No, it must be fostering, because fostering will keep me out of the Big Orphanage and it will end they day I turn 18. After that day I can tell Hikaru the truth and what may happen after can happen unimpeded.

[kifu file : 34]

[kifu file : 66]

...

Is it wrong of me to want to play unlimited Go AND have my love too?

[kifu file : 55]

[kifu file : 78]

...

Chiro-san found Toto an apprenticeship! It's with the bento box maker like I had hoped it would be. Very nice man; Toto will like him, I think.

[kifu file : 17]

[kifu file : 32]

...

Adoption Day again.

All ye spirits out there that desire the happiness of innocent children, be with me today and help me get Keiko adopted, for this could be her very last chance!

...

Thank you, Hikaru, you really did it! I tried so hard with the Yamamoto couple, but I think it was Hikaru's talk with Mr. Yamamoto that clinched it.

Of course it'll be on a trial basis first, but I know once they get to know her, they won't let her go.

I told Hikaru I was ready to get fostered. I expected him to object and demand a full adoption, but he he didn't. I'm not too sure what to make of that; does it show a waning affection for me, or is he merely doing what I want, because I want it?

It will mean more exams for him to take. I do remember he was never very fond of written exams (and now that I have to take them, I feel his pain), but he was willing to do the course to be able to take us children out, so I'm hoping he'll do this for me too.

I feel guilty to presume on his generosity like this; I'm humbled that he acquiesced without a murmur.

[kifu file : 28]

[kifu file : 65]

...

I sit and wait for Hikaru to come pick me up; my bag is packed, I'm going home with Hikaru today.

I am both sad and happy. Happy for my new life with Hikaru, but sad to leave this stage of my life behind.

In my first life my childhood was abandoned when we moved from the country to the imperial court at Heian-Kyo. I was 11 summers old. Mother and Father were very eager for the move because of the rise in status. The opportunity was instigated by Uncle who had arranged for me, the child Go prodigy, to be introduced at court. I felt the responsibility heavily on my shoulders; if the emperor did not like me enough to give me a job at court, my family and I would have to return to the countryside in disgrace.

Now I feel different; I have no pressure to succeed at anything (except the pro exam, but there I know what to expect). I have done here what I wanted to do; grown up enough not to be a burden on Hikaru and seen my friends off on their new life.

I miss Keiko already and she's only been gone 3 months. We do see each other though; her parents bring her on Wednesdays. I hope Hikaru will let me play her in the future.

I will miss Toto. He's not gone far, but we will never be as close as we were, which is as it should be with time passing, but it still saddens me.

I will miss all the other children, and Nana-san and cook-san, and Chiro-san. I will miss the play yard and the craft room, and the dorms. The shower room, not so much; it was always cold.

I will miss the curtains on the window nearest my bed. I will miss my bed.

But Hikaru promised me I could pick out new curtains and a new bed; I think that that will go a long way in shaking my sadness over leaving the children home.

In a way I'm growing up by leaving here and moving in with Hikaru.

If only my body would grow too; I'm still the smallest in my class at school! Even the girls are bigger!

[kifu file : 28]

[kifu file : 67]

...

Living with Hikaru is wonderful. He's treating me more like an adult than ever before. Even though he still won't take real lessons from me, playing him everyday for hours is really much like old times. And I do manage to squeeze some shidogo in without him noticing, so there.

And he's letting me sit for the next pro exam!

[kifu file : 28]

[kifu file : 34]

[kifu file : 27]

...

It's great to finally be a pro, even if I don't get to take part in the games until April next. That's another 7 months, how will I cope? At least there will be the shinshodan game in January. I wonder who will be my opponent.

[kifu file : 34]

[kifu file : 54]

[kifu file : 66]

...

It's Ogata.

This will be interesting.

I'll need to study his kifu carefully.

Even if I've played him before at the Touya club, but this will be different.

[kifu file : 17]

[Shinshodan kifu]

...

It's that acursed reversed kumi! It makes it impossible to play an even game, and he knew it! I think he threw the game; just wasn't serious! He's angered me greatly; I refuse to be just brushed of with a toy game like that!

I will get my revenge.

[kifu file : 23]

Me vs. Touya K. [kifu]

...

I've started junior high.
I've looked over the books for this year; it should take me a week to finish off the language and /kanji/ books, so that's good. But 'arithmetic' has changed names and is now called 'calculus', and the book looks incomprehensible to me.

I can't do this!

What ever shall I do?

[kifu file : 13]

...

I found a picture of me in Hikaru's desk when I was looking for some kifu paper.

It both is and isn't a picture of me; it's not me as I am now, an 11 year old short kid, but it can't have been taken when I was a ghost; ghosts don't photograph well.

But it looks like my reflection in the silver mirror in my family's quarters in the capital, a thouand years ago. Most odd.

Me vs. Hikaru [kifu]

...

I'm stupid! I live in the modern world and always I keep forgetting its abilities! That picture is a computer manipulation, of course!

But why would Hikaru have had it made?

...

Hikaru also carries a tiny version of that picture in his wallet.

[kifu file : 56]

[kifu file : 2] 2 wins.

...

Hikaru found out I'm flunking calculus, big time.

I'm in trouble at school, I know, but I can't help I just suck at it!

(Oh good grief, if Uncle saw me write words like these, he'd have a switch to my backside in no time flat!)

[kifu file : 5]

[kifu file : 1] 1 win.

...

I'm to have a special math tutor.

It's because I'm 'highly intelligent and therefore can't join the regular tutoring class' the principal says.

It's because I'm 'such a dumb dimwit that in the regular tutoring class I'd hold the others back' my classmates say.

I don't know what to believe. I feel stupid and misserable.

...

I made a new friend today, I think.

His name is Shuu and he also is privately tutored by Moto-sensei!

...

More good news; the way Moto-sensei explains calculus I think I can grasp it!

In one lesson we did all of books one and two of arithmatic, and the first 2 chapters of Junior High Calculus Year 1. And I understood every word; I'm so amazed!

I told Hikaru and he wasn't suprised at all, he said 'I told you so' and yes he had, I'll admit.

(for kifu see dir 'kifu')

Oteai: 2 wins.

...

When will I finally start to grow? I'm still the smallest in the class. I remember from the first time around that I suddely grew taller, but I don't remember exactly when.

Oh, the waiting!

...

Oteai: 5 wins

2-dan reached

I saw Hikaru look at the picture today. It's my 'birthday', though it isn't really. In my own time there was no tradition of birthdays; I don't even know on which day of the year I was born. Spring, I think, but I don't know it any more precise than that.

My birthday is usually a sedate affair; sweets for breakfast and a small party after school or Go with Keiko, Toto and Shuu, and Touya Akira Meijin and Waya 4-dan and Isumi 4-dan, if they were available. I like it this way, friends and Go, what more could you want?

But when I saw Hikaru look at that picture (he wasn't aware that I saw him, nor will I tell him) he looked so sad. Like there was something missing. Like... like there was a hole in his heart.

Does he miss me? The 'big' me, I mean?

Have I changed too much while living in this modern world?

When I'm grown up enough, will I still be that Sai?

Oh spirits above, let me be that same Sai!

...

Now that I've licked calculus, Junior High is actually fun.

I'm tutoring the Go club here, getting them ready for the Inter-Junior High Championship. Especially the girls' team is a real contender this year!

The principal wants me to consider transfering to Kaio school, saying that that is where the gifted children go. But I like Haze; the teachers here let me do as many projects outside of the curriculum as I want (I just love history and costuming!) And since I already have a career and therefore don't need to cram for college exams, I'm not under presure at all to accomplish anything.

And now that I've 'busted' calculus, I don't feel the need to accomplish anything scholastic.

3- dan reached.

Entering Juudan & Honinbou tournaments

Juudan won.

(That makes me an instant 10-dan, cool!)

Qualified for 2nd level in Honinbou.

Finally! I'm growing!

Boy, I'm growing fast!

In less than 6 months I've gained 30 cm! I had to buy all new clothing, 'cause nothing fits anymore. And my bones ache. Now that's happening again I remember that from my first life too.

...

I'm taller than Hikaru now. Not by too much, but visibly taller.

I think I will go on with school and do Senior High. I know Shuu's going, and I'd like to go with him. Maybe I can study calculus while he studies art. Urg, maybe not; I like a challenge, but maybe that would be too much.

Or maybe I could pick kanji calligraphy as a major; it'll give me more time for having fun.

...

Keiko give me a kitten for my birthday, so kawaii**!

I saw Hikaru looking at the picture again too. He didn't see me, I made sure.

Soon, Hikaru, soon. I promise.

...

Now that I'm 17 I want to prepare. A whole year seems long but there is much to do.

...

Shuu has received a scholarship to study in America. It's wonderful of course, but he'll be gone for at least 4 years!

...

Sorting out paper work.

The speed of bureaucracy has not changed in 1000 years.

...

Keiko is invited to Korea for a year.

I think I'm jealous.

...

I've been in invited to come teach in China for a year.

Turned them down. I want to be here when Hikaru is ready to see me as 'big' Sai again. That really outweighs the pleasures of teaching Go in China.

And anyway, who would take care of little Kuroneko, since Hikaru always forgets to leave out enough water!

...

I'm getting nervous now; what if turning 18 is not enough to trigger Hikaru?

I need more. I need to plan!

...

My birthday was good but a little sad in the goodbyes that had to be made.

I was pleasantly surprised at Hikaru's present; he gave me equal share in the house.

Am I reading too much in this, or does he want me to stay with him as an adult?

I'm so glad I turned down that China offer.

...

I had hoped the termination of fostering papers would have arrived by now! And, not to mention, my fitted costume! Darn, I should have made the costume myself; it would have been faster. But I couldn't risk Hikaru stumbling upon it early.

...

Finally! I got the papers, delivered to me at the institute as I had requested. I'm now officially an adult, with no ties to anyone. And now everybody knows it.

I wish I could have toasted the fact with Shuu or Keiko, but my mirror image in the institute's washroom will have to do.

...

Dear diary, much can happen in a single day.

My plan with the costume worked; I could see it in his eyes when he saw me dressed as I once was.

First we kissed, then we talked, and then we kissed some more.

Hikaru felt the need to explain himself, but I have long understood how he both missed and loved the 'big' me and how he deeply loved the 'little' me. I know that both are the same of course and I hope Hikaru can figure this out soon as well, and let go of any thoughts of wrong doing. Hikaru did not, nor ever could, do me wrong!

As for myself. I have kept my own promise and told my love how I felt. In declaring love one cannot always get love declared in return, I know that very well, so I am very fortunate I find my love returned in full measure. I now know Hikaru loves me as much as I, since my rebirth, loved him.

I've done my best to make our love possible within the bounds of convention, but unlike in my first life I will not let convention come between us; once was enough.

This time I aim to be happy together with my love, and for both of us to grow very old being just that!

~End~

* No nobleman needed to be able to do more than add
& subtract in the Heian period, and so Sai wasn't taught more than that.

** kawaii = cute

Author's whinging:

All the official sounding stuff about orphanages, adoption trail periods and fostering exams etc. are purely made up. I didn't do any research what so ever. Wouldn't even know where to start, because this kind of info is only available in Japanese. So I just wrote what sounded good.

More whinging:

I'm now officially at war with my spell checker; for some reason it refuses to spel check the second half of this chapter.
I've tried my best to catch all mistakes by hand, but I'm very likely to have failed, so excuse any misspellings, please!
edit: Thanks to Tuulikki I've already been able to fix some typos! X &3 !
And I noticed I lost my formatting, again. It seems I'm destined to go out into the world unformatted!

Dont forget to reveiw!

Edit: Wow, I'm getting a lot of faves on this one! Thanks guys!
Please leave a review to let me know what I'm doing right so I can try to do that in the next story. PMs are welcome too! I respond to all reviews and PMs.