Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Hikaru no Go characters…

Chapter 4 – Time marches on

"I am home."

"Welcome back honey. Come back down after you have changed, I made your favorite" a female voice calls out from the kitchen.

"Thanks mom," said the teenager as he happily climbs up the stairs to his room. He tiptoes past his baby sister room since he doesn't want to wake her from her nap. But as he approaches his own room, he cocks his head to the side as he ears catches the sound of stones hitting a goban. A puzzle look crosses over the teenager's face as he wonders who it could be making that noise.

He quickens his steps and pushes the door quietly open and is greeted by the sight of his baby sister's back. A smile blooms on his face and he calls out to her.

"Himechan!", but his happiness quickly turns to panic as he finally notices the quiet tears pouring down her face. He ignores the scattered stones by the goban in front of them both and carries her to the bed. He sets her down and kneels on the floor.

"What is wrong?"

Watered green eyes look at him and the quiet sobs now turn louder.

"What happened? You can tell your onii-chan anything."


He tugs his sleeves down and wipes at the tears that won't stop coming.

"Come on baby girl", he picks her up and seats on the bed. He sets her on his lap and as he grabs a hold of each of her tiny fists, he finally notices that his baby is holding a few Go stones in her hands. All of a sudden, it clicks in his head and he starts panicking.

"The stones! Hime-chan, calm down. Tell onii-chan here that you didn't swallow any of them…come on, say ahhhhh…ahhhhh"

He doesn't see anything since he can't coax his baby sister to open her mouth, so he rushes out of the room with her in his arms. He almost crashes into the children's safety gate at the top of the stairs but stops just in time to shout, "Mommm, help! Hime won't stop crying…I think…I think…she might have swallowed one of the stones…Mommm!"

Hikaru took a deep breath of the cold air as she stepped out of a car; it felt nice but at the same time almost chilly, the seasons were already changing. Fall was almost gone and winter was getting ready to set in.

She looked up at the blue sky and wondered if any day now it would start snowing. She zipped her fall jacket close and tried to remember where her brother might have left the scarf and gloves that she had gotten him.

Before leaving, Hikaru waves goodbye to Kinomoto-san, and promise him that she would be down here to meet him, about 5 minutes after visiting hours are over. Kinomoto-san had been assigned by John to drive her everywhere; from school, to the hospital and then back home. At the beginning, she had tried to decline the kind offer, but at the end John had pretty much guilted her into agreeing.

"Come on Hikaru-chan. Think about it, a car unlike the train or bus doesn't need to stop at every station to drop off and pick up more riders. You can just hop into the car and get to where you need to go much more quickly."

"But public transportation is so convenient for me; there is a train and bus station within a block or two of school and this hospital."

"Yes, but you have been staying with your brother until visiting hours are over. And by then it gets pretty dark out there."

"But someone from home always comes to visit brother for a bit before we both head back home. And if it's dark outside, we always take a taxi."

"That's good, but what happens if one of your relatives is running late? Or what happens if there are no taxis."

"John, you are starting to sound like brother; with all this worrying, your hair is going to turn white."

There had been many more pros that John listed but at the end, she finally gave in, especially when he mentioned how Sai-nii would have insisted she take the driver. She knew he was right about what her overprotective brother would have wanted, and at the back of her head, Hikaru knew it would also made her aunt and uncle less worry knowing that both Akira and her had a car waiting for them by the end of the hospital's visiting hours.

Shaking herself back to the present, she looked up at the hospital and tries to imagine what her brother would feel about the new season. It had taken her a long time to come to terms with her brother being in a coma. However, she also knew that any day now he would wake up and shower her with his silliness.

She greeted the nurses stationed on her brother's floor and knocked on the door before going in.

"Hello Hikaru-chan. And perfect timing, your brother and I just finished with our exercises", said Hiragi-san, who was one of the PTA (Physical Therapy Assistant's) in charge of taking care of her brother. One PTA always came once a day and assisted her brother with small exercises that helped to prevent his muscles from becoming too stiff due to his lack of movements.

"Hi Hiragi-san, has my brother been good?"

Patting his arm, "He would be good as new when he wakes up; he was in great physical shape before this incident, and we are doing our best to make sure he stays as physically fit as possible."

"I can't thank everyone enough for all your hard work".

After a few more minutes of chatting, Hiragi-san had to leave to visit her next patient. Hikaru then pulls a chair closer to her sleeping brother and as she is talking, she grabs hold of his hand and starts flexing each part of his fingers.

"It is getting a bit colder now but not cold enough for me to wear my winter coat yet. And yes, I already took out my winter coat. Well, to be honest, aunt Akiko had me take it out and made me tried it on to make sure it still fits me. She swears that Akira and I have been getting taller and taller."

Although no one could see her, Hikaru pouted, "I think this year, I only grew 2 inches at most, but Akira is already taller than me by half a head. It is almost not fair! Especially when you think how Akira and I use to be the same height. Nii-san, don't you agreed?"

"Hey, nii-san, are you sure I will grow taller? I mean, look at you! You are nearly 6 ft. And you said that dad was also the same height as you and that mom was around 5 ft, 8 in., right?"

Hikaru stands straight and presses her hand palm down to the top of her head, "I am already 16 and barely 5 feet 2 in."

She seats back down and grabs his other hand to continue stretching and flexing every one of his fingers. "Soon everyone will outgrow me and I will be the shortest girl in the school. By the way, don't think I have forgotten that you owe me a birthday present and another present for getting into high school."

Done with both his hands, she set her own hands down on the side of the bed, puts her head on top of them and looks at her brother; in a more serious tone she added, "But if you wake up now, I will forgive you. In fact, you don't ever have to get me another present for as long as I live. What do you say?"

After a minute of staring at her brother's face, she closes her own eyes for a bit. All was quiet in the room for a few minutes, until bright green eyes pop open. Hikaru shots up from her chair and in a cheery voice says, "Okay, don't say that I didn't give you an opportunity to back out. Now you owe me more than 2 presents. And I am going to collect a fee for each day that I don't get any of my presents."

"Hm…what do you think I should make you buy me?", Hikaru asked as she seats back down and takes out one of her textbook's to start working on her homework.

At school the next day…

"Okay, settle down everyone. We must decide what we want to do for the school festival. It is coming up soon and whatever we do, we must be the top 1st year class in this school!", said the class president, Yukihito-kun.

Choruses of "yes" could be heard and in a somewhat more organize way ideas were given out as to what they should do to attain the number one position.

"We could set up a haunted house!

"How about a café?"

"We could do fortune telling!"

"We could set up games and give away prizes"

Since the class president and vice-president were currently busy writing down all the ideas on the blackboard, Momo-chan turned back around and almost bouncing off her seat in her excitement asked the people that were near her, "This is so exciting, what should we do?"

"I don't know. I like a lot of the ideas that are being thrown out. Can you imagine if we get to decorate this room as a haunted house? We will have to lower the lights, hang dark curtains and cloths", added Hikaru as she imagined all the crazy things they could do.

"Yes. We can also dress up as monsters and make our faces all scary", added Kishi-kun as he joined the conversation.

"But I am not very good at scaring people. I probably will end up having people giggling at me for not being scary enough", added Mao-chan.

"But it would be so much fun to dress up!", added Momo-chan.

"We can also do a café and I bet we would make a lot of money if we sell food that people like", added the more practical Sakura-chan.

Before more could be said in their group, the president asked everyone to turn their attention back to the front of the class.

"Okay, we have written down everyone's suggestions, and have crossed off the ones that the school won't allow us to do or we would be unable to do due to budgeting or time allowed. You all have 20 minutes to think about it and then we will vote."

After much discussion and brainstorming, the majority of Hikaru's and Akira's class ended up choosing to do a costume café.

A/N: Hi all

Just wanted to thank all the readers who have stuck with me and as added bonus, do look forward to the next chapter which should be out soon! All your reviews have helped me to continue and not give up despite all the crazy things that have been going on.

In this chapter, I just wanted to show a bit more of Hikaru's daily life. She really believes that Sai will wake up soon, and thus she comes every day to visit him. She still talks to him normally, and has now reached a point that she is even comfortable teasing her brother (she talks about extra presents and even collecting a fee for each day the presents are not in her hands). She is also slowly but surely starting to interact more with her classmates and friends.

And though this chapter is a bit more relaxed, I do at least want to let everyone know that from it, you can pick up a lot of clues as to what will happen in upcoming chapters.

See you all soon and Happy Holidays!