Disclaimer: I don't own Hikaru no Go. Otherwise, I'd know a little more about Go than I really do.
Story: Hikaru was turned to the hacker world at an early age. Haunted by Sai, she reluctantly integrates Go into her carefully crafted world. Of course, she uses multiple personalities as an excuse to everyone else, seeing as how she has the bad habit of being a con artist.
Warnings: Age difference and anything else that comes up.
Pairings: Eventual Ogata/Hikaru, though plenty of one-sided Others/Hikaru
Chapter Fifteen: Amateur Engagement I
Ogata snorted at her as he stirred the pot. He put the lid on it and began cutting up the vegetables.
"Figures," was all he said, after she told him she'd had her first consultation job and had ended up fixing the problem herself and sending it back, with a puzzle and clues kind of problems to force them to try to figure out what she'd done to fix it, instead of writing out plain instructions.
She raised an eyebrow at him. "What, no lecture on not being difficult and just doing what I was supposed to do?"
"Hn. If it's supposed to be as easy to fix as you say it is, then they should have been doing their jobs. As it is, you're only teaching them how to do it without giving the easy way out. They're learning, are they not? It's like shidougo."
Hikaru snickered. "Does everything have to be Go to you?"
"Yes," both Ogata and Sai said at the same time.
She rolled her eyes as she got up from the kitchen table. "I'm going to get something from my room. I'll be back in a bit."
Hikaru slowly trekked up to her room and had found the interesting Go magazine she'd been reading, that had had Ogata's interview in it and that she'd wanted to tease him about. She was about to leave her room when the front door to the house opened and she could hear her mother's greetings. Slightly closing the door, she left it open enough to hear out but would hide her.
Ogata had frozen in the meanwhile, caught off guard and looking from the pot and the vegetables and then the entrance to the kitchen. Tiny footsteps sounded and soon enough Hikaru's mother walked through the entrance and stopped short, seeing him there.
"Oh, um," Shindou Mitsuko started awkwardly. "Hello."
'Hello?' he stared. Was that it? Wasn't she going to question his presence, who he was?
"Hello," he answered stoically back. "Ogata Seiji…Pleased to meet you, Shindou-san."
She looked startled that he seemed to know her, before she just smiled tentatively.
"It's…nice to meet you too. Are you a friend of Hikaru's?"
Friend? She would know that if she'd been here! And wasn't she going to further question him being there? Wasn't she going to be suspicious? Or upset that her daughter had some older man alone in the home with her?
Where was this woman for all this time? It had been a little over two years since he'd met and kept close to Hikaru! And this was the first time he'd seen her in that time. Where had she been? What had she been doing? Why hadn't she been here?
"I'm dating Hikaru," he said suddenly, staring straight at the woman.
She looked taken aback. "D-dating Hikaru? Oh. Well…" she glanced at the pot and food around and then back at him. "Thank you for taking care of her."
Thank you for taking care of her?
Ogata kept staring at her, his incredulousness hiding inside. Was that all she had to say about that? Hikaru was fourteen. Damn it, he'd wanted to make this woman react, make her get upset, to-to care!
Didn't she care at all?
But she only gave him a much surer smile. "Sorry for intruding. I'm just going to go upstairs and grab some clothes, and I'll leave you two to lunch."
She left him behind and he clenched his hands tightly, knuckles turning white as he stared in disbelief at the floor.
Hikaru was much more active than him, if only in how hard she was clutching her knees to herself as she sat by the crack in her doorway. She heard her mother enter her bedroom, rummaging around for awhile, before seeming to be done with her task. For a second, she thought she'd leave without saying anything at all to Hikaru. But then her mother hesitated by the stairway.
And that was it.
Her mother's footsteps echoed down the stairs and then the front door opened and closed. Her mother didn't have anything else to say to her. Or cared to say anything else.
Hikaru swayed as she got up, Go magazine left forgotten on the floor as she stumbled out of her room. Sai silently held onto her, holding her in his ghostly embrace and trying to seep his comfort and support into her.
When she reached the kitchen, Ogata was still in the same position he'd been in since Mitsuko had left him behind. Hikaru slid onto a chair noiselessly.
"We're dating, huh? Told you you were a pedophile," she teased mutedly.
"I was hoping she'd punch me," Ogata muttered, finally moving and getting back to his cooking. "…And technically, I'm an ephebophiliac, Chibi," he finally did some snark.
Hikaru only smiled a bit, before looking down at the table tiredly.
"I was a Yankii," Ogata was admitting all of a sudden. "I was an angry little shit when I was a kid, and I was trying to rebel against my parents. I still don't really talk to them."
Hikaru blinked. "What? Why not? You've gone all respectable now, and have a reputable title and a good job."
Ogata shrugged. "A Go Professional isn't a respectable job to them."
"What? But you're renowned. You're…a 9-dan. How can they not see how well off you are now?" Hikaru scowled.
He shrugged again. "I'm not a lawyer or a doctor or even really world famous. Being a Go Professional really isn't seen as too high in their eyes."
"That's just ridiculous," she grumbled. "You worked really hard, and they can't see that."
"Well, when you live in the kind of family I have, it's a bit underwhelming. I have an older sister, who is a recognized specialist in cardiology and is one of the best cardiac surgeons alive. My younger sister is a prominent international lawyer. I have two brothers, with the younger one as a nuclear physicist and the older one as a world-renowned fashion designer/photographer. Even a fashion designer is more respectable a job than being a Go Pro –Eiri is more famous and it's a more normal job than being a Go Pro, even if it is outside of the box as well. That's not counting my father, who is a business tycoon and adding to the family fortune, since we're already 'old money' anyway. My mother is also the current Minister of Foreign Affairs."
Hikaru opened her mouth to say something, but she really couldn't find anything comforting to say. That was a lot to live up to –and, though she didn't want to admit it, a Go Professional didn't exactly amount to the same sort of calling in comparison. She inwardly winced, and felt a little sorry for Ogata for having a family like that.
"But you already knew a lot of that, didn't you," he stated, giving her a pointed look.
She looked guilty and gave him a sheepish grin. "Yeah, I did…but I didn't really think about it, until you brought it up now. Especially since we don't really talk about your family or they're not really brought up much."
"They think I've been wasting my time and life anyway," Ogata rolled his eyes as he shut off the stove. "I could've been busy doing something else, and really making a name for myself in the world. Like…I had a real talent with the piano. They always say I should have gone on with it, and become a famous pianist."
"But there's no guarantee you'd become really famous or earn a lot as a pianist," Hikaru blurted out.
He pointed the ladle at her. "According to them, it's better I was broke and unknown, than to have gotten such an odd profession. How can I, or any of them, come out and say what I do for a living to everyone else? Go is actually not that popular or known. It's really a, to be truthful, obscure job, and they think it's nonsensical. Even doing some other sport would be better to them."
Hikaru wrinkled up her nose. "But you like Go."
"They're just dumb," Sai agreed, frowning and pouting as he crossed his arms across his chest.
"Doesn't matter that I do. That's not the point, Chibi," Ogata rolled his eyes again, scooping up some stew into a bowl and putting it in front of her. "Now be quiet and eat up. Or else you'll stay a midget forever."
"Don't call me short, Megane-chan!"
He just smirked and didn't answer back. He was just glad he'd managed to distract her and take her mind off of her mother. Still, his problems were nowhere near hers, and it made him irritable. Family disagreements and whatnot, Hikaru was just neglected and alone.
He had yet to make a full judgment on the father, but he firmly decided that he couldn't stand Shindou Mitsuko.
Hikaru was very excited. According to Markus, the International Amateur Go Cup was coming up and he was going to be coming to Japan. He was going to go there and she would get to meet him in person, and even more –he'd invited her to the tournament! She'd really only gone to school tournaments and that one with all those children. This was sure to be different and thrilling.
She was also thrilled to know that she was entering her own first amateur Go tournament. Doumoto, one of the patrons of the Heart of Stone and who had played against her the first time she'd gone to that Go salon, played in tournaments himself, and had helped her apply and enter this coming one.
She and Sai had agreed that Hikaru would play most of the games, as it would be a good lesson and practice for her skills, and Sai would comment and lecture about the moves as she played against her opponents.
'It was almost like teaching the Emperor again,' Sai mused. Then again, with Hikaru's nickname in her IT club…
"I'm so excited!" Hikaru squealed quietly to him.
"Me too, me too!" Sai cheered, waving his sleeve-clad hands around. "Hikaru, don't forget to text Ogata-san some of the games, remember?"
"Hai, hai, I remember," she rolled her eyes. "It would be much easier on him if he was just here."
"Hikaru! You know he has an event he has to attend," Sai admonished her.
She pouted. "Bah, that must be so boring since I'm not there to spice things up."
Sai hid his snickers behind his sleeves. "Of course, silly girl. Let's get ready now, okay?"
Hikaru found the sign-in area and signed in, before she set off to find an area to wait in before she was going to be ushered into a seat. She found a chair by the wall, with one seat next to it occupied by an older man, though he wasn't too old and seemed to be in his twenties at least. She mentally shrugged and went over, plopping down onto the unoccupied seat and startling the other.
"Hullo," she waved.
He awkwardly waved too, wearing a confused expression on his face.
"I'm Shindou Hikaru," she introduced herself.
"Er, um, I'm Kadowaki Tatsuhiko," he fumbled to introduce himself back to the odd girl. "It's nice to meet you, Hikaru-chan."
Hikaru practically beamed back at him. Finally! Someone who didn't care for formalities! Even if it was probably because he thought she was a little girl or something…
"Nice to meet you too, Tatsuhiko!" he seemed bewildered at the use of his given name and without any honorific, but oh well. He started it. She inwardly giggled. "Are you going to play?"
"In the tournament? Yes, I am," he confirmed, smiling widely at her. "I thought I'd really like to get back to being active in Go again, after my college years in it. I'm hoping to try to pass the professional Go exam this year, and become a professional Go player. This is probably my last amateur tournament either way."
"Really? Have you done a lot of amateur tournaments then?" she asked curiously.
He told her he had, and that he'd even won the collegiate title versions of Meijin, Hon'inbo, and Juketsu. He really hoped that meant he was good enough to go Pro, but he was being cautious and "keeping all his cards."
"If you go to the finals in this tournament, I will cheer for you in the professional exam," Hikaru promised.
Still, she inwardly pouted. Again, with this professional business! Well, at least he didn't seem odd or as obsessed like the others she'd run into. Maybe the professional world wasn't completely made up of lunatics…
Someone made an announcement the tournament was starting and they bid each other goodbye.
"See you across the board, Tatsuhiko!" she winked at him before dancingly walking away.
He blinked. "She's playing?"
Honestly, for some reason he hadn't been expecting that.
Nor that he would be facing her in the finals of the tournament either. In fact, he was currently sweating as he tried to figure out a way out of the trap he'd fallen into that she'd set.
He'd heard she'd crushed her opponents. He'd also heard something about a split personality? That hadn't been clear to him. But what was clear was her talent and skill when it came to Go. She was absolutely monstrous on the board, and all the while she wore a happy smile on her face.
"I have nothing," Kadowaki sighed.
She was still grinning happily, looking over the board with avid eyes.
"Sugoi! Tatsuhiko, that was an awesome game! I really had lots of fun!" Hikaru complimented him. Her fan, which was now a constant fixture by her side by now, was flipping open and close as her eyes darted over the board.
"Aa, me too," he grinned wryly. It was a good game though, despite his loss. "I really enjoyed it. Although, I think I should practice a bit more before taking the exam now."
"Ehh? Why?" Hikaru asked in confusion.
"I was beaten rather badly," he chuckled, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment. "I should get better first, and try for next year."
Hikaru scrunched up her nose. "No way! I think you're plenty good to pass the exam! Besides, you'll get stronger playing against stronger opponents. If you become a pro, you can play against lots of strong players and get better like that!"
After saying that though, Sai gave her a knowing look that she ignored. Sai was getting a little bit more interested in this professional world of Go now, and he knew that Hikaru was reluctantly becoming interested as well. However, he also knew that she still had her reservations about it, and he admitted that he sided with her. Of course, that was partly because he was biased and sided on everything with Hikaru, but he also did feel a bit wary of the professional world, alongside his host for a great deal of many of her worries and rightly earned prejudice against that world.
But Touya Kouyo had shown them the bright aspect of that world, and they couldn't deny the hunger they both had gained for that world after that special game.
Sai also knew, despite Hikaru's numerous exclamations against the man, that Ogata was also a fond and oddly positive part of that world as well. Even with their rocky beginnings with that man…
Kadowaki hmmed. "Well, I'll give it a go. Giving up before trying at all is the worse, and I hate that kind of thing. I hope I'll get to see you as a pro then!"
"Hehe, I'll bet you'll pass," she nodded surely.
"Nah, I meant that you as a pro too," he grinned widely. "I don't think there's any way you couldn't be one!"
She blinked and stared at him, feeling uneasy. She laughed nervously. "Who knows, eh?"
But Hikaru was still very reluctant to enter that world, and so Sai was as well.
Ogata muttered under his breath, his fingers flying on his phone's keyboard.
"Hoho, youngsters! Always on their phones," Kuwabara cackled, the irritating old man coming into view and sitting down across from him.
Ogata flushed slightly red and had automatically moved to put away his phone, when he inwardly huffed and frowned at the old man and only gave an acknowledging nod at the man's presence and then turned back to his phone. He'd been in the middle of texting Hikaru about the latest game relay she'd sent him, this one being the finals that she'd fought in against someone named Kadowaki (whose name Ogata vaguely remembered from somewhere).
"Keheh, are you perhaps talking to a young woman? Maybe your girlfriend, Ogata-kun?" Kuwabara continued to heckle him.
Ogata's eye twitched and his flush darkened a bit.
"No, I'm not," he said, though probably a tad bit too brusque. "Not that it's any of your business," he couldn't help adding rudely.
Kuwabara chuckled. "You sound so defensive, Ogata-kun. Maybe you're not talking about her because you are ashamed of her?"
"I am not ashamed of Hikaru!" Ogata blurted out in his burst of anger, before inwardly cursing. Damn that old man. He'd made him slip. But he couldn't help himself –with Hikaru and her situation, especially with the latest incident with her mother, he was extremely protective (he knew he was, and even if he didn't know why, he couldn't help it) and he'd always –even, strangely enough, from the beginning –liked and was fond of her very strongly. He wouldn't let anyone talk badly of her, even if slightly or unintentionally.
"Oho! So her name's Hikaru, eh?"
Ogata glared at him. "Excuse me, I have some business I need to take care of," and then Ogata abruptly stood up and started to walk away, leaving the other before he could further make him react.
Kuwabara continued chuckling quietly, watching the younger player walk away in agitation. Ah, but this was so interesting! Ogata was usually cool-tempered, or at least reserved and stiff. He usually never reacted that strongly to Kuwabara's jabs, and most times even played it cool or responded with well-hidden barbs. He also, despite Kuwabara grouping him with the other youngsters, didn't casually use his phone (especially texting) out in the open, and especially on the job.
But it seemed that there was a girl out there with the ability to twist that man all around.
She was nearly bouncing on the balls of her feet, as she waited with Ogata at the airport for Markus to arrive. It was time for the International Amateur Cup, and she couldn't wait. She was looking forward to seeing a tournament filled with really strong and very experienced players, compared to the likes she was used to. Sai was just excited to see more Go and the potential of the others, as well as hopefully getting to play.
Their combined excitement, despite Ogata not knowing about Sai and not being able to see him, was still driving him up the metaphorical wall.
"He's coming, so calm down," he rolled his eyes.
Hikaru smiled brightly at him. "But it's that I finally get to meet a friend! And I get to experience a new, different aspect of Go! I know you're used to Go things and stuff, but I haven't been able to do all of that just yet. But I will! Just you see."
Ogata's lips twitched up. "Of course. Maybe I'll bring you along on one of my jobs to a Go event one day, if you want."
Hikaru beamed brightly at him. Then she heard that Markus' flight just came in and clapped her hands eagerly.
"This is going to be so much fun! Do you think I could convince Markus he should slaughter everyone on the board?" Hikaru asked cheerfully.
Ogata sighed, but hurried up to her side and grabbed her hand, so she wouldn't get lost. "What is it with you and slaughtering your opponents on the Go board?"
"Because Board Slaughtering is fun," both Hikaru and Sai said mischievously, gaining similar glints in their eyes to each other.
Sai hummed happily. He couldn't help being so influenced by Hikaru. She was so infectious and slaughtering people on Go boards really was fun.
Reiji-nii would be so proud.
Started 3/5/14 – Completed 4/6/14
A/n: Sorry for the long wait, guys. Despite having gotten this written awhile back, I've just been too busy to reread, edit, and update a lot of my stories. Please forgive me! I do hope you all enjoyed this chapter and hopefully can get the next one out faster :) Please review!