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 anyting else that comes up.
Pairings: Eventual Ogata/Hikaru, though plenty of one-sided Others/Hikaru
Chapter Three: Fujiwara's Entrance I
Akira couldn't believe what had happened. He sat there in shock and completely frozen. He was nearly blank of any other emotion before confusion and then anger at himself, for underestimating his opponent, suddenly started to overtake him. He gritted his teeth, unable to believe that he had suddenly lost. Who was this person? Who was this kid his age that had actually managed to beat him, and yet Akira had never even heard of him before?
Nothing made sense.
He sat hunched over the goban, stones still laid out in the game that had caused him four moku (komi included). And he could still feel that the other had been holding back, teaching, observing, measuring Akira…
Suddenly, others started murmuring, finally seeing him and his defeated form. The game was the only thing he could see, the black and white stones innocently laid out in its elegant pattern on the board. He could barely hear the crowd's quiet, astonished murmurings, fixated on his loss instead.
The way he had laid down the stones…it was oddly graceful. Akira had never truly focused on how a player placed a stone down on the board before, but he couldn't help noticing that it was strangely placed with the air of a noble. His father, too, had never differed from other players in placing down a stone, other than such sure hands that never faltered or shook and was always calm.
His playing style was somewhat old, but Akira saw more modern stuff as well. It confused him. However, the intimidating aura that accompanied it was one he was familiar with, as he played against a similar one for as long as he could remember –his own father's aura.
All of that had made Akira never question why his usual offering of a handicap had never come out of his mouth. In fact, the moment the thought of asking whisked into his head, he felt rather foolish and like a child under the scrutiny of the other.
"Akira-kun, is it true you lost to that boy?" Ichikawa hesitantly asked him, forcing her way through the crowd.
Akira blinked at her, mind readjusting just the slightest to the present.
"Ichikawa-san…" he murmured. Then his mind sharpened and he abruptly focused in on her. "Ichikawa-san! His name! The name of that boy!"
She flinched back with wide eyes at him. "His-his name?"
Akira nodded fiercely, not taking his eyes off of her.
"Um, he signed in as Fujiwara no Sai," she tentatively, though slightly confused, answered him.
She wasn't the only one. Others murmured at the strange sign in, while Akira scrunched his eyebrows.
"Who signs in their name like that nowadays?" one of the customers asked incredulously.
"He didn't leave a level," Ichikawa reluctantly added. "He said he'd never been professionally graded and asked if it was okay if he was 'unknown.'"
Okay, so it had been more of teasing flirt (in her eyes), but there was no way she was going to admit to that.
"He didn't know his level?"
"How strong is he?!"
And many similar sentiments were going around, but Akira knew two things for certain. This boy overtook him in strength and was called Fujiwara no Sai.
Yet, he had nothing else to go on. A soft voice and features, an odd sign in, and just a game were all he had to go on with this mystery…
After that, his days were filled with trying to figure out the mystery he had been left with. At first, he tried to write out everything on a page of his notebook for school. But then, aside from needing the notebook for school, the list format wasn't clicking and drawing anything from him. So he used the back of the Go salon, where he usually sat, and began to make a new design to help him out with what little clues he had. He put them written on note cards and pinned them to a wall, before using strings to connect them.
As he mulled over his burgeoning wall over Fujiwara no Sai, sometimes customers who had managed to talk or play with the effeminate boy would mutter something to him that had Akira writing it down and adding it to his wall. He realized this was probably odd and looked most probably crazy to any who saw it or watched him, but it helped him keep calm and rational. Even more important, it helped him to organize his thoughts and make it easier to find this mysterious Sai.
"He talked weirdly. Kind of old-fashioned," Kitajima, a frequent customer, suddenly said from beside him, scaring Akira (though he didn't show it).
"You should talk, old timer!" another customer cajoled and Kitajima scowled at them.
However, Kitajima turned back to Akira. "Like I said, he talked old-fashioned. I don't mean 'old' like the generations before you, but like from another time period altogether."
Akira couldn't fathom that. What did Kitajima mean?
"He held himself oddly too," Kitajima continued. "Like one of those socialite aristocrat rich folks. Except old-fashioned. Like really old-fashioned. Traditional."
And Akira just had more clues that just baffled him even more.
"Sometimes he holds his hand like it's supposed to be holding something."
"He had an odd smile. Soft, but sometimes he would have like one of those 'Mona Lisa' smiles."
"He seemed very gentle."
On and on it went. Different customers would come to him when he was observing and trying to put things together, adding in something. They'd stand by him for a bit and then mutter something to add to the mystery.
"He had long, thin fingers like a pianist would have," Ichikawa said quietly.
Akira stared at her. She looked back at him.
He gave an unsure smile and grabbed a note card, writing it down and then pinning it up. He looked back at Ichikawa, who nodded approvingly.
Akira had been wanting to see the other soon, and definitely play another game.
"If you find him and see him, would you take a picture of him with your cell phone for me please?" she asked reticently, looking away with a strange blush on her face.
It seemed Ichikawa wanted to see him again too.
Although, the very subject of their conversation was currently not even thinking about them at all. In fact, Hikaru was in a meeting with the principal of Kaio High School, settling things for her entrance into their school next school year. She had also managed to slip in her MPD diagnosis, which thankfully was now official with her new psychiatrist and the official verdict.
"I was wondering if it would be alright if I could wear the boys uniform sometimes," Hikaru asked, surprising the principal. "Sometimes I had a tendency to do so at my current school."
She saw him open his mouth, looking unsure, so she cut him off before he could refuse.
"There's no rules against it. I checked to make sure," she said quickly.
Sai snickered in the background.
"Well, I suppose," he said slowly. "But you'll have to pay for both uniforms."
"That won't be a problem," she assured him.
With that, she finished her enrollment there. She went back home, explaining all the things Sai kept pointing out excitedly while they walked. It was at her house that she was surprised to see her mother, diligently preparing dinner.
"Okaa-san," Hikaru greeted, smiling warmly and surprising Sai, who hadn't known who the lady was, having never seen her before.
Though Sai could detect an undercurrent of wariness for some reason. Sai's smile faltered and he quietly watched the proceedings.
Shindou Mitsuko smiled just as warmly back at her daughter, though there was nothing hidden underneath that warmth.
"Hikaru! Where have you been? Come sit at the table. Tell me what you have been up to. We're going to have early dinner by the way. Otou-san will be home by then."
Hikaru's smile widened, though there was a lot of hesitance. "Otou-san is coming home? So he's back from being overseas?"
Mitsuko seemed to brighten. "Yes, isn't that nice? We can have a nice family meal. We haven't had one in such a long time."
Hikaru knew that. Not since she became a difficult child, not since her father became more immersed into work (and in turn becoming bigger in the company), and not since her mother decided to go back to school. It was a domino effect that had started with her.
She could still recall one of the first arguments they had had over her.
"I can't believe she did that! What are we going to do? Do we have to pay for anything? I hope she didn't get in trouble, or we did for this," Mitsuko said in distress.
"No, no. Thankfully, she somehow diagnosed everyone correctly, so the patients didn't complain about having to come in again. Instead, they got distracted and got all impressed that a little girl was all right on what they all had."
"I don't know what to do, Masao. I don't know how to handle her. How…how am I going to raise her? She's such a difficult child."
"She's not difficult, she's just…precocious. It's probably just a phase and she'll grow out of it. Don't worry about it."
Mitsuko buried her face into her hands, while Masao sighed heavily.
Hikaru stopped listening and quietly went back up the stairs, mussing up her hair. Then, purposely, she loudly stomped down the stairs and yawned loudly while in front of them, blinking "sleepily" as she rubbed her eyes.
They put on strained smiles for her, and Hikaru said nothing about what she overheard or brought it up anytime afterwards.
But it seemed like they were going to have a great family dinner. Or so she thought. However, time passed and her father was still not home. Hikaru's easy smile and laid-back nature slipped, and her smile slowly became a neutral line as she carelessly sprawled in her chair, and her green eyes became indifferent.
"Sit up straight, Hikaru," her mother reprimanded, glancing at the clock. "We should…we should start without him. He'll probably come in late."
But they started and finished dinner, with Shindou Masao still missing. Without another word, Hikaru slipped her hands into her pockets and lazily made her way to the stairs, ignoring her mother and everything else. Once in her room, she pulled her laptop to her and gave a lazy grin towards Sai, who worriedly hovered over her and was dismayed over this odd change in her character.
"So, Sai. I was thinking of looking up any Go events that might be happening in the area, and seeing when and where. Would you like that?"
And Sai really, really would. And normally, he would loudly express it and glomp her and do a dance and praise her happily and…
But for once, he was too worried and anxious over his host.
"Don't worry about it, Sai," she said stoically, eyes staring and not moving from her screen. "It's normal around here. Oh look! A Children's Go tournament. How about that? You wanna check that out?"
Sai put on a smile and nodded, but couldn't resist drifting closer and loosely wrapping his arms around her neck and on her shoulders. She entangled a hand into his hair that fell forward onto her without a word.
"Hikaru! I hope you're getting schoolwork done!"
Hikaru smiled bitterly. "She always knows when I'm ignoring schoolwork."
That Sunday, they were back to being alone again. Hikaru's father had called later on in the night and said he wasn't going to make it, and that it'll be awhile before he could come home. Hikaru didn't think or say anything of it, going about her usual routine. Her mother had gone the next day as well.
"Hey, Hikaru-chan," Sai called for her attention. "You get into the boyish role really well. How's that?"
"Hm?" she was distracted. "Well…I guess because when I had to make a physical form for Shirayuki, I made the disguise as a boy as well. You see, sometimes I sell some programs and stuff, but I prefer to stay under the radar and not have people know who I really am. So the disguise."
"Ready? Alright! Let's go!"
And then they were heading off to the tournament, with Hikaru once again pretending to be a boy. It was just the slightest changes, as usual, but it was enough to pull off her favorite effeminate disguise (and one she was associating with 'Sai').
"Amazing," Hikaru murmured, seeing all the kids playing and the intense focus they had.
"It is! Oh my, my heart is warmed by the sight of all these children playing Go, even years after my death," Sai's eyes sparkled.
"You ready then?" Hikaru grinned at her ghost.
"Hai! Anou, are you going as yourself or as 'me'?" Sai asked first.
"Ehhh? As you, of course! You're the Go fanatic," Hikaru reminded him.
Inwardly, Sai pouted. He'd half-hoped Hikaru would go as herself, and see how great the game was in her own view. Ah well. Some other time then. However…Sai grinned. He got to have fun with Go himself!
Hikaru quickly assumed her Sai position and started to walk through the tournament gracefully, gazing around with a fond and happy gaze. Sai beside her mimicked her mimicking him. He found it funny doing so.
'Sai, look. That board right there,' Hikaru projected her thoughts. She liked talking to him aloud, but times like this made sharing thoughts convenient. 'In the upper left corner, if black isn't careful, he'll die.'
Sai gleefully clapped his hands, proud of his charge. 'Yes, yes! You are correct, Hikaru-chan~ Where should he move?'
'1-2,' Hikaru replied quickly.
Sai threw up his hands and twirled around happily in midair, with no one to see him but Hikaru. 'Hikaru-chan only needed a glance! I'm so proud! You do listen to my teachings too!'
Hikaru rolled her eyes, but waited for the boy to make the move she'd suggested in her head. Ever since getting stuck with him, Sai had tutored her in Go alongside Shirakawa's teachings, and constantly played against her.
Of course she lost every time, but Sai was like a freaking Go god.
The boy went one below Hikaru's move, and she couldn't help gaping at the board.
"Really? 1-2, man!" she groaned, before realizing she'd broken out of her Sai persona and pulled herself together.
Except she'd already ruined the game, brought the two boys' attention to the mistake, and apparently drawn the ire of officials.
"Hey, you!" someone grabbed her shoulder.
Panicked, she whirled around to face him. "I apologize," she said quickly, remembering to reply as Sai.
Sai nodded rapidly, eyes wide.
"What are you thinking? Interfering with a match! This is a serious event," the stranger reprimanded her, still holding onto her tightly.
"Mori-san, calm down," another stranger came into the picture. He was wearing a white suit, glasses, and had blond hair. Hikaru, for some reason, felt on edge with him and had to refrain from narrowing her eyes.
"Ogata-sensei, I'm taking him to the back," the first stranger, Mori, said to the other.
Hikaru felt less panicked and more irritated. Sai watched curiously, feeling as if he were watching a volcano about to burst for some reason. It was entertaining, this suspense...
"You will do no such thing!" Hikaru scowled. "Release me at once! Manhandling my person and touching me without consent, especially as a minor also! I shall have reason to make a complaint against you, as I remind you that physical harassment outweighs that of disturbance of a game!"
Hikaru wondered if she could get away with the 'minor' thing in her Heian personality (she wasn't quite sure such a thing was admissible in the Heian era). But she did wanted to remind them that she was a minor too, and she had no qualms suing them for the harassment.
Mori reeled back, taking his hand away quickly, as that Ogata guy cringed.
"I-I'm sorry," Mori quickly apologized. "This is not my intention!" his voice went shrill.
Hikaru's scowl became a less severe frown, and she lifted her nose up in irritation, narrowing her eyes down at them.
"Then what would you wish of me now?"
Mori cleared his throat, avoiding looking around. "P-please follow me to the back."
"Very well. You should have requested that in the first place," she pursed her lips before imperiously gesturing for him to lead the way.
She followed but she had the feeling Ogata (and she was –for some reason –very hyper aware of this) was watching her closely and had his eyes narrowed at her back.
Once there, she held herself in a straight posture and kept her head authoritatively up, scanning the room with a cooled gaze.
"We're here, but I demand to know why you have kept me in ransom," she spoke up, letting her irritation continued to be known.
"This is not a laughing matter, young man," the new person, a Kakimoto, frowned at her. "A lot of children take this tournament seriously."
"Was I laughing, sir?" she went back to scowling. "I assure you I was not. I have already apologized, as it was clearly a mistake. The mistake has already been done, and there is nothing that can change that fact now or be done about it. If that is all, I believe it is time for me to leave."
She nodded regally at them and then turned on her heel, walking away.
"Sai! That man! Earlier! The glasses-wearing man! He's our enemy," Hikaru suddenly declared once they were in the hallway.
Sai blinked at her. "Ehhh?! What? Why?"
"I just know it," Hikaru hissed out. "He's the enemy," she said firmly.
Sai sweatdropped, but didn't argue with her about it. She was determined about this for some reason, so he'll just go along with it.
Fixing herself back to 'Sai' normal, she kept going and bumped into someone as she had also been lost in thought.
It was a very serious and stern looking man, wearing old-fashioned traditional Japanese clothes, and had a very intimidating aura. She nearly balked, but then remembered Sai.
'Sai wouldn't back down, Sai wouldn't back down, Sai wouldn't back down.'
'Yeah, yeah, I wouldn't!' Sai cheered her on.
"I apologize. Please excuse me. My thoughts have been recently troubling me," she inclined her head and forced herself to keep up Sai's noble posture and gait.
"I see," he intoned. "Then please excuse me as well. Good day," he inclined his head towards her also.
They then continued walking passed each other.
Sai cheered, Hikaru sighed in relief, and Touya Kouyo pondered on the odd child he briefly became acquainted with.
When he came into the room of utmost confusion and awe, and them talking about a child that had come in and solved a problem that would take even a pro a moment to solve, his thoughts went back to the child he'd passed by in the hallway and could see that there was probably something very special about the boy they were all talking about –and he most assuredly, without a doubt, knew that the boy he'd passed was the very same one.
He was gone without ever leaving a name, but Kouyo was sure they would all see him again. And he knew the child was just that good of a player, with the unflinching gaze that met his back, the regal pose the strange little boy held, and fearless look he took on against Kouyo. And if that child was that good, he definitely knew he would appear again.
Of course, those were his thoughts, but Ogata Seiji was completely convinced there was something off about the boy.
Who talked like that anyways? Nowadays, speech like that looked too odd. And there was something about the kid that bothered Ogata and made him suspicious. He couldn't put his finger on it.
There was also that he managed to focus in on the boy's throat by chance. No Adam's apple. Now, both sexes technically had one, but an Adam's apple was considered a male attribute because it grew larger during puberty. And the kid should be entering puberty by then, and have at least a more noticeable Adam's apple to show for it –No Adam's apple…
"Girl!" he shouted out, bringing attention and confused looks his way. He flushed red. "Please excuse me. I think I'm in need of a refreshment. I'll be right back."
He turned and disguised his embarrassment, not showing his rush out of the room. But he knew one thing for sure.
That mysterious boy was most definitely a girl.
Started 2/3/13 – Completed 2/6/13
A/n: Ahaha, there you have it. Ogata and Kouyo's entrances, and Hikaru/Sai making their first waves into the Go world. Honestly, I'd originally planned for Ogata to be way later, and then I decided on an early meeting here with a canon meeting…but then now I'm deciding he gets to have more of a screen presence than he was supposed to at first also. Stubborn character, demanding screen time… Ah well. Anyways, I'll answer reviews later, as I have to be at a funeral right now and don't have the time. Thanks for reading and reviewing, guys! You're all so awesome and I love y'all!