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 Eight: Shirayuki's Go
"Shindou-sensei," Shirakawa teased. "Good job today."
She huffed at him, but grinned back enthusiastically. It felt great to be part of teaching the Go class. She'd been hesitant at first, but Shirakawa had told her that the class loved her and loved her helping out. So while she continued to refine the basics of the game for herself, she helped the others as herself with the basics while 'Sai' went around for the much harder stuff. It was kind of cool that she was really starting to get Sai's explanations, sometimes even before he started explaining.
Sai was just happy that her own Go was starting to really take shape on her own.
All the games she played against him all the time, and he knew she was more than good than any of the players there. He'd even likened her close to Akira's level, though maybe not yet able to beat him herself.
She was having fun with the game and learning to form her own love for Go. She was able to see things that most people would miss, and even see far beyond in the future of a game than what was in her current ability in playing. He was so proud of her, and he couldn't help but be extraordinarily pleased that his desire for her to share his love for Go was coming true.
He still felt an intense yearning to reach the Hand of God, but he could not help but feel that there was something at least as equally important (maybe even more) that he had to do.
"Shindou-sensei," Shirakawa was still insisting on calling her. "Are you still interested in Go salons?"
She turned to him in interest, and he smiled slightly.
"I know you asked about one some time ago, and I told you the address…but I found two more Go salons, if you'd like to hear about them?"
"Yes, please!" especially as she couldn't really go to the Touya Go salon.
Sai was as equally happy, clapping his hands excitedly.
And this was how she was introduced to the first of the two Go salons he told her about –the Heart of Stone.
She entered it cautiously, prepared for the smoke-filled atmosphere. Going up to the register and seeing the grumpy woman, she inwardly gulped before steeling herself.
"Um…Hello," she greeted hesitantly. "I'd like to play."
The woman looked up from her magazine, her unhappy face lightening slightly.
"You sure you want to go in here, sweetie? It's full of old geezers and disgusting smoke."
Hikaru smiled brightly. "It's alright! I'd still like to play here, please!"
The woman was about to say something else, when she was interrupted by an older man with dark hair cheerfully coming over, a cigarette held in hand.
"I'll play you if you'd like," he smiled amiably.
Another old man, completely bald this time, chirped up helpfully. "Me too!"
"Haha," another man, with short gray hair, "I'll play you also. If you win against all of us, you don't have to pay, alright? And to make things more interesting, if you lose you have to wash the stones!" he laughed again.
"Anata!" the woman at the counter glared at him. "Don't you tease the girl!"
"No, it's okay, Miss! It sounds like fun!" Hikaru brightened up even more. "I know! How about I try playing against all of you at once? I'd like to see if I can do that!"
"It's a deal!" the owner of the place agreed, while his wife yelled at him. "Anata!"
The owner was first board and with nigiri had earned black, while the bald man (named Soga-san) was second board and white, with the dark-haired man who'd first offered to play her was named Doumoto-san and was playing third board and black.
"Huh. So that's how the boards' stones are decided. By the captain's nigiri, eh?" Doumoto hmmed. "I didn't know that. I've only played in individual tournaments."
That made Hikaru remember the one tournament she'd participated in, and wondered when could she play in one again. Maybe she could ask this Doumoto when and where all these individual tournaments were, and see if she could enter in any of them.
Immediately, once the games had started, she switched over to Sai mode (as she'd taken to calling it at times), and Sai joyfully began calling out moves for her to play. He would have liked for Hikaru to try playing here, and see how'd she match up against these older men, but he knew that she and her Go wasn't yet ready for it. There was also that she had yet to really play her own Go against someone other than himself and no practice with it, or that she hadn't practiced actually switching back and forth between herself and Sai in the middle of a game. So far, aside from the lessons where it was easy to get away with it, she had turned into Sai before every game had been played.
He really would have liked for Hikaru to be able to try to play as herself against someone else, minus those of her Go classes, which couldn't count too much.
Incredibly to everyone there, Hikaru, through Sai, had managed to win all three games with very little fuss. The three men stared at the boards in shock, while the lady from the counter went behind them and snatched the cigarettes from Doumoto and Soga's mouths, muttering how they shouldn't be smoking around little girls.
"I thank you three. That was a most wondrous collection of games," she said formally, fondly touching her fan to her lips. "I believe Hikaru is most kind to have allowed me to play and to have brought me here."
Now that got people's attention, wondering what she meant by that. But she'd already switched back to herself, sort of clearing things up and mostly just adding to the confusion.
Hikaru looked at the boards and cheered loudly, clapping her hands. "Wow, wow! Sai did really well, didn't he?"
"What on earth are you talking about?" the owner asked in bewilderment, at the same time as Doumoto exclaimed, "What in the…do you have someone you talk to in your head or somethin'?" That had actually been meant as a rhetorical question, and not meant to have been taken seriously…only he didn't know that he was sort of spot on.
Hikaru laughed in embarrassment, scratching the back of her head. She explained about her "affliction," which really did end up clearing things up, though it was still an odd revelation and a strange situation.
And then some odd man barged in, and that was how Hikaru and Sai met Kawai the Taxi Driver.
She came again and again, coming often and playing against many of the people there. The owner let her come in for free, and she even started helping play teaching games with Sai with people there. Kawai was a usual and a loudmouth, but Hikaru thoroughly enjoyed his presence and both playing him and just hanging out around the silly man. Doumoto had also helped her out with the tournaments, informing her about some of them and which ones were coming up soon. He'd also promised to help her into the next one that was nearing, and she gratefully thanked him.
Sai also made himself rather popular there, and though he tended to slaughter everyone there (most of the time by influence of Hikaru or even direct suggestion of slaughtering), everyone loved to hear him talk or start explaining things.
She had enjoyed there so much that she'd almost forgotten about the other Go salon and almost didn't care to visit it. However, she wanted Sai to play as many players as he wanted and could, and she didn't want to limit him. So off it was to this other Go salon, which had a Korean name.
She was waiting in front of her school when Kawai arrived, having offered to drive her over as he would have been passing by her school when he was getting off to break.
"Eh, eh? Another Go salon? Oi, you can't be abandoning us, are you? Hika-chaaaan! Nooo, you're replacing us!" Kawai exclaimed dramatically.
She rolled her eyes as Sai laughed at the man's antics.
"Don't worry, I'm not," she stuck her tongue out at him. "I'm just gonna see if Sai wants some more places to play at."
"Haha, he sure likes to play, doesn't he?" Kawai laughed. "You should learn and play Go yourself, Hika-chan."
"Un, un! I'm learning," she said. "I just don't think I should play yet. I don't think I'm really good enough to play anyone."
"Says you. You don't know," Kawai huffed, and she smacked his shoulder with a pout.
Soon enough they arrived there, and Kawai asked what time she'd think she would be done. She said probably late, and he made certain she had his number and that if she needed a ride, to just call him and he'd be back to pick her up and drop her back home.
When she entered the Go salon, it was full of Koreans playing and she hesitated. She didn't know Korean. She was good enough in Chinese and her English was great, but she hadn't managed to go into any Korean yet.
"Hello there. Please don't just stand at the entrance. Come in, come in," the owner, she guessed, said welcomingly to her.
She gave a hesitant smile and walked closer. "Hello," she greeted back. "Is it alright if I come play here?"
"Yes, of course. Just pay the fee and you can play whoever you want. You speak any Korean?" he smiled at her.
She shook her head, looking somewhat embarrassed.
"It's alright. I can help translate for you. My Japanese is very good," he assured her. "I don't really have much to do right now anyway."
"Thank you!" she beamed at him.
She immediately found someone to play and Sai had as much fun as ever. There were definitely much stronger players here, though Sai was still stronger than any of them. She played a great game with the first guy, and had drawn attention. She and Sai began playing even more, and she started to slip in and out between 'Hikaru' and 'Sai', and she was able to quickly establish her MPD to everyone there. At first, everyone seemed like they didn't know how to take that, but it didn't take long until most there had learned to accept it, with a few still holding back and being a little reticent and wary.
The owner, who she had learned was named Hon Ryuu, was very helpful in helping her interact with everyone, though when she went into Sai mode, he had trouble following and sometimes looked a bit lost. She and Sai felt really sorry about it, especially since he'd been nice enough to help her out.
She liked the place, and so did Sai. There were many there that had even offered to help her learn Korean, and she thought it was very kind of them and she was looking forward to coming back to there soon.
Taking her phone out, she began typing rapidly onto the qwerty keyboard to Markus King, the American amateur friend she'd made over NetGo.
Good game today. Want a replay?
She got a quick response she grinned at.
She typed out the moves quickly, after pointing out she'd been white. Of course, he was still rather confused on how she'd managed to do international texting and without any payment involved, but he didn't have to know that she'd messed with some lines…satellites…computers in buildings of that which she should not have any business going into…
She just said that the Japanese had advanced high-tech technology that did some awesome stuff.
Then she sent a simple text to Ogata detailing an emoticon for glasses (^0_0^) and then a wink (^_-)-* . She snickered when she got a fish in return o゜))彡.That man and his fishes…
He was quick to reply and call her a "ramen junkie."
"Sai~ Let's come back tomorrow, 'kay?" she grinned brightly up at her ghost.
Sai smiled down at her, patting her head fondly. "Hai, hai! Let's come back!"
And so it was that Hikaru continued to visit both the Heart of Stone and this new Korean Go salon earnestly.
Hikaru had been in the middle of playing someone, when she heard someone hesitantly call out to her, as if unsure if it was who they thought she was.
But it wasn't her name they called.
She forced herself to remain calm, and remembered that she was currently 'Sai' anyway. She turned slightly in her seat, giving a gentle smile to who had addressed her, and was surprised (and very freakin' nervous) to see the teacher from the Kaio Go club from the tournament.
"Hello, but I apologize. Do I know you?" she spoke softly, continuing to smile at 'Yun-sensei' as Sai.
He cleared his throat in embarrassment, but didn't back down from approaching her.
"I don't know if you remember, but I am the teacher from that school tournament you participated in. The one where your school, Haze High, beat Kaio?" he tentatively told her. "My name is Yun Seondo. Aside from being the supervisor for the Go club at Kaio, I teach English for all high school grades."
"Eh, Sai-san, do you need me to remember that to tell Hikaru-chan?" Ryuu asked, after greeting Yun familiarly.
"That would be nice, thank you," Hikaru turned to him with an appreciative smile that he turned slightly red at and rubbed the back of his head.
Yun was slightly confused, and Hikaru took that as her chance to introduce her MPD aspect to him. He was most probably going to be one of her teachers after all. He took it much more calmly than she'd expected he would, but she continued on, wanting to apologize for the tournament as she hadn't been truthful about herself in it (on a whole other level…).
"I am sorry, Yun-sensei," she addressed him by title, trying to get used to it early anyway. "I was not really a Haze High student when I was playing in the tournament. My dear companions wanted to play in it and was not allowed to without a third compatriot. I volunteered as I loved the game. Hikaru will most probably be one of your students in two years. I believe she has had everything set up with the principal to enter Kaio in high school."
Yun blinked, feeling slightly off balanced. "I…I see. Of Hikaru-san, does she play Go?"
"Not truly," Hikaru said sadly. "She knows the basics, and has been practicing tutoring others and Life and Death problems. But she has not played another with her own Go."
Yun looked thoughtful, and when he addressed Hikaru, he was noticeably gentler.
"Sai-san, have you brought her into your world? Our world?"
Hikaru stiffened. "…No."
"It would be nice to, wouldn't it? Wouldn't you like for her to play too? I bet she'd make a great pupil."
"She would," Sai murmured, unheard by all.
Hikaru stayed quiet, guardedly watching the Korean teacher speak to her.
"Perhaps you can try and let her see about playing on her own sometimes? How about now? Do you think you could see if you're able to switch over control?" he asked kindly.
Sai could see Hikaru looked uncomfortable, though only he would notice after having been with her for so long and so closely.
He also saw the fingers of her left hand twitch under the table from where it was hidden.
Hikaru swallowed. "I'll…try."
And when Yun smiled softly at her, Hikaru closed her eyes and took a deep breath, and Sai could see her somehow just come alive and really be herself. It wasn't really something he'd thought of, or had noticed.
"H-Hello?" Hikaru asked, as herself, in confusion.
Yun continued to smile softly at her. "Hello there. I'm Yun Seondo," and he quickly retold his introduction to her, leading to her bowing several times and apologizing for the tournament, now able to say sorry as herself as well.
"Hikaru-san, let's play Go," though his tone was still gentle, it was now a bit firm too. "I would like to see your Go, Hikaru's Go."
Sai saw that Hikaru's fingers had twitched again, before her hand slowly rose from under its hiding place under the table and she reached out to the stone bowls. She fingered a stone carefully, flipping it between her slender fingers a few times before stopping it in the correct position to hold the Go stone to make a move. Her hand trembled for a moment before she decisively moved it and the stone hit the board with a resounding clack! and she took her first step into the Go world as herself, finally playing someone for the first time.
Yun was smiling.
And they played a game.
That night, as Hikaru moved through her home like a ghost (having been kindly dropped off by Yun), Sai watched her quietly. She didn't say anything to him, or anyone really, and just continued to be lost in her own head ever since leaving the salon and having played that one game with Yun.
"That was a great game, Hikaru-san. Very well-played."
Hikaru blankly checked her phone, seeing several messages, but she didn't heed them.
"You're unused to playing, so your moves sometimes were a little shy and unconfident."
She ate a quick dinner, noting that it was getting close to midnight.
"It would be nice and please me if, once you graduate and finally enter Kaio High, if you were to join my Go club. I think you'd like it a lot."
She trudged up to her room, locating her laptop and tiredly flipping it open and starting it up.
Hikaru sat rigidly on her seat, her hands tightly clasped together on her lap as she stared at the game on the board. Sai was able to see her back severely unbending, her shoulders quivering just the slightest. Every so while, her fingers would twitch in their bound position.
Her head bowed a bit and she continued to gaze uncomprehendingly at the game as a few silent tears rolled down a snow-white face.
She hesitantly stared at her screen before she reluctantly located the program and clicked on it. She looked at her screen emotionlessly, before she made a decision.
"I was hoping, if you were open to it, that I could teach you and guide you in Go, and help you grow while your Go takes shape, and Sai could play freely as he wants."
Hikaru clicked the button and made everything final. Sai gave a very pleased smile, and let his hand comfortingly settle onto her head.
Shirayuki was reborn into NetGo.
Started 4/30/13 – Completed 4/30/13
A/n: Ahaha, who was expecting Yun-sensei to come up and so early? Or that, when someone was calling out, that it would be him? (I bet y'all was thinking it was Akira, huh?). So canon stuff…and yet totally not canon XD I'm so late on this. I'll be late on replying to reviews, since I'll be trying to update all the stories I was supposed to, but thanks to everyone! I loved everyone's comments. You guys are really funny. More on Hikaru and Sai on NetGo next chapter, time skip, Kaio High, and more computer stuff. Ashiwara and Kishimoto appear! Please review if you enjoyed! How about at least another ten?
To akirafanatic: Eheh, thanks! I'll be trying to keep the updates up!
To Blaze: Thank you! I'm trying to update quite a few of my stories at once, so here's to that.
To anon: Thanks for that! That Guest was really annoying, as warnings as clearly up and so it's just stupid. Glad the explanation helped. As for foreshadowing, I love doing it! There's just a bunch of stuff I want to put in, and it'll be lots of different from the usual Hikago fics. You can see a bunch of foreshadowing in this chapter!