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 Nine: Dead Land Virus
Two years had passed by rather quickly, she realized. It amazed her and she could hardly believe it at times.
"You're too slow."
Hikaru glowered at Ogata, and pouted as she made her move. She ignored Sai giggling over her shoulder, but concentrated on the game.
"I don't have all day."
"Ugh!" she clutched at her hair and chucked one of her stones at him. He caught it neatly and then tossed it back to her calmly. "You're insufferable, you know that?"
"Megane-chan is so mean," she muttered.
Nothing much had changed in the years that had passed. She supposed things had progressed though. She was going to enter Kaio High in a few days, and she'd been playing Go for quite a long time now, as both herself and Sai. They continued to teach with Shirakawa, and she found she really did like it a lot. She could see why Sai had enjoyed being a Go tutor in those days.
Her Go salons were like second homes, and between the Heart of Stone where she had fun and made different challenges and different ways to play Go, and Cho Rok Bic Na Mu, the Korean salon where she was drilled on Korean (she can speak conversations now!) and had round tournaments with the patrons there to mimic how it was in the Korean kenkyuusei institutions and was also learning about foreign Go there as well. It was new to Sai too, so he was very excited and eager about learning along with her. It helped her learn Korean faster, as Sai was learning as well, and they could practice together.
She had nothing to say about the internet terror reign she and Sai shared on the internet, other than be amused. She hadn't noticed at first, just eagerly playing as Sai and battering against all the opponents without care. But then she realized, as one day she idly glanced at the counter to see that there was a monstrous amount of people watching on the game and there were also conversations taking place while she and Sai played (as well as actual forums dedicated to their games!), that she'd drawn attention to herself (mentioning it to Marcus had him asking incredulously if she really did just notice just then). It made her a little wary and paranoid, since as a computer enthusiast she knew that others versed in computers would undoubtedly try something. Needless to say, when the first one tried to locate her by trying to trace her IP address, she was quite glad she'd prepared for the intruders.
She'd made an outrageous defense system that was practically impossible to break through, hid her IP address, decked out her system with virus traps for anyone who tried, and basically made a warzone out of her computer system for any idiot who decided they wanted to try and best the great Shirayuki.
Yet that led to another problem, as due to her ego, many recognized the Falling Snow triumph screen. Therefore, it wasn't long until Shirayuki of NetGo was linked to the Shirayuki hacker/cracker extraordinaire. Talks of her as herself sprouted up in forums, though only fellow computer enthusiasts would have recognized the connection and were the ones chattering about it.
There was also that Ogata had found out about her/Sai's NetGo account and had irritably confronted her about it. And then he later found out about her singular Go account, which was how he found out about how she was playing on her own and forming her own Go. He'd immediately demanded a game with her, though she'd initially refused as she thought and told him that she needed more time practicing with 'Yun-sensei' before she went out and played anyone seriously.
He looked at her dumbfounded, before looking so ridiculously offended and slighted that she couldn't help laughing at him.
"What? Why on earth would you have gone to someone else, when I am perfectly here and healthy for you to play with? You should've come to me first! Why you insufferable little girl! I'm a 9-dan, you know! Shouldn't I have been the obvious choice to help you?"
She just replied "but you're the enemy" and allowed him to sulk to himself, refusing to admit that he was pouting about it. Like he was now.
"Don't sulk," she ordered in amusement. "You can't still be irritated by it, right? It's been at least a year since you found out. And I acknowledged your '9-dan status,' Megane-chan. No need for you to pout and coerce to get your ego stroked more. Plus, I'm playing regularly with you now, aren't I? Besides, I probably won't be able to practice and play with Yun-sensei as much, since I'll be going to school and he'll probably be one of my teachers. It'll probably be seen as favoritism."
"Yeah, yeah. As for school, you're going to Kaio now, right? In a few days?"
"Mmhm," she finally made yet another move.
"Do you need a ride there?"
"Nope. I'll be fine with transit," she told him cheerfully.
"I'll see you in three days in the morning then."
She pouted and glared at him. "But I just said –"
He rolled his eyes and interrupted her. "Kaio is more than just a few blocks away. You'd have to wake early to get ready and then make it to the earliest train there. Alone. In the morning. Non-crowded hours where God knows what happens. Quit complaining, I'm picking you up," he said finally.
"Bah! I better get a breakfast out of this," she glared at him.
"Of course. You'd probably eat ramen, junkie," he glared back.
Sai chortled and danced away, entertained by these two as always. More often than not, Hikaru was caving into certain demands of Ogata's, and he was quite glad as most of them were very responsible orders.
The intake of ramen was also thankfully cut down, despite Hikaru threatening riots if ramen disappeared completely or was cut down too much.
But at least Sai could be relieved that more proteins and vitamins were making their way into Hikaru now.
"Touya-sensei is waiting patiently for you, you know," Ogata commented carefully, out of nowhere.
Hikaru froze and Sai grew serious. They, too, had been longing to play the Meijin again. But they were both sure, even Sai, that they weren't ready for the attention to be shone onto them, had it become widely known that the famed Touya Meijin was eager to play a freshman high school girl, who was likely insane with some diagnosis of multiple personality disorder. They weren't ready for people to wonder about his interests in either of them, especially factoring her age, Go experience, and the fact she had some kind of mental disorder (and they would really like to avoid the focus on her supposed MPD, as most normal people were very wary and even frightened about such things and people who had them).
"I see," she muttered.
He sighed in exasperation. "You could always come over to his home and play, brat. I've invited you, and he's invited you through me, to come to his Go meetings every week."
"I just don't want any attention right now," she pursed her lips.
"Why? Because of Sai?" he asked sarcastically. "It's not like he's even real!"
Sai flinched and Hikaru glared at him, baring her teeth slightly.
"Be quiet! You don't even understand!"
"Then make me understand!" he glared back, and they were once more caught up in another glaring match, only this time it was much more serious.
"Sai is real," she said only, and he faltered, becoming confused.
"What do you mean by that?" he asked, taken aback.
But she refused to elaborate, so he frowned and studied her closely.
"I'm going to find out sooner or later," he declared. "So I'm not going to push now. But you better bet that I'm going to find out, somehow or other."
She grumbled under her breath, but didn't answer him. In retaliation, Ogata finished up the game and slaughtered her, making her indignant and Sai tutting.
'You, hush!' she directed to Sai. To Ogata, she waged war with her eyes, but he just smugly smirked back at her.
"This means war, you know," she hissed at him like an angry cat, which made him chuckle and therefore made her even more infuriated.
As payback, she made Sai blaze a massacre across the board (which he did to get back into Hikaru's good graces) and Ogata was growling in irritation.
"That isn't fair. You used your Sai hand –your…Damn it all, I don't even know what I'm talking about!" he threw his hands up in surrender.
"And you never will," it was her turn to be smug.
Ogata took to grumbling this time, but he sucked it up quicker than she had and graded her on her performance.
"You've grown a lot," he announced. "Amazingly, you've even gone passed Akira at this point. Maybe around Ashiwara's level…but you still suck against me. And if you played the Meijin against yourself, you'll be disgraced."
"I hate you."
Ogata merely chuckled and set them up to play another game.
A few days later, she was in front of the school after having been dropped off by Ogata ("I don't want to drive over there in your flashy car and grab too much attention!" "Too bad!"), and she was staring dreamily at the front.
"Kaio at last," she murmured, sounding and looking euphoric.
She ran a hand through her blondish hair, her natural raven locks peeking out from the new blond strands in the peek-a-boo style (or maybe she should call it the reverse peek-a-boo, considering the dyed hair was layered on top rather than underneath her natural hair). She smirked as she recalled Ogata's scandalized reaction the first time she'd showed it off, and Sai looked at her warily, seeing her conniving expression.
She also recalled telling him it was alright to feel flattered about the imitation, and that they could be delinquents together.
Hikaru chuckled to herself as she walked into the school, thoroughly amused about the recollection and more so when she remembered Ogata's indignity and further scandalized reaction.
"So you're here," Yun appeared by her side, smiling slightly.
"You know…you should join my club," he hinted strongly.
She hesitated. It would have been nice too, she thought, but she and Sai were worried about being found out if their play styles were recognized.
"Nah, I think I'd like to create a Hackers club," at his curious look, she chuckled nervously. "You know. Um…for the anime .hack/Sign. Yes. The anime."
"Well, alright. You need a supervisor for your club –I'll volunteer and you can use my regular class room, so join the Go club," he was smiling surely now.
Hikaru sweatdropped and twitched.
"Of course, snacks are available in all clubs, so your… uh, Hack anime club is available to choose any, while in the Go club we try to hold tournaments every Monday to dictate who gets to choose what snacks get to be served."
A glint entered Hikaru's eyes.
"You got it, Yun-sensei! Sai and I are joining up!"
'Sai, we have got to win that tournament all the time. Ramen,' Hikaru mentally salivated.
Sai sighed. "Of course, Hikaru. You really are, as Ogata-san says, a ramen junkie..."
Hikaru hid her pout from both Yun and Sai.
"I got you for Homeroom," he informed her, and she cheered with an enthusiastic clap. "I had to pull some strings, but I get to be your Homeroom teacher as well as English."
"You don't get a free pass in class."
They split ways since she was early to school and he had to go to the school office, and as she was walking she saw a familiar person. With a grin, she just barely stopped herself from rushing over and roughly patting his back in greeting.
However, she couldn't resist practically dancing over and stopping by his side, reaching out and tugging his hair.
"'Allo," she cooed, and she was gleeful startling Touya Akira from his reverie.
The boy, now older and had clearly lost a lot of his baby fat, looked at her in surprise.
"H-hello," Akira asked, confused and hesitant but smiling unsurely anyway. "I'm Touya Akira. Have we met…?"
"Akira-kun, I'm Shindou Hikaru and we're going to be friends~" she sing-songed.
She tapped his nose playfully and grinned.
"Remember my name, Akira~ Bai bai!"
She turned and danced off, inwardly giggling to herself. Akira didn't remember her, or rather he didn't recognize her. Mischievously, she thought she could have a lot of fun with this.
School actually kind of passed by and she was wandering around during the beginning of lunch break, seeing as how her club hadn't been set up yet and she was still on edge about joining the Go club, when she saw someone outside, sitting underneath a tree alone. He looked kind of…lost.
Practically bouncing outside and over to him, her loud entrance easily alerted him to her approach and he looked up in shock from his book to see her. She grinned widely and leaned over so that her face was to his level, as he was sitting on the ground. She held out her hand.
"Hi there! I'm 1st year Shindou Hikaru! Please to meet you, sempai!"
He looked taken aback and had to scramble to throw his hand out and accept hers, hastily bowing as well.
"H-hi. I'm 3rd year Kishimoto Kaoru. Um, how'd you know I was in a higher grade?" he asked, rather befuddled and out of sorts at the spontaneous meeting.
"I just know," she winked at him, as she straightened up. "Can I sit beside you, sempai~?"
"Uh, sure," he moved his book bag and she flounced over and plopped down at the vacated spot.
"Eh, aren't you eating anything, sempai?" she asked, cocking her head to the side adorably.
He cleared his throat awkwardly and blushed.
"N-no. I usually drink coffee," he gave her a small smile.
Hikaru stole his coffee cup and took a sip, scrunching up her face after.
"Eck. Sempai! Just coffee isn't healthy to have. And it's black coffee! How bitter," she huffed. "At least Megane-chan puts in lots of sugar and creamer."
He vaguely wondered who this 'Megane-chan' was.
Suddenly he felt something being dropped onto his lap and he blinked and was startled to find an onigiri on a paper towel.
"Baka sempai. Eat an onigiri too," she growled.
He blinked again and stared at her. What a bossy little kohai he'd somehow managed to pick up…
His lips twitched up and he ruffled her hair, although he was looking at the onigiri he'd picked up and was about to take a bite out of.
After that meeting, Hikaru was in such a good mood that she'd taken to dragging Kishimoto around and looking at the different clubs. Despite herself, she found a superheroes club and eagerly joined it as a side-member, and made Kishimoto join it alongside her as well.
Knowing she had to, she reluctantly made her way to the Go club, and although their meetings were after school, there were a few stragglers. Yun wasn't there, and hopefully he was finishing setting up her club so she could have something to do during lunch. She noticed, though she didn't say anything, that the closer she got to the Go club room, that Kishimoto started stiffening up and seemed not to want to go any closer.
She signed up quickly and after that, there was no more time to do anything else as it was time to have to go back to class.
"We have a classroom and a club," Hikaru crowed out in triumph.
Next to her, Sai had conjured up matching fans that marked victory, while dancing around and chanting "Banzai! Banzai!"
"Hikaru! Will I get to see more pretty snow on the screens?" he asked enthusiastically.
'Sure, sure, Sai.'
The group of people beside her, five people in total (Kishimoto didn't count, since he hadn't joined the club and she had just dragged him along), were her newest acquisitions and understood the underlying motive for the club.
"I'm the Empress, you're the Tutor, the General, the Advisor, the Minister, and you're the Financer," Hikaru decided decisively. "And you're the Consort," she pointed to Kishimoto.
He sputtered and looked at her in askance. "What? Why?!"
"Just 'cause I say. Agree, or I'll steal your coffee."
He snorted and took a sip of his coffee, but wasn't protesting.
"Great! Now let's get started, people!"
And when Yun entered his classroom a few minutes later, he gaped and could hardly recognize it. There were suddenly computers and wires everywhere, and all sorts of gadgets he didn't know where they'd come from.
"What happened to my room?" he asked faintly.
His classroom had been taken over.
Hikaru suddenly popped up in his field of vision, grinning as she held up a form.
"Sign this, please."
Without thinking about it, too dazed really, he signed it and then he realized he had and looked at her.
"What did I just sign?"
"Oh, nothing. Just you agreeing and signing over your classroom without a right to protest or make any comment regarding what happens here, along with a gag order for the duration of this club's existence."
He stared and gaped openly.
His classroom had not just been taken over literally, but legally while they were at it.
"Wasn't this a club for fans of an anime?" he blurted out.
She shrugged. "Yeah. Sure. You're completely right."
But as he listened in, trying to ignore how his old student, that used to be part of the Go club, just idly sitting there and nonchalantly humming as Kishimoto observed the chaos (and really, how did those two meet and he got involved with the likes of Hikaru?), he knew that though they were all speaking about characters and terms from the show, that they were all speaking in code.
At least Kishimoto looked and felt as lost as he did.
It became clearer and more obvious as the week passed, that this was as true as apple proving gravity. That being their continued confusion, and the club's shady talking and activities. Especially how they'd shiftily look over to them, the way they hovered over their computers and were doing odd stuff that didn't look like it had anything to do with that anime.
He was also pretty sure some of the stuff wasn't even legal, especially given that quiet and hush hush discussions tended to bring up words that he could catch and didn't want to hear (such as 'government,' 'security,' and something of 'firewalls' –what was this about firewalls? That didn't sound safe at all!).
It didn't take long for Yun to not only get fed up, but also catch on to what was really going on, and that by a "Hack club," actual hacking was taking place. After a while of sneaky, underhanded activities, Yun really did just get fed up with the "Hack" group and made them just become the IT club, so they could at least do legal techie stuff.
"Just do it! You're doing some kind of tech stuff I don't get, and probably won't ever –so at least, change the whole club, or make it clearer on what it is, and then keep on legal stuff, Hik –er, Shindou-kun!"
And though Hikaru finally agreed, Sai pouted. He wouldn't get to see as much falling snow as he'd wanted.
"Ogata-san," Ashiwara was in despair. "My computer is hopeless! I don't know what's wrong with it."
Ogata had initially tried to ignore him, but Ashiwara just grew louder and he couldn't avoid him. Taking one last drag, he rolled his eyes and faced his colleague.
"I have a…friend," Ogata hesitantly mentioned. "She's quite good with computers, or so I assume. She might be able to help."
He doubted it. He knew Hikaru liked computers and messing around with them, but he could hardly think she'd be able to solve this and fix the whole damn thing. Still, he called and asked, and she had him bring it over.
Nearly an hour later, he'd driven Ashiwara and his broken computer over to Hikaru's otherwise empty house, and helped set up the computer in the living room. Ashiwara's eyebrows flew up at first glance of Hikaru, and he sent a questioning glance towards Ogata, who determinedly kept looking elsewhere. However, the younger man sidled closer to Ogata and whispered to him.
"Hey…she's young and all, but is she your…?"
Ogata looked at him in mortification and a scandalized expression, which was becoming all too common with him.
"No! Definitely not! She's way too young. I swear, Ashiwara. What the hell?"
Ashiwara looked at him closely, before shrugging. "It's alright, Ogata-san. I understand. I won't tell anyone about your Lolita complex."
Ogata was this close to throttling the other man, or doing some other bodily harm. He wondered if Hikaru would mind if he buried the body in her backyard, and if she would keep it quiet for him.
Just when he was seriously contemplating the merits of murdering his colleague, Hikaru came out with some miniature tools, wires, and her own laptop.
"We should start with a cleanup. Usually, that fixes most bugs or glitches going on, so a disc cleanup and defragmentation is first on the list. Then we'll start down and see what else could be the problem," she relayed to them professionally, and Ogata was rather impressed. More so, since she seemed like she knew what she was talking about.
Though she did that, it didn't seem like it had worked, so they saw her begin to do a whole bunch of other things, until she finally hooked up her laptop to Ashiwara's computer.
"Okay, okay. Something strange is up, so let me just crack in there and see what I can find," Hikaru told them, frowning as she did so.
It wasn't long until, though they didn't understand anything that was going on on her laptop screen, that she seemed to have found what was wrong. She winced and looked surprised, so the two of them straightened up and waited tensely for the verdict.
"Ashiwara-san, you actually have something called the Dead Land virus," she said, seeming baffled. "It's a virus that attaches itself to your system, and begins to eat away at the data until it spreads out and destroys everything on the computer and nothing is left, and further worsens until it basically kills your computer. It's called Dead Land because your computer virtually becomes devoid of anything, as you can't access anything and things start disappearing."
Ashiwara looked upset and flabbergasted to have such a thing on his computer, while Ogata was surprised that she would know of such a thing.
"Don't worry, I can fix this," she said easily, and they were caught off guard by that. It had sounded so serious and not something easily taken cared of, and yet that was what she had said she could do.
In mere minutes, Hikaru had gone back to focusing intensely on her laptop and was rapidly pressing buttons and doing something that neither of them could understand.
"I don't know how you got such a thing on your computer, Ashiwara-san," she said suddenly. "I'm surprised. This kind of virus isn't common, and it wouldn't just randomly pop up into one's computer. It's really odd…"
"Me either," he said helplessly.
"No matter," she declared. "I got rid of it. I promise, not a trace of it was left behind. I was even able to relocate and bring back some files and programs you'd lost. Good thing you brought it to me so quickly and early in the stage."
"Yes, lucky," Ogata deadpanned. "How do you know so much about it, and how were you able to fix it so fast?"
Hikaru chuckled nervously, and debated how well she could outrun and hide from two grown men. She felt kind of cornered.
"Hikaru~ You have nowhere to run, kesesese~," Sai's eyes were twinkling.
'Sai!' she mentally pouted. 'Don't taunt me!'
"I, uh, er, invented it?" she forced out some chuckles.
She was stared at disbelievingly.
"You invented it?" Ashiwara asked at the same time as Ogata was like, "How good are you with computers really?!"
"Heh…eheh…eh…well, it's a long story," she said weakly, still trying to get out of it.
"We have time," Ogata was glaring.
"Plenty," Ashiwara was grinning friendly though, and seemed more like he was excited and interested to know.
"Ah, geez," she groaned.
She used to have such well-kept secrets. Well, with Ogata around, everything always seemed to unravel.
Started 5/7/13 – Completed 5/7/13
A/n: As you can see, since I've messed with the timeline and events, lots of things are different too (like Kishimoto already given up on Go, etc. etc.). I hope I'm making it easy to keep track of though, but these changes also really do mess with the time (such as earlier meetings that will result in something happening later on, or things happening earlier than in canon). Like the internet Go happening earlier (I put in the chapter before where in the summer break before the new school year of I think her last middle school year?), so that arc that's supposed to happen next in canon won't happen or will be much different. Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed the chapter and please drop a review!
To Oreo: Thank you! I'm glad you like and I really want to make this different. As for this reminding you of "Catch Me If You Can," good catch! This is heavily influenced by the movie. I love it and I wrote this story and a lot of the elements with it in mind. I really don't plan on dropping this any time soon, and I keep trying to update it at least once a week. I wish other authors would continue as well. As for more Ogata/Hikaru scenes, those are definitely continuing also. It's awesome you like 'em too. As for another Sai/Meijin match, while it's not soon, I know something will be coming.