A Hikaru no Go Fanfiction
May the fifth had always held special significance for Shindou Hikaru. Not because it was Boy’s Day, as those days fell behind him long ago. Nor because it was the birthday of the go genius Honninbo Shuusaku, ironically, which for ‘Shuusaku’s Greatest Fan’ would be a celebrated day in itself. It wasn’t even much to do with the linguistic link between Go, and the number five – though that combined with May being the fifth month and that fateful day being also the fifth and today being a Friday seemed a little too organized to merely be coincidence. But the greatest significance of this month and day for Shindou Hikaru specifically was because May the fifth was a day where both his mourning and his hope held strongest to his soul.
It was a day Hikaru remembered and celebrated in sorrow, for it commemorated a moment when half of his soul had been silently stolen away. It was also a day he awaited in ardent hope, for maybe, just maybe on that day it would be returned to him again. But always, year after year when the night fell and the morning of the sixth leaked it’s dim and tinted light through the dark, the silence in his mind along with the hole in his heart throbbed with the loss, and Hikaru’s fingers would tighten and the fan cradled in his fingers would groan with his distress.
It was silent now, though. The fan had no reason to groan. Hikaru had no reason to think he’d see another sixth of May again.
It was only fitting; he thought as his fingers idly flipped open and shut the fan in his palm. Only seemed right that he should die on a Friday. And that his dying Friday should fall on May the fifth. Yes, it could be nothing short of right, if not fate.
From where he lay in his bed he could see through his window the koi flags waving in the wind outside. He wondered what everyone was doing today.
The Go world was calling it a tragedy. Touya Akira was calling it a whole world of unsophisticated words and obscene gestures when no one was looking. Hikaru thought nothing more of it than the final chance to gain what was taken away from him many years before. He was looking forwards to his death. It was the final opportunity, the finishing move to the game of Go that had become his life, the end and the victory of the battle that had spanned well over thirty years. He saw nothing about it to mourn.
There were things about it to celebrate, though. For when he’d inhale his last breath, he’d win.
And then, and only then, could he begin to pack away the stones into their go ke, and hold in his hands the one that he had lost, that though had caused him a great deal of trouble, had not been his excuse to lose. It had been captured early on in the game, and its loss had been terrible, for it was a strong stone, Hikaru’s Important stone. Without it the game had lost all shape, and it was only with the memory of where it had been that had made the game able to be played again.
Hikaru wanted his Important stone back.
He’d waited years for the opportunity to find it again. Patiently, most of the time. He’d enjoyed his life too much to hurry it to its conclusion. Maybe he hadn’t extended the game as long for as he could have, which was maybe why Touya was so upset, but apparently fate had a hand in that, too.
He’d lived a good life, Hikaru wouldn’t negate that. It had been fun, and passionate. And full of friendly competition, challenges, and Go. He’d loved and been loved, he’d hurt and been hurt. His life had been eventful, yet had been nothing at all. He’d made it as far as he could in the world of the Pro’s, either slightly behind, in step, or just in front of Touya. It had worked out well. He had no regrets.
Except maybe forbidding anyone to visit him today. But he’d given them all his goodbye’s over the week anyway, one more day wasn’t going to make much of a difference to what he had to say.
Sometimes, though, he really wished his last move didn’t have to be so painful.
His illness had come as a surprise, not only to the world, but to himself as well. There had been no history of it in his family, so he had assumed his chances would be rare. Fate, again, pulling back its sleeve and taking the promising death of old age out of his hands. Another captured stone. He was slightly pissed about that one, though. He’d hoped to at least see fifty.
Not that he had reason to gripe, really. Sometimes a stone needed to be sacrificed to win. And forty-two years wasn’t something to laugh at, either.
Hikaru grit his teeth and in his other hand depressed the button on the analgesia pump. He hated to welcome the flood of Pantopium into his system, but it was either that or scream.
He sighed as it worked its way through his body, eradicating the pain as it went. He relaxed back further into his pillows as his eyes slid over to the window again. He really loved to watch the kites in the breeze. They were a reminder of what day it was, of his past… and what would come after he took his last breath.
Time seemed to blur as the kites swum gently, and there was a strange run of colours in the corners of his eyes. Maybe they were the nurses, and the doctors checking in on him. He didn’t really care. The waiting game was drawing to a close.
He wasn’t concerned. He’d read ahead and knew what was coming. After all he had experienced, his dreams and his Go, death held no fear for him now. It would be soon… soon it would be... giving him the opening to seize it all.
“I only wish,” he whispered into the still, quiet air of the room, his eyes feeling heavy with the weight of the medication. “That I had the chance to… see the shape from above,” He chuckled, short and low as fate played its final hand. Hikaru’s eyes fell, a small victorious smile twisting the edges of his lips, as with his last breath he sighed, “Here I go.”
And he placed his last stone.
The fan sang in fluttering swells as free at last it fell to the floor. If there were any other sounds that followed, Hikaru did not hear them.
He was somewhere else, free from the bed and the drip that had previously kept him confined. Free from the pain that had shuddered through his body without mercy. Free, at last, to search for what had gone missing.
When next Hikaru opened his eyes, he was walking.
He didn’t need three guesses to know where he was. He had no use for even the one. He knew this place, knew it from far back in his memories, when he was a child asleep in his bed and dreaming of what came before him. And later as an adolescent, when imagining the placements of the Go stones in his head, this had been the backdrop behind his hand, the stones, and the board. In his dreams, this had been where he would see those that had gone before, where he would play his Go, and where he would cry his tears. In his dreams. This place had always been in his dreams. Always been with him, carried within him, part of him.
He would always know this place.
He knew the breeze that whispered soft and careful over his skin, of the cherry blossoms and crisp leaves, and the warm light that came from not just one direction, but cast pale shadow only at his feet. He could hear the river, hushed and melodious, and could feel the grass beneath his shoes bend acquiescently to his weight. He knew these things as well. Just as he knew the clothes he was wearing, though he had not seen them for quite some time outside of photographs. And the flesh on the back of his hands, minus the small scar from the accident when he was thirty, was as if it was from twenty years previous. He knew these things, and was not alarmed.
Still, he walked.
He had a vague idea of where he was going, and could only think of one place where he needed to be. As he moved closer towards a small stretch of shadow in the distance it became clearer. A sakura tree, its blossoms bright and perfect as they swum in the gentle light. Familiar shape, familiar size, familiar colour, and a familiar shadow beneath it.
I know you.
Hikaru could no longer maintain his steady walk upon recognizing the shadow, and broke into a run. He felt exhilarated, hopeful, and could not stop himself from racing towards what he’d wished for, for so long. He kept his eyes fixed on the shadowed figure, measuring the distance between them as he moved unremittingly closer and closer. As his body moved the shadow became clearer, brighter, and before too long he was beneath the tree, its shadows shifting in the breeze allowing spangles of light to fall through onto the two of them as he stared into a face he would have known anywhere.
He moved forwards to embrace him, but a smile and an outstretched palm stopped him. Hikaru looked quizzically at the palm, then up into the face, but another smile and a shake of the head answered him.
“What?” He asked, confused. “Why?”
The outstretched hand turned palm down, and gestured to the side.
“Look, Hikaru,” The achingly familiar and desperately missed voice suggested. “Look at your game.”
Dropping his eyes to the left, Hikaru noticed for the first time a goban placed beneath the shifting shadows of the tree. It was covered with stones, a dissonance of black and white that from this slight distance looked unordered, but as Hikaru stepped closer, looking down at the shape, into the shape, he recognized it for what it was.
Hikaru was stunned.
“It’s you,” Came the voice from beside him, through the thickness in his mind Hikaru heard the swell of pride in it. “Hikaru, this game is you.”
The shape… Oh, the shape was not one he’d even imagined he was capable of. He’d played attractive Go before, genius Go. Go that had almost brought himself and his opponents to tears. He’d played against Touya, and together their Go had always been stunning. But this… this shape was…
“Beautiful,” He said, his tongue feeling thick in his mouth, and terribly clumsy. “How is it that I…?”
The black just seemed to shine.
His eyes fell to the lower left corner, drawn to a single intersection where he knew one of his stones once sat. It was bare now, as it had been for many years, but the impression of it lived on in the stones surrounding it, in the shape of the black in that corner, the desperate strength of the formations that were echoed on the other reaches of the board. Hikaru had gone through his life thinking that the stone had gone, but while the reality of it had been taken, looking down at the board he realized that the strength that it had given him had always remained. His Important stone.
Hikaru turned his head, looking to the eyes that were at the level of his own.
“It’s because of you.” He said.
“That my Go is beautiful.” Hikaru felt himself smile. “It’s because of you.”
There was a silence from the one beside him, then a soft smile to rival his own. “Hikaru,” he said, and that was answer enough for him.
And he took into his hands the face of the stone that he had lost so long ago.
His Important stone.
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I’ll Know You
A/N: Happy HikaGo Day, everyone!
*Pantopium hydrochloricum. Stronger than Morphine as it’s more pure. More expensive too, but hey, Hikaru can afford it.
*I’d started off with the day being a Thursday. But then some little part of me reminded myself that the Japanese consider Monday the first day of the week.