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Fri, May. 5th, 2006, 01:30 pm
[Hikaru no Go] Fic teaser: Akira no Go

First of all, Happy Hikago Day!

Soooo, I'm sad to report that I don't really have a full fic to post today, this greatest of days (in HnG fandom anyway). I was planning to write something, anything, even crack, but I've been too busy making serious and meaningful posts like this one over at hikago_djs, where an anything-goes May 5 Madness party has taken over.

So I'm going to wimp out and post a teaser for a very incomplete fic called "Akira no Go." I've been working on it on and off ever since I posted about the idea back in 2005.

Akira no Go (teaser)

Touya Akira was not prone to fainting, despite what others might think. And he certainly wasn’t prone to fainting over something as mundane as a genuine kaya wood goban, no matter how fine the grain or how delighted he was at receiving one as a gift.

“Honestly, Akira, I knew 50,000 yen was a good price but I didn’t think you would pass out over it,” said his mother as she dabbed at his forehead with a cloth.

The tall stranger with the tall hat was still peering over her shoulder.

“Can you hear my voice?” he asked.

Akira nodded.

“I’m so sorry about this,” the man said with an rueful smile at the same time as his mother asked, “Would you like me to call a doctor?”

Akira said woozily, “That’s all right.”

“If you’re sure,” replied his mother. The stranger just continued to smile.

Who are you, Akira wanted to ask, but he was far too polite a boy to ask such a direct question of one of his mother’s guests. Even a guest who had leapt out of a genuine kaya wood goban and nearly given him a heart attack. But before Akira could think of something polite to say in this situation, the man said, “My name is Fujiwara no Sai.”

It occurred to Akira that Sai had spoken without making a sound.

“Yes,” Sai spoke again, “to most people I don’t make a sound. But you can hear my voice, can’t you?”

“Of course,” Akira answered, confused.

His mother looked down at him then at the space to her left. “Akira, who are you speaking to?”

“She can’t see me because I’m a ghost,” Sai said cheerfully.

“Oh.” Akira thought about it for a second then said, “I think I’m going to go back to sleep now.” And he did.

* * * * *

When he awoke, Sai was there but his mother was not.

“She’s making dinner,” Sai explained, and before Akira could get a word in edgewise the ghost asked, “Are you a Go player?”

To most people, the fact that he played Go was more obvious than the fact that he was a boy.

“Yes, I play Go.”

Sai’s face instantly transformed with delight.

“Oh good, good, this is wonderful! I can play Go again! I was pretty sure you played because why else would your mother buy you a goban? But I wanted to be sure. And she certainly knew what she was doing when she bought it, she has a good eye for quality, doesn’t she?

Akira reflexively looked at the scuffed and ancient goban lying on his desk and the bright red stain marring its surface. The stain that his mother, for whatever reason, had not been able to see.

I must be going insane, he thought.

“You’re not,” said Sai. “Only certain people can see it.”

Akira stared. “You heard what I was thinking.”

Sai smiled, but his eyes were strangely intense.

“I could hear you because I am attached to you now,” he said. “Your life is my life; your Go is my Go. It is why I have continued to exist since my death.”

“I must be going insane,” Akira repeated.

Sai merely replied, “Let me tell you a story.”

* * * * *

“You must have been a very good player to become the emperor’s teacher,” said Akira politely. Privately, though, he wondered, Is he strong or is he weak, to have killed himself over that?

“It was very traumatizing,” Sai said huffily, as if hearing Akira’s thoughts. Which he was. Which was...disconcerting, to say the least.

Sai instantly became apologetic. “I’m sorry. My...presence never bothered Torajiro, but I came to him when he was much younger than you are. And he longed for a friend, just as I did, so he never questioned why.

Akira smiled a little. “I...wouldn’t mind having a friend as well. Especially if you are as strong as you say you are.”

“I am.”

“Then we should play,” said Akira, “but I need to go to the bathroom first.”

“Right,” said Sai, but when Akira got up he got up as well and followed Akira into the bathroom.

“Wow, this room is so smooth and white,” Sai gushed.

“Please get out.”

“Huh? But I have to stay near you.”

“You can stay a few metres away, can’t you? Outside the door?”

“Yes, but--”

“This is a...” Akira’s searched through his mind for the right word, “a lavatory. A water closet. A place where people relieve themselves.”

“Oh,” said Sai, more confused than embarrassed, before he left.

After Akira had washed his hands, he realized that he had learned three things about Heian-era ghosts. One, they were not exactly up to speed on modern times. He only hoped Sai’s Go wasn’t likewise out of date, but that was probably asking too much. Two, they did not have much respect for their host’s privacy, which probably had to do with not having bodies themselves. Sai would have to be retrained in that respect. Three, ghosts did not cast reflections. When Akira had looked into the mirror he had seen only himself.

He touched the glass, felt its hard, real surface and gained a measure of comfort. He didn’t understand why this was happening, but he would play Go with this ghost and then he would understand. Akira understood Go.

* * * * *

He stared down at the shape on the goban, at the ancient blood and tear stains peering out from between the whites and the blacks. His hair hung low over eyes, but he knew he couldn’t hide his frustration from this opponent. Sai had been playing shidougo. “You’re strong,” he accused. “You’re very, very strong.”

“Thank you for the game,” Sai said softly.

It occurred to Akira that Sai might be as strong as his father. He might be stronger. He couldn’t tell from that game, it had been shidougo after all, he would have to play another, but the style and the strength, it all pointed to--

“Torajiro,” he realized aloud. “He had another name, didn’t he?”

Sai nodded.

“Shusaku.”

Akira felt suddenly horrified. His mother had brought home the goban of Honinbo Shusaku in a pink plastic shopping bag.

“This is...” he began, mouth dry, “this is ridiculous. I’m going to have to spend the rest of my life writing down everything about you. What was your favourite colour?”

“Blue?” said Sai, startled. “No, yellow.”

Akira wrote “yellow” on a yellow sticky note, peeled it off the pad, and stuck it onto the leg of his bed. Sai’s brow wrinkled in confusion-- surely this yellow paper square had magical properties--but by then Touya was too busy rummaging around in his desk drawer to notice.

“Found it.” Akira brandished his notebook. “Let’s start from the beginning. When were you born? Where were you born? No wait, maybe we should start with where your father was born.”

“But what does that have to do with anything, and when can I play more Go?”

“I must record everything about you. I can’t let this opportunity pass--Honinbo Shusaku, walking among us again! No one will believe it...”

He trailed off, looking down at his notes.

“No one will believe it.”

He looked up at Sai.

“That’s why no one knows about you, isn’t it. Torajiro didn’t tell anyone because he knew no one would believe him. Because ghosts don’t exist.”

“But I do exist,” Sai admonished gently. “I exist in my Go, and in the Go of the one you know as Honinbo Shusaku. And I will exist in your Go.”

“You shouldn’t exist,” Akira said again, “unless there is a reason for you to exist.”

A ghost of a smile.

“I don’t know why God allowed me to stay on this earth, or why he brought me to Torajiro and now to you. But I have my own purpose. I have yet to reach the Hand of God.”

Akira shivered. There was the weight of a thousand years behind those words. He looked at his shaking hand and realized that he felt fear, yes, but also the thrill of revelation. He had not felt this way about Go in a long, long time.

He moved to clear the stones off the board but his hands were shaking so much that he knocked the lid of his goke to the floor. Sai was watching him closely. Akira could not help but flush with embarrassment and anger at himself as he replaced the lid, but he gave the ghost a defiant look anyway.

Once the board was clear, he bowed his head low and said, “I acknowledge the strength of your Go. I wish to play another game with you. Please.”

Sai smiled his enigmatic smile and replied, “I acknowledge your strength as well.”



Author's Note: This story is probably not going to be done any time soon. Maybe May 5 next year? I'm having a hard time controlling the pace and tone of the thing--sometimes I want the story to go by quickly, sometimes I want to slow it down, sometimes I want it funny and sometimes I want it serious. Kind of the like the canon. Except I can't deal with the variations very well.

Oh, and it will probably be either a long one-shot or a two-parter, not a mega multi-chaptered extravaganza.

Fri, May. 5th, 2006 11:13 pm (UTC)
shinra_lackey

I think I like this fic so much I can actually wait for you to feel comfortable with writing where it'll go. Akira's and Sai conflictiong motivations are fascinating, Sai wanting to play towards the Hand of God and Akira wanting to learn all about Shuusaku and Sai. Just, wow.

I'm not really good at coherent feed back, but take your time. This one will be worth the wait.

Erm, and I take responsibilty for your non-fic writing. *dodges tomatos*

Sat, May. 6th, 2006 05:32 am (UTC)
flonnebonne

Thank you for the encouragement. This fic continues to kick my ass (it's damn hard for me to write Akira) but I don't think I could possibly give up working on it. It's my baby!

Erm, and I take responsibilty for your non-fic writing. *dodges tomatos*

Yes, it was totally all your fault. *glares* Oh who am I kidding. I love to procrastinate and it was so much fun.

Sat, May. 6th, 2006 08:32 am (UTC)
issen4

That's terribly intriguing--I want more!

Akira is so systematic and formal for a twelve-year-old, it makes one despair. ^^ But this was great fun; I enjoyed visualizing this so much.

Mon, May. 8th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
flonnebonne

Yay, thank you for the nice comments! And thanks for the rec in your journal as well.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm writing Akira right...he's such a little weirdo in my head, I keep having to refer back to canon to make sure he doesn't get too weird. It's definitely fun to make fun of him though. ;)

Sat, May. 6th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC)
0x

kya! What a great idea!

Mon, May. 8th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
flonnebonne

Wah! Thank you!

Sat, May. 6th, 2006 12:59 pm (UTC)
frozen_yoghurt

whoa..... interesting.....
O_O
*loves this to bits*

Mon, May. 8th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
flonnebonne

Merci beaucoup. :)

Sat, May. 6th, 2006 03:03 pm (UTC)
karit

Oh, wow, this is not at all what I imagined it would be like if Akira found Sai's board, but in fact, SO MUCH BETTER than what I imagined.

It's worrying, though. I wonder how many people would've had the love for go along with the backbone willpower to stand up to Sai and play for themselves. Like Torajiro, will Akira let him play all the games? I can see it going either way, but at this point, Akira has too much awe for Sai for me to really see him insisting on playing for himself.

Mon, May. 8th, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
flonnebonne

Hee, thank you. :) Out of curiosity, what did you imagine it would be like if Akira found Sai's board?

You are totally thinking about the kinds of questions I'm going to work out in this story. I do think Akira is the sort who will want to play for himself--he's such a strong character--but having Sai around at all is going to make him question his Go. And there will be conflict between them. Oh yes.

Sat, May. 6th, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC)
elfiepike

i'm, wow, i'm really intrigued. and also: omg, no hikaru. so yeah, i'm really, deeply intrigued!

Mon, May. 8th, 2006 08:50 pm (UTC)
flonnebonne

Hikaru? Hikaru who? *grin*

Glad you enjoyed!

Sun, May. 7th, 2006 05:03 am (UTC)
alita_b_angel

shkbf.

YELLOW STICKY NOTE. OMG. That is so Akira. He Could write that book. Hell, I'll READ that book about Sai, his life and times in the Heian era, complete with remembered kifu, fan designs and tips on how to take care of two metre long hair. It'll be a iGO best seller!

I love this teaser. It is ridiculously tantalising. Please write more.

Mon, May. 8th, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC)
flonnebonne

Hee hee! I was wondering if the yellow sticky note thing was a little too neurotic, but I figure that having the ghost of Shusaku show up all of a sudden is enough of a shock to warrant it.

D'oh, I would totally read that book too. I need to learn more about Sai's era and Torajiro's.

Sun, May. 7th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
svz_insanity

You are such a tease. ♥

I love how prim and proper Akira is. His overall attitude amuses me so much. (Yellow sticky notes!)

Mon, May. 8th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
flonnebonne

Hee, I'm only a tease one day out of the year. :)

When I'm writing Akira I have to constantly curtail my desire to make fun of his prim and proper-ness (among other things).

Tue, Feb. 5th, 2008 05:11 am (UTC)
priestess_grrrl

hahaha, this is so awesome! Akira got more out of Sai in Day 1 than Hikaru probably got in the first two years. Poor Hikaru, never knowing what he had until it was taken away...! This is so cute. I love the sticky notes. I think Sai would have eventually driven Akira crazy, though. Already ordering him around on the first day...! Would have been VERY interesting. Cool plot bunny...!

Thu, Feb. 7th, 2008 12:33 pm (UTC)
flonnebonne

Yep, the story was supposed to be all about Akira going crazy thanks to Sai, at first in a funny way and then in a very depressing way. I didn't like the depressing stuff, but it seemed pretty inevitable to me. Akira and Sai would clash SO much over who got to play. I still haven't figured out a way to write an even remotely happy ending to this story. And I don't really want a sad ending. I'm still hoping I'll finish it one day though. :)