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Chapter 7 - Disciple

AU. Hikaru never entered the professional Go world, opting instead to placate Sai with NetGo and Go Salons. Years pass by and now Hikaru is a normal office employee going about his daily life until…

Chapter 7 - Disciple

Chapter 7 - Disciple

It had started when the two started following him around at the salon. To him, the two brats were just too persistent, even by his standards. They hadn't stopped pestering him to play games every time they spotted him. It had gone to the point where they'd even asked to drop by his home and play there as well. When he'd told Akari of his troubles with the two stalking brats, she merely smiled at him and told him to let them be before falling prey to a fit of giggling. Hikaru did not know what she had found to be funny with his situation.

Days went by at the salon, and other times online, where he was nagged by the two teens, Taguchi especially, to play even more games against the two. The constant calling of 'sensei' was also starting to grate on his nerves, he now knew what his parents must have gone through while raising him; he had been just as stubborn as the two teens that now bothered him. Hikaru smiled to himself, at least the two brats hadn't taken to stalking him at work as well; but knowing Taguchi's personality, he wouldn't put it past the kid to that as well, if he'd only knew where Hikaru worked at.

Dropping the finished files onto the desk of his superior, he returned to his desk to retrieve his coat and backpack and leave for a long anticipated very late lunch break; he was not due back at the office until the staff meeting the day after at the latest, and earlier if there were some adjustments needed to be made to the reports he'd just dropped off for review. Walking towards the elevator, Hikaru let out a breath of relief as he loosened the tie around his neck and unbuttoned the first two buttons on his white dress shirt. It felt so good to be free of the constraints of the (in Hikaru's opinion) constricting 'proper' dress code of the company during work hours. He didn't really understand why he even needed to dress up 'properly' in the first place if there were no customers to see him dressed like that. The only times that really called for him to dress in a suit was for staff meetings, presentations and when he worked up front with customer service, but those were rare as he worked in the background, getting information sorted, analyzed and written up in reports. The sound of the elevator bell sounding to remind him of his stop jerked him out of the thoughts of petitioning for a much slacker dress code, as he stepped off the elevator and into the main lobby.

Passing by the customer service agents standing behind the front kiosk, he was stopped as one of the ladies called to him. "Shindo-san!"

Stopping in his walk, Hikaru turned around and gave the lady and questioning glance, "Yes? Is there a problem?"

"Ahh… no," the lady, Kamisugi Hotaru he noted as he glanced at the name-tag, hesitated as she seemed to try and reform what she was going to say. After a short pause she seemed to regain her voice, she continued, "There's a young boy here to see you. He's waiting in the open lounge area by the café area. Um… he said you'd understand if I told you that it's your disciple."

"My disciple?" Hikaru repeated, looking confused. He did not any idea what a brat would want with him no less than having a disciple. And a disciple in what exactly? Hikaru was well aware that he was not the smartest guy around, nor did he have any other outstanding abilities that he was aware of, so it came as quite a confusing situation for him to hear of having a disciple.

Noticing his confusion, Kamisugi asked, "Is there a problem Shindo-san? Do you not know the boy? Should I have sent him away?"

Tearing himself out of his confused thoughts, Hikaru shook his head and smiled at the customer service representative, "No, no, it's alright. I'll go over and see who this child is."

"Are you sure I shouldn't have sent him away?" Kamisugi asked worriedly, not knowing whether she'd done something right or wrong, "Oh… the boy was so excited when he said that he'd finally found 'his Shindo-sensei' and asked for you. I couldn't say no and just told him to wait until you were off for a break before I would contact you."

"Shindo-sensei…?" Hikaru deadpanned, his voice dropping several degrees as his eye twitched in annoyance. He turned around abruptly and started walking in a slightly faster pace towards the open lounge, his thoughts all racing towards one conclusion – it had to be Taguchi! Of all things, why did he have to jinx himself earlier for thinking of this very situation he was currently walking into?

Entering the lounge area, Hikaru stopped and took a quick glance around to find the distinctive red of Taguchi's hair and found him sitting quietly in the corner, behind a potted plant, some papers in hand, a backpack by his feet and dressed in his school uniform. Sighing, Hikaru took a painful step forwards to Taguchi's direction. The boy didn't look up from his papers, even as Hikaru stopped before him, and Hikaru was forced to clear his voice until he glanced up.

"Taguchi-kun," Hikaru said shortly, giving the brat a stern look. Taguchi's face brightened up as he registered that Hikaru was standing before and jumped up abruptly, smiling and giving an impromptu hug.

"Shindo-sensei!" Taguchi cried happily, "You're here! You've gotta help me!"

Groaning, Hikaru pried the brat off of him and held him at arm's length, "Alright Taguchi-kun, what is so important that you had to stalk me to my work place?"

"There's this tournament coming up for the insei, called the Young Lions Tournament, and I was practicing, but because I'm not part of a study group under some pro I came across some problems when playing, and I don't have anyone else to help me explain things for some of the games I played. The teachers don't have time to go over games with everyone either, so I thought that I would be totally stumped, and then I remembered that I still have you to help me, Shindo-sensei!" Taguchi spilled out quickly and all in one large breath, panting heavily after he'd finished explaining his problem.

Hikaru blinked as he slowly digested what Taguchi had just said before confirming what he'd said, "Ok Taguchi-kun, so you're going to be in a tournament but you needed some advice in your Go playing so then you decided to come ask me, is that it?"

Taguchi nodded vigorously, confirming Hikaru's question. "Yes!"

"What did I get myself into?" Hikaru sighed, hanging his head morosely. He held his head up again and looked at Taguchi. He mentally stumbled back at the kicked teary puppy-dog expression Taguchi was sporting before groaning and agreeing to help, "Alright, but only when I have time and no more visiting while I'm at work!"

"Yes!" Taguchi yipped happily, jumping up and down in joy, "Thank you Shindo-sensei!"

Hikaru turned to exit the building, but stopped when he noticed Taguchi wasn't following. He turned around and looked questioningly at him, but Taguchi only looked back confused. Hikaru smirked at the brat and asked, "Well? Are you coming or not? I don't have all the time in the world you know."

Taguchi looked stunned before quickly recovering, picked up his bag and ran after Hikaru. As they walked along to the parking lot, Taguchi spoke up again, "Ohka's also coming too. I told him to wait at the Kami no Itte salon and hold a spot for us."

Hikaru groaned again, "Great, another brat, just what I needed." He stopped at his newly purchased sport bike, placed the backpack on the seat, picked his helmet off the handle and placed it over his head. Looking at Taguchi, he belatedly realized that he was a helmet short and silently swore. Pointing at Taguchi he ordered for the brat to stay and watch his things while he went to borrow an extra helmet from a co-worker.

Shortly after returning, he noticed Taguchi gawking at his bike in awe that even his eyes were glittering with stars. Clearly his throat to get the boy's attention, he tossed the helmet at him, "Catch, brat."

Dropping his bag, Taguchi caught the pink and flowerily decorated helmet; nose scrunching up at the girly design he gave Hikaru a withering look. "Do I have to?"

"If you don't want me being pulled over, then yes, bear with it kid," Hikaru said as sternly as possible, while trying not to laugh at Taguchi's unfortunate plight. Strapping his temporary helmet on, Taguchi grumbled in displeasure and wounded pride at having to wear such a grisly looking helmet.

"Come on Taguchi-kun, we don't have all day," Hikaru called from on his bike, backpack strapped to his back, gloves on, visor up and engine humming, ready for use. Hastily, Taguchi strapped his own backpack on and got on the bike, sitting behind Hikaru. "Hold on kid, unless you wanna fall."

Taguchi did as he was told, and was glad for it as Hikaru suddenly sped out the parking lot and onto the street.


Entering the Go salon, Hikaru smiled at the familiar receptionist, before handing over his bag, registering and paying the adult fee and waited for Taguchi to do the same. He looked around the room while he waited and noticed Ohka sitting at a rather isolated area in the salon and strode over to the quiet boy. He pulled out a seat across from as the child looked up to see who had disturbed his examination of the game on the Go board. His eyes lightened as he saw Hikaru.

"Hello Ohka-kun," Hikaru greeted genially, "I hope you're well?"

"Yes sir, Shindo-sensei," Ohka replied politely. He turned to notice Taguchi about to sit beside him, looking a bit pale, "What happened Taguchi? Are you feeling well? You a bit pale."

Glaring at Hikaru's arrogant smile, Taguchi answered stonily, "No, I'm fine. Perfectly so."

"Okay, if you say so," Ohka backed down, but still giving Taguchi worried looks. Hikaru snorted in amusement as he chided Taguchi for his tone of voice while addressing a worried friend.

"Now then, shall get on to what you two want me to somehow help with?" Hikaru questioned the two boys as he pointed to the board. Both Ohka and Taguchi quickly changed their demeanors as they suddenly sat up straighter, eyes looking to Hikaru in attention. Hikaru smiled a little at the eagerness of the two to learn and better themselves in their pursuit of Go.

Shaking out of his thoughts, he took a look at the finished game on the board in question and the corresponding kifu paper, Taguchi handed to him, with the hands numbered neatly in what he suspected was Ohka's handwriting. Nodding to himself, he took in the opening shape and the continuing formation of the stones on the board from beginning to end, analyzing while going through other possible hands each player could have placed for a generally better outcome. Putting the papers down, the flow of the game memorized freshly in his mind's eye, Hikaru turned to the board where the same game was set before him and started to discuss the good and bad points to his two 'new' students.


Before he knew it, three whole hours had passed while he'd discussed away three different games to the boys, all while answering questions each boy brought up each time they did not understand why he would make a different move that looked useless or when they had a different move in mind to achieve a similar situation. The boys were not the only ones learning something new, Hikaru himself was as well. While starting to discuss a fourth game the boys had brought with them, Hikaru's phone started ringing a certain tone that reminded him where he was supposed to be. Smiling sheepishly at the boys, Hikaru answered the phone, while standing up and moving to the end of the table, facing a window and looking outside. "Akari?"

"Hikaru!" Akari's voiced sounded exasperated from the other side of the line. "I was expecting you home for almost two hours! Where are you?"

"Ah… sorry Akari," Hikaru apologized quickly, hoping Akari wouldn't skin him alive when he finally got home, "It kinda slipped my mind. I'm with the two brats at Kami no Itte. I've been conned into teaching them for a while until this tournament of theirs comes up."

He could hear Akari sighing on the other end, "Okay Hikaru, I'll let you off lightly this time, but do remember to at least message me next time."

"Haha. Ok," Hikaru agreed quickly and easily, not wanting to be on the end of Akari's ire.

"Oh, it's raining now," Akari informed Hikaru, a few shuffling sounds were hear, "I'll be heading over with a raincoat for you."

"Thanks Akari," Hikaru smiled softly, as he answered gratefully. Ending the call, Hikaru returned to his seat across from the two boys. "Well boys, it seems that I may have to leave in a bit."

"Why?" Taguchi asked suddenly, "Was it because of that call?"

"Did we get you into trouble Shindo-sensei?" Ohka asked, worry lining his face.

Hikaru chuckled, "Haha. No, no, I'm not in trouble Ohka-kun, don't worry. Not much. And I need to be leaving soon Taguchi-kun, because it's getting late and you two need to be heading home soon too."

"B-but that means you're still in trouble!" Ohka cried out, paying attention to Hikaru's words.

"It's fine Ohka-kun," Hikaru smiled at the boy, "Akari understands."

"Akari?" Taguchi perked up at the name, he wagged his eyebrows at Hikaru, "Your girlfriend or something?"

Hikaru smiled mysteriously and answered teasingly, "Or something."


About half an hour later, the doors to the salon opened to reveal a semi-soaked woman wearing a cheap plastic rain poncho found in convenience stores entering. She smiled at the receptionist while taking off her wet poncho and folding it up, placing it back into its packaging and then into her messenger bag. Explaining to the receptionist that she was merely looking for someone, and no that she was not there to play at all today, she glanced around the room before walking to the isolated corner where Hikaru and two boys sat.

As she stopped behind Hikaru, she noticed that the three were still immersed in their discussion and decided to wait until there was a lull in the talking to announce her presence. It was another few minutes when one of the two boys, Ohka, looked up and noticed Akari. Stopping his thoughts of the game, he elbowed Taguchi in the ribs to get him to stop talking as well. Hikaru stopped as well when he realized that the boys' attention weren't on the game anymore, but rather on something behind him. He turned around in his seat to find himself looking up at Akari standing there.

"Akari!" Hikaru said in surprise, "When did you get here?"

"A few minutes ago," Akari answered, smiling as she pulled out a chair and sat down beside Hikaru. "You were so immersed in your discussion so I didn't disturb you, nor did you notice me."

"Sorry," Hikaru laughed sheepishly, hand immediately scratching the back of his head in embarrassment.

"It's alright Hikaru," Akari laughed, eyes shining in mirth, "I know how you get when you focus on something."

Hikaru smiled at Akari in thanks. She smiled back and then looked over to the two boys, "So, are you going to introduce me to your esteemed students?"

Taguchi and Ohka, who were only listening up until Akari mentioned them, jumped in their seats in surprise at suddenly being addressed. Hikaru smiled broadly as he turned back to look at the two boys, gesturing with his right hand, "The one sitting on the right with the blue hair is Ohka-kun, and the one on the left with red hair is Taguchi-kun."

"Hello Ohka-kun, Taguchi-kun," Akari smiled benignly at the two boys in greeting, "It's a pleasure to finally meet you two. Hikaru here complains about you boys all the time."

"Ugh… Akari…" Hikaru groaned at his wife, "You don't have to tell them that. Boys, this is Shindo Akari, and I'll leave at that."

"Shindo?" Taguchi repeated, his face frowning, "So she wasn't your girlfriend after all?"

"A sister perhaps?" Ohka suggested, as he turned to Akari, "It's very nice to meet you Shindo-san."

"Well, not very imaginative students you have here," Akari laughed, sharing a knowing look with Hikaru.

"What? What did we miss?" Taguchi demanded; he looked a bit affronted at the knowing looks the two adults were sharing.

"Akari is my wife boys," Hikaru answered Taguchi, his eyes shining in laughter. The two boys' eyes widened as they registered what Hikaru just told them. Ohka flushed red and looked down, while Taguchi stood up and yelled at Hikaru in frustration.


Hikaru chuckled at Taguchi's expected outburst. Akari smiled at the interaction between Hikaru and his makeshift students; it reminded her of the time when she and Hikaru were in Haze's Go club where Hikaru would always bicker with Mitani.

It was cute.

And having Hikaru being exasperated at being called 'sensei' was merely a bonus.


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