Disclaimer: I don't own Hikaru no Go.
I am so sorry, guys! I am not dead and have actually been quite active on this website the entire time, but I just haven't had the time to continue this story. I was actually not planning on updating now. But at the moment, I find myself in dire need of relaxation, and there is nothing more relaxing than making yourself laugh like crazy. And that's what this story does for me ;) (Is it arrogant to laugh like crazy when writing and reading one's own satire?)
After exactly five hours, fifty-one minutes, and twenty-nine seconds, Shindou Mitsuko, Shindou Kaede, and Shindou Hikaru were standing in front of La Patisserie du Soleil. Sai was moving up and down the stairs in anticipation. They would soon be in highly-esteemed company. If these people were half as traditional as the Shindou clan, there may even be Go players present. How exciting!
Hikaru seemed dazed, as if she were slowly awakening from a state of deep hibernation. But Hikaru had warned him in advance that this would likely happen. She had needed to take certain measures of precaution. Otherwise, she would not have survived the last few hours. Literally. After all, her tolerance for boredom only went so far – which was not very far indeed.
After a tearful quarrel with both her mother and sister – her mother had done most of the crying – many broken dishes, a broken mirror from the Meiji era, nearly being disowned twice, actually being disowned once, and then being reinstated as an heir of the Shindou lineage again, she had more or less acquiesced to their demands. Slouching in front of another mirror (not broken) in another bathroom (not hit by a "typhoon"), Hikaru had let her mother and sister work their magic. Sai had sat next to her on an empty chair, happy like a child on Christmas Day, babbling things like, *Oooh* and *Aaaah* and *I didn't know you had eyelashes!*
On most days, Hikaru wore so much eye makeup that the effect of her beautiful eyes was greatly diminished. If she weren't so lanky, one might mistake her for a renegade panda bear from the Ueno Zoo, or so her least-favorite aunt had once claimed in a twinge of despair.
Therefore, Sai found himself utterly mesmerized by her lustrous lashes and the roundness of her prettily-curved lids. Now her gemlike eyes were perfectly accentuated, the pretty shade of warm grey in her otherwise dark irises slightly more prominent than before, and the sheer size of her eyes unmissable. If only they didn't look so numb… as if Hikaru were dead inside. Then she would be perfect!
Mitsuko, Kaede and Hikaru were wearing custom-made kimonos, each of which had cost approximately 5 million yen, Kaede's being the most expensive one. Naturally, Hikaru had commented. According to rumors, the artist had spent two entire months painting the pattern…
Mitsuko's kimono featured an elegant drawing of cranes in front of the waves and spray of the sea, whereas Kaede's sported a particularly beautiful masterpiece of pink cherry blossoms in spring, accentuated by many other flowers. Hikaru had grudgingly allowed the painter to create a slightly subdued but no less delightful combination of white cherry blossoms and elegantly-curved reed, complemented by navy blue sea waves in the foreground and indigo-colored ones in the back. Her mother had insisted on a subtle baby-blue-colored pattern on white ground around her shoulders and the lower parts, just to ensure that the kimono was unfit to be worn to a funeral.
*Oh Hikaru! I am so proud of you! You look no less beautiful than the Empress, who easily turned the heads of all officials and nobles! The emperor had fits of jealousy on a regular basis because of it…* Sai was ecstatic, as if he were about to give one of his prolonged soliloquies about the beauty and grace of Go. He usually started those to initiate animated discussions with Hikaru, but sadly, the girl tended to feign death or severe deafness after half a minute.
Hikaru wheezed pitifully. Apparently, she was unable to speak and trapped in a state of what seemed to be great discomfort and suffering. But how could that be? She was so beautiful!
They entered the café – Mitsuko and Kaede with great elegance and perfectly-balanced steps, and Hikaru with no elegance whatsoever and barely-avoided contact between her face and the stairs.
The waitress started crying tears of pure joy when she caught sight of all three ladies of the esteemed Shindou family.
"Shindou-sama, please allow me the honor of escorting you to your table. Touya-sama and Kaga-sama have already taken their seats and are awaiting you with great anticipation!" The waitress seemed to be stuck in a never-ending loop of bowing deeply and straightening herself. For a brief moment, Sai wondered whether she might start groveling, but thought better of it. Leading the women to their table while crawling on the floor backwards did not seem like a very effective way to wait on someone.
Four women and one ghost entered a large room with expensive-looking furniture in pink-and-white coloring. Sai remembered the style from when Hikaru had been browsing the internet for haunted baroque chateaus in Europe the day before. She'd snuck out to go to the internet café – again. The poor girl whimpered softly and grew even paler than she already was. Apparently, her fondness for European furniture was limited to those in vacant, creepy, haunted places.
Mitsuko and Kaede strolled towards a prettily-decorated table in the winter garden. "Akiko! Reiko! It is so wonderful to see you!" Mitsuko seemed beside herself with joy.
"Mitsuko! Kaede! And… oh! You must be Hikaru!" One woman exclaimed happily. The other said something similarly flattering and all women bowed respectfully… erm… Hikaru bowed more clumsily than respectfully.
"Allow me to introduce you to my son," the younger and prettier of the two women said demurely, although she was practically beaming with pride at the same time. What a woman!
Hikaru felt nauseous.
There was way too much pink in this room. There was so much pink that even Sai was bound to get cavities, regardless of the fact that he was already dead and his teeth had long rotted away. She automatically bowed when her mother and sister did, and tried her best to smile, although the result probably looked more like a soulless grimace than the pleasant smile her family expected her to wear.
The haze in Hikaru's mind lifted ever so slightly when the women arrived at their destination, and the exchange of pleasantries and introductions had started. She all but missed the first part, but couldn't help but stare as she beheld one of the prettiest women she had ever seen.
"Akira," the pretty woman said, pointing to what had to be the prettiest boy she had ever seen. How fitting.
His shiny, black hair was immaculately cut – how he managed to have a bob and not look like a complete idiot was beyond Hikaru's comprehension – and his clothing seemed to be made of some fabric previously unknown to humanity, for it seemed to not crease. At. All. Or maybe he just didn't have any joints? Maybe he was actually a mechanical mannequin, and Akiko was a madwoman, who deluded herself into thinking he was her son… or… hey! Maybe he was a non-mechanical mannequin that was haunted by Akiko-san's dead son's spirit? That thought lifted Hikaru's spirits considerably.
Alas, he got up to introduce himself, without making creaking noises or staring at them creepily. No mannequin after all, haunted or otherwise. What a pity.
His facial features merely emphasized the fact that he was very much related to Touya Akiko. To make a long story short: he looked like he came straight out of a Shoujo** Manga, featuring one of these insufferably well-mannered bishounen!** As if to confirm her suspicions, he bowed immaculately and flashed them a smile that was just as immaculate – neither too open, nor too guarded. Her mother would have wept with joy and given her unrestricted access to her computer for three weeks straight if she had displayed half as much immaculacy.
Hikaru resisted the urge to gag.
Her sister, on the other hand, looked at the poor boy as if he were a delicious buffet and she on the brink of starvation. Hikaru wouldn't be surprised if she started salivating so strongly that they were all going to drown in her drool.
After a while, she realized that everyone was looking at her expectantly. Shit.
*Just introduce yourself,* Sai saved her.
"H-Hikaru. Pleasure," she managed stutteringly and bowed sloppily.
"Oh, Mitsuko! To hide such a gem from us!" Reiko drawled. "I am enchanted!"
Then she turned around and hissed, "Tetsuo!"
In that moment, Hikaru realized that there was, in fact, another person sitting at the table. And by the looks of it, it was another boy. Or rather… a young man.
Oh no! Oh no no no!
Great. Absolutely fucking great. Their mothers had arranged a double omiai!**
Hikaru was headed straight into her second micro panic attack in just five minutes, when she got a closer look at the boy. The girl exhaled audibly. She immediately felt reassured by the fact that the other boy looked even more miserable than she felt.
His hair was a mess, his eyes had dark circles around them – he probably hated the very thought of marriage so much, he hadn't been able to sleep for days – and he was delightfully terribly dressed for the occasion. With his black leather jacket, studded belt, and torn jeans, he looked like he'd come straight from a rock concert, without having stopped at home to clean up, of course.
"Pleasure." He sounded as if he were about to choke. In fact, he sounded as if he'd rather make the acquaintance of a Hyosube** than them. The thought caused Hikaru to smile for the first time ever since Mitsuko had forced her into her Kimono.
She decided that she liked him. Maybe this ordeal wouldn't be so terrible after all. The girl was especially delighted by the fact that Cool Boy kept looking daggers at Pretty Boy – which seemed to greatly confuse the latter.
After fifty years, everyone was finally seated somewhere at the table. As Hikaru had feared, she got paired with Pretty Boy, and her sister – the lucky bitch – got to talk to Cool Boy.
"Hi," Hikaru murmured dispassionately.
"Good afternoon," Pretty Boy said immaculately, with an immaculate smile plastered on his face. Everything he did, he did immaculately.
"How's it going?" Hikaru forced herself to ask, clinging to the hope that he somehow was a mannequin and would simply stop speaking at some point, probably because he needed winding up.
He disappointed. "Great, thank you. And yourself? How do you do?"
Hikaru gulped. "G-great. Thanks."
Awkward silence reigned supreme.
Then Touya made a valiant attempt at conversation: "Erm… so… which interests do you have?"
"Ghosts," Hikaru murmured. A tiny bit of hope kindled in the depths of her soul. Maybe, for some unfathomable reason, Pretty Boy was acquainted with the subtle beauty and adventurous philosophy of ghost spotting.
Pretty Boy was not. "Ghosts?" he asked. A slight crease appeared between his brows.
"Ghosts," Hikaru confirmed with a slightly firmer voice.
Pretty Boy blinked. "I… I see."
"And what about you?" This conversation couldn't possibly be any more uncomfortable or awkward. Or boring.
Possibly harboring similarly delusional hopes about her interests, he flashed her an eager smile. "I am a professional Go player!"
Hikaru facepalmed. No. Nope. Nope. No. Simply… no.
Next to her, Sai was rapidly raising from the dead. No pun intended.
*Oooooh, how amazing! I am so delighted to make your acquaintance, Sir!* Sai was floating up and down, fidgeting like crazy.
"A… are you alright, Shindou-san?" Pretty Boy asked hesitantly.
"Perfectly," Hikaru deadpanned.
Once more, awkward silence reigned supreme. Or rather, it was reigning supreme for Touya's ears. Sai was chatting like a waterfall, trying to engage Pretty Boy in conversation about something called "Go problems" and "opening moves". To no avail, naturally.
Hikaru passed the time by glancing at her sister and Cool Boy. Her sister was making use of her considerable talent for filling otherwise awkward silences with mindless chatter. Right now, she would kill for even a tiny amount of that talent. Cool Boy was looking at Kaede. Or at a spot behind her… Hikaru wasn't sure. But he had the exact same expression of barely-disguised disinterest and please-get-me-out-of-here boredom on his face that Hikaru always spotted in her own reflection when she was hunched over her tea-ceremony cup and Kaede was going on and on about Calligraphy.
The girl inwardly saluted to her comrade in suffering.
By then, Sai's endless babbling was finally starting to grate on her nerves in earnest.
'Shut up, you oaf! I can't hear myself think! And I certainly can't hear a word Pretty Boy says!' she hissed at Sai in the privacy of her head. 'Unless he is a broken mannequin and finally keeping his mouth shut.' She paused. 'I really hope he is a mannequin.'
*What is a mannequin?* Sai asked warily.
'Just shut up. I am supposed to acquire a husband here,' Hikaru sighed. 'You are totally ruining my nonexistent prospects.'
Sai blinked. *Ooooh, this is an omiai! Why didn't you say so?* He grinned mischievously. *I have a plan! I can help you impress him with Go knowledge! Just say what I say!*
Hikaru was not sure whether she should cry or laugh.
'I don't want to impress him. I want him to shut the hell up," she grumbled. 'Like he's doing right now. But you can see on his face that he's trying to think of something to say! This is bad!'
*Oooh, but Hikaru, he seems so nice! And he is a professional Go player! I am sure he would be a wonderful husband,* the ghost surmised.
'Everyone who plays Go is a wonderful person in your eyes,' Hikaru said dryly.
*Not everyone,* Sai said. *But… most people.*
Pretty Boy looked as if he were desperately trying to say something, although her leave-me-the-hell-alone vibes seemed to finally penetrate his aura of perpetual immaculacy. She glanced at her mother. Maybe, if she was really lucky and her mother wasn't already picturing Pretty Boy as her favorite son-in-law, she had said enough and was allowed to go home. The disapproving look her mother shot her in turn told her that she'd better say something if she ever wanted to see her computer again. Dammit.
"Erm… erm…," she began. Sai was getting agitated again, probably trying to choke back some comment about something concerning Go. Damn.
But maybe she could kill two birds with one stone. Playing only her grandfather was bound to get old at some point anyways, and she really didn't want to waste her precious time on the internet with playing Go, so she had to acquire opponents for Sai.
"Well… would… would you like to play me… maybe..?"
That drew Akira out of his stupor. "Erm… do you… do you know how to play?" he asked disbelievingly.
"No-," Hikaru began, but caught the glare Sai was shooting at her, "I-I mean, yes, I do," she stuttered. Hikaru was a terrible liar. She preferred to tell herself that she was simply valiantly honest, but that was simply not true.
Touya looked skeptical. "And… how good are you, if I may ask?"
Hikaru looked at Sai. *I was the best Go player at court when I was still alive, and I basically played every game for Shusaku Honinbo, who was also hailed as one of the most excellent Go players of his time,* Sai said proudly.
She turned back to Pretty Boy and grinned. "I'm fucking brilliant."
Shoujo = girl
Bishounen = beautiful boy
Omiai = A Japanese traditional custom in which a woman and a man are introduced to each other to consider the possibility of marriage (Wikipedia)
Hyosube = a demon who happily informs you about your imminent death
If you like it, please review! :) (and please don't kill me!)