Disclaimer: "Hikaru no Go" was written by Hotta Yumi and illustrated by Obata Takeshi. This is a fanfiction.
The Hand of God
Sai's gone. But that wasn't their end. (An epilogue.)
Hikaru has had this dream before.
This world is bright and clean, illuminated by an eternal sun. And he has never seen the details. They're always washed away by this golden afternoon that never seems to end. But Hikaru always knows this place.
It's Sai's place.
Sai is seated across the goban, fan in hand, peering down at the spread of white and black stones across a kaya board.
And Hikaru doesn't gasp or cry out or tear up anymore. He had tried to stand and touch Sai before, in the beginning. But his legs won't move in this world. He's never able to reach across, always forced to stay at this side.
He thinks it has to be this way. And this dream is only a kindness of the gods, parting the curtain just enough so that Hikaru can see through to the other side.
Hikaru gives Sai his biggest, sunniest smile. He wants Sai to see that he's happy. And truthfully, Hikaru is happy.
He smiles because Sai has always wanted him to live a good life.
In the dream, Sai looks up and smiles at him, warm and welcoming and familiar.
And it feels like coming home.
"I beat Touya today. At this rate, I'm going to take his title out from under him, Sai!"
Hikaru laughs, loud and bright.
And Sai laughs with him, soft and quiet, hidden behind his fan for propriety's sake. (Even though there's no one else here. And Hikaru, as the only other person in this dream, definitely wouldn't judge him. But that's just Sai's way.)
So, Hikaru grins wide, recognizing the bright gleam of amusement that Sai could never hide from his eyes. And the slightest tilt of Sai's head that means he approves.
He's the only person in the world to have known Sai.
And Hikaru can only hope that he had known him enough.
Because, he wants this dream to be real.
"You're looking at Shindo-Honinbou now, Sai!"
Hikaru puffs up his chest with pride, jabbing his thumb towards his heart.
And it becomes brighter and warmer somehow, in this bright and warm place.
He feels Sai's pride overflow close to bursting, filling all of the empty places he hadn't even known had been there to fill.
Hikaru smiles, matching Sai's. It's a moment shared between student and mentor. It's a moment Hikaru wants to relish and soak in, like a sunflower under the summer sun.
For the rest of that dream, they remained in that suspended moment of time. And Hikaru is grateful.
Hikaru rubs at the back of his neck, feeling hot and red and far too embarrassed.
"Well, hehe," Hikaru stalls, laughing nervously. "I got married."
His face feels like it's going to burn off.
And Sai is laughing at him, shoulders shaking with mirth at Hikaru's extreme discomfort.
"Yeah, laugh it up, Sai!"
Which only makes Sai's shoulders shake more.
For the rest of the dream, Sai continues to laugh as Hikaru continues to rant at him.
It feels like he's twelve or fifteen or a younger version of himself again. And Hikaru knows that Sai misses that, all of the noise and activity Hikaru had always brought.
It's peaceful and quiet here. The perfect atmosphere for playing a game of go.
But even more than enjoying this perfect dream, Hikaru wants to give Sai the company and attention he isn't able to outside of this place.
"We named the baby after you!" Hikaru gushes giddily, feeling ready to burst out of his skin after hours and hours of worrying during the labor. "Shindo Sai! A name for greatness!"
Hikaru giggles, and will forever deny that he ever did that. He's a grown man. A husband and a father.
But this is a dream. And this is Sai. So, he bursts into a fresh peal of giggles.
Across the goban, Sai smiles with that soft, bright mixture of pride and happiness and kindness. It's not a new smile. It's just a little brighter with happiness than usual, delighted and a little shocked.
It's easy to keep smiling, to keep laughing and grinning and even giggling as he details the events down to the minute.
It's easy to lose himself in the story, because he always makes sure to remember everything, just so he'll be able to share it with Sai.
Because he chooses to believe that Sai is in this safe and warm place, where it's bright and quiet and peaceful.
That Sai is here in this dream, where Hikaru is allowed to visit.
So, he tells Sai everything about his life, and allows himself to fall into this dream.
"I'm retired." Hikaru sighs.
Sai looks at him sympathetically, empathetic and comforting.
And that will be all to it. They will continue to play their endless game together. They will build one stone after another, the hollow click of wood filling the place that had once been filled with Hikaru's words.
He's finally learned to appreciate silence, to gracefully accept the things beyond his control.
Hikaru glances up, seeing the knowing look upon Sai's face.
"Yeah, I know. You've been trying to teach me that all along."
Sai brightens, and turns back to the goban with just the slightest of gloating airs. One of the little flourishes from his life as a Heian noble that reminds Hikaru of how much time has passed For Sai.
Soon, Sai's expression turns to serious contemplation as he considers his next move. And Hikaru props his head in his hand, watching.
Sometimes, Hikaru catches himself wondering what Sai sees when he looks at him. In this dream, Sai remains as Hikaru has always known him. But is Hikaru growing old? Does his hair gray and the crow's feet around his eyes show?
He wants to ask Sai this, a lot of things:
Will this be the last time they ever see each other?
Is this really just a dream? A fantasy that only exists in Hikaru's mind?
Will this dream ever end?
Are they really here at all?
But Hikaru knows by now, in his old age, that these are all questions he doesn't need the answers to.
Hikaru has had this dream before. It's a dream he's had for so long that waking up in this bright world feels like coming home.
Sai sits across from him. And there's a game already waiting on the board. They've been playing it since Hikaru was fifteen, over the course of an entire lifetime.
And it has taken Hikaru too long to figure it out.
"This is your dream, isn't it?"
He takes his time, still contemplating his turn. There's no sense of time in this dream. After all, they have spent years waiting for just one move before.
Hikaru still doesn't look up as he adds,
"It's been so many for me. But for you, this has been one long dream. Hasn't it?"
When Hikaru looks up, Sai is watching him with wide, apologetic eyes. And there is grief and guilt and sadness there.
But Hikaru only smiles, bright and expressive, just as he always has for Sai.
"It's a good dream, Sai."
Tentatively, and then all at once, Sai smiles at him. And it's warm and welcoming, bright and overflowing.
Hikaru's still smiling as he returns to the board, looking down at all of the stones that have filled all of the empty places.
After all this time, he finally understands the Kami no Itte.
It's this game. His perfect game with Sai.
Happy Five-Year Anniversary! It's been five years since I first started writing fanfiction. And I've been grateful for every year and every day. :)