Disclaimer: This is a Hikaru no Go fanfiction.
Here We Go (Again)
Chapter 1: Time-Traveler Hikaru
Death was waking up in an alternative universe in your twelve-year-old body—or at least that was what it seemed to be for Shindo Hikaru.
He had already woken up, screamed, fallen out of his bed, and locked himself in the bathroom to disbelievingly-poke at his face like any other person would have done. He had done that for half an hour.
But that was the Shindo Hikaru of a half hour ago. He had matured already. Now, he was just staring at his childish reflection in continued disbelief.
So, here he was, an hour into his new reality of being a kid again. And all he had done was lock himself in the bathroom before confounding his mother when she had come up to check on him.
"Mom! I'm twelve-years-old!" Hikaru had shouted in horror at Shindo Mitsuko, her hand still raised to knock again on the door.
Hikaru had forgotten how short he had been at this age. He was disoriented to have to look up at his mother again. Actually, he was currently disoriented by a lot of things, but he was trying to focus on his most immediate problem first.
Mitsuko blinked at her son. And since she was already used to his many antics, she merely put her hand down and nodded patiently. "Yes, you will be next month."
"Ne-Next month?" Hikaru sputtered. "How am I not twelve right now? Look at me! I'm, like…twelve! I'm practically a baby!"
"You'll always be my baby, Hikaru," Mitsuko replied cheerily.
Hikaru sputtered incoherently, and then choked on his own incoherence.
And Mitsuko breezed right past her son choking on his own tongue knowing this was the best time for her to speak, "Hikaru, Akari-chan says you haven't been answering her. She wants to know if you've finished your summer homework, and to message her back if you need help."
"I've never finished summer homework early in my entire life!" Hikaru stated in bewilderment, knowing that for a fact.
Mitsuko leveled the look of disappointment at her son that only mothers could. "Then you tell that to Akari-chan. Honestly, Hikaru, your father and I spent so much money on that smartphone. We expect you to use it."
"Smartphone?" Hikaru practically screeched in absolute-level confusion.
"Akari. Chan," was Mitsuko's only order before turning and heading back downstairs to do mother-stuff (Hikaru assumed).
After watching her leave in stunned silence, Hikaru stopped gaping and practically tripped over his own feet in his maddash across the hall back to his bedroom. And like a madman, he began to shove and pull all the covers off his bed.
He actually found a smartphone there, wedged in the space between his mattress and the wall where it must have slipped into when he had fallen out of bed.
For a moment, Hikaru just turned the object over in his hands in further bewilderment. The smartphone was twice as thick as it should be because of the protective case it was in (which he probably needed at this age, if he were being honest with himself). The grippy rubber case was bright yellow with Pikachu's smiling face peeking over the top. And when Hikaru turned it over, there was Pikachu's lightning-bolt tail. As well as dozens of little lightning bolts all over the rest of the case, as if Pikachu had released a thunder attack before attempting to climb over the top of his phone to smile at him.
"Wow, I really like Pokemon," was all Hikaru said as he unlocked the phone. (He had always used the same passcode for all of his phones.)
The screen lit up with the date (mid-August) and time (mid-morning), as well as what appeared to be a dozen messages from his friends in the LINE app.
"Geez," said Hikaru as he flicked through the chats without really reading them. Most of them were just nonsense messages that kids always sent each other. He scrolled through the different threads until he saw Akari's name, didn't bother to read her messages, and just typed TTY later before closing the app.
Hikaru then tilted his head down at his smartphone in thought, because he hadn't had one of these when he had been twelve (eleven). He hadn't had one of these until he was in his twenties, and not this particular model until he was in his thirties.
Well, it didn't take a genius to figure this out. He had died, and woken up in the past, except the past was twenty years in the future. Yep, that was definitely it. Not confusing at all.
Later that morning, Hikaru had announced where he was going while he had been scarfing down breakfast, ignored his mother asking again about summer homework/Akari, and immediately dashed out of his house in the first set of clothes his hands had touched from his closet.
Shindo Heihachi answered his door to see his grandson dressed in shark-covered swimming trunks, a haphazardly-buttoned dress shirt that was a size too small and inside out but STILL BUTTONED UP ANYWAY, and what were definitely two different house slippers each worn on the wrong foot.
"Hi, Jii-chan!" Hikaru practically shouted, darting past his grandfather and running towards the back of the property. "I'm going to pick out my birthday present early this year! I can take anything I want from the storage house, right? I'm saving you money. It's not going to be expensive because it's free!"
If his grandfather answered, Hikaru was already too far away to hear it.
The storage house was never locked, so Hikaru just flung open the door. And then he practically crawled up the steep stairs/ladder-thing on his hands and knees, knowing exactly where he had to go.
The goban hadn't been in his room. There hadn't been any go-related stuff in his room at all, or a go-obsessed ghost hanging around, so Hikaru was certain that he hadn't met Sai in this life yet.
Hikaru moved aside a few boxes and practically fell over an old trunk getting the goban out from the shadows. Once he had it, he set the antique goban carefully atop said trunk, diligently polishing it off with the unbuttoned cuff of his dress shirt.
It looked exactly the same as he had first known it, down to the morbid blood stains that no one but him had ever been able to see.
Kneeling upon the dusty floor, Hikaru expectantly sat back and waited.
And was kept waiting.
"What the—" For a moment, Hikaru panicked at the thought that Sai wasn't haunting the goban in this life. But then common sense prevailed, reminding him that the creepy blood stain was still there so it had to be haunted.
Therefore, there must be something he was forgetting to do. Hikaru crossed his arms and undusted some of his dusty memories of that day in order to remember it.
"Oh, right." Hikaru adjusted his position to lean forward and stare at the goban more, opening his eyes as wide as possible. And then he proclaimed, out loud, probably too loudly,
"Man, this sure is a great goban! Maybe the greatest goban! Even if there's this weird blood stain on it!"
As soon as he said it, a familiar rush of emotions surged through Hikaru. They weren't his, something he hadn't understood the first time. These were Sai's emotions, all of Sai's emotions from his thousand years of existence. And this time, Hikaru was content sat back and let them all wash over him rather than fight against the force of the tsunami.
"Can you hear my voice?"
"Yes!" exclaimed Hikaru, nervous energy nearly vibrating him out of his own skin.
"You can! You can! Oh, benevolent Kami-sama, I thank you."
Hikaru felt his own spirit lift as he watched Sai's spirit rise from out of the goban, shedding that useless transparent veil from atop him. He wouldn't have been able to stop the ecstatic grin on his face for the life of him.
"I shall now return," Sai declared, all noble gratitude and aristocratic reverence, "to the world of the living."
Once those familiar words had been said, Hikaru waited just a beat to make sure he wouldn't pass out again. And when it was clear that he wouldn't, still kneeling beside the antique goban, Hikaru lifted his arm and greeted Sai with a jaunty wave.
"Heya, Sai! Welcome back!"
And Sai looked down at the grinning boy waving up at him...and did not know how to respond to that.
Author's Note: After a two-year hiatus, I am back with a new story for you to laugh at! Because we could all use a laugh nowadays.