Hey, guys. Super fast update this time, and it's over 3000 words :D I'm really into this story now. I already have parts of the next couple chapters typed up. I'm not sure yet how many there will be beyond chapter 14. We'll have to wait and see.

Please review! :)


When Ogata arrived on Hikaru's street, he had to wake the boys up so that they could tell him the correct address. Too sleepy to feel suspicious, Hikaru answered, and a few minutes later they were outside his house.

"Thanks, Ogata-sensei," Hikaru said. "See you tomorrow, Akira."

Akira pouted when Hikaru moved to open the car door. "Hikaru."

"What?" He turned back around and was startled when Akira's lips landed on his. Before he could react, the kiss was over, and Akira looked content. Hikaru, however, was not.

"I hope you plan to continue that tomorrow," Hikaru whispered to his boyfriend. He smirked at the blush that appeared on Akira's face, and then kissed him softly on the cheek before getting out of the car. "Night, Akira."

"Good night, Hikaru," Akira responded, slightly dazed. He watched Hikaru walk up the path to his house, his gaze not leaving the other boy until the front door had shut behind him.

In the car, Ogata coughed lightly, drawing his young friend back to earth. "Why don't you sit up front?"

"Ah, sure." A moment later, he sat beside Ogata, and they drove away.


Hikaru shut the door behind him. "I'm back."

"Welcome home," his mother's voice called from in the kitchen.

He walked into the kitchen to meet her, happy to see that she was cooking dinner. He had forgotten about food with everything that had happened that day, but he was actually really hungry. "Smells good," he commented, earning a smile. "Uh, mom, can we talk?"

Shindou-san hummed. "Of course. Did something happen?"

"Yeah, kinda." Hikaru smiled sheepishly. Before his mother could become concerned, he added, "I'm not in trouble or anything."

She sighed, relieved. "Well, that's good. Would you like to talk about it over dinner? It'll be ready soon."

"Sure," Hikaru agreed. "I'm gonna run upstairs then." He turned around and headed out of the room, backpack in tow.

"Just be back down in ten minutes," his mother told him.

"Okay," Hikaru yelled back, already halfway up the stairs.

Shindou-san shook her head, a smile on her face. "That boy."

A bit later, mother and son sat at the dinner table with a delicious fish dish in front of them. Shindou-san was the first to speak.

"So, Hikaru, what is it you wanted to talk about?"

Hikaru uncomfortably looked to the side. "Well, I think there's going to be an article about me in Go Weekly."

Shindou-san perked up. "Oh, honey, that's so exciting."

Hikaru grimaced. "Yeah, it would be if it was about anything else." At his mother's quizzical look, he explained, "Well, uh, I was talking to Waya after my game and Akira came from around the corner and, uh, knocked me over." He blushed, not liking the gleam that appeared in his mother's eyes. "He kinda fell on me and started asking questions and a reporter showed up and…." He muttered the end of the sentence.

Shindou-san raised her eyebrow. "Speak up a bit Hikaru, I couldn't quite hear that."

Face reddening, he replied quickly, "I said, he took a picture of us kissing, geez mom, you need to get your ears checked or something..."

Hikaru's mother couldn't help but giggle at her son's embarrassment. "Oh, Hikaru, that's just like in the movies."

"Don't make fun of me," he said, covering his face with his hands. His flushed ears still gave him away.

She smiled. "I'm glad that things worked out with Touya-kun."

Hikaru spread his fingers enough to glimpse at her beyond his hand. "You aren't upset?"

"Upset?" She hummed, a familiar sound that Hikaru found calming. "I am a little bit upset that a reporter would interrupt such a private moment," she answered finally. "But I've seen you with that boy several times this week, and every time you've been totally enamored by him. Clearly you two are very close, and if he makes you happy, then as your mother I can't be anything but happy for you."

Hikaru's eyes watered behind his fingers. "Thanks, mom. That means a lot to me."

A bright smile spread across her face, barely shifting as she recalled her son's real predicament. "Will you try to do anything about the article?"

Hikaru sighed. "We already looked for the reporter and couldn't find him. Ogata-sensei suggested we tell everyone who matters about us before it comes out, no pun intended," he said, chuckling as he repeated Ogata's joke. His mother hid her own smirk behind her hand, and gradually the two returned to eating the appetizing food placed before them.


Back in the car, Ogata and Akira were almost to the Touya residence.

Ogata spoke up, breaking the silence. "Akira-kun, I have a favor I'd like to ask of you."

Akira looked his way. "What is it?"

"Would you mind if I speak with your father when we arrive?"

Akira thought about it for a moment. "No, I don't mind."

Ogata smiled gratefully. "Thanks." The two relaxed back into silence until they arrived home five minutes later.

They got out of the car and walked up to the door, which Akira unlocked before stepping inside. "I'm home."

"Welcome back, Akira," his father replied from the next room, and his mother quickly walked over to greet them.

"Hello, Ogata-kun," Akiko said in her usual charming matter.

"Good evening, Akiko-san," Ogata replied politely, then turned towards Touya Kouyo. "Touya-sensei, I was wondering if I might have a word."

The older man stood up slowly. "Very well," he agreed. "Shall we go to my study?"

Ogata nodded. "That would be ideal."

Before they could leave, Akira spoke up. "Pardon me, Father. Afterwards, may I speak with you and Mother?" He looked to his mother briefly and then returned his gaze to Kouyo.

"Of course, Akira." He smiled at the calmly cheerful look on his son's face. "Has something good happened with Shindou-kun?"

Akira smiled in return. "Yes, that is part of what I wish to talk to you both about."

"Good." Ending the conversation for now, Kouyo proceeded to his study with Ogata following behind him.

"Oh, Father," Akira said, having forgotten something.

Kouyo turned around. "Yes?"

The teen fidgeted slightly with his hands, which he held hidden behind his back. "It will be alright for Ogata-sensei to know anything that I have already spoken with you about, if he so asks."

Kouyo nodded. "I will keep it in mind, son." He then entered the room, and Ogata did the same, but not before mouthing a silent "thank you" to Akira behind him.

Once the door to the study closed, Akira relaxed his shoulders before turning to face his mother.

She grinned brightly at him. "My little boy is growing up," she said.

"Mother…" Akira said, surprised by her sentimentality. "Do not fret. I have a lot yet to learn before I am fully grown."

Akiko opened her arms, engulfing her son in a hug. "I hope so, Akira." She pulled back, gripping his arms lightly. "Now, how about I make some tea, and then we can talk for a bit before your father returns."

"I would like that," Akira complied happily.


Back at his apartment, Waya looked down at the cell phone in his hand. He and Isumi had spoken for almost a half hour about the incident from earlier, also discussing which of the insei they needed to contact, where they should all meet up the next day, and when they should meet. He groaned, resting an arm over his eyes. It had been a long day.

He thought about the friends he was in charge of contacting. Fuku and Nase were his responsibility, while Isumi agreed to call Honda and Ochi. They had debated inviting Ochi for some time, but eventually thought it necessary.

Now, Waya wondered if he should try to call Yashiro as well. It had been a while since they had seen him, since he lived all the way in Kansai. Waya also wondered if he should try to get in contact with Hikaru's childhood friend, Akari. Hikaru hadn't mentioned her, but it was possible that he had merely forgotten to. Still, he had said that the girl had confessed to him before, and Waya was concerned that it may be a touchy subject for her.

Sighing for the second time, Waya dropped his arm to his side and lifted his phone again. He sent a quick text to Hikaru, asking if it would be a good idea for the boy to call his childhood friend so that she could warn their other friends from school. Then, clicking through the cell phone's outdated features, he located Fuku's name among his contacts and hit the call button.


Walking into the former Meijin's study, the two men took their seats beside the goban, where they would both be the most comfortable. Kouyo rested his hands together on his lap and waited patiently for his student to gather his thoughts, knowing that Ogata would speak when he was ready.

"Touya-sensei, I am hoping you can give me some advice." The older man remained quiet, a sign that Ogata should continue. "In the car earlier, I spoke with Akira-kun and Shindou about Sai. They said some…strange things."

"My son has told me a bit about him," Kouyo replied.

The bespectacled man steadied himself. "They seem to believe that Sai is a ghost."

"Yes, indeed, they do."

Surprised, Ogata asked, "Do you believe that as well?"

Kouyo's expression softened. "I have no reason not to. My son does not lie."

"I did not mean—" The older man lifted a hand, interrupting him.

"Surely, Ogata-kun, you have known of stranger things than ghosts." He seemed amused as he watched his student take in his words.

Ogata sighed, exasperated. "Whether ghosts are real or not, I would rather not accept that I have fallen in love with one." He leaned forward and rested his forehead against his palm.

"I see," Kouyo responded thoughtfully, observing as his student's face reddened slightly. "Shall I tell you all that Akira has told me?"

After a moment of silence, Ogata nodded. "Please."

"Akira and Shindou-kun spoke with Sai on Monday at the go salon." Ogata's eyes widened. "They were told that Shindou-kun must fall in love with someone who will risk their life for him, or he will die one week from the day."

The younger man gasped. "What? How can that be?"

Kouyo shook his head. "I do not know, but he has fallen in love with my son. Akira has made it clear that he will indeed risk his life for Shindou-kun, no matter the consequences for himself."

Letting out a breath, Ogata asked, "What will happen to him?"

Kouyo frowned deeply. "Supposedly, neither of their lives will be lost. I expect my son will face a dangerous test that will likely result in injury."

Grimacing, Ogata voiced his thoughts. "Unfortunately, that is the best option, is it not? Especially for Akira-kun." He felt the older man's gaze grow more intense and inadvertently turned to stare at the wall, not really seeing it. "If Shindou dies, Akira-kun will be left here alone while Shindou will…." He swallowed, forcing himself to continue. "…Shindou will have Sai."

In an uncharacteristic act of sympathy, Kouyo reached a wrinkled hand over the board and rested it upon one of Ogata's clenched fists. "Perhaps that is so, and perhaps it is not." Surprised by this minute show of affection, Ogata looked up at his teacher. "We do not know what will happen. Those two boys are following a path laid out by the gods, but the rest of us cannot make such rash decisions."

Somberly Ogata replied, "Depressed as I may be, I do not plan on it. It would be foolish to risk a life full of go for a death where nothing is certain."

"Even though nothing is certain in life either?" Kouyo tested his student.

Ogata laughed wryly. "At least the past is reliable. Besides, Shindou said that Sai will return on Monday to speak with him."

"I see," Kouyo said, finally retracting his hand now that Ogata had relaxed.

"I want to meet him, even if only once. I shouldn't get my hopes up, though."

Kouyo chuckled. "I imagine the god of Go would be forgiving of a mortal who fell in love with a ghost through his game."

This earned a genuine smile from the bespectacled man. Almost too quietly to hear, Ogata admitted, "I would love it if that were so."

After a few minutes of peaceful silence, Ogata said, "I believe I should be going now. Akira-kun is waiting to speak with you."

"Ah, that reminds me," Kouyo mentioned, shifting in his seat. "Ogata-kun, I apologize for asking this of you, but would you be willing to give something to Akira for me? I believe it will be less awkward for him to receive it from you rather than from his father."

Confused, the younger man said, "I suppose I can. What is it?"

Kouyo sighed and looked away. "After Akira told his mother and I about his feelings for Shindou-kun, we thought it wise to make sure he has everything he needs." Ogata looked at him, slightly perplexed. "He's sixteen, and although it would be unlike Akira, it is not unlike other boys his age to be interested in physical exploration. We would rather he be safe." Kouyo walked over to a drawer and pulled out a plastic bag. "Fortunately, I put them in this room because Akira often comes here to talk to me. Here. If you would please give these to him, I would be very grateful."

Eyes widening and coughing into his fist to cover his blush, Ogata complied. "Very well." He took the small bag, glancing inside of it and seeing what he expected: a box of latex-free condoms and a small bottle of lube, as well as several lube packets. Ogata's blush deepened, realizing how much thought his teacher had put into this to get these items.

Kouyo managed to keep his face straight, and Ogata only noticed the light dusting of red on his cheeks because he had known the man for so long. "This way he can keep them with him. I do not intend to encourage such behavior, but his safety must come before our expectations." Ogata smiled, still embarrassed and yet proud of his teacher for being such a caring father. "Tell him that this is only so that he knows the proper items to use. He need not mention to his mother or myself what he does with these, and in the future he can buy them himself."

Ogata nodded. "I will."

"Thank you, Seiji."

The younger man shook his head. "Thank you for being such a wonderful father. Acts such as these are rare. Akira is very lucky."

Kouyo's eyes shimmered. "I believe it is what every child deserves."

Ogata did not respond, but he understood his teacher's meaning. He bowed, both in response and as farewell, and then turned to leave. Once the door closed behind him, he sighed. Deciding to leave for the night so that the Touya family could talk, he resolved to speak with Akira the next day. This was going to be interesting.


Akira and his mother sat in the kitchen, nursing their cups of hot tea and waiting for Kouyo and Ogata to return. At the sound of his phone beeping, Akira apologized and reached into his back pocket. Seeing that he had received a text from Waya, he opened it and noticed it was a group message.

WY: Fuku and Nase will b at the go institute at 2 tomorrow

IS: Ochi and Honda will be there, as well.

Those names sounded familiar to him, but he couldn't put a face to any. He supposed he'd just have to meet them tomorrow.

He looked down as his phone beeped again.

SH: sounds good

Akira smiled. If Hikaru was okay with it, then surely it'd be fine. He went to type his own message but was interrupted by the sound of footsteps coming into the kitchen. Looking, up, he saw a flushed Ogata.

"I think I'll be on my way," Ogata said. "Thank you for having me." He bowed politely and headed for the entrance to replace his shoes. Akira followed, curious how the discussion had gone.

Turning to the younger boy, Ogata said, "I would like to meet with you tomorrow, if possible."

Tilting his head to the side, Akira answered, "I will be at the Go Institute at two to meet with Hikaru's friends. Will that work?"

"The location is fine. If you are free beforehand, then I will meet you out front at 1:30."

They agreed on the time and then said their goodbyes before Ogata left, getting into his car and driving away.

Hearing a beep, Akira grabbed his phone and read the new message.

WY: Shindou, did u talk to Akari?

SH: not yet

SH: don't rly wanna, it'll b awkward

TA: Who's Akari?

WY: Shindou's childhood friend

SH: & neighbor

SH: she liked me years ago, not anymore tho

IS: We were thinking she could tell his friends from school. She and some of the others play go.

SH: has a bf now so no worries :)

SH: plus I know mine's better ;)

WY: Ok enough flirting in the group chat

TA: I'm not worried, Hikaru. If she's a childhood friend, she deserves to know. I don't have any friends from school, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't tell yours.

SH: fine i will

TA: Good.

TA: Have you told your mother yet?

SH: yeah

SH: took it well, said she's happy 4 us

TA: I'm happy to hear it. Please tell her I say thank you.

SH: ok

Akira smiled and put his phone away. Now it was time to tell his own family the news, before the news could tell them.


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