title: Forging Steel
fandom: Hikaru no Go
characters/pairings: Morishita Shigeo, Touya Kouyo
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Their friendship, through the years, in ten vignettes of 123 words.
notes: Artwork done - poorly - by the author


Shigeo stopped abruptly. He was early to insei class, so he thought he'd get something to drink. Shimada-sensei was standing with a new boy. "Yes, sensei?"

"Touya-kun, this is Morishita-kun. He's the top ranked player in the second class. Morishita-kun, Touya-kun. He'll be joining the insei class. Can you show him around?"

"Sure, sensei!" Shigeo stood up straighter, puffing his chest out. He liked that, top ranked player. He was sure he'd be joining the first class soon. He was going to become a pro. "Here, Touya-kun, I'll show you the break area."

This Touya. He was a little shorter than Morishita, and his face was blank. Though Morishita showed him everything there was to see, he didn't say a word.


He was playing Kitano Rie.

He wore his best shirt, which his mother had pressed for him. He even combed his hair. Kitano Rie was the only girl in the first class, and she was exceptionally pretty. Her long, perfectly straight black hair shone like go stones. Her lips were always a lovely pink. She was strong, too.

She sat down opposite him, and they bowed. They did nigiri, and she won black.

His heart was beating hard in his chest as they began to play. First, he needed to impress her with his magnificent play.


He looked up, unable to process his great luck. She was going to talk to him!

"You've spoken to Touya-kun, haven't you? Are you two... close?"

Shigeo stood up, brushing himself off. "Damn you jerks...!" He didn't care about those idiots. They could just roll around in the street!

You had to be a special kind of moron to talk shit about someone because you were too weak to face him on the goban! Listening to that crap, and now...

Damned Touya, he doesn't realize the rest of us are working.

Arrogant jerk. He's even cold to you, and you try to talk to him!

A guy like that should just hurry up and become a pro, and get out of our way.

"You're a mess."

Shigeo looked up. Touya was actually talking to him before their match.

"Yeah, try to overlook it."

Touya made a face. "Doesn't matter."

Morishita went to the washroom to splash water on his face. He... was going to beat Touya. He thought so. Probably.

Touya... had already qualified. He was going to become a pro. This year. Now.

Morishita... had to win the rest of his games, and even so, he needed Miyabara to lose. Since Touya had already qualified... he knew what everyone else thought. Morishita was fighting with all he had, and Touya was able to sit back and relax.

But Touya wasn't like that! He would never put down stones unless they were the best hands he was capable of!

They would both become pros... together. Morishita had to make sure of it!

And the first step... he was going to win today!

She had such pretty hands. Her nails must have been done professionally. Every shiny fingernail was perfectly shaped. Even though they'd met at each other's houses a few times, this was their first unsupervised date.

Morishita liked her. Quite a lot. She had passion, so even if she didn't know about go, they understood each other.

As he escorted her out of the restaurant, he got to put his hand on the small of her back. He hoped she didn't notice that his face was flushed. Just as they stepped outside, that Touya walked into the restaurant. "Ah, Touya!"

That man didn't even slow down.

"Is that a friend of yours?" she asked, frowning.

"No way!" he hotly replied. "Just another go pro!"

He went to a pub he knew nothing about because he didn't want to see anyone he knew. He sat at the bar, and ordered a straight up whiskey. He chucked it back hard, and then called for another. The bartender gave him a wary look, like he thought Morishita might become trouble for him later.

He might!

He ground his teeth, turning his glass in his hand. If he thought about his own progress, just on its own, he didn't think he was doing so badly. But, once again, he'd failed to qualify for the Meijin League. Once again, that Touya had made it easily.

Truthfully, his own progress wasn't bad, but that Touya's was damned good.

Frustration and jealousy tasted unbearable.

He felt out of place.

Partially, it was because of the fancy suit he had to wear. Though there were a few go pros attending, they were mostly older than him, and no one he knew well. He didn't even like the man getting married! That invitation had been damned presumptuous! He'd make that Touya pay back his wedding gift when he got married! They were still working out the details, but it shouldn't be much longer!

"Would you care for more wine, sir?"

Morishita smiled at the waiter, and refused politely. This was what made him feel so uneasy. He'd never thought about Touya's family, but it seemed they were well-off.

He felt like the damned monkey let loose in the sanctuary.

He couldn't suppress a yawn as he was entering the Go Institute, so when he saw the elevator doors closing, he just rushed ahead and slipped inside. Matches were about to start, though, so they were all likely heading to the same place.

"Congratulations, Morishita-kun," an older pro said. "I understand the baby is a boy?"

Morishita's sleep-deprived brain couldn't process who he was, but he threw his shoulders back at those beautiful words. "Yes! Ah, he's such a fine little man, too!"

The third man on the elevator looked back at him and nodded. "You and your wife must be very happy."

"Thank you, Touya!" Morishita boomed. "We are!"

He may have gotten married after Touya, but he'd become a father first!

"You're certain to challenge for a title this year!"

"Nothing is certain."

If Morishita had known that Touya and that annoying Zama were in the next booth...

"Who are you playing next? Morishita? You have no problem beating him, right?"


"Come on! Even stoicism has its limits! You can at least admit that your first victory is guaranteed."

Morishita went red.

"One could say that iron is stronger than carbon. But, if you put them both together, in the heat of a battle, the steel that is made is stronger than either. That's how it is with Morishita, for me. I never take anything with him for granted."

Morishita turned, but all he could see was the back of his seat. That... Touya...?

Touya met him at the gate, and led him through the winding path to the house.

"So how was Korea? I understand you made a bit of a splash."

"I had fun."

"Touya Kouyo. Having fun. What a concept. I wish I had seen it." Morishita shook his head. "You always have to forge ahead, and force the rest of us to keep up. I'd like to have a bit of fun, too, you know!"

"Then come with me. I'm going to Singapore in a month."

"Be careful! I might take you up on that!"

They toed off their shoes, and settled in the traditional salon, each on either side of the goban, once again.

"I hope you do." And Touya actually smiled.