title: Good hands
fandom: Hikaru no Go
characters/pairings: Mitani/Akari, Ogata, Kuwabara/Akari, Amano
rating: Mature
warnings: sexual harassment, dubious consent, voyeurism
summary: Akari must have it.
notes: for round 6 of blind_go, smut OR gen... this one is smut. HET SMUT. *coughs* yeah. (word count 5906)

~~~~∅     

He just stared at his phone for a moment before opening it. It was four in the morning, right? He was reading his clock right? It all felt pretty damned surreal.

"Akari?" he grumbled. He was waking up fast, though. It was four in the morning and she was calling him? What was going on? "Are you all right?"

"Yuuki?" She sounded a little out of breath. He put his feet down on the floor, fighting a bit with the sheet. "Yuuki... can you..." Her voice was trembling.

"What's going on? Where are you?" he asked quickly.

"I-I'm at the hotel. You know, where the Honinbou match is..." Ah, right, he knew that. That Shindou... He hadn't done anything to Akari, had he?!

"Do you need me?" he licked his lips. He was already combing his hair out with his fingers.

"Yes, yes I do. Can you come... now?" She sounded needy, and desperate.

He jumped up. He had to get dressed. Had to get the keys to his scooter. "I'm on my way. Are you in your room? Where should I meet you?" She gave him a room number, and he was out the door that minute.

There was no traffic worth mentioning, which made his ride to the hotel only last about twenty-five minutes. He parked his scooter in the alley next to the hotel, and dashed inside, walking fast past the lobby as if he were a resident.

He stabbed the elevator buttons, shifting irritably from foot to foot. Actually, it wouldn't make sense, really, that Shindou would do something to her. But still, there were lots of things that could have happened. Until he saw her...

She was so damned persistent. She never let him alone. How they ended up going to the same high school... he used to tell her it was a curse. But if they hadn't, they probably never would have spoken again after middle school graduation.

As soon as the elevator door opened, he ran off to find the room. Was this where she was staying? This was pretty high up, and the rooms here were nice... as he knocked on the door to the room number she gave him, he realized that it had been left just enough ajar so the lock wouldn't engage.

What the hell? He pushed it open, and called out, "Akari!" Her shoes were in here, but the room was really dark. It was big, too, and laid out traditionally. This was really her room? He closed the door behind him so it locked, and toed his shoes off. "Akari? You're here?"

His hand was on the wall, looking for a switch, when the bathroom door opened, sending a shaft of blinding light across the floor. She was there, wrapped in nothing but a white, fluffy towel. Her wet hair was stuck to her face and her neck. Her cheeks were flushed from the heat of the bath, and her lips looked as red as strawberries.

Mitani licked his lips, hungry.

"Oh..." she stepped into the room, her gaze meeting his right away. The light was behind her, and it was all the light in the room. She looked angelic.

She undid her towel, and let it fall to her feet.

Mitani's eyes widened. The way her body was outlined in light... She watched him looking her over, and then she turned her face, looking intently into the corner of the room. Mitani had no idea why she had called him still. Everything about this felt odd, felt wrong.

She was standing naked before him.

He went to her, and put his arms around her, kissed her almost violently, pulled her close. Awkwardly, he put his left hand on her breast. He wanted to feel her everywhere. If she was naked, he should be, too. It wouldn't be their first time, but it wasn't like they'd done it a million times, either. And she's never been so bold before. She'd actually never been completely naked before. He never realized how beautiful she was.

He never realized how much he wanted her.

"Akari," he whispered fervently. He was trying to grab at her everywhere. He was trying to get his clothes off. He pushed her back, and they sort of stumbled into the futon laid out there. He hadn't ever noticed that... but now he had her body beneath him. Her wet hair around her face... Gently, he caressed her cheek. "Akari. You're beautiful."

"Yuuki..." she groaned. She reached for him.

Quickly, he pulled off his shirt. She helped him with his pants, but honestly, he wasn't able to follow it all. His heart was just churning, and his body was getting way too hot. She groaned as he kissed her, kissed her skin, even bit her a bit, her body undulated as he touched her, she moved with him.

She wanted him, too.

He kicked his boxers aside and she grabbed his cock, rough at first and then more gentle. Stroking him. Nearly drove him fucking insane. He groped between her legs, only barely aware of what he was doing. He bit at her nipple, too. He was being too rough, maybe. She seemed so pliant, though. So fucking ready. He was, too. It was all going damned fast. He wanted to put his hands everywhere. He wanted to be in her. He looked into her eyes, searching.

He needed her.

He pushed her legs a bit further apart, gently. Gently. He had to try to be gentle, because she was delicate. She was beautiful. He wanted to treat her right, make her feel like he felt.

He wanted to scream.

She grabbed his hips and pulled him closer, but she looked away from him, looked to the corner again, looked demure... sexy. He was a healthy, normal boy. He was at his sexual peak! He couldn't understand how wild he felt. He kept repeating in his head to be gentle, but he just ended up thrusting hard into her. She gasped and her back arched. She was gorgeous. Oh, so fucking gorgeous...

It was all a question of timing, of rhythm, of heartbeats. It was all about her parted lips, and her heaving chest, and her hands, grabbing onto his. It was all about his cock, and moving in her. He wanted to keep her breathless, gasping. He wanted to keep the sweat beading on her throat, on her chest. Moving back and forth endlessly... but it couldn't be endless.

He didn't know if she came, too. He didn't know exactly what a female orgasm was like. It probably wasn't like in those porn movies, right? He had his head on her shoulder, and he caressed her breast while he caught his breath. He felt perfect.

She picked up his hand and brought it to her lips, rubbing the tips of his fingers against her lips until he let them slip into her mouth. He moved up to look into her eyes, but they were half-lidded with pleasure. He kissed her temple and her cheek. "I love you," he whispered.

Looking right at him, she let his fingers slip out of her mouth, and then she turned so she was facing him more. He put his arm around her, and ran his hand up her back. "Yuuki." She put her hand on his face. "Yuuki... I love you, too." She bit her lip, and looked away, embarrassed.

She was so cute. He pulled her closer and kissed her, hard.

Her fingers tangled in his hair. "Yuuki... Let's not stay here. Can we go back to your place? Can I stay with you there?"

He furrowed his brow. It would be dawn soon... wasn't the match continuing? She had to be here... for some reason, didn't she have to be here the whole time? And he still didn't know why she called him out, unless... she really just needed him... She still needed him. He nodded, and sat up, caressing her skin. "Yeah. Ok, let's go."

They had to gather up their clothes. Hers, too, were strewn all about. He wanted to ask her about it, but there was a strange atmosphere. They took turns washing up quickly, and it was dark, but the sky was starting to get light...

Silently, they left the hotel and went to his scooter in the alley. All the way back to his place, she had her arms around his stomach. She was pressed against his back. Her chin dug into his shoulder.

Was he really in love? Like the sort of love that lead to marriage and babies and everything? If he thought like that, it was terrifying. If he thought about her eyes and her skin and her breasts while he was making love to her, it was wonderful.

Maybe it really was love.

They got back to his place, but he kept her out until he saw his sister leaving. Her hand was in his... she kept running her fingers over his. Once he saw his sister leave, he brought her up. The place was empty now... his parents worked, too, after all. They were alone, finally. Well, again.

Actually, even when they were outside, it felt like they were alone.

He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her, holding her tight and close. In the sunlight, in familiar territory, it all felt different. They laughed at themselves, and he couldn't stop grinning, because her smile was beautiful.

"Want to... take a bath or something? You're... you're ok, right? I mean, calling me out..."

"Let's take a bath," she coyly suggested, her cheeks turning beautifully pink. She took his hands, and splayed her fingers between his, and lifted his fingers, once again, to her lips. "You know...

"I think I'm developing a fetish for your hands."

~~~~∅     

She absently tapped her pencil on the bar, earning a disgruntled look from the bartender. Sheepishly, she leaned back, and stuck her pencil in her notebook to force herself to resist the urge to tap.

It was just so damned frustrating!

Her interview with Hikaru was really good, she thought. She conceded that since he was a friend of hers it wasn't as impressive as it might be, but... her journalism professor always said how important connections were! It was important to make connections with as many people as possible so you'd have as many contacts as possible. Shouldn't her connections work to her favor instead of against her? Amano-san was just impossible!

However, she overheard him talking to Kurata-san about how he'd been completely unable to get a single sensible quote from Kuwabara-sensei since he retired, and her mission became crystal-clear. Kuwabara-sensei was even staying at the hotel to watch the match. In the observation room, he took the part of Hikaru to lay down the stones. Amano-san was sitting next to Kurata-san, who was laying the stones for Ogata's part, so Akari got to sit next to Kuwabara-sensei. The old man was cantankerous, and he said some pretty strange things, but watching his long, elegantly crooked fingers placing the stones, she felt like she could almost understand Hikaru's intentions.

It was oddly exciting, but the whole title match series was, so she didn't think about it too much.

Hikaru talked to her a bit after he won, but he went to his room early, resisting Kuwabara-sensei's invitations for drinks. He wanted to be rested for the next day's game, he said, which Akari thought was smart. Amano-san went back to the office to look over the next issue's typesetting. She offered to go with him, but she was relieved when he told her it wasn't necessary. Kuwabara-sensei was looking for people to drink with, and she was looking for a quote. It seemed simple enough, but...

Kurata-san joined them, as well as some other pros who were there to watch the matches, as well as some fans...

They slowly peeled off, though. Kurata-san took off after the fifth round because Kuwabara-sensei was no longer talking about the game they just saw, and no one else was sober enough to discuss it with him. A few hours later, the only people left were the die-hards and the drunks.

And Akari, at the end of the bar.

She kept her eyes on Kuwabara-sensei the whole time. She watched as he grinned and cackled, and gave withering looks to each person who said or did something foolish. She watched his fingers wrap around his cups of sake, and the casual but sure way he lifted his cup to his lips. She nursed her own drink, just watching.

Patience was something else her journalism professor preached.

It was two in the morning when the bartender suggested that their night was over. Deftly, she glided right to Kuwabara-sensei's side, letting him put his arm around her shoulders as he got off his stool. With a bright smile, she offered, "Can I help you to your room, sensei?"

He smiled, looking positively wicked, and looked her over. And looked down her shirt. He was hardly the first go pro that weekend to do that, and the first to potentially be useful to her after, so she didn't bother getting upset. Her professor stopped short of suggesting they sleep with their sources, but he did emphasize that any asset they had that could be an advantage would be the difference between a scoop and a flop. "You're Amano's cute young gun, right?"

She batted her eyelashes at him. "Well, my internship ends in a week. School will be starting again... Amano-san doesn't seem too enthused about me working for him," she added sadly.

Kuwabara-sensei snorted, and put his hand around her waist, drawing himself up close to her. "That old stick in the mud is just nervous. There aren't enough pretty girls in our business. Don't you think that...? What's your name?"

Akari laughed girlishly, playing it up. Kuwabara-sensei's hand drifted a bit lower, so she moved him a bit more directly toward the elevators. "Fujisaki Akari. I don't mind if you call me Akari-chan, Kuwabara-sensei. And you shouldn't say that about female go pros! That's just not nice." She smirked at him, though, as she pushed the up button.

He squeezed her waist. "You're competition for that old fart," he shrewdly pointed out. "Though I doubt he's aggressive enough to fight too hard."

"I don't want to take his place," Akari sighed. "I just want to work for Weekly Go. I know there aren't many positions..."

"It's the ones who make the most of their positions who succeed," Kuwabara-sensei shot back suggestively. The doors slid open before them, and Akari helped him inside. "Amano can't become the lover of one of the top players coming up in the ranks."

"Lo-lovers?!" Akari sputtered and laughed. And turned bright red. "I'm not... you mean... Hikaru and I a-are only childhood friends!" She shook her hands and waved her hand in front of her.

He smirked, and tried to look down her shirt again. "You can be honest with me. I don't mind. You're not in love with him?"

She shook her head fast. Too fast. "I... I have someone else. And Hikaru... has go." She didn't like how bitter she sounded. She wasn't bitter anymore!

Why was he even asking her this?

He watched her, his gaze far too knowing. "It's possible to have go and a lover. In fact, go makes for a poor lover. The stones may look like beads..."

She snorted. He made it sound like he'd tried!

The doors slid open, and Kuwabara-sensei steered her toward his room. It was a suite, like the one being used for the match. The door had an electronic key, but it slid open, an imitation of a traditional door. Inside, too, was decorated tastefully in a traditional style. She pushed her shoes off as she helped him up into the room. She took him to the low table in the sitting area, pulling over a cushion for him. As he sat down, he pulled her down, too, practically into his lap. She giggled while pulling herself away discreetly.

"There's more sake in there," he pointed to the mini-fridge. "If you wanted to talk more."

Her heart thudded. She nodded, crawling over to get the bottle of sake, and two glasses. She brought them back to the table, opening the bottle and pouring it out. "Kuwabara-sensei... would you mind if I recorded our conversation? Like... as an interview?"

He cackled. "I haven't spoken to Amano in a year on the record, like you'd say, because I wanted to fully make room for the next generation. My time in this game is over," he cautioned.

She pulled her digital recorder out, and put it on the table between them, pushing the red button on the side. "But your insight has never been more valuable."

He watched her hand, grinning. He reached out for his cup with one hand, and put his other hand on her knee. "Let's have a toast, Akari-chan. Since we seem to mutually understand what we each want."

Her lips twitched, and she picked up her cup. She looked at his hand on her knee, his fingers splayed out over her skin. His old fingers... but they were still long and lean, still strong, even if his knuckles were swollen. The tips were still tapered and somewhat flat.

She raised her glass, and nodded to him. "Then... to Honinbou Shusaku, and all he's done for us."

"A good toast!" He rubbed her knee a bit, and drank. Once they were done, he nodded to her to refill both of their glasses.

He intended to get her drunk? Maybe she should be more cautious... but he was an old man. She didn't have to be afraid. It wasn't like she was alone in a room with a drunk Ogata.

He raised his glass again. "And then... to Shindou Hikaru, Honinbou's successor and reigning king."

She drank to that, perhaps more enthusiastically than she should have. Still. "Many people think that Hikaru doesn't have a chance to defend his title. They think that he won the right to compete against you last year on a fluke, and that you were just ready to retire. Many people think that Ogata-san will be Honinbou's successor this year."

"Ogata-kun isn't from Honinbou's line," Kuwabara-sensei laughed. His hand pushed up under her skirt. "What do you think, Akari-chan? Do you think Shindou just got lucky?"

She looked down at his hand on her thigh. She should stop him, but she didn't mind. She should. Would she have to explain this to Mitani sometime? She refilled her glass, and then Kuwabara-sensei's. "I think Hikaru is going to always surprise everyone. It's what he's good at."

Kuwabara-sensei laughed, sounding both delighted and sarcastic. "And I think that I wouldn't have been any damned good as a holder of that title if I was going to just give it to some brat. He won it, with his own go. That's all there is to it. He'll prove it here, but it's already his title."

"One victory in a match like this doesn't mean much..." she started, sipping her sake.

He pushed his hand up a little more, caressing her skin. His fingertips probed her flesh. She had to repress a shiver running through her. Damn... "Are you doubting him?"

"No..." she fumbled. She put her glass down, but it was full again a second later. Damn. "I don't doubt him. But I have to listen impartially to everyone else doubting him."

Kuwabara-sensei chuckled. "Go is a game you build with someone else. I'll tell you why that brat Shindou is so damned remarkable. But you understand, right? They used to say the universe was found on the points on the board. Go masters were like gods, creating worlds between them. But every go master is really chasing the gods."

"The Hand of God?" she asked.

He boldly reached out to tug on the top buttoned button on her shirt.

She flushed, shaking her head in confusion. He chuckled in his way... the lightening here was dark, and she couldn't see the spots on his head, or the thin hair hanging limply over his ears. She felt his fingertips squeezing and caressing her thigh.

"The Hand of God... we talk about it. It's what we chase, we say. But you know how you can measure a go player? It's in who he chases. Shindou will keep surprising these stuffed shirts because he's got Touya's brat on his heels. Touya's brat will keep raising expectations because he's got Shindou on his heels. The world they create between them... that's what we call the Hand of God."

She nodded, and then shook her head. "I knew from the first time I met Touya-kun. They need each other." At least that time, her voice just sounded empty. Which was fine, because she didn't need Hikaru. She finished off her glass, though, and poured another, nearly finishing that in one gulp.

Kuwabara-sensei's hand slipped between her thighs, caressing... pushing up higher. He undid her top button. "You're sure you're not his girl?" he teased her cruelly.

She raised her chin, and pushed his hand away from her chest. And then she pulled her shirttails out. "Of course not. So every great go player has another great go player standing with him, then? That makes it lonely for go wives, I suppose."

"Ho ho ho," he laughed, reaching out to caress her neck. "You think so? My first wife was like you. Brash and smart... way too smart. And beautiful. She loved my hands," he said sharply.

She'd never heard anything about Kuwabara's personal life before, but it made sense that he was married. He must have kids, too, right? That seemed strange. He was old enough to have grandchildren her age.

She undid the bottom button of her shirt. "You said first wife...?"

"She left me," he confirmed, laughing. "It wasn't over go, though. She couldn't stand to look at me after our baby died."

Akari froze, her eyes widening.

He pushed his hand up right to her groin, and slipped a finger under her bra strap. "He was only four months old, but he'd been born sickly. It was his heart. It was weak. We'd had a daughter first... she's still as strong as a horse. Beautiful, just like her mother. I wanted to make things work... but it was impossible."

"I-I'm so sorry," she stuttered. Her professor had told them about this, too, when unexpected things came up, but she couldn't remember anything about class. All she could think about was this man... this old man before her. The sadness still in his voice.

He rubbed against her groin, and slipped his fingers down the seam of her bra, touching her breast. "She went to go live with her mother, and never came home. She got remarried... had another child. That child was healthy, just like our daughter. I was happy for her. The world you create with someone... once it becomes poisoned... there's not much you can do about it."

She nodded, but she was distracted. She was performing an interview, but her thoughts were clouded, by the sake, and by his fingers. His sexy fingers... his old fingers. But they were sexy... "You already had a title by then?" she asked, somewhat breathless.

"I did, but I wasn't worthy of the Honinbou title back then," he said, taking his hand away from her chest to take a sip of sake. "That wouldn't come for another ten years. I was with my second wife then. We had no children, but she was a strong person. Stunningly beautiful... and she gave me strength, every day."

Akari undid a few more buttons. "I see... Then... What made you worthy?"

"I saw go as more than a game. As I fought for that title, I had an epiphany." He rather pointedly looked down at where she was unbuttoning her shirt.

It was like a spell. His craggy voice, his sure fingers. This story being woven. She undid the rest of her buttons, and let her shirt slip off her shoulders slowly.

He licked his lips, grinning. "It wasn't about the stones. It wasn't about the hands. It was about me, about each of us. The shapes we build... that's our own selves, spreading out on the goban. Who wins, who loses... it's like any sport. Any conflict. It's a question of will. For the first time, I realized the power of my will. The power of my desire to win. But more than winning, it was my desire to see my shapes realized.

"That is the essence of go."

Her shirt slid away. She reached behind her, and pulled on the back of her bra, making a show of getting ready to take it off. She ought to be ashamed of herself, but she was getting aroused. The wisdom and experience of his hands slipped inside her thong, and she groaned, deep. She licked her own lips...

She could taste it, and it was worth it.

"Does a young player like Hikaru, though, stand a chance to understand that? What about someone like Ogata-san? Kurata-san?"

He chuckled, leering openly at her as his fingers found their way around her most private area. "Youth and wisdom are not mutually exclusive, just as age and understanding don't go hand in hand. I had to experience loss and defeat and personal trauma to come to the stage where I could see the essence of what my go could be. What experiences does Shindou have that allow his will to cover a board? I can't say, but his is an old soul. I felt it the first time I met him. I've always gone with my gut feelings, ever since I learned how to read 'em.

"Ogata-kun..." He started to rub her clit. "He's technical, he's passionate. He's not an unworthy opponent for anyone, but he recognizes only himself on the board. His go is selfish." He pushed his fingers back, causing her to rear up on her knees. She bit her lip to keep from groaning out loud. "Kurata-kun is a genius, probably. But he's also a child. He still has a long way to go. He's at a disadvantage, too. Who has he ever had to chase? Anyone he wants to surpass, he can do so just by applying himself. That's a good thing, but it'll eventually becoming limiting to him."

She pushed down on his fingers, and they entered into her. She threw her head back, closing her eyes, clamping her teeth together. She unhooked her bra, letting the straps slide down, but she held the front in place. "Kuwabara-sensei... when you lost to Hikaru, you said something to him in private. Just after the game. What was it?"

She didn't expect an answer. Hikaru wouldn't talk about it, and Kuwabara-sensei wanted to keep the way clear for the next generation, he said. He didn't want to distract from them. She wasn't really sure if she was holding her breasts as hostage for an answer, but...

"I told him to never forget whose name he was keeping alive," he replied frankly.

Her hand dropped down to her side, letting her bra fall off. She tossed it away. "He wouldn't," she shook her head, like she was reassuring him. He was moving inside of her, his long, lean, strong, crooked fingers... they were mimicking thrusts inside of her... "H-he has the utmost reverence for Honinbou Shusaku. H-he came to my high school once, I brought him. He was teaching our go club. I never saw him speak as passionately as he did when he told us to study Shusaku. He said Shusaku was the greatest... ever..."

His free hand came up to caress her breasts. His fingers moved all over her. She couldn't help groaning. Three fingers were inside of her, all the way in, and now he was caressing her, catching her nipple between her fingers. "And this is why he was worthy. Last year, he was more worthy than I was, even. That is why he won. And that is why he will win.

"My second wife died young. Too young. She had ovarian cancer. Maybe that was why she couldn't get pregnant. I'll never know. I married again, another brave, strong, and smart woman. But she was more interested in money. My daughter came back into my life," he explained, squeezing her nipple. His fingers in her spread out, way out. She bit her lip hard enough to taste blood, trying not to cry out. "She and my wife butted heads. My wife, my third wife, wanted me to choose. She saw my daughter as a threat.

"If you're strong enough, you go for the biggest rewards, even if you might lose. I got a second divorce. But I was with my daughter when she got married. I was at the hospital the day my grandson was born." He squeezed her breast, moving his fingers inside of her faster. She was gasping now, only half focused on his story. She knew he was talking about more than just his life, more than just go, but it was all hazy.

Deliciously, destructively hazy.

"I love people who are strong enough to go for what they want. I love youth, and spirit. I hope I live long enough to see the world that brat will make with his rival." He pushed his thumb down hard on her clit.

She grabbed for the recorder, shutting it off. She couldn't keep from moaning and crying out. She fumbled, then, reaching down between his legs.

He pushed her hands away. "No, no. I'm an old man now. My pleasure is just in touching, in watching. Like I just said. That's the place of the old. To guide the young... watch over them. Didn't you say you had a lover?" he suggestively asked.

She wasn't sure at first what he wanted. She wanted to give him what he wanted. She owed him? For his story? But she didn't even care about that now. It was all blurred together in her head, on the tape. His life, his go... Hikaru. She wasn't thinking about that.

His fingers were in her still. His hand was on her. She was only thinking about his hands.

She grabbed across the table clumsily, reaching for her purse, for her cell phone.

~~~~∅     

He looked over his shoulder as another group of guests streamed past the entrance to the hotel bar. His whiskey and water was getting warm, and harder to drink. He tried not to overdo it while working, so he was nursing the same drink for past few hours, but even he was losing his patience.

Ogata stubbed out another cigarette, and lit up again immediately. Amano neither approved or disapproved, but he wasn't able to keep up. Privately, he couldn't help but wonder if this was indicative of Ogata's frame of mind as he was embarking on this title match. Could he really take the name Honinbou from the upstart Shindou in this desperate state of mind?

Amano considered it a personal weakness when he resorted to thinking in the style of his articles.

"Ogata-sensei," he tried once again to engage the pro. "Last year at this time, you were upset by Shindou in the qualifying matches, allowing him to go on and face Kuwabara-sensei. As you look at the title matches to come, what adjustments have you made in order to take the title?"

Ogata snorted rudely, and gave Amano a dirty look. "Adjustments? Are you suggesting that brat is really better than me?" He chuckled darkly, and sucked hard on his cigarette. "The thing about Shindou is..." he paused, and took a deep breath.

Amano shifted in his seat. Perhaps Ogata was finally going to give him a quote worth printing, rendering his afternoon useful, after all. He held his breath, waiting. If he pulled out his notebook now, Ogata would surely clam up. He could remember...

"Amano-san!"

He started and turned at the same time, nearly slipping off his stool. He scowled at the sight of his intern. She beamed brightly at him, adjusting her bags on her shoulders. She had one arm hooked around the handle of her rolling suitcase, which meant that she only had one hand to stabilize her possessions.

Amano sighed. "Fujisaki-chan..." he started.

"I've got the schedules; Hikaru isn't here yet, I just called him. Oh, Ogata-sensei!" She bowed to him nervously, causing all her bags to fall around her.

Ogata chuckled while he tried to get a glimpse down her shirt.

"Fujisaki-chan!" Amano barked. She jumped a bit, making a strange sound like that of a startled kitten. "Please go ahead and check in. We'll meet up before the first match, tomorrow."

"A-ah... I see... yes." She smiled at both of them, and bowed again, giving Ogata another chance. Clumsily, she pulled all her bags together, and shuffled off toward the front desk.

Amano sighed once again.

"I see, I heard you had a cute intern," Ogata grinned.

That was just... Amano had no chance of getting anything useful out of Ogata if he was mentally undressing a pretty young girl! "She's... quite capable, very interested in go," Amano grumbled.

Chuckling, Ogata sipped at his sake. "You don't sound enthused," he remarked with amusement. "Don't tell me you're against women in the workplace?"

"It's not that at all," Amano rebuffed. "Honestly, do I seem like...? She's just very... young. She's a childhood friend of Shindou's, so she has... what one might call an advantage. However, There's a certain time and place for youth and passion, and reporting the go world isn't a particularly desirable environment for such a tender, unmarried woman," he said, leveling Ogata with a flat look.

"Perfect. Let's get her married off, and then she can be as passionate as she wants. I did understand you correctly there, right?" Ogata replied with equal flatness.

Amano mightily resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "I believe you really do understand what I mean," he drolly replied.

Ogata crooked his finger at the bartender, still grinning. "Women and go... let me tell you something, Amano. The most important thing about both is... never underestimate anything. No matter how well you know your... opponent, no matter how confident you are in your own skills... ultimately, it comes down to a question of hands. Upper hands, lower hands, where you can get your hands." He nodded to the bartender as his glass was refilled, and then he lit up again. He inhaled deeply, and took another drink, turning his seat as if he could see through the walls of the bar to the front desk where Fujisaki-chan was. "The most exciting thing about both is...

"When something unexpected happens, you get to really test your skills."

Amano nodded, but he also shook his head slightly. Fujisaki-chan was such a nice girl. Maybe if she wore longer skirts, he wouldn't have to worry about her. These go men... they didn't practice their manners often! She just didn't understand...

On the other hand, out of the blabbering nonsense Ogata just spouted, Amano could cobble together a decent quote, as long as he left out the veiled sexual references.

~~~~∅     





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