title: losing games
fandom: Hikaru no Go
characters/pairings: Kurata, OFC
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Kurata meets someone while considering games.
notes: for Round 005 of blind go

It had been six months since he'd even turned on the game console. He didn't think it was unhealthy; he was just focused. He was happy as long as he could play go, so he didn't really need any other hobby, but when the newest console came out, he went and waited in line to get one, just because. For a while, he had played a bit everyday, because it was new and that made it fun, but nothing was as much fun as go.

He was standing, though, in front of the game display, looking for something new to play. He wiped his fingers self-consciously against his pant leg. He'd eaten fried food from a street stand, so he felt like he wasn't clean. It was evening, so there were a lot of people in the store, children and mothers and geeks, all together. He scanned down the lines of games, looking at titles and pictures, trying not to take up too much space.

It bothered him that he didn't know why he'd lost. Ogata wasn't an opponent to take for granted, but he knew that, and he hadn't. He could just chalk it up to... win some, lose some, but he didn't like losing. He didn't like losing to Ogata. Not that he'd call Ogata a rival, per se, but he would prefer to win against him.

He preferred to always win.

He glared a bit at the games, but it wasn't their fault, either. He should just go home and go over the game! But he'd already done that a bit, with Kuwabara-sensei and that Ashiwara from Touya-sensei's group. There were other lower dans there, and they'd discussed the game a good bit over some ramen, but still. He should have been able to win! Looking at a game afterward... it was just too cold. It didn't help him that much! A game wasn't some roadkill that could be poked and prodded and opened to figure out what it was. You had to be living in it to really get it!

He took a game off the shelf, but he thought he might already have it. He looked it over, trying to remember, but he was still thinking of stones and hands, so he ended up rereading the same sentences over and over again.

"Kurata?"

He looked up, feeling oddly guilty for no reason. A woman with chin-length hair, a tired expression, and a small child in tow was smiling uncertainly at him. Was she a go fan? "Yeah... Sorry, you are?"

Her smiled gained strength, but her son started to pull on her arm. "It's Goto. Oh, but back in high school, I was Matsumoto. Reina-chan? Think back to physics lab, second year."

He obediently thought back to then... Reina-chan? Back then, the woman in front of him had been a strong-willed and rather scary girl, tallish, a class officer. She was assigned to the lab desk in front of his, and her lab partner broke their scale during the second experiment, so after that, she was always using his, usually without asking first. Some of the guys had made fun of her, but when Sasaki started dating her, everyone was jealous. He grinned boyishly at her. "Oh, oh, yeah, I'm sorry, of course I remember. Sorry! Strange to see you in a place like this, though!"

She grinned at his bluntness, and put her hand on the little boy's head. "Well, I made a promise to this one that I'd get him the game he wanted if he kept his room clean for a month." She smiled apologetically, but her son just pouted, probably annoyed that his game purchasing was being held up by this large, strange adult.

Kurata beamed, though, because his pout was cute, and also, the game he had looked interesting... "Wow, it hardly seems like we're old enough for you to have a son that gets bribed with games!"

She gave him a look he didn't understand, and patted her boy on the head. "Well... that's easy for you to say! You look as boyish as ever. The rest of us grew up, though." She looked like she more than just grew up, though.

She looked... older.

"Hmm. I guess you didn't stick with Sasaki... Did you get married in college?" He wasn't that old yet, was he? That kid sure looked like he was old enough to be playing go... maybe he'd be interesting like that kid Shindou...

Laughing a bit, she shook her head, but she was watching him kind of oddly... "Ah... no, that is... don't you remember Goto-sensei, Kurarta?" Her eyes were kind, as if she was regarding him like he was a child...

"Goto-sensei..." he repeated. Oh, right, he was the history teacher. A lot of the girls used to act like he was a rock star because his hair was a bit long...

Ah... she'd said, hadn't she, that her name...

His eyes widened, and then she flushed. Something like that... had happened while he was in school? He wasn't aware of it at all. And Reina-chan was such a responsible girl! Things like that really happened, though, while he wasn't paying attention. He played a computer game like that once... one of those dating games... He looked back down at the kid who was sullenly looking up at him. He felt a little sad, just because... well... Reina-chan... he didn't imagine her getting married and having babies so young... or was he really older than he thought?

"What about you, Kurata?" she said with forced cheer. "What are you up to these days?"

"Me? Oh, I'm a professional go player. I'm going to win all the titles," he said absently. He looked back up at her, though, when she barked out laughing.

"Is that so? I think that's wonderful. You're making a good living playing games. That's so like you, Kurata. All those brains..." She shook her head. He was about to retaliate and say the same to her, but then she leaned in and kissed his cheek.

Kissed... kissed his cheek...

She patted his chest, still smiling. Her son was now violently trying to pull her away, but he was still small and she was still his mother. "Don't ever change, Kurata, ok? Seeing you today makes me feel younger." She nodded to him, and then let her son pull her away to the counter.

Blinking, he rubbed his cheek.

He watched her check out, and then chase after her son as they went back out into the shopping center. A few people tried to move past him, but he was only partially aware. Finally, though, he looked down at the game in his hand. He didn't want this anymore. He put it back, and grabbed the game Reina-chan's son had, as well as two other puzzle games.

It was the weekend, and what he really needed was to just relax and forget about go for a while! Even someone like him needed a break from time to time. That was probably why he lost to Ogata. The next time, fully recharged, he'd beat him for sure. Maybe he'd track down that Shindou and mess with him a bit more. But first, he was going to get some pizza and fried chicken, and just play video games all weekend.

It was just one loss. He couldn't let it get him down. He was smarter than that, anyway.

He hurried home, feeling a bit excited, completely oblivious to how he kept rubbing his cheek.








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