title: the Battle at Home
fandom: Hikaru no Go
characters/pairings: Hikaru/Akira, Ochi, Waya, Isumi, Honda, Akari, others
rating: G/Teen
warnings: drunkenness, party
summary: Hikaru and Akira have a housewarming party
notes: for dragynville, because she's ubercool and generous. *snugs*

Hikaru frowned at the rows and rows of decorated paper napkins. Really, paper towels were good enough... "Ochi? You invited Ochi? Tell me that's a joke, I'm begging you."

Akira shrugged noncommittally, selecting a set of paper plates and napkins, and piling them into the basket Hikaru had hooked over his arm. "Why not? I thought we were inviting all of our friends."

"Yes, exactly, friends, Akira, friends!" Hikaru huffed, and put the napkins Akira picked back, and got cheaper, plainer ones. "Ochi's not a friend. He's just another Go player. We can't invite them all!"

Akira calmly put the napkins Hikaru picked back on the shelf, and replaced them with his choice. "You're inviting all of your friends. I should be able to invite who I want, too."

Hikaru narrowed his eyes, looking over the napkins. It wasn't that much money, but when were they going to draw the line? They just shelled out most of their savings for the down payment on the house, and now they were going to spend the rest of their money on the party? He replaced the napkins again. "Why do you want to invite him, though? He's not friendly. He just thinks of you as a rival. What's fun about that? He's going to touch all our things and look down his piggy nose at us. If he goes into our bathroom, we might never get him out," he groused.

"Stop being an ass," Akira sighed, replacing the napkins again. "He's perfectly nice. And I respect him as a player. And leave the damned napkins alone, you cheapskate."

Hikaru huffed loudly. "Respecting someone as a player, and liking someone as a friend are two different things, Akira! You've invited him into our house. I mean, what do you know about him that isn't related to Go, anyway?"

Akira shrugged uncomfortably, picking up some plastic chopsticks with festive wrappers. "What difference does that make? Best way to learn about a person is to face them on the goban."

"A~kir~a," Hikaru whined. "C'mon! Life is not Go alone! Haven't we been through this? Friends are friends! Friends are people you share things with and have fun with and all that good stuff! Think about when you were a kid. Who were your friends back then?"

"The people I played Go with at my father's salon," Akira answered quietly, suddenly very interested in the selection of plastic tablecloths.

Hikaru opened his mouth to object, and then shut it. He watched Akira for a moment, and then reached down to pick up a nice-looking tablecloth that matched their plates. "Fine. But if he's in the bathroom for more than ten minutes, I'm going in there after him."

"What is it with you and the bathroom?" Akira wondered, smiling.

Ochi snuck around the room, hanging close to the wall. That girl who was now interning at Weekly Go was sitting between Isumi and Waya, laughing loudly. Everyone was laughing loudly. There weren't many who were old enough to drink, but somehow, there was plenty of beer and sake to go around.

Such things would poison the mind, and cloud judgment. He hated being surrounded by fools. Honda and some lower dans that Ochi didn't recognize were pretending the stereo was a karaoke machine, swinging their glasses around wildly.

Really, Ochi couldn't begin to understand why Touya wanted to live with Shindou. He knew Touya and Shindou have some sort of... connection... but it didn't make sense.

He was much more suited to be Touya's rival than Shindou. Even if Shindou somehow won the Honinbou title. Just how had he done that? It kept preying on Ochi's mind. Shindou's existence... preyed upon Ochi's mind, ever since the pro exam.

Just what was Shindou, anyway? How did he get a title before Touya? Before anyone in their age group?

So annoying...

He was getting a headache just from being around so many loud and drunk fools. He just wanted to find Touya, thank him for the lovely party, and leave.

Unsurprisingly, Touya was in the kitchen, already working on the piles of glasses. Nase and another girl Ochi didn't recognize were there, too, but they were just sitting around and teasing Touya. This is what came from associating with lower classes. His grandfather was right.

"Touya. Can I help with that?" He tried to keep the sneer out of his voice. But really, if they couldn't afford help, then what good was living on their own?

Touya turned off the water, and grinned, wiping his hands on a dishtowel. "Ochi. No, no, that's not necessary. I was just trying to keep up. We'd run out of glasses otherwise. I didn't get enough plastic glasses, it seems."

"No, it's not your fault, Touya-kun," Nase giggled, putting her arm around Touya's shoulder. "It's just that everyone's drinking way more than they should. Hey, can I get you a drink?"

"Please don't worry about me," Touya replied kindly, edging away from them.

Ochi scowled a bit. Touya was better than all of this... Though, he wasn't serious about that ponytail, was he? Having his hair pulled back made his face look more mature, certainly, but it was short now, and if he was growing it out... "Touya. Thank you for inviting me. I'm going to take my leave now." He bowed shortly to Touya.

"Oh? So soon?" Touya bit his lip, looking worried. "Well, that's... thank you for coming, and are you sure you don't want to stay any longer?"

"Yes, quite sure," Ochi replied too quickly, causing Touya's shoulders to droop. Wait... "Though... If... If you were free... I'd enjoy a match."

Touya instantly brightened up. "That would be wonderful. This way." He led Ochi to the back of the house, to the bedrooms, which were not part of the tour that Touya and Shindou had taken everyone on when they first arrived. The house was traditionally styled, so there were sliding doors to every room, tatami mats lining the floors inside the rooms, and dark, rich hardwood floors for the hallways. Touya was the son of the Meijin, and Shindou... well, he was currently the Honinbou, so it made sense that they could get a nice house, but Ochi was still surprised. There were three bedrooms: a master bedroom with double doors, and two smaller bedrooms. The door to the master bedroom was left ajar, and a large king sized bed was visible, but the second bedroom's door was closed. The final bedroom was set up as a Go salon. Touya chatted amicably as he sat down at the goban, but Ochi couldn't help wondering...

Which of them got the master bedroom, and which was stuck in the smaller bedroom?

He realized that Touya was waiting for him, so he entered the salon, and sat down opposite Touya, bowing. Touya won the right to play black, so Ochi took the white stones, and prepared himself.

The opening of the game was careful, really. Touya was making judicious plays designed to carve out future territory without antagonizing Ochi. For his part, Ochi played intelligently, cautiously. He was playing Touya, after all. If he were too careful, he'd lose before he'd started. If he were reckless, it'd be impossible.

Had Shindou beaten Touya recently?

The steady clack of stones on the board resisted conversation. Soon, the flow of the game carried him away, rendering him oblivious to the sounds of the party going on around them.

Dying down around them.

He hadn't noticed that things had gotten quiet until Shindou threw back the mostly open door, and fell into Touya's lap.

"A~kir~a, whatareyoudoing?" He whimpered, and turned around,, making himself comfortable with his head on Akira's knee. "The party's over and Waya and Isumi are staying in the guest room and Akari got a ride home with Honda so I told him I'd break his balls if she didn't get home safe, and I'm tired now, can't we go to bed?"

Ochi's back stiffened. That Shindou...! Just who did he think he was? And... guest bedroom? He didn't see a guest bedroom. He wondered where it was.

Touya, however, just smiled softly, a look that frankly shocked Ochi. He brushed Shindou's hair back tenderly.

Just... what was...?

"Go to bed then, you idiot. I'll be along shortly."

Shindou made a face, though. "You know I can't sleep while you're playing. Your stones keep me up. C'mon, hurry up and beat this guy!" He leaned up on his elbow and turned to look the board over. "I can't believe you haven't won already. Are you tired or something?"

Touya laughed affectionately, and pushed Shindou's face down. "Rest here quietly, oh mighty Honinbou, and let me play."

"Fi~ne," Hikaru whined, but he obediently put his head down.

Ochi couldn't concentrate. Touya's fingers made their way into Hikaru's hair, and he wasn't letting go, even to set his stones down. Which, of course, only required one hand, but... from that point on in the game, half of Touya was playing with him, and the other half of Touya was smiling for Shindou, and playing with him. Shindou's hand was on Touya's arm, snaking up slowly, until his arm was fully extended. He was trying to reach Touya's hair band, and he kept his hand up until Touya bent down to let him pull the band out.

Touya's hair was about shoulder length, and it fell around his face, giving him partial privacy as he caressed Shindou's face. They were staring into each other's eyes, smiling secret smiles...

Ochi felt sick with loneliness suddenly. He bowed, swallowing down his jealousy. "I resign."

"Eh?" That broke Shindou's focus. He nearly bumped Touya's chin, turning to look at the board. "It's not time to resign yet!"

"Hikaru," Touya sighed. "It is late. Ochi probably needs to go home."

"Shouldn't start games you can't finish. Sheesh, he could even win this still." Shindou reached over, and pulled out a white stone, attacking one of Touya's stronger shapes.

Touya sighed, vexed. "You can never give up on that, can you? How many times do we need to go through this? That's a reckless move!"

"Prove it," Shindou insisted stubbornly.

"You're drunk," Touya grumbled, placing his stone. "I'm going to crush you."

"Crush yourself," Shindou replied grumpily, placing his stone just after Touya.

"If you're not even going to think about it..." Touya complained.

"C'mon, this isn't for a title, hurry up," Shindou tugged on Touya's hair.

"Leave me alone!" Touya pushed Shindou's hand away, and placed his stone.

"That's more like it," Shindou grinned, and placed his stone.

"There? You're going there? You're going to lose territory! It's too late in the game for a stunt like that!" Touya groused.

"Prove it," Shindou yawned.

"They're playing?" Waya yawned, padding into the salon, wearing only his boxers. He plopped down on the mat next to Shindou. "Who let them play? Only one game, you know! We're tired, right, Isumi-san? We don't want to be listening to you arguing all night."

"There won't be an argument," Shindou asserted childishly. "I'm going to win in a few minutes."

"Prove it," Touya snidely shot back.

Isumi, standing in the doorway, shook his head. "Waya, let's just go to bed. This is going to get ugly, you know."

"Can't sleep if they're playing," Waya yawned, looking like he very well could sleep, if he'd just put his head down.

"You're slow," Shindou snipped.

"You're annoying," Touya returned.

"I can't believe you started to play," Isumi sighed, leaning against the doorjamb. "Shindou, you should be ready to pass out! You drank as much as I did, and you're smaller and younger!"

"I'm not losing to a drunk," Touya grumbled.

"Prove it," Shindou cheerfully replied.

"You get one little title..." Touya sighed.

"C'mon, future Meijin, show me what you've got."

Ochi wondered if anyone remembered that he was there.

The game was over in ten minutes. Shindou lost by three moku, but he didn't seem too upset, after all his bragging.

Ochi assumed Shindou considered playing the end of his game a handicap.

"Ochi," Touya smiled as he cleaned up the stones. "Did you want to spend the night? We can set up a mattress in here..."

It wasn't Touya's fault, really. Ochi had never slept on a mattress on the floor in his life, and he was hardly about to start here. But, Touya was being polite.

"I can call for a car," Ochi sniffed disdainfully. "Thank you for your hospitality."

Shindou stood up, and stretched out. "Ah, it's not hospitality, it's a party, a party! C'mon, future Meijin," Shindou grabbed Touya's arm. "You said we could go to bed when the game was over."

"You know, other people might try for Meijin. I'm just saying," Waya idly commented, running his finger over the edge of the goban. "It's not like they just give titles away."

Shindou snorted, and slipped his arm around Touya's waist. "You have to make the Meijin league first, Waya."

"Shut up!" Waya jumped up, but he was laughing. "You idiot, Shindou. I'm the one who told you about leagues!"

"Honinbou! Shindou-honinbou! You're supposed to call me Shindou-honinbou!" Shindou stuck his tongue out at Waya.

Waya laughed, and flicked Shindou's forehead. "In a million years, I'll call you that."

Touya shook his head, looking a bit uncomfortable so close to Waya, and he rubbed Shindou's belly, then moved away, holding out a hand to Ochi. "Ochi. Can I get you anything while you wait for the car."

Ochi looked at Touya's hand. In Touya's eyes, there was only Shindou. In Touya's eyes, Shindou sat across from him in every match, no matter what. And at home... Shindou was the center of Touya's life. He reached up for Touya's hand. If he'd been a better player, if he'd been able to beat Shindou in the pro exam, would he have encroached upon Shindou's place in Touya's gaze? Would he have earned some portion of Touya's interest? Or would Shindou have been unbeatable, no matter what?

Would Ochi even want Shindou's place here?

He smiled nervously, pulling his hand away quickly. "Thank you. I'll go wait for the car." He bowed to Touya, and made his exit. He could hear Touya protesting, citing the time, and Shindou insisting that Ochi was a big boy, and maybe they should have one drink before bed...

He stood on the sidewalk, his arms folded over his chest, waiting for the car, and wondering if there was anyone out there for him like Shindou was for Touya, or if he was just destined to be the odd one out.