title: the Vows we Break
fandom: Hikaru no Go
characters/pairings: Shindou Masao/OMC(s), Shindou Mitsuko, Hikaru/Akira, Touya Akiko & Kouyo
rating: Mature
warnings: sex, cheating, stabbing
summary: Shindou Masao has a midlife crisis, which may or may not have something to do with his son.
notes: written for the hikago big bang. this is essentially original!fic, given that it primarily revolves around a character than never appears in the manga or the anime. for anyone willing to take a chance and read it anyway, i deeply appreciate it. i've written Shindou Masao as gay before, so that idea has somewhat been in my head for a while. this fic could be seen as a sequel to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, though it would be the most absurd sequel ever, since that fic was 357 words, and this one is over 55,000.

December



He came into the office for the last working day before the New Year a bit late. He'd stopped by Katagiri-san's shop before work to return the books he'd borrowed, and stayed long enough to have tea with the man and help him open up. It wasn't like it mattered that much. The office was next to empty, anyway. Between vacations and evacuations, there was only Kimura, already napping at his desk, and Arakawa-san working that day. He indicated to Arakawa-san to follow him into the office as he went by her desk. He hung up his coat in his wardrobe, and took out the envelope from his jacket, setting it on his desk.

"Is that what I think it is?" she asked gloomily.

"You aren't surprised, are you?" he asked, seating himself.

"No," she sighed. "But it's so unfair. I really enjoyed working with you, sir. I can't say that about most of my managers here," she added darkly.

He smiled affectionately at her. "You've been a godsend to me. When I turn this in to Tsuchida-san, I was going to ask him to give you some special consideration. I would hate it if you were saddled babysitting some swaggering jackass as this department is rebuilt. Is there any position you would particularly enjoy?"

"I appreciate the thought, sir," she smiled at him weakly. "I hadn't really thought about it before. I never actually intended to spend so much of my life in this career," she sighed.

"I know that feeling," he nodded.

"What will you do next, sir?" she asked anxiously.

"I'm buying a calligraphy shop," he reassured her. "No more boring meetings for me."

"Oh! That should suit you quite well!" she beamed.

"Thank you," he felt better, just seeing her smile. "I hope they can find something to suit you well, too, Arakawa-san. You deserve it."

"Well, thank you, sir," she sighed, looking at his letter of resignation. "But I still wish none of this were necessary. That stupid brat...!"

"Strangely, I've missed him these past months. He was mentally unstable and apparently violent, but he was a hard worker. Ever since Nishida left, we've really been struggling."

"I haven't missed him," she sharply retorted. "That boy had no idea of his place." She turned to leave, but she looked back at him. "Sir? Do you mind if I ask you something... impertinent?"

"Oh!" he straightened up. "I think I would like that! I don't think I've ever heard you be impertinent before!" he teased her.

She shook her head, too used to him. "Was... was your lover worth it? I mean... losing your wife...?" she asked him, looking nervous and a bit forlorn.

He smiled at her. "Ah... you and Mitsuko got along very well, right? Don't worry. I think we might actually be closer now than when we were married, and we're both happier. So, yes. My lover... is definitely worth it."

Arakawa-san smiled at him, looking younger when she did. "Ah, well. That's good, then. And, thank you, sir. For, well. Not being the typical chauvinistic clod."

"I do my best," he saluted her.

The day was so slow, it was only halfway through the afternoon when he let Kimura and Arakawa-san go for the day, and he headed to Tsuchida-san's office. His secretary made Masao wait for about twenty minutes before letting him in, but Tsuchida-san looked happy to see him, at least. Masao shook his hand, and then handed him his letter.

"Ah... I was hoping to get through to spring at least before we had to do this," he sighed, seating himself.

Masao took the chair opposite Tsuchida-san's desk. "I can be fairly flexible about the end date. I know we have one or two projects still in the pipeline, but I figured there was no reason to put off the inevitable."

Tsuchida-san opened the letter, and laughed. "Of course, it's hand written. As expected of a former calligrapher. Ah, damn. If it had been possible, I would have liked to have sheltered you from all this. But you can't stop rumors," he sighed.

"No, sir, you can't. I appreciate your sentiments, though," Masao smiled blithely.

"Are you going to be all right?" Tsuchida-san asked him.

"I think so. I've got things set up," Masao replied.

Tsuchida-san shook his head, looking out his window. "I remember pulling you up from the calligrapher's pool. You were pretty eager back then, willing to work night and day. But you were bad about going out drinking with us! You wouldn't get drunk, no matter what we did, and the waitresses were always flirting with you and ignoring the rest of us!"

"I remember those drinking parties a little differently," Masao easily laughed. "I was always afraid of making a fool of myself."

"You always did hate to lose control," Tsuchida-san laughed. "Always trying to manipulate how people thought about you."

Masao sighed. "I give up. Apparently, I'm quite shallow."

"I don't really think so," Tsuchida-san generously replied. "But these past few months, everyone talking about you and your sex life... it must have been hell for you."

Masao straightened, and formed a tight smile. "Ah... well... It is what it is," he replied, keeping his tone neutral.

"Hmph! There you go again," Tsuchida-san shook his head, and picked up Masao's letter, looking it over. "I suppose I have no choice but to accept this."

"If I could ask a favor, though sir? I know the whole department needs to be reorganized. My assistant, Arakawa-san, knows more about the department and how it works than I do. I'd hate for her to end up under some moron who would just take advantage of her experience and ignore her. If possible, could she be moved to some better position? She's earned a promotion, after all these years."

Tsuchida-san picked up a pen, and jotted down a note on his calendar. "I'll take that under advisement."

"Oh, and... naturally, the only people left at this point are the ones who couldn't find another place for themselves, but among the leftovers, Kimura is pretty much as useless as a human being can be. I know he has some friends in the company, but... anyone but him for a promotion," Masao explained.

"I think I remember the guy. Got it. You will be missed, Masao. Ah, but on the plus side, I might be able to win back my title as Best Looking Manager in the company," Tsuchida-san straightened himself up, puffing out his chest.

"Good luck, sir," Masao replied, deadpan. "It's the swimsuit competition that decides it. Make sure you practice walking in those heels."





Jun actually bit his ear to wake him up. That seemed a bit excessive. Masao refused to open his eyes, and just moaned a bit piteously to protest the bite.

"That's your phone that's ringing. You have to answer it!" Jun responded.

"Who would call this early?" Masao yawned.

"It's not that early. We were just up... really late last night," Jun chuckled. Then he kissed Masao's nose. That was better than biting.

Masao actually listened to the ringtone, and then quickly turned to grab his phone. That was... "Hey, son."

"Are you still in bed?" Hikaru laughed.

"It's..." Masao blinked, and looked at the clock. Granted, it was past ten, but still. "It's a perfectly reasonable time to be sleeping. What can I do for you?"

"Did you know mom's not home?"

"Ah... your mother... is in Sendai or something, right? With Hara-san's daughter and her family?" He rubbed his forehead. It was hard to believe Mitsuko would plan a trip and tell Masao and not Hikaru...

"Yeah, but she's staying there until after the New Year! ...Who is going to make the osechi?"

Masao sighed. "Please tell me you're joking. C'mon, son. How can you even ask that? It's important for your mother that she meets her future husband's family and is on good terms with them. Anyway, you can buy that stuff at department stores nowadays."

"It's not as good as homemade," Hikaru grumbled.

"Well, maybe Akira-kun's mother..."

"They're in Australia! What's the deal with all this traveling during family holidays! Does family mean nothing to anyone anymore? What about Grandma and Grandpa?"

Masao had to laugh at how traditional Hikaru could be where food was concerned. "Your grandparents went to the sea with your grandfather's old army buddy. They have a house overlooking the water, so."

"Seriously? Well, what are you doing tonight?"

Masao's lips quirked into a smile. He was the last resort, huh? "We ordered some food from a restaurant last week. Picked it up yesterday. I don't know if we had any specific plans." He looked up at Jun who was smiling.

"You should bring Yoshizawa-sensei here so we can all celebrate together!" Hikaru declared.

"You just want to see Jun, huh?" Masao deadpanned.

"Akira said something stupid about making stuff himself. I dunno how that's gonna work out... is there enough restaurant food for all of us?"

Masao had a hard time not just laughing at his son. "There's... quite a bit of it..." Masao had splurged, since it was the New Year, after all. And soon, he might not feel as comfortable about splurging. Jun was looking at him, both quizzical and amused.

"We can have dinner together and watch Kouhaku and go to the shrine near here at midnight. It'll be great! All guys!" Hikaru sounded excited.

"Mm," Masao hedged. He needed to ask Jun, of course...

"Akira keeps saying something about making mochi and he even got out this huge stone bowl thing for pounding it... which kinda sounds fun, but..." Hikaru sounded really dubious about the whole procedure.

"Let me just ask Jun," Masao smiled. He pulled the phone away from his ear and carefully covered the hole at the bottom with his thumb. "So we've been invited at the last minute to go to my son's to feed him."

Jun laughed and stretched out on Masao's chest. "You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

"Well, I would, but it's our first New Year and all. I don't want to do anything you don't want to do."

Jun's eyes shone. He leaned up and kissed Masao softly. "Let's do it. We wouldn't want your son to starve."

Masao grinned, and put the phone back to his ear. "All right, son, we'll be there. Just text me the address. Or, well, have Akira-kun text it to me," he sighed, making himself sound really put out.

"I know how to send a text now!" Hikaru objected.

"Sure, sure. Ok, we'll see you tonight."

He set the phone down and rubbed Jun's back. "You're sure this ok, right?"

"Of course," Jun laughed. "It's actually been a really long time since I shared a real family New Year's. And besides. We had a good time all to ourselves for Christmas Eve, right?" he smiled wickedly.

"I thought so," Masao smirked. Jun moved up and kissed him again, but he didn't let Masao deepen the kiss. Instead, he leaned up further, and kissed the skin over Masao's eye socket. Masao immediately moved away and turned his face, reaching for his eye patch.

"Someday, I'm going to make you feel less self-conscious about that," Jun mirthfully warned him.

"I... somehow doubt that," Masao sighed. He positioned the eye patch in place, holding it steady there. "Does this mean we're getting up?" Masao yawned for effect.

"That's up to you. If we're going to stay up and see the sun rise together with your son, I'd say we should take it easy during the day." The way Jun was smiling was particularly enticing, so Masao let him have his way, even though he wasn't sure that really meant they were taking it easy. Still, they didn't get out of bed until well after noon, and they didn't bother to shower and get dressed until nearly dusk. They left for Akira-kun's parents' house... at least, Masao was fairly sure that was where the boys were living... at just about seven.

The house was everything Masao would have expected of Akira-kun's father. He was certain this house had been in their family for at least a few generations, too. He made a face at Jun as Jun pressed the doorbell. Jun just mouthed at him, Behave! He had a really hard time imagining Hikaru comfortably living in a place like this, but then, his son did become a go pro, so maybe he had some kind of appreciation for old things.

Hikaru opened the door, wearing what had to be one of Akira-kun's haori jackets over a t-shirt with a huge number five and jeans. "Hey, c'mon in!" he cheerfully greeted them.

"Excuse us," Masao replied, stepping inside and slipping his shoes off.

"Yoshizawa-san, the last chapter was so cool! And what a cliffhanger! You gotta tell me what happens next!" Hikaru practically dragged Jun inside.

"Eh, Hikaru-kun, you know I can't do that," Jun laughed nervously.

Masao whistled as he ambled behind them. "I know what happens next," he cheerfully declared to the walls.

"Masao!" Jun chided him.

"That's not fair!" Hikaru complained.

"Of course it is," Masao smiled. "I have special privileges."

"Those could be revoked!" Jun threatened.

"I'm not worried," Masao declared. "I don't think you'll kick me out over this."

"Welcome," Akira-kun greeted them a bit stiffly, bowing.

He was dressed head to toe in traditional clothes, with his hair even pulled back into a short pony tail. He looked like a little doll to Masao. He bowed in response before he even knew what he was doing. Jun gave him a funny look, but it was just so weird.

His manga-loving, lazy son was with this proper and well-bred boy.

They were such an odd pair, it was perfect.

"We brought food," Masao handed the tray from the store to Akira-kun.

"And you brought sake," Hikaru pointed at the bottle Jun was carrying.

"That's not for children," Masao sighed.

"Hey! I'm not a little kid anymore!" Hikaru complained.

"And yet, still not an adult. It's a conundrum," he sighed, as if he really sympathized.

"Oh, come on! Are you saying you didn't drink when you were my age?" Hikaru pouted.

"Sure, I can say just about anything," Masao returned smoothly. "What was the rule when you were young? You could have one glass?"

Hikaru rolled his eyes. "Fine, whatever!"

They all situated themselves in a traditional parlor with cushions and low tables. There was at least a television in the room, though it seemed really anachronistic. It was easy to visualize Touya-san sitting like a monument in a room like this. And, of course, there was a goban set up.

"How are your parents, Akira-kun? Are they still enjoying traveling?"

"It seems so," Akira-kun replied cheerfully. "It was apparently my mother's idea to go to Australia. We just talked to them on the phone. She was really excited because they saw a kangaroo at a park they were eating lunch in."

"That sounds terrifying," Masao replied in all seriousness.

"I'm not surprised. You're not much of a nature boy, are you?" Jun laughed.

"I don't have anything against nature. Or animals. I like cats," Masao defended himself.

"You do?" Hikaru blinked.

"Sure, I do," Masao nodded. "Dogs are all right, too, but I really prefer animals that take care of themselves and are cute."

"Why didn't we ever have a cat, then?" Hikaru asked.

"Ah, I don't know." Masao thought about it. "Well, it would have fallen to your mother to take care of any pet we had, I suppose, so maybe it was her choice."

"You wouldn't have scooped the littler box?" Jun laughed.

"I didn't mean it like that!" Masao laughed. "I'm not useless!"

"Not completely," Jun agreed amicably, but he was looking far too amused for Masao's tastes.

"It's still weird seeing you like this," Hikaru grumbled as he tore open the food.

"Like what?" Masao stiffened, adjusting his posture a bit.

"Flirty. I never would have pictured you the type to flirt and stuff. It's hard to get used to!" he shoved some food into his mouth.

Masao didn't know what to say. For a moment, he just felt frozen with latent guilt. Akira-kun rolled his eyes. "You're a pig. Stop shoveling food in like that!"

"Schtop tellink me whah t'do!" Hikaru complained, his mouth full.

"They're going to be like this all night," Masao stage whispered to Jun. "If the neighbors complain, we should just say that our car broke down in front of the house and they were kind enough to let us in, but we don't know them."

"We can't," Jun laughed. "He's obviously your son!"

"I think I might be offended," Masao sighed.

"Hey!" Hikaru complained.

"Kidding, kidding," Masao assured him.

"If you're not going to share your sake, does that mean I finally get to see you drunk?" Hikaru asked, sounding weirdly hopeful.

"You've never seen your father drunk?" Akira-kun asked.

"No... wait, you've seen yours?" Hikaru gasped, which made Masao laugh. Actually, trying to picture Touya-san drunk was...

"Well, sure. It's not that exciting, though. He just mumbles about various hands, and falls asleep sitting up," Akira-kun shrugged.

That, Masao could see.

"Aw. Wait, have you seen dad drunk?" Hikaru turned to Jun.

"You know what? I haven't," Jun turned to Masao, looking devilish. "Should we get him drunk?"

"Sor~ry," Masao smiled. "But it would take more than just that whole bottle. The one thing I inherited from your grandfather that he wasn't ashamed of... I have a liver like a steel trap."

"This really seems like a challenge," Jun mused.

"I'm not starting the year pie-eyed just to satisfy your curiosity!" Masao objected.

"Maybe another time, then," Jun cheerfully acquiesced.

"Man!" Hikaru huffed. "I gotta see you drunk someday!"

"This might go without saying, but you have strange hobbies," Masao sighed.

"Look who's talking!" Hikaru pouted. "You know, I'm only just getting to know my own father here. I gotta see all your weird sides. When you start working in your shop, I'm gonna pop over at odd times just to see you in all kinds of moods!"

"That... sounds really nice, actually," Masao smiled.

"See? You're weird!" Hikaru declared.

"This is a two-way thing," Masao said. "I need to get to know you better, too. Like for instance... I thought this living arrangement was only going to last for the summer. Your mother is going to sell the house, you know. Are your parents coming back after Australia, Akira-kun? Where are you two going to live?"

Hikaru and Akira-kun both looked at each other, and then Hikaru shoved food into his mouth and Akira flushed and looked away. Jun started to laugh, and leaned over to rest against Masao's side.

Masao hoped he wasn't blushing.

"Er, well..." Akira-kun started. "My parents... will probably be back in the spring, but..."

"We should just buy mom's house! Then, if something goes wrong with Hara-san, she'll have someplace to live," Hikaru declared.

Akira-kun knit his brows immediately. "Oops," Jun whispered under his breath.

"Your mother will be perfectly welcome to move in here, should the need arise. My father has been talking about getting a condo and signing over the house to me."

"This place is so old!"

"It's traditional! And it's been in my family for three generations now!"

"I knew it," Masao muttered under his breath, to Jun's amusement.

"That just proves that it's old! My house is much more comfortable! And the kitchen is bigger!"

"What difference does size make when all you can fix is cup ramen?!"

"All the more reason why you should be happier in my house!"

"Eep, that's trouble," Jun sighed.

"If we're trying to make me happy, then why don't we just stay here?"

Masao sighed, and leaned over and picked up the remote. Kouhaku was already on, after all.

Jun grinned at him, and poured them some sake.

"It's not always about you, Akira! We've been here for a while, you can't say I haven't given it a shot!"

"I don't know any of these people anymore," Masao admitted to Jun.

"Really? You've tried hard, huh? How noble of you, but oddly, all I remember is about six months of you bitching about how you can't find anything while I've done all the housework!"

"Ooh, I like her dress," Jun sipped his sake, leaning onto Masao.

Masao slipped his arm around Jun. "Really? I'm getting old. All I can think is, it's so short!"

"You are old!" Jun snickered.

"What's that expression... showing the good china?" Masao sighed.

"Old man," Jun laughed.

"You know, I never knew what the phrase passive-aggressive meant until I moved in here!"

"If you want me to be aggressive-aggressive, I can manage that!"

"We should get a cat," Jun declared.

"All right," Masao agreed easily.

"Really? You won't mind scooping the litter? Oh, and you're usually up before me, so you'll have to feed it breakfast. Mm, and I'm often working through the night, so..."

"I got it," Masao laughed. "I'll get a cat, and if you're good, I'll let you play with my cat."

"Was that supposed to sound kinky?" Jun whispered to him.

"Like it would actually kill you to pick up your own stinky socks!"

"My socks do not stink! That much! Not any more than yours, so why not just pick them all up together?!"

"I don't leave my socks on the floor I put them in the basket!"

"Ah, I used to have such a crush on him!" Jun pointed to the screen. "Actually, what am I saying? He's aged really well."

"Really?" Masao raised an eyebrow. "You think so?"

"You don't?" Jun smirked.

"I don't know," Masao sniffed. "Looks like he's had work done to me."

Jun laughed, and leaned in to kiss Masao. "Don't worry, he lacks that... swashbuckling quality I've come to so appreciate in my men."

"Stop it," Masao chuckled. "And what do you mean, men? Don't tell me you're dating another pirate?"

Suddenly, they both became aware that the room was quiet. Well, the show was still on, but.

They turned to see Hikaru and Akira-kun staring at them.

"Ok, I get it!" Hikaru threw his hands up in the air.

"Eh?" Masao sputtered.

"I get it, I get it! You never had... this with mom, and vice versa. Sheesh. I still don't think she had to rush off to get married, but whatever," he huffed, putting his chin in his hand. Affectionately, Akira-kun patted Hikaru on the shoulder.

Masao turned bright red.

"We have some board games to play," Akira-kun suggested brightly.

"I don't play go," Masao said quickly, trying to sound apologetic about it.

"Oh, no, I know that!" Akira-kun beamed. "We have all sorts!"

He pulled out a selection of games that ran the gamut from othello to shogi to Yakyu Ban and even one based on an anime in which Jun and Hikaru seemed particularly interested. With relatively few arguments, they played, and ate, and drank a bit, watching the show and laughing. A little after eleven, Akira-kun suggested they head up to the shrine, so they bundled up and headed off. As Masao could have guessed, the shrine was rather close, at the top of a hill just a few blocks away. Though it was bustling, and there were all the typical food vendors and charm salesman, it was a small, neighborhood shrine, so it wasn't too overcrowded. Once, Jun shepherded Hikaru to Masao's good side, whispering something to him that made Hikaru look at his father's eye patch. It was embarrassing, but he also appreciated it. At midnight, the bells rang, and they all made their prayers.

Masao smiled at Jun just as he bowed his head.

On the way back, Hikaru and Akira-kun started to argue again, this time about the preparations for making mochi that Akira-kun had set up. Masao was speeding up to keep pace with them, but Jun held him back.

"Let's let them get home first," he smiled. "It's nice, isn't it? Such a quiet neighborhood."

"Mostly," Masao laughed, looking at his son and his lover.

"Are you happy, Masao?" Jun asked him.

Masao looked at him. He reached down and took Jun's hand, intertwining their fingers. He lifted Jun's hand to his mouth, and kissed his fingers. "I never would have imagined last year... that this year... could be starting out so..."

"Loudly?" Jun laughed.

They were at a particularly dark nook, as the street was taking a turn, and the stone wall separating the houses from the street took a bend. He pulled Jun into the bend and kissed him. "I never imagined that I'd be seeing in the New Year with someone that I loved so deeply... and with my son. It's a kind of weird perfect."

Jun laughed, putting his arms around Masao's neck. "I like that. Weird perfect. If you hadn't added that, you'd be being romantic again, and you know how much I hate that."

"I know, I have to be careful," he nodded, and then he kissed Jun again.

"Are we really going to be making mochi?" Jun asked, laughing.

"Akira-kun seems to be... rather more persuasive than I would have given him credit for," Masao shook his head. "Well, it could be fun. And.

"I did want to see the sun rise..." he blushed.

"Ah, you're still on the verge of being romantic," Jun pulled back, winking. He took Masao's hand and squeezed it tightly. "Let's catch up before you screw up."

Masao squeezed Jun's hand back. "Yes, sir!"






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