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Games Two Can Play

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"God, Shindou, your phone manners are atrocious."

"Nice to hear from you, too, Touya." Shindou sounds a little out of breath. Touya wonders what he's doing, which leads to thoughts about dirty, breathless things Shindou possibly might be engaging in, which leads to reminding himself for the billionth time that he isn't supposed to think Those Things about Shindou. "Did you need something or did you just miss the sound of my voice?"

Touya snorts. "As if. Did you want to play a game at my father's salon?"

"'Course I do," Shindou replies like it's the most obvious thing ever. It probably is. "When?"

"Whenever. Now?" suggests Touya. He hears someone telling Shindou to hurry up in the background.

"Can't now. I'm playing basketball with Waya," Shindou says. At least that explains the breathlessness. "I can meet you in an hour, an hour and a half if you want me to shower first."

Touya rolls his eyes. "I'll see you in an hour and a half."

"Suit yourself, but you're missing out on my natural odor." Touya can almost see Shindou grinning idiotically. "Later!"

"Bye," says Touya, hearing Shindou shout "Ready for an asskicking, Waya?" before the phone clicks off and he experiences an entirely unreasonable surge of jealousy.

Touya doesn't like basketball. He doesn't like sports of any kind, in fact, and even managed to escape all formal physical education by convincing administrators that Go was an acceptable substitute. He doesn't want to play basketball against Shindou, either, knowing full well that Shindou just knowing basketball's rules gives him a huge advantage, and the idea of Shindou beating him at anything bothers Touya. So, no, he doesn't want to be playing with Shindou right now, though the idea of watching Shindou panting and sweating isn't a bad one.

Even if he isn't supposed to think about that. Right.

He just wants to be asked to do something, anything, but Go, at least once. But Touya knows well-enough that Shindou thinks Touya's Go is all he is. Maybe it really is all Touya has to offer.

An hour and forty-five minutes later Touya hears Ichikawa-san offering to take Shindou's backpack and a minute after that Shindou bounds into the back room, his cheeks flushed and hair still damp with the bleached parts curling a little at the ends. Touya's eyes widen, and he forces himself to look at the goban.

"Hey, Touya," Shindou says, plopping into the chair across from him and stretching his legs out on either side of the table in a possibly illegal way. "Man, I'm beat. Waya had me running all over the court after him. I still won, though."

Touya looks up, deciding that red cheeks and wet hair are less deadly than wide-legged sprawls, though it's a close contest. "You'd better not get too used to winning, you know," Touya says with a smile, smugly noting the drop of Shindou's jaw.

"You wish," retorts Shindou. "I'm going to mop the floor with you."

"Like hell you will."

"'Course I will! Your hair's made for it."

"Asshole!" gasps Touya.

Shindou laughs. "Such language from the Meijin's son. C'mon, let's play."

Touya starts to open his goke, but his stomach is kind of queasy and he knows that he's just going to make himself more miserable if he doesn't say anything. He taps his fingers on the goban.

"Did you need something?" asks Shindou, eyes still alight with laughter.

"Yes." Touya takes a deep breath. "Why don't you ever ask me to do anything with you other than play Go?"

Shindou raises an eyebrow. "What is there other than Go?"

Touya shrugs. "I don't know. Things. Basketball, for instance."

"You, playing basketball?" says Shindou incredulously. "Do you even own sweatpants?"

"Well, no," Touya replies, thinking maybe this isn't such a hot idea after all, "but...not just basketball. Anything. I eat food, you know, and watch movies. Or we could play something other than Go. I think my father owns a Monopoly, somewhere."

"Touya-Meijin plays Monopoly?"

"I played him once," says Touya. "He insisted on being the car."

Shindou laughs so hard he has to put his head down on the goban.

"I won when I put hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk...I really liked that little car."

Shindou almost falls out of his chair.

Touya sighs. "Shindou, this is serious!"

"So, you're saying you want to play Monopoly with me?" asks Shindou, still laughing and wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand.

"Maybe," says Touya, shrugging. "If you wanted."

Shindou purses his lips and fixes Touya with one of those looks he gets right before he tears apart Touya's carefully constructed patterns with an utterly baffling move in the endgame. "Let me rephrase. Since when does Touya Akira care about things other than playing Go?"

"I care about things! Go isn't everything!" Touya's voice is getting loud, but he doesn't care. It seems like Touya always forgets to care about that when Shindou's around. "I like my family, and green tea, and dogs--"

"You like dogs?" Shindou interrupts.

"Are you even listening to me?"

"Yes. It's just a lot to take in. I mean, you being normal."


Shindou shoots him another of those looks, longer than the last. Touya squirms uncomfortably. "Hey, Touya," Shindou says eventually, casual as anything, as though Touya hadn't just been yelling at him, "do you want to go to a movie with me tomorrow?"

Touya blinks in disbelief.

"There's one about these dogs that get lost in America and a ghost helps them find their way. I wanted to see it, but I didn't think anyone would want to come with me."

"Oh-- okay," Touya says, once he's recovered.

"Good!" Shindou says brightly, dipping his fingers into the white goke and taking out a handful of stones. "We can get ramen after, maybe?"

"Yeah. All right." Touya, dazed, pulls the lid off the other goke and takes out two black stones.

Shindou counts out his stones in twos, then glances up with a grin Touya knows he's never seen before. Touya swallows hard, thinking he'd have remembered that look.

"And Touya," Shindou says, drawing out Touya's name in another questionably legal act, "if you wanted to go out with me so bad, you should have just asked."