"You did WHAT?" Akira was glad he was sitting down. His boyfriend, Hikaru, was mad. And not in the "Why did you throw away my Shonen Jump?" way, but the absolutely insane "I signed us up for a musical to be performed at the Go Institute for Christmas," kind of way. Absolutely mad.
"C'mon, Akira! It'll be fun. It'll be better than last year when we went to your parents' Christmas party and the most exciting thing that happened was when Kurata threw up all that shrimp on Ogata's new suit."
Akira really wasn't sure. "We don't have time for this, you know." He shook his head.
"How do we not? It's a musical about go!"
"I can't believe I'm going to have to sing songs about what I do for a living."
"Ugh." Akira dropped his head to the table.
"Oh, c'mon. It'll be fun! What do you want for dinner?"
A petite woman in a leotard stood at the front of the room. "Hello, everyone! I'm Miss Suzuki and I'll be your choreographer for this Christmas event. Your music director is Mister Hayashi who will be joining us later in the week. Today, we'll be demonstrating our dancing abilities so that Mister Hayashi and I will be able to properly cast the roles."
Akira glanced around the room at all of the men (and a handful of women) whom he normally over saw over go bans. He could only picture a few of them being remotely graceful at anything other than placing stones - Ashiwara, Isumi, possibly Ochi?
This was going to be bad. Very bad.
Hikaru brought over the heating pad along with a cup of tea. "I'm sorry. I really didn't think that would make you pull, well, that."
Akira spread his legs to apply the heating pad to his groin muscles. "I told you I couldn't do high kicks."
"I figured that if Waya could do it, you totally could!"
"Your faith in me is both unwarranted and unwanted." He took a sip of the tea. "This does mean no sex for a few days."
Hikaru flopped down on the side of the couch that Akira wasn't occupying. "You did look kind of hot doing those kicks."
Akira looked down a moment later to realize he'd spilled most of his tea onto the heating pad... just a great day getting better.
"Tomorrow will be better. We'll be working on the music."
The way he said it made the hair on the back of Akira's neck rise.
Hikaru ran his fingers through Akira's hair as Akira rested his head on his boyfriend's lap. "You have a good voice. You should sing more often."
Akira shuddered. "Ochi..."
"Yes, it was an unfortunate song choice. I was surprised by how good Ochi's English was, though."
Akira hugged his pillow to his chest. Nothing would get the memory of the little obnoxious boy singing "Texas Has A Whorehouse In It" out of his head.
"We're playing WHAT?" Akira limped backward a bit and sat down in his assigned chair.
Mister Hayashi, a tall, thin man with a tiny line of a mustache, smiled and gestured to Akira. "You will be Igo Black. He," this was said with a gesture toward Hikaru, "will play Igo White. You are the lovers."
"Is this story a cross between 'Romeo & Juliet' and the Power Rangers?!"
"Shush. You will be perfect, and there is very little dancing, and no high kicks."
"Do give my regards to Miss Suzuki. I had no idea her face was where my foot was heading. I do not typically engage in high kicks."
"Miss Suzuki recognizes and accepts the dangers associated with dance. I'll be sure to pass along the message, though. Her surgery went very well, by the way. She's been wanting that bump shaved off for ages."
"And whose idea was this?" Akira waved around the costume he'd been handed: a skintight black full-body leotard and a paper-maiche "shell" to go over it to somewhat transform him into a go stone.
Miss Suzuki stared at him over the bandage on her nose. "Mister Hayashi and I took care of the costumes as well. Your audience will appreciate them."
Hikaru glared at the woman as well. He'd already tried his leotard on. "At least your costume is black. This shows everything."
Akira took a moment to glance over at Hikaru. "Yes, it does. You know, I guess they're really not that bad after all."
Hikaru pulled his "shell" over his head quickly and was dismayed to find that it didn't quite come down to his butt. "Damn," he muttered.
"You're the one who signed us up."
Hikaru tried to pull the "shell" down more, but was rewarded with only a soft cracking noise as the paper-maiche started to give. "Don't remind me."
"I have to throw myself on Ochi?" Akira's eyebrows furrowed together until they nearly touched.
Miss Suzuki set down her script and marched over to where the two were standing. "How else do you expect to play the game?"
"I just figured that the board wouldn't be played by a person."
"Nonsense. What kind of musical would this be if the goban didn't high kick?"
"Right, of course." Akira looked at Ochi. "The lines are on your front, right?"
Miss Suzuki returned to her script. "Yes. Throw yourself right at the center."
Akira glared at her. "I am not playing first-hand tengen. No one does that!"
Hikaru looked over from the other side of Ochi. "Yashiro does."
"Yeah, but who else?"
"Well, Honda does sometimes... I've done it before..."
"What *conventional* player does?"
"Are you saying I'm not conventional? Ogata played first-hand tengen against Kuwabara before... I saw it!"
"It's just not a smart move, in most cases."
"You're just jealous that you don't have the guts it takes to play it!"
Mister Hayashi came up and pushed them away from one another. "What the hell are you doing?"
Waya stepped up and cuffed Hikaru in the back of the head. "Never ever let them start to argue about go. It's the whole reason they got together in the first place. They're, well, passionate."
"I can see that. But, seriously, you two! It's a musical!"
Akira stood with his arms akimbo and leaned toward the music director. "Go players will be watching this. They'll know. Corners, sides, then center. That's go strategy in its simplest form."
Miss Suzuki scribbled a note in her script. "Fine. Throw yourself at a corner of Ochi."
"I don't have corners!" Ochi folded his arms across his chest and turned to face Akira. "Just be careful you don't throw yourself at me too hard."
"Not a problem, I think," Hikaru said as he looked at Akira's face.
"Not at all," Akira added.
"How am I supposed to memorize this? It's stupid!" Akira set his script down on the kitchen counter and went to inspect the rice Hikaru was frying.
Hikaru looked over his shoulder. "It's easy. I had mine memorized two days ago."
"How?" Akira grabbed a piece of fried egg from the pan and slipped it into his mouth.
"I pretend they're go moves and remember them in order like they're part of a bad game that I still need to know to reproduce later."
Akira grabbed a piece of corn from the pan and Hikaru nudged his hand back with his wrist. "That's a good idea. By the way, the rice looks done. Can we eat yet? I'm hungry."
Hikaru smiled. "And here I was thinking you'd already started. We'll play a game later and practice lines so you've got something to remember it by."
Nodding in agreement, Akira tried to reach for a clump of rice, but got hit by Hikaru's chopsticks instead. "Hmph."
Hikaru stood with his "shell" pressed against Ochi's goban costume for the dress rehearsal. "Oh, Igo Black... How can I love you when I'm always one step behind?" He waited for a moment for Akira's response, but it didn't come. "Psst! Your line!" he whispered.
"Your butt," Akira said.
Miss Suzuki stood at the front of the stage, and motioned for him to come to her. "For the show tomorrow, you'll want to avoid wearing bright yellow boxers with a giant number five emblazoned across the back. White might be a better choice."
Hikaru blushed, but nodded and went back to his spot. "Okay, people. Stop looking at my butt for a little while, okay? On with the show!"
Akira snickered just for a moment before resuming with the next line.
Waya made a face as Ochi threw up on Isumi's shoes. "Damn. That's some serious stage fright. That's gonna suck for Isumi later."
"At least he wasn't wearing them?" Hikaru added.
"How can he play matches just fine, but he's worried about people seeing him on stage?" Akira said.
Isumi walked over and saw his shoes and sighed. "The high kicks?"
Hikaru's eyes went wide. "Ochi! Your line!" He said it under his breath as much as he could, but he noticed Akira glance over at him sharply, only for his gaze to slide over to Ochi to see the boy was practically frozen. "Damn it, Ochi! You have exactly one line and you can't get it out?" He looked out at the audience and saw that people were starting to turn to their neighbors to see if they knew what was going on. Hikaru glanced at Akira and shrugged. "Let's just make it up?"
"Can we?" Akira whispered.
"We have to!" Hikaru said, then turned back to the audience and projected out to them, "Can our love survive nigiri?"
"Never again," Hikaru said.
"You didn't have to do the high kicks." Akira brought Hikaru the new heating pad (since the old one had shorted out with the tea) and let him place it where it was needed.
"Well, I knew you couldn't and Ochi was dead to the world, I swear..."
"I heard that Weekly Go showed up to review the show."
"Need more painkillers?"
"No. Just thinking of the review. It really was a horrible show, wasn't it?"
"Yeah. For our audience, maybe they should have just had a match where we sing out our moves and the graceful people can dance and put the stones in place."
"Just... no more high kicks."
The phone rang and Akira walked over to get it. "Hello?"
Hikaru watched as Akira's expression turned from a smile into a look of horror. "What is it?"
"Um, yeah... I'll talk about it with him and we'll get back to you. Thanks." Akira hung up the phone and went to sit down next to Hikaru. "Okay, so... that was Mister Hayashi."
"It seems that everyone took the play to be a comedy. Everyone's talking about it, or so he said."
"That's... good. But, from the look on your face, there's something you're not telling me."
"You know how there's that giant go seminar next week?"
Hikaru's eyes widened. "Yeah?"
"They want us to perform."
"Oh, hell no! Never. Never, never, never!"
Akira patted Hikaru's hand. "I'll make sure to tell them with just those words."