"This is getting out of hand," Waya said flatly.
Isumi gave him a sheepish yet somehow apologetic smile. "I thought it would be a fun little surprise?"
The "surprise"—Le Ping—was indeed "little," but Waya wouldn't call him "fun." More like "horrible," "annoying" and "bratty."
Le Ping himself proved that Waya was right by barging through the door and chattering away in Chinese, putting his hands on everything as he gave the front entrance of Waya's family home an enthusiastic once over. With his hands planted on his hips like that and that stupid grin on his face, he looked just like Waya at age eleven. Dammit.
"My mom is going to freak the hell out."
"I know," said Isumi, lips threatening to quirk into a grin. Waya ushered him in with a sigh, wondering why he'd ever thought his senpai was a nice, normal guy. Probably because Isumi had been one until he ran off to China, the crafty land of Waya cloning.
"Yoshitaka?" Crap. That was his mother's voice from the second floor. "Do we have visitors?"
Slippered feet came into view on the upper stairs. Waya had a strange urge to tackle Le Ping and stuff him in a closet.
"You should've told me were having guests over—I would've prepared some snacks. You think you'd know these things by..."
Her feet stuttered to a stop on the bottom stair.
"...by the age of sixteen. Did you get smaller?"
"Ni hao," said Le Ping, while Isumi covered an undignified giggle with one hand.
"Mom," said Waya, huffing with annoyance, "this is Le Ping. Isumi's friend from China. He's a pro go player too." Waya tried not to say this with too much abject hatred.
Le Ping waved and said something that vaguely sounded like "Ohayou gozaimasu."
"My apologies for the sudden visit," said Isumi, finally sounding genuinely contrite, the ass.
Waya's mom hardly seemed to notice. She was staring at Le Ping. "Yo...Yoshihiro," she said.
"Yoshihiro," she said again. Her aforementioned slippered feet were shuffling forward, zombie-like. She also had her arms out in front of her like a zombie would. "My son. I can't believe it. After all this time!"
And then she rushed forward like one of those scary fast zombies in Left for Dead 2, and then her arms were clasped tight around Le Ping, like all monsters in any horror game anywhere.
"GWaaH!" Le Ping reacted as if he'd been attacked by a zombie, which was completely understandable and would've been hilarious if Waya's mom weren't going crazy. "Nyaawwwaahhh!"
Isumi's face twitched, like he wasn't sure whether to go into panic mode or laugh hysterically. Waya didn't want to know what kind of expression he had on his own face, but he imagined it looked pretty stupid.
"We thought we'd lost you forever!" Waya's mom sobbed, leaning over the terrified eleven year old and dripping tears all over his hair. "We looked all over for you. The authorities sent out search teams. You were just a toddler, all alone in the wilds of Yunnan. They said an animal must have got you. But I never stopped believing, in my heart of hearts..."
Her voice broke into a million pieces; she could not go on. Waya hoped her brain hadn't been broken too. Her arms were still death-gripping Isumi's brat though, so it wasn't all bad. "Mom," he shouted, hoping to be heard above Le Ping's tortured squealing. "Mom, you're talking nonsense. I would remember if I'd lost a younger brother."
She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "Oh, Yoshitaka. The doctors said it might cause you psychological problems if we forced you to remember. You were only six at the time. You doted on Yoshihiro. You couldn't handle the thought of never seeing him again, so instead you just...forgot him completely."
"Waya," said Isumi slowly. "L-Le Ping is from Yunnan...and he does look exactly like you..."
Waya wasn't sure what to say. He was pretty sure his eyes were bugging out. "No way. Just...no way. If I had a little brother, I wouldn't...I mean, Yoshihiro? That's so lame."
Le Ping—not Yoshihiro, dammit—yelled something in Chinese with this particularly enraged wave of his fist that was exactly how Waya would've done it. It was uncanny, seeing his own face scowling back at him in his childhood home. And the kid was just as noisy as Waya was at age eleven, and they were both good at go...
"There's just no way," Waya said again, more weakly this time.
"It's true." His mother's eyes were bubbling with tears, mouth stretched in a half grimace, half smile. "Yoshitaka, this is your long-lost little brother Yoshihiro. Please give him a hug."
"No! No way!"
As she forced Le Ping into Waya's flailing arms, Isumi finally let out the hysterical laugh he'd been holding in.
The worst thing was that when they finally got to play go, Waya lost to his "little brother" by a solid five and a half moku.
"Don't worry," Isumi said cheerfully. "You can get your revenge later. You'll have plenty more chances to play each other."
Le Ping/Waya Yoshihiro just smiled cluelessly.
- End -