The Games of Summer
"Wow, Waya, you really need air con," Shindou complained. It was the third time today he'd said "Wow, Waya." Waya would have thrown something at him by now if it weren't so hot.
"Just finish your stupid game so you can go home to your air-conditioned room," Waya groused. He pointed at the board between Shindou and Isumi, which was less than half-filled with stones.
"Whose turn is it? Is it my turn?" Shindou said to Isumi. "Actually I don't care. You go. I don't want to move."
Isumi sluggishly picked up a stone and moved his hand over the board, but apparently his sweaty fingers couldn't grip the stone properly; it fell from his fingers and landed on one of Shindou's black stones with an unseemly clinking sound, starting a chain reaction of stones scattering all over the place and ruining everything, ever. "Ah, sorry."
"Wow, this is just like the pro exam," Shindou said, then clapped his hands over his mouth. Oops. He blamed it on the heat.
"Really? Just like the pro exam?" Waya echoed, putting a nonchalant little lilt into his question. He'd always wondered what had happened between them during the pro exam. "So, er, Isumi-san dropped a stone and messed up the board during the exam?"
"Uh, not exactly," Shindou hedged. He noticed Isumi hadn't moved or said anything. "It was more like...well, maybe Isumi can tell you. If he wants to."
"It's nothing." Isumi's voice was eerily calm. He'd gone into that zen mode he'd learned in China. "I just accidentally moved a stone I had already placed. I cheated, so I lost."
"Oh," said Waya, blinking. So the incident was both more and less dramatic than he'd thought. Well, he'd think about it later. Time to repair the mood. "Hey, remember before the pro exam, when we went to all those go salons to train? We met all those weird old guys."
"Yeah," Shindou chimed in, eager to change the subject. "I really learned a lot that summer. Even though I was always third board." He grinned, as if being third board was something to be proud of.
Isumi smiled back at him. "It was fun, wasn't it? Remember when you played Hong Suyong? That was an amazing game."
"It was," Waya agreed, remembering that sudden sense of foreboding he'd felt when he'd seen Shindou's newfound skill. But nowadays Waya could think about it without worrying so much. He'd grown since then, he knew.
"Yeah, that summer was really crazy." Shindou felt all wistful, remembering his last summer with Sai. It had all been so much fun. "You know, I think in the summer before that one, I first learned about Netgo."
"Hm, you did, did you?"
Shindou turned to Waya, who had a suspicious look on his face. "Ah, yeah, why is that interesting? That was when the Internet was starting to get really popular. Not that I, you know, used the Internet much then." Now he really wanted to change the subject. " Anyway, for old times' sake, why don't we hit the salons and play some team games? I'll be third board!"
"That sounds good. We can find a salon with air conditioning," replied Isumi, looking down at the goban in front of him. "I don't feel like fixing this game anyway."
Waya was already getting up. "Yeah, let's go. Then I don't have to listen to Shindou gripe about the heat."
Shindou stuck his tongue out. "You're just jealous because I'll be going back to a nice cool room tonight."
"Yeah, well, some of us aren't so pampered that we don't feel the seasons."
"And some of us aren't hobos who live in a dump and make their mom do their laundry."
Isumi rolled his eyes, feeling like the much beleaguered big brother to these two. They were going to bully the heck out of him for the rest of the day, weren't they.
Waya, done arguing with Shindou for now, gave Isumi a sneaky little grin. "Hey, maybe you can treat us to sushi again. For old times' sake"
"To the games of summer!" Hikaru crowed as Isumi shooed them out the door.