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Caught in a Ladder Chapter the Fourth

Title: Caught In A Ladder
Author: sinnatious
Rating: PG-13
Summary: A chance encounter with Ogata and a slip of the tongue turns Hikaru into a victim of Sai's success.  What is he supposed to do when even the truth won't save him?  Predominantly angst.
Author’s Notes:  Two days in a row!  Yay!  Don't get used to it.  (Is anybody reading this?  Maybe I'll be better off at FF.net after all)

Prologue - Nigiri
Chapter 1 - Unlucky Encounter
Chapter 2 - Trapped In Your Own Design
Chapter 3 - A Game of Patience

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Caught In A Ladder
 
Chapter 4 – Rules of the Game
 
By Sinnatious
 
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A long afternoon passed with a cranky Ogata insisting that Hikaru play game after game with him, stopping only for a tasteless dinner and toilet breaks, until late in the evening. Shindou had then spent another night of fitful sleep on the foreign futon before being dragged out of bed again first thing in the morning to play another two games before the Jyudan had locked him back in the spare bedroom and disappeared off to the Go Institute. The teen had leafed through the abandoned magazines and played a game with his resident go-obsessed ghost to kill the time, but was now growing restless and angry.  He paced back and forth in the room – which he’d now come to think of as his prison – with his fists working and teeth clenched. Intermittently he’d stop, swear, and bang on the walls and kick the door, more to vent his anger than anything else.
 
“Must you be so loud, Hikaru?” Sai sighed.
 
“Looks who’s talking,” came the snippy response. “Besides,” he continued seriously, “If I make enough noise, there’s always a chance a neighbour will come and investigate, or call the police, or SOMETHING! Though if they could hear, you would have thought someone would have called by now….. Damn, why do these new apartments have to have such good insulation?!”
 
“Maybe no one’s home,” the ghost suggested. “Or they’re wearing those ear muff things that play music. You could try again another time.”
 
Scowling, the youth replied aloud, “I’m not so sure kicking up such a huge fuss while Ogata’s around is such a good idea, Sai.”
 
“Why not? What could he possibly do?”
 
That was a valid point, but the young pro wasn’t sure if he wanted to test it out – after all, he didn’t exactly know WHAT Ogata might do. If he was willing to hold someone against their will, there was really no telling what else the man might be capable of. He was reluctant to push his luck. 
 
“Gah, it’s nearly been two days already! I want to go home!” Hikaru exclaimed, kicking the door for about the twentieth time in as many minutes. What kind of house had bedroom doors that locked from the outside anyway? Wasn’t that supposed to be a fire hazard? “He’s not even here!”
 
“We could play some more Go to pass the time,” Sai suggested unhelpfully. 
 
Habitually switching back to a mental conversation, the youth replied crankily, “I can only be trounced so many times in one day.”
 
“At least you didn’t have any matches today.”
 
“Yeah, but I did have school! I might not be planning on going to high school, but I’d like to at least graduate from middle school!” “Dammit it all!” he shouted out loud, kicking the door again. 
 
He fell silent when the lock seemed to click. Almost entranced, his hand reached out, testing the doorknob experimentally. Amazingly, it turned, and the door swung open smoothly and quietly, as though personally inviting him to the room beyond. 
 
Impossible. Had his repeated bashing of the door actually somehow magically jiggled the mechanism enough to unlock? 
 
Shindou wasn’t going to question his good fortune. Not wasting a moment, he dashed out into the living room, calling Sai after him. Almost giddy with the prospect of freedom, the youth scampered for the door, so desperate to get away that he didn’t even remember to stop and put on his shoes. He spent a moment fiddling with the front door’s lock – it was a bit tricky. Finally, he managed to unlock it, and pulled open the door with relief.
 
That relief turned to ice in his veins, though, when he realised that his path to freedom was blocked. Reluctantly, he raised his gaze from white designer slacks, to the blue button-up shirt, to the altogether too-familiar bespectacled face.
 
“O-Ogata!”
 
He didn’t think he’d ever seen the other go pro so furious. The man reached out, gripping his shoulders hard, causing him to cry out in pain, before dragging him back into the apartment where he promptly backhanded him with a force that sent Hikaru falling to the floor.
 
“Just WHERE did you think you were going, huh?” Ogata shouted, towering over him. The youth sat back up, right hand cradling his stinging cheek, eyes wide. 
 
Belatedly, the Jyudan slammed the door shut, Hikaru watching with mournful eyes as his path to freedom disappeared before him. Mere seconds later, though, Ogata was back at his side, pulling the teen to his feet.
 
“I’ve tried to be reasonable about this, but if you’re going to try and escape, then fine! We’ll do this the hard way.” Grasping the boy’s wrist, he half-dragged the stunned youth back towards the room that he’d left not even minutes before. Pushing the sho-dan into a sitting position on one of the sturdy wooden chairs, he left the room briefly, Hikaru still too dazed to even consider moving. When he returned the Jyudan was carrying…. Neckties?
 
The blonde pro sneered at the befuddled teenager. “You just insist on being difficult, don’t you, Shindou? Well, I’ll not have you running off without fulfilling your end of the bargain while I’m out.” With those words, the elder man snatched Hikaru’s right hand, and deftly twisted it behind the teen’s back and chair.
 
“Ow, hey, stop it!” Mere discomfort turned into alarm when Ogata grabbed his left hand as well. The young go player struggled more fervently as he felt the fabric wrap tightly around his wrists.
 
The Jyudan didn’t even pause, calmly finishing his task. Hikaru tried to kick him when he came back to the front of the chair, but the elder merely caught the foot that had been aimed at him and tied it to the chair leg with surprising speed, then repeated the process with the youth’s remaining free limb.
 
With dismay, Hikaru strained against the knots, horrified to find them holding quite securely. He could shift in his seat a little, but that was extent of his allowed movement. 
 
Ogata looked somewhere between smug and annoyed as he lit a cigarette, clearly enjoying the boy’s plight. “You’re going to make me ruin at least three of my neckties, brat, happy yet? 
 
“Why are you still keeping me here! It’s been two days already! Let me go!” Hikaru demanded, wrenching against his bonds.
 
Ogata leaned forward, cigarette dangling between his lips. Hikaru found himself wrinkling his nose at the scent of tobacco. “I’ll let you go… once you defeat me in a game of Go.”
 
“What?!”
 
“Defeat me in a game of Go. If you play like Sai, it should be possible.”
 
“How many times do I have to tell you?! I’M NOT SAI!”
 
“I don’t believe you. That’s the only scenario that makes any sense, even if it is in itself inexplicable.”
 
“Makes sense to you, maybe! I don’t see why I should have to put up with this just because of a bunch of weird coincidences!”
 
“Then why lie about your online name, then?” Ogata asked, leaning back and giving the teen his much-needed personal space back. 
 
“Because I don’t really play NetGo. I was just covering up the fact that I was looking at porn,” he replied with a deadpan. 
 
The blonde man chuckled. “I’ve discovered that you’re an accomplished liar when you put your mind to it, Shindou, but your slip of the tongue was entirely natural. My offer stands. Defeat me in a game of Go, and I’ll let you go.”
 
“That’s ridiculous! I only just became a pro! Hey, don’t leave me tied up like this! Hey-!” Hikaru cut himself off when Ogata strode from the room, locking the door behind him as he went, and scowled irritably. 
 
“Hikaru, I could…”
 
“SHUT UP,” the sho-dan snapped. “I already said no!” Sai recoiled, then huffed and sat in the corner of the room. Hikaru felt momentarily guilty for taking his anger out on his companion like that, but having his friend continually wheedle him for games when he was in the middle of this sort of crisis was not helping. He resumed swearing under his breath and trying to loosen the fabric knots that had been tied around his wrists and ankles. It was hard, though, considering that he couldn’t do much more than wiggle his fingers uselessly with the way Ogata had tied his hands. That didn’t stop him from trying for what had to be an hour though, before he started to tire and gave up, resigned to staring at the pale blue walls. 
 
More time passed, and he grew bored. He’d been trying for some time to figure out some plan of escape, but he’d already surmised that his chances of overpowering the elder and making his getaway were poor, and finding an opening long enough while the Jyudan was present to make a run for it wasn’t much more likely. 
 
Sai continued to sulk in the corner, refusing to even look at him. Hikaru sighed, wanting to apologise so that he’d at least have someone to talk to, but still too irritated over the whole issue to swallow his pride. Besides, the ghost was likely to remain grumpy until he agreed to let him play Ogata, which he definitely wasn’t risking. 
 
It was about four hours later when Ogata finally came and released him, dragging him out into the living room to once again play Go and eat dinner. The Jyudan was naturally displeased when Hikaru continued to play normally, but said nothing of it. The youth was allowed a brief bathroom break when they were done with the game, then promptly shoved back into the room, thankfully not tied to the chair this time. It still stood there as though taunting him. For a second he had the childish urge to destroy it in retaliation, but it wasn’t as though Ogata had a shortage of chairs, and if anything he didn’t want to forgo what was apparently the privilege having his hands free. 
 
Since he and Sai still weren’t talking, the sho-dan retired to the lumpy futon early, though he didn’t fall asleep until well past midnight. Then the next morning the Jyudan pulled him half-asleep from bed and tied him back to the chair before locking him in again and heading off to the Institute.  The teen then spent most of the day like that, until Ogata returned in the evening and released him again, and after a bathroom break and several tense games with the elder pro, he was shoved back into the room and the door locked behind him again in what was becoming an irritating routine after not even a full four days. Hikaru stretched his muscles, wincing at the slight twinge in his shoulder – the awkward position coupled with the stress had made his muscles extremely stiff.

"Are you okay, Hikaru?" Sai asked in concern – it was the first words the ghost had spoken to him since he’d snapped the day before.

"Yeah," he mentally murmured in reply.  "Though I still have to find a way out of here.  It's going to be tricky if Ogata keeps tying me up when he goes out.” If he’d had his cell phone on him, he’d be seriously considering abandoning his pride and calling for help now. Alas, he’d left it at home on the charger.

"Hikaru, when he next comes to ask, let me play!"
the ghost begged him.  "He said he'll let you go if you win a game!"

"I already told you, no!  It'll completely blow our cover!  Can you imagine the reaction if everyone started thinking that I'd been playing below my level on purpose, when I could defeat Touya Meijin?"

"Just tell the truth, then!"

"I can't tell anyone the truth about you, Sai - I'd be locked in a mental institution, or if not, they might try and exorcise you or something crazy like that!  Stop being selfish!  Torajiro couldn't tell anyone about you either, right?"

"I... I'm just worried, Hikaru."

The teen's face softened.  "Thanks Sai, but Ogata's going to get bored of this eventually.  And if he doesn't, I'll find an opportunity to escape.  He can't be vigilant all the time.  There'll be an opening or something.  Che, I should have just made a run for it at the very start."

"You were surprised, and it's hard to say no to an authority figure,"
Sai consoled him.

"Yeah, I guess.  But I suppose he'd probably have caught me before I even made it to the door anyway," the sho-dan mused, settling down in front of the Go board.  "Come on, Sai, it's too early to sleep yet, let's play a game.  Who knows, today might be the day I'll beat you!"

"I doubt that!"
the ghost replied, settling in front of the goban with a slight smile.
 
They played well into the night again, before Hikaru attempted sleep once more, his concentration eventually waning with his fatigue.
 
 
 

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
May. 11th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
You should continue.
So far your story's kool.I would like to read the ending.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )