AN EXORCISM, prologue
by Tari Gwaemir
"More time...I need more time."
"Your turn, Sai," Hikaru mumbled sleepily, his eyes already closed. He yawned and let his head drop against one hand.
Sai tried to focus on the board but it was hard to distract himself from the panic as he felt himself fading, second by second. His translucent hands seemed to be losing color and blurring into insubstantial air before his eyes. "Hikaru," he said urgently. "Hikaru."
"Mmm?" Hikaru's eyes didn't open.
"Hikaru, please look at me. I think...I might be...Hikaru!"
His only response was a soft snore.
Sai's face crumpled as he clutched his disappearing fan. Not yet, I can't go now. A thousand years is not enough, not when I haven't reached the Hand of God. Was Torajirou's sacrifice for nothing?
Hikaru's head jerked but his eyes still remained half-closed. "Hurry up, Sai," he said with a sleepy sigh.
More time...I need more time, Sai thought frantically. He could feel his already-thin presence in the world growing fainter. My soul to any god who will grant me more time! Until I reach the Hand of God!
"Done," whispered a voice, and the world began to tremble, to shake, then to quake so violently that Sai had to bury his face in his sleeves.
When he lifted his head again, he found himself on the other side of the goban, with two open goke upturned on the floor, stones scattered at his feet. He blinked and raised a sleeve to rub at his eyes. The world seemed brighter, more garish and solid somehow...It was then he realized that he was no longer wearing his long court robes but a yellow cotton shirt like the ones that Hikaru preferred.
He stood up and stumbled over his numb feet. He made his way to the mirror over the dresser and stared at his face. It was familiar, more familiar than his own. The blond bangs, the wide grey eyes, the round cheeks--
Sai lifted his hands and looked at them in amazement. "I have a body," he said aloud to the empty room. He turned around. "Hikaru? Hikaru! Where are you?"
There was no reply.