windroars: (killua; wicked in red)
Wind ([personal profile] windroars) wrote2011-09-30 10:06 am

Fanfiction || Saints and Sinners 01

Title: Saints and Sinners
Fandom: Hunter x Hunter
Main Characters: Killua Zoldyck, Gon Freecss, Kurapika Kurta, Leorio Paladiknight
Rating: PG-16
Genre: Alternate Universe/General/Crime/Friendship/Drama
Warnings: Language, violence, abuse
Setting: A modern day world in the city of Yorkshin, which, as it turns out, is not exactly the best neighborhood to live in. Especially since it houses the territory border between the Phantom and Chimera gangs.
Summary: With a turf war on the horizon, four unlikely friends band together, determined to survive at all costs. This proves easier said than done when enemies arise at every turn. Even in the mirror.

Author's Note: Yes. I am writing a story outside of the Bleach fandom. I checked, and hell hasn't quite frozen over just yet, but it was getting a bit chilly by the time I left.

This is actually a story I've wanted to write for a long time, but I held off because of the length and the depth involved. All of the hype about the anime reboot and the Chimera Ant Arc ending, however, finally gave me the inspiration to just go for it. Finally graduating might have helped a little too. Maybe.

And so, without further ado, I give you the first chapter of Saints and Sinners, a gang war AU starring the fabulous four that I hope you can all enjoy.


~*~

“And then I crashed into you
And I went up in flames”

Crashed, Chris Daughtry


~*~

Chapter One

Lion and Mouse

~*~


He ran.

He no longer cared where. He just knew he couldn’t stop. Reminders in the form of his echoing name kept him from resting, even for a moment.

The streets blurred before him. Was he speeding up, or was his awareness slowing down? Probably the latter. Damn. He wasn’t tired. Not truly. But he was confused. Anxious. Angry. Doubtful.

He was scared.

There was his name again. Hastily, he spun around a corner and forced his protesting legs to increase their pace. His legs were hardly what he should be worrying about, but experience told him he’d be much better off concentrating on them than on his ruined arm. It didn’t hinder his movement as long as he held it in place. He could endure until he lost them. If he was even capable of losing them...

He would lose them. He knew everything there was to know about losing people. It was part of his job. He grimaced as pain shot up his arm after an unintentional squeeze. Damn, that bastard. Sure, he could endure, but if anyone knew how to really make someone hurt, it was that guy. At least the bastard wasn’t aiming to kill today.

This was new. He had never gone this far. He’d never experienced this situation before, and for once, he had no idea how he was supposed to react. He had always done whatever he’d been told. There were consequences for not paying attention. Fatal consequences. But today had just been one too many. One too many orders. One too many targets. One too many days. He didn’t want to deal with it right now. He knew this couldn’t last forever; he knew that he would only be in for worse pain because of this stupid move. But none of that mattered. He would stand by his stupid move because it was his. For once, it was his own impulsive, reckless, stupid choice. And that was infinitely better than any intelligent and calculated choices that had been made for him.

So he ran.

He ran right into a wall.

“Ouch!”

Scratch that. Walls didn’t lament their injuries while falling backward on their behinds.

Through the near blackness of the night, he squinted at his victim. Though victim may not have been the right word; he really had felt like he hit a wall. A literal crown of black hair rose up from the guy’s scalp, framing a wide forehead. It was hard to tell in the dark whether he was tan or just dirty. Maybe both. Lean muscle rippled beneath a loose tank top and shorts, not exactly your standard late night walking outfit. But he couldn’t have been older than thirteen or fourteen. Not with that goofy expression, as if he was both extremely happy and equally upset and couldn’t for the life of him choose which emotion to roll with. The end result made him look a bit like a Picasso, awkward and lopsided. Wrapped around one arm was an orange leash. Oh, that explained it. He hadn’t knocked the kid down. He must have stopped while the pet kept going, and the idiot probably tripped over his own-

“Is that a bear?”

The other kid didn’t answer though. He traced those wide brown eyes back to his arm and grimaced. That bastard rarely drew blood, but then this wound had been intentionally nonfatal. The dark red goop drained down from his elbow and by now was gathering in his palm. With a frustrated growl, he hauled the useless appendage up and wrapped his shirt around it in a make-shift cradle. He couldn’t afford to leave a blood trail.

Then he heard it again. That voice.

“Killua!”

It drifted muffled over the surrounding buildings, but anywhere within hearing distance was far, far too close.

“Shit!” he cursed through clenched teeth, disregarding the other kid in order to get moving again.

Apparently that kid had something else in mind. Just as Killua passed him, he felt a rough grip on his uninjured arm yank him in a different direction. Teal eyes widened in momentary shock before narrowing. The way he’d been staring at his arm...

Well, if he was honest with himself, this arrangement was probably better for him. Having someone so obviously comfortable with this area, what with walking around alone at night like that, be his guide would get him farther than running around in circles on his own. Even if he was technically faster alone. The problem was that if that bastard found out someone was helping him... No. He couldn’t think about that now. The real problem was where this guy was taking him.

“No hospitals!” he hastily ground out. No paper trail. That would be nothing short of a flashing neon sign with his name on it.

The kid came to an abrupt stop, looked back at his frustrated luggage, offered him a curt nod, and then took off again.

...What the hell kind of idiot heard an injured person say “no hospitals” and actually listened?

The kind that hauled bear cubs over their shoulders while dragging strangers down abandoned alleys, apparently. The bear didn’t seem all that bothered by the treatment from what he could see. Somehow, it was like the animal knew everything would work out. He wasn’t so confident though. This kind of person... This kind of crazy, determined, helpful person wouldn’t stand a chance against that bastard. He probably wouldn’t even think twice about facing him head on. Killua absolutely couldn’t let that bastard see that he was getting help. Just because having a guide made the situation better for him didn’t mean it would end well for his good Samaritan.

“Hey, you-”

“We’re here!”

Before he could argue, that kid pulled him down a small, dirty alleyway and right up to a dead end. A dead end. He opened his mouth to curse in frustration, but found a tanned palm shoved against his lips. The kid held a single finger to his own mouth and then turned to the side wall. There, painted the same color as the bricks, was a nondescript door.

The kid quietly leaned in, setting his ear to the door. After a few seconds he pulled back and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Hey, it’s me, Gon! I’ve got another stray! He’s in really bad shape! You have to help him now! If you don’t-”

Thunderous sounds emitted from the other end of the wall, and the door swung open with all the force of a hurricane. Before he could even catch a glimpse of who opened it, Gon was leading him around a pair of spindly legs.

“Hurry! Close the door and lock it! Don’t let anybody else in this way, no matter what they say!”

Killua could only stand dumbly and blink as he allowed his eyes to adjust to the sudden light of the sparsely furnished sitting room in which he now found himself.

That crazy kid, Gon apparently, was arguing with a man in suit pants and a half buttoned shirt. The man’s eyes were narrowed, brows twitching with a vengeance, and his hair had that special brand of lift a person could only obtain after countless hours of running his hand through it out of frustration. His mouth was working like a well oiled machine, pumping aggravated profanities and confused accusations. He swore that mouth was big enough to swallow the kid whole, but Gon wasn’t backing down, didn’t even seem upset as he calmly clued the guy in on what had happened.

“Dammit, Gon. I can’t keep doing this. I’m a doctor! You know, for humans! You keep bringing in all these strays, and my practice will come under suspicion!” the man lamented as he ran his hand frustratedly through his hair. (He so called that one.)

“That’s great news!” Gon countered unfazed before grabbing his stray and pulling him in between himself and the angry doctor. “Because this stray is a human!”

The aforementioned stray laughed nervously, waving as his and the doctor’s eyes met, and he watched the man’s expression morph from irritation to concern. Slowly the man’s gaze dropped to his bloodstained shirt in which his injured arm was still wrapped tightly against his chest. Even with his arm hidden up to the elbow, the offending weapon was still visible, sticking grotesquely out of his joint like he was some living voodoo doll. After seeing that, the man’s demeanor completely changed.

“Gon, get the antiseptic and a pair of scissors. Tie Kon’s leash to the heaviest thing you can find, wash your hands, and then ready the closest clinic room. I’ve got to wash this out. C’mon, kid.”

Holding onto his wrist, the doctor gently led the injured boy into the cleanest restroom he’d ever seen. He shifted uncomfortably at the overwhelming chemical smell, but his latest guide wouldn’t let go. How had that doctor guy gotten so serious so quickly? He hadn’t expected him to be useful at all, but now he actually seemed confident in what he was doing.

“Leorio.”

“Huh?” He snapped out of his musings upon hearing the unfamiliar word.

“You were staring at me, so I thought I should tell you my name. I’m Leorio. I’m a doctor, and this is my clinic, so you’re going to be fine. I promise. Okay?”

He was quiet for a moment before scoffing. “How is that supposed to reassure me, huh? I’ve never heard of you,” he retorted. “You could be the worst doctor in the world for all I- Ow!”

He shut his mouth when Leorio conspicuously bumped his injured arm, but he glared daggers at the man as he turned the knob on the sink and let the water run.

“Obviously it’s not as bad as it looks if you can still talk back like that. Off with the shirt.”

“Not a chance, pervert.”

“Oi, oi,” the man growled, his dark brows twitching once more. “You are the exact opposite of cute. The damn shirt’s ruined anyway. Get rid of it before your arm starts sticking to it.”

“I can just roll up my sleeve,” the reluctant patient insisted before doing just that.

Leorio rushed to stop him, slamming a knee to the tiled floor when he leaned down to reach the boy’s arm. “You’ll have to cut the sleeve open, or else you’ll dislodge the needle!” he hissed. “You could render the whole arm useless if you jostle it around too much!”

“I’d have to do that if I took off the shirt too!” he shot back.

“I know! That’s why I told Gon to get scissors.”

“That’s just annoying! Here, I’ll do it.”

And before the doctor’s disbelieving eyes, Killua yanked the object right out of his elbow.

~*~


“GAAAAAAAAAAH!”

“Hm? Did Leorio stub his toe again?”

The blond chuckled at the thought as he opened the car door to his red Civic. Leorio had always been convinced he was secretly a sadist. Kurapika wondered how he could have ever thought he’d been trying to keep it secret.

Effeminate hands grasped a large, antique lamp, and the young man hauled it carefully out of the passenger seat. He didn’t seem to have any problem with the weight, but the shape of the lamp was awkward and required him to curve his torso into an uncomfortable crescent. If only he’d been gifted a woman’s hips instead of his pretty face. At least that would have been useful right now.

With a sigh, he kicked the car door shut and turned on the alarm. The neighborhood he found himself in was unkind, both to its residents and to its visitors, and he wasn’t willing to risk it. Inheritance may have afforded him some luxuries, but that didn’t mean he was ready to donate another car to the next lucky stranger carrying a pry bar.

He paid little attention to the dirty bricks and cement rubble along his journey as he crossed the street and made his way up the steps to Leorio’s makeshift clinic. The day before, the man had called to let him know he was running low on supplies, and as it turned out some of those supplies weren’t exactly items he could obtain legally. Honestly, the nerve of that guy. Going around and saying he’ll treat people for free and then asking him to supply his business! The idiot should have thought about that before he dropped out of school. No, that wasn’t fair. Kurapika shook the thought out of his head as quickly as it came and allowed himself a heavy sigh. If he had truly been annoyed with the doctor, he wouldn’t have been here. It was with that knowledge that he knocked on the front door and waited for Leorio’s aggravated voice to start ranting about the time of night.

Instead, the door was opened by a grinning Gon Freecss. Kurapika was taken by surprise but only for a moment. The boy looked too content to be there for another sick animal. “Gon, how are you? Did you trick Leorio into helping you with another stray?”

The boy laughed as he accepted Kurapika’s heavy burden and allowed the blond to enter the clinic. “Yup! It sounds like they’re having a lot of fun.”

Indeed, the cacophony coming from the next room was deafening. Kurapika removed his coat and hung it from the designated hooks, moving slowly as he tried to make out individual words and voices. Wait. There was more than one voice. Kurapika turned to his companion with a frown.

“Gon...”

“Yeah,” the boy nodded from behind the lamp. He set it down on the empty table in the center of the waiting room. “That’s my stray. I found him running away from someone. They must have attacked him for some reason. He didn’t say much to me, but he can’t seem to stop talking to Leorio. I’m glad. I was really starting to worry that he wasn’t okay.”

Although the boy was smiling, Kurapika could see he was still worried. There was a clear difference between his usual carefree smile and the tight one he wore now. With a small nod, he patted him on the head. He really was a good kid.

“If Leorio is so energetic, it must mean he knows his patient will be okay, right?”

Gon stared blankly up at him for a few seconds. Then he brought out a real smile.

“Right!”

“LIKE HELL!”

Both of the clinic’s visitors looked up and dodged just in time for the shouting pale blur to dart past, heading for the back door.

“Get back here, you damn kid! I’m not finished!”

Leorio stormed into of the room after his rogue patient. He was still only half dressed, and his open white shirt was now covered in blood. The two combatants were connected by a string of bandages, unfinished wrapping for the young patient’s injured elbow still held tight by the doctor’s gloved hand.

“I told you! I’m not taking off the shirt, you deaf asshole!” Without warning, he pulled a Swiss army knife out of his pocket and sliced the unwanted connection, then pointed it at Leorio who stopped dead in his tracks. His tone was dark, deadly, and even though he wasn’t yelling, he made his unspoken threat crystal clear. “Don’t follow me. You did your job, now leave me alone.”

He bolted out the door, slamming it behind him. Kurapika watched in awe, still overcome by the kid’s age. He hadn’t realized Gon’s new friend was the same age as Gon himself. Who would attack a kid? Not only attack but even hunt down afterward... But... Wasn’t the kid armed as well?

“Gon, don’t-”

Kurapika jerked to the side as Gon barreled past him and followed the mysterious boy into the clinic’s back alley. Leorio only shook his head, letting the useless bandage drop to the floor before plopping wearily into the nearest chair.

“I give up. You can’t force help on someone who doesn’t want it!”

Kurapika took a deep breath and slowly let it out. Then he sat down as well. “Gon will find him, and he won’t let him out of his sight until he’s satisfied with his recovery,” he affirmed. “If either of us followed them, he’d be even less likely to cooperate. That’s why Gon left without saying anything.”

“No kidding,” Leorio chuckled humorlessly, head in his hand.

“But well. Maybe Gon’s way with animals can help in a situation like this too.”

“Why are you here?”

Kurapika wasn’t bothered by the change of subject. He actually understood it. The kid had pointed a knife at them. “Your supplies,” was all the blond said as he pointed to the lamp.

“Same key to open the compartment?”

“As always.”

“Thanks.”

Kurapika nodded, and the two men lapsed into silence for several minutes. The tall brunet hunched over with face hidden, and the smaller blond perched lightly on the sofa on the other side of the lamp. After Leorio had enough time to cool his head, he stood up, and Kurapika silently followed him into the room in which he’d been treating his patient.

“You’re worried about more than just his wound,” the more serious of the two pushed now that he know Leorio was ready.

“This,” the doctor replied while holding up the oversized pin, “is what was lodged in his elbow joint.”

Kurapika procured a pair of gloves for himself before accepting the weapon.

“It’s definitely a projectile. Someone threw it at him. Someone with professional aim,” he continued, leaning against a counter on which still lay a pair of unused scissors and antiseptic. “It was in the perfect position to cause the maximum amount of pain with the minimum amount of damage.”

“You think it was the work of one of the local gangs then,” Kurapika interpreted. Why else would he ask Kurapika to look at it?

“I’m not sure. Kurapika, that thing was sterile.”

Blue-gray eyes widened as they gave the needle a second look. Beneath the boy’s blood, it did appear extraordinarily clean.

“The Ants aren’t that meticulous. They’d leave their weapons dirty on purpose just for added effect. But I can’t think of a single reason that the Spiders would go after a kid like that.”

“You’re right,” Kurapika conceded, closing his eyes and setting the pin back onto its tray. “The Spiders don’t have any reason to attack him. It wasn’t them.”

“A germ-o-phobic Ant?” Leorio mocked.

“It’s possible. The Ants have been in a recruiting frenzy for the last few months. They’re on the verge of a turf war with an established gang, after all.”

“‘They’re mad with power,’ you mean,” came the biting retort.

“That too,” Kurapika nodded. “I would say... it’s likely a third party. A lone professional, not part of an organization.”

“You think someone put out a hit on that kid?” Leorio shot to attention, the very thought making his blood boil.

“You tell me,” the blond returned knowingly, removing his gloves and folding his arms across his chest. “Why did you want him to take off his shirt?”

The would-be doctor flopped back against the counter at that, sighing. He hadn’t been expecting that question. “He moved like something was wrong. He wasn’t out of breath from all the running he’d done, but every muscle in his body was tense. I didn’t pull that thing out of his arm. He did it before I could give him a shot to numb the area. He didn’t even flinch.” His fists clenched as he recalled practically dumping the kid into the sink to get the wound clean afterward, just so that he could make sure the kid hadn’t crippled himself. “When he rolled up his sleeve, I could see a scar. I know there are more.”

“Then he has a history of this. Damn,” his companion cursed softly. He raised two fingers to his temple, massaging vainly. “In that case, we can expect Gon to come back alone.”

“Just help me clean this up,” the older man grumbled. He ran his hand through his hair once more before pushing off of the counter to search for a bottle of cleaner.

Another subject change, Kurapika sighed. There was truly no use worrying when there was nothing they could do now. He might as well help the distraction along with something he’d been meaning to tell Leorio anyway. While wetting a wash cloth, he approached the subject the best way he could think to: bluntly. “There’s an opening for a nurse at Yorkshin High.”

“I am not a nurse.”

“No, but you are broke.”

“Go clean the bathroom!”

Kurapika caught the bottle of cleaner that had been chucked at his face and silently made his way to the clinic’s restroom.

~*~


“Ha! Caught you!”

They were the last words Killua heard before his pursuer body slammed him into the sidewalk.

“Wh-What the hell, man? I told you not to follow me!” he growled into the cement, but Gon refused to move from his spot atop his prey.

“I didn’t feel like listening.”

The boy on the ground was too infuriated for words. He promptly responded by crashing the back of his head into Gon’s unsuspecting nose.

“‘Ey! Whab wassat for?!”

“I didn’t feel like listening!”

And miracle of miracles, that crazy kid laughed. What the hell was wrong with these people?

Gon continued chuckling even as he poked and prodded at his tender nose. Not broken, but it still hurt. It didn’t escape the young predator’s notice that his target’s knife was once again concealed. Headbutts weren’t nearly as persuasive as blades. His grin broadened. In other words, he’d caught himself a good one.

“I’ll get up if you promise to let me finish wrapping your elbow.”

Gritting his teeth, Killua quickly realized that if he didn’t want to be running from yet another asylum candidate all night long, he was going to have to lose this guy for good. He took a deep, steadying breath, wrapped one leg around one of Gon’s, and twisted his body as sharply as he could. Gon yelped as his hooked leg twisted along with his prey. Hastily he rolled off of the other boy before his knee could be forced to bend the wrong way, and his elusive prey pushed himself back to his feet.

Damn. Gon had untangled himself in time to save his leg. That meant he was probably going to keep up the chase. Killua didn’t have time to worry about that though. Who knew where that bastard was lurking by now? He could be watching them wrestle at that very moment. He had to get to a place where he could see his surroundings but no one could see him.

Without a second thought, Killua left his pursuer behind for a running leap at the fire escape ladder on the other side of the street. The metal was cold to the touch, but he paid it no mind, landing like a cat and rushing up rung by rung. He had no doubt the other boy would follow, but he didn’t look back to check his progress. He just had to jump to the next roof after getting to the top. There was no way the other boy could follow him that way. He just had to-

He froze.

Only two rungs from the top, a hand had snaked around his wounded arm. He couldn’t climb with only one hand.

“Dammit, why?” he hissed through gritted teeth without looking down at his pursuer.

“You said no hospitals, and I agreed. That means you’re my responsibility, right?” Gon replied easily.

“Where’d you even learn to track people like that? Were you raised by wolves or something?”

“Nope,” he answered, still sickly sweet. “But I spent a lot of time with all the animals on the island back home. I watched how they did it.”

“Fine, fine. I promise!” Killua grudgingly conceded his defeat. He wanted nothing more than to kick the idiot, but the momentary satisfaction wouldn’t be worth losing his arm. “Just let go so I can get onto the ledge already.”

The two boys finished their climb, and the uncooperative patient kept his promise, much to Gon’s obvious delight. He got to work on the loosened bandage straight away while his charge sat listlessly staring out at the cloud covered sky. Or rather, Gon realized after a moment, the point where the sky met the surrounding roof tops. He was still worried about the person who had been chasing him before.

“Oh!”

“What?” his charge grumbled, pressing his free hand to his ringing ear.

“That’s why you don’t want help! You’re worried we’ll get hurt!”

The boy laughed when Killua sputtered uncontrollably at the accusation. “Th-That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! What are you even talking about?” He reached for Gon’s head with his uninjured arm, administering a noogie while the boy squirmed. “Who the hell would be worried about you idiots, heeeeh?! You can all die for all I care! Then I wouldn’t have to hear you say all these stupid things!”

“St-Stoooop!” Gon protested as he struggled, being sure not to upset the injured arm further. “It’s the truth, isn’t it?! Oh!”

Without warning, the brown-eyed boy shot out of Killua’s grip, startling him enough to actually listen.

“I forgot to introduce myself! I’m Gon Freecss! That’s my apartment building right over there!” he pointed enthusiastically toward a small, two story building with about four apartments on each level. It was a dingy looking place in a poor neighborhood, but Gon seemed excited about it anyway. “What about you?”

He didn’t answer immediately, rather taking another moment to survey Gon’s apartment complex. “Killua. I’m... not from around here.”

“That much was obvious. I’ve never seen you before,” Gon chuckled. He held out his hand. “Nice to meet you, Killua!”

Killua stared at the outstretched hand awkwardly before mumbling, “I don’t have anything to give you.”

The other boy was completely lost for a few moments before he caught on. “No! It’s for a handshake! C’mon, hold out your hand the same way,” he insisted, nodding enthusiastically as Killua did so. He grabbed Killua’s hand with his own and offered an over-exaggerated shake. “Now say, ‘Nice to meet you too!’”

“It hasn’t been nice at all!”

“Just say it!”

“Nice to meet you too, stuuuuuuupid!”

“Hey! I’ll have you know I’m in advanced classes at Yorkshin High!” Gon proclaimed, bringing a hand to his chest to illustrate his grandeur.

“For what, PE?”

And on it went. The two strangers talked as if possessed, forgetting all about the reason they were on that roof in the first place.

“Was that bear really your pet?”

“No, I wish! I’m only watching him until they can set up a place for him in a national park.”

“Ew, your favorite color’s green? Like puke?”

“Says the guy who likes such a girly color.”

“There isn’t even a school on the island where you live? What a cheap place!”

“Haha. Hearing that from you somehow makes me really mad.”

By the end of it, Killua had even stopped bothering with trying to rationalize his behavior. This was what he had run away for, wasn’t it? He just hadn’t realized it until that persistent idiot had taken his hand. His hand. A complete stranger had smiled at him and offered his hand and chased him halfway across the city just because he’d been too stupid to take him to a hospital. He’d held a knife to three people and told them to stay away, and still Gon shook hands with him. Right then, as they talked, it didn’t feel like they could be overcome by that bastard at any moment, he didn’t feel like an outsider, everything seemed so normal. Which, in Killua’s case, was about as abnormal as things could get. If Killua had had a choice, he decided firmly, this would have been it. Just wasting the night away talking about things that didn’t matter. It was... fun.

But even if it felt like everything was normal for once, that didn’t mean it was, and Killua was keenly aware of that fact. Just because he was enjoying himself didn’t mean he wasn’t still alert, scanning the horizon for the first sign of trouble, straining his ears for that bastard’s voice. He knew that he was putting Gon in danger every minute they kept chatting. Gon knew it too. Why he hadn’t yet called it quits was an unfathomable mystery to Killua. Was it the obligation he’d voiced earlier, the fact that he viewed Killua as his responsibility? Did he have some scheme hidden up his sleeve, waiting for the perfect moment to call his friends and capture the demon chitchatting with him? Gon didn’t give away the answer until the sun began peeking over the hazy cityscape.

With an overpowering yawn, the contented boy flopped onto his back, and Killua raised a skeptical brow when his companion began giggling.

“What?”

“I just feel better, is all,” Gon managed between giggles.

“Funny, I thought for sure you were getting worse and worse.”

Before he saw it coming, the collar of his shirt was yanked down, and he was forced to join Gon on his back.

“I’m just happy!” the perpetrator defended himself with a pout, though when Killua turned to him, it morphed back into that excited grin. “I was worried you might be hurt worse than I thought or that you didn’t like me. But you’ve been talking to me just like you were talking to Leorio.”

“I don’t like Leorio,” Killua affirmed dryly.

Once again, Gon just laughed. “But you had fun, right? Me too. Even when we were running away. It was like a chase scene out of a movie!” Gon illustrated with his hands, spreading them out and waving them back and forth above them. He always seemed to be talking with his hands, like he had so much pent up energy that he just had to release it constantly. It was kind of funny, and it also made it really easy to make fun of him.

“It is not fun to watch you flail all over the place like some car lot balloon mascot!”

Unfortunately, this seemed to encourage the other boy, and Gon only flailed harder as the two boys’ conversation devolved into a childish slap fight. How Killua managed to keep up with only one arm, Gon wasn’t sure, but it didn’t deter him in the least. In no time at all, they were back on the ground, breathing heavily but chuckling all the same.

“Killua.”

“Yeah?” he asked after taking a moment to catch his breath.

“Wanna stay at my house?”

Time froze around them.

“Gon.”

“I-I mean, only if you want to. I just figured you could probably use some rest.”

“Gon.”

“And I wanted to show you my dogs and birds.”

“Gon.”

“And I definitely won’t let that person find you agai-”

Killua shoved his hand over Gon’s mouth, and Gon’s eyes widened when he realized it was Killua’s injured arm. He shouldn’t have been moving it like that. What if-

“Gon. It was fun, okay? Thanks.”

The look in those chocolate eyes told him that Gon knew exactly what Killua was going to do, but he didn’t struggle, didn’t protest. Gritting his teeth, Killua bunched his free hand into a fist and slammed it as hard as he could into his companion’s gut. Gon coughed into his hand before dropping. Killua caught him just as the familiar voice wafted through the heavy morning air.

~*~


When Killua finally stepped out into the open, he was alone. That annoying bastard watched silently, expressionlessly, as he marched down the otherwise empty alleyway and stopped short not three meters from his biggest problem.

“I’m willing to come back quietly,” he announced. His voice was stark and serious, as stiff as his posture and as wary as his senses.

The flash of sunlight reflecting off of the large metal pin in between the man’s long fingers did not escape his notice, but he did his best not to let it distract him, keeping his gaze locked on those accusing, cat-like eyes.

“On one condition,” he continued just when the man moved to take a step forward, and those eyes widened the slightest fraction under his scrutiny. “Enroll me at Yorkshin High School before we go. After that, you can do whatever you want. Illumi.”

Silence followed for several agonizing seconds before: “Mother won’t approve.”

“Why do you think I wanna do it?”

Illumi considered this answer very seriously for some time. Then he turned, beckoning his little brother to follow him.

“I don’t see why not as long as you’re willing to accept your punishment.”

“Yeah, yeah. I get it. Be a good boy, get your doggy treat,” Killua mumbled under his breath, jogging to catch up to his now placated brother. He’d have to think of some way to explain his treated elbow later, but for now it seemed that he’d reached safe ground.

He didn’t look back. Illumi might have asked him why if he had.

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