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Out in the sunshine, the world still spins.

There's a father attempting to console his daughter, distraught by a skinned knee. A couple, hovering in front of a shop's window, debating whether they really need that new lamp. A gaggle of teenagers, a few years older than him --but not really-- discussing the merits of a famous actor.

"But seriously now, have you seen his arms?"

(bruised and burnt and ripped apart and sewn up in black thread and weak)

Gon walks past all of them, paying no attention when the girls loudly accuse him of rudeness before returning to their conversation.

It's not right, that all these people are going about their business, unaware of the mockery of Kite that's locked in a dark room in the middle of their town.

Yet here they are, and Gon walks.

His aura crawls under his skin, trapped, filling him with more energy than he knows what to do with. If he could only use his Nen now it would burst right out of him, a beacon of power going all the way to the sky in a brutal declaration of intent.

Because he understood instantly, seeing Kite. Making Pitou relinquish its hold on him won't be enough. The other Royal Guards, the King himself, are just as dangerous and hateful.

What needs to be done now is no longer damage control.

It's assassination.

And he'll carry it out, no question. But after letting Kite down out of selfishness, he won't do the same to Killua by asking for his help. Not for this, when he ran away from home to stop killing.

It's okay, though. Gon never expected to be able to rely on him all the time. The familiarity of having his best friend at his side is comfortable, but it isn't needed.

Gon can, will handle this on his own. He has to.

His eyes focus on something further down the street, and of course it's Killua, waiting, as if summoned by his thoughts.

There's a narrow alley to the left, that'll spill out into another, busier street where his best friend won't be. Gon walks past it, and all the way to the streetlight Killua is leaning against.

He walks past that, too.

"I think they're going to let us go back in with them," Killua says, and falls in step with him.

That doesn't matter, much. Permission or not, accompanied or not, Gon will find Pitou, and release Kite.

But us.

"You too?" he asks, glancing to the side.

Killua frowns, but it's washed away in a moment. "I'm not the one who can't use his Nen," he says. It doesn't answer the question, but with Killua, it's always in what he doesn't say.

He'll come along, then. That's more of a relief than Gon expected. "I'll handle Pitou myself," he promises again. Whatever happens, he won't make his best friend kill for him.

Killua glances at him sideways, then shrugs. "I get it already," he says lightly, looking away. He doesn't say thank you, but then, it's Killua. He never does. "Aren't you supposed to be getting stronger for that?"

"The gym's closed today," Gon answers, senselessly. There are other ways, even if it takes him thousands of push-ups to even break a sweat anymore. He was just--


"So spar with me," Killua offers, shrugging. "Hand to hand, no Nen. The park's right there."

It is, at that. Gon must have been going around in circles to still be so close to their hotel, or maybe he just walked around the world.

"Don't go easy on me," he demands, despite remembering the reality of Killua doing just that, the unbearable force of the blow coming from the one direction he'd known was safe.

"Of course not," Killua lies.