Chapter 1: What X You X Missed
3 missed calls
‘This is serious, pick up the phone!’
1 missed call
‘Have you heard about Gon’s condition?’
‘It doesn’t look good…’
2 missed calls
‘Do you even care?’
1 missed call
‘I guess I shouldn’t have expected much.’
‘I hope you’re okay at least.’
‘I will still let you know how he’s doing.’
Kurapika had heard about Gon’s condition from Melody already, but even so he couldn’t bring himself to visit the boy. He couldn’t bring himself to reply to Leorio either.
It had been so long.
All he had to show for it was a shortened life and an empty promise. He was only able to take down one of the troupe members, while their leader walked free. Weakened but still free.
The cost was too great at the time.
He had retrieved half of his clan’s eyes but their souls couldn’t rest. Not until he kept his promise. Now Kurapika was starting to realize he might never be able to fulfill it.
He was ashamed. Ashamed of the life he chose. Ashamed of the failures. Ashamed of abandoning his only friends.
There was no way he could face Gon and Killua, let alone Leorio…
Melody still kept in contact with him, and it was easy to talk to her. She understood the life he led because she was on a similar path. Surrounding herself with demons to reach a goal. They had bonded over the sentiment many times.
Apparently she had also been keeping in contact with Leorio. Even going as far to see him in person to get together. She had gone with the doctor to check on Gon, something Kurapika couldn’t bring himself to do.
How could he let Leorio see him like this? So cold and unfeeling now. The mafia life had made him numb to a lot of things, and any feeling left over was taken out by his own self annihilation.
Kurapika was not the same person Leorio first met. He would be a disappointment.
-one week later-
2 missed calls
‘I guess I should give up calling right?’
“Anyways Killua says he has a plan. I trust him.’
‘I mean if anyone knows whats going to help Gon its Killua.’
1 missed call
‘That was a long shot I know.’
Kurapika found himself smiling as he read the messages. He tried to push it down, but even in this small form of communication he felt a wave of nostalgia.
After rereading all of Leorio’s texts he found himself wondering if he could go back. Just apologize for being absent and ask for everything to go back to the way it was…
The problem was ‘it’ was never anything. There was nothing to go back to… what was he even remembering?
The hunter exam? The Auction?
What a ridiculous notion.
-four days later-
3 missed calls
‘I know what you’re thinking.’
‘Why does he bother?’
‘Thought you should know Killua’s bringing his little sister to help.’
‘Didn’t even know he had a sister.’
Kurapika couldn’t say he heard of her either. How could a little girl help Gon? Did she have some kind of healing nen ability?
He wanted to ask, even thought about sending a message but.. After five minutes he was still staring back at the phone.
‘Also don’t know if you watch the news but… well I’m a pretty big deal right now.’
‘I doubt you’re going to show, but please DON’T vote for me if you do.’
“Vote for you?” Kurapika said out loud to himself.
It had been probably a month since he had looked into the hunter website or checked up on the news. He had been out of the country for a short while so there was no reason to.
He went online to see if there would be any answers on the hunter website. Sure enough the video of Leorio punching some man was front in center. The crowd around him seemed to be cheering him on however…
After further research he discovered the man he punched was actually Gon’s father who was also a member on the zodiac. Not only that but there were multiple campaigns going on to replace their deceased chairman.
Leorio was one of the top choices…
To say he was dumbfounded was an understatement. Kurapika had heard of Netero’s passing of course, but wasn’t interested in the outcome. At the time he had prior engagements.
Now however he was on the edge of his seat. Leorio Paladiknight… the next chairman on the hunter association? There was no way.
Just because he had punched a man. Well… Ging Freecss.
It seemed from the interviews and messages he sent that Leorio was not interested in the position of chairman. Too bad that wasn’t up to him when it came to the hunter association.
Last time they had seen each other in person during the York New auction, Leorio didn’t have any special abilities. He really only managed to have half of the basics of nen down.
In the video it looked like he had finally mastered something along the lines of a nen portal which was an interesting choice. Kurapika wondered what purpose he had for harnessing his nen in such a way. It would definitely come in handy during a fight.
Another hour of research into Leorio’s life went by and he finally shut his laptop. Kurapika felt like he was starting to pry.
After staring at his face for so long he was starting to realize how much he really did miss the doctor. Still there was no way Kurapika could bring himself to see the man right now. Plus he was busy handling all of this chairman business.
But then there was Gon.
He should really visit Gon, or at least what was left of Gon. If he did that though, he ran the risk of bumping into Leorio.
That fear in itself kept him away.
-one week later-
‘God I’m so over this whole thing.’
‘Apparently if I do somehow get voted in I won’t be able to practice medicine for a while.’
‘I don’t want this.’
‘But now I feel selfish even complaining.’
‘I mean Gon is still basically a corpse.’
‘Killua’s being chased by his psychotic brother to get here with Alluka.’
‘And who knows what hell you’re going through.’
It was five in the morning when he got those messages. Leorio must be up for some class or just not able to sleep.
Kurapika blinked himself awake and reread the bright screen. He was curled up in some hotel room bed cocooned in blankets and comforters. Ironically he had been having an actual restful sleep for once until his phone woke him up.
Even so he didn’t mind if it was Leorio messaging him. He was grateful for this new method of communication between them. It was nice getting updates about how things were going… or how Leorio was feeling.
That thought in his current state made him ache in a different way altogether and he had to push those thoughts to the back of his mind.
‘I miss you.’
That one sentiment had him throwing his phone against the wall in frustration. Of course he would send him that when Kurapika was having those kinds of thoughts.
‘I know telling you this is probably a mistake but..’
‘You’re read receipts are on. So I knowing you’ve been getting these.’
‘I would have figured someone working in the mafia would know how to work a smart phone.’
He almost broke his phone after reading those last three messages.
‘Ha see I just saw that you read those!’
“Well fuck me.”
-two weeks later-
2 missed calls
‘I’m sure you already know this, but I thought I’d tell you anyways.’
‘I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved in my entire life.’
‘It’s like nothing changed, he’s back to normal! Just like the first day on the boat!’
‘Wow now that was forever ago.’
‘Remember when we almost killed each other during that crazy storm?’
‘Killua was asking about you before they left.’
‘If you answer his calls and not mine I’m gonna be so pissed!’
‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be together again?’
He still read the messages Leorio sent, not bothering to turn off the read notifications. At least this way he could still talk to him.
After that last message Kurapika wondered if that would be such a good thing.
Wouldn’t it be great if they could all be together again... There was no way that was possible. He wasn’t the same person anymore. Could they really be together if he was completely different from when they all met?
Their rejection scared him more than it should. Kurapika liked to keep his good memories the way they were. If something horrible happened between them he wouldn’t have those memories to hang onto anymore.
But was this any better? He was still so heartbroken when he thought of Leorio, Gon and Killua. He never went to check on Gon, would they forgive him?
‘Even though Gon’s alive… I don’t know.’
‘I’m still so sad.’
‘I guess it’s pretty depressing talking to a brick wall. Even if it’s still reading everything I send.’
A pang of guilt hit him in the chest. Kurapika knew he should at least send him some kind of comforting message. If he did, would that just open the flood gates? Or would Leorio still not expect anything from him?
He knew why Leorio was sad, it was the same reason he was too. In a way it was his fault that they were both in this state.
His greatest fears had already come true. Kurapika’s rage had faded a while ago, and now everything was just numb obligation. It broke him up inside.
Questions constantly filled his mind as he tried to fall asleep at night. Did he fail his people? Did he fail his friends? His family? What was he even doing anymore?
Those thoughts left him shaking some nights. It was the only time he actually felt anything anymore. Or at least it used to be until Leorio started messaging him again.
Did he know how much that meant to him?
Probably not. How could he when all Kurapika had given him was radio silence for the past year. Even now at their most vulnerable he couldn’t bring himself to say anything back.
He didn’t deserve them. He didn’t deserve Leorio.
‘At least you’re not sick of me yet.’
‘I assume since you always read these right away.’’
‘I’m glad you at least talk to Melody every blue moon, so I know you’re not in any real trouble.’
‘Man she’s so lucky.’
‘She told me you guys saw each other last month?’
‘I was so jealous.’
‘You really eat me up inside.’
“The feeling’s mutual.”
-one month later-
3 missed calls
‘Hey IDIOT!’ -KZ
‘My sister and I are in town. I want to meet up.’
‘I hear you’re not talking to Leorio?’
‘Too busy kissing ass in the mob?’
‘Not buying it! So stop feeling sorry for yourself and pick up the phone.’
‘OR I can find you and chop your hands off so you don’t have to worry about getting back to anyone.’
‘ANSWER ME YOU JERK!’
The messages came in like a flood after those three calls. Kurapika was left in awe at the amount of threats and curses Killua sent his way.
None of them seemed to be real. Just an attempt to get him to pick up the phone. At first he didn’t know who was calling him so he didn’t answer, but it was obvious from the first text.
Meeting up with Killua would be completely different than meet up with Leorio. He might actually be able to handle it…
Would Killua bring Leorio with him to catch him off guard? It was a possibility. He started to wonder how that might go if Leorio did show up.
It was a thought he had often these days. He felt like he was constantly fantasizing about what it would be like if he ever saw Leorio in person again. Playing a thousand scenarios of what would happen in his mind.
Sometimes those thoughts took an interesting turn…
And then he was back to feeling guilty and frustrated all over again.
‘If you can find me.’ -K
Not even a second later he got a response.
‘I’m not Gon.’
‘And you’re NOT my dad.’
‘How about this.’
‘If we find you, then you have to see all of us.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean. We all go to whale island together and see Gon.’
‘You, me, Alluka, Melody AND Leorio.’
Excitement was bubbling up in his chest. There was no way he could turn down such an offer. Memories of the hunter exam started to flood his mind.
‘It’s a deal.’
Chapter 2: How X We X Feel
It had been about three months since Killua got that challenge from Kurapika, and there was still no sign of the man. He had been researching locations and talking to Kurapika’s old colleagues to get some idea of what his next steps would be, but everything led to a dead end.
At least Alluka didn’t seem to mind. She thought it was a fun adventure, and Killua had to agree with her to an extent. It was fun traveling all over the country together on a seemingly endless scavenger hunter. Maybe bounty hunt was more like it…?
It had been her idea to get everyone together at whale island when they found Kurapika. That thought alone, of seeing Gon again, kept him going. He wished they could have stayed together longer, but their paths had switched.
Killua had found something he wanted to do with his life, and Gon had already met his goal. He hoped that the loss of his nen wasn’t keeping him too down.
While looking for Kurapika he was also trying to find someone who could restore Gon’s nen. After asking Alluka and Nanika to heal his best friend, he wouldn’t ask her to do anymore. She had already done so much for the both of them, and now it was his job to protect her and give her the life she deserved.
They were currently staying in a hotel back in York New city at the moment. He had come back to meet up with Leorio again and tell him about this search for Kurapika.
It seemed like the kind of thing to talk about in person, since Kurapika was such a sensitive subject for the doctor. Killua knew what that was like, and felt he could relate to the man.
It was never easy when the people you loved shoulder all of the burden and abandon you. He knew what it was like to have your heart broken by someone you held above everyone else.
“You think we’ll have time to shop before meeting with Leorio?” Alluka asked, breaking him from his thoughts.
Killua looked over at the girl curiously, she was drawing something at the desk, her back turned away from him.
“Probably not, we’re meeting in thirty minutes. Why?”
She nodded, “I just wanted to bring Leorio a gift. He’s important and you said this might upset him right?”
“Yea, but he’s a tough guy, he’ll be fine.”
Alluka didn’t seem to agree, “Can you ask Nanika? She’ll know exactly what he wants!”
“Alright then,” he agreed.
She put down her pencil and started to put her stuff away. Killua could only assume she was preparing her requests. The conditions shouldn’t be high at this point because Killua already fulfilled her requests after they healed Gon and then asked her for something small.
“Turn the lights on and off,” she said suddenly.
It was just how he had predicted, the requests were small.
Once the lights flickered she gave her second command, “Bring me a glass of water.”
He wasted no time filling a glass under their kitchen faucet. When the glass was in her hand she gave him a sly smile and his stomach dropped.
It seemed she had lured him into a false sense of security with these small demands. Killua could only assume this last one had something to do with a certain whale island boy.
“Let’s take a picture together and send it to Gon!”
Okay it could be worse.
He pulled out his phone positioned it so the natural light from the window was highlighting them. If he was going to send a selfie to Gon it was going to be a good one.
The picture was sent finishing off the third and final request.
Before he had a chance to catch his breath, Nanika was there. Her hollow eyes stared back at him, but there was a happiness to her demeanor.
He took another picture of them the same as before, and sent that one to Gon too. Nanika seemed to blush at the action, her face scrunching up to hide a smile.
“Did Alluka tell you what she wanted already?” he asked.
Nanika shook her head, uttering a single, “No.”
“That’s okay I can ask for her,” he paused, “...but while you’re here is there anything you want to do?”
Her hollowed eyes blinked in response. It suddenly hit him that Nanika was probably not used to being asked was she wanted. Killua always tried to include her, but realized once the wish was made then she left.
“Um….” she murmured, looking thoughtful.
He checked his watch, to see how much longer they had until they were supposed to see Leorio. Only fifteen minutes till…
“How would you like to meet one of my friends?”
She lit up at the idea immediately.
‘Got us a table at the cafe I sent you.’
‘See you soon!’
Killua could see the tall man already seated at a table inside. His briefcase opened and pushed to the side, papers scattering the table. It looked like he was working on something, maybe for a class.
He turned to Nanika, noticing her shy away from the window.
“Are you ready?”
She nodded, clutching his arm in response.
Killua reached down to hold her hand instead, and pushed the door to the cafe open. The strong smell of coffee and baked goods hit them like a train, and he suddenly realized it had been a little while since either of them had eaten anything.
Ignoring the hostess and staff, he brushed passed them towards the doctor’s table. The last thing he wanted was to be confronted by strangers when Nanika was already feeling shy.
“Hey old man!” Killua shouted.
Leorio looked up, his eyes squinting at them, “What’d ya say brat?”
Waving a hand he pushed Nanika forward, “This is my sister Nanika, she wanted to say hi before Alluka came out.”
The doctor bent down to her level, giving her a warm smile, “Nanika, it’s so nice to meet you.”
The girl just nodded, lowering her head into her scarf.
“I never got to thank you for saving Gon, that meant the world to me.”
“Oh!” she squeaked, shocked by the comment.
Nanika tugged on Killua’s sleeve to get his attention, “Ask me!”
The older brother whispered something into her ear, confusing Leorio. He wasn’t expecting this kind of response, not sure what was going on.
Before his very eyes the shy girls demeanor seemed to change completely. The last thing he her say was just a simple, “Kay.”
A flash of light and suddenly there was Alluka, and Nanika was nowhere to be seen. Leorio didn’t really know the logistics of their powers but it seemed like the two of them could only be out one at a time.
There was a box being shoved into his hand before he had a chance to register what exactly happened. Killua was already seated in the booth looking at a menu, while Alluka stood smiling.
“I don’t know what it is!” she exclaimed, “Killua just asked Nanika to give you something you would like since I didn’t know.”
Leorio blinked, looking over at Killua, “That’s okay right?”
He knew there were certain conditions to Alluka and Nanika’s powers but he wasn’t sure what they were. Was it really alright for her to just give him a gift out of thin air?
“Of course,” Killua assured him, “Nanika likes to grant wishes, and I’m okay with it as long as their small.”
“I see… Well thank you, you really didn’t have to do that for me, Alluka.”
She just laughed, scooting into the booth next to her brother, “Don’t thank me yet, I don’t even know what we got you.”
To end the suspense Leorio finally opened the box. Inside was a picture of the five of them from the last time they were all together before the boys took off for the greed island auction. (note: Gon, Killua, Leorio, Kurapika, and Melody)
He had lost this photo in the move to his last apartment, and was devastated. He still had the other photo from the hunter exam but that was so long ago.
Now that long lost memory was sitting in his hands, and he felt overcome with emotion. It was probably the best gift anyone could have gotten him at this time in his life.
“Wow this is amazing, I thought this was gone forever!”
He handed Killua the frame to examine. His face softened at the image, turning it to show Alluka.
“This was the last time we all saw Kurapika you know,” he explained to the girl, “And that’s Melody, she’s one of his friends we met during the auction.”
Her eyes scanned the photo, “Kurapika looks like a prince from a fairytale!”
Killua just laughed at her comment, but Leorio had to agree with the girl.
After that a waitress came to take their orders, and they fell into a casual conversation. Leorio asking about what they’re up to, and Killua wanting to know how medical school was going.
Once their food arrived, Killua figured it was time to bring up the more serious topic of why they were all gathered together that morning.
“So there’s a reason I asked to meet up today…” Killua trailed, not knowing how to bring it up.
Leorio just let out a laugh, “I figured there was more to it.”
“I finally got a response out of Kurapika.”
The doctor’s head snapped up so quick that Killua thought he might have broke his neck. His eyes were wide, and he nodded for the other to go on.
He was surprised, he thought for sure Leorio would be shouting or making some kind of scene at the revelation. Yet instead the man was quiet, almost in shock.
“It could have gone better, but I think I have him cornered in a sense… the thing is we have to find him.”
“Is he in trouble?”
Killua shook his head, assuring the man, “He’s fine, at least we think he’s fine. As fine as Kurapika can really be anyways…
No it’s a little different. He said if we can find him then he’ll come with us to whale island to visit Gon. All of us, me, you, Alluka, and Melody included.”
“Are you serious? He agreed to that?” Leorio asked, dead serious.
“Yep, see for yourself,” Killua handed him his phone so he could read their texts.
The man scanned the messages for what seemed like eternity, screenshotting them and texting the images to himself. Killua would have done the same thing if the tables had been turned.
Finally Leorio let out another breathless laugh, “I can’t believe he said yes… God can you imagine all of us on that little fisher port… sounds like paradise to me.”
Alluka giggled at his response, but Killua nudged her with his elbow.
“I forgot you’ve been there before.”
“Yep, just for a day. I’ve never seen where Gon lives or met his family,” Leorio concluded.
Killua sighed, “I did, it was pretty great. His family… they’re nice. I want Alluka to meet them, it would be good for her. I know it was for me.”
The two of them sat in silence for a moment, reminiscing in their own little world, until Alluka called them out.
“You two sound like such love sick fools,” she commented, causing Leorio to sputter something nonsensical.
Killua wasn’t nearly as shaken, “So what! Maybe one day you’ll meet someone who drives you crazy too!”
“I sure hope not!”
2 missed calls.
‘Yea yea I know.’
‘Just thought I would let you know I had a very interesting breakfast today…’
Kurapika blinked, rereading the text.
An interested breakfast? What the hell was he talking about… a date?
“A text from Leorio?” came Melody’s sweet voice.
He glanced up at her knowing face, “How did you know?”
“You’re heartbeat sped up like it did during… well the auction. Dead give away.”
Kurapika scoffed, clicking his phone to silence. He knew it was fruitless to attempt to lie about this. Melody was probably one of the most perceptive people he knew.
She had convinced him to meet her after he got done with a job. Ever since Neon’s fortune telling had been taken away, he was on the hunt for a nen master to get the girl her powers back. Light Nostrade’s name was still high standing, because no one knew about this little crisis.
It was only a matter of time until the other families would start to catch onto the false fortunes.
In the meantime they had another fortune teller doing Neon’s job while they searched for someone who could help her with her nen.
Kurapika knew this search was pointless, but at least he was still getting paid and had resources to look for his clan’s eyes. Another pointless mission these days…
He just got back into the country again, and Melody wanted to catch up. So he decided to meet her at coffee house by the library she had been searching through in the city. Ever so persistent to reach her goal.
She wasn’t a bodyguard for the Nostrades anymore, but she was still in the Mafia scene. Sometimes she even had some good leads for him about any eyes that had surfaced on the market.
His phone vibrated again, and there was a pause between them again.
“Go ahead, see what he said,” Melody replied, no malice or teasing in her voice.
‘Killua told me about your little arrangement.’
‘You really piss me off.’
Kurapika’s heart dropped. He hadn’t planned on Killua letting Leorio in our their little hide and seek match, but he should have. Now the man was actually mad at him…
‘You obviously want to see us.’
‘So why are you turning it into this ridiculous trial’
‘‘It doesn’t have to be this hard you idiot!’
‘Just pick up the damn phone and call one of us.’
‘I don’t care if it’s not me.’
Kurapika swallowed the lump in his throat, trying to appear unbothered. He knew Melody could tell how he was feeling, but he couldn’t bare to let it show on his face.
“What’s wrong? What did he say?” she asked, concern riddling her face.
He sighed, “He knows…”
“Knows about Killua?”
Kurapika just nodded in response.
He had told Melody about this weird arrangement between him and Killua since she would be involved if the boy found him. Melody thought was a childish idea, but didn’t press him about it.
She gave his hand a reassuring squeeze, “I’m guessing Leorio didn’t take too kindly to the idea by the looks of it.”
Kurapika was grateful for her presence in his life, he’d surely go insane without it. There were days when he felt himself losing it, and he called her asking if she’d play him something… anything to take the thoughts away.
She always did.
“I’m such a coward,” he croaked out.
Melody shook her head, “No. It’s hard… It’s hard to let someone in, especially if they are dear to you.”
“I’m not the same person they knew during the exam….”
“They know that,” she scoffed, “I’m sure they’re not the same either. Everyone grows and changes. I can tell you for a fact even Leorio is a different person.”
He held back from cringing at the sound of his name, but the eye twitch was noticed by the both of them. There was some truth to what she said, but the difference was the others changed for the better.
Kurapika had only gotten worse.
Would they really want to associate with who he was now? Obsessed with a never ending goal, distant and guarded? Had he always been this way?
‘Sorry for blowing up.’
‘I just miss you so much.’
Chapter 3: Running X In X Circles
‘ You should talk to Melody. I know she sees Kurapika pretty often so maybe she can give a clue.’- LP
[contact: senritsu. M]
‘Thanks I will let you know if she tells me anything.’ -KZ
‘Gon know about this?’
‘Not yet, I’ve been debating on making it a surprise?’
‘You sound confident you’re going to find him.’
‘Someone has to be’
Surprisingly Melody agreed to meet with them. Killua was sure she would object because the woman seemed to be on Kurapika’s side of things. However maybe she just had his best interest at heart too.
There was no telling how much information she would tell them, but it was better than nothing. Since she was involved with this deal maybe she would come around.
Despite the odd circumstances, Killua was excited to meet up with Melody and introduce her to Alluka and Nanika. During the York New auction fiasco they had become fast friends. Her soft demeanor comforted him, and to say he had been flustered by her in the past was an understatement.
To be fair he knew little about the woman as a whole. She was Kurapika’s friend really, and Leorio’s now too. The doctor often spoke highly about her, so he was glad she would be included in this adventure.
“I’ve never seen a library so big before!” Alluka exclaimed when they got to the meeting place.
The location Melody had sent was to a library in a few city’s over from York New. She had briefly told him she was searching for some important music, and thought there might be some leads in the restricted hunters section.
He was interested to see what other kind of information was behind the hunters section just out of pure curiosity. Maybe she wouldn’t mind if they stayed a little longer than planned..
‘We’re here.’ -KZ
‘I’m on the fourth floor, have your license ready.’ -M
“Hmm… I wonder if they’ll let you behind the restricted area,” Killua wondered aloud, he turned towards his sister, “Well we can always pull the ‘zoldyck’ card if we need too.”
She stuck her tongue out at the thought.
“When we settle down I wanna train too you know!”
Killua blinked, this was the first he was hearing about this.
“To be a hunter…?”
Alluka nodded, determined to convince him of her resolve.
He laughed, “What brought this on?”
“I want to be strong too! You and Nanika do everything for me right now… I don’t want it to always be like that.” she explained, looking away from him.
Pride and fear swirled around in his stomach. He knew she’d want to do something with her life, but he wasn’t expecting her to figure it out so soon.. Or want to become a hunter for that matter.
At least he was there to train her. Biscuit and Wing would probably help him too if that was the case… These thoughts were probably better left to think about another time.
Killua pulled his sister into a side hug.
“You could be the strongest person person in the world and I’d still try to take care of you.
You can’t shake me that easily!”
Sure enough the ‘zoldyck card’ worked, and with a few threats and name drops the two of them were in the hunters only section of the library. Alluka didn't seemed phased by his rather aggressive behavior in getting them in, which was a relief to him.
They found Melody at a table stacked with music books and old texts. Some of them looked down right demonic, and were a complete contrast to the woman’s seemingly kindhearted nature.
Then again her and Kurapika met in the underground Mafia so she must have some skeletons in her closet as well.
She heard them immediately and waved the two of them over to where she was working.
Killua glanced at what she was writing to see he didn’t understand the language. Just like Kurapika, there was a lot more than meets the eye with Melody.
“Hello again,” she greeted in the same sweet voice he remembered, “You must be Alluka?”
The younger girl nodded, pleased by the recognition.
“What are you working on?” she asked, completely disregarding the occult nature of the books and writing.
Melody seemed surprised that she was interested in her work. She looked down, and started to organize some of the papers in front of her.
“Well you see I’m looking for an ancient piece. I have only heard it played, but I’m looking for the original composition--”
“--Wait like music?” Alluka interrupted, confused by the idea.
Melody smiled, “Yes, I am a music hunter after all.”
The girl turned to Killua, eyes wide, “A music hunter? What other kind of hunters are there?”
“All kinds,” he shrugged, “You can hunt whatever you want.”
“What kind of hunter are you?”
Killua fixed Melody with a look, “As of now I’m a Kurapika hunter. Speaking of, do you have anything we can use to find him?”
The woman was not intimidated by him the way most were. She simply nodded, and got out a small planner, turning to a bookmarked page.
“Always one to get to the point,” she commented, “When you told me you wanted information I went through the last six months of conversation I’ve had with Kurapika.
To be fair it didn’t take me long. Rarely can you get the man to engage in a full conversation. Regardless I have made a record and a copy of our texts. Along with notes about anything of importance I remembered about or verbal conversations and meetups.”
Killua was surprised to say the least. He thought it would be like pulling teeth to get anything of value from her. He had just assumed Melody would be reserved on helping him since it meant betraying a friend.
Then again was it actually betrayal if it meant the well being of someone you care about?
To her word she had copies of everything ready for them in a folder. He thanked her profusely for the useful information, they might actually have a fighting chance now. It felt like they had been chasing dead ends for the past few months.
“Do you know who else might have something on Kurapika’s whereabouts?” Alluka spoke up, “You used to work together right? There must be others who know something.”
Melody was thoughtful for a minute. It seemed like she really did want them to find Kurapika. While that was helpful, it left Killua feeling distraught. She was the only one to really see Kurapika and know how he was doing…
If she was worried, then he didn’t want to waste anymore time.
“All I can give you is the name of the family he works for, Nostrade. I wish I could do more, but everyone we worked with is either dead, or outside the country. I’m the only one who he still keeps in contact with.”
Killua hummed, “Do you think we could go see your old boss without much trouble?”
“I’m afraid not, security is high, and they probably wouldn’t give you any information. However I know Kurapika has to report to them eventually. If you scout the areas around the mansion maybe you’ll have more luck?
I hope you can find him Killua…” Melody said, her tone suddenly solemn, “He’s in a dark place whether he knows it or not. I think all of us visiting Gon together is just what he needs…”
“I hope so too…”
'Killua came to see me today.' -M
'I see…' - K
'He seems pretty determined to find you.'
'What did you tell him?'
'Just where you’ve been. I figured that was fair, especially since even I have no idea where you are now.'
'How is he?'
'He seems to be doing really well now that his sister is with him. I can tell he misses Gon though.'
'Why doesn’t he just visit him then?'
'Oh well.. Didn’t he tell you?'
'Tell me what?'
'He’s not going to see Gon until he finds you. I thought that was part of the deal…?'
'Well he told me the next time he sees Gon we’re all going to be together. Apparently he’s keeping this whole thing a secret from Gon also, to surprise him.'
'Of course he is.'
'Don’t you think it would nice though? To surprise Gon after all he’s been through.'
'I bet that would make it up to him.'
'You make a fair point.'
'But a deals a deal. Killua’s going to have to find me if he wants that fantasy to come true.'
'Well I gave it my best shot.'
'We’re you trying to… guilt me?'
'I’m usually pretty good at it, but you’re one tough cookie to crack.'
'Still I’m not too worried. I have a feeling you’ll come around on your own.'
'You put too much faith in me.'
Kurapika sighed, rereading their texts. Melody always knew how to get under his skin. It was good move on Killua’s part to contact her for information. Knowing Melody, she probably gave him as much as she could.
If Kurapika had been thinking on his toes he should have been more careful about what he told her before he took off again. Ironically enough he’d be extremely easy to find right now. He had reported back to the Nostrade mansion for a word with Light.
Thankfully he didn’t disclose that to Melody, but Killua was a smart boy. He’d put two and two together if she mentioned he just got back into the country. Kurapika would have to be meticulous about his actions for the next week if he wanted to stay undiscovered.
Did he want that though….
Even though Melody had been playing him, her words were true. She made some very persuasive points during their conversation. Especially about making it up to Gon. He still felt so guilty about never checking in on him during his stay at the hospital.
He was worried it would break him at the time. To see Gon in such a state, and come face to face with Leorio.. It would have been too much.
Since then time had passed and Gon was okay now. Killua saved his sister, and Leorio was back at it with medical school. It should be easy to face them now. A part of himself longed to see their faces again.
Yet another part told him he didn’t deserve to.
Maybe that’s why he was okay with this whole deal with Killua. It would feel like he had no choice, and had to see them. He wouldn’t have to make the decision to let himself be happy. They could just… do it for him.
He knew it was selfish and manipulative…
‘Are you still a bodyguard for that brat?’- LP
Kurapika forgot how to breath for a second.
‘I only ask because a buddy of mine said she’s turned into a sham.’
How the hell does he know that? Who are his friends… people in the mafia?
‘It just occurred to me that you probably are.’
‘I mean it’s easy to take advantage of horrible people when they’re desperate.’
Where was any of this coming from? Was Leorio trying to get a response out of him or was it something else?
It was clear he was trying to help Killua find him, but maybe Kurapika underestimated the man’s intelligence. Then again he was smart enough to be doing well in medical school, and he knew Leorio had some ties to the underground too.
Of course he’d find out about Neon’s nen ability being taken, or at least that the fortunes were fake. To be honest that might have been why he stayed with the Nostrade family. Leorio was right when he said it was easy to take advantage of desperate demons.
He was only worried he was starting to become one himself.
Misery loves company afterall.
‘I’m sure it’s not too hard to figure out where the Nostrades live with a hunters resources. It is only the Mafia after all.’
‘And Melody did mention you just got back into country so…’
Did his worst fears really come true in a manner of seconds after thinking them? When did Leorio get this smart?
It was starting to mess with his head a little too much. Melody may have been right when she said Leorio wasn’t the same person either…
‘You better start running.’
Chapter 4: You X Deserve X Happiness
It was another hot day on whale island to no one’s surprise. However the arrival of a certain reincarnation was more than a shock to Gon’s systems.
The morning was normal at first. He got ready, climbed onto the roof of the house to watch the sunrise, and then was back down by breakfast. This time though there was an extra person at the table.
Kite was just sitting with a cup coffee, talking to Mito as if this was the most natural thing in the world. Gon thought he was seeing things, there was no way they came to visit him right? Wasn’t Kite going off with Ging again?
Finally choosing to acknowledge his presence, Kite grinned in his direction.
Gon blinked himself awake again and plopped down next to them.
“Morning…. Kite what are you doing here?”
Mito laughed and set a plate of eggs in front of him, “They’re here to see you of course!”
“Really? But what about Ging and--”
“I tried to get him to come too, but you know how stubborn that guy is,” Kite interrupted, “Said he was too scared of Mito..”
The woman in question scoffed, ringing a rag over the sink a little too aggressively. Gon shuddered in response, knowing Ging would probably be worse off still.
“But I decided to come without him,” they laughed, “I wanted to see you before we took off, I would have wrote to you, but it was so last minute.”
Gon bounced in his seat, “That’s great! You can finally meet Kon again!”
The boy didn’t give them anymore clues, instead focused on scarfing down the rest of his breakfast. Apparently there was a very strict clean plate rule in this house.
After breakfast Gon took them into the forest, almost nearing the place they first met when he was just a child. They moved east of that direction however and towards a good sized lake on the outskirts of the forest.
He took off his backpack and retrieved something wrapped in cloth. When opened it was revealed to be some kind of meat, fresh by the looks of it.
“Alright, food’s on!” Gon yelled into the vast trees and foliage.
He turned to Kite, “Now I don’t want you to panic and do something rash. Kon and I are friends!”
Before they knew what was happening, a giant Foxbear was making his way out of the forest. This one was even bigger than the one that attacked Gon all those years ago.
Kon, Kite assumed, took the meat layed out graciously and devoured it in one bite. The foxbear then nuzzled up against the boy, before giving Kite a skeptical look.
“This is that foxbear cub isn’t it?” they asked, dumbfounded at the realization.
“Yep! I raised him myself, like I said I would.”
They let out a breath, “Wow I have to admit I’m impressed…”
And they really were. It should have been impossible for any normal person to replace the mother of a foxbear. Gon was just so intuned with his animal instinct and the forest itself that it probably came easily to him.
This was just another testament to how amazing Gon was even on his own.
Ging is really missing out…
While Kite was a little lost in thought, absently petting the now approachable foxbear, Gon had climbed up a tree to get something. They snapped out of it when the boy was waving a second fishing pole in their face.
“I always keep an extra for when Killua visits…” there was a sadness at the edge of Gon’s words.
Before they could comment, he was already baiting his line and trying to find a good spot to sit. Kite mirrored the motions, and sat next to him when he finally settled on a spot.
There was a comfortable silence between them for a least twenty minutes. It was the longest they had ever seen Gon so quiet and still. They were in awe of how someone with so much energy regardless of nen could also be so tranquil and content in nature.
Gon truly had a gift. There was no doubt he’d be able to regain his nen, and when he did Kite would be there where Ging wasn’t. It was the least they could do for the boy who fought so hard to save their life.
The sad nature of Gon’s words sting rang in their ears though. Why would the thought of Killua visiting make him sad.. Or was it the fear that he wouldn’t?
Kite could understand that feeling all too well.
“Do you miss him?”
Gon continued to stare out into the water in front of him, “Of course I do.”
Kite just nodded, not knowing how else to pry.
“I feel horrible… even though I apologized about what happened… it’s not enough,” he continued, “So I don’t bother him and just hope he visits and hope I can figure out a way to make it up to him eventually….”
They sighed, maybe Gon was just a better Ging…
That sentiment had been one Kite had wanted out of the older man, but it never came. If it was ever there, he wouldn’t show it.
“I don’t think you have to worry too much…Killua did everything he could to bring you back, obviously you’re forgiven.
If anything think of your time here as a penance. It seems like he finally knows what he’s doing with his life, and now you’re the one who’s lost.”
Out of nowhere Gon laughed, but there was an inkling of redness behind the eyes. It seemed like Kite’s words hit hard to the boy’s heart.
“It’s selfish… but I sometimes wish they’d all come.
That we could all be together again.”
It was seven in the morning when Killua was awoken to a text from the phone by his ear. He always had it turned up incase someone had any information for him about Kurapika’s whereabouts.
This morning it was a message from Gon, which was just as good if not better. The text was a picture of Gon and Kite somewhere on the island.
Looks like you beat me to it, Kite.
He stared at the picture of them for too long. They both looked happy but there was something off… Something was off about Gon.
‘You run into something poisonous? Your face is all red!’ -KZ
‘Big talk from someone whos red in the face half the time!’ - GF
‘Then you should visit so you can get some sun.’
‘You say that everytime :( ‘
‘Yea I know and I mean it! I’m planning a surprise but it’s taking longer than I thought it would….’
‘Yea don’t think about it too hard or your ears will start to smoke!’
‘Haha okay. I gotta go, Kite’s only here for today! Tell the girls I said hi~!!’
He sighed, looking at the picture again “But why’s your face like that?”
Killua looked over to see Alluka was awake now too. She had been getting up earlier now because his schedule. Normally she could sleep in until noon or later if he let her.
She got up from her bed and crawled into his, leaning her head on his shoulder to get a look at what was on his phone.
Yawning, she finally said, “Looks like he was crying.”
“Do you think he’s sad?” she asked.
“I… I don’t know.”
“Are… you sad?”
Killua turned to look her in the eyes, “How could I be sad with you around.”
She smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes. This morning was sure turning out to be more melancholy than he intended.
Still Alluka knew just what to say to turn the day around.
“Then let’s find Kurapika!’ she bounced next to him on the bed.
He could feel her determination in the little aura she gave off without having any nen training. That seemed to energize him more than she could know.
Once they found Kurapika, Killua would begin her training so she could take the hunter exam. He’d have to give biscuit a call after she had a good grasp of her nen abilities…
Those thoughts were for another time though. He had to stay focused on their current objective: finding Kurapika.
Melody had given them some good information, and then Leorio had sent him a few ideas of his which actually ended up being pretty helpful. Apparently there was a high chance that Kurapika was still in the Nostrade mansion.
The thought of just breaking in and winning this game had come to mind more than once, but with Alluka there it would be too dangerous. He wasn’t about to leave her at a hotel by herself either.
The constant fear of Illumi or anyone from their family coming back to take Alluka was very real. He even worried they might try to kill her rather than take her back to the mountain.
Until Alluka could fend for herself, she would have to stay attached to his hip. It didn’t seem like she minded too much, but he knew there’d be a day where she’d want to find something of her own to chase down.
So their next strategy would be stay close to the Nostrade mansion and check flights and other modes of transportation on a loop. Anything that looked slightly suspicious they would check out for signs of Kurapika.
That was their best course of action and he hoped it would work. If they missed the man then who knows when they would be able to pinpoint a location on him again.
If only they could get someone on the inside. He had hoped Melody still had ties to someone, but that was a dead end too. The only thing he could think of was asking his dad because their family had to have mafia ties.
The thought of even seeing his father again made him sick, and he knew the information would come at at price. Family or not you always paid a Zoldyck.
During the auction it seemed like Leorio had known of some underground activities. Maybe he at least someone who knew someone who knew the Nostrades or any other bodyguards..
As convoluted as that sounded, it was their next best shot.
‘So it’s pretty clear Kurapika is still at the Nostrade mansion’ -KZ
‘Yea that’s what I was thinking too.’ -LP
‘You know anyone who could give me a contact to another bodyguard? I think that might be the easiest way to track him.’
‘That’s a good idea, I don’t know anyone off the bat. Let me see what I can do.’
‘Tell them I can pay well for a tail. Or any info really.’
It wasn’t even a couple hours later when he got another response from Leorio. Killua and Alluka were currently eating breakfast down the street from the notorious mansion, when he got the message.
It seemed like the doctor was able to come through after all.
‘I found an inside man!’ -LP
‘Well woman actually… her name is Eliza and she’s the boss’s daughter’s attendant.’
‘And she’s willing to help?’ -KZ
‘Yea, I’ve actually met her before too. At the time I just thought she was one of Melody’s friends.’
‘Wonder why Melody didn’t bring her up?’
‘Well she had taken break from the Nostrade family after fiance was killed, probably by the Phantom Troupe.. I guess she assumed she was still on leave.’
‘I see… well how much money does she want?’
‘She wanted to discuss that with you in person. Here’s her contact:
‘Thanks for the info. I think we’re really closing in on him!’
‘Good luck, kid.’
“Looks like we finally have a strong lead!” Killua said as he sent a message to Eliza.
Alluka seemed to perk up at that, “Finally! Do you think we’re going to find him soon?”
“Yea I really do.”
If this woman really did want to help them then it was only a matter of time. Kurapika had to know they were closing in, especially since Leorio was still sending him messages.
He wasn’t sure what caused Gon to cry earlier that morning, but it fueled him nonetheless to get them all together again. There was no way he’d give up and go back to Whale Island empty handed.
They all deserved to be happy. All of them. Killua had a hard to accepting the thought too, but he knew that he deserved it as well. With Alluka and Nanika with him now he knew he had to be alright… be happy for them.
Maybe that was why Kurapika was so lost. He thought he didn’t deserve to be happy or rather he didn’t deserve to see them after everything that happened.
Looking on the outside it made no sense. Like Gon said, they’d always be friends. Kurapika lost sight of that, but maybe he could change that or rather… maybe Gon could.
He reread the last few messages between him and Kurapika.
They weren’t great. Especially the way Killua had started things off by call him a jerk. He didn’t mean it, but those couldn’t be his last words sent to the man.
Killua’s always been an actions speak louder than words kind of person. Sometimes he just couldn’t bring himself to say anything too real. Alluka and Nanika were starting to change that.
He had to tell them how much he loved them, because they had gone so long without hearing it… maybe Kurapika had too.
‘Hey no matter what happens, we’re always going to be friends.’ -KZ
‘Even if we’re never able to find you, you’ll always know where we are.’
‘You have to know that even now’
‘Even now we’ll always love you.’
Chapter 5: Closing X In
‘You have to know that even now’
‘Even now we’ll always love you.’ -KZ
Kurapika had been rereading those last two texts over and over for the past ten minutes. He wasn’t sure what to do, how to respond. It had been so long since he had heard a sentiment like that let alone read one.
Even Leorio didn’t say anything that emotional. Coming from Killua, the boy who’d go out of his way to avoid any kind of emotional response… it was a little more than shocking.
Honestly he’d probably be more of a wreck if it wasn’t such a surprise. He felt awful wondering if this was just a ploy to get him to come out of hiding.
Of course it’s not.
But then why else would he say something like this….
Before there was a chance to explore this train of thought a rather frazzled looking Eliza was pacing towards him down the hall.
She looked like she wanted to pull her hair out, probably another one of Neon’s tantrums. He did not envy the poor girl at all.
Once she was close enough she looked almost relieved to see him, grasping his shoulder as if to ground herself.
“Eliza..” he trailed, not fond of the physical contact, “Is everything alright?”
The normally composed girl just turned away, dropping her hand. She seemed completely out of sorts, not something Kurapika had ever seen from her.
Finally after a few calming breaths she was able explain,
“It’s just been a bad day… you know volatile the miss can get, and I … I just…”
She stopped to wipe her eyes, but Kurapika didn’t even realized she had been on the verge of tears. Regardless he put an arm around the girl to be as comforting as he could be.
He knew things hadn’t been easy for EIlza since Squalla was killed.. by the Phantom Troupe no less. They could both relate of losing someone dear to them at the hands of those monsters.
Even so he didn’t know what to say. He knew no words could ever console the pain he felt when he missed his family. It would be an insult to think he could say something to her that would even begin to fill the void from her loss.
Maybe it was because he was feeling vulnerable from Killua’s texts or he felt a special type of empathy for the girl, but he found himself asking her,
“Would you like to take a break with me?”
She perked up at the notion, seeming calmer that she wouldn’t have to go back to her boss anytime soon.
“That would be nice…” Eliza sniffed, “I really do need to get out of the Mansion.”
Kurapika stiffened at the idea. He hadn’t planned on leaving the building. He figured they would just be getting some coffee in the common room, and maybe having a heart to heart.
He couldn’t risk getting caught by Killua… or Leorio for that matter. It was clear they knew where he was, and if that was the case then Killua had to be hot on his trail.
Still Eliza was so relieved at the idea of leaving, and he couldn’t blame her. This mansion had been where her and Squalla met and lived together for who knows how long. To have to walk it’s halls and feel their emptiness….
He didn’t want to imagine the pain.
So he relented.
Once he agreed to go with her, she sent a quick text to who he assumed was Neon, and they were off. Apparently there was a new cafe nearby that she wanted to try out.
It was close enough Kurapika felt he could make a speedy exit if he had to, and since it was new he could count on it being busy enough to conceal them at first glance.
He was able to justify leaving once they were halfway there, but another text from Leorio had him second guessing his decision.
‘I’m really looking forward to this trip.’ -LP
‘Remember Whale Island is hot this time of year, so don’t just bring those stupid suits you wear all the time.’
What a cocky asshole….
“I’ll do what I can.”
Again it was more than what Killua expected. Eliza seemed to be totally on board with helping them ‘catch’ Kurapika. He figured since this was the case, the man must be worse off than he imagined.
All the more reason to get him back.
The woman had joined him and Alluka about an hour ago and they had just finished going over their plan. She confirmed for them that Kurapika was indeed still at the Nostrade estate, so all she had to do was coerce him outside to a public area away from security.
It seemed easy enough, but there was just the matter of getting Kurapika to leave with her willingly, and not suspicious of an ulterior motive. Killua knew he’d be on guard regardless but maybe Eliza could distract him.
Killua had come up with a rather crass way of getting Kurapika to leave, but he wasn’t sure Eliza would be on board. It was a little backhanded, and manipulative… he was a Zoldyck afterall.
Then again Gon showed more of those traits near the end of their relationship than he did. He shook those thought from his head.
They weren’t over by any means.
Surprisingly when he explained his idea to Eliza she didn’t have many reservations. The plan was to have Eliza approach Kurapika seemingly vulnerable and stressed. Since they had a common ground Killua was banking on the fact he’d want to comfort her.
It was then Eliza would suggest going out somewhere close by. They chose another cafe, closer and newer, that would be sure to draw a crowd.
This had the advantage of blending into the crowd and giving Kurapika a chance to let his guard down. Once he did Killua would take that opportunity to strike. If things got rough or a fight broke out between them Eliza promised to keep an eye on Alluka.
Overall it was a pretty solid plan, and his best bet to corner the man. Still there was no telling how powerful Kurapika had gotten, and while he’d like to think is old friend wouldn’t try to fight him it wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibilities.
“I appreciate the help, you have no idea,” Killua sighed, “So what’s your price? I can send the money right now.”
Eliza held up her hands, “No price, working with the Nostrades has always kept me comfortable financially… I just …
If there’s a chance for something good to happen, why not.”
Killua blinked, completely confused. Her and Kurapika didn’t seem that close, was this woman just a good person? Even a good person could use some extra money. It didn’t make sense to him.
Alluka however seemed to understand where both of them were coming from.
“Well then how about a gift?”
Now it was Eliza’s turn to look confused, “A gift?”
“Can I see your ring?” the girl asked, pointing to the long forgotten engagement ring resting on her finger.
Understandably she hesitated, but gave Alluka the ring. She examined it, turning the stone over in her hand, sighing.
“I’ve never seen one up close before…” she said absentmindedly, handing it back, “Can I have a drink of your water?”
“...sure,” the woman slid the glass over curiously.
Killua just watched them intently as the last request was filled. He never asked Nanika for anything after he regulated her commands after she healed Gon. It was best if Alluka and Nanika worked together and took control over their own power.
Since the chase started up she would give the people who helped them small things to thank them. The items never seemed like much, but they held a far stronger sentimental value.
A gasp from Eliza broke him from his thoughts, he didn’t understand why she was so startled at first. It was when he finally realized Nanika was staring at him expectantly.
Killua opted to ignore the woman, focusing on his sister instead.
“I assume Alluka wants you to give Eliza a gift like you did for Leorio,” he explained, careful not to make an outright request.
The girl nodded, “I see… she told me… we’re going soon.”
“To Whale Island?”
She nodded again, her face flushed from speaking so much at once.
He smiled, “Yea soon! You’ll get to see Gon again.”
That seemed to perk her up, her hollow mouth breaking into a sincere smile. He pulled her into a hug, unable to hold back. It was clear that Eliza was just watching them unsure of what to do, but he didn’t care.
She yawned after the embrace, and he finally relented giving her Alluka’s request.
And then she was gone again.
Now that Alluka was back, and Eliza was even more confused.
“Your nen ability?”
She shook her head, “No that was Nanika, she grants wishes!”
As if to prove the fact, Alluka handed her a small box. It was nothing special on the outside, just wooden with simple hinges.
However Eliza seemed to know exactly what it was, tearing up before she even opened the box. Once she did it was revealed to be what looked like a men’s engagement ring.
Killua didn’t have to ask whose.
The woman stood up, coming over to pull his sister into a hug. There were full streams of tears coming from her eyes now, and she seemed to be shaking.
“How did you find this? I thought it was lost forever!”
Alluka just laughed, hugging the woman back.
To think she had been trapped for so long. No one would ever know with the way Alluka could interact with others. She had brought so much happiness to the people around her in such a short time.
Killua wondered what life would be like if she had been with him from the very beginning… would she have been able to get stronger with him and Gon had it not been for Illumi’s needle blocking his memory?
That was then and this is now. He couldn’t change the past, all he could do was be thankful she was with him now.
“Can you believe it?” Eliza said wiping her eyes,
“I had been the one to propose first!”
‘Leaving the mansion now. Ten minutes.’ -E
‘Got it.’ -KZ
His heart felt like it was pounding out of his chest after reading the text. Killua needed to calm down, and focus his Zetsu accordingly. He wasn’t worried about Alluka not being able to conceal her presence since Kurapika had never met her.
He wouldn’t even know to look for her in the first place. There were other girls her age at the cafe as well so he didn’t think she’d give him away by her description either.
Suddenly a thought hit him..
Wait how the hell do I win this?
He felt like such an idiot. Sure they had said ‘if he found Kurapika’ then he’d come with them to the island. What exactly did that mean though?
If he saw him that was technically finding him right?
Killua had a feeling it wouldn’t be that easy.
He had ten minutes to figure this out, but nothing was coming to mind. Should he apprehend him? Would a tap on the shoulder work or would Kurapika take off at the sight of him?
He reached for his phone, dialing the only person he could think of that might have an answer for him.
“Hey kid everything--”
“What the hell do I do?”
Leorio paused for a minute, “Is it happening?”
“Well Eliza’s leading him here, but what if he doesn’t play fair? He could just run off again.”
The man laughed to Killua’s dismay, “Why are you freaking out?
Just run after him then.”
Killua let out an aggravated noise, “I can’t just chase him across town and leave Alluka here. Even if she’s with Eliza, who knows if I’m being trailed!”
“At the sight of you… I don’t think he’s going to run. It’d be different if I were there, you're not the one he's avoiding.”
“I hope you’re right.”
Leorio sighed hopelessly,
“I can assure you, I am.”
Chapter 6: Just X Out X Of X Reach
Thank you for all of the comments on this work! This story had been so much fun to write! I love exploring the relationships in hunterxhunter that aren't touched on enough in the anime. I feel like Killua's deeper relationships stop with Gon and Alluka so it's nice to write about the dynamics between him and Kurapika and Leorio.
Hope you enjoy, the next chapter will shine more light on Kurapika's side of this interaction.
He could see them coming in from the cafe window. At first he barely recognized the man, but the memories came back fast. Kurapika still looked like himself but there was something about his demeanor that had changed.
It was like when they saw him for the first time after the exam. His new power had changed him, but this time it was different. He just look so … tired.
Killua’s heart clinched at the sight of him. He knew what it was like to feel that kind of tired. It was a far off feeling but he remembered it all the same, during his assassin training… fighting the chimera ants… losing Gon.
He never let himself stay tired though, it was just a feeling that stuck to the bottom of your heart. To get through it to rip it out and move forward. It seemed like Kurapika just let it stay there, consuming himself.
Alluka tugged him down, bringing him out of his thoughts. She must have recognized him as well. Thankfully she pulled him out of sight just before they entered.
“Just because you concealed your presence doesn’t mean he doesn’t have eyes!” she whispered, as they both knelt down by a booth.
“Right sorry, I guess I was in a trance. I haven’t seen him in such a long time…”
She nodded, “If you need to run, run. I’ll catch up so don’t worry about me.”
“--I have a plan!”
He wished his sister would have shared her plan with him in advance, but maybe she just came up with it. There was no telling. Regardless she seemed confident in herself. Even though it was dangerous, he knew he couldn’t do everything for her forever…
“Alright, but call me if something happens. I’ll come right back.”
That she could agree on.
They peeked their heads up to see Kurapika and Eliza were in line about to order. It was now or never. Killua knew the distraction of ordering would give him an advantage. While the older man knew to be weary, he wasn’t really expecting Eliza to set him up.
Using a toned down version of his godspeed he zipped over behind the blonde. Surprisingly he was still unaware of his presence, or if he was he was letting himself get caught. This might not be as difficult as he was expecting.
Just as he was about to clasp his shoulder that voice stopped him. Freezing him completely still.
Kurapika turned his head just a fraction to glance his way. He was close enough to make out the redness coming from behind the man’s contacts. The two stared at each other like animals deciding whether or not to fight, his hand still centimeters from Kurapika’s shoulder.
Killua couldn’t bring himself to speak, he wasn’t scared, he was excited. Excited to see what the other would do. A part of himself hoped he’d run just so he’d get to chase.
“Very clever…” Kurapika finally said glancing back at Eliza who immediately tensed up.
Alluka had come to stand by the woman, and Killua finally broke eye contact just out of habit to check on her. That had been a mistake.
In a millisecond Kurapika was gone, but his voice was suddenly behind him. Killua had barely registered the change.
“However…. It seems your full focus isn’t on me.”
His eyes had been using gyo since Kurapika was in his presence so it was no surprise when he saw a nen chain out of the corner of his eye. What he didn’t take into account was Kurapika’s speed.
Before he had a chance to react the man nudged him with his shoulder and there was a tap to Killua’s waist. The chains had wrapped around his torso with ease, but he didn’t struggle underneath them.
He turned to see Kurapika was taking his time leaving the cafe, not even bother to run off.
“That cocky bastard….”
When they caught eyes Killua turned on his godspeed at full blast, easily busting out of the chains that meant to hold him down. It took him little effort, and he could barely hide his smug look when Kurapika eyes widened at the sight.
“I’ll give you a headstart.”
Kurapika took off at the words, gone in an instant. It didn’t matter, he could keep up.
“What are you doing?” Alluka shouted, pushing him towards the entrance.
He laughed, leaning back to make it more difficult for her.
“Don’t worry I’ll get him,” he turned around to face his sister, “It’s your turn to impress me now. Let’s see you’ve got, Alluka!”
With that he took off at full speed, following the frantic aura Kurapika had left behind. He had counted on that. Their rise in emotions would make it hard for him to hide his presence.
While he was fast, Killua was faster. Once he felt how easy it was to break his chains now, he was too worried about catching the man. It seemed like Kurapika was starting to slip, probably only used to fighting low life thugs in the mafia with no nen abilities.
By the time he caught up Kurapika knew it was no use. He dashed into an alley, and Killua knew he had him. Or at least that’s what he thought.
The alley was empty, no presence, just a dumpster and a cat. His godspeed dispersed, and he searched the area with no luck. Falling to his knees he could feel hot tears rushing to his eyes all at once.
There was no doubt in his mind that he’d finally catch him, and he was the one to let himself get too cocky. Suddenly the impact of his failure hit him like a ton of bricks.
He let everyone down.
Alluka and Nanika weren’t going to go to Whale Island. Gon was still stuck there, powerless. Leorio would be disappointed… heartbroken...but worst of all he felt like he failed Kurapika the most.
If he really did mean what he said, he would have took off as soon as the chains hit his chest. Instead he wanted to have a challenge, because it had been so long since he’d been able to fight someone that could keep up with him.
Now who knows where the man was. Not only that, but now that Killua had seen him in person he could see the weight on his heart. There was a darkness to his nature now, it was the reason he ran away in the first place, it was the reason he never returned Leorio’s calls.
And now that Killua had failed to save Kurapika from himself it would only get worse.
That thought alone sent him over the edge, and the tears came down faster until was crying alone in that dark alley. He could feel sparks around his ears and eyes from the tears coming into contact with the dying godspeed affect.
Suddenly there were hands in wiping his eyes, and arms pulling him closer into an embrace. He weakly wrapped his arms around the smaller frame, crying harder if that was possible.
“You… did .. your.. best,” came Nanika’s voice, her fingers running through his hair in a calming motion neither had learned from their family.
The aura changed, and Alluka was the next to speak.
“Don’t be sad, we’ll get him next time!”
It took him a couple of minutes to calm down, his heart still beating erratically. He wiped his eyes with his shirt, unable to look at her for a moment more.
When he did she was smiling bright, and he found himself doing the same. Her happiness was always so contagious.
“Ten seconds, that’s a good start.”
They took their time getting back to the hotel they booked by the Nostrade mansion. Opting instead to go out on the town a little while longer to cheer themselves up. Alluka needed new clothes, and he wanted to see what new chocolate robots were out.
It had been a much needed mental break from trying to keep up with Kurapika. He knew his sister was having fun, but it was straining even if Killua was doing most of the work.
She had really impressed him getting to that alley so fast. Apparently she had given Eliza the requests, and asked her to read Nanika her wish. That wish being ‘Bring me to Killua when the time is right!’
It was a good idea, and worked well. It kept her out of the fight, and kept her safe with Eliza. While it didn’t require her to use a nen ability, she was able to think fast and come up with a good solution. That was just as important as learning the basics of nen. There was no use having power with no idea how to use it.
They were walking back to the hotel when he finally texted Leorio the bad news. He deserved to know what happened.
‘Hey so things didn’t go a planned…’ -Killua Zoldyck
‘What happened?’ -Leorio Paladiknight
‘I guess I let my pride get the better of me.’
‘It happens to the best of us, kid. Don’t let it get you down.’
‘I thought you’d be more upset?’
‘Why would I be upset?’
‘Because I let him get away! I was so close, if I had just tried harder maybe things would be different!’
‘You should be upset! He got away and who knows where he is now!’
‘I wouldn’t be so sure about that.’
Chapter 7: Call X Waiting
Leorio couldn’t believe his bad luck. It was like life was mocking him or at least his phone was with those three missed calls…
It had been a busy day, mainly because the hospital was packed, but more importantly Killua was about to get the jump on Kurapika. He wouldn’t be surprised if Killua came up short handed, he was just a kid after all.
Everyone put so much on that boy’s shoulders, Leorio didn’t even begin to get his hopes up. He’d never want Killua to think he let him down.
Thankfully he had his sister with him to keep him in good spirits. Other than Gon, Alluka was the only person that seemed to know how to handle him. Killua was often stubborn about everything, but they were always able to change his mind.
Hopefully Alluka would remind him that catching that bastard wasn’t his job.
Leorio figured after the loss the day would wind down, and things would become complacent for a little while. He focused on his work for the rest of the day, and it was only when he was finally relieved for his last break that he saw the alerts on his phone.
3 missed calls
‘I don’t know what to do.’ -Kurapika
‘It’s not that I don’t want to see you all, I just don’t want you to see me.’
‘I’m not the same person anymore.’
‘I’m the kind of person who makes a thirteen year old boy cry in an alley.’
His hands were shaking so badly he thought he’d drop his phone. Sure he could perform a four hour surgery no problem, but then this asshole finally texts him back and he’s a wreck.
Worst of all was the feeling of hopelessness in his chest. Had he missed his shot? If he tried to call Kurapika back there was probably a 50/50 chance he’d answer, and if he didn’t then Leorio would be left wondering how different his life would be if he knew what the man was going to say…
It didn’t matter, he was already dialing the number, phone to his ear. Leorio couldn’t remember the last time his heart was beating so fast. He already knew how many rings it took to get to Kurapika’s voicemail, and he was nearing the end.
Of course he’d wait until the last second.
“Took you long enough,” Leorio found himself saying.
He knew he should ask about what happened or start berating him about Killua, but none of that seemed to matter. Even after just a single word greeting, Kurapika sounded so.. tired.
Plus if Leorio said the wrong thing there was a good chance he’d hang up.
There was a sigh on the other line, “Killua probably hates me…”
“That’s not true.”
Kurapika said something under his breath that he couldn’t make out. It sounded familiar though he wasn’t sure why.
“The only person who hates you is yourself, don’t put that shit on us,” he could slap himself in the face.
There was no way he’d stay on the line after that…
“I don’t…” there was a long pause on Kurapika’s part.
Leorio almost said something, until he continued with a crack in his voice that almost broke the doctor right then and there.
“I don’t know why it’s so hard for me….”
“It doesn’t have to be,” the doctor was basically pleading.
He felt so useless, if only he was there then he’d be able to fix things. Well probably not, but he could be there for one of them…
At this point it was clear that Kurapika was probably crying, but he couldn’t hear anything on the other line. Leorio could only assume he muted his phone because of the unnatural silence.
Another five minutes later Kurapika came back on the line. His voice was shaking now, and his words held less ground.
“Well-- well what do you think I should do.”
“You already know what I think,” Leorio sighed.
That same sound came back under his breath again, and Leorio finally recognized it. He was speaking Kurta. He had heard Kurapika use it during the exam and even a few times during the Yorknew fiasco.
He didn’t realized how much he missed hearing it until that moment…
“Why don’t you go see Killua. I’m sure at this point you know where he’s staying--”
Leorio held back his hundredth sigh, “Okay well I do. I can send you the location.”
He tried to keep his hopes down, but it was hard. If Kurapika actually went to go meet with Killua then that meant there was a good chance this Whale Island thing was happening.
Another part of him was burning up to yell at that idiot though. How could he keep blaming himself for stuff that hasn’t even happened yet. So what he was ‘a different person’ whatever the hell that meant?
He was still Kurapika, and he was only going to get worse if he kept doing this to himself. If he wanted to make it up to them, then he go to that damn fisher port and stop throwing himself a pity party! The nerve…
“God…” he seethed trying to keep his thoughts from coming up, but it was no use, “You’ve gotta stop killing yourself over this bullshit. What the hell is wrong with you? Everyone’s going to change you dumbass!
Killua isn’t killing people anymore, Gon lost his nen, I was almost the god damn chairman of some organization I just joined for personal gain. So what you don’t want to help yourself because of some preconceived notion everyone’s going to hate you?
Your family wouldn’t want you to keep living like this.”
“I love you, but I can’t talk to you if your not going to do right by them. Go see Killua. If I find out you didn’t... don’t expect me to keep messaging you.”
He hung up before he could stop himself.
What he said was harsh, but Kurapika needed to hear it. It was up to him now, because Leorio was done condoning this behavior. You couldn’t help someone if they didn’t want to help themselves.
It was then that the doctor realized what he said.
“Okay fine… I’m still the dumbass…”
Killua had taken Alluka out for dinner at the restaurant connecting to the hotel. They had been drowning their sorrows in shopping, it was time they did so in food. He’d probably have to figure out a way to get more money, but that wouldn't be too big of an issue.
Normally when he went shopping with Gon he just bought himself whatever he wanted, but it was different when you were actually taking care of someone else.
He spent most of his jenny on Alluka, not that he minded. If anything it made him feel better than any of the stupid shit he got himself in the past. He felt like he was actually accomplishing something by being able to provide for her.
If only he could get his act together with his friends…
Alluka had spent most of the day assuring him and encouraging him. While he appreciated her support, he couldn’t help but feel like a failure.
All he wanted to do was call Gon and tell him what was going on, but then the surprise would be ruined. Who was he kidding there was no surprise to ruin anymore. Kurapika made it clear he didn’t want to be found.
They were almost done with dinner, about to pay the bill when their waiter declined his money. At first he thought they were getting thrown out for some reason but that wasn’t the case.
“You’re dinner has already been paid for,” the man stated, clearing their table.
Killua and Alluka shared a look.
“Do you know who it was?” Killua asked skeptically.
The waiter turned, “No name was given, but they said they were a friend. Anyone in town you’re expecting? Maybe a family member?”
Alluka scoffed, “Yea I sure hope not.”
He just blinked back, confused by the aggressive tone.
“Hey Alluka do you think maybe…” he trailed, “Let’s get to the room.”
He left the money on the table regardless, and picked his sister up to use his godspeed. There was no way he was going to wait around for an elevator.
Running up the seven flights to their room he could feel his heart rate increase. Was it Kurapika or was it someone else…
He could be bringing his sister into a dangerous situation, but if he left her somewhere then she’d be an open target. It was times like this he wished he asked Canary to come with them.
While he knew she could protect Alluka, her company had always been nice as well. Maybe he’d make a call to her if she could get away with leaving the mountain…
They arrived in less than five minutes, still outside the door. Killua knew this was where he’d falter. The waiter had mentioned a family member… was that because whoever paid for their dinner had a resemblance to them?
If that was the case Illumi could very well be on the other side of this door. It wouldn’t be Miluki, the guy never left the house. His mother and father were far to scared of Alluka’s power, and Kalluto… Where was Kalluto these days?
All he knew was they weren’t there the last time he dropped by the mansion. Maybe Kalluto had found a goal of their own?
“Are you going to open the door?” Alluka asked, still in his arms.
He tightened his grip on her, “I don’t know… what if it’s Illumi?”
“If it was Illumi we would know,” she said, the apathetic nature of her voice not lost on him.
Alluka had never outwardly hated anyone before, but Illumi was probably as close as she got to hating someone. Whenever he was brought up she looked almost dead inside. It left Killua feeling angry and helpless.
She right though, if it was Illumi he would have just come up to them at dinner. None of this beating around the bush… Now that he thought about it this did seem like a Kurapika move.
“Okay I’m going to open the door, but if it is Illumi or someone else… just hold on tight.”
She nodded, wrapping her arms around his neck to secure herself. He tapped the keycard against the lock, and pushed the door open.
If he wasn’t so surprised he would have sighed in relief.
Clad in a dark suit and tired eyes sat the source of his frustrations over the past month. Kurapika looked up at them, not sure what to say or do. It didn’t matter, Killua had already thrown Alluka on one of the beds making his way over to the man.
He wrapped his arms around the blond, pulling him up to stand as they embraced. Kurapika was still taller than him, but not by as much now. Killua took the opportunity to press his face against the other’s chest, already feeling the tears sliding down again.
Kurapika finally hugged him back, tighter than he expected, a hand coming up to pat down his hair as if he had done it a hundred times before.
This wasn’t like the tears in the alley, he was almost sobbing now. Why was he so affected by this, he wasn’t prepared for his emotions to overtake him.
At some point Alluka had come over to hug his side, and Killua felt all the more reason to cry. He wasn’t sad, how could he be when two of people he promised to save were here in his arms.
If anything he was scared if he let go they’d disappear.
“I’m so sorry, Killua,” came Kurapika’s voice, and he could tell he was crying too.
It was finally happening. They were all going to be together again.
They were going to Whale Island.
“There’s nothing to be sorry about now.
Chapter 8: On X My X Way
‘Your surprise is coming sooner than I thought!’ - Killua Zoldyck
‘I can’t wait!’ -Gon Freecs
‘But if it’s not a visit from you then I’m not interested.’
‘Is boring island life not doing it for you anymore?’
‘Is that supposed to be a joke?’
‘I have to be homeschooled again.. And it just makes me realized how big of an idiot I am!’
‘Killua it’s got to be like 30 million!’
‘Sorry I’m not as concerned about money as you are!’
‘Or simple math.’
‘Alluka and Nanika can come, just drop them off at the docks.’
‘ Lol sounds good.’
‘I WAS KIDDING!’
‘WAIT YOU ARE VISITING?’
‘I gotta go, stop trying to ruin your surprise!!!’
“Gon’s excited to see you.”
Alluka huffed at the dining table, “What? You mean he figured it out?”
“Just about us, not the real surprise.”
Kurapika just snorted, continuing to type whatever he was working on his laptop. Even though he was going with them, the man still had work to do. Light Nostrade had been fine with him leaving now that a dummy fortune teller was taking Neon’s place for the time being.
That and his boss had been trying to get him to take some time off anyways… If a crime lord thought you were in bad shape that was just sad. At least in Killua’s opinion.
Leorio wasn’t as lucky with work. While he was about to get off long enough for the trip, he would have to meet them at Whale Island. Killua had hoped they’d get to travel together, like the old days minus Gon.
He was also curious to see the reunion between the half dead bodyguard and the doctor. It was obvious how Leorio felt, but Kurapika kept everything close to the vest. He hadn’t said a word about the man, only asking about Gon and Alluka.
Thankfully Melody said she could meet them at the airport. He was excited to see her again, she was such a calming presence. It would be good for Kurapika to be around her as well.
The plan was to meet at the airport to take an airship that would let them off at a dock to take a ship to Whale Island. Sailing was the only way to get to the little fisher port, but Killua was looking forward to it.
“Looks like we are leaving in a hour to meet Melody at the gate,” he told them, looking through the itinerary.
Kurapika looked surprised, “That fast? You certainly don’t waste any time.”
“Well it’s been about six months since I last saw Gon you know,” the apathy in Killua’s not lost on the man.
Alluka just snickered from her side of the table, “I wasn’t expecting you to be so similar to my brother!”
“Huh?” Kurapika blinked, “I suppose we are like minded.”
Killua scoffed, “Yea unless it involves Gon. Then you’re all gung ho about whatever he wants to do. Not me. I have to hold him back from doing stupid stuff, and that only works half the time.”
“Sounds like a ‘you’ problem,” he pointed out, “I didn’t hold Gon back in the past because he has good instincts. I was always curious to see what he’d do next.”
That was true. At least during the hunter exam, Gon had been the one to get them out of some sticky situations. Even so Killua wasn’t overly fond of the blond’s tone.
“Good instincts and the ability to get what he wants. I’ve never seen someone ‘endear’ their way out of so many messes…” he trailed, trying to keep from reminiscing.
“I have a feeling that you’re one of those endeared people, brother…” Alluka spoke up.
“Dead right! Why else would I have gone to all of this trouble!”
He wasn’t embarrassed by the notion anymore. After Gon had been so close to dying he chose not to hide his feelings. Especially around Alluka, she needed to see it was okay to love other people freely.
It was a lesson he had a hard time learning, but Gon was always so patient with him. He was never put off by the cruel things Killua had said in the past, because he knew they weren’t true.
“Well I just hope he isn’t too disappointed,” Kurapika interjected, not looking up from his work.
Killua shut the laptop, catching the blond’s fingers inside.
“Hey asshole, all I’m worried about is you hogging the spotlight, so grow up.”
“Honestly… you haven’t changed at all.”
True to her word, Melody was waiting for them at the airport, a small suitcase in hand. Killua watched as Kurapika’s eyes lit up at the sight of her. It was nice to see him at ease, there was obviously still some tension between the two them.
He hugged the woman, taking her suitcase from her to carry while they walked. Alluka commented something about his princely behavior but Killua didn’t catch it. He was getting too excited.
This was actually happening.
They were all going to be together again.
He pulled out his phone to text Leorio, unable to contain himself. Killua had called him later that night Kurapika showed up in their room, and told him everything that had happened. It was clear he was relieved that things worked out.
But he said another thing that really ate him up inside.
Something only Gon’s aunt Mito had told him once before…
“I’m proud of you.”
Of course his family had said similar things, but that was normally over something horrific like his first kill… when he clawed his mother’s face up… when he went up against Illumi…
It was different when Mito or Leorio said it.
They were proud of him because he did the right thing, because he reached his goals, because he wanted to take care of the people around him.
‘About to get on the airship!’ - Killua Zoldyck
‘Ahhhh I’m counting down the hours until I get to leave to catch mine!’ -Leorio Paladiknight
‘ I wish we could have all gone together.’
‘Mainly because I’m about to kill Kurapika.’
‘He does have that effect on people…’
‘Well Melody is with us now, so I’m hoping she’ll keep him in line.’
‘Isn’t she the best. I swear I have no idea what I would have done if she didn’t have a handle on him. I would have gone insane.’
‘Yea I’m glad she wanted to come with us. I know this is eating into her researching time.’
‘Well it will be good for everyone to have a break.’
‘I bet Alluka and Nanika are excited to meet everyone.’
Killua paused, rereading the text. It went without saying that Alluka and Nanika were two different people, but that was just between him and Gon. He had never mentioned it to Leorio before.
Her powers were hard to understand if you just saw them first hand with no real explanation. The only thing Leorio had to go off on was that they had different names, but even then people had names for their nen abilities.
Most people just thought Nanika was part of some nen technique.
He wasn’t sure why he was hyperfocused on the fact that Leorio was able to see they were different. All he knew was it made him happy. Maybe Nanika would come out of her shell when she saw Leorio and Gon again.
‘Yea I think it will be good for them.’
Kurapika turned around, he was calling something out to them but they had trailed behind too far to hear it in the loud airport. Even so Killua could still the excitement in his eyes from where he was standing.
He was pointing to a gate number, Melody close by looking at their tickets.
Killua sprinted up to them, Alluka in one hand, his phone in the other. Positioning the phone so it looked like they were taking a selfie, he faced the camera towards the unsuspecting couple.
“Smile, Alluka!’ he said causing not only her to laugh, but Kurapika as well.
“I think this is our gate,” the blond said pointing to the sign.
Killua nodded, “Right, let me just send this to Gon.”
Alluka huddled in next to him, aware of the trick he pulled. He pulled up Leorio’s contact and sent him the picture he had taken of Kurapika and Melody. It had turned out better than he thought with Kurapika smiling instead of looking confused like he had assumed.
“So devious!” his sister commented once the two were out of earshot.
‘[sent image]’ -Killua Zoldyck
‘Haha I tricked him, he has no idea!’
‘Wow what a brat.’ -Leorio Paladiknight
‘I love it.’