At the age of 12, Killua wasn't content with his life. He had always been confined in an enormous mansion, and the only times he was allowed to go outside, he wished he wouldn't, because that meant getting his hands more dirty than they already were, by doing the job his family was famous for. That always involved ripping throats open or shattering beating hearts with his bare hands converted into sharp and deathly weapons, at most it would lead to a short fight with an easy win in which just some droplets of blood were scattered on the floor or his clothes; just like the assassin he was meant to be. Or at least, that was what his family had always told him since he could remember.
Despite living surrounded by people, he didn't have any real friends. Sure, he got along with some of the butlers, like Canary or Gotoh, but they always put their jobs in the first place and never let their encounters and their relationship get too close.
He did have a quite a big family, as well, but he had never felt like a part of it. His parents had trained him all his life to be the perfect assassin, the one who one day, would inherit the family business, something he had never wanted, but they have never cared about. His siblings weren't much better. The oldest was manipulative and kept an eye on all of Killua's movements; another was a tech freak who also enjoyed way too much torturing him; and the youngest hardly talked to him and was so silent that Killua normally forgot about him, but at least, he didn't bother him. The only one that could bring joy to his unwanted and boring life was his little sister.
Actually, Alluka was the reason why he put up with everything else. He obeyed his parent's orders, he allowed Illumi to get through his mind and permitted Milluki's punishments and tortures on himself just to be able to see her, talk to her and play with her, even if it was for a short time. Alluka was really the only light on his life and Killua would do anything for her, to cheer up his days and keep her by his side. He wouldn't allow his family to do anything to her. Well, to both of them, as in fact, he did have two sisters sharing one body, Alluka and Nanika, but the existence of the latter was something only he and Alluka knew.
Killua had thought more than once about leaving. To take his sisters and run away from that place that felt more like a prison than like a real home. To go anywhere else, where they could be free of their family's control and just live a happy and simple life like any other kids their age, just the two of them. That would be perfect.
But Killua knew it wasn't possible, at least for the time being. He had thought of countless plans of action, but in his mind they all failed, always because of the same detail: Illumi. As long as his older brother didn't stop controlling all his movements, he wouldn't be able to initiate his plan without him knowing and cancelling it beforehand. But he didn't lose hope. There had to be a way, a moment in which Illumi lost his attention on him, even if it was just for a second, and he would be ready to take the opportunity. For the moment, he could just wait and keep thinking about it.
In that moment, Killua was just extremely bored. He didn't have any mission until next month and wasn't allowed to visit Alluka more than once a week, and, being Thursday that day, needless to say, he had already done his weekly visit to her. He didn't feel in the mood to keep training any more, either. Although he enjoyed exercising and liked the feeling of becoming stronger, it also was what his family wanted. The stronger he got, the more people he would have to murder, and Killua had never liked killing, even though he had great talent to it. So, he tended not to train too much, just enough to not get his parents mad at him.
Killua sighed loudly and, not having anything better to do, he just fell flat on his couch and turned the TV on. He started switching fast on the channels, none of them really catching his attention, until he found one a bit more interesting. Many people appeared on the screen, sometimes running, sometimes fighting and sometimes just talking strategies, but it was different to anything Killua had ever seen before, so he kept watching. A few minutes later, the images stopped and now there was an old bald man -except for a funny ponytail and a large moustache-, with ridiculously big ears, talking directly to the viewers.
"Would you like to be like them? Do you think you have what it takes to be a Hunter? If so, come and take your chance at the Hunter exam that will be held tomorrow! The place? You'll have to find it yourself! If you can't, it means you're not suited to be a Hunter. So, come and show us your abilities, we are waiting for you! Take the exam and become a Hunter!"
"Oh?" Killua muttered with a tinge of curiosity and amusement. That was what Killua wanted, something to entertain and prove himself at the same time; a challenge. He didn't care one bit about the ‘becoming a Hunter’ thing, but right now, he was eager to go there and watch for himself if it was really that difficult, maybe even have some fun in the process.
Also, he was lucky, because he knew that Illumi had left the house not long ago, though he didn’t know where he went, but that didn’t matter in that moment. It was the best opportunity he had to leave the mansion. He’d take Alluka with him, but it was impossible for him to see her in that moment, not until next week, what would be way too late, and it really broke his heart to leave her there, completely alone. But once he finished, he would return, find a way to free her from his imprisonment and take her away with him. That was for sure.
So, he decided. He would take that Hunter exam.
And, he had to leave right now. If not, he wouldn't arrive on time to it.
Killua walked through his bedroom, looking for some money and food (which basically meant just his delicious daily amount of chocorobots) to stuff his pockets with, and left the room, casually walking towards the exit of the house, not without taking his skateboard first.
However, he should have known it wasn't going to be that easy.
In the corridor, just before arriving to the big exit doors, he ran into Milluki and his mother.
"Hey, where do you think are you going?!" His brother questioned with his usual never-leaving scowl showing on his face.
"Don't talk to your brother like that! I am sure he is just going to the garden to train a little, right Killu? Come on, Milluki, let's go keep him some company."
"I'm leaving." Calmly announced Killua, and before they could process what they had just heard, he launched forward, his hands already turned into claws with sharp nails and, without hesitation, stabbed his left hand into his brother's huge stomach while he slashed his mother's face with his right hand. Everything passed in less than a second, and the next one, Killua was running through the mansion's gardens, leaving his brother's yells and his mother's cries at his back.
He crossed the mansion's gates and with a huge, genuine grin spreading though his lips, he thought 'I did it!' He then flicked his skateboard in the air and jumped to land a second later on it, continuing his way to the Testing Gate, now riding it.
But, not long after, he found a tall and slim figure blocking his way, long silky hair gracefully falling around his thin waist and dark, expressionless almond-shaped eyes locked on his. Illumi.
Killua stopped his skateboard just in time to not bump into him, mere inches separating them. He clumsily took two steps back and stared at him, with a feigned determined expression on his face, trying to hide the fear that started to grow inside of him. Illumi didn't even blink once, his face remaining still all the time.
"Where are you going, Killu?"
Despite his monotone voice, Killua could hear the hidden threat in his words. But he hadn’t come that far to abandon in the last moment. At least he had to try, even if he was terrified and incapable of taking another step forward. He knew that some day he would have to confront his brother and that was the perfect time. So, he took a deep breath and replied, with what hoped was a confident voice.
"It doesn't matter, I'm leaving. I'll come back in a few days."
"No, you won't, because you are not leaving. Now, go back home."
A new wave of fear invaded him, but he didn’t want to back up.
"D-don't tell me what to do!" He shouted, though it sounded more desperate than aggressive.
"Don't make me repeat it, Killu. You can go by yourself or I can carry you by force. You don't want to take the last option, right? I’ve taught you to never fight anyone stronger than you. I am, and you perfectly know. You understand that, right? Now, turn and go back home, Killu. There is nothing for you outside this mountain."
His tone of voice remained impassive all the time but with each step he took, approaching to him with each sentence he said, Killua felt smaller and smaller under his glare, completely weak and insignificant. He wanted to protest and fight, reluctant to keep following Illumi’s orders, but he just couldn’t. His brother was right. How had he thought he could leave the house under Illumi's constant vigilance? It was impossible, even when he wasn’t supposed to be there.
He was paralyzed under his brother's presence right in front of him, his mind blank and his heart painfully contracting in his chest. He knew he couldn't follow his plan, but he also felt incapable to turn back. His legs didn't respond to him, his muscles had gone stiff, impossible to move even just an inch, and he just kept staring at his brother, now with a glint of panic showing on his deep blue eyes.
Illumi reached even closer, his hand placed wide open in front of him, and just an instant before his fingers could brush his white locks of hair, Killua finally reacted. He jumped back and started running in the opposite direction without looking back, his skateboard completely forgotten.
He returned to the mansion, utterly hopeless. On his way back to his bedroom, he met again his mother and Milluki, and after some compliments and tears of joy from the former, that Killua didn't pay attention to, neither he understood, the latter then forcefully dragged him to a well known room, where only the sound of crashing chains, violent whips on his skin and his brother's evil laugher filled the air during the next three days. But Killua didn't mind. He had long since grown accustomed to it; it already was a part of his life.
When his brother finally got bored of him for not reacting at his tortures at all, he released him, and Killua went directly to his bedroom, just wanting to be left alone and sleep restfully on his comfortable bed after have been three days hanging in chains. But he couldn't jump carelessly on the mattress as he had planned, as many wood pieces and hundreds of splinters, as well as four little wheels, were already spread on it, occupying its entire surface.
It was all that remained from his former skateboard.
Killua sighed, letting a breath he didn’t know he was holding escape from his lips, while his hands curled into fists at his sides. He was really tired of this, of everything.
His life hadn't changed one bit. And wouldn’t do for the next four years, until the encounter with a certain someone, who would finally make it happen.