When Killua crawled for the first time into Kurapika and Leorio’s bed because of a nightmare, Kurapika’s first reaction was to inwardly panic for a few seconds – he didn’t remember whether Leorio had put on his pajama pants before bed or not (to Kurapika’s relief, a slight brush of Leorio’s legs on his revealed that he had). Killua wiggled under the covers, quiet as a mouse, and settled between his adoptive parents with a sigh. Kurapika pretended to still be asleep as Killua nestled into his chest and clutched the front of his t-shirt, his small face burrowed on Kurapika’s neck.
Kurapika’s second reaction was to want to cry.
Leorio and Kurapika had been married for quite some time when the topic of having kids came up. Both of them wanted to have one – Leorio because he had grown up in a big family; Kurapika because he had no family left. After discussing their options for months (they considered arranging a surrogate mother, but settled for traditional adoption instead), with Leorio paying frequent visits to his mother to ask her how she went about raising him and his siblings and Kurapika reading any book he could find on the subject, at least a year went by between selecting an agency, completing a home study and waiting for a placement. But finally, after going through all the bureaucracy needed, Kurapika and Leorio came home with 6 year-old boy named Killua on Christmas Day.
Killua was a smart kid, specially for his age – he would read books meant for older children while most of the others in his age group were only starting to learn basic words, and knew how to write and do maths far beyond 1st grade level. He was also witty in a way children his age rarely were, having taken a liking to referring to Leorio as “old man”, much to Leorio’s dismay and Kurapika’s amusement. Killua, the couple noticed quickly, was a bit of a loner – he liked to play by himself in their small backyard, and when Kurapika took him to the playground nearby he would play next to the other kids, but not with them.
Kurapika and Leorio had been informed by the agency that Killua was from “a tough home” – but they didn’t quite see just how bad his biological family had been until an incident a couple of months after the adoption became official. Kurapika worked from home, so he tried his best to get most of his work done in the morning to be able to spend the afternoon with Killua (even if it meant just sitting next to him while he watched cartoons or watching him play in the backyard from the kitchen window). However, on that particular day his workload had been heavier than usual, which left Kurapika spending his morning AND afternoon on his laptop, stopping only to pick up Killua from school and Leorio from the hospital, have lunch with them and then drop Leorio by the hospital again.
Kurapika had been typing away on his laptop for a few hours that afternoon while Killua played outside when he heard something falling in the backyard with a muffled thud, similar to the sound the neighbor’s cat made when it fell from their tree a few days back, but much louder. Before Kurapika could even get up from the kitchen chair, Killua opened the backdoor, walked up to him and pointed with his right hand to his left forearm – which, to Kurapika’s horror, had turned red and swollen and definitely not normal. In spite of his injury, Killua didn’t look like he was in pain; he simply cocked his head to the side, furrowed his brow and stated:
“I think it’s broken.”
After a half-panicked phonecall to Leorio, a rushed car trip to the hospital and an X-ray, Killua’s left arm was immobilized in a plaster cast. Kurapika sat with him in the waiting room while Leorio talked to the orthopedist that had attended to them.
“Killua” Kurapika asked in a soft voice. “Does it hurt too badly?”
“Uh-huh” he replied, the heart-shaped lollipop a nurse gave him (“for being a brave young man”, she had said) still in his mouth. “My old parents did worse stuff though, so it’s no problem.”
That night, after Killua had already fallen asleep in his bedroom, Kurapika reported to Leorio what their son had said, barely holding back his tears.
“I didn’t know it was that bad.” he whispered, burying his head on his husband’s neck. “Just thinking about those... People hurting Killua like that! He’s six year old, goddammit!”
“Shh, it’s ok Kurapika, he’s with us now” Leorio said, rubbing small circles on Kurapika’s back to soothe him. “He’ll be ok with us now.”
For the following 3 weeks, Kurapika did his best to not get teary-eyed whenever he covered Killua’s cast with plastic before his bath, or when Killua complained that the cast was itchy and wanted to take it off. He mostly suceeded.
The first time it happened, Leorio woke up with a startle, not knowing exactly what had woken him up until he saw his husband’s sillouette bolting out of the room and another broken scream coming from Killua’s room; he jumped out of bed on pure reflex and stumbled after Kurapika, who was crouching near Killua’s bed when Leorio reached the door. He was whispering comforting words to their son, who was shaking and looked way too small for his bed. Kurapika’s hand hovered over his shoulder, maybe to avoid frightening the boy even more. When Leorio tentatively approached the bed, Killua’s breathing was starting to even out.
“Killua.” Leorio called him with a low whisper. Killua turned to look at him.
“Bad dream.” he stated, his tiny voice weak. Leorio sat in the bed next to Killua; the sudden spark of adrenaline that made him run to his son’s room was running out, and his body was reminded that it was probably about 2am and he had had less than 3 hours of sleep that night.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Alright.” Leorio glanced at Kurapika, wondering what would be the best course of action at the moment. “What do you want to do now, Killua?”
Killua’s eyes dropped to the sheets he clutched in his fists, pondering over Leorio’s question. Kurapika sensed he wasn’t as agitated as before, and let his hand drop to Killua’s shoulder.
“... Can you guys... Stay?” Killua said quietly. “Stay here with me?” Kurapika and Leorio glanced at each other and smiled.
It took a few minutes for Kurapika and Leorio to find a fairly comfortable position on Killua’s bed without either smothering their son between their bodies or Leorio’s legs dangling off the bed, but they managed it. Leorio woke up the next morning with a terrible crick on his neck, and Kurapika’s arms had fallen asleep so throughly that full sensation only returned to them in the middle of the morning.
Even so, seeing Killua waking up with a smile that didn’t go away for the entire day was worth it.
The morning after Killua crawled into Kurapika and Leorio’s bed for the first time, Kurapika woke up before the alarm clock rang. Killua had let go of his t-shirt sometime during the night and slipped further down the bed – the only part of him visible was his fluffy white hair poking from under the blanket. Kurapika carefully reached over Leorio’s body to press the alarm’s button – he’d wake his husband up himself so Killua wouldn’t wake up too.
Exactly at 6:30am, Kurapika shook Leorio’s shoulder slightly.
“Hnng-- What?” Leorio mumbled, his eyes slowly opening and focusing on Kurapika’s. “Oh. Good morning.”
Kurapika brought his index finger to his lips, signaling Leorio to be quiet, and pointed to the small lump underneath the blanket.
“Oh.” Leorio mouthed, his eyes turning soft. “It’s the first time, isn’t it?”
Kurapika nodded, stifling a giggle behind his hands. They laid there for a while longer, the only sounds in the room being the ticking of the clock and their breathing. Leorio and Kurapika grinned at each other, holding hands over the pillow. Kurapika glanced at the clock again and, seeing that his husband needed to get out of bed soon or he’d be late for work, cocked his head in the bathroom’s general direction and whispered, “Go.”
Leorio kissed Kurapika’s fingers and slowly slipped out of bed, careful not to make too much noise. Killua stirred in his sleep – he’d probably wake up on his own in a couple of minutes, Kurapika thought. Threading his fingers through his son’s hair carefully, Kurapika heard the shower starting and the cupboards under the bathroom sink opening and closing. His mind drifted to what he’d make for breakfast that morning.