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Tricks of the Trade

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"Fuck," Killua complained, for the 50th or so time that night. Gon popped his head up, lying on the other side of the fire. Killua sat on the hard dirt, and cringed.

Killua hadn't just been open to the idea of training with Gon again, as Gon slowly dipped toe first back into the waters of Nen training, Killua had dove back in head first.

"I've been getting fat and lazy traveling around with Alluka for years," Killua had said, stuffing dinner into his mouth the previous night, looking as lean and fit as he'd ever looked.

"You're really sore, huh?" Gon asked, sitting up. Killua glanced at Gon, and turned his head away sharply.

"It's nothing," Killua replied, covering his mouth with one hand.

"Well, we both worked really hard, so I'm not surprised!" Gon said. Killua just grunted.

"Gon, I've been electrocuted with enough voltage to kill a blue whale before. I'm fine."

Gon crawled around the fire, until he was sitting across from his friend.

"Do you..." Gon started. Killua lifted his eyes over his hand, and curled his legs in to make space for Gon to sit. "Well, I mean...I could give you a massage?"

"Huh?" Killua said, startled. He dropped his hand. Gon nodded.

"Yeah, I'm pretty good at them now! I had to learn how to pay Bisky for Nen lessons."

Killua groaned. "That dirty old woman had you give her massages?"

Gon stood up, and grabbed his bag.

"Well, mostly feet, but sometimes shoulder. She taught me how, though. She said it was useful to know the older you get. 'You won't always be a timeless freak of nature, Gon!'"

Killua laughed. Gon unhooked a thick mat he'd rolled up and hung from his bag.

"Here," Gon said, climbing to his knees to find a smooth spot. He unrolled the mat, and patted it.

"Are you serious?" Killua asked. Gon nodded.

"Yeah! I can do whatever part's sore. Seems like your back and thighs, right?"

Killua blinked, and looked down, and away. "Do I have to...take my clothes off?"

Gon shook his head, without looking over. "Of course not! I mean..."

Killua stood up, and paused, and Gon made a soft, thoughtful sound.

"I mean, if you want to. Then I could use my massage oil."

Killua walked to the side of the mat. He sat down. Gon sounded nervous, but Killua was pretty sure he was just being a creep imagining that, so he said nothing. He took his shirt off, and folded it carefully. Gon's attention remained focused on his large overnight bag. A few long minutes passed with nothing more than the sound of crackling logs and distant crickets to accompany them.

"Okay, ready," Gon said, turning on his knees. He smiled, then, big and wide. Killua smiled back, for a moment, he couldn't help it. One beat, and then a second, and Killua coughed.

"Um, should I lay down?" Killua asked.

"Yeah! Should I start with your back?" Gon asked, scooting closer. Killua shrugged.

"Yeah, sure."

Killua had gotten plenty of massages in his life. Butlers and specially trained doctors and medicinal practitioners were paid by his family to attend to him between training sessions, or missions. This shouldn't feel as awkward as it did. But, this was his friend, not a quiet, well-paid servant told to keep the questions to a minimum, or else.

Stretching out, Killua curled his arms under his head. He let his gaze get lost in the dancing flames of their still bright and cheery fire.

With a grunt, Killua heard Gon lower himself to his knees beside him. He heard the silky slip of massage oil. It smelled subtle and expensive, and he assumed it must have been something Bisky insisted on making Gon use.

A few moments of warmth from the fire, and chill night air on his back, made Killua feel so sleepy he almost drifted away.

Gon's hands were instantly familiar, strong and rough, but so gentle Killua jumped with surprise.

"Sorry, are my hands cold?" Gon asked, suddenly whispering, like they'd entered a quiet and solemn place together. Killua shook his head. Gon's hands sat still against the top of Killua's back, along the crest of his shoulder muscles.

"No, it's...fine. Keep going," Killua replied. Gon mm-hmmed, and started working.

This was so alien, and unfamiliar, that Killua wasn't sure if it felt good, or bad. Gon was gentle, at first, warming Killua's skin and muscles by softly rubbing with a flat palm. Soon, though, he moved his fingers with more purpose, intent on untying the knots deep in Killua's back.

He could probably have described Gon's hands from memory accurately enough to have an artist recreate them on paper after their years together, yet, now, his hands just felt strange.

Killua shifted, moving his arms out from under his head, and relaxing under Gon's hands. He let out a long breath. Gon murmured something just out of earshot.

Now Gon's hands weren't just untying knots, they were digging into the muscles, prodding and pushing at tension so deep and stuck that Killua actually gasped at one particularly stubborn spot.

"Killua, you must be so sore," Gon observed, loud enough for Killua to hear. Killua managed to shake his head no, and then felt another spot turn molten and unbound under Gon's hands.

Killua's mouth slid open, without warning. He closed his eyes. He moaned, low and from the back of his throat, as tension left his lungs.

"Good," Gon said. He stopped, and Killua heard him shift.

Gon slid on top of Killua's lower back, seated delicately, with most of his weight held up by his straddling legs.

It didn't hurt, or anything, but it made Killua gasp, quietly, and open his eyes. He turned to look at Gon, asking "Did you do this for Bisky, too?"

Gon's eyes were two fixed points of light. Killua couldn't read that smile, either. A little shy, and a little daring. Gon shook his head.

"Of course not. Is this okay?" Gon asked, but before Killua could respond, his hands moved again, firmly and with purpose. " You're just really, really tense. I wanted to get a better angle."

Killua nodded. He moaned. He realized it wasn't just strange to feel Gon's hands like this. It was strange to let anyone be this close to him.

He'd been massaged before, quickly and efficiently, and then moved on to the next part of his regimen.

Gon was in absolutely no hurry. Gon wasn't just doing Killua a favor. Gon was taking his time, doing a thorough job, the kind of job that wasn't just duty.

"Gon?" Killua slurred, his voice relaxed and sloppy. Gon paused.


"What do you want for this?" Killua asked, quietly and seriously.

"What do I want?" Gon asked, soft and bright, without pausing.

"Yeah, you're really..." Killua replied, sighing deeply, as Gon leaned down and jammed his elbow just so, right into the crease of his muscles, releasing something older than the past day of training. "...doing me a favor, so..."

"You're the one doing me a favor, Killua! Training with me. It's the least I can do."

Killua didn't agree. He'd missed Gon, even more than he'd thought, and being together again like this had been even better than he'd imagined.

Now, he was getting pampered, too?

"Something...please? I don't want to owe you..." Killua mumbled, turning his head away from the fire, and placing his head back on his hands.

Gon's hands slowed, but didn't stop. They moved softly. Fingers found Killua's long spine, tracing it with slow strokes.

"I like being able to make you feel good, Killua," Gon said. "I know that sounds weird, but it's true."

Killua was about to say how weird it did sound, actually, when Gon took the words out of his mouth.

What was even weirder was what Gon's words made Killua want to say next.

"Well, I want to make you feel good, too, dummy," Killua said, quietly. He wondered if it was too quiet for Gon to hear, but he should have known better. Gon's hand finally stopped.

"Then, I want..." Gon said. Killua twisted his neck, just in time to see Gon slide next to him. Killua leaned over on his side, and they faced each other.

Brown skin, lit with the orange light of the fire, glowed, and amber eyes looked deeply into Killua's blue eyes, which grew in surprise, as he pursed his lips.

"Can I..." Gon started. One hand snaked up, until his strong finger tips could stroke Killua's cheek bone. "...kiss you?"

Killua's face went agog, and his heart jumped.

The answer was yes, not that Killua had the stomach to say it.

"Um, what? You want to...?" Killua said, quickly, and then hesitantly, until he said nothing. Gon kept looking at him. Neither moved, as Gon's hand continued to touch his face softly.

"Yeah, I do. A lot."

Killua didn't say anything. He reached up, and covered Gon's hand with his own. Gon gasped. Killua nodded. Gon smiled.

Their lips met in the middle, warming immediately when neither of them could pull away, when neither of them wanted anything more, it turned out.

Later, Gon admitted to his lie.

"I actually asked Bisky to teach me," Gon said, hand holding Killua's face, as Killua blinked sleepy and content. His eyebrows lifted at Gon's words, though.

"After she told me that massage was actually the key to someone's heart."

"Gon, you nerd," Killua said, kissing Gon's nose. Gon giggled, and blushed.

"Then I guess I want to learn, too," Killua said, rolling his hips and legs over the top of Gon's. Gon bit his lip, and nodded.