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Who Are You?

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The walls of the cold building felt like they were closing in on Killua. After spending hours trapped in a small room with no windows, one would think that he would be happy to be let out. Instead, Killua felt more claustrophobic than ever. Nobunaga was slowly walking with Gon and him down the hallway towards ‘the Boss,’ as Nobunaga had explained. Gon and Killua were in front of him, the swordsman himself following close behind—giving directions when needed.

This isn’t over yet , Killua thought. If he can just act as a decoy long enough for Gon—

All thoughts were cut off when he felt an alien weight in his hand. Looking down, Killua saw a tan hand tightly entwined with his own. Looking up to see the owner of the hand, Killua was met with golden eyes, burning with an undying fire. Any time Killua looked into those eyes, he drank it in like it would be his last look. Now it truly could be.

And Killua was helpless to do anything about it.

Gon’s eyes screamed ‘ Don’t worry, we’ll be alright, ’ while squeezing the life out of Killua’s own hand, promising that Gon was just as scared as he was.

Nobunaga immediately noticed the two holding hands and laughed, “Aren’t you two adorable? No need to act so terrified. If you don’t catch the Boss’s fancy you’re free to go. And if you do, well…”

Killua had to clench his other hand in a fist to stop himself from shaking. Soon, they were back to the open area in the building. Except, the floor was crowded now with the number of boxes taking up space in the room.

These must be the items from the auction, Killua realized. He wondered what scheme they pulled off to successfully steal what looked like every item in the underground auction. Making their way closer, the members of the Troupe slowly looked up one by one, until there were 12 pairs of eyes on them.

“I’m surprised,” the pink-haired girl commented, “I thought they would have escaped by now.”

“Shut up!” Nobunaga yelled.

“I was wondering where you were, Nobunaga,” the one with the tattoo on his forehead said. “Who are these two?”

“Oh,” the pink-haired girl commented. “I forgot you hadn’t met the kids yet.” She went on to explain their interactions from earlier that day, from the two trailing her and Nobunaga to the arm-wrestling contest Gon had with the swordsman.

“Boss! I want to recruit this black-haired kid to the Spiders.” Nobunaga explained.

The ‘Boss,’ as he was labeled, silently looked over Gon, unflinching at the boy’s fiery gaze. The boss gave a small smile, “He sure looks like he hates us. What’s your name?”

“I don’t need to tell you anything!” Gon fired back. “You go around, needlessly killing others, but then I see you guys shed tears for your fallen comrade. If you understand the tragedy of death, why do you all kill people that have nothing to do with you?”

There was silence for a long moment and Killua held his breath the entire time, sure that if he breathed out, they would be killed before the breath could fully leave his lungs. The tension lifted as soon as it arrived and Killua was able to exhale.

“Why indeed,” the Boss murmured. “I see why you like him, Nobunaga. He has a fire in him similar to Uvogin.”

“Right? I knew you would see it my way, boss.” The swordsman was smiling now. “This is Gon, by the way.”

Then, those dark eyes turned to Killua. The only face he had ever seen more devoid of emotion was Illumi, but this man would give his brother a run for his money. “And who is this?”

“That’s his friend Killua,” Nobunaga explained. “He’s impressive as well, but I’m more interested in Gon.”

The Boss looked contemplative. “Killua, you say? Your last name wouldn’t happen to be Zoldyck, would it?”

Killua felt his blood run cold. Did the Boss still have a grudge with his dad for killing one of his members? He thought about lying but then remembered how Pakunoda could check for memories and if they had her perform her power again, they might figure out that Kurapika was the chain user.

“Yes, it is.” Killua kept his eyes locked on the Boss, looking for any tell of emotion on his face. But there was none. There was absolutely nothing there. Those eyes felt just as soul-sucking as his brother’s. The man tilted his head up to look at the skylight.

“I just came from a fight with your father and grandfather. I would love their abilities, but I don’t think I’ll ever have the chance to take them.”

Killua was having trouble following, being bombarded with so much information at once. His father and grandfather had been sent to fight this man? And he was still alive? And what did he mean by ‘take’ their abilities? Was that even possible?

“What happened?” Killua asked before he could stop himself.

“Nothing much. They’re still alive if that’s what you’re wondering. Simply put, the Ten Dons hired your father and grandfather to assassinate me, and at the same time, I hired your brother Illumi to assassinate the Ten Dons. Your brother finished the job first.”

“Why are you telling them all this, Boss?” The large man with the scars on his face asked.

The Boss answered easily enough. “Killua here could easily find out this information from his own family.”

Now, some emotion did filter into the boss’s face. It looked like...anticipation.

“And Gon-kun, well, he’ll be staying with us for a while.”

Killua felt like his heart was ripped out of his chest, just like he had done to so many targets before. They’re going to keep Gon?

“I would keep Killua too, but we don’t need to give his family any reason to seek us out. I won’t force him to join.”

Nobunaga whooped in delight. “Yes! Thank you, Boss. You won’t regret this.”

Killua was still in shock. Gon was going to be taken away from him? He was jolted out of his thoughts by a loud yell coming from his side.

“As if I would ever join you guys! I’d rather die!” Gon was breathing heavily in anger and Killua felt some relief. How were they supposed to force Gon to join? Maybe if they saw how against the idea Gon was, they would let them go.

The Boss brought a hand to his chin. “His attitude is an issue though. I think it’s severe enough that we might have to use Pakunoda. If you will?” He gestured for the busty woman to come closer and for Nobunaga to bring Gon to him as well.

Pakunoda? Why Pakunoda? Her power had to do with memories. Why—

No. No. Anything but that, Killua thought in desperation.

“Gon!” He yelled, trying to close the distance between him and the other boy. Before he could move, Killua felt wires pull him back with his hands tied painfully behind his back.

“Killua!” Gon tried to rush around Nobunaga, but before he could, Killua felt the sharp edge of a card at his neck again.

“One move and I kill Killua-kun here,” Hisoka purred.

Gon stopped in his tracks, looking extremely conflicted. Pakunoda finally made her way over and Gon looked at her in confusion. It seemed he still hadn’t figured out why the Boss wanted Pakunoda.

“How much do you want gone?” She asked.

The Boss was silent for a moment as he stared at the ground contemplating.

“All of it,” he said finally. “I don’t want him to remember any people in his life before us, especially this boy here.”

A look of horror had grown in Gon’s gaze as he realized what was about to happen. He didn’t move, however, as Killua still felt the card digging into the side of his neck. He felt completely helpless and he was sure Gon felt the same way.

Pakunoda sidled up next to Gon and slung an arm around his shoulder. Gon didn’t look at her. He kept his gaze locked with Killua’s. Then, Pakunoda started asking her questions.

“Do you remember your family, Gon? Your friends? Everyone you’ve met before?”

Gon said nothing, and Killua felt his heart break as he stared back at him.

“What about Killua?”

In anguish, Killua saw tears form in Gon’s eyes at his name and Killua realized his eyes were damp as well.

“I’m sorry, Gon,” Killua choked out. “I’m so sorry.”

“Remember him well Gon,” Pakunoda murmured, “Because in a second you won’t.”

Killua felt Nen start to build in the air.

“It’s okay, Killua” Gon looked at him fiercely through his tears, “I lo—”

Suddenly, the building nen came to a climax and Killua watched as Gon’s eyes blanked out before he tilted his head back in a silent scream. Then, as quickly as it started, it was over. As the Nen dissipated, Gon sagged bonelessly into Pakunoda’s waiting arms. She had a look of shock across her face that she quickly hid. Killua was too focused on his friend to care though.

“Gon!” Killua screamed in desperation. But he didn’t dare move a muscle—his brother’s voice echoing in his head that he could never fight off one of the members, let alone all of them.

Soon, Gon started stirring and his eyes fluttered open. He looked around in confusion before closing his eyes in a wince, bringing a hand up to his head.

“Where am I?” He asked with his eyes still shut.

“Gon? Gon! Are you okay?” Killua cried in relief and worry.

At his voice, Gon opened his eyes again and met the gaze of Killua. But there was no recognition there. There was silence for a moment before Gon asked,

“Who are you?”

Those three words became the only thing buzzing around Killua’s head.

Who are you?

Wordlessly, Killua sank to his knees. Heavy, silent sobs started wracking his frame. Gon, his Gon, was gone. His first friend—he let slip through his fingers. He felt like his insides had been hollowed out, leaving unending emptiness. He didn’t fight when the pink-haired one gripped his arm and hauled him to his feet again, silently standing with his fringe covering his eyes.

“Pakunoda,” Killua heard the Boss say, “lead Gon-kun to one of the side rooms and try to make him comfortable. Get him some food and water. Nobunaga, you go with them. He’ll be largely your responsibility.”

“What should I do about the memory bullet?” Pakunoda asked. Killua didn’t know what she was talking about but he didn’t care. Gon was gone.

“Dispose of it,” the Boss dismissed. “He won’t be needing those anymore.”

“Yes, Boss.”

“Everyone else, start packing this stuff up. We leave at sunrise.”

Killua could hear Gon being led away but he didn’t look up. Then, he heard footsteps coming towards him and a moment later the Boss’s legs came into view. A hand gripped his chin and forced his head up. Killua tried to meet the other’s eyes defiantly, but all the fight was drained out of him.

After all, what was there to fight for anymore?

“I know you probably hate us now, but I promise you he’s in good hands. We’ll make him strong. He has a lot of potential. When you’re older, you’re welcome to come after us to exact your revenge. But I promise you, your friend will never be the same. He’ll be one of us.”

The Boss smiled then, and it was a smile that Killua would remember for the rest of the life. It was one that stole a person’s hopes and dreams. It was a smile that made Killua understand why the Boss was the leader of the Spiders. The Boss then looked over Killua’s shoulder at the pink-haired woman.

“Machi, knock him out.”

“Yes, Boss.”

The Boss stepped back. “It was interesting to meet you, Killua. If we’re ever in need of a member in the future, I’ll be sure to give you a call. In the meantime, you must trust Gon to us. I mean, you don’t have much a choice, now do you?”

That was the last thing Killua heard before he felt a sharp pain on the back of his neck, then total darkness.


Killua woke up to rain pounding on him and a killer headache. He found himself in a deserted alleyway with the moon hanging high overhead. How did he get here?

“Gon, where are—”

Everything came flooding back to him as he sat up quickly, causing his head to throb even more. How hard had that girl Machi knocked him out? His greatest worry, though, was Gon. If he could get in touch with Kurapika and the Mafia, maybe they could raid the Troupe’s hideout and rescue Gon. But first, Killua dialed Leorio. The teen answered on the first ring.

Killua?! Is that you? Zepile and I have been worried sick! Where have you been? It’s been over a day!”

Killua stopped rubbing his head at Leorio’s last comment. It was nighttime, so Killua had thought it was the same night. If Leorio was telling the truth, however, then Killua might be too late.

Don’t think like that , Killua thought to himself. They could have decided to stay an extra day.

“Gon has been captured by the Troupe. They knocked me out and dropped me off in an alley. I’m calling Kurapika now.”

Gon’s been captured?! Wait, Killua —”

He hung up and quickly dialed Kurapika. It took a few rings for him to pick up but when he did, Killua cut right to the chase.

“Gon was captured by the Troupe. I know where their hideout is. Help me save Gon. I know you’re the chain user.”

What did you just say? Do you know how dangerous the Troupe is?! I can’t believe —”

“It’s too late for that,” Killua yelled into the receiver. “It’s too late,” he said in a softer tone. “Will you help me or not?”

There was silence on the other side of the line for a moment before Kurapika spoke in a quieter voice.

I’m going to give you an address to a hotel. I will meet you there with a friend that can help us. Do not go after them without me. Gon wouldn’t want you throwing your life away to save him.”

Killua gritted his teeth but agreed and hung up. As soon as he got the address, he started running there at top speed. When he arrived, he saw he saw Kurapika in a new outfit with a short person standing next to him. When Kurapika saw the state his friend was in, he looked at a loss for a second before pulling himself together.

“Killua, this is Melody. She’ll be helping us find Gon. She has the best hearing of anyone you’ll ever meet.” He gestured to the person standing next to him, who looked like she was wearing a plant around her neck. She looked at him with an expression of deep worry and sympathy, but Killue felt no pity coming from her.

“Your heartbeat sings in the melody of absolute loss and heartbreak. What happened?”

Kurapika looked at Killua in alarm. “Are you alright, Killua? Did they hurt you or Gon?”

Killua felt a lump in his throat when he thought back to his time with the Troupe, and the last time he saw Gon.

Who are you?

Melody pulled on Kurapika’s sleeve. “If we push him too hard, he’s going to lose it. Let’s not question him for now and instead worry about finding Gon-kun.”

Kurapika stared at Killua a moment longer but Killua still said nothing. Killua was aware that if he started talking, he would break down right there in the hotel lobby.

“Let’s get going then,” Kurapika said finally.

And with that, they headed out towards the Spider’s base.


“That’s it, right there. The building at 2 o’clock.”

Killua pointed to the large abandoned building to their slight right.

There was silence for a moment before Melody timidly asked, “Are you sure this is the building?”

“Yes, I’m sure!” Killua hissed back.

“Killua, calm down!” Kurapika ordered.

Killua took in a deep breath and let it out again. “I’m sorry, Melody, but I’m positive this is the right one. Why do you ask?”

She didn’t answer for a second, seeming wary of Killua’s response.

“Well, it’s just—I can’t hear anyone inside at all. It’s silent.”

It couldn’t be. Killua refused to believe it. Not until he saw it with his own eyes. He stood up from their hiding position and started running towards the building.

“Killua! Are you insane?” Kurapika hissed from behind him. With a curse, Killua heard two more pairs of footsteps join him in his sprint for the Spider hideout. Sneaking up to an open window, Killua peeked into the main room of the building and found...nothing. No boxes of the stolen merchandise from the auction, and certainly no Troupe members. Giving up on any semblance of discretion, Killua climbed through the window, ignoring Kurapika’s protests, and started making his way through the rest of the building.

There was nothing. No signs of life. It was abandoned all over again.

“No no no.” Killua kept muttering under his breath. “This can’t be it.”

Kurapika’s hand came to rest on his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Killua. I would help you go after them but we can’t go where they probably went. The Mafia rescinded their hit on the Troupe. They’re from Meteor City. And they don’t just allow anyone to waltz in there.”

Meteor City? Like where Canary is from? From what Killua knew about that place, he would have to become much stronger to bring back Gon from there. And he would, no matter what. He turned around and started walking back towards the populous part of the city.

“Killua? Where are you going now?” Kurapika called after him.

“Kukuroo Mountain. I need to become stronger.” And if that meant willingly going back to his family’s influence, to Illumi’s, then so be it. He was going to become strong enough to save Gon, even if it killed him.

Chapter Text

Killua was running.

Gon. Gon. Gon.

That was the only thing he could think about: Gon. He had to save Gon. He was his first friend--his only friend. And now Killua had let him slip through his fingers. That image was permanently etched in his brain. The way Gon looked at him with no recognition. That woman Pakunoda had taken more than just Gon’s memories; she had taken a part of Killua as well.

Who are you?

The words kept echoing in Killua’s head in a non-stop loop. Without warning, Killua stopped in his tracks. He turns to his right, looking into the endless woods.

“You can come out, Aniki. I was waiting for you.”

Like a phantom, Illumi appeared to Killua’s left, leaning against a tree.

“I’m impressed Killua. I was hiding my presence quite well. And opening five of the testing gates? Very impressive indeed. You’ve gotten stronger since you last left.”

“I don’t want to hear it. You can help me get stronger, right? You know how to use Nen--teach me.”

Illumi tilted his head to the side. “Teach you?” He pondered. “I thought you were traveling the world with that boy. Gon, was it?”

Killua’s aura darkened at the mention of his best friend. Illumi’s eyes widened slightly at the intensity of it.

“Do not mention his name. I will save him.”

“Oh? You alone are going to save him from The Phantom Troupe?”

Illumi waved away Killua’s shocked expression. “Hisoka told me everything. He said Gon is having an interesting time settling in. Seems you left an impression on him before he was taken away.”

Killua’s breath caught at that. All he remembered about Gon’s expression was the lack of recognition; but now that he thinks about it, there might have been some worry there too. Killua wanted to laugh. And cry. Of course Gon would worry about someone who he hasn’t even ‘met’ before.

“At least you know you’re not strong enough to take them on now. I would hate to lose you, Killu.” As Illumi spoke, he slowly moved closer to Killua and stretched out his hand towards the younger boy. Killua jumped back a few feet, out of his brother’s reach.

“Either take me to Ji-San and Oji-San or I’ll find my way to them myself.”

Illumi dropped his hand and sighed. “Fine then. Let’s get going.”


 

Five Years Later

At first, it was about Gon. Of course it was. Gon was all 13-year-old Killua could think about. But now his priorities were different. After five years of grueling torture and training, Killua was finally ready to take over the family business. His obsession with Gon had been stamped out long ago by Illumi. Killua closed his eyes as he clenched his fists, discarding the memories. One more mission, his parents and grandfather had agreed, and then he would be fit to take over. But it wouldn’t just be a usual mission. Zoldycks treated this mission as a rite of passage into leading the family business. Even if it was killing one person or a large group, Killua was ready for the challenge.

“Killua-sama”

Killua didn’t have to glance over to recognize the person in the doorway to his room. He turned around anyway. Mahogany-brown skin greeted him as well as a head of thick dreadlocks, the top half pulled into a low ponytail. The easy smile on Canary’s face always made Killua want to snort. If only those who saw what she could do with a baton, they wouldn’t smile back at her so easily.

“Canary,” Killua murmured back. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

They both knew the answer. This is where her smile dimmed a little.

“They’re expecting you in the dojo.”

The Zoldyck had an abundance of dojos, of course, but Killua knew which one Canary was referring to. It was especially used for these types of occasions. It would be the same room that Killua was assigned his first assassination. 

Killua then stood up and took a second to stretch, lifting his arms above his head and lengthening his torso. He then walked past Canary through the doorway and started making his way in the long, winding corridor. The only sound that could be heard was their footsteps on the cold stone floor. After quite a while, and much deeper into the mountain, they came upon the door. 

Killua raised his hand to knock, but he froze at the last second. Canary was looking at him with an unreadable expression. She looked like she wanted to reach out to him, but ultimately knew better. He shook his head briefly at her, trying to reassure her not to worry. His arm was still raised, his fist poised to knock, so he did.

“Come in, Killua.”

That was his father’s deep voice. With a breath, Killua pushed open the door. He was greeted to the sight of his family sitting in a line facing the door. Most of the main butlers were here as well, standing off to the sides. Canary joined them once he entered. Killua removed his shoes, putting them by the wall and then sat down with his legs folded under him. Killua recognized that his mother and the rest of his siblings were present but he only had eyes for his father and grandfather. They both were sitting rigidly upright and Killua made sure to emulate their posture.

“Killua,” his father began, “it is time for you to take over this family. You are 18 years of age, and while young, we believe you are ready for the role. However, you must first complete a final mission.”

There was a long pause.

“You have been contracted to dispose of one of the Spiders.”

Killua’s heart started beating wildly but he didn’t let it show on his face.

“Which one?” Killua can’t help but ask.

His father smiled slowly.

“Number 11.”


 

Thousands of miles away, Gon let out a sneeze.


!

Chapter Text

Gon rubbed his nose, wondering what came over him. In the five years he’d been with the Troupe (the only five years he remembers, Gon thinks morosely), he had never sneezed once. He had only seen other people sneeze. The feeling was weird, he decided. Gon had discovered, along with the rest of the group, that he never gets sick. The Boss theorized that he had an over-active healing factor and immune system, evidenced by past experiences with the Troupe—stuff Gon didn’t want to remember.

“Someone must be talking about you,” came a bored voice from his left. Gon glanced over at the figure clad in black. Feitan looked the same as ever, with his collar high up, covering his mouth as per usual. He was reading one of the books they had recently stole. He didn’t look up as he spoke.

“What do you mean?” Gon asked curiously, never hearing of this phenomenon before. Feitan finally deigned Gon with a look in his direction as he sighed and closed his book. They had been walking for miles now, in the barren desert.

“In most cases,” he began in a bored tone, “I would just write it off as a sneeze. But we both know better. In some rare instances, when someone sneezes, it means someone is talking about them. I’ll tell the boss about it later. It might be nothing. It might be something. All I know is Nobunaga would kill me if you were even threatened under my watch.”

Gon couldn’t help but giggle. “But, Feitan, we’re a murdering band of thieves. Of course we’re going to be threatened.”

Feitan rolled his eyes and punched Gon lightly in the shoulder. Which hurt, obviously, because Feitan couldn’t help but hurt people. “Well, I don’t want to incur the wrath of him. You know how he gets, with that giant sword up his ass—especially when it comes to you.”

Gon knew what he was getting into but he couldn’t help but push Feitan back. Hard, of course. An eye for an eye and all. Feitan stumbled and nearly falls to the ground but his superior reflexes saved him

 “What,” Gon teased, “you don’t think you could take him?”

Feitan was glaring at Gon with an evil look in his eye, but Gon’s amused smile wasn’t deterred.

“You little brat,” Feitan growled. “I could beat that katana fighter with my umbrella any day. I wouldn’t even need to use my Hatsu.”

Gon couldn’t help but laugh. They started walking again and Gon got lost in thought. Feitan and he would tease each other all the time, every single time it was fun to rile him up. And Feitan does the same thing to him so it’s only payback. Feitan started it after all…


 

Four Years and Six Months Earlier

It had officially been six months since Gon had joined the Spiders. Well, maybe ‘joined’ wasn’t the right word. He hadn’t actually joined yet, considering he hadn’t gone on any thieving excursions ever. Nobunaga had forbidden it. But tonight was the night. They were robbing a noble family’s tomb. Suspected Nen-users as guards. Not what usually draws the entire Troupe, but the Boss wanted everyone to be there for Gon’s first mission. 

Gon didn’t want to admit it, but he was nervous. He had, of course, trained extensively with a few of the members of the Troupe—mostly Nobunaga and Machi for physical combat and Nen use and the Boss for theoretical and academic studies (steam was coming out of Gon’s ears just thinking about the lessons he had with the Boss). He was ready. More than ready. His strength was now firmly placed in the middle of the Troupe but there was no real way to test his combat ability without an actual mission.

The problem was, Gon didn’t know if he was ready to kill somebody. The Boss says he is, and the rest of the members do too, but something was holding Gon back. Maybe it was his life before the Phantom Troupe. That life he can’t remember. It sometimes feels like he’s trying to itch a missing limb that can never be scratched. He yearns for those lost memories, but he knows they can’t be recovered. When the Troupe had found him several months ago, they had Pakunoda go through his memories to try to bring anything to the surface but it seems they were just gone. Gon still held out hope that they would come back soon, and then he could go back to the family he imagined was looking for him. Even though the boss said they investigated and didn’t find anyone looking for him, Gon still could dream.

Maybe that white-haired boy would come back for him. He had looked so heartbroken when Gon had asked who he was. When Gon inquired later about what happened to him, Nobunaga had waved off his concerns, telling him the boy went back to his home. Still, maybe one day that boy would come back for him. That’s not to say Gon didn’t like the Phantom Troupe. He understood killing was just a way of life for them, and that they even took pleasure from it, but he didn’t know if he quite fit in with them.

There was a knock on the door of the room he was currently staying in. Standing in the doorway was Hisoka. Gon frowned internally. The magician had always given off a weird vibe to Gon—like he was entirely amused with Gon’s situation, but he couldn’t figure out why.

“Oh Gon~,” Hisoka practically sang, “It’s time.”


The majority of the rest of the night blurred together. They arrived in a blaze of Franklin’s bullets, taking out the simple guards with guns. The few Nen-users of the guards came forward to attack. Only Gon and Nobunaga were fighting the guards. The Boss and the rest of the Troupe stayed back to let Gon earn his tattoo. 

In Gon’s opinion, the fight was easy. There were three Nen users in all and Nobunaga gave Gon the one on the left while he took the two on the right. The man’s ability was pretty simple—a rudimentary fire quirk that paled in comparison to what Gon had heard about Feitan’s Hatsu. In under five minutes, two heads were rolling on the ground by Nobunaga’s katana. At the same time the swordsman was finished and had cleaned and put his sword back in its sheath, Gon was towering over his unconscious guard with his fist pulled back. The Boss came forward with the rest of the Troupe. 

“Marvelously done,” the Boss commended. “Now, finish the job.”

Gon started powering up his punch but just as it reached its zenith, he let the power dissipate.

“No,” Gon said quietly.

“No?” Nobunaga spoke up, “What do you mean? This is what you’ve been training for!”

“I don’t want to kill people!” Gon shouted.

Suddenly, his arm was wrenched behind him in a very uncomfortable position. He cried out in distress before clamping his mouth shut. It was Feitan. For some reason, this position felt awfully familiar but Gon couldn’t tell why.

“If you don’t kill that man, I’m going to break your arm.” Feitan hissed. Nobunaga tried to step in but the Boss gave a shake of his head. This needed to happen. Nobunaga moved back, but not without a grimace.

The rest of the group watched Gon’s struggle, not offering any help—not like Gon thought they would. It felt good to see Nobunaga tried to help him, though. His arm was twisted harder and Gon had to hold back a yell. 

“Well?” Feitan pressed.

“Never!” Gon closed his eyes in defiance, readying himself.

Snap.

The pain was excruciating. But it felt familiar at the same time. Gon tried to follow where the ghost of the memory was coming from but it slipped away like smoke through his fingers. He had fallen to his knees from the pain and through blurry eyes, he saw the boss’s boots come into view, along with the bottom of his long coat. The Boss kneeled down to make eye contact with him, but Gon only closed his eyes once again. The Boss gripped his chin hard and forced Gon’s head to face him.

“Look at me,” the Boss ordered calmy. 

Gon didn’t listen.

“Gon, look at him. For your own good.” That was Nobunaga. Begrudgingly, Gon opened his eyes to be greeted by the passive face of the Boss. He observed the boy for a moment before speaking

“Someone asked me once why I kill. I couldn’t give them an answer then but I might be able to give one now. It’s about survival, Gon. If they are too weak to survive, they are in my way. Part of it comes with the territory of thievery. If someone is between me and something I want, I take care of them.” 

Now the Boss stood up again.

“But another part of it, Gon? I like it.”

He nodded at Feitan, who grabbed Gon’s one good arm and twisted it behind his back much like he did the other.

“And you’ll learn to love it too.”

Gon could only hold back tears as the pain in his arms threatened to overwhelm him.

“Are you ready to do your duty yet?” Feitan asked.

“Go. To. Hell.”

Snap.

This time Gon couldn’t hold back his scream but he clamped his lips together after a few seconds. Feitan stepped out from behind him and came around to see his face. 

“You’ve got my respect, brat. But that doesn’t mean I’ll let you off the hook.”

He walked over to the fire Nen-user who was finally waking up. He couldn’t move, however, considering Machi had tied him up with her Nen wire while the Boss and Feitan were... helping Gon. The man started struggling the closer Feitan got to him, but Feitan only chuckled.

“Oh, I’m sorry, but you won’t be living past tonight I’m afraid.”

The guard’s eyes widened in fear. In a flash, Feitan had taken out his umbrella and removed the handle from the rest, revealing a long, sharp blade. Without a hint of hesitation, Feitan sliced off the man’s right hand. His screams of agony soon filled the air and Gon winced.

Feitan made eye contact with Gon. There was no remorse in his eyes.

“If you don’t kill this man right now, I will torture him until he begs for death. I will cut off every part of him slowly, piece by piece, until he pleads with me to end it all. What is your choice, Gon?”

Gon was lost and he had no way to be found. He closed his eyes, but not in defiance. Letting his arms hang loosely, Gon stood up and made his way over to Feitan and the guard, who was still wailing about his lost appendage. Knowing his own arms were useless, Gon walked over to the guard’s head and raises his foot. He looks back to the Troupe. They’re all watching, waiting with anticipation. This is the moment. He couldn’t come back from this.

He built up Nen in his leg, and when the power reached his climax, he brought his foot down with a sickening—


Present

Gon was violently shaken out of the memory by Feitan opening his umbrella in his face, startling him to the ground. He pointed ahead and Gon could finally see the outline of Meteor City.

“Finally. We’re home.”