Actions

Work Header

Green and Tender Magic

Chapter Text

Work is an incredible drag. R&D has stalled out on the latest line of make-up glamours they’re designing, and now their projections for production are all off. The prototype doesn’t do what it needed to. The spellwork’s just not holding the way they thought it would. On top of that, one of their backers has cut funding for the kitschy animated animal trinkets, grinding that project to a sudden halt as well.

It’s incredibly frustrating. Killua hates hitting snags like this, and it seems to be happening a lot lately. What makes it all worse - Killua doesn’t care for either of these projects to begin with. Sure, they’ll sell. It’s always easy to make the public at large want to buy something they feel will make them look better, and someone has already suggested marketing the animated trinkets as a replacement for a familiar - perfect for beginners and the rich and lazy alike, depending on how they make them. Killua is well aware that there’s a market for them, if they can ever get things up and running. But where’s the imagination behind it? Where’s the drive to make a unique product?

Bisky would tell him to get his head out of the clouds. Not everything they make at Facets can be the next big thing. Not every product is going to have the same creative impact as Killua’s jeweled biomes, or the affordable clothing they make for lower-income customers that’s charmed to be both durable and weather-resistant. Still, when Bisky calls him into her office for a one on one brainstorming session, he looks at the polished sapphire, a little smaller than his fist, that sits on her desk. He watches the storm raging inside it - rolling clouds and lightning strikes - and remembers the day he made it for her. When everyone else was arguing the what-ifs and hows, Killua had decided to go capture of piece of a storm just to prove it could be done. He’d found the storm, weaved a spell to cut off a piece of it, drew it down, wove a barrier around it until it was there, in his hands - all its rolling, flashing, thundering power.

It had been amazing and fulfilling. He’d felt a drive then that he doesn’t now. None of the current projects light a fire in him, fuel that drive he had when he and Bisky were really starting to put Facets on the map.

There’s got to be some fresh ideas out there that they’re just not tapping into.

Bisky’s right, though - they need to focus on where they’re at instead of wishing there was something better on the table. Facets is doing well, and even if Killua himself isn’t invested, plenty of their new products have great potential in certain markets. They all just need to put their noses to the grindstone.

After a particularly headache-inducing meeting, Killua moves quickly to his office to clear his head before anyone can draw him aside. If he has to listen to one more word about the pedantic, useless, petty infighting between the R&D facet and the financing facet about needing quality materials to make sure the spellwork holds on the blah blah- verses the impracticality of using high grade materials when such and such a company did something similar with such and such a blah blah BLAH BLAH

Killua couldn’t listen to half of it, and he needs a few moments to gather himself before he goes out there with his big-boy pants on to try to make the two work together to find a compromise.

Sitting at his desk, Killua feels a soft buzz in his pocket. He almost doesn’t want to check. It could be any one of the inner facets messaging him about where his attention is needed, or Bisky even, or-

He pulls his scroll out all the same, and smiles.

It’s Gon. He’s sent a picture of some potted hanging plant with small circular leaves and puffy, soft looking blooms on them. Gon’s happy that it’s flowering finally.

‘How are you?’ Gon asks after telling him about the plant.

‘You have really good timing. Wishing I were anywhere but work rn, tbh.’

‘Yeah? Everything ok?’

‘It’s fine. Just the regular kind of frustrating work stuff.’

‘Sorry to hear it’s frustrating you, though.’

‘It’s alright. What are you up to?’

‘Aside from tending to my plants? Thinking of you.’

Killua’s smile grows into a grin. ‘Oh, really? Thinking of me how?’

‘Thinking about how I didn’t get to kiss you enough before you left.’

Killua chuckles, and types out an agreement. He had seen Gon a little that last day, but it wasn’t a lengthy visit. Just long enough to pull Gon away from the front floor and kiss him in the back room without the prying eyes of his sisters or customers. They’d talked a little, too - come clean about how they both meant to say something to the other sooner. To think Gon had been dancing around him because he was nervous too.

It’s sort of a relief, really. Killua can’t imagine why Gon hasn’t been on the dating scene lately, considering how incredibly hot he is. Still, if Gon’s as out of practice as him, they can get back into practice together. It takes some of the pressure off.

‘What’s something you’ve wanted to learn to cook?’ Gon asks him.

Killua has to think about it. When he answers, Gon invites him over. Next time he’s in town, Gon wants him to come over to his place and he’ll show him how to make it.

‘We can make an evening of it.’.

Killua smiles so wide his cheeks hurt. ‘I’d like that.’

*

The thought of actually having Killua over is nerve wracking. It seems a little backwards - inviting him over for such a private night in first, before they even go out somewhere. Killua insists he’s fine with that, though. He mentions to Gon that going out can be a bother at times, on account of people sometimes recognize him.

Gon wants to do whatever makes Killua most comfortable, so a night in it is. A night in his tiny apartment. He warns Kilua of the size - just enough to fit over the store. He supposes if he wanted to, he could take Killua back to the house, but… He’s avoided being there for so long. Especially after his long trips, it’s too isolated. Even if he prefers the sound of wind and waves, the hum of insects, and the creak of a house settling to the constant buzzing of the city - the city feels less lonely. Busier is sometimes what he needs. But because he hasn’t been to the house in so long, it’s not ready for company. He hasn’t had time to clean, and he’s not up to tackling that task just yet. Taking Killua to a dusty house seems like it’d be more embarrassing than into his clean but tiny apartment.

Killua comes in the early evening, meeting Gon downstairs after he’s closed up shop. Gon can see him waiting outside as he approaches the door, opening it for him since he’d locked up a few moments ago. “Hey,” he greets, smiling.

“Hey,” Killua returns, and then he’s leaning in, hand cupping Gon’s jaw as he draws him in for a soft kiss.

Gon sighs, leaning into it. When they break, Gon blinks slowly. “...Hey.”

Killua grins at him. “You already said that.” Gon flushes, but Killua just laughs. “You gonna let me in?”

“Oh!” Gon laughs at himself. He steps back and Killua follows. Once he has the door shut again, Gon leads Killua up the stairs.

Thankfully, he doesn’t say anything about the smallness of the space up here. Gon sees him looking around as Gon moves into the kitchenette. He gets all of the ingredients out, and begins to explain to Killua what he has in mind for their meal and what they’ll need to do. Killua is attentive, nodding along. When it comes time to get down to it, he rolls up his sleeves and goes to work doing whatever Gon instructs him to.

It goes well. It goes really well, actually. Gon had thought that the size of his kitchen would prove frustrating. It’s not really meant for two people to work in. Instead, though, the smallness of the area they have to work in just lends itself well to giving them an excuse to work closely. They stand side by side, close enough that they gently nudge into each other when they move. Hands brush, elbows and shoulders bump playfully, and they laugh softly at each other. Gon finds himself smiling, flush, all his worries melted away. Not to mention, he’s all the more eager to reach out and touch Killua. Killua, apparently, feels the same.

When they finish their meal - which turned out terrific - Gon doesn’t have to say anything as he takes Killua’s hand and leads him from the small two-person dining table to his couch. They sit close, and lose all sense of time talking.

“Bisky’s happy, I think, that I’m taking breaks more often,” Killua says with a roll of his shoulder, when Gon asks if he’s gotten any flak for taking off.

Gon hums. He turns towards Killua so their knees touch. Killua reaches to hook his fingers through Gon’s, pulling his hand into is grasp. “You seem close with her. You talk about her really... casually.”

Killua blinks, blue eyes dropping as he draws absent-minded patterns on the back of Gon’s hand. “We are close… A lot closer than people in our positions typically are, for sure.”

Gon watches as Killua pushes up the edge of his sleeve, those deft fingers tracing up his inner arm in a way that has Gon repressing a shiver. He’s quiet, though, as he waits for Killua to go on.

Killua’s eyes remain cast down. “She… She knew me, sort of, before I left home. Or, well, knew of me. I was… I was struggling to support us, working shitty retail jobs, and… Bisky took a chance on me. She hired me, even though I didn’t technically have the qualifications I needed. I mean… I’d trained, like… I’d seen how my family ran their business since I was young, but I didn’t have a formal business education and...” Killua rolls his shoulder.

“She gave you a better job,” Gon says, drawing those blue eyes up for a moment.

Killua nods, and smiles. “I think… I think maybe someone asked her. Um. Someone who worked for my family, but who basically helped raise me and Alluka. So Bisky gave me a chance, and I worked my ass off for her, starting from the bottom.”

“And then you made COO.”

Killua’s smile widens, and Gon can tell he’s proud of the fact. “One of the youngest. It was a pretty big deal when she promoted me into the position. I was… like only almost twenty-seven at the time.”

Gon’s brows raise. “That’s amazing, Killua,” he says, his voice soft and hushed but brimming with sincerity.

Killua’s cheeks flush, and he averts his eyes again. Then nudging Gon with his knee, he replies, “You’ve done pretty amazing things, yourself.” Then, he lifts Gon’s hand, and lets his lips ghost over the inside of Gon’s wrist. Looking up at Gon from under the dark sweep of his eyelashes, Killua asks, “Tell me more about your travels?”

Gon shivers and laughs softly, a noise born of the giddy feeling Killua arouses in him, and indulges him. It’s fun to watch Killua’s eyes shimmer and light up as he talks about it.

“All the places you’ve been sound amazing. It must be nice to get away sometimes.”

“Yeah,” Gon admits. “It’s nice to have to option. To not be too cooped up.”

Killua sighs. “Yeah. I get that - feeling too cooped up sometimes. I’d love to go off and… have an adventure or something.”

Gon smiles at him, shifting his hold on Killua’s hand. “Mmm… Sometimes you can find something adventurous closer to home than you expect,” he says, and lifts Killua’s hand to kiss slowly at his fingers.

Gon’s heart studders as Killua flushes a pretty color and smiles at him. “Flatterer,” he accuses, then lifts his free hand to Gon’s jaw. “Get over here,” he commands, and draws Gon into a kiss that quickly escalates from soft to heated.

They kiss like they haven’t really had the opportunity to before - truly on their own, not tucked around just out of sight for a few stolen moments. Now they can take their time, now they can touch in whatever ways they’re comfortable with.

Gon groans as Killua bites his lower lip, opening his mouth to let a curious tongue lick its way in. His own lifts to taste Killua. A strong hand at his waist pulls him closer and Gon curls his fingers a little tighter in Killua’s hair.

Knees touching, Gon’s leg hitches up a little, settling over Killua’s knee. He feels hot and flushed. Would it be too much too soon if he slid himself over Killua’s lap? If he were to press in close to feel the solid warmth of his body?

The buzz in his pocket makes Gon jump.

Killua stills, pulling back marginally. “Do you need to get that?”

Gon blinks for a moment, his mind coming back to him. “...Oh.” It’s his scroll.

When he pulls it out of his pocket, it’s a message from Kite. Shit. He still needs to tell him if he’s going to try to make it on that survey trip he has planned in a few months. Kite has said he might need extra hands, and asked Gon along.

Later, though. He’ll tell him later.

“Sorry about that,” Gon says. “Just a friend, I can get back to them later.” He sets his scroll on the arm of the couch.

Killua nods, and the way those blue eyes drop - looking at his mouth - makes Gon shiver. Killua’s thumb is at his lower lip, tracing over it in a way that does funny things to Gon’s insides. Killua blinks, then pulls back a margin.

Gon frowns. “What is it?” Is something wrong?

Killua’s lips turn in a frown, too. “Nothing, just… I realized I don’t know what time it is.”

“Oh.” Gon reaches to tilt his scroll towards him enough to look. “Oh. It’s late…” He already knows what Killua’s thinking.

“I should.. I should go. Get back to Alluka’s.”

Gon feels a soft sort of disappointment, but he understands. Much as he wants to keep doing this with Killua, he’s not sure if he’s ready for more yet. He turns to Killua, reaching to cup his face between both his hands. He nods. “Okay… Yeah.”

Killua bites his lip, which is practically foul play. Tempting Gon like that when he should be leaving! “I just don't want to wake her up, coming in too late.”

Gon nods. “No, I understand. You should…”

“I had a really good time, though,” Killua tells him. His hand falls to the leg Gon has hitched up over Killua’s. The warm touch to his knee is enough to ignite a few hot sparks in Gon’s stomach. “A really, really good time.”

“Me too,” Gon whispers. He wants so badly to lean in and take another kiss, but if he does that now, here, like this… Oh, he could get distracted so easily. So he pulls back. Killua follows his lead, and they both stand.

Gon packs some of the leftovers for Killua in a tupperware, leads him back downstairs.

They get stalled up twice, down in the dark of his store. Once, at the bottom of the stairs, Killua boxes him in against the wall and trails kisses from his mouth to his jaw. Then again, after they’ve stumbled closer to the door. Killua’s hair is lit like a halo in the moonlight, and Gon can’t resist reaching up to pull him into one last goodbye kiss that leaves them both flushed and panting.

The result is Killua leaving several minutes after they’d originally planned, but Gon thinks - can either of them really be blamed?

*

Dividing his time between his sisters and his … whatever Gon is to him, proves a little difficult. Killua often can’t afford to take off for a long break, leaving him with only a couple of days here or there to spend with either or all of them. Killua wishes there were more time, wishes work didn’t call for his attention so much.

Alluka and Nanika are understanding. They’re thrilled to see him when they can, and don’t give him any guff about wanting to go have some alone time with Gon. But then, that shouldn’t surprise him. They’ve always been the best sisters in the world.

And Gon…

He is always such a breath of fresh air. Aside from being incredibly handsome and an amazing kisser, he’s just - he’s good. He’s funny. He’s thoughtful, considerate. He’s amazing.

When Killua isn’t having a good day, Gon listens to him, offers distractions when needed. He tells him wonderous stories about all of the places he’s seen, or about the mischief he got up to growing up on Whale Island, or even just something Kon did the other day that was funny. He remembers the kinds of jokes Killua likes. He remembers with surprising detail the kinds of foods Killua doesn’t like. When they touch, when they kiss, when hands start to wander farther than they have before, Gon pauses sometimes, and Killua knows he’s gauging for a reaction. When Killua hesitates, Gon asks. He never presses.

By the stars, he’s such a fucking catch.

The more he gets to know Gon, though, the more he sees that there’s things packed under the surface that Gon isn’t comfortable bringing to the light.

When he notices Gon wearing a small leather pouch around his neck, Killua asks about it without thinking.

Gon lifts a hand to the touch,curling his fingers around it. He blinks, and hesitates a moment before answering. “Oh, it’s… Alluka put this together. Or… helped me.” Killua doesn’t want to pry, but he tips his head, curious, and Gon continues, “She thinks it might help me sleep.”

“Oh,” Killua’s brow furrows as he watches Gon tuck the bag back under the collar of his shirt. It seems like an odd choice for a sleep remedy. He’s familiar with that type of spell work - it’s more for personal protection, or to promote harmony.

“Have you been sleeping poorly again?” Killua asks, reaching over to take Gon’s hand.

Brown eyes lift to him quickly.

“Like when I visited the first time,” Killua adds, softly. Why is Gon so jumpy over this? “You had that night where you slept poor.”

“Oh… Yeah.” Gon turns his head away, lifting his hand to the back of his neck. “It happens sometimes.” A pause, then, “It’s been happening for a long time. I’m used to it.”

Killua’s lips pull into a frown. “Well… I’m not as good as Alluka at making potions and things for this sort of thing, but…” Killua lifts his free hand to slide alongside Gon’s cheek. “Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” He drops a slow, soft kiss to Gon’s jaw, and he can feel it when Gon smiles in response.

“I think you’re already doing it.” Killua grins, letting his lips work up the hard line of Gon’s jaw until he can take Gon’s earlobe between his teeth, nipping gently.

Gon shifts under his touch, breathing out a half-smouldered moan. Killua grins and walks Gon back until his back is against the nearby wall, then reaches down between Gon’s legs.

*

Alluka isn’t very forthcoming when he questions her about her choice of spell later.

Not at first, at least.

“Look, I don’t mean to question your methods, it’s just, I never heard of that being used to…”

Alluka sighs. “No, it’s not specifically for sleep, but…. I think it may be closer to what Gon needs.”

Killua frowns, and waits for her to elaborate.

She frowns at him, crossing her arms. “I’m not in the habit of discussing what my customers have come to me for.”

“And I’m not-” Killua lets out a huff. “Look, I just want to make sure he’ll be alright. If you think this is what he needs to sleep, then I’ll trust you.”

With that, it’s his turn to cross arms stubbornly over himself as he looks back towards the TV. He understands why Alluka doesn’t want to over-share, but still. It’s hard to set aside his curiosity. More than that, he really is worried for Gon.

Another sigh. Alluka shifts, and out of the corner of his eye he can see her folding her long legs up on the couch to face him. “Gon’s had, I would say, chronic issues sleeping. He says it’s related to nightmares, but I suspect it’s more than just your average bad dream.”

Killua turns as well, leaning his shoulder into the back of the couch while he looks at her. “How long has he…?”

Alluka shrugs. “Long as I’ve known him? Longer, probably.”

Killua frowns. Gon’s never mentioned having that much trouble sleeping. Killua’s only heard about it the two times.

“This is all just... conjecture, since Gon himself hasn’t confirmed, but given his sleeping issues and… some other things, I suspect Gon has some sort of trauma that he’s never really gotten over.” Alluka leans back, turning her head off to the side. “I gave him that pouch because it’s supposed to promote inner harmony and peace. But if his issues are as deeply seated as I suspect they are…” Alluka looks at him again. “My spellwork won’t work. It can’t fix that sort of thing. He’ll have to get himself sorted out.”

Killua takes this all in, wondering what else he hasn’t noticed. “What other sort of things?”

Alluka lets out a big breath. “I don’t know… Just… He’s sad sometimes? Like… you know.” Alluka looks him in his eyes meaningfully, and Killua does know - he doesn’t need any further explanation. He and Alluka both dealt with their own brands of depression, even after finally leaving home. Sometimes when someone else is going through something similar you pick up on subtle signs. “He has a lot of friends, but he doesn’t see a lot of them it seems like. He goes through phases where he’s bad about eating regularly. I dunno, Killua. I’m really just guessing.”

Killua nods. “No, that’s… Alluka, that’s good to know. Now I know, I can…”

Killua doesn’t know what he can do, but he can at least look out for stuff.

Alluka nods in turn, knowing exactly what he means.

*

‘Don’t tell Alluka, but I stay up late working more often than I should.’

‘Oh? Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.’

‘Lol, good. I just wanted you to know that if you ever can’t sleep and want to send me a message, you could.’

‘Oh, I wouldn’t want to wake you up.’

‘Don’t worry about that, I’m a heavy sleeper. ;P

You’d more likely be distracting me from working too hard anyway.’

‘Okay. :)

Maybe I will sometime.’

*

What on earth he could have ever done to deserve the attention of someone like Killua Zoldyck, Gon will never know. The first night they met, Killua left the impression that he was somewhat reserved and serious - someone who you wouldn’t want to get in the way of. Killua had been polite to him when he’d had dinner with him and his sisters, but even after they managed to have a nice discussion over the dinner table, Gon had worried that Killua was annoyed with him.

Now Gon has a much clearer picture of just who Killua is.

Killua is incredibly kind. Gon feels pulled in by his warmth. When he looks at Gon with that smile of his - the one that reaches his eyes and makes them glimmer - Gon feels his heart stutter in his chest.

Killua hardly seems to notice how good he is. It’s evident, of course, in the way that Killua is with his sisters. It shows in other ways, too, though. When Killua vents to him about work related things, a lot of it admittedly goes over Gon’s head - but he quickly gathers that Killua isn’t out for blood like a lot of people at his level of business are. Whenever one of their investors wants to make an unnecessary price hike on one of their products that, in Killua’s words, ‘were specifically designed with the common caster in mind and need to be easily accessible’ Killua absolutely fumes. He talks often about how certain classes of casters want to go back to the dark ages of making magical resources only available to those with a certain background.

“Pretentious, privileged bastards,” Killua spits.

They’re speaking over their scrolls, but Gon can easily envision Killua’s frustrated face - his pinched brows, the unhappy twist of his mouth. Gon would kiss it away if he were here now, but he can’t.

“But Bisky agrees with you, right? She won’t let the prices be changed unfairly.”

Killua sighs. “No. At least, not like they’re wanting.”

Gon spends several moments talking him down.

“It’s just,” Killua sighs. “Stars… I got so lucky. Bisky brought me on young with no practical experience and I worked my ass off to prove myself to her. But before that… Fuck.”

“They don’t know what it’s like to need help,” Gon offers, his voice soft to keep Killua from getting too riled up.

“They don’t,” Killua agrees. “I worked anything I could get my hands on to support Alluka and Nanika and me before Bisky… It was hard. It was… And I’m lucky, Gon. I didn’t have to do that for long. I grew up not really wanting...”

“Killua…” Gon may not know a lot of the details, but he knows that Killua’s childhood wasn’t easy either. It was just hard in a different way.

“No, I know. I just… I don’t get how some people really don’t care for anyone other than themselves.”

It shouldn’t, but that makes Gon smile. Killua has such a big heart. “Me neither,” he agrees. “I’m sorry you had a bad day.”

Killua sighs. “Sorry I’ve been complaining so much lately.”

“Don’t be! I’m happy to listen. Just wish I was there… like, there-there for you.”

A hum on the other end of the line. “I wish you were here-here too. I’d rather be kissing you than thinking about work.”

“I’d rather be kissing you, too.” Then, with an exaggerated sigh, “I try kissing the picture I have of you on my scroll before bed every night, but it’s just not the same.”

There’s a predictable sputtering on Killua’s side, and Gon barely holds in his laughter as Killua regains his words. “You do not! Shut up!”

He starts laughing, though, and then Gon can’t hold is own in any longer.

*

It’s when that kindness is turned on him that he really doesn’t know what to do with himself.

The late-night-can’t-sleep messages - an offer Gon initially never intended to take Killua up on - quickly turn into late-night-can’t-sleep calls. It’s Killua’s suggestion on just the second time Gon messages, when Gon finds he can’t manage to send more than just a couple of words at a time because he’s spiraling so fast.

Killua asks, ‘Would it help to hear my voice?’

Gon answers, ‘Dunno. Maybe.’ He rolls onto his back, putting a hand over his eyes as he tries to make himself breath evenly.

Not even a minute later, his scroll is chiming to notify him of an incoming call. When he taps his scroll to accept, he answers in a small voice, “Hello?”

“Oooh, your voice is sexy when it’s all groggy like that.”

In spite of himself, Gon smiles. “Is not,” he returns.

“Oh, it definitely is. You sexy stud muffin, you.”

The pet name is so uncharacteristic that laughter barks out of Gon’s throat before he can stop it. He pulls his hand away from his eyes, pressing it to his chest instead as he tries to regain his breath. “Stud muffin? What kind of name even is that?”

“One that describes you. You wanna know what kind of muffin you are?”

“Aside from whatever a ‘stud’ muffin is?”

“Aside from stud, yes.”

“A banana nut.”

Gon blinks of up at his ceiling. “Banana… nut…”

“Yup. You wanna know why?”

“Mmm… I’m not sure… But tell me anyway.”

“Well, because it’s the sexiest kind of muffin.”

Another laugh. “How do you figure?”

“On account of the innuendo, obviously?”

“Oh stars,” Gon breathes, rolling on his side. He pins the scroll between his ear and the pillow. “What are you, like, twelve?”

“No, but I have been told I have the humor of a twelve-year-old.”

Gon hums, then grunts softly when Kon climbs over his side to curl against his front.

“You okay?” He hears Killua ask.

“Yeah. Kon just stepped over me is all.”

“Ah.” He pauses. “And are you… okay?”

Gon bites his lip, waiting to respond. “I think.” He still feels like he’s at the edge of a bad panic, like he’s just anticipating it getting worse. It’s definitely better than it was a moment ago, though.

“Mmm, well I can keep talking if you need me too. Or you could keep talking at me with that sexy, groggy voice of yours.”

Gon laughs. “You’re on something. ...It is nice hearing your voice, though. Makes it feel like you’re closer.”

“Yeah,” Killua replies, his voice going soft. “I know what you mean. But yeah, I can keep talking if it helps.”

“It does,” Gon admits. “Maybe… less about muffins, though.”

“Oh, darn,” Killua breathes, clearly playing up his disappointment. “I was just gonna tell you about the second sexiest type of muffin.”

“Oh, stars… I think I know where this is going, but go ahead.”

“The second sexiest type of muffin,” Killua says, then gives a long pause for effect. “Is red velvet.”

Red velvet?” Gon echos, wrinkling his nose.

“Yeah, absolutely!”

“But, how?”

“Cause red velvet is fucking delicious, that’s how.”

Gon makes a doubtful sound. “Wouldn’t that just… be a cupcake, though?”

“Nope,” Killua says. “No icing, not a cupcake. But wait, what did you think I was gonna say?”

“Ummm… strawberry, actually.”

“Strawberry?” Killua asks, his tone pitching with curiosity.

“Yeah. You know, ‘cause a strawberry looks like the tip of a-”

He doesn’t get the chance to finish before Killua bursts into laughter. “Oh, Gon Freecss! You’re dirty.” Killua sounds oddly satisfied.

Gon laughs too. “Wait, no! I’m just following your example with the banana nut- with the- the phallic thing.”

Killua snorts. “You said phallic.”

*

Gon doesn’t want to ask about the details regarding Killua’s family. There’s some stuff there, he knows - “stuff” generally boiling down to his family being shitty. But until Killua is ready to volunteer that information, Gon can wait. He can understand why it would be hard to bring up.

It comes up by chance when they’re walking down from Alluka’s shop to his one day. Killua stops in his tracks and grabs onto Gon’s forearm to get him to stop too, gripping much harder than necessary.

“Killua?” Gon turns to look at him. He looks up to find Killua’s expression pinched and tense, staring across the way to the opposite street corner. Gon follows his gaze, but can’t figure out where he’s looking. There are a few people out - a couple with a baby stroller waiting to cross the street, and someone with long dark hair who appears to be busy on their scroll, and a short woman staring into a shop’s window. After just a moment, he feels Killua’s grip relax marginally. “Killua, what is it?”

He only shakes his head. “Nothing,” he says, tense. “I thought… It’s nothing. We can go.”

Later, at Gon’s apartment, Killua admits what he thought he saw.

“I thought it was my brother,” he says.

They’re curled up on Gon’s couch - which is to say Gon is sitting on one end while Killua leans in against him, his long legs stretched out over the rest of the couch. Killua’s head is leaned back on Gon’s chest and shoulder. He keeps his attention on the TV as he speaks, and Gon thinks maybe it’s easier for him that way.

“Yeah?”

“Mmm. Well, one of them at least.” Killua’s quiet for a moment. “Illumi, he… His hair is long and black, and he’s tall. I thought…” Killua sighs.

Gon hums his understanding. “I’m sorry your family makes you feel this way.”

Killua rolls one of his shoulders in a shrug. “It’s stupid, you know? Getting startled seeing someone who looks like him.”

“It’s not stupid,” Gon tells him, leaning in to nose at Killua’s hair and giving him a gentle squeeze with the arm his has wrapped around Killua.

“No, I mean… Illumi’s skilled in disguise. Illusion magic is one of his things. He could look however he wanted if.... If he were to spy on me again, he’d be likely to, y’ know.... Or just hire someone else to do it.”

Gon bites his lip. ‘Again’ Killua said. “Has he done that before?”

Killua goes quiet. Gon can feel the tension gathering in his body. Eventually, he answers. “Yes.”

Gon frowns. What kind of family does that?

Killua shifts in his arms then, turning so he can sit up and look at Gon properly. “Gon… You should know, my family…” He opens his mouth, but for a moment no words come out. He lets out a sigh, then drops his gaze. “It’s been years since.. I mean, there’s not been anything recently, but…”

Gon reaches for one of Killua’s hands, gently holding it between his own. “It’s okay, Killua.”

When Killua looks up, his gaze has hardened in a way that makes Gon feel sad somehow. His jaw is set with a sort of resolve. “My family was not happy with me when I left with Alluka, and they… they tried to get a lot of people to… believe bad things about me and about her and Nanika.”

When Killua pauses, Gon nods to show he’s paying attention.

“And though it’s been a while since they last tried anything, they have tried to interfere with my life directly before.”

Gon frowns even deeper. “That’s awful.”

Killua gives him a humorless smile. “That’s not the half of it.” He doesn’t elaborate, but just presses on. “I… I just want you to know that. Just in case.”

Gon nods again, squeezing Killua’s hand. “Killua, it’s alright.”

“Just, if something happens, you don’t have to feel obligated to-”

“Killua,” Gon interrupts. “I’m not the type to believe hearsay. I know you, and I know Alluka and Nanika. I know they’re amazing, and I know you’re … Killua, you’re so good. So it’s… it’s good. We’re good.”

Killua looks like he wants to say more, but he doesn’t. He just nods. He takes a deep breath, and nods again. “Okay. … Alright. I mean, there might not even be a reason to say, but. I just wanted to, just in case.”

“Got it,” Gon says, and pulls Killua’s hand up to kiss the backs of his fingers.

Killua smiles at him, then turns his face away. Something seems to have caught his attention, though, because he tips his head to look at something on the windowsill behind them. His nose wrinkles cutely. “You know there’s a worm inside this plant here?”

“Oh,” Gon turns, lifting slightly to peer over the edge of the pot, where he can see the worm has briefly surfaced, but is burying itself once again. “Yeah. I found him on the sidewalk out front of the shop. Poor guy had thought he’d found a shady spot to rest, but I didn’t want to leave him there to get stepped on or burnt up when the sun moved. And I knew this plant’s spoil could use some aeration, so I- … What?”

Killua is giving him the strangest look. His eyes are a little wide, looking directly at Gon like he’s grown a second head. Then, a sudden smile breaks out over his face and Killua slaps his hands over his eyes.

Gon’s lips tug down into a pout. “Hey, don’t make fun! Worms are very useful for gardening and-”

“No,” Killua stops him, laughter coloring his voice. “I’m not- I don’t mean to-” But he’s laughing, and when he uncovers his eyes to see Gon pouting at him, he laughs harder still. “You’re too much, Gon Freecss.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Gon demands.

Killua just grins and leans in to kiss Gon - which is totally unfair because Gon doesn't have a chance at staying mad at him after that.

*

Killua whines and makes a show of pouting when Gon pulls away from his kisses and touches so they can have dinner, but dinner with Gon is enough of a treat that Killua knows he won’t regret pausing making out with Gon for just a little while.

After dinner, they’re back to the couch - the only comfortable place to sit close in Gon’s small apartment - and Killua finds himself dreading the moment where they have to say goodnight. And in a few days’ time, it’ll be goodbye. Who knows how long it’ll be before he can break away from Facets again? He misses this so much when he’s gone. His own apartment, though more spacious, couldn’t feel less comfortable or welcoming these days.

It’s almost on a whim that he speaks up when they part for breath.

“Gon, I wanna stay the night.”

Gon lingers close, no doubt anticipating another kiss. At Killua’s words, though, he pulls back. When their eyes meet, Killua can tell he’s nervous. “Killua…”

Killua waits, sure that he wants this. He understands this is a step beyond what they’ve done up to this point - a new kind of intimacy between them. But he’s ready for more than rubbing against each other and hands reaching, pushing under clothing, stroking, more than mouths kissing and licking and sucking - although he’s thoroughly enjoyed all of that as well.

But if Gon’s not ready, he won’t pressure him.. “I.. It’s okay if you’re not ready to…”

Gon bites his lip. “It’s not... “ Gon bows his head, but Killua can feel the hand at his knee slowly sliding up his thigh. “It’s not that I don’t want… I mean, I think you know I want…”

Killua smiles, catching Gon’s chin and tipping it up. He kisses the corner of his mouth sweetly. “I had guessed.” Kind of hard not to guess, when they get tangled up like this. Clothes only hide so much. “And I want to too.” Gon’s brown eyes are warm as they look up at him, and fuck does he want to kiss him again. Gon’s mouth is turning into a small smile and it’s so tempting, but they should talk this through - whatever this is. “Tell me, Gon. What’s the matter?”

Brown eyes drop again. Killua’s hand shifts to Gon’s cheek and he watches as the other sighs and turns to kiss at his palm. “I don’t… I don’t sleep well, Killua. Most nights.”

“I’m aware,” Killua replies, softly, patiently.

Gon huffs. “No, you’re…” Gon looks up at Killua. “I … I get bad dreams. I toss and turn. Violently, sometimes. And- and I’m pretty sure I cry out.”

Killua nods.

Gon peers up at him, clearly waiting for more of a response.

“Does it make it worse when someone’s in bed with you?”

Gon’s brow furrows. “No, not especially I don’t think…”

“Do you not enjoy having someone in your bed?”

“I… No, that’s not it…”

“Then I don’t see a problem.”

Gon’s frown deepens. “I’m- It’s not fun sharing a bed with me, Killua.”

Killua makes a show of waggling his eyebrows as he leans in to whisper, “I can think of a few fun things to do with you while sharing a bed with you.”

The over-the-top gesture does the trick because Gon can’t help but crack a smile, half a chuckle escaping him. “Ha- That’s not what I… Killua.”

“So you don’t sleep well,” Killua says, rolling his shoulders. “Not everyone does. Gon, if you’re really not comfortable sharing a bed with me, that’s fine. But if you’re just worried about me getting upset that you sleep rough, then… I’m not.”

Gon’s pinched brow is really cute. “But I could wake you up…”

Killua shrugs again. “If you do, it happens. And if you want, if i think you’re having a bad dream I can wake you from it too.” Gon sighs, leaning into the hand at his cheek. “Anything else?”

“...My bed is pretty small?”

Killua lets his smile turn wicked. “Plenty big enough if one of us is on top of the other, I bet.”

Gon laughs at that, and Killua takes the chance to shift where he’s sitting. “Here, let me show you,” he hums, and easy as anything, slides himself to sit on Gon’s lap. “See? We take up much less space this way.”

Gon’s laughing still, and Killua takes a moment to admire the curve of his freckled cheeks and the brilliance of his smile. Strong hands find his hips as those brown eyes look up at him. His laughter melts into a gasp, and then a soft moan, when Killua very intentionally moves his hips over him.

Gon’s eyes flutter, then lift to look at Killua. “I thought we were moving to the bed?”

Killua grins wide, and leans in to take another slow kiss.

“I thought you’d never ask.”

*

It’s Leorio’s turn to choose the restaurant for the monthly dinner this time.

The place he chooses doubles as a sports bar, so of course when they go it’s loud and lively with plenty of the patrons - Leorio himself included - hollering at the televisions positioned around the dining area. Gon finds himself enjoying the scene more than he normally would. Everyone is jovial and enjoying themselves, and their mood somehow seems to boost Gon’s own.

It also helps that Killua has been sending him messages about how much he misses Gon since he left last week.

When the game cuts to commercial, Leorio turns his attention to Gon, leaning an elbow on the table as he speaks. “So, what’s been going on with you lately?”

Gon rolls his shoulders. “More of the same.”

“Is that so?” Kurapika chimes in, sending him a look as he lifts the rim of his glass to his lips.

“Yeah, you know. Just watching the shop for the most part. The plants I brought back from Aizan are flowering now, so they’re doing really well.”

“Oh, that’s great.” Leorio says, nodding.”Aizan - that was some time ago. You’re due to go back out of town again aren’t you? You got anything planned?”

The first thing that springs to mind is the unanswered invitation that Kite had sent and Gon still hasn’t given a solid answer on. He feels guilty for not answering sooner, he just doesn’t want Kite to be upset when he says he can’t. “Ah, no… Business has been good lately, so I’m okay to stay in town for a while.”

Leorio just nods again, but Kurapika is giving him that look again. “That’s the only reason?” he asks, smiling.

Gon blinks. “Um… yeah?”

Leorio glances between the two of them. “What other reason would there be?”

Kurapika shrugs, but Gon feels a little uneasy. His friend is a little too observant sometimes, and he hasn’t told anyone yet about…

“Well, what I want to know is when Gon is going to tell us about his new partner.”

“Partner?” Leorio sits straighter, looking to Gon. “You got a girl?” he asks, lips stretching into a sly grin.

“No,” Gon answers instantly.

“A guy?” Leorio continues. “A friend who offers certain… benefits?” Here, he waggles his brows in an exaggerated fashion that leaves Kurapika rolling his eyes and Gon flushing deeply. That’s all the answer Leorio apparently needs. “You do!” he crows, slapping the table. “C’mon, man! Dish!”

“I don’t- We- I never said-”

“Oh, you don’t need to say,” Kurapika chuckles. “How long have we known you? You’re smiling at your scroll so often, that alone-”

“You have been on your scroll more when we meet up. Hey, how long you been keeping this from us?”

Gon lifts both hands in surrender. “Not long!” he defends. “Look, we haven’t… really put, like, words to what we’re… So I didn’t want to say unless…”

Kurapika gives him a soft smile. “Yes, yes, we know you don’t like to kiss and tell. But you are seeing someone, right?”

Gon ducks his head but nods. “Yeah, I guess.” When he looks up, both his friends are smiling widely at him. “What?”

“Nothing, Gon, just - good for you. You seem happy.” Leorio laughs.

“I… yeah. I guess I am.”

“So,” Leorio continues. “Are you gonna give us any details?”

“Does this mystery person have a name?” Kurapika asks.

“Yeah, and how’d you meet? You don’t have to give all of the hot goss, but you gotta give us something, Gon.”

Gon huffs. He supposed he can tell them a little. “Okay… Well… I met him through my friend Alluka.”

Kurapika is quick to pipe up, “Oh- the young woman who runs that- that wish store?”

“Yeah. Wish Upon a Star.”

Kurapika nods, and it’s Leorio’s turn to speak up. “So what, she set you up on a date?”

Gon shakes his head. “Ah, no… She uh… Her brother came into town to visit, and we sorta met by chance when Alluka was checking in on Kon and I came home…”

“Oooh, so Alluka has a hot brother?” Leorio teases.

Kurapika, though, is sitting with his brows furrowed. “Alluka’s brother?” he repeats.

Gon nods. “Yeah. His name is Killua.”

Kurapika and Leorio both go quiet at the name, Kurapika staring directly at him.

Leorio lifts a finger to his chin. “Why does that sound…?”

“You don’t mean…” Kurapika stops, look at Leorio, then back to Gon. “Killua Zoldyck?”

Gon frowns. “Uh, yeah. That’s him. How did you…?”

“What?!” Leorio hollers, and suddenly Gon is extra grateful for the noisy venue, because Leorio’s reaction doesn’t draw all that much attention.

Gon is reminded once more of Killua’s surprise when he didn’t initially know much about him.

“You mean…” Kurapika begins, but doesn’t finish.

“I… guess you guys have heard of him then?” Gon asks, smiling sheepishly.

Leorio snorts loudly. “Have we heard of the COO of one of the most successful businesses this side of the world?”

“Once heir to arguably the most successful business this side of the world,” Kurapika adds on, to which Leorio nods.

Leorio pauses then, turning to Kurapika. “Wait, that’s Alluka’s brother?”

Kurapika nods. “Yeah, her last name is Zoldyck, so...”

“Oh man, I forgot. She was caught in the middle of all that…”

“Yeah, she was. Poor girl.”

Gon blinks. They’ve lost him. “Caught up in what?”

Kurapika and Leorio both turn surprised looks on him. “Well…” Kurapika begins, as if unsure how to answer. “The scandal, when they broke ties with the Zoldyck family proper.”

Gon only blinks some more.

“Yeah, Gon, did you not read? It was all over the news at the time.”

Kurapika nods. “I didn’t catch it until after, closer to when Killua must have started working at Facets.”

Leorio nods. “Yeah, there as a resurgence of all the drama with the tabloids back then.”

“I…” Gon’s shakes his head. “How do you know so much about this?”

Leorio rolls his shoulders. “Like I said Gon, it was sort of all over the place for a while.”

Gon frowns. He truly has no memory of this. “When was it?”

Kurapika hums, and Leorio leans a chin in his hand as he thinks about it. “Well… I was still in college at the time, so it had to have all started about.. What? Ten, eleven years ago?”

Oh, Gon thinks, his shoulders drooping. His hands unconsciously curl into fists. Eleven years ago was when… His eyes are drawn to the right, looking down to where his prosthetic hand rests on the tabletop.

“Oh,” Kurapika breathes, and Gon can see as the realization hits both of his friends at once.

“Shit, Gon, I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking about that being about the time when you were…” Leorio trails off.

“Healing,” Kurapika fills in, gently.

Gon shakes his head. He puts on a smile. “Don’t worry about it, guys. It makes sense, though. I wouldn’t have been thinking about tabloids and stuff while I was… still in this hospital. Or after.”

Kurapika nods. “...You could probably still find the information if you wanted.”

Gon thinks about Killua freezing on the sidewalk last week. He remembers him hesitantly telling how his family has tried to interfere in his life before.

Gon shakes his head. “No. No… Killua’s a good guy, and if he wants me to know more about that time in his life, he’ll tell me.”

Leorio smiles at him. “Yeah. Good call.”

“You’ve always had a good feel for people, Gon,” Kurapika agrees. “I’m sure your judgement of his character is a fair one.”

Gon nods.

Later than night, after finally sending Kite his regrets that he won’t be able to join him on his next expedition, he messages Killua back.

‘I miss you too.

If you want to, I’d like to take you out next time you’re in town.’