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The sound of waves crashing against the coast. The call of seagulls in the distance. A silver-haired boy rolled in the sheets as he inhaled deeply. With his eyes still closed, he soaked in the moment. Nothing has ever felt this peaceful for a while…

It has been two years since they’d returned to Whale Island, two years since his best friend last met his aunt. It didn't take much to convince Gon to make a little detour to the island before jumping right into the next leg of their journey.

The boy sighed. He was proud of their immense growth in that short period of time, yet there was a little twinge of dissatisfaction with his power. If only I were stronger, maybe invincible... Burying his face in the pillows, he took another deep breath. There was the familiar scent of citrus and musk that he had grown accustomed to, in the sheets and the room. Smells like home…

Suddenly, the door slams open, breaking the sleepy kid’s train of thoughts.

"Rise and shine, Killua!"

Rubbing his eyes, the former assassin groaned. "What was that for, idiot?" Killua yelled as he rose lazily from the sheets. There stood his best friend, overflowing with energy from the door frame, with the silliest smirk on his face. He was finally in a different outfit from his usual green jacket and shorts ensemble: a white singlet and a pair of brown shorts.

"I know it's comfortable in my bed, but you're missing out on all the time we have to enjoy while we're here!" Gon laughed as he ran over to pull Killua out of slumber. He was already dressed to get out and gave his best friend no chance to prepare.

"Hey hey hey-" Killua interjected, trying to push Gon away. "Let me get ready and I'll meet you downstairs!" He threw a playful punch and wiggled his arm free – which took no effort, surprisingly.

"Five minutes!" His best friend grinned, with a playful twinkle in his chocolate brown eyes, before disappearing down the stairs.

***

Dressed similarly to Gon in a navy blue singlet and grey shorts, Killua followed his best friend as they hopped from the seaside to the forests, into the mountains to the lakes. Their route, though different this time, was highly reminiscent to the last time the tan boy had the Zoldyck over. But, it felt like a fair trade – Gon had seen Killua’s home, so it only made sense for him to see Gon’s. Unlike Kukuroo Mountain, his home, the island was much less claustrophobic. The air was somewhat fresher too, at least, to Killua. Not to mention, his best friend was here. A smile unfurled on Killua’s face.

“What are you thinking about?” Gon looked over quizzically at the former assassin, with curiosity written all over.

Killua shrugged as he looked up to the sky and put his hands in his pockets. “Nothing much,” he lied easily, hoping the pink that coloured his cheeks wouldn’t give him away. He always has that dumb, innocent look on his face that is so adorable… “Well, what are we going to eat?”

Looking around, the raven-haired boy pointed towards the lake that was coming up in the distance. Then pointing to his fishing pole, he challenged, “Let’s see who can catch the biggest fish!”

***

The weather sure is good today – clear and sunny without the heat… we’ll definitely have the whole day to ourselves, Killua thought. They had just finished lunch and were now lying down by the fire, facing the vast and endless sky. If this moment could last forever, I would never ask for anything else in this lifetime. Out of habit, he turned over to look at his best friend, who was just staring upwards. He still couldn’t believe how lucky he was to have met Gon, much less being able to be by his side up till now. The last time on the island, they were still getting to know each other better, and now, they were here again with a richer shared history that only deepened their relationship.

"Hey Killua."

The silver- haired boy raised an eyebrow, keeping his eyes trained on his friend. "'Sup, Gon?"

"Thank you for suggesting to come back here. I really missed home," Gon admitted, as he rested his hands on his stomach, full from lunch. "But I also really can't wait for you to meet Ging!"

A smile crept onto Killua's face as he turned back up to look at the beautiful sky his best friend had his eyes on. He was always amazed at Gon's complete honesty with his feelings and actions – something that he was never able to do. "Nah, I had a lot of fun with you. We also became so much stronger together! Once we've rested up, we'll get back on the road at full speed!"

Gon nodded in agreement, all while looking up at the sky.

They sure had gone through a lot together – from the hunter exam, to rescuing Killua from his mansion, visiting Yorknew City, participating in auctions and even facing the Troupe. Even though Killua knew how strong Gon was, he was always worried for him. There was a constant inkling of worry that something unfortunate could happen. Maybe it was because Gon hadn’t gone through some form of formal training like he did, although it was more of torture than training… Maybe Gon was too trusting, too gullible. Or maybe it was something else he couldn’t put his finger on yet. Despite surpassing every obstacle they'd faced so far, they had always been pushed to their limits. No normal person could have survived what they have… Would he be able to forgive himself if anything bad happened to Gon on his watch? What if..?

"Hey… Gon."

The raven-haired boy turned over. "Yes Killua?" Those round and innocent eyes always held such a piercing gaze – one of pure honesty – that often caught Killua off-guard, especially in such sensitive moments.

For a moment, the former assassin looked away, suddenly aware of what he was about to do and feeling the embarrassment take root. Am I really doing this? He bit his lip and sat up. Flashbacks to his childhood training whizzed by, reminding him to always have his guards up… even in his sleep. Is it truly alright to be vulnerable around him? He shook his head, as if to dismiss his thoughts. I’m thinking too much. We’ve done so many things together, I… I think I’ll be alright. A slight pink stained Killua's cheeks as he began.

"Gon. I should be the one thanking you instead," the silver-haired boy started, looking forward instead of at his friend. This made Gon sit up and scoot over to his side.

"What do you mean?" Gon's interruption broke Killua's attempt at keeping the scarlet from colouring his cheeks in control. Tilting his head, he attempted to make eye contact with Killua.

"I'm really glad you're my friend, that's all!" Killua huffed as he folded his arms and turned away. There was no way he would be able to say what he needed to with Gon’s honest gaze fixed on him. Soon, he felt his best friend lean gently onto his back, seemingly giving him the strength he needed. Even in a time like this, I’m still the one relying on him… Taking a deep breath, he squeezed his eyes shut and continued.

"What I'm trying to say is...” Killua started again, fumbling his way through. Unlike his best friend, he wasn’t as well-versed in putting his feelings into words – action came much easier to him instead. Gon was the one who wore his heart on his sleeve for them both after all. “I would do anything for you - I'm willing to. I want to protect you; I want you to be safe. I would die for you, but I never want to be without you.” He looked down and rested his head in his hands, running his hands through his snow-white hair. That didn’t come out right… Let’s try again.

“I mean… I'll always have your back. I'll always follow you. I want to get stronger… with you. I don't want to lose you, so… please don’t leave." Please don’t leave me.

There was a moment of silence, then he felt Gon's head rest on his back. "I know. Killua, I know,” his friend replied. Even without looking, Killua could see the smile on Gon’s face, just from the way he spoke. “And I trust you with my life." Such earnest words from such a precious soul… That sinking feeling he had been experiencing was gradually dissipating, and it felt just like being lifted from the abyss into the light.

"I trust in your abilities and strengths, which is why we made it this far,” Gon continued, softly. “You always have the best interest for me in your heart - and I can feel it. I know it. I can't do this with anyone else but you, because I understand you and you understand me, and we work well together."

There was a long pause, so Killua turned over to face Gon… only to find that he wasn’t done.

"You are a very, very important person in my life… and you’ve made me very happy through this journey. We’ve had a lot of fun together, and I really enjoyed all the times I’ve spent with you – but I am able to be my best only because you are here with me," Gon finished and flashed a smile at his best friend. It was only when Gon lifted his finger to wipe a tear away that Killua realised he was crying. How could anyone say such things so easily without flinching?

"Killua, are you okay?" Gon asked as he inched closer towards the silver-haired boy. Usually, he would jump back, but this time he found himself rooted to the ground. It was as if he forgot how to move. Before he could reply, he was enveloped in the warmest embrace that melted all his troubles and worries away – Gon's. It felt so safe… and in that moment, Killua knew he was home. He nuzzled deeper into the nook of his best friend’s neck, inhaling the scent of citrus and musk. What a wonderful feeling to have someone who understands you as much as they possibly can.

"Gon."

"Yes?"

The silver-haired boy pulled back slightly to look into his best friend’s deep cinnamon coloured eyes. There was no turning back now. "I meant what I said, and I know it’s selfish, but… please never leave me." The icy blues of Killua’s eyes were anything but steely, even as he tried to fight back his tears.

"Of course, dummy! We are going to see the world together!" Gon chirped happily, with his arms still around Killua. "We've only been to a few-"

Before Gon could complete his sentence, Killua leaned in, tipping Gon's chin up with his left hand and covering his mouth with his in one swift motion. It was a light kiss on the lips, but it was enough to send the message without losing any meaning in translation. Please stay with me. He took Gon's hand in his and held it tight. I don't want to lose you. A second, deeper kiss. Please don’t leave me.

The former assassin kept his eyes closed as he rested his forehead on Gon’s, afraid of any possible rejection. He had already let his guard and pride down completely – there was nothing else left for him to lose. To his surprise, he felt Gon tighten his grip on his hand. He never knew how tender his best friend’s hands could feel against his, even after all that they’d been through. Then, a gentle touch on his cheek. Feeling Gon’s skin on his was undeniably electrifying. Killua’s eyes fluttered open, meeting Gon’s directly as he moved back slightly. This time, he had absolutely no chance at concealing how violently red his cheeks had become.

“Okay!” Gon agreed happily, which made his best friend blush more. There was no hesitation in his words.

“W-what are you saying okay to?” Killua burst out in disbelief. Of all people he could have gravitated to, he was stuck with this… Not that he minded it.

The raven-haired boy grinned cheekily, keeping his hand in Killua’s. “I won’t leave you.”

“Idiot! Don’t go around making promises so easily!”

“Yeah, okay, I’m an idiot! I’m an idiot but it’s a promise I’m making to you, Killua!”

There were many things Killua was able to do – holding his breath or maintaining Ren for an inhumanly possible amount of time, but blushing for an extended period of time was not something he wanted to add to the list. He looked away with a frown. “You’re my idiot…” Thank you for hearing me… for accepting my confession.

Gon replied with a smile, “I know.” He reached his free hand over to turn Killua’s face back to his, a beam as bright as the sun on his face.

You are like light, Gon.

This time, it was tears of joy that ran down the Killua’s face as he pulled his best friend in for another kiss. Please let me stay by your side, forever.