Killua was staring at him.
Which, really, wasn't a bad thing. Gon liked the heavy feel of Killua's gaze, how it sent tingles down his back and caused something to twist pleasantly in his chest. Killua's stare meant he had Killua's attention for whatever reason, be it good or bad. And Gon loved being the center of Killua's attention. Because he loved Killua.
"You're staring," Gon commented with a grin, arms flexing as he carefully cut peppers into thin strips, and Killua frowned. "You got something on your mind, Ki-llu-a?"
Killua's frown deepened. "I think...yeah, your shirt is inside out."
Gon's grin fell. "Oh. Is it really?" He'd been hoping Killua was staring at him for other reasons, but...
"Yep. I kept wondering all day why your clothes looked so weird but turns out you just don't know how to put clothes on right."
Gon stuck out his tongue. "You know, you shouldn't be so mean to the person making you dinner."
"Hey, you're the one who asked, not me." Killua paused, still watching as Gon continued to slice and dice the vegetables for their meal. "Aren't you gonna fix it?"
"Why? S'not like putting my shirt on right is going to help me cook."
Killua wrinkled his nose—it was as close as he got to pouting, his blue eyes scrunched up and lips pursing. He looked cute like that, but Gon didn't dare to mention it in fear of Killua scowling at him instead.
"Does it really bother you that much?" Gon asked, laughing as Killua's expression continued to grow more and more disturbed with each passing second.
"Why? They're just clothes."
"Just—?" Killua made a choking sound in the back of his throat and Gon bit the inside of his cheek to keep himself from laughing again. "Gon. Please don't tell me you just said that."
"I did though? Clothes aren't as important to me as they are to you, Killua."
"Yeah, I get that, but—but still! If you keep wearing them like that they'll get wrinkled and that shirt is one of the few clothes we picked out together and it’s the only thing you own with some actual style—"
"Okay, okay!" Gon couldn't help himself now, the laughter bubbled inside his chest, burst out of his mouth. It was endearing to see Killua with his cheeks puffed out as he adamantly defended Gon's shirt. Gon didn't really get fashion like Killua did—a shirt was a shirt no matter what color or pattern it bore—but if it really bugged Killua out that much, he didn’t mind fixing the shirt.
Gon laid his knife down and wiped his hands on his apron. He saw Killua stiffen out of the corner of his eye.
"Gon, what are you—?"
With one fluid motion, Gon stripped his shirt off his chest and pulled it over his head. The breeze from the air conditioning caused goosebumps to raise across his bare skin and he shivered. How cool had they set the temperature?
"It's cold in here," Gon whined. He began to turn the shirt inside out so the right side would face out again. "Maybe we should make it a little warmer, it's not so hot outside that we need the AC super high anyway. What do you think?"
There was no response. Gon looked up, confused, only to see Killua staring at him again—though this stare was different from the one before.
This stare was wide blue eyes, cheeks pinking, hands grasping their counter in a white-knuckled grip. This stare was Killua, sitting frozen as he gawked at Gon like he was an enticing glass of water and Killua a man dying from thirst. As Gon watched, those hungry eyes drifted down Gon's chest and traced up his arms before finally landing back on Gon's face.
It took everything Gon had to keep a stoic face. But he somehow—miraculously—held back his snicker, choosing instead to lift an eyebrow and tilt his head at his best friend. "See something you like, Killua?"
Killua, predictably, sputtered and flushed even darker.
"I—I—no, I was just—surprised, okay, I didn't expect you to—to—"
"To strip?" Gon suggested helpfully and Killua gritted his teeth.
"What did you expect, then?" Gon asked, lips twitching as Killua's pressed into a thin line. He was furious at himself for getting caught staring, Gon knew. Killua had always been easy for Gon to read and this time was no different. "You asked me to fix the shirt."
"I didn't mean right here in the middle of the kitchen!"
"Why are you so upset? It looked to me like you were enjoying the view."
Killua's cheeks were an incredible shade of red. "Gon, if you don't shut up—"
"You'll, what? Ban me from the kitchen?" Gon asked with a cheeky grin and Killua seethed in his seat. "That would be pretty silly of you. We’re both hungry and you don't know how to cook that well yet."
"Shut up, Gon."
Snickering, Gon decided to take mercy on his flustered and equally mortified friend and stop his teasing. He shouldn't be poking at Killua when he got all flustered and embarrassed like this, but Gon just couldn't help it! Killua acted so cool and collected in the face of great danger, but he clamed up the instant he and Gon started discussing things like feelings and wants. It really was adorable, seeing him get so flustered and jittery. He reminded Gon of a defensive kitten, how it might puff out its chest and its fur would raise along its back—
"What are you doing?"
Killua's sharp question cut neatly through Gon’s thoughts. He blinked, arms stilling.
"Um..." He looked down at the now wrinkled shirt in his arms. "I was putting my shirt back on the right way? Why?"
Killua bit his lower lip and dropped his gaze to the counter. Gon watched, confused, as Killua's blush grew somehow darker.
"Killua," Gon began. "Why are you—oh. Oh."
A mischievous smile spread across his face as something giddy and eager bloomed in his chest. Killua's shoulders raised until they nearly brushed his now scarlet-tipped ears, a giveaway sign of his embarrassment.
Gon asked slyly, "You don't want me to put my shirt back on. Do you?"
Killua refused to look up at him. "I didn't say shit. Don't put words in my mouth."
"But you didn't need to say that. Your expression tells me everything and right now it's telling me you like me without a shirt on. Am I wrong, Killua?"
"You're such an asshole," Killua spat out, avoiding the question, and Gon burst into laughter.
"You're so defensive," Gon teased while his best friend glared furiously at the counter. "There's no need to be shy, you know. You're allowed to tell me what you want."
Gon snickered and shook his head. "Only you think it's embarrassing. But unfortunately for you I do need to put this back on...I don't want to get burned when I put these veggies in the fry pan."
Killua did look up then, blue eyes narrowed and determined and one-hundred percent focused on Gon. Gon's mouth turned dry and his breath stalled in his lungs.
This stare was different from the confused one from earlier and the hungry one that followed. This one was forward, direct. Killua stared at Gon like he wanted Gon to know. And that was all it took for Gon's heart to flip over in his chest.
"...you know,” Killua said slowly. “I'm not that hungry anymore."
Gon blinked. "You're not?"
"No." Killua slid off his stool, gaze heavy and intent on Gon’s face. He didn't look away as he began approaching Gon with slow and careful steps. "Not for food, at least."
Oh. Well, then.
"I could make something else?" Gon suggested, pulse beginning to race as Killua stopped in front of him. They were face-to-face now, nose-to-nose, hardly a breath of space between them.
Killua's eyes gleamed. "You sure? You did go through all that effort of cutting those vegetables..."
"I can always put them in the fridge for later," Gon said breathlessly. Killua was so close that Gon could count the individual streaks of white in blue irises, admire every pale eyelash and see the exact spot where Killua's blush began to bloom across both cheeks.
"Mmm, that would make sense..." Killua lifted a hand and carefully trailed his fingers down Gon's bare arm. Gon shivered from the light touch, loving the trail of electricity Killua's fingers left in their wake. He didn't resist when Killua tugged the shirt out of his hands nor did he complain when Killua let it drop in a pile at the floor.
Cool arms wound around his neck and Gon let a shaking breath as Killua rested his forehead against Gon's. All he could see now was the beautiful, pure blue of Killua's eyes. They were stunning, the most amazing color Gon had ever seen, and his favorite to date. He would never get tired of Killua looking at him when it meant Gon could stare back into those incredible eyes.
A throb of want surged through Gon. Killua squeaked as Gon grabbed his waist and pushed him up onto the counter. Sharp nails dug into Gon's shoulder blades and Gon let out a quiet hiss.
"S-Sorry," Killua said, breathless and flushed. He looked amazing. "Didn't mean to hurt you."
"Don’t worry, you didn't."
Gon dared to lean forward to press his face against the curve of Killua's neck. He inhaled deeply, relishing the way he both heard and felt Killua's breath stutter. He loved the way Killua smelled—like strawberries and soap and home—but he loved the way Killua reacted to his presence even more. His body's reactions betrayed his feelings towards Gon more than any words ever could.
Gon pulled back, smiling at Killua's flustered expression. "So. What's the first course, Chef Killua?"
The light teasing seemed to break Killua out of his daze. Gon's best friend snorted and rolled his eyes, one hand lifting from Gon's shoulder to thread fingers through spiked hair.
"I was thinking, maybe a little sampling first?" Killua suggested softly. He tugged lightly at Gon’s hair and heat curled in Gon's stomach. "We could see what you like most and...just go from there."
Gon grinned. "Sounds delicious. Mind if I start first?"
Killua smirked, lips curling just the way Gon liked. "Not at all—"
Killua didn't get to finish before Gon was surging forward, mouth crashing against Killua's and calloused hands lifting to cup Killua's face. Gon pulled Killua close to him and kissed him over and over again until Killua was gasping and laughing against him. Gon couldn't hold back his smile at the infectious sound—how could he? Killua's laughter made butterflies come to life in Gon's chest, his roaming hands sent shivers up Gon's spine and his quiet but pleased sighs stoked the fire in Gon's stomach.
Killua was something Gon craved more than any food or drink. He was more satisfying than Aunt Mito’s welcome home meals, more exciting than tasting a new flavor for the first time. He was addicting and amazing and wonderful in every possible way. And Gon never planned on letting him go.