Streaks of light slipped through the small crack of the window curtains in Gon’s room, reaching the wall on the other side. As Gon’s eyes were sensitive, he was awakened by the morning light, slowly and groggily taking in his surroundings. He slowly sat up, remembering the distant warmth of another who laid next to him. His boyfriend was curled up, back facing him as he silently snored. A few days ago, he and his sister had shown up to visit him as a surprise, and agreed to stay here for a while. It has been almost three years since he's last seen his best friend, and now boyfriend, as he missed him terribly. Smiling earnestly, he brought a hand to Killua’s hair, gently stroking it. It was soft, almost like silk, despite it being tangled from sleep.
He wanted badly to shower his face with kisses, to hug and coddle him as he would wake up to Gon’s unconditional affection. Glancing over at the clock on his nightstand, he decided against the idea. Killua did not prefer being the early bird, but Gon had grown accustomed to waking up at the crack of dawn. No matter how late he slept in, he could never wake up past eight, at the latest. He would accommodate by resting throughout the day, if he could. If he woke Killua up now, he would be met with his crankiness before anything else, and he’d rather not be scolded at five AM.
Killua stirred a bit before shifting, which he often did while he slept. Sometimes Gon would be awakened by his movements, but he was already used to it, as they’ve shared beds multiple times when they were younger. But due to this reason, he always preferred to have his own bed, and the feeling was mutual. But now, Gon couldn't imagine sleeping in a separate bed, as they can cuddle now, and Killua didn't shift as much as he used to. Killua moved over, facing Gon’s side, and involuntarily curled up against Gon, making him adjust into his bed again as his arms wrapped around his torso. He still continued to sleep, and Gon did his best not to audibly dote on him, a habit that would prove fatal.
It wouldn’t be for another few hours, he estimated until around eight, that anyone else would be awake. That was always the downside for Gon, he’d usually wake up before anyone else. He would usually go outside and into the forest, because he enjoyed morning hikes, but Killua was by his side, and he wouldn't dare leave. Not when this alternative was so much better. Perhaps in the future, Killua would be up to occasionally join him on morning hikes. Gon smiled at the thought, his hand back on top of his soft head.
Turning his body to face him, Gon gently placed a kiss on top of his forehead after brushing aside his bangs. His heart felt full, his stomach filled with butterflies, and his cheeks warm from smiling so much. He didn’t want this moment to end. Resting his forehead against his, he closed his eyes, quietly inhaling his scent. Eventually, slumber took over again, as he held him in his arms, no intent of letting go.
“Gon..?” a faint, tired voice mumbled. Gon opened his eyes, not taking long to fully awake. Knowing who it was, he grinned at Killua, cupping his face. He saw his eyes fluttering, blue and glossy as his vision was focusing.
“Goodmorning, my love,” he said above a whisper, stroking his face with his golden-brown eyes twinkling. He pressed a kiss on top of his forehead, causing him to squeak in surprise.
Killua reddened, refusing to look at him, but made no means to move away. He sputtered and gently placed his palm on Gon’s face, pushing him back slightly.
“Idiot..” Killua’s voice cracked, highly embarrassed. “You can’t just say that kind of thing! Especially not when I wake up!”
“Aww, why not?” Gon gripped his wrist, kissing his palm before Killua retracted it. He giggled, putting his hand back on its original spot as he leaned in to kiss all over his face.
“You are the love of my life, are you not?”
Killua grumbled, not denying any of his advances. Once he felt sufficed in kissing him, he placed their foreheads together, his grin never leaving. Their heartbeats were loud, both of their faces flushed.
“God, you're so embarrassing,” Killua chuckled warmly, showing that he actually loved it. Gon laughed, giving a sheepish smile before he kissed his nose.
“I just like seeing you blush,” he admitted, squishing his red cheeks. And you deserve this. “I like knowing I have that effect on you.”
The other rolled his eyes, clicking his tongue nonchalantly. “Tch, whatever you say.”
He then cupped his face, surprising Gon as he kissed him, slightly smirking as he felt his mouth agape in shock. They released as soon as they started, with Gon’s face now deep red. He wailed, burying his face in his boyfriend’s chest as he felt his snicker.
It was around eight-thirty. The smell of fresh pancakes Gon was cooking filled the home. Mito was originally going to make breakfast, but caved in when Gon begged to do it himself. Gon wanted to show off his skills to his guests, and gathered different ingredients to put in each stack for everyone. Even though he didn’t usually care for sweets, pancakes were one of the few exceptions. Everyone’s stack contained multiple types of fruit, excluding Killua’s. He had chocolate chips, along with a small bowl of the excess fruit he didn’t use.
Killua offered to help, despite not having much experience in cooking, but Gon declined his offer. It wasn’t because he didn’t trust him, but that he insisted that he was a guest, causing the other to groan. Also, he wanted to have some type of leverage over him, as Killua's athletic skills bested his, as much as he didn't care to admit. As an attempt at payback, Killua decided to stick to him like glue as he cooked, going so far to try and distract him with kisses. Of course, Gon was undisturbed, still successfully cooking and even welcoming his accompaniment and affection. Feeling bad, he let Killua taste-test the different types of syrup he made from scratch, which he accepted as an apology. He almost regrets his decision as his mischievous boyfriend tries to persuade him into adding a dangerous amount of sugar.
After everything was finished, he got to help serve the plates and drinks, making him feel somewhat sufficient. Gon wanted to personally serve the pancakes, as he claimed that his had a little surprise. As he sat down in his seat, he noticed his own stack consisted of a smiley face made from the chocolate chips. He snorted, almost feeling bad he had to eat them. Alluka glanced over as she sat next to him, smiling at his food.
“Aww! That’s so cute!” Alluka cheered, then looking back at her own plate. “I wish Gon left me one on mine..”
Gon looked over after finishing pouring his tea into his cup, frowning. “I’m sorry, Alluka! I promise I’ll do one next time? Wait, I can try and do a cool flower design if you want?”
She clasped her hands excitedly, nodding excitedly. “You better!”
He flashed a cheeky grin, humming approvingly with a nod. Once everything was officially set and everyone was present, they gave thanks and began breakfast. Over the years Gon’s been back home, he’s learnt to cook more recipes, from his aunt, great-grandma, and interesting recipes he found online. At first, it had been a struggle for everyone, as Gon tended to over exaggerate with measurements, as he first saw it as a game of how fast he could cook a dish. Due to this, the kitchen would always end with a catastrophic mess, which he was forced to clean up. After Mito scolded him enough times, he’s eventually cooking more seriously, with patience and accuracy. Overtime, cooking became relaxing for him, and he took up on it a few times a week, making breakfasts and dinners.
Gon was genuinely a good cook. Mito had recently brought up how his skills have noticeably improved since he first started. He was proud of his efforts, striving to do better every time. Cooking to him felt domestic, and he would be lying if he said he never thought about cooking for Killua once or twice. Or that they could even cook together.
He was talking to his aunt about a specific event way back from the hunter exam; Alluka was intrigued, as she loved hearing his perspective of the exam. Killua was only partially listening, as he devoured his pancakes. He was satisfied with them, and his boyfriend looked really pleased with himself when both him and Alluka praised his cooking. He couldn't wait to try more of his cooking in the future, the thought filling his stomach with excitement and warmth. The sound of laughter filled the room, as Gon had remembered something funny, and Killua couldn’t help but stare.
He always had a bad habit of staring at Gon, though he made sure to look away before he was ever caught. Everything about him was so…bright and warm. He was radiant, the sunshine always following him. He couldn’t ever look away. Ignoring everything else, he mindlessly rested his cheek on his palm, his elbow on the table. He couldn’t help but smile longingly, admiring the way his eyes sparkled, how vibrant he was, and his smile blinding.
Alluka elbowed his sides, hard enough to pull him back into reality. He sharply inhaled at the sudden pain, rubbing it and looking over to his sister, embarrassed someone had noticed.
“You do realize you were staring, right?” she teased, whispering out of respect. Giggling as his cheeks reddened, she patted the top of his head in comfort.
“Shh!” Killua covered her mouth, his face brighter. He did not need his little sister embarrassing him over breakfast. Though, it was already too late, as they both forgotten about Gon's acute hearing, one of his many developed senses.
“Aw, babeee,” Gon cooed from the other side of him, emphasizing the last syllable. He hugged him from behind, and Killua swore he was malfunctioning.
“You don’t need to feel the need to sneak in quick glances! You can stare at me all you want!”
He shoved him off, careful not to push him off his chair. He felt betrayed that both his own sister and boyfriend confronted him like this. “Shut up! I was just..."
Grumbling at not finding a plausible excuse, he immediately went quiet, pouting and avoiding any eye contact.
Gon took one of his hands, kissing the top and winking. Killua hissed, with Alluka giggling beside him. Mito was smiling at the three, sharing glances with her mother, who only chuckled amusingly.
The three were outside in the front yard, in the small garden. Since it was the middle of winter, only a couple of vegetables were being grown in a small portion. Alluka was slightly disappointed, which Gon reassured her that if they came back during the spring, their entire garden would be filled with mixtures of fruit, vegetables, and flowers. She looked over to her brother, her eyes pleading as they do every time she begs for something.
Killua falls for it every single time. He ruffled up her hair a bit, causing her to giggle as she swatted at his hands.
“Duh, of course we’re coming back in the spring. I’ve only ever been here during the summer and now winter, I plan on coming here at least once every season.”
Gon’s heart grew palpable upon hearing that. Here they were, going from not seeing each other in years to planning's of frequent visits. He was ecstatic that he’d wanna come back so soon, as winter would only last another month before spring. They both shared glances, and Killua smiled sincerely at him. His face grew hot before quickly turning back to checking on the crops, hoping he hadn't noticed. Is this what Killua feels everytime he looks at me?
He heard a taunting chuckle, which he did his best to ignore. As he began speculating the leaves, he realized that some were fully grown, and an idea popped in.
“Alluka!” Gon called out, despite her only being a couple feet away. “Wanna help me harvest these crops?”
“Oo, okay!” Alluka agreed, watching as Gon got up and ran towards the house, most likely to grab tools and baskets for harvesting.
“You’ll help us, won’t you, Big Brother?” She looked over at Killua, tugging on his sleeve of his turtleneck.
Killua hummed begrudgingly. Even though he has gotten his hands dirty dozens of times, he didn’t really want to help harvest crops in the dead of winter. At least, what’s considered the harshest times of winter on this island. Alluka pouted at his reaction, but let him go.
“Fine! I’ll just have Gon to myself, then!” She stuck her tongue out. “It’s not like you’d mind, you’ve stuck to him like glue all this time.”
“Yeah, yeah, alright,” Killua rolled his eyes, waving off a hand. She got me there. He stood up, dusting off any dirt off his jeans. “While you two bond, I’ll go find something to do inside, where it’s cleaner.”
Alluka made a noise of acknowledgment, picking off a spinach leaf and tasting it. Her expression grimaced, frowning at the taste as her brother laughed. He gently patted her head before walking towards the house, nearly bumping into Gon.
“Aw, you’re not joining us?” Gon asked, slightly disappointed. He held two baskets, two extra ones dangling off his wrists along with tools in them.
Killua gave a half smile, shrugging. “Nah, I figured my two favorite people should have quality time together.”
His boyfriend’s previous disheartened mood was replaced with joy. He kissed his cheek, smiling as the shorter one blushed, struggling to find words. It still baffled him that whenever Killua initiated affection, Gon acted as he had been blessed by a goddess. Though, it wasn't like he had any right to talk.
“You two have fun, okay? Don’t hurt yourselves, either." He said the last part with an underlying threatening tone. He couldn't help but still be overprotective, no matter how old he'd get.
“Pfft,” Gon scoffed, acting offended. “How dare you assume I’d let that happen? I’ve been gardening since I was five!”
He chuckled, and they shared one quick kiss before he departed. He gave a wave before entering the house, despite neither of them looking his way. Upon entering, he followed the sound of dishes clashing in the kitchen, seeing Mito. She had already started cleaning, but there was still quite a pile in the sink. Killua cruised over to her side, a gentle expression on his face.
“Mind if I help out?” He offered earnestly, awkwardly looking down at her. He was still in denial that he's literally outgrown her since before. “Gon and Alluka are out back gardening, but I decided to let them bond.”
Mito grinned and nodded, moving away from the sink as Killua took her spot. He grabbed a plate and a sponge, rinsing off any excess food before scrubbing. Noticing the dish rack on the counter next to the sink, he placed the clean plate, beginning to develop his own technique of cleaning dishes.
“How nice that Gon and your sister are spending time together,” Mito said after putting a dish away. “You and Alluka's bond is very strong, which feels to be somewhat rare for siblings nowadays. It reminds me of how me and Ging used to be when we were kids, before he left.”
Killua was silent, pressing his lips together when she mentioned Ging. Truth be told, he was glad he never got to meet him, even when Gon mentioned multiple times that he’d introduce him as his best friend. Due to changes of circumstances, it didn't end up working out, and it was best for them to meet one-on-one. Before they split, he never thought too much about his father other than that he was Gon's idol and goal.
He remembered when Gon first texted him about Ging, how he’d realize that he wasn’t everything he expected. Sure, Ging had made remarkable milestones, but he did all that over being a father. He was the reason for Gon’s abandonment issues, why he always felt like he was never good enough. Killua resented him for that.
Mito's own feelings about him still remained mixed, leaning towards disliking him after hearing about Gon's explanation. She could never truly hate him, as she still saw him as family. She had noticed the lack of response, and decided to change the subject. “However, there was something I’ve been curious about.. if you don’t mind my intrusion.”
Killua shook his head, ripped from his thoughts. He grabbed another dish, washing it under the warm water. It felt nice against his cold, clamp hands.
“Is anyone in your family aware of you and Alluka’s whereabouts?” She pondered intently, drying a dish with a small towel. “Please, don't assume I don't trust you, but you two are awfully young to be traveling by yourselves. When you’ve shared stories about your adventures, I couldn’t help but wonder..”
The teen remained quiet, slowing his process without showing any expression. He hadn’t seen his family in years, not since he went back to retrieve Alluka. During their first year together, he’d frequently have flashbacks or nightmares about them, and his sister would always be there. It was rarer that she’d also have reoccurring nightmares, but she'd always react more violently. More often times than not, they shared a bed because it gave them both reassurance and comfort. For the first time in their lives, they felt truly safe being with each other.
“It’s…it’s a long story,” Killua finally said, still not meeting her gaze. He had hoped that she wouldn’t press further, and that they’d leave it at that. However, he had a feeling that wouldn't be the case.
Silence filled the room once more, the tension growing more awkward and stiff. Mito was obviously concerned, but hesitant to say anything else. She’d recently suspected he’d come from a home that was toxic, and Killua’s response confirmed her suspicions. She bit her tongue, waiting to see if he'd say more.
Years ago, when Killua first visited, she had grown fond of him. Despite his rough, cunning appearance, he was actually kind and well-mannered boy, and she was glad Gon had found a friend like him. Even barely knowing anything about him, she’d seen him as her son, feeling the need to protect and love him the way she'd with Gon.
It was clear to her both Killua and Alluka have both been through a lot, in regarding their family. She should have realized when she first tried asking about them all those years ago, to which Gon simply responded he was from a big city. It was strange, but she didn’t question any further, despite her noticing Killua’s confused expression when he said that. His demeanor changed, as if he went along with it.
Killua sighed apologetically, his breath slightly shaky. He wasn't sure what else to say, but he couldn't stand this tension.
“Sorry, it’s just a touchy subject..”
Mito’s expression fell even more, eyes saddened. She placed down a dish, along with the towel, stepping towards him. He looked over to see her open arms, as he reluctantly put down the dish and accepted the hug, not aware of his wet hands. He also wasn’t aware he was crying until he felt hot tears stream down his face. It’s been a while.
Mito held him tightly, resting her chin on his shoulder, stroking his back soothingly. It was the first time she’s seen him so vulnerable like this, and instinctively began humming, something that soothed Gon when he was a child. Killua continued to silently sob, shaking violently, upset with himself for letting his emotions overtake him. He knew he needed this, to let everything out once more. He knew recovery wasn't linear, and he was still recovering nonetheless. It had taken him a while to finally be comfortable with being touched, by the people he trusted. Being with Alluka helped tremendously. He now knew the people who loved him wouldn't hurt him.
And he knew he didn’t deserved how his family treated him, despite years of believing otherwise. He didn’t deserve the abuse, the manipulation, or being treated like a machine. And he was more furious at himself that he left Alluka alone in that environment for all those years. After going back to save her, he promised that they both would never be hurt by them ever again.
“I may not understand what you’ve been through,” Mito spoke, voice lull. “But I know neither you or Alluka deserved it. I’m sorry for bringing up something so upsetting.”
He sniffled, feeling worse for making Mito concerned about him. The shaking stopped, but he still stood in this position, trying to regain a regular breathing pattern.
“Don't be, you couldn’t have known. And I understood why Gon lied to you back then,” his voice was raspy and barely above a whisper. He released from her embrace, roughly wiping his eyes with his hands. Mito gave him a tissue, which he nodded in thanks.
“My family, the Zoldyck’s, we’re assassins. Even if you think different of me now, you deserve to know the truth.”
Her expression didn’t change, which scared him. He was expecting any other type of reaction: shock, confusion, or even disgust. She continued to stare profusely, waiting for him to continue.
“He lied to you so you wouldn’t have seen me as a ruthless killer with malicious intention, I think,” he said. “At that moment, I was a little insulted, but it didn’t take long to realize why he'd said that.”
Mito gave a low hum, now understanding how everything happened the way it did. Reluctant to admitting it, she probably would have been a lot more weary of him if she'd learnt the truth about him before. But none of that matters now, as she's gotten to know him more throughout the years, and nothing about him ever gave off an wicked undercurrent. To her, he was simply someone who was close to Gon, someone Gon treasured and loved, someone he's grown up with.
“I left before, realizing I didn't want to be an assassin. I didn't want to inherit the family business. Then, I met the best thing during the Hunter Exam. He even came back for me, and sometimes I still think I didn't deserve that."
Mito blinked, fully realizing that he was telling the truth. She felt awful, realizing he had kept this from her in fear that their trust would be broken. Without thinking, she pulled him for another hug, catching Killua off guard.
“Like you said, that’s not who you are,” she stated, her words firm yet gentle. “Your past doesn’t define you, and what matters is what you make of yourself today.”
Killua was bewildered at this reaction. Truthfully, he wasn’t sure what he was expecting, but it wasn’t this. He awkwardly stood there until Mito let go of him, as he stared at her, disoriented. Her expression changed again, close to anger, as she crossed her arms, making the teen cower.
"And don't you ever imply again that you weren't worthy of saving," she was stern, getting emotional as tears weld in her eyes. "You are worthy! The moment you realized your world was corrupt and wanted to leave, you became a better person. You had inner-strength then, and you still have it now."
“You mean the world to Gon and I. I see you and Alluka as one of my own,” she smiled, holding one of his hands as she stroked his knuckles soothingly. Tears rolled down, dripping down her chin. “I know we aren't the same, but we love you both, and we see you as family.”
Hearing those words, the stress Killua felt was lifted, and he gave a small smile. Hugging her once again, he cried happy tears, feeling the warmth and love he’d always dreamt about as a child.
“No, you guys aren't the same,” he whispered, his voice cracking. “This family is so much better.”
She was glad he was solicit for her comfort, and that he trusted her. Mito hugged him back, relieved of previous tension.
"And we love you, too, Aunt Mito."
About an hour had passed, and Killua and Mito were in the living room, each having a cup of warm chamomile tea. Mito made tea after they both finished doing the dishes, and have been talking idly about their hobbies and personal stories ever since. They almost didn’t realize when both Gon and Alluka came inside, as they made their announcement obvious with echoes of laughter. Their hands, along with parts of their clothing, were dirty from the yard work. Gon's dirtiness was more prominent, as Alluka had remembered to dust off any excess dirt off her hands and dress before she walked in. They both had multiple small baskets, all containing different vegetables.
Mito frowned, putting down her cup. “Gon, I’ve told you many times not to attract dirt in the house.”
He rubbed the nape of his neck, smiling sheepishly. They were laughing at his jokes, so the formality slipped his mind. “Sorry, Aunt Mito..”
She sighed, rolling her eyes and grinning. Killua snickered at him, failing to be subtle about making fun. Sometimes, it was like he never changed from back then.
“Why don’t you two clean up? Alluka can go first since she’s a guest.”
Alluka looked at her, smiling and bowing before she sprinted over to her brother, giving a chaste kiss on his cheek. He smiled, patting her head as she did so. Not exactly sure what to do with the baskets, she went to place them on the kitchen counter, satisfied when receiving no backlash. She thanked Mito again before temporarily waving goodbye, rushing upstairs and into the bathroom. Even though they had an ordinary bathroom, it was still one of the better ones she's experienced, and she enjoyed taking baths.
Mito got up, thanked Killua for having tea with her, and took the remaining baskets Gon had. She was relieved he had remembered to harvest the crops, as she'd nearly forgotten to remind him about it. Since the crops had been mostly leaf-based, she contemplated on making salad, or maybe veggie-wraps, since she knew Gon liked those. Plus, she knew Killua could stand to eat more vegetables. Alluka probably wouldn't care too much, as she was never picky about any of her meals. She hummed, bringing the baskets into the kitchen to wash and sort them for storage.
Gon had ran out again after giving his baskets to dust himself off as best he could. Killua got up, setting down his cup, following him out on the porch steps. He sat down, the cool air blowing against his dried face due from the tear stains.
“You and Aunt Mito were having tea?” Gon pried, sitting next to him as he intertwined their fingers. The action slightly surprised him, pulling him out of his thoughts and immediately succumbing to his touch.
“We were, until you two interrupted us,” he flicked his forehead with his free hand, making the other wail dramatically before apologizing. He stuck out his tongue at him, pointing to his forehead before Killua kissed it. It was a childish thing, but Gon appreciated all of his kisses, and constantly craved them, finding new ways to ask for them.
However, Gon noticed he was slightly off. He looked exhausted, his eyes darker and his face solemn. Squeezing his hand, Killua looked over in response, his expression unrecognizable.
"Are you alright?" He asked, concern wavering off his voice. "Did something happen?"
A silent huff passed through as Killua gave a small smile, his eyes lifting. "Nah, it's nothing. I'm okay, I promise."
Gon was unconvinced, but also sensed that he was telling the truth. He decided to keep quiet, and pulled him into a hug.
"Okay, I trust you," he said quietly. Killua hugged back, his grip tight, and he relished in his warmth. He didn't care that he was still dirty, he was going to shower later regardless. He let himself be selfish as he teared up again, his breathing staggering.
"I love you."
His voice was fragile, barely a whisper. Gon nodded, murmuring it back and kneading his back to sooth him. The other shivered, overwhelmed with love, but not wanting to let go. Even though Killua already knew this, he truly felt as he found a place he could call home. Both figuratively and literally. He'd be damned before he lost his family.