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no sign at your front door (my heart will give you a name instead)

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(Gon didn’t drink coffee.

Well, statistically speaking, he could technically drink coffee; it didn’t do much except for make him unbearable to deal with, and the taste wasn’t really horrible . He just didn’t prefer caffeinated drinks, that’s all! It made his stomach twist into knots and the aftertaste was pretty horrendous. 

All in all, Gon just. Didn’t. Drink coffee.)

“Ah, we’re almost there,” Kurapika sighed, bringing one hand up to cover a yawn befitting his deep bruised eyes.

Gon stopped admiring the clouds above (the one to his right looked like a big fish monster with huge fangs and claws attached to its fins, maw opened to devour a long-tentacled beast with ten arms and--) to look at where he was pointing. 

See, Kurapika on the other hand... Gon shuddered merely thinking about the several dozen cups piling up in their kitchen. And he had emptied that trash a week ago too.

It was mildly (terribly) disturbing, just how much coffee Kurapika seems to be able to ingest in one sitting. He drank more than what was probably considered healthy, and it wouldn’t have even been that bad had his coffee not been added with the maximum amount of espresso shots pumped inside. It was… worrying, to say the least.

(Gon has sat through countless study nights with his dear friend, and he has seen Kurapika down almost six cups of pure black coffee in the span of two hours. How he wasn’t dead would remain a mystery to him.

But see, despite the constant stream of caffeine being poured into his system, Kurapika managed to retain enough energy to fuel a small handheld TV remote; one that ran on a single triple-A battery and a bent paper clip inserted into the second empty battery slot, one that ran for about a week before sputtering to death. That bent paper clip; that was Kurapika.)

The building the blond was pointing to was humble, quaint in its size and appearance, with long windows lining the walls beside the entrance and bushes peeking beneath the thin balcony outside. 

There wasn’t a sign anywhere, though, that offered a name to the small establishment, which was weird, because didn’t shops make their signs as big as possible to get attention? 

“That’s it?” Gon asked, tilting his head to give Kurapika a questioning look. 

“Yup. All the reasons why I wake up in the morning; right here.”

“I’m not on that list of reasons?” Gon pouted, punching Kurapika in the shoulder.

“Absolutely not.”

“Rude.”

“Deserved.”

Gon snickered, following after Kurapika as he entered the shop, who had the decency to at least hold the door open for him too.

Wooden flooring, dark tables, golden light streaming from bulbs encased in black chains that hung from the ceiling in fancy knots, plants hanging from shelving in the corners; cute was the first word that came to mind. A long counter-top table sat at the front, with barstools lined up against it and a cash register in the corner. Kurapika didn’t let Gon linger at the doorway too long, and stepped up to order.

Since Gon wasn’t here to order anything (they were on their way to the library, afterall, and it just so happened that his dear friend needed his daily sustenance on the way there), he awkwardly shuffled by the door, unsure of what to do. This place was small, and lightly filled with people who would most definitely stare at him if he tripped on his united shoelace which he’s only now noticing. Damn. 

But he had enough sense that bending down right in front of the door would look really weird, and someone would break his tailbone swinging the door open behind him if they entered. Actually, someone could very well do that right now, because he had yet to move out of the way and maybe he should do that now, shouldn't he?

Jerking up, he immediately started striding away from the door and to the front, eyes downcast to make sure he didn’t step on his shoelace. It was harder than he thought it would be too, navigating through the small place without tripping. Because now that he was aware of it, the stupid shoelace was suddenly everywhere at once. Right under each of his steps, somehow making itself more abundant. How? What was Gon doing differently from when he was walking outside? What the heck?

Ah, ignorance is bliss, isn’t it. Awareness sucks.

He must have done something wrong though, because he’s walked into something hard. With enough force to knock him off his feet and for his hands to forgo their placement on his backpack straps in favor of flinging outward to catch anything, literally anything to break his sudden fall. 

His mind oh so elegantly provided him a constant stream of oh God I’m gonna’ die this is it how am I even going to survive this is the end of it all I’m going to break another bone and get eaten alive by Kurapika and shoot shoot shoot the floor is coming faster than I thought it was--

Fun fact; Gon ended up finding a purchase in his attempt to soften the blow of his fall. Pros to this being that whatever he grabbed actually grabbed him first, and he quickly tightened his hold on it. Cons was that he was now bringing it down with him.

He heard the impact before he felt it, and God it sounded painful. Like, bone-shatteringly loud. His brain then immediately decided to die on him, waving a white flag and hopping off into the sunset singing “see you later suckah’”. He wouldn’t be surprised if his mind started leaking out of his ears.

There were doubles and triples of his already spinning surroundings, as if spinning suddenly multiplied things and made them float. Like the table that was dangerously close to his head, or the… three pairs of eyes staring at him? He didn’t remember Kurapika having blue eyes, but hey, whatever he was into nowadays, right?

No, wait, that wasn’t Kurapika.

“--ay? Oh my God, don’t be dead. I don’t think I can handle having another body on my list.”

Actually, that sounded a lot like Kurapika.

“Hey, hey, oh thank fuck, you’re awake? Are you alright?”

“Huh?” He replied intelligently, moving to brace his elbows on the floor. His ears were ringing, but his head was pretty hard from what the guy he headbutted in middle school told him (screamed at him, but that was irrelevant), so he wasn’t worried. If he was hurting anywhere else, he sure couldn’t feel it.

“Please tell me you don’t have brain damage.” 

“I don’t have brain damage.” he repeated, trying to speak past his fat, useless tongue.

“Oh God, he definitely has brain damage.” Now that sounds like Kurapika.

“No, no, really , I don’t!” 

“Well, he does. But you didn’t do anything, don’t worry.”

“Kurapika!” Gon admonished, finally blinking back the dark spots in his vision to glare at the blond, who as expected, glared back as if they were having a competition. Which they weren’t, just to clarify. Gon just wasn’t looking away because he didn’t want to lose.

“Uhm,” a voice sounded above him, and he (regrettably) broke eye-contact with Kurapika to look at--

Oh.

Well then.

Maybe he really was dying, and a beautiful angel from above was coming to take him into his arms and carry him to the heavens, unless… of course, Gon’s sins outweighed his deeds and the demons from below which he knew resembled evil blond supposed-mafia-bosses dragged him below. Which in that case Gon would drag the pretty angel above him too because. Wow.

Big blue eyes, slanted at the corners and staring down at him with worry clouding oceanic azure, set nicely on a pale pale face framed with silver strands that looked so soft and fluffy and I want to touch them and Gon had never really had a way with words before but now ? Now he was confident in his ability to wax poetry about those stunning deep blues until he died.

He must be staring, he realizes, when sunset red paints over those high cheekbones and renders Gon’s knees useless. He forcefully swallows, and comes to the sickening realization that his tongue was dry. He had been openly gaping, not just staring. Great. Absolutely wonderful.

“Are you, ah, are you okay?” The boy (he didn’t look young, though. His face was all sharp angles and pale white shadows. But his eyes looked young) asked, brows furrowing (they’re black, he noticed, then mentally kicked himself for noticing). It was then that Gon finally tore his gaze away to assess his predicament before him.

Ah, yes. He was still on the floor, tailbone pulsing with the newfound agony of crashing against the ground. With an extremely gorgeous human being hovering over him with what looked like… coffee? Dripping all over him.

Oh. Coffee.

Damn.

Gon didn’t do things halfway; it was either all or nothing with him. He’s told his stubborn nature doesn’t come from his father (but since he’s never met the man he can’t really say anything to rebut the fact) and that he is startling similar to his aunt in many ways. His eyes, for one, are hers, and his obstinate personality is a carbon-copy of Mito’s. 

The point of all this? Gon didn’t do things halfway. That apparently included bumping and falling and making someone fall with him in the middle of the coffee shop. Because he didn’t just bump into anyone, did he? No, of course not, he was Gon Freecs. He just had to bump into a worker. Who had been, apparently, carrying coffee. He wondered why it didn’t burn, as he glanced down at his ruined shirt.

“The, uhm, the coffee was cold. I was cleaning up.” The beautiful boy supplied helpfully, as if reading his mind, and Gon swooned. He didn’t realize he was into mindreading… he’d have to reevaluate his ideal attractions with Kurapika later, when he wasn’t stuck on the ground with cold coffee somehow managing to cover every square inch of his body.

He wasn’t being dramatic. He was not. 

The boy above him blinked again, and he realized that this was the part where Gon was supposed to reply to him.

“Oh.”

Good move, real slick.

He should have his own section to the newspaper or something; ‘breaking news! Gon Freecs regressed to a stumbling idiot in front of a beautiful boy’.

Kurapika, bless his soul, finally took pity on him and cut in. 

“He’s fine; he’s got a hard head.”

The beautiful boy stopped looking at Gon (he tried not to wilt at the loss of such a pretty person’s attention) and met Kurapika’s gaze. They exchanged a few words which Gon didn’t hear because he was too busy admiring the sharp line of the boy’s jaw, and how he had a black stud embedded at the top of his ear. He willed his heart to calm down, and as expected, it did not listen to him.

He was (unfortunately) snapped out of his reverie by a hand appearing in front of his face, the hand of the beautiful boy who had stood up while Gon was busy daydreaming about him on the floor of the establishment he worked at. Nice going, really .

Gon shook his head, grabbing the sticky hand with his own and feeling the surprisingly strong tug of the other, immediately flying to his feet. But he couldn’t even blame the falter of his footing on his imbalance, because the way the boy smiled at him (all small and shy and wow, Gon didn’t even know his name and he was already in deep) made him feel like he could be blown away by the softest gust of wind flowing through a half-open window.

“You sure you’re okay? You kinda’... ya’ know, fell pretty hard.”

And you’re kinda’... ya’ know, really pretty; was what Gon thought in his head , along with copious amounts of wanting to touch his silver hair to see if it was really as soft as it looked.

(Gon did not end up saying this out loud, nor did he bodily reach out to touch a stranger's hair -- as much as he wanted to -- and could only hope that the beautiful boy’s mind reading abilities would catch his train of thought instead.)

Instead, he replied like any normal person would and said, “Yeah! The last time I had a concussion was when I jumped off a cliff.”

And really, how was he supposed to know that wasn’t the right thing to say? Kurapika looked at him like he was the biggest idiot alive, and to be fair, Gon probably was. But he was telling the truth! Granted, he hadn’t really jumped more than he just tripped and decided to go all out and then jump.

The boy looked at him, his dark eyebrows furrowed again, and Gon thought I messed this up bad , didn’t I? I’m going to go home and sleep for two years and hope this boy never remembers me. 

Beautiful boy blinked at him twice before breaking into laughter, and Gon could confidently say he was ready for death to take him. He’s fulfilled, you see. He’s accomplished his life goals, and he’s been blessed with the prettiest laughter he’s ever had the pleasure of listening to.

(It wasn’t elegant. Everything about this boy screamed elegance, but his laugh was raw, unrefined in the same way earthy stones were. Jagged edges and sharp surfaces. The boy’s laughter reminded Gon was a creaking doorway or tires on gravel, but God, he wanted to hear it again. And again. Because it didn’t sound like bells or the wind or anything objectively beautiful, but it sounded genuine, and it sounded free.)

“Well, last time I had a concussion was when I drove my motorcycle straight into a bus stop.”

And Gon couldn’t help it; he laughed too, loud and brash, because this boy was too perfect. Too perfect and too beautiful and he was still holding Gon’s hand and his was going to overheat and melt--

“If you don’t need any help, I think we’re going to take our leave; get dear Gon over here a new shirt.” Kurapika, the literal demon from Hell, cut in once again, and this probably made the beautiful boy realize his hand was still clasped with Gon’s. All at once (and much to his disappointment) their conjoined grasp was broken, and the boy turned to wave Kurapika’s offer for help down.

“Ah, it’s fine. I’m the one who dropped all the coffee on him,” he explained softly, gesturing to his own apron which seemed to have been saved from the fate of spilled cold beverages.

“If you’re sure?” When the boy nodded to this, it was then that Gon noticed that his hair was tied into a little tuft at the back, and his brain suddenly felt very fuzzy. “Okay, well, sorry for the trouble.”

The boy waved him off again and started collecting the fallen cups and tray. Kurapika nudged Gon with his elbow, and he tore his gaze away to follow the blond out.

It was only after they got back to the apartment that Gon realized he never even got the beautiful boy’s name.

. . .

“I’ll get your coffee for you!” Was what Gon yelled first thing in the morning, bright and early at 6 am watching Kurapika take notes on the kitchen table, looking very much like he hadn’t even blinked last night, let alone stopped long enough for sleep.

In the end they were all just tired post-secondary students though, so Gon understood the sentiment of waking up in the mornings feeling like you never slept. Kurapika seemed to be on a whole different spectrum of exhaustion, and maybe that’s what came with age along with working all night, but Gon understood nonetheless.

Understood the deep bruises beneath his eyes enough to know that his friend wouldn’t be able to cross the street without getting hit by a car.

So despite never having ordered coffee before, and despite not gaining anything out of his favor (really, he wasn’t receiving anything in return. Not even getting the chance to properly talk to the beautiful guy working there, no way) Gon offered to get Kurapika his morning dose of liquid-from-Hell. I’m already up anyway, and I like walking. 

You like hiking Gon, Kurapika had replied with a tired but knowing smile that Gon didn’t look too hard at, you’re a terrible liar.

I like walking. He simply replied.

Well, walking in the city wasn’t his ideal workout, but he liked walking! Seriously! Maybe the smell of cars driving right by still irked his nose and he’s stepped in more than enough city-mud puddles to have his shoes dyed a permanent shade of grey, but walking was fun! It was nice!

Walking to the coffee shop with the beautiful boy who made Gon’s heart flutter in anticipation was just a… bonus prize to his main adventure. A side quest, if you will.

He reached the establishment and shook out his hands. Come on Gon, you got this. Just go to the front and order and maybe get the boy’s name while you're at it.

Taking a deep breath, he pushed against the front door.

It did not, in fact, open. 

Confused, he peered into one of the windows to see if the place was closed. There were people inside though, idly sitting at the many tables and chairs, and so Gon pressed his lips together and pushed again. And again. And again. Damn, this door was tough. What was he doing wrong? Kurapika had just pulled it and it had opened--

Oh, he was supposed to pull it.

Not stopping to see if anyone saw a boy clad in a bright green windbreaker pushing with all his might against a door that you were supposed to pull, he entered the shop with his mind set on getting the beautiful boy’s name. And Kurapika’s coffee , his mind supplied helpfully. That too.

He looked around, hands coming down to fiddle with the ends of his open windbreaker as he once again took in his surroundings. The same as when they came before, except now the puddle of coffee that had been on the floor was long gone and there, behind the counter, was a tall girl with beads in her long black hair counting someone’s change.

Gon wilted.

Well, he had said that the pretty boy with blue eyes was a side quest. One that he had really been hoping to see, because the side quest was much more tempting than ordering his roommate’s death-drink. Oh well.

He sauntered up to the front, eyes taking in the neatly printed options written out on the large boards up behind the barista. Though he knew Kurapika’s order (he kept repeating it in his head in case he forgot; large lungo with two shots of caramel, large lungo with two shots of caramel, large lungo with two shots of caramel--), he still looked over the large selection of beverages and foods; everything ranging from lemonade to several hundred different coffee selections that made Gon’s head spin. They even had pastries.

Neat.

When the girl called ‘next up please!’ Gon brought his eyes down and skipped to the front, returning the girl’s sweet smile with a grin of his own. She seemed nice, genuine in the way her gemstone blue eyes shone in the pre-dawn light, full of light and airy mirth.

“What can I get you?” She asked, tilting her head and hovering her fingers over the machine before her.

“Uh, one large lungo with… two caramel shots?” Right? It was two, right? Not three? No no, he was sure it was two. He was sure of it. 

“That… sounds more like a question. You sure that’s what you want?” She giggled, and he rubbed the back of his neck with a huff.

“You caught me. I have no idea what I’m ordering; it’s for my roommate.”

“I knew it!” She cheered, before flushing and lowering her hands back to the register with a cheeky smile, “you don’t seem like someone to drink lungo of all things.”

“I don’t even know what lungo is.” He laughed, “but it looks horrible.”

The girl giggled, tapping his order away before leaning forward to whisper, “between you and me, I hate coffee too.”

Gon snickered and swiped a finger over his mouth; his lips were sealed.

While she counted his total and he handed her some cash, they tossed small talk here and there (“What’s your name?” “Gon, what about you.” “I’m Alluka!”). She was sweet, really, and Gon normally hated waiting in line, but he found himself enjoying the quiet atmosphere filled with nothing but whispered words and large toothy smiles. Alluka -- what a cool name, but it matched her, from what Gon could tell --  told him that his order would be ready in a bit, and that he could stand to the side while she took the next person’s requests.

She was beautiful, that much was obvious. Gon watched her talk to the customer, crystallin blues crinkling along her ever present smile. She was taller than Gon, but she didn’t look older. (Like the beautiful blue-eyed boy from yesterday; all sharp angles and soft eyes that looked so full of youth untouched by time… yeah, he needed to calm down.)

“One large lungo with a double caramel shot.” A voice called, and Gon looked up to see-- oh. Okay.

It was the boy from yesterday, almost as if his thoughts had summoned him. With a new, clean apron and the same wild snow-white strands tied messily at the back. Damn, Gon wanted to pet him. His hair looked so soft, silky locks fluttering easily with his every move.

He blinked his burning eyes. He really needed to stop staring.

“Ah, that’s me!” Gon waved, bouncing to the counter and taking his order. Gon idly tapped at the warm cardboard when the other told him to wait while he looked for a straw.

At this rate Gon would definitely get called out for his staring. It was shameless, really, the way he openly looked at how the boy turned to shuffle through the cupboards behind him, long-fingered hands sifting through the items with ease. Did he play piano? He could definitely play piano with those hands. Or hold Gon’s hand. That would be nice too.

“Oh, onii-chan! I don’t remember giving you that order.” Alluka suddenly peeked over, two empty cups in her hands as she made her way to the coffee machine. “I was so sure I gave you the cappuccino one?”

The boy -- Alluka’s older brother, apparently -- flushed a blotchy rose-petal pink, thin lips twisting into a thin line. Gon was no artist, but right now all he wanted to do was take a paint brush and steal away the pretty color from his cheeks.

His finger twitched, but he didn’t want to appear impatient, so he took to bouncing his knee while they talked.

“I, uh, overheard the order. I was done with mine anyway, so…” he trailed off, looking back into the cabinet and pulling out a packet of straws. Alluka giggled behind her palm.

“You’re so thoughtful, huh?”

“Of course.”

“Mhmm. Of course. Hey, Gon, you’ve been here before, yeah?” She suddenly turned to him, and behind her Killua ripped open the packet of straws hard enough to spill them all over the floor. Gon opened his mouth to ask if he needed help, but Alluka just leaned forward and smiled expectantly at him, completely ignoring her brother scrambling to pick up the fallen straws.

“Erm, yeah. But only once, like, yesterday. With my friend.”

“Really? I must have been in the back to not notice someone like you!”

“Huh?” He replied smoothly, clutching his jacket zipper tighter. Was it the green? Was it the neon green clothes that Kurapika insisted were hideous but Gon wore anyway (half out of spite, and half because, well, he didn’t really have anything else in his wardrobe)? Oh God, it was the green, wasn’t it? Suddenly Gon’s ears felt very warm.

“Oh, nothing nothing! Just that I think I would’ve noticed someone as cute as you--”

Alluka! I think your customers are waiting, aren’t they?” The boy slammed down the straws onto the table, smiling something akin to murder at his sister, who seemed to have the courage of all men on earth because she simply gave him a cheeky grin before going back to serve the people waiting.

Gon blinked. Well then .

“I’m sorry about her,” the boy sighed after she was out of ear-shot, ash-pink settling under his eyes as he handed Gon a twisted straw. 

“It’s no problem! Your sister is really sweet,” Gon replied easily, thanking the Lord above that his tongue didn’t trip over itself.

“Yeah, but she can be a menace,” he laughed under his breath, but anyone could see the complete adoration on his face. It made Gon feel warm. There was just something about loving someone unconditionally that made his heart skip a beat and made his blood slow down to an ocean-tempo.

They both stood then, the air tinged with an awkward standstill as neither spoke. Maybe now would be a good time to apologize for their last encounter? He was sure a few hours did nothing to impair the boy’s memory of Gon slamming into him trying not to trip on his shoelace (which he remembered to tie this time; double-knotted for extra safety measures). 

Yeah, maybe he’ll apologize. He did feel bad, of course, but also unworldly amounts of embarrassment. Dragging the most beautiful boy down to the floor of a coffee shop was not Gon’s ideal meet-cute.

“I’m sorry about bumping into you the other day.”

“I’m sorry about spilling coffee all over you.”

Gon blinked, and the boy blinked back.

Okay, so maybe Gon’s chances weren’t completely crushed to the ground and spat on by Kurapika who, for some unknown reason, took to making sure Gon didn’t forget about his tripping incident no matter what.

“Heh, uh, yeah. Sorry about that. Did you ever get to clean your shirt?” The boy asked, hand coming up to play with his own fingers. Gon had to stop himself from becoming mesmerized as those long translucent-pink digits twisted around his stuck-out joints. It took even more effort not to just grab the hand himself. He tightened his grip on the already crumpled straw.

“Well, the stain is still there, but Kurapika said it would come out after another wash, so it’s fine.” Gon assured, hand coming up to rub away at the hot pin pricks at the back of his neck. “And I’m sorry about tripping you too. That was totally my fault.”

“No, it’s fine. It really wasn’t though; I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

“Neither was I!” Gon exclaimed, dead set on proving this beautiful boy that he wasn’t in the wrong. “I was trying not to step on my shoelace and I didn’t see you!”

The boy blinked.

“Oh… so was I.”

Huh.

“Oh,” he mumbled, suddenly shy. Afterall, it wasn’t everyday you got a beautiful boy confessing he was trying not to trip on his shoelace at the same time as you were.

(He was never, ever, going to mention this to Kurapika. Ever.)

Speaking of Kurapika; Gon looked down to the cup in his hands, cardboard already cooling in his grasp. He’d better get going before it completely cools and he has to deal with one (1) demon blond from Hell who has been awake for several hundred hours with no caffeine to run his system. Gon shuddered at the mere mental image of him.

But, before he leaves… Gon squints at the boy, trying to find a name tag anywhere. Anything really, to see if he could finally put a name to his pretty face.

“I’m Killua.” The voice in front of him spoke, and Gon looked up to see the boy (Killua, his mind supplied giddily) staring intently down at his hands, focusing on popping all the joints. “My name tag’s broken, so, uh, yeah. The name’s Killua.”

Killua… it suited him. In the same way Alluka suited the tall girl who happened to be his sister standing at the cash register. They looked alike, now that Gon looked closer. Killua was taller, and his nose was longer and flat across the bridge, but they had the same slanted eyes, the same thin lips, and the same smile.

Killua. It was a nice name.

“Killua.” He tasted the letters, letting them roll off his tongue and fill the space on top of the counter that separated them, as if serving it back to the boy with the entire ocean stored up in his eyes. He grinned then, and offered a hand to the other, “I’m Gon!”

Killua looked at his hand, then looked back up at him with a smile as he took it.

“It’s nice to meet you, Gon.”

. . .

It was only after Gon got home that he realized; people don’t drink coffee with a straw.

. . .

“Kurapika, you want coffee, right?”

He squinted at him then, grey eyes scrutinizing him as he shuffled from foot to foot, hands deep within his windbreaker pockets and pushed down until his hidden fists rested against his thighs.

“I… do.”

“Sooo, can I get it for you?”

If possible, Kurapika’s squint narrowed.

“Stop looking at me like that!” Gon yelled, pulling his hands out to wave in front of his face, hiding behind his fingers while the other continued his scrutiny. 

“Well, stop acting like that .

“Like what ?”

“That!” Kurapika gestured to him, and Gon let out a whine.

“That’s not fair. That’s all of me.”

“Exactly.”

Gon huffed, crossing his arms. Kurapika remained, as always, unimpressed.

“I just wanted to do you a favor by getting you your disgusting coffee. What a jerk.”

“Oh, I see how it is.” Kurapika drawled, rolling his eyes, ”and this has nothing to do with Killua, right?”

“N-no!” He shrieked. A… manly shriek of course, because despite what everyone around him says, he did indeed go through puberty. He was a man now. An adult. Adults didn’t shriek.

Kurapika’s stare begged to differ, but Gon was not differing at the moment.

“Listen, listen, this has absolutely nothing to do with Killua--wait, how do you know his name?” Gon asked, suddenly feeling betrayed. He had spent the whole day (and the following night) wondering what the beautiful boy’s name had been, and he knew that Kurapika knew that Gon had been wondering. What a jerk .

“Gon,” Kurapika fixed him with a Look, “where do you think I go to get coffee everyday?”

“...so what, you’re a regular?”

“Yes. And I’m not even surprised you hadn’t figured that out.”

“Hey--”

“Fine, go get my coffee.” Kurapika finally conceded, as if letting Gon get his coffee was a chore on his part and not Gon’s. Which, to be fair, it kind of was, because by the time he had gotten back yesterday the beverage had been lukewarm (if he was being generous about it). “But I don’t want it cold this time.”

“It wasn’t even cold.” Gon grumbled, but quickly slipped on his shoes and ran out the door before he could hear Kurapika’s rebuttal.

It was cold this week, the summer sun seemed to fall asleep as chilly winds washed over the city. He could even see his breath if he looked hard enough, and it wisped in peaceful curls until it disappeared.

Gon didn’t hate the cold. It was nice, actually, having his cheeks brushed with frigid whispers while he drank hot chocolate outside. But the thing was, he didn’t have hot chocolate with him right now, and his body was not built for the cold.

Still, the snow would be nice. It’s his third year here living in York New, and his second snowfall. He’s still excited despite foreseeing an annoying fever in the future.

The coffee shop (which still didn’t seem to have a sign, which was weird ) looked even cozier in the blue evening hue. Warm lantern-like lights hung outside, casting golden rays on the sidewalk, promising warmth from the icy outdoor air.

Gon happily stepped in, shaking his shoulder out to relieve himself of the chills rolling down his spine, before quickly making his way to the front.

Alluka was there again, and as much as Gon would have liked to talk to Killua, she was still a delight. With a wide wave and smile to match, the girl happily chirped a greeting with enough enthusiasm to make Gon feel warm despite the pre-winter winds.

“It’s gonna’ snow this weekend,” she sighed, resting her cheek on her hand and gazing longingly outside. “I can’t wait for it.”

“Same! It’s so much fun to play in,” Gon agreed, watching Alluka laugh. He decided that he liked her laugh too; high-pitched and deep from her lungs, enough to rattle her form. Almost like little elves tinkling together. Odd, but almost familiar.

“You sure seem like the type to play in the snow.”

“Hey! It’s fun, so why not.” He argued.

“Fair, can’t say anything to that.”

Gon hummed, and told Alluka his order; same as before. Large lungo with two shots of caramel. As she typed in his order, he spoke up again.

“Say, that’s your second assumption of me. What else do you think I like?” He asked, curious. He always liked to see what people had to say about him, there was something funny about first impressions.

Alluka hummed thoughtfully, twirling a piece of her long black hair between her fingers.

“You’re a dog person,” she started, and he laughed at the accuracy. 

“Yup!”

“You like the color green,”

Gon looked down at his attire; green windbreaker and green sneakers. He huffed under his breath.

“That one’s not fair, but yeah.”

“Aaand your type is tall and blue-eyed.” Alluka finished, punctuating her statement by handing Gon his coffee.

“W-what?!” he squawked (manly squawked, he scolded himself), clutching the coffee to his chest. “Where’s that coming from?!”

“Intuition!” Alluka laughed, throwing her head back and clutching her stomach. Despite his burning ears, he scoffed playfully.

“Ha ha, very funny.” 

“So, was I right on that one?”

“Huh?”

“You didn’t tell me if I was right. So, am I?” She smiled, wide and full of mirth at Gon’s expense, and full of promised teasing (so much like Kurapika’s smiles, as rare as they were). He fidgeted with the coffee cup lid and chose to pay very close attention to the lantern lights outside.

“Maybe,” he muttered, and Alluka just grinned.

. . .

By the fourth day Kurapika simply handed him a five dollar bill and told him to “stop being an idiot”.

Gon didn’t know why those two things were relevant, but later realized the five dollar bill was not, in fact, given to him to fund payment for therapy. It was actually just so Gon would stop paying for Kurapika’s coffee.

“Fine, I will.” He ended up replying. To the ‘stop using your own money’ bit of course.

Today was colder than yesterday, probably because it was later in the evening. The sun was just slinking past the buildings behind him as he made his way to the Unknown cafe, still cozy and warm even after his fourth consecutive trip. And the little worms wriggling in his stomach made him want to roll on the ground and scream and jump and run around because maybe, just maybe, he’d get to talk to Killua today.

Entering the same as yesterday, Gon stood at the doorway to let his shivers subside, fingers playing with the folded bill in his pocket as he made his way to the front. 

Where Killua was serving the customer in front of him.

Oh my God.

Killua was here.

Those worms in his stomach had wings now, and they made his insides writhe in nervous excitement.

“Hey Killua!” He waved, skipping to the front and letting his heels bounce against the ground.

“Oh, Gon! Hi,” he waved back, giving him a small smile that effectively made all the butterflies in his stomach melt and make his blood feel warm. God, he was so pretty.

“Where’s Alluka?” Gon asked instead of swooning over the other’s slanted lips, tilting his head to peer behind the boy. She’s been at the register since he started coming four days ago, so he was sure that her shift wouldn’t move. Guess he was wrong.

Killua had that pretty flush painted across his face again; blotchy, as if someone spilled wine in water and watched the vivid red dance across the translucent surface. Gon watched, fascinated, as he reached to play with his own fingers again.

“She, ah, she had to clean something up in the back.” He explained, eyes almost glaring at the cash register. It would look frightening if his ears weren’t bright red. Well, okay, it was admittedly slightly terrifying, but still. 

“Okay! Tell her I said hi?”

Killua just gave a small smile and a nod.

“And you were getting the same thing as last time? I’m assuming it’s for Kurapika,” He started again, typing the order up when Gon nodded.

“Yeah! He, uh, didn’t wanna’ come outside, ya’ know?” He laughed nervously, “too cold.”

“It’s not that cold.” Killua frowned, accepting Gon’s cash and counting his change.

“Uhm, it kinda’ is? It’s like... freezing.

“It’s really not,” Killua laughed, giving Gon his change (his fingers brushed his palm, and they were oh so cold compared to his own. It forced a different kind of shiver to roll down his spine, and he quickly snatched his hand away lest he do something stupid like grab Killua’s hand --)

“Were you born up north or something?” Gon asked, pocketing the change and watching Killua move to the coffee machine.

“Yeah, actually, I was. You know where the Republic of Padokea is?”

Gon has not, in fact, heard of where that is, but he nods anyway.

“My home was up in Kukuroo Mountain.”

Gon did, in fact, know what Kukuroo mountain was.

“Really?!” he gasped, gripping the countertop, “up there? Like, on on the mountain? Like, on top?”

“Yeah!” Killua laughed, “right on top. Well, more to the side of it, but you get the idea.”

“Oh my God, no wonder you don’t find it cold,” Gon gaped, baffled that the beautiful blue-eyed barista was from Kukuroo Mountain of all places. His heart swelled because, wow, he’s fallen for a mountain boy.

(“You’re so dramatic,” his inner voice -- which sounded a lot like an insomniac jerk he knew -- droned, but Gon easily ignored it. Let a guy live a little. )

“Well, where are you from?” Killua asked.

“Whale Island!”

“Never heard of it, sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Gon laughed, stuffing his hands in his pockets as he watched Killua brew the coffee. “It’s a small port-island that people sometimes use as a fishing stop. But mostly we just host passing ships. So I’m not surprised you haven’t heard about it.”

“Sounds cozy.”

“Maybe,” he shrugged, fiddling with the coins in his pocket as he spoke, “there were like, less than a thousand people there.”

Wow , that’s crazy.” Killua breathed, sounding genuinely astonished. Was it surprising for his home island to have such a small population? Maybe, but then again, he couldn’t really be the best judge of character for that. “What brought you here, then? To YorkNew of all places.”

“School! My aunt saved enough money to ship me here and let me live with Kurapika,” he explained, all at once feeling a swell of love for his aunt. Mito was a one-of-a-kind woman and no matter who said otherwise, she was the best possible mother-figure he could ever ask for. His heart felt ready to burst with warm adoration, the yearning to be within her embrace after years almost overwhelming, and he gingerly touched his chest to quell the waves of fire threatening to break past his ribs.

“You live with Kurapika?” Killua cut in, finally coming over and handing him his coffee order. Gon thanked him with a smile and, seeing as no one was in line behind him, casually leaned against the counter. Kurapika said he didn’t want cold coffee. Gon wouldn’t take too long.

“Yup!” He replied, popping the ‘p’ at the end.

“I’m… sorry? He’s kind of… you know…” Kurapika drew a thumb over his neck and bared his teeth.

Gon burst out laughing.

“No no, You’re right, you're right! He’s really… yeah.” He ended up huffing, smile spreading without his control, “I’m taking you see him a lot?”

“I worry about him with how many times I see him here.”

“Do me a favor and charge him double next time he comes,” Gon joked, but the way Killua nodded, with such an intense seriousness, made him laugh all over again.

That day Gon went home knowing a little bit more about Killua Zoldyck:

  1. His last name, if that wasn’t already obvious,
  2. The number of siblings he had,
  3. That he was working towards becoming a surgeon,
  4. That he liked sweet things,
  5. And that Gon was, beyond a doubt, whipped.

. . .

“Just take him on a date already.” Was what Kurapika told him when he offered to go for the tenth day, to which Gon sputtered that no, Kurapika, it’s not like that, Killua just happens to be there every time I go. To which Kurapika replies with an impressive eye roll sent from Hell, a five dollar bill, and a tissue paper in case he gets rejected.

Gon doesn’t throw the tissue paper away, because as much as he wants to, it would be a waste. So he spitefully plunges it in his pocket and makes his way, once again, to the coffee shop.

Alluka was there to greet him, much like she always did during this time, but unlike most days where Alluka was at the register, Killua was out at the front too, cleaning off the countertop with such focus he didn’t even notice Gon coming in. 

(He noticed with a lurch of his heart that Killua’s hair was down today, curling around his ears and covering his neck in soft-looking tufts. There was a blue headband holding the white locks out of his eyes, and Gon found the struggle to not go up and kiss his forehead an embarrassingly strong fight.)

“Hey Gon!” Alluka greeted, already tapping away at the machine before he even reached the register. “Same as usual?”

“Mhmm,” he hummed, watching Killua stop wiping in favor of giving him a wave. He waved back from inside his windbreaker.

There weren’t a lot of people today; barely a handful of adults loitering at separate tables. For the most part, the cafe (or whatever the establishment went by, which would be easier to identify if they had a sign ) was a semi-busy business, mostly attending to students and young adults during work hours. He had expected weekends to be busier than normal, what with the extra time away from classes. But then again, they were just a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. Suddenly he was less surprised at how slow things were running.

“Are you ever going to get anything for yourself?” Alluka cut in while taking Gon’s bill.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, onii-chan told me how you only order for Kurapika,” she explained, finger on her chin, “but you should try something here for a change!”

“Ah,” he laughed, rubbing the heat away from the back of his neck (Killua actually talked about him, oh my God, this can’t be real-). “Well, I don’t mind getting Kurapika’s coffee, really--”

“Still. You should try something! It’ll be on the house today, yeah? For being so dedicated to your friend” she insisted (yeah, because he was totally doing this for Kurapika and not for the chance to talk to Killua, definitely). 

And well, how could Gon say no when two big, glittering blue eyes peered at him behind clasped fingers, mouth twisting into a brilliant smile that made Gon want to reach out and squeeze her. He sighed, relenting to her stare, and looked up to see his many… many choices.

See, Gon didn’t drink coffee, so the whole board to his left that listed the different coffee bases and toppings was a no-go, and half the pastries had weird fancy names that didn’t even hint to what they would possibly taste like. The only thing he understood were the lemonade flavors, but it was so cold outside right now that lemonade would do no good for his already frigid fingers.

“Uuh,” he hummed, eyes roaming over the different selections uselessly as he bit his lip. Man, he had no idea what he was reading. Mango-peach tea? They had fruit teas now? And what the hell was a mocha? No no wait, what in the actual Hell was a macchiato ?

A giggle brought his attention down, and he caught the tail end of Alluka moving away from Killua, who immediately started scrubbing the already glossy countertop twice as hard as before.

“Well?” she asked sweetly, and Gon gulped back his embarrassment.

“Well... I have no idea?”

“Great!” She cheered, and Gon blinked, watching in confusion as she pulled Killua over by the arm. “Well, not great that you can’t pick, but Killua here was just about to go on break!”

“I was?”

“He was?”

“He was!”

Alluka looked more ecstatic about Killua’s break than Killua himself, but Gon was too busy trying to not simultaneously combust because Killua was on break as in not working as in free time as in maybe hopefully conveniently he’ll spend some time with me.

“I… am going on break.” Killua started slowly, staring Alluka in the eyes. 

“You are going on break.” Alluka repeated, speaking as if she was wording out something to a child.

“And, Gon here, needs help picking a drink.”

“Yes, indeed.”

“Huh.”

Huh, indeed. Gon’s head was spinning.

Just as he was about to leave (the two of them looked quite preoccupied in… whatever sibling telepathy conversation they were having with their eyes, and though Gon was more than happy to see Killua today, sometimes he knew when his presence wasn’t needed), Killua snapped his head to him and pointed his thumb to one of the billboards behind them.

“You like honey?”

“Yeah.” Sure, why not.

“Lemme’ make something for you.”

And with that, Gon was left with a cooling cup of Kurapika’s coffee, change in the other hand, and a slow but steady pulsing heat climbing up his ears.

He spun around and took a seat at the counter.

. . .

By the twelfth day, Gon managed to gather enough courage to ask Killua out.

Well, not technically like… out out. More just, out for a walk , in the park nearby during Killua’s break.

It was a step forward though! And the way Killua beamed and said ‘yes’ was a huge leap in Gon’s mind.

The ‘park nearby’ was actually one Gon frequented a lot, because of its long trail and pretty scenery; perfect for an early morning run. YorkNew was all city sights and skyscraper buildings for miles, but at the heart of it all lay one dense forest, maintained and preserved for people like Gon who missed the sight of trees upon trees sometimes. There was a river that flowed straight through it too, right in the center of the forest, with a long wooden bridge built over the water.

The perfect place for a not-date.

Since Killua’s shift was in the evening, Gon knew it would be chilly when they went out, so he (at the insistence of Kurapika) wore a hoodie underneath his windbreaker, and double socks.

It seemed Killua did not share his sentiment though, because when Gon entered the now familiar Unknown coffee shop, Killua stood, in all his glory, wearing nothing but a flannel.

“Killua!” He waved, just like he always did, as he made his way to the front.

“Oh, hi Gon! I was just about to get off.”

“Cool,” he nodded, watching Killua take off his apron and frowning when the boy simply walked past the counter. “No jacket?”

“Gon,” Killua chuckled (he loved how he said Gon’s name, it made his knees feel fickle), “it’s not that cold.”

“It is! When I don’t see you tomorrow I’ll know it’s because you got sick like an idiot.”

“I don’t get sick.” Killua huffed, pocketing his hands into his sweatpants. “I’m built differently.”

“Sure you are.” Gon laughed, leading the way outside.

Killua knew about the park, yes, but didn’t go there very often because of his busy schedule. That’s what he explained to Gon when he mentioned he didn’t know where to go.

“What could you possibly be doing all day?” He asked, curious. Killua was the same age as him, afterall, and Gon certainly found enough time in the day to enjoy the outdoors.

“Ah, well, I’m paying for Alluka’s tuition. She didn’t manage to secure a scholarship like I did.”

“What about your family?” Gon frowned, looking up at him, “shouldn’t they be the ones paying for her?”

He hasn’t seen Killua get mad in the short time he’s known him. He seems so open, so happy and free and living his life the way he wanted to. Cool and collected would be a good way of summing up his personality, but all in all Killua wasn’t one to seem to get mad easily.

But right now, something dark flitted behind his eyes, some shadow of the past Gon didn’t understand, and it clouded his features. Made his eyes seem deeper, the crevice between his brows sharper and the line of his jaw meaner; he looked ready to kill something, and for some weird reason, Gon didn’t feel compelled to run away.

(Maybe because something deep down told him that Killua wasn’t actually mad. That the shadow in his eyes wasn’t malicious, wasn't too dark. If Gon looked close enough, Killua almost looked sad.)

So Gon took a deep breath, eyes jumping between Killua’s terse expression and his hand, which to his immense disappointment, happened to be in his pocket. But with his new burst of confidence, he did the next best thing, and gently touched Killua’s exposed wrist. Let his warm fingers brush against Killua’s cold porcelain skin.

He looked up, and saw Killua’s gaze transfixed on their hands, astonished wonder spreading on his face from the way his mouth made a soft ‘o’ and how his eyes widened, just slightly. Like this, he looked young, so so young. Nothing like the sad shadow that hung from his body mere moments ago. He looked delicate, really, with the yellow light of the lampposts above them transforming his silver hair into gold. Something fragile and tender.

Beautiful.

Killua’s eyes met his, and he smiled.

“Alluka’s lucky, ya’ know. You’re a very kind older brother.”

If anyone noticed how Killua interlocked his fingers with Gon and stuffed their hands back into his pocket, they didn’t say anything.

. . .

When Gon entered for the fifteenth day, he met Not Alluka.

She looked exactly like Alluka, almost identical if it weren’t for her eyes, which were less slanted than Alluka’s, and colored a deep deep brown that almost resembles a pit. Her skin was paler too, Gon noticed as he got closer, a sickly grey that made her seem cold and translucent.

But despite the gloomy appearance, Gon still walked up to the cash register with a smile.

“Hi there! I don’t think I’ve met you before,” he greeted, giving the girl a small wave. She didn’t say anything back, but when she looked up she gave Gon a wide, wobbly smile that instantly made him feel warm. His own grin became larger without his permission, and watched as the girl gestured to the cash register.

“Ah, my order?”

A nod.

“I’m actually here to see someone today, before I order,” he explained, “uh, Killua? Is he here today?”

At this the girl beamed, nodding enthusiastically and immediately running to the back, disappearing in a whirl of dark hair past the swinging doors.

“Okay then,” Gon mumbled, tapping his toe to the ground and peering around the shop as he waited by the vacant cash register. 

Quiet minutes passed before the doors swung open again, and he was greeted for a second time by the mystery Not Alluka, alongside Real Alluka, who gave him a wave.

“Hey Gon! How’re you?” she asked, as sweet as ever, Not Alluka clinging to her elbow with delicate looking fingers. They really did look identical, all the way up to the clothes they wore, though Alluka had her hair tied up while the other girl had hers down and pushed back by a headband.

“I’m good, I’m good! What about you? Who’s this?” He asked, gesturing to the girl at her side.

“Ah, I don’t think you’ve met each other. Gon, this is Nanika; my twin sister,” Alluka explained, nudging Nanika forward with a small smile. ”She doesn’t talk much, but she’s heard all about you.” 

The twinkle in Alluka’s eyes and the implication of her words made Gon’s ears feel warm, but he greeted Nanika nonetheless, extending an arm out over the counter.

“It’s nice to meet you, Nanika!”

They shook hands, and he found that unlike her siblings, Nanika’s hands were warm. So so warm, like someone who just walked away from a heater, and Gon found himself giving her a little squeeze before he could help himself. 

In return, he got a wide smile, and a gesture to his face.

Puzzled, he turned to look at Alluka, who giggled in her palm. “She likes your eyes.”

“Oh,” he whispered, suddenly mellow, and he let Nanika’s expression mirror on his face. “Your eyes are very beautiful too, Nanika, I like them.”

It was true too. He’s come to love the vibrant azure’s of Alluka and Killua’s eyes, how they seemed so full of life, resembling a wild ocean. But if those two were the vast, boundless sky and the deep blue of the ocean, then Nanika’s was the warm embrace of sleep.

A light blush danced on Nanika’s grey face, and Gon thinks, huh, he wouldn’t mind seeing her more often.

. . .

“Let’s play 20 questions.”

“Why?”

“Well, do you have any better ideas?”

“Hmm, well, no…”

“Then?” Gon grinned, whining when Killua flicked his forehead. They’ve upgraded in their comfort towards each other, as you can see. Now they inflict bodily harm on one another to show how much they care. 

“It’s like, the universal ice-breaker game.” 

“Then come up with a better game,” Gon rolled his eyes, and then froze when Killua’s expression turned sinister.

“Let’s make it more interesting then,” he started, holding up a finger, “you can pass questions, but every question you pass is one point. The one with the most points owes the other a favor.”

“Oooh, okay okay., interesting. You’re on!” Gon yelled, and Killua swatted at his extended fist.

“Well, you suggested the dumb game. You go first,” he huffed, rolling his eyes at Gon’s cheer.

“Hmm… are you left-handed or right-handed?”

“You couldn’t ask a basic question like what’s my favorite color?”

“Is that one of the questions?”

“Was that a question.”

“Just answer my question!” 

Killua giggled, then raised his hand (Gon tried not to stare at the scars littering his fingers. As morbid as it sounded, he wanted to know where each and every one of them came from).

“Left-handed. But I’ve been trained to be ambidextrous.”

It took Gon a total of five seconds to realize that ambidextrous was not, in fact, a disease, but that it actually just meant Killua could use both hands to write.

“Oh! Really?” He asked, tilting his head.

“Yeah, my mother became obsessed with it when I broke my left arm and couldn’t write my exams.”

“Ah, so she was strict?”

“You could say that.” Killua scoffed, then nodded at him. “That was two questions by the way. My turn.”

“You didn’t even answer the second one,” Gon whined, but raised his hands on mock surrender nonetheless.

Killua squinted at him for a long moment, tapping idly at the table as he searched for… something in his face. Normally Gon was a sucker for soaking up attention, but now, under the direct scrutiny of Killua’s piercing gaze, he felt like an insect under a microscope. He tried not to let his leg bounce too much under the counter.

“Summer or winter?” Killua finally asked, leaning back and crossing his arms, acting as if he’d just come up with the world’s brightest question. Gon just smacked his forehead loud enough for Alluka to send a worried glance their way.

“Summer,” he sighed, before continuing, “where’d that scar come from.”

Killua followed Gon’s finger to where it pointed at the large scar on his jaw, which he traced with his hand until its end; right underneath his left eye. A deep line within his skin, a dark purple-pink in contrast to his pale pale skin.

He sighed, resting his chin in his hands as he gazed outside. “My brother gave me that one.”

A pause; Gon wasn’t too sure if the other would continue, but it was his turn anyway, so he chose to stay silent while Killua watched the winds outside make the trees dance.

“He’s a bitch,” he finally continues, eyes finding Gon’s, “he put me into God-knows how many martial arts as a kid, and acted like my personal trainer at home.”

“And he… gave you that?” Another gesture to the scar.

“Yup,” Killua nodded, popping the ‘p’, “looks badass, no? My oldest brother gave me most of my scars actually, but I think at some point every one of my family members gave me one.”

“Even Alluka?!”

“No!” Killua laughed, waving a hand, “her and Nanika did nothing; they’re both the only good things that came out of my family. And Kalluto, I guess. I haven’t seen him in years though.”

And though there was a lot to digest there, like how Killua probably had more scars than what were visible right now, or how his family gave all of them to him, or how for some reason he was the one paying for Alluka’s tuition instead of said scar-inflicting family, the one thing that came out of his mouth was, “so you can beat people up?”

And Killua, true to his carefree nature, burst out laughing, slamming the table with his palm as he clutched his stomach with the other. Gon couldn’t help the chuckle that left his lips as Killua wheezed before him, tears shining in his eyes when he finally managed to look up.

“You’re the weirdest person I’ve ever met,” he gasped, using his knuckles to wipe his eyes, “by far, and I’ve met a lot of weird people.”

Gon thinks about Killua; his weird habits and his weird family and weird mentality and weird hair and weird eyes. Weird, that was one way to describe him. Weird, but perfect.

“Says you,” he ends up saying instead, and waits for Killua to calm down before asking his next question.

“I have three questions on you, by the way,” he grinned, and Gon merely sighed in conceded defeat.

“Sure.”

“Okay, one; where’d that scar come from.” Killua asked, pointing to his arm, where numerous deep knicks and twisted skin contorted and littered his wrist and the area leading up to his fingers.

“Ah,” he breathed, eyeing the rippling skin. It’s been years, really, since that happened. Gon almost forgot about it, honestly.

Oh well.

“When I was… twelve, I think? There was this crazy guy who visited our island and we fought.” He tried to recall the events, but all he remembered was the feeling of fire on his skin and the other guy screaming when Gon pushed him off a cliff. “His name was Genthru? I’m pretty sure it was, and he started a fire at the port and so I pushed him off a cliff.”

He doesn’t remember anything after that, and when he opened his eyes the following week after the incident he had a bandaged hand and dozens of food dishes in the fridge from everyone in the community thanking him for his efforts. Now that he thinks about this, his home island was kind of wack.

Killua stared at him for a solid second before letting out a low whistle (oh my God he can whistle), eyes wide. 

“Now your personality makes sense.”

“Hey! You’re one to talk!” Gon exclaimed, flattening his expression and deepening his voice, “my name is Killua Zoldyck and my brother beat me up so bad I have scars all over my body but I’m not really upset because it makes me look badass but nooo I’m not the weird one.”

“I don’t sound like that! Oh my God,” Killua screeched, cheeks tinged red, and then they were laughing again. Unrestrained and wild.

. . .

Gon ended up winning the game, and only because Alluka called Killua back to work before he could answer his last question.

. . .

Killua’s taken to spending his all breaks with him now.

It’s… nice. Having Killua all to himself for an hour is more than nice, really, but just knowing that the other boy liked him enough to willingly spend his breaks with him was enough for Gon’s heart at this point.

Just like Alluka predicted, it snowed on the weekend before; thick turrets of winds filled to the brim with white flakes, whirling around and piling heavily onto the ground in rolling hills. By the time the storm had passed, the city was covered in layers of white white white, and Gon took the first opportunity to jump into the snow drift.

Kurapika had berated him, of course (“What the fuck do you think you’re doing? If you get sick I’m kicking you out”), but the deed had already been done. And, as a way to pay back for Kurapika’s patience (though really, he wasn’t as patient as he was on the edge of snapping his neck just to get him to sit still) Gon offered to get Kurapika his coffee.

“You need help.” Was what Kurapika said in return to Gon’s offer, already pulling out some change.

“You’re one to talk.”

“I am talking. And I’m saying to get help.”

Gon, being the mature adult he was, stuck his tongue out at him.

“Bitch.”

Which brought him here, giddily waiting while Killua counted the change of his last customer, leg bouncing under the table because despite having gone through this same sequence for the past two and a half weeks, it still made him excited whenever he saw Killua finally pull off his apron and hang it up.

“Hey,” he started, jogging up to Gon’s table and giving a wave, “sorry for the hold-up. It’s been so busy lately.”

“It’s fine,” Gon assured, waving his worries away. Because really, watching Killua make coffee from behind the counter filled his chest with a certain something . He liked watching the way Killua would fix different drinks with the coffee machine, long fingers adjusting this knob and that. He liked to crack his joints a lot, Gon noticed, especially while he waited for the water to boil and for the milk to heat up. He bit his lip when he was designing things with the cream; small things like different swirls and pretty flowers on the dark liquid.

(He had let Gon behind the counter to watch how it was done, had even let him try to design something himself. It ended up looking like a mess, with no definite shape or feature, but Killua’s laugh more than made up for his failure.)

He had even been blessed with the sight of the other boy tying his hair up the other day, watched long arms reach up and hands carding through those silky strands that Gon oh so badly wanted to run his fingers through. (By the time Killua had finished and asked if Gon was ready to go, his face had probably matched a tomato.)

Point being was that he didn’t mind waiting on Killua as he worked, finding himself more than content to simply sit back and look for little tics and habits that made Killua so interesting to be with, to watch and stare at.

“So, no coffee for Kurapika today?” Killua asked, settling across from Gon and handing over a small muffin. Gon glared at him, knowing Killua was fully aware that Gon had told him not to give him free stuff.

I work here, I can give whatever I want to whoever I want, he had said while they walked aimlessly outside, besides, consider it a thank you for keeping me company.

Gon had walked into a pole right then, ears red-hot, and he blamed it on the ice.

(Killua’s laughter was worth the bruises, though. A fair trade-off in his opinion.)

“Yup, he’s a jerk though, so I’m going to wait for it to cool down completely,” he nodded to where the large cardboard cup lay by his elbow, cooling in front of the window.

“Deserved,” Killua laughed, removing his headband and running his hand through his bangs.

Gon’s mouth went dry.

It wasn’t hard to forget (more like impossible to forget) just how stunning Killua was. His eyes alone could melt Gon’s bones and leave him as an incoherently mumbling puddle on the ground. But everything about him was beautiful. From his thin lips to his long nose to his slanted eyes and dark brows. The long scar that was indented in his jaw, the two smaller ones across his nose bridge, the black studs clipped at the top of his ears. His hair, silvery and soft-looking in the lantern glow, looked almost angelic against the dark backdrop of the outside shadows.

Gorgeous.

And when his fingers finally touched those long white locks, he was almost startled at how rough they felt, like straw, or the worn fabric of a favorite sweater sleeve. It wasn’t soft, but then again, nothing about Killua looked soft. Except his eyes, those big pools of deep blue ocean waves, crashing against speckles of grey like water on stone.

His fingers moved as if they had a mind of their own, carding through those locks that fell over Killua’s forehead in sweeping curls, gently tucking the longer ones behind his ear softly, like handling glass, or the tender heart of a loved one.

“Gon?”

The icy realization that he’s messed up comes down on him not like a splash of horror, but rather an icy tendril of dread that crept down his spine. Fear; Gon knew it well, has danced with it enough times to recognize it, to know that when his fingers shook, when his breath stuttered, that only his downfall would follow.

And Killua, beautiful beautiful Killua, with his furrowed brows and his parted lips and his flushed cheeks, stared at him. Stared at him without blinking, and normally Gon would love to indulge in staring back at those impossibly deep blues, but now...

God, he messed up so bad.

There was a border he wasn’t supposed to cross. A big fat line that read ‘do not go over’, and he had been doing so well too. He fought back reaching for Killua’s hand or tucking his hair behind his ear or outright yelling his undying love for him. But he’s an idiot, was and will always be one, and in the end he simply couldn’t stop wanting .

Gon couldn’t read the look on Killua’s face, couldn’t understand the flash of something flickering in his eyes. He didn’t know what was going on in Killua’s head as his hand rested at Killua’s jaw, and the uncertainty, the feeling of not knowing and not being able to see the ghost hands pointing at him from behind his back; it scared him.

Suddenly, everything was too hot; his skin felt like rubber stretched too thin and his eyes burned and his fingers felt so hot hot hot and he needed to leave now , before he made things worse, before he fell so low in Killua’s eyes that he would be nothing but the scorn of the earth to him. Before those ghosts behind his back reached out and started trickling their fingers into his flesh to sear words he didn’t want to hear on his skin.

He got up, collected his cold coffee, and ran out.

. . .

“I messed up, I messed up so bad,” he fretted, dragging his hands through his hair, “he’s going to hate me, he’s never gonna’ wanna’ talk to me again.”

In the kitchen Kurapika poured his cold coffee into a mug, emptying the cardboard cup and placing his drink into the microwave.

“I don’t think you understand! I’m such an idiot--”

“I think I understand that quite well.”

“--I never realized it until today just how dumb I am--”

“Self-awareness is never too late.”

“--maybe I should leave the city and go live out on the countryside--”

“And leave me in peace and quiet for once.”

“You’re not helping!” Gon finally burst out, grumbling under his breath as he slunk into the sofa. Kurapika appeared moments later with steaming coffee, settling down next to him with nothing short of indifference on his face.

“You’re the worst.” Gon muttered, crossing his arms.

“You keep telling yourself that.”

“Kurapikaaaa,” he whined, throwing his arms out and almost hitting the blond’s mug, “help me fix my mistake.”

He looked at Gon then, body turned on the sofa and arm resting on the back. Gon would have taken his seriously had his demeanor screamed ‘I am consoling a small child right now’.

“And what exactly,” he started slowly, as if needing to spell out what he was saying to Gon’s inferior brain which, by the way, rude , “was your mistake.”

“Haven’t you been listening! I crossed the line--”

“By touching his hair?”

Yes .”

Kurapika sighed, his long sip of coffee not unlike how people take drags from a cigarette to calm themselves down.

“Gon, you are by far the most idiotic person I have ever met.”

“And you are not helpful, like, at all ,” Gon sniffed, willing his eyes to stop burning. God, he really was an idiot though, wasn’t he? It wasn’t even untrue, just how many braincells Gon seemed to lack.

There was a hand in his hair then, calloused and wide-fingered, rubbing at his scalp much like it had done many times before. He instantly closed his eyes to the sensation, because yeah, Kurapika may be the biggest bitch out there, but he was also Gon’s very dear friend.

“You really are an idiot. A dramatic ass baby.” Kurapika nodded in his mug, and Gon let out a wet laugh.

“You’ve said that twice now,” he mumbled without heat.

“And I mean it. You think Killua’s gonna’ hate you for touching his hair? Are you really that dense?”

Maybe he was, he thought to himself, because here he was, sniffling over how he touched a pretty boy’s hair without warning.

“You never know,” he trailed off, but knew it was pointless arguing. The pinch to his ear was confirmation of that fact.

. . .

“I feel like having coffee tomorrow.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah.” 

“Care to explain how you know your future cravings?”

“Intuition.”

“Ah, okay.”

. . .

It was snowing again, soft flurries of directionless wind making soft white flakes flutter to the ground aimlessly. In the evening hue, under the warm orange light of the Unknown cafe’s lantern lights, the snow looked like soft cotton falling from the sky.

As per usual, Gon was here to get Kurapika’s coffee. The difference? Kurapika was with him this time; he convinced himself that the blond was here for moral support, and not to see Gon utterly embarrass himself in front of Killua. Still, whatever his real reasons were for being here, Gon was grateful.

Because giving himself a pep talk on how he was going to confess was a lot easier when Kurapika was there to laugh at him, as sad as that sounds.

“Okay, I’m just going to go up there and say hi.”

“An original idea, truly.”

“And I’m not gonna’ wait for him to say anything--”

“You are one of a kind.”

“And then I’m gonna’ confess!”

Kurapika’s eyeroll could probably be felt from Whale Island, but Gon paid no mind to him as he took a deep breath of icy winter air.

(Which was not a good idea, he realizes a second later, because ouch , cold cold cold.)

The shop was there as always, still stuck in the middle of two large buildings and letting the fire-orange light from inside pool onto the sidewalk in crooked lines. 

Stopping by the door, Gon wiped his sweaty palms on his joggers (Kurapika insisted on him wearing full-length pants, because “I’m kicking you out if you get a cold,”), letting his heels bounce beneath him as he reached for the door.

“And make sure not to stutter. You’ll sound like a little schoolgirl,” Kurapika added, and Gon punched not-so-lightly in the shoulder before turning back to the daunting task at hand; opening the front door of the Unknown coffee shop.

Spending all night agonizing over this moment had put thoughts in his head that made him lose and unhealthy amount sleep; he’ll trip on his shoelace again, he’ll say the wrong thing, Killua won’t speak to him, Kurapika will take a fork and stab him in the foot like he’s been threatening to do since last month. Stupid little things like pushing the door instead of pulling it, or faltering at the last moment and simply walking out.

The door looked heavy before him, and not in the sense of tangible weight, but of dawning reality that his next set of words would determine his status as single or not. And that kind of status had weight in society.  

(And, well, he didn’t want Killua to hate him. Because as much as Gon admired his beauty, Killua was more than just a pretty face. He was funny, outgoing, caring, so so so thoughtful. Anyone with one good eye could see that Killua was a good person, from the way he spent extra time making little designs in people’s coffee to how he worked day and night to pay for Alluka’s classes. Gon didn’t want Killua to gate him. This fear had a different kind of weight. One that made his heart feel heavy.)

The door opened how it normally opened though, and when his arm effortlessly pulled the handle back, realization splashed onto him like cool water on a hot summer day; he was being an absolute idiot . Since when was overthinking his style? He was setting himself up for failure that way! These incorporeal worries were stupid, losing sleep over touching someone’s hair was stupid. He was stupid.

He scoffed.

Without thinking, Gon barged into the store.

Killua was at the cash register today, and he jumped at the sight of Gon barreling through the cafe’s threshold like a rabid animal, dropping the change he was counting onto the floor in quiet clatters. He opened his mouth to say something, but before he could get a word out Gon screamed, “ YOU OWE ME A FAVOR!

“Smooth, Gon, real smooth,” Kurapika muttered behind him, but he was too busy storming his way to the front and slamming his hands down on the counter hard enough to rattle the glass jar beside them.

“You owe me a favor! For winning 20 questions!”

“Gon, you don’t have to yell--”

“I wanna’ be able to touch your hair all the time! Whenever I want! And you can’t say anything!”

Three things happened in succession then; Kurapika smacked his forehead so hard Gon was sure he gave himself a concussion, Alluka and Nanika jumped over the threshold to stare at them, and Killua kissed him.

“You’re an idiot,” he whispered, still gripping Gon’s collar, and it was only then that he realized he was holding Killua’s face in his hands, much like he’s been wanting to do for the past three weeks.

“Buuut,” he looked up expectantly, smiling. He couldn’t believe he lost sleep over something so stupid.

“But,” Killua huffed, blotchy pink spreading over his cheeks, letting go of his collar to pinch his cheeks, “I guess I’m into idiots.”

Alluka cheered, Nanika clapped her hands, and Kurapika pushed Gon away by the face, fake-gagging.

“Be gross somewhere else. I want my coffee. One large lungo with two shots of caramel.”