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Still Doll

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BAM!

He hit his back on the same huge tree for three consecutive times. He could feel his broken ribs along with his right arm. Yet he was feeling so numb against the cold rain that was hardly pouring on the forest he was in, a midst of bottomless darkness, with the worst person he could ever think of being with in such emptiness. His chains left him in the air, leaving him alone in that very moment when he badly needed its help. His right arm was useless now, for it was severely broken by a strong punch. The toughest hand-in-hand battle he ever faced was prolonged, making his slowly die out of tiredness.

The man was undeniably strong.

Dark and as cold as ice, the emotionless eyes of the man he used to decapitate were boring on his shameful figure. He couldn't bring himself to stand on his own anymore. He was leaning his back on the tree, panting harshly, blood along with the rain drops ran from his head.

He was utterly useless. Weak legs, useless right arm, two broken ribs, and blurred, bright scarlet eyes. The damage had taken its toll on his body. The Kuruta eyes worsened his condition as a severe headache struck him. He clutched his head with his left hand, but his remaining functioning hand was indeed too tired. He let it fall on his side numbly. He tried to stand the pain. He was beaten beyond endurance.

"How boring," the man spat at the weakening figure. "I thought you could do better than that."

A nerve was visible in his forehead. He knotted his eyebrows out of anger and pain as he tried to stand again and failed, just like earlier.

On the other side, the man knelt in front of his and roughly tucked his chin with one hand. And as Kuroro Lucifer bored his eyes on Kurapika's scarlet ones, the Ryodan head couldn't help himself to mock the boy.

"Is that what you've got?"

Kurapika flinched and felt disgusted as Kuroro drew his face closer to him to take a good look on his eyes. "Your eyes are the most beautiful pair I've ever seen. Along with your face, it's a masterpiece of life."

The Kuruta literally spat on the man's face.

The man slapped the blond's face in return. The raindrops washed the fluid away, but not the man's offended expression. Kurapika, meanwhile spat blood out of his mouth. The man's attack worsened his headache.

"What a reckless kid?" the man casually asked as he pulled the blond's hair upward to force him to face him again. "Sadly, you're way too reckless you can no longer handle yourself properly anymore."

"Bastard." He simply sneered.

"Oh, is that your nickname for me now?"

Kurapika mockingly smiled. "Go ahead and have fun hurting me." His eyes suddenly turned back on their normal hue. "Kill me if you want. I'm not scared of you at all."

Kuroro was amused with the kid's persistence; his daring stunts and fearless stunts. And that smile was surprisingly captivating. So, he smiled back. "Sorry to tell you-"

Kurapika took the chance of Kuroro's carelessness as he shot a blow on the man’s face. But since he was in so much pain, his speed was nothing compare to the man's. The next thing he knew, the man's fist was on his stomach. It drove the kid's remaining strength faraway. Kurapika coughed more blood. Kuroro pulled his hair again then he pinned the boy' head roughly on the tree's trunk. The feared Genei Ryodan head adapted an intimidating expression the commanded: "Turn your eyes back on their crimson hue."

"Kill me," Kurapika taunted.

Kuroro shook his head. "What a hard-headed brat you are."

Kurapika just mockingly smile again as though nothing in this world could scare him.

Kuroro tightened his grip on the boy's hair. "Change your eyes. Now."

"Kill me." The boy simply repeated.

"Well then, do you want to see your friends again?"

With this, Kurapika's eyes involuntarily widened. Yes, he wanted to see his friends now. He actually wondered if it was possible for them to be in this forest as well, looking for him. He badly needed their help in this very moment.

And that thought would remain was a thought, and he would bring it with him on his grave.

"Bull’s eye," Kuroro said.

'Damn.' The man caught it. But he wouldn't say it out loud in front of him.

"Kill me."

"Not until you turn your eyes in scarlet."

Kurapika smirked. "DIE."

"Do you know how much hassle you have given me along with that Judgment Chain? I won't let you die just yet. Expect me to take the hell out of you first. You do know what vengeance means, of all people. But I'll give you a choice. I'll bring you to your friends; watch me along with my comrades to torture them 'til they die. You'll lose your love ones for the second time. And you'll be watching this time. I'll hurt and kill them with the same way we did to your tribesmen. Then I'll collect all of the Kuruta eyeballs and set them on fire along with your beloved friends' corpses. Have some taste of living hell."

The Kuruta's eyes slightly turned to red but it immediately faded away.

Kuroro smiled. "Second: you'll turn your eyes to their brightest scarlet hue, and I'll cut your head fast. You'll see your tribesmen again on the other world. You won't bring danger and burden to your friends. You won't suffer anymore. You'll be at peace at last. Don't you like that?"

Kurapika was shaking from head to foot.

"Don't take this personally. But to tell you the truth, your mission of retaliation against us is impossible. No matter how strong you are. No matter how smart you are. Vengeance against Ryodan is an impossible dream. You're weak. Useless. You didn't stand a chance against us before to think that you got your whole clan back then. What more now? You're alone, indulging yourself with the pain. You're useless back then. You're still useless now. You should have killed me before when you got the chance. You should have let your friends die on Ryodan's hands. But sadly, you let yourself to feel something that let you to your own weakness and destruction," Kuroro drew his face nearer to Kurapika's.

"You let yourself to feel affection."

Useless. The man's word was echoing in his head. He couldn't help himself agreeing. He was definitely useless. He was doing all of his best for the past six years of his chase for justice for the death of his family. But his best wasn't good enough, it seemed. Kurapika mused as he panted, catching for breath. He looked away from the man.

Come to think of it. The man got the points. He was useless. Genei Ryodan was too strong for a mere boy like him. He brought enough harm to his friends. It was his fault to let himself get so close with them in the first place. It was his fault because he befriended them. He led the danger to those three, just because of his Kuruta blood. Just because of his eyes. He cursed his scarlet eyes for the first time, for it was the thing that brought nothing to him but hassle and sufferings. He wondered if ever he wasn't born with those eyes.

What if he just simply let it go just like the man in front of him said? He was sick of them, anyway. He was tired. Exhausted to the core. Letting the man to take his eyes and bring his life to an end would finish all of the pain. He was dying to see his family anyway. He missed them so much. The idea of letting everything go was tempting, now that he had no choice to take. He wouldn't risk his friends' lives just to take the chance to escape. He had brought them enough problems. He would never lead the death to them. They were the only thing he had got.

The idea was not that bad. Why not?

The Ryodan head noticed how Kurapika let himself lost in thoughts. It looked like the kid was taking him seriously. Then after some moments, he himself witnessed how Kurapika picked an answer from the selection, as his eyes abruptly turned to scarlet. He saw how emotion swirled on the eyes, and it made them grew brighter in their crimson hue. They were glowing in the dark midst. Kuroro couldn't help to admire them, he unconsciously let go of the blond's hair. Kurapika's head limply bowed, his eyes were half-opened. They were turning into the most irresistible piece Kuroro had ever seen. Kurapika's pale skin complimented his eyes, along with his blond strands. And Kuroro couldn't believe when the eyes brightened more.

Back to Kurapika, the Kuruta now was feeling more and more dizzy. His world was spinning as he let himself drown with one and only overflowing emotion he had been hiding all along. Not hate, not loathe, not wrath, nor anger, but...

Loneliness and longing...

He could no longer hold it. His parents already said this to him before. The Kurutas were no allowed to cry. Moreover, they were not allowed to cry in front of the non-Kurutas. If they eyes held a captivating beauty, their tears were more alluring to see.

But this was the end, Kurapika thought. He had been holding himself all along. He wanted to let it go, for one last time. He let all of the emotion turn into a drop that ran to his cheek...

And without his idea, Kuroro Lucifer was awfully caught by it.

A drop of rain fell on the spider's web, and it ruined the whole thing. The spider hissed as he saw how his creation was destroyed. But Kuroro Lucifer was no ordinary spider. He silently gasped; he was utterly rendered mute as a teardrop slid on Kurapika's cheeks. He couldn't believe it. The boy's face was drenched with raindrops, but his teardrops were the most unbelievable thing he saw.

The fluid from the Crimson eyes held the same bright color like the iris. Kurapika looked like he was crying with blood as teardrops. So that was the reason why he was hiding his true pain behind the wrath. He wasn't allowed to cry because his tears would copy the color of his eyes.

Silence took over; raindrops and the harsh wind were the only source of sounds. Kurapika wasn't sobbing. His expression held no emotion. Blank. But simply looking at the blood-like tears were enough to see the pain the boy was containing. He just lay there, crying without any noise. He looked like a doll.

A still doll.

Kurapika suddenly felt something. The man was looking at him. At some points, his senses started to get back to work. He was crying in front of an enemy, the worst one at that. His blank face shifted to a fretting one. He wiped out his tears from his cheeks, but his sadness inside was too overwhelming he couldn't stop himself from tears. More tears that were out of his control slid down his face, he hurriedly wiped them away. But the same thing kept happening again and again. And he could no longer stand the humiliation.

"This is the brightest shade my eyes can do. I... I-I can't stand it anymore. Just go ahead and finish me off while-"

Finally, he managed to stop crying. His swollen eyes no longer produce tears for they were too widened and shocked with the next thing happened.

Kuroro was fast. Next thing Kurapika knew, his face was just an inch from Kuroro. And the man's lips were already on his. He was still talking when the man casually kissed him, his mouth was left opened and Kuroro took the chance to slide his own tongue on it. The Spider head cupped the kid's face to prevent him from getting away. Kuroro's eyes were half-opened, while Kurapika's were widened to the max. Warmth rose from the both of them and, and the boy was flushing. Kuroro firmly held the boy. He even had the guts to play with the kid's lips as he tenderly bit them.

It took some seconds. They were both breathless, lost with what was happening. They just let their instincts to take over for a moment. The kiss was deepened. The warmth was shared by the both of them.

More seconds passed, then finally Kurapika was woken by the fact that he wasn't having a terrifying nightmare. The thing was for real.

The feared Genei Ryodan head, Kuroro Lucifer, was passionately kissing him.

He roughly pushed the man away with his left hand.

"W-What the hell are you doing!?"

Kuroro looked a bit lost, maybe offended, Kurapika couldn't tell. But the man regained his composure and said: "They say that a kiss is an effective way to stop a person from crying. Looks like it's true."

"W-WHAT!?"

"Do you know that you looked alluring with red-tinted tears?"

Kurapika was dumbstruck. "And why the hell are you asking that!? You don't care! I just did what you asked! I let myself to feel a strong emotion so that my eyes could glow bright. I didn't mean to cry at all!"

"Well, sorry for you to say this but I want you to know that you just did the biggest mistake of your life."

"What!?"

"You just cried in front of me, brat. You let me see your vulnerable side, along with your captivating eyes. You really did something. And for one thing: you'll regret this."

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?"

"... What I'm talking about is-" Kuroro leaned forward to Kurapika. "I like you. And there's nothing in this world that I liked that didn't become mine. And I promise you..." he smirked. "You'll be mine in no time," he brushed his lips on Kurapika's and it made the blond flinch.

Kurapika completely forgot that he was about to be killed earlier. The deadly atmosphere dissipated into thin air. And what he could only feel now was... creep. At what the hell this man was saying.

Then it struck him. He was warned about this before. The others would likely be amused with their eyes and tears since they were different from the ordinary.

Did the man like seeing his tears than taking his eyes? Did the man change his mind and he no longer wanted him dead? And for goodness' sake, what did he mean by his words: 'You'll be mine?'

But before Kurapika could muse more about things, he suddenly saw Kuroro materializing a book again on his right hand, and the world had start to spin again...

 

Chapter Text

 

 

What was happening?

He was lying down on a bed inside a small room. He didn't know where he was, or even how come he ended on the place. His broken arm was tended. His bleeding head was bandaged. His wet clothes were changed. He was being nursed by the person who gave all of these wounds to him in the first place.

And Kurapika couldn't help asking: "What are you doing? What are these all about?"

"I already answered you earlier. Stop asking nonsense and go to sleep."

"No, you did NOT answer anything at all. What else do you want from me? I'm already giving up my eyes. I was prepared to die back there. What are—"

"Looks like you're not going to sleep at all." Kuroro was sitting in a chair not that far from Kurapika's bed. He got tired of the brat's questions so he rose up from his seat then walked towards him.

"Answer me. What do you want?"

"You really want to know?" Kurapika's eyes didn't waver, so the man casually topped over the lying figure then he adjusted himself in an awkward position.

Kurapika was shocked. "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!? GET OFF ME!"

"I'm answering your question," the man captured the enraged Kuruta's lips using his. Having the worst body conditions, Kurapika couldn't do much, even pushing the man away. All he managed to do was to bite the man's lips. The man pulled away, blood was trickling from his lips.

"Oh, you're a hard one?"

"GET OFF ME YOU PSYCHO BASTARD!"

"Okay brat. Let's get this straight. Believe it or not, I got five pairs of the Kuruta eyeballs. I got them with the help from my comrades. I also got your phone. I can track down your friends' whereabouts and I'll order the Ryodan to finish them off. I got my contact back at the Mafia, they'll go after you once I reveal that there's a reckless, insane but pretty Kuruta who survived the massacre. My comrades are looking for you. The Mafia might go after you. Your friends' lives are in the line. And I got the information about the most of the Kuruta eyeballs whereabouts. I got all of the upper hands against you. And apparently, you hold nothing against me. You're falling behind. Defeated. But you might have a chance to survive" the man slipped a smirk before finishing, his head lowering closer to his, "...with me as your key."

"Stop beating around the bush. WHAT DO YOU WANT!?"

Kuroro incredulously smirked. "I'll be making with you tonight, and I want you to do nothing but to cooperate. That's clear enough?"

Kurapika's eyes turned bright scarlet. "Let me go you PERVERTED BASTARD!"

Kuroro chuckled. "Reluctant? Alright, I want that. Let me see what you can do."

"LET ME GO!" No way. There was no way in hell for this thing to happen. Not his pride and dignity. They were the last thing he had got.

"Now, Kurapika..." Kuroro took the blond's limp hands by holding his wrists and he stretched them upward. Oblivious to the boy, the man was holding... a long strand of chain.

"We'll be finish in no time if you just comply. This won't hurt that much, just a little. But I'm sure you can cope with this. It’s your friends' lives and your clan's eyes that are at stake. And maybe you'll like this yourself I won't be surprised if you ask for more."

"NOOOO! Let me go! LET ME GO!"

"Don't waste your breath, no one will hear you. But... I don't mind you screaming. You can do what you want."

The man just finished chaining the Kuruta's wrists on the headboard of the bed. Kurapika could feel nen from the metals. He couldn't take it. His own weapon was straining him to protect and defend himself. This was the worst. He couldn't see any route to escape.

"Don't do this! Just KILL ME! Damn it, Please stop this! STOP!"

"Go ahead. Beg. I want that. Let's have the most out of it tonight," the man roughly torn the kid's shirt, revealing his small torso. "Sorry, I can't promise I'll be gentle tonight. Not for our first time."

"NOOO!"

The man started to nibble the blond's neck. Purple marks were planted on the boy's pale skin. Kurapika was squirming like mad, he was twisting around, trying the shove the man off him. The chains on his wrists audibly sounded as he moved, and it made Kuroro more impatient.

"STOP!"

Kuroro's lips had started to run down on the boy's chest and it reached for one of his nipples. He casually licked it, and he earned more protests from the boy.

"STOP IT PLEASE!"

Really, the boy hadn't got the idea that the more he asks the man to stop, he would just go even more.

The man didn't play around anymore. He reached for the bottom and casually pulled the boy's pants off. It revealed more skin that bade his blood. He parted the boy's legs and he positioned himself in the middle.

"Now I'm pretty sure you'll like this."

On Kurapika's side, the boy was already praying for the world to come to its end. He was asking help from no one. He was asking why the hell did this thing had to happen to him. He wondered what on earth had he done to deserve this.

"No! No... STOP IT!"

The man already said. No one could hear him. He was alone. All the time. And this was the very moment that he needed help from others. But no one would be there to help.

No one.

"Stop it! Stop!"

He felt it. The man's tongue and his tight grip on his thighs, preventing them to move. He badly wanted to kick the man's face as he started to suck... hard. The man was doing something very disgusting on him he promised if there was a knife nearby, he would kill himself right away.

"NO! STOP IT! Tss..." he hissed. He could do nothing but to scream and to plead? How useless he was.

He couldn't breathe. The man's actions on him were already taking its consequences. His legs and feet were twisting on their own. His arms felt so heavy, now that his right wasn't functioning. He closed his eyes so tight then he bit his lips, making them bleed. He balled his hands on tight fists. He could no longer scream. His pounding heart was constricting his lungs. His body wasn't blinded by his hate and disgusts, for he was feeling something that the man had been forcing him to feel...

Pleasure.

It was no use. His screams would just worsen the scenario. He was defeated. Toyed. Stained. He felt worse than anything. He badly wanted to die right now.

And it looked like the man just realized that he was successful in arousing and taming the wild and reluctant boy. He rose up and said; "I told you, it's no use. Just comply. I bet you like what I did."

Kurapika hid his face on his arm that was stretched up. But it failed to cover his flushing cheeks and his flaming but empty scarlet eyes. The blond gritted his teeth in rage. Nothing could be clearly seen on it. Nothing, but wrath.

"Let's have our main course, shall we?"

Kurapika gulped and closed his eyes tight, holding back his tears, preparing himself for what was about to happen. His panic and screams earlier was enough prize for this bastard. He braced himself, swearing that no matter what happens, he would never make any noise, neither from pain nor pleasure. He forced his face to show nothing. He tried his best to be as cold as ice, no matter how hot he was feeling.

Without even preparing the blond, Kuroro casually positioned himself in front of the boy. To escape his fate, Kurapika buried his face to his arm deeper. But his arm wasn't able to hide his gasp when Kuroro entered him. Pain shot all over him. It was the worst physical pain he ever received, he thought. He could feel blond dripping out of him. He bit his lips even more to stop himself from making sound. It added more pain on his body. Blood ran down on his cheeks. He tasted some on his tongue.

"AAARRGH!" He couldn't hold the pain anymore as the man started to thrust. The pain worsened ten times as Kuroro added speed. Red-tinted tears came from his eyes, he couldn't even wipe them out. It was really painful. The man was a ruthless killer. Of course he was violent. Being aggressive on bed wasn't something to be shocked about.

Kurapika felt wasted more than ever. He slightly opened one of his eyes, and the triumph and disgusting smirk the man’s face had the Kuruta's world to come crashing down on his feet. No more dignity and pride to hold on. He was stained to the core.

Kuroro slammed him harder, he actually placed a possessive hand in front of him.

"Aah!" he involuntarily yelped. It couldn't be help. He couldn't suppress them entirely. The pain... and the pleasure were too much to contain. His body couldn't comply on his brain's orders. Even his eyes were turning brighter on their own. His heart was pounding, his breath was uneven. The seconds turned to minutes. And as those minutes passed, more unintentional and involuntary gasps and moans escaped from Kurapika. He was holding his sobs. He was holding back his tears so hard. He tried to break free from the chain. It clanked and rattled, but he himself knew that it was impossible. He could feel powerful aura from the chain, even from the headboard itself.

The blond let out a yelp as the man hit him deeper. He was holding himself again, trying hard to get used to the pain so that he wouldn't make noise anymore. The moments prolonged, Kuroro was holding his constant speed. The blond tried to endure it; he kept his mouth tightly shut. He ignored the pain. He instead collected and compressed them to his heart to fuel his wrath towards the Genei Roydan. Come to think of it, what a good, another reason to hate the band of thieves. This unbearable pain was nothing compare to any wounds Kurapika had suffered from. He swore he would return the pain hundred times worse to this demon and his fellowmen once he had the chance. Nothing on this universe could ever stop him from doing so. And if complying to Kuroro Lucifer's sexual desire to him was a way...

So be it.

He withstood the pain and let the pleasure to take over...

His breath. His screams. His moans and his occasional gasps. Kuroro wasn't wrong for letting the last survivor of the Kuruta clan to live. He never felt like this before. The kid finally complied. He couldn't help to be a little proud of himself. He was able to subdue the wildest cat he had ever face. He was admittedly so aroused. He couldn't get enough from the kid. He couldn't remember how come a composed, well-mannered and educated man like him had turned upside down into a maniac by this mere little avenging Kuruta. Yet, he didn't care. He couldn't get enough from the boy. His enraged scarlet eyes along with his tears, his angelic face and delicate physique, his wild stunts and his cleverness. Everything matched the man's unusual taste. And everything about this boy was enough to turn him on.

Indeed, Kurapika was a piece of art and beauty. And Kuroro Lucifer was a type of person that could get everything that he liked. And as he marked the boy as his property, Kuroro wondered what else his new possession could give to him.

More moments passed. Kurapika managed to cope with what was happening (and he was deeply surprised with himself). It seemed like the man was satisfied enough to see him gave in. He slowed down and stopped gradually. Kurapike felt something warm inside him that wasn’t supposed to be there and felt like the whole world was turning its back on him.

He opened his eyes, Kuroro's face greeted him. The man casually topped over him again. His black orbs bored to the scarlet one.

"This is what will happen once you decided to mess with Genei Ryodan. Be thankful I'm not that interested to drag your friends in here, but I might change my mind should you try to do something funny again. I'll be giving you two pairs of Kuruta eyes. I'll send them to you via security account. I'll tend to your right arm, heal yourself right away. Take a bath if you feel like it. I don't want you dead for now. If you're thinking about killing yourself, think twice: if you're dead then no one would stand against us. The Kuruta clan would be entirely wiped out. And I assure you, your friends would follow you right away on the after-life."

Kurapika forced his face to be emotionless. But his blank, scarlet eyes couldn't hold his tears anymore. They fell on his cheeks, staining his pale face with red moist.

Kuroro himself wiped them out for the boy. He reached for the chains on Kurapika's wrists and he freed them. "Don't cry. This is only just the beginning: brace yourself for more. You deserve it. You should have thought that your recklessness could lead you in troubles like this. This is your fault. Now, wash yourself and take a rest. Go ahead."

Kurapika's arms limply fell on the bed. They seemed to be heavier this time. But the Kuruta pulled them and he pushed himself up on the bed to do what the man said. He reached for the bathroom, his left hand was clutching his right arm, with his eyes empty as though his sanity had left him.

He couldn't feel himself anymore.

The pain was too much, he was oddly feeling numb. He was so tired to think and to feel. He didn't know what to do next.

He seized the shower's knob and turned it. As he sat on the bathroom's floor, he let the water wash him, wishing the fluid could wipe away the pain, stain, wrath and sadness, along with his red tears and blood. The red fluids mixed with the water on the tiled floor as Kurapika coiled himself into a ball, sobbing hard and crying out loud.

 

Chapter Text

His eyelids felt so heavy to lift, and what he could only feel was pain and coldness.

He tried to remember why he was feeling that way, but the heaviness all over him was messing with his memory. Yet, he still tried to work it out. Then awfully, he remembered a familiar face wearing a sick smirk.

Kuroro Lucifer.

As though he forgot everything but not his wrath towards the man for what he did to him, Kurapika snapped his eyes.

He was on the same place where he lost his dignity, lying on the same bed where Kuroro raped him. He abruptly pushed himself to sit, then a pain shot in his head, followed by his arms, back and waist.

He suddenly felt something wet on his lap. He looked down and he saw a wet towel on it. Then he noticed that he was wearing a bathrobe, without anything underneath. He clutched his forehead; he noted that it was hot. He groaned and covered his face with both of his hands. He sighed deeply.

He had a fever – again. Just like when he rescued his friends from Ryodan. He realized that he must have used his eyes again to their limits, and they were now taking their toll. He looked around, half-expecting a cold, dark-eyed man to be there. But there was no one. He couldn't remember how he got to the bed. As far as his mind could recall, he was inside the bathroom. Then, no more.

He looked around again. Kurapika found a covered bowl, a glass of water with some pills beside it along with a note on the bedside table.

Then he realized how hungry and thirsty he was. He set that aside, though, and reached out for the note first.

'You collapsed inside the bathroom while taking a bath, burning with fever.

I'm not sure when you’ll wake up. I had to leave ahead for some business. You were out cold for two consecutive days, by the way.

Eat and take your medicine once you wake up. It's an order. I'm not sure when I'll be back. And if ever you found this note while I'm out, I bet you'll leave right away anyway. If you need something, just contact me. If your fever worsens, call me immediately.

I already sent you the eyes. There's a bank book inside this table's cabinet. Two pairs, as I promised. Your phone's with it.

Here's my phone number. Inform me once you woke up so that I won't waste time to go back there. It's an order.

By the way, this is an advice. Take good care of yourself. I don't have any loving intent to watch you out next time. We still have a lot of hell to look forward to, anyway. I want you to be at your best.

Again, forget suicide. Don't even think about it. Your pride and dignity isn't as important as you clan's eyes and your friends' lives. Get use to this from now on.

Lastly; I love our first night. Feel free to contact me anytime if you want another pair.

I'm looking forward to see you again.'

Kurapika crumpled the paper once he finished reading. The thing was balled to its smallest form as the blond's knuckles paled on a tight fist. His eyes abruptly turned scarlet, his aura rose up. The paper slowly burned on his hand without him noticing it. He fiercely threw it away; it turned into ashes as it reached the floor.

He gritted his teeth hard; his hands shook violently as well. Kurapika actually hoped that what happened between him and the Spider head was just a mortifying nightmare. But the pain all over his body, along with that letter, confirmed that everything was for real.

And he couldn't take it at all.

He buried his face on his hands again, trying to compose himself. The damage had been done, nothing to do about it anymore. He had expected to be tortured and beaten to death. Of course, he had expected this kind of thing to happen too. But he never dreamed to be on this kind of misery. Having an exchange of information with the wicked magician, Hisoka, was a story. But having this kind of transaction with the Spider head himself using his body was another. Definitely. The thing was he hadn't even agreed on it willingly. The bastard just took the matter on his own hands and forced the Kuruta.

But unlike Hisoka's offer, Kuroro's was more definite and less dangerous (did he really think so?). The man had the points. His clan's eyes and his friends were the first, not his pride and dignity. He wasn't scared of death - losing his virginity was nothing to him if it would lead him nearer to his brethren's eyes. In fact, what happened brought more reason for his wrath against Ryodan to tower – and that was he actually wanted to happen.

He seized the knob of the table's cabinet. A booklet and his phone were inside. The boy took the booklet first and he scanned its content. There were two serial numbers on its first page, inches under his name. He took his phone next. He scanned his phone book and checked if the phone numbers of his friends were still on it. They were. The list wasn't missing any number. In fact, another number was added on it. A name he didn’t even want to think about.

Kuroro Lucifer.

From the name to the man himself. Everything about that bastard depicted evil.

Genei Ryodan had just added another sin to Kurapika, the more reason why he had to keep himself alive to exact the worst vengeance that anyone could never imagine. They took everything from him. They stole every single thing that he had.

They must pay back, no matter what.

'Don’t worry,'   Kurapika thought while reaching for a glass of water. I'm not thinking of killing myself anymore.' He drank the fluids all at once. 'I don't think I'll leave this world without taking everything back to me. I don't want to go to hell alone. I'll definitely take the hell out of you all.' He rose up and searched for his clothes. He found a pair of shirt and slacks on a chair nearby. His tribal clothes (which were torn due to his battle with Kuroro) was underneath, folded. He casually shrugged the bathrobe off of him and wore the pair. He clutched his tribal attire, folded it his arm and placed his phone on his pocket, along with the bankbook. He reached for the room's door.

'If you love to use me for your own benefit, and then let me do the same. Since you're having fun in this game you made, then I'll play with you too.'

 


 

Kurapika mentally made a schedule plan on his mind. First, he would go to the security bank where Kuroro sent the eyes. He would withdraw them from there to deposit to another bank, to his personal account. After that, he would go back to an auction house where he went before falling into Kuroro's hands to claim another pair of eyes. From there, he would go straight to his new employer's manor to hand the pair. He had to all of those today.

He counted the days that passed. He was unconscious for two days according to that letter. If that was the case then he was sleeping on that room where that horrible incident happened for almost three days.

Right after heading out of the room, Kurapika realized that he was on a small bungalow house in the middle of woods. He was still in the forest where he and Kuroro fought.

He limply headed out of the forest. He was still feeling so weak. He had healed all of his wounds, including the worst one Kuroro had caused. But his fever was still decreasing his movements. He had no choice but to look for a pharmacy to buy medicine.

He easily found one when he reached a village. He bought some and headed to a small restaurant nearby. He immediately looked for a bus that would lead him to the nearest city after hastily eating his late breakfast, feeling a bit dizzy due to the medicine's effect along the way.

Kurapika looked for the bank where Kuroro sent the eyes. It was a bit hard to look for it; the establishment was on the farthest alley of the city. He nervously handed the bankbook to a teller, feeling anxious that it might bounce, or maybe the eyes weren't there. He couldn't trust the Spider head after all, he was a good-for-nothing thief. Fooling him was a piece of cake.

But he sighed in relief as the teller handed him two pairs of cylindrical containers with four scarlet eyeballs inside. He used gyou to check their authenticity.

They were real.

The teller packed the goods on metal boxes. Kurapika left the bank in contentment.

He made his way to an auction house on the same city. There, he picked another Kuruta eye pair. The staff who gave him the pair looked quizzically at him. The boy timidly made a small smile and nodded to thank him.

Holding three metal boxes containing his brethren's eyes, Kurapika immediately booked himself a flight back to York Shin. The flight was three hours long, so he had a time to nap. He found it hard to sleep. His body felt so sleepy, yet his mind was fully awake.

Once he reached York Shin, the Kuruta went straight to a huge security bank in the city. He deposited the two pairs of eyes on his own account. Feeling odd yet satisfied, Kurapika left the place to head back to the mansion where he was staying, clutching a box containing a pair of scarlet eyes.

"Finally!" a man with brown eyes in a suit exclaimed as he welcomed the blond. Kurapika went straight to the living room where his new employer was drinking tea. "What took you so long, Kurapika? Hey, are you okay?"

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry. I... I had a fever. I had to stay on a hotel to rest. Luckily, I managed to acquire the eyes before my fever rose. I'm really sorry for making you wait. Here are the eyes," holding a grudge because he was going to hand the precious scarlet eyes to this greedy man, Kurapika placed the box on the center table. The man was excitedly looking at it. He opened the box, and he saw the man's eyes glint greedily upon seeing the scarlet orbs floating inside the cylindrical container.

"Good job," the man complimented. "Another pair... This is getting better! Thanks for the hard work, Kurapika. You better go to your room and have some rest. We still got many things to do. Get well soon."

Kurapika was more than willing to comply. The man looked to the boy's eyes, noting that there were lines under them. Kurapika bowed before making his way to his room.

After resigning from Light Nostrad, Kurapika along with his co-worker, Senritsu, was introduced to another Mafia member who was a friend of their former boss. Lurix Dmitri once visited Nostrad’s mansion to have a word with Light Nostrad. Kurapika wasn't sure, but it looked to him that Light admitted to Dmitri that he was suffering from bankruptcy. Because after that, Dmitri had start to talk to him about the man's financial status.

Kurapika tried his best to help his former boss to at least manage his remaining assets. Dmitri saw Kurapika's performance with the way he arranged everything for Light Nostard. With the boy's help, Nostrad managed to regain most of his money. The man actually learned not to rely on his daughter's ability and worked on his own to attain his remaining fortune, making Dmitri impressed with the blond; hence he offered a job to Kurapika and Senritsu.

The Kuruta wasn't interested on it first, but when he found that Dmitri owned a pair of his clan's eyes, he considered. Senritsu didn't mind at all and she accepted the offer. So, Kurapika did the same.

Kurapika weakly sat on his bed when he reached his room. He took his shoes off and was about to do the same with his clothes when he hesitated.

He looked at his hands, then to his arms. He laid them on his lap, looking at his thighs.

He remembered Kuroro's grip on them. He could still feel the warmth and the roughness of those hands, possessively caressing his skin. He felt disgusted. He could feel the stains of that man all over his body. Even if the Holy Chain had managed to heal all of his wounds, it hadn't wipe the fact that the Spider head touched, licked and sucked his as though he was a sex slave. The thought was killing him. He slumped on the bed by his side, his head barely touched a pillow.

He curled on the bed, gripped his left arm by his right hand. He clutched it tight, his eyelids drooped a little. He buried his face on the mattress and coiled himself more, hoping he would shrink to escape shame. Flushing hard, he wondered; how did he got himself in this situation? His dignity was the last thing he had. But it was stolen by the worst person he could ever lay his eyes on. He wasn't able to protect himself. He believed he was strong enough to face his enemies. But look, he hadn't even manage to defend himself. He couldn't help to but be ashamed.

He closed his eyes, wondering when all of these pain, wrath and sadness would go away from him.

He almost fell asleep when a knock sounded from the door.

"Kurapika? Are you still awake?" a familiar voice called.

"Yes, come in," the boy replied.

The small figure of Senritsu emerged from the door. Clutching a tray, she strode towards the blond. Kurapika pushed himself to sit.

"I'm sorry. Did I disturb you?"

"No, it's fine."

"I heard you arrived. Dmitri-san asked me to bring food and medicine. He wants you to at least eat and take some pills before you sleep." the music hunter explained.

"I see, thank you, Senritsu. Please say thanks to Dmitri-san for me."

Senritsu walked to a table near Kurapika, his back was on the boy's. "No problem." She placed the tray on the table.

"Kurapika."

The boy heard his own name. "Yes?"

"Your heartbeat... It’s the worst heartbeat I've ever heard in my life." Kurapika heard a sob. Then he was Senritsu taking a handkerchief from his pocket. She hastily wiped it on her face.

She looked at the boy. "What on earth had happen for you to hold such a tone? I... I can't stand it at all! The pain, the grudge and the sadness... Everything on your heart was enough to kill a human due to stress! I-I can't stand listening to it. I can't believe you can still stand and live those feelings. Kurapika, what happened?" Senritsu silently broke down, holding back her tears.

Kurapika was a bit surprised. He looked at Senritsu who was now looking at him worriedly.

The Kuruta couldn't even stand remembering what really happened, let alone tell it to anyone. But Senritsu's concerned look got him thinking.

"Senritsu, please play a song on your flute for me," Kurapika asked.

Senristu complied without thinking twice. She took her flute from her breast pocket and played a tune. She tried her best to give relief to the blond as she blew every note. It didn't fail to calm the boy. Kurapika's heartbeat eventually became stable.

The music hunter smoothly finished a whole piece.

Senritsu tucked her flute back to her pocket. She looked at Kurapika, noting that the blond's eyes now held a softer tone. Silence took over for a while. Senritsu patiently waited as Kurapika pondered his answer.

"After attending the auction at Beika city," Kurapika started. "... I met Kuroro Lucifer on my way back here. I don't know but... he managed to lift my Judgment Chain off him. I don't know too why I didn't feel it. Anyway. We fought hand-in-hand. I was defeated. He was about to kill me when something happened. He... he kind of, admired my eyes. He-" Kurapika couldn't continue. But he tried again, holding back his tears. "But he changed his mind. He let me live and he actually tended to my broken arm."

"And what did he take from you in return?" Senritsu asked with fear from the blond's answer.

"We... we kind of... made a deal. I found that he was holding some pairs of the eyes. He threatened me. He..." The boy faltered, he let a small sob escape from him. He tried to think of other words to explain the incident.

"... He wants me to... to do what he wants in exchange of the eyes." Kurapika ran a hand on his head. He clutched his blond hair and bit his lips.

"And you agreed on it?" Senritsu asked.

"No, I didn't. He forced me. He..." the blond took a breath, and he forced himself to finish his tale.

"He raped me... then he gave me two pairs of eyes."

He heard Senritsu gasped. Opting not to look at the girl, he bowed his head a bit, not wanting to see other's sympathy to him.

"Kurapika—"

"I considered his offer. I thought about it hard. At least now, I officially own two pairs of my clan's eyes. I didn't give myself to him. He did everything on his own, leaving me now choice and no way to escape. And now, I lost everything I have.

"The scarlet eyes were the last reason why I decided to continue. I have no care for myself anymore. I don't care what might happen to me. I... I knew myself that I can't retrieve all the eyes on my own. I want to collect all of them as soon as possible. Then I'll exact revenge on Ryodan. By that time, the deal would probably be over. The deal might be a way. I was thinking. I might find a way to defeat Spiders if I agree on the deal."

"But-"

"Senritsu," Kurapika looked at the girl. "You know how desperate I am. Look at me! I'm not a murderer, yet I already killed two people. I hate the mafia, but I'm here, working for them. There's nothing I can't do for my clan, I sacrificed my life for this. Using my body for them is nothing... anymore. This life of mine is a crap. I..." he looked away again. He chose to pin his eyes on the floor.

"I got nothing to lose anymore."

"But Kurapika, what you're about to do won't bring happiness to you at all! You'll just drag yourself more into misery. I have no right to say this, but I think your clan won't be satisfied if you use that kind of method. You'll lead yourself to your own destruction. Your life would be entirely ruin—"

"Senritsu, can’t you see? My life was ruined ever since they killed my clan! I lost all the reasons to live when they wiped my family out. The only reason why I'm still living is my mission to regain my brethren's eyes and to finish Ryodan. Probably when that time comes, I'm already in the verge of death. I'm losing hope. I've been working so hard to at least track down the eyes' whereabouts. But even if I found them, I'll still be in trouble for thinking of a way to get them. I can't simply buy them on auctions. I can't steal them from my employers. If that... If it wasn't for that bastard's perverted desire on me, probably I don't still have a single pair... Two pairs, just for a night. I can't even believe he let me live, I don't even know if I must consider it as luck or what. And he holds more pairs. I'm afraid that he might destroy them. I just... I can't help to think about it. I really don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to drag my friends, even you, in this catastrophe. I want to fight alone until the very end. Please, understand me."

Silence took over again. Kurapika looked gravely hopeless. Senritsu was suppressing her pity for the blond. She didn't want to add more turmoil to him.

"I know I can't stand in your way," Senritsu softly said. "Even if I try to stop you, I know it won't work. Telling this to your friends no matter how necessary it is will just worsen the situation. And I bet you won't let me do such thing. But Kurapika, think about this more, please! Maybe... maybe there's another way around, a better way. Please, think more..."

"Thank you so much, Senritsu." Kurapika regarded the woman's worry over him. He looked at her again. "Please, keep this as our secret. Don't tell to anyone. I'll do as you say. I'll just take some rest for a while. I'm sorry for the trouble."

Senritsu warmly smiled in attempt to cheer the heavy atmosphere. "It's absolutely nothing. Please eat and take this medicine first. Don't worry about your tasks, I can handle them. Get the rest as much as you want. Okay?"

"Got it," Kurapika graced his lips into a small smile.

"I'll leave you, then. Get well soon."

The boy simply watched as Senritsu walked to the door. The woman firmly closed it, leaving Kurapika alone again.

The blond collapsed back on the mattress. He placed the back of one of his hands on his forehead. He noted that the ceiling of his room was red; slowly he realized that it was his eyes that turned scarlet.

He couldn't believe what he said earlier. So he was already decided to agree with the deal? Was he insane? Was he really going to let that bastard touch him again? Would he let that incident with the Spider head to happen again? Had he really decided the matter?

Was he even strong enough to plunge himself again to another uncertain agreement?

Kurapika had been thinking hard about the matter ever since he woke up from his fever. His brain worked harder when he had lay his hands on the two pairs of the eyes that he withdrew from the security bank. His mind reeled to the max when he answered Senritsu's question.

His head abruptly swam. The fever again. Him, thinking about everything too much was worsening his fever. The medicines he took earlier must be wearing out.

As he walked towards the table where Senritsu placed the tray, Kurapika tried to think less. Moreover, he pondered his thoughts to its smallest form. He hurriedly ate his food then gulped his medicines all at once.

Right, why was he thinking if he would agree on the deal? And if ever he wouldn't comply, probably Kuroro Lucifer would hunt him down to rape him again just to forcible impose the agreement. He bet the man would kill him after that this time. He thought that the Spider head might drag his friends too. And the eyes the man had. 'Come to think of it,' he realized.

'I got no choice at all.'

Kurapika hastily took his clothes off to change. He went to the bathroom and washed his face on the sink. He looked at the mirror. He noted that he looked groggy, there were lines under his eyes. His face was a bit gaunt, his eyes were drooped. He indeed looked like a crap. He stood in front of the sink for a while.

Right. He couldn't afford and let himself become weak. Not this time. He still had many things to do. He had to gain his strength back to get back to work and face Kuroro Lucifer.

The Kuruta laid himself on his bed to give his mind and body what they were asking him. He had to condition himself no matter how the sick truth insisted to set itself in front of him.

That he didn't own himself anymore.

Chapter Text

He slept around late afternoon and woke up at night. Kurapika rubbed his eyes sleepily. He wondered what exactly time it was. Was his sleep taken only few hours? But he was feeling much better now. Perhaps the medicines were working.

He decided to go out of his room for he was feeling hungry and thirsty. He met Senritsu at the kitchen, preparing tea, learning that he didn’t merely sleep for some odd hours, but actually for a whole day.

"Good, you slept well," Senritsu smiled and handed Kurapika a teacup filled with the warm liquid. She took another cup from the sink.

"The piece you played helped a lot," Kurapika said."

"Wow that's great then! I'll play another one if you want. Tonight, before we sleep."

"That's really thoughtful of you. Thanks, and sorry for the trouble again."

"No, it's really fine. My pleasure."

Kurapika couldn't help to smile to that.

"By the way, good timing. Dmitri-san has been waiting you to wake up. He wants to talk to us. You can speak with us, can't you?"

"Of course," Kurapika sipped some of the tea from the cup. "I feel a lot better now. I really want to go back to work as soon as possible."

"I bet you're hungry. I'll ask the maid to prepare something for you, or I'll do it. I'll just bring this to Dmitri-san first," Senritsu said then she left, clutching a tray.

Moments later, a maid arrived at the kitchen and served dinner to the blond. Kurapika hurriedly finished eating. Senritsu arrived later and picked him up to talk to their boss.

"I adjusted the day of our gathering. I'd like to acquire more merchandise, especially the Kuruta eyes. We'll be doing it by the first week of the coming month. There would be an upcoming auction by next week on Sun Beach Hotel. I'd like to get most of the merchandises over there. Another thing, we'll tighten our security around the manor. We have to inform our guests that we changed the date. There are many things we have to fix. I believe you can manage, Kurapika."

"No problem, sir." Kurapika timidly nodded at the thought of another gathering that this boastful man was planning. "Senritsu and I can do it, you don't have to worry. We have enough time to work. I'm still looking for the eyes' whereabouts and I’ve gathered a number of accurate information."

"Great!" the man excitedly beamed. "Thanks for your hard work. We'll start working tomorrow. For now, let's call it a day. Get some rest for now. You may go."

The two bodyguards bowed before leaving their boss alone in his room. They made their way to their respective rooms, discussing and dividing  their tasks to each other while walking. Kurapika bade and said thanks again to Senritsu as they parted ways. He was about to open the knob of his room when he hears his phone's ring.

His eyes widened and he felt something inside his stomach jolted upon looking at the screen. He just felt a bit better. Now he felt like he was about to have the worst flu ever.

A text. From the name that he wanted to see last.

'Just done infiltrating a Mafia mansion in York Shin to grab another pair. Interested?'

Kurapika entered his room, anxious and lost. He sat on his bed. His eyes fell back on his phone that his hand was clutching so tight. It was shaking. He tried to compose himself. What now?

A knock on the door, then Kurapika worked harder to calm himself down.

"I... I just remembered that I'll play a piece to you tonight. Good thing I remember, your heartbeat sounds horrible again," Senritsu emerged from the door.

Kurapika looked at the music hunter before carelessly throwing the phone on his bed.

"... Him?"

Kurapika needed not to answer.

Silence rose again. The Kuruta's face was blank. Senritsu was looking anxiously at him.

More seconds passed, before Kurapika broke the deafening silence.

"Senritsu."

"Yes?"

The Kuruta directed his eyes on Senritsu.

"Would you kindly save it for tomorrow?"

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Clutching his phone on his right hand while dangling a box on his left, Kuroro leisurely strolled the outskirts of York Shin, waiting for Kurapika's answer.

The Mafia's manor he went was little tough. He managed to destroy most of the security system on his own, yet it was hard to find where the merchandises were in. He planned to ask help from his Spider comrades, but when he found that the mansion held a pair of scarlet eyes, he changed his mind.

He couldn't understand. He already did something with that boy. He wouldn't deny that he had fun. He got his revenge and turned the Kuruta boy's life into hell. He should have killed the kid after raping him. Or at least, he should have jailed the kid somewhere to use him whenever he wanted. He wasn't really obliged to give something to the boy in exchange for a night.

Then why was he feeling that way?

He couldn't get enough from the kid. That was normal. But what he was doing now would change many things. He couldn't imagine how it would be if his comrades found this out. He was dragging himself to burdens.

Yet he was feeling amused with what was happening, in a way that he really couldn't describe.

He never liked to turn all of his intentions into words. He loved doing and feeling things that he couldn't convert into verbal forms, and he liked it that way

He was feeling slightly exhausted while heading to a certain tall building when his phone sounded. He let a small smile escape from his lips.

'Tonight. Name your place.'

Chapter Text

 

Kurapika nervously pressed a button on an elevator inside a tall building. He was in one of the biggest hotel and apartment tower in York Shin. He couldn't stop thinking how come a renowned thief like Kuroro Lucifer managed to check in in this place. Well, it wasn't like he cared. He just went there to see the man and spend some time with him to acquire another pair on his clan's eyes.

The elevator almost reached the highest floor when it stopped to the floor where Kurapika was intending to go. As the elevator's door opened, the Kuruta glimpsed a huge door not that far from him. He realized he that was on the apartments' floor.

"Hi," Kuroro Lucifer wrapped in a bathrobe casually greeted. Kurapika looked blandly at him. The truth was he was feeling so nervous and embarrassed. He didn't know exactly how to react so he just looked at the man venomously.

He did know that what he was doing was definitely wrong. What was he doing in this place? Why did he reply on the Spider head's message? The kid mulled so many times about the matter. He decided to accept the deal no matter how mad it was. But still, it was the Genei Ryodan leader he was talking about, and this was certainly no ordinary matter. He was scared. Out of place.

He wasn't sure if he could really do this.

"I told you to contact me once you wake up." Kuroro said while leading the blond to a couch. Kurapika felt horribly pissed off at the man's sneer at him.

"I don't remember being obliged to obey any of your words."

Kuroro turned to look at the fuming boy, Kurapika sharpened his glare to the man in return. Kuroro merely smirked at him.

"Good, you've regained your health after those days, you even actually replied right after I sent the message. You really are desperate." Kuroro contemplated while walking towards a bar. The place seemed to be an apartment unit. There was a huge living room completed with wall-sized glass windows and a small bar on a corner. Kuroro took a wine glass that was dangling up on the bar. There was a wine bottle and another wine glass on the bar, half-filled with the red liquor. Kuroro poured some of the drink to the empty glass, almost filling the entire goblet.

"Or maybe... you actually liked my performance, and you're craving for another one"

"Shut the hell up and stop talking nonsense; I'm here for the eyes, nothing more- nothing less," Kurapika spat as he forced himself to take a seat on the couch while the creep upon hearing the man's banter was seeping on his very skin.

Kuroro chuckled as he provoked the boy. "Hey, calm down," he strode towards Kurapika and handed him the goblet.

"No. Thanks." Kurapika abruptly declined.

"I'm telling you to take it, Kurapika. Believe me; this will help you a lot. I doubt if you can stand everything with your full consciousness. Come on," Kuroro moved the wine glass nearer to the blond, urging him to take it.

Kurapika closed his eyes in annoyance upon seeing the man's point. He opened them after some seconds, let out a sigh then seized the glass that was being offered to him. He hastily drank the liquor all at once. He noted how it smelled good, its nice taste and how the warmth soothed on his throat. The boy suddenly felt dizzy and hot.

"Take it easy, kid. Want more?"

"Fine," Kurapika threw the glass to Kuroro. The man effortlessly caught the thing, noting a slight, adorable blush on the kid's cheeks. Even his sudden, little hiccup.

"Is this place rented?" Kurapika asked out of nowhere.

"No. I bought it two days ago," Kuroro responded while pouring more wine on Kurapika's glass.

"Don't tell me you bought this just because of this..." he faltered.

"Yeah. I bought this for you."

The liquor was taking over Kurapika.

"So you're some sort of a sugar daddy now, huh?"

"If you want to call me like that, I don't mind," Kuroro handed another shot to the blond.

Kurapika took the glass. "So you're really serious about this?" He drank half of the glass' contents.

"Yes, I am," Kuroro took a sip on his own drink.

"Don't expect me to stay in here for long. I don't care about this place or your seriousness about this madness. Stop fooling around and let's just get this over with." Kurapika finished the remaining wine in one gulp.

"Aww, you missed me so much, you can wait no more?"

As Kuroro finished shooting another taunt, Kurapika fiercely threw the goblet to the man. He aimed for the Spider head's face, but Kuroro easily caught the thing again.

"You're such a reckless and hot-headed kid." Kuroro slowly finished his own wine. Once he put the glasses on the bar, while still feeling Kurapika's glower, he teasingly said with a sinister smirk.

"You're seriously turning me on."

Kurapika's eyes widened. The Spider head was really fast. The boy caught only a glimpse when Kuroro suddenly materialized a book in his hand. Next thing he knew, his face was just an inch to the man's. Kuroro was already sitting next to him on the couch. He casually placed a hand on Kurapika's shoulder then possessively snaked an arm on his waist, then firmly clutched his hipbone, as though he was doing this every day.

Kuroro touched the boy's cheek from behind to angle his face nearer to his. He couldn't help but admire Kurapika's pale face, now flushing hard, along with his widened eyes that were slightly turning red. He hungrily looked at them.

"Let's get stared, then?"

With his eyes half-opened, Kuroro witnessed how Kurapika's eyes widened more, and it totally turned scarlet as he casually reached for those familiar sweet and soft lips. Everything on Kurapika tensed up. He had to hold his breath as Kuroro started to nibble his lips; his tongue was forcing its way to reach for Kurapika's. One of his hands lingered on the boy's hair, he gently pulled it downward to angle his face, yet pushing it hard to his own lips to deepen the kiss. Kurapika opted to close his eyes so tight as Kuroro's tongue started to explore him. He tried to breath properly no matter how his heart pound hard on his chest and how he was feeling so hot because of the wine. Or maybe because of something else.

Kuroro playfully lapped the kid's lips, his hand that was on the his waist had started to move. It stroked affectionately back and forth first on the hip, before it mischievously slid between the boy's thighs. He felt the boy's gasped. Kurapika folded his arms in front of him and the man, but was hastily proven useless as Kuroro slowly ran his arm down on his back to pull his closer, if possible. Kuroro's kiss went deeper to the point that he had bit Kurapika's lips. He earned an involuntary moan from the boy, and the Kuruta actually moved his hands to push the man slightly away by placing them in his chest.

Kuroro craved for more of this.

"H-" Kurapika managed to break the kiss as he pushed the man away. But Kuroro cut his word short by instigating another one. Kurapika pushed the man away again, harder this time, to finish what he'd meant to say.

"H-Hey, stop― stop biting my lips," Kurapika mumbled rapidly when he got the chance.

"What?" Kuroro impatiently snapped.

"My lips would swell if you kiss too much," the boy limply said. He was feeling dizzy because of the wine.

"So what?"

"I got work tomorrow. The last thing I want my employer to see is my lips swelling."

"Damn... Okay fine." Kuroro angrily shoved Kurapika's arms that were on the way to get his body closer to him. He tipped his lips on the boy's cheek while firming his hand on the back of Kurapika's neck. Then he passionately ran his lips on the boy's neck down to his shoulder.

His other hand took the boy's hands back and placed them on his shoulders to gesture him to snake them around his neck.

"Hey, do you― "a hiccup. "... Do you have a decent bedroom? I-I don't want here. What if someone came?"

Kuroro stopped nibbling the blond's neck, fixed a gaze on his collar, and started to unbutton the boy's shirt (he was wearing a casual brown shirt and black pants, instead of his tribal attire). "Don't worry. I bought the whole floor. This place is sound-proof as well, you can moan and scream whenever you want. And it'll be so easy to detect if someone's coming through their auras." The man peeled the cloth off of the boy before capturing his lips. He reached for his neck again and nlicked that pale, sensitive skin. Kurapika slightly pushed him away again.

"Don't― don't do that. Don't... don't leave any marks there." Another hiccup.

"I got it," Kuroro could understand what the boy wanted him not to do. So he started to shift the scene to the climax.

Kurapika was surely drunk. He didn't do much when Kuroro pushed him to the side of the couch. The sofa's arm served as his pillow. The blond ran both of his hands on his forehead and slumped his back on the couch, feeling really nauseous. His breath was heavy, and turned harsher, when he felt Kuroro unzipped his pants.

Kuroro held all of the control. The wine was successfully cutting Kurapika's hold on himself. He was fully aware of what was happening. But he couldn't work to stop it. The alcohol had been entirely ruining everything on his mind― he wasn't sure if he should be happy or not.

The Spider head pulled the pants off the blond before rapidly shrugging his bathrobe off. He topped on the kid's bared body, kissed him on the lips before running his own down to the boy's neck, chest, down to one of his nipples. Kurapika let out a yelp.

And it stirred the senses inside the Kuruta.

"Wait― wait a second! Let me go!" Kurapika roughly pushed the man away. Astounded, Kuroro had to ask.

"What's the matter?"

"I can't... I can't do it. I change my mind. I'm sorry... I really can't do it."

"What?"

"I can't!" Kurapika shouted. "This is not right― this is not me! I can't do this thing. I have to go, I'm sorry." Kurapika composed himself and took his shirt behind him. He was picking his pants that Kuroro threw on the floor up when a rough hand pulled his wrist.

"I don't think so." Kuroro seriously and angrily said.

Kurapika looked at his face, and he couldn't help but flinch as Kuroro's angry eyes bored into his.

"You went bravely here, then you turned me on, then you'll change your mind and back-out? What do you think of me?"

"I told you, I CAN'T DO IT! I really can't! I'm... I'm s-scared. This is not right. Nothing in here does make any sense! We're both guys, for heaven's sake. We're mortal enemies. There's no way I'll let you touch and caress me as though we're on some sort of relationship. This is―"

"This is not about what's right or wrong!" Kuroro grounded out. "It's not about any sense. What we're doing now is definitely nonsense. We're just using each other for our own good. This is not about relationship, or feelings, or gender, or whatsoever. It's all about what you could give to me and what I could give to you. Your friends and my comrades are out of this. Your past and mine are out of this. Once we're done, once you leave this place, once I get what I want from you, everything would be back to normal. We will act as though nothing happened. Accept the truth: Your dignity and sense of justice won't help you in gaining you clan's eyes. You'll use me and I'll use you. And it ends there."

Kurapika couldn't hide his nervousness upon hearing the man's sudden uproar.

"Look, believe it or not, I can understand you. I know... you're just scared and nervous. That's normal. But it doesn't mean that you'll turn your back when you feel like it. Think about your family's eyes."

Kurapika couldn't calm himself down. His heart just wouldn't stop doing these horrible drum rolls. Shuddering a bit, he buried his face in his hands. He clutched his own hair, hoping it would cease the pain, the confusion, the lost, and the nausea from his head.

"Okay then," Kuroro regarded. "We'll take everything slowly and easy from now on. You don't have to do anything yet. Let me do everything for tonight. Just forget all else for now. Empty your mind. Forget everything and think about the eyes. Got it?"

The man saw how the Kuruta forced himself to convince his mind to do what he said. Unknown to him, Kurapika was working so hard to hold back his tears.

"O-Okay, I'll try. Just... Just be a bit gentle," Kurapika heaved a deep sigh as he mumbled. He let his hands fall on his lap, his eyes held a softer tone of scarlet.

Having another chance, Kuroro waste no time. He hastily wrapped his arms back on Kurapika and sweetly kissed his cheek. Kurapika slowly faced the man, and Kuroro so did. He reached for his lips to resume his business earlier, brushing his own on them thrice before deepening it. Unconsciously, Kurapika snaked his arms around the man's neck, and that roused the man more. Kuroro pushed the Kuruta's back on the couch once again without breaking their kiss.

The man continued his attempt to arouse the reluctant boy. He reached for one of his nipples and licked it. Kurapika detached his arms from the man and placed the back of one of his hands to his eyes to cover them. He bit his lower lip as Kuroro started treating the other one. Forcing himself to do what the man said, he tried to empty his brain, free from anything. The man was right about the wine. It helped a lot as the blond felt hotter and heedless.

It was then when he realized that he was catching his breath. He tightly closed his eyes and braced himself for what would happen next. He bit his lower lip a little harder as something warm tipped his member― and flinched as Kuroro started to suck slightly. He covered his eyes with a palm to escape shame, and swore that he would never open them until this insanity came to its end.

Something thin and long cut through his entrance as Kuroro started to prepare him― that was a little unexpected to Kurapika since the man didn't do that on their very first time. He almost yelped as the familiar pain shot all over him again. He attempted to close his folded, parted legs but a rough hand clasped one of his knees to stop it. It parted them again instead. Preventing the boy's legs to close, the rough hand tightened its hold on his knee. Kuroro pulled out his finger only to enter him again, adding another one this time.

He wasn't able to hold his gasp.

"It's alright. Let out the sounds. It might ease the pain and emotions," the man advised.

"Do you REALLY expect me to do that, bastard!?"

"I don't expect you to do it." The man drew back his fingers and entered quickly again. And as he drew them back once more, he settled himself firmly between the boy's legs, under his hip, and replaced the fingers with something else.

"Aargh!" Kurapika groaned in pain. "Damn it! You said you'll be easy!"

"This is my easiest, kid. I can't change my own size."

"O-Ouch..." the blond breathed as Kuroro penetrated deeper. The man started to thrust slowly, trying to create a pace. Kurapika's breath started to get harsher as well. He could feel how his eyes had started to water. He was feeling so dizzy, and out of control, his eyes turned scarlet brighter.

Kuroro's speed increased. The Kuruta could hear the man's audible pant. Or probably it was his own― he couldn't tell anymore.

"Will you slow it down! It really hurts!" Kurapika's legs slightly twisted against Kuroro's sides.

"Sorry."

Kurapika frowned at that. Did he heard that right? Probably he did, because Kuroro actually slowed himself down. Their skins brushed slower, yet it was still really painful for the boy.

"Nnnn..." the boy mumbled an unexpected sound. Kuroro saw that kid's hands balled into tight fists.

"Clutch your hands on me if you want."

"What- AH!" a yelp. "WHAT!?"

"Come on― don't wound yourself. Hold on to me."

Kurapika was astounded with Kuroro's out-of-the-blue concern for him. But he thought of something, so he did what he was told.

He clasped his hands on Kuroro's hard arms. The Spider head was still holding his speed. Kurapika let out some more gasps and moans, totally losing his hold on himself. He noted that letting out his groans somehow lessened the overwhelming emotions that were flooding out of his heart. He felt feverish. He dug his nails deeper on Kuroro's muscles to share some of his pain to the man.

More moments passed. It was like Kuroro wasn't growing tired. He kept himself moving passionately. And no matter how odd it was for Kurapika to think about it, he couldn't deny one thing.

Kuroro Lucifer was... good... in what he was currently doing.

"Whoa," Kuroro breathed when he suddenly slowed and stopped after some time that seemed like― forever.

"That was awesome. You're excellent for a beginner, kid." he complimented.

"Shut up and GO TO HELL!" Kurapika incredulously shot to the man's taunt. He opened his eyes to witness the same, familiar sick smirk gracing on his face. Kuroro's smirk graced wider as Kurapika's bright scarlet eyes bored to his dark ones. He topped over the boy again and stole a quick kiss from his lips.

"I'm fine with that, as long as you're going with me."

"You EVIL! I swear I'll drag you o the deepest level of hell and I'll serve you the worst revenge that you can never imagine!" Kurapika cursed.

"I'll look forward to that," with that, he captured the boy's lips one last time.

Kurapika roughly pushed the man away from him. His head abruptly swam in dizziness because of it. He screwed his eyes in concentration to turn his scarlet eyes off. He opted to lay his aching back and hips on the couch to rest them.

Still breathless, he felt the man stood up from the couch. He curled himself against the warm seat, the leather, comfy surface of it served a temporary warmth for his bared body. Everything on him hurt. Specially his goddamn head. So he tried to calm himself, slowly opened his eyes to see if they were back to their normal hue. They were. But he really felt startled when a thick white sheet hovered over him.

Kuroro covered him with a blanket.

"Sleep for a while, you need it. I'll prepare the eyes. I believe you got the bank book with you. I'll make some coffee. Have some rest if you want. Clear?" the man ordered him again, and it pissed him so much. But he was feeling so tired to retort. He just rolled his eyes then grabbed the blanket closer to his face.

"Good. What time do I have to wake you up?"

"Don't bother. I'll just take a nap while waiting for the eyes. I'll go out of here once I got them."

"Fine."

The conversation came to its end as Kurapika heard how Kuroro's footsteps retreated away. He heard a door closed next.

It was weird, Kurapika pondered. He slept for more than a day just some hours ago. But he was feeling so sleepy already. Yet his mind was fully awake. He actually even wondered if his brain could possibly take a rest. But his body was feeling so oddly tired. He couldn't believe it. He never thought that a sex... a good sex could be as tiring as hell.

Kurapika's eyes snapped.

What was that!? Where the hell did that idea come from? Did he really thought that their painful intimacy was good? Oh, goodness' sake. Kuroro Lucifer was an evil disguising in a handsome, ruthless murdered and thief. He was a monster, either in real life or in bed. He couldn't even be gentle. He was doing everything for his own good, claiming every little thing that he liked. And even if the man was good in bed, or in any aspect of his life, he was still the bastard head of the murderers who killed his family. With that in mind, he promised that he would bring the worst out of that demon, one day.

He still got a long, busy day tomorrow ahead. Luckily, his lips weren't swelling. He needed to rest for the next day.

He wondered what was taking the man so long. He badly wanted to get a proper sleep. He had to go back to Dmitri's manor.

Kurapika slightly pushed the blanket away from his neck. He was feeling hot. He could still feel the warmth from Kuroro's lips, how it touched and brushed against his skin, and how it brought chills that enough to freeze his core. The warmth slowly crept on his cheeks as the thought swirled on his mind.

This was bad.

He must sleep. Tomorrow would be another day. It was normal to feel hot after their activity. But it would be insane if he would think about the man while feeling that way. Pinning a note that he had to wake up after ten minutes, the Kuruta let his mind drift to sleep.

 

Chapter Text

 

He was feeling bad again. Was he having a fever? His head was heavy and his body was feeling weird. Moving slightly to find a more comfortable position, he felt really odd as his skin brushed roughly on a leather-like surface. Then slowly, his memories had started working.

He stirred himself awake, only to find himself naked.

The thick blanket slid on his lap when Kurapika sat upright on the couch where he was sleeping. The sun outside was shining brightly. He wondered what time it was, and he realized everything.

"Damn," Kurapika cursed as he ran his hand to his forehead, clutching his nauseous head. Right. He drank wine, had sex with that bastard, then he took a nap after.

Well, it wasn't a nap anymore.

He looked around to find his clothes. His shirt, with his pants was neatly folded on a table near the couch. Beside the clothes was a box. As expected, no Kuroro Lucifer was found on the vicinity.

The Kuruta hurriedly reached for his clothes and wore them. Next, he opened the box, already knowing what it contained.

He sighed in relief when the box revealed another bright pair of his brethren's eyes. He used gyou to check for their authenticity, and heaved another relieved sigh. They were real, he couldn't help but smile.

He set the cylindrical container back to the box when he noticed a note underneath it.

Beside the note was a key card with the tower's name on it.

'You said I don't have to wake you up.'

"Bastard," Kurapika spat as he crumpled the sarcastic note on his hand. Just like their first night, Kuroro had left him alone after getting what he wanted. Right, 'it's simply about what you could give to me, and what I could give to you,' the man's words echoed in his mind. The man didn't care if he die in fever or whatsoever. The only deal was if something happened between them. After that, neither would think about the other nor care what would happen next.

What the hell was he thinking in the very first place, anyway? What, was he expecting something else from the man, like he would still be there when he woke up?

No. Of course not. This fiasco was just a cruel game that Kuroro had instigated. Nothing more, nothing less. The man got what he wanted from him. The Kuruta got his. And that must be all to it.

Okay, enough of the demented sentiments. He must go back to Dmitri's manor as soon as possible. He still had many things to do.

He made his way out of the apartment tower, feeling oddly contented while clutching the box with the eyes, somewhat wondering when he could get another one.


 

"Again, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much for coming and I hope you enjoy the night. Good evening to all of you."

A round of audible applause followed as Lord Lurix Dmitri finished his small speech. It was exactly two and a half weeks ago when one of his newest and most trusted bodyguard acquired two more Kuruta eyeball pairs. All in all, he got four Kuruta scarlet eyes to proudly display, along with his other new antiquities, on his annual celebration that was upheld on his manor. The man got so many visitors, some of them were active Mafias, or who got high status among the society. It was the second gathering the man had made this year; that was why he was so worked up about acquiring more merchandises.

"Thank you, thank you!" Dmitri humbly bowed to a group of ladies as the women admired one of his painting collections. "Yes, the paintings are beautiful, but they are nothing compare to your beauties tonight, ladies."

Said ladies chuckled upon hearing the flattering compliment from the man. Most of these women were wives of the prominent, modern and influential men of times, wearing their signature-designed gowns, matched with branded killer heels. They were gracefully holding sherries, timidly chuckling and smiling while talking to one another. You wouldn't see if one of them was feeling uncomfortable with her gown or shoes, or if the other was currently suffering from an illness, or family problems, or financial difficulties. Everyone around the place was hiding their true selves within the masks of diamond-studded necklaces and elegant coat-and-ties. Each of them was acting to their most graceful and refined etiquette, enjoying their mild alcohols and admiring the antiquities around the luxurious mansion.

Upon the expensive relics, the Kuruta scarlet eyes were Dmitri's main collection. The four pairs of the crimson eyes were displayed near the mansion's majestic stairway. The body parts were floating inside framed cylindrical containers as some of the guests gathered around to admire them.

Not far from the table where the containers were held, was a blazing, alive Kuruta, hiding in a formal suit attire, standing still while lingering his eyes around the lounge.

Kurapika had no choice but to clutch his hands until his knuckles turned white as his brethren's eyeballs turned into some sort of attraction in the middle of this pretentious, greedy crowd. He tried and focused hard on his job and looked for anything strange around the place as he guard the Kuruta eyes, no matter how enraged he was and the thirst to snatch the eyes away from here was running vigorously through his veins.

"Kurapika," a familiar voice called. Kurapika looked on his side as Senritsu's figure, wearing her casual dress walked to him.

"Senritsu," Kurapika said softly.

"Kurapika... Your heartbeat again." Senritsu said in almost a whisper.

"... I'm really sorry for this, Senritsu. I can't really control my anger this time."

"I'm okay, don't worry about me. I'm more worried about you. Your heartbeat is unstable for weeks, and it got worst tonight. I suggest you to take a rest now, you helped more than enough to make this party successful. I'm sure Dmitri-san will let you. I'll take over from here. Alright?"

Kurapika smiled. "Thanks, Senritsu. But don't worry about me, I can handle. Besides, the eyes were displayed. You know that I can never rest if they were outside the safe. Really, I'm fine. I'll take a break right after the party, I promise you that."

Senritsu smiled back. "Right, as if I could stop you."

Kurapika beamed. “Thanks for the concern, Senritsu."

"You're really welcome. By the way, Dmitri-san’s looking for you. He'd like to introduce you to some of his visitors. They were outside. I'll take over on your place here for a while."

"I see. Sorry for the trouble. I'll be back right after there."

Senritsu stared as Kurapika retreated towards the mansion's huge door. The music hunter had replaced the Kuruta in his position, still looking at his walking comrade, feeling worried and sad.


 

"Good evening, sir. I'm sorry for making you wait."

Kurapika bowed at the five suited men who were standing near the entrance of the mansion. One of them was his boss, Lurix Dmitri.

"It's alright. I'd just like to introduce you to a fellow Mafia head. By the way, Meniandro-san," Dmitri spoke and referred to a dark-haired, gray-eyed man who was smoking. "This is Kurapika. He's the one who helped me to acquire the Kuruta eyes, even some of my rare paintings. This teen is exceptional. A superb nen-user. He's a former employee of Light Nostrad."

The blond regarded the man who was called Meniandro, then greeted him with a timid bow.

"Light Nostrad, huh?" Meniandro said in a deep voice. "I heard he suffered lost, but managed to regain some of his assets. Looks like the old man finally learned how to push his own ass." The man finished with a chuckle.

"Yeah, this lad helped him a lot," Dmitri added.

Meniandro left a small smile on his lips after chuckling then eyed one of the men on his side, apparently his bodyguards. The gestured suited man nodded once then moved his hand to his coat's secret pocket to reach for something inside.

He pulled a case of an expensive brand of cigarette out. The box's lid was slightly open. The man tapped the thing with a finger, and two cigarette sticks slightly slipped on the opening.

Kurapika eyed the offered tobacco for a while as though weighing for a decision. The next moment, his fingers reached for a stick and pulled it out of the case.

The bodyguard placed the case back on his coat and drew a silver lighter from the same hidden pocket. He almost opened the lighter for the blond when Kurapika himself opened his palm to the man after placing the cigarette stick on his pale lips.

The man handed the lighter to the boy, and Kurapika himself ignited the cigarette that was slightly held by his mouth.

"You sound so confident with this kid, Dmitri. And by the sounds of it, he really have the guts," the gray-eyed Mafia head uttered after blowing out a cloud of smoke from his dark lips. "Now, is he really strong enough to get a position? Do you really think that this rookie can be a Mafia commander?"

Kurapika's eyes widened a bit as Meniandro's sentence finished, but it didn't really surprise him that much as he let smokes out from his slightly parted lips. He spared a fast glance to Dmitri, but easily comprehended what his boss had done without his knowledge. Letting the conversation resume, he just placed his free hand on his pocket, then the other ticked the cigarette stick on his side to make the ashes on its end to fall.

"I know this sounds a bit risky, but I trust Kurapika. I would entrust him my life. Believe me, this young man is fearless. I had the strongest men before. They were tough, but not as strong and smart as him. You won't lose anything if you try him," Dmitri convinced his fellow Mafia head.

"Excuse me, sirs. I'm sorry," Kurapika faked a surprised and confused face. In all honesty, he was fully aware of what was happening and— he didn't like it at all. "I beg your pardon, but I can't actually understand what you're talking about, Dmitri-san."

"Oh, haven't I told you yet? I recommended you to the Council to be a Mafia commander under me. I really think you can be one, so..."

"Sir, I'm really sorry. I can't remember anything about it. I'm not aware."

"You're not aware?" Meniandro suddenly interjected. "You mean, you were recommended without your consent?"

"I've been in and out of York Shin lately in search for the antiquities for my boss. I was so busy nowadays that's why I'm not that aware of what's happening around here. I was..." Kurapika had to lie for his boss. " ...I once talked with Dmitri-san about it. But I didn't know that I was recommended."

"Well, brat." Meniandro sucked his cigarette. "You're endorsed by your boss to be a second-in-command for the Council, since the former was killed by a member of that Spider thieves. We're looking for the strongest, and Dmitri's really confident in you."

Kurapika faked a small, flattered smile. "I'm so honored, sir. It sounds great. But... I don't think I deserve it. I'm sorry, Dmitri-san." He regarded his boss. "I'm too young for it. I believe that there's someone else who's better than me. Besides, Dmitri-san still needs me in here. I'd like to learn more before entering the wider Community. I want the offer, but please let me think about it more." Dragging himself deeper to the Mafia after messing with the Genei Ryodan head sounded good— but dangerous. The Kuruta wanted to slow everything down first.

"Being humble is letting the once in a lifetime chances to escape. Why don't you just take the offer and lift your ass to a higher level?" Meniandro remarked with a smug on his face.

"Because I'm not strong enough, sir." Kurapika easily countered. " I don't want to compromise my boss. I'd like to prove to you that I'm more than enough once I take the offer. Yes, I'm still young and I lack experiences. I still got so many things to learn that's why I'm working hard. I don't want to lift myself just to boast around: I’ll lift myself up once my ass deserved it."

Meniandro was nothing but taken aback with the kid's angst. Kurapika didn't mean to go that far. But anyway.

The gray-eyed man suddenly nodded. "Now I could see what you're trying to say, Dmitri."

The said man simply smiled. "Of course. Do you think I'll just choose some jerk?"

"Very well then," Meniandro blew a last cloud of smokes before throwing the cigarette butt on the ground. "Let me see what you've got, boy." He stomped his foot on the cigarette butt and twisted it once, turning the small flame off. With a smirk, he slowly started walking towards the mansion's direction.

"Make yourself stronger. I'd like to keep an eye on you. Once you proved that you're more than what I'm expecting, I'll give you something more than what you deserve." Meniandro spared a last glance to the Kuruta resumed advancing to the mansion along with his bodyguards.

Kurapika slightly bowed. Dmitri looked at him.

"Sorry for compromising you like that. When the Council announced about them looking for a second-in-command in a meeting, I instantly thought about you. I assumed you'd like it."

"It's nothing, sir. I'm honored, in fact. I won't deny that it was tempting. But just like what I said, I want to be stronger. I want to work on you full time first. Then I myself would apply for the job once I'm ready. I just hope you'll be willing to let me go once it happened." Kurapika smiled on his boss.

"You have my word." Dmitri smiled back and started to saunter back to his home.

The Kuruta was about to follow him when his phone rang. Dreading about the sender of the message and its contents, his eyes narrowed in annoyance as Kuroro's name flashed on the screen.

'It's been weeks. Don't you miss me?'

"Tsh," Kurapika hissed upon the creepiness of the message. This man was seriously getting to his nerves.

But on the other hand, it had been a long while since the last time he saw the man. Suddenly, he remembered the precious eyes inside the mansion that turned into some display that showed how rich their 'owner' was. It never failed to ignite the spark of wrath inside his chest.

Kuruta eyes were scared beauties of life— not some sort of decoration inside huge mansions.

To get a pair from Kuroro would lessen the chance for his boss to land his dirty hand to another pair. He must play everything safe this time, now that he already held some upper hand.

Kurapika simply looked at his boss' back as he retreated back to the ball, when he realized that he was still holding the cigarette. Half of it turned into ashes already. He ticked the stick with a finger to shake them off and placed it to his mouth for the last time. He sucked it hard before throwing it on the ground. Languidly stomping on it, he slowly drew the smokes out from his lips.

Yes, everything was getting hardcore.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

"No, Kurapika. Today's your off. You worked more than enough. Senritsu's right, you need a break. No more discussion."

His life was playing him an awful joke, Kurapika thought as Lurix Dmitri ordered him to have a day-off right after the night of his gathering. It was true that he was tired. But in all honesty, he would rather drown himself in his work than to laze around with the lurid memories now reeling in his mind. His work never failed to make him forget those two forsaken nights between him and that Kuroro Lucifer; and he preferred it that way. It could not be helped, however; it was his boss' call so he had little choice in the matter. Besides, his body was begging for the rest his mind wanted to deny.

After his conversation with Dmitri, Kurapika decided to spend the rest of the day enjoying the rest of his book. Lying comfortably on his bed with his back against the headboard, he found himself distracted. Half of his mind focused on his book while the other half was thinking about the one-sided recommendation that Dmitri had offered, him being a second-in-command in the wider Mafia community.

Truth be told, he was not considering the offer, as he felt he could easily get the position once he felt ready for it. Besides, there was another, more disturbing thought taking the forefront in the chaotic mess that had become his thoughts

He had deleted the message that Kuroro Lucifer sent him last night as he couldn't stand the thought of it, let alone saving it in his phone's inbox. However, he was unable to erase it from his mind. Caged within his own restless brain and weighted heart, he could find no way to move forward except to decide whether or not to reply.

By the time he had finished his dinner he had managed to spend most of his free time dozing in a dreamless state aided by the peaceful weather and calm quiet found within the solitude of the manor. When he was not succumbing to his body's need for rest he could be found in a small study amidst the books there.

As night fell once more he found his eyes blurry from the strain of constant reading. He returned the two latest leather-bound texts he had read to their places on the shelving.

… The attempts to escape his grumbling thoughts proved futile as Kurapika mused unintentionally. It had proven to be useless to try and run away from the situation, anyway.

The blond wondered if he could find sleep as easily now that his body, at least, had recuperated. He felt much better as his frazzled nerves finally calmed; if only a sleep free from nightmares could heal him entirely, including his heart and mind.

After some moments of staring at nothing in particular, Kurapika stopped racking his brain and roughly closed his current book before grudgingly returning it to their proper places on the shelving.

Seriously, having an extra 'part-time' sideline on his day-off? How mad.

"Okay fine," Kurapika mumbled while reaching for his phone. He typed something on it then waited. In a dreadfully short amount of time, the expected reply sounded on his phone.

'Finally. Tonight's good. But I'll be a bit late. Just go to the apartment first. Not sure what time I'd arrive, but I'll definitely be there. See you later.'

Scorning, Kurapika balled his fist on his phone.

"God, how did I get myself into this!?"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

His footsteps echoed audibly through the deserted hallway as the Kuruta reached the condo unit. It was around nine and Kurapika found himself frowning while looking at the apartment's door. The man said he would be late so he let an hour or so to pass before going to the place. He didn't like the idea of him waiting for the guy alone inside the demented place; however, he didn't want to draw attention from anyone if he left the manor late night either. Not to mention that once Kuroro arrived, they would do it and he would leave right after. The earlier he settled the matter, the better.

Hoping that Kuroro was inside already, Kurapika knocked the door thrice. But after getting no response, he took the duplicate key card Kuroro had given him.

Darkness greeted him as he opened the door. With a sigh, he asked himself of what he was actually doing there.

Kurapika easily found the light switches near the door. He opted to turn on the dim lights on the walls rather than the main lights. The lights on the small bar lit as well. He closed the door behind.

The Kuruta didn't give a damn about the place on his first time there, for he had been too deranged with the perverted owner of it who had been standing by the bar, gracefully drinking wine, wearing only a bathrobe. And by finding himself alone, he let his eyes scan the area where he would be spending the worst nights of his life.

He walked closer to the windows; because the unit was on a high deck, lights visibly reflected on Kurapika's eyes as he peered down at the colorful and busy night life of York Shin City. Vibrant colors from roaming cars and towering establishments displayed the animated lifestyle of the state during night fall, in addition with the cloudless dark sky, which was surprisingly filled with numerous twinkling stars. From afar, he noted a red, winking light moving northwardly, apparently a plane. With all of the lively lights from the busy alleys, to the silver-dotted cloud-free silky black sheet of the night sky, York Shin surely proved why it was renowned as one of the busiest, most beautiful and most visited city of the world.

He absently tucked both of his hands in his pockets, somewhat feeling odd. The night sky was reminding him of something.

Unwillingly he submitted to a bittersweet memory from a time before his world had shattered. Back in his hometown, Rukuso Province, he used to stargaze with his best friend. Mischievously they would wander through the depths of the Rukuso forest during nightfall where dangerous animals and beasts might be lurking around; Kurapika found that exploring during such time to be more exciting and brought out the full wonder of his beloved motherland. The huge trees would loudly hiss a haunting breeze that would bring chills down to his skin, the melody of the small animals as they chittered amongst themselves and the infinite dark sky filled with aligned stars above, twinkling and lighting the mystic paradise along with the gibbous moon. The Rukuso forest during night time, just like the Kuruta scarlet eyes that could glow and see through the darkness was doubtlessly captivating; beauties of life that were made by the Supreme Creator who gave life to all.

Kurapika felt his own eyes turning a little red and slightly watery as a towering nostalgia reasserted itself on him. If only he had not left his home, then perhaps things could have turned out much, much better than this.

He composed himself and returned his gaze to the starry sky. Somehow the scene had soothed the bottomless longing inside him. Mentally, he pictured the sky along with the green woods of the forest, the wandering wildlife around, along with his unforgettable best friend. He let himself reminisce with the old, imaginary photo album of his lost home, mentally scribbled by animosity, but now giving him a temporary peace of mind.

He wondered if it was still possible for him to be peaceful again. If only he could turn back the time...

Kurapika averted his eyes away from the window, and they landed on the bar. Awfully, he remembered the wine Kuroro ordered him to drink last time. It was honestly good; in fact he even kind of liked it. He strode towards the corner and let his eyes linger on the stool where the wine bottles were neatly aligned.

He found it, the same wine Kuroro gave him. He took the wine bottle from the stool and reached for a goblet dangling above the bar. The red liquid swirled inside the goblet as he poured some of the alcohol into the glass. He decided to fill it only halfway. After taking the goblet, he slightly spun its handle to let the liquor inside move. He smelled the aroma of the drink, before taking a sip.

It really tasted good. He took another sip. And another. The next thing he knew, a slight dizziness occurred in his head, and the goblet was empty.

As he peered down on his empty glass, he couldn't help but wonder. When the hell did he turn into an alcoholic? When the hell did he learn how to smoke? And when in the hell did he learn to make love like it was nothing at all?

Then he remembered. He killed two people at the age of seventeen. He joined the Mafia. It was none other than himself who dragged his own feet to this pit of hell. He was slowly turning into an undignified person, and it was so damn dumb of him because he just completely realized it now.

But as an afterthought, should he really blame himself alone for being like this? Was it merely because it was his choice to pick this bloody, immoral path to reach for his goals? It was alright to blame how the world depicted its twisted side too, wasn't it? Not all men wish to become wicked. Certainly, Kurapika wasn't the type who enjoyed killing and destroying lives.

Years ago he had pictured himself as a Hunter who would hunt down criminals to bring them to jail— but never as a part-time black-list Hunter who targeted one and only one group of murderers who wrecked his entire world. Years ago, Kurapika was a courageous and cheerful boy who sought justice and equality among his Kuruta clan and the people outside Rukuso Province, without taking anyone's life. True justice did not demand massive bloodshed; it never desired a death that was in vain. Back in his youth he believed that while the world might not be perfect, it could still change and improve for the better.

It was so sad that time had ruthlessly stolen that principle of his; as years added to his age, his beliefs, thoughts and hopes about the world slowly faded away. The line between dreams and reality gradually thickened. The loss he suffered from his family's genocide brought him to where he was now; a Mafia-head employee, a killer, and the worst— a prostitute.

Definitely, this was never his intent.

This was a fact of life. Age came with the reality. Adulthood was twined with the distorted truths and lies. Whether you liked it or not, time would steal your innocence from you, no matter how imbued you were.

He poured some more wine in his glass. The goblet's rim touched his lips again when he suddenly felt a familiar aura inching nearer. He tried his best to keep himself calm by taking another sip.

The aura grew nearer. He took a gulp.

The aura abruptly faded and Kurapika finished the remaining wine in one shot.

He unconsciously held his breath as though time stopped. Kurapika slowly placed the goblet down on the bar, his heart was pounding hard. He breathed deeply in, collected enough courage, and turned around.

The next moment, he felt the familiar pair of strong arms belonging to Kuroro Lucifer on his sides, firmly pinning him on the bar. Kurapika mustered a deadly glare and shot it directly to the man.

Kuroro simply smirked at him before drawing his lips nearer to his.

"Long time, no see," he breathed before brushing their lips together. Kurapika spared a piercing glare as Kuroro pressed a kiss on his zipped lips then absentmindedly let his eyelids slip halfway. Feeling relieved upon seeing Kuroro's closed eyes, he made no effort on concealing the creeping heat on his pale cheeks.

But Kurapika's blush abruptly turned into a feverish flush when Kuroro smoothly dragged the kiss deeper. He expertly slid his tongue to the boy's mouth and sweetly explored inside. Declaring his obvious dominance, his hands automatically went on the Kuruta's waist and affectionately moved around there. Kurapika found himself totally defenseless while in the suffocatingly possessive touch.

The deep kiss instantly reached the depths of the two as emotions began to swirl inside them. Kurapika felt how the firm hold of the man's hands on his waist evolved into a choking yet surprisingly warm embrace. Within the obsessive hug was the lascivious kiss that was relentlessly drowning him, chasing his thoughts and senses away.

The Kuruta heard his own sharp intake of breath as Kuroro finally let go. He barely collected enough oxygen when the man initiated another breathtaking kiss. A fiercer and hotter kiss, he should add. A horrible flinch escaped from him when Kuroro softly bit his lips out sheer hunger and raw desire. If he would have to define these actions from the man towards him in one word, it would be: Craving.

Kuroro slid his hands on his hips then slowly pressed a side of it as a silent gesture to turn his back. Kurapika easily got the point, and that was when he finally caught a tighter grip on himself.

"No… wait," Kurapika pushed the man away. "Not here."

"Come on," Kuroro breathed with impatience before tipping his lips to Kurapika's neck.

"I said no. Not here. You have a bedroom, right?"

"Yeah, that one," Kuroro pointed a thumb on the side where a door was, before settling his face on the Kuruta's collarbone. "Hmm, you smell good."

"Shut up and let go," Kurapika wriggled his way out of the man's hold. "I need to go to the bathroom."

"There's one inside."

Kurapika casually left to get inside the room; Kuroro just leisurely looked at his back.

As the blond went inside and closed the door, Kuroro tore his gaze from it and looked around instead, quite curious if there was a thing around the living room that Kurapika might have touched or changed. His eyes instantly noted the wine bottle and an empty glass on the bar. A grin graced on his lips as he looked at the familiar liquor, pretty amused with the boy's pick.

He reached for the wine bottle and glass, and pinned his dark orbs on the goblet, his eyes moved sideways, the glass' rim reflected on them. A faint, wet mark where Kurapika's lips must have touched was fairly visible and Kuroro was pretty sure that the boy had drunk quite a bit of the alcohol.

Pondering a thought that he and the blond had the same taste over a thing, he moved to the door and opened it in a repressed haste.

The Spider head tonight was wearing a casual pair of pants and long-sleeved, navy blue shirt. His hair wasn't slicked just like it usually did. His bangs were down, but the cross-shape tattoo on his forehead could still be seen.

Inside the room was a huge bed and a small table next to it. Kuroro placed the wine bottle with the glass on it and pulled at the lamp’s hanging switch.

There was a large window which made up one of the walls, revealing the city below. The colorful view of the York Shin City could be clearly seen, and Kuroro couldn't help but get more amused with the sensual ambiance that the place had offered.

While waiting for the boy, he took his shirt off, revealing an unsurprisingly masculine figure, and grabbed the wine bottle back. He poured some of its contents into the goblet.

He had filled the whole glass when Kurapika emerged out of a nearby door, apparently the restroom. Kuroro sipped from the glass, watching the Kuruta moved towards him.

As his eyes studied the boy's features through the dim light, his keen observation caught the obvious, brief moment when Kurapika's eyes widened in surprise. Sheer amusement grew deeper inside him when a faint, adorable blush glowed on his cheeks, perhaps because of seeing him topless amidst of the dimly-lit room and night sky background.

But of course Kurapika would not let Kuroro have his fun-time while witnessing him squirm and fret like that; so the boy abruptly reverted to his cold and uncaring demeanor. His need to draw his eyes away from the man could be seen on the flicker of his eyelids, but the effort he was using just to stop himself from showing this obvious nervous behavior was all over his face.

Still adopting his cold, snapping feat in spite of the blush out of shyness on his cheeks, Kurapika bored his eyes to the man's in blandness. The man's sick grin was a lot better to see than to look at his muscular, mocking torso that nastily reminded him of the previous nights when he saw it much, much closer.

They were hardly on the climax of the night, but Kuroro was feeling as if he had been raping the boy over and over again.

But before losing his towering desire to grab and toss the Kuruta in the bed, he opted to wash his widening smirk away by taking a long drag from the glass that he almost forgot about holding.

"How long have you been waiting?"

Still retaining his feigned aloofness and coolness, Kurapika casually moved nearer to the man. Kuroro was thinking of settling the glass back on the side table so that he could hold the boy and throw him in the mattress already, when Kurapika swiftly seized the goblet from his grasp. With his eyes holding a mix of anguish, anxiety and maybe the hidden heat that now naturally building inside him, he spared a fast glance to him before drinking a large gulp from the drink.

"Not that long."

"I see," Kuroro casually drew closer to the boy then snaked one of his arms back around the Kuruta's waist.  Kurapika tensed. He tipped his lips back on the boy's neck, planting some pecks that were enough to make him shiver horribly.

"Sorry for making you wait. I missed you, by the way."

"Shut up, bastard," no matter how enraged he was, he found himself unable to stop the man from trailing kisses over his sensitive skin. In an attempt to suppress his fury, he took another sip from his drink.

"Hmm, did you not miss me at all?" Kuroro continued clinging to the boy as he hugged him with an arm. His other hand took the wine glass from the blond's grip which Kurapika quickly relinquished his hold.

"Will you please just keep your mouth shut if you don't have anything decent to say?" Kurapika sneered.

"Calm down, you hot-headed boy," Kuroro emptied the wine glass before capturing the boy's lips once more. Kurapika flinched then immediately recomposed himself when the man let him go, intending to return the glass back to the side table.

"What took you so long?" Kurapika spat as he sat on the bed while letting his eyes linger around the dim-lit place.

"Out of York Shin for some business. How about you? It's been weeks since the last time."

Kurapika focused his attention back to the man. "Likewise."

"Okay," the blond's head sharply spun to a side as Kuroro unceremoniously sat next to him. He gave the man a slight surprised but glaring look. The Spider head simply stared back as a response. Knowing that it was futile to get away, he just rolled his eyes in apparent irritation.

Out of instinct, Kurapika flinched and drew back when Kuroro casually reached for a stray strand of his hair and tucked it behind his ear. The man's rough fingertips barely ghosted over his skin, but it left a shivering sensation that made him tremble inside. He was about to move further back, but Kuroro didn't let him as he laced an arm back around his hip. Left with no clue how to react, he just bowed his head a bit and let the man do what he wanted.

With no warning, the Spider head leisurely bit a tip of the boy's reddening earlobe. A concealed sharp inhale from the boy, and he was nothing but aroused. He bit a little harder and earned an adorable flush from Kurapika.

He wasted no time, and made his way to the boy's cheek down to his jawline. He could feel the Kuruta's suppressed struggle against the arousal, and how he tried not to show it to him at the same time. He loved the involuntary flinch, and was dying for more, thus he started lapping at the boy's neck.

"I-I'm just wondering," Kurapika mumbled through an unintentional falter. "How many pairs of eyes do you have this moment?"

"Hmm," Kuroro hummed. "Sorry, that's a secret." He started undoing the buttons of the boy's shirt.

The Kuruta turned away even more. "Fine."

"How about you?" Kuroro moved to face the boy. Kurapika's shirt was completely undone. "I mean, your boss. I heard Dmitri got some pairs," he pushed the kid on the bed and heard a gasp.

"What the— don't tell me you're stalking me on my work!?" the Kuruta incredulously asked.

"It's not really stalking," the man topped over the boy. "More like researching. Just curious of what you do for a living."

"Then my answer is the same as yours," the boy looked sideways.

As a large expanse of the kid's neck got exposed to his eyes, the Spider head buried his face in it with enthusiasm.

"Hmm," he hummed again and lusciously suckled on the Kuruta's neck. Kuroro felt the boy freeze; he bet he had his eyes very tightly closed, as his act left several faint red marks on the boy's pale skin.

"B-But..." Kurapika suddenly added. "We already have more than two pairs, so far."

Kuroro wondered of the reason why the kid gave a hint. "Hey, you want me to steal them for you?" He captured his lips again, but he broke the contact easily for the answer.

"No..." Kurapika sighed, then unexpectedly added. "... not yet."

"I knew it," the Spider head whispered before roughly tucking his lips back to Kurapika's.

Seriously, this boy knew how to gravely turn him on.

Without even thinking of positioning themselves properly on the bed, Kuroro hastily took the boy's pants off and threw it to nowhere, then stood up a while to take his own off too. Kurapika had his eyes tightly closed as expected; his head was still angled sideways.

Shivering to the core, the Kuruta felt his legs parted and folded by a rough pair of huge hands. The mattress sunk slightly as Kuroro settled himself under him. He apprehended the next move. And as something wet and warm wrapped around his weakness, he wasn't able to contain his gasp.

"That's... T-That's really disgusting..."

"But you like it, don't you?"

"Of course no—" despite of great reluctance, Kurapika opened his eyelids only to see Kuroro smirking at him.

"Oh yes, you do. Don't deny it," the Spider head pointed out, then resumed to his business as if he wasn't interrupted at all.

The boy instantly closed his eyes tight again.

"Damn... Bastard! Stop it already!"

"What? You'd rather do this to me?"

"DIE AND GO TO HELL!"

"Just shut up, will you? We're hardly beginning."

"Damn..." Kurapika clutched his hands in the mattress as Kuroro started to suck. He could even hear his own heartbeat racing.

Moments passed. The perverted bastard seemed to be unstoppable. He was just doing what he wanted to. Kurapika wasn't surprised, nor did any kind of resistance because he knew it would trigger the man more. Well, as if he could. Not now that he was under the man's violent, hot restrain.

Hell. How many times did he have to suffer this way, exactly? The first two had carved enough wounds that refused to heal on his being, plus this thing that was currently happening before his tightly closed eyes. What about the next nights? How about the things that the Spider head might do to him during those times? Really. Kurapika never thought that he would be terrified and scared and lost like this again. No, this thing was actually a lot more horrifying than one hell of a torture. It was like the same feeling he had when he heard that his whole clan and his homeland were destroyed.

In fact, this feeling was much, much worse than that.

Weeks ago, back in that secluded house, everything that was going on within his mind as Kuroro raped him was the best way to conduct suicide. But now, as his mortal enemy was doing something mortifying, and sensual, on him that he technically approved, he found his own mind totally blank and empty.

'This is only the beginning; Brace yourself for more.'

Regrets, doubts, fears, anxiety, fury and sadness crashed into him all at once. Plus the towering pleasure that Kuroro was now pull— sucking out of him. Fate must be merciless for the poor last survivor of the Kuruta clan. Every kind of misfortune was chasing after him. And Kurapika was growing sick and tired of running away; sick of all the thoughts and burdens laid upon him. Every single thing was too heavy for his small shoulders to carry. And in this very moment, with all the things in his mind, he let the towering pleasure take control. He was unable to contain them any longer, anyway.

Before Kuroro could halt on his business, he heard an unexpected reward from the boy when out of the blue, through the quiet room, a trembling, sweet moan escaped from the boy's tight-zipped lips.

Kuroro bet that Kurapika was furiously berating himself by now.

"See? You can never tell that you don't like it, even to the slightest."

Perhaps being gravely ashamed of himself, Kurapika didn't react against the taunt.

Jumping to the next act, Kuroro decided to start preparing the boy. Without further ado, he dug a finger inside the Kuruta's entrance. Kurapika's breath audibly hitched. Knowing that the Kuruta's eyes must be in a bright, bright scarlet hue by now, Kuroro drew his finger back, but hastily went inside once more, with two fingers this time. The blond visibly whimpered a bit, probably unconscious of the cute act he just did as one of his hands let go of the mattress he was tightly clutching, and balled it into a tight fist instead before drawing it near his chin. Kuroro liked it, of course. So he repeated the process some more while watching Kurapika squirm, completely giving in.

He couldn't take it anymore. He really couldn't take it anymore. That was what he wanted to scream out so bad. But they were barely to the apex of the moment, and Kurapika felt like he and Kuroro just gotten inside the room a minute ago. In this kind of scenario, things were like in and out of time. Everything was too fast, yet too slow at the same time. And right now, he felt like the time froze when Kuroro gradually quit playing around.

Not wanting to see what was going on, and what was about to happen, Kurapika was hard pressed to not take a look. However, his eyelids snapped on their own as Kuroro seized both of his wrists, then pulled them up into a constrained surrender.

With a sinister, triumphant smirk, Kuroro bored his dark eyes into Kurapika's widened, vibrant scarlet ones. The Spider head was entirely held captive by them, especially when they looked so confused and scared like that. He wanted to test if it was still possible for them to ablaze brighter, thus he mumbled with a sweet, almost pleading tone.

"Kindly do not close your eyes for a while, will you?"

Anger and possibly embarrassment illuminated on the Kuruta's eyes even more, and he ended up not doing what the man had requested as Kuroro entered him.

Kurapika yelped in pain and slightly arched his back when Kuroro roughly brushed his skin against his. He still had his eyes tightly closed as the man began to thrust. Red-tinted moisture rimmed his eyelids, but they were not enough to drop out of his eyes. They just clung to the corners of the his eyelids.

Kuroro easily adopted a pace. Kurapika was trying so hard to suppress his sounds, but his mouth would involuntarily move.

Until eventually, he couldn't hold them any longer.

The Kuruta breathed heavily in a brief second, before he mumbled, "H-Hey, your hands... Don't grip my wrists."

"Sorry," Kuroro hurriedly drew his hold on the boy's reddening wrists and entwined his fingers on Kurapika's instead. "Heck, you're so pale; a mere grip would bruise you? Don't wonder why pedophiles chase after you."

"So you admit that you're a pedophile?" Kurapika spat.

"Hey, you are of the legal age."

"That's not the—" a gasp. "—point!"

"Like I told you, you can call me in any way you want. I don't mind," Kuroro said through his slight pant.

"Okay fine you perverted psychopath!"

Kuroro chuckled. He couldn't help it. "Damn, why am I feeling this way every time we do this?"

The boy suddenly moaned. It was so damn alluring. He just couldn't get enough of that.

He moved faster and heard more reluctant gasps and moans. Kurapika had dug his nails on the back of the man's hands. The Spider head's hands had started to bruise, but compared to Kurapika's pain, it was nothing.

Both of them couldn't see, the surely the boy was bleeding.

"D-Damn it, take it easy!"

Kuroro did what he was told. With his eyes half-opened, the boy began to pant heavily.

With the boy now writhing and whimpering under his luscious, consistent pace, Kuroro's thirsty lips found its way to the boy's quivering ones. Kurapika must be feeling the same way as his dry lips unconsciously parted and let Kuroro in. The Spider head pressed his mouth to the blond's in a sweet suckle. An unexpected, curt moan sounded through their tight contact, either from Kuroro or Kurapika. The Ryodan head was now feeling sure that the boy was trying hard not to let them out. And certainly, it was futile.

It was fun to think that no matter how smart, strong, disciplined and dignified a person was, he normally didn't use his sharp head when it came to sex, wasn't it?

Shame. Because Kurapika's eyes were gleaming in scarlet, he did not see the faint blush on Kuroro's pale cheeks.

"Okay, that's really wonderful," Kuroro stopped, all of a sudden. Audibly breathless, he slumped himself in the bed, right beside the boy, while Kurapika curled himself into a ball.

"Hey, are you alright?"

"... I can't believe you're seriously asking me that."

The man chuckled, while the blond rolled his eyes in annoyance. Feeling terribly dizzy, he closed them in concentration to bring them back to their normal hue.

But he opened them wide once again as a white sheet covered his bared body.

"What time should I wake you up?"

Kurapika was thoroughly astonished. The man covered him with a blanket, then gestured him to sleep... again? But— why? Was the man sort of... acknowledging the pain he suffered every time they make out?

"No need. I'll be going. I'll just turn my eyes back to normal."

"... Okay. I'll just send you the eyes to your account. I'll sleep; I'm a bit tired." Kuroro mischievously stole a quick kiss from the boy's cheek before yawning. "Good night. See you again next time."

Kurapika turned to look at the man, but Kuroro already slumped on the mattress, with his back to him. He covered himself with the same blanket he used for the boy.

The Kuruta was astounded. Noting that the man fell asleep so easily, he sat upright on the bed, and had a halfhearted closer glimpse at the Spider head.

The man got nice lips. No one could hear him muse, there was no need to lie. Perhaps he wasn't smoking. The kid was unable to smell anything from him every time they kissed. He could only feel how soft they were, as if no one had ever tasted them before. He then realized that he was having these kind of deranged sentiments again, so he stopped and concentrated to compose himself instead.

He got to his feet and reached for the restroom. Feeling sticky with himself, he decided to have a quick shower.

Kuroro was still fast asleep when he emerged out of the bathroom.

Kurapika found himself looking at the man again as he wore his clothes. He couldn't help wondering; Where had this man been? Had he raided another place? He seemed to be tired (... ‘but he was still good when it comes to...’ Kurapika shooed that demented thought that came across his mind).

The thought of finishing him off right there and then abruptly passed through his mind as he watched the man in a deep slumber, completely asleep and defenseless.

But a large part of himself was not considering it at all. Well. As if he could take the risk— what if he failed? What would possibly happen if the man woke up, only to see him attempting to kill him?

No, he didn't think that it was a wise idea.

Kurapika stole one last glance from the Spider head. Kuroro... Lucifer. Exactly, who was this man? Who was he who loved to steal everything away from him? He had slept with him thrice, but he seriously didn't know a thing about this perverted asshole. This man was indeed a mystery. A... handsome and hot mystery.

Kurapika mentally slapped himself. 'Stop thinking like that! As if I care!' Yes, he didn't care. He didn't give a shit who Kuroro was. Kuroro didn't care about him either. Their deal was just a deal; nothing more, nothing less.

Four pairs of eyes in just a month. Not bad. He was progressing. If he continued this then everything would be under his control. Getting hardcore... It wasn't that bad. He could manage, somehow. All he had to do was to learn how to play things safe.

And perhaps, he needed a firmer, tighter hold upon himself, no matter what.

Kurapika immediately left the condo, silently feeling peculiarly fulfilled and satisfied in spite of the pain stinging in his hips after his third night with Kuroro. 

Chapter Text

"Ugh, another unreasonable way to spend my money lavishly," Dmitri sighed in irritation with his eyes tightly shut. He leaned heavily against his comfy armchair and tossed the envelope he just opened as if a terrible bad news came out from it.

A week passed after his so-called 'transaction' with the Spider Head, Kurapika found himself standing in front of Dmitri's desk inside his dim-lit study, one fine evening. He just handed a letter to his boss that turned out to be a party invitation. However, he didn't expect to witness Dmitri frown as the man continued scanning the letter's content. The Kuruta wondered for a moment about the man's reaction, but easily figured everything out seconds later.

"That Meniandro's up to something, sending me a grandiose invitation like this."

"What do you mean, sir?"

"Receiving this kind of cruise trip invitation," Dmitri turned the scarlet-colored, old parchment styled paper in which beautifully written cursive text was scribbled to let Kurapika see its contents, "is no different from getting an allegiance treaty from a destructive colonist. Look closely at the seal." As Dmitri said, there was a genuine-looking seal stamped at the bottom of the letter, as well as on the envelope. Kurapika didn't really need to think about its authenticity: one look and he instantly recognized that certain emblem.

"A Mafia family seal."

"A genuine one. From the richest Mafia family of this era. I bet this letter have some kind of recognition device or something: that is, only the person it is named could open the envelope. You can feel some kind of aura from it, can't you?"

"Yes, there is, sir. A faint one."

"I can hardly imagine how come Meniandro had his hands on this kind of letter, let alone have an extra copy and give it to me."

"Connection, perhaps."

"Yes, no doubt about that. That's why I don't like to meddle with him, if I could help it."

"You can't decline the invitation, sir?"

"In more reasons than one, yes," Dmitri incredulously signed once more. "For one thing: you can't land your hands on this kind of letter every day. I might have to spend millions of jennies, but I could have a chance to get investors and strengthen my connections, which is worth the try. Second, Meniandro's the type you wouldn't want to mess with. Decline the offer, and you'll declare an all-out war against the craziest assassins on earth. That tiny son of a bitch is tougher and scarier than what he already seemed to be. Really, having him as a colleague is not fun, but very beneficial. For that, I have no choice but to attend. I'd like you and Mitsuhiko to go with me. The cruise will last for a whole week, and there will be an auction and casino night. I just hope the auction got some Kuruta eyes. That would make the trip worth the while. Tell Mitsuhiko the plan, and talk to Senritsu to watch the mansion while we're gone. Get prepared, I want this week to be over as soon as possible," Dmitri concluded and folded the letter before placing it back inside the envelope.

Kurapika curtly nodded and bowed his head a bit. He excused himself and headed out of the study, his mind grumbling relentlessly.

Somehow, he too, could feel something off about their unexpected journey.


 

The first night of the exclusive week-long, five star cruise trip was spent peacefully as the ship upheld a warm welcome party for the guests. As expected, prominent names all gathered in one grand dining lounge, flocking together while having drinks, talking with each other with probably boring business matters. Fair enough, Kurapika couldn't quite remember when the last time he went on a gathering with these high-profile personalities. Probably months ago, on York Shin City. Yes, probably that was. He didn't just meet the richest people of this age; he even came to see well-known assassins, not to mention his close friend's father and grandfather: Silva and Zeno Zoldyick

Most of all, he met the biggest dumbass ever existed on the face of the earth over there. Kurapika had to shake his thoughts off for suddenly thinking about Kuroro Lucifer. It crept the hell out of him, remembering that pale face, and even the feeling of his warm, soft lips.

"Kid," a low growl sounded from behind, pulling Kurapika out of his own musings. The speaker's voice sounded creepily familiar.

"Meniandro-san," Kurapika acknowledged the man clad in black suit and curtly bowed in respect.

"I see you guys received the invitation. I kind of expected Dmitri not to attend. Speaking of, where's your dearest boss?"

"Dmitri-san is talking with the other guests, sir," Kurapika shortly replied.

"I see," with that, Meniandro nonchalantly left and went deeper into the dining lounge to mingle with the other guests.

Left alone, Kurapika let out a brief sigh. He couldn't exactly tell why, nor shake it off of his head, but he kind of felt restless ever since they boarded on the ship. He found that the cruise would last for seven days, while three days already passed since that night when he delivered the letter to Dmitri. So technically, he wouldn't see Kuroro Lucifer for more than two weeks, which was a very good news. But what was irking him was the silence the man had kept even a whole week had already gone.

Not that he was eagerly expecting or wanting Kuroro to invite him over, but what he saw and experienced first-hand from the last time they slept made him think that the man wouldn't last a day without sexual intercourse. Maybe, though, he was just exaggerating things. Or maybe both.

But he realized he got no time and room in his mind to think about insignificant things, and he should focus on his job. Therefore he set the matter aside and looked around instead to search for Dmitri.

When suddenly, in a very short instance, he felt a strong, familiar aura from behind. Kurapika's heart skipped a beat and he sharply spun on his heels. He even unconsciously materialized his Chain Jail, its rattling sound rose and some people whom he could tell as nen-users looked at him in alert. Realizing the attention he was drawing, the blond abruptly deactivated his chains and composed himself, though his eyes kept moving here and there, trying to trace the aura's source.

Sure, he could feel powerful auras from several people around the vicinity, but the one he felt was nowhere to be found anymore. It was not simply strong; it was awfully strong, familiar, and different. As if the aura's surge was directed right into him. Knowing it was futile to try and locate the aura's owner, he held his senses fully alert and opted to return his gaze to the dining lounge, silently convincing himself that it didn't bother him, and he couldn't let it interfere and affect his work. 'Maybe it was just my imagination since I'm thinking of that bastard again,' he told himself and went back to his duty instead.

After that brief incident, nothing special or out of ordinary happened. The night went fairly peaceful and in order. The guests began to retreat back to their rooms around midnight, and Kurapika with his co-worker, Mitsuhiko, even had to drape both Dmitri's arms on their shoulders to support him since the man couldn't even bring himself to walk on his own due to drunkenness.

Slurring incomprehensible grumbles, the man unceremoniously slumped himself against his mattress.

Later on, his mumbles turned into loud snores. That made Kurapika, who was already standing outside his boss' room, sigh out of tiredness. It was his duty tonight to guard the man's room. As usual, he busied himself by reading books, while keeping his senses fully awake. The book he was currently reading was very interesting that sleep didn't occur to him. Admittedly, though, his attention wasn't entirely into the text.

He hopefully hoped that what he was thinking wasn't happening. That aura earlier seriously made him anxious. He knew right from the start that this cruise wouldn't be as harmonious and simple as everyone wished it to be. But he didn't expect him to butt in. Kurapika wasn't so sure if he was guessing it right, but it wasn't far from being impossible. More or less, he was aware that something was going to happen on the ship, with or without him messing with it.

But what if he really was with them on board?

'What are you up to again...'   for the third time today, Kurapika let out a stressed sigh. He hated this kind of feeling, being clueless yet aware of the impending disaster waiting ahead.

Worrying wouldn't help him, though. It dawned to him that the least expected things tended to happen when you least expect them. Apprehension would just stress the hell out of him. That in mind, he focused his mind on the book instead and waited for the morning to come.

He didn't know that everything would officially start the next day.


 

"Our dearest guests are all in high spirits, this is really fun!" the emcee delightfully exclaimed as the room boomed loudly after an intense bidding contest among the audience. He just closed a deal worth one hundred million jennies, and his guests were still enthusiastically anticipating for more as the auction began on the next evening of the cruise. This strongly reminded him of York Shin, as Kurapika watched the event along with his boss. Dmitri already spent a million jenny for an antique vase, but the man didn't seem to be satisfied enough with it. He was apparently waiting for a certain item to be served, just like Kurapika himself.

"And for the next merchandise: Here's a rare item for those who loves to collect human body parts! The price for these precious gems have exceedingly risen due to demand, as there are only exactly thirty-six pairs known in the Market." Kurapika felt his lips slightly moved into a small smile. For a moment his heart leaped in delight. But it didn't really last, as the emcee resumed.

"Ladies and gentlemen, a genuine pair of the Kuruta Clan's Scarlet Eyes!"

Tension began building again inside the hall.

"The bid starts at one hundred million jennies!"

Soon enough, the guests started bidding with determination.

"Two hundred million jennies!" the emcee declared as a guest shot a hand into the air. The first amount was shortly followed by another. "Five hundred million jennies... Six hundred million jennies..."

The biding was relentless, and Kurapika couldn't help but to worry a bit. Dmitri as awfully quiet, smugness was etched in his feature.

"Nine hundred million five hundred thousand jennies!" the emcee loudly announced once more. A hesitant silence followed his voice.

Finally, after a breathtaking moment, Dmitri's arm moved and boastfully waved a hand.

"One billion jennies!"

This time, the silence was more definite, indicating that victory would be theirs.

Dmitri swiftly let his hand fall on his side, an unreadable expression displayed on his face. But a silent hiss from him didn't escape from Kurapika's keen ears. He understood why; that was the biggest amount Dmitri spent for a pair. He still wore that blank face, but satisfaction was glinting into his eyes.

A big smile was forming on the emcee's lips, and it was about to open when something caught his attention.

"... Five billion jennies!"

Kurapika's eyes widened in mixed surprise and dismay, and his heart thudded heavily against his chest.

He knew it: the impending doom he saw coming.

He refused at first, but reluctantly forced himself to turn his head behind. The hand that he thought he would still see wasn't in the vicinity anymore. He slowly turned to the other side of the hall, and saw nothing but heads and locks of strangers. Dmitri on the other hand looked dumbfounded and curious.

But not as shocked and restless as the Kuruta.

"The Kuruta Scarlet Eyes are sold for five billion jennies!" the emcee happily closed the deal.

The room was suddenly filled with applause; the guests were all turning their heads to look for the person who bought a mere pair of lifeless eyes for five grand billion jennies. Once again, but was pretty sure this time that he would find the person he was looking for but wanted to see last, Kurapika calmly spared a glance at the back and attempted to relax in spite of the loud heart now pounding hard inside him.

Standing indignantly among the crowd, wearing a black suit with a light blue necktie, a bandage was tightly wrapped around his head. A charming smile was plastered on his pale face, his dark eyes were annoyingly filled with what could be considered as 'having fun,' his very existence never failed to bring fury and ablaze wrath as Kurapika's eyes caught the sight of his most formidable foe. He looked sickeningly good on his attire, and Kurapika berated himself for honestly thinking that way.

Kuroro Lucifer was there for real.

He wished it was just a horrible nightmare, but it didn't really work because ever since that day he came across that man, his reality turned into more menacing nightmare than his bad dreams about losing his family.

He intentionally glued a stare to the man, until their eyes met and locked. A sweet smile graced wider on the man's mouth, and Kuroro even had the guts to curtly bow to him as if saying that everything was no dream.

Kurapika casually averted his eyes from the man's and acted as though everything was normal.

'...Damn it!'

Chapter Text

"I wonder who that man is," Dmitri grunted.

Around twelve o'clock midnight, the auction had ended and the guests slowly dispersed out of the auditorium. Amidst of the crowd making their ways to their respective rooms, were the Mafia head alongside with his young bodyguard. Dmitri still looked frustrated since he didn't get the merchandise he wanted so badly. Kurapika noted that and he decided to keep quiet and left the man to his own musings. He too felt bad for his boss not getting the eyes. However he wasn't as frustrated as him. Yes, he honestly wished that Dmitri closed the deal. He hated the man for his disgusting hobby of collecting the Scarlet Eyes, but he himself had witnessed how much Dmitri treasured and valued them. In fact, he would rather help his boss collect them and get the most of the Eyes rather than make deals with Kuroro Lucifer. Either way, he would still have them. It would be pain in the neck, but in the end he would still get the scarlet eyes worth five billion, and that was all he needed.

"Five billion jennies... that doesn't sound like a hobby anymore. More like a fetish."

"Indeed, sir. Five billion doesn't sound reasonable for a pair." ‘They are worth more than any amount of riches in this world. Nothing could ever equal their value.' Kurapika mentally added.

'Fetish... that's more like it. He said himself that seeing my scarlet eyes turns him on,' the boy felt himself flinch a little as another undesirable remark went through his mind.

"Guess another pair just escaped my hands," Dmitri sighed, ending their conversation.

While on their way back to the man's room Dmitri and Kurapika met Mitsuhiko whom the Kuruta presumed received a special order from their boss. From what he heard, his co-worker seemed to have booked a table at the dining lounge.

Dmitri then dismissed his blond bodyguard, saying he needed to take a rest. Kurapika was a little surprised, but he was about to switch duty with Mitsuhiko anyway so he gladly obeyed and made his way to their assigned room.

Meters away from their cabin's door, Kurapika felt it again— the powerful aura surge he felt the previous day. This time though, he was sure who its source was, as well as his exact location.

Still keeping his cool, he followed the aura's trail. He felt no need to hurry, and maintained his normal pace. Surveillance cameras were all over the place, in every corner, every hall, and placed into different areas to get every angle, so he had to act normal.

The trail led him into a room, a fair distance away from the room he was originally intending to go to. It looked like a utility room for housekeepers. Not a very nice place to meet up, but a suitable one if you discreetly need to see each other.

Kurapika cautiously reached out for the door knob while unconsciously holding his breath.

He stepped inside the room.

The boy didn't even have the chance to take a look around when he felt a vicious grip against on wrist. The next moment, he was roughly pinned against the door.

Someone had begun plundering his lips.

His eyes were partly opened, apparently enjoying the sight of a certain Kuruta shocked and paralyzed. Meanwhile the boy's eyes momentarily glowed scarlet but instantly returned to normal, evidently taking in the situation.

Kuroro even had the guts to snake his arm around Kurapika's waist. His other free hand gently cupped Kurapika's chin to stop him from getting away. It wasn't necessary. The blond was too flabbergasted to resist. Kuroro wouldn't waste that chance, hence he pushed his tongue deeper into Kurapika's mouth and suckled passionately.

The man received a fidget and a reluctant, silent moan. It was hopelessly amusing. But he was too busy to smile so he kept his amusement to himself and continued to enjoy his delicacy now squirming under his touch.

Kurapika was thoroughly paralyzed at first. His senses slowly began to kick in and he attempted to get away from the man. He didn't think twice and immediately applied nen to his hands before pushing the Spider head away from him.

Kuroro stepped back a little. He could tell by his expression that he was pissed however, he hastily retained his emotionless expression before setting his eyes on the Kuruta, who was now feverishly blushing and audibly out of breath.

"C-Cut it out," Kurapika panted wiping his wet lips with the back of his hand. "Learn some self-control, would you?"

"Sorry," the man said with a guilty-and-shy expression. "Couldn't stop myself . Not seeing you for one whole week was unbearable, as you can see."

"Yeah, right. Exactly what I expected from a pervert like you," Kurapika snapped back. "What do you want?" Kurapika stupidly asked. He looked away right after realizing what he said.

"That's kind of stupid of you to ask. It's not like you," Kuroro wore a silly, amused smile.

Kurapika spared the man a glare, a faint blush colored his cheeks. The man was way having too much fun getting on his nerves, and keeping this awkward conversation was irritating. So he decided to ask his questions and change the first one he blurted out.

"Five billion jennies— what the hell were you thinking!? No, my question's still wrong; what the hell are you doing here?"

"First, I just made sure the eyes would fall into my hands. There's nothing wrong with that. Second, the third question's no different from the first one, so I won't bother harboring an answer for that."

"Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not worrying about you, but don't you think you might be recognized as a Ryodan when you show-off like that? I understand that you want to get the eyes, but you're well-aware that you can win the bid with a smaller amount. I'm sure you're not stupid enough to take the risk of getting caught."

"I simply-," Kuroro stepped forward and leaned towards Kurapika, smiling "-Want to let you know how much I'm willing to spend just to lay you in bed and hear your sexy moans."

"Die and go to hell."

"Tonight's your day off, I suppose? Want to come to my room?"

"Don't you think you're too talkative today? And how do you know it's my day off?"

"I was taking a wild guess."

"Yeah right, you shit of a liar."

"Foul-mouthed as ever, I see?"

"You're obviously spying on me, jerk. How else would you know I was on this cruise? Moreover, I don't really think you're just here for the eyes... Or to do unspeakable things to me; what are you really up to? And—" Kurapika's rant was cut short. His breath was caught in his throat when Kuroro advanced closer to him, and roughly captured his lips in a kiss.

Kurapika kind of expected that, but what he didn't expect was Kuroro hurriedly undoing the button of his pants and casually slipping his hand underneath his underwear. The blonde's face brightened into a darker shade of crimson, and he violently struggled to get away.

"W—What the hell do you think you're doing!" he exclaimed, his voice sounding seductively breathless.

"I don't need you bombarding me with questions; I want you tonight. Are you free or not? A yes or no is enough."

"And touching me will answer your question?"

"Not really, but it will help you come to a decision. You see if you refuse to answer directly, I can take your reaction instead. And it's obviously a yes, considering how hard you are already."

"That's a normal reaction, you perverted psychopath! Let go of me!"

"Answer me first."

"... Okay fine— but not in here, for goodness' sake.".

"Of course," Kuroro let go, a triumphant smirk was plastered on his face.

"... This room must have a surveillance camera, have you taken care of it?" Kurapika suddenly asked trying to break away from the embarrassing atmosphere.

"Yes your highness," Kuroro teased.

"Let's just get this over with quickly; I need to go back and get some rest," Kurapika said, firmly. His blush getting worse.

"Demanding and impatient: Are you really that eager to be touched?"

"Will you shut the hell up? Honestly— I wasn't expecting anything good from you at all, but will you please stop saying useless and insensible things? Don't get me wrong, but you seriously didn't seem to be a trash talker to me when we first met."

"Whoa, did I receive a compliment from you just now?"

"I just said don't get me wrong," the blond spat. Turning around with the intent to get out of the room. However, his hand hadn't even touched the knob when a series of things happened within the blink of an eye.

He felt Kuroro's arm circle around his waist, then an unusual surge of aura came from behind, apparently the man had summoned his so-called 'Skill Book.' That aura gradually enveloped Kurapika's body. The surroundings started to spin, making him feel sick.

The next thing Kurapika knew, he was inside a different room, bigger and brighter than the one they were in moments— seconds ago.

"We're here," Kuroro said, and let Kurapika go.

"Is this... your room?" the boy muttered.

"Yes. Make yourself at home."

"You," Kurapika breathed out, his eyes examining the place, his face wore an unreadable expression. "Just... Just how many stairs did we skip within that span of three seconds?"

"Five," Kuroro casually said. "We're on the highest deck."

"Highest deck? On a... VIP room?"

"Haven't you been inside a VIP room before? Why do you sound so shocked?"

"It isn't the room that shocked me— It's you being able to get a VIP room on the cruise of the richest Mafia of this century. Just how much money do you have and how much do you plan to waste just to mess with me?"

Kuroro nonchalantly chuckled, and wore the most charming smile Kurapika had ever seen on his face.

"As much as it takes."

That made Kurapika flush even harder. He thought he might die with how flustered he was.

"I'm... I'm going to take a bath," Kurapika looked away to hide his blushing face. He actually wanted to say something more, but couldn't come up with the proper words to express how much he wanted to punch the man in face and break his nose. But what came from his mouth was something he didn't mean to say. However, he wanted time to think alone. "Do you mind?"

"Not at all," Kuroro replied, still wearing his sick smirk. "Help yourself."

The answer was way too submissive. Kurapika could tell that the jerk was up to something again.

"It's on the right, the small door."

The boy just continued walking ahead. Silently following the man's directions.

"Don't peek," Kurapika warned, his eyes on the man.

"Alright," again, the answer was too passive. Kurapika had to watch out.

With that said and done, Kurapika stepped inside the bathroom.

"What the— " Kurapika heard himself gasped.

'Alright— this is going way too far!' the blond unintentionally backed away, now thinking twice about taking that refreshing bath.

What Kuroro said was true, it was Kurapika's first time inside a VIP room on a cruise ship, and that was one secret he'd take to his grave.

He had a picture of this in his mind, but seeing it for real still crept the hell out of him as his eyes fell onto the biggest bathroom he had ever saw in his life. There was a circular bathtub big enough for two to three people. A red, translucent curtain was hanging around the tub, giving off a peculiar atmosphere. The shower area on a corner was enclosed with a transparent glass panel. The glass cubicle was utterly useless because one could still see when somebody took a bath, but Kurapika was well aware of the erotic purpose it served. For a very, fleeting moment he imagined himself taking a shower inside, and that was the worst thing to ever cross his mind. So much so that he momentarily wished to melt away and die.

Everything was too much to take in, and Kurapika really wanted to get away from this demented place as fast as possible. He was about to reach out for the door when he abruptly stopped and mused.

'That man is... taking advantage of my inexperience,' of course Kurapika knew that long ago, but it never occurred to him that it could be something the man could use in order to wrap him around his fingers. As far as Kurapika knew, Kuroro was nine years— almost a decade— older than him. Surely he had experience. Kuroro was admittedly a smart and a wise man, he wouldn't be the leader of one of the most notorious gangs if he wasn't. And as odd as it was, Kurapika could somehow read the man's way of thinking, including his ungodly imagination.

'Dominance. One thing that undoubtedly satisfies him is when he knew he was stronger and dominant over his targets. He likes it when his prey's in a corner after its futile attempt to get away. Like a poor little kitten that will have no choice but to do anything he says. Playing with weaker people is his favorite, and the more reluctant his targets are, the more he likes it.

'I know my protests and attempts to win only increases his interest in me, but I wouldn't just give-up and submit just to try and delude his interest in me.'

It was a matter of will power, and perhaps endurance.

'I've completely made my way into the dark side of this world. It's too late for me to act all innocent and let him use my lack of experience as an advantage. It wouldn't hurt to go with the flow tonight. Since he spent five billion dollars for that pair of Scarlet Eyes.'

"Just for tonight," Kurapika mumbled to himself making up his mind.

He started stripping away of his clothes. One by one he put them neatly on a basket nearby. The bathroom was confined but it was eerily cold, the misty air was biting his skin.

He then took a quick shower, since he couldn't stand being inside the transparent box for a minute longer. Languidly he plunged into the huge tub, the water on it was comfortably warm. It soothed his frazzled nerves and relieved his tension for a moment.

Kurapika let out a long sigh and laid his head back against the tub. His blank eyes rested on the white ceiling, the warm water successfully alleviated his tensed muscles, but it didn't help his mind, which was now grumbling relentlessly.

Five billion jennies. That wasn't something you could receive easily, let alone spend for one night. With that amount, Kurapika could easily get two or three more pairs of his clan's eyes. He could use the money to invest in some decent business and expand the sum to acquire more pairs. He could even sustain himself a fraction of his remaining life with that amount.

But Kuroro spent it all in one go, for a pair of Scarlet Eyes that he stole himself from the real owners a long time ago. The Spider Head threw all that money without hesitation, to think that with that amount he could hire professional hookers to satiate him every night for the whole year round but no, he didn't. All because he wanted to slap Kurapika in the face of the fact that he had all the abilities and ways of getting the Kuruta eyes, and that all he could do was yield and let the man do whatever he wanted to him.

'As much as it takes,' Kuroro's phrase echoed in his mind. That calm and deep voice, that sly smirk and that sharp stare, all of them screaming out one single message.

Kuroro Lucifer was dead serious about what he had declared.

'... So tonight's service costs five billion,' if that was the case then how much did he have to surrender? How far should he give in? To what extend did he have to go in order to equal that exorbitant amount?

Seriously. How much did a human's dignity cost?

Kurapika decided to push himself upright and out of the tub. It was pointless to think about those things. He would just tire and stress himself out. He would acquire another pair of his family's stolen eyes tonight, and that was all that mattered.

Kurapika ran his hands through his hair while on his way to the basket where he placed his garments— when his fingers stopped midway.

His heart began to thud heavily against his chest, with his eyes wide open.

All of his clothes, which were neatly folded on the basket, were gone. His shirt, pants, and underwear. All of them weren't there anymore, and a white polo shirt was unceremoniously tossed on it instead. With one look Kurapika knew that it wasn't his shirt, what actually happened, and what Kuroro wanted him to do.

"... No way in hell am I going to wear your soiled shirt, you bastard!" Kurapika clutched his hand into a fist and closed his eyes in mounting annoyance.

'How come I didn't feel his presence? I should have felt his aura. Was he that fast?' the boy heaved a heavy, frustrated sigh.

'Now what to do?' Kurapika stood frozen, loss of what to do next. Well, he had two options; one was to storm outside the bathroom naked and get his clothes back, or two, wear that God-forsaken shirt and let Kuroro get what he wanted. Both were deadly mortifying, but he couldn't just stand there and wait for nothing to happen.

'... Why do I have to go through this?' Kurapika was tired of asking himself the same old question. A question he asked over and over again, but he couldn't help it.

"... Five billion," he reminded himself one last time. It was sick, but he felt the necessity to remember how much his service was worth tonight.

So in the end, he hadn't had much of a choice at all.

 

Chapter Text

Kuroro had to bite his lip to stop himself from chuckling.

This had to be the longest ten minutes of his life. He'd never felt this excited and amused. It was so childish, but he simply couldn't stop himself. Perhaps Kurapika was right— about him being a perverted psychopath that was. Well, that was fine, it didn't matter. After all, he was merely doing what he wanted to do.

Another minute later after he had stealthily made his way into the bathroom to replace Kurapika's clothes with his own, Kuroro heard the small door creak open, and he turned to take a good look at the person who emerged from it.

"I don't remember agreeing to this in our deal," Kurapka's hair was wet, face blushing hard, and his eyes were glaring directly at Kuroro. The shirt was so loose on him that one of its sleeves slightly slipped down his shoulder, revealing his pale collar bone. Kuroro had to admit; he liked the view.

"What? I can't have any special service tonight?"

"Well— I don't remember saying yes to your special order either."

"Come on, can't you just go with the flow for once?"

"I've been going with the flow from the very start. What more do you want from me?"

"A lot more," Kuroro said, his eyes fixed on Kurapika's. "Let me remind you that I just spent five billion grand on a pair of your clan's lifeless eyes. I'm just—" the rest of his sentence cut short for Kurapika had already poised to attack him with a nen-powered punch.

It was fast, but not quick enough to come in contact with his target, since the man was no longer in front of him.

It was as if Kuroro had evaporated into thin air. His existence neatly disappeared, with no trace left behind. Teleportation— the man's favorite tactic. The jerk was admittedly good at wielding his abilities, and Kurapika was forced to heighten his senses to the maximum.

His blood was boiling. The anger now raging inside him was overflowing, he felt as if he would burst to death if he couldn't land at least a single punch on Kuroro's face.

Taking deep breaths didn't do Kurapika any good, Kuroro's effective technique only worsened his wrath for it was just proving how much stronger the man was compared to him.

'Damn it— where is he!?' Kurapika's rage was slightly clouding his perception, but he couldn't help it. His grudge against the Ryodan, (especially against its head), wasn't something he could handle or control at will (and he preferred it that way).

However, he had to work things out. Kurapika didn't want to lose against Kuroro without putting up a fight. Yes, he knew he would lose, but it wasn't about winning or losing. That man had to be taught a lesson, and it would be a great pleasure if Kurapika himself could teach Kuroro that. If this would result in another rape, then so be it. He didn't care anymore.

He closed his eyes and concentrated, his aura evenly flowing throughout his entire body. The Chain Jail materialized on his right hand, its sound rattled and echoed loudly throughout the room.

He conjured his Dowsing Chain in hopes that it would help. Slowly he turned around, trying to find Kuroro's presence.

The silence was deafening. It was hollow, empty, and dangerous. But Kurapika wasn't intimidated. He knew Kuroro would appear sooner or later, and he would have no choice but to fight him face to face.

Until—

'Behind—!' Kurapika's eyes snapped open and he spun on his heels, his arms wildly swung with purpose of both offense and defense.

But his chains were only greeted by air. 'Damn, he's messing with me again!' Kurapika mentally cursed, not wanting to show the man how enraged he actually was, because Kurapika was more than aware of how much Kuroro loved to make fun of him whenever he got to his nerves.

"Show yourself, Kuroro Lucifer. Stop using that teleportation thing to hide your tail. Quite hiding and fight me face to face!" Kurapika attempted to provoke Kuroro instead. He wasn't sure if he had done a good job at doing so, but he was certain that Kuroro would show up.

Surprisingly, he really did.

It was utterly fast. Kurapika felt a pair of cold hands clutching his own, and a menacing intent burst behind him. He managed to free one of his hands from the man's unrelenting grip; but the other unlucky one was roughly twisted against Kurapika's back. He silently hissed in pain.

Kurapika ignored the pain. Instead, he violently shrugged and used his Dowsing Chain to envelope the man's leg. He planned to trip the man off his feet, but Kuroro cleverly covered his leg in nen, and the chain failed to do the job.

Shamefully, it was Kurapika who tripped and landed on the floor, hard. His face hit the concrete, but Kurapika didn't seem to care. Kuroro meanwhile was forcing his weight down onto the blond, depriving him of any of movement. He took both of the Kuruta's arms and pinned them on his back. His legs were on the either side of Kurapika's waist, and he purposely leaned a bit, adding more pressure, preventing Kurapika to have a chance to get away.

Kuroro heard a muffled groan come from the blond. Kurapika's breathing was ragged, apparently filled with agony. And it wasn't from the pain of his twisted arms, nor his face roughly scratching against the cold floor. Rather, it was from humiliation and shame of the situation.

"... Damn it!" Kurapika spat, still trying to escape from Kuroro's hold. "Let go of me!"

"Not until you calm down," Kuroro said airily.

"Calm down? Are you kidding me? How am I supposed to calm down?!' Kurapika hissed, still attempting to throw the man off of him.

"—So talking about your clan drives you mad, I see."

"Don't EVER say a thing about my brethren —EVER again, and shut that big fat mouth of yours— that is if you still want to keep this goddamned deal going!"

"You started it, for your information," Kuroro stated in a matter-of-factly tone.

"Let me go! I change my mind— I don't care if I don't get that pair of Scarlet Eyes— you can't do this to me every single time!"

"Hey, watch your mouth and quit saying things you don't mean. You'll only cause yourself greater humiliation, kid."

"What do you know, bastard! Don't speak as if you understand because you-," Kurapika rasped out between a heavy pant, "—don't know anything AT ALL!"

"How do you know that I don't understand?" the question Kuroro spoke hit Kurapika in a very strange way, but Kurapika didn't let it bother him.

"... This is nonsense. Let me go," Kurapika repeated. "I change my mind. You can have that pair."

"You're not listening to reason. That's one hell of an attitude you got there."

"Let me go!" Kurapika repeated once more.

"I don't have to do as you say."

"I don't care! I said let go of me!"

"Not until you hear me out."

"Let me go."

"No."

"LET—ME—GO!"

"... Sorry."

With that single word, Kurapika felt himself slightly calm down.

"... What did you just say?"

There was an unpleasant, awkward silence, then Kurapika heard the man heave a sigh. Shortly after, the boy felt a familiar surge of aura, and the next thing he knew, he wasn't lying face down on the floor anymore.

His face and entire body was now lying against a soft, warm mattress. Kuroro must have used his teleportation skill again. Kurapika knew where this was going, but he wasn't sure of how it would go exactly.

The apology the man just made was irking the boy in a way he couldn't understand.

"Look... I'm really sorry. I went too far. I didn't mean what I said. Well, I didn't think it would end up this way when I spoke," Kuroro apologized again, though in an airy way.

It was a reluctant, half-hearted, arrogant apology. But an apology, nonetheless.

"Alright, I won't mention them again if it ignites your flare. Just stop this and calm down," it was a wise decision to tell the boy what he wanted to hear, Kuroro thought, as he sensed the boy's response after hearing him say sorry. It wasn't Kuroro's habit to apologize to other people except about mundane things, especially when it wasn't his fault, like now. But they were being childish, and he sort of understood Kurapika's reaction to his unintentional taunt. Kurapika was a very proud Kuruta. He valued his clan's name more than anything else, even more than his own life and dignity. Perhaps he really had tiptoed on Kurapika's already thin line, and an apology was needed to make up for that and work things out. And it really seemed to be a right action, when Kurapika's breathing became even, and his muscles relaxed under the man's restraints.

In a calmer, less ill voice, Kurapika spoke once more. "You can let go of me now."

Still on guard, Kuroro slowly did what he was told.

Giving the boy some space, Kuroro pushed himself up and backed away a bit. Kurapika slowly turned around and lay down on the bed properly, he was discreetly careful as he rolled around, perhaps his arms still ached due to the assault Kuroro inflicted upon him.

Kuroro could hear silent pants from the blond, maybe he was trying to get his anger under control. Kuroro could only watch the Kuruta as he took deep breaths, his arms settled down at his sides, his legs laid still on the mattress.

After a minute or so, Kuroro assumed that Kurapika must have composed himself completely. His eyes were tightly closed, and his head was turned sideways. He still looked deeply reluctant to see the man's face, and that was when Kuroro finally decided to get down to business.

Cautiously, he leaned over Kurapika.

He felt him tense up again, but that was all he did. Kurapika forcefully lifted his eyelids, his eyes were a bright scarlet hue. Whether it was because of loathing, shame or arousal, Kuroro could neither tell nor care. Kurapika knew how much his Scarlet eyes affected Kuroro, and yet he let Kuroro see them along with the vulnerable side of him, under their current awkward and intense situation.

He was more than aware on the consequences his action would bring.

"Hey," Kuroro instigated, wearing a sincere expression. "You okay?"

"Can't you tell?" Kurapika hissed, irritation soaking his voice.

"Sorry," Kuroro felt it would fix the situation again, thus he repeated an apology. "I won't do that again, that is if you do what I want. It's reasonable for me to demand and make request of you from time to time in return for my effort— a fair exchange, isn't it?"

"Who said I needed your explanation?" Kurapika growled.

"You don't need to explain anything for me to understand what's going on in that mind of yours, kid. But kidding aside... I sincerely apologize. I really didn't mean what I said. Forget it, alright?"

Kurapika wore a stern look on his face, hinting that he was still angry, yet he seemed to be acknowledging the apology.

"Well," Kuroro smiled after getting no response. "Don't you think we've wasted enough time on senseless arguments? Can't you just feel the atmosphere? Take it easy and just... go with the flow. Well unless you love roleplaying, then that's another story. But aren't you tired of struggling and resisting? We've done this numerous times before, and still you act like a first-timer. Alright— one last question: do you want to have your clan's eyes or not?"

The room went dead silent. But it didn't last long when Kurapika finally looked Kuroro in the eyes. Their gazes locked as if they were having a staring contest, and they let their gazes speak the words they refused to let spill out of their mouths. Until Kurapika had finally decided to break the silence, and voiced out a statement.

"Are you seriously asking me that?" It was followed by a mocking smirk. "I can't believe you're actually doubting my resolve, after getting this far."

"And that's what I need: honesty. We don't need to fool ourselves anymore, we're both having fun and we both get what we want simultaneously. That's all that matters, isn't it?"

Kurapika wasn't so sure, but he felt this was the longest conversation he had ever had with Kuroro so far. The most intense exchange of curse and swear words. However, behind them was the fact that they came to find something new about each other. They somehow found something new about each other, found what the other had in mind, and heard what the other had to say. That one truth was now revealed, and Kurapika had to accept it even if it was going to be the hardest thing he'd ever had to accept.

Their arguments, their battle of will and endurance, and the way it all ended in an act of physical intimacy, which brought a raw sensation that Kurapika had never experienced before. A game of the predator and its prey—the attacker and the receiver.

No matter how he looked at it, it was like what Kuroro suggested earlier— a roleplay.

Kurapika refused to take that he had a worldly desire and imagination that surpassed Kuroro's. He realized that the man was still on top of him, waiting, his face was just an inch away from Kuroro's, and impatience was visibly etched on it.

"... Fine."

"Hmm?"

"I've never thought that expressing my reluctance would make you think that I like those sort of things such a roleplay. It makes me sick that you would lump me in with the likes of you, so go ahead and get your five billion worth out of me."

"... Are you sure about that? I'm not going to hold back."

Kurapika's eyes gleamed scarlet, his blush worsened, the color mirroring the shade of his Scarlet Eyes. With his gaze unwavering he said with the coldest and gravest voice.

"Take as much as you want."

Kuroro's chuckle and his smile floated over, and the room suddenly became hotter than it seemed to be moments ago.

The man let his weight fall onto Kurapika and he immediately delved into his mouth, Kuroro's hunger was screaming with the way he plundered the boy's lips. It was hot, and the feeling of drowning in an endless depth of dark water was making it hard to breath for Kurapika. It was a very intense kiss. Their lips were wet, their tongues danced in an exquisite sway. They could hear ragged, rash breaths coming from each other. The silent moans, the hidden ecstasy, and the building pleasure now demanding to escape from within. Kuroro was right after all; they both like it in their own way, for it was too sinfully good to resist.

It looked like the man was serious about not holding back. The kiss became more aggressive and demanding, Kurapika almost felt as if Kuroro was already inside him, claiming and dominating. Damn, this made him sick to the core.

Kurapika could oddly tell that Kuroro was purposely delaying it, but later on he dismissed that idea when Kuroro stopped kissing him on the lips and buried his face in his neck. He felt Kuroro suckling his skin softly.

He earned a shy moan from the blond, and took that as a request so Kuroro continued sucking on the boy's collarbone, occasionally hearing more arousing sounds that the Kuruta had been trying so hard to conceal.

It was just so amusing, though, with Kuroro wearing only his pants while Kurapika was loosely wrapped with his plain shirt. It wasn't every day that Kuroro would get to see the Kuruta being consciously submissive yet subconsciously eager and even a little playful. For one thing; it would take long to get Kurapika do this 'boyfriend's shirt' thing again. Actually, it wouldn't be surprising if this was going to be first— and the last time it would ever happen.

Therefore, Kuroro should get the best out of this once in a lifetime chance.

An idea crossed the man's mind.

From his collarbone up to his chin, Kuroro slowly slid the tip of his tongue and aimed for the Kuruta's lips. The boy's eyes were tightly shut, so was his mouth. Kuroro couldn't help the amusement he felt every time Kurapika expressed these tiny acts of reluctance, hesitance, and innocence. He was acting according to his age whenever they were in the bed: a cute, little kid who was clueless and scared, yet filled with pride and courage. It was an arousing sight to him, making Kuroro want to stain and violate this boy, yet being careful not to break his brimming pride and dignity.

Kuroro gave Kurapika's lips a chaste kiss. Light kisses were a good drive to start sensual intimacy, and Kuroro simply loved the reactions the Kuruta gave whenever he did it to him. For some reason, he could tell that he preferred it over the aggressive ones. Really, he was such a kid.

He kissed him lightly again in attempt to tease the boy. He thought the blond ought to realize how childish he was acting by doing it again, but Kurapika's response implied that he didn't get what he was trying to say.

The blond's eyes slightly cracked open, his iris's glowing scarlet. As if he was just trying to sneak a peek at the man's face, he looked Kuroro in the eyes for a very brief moment, breathed in, then, shut his eyes again.

Kuroro didn't know why but he suddenly felt like seeing that awkward look again.

The man lightly brushed his lips against the blond's, but held the contact longer than the first one. Again, Kurapika's eyes opened as though checking what the man was trying to do. Their eyes met, that was when Kuroro ran the tip of his tongue over the boy's wet, trembling lips.

Kurapika suddenly parted his tightly-zipped lips. It surprised Kuroro a bit, but he of course wouldn't miss the chance, hence he eagerly submitted to the invitation by devouring the offered mouth with his own, filled with desire and hunger. Their tongues brushed against one another, with Kuroro occasionally biting Kurapika's lips, making the boy flinch.

Jumping to the next step, Kuroro was forced to let go of the blond's soft lips. Breathless, he pushed himself up, keeping a sharp, unrelenting gaze down on the Kuruta, who had his eyes half-opened. Those eyes were filled with so much emotions that Kuroro couldn't even identify all of them. It was a mix of anger, shame, embarrassment, pride, fear, and even excitement. All of those strong emotions swirled in the depths of his eyes, causing them to glow a brighter shade of crimson, stirring more adrenaline inside of Kuroro.

Damn it. 'His eyes are stealing my breath,' he silently thought.

After having enough of those eyes for the night, Kuroro moved his hands to part the Kuruta's legs. He hauled them on either side of his waist and settled the boy against his crotch.

Kurapika's eyes widened in surprise, but it wasn't like he didn't expect that so he just turned his head away to escape the man's haunting look.

As if a part of the preparation, Kuroro caught a hold of Kurapika's wrists. Slowly, he hauled them upward— it thoroughly surprised Kurapika to the point where Kurapika looked at him for an instant, then abruptly averted his gaze when their eyes almost met— Kuroro moved closer to the boy's body. Kurapika closed his eyes again and turned his head sideways, his face held nothing but pure shame at how his body betrayed his mind. The old perverted bastard was hard. So he was.

Kurapika made no attempt of resistance when Kuroro pulled his arms up. But when he felt something being tied around his wrists, he couldn't help but be alarmed. However, with this close distance he had with the man, Kurapika couldn't bring himself to open his eyes to see what was happening.

Next thing he felt was the man's lips pecking light kisses on his cheek. Reluctantly, he opened his eyes to take in the situation.

The man's lips were busy ghosting light yet teasing kisses down his neck, as well as his hands tying his wrists with a cloth. Kurapika took a deep breath, behind it was an involuntary sound trying to escape his throat.

Kuroro reached for those quivering lips and captured him with another searing kiss. It was so hard to breath, with his heart thudding loudly and restlessly against his chest. It was very painful, like his heart would burst out. Damn this worthless, disgraceful body. Shame on this evil, violent, blush-inducing, horny bastard.

At long last, Kuroro let go of his lips. He pushed himself up again and got another good look at the boy. Apparently, Kuroro just finished his act of binding Kurapika's wrists to the headboard.

Kurapika forced himself to look at the man. Then, he tilted his head up, only to find his arms fastened to the bed's headboard with a necktie. A light blue one.

His heart sank. 'Kuroro was just wearing that necktie moments ago. Crap— just how erotic could this damn pervert be?'

He flushed.

"This..." Kurapika hesitated, having a second thought about using the term. He couldn't come up with a synonym, so he continued. "This is so.. e-erotic. You've gone far enough."

"Oh, my little Kuruta is nervous," Kuroro mocked, a silly smile was plastered on his face, "Far enough? I haven't even started. Let me show you what 'far' is."

Kurapika was about to retort but Kuroro captured his lips, his mouth caught open. Though it wasn't the kiss that rendered Kurapika mute— it was the man's hand that had grabbed his member with carelessness. It was painful, yet blissful at the same time.

He escaped the suffocating kiss, and managed to catch a breath. But he regretted taking that breath, for an undesirable, embarrassing moan sounded with it.

Damn it. Why couldn't he just disappear into the darkness and die?

"Y—your hand! Stop that!" Kurapika bellowed.

"Not used to being pampered? That's alright. I don't mind spoiling you a little."

"Shut the hell up!"

"Would you like it better if I used my mouth?"

"Shut that goddamn mouth of yours, I'm begging you!" he was visibly shaking out of the enormous amount of embarrassment, and perhaps orgasm, and it was mortifying how Kuroro skillfully stroked him with his cold, rough hand. Holding in his moans was like stuffing his own nose and mouth with cinnamon. His racing heart was killing him, he couldn't contain the pleasure any longer than this.

He cried out when Kuroro licked the tip of his erection. He almost screamed when the man's mouth closed around it and gave a sharp suck.

"Damn— I said cut it out!"

Disgraceful. This was utterly disgraceful. This defiled body was equivalent to a pile of trash. He was completely hopeless and helpless. Kurapika had never felt this bad about himself to the point where he wanted to throw up.

Finally, Kuroro's face became visible again as the man positioned himself on top of Kurapika. “Stop being so hard on yourself and just moan and scream to your heart's content. Believe me, nothing good will come out of this if you continue to be so stubborn. Besides, we're filthy enough; it wouldn't hurt to indulge ourselves. Not anymore."

"Like I will give a shit about your opinion, bastard!"

"Alright— I'll just force it out of you, then." And being true to his words, Kuroro grabbed one of Kurapika's legs and hoisted it up to his shoulder. The Kuruta's eyes widened in horror and he shuddered. He tried to break away, but Kuroro was possessively holding onto his delicate frame and Kurapika found it very hard to move. Kuroro pinned his dark, sharp and callous gaze down at Kurapika's shocked and nervous eyes. It was enough to limit his movements. It was futile. It was clearly one-sided.

The man's hand began to slide down to Kurapika's entrance with the intent of preparing him. Kurapika took a sharp breath and averted his eyes away from Kuroro.

A silent moan escaped his mouth as a finger was forced inside him. Shortly it was pulled out, but when it entered again, Kurapika hissed in pain for two fingers were forcibly pushed in. With a slow, constant pace, the fingers slid in and out of him, incessantly opening him up. Gradually, Kuroro's finger work grew faster, until it abruptly stopped.

He refused to look up. He knew what would happen next. He could feel Kuroro moving his hips closer to his, the tip of Kuroro's erection lightly pushed against Kurapika's crotch.

"Ah— !" a sharp, searing wave of pain coursed throughout Kurapika's body as Kuroro buried himself inside of Kurapika's tight hole. It was slow, Kurapika could feel his skin being painfully stretched as Kuroro attempted to push deeper inside, forcing himself in the tight spot as far as he could. One of the man's hands was holding his leg, while the other was cast on his hip, as if to hold him in place.

"... Ah—!" Kurapika whimpered in pain again as Kuroro started to thrust. Kurapika's chest rose up and down a little, and he was squirming hard.

"Let it out, Kurapika. Stop being stubborn and just let it out," the man's cold voice stated firmly, his voice contained a suggestive and commanding tone. After saying that, he sped up his movement, emphasizing his point.

Left with no other choice, Kurapika did what he was told.

He breathed deeply first with his lips slightly parted. When he closed it, he made silent sounds in his throat that implied (in Kuroro's mind) that he was pleasured. Gradually, the pain turned into ecstasy. It was still painful, but somehow it was manageable.

Kuroro thrust a little more aggressively, a little faster, with his hand stroking the boy's hip affectionately. The bed was creaking, and the headboard was silently jabbing against the concrete wall as Kuroro thrust inside the small body beneath him.

Kurapika bit his lower lip and let a long moan out. It was prevented him from breathing for a while, however he couldn't hold it in anymore.

"N-Nn..." the Kuruta breathed, his voice a little higher than usual— crap, if only his hands were free, then he could at least cover his mouth. He was practically defenseless and exposed, and he couldn't comprehend why we wasn't trying to conjure his Chain yet to get rid of the necktie firmly shackling his wrist. It would be a piece of cake— wasn't it?

So... why?

To his relief, Kuroro finally let go of his leg. It had grown a little numb, though it didn't concern the Kuruta. He was too occupied with his jumbled up thoughts and overflowing shame to care about his physical pain. Moreover, it seemed like Kuroro was up for something more. For a moment the man ceased his movements, but their contact remained. The room was air-conditioned, yet it felt scorching hot when Kuroro drew himself closer to him, his large body pressed against Kurapika's small one. A whimper rose from the boy as Kuroro locked his burning gaze on his horrified ones. If it was from fear or something else, neither of them could tell.

For some reason, Kurapika wondered what the man was currently thinking. With this close distance, Kurapika could easily read the man's mind through his eyes. Yet, those dark orbs gave him no clue of what was going on inside that head. All he could see was that passion beneath Kuroro's poker face and the desire underneath those boring eyes.

Kuroro's eyes were piercing, but somehow, they held a peculiar glint that oddly made Kurapika curious about this man who was turning him into a bunch of filth. Unconsciously, his eyes slowly opened wider, and his body slightly relaxed.

"... It's alright."

Kurapika blinked once, as if he just woke from a dream.

"You don't need to hold back. If there's one thing you can entrust me with, it would be our deal. Whatever happens inside this room tonight will remain here. It will be a secret between the two of us. After this, we can forget it, and act as if it never happened. So relax. Let's just enjoy it."

For some reason Kurapika couldn't really comprehend, he found that promise believable. But he didn't want the man to know that (though he was pretty sure Kuroro had already figured it out), therefore he countered.

"... That would never make me submit myself to you, jerk."

"Hmm, let's see about that." Kuroro smiled and leaned in closer to the boy.

Kurapika couldn't understand why but when Kuroro brought his lips to his for a kiss, his eyes didn't shut like they usually did. Kurapika's eyelids just slipped half-shut, and he witnessed as Kuroro's eyes languidly closed, indicating that he was no doubt having fun. Kuroro was holding his breath, but whenever his lips moved, he would breathe out with a short, silent moan. The sound was kind of engaging. It stirred Kurapika's insides for a fleeting moment, and he suddenly felt like responding to the man's kiss.

He moved his lips in attempt to imitate Kuroro's suckling motion. As expected, Kuroro opened his eyes to look at him. Kurapika still had his Scarlet eyes half-opened, they held a different kind of emotion that the man could read with perfect accuracy.

Unlike earlier, Kurapika's eyes now glowed with one emotion that Kuroro could read as curiosity. He was curious of one thing or of so many things, but what the boy was so curious about was beyond him.

Kuroro, too, grew curious of the blond's sudden change of mood. Perhaps Kurapika was thinking of the things he said moments ago. Maybe the boy believed him, and was trying to take their physical intimacy with ease.

Or maybe he was just plain curious of Kuroro.

Kuroro wanted to seize that curiosity and use it for his own benefit. Kurapika was certainly a bright and smart boy, but there were things in life that one would never learn in texts, but in first-hand experiences. Well, that was his initial plan anyway: play and mess with the little Kuruta; defile and degrade the boy, destroy that ego and throw him away in the end once he was broken and torn apart, like a toy he just had to play with until he grew bored and tossed it around, let it lay broken and soon be forgotten.

Kuroro could oddly tell that he was Kurapika's first. He wouldn't waste time and energy in asking him that however, being so sure that he would deny. And even if he guessed it wrong, it didn't matter. He might feel a little disappointed though.

He assumed it would be better not to confirm if he really was the young Kuruta's first, it would keep their so-called 'relationship' as far apart as possible. Leave it as it was, and everything would go smoothly and according to plan.

With an equal gaze of wonder, Kuroro left his eyes half-opened as well, looking at Kurapika who was now intently observing with his eyelids slipped halfway closed, as if he was studying the man above him.

The kiss grew fiercer, hotter, and hungrier than before. Kurapika wasn't responding as aggressively as Kuroro, but he was responding nonetheless. They broke the contact several times, only to catch their breath. Shortly after they would engage themselves in another heated kiss, occasionally they would hear moans and hitching breath from each other.

'After this, we can forget it and act as if it never happened,' Kurapika recalled what the man had said earlier. 'As if it was as easy as that, moron.' well, in his case, Kurapika doubted he could ever forget any of this. God only knew how much he wanted to forget this and act and pretend as if nothing had ever happened. But that was just— impossible. 'Seriously, this jerk asks too much from me.' No normal being could ever forget if his archenemy raped him ruthlessly— again and again and again. For one thing: they were two guys, for goodness' sake. Forget the latter statement: even if they were a man and a woman, no normal person could ever stand this man's attitude. And yet, he still had the nerve to tell him he should just forget it and pretend it didn't happen. It was annoying. It was gravely annoying.

Was it so easy to forget about these events for Kuroro?

Kuroro was the very first person— monster who had touched him in this way. He was his first kiss. He never told him, he never would. But he was kind of sure the man already knew. That was another reason why he could never forget all of this. No way.

However, it seemed the same didn't apply to the man. Based on his acts, Kurapika was neither his first, nor his second. Not even the third. The man had done this numerous times with numerous other people. Maybe with girls. Maybe with guys. Whether he had gotten into a real relationship or just had slept with some random stranger he met around, Kurapika didn't know. He didn't even care. Just as the man wanted to treat their deal as just a plain and simple trade, Kurapika would never pry on the man's personal life. He didn't give a damn. All he wanted was to get his clans' eyes, stop this madness and then kick the jerk's ass when he accomplished all of those, then maybe he could consider forgetting all of these horrid incidents and tuck it all away as nightmares.

But there was one, single crucial thing that kept bugging him at the back of his mind.

It might sound absurd, and completely implausible, but— what if things didn't stay the way they were?

Yes, it was definitely implausible— but not absolutely. Things changed according to circumstances, everything did; including humans. Many possibilities occurred every single day, and no one could ever tell when something implausible could become the most possible and natural thing on earth.

Moreover, what could possibly happen if Kuroro became tired and bored of him, while their deal still hadn't ended?

It wasn't like he was depending entirely on their deal to acquire the eyes, but Kuroro surely held some more pairs— that much Kurapika knew, and he didn't know exactly how many they were. Perhaps he had the most pairs. But whether he had the most number of eyes or he only had one pair in his hand right now, it still mattered to Kurapika. He could neither afford nor stand the fact that the man had a single Scarlet orb of his clan in his possession. Honestly, he wanted to complete the deal down to the last pair Kuroro had.

Anyway, it was likely that he would be killed. That was a given fact. Once he got enough, he would get rid of him and take Kuroro's eyes as a souvenir. That was Kuroro Lucifer. He might have no clue as to what Kuroro's past was like, but simply by judging from his attitude, that much he could tell. Kuroro was the kind to easily get bored over things. For the Spider head, Kurapika was just a mere, rare toy added to Kuroro's vast collection. Like he just wanted to taste him, regardless if he were a girl or a boy. And as odd as it was, Kurapika preferred it that way. He wouldn't want Kuroro to see him as something else. He saw the man as a ruthless murderer, plus a perverted rapist, and Kuroro saw him as an amusing pastime. That was all there was to it.

But the question was— how long would it last?

Kurapika felt Kuroro's hand slowly crawling up from his lips to his chest.

Kuroro's cold, rough hand that slid over Kurapika's torso made the Kuruta shiver. Finally, the man let go of his now reddening, wet lips. He managed to breathe in, but he yelped in slight surprise when Kuroro thrust his hip against his. It didn't hurt, and Kurapika didn't know why. It actually felt good. His body surely grew accustomed with his new 'lifestyle.' And when Kuroro's hand reached for his head and gently clutched the silky blond strands from behind, a whimper escaped Kurapika's lips.

And as Kuroro began to ram into him again, Kurapika's eyes tightly shut, while he inhaled before biting his lower lip. His back arched a little, but the blond tried to control the disgraceful impulse. He steeled himself, holding in the sounds.

The man's lips lightly ghosted over his jaw line. It was damn arousing. He kept biting his lip, but he was careful not to bite it too hard. It would leave a wound that if bled might cause unnecessary interrogation from his co-workers. His work. Yes, he remembered he was still on duty. What the hell— he was supposed to be on break right now. Kurapika wondered how many hours had already passed.

'I'm tired... What the hell's with this man's stamina!?' he mentally asked. Kuroro was still busy relieving himself inside him, his lips still latched onto Kurapika's neck.

'I'm.. I'm feeling drowsy. What's going on?' he felt heavy. He was very sleepy, and dizziness began to take over the inside of his head. 'Wait... something's wrong here— what the...'

Before Kurapika could even finish his trail of thoughts, his world began to spin. Darkness was pulling him in, and before he knew it, Kurapika had lost consciousness.

Kuroro pushed himself up as Kurapika's head fell to the side. Finally, he had fallen asleep. Kuroro allowed his eyes to linger on the boy's features, his pale collarbone and red lips, and how his arms limply hung above his head, his reddened wrists still wrapped with his necktie.

Kuroro let a smile form on his lips.

Peering down at the slumbering boy, he had come to realize that Kurapika was surely the best thing he had ever stolen.

He drew himself away, pulling out of the unconscious blond. His legs fell to the sides, but Kuroro managed to catch them. With both hands he straightened the boy's legs. Laying them on the soft mattress, before, he pushed himself up and moved to leave the bed. Once his feet touched the floor, he hastily pulled a blanket that was neatly folded on the other side of the bed. With a single hand he undid the necktie that bounded the Kuruta's wrists. Those slender, pale arms fell on the either side of his head, indicating how deeply asleep he was.

Kuroro then covered Kurapika with the blanket he took. The blond made a sound as if he was about to stir awake, but his eyes remained closed.

Still looking at the Kuruta, Kuroro zipped his pants and took another shirt from a near closet. He retrieved his suit and slipped into it.

Arranging the collar of his dark suit, he looked down at Kurapika one last time. Then he bent down and brought his lips to the blond's cheek. Languidly he brushed his nose lightly on it, before placing a soft kiss. When Kurapika showed no signs of waking up, he captured his lips in another chaste kiss. When he let go, he chuckled a little and let a smile remain at the corner of his mouth.

"Good night," he said before heading out.

Chapter Text

Kuroro Lucifer couldn't quite remember when was the last time he experienced this kind of great amusement in his life.

After lulling the Kuruta boy to sleep with nen, the Spider Head silently embarked his way out of his private cabin. Wearing his black coat and tie, he casually strolled towards a certain highly secured room not so far from where he had been.

What he was about to do was so risky. He and his Spider comrades just went through a tough mission a month ago when they invaded that annual underground auction on York Shin City. Back then with his fellow Genei Ryodan, it actually took some time just to execute their plan. And the worst thing, he hadn't expected some reckless avenger to be there and take him down for the first time— something that was really amusing accomplishment for a mere Kuruta boy.

Their mission on the auction against a bunch of Mafias, along with some professional assassins should have been successful if it wasn't for that brat, but the Ryodan head couldn't help but admire his newly stolen toy. Kurapika was the one and only amongst the avengers that were after their necks who caught his attention, as he was the very first one who got this far on messing with the notorious thieves— and still alive.

He knowingly paced to the corridors, turning now and then, aiming for a room where he must go first to instigate his mission. He met some men at some instances, they looked at the Spider Head with blank yet cautious stares. Kuroro retained his calm demeanor, he acted as though he was a mere passerby. Since acting was just a piece of cake for Kuroro, the people around him simply ignored him once he passed.

Two huge, heavily armed men were standing side by side on a door. Aside from them, no one was around. Kuroro slightly frowned at how loose the security the cruise had. Then he guessed that probably most of the guards were right inside the room since it contained the most vital security system of the whole ship: the CCTV room. Shoving both of his hands on his pockets, Kuroro casually sauntered towards the corridor.

Both men shot gazes to him. The Spider Head simply walked by, his eyes transfixed ahead. After making few strides, he reached the door.

He abruptly stopped.

"Hey, wha—" one of the huge men hadn't even finished what he was about to say when Kuroro swiftly turned to face them, drawing one of his hands out from his pocket. In a blink of an eye, Kuroro's hands fiercely swung. The next moment, both men had their eyes wide open, and blood was beginning to ooze down from their needle-stricken foreheads. They unceremoniously fell down the floor, lifeless.

Kuroro wasted no seconds, he reached for the knob and opened it. Surprised faces of some men greeted him as expected. Some of them were sitting in front of computer monitors, the others were standing behind them with their hands clutching onto their guns. Kuroro withdrew both of his hands, each gap of his fingers held powerful needles. He didn't even let the men to stand on their fighting stances when he gave them a smirk and spontaneously waved his hands.

All of the men's heads, save for the guys who were attending to the monitors, were cleanly shot. They started falling down their feet one by one.

Shaking, some of the personnel sitting in front of the CCTV monitors slipped down from their seats. They started pushing themselves away from the assassin. All of them reached a corner— where the man could shot another wave of death that would instantly kill them all at once.

Kuroro walked towards them.

"S-Sir! Please spare us! I don't want to die yet!" One of them pleaded.

Kuroro smirked again. "Do you know that there are tons of things in a human's life that are hundred times worse than death?"

"S-Sir! I can't leave my family, I'm just doing my job here!"

"So do I," Kuroro gave them one last smile before letting another batch of needles to slip out of his sleeve. He waved a hand in haste, then the last thing he heard from the defenseless men were their cries for mercy and last, deep intake of breaths.

Kuroro brought his focus on the monitors after taking a bunch of lives as though killing was as normal as eating dinner every day. The man expertly operated the consoles, disabling some of the systems of certain CCTV cameras. His business over the room was completed after a minute.

He casually left the room as though nothing happened.

Walking in another corridor, he turned into a corner only to find the next path filled with armed men in suits. One of them noticed Kuroro's presence, and he spared him a warning glare. Kuroro's face was holding no certain emotion. He shot the gaze back to the man before halting and firmed his feet in the middle of the hall. All of the armed men turned to face the stranger.

"Sorry, sir," a man suddenly spoke while tightening his grip on a heavy caliber rifle that was leaning on his shoulder, emphasizing the authority the weapon served to him. "This is a restricted area. You are not—" Kuroro didn't even bother to let him finish and quickly materialized his Skill Book and opened a page. The next thing happened, all of the armed men went still. No one made any sound or movement as if they were frozen and stunned.

He turned one more page of his book. Then within another blink of an eye, he was already on the other end of the corridor.

There was another corridor that would likely lead him to the vault where the auction merchandises were held, the items that he was aiming to steal for the night.

Kuroro had to admit, though, that this was one of the riskiest, unaccompanied mission he had gone so far. For one thing; this wasn't entirely planned. When he found that his little Kuruta was about to attend a five-day long cruise trip, he couldn't help but feel intrigued. It seemed to him that the trip had something to do with the Kuruta eyes. So, he gatecrashed into the cruise to check on Kurapika's business, all the while with a little hope to sneak one night with him and enjoy himself somehow.

But he was pretty amazed with the items the auction had. Aside from the eyes, Kuroro found some more authentic relics that would surely provide him a fair sum. More importantly, he seriously aimed for the eyes— if Kurapika got to have the pair first then he would have to say goodbye to one of the good times he could have spent with him. What more, he was so astonished when the boy actually cooperated with him back then on his VIP cabin for he had thought the he was serious about spending that exorbitant amount just for a pair.

To Kuroro's honesty, five billion jennies still wouldn't suffice to price Kurapika's whole willingness to let him do those acts. If only the other merchandises didn't get his interest, Kuroro wouldn't think twice about throwing away that amount for a one-night only role play service with the boy.

Kuroro let his eyes linger around the place as he walked. His feet barely made sounds as he paced, then his eyes took notice of an exceptional door among the luxurious doors of the VIP hall: the vault. Of course, there were guards around who instantly saw him coming. Without even making a single question, all of them pointed their guns towards the Spider Head. Kuroro halted, his usual stoic face broke into a sinister smile.

Before any of the armed men could talk or even poise their fingers into their triggers, Kuroro swiftly slid his hands inside his coat pocket. One wave of his hands, and one by one the armed men began to collapse down the floor. Each of them dropped dead in different angles, but the only thing they had in common was their shocked faces, with identical needles neatly struck in their heads.

As if nothing was out of ordinary with killing a whole bunch of men who neither had done anything against him nor had the chance to defend their lives, Kuroro made his way towards the vault's door. He placed a hand over the wheel of the vault's door, then let out a strong surge of aura. It fluidly flowed from his arm and through the door.

The enormous, round door's lock soundly clanked, indicating that it was successfully picked.

Kuroro entered the vault and immediately found the precious merchandises— along with three unknown persons inside. He, of course, expected this. The three unarmed men spared a glance to him, acknowledging his presence. All of them turned to fully face the Spider Head. One look was only needed for Kuroro to figure out that they were all nen-users.

"Oh, a visitor," one of them spoke.

"Good evening to you, Mister," said the other one.

"Finally, some action in this boring cruise ride," the last man commented.

Kuroro responded with a mere smile.

"I wonder... From what group of thieves do you belong? Oh, are you alone?"

"I don't think I have to answer that," Kuroro summoned his Skill Book for the second time, a huge cloth magically appeared on his hand as he opened a page. "Let's waste no time, gentlemen. I have more important businesses to attend to."

With that remark, all of the three men charged towards the lone Spider Head.


Kurapika woke up with the worst body ache ever.

White ceiling greeted him as he willed his eyes open. At first, his mind didn't seem to get working but as pain registered on his entire being, his brain began to reel with the turn of events that had happened that resulted him to wake up with his head throbbing in pain.

Even after a deep slumber, Kurapika still felt very exhausted. He was spent beyond his current endurance. He couldn't even bring himself to push his own body up from the mattress. All he could do was to run a hand across his blond head, trying to alleviate the headache. His hand was still covering his forehead as he pondered over things that had happened moments ago.

'The perverted bastard did me... then I fell asleep like a log. Wait... I felt a mild surge of foreign aura coursed inside me before I fell unconscious. Could it be that Kuroro used nen to knock me out? But why? ‘Kurapika had a bunch of questions he would like to ask the bastard, but Kuroro was nowhere to be found. However, he could feel his presence nearby.

Kurapika couldn't understand why the man purposely knocked him out while in the middle of their activity. He kept working on theories, but his headache was worsening every time he tried to think so hard. At his trail of thoughts, the idea of Kuroro going on a so-called 'business' came across his mind. Yes, it made sense. Kuroro used his nen to induce him into slumber so he could freely go to steal and kill on spree. Lay the Kuruta down and get his hands on the Scarlet Eyes along with the other merchandises for free— two birds with a stone.

If that was the case then...

"Shit," Kurapika cursed under his breath. 'How naive I was!'

With all his might he pushed himself up the bed, setting aside pain and all. He noted the blanket that was covering his body, and the shirt that loosely clung on his shoulders. He managed to sit upright on the bed when the silent sound of a door being opened reached his ears. The Spider Head emerged from the bathroom's door and came into view, a white towel was draped around his waist. His prominent, muscular torso made Kurapika avert his eyes from the man. For some reason, seeing him topless like that brought weird sensations inside his stomach. He didn't want to think about it at all, he would hate the man to find out that even simply seeing him naked made his heart race like hell. Instead he breathed in, released it slowly and forced himself to look into the man's face.

"Bastard," he called out. "Mind enlightening me of why on earth did you knock me out with nen?"

"Hmm?" Kuroro returned his gaze, his tone suggested curiosity.

"Don't play dumb. I'm not stupid, I'm sure as hell you did."

"Well—" Kuroro opened his mouth for further explanation when a knock sounded. Almost simultaneously, they turned to look at door. The knock repeated and the two men looked at each other. As if instructions were given with mere eye contact, Kuroro moved to reach for the knob, while Kurapika laid back on the bed and brought his blanket up to his head, covering his entire body. He sharpened his ears to eavesdrop on the visitor and the man's conversation.

"Good evening, sir. We are very sorry for intruding you in the middle of the night. This is pretty urgent," a man's voice rose first, his voice held authority.

"Good evening. It's alright, I'm just about to sleep anyway."

"That is a relief, then. Well, I would not want to waste your precious time so I will jump into the point. Firstly, we humbly apologize for some burglars managed to get on board with us. We were informed that you are one of our guests who bought an item from the auction. We regret to inform you that your item, along with the other merchandises, are stolen hours ago from the cruise's vault."

"... WHAT!?" Kurapika was caught off-guard when he heard Kuroro's voice rose in an utterly convincing tone of being incredulous. He sounded completely unbelieving, with right mixture of anger and disappointment. Ugh, he wondered what kind of expression Kuroro must be exhibiting when he shouted that.

"... We are very sorry, sir. We reassure you a money back should the thieves would not be caught."

"Who the hell need the money back—I need my item, alright?"

"The whole ship is now under thorough inspection. The robbery was just made two or three hours ago, and the culprits are likely to be still on board. We are doing our best to track them down and retrieve the stolen merchandises. But for now, we would like to ask for your forgiveness for our incompetence in behalf of our company, as well as to warn you of the possible danger those burglars might cause to you. Please remain inside your room until further notice, and we promise to inform you about the updates of your item or the money back."

"Damn it... I should have taken my item right after the auction. What the hell's with your lousy security? You promised you'll take good care of the relic while under your premises. You shouldn't have compromised at all. Better take responsibility of this mess, I want my fucking merchandise back," Kuroro hissed.

"Yes, sir," the other man's voice was low, obviously taking in the insult and the rage the man had directed into him.

Seconds later, a sound of the door slamming shut reached the boy's ears who was still hiding underneath the blanket. But as he felt a presence inching near, he bolted upright and shoved the blanket off his head.

Kurapika's eyes met Kuroro's first thing. The goddamn hell of a Spider Head wore a triumphant smirk, while the blond slightly shook in apparent, almost bursting anger.

"...I can't believe it," Kurapika mumbled as if to himself, but he was more than aware that the man heard him. "This is unbelievable. Damn it."

"Hmm?" Kuroro hummed with a confused tone. It touched the Kuruta's nerves.

"You son of a bitch," Kurapika was never into name calling. He didn't have any fancy about calling ill names to others, but he just couldn't help it when it came to this bastard.

He was outwitted by the Spider Head. He wore his shirt without anything beneath and even played along with his tiny bondage game for nothing. Damn it. Just... 'Goddamn it.'

"Yes?" Kuroro said as if he was called lovingly by name.

"You planned this all along, did you?"

"Hmm... you can say that. The auction had some interesting items that I can hardly resist."

"Bastard. Darn, what the hell possessed me to think that you'd throw away five billion for a pair of eyes?" Kurapika spat as if to himself.

A chuckle escaped from Kuroro, and hearing it made Kurapika infuriated further.

Even before he knew what he was doing, Kurapika lunged himself into a fighting stance towards Kuroro. As expected, the man expertly dodged the assault and skillfully snatched both of Kurapika's arms. With a swift motion, he maneuvered the boy's body, played with the balance, and pinned the poor Kuruta against a wall nearby. The action left Kurapika mute, his eyes widened in shock and rage.

"I didn't know you're somewhat naive. You really thought I would spend that much for a single pair? And why on earth would I be satisfied with just one merchandise if I can get more for free? Really, Kurapika. I didn't realize you can be a fool sometimes," Kuroro remarked, his callous dark orbs into Kurapika's Scarlet Eyes now gleaming with pure, thick wrath.

Enraged, the blond couldn't find any decent comeback. He heaved heavy, deep and relentless breaths, attempting to take his fury under control. He was about to snarl Kuroro to let him go when Kuroro's advancing moves held whatever curse he was about to blurt out from his mouth.

"But I don't mind," Kuroro drew very close to Kurapika, their faces just a breath away from one another. "Though I'm admittedly surprised when you suddenly submitted yourself with the mere thought of me spending five billion for your clan's eyes, or more precisely: for you."

And adorable, dark shade of red colored Kurapika's cheeks. He looked somewhat shocked, annoyed, even stupid, and Kuroro found it so irresistible.

When Kurapika looked as though he were still harboring for the best snarl he could ever muster, Kuroro broke his lips into a silly, charming smile.

"Hmm... here's a deal; I'll give you the five billion in cash, plus a pair of eyes— aside from the pair for tonight— but I want to do it inside the bathroom. In the bath tub. Three rounds."

Kurapika felt for a split second that he had gone mad.

"You— are—," Kurapika growled loudly and enunciated every word while looking as if he was about to literally burst. "—INSANE."

Kuroro let a genuine chuckle of his lips. If this continued, he would seriously have a hard on. That would be a bad news for the two of them, especially for Kurapika. A pair wasn't so easy to get, and a sex out of a whim wouldn't be as satisfying as the planned ones. Well, he doubted if there would be any unsatisfying sex with Kurapika, whether scheduled or not. Anyway, the deal he joked to drive Kurapika out of his wits abruptly turned into a serious one when the blond hissed: in his ears, Kurapika thought that his offer was for real.

Five billion with a pair for a hot steamy bath with the Kuruta— 'Sure thing, I'd love that.'

Kuroro drew closer, much much closer to the blond. He sensed a flinch under his hand, with Kurapika's face displayed utter surprise.

"Dream on, bastard. I won't say yes even if you offer the entire universe."

"Hmm, how about two pairs? Come on, I'm pretty sure you have some idea how much I spent just to get this VIP room. The bathroom's quite a waste if we wouldn't at least try it even just for once."

For a fleeting moment, a different emotion glinted beneath the Crimson orbs. Hell, Kurapika was seriously considering. Kuroro had to pull this off.

"Who the hell cares how much you've wasted for this shit of a VIP room?" No matter how he tried to mask it, Kuroro could clearly see that the Kuruta was interested with the offered two pairs. After hearing the short comeback, Kuroro mentally smiled at his victory, as he was sure that he had this under control.

"Oh, that's kind of disappointing. I thought you'd love the bathroom's ambiance."

"WHAT!?"

"Hmm? I thought for a moment that you were into some little games like bondage since you didn't do anything earlier other than to nag and writhe under—"

"What the hell are you talking about!?" With his face straight yet flushing so hard, Kurapika shouted. That blush must meant something, Kuroro thought, but he supposed he had to set it aside for a while.

"Ah, I guess I assumed things in a wrong manner," Kuroro feigned.

"In a mortifyingly wrong manner, jerk," Kurapika hissed, though at the back of his mind it really did affect him. He would let the man touch him, yes— but he would die first before admitting that it felt good.

"Well, it doesn't matter if you're not into them or not. I like it, and I won't fool and deny myself of the things I want. So," Kuroro purposely left the sentence hanging, leaving the boy to complete it inside his head. He wasn't able to hold a smirk when Kurapika suddenly changed the subject.

"What time is it?"

Keeping his amused chuckle to himself, Kuroro went on Kurapika's flow. "... Fifteen minutes before three."

"Give me back my clothes," Kurapika rudely demanded.

This time, Kuroro didn't manage to contain his amusement, thus he chuckled and looked amiably at Kurapika. Seeing those eyes made Kuroro unconsciously aware when his fingers reached for that jawline crafted into perfection. However, he regained his senses when he tilted Kurapika's chin up and forced an eye contact. Shortly he drew himself closer and captured the blond's lips into his preferred chaste, light kiss. To his utmost surprise, Kurapika didn't resist. He expected and anticipated the act. He just stood there with his eyes half-opened.

Kuroro interpreted the lack of ill response as an approval. Without thinking twice he leaned his head sideways and deepened the kiss. His tongue tasted the boy's sweet and hot cavern. This time, Kuroro felt as Kurapika closed his eyes and held his breath. The kiss lasted longer than Kuroro expected, the towel around his waist threatened to loose and fall. Hell, who gave a damn? He closed in to him, and that was when Kurapika must have sensed it and broke the kiss.

"W-What the hell do you think you're doing!?" He asked, roughly wiping his lips with the back of his free hand.

"Sorry. Oh, yeah, your clothes," Kuroro said with a happy-go-lucky tone. That hit Kurapika in the face. 'What's with that childish act?'

Kuroro stepped back and conjured his Skill Book. He skimmed through it and abruptly stopped at a page. On his left hand materialized a red cloth. It hovered in the air as Kuroro held on it, and as if doing a cheap magic trick, his clothes appeared out of the cloth. They fell down the man's arm, and like how it materialized out of the thin air, the sheet disappeared right before his eyes along with the book Kuroro was holding on his right hand.

Kurapika concluded one thing from the short show-off of his skill: once the book was out of the man's hand, his nen ability would also vanish. A conclusion that was neither concrete nor even close to what was really in store inside that book. No matter how close the man was, in spite of being able to see him naked, having a glimpse of a side of his head, despite of having this intimate relationship with him, Kuroro had remained a mystery to him— just exactly what he was when they first met. Nothing had changed. He rarely expressed his emotions, save for his amusement before, during and after sex. He got angry once on their second night when Kurapika almost backed out, thinking that he really couldn't stomach the thought of letting the man do him while in fact it was him who went to their agreed meeting place. For the first time as well, Kuroro showed something Kurapika opted to call 'superior's sympathy' after seeing him hesitating after going that far. That random act of so-called 'concern'— for the lack of appropriate term— by covering him with blanket every other transaction. His habit of getting to his nerves. And now he had something new to add to the list: Kuroro seemed to have no qualms about saying sorry to others.

But other than those, Kurapika was clueless of who else this man was.

Kurapika knew what that mask Kuroro always wore for. As a leader of one of the leading bands of thieves of this century, Kuroro had to keep his emotions hidden. It was to avoid exposing his weakness. He closed himself to the world for them not to see what was inside him, a wall that prevented him from going outside too. Yes, Kuroro knew all the laws and regulations of humanity, as well as how to breach them. He could easily see through others, and he was expert in manipulating them for his own profit. He lived a life where he could get whatever he wanted whenever, wherever. Either things or lives, whether the owners wanted or not. That was all to it. And somehow, in spite of the enthusiasm he expressed most of the time, he could tell that Kuroro Lucifer was... bored. With his own life and the world he was in.

His profession must have been relieving that boredom of his that even if he could change into a better, more decent job, he wouldn't. Rob and kill, destroy people's lives and strip them off of their happiness for the sake of it. Bring destruction in the name of his temporary source of entertainment. It might sound exaggerated, but it was close to the truth.

It was so ridiculous. Sickeningly pathetic.

He was about to reach for his clothes when Kuroro drew them away from him. With a sly smirk, Kuroro said, "Let me do the honor."

"No thank you," Kurapika declined, his sentence was hastily spat as if it was a single word. He tried to snatch them from the man again, but Kuroro persistently moved his arm away.

Kurapika felt flustered for being treated like a small kid.

"What the hell is wrong with you!?" He vehemently spat.

"We can do this all night long, Kurapika. I suggest you just comply with it, eh?"

"Stop this nonsense you sly perverted bastard!"

"Hmm... my shirt looks really good on you, by the way. I was too excited that I forgot to tell you that when you got out of the bathroom."

Kurapika almost forgot about that. 'Shit,' he must be blushing the hell out of himself right now.

He was about to slur another curse when Kuroro inched neared to him again, his usual poker face wore that playful, seducing smirk that he always used whenever they were on the bed, a small indication that telling Kurapika that he must brace himself for the best was yet to come.

"I'll tell you something; if only the auction held less valuable items, I'll be more than willing to give up that five billion jennies. I can sacrifice that amount without batting an eye, I can even give you a bonus should I only didn't have to hold back and do an unplanned mission. If spending a huge amount of my hidden money for your clan's eyes is all it takes to see you wearing my shirt and let me tie you in the bed again, I would withdraw every single jenny from all of my bank accounts and shove them all under your nose. But no, I will never do that. Victory tastes sweetest when you give your best to get them. I give it all to retrieve the eyes for you— be a man and do the same."

"In short?" Kurapika sarcastically replied, his eyes never left the man's as he spoke.

"Give in," Kuroro said, returning the unrelenting gaze. "I'm doing you a great favor, return it with exact amount." As he said that, his hand slowly reached for the button of the blond's shirt. One by one he undid them from top to bottom, he held back the smile that almost curved in his lips to maintain the thick and tensed atmosphere around them when Kurapika made no resistance. Their gazes never wavered, they bored into each other, Kurapika shot his sharpest glare while Kuroro happily took it in.

As all of the buttons of his shirt was finally undone, Kuroro tugged the shirt's hem and it swiftly slid down from Kurapika's pale, small frame. Kuroro was so temped to take a look at his nakedness, but the eye contact they had was too intense he couldn't bring himself to break it. Instead, he proceeded to his next move.

He pulled the white shirt first from his arm, gave it a little shake, and brought it behind him. He drew himself closer, so much closer, and without looking he slid one of the shirt's sleeve up the blond's arm. It didn't surprise him when Kurapika moved his hand on his own accord and reluctantly inserted his knuckle into the sleeve. As the collar reached Kurapika's shoulder, Kuroro once again titled his head sideways and mischievously captured his lips with his into a searing, sensual kiss. Kuroro was surprised neither when the blond just closed his eyes tight, apparently expecting the assault. He held his breath however when his arms suddenly moved upward, whether Kurapika intended to push him away or hold onto him, he sadly couldn't tell.

The kiss went deeper as seconds passed by, Kurapika's hands were suspended in the air, obviously loss of what to do. Seeing this act, Kuroro nudged the armhole of the shirt to his other naked arm, silently beckoning him.

Kurapika instantly moved his hand and slid his arm inside the offered sleeve. For a moment their kiss broke, and the Kuruta took that chance and turned his face sideways to escape in case Kuroro intended to kiss him again.

Thankfully the Spider Head didn't chase after his lips, but that didn't mean he had escaped the affection as he felt his soft lips trailed light, teasing kisses to his cheek down his jawline. Both Kuroro's lips and finger were busy, for he was buttoning his shirt while indulging himself with the rare opportunity.

Once completely done, Kuroro moved slightly away to take a look at his handy work. Kurapika's face was still angled away from his sight, but the beet red cheeks he was vainly hiding by bowing down made Kuroro almost pull the boy and pin him down the mattress nearby. He tried his best to hold himself back and just enjoy the show while it lasted.

He wanted to show the boy that he had control over him and of course, over himself. He wanted to establish an impression of being someone who knew how to draw lines into their right places at their right time, instill to Kurapika that he was a man of his words. He said he would do the favor of clothing him, and the reluctant approval Kurapika had given indicated that he was somewhat trusting him, or rather, his words. Well so far, he hadn't turned back from anything he had said to the boy. Therefore, he wouldn't break that fine, thin thread of trust the blond had harbored towards him because it would do no good; in fact it might even be a very excellent plot twist that could come in handy someday.

So for just this once, he would let Kurapika go.

"Damn, you're purposely taking it long," Kurapika snatched the remaining pieces of his clothes from Kuroro's arm. He managed to pull out his pants but the coat unfortunately slipped from the man's arm and fell limply on the floor. It seemed like seeing him like that surprised Kuroro as the man's face wore a baffled expression for a brief instant. Kurapika paid it no mind, though. He was really in a hurry.

The Kuruta slipped in his slacks in haste, trying hard not to feel awkward for wearing his clothes right in front of the Spider Head. Luckily Kuroro was busily dusting his coat and checking in through if it caught any dirt from the floor. When finished, he put it on behind the boy and motioned him to move. Mixture of startle and shock filled Kurapika as he witnessed the renowned Ryodan leader exhibiting another uncharacteristic, random act of care. He still gave no room for his mind to wonder what had gotten into the jerk for being this way, however.

Too tired and irritated to raise resistance, Kurapika decided to comply. Hissing under his breath, he turned away and lifted his hands, taking the offered assistance. He still had no heart to look at the man even when he finally felt the comfort of being clad with his own set of attire again. He assumed the man was surely grinning from ear to ear; he would be a true masochist if he would indulge himself further with another extreme, unnerving exhibition of that prominent smirk that had been getting so frequent day by day. He had enough of irritation dose for today, one more provocation and he swore he would make sure it would be the last smile Kuroro would ever wear.

He brought his hands to start buttoning his coat when Kuroro gently batted them away. This time, Kurapika didn't manage to remain relenting when he felt his own breath caught in his throat as he saw the most thoughtful and serious face Kuroro had ever shown.

It was his turn to hold a gaze at the Spider Head.

After the buttons, Kuroro's hands rose up and reached for the collar, still not looking at Kurapika in the face. He skillfully fixed the collar behind the blond's neck when suddenly he raised a soft "Oh," shortly followed by, "Silly, I forgot the tie."

"Leave it be, it doesn't matter," Kurapika brushed it off and didn't think any further. All he had in mind as of the moment was to get away from this jerk as soon and as far as he could. He couldn't stand another minute with Kuroro's company— he just wanted this to end.

With his mind pondering over a convincing excuse to give his co-worker for his sudden absence, Kurapika made his way towards the door. His hand was already on the knob when he heard Kuroro called, "Hey, how about the deal?"

There was a heavy, awkward silence, with Kurapika standing still in the door, his back on the man. For a moment Kurapika vehemently berated himself for falling silent like that as if he were considering, which he really was, and gave the man another wrong impression. Soon after, he figured that it was apparent to both of them that he was indeed interested. Maybe he already unconsciously had considered and fell right into the man's trap.

Well, the damaged had been done.

"I'll think about it," Kurapika whispered barely under his breath, feeling relieved that his voice sounded free from faltering and emotion. He didn't bother turning his back, he knew damn well that the bastard heard him. So, he hastily opened the door and stepped outside, he caught Kuroro's voice saying "Good night," then shortly followed by the door shutting behind him.

For a second, Kurapika remained standing in front of the door, taking deep breaths every now and then. After composing himself he swiftly walked away from Kuroro's VIP room and headed towards their designated cabin. Peculiarly he thought he could hear a faint, hearty laughter ringing from somewhere, whether it was a fragment of his paranoia or it was from the room where he just had been, the Kuruta didn't know nor want to find out anymore.

Too bad for him for being too preoccupied with thoughts, he failed to notice the pair of eyes looking his way that would bring him to a decision over Kuroro's deal.

Chapter Text

 

Noisy, lively and active: no single hint of apprehension could be seen from anyone aside from the security personnel as the cruise boldly upheld their scheduled casino-blues night on the third day of the journey, despite the billion-jennies lost from the previous night's robbery incident.

At first everybody on board was shocked, disappointed, and most of all, scared after hearing the news, which spread all throughout the ship like wildfire. Some even proposed to cancel the trip and just return to the land, but not everyone seemed fazed about it. Rumors had it that it was a one-man job, and only the vault was reported to be infiltrated. Many were under the impression that it was an inside job; it was too impossible to eradicate a whole troop of highly skilled guards alongside with professional assassins to be outdone by a single individual without an insider's help. Even the management itself had no reliable lead of the thief's identity, and they were somewhat reluctant to spill information as to avoid unnecessary spread of modified rumors, as well as to mask their guilty incompetence. And it seemed they wouldn't want to lose more money if they aborted the cruise, therefore they opted to keep going and just heightened the security instead.

Flocks of suited and armed men scattered all around the cruise. Civilian nen-users seemed to grow in number as well, wandering all over the vessel, mingling with other guests and passengers. It wasn't confirmed but because it was given that they were in the middle of the sea, the culprit was likely to be still on board, blending with everyone. The management seemed to be desperate to find and catch the bastard, and continued the cruise's event just as planned. Business as usual.

And that principle of 'life goes on' could be clearly seen as the casino lounge boomed loudly, crowded with all sorts of people, partying their asses out. The sound system was deafening, men and women danced and bet on their tables, carelessly dumping and spending money as if there was no tomorrow. The ghastly greed was suffocating. Sick. Ridiculous. But having no choice, Kurapika had to endure it all. It was the nature of his work to guard people who had so much money in their lives, they were willing to throw away some just for the sake of spending it. Even if their clients were the worst human being ever existed on earth, even if they killed and humiliated someone in front of them, even if their violence and greed were sickeningly unbearable, they had to hold their tongues and close their eyes: they were paid to do so. That included watching them display their excessive, self-intoxication of being wealthy and powerful, lavish gamble and senseless partying.

Standing right behind his current boss, Kurapika reluctantly watched Dmitri as he was playing poker with some of his colleagues. Almost all of them were familiar to him; they were quite prominent among the community. His employer seemed to be enjoying the game, he won numerous times, but lost for two consecutive times as well. Dmitri looked like he was taking it lightly, but Kurapika was pretty sure the man must be cursing vehemently inside his head for losing twice. This outrageous spending of money wasn't something Dmitri was fond of. He was okay with it, as far as Kurapika knew, but he wouldn't want to participate with it if he could help it; that was why it surprised him when the man played along but hadn't taken his leave, not even once, to go to the restroom, for almost two straight hours. An attractive, young lady clad with almost nothing but her see-through dress and pumps was affectionately purring at the man, cheering and enthusiastically watching the card game. Dmitri seemed to be engrossed with the game and the woman clinging on his arm. The blond couldn't exactly tell whether he was just putting up a face for the show or he was seriously enjoying the gamble.

And for the third time, the businessman lost the bet. Kurapika silently hoped it would pique Dmitri to his senses, finally call it a day and get his ass off of his chair. To his relief, Dmitri finally showed a small act of yawn and slight stretching of his arms after the game.

"Alright— that was fun," the Mafia head mumbled eagerly, sounding sincere. "But I think I should retire now. Sorry gentlemen, please excuse this old geezer for tonight." Dmitri already placed his hands on the armrests of his leather chair when an annoyingly familiar voice rose and took their attention.

"Hey, hey. Chickening out just when I felt like joining you? That's no fun, Dmitri," someone spoke from behind. Swiftly, Dmitri turned to glance at the back where he found Meniandro walking towards their table. Kurapika did the same, looking at those dirty gray eyes before giving a curt bow. Straightening up, the blond made a quick glance to his boss' face. Dmitri's feature held no particular expression, but his eyes did otherwise. They both knew that Meniandro posed nothing good whenever he was around.

Especially right at this very moment, where money and gambling were involved.

Agitation apparently flashed behind Dmitri's eyes. "Meniandro-san," said he as he faked a smile. "Good timing, I'm about to take my leave to rest. If you like, you can replace me and play on."

"Hmm, in more ways than one, it doesn't sound appealing to me at all," the man sardonically responded.

"Well—"

"Come on," Meniandro rudely interrupted. "I didn't approach this lively table just to be a substitute for you as you back out. The night's just getting started! And wouldn't you want to win back the money you lost, if there was any?"

The probability of winning against his colleagues was slim enough; but playing with Meniandro warranted only greater loss. Dmitri knew that if he complied, he would practically shove his jennies down to Meniandro's nose.

"Besides, getting the invitation for you was far away from easy," the gray-eyed man added, to Dmitri's surprise and utter embarrassment. "Won't you accompany this old man even just for a little game in return?"

'Damn it, why does he have to reveal that to everyone?' Kurapika could almost hear what his boss' mind was surely grumbling about. That seemed to corner the man to go along with the flow; raising an argument in front of this crowd guaranteed nothing but trouble.

"Very well then," Dmitri heavily slumped on his chair, probably feeling so dreadful already about the sum he was about to lose again. The purring woman suddenly stopped clinging on him as if she had found Meniandro more worthy to be leeched off. She didn't move from her seat, though.

"Let the game begin!" Meniandro barked.

The others seemed to be unaffected when Meniandro intruded their game. Only Dmitri was the one that looked slightly and discreetly upset by the man's presence. Nonetheless, the game went on.

Dmitri was obviously expecting to lose on the very first round of the battle, but luck unexpectedly sided him when his victory was revealed. Kurapika couldn't judge if it was purely a beginner's luck or Meniandro did something to twist and turn the game, purposely favoring their side. Either way, Dmitri did gain some confidence, unaware of trapped he had just fell into. They immediately proceeded to the next round, and that too, sided Dmitri.

A smile was already betraying Dmitri's poker face, while Meniandro was alarmingly holding a blank expression. It was irking the bodyguard; he was more than sure that Meniandro was up to something.

As he expected, the grin that played around Dmitri's mouth was short lived as Meniandro won on the next round. Dmitri looked worried but determined; his eyes glinted confidently like a true gambling maniac. Kurapika could definitely tell that it would be the beginning of his boss' losing streak; Meniandro's poker face said it all.

He didn't guess it wrong.

"Okay," Dmitri said, after an alarming amount of jennies were wasted once again. He raised his arms in surrender. "Luck was sure on your side, Meniandro-san," he complimented.

"Why, Dmitri," Meniandro spoke. "Wasn't it in yours moments ago? Come on, Lady Luck's such a bitch; she couldn't stay long with only one man. Let's try again."

"I'd love to but I should admit, I've lost more than what I can afford and I'm pretty at my limit. There's always a next time, isn't there? So if you'll excuse us—"

"Hmm, if you have no cash anymore then why don't you just use something else as a bet?" Meniandro suggested.

"Something else?" Dmitri sounded thoroughly baffled. "What do you exactly mean, Meniandro-san?"

"Hmm... something that you currently possess with no exact cash equivalent or has less monetary worth. Example: that bodyguard of yours, standing right behind you like a watchdog?"

Dmitri's eyes widened in shock, while Kurapika's face remained impassive. Meniandro looked at the boy's eyes, shooting him one creepy gaze that brought chills down his spine.

"What?" Dmitri blurted out. "Oh no, That's ridiculous. Don't you think you're drunk enough? That's nonsense!"

"Why not? Ah... I see. He's way too good to let go," Meniandro kept an unrelenting stare at Kurapika. The Kuruta returned the look with equally restless defiance.

"What the hell are you exactly talking about? Meniandro-san? Please stop this, you're being strange," Dmitri seemed to be so stunned he almost lost his respectful way of talking with the bastard. His face showed complete obliviousness.

Meniandro narrowed his eyes upon seeing the confusion all over Dmitri's face.

"Oh, I see. So you don't actually know."

'Damn it!' Kurapika could only snarl in his mind. 'How did this bastard find out?'

"I don't actually know what? This is very confusing, Meniandro-san. What are you babbling about?" Infuriated about being treated like a fool, Dmitri hissed.

"Never mind," Meniandro dismissed the topic and continued with his suggestion earlier as if he weren't interrupted at all. "Anyway, use him as a bet. Who knows? You might win and regain all of your lost. That's almost a hundred million, you know?"

"But... why Kurapika?" Dmitri asked.

One by one, their co-players began to excuse themselves, feeling that the game had turned into a very personal one. Even the clingy, sexy hooker seemed to be alarmed. She left without saying a word. Meniandro and Dmitri didn't even bid goodbye to them, they were too busy battling their reasons.

"It's just that your boy's very interesting. I'm in need of strong subordinates whom I can depend and trust my life with."

"That doesn't make sense at all," Dmitri chuckled, finally realizing what this was all about. "It's more like you are hitting on this pretty boy behind me."

Instead of being flustered, Meniandro curved his creepy lips into a perverted smile.

"What if I am?"

Kurapika felt like turning the table upside down. The strong urge to beat the hell out of Meniandro vigorously coursed all throughout his body.

"Then that settles it," Dmitri said. "We'll call it a day. I'm very grateful for your kindness to hand me an invitation, however I didn't know you're waiting for something in return. I'm not into further playing with your nasty little game. Now, if you'll excuse—"

"How much?" Meniandro rudely interrupted.

"What?"

"If you don't like to gamble, why not settle it into a good deal? Give me an amount; I can have it served to you right at this very moment."

"... You're hopeless," Dmitri grumbled. "You must be out of your fucking mind."

The atmosphere had turned from worse to worst, and it was no good for Kurapika and his employer. They were practically going against a tough wall: Meniandro was a towering and powerful one at that. Not only his employer's social status was at stake, even their lives were in the line.

Meniandro, behind his legitimate and successful life as a businessman, was also known as a notorious human trafficker. His trade of human resources all around the globe for both legal and illegal purposes was a great deal, thus making him a head member of the Community. Dmitri was barely anything against him. Kurapika might not have enough information about this man for he was too careful with information leak about his true identity, but he was very certain that he would try to get his hands on him in any possible way, by hook or by crook. He would have to take great risk, but he supposed that his life had become a big gamble anyway ever since he had decided to tread this path of vengeance.

Moreover, he was sort of a boy toy for a certain somebody anyway. He had to admit, albeit reluctantly, that he was somewhat interested with how Kuroro Lucifer would deal with it should Meniandro win.

Sounded badly interesting in more ways than one.

"It is okay, Dmitri-san," he heard himself spoke.

"Kurapika?"

"Play against Meniandro-san with me as your bet, Dmitri-san."

"But—"

"I trust you, sir. I am willing to take the risk for your sake. Please, play on and show him what you can really do."

"... That's what I'm talking about," Meniandro's eyes glinted so predatorily. The gaze sent horrible chills down Kurapika's spine.

Dmitri still looked reluctant and unsure of what to do. Kurapika looked at him thoughtfully and gave him a curt nod, a small gesture of entrusting everything to his boss' hands.

"Alright, if you're still uneasy then let's make it a little more engaging," Meniandro said. "I'll make it exactly five billion jennies. Win the game, and they are all yours."

Dmitri shot him an utterly disbelieving look.

"But if I win," he added, "he's mine." He looked at Kurapika again.

"... Are you sure about this, Kurapika?" Dmitri anxiously asked.

The blond gave him a reassuring gaze then slightly bowed his head. "I won't blame you, Dmitri-san whatever the outcome would be. This is my own decision," 'I'll make Meniandro realize that messing with me is the greatest mistake he could ever make in his life.'Whether Dmitri win or lose, Kurapika swore he would make sure of it. He would have to devise a plan of how to get rid of the bastard sooner or later.

Dmitri heaved a heavy, doubtful sigh.

"Alright, then. I'll try my best."

Meniandro's pouty, creepy dry lips broke into a sinister smile.

"That's more like it. Alright, then. Game start!"

Cued, the attractive woman attending to their table began shuffling a new deck of cards she withdrew from its box. She was about to distribute them when a pale hand rested gently on hers, and a baritone, rich voice of a man hailed the attention of everyone in the table.

The pretty lady softly gasped when a man mumbled under his breath.

"Excuse me, mi' lady. May I ask you to wait for a second?"

Dmitri scrutinized his eyes towards the new comer, whilst Meniandro's gray eyes narrowed in apparent disgust.

Kurapika, meanwhile, barely managed to retain his calm demeanor, with his eyes almost widened in shock.

He needed not to guess or ask how much the Genei Ryodan head had heard from their conversation. It wouldn't be surprising if he had known the entire ordeal right from the beginning. Now he could understand why Hisoka even resorted to trade with him for information; Kuroro Lucifer was definitely a man that wasn't someone to mess with. The extent of his abilities and cleverness was beyond professional— or maybe he was just very keen when it came to the things concerning his so called possession? Well, whatever. All he knew was Kuroro's interference guaranteed only one thing: trouble.

For one; he was the most wanted criminal now under a grueling search on the cruise ship. Of how he could leisurely loiter and walk around in a tasteful suit and tie like that was beyond his idea and concern. Second, the way he turned up on that very moment before the game started meant one more thing; he was under Kuroro's surveillance. The man knew his moves, and he wouldn't hesitate to intervene when he deemed fit to, just like now. It was irking Kurapika down to his bones; the thought of him being treated like a property was mortifying to the core. Third; it seemed that Meniandro knew something about the two of them. No, he certainly knew that something was going on between the two of them. And while knowing that, he dared to instigate this game to blatantly mess things up. Kurapika didn't want to think anymore regarding the real nature of Kuroro's motive.

Goddamn it. These two forsaken bastards were treating him like an invaluable item in an auction, and it was infuriating the hell out of him.

And look, it seemed like their neck-to-neck battle over him was about to begin.

A faint blush adorned the young woman's face and she immediately complied with the good-looking man's request and held onto the deck of cards. Kuroro then amiably smiled and turned his attention to the three other occupants of the table.

"Good evening, gentlemen."

"Hey... You're the one who had bought the Kuruta eyes for five billion jennies from the auction, am I right?"

"Yes, sir."

"Excuse me, but this table's full so you go somewhere else and find your own set of playmates," Meniandro rudely remarked, his eyebrows visibly furrowed

"Now's that's kind of rude, Meniandro-san. The more, the merrier, isn't it?" Dmitri suddenly interjected. "However, I should let you know that this is no ordinary poker game, Mister...?"

"Tadano, sir." Kuroro curtly bowed his bandaged head towards Dmitri. "Kurou Tadano."

"Tadano? That's kind of unfamiliar. Are you frequent in here?" Dmitri further asked the intruder.

"Not too much, Dmitri-san. I rarely attend this kind of event, that is why it would be a great pleasure to play with you, gentlemen," uninvited, Kuroro languidly occupied a seat right across the other two.

"I see. Oh, right, about the game. You see, Meniandro-san here and I―" Dmitri gestured his hand to Meniandro's way, "―have this little game wherein he'll bet for five billion jennies, while I wager my young bodyguard. I'm afraid it's rather personal, though I don't see any reason why I should stop you from joining, therefore I won't. If you really want to, that is."

At the mention of the bodyguard, Kuroro looked behind Dmitri and met his eyes with Kurapika's. The blond took that chance and shot him a fiery, brief look before vehemently and reluctantly lowering his head for a brief bow of courteousness.

"Oh," Kuroro softly whispered under his breath. "It does sound pretty interesting. It looks like this young guard of yours is special; the amount at stake is quite grand. I wonder what it is about him to worth that much."

Meniandro huffed a rude, sarcastic laughter.

He shot a sharp glare at the other man as his laugh faded into a snide sneer. "Yeah, I bet you do, though I believe it's none of your business anymore."

"Why, Meniandro-san," taking the loud remarks into account, Kuroro responded in an airy, unintimidated tone. "He seems to be eager to have this young man, Dmitri-san. It makes me curious and interested even more," he returned with an amused smile. "I must insist; would you let me join the game?"

"Of course!" Dmitri's eyes glinted with apparent desperation for help.

"What? Are you serious about letting him in, Dmitri?" Meniandro incredulously asked.

"What are you afraid of, Meniandro-san? We played earlier with more than four colleagues, good and more experienced players at that. It wouldn't hurt to allow a single young man in."

Failing to hide his annoyance, Meniandro rolled his eyes away.

'I knew it,'Kurapika mentally mused. It was a good thing that his boss must have sensed it, too. 'Meniandro must have been doing some dirty tricks to win the previous matches. He's sickly confident with it that he didn't see the turn of events to go this way. Now with the equally cunning man in the game, he wouldn't be able to pull his magic off so easily.'

Dmitri must have been desperate not to let Meniandro win that he resorted to allow the entry of a total stranger in the game, hoping to achieve a different result, an outcome that would favor his boss. It seemed he would rather have Kurapika end into someone else's hands than fall right down into Meniandro's perverted ones. Too bad he didn't know that the stranger shared exactly the same ulterior motive.

Meniandro audibly 'tsked' in irritation, obviously pissed off with the new comer's interference of his perfectly designed plan.

He refused to show how much it touched his nerves though, so he arrogantly placed his elbows down the table and intertwined his fat, little fingers.

"Fine, it's not like I'll let this little noob defeat me," Meniandro dryly commented, his eyes displayed great displeasure yet challenging.

"Good," Kuroro grinned from ear to ear. He signaled a hand up. Casino tokens were shortly served right before him. "Five billion jennies, gentlemen. Since the lousy security let my precious Kuruta eyes get stolen last night and they guaranteed money back, I will spend it in here instead."

'Are you out of your fucking mind?'Kurapika eyed the Genei Ryodan. Kuroro merely glanced at him and turned his gaze back to his opponents.

It was as if he wasn't even there, hearing everything. The sick sight of these people playing and talking about him as if he was just some sort of a grand prize was beyond any kind of humiliation, yet it told him what kind of world he had chosen to bear down. It was another face he had yet to see, and it raised another question at the back of his mind.

Just how much did he have to degrade himself to fulfill his goals? Dignity was the only thing remaining on him; did he have to give it up as well?

It took him a lot of self-control not to burst out of anger, and what he did next wasn't something he would do if he was in his rational mind.

He moved from his guarding position and walked forward, inching nearer to the female attendant. The woman looked at him for a split second, then immediately understood his intention as he reached out a hand, palm up. The attendant looked hesitant at first, but she handed the deck of cards to the blond anyway.

She whipped out a small two-way radio from her pocket and mumbled over it, reporting. The report shortly ended. She backed one step away after, keeping a small distance between her and the Kuruta.

"Since I'm the one at stake here, I would like to have some sort of participation," said Kurapika with his voice void from any emotion. He began shuffling the cards in his hands, lingering his eyes from one player to another, analyzing each one's reaction. Dmitri looked shocked upon seeing his usual serious and quiet bodyguard unexpectedly showing that side of him, while Meniandro shot Kurapika his creepiest stare for that evening. But to top it all, Kuroro's unrelenting gaze on him was the one that really shook his nerves. His look was giving off an eerie glow, as if assuring him that he had it all under control, which of course, didn't reassure Kurapika at all.

He was barely beginning to reshuffle the cards again, but he had vaguely predicted the result of this game already. Of why he volunteered to barge himself into this catastrophe, he could not really tell. Was it another by-product of dealing with Kuroro? Was he developing another persona because of it?

"Let's get this done," Meniandro hissed.

"May the best man win," Dmitri followed.

Kuroro gave a brief, cocky smile.

"Certainly. The winner takes it all."

"Alright, gentlemen," Kurapika's usual calm and silent expression had changed into a tougher one, with his voice containing defiance as if he himself was enjoying the game. He pressed both palms on the deck.

"Game start."

Chapter Text

The warm, steamy water didn't fail to relieve his frazzled nerves, though it didn't help him to ease his mind. The pinching heat was relaxing, but Kurapika couldn't consider this bath a so refreshing one. For a thing: the events that occurred hours ago left him thoroughly exhausted. If given a chance, this bath would be better enough if complimented with a good sleep. If only he were inside his own small room at Dmitri's mansion, he would definitely do just that. 

But he wasn't 

Once again, he found himself inside the spacious shower room inside Kuroro's VIP cabin, plunged in the circular tub draped with red, translucent curtain, thinking hard. 

He couldn't exactly understand why but the curtains made him feel twice uncomfortable. He kept averting his eyes from it, but whenever he would see it, thoughts would begin to swirl inside his mind. For some reason, the sight of it made him remember his last session with Kuroro. 

Absentmindedly, he drew his knees closer to his chest and rested his chin above them, feeling his face growing hot by seconds while wondering if he should just take this chance to drown his life away to end it all. 

The restrains of the blue tie remained fresh in his mind. He could clearly remember the sharp pain and the numbness of his joints when Kuroro impaled himself in him while holding onto his thigh. The kisses they shared, especially those ones when he responded, were still lingering on his lips. The exchange sensations of pain and pleasure as Kuroro thrust on him while he was tied, the feeling of being under the man's mercy, the unforgettable feeling of his length and his warm essence now consuming him inside were making him want to succumb into darkness because he couldn't deny himself the fact that it truthfully felt good, and that, at the farthest back of his mind, he was somewhat wanting for more. 

And tonight, he was about to experience them again, in an entirely new level. Did Kuroro know all about this? Was this the reason why he went as far as risking him life in getting on board on this cruise and throwing away a great deal of money— just for the sake of these strange sensations? 

Was it all worth it? 

He slightly flinched when the door knob sounded. He felt his heart raced as the sounds of movements echoed inside the tiled room; the footsteps, the turning of the shower, the 'tip-tap' of the water droplets falling down the tiled floor. Kurapika felt himself clutching his hands on his own arms, tightly hugging his legs closer, trying to calm himself down. 

Fear, nervousness, shame— excitement. They all conquered him at once, leaving him aroused more than ever. 

He needed not to look up to see Kuroro coming his way. He grew more accustomed whenever the Genei Ryodan head was near, and every time he was trying to close in on him. He didn't want the man see him in such state. He refused to show him what he was really thinking and feeling; inexperience was their only gap, and Kurapika didn't want Kuroro to use that again as an advantage. 

Enough of acting like a helpless kid. 

When he felt the presence neared, Kurapika slowly let go of his legs. He steeled himself and looked up, only to see Kuroro Lucifer wearing nothing but an innocuous smile. 

He was aware of the blush that must have already crept on his face, but Kurapika didn't avert his eyes from the man. Their gazes met, Kuroro's soft lips curved into a sweet beam. 

Kurapika then rolled his eyes away, expressing disgust and disdain. 

Some warm water in the tub spilled out when Kuroro plunged into it. 

"Won't Dmitri look for you?" He asked first thing. 

"I'm dismissed. There's nothing to worry about," Kurapika shortly replied. 

"I see, that's good." 

Kurapika looked at Kuroro once again. Their eyes met, and he realized the distance between the two of them as they sat on the either end of the tub, exactly across each other. In Kurapika's eyes, they were still near from one another; he retreated farther away from the man then huddled into his legs again. He looked away.  

"Hmm... does Meniandro always mess with you like that?" Kuroro asked, comfortably leaning against the tub. 

"I don't think I have to answer that," Kurapika only said. 

"Kurapika," Kuroro called out in his Danchou tone. "Come here." 

The way he delivered his command was fucking irritating. He wasn't a damn, Genei Ryodan member!" 

"Do I have to repeat myself? Kuroro asked, a sick smirk plastered on his face. 

With no other option, Kurapika moved towards Kuroro. When he reached a considerable distance from the man, he stopped. 

"Closer," Kuroro's deep voice said. 

"What the hell!” Kurapika snapped. "What are you expecting me to do— go sit on your lap and wrap my arms around you? Who do you think you— AHH!" his outburst was cut short when Kuroro casually leaned forward, took both his arms and yanked him closer to his chest. Unguarded, Kurapika's lips were captured by Kuroro's into an intense, claiming kiss. Everything turned red, and Kurapika's scarlet eyes widened in utter surprise. 

He began to struggle but the tight grip on his wrists told him it was no good. Still restraining the boy's lips, he gently moved Kurapika's arms and wound them around the back of his neck. He let go of the wrists when he was sure that Kurapika wouldn't shrug away, then placed both of his hands above the boy's bottom before pulling him much closer. 

Kurapika must have felt so flustered when their skins touched underwater. He flinched, he even silently moaned, trying to catch some breath. 

Kuroro pulled him closer even more when he rested his arms at the small of Kurapika's back. He hugged him tight; Kurapika's body straightened until his head was slightly higher than the man's. The kiss remained, Kuroro tilted his head up to retain the contact. With his eyes still opened, the boy found himself kissing the man from above; a sudden change of position. 

This must have been the first time when Kurapika was on top. It was Kuroro who was always hovering above him, doing all the work. The sight of the Genei Ryodan head looking up at him, kissing him with his eyes half-closed, his hair wet and his face so pale and smooth, gave an eerie impression on Kurapika. It somewhat displayed a rare side of the man that he hadn't seen, yet a side that he could only witness in these kinds of rare opportunities. 

Kuroro looked vulnerable and lost in desire. It was like he was begging. He was asking Kurapika of it, begging to be provided with what he badly wanted. He wanted Kurapika to lead, to give in— to move. Kuroro was requesting him to go with the flow tonight, and Kurapika had no any other choice but to give him exactly that. 

'Damn, his erection is nudging at my thigh,' he shyly thought when something hard and fleshy touched his skin. But he gave it no further thought and did something that he himself couldn't believe he could ever do. 

He calmed himself down and let his arms slide down the man's shoulders. Once his hands reached Kuroro's shoulder blades, he hold onto them and tilted his head sideways, deepening the kiss. The kiss he gave wasn't as aggressive as the man's, but the slow moves and soft suckling seemed to be much better than those rough ones. 

Kuroro only rested both of his hands on Kurapika's hips, letting the boy do what he could. He was a matured man; he needed not to be told what he had to do. He has his own way of paying his debt, and Kuroro wanted him to do just that. He wouldn't force him into doing something he didn't want to; let him do the job on his own accord. It was much more entertaining in more ways than one. 

They broke the kiss only to heave short breaths, Kurapika's face was feverishly blushing, while Kuroro's pale face slightly colored, perhaps because of the heat. He glared at the man and let him know how pissed he was, that he was absolutely against with what he was doing. Kuroro looked back at him, another unnerving smirk was playing on his lips. 

"See? What's hard about that?" He sarcastically sneered. 

"You hopeless pervert," Kurapika hissed back. 

"Well?" Kuroro mockingly said, apparently more that used to with the name calling. "What are you waiting for? Go on and pleasure this hopeless pervert." 

'Damn, damn... DAMN IT!' Kurapika cursed in his mind again and again. All he wanted to do was to tear that forsaken smile apart, beat the bastard to pulp until he bled to death. He badly wanted to close his bare hands to that pale neck, strangle it hard until it snapped. He was not a violent person but that dark side of him went all out when it came to this jerk. His blood just began to boil with a mere thought of him. He couldn't understand just why, of all the pain and torture he had wanted to inflict to this man, did he end up in this situation and instead be obliged to goddamn pleasure him? 

Keeping his relentless glare, he convinced himself hard to remain sane and save his torture plans for the future. He swore he would make him suffer ten more thousand folds than this physical and psychological agony he had been imposing on him. He willed himself some more, and proceeded to lowering his lips again and angling his face, reaching for the bastard's damn lips. He had no any idea how he could retain his sanity up until now, maybe he was already own of his mind— because he didn't think he still was if he could do this. Really, it wouldn't be surprising if half of his brain wasn't working properly anymore. 

Kuroro immediately let him in when he hesitantly darted his tongue to his mouth. His own accommodated the other, they brushed against each other, sharing a warm, wet kiss. Kurapika shut his eyes tight, feeling the hard suckle accompanied with a gentle bite Kuroro gave. He could loudly hear the man's discreet moans and growls, the impatient 'hmm,' and the hitching breaths. Creepy wasn't an enough word to describe it. Yet, it was stirring Kurapika inside. He didn't want to hear it— but he didn't dislike it wholeheartedly either. 

One of the man's hand crept up to Kurapika's cheek from his hip. He cupped his large palm under the blond's jawline, his thumb brushed the side of his chin. A powerful urge to clutch his hands onto Kuroro's dark, wet hair rose from his mind, and he fought hard against it by clawing his fingertips over the man's shoulders. The kiss went on, until Kuroro grew more impatient and let his lips go. He aimed for his cheek next. 

The man's warm, slightly wet lips ran down from his jawline to his collarbone, and there he began to suckle affectionately. A soft gasp managed to escape from Kurapika's mouth. He wanted to back away but Kuroro clung onto him more, leaving him no where to run. All he could do was to turn his head sideways and steel himself to bear with it, wishing it wouldn't leave any visible mark. 

Until his mind processed on an important issue that he thought they ought to talk about. 

"I... don't have the faintest idea how Meniandro found this out." 

Kuroro acted as if he didn't hear what the boy said, or rather, not perturbed with the raised subject. He continued to lick the blond's pale skin, earning more flinch and trembles from him. When Kurapika leaned a little forward towards him with his hands motioning as if he was about to push him away did Kuroro free the shaken Kuruta. 

Just right under the boy's ear, he whispered. 

"Me neither." 

He sneaked a chaste kiss from Kurapika's lips. 

He leaned his back against the tub, his hand still on the Kuruta's waist. 

"I made sure that no one was around when I entered that utility room. Even when you arrived, I felt no presence nearby aside from yours. Unless Meniandro is a nen-user and very good at using Setsu, then I can say that he didn't see us getting inside that room. 

"However, the VIP room was another story. Of course a lot of people are expected to be there. If Meniandro is not familiar with using nen at all, his aura would be no different from the others. It would mingle perfectly with everyone, and neither of us would recognize and trace if he incidentally see you emerging out from this room. In addition to that, I feel like this cabin's now under surveillance. It doesn't matter anyway, I can go in and out without being detected. But after the poker game, it's given that he's now more than sure about us." 

Kurapika gave no vocal response but the mere look in his face was enough to tell how much it was bothering him. 

"Hmm, I understand that Meniandro can be such a great pain in the ass but there's only one quick way to deal with him." 

Kurapika perfectly knew what that 'one quick way' was, but still he wanted to affirm it. He looked Kuroro in the eyes. 

"Finish him off? By you?" 

"Sure, for a small price of course," Kuroro smiled. 

There was a brief, awkward silence, then Kurapika broke into a mocking laughter. 

"Small price?" he sneered. "Do those kind of words ever exist in your vocabulary? Cut it out, I don't exactly know your definition of small but I bet it's the polar opposite of mine." 

"It's negotiable," Kuroro coaxed. "I really don't mind doing you a favor, especially if it's about keeping our trade a secret. You know—with the right price, I can be a loyal dog for a day." 

"No, thanks," Kurapika promptly declined. "The mere thought of you killing someone big time for me is not a very good idea in a lot more ways than one, let alone me asking you to do it. Teaching him a lesson is something I can handle myself. I'm not going to rely on you and your dirty ways of doing things." 

"Alright, if you say so. Though you can freely tell me in case you change your mind." 

“Don't look forward to it." 

Kuroro couldn't help it. He lightly chuckled then moved a hand up to Kurapika's cheek. He took the wet, stray strands of the blond's hair and gently tucked it behind his ear. 

Kurapika didn't manage to hide his surprise upon seeing the man exhibiting another affectionate gesture to him. He gave it no mind, though, and decided to go on with their conversation. 

"So," he said. "How did you do it?" 

"Did what?" 

"… You purposely let Dmitri win the poker game, didn't you?" 

He couldn't quite forget it. The astonished look on Dmitri's face when the cards revealed his glorious victory, the unbelieving and miserable expression Meniandro wore upon the unexpected result, and most of all, the stoic face Kuroro had after his spot-on lost of five billion. 

At first, it didn't make sense to Kurapika. But he could tell that it was part of Kuroro's plan. Neither he nor the female attendant standing next to him saw any kind of cheating made. He even used Gyou to check if Kuroro was using nen. His aura was just flowing and surrounding around him, and all of the cards were free of nen. 

Forget about the mysterious trick the Genei Ryodan head discreetly executed – the result was more baffling to Kurapika. 

The thought of Meniandro winning was indeed worrying, but what made Kurapika so dreadful back then was the high possibility of Kuroro Lucifer winning the game. 

He was just a fingertip close from becoming a full-time sex toy for Kuroro. Truthfully, he really thought that he would fall right into the bastard's hands with the most shameful, horrendous way. 

But he didn't, for a reason he just couldn't understand. For one thing: it wasn't out of luck. Kuroro surely did something for the game to favor his employer. 

"Hmm? Weren't you the one who shuffled the cards? Why are you asking me?" 

"Quit the mind games, jerk. I know damn well that you let Dmitri take it all." 

"Why are you bothering yourself with such insignificant matters? You said yourself; I have my own way of settling things. Besides, isn't it good that your ass was saved from that pedophile?" 

"Saved?" Kurapika mockingly snarled. "I'm now sitting my ass on a perverted pedophile's lap, literally. Which part of that is the salvation you are talking about?" 

"What? Don't tell me you'd rather let him win than you boss?" 

"Let me tell you one important thing here: I'd rather have Meniandro as a customer than you," as if proving that he meant what he had said, Kurapika bore his gaze to Kuroro's, showing him how serious he was. 

However, he felt himself slightly taken aback, even shaken, with the look Kuroro returned. His face was clear of any emotions, but his eyes did otherwise as they held the gravest glint Kurapika had seen on Kuroro so far. No words nor expression was needed for him to realize that he what he had declared had touched the Genei Ryodan head's nerves. 

"Unnerved? Let me divulge you even more – I don't mind falling into Meniandro's hands. I think that'd be much more tolerable that this. Honestly, I wish you didn't meddle with the poker game last night. Just to remind you, I'm not a property to be watched over from others. I don't need your help to settle my matters no matter how critical they would be. You might be my first, but that doesn't mean I can't serve anybody else." 

Kurapika got what he wanted; Kuroro looked pretty angry. That served him right. 'Have some piece of my mind.' 

Kuroro's face remained unaffected, though the smirk he gave wasn't as sly as before. 

"Have some piece of my mind as well, Kurapika— I do not share." 

Kurapika's eyes widened with that. 

"Wha—" 

"Meniandro is a successful and one of the well known businessmen of the decade. His ventures range from casinos, hotels and clubs— all are human resources related. He owns a quite plenty of business establishments compare to a normal businessman. That given, have you ever wondered where on earth is he getting his human supplies?" 

At the sudden change of topic, Kurapika felt somewhat frustrated. 

Kuroro didn't wait for him to answer. 

"I know you already had his background checked. Meniandro's main source of profit is his underground business that's related to his favorite line of trade: human trafficking. Both his legitimate and illegal practices need plenty of human resource, and he'll get it anywhere he can. He's into sadomasochistic plays, by the way. Anyway, he gets his supplies usually around alleys and corners of York Shin, but of course his customers' taste vary, and more importantly, he wants virgins and young ones as much as possible. Mostly, he smuggles people from poor villages and provinces where people are willing to give anything for food and basic necessities. 

"Wait—" 

"And the place where he gets his most number of supplies, especially underage kids and teenagers, is Ryuuseigai" 

There was a nasty, blank silence, with Kurapika looking incredulously at Kuroro after feeding him information. 

"Ryuu… seigai?" 

"Yeah. My home town." 

"Wait— why are you telling me this?" 

"You said you'd rather have him than me, right? I'm just giving you a bigger picture of him." 

"So what are you trying to imply?" 

"I'll repeat myself, then. I don't share. If you're set to go to him then you better think twice. Just bear in mind that I won't go easy on him or on you should I find it out: I need not to elaborate the things I can do, do I?" 

Upon hearing the very territorial and claiming statement, Kurapika was nothing but flabbergasted. 

'What… is this feeling?' Kurapika was so angry for being treated like an object, yet he was fully aware of the man's sudden change of mood. He somewhat understood that possessive resolve, and he didn't care. Kuroro didn't have the right to feel as if he was about to be stolen of a precious property because Kurapika wasn't one. But aside from the annoyance that built inside him, was another feeling that he couldn't properly name. 

"Stop treating me like an object – I'm not goddamn toy!" He blurted out. 

"You're not, Kurapika." Kuroro acknowledge his anger… for the first time. "So don't turn yourself into one. Think twice before getting yourself involved with that old man." 

Kurapika was too late to realize that he must be giving the man a meaningful look. 

"Then… why?" Kurapika muttered. 

"Why what?" 

"You can easily win that poker game last night, can't you?" 

Kuroro eyed his curiously. 

"No, let me rephrase that: why on earth did you let me loose?" 

Another nasty silence fell, with Kuroro gracing his lips into a charming smile. 

"That time when you raped me," Kurapika's voice sounded low, even subdued, as if pained by recalling the unwanted memories. He seemed to be still deeply affected by the incident, but he had this question in mind for the whole time. He took the chance to ask directly. "You could have just tucked me away to use me again anytime whenever you feel like it. I don't understand— why do you go as far as trading with me, to think that if you just hid me away back then, you can use me again for free. What's with this deal? What the hell are you trying to do?" 

"Hmm… isn't it much more fun to play with a stray cat all around the house than to play with it on the same corner over and over again?" Kuroro thoughtfully replied. 

"Aren't you contradicting yourself? If my memory serves me right, you just said that that I'm not a toy a while ago," Kurapika countered, obviously incited upon being referred as a stray cat. 

"Don't you know what a figure of speech is? Geez. Anyway, isn't it the other way around?" Kuroro said. "Instead of keeping you for my private use, I've let you live and strive, while from time to time we'll have this secret trade. You're given a chance to grow stronger and get your clan's eyes, while I'm enjoying the luxury of playing the game the way I want. Aren't you relieved? You still have the chance to take me down one day. Really, Kurapika. Stop being so hard to yourself. Leave the unimportant details aside and focus on things on hand." 

The answer didn't make much sense, it even infuriated him yet Kurapika could tell it was true, and what he could only do was to avert his eyes away from the man. He turned his head sideways. 

"Oh, don't tell me you'd rather be caged and tied in a dark dungeon to be a full-time sex slave? I didn't quite expect you're kind of a masochist," Kuroro mocked, apparently trying to get to the blond's nerves. 

That did it; Kurapika slipped his hands down the man's shoulders and moved his legs to stand up but ended up falling back down on the tub as Kuroro yanked him hard to his chest, one of his hands caught his arm and places it back on his shoulder. 

"Right – I forgot you're not the joking type. Take it easy, Kurapika. That short temper of yours can turn into a key to your downfall one day" 

Kurapika merely shot him a piercing glare, feeding off his anger. 

"One more remark like that and consider this as our last transaction. Don't get so cocky for having all that upper hands; you're not the only one with a backup plan, let me tell you." 

"Getting tougher, aren't we?" Unaffected by the threat, Kuroro complimented. His hand silently reached out, droplets of warm water fell down from his fingertips, they dropped on Kurapika's pale collarbone and slid down, drenching the faint red mark he had purposely left earlier. 

Slipping his hand beneath the boy's blond strands, he pulled his head closer and lightly clutched onto it. 

"Let's see about that, Kurapika," taking in the reluctant, even somewhat nervous look on the Kuruta's face, Kuroro once again claimed his lips. 

Taking the comment as a dare rather than a threat, Kurapika let the man do what he wanted. He kept a small amusement to himself and even mentally gave his own shoulder a pat; they both know that Kurapika was no serious with what he had said but still it looked as though Kuroro was momentarily convinced and even pissed with the thought. 

As if he really would lower himself that level. 

If he were the type who would leech other people off to get what he wanted, he should have done so a long time ago. He would never stoop down low to retrieve the eyes; that was against his moral, and his clansmen's restless souls would doubtlessly oppose that. Even if it was Dmitri, Meniandro, even Nostrad— there was no way in hell he would use other people to reach his goals in life. 

It might sound hypocrite, but Kuroro Lucifer was another story. For one: he was the one who stole the eyes to begin with: he had the most idea of where they all fell. Second, right from the beginning. He could feel that Genei Ryodan must have kept at least one single pair of the eyes in their possession, and the leader would likely be the one keeping it. Lastly, the rape incident was the root of it all. It was the key for him to get his first two official Kuruta eyes. He came to learn that Kuroro possessed more pairs, and that he had no any other exact means to get them all but dealing with him the way he wanted. More importantly— he was the leader of the thieves he yearned to take down. The trade could be a great, big step towards his two goals, and he was given no choice but to take it. 

Yet truthfully speaking, if Kuroro didn't abuse him and just offered the deal, Kurapika would have declined without batting an eye, without doing a second thought. It was just that the damage had been done, and the Kuruta had decided to make a good use of it. 

'You know—with the right price, I can be a loyal dog for a day.'  

That had Kurapika thinking. 'Then how loyal dog can you be?' 

He had to put that matter aside, though, and he opted to free his mind of anything for the time being— he had a five billion jennies to pay tonight. 

'Right, I'll pay the price. I won't leave a single cent of debt.'  

Grudgingly, he pulled away from Kuroro's lips. The man let him go and slipped both hands back to the boy's waist. It turned into a cue for Kurapika to move; he knew that there would be times when he had to take lead during their sessions. It would be so unmanly if Kuroro was always the one moving, given that they had their positions switched this time. More than being obliged, somewhere inside Kurapika told him that he had to be forward sometimes and show that he indeed had the guts. It was kind of sick to be always the passive one, he had enough of Kuroro proving he was the stronger and more dominant participant. 

Whether he was just vainly convincing himself or just making an excuse for his own convenience, Kurapika guessed it didn't really matter anymore. 

He took one quick but deep breath. Keeping an unwavering look on the man's dark orbs, he felt his heart skipped a beat, and everything turned so red in his eyes. He knew his Scarlet eyes were the only reason why the man let him live. It was the root of everything, turning it all out this way. He let the man savor the moment, then with his hands trembling, he reached out his fingers and hesitantly rested them over Kuroro's chin. With his heart hammering inside his chest while his tensed shoulders forcibly relaxing, he leaned towards the man and angled his head for a deep, sensual kiss. 

It was a close-mouthed, cautious brush at first. But when Kurapika gathered more courage, he went for another one, rougher and longer this time. Kuroro wasn't responding. He was waiting for the blond to get things hotter and more aggressive, watching and enjoying himself seeing Kurapika trying so hard. 

And it seemed the Kuruta had learned how to kiss properly. It was likely that he was just imitating his moves; but he couldn't really consider it like that. Kurapika would rather die than to mimic his style. It was neither so forced nor eager. Not so light yet not so heavy either. He just couldn't help but like it. He found himself responding a little, telling the boy that he was pleased. 

Kurapika broke the kiss just to move his head on the other side of Kuroro. That was a hell of a sexy act in Kuroro's eyes. He lowered his lips again, and claimed the man's once more, his tongue flicked lightly over it, beckoning Kuroro to let him in. Kuroro almost lost control right there and then; this boy sure knew how to bring him to the edge. 

He was more the welcomed. Once given the access, Kurapika clamped his mouth against Kuroro's and darted his tongue in, tasting him. His tongue didn't move much, it just stayed there as though waiting for the man to instigate. 

Kuroro granted the unvoiced request; he did the honor and brushed his tongue against Kurapika's, taking the lead. 

The relentless kiss went on, Kurapika was falling for it, both man slowly losing control. Kuroro felt him completely leaning against his chest, weighing down on his. The contact was heaven. Kurapika must be subconscious of it— the more Kuroro liked it. None seemed to have a sense of what was going on. None seemed to want to give a heck. 

Kuroro was kind of alarmed when he didn't realize how Kurapika's fingers rose up to cup his face. He flinched just a bit, but relaxed as to not to raise any unnecessary suspicion. But what he didn't expect, what he really had never expected which had his lose his guard, was when Kurapika dropped his other hand under the warm water, slid his fingers down his torso and limply fell on his crotch. Cautiously, he moved the tips of his fingers, and once he found what he was looking for, he gently touched and wrapped his hand around it. 

Kuroro's heart skipped a long beat when the blond broke their passionate, intense kiss and looked at his face, taking in his reaction when for the first time, he voluntarily touched the older man. The Ryodan head proudly showed how surprised, amused and excited he was, and it was Kurapika who looked embarrassed instead of him. 

"Tonight costs five billion; I know how to pay right," he mumbled, sounding discreetly shy. Kuroro just graced his lips into a sweet, charming smirk. 

He mischievously stole a kiss from the boy's reddening cheek. 

"I know you do. You're getting better at kissing, by the way." 

"Shut up," and to keep Kuroro from giving his unwanted, unnecessary snide comments, Kurapika shut him up by kissing him again. It was effective, as usual. 

Enough of holding back—Kuroro wanted the boy so bad. The next moment, his hand was all over the blond, pulling him so close, demanding for more. Kurapika didn't resist but was evidently flustered when he broke the kiss to breathe in, though he didn't pull away and lunged to Kuroro's lips again, continuing his task as if he wasn't interrupted at all. 

Kurapika felt one of Kuroro's hand crawling down his skin underneath the water. It imitated his own and sneaked its way around his organ. Kurapika flinched a little but easily regained composure. He took it as a cue, and he moved slightly, positioning himself over his lap more comfortably. 

When everything was finally set, Kurapika willed himself hard to move his hand up and down the man's erection. Kuroro immediately did the same, savoring the rare moment. 

Kuroro audibly moaned against the blond's lips, its sound rang on Kurapika's ears. Kurapika rarely heard him make loud sounds; it was him who would often moan involuntarily and yelp in pain. He knew the older man had no qualms about it, however. In that short span of period, he had come to learn few things about him. Kuroro wasn't the type who would deny himself of the things he was interested into. He was the kind of guy who could easily talk to about things. And Kurapika was kind of sure that if he turned into a normal person, he would be a very sensible, even happy-go-lucky companion to hang out with. 

It was creepy, hearing the annoying, pleasured sound coming from him ringing against his mouth. Yet, Kurapika could clearly acknowledge that weird sensations that were beginning to stir inside him upon hearing it. He recognized it as normal urges of his body, his mind was rejecting it all and denying it, but his nerves were doing otherwise. Some part of him hated it, but the other part wanted to hear more. To his ears, the sound both expressed pleasure and weakness. The man was surely an alert and cautious person; he did catch that discreet flinch Kuroro unconsciously made as his hand touched a vulnerable and vital spot should he hit right there and then would inflict a fatal blow and would likely bring the man's life into its instant end. 

But Kuroro trusted him that moment and let him be, believing he had meant no harm. That was one point to take into account; with this close scrutiny he would be able to study and observe the Genei Ryodan head. As of the moment, Kurapika really had no concrete plan in his mind to escape this catastrophe he was in. He somewhat believed he needed not as of yet. More time and calculations were ought to be taken in process for a flawless plan to bring Kuroro and his gang completely down. Once with reliable information, threading a perfect strategy would be easy. But as of now, Kurapika had to collect all information he could ever pick on the way, no matter how small or insignificant they would be. 

He wanted to test: if he deluded the man with a pretense that he was falling for his web and had no any other choice but to give in, would he see more of his vulnerable sides? 

He decided to conduct an initial experiment. Since the man loved to mark and treat him like an owned property, why not make him feel and experience the same treatment? It would surely amuse the perverted creep and he would get his own tiny, little revenge—two birds with a stone. Five billion certainly wasn't easy to pay, and this would definitely cover up a big part of the price. 

Kurapika freed Kuroro's lips, both of them were out of breath. The Kuruta cleared his face off of any emotion and looked at the man's eyes, boring his scarlet eyes down his dark ones. Kuroro was thoroughly pleased with this and was hardly masking the amusement on his face. He returned Kurapika's unwavering gaze equally, looking intently at his crimson, bright orbs. 

Neither his face nor his eyes gave him any hint about what was going on inside the Kuruta's mind, but Kuroro knew he was up to something. Daring him, he curved his wet lips into a naughty smirk, beckoning him to go on, telling him he wanted so much more. Kurapika picked it up and complied. He clamped his reluctant hand at Kuroro's dark hair and clutched onto it. He gently tugged it on a side, angling the man's head sideways, exposing his now defenseless pale neck. Kuroro went along, comprehending what Kurapika was about to do. 

As he anticipated, Kurapika gave him one emotionless look before lowering his head, apparently aiming for his neck. Kuroro heard himself silently growled when the boy's familiar soft and warm tongue teasingly licked a sensitive spot several times before lapping his mouth over it. He managed to hold back a moan when Kurapika lightly suckled, flicking his tongue up and down, assaulting its chosen target. The boy's hand kept the pace underwater, stroking him nice and slow, matching the gentle suckling against his throat. 

What a soft and gentle torture it was. 

Kuroro wanted it harder and faster; he gestured his demand by doing it himself to the blond, pumping him harder and faster, hoping the message would get across. The smart kid did get it and moved faster, he even sucked a little harder while pulling at Kuroro's black strands. Kuroro loved the way the act hurt, he moaned loudly and even breathlessly uttered Kurapika's name. 

"… It feels so good. You're good at this, Kurapika," he teased, stifling a chuckle. 

"… Thanks. It's funny how it doesn't flatter me at all," Kurapika returned, his voice free of annoyance but filled with sarcasm. 

"You're improving with your comebacks too," Kuroro added. 

"Hmm," Kurapika only hummed for he was already attending back to now reddening spot he was incessantly suckling earlier. 

There was a slightly arch of back from Kuroro—damn his shameless expression of desire. The bastard even arched his head more, offering his skin. A clear sign of surrender; how Kurapika wanted to sever that pale, smooth neck, the towering need to slice it open and tear it apart. It was so tempting, and it felt so ironic now that instead of doing just that, he was obliged to treat nice and gentle. Well, when the right time came he swore he would do it again and again until his neck came off of his head, until his face became beyond recognition. So for the time being, give him the pleasure in exchange for the price he had paid. 

It was his turn to whimper right under the man's ears as an involuntary moan slipped from his lips. Kuroro was stroking him so good he could sense himself nearing his climax. He didn't want that in all honesty; the release would mix into the water, dirtying it. He felt stupid and even ironic afterwards; both of them dipping into it was contaminating the water enough, what more damage could it do? 

A fairly huge and round red spot was neatly planted over the man's skin when Kurapika pulled away, catching breath. For a split second, his eyes turned to its normal color then it quickly brightened in scarlet again when he saw the angry mark blemished his perfectly white skin. 

Kurapika could strongly feel himself blushing. He didn't mean to leave the mark that big—was it because the bastard was too pale? Or did he—did he just have gone too far and lost control? Oh, no. The latter was unlikely. Maybe Kuroro just had a very delicate skin. 

"Keeping moving, Kurapika. You're spacing out," the jerk grumbled before stealing a quick kiss from Kurapika's flushed cheek. 

"Shut up," was all he could say. He knew he really was spacing out, his mind was swaying off again if he were doing fine, but he needed Kuroro not to remind him that. To keep him from anymore unnecessary comments, he did the one and only effective way to shut his mouth—using his own. He captured the man's lips into a close-mouthed kiss and kept the contact, waiting for the man to deepen it if he wanted to. 

He decide to fully focus on his task on hand, he wouldn't want to leave anything unpaid. Determined, he kept on stroking the older man with a hand, wanting him to just come already and get it all over with. He even coordinated with his lips in hope it would help. He felt so sick yet guiltily amused when Kuroro let out one luscious, loud moan and even broke their kiss for a breath, clear signs that he was getting near. His hands started to caress him coaxingly underwater. And as if to coerce him even more, he obliged himself with the kissing task and crushed his lips against Kurapika's instantly signaling him to let him in. Their moans mingled with each other, creating a rhythmic melody. It seemed to be the key for Kuroro's nerves to shake, he let out a brusque growl and Kurapika sensed him released in a matter of seconds. 

"… Not bad," Kuroro smirked, breathless. 

"One round down," Kurapika listlessly breathed out. "Two more to go." 

"Damn it," Kuroro rumbled. "I want nothing right now but to impale myself to you. If only you can be this obedient all the time." 

"Dream on, bastard." 'Shit, even the name calling is getting sexier day by day' Kuroro mentally cursed. Kurapika shot him an determined look. "This will be the first and the last, so enjoy it 'til the very end." 

"Right, if you say so," Kuroro swore he would make Kurapika swallow that promise later, but for now he would do what he was told—there was no way in hell he would decline the offer. 

He maneuvered the boy around and switched their position with Kurapika's back on the tub. The blond neither made resistance nor raised objection, but his eyes displayed confusion and curiosity. Kuroro loved that: he liked it so bad to see that confused and startled expressions every time he would introduce him to new things. The way he would try and mask his desire never failed to amuse and entertain him. 

Now he would reward him for his efforts; let him have some incentive for a job well done. 

"Up," he demanded. 

Kurapika eyed him questioningly at first, but he obeyed nonetheless. Unsure of what the heck Kuroro was planning to do, he pushed himself up and leaned his back against the tub. He went on, seeing Kuroro giving no cue if he should stop. Until he was exactly sitting on the tub's rim. 

It all came to his realization when Kuroro moved closer to his crotch. 

"No," he hissed in disbelief, his eyes went wide. 

"I've told you, haven't I?" Looking up to the startled but now embarrassed look on Kurapika's face, he smiled. "I don't mind spoiling you sometimes." 

"I don't need you spoiling me—just get down to your business!" 

"There's no need to hurry, we'll get to that," Kuroro chuckled, further flustering the boy. 

"I said no!" The blond attempted to stand and get away, but one look at Kuroro's face and he knew the Ryodan head was miles away from joking. 

"Quit being a kid and a hypocrite, you're not new to this." 

"Damn it!" Kurapika cursed and looked away. 

"Kurapika." 

"What?" 

"Look at me." 

"I… can't." 

"Yes you can." 

"Oh for goodness' sake," he groaned. "Not this." 

"Look at me right now." 

Kurapika found himself complying to the direct order. 

"Look only at me,” Kuroro repeated. "Never leave your eyes on me. Watch me carefully—observe. Savor every moment, and don't dare close your eyes for long or avert them. Are we clear?" 

"Why are you—"he wasn't even able to finish what he had meant to say when Kuroro hastily brought his lips and closed his mouth on his tip. A yelp sounded and rang all around the echoing bathroom. Kurapika badly wanted to close his eyes and escape shame, but Kuroro's orders surprisingly prevented him to do so. Kuroro locked his gaze on his and never left, he watched as his expressions switched from one to another. His damn, warm mouth busily suckled on his head, he incessantly brushed his tongue against it. He bobbed it in and out of his wet lips, the view was beyond erotic. 

The anticipating glint on Kuroro's eyes was violently suppressing. More than the restraint the man made by wrapping both of his arms around his waist, his eyes were more strangling. For some reason, he couldn't get away from the haunting look. 

"N-Nn…" His breath hitched very silently, but it was still audible thanks to the god forsaken echo. 

Kurapika was lost of what to do with his hands. He was clamping them over the tub's rim, but he wanted something softer to hold on to: a cloth, an arm, or even the dark, wet hair of this bastard would do. But how was he supposed to cling onto that? He would die first than to do such thing. 

Until Kuroro grabbed one of his hands and sensually brought it on his head. 

The man's finger pressed gently on his palm, effectively opening his hand. With his fingers stretched, he beckoned him to slip them into his hair, to hold on to them as if begging for more. Kurapika didn't want it but he had no choice. Orgasm had begun to take him over, and he was afraid to lose control. He was shaking feverishly, he felt so hot and his body was twitching involuntarily. The room was bloody red in his eyes, and the sight of his archenemy giving him a blow job was vivid. It looked real. It felt real. Kuroro's eyes were not vacant like the usual, they were wild and hungry. His gaze was demanding. It was powerful and firm. His eyes were haunting him, the sharp glint remained etched in his mind. It would surely visit his dreams sooner or later. He wanted to get away from them but couldn't find the heart to do so. He was lost of what the heck to do, and the need to feel the sense of release had overpowered. 

He let a gasp out and sneaked one deep, quick breath. He was getting near, and Kuroro sensed it. Kurapika could see through his mind and knew he had no way to escape. It was true anyway, this wasn't the first. But unlike the previous times, now he was obliged to see and watch, and not to turn away. He couldn't cover his eyes and ears either. Kuroro was compelling him to see the truth of this world and the human beings—that the world indeed wasn't all about ideals and justice. It was unfair, cruel, dirty and sad. That this was a part of the path he had chosen to take. 

He had come to know how naïve he was. He finally came to realize that he wasn't a child anymore. 

Then shamefully, he came. Right into the man's mouth. A drop slid down under his chin. Kurapika felt his heart froze when he saw Kuroro swallowed hard. 

He was so stunned in utter disbelief. Kuroro chuckled again and gave him a mocking look, but Kurapika was still paralyzed his brain seemed to cease working for a while. 

It looked like it really did take a break, Kurapika didn't raise much resistance when Kuroro pulled him back down the tub and wrapped him into a hug. Of course he had ulterior motives: he held onto the blond's head and attacked a side of his throat with his wet, slippery lips. Kurapika could only whimper; unconsciously he placed a hand over the man's shoulder, Kurapika didn't want to—it was his body moving on its own as if in instinct. 

He sometimes couldn't understand why somehow, he felt weak and vulnerable every time Kuroro's arms were on him. He was hiding it of course, but for some reason whenever the man would offer him warmth and temporary comfort, the desire to succumb to it rose from within him. Was it still a normal impulse? It likely was. It was natural to feel like wanting to reciprocate the same feeling to the other party at some times, especially when it came to this kind of activity, wasn't it? He believed it was normal to feel like that, perhaps it was normal to respond and acknowledge it, too. It wouldn't hurt to go with it sometimes, he supposed. 

'Just for now,' he convinced himself. 'Just for now, leave no debt. Pay up until the last cent.' He made his mind up and steeled himself more. 

Hesitantly, he laid both his hands over Kuroro's shoulders, right above his collarbone. Kuroro's lips were now ghosting just below his ear, damn him for finding a sensitive spot, and Kurapika heard himself whimpered. Even if it was against his will, he let the incessant urges take over and the next thing he knew, he was leaning his head lightly against Kuroro's shoulder. 

Kuroro's embrace loosened, but it didn't let go. He just brought a hand and brushed his fingertips on the blond's jawline, gesturing him. The blond complied, he looked up and bored his ever so vibrant crimson eyes to Kuroro's dark ones. The man gazed down at him in appreciation then knowingly went for his lips, he caught that brief sight as Kurapika slowly closed his eyes and took one deep breath. 

Their lips met, it was neither hesitant nor calculated. It went deep so smoothly, so naturally, and Kuroro couldn't believe it at all. Surely, Kurapika was getting used to it by day. 

He couldn't wait any longer than this. He broke the kiss, and it startled the Kuruta. He eyed him questioningly and Kuroro answered the unvoiced question by motioning him to turn around. He simply pressed a hand against one of Kurapika's shoulders, and the blond instantly picked it up for a very brief moment, Kuroro saw fear in his feature, but he never had a chance to confirm if it really was for he had completely turned his back to him. 

Kurapika read his mind perfectly; he wasn't told but he held onto the tub's rim and braced himself against it. 

Oh, Kuroro thought. Could it be that he somehow wanted him, too? No, of course not. He was just in a hurry. 'Well, the feeling is mutual in a sense,' he gave a discreet chuckle and dug in into the offered treat. 

He prepared the boy like the usual with a help of a liquid soap. He sadly couldn't see what kind of expression must have replaced Kurapika's typically composed feature as he slipped one, two fingers in and out of his opening. There was a moan, not loud but audible, shortly followed by huffed and hitched breathing. Until Kuroro judged he was fine, he pulled Kurapika up until his bottom was out of the water. Then, he cautiously pushed his way through the puckered, soft entrance. 

A loud sound of a yelp rang inside the bathroom. It was held afterwards, but followed by more ragged and shallow moans. Kuroro pushed into it further, feeding the entire length, and the held cry was released, even louder than the first one. He saw as the blond clawed his hands into the ceramic brim and leaned his head heavily over his knuckles. 

He let Kurapika get used to the intrusion, he witnessed how hardly he tried to compose himself when the hitching intake of air was less tensed, he clutched his hands onto his waist and warned him for the next move. 

Kuroro pulled out then very carefully went back in. There was another silent whine, but was repressed again. He repeated, but there was no sound. He took it as a cue and thus went a little faster. That warranted another seductive, discreet whimper. He gauged the boy's tolerance through that, and it seemed Kurapika grew more accustomed with heightening speed than the last time. 

There was less sound, but less resistance. His body seemed to be more cooperative. There were responses, there were quiet indications of acceptance and even provocations. He caught that slight movement of his hips as if grinding against his, and the arch of his back. He was controlling himself and apparently, he was doing a poor job. 

Kuroro brought his torso closer to Kurapika's back and grabbed his either wrists. The thrusts would be less powerful but he would get to hear him louder this way. It was even more affectionate and up close. He was sure he would get him more submissive and compliant with this. 

"Am I too fast?" He asked in his husky, breathy voice. 

"… Don't take me as a weakling, bastard," Kurapika said in a not-so-convincing arrogant tone. Well, he was panting so hard and his grasp on the tub looked as though if he were to add any more pressure, the ceramic would be crushed into pieces. 

"I'll take that as a no," he teased and bent his head closer to Kurapika's. He sneaked one kiss from his cheek then began ramming against him again. 

There were muffled moans and uneven breaths again, some occasional 'ah!' and visible twitching and shivering. Kuroro figured Kurapika was less conscious with the sounds, given that they were not face to face unlike the usual. Perhaps he was a little less concerned with now that he couldn't watch him switch expressions into another. Oh, that was one another tiny discovery to take into account. 

'It's hot… it's freaking hot,' Kurapika felt as if he was on fire: well he was, metaphorically. This session felt peculiarly different from the previous ones, maybe because of the location and even position. He was free to screw his face and open his mouth in voiceless gasps since Kuroro couldn't see him, and he couldn't see his sick and arrogant smirk either. He was clueless of the pace Kuroro would do, and it was making his heart go wild. The bastard must be having so much fun as he watched his own length getting in and out of him. What a sickening thought that was. He didn't think he would want to try this position ever again, yet—maybe a little change wouldn't be so bad once in a while. 

'It oddly feels less flustering, maybe because there was no eye contact?'  

Then it came again, this weird dizziness that he always experienced whenever they did it. It was likely from fatigue and their prolonged stay on the hot water. He tried to will it away and hide it from the man. It seemed Kuroro was taking more time to come, he absently wondered a little why. 

Seconds later, he finally felt the warm, foreign liquid spilling inside him, intoxicating his nerves and senses. 

There were husked, ragged pants behind him. Kuroro pulled out and sank back down the water, seemingly satisfied. Kurapika warily sat down from the awkward position and slightly huddled to his knees, trying to get a grip of himself. He refused to turn around, not that he wanted to look at the bastard just after the second round. He believed he would last for one last time before the headache worsened, yet he didn't expect to be held from behind and be forced to lean his back into a warm, soft flesh. 

It funnily took him some time before realizing that Kuroro actually tangled to him for a—'cuddle?' 

"You're dizzy again, aren't you?" Kuroro nonchalantly asked. 

Kurapika neither wanted to admit nor deny. He admittedly had no reason to deny, but he had no heart to say yes either. To the question, he could only remain silent. 

"I see, let's take a little break inside the room. We'll continue there," Kuroro spoke with a light tone on his voice. 

Kurapika refused to believe that the bastard was capable of speaking with such tone, let alone hearing him say things as if having concern over him. Then again, this wasn't the first time Kuroro ever expressed acts of consideration towards him. Sometimes, he couldn't help but think that this man now comfortably cuddling him had two faces. 

"Fine," he only mumbled. He curled into himself even more, he would die first before voluntarily lean against his sworn enemy's chest. 

"Let's go," Kurapika felt the man standing on his feet from behind. He let the man leave the tub first, he looked so uncaring about walking naked in front of another person. Well, Kurapika had seen it all for quite a lot of times, it was him who was still restless and worked up about all of these. 

He followed him shortly, not wanting the man to think that he was awkward and all about moving around bared. He toweled himself dry in haste and wrapped his lithe body with a white bathrobe, mentally asking himself why the hell was he feeling so self-aware and even insecure for having a small, frail looking built compared to the conceited bastard's muscular, well-toned physique. Kuroro didn't even bother touching the other bathrobe and just put on a small, white towel around his waist. 

Then Kurapika realized he was being eaten by contemplations. Again. His hair was dripping wet, and he wasn't even aware. He reacted pretty delayed when Kuroro swabbed a towel over his head and gently dried it up for him. Kurapika tried to get away, while Kuroro was holding him still. The towel soon revealed a disheveled and blushing Kurapika, yet he didn't raise any objection and just bowed his head in peculiar embarrassment. 

"Let's get moving," he cued and marched out of the bathroom. 

Once outside, Kurapika went over his clothes and looked for his phone, intending to check the time. His heart skipped a beat when the phone's screen showed three consecutive missed calls and a text message from his co-worker, Mitsuhiko. He immediately read its contents, took one glance at the Spider head who was now sitting on the bed and waiting for him. Kuroro gave him a inquiring look, he answered by swiping a button on his phone and turning his back to him to make a call. He kept his voice low and his answers timid, Mitsuhiko didn't ask him for details but gave him a concise report. Once done with the conversation, Kurapika let a smirk grace on his lips and drew out a relieved sigh. 

"It seems we have to put the third one on hold," Kurapika announced, turning around to look at the man. As he expected, Kuroro just gave him a smile and sat upright on the bed. "I didn't expect you're not as clean as I've always been assuming when doing your job. I wonder how they've found out." 

"Ah, did I mess something up?" Kuroro asked with a silly smile. 

"Yes, it seems." 'It's time for some bargaining.' "Now I wonder what I should do? The man they are looking for and asked me to catch is now merrily chatting with me. Ah, it would surely fetch me some reputation should I turn you to them." 

"As if you can," Kuroro chuckled sardonically. 

"You love underestimating me, don't you?" Kurapika stepped closer to the man and halted right in front of him. "I did catch you once, remember? And you know," Kuroro's eyes showed no surprise when the sound of chains began to linger in the room, and the real chains suddenly slithered and shackled his wrists and ankles. Kurapika indulged himself with the rare view then remarked: "What happened once can happen twice." 

Kuroro gave an easy-going sigh. "What do you want?" 

"First thing; put the third round on hold." 

This time, Kuroro groaned like a dejected child. 

"Do you realize how fun it will be to play bondage again with these?" Kuroro waved his wrists as if implying that he liked being bound like that. 

Kurapika felt his face blushing, but he didn't waver. 

"Second; find out if Meniandro has any Kuruta eyes in his possession, and how many they are." 

"Want me to get them for you? That comes with a different charge, of course." 

"Get the information, and we'll talk." 

"Got it." 

Kurapika retracted his chains. It dissipated into the thin air. 

"Get your escape route ready if I were you," he advised. "The management is pretty desperate and even went as far as asking all the hunters on board just to catch you. They have a hunch about you being a member of Ryodan, too." 

"Sure. Thanks for the tip." 

"Just to tell you; don't expect any help from me. Once you're caught, I won't hesitate to kill you should I be asked to." 

"Roger that," Kuroro answered in a very lazy tone. 

Kurapika donned into his clothes as fast as he could, feeling Kuroro's eyes all over him as he did so. 

"See you again next time," Kuroro bade, he waved a hand coupled with a smile plastered on his face. 

Kurapika only shot him a gaze then made a sound in his throat as a response. He left without saying another word. 

Behind the closed door, Kuroro sluggishly slumped his back on the mattress and sighed. 

"You've finally learned how to play, huh," he mused aloud. 

'This is getting more and more interesting,' Kuroro was loving it. He sure had more spectacles to look forward to. Too bad he missed that one more round, he should have just did him back then on the tub regardless of the state the Kuruta was in, he himself said not to be treated as a weakling. Well anyway, he could just make up to that pending round. Oh, even for some reason that was actually pretty exciting. 

Back on his current situation, he did have to devise an escape plan. He wondered how they figured out his identity, though he was certain that they weren't particularly suspecting him as of yet. Kuroro wouldn't wait for them of course—he would be long gone when they did. 

Good time was over, he needed to get going. He languidly clad in his clothes and prepared for his departure, all the while pondering over the thought of how could he get Kurapika have another bondage game with him using his very own vicious chains. 

 

 

Chapter Text

The sea breeze was both sharp and cold.

Right outside the dining lounge was a long pathway of the side of the ship. The glass walls proudly displayed a regal view of luxury and mystique as the dazzling chandeliers and draperies matched the silky, dotted dark night, with the shimmering calm waves of the ocean. The bright moon was gleaming on its wake; the deep, gloomy dark sea illuminated its light, with its crates peculiarly more visible that night.

Standing next to the railing with his hands deeply tucked in his pockets, the last Kuruta peacefully settled his eyes on the lovely view (that somewhat reminded him of his lost home), feeling peaceful and nostalgic.

A dinner party was held on the last day of the cruise. An announcement was released about the cancellation of the cruise's last destination and detouring back to the York Shin's coast after the all-out yet futile search and investigation of the auction robbery incident conducted the previous day. It was the Hunter Association who imposed the memo and forced the management to cancel the fifth day of the trip, with a reason that it wasn't safe anymore to continue.

Kurapika turned around to see the framed view of the dancing hall. Pairs of well-suited dancing couples circled round and round all over the dance floor, including his employer, Dmitri, dancing with a pretty lady clad in a glamorous dress. The blond was asked to guard outside the hall, not wanting him to tail around and 'to take a breather, I know you've been stresses out because of all of this.' He looked bemused and delighted with the woman's company, seeing the way how the man smiled. Dmitri looked cool unlike the previous night, after the investigation.

Watching the soundless waltzing of the guests, Kurapika recollected the imposed, compulsory search operation that was posted the night before.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"I really wonder who that bastard is," Dmitri contemplated as all of the summoned hunters on board flocked around one of the crime scenes: the vault.

The room was thoroughly clean; it couldn't be seen as a nasty execution ground where more than a dozen Mafia bodyguards and three professional hunters died. No blood stains, no traces of the thief or the victims, no shadow of any merchandise that was supposed to be lying inside the safe. Nothing.

"The guards outside the vault were killed without spilling a single drop of blood, no corpse or any kind of lead— we are dealing with a hell of a veteran," the management representative coherently reported.

The management turned out to have conducted a separate search, which had the same fruitless results. Patches of theory of how the burglary was made and who the suspect would be left Kurapika nothing but confounded yet amused at the same time.

A group of powerful nen-users came, presumably sent by the Hunter Association, had a member named Fram that had a strong smelling ability that resembled Gon's.

"We're lucky that this is a closed space, familiar and strong scents remained lingering around even after the days that passed.

"Expectedly, the thief didn't bother retrieving his weapons namely typical, non-poisonous needles because he made sure not to leave any fingerprints on them. That came handy— I don't need any marks to trace him down. As long as he touched the weapon, surely a scent from his clothes or his sweat would remain on them.

"All of the needles shared the same scent; it perfectly matched the strong scent that lingered along blood and death inside the vault. So, yes guys: we are dealing with a single man here. Impressive, isn't it?" Fram gave an amused smile.

"So, this bastard has some bizarre random abilities and we can deduce that he's from Specialization. He can compress big items and bring them around, conduct terrifying tortures— yes, those three assassins died a torturous death— and clean his own mess with a help of a 'vacuum.' It's so clear that our opponent was no ordinary man, and we certainly need some help.

"Let's get down to business, gentlemen, our mission is to catch a powerful nen-user with a fake name 'Kurou Tadano,' that turned out to be a master thief that was known to have died months ago, the leader of the prominent band of thieves called Genei Ryodan. He goes by the name 'Kuroro Lucifer."

"Oh God," Dmitri loudly gasped out; it came audible to everyone inside the lounge. Fram shot an alarmed look at their direction. "Uh… Uhm," Dmitri stuttered, feeling all eyes gazing on him. He cleared his throat. "I'm actually familiar with the name. You see… Meniandro-san and I came to play with him on a poker game last night. Just frigging last night. It was an intense game but we ended after the first round. I didn't see him again after the game. That's it."

Meniandro's eyes flicked in momentary shock upon hearing his name. He shortly smoothed back to his calm mien.

"Really? How does he look like?" Fram asked, looking curious.

"A not so ordinary man you can find anywhere. He's wearing a band on his forehead as if hiding something underneath it. He's a pestering bastard, for one thing: he kept asking us to let him join our game even if it had nothing to do with him. Plain, but suspicious," Meniandro chirped.

"It's my first time meeting him," Dmitri added.

"So did I," Meniandro said.

"So we now have a pair of witnesses, in addition with the shots we got from the CCTV footages. So guys," Fram whipped out a paper with a picture of it. It was a clear photo of Kuroro Lucifer in a suit, his forehead wrapped with a white bandage. "This is the bastard we are looking for. He looked exactly the same on York Shin. Of why did he purposely pop out and blow his own fake corpse's scheme, we never know. For now, our task is to search the entire ship and catch Lucifer, bring him down and give him to the Association dead or alive. He's still on board; it's a safe bet until some hours ago. We have to prevent him from getting away."

Everyone, holding stern expressions on their faces, huffed 'Yes, sir!' and flocked into separate groups. Kurapika with Mitsuhiko didn't join any group but listened to their plans anyway. Wasting no second, they all hastily stepped out of the lounge and spread in different directions.

Before leaving, Kurapika heard Fram talked to Dmitri and Meniandro in a low, grave voice.

"We'll have to ask you some questions regarding that poker game you had with Kuroro Lucifer, sirs. I'm hoping for your cooperation."

Both men nodded cautiously, Dmitri wore a nervous look while Meniandro looked apathetic yet curious.

Kurapika wondered what would happen in case Lucifer was caught and what would Meniandro say to Fram in regards with his speculation about their connection, if ever there was any. Honestly, that bastard didn't realize how great this mess he had made for the sake of his perverted needs. 'No. He knows right from the start the toll he has to pay in order to get what he wants, it's just that he doesn't mind and care."

Kurapika then set off to the search operation which he could somewhat guess what the outcome would be.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The search, as Kurapika expected, was futile. They already metaphorically turned the cruise upside down, but no Kuroro Lucifer fell. The operation had gone for hours, it was almost six in the morning when everyone realized that it was all too late. However, the day didn't end there for Kurapika, Dmitri and Meniandro.

They were summoned for an interrogation, conducted by Fram and his gang. Kurapika even thought that they would resort to violence in exacting information out of them, but given that Dmitri had nothing to do with Kuroro, he was easily let off. So did Meniandro, for a reason Kurapika couldn't be sure. That damn perverted geezer however, spilled that he presumed that Kuroro was likely interested with Kurapika; that was why he joined the game in the first place. Kurapika confidently countered the allegations with twisted truths: he admitted to them that he participated in the hunt of Genei Ryodan back then at York Shin, that he captured a member named Uvogin who later escaped.

He mentioned nothing about the fake corpses he saw on the auction fiasco. He was careful not to spill hints yet he kept himself perfectly composed and unruffled, which came as a bit of a surprise to him at how fine he had carried it out.

At long last, Fram gave up, believing that he could get no useful information out of the Kuruta. He warned him, though, saying that he was under surveillance and he was a suspect despite the lack of evidence. That came surprising to the blond: they could have gotten a CCTV footage of him going to that utility room and not coming out, as well as when he emerged out of the bastard's VIP room just some hours ago before the search operation commencement. Kuroro saw this coming, and he cleanly made sure that Kurapika wouldn't be dragged by this ruckus to the point where he would lose his profession, but just enough to shake everyone's trust on him.

That had the Kuruta thinking. Not only he learned how to drink and smoke, he now had known to easily twist the truth and lie. It was sick: with all these predicaments, this circle of deceit, violence and madness, Kurapika realized that Kuroro Lucifer just laid a bloody path to sins and transgressions before him.

He truthfully couldn't remember when had taken a step forward, and just found himself sauntering onto the offered way with his guide.

Kurapika made out of the interrogation room miraculously still alive. After all of the tension and suspense, his body reminded him of how exhausted he was.

It must have reflected on his look as Dmitri dismissed him right after the investigation. Kurapika refused at first, saying he was alright and he intended to complete his shift but Dmitri insisted, leaving him no choice but to comply with his boss.

After some hours of shallow sleep, Kurapika swapped shifts with Mitsuhiko and accompanied Dmitri to the evening party.

It was nice of Dmitri to let him stay outside the ball, knowing that the fresh air would help him feel better than the bustle inside the party hall. It was dawned to Kurapika why Dmitri was giving him the special treatment at times. He was his most trusted man, after all.

Truth to tell, he was grateful for it.

He hated that kind of feigned compromise of wealth and hidden greed behind the class and dazzle. He despised it and would rather live as a free wandered than to be bound to such conspicuous image. It was kind of an eyesore sometimes, seeing those people having the time of their lives to think that if it wasn't for them, he still could have had his family alive.

The cold breeze from the vast ocean kissed his cheeks and blew his blond hair, when he heard his name being pronounced by a brusque, familiar voice.

"Kurapika?"

Kurapika instantly recognized who the intruder of his musing was. He turned around and faced him.

"… Basho." Bearded, muscled and still looking formidable, Kurapika easily recognized a former co-worker he worked with back then at York Shin. Basho was a muscular, intimidating man with a peculiar choice of using haiku as Nen weapon.

"Yeah, good to see you again," Basho inched closer to him, wearing his usual vest, showcasing his six pack. He slid both arms over the railing and looked afar, perhaps appreciating the nice view as well.

His eyes lingered for a while. The evening sky must have stirred some thoughts in his mind; he was a poet, after all.

The silence didn't last long, though.

"What's up? Still with Senritsu?"

"Yes, sort of," Kurapika blandly replied.

"Where is she?"

"In York Shin, doing paper works."

"Wow, that's a news. I always supposed you're the type who could go gruel with paper matters all day long with the brain of yours."

Kurapika offered no reply and simply smiled.

"You guys found a new employer?"

Kurapika nodded.

"I got one too, a lot richer than Nostrad."

"I see."

"… Still as serious as ever, huh?"

Kurapika turned around and leaned on the metal railing, eyes falling on the dancing lounge.

Silence distanced the former colleagues, but Kurapika knew well how Basho couldn't endure such awkward silence like this that he would even go speak alone for the sake of a chat.

"Oh, I suddenly remember."

Kurapika swiped a glance at the bearded man.

"You were endorsed to be a second-in-command head in the Council, weren't you? I remember a man mentioning your name. Oh, my boss is a high-ranking member of the Council, you see. I was with him at the latest conference. I reckon that that man who recommended you is your new boss. Lord Lurix… Dmitri, if I'm not mistaken.

Kurapika almost forgot about that. Well, he didn't think about it that much to begin with. He wanted not to give room for that discussion, but when he nodded, he knew he just had done otherwise.

"Hmm, how did it go? Guess you've undergone some tough initiation, huh."

"I didn't accept the post."

"Ehh?"

"I didn't know that I was recommended until my boss told me. It wasn't valid to begin with: I wasn't with Dmitri-san on that conference. I'm not interested, so I refused."

"Huh? But why? That's one hell of a promotion!"

Kurapika looked at Basho again, expecting to see a disbelieving face that would remind him of his close friend, Leorio. Basho wore a 'seriously?' frown, but he didn't look so surprised. It was as if he somewhat expected the answer.

"… Do you fancy having that kind of lifestyle, Basho?" Kurapika blandly asked, beckoning to the dance hall. His voice was low and almost sounding uncaring.

"Of course I do. Who wouldn't? They say you can't buy all the happiness on earth with money, but it will certainly make your life a lot easier, make you feel alive. Tell you what; if I happened to have that brains and guts like yours, I could have gone pretty far, not merely being a bodyguard. So it baffles me why you refused the offer. I remember back then at Nostrad's when you effortlessly covered up for Dalzollene-san. You're a potential leader, you know. You've gained my respect. So, why? Why did you said no to it?"

Eyes resting back to the dark horizon of the night sky and sea, Kurapika felt his gaze softened, the cold breeze tousling his hair. Silence settled between them, Basho was seemingly waiting for an answer (or thinking that he must have touched Kurapika's nerves for prying into his personal matters).

Thanks to Basho stirring up his thoughts he didn't need to remember now, Kurapika found himself wondering.

'Why did he refuse back then?' The recommendation sure had taken him aback, but it didn't cloud his judgment. Even if it did, he could easily ask for time to think about it, or inquire for more details to consider the pros and cons. Why did he decline without thinking twice? It could have been a huge step towards his goals, a substantial advantage move closer to the ground zero. Yet he turned his back on it, without battling an eyelash, with no looking back.

If he agreed on it, he could have had the Community look into Genei Ryodan again. He could have tipped them off about the remaining members and the fake corpses, that Kuroro Lucifer was still alive, and he had all the useful means to catch him. He must have all the upper hands should he have said yes.

But he didn't.

And no matter how many times he tried to imagine it, if he were to be asked with the same question again, he would still give the same answer. He'd still say no. Call it stupidity, arrogance even, but his mind couldn't be changed. He regretted nothing.

As of why, it was simple: he didn't want to go that way.

When he left Rukuso, he was filled with excitement and hope; driven with the thirst to find a cure for his best friend and explore the world outside the village he called home. He wanted nothing to but to get past that borderline of woods and its laws to prove what he could do despite his age, despite limitations and whatever people outside would say about his eyes, and shove it all under the old man's nose once he got back, with Pairo's medicine and his achievements. He could have made them all proud: his parents, his clansmen, the old man, and Pairo. Make a name for the Kuruta clan, and they wouldn't need to hide into the woods anymore.

And then, a new question was born in his mind. 'If he could go back in time and didn't leave Rukuso, if he complied to the rules and waited to reach for the right time and age, if Pairo didn't switch that eye drop and he was doomed to remain into the forest for the rest of his life—if he died along with them, would it be much better?'

'Does he regret going outside and leaving them all behind?'

This had been nagging him for years, from time to time, when longing and rage consumed him. When it was all painful to remember: at times he felt empty, at times he felt so full of everything it hurt and he was dying inside. It hurt to miss them, so instead he patched that pain with hatred; he filled the gaps with resolve to exact vengeance so he could move forward, dragging the pain and wrath along the way.

He hated himself for being so selfish back then, for being an insolent child and stubbornly insisted what he wanted. That came with a price: he was convinced that he was the one who turned his back to Rukuso and the Kuruta clan. But a part of him, a small one, told him that it was him who was left behind. Because it was his decision to go outside.

Did he regret choosing this way? He asked himself, again and again, until the question slowly faded, until he realized that no matter how much he tried to ask, there would be one and only answer.

'No.'

He regretted nothing.

That was how he was so dead set with his objectives. When he wanted to leave Rukuso, he did. When he wanted to be a hunter, he did as well. When he yearned to seek out Genei Ryodan and destroy them, he halfway did, killing two of them and decapitating its head. He wanted not to get involved deeply into the Mafia, he turned his back.

He was willing to go against all odds for the sake of these goals; he believed so, until his friends came. At the end of the day, they turned into his priority. Both goals were set aside to save them.

If someone refused to hand him the eyes and he'd have the ability to kill that person, he wouldn't. He'd try all attempts to take them back harmlessly— haggling, bargaining, threatening, even begging, but he wouldn't hurt and kill them.

That was his difference with Kuroro Lucifer.

He wouldn't manipulate others into his bidding, make them blindly follow his orders, toss them into danger to get what he wanted and let the power get into his head and eat him alive. Sure, he would ask help from others, but using the right way. Being a second in command in the Mafia wouldn't provide him that. It would bring risks of being uncovered as the last survivor of the Kuruta clan. He would be burdened with tasks that might interfere his original goals. He would be forced to lead people he wouldn't want to deal with, be thrown into unnecessary fights, and be obliged to kill should circumstances call for it. He would have to save faces, keep his façade, and it would be harder to move. All in all, he didn't want to dirty his hands more than he already had. He had to draw the line, a line between keeping himself human and turning into a full blown demon.

To Basho's query, he opted to answer.

"I don't see myself in such position. Being a hunter is what I really want, not a Mafia. I don't like to be here, honestly: if it wasn't for a personal conflict, I won't be here. I do want to gain power and grow stronger, but I'm not using that way.

"I don't want to end up like them. I'll be powerful without being ignorant of what the world outside is, without trampling over others. I'll be strong, and I won't let that strength consume me. That won't be easy, of course, but I'll do it no matter what it takes." 'To keep the Kuruta clan's pride and name, to give their everlasting souls the peace they deserve once I get all the eyes, once Genei Ryodan is done for good,' "… I won't let this underworld devour me. I'll fight and win, and retrieve what's rightfully ours."

Silence elapsed between them soon after Kurapika declared his resolve. Seconds later, a hearty chuckle floated.

"… Wow," Basho breathed out as he laughed in awe. "That's utterly the longest statement I've ever heard from you."

Running over his own thoughts, Kurapika was quite surprised with himself for blabbering. He wasn't exactly sure what had gotten into him to say those just to explain something that was considerably easy to answer.

Maybe he was just feeling frisky, bored even, that he suddenly found it manageable to muse over his usually hidden opinions and thoughts, and even had the nerve to share them to this man. It was as though he had learned how to express himself a little bit better ever since that day Kuroro Lucifer tormented him. To open up with Senritsu after that, to deal with the aftershock, and even to actually agree with the transactions that followed. It was like as if he was taking it all easy. Way too easy.

Was it because he had developed an assurance that as long as Kuroro had that sexual attraction towards him, he would get the eyes and eventually would complete all those thirty-six pairs?

'Heh,' he sardonically laughed in mind. How absurd. 'Impossible.'

"…But it's like what I've been expecting; you're a sensible and bold… brat. It's nice to know that there are still young and broad-minded people in this generation. And I don't really wonder why you passed the Hunter Exam on you very first try," Basho quirked up a corner of his lips. "This world needs those kinds of hunters like you."

Kurapika timidly smiled. "Thanks."

Although feeling a little relieved that somehow, after all these misery and hardships he had gone through, some of his dignified principles still remained intact with him, a small part of him still fretted.

It couldn't be helped; he wondered how long his hold on those principles would last.

Kurapika swiped his gaze from the dining lounge and rested them back on the scenery behind. The tone on his eyes softened as they rested at the calm, cold and seemingly endless ocean of darkness.

Silence reigned over once more between the two men, with only the coos of the hovering seagulls soothingly sounding around. A cold, strong breeze came past and blew his hair, causing the red earring on his left ear to appear. It gleamed with the moon's faint ray. Kurapika knew Basho was looking afar as well even without looking at him. He bet the poet was also appreciating the view, immersed with his own thoughts while leaving him on his own device.

Kurapika's mind unintentionally wandered over Kuroro Lucifer and that peculiar conversation they had on the tub.

'The place where he gets his most number of supplies, especially underage kids and teenagers, is Ryuuseigai. My hometown.'

'You're not a toy, Kurapika. So don't turn yourself into one. Think twice before getting yourself involved with that old man.'

'I've let you live and strive, while from time to time we'll have an equal trade. Aren't you relieved? You still have a chance to take me down one day.'

'What… are you really trying to pull, bastard?' Kurapika wondered. 'I find it hard to believe that you're doing all these for your selfish needs. Ryodan is your priority— what exactly is this all about?'

"Beneath the dark night, is a murkier domain, waiting to unveil," after the long moment of stillness, someone finally made a sound. The rhyming words had Kurapika a little confused. He looked at Basho with a small baffled glance. However, he needed only few seconds to register what the man just said.

"…Five, seven, five," Kurapika counted. His lips curved into a half smile. "Nice one."

"Thanks," Basho responded with a grin. "Well, it looks like the party is about to end. Guess I have to go back to my boss," the man turned to step ahead. Taking two strides, he suddenly stopped and said, "It's nice to see you again. Just say hi to Senritsu for me. And yeah, by the way. I just can't help but notice."

Kurapika looked him in the eyes.

"You finally looked like you age."

"Pardon?"

"Yeah. I mean, the first time we met, you had that vibes like a damn, know-it-all, distressed geezer trapped in a teenager's body. But somehow this time around, you looked less tensed. Even frisky… and glowing. In fact, you looked younger than your age. Guess your new employer is easier to handle than Nostrad, eh?"

For a moment, Kurapika was taken aback. He regained composure right after and said, "Yes. Perhaps you can say something like that."

"Well then. See you around, Kurapika."

"You, too. Thanks," as Basho raised a hand goodbye, the blond stared at his back, watching him sauntering away. Unconsciously, he slipped his hands back on the depths of his pants' pockets.

He tore his gaze from him as Basho disappeared to the door. He looked up then, numerous stars twinkled across the length of the clear sky, another whistle of breeze passed by and wafted his locks.

"Glowing, huh."

Now alone, Kurapika contemplations absently bounced back to Kuroro.

He hated to admit, but if it wasn't for him, perhaps he still had no pair of his clan's eyes in possession. Probably he was perturbed about Meniandro. Maybe at the lack of faster means in getting closer to his brethren's eyes, he had accepted the post as the second-in-command head. His thoughts wandered at the ruckus Kuroro had made; the way he messed with these rich and carefree people and looking like he was actually having fun while risking his life on the way. In a point, Kurapika secretly felt a little, just a little, grateful to him for driving the Mafia nuts. Along with the bandit troupes like Genei Ryodan, those people deserved the contempt and repent for their sins because if it wasn't for their senseless desire to get the Kuruta clan's scarlet eyes, his brothers and sisters should still be alive.

It was funny though that in a sense, these dirty workers they hired were the by-products of their own mischiefs. Dose of their own medicine. Ghosts and dark, wicked shadows behind that would keep haunting them for a lifetime.

Kurapika suddenly had the urge to hit himself when for the first time in his life, he oddly was missing Kuroro's intoxicating kiss.

'You still have a chance to take me down one day.'

'Right, I still have a chance— and I'll make a very good use of it. I swear you'll regret that you let me live,' he absentmindedly drew a hand out of his pocket and tipped a fingertip over his lips.

This creepy, erotic play of him and the Spider head seemed to be useful in more ways than one. And no matter how unbelievable it looked, Kurapika was left with no chance to deny that somehow, the game was slowly was relentlessly getting more and more… fun.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kuroro let out a loud sneeze.

'Woah, I'm cold?' he mused, brushing his nose with a finger.

He guessed it couldn't be helped. He just teleported from the cruise ship right to the sea then repeated the trick while aimlessly floating on salt water until he luckily found the small island that he was looking for which he searched through the internet before setting to this desperate and unplanned escape route in the middle of the night. To think that he just had a very good time with the boy and now look; he was soaking wet while having a campfire to keep himself warm. He had to admit: this whimsical vacation trip didn't pretty go his way. But what had Kuroro Lucifer puzzled was why this very un-Kuroro Lucifer plan which expectedly failed was okay.

So. He blew his own death scheme, had the Mafia looking out for him again, went into a very, very stupid escape plan and now he was stuck in the middle of nowhere: cold, hungry, and frustrated. For the great Genei Ryodan head to end up like this, it was just funny.

All for a mere Kuruta boy? Seriously?

Kuroro placed another wood to the fire. The flame cracked, cackled and roared hotter. The fish stocked in a stick which would be his dinner for the night seemed well done already, but he was in no mood to eat. He was quite consumed with the eventful hours that passed, and his head majorly occupied with a face of a blond boy with his hair wet and tucked behind his ear, with his scarlet eyes half opened and his features slightly shaken as he—

Alright, he had to stop.

'Tsk,' he really ought to think things over.

He had been thinking over this matter for quite some time, again and again. He knew the risks and he believed he could bear them if the deal would fall strictly only to himself. But with what had happened, he knew for sure that the Mafia had found who he really was, and that he was still alive, and his corpse was fake. They were now certain his comrades' were, too. Of course he knew that could likely happen, and he couldn't help now and he was worried, not for his safety but for the Ryodan's.

He wasn't only talking about the members, not even that the Mafia going hot in pursuit after them again because that was easy to deal with. What had him bothered was what if the members found out that their beloved leader which they knew had his power nullified messed the fake corpses by gatecrashing into a cruise trip and nicking good stuffs on the way? He was supposed to contact them after getting his nen back and bring them the good news of the chain-guy dying on his hands—not to go mess things up and doing stuffs like sleeping with the person he was supposed to get rid of. Really, with what he was doing with his personal life while off-duty as Danchou shouldn't affect his professional affiliations.

Oh, wait. Did he just imply that what he and Kurapika had was personal for him?

Of course it was. Strictly between the two of them, that was what he assured to the kid.

But only if he didn't make this deal with the chain-guy, things could have been easier. More convenient. But one look at those fiery scarlet eyes while lost on pleasure, with his pale skin shivering under his touch, it was enough for Kuroro to lose sense of what he was doing. Hell, it was too late to regret what was done.

Too late to regret, yes—but not to change the plan and go back to the original track.

'Now, how am I supposed do to that if all I have in mind is to get my hands all over him again?' No good, no good. Lust didn't usually get so easily this way to Kuroro. He could handle things and take over. So why was this happening?

'Maybe those red tears do have some spell just like what the legend says.' Really? A spell that could get Kuroro Lucifer hooked up into this situation?

'If that's the case then I should've had done what he assumed: imprison him and use for my own convenience. But I didn't. If I'm drawn to his tears then I should've been hitting him every session, make him cry and see the tears again. But I didn't, not intentionally.'

So, why was this happening to him?

'… Kurapika is interesting in more ways than one.'

A boy who dedicated his life for only two goals: get his clan's eyes and avenging for their death. While on his way he met some couple of friends which he'd learned to care and protect. Now this egotistical little creature had his pride and dignity stained, but for some way there still was a sense of purity in him. Kuroro had cornered him many times, where Kurapika would have no place to run to and be forced to go his way. He had him lost in desire and pain, stung him pride, stirred his dark, hidden side but still—Kurapika had a perfect control over himself. He guessed it would take more than that to make the boy succumb to the darkness.

And that was… exhilarating. Challenging. Kurapika's wall was tougher to destroy that what he had expected.

More funnily, Kuroro could say that he could somewhat see himself in him when he was younger. No, even until now: wise and devoted to what they wanted to fight for. Despite the contrasting traits, they did have quite some things in common: maybe that made their chemistry click.

But did that make this fiasco he made valid?

Of course not. Kuroro hated rules but was willing to comply if it was for the sake of the Troupe. It was unlike him to go chasing after his personal desires this hard because he usually could get them easily and the hardest thing for him to get was his opponents' nen ability.

But Kurapika was different. He had that charm that fascinated Kuroro, plus those pretty fiery eyes, to the point that Kuroro could even admit that he might grow infatuated to him.

And that was bad. Very bad.

For him to go this far just to mess with the boy, he could feel that something was bound to change.

Kuroro was never into unpredictable setups, and it had been a while since the last time he had some fun after the York Shin incident.

'I bet everyone's trying to find me,' Kuroro brooded. He didn't contact his comrades after the Judgment Chain was lifted, and never tried because he was busy dealing with Kurapika. 'Hisoka said he met them at that Greed Island game, so it's safe to assume that they are still looking for me on detours. They still don't know about the chain being removed, so I guess I still have some time to play around.'

Thirty-six scarlet eyes in total, less six pairs which he had given to Kurapika, then the condo unit he had bought as their meeting place, and the amount he spent for him at the cruise. Not only the game was risky; it was exorbitantly expensive. Not that he couldn't afford the expenses. He just couldn't help sometimes why he had to go through that much just for some nightly hour of temporary ecstasy.

He remembered Kurapika's question. 'Why would you go so far as to trade with me, to think that if you just hid me away back then, you can use me again for free?'

'Hmm… I somehow wonder too,' Kuroro brought a hand over his mouth, a subconscious habit of his whenever he was lost in thoughts.

'Back then in York Shin when he kidnapped me, I could accurately tell what his real weakness is and hit it should I'd gotten the chance. I've started hitting it by now, in fact; just that I'm using it for my own benefit.'

'He is smart, though. For many times I've seen him momentarily getting lost of what he wanted to do, clouded by his wrath. But should he have some mastery of his emotion, things can go smoothly his way. Emotions—those are his vital spots. I can see through him, crystal clear, no matter how much he tried to conceal what he truly feels. He's such a brute yet very soft and kind. Smart, yet a fool. Strong, yet fragile inside. And he had it all balanced. He's violent and all, but one thing's sure: Kurapika is a nice person.'

He tried to imagine what if Paku brought everyone back then at the hostage exchange. What if the Troupe threatened to kill those boys in front of him disregarding his killing their leader? What if to scare the hell out of Kurapika, one of those two kids was killed? He could almost perfectly picture it: Kurapika would be so disoriented to insanity. He would try so hard to save the other and avenge the dead kid. Kuroro would likely be the least of his concern, and that would the great chink in his armor, a big chance to finish the chain-guy off. Easy and clean.

Yet it didn't. Paku was the disoriented one who let her emotions win over, and that resulted to this complete failure

Oh, no. Not necessarily complete.

So why was he messing with the blond again?

'I… just want to. That's it.'

If they just headed back to the town and avoided what the prophecy had told, things wouldn't go this disarray. He was warned by the prophecy, yet the turn of events ended up going that way anyway. But that didn't mean that everything was out of his control anymore. Not every detail was unveiled. This thing he and Kurapika had included. A short coffee break after a long day of work… that was it.

Meaning, what he was doing wouldn't majorly change the future, and even if it did, it would be just a small difference.

'Hmp.' Small difference, his ass.

'Well, nothing good will come even if I lament over the wrong decision I made.'

He languidly laid down the dry, slightly grassy ground and crossed his arms behind his head. His eyes rested up the sky and watched the stars winked at him. The cold air of the night blew several leaves and chilled his skin.

He absently brought his hand on his neck, just under his chin and touched a dully painful spot there. He could remember the way Kurapika nipped and suckled that spot; he saw mark it left from his brief look on the mirror in his cabin.

Really, he was having too much fun for his own good.

He wondered what Kurapika was doing at this moment. Maybe he was still on duty searching the entire ship for him. Maybe he was taking a shower and remembering what they did the previous night. Maybe he was asleep and having nightmares of them doing it. Instinctively, a very, very strange feeling of being thought about occurred to him. Like he could certainly tell that Kurapika was thinking about him too, as much as he was thinking about the Kuruta at the precise moment. It was weird, though he didn't dislike it.

 

Chapter Text

As Kurapika assumed, as soon as the cruise arrived at the coast, the search for Kuroro Lucifer came into full stop.

Given that the Mafia didn't seem eager to catch the culprit due to their inexplicable connection to Ryodan's origin, Fram and his gang had no choice but to cease as well, though the look on the sharp-nosed hunter's eyes was telling that he so badly wanted to get the bastard. It was apparent to them all, though, that Kuroro did manage to escape. Of how, no one ever knew. Kurapika could come up with ideas and theories, but he figured it didn't matter anymore. He successfully escaped. Good for him.

However, he knew Meniandro wasn't over him just yet. One look at the maniac's eyes as they parted ways from the ship (Dmitri still courteously greeted him goodbye in spite of their poker game commotion) he knew he wouldn't let it go so easily.

Kurapika was certain he was up to something, and all he had to do was to wait for him to make a move so that he could teach him lesson not to mess with him before someone else did.

And so wait, Kurapika did. A week passed but still no Meniandro tried to approach or contact or pester him, which was good. But that didn't mean the week wasn't pedophile-free: the night before the week ended, he received a very short message from an unnamed number. Kurapika knew who the sender damn well enough without recognizing the series of digits by the sheer contents of the text.

'Yeah. Still alive, don't worry.'

Kurapika didn't bother reading it twice and casually hit the delete button. 'Lucky you, then,' he mentally grumbled.

Exactly one week after, another message appeared on his phone. It was short, too.

'What's up? The Mafia can't possibly still be looking for me.'

'He must be really bored… or frustrated,' Kurapika peered down his phone and deleted the message without a second look.

On the third week, on the same time and day he received the two previous messages, came another. It was longer this time and bore a definite intention.

'I'm back in York Shin, got another pair for you. Will be staying on the condo for the time being. See you soon.'

Kurapika heard himself snorted after reading. He didn't know if Meniandro had him stalked and monitored, and wouldn't want to risk being caught should he sneak one night to be laid. He didn't want the perverted billionaire blackmailing him with a reason such as sleeping with a master thief and murderer. Let him be sure of it but had no concrete evidence. 'Too bad for you, you need to hold that back or else deal with yourself for a while.'

He didn't bother replying and erased the message out of habit. 'Wait for nothing.'

But he became a little startled at the text message he received the next day, exactly the same time, from the same set of numbers.

'It won't hurt to reply, you know.'

Without a single ounce of care, Kurapika deleted it.

On the next day, on the same time, the same thing happened.

'If you still won't reply, I'll call you. You have a day. Same time.'

'Now that's being unreasonably demanding. Who the hell do you think you are?' Not obliged to follow such order, his finger went straight for the delete button. 'Call all you want. I don't care.'

It didn't surprise him, but Kurapika honestly didn't expect Kuroro to call when his phone rang a different ringtone the next day. He whipped it out and stared at the vibrating, noisy device. The screen displayed a now so familiar series of digits that he had subconsciously remembered. For a second, Kurapika weighed over a decision should he answer it or not. In the end, he let his cool take over and hung the phone up. He set it on silent mode next and retreated to his bed to sleep.

By the next morning, Kurapika found it a little weird when he saw neither missed call notification nor new text messages. So the persistent Genei Ryodan head knew how to give up and realized that people need some personal space, huh? Now that was a news.

And so a whole solid month passed, free from any bloodbath whatsoever. Somewhat, Kurapika grew relieved and even had convinced himself that he might be just being paranoid, and worrying wouldn't do any good at all. And to top it all, Kuroro never attempted to contact him again.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

On the last week of the month, Dmitri attended a small gathering with his business colleagues in a hotel. It was an over-night party and his boss checked in for the night until the next day.

Kurapika's shift would end around twelve P.M., and Mitsuhiko was already there around eleven. Dmitri was currently engrossed with chatting with a man in suit when Mitsuhiko almost pushed Kurapika away, saying he didn't mind an hour early shift seeing that the blond must be tired and surely sleepy.

"Just treat me some coffee next time or something, alright? Now go home; you're frigging up for almost the entire day."

Kurapika knew he was over working himself since Dmitri was relying on him so much. Yet he knew himself he was just a mere human, nen-user or not, and he needed to rest.

"Okay. Thanks, Mitsuhiko-san."

Groggily, the Kuruta stepped out of the hotel's lounge and headed towards the main road to catch a cab when his tired nerves caught something: a murderous intent. Directed right towards him.

There wasn't even a fraction of second for him to react when he felt a heavy arm slumping over his shoulder and a crouching head on the other.

'He's fast,' Kurapika thought, more calmly than he expected. The stranger was reeking of malicious, dark aura. For one thing: the jerk was a superb nen-user.

"Keep walking and you won't get hurt," the man behind him said just above a whisper. Kurapika let a breath that he couldn't remembering holding. It was a relieved sigh—

It wasn't Kuroro Lucifer.

"Don't even try to turn your back. One funny move and you're dead," the voice ordered.

It wasn't wise to disobey given the position he was in. Moreover, he was ninety-nine percent of who this badass fast of a nen-user's boss was.

Okay. Time to kick some ass.

The man's speed somewhat deterred him, though. On the other hand, it might be not about speed. It could possibly be a teleportation skill just like Kuroro's (that was why he initially assumed it was him). He could tell that the man was taller than him, and one uncalculated attempt to escape could cost him his life.

Kurapika did what he was told.

"Move it. Look straight ahead."

The stranger's big hand rested lightly on his shoulder like they were the best buddies. Kurapika resisted the urge to grab and twist it. He crossed the street along with the guy and knowingly sauntered towards where he was told to go. He kept it cool and calm, as if he wasn't about to be abducted.

Until they reached a near corner where a black van was hazardly parked, its side door was open.

"Get in," he felt the man jerked his head, beckoning him.

Kurapika climbed in, expecting an attack to knock him out.

Which didn't come.

Calmly, even a little arrogantly, Kurapika sat on a vacant seat. There were two other men inside, the driver not included. One bulky guy was sitting across him, shooting a sharp and warning gaze. The other was behind the seat Kurapika occupied. He wasn't as excessively huge man like the other two, but the Kuruta could tell he was strong. And a strong man behind you wasn't something to take carelessly.

They were pretty hospitable for a bunch of kidnappers. The fast bastard sat next to Kurapika, and that was the last thing he saw as a dark piece of cloth covered his eyes. The man behind blindfolded him not so gently, followed by something cold and metallic, presumably cuffs, bound his wrists. He heard a light clanking sound, and he could trace aura of nen circling around it.

"Good boy," the voice from behind said. Kurapika didn't waste energy to get annoyed or react at all. He remained silent and began to trace where the car was heading as it rumbled and started to move.

The guys were chatting about mundane stuffs like Kurapika wasn't there. Kurapika remained silent and obedient. Their conversation was normal, until the man at the back suddenly commented something unrelated to their topic.

"... Hmm. Boss is surely has a bizarre taste."

"You don't have the faintest idea how wide his taste's range is. Not to mention the servant's state every after session. One time, the victim was so hurt he ended up dying. Around ten to twelve years old. Disposing the body was such a pain in the ass."

Kurapika was now dead set to give the bastard a very educational private lesson he would never forget for the rest of his life upon hearing that.

"Taking your silence, you must be aware of where we are going."

Kurapika didn't answer.

"Oi, you. Are you mute or something? Answer me!"

"Leave him be. Boss said not to hurt him unless necessary. He's compliant, this is such an easy catch and fucking boring. Let Boss deal with him and have his way; I'm sure he'll dispose him shortly after. You can have your turn, then."

"Don't underestimate the kid, gentlemen," the man next to him warned. "I know these types of people. He might look harmless but this one must be strong. Meniandro-sama wouldn't flock us all his strongest men if he's not. Don't let your guard down."

And that was the confirmation Kurapika was waiting for. This was Meniandro's doing.

Kurapika clenched his fists hard and began to devise the best course to teach that prick what he ought to learn when he decided to mess and go against a humiliated Kuruta.

Some odd minutes later, he felt the car slowing down to a stop, its engine died. He heard his captors moved and got off the vehicle, a hand roughly pulled at his arm and he was told to move. He complied easily, instantly sharpening his senses and carefully activating his En. One, two— there were a total of three nen-users around the vicinity. The auras they emitted were not that powerful, but still those were three opponents. But fair enough, Kurapika could confidently say that he could manage.

Just then, he felt a strange, swift sensation: a punch was coming his way.

He didn't dodge.

The hit didn't come.

"... You're awfully cocky, boy. Now I see why Boss likes you," it was the fast nen-user. His knuckle must be just a mere centimeter away from Kurapika's nose.

"What, you thought were not manned with some nen-user?"

"Not at all; I'm not that stupid to assume that you're not prepared for this rather urgent invitation."

He heard the bastard's silent, hitched breath.

"Wha— I can't move! What the hell!"

"However—" then the sound of rattling chains followed, with Kurapika's swift twirl to hit the other guys behind, still blindfolded but free from the nen-laced hand cuffs.

"How—" the fast nen-user uttered before getting hit squarely on the face when Kurapika shot his Dowsing Chain towards him. The blond pulled the blindfold off of his eyes and let it fall down the ground. Counter attacks befell in quick successions; guns were pointed at him, and three other suited men holding unique weapons poised to charge towards his direction. Seconds later, bullets started to rocket to him. He nonchalantly summoned his chain and spun it to deflect the shots, the magically enhanced metal links efficiently caught the ammunitions that came from all directions.

One nen-user shot to his feet and aimed to land an attack with a sword in hand, one look and Kurapika knew it could punch to his nen wall. He leaped high, keeping the chain propelling to shield himself from bullets, while gracefully dodging all of the poorly aimed slash and darts of the sword.

Kurapika had thought of an idea how to deal with these small roaches quick when the fast nen-user whistled, rendering his subordinates to stop attacking. They did, with cautious, twisted expression remaining on their faces.

"Now, now. Gentlemen," he calmly remarked, contrary to the flick of building anger behind his eyes, with his nose profusely dripping wet with his own blood. "As much as I want our visitor dead right at this moment, let me remind you what the Boss had strictly commanded. Now, Sir," he regarded Kurapika a piercing look. "Why don't we settle this in a civilized way? Here's the deal," the man then raised his hand in the air, his aura started to swirl and spike all over his body, and a big, seemingly dull sword slowly materialized out of thin air. Once the weapon completely appeared, he clutched onto it and lashed it conceitedly towards the Kuruta. "One on one. Should I win, you'll cooperate."

"And what do I get if I win?" Kurapika spared him an unfeeling gaze.

"Then try another one of us and defeat him, too."

"Fair enough," Kurapika friskily agreed: it had been quite a while since the last time he got into some action (minus that one action that involved Kuroro Lucifer and bed) and even if this troop doubled up, they could hardly make any contest against Ryodan's Uvogin and Kuroro.

Kurapika did just fine back then; this should be easy.

As the fast nen-user moved his hand to whip his sword, Kurapika unleashed a good amount of force and concentrated them all in his Dowsing Chain.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

To see other people shaken in fear and despair was never Kurapika's thing, but it couldn't be helped: witnessing how a corrupt and vain asshole like Meniandro shuddering from head to foot in helplessness was admittedly satisfying.

The Kuruta managed to knock down all of his men singlehandedly just in time to catch their boss stealthily creeping his way out of his grandiose mansion.

His master's bedroom showcased a twin door that revealed a spacious room equipped with a king size bed which was adorned with peculiar looking, detachable leather straps. On a side sat a big, out of place, transparent round glass that resembled a fish bowl, only it was custom-made to house a person instead of a gold fish. Across the bed was a flat-screen TV, erected atop of an organizer that featured neatly arranged, suggestive looking objects that screamed adult toys, in all colors and sizes. On a wall slung a couple of tangled leather straps that Kurapika didn't exactly know how to use and wasn't really interested to find out, and with what he had seen on every corner of the room, he had safely assumed that more than the master's bedroom, he likely had intruded Meniandro's playground.

Speak of the devil: cloaked only in a bathrobe and looking freshly out of the bath, Meniandro was clutching a piston on his right hand, its arm accurately pointing at his chest. The left one was carelessly cradling a canister that contained something that silently stoked the already crackling fire of rage inside the Kuruta.

It was a pair of scarlet eyes, and with the way Meniandro huddled his arm around it while keeping the hold on his gun, it might slip and crash on the floor with one wrong move.

Next to how to properly kiss, one more thing Kurapika learned from dealing Kuroro Lucifer was how to keep his cool and rage at bay while wearing a mien devoid of any emotion. He didn't do much as to look at the Mafioso and the eyes with a vacant stare before taking a step closer to him.

"Back off, or I'll smash this thing down!" Meniandro growled, vehemently pointing his gun to Kurapika. He gripped on the scarlet eyes tighter.

Kurapika easily did what he was told and stopped, though he didn't back away.

The blond could see it, how effortlessly it would be to flick his chain towards Meniandro, slither it around the canister and tug it out of the man's clutch. Sure, the aim was perfect but dodging it was a piece of cake. Taking the eyes and leaving the hell out of here wouldn't break Kurapika any sweat, but he refused to go down the easy road because this was finally the chance to give the man a private lesson he ought to take.

"What," Kurapika wanted to know first, "are you actually thinking, messing around with someone tormented like me?" His voice sounded flat and distant; it felt like it belonged to someone else. "I thought the likes of you are more interested with younger, fresher ones." He took one step closer to him.

"I said BACK OFF!" Meniandro whizzed out, his gun wavering its aim as he trembled even more.

Kurapika halted. "Calm down, Meniandro-san. I disliked this rather aggressive and crass invitation to your place but I honestly don't mind: believe it or not, should you have asked an appointment I could have checked my schedule and set a favorable time and date. If you've done your research right, you should have known that a word about the scarlet eyes is enough to catch my attention." Kurapika spared him an unfeeling smile. "I'm just a call away."

Meniandro's eyes instantaneously gleamed in triumph. "I knew it; you're a pro."

Nice. He should thank him for the slang term later. His smile slowly wore off, his eyes remained on the man's.

"Not necessarily; it depends on the mode of payment," he rode along the play. "I strictly accept only the Kuruta eyes."

"I see," a creepy, perverted and hoping smirk broke on Meniandro's feature. "Fair enough; is there any more terms and conditions?"

"Yes, given that I'm bound to have it rough with you. But for starters, why don't we talk about how you got your hands on that pair?" Still with his face blank, Kurapika hooked one finger on his tie's knot and loosened it, all the while taking one or two cautious step closer to the man.

"I-I bought it," Meniandro audibly stuttered and gulped, eyeing Kurapika's tie and stepping back. As he did, the back of his legs hit the edge of his bed and his knees buckled. He ended up tumbling down the mattress. He seemed to have forgotten his fear, and lust had begun to take him over: Kurapika was now only step away from him, but Meniandro raised no more threat.

"If you'll excuse me, sir," he held out both his hands and beckoned him to hand over the gun and the eyes. "Let's set those aside first, and if you don't mind, can I have the eyes' authenticity checked?"

Meniandro's eyes glinted in alarm and distrust, but with one look of playfulness on Kurapika's eyes and the Kuruta knew his libido had clouded his judgment again. "Swear you won't pull any tricks first."

"Alright, I swear," he drawled in a boyish tone. "No tricks, Meniandro-sama."

The fool fell for it; he surrendered the items. God, this man's lasciviousness was sickening. Well, most men tend to act stupidly when it came to carnal desire.

Take Kuroro Lucifer for number one example.

Kurapika carefully received them and placed the gun to the bedside table. He scrutinized the canister and activated gyou: they were indeed a pair of authentic Kuruta eyes.

"Verification complete," he once again flashed a timid, inviting smile. "Good work, Meniandro-sama. Now, why don't you lean on the headboard and we'll have a chat?" He popped one button of his white shirt, revealing his collar bones, setting in the mood.

Meniandro's face practically lit up in disgusting anticipation and obeyed like a dog; he scrambled over his bed, sitting on the upper part of it and leaning on the headboard.

"So, back to my earlier question," the Kuruta gently placed the eyes to the bedside table, next to the gun and lampshade. "How come you find me interesting, given that I'm no beginner? You know, as what my sources told me, you're more into underage kids and teenagers— do you have wine here? I'm thirsty," he looked around, staling time.

"I-I do, it's inside the bedside table's cabinet," Meniandro stuttered.

"Cool," Kurapika ran a hand over his hair and smartly ruffled his blond locks, giving off a rugged look. He knew how looking like a mess strangely arouse men. He bent down and opened the compartment, pulled out a bottle of champagne and a glass next to it. He languidly filled the glass half-full, faked taking a sip and placed both the glass and the bottle on the table.

"Hmm, this is pretty good. So, why do you find me attractive?"

"That... that man. Kuroro Lucifer, was it? He's the one who leads the group of thieves who annihilated your clan, right? W-Why are you servicing him?" Hell, another stomach-churning term. "Aren't you supposed to hate him?"

Kurapika moved... to crawl over the man and sit face to face to him, legs parted and folded, his inner thighs pressing on the mattress. It gave off an impression of innocent submission. "I can't disclose classified information about my customers, sir."

"I see. Well, you hate him, don't you?"

"Yes. More than you can ever imagine."

"How come you can stand being around him?"

"Hmm," Kurapika leaned forward with a hand pressing against the mattress, holding his weight. "Closing my eyes. Imagining it wasn't him touching me. Having a good time. He's excellent, actually. It wasn't that hard to stomach."

"Are you a masochist?"

"Who knows. Maybe yes, maybe no," there was another flash of greedy excitement shone on the maniac's eyes.

"H-How many customers do you serve at this moment? Are you sleeping with Dmitri, too?"

"No," Kurapika hissed. "He doesn't swing that way. My only customer as of now is that jerk: he has the most number of the Kuruta eyes."

"I see... Haven't you tried to kill him?"

"That man is powerful and clever, it's not that easy. Guess you really didn't look much on our backgrounds. Do you even know what kind of weapon I wield?"

"Nen weapon... I do hear a thing or two regarding that. What about it?"

"I see. I'll show you something amazing," Kurapika sat closer to the man, grinning pretty amusedly. He then raised his right hand and summoned his chain. Meniandro's eyes widened in complete shock and almost paralysis. He took in his funny reaction, then let his Chain Jail drop; it clankingly slithered around Meniandro's body and either arms. He looked nervous and tense, but excited nonetheless.

"Chains," Kurapika offered a nonchalant twitch of his lips. "Widely known as an enticing equipment for erotic bondage plays."

"H-How... "

"What more," Kurapika saved the best for last: deluding him with a seducing flutter of his eyelids, he activated his fiery scarlet eyes and looked at the man. Fear, tension, confusion, fascination, anxiety and alarm; Meniandro looked so messed up in the head. He could clearly see all sorts of emotions featuring the perverted prick's face. "My scarlet eyes strengthen them. They make it invincible, unbreakable, and no one could escape its bind: none of the Genei Ryodan can. Even Kuroro Lucifer didn't stand a chance."

"What are you..."

"What I'm saying is," then Kurapika let his aura flow forth in tremendous bloodlust— all directed at Meniandro. The man, not seeing it and taking in its full brunt, was frozen and devastated. His mixture of emotions all dissolved and was replaced with one single expression.

Terror.

"You're messing with the wrong people, Meniandro-san. These chains are made to destroy anything that obstructs my way towards my goals. They killed a couple of powerful Genei Ryodan members, and certainly I can kill you right at this very moment," Kurapika enunciated every word in heavy, warning tone.

The chains around Meniandro tightened, then they magically moved and sunk on the headboard, straight to the concrete wall behind it. It continued to circle into a secure bind until it stopped and firmly wrapped all over the man.

Meniandro was nothing but petrified.

"N-N-NO! Let me go! Please kill me, don't kill me!" He began weeping, frantically shaking his head.

Kurapika let his hand fall down his lap, bloodlust slowly dissipating. "Take this advice as a warning from a concerned citizen, Meniandro-san: Kuroro Lucifer is not someone to mess with if you value your life. He doesn't care about anything unless it benefits him. I won't stain my hands with your filthy blood because it's not worth it, but that man certainly won't mind getting rid of you— in fact, he'd been more than eager to do so... should you continue pestering me. So stopping hitting on me if I were you." Kurapika languidly got off the bed and reached for the scarlet eyes, wanting to leave as soon as possible. "I'll be taking the eyes; I believe I have the right to take back what rightfully belongs to my clan."

"What do you think you're doing!? Get this fucking chains off of me!" The bastard sobbed.

"Those chains will disappear sooner or later, depending on my mood. Don't waste time trying to cut them off: no chainsaw can ever break them. Behave like a good boy and reflect on your wrongdoings; it'll eventually wear off," Kurapika turned his back to the man. "Again, Meniandro-san. Leave me alone. You don't have the faintest idea what things Kuroro Lucifer can do," he warned then added in a low, murmuring voice, as if telling this more to himself than to the man.

"So do I."

He moved towards the door. "Have a good day, Meniandro-san."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Add seduction to the ever growing list of things Kurapika was learning to do all thanks to Kuroro Lucifer.

The Kuruta felt both sick and somehow a little impressed with himself for pulling such unimaginable act. He was nothing but infuriated and disgusted back then, but to think that he did just fine in holding back his fury and handled the situation in a sound mind instead of letting anger and hotheadedness cloud his judgment, he could tell that perhaps those times he was obliged to cap his temper whenever Kuroro pressed his warm, soft—and filthy lips on his had turned into some sort of anger control training. Even the expressions he showed, choices of words and motions he did to deceive Meniandro had naturally slipped out of Kurapika. He couldn't help but wonder, but would there be a difference if he faced the same situation and he didn't have the experience on playing games? What would have been the outcome if he stormed in the man's bedroom and received the same proposal? Would he just fight and hurt the man, threaten him, try to buy the eyes in cash, or just take the eyes and act like a thief? If he tried to seduce the man while having no experience, would it work? But Kurapika could only wonder: whether he had experience or not didn't change the fact that he was bound to harass people into surrendering the eyes. The methods would only vary.

He left the mansion in haste, wanting to return to Dmitri's as soon as possible. Meniandro's manor laid inside a huge, executive village and Oogle Map estimated that it would take him half an hour walk to reach its main gate: Kurapika estimated he would save twenty minutes if he nen-run it all the way. Unfortunately, he was tired after all the fight and it had been a while since he strolled anyway (the village was deserted and quiet, trees and neatly kept lawns dotted the vicinity, the air was cold and the darkness was seeping down his skin). The time on his phone read 3:17 A.M.

One hand in his pocket, the other clutching onto the pair of his brethren's eyes, Kurapika sauntered the streets, shoulders aching in fatigue and eyes a little droopy from sleepiness. It didn't affect his pace, but he had to admit that he was tired and wanted nothing but to lie down on his bed and rest: taking on a bunch of brutes, thirty of them alone did come with a price. He breathed in and massaged his temples, screwing his eyes shut before running his fingers through his bangs, his hair wet with sweat.

Then a strange feeling flooded his senses: it was as if time froze all around him. The air, the light, the coldness, the sound. They all disappeared. It was hard to breath. He couldn't open his eyes. He stood stunned on the spot, hand still cradling his head, his mind grumbling 'Goddamn it!'

Meniandro still had some reinforcement? Damn, he had enough of this. This bastard, whoever he was, was far cry stronger than Meniandro's speedy nen-user. His guts were telling him that this was no good: at this rate, he wouldn't stand a chance, not with his fatigue and the Kuruta eyes on his hand.

But panicking wouldn't help. He tried to breath deep, relaxed his closed eyes, and limply let his arm fall to the side. He kept them shut, taking in the sensation: the sound, the humid air against his skin, the presence of anyone near him. He sensed one: about five to three steps ahead.

Weird. He could have dealt a blow at that proximity. Two more seconds passed. No hit came his way, only the presence inched nearer.

God, Kurapika was having a very nasty feeling about this.

One more step closer, then Kurapika instinctively activated his Kuruta eyes in hope it would help him get out of whatever nen spell he was under. It did; his eyes snapped and a hooded figure came looming in front of him. Adrenaline kicked in and he took a step back before launching a powerful punch to the assaulter's face. The bastard easily dodged, and it granted Kurapika a meager second to back away.

That turned out to be useless because his back just hit a concrete wall. 'Tsk,' he was cornered.

Kurapika wouldn't back down of course. Reluctantly, he swiftly crouched down and placed the eyes on the ground before sliding it away: good thing the asphalt was smooth and the container didn't hit anything. Then he realized he was still inside the village, on the road where he was walking, but somehow now some odd meters away from where he stood frozen earlier.

Back to his assailant. The man stood in front of him, just some inches away. His hood covered more than half of his face. With the scarce lightning, he couldn't make out his appearance. For one thing, though; he acted odd for such a kidnapper: instead of taking advantage of the plentiful times when he could attack, he chose to watch and observe at how Kurapika gathered his wits.

One more experiment and he would be sure of who this little pesky bastard was.

Kurapika sprung forward with his fist aiming for the spot he missed earlier, and it was expectedly dodged again. The man slid to a side and raised a hand, assumingly targeting Kurapika's arm. A heavy hand curled around his forearm, and Kurapika was roughly pulled. The man then twisted it on his back—the blond winced— and he was now standing closing behind.

'Good,' a triumphant smirk crossed Kurapika's lips for a second. Once both of his hands were forcibly pulled to his back, Kurapika quickly gathered his nen on the back side of his head, rocketed up his heels before slamming his nen-covered head against the man's chin. A grunt slipped from the man's lips.

The hold on his arms loosened and completely fell off. Kurapika darted forward then spun around.

The man clutched a hand on his chin and ran it up to his head. Pale skin, dark hair, thin lips, crooked nose, round-shaped green earrings and cross-tattooed forehead. He groaned and shook his head, shaking off dizziness. He let his hand fall to his side.

More than surprised, Kurapika was annoyed.

"Damn. Just how hard and thick that head of yours is?"

"Oh," Kurapika narrowed his eyes. "If it isn't you, bastard."

Chapter Text

He didn't like the dirty look beneath the bland expression on Kuroro Lucifer's face.

He didn't like everything about him in general of course, but there was something unnerving about him this time. It was as if he was irritated. Of what, Kurapika neither knew nor cared.

"What the hell do you want?" He tried to sound as uncaring as he could.

"I told you to text or call me and you didn't, so I decided to check on you. I thought the Mafia arrested you or something. It turns out you're not," Kuroro was wearing the same mask as him.

"I'm not, fortunately. Almost, though. Now that you've confirmed that I'm good, get out of the way. I won't set a date for now to meet up; they are still keeping an eye on us. Wait for my text once everything is clear," Kurapika moved to walk away when Kuroro pulled him to the concrete wall. He slammed a hand against it, preventing Kurapika to get away.

"That's only composed of two sentences; it wouldn't hurt to explain things on a text," now, the man seemed about to be on his edge and just keeping his temper at bay. Really, what was wrong with him?

"I just said we are under surveillance. Meaning, all of our interactions with everyone, phone conversations included, are being monitored. I didn't reply to make sure they will get nothing from me in case they were tapping my wires. I believed you are smart enough to realize that I'm in such situation so I didn't bother to do anything to be in touch because really, I don't see any reason why I should. It's my bad that I overestimated your ability to deduce things but if you didn't get to guess the reasons behind my actions then it's not my problem anymore. Get out of the way."

Kuroro didn't move.

Kurapika then let his aura flow in warning that one more word and he didn't move, he would go for a fight.

"I'm not obliged to update you with every single thing about my life and if you are pissed about it then deal with it on your own. Get out of the way or else I'll make you."

"One last question, then," Kuroro finally abandoned the façade, aura reeking out of him, eyes sharp and studying. "Have you made a transaction with Meniandro, too?"

Realization clicked. So this was what he was being angry about?

"What it is to you if I have?"

"Seriously, Kurapika," his voice turned low. Dangerously low. A smirk quirked up his lips. "I thought you are better than that."

"Disappointed? I don't mind. In fact I think that favors me because at this rate, I'm willing to sleep with anybody if it'll be the way to get the eyes without having to deal with you."

"But I did warn you, didn't I? I wasn't particular about it, presuming that you understand so let's make it clear this time around. I do not share. Should you do that, I'll do whatever it takes to crush them down and make it sure they could never lay a single gaze on you again," brows knitted, eyes cold and piercing, with his aura spiked. This was the very first time Kurapika had seen Kuroro Lucifer this expressly angry.

That was it, Kurapika has enough.

"Okay, scumbag," Kurapika hissed. "I don't know where this 'I don't share' thing coming because you are not sharing me with anybody because I was never yours to begin with. You do not own me. You never will. So if I go sleep with whoever I want is none of your business anymore. I'll let you know that I've had enough of you intervening my privacy. First, you stalked on me at work but I let that slide but this time? No. You can't act like you're some sort of my partner because whatever this connection we have is not a relationship. I never cared if you sleep with somebody else, I don't give a damn if you date every single human on the planet and I'll never stop you from doing so, so do the same and leave me alone," Kurapika enunciated the last three words, eyes shifting to scarlet, knuckles curling into fists.

"So what do you expect me to do?" Kuroro smirked humorlessly. The glint in his eyes said how much he wanted to slam Kurapika against the wall and hit him, hurt him, like every word he said stomped over his ego again and again, like it was hard for him to explain this and what was about Kuroro's anger that he couldn't understand? "You expect me to let you get off with whoever comes your way with a Kuruta eyes, just watch and do nothing? Come on, you're supposed to be smart. I did warn you that I'll do something should I find you having a deal with someone else. Don't expect me to just sit there and do nothing. I don't care whatever you think but I will not let just anybody touch you because—" Kuroro's words cut as Kurapika's knuckles connected to his cheek.

Kurapika was tired and hurt, physically and emotionally. He was at his limits. Sleepless and spent from fighting and enduring humiliation. He knew he couldn't afford to have another nen fight with Kuroro. He knew he would lose in the end if he tried. He would end up defeated, battered and who knows, maybe raped again. But he was having none of Kuroro's crap, his unreasonable possessiveness and blatant disrespect of his privacy, and this had to stop. So he settled for a milder approach—he remembered what happened the last time he let anger consume him, and it wasn't good—and gave Kuroro a punch not forceful enough to knock him out, but hard enough to shut him up. It worked, much to his surprise.

"I didn't make a deal with Meniandro," he reluctantly filled him with the truth. "He kidnapped me to offer a deal, but I've defeated all his men before he could even speak. I seduced him to give me the eyes then left halfway. I tied him on his own bed and took the eyes. I'll never stoop down low to get the eyes. Kurutas never do those dirty games like you do. You should have known that by now," he glared at the man. "Now that you've heard what you want, can you now get out of my sight and let me go?"

The man fell silent, head hung low and eyes away from Kurapika. Kurapika saw that as a chance to shove his arm away and get past him to retrieve the eyes. Oddly, Kuroro didn't resist or pull him back.

"We're not done talking."

"Yes, we are." Kurapika crouched and grabbed the eyes, bracing himself should Kuroro attack from behind. It didn't come. "It's up to you if you'll believe what I said. If you don't then there's nothing I can do. I won't convince you. I won't explain. Do what you want. Check Meniandro in his room. Ask him yourself.

"I'll give you one last warning, too: stop meddling with my private matters. One more time and the deal's over. Quit stalking on me. Threaten me all you want. Kill me and destroy the eyes if it'll satisfy you, but I'm so done with this crap. I don't care."

With what was said and done, Kurapika walked away and left without turning back to see if Kuroro was following him. To his relief, his presence disappeared from behind.

He walked on, feeling more exhausted and humiliated that he was when he left Meniandro's place.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kurapika honestly didn't know what to make out of what just happened.

Just exactly what was going on inside that bastard's head?

Well, yes, he kind of knew where Kuroro was coming from but seriously? To go stalk on him, assume things on his own and piss himself off unreasonably? Not only he looked down on Kurapika, he was even sticking his nose into his personal space like it was his business. Why did he have to meddle and act like what he assumed Kurapika did offended him? So what if he decided to meet somebody else? It wasn't like Kuroro had all those thirty-six pairs: of course Kurapika would go and find the others that Kuroro didn't manage to hoard and transact with those who had them. Who was he to stand on his way?

What, so in case Kurapika indeed went to date someone legitimately, Kuroro would blatantly interfere just because he didn't share?

'Don't give me that crap.'

Kurapika sighed and ran a hand on his hair as he leaned his back on the back seat of the cab he was in. God, he was just so tired. Even getting angry was taking him a lot of effort. He simply just couldn't take the absurdity of this entire evening.

He ended up remembering Kuroro and that hoodie he was wearing. That bastard: if he was spying on him properly then he should have figured out that he was summoned by force by Meniandro's men. If he really didn't want him to transact with the Mafioso then he should have barged into Meniandro's mansion when Kurapika went inside. Ultimately, if he hated Meniandro's guts that much then he should have killed him and prevented Kurapika to make a deal with him.

If anything, there was just one and only likely reason why Kuroro was keeping Meniandro alive, and Kurapika knew it.

His deal of finishing Meniandro off for a small price, separately from the charge for the Kuruta eyes, was still on the table.

Two birds with a stone, of course Kuroro wouldn't let that Kuroro and of opportunity to slip away. As if Kurapika would take the bait. He could go die and rot in hell but he would never take the offer.

Kuroro's angry frown and deep voice resurfaced in his mind. It wasn't everyday that the man let his emotion color his mien, let alone show it to Kurapika. It was satisfying to see him riled up for once, lose his cool and composure and look as if he was about to kill somebody.

Really, it wouldn't be impossible if he was currently on slaught. Sadly, if he was killing someone right now, it wasn't Meniandro. He could feel through his nen that the man was still alive.

The way his eyes bored on his ferociously and even burning remained fresh in his memory. The heat from his hand as he held him up from behind lingered on both his wrists. His baritone voice ringing as he crooned out his threats and that 'I don't share' line keep playing inside his mind. Kurapika's head was full of thoughts about the bastard that he came to realize something.

It had been a solid, kiss-free, sexless month for Kurapika.

Kurapika mentally scoffed. He couldn't possibly get turned on by the sight of that turf, could he?

No. Definitely not.

He noticed the sudden rise of his body temperature and how the cab's AC cooled him down. His suit became uncomfortably wet with his own sweat.

This was absolutely due to the steam after getting on a fight, and not after his encounter with Kuroro Lucifer.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

There had been no move from both Meniandro and Kuroro since the kidnapping incident for almost a week already.

There had been no news about Meniandro from the community, while Kuroro had never tried to contact him again. Both corners made no next move and instead of relieved, it left Kurapika antsy and clueless. All the time, Kurapika was on guard for another ambush: as if Meniandro would leave him scot free after what happened. But so far, there had been no suspicious movement from his side.

What honestly made him a little nervous with what he had done (though he absolutely regretted nothing) was the fact that Meniandro now knew about his eyes and the high possibility of the jerk to spread the information to the Market and commence a head hunt for him. Not that he was hiding his bloodline, but this would be bothersome. That was why when Kurapika judged that the man must have learned from his merciful warning about Kuroro, he released him from his chains three days after their encounter

It indeed surprised him that no one paid him a visit slash forcibly dragged him to lift the chain off of Meniandro during those three days. It surprised him even more that the scene of Meniandro barging into Dmitri's mansion to make him pay for what he did that Kurapika expected didn't come either.

This lack of action meant only two things: either Meniandro heeded to his warning or he was concocting a plan to get back at him, and currently there was nothing he could do to find out what Meniandro was about to do but to wait.

As for Kuroro... the man hadn't tried to keep in touch since the last time they met. Kurapika refused to make the first move, his pride would never let him to. So he didn't know what was going on in his part or if he already killed Meniandro like he had been suspecting since letting the Mafioso go.

Then on the day that marked the one whole week of silence of the two jerks, something came up that had Kurapika disoriented.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kurapika reported to Dmitri's office one morning but as soon as he entered the room and greeted his boss, the blond noticed a deep frown etched on his face.

"... Sir?" He inquired, his voice inquisitive with concern.

"Kurapika..." Dmitri entwined his fingers and gave him a meaningful, sharp look. "I want you to do something for me."

Kurapika noticed an enveloped document on his table. It was presumably a plane ticket. "Okay, sir."

With a heavy sigh, Dmitri waved a hand towards the coffee table amidst the couches for guests. On it was a metal box that Kurapika instantly recognized.

It was a pair of Kuruta eyes.

"Bring that pair of Kuruta eyes to a friend of mine."

"Sir?" Kurapika questioned almost incredulously. He managed to hold it back. "What do you mean?"

"My friend and one of our investors, Ruthberg, is now in the country for a vacation. I owe him a big favor before and I haven't given anything in return yet since he didn't ask for anything. But when he heard that I'm collecting the Kuruta eyes, he suddenly asked me to give him a pair for his coming birthday. Given that he's also our big investor, I can't say no. I can't let him down, it'll affect me so much if he pull out his shares, and this is the first time he asked something from me and now I'm cornered. I don't want to let a single pair go but..." Dmitri blabbered in frustration and reluctance. He seemed all upset and perturbed about giving The Kuruta eyes away.

But not as bothered and disturbed as Kurapika.

This couldn't be. "Are you sure about this, sir? I mean, one pair costs a lot. Is it really okay to give him this much?"

"I know," Dmitri curled his knuckles. "This might be too much, But I can't afford to lose my connection to him. I'd hate to give the eyes but there's no way around. I just wish he'll take good care of them. Kurapika, you're the only one I can trust to bring the eyes to the bastard. Can you do it?"

With the calmest voice he could ever muster, Kurapika nodded and slightly dipped his head. "Certainly, sir."

Pulling his straightest face, Kurapika reached for the plane ticket and the eyes and left at once.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kurapika was at loss of what to do about this.

He wasn't prepared to claim the eyes from his employer yet. He still lacked the money and means to haggle with Dmitri. It wasn't the right time.

Goddamn it. Should he have just taken that second-in-command post, after all?

He didn't see this coming, didn't expect Dmitri to give the Kuruta eyes away as a token of appreciation to some friend, and a foreigner at that. Back then at Dmitri's office, he almost lost it and told Dmitri everything and declare that he wanted the eyes. Common sense stopped him, he couldn't reveal his identity and motive so impulsively with no concrete plan because he knew damn well that Dmitri wouldn't give them up easily, that with one wrong move it might cost him his job, that slowly thickening thread he held on closer to the eyes.

So, now. What to do with this eyes on his hands that was about to be taken away from him again?

Kurapika had some savings and he could more or less buy a pair, but Dmitri had four pairs (including this one) and even if he resorted to buying it off, he could only get a set. And Dmitri, he could tell, wouldn't take that offer even if he doubled the original amount.

Honestly, trying to purchase the eyes from his multimillionaire boss was on the bottommost part of his options because it was the least plan to actually work.

That left him two other choices: threaten Dmitri and take the eyes by force, or steal them away.

He wasn't looking forward to be exposed. It would be harder to move and collectors would be more than eager to throw away money to get him and his eyes, dead or alive. He wasn't enthusiastic to have some more bastards chasing after his ass, really. One was troublesome enough.

So there remained one quick way: nick it. Less expenses plus his identity would be kept safe.

Then again, it was against Kurapika's protocol and to top it all, he despised stealing. God, he couldn't even imagine himself sneaking into Dmitri's vault no matter how desperate he was to get the eyes.

So how should he do this?

It did occur to him to seek a professional expertise from that someone who robbed on a regular basis since that Kuroro offered it himself but just like the suggestion to silence Meniandro for good, the small price was exorbitantly high for Kurapika. Damn it, he remembered what Kuroro told him on their very first night.

He could get the eyes conveniently with Kuroro as his key.

Oh, there was another way: have Kuroro buy the eyes from Dmitri. But that was a tall order; surely there would be a taller cost. God, he didn't even want to think about how much Kuroro would going to charge him.

Just god freaking damn it. Why was this happening?

Still indecisive, Kurapika boarded the plane to Sithar City where that damn Ruthberg awaited for the delivered gift he didn't deserve.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The rest house he was told to go was heavily guarded, completely with through inspection of his belongings and confiscation of his weapons. It took some more minutes and a phone call to clear him and allow him to enter the premises.

He was led to a study room. There were guards inside, six of them, scattered in corners with the two of them standing side by side a leather chair which was turned against him. Rude was what Kurapika's first impression about this Ruthberg. All of the guards were shooting sharp and calculative looks to him, they seemed to be poised to whip their guns to him with one snap of fingers. Kurapika wasn't deterred.

"Pardon the intrusion, sir. I am Kurapika and I am here to bring a gift from Dmitri-san."

There were void seconds of silence, Ruthberg didn't turn around his swiveling leather chair. Right then, Kurapika felt his heart sank. A man's crisp chuckle broke the deafening stillness, and the voice sounded painfully familiar.

"Punctual as ever, Kurapika," the man's voice was cold and brusque, not the kind of voice Kurapika usually heard from him. "And here I thought you'll never come. You really are an exceptional lad. You always exceed my expectations."

Finally, the chair moved. Brown eyes, graying hair and vibes of a vicious businessman, the man no doubt had the edge of a real Mafioso that neither Light Nostrad nor Meniandro had.

He knew it. This was must be why he felt there was something off about the whole order thing.

"What is going on here, Dmitri-san."

Chapter Text

Dmitri gave him a wry smile.

"Why, Kurapika? Shouldn't I be the one asking you that? After all, I wasn't the one who's hiding my real identity from my employer. Don't you think," Dmitri quirked his lips into a sarcastic grin, "last survivor of the Kuruta clan?"

At that, Kurapika finally dropped his oblivious façade. "I see. You found me out at last."

"Yeah. Let me give you some credit: you're pretty tough to deceive me for so long like that," Dmitri leaned on his chair, looking at Kurapika from head to foot.

"Correction, sir. I didn't deceive you. You just didn't do thorough background check and you didn't ask me, so I didn't tell."

Dmitri laughed sardonically. "Amusing! Never thought you hide some sarcasm in you. Well since we're at it, let me ask you: who are you and what do you want from me, Kuruta?"

Kurapika sighed, still not sure how to handle this. "Everything about me that you know is true, Dmitri-san. My loyalty and respect are genuine. There is nothing that I want from you… but the eyes."

"I knew it," Dmitri's eyes crinkled from his humorless smile. "You were using me to collect the eyes for you."

"I was the one you used to search and purchase the eyes as far as I remember. Consider it a win-win. I intend to claim the eyes and return them to the rightful owners."

"Do you mean your wasted clansmen that died years ago?" At that, Kurapika's eyes shifted into scarlet behind his contact lenses. His temper rose and he subconsciously curled his knuckles into tight fists. Still, he remained composed and unmoving—or at least as his brows knitted in building anger.

"... I've never seen you so irked and angry like that before, Kurapika. I guess raising subjects related to your clan sparks the flare of your rage. Here I was wondering if you can fill me up with the story of how the Kuruta clan was murdered, and how you managed to survive," Kurapika tried his best to imitate the cold and flat look Dmitri wore, but to no avail. He breathed in and straightened up, eyes widening and scarlet irises aglow.

"I'm afraid I would greatly disappoint you with how anti-climatic my story is, not that I will tell you. Truth to tell, it's not worth sharing."

"Aww, too bad. So, since you said you intend to get the eyes from me, how are you planning to take them? Steal them away while I'm asleep? Kill and swipe them from my display room? I doubt you plan to buy them off. Not that I'll sell them to you," Dmitri shrugged.

"I doubt you wouldn't think twice if I offer a good price, but yes, I will admit that I don't have the gold to spend for them as for yet. Just a curious question: why do you like the eyes so much, sir?"

"Hmm. Because they are pretty, exquisite and expensive? I really can't explain why, but I fell for them in an instant when I saw a pair for the first time. Makes me wonder how they will look if its head was still intact, if its owner was still alive. I've never met a Kuruta before… or so I thought," Dmitri threw him another unfeeling twitch of the corner of his lips.

Kurapika looked apathetically at him, thinking that his reason was lame.

"Let me ask you back as I'm still curious. How did you escape the massacre?" Dmitri persistently pressed.

"In case I buy the eyes off from you, how much each pair would cost?" Kurapika asked, straight forward as if he didn't hear Dmitri ask the last question.

"I just told you, they are not for sale," Dmitri's eyes narrowed.

"And just to let you know, sir, I will get the eyes from you whatever it takes. By hook or by crook. I am humbly asking for your cooperation; I do not want to resort to drastic or violent measure to reclaim my brethren's eyes."

"So you really are set to go harm me should I refuse?" His guards instantaneously whipped their guns and pointed at him. Kurapika wasn't fazed, he didn't make any move and remained looking at Dmitri, eye to eye.

There was something… odd about this. Dmitri was aware that Kurapika was a nen-user, a good one at that. But none of these guards were nen-user, as far as he could tell. These men wouldn't stand a chance against him. He and Dmitri knew that.

"No, if you tell your men to put their weapons down. I mean no harm, Dmitri-san. Please hear me out. I just want the eyes back, cleanly and legitimately if possible. I'm willing to buy them properly," Kurapika slightly dipped his head. "I assure you that you'll be doing the restless souls of the original owners of those eyes a huge favor. I'm prepared to purchase them for a reasonable price," Kurapika knew he was babbling crap. That this was futile. How was he supposed to buy them? They both knew it was an empty promise. Well. It wouldn't hurt to try. Kurapika began to worry now. He didn't really want to make a ruckus. Should he attack or threaten Dmitri, words would surely spread inside the Community.

"Hmm… okay." Dmitri timidly shrugged.

"Look, Dmitri-sa—" Kurapika's mouth was left hanging. He bet he looked stupid. He was about to swear absolute loyalty to him until he could finally afford the eyes but his mind jumbled with that promptly said one word. "… O-Okay?"

"Yeah. It's okay. You can have the eyes for two billion each pair."

Now this was anti-climatic. "That… is very nice of you, Dmitri-san." This must be a trap. Two billion was sickeningly an exorbitant amount of money. Two times four pairs; that would be eight billion. Yes, that was big, but there was no way Dmitri would sell them to him so easily. He couldn't help the doubtful look on his face, but he decided to ride along. "But two billion is pretty too much. I've bought those pairs for only some hundred million or so."

"Seriously, Kurapika. You have some guts to actually demand about the amount when you just said you're willing to pay the price. I'm doing you a favor so do me some in return. I mean, it's not like you can go buy them right away after this. You'll be buying the eyes for installment, that is I'm sure, so I have to tack on interest. Take it or leave it."

Wait. So Dmitri was serious?

"I'm serious about this, Kurapika. I'm not trying to deceive you or anything. I get your 'I need to get the Kuruta eyes back' thing. I did have you background checked. Heard you killed a member of Ryodan singlehandedly. Generally, you could have killed me easily but you didn't. Which means you are sincere about taking the eyes without getting physical. But I can tell... that you can really go kill me if that's what it takes to get what you want. I weighed over the decision whether to risk being killed by a powerful and gutsy guy or let go of something I can live without. This is my answer. Business is business, however. I have to get my money back. I want to make more money out of it so I'll feel I gained something from it than consider it a lost."

"... Two billion is unreasonable, Dmitri-san. Hypocritical, even. It's like as though you're telling me that I can never afford them no matter what I do," not that Kurapika couldn't earn that amount, of course.

"That's not my problem anymore. I won't change my mind. Now if you don't want that, leave. I'm a fair person: I won't crack about your identity unless I really have to. But if you try to get dirty and forcibly take them, that's another story," the guards fastened their stances and raised their guns a little higher, aiming for Kurapika's head. "I'll make sure you'll drop dead with one wrong move, and I swear to let your secret known to the entire world should you attack. You know me, Kurapika. I'm a man of my words."

Working with this man for quite some time, Kurapika knew how professional Dmitri with his business partners when it came to business deals. And right now, his employer was dead serious about his threat and that fixed price. Dmitri wouldn't change his mind no matter what Kurapika do. It was a plain take it or leave it.

It was an irrational, impossible, even suicidal deal. But at least Dmitri agreed to trade, and Kurapika didn't have to fight and there was no bloodshed needed. It was better to have this slim chance than to have nothing at all.

"... I understand. We have a deal, then. Dmitri-san," Kurapika fisted his right hand, repressing an urge to grit his teeth and glare at the man.

"Excellent," Dmitri smiled and clasped his hands together, he seemed amused with himself. That was his kind of smile whenever he closed a good, favorable deal with his clients and business conglomerate. Kurapika lingered his gaze about the man. He might be different from Nostrad and Meniandro, but still they were made out of the same fabric.

They were all about money.

"It's been a long day," Dmitri looked at Kurapika with his smile still on his face, but Kurapika knew that those eyes would never look at him the same way like before. Dmitri trusted Kurapika enough that he had let the blond see through his emotions with those brown eyes whenever he was pissed, anxious or agitated. Now, they swam in suspicion, distrust, even betrayal and maybe, obscene fascination. As easy as that, the trust that Kurapika had worked for months to gain dissipated into nothing, and his relationship with his boss as the employer and his trusted bodyguard turned sourly as the businessman and his hideous, dishonest and dangerous subordinate. "You are all dismissed. Except you, Kurapika." At that, the guards looked alarmed and worried about Dmitri. "Don't worry, he won't do anything, I'm sure of that. I just want to discuss something with you."

Still doubtful while shooting glares at the blond, the guards left and closed the door behind them.

Kurapika stood still, waiting for Dmitri and not saying a word no matter how much he wanted to argue about the agreed amount and curse him for thinking that he held some monetary worth for the eyes while in fact, he was just a damn geezer boasting about something that he didn't have a freaking right to claim.

"Just to confirm, can I have a look at your scarlet eyes?"

Kurapika mentally scoffed. He knew it.

"No problem, Dmitri-san. But in return, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, not that I'll answer it correctly," Dmitri leaned against his chair.

"It doesn't to be a direct answer, sir. Just a vague one will do, as long as it's true."

"Fire away."

Kurapika covered his eyes with one hand, while the other carefully fiddled to remove the black contact lenses from his irises. "Say," Slowly, as if building up the tension, he closed his eyes and let his hands fall to his sides. Turning his Kuruta eyes as bright as he could, he dramatically opened them and watched as Dmitri visibly had his breath caught in his throat, with eyes wide open and lips quirking into a fascinated smirk. "Who tipped you off about my identity as a Kuruta?"

Dmitri was at a loss for words, mesmerized with the view before his eyes and taking in the beauty of the crimson gems that he said that had him falling in love at the first sight. He was unbelieving with his mouth ajar and gaze solely focused on Kurapika's scarlet eyes. Kurapika let him take his sweet time.

"I knew it. They are prettier when the head is still attached. What a shame, really. To have your clan extinct," Dmitri looked dazed, tantalized. He chuckled, then he was back to his attentive self. "Oh, yeah. Well… let's say I was… warned by a concerned citizen."

It was Kurapika's turn to smile. "I see."

"That's all, then. You're dismissed. Good night," Dmitri turned his back and left without looking behind, face devoid of any emotion, but eyes screaming disappointment.

Kurapika's scarlet eyes hadn't turned back to normal. He couldn't deactivate them even if he wanted to. It had been months since the last time they glowed so fierce like this, and back then he was filled with fury and agony.

Now he was tasting failure he had never experienced before, and it was eating him alive.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It took Kuroro some seconds to realize and accept that he, indeed, had been playing with his phone for more than twenty minutes, which was a first and also very unlike him.

Kuroro preferred reading books to kill time, but he'd been oddly had his hand on his phone for quite a while ever since he had that squabble with that Kuruta a week ago. One solid week had passed, and within those days, Kuroro had been absently checking it (both intentional and not) for two reasons: one was he was weighing over a decision whether to contact Kurapika first and two; he was waiting for Kurapika to make the first move.

Yes, he was hesitant to call Kurapika to apologize although it was really his fault for intruding his privacy, and he knew that saying sorry was the only thing he could do to make up to him. It should be easy; phone the Kuruta, say the magic word with a promise not to do it again, and Kurapika would go administer his anger control management and tolerate him again. It worked back then at the cruise ship—it should work again this time.

But Kuroro was reluctant to take the blame this time because he believed that what he did wasn't entirely wrong.

It was his bad that he got Kurapika pissed off by following him around, jumping into a conclusion and accusing the boy of making a trade with Meniandro, but he just couldn't help it. Kurapika was desperate when it came to his clan's eyes; he knew no boundary and prepared to cross the oceans, even to sleep with the enemy, to collect them all. He had taken what Kurapika said seriously because he took him as someone who wouldn't speak of something as such if he didn't mean it, let alone tell it to him.

So it went into his head when he saw Kurapika willingly went along with that guy and drove to Meniandro's place. It took a little time as he caught up with sneaked inside the mansion, and when he had a look as Kurapika took down those men and entered inside the house, he almost stepped out of his hiding spot to follow him. Back then, he assumed that Kurapika must have been reluctantly taken and he thought that he was going to face Meniandro to deal with him for good. There was a part of him that still believed that Kurapika wouldn't do what he threatened him to do because Kuroro was certain he wasn't that kind of person. Call it a little thread of trust. He let him go on his own. He remembered him saying that he could handle Meniandro alone just fine.

However, the sight of Kurapika emerging out with disheveled hair, opened collar and a pair of scarlet eyes on hand moments later filled him a foreign feeling of anger and disappointment. It was a different kind of emotion and unlike when he was experiencing such feelings, they didn't immediately fade away. It was tugging at his chest and making him frown. It was making him want to rip and destroy something apart. An overwhelming urge of possessiveness crashed into him, and he didn't know where it was coming from.

Of course, Kuroro still had the impeccable control over himself and he didn't storm towards the Kuruta. But he needed some answer, some confirmation of what really happened, because he was still furious and he could tell that only when he knew if Kurapika had an exchange with Meniandro or not it would stop whatever this weird feeling he was having.

It clouded his mind in the way it shouldn't. The possessiveness, greed and being demanding were affecting him, swaying him and making him irrational, impulsive even. It was like he had gotten himself a huge stone to hit his own head with. Kurapika was lot more moody and hard to deal with compared to any bitch out there. High-cost, grumpy, amateur, and an archenemy. He had been doing so many adjustments, keeping his patience long and thick, and trying so hard to get along with the brat and his rude attitude and bottomless rage towards him. Of how this had to go that far and why he had been keeping it up, he had no idea anymore.

Case in hand, what was actually stopping him to apologize was because he wanted his one message to get across: he wanted Kurapika to be exclusively his. For the meantime, at least.

It seemed Kurapika somehow got it— just that he didn't want to agree, which was understandable because he hated his guts to the marrow of his bones, and the last thing you liked to happen was to be owned by your sworn enemy.

But that wasn't the deal here in Kuroro's opinion, Kurapika could hate him for all he wanted, sure, but he didn't want anybody else to touch him. They were in an agreed, secret intimate connection and Kuroro didn't like the idea of a third party. He was enjoying the game as it was. Simple as that.

Having Kurapika stirred his territorial side that he didn't know he had. It tested his judgment and manipulative skills to get under his skin. Everything about their deal had been keeping him on his toes, and there was no reason to end it just yet.

This was a small experimentation: to see how long the boy could hold on to his pride before swallowing it whole, and have him contact him first and get over with this mind-blowing abstinence already.

He had to give the boy some credit, though; it seemed the experimentation was on him to bite his ass.

It was getting ridiculous. The fight was worthless, and they wouldn't go anywhere if this continued but Kuroro reckoned he really had to do something to make sure that Kurapika wouldn't be touched by anybody else, be it consented by the Kuruta or not, and there was this one idea in his mind that could press Kurapika into doing just that and at the same time, make him a little more compliant, cooperative and less of a brat that he was.

He wanted Kurapika to see and acknowledge their differences when it came to power and strength, instill fear in him and have him realize how much upper hand he had. Show him who Kuroro Lucifer was as Ryodan's Danchou, and let him know what kind of a monster he was actually dealing with. There was no easier way to tame a wild cat but to introduce him to a wilder and bigger one, after all. Intimidating Kurapika might be a monumental mission, but it wasn't impossible.

All he needed was a situation and chance to show him what he was truly capable of.

Though honestly, right now, if saying sorry would end this damn fight, Kuroro was willing to do it. Just that he wanted Kurapika to call first— there was a limit of how much pride he could swallow—because calling him first would be claiming all of the blame and as far as he could remember, Kurapika said he would call him first once he was free of bugs and when the coast was finally clear.

Perhaps he was still being observed, or likely still mad at him. Maybe both. Kuroro decided to just wait a little more. Give him another week and if there still was no update, he might just fire off another text.

Kuroro put his phone down the table and pushed himself up the couch to get something to drink when his phone's ringtone broke the silence inside the high-rise condo unit he bought for Kurapika. He peered at the device and was very, honestly, surprised to see Kurapika's name flashing on the screen. Kuroro was hesitant to take the call for a second.

"… Hey," he began, pressing the device on his ear. There was no reply. "How are you doing?"

Still, there was no answer. Kuroro could faintly hear breathing from the other end of the line, so he was certain that this was no accidental dial.

He proceeded to his plan, anyway. "Look, I'm sorry about—"

"—How much?"

Kuroro's words were cut short with that vague question. He went still, recognized that it was Kurapika's voice—and noted how angry it sounded—and was about to ask what the Kuruta was talking about… when it finally clicked.

"… It depends."

"Very well," Kuroro was so used of hearing Kurapika's voice low and dangerous that in fact, it sometimes strangely turned him on and he had to admit, hearing him growling like that was sexy in its own way. Kuroro didn't even realize how wide he was grinning as the chance he was hoping for began to unfold before his eyes.

"Teach Meniandro a lesson he will never forget until he die."

Chapter Text

The stench of blood and heavy trails of death lingered pervasively in every corner of Meniandro's mansion and assaulted Kurapika's nose as he took the first step inside the main door.

 

Nothing changed that much from when he went inside it for the first time; the luxurious vibes and excessive wealth still screamed aloud. Just like in his first visit, bodies of guards were all over the floor, scattered everywhere. The only difference was they were just unconscious back after he knocked them all out— this time, not a single one of them seemed to be breathing. Their heads were twisted in odd ways. Some were drenched with their own blood from severe shots on the forehead. One body was lying twisted beneath the staircase with its head squashed against the tiled floor; it presumably had fallen down from the second floor right after receiving an attack.

 

Holes from gunshots pierced some parts of the living room with the scent of gunpowder still fresh in the air. The amount of bullets used and the thickness of the smell would make someone assume that their opponents must have been a pack of skilled assassins, and not a single man.

 

'Go to Meniandro's mansion. We'll meet inside his master bedroom.' It was an instruction he received from Kuroro through text some hours later after he gave his command. A command that he didn't know he would regret giving for the rest of his life.

 

Kurapika expected this much as he walked along the wake of death and destruction. Anger built up inside him; his order was vague and he overlooked to tell Kuroro not to kill anybody but this was absolutely unnecessary. There were many other ways to scare Meniandro; to make him shut his mouth forever and leave them alone. Killing must be on the top of the list but that was not the only option.

 

Kurapika then realized how rage blinded him so much this time around. The fact that he was the reason why all of these people died tugged at the back of his mind and stung his guts, and that exactly must be why Kuroro went that far: to make him feel so bad and guilty. He should have known. He knew from the start that killing was the only method Kuroro would use to deal with this and yet, he still gave an order.

 

Kuroro was up to something more, he could tell. The sight of the bloody hallway towards Meniandro's playground said it all.

 

 

More bodies laid lifeless along the way; they must have all gathered here to protect the twin door at the end of it. It was dim lit and hallowed. The smell of blood was poignant and sickening. The silence was deafening and void.

 

Each step reverberated as he got closer to the closed room. The walls and several paintings were stained with blood both dried and trickling. A few more steps away from the door, Kurapika recognized a dead body with huge wound across his abdomen as of stabbed by a big, blunt sword. It was the fast nen-user, one of his kidnappers before. He gave it one studying look; it must be his own weapon that was used to end his life, and proceeded to the door.

 

He stopped right in front of it, hesitant to open and see what was inside. But he had to— it was something he agreed to pay so dearly later on. With a quick but deep intake of breath, he grabbed the knob, turned it and stepped inside.

 

Unlike outside, Meniandro's bedroom was tidy and free from blood. The king size bed was still there, so were the leather straps, the TV and the adult toys organizer. Even the giant bowl was still there, and it seemed to have an occupant tonight.

 

Bloodshot eyes brimming with tears and terror looking pleadingly back at him, Meniandro opened his mouth to catch his breath as he sobbed uncontrollably and huddled inside the bowl. He scrambled to his feet and pressed his palms against the bowl's wall in attempt to reach him out. Kurapika wasn't filled with the satisfaction he expected to feel as he watched Meniandro shaking in fear and hopelessness inside his very own sadistic chamber. He even felt pity upon hearing him began to wail almost incomprehensibly.

 

"I-I'M SORRY!" Meniandro screamed from the top of his lungs, but it came muffled to Kurapika's ears. "I-I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO YOU! PLEASE FORGIVE ME! I WILL NEVER BOTHER YOU AGAIN, I SWEAR!" He slammed his fists against the glass. "HELP ME! PLEASE!"

 

"Close the door, Kurapika."

 

Kurapika flinched at the cold at brusque voice that called his name. Kuroro Lucifer’s presence was perfectly concealed and he was too focused on Meniandro that he didn't realize that he was standing just some steps away from him, leaning on the wall with one hand holding his closed Skill Book.

 

"I told you to teach him a lesson but not kill everybody!" his breath came ragged with anger but as their eyes met, he stood frozen on his spot for he knew right then that the Kuroro who was standing in front of him now wasn't the laid-back bastard he usually screamed at.

 

Eyes blank yet dark; face blank yet so expressive—oppressive aura and tremendous killing intent were roiling about him. He couldn't blame Meniandro if he pissed on his pants somehow: the look and vibes Kuroro gave off tonight was one of a heartless killer.

 

"Close the door," Kuroro repeated.

 

Kurapika's guts were telling him not to raise objections or else his life would be at stake. He stepped back and pressed the door close behind him without looking away from Kuroro. A soft sound of a click said it was automatically locked.

 

Kurapika wanted this to stop. He wanted to back out. He had to do something.

 

"This is enough, Kuroro," something was definitely off. He never felt so... so scared of Kuroro like this before that he even kept his voice low. "I'm not having you kill another man tonight."

 

"I never leave my work unfinished midway, Kurapika," Kuroro took a small, single step. The air between them became heavier that Kurapika absently backed off. "I run the show tonight, I'm afraid."

 

"Kuroro—"

 

"You and Hisoka somehow made a deal back then at York Shin, didn't you? Did he tell you anything about my nen ability?"

 

"No," Kurapika answered, thinking of summoning Chain Jail if that was what it would take to stop Kuroro. "Our exchange wasn't complete."

 

"I see. So you're not aware of my stolen abilities, then."

 

"Hisoka wants to kill you himself; he didn't see a reason why he should divulge me with the information. I want to find out, but perhaps Hisoka didn't know that much about it either."

 

"I see," he said, rather monotonously. "Do you remember that time when you kidnapped me and asked if I was the leader of the Spiders when we attacked your village?"

 

"What about it?" Spooked as Kuroro inched closer, Meniandro momentarily clammed up to listen to their conversation. Kurapika could somewhat see where it was going, and it was bad.

 

"Nothing. Just that you were so eager back then to find out if I'm the one who led Ryodan to the massacre of your clan, but you didn't seem so interested to know how we killed them using our abilities."

 

Kurapika was instantaneously ravaged with wrath at that. His eyes turned scarlet and he flexed his right hand to whip out his chains.

 

"Stop right there, Kuroro."

 

One moment Kuroro was on his side, the next was he’s already right at Kurapika's back, right hand still holding his book while his left held a knife poised dangerously near his neck. It was so close that one wrong move or breath would surely create a cut through his flesh.

 

"You placed me under Zetsu back then not only because it was the only way to save your friends, but because you know that I'm stronger than you are and you won't stand a chance should we fight one-on-one."

 

"Which we proved right before you raped me that night. What the hell are you trying to get at, bastard?" Kurapika couldn't help but feel agitated with Kuroro's speed and close proximity that he wasn't able to dodge.

 

"I'd like to introduce you one of my abilities that I didn't get to use against you that time. It was handy when I used it with one of the assassins back then at York Shin auction. It's not much of my favorite, but it is one hell good of a nen ability. Stay still and watch carefully, Kurapika. I want you to know what other things I can just do."

 

"Kuroro," it was clear to Kurapika that he couldn't talk this one out anymore, but he would still try. "I'm going to pay what we agreed, so you can stop this right here."

 

"Don't make me repeat myself," Kuroro growled directly into his ear. "I want you to watch what I will do. Focus. Never forget what you'll see and make it a reminder to yourself not to mess with people who are much, much stronger than you are. Never take death so lightly because it doesn't come by as easy as you think it would be."

 

Kuroro opened his Skill Book and turned to a page, then two white, floating fishes with skeletal structures materialized in the air. "This ability is called Indoor Fish. Those fishes are carnivorous and made of nen."

 

Meniandro scampered and shrieked as the fishes darted towards him, slipped inside the bowl then one of them bit at his arm, while the other ripped at his side. Kurapika gaped at the sight.

 

"Stop it, Kuroro!" There he was again, just like that night when Kuroro defiled him. He couldn't stop what he was doing and all he could do was beg. "I already understand, just—"

 

"Move again and I'll have one of the fishes chomp at your feet. You'll feel no pain but once I close the book, you'll find out what it feels like to lose your feet then I'll watch you bleed until you die."

 

Kurapika understood it now. He understood it all now. This was another by product of him losing control of his emotions. As Meniandro freaked out with each painless bite the fishes made, he realized that there was another victim of his selfishness. But unlike Gon and Killua, he wasn't able to save him because it was him who instigated it. He shouldn't have called Kuroro. He shouldn't have let the anger get into his head that much.

 

He should have killed this monster when he had the chance.

 

"K-K-Ku-ra..." Meniandro's cracked voice called out for him again. The man who was huddling against the glass bowl earlier had one of his hands, the remainders of it, floating, fingers opened, still trying to reach him for forgiveness and help.

 

"No..." Kurapika could only mumble. The words 'I'm sorry' were left unsaid as it was useless, and Meniandro already lost both of his ears.

 

On his back, Kuroro closed in and sniffed at his hair before nipping at his earlobe, but Kurapika could barely feel anything. His tongue was already licking at the exposed part of his neck but Kurapika couldn't remember how it got there. His eyes couldn't stop looking at the remains of Meniandro's body: armless and legless torso, bitten half of his face, one hand floating with only three remaining fingers attached, and parts of some internal organs ripped and torn apart. He wasn't bleeding.

 

He never felt this kind of fear towards Kuroro before. Towards death. As he stood frozen by his side, unable to move or call for his nen, Kurapika had another glimpse of what kind of cruel demon this man who he had been sleeping with for months and now touching him. But what was worse was he could care less about what Kuroro had done to him within those months, what he was doing to him now and what he was about to do later, because he made him ponder about one crucial thing upon him pointing it out earlier. Kuroro was right. He overlooked asking.

 

'How...'

 

When Kuroro finally had enough of his show and he judged that Kurapika was completely out of it, he closed his Skill Book. Indoor Fish dissipated along with the book, then blood spluttered inside the glass bowl with Meniandro's body parts falling with sickening thunk and squelch against its floor.

 

Kuroro removed the knife under Kurapika's chin, tucked it somewhere in his pockets then slipped both of his hands under the hem of his shirt.

 

"Deactivate you chains," he breathed right into his ear. Kurapika's heart sunk and he prepared himself for he was about to plunge into the darkness again that this time, he had agreed to go. "We're going to do it here. Brace yourself if I were you."

 

Kurapika did what he was told. He knew he made a mistake, an unforgivable one, and he would pay its price.

 

'How did his clansmen die in Kuroro's hands?'

Chapter Text

 

The foul smell of Meniandro's bloody remains and Kurapika's unstable state of mind left him paralyzed and unable to react when Kuroro roughly shoved him to the bed. The way his strong grip snagged unforgivingly on his arm to force him into sitting down the bed suggested haste, even irritation. He landed on the mattress with a creak and his heart sank into dread of what was coming his way.

 

A room full of lascivious materials, a huge bed no doubt had been used by many, both willing and victims for sexual practices, a man-sized bowl containing guts and bile of a dead person pooled in fresh blood, and a mass murderer, serial killer looming close to him who was about to defile him in horrendous ways. Everywhere he looked reminded him of the very bad decision he had made due to his inability to control his anger properly. The implications of it all dawned to him as Kuroro stood right in front of him to block his sight as he continued to look at Meniandro. Upon Kuroro's harsh yank of his coat, Kurapika found strength and urge to fight back and resist as he couldn't—didn't want to do this anymore. It was all too much. He tried to pry Kuroro's hands away and push the bastard but Kuroro was adamant about demonstrating his true power tonight. All he did was swat his hands away and go on with forcibly stripping him of his clothes.

 

"Don't touch me!" Kurapika vehemently spat and glared so murderously at Kuroro as if his life depended on it.

 

Kuroro was undeterred— in fact, he became even more aggressive and nearly tore his shirt. There was a loud splitting rip of fabric as Kurapika tried to get away from Kuroro's hands which were dogged to peel him off of his clothes. The bastard was unnervingly silent with blank expression plastered in his face. Kurapika attempted to stand up and kick Kuroro when he wrapped his hand around Kurapika's neck, tightened the clutch then rammed him down the bed. Still, Kuroro had that uncaring look in his eyes while watching Kurapika clawing at the strangling hand and started to have trouble breathing.

 

"We have a deal, don't we?" Kuroro reminded with his chilling voice. It was so cold it sent chills down his spine. "'Teach Meniandro a lesson he will never forget until he die, and I'll let you do whatever you want to me for a night.’ This is what both agreed to do, yeah?"

 

Kurapika wanted to retort but couldn't do so with Kuroro's cold hand gripping on his throat. Yes, he did give that offer and was willing to comply— if he didn't unnecessarily kill Meniandro. He was a man of his words; he was willing to give in that much if only for a night if he wasn't inside this horrible place, surrounded by death, along with this homicidal man whom with a few nudge of his fingers could kill him through asphyxia.

 

Kurapika would be in a big trouble if he wouldn't be able to remove Kuroro's hand from his neck. He was about to lose consciousness when he resorted to summoning his chain— which successfully stopped Kuroro from choking him— but not from landing at punch squarely to his unguarded stomach. Kurapika whizzed out and breathed in for air and huddled into a ball in pain. He groaned and attempted to get on his feet— when he felt a violent, sharp pain of something like a needle piercing through the fabric of his sleeve to the skin of his arm. He whipped his head up in horror to see Kuroro holding a syringe that contained a yellowish colored liquid, deeply digging into his flesh, and it was all too late to stop him when Kuroro pushed the plunger and injected the unknown drug to his body.

 

Filled with fury and dread, he pushed Kuroro away with his syringe-stricken arm and he backed away a few steps from him. Kurapika stood up and pulled out the injection from his arm then flung it to the floor, looking incredulously at the bastard who simply straightened up, unaffected by Kurapika's shove and still wearing that cold, poker face.

 

"What the hell is that drug you gave to me!?" Kurapika bellowed, stepping away from Kuroro.

 

"You can relax. It's just a tranquilizer. Meniandro owned an impressive, complete stash of these sexual stimulants. He even had a variety of aphrodisiac substances," Kuroro answered with a flat voice that matched his unsympathetic gaze.

 

"What?" Kurapika could only gasp out in exasperation and disbelief. "No," he hissed, gripping at his arm. His eyes turned a brighter shade of red in an instant and he tried materializing his chain again but wasn't able to as Kuroro closed in on him in a blink of an eye, looming and fast and overwhelming, and before he could react he stood rooted on his spot as their eyes met and felt the tremendous, sinister aura roiling about the man. With this close scrutiny, Kurapika received the full blown killing intent directed right into him, and there was nothing he could see in those eyes, in that stance, and the aura leaking all over Kuroro but—

 

'Death.'

 

Kuroro was going to kill him. Right now. He was standing still just like that, but Kurapika knew that at the moment his hands moved, he would die. Without being able to defend himself. Not even being able to twitch a finger. The murderous aura continued to surround him, it was so powerful that Kurapika felt bare despite his own nen surrounding his body.

 

He abruptly found it hard to breath. He felt heavy, drowsy, and beads of sweat formed on his forehead. He was suddenly hot, he shuddered a bit despite of the heat. This wasn't caused by Kuroro's intimidating demeanor anymore.

 

Shit. The drug was starting to take effect.

 

His knees buckled. But before they gave away, Kuroro raised a hand, slapped his cheek with the back of it, and Kurapika swayed to the side and landed on the floor with half of his body hitting the edge of the mattress. He tasted blood in his mouth and felt the sting of pain lingered on his cheek.

 

He intended to get on his feet and counterattack, but his legs, his whole body, just wouldn't cooperate. There was a strange sensation of heat that slowly coursed through under his skin, and his breath became labored. His cheek reddened, his heartbeat hammered so fast he could almost hear it. These... these involuntary body reactions were certainly not effects of his sudden fear towards Kuroro and his violence. And when Kuroro languidly squatted next to him and pulled at his hair to forcibly make his look at his face, Kurapika realized.

 

"That... That isn't just a tranquilizer," Kurapika grunted, pain registering as Kuroro's fingers tightened against his scalp.

 

"Smart boy," Kuroro only complimented.

 

He let out a sharp yelp when Kuroro yanked his hair up as he stood. He grabbed at Kuroro's wrist and willed his legs to move to prevent him from hauling him up purely by pulling his hair. Kuroro carelessly dumped him on the bed like he was just a sack of potatoes, and flicked his hand to get rid of the strands that were plucked out from his head. Kurapika feebly dropped on the mattress; he ran a hand through his hair and pressed on the painful patch of scalp. He absently curled up to suppress the worsening heat and the other weird sensations now building up inside him. He writhed with a shuddered breath, and everything felt just so terrible.

 

Whatever that tranquilizer slash aphrodisiac Kuroro dosed him with was strong— it wasn't something his nen or willpower could handle. He was so filthy needy right now, and the towering urge was tearing him apart.

 

But Kurapika refused to give up. He refused to let Kuroro see how much the drug affected him even if it was all over his actions. He breathed in deep, hoping it could alleviate the extreme feeling of his body as if it was on fire. It was useless.

 

He barely noticed Kuroro moving to the foot of the bed and tugged both of his legs to position him properly on it. Kurapika sluggishly moved them in resistance, even tried to kick Kuroro again, but failed as they just limply fell on the mattress, parted. The unsightly bulge on his crotch was revealed, so he rolled to a side to curl again. Kuroro stepped back and looked around, seemingly searching for something. His eyes lingered on the selection of leather straps slung on the wall. He went over them as he found his pick, and took a sling leather strap with a pad and two loops at each end. Kurapika didn't exactly know how that sling worked, but he had an inkling about how it should be used.

 

Kuroro returned to the bed and tossed the item next to Kurapika's leg before he reached to the right side of the bed's edge. There, he slid his fingers from the uppermost edge along the side until it stopped, rummaged on there then pulled a piece of black strap with a cuff attached to its tip. Terror slithered through Kurapika again. He was reminded of his first night with Kuroro. He was going to be tied and raped again. Again.

 

Kuroro grabbed his right wrist, his clutch was hard and tight it hurt. Kurapika attempted to get away from the cold grip but Kuroro's hand was just so firm and ruthless. Kuroro slipped his hand in and adjusted the cuff so it would fit snugly around it. He moved to the left side of the bed and did the same.

 

Kurapika chose not to speak, he had enough of begging. He didn't want to give in, but there was hardly he could do. With both his hands restrained, he turned his head to a side and pressed his cheek against the covers.

 

He had inflicted this to himself. He should have expected the worst the moment he decided to ask for Kuroro's help in dealing with Meniandro. It was hypocritical of him. He warned Meniandro about what Kuroro was capable of doing, but he didn't impose the warning to himself.

 

He noticed how strangely clammed up Kuroro was. He wasn't looking at Kurapika with that murderous glare anymore. In fact, his eyes were blank. The giddiness and annoying amused glint in his eyes whenever they had sex wasn't present. His dark eyes were peering down on him, but Kuroro seemed to be looking somewhere faraway. Kurapika couldn't understand why but he could tell... he could tell that Kuroro was occupied with something else other than this bondage play.

 

... Perhaps he should just give in, Kurapika mused. It was futile, and he deserved this. Kuroro did the end of their bargain, even needlessly went the extra mile, and he should do the same. He was tired from the whole debacle. He was lustful as a cat in heat. Kuroro's demonstration of one of his nen abilities was enough warning for him to know that should he resisted more, there would be consequences that he wouldn't like. The tranquilizer rendered his muscles numb and heavy he felt as if he was being pressed down by a deadweight. Every attempt to escape and defend himself was fruitless. That was how overpowering and merciless Kuroro was.

 

Kurapika belatedly noticed that he was panting rather visibly. Beads of sweat began to form on his forehead, he felt feverish and his cheek flushed beet red. He was intoxicated and the desire to be touched and be released coursed through his veins.

 

The shameful sense of relief almost made him moan when Kuroro undid his belt and slid his fingers under the waistband of his slacks before pulling it off of him. Kurapika looked away as he went for his underwear next.

 

Kuroro loosened his necktie and unbuttoned his shirt unnervingly slow; he looked at him thoroughly with eyes focused yet seemingly empty.

 

Hopelessness and exhaustion gnawed at Kurapika, now that he was almost naked and in a compromising position in front of his sworn enemy. Enough was enough. He would be a certified fool if he continued his otiose protest. He was now way past of his throwing a fit stage, with his body resembling a limp doll with how uncooperative it was. This wasn't the first time, Kurapika reminded himself. It wasn't the first time Kuroro forced him into bondage, or hurt him in order to get under his clothes, or showed off his combat and immobilizing prowess to repeatedly let him see how huge their gap when it came to their abilities. It was clear as ice: Kuroro was generously letting Kurapika live, and for a single reason at that.

 

To be his plaything.

 

Kurapika then settled down, not bothering to care about how he looked with his legs fallen and wide open. He pinned his gaze on the giant bowl with the streak of Meniandro's blood drying on the transparent, circular wall, remembering how Indoor Fish devoured him while he let out bloodcurdling screams. His mind played an unpleasant imagery of himself being on Meniandro's place instead. What would he do should Kuroro use Indoor Fish on him? He wondered if Chain Jail would work on it. It was a shame that he didn't get to test and see if it would.

 

Kuroro retrieved the looped sling on his side, he heard the faint rustling of the blanket as he did so, and hovered above him. He slipped a hand behind his head, lifted it then placed the padded part of the sling at the back of his neck. Ah, Kurapika figured it right. They were thigh cuffs.

 

Kuroro grabbed his right ankle, inserted it into one of the loops and slid it up until it reached the back of his knee and did the same with the left leg.

 

Cold draft of air touched Kurapika's mortifyingly exposed skin. It sent chills down his spine, with his thighs cuffed and parted, suspended in the air while the back of his neck began to hurt for bearing the weight of his limbs. His crotch and buttocks were on full display, his length twitched and pulsated as the aphrodisiac's effect had taken over his system. Kuroro removed his hands from him as he completed the preparation, eyes probing over Kurapika's naked state. Kurapika couldn't take it anymore; he looked away and closed his eyes, wishing it all to be over soon.

 

There was a movement, and Kurapika felt Kuroro get off the bed. He was left in such debasing position, bound by leather on a bed with a forming bruise on the cheek and abdomen. He was fairly groggy. He blearily opened his eyes to see if Kuroro was going to leave him just like that to torment him even more when he saw him reaching for the drawer of the bedside table. He recalled when Meniandro revealed that he had a bottle of champagne hidden in it. Kuroro seemed to know it as well. He took it out along with a glass from the compartment, poured some of the alcohol and stopped before it reached half of the glass. He placed the champagne bottle on the table without bothering to recap it, opened a small bottle that contained a similar looking drug he used to Kurapika, and dribbled a few drops on the liquor before swirling the glass by his hand. The drug completely combined with the drink and Kuroro swigged it in one go without leaving a drop then slammed the glass down the table.

 

Kurapika didn't understand. It didn't make sense to him at all. Kuroro was going to use the same aphrodisiac substance on himself? Why? Was it for endurance? Ferocity? To arouse and induce his hormones to go full throttle tonight? Why? Wasn't all the violence and mortification not enough to turn him on? Weren't all of these for that? Kurapika thought Kuroro would go back to the bed and impale himself to him right away but he didn't. He languidly strolled across the bed, to the organizer where the assortments of adult toys and stimulators were showcased. Kuroro took a piece or two from the display. He was holding a phallic shaped vibrator that wasn't that big and a bottle of presumably lubricant.

 

It couldn't get any worse than this but it did. Anger and panic sparked in him and lent him a bit of energy and urge to resist. There's no way in hell he would let Kuroro go that far and treat him like a worthless whore. He tried to summon his chain again and it appeared... only to deactivate again. He was so intoxicated physically that he couldn't maintain it for long.

 

Kuroro inched closer, but Kurapika didn't stop trying to activate his chain.

 

"It's useless," Kuroro stated the obvious, riling up Kurapika even more. "We both knew you're not getting away from this no matter what you do."

 

"That... that doesn't mean I... I should let you do as you please with me..." Kurapika whizzed out.

 

Kuroro opened the lubricant bottle and squeezed an ample amount on his hand. Fingers wet and sticky, he touched Kurapika's shaft and grabbed his length, running his rough palm up to his tip back down to the sacs then tightened his grip there, forcing a wince out of Kurapika's mouth.

 

"Really?" Kuroro did a slow and torturous pumping, rubbing the pad of his thumb against the sensitive spot of his tip. Kurapika's increasing sexual drive worsened; some more of that pumping and rubbing and he would come.

 

Kuroro seemed to sense that, the twitching of his organ being an indication, and let go to stop him from reaching climax. He re-applied the lubricant on his hand then tended to his opening next, swabbing the liquid on it before slipping two fingers in.

 

Kurapika felt the familiar painful stabbing sensation on his hole and repressed at yelp. Kuroro slid his fingers in up to the hilt, pulled out then did it again.

 

"I am entitled to do whatever I want to you tonight, and I expect you to keep up with it. It's what we have agreed in exchange for my help, isn't it?"

 

Kurapika gasped aloud when Kuroro inserted three fingers in. The flesh that had healed after their one month abstinence was stretched and it hurt so much. Kuroro stilled and left in fingers deeply sunk before moving it, opening him up even more, and inflicted pain that had Kurapika whimper from ache and pleasure.

 

The clanking of the straps being tugged on the edges of the bed as Kurapika subconsciously moved his arms was degradingly erotic. Kurapika panted, looking blankly up the ceiling, eyes were brilliant red and watery. He was so angry, he was filled with self-pity and shame but above all else, he was being eaten by the desire to be impaled by Kuroro. For him touch him and let him come until he wrung him dry.

 

Kuroro removed his fingers, and Kurapika heard himself exhale in relief and disappointment. The painful, unleashed release on his crotch was left unattended, and it throbbed in protest. Kurapika looked down and saw Kuroro now holding the black phallus shaped item, pouring some lubricant on it, before pressing its slippery tip on his puckered opening.

 

"No!" Kurapika shakily murmured. "Please. Stop this madness. I can't take it anymore."

 

"... You said you'd rather have Meniandro," Kuroro recounted, voice flat and implicitly angry. "If you traded with him to get the eyes, you'd have to put up to this kind of act. Who knows, maybe something even worse. So let this be a reminder," Kuroro pushed the vibrator in without a warning, he didn't stop even when Kurapika screamed, "that none of you will get away from me should you let anyone other than me touch you this way."

 

Kurapika shivered, screwed his eyes shut and let out a repressed yelp. The penetrating object felt uncomfortable, yet it somehow pleased his adrenaline driven nerves. Kuroro pressed it down further and pain and discomfort tore at the budding pleasure inside him. He tugged at the cuffs and held back a weak whimper, tried to close his legs but Kuroro only clutched at his thigh and spread them again.

 

Kuroro moved a tad bit closer to him and placed his knees under Kurapika's folded legs, preventing him from closing them again. Watching him plunging into despair from such angle, Kuroro held his length and gave it slow yet thorough pumps.

 

The towering sense of pending climax returned, more ferocious than before, with Kuroro boosting the pumps up. He somehow turned the vibrator on while creating a delicious pace and it triggered his arousal so strong Kurapika burst into another scream.

 

The bastard must have put the vibrator on max, Kurapika's inside throbbed and numbed with how fast it quivered. He bit his lips to stop himself from making any more sounds, but the shaken moans and pants still came out with every breath he took. The vibrator was touching a certain spot that just drove him crazy, it must be custom-made to reach that and stimulate pleasure. With the continuous rubs and incessant vibrations, Kurapika was all but on the height of his orgasm, he squirmed and flailed and whined before exploding right into Kuroro's hand, his release spilled and dribbled down his stomach. It was thick and rather plenty.

 

He never felt this satisfied and humiliated before.

 

When the last drop slid down his length, Kuroro let him go and carelessly pulled out the vibrator, briefly inflicting yet another pain and pleasure sensation. Flushed and out of breath, Kurapika stared up the ceiling in attempt to compose himself right after that intense climax. But Kuroro was obviously not having any of that and hovered above him before shoving in with one quick thrust.

 

Kurapika looked at him wide eyed, seeing him on top of his body and boring that vacant look as Kuroro reveled at his scarlet eyes and terrified expression.

 

Kuroro cast his hands under Kurapika's knees and pushed up, granting more access for his length to penetrate his opening. It went almost smoothly and as he got Kurapika's full attention, he began to ram him up and down.

 

Kurapika closed his eyes and turned away as Kuroro impatiently thrust in and out of him. It gathered speed and once again Kurapika was in need to feel released. His spent length was slowly aroused into half erection, and the desire to feel the familiar burst of warmth inside whenever Kuroro came into him burned in him. Kurapika's body was craving for his seeds. That was the first time ever, for him to want that feeling of being marked and owned that he detested the most.

 

Finish it off. Finish it off. Shoot that trickle desire and fill him up. Kurapika never felt so scared and demanding like this before. That forsaken aphrodisiac tranquilizer was the root of sin that was Kurapika's relentless lust right now.

 

Kuroro remained... distant. Looking back at their previous sessions, Kuroro had a knack for starting things up with a kiss. Regardless if it was to tease, if it was on the neck, cheek, or straight to the lips, he usually started it with the smoldering look before sticking those damn lips into anywhere he felt like it. It was like that first sniff and sip of a refined wine. Kurapika just realized then that Kuroro had a habit of tasting a bit of him first before taking a whole bite.

 

That didn't happen tonight.

 

Not that Kurapika wanted Kuroro to kiss him. He just noticed. He couldn't help but note since Kuroro seemed to be into kisses which was implied by their first nights.

 

Tonight was remarkably different. Kuroro's face was far from his, hovering just up there while looking down on him. He got on with the thrusting with constant speed that almost felt like he was being penetrated by something mechanical. It was harsh and fast... but it lacked passion if he were to compare it to Kuroro's usual style.

 

His eyes showed no compassion nor pleasure. They were just... hallowed. It was like he was detached and devoid of emotion. A savage beast without mercy in human's clothing. He wouldn't listen to reasons and pleads, and would destroy, kill and devour indiscriminately. That was the kind of a demon he was.

 

That... was when Kurapika lost his remaining will to fight back. This man, these very hands now touching him and those eyes that were giving him a soulless gaze, was the same monster that tortured and killed his brethren. It was like he was having a first hand experience of how they died in Kuroro's hands.

 

The family members were said to be forced to sit facing each other and were stabbed then beheaded, still alive. Children had merciless wounds on their bodies to incite the eyes of their parents to turn a more brilliant shade of red.

 

He could almost see it. An epitome of a living hell with the forest burning and people scrambling about to protect the young ones, with all the men fighting with all they got against Ryodan who likely had learned nen back then. Kurapika didn't stand a chance against Kuroro despite being a nen-user; how could powerless children defend themselves against him? They could only freeze in fear and cry in pain while they bled and not die because the tormentors were purposely delaying it. They could only wonder why was this happening, and why wasn't the man with the book on his hand and a weapon on the other wouldn't listen no matter how much they plead. Why was this being done to them? What did they do wrong? Was being a Kuruta and having eyes that turn red a bad thing so people from the outside lands wanted them killed?

 

Was being a Kuruta a curse?

 

He was being treated like a sex doll right now to incite his eyes and instill fear in him, being forced to come and feel dirty and undignified, making him realize that there was nothing he could do and no one would come and save him. All because he was a Kuruta. They were killed and ridiculed so much just because of such small difference.

 

How much of this sufferings the Kuruta clan had to endure until the end?

 

Kuroro finally came, Kurapika didn't notice that he climaxed for the second time without being touched. He looked blankly to the side, scarlet eyes gleaming so bright and brimming with welling red tears. He blinked and they dropped down across the bridge of his nose and the side of his eyes.

 

He breathed in and involuntarily let out a sob. Tears began to accumulate in his eyelids and they continued to slide down despite his effort to stop them. These tears were one of the causes why he was being mistreated this badly. But they just wouldn't stop. He just couldn't stop.

 

Kuroro pulled out and went still for a while before unlatching the thigh cuffs from his limbs. Kurapika let his legs slip down the mattress, parted, with hands both fallen to the side of his head.

 

Kuroro reached out for his chin and turned his face to look above. Their eyes met, Kuroro's had a grave glint and Kurapika's still in their vibrant crimson and wet with tears.

 

"No one else is to touch you this way from now on," Kuroro growled with a threatening glare. "You are mine. Do I make myself clear?"

 

With his mind wishing nothing but for everything to come to its end and a broken soul that didn't seem to have a hope to be mended, Kurapika gave a weak and compliant nod.

Chapter Text

The night had gone into a fuzzy blur of things that happened after that first cruel round.

 

Kurapika somehow lost consciousness after Kuroro removed the thigh cuffs from him. Either the tranquilizer just had that kind of after-effect or Kuroro used nen on him, Kurapika wasn’t sure and immediately slipped into a shallow sleep and woke up once or twice due to different reasons.

 

He was still feeling very groggy when an acrid smell of smoke and something burning assaulted his nose and briefly stirred him awake. The air was hot and as he opened his eyes, he caught a glimpse of a set of curtains that was on fire, thin smoke seeped through the windows and accumulated overhead, and a familiar, cloaked back of someone with black hair. Kurapika heaved a deep breath and Kuroro must have heard him for he turned his head to look.

 

Their eyes met and there it still was; that empty and haunting hollow in Kuroro's eyes. His mind somehow began to reel with memories which slowly kicked in. Meniandro was dead, he was raped, and they were still inside his mansion— which was now on fire.

 

So Kuroro was going for an arson to clean the mess up, huh?

 

The burning smell wafted in the air and had him coughing as he breathed in. His head throbbed, none of his limbs wanted to move, so he didn't bother to try getting up. A part of him didn't want to. He was sweltering from the heat and couldn't breathe. He tore away from Kuroro's gaze and looked up, suddenly having a distant, fleeting memory of the Rukuso Province's state after the Kuruta massacre. He calmed down, mentally wishing for Kuroro to just leave him there and be burned alive. He would like to die with his eyes in their normal state as to not satisfy him. He wondered how much it would hurt. He bet it was nothing compared to the pain his comrades suffered from.

 

He chose to close his eyes.

 

The stinging heat he anticipated didn't come.

 

He slept on with laboured huffs and occasional twists. The terrible slumber was once again interrupted by the feeling of being in a moving vehicle. He squinted his eyes open and saw a ceiling of a car with its light turned off. He inhaled deeply and smelled a faint, sweet smell of air freshner. The air was cold, and it was coming from the AC. He was still alive.

 

The nightmare wasn't over yet.

 

He let out a shaky breath. He could now muster some energy to move, but all he managed to do was to lift a hand to bring it to the side of his forehead, groan and go to sleep again. Kuroro granted him some short breaks for they surely had a long night ahead. Might as well grab it and hope that he could at least stand and walk on his own once this hell ended.

 

He was woken by the feeling of being stripped of his pants on the third time he was dragged from his sleep. Somehow, his mind was a bit clearer and  the urge to just fall back to sleep had subsided, so he instantly understood the new situation he was in.

 

Kuroro was on top of him again as he laid on a bed, peeling away his trousers. He easily recognized the place as Kuroro's condo unit, inside the bedroom. The main lights were out and only a single dim light on the wall was on. Kuroro wasn't wearing anything but his boxers while busily removing his. His hands weren't in a hurry unlike earlier, maybe, because Kurapika wasn't resisting and honestly, he didn't give a damn anymore.

 

He gave him a vacant look, turned away and closed his eyes.

 

As if Kuroro would do him just once, not after that trouble and effort he went through to accomplish his request. And he had the right; he was entitled to do anything to him for a night. The aphrodisiac was still on his system, more or less, just that he was groggy and he climaxed twice so it wasn't that overpowering, but it was still there. He could tell Kuroro could make him come by force for about one or two more times. Let Kuroro finish it however he liked.

 

In an apparent attempt to arouse him, he felt Kuroro hovered above and closed in to lap at his exposed collarbone. It didn't, not the desire to be touched at least. He had the nagging, blunt pain on his crotch but that was the aphrodisiac's doing.

 

Kuroro licked him some more, but it wasn't working. He just laid there, just looking sidelong aimlessly, feeling Kuroro's tongue all over him but still not feeling anything.

 

He dreaded Kuroro would be pissed off and get violent again, but he didn't. He just turned Kurapika over and parted his legs. Kurapika let him.

 

Still loose after the first intrusions, Kuroro didn't bother to prepare him and just thrust in, making Kurapika lowly grunt. He felt one hand clutching at his shoulder and another over his waist. He thrust in and out without warning. It hurt as it was dry and Kurapika just pulled at the covers and holding back grunts— not moans, because he didn't feel good even just one bit— and just let Kuroro do what he wanted.

 

Kuroro amped up his thrusts but he hadn't felt him come yet. He was taking time. Kurapika let him.

 

It was weird but Kurapika was becoming sleepy again despite the pain and Kuroro pounding on him from behind. He couldn't sleep because of the movement as he was being rammed up and down.

 

They were both... silent. No snide comments and teasing, no repressed moans and explicit growls. If he were to describe this session, it would be... boring. Kuroro just wanted his pay for tonight thus he kept doing it. He could also tell that he was just acting under the aphrodisiac's effect.

 

It went on and on and on. Kurapika lost count of how many times Kuroro flipped him over and moved their position. He came once or twice, until Kurapika fainted completely and not be rudely woken up again by roving hands or violating thrusts. Stress, pain, sleepiness and exhaustion came down altogether, and his body gave in to his much needed rest. His sleep was strangely deep that he thought and hoped he wouldn't wake up ever again.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Unfortunately, the abuse Kuroro subjected him into wasn't enough to kill him, but only brought on more aching muscles and a painstaking need to drink water.

 

Kurapika once again woken up in the middle of the night with his throat dry and screaming for something to drink. He felt sticky all over after his excessive sweating. He wanted to take a shower and had to pee but judging how much pain he was feeling right now, all joints hefty and head a bit hazy, he wondered if he could even crawl his way to the bathroom.

 

But he had to.

 

He wasn't sure what time it was already, even oblivious of how many hours had passed, but he guessed it was already around three or four midnight. Kurapika stared at the ceiling and took in his surroundings: he was still lying on the bed inside Kuroro's room, without any clothes on, and covered by a blanket up to his shoulders. The room was dim lit and he could hear the low rumbling of the AC. He blinked, then garnered the courage to look at his side and saw Kuroro with his bare back on him, sleeping on the edge of the bed. They were sharing the same blanket and both naked. The distance between them was remarkable.

 

There were things that quickly crossed Kurapika's mind, like the implications that some people died under his command, that he was tormented and gone through hell hours ago and they weren't a merely bad— terrifying dream, but indeed happened, and that it was finally over. But as odd as it was, Kurapika shamefully skipped the denial phase and thought of something so trivial and very unnecessary for this was the first time it ever happened.

 

He couldn't help but realize. This was the first time he woke up with Kuroro next to him on the bed.

 

He didn't know about their first night, but in all that sessions they had in the past, it was either him or Kuroro who would leave right after the sex. Kurapika always woke up in an empty bed, and one time he left Kuroro on his own as he fell asleep. That wasn't something he should be surprised about; it was a plain short time of releasing carnal drive and there wasn't anything in it after. He hated Kuroro, and Kuroro didn't care about him after getting what he wanted. And it worked out just fine. That safe distance between them was what making this crazy exchanges work out.

 

As he blankly bored his stare towards Kuroro's back, he silently sighed before tearing away his gaze from him. He wished Kuroro had left, just like what he always did. That way, he could at least hold onto the walls on his way to the bathroom without suffering some more humiliation in case Kuroro woke up and caught him doing so. He wished he just left him alone so he could put his clothes back while whimpering and pulling a brave face. He wished he just left. Hadn't he had enough watching him struggling like a wounded wolf after a bloody battle?

 

Kurapika guessed he could never find out the true extent of his perverted love of seeing others in despair. And that he just had to deal with it.

 

And deal with it, Kurapika did. He'd rather crawl in silence to the bathroom than to make a mess on the bed. Perhaps Kuroro was tired enough to be in a deep sleep and not to be woken up by movements around him. He hoped he was.

 

Very carefully, he removed the blanket off of him and slowly sat on the edge of the bed, feeling the heaviness of his limbs and the numbing sensation on his feet. He thought he could maybe walk slowly, perhaps he could even if he had to take small steps, so he pressed his bare feet to the cold, tiled floor before pushing himself up from the bed—

 

—Only to lose balance and fall on his knees.

 

Kurapika held back a groan that almost escaped from his mouth when pain shot through his bones. Damn it, his hand absently clutched at the blanket at the fall and that must have pulled it from the bastard. Kuroro must have woken up. Idiot, Kurapika vehemently cursed himself in mind. Goddamnit.

 

He could do this, Kurapika convinced himself one more time. Who cared if he woke up? He wanted to get the blanket anyway so he could cover himself up. He didn't dare to look up and check if Kuroro indeed had stirred awake and stared determinedly at the floor before planting his hand on the tile to try and get up... when a hand with its palm open being offered to him caught his eyes.

 

Kurapika stilled, then white hot rage slithered through him. Moments ago that hand molested and maltreated him, then later it was being offered for help. What a ludicrous hypocrite. Without looking up, he swatted the hand away with a passion.

 

"Leave me alone," he spat in a hoarse voice.

 

"Let me help you."

 

"Fuck off."

 

"The deal is still in effect. Do as I say."

 

"Die and leave me alone," Kurapika repeated before attempting to stand again but his legs both gave away and he winced in pain.

 

"Fine," he heard Kuroro said before an arm slipped under his armpit and it wrapped around his torso. The other arm swiftly slid at the back of his knees and put his legs together. As easy as that, Kuroro cleanly managed to lift him from the ground and carry him against his will.

 

Kurapika looked away. "Put me down."

 

The words fell on deaf ears, as always. Kuroro walked to the bathroom with him on his arms, Kurapika wanted to resist and squirm away but he just had not enough energy to move his hands and slap his face. A part of him was even relieved that he didn't need to test his legs again anymore, knowing that they were both currently useless. That he was tired. That he really couldn't do it, and he could now stop fooling himself.

 

Kuroro brought him to the shower without saying another word. He turned the light on, toed the small stool near the detachable showerhead and the soaps, carefully put Kurapika down on it and turned the shower knob before stepping away and leaving the bathroom, closing the door on his way out.

 

Warm water drizzled down from the shower head, but Kurapika didn't immediately reach for it. He huddled, breathed in, buried his face in his knees and closed his eyes.

 

Kuroro had done him really too much tonight. He was in pain all over, with the memories of their first night flashing back to him with how similar this scene was compared to that hellish nightmare. His old yet still fresh wounds were sliced open again, and with his newly sustained cuts from disgrace and how much he was reduced to such weakened state, the pain and hurt seared and stung throughout his being, leaving him a different sense of emptiness and rage that usually consumed him when dealing with Ryodan. It was different compared to that hate he always accommodated when facing Kuroro. And he was well aware of that substantial difference.

 

It was a hard pill  to swallow, but this night made Kurapika harbour a new feeling towards Kuroro other than bottomless loathing: it was fear.

 

Sure, Kurapika was intimidated of Kuroro's abilities but not to the point that he would cower in fright and hesitate to fight back. He would stop to think, but not to run away. But this time, it was very different. Kuroro's behaviour imbued him a sense of fear that made him doubt himself, made him realize how much he lacked and his incompetence. To be filled with self doubt and be swallowed by his own weaknesses in front of death was a bigger adversary than to face the seemingly undefeatable opponent fearing defeat but still willing to step forward. If Kuroro's intention was to throttle his soul using the whole ordeal so he could dampen his self-confidence and courage to face him head-on, then Kurapika had to admit that he had successfully pulled it off somehow. Kurapika was smart enough, and he knew, after this night, that he didn't stand a chance against the man for now. And if when was the right time he was strong enough to take him on, or if there would be such time at all, he couldn't tell anymore.

 

Kurapika grabbed the shower head and wetted his face first up to his hair. It was a total defeat. It was a miracle, really, that he got to make it out alive. Wallowing in his self pity would be just wasting time, and it was idiotic of him to let Kuroro bask in his glory even in his mind. First things first; he had to get the hell out of here. Away from this place and away from Kuroro.

 

Pushing everything at the back of his mind, he washed himself thoroughly, tears surprisingly absent. When finished, he tried to conjure his chain in hope to heal his wounds; he couldn't go back to Dmitri's place all beaten up and limping.

 

And maybe with the help of the bath and few hours of sleep, his chains didn't let him down and his remaining energy turned out to be enough to alleviate most of bruises and aching joints on his stomach and limbs, even the swelling of his cheek and the corner of his lips when Kuroro slapped him. Soon after they healed, the chain vanished. It was all it could do for now.

 

Unlike earlier, he could now stand safely albeit still weakly. He padded to the sink and sipped some tap water from the faucet to quench his thirst, seeing his pathetic reflection on the mirror as he did so. He looked like a weary monster in a human's clothing, or lack thereof. Nothing new.

 

Kurapika somehow could tell that Kuroro had left, not because of his missing aura but judging by his character. Perhaps he just stayed to see if Kurapika was gritty enough to remain alive and sane after what he did and once verified, he would leave without a care.

 

And he wasn't wrong.

 

It was just the empty room but with a decent change of clothes laid on the bed. As Kurapika stepped out of the shower, he sighed in relief and eyed the prepared set of suit, shirt and pants that looked exactly the same as that Kuroro had torn apart earlier. So it was all planned, after all.

 

Kurapika was in no place to refuse the offered clothes, it would be suspicious to go back to Dmitri still in his ruined garments on the same time when fire had spread all over Meniandro's manor. Surely, the fire must have been found and put out, if lucky, by now. He had to avoid being suspected to be related to the incident thus he had to look pristine and neat. Kuroro was considerate enough to safeguard his phone. It was the only good thing that he did for him tonight that Kurapika could think of.

 

Feeling like he was an entirely different person in a bad way now, Kurapika left the condo at once.

Chapter Text

While Kuroro had successfully instilled a long-lasting fear in Kurapika, Kurapika got to inflict an indescribable confusion in Kuroro in return.

 

This was Kuroro's win. The entire night went almost perfectly according to his plan: he had killed Meniandro and removed one hurdle to keep their transactions secret, got to do the Kuruta multiple times the hard way in exchange, and demonstrated his true capabilities that effectively sowed fear and self-doubt in him. Three birds in one stone. Kuroro expected that he would have his fun all night long but... he didn't.

 

It was, in a reason he couldn't put his fingers on, not satisfying.

 

He was tired and this was their most productive night so far, but he was inexplicably unsatisfied, even empty. It was something he couldn't understand. This wasn't the first time he hurt and raped Kurapika, but this session wasn't the same as their first night. It was rubbish compared to the previous, short sessions they had before, and that had him very confused of the reason why.

 

In fact, he felt horrible. The sight of Kurapika clamped up, passive, hurting and refusing to look him in the eye didn't excite him as he thought it would. The opposite was true: when Kurapika plead him to stop, a part of him wanted to accede because he wasn't being turned on by the whole kinky play, leading him to resort using the aphrodisiac drink. But it was something he thought he should do, thus he went on even if there was a very, very small voice inside his head telling him to stop.

 

There was an ominous, sinking feeling in his chest at seeing Kurapika's figure, huddled in his knees with shoulders slumped and face obscured by his messy hair, when he glanced at him as he closed the bathroom's door. He caught that slight movement when Kurapika woke up next to him on the bed, and at that very moment he wanted to turn around and check on him. On top of that, he was overwhelmed with an extreme annoyance with himself when Kurapika keeled over at his attempt to stand up, curling in humiliation and again, not wanting to see him eye to eye. He was used to with the Kuruta's valiant efforts to defy him even in his small ways; he was a prideful lad who held his head up high even when cornered and ridiculed. It wasn't the sex that was what making Kurapika interesting; it was the boy himself who had been in between the thin line of light and darkness and not wanting to let go of both. Those rare moments whenever he displayed enjoyment in their shared kisses and touches. The blush of his appealing cheeks at his banters, the way he tried so hard to return his sexual advances at times even if it was against his will. The fact that Kurapika could somehow enjoy the sessions no matter how much he denied was what making Kuroro want to devour him, touch him and make him feel real good until he couldn’t deny it anymore.

 

Tonight was Kuroro's win, but he felt so dumb for messing everything up between him and Kurapika.

 

Kuroro left the condo unit shortly after he prepared the Kuruta's change of clothes. He judged Kurapika needed some time alone. But he didn't leave the building; he went to the rooftop to get some air and to think things over.

 

This... killing Meniandro was a very bad move, but Kuroro believed it was necessary, and he didn't regret it. He didn't care whatever Kurapika felt about his death because Kuroro did it solely according to his own will. But Kurapika was blaming himself for what happened, and that had him needlessly miserable. Add the kinky rape and that they did it in Meniandro's manor, Kuroro belatedly realized that he didn't just intimidated Kurapika: he subjected him to trauma and no matter how strong his personality was, he was still just a boy in a young age and that affected him psychologically. He tested the boy's tenacity too much that he almost broke him.

 

And it didn't feel good.

 

This was, technically, favourable, because that meant that he could now deal the final blow and be done with the Kuruta. Kurapika was much, much easier to kill now that he wasn't as interesting as he was before. Kuroro had his fun and he was just a nudge away to get rid of one of the biggest threat to Ryodan. The party was over—time to go back to reality and search for his Spiders.

 

But Kuroro was reluctant to do it.

 

If anything, what he wanted to do was to go back to his condo, open the bathroom's door, help Kurapika in cleaning himself up and tuck him back to the bed to get some more rest. He wanted to patch that bleeding corner of his lips and steal a quick kiss, get that usual glare from Kurapika and flash him a smile that never failed to annoy the shit out of him.

 

He messed everything up big time. Looking back at their previous encounters, there already was a developing tolerance between them. That dissolved into nothing just because he felt the need to showcase his dominance in a grand scale, and he was at a loss of what to do about it.

 

But more than that, he couldn't understand why he felt this way.

 

This couldn't be pity. Pity was something he didn't have since the beginning of his time. The only thing he cared about was Ryodan, and the other humans were just other living organisms that lived and died around him. Kurapika shouldn't be an exception because there wasn't anything special about him other than his scarlet eyes.

 

But those scarlet eyes with vacant look after he forced him to climax sent him an invisible, blunt hit against his chest. That reluctant nod didn't serve him a sense of victory, but utter failure. That he had made a very bad decision and move, but he had to keep up to it, save face and complete his plan to tame Kurapika.

 

Right then, a question suddenly surfaced in his mind. Did he want a tamed Kurapika in the first place?

 

Did he want someone who would just bow down his head in submission, who would just go on with his antics without complain, and who would perform his best to avoid punishment?

 

If that was so, he should have gotten someone who was better at doing those. No, he never wanted a slave. Kurapika didn't have a single quality fit to be a slave. At the bottom line, he never intended to enslave the Kuruta. He was much, much worthy of that.

 

But why did he think so?

 

These... all of these left Kuroro confused; of his real desire, of what he wanted to do with the Kuruta, of what step he should do next. Given how much Kurapika hated Kuroro's guts from the start, his hatred had been surely stoked and now with a pinch of fear, that would certainly affect their next session. How would Kurapika act around him next time? Would there be a next time?

 

Everything was ruined, and he was worried of its outcome.

 

It wasn't something he could solve with a simple sorry. Not even an offer of a free pair of Kuruta eyes as a consolation. He made a mistake that was beyond his ability to downplay, and this had him restless and antsy. And he didn't like this feeling. He wanted this to stop.

 

He didn't regret killing Meniandro at scaring Kurapika, but he thought he shouldn't have hurt him that way. He went too far. Way too far.

 

Where was this sense of seemingly concern for the Kuruta coming from?

 

Kuroro watched as the sun began to rise from the horizon. Kurapika should have left the condo by this time, and he wasn't in a good shape. The trauma would manifest in his system, and it would worsen his situation. Kuroro knew this; he was more than accustomed to trauma that he had grown numb to it. The looming threat of death around him, the depression brought on by hopelessness, stinging wounds and gnawing hunger, and self hate for existing in this world. Two bad results, if left untreated, could possibly happen— self harm and suicide, or he would be eaten by the darkness and become a monster. It was obvious that Kuroro chose the latter but in Kurapika's case, he couldn't be sure.

 

For the first time in a while, Kuroro became anxious from someone else's well being. If he could turn back the time, he would not go on with raping the Kuruta. He would secretly kill Meniandro so Kurapika wouldn't feel that bad about his death. Then again, he wasn't regretting doing all those. God, why was so contradicting himself like this?

 

"What is happening to me?" Kuroro sighed, running a hand over his face.

Chapter Text

The news of Meniandro's death and his mansion being burned down the ground reached Dmitri's ears two days after the incident. Dmitri immediately dressed up upon receiving an invitation for his funeral and called Mitsuhiko to escort him to the columbarium.

According to the reports, Meniandro along with his thirty personnel, guards and maids included, died and had their remains burned crisp inside the mansion. The fire was raised to the fourth alarm and their burnt corpses could hardly be recognized. There were barely items retrievable to be used as evidences for the investigation but the fire was declared to be arson due to the traces of a flammable substance used to speed up the flames.

Among the corpses, Meniandro's was said to have burned the most because most of his body parts were charred and missing. His bedroom was the most destroyed part of the house and it was believed that the fire started inside it. His stash of BDSM equipments was found and his other possessions were burned to ashes.

Mitsuhiko told his other co-workers, including Kurapika, that Meniandro's remains were already cremated when it was displayed on the funeral. Theories of the cause of fire and his death were the topic of most conversation of his visitors, and the plausible motive of the culprit was speculated to be revenge. Meniandro, after all, was known to be a BDSM practitioner and had abused a number of victims, children and abducted women included. He was also known to have many enemies due to his attitude, not to mention business rivals. There was a lack of evidences and lead to look for suspects and the man was tyrannical enough to get himself a bunch of enemies, and it would take time to narrow them down. The CCTV cameras were disabled before the estimated time of the victims' death. The investigators concluded that it was a work of a professional, a very good and very angry one at that.

Dmitri was decisively bothered and tired when they got home. He went straight to his room and when he bumped into Kurapika on the hallway to the master's bedroom, he shot him a long, sharp and studying look. Kurapika easily recognized it as an accusatory look; he knew right then and there that their relationship as the boss and the employee was officially doomed.

And that just worsened Kurapika's condition.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Two days prior to that eye contact, hours later after the fire was put out, Kurapika returned to Dmitri's manor, weary but visibly fine. Save for the eye bags and the despondent look in his eyes, he was more or less okay. Sleeplessness was what he reasoned out when Mitsuhiko asked him of why he looked like a zombie, while Senritsu spared him a worried look that said 'you are lying.' When Mitsuhiko prodded into his business even more and asked where he had gone, Kurapika said he just met someone for a talk. He even added that he got a bit drunk and he really just needed sleep despite not reeking of alcohol at all. Mitsuhiko bought all those crap, saying with a hint of smile that Kurapika turned out to be just another young adult doing things other people his age did; working his ass out during the day and drinking with buddies from time to time by night.

Senritsu was unconvinced and as expected, she made an attempt to approach Kurapika to ask what had his heart beat so unstable, melancholic and erratic like that.

"I've brought some pills to help your hangover," she called out from the door, holding a tray with glass of water and pills even though knowing they wouldn't be used.

"Come in," Kurapika replied, he had changed into his sleeping clothes, sitting on the bed and was about to get some more sleep when Senritsu entered. It brought a memory from before: when Senritsu played the flute for him after Kuroro raped him.

Senritsu was looking at him with very worried eyes, just like that time. She ambled closer to his bedside table and placed the tray on it.

"Kurapika," she began. "Are you—?"

"I'm fine," Kurapika responded even before Senritsu could finish the question.

"You know you can't lie to me," Senritsu answered back, matter-of-factly.

"Yes," Kurapika weakly smiled. "But I'm telling the truth. I'm alright. I might be going through something now but I can handle it just fine," Kurapika reached out for the offered pill and took it, downing the entire glass of water in one go.

"You met up with that man again, I assume?" Senritsu knowingly guessed, sitting next to him on the bed.

"Yeah," Kurapika dryly answered. He'd rather let her assume that it was just another session to prevent her from prying even more. "We've been doing it for some time and I'm still not used to it. We had an argument and things went violent. It was nothing, really. Just a slap on the face and he got to punch me on the stomach. I'm not going to die just from those," he mixed some truths and lies so Senritsu could at least detect that he wasn't outright lying.

"You're not telling the whole truth, are you?" As expected, Senritsu could see through him.

"It's not something I'm proud to tell anybody so yes, I'm not telling the whole truth."

"Do you need me to play the flute for you?"

"That would be unnecessary," Kurapika declined the offer with a faded smile. "You shouldn't waste your nen on me. The pill is enough; I'll just get some more rest. Thank you for your help, Senritsu. I apologize for bothering you as well."

"There you are again," Senritsu sighed, but her eyes were really understanding. "Not wanting to ask for help from others and handling it all on your own."

"Kuroro Lucifer is a dangerous man," Kurapika stated, voice low and eyes looking far away. "You know that too, Senritsu. I don't want to drag you in this mess more than I already had. I'm fine. I'm not dying. This I can say is true," lie, lie, lie. They both knew that he wasn't fine, that he was dying a slow, excruciating death, and that he was lying. But more than that, they both knew that Kurapika wouldn't spill the beans. Senritsu was a smart and understanding person: one look and she knew that whatever happened to him tonight was worse than the rape, and he wouldn't say anything about it to her likely for security and safety reasons.

"You just won't tell me anything about it, huh," Senritsu gave him a soft, comforting look.

"I'm sorry," Kurapika hung his head, dead set in keeping his mouth shut.

"Okay," finally, Senritsu gave up. "I'll leave you alone for now, but if you need someone to talk to, I'm just a whisper away," Senritsu resignedly sighed and jumped from the bed.

"I know," Kurapika nodded in thanks.

Senritsu then sauntered to the door but before she left, she glanced at Kurapika one more time and said, "This is something I'm sure you already know, but a human's heart has a limit of how much constraint it can take. Too much stress affects the body and may cause heart failure. You can die due to a broken heart, literally, so please attend to it as soon as you can. Yours seems to be in the verge of giving away. Please, Kurapika. Don't be so hard on yourself all the time," Senritsu softly and almost pleadingly remarked before disappearing behind his room's door.

'I'm sorry,' Kurapika repeated his apology to Senritsu in his mind.

This was unfair of him as a friend not only to Senritsu, but also to Gon, Killua and Leorio. But this was a kind of trouble and frustration he couldn't share to them. Not that he couldn't trust Senritsu about clamming up about it in case he did tell her what really happened, but given that Meniandro died and they might be overheard by somebody around the mansion, it wasn't wise to confess right now. Something in him was saying that he shouldn't confide to her. He didn't want to think about it let alone share it to anyone and pose danger to that person's life. Confiding wouldn't do anything. It wouldn't help him in any way at all right now.

He would keep this secret all to himself this time. It was for the best.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Meniandro's death had caused more damage than Kurapika anticipated.

Dmitri, for starters, acted as though he knew Kurapika was the mastermind of Meniandro's demise. He never summoned Kurapika ever since coming home from his funeral. Most of the time, he and Senritsu were stationed to the entrance of the house or outside Dmitri's office, but he never got to go near his boss. This might as well be considered as an indirect demotion, and poor Senritsu was also being caught up in the mess.

New bodyguards were hired and some of them subtly looked at Kurapika as if he was a lurking threat, a wandering enemy permitted to loiter around and waiting to strike should he find an opening, and that they were just not allowed to take precaution perhaps they were ordered to lay low.

And Kurapika unfortunately couldn't do anything about it.

He was in an inexplicable state of disorientation nowadays. There were times that he would suddenly become unfocused or have trouble in concentrating. One time, he was dazed during his duty and he didn't realize that Mitsuhiko was standing next to him and talking for a whole minute until Mitsuhiko snapped him out of it by calling his name twice. He usually didn't have appetite or easily got full. He also found out that the sleeping quarters he was in was under surveillance—because he tended to wake up from shallow sleep or nightmares in the middle of the night.

There was a distinct set of auras emanating from one or two persons, presumably guards, near the door or walking around for patrols, almost every night, and Kurapika couldn't even go outside to get some fresh air since he was avoiding to be caught sneaking out in the midnight and ignite Dmitri's suspicion on him even more.

He had been enduring irregular sleeping patterns as well. There were a number of times he would bolt awake, panting with aura spiked and roiling about. In those chances, he would hurriedly deactivate his nen to prevent the guards and his other co-workers notice the change of his aura and draw commotion. After forcefully cancelling his nen, he'd curl up on his bed and lay awake for hours, trying to go back to sleep but simply couldn't. This deteriorated his system even more because he had come to detest something new other than Ryodan.

The darkness.

He didn't have problem sleeping with the lights off before, but now he did. The rustle of the sheets, the softness and warmth of the mattress, even the small creaks of the bed whenever he moved gave him eerie chills and made him restless and unable to fall asleep. They all made him remember that horrendous night. The darkness reminded him of the looming death behind cold, empty black eyes.

The days were empty and redundant; the nights were more hollowed and haunting. A week had passed and Kurapika realized that his hell didn't end yet like he thought. It was just getting started.

He wondered why Dmitri hadn't fired him despite losing all care and trust in him, but the answer wasn't elusive as it was simple: he was the last Kuruta. The last one. Should he let him go, he would lose a potential source of extra income, or a significant piece of irreplaceable, living artifact. Also, he could watch over his moves this way. If Kurapika somehow pulled off to kill more than thirty people in a night, he wouldn't find it hard to kill Dmitri's twenty along with him just as easily— thus he needed to keep an eye on him. This was going to be Dmitri's mindset if he indeed was suspecting Kurapika as the culprit of the tragedy.

Dmitri, Kurapika could tell, didn't know how to deal with him at the moment as much as Kurapika did to himself.

Kurapika would rather resign than to keep up with this crappy setup. His relationship with his boss was a hopeless case and there would be no merits in trying to gain his trust again. If this went on, his thin chance of getting the Kuruta eyes from his hands would be slimmer, and he had enough of relying on dirty ways because he couldn't afford it anymore, judging by his crippling sanity right now.

But he was afraid of the consequences if he did try to move out and find another job. Dmitri had all the means to take the eyes away from him; he highly doubted if Dmitri was willing to wait for him as he earned money to buy them off. There was also a possibility that Dmitri might hide the eyes because he couldn't let them go after all.

In normal instances, Kurapika could quickly think of next course of actions to take when facing this kind of dilemma. He could speak to Dmitri about the deal and defend himself from his suspicions. He could even use Meniandro's death as a ploy to threaten Dmitri to give up the eyes, or at least persuade him not to sell the eyes to somebody else or hide it somewhere he couldn't reach if push came to shove but no, he couldn't bring himself to do it because he was cowering in guilt. Fear for Dmitri's life was eating away his guts to move and do something about his current predicament. He couldn't find his voice and the right words to say; that he didn't kill Meniandro but he was the cause of it, and that Kuroro Lucifer might harm him too if he kept holding onto the Kuruta eyes. He couldn't come up with any plan, and hopelessness had been gnawing at him ever since Kuroro opened that Skill Book and had Indoor Fish hungrily chomped at Meniandro's body. He felt whatever he would say would be useless, and there wasn't he could do.

He felt so weak, succumbing into fear and depression like this. It was the same darkness he faced when he found out the massacre of his clan, but at the same time, it was different.

He couldn't let this go on. He didn't understand why he was losing his edge this way. He wasn't new with depression and bad dreams and had long learned how to deal with them but this time, it seemed it was an entirely different brand of depression and anxiety. The notion of death suddenly became scary to him, just like losing his burning rage towards Ryodan. He feared it and at the same time, he yearned for it. He didn't want to die in Kuroro's hands, but he did want for his misery and suffering to end soon.

Then how about ending it using his own hands?

That, too, also kept Kurapika awake at night. To die with his remaining dignity intact along with his eyes was a tempting idea. He was tired and hurting, and he thought he could never be strong enough to bring down the enemy. The life of a Mafia was too heavy for him. He was weak, and he didn't think he could be tough enough to continue, let alone finish his life goals. Dark thoughts had never consumed him this ruthlessly before and his weary heart, just like Senritsu had said, was likely just more beating before it completely waste away.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

One week turned to ten days, then ten turned into two weeks in a flash and in that span of time, he and Dmitri never had an interaction with each other. Dmitri didn't lay his eyes on him even once, and Kurapika was somehow relieved that at least his employer wouldn't see him in such pathetic condition.

Then there came his second day-off. It felt horrible taking a rest day when he felt like he didn't do anything productive within the whole week: Mitsuhiko had officially taken over his place as Dmitri's right hand and somebody else was in charge of the paper works Kurapika used to do whenever Dmitri wasn't dragging him anywhere. Mitsuhiko was at a loss of why Dmitri started to fling all of Kurapika's duties on him all of a sudden and even if he was having a hard time coping with the workload, he was doing his best. He would ask for Kurapika's advice now and then, and once he asked what was going on between him and Dmitri but all Kurapika could say was that he had let down Dmitri on one mission and now doubting his capabilities. Mitsuhiko didn't ask for more details, seeing Kurapika's reluctance in admitting his own incompetence and just continued to rely on Kurapika's help.

On his day-off, he decided to go somewhere remote to cool his head off in hopes it could help improve his mental burnout even just a bit. He was heading out of the mansion, watching if someone was tailing after him, when his phone beeped, bearing a message that robbed Kurapika's breath for a second. His face paled, and his chest clenched with his heart feeling like it was sinking down the endless abyss of despair.

No.

He couldn't confront him yet. The mere thought of him sent down nasty chills down his spine, had him shivering to the core and made him fear for his life— something that he rarely did.

Kurapika clutched at his phone upon seeing Kuroro's phone number on the screen.

'Let's meet tonight. 9PM.'

Chapter Text

'Okay.'

 

At that brief, affirmative reply, Kuroro bolted upright on the sofa he was laying.

 

It was just two weeks ago since that last bad session he and Kurapika had and he purposely didn't contact him to give time to recover, even initially planned to wait for at least a whole month if Kurapika asked for more, before getting in touch. Kuroro was a patient man and he was dead sure that Kurapika wasn't ready to face him yet, so this compliant and easy answer had Kuroro disarmed.

 

Kurapika agreed to meet him tonight with no excuse, objection or question asked, and it left him uneasy and relieved at the same time. It wasn't like Kurapika to respond like that but being aware of what he must be going through, he bet he was pushing himself too hard.

 

Kuroro knew Kurapika wasn't ready yet, because he was the same, too.

 

If Kuroro would act according to his discretion, the wisest move to do was leave Kurapika alone for at least a month, let him deal with his troubled mind on his own then check if he had recovered, or at least capable enough to take on to their next transactions. If yes, then the party time would go on. If not, then that was the end of it. Kuroro wasn't supposed to wonder if he was working on it, or if he was even treating himself at all. He shouldn't worry about how he was doing. He wasn't supposed to care.

 

But he was shameful for he, due to an unfathomable cause, was very itching to know if Kurapika was alright.

 

Just that for the past two week, his mind was getting poked with thoughts of Kurapika and how he was doing. He tried ignoring it, but now and then the image of the boy with his dried, bloodied lips and swollen eyes would give him this heavy feeling in his stomach. At times, he would find himself wanting to hear Kurapika's usual angry voice, while recollection of his whimpers and agonizing groans made him antsy even more.

 

As days went by, his desire to know what was going on with the Kuruta worsened, now that he heard from a source that Meniandro's death was all over the Mafia Community. He made one hundred percent sure that Kurapika's name wouldn't be dragged on the mess, so he doubt if he was being suspected to be a part of it. Come to think of it; he hadn't had a chance to ask why Kurapika changed his mind about his offer to finish off Meniandro.

 

A week later and still, Kurapika had occupied his mind most of the time and he honestly thought it was getting ridiculous and alarming.

 

This was very uncharacteristic of him to incessantly muse about something just because the situation was beyond his control. Another week came, days of denial, until he accepted that he indeed had to check on Kurapika so this unusual feeling could finally stop.

 

So he sent a text, not expecting a reply at all. He even had a moment when he couldn't think of a proper way to say that he wanted to meet up without being too authoritative. In the end, he unwittingly booked another session with him even though he wasn't in the mood (and good mindset) for it.

 

He was prepared for a seething reply telling him to fuck off, or a refusal with a reason related to work and security measures, even a change of time and date because he didn't want to see Kuroro's face right now, but not for a clear 'okay.'

 

Was it possible for Kurapika to get over from that night this fast? Kuroro thought that maybe Kurapika handled the depression and got through it like a boss since this wasn't the first time he conquered death and loss, and he was back to his usual grumpy self now. Truthfully, he wouldn't mind if that was the case. If intimidating Kurapika didn't successfully change his attitude towards him just like he intended, Kuroro supposed it really wouldn't matter to him.

 

If so... what would matter to him, then?

 

Kuroro put down the phone on the coffee table and looked at the clock hanging on the wall. The time read 3:45 PM. Some more hours to go and Kurapika would arrive here in the condo. Kuroro laid back on the sofa, mind occupied with the Kuruta again. How should he face him later, he mused. Should he ask how he was feeling first? Or maybe why he changed his mind about Meniandro? Would they have any decent conversation at all or would simply go straight to the bed? Kuroro was clueless. He heaved a deep breath.

 

His connection with Kurapika, day by day, was becoming more and more tangled and complicated.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Kuroro squinted his eyes open and saw the familiar ceiling of the living room of his condo and the sofa he was on in his peripheral vision. So he fell asleep, he realized. He was about to check the time on the clock when he saw Kurapika sitting on the other couch near to where his head was. Kurapika was looking at him with a blank expression on his face and eyes... still vacant, exactly the same as the last time he saw them.

 

"How long have you been here?" Kuroro casually asked, sitting up.

 

"About five minutes," Kurapika timidly said.

 

Kuroro glanced at the clock. "It's 8:38. You're early."

 

"I didn't expect you are here and today happens to be my rest day," strange; Kurapika was answering his question without his usual bite. Then again, his questions were mundane so perhaps that was why Kurapika was giving him easy going responses.

 

Kuroro decided to test the water.

 

"I assume your boss already found out," he began. "That Meniandro was dead. How did he react?" Kuroro anticipated for Kurapika to say 'it's none of your business' when Kurapika satisfied his with an adequate answer.

 

"He was suspecting that I have something to do with his death. It was him who hinted that Meniandro was the one who told him about me being a Kuruta."

 

"Wait," Kuroro couldn't believe his ears. Kurapika was giving him this much information, really? “So you asked for my help in dealing with Meniandro because he tipped you off to Dmitri?” At that, Kurapika discreetly flinched, perhaps because he was reminded of that night.

 

"Dmitri confronted me about it, thinking that I was betraying him. I thought he was going to apprehend me or chuck me out, but he didn't."

 

"I see," Kuroro read between the lines, judging that prying on the subject matter wouldn't do him any good. "So how is Dmitri treating you now?"

 

Kuroro didn't miss that sudden apprehension that briefly creased Kurapika's feature.

 

"It's fine," Kurapika reassured. "He unexpectedly complied with my request to hand back the eyes to me, but I have to pay the price."

 

"How much?"

 

"It's... it's something you don't need to know," Kurapika declared, now with a hint of hesitance. "I'll get them on my own. And don't you dare lay finger on him. He doesn't fancy me the way Meniandro did."

 

"That depends," this time, Kuroro could even tell that Kurapika's heart skipped a beat. Worry coloured his expression and for some reason, this bothered Kuroro in a way he couldn't understand. "You know I intend to get the eyes, too. I can make him give the eyes—"

 

"Don't!" Kurapika interjected, balling his fists. "I don't need your help this time. I'll get the eyes, leave him alone."

 

His tone was tense but he looked as though he was pleading. It slightly resembled that expression when he asked Kuroro not to kill Meniandro.

 

Then it clicked. Kurapika didn't want him to kill Dmitri, too, no matter how much he was struggling in taking the scarlet eyes from him.

 

But... why tell him all of these now? From Kuroro's point of view, it was like Kurapika was requesting for his assistance again, just that he was unable—or reluctant—to say it directly.

 

Disoriented, Kuroro figured. Kurapika wasn’t like himself tonight; a clear indication that he was still suffering from the trauma.

 

"It's almost 9. Let's get started. I need to go back to the mansion by 12." Kurapika said even though he looked as if he had something else to say. He broke their eye contact which was something he had been struggling to keep for the past minutes, then made a move as if he was about to stand up.

 

Kuroro couldn't mistake that concealed, petrified look on Kurapika's face. It was beyond nervousness: he was scared, something he rarely become in front of Kuroro.

 

"Alright," Kuroro agreed, getting on his feet. They proceeded to the bedroom, Kurapika walking behind him. Once inside, Kurapika stepped ahead as Kuroro closed the door, ambled closer to the bed then fumbled his fingers on the coat he was wearing. He removed the piece of garment and folded it. Kuroro couldn't help but watch: this was the first time Kurapika willingly stripped his clothes on his own.

 

"I am really in a hurry," Kurapika remarked, noting how Kuroro just stood there and watched. "We can do this quickly, right?"

 

"Right," Kuroro agreed again, inching closer to him. Kurapika went on with undoing the buttons of his shirt when Kuroro slipped his arms around his waist and reached for the button of his trousers. Kuroro felt an involuntary jolt from him, and he could swear he heard Kurapika held back a gasp. Kurapika tensed up, but he continued what he was doing.

 

Kuroro backed away a bit and unceremoniously took off his own shirt and let it fall down the floor. Kurapika slid the white shirt off of him, revealing his bare shoulders, and folded it as well. He turned around, head hung low and eyes pinned on his feet, then sat down the bed before removing his pants.

 

Kuroro thought he looked so mechanical. His movements were hurried yet not forced, but there he was again, not wanting to meet his eyes. To his surprise, Kurapika frigidly laid on his back.

 

Kurapika was never this submissive. Kuroro remembered one time when he imagined how it would be if the Kuruta would be so compliant even just once, if he would be nonchalant about getting on the bed, naked and ready, and presumed it might be exciting. But tonight, as Kurapika offered himself like that, staring at the other side of the room in apparent attempt to avoid his eyes and exposing his vulnerable neck, he felt nothing but unamused.

 

But he couldn't make Kurapika wait for that would signify indecision. He stepped forward, lowered his own pants until it fell down on its own due to gravity, and hovered above Kurapika. He didn't touch and part his legs yet, saving it for later if he managed to arouse Kurapika, then brought his mouth on that pale, delectable neck.

 

There wasn't any reaction from Kurapika, though Kuroro was sure he closed his eyes. He slid his tongue from the neck up to his ear, breathing heavily so Kurapika could hear it. He bit at the earlobe as well but still, there wasn't much response from him.

 

Setting aside being conceited; he knew his foreplays always aroused Kurapika. They always worked, or at least they never failed to touch his nerves. He ran his hand from his waist up to the chest until his fingers touched a nipple. Kuroro swirled his fingertip around that piece of flesh and lowered his head to lick the other... and he was disappointed of how silent and impassive Kurapika remained.

 

Kuroro didn't want to give up trying. He tried rubbing at his stomach, an inch down from his navel, before teasingly slipping his fingers to his crotch, above the fabric of his underwear. Kurapika visibly held his breath but Kuroro knew he was miles away from getting turned on and if he were to be honest, he could admit that he was, too.

 

He made another attempt; he forgot they didn't get to do this one thing that they usually did on their previous session. It was their first move on fore playing before anything else.

 

Kuroro was about to bring his lips closer to Kurapika's— when he turned his head to the other side, more than saying that he didn't like what Kuroro was planning to do.

 

Then it dawned to him: their last crappy session was being repeated again. Both of them were unwilling, Kurapika was immobile and frightened, and Kuroro was just forcing himself again. Annoyance began to fill Kuroro up. There were making fools of themselves, wasting both time and effort.

 

"Get yourself together!" Kuroro said, irritated and was about to aim for Kurapika's underwear to take it off when Kurapika's hands moved and pushed him away very harshly. Kuroro staggered and regained composure before he hit the wall behind him and as he straightened up, he stilled to see Kurapika huddling on the bed, chains on hand and eyes scarlet and wide with fear, both arms shaking and poised to cover himself.

 

"I knew it," Kuroro sighed, preventing anger to surface on his feature. "You are not in the condition to do this."

 

"I...I was just distracted," Kurapika lamely reasoned out. "Dmitri and all. I...I'm sorry," that apology made Kuroro damn sure that this really wasn't the right timing to go on. "Let's just try again. I—"

 

"No," Kuroro insisted, not wanting to make the situation worse. There was something in him that stung upon hearing Kurapika say sorry. He wanted him out of his sight now because that blunt pain inside him that he couldn't goddamned tell where was coming was seriously bothering him. "We are wasting our time. I knew you're still not in a good shape, I just checked if..." Kuroro blurted out and stopped midway as Kurapika shot him a confounded look. "... Anyway, I'm not enjoying this," he said dismissively.

 

"But..."

 

"Contact me if you have settled whatever deal you are having with Dmitri if it distracts you this much," they both knew it wasn't Dmitri who was ruining Kurapika that way. It was Kuroro. "I won't meddle if that's what you want. But if I found that—"

 

"I said Dmitri isn't interested in me like that," Kurapika cut him off. "In fact, I get a feeling that he hates me now, so leave him alone."

 

"If you said so," Kuroro retrieved his shirt, wanting to give Kurapika space when a thought crossed him mind. His mind was already on the doorknob when he muttered. "You... have you tattled to anybody about what happened?"

 

"...You know I can't," despite his words said almost in whisper, Kurapika heard him.

 

"How about friends? This is a time when they become handy, isn’t it?

 

"You are a ruthless, dangerous monster, Kuroro Lucifer," this time, Kurapika looked him eye to eye. "You made me know that very clearly. I won't drag them even if you kill me."

 

Kuroro gave a derisive, fake smirk. "I see you've learned your lesson."

 

"I did," Kurapika started to wear his clothes back, now looking away from him.

 

"Kurapika," Kuroro called his name in a mild tone. Kurapika glanced back at him. "Take time as much as you need."

 

With that, Kuroro left the condo with the words hanging in the air, letting Kurapika work on them on his own.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

'Take time as much as you need.'

 

The words rung in his ears. Kurapika stared at the door where Kuroro disappeared, reading into the sentence Kuroro left on his wake. There he was again; one moment he was cruel and uncaring, the next he would show tiny shred of consideration and patience. Kuroro was being an unpredictable, double-faced bastard as always and Kurapika was getting used to it, unbeknownst to him.

 

Kurapika pocketed his phone after donning his clothes back on then left the deserted condo, remembering his behaviour earlier as he did so. He felt ashamed, fruitlessly pushing himself to do it no matter how much he cowered in fear. And that instinctive push he did when Kuroro raised his voice, his body just moved on its own at the thought of Kuroro being angry, of him wanting to hurt and intimidate him again. A part of him fretted about how he was going to act upon receiving his text and agreeing to meet, but he refused to accept that he likely would behave scared around him because Kurapika believed he wasn't.

 

As it turned out, he had taken his newly found fear towards Kuroro's capabilities for granted and embarrassed himself on the process.

 

He couldn’t blame Kuroro for saying that he couldn’t enjoy it given how pathetic he acted but he couldn’t help it; his touches that had his body somehow pleased and even felt good at times were now leaving nasty reminders of his cruelty. His tongue as it ran over his skin didn’t just make him feel sick, but it also insinuated impending pain and forced intrusion. His advances now indicated upcoming anguish in place of pleasure and Kurapika didn’t want any more of that. Any person would do their best to protect himself before an enemy and it was pure instinct that had him push Kuroro far away from him.

 

He didn't want to satisfy Kuroro seeing him in such state. He didn't like him to see how much he affected Kurapika that even the mere raising of his voice had him shaking but his system betrayed him. It was more than obvious that he succeeded embedding fear in him, and Kurapika hated himself for making that display.

 

He didn't want to satisfy Kuroro yet his body involuntarily did, but weirdly enough, based on how Kuroro reacted, he wasn't amused or satiated at all.

 

For one: he declined Kurapika's offer to try again.

 

Granted that he might not perform at his best, Kuroro could force him to move regardless of the condition he was in. So what if he wasn't turned on by the foreplay, which happened for the first time, too? Kurapika didn't need to be aroused for Kuroro to get his way to him. He didn't have to be pleased, to climax and enjoy the act for Kuroro to get his fill. Him being submissive and open was enough— that was what Kurapika believed. Kurapika finding the sex good or not didn't matter.

 

Kuroro's mention of his friends baffled him, though. Well, he understood that Kuroro was implying that he should talk to his friends but why did he care? It had nothing to do with him. Kurapika's trauma was his and his problem alone. Why was he acting like he was concerned for his mental and emotional health?

 

'Take time as much as you need,' the phrase replayed in his mind.

 

'It... will certainly take time for me to get over these unnecessary feelings,' without a clue how to conquer his fear right now, Kurapika was somehow relieved to hear from Kuroro that he was willing to wait. For how long, he wasn't sure, but he needed it to be soon.

 

'Contact me if you have settled whatever deal you are having with Dmitri if it distracts you this much.'

 

He was... momentarily reminded of that time when Gon suggested him to focus on retrieving his clan's eyes first before finishing Ryodan. One problem at a time. They had a point: if Kuroro was granting him time to get himself together, why not make the most out of it?

 

Kurapika was on his way out of the building, feeling strangely lighter than he was before meeting Kuroro. He was right for once: he was still distressed because of his trauma, and Dmitri's treatment on him at work was making it worse.

 

'Get yourself together!'

 

Kurapika breathed in, his confidence coming back bit by bit. Perhaps he must talk to Dmitri properly, clear his name and declare resignation if he deemed it needed. Right. He could do better than this.

 

Beep. Beep.

 

Kurapika was waiting for a cab when his phone rang. He pressed the answer button without looking at the screen.

 

"Hello?"

 

"Uh, hello. Good evening," a familiar voice of a man answered from the other end of the line. "Is this Kurapika's phone?"

 

"Yes, and who are you, sir?" Kurapika politely asked, already recognizing who it was.

 

"Oh. It's you, Kurapika. I apologize for calling you at this late hour. It's me, Light Nostrade. I wonder if you have a moment for a talk."

Chapter Text

Nostrad's looks of hopelessness at the loss of his daughter’s fortune-telling ability as well as the burning thirst to regain the stature of the Nostrad family as they parted ways were still fresh in Kurapika's mind.

Bad luck after bad luck came to the Nostrad's household when they returned to their home from York Shin. They lost Tocino, Baise, Ivlenkov, Dalzollene and after a confirmation, even Squala after their encounter against Genei Ryodan, and the scarlet eyes worth 2.9 billion went missing as his beheaded body was reported to them along with the abandoned car. This put Neon Nostrad into a very terrible mood, but Light Nostrad lost all the colours on his face when his daughter said that she couldn’t write prophecies anymore.

According to the police reports and witnesses' testimonies, after staging those weird acts of decapitating Squala and shooting each other with a gun on the head without dying, the suspects fled the scene as if nothing happened and without taking anything from the victim and the car. No one dared to approach the crime scene as well until the police arrived, and nothing was missing from the car but the eyes.

Days later, they heard from the Community that the York Shin auction management was flooded with complaints that their purchased items from the auction magically disappeared from their possession a day after acquiring them. Kurapika noticed that the purchasers' accounted time of their items' disappearance played around the same time of Squala's death, thus it could be concluded that the same fate happened to the scarlet eyes.

As it turned out, the York Shin auction was a big fraud and what more, they couldn't refund the 2.9 billion as it was stealthily taken by the bastards as well. This confirmed Kurapika's fear that his brethren's eyes had fallen into Ryodan's hands again.

Things came from worse to worst as the Nostrad's piling debt (both father and daughter were lavish spenders) began to earn interest and income from their existing business establishments couldn't even cover them up. One by one, their properties were repossessed by the banks until only their five-star hotel in York Shin (the one where they stayed at during the Ryodan fiasco) and the mansion where they currently lived remained.

Zenji's blabber about Light Nostrad being a former gang leader seemed to be true: his former boss didn't seem to be that proficient in handling businesses and he was mainly taking his financial support from his daughter’s ability.

There came in Lurix Dmitri who was Nostrad's colleague back from his gang days and later helped him out with his remaining assets. One way or another, Nostrad managed to get back on his feet and regained a bit from the proceeds of his hotel. This was when Kurapika found out that Dmitri was collecting the Kuruta eyes as well, and Dmitri happened to be in search for new guard. One thing led to another: Dmitri offered him a job which he intended to grab. Nostrad couldn't turn down Kurapika's decision to transfer to Dmitri due to his gratitude to the man so he had no choice but to let him go.

He hadn't heard much about the Nostrads after that; he was busy at Dmitri's plus his dilemma about Kuroro kept him occupied, and Nostrad didn't contact him at all since the day he left their house. Looking back, he could clearly remember the look on Nostrad's eyes as Kurapika handed him his resignation. After their exchanges of thank you and good luck, Nostrad swore that he would definitely be back on the game and asked him if he would still like to work under him when that time came. Kurapika replied it would be his pleasure, not wholeheartedly meaning it. Unless they hold onto the scarlet eyes again then there was no reason for him to work for them, so that phone call from Nostrad didn’t baffle him that much and even lent him a tiny ray of hope.

Kurapika tried to ask what the agenda of their meeting was, but Nostrad refused to give him any hint, saying it would be better to be told personally. Kurapika chose to accept the invitation despite still being distressed by his encounter with Kuroro, and they agreed to meet in the restaurant at Nostrad's hotel.

The place was just around thirty minutes away from where Kurapika had been. The restaurant was located at the fiftieth floor of the hotel and showcased the dazzling night view of York Shin on its glass walls. Nostrad was already there when Kurapika arrived, sitting by the glass wall and sipping on a cup of coffee.

"Good evening, sir," Kurapika greeted with a bow.

Nostrad nodded in response and beckoned him to take the seat opposite to him. "Have a seat."

"It has been a while," Kurapika began as he sat down.

"It certainly is; been busy nowadays. I've been going in and out of the town for business. I've just attended an important conference here in York Shin and since Dmitri lives just around here, I decided to contact you. I hope this is not a bad timing," indeed, Nostrad looked tired and perhaps sleep deprived, but at least he didn't look in despair unlike before when the disappearance of his daughter’s ability hadn't sunk in to him. "Anyway, how are you doing?"

"I am fine, thank you," Kurapika curtly answered as he was sure this invitation wasn't just for an idle chat. "How about you, sir?"

"Finally have gotten over the loss of Neon's power, though still clueless of how it all happened. The matter is now tucked away and Neon doesn't think about it that much anymore. She does try to do it from time to time, though."

"I see," Kurapika gave him a small smile. "I know that I have mentioned this to you before, but I believe that her fortune-telling ability is likely to be her nen ability," Nostrad was familiar with the word nen but had a scarce knowledge about it.

"Yes," Nostrad nodded. "And you have a conclusion that it might have been forcibly sealed, cancelled, removed or stolen."

"Yes, sir," Kurapika affirmed. When he asked Neon about the person who accompanied her when she sneaked into the York Shin auction, she reluctantly confessed and gave him Kuroro Lucifer's name which surprised Kurapika and instantly made him realize that the man stole her nen. She said that all they did together was drive through the entrance using Lucifer's pass and chat over some drinks before going to the auction room. She also provided Lucifer a sample of her prophecy as a thank you gift in helping her to get inside the building. She lost consciousness as they got off from the elevator, which she couldn't understand why because she wasn't feeling unwell at all.

From these, Kurapika wisely assumed that Kuroro's ability to steal the nen ability from his victim required tricky methods that might include a demonstration of the ability in front of him, information of how the targeted ability worked and other requirements like physical contact. Also, it was possible that his victim should be kept alive— because he could have easily killed Neon after he stole her nen should he desired, but he didn't. He couldn't tell if the stolen ability could be returned to the owner but knowing Kuroro, he surely wouldn't do something like that. It seemed like Kuroro knew a lot more twists and turns in the laws of nen than Kurapika did, making him unnervingly dangerous even more.

Kurapika chose not to reveal to the father and daughter that he knew who Kuroro Lucifer was, not wanting them to go after the man who had death clinging to him on a regular basis. He was nullified to use nen anyway; he certainly wouldn't return the ability even if he could or wanted to.

"And it is unlikely to return to her," Nostrad continued frustratingly.

"Depending on what the culprit did to her, yes. Nen is a vast and very intricate form of human energy that should be mastered can create multitude of extraordinary powers. Your daughter must be special, maybe she was a Specialist, since she developed her nen without going through training, but we have to admit that this had become a disadvantage as she hadn't got to grow her powers to the fullest. She may not be cut to be a combative type but maybe if she honed her nen, she might have learned to detect lurking threats or at least discern if someone around her bore ill-intentions but then again, it is our duty as her guards to do that, which we failed to do properly," Kurapika hung his head low for an apologetic bow.

"I have gotten over at pointing fingers, too," Nostrad dismissively waved a hand. "And you have a point, anyway. I should have had her train to learn how to defend herself, or at least taught her not to go with strangers. I am her father. I shouldn't have taken her safety and will for granted like that. Anyway, it's now all in the past. Enough of a doting father's rants. How about you? Is Dmitri giving you a hard time? You look rather pale."

"Dmitri-san is a very considerate boss," Kurapika issued a lie. Was his distress that obvious? "I am just a bit tired, that is all."

"Oh, that's good," Nostrad awkwardly nodded, seemingly couldn't think of any topic to keep the idle conversation going before getting straight to the point.

Kurapika did him the favour and cut to the chase.

"I apologize if this sounds hasty, but may I know why you wanted to have a word with me?"

Nostrad signalled for the waitress. "Before that, let's get you something to drink first."

"A cup of coffee, please," Kurapika said to the waitress and she shortly poured him a cup of black coffee before leaving.

Nostrad then sat up straight and gave Kurapika a very serious look. "How do you find your body guarding duties with Dmitri in general?"

Slightly hesitant, Kurapika responded. "I cannot divulge information, but I will admit that it is a tad bit harder than watching over your daughter."

"I figured as much, he's a lot richer than us after all. Did he give you a good position? Knowing your capabilities, he must have seen you as someone very reliable."

"You are giving me too much credit, sir."

"I only speak the truth; I've seen your overall performance and I'll confess that letting you go was a big loss on my side. I mean, you're doing very good at your body guarding task but your potentials as an effective leader really stand out, to think that you are still young," Nostrad went on as if giving Kurapika an evaluation. Kurapika remained silent.

"You are smart, strong and charming enough to lead people around you. Actually, you're one of the reasons why I had an idea for a new business venture. You see, I've been thinking of starting a bodyguard agency."

Kurapika momentarily stilled and repressed the widening of his eyes as a surge of hope slowly warmed him up from the inside out.

"Do you mean to offer me a job as one of the deployed guards of the agency, a recruitment of sort, sir?"

"No, definitely not. That'll be an utter waste of your good qualities. Yes, I want to recruit you but not as one of the guards. I want you to be their leader. I want you to assist me in managing my new company, Kurapika.

Kurapika's eyes practically lit up at that, something that hadn't happened for the past months.

"I am in need of someone reliable to manage and lead people, to give strategic commands, train and screen personnel and create one of the best security detail agency out there.

"I have enough connections and fund to start, a bit of source where to get manpower, and I found a suitable headquarters. All I need now is a capable right hand, someone I can heavily rely on, and I can't think of anyone but you," Nostrad finished with a stress on the last word while determinedly peering at Kurapika.

"Of course we'll negotiate about your salary increase first; it won't be an easy job and you deserve it. You'll have commissions once we gain more clients and receive good feedbacks. I'm willing to give out more perks should the business boom. What do you say?"

Kurapika lingered his gaze on the man who thinly smiled at him, eyes glinting with hope. He couldn't help but pause and ponder the words he heard with great concentration.

His heart leaped in anticipation and everything in his mind, even Kuroro, fleetingly slipped away. There it was; a golden opportunity to get closer to his goal to get the Kuruta eyes, more effective that sticking around Dmitri and morally appropriate than dealing with Kuroro, even much better than that offer to be a second-in-command in the Community, being graciously offered to him. Kurapika had never thought that this kind of chance would come to him in such a good timing and just as easily. It was like fate was telling him that things weren't as bad as they seem to be. That it wasn't a dead end, and everything would be alright sooner or later.

This offered job post was a wild card that would substantially change the flow of the game and which he had to play carefully. Kurapika could hardly contain his relief— but before anything else, he had to put the chess pieces in their places first.

He would start with avoiding the revelation incident that he had with Dmitri. Kurapika returned the smile and said, "I am honoured to have your trust, sir. I am very grateful for the offer and I am more than happy to work under you once again but... there are things that you ought to know about me first, as well as terms that I have to set before saying yes."

"I see," Nostrad's expression surreptitiously turned sour. "State your conditions, then."

"As you already know," Kurapika breathed in. "I am a hunter. I am in search for a particular item that is mostly sold in underground auctions such as the York Shin auction, and Miss Neon happened to be a fan of that item. It is the main reason why I chose to apply to work for you."

"I see you have an ulterior motive," Nostrad started to give Kurapika suspicious looks. "What is that body part, then?"

"The Kuruta eyes."

"Oh, those scarlet eyes?" Nostrad asked. "What are those eyes to you?"

Nostrad visibly paused and held his breath as Kurapika purposely altered his eyes to be scarlet for him to see. Kurapika held his head high, looking at Nostrad with pride.

"They are the stolen eyes from my fallen clansmen."

"Whoa," Nostrad backed off a bit, taken aback and looking scared but unlike Dmitri, his look held no obscene fascination towards his eyes. This eased Kurapika.

"I am the last surviving member of the Kuruta clan," Kurapika continued to explain as he turned his eyes back to normal. "I am looking for my brethren's eyes to bring them back where they belong."

"Okay," recovering from his mild shock, Nostrad straightened up on his seat. "I didn't expect someone survived from that clan. To think that you are a living artifact and you dared to mingle with the Community, you sure are gutsy."

"Now that you found the truth about me, are you still willing to hire me?" He met his former boss eye to eye.

"Wait. I'm still surprised and a bit confused. If you intend to collect those scarlet eyes and worked for us, if we got to buy a pair of those from the auction, how did you plan to take it from my daughter?"

"Please do not worry. I have never planned to cause harm to anyone. All I wanted are the eyes; should you have acquired a pair, I am willing to heed to your demands as long as it was reasonable. But since that pair we purchased at York Shin disappeared and your daughter does not have any Kuruta eyes in possession now, I have no reason to pursue you. If you agree not to tip off my identity to the Community, I will swear my loyalty and allegiance to you family. I can feel that I have better chances of retrieving the eyes of my clan by working with you again, just like how you trust my skills to manage your prospect business venture. If you would agree with my terms, I will do my best to live up your expectations and help you out with all I can."

"Let me..." Nostrad indecisively paused. "... Hear your conditions first."

"I will take up your offer of salary increase and commission, but I also want to work as a bodyguard to anyone should the client possess the eyes or associated with any lead to them. I would like you to allow me to apply as a guard to anyone who owns a pair, no objections raised, anytime I deem I need to."

"... That sounds like it'll disrupt our daily operation."

"I can assure that it can be worked out. I certainly can still monitor movements in the headquarters as well as give orders even if I'm away. I will train someone to be in my place whenever I have to leave. I have an ability that resembles a lie detector which can detect if any of the bodyguard applicants is trying to deceive us or hiding something. I am confident to promise you that things will be in order whether I'm in the headquarters or not."

Nostrad heaved a breath. "What else?"

"Please convince Miss Neon to refrain from purchasing the Kuruta eyes. I do not intend to reveal her my secret as to avoid dangerous inconveniences as well."

"I want her to stop buying those weird stuffs to be honest. She had learned to control herself but I think it won't be easy to stop her from buying them since she likes them very much. I'll try my best to convince her."

"For my last request, I would like you to allow me to conduct investigations in regards with my search for the eyes. This is somehow related to my first request: it entails travelling to various places, tracking down persons of interest, staking out and whatnot that are related to my search. Again, please be assured that this will not affect my work. I will see to it that I will be back to the headquarters once my mission is done, and I am willing to work overtime to ensure that nothing will be overlooked," Kurapika bowed down. "Not only I promise to improve the company's profit: I will prioritize keeping you and Miss Neon safe. Please, sir. If you will just give me a chance, I am ready to prove myself."

There was a nasty pause, Nostrad was sparing his a very serious look.

"Reasonable demands so far," he heard Nostrad muttered. "I am worried, though; won't your eyes bring us trouble and attention from the Community?"

"I have managed to keep it a secret to the Mafia realm so far, but I am proud of my origin. Many people know about my eyes, even fellow batch mates from the Hunter Exam as well as Dmitri-san but none dared to try and harm me. And if someone does try," Kurapika lingered a stony gaze at Nostrad," then I'll have more opportunity to show you what I'm capable of."

Nostrad stared at him for a good while, seemingly deep in thoughts and consideration.

"You somehow remind me of myself when I was young," Nostrad spoke a moment later. "But unlike this old man, you are solely relying on yourself and your very own skills to reach the top. Such determination... I can feel that you're prepared to go against all odds to get what you want. I am curious of how far that determination of yours can bring you. Alright," Nostrad nodded to himself and deliberated his decision. "I still want you in my team."

At that, Kurapika let out a very relieved sigh. "Thank you so much, sir. I will do my best."

"But what are you going to do with Dmitri? I don't want him to think that I sort of pirated you from him."

"You do not need to worry about that at all," Kurapika was sure Dmitri wanted him out of his house soon anyway. "I am sure he will understand. I will hand my resignation to him as soon as I can."

"Are you still with Senritsu now?"

"Yes, sir."

"Will you... er... ask her if she wants to work for me again, too? I think she is very vital to be a part of us with her hearing ability. I'm not forcing it, this is just an offer. I'll understand if she decline since Dmitri might be a more generous boss than I am given the predicament we've just gone through."

"Leave it to me, sir," Kurapika absently grinned. He did want to work with Senritsu, too. "I will sure tell her."

"Okay," Nostrad returned the smile, genuinely looking satisfied with their talk. "I will be making a contract to give my conditions which you can peruse when you report back to me. I expect you to update me as soon as possible, and I'll leave Dmitri to you. I don't really want to have a bad blood with him.

"Certainly, sir."

Nostrad lent him a hand. "Thanks for hearing me out, Kurapika. We'll see again next time."

"Kurapika took it and gave a small shake. "It is my pleasure, Nostrad-san."

Chapter Text

The weather was cloudy with clusters of gray clouds threatening to shower the land with drizzle, but the actual rain didn't pour down the next morning after Kurapika's encounter with Kuroro and Light Nostrad.

 

The lawn of Dmitri's mansion was damped with morning dew; it rained the previous night and the air was filled with wet scent of various plants and grass from the front garden. Ironically, it corresponded to Kurapika's current state of mind; he wasn’t as bad as he was the other day, but he was far from being completely okay. Still, Kurapika guarded his designated spot outside Dmitri's office at the start of his shift but unlike before, he didn't feel that very bad about his demotion anymore.

 

He didn't get that much sleep, but at the very least he neither had nightmare nor bolted upright while asleep last night. Strangely, he had easily gotten over from his own awkward and slightly embarrassing actions towards Kuroro during their unfinished session, perhaps because he was too occupied with his musings about his resignation from Dmitri which he was planning to hand in today. He had also informed Senritsu about Nostrad's proposal as the man requested, and Senritsu said she would think about it with a remark that while Kurapika's heart still had a melancholic melody, it didn't sound as horrible as before. She smiled at his improvement and added that he should keep it up, which Kurapika responded with a nod and a hint of a little smile. Truthfully, Kurapika was relieved to know that he somewhat improved albeit just a little. Being in this depressed state this long was honestly tiring and it was getting on his way. The day had long begun and it was time for him to get up without his excuses. Even slightly, Kurapika was livened up by his upcoming transfer to Nostrad, with the prospect of getting the Kuruta eyes through faster and easier means lessening the weight on his shoulders. He could hardly wait to finalize his resignation and talk to Dmitri one more time in regards with the eyes in his possession. There were still a lot of things he had to do, and he had rested enough.

 

Once Dmitri accepted his letter and he officially returned to the Nostrads, he would face his biggest obstacle next— facing Kuroro again. Sadly, he didn't know how he would do that yet but that was something he would worry about later.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Kurapika's shift had ended two hours ago when he returned to Dmitri's office around eight in the evening to submit his resignation only to find out that he had visitors that night.

 

He softly knocked on the office door and was granted permission to enter when the sight of two young, beautiful women clad in revealing clothes standing side by side Dmitri as he sat on his chair wearing an accommodating grin startled him a bit. Instantly realizing he unnecessarily interrupted some private business, he apologized for his intrusion and attempted to flee from the scene only to be called back by Dmitri.

 

"No, Kurapika. You may stay. That must be urgent," Dmitri knowingly assumed. After all, Kurapika was never the type who would disturb his boss if it wasn't about an important matter.

 

"It is not, Dmitri-san. I will be just back tomorrow," it wasn't wise to bring up the subject now that his boss was occupied with something worthier to spend his time with.

 

"I insist. Girls, if you may please leave us for a while," he lovingly told his escorts. With smiles and suggestive caress on his arms, both girls left while giggling. One of them, a petite girl donning a red dress with low neckline winked at him as they stepped outside.

 

"What is it?" Dmitri asked shortly as the door closed.

 

Kurapika didn't waste any time and stepped closer to Dmitri's table, placed his folded resignation letter on it and took a step back. Dmitri eyed the piece of paper, reading the words neatly written on it then breathed in. He leaned against his chair and heaved a short sigh as if implying that he expected this much.

 

"Your reason for your resignation, then?" Dmitri asked with a raised brow.

 

"I believe I could not earn enough money to meet your given price for the scarlet eyes even if I spend a lifetime under your employment, thus I decided to find a more suitable job for me to afford them as soon as I can."

 

"And I'll take it that you've found a new work?"

 

"Yes. Nostrad-san gave me a promising job offer if I work under him again. He also wishes you won't take my transfer as pirating of any sort."

 

"I see," Dmitri smirked. "That old geezer. He's tougher than I expected," he quirked his lips into an amused snicker. Kurapika expected a harsher reaction. "Does he know about you true identity? Damn him if he does and he didn't tell me beforehand."

 

"He did not, sir. However, I revealed the truth when we met the other day so he does now."

 

"Is there any more reason?" Dmitri leaned forward to his desk. "Reason that might be related to Meniandro's death?"

 

Kurapika's eyes widened at that. Did the man know something?"

 

"Hit the nail, didn't I?"

 

Kurapika knew Dmitri would find his resignation somehow connected to Meniandro's demise and it certainly couldn't be helped— but he would wisely use this to his advantage to implicitly warn the man with his persistence in keeping the eyes.

 

"There are things best to be untold," he cast Dmitri a stony look, hoping him to get a clue as to why he was keeping his mouth shut. "You are a very good boss to me, Dmitri-san. I respect and look up to you. For one last time, I would like to ask for you kind consideration in regards with my resignation."

 

"So you are, Kurapika," Dmitri answered with a calm voice. "You were a very reliable subordinate to me. If only you told me the truth since the beginning, we won't need to part ways like this. You were good, but you lied to me. Very well," Dmitri dramatically sighed as if sincerely feeling bad about losing Kurapika, though his eyes told otherwise. "I do not trust you anymore anyway. But just for once and for all, let me know the truth." Dmitri looked at him eye to eye. "Did you kill Meniandro?"

 

Kurapika returned the gaze with conviction.

 

"No. I did not."

 

There was a pause, Dmitri looking as though he was trying to figure out something in his mind while thoroughly observing Kurapika's expression.

 

"An accomplice, then," he murmured to himself, but Kurapika clearly heard it. He chose not to comment. "When do you plan to move out? Is Senritsu coming with you?" Dmitri inquired, sounding business-like.

 

"As soon as you allow me. Nostrad-san has extended the job offer to Senritsu as well and she said that she will think about it."

 

"Yeah, I took you both from him, anyway," Dmitri straightened up on his seat and reached out for Kurapika's letter. "Once you properly hand over all the necessary paperwork and other important instructions to Mitsuhiko, I will allow you to leave any time you want. Tell Nostrad as well that I don't mind you guys leaving. Perhaps I'll invite him over drinks again if I ever get a chance," the way he spoke the last part didn't sound convincing. "By the way, in case you are worried, I am true to my words; I won't hide or sell the eyes to anybody but you, but my price won't change. 2 billion each pair; no more, no less."

 

Right. Kurapika expected that Dmitri wouldn't budge. He might as well just give up haggling with him.

 

"That is a relief, Dmitri-san."

 

"I wish you good luck on your next journey," Dmitri spared him a wry smile.

 

"Thank you for everything," Kurapika bowed down, chest feeling light for the first time since Meniandro died.

 

"Please tell the ladies that they can now go back in as you go," Dmitri slipped his letter in his desk's drawer. Kurapika nodded and opened the door then wordlessly beckoned the girls who were waiting right across the door to enter. They stepped in, Kurapika caught a sweet and cloying smell of heavy perfume from them as they passed by, and was about to leave when Dmitri spoke.

 

"Wait."

 

Both girls froze on their heels, Kurapika stopped on his track with his hand on the knob. Instinctively, he closed the door and waited for Dmitri to finish what he was meaning to say.

 

"Since you've been a very efficient and hardworking guard, let me give you a parting gift," Dmitri turned his gaze towards one of the girls. "Mami, why don't you accompany him and have a good time tonight? My treat."

 

"That would be unnecessary, Dmitri-san," Kurapika indignantly refused the offer in a placid tone. The girl who was presumably Mami graced her lips into a small yet very seducing smile.

 

"If that is what Master wishes," she ambled closer to Kurapika. "It will be my command."

 

"I insist, Kurapika," Dmitri raised his palm, gesturing him to help himself. "You deserve it. She's all yours tonight. Take this as my one last order. Have fun."

 

The man was dead serious. Kurapika couldn't believe that they would come to such conclusion. Left with no choice and thinking that it would be extremely rude to decline again, he lent his arm for the girl to take and kept a stoic expression plastered on his face.

 

"Understood, sir. Thank you, and have a good night."

 

Mami wrapped her arm around him happily; she was giving him a very excited gaze which looked childish yet sexy at the same time. Kurapika could only offer her a curt smile then they left Dmitri's study, leaving his boss and the other girl alone. He caught a brief glance as the lady gracefully sat on Dmitri's lap as he closed the door.

 

Kurapika was uncomfortable with how Mami clung herself on him but he decided not to push her away, fearing that she might tell it to Dmitri if he did. They walked along the hallway in silence to Kurapika's room. Kurapika was relieved that they didn't meet anyone on the way.

 

As they walked together, Kurapika started to feel slight changes on the woman's mien while she hugged his arm.

 

At a closer look, Kurapika could see that she was very young despite her heavily contoured eyes and mature physique. She might be just around in her early twenties, not so far from Kurapika's age.

 

She was beautiful, with radiant and unblemished skin being flaunted by her black strapped dress. She had auburn hair and eyes which matched her gold teardrop earrings. Her black choker with a strangely huge ring (presumably custom-made to be attached on a leash) had the same teardrop pendant, and her lacy neckline revealed her cleavage. She was sexy, her waist and chest just the right size and she walked gracefully despite her uncomfortably high pumps. She was bringing herself with elegance, but he could feel that there was something about this girl more than the looks.

 

Kurapika could also easily tell that she was a professional prostitute.

 

"Is this your room, Master?" She asked as they stopped in front of his room's door. Her voice was soft and it hinted innocence, but Kurapika could sense it was just for show.

 

"After you," Kurapika opened the door and let her in first, him following suit.

 

Mami took a look all over his room as Kurapika closed the door. It wasn't that big and all he had were a single bed, a bookshelf, his bedside table and a small coffee table. There was a window next to the bed and his closet stood at the far end of it. Kurapika thought the girl must be feeling mortified that she had to service a mere bodyguard tonight inside this boring and small room, but it surprised him when Mami sat on the single seat on the coffee table and contentedly leaned against it.

 

"You have a nice room, Master," she gave him a warm smile. This time, he couldn't tell if it was fake or not for it looked real.

 

"Dmitri-san has a bigger and nicer one."

 

"I know. I have been there for a couple of times."

 

Kurapika sat on the bed. "I apologize but I do not have any drink to you offer you, but I can make you tea in the kitchen if you don't mind waiting."

 

"I am good at waiting, Master," she stood up and moved her hands above her shoulders, her fingers flicked on the straps of her dress. "Why don't you prepare the tea while I make the dessert?"

 

"Please, sit down."

 

The girl froze, slightly confused when she was ordered to stop stripping her clothes.

 

"Master?"

 

"You don't have to do that," Kurapika declared, he stood up and switched on the lamp on the bedside table.

 

"Wait, I don't unders—"

 

"You must have realized that I just agreed to Dmitri-san's order. I don't intend to play any master-servant game with you."

 

"But why?" Mami asked, an eyebrow raised. "Oh, I get it. I'm not your type. You must like girls with bigger boobs like Lisa— the other one with Dmitri-sama."

 

"Neither," Kurapika answered calmly.

 

This time, her cute and sweet smile faltered and changed into fear, which she was trying to conceal.

 

"Am I not attractive enough, Master?" She hung her head low. "I knew it; I should have made myself more presentable. I should be punished. Master, I—"

 

"Mami-san," Kurapika reassuringly called her. "As I have said, you may drop your role-playing now."

 

The girl suddenly looked a bit angrily at him. "I have to get this work done, Mister. Trust me, I will make you feel real good tonight," from an innocent girl to a hungrily lustful woman, Mami changed her demeanour in attempt to lure him in.

 

"I can't have that good time with you, Mami-san. It's not your fault. You are no doubt beautiful and desirable, but I can't do that with you."

 

"Would you mind explaining to me why?" She serenely questioned with her eyes narrowing a bit.

 

'You are mine. Do I make myself clear?'

 

Kuroro's words echoed in his mind. It was insulting, debasing and humiliating, but he agreed to that demand. He had to or else blood would be shed. It wasn't like he didn't have the desire to do it with this very attractive woman, but ever since his clan's death, romantic ventures never occurred to Kurapika. Aside from that it may hinder his quest to his life goals, to be in a relationship with someone while he was out there fighting his battle against Ryodan might pose danger to his partner's life. He had to focus. After all, he decided to dedicate his remaining breath in his search for his clan's eyes and justice for their death, and he had scarce time to complete them as it was. Falling into someone would do no good to that person's life. The relationship would only be filled with sadness, danger and lack of time. He had long accepted his fate as the sole survivor of the Kuruta clan, and he never planned to revive the existence of his tribe through making offspring. If they would be just subjected to be relics and have their eyes displayed on museums, Kurapika would rather be the last one to live.

 

And Kuroro was unreasonably claiming him now. Not only his missions were consuming him; even his sworn enemy was marking him as if he was a possession. It was as if Kurapika's life had never been his own. It was soul-wrenching, but then again, his life would be meaningless if he give up his fight now. He'd rather throw away this life of his into the battle than to live a hollowed life with the weight of his clan's death deadening his soul forever.

 

He gave the girl a look and weirdly enough, he could see a resemblance of his own emptiness through her eyes. She was playing that slave persona perhaps because men kept claiming her. Women were being treated like that in the society more often than not. Somehow, he could understand how it felt now.

 

"I am seeing someone right now," he finally said. It felt horrible in the stomach but if it would make her stop her advances, so be it.

 

The girl chuckled amusedly. "Aren't you a loyal one? Come on, there is nothing to be worried about. We definitely can still do it and she'll never find it out. I will make sure not to leave any marks," she winked at him mischievously.

 

Kurapika slowly shook his head and absently quirked his lips into a patient, almost brotherly smile. "You got me. Yes, I am loyal to that person. I am also not fond of disrespecting women. I am sorry, Mami-san, but I will say it again. I took you with me as per Dmitri-san’s order.”

 

“But that… won’t do any good to me, sir,” Mami’s voice quivered, fear clearly showing on her face. “They will punish me if I don’t get it done.”

 

“You will be punished by whom? Dmitri-san?” Kurapika suggested Dmitri even if he was damn sure Mami wasn’t talking about him.

 

“By my real masters,” she confessed. “I am from… a secret casa deploying professional escorts. I will be punished if the customer reported that my performance isn’t satisfying. Please, sir. Don’t do this to me.”

 

“I won’t tell them that we didn’t do it, then,” he assured her. “I will give Dmitri-san a satisfactory review so you won’t get in trouble.”

 

“But… you won’t have to lie like that if we just do it. It won’t hurt if we try even once. Even just a quick one, Mister. I promise to make the most out of your time,” for this girl to be this persistent and desperate, Kurapika could deduce that the casa must be giving out corporal punishments to those who couldn’t meet their client’s expectations. This irked him, but he knew how the underworld worked and this wasn’t something new.

 

“Trust me, Mami-san. I’ll make sure that you won’t be punished. I’ll add a tip and personally contact your casa to give my compliment if I have to.”

 

Mami lingered her eyes on him, evidently wondering why he was acting that way, but she looked surreptitiously relieved.

 

“But… what are we supposed to do now?” Mami visibly relaxed her tensed shoulders, though she still looked at bit antsy. “I should at least entertain you in some other way. Uhm, I can sing and dance. I also know how to massage. I am a good listener as well,” she slouched on her seat as she listed her other skills.

 

“Let’s see…” to tone down the tension, Kurapika purposely spoke softly as if he was really deliberating her given choices, then came up with an idea from one of the options. “How about telling me something about yourself?”

 

“Huh?” Genuinely stunned, Mami furrowed her brows. “About myself? Uhh, this is a first. One of an escort’s jobs is to listen to her client’s woes and complains in life. We are even trained to give good responses as to not annoy them even if we know nothing about the subject matter. For me to speak about myself is…” she hesitantly lowered her voice, leaving the sentence hanging as she struggled to find the words to explain the bizarreness of Kurapika’s command.

 

“You are not allowed to voice out your thoughts and feelings unless asked, I take it?”

 

“Yes, more or less.”

 

“I see. This is a good time to test if you are a good storyteller, then. Won’t you share to me a part of your life?” Kurapika was admittedly curious. Her ability to change her character in accordance with her client’s taste, how she could act comfortable while being touched by total strangers, how she could put up playing the role of the slave, how she learned how to do all of it. How could she tolerate being subjected to such acts, while Kurapika couldn’t even handle his subtle whoring properly? Jokingly, Kurapika thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask tips from an expert.

 

“If Master wishes me to,” Mami straightened up like she was preparing for an interview.

 

Kurapika threw the first question. “How did you end up in this line of work?”

 

“Destiny, I guess?” Mami shrugged. “Apparently, my mother was a low-class prostitute and she had me unexpectedly. As I was told by our caretakers, she sold me to the casa one day at the age of one for a hundred thousand jennies. She never set a foot there ever since. Being a whore is in my blood and I was trained to be one since birth. I started taking customers when I reached six, but the caretakers and owners of the casa had taken my dignity even before I turn four.”

 

Kurapika was momentarily speechless. Before he could stop himself, his shock and disbelief had slipped on his expression. Mami, on the other hand, wore a small, unfeeling smile.

 

“I can still remember the first time a hand of a man touched me,” she lowered her gaze. “I was sleeping on the kitchen floor one night, tired from cleaning and helping with making dinner, when a guy who guarded the entrance of the casa dragged me to the headmaster’s room. There, he undressed and put me on his soft bed. I thought back then that that must be the softest bed on earth for how heavenly it felt on my small and tired body, and as he caressed me and did things I didn’t understand, I learned that all good things that are given to me come with a price, and I have to pay. All the time.”

 

That wasn’t true, Kurapika wanted to contradict her, but he didn’t want to stop the flow of her story. “How old are you now?”

 

“I do not know my exact birthday, but I am now around nineteen or twenty years old.”

 

‘We’re the same age,’ Kurapika secretly curled his fists. “So you’ve been in that trade for fourteen years?” She had been enduring living in that situation for all her life? How come she lasted that long without losing her mind? How come no one tried to save her?

 

“Nuts, I know,” she said as if she could read his mind. “After the headmaster had his time with me, I undergone through exercises to see my skills, and they thought I’m a potential money maker. I am beautiful, so they dressed me up. I am skinny, so they saw me as an angelic slave. They said I was a natural. They even taught me how to read and write, to sing and dance, how to move my tongue whenever they shove things inside my mouth. I’m not being arrogant, but I’m a Class-A escort. I get more number of bookings than the other girls and customers were coming back for more, so for you to turn me down like that, I can say that you’re letting a very rare chance to pass by,” Mami playfully shook her head, letting Kurapika know what he missed.

 

“What kind of customers do you take in?” Kurapika proceeded to the next question to avoid Mami’s attempts to press that her services were still on the table and very available to take.

 

“All sorts. I have no right to choose. As far as I can remember, I already slept with big business tycoons, a politician, a doctor, a famous actor and singer, a lawyer, a navy general, a low ranking soldier, a priest, the list never ends.”

 

“A priest?” Kurapika interjected

 

“Yes. I’ve been hired by people from the church many times. I can’t even count them anymore. My first ever customer was a respectable priest from a big religious organization. He even requested the casa to have me killed once I reach ten as to avoid scandal in case I tattle about him. The headmaster agreed but the priest died when I was nine, so I was spared.”

 

Their conversation was turning from a dizzying bumpy car ride into a wild roller coaster as they went on.

 

“There is one time, I was with the other kids, when we ‘played’ with customers at a party at their backyard maze. They set us loose and the clients had to catch us, and they were allowed to do anything they want to us. The kids who could escape will be set free so we hid and ran as far as we could, but I was caught and raped right there at the labyrinth until I couldn’t walk anymore. A boy managed not to be caught by any players and he was set free as promised but as he ran away, a customer pulled out a gun and shot him on the head. They were all laughing as he laid on the grass, his blood was all over the place. It was as if they were saying that the only way to escape our fate was to die. And if you’ll ask me, I’ll be more than willing to choose that end. I wished I was that boy. At least he tasted freedom before he lost his life.”

 

“But you lived on,” just like Kurapika did. “What pushed you to keep going?”

 

“I fell in love.”

 

Cliché, Kurapika thought. He read through her vague reply and expected to hear a story of Mami meeting a knight and shining armor that showed her respect and saved her from her distress, but her tale exceeded his expectation. “To whom?”

 

“With freedom,” Mami smiled. “It is funny, but you’re not the first person who turned me down. You’re the second.

 

“I was in one of the casa’s owned bars in our town when I met this man. I am sure that it was purely accident, but he groped my ass. I wasn’t really angry, many have done worse things to me than that, but I confronted him and asked for compensation for what he did. He apologized, pulled out his wallet, and gave an amount enough to hire me for three straight days, with an offer of a drink as an apology gift. I didn’t have to remit that money to the casa since it was an ‘accident,’ but I was afraid that they might find it weird that I have excess money and I might be in trouble if they assumed that I’m doing extra work without their knowledge so I offered my service to that man. Our conversation somewhat resembled ours for how he kept declining my offer. I insisted, offered my other skills just like what I did earlier, but unlike now, I played as the listener.

 

“He was pretty drunk, and he was in the middle of a chat with the old bartender. This guy was weird; he was wearing baggy clothes and shawls of dull colors with his hair messily wrapped in a turban. His article of clothing didn’t match the amount of money he had in his wallet, but there was something really strange about him. He gave off  vibes of someone strong and good at heart. He was a bit loud, but he was very smart. This man saved my life. He gave me a reason to live on. For the first time, someone gave me something so precious without asking anything in return. I owe him this strength I have right now.

 

“He refused to buy my sex and only asked for my ears. Only my ears. He began drunkenly ranting about his current position in an association that he didn’t want to be in because he’d rather spend his time exploring the world. When I asked him where he had been so far, he told me about his adventures in unexplored lands and discovering new species of animals. When he chased after notorious criminals and capturing them, how satisfied he was when he got to punch them in the face. That he one time partook in developing a high-tech and dangerous game which he left later on when he got bored. That he was aiming to get to the farthest land that was yet to be discovered by humankind. All because he thought it was fun. He was prepared to face all kinds of perils just to have a good time. I never thought a person is allowed to have fun doing things other than sex. And he said he earned a bunch of money while doing things just because he wanted to. He desired to go through the darkest slums to the heights of the heaven if he could. He yearned to explore the world and just have fun. And it sounded fun to me, too. He made me yearn for something, and it made me realize that I’m a human too, and not just a sex tool. He told me about freedom and dreams, and that I can have those things, too. I wish to be like him someday, even if not as smart and good as he was, and he told me I can be what I want to be if I strive and work hard to reach for it. He made me see what I want to be once I escape this hellish place I’m in. I heard it was hard and very dangerous,” for the first time, Mami’s empty eyes shone and sparkled with hope. “But I want to be a hunter too someday.”

 

“What a coincidence,” as the rollercoaster halted into a stop and Mami’s story had a hanging but hopeful ending, Kurapika slipped his hand into his pocket and he pulled out his Hunter card. “I’m a hunter, too.”

 

“Oh my God!” Mami excitedly chirped as she peered at Kurapika’s card. “May I take a look?” He handed it to her which she hesitantly took, eyes roving on it with her fingertips carefully running against its prints. “Is this a real Hunter card?”

 

“Yes. I passed the Hunter exam around one year ago. I was nineteen.”

 

“Really? There is no age limit for the applicants? I thought I need to be at least twenty-one years old or something.”

 

“I met my closest friends there and two of them are both twelve years old. One of them passed along with me, and that was our very first try to take the test.”

 

“Wow!” She happily exclaimed. Hands shaking, she returned his card to him. “Is that really possible?”

 

“Yes. If you’re tough enough and you really desire to be one, you can be a hunter regardless of your past, age, race and character. It might be really hard, people also die and get hurt during the exam and you might fail, but that is how it goes. You can retake the exam as many times as you can. I know someone who retook it for thirty-five times. I think he’s still on the game,” he mentally sighed as he remembered Tonpa the rookie crusher.

 

“I see,” Mami was briefly spooked, but the burning glint in her eyes was still there. “I’ll try my best, then.”

 

“Do you want me to help you in any way?” Kurapika might not be able to give his all in offering his help, but he did want to get this poor girl out of her misery. “We can have the casa abolished with the help of the Hunter Association. I cannot promise, but we can try to request the casa to be investigated.”

 

“No, thank you, sir,” Mami shook her head. “Even if the Hunter Association intervenes, I don’t think the casa can be brought down that easily. I fear for the children’s safety as well: the casa have more than a hundred children in their custody. It was a big circuit of corruption and power playing. I did my own digging, but it was really complicated. I know that I don’t have the power to save everyone in the casa now, but maybe when I become a hunter in the future, I might be able to save lives that had the same fate as me. I might not be able to change the world by saving a child or two, but I might change those children’s world if I do what I can.”

 

‘She’ll make a wonderful hunter,’ Kurapika could tell, and he wished she could be one.

 

Kurapika was a bit awed at the amusing and ironic similarity of the root of their dream to be a hunter. They were inspired by the tales of a hunter’s adventure; him from a book and her from a drunk’s babbler. They both strived for freedom; him from the Rukuso village’s limits and restrictions for being a Kuruta and her to find herself and her true worth. However, there was a big difference; of what they had become as they set on their journey. Kurapika’s once pure, brave heart had now become filled with rage and sadness while Mami’s had turned from wrecked and torn into a heart of steel. Hope lived in her eyes; he could see that she was determined to get herself out of her misery without relying on any man’s help so she wouldn’t be in debt to anyone and no one could claim her. She had gone into hell and was still there, and she outlasted it. To endure being maltreated for so long would taint one’s hope for a better life, he would bet that people from the casa were imbuing their victims to think that way and Mami surely must have reached that point too but there she was, wearing a pretty smile that looked real which brought out her beauty even more. Kurapika must be stronger, smarter and tougher than she was, but Mami was more courageous and tenacious than him and he secretly thought that he was no match for her.

 

Their conversation went on throughout the evening.

 

Mami answered all of Kurapika’s questions without asking anything back. The worst orders she ever received and how she endured and completed it (if she did), what she did whenever she had to sleep  with someone she didn’t like, if she served someone whom she hated to the marrow of her bones and how she pulled it off, if someone ever tried to save her and if she ever tried to escape, of the styles and games she was forced to play.

 

In return, Kurapika told her about the Hunter Exam: the dangers it might pose but the rewarding feeling of passing the exam and having the card on his hand only to find out that he just had a passport but not a ticket to the final destination—that there was something more about being a hunter (he decided not to introduce her to nen yet. She would surely come across it if she managed to get into the exam). This was to warn Mami of what she was about to face if she pushed through her dream. Kurapika dreaded that this might disheartened her but it wasn’t the case: Mami never showed any hint of hesitation and intently listened to his tips and pointers. Mami shared to him her tactics of how to get a man around her fingers to do her biddings; Kurapika inquired if she practiced any form of martial arts and listed off the types he thought the most suitable for her to try. Mami never asked anything personal question to him, not even why he became a hunter, and Kurapika was relieved with that so he took it upon himself to inform her the highlights of the Hunter exam, the uses and perks of the Hunter card, the do’s and don’ts of being a hunter, the type of hunter she could become. Mami told him the places she had been by accompanying her customers, the mixture of good and bad men she serviced, when she was beaten by a customer almost to death. It was an interesting exchange of stories from two different people living in two entirely different worlds. Time flew right out of the window. One moment Mami wore a mischievous and daring allure, next she would laugh heartily out loud. The way she change her character slightly disarmed Kurapika, but perhaps it was included in her skills set.

 

The chat somehow tiptoed on romance. For a gorgeous woman, Mami admitted she had low standards. She wasn’t searching for a man who could give her the sun and moon and all the riches of the world. She said he didn’t have to be the most handsome man on the planet. He didn’t even have to be insanely good at sex. If someone would come to be with her forever, she admitted that all he had to be was a compassionate man who would treat her right and see her as an equal, not a trophy or possession. That was how she valued her own worth, something that perhaps Kurapika lost along the way of his journey to achieve his goals.

 

Before they knew it,  it was already past four o’clock midnight.

 

“I think it’s now a good time for you to go, you look tired,” Kurapika stifled a small yawn.

 

“I have never talked this long in my entire life. Yes, I’m tired but it was truly fun,” Mami’s eyes indicated that she was sleepy, but she looked like she could go for another hour. “Same goes for you, Mister. Dmitri-sama usually retires and dismisses us around this time. I will now take my leave so you can at least catch some sleep as well,” she got on her feet and pushed the chair back under the coffee table.

 

“Hmm, wait. One last question,” Kurapika whimsically said as Mami ambled closer to the door.

 

“Fire away.”

 

“Do you know what that hunter’s name you told me about is? I’m a bit curious. If he had gone through that many expeditions, he must be famous.”

 

“Of course, I do,” Mami replied dreamily. “I tried to look for him, actually, but to no avail. He never went back to the bar even once. The bartender said he was really that kind of person: he rarely appears and very hard to look for. But I can never forget his face and name. To be honest, I also hope I can meet him again someday to thank him. Who knows, maybe I will bump into Ging Freecs in the future, when I finally become a hunter.”

 

‘Freecs?’ could she be referring to…

 

‘What a small world,’ it looked like Gon wasn’t the only one hunting down for his father. This was funnily amusing: he now could see where Gon’s influential streak came from.

 

“I heard his name, but I never personally met him.”

 

“I see,” Mami nodded with a lilt of disappointment in her voice. “May I say something, too?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“I think your special someone is very lucky to have you.”

 

This caught Kurapika off guard.

 

“Thank you so much for the very wonderful night, Mister.”

 

With a flick of her dress, Mami bowed, opened the door and stepped out, leaving Kurapika momentarily dumbstruck and staring at the door as it closed.

Chapter Text

 

"I-It's just like what you said," the voice of a man from the other end of the line. "The boy handed in his resignation just now."

 

Smiling, he pressed the phone closer to his ear. "I see. How did it go?"

 

"I did just what you told me!" The voice was indignant yet frantic. "I went easy on him and approved the resignation. He's going back to his former boss and his other companion here is likely coming with him."

 

"When is he going to leave?"

 

"I said he can move out anytime as long as the necessary turnover is done so he won't think I wanted him out of my house as soon as bloody possible. I think he'll leave by tomorrow."

 

"As for my other instructions?"

 

"Yeah, yeah. I didn't forget it. Promised to sell the eyes exclusively to him for 2 billion each pair. He seemed relieved."

 

"Very well, I am glad. You're not a bad business partner, sir."

 

"Yeah, right. Whatever. Now, will you leave me alone?"

 

"Sure, sure. As promised, I'll spare your life as long as you abide to my requests."

 

"Don't come after the Kuruta, keep my mouth shut about Meniandro, keep my promise about the scarlet eyes and act as if this whole damned bullshit never happened. You have my word."

 

"You forgot not to tell anyone about his identity."

 

"Fine. His secret is safe with me. I'll move away from York Shin as soon as he leaves. I'll hand over the eyes as soon as the payment is made. Are we done here?"

 

"That is very nice of you. Yes, I also hope that this will be our last conversation. Be good, and so will I."

 

"Yeah, right."

 

"It is a pleasure doing business with you, Dmitri-san. Have a good night."

 

The man from the other end cut the line without another word. Slowly, the smile on Kuroro's face faded, suppressing a relieved sigh as he did so. He pocketed his phone with a lingering worry tugging at the back of his mind. Yes, that restless feeling in him that was pestering him for days had subsided, but it hadn't completely disappeared. He knew the boy would make a big deal out of this again, him meddling with his personal matters again, once he finds out but he figured he would rather face his anger than his bland submission.

 

This was everything Kuroro could do for him. The next steps were for Kurapika to take.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

As soon as Kurapika fulfilled his promise to Mami and thanked Dmitri for his 'treat,' he shortly carried out the complete transfer of his duties to Mitsuhiko and later announced his resignation to his co-workers.

 

He was relieved that Senritsu decided to come along with him the next day, saying that she didn't think that staying with Dmitri would lead her closer to the Sonata of Darkness, the cursed musical score she was looking for. As Dmitri mentioned, he didn't raise any objection about their sudden resignation, and even thanked them for their service albeit only for a short while.

 

Kurapika soon contacted Nostrad to give him the good news, he and Senritsu talked over the phone to confirm her decision of working under him again. Nostrad instructed them to go to his hotel and meet up once they were done with Dmitri and were even invited for a dinner meeting of sort for further discussion about his business project.

 

Mitsuhiko and the other tried to get them into a one-last-drinking party before they leave, but Kurapika had to turn it down with a reason that it wasn't needed and guarding the boss was the utmost priority. Dmitri didn't see them out and just passed down his goodbye to Mitsuhiko. With words of thanks and grateful bows, Kurapika and Senritsu left the Dmitri household, both set to begin their new journey.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Nostrad was full of excitement and optimism as he informed Kurapika and Senritsu that he managed to secure his prospect location for the upcoming agency's headquarters. He had also found potential investors for the company and with Kurapika now joining him, he merrily said over their drinks that this was a very good start.

 

Unlike his disorientation while under Dmitri's suspicion before, Kurapika was very clear-headed over the dinner meeting. He already had his plan for screening the applicants ready and even suggested to consider amusement and gaming as a secondary source of fund as he pointed out that the hotel didn't have a casino. This could somehow help them attract more clients (Nostrad suggested the potential of offering escort services to the clients which Kurapika adamantly objected to, saying that while gambling was legal, prostitution was not and he didn't want to taint the company's name, which Senritsu agreed with as well. Nostrad later on gave up with his suggestion and moved on like he never spoke of it. This greatly eased Kurapika; he wouldn't stoop that low to selfishly get what he wanted, especially not after meeting Mami.)

 

Their discussion ended rather productively with Nostrad a tad bit drunk, and he announced that they would leave York Shin in a week's time and go back to their mansion once he settled his affairs. He added that Kurapika and Senritsu were free to spend the days however they liked, noting that they should enjoy this much needed break because the days ahead were sure to be very busy. He provided them their own rooms in the hotel as well. The two looked at each other at Nostrad's drunken generosity, and smiled before thanking their boss with a toast.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

A set of good books and two days' worth of leisure and relaxation in the hotel later, Kurapika was then reminded that he still had an unsettled matter that he ought to face before leaving York Shin: Kuroro.

 

He idly fiddled with his phone with a thought in mind. It was weird thing coming from him, but he... wanted to give Kuroro a call. It wasn't just because he needed to make another transaction sooner or later, or that he had to inform him that he would be leaving York Shin so they could arrange for a new time and place to meet up. He wanted to speak to him properly, face to face, with his head held up high again. He knew Kuroro didn't want this either, he said himself that he wasn't pleased with what was happening, and they had to talk. His conversation with Mami enlightened him in more ways than one; he was reminded of a few small things that he forgot, and learned a bit few new ones. He had to face this one way or another, but the big question was how.

 

'This bastard really did rob my confidence,' Kurapika glared at the familiar digits on the phone screen he was holding up above his face as he laid on his bed. 'Tss, I'm better than this,' he turned to the side, slid the call button then pressed the device against his ear.

 

The call was picked after the second ring. That was quick.

 

"Hello?"

 

"Where are you?" Kurapika's voice was airy and hinting anger, the usual tone he reserved just for Kuroro whenever he had to speak to him. Good start, so far.

 

"At the condo," came a timid reply. Strange; was it only him or did Kuroro sound slightly hesitant?

 

"Still?"

 

"Yes."

 

"I see," tsk, this was really awkward. "Are you... free tonight?" Kurapika could feel himself blushing a bit, hearing himself asking such thing for the first time.

 

"I am, but first things first; I don't want a repeat of that last time."

 

"It won't be," Kurapika didn't want that either and he would make sure it wouldn't.

 

"Are you sure? As I said, I'm not rushing you."

 

"There are things you need to know and we have to talk about."

 

"Yeah, there certainly are. Alright, come anytime you want. I'll wait here. See you later."

 

"Right," Kurapika didn't expect this to be this easy. Or rather, he didn't expect Kuroro to make it easier for him to make the short conversation. Moreover, there was a... lightness in his tone and way with words that were making him feel not intimidated, or at least he wasn't being authoritative. If anything, Kuroro sounded awkward, too. He ended the call, placed the phone on the covers and stared at the ceiling for a moment. He suddenly remembered that dread for his life that he felt when Kuroro summoned him last time via text message. None of that fear was present now. He might be feeling reluctant, but he wasn't scared. Kurapika breathed in deeply. This was more like it. He was improving, and this had to keep going.

 

He got to his feet, quickly washed up and left almost hurriedly.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Kurapika didn't know what to expect to see upon his arrival at the condo, but it surprised him to see the man plopped on the living room floor while leaning against the couch, one hand propped on one knee while holding a can of beer, while the other was rummaging inside a bag of chips. The plaid shirt he donned and his messily ruffled hair completed his slacker look. He looked like he just woke up, showered and didn't bother to comb his hair. This was the first time Kurapika saw Kuroro being normal, not to mention his guard was so down that he almost looked very lethargic. Their eyes met as soon as Kurapika entered the place. The lights were out except for one dim lampshade next to the couch where Kuroro was lounging.

 

He ambled closer to the man and wordlessly sat on the floor as well, right across Kuroro. This visibly surprised and amused Kuroro, but he didn't say anything.

 

They let the silence settle between them. It was awkward and heavy at first, but when Kuroro went on with munching his snack (he emptied the chip bag then took a small gulp from the beer can), it turned awkward but more comfortable.

 

From their past meet-ups, alcohol had been their seldom companion to kindle things up, to help Kurapika forget a bit and gather courage, so Kurapika immediately assumed that that one remaining unopened can of beer on the coffee table was purposely left for him. Kuroro seemed to have finished another can aside from the one he was holding. He eyed it, already dreading that he had to get drunk again, and was about to reach for it when Kuroro spoke.

 

"You don't have to drink if you don't want to."

 

Kurapika stilled for a while, but went on with taking the can anyway. He read its label.

 

"Also, don't take my words as a challenge. You don't need to force yourself."

 

Like he didn't hear a thing from Kuroro, Kurapika snapped the beer can open and took a sip. It was bitter and kind of tasteless at the same time. Not liking the taste, he braced himself to endure it and gulped down the entire can in one swig.

 

It was a light drink; he didn't feel any sort of dizziness even after he finished it. He put the empty can back on the coffee table and heaved a sigh.

 

"Do you have anything stronger?"

 

Kuroro made a face as if asking if he heard it wrong, but instead of voicing it out, he answered the question. "I don't, but I can buy some from the nearby convenient store. Is there anything else you want?"

 

"Snacks, maybe."

 

"Alright," Kuroro got to his feet, irresolute but compliant, and ran a hand on his hair in attempt to comb it. "I won't take long. I think I have another can in the fridge of you want. I'll be back."

 

The bastard was trying to hide it, but it was all over his face. He was excited. He strode to the door and slid one hand inside his pocket, seemingly checking if he had his key and wallet, before hurriedly stepping out of the condo.

 

Kurapika heaved another sigh. Yeah, he definitely wanted to grab the beer in the fridge because he needed to work out this night.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Kuroro was damn sure he was being transparent but he couldn't help it; this was the very first time Kurapika made a move for them to do something else other than sex so his excitement even coloured his expression that he went an extra mile and needlessly bought assortments of alcoholic drinks since he didn't know what Kurapika's preference was. And so far, he had been favouring a lemon flavoured vodka since he already consumed three bottles of it, and a bag of cheese flavored potato chips. It also seemed that he had low tolerance with liquor because the vodka quickly started to kick in. Kurapika was in apparent attempt to get drunk. Really get drunk. He was quiet all the time and Kuroro let him be. He didn't say anything at all and left Kurapika on his device, letting him choose any drink or food that he liked. But as he noticed the reddening of his face up to his ears, he decided to break the ice.

 

He shot him his first question.

 

"How are you feeling now?"

 

Kurapika remained silent for a moment, sighed then pinned his gaze on the bottle in his hand as if scanning its label.

 

"Bad."

 

"I can see that much."

 

"And you seemed to be enjoying it very much."

 

Kuroro took the can back and swirled it before gulping its remaining content. “Not really."

 

"Liar."

 

"Believe what you will" he wouldn't insist. "So, how's the deal with Dmitri? I'll bet he demanded a huge amount for the eyes."

 

"2 billion each pair."

 

Kuroro whistled. "Inhumane."

 

"I don't want to hear that from you, hypocrite."

 

Kuroro gave a hearty laugh. "I thought you wouldn’t tell me?"

 

"Don't play dumb I know you'll find out whether I tell you or not."

 

"You already know me so well. What are you going to do about it, then?" Kuroro wouldn't offer his help and would just let him speak and decide on his own.

 

"I resigned since it's useless to stay. I'll be back to Nostrad. My former boss. The father of the girl you stole that fortune telling ability from."

 

Kuroro offered him a small smile, choosing not to comment as to avoid the subject to be brought up.

 

"It's related to why I want to talk to you. I'll leave York Shin soon and maybe be sent to various places for my bodyguard duties. There will be disruptions with our meet-ups, and it won't be as often as before."

 

"I see," Kuroro only replied, thinking that he would just think about how to adjust with this change later. "Though are you confident that you'll earn that 2 billion each pair under his employment?"

 

"Don't be ridiculous. I can, but it will take ages to get that much and I don't think Dmitri will be willing to wait that long. I want to acquire them as soon as I can, before he slips away from my grasp. That's why I..." Kurapika left the sentence hanging, face beginning to be etched with hesitance, fear and pain, and he couldn't finish what he was meaning to say.

 

"I won't kill Dmitri," Kuroro cut him off, disliking the way Kurapika's eyes began to be filled with anxiety again.

 

Those eyes widened, and Kurapika cast him a very stunned look. Kuroro repeated so he could make himself clear.

 

"I promise not to kill Dmitri no matter what happens."

 

With that, Kurapika slumped and averted his eyes from Kuroro. He must be interpreting what Kuroro was trying to say.

 

They both knew that Kuroro's offers came with a taxing price.

 

"In exchange of me being exclusively yours?" Kurapika sardonically assumed, eyeing him with disgust. "Or you want to have another kinky play just like before? Because... either is fine with me now. Just please, no more sketchy drugs. This drink will do. It tastes good, too," the boy gave the bottle another hearty gulp.

 

"Is that why you wanted to get drunk? Because you thought I'm going to harm you again?"

 

"There isn't a night I spent with you that wasn’t harmful. But that last one, at Meniandro's, was the most extreme so far. Kept me wide awake at night for a week or two."

 

Kuroro was disarmed at this sudden confession. "Were you scared of me since then?"

 

"Conceited as ever, arrogant bastard. But as hard as it was to take, yes. I was scared of you. Happy?"

 

Kuroro should be. Kurapika was admitting to his face that yes, he was afraid of him, just like what he wanted.

 

But he wasn't, as far as he was concerned.

 

"It's been haunting me for quite some time now, since you mentioned it. About my clan. How they died in your hands. You love to see me suffer so much, don't you?" Kurapika's voice cracked. It trembled and the words seemed stuck in his throat. His scarlet eyes were activated... with brimming tears. Kurapika pursed his lips and looked down, avoiding his gaze. When he spoke again, his voice was back to normal, but not without a little hiccup. "So why not fill me in? How did you kill them? Did you use Indoor Fish on them, too? On how many? Were there children? Did you count?"

 

"There is no need for you to know that."

 

"And why?"

 

"Because I don't see a good reason why I should hurt you more than I already have."

 

"Bullshit. C'mon, you've been itching to tell me about it the other day, right? Why forfeit now? In fact, why didn't you tell me while raping me? That must have made it more exciting for you. If you're worried about my mental stability then don't. I've told you many times before not to treat me as a weakling. Oh, and just so you know, I don't forget the things I say, hear or do when I'm drunk, so feel free to subject me to your torture schemes again. Go on, I came prepared. Let's hear it from you first hand."

 

Kuroro understood why Kurapika was acting this way. It was his pent up frustration. He was trying to get used to the pain. If he was speaking to him this much while crying like that, he likely didn't tell his feelings to anybody, maybe because he was afraid of its outcome. But it was all too much for him and since it was just between the two of them, he had no choice but to let it out to Kuroro. He was baring his heart out there, masking his fear with anger and feigned courage.

 

"Stop it. I didn't agree to meet up with you tonight to talk about that. Forget that I ever mentioned that. I said that just to incite and immobilize you. It was part of the plan. Stop blaming yourself for everything I do. I killed Meniandro and his men because I wanted to, not because you ordered me. Lash it all out at me tonight, hate me all you want, but I'll say it again. I don't want a repeat of that last time."

 

'He's hurting,' Kuroro saw as tears slid down the boy's cheeks. Kurapika didn't make any effort to hide or suppress it, and he just repeatedly wiped them away.

 

At that moment, Kuroro was overwhelmed with the urge to take away the bottle from Kurapika's hand and wipe away the tears for him, but he didn't have the guts to make the smallest move to get closer. He felt that if he moved even just a bit, Kurapika would get hurt even more. He settled for just listening. He wouldn't say sorry this time. It wasn't needed.

 

When it seemed that he had cooled down, Kurapika breathed in deeply, put down the bottle and swiped his fingers under his eyes one last time before casting Kuroro a long stare. He gave a heavy sigh.

 

"You're being uncharacteristically considerate tonight. Fine, I won't insist. Telling me or not doesn't matter anyway. Finding out how you did it or not won't stop me from killing you and your happy little friends," Kurapika grabbed the bottle again and finished the vodka.

 

"I've been thinking about this for a while," since they were having this kind of conversation, he thought he would give his piece of mind as well. "I think it's time for us to revise our contract."

 

Kurapika paused then stared at him with reddened, puffy eyes, mildly surprised. "At this late of the game?"

 

"Why not?" Kuroro moved towards the coffee table and reached for a notepad underneath it. "We didn't set our conditions formally at all, won’t hurt to do it now," he rummaged inside the drawer for any writing tool but found nothing.

 

"Here," Kuroro turned and caught the sight of something being tossed his way. Kurapika threw a pen at him then went back on chugging another bottle of beer.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Kurapika didn't expect that being drunk was... pretty good.

 

Not entirely good as his head felt funny with his vision spinning and he was bloated, but it wasn't that bad. Not only he didn't feel a shed of fear towards Kuroro now, this was also the first time that he was able to freely speak what was in his mind. To be not like himself was unexpectedly fun, he guessed. Maybe he'd try and get drunk again sometimes.

 

He wasn't able to hold back his tears, though. But wasn't that the whole point of him drowning himself with this sweetened alcohol? To get the message across once and for all? It was embarrassing yet he felt a bit better after it. At least Kuroro didn't laugh at him, which was nice, and he didn't answer his question about his clan, which was nicer. Looked like the bastard was holding back his bullying. So he wasn't the only one wanting to get over this drama, at the very least.

 

Kuroro sat back down on his spot, opened the notepad which had a cute brown bear cover, and poised his hand with the pen on it.

 

"Really? A notepad?" He pointed out. "Don't you have even a blank photocopy paper?"

 

"This will do. I don't have any kind of paper aside from this."

 

"You steal millions' worth of artifacts and you don't have a single sheet of decent paper at home?"

 

"Damn it. Just for one night, Kurapika. Stop making a big deal out of everything," it didn't show on his face, but Kuroro sounded a bit annoyed. That didn't stop Kurapika from making silly and snarky remarks.

 

The sight of the man waiting with his cute notepad in hand struck him a weird impression. "You look like a waiter taking my order."

 

"I'll be jotting down our orders to each other, so... Kurapika, do you know that you're noisy when drunk?"

 

"I'm noisy on bed and you're okay with it. Why an uproar now?" Kurapika casually spat before he could stop himself.

 

He saw how Kuroro's shoulders shook in a barely controllable laughter which he somehow managed to hold back. Still, the mirth was etched on his face.

 

"Alright. For your peace of mind, I will transfer the notes to a neat, pristine paper, digitally printed with folder, tomorrow morning before we sign. Is that fine?"

 

"You do that," Kurapika gave the apple beer a shot and pursed his lips. Even if flavoured, beer still tasted horrible.

 

"Okay. For the first condition—"

 

"'Kurapika is not allowed to date, have sex and be in a relationship with anyone but Kuroro Lucifer for I am yours...' is what your first rule is gonna be, right?" Kurapika slurred.

 

"No," Kuroro cast him a stern, patient look.

 

"But why? Isn't that what you’ve been going on about all this time?”

 

"That will come third."

 

"Oh," Kurapika shrugged.

 

"Number one: I will give you an authentic, intact and in good condition pair of Kuruta eyes in exchange for a whole night but not limited to that time frame. In instances of incompatible schedule, I am entitled to have eight hours to spend with you during the exchange, and I am allowed to do anything I want with you during that duration."

 

"Eight hours?" Kurapika gasped, incredulous. "Can you even last that long? I know you're a fiend of sort on bed but eight hours?"

 

"Kuruta eyes are very expensive so I have the right to make the most out of them. Besides, we'll have breaks."

 

"Too much of doing the deed is a dumb way to die, y’know. I don't want to die like that. Just slit my throat, it'll be faster."

 

"Don't exaggerate. It's not every day that we'll do it. And just like what you said, it's not like I can last that long."

 

At that, Kurapika choked on his beer.

 

"So, do you agree or not?"

 

"Do I have a choice?"

 

"Yes."

 

"Huh?"

 

"You have a choice. You can disagree if you deem the condition unfair. That's going to be included in our revision. If you think you can't handle that straight eight hours, then we can just divide it into two separate sessions, four hours each."

 

"That's worse," Kurapika ran a hand across his forehead. "Why does the revision seem to favor you?"

 

"I'll insist on my time frame. So, what is your choice?"

 

"Can you make it just seven?" Kurapika tried to haggle.

 

"I'll have to remove the promised break, then."

 

"You greedy creep," Kurapika wished he didn't agree with this revision. "... We'll have breaks?"

 

"We're going to rest, drink and nap, of course."

 

Kurapika silently sighed. "I'll go with the eight hours, then."

 

Kuroro wrote down the first rule on the handy notepad.

 

"Number two: you can turn me down."

 

That took an embarrassing five full seconds to sink in.

 

"What?"

 

"You can turn me down as long as there's a valid reason. If you are not available, or not in the mood, or too tired or sick, or you simply don’t want to see my face on that particular day, it's alright. Also, you can contact me first in case you are free since you're getting annoyed whenever I bug you. It's going to be a give-and-take process from now on, given that you're moving out of York Shin and it'll be harder to schedule because you're away. All in all, you can say yes or no. Just give me a reason why and I'll concede, no questions asked."

 

"Is that... alright with you? I mean, I can cancel it anytime I want and leave you frustrated just because I like it."

 

"You won't get the eyes if you do so. It'll be your loss, not mine."

 

"Why... are you suddenly giving me options now?"

 

"Just like what I said earlier," Kuroro... briefly had this warm look in his eyes. "I want to make this a proper give-and-take process."

 

It was vague, but it was sufficient.

 

First were rights, the second were choices. What would Kuroro grant him next? "I agree, then."

 

"Number three," Kuroro resumed. "As you quoted: you are not allowed to date, have sex and be in a relationship with anyone but me for you are mine, and I am not allowed to date, have sex and be in a relationship with anyone but you for I am yours."

 

That almost lifted the mixed alcohol's effect on Kurapika.

 

"Hold on. What are you talking about?"

 

"You will not see someone else, and so will I. That way, we'll have equal rights to each other and this will avoid us from dragging other people in our mess."

 

"But I don't care if you date every single human on this planet—"

 

"Regardless if you care or not, I want to impose it so this won't be purely one-sided and the revision doesn't just favor me. I'm allowing equality, so to speak."

 

"Fine. It's your foolish assumption and unreasonable possessiveness that lead us to this in the first place. Whether you impose it or not, I won't drag other people into this. Do you think I have time and right mindset to enter any form of romantic relationship now? Do I look like that kind of person?"

 

"I think you are mature enough not to get others involved into trouble just because you're into them, but you might be desperate enough to use other people to get closer to your goals. But let's leave it to that," Kuroro dismissed the topic and jotted down the third rule.

 

"Number four: from now on, there will be cooperation from the both of us."

 

Kurapika put down the bottle on the floor. He paused, gazed blankly in the air, and remained silent.

 

There was a heavy moment of silence.

 

"What does that entail?" He heard himself ask.

 

"That you can't always act so reluctant whenever we do this. I may not be able to convince or entice you to enjoy it as much as I do, but at least learn how to work along and cooperate. Be forward at times. Take the initiative when you really want to, or whenever you think the mood calls for it. Demand and practice returning the favor. Get used with the touch."

 

"Absolute submission, in other words?"

 

"Not absolute. But submission, yes."

 

Kurapika fell into silence again. Kuroro let him be.

 

He knew it would come to this one day. In fact, it surprised him that Kuroro demanded it just now.

 

His conversation with Mami the other night had him contemplating over a lot of things, one of those was what pushed Kuroro to act that way back then at Meniandro's place. Possessiveness might be the root cause of it, but his excessive demonstration of power just to paralyze him meant another thing.

 

Mami said she used to get beaten before whenever she resisted, and it only subsided when she gave in. When he asked what she would do at times she had to sleep with someone she feared or absolutely didn't like, she answered that it depended on the client. If she was angry, annoyed or disgusted with the customer, she would observe what they like and play that role so it would end soon.

 

This suggestion of total submission didn't go along with his principle and he commented that this must have stung her pride, but she replied that she lost her pride long time ago, but not her will to live.

 

"I won't blindly agree and sign a waiver just because I'm drunk, if that's what you're trying to do."

 

"I don't, but I guess it sounds like that with how I said it. You want to rephrase or add something on it?"

 

"How about..." Kurapika straightened up and reflected on some tips from Mami.

 

'It was very hard at first, but I got used to it in time. For starters, I had to give in. There's no way around. In due time, I learned to enjoy the touches. I started to reciprocate it, little by little. Then I began to demand requests in exchange for extra bonuses. Until I noticed that there were guys who liked not only my service, but my companionship as well. They slowly opened up to me, giving me gifts, teaching me things, taking me to some places. Those men must have realized that I have something special, unlike the other girls who only liked their money. From this, I learned that letting them feel that they dominate will make everything much, much easier.'

 

"If you promise me that you won't harm or kill anybody over the duration of our exchange, I swear to do my best to tolerate you. If there is something you want to try or do, I will be open for discussion and won't simply refuse. If you..." there was the urge of wanting to cry again, but he held it back this time. "If you can promise me that Meniandro will be the last, I'll give my full consent and try to please you in return. I'll try harder to endure. I'll be lesser of a brat. Just please... I don't want others to get hurt and die anymore."

 

"That's going to be the fifth rule."

 

Kurapika widened his eyes in confusion.

 

"I was about to swear not to involve anybody else in this as much as possible. I can't really promise that nobody will get hurt because I know there will be times that I'll have to crack some bones, like for self-defense for instance, but there will be no more unnecessary killing. I've seen enough of its consequences on you, and I'm not having any of it again. You have my word. I won't kill for you or for the eyes again."

 

Kurapika absently relaxed at that. He didn't understand why but Kuroro's words and his placid voice reassured him. It must be the alcohol's effect, but he found them believable. The tears that brimmed on the corner of his eyes slid down and he didn't hide it. For the first time in a while, he felt genuinely at ease.

 

'This way of life is sickening, that is true. These people kept stealing everything from me. They deprived me of my freedom, dignity, pride, and even my desire to dream and get out of this hell.'

 

"I need help in retrieving the eyes from Dmitri, but I don't want him dead. My aim is to get them with a lower price, as soon as possible. If you manage to get them for me, I will pay two nights for each pair. He currently has four pairs in total."

 

'They all thought that they had taken my all from me. They claimed every inch of my body, and had my soul sold to the devil. They took away my pride as a woman, and my rights as a human. But I stood still because they were mistaking something about me.'

 

"I'll have the needed amount by tomorrow, then," Kuroro decided, still writing on the notepad. There was hastiness on the way he scribbled.

 

Kurapika took the chance to crawl closer to him. Kuroro was caught-off guard as Kurapika sat right in front of him. Kurapika pulled the bravest face he could make.

 

'Yeah, this body doesn't belong to me anymore. I'm filthy beyond repair. But my thirst to keep living is still in me. I am still hoping. I believe there's a better future waiting for me ahead. I know this will all end someday. Yes, they could take my body—"

 

"I promise not to harm Dmitri," Kuroro looked him in the eyes, and Kurapika saw sincerity in those dark orbs. Kuroro’s hands went for his cheeks and wiped away the tears. "I won't hurt you like this again."

 

And courage bloomed in Kurapika. Suddenly, it wasn't scary to touch. All the doubt dissolved into nothing, and he eagerly whispered against Kuroro's lips before he lunged for a sweet, long kiss.

 

'—but not my heart.'

 

"Thank you."

Chapter Text

Kuroro froze, astounded, as Kurapika's lips pressed against his.

His mind went blank the moment Kurapika leaned closer towards him; he could feel his nervousness as if it was his own. He could sense his tension, his muscles stiff as he tried so hard to remain calm at their proximity, and it was so obvious how much he was forcing himself to do this first move.

He was acting much like the same as before when he stripped his own clothes in front of Kuroro, but there was a small difference this time around. Kurapika was resolute now. Come what may, he knew Kurapika wouldn't run away with his tail between his legs. He might be still afraid and at a loss of how to pull this off, of how to keep calm and attempt to arouse Kuroro, but he was resolved to do this.

Kuroro didn't realize that he was spacing out until Kurapika backed away with a dejected expression on his face.

"I'm just forcing myself again, I guess," Kurapika repressed a sigh. "You don't look like you're in the mood as well. Should we—"

He cut off Kurapika's words by pulling him back and crushing their lips together. Kuroro didn't mean to be forceful, but Kurapika's eyes widened in surprise so he tried to gently nibble at his lips, slowing prying his mouth open to instigate a light yet deeper kiss.

Kuroro went on and languidly closed his eyes, wordlessly beckoning Kurapika to do the same. Moments later, he felt his tense shoulders relax, and Kurapika briefly broke the kiss to breath before brushing his lips back on Kuroro's.

Their kisses turned deeper and deeper as seconds went by, with Kurapika kissing him back, one of his hands cupping Kuroro's cheek. Kuroro held onto that wrist and let his palm slid down to his elbow all the way to the hem of Kurapika's shirt. He kept the kiss going despite that flinch Kurapika involuntarily made, and cautiously proceeded to remove his coat. Kurapika compliantly shrugged it off and let Kuroro pull it down from his arms.

Panting, Kurapika moved away and stared at him for a while. He was catching his breath and gathering courage so Kuroro fixed him a reassuring gaze and let him take his time.

Kuroro wasn't surprised at Kurapika's next move: he reached for the hem of Kuroro's top and pulled it up. Kuroro raised his arms to make it easier for the boy to remove it. Kurapika dropped it to a side then lunged for another kiss, this time free of hesitance, arms wrapped around his neck. Kuroro anticipated the kiss and angled his face for an easier access.

The Kuruta's nervousness seemed to be slowly fading away, his lips moving in eagerness to keep up with the scorching kiss. Kuroro slipped both of his hands under his shirt to caress the skin beneath it. Kurapika shuddered but that was all he did.

Tired and breathless from the sloppy kissing, they breathed deeply and looked at each other in the eyes, lips wet, reddening and slightly open.

Kuroro was relieved to see that the boy was now calmer and relaxed; slowing things down really did the trick to dispel Kurapika's nervousness. Those scarlet eyes were now focused, the pain and anxiety of earlier was somehow gone, and they looked straight at Kuroro. Ah, he really liked those eyes, especially when they were valiantly looking right at him.

As if he had all the time in the world, he lazily unbuttoned Kurapika's shirt, bit by bit exposing his skin, all the while watching out for his reactions. Kurapika was unmoving and silent even when Kuroro closed in and buried his face on the nook of his neck.

He nibbled at the exposed skin and snaked his arm around Kurapika for an embrace, feeling the warmth of his body and how he stiffened at the contact. He had figured this much; of course he still had a long way to go to make Kurapika comfortable with his touches, but he wouldn't do the same mistake twice and rush this like before. Now that he had Kurapika's formal consent, he would use it wisely and do his best to gain his trust and tolerance no matter how gruelingly long it would take.

He wasn't certain if it was due to alcohol, he was damn sure he was pretty sober but for some reason he lost his usual proficiency at exploring Kurapika's body. He had all the steps memorized in his head, yet he was at a loss of how to execute them. He couldn't follow the rule book nor go along his instinctive carnal drive for they wouldn't help him make Kurapika feel... safe in his arms. Yes, that was his objective tonight: he might not be able to overwrite the traumatic things he had done to him, but at least he could show Kurapika how sorry he was, and that he was willing to make up to him.

He suddenly didn't know where to touch first. His palms aimlessly caressed the boy's torso then rested on his sides. There were ideas that popped in his head, but he was hesitant to do them for they would be uncharacteristic behaviors from him, and he was worried that it may raise confusion from Kurapika. However, he was decisive to do one clear thing: he would make him feel really good the right way. He would try to lift that fear that he instilled in hopes to retrieve that sliver of understanding they somehow built. It wouldn't change the fact that they were still enemies, wouldn't erase the unforgivable things he had done, but at least he could make these exchanges easier to handle for the Kuruta. He might be a merciless monster, but he wouldn't mind practicing how to treat someone right, at least with Kurapika, for the good of both of them.

Ah, maybe he wasn't as sober as he was assuming to be, having this kind of thought in his mind like this.

He was pulled out of his musings when a gentle hand softly ruffled his hair. Kurapika's fingernails ran pleasantly against his scalp, sending chills down his spine.

Kuroro was always mindful of Kurapika's dislike of being marked, especially at somewhere visible, so he never focused on sucking at a particular spot and only left trails of warm kisses along his neck to the collarbone. As he moved closer to his chest, Kurapika briefly shifted.. and parted his legs to give way for him to get closer.

Kurapika was submitting himself with his head held high. He arched his back a bit with a shy yet resentful look in his eyes, but Kuroro could see that courageous willingness emanating from him. This was supposed to excite him so much, but he became conflicted even more with how he should help himself with the offered treat. One wrong move and he would ruin everything, thus he had to tread on carefully.

Weirdly enough, there wasn't an ounce of ferocious thirst in him to ravage and make an utter mess out of this boy tonight, and holding back was manageable. But the desire was certainly there, looming and pleasant but wasn't hasty or hungry.

He opted for a softer approach: he captured Kurapika's lips again for a sweet kiss and wrapped his arm at the small of his back. Kurapika held onto his shoulders and returned the kiss, and only when he relaxed did Kuroro carefully pulled him up, bringing him to his lap.

Kurapika cooperatively straddled on his lap and settled there, a calm and unwavering look glinted in his eyes. Kuroro then realized that this night was unlike the first sessions they had before. It was... special, for the lack of an exact term, with so much light touches, gazes and kisses they shared, and he supposed they shouldn't do this in the living room tonight.

Without warning, he sprawled his legs and got on his feet with Kurapika still in his arms. This had the boy cling to him with a retort.

"H-Hey, put me down. I can walk on my own."

"You'll fall if you keep squirming like that," he responded in a lighter voice than the usual. "Hold on; we'll be there shortly."

Kuroro expected more resistance but heard none; he was even caught off-guard when Kurapika draped his arms around his neck for a more secure hold, snuggling and seemingly hiding his face as he nuzzled to him.

Kurapika would never do such a thing normally, so he must be very drunk. Kuroro judged he really should make the most of it and stole a stealthy kiss from his forehead before burying his face on those blond locks.

Kuroro sauntered towards the bedroom, wondering why he was this inclined to act this affectionate to Kurapika. Kurapika might be wondering about the same thing but chose not to comment, letting things unfold on their own.

As they reached the door, Kuroro adjusted his hold to grab the knob when Kurapika beat him to it and opened the door for them. Kuroro stepped inside and was about to put Kurapika on the bed when he heard him mumble, "Let me close the door."

"Ah, yeah. I forgot," Kuroro didn't, just that he thought leaving it open or not wouldn't matter since they were all alone in the condo. But if that would make Kurapika a little less anxious, he would even gladly double lock it.

He padded to the door and pressed Kurapika's back against it, then Kuroro found it tempting to see Kurapika leaning on the door while in his arms, wearing such drunk yet adorable face. He was blushing, either from the alcohol or from the way Kuroro fondly gazed at him. He kind of looked dazed, but then he frowned when Kuroro's stare persisted.

"I can't remember if you ever cornered me against a wall like this, so I understand if you find this sexy but we won't go anywhere if you just stare. J-Just help yourself. I don't want to hear you whining about missing this chance tomorrow."

"Understood," damn it, that talk was sexier than the position itself. He delved in excitedly and once again stole those lips for a fiery kiss with Kurapika's head against the door, all cornered and held captive in Kuroro's arms.

Kuroro's breath turned ragged, with occasional moans now and then, just like Kurapika's. Not that this set up wasn't enticing, but he just couldn't hold this back anymore. He wanted his hands all over Kurapika now, wanted more of those moans and grunts. He wanted to take all what he had missed, and he swore to please Kurapika into oblivion in return.

At the sight of the boy almost boneless and thoroughly aroused, Kuroro brought him to the bed and hovered above him, eyes roving all over Kurapika's disheveled features. Eyes puffy, cheeks so red, wet lips with hair fanned out, he just looked so delectable and ready. Those scarlet eyes with their color not so vivid yet but flickering with anticipation mixed with nervousness almost screaming 'do it' had Kuroro's knees buckle. How he badly wanted to obey them was driving him nuts, but he was resolute to take this safely slow.

He bent down for another kiss then aimed for one of his nipples. He missed that rough sensation against his tongue, so was Kurapika's gasps and protests of 'stop doing it'. He did hear the gasps, accompanied with moans, but the complains never came.

Kurapika squirmed when he pinched the other nipple with his fingers. He arched his back, which beckoned Kuroro to move both his fingers and tongue faster, until Kurapika was panting with the back of his hand covering his mouth.

He blindly reached for Kurapika's dress pants; the boy lifted his hips to help him. Kuroro hurriedly stripped his own pants and let them fall down the edge of the bed.

They were both already rock hard, and they barely started. He ran a hand along Kurapika's torso up to his chin and there, he brushed the back of his fingers as if wiping away the remaining dried tears.

He couldn't help but just admire Kurapika's looks. His face was really easy on the eyes and despite being androgynous, his demeanor and voice had a manly ring to it. He had a delicate frame of a young man, yet strong and tout personality. Kuroro wasn't really aware of his type, but Kurapika was giving him good ideas now.

He meant to retract his hand and move on with caressing some more skin when Kurapika hesitantly grabbed it. The way those fingers slid across his startled Kuroro, but he would admit that he wouldn't forget the shock he felt when Kurapika brought his hand close to his lips, and with eyes fluttering close, he kissed Kuroro's palm, licked his fingers then suckled at their tips.

Kuroro knew they set their contract anew, but that wasn't a sufficient cause for Kurapika to act this way on his own accord. He might if Kuroro commanded, or purposely shoved his finger into his mouth, but not voluntarily like this. Just how much the vodka and beer fusion did to Kurapika for him to be this willing?

Kurapika focused on his index finger, rolling his tongue against it with occasional suckling. Kuroro pushed it deeper in his mouth, and Kurapika cracked his eyes open a bit, perhaps taking in his reaction.

When he looked like he had his fill, Kuroro withdrew his hand and sealed their lips once more. More than getting seduced, Kurapika's act left him confused. Was he that drunk, or did something happen that changed him to be this forward?

When he pulled back, that dejected expression was back on Kurapika's face again.

"I... I am getting a feeling that you're not really in the mood. Should you be really excited, you should have been ramming against me by now. Maybe we are too drunk to do this? Should we just try again some other time?"

"No," he promptly declined. Damn it; his intention of taking things slow in consideration for Kurapika seemed to have backfired. Kuroro panicked a bit. He thought he dampened the building mood, but realized he could keep his cool if he would just be honest with himself. "I insist. I'd really like to make up to you... for that terrible night. May I..." he had been meaning to ask this from the start, just that he didn't know how to phrase it so that it wouldn't sound nasty or teasing. But perhaps he should just go along with his heart tonight. "May I make love to you tonight?"

As expected, Kurapika's eyes widened in shock at his phrasing. He even anticipated for sarcastic and annoyed replies such as 'You're just asking me now that you're already on top of me?' and 'Cut it out. Just do what you want, it's not like I have a choice,' but none came.

Instead, his expression softened ever so slightly, and in a barely whisper, Kurapika answered with a hint of a tiny smile on his lips.

"Okay."

The invisible knot in his chest finally loosened, and Kuroro belatedly found how tense he was. A surge of relief washed over him. He couldn't understand how that simple, single word had such effect on him; he only knew it felt pleasant to his ears. His confidence returned, realizing that he didn't have to hold back at all.

Then it clicked.

Kurapika was doing his best right now, despite his difficulty, and it would be outright insulting not to do the same. He didn't deserve his half-ass concern, and Kuroro better pull off his performance tonight to match his pace.

He shook off his hesitance and greedily captured Kurapika's lips into a claiming, scorching kiss. Kurapika cupped his chin, fingers slipping up behind his ear in encouragement. When the kiss broke, Kuroro hoisted Kurapika's legs up, parting them and exposing his behind even more. Kurapika let out a startled 'ah!' but didn't raise any objection. His face practically parodied a tomato for how flustered he was, perhaps for feeling so exposed and open like that, but instead of covering it with his hands and recoiling... he brought his hands up and slipped them behind his knees, relieving Kuroro of his task to hold them to maintain the position.

It was official: they were both drunk and very out of it tonight.

This willingness of Kurapika was taking Kuroro into new heights, coaxing him not to disappoint the Kuruta so he wasted no time and stroked the hardened flesh before him. He remembered that bottle of lubricant he kept inside the drawer of the bedside table to be used in times like this, and reached backwards to open the said drawer, blindly rummaged inside it and pulled out the familiar bottle containing transparent liquid.

Kurapika watched as he worked on to lather some oil on his fingers and along Kurapika's length. Kurapika pursed his lips, but Kuroro still caught that repressed whimper when he started stroking, his other hand began to move too and intruded that ring of muscle. He slipped one finger in, Kurapika screwed his eyes shut and heaved a deep breath.

Building up his pace, Kuroro stroked the twitching member faster, stealthily inserting another finger as he did so. This had Kurapika's eyes and mouth open, his back arched, and he let go of his leg to cover the little scream that almost escaped his lips with his hand.

In spite of that, Kuroro could tell that Kurapika was letting himself get lost in the pleasure, his eyes were loosely closed with his head turned to a side, a sign that he was being passive, just feeling every touch Kuroro's hands and fingers did.

He simultaneously worked on loosening and fondling Kurapika's sensitive spots and watched as the boy pressed the back of his fingers against his lips, holding back the hitched breath and silent whimpers. As he heard the sounds grow, he heightened the strokes and saw him squirm in ecstasy, one hand gripping on the covers with his mouth a bit open to let out a raspy breath. It was such a view to behold; he wondered if Kurapika ever knew how sexy and cute he was despite being seen from such lewd angle. He didn't really get why but compared to when he put him on the very same position back then at Meniandro's, he wasn't as desirable as he was now.

No, that statement was incorrect.

He liked it better when Kurapika felt good despite all the ruckus and banters they had than when seeing him frozen in fear. He would rather have the name calling and vehement curses than see that despondent look in his eyes. He would choose a grumpy and short tempered, but gutsy and fearless Kurapika any day.

Some more of the deft touches of his hands and Kurapika finally came with a shuddered moan, panting at the wake of his climax. His thick seeds spurted forth and dripped down his stomach. Kuroro stared at him as he regained his senses, waiting for him to even out his breathing when he was caught off-guard again at Kurapika's sudden movement.

He pushed himself up and sat upright, and before Kuroro could think or do anything, Kurapika pressed forward and swiftly locked their lips together. He weighted down on him and Kuroro was forced to lie on his back, with Kurapika on top of him, between his parted legs.

Kurapika went on with the kissing; Kuroro noticed that he somewhat improved for there was lesser teeth and more of the tongue in action. One of his hands found its way to stroke his hair while the other grabbed Kuroro's hand. Kurapika brought that hand over his own head, and Kuroro didn't need any further instruction as to what Kurapika wanted him to do.

He gently patted him on the head then cradled it; this was the first time he ever did something as sweet as this, and Kuroro made a mental note at the back of his mind to do it again next time, or maybe whenever he had a chance. His other hand rubbed at Kurapika's back and it rested just an inch closer to his rear.

This... was the first time Kuroro got so breathless, drowned in back-to-back deep kisses like this. They never did something so overwhelmingly wild yet fervent like this before. It was strange. Kuroro was damn sure he wasn't new to this kind of proximity, certainly not with Kurapika, but he felt so... close to him. So close that he became a bit conscious of his own nakedness. Questions abruptly flooded his mind. Was he kissing him right? Were his hands on awkward places? Did he want to hug this smaller frame in his arms? Should he? Was he allowed? How much of the exposed skin could he explore?

Finally, before Kuroro completely lost control, Kurapika pulled away.

"Hey..." Kuroro called out, eyeing the boy as he sat again, still between his legs. Kurapika's hands ran along his torso and stopped right above his stomach. He peered at his crotch, unmistakably at his throbbing and hard manhood, then heavily sighed.

"I'm going to mess this up, for sure."

Kurapika's plan instantaneously dawned to Kuroro, but before he could stop him, the boy held his length, ran his fingers along it... and lowered his head to put it in his mouth.

Kuroro froze, paralyzed and shocked beyond compare as the heavenly warmth of Kurapika's mouth registered. His face was hidden by the curtain of his hair, but Kuroro could glimpse how the tip of his length went in and out of his lips, his hands pumped its shaft in synch to bring in pleasure.

He was... doing a bad job. His teeth scraped from time to time, and he choked a bit when he attempted to push it deeper into his throat, but Kuroro didn't care.

Kurapika could mess up this whole night all he wanted— no complains.

"Kurapika," he lightly pronounced his name. At that, Kurapika straightened up and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He seemed to know that he sucked at it and was embarrassed.

"Give me some slack— this is my first time... whoa!" Kurapika yelped in surprise when Kuroro got up and switched their position, him hovering above Kurapika again.

"Let me take it from here," Kuroro declared. "You've had your turn, so just sit back now."

"... It'll be easier to just admit that I'm terrible at this, you know," Kurapika rasped out, squirming underneath him.

"That may be, but I ought to admit that I like it better when you're at my mercy like this," Kurapika eyed him incredulously, face beet red at his choice of words, then Kuroro took the chance to guide his length and intrude the puckered hole, his hips doing a careful thrust.

"Hngh!" Kurapika let out a groan and moaned through gritted teeth. He didn't look away and met Kuroro eye to eye. With an audible breath, Kuroro took his time to get used with the tightness and slowly swayed his hips one more time, earning another throaty groan from the boy.

Kurapika winced in pain as he sped a little, breathing in through his mouth then exhaling slowly to keep his voice at bay. He would freely let out a moan for Kuroro to hear now and then. He loosely looped his arms around Kuroro, arched his back at some deep, penetrating thrusts, and did nothing to hide how much he was enjoying the act.

Kuroro milked every moment of it, and before he knew it, he was getting carried away, too. Their bodies tangled so close, huffs of breath mixing together, the tight and hot feeling inside Kurapika almost brought him to climax. The wave of pleasure from the friction of their skins rubbing each other, how Kurapika's inside moulded around him felt just right. He wanted more; wanted more of the heat and Kurapika's absent-minded touches. He sped up a bit more and it warranted louder moans from Kurapika.

"Does it hurt?" Kuroro asked in the heat of their passion, his remaining reason identifying that small difference between luscious moans and whines of pain Kurapika created.

"N-No..." Kurapika denied, eyes unfocused and voice quivering. "It... It feels good. Just keep it up."

Kuroro was astounded beyond words. This was the very, very first time Kurapika openly praised his work, openly granted him consent albeit in a drunken, silent voice, without the usual retort, without reading his concern as an insult. The words played in repeat in his mind, with the way Kurapika delivered it in a shy whisper. At one point Kuroro thought he might just be faking it as to abide to their contract's revision, but he could feel that what Kurapika said was true. He knew, he could see and feel it, that he was really pleased at the moment, and compared to his pleas to stop, cries of pain and teary eyes from hurt and humiliation from before, this was much, much more rewarding.

Kuroro completely got rid every tension and hesitation in him and let the desire take over. This time, he was sure Kurapika wouldn't break even if he went all out, not with that tough heart of his.

But his heart sank, he instantly stopped moving when he heard a silent sob and saw red tears brimming in Kurapika's eyes, threatening to drip down should he blink. His face wasn't contorted in pain or agony; he just peered meaningfully at Kuroro, let his gaze linger about him as if assessing the man in front of him.

Kuroro meant to ask him what was wrong... but his body did an entirely different response.

He hovered atop of the boy, took his hand then pressed his lips against his knuckles. He expected Kurapika to take his hand back, creeped out by this weird, gentleman behavior, but it surprised the hell out of him when Kurapika brought that hand closer to his face. He swiped a bead of sweat on the side of his eye, then tucked a stray strand of hair behind Kuroro's ear.

Kuroro idly thought that while he was the one at fault for Kurapika hurting this much, it was him who was getting rewards. He wished Kurapika would just give him the cold shoulder like usual, but at the same time he was relieved that despite being engaged in this act that he truly despised, Kurapika wasn't pushing him away.

He then questioned himself, doubted if this was okay, him violating Kurapika again now that he was weak and vulnerable. He would care less about these stuffs on a regular basis. Perhaps the vodka and beer fusion was a bad mix, after all.

He bended down to Kurapika and kissed him, so smooth and natural, then moved his hips again. He hoped this would reassure the boy that this wasn't like that night. It wasn't forced, wasn't empty and cruel. That Kuroro learned his lesson, too. That he was really, really sorry, and he swore he wouldn't do it ever again.

Heh. Kuroro knew Kurapika couldn't possible fathom that that was what he wanted to say, and the words were considerably easy to convey, but Kuroro couldn't bring himself to open his mouth. He couldn't speak the magic words to tame the Kuruta, because he felt the magic would work better if he let his body do the talking.

And shortly enough, in spite of the lack of force due to their bodies closely tangled together, Kuroro came and grunted, spilling his plentiful release inside Kurapika, hips still moving in the wake of his climax.

Catching his breath after his series of moans and heavy panting as Kuroro rammed faster against him, Kurapika tiredly slumped on the bed, Kuroro even felt as his legs loosely fell on his sides. Kurapika went still for a while, dazed and mind seemingly occupied.

Kuroro removed himself from the boy and pulled out his spent length, giving Kurapika some space to collect himself. But he didn't move away; he just laid down on the bed, next to him, staring at the ceiling.

"That was..." Kurapika murmured some moments later.

"... Good." Kuroro supplied, knowing how stubborn Kurapika was and that he would never voice out such thing.

"Mmm."

"Maybe you're right. We're too drunk for this. Already exhausted from that one round."

"Told you."

"... Go on, catch some sleep. You're dozing off already."

"Fine," Kurapika curled up... towards him. Kuroro couldn't see his face and Kurapika didn't actually cuddled up with him, but he was facing his way. He gave a contented sigh then sleepily mumbled. "Let's go for another one later, if we can."

And with that, Kurapika drifted to sleep, without even putting any cover on his half-naked body. Kuroro was left there, wide awake, amused and disbelieving his ears. Kurapika requesting for another go? Kuroro must have unconsciously gone to sleep if he was having this kind of elusive dream.

Dream or not, he decided to just tug at the folded blanket at the foot of the bed, covered their nakedness and reached for the light on the bedside table to turn it off, one hand playfully rested right above Kurapika's side as he deeply fell asleep, too.

Chapter Text

Kurapika woke up to his first ever raging hangover.

Groaning, he cracked his eyes open only to screw them shut again as a throbbing pain shot right to his temple. He felt nauseous, with his head spinning in dizzying colors. Still, he blinked and tried to make out his surroundings; the familiar ceiling and curtained glass windows, rays of sunlight peeking through the gaps between sections of fabric, the messy bundle of blankets covering his half-naked body, and the figure of the bastard he spent the whole night with. His eyes momentarily set on Kuroro and he quickly noticed the distance between them.

The man, naked with only the blanket covering his skin, was facing his way. Kurapika couldn't tell if he was faking it, but he looked fast asleep. They weren't close enough to be considered cuddling, but still close with their skins touching, one of Kuroro's leg and one of his own tangled.

Maybe because of his pounding head and aching muscles, the instinctive urge to move away from him wasn't present. He doubted if he could even move at all, not after that one... two... total of three rounds of sex they had gone through.

Clear memories began reeling in his mind. Right. The bottles of sweet alcohol that he forced down his throat. The cute notepad. That kiss on his knuckles. The fellatio.

Kurapika closed his eyes tight at the last thought. Damn it.

Not only had he done it, he never even knew he possessed the stamina to endure the rounds following the first, to think that he had been sleepy and groggy every time Kuroro had woken him up…

Well, maybe because Kuroro had done most of the work, stirring him awake with kisses and touches from time to time, wordlessly asking for more. Kurapika had honestly wanted to turn him down, but had decided against it with how his lips had persistently left strange and lasting warmth as they were roaming all over his chest and stomach, how his hands were gripping at the back of his thighs, keeping his legs parted as Kuroro was ramming his hips against him in a slow, torturous rhythm.

Kurapika didn't permit his mind to go further. He couldn't possibly be thinking of dirty thoughts right after waking up. He just... couldn't help it, not with Kuroro's presence right next to him.

He heaved a sigh and stayed still, staring blankly at the ceiling, mind drifting with the idea of just going back to sleep nudging at the back of it. The bastard had sapped out all of his energy without a care for the state he would end up in, but for some reason... Kurapika didn't feel bad about it.

In fact, it was alright.

For someone who was sleep-deprived and thoroughly spent, Kurapika felt lighter, as if a dead weight was lifted from his shoulders. He even felt bothered for not feeling embarrassed about the whole thing, while on a regular basis he would make a big deal out of them waking up together so closely like this.

Instead, his mind wandered back to the previous night.

If he were to grade Kuroro's performance last night, he would give him full mark, albeit reluctantly. He was honest with what he confessed to him—he felt good. Satisfied, even. There was something with the way he had acted that was different, even special, if he were to compare it to the previous sessions they had. If anything, it felt like it was his way of apologizing. The way he had kept kissing him, the light caresses, the silence save for their mingled moans and grunts, the unwavering eye contact. It was as if he was saying sorry in repeat, and this time, he meant it. The previous night was the polar opposite of their session back then at that mansion. Kurapika never thought Kuroro could make love so passionately.

Slowly shaking his head to get rid of these musings, he opted to wriggle away ever so slightly from Kuroro, intending to get up without disturbing him. As much as the idea of sleeping again was tempting, he judged it was time to return to Nostrad's hotel. He had to do something about this hangover and his grumbling stomach, too.

He moved his heavy limbs and held back a wince that almost escaped his lips. This bastard had indiscriminately had his way with him and hadn't hold back just because Kurapika had assured him he could handle it just fine. Really, couldn't he do things in moderation?

Moving was proven harder to do as his joints creaked with every movement he made. Somehow, Kurapika managed to sit on the mattress without dipping on the cushion too much. He stole a quick look at Kuroro and was relieved that he was still asleep. He carefully got on his feet and breathed deeply in relief; his knees weren't wobbly unlike that time. He walked forward, intending to go to the bathroom, when he stepped on a piece of garment—and as ridiculous as it was, slipped on it.

"Ah—!" he silently gasped and braced his other leg to prevent falling down further when in a blink of an eye, a figure popped next to him, arms swiftly wrapped around him as if saving him from the fall. Kurapika lost balance altogether, and they both landed ungracefully on the floor.

"Ow," he whimpered under his breath, though it wasn't that painful for ... Kurapika looked up and saw the man holding him in his arms with his Skill Book disappearing in his right hand... Kuroro had taken the impact.

Their eyes met and in that brief locking of their gazes, something flashed in those callous, dark orbs. He swore he heard him curse 'Damn' under his breath. Kurapika could be mistaken, but Kuroro was… shaken for a short moment.

"Are you alright?" Kurapika felt his skin crawl at the question thrown his way. This wasn't something Kuroro would ask straight to his face, and in a hasty tone at that. "Does it hurt anywhere?"

"I'm... fine," he peered right back at those inquisitive eyes, knowing that should he look away, Kuroro would assume that he was lying.

"I've gone way too far again last night, huh," Kuroro's face was free from emotion, but his eyes spoke of what Kurapika could guess as... remorse.

"Good. At least you know," Kurapika had to avert his eyes, feeling his face blushing for no apparent reason.

Kuroro moved up with Kurapika still in his arms. Kurapika thought of detaching himself from him but judging the way those arms fastened around him, Kuroro wouldn't allow him. He led him to the bed and had him sat back on it, Kurapika idly wondering why he was letting the bastard maneuver him, and was astounded when Kuroro knelt in front of him on one knee, both arms on his sides and resting on the mattress, meeting his eyes straight on.

"Are you sure? I bet your head hurts like hell by now. I was sure you'll have hangover this morning so I bought some cola last night. That should help. Or do you rather have black coffee?"

"... I see. I'll get myself some later, maybe," Kurapika conceded, overwhelmed by this display of concern. In an attempt to change the topic, he pointed out: "A-Anyway, put on some pants."

That turned out to be digging his own grave. "What? It's not like you haven't seen it up close and personal—"

Before Kurapika could stop himself, he shoved his hand to Kuroro's face and covered that loud mouth with his palm, squishing his nose upward as he did so.

"For the sake of my remaining sanity," flustered in anger and embarrassment, Kurapika glowered. "Don't remind me that. Please."

The bastard smiled against his hand, grin broad and quivering. "M'kay," he conceded in a muffled voice.

Kurapika sharply looked away as Kuroro stood up and did what he was told, proudly showcasing his nakedness. Kurapika saw him go to the closet in his peripheral vision, and only as he put on a black boxers did he push himself up the bed again, aiming for the restroom.

"You sure you can go in there on your own?" For the third time, Kuroro confirmed his well-being, but now in a taunting tone.

"I sure as hell can," Kurapika snapped, eyes ahead to the bathroom's door, wanting to get away from that intense stare he could feel boring holes in his back.

Cheeks faintly blushing with his head hung low, Kurapika closed the door and leaned against it, his heart thumping in an unpleasant beat.

Kuroro's odd behavior was unnervingly disarming, but he could somehow understand why he was acting that way. Moreover, that sudden use of his teleportation skill just to catch him from the fall, and that concerned and dreadful look in his eyes when their gazes had met spoke volumes about what was going through his mind. In that moment, Kurapika could feel that Kuroro was... afraid that he might have done the same mistake, him going overboard again. Well, he technically did, but Kurapika thought it shouldn't matter because it was something to be expected, given that long abstinence they had. He even got carried away himself so it wasn't something Kuroro should feel bad or guilty about, if that was the case.

Kurapika collected himself and faced the mirror by the sink, staring back at his half-naked reflection.

Flushed cheeks, hair sticking everywhere, and thin lines under his eyes. He looked like someone who had a very busy sexy time all night long.

Except that his chest and neck were spotless. He somewhat expected to wake up with a number of hickeys decorating his body from how greedily the bastard would have had tasted every inch of his skin the previous night, but to his relief, even as he removed his shirt to inspect his back, he was free from any nasty bite or love marks.

At ease that he didn't need to hide any evidence Kuroro left on his body (save for his aching hips), he sipped some water from the faucet and readied for a refreshing bath.

He took his time, scrubbing himself thoroughly and letting the warm water from the shower wash away his frazzled nerves and the sticky feeling, along with Kuroro's scent all over him. Once cleaned and freshened up, Kurapika stepped out of the bathroom, feeling a slight dread about things being awkward again between him and Kuroro only to see the room empty. His clothes, along with the suit he remembered stripping on the living room, were neatly piled on the bed. There was a fresh, clean white shirt included to replace the soiled one he wore all throughout the night. Kurapika was starting to presume that Kuroro had a set of clothes or two for him hidden somewhere since this wasn't the first time he lent one.

He tucked the absurd idea and the thought of verifying this from the man himself at the back of his mind and put the clothes on. The bath helped with his hangover, so did to his exhaustion. In fact, he felt...

Kurapika paid the bathroom another visit to take a look at the mirror and was dumbstruck with how... fine he looked. His cheeks remained a bit pinkish, red lips wet and a little swollen, eyes clear and not hooded despite how sleepy he still was. He never looked like that before whenever doing the deed with Kuroro. Was this...

'After-sex glow?' Kurapika mentally clamped a hand over his mouth, having such a suggestion crossing his mind. Maybe it was just the bath. It definitely should be just the bath.

Embarrassed at his own train of thoughts, he returned to the room and quickly combed his hair before going out, intending to leave when he caught sight of Kuroro sitting on a stool by the kitchen counter. He was sipping on a piping hot mug of coffee, and there was another mug on the counter, a can of cola next to it.

Their eyes met and locked, and for some freakish reason Kurapika felt like joining him over there. Right, he did say he would help himself with some coffee for his hangover, but he didn't ask Kuroro to brew a mug full for him.

His brain said 'Just leave the hell out of here,' but he was reminded of their conversation the night prior. He was supposed to cooperate and even promised to be less of a brat, and Kurapika was a man of his words so despite the reluctance surging through him, he ambled to the counter and sat on another stool, across Kuroro. He made a show of checking his phone for time.

"Here, while it's hot," Kuroro pushed the mug closer to him. Kurapika pocketed his phone and wordlessly reached for the mug, taking a discreet sniff of its aroma before giving it a careful sip.

It was good, just the right mix for his taste. It was strong but there was a hint of sugar. It soothed his now less throbbing head and empty stomach.

"The cola works faster, but coffee is just as fine. Here," next, Kuroro placed the notepad with their contract revision on it. Flashes of memories popped in his head. 'You look like a waiter taking my order.' He could feel himself blush to the tips of his ears, but kept a stoic face. Silly. He never thought he could be that terribly silly when drunk. He swore he wouldn't drink liquor ever again. "You may want to review it first before I go for the final format."

Keeping his mouth shut, he put the mug back on the counter and perused the notepad, running his eyes on each sentence all the while remembering the words he uttered, face wet with tears, upon reading the last condition he dictated to Kuroro.

"... Not bad," so far, it was well-written. Kuroro went for formal words. He also hadn't found any holes on the renewed terms. "This will do for the meantime." He returned the note.

"Alright," Kuroro set the notepad aside and had a mouthful of his coffee. "Next is... Dmitri. I will be purchasing the eyes from him for you. How should we do it?"

"I'm planning to buy each pair one by one every month as to avoid suspicion on where I get the instant money to purchase them. Wire the amount to my account on the last day of the next four months, and I will do the rest. I'll have the eyes delivered to you once the payment is made. I want them to be delivered in different addresses each time, so arrange suitable vaults and meet up places to accept them."

"Why not just accept them directly?" Kuroro asked.

"No. As much as I want that, I know damn well that you won't like it, thinking that I will run away with the eyes without doing my part of the exchange. We don't trust each other after all, so this is the logical action."

"Okay," Kuroro agreed with a nod. "How about when and where we're going to see each other again?"

"That's tentative. I won't be sure of my availability until we establish Nostrad's headquarters. But that shouldn't take more than a month. I'll just update you. I'll contact and answer you back for sure this time," Kurapika indirectly promised, recalling what happened the last time he ignored Kuroro's messages. "Don't call. A text will do. Limit it to once a week if you can't really control yourself."

"Roger that," Kuroro gave another easy-going reply.

"... I might be sent to different places, though. I'm not sure what to do about that for now."

"I'll just follow you."

"Huh?"

"Not stalking—I will go after you if you allow it. I don't mind going places; I wander around aimlessly from time to time. I'll ask for permission beforehand, so you don't need to fret about me tailing you during work. But don't make me wait for so long; I tend to get antsy about that."

"I thought I'm allowed to turn you down if I want to?"

"Turning me down and not putting me into the to-do list are two different things. If you say no this time because of some urgent reason, I trust that you'll try to find a chance some other time. Purposely postponing it is another thing, no different from trying to piss me off. I'm sure you can find time no matter how busy you are. Eight hours are but a few minutes of the day, after all."

"Fine, I get it," Kurapika understood where he was coming. If he was that willing to go the extra mile and throw some more money just to get his hands on him, that was his choice.

Kurapika was too occupied with their conversation with plans forming in his mind that he belatedly realized that he had emptied his mug. He eyed it, thinking that this was the first time they had a calm talk, and over good coffee at that.

Guess it was time to get going.

"I have to go," he dismissively said, getting on his feet. "... Thanks for the drink," he hurriedly added after having a bit of a debate whether to say thanks or not in his mind. He walked to the door.

"No problem," Kuroro replied with a hint of carefree smile on his lips. "See you soon."

Kurapika stopped on his track, spared Kuroro a quick glance, and absently gave a curt nod. He left the condo unit in a frantic pace, cheeks flushed red but feeling much better than he had ever been since he began this whole ordeal with Kuroro Lucifer.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kuroro's gaze remained lingering on the door where Kurapika disappeared.

Once alone, he let out a breath he didn't remember holding. He ran a hand over his head, ignoring his own throbbing hangover.

This was bad.

He wasn't supposed to be relieved upon confirming that Kurapika was fine now and back to his usual self. Alright, this shouldn't be something to make a big deal out of, but this... weird skipping of his heartbeat at the sight of those eyes in their normal hue staring back at him, free from fear and hesitance, was uncalled for. Kurapika's unflinching and dauntless gaze, albeit embarrassed and annoyed, shouldn't wash away this... this something heavy in him that had been bearing down on him for days. He didn't understand why, didn't really get where this was coming from. But he couldn't deny the truth to himself—that he was glad that Kurapika was now okay.

Kuroro thought back to the moment when Kurapika had raised from the bed. At that moment, his chest tightened and he swiftly summoned his Skill Book to teleport and catch Kurapika as he was about to trip; he had just woken up when the boy had sat on the bed and he had silently watched him get on his feet, when his sluggish movements had reminded him of that night when he senselessly violated him. The memory of Kurapika wincing in pain, knees folded uncomfortably on the cold floor on that very same room left indescribable agitation in him, so he would make sure that should the boy fall down again, he would catch him this time around.

He dreaded to see his slumped shoulders again. He was scared of him not meeting his eyes again—then instead became electrified when those clear and calm orbs peered back at him. So it wasn't like that night. Kuroro was guilty for letting himself lose control again the previous night, but was glad that it wasn't the same as that disastrous night at Meniandro's.

His eyes fell on the mug that Kurapika emptied, and he took another sip of coffee from his own. It was a dangerous water he was testing. He was proficient and confident with handling his emotions and thoughts most of the time, but these past few days it appeared that he, at times, lost control over them, particularly when it came down to the boy, and that wasn't a good sign. Not that he was swaying off the track and losing sight of what must be done; he still needed to kill Kurapika, and it always would be, and surely he could cut off all emotions and bond they had when that time would come. But for Kurapika to shake his momentum and draw out these changes in him was alarming.

A sudden urgency to severe the ties with Kurapika occurred in him. When he made his coffee, a casual thought of lacing it with poison crossed his mind, but a part of him vehemently rejected the idea in an instant. He even felt an abrupt irritation with himself for having such a ridiculous idea to begin with. He didn't get this far just to end it all so unceremoniously, did he? He even doubted if Kurapika would accept the drinks at all, for sure he would assume that Kuroro would try to pull that kind of trick.

He was caught off-guard when Kurapika drank all of the coffee, taking it instead of the cola which was sealed and harder to tamper.

Either because his guard was down due to exhaustion and hangover, or because he had just been careless for that moment, Kurapika had forgotten about his wariness and let himself wide open. Kuroro was certain that there was a thin thread of trust once again forming between them, and it would be an utter waste to be strained again."

It was something he would never be able to regain a third time.

He would still kill him, but it didn't have to be now, and in a betraying method like that.

The image of Kurapika collapsing on the floor, convulsing and coughing blood should he have taken the supposedly lethal coffee sent a nasty, foreboding chill down his spine.

No. He wouldn't do something as pathetic and cowardly as that.

Kurapika had toughened up, and he had gained Kuroro's admiration. For that, he would face him head on; Kurapika would still die by his hands someday, but Kuroro would give him an honorable death that he deserved.

Things were bound to change between the two of them from now on, and Kuroro thoughts he should begin keeping himself in check starting today.

Chapter Text

The sensation of warm hands feeling up his stomach stirred Kurapika half-awake, his eyes blearily making out of the darkness of the surroundings. There was a faint source of light from the dim light on the wall, and he somehow recognized who had interrupted his sleep. Upon sensing that someone was right above him with their face buried on the crook of his neck, he instantly remembered that he was currently with Kuroro Lucifer in the middle of their session slash reconciliation.

 

An instinctive urge to push him away surged through him, but it wasn't as reckless as he expected. It slowly ebbed away and was replaced by mild annoyance for being woken up in such a way, with exhaustion and sleepiness threatening to take him over again. He mustered his remaining energy and brought his hand up and placed it on top of Kuroro's head, letting his fingers comb through the black strands, to get the man's attention.

 

Kuroro raised his head, dark orbs looking back at him with attentiveness and unnerving focus. There was something about the way he weighted down on Kurapika's body that suggested lethargy. It wasn't hard to figure out that Kuroro was exhausted and feeling lazy, too.

 

There was a slight movement, and Kuroro's lips were soon right above Kurapika's. Without saying a word, Kuroro helped himself and brushed their lips together, face angling to a side to deepen the kiss, eyes flickering close.

 

A bit slow in taking in the situation, Kurapika's eyes remained open and he stiffened at the contact, but soon recovered when Kuroro's warm and wet tongue darted out, requesting access. His heartbeat began to race but, albeit hesitantly, he opened his mouth and let the eager tongue roam inside, eyes closing, his own tongue attempting to match Kuroro's pace. This was a really rude way to wake up someone, Kurapika inwardly thought, but he didn't bother to voice out his objection, seeing that they both didn't mind it.

 

It was funny that despite the sleepiness and the hangover, everything was vivid in Kurapika's senses; the warm breath Kuroro cautiously let out, the way he held it back at times, his grunts ringing to Kurapika's ears, the slight reddening of his cheeks up to the tip of his ears. The bastard was evidently so turned on, the erection pressing against him confirmed it, and damn—this must be contagious because Kurapika could feel himself becoming sensitive, too.

 

Kuroro broke the kiss, lips wet and reddened, to give Kurapika another thorough look.

 

Fully awake now, Kurapika returned the gaze, eyeing the man while wondering what had gotten into him, but didn't hear any silly or mindless remarks. The silence between them remained, with Kuroro adjusting himself above him. He sat on the mattress and parted Kurapika's legs, comfortably settling between them, the boy absently going along with it because heck— they were going that direction anyway. Seeing that Kuroro was decisive to keep this silence going, and Kurapika not having the energy to exchange banters with him either, he kept his mouth shut and bottled his protests.

 

He thought Kuroro would begin with his usual foreplays but it gave him a start when he grabbed at his length, hand running from the root up to the tip, quickly stirring it awake. No noise came from Kurapika's mouth, but he couldn't help biting his lower lip. Kuroro continued focusing his attention there, hand moving up and down, eyes unwavering and looking solely at Kurapika. That pinning gaze was annoying but Kurapika couldn't bring himself to tear away from it. He met it head-on, determinedly keeping his eyes on their normal hue, and endured the embarrassment.

 

This seemed to excite Kuroro, hence he pumped harder, faster and more impatiently. The force with which the sensation was building up in him, coming at once, and he wanted nothing but for Kuroro to finish it.

 

He wondered if Kuroro would let him come; he knew he was cruel enough not to allow him unless he was feeling good himself, but it shocked him when Kuroro abruptly crouched down and took his tip in his mouth—and just when he was about to climax. Kurapika frantically tried to stop himself from letting it go, but it was too late for he was getting very near the edge, and that must have been Kuroro's intention from the get-go. His length twitched and it embarrassed him to no end when he spurted forth inside Kuroro's mouth.

 

He wanted to push him away, tell him off for doing it, but was reminded of his own promise to tolerate the guy. This one was no doubt included in that deal.

 

Left with no choice, he relaxed and let his uncooperative body ride along the carnal drive, and hell—as if to add more to his shame, he came a lot... and the bastard was sapping it out until the last drop.

 

His eyes turned scarlet in utter embarrassment. This was impossible—how could he come so much with such a simple stimulation and consecutively at that? Was his body becoming strange? Goddammit; he could secure that his resolve would not budge when it came to Kuroro, but the man was inflicting a different kind of change in him.

 

Kuroro straightened up with a steeled expression on his face. It gave an impression of dogged determination. Kuroro rarely made expressive faces, so whenever he did, it caught Kurapika off-guard. He idly wondered what Kuroro was planning to do next.

 

Still not speaking a word, Kuroro brought his fingers to his opening and rubbed at it. Kurapika winced at that; it still stung a bit after so much rubbing and forceful intrusions, and dread slithered through him at the thought of being breached again. But it was something he couldn't do anything about, so he had a little choice but to bear with it.

 

Kuroro's other hand crawled all over the mattress as if looking for something and when he found it, he raised his hand with the lubricant bottle on it.

 

The next things were predictable; Kuroro coated his fingers and prepared Kurapika, watched out for his reactions, gauging if he was loosened enough, and positioned himself for the actual intrusion.

 

"...!" Kurapika managed not to cry out and only inhaled sharply the moment the tip of Kuroro's hard manhood tried to push in. He clenched his knuckles as Kuroro pressed further. His body involuntarily arched, mouth opened with unvoiced scream, when Kuroro buried it to the hilt. The man stayed like that for a few moments, letting Kurapika get used with it, then playfully moved his hips to test the tightness. The way he kept his usually loud mouth shut tonight was disarming. Wasn't he going to say anything? He should be making fun of Kurapika by now, shouldn't he? Or making a fuss over Kurapika holding back his voice? As it stood, Kuroro was adamant to savor everything and not letting any unnecessary conversation to break the spell that was their intimate connection right now.

 

And frankly, Kurapika didn't have the energy nor right mindset now to trade insults with him. It was taking him all of his will to stay awake and see through this round. He figured this silent treatment wasn't bad now and then.

 

Kuroro hovered above him, bracing both his arms under Kurapika's armpits to support his own weight, indicating that he would start moving whether Kurapika was ready or not.

 

His hips did the first wave, and Kurapika couldn't help but hitch a breath, repressing a moan that nearly spilled from his mouth. He also couldn't help but notice the expanse of skin presented before him. Kuroro did possess a marvelous, sturdy chest no matter how much Kurapika ignored it, and he was overcame with the urge to touch it. Kuroro always prodded him about feeling free to touch, anyway. Why not?

 

He placed his palms over them. The skin felt softer than he expected. It was flawless, too. Just a bit wet with sweat, but it was okay so far.

 

Kuroro must be surreptitiously surprised, but the rhythm of his thrusts didn't falter, so did the gaze he cast on Kurapika. Kuroro caged him not only by their bodies tangled together, but also by those looks in his eyes. The dark orbs were all to him as if saying 'only look at me,' and the last thing Kurapika wanted to do was be fazed by it, a sign of running away.

 

Dauntless and challenging, Kurapika met those callous eyes with equally dignified gaze. He might be stifling moans right now, but he wasn't backing down on this.

 

He swore that at one point, Kuroro smiled smugly, maybe for being amused at Kurapika's determination, but held it back to avoid annoying the Kuruta. Somehow, Kurapika could control his voice by regulating his breathing, and he secretly made a memo to practice being this quiet whenever they did this.

 

Kurapika's heart skipped a beat when Kuroro closed in to him and captured his lips for a searing kiss. As if encouraged, Kuroro heightened his speed and swung his hips violently, each thrust was deep and unforgiving, and Kurapika absently moaned aloud against Kuroro's mouth, eyes widened in shock and disbelief. This bastard pulling this kind of trick when he least expected it...

 

Kuroro let go of his lips, catching his breath, and Kurapika let out a long, audible whimper before he could stop himself. He hadn't collected himself completely yet, but Kuroro already lunged for another hungry kiss, one hand fastened over Kurapika's head as if to hold him in place before commencing his relentless ramming again.

 

The deep penetration was hitting him on his very sensitive spots, and Kurapika's eyes watered. Mercy was definitely not in Kuroro's vocabulary. He was losing grip of his senses, and the intermingling feelings of pleasure and pain, along with Kuroro's scent, wiped his mind clear. He couldn't think straight anymore.

 

When all of a sudden, Kuroro stopped and pulled out.

 

Drunken with pleasure, Kurapika could only look at him in bleary puzzlement. Without even consulting him, Kuroro flipped him over to his back and motioned him to lift his hips by clamping his hands on it. Kurapika understood it and complied without a second thought.

 

Their connection returned anew, and this time it felt different. He could feel Kuroro's manhood solidly in him, and his insides were accommodatingly molding around it. It was huge and throbbing with need. What the hell... why was Kuroro so turned on like this?

 

Kuroro resumed his interrupted business. His hands were braced on his sides, a bit of weight pressed down on him, and Kuroro smoothly carried on with his pumping. The sound of their skins slapping punctured the still air. Kurapika forgot to hold back his voice, hands clenched tight on the covers.

 

He buried his face on the pillow and let out a throaty moan; Kuroro must have heard it but it didn't matter at this point. The bastard was making loud noises himself.

 

At that indication.. Kuroro burst forth with audible pants and continued movements of his hips, the aftermath of his intense orgasm. Kurapika was filled to the brim, and was reminded of his own plenty release earlier. So this... was the result of their abstinence, huh.

 

He let his knees fall upon sensing that Kuroro's spent member was removed. Heaving his breath, he anticipated Kuroro to lean closer to him...and that was exactly what Kuroro did.

 

Kuroro laid on top of his back, legs splayed, nose nuzzling at the crook of his neck. He inhaled and planted a kiss on Kurapika's shoulder.

 

Kurapika lifted his head at that. He looked sideways, eyeing the man curiously, and expectedly had his lips captured again. For someone who had his good time, Kuroro had the audacity to claim rewards.

 

Well... he somewhat deserved it.

 

Tapping Kuroro's cheek, Kurapika beckoned him to get off of him. The man got it and rolled over. Kurapika didn't bother to lay on his back and stayed still. Eyes drooping, he caught the sight of Kuroro retrieving the blanket on the foot of the bed and covered themselves with it, then he subconsciously drifted back to sleep.

Chapter Text

"Sir?" A call and a soft knock on his office's door disrupted Kurapika while re-rereading an email on his laptop. His brows knitted slightly in mild annoyance, but he responded anyway.

 

"Come in," he minimized the active, incognito tab containing an email about a potential lead to a pair of Kuruta eyes, complete with its current owner and location. It took him a bit of time and money to get this information so he wanted to examine it more thoroughly, but duty called.

 

He had memorized the details of the owner's location, though; the person was presently residing in a far, secluded island in the province of Akharin. Kurapika was unfamiliar with the place and was worried that if he chose to pursue this lead, he might have to leave the headquarters for a long time, which wasn't a good idea at the moment, because it had been just two months since they established the company. He couldn't just go into a trip to somewhere faraway, even if being allowed to go after a lead to Kuruta eyes was included in the deal he agreed with Nostrad, unless he accepted an actual bodyguard job. It irked him that he might need to put this pair on hold, all the while thinking of extending the clue to Kuroro so he could pay it a visit in his stead.

 

In that grueling two months of founding their security details agency, Kurapika and Linssen had to combine forces to process all the necessary documentations and licenses to operate, recruiting and screening bodyguard applicants, and introducing the company to the market. Despite this, Kurapika kept his word and oftentimes contacted Kuroro for updates. The man seemed to understand and had been behaving so far as he hadn't raised nor insisted on the subject of meeting up and only had given timid replies, but Kurapika knew better. He should set the next session soon, before Kuroro got 'antsy' again. He figured this could be a good chance to do so.

 

"Pardon the intrusion, sir. But there's a walk-in client waiting at the lounge," a newbie recruit with a huge built and tattoos covering his arms stepped inside the office.

 

"Where's Linssen?" Linssen was in charge of accounts and therefore was stationed at the receiving counter in the lounge. He was suited for attending clients, anyway.

 

"He's on a coffee break and has yet to return," the guy responded. "I've thought of asking the client if he can wait for a while, but I hesitated because he's quite old so..."

 

"Alright," Kurapika got on his feet. "I'll be there in a moment. You go ahead," he said as he put his laptop to sleep.

 

Grabbing a clipboard and a pen from the counter on his way to the lounge, he walked to the couch where a man holding a cane sat. Kurapika estimated that he must be around his seventies, with graying hair, wrinkled eyes and slouched posture.

 

"Good day, sir. I apologize for the wait," Kurapika sat across the man who greeted him back with a small smile. Strangely, he could perceive the forlorn look behind his spectacled, brown eyes. "I'm Kurapika. How may I help you today?"

 

"It's alright," the man easily dismissed the apology in a hoarse voice. "I'm Linos Escheria. I'd like to hire a bodyguard to accompany me to my trip to Akharin for two days." Kurapika's heart leapt in anticipation at the mention of the man's destination. What an eerie coincidence.

 

"I see," Kurapika wrote the stated information on the request form clipped on the board. "How old are you and what do you do for a living?"

 

"Seventy-one. I'm a retired songwriter."

 

"Are you going alone on this trip, sir?" By the looks of it, the man went on his own to the agency instead of sending a representative or just giving them a call.

 

"Yes."

 

"Okay. How many guards would you like to hire?"

 

"Only one. I want a male guard, a quiet type if possible."

 

"Understood," Kurapika nodded. It seemed the man was kind of a loner. "The next batch of questions are a little more personal, but they are important so I hope you don't mind."

 

"Sure. Go ahead."

 

"Why are you in need of a bodyguard? Do you have a stalker or is there someone out there trying to hurt you? We won't press you to tell us all the details, but we'd like to know if there are particular individuals we need to watch out for."

 

"Not really. Just that the route to Akharin is pretty dangerous, with bandits and robbers around. My son won't let me travel alone and insisted for me to get a bodyguard. Oh, and it'll be a one-way travel. I originally lived in Akharin and I'll stay there for good with my son. I'll take care of the travel arrangements and expenses, too, including the guard's plane ticket back here."

 

Kurapika took down the notes, thinking that it was a bit alarming how the situation was going very accordingly to his favor. "Do you have any sort of symptomatic ailments such as asthma, heart disease or seizure? Also, are you under any medication? This is for the guard to know what to do should an emergency arise since you will not bring a caregiver or chaperon."

 

"I have high blood pressure, but I always carry my medicines with me so there's no need to worry. I have a bit of trouble walking, though."

 

"Alright, sir," Kurapika computed the estimate fee to be paid on the lower right side of the request form and showed it to the client. "This is the total fee you need to pay, food and travel expenses excluded. If this is okay, you may pay it in cash or through direct deposit to our bank account. Credit card payment is also acceptable."

 

"Hmm, reasonable amount so far. But I'd like to see the bodyguard first; that's why I personally went here."

 

"As of now, all of our bodyguards are on duty and the only one available who matches your preference is me," he would need to ask for approval from Nostrad first, though, but that shouldn't be a problem.

 

"That's good. I actually wanted to specifically request you. For some reason, I can feel that you're a reliable and silent type of person."

 

Kurapika smiled a little at that. "That is very perceptive of you, sir. Well then. Once we received the payment, I will pick you up on your preferred time and date."

 

"Alright," Linos-san pulled out his wallet. "I'll pay upfront, then. I'll see you on Monday at 8 o'clock sharp."

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

"Kurapika?" Linssen called out as Kurapika stepped out of his office. The secretary was holding the clipboard containing Linos-san's request form. "Do you recognize Escheria-san?

 

"No," Kurapika went to the counter to face Linssen. "Is there a problem about him?"

 

Linssen read the request form aloud. "Linos Escheria, seventy-one years old. Retired songwriter. Does that ring a bell to you, Senritsu?"

 

"Certainly," Senritsu answered. She just got back from the mall after accompanying Neon Nostrad with her soul-numbing shopping. "He's considered a living legend for writing the most phenomenal songs of this century. I'm not much of a fan, but he writes moving songs and is renowned as a master songwriter. But he retired some time ago."

 

"You took a job from a celebrity without knowing, Kurapika?"

 

"Well, he's pretty low-key. He didn't even bring a chaperon along and was wearing simple clothes. He's very down-to-earth, too. You can't blame me. Thanks for the heads up, anyway."

 

"Alright, here's his address," he gave Kurapika a piece of paper next. "Maybe he fears riding on airships because he has booked train and ship tickets instead of going for the easier travel means. Pick him up at 8 o'clock AM."

 

"Thank you," Kurapika perused the information then pocketed the paper.

 

"Sure thing. Good luck and have a safe trip."

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Linos-san let out a groan of contentment and slumped on the seat as they got into a private cabin of the train. He settled comfortably next to the window, looking somewhat excited like a child. "It has been a while since I last rode a train."

 

"So did I, sir," Kurapika timidly responded. The last time he took a train ride was when he was on his way to York Shin for the first time. That was where he met Senritsu for the first time, too.

 

According to their itinerary, they would take a five-hour long travel via train to get to Akharin's mainland, then they would transfer to a bus that would bring them to the port to take another ride on a ferry in order to reach the island where Linos-san's residence was located. It was going to be a one-day long journey, so just like Linssen, Kurapika couldn't help but wonder why Linos-san chose this tiring roundabout instead of riding on an airship.

 

"Ah, give me that small bag here," Kurapika was placing their luggage on the upper compartment of the cabin and was about to line up a small bag when Linos-san stopped him. He pulled back the bag and gave it to the man as instructed, then sat down across him.

 

About ten more minutes of silence between them had passed, and the train finally started to move. Linos-san put down the book he was reading and watched as the train left the station and continued to stare out the window as the scenery changed from the bustling view of the city into the green plains of crop fields.

 

"Nothing has changed that much since the last time I went here," Linos-san mumbled as if saying it to himself. "Hey, feel free to read something or play on your phone if you want. I don't think bad guys can infiltrate us in here, unless someone hijacked the train," the man turned to him and smiled at his own little joke. "The view is beautiful but you'll surely grow bored in thirty minutes."

 

"Thank you for your consideration, but I won't risk it," Kurapika declined. "And I do not mean to scare you, but I'll mention that a small group of burglars attempted to rob and attack me the last time I rode on a train. So it's important to be wary of the surroundings at all times."

 

"R-Really?" Linos-san looked spooked and bothered at his story. "Suit yourself, then."

 

After that brief exchange, both of them remained silent for more than half an hour, until Linos-san stopped reading and placed a bookmark on his book. He reached for the small bag again, tucked in the book back then pulled out a hard-bound notebook and a pen.

 

Like a child working on his homework, Kurapika watched as the man spun on his seat, leaned against the wall of the cabin then placed his bare feet on the unoccupied side of his seat. He put his notebook on his thigh and used it as a makeshift table. The blond kept his mouth shut, but he couldn't help but stare at the strange act of his client.

 

Reminding himself that he was accompanying a songwriter (and that some writers have weird and unusual habits when doing their job), he paid it no mind and tore away his gaze from the man to look back at the window.

 

An hour had passed, the train had already stopped at two stations, but Kurapika noticed that the man hadn't written a single word on his notebook. He had stared dazedly in the air, had twirled his pen between his fingers, and had pressed the pen's tip on the blank page several times only to pull back, seemingly changing his mind. Linos-san had sighed repeatedly and had scratched his head in frustration, but had refused to pack-up and give up his attempt to work.

 

A food cart had passed and they had bought a couple of delicacies and bread for snack. Linos-san had explained to him the specialties he had chosen and cited their ingredients while still holding onto his pen, his the other hand holding the cream-filled biscuit he had favored. They had reached the third station, which was forty-five minutes away from the second one, when Kurapika risked to give a little comment.

 

"Are you having a mental block, sir?" he asked, wondering if it was his presence that was disrupting the man's concentration. Linos-san looked up from his staring contest with the notebook. "Should I guard outside and give you some space?"

 

"Yeah, but it has nothing to do with you being around. I'm currently suffering from the worst writer's block I've ever had," at that, Linos-san closed his notebook and sat properly on his seat. He looked out on the window and let out another sigh.

 

"I don't mean to pry, but I heard from a co-worker that you were a famous songwriter. Is your writer's block the reason why you retired?"

 

Linos-san gave a hearty laugh. "I know I requested for a quiet guard, and I thought you were seriously just going to sit there with your lips tightly zipped, but I'm actually relieved that you're finally talking. Yes, I retired just a couple months ago, and I quitted because just like what you assumed, I can't write anymore. But what I'm trying to write now is not for the audience or a desperate attempt to get back on the limelight. It's for my late wife, Lani. My last masterpiece. My goodbye song for her, you may call."

 

"I see. I'm sorry for bringing it up," Kurapika softly apologized.

 

"It's okay. I'm over it now. It's been almost a year since she lost her battle to an illness," contrary to what Linos-san said, Kurapika could see longing and sadness behind those spectacled eyes. He could distinguish it because he would have the same look in his eyes sometimes. "Nah, who am I fooling? I still miss her, so here I am, trying to bid goodbye my way. But as you can see, I'm struggling to do it. I can't find the right words no matter what I try. I even chose to travel on land instead of getting on an airship in hopes that it will help me recall some memories we spent together when we went into the city for the first time, taking this exact route, and maybe whip out a word or two from it, but..." he left the sentence hanging and shrugged.

 

"My son begged me to give it a rest and just go home, saying that Lani's soul won't find peace if I don't move on," Linos-san resumed. "But I just... can't. I can't give up on her just yet. Heh, I'm sorry if I'm making you listen to an old man's blabbering. I know it isn't part of our contract, but I just can't help it."

 

"I understand your feeling of loss and not being able to easily move on, Linos-san," 'more than anyone,' Kurapika mentally added. The man might have been in despair for almost a year over the loss of a single loved one, but Kurapika had been carrying it for more than five years. Linos-san still had his son and a home to return to; Kurapika had none.

 

"Really? Did you lose a loved one, too?" Linos-san asked sympathetically.

 

"Something like that," Kurapika vaguely answered, implicitly hinting to the man that he didn't want to talk about it.

 

"I see," Linos-san knowingly understood it. "How long did it take for you to forget and move on?"

 

"I have not forgotten nor moved on, sir. I never will. It's wrong to forcibly let go on the first place, if you ask me."

 

Linos-san let out a breathy laugh. "Finally, someone who truly understands what I'm going through."

 

Kurapika continued to give a piece of his mind. "They can all say that they will never come back no matter what we do, and that we must move forward and go on living, but I believe that clinging to their memories and will is important for us to stay alive. You can never forget that you loved someone, and that person will always be a part of you. It's stupid to just throw it away." It kind of felt ironic for him to talk about the death of his loved ones like this since the memories of his fallen clan brought wrath to him most of the time, but what he had said to the man was what he truly believed. It was their memories that pushed him forward and helped him continue living.

 

"Yeah, but... somehow, they have a point, too. I can't wallow in sadness forever. That's self-destruction, and I'm sure Lani wouldn’t like that. That's why I'm trying to get myself together, and I can confidently say that I'm fine now. Just that... I just want to do this. This is going to be our closure. For me to be happy even if she's not with me anymore is her last wish before she died. I'll fulfill that this way. It's going to be my precious gift for her, but I..." at that, Linos-san paused. Kurapika caught a small crack in his voice, indicating that the man was getting emotional.

 

"Don't you think it's because you're hurrying too much that you can't write anything at all?" Kurapika mindlessly suggested. Linos-san looked at him questioningly with slightly watery eyes.

 

"Hurrying too much? Is that how I look like?"

 

"By the looks of it, yes."

 

"Really?" Linos-san trailed off, raised a brow and frowned as if assessing what Kurapika concluded "Well, I tended to write hastily with the deadline in mind while working as a songwriter. Nevertheless, the finished products still came as great hits so I guess it's not bad."

 

"And why do you think it was that way? Isn't it because Lani-san was still with you? Isn't it because you found inspiration in what you did because she was by your side?" Kurapika pointed out. "We tend to do our best when we do it for someone we cherish and the people who inspire and cheer us up."

 

Linos-san fell into a gloomy silence. Perhaps what Kurapika said brought back bitter-sweet memories to him.

 

"You're still recovering from your loss, sir. So don't expect yourself to be back to normal in just a measly couple of months, or even years. Take you time. Maybe you’ll wake up someday and suddenly, you'll be completely over it. You’ll be able to reminisce about your past and it won't hurt anymore. Go at your own pace. It's not like you have a deadline to meet and an audience to please this time," Kurapika finished his comment on a cliff hang, feeling like he was being a complete hypocrite with every word he spewed. Seriously, who was he to tell someone to go easy when he was in such a hurry himself that he even put his very life on the line just to accomplish his goals?

 

Well, he guessed he shouldn't promote being negative to others just because he was miserable.

 

"Yeah," Linos-san dismissively nodded. "Maybe that's what I really should do. Thanks. That cleared my head a bit."

 

"You're welcome, sir." At that, Linos-san packed up his things and settled on his seat with a peaceful expression on his face. Subconsciously, the man fell into sleep and was surprised that he had slept all throughout the train ride three hours later.