For just a moment, Killua is twelve years old again, and the world is brand new.
He is moving slowly through a spacious underground area, packed tightly with strange people, most of them adults. He knows the juice in his hand contains a high-strength laxative - it's not like it would do anything to him, anyways. He just shrugs and takes another sip. His skateboard has been tucked under his arm for too long; he's starting to cramp up.
Killua is heading back to the infamous newbie-crusher, Tonpa, for another drink - despite his multiple emptied cans, his thirst remains unquenched. The exam should start soon, he thinks. They must have been here for hours, with fewer and fewer arriving newcomers. The latest few - they're speaking with Tonpa now, most likely about to be fooled by his poisoned beverages - don't seem to be much different. They're certainly not noteworthy enough to earn Killua’s attention - or any Zoldyck’s, for that matter.
Except for the young, naive-looking boy who's just spit out his drink.
There's something different, something peculiar about this observant child. He looks to be around Killua’s age - maybe a fellow killer, a shadow-walker, an assassin? No, this boy’s eyes are untouched by the cold, icy gleam, that teller of sorrows, that emptiness you will find in any trained life-taker’s heart.
Maybe this boy is, quite simply, just different.
The exam has begun. Killua is skating easily past the people who are panting, their paces slowing, their early efforts wasted on this veritable marathon. He sees the boy from before; he's hard to miss, what with his high-spiked hair and his - is that a fishing pole? - and really, really short olive-green shorts. It won't take much time to catch up to him, so why not?
Killua finds that he is ditching his skateboard in favor of his feet, breaking his self-assured silence for childish banter with the amber-eyed marvel, whose name, he discovers, is Gon. The conversation comes easily for a change, bouncing off each boy in turn. Gon’s companions keep to themselves (what are their names? Currypika? L’Oreal?), which, Killua thinks, is probably for the best. The only sounds besides their innocent giggling and boisterous words are heavy footfalls, exhausted breaths, and the occasional mutter or grumble from a burned-out Hunter-to-be. Right now, the world is theirs to hold, to share, to breathe in - this is the first time, but it is not the last.
Perhaps the sunlight trapped in Gon’s eyes is the light Killua has been looking for all along.
The next moment, Killua is older. He isn’t even sure how much - one, maybe two years. It doesn’t really matter. Not now, anyways.
Killua is preparing his goodbye. He’s known this was coming. So why isn’t he ready?
Maybe he just isn’t ready to let go of that infinite sun-glow he’s encased in his heart, or those golden, loving eyes he knows so well. All the time in the world wouldn’t be enough for him to steel his nerves - but he has to, so he does.
Killua and Alluka are with Gon for what will be the last time in a long while. The World Tree, looming above them, is strangely reminiscent of Heavens Arena, with its dizzying height and the fiery sun behind. There’s still so, so much he needs to tell Gon, but he’s got to save it for another, later time.
Killua settles for telling Gon what Alluka has done for him - for them - but he knows he can’t explain how, or why. It’s complicated is what he decides to say. Which is truthful, he supposes. None of his family would be easy to explain, even under different circumstances. Killua doesn’t know what to say next, but thankfully he doesn’t have to.
When Gon invites Killua to come with him, to greet his distant, enigmatic father, Killua is completely ready to break down and cry. There is nothing - nothing - that he wants more; God, if he could defer their inevitable separation until the end of days, he would. His heart is screaming, rending itself into minuscule, grisly pieces, because he would. He would just throw it all away if he could, if only to stay with his best friend for just an hour more.
But Killua knows he can’t. He owes that to Alluka and Nanika - he can’t just leave. So he declines. He can cry about it later, in the privacy of some cheap hotel room. And he carries on.
He tells Gon that he’ll travel the world with Alluka, that he’ll always protect her and Nanika. Alluka chimes in, eagerly telling Gon that she really hopes he’ll come play with her brother again. Even young Alluka can feel the implicit bond Killua shares with the Freecss boy. And knowing her, she probably knows Killua’s on the verge of tears. So, he withdraws further into his withered shell. He tells Gon how great of a sister Alluka is. So great, in fact, that Gon is now #2. He’s gonna have to step it up to win Killua back.
He’s blatantly lying now - as much as he loves Alluka, it’s painful to even jest that anyone could ever take Gon’s place. But he does anyways.
Killua tells Gon to keep in touch. That of course, they’ll always be friends.
He can only hope that’s true.
Killua is sixteen this time. It was a good age for him, a year of firsts and not only of lasts. It's a year of hellos and not the goodbyes he's become so accustomed to; a year that he's actually made an effort to remember.
The first new thing is when Kurapika teaches him how to drive the day after his birthday. Thank God it's an automatic and not a stick shift - he's heard too many horror stories to count. He doesn't really care for driving much anyways; he prefers to travel via foot or skateboard. He doesn't even travel that much - not anymore, at least.
His next first is a peculiar one - it's his first time realizing that hey, he actually has friends besides Gon. Alluka doesn't count - she's his sister, so she's kind of supposed to be close. But though he's known Kurapika and Oreo Guy for years, he'd never realized that they were actually his friends. They actually cared about and even loved him. Well, okay, maybe not Oreo, but you get the idea.
And then one day, while in Yorknew City, Killua’s phone begins to ring.
Two hours later, his third first occurs.
It's the first time he's seen Gon in two years.
It's also the first time he realizes that he is hopelessly, blissfully, heart-wrenchingly in love with his best friend.
Great. Okay. Fine. Sure. Killua wants to scream. Or maybe cry. He isn't sure anymore. He hasn't even seen Gon in two years, this isn't fair, how dare he come back looking the way he does, because he's the most beautiful thing Killua’s ever seen. Of course, of course Killua is head over heels for his first, closest friend, the boy who's always lit up his life with his sunshine eyes and starlight soul. Why hadn't he seen it coming? God, he was an idiot.
As angry as he is about his heart's betrayal - what if Gon doesn't even like guys? - he's also pleased. No - ecstatic. Gon is finally back after so long. They've made plans to stay together for a while, and to start catching up over coffee (which, quite frankly, is Killua’s lifeblood, even at sixteen). Gon says he'll talk with Kurapika and Leorio later, that Killua was first priority. Killua tears up a little bit.
After a week or so, they're back to being as close as ever. Killua finds himself falling deeper and deeper into what feels like the fires of hell; this isn't just a crush anymore. This, he knows, is love.
Killua’s a brave guy. The absolute manliest. He isn't afraid of anything. Tomorrow is November 5th, Gon’s half-birthday (which of course Gon celebrates); Killua is going to come out, and he's going to come clean. The only problem he sees is how he's going to bring it up.
It seems, however, that heaven and all its angels are smiling down on Killua, because he doesn't have to.
November 5th is a day of three firsts.
It's the first time he brings Gon to the nicest restaurant in Yorknew, but not the last.
It's the first time they go back to their shared hotel room and find themselves with Killua’s back to the wall, fingers in Gon’s hair, kissing with a fire they didn't know they had in them, but not the last.
And just as Gon was Killua’s first friend, he is also his first boyfriend - and his last.
Another second - this time around, Killua is eighteen. Just turned, in fact; it’s his eighteenth birthday. This July 7th was definitely one to remember. It is one of his most vivid memories, after all.
The day is beginning well - he’s woken up refreshed, energized for once. He gets his coffee regardless. Just because he doesn’t need the pick-me-up doesn’t mean he doesn’t want it. Killua would drink it out of habit even if he didn’t desire it; it’s ingrained into his morning routine. Sue him.
He’s never cared too much about birthdays. Great, you’ve spent another year on the damn planet. Big deal. It doesn’t feel any different. And for most of his life, he was surrounded by others who were, like him, completely apathetic. Again, Alluka’s the exception here - but for the most part, his family just didn’t care.
This one, Killua feels, is going to be fun for a change. Birthdays are so much better when you have someone to celebrate them with. And this year, he’s an adult; this is a momentous occasion, one to be carried out grandly. Surely, his friends know this too. There’s bound to be some over-the-top gifts - especially because not only is he an adult, he can drink now, too. It was going to be a very long night.
Killua glances at the microwave clock - it’s 7:00 a.m. Why on earth is he up so early? What time did he go to bed last night? What the hell? Yeah, he’s an early riser, but not this early. He looks over to see Gon still sprawled across their shared queen-sized bed (which isn’t even that comfortable, how does Gon do it). He appears to be unconscious. Or, you know, just really deeply sleeping. He’ll be awake soon enough anyways, so Killua grabs his phone to respond to the deluge of messages from friends and friends-of-friends and various acquaintances. None come from his family (thank God), save his little sister and someone who might have been a third cousin. Maybe.
The rest of the morning and much of the afternoon is a blur. Around five o’clock or so, Gon and Killua meet up with Kurapika and Leorio (who, Killua notes with minor distaste, appear to be dating now) for drinks at one of Yorknew’s nicer bars. Killua finds most alcohol to be relatively unpleasant, excepting white wine, champagne, and (shockingly) vodka. He’s promised himself that he won’t get drunk today, but he may as well have a couple drinks. No vodka, though.
Kurapika generously gives Killua a few very luxurious sweaters and an incredibly fancy silk scarf; these new additions to his wardrobe are almost undoubtedly the nicest things he has. Leorio leaves him with two rather expensive bottles of champagne. They’re pretty high-quality and will probably be gone before the weekend is over.
Gon’s present comes in the form of a pricey, overly romantic date to the restaurant they had their first date at - except Killua isn’t paying this time. Gon’s managed to get private outdoor balcony seating, which cannot possibly have cheap, and Killua knows he must have reserved them a couple months in advance. Killua’s incredibly grateful for all he’s received today, a welcome change from his childhood household.
What Killua was unprepared for was the other gift he would receive from Gon.
They stumble back into their hotel room - not drunk, just tipsy from an indeterminate amount of champagne. Killua is giddy, gleeful; he feels warm and bubbly, both from the alcohol and the amount of love he’s been shown today. He’s still very much awake - and now, looking at Gon, he realizes that some parts of him are much more awake than others.
Gon is laughing: it’s high-pitched, joyous, an almost-childish giggle. His face is flushed with the aftereffects of a long, happy evening. The red on his cheeks is beginning to obscure his freckles. Still, though, his face is as attractive as Killua’s ever seen it. And don’t get Killua started on the suit. Oh God, the suit. The crisp white shirt is tight over Gon’s toned chest, looser around his abs that Killua is so familiar with. The jacket clings to his back and arms, both very muscular and very fine. His tie is undone, hanging loosely around his neck. Gon’s black slacks show the muscle definition in his thighs, and holy shit, what an ass. Killua swallows, hard. He’s gone totally silent with shock and arousal.
Unfortunately - or, perhaps, fortunately - Gon has come to his senses and noticed Killua’s staring. He lowers his lashes as Killua blushes with embarrassment, a hungry smile spreading slowly across his face. He stalks silently towards the younger, paler man, catching him by the waist and pushing him against the wall. Gon’s lips claim Killua’s eagerly, the kiss becoming rougher and eliciting a small groan from the birthday boy himself. His attention quickly moves elsewhere, mouth meeting Killua’s jawline, hands finding Killua’s ass.
Holy shit, Killua thinks. He is getting laid tonight.
He shoves Gon away from him weakly, barely hard enough to break him away, furiously working at the buttons of Gon’s shirt as they make for the bed. Gon has long since discarded his jacket and tie, and his shirt is untucked. Killua is in a similar state of disrepair. They’re overly eager; although they’re both virgins, they’ve been dreaming of this for ages. Not once in their two years of dating have they gone farther than right now.
Killua’s fumbling hands manage to undo all the buttons. He begins to pepper kisses across his boyfriend’s chest, ignoring his weak protests. Gon settles for undoing Killua’s shirt as well (at a very inconvenient angle), and they separate briefly to shake the already sweaty garments off of them. Their mouths clash repeatedly in semblances of kisses, each one harsher and more hurried, tongues and teeth entering the mix. Gon soon moves farther down, nipping at the most sensitive areas of Killua’s neck; as he moves lower, Killua gets louder and louder with each desperate, needy moan.
Killua’s painfully hard - he needs attention, and he needs it now. His hands move towards his pants, but Gon notices and smacks them away. Killua groans, grinding upwards into his lover, who finally gets the message. With a devious grin, he backs Killua into the bed and sinks to his knees.
When Gon’s mouth wraps around his cock, it’s all he can do to keep himself from screaming.
The night is a rush, every next movement painfully slow but over too soon. Nails scratch, teeth bite, voices moan, and hearts pound as their bodies intertwine. Killua needs more, more, more, even as his boyfriend fills him to the breaking point. Every thrust brings out an almost-scream from Killua, every motion stretching him further; it hurts, but he just craves more. He climaxes with fireworks inside his gut, ending his bliss in a flash of heaven.
Killua doesn’t regret any of it, but holy shit, his ass is gonna hurt in the morning.
Right now, Killua is twenty. These flashbacks run through his mind every time he sees his amber-eyed lifeline - they’re the best of the best, the biggest moments of Killua’s life. There’s more pressing matters on his mind right now, though, so his attention returns to the present.
Today is May 5th. It’s Gon’s twenty-first birthday, a milestone for many. Killua - who is, of course, the perfect boyfriend - has got his present already with him, resting snugly in the pocket of his dress shirt. It’s not every day your boyfriend of five years straight turns twenty-one, now is it?
They’ve decided not to make a big celebration out of it; they’re adults, after all. Mature. Responsible. So they’ve settled for a simple date, sitting at an outside table at a small, yet nice cafe in Yorknew. They converse as easily as ever, chuckles rising from their lips into the warm spring air.
Killua sips his coffee happily; he’s just glad to be with Gon. A light smile drifts across his face as he recalls all of his fondest memories. They trade stories, talking about Gon’s father and their friends. If Killua could keep this moment in a bottle forever, with his lover’s tan, freckled face glowing with peace, he wouldn’t hesitate to do so.
He doesn’t have these moments often; yes, Gon is usually happy, but rarely times like these, when the world is theirs to hold, to share, to breathe in. This is not the first time, and it is also not the last.
Killua’s fingers brush gently over the engagement ring box in his pocket, and in this moment - this fleeting infinite speck of time - he knows that the sunlight trapped in Gon’s eyes is the light he’s been looking for all along.