title: Waterfalls
fandom: Hunter x Hunter
characters/pairings: pseudo Kurapika/Kuroro, Kurapika/Leorio
rating: Mature
warnings: sex
summary: Kurapika's dreams are interfering with his work.
notes: i wanna blame Mina for this... even tho... really not her fault... but i don't wanna be blamed for Kurapika/Kuroroness, either. *coughs* and she has been prodding me for some Kurapika/Leorio smut...
be warned... *bites lip* not really sure what to say here... i mean, look at the pairings! Kurapika and Kuroro?! obviously, this isn't 100% consensual, but it's not exactly forced either. however, for the sake of caution, i will warn that there are definite consent issues here, and if that bothers you, this may well not be the fic for you.
also, lotsa made-up things about the kurata that make sense to me but prolly no one else...

The first thing was the realization that the water was up to his thighs. There was the panic that followed that, which got worse each time, because he knew, but knowing didn't change anything. Sometimes, there were details, and sometimes, there weren't. There was always the rushing crash of the waterfall behind him. He could often see the trees. This was not a made-up place, but he couldn't quite remember it, either.

He was naked.

Hands touched him, arms snaked around him, and lips were on his neck. He could feel the weight of the heavy earring, the slick feeling of the hair. He felt sick to his stomach. It was all so tactile, so real. He tried to tell himself it was a dream, after a few times, but it didn't help. It was too real.

He wanted to feel violated, but those hands were so gentle, so talented. Kuroro grinned against his skin, and the fur from his coat tickled. He turned his eyes away, and saw Kuroro's coat floating on the water around them.

"I'm a thief, you know. Even if you bind me and keep me from my nen, I'm still a thief. And I'm going to steal your purity."

He turned, but he always turned, and it never did him any good. Kuroro caught his wrists, and pushed him down, down under the water, and it was dark, and it was cold, and he was not in control anymore. Reflexively, he lashed out with his chain, but he couldn't attack Kuroro, and it just got wrapped around him more.

He was on a bed, chained down by his own chain, his arms and legs spread out, and the more he struggled, the tighter the chain got. Kuroro was laughing at him, and he was naked, too, and touching Kurapika teasingly. "I told you. You can't keep me from my prize. I want your virginity, Kurapika. I want your innocence. You can't deny me. You know you want me."

Kuroro looked different, his hair wasn't slick, it was soft, and fluffy, almost, and he wasn't wearing his earrings. But his eyes, his eyes were still inky, soulless, and Kurapika felt chilled.

Kuroro slid over Kurapika, petting the chain, licking Kurapika's skin, touching him. He kissed Kurapika, stroking Kurapika's cock until Kurapika could do nothing but groan and arch his back. Kuroro chuckled, and pushed his fingers down, over Kurapika's anus.

"You are so dedicated, aren't you? So noble. But your hands are dirty now. Pakunoda's blood is on your hands. You can feel it, can't you?"

He could feel it, all the time. The sticky sensation of blood. But... It didn't matter... He glared up at Kuroro, but Kuroro just laughed, and kissed him again.

"You know that you don't really hate me. You're weak. And you want this."

Fingers pushed inside of him, and... and... he didn't want this, but he couldn't stop it, either, like his body was hyperaware of everything, hyper-reactive to every touch, to every sensation. Kuroro played his body perfectly, making him scream. It was so... satisfying, like every nerve ending was aching for each new touch. Kuroro was slow with his thievery, not at all afraid that Kurapika would free himself. The chains bound him so tightly he bled, and Kuroro lapped up his blood, and then wrapped his lips around Kurapika's cock.

He was so helpless, and it was so unfair. This man was always making him helpless, like when his clan was destroyed because of him. He wanted this to end with Kuroro's punishment, but everything just spiraled further and further out of his control, and now his own body was rebelling against him. Kuroro pushed inside of him, and he screamed, but the pleasure, and Kuroro laughed, and his whole body burned, his blood slugged potently through him, and he felt... he felt... he felt...

He breathed, and he reached up, and he touched Kuroro's face and he kissed Kuroro as Kuroro slammed into him, and he could feel everything, the friction on the inside of his thighs, and Kuroro's weight, and the taste of his sweat, and the way his heart was pounding as his body reacted to Kuroro's hand on Kurapika's cock, and he couldn't hold back, not when Kuroro was gushing inside of him and squeezing the tip of his cock...

He was breathless, lying in the grass. Kuroro was next to him, touching his hair. Kuroro was wearing his earring, and it enraged Kurapika, but his body was sluggish, heavy, and he couldn't do anything. Kuroro kissed him, and smiled. "Your friends are on that park bench. They can see you giving me your body. They can see me touching you." He wrapped his fingers around Kurapika's slack cock for emphasis. "They know what you are now, Kurapika.

"You are mine."

He always woke up at that point.

He had to struggle to the turn the ancient key. This cabin was old, a family place that his boss' great grandfather had built so long ago, before their family was family. Kurapika dropped his duffel uncharacteristically as soon as he stepped inside, and he locked the door behind him.

He was tired. He hadn't had any decent sleep in weeks. Months, by now.

It was frustrating to be here, but it was an order, so he had no choice but to go. He was making progress, becoming invaluable to his boss... with the boss' daughter's affliction, Kurapika's ability was becoming more and more important to his boss.

He would be able to get the list of body part buyers soon.

Perhaps a break wasn't the end of the world, but... it wouldn't do any good, either.

If he slept, he would dream, and his dream was always the same nowadays.

It was quiet here. He didn't dislike it, but it gave him too much time to think. In fact, that was all he had to do here, and he was sick of being inside of his head. He didn't want to sleep, so he drank coffee and played music and looked over his boss' extensive library.

And he stared out the window at the trees, and he tried to think about simpler times, but it all seemed very long ago.

The knock on the door startled him so much that he had his chain out before he was even sure where the sound was coming from. No one should know he was here, except people he worked with, and they were the last people he wanted to see now. He moved carefully to the door, and waited.

"Kurapika! Let me in! It's Leorio! Come on!"

Kurapika stared blankly at the door. How did... Leorio kept knocking, so, wearily, Kurapika unlocked and opened the door. "What are you doing here?"

"That's a fine way to greet a friend," Leorio huffed unnecessarily. "Let me in, already. It's all right, isn't it?"

There wasn't any exact reason why he couldn't let Leorio in, and it was easier than trying to make sense of it. He stepped aside, but he watched Leorio carefully. "How did you know where I was?"

"Senritsu," Leorio replied with uncharacteristic succinctness.

Kurapika closed the door with a tad bit more force than required. "I see."

Leorio raised an eyebrow, but maintained a cool expression. "So, what's going on, exactly? Is this is a bonus for a job well done, or a punishment?"

"Neither," Kurapika sighed, not in the mood to be informative. "Don't you have classes?"

"I have breaks, too. I emailed you about it." He looked away, and... Kurapika felt a tiny pang of guilt. He swallowed it down, though. He had more important things to worry about.

Except. Right now, he could nothing for his clan except wait out his forced vacation time here.

"So, do you want to talk about your dreams?" The question was too calculated to be casual. Leorio was watching him closely. This level of bluntness was irritating, but not unexpected.

Senritsu could be completely annoying. "No, I don't." He was being petulant, but that didn't mean that he wasn't right. This was none of Leorio's business.

Leorio watched him from over the curve of his glasses, quietly. He finally heaved a huge sigh, and looked away. "So, what do you want to do?"

"There's nothing to do here," Kurapika challenged.

Leorio wiggled his eyebrows and leered comically.

Kurapika rolled his eyes and turned his back to Leorio.

He twirled the long pasta on his fork. He had to admit, even with the limited resources in the kitchen, Leorio had done a fine job. He looked across the table, distrustingly. "When did you learn how to cook?"

"It's pasta," Leorio shrugged. "I'm a poor student, now. Have to be able to eat my own cooking, right?"

"You have a hunter's license," Kurapika countered. "You can use that to eat out every night for free."

Leorio shifted in his seat. "True. But that gets boring, too. And anyway, what kind of man depends on a card to live? Isn't it enough that it's good?"

Kurapika stabbed his pasta. "Well, I'm not trusting you to make sushi."

He could feel Leorio watching him again. This was getting irritating. Why did Senritsu have to make everything her business? "Kurapika, what's going on with you?"

"What do you mean?" he deflected, knowing that it wouldn't put Leorio off for long. Why was he being so recalcitrant? Wasn't he longing for the 'good old days' of the hunter's exam just that afternoon? Why couldn't he be happy to see Leorio?

Leorio put his fork and spoon down, and rested his chin on his hands. "You aren't alone, no matter how hard you push. If you just tell me what's going on, maybe I can help."

"And maybe you can't," Kurapika shrugged, filling his mouth with food, almost defiantly.

"Well, we'll never know unless we try."

Kurapika looked away. "Forget it."

"I brought movies," Leorio shifted gears suddenly. "I have a player, but it's small. Still, since there's nothing else... You want to watch?"

Kurapika looked Leorio in the eye for a moment. "Nothing gruesome."

"No, I brought arty flicks. You'll like these. They're... thinking movies." He smiled brightly.

Despite himself, Kurapika grinned. "Are you sure you won't be bored?"

"Eh, I'll make hot chocolate. It's ok. It's... been a long time since we've just... had time to be together." Leorio smiled sadly.

Kurapika stood up and looked away. "I can make the hot chocolate. You've done enough."

"No, no, I got it," Leorio got up hastily. "You can cook tomorrow." Leorio winked.

Kurapika eyed Leorio, but he just shrugged. "If you insist."

He walked in small circles around the small cabin, waiting as Leorio whistled his way through the work. What was he doing? Did he really want Leorio to leave? It was going to get late, and... he didn't want to sleep, especially if Leorio was here.

There was no way to comfortably arrange themselves on the narrow couch, although Kurapika felt that Leorio was being too particular. They sat on the bed together, and Leorio held the portable player in his lap. The first movie was political, and rather long. Kurapika was bored, and he knew that Leorio had to be, too. But he watched the screen intently, and pretended he was fascinated.

He was getting tired, and there was no way he was going to sleep, so he concentrated on the movie, really focusing on the dialogue and the characters. Leorio shifted a bit closer to him, and he shifted away. Leorio glared at him, and shifted closer again. If he shifted over any more, he'd be off the bed. He stared at Leorio. "Stop it."

"What?" Leorio smiled innocently, which really didn't work at all.

Kurapika pushed him away a bit. "Stay on your side of the bed."

"You're too picky," Leorio complained.

Kurapika threw his shoulders back. "And I won't say what you are. Just watch the movie."

Leorio looked into Kurapika's mug. "This movie is boring."

"You picked it," Kurapika sighed.

"Aren't you tired?"

Kurapika looked at Leorio suspiciously.

"I meant for sleep," Leorio sighed, acting put upon.

Kurapika rolled his eyes. "Either way. If you don't want to watch the movie anymore..."

"Are you afraid to sleep?" Leorio asked sharply. "Are you afraid to dream?"

Kurapika stood up. "I think you're tired. I'll go out to the couch to read. You can have the bed."

Leorio quickly shoved the player aside, and ran around the bed to stop Kurapika. "There's plenty of room for both of us."

Staring at him like he was crazy, Kurapika raised an eyebrow. "Is that why you came? To get into bed with me?"

"There are plenty of people at school I can sleep with, Kurapika," Leorio rolled his eyes. "I came here for my friend."

He didn't like the feeling of jealousy and bitterness that swelled up inside of him. He wanted to lash out at Leorio, and at himself, too. Images of Leorio with sexy women were hard to ignore, but Kurapika would rather see Leorio with dozens of women than be bound to this emotion. "You should have asked first. I was fine without you, and I don't need you to baby-sit me. I'm getting closer to the boss; he trusts me. Everything is going according to plan."

"So everything is fine, then, mm?" Leorio moved to get in his way. "You took out fifteen ordinary goons protecting your boss last week. The remnants were in the paper. It was a massacre. Is that the plan, then? Squash anyone and everyone, as long as you get what you want?"

Kurapika shook. He wasn't feeling too steady on his feet... his vision was blurring. He balled his hands into fists, but he couldn't hold them that tightly. He could still hear the screaming, but it was all white noise. He could explain; after all, the boss' daughter's life was in danger. He had acted on instinct, and within the bounds of his contract with himself. Things got out of hand, but... he didn't... he couldn't remember... His eyes had gone red, but behind the contacts. He had only done what he needed to do to get everyone out alive, and he had won his boss' admiration, and the admiration of the community his boss lived in as a result. It would be a long time before anyone else threatened them.

None of that seemed to matter. He couldn't smell the gunpowder, or feel the blood on his hands. He could hear the screams, but it was muffled. He hadn't known at all what had happened. He lost his temper. The boss was pleased, but he had heard murmurs about how short-tempered Kurapika had been of late. None of it mattered at all.

"What do you know?" Kurapika spat out in a hissing whisper. "Is this friendship? You can just go back to your flings at school for all I care. You just don't get it, do you? This isn't OUR problem; this is MY problem. And I can take care of it myself. I don't need you."

He tried to take a step, tried to brush past Leorio, but he couldn't keep his eyes open a second longer. He couldn't move his limbs the way he wanted to. He was falling, and Leorio caught him. As he slipped into unconsciousness, he thought he heard Leorio apologizing.

The water lapped at his thighs again. He could see it all so clearly now, the sunshine pouring down on him, and the crystal-clear water... the sheer rock of the cliff, and the trees, in full foliage, so beautiful. He had been there before. He had forgotten. Something important happened there... He could see it now. Two boys in the water, both naked. One slightly taller than the other, but very slim. The taller one had a reddish tint to his blonde hair. The smaller one was holding the taller one's forearms. The taller one bent down slowly, his eyes shuttering closed...

"So precious," Kuroro cooed. "So innocent. This is a place of purity, isn't it?" Hand were on him now, arms surrounded him. He felt dizzy. Kuroro held him tighter. "Can you wash the blood from your hands in these waters, Kurapika?"

Kurapika looked down at his hands, soaked in blood. Red droplets dripped from his fingers and dissolved in the crystal water, making the water that he was standing in pinkish. The boys seemed very far away now, and he couldn't see them distinctly, so they blurred together.

Kuroro's hand came around to fondle his genitalia. "Maybe you came here to become filthy. I can help you." He turned Kurapika around, and held him, kissed him. Kurapika didn't know just what he was doing, except he was dizzy, and he was hot and cold at the same time, and his arms were like lead weights, and Kuroro tasted sweet, and he wanted to kiss him again. Kuroro pushed him back, into the bloody water, and submerged him, but Kurapika wasn't afraid of drowning. He took a deep breath and let the water fill his lungs.

They were on the bed, and there were no chains this time. This time, he was clinging to Kuroro as Kuroro moved inside of him, and he couldn't see straight, either, couldn't do anything but feel, oh, gods, how he felt, like his insides were butter and if he just pushed a little harder, and a little harder...

His fingers separated chunks of Kuroro's soft hair, and they kissed. Kuroro was still inside of him, and he held Kuroro tight, kissing him, again and again. Kuroro chuckled softly, and circled his thumb around Kurapika's nipple.

"I'm glad you escaped. You're interesting."

He couldn't remember if he had climaxed before or not. Everything kept spinning. Kuroro's hands found every inch of his body, mapped out his erogenous zones, and pushed him to the point of insanity and beyond.

Kuroro was holding a knife to his eyes, smiling vacantly. His eyes were like the pool at the base of the waterfall at night, filled with blood. "I'm still a thief, no matter what."

The knife came down to Kurapika's eye.

Kurapika screamed, and then jumped off the bed, fighting the blanket and sheet all the way. He scrambled into a corner, wildly whipping his chains around him, protectively.

"Hey! Hey, calm down! Calm down, Kurapika! It's ok, you're here, it's me, it's Leorio, you're safe!"

The voice was insistent and familiar, but Kurapika still lashed out in the direction of the sound. Leorio was able to jump back, but the chain still slashed open his pajama shirt. The sight of Leorio's chest somehow brought Kurapika back to the present in a wash of guilt. He kept his chain up, but he started to breath more evenly.

"Ok," Leorio was breathing heavily still, trying hard to keep his voice calm. "Ok, that's... that's good. Let me... I'll make some tea, ok? You're safe. Everything is ok."

Leorio walked away, shaking a little. It took a lot of effort for Kurapika to make the chain disappear again. He was safe. He was all right. He was... He could still feel Kuroro's hands on his body, and the tremors from his phantom orgasms still shook his body. He hadn't woken up because he'd had sex with Kuroro. He woke up when Kuroro tried to steal his eyes. That felt so defeating.

"Here we go," Leorio was forcing himself to smile. "Nice tea. It's the stuff that helps you sleep. It's good." He sat down with his back to the bed, just a little away from Kurapika, and he placed a mug of tea between them, pushing it slightly toward Kurapika. "Drink it." He smiled.

Kurapika looked at the tea. He felt so tired. "The last thing you gave me to drink was poisoned."

"It wasn't poison," Leorio defended himself wearily. He picked up the mug of tea and sipped it himself, in proof. "It was just a mild sedative. You... damn, Kurapika, do you have any idea what you look like? I'm worried."

Kurapika stared at the surface of the tea as it quaked, fragments of color quivering together. "You don't need to worry about me," he said mechanically.

"I don't need to, sure. But I can't seem to help it. Would help if you would just take care of yourself," Leorio groused amiably. "C'mon. Talk to me."

Kurapika continued to stare at the tea. He was empty. Too empty to even feel cold, and distantly, he was aware that he was not in the clothes that he had fallen asleep in. "There was a waterfall... near my village. The cliff was over a thousand meters tall. The water at the base... once you got away from the waterfall itself, it was very calm, very clear. There was a river and two creeks that lead away from there. It was a place of purity." He could hear himself echoing Kuroro's words, and he felt sick.

Leorio inched a bit closer. "Kurapika?"

Flinching slightly from the tone of voice Leorio used, even though he wasn't being reproachful, Kurapika continued, shakily. "You don't understand. Kurata... we don't talk about ourselves. We don't talk about our home. We don't talk about our customs, not to anyone."

Leorio put his hand on Kurapika's lightly, applying no pressure. "You can trust me."

Nodding, absently, because it wasn't exactly in response to Leorio's words as much as it was his presence, Kurapika took a deep breath and continued. "People... people went to bathe there after illness, or after something important. I... I had forgotten about it. I... I didn't recognize it in the dream when I saw it. I didn't remember at all. And. There's a lot I don't remember. I'm the last..." He had to swallow again, to keep from choking. "I'm the only one left, and I don't remember. I didn't. I'd forgotten... I can't believe..."

"Kurapika," Leorio soothed, rubbing his fingers over Kurapika's hand. "Take it slowly. Did you dream about the waterfall?"

Kurapika's eyes were burning. He didn't understand. "I was at the waterfall, and... Kuroro..."

"You fought with Kuroro at the waterfall?" Leorio tried to help.

"I had sex with him there. It... It's so tactile, Leorio. I can still feel him... inside of me. Like he's really inside of me!" He could barely speak now, and he had to cover his mouth. His cheeks were hot now, too. He felt sick.

Leorio was still, and then he squeezed Kurapika's hand. "He... it was consensual?"

Kurapika shook his head and nodded and shrugged.

"Sh, sh, all right," Leorio inched a bit closer. "It's all right, Kurapika. It was a dream. It is a dream. It's your subconscious, pulling things together, trying to tell you something. What do you think it's trying to say?"

For a moment, Kurapika felt ludicrously amused by the concept of Leorio as a counselor. It broke him from his guilt and grief long enough for him to think. He forced himself to breath more calmly, to get his heart rate under control, to be still. When he started to speak, he had to divorce himself from the deeply ingrained belief that he would destroy everything if he let anyone outside the clan know anything. He stared at the bed sheet, and spoke to it.

"In the Kurata tribe, children stay with their parents until they are ten. Then, they live in communal dormitories, for schooling and training. When a child is fifteen, he or she is tested, and joins the community properly, declaring his or her intentions. Chief among the intentions, in addition to what path he or she will take, is the subject of mates.

"Every Kurata has two mates. It's... difficult to describe..." Irrationally, he didn't want to speak in his native language, even for Leorio. "There is The One Who Joins You, someone of the opposite sex, the mate you will have children with. This choice is generally... nonromantic, based more on practicalities of breeding, really. The Kurata line is... pure. The other mate... The One Who Walks With You... is generally of the same sex, though not necessarily. In every profession, Kurata work in pairs, so... this is someone who shares your life, in every aspect. Someone who shares your burdens and your joys.

Kurapika took a deep breath, and picked up the mug of tea, now cooled slightly, sipping it generously. He wasn't used to speaking so much at one time. This was much harder than he thought, and he was remarkably glad Leorio was here. He didn't dwell on that. "My... The One Who Would Join me was Kuramina. We had grown up together, and we were friends. She was someone I could talk to. We were both at the heads of our classes, and our families assumed we would choose each other. It was acceptable.

"I... I wanted to be a hunter." He smiled slightly, bitterly. "Actually, not a hunter, not like... not like we are now. More like... a guardian. The hunters swept the lands around ours for predators and other... threats. I was in training for becoming a... guardian. There was this older boy. Kurazuka. He was tall, and very slim, and he had reddish blonde hair. He was... very much admired by everyone. He was nearly fifteen already, and I was nearly thirteen. He was reaching his time of decision. He underwent the final trial for the guardians, a solitary hunt where he had to bring back a trophy from a higher-level predator. He had succeeded, and everyone was anticipating his choosing. Everyone. His peers, other guardians... they were... courting him, you might say. He... He took me..." Kurapika squirmed in his seat. He had forgotten all about Kurazuka, forgotten about the waterfall, and... "He asked me to join him at the waterfall, so he could bathe, after his test. We... we were playing around, like children, kicking water at each other. I grabbed his arms to steady myself... and he kissed me. That was my first kiss."

Kurapika stared down at the surface of the tea. Even now, the memory was foggy. He felt so disconnected from that moment of innocence. "I... I wanted to be his chosen, though it was uncommon for someone to be chosen by someone even a year older. I wanted to prove I was worthy, so I could be with him... so... I went into the forest for my own final test. I only took the ceremonial knife, just like for the real test... But... It was supposed to last for only three days. I was so frustrated, so hungry and tired and weak... It took me five days to even find a single wolf, and four more days of tracking and losing him and fighting before I could head back, and I got lost, too. It was, all told, nearly a fortnight before I returned, but it didn't matter.

"When I got back, everyone was dead. Their eyes were gone, and the mark of the spider was cut into their corpses."

The room was deadly quiet, and the artificial light of a single bulb behind a white shade seemed harsh and unnecessarily bright.

"Kurazuka was one of the first ones I saw. His face was half torn off. Kuramina was with her family, close to my mother. She was... well, she was badly torn up."

"Kurapika..." Leorio sighed. "You... you know, it wasn't, it wasn't everyone I'd ever known, but... I know what it's like to lose the person who means more to you than anyone in the world. But you know, if you hadn't gone off on your own, you'd be dead, too."

Kurapika brought his legs up, and turned away from Leorio a bit, feeling transparent. "...I'd forgotten. I'd forgotten about the kiss, and the waterfall... I'd forgotten about what he looked like when his face was whole. I forgot about everything except the pain... Even... Even with you, and Gon and Killua. I let you all get in danger, and I didn't even care. I... I filled myself with all this pain and anger and hate, and now... that's all that I have left. I'm as bad as they are."

"Hey," Leorio smiled softly, bumping his knee against Kurapika's. "I'm certainly not going to argue if you say you've gotten obsessed. But then, I understand, too. And sure, maybe this dream is all about the perversion of your quest as you've become more and more focused on the revenge... but maybe... and this is just a theory, so hear me out... Maybe, you're having this dream because you are really horny and you're not giving yourself an outlet."

"Leorio!" Kurapika narrowed his eyes, sheltering his body a bit.

Leorio just chuckled, and scooted closer to Kurapika. "No, look, I'm not being crass here, really. But let's face it. You're still a teenager, Kurapika, even if you are one of the most powerful nen users on the planet. And your body has urges, and needs. Hungers, both physical and emotional, that you are completely ignoring as you pursue your vengeance. These hungers are going to manifest themselves, whether you like it or not. Psychologically, you've repressed these desires, demonizing them, so, this type of fantasy where you are being used by an enemy for release... It provides you a way of releasing that need, guilt-free because you aren't in control, and at the same time, it expresses your disgust, with yourself and with the desire that you have relegated to being unimportant. This could well be your subconscious' way of both giving into your need while simultaneously vilifying yourself for having the need." He sat and waited patiently for Kurapika to respond, but he got antsier and anstier the longer Kurapika just sat there and stared at him. "What?! That's a completely legitimate theory!"

"I know," Kurapika said in a low tone. "It's scary. You can cook, and you're saying smart things... I'm not really sure you're Leorio..."

Leorio scrunched up his nose in anger. "Oh, nice, way to treat a friend who is just trying to help, Kurapika! I'm not an idiot, you know, and it was frickin' pasta! Is it so hard to believe that I can cook PASTA, for crap's sake! Why can't you let anyone get a tiny bit close to you? I just want..." He stopped, though, as soon as he realized that Kurapika was chuckling at him. Kurapika hid his laughter behind his hand, but his shoulders were shaking, and when his hand dropped, his smile was gorgeous. Leorio sighed, and grinned. "Well, that's a lot better, at least."

Kurapika stopped laughing, but he still had a smile lingering on his face. He leaned back, and closed his eyes. "You know, I never would have said... any of the things I told you... unless I felt close to you. Unless I trusted you."

"I know," Leorio replied softly, reaching out to put his hand on Kurapika's again.

"You... may be right. Either way, really... I feel so alone. More alone than I ever felt before, even... even when I found my whole clan slaughtered..." Kurapika's shoulders slumped, and he sighed.

Leorio's hand closed on his tightly. "You aren't alone, Kurapika. You can't propagate your clan with a pure line anymore... but... you don't walk this path alone. I... I'm here with you, ready to walk with you."

Kurapika slowly lifted his head, and looked Leorio in the eye. He was dizzy, and aching, and generally just exhausted from the night. He leaned forward, and put his head on Leorio's shoulder. "I wasn't trained to walk alone."

Leorio put his arms around Kurapika, and kissed the back of his neck. "I've already chosen you, Kurapika. I'm here for you, whenever you want me."

Sighing, letting go of his tension, he pressed himself closer to Leorio. "I want you."

Leorio held Kurapika, kissed his skin, kissed his hair. He picked him up, and put him into bed, and he took off Kurapika's shirt, and his own, and he turned out the light, and got into bed, pulling Kurapika into his arms. "I have waited so long to hear you say that..."

Kurapika closed his eyes and smiled. "I know."

The sun was already shining brightly when he opened his eyes, and for some reason, he was having trouble waking up. He felt warm and safe, and he wanted to sleep for maybe another six hours, if possible. It was when he realized that his pillow was moving, and was made out of flesh, that he lifted his head.

Leorio froze, letting go of Kurapika, as if he were a dangerous animal that might suddenly strike out at him. "Morning. Don't worry, I kept my hands where they belonged."

"Did you?" Kurapika couldn't remember the last time he felt so... rested. He grinned. It took almost no concentration at all, now. "Are you sure? Because I thought we agreed that my problem was that I was horny." His chain snaked out over Leorio's skin, just exploring, pressing links over Leorio's nipples as it wound its way over Leorio's body. He pulled Leorio's hand down with the chain, and pushed it under his pajama bottom. "Isn't this where your hand goes, then?"

Leorio laughed, haltingly. "Kur-Kurapika! You little... I should have guessed you had a thing for bondage."

Kurapika lifted himself up so he could brush his lips over Leorio's. "Yes, you really, really should have." He let his chain snake down over Leorio's body, between his legs, ripping Leorio's pajamas off as it canvassed his skin. He closed his eyes. "Did you know... I'm connected to my chain. It's me. I can feel it... Not like touch... It's hard to explain. It's inside of me." The links slid under Leorio's balls, and down under, to touch Leorio's anus.

Gasping, Leorio threw his head back. "Is that... Is that true? That's really... exciting..."

Kurapika smiled. Normally, it wasn't, not at all. "Yes, it is." He kissed Leorio's stubbly cheek gingerly, and nibbled on Leorio's earlobe. He spoke softly, slowly, with words he had to think about carefully, lest he stumble over nearly forgotten sounds. "I choose to walk this path with you, to share with you my burdens, to share with you my joys, to bind myself to you and to let you bind yourself to me, until we reach the end of the path together."

"Wha..." Leorio turned his head and kissed Kurapika. "What did you say?"

Kurapika smiled. "I said, I love you." He put his mouth on Leorio's, and sealed his promise, as his chain pushed inside of Leorio's body.

The waitress had been watching the young man all night long. He had such gorgeous eyes, like pools of ink. They were so kind and attentive. She thought he must be a really sensitive person. His hands were so long and fine... He wasn't a common worker, like most of their clientele. He was special.

She had tried to talk to him each time she had stopped by his table, but he had been staring at the jewel in his protectively cupped hands, and had barely acknowledged her. But she had been watching him closely, and she wasn't the type to give up.

She tugged her shirt down a bit, and puffed up her chest. She walked over to him as he paid his tab. "Excuse me, sir. You left this at your table."

He looked at her, really looked at her, and he smiled. She felt like no one had ever really seen her before this moment, like he had stripped away everything except the real her. "You can have it, if you like. It's broken."

He walked off, his fur-trimmed coat swirling behind him.

She sighed, smiling. She looked down at the jewel. She had never seen anything like it. It was a perfect sphere, with a black mark inside of it. She couldn't find a single scratch or mark on it, so she didn't know what he meant, but she did keep it. She decided to take it to a jeweler, and see if she could somehow put it on a chain, or in a ring.

The black mark inside of it was the exact color of his silky hair.