Author: syaoran no hime PM
KurapikaNeon. With Right Nostrad's death, it is very simple for him to drop his job and go, but protecting the prophetess had simply gone beyond the call of duty.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Chapters: 6 - Words: 12,169 - Reviews: 71 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 06-05-04 - Published: 10-27-03 - id: 1575544
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It had been some months already since Neon started to work in Aunt Mito's eatery, and slowly, the restaurant was gaining fame not only in the whole town, but in neighboring cities as well. People started to talk about the bar's good food, age-old wines, and of course, the chirpy waitress who was now everybody's friend. The people referred to her as the 'pink sunshine', the always cheerful burst of energy who could be the perfect wake-upper in the morning, energy recharger in the late afternoon, and soothing relaxant in the evening after a whole day of work. She served not only food, but also unexpected pieces of advice, jokes, and even words of encouragement to survive the day.
"She is an angel," said Aunt Mito as she watched their waitress go to her rounds in the whole bar. "Not only financially speaking for the store, but most especially for our customers." She smiled at the unaware waitress before turning her attention back to the meal that she was cooking.
"She is refreshing, indeed, for a town that works hard and long," agreed Leorio, who was manning the dishes. "And she was the first one to ever make me lose a bet."
"We both lost," agreed Killua, scratching the back of his head. He was chopping the vegetables. "Oh well, at least Aunt Mito's business is picking up, and everyone is happy."
Gon nodded as he scrubbed the plates dry. "Especially Kurapika." He gestured to their blond friend who was behind the bar, helping Neon to balance the food tray.
"It's not that heavy, Kurapika-chan! Put more plates!"
"No, Neon-sama, the weight is enough for you," he gently said. He only knew too well that raising his voice would make her more stubborn.
"But I can still take it!" It was almost Christmas, and people seemed to multiply in the restaurant. She had to make more plate rounds so she would still be able to chat with the new customers.
"I'm worried about you. There are too many people here. Maybe you should rest—"
"Ah nonsense!" Neon shook her head. "I enjoy what I do, so I'm not feeling the fatigue."
"Neon-sama…" He could only watch as the girl went on with her duties, pasting her genki smile that made her famous all over the neighborhood.
He sighed and went back to his work. So much for his vow of avoiding her. It was so hard to take her off his system already. She had been part of his routine—check on Neon if she was tired, check on Neon if Leorio or Killua wasn't picking on her, check on Neon to see her heartwarming smile…
You're getting maudlin, friend, he told himself silently. He had surely came a long way from the old revenge-lusty persona he once had. And it was ironic that he would find his peace of mind in a small, almost unknown town and with the presence of a wacky doctor, cheerful fisherboy, immature former assassin, and a sweet young woman whom he used to see only as an instrument in his revenge.
He almost forgot that once upon a time, he lived in hatred and bloodlust, here in this small island where he found home.
Now there's something to think about. Maybe he could settle here for a while. He liked the place, the people, and the weather anyway. Here, he could start a new life without the ghosts of his slain tribe haunting him. He could finally enjoy the little silly trivial things in life that he had missed. Fishing, picnicking, laughing, bathing in the river…
And maybe, he could finally get over his own issues regarding the wall between him and Neon. Perhaps, it was time to open his heart a little and let her into it, instead of peeking through the hinges, wallowing in the what-ifs and has-beens of the situation.
He was sure she would be very happy if he tells her that he could finally call her Neon. Plain 'Neon', the pink sunshine.
Kurapika looked up, alarmed by the chorus of voices calling his mistress' name. People had rushed towards the center of the restaurant, where the waitress collapsed.
"Neon-sama!" He hurried to his mistress' side. "A glass of water! Ammonia! Hurry!!!" He turned towards the crowd. "Back away! Give her fresh air!"
Gon pushed through the crowd, holding what he ordered. "Here, Kurapika."
"Thanks." He whisked water on her eyes, and then placed the bottle of the scent under her nose. In a few seconds, he heard her soft moans. He smiled, relieved. "Good, you're back."
"K-Kurapika…?" She attempted to get up, but he forced her down. "Today, the pink sunshine will rest in the clouds to recharge her rays. Do you understand?"
He carried her light body in his arms. "Gon, please prepare Neon-sama's bed."
"I-I'm fine," she insisted.
"Well, I'm not until you get fully rested in bed," he said through gritted teeth. He made his way out of the bar as Mito rushed out of the kitchen worriedly.
"Neon? Neon, are you alright?" asked Mito, brushing the girl's hair in great concern. "I told you to take it easy. The customers will understand if you will have to rest sometimes. You work too hard…and with that kind of attitude, you're worse than Kurapika here."
Neon laughed softly. "I just got a little dizzy. Nothing to worry about." She turned to the customers of the eatery. "Don't worry, guys! I didn't faint because of the food. Continue enjoying your meal!"
"Get well soon, Neon!" bade the customers in unison.
"Have a good rest today, Neon-chan!"
"We'll see you in the morning!"
In the bedroom…
Neon laughed awkwardly when Kurapika set her down the bed. "But I was just starting to enjoy the free ride!"
He groaned. Count on the girl to say the darnest things in the most unexpected times. He tucked her in the cotton blanketed bed, and fixed the folded corners of the bed. "Aunt Mito is right. You had been working yourself out too much lately, to the point of exhaustion. How will you be able to keep your strength until Christmas eve when you are abusing your body so much?"
"But I enjoy what I am doing," she insisted.
"Yes, but you have to know your limitations." He sat down the bed, all of a sudden feeling exhausted too. "You scared all of us there, Neon-sama."
"I'm sorry," she said, regret visible in her eyes. "I won't do it again."
"You better not," he said, allowing a small smile on his face. "Because I have a surprise for you this Christmas."
"A surprise?" The word was enough to make her eyes lit up like Christmas lights. "Tell me!"
"Then it won't be a surprise anymore," he said, sweatdropping.
"But I already am surprised! Kurapika-chan actually thought of giving me a Christmas gift!" She giggled. "I would have never imagined that someone as strict as you are would do that for me."
"Strict? Me?" he asked, bewildered.
"That was my first impression of you when you first served as my bodyguard. You never smile. You rarely talk. You were kinda scary. The only time you actually became gentle was when…when Daltzorne died." Her eyes turned nostalgic. "Anyway, I better stop my big mouth now, or you might re-consider the Christmas surprise you have in store for me," she kidded.
"Am I…still strict?" he wanted to know.
She burst into delighted peals of laughter. "No. You have changed…a lot, yet you will always be familiar to me." She gazed at Kurapika for a few more seconds, unblinking.
"You wanted to tell me something, perhaps?" he asked, aware of the saddened expression on her face.
"No…I was just thinking about…what I saw awhile ago when I fainted. I thought I saw the ghost of my nen again. The lovely ghost writer. It's calling me…I know it's calling me again, Kurapika." Her eyes shook. "I don't want to go back to my old life. I already love to be with you guys. I enjoy what I have become now, and I don't think…I don't think…"
He paused, not knowing what to say. In the end, he decided to clasp her hand. It was safe enough a friendly gesture, yet warm enough to make her feel that he was with her no matter what.
"If your nen goes back, then you should be happy," he said gently. "You should welcome that as part of your identity that you lost against your will. And after all what you have learned from your stay here, I am sure now that you already know how to use your nen more maturely now. It should not give you anymore a reason to be afraid."
She shook her head as if she wanted to say more, but she clamped her mouth shut.
"We'll talk more tomorrow, ok? Now be a good girl and rest."
"Sing a lullaby for me," she asked, her eyes begging.
"Sing anything…just lull me to sleep." The authority of the Nostrad mistress was back in her personality.
"Oooh…alright." He cleared his throat and began to smooth her hair. "Rock a bye baby…on the tree top…when the wind blows the cradle will rock…"
Her eyes gleamed in satisfaction before she closed her eyes in blissful contentment.
"Now there's a sight to behold!" whispered Leorio to his friends as they watched the scene in the bedroom. "Kurapika Performance: Unplugged."
The three burst into maniacal fits of laughter. Kurapika heard them, but decided that he would just have to deal with them later.
Three more chapters to go!