A/N: I had this idea that just wouldn't go away and was inspired by a novel I once read before. This fic would be really short and I had to write it to get it out of my head so I could continue finishing my other fics. +wink, wink+ Anyway, read it and please tell me what you think.
Standard disclaimer applies. Togashi, O Togashi. Where art thou? (Yeah, he owns this and he still has to finish the manga).
Chapter 1: The announcement in the papers
"An engagement is announced between Biscuit Krueger, spinster and Hisoka N. Zane, bachelor. Ms. Krueger is a jewelry designer while Mr. Zane is heir to a bubble gum business empire. A winter wedding is planned."
"Ah, so you've seen it."
Machi looked up from the newspaper she was reading. Illumi smiled blandly from the doorway. "Your butler let me in," he said as way of explanation for his presence in Machi's dining room.
"Take a seat." Machi indicated a chair opposite her, "Would you like some coffee? Toast?"
Illumi shook his head as he sat down, "I don't eat breakfast."
Machi lifted an eyebrow, "Actually, I'm surprised that you're up at…" she exaggeratingly looked at her wristwatch, "…at half past ten o' clock."
Illumi combed a hand through his hair. "You're right. But Gotou, our head butler, woke me up. He got it into his head that I would surely love to see that announcement," he nodded to the newspaper that Machi was now carefully folding away.
"Really? How odd," Machi's voice was neutral. Very neutral that Illumi fixed her with a penetrating stare. "Well, I suppose he is your best friend."
Illumi continued to look at her thoughtfully, "You're taking this quite calmly." He raised a hand to stop Machi who was about to reply before adding, "I know you're always that calm but this…this disinterest is actually quite…suspicious." He hid a smile as Machi now fixed her ice-cold eyes at him.
He and Machi had become good friends since Machi moved to Kukuru Mt. She was a dressmaker and very successful too. His mother, Kikyo, was a regular customer at Machi's boutique as well as most of the wealthy women in town. Illumi knew he could tease Machi but also knew that there was hell to pay if he went overboard.
"Why suspicious?" Machi asked coolly as she sipped her coffee. "It's not that I'm not interested, it's just that I'm indifferent." She shrugged and continued buttering a piece of toast. "That's two different things and besides, it's not at all surprising for Hisoka to get married. Sooner or later, he was going to get caught anyway with that playboy lifestyle of his," she took a big bite from the bread.
Illumi now looked amused. "Yes, it isn't surprising considering that you were both engaged once…" he paused expecting Machi to elaborate at her and Hisoka's aborted engagement. However, he was disappointed when Machi didn't reply. "Oh well, looks like it's you and I who are now engaged."
"Yes, especially if the town gossip is to be believed," Machi added easily. That was the problem with living in a close-knit town like Kukuru Mt. Gossip was the official occupation of the townspeople. And it didn't help matters that Machi was a lovely, single female newly moved to town while Illumi, the handsome, eldest son of the wealthy Zoaldyecks, was the most eligible bachelor within a radius of fifty miles around. Machi wouldn't be surprised if she saw an announcement of her and Illumi's engagement in the papers sent by the well-meaning people of the town.
She wasn't bothered being paired up with Illumi since it existed only in the imaginations of the townspeople. They were friends even if Illumi was best friends with her ex-fiance. Actually, she knew that that engagement was a mistake from the beginning, Hisoka being what he was. They had parted in what could be considered amiable terms and she knew that only Hisoka's pride got hurt in their parting. Unconsciously, her eyes traveled to the folded newspaper at the table.
"Do you know her?"
"Biscuit?" Machi didn't bother pretending she didn't know what Illumi was asking. "I've met her once in Greed Island," she explained referring to that popular island resort of the rich and famous.
"Ah, yes. That's also where Hisoka met her."
"Actually, I believe it was your brother Killua who introduced them to each other."
"Do I hear accusation in your voice?" Illumi asked mockingly still trying to bait Machi. There was still no reaction, he shrugged, "No, it was actually his friend Gon who introduced them. They got quite close during their time there."
Machi nodded, still eating her toast although she was starting to get confused. She knew that that was the only time Hisoka and Biscuit spent the most time together. She didn't also hear any news that they were dating after coming back so why this engagement? A case of love at first sight? Machi felt an inexplicable emotion in the pit of her stomach. Hmmm…she must be drinking too much coffee lately.
"Anyway, there's something else I need to tell you," Illumi shifted comfortably in his chair. "Killua was also another reason why I woke up early. He got a call from Gon. It seems that Gon is taking him up on his offer to come over for a visit." He paused and looked squarely at Machi as he said, "Biscuit is coming with him."
Machi's hand froze for a second as she reached for her cup but she recovered quickly and managed to ask in her usual way, "Oh? Why's that?"
"It seems that Biscuit wants to learn more about her would-be-groom," Illumi explained casually as he started to get up from his seat.
"Yes," Machi nodded understandingly, "So she's staying at your mansion to get to know his friend. I suppose that's only logical. But wouldn't she be in your way? You do have business to take care of."
Illumi was now smiling openly, "Yes and no. Yes, she'll be staying with us and no she won't be in my way. Because you see, she's actually coming to see you my dear."
"Why yes," Illumi was casually inspecting his fingernails but Machi could see that he was thoroughly enjoying the situation. "Biscuit is having what you call 'cold feet' and Hisoka, being the kind person he is…" Machi snorted in her coffee, "… has suitably advised her to come and talk to you."
Machi's mouth almost dropped open in surprise. Illumi leaned forward and told her gravely, "It seems that you're the only one who can help my friend seize his happiness."
Machi didn't like the sound of that and distrusted Illumi's seriousness. Her eyes narrowed, "What exactly do you mean by that?"
Illumi straightened up and smiled again, "Why, it's simple really. You have to convince Biscuit that Hisoka would make a great husband and she's the luckiest girl in the world to be marrying him."
The cup in Machi's hand dropped to the saucer with a clatter.
Illumi grinned and quirked an eyebrow at her, "That shouldn't be a problem, should it?"