Prologue: Black / White / Gray
In the beginning, she lived in a world of black and white. To her, the color of the sky was black, the color of the ground was white, and everything in between was gray.
Shades of gray. That was all she saw.
But then he came along and changed everything.
She remembered that day flawlessly. It stuck out in her mind like a neon sign blinking obnoxiously in a perfectly black night. And it never blurred. It never lost the strength it first held on her mind. The details never faded. Her emotions from that day never lost power either. The memory just wouldn't leave her. But, even so, it was okay.
She wanted to remember.
She was just a little girl back then. So tiny, so weak—and so gullible, too, in a way. She was a child dumped into a cruel adult world, but somehow she managed to survive. She got by-barely. Just barely.
But that day she was struggling. She was weak-excruciatingly weak. Unable to find any source of food, she hadn't eaten in days. After a failed attempt at nabbing a few rolls of bread earlier that week, she'd hardly been able to move. The man had caught her, and god was he angry. If she was anywhere else, maybe the man would have been kind enough to forgive her. But she wasn't anywhere else. She was in Meteor City. And in Meteor City, the rule was survival of the fittest, and if you couldn't live up to that then you were dead. No pity. No mercy. No sympathy allowed. Ever.
So he beat her until she could barely move.
And then he walked away without another glance towards her unmoving body. He did not stop for one second to regret that he had just beaten up a starving six-year old girl whose only crime was a wish for survival. But then again, no one had really expected him to care in the first place.
Not even the little girl.
That day, she was trudging along down in the dumps, scrounging through people's trash in hopes of finding something eat. All she needed was a scrap—just one, tiny little scrap! That was all she needed to fill her belly, to keep moving. Just one little crumb.
Was that too much to ask for?
She was about to give up. She yearned to collapse on the ground and wait for death to claim her—hell, starvation was already crawling all over her, so death surely wasn't too far behind—when suddenly, she saw someone.
He was sitting in front of her. He was older than her—much older, perhaps in his later teens, or maybe even early twenties, she guessed. He donned a long, black fur coat with an upside cross on its back. The man had shiny black hair and dark black eyes that were, in fact, so dark that black was all she could see in them.
She blinked and stumbled backwards in surprise. When had he gotten there? She certainly hadn't seen him there a few moments ago when she'd checked.
"Here," the man said. He held out his hand. "Take this."
She eyed the man with narrowed eyes. Was he going to trick her? What if he wanted to kill her? What if-what if-what if—
What if what?
She had nothing to lose. She had no family. No friends. No people who would miss her. And she was already dying to begin with.
There was nothing to fear.
Taking a step forward, she hesitantly approached the man. She walked forward a few tiny steps until she was standing right in front of him. Then, she lowered her gaze, looking down at his hand.
In it, lay a piece of bread.
She thought of nothing before her arm lashed out and snatched the roll from the man's hand. In a flash, she had the bread in her hands, and she was frantically stuffing it in her mouth. It was gone in a blink of an eye.
Once again, the girl found herself standing there with empty hands. She gave her fingers one final lick before turning her gaze back to the man.
"I have another," he said upon noticing her hopeful gaze. He reached into the inside of his coat and extracted another roll of bread. Holding it out in front of him, the man stared at her again with his coal black eyes and said, "Take it."
But this time, the girl didn't. The bread roll she'd hungrily devoured was now sinking its way to the pit of her stomach. No longer was she a ravaging beast controlled by hunger. She was hungry still, but she could function now. So, instead of snatching it as fast as she could, the girl stared at the bread for a long time, silent. And then she switched her gaze to the man, who was also silent.
Then she opened her mouth. "Why?" Curiosity killed the cat.
"Did you not want it?" the young man replied, seeming slightly surprised.
"…Why?" she asked again, her brow furrowing. Why would he care if she was hungry? No one else did.
"I had extra," he explained, as if that made everything obvious.
It didn't. It just made the picture blur more.
"So?" she pried, frowning deeper. "Why didn't you just keep them and save them for later?" That was what she would have done if she had extra.
"I don't need them," he replied nonchalantly. His voice was flat and cold. Was the bread just extra baggage to him?
She stared at him like he had two heads. "You're stupid."
He shrugged. "I didn't want to carry it around."
"And weird," she added, crinkling her nose. "I still don't get why you'd give it to me. If you didn't want to carry it around, why not just eat it now?"
"A book I once read put it this way: 'No man is an island.'"
"What?" she asked dubiously. That didn't even answer her question, let alone make any sense. Was he insulting her intelligence?
His eyes were staring at the heaps of trash, but he saw none of it. "Like building a house – if you build a house without support beams, the house will topple over."
She didn't know why she was listening to him. Hell, she didn't even know why she was talking to him to begin with. But even so, something compelled her to continue. So, she did. "Oh," she said shortly. She paused for a second, a thought occurring to her. "Like a spider?"
The man's black eyes drifted lazily back to her. "A spider?" he questioned.
She nodded. "Spiders have eight legs and a head. The spider has a head to lead it, and eight legs to support and follow the head. The head can't move without the legs, but the legs can't move without the head, either. But if only a few of the legs are cut off, it can still continue surviving," she explained smartly. "So in a way, a spider's limbs are all connected, dependent on each other and yet independent at the same time."
"Intelligent theory," the man noted. He seemed mildly amused. "That's a very interesting view."
She shrugged and looked away. "Not really." Yes really.
There was a short silence where the two were lost in their thoughts. Finally, the man broke it. "…You believe solitude is safer than numbers," he said. It was not a question.
Funny. He seemed to be reading her thoughts.
"Uh, yes, I do," she said, as if it were obvious—which it was. Of course she did. How could she trust anyone when it was every man for himself? There was never enough food for you or anyone else, so how could you trust that anyone wouldn't backstab you and steal your food? She was alone. Everyone in this sad excuse of a dump was alone-even this man. How could he say that like she couldn't survive on her own, when he himself was sitting upon an abandoned car tire, all alone?
"That's why you're weak," the man said. "Make friends. Find a family. Find comrades. They will make you stronger."
The girl glared at him angrily. "So who're your comrades?" She certainly didn't see any around him at the moment.
"The people of Meteor City," he answered simply.
Her eyes widened. "All of them?" She rolled her eyes and scoffed. "No way."
He nodded. "You'd be surprised. People unite at the oddest times."
"Really?" She shot him a doubtful look.
"So then you're my comrade?" she asked skeptically.
"I guess you could say that," the man said.
"Dude, I'm sorry to say this, but you are craaa-zy." She placed her hands on her hips and shook her head, disbelieving. "Totally loony."
He just smiled, as if he knew something she didn't. He didn't seem to care at all that a six year old was impudently insulting him.
They lapsed into another silence then, but this time, the girl was the one to break it, instead of the man.
"…I don't want your bread," she said suddenly.
The man's brow furrowed, for once showing an emotion other than nonchalance, but he didn't say anything.
So she continued, "I don't really understand you at all, and I totally think you're off your rocker, but…" she paused and lowered her gaze, kicking at the ground. "If you're my comrade, then I don't want you to starve," she muttered quietly. Then her head snapped back up and she stuck her nose high in the air, sniffing arrogantly. "Besides, dummy, can't you see I don't need your help? I can survive on my own, thank you very much!"
The man stared at her for a second, before he closed his eyes and let out a bark of laughter. "It's alright," he said once he had calmed himself. He smiled and reached out with his hand.
Her eyes widened. What was he doing? She cringed away, stumbling a few steps backwards. But the man's hand kept coming, and her legs wouldn't move, so she just squeezed her eyes shut, awaiting the pain.
It never came.
Instead, there was an unfamiliar sensation of a soft hand upon her head. Cautiously, she cracked a wary eye open. Her other eye flew open, and she blinked at the sight in front of her, surprised. The man wasn't glaring. He didn't have hand raised to hit her. In fact, he didn't look intimidating at all. The man was standing now, smiling down at her with his hand placed gently on her head.
"You don't have to understand," he stated.
She was still staring wide-eyed at the man when he removed his hand from her head and turned. His hands—which she could still feel the traces of lingering on her head—sunk into the pockets of his coat. Boots crunched against the trash littering the dump's mounds as he walked away, coat tail swishing behind him.
It was then that she noticed he had left something on her head. Blinking in surprise, she reached up tenderly with her hand and plucked the thing off her head. When she brought it down, her eyes widened. "What the…?"
Her head snapped up and her angry gaze locked back on the man. "Hey, wait!" she shouted. Her pride was insulted. "Mister, I don't want your roll!"
The man paused. "I don't need it." He turned his head and smiled amusedly, which annoyed the girl. She didn't get what was so funny. "Keep it for yourself." He began to walk again, but the girl's voice calling back from behind him stopped him in his tracks yet again.
"Dumbass!" she shrieked. Her face flushed red in anger. Stomping her foot heavily. "I said I don't want your goddamn roll! Now take it back!" Without warning, the girl drew her arm back and thrust the roll of bread toward the man as hard as she could. She was about to grin, thinking it would hit the back of his head, when the man turned swiftly and caught it in the palm of his hand. "I don't need your pity," she continued haughtily. "I can get my own food!"
The man paused for a moment before putting the roll back in his pocket. A chuckle escaped his lips. "That's not what I saw," he said quietly. She could have sworn there was an amused smile playing on his lips, but he turned and started walking away again before she could take a second glance.
"Wait, you!" she hollered. Despite the harshness of her words, there was a hint of a grin on her face. "I never got your name!"
He paused. "…Chrollo," he finally said.
And then he was gone.
Staring down at the bread in her hand, she thought of the man's words. They were stupid; they made about as much sense as an oasis popping up in the middle of this dump.
You believe solitude is safer than numbers, he'd said.
Of course it was.
The people of Meteor City are my comrades, he'd claimed.
They can't be.
Make friends. Find a family. Find comrades, he'd told her.
At that time, the girl didn't understand. To her, his words were the mere ramblings of a crazy man, but for some reason she had stood there and listened to them anyways. One day though, she would come to understand. However, that day would not come until much later, when she met the boy she came to call her younger brother and the old woman she came to call her granny.
After that day, she never saw Chrollo again—not for a long time. But that didn't matter to her. His words remained ingrained in her head as if a chainsaw had grinded them into a block of wood. Not for one second did she ever forget him, what he said, or what he did for her.
Black, white, gray, black, white, gray…Seeing the world that way had always made sense to her. It was clear cut and easy to put into categories. But now, there was something else. The black tinted a little bit red. The white had splotches of blue. The gray cracked with blue undercoats. She began to notice the changes all around her. Little speckles of orange on white skies. A glop of purple on gray ground. Yellow dots on black canvas.
Little things they were. But they were only the beginning. Just the first spark of what would soon become a whole pallet of fresh, bright, and beautiful colors.
She would never forget it.
It was the day she learned to see in color.
. . .
READ THE OVERLY LONG A/N! Because I said so!...And because it had some important stuff in it. Like warnings. And all that other useless stuff.
A/N (Yes, the one I said you must read): And that concludes the prologue! So…what do you think? Cheesy? Corny? Sappy? …Why are all those words edible? Why are they making me so hungry? Why am I asking so many dumb questions?
…Well, anyway, moving on. The quote in the middle, "No man is an island," is by John Donne. It means that human beings do not thrive when isolated from others.
I tried my best to make Chrollo in character here. My sister made the long, treacherous, two-step journey just to my room to come over and help me edit the chapter. We significantly reduced the OOC-ness of Chrollo, so it shouldn't burn your eyes completely out of their sockets. But… no guarantees. I am in no way responsible for loss of eyesight or severe trauma...
So, I was talking about my older sister, right? Yes, of course I am right. Why am I asking? Okay, so anyway, before I go so off topic I start talking about avocadoes (whoops, too late), many of you should know her, for she is….*cue drum roll*….
The great CURSED BUNNY!
…And she has several great stories out there that you should totally check out, because I am totally not advertising, and she totally did not ask me to do this for her, and…yeah. Go look at her stories. She has one Hunter x Hunter story called Invisible, so, if for some odd reason you haven't read that yet, I recommend it. It is as good as high quality Meiji milk chocolate. I AM NOT DONE YET. She ALSO has a very good story that is NEW and IMPROVED (because I read it and I am totally amazing) in the Fullmetal Alchemist fandom called Fallacy…or something like that. I mean, I think that's it, but if it's not then… I'll feel really stupid. But at least I won't be depressed for long, because my sister will come and hammer me over the head. Then I'll have brain trauma and will therefore forget why I was depressed to begin with.
Here's the important part: This story will be long. My OC may annoy you. I admit to having mary-sue tendencies. I also admit to having a hopeless case of OOC. It is rated T for (mostly) my OC's potty mouth. This is Killua x OC. Romance is slow, because I am incredibly mature and do not gag at the sight of juicy kissy scenes in the second chapter (by the way, that last part was sarcasm). My grammar could use some serious brushing up, but I'm counting on my lovely readers to hand me the brush, so I can fix it. So yeah, YOU BETTER REVIEW.
To the readers of my previous fanfics- One word: Sorry.
The belated disclaimer which I totally did not almost forget to put in: Hunter x Hunter and all the characters and plot belong to Yoshihiro Togashi. I only own my OC. Steal her, and I will come running at you with a laptop poised above my head to bash you. On the other hand, I wish I owned Killua. Togashi doesn't need him as much as I do. Really.
So….review? I want constructive criticism and real opinions.