Disclaimer: The characters and events of Hunter x Hunter are owned by Yoshihiro Togashi.

"Grayscale" Chapter One

Fan-Fiction For: Hunter x Hunter; Killua Zaoldyeck

Begin.

It was relatively quiet in the wide Hunter's Meeting Area beneath the small Greasy-Spoon restaurant. A low buzz was the most that could be heard as the several - well, not several exactly, but enough - bodies of Hunter Wannabees inhaled and exhaled to further their existence.

Among these Hunter Hopefuls was a young girl, twelve or thirteen age wise, with charcoal hair knotted at the back of her head in a pony-tail. It spiked, though, in a very pineapple-leaf type fashion. Her eyes were a dark, shining black that, while pupil-less, were not totally void of emotion.

As she stood alone in the sea of people, her attire and air of arrogance made many individuals gaze in her direction. Then again, few expected a female teenager dressed in a white "fingerless" undershirt with a black halter-top accentuated above a deep gray skort and black flat-heeled boots to be accepted into the Hunter Exams.

The button on her undershirt bragged that she had not only been taken into the Hunter Exams, but she had been the thirteenth. Supposedly, the unluckiest.

Her eyes swept over the crowd of two-hundred plus people until she caught sight of an interesting figure.

He was lean (though she couldn't be sure with his baggy shirt and shorts), with a thin angular face blotted out by large fairly expressionless green eyes below a mess of tangled spiky white hair.

As if feeling the weight of her stare, he turned his head a fraction of an inch and returned the gaze. He gave a fleeting smile, and a very small, very unsure wave.

Her lips stretched into a grin, exposing a mouthful of white teeth, and her hand extended into the air as she gave a full armed hello.

From their distance the girl could tell that he smiled a little wider and gave a laugh. This was a good sign. She approached him at a brisk clip, her boots clapping against the concrete floor.

"Hi," she said brightly, giving an informal half-bow and crossing her arms over her chest. "I'm Karasu."

He nodded in greeting. "Killua."

"Well, it's nice to meet you, Killua. What's your specialty?" she inquired, one brow arching over her eye.

"Specialty?" He blinked twice at her.

"Mm-hm," she nodded. "Like, what kind of Hunter? Food, animal, rare treasure...," her mouth twisted into a vicious leer and she whispered giddily, "people...?"

"I'm not really... sure yet," Killua muttered, rubbing the back of his neck.

She smiled at him, the previously malicious shadow passing from her features. "It's something you should probably think about. I'm going to be a Hunter for People."

He frowned; looking mildly confused, and then nodded. "I guess that's what I'm looking to do. There're a bunch of people I want to bring in for their bounty."

Karasu eyed him, her fingers to her lips in thought. Then she nodded.

"So we have something of a common goal. Well, I guess that's good!" She laughed a little, and then snapped her head around.

Killua reacted less dramatically, but both ended up staring at a man with a large nose, slicked back hair, and the number Sixteen button attached to his right chest.

"Hi!" he greeted confidently, a smile plastered to his face. "Would you two like a drink?"

He extended two cans of what looked like orange juice. Karasu's face wrinkled in disgust and suspicion, while Killua's brightened.

"Sure, thanks!" he exclaimed, taking one of the cans, popping the tab and chugging the contents.

"And you?" the man questioned, holding the beverage out to her.

Karasu shook her head slowly. "No, thank you. I don't accept food or drink from strangers."

"Your loss," Killua said, crushing the can and tossing it aside, smiling. "Thanks a bunch! I was really thirsty."

"No problem, I guess I'll see you two later," the man said, walking away.

"What's your name?" Killua questioned loudly after him.

He half turned and replied over his shoulder, "Tonpa."

As he left, Karasu sent him a wicked glare. "I don't trust him."

"The juice did taste a little funny," Killua agreed mildly, and then shrugged. "It's fine, though. I've built up my resistance to all kinds of poison."

She stared at him in admiration. "Arsenic?"

"Yep."

"Iron?"

"Uh-huh."

"Carbon Monoxide?"

"Well, sure."

"Rattlesnake bite?"

He nodded.

She grinned. "That's an interesting immunity, Killua."

At this he shrugged. "I guess it'll come in handy."

From not too far away came a shocked scream, and both kids turned to stare at a man who'd just seemed to lose his arms below the elbow. Before him was a man with wavy reddish hair and a demonic smile. His cheeks were adorned with a star and a teardrop. In all, he covered the stereotype for joker by shuffling a deck of cards.

"Ew, clowns creep me out," Karasu commented, her brow crinkling.

"Ignore it," Killua replied, turning on his heel and walking away.

Blinking, she called after him, "Do you want me to follow, or pretend I never met you?"

He paused for half a step. "You're not following, you're accompanying."

She grinned and jogged to his side. He smacked his lips together. "I'm still thirsty."

Karasu rolled her eyes playfully. "Why don't you find Mr. Tonpa? He's probably got juice to go 'round."

"Good idea," he remarked, looking off into the crowd and then gesturing wildly. "Tonpa! Can you spare another can of juice?"

Karasu followed his gaze to spot none other than the short pudgy man.

He approached them smirking, "What, taking me up on my offer?"

"Not me," she disagreed, shaking her head.

Meanwhile, Killua had already downed three more cans. He sighed in contentment. "That was yummy!"

Both Karasu and Killua caught the concerned/confused look on Tonpa's face, and the boy couldn't help but jab at the older man's insecurity. "Don't worry, no poison will kill me."

Smirking, the two departed. They only made it a little ways before a loud, high-pitched squealing echoed through the air. Looking up, everyone spied a man in a deep black suit with no mouth holding up the screeching offender. He clacked its mouth shut, happy that he had everyone's attention.

"Registration is closed as of now," he began. Karasu was shocked he could speak without any trace of a mouth, but decided not to comment. "The Hunter Exam has begun. I would like to clear a few things up before we begin - the Exam is harsh. If you lack the ability - too bad for you. If you happen to be unlucky - again, that is unfortunate."

At this, everyone's eyes drifted toward the charcoal-haired girl with the number Thirteen pinned to her breast.

"As you saw other examinees are not above sabotaging others, if you are alright with that, then please, follow me."

He began at a brisk pace down the tunnel, and everyone followed, looking either vaguely annoyed or blankly confused.

Karasu frowned. "He's speeding up," she whispered, feeling her legs begin to work overtime. "I should've worn different shoes."

Killua chuckled, and then fed her an impish smile. "Try to keep up."

He threw down a skateboard, hopping on and rolling forward quicker than most applicants were moving. She gasped and sprinted after him. "You're so mean!"

"I am Satotz, your examiner for the first phase and your guide to the second. Please try to keep up," the mouthless man - now labeled Satotz - called after him, and Karasu grumbled under her breath as she came neck and neck with Killua.

"You're slow."

"You're riding on a friggin' skateboard, you might be slower than me," she snapped.

He laughed.

From behind them, a man shouted suddenly, "A skateboard? That's cheating!"

Killua half turned to stare at the man with a short black haircut, sunglasses, and a suit. "How so?"

"This is a test of endurance!" he yelled back.

The blonde man beside him corrected him immediately. "Not necessarily, you just assumed that."

"Who's side are you on?"

Karasu's eye landed on the boy running with the two arguing males, and smiled at him. "Hi, I'm Karasu. What's your name?"

He grinned back. "I'm Gon.

"I'm Killua," said boy said quickly, not wanting to be left out. He looked at Gon inquisitively. "How old are you, Gon?"

"Twelve," he responded.

"Me, too," both Karasu and Killua informed brightly.

"Hm... I think I'll run for a while," Killua mused before kicking his legs to send his skateboard airborne, and then into his arms.

"Oh, yeah, sure," Karasu muttered, slowing a little. "You skateboard for me, but you'll run for Gon."

Killua ignored her and looked at the black-haired man that'd accused him of cheating. "And who're you, Pops?"

"Pops?" he cried, outraged. "I'm not even twenty yet!"

"No way!" Gon and Karasu cried, shocked.

"Et tu, Gon! Our friendship's over!" the man shouted.

Giggling, Karasu listened as Gon introduced the other two.

The black-haired man was Leorio, the blonde was Kurapika.

And with these four new acquaintances - not yet but almost friends - the young girl Karasu began her road toward becoming a Hunter.