"Big brother, give me a hug."
Killua raised an eyebrow at his little sister, who stood there in front of him with her arms out stretched and an expectant look on her face. She hadn't pulled that one in a while now. That wasn't to say that as she grew older that she didn't want affection, but she was growing less and less dependent on him as time went on. Such independence naturally meant a decline in how many requests she made of him. But sometimes Alluka and Nanika would put in requests for three affectionate gestures just for old times' sake. Like now.
Obediently, Killua moved to hug Alluka, and she, in turn, wrapped her arms tightly around his shoulders, hugging a little tighter than she usually did.
"Lift me in the air."
Grudgingly, Killua obeyed. Alluka was almost seventeen now and it was getting harder and hard to lift her up when she requested it. And it wasn't because she weighed more; that hardly mattered to Killua who had been able to open the Test Door of his family's estate since he was a toddler. No, it was mostly that she was getting taller, and she was almost taller than he was at this point. That was hardly fair. Once he got her off the ground, he swung her around a bit while she giggled along, then he set her gently on the ground again. Then he waited patiently for her third request.
"Now, tell me what's wrong."
Well that was unexpected. What happened to asking for a kiss or a pat on the head?
"You've been really down lately, and it's not good to keep it inside. Tell me what's wrong."
Killua's shoulders slumped. It had been a manipulative move on her part to force this out of him by way of her abilities, but she did it because she cared. And it was true. Killua never told anyone how he was feeling. He didn't even used to tell Gon. Then again, Gon had never really noticed when things bothered him. Even if he did, he never bothered to ask. He sighed through his nose before gritting his teeth to answer.
He glanced up, hoping he would see the blank stare of Nanika, but the bright eyes of Alluka met his gaze instead.
"You have to give me a better explanation than that."
"It's not fair you're using your ability on me."
"Well, you won't tell me otherwise so I might as well."
"…fine. Gon sent me an e-mail the other day. He wants to see me."
"Isn't that a good thing? It's been a really long time since we've seen Gon. You usually miss him."
"I do miss him."
Killua bit his lip. That had escaped his mouth before he could stop it. It really wasn't fair that she was doing this to him. He could barely admit these things inside his own head when he was left alone to think. Now he had to say them aloud or he'd be at the mercy of Alluka's nen ability and be mincemeat instead. Well, there was nothing like the threat of death to force you to come to terms with your own emotions.
"I… I miss him. I want to see him. I always want to see him. I miss the days when we used to travel together."
He reached out for Alluka's hands, taking them in his own and looking her in the eye.
"That's not to say I haven't enjoyed travelling with you. You know I love you."
"I know, big brother."
"But—but even though I want to see him again, to be with him again, I'm reminded of what he said to me. And it was so long ago, and I should have forgiven him by now but…"
Killua closed his eyes and bowed his head.
"Every time we've met since then has been… It's been fun but it's also been…"
Alluka squeezed Killua's hands in her own as Killua caught his breath.
"Every time it's over and he walks away from me—it's always him walking away from me. It's so easy for him. So easy to… to leave me."
Crap. The tears came stinging to Killua's eyes before he could stop them, and he stubbornly rubbed at his eyes to wipe them away. He felt Alluka's hands on his face, lifting his head so that they could see each other eye to eye. The bottomless stare of Nanika greeted him, though her expression was sad and melancholy.
Killua briefly wondered if Nanika's healing abilities included healing someone's heart. Could he ask her to ease the pain he felt whenever he thought of how Gon didn't need him as much as he needed Gon? Would she be able to do something as incredible as that?
"Killua, you're Gon's best friend. Whenever he's really happy or in trouble, he always asks for you and you most of all. He depends on you."
Nanika leaned over to hug Killua tight, putting her head on his chest.
"I depend on you too, Killua. You are needed and wanted and loved, believe me. Now, make a wish."
Though he hesitated, he returned her embrace with a soft smile. Both Alluka and Nanika were masters of making him feel better.
"Thank you Nanika. Can you hand me my phone?"
Smiling, the blank-faced Nanika reached to the table beside them and handed Killua his phone. In a blink, she was gone and Alluka had returned, smiling. Their transitions were getting more and more seamless with time.
"Are you calling Gon?"
"Yeah. Pack up, we're gonna be leaving soon."
As he began texting a message, Killua resolved that it was time to properly talk with Gon about this. They couldn't go their whole lives being "best friends" while Killua secretly harbored this inner resentment. It wasn't fair to either of them, and it was hardly fair on Alluka either, when she had to deal with him being a sourpuss every time Gon was mentioned.
He could hear him coming from a mile away. In the noisy, crowded airport, somehow Gon's voice managed to pierce through the din and resonate. Killua turned to see a head of spiky black hair bounding towards him before he was snatched into a vice masquerading as a hug.
"G-Gon! Let… go!"
Of course he was happy to see his friend. But he also felt the need to breathe and would be even happier to release his lungs from the crushing grip.
"Sorry, sorry! Where's Alluka?"
"She's waiting back at the hotel. Anyway, let me look at you."
It had been almost two years since they had last laid eyes on each other. Gon and his father had run away to some faraway continent where passage was severely restricted even for Hunters. Anytime Gon had the free time to meet up, he was always the one who had to travel the farthest because Killua could no longer travel freely to these restricted locations with Alluka in tow. But he tried to meet him halfway whenever we could.
And here was his friend, two years later, with slightly shorter hair, slightly stockier build, he was even a bit taller—wait. Killua's eyes widened in shock and horror as he realized he was looking up at those bright golden eyes.
"Did you—did you get taller than me?!"
"Huh? Oh, yeah I did!"
First Alluka, now Gon too?! Killua could almost feel his hair deflating in despair. It just wasn't fair...
"Ow! What was that for?"
Growing taller than your best friend was definitely punishable by a pinch on the cheek. Killua' logic was flawless. But the genuinely painful pinch was soon followed by a playful box on the shoulder. It was good to see him again. And Killua could never help himself. Whenever Gon stood in front of him with that big stupid grin on his face, Killua couldn't really stop the corners of his mouth from rising.
"It's good to see you, Gon."
"Yeah… you too, Killua. I've really missed you."
Killua also couldn't really stop himself from turning red whenever Gon spouted embarrassing lines like they were the most natural things in the world to say.
"Sh-Shut up. A-anyway, let's get going."
"Are we going to see Alluka?"
"Where else are we going to go?"
Killua frowned at Gon's hesitation. Gon never hesitated about anything. He was an idiot who rushed into anything and everything without thinking, and he said whatever he wanted all the time.
"Gon, what is it?"
In his mind, Killua could remember only one time Gon had fidgeted and stammered about saying something and it was the one time that he invited Killua to Whale Island after their stint in the Battle Tower.
"It's just that I wanted to spend some time together. Just us."
That earned Gon another pinch as Killua would rather torment Gon than admit his own embarrassment.
Clamping his hands over his cheeks, Gon was about to protest but Killua was already texting Alluka with his cellphone to say he'd be back a little bit later than anticipated. Gon felt a bit sorry for Alluka, as he was sure that she felt like a third wheel whenever the two of them met up again. Bisky had complained of the same.
"We can bring Alluka a present later to make up for it." Killua put the phone away in his pocket. "Ok then, since it's just us, what did you have in mind?"
A loud growling in Gon's stomach answered that question. Their eyes met for a few seconds before they both burst out laughing. It had really been a while.
"Well, I guess that answers that. I know a place close by, come on."
A/N: Reviews always welcome~ I haven't written fic in a while, so I'm really rusty, and I've come back to this fandom after years of it being on hiatus. What can I say, the animated chimera ant arc has loaded me with feels.