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Kicking Against the Goad

Chapter Text

On the fifth day of his 12th grade year, Kurapika found himself sitting alone at the secretary’s desk, 45 minutes before the bell for homeroom would ring.

It wasn’t an unusual occurrence, as Mr. Buhara usually spent as much time as possible in the teachers’ lounge chatting with the home economics instructor and exchanging recipes with her before the start of his day.

Still, so early on in the year, Kurapika would have thought he’d be better supervised— not that he needed it. He had begun the job of student office assistant the year before when he’d been looking for something impressive sounding to put on his college applications, and he’d been good at it from the start.

By now he was practically an expert when it came to running the school office. Which was good, because far too often it seemed the adult office staff didn’t actually take their jobs seriously.

Then again, neither did the principal. Principal Netero had been in the office when Kurapika had arrived for the day, but he had quickly left to go to a ‘meeting.’ Kurapika wasn’t quite sure who one went to meet with while wearing a tee-shirt and sweatpants, but he was fairly certain it wasn’t someone who had anything to do with the school. Whatever he was doing, it would apparently be over with by 4th period if Principal Netero was to be believed.

Kurapika sighed. It would be another boring morning spent shredding papers by himself. He wished he had something more intellectually stimulating to do.

As if hearing his wish, a boy knocked on the office door before poking his head inside.

“Hi, am I too early?” The boy asked.

Kurapika smiled before waving the boy inside.

“Not at all. What can I help you with?” Kurapika asked as he examined the person in front of him.

The first thing Kurapika realized was that the boy didn’t look the least bit familiar, despite looking like the type of person who would stick out, given his high spiked hair and impressive physique. For a moment Kurapika considered that the boy could be a first year, but the impressive amount of muscles on his body made him highly doubt that.

The green clad boy strolled into the office happily before coming to a stop at the desk Kurapika was occupying.

“I’m Gon Freecss. I’m new and came to get my schedule,” Gon explained. “I talked to a secretary on the phone the other day. Oh, and the principal, I think! They said I could pick it up here.”

Kurapika wasn’t even surprised that no one had given him a heads-up.

He smiled tightly at Gon before quickly scanning Mr. Buhara’s desk, looking for anything that resembled a schedule. When he didn’t immediately see anything he began checking drawers.

“You’ll have to give me a moment to check. The actual secretary isn’t in right now, as you can see,” Kurapika said, not meeting Gon’s eyes as he hurriedly looked through drawers.

“Oh! I thought you looked a little young to be a school secretary,” Gon said, showing no signs of irritation at having to wait.

“Yes, I’m just the student office assistant,” Kurapika explained before finally finding the folder with Gon’s name on it. “Ah, here it is.”

Kurapika pulled open the folder and grabbed Gon’s schedule, making sure not to look at anything else the file contained, before holding it out for Gon.

Gon reached for the paper, but not before very obviously running his eyes up and down Kurapika’s body. The action made Kurapika snort.

“Do you see something you like?” The blond asked in a reprimanding tone with a cocked eyebrow.

Gon immediately laughed sheepishly. “Sorry, bad habit. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable, if I did, especially since I just met you. And we’re alone. Oh, wow, I really need to control myself! That was really creepy, wasn’t it?”

Kurapika couldn’t help but let out a soft laugh. Normally such an action would have immediately left Kurapika with a bad taste in his mouth, but there was something about Gon that came across as unbearably innocent despite what he had just done. The blond couldn’t find it in himself to be offended, and being offended was something his friends could testify to him being quite proficient at.

“It’s okay. I should just warn you that I’m not interested and am terribly prude,” Kurapika said, tone joking, but words mostly true. The not being interested part was definitely true. He had unfortunately managed to lose his heart to a tall, inconsiderate, moron and hadn’t yet found a way to retrieve it.

Gon grinned. “That’s okay! I can already tell we’re going to be friends, anyway. And I wouldn’t do anything to upset a friend.”

Kurapika lightly shook his head as he smiled. The only thing he could tell was that Gon was something else. But then again, maybe that was a good thing. He had a feeling Gon and Leorio would get along.

“Then that’s settled, I suppose. Let me know if you need help with your schedule,” Kurapika said before placing Gon’s folder back in the desk where he’d found it.

“Okay!” Gon agreed before unfolding his schedule and walking toward the door as he glanced at it.

He made it three steps before turning back around.

“Uh…”

“Kurapika.”

“Kurapika, my schedule is wrong,” Gon said before walking back over to the desk.

“What’s wrong with it?” Kurapika asked curiously although he had no power to make any changes.

“Um… Everything. I think. No, Algebra I is right, but, everything else is wrong,” Gon said, his eyes looking over his schedule in horror.

“Unfortunately, you’ll have to talk to Principal Netero about that. He won’t be back in until 4th period. Do you think you can manage your classes until then?” Kurapika asked.

“Yeah, I can do that! I mean, if I sing quietly, I think I can,” Gon said before shaking his head, as though he was shaking away whatever thought he was having. “Anyway, I’ll let you get back to your work. Thanks for all the help!”

Gon then quickly turned and left the office, leaving Kurapika to his paper shredding in a much better mood than he had been before. There was something undeniably pleasant about Gon. He had probably been right; they would be friends.

For the next 20 minutes Kurapika worked by himself with only the sounds of office equipment filling up the room.

Then all at once the room got louder when Leorio barged in carrying a cup of coffee.

“Hey, ‘Pika! Workin’ hard or hardly working, am I right?” Leorio joked before sitting the coffee down on the desk in front of the blond.

Kurapika rolled his eyes having heard Leorio make some iteration of the phrase far too many times to him the year prior. It was only the coffee Leorio had sat down that kept a complaint from coming out of the blond’s mouth.

“How are you today, Leorio?” Kurapika asked before taking a sip of the coffee Leorio had brought him. To his delight Leorio had remembered his morning coffee preference of black coffee with only one creamer.

“Pretty good. Finished my anatomy paper last night. It has ‘A’ written all over it,” Leorio bragged as he took a seat on the corner of Mr. Buhara’s desk, nearly knocking over a paperweight that was shaped like a pig.

Kurapika moved the paperweight further onto the desk before replying, “I’m happy to hear that. I know you were doing a lot of research for it.”

He’d known because as usual Leorio had been blowing up his phone with text after text about his research. Kurapika had pretended to be bothered by the constant stream of messages, but really he’d enjoyed them. He liked being the person that Leorio shared his thoughts with, despite being the person least likely to text him back.

Of course Kurapika would like it more if Leorio would ask him to come over to see his research in person. Or better yet, Leorio could ask him out for a study date. One where both of their feelings could be out on the table alongside their books, and where they weren’t getting kicked out of a library.

Kurapika didn’t think it was much to ask.

Unfortunately the two of them had been gridlocked for over a year on the unspoken subject.

It had become obvious how they felt about one another, between the late night texting, constant bickering, and sexual tension thick enough to make Killua threaten to leave a room.

But neither of them had acted on it.

When Kurapika had first noticed Leorio’s feelings, he had still been in denial about his own. Something he felt was understandable given how difficult it was to get past Leorio’s spurious outer layer of douchebag to find the kind, compassionate, gregarious person underneath.

At the time he’d thought Leorio was holding back his feelings in fear of rejection. Then Kurapika had finally started accepting how he felt about Leorio. Slowly it became obvious to everyone that they liked each other. It also became obvious that Leorio wasn’t going to make the first move, despite having felt something first.

In Kurapika’s opinion, that was more than a little insulting.

His response had been fairly simple. He took his already obvious feelings and amplified them whenever the two were alone, but always stopped before admitting anything incriminating. Anything that too clearly spelled out ‘I want to date you.’

To Kurapika’s disbelief, Leorio had followed suit. For a short time Kurapika thought he had only managed to take their flirting to the next level. Then a school dance had been announced and Leorio had made a show of listing all of the people who he might ask. Kurapika could still picture Killua’s utterance of, ‘Are you fucking for real?’ while Leorio had only been looking at him, waiting for a reaction.

It was then that he’d realized that they were both playing the same game, baiting the other to be the first to confess. At the time it had been annoying, but it had also been a little exciting. A game to play. A challenge between them.

But a year later it had progressed to only being annoying. And childish. But just the same, Kurapika wasn’t going to lose.

“Surprised you noticed. You weren’t texting back much,” Leorio accused, tone still civil.

Kurapika shredded a paper, acting disinterested. “I suppose I had my mind on other things.”

“Like what?” Leorio asked, eyes looking like they were attempting to look through Kurapika’s skull and into his brain.

“Hm, nothing much, I suppose. I was bored,” Kurapika stated, knowing he would hit Leorio in his ego. “I was considering getting out to do something.”

Leorio let out a displeased noise through his nose. “Yeah, I’m sure Killua or Melody would have been so much more interesting than me.”

“Probably,” Kurapika agreed to Leorio’s sarcasm, making the taller man glare. “Although if they weren’t, I’m sure I could find someone who was.”

Leorio rolled his eyes. “Who the hell else would you even hangout with?”

The question shouldn’t have bothered Kurapika, seeing as there wasn’t anyone else who he would choose to hangout with. But something about Leorio’s tone rubbed against his feelings like sandpaper. Did Leorio think he couldn’t make other friends?

Suddenly the boy from this morning popped into Kurapika’s mind, making him smirk to himself.

“Mm, perhaps you’re right. Although, I do have someone in mind that I would like to spend some time with.”

Leorio scoffed in disbelief. “Oh yeah, who’s that?”

Kurapika kept his cool. “His name’s Gon; he’s new. I met him this morning when I gave him his schedule. He had a very warm personality,” Kurapika explained before going in for the kill. “And a very hot body.”

Kurapika almost laughed at the way Leorio half fell off of the desk in his journey to facing him.

“What the hell?” Leorio yelled.

“I’m only being honest. There’s nothing to get excited about,” Kurapika said easily as though they were still discussing homework. “He’s very friendly and good looking, and seemed to have an interest in us spending time together. So I might ask him to do something.”

Leorio stared at him as though trying to figure out if he should take him seriously or contribute his words to the challenge that had been hanging between them for a year. Kurapika loved that about Leorio. The way it was so easy to make him jealous even when Leorio knew there wasn’t anything to worry about. When they were dating Kurapika would have to work with him on that. For now, he was grateful for it.

Kurapika looked him straight on, trying to show that there were no lies in his words, even though they were severely out context.

Leorio looked to be doubting himself. Good.

“I mean, whatever you want to do. But you should probably have him meet us first,” Us was obviously referring to him and Killua. “You know, just to make sure he’d not a weirdo or anything.”

Kurapika smiled. “That’s sweet Leorio, but I don’t think that’s necessary. He’s very nice. Actually his personality reminds me of the sun.”

Leoio looked like he was going to choke. Kurapika couldn’t remember the last time he felt so pleased.

The sun?” Leorio questioned, his voice sounding strained.

“Yes. Bright, warm, a human’s natural desire to get plenty of it,” Kurapika listed as he walked around his desk to stand next to Leorio. “I’m sure if you and Killua meet him you’ll understand.”

At first Leorio seemed ready to yell some retort, like he might suggest that there had to be something wrong with Gon, but then he steadied himself. Kurapika knew he’d just had a thought.

“Whatever you say, Kurapika. But sunshine boy seems a little too good to be true.” Even as he said it, Leorio’s frustration seemed to have all but vanished.

Kurapika knew Leorio was planning retaliation. Sadly, Kurapika would just have to wait for it. It was too difficult to figure out what he was thinking when Leorio had that proud look on his face. The one that made Kurapika want to pull him into the empty office supply room to resolve their unaddressed sexual tension.

“I guess we’ll see,” Kurapika said.

He had every plan of changing the conversation topic after that, of flirting with Leorio until classes started. But whatever Leorio was planning seemed to need immediate attention.

“I guess we will. I’ll see you later.”

Leorio walked out of the office, but the second he was out of sight, Kurapika heard the slamming of his shoes against the floor.

Kurapika sighed. The game was on.