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dreaming of a paradise with you

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reason cafe is a strange cafe, nestled somewhere amongst the tall hulking buildings of yorknew city. it is strange in the fact that it doesn’t open everyday. it is strange in the fact that when it does open, it opens at the most random times. people have seen the cafe open as early as dawn, or as late as the mid-afternoon.

no one really minds the weird opening and closing times, partly because the owners have always been such good sports about it, and the amazing sweets and drinks they serve make up for it anyways. it was like a hidden gem to the citizens of yorknew. 

when it does open, there is always a long queue, because it is quite rare that they do open. it is even more rare for the two owners to open together. someone had asked one of them—the black haired one—where the co-owner was before, and he had simply laughed and said he was out for a job, and that was that. 

today though, the two of them stood behind the counter, bustling around making coffee or restocking whatever pastries were running low. 

that’s another strange thing about this particular cafe: it was only ever the two of them behind the bar serving the customers. no one else seemed to work for them, but sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’d get to meet the owners’ friends, who often help around. if you ask around, people would claim that a pretty blond with a singular red earring and striking eyes had manned the bar one particular day, or that a petite energetic blue eyed girl with the loveliest smile had served them their coffee. 

however, no matter how many people loved the occasional guest appearances of the others, when it was just the two owners, that’s when the cafe truly felt special. 

anyone with eyes could see that the two were irrevocably in love, with the way the white haired one stares fondly at the black haired one when he thinks the other isn’t looking, or the way the black haired one tends to bump hips with the white haired one while he’s brewing coffee. 

anyone with ears could hear that they were irrevocably in love, with the way the black haired one whispers quite loudly what is presumably sweet nothings to his white haired partner, who blushes and hisses a “not so loud,” eyes darting around the cafe nervously, while the black haired one laughs, voice carrying throughout the cafe. 

even though it is quite a small cafe, it is filled to the brim with the two’s love for each other and their customers, along with large circular wooden tables paired with long wooden benches alongside the windows and the walls, each table with a vase of a variety of beautiful flowers (that the white haired one replaces before each opening), drying petals strewn everywhere on the floor. on the ceiling hung fairy lights, and if you look deeper into the cafe, you would see tall hulking bookcases filled to the brim with any book you could possibly find. (some days, if you’re really, really lucky, you could find the pretty blond who helped with the cafe once in a while curled up in the window seat in the back, reading some book and humming nonsensically.) worn speakers would play cheesy love songs (courtesy of the black haired one) or rock music (courtesy of the white haired one), and laughter would often accompany it. it felt homey, and that’s why everyone loves it so much, even if the owners are much of a mystery. 

rumors often ran rampant, with some whispering that they were assassins or ex-mafia members running away from police enforcement, or even part of those killer spiders that had ravaged yorknew city years and years ago (which is another rumor in of itself). others had laughed, and said that they were probably just normal everyday citizens who opened a cafe for the same reason everyone does. some brave souls had even asked the owners themselves, but more often than not, they received less than clear answers, accompanied with a mischievous smile and a wink if it was the black haired one they had asked, or a twitch of the lips trying their best to suppress a smile if it was the white haired one. but the majority of the city decided that they didn’t really care; it wasn’t their business anyways. 

the owners’ names are gon and killua, the city finds out eventually, quite anti-climatically too. 

they had found out when one of the owners’ friends, this time a man with messy black hair and small circular glasses perched on his nose, who was apparently named leorio, had skipped the line and yelled their names for the whole queue to hear. gon had been most excited by this and had apparently jumped over the counter to rush to give the other man a big hug, while killua had hung back and merely shouted a “hey, old man,” to which said old man promptly ignored. by the end of the day, everyone and their second cousin knew who the owners of reason cafe were by name. 

gon and killua didn’t seem to mind their names being spread out to the public. in fact, they welcomed this new development with open arms, more so gon than killua, who eventually warmed up to it anyways. they even started opening more frequently and together too, which garnered a silent cheer from their many regular customers. 

it was gon who started to spark conversations between him and the customers one day, when killua wasn’t around, doing something only the both of them knew. anyone could see he was lonely without his partner next to him making comments on the most random things, but it was still quite a surprise when he started talking to the customers who stood nearby as he made their orders, partially because he had never done that before. but then again, there is something intimate about being known by name by people you didn’t. 

it had started with mundane things, such as the weather, as all conversations do, that eventually transgressed into different topics. 

apparently gon and killua are both turning twenty this year, quite young for business owners of two years, which again fueled rumors for what kind of backgrounds they had come from, but as all rumors do, they didn’t last very long. 

as people got to know him better, they would come to realise that gon loved talking about killua, about how they were best friends since they were twelve, about how he finally realised he was in love with killua at the tender age of sixteen (“who confessed first,” someone had teased, to which gon replied with a “i did” and a laugh), about how they travelled the world together with their friends, leorio and kurapika (who apparently was the blond who sometimes helped around or lurked in the back of the cafe, reading whatever book they chose this time), and killua’s sister alluka (who apparently was the girl with the pretty smile, and once gon had pointed it out, people could easily see the similarities between the two), about the many adventures they supposedly had, about the many close calls to death they also supposedly had, to which gon laughed off when the customer would stare at him with concerned eyes. 

“so what made you decide to settle in yorknew city? you seemed like you had quite the childhood,” someone had asked in response to that, to which gon answered with a shrug. 

“sometimes it gets exhausting,” he eventually replied with his signature smile, 

and that was that. 

 

killua also started talking to the customers when he worked alone too, although many speculate that was because gon had goaded him into it. he was a lot more awkward compared to his black haired companion, but it didn’t deter the customers one bit. 

killua rarely talks about his family and friends, unlike gon—who spills things about killua, about his aunt mito who lives on whale island, about leorio, about kurapika, about alluka, about anything and everything like it was day-old coffee—preferring to keep things more professional. he is an avid listener though, even though he tries to hide it, but there is no denying the small curve of his mouth as he listens to a customer ramble about their day to him. sometimes, if there are only a couple of customers left, usually at the end of the day, he’d loosen up, and interject with witty and sarcastic comments to go with the story. 

“you know what, you’re quite funny yourself,” someone had cheerfully said in response to killua’s snarky comment about their boss, to which killua responded with a “t-thanks” and a pretty pink blush smattered across his cheeks. turns out he was as easy to fluster as gon had said. 

similar to gon, killua also loves talking about his partner, and when prompted, he simply couldn’t stop. soon, almost everyone knew how reckless gon is, how effortlessly gon made killua laugh, how dumb gon is, how killua had fallen in love with gon at the tender age of twelve when they had met for the first time. even though he would rarely go in depth about the adventures gon said the both of them had, and oftentimes complained about gon, but anyone could see killua really did love him. 

however, when killua is with gon, he’d be indistinguishable from the killua working alone. 

him and gon often made everything into a friendly competition, such as who could make the most cups of coffee (kurapika has the both of them beat from the one day they had worked there), who could bake the most pastries (that was killua’s win from months ago, and it still hasn’t been toppled), who could take the most orders (that was a tie, but gon is close to beating that today), and more. rings of killua’s laughter as he won their most recent competition, often accompanied with gon’s whines of complaint of how killua definitely cheated filled the small cafe, which shocked the patrons, especially the ones that don’t often visit, because killua usually never laughs while working alone. 

“i don’t cheat gon,” killua yells, shit-eating grin on his face as he runs from the ire of his partner, back into the kitchen where he’s baking another batch of chocolate desserts. 

gon only pouts in response. 

“you two look close,” a young mother comments on the scene with a small smile, waiting on the sidelines for her tea. 

gon offers her a bright smile and responds, “of course, killua’s my best friend!” 

and that was that. 

 

spring came with a downpour of rain and pretty flowers blooming on trees. with spring also came gon’s twenty-first birthday, to which killua would tell anyone who would listen while gon laughed bashfully in the background and thanked anyone who congratulated him.

eventually, even the cafe slash secondhand bookstore wasn’t enough for gon and killua, who started growing a garden of flowers in the backyard, and the cafe slash secondhand bookstore became a cafe slash secondhand bookstore slash flower shop. 

gon loves giving out flowers for free with a purchase of a cup of coffee or whatever special pastry killua had made that day. killua would often complain about how he wasn’t supposed to give out the flowers for free and how that defeats the purpose of their so-called “flower shop”, but everyone could see it was just a show. sometimes, it was even killua who wrapped camellias in brown paper and twine and slipped them into their customers’ bags of freshly baked bread.

sometimes, if you were there at the right time, there would even be a vase of freshly cut flowers with a sign next to it saying “please take some” in scrawly script, with a more messier “we had too much :)” next to it. you’d have to hurry though, if you want a fresh flower, because people are brutal, and usually most of the flowers are gone within thirty minutes. sometimes, if killua or gon felt like it, they’d replace the vase with newer ones. 

“i wish we could grow sunflowers,” gon groans to the customer he is serving today. “they’re killua’s favorite!”

“shut up, gon,” killua calls out, coming out of the kitchen, face turning into his signature pretty pink. “besides,” he averts his eyes, voice quieting. “you make up for it anyways.”

gon didn’t say anything after that, but the shine in his eyes told everyone what they needed to know.  

and that was that. 

 

only two months later, the cafe mixed with a lot of other services started opening everyday. it had surprised their old-time customers, since they used to it opening at most twice a week, but of course, no one complained. the closing times still varied, but more often than not, they closed in the late afternoon, just in time for twilight to settle in. 

gon and killua still manned the cafe on their own, with occasional help from kurapika and alluka. 

“why don’t you hire more staff to help you around,” asks one amazed customer. “there are more customers every day. how do you handle it?”

“in all honesty,” killua begins, handing the customer their bag of sweets.

“we got the cafe as a sort of side hustle for ourselves,” gon breaks in, nudging killua gently out of the way, who sticks out his tongue in return. 

“we just wanted to do what we wanted with this cafe,” killua shrugs. “we weren’t expecting it to grow this big. and we can still handle it, so don’t worry.”

“side hustle? what do you guys do as a main hustle?” another customer interjects in, looking interested. 

gon grins, as if he was waiting for someone to ask this question so he could finally answer it. killua rolls his eyes, heading back into the kitchen. “it’s not like we could hide it forever,” he mutters with an exasperated grin. 

“the both of us are actually pro-hunters,” gon exclaims. 

“pro-hunters!” the two of them gasp. “and you willingly chose to open a cafe?”

it made a lot of sense to the both of them now, after hearing gon’s stories of exploring and adventure. they also understood exactly what gon had meant by “near death experiences” now. they whistle in appreciation. 

“it was killua’s idea,” gon says in response, turning to take the order of another customer. 

and that was that. 

 

sometimes, the peaceful quiet of the cafe would be broken by yells of orders, which was to be expected, or swears under people’s breaths as they sipped their too-hot coffees or teas and burnt their tongues, which was also to be expected.

what was not to be expected was one of gon and killua’s friends, the one with the small black glasses on his nose—was leorio his name—running full-speed into the cafe, yelling “they said yes” repeatedly. 

gon immediately lights up at that, and jumps over the counter for the second time that friend was involved to embrace him in a hug. 

“congratulations, leorio,” he exclaims. “of course kurapika’d say yes!” 

the stunned customers didn’t say anything, but started clapping tentatively, as if they weren’t sure they were allowed. leorio turns red at that, coughing into his sleeve. 

“congratulations,” killua’s voice came from behind gon, holding out of bouquet of roses. “told you you were getting old. and these are for kurapika.”

“i’m not that old,” leorio responds, rolling his eyes, but taking the flowers nonetheless.

killua merely snorts, waving a hand as he heads back behind the counter to take up where gon left off. “i’ll celebrate with you guys later; i have a cafe to run. you and gon can discuss wedding venues and stuff, like the dorks you are.”

gon laughs at that, and leorio—and the customers who were eavesdropping—catches on the nervous quality of it, and smirks in response. he leans to whisper something in gon’s ear, who turns red and whacks his friend in the arm. 

“not yet,” he hisses, eyes darting around like that of a scared puppy, and the blush tells the eavesdropping customers exactly what the question was. they smile knowingly at him, which garners a even darker blush. 

and that was that. 

 

as summer arrived, with its blistering heat and scorching sun and overwhelming abundance of ice cream trucks scattered around the city, it was quite a shock to people when the cafe finally doesn’t open without warning for the first time in many many months. most people didn’t think much of it, taking their feet to a different coffee shop. perhaps they were taking a break from it all; after all, they had opened continuously for many months on end with just the two of them serving and baking, which was definitely not what they had intended for when they first opened the cafe. 

somehow, yorknew city seemed more grey without gon and killua’s presence. 

one day turned into two, and two turned into three, and three turned into four, and four turned into five, and five turned into six, and six turned into one week. one week turned into two, and two turned into three, and three turned into one month. 

some grew concerned, saying perhaps they got stranded on some hunter business. some thought that maybe they were lying about being pro-hunters, and their mafia past had finally caught up to them, and now they were dead. some were dismissive, saying that maybe gon finally found the guts to propose to killua or vice versa, and now they’re on their month long wedding/honeymoon doing whatever the two of them liked to do in their spare time, or maybe it was leorio and kurapika who were the ones that got married. some just didn’t care; it was none of their business after all. 

on an unceremonious tuesday, the cafe finally opens up again, but it seemed different somehow. 

instead of both killua and gon, as it has been for the past couple of months, it was just gon that day, sweeping the floors. it was just gon, making coffee. it was just gon. 

but even he was somehow more subdued, eye-bags visible where there weren’t any before, faraway look into his eyes as he pours the coffee silently. he didn’t attempt to make any small talk anymore. 

some people grew concerned, asking if he was ok, to which gon would force a smile and say, “yes, you don’t have to worry about me,” but anyone could see that he was distracted and worried. worried for what, they didn’t know. 

as the days passed on, and there was still no sign of killua, others grew more concerned, trying to put more of an effort in asking if gon was okay. 

gon’s eye-bags seemed more defined each passing day. gon’s hands seemed to shake with each passing day, until he ultimately decided to take a break from the latte art. the speakers stay silent too, keeping all the customers still in the cafe on edge. 

instead of the small cafe being overly warm and cozy, it was too restrictive now, gon’s worried aura suffocating all of the patrons. instead of the dried flowers in the vases on the tables providing a soft ambience to the cafe, it just reminded everyone that killua wasn’t there to change them daily, that killua wasn’t there to sweep the dried crumbled petals off the floor. 

“killua’s always been better at latte art,” gon mutters to no one in particular as he pours coffee. 

“you should really take a break, gon, sweetheart,” the normally sweet old woman tries, anxiously wringing her hands as she watched gon fall further apart with worry. 

gon merely shakes his head, eyes determined to face the cup of coffee in front of him. 

“we’re all worried about you! what happened? where’s killua? is he alright?”

there was no answer. and that was that. 

until gon’s voice cracks as he says, “killua’s dealing with some family business now. he’ll be back soon. i’m fine too. don’t worry about it.” 

“oh sweetheart, killua wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself further by forcing yourself to work,” the old lady continues, hands reaching over the counter to capture gon’s hands in her own. 

“i didn’t want to come,” gon’s voice was quiet now. “i wanted to help killua, but i guess it helps distract me from doing something stupid.”

“go home,” she prods further. “we’ll all understand.” 

gon shakes his head. “i promised to protect him, and i couldn’t even do that. the least i could do is keep our cafe running.”

“it’s not your fault,” she tries again, even though she didn’t quite understand what gon had meant by promising to protect killua (protect killua from whom, she wondered. was his family that bad?), even though she knew it to be futile. “killua will be back soon.” 

“hopefully,” gon answers with a wavering smile. “i can’t help but worry though.”

she stays silent at that. if gon out of all people was worried for killua’s safety with his family, why shouldn’t she, although she can’t help but silently reprimands those friends of his for letting him slip this far. 

and that was that. 

 

killua eventually does come back to yorknew, a couple of days after a petite blonde girl with the brightest pink dress had basically manhandled gon out of the store. it was surprising, to see to the least. a small girl, manhandling gon? it wasn’t an easy fight, customers who had claimed to be there at the spectacle said, with her continuous yelling, saying that alluka had called her to retrieve him because she was absolutely dying of worry for both him and killua, and how she was taking time off of her busy schedule to get him to move, and gon stubbornly refusing to budge from behind the counter until she locked him underneath her arm. 

killua had laughed at that, months later, when someone animatedly told him as they were awaiting their order, gon pouting in the background. 

“classic bisky,” he had said. “and you deserved it,” he continued, turning around to stick his tongue out at gon. but anyone could’ve seen the fondness killua held for gon in his eyes. 

but when killua had first started working at the cafe again, a few weeks after his arrival back in yorknew, as per leorio’s mandate to “goddamnit killua, just rest once in your goddamn life” (but everyone knew it was probably gon’s idea), his eye-bags were even more alarming than gon’s. but similarly to gon, when asked about them, he only replied in a dismissive tone, saying that he’s fine now. 

killua’s hands had been even more shaky than gon’s, spilling more coffee than not, dropping more flowers than not, ruining more batches of desserts than not. 

but it was okay, because gon was there to steady killua’s shaking hands. and killua was there to steady gon’s shaking hands. but it was okay, because gon was there to make killua laugh when he had that lost look in his eyes, like he didn’t know where he was or that he simply did not belong. and killua was there to make gon laugh with a small but effective joke when gon’d get a bit more clingy than usual. 

and as the speakers continue to play those cheesy love songs that gon and killua started to sing along to, everyone felt just a little bit more comforted by the fact that killua and gon are okay, even if it’s just for a little while. they deserve it anyways. 

and that was that. 

 

with autumn, falling leaves that help add more color onto the front of the cafe also followed, even though it doesn’t really need it, with the beautiful potted yellow-orange marigolds that flourish in this type of weather lining up in neat lines behind the front windows. with autumn also came the chilly weather that weaved into people’s skins and bones, and of course, the much heavier breezes, allowing people to bundle their loved ones in much softer things such as sweaters and scarves and, of course, endless amounts of love. 

gon had ditched the typical white button-up and black slacks, opting for a forest green argyle sweater and dad jeans in this type of weather, even though the cafe was plenty warm.

killua wore a matching sweater, except a softer light blue, complementing the light dusting of pink on his cheeks that always seemed to accompany him now. 

of course, as all cafes do, they also catered to the rising marketability of pumpkin spice flavor. killua had grimaced after trying it for the first time, but everyone had wanted pumpkin themed food so badly that he eventually gave in anyways. 

gon loves talking about killua’s desserts to other customers, even though killua often complains half-heartedly about it, saying that it’s meant to be a surprise. 

“killua’s thinking of making mini pies to add to the autumn registry; what do you guys think?” gon asks one day, to no one in particular, not really expecting an answer. 

“what kind of pies?” someone interjects in, looking interested.

“hmm, maybe apple? those are a classic in this type of weather.”

“what about cranberries?” someone else cuts in, slender arms leaning on the counter. “my girlfriend loves cranberries,” she adds, side-eyeing her girlfriend, mouth curling into a smirk, to which said girlfriend grimaces, shaking her head. 

“shut up moron, you know i dislike them. i prefer, i dunno, peaches or whatever.”

gon laughs. “don’t worry, i’ll ask killua. peaches aren’t really an autumn fruit, but he likes them too! he also prefers cherries and—ow!”

“come help me with the other customers, idiot. i can’t serve everyone by myself,” killua says with a grin, lightly knocking gon’s head with a spatula. “sorry,” he whispers to the customers he stole gon from. 

“no worries,” the two wave, heading to the back of the cafe to enjoy their drinks. “why can’t we be like that?” the smaller one is heard complaining as her much taller girlfriend pulls her away by the scarf. “but we are like that,” came the teasing response. 

and that was that. 

 

christmastime was of course, a festive affair. yorknew doesn’t take christmas lightly, and neither do killua and gon, who decorate their entire storefront with fairy lights and tinsel and poinsettias, matching with the rest of the snow covered yorknew streets that also have lights dangling from the many lampposts lining the sidewalks.

killua seems to have loosened up inside the warm homey cafe shielding the cold winter winds away, giving away free gingerbread cookies and peppermint sticks with every drink purchase. 

leorio, kurapika, and alluka were seen more frequently during these times, filling the cafe with even more joy and festive cheer. all three of them seem to have matching sweaters, regardless of the day people see them in the cafe, to which killua always laughs at. sometimes, all three of them sing along to the christmas carols that gon plays on the speakers. 

gon singlehandedly puts up a christmas tree inside their small cafe, with photos of him and killua and their friends as ornaments. he encourages others to add their own photo ornaments to the tree. 

“it’s fun,” he reassures everyone who asks if they really could. “it’s nice seeing everyone being happy!”

“i can’t believe a cafe we started up for fun turned into our full time jobs,” killua says fondly, shaking his head as he watches the cafe from his spot near the kitchen doors. 

“but it’s fine right, killua? it’s because we’re doing it together!” gon exclaims from across the bar. 

killua blushes at that. “you’re right,” he mumbles, and gon slides next to him, pulling the other into his arms. 

“i love you!” 

there was silence, and gon laughed at killua’s poor attempt of hiding his face into the sleeve of his sweater. “say it back, killua! it’s not fun when you don’t say it back!” 

killua sighs fondly, glancing up at gon. “i love you too, idiot.” 

and that was that.