Hisoka’s vocal cords had been ripped and then fried and he would never speak again.
That’s what the surgeon had said, staring at the stony faces of the Zoldyck family, still wearing scrubs and a mask covering the bottom of his face.
“I’m sorry,” he finished, walking away.
Illumi was standing in the sterile white waiting room of the intensive care unit of the nicest hospital in Yorkshin, wearing an oversized sweatshirt and too-small bicycle shorts fished out of the nurse-station’s lost-and-found. He had fared better than Silva, at least, who was wearing a fitted (and ketchup-stained) tank-top and sweatpants. They had to ditch their blood-drenched clothes upon arrival at the hospital; there were too many questions, too many turned heads.
Slowly, Illumi sat down in the plush bench-chair attached to a small table of magazines.
“Well, he’s alive,” Zeno said. He tucked his arms behind his back and looked down at his grandson. “We’ll look at alternatives to heal him when he’s back on his feet.”
Illumi pulled a lock of hair over his shoulder and stroked it absentmindedly. He nodded.
“We should remove him from the hospital,” Silva chimed in. “Now that he’s stable.”
Illumi continued to nod.
He jerked his head up, meeting his father’s icy blue eyes.
“Are we taking him to the manor or back to your apartment?”
“You will allow him to return to the manor?” Illumi asked.
“Of course,” Silva said, and he raised a single eyebrow.
It was a victory, he knew, logically. Silva would allow Hisoka to return to the manor and he and Illumi would stay there while he healed and beyond; it would be a homecoming. Illumi would get to go home.
But for some reason, when he thought of home, he thought of Hisoka’s bed, the bar in their kitchen, the low modern couch of their living room, and the pile of Hisoka’s shoes by the door.
Illumi tucked his hair back behind his ear and rose to standing. “No. We will return to our apartment,” he said.
Illumi stirred from his sleep, round black eyes opening into mid-morning light inside of Hisoka’s bedroom. He felt hands stroking his hair, combing out the ends, and Illumi shifted back down into the covers, willing himself to fall back asleep again. He’d deal with Hisoka later.
Illumi was sitting straight in under one second, turned to face Hisoka, who was propped up in bed. Awake.
For the first time in eight days.
Illumi stared at him, wide-eyed, and Hisoka stared back, still holding a chunk of Illumi’s hair between his hands. Illumi looked down at Hisoka’s fingers -- the nails that had all been pulled out had begun to grow back and were short and blunt, but unbandaged finally. Illumi examined each one before Hisoka pulled his hands away. He looked at the mangled mess of his nail-beds, frowned, and then held one hand out. Pinkish aura surrounded his hands for a moment before his Texture Surprise and Bungee Gum hatsu snapped into place, creating perfect false nails -- black, to hide the bruising. He repeated the process on the other hand.
He held his hands back out for Illumi to inspect and smiled. His teeth were bloody. Illumi’s eyes darted from Hisoka’s mouth to his face and down his naked chest.
Illumi was used to being the hairy one; not that he was particularly furry, but he didn’t bother to shave the fine black hairs on his arms and legs and chest, while Hisoka was typically entirely bare. Not anymore.
Hisoka had a beard.
Well, a strong five-o’clock shadow, anyway. Illumi reached out and stroked Hisoka’s black stubbly jaw with the back of his fingers, the same way he had done for several days now. It had to be itchy, he thought. He’d spent many hours debating on whether or not to shave it during Hisoka’s sleep. The rest of Hisoka remained hairless, though; Illumi was sure he had waxed not long before everything happened.
Hisoka followed Illumi’s hand and touched his jaw. His eyes widened. He opened his mouth -- and coughed, instead of talking, and a low rumble gurgled in his chest. His hand slid from his face to his neck and onto the thick white bandage there.
Hisoka grabbed his phone from the side table, where it was plugged in and had nearly 480 missed text messages and over 90 phonecalls. Hisoka tapped on it for a moment before Illumi’s phone -- his private phone -- buzzed on the opposite side table next to the bed. Illumi turned to it.
10:01 Hisoka: I can’t talk.
Illumi looked up from his phone to see Hisoka looking at him with narrowed yellow eyes. Illumi glared back. “Do not waste our data.”
He paused, and then typed out a response, despite what he had just said.
10:01 Illumi: I am working on a nen healer. I wanted you conscious first.
10:02 Hisoka: You can talk.
Illumi looked up again, only briefly, before staring back down at his phone.
10:02 Illumi: I do not like talking when you cannot.
He didn’t look up; refused to. Hisoka’s next message buzzed in a second later.
10:03 Hisoka: I’m going to shower.
Illumi had no doubt Hisoka had the strength to do so, but he did still have a catheter and various medical instruments strapped to his body. He didn’t reply to the text, but instead finally met Hisoka’s patient, hawkish stare. He slid over to Hisoka’s side of the bed, pushed him down, and then peeled the blankets off. Hisoka exhaled and dropped down flat on his back without argument while Illumi disconnected him from the various wires and tubes running in and out of vital parts, and removed all of the bloodied bandages.
Finished, Illumi stepped out of bed, and held out his hand for Hisoka to take. Hisoka ignored it, and pushed himself to standing, and walked to the bathroom.
And then he tried to lock Illumi out. Illumi had a hand on the door and he held it open while Hisoka pushed back.
He didn’t want Illumi to see him with the beard, with the black roots in his hair, with the crust around his penis, and the blood staining his teeth. He conveyed his thoughts through a long, thin-eyed stare.
Illumi had been changing a pee bag for a week now; the mystery of Hisoka’s allure was already dead and buried. He conveyed his thoughts through a patient, blank look.
The pair narrowed their eyes at one another.
Illumi was inarguably faster than the magician right now (and probably always), and slipped into the bathroom before he could be locked out.
Hisoka refused to shower together, though, pushing Illumi into sitting onto the toilet, and forcing him to wait while Hisoka rinsed off alone. When he got out, Illumi was standing there with a towel in one hand and a razor and can of shaving cream in another. Illumi noticed that somehow in the five-minute wash, Hisoka had righted the roots on his hair, too, so his hair was a glowing electric pink.
Hisoka toweled off and followed Illumi’s guidance to the sink. He sat on the edge and stared through wet black lashes as Illumi applied shaving cream to his face and neck with gentle, fast fingers.
Illumi shaved Hisoka’s face carefully and fast, concentrated on the task so much that he didn’t realize that Hisoka’s legs were slowly boxing him in. When he finished, Hisoka had his calves crossed completely behind Illumi’s back. The assassin blinked when he realized he couldn’t back away.
Hisoka leaned in for a kiss but Illumi blocked it with a flat palm. Without looking away, Illumi lifted a toothbrush and a tube of paste to Hisoka’s eyeline.
Hisoka took the brush and the paste, and cleaned his teeth. He turned to spit into the sink and when he shifted back facing Illu, he was smiling with familiar pearly whites.
He leaned in for a kiss and this time, Illumi kissed him back.
“Father sent me with these,” Kalluto said as he walked through the front door. He held out two large canvas bags filled with clothes and shoes retrieved from the hospital, having been cleaned and mended. Illumi’s repaired phone was in the bag, too, along with the knife that had been used to cut Hisoka’s throat.
“Thank you,” Illumi said, taking the bags and placing them on a chair in the living space as they walked through the apartment.
Hisoka pushed himself to sitting from where he was laid out on the couch and grinned.
Kalluto went to him, head tilted curiously. “You’ve been healed already?” Kalluto said, reaching out to touch the perfectly smooth plane of Hisoka’s neck.
Hisoka shook his head.
“That’s just his hatsu,” Illumi said, rummaging through the bags of clothes. “He’s still scarred. I cannot get Killu to respond to my inquiries. I would like Alluka to come. I won’t even hurt him.”
“Killu probably doesn’t believe you,” Kalluto offered. “Also, Alluka’s a girl.”
Illumi sighed inwardly. He stood up straight and looked over to his brother and Hisoka. Kalluto was dressed in a navy kimono with pink flowers and his hair had gotten a bit longer, brushing just past his shoulders. And despite being thirteen, now, he was still extraordinarily tiny. Probably the only Zoldyck of this generation that would remain under six feet.
Hisoka and Kalluto looked quite strange side-by-side. A ragged overgrown and over-muscled street urchin with dark circles beneath his eyes and unnatural pink hair; a pristine porcelain doll without so much as a hair out of place.
Illumi wondered, briefly, how he and Hisoka looked, side-by-side, and felt compelled to get Kalluto away from the magician.
“I have some resources out finding a solution,” Illumi said, walking over, “But I plan to visit Killua in person later tonight.”
“Illu -- are you --” Kalluto had something in his eye, a shift, like he was hiding something. “I don’t think Alluka can be trusted. Don’t you worry?”
Illumi tilted his head. What was Kalluto trying to keep him from knowing? “I do not. I have seen Alluka’s powers in action. The ability to heal is absolute.”
“I have an alternative.”
“A friend of mine that I met through the Ryodan. Can I please call him? He can fix Hisoka completely.”
Hisoka looked from Kalluto to Illumi. He shot Illumi a smirk that twisted the corner of his mouth; he knew Kalluto was hiding something, too.
Illumi blinked slowly. “Is there something you want to tell me, Kalluto?”
“No,” Kalluto replied, immediately.
Illumi lifted a hand and an immediate vibration filled the air. “You misheard.” When he spoke again, his voice was a low, chanting, humming sound. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
Kalluto’s eyes blackened instantly and his body went rigid. “Please don’t bring Alluka here.”
“Because Killua loves Alluka more than me.”
“Are you envious?”
“Hisoka will like Alluka more, too.”
Illumi dropped his aura instantly, like a stone through the air, and he wished he had never asked. Hisoka, grinning ear-to-ear, had turned and was leaning against his knees, eye-level to Kalluto now.
Kalluto’s body dropped back into its normal relaxed state -- and then he shot an accusatory, wide-eyed look of betrayal to his older brother. Illumi tucked hair behind his ear and opened his mouth to offer -- comfort.
“I love you,” Illumi said. “Is that not enough?”
Kalluto edged just a bit closer to Hisoka and Illumi felt his hackles rise. Before he could murder Hisoka for being someone more important to Kalluto than his own brother, Kalluto’s phone buzzed within his robe. He pulled the device out to reveal a message.
17:43 Hisoka: Call your friend.
Kalluto smiled and Illumi’s urge to kill rose ever-higher. His hair lifted as murderous aura bled out of him unconfined.
“You saved his number?” Illumi snapped, and Hisoka shrugged. Betrayal was rampant among them today.
That night, Illumi walked into the living room to find Hisoka and Kalluto asleep on the couch together.
As soon as Illumi stepped onto the thick rug that sat in the center of the room, Hisoka’s eyes snapped open with predatory swiftness. He smiled. Illumi narrowed his eyes. Hisoka replied by hugging Kalluto to his chest tightly, squeezing, and Kalluto blinked sleepy eyes open.
“Go sleep in my bed,” Illumi said, holding a hand out for Kalluto to take. He did, and rose to his feet rubbing an eye.
“Where will you sleep?” Kalluto asked.
Hisoka laughed, but the sound was just a series of near-silent exhales. “Do not worry about me,” Illumi replied. He pushed Kalluto towards his bedroom. “Goodnight.”
Kalluto shot a curious glance over one shoulder, still not quite grasping the situation, and left down the hall that led to Illumi’s room.
Illumi leveled a stare to Hisoka, who patted the warm spot on the couch for Illumi to take. Illumi thought, again, about killing him. He was weak. He would fall easily. Illumi reached out, grabbed Hisoka’s throat, and leaned in with one knee on the couch.
Kalluto belongs to me, Illumi thought.
Hisoka slid gentle hands up into Illumi’s hair, and guided him down. Illumi’s eyes widened, just a fraction, as a chaste kiss was placed on the corner of his mouth.
Do I belong to Hisoka? Illumi wondered.
Illumi sighed and relaxed his hand where he gripped Hisoka. As soon as he did, Hisoka was standing, and pushing Illumi backwards, towards the bedroom. They didn’t break eye-contact as they wheeled back and back and back and through the doorway. As soon as the door snapped shut, they slammed together in a frantic, panting kiss, and they couldn’t even manage to get any clothes off before collapsing on the bed. It had been almost two weeks and Illumi couldn’t stop touching him, holding his face, gripping his shoulders.
They didn’t talk and Illumi felt himself light up, white hot and on fire and he couldn’t even manage to push his pants farther than his thighs before rolling over, asking for it like that. And Hisoka obliged, fishing lube from their bedside table and slicking two fingers into Illumi, making him grip the bedcovers and muffle his cries. He lifted his ass, begging for it, and Hisoka pressed his cock inside with the very same frantic impatience and immediately rutted into him, wrenching quiet screams into his bedspread as he fucked Illumi hard.
Illumi met every brutal thrust, bouncing his ass back on Hisoka’s dick, his composure completely lost for his desire for more, harder, and faster. He wanted Hisoka to destroy him, to blank out his mind, to give him what he thought he had almost lost.
“Come in me,” Illumi finally said, voice cracking as he turned his head to articulate his thoughts best he could while being pounded into the mattress. Hisoka fisted a hand into Illumi’s hair, pulling, and wound his other hand into the fabric of Illumi’s shirt, and panted. He forced Illumi to cry out into the air, not into the bed, and gave a whispering, nearly-silent laugh as Illumi tried not to make a sound, to not let the noise of their fucking bleed into the apartment with their guest.
“His -- ah --” He struggled against Hisoka’s hands, positively trembling, “I’ll come, he’ll hear --” Illumi pleaded, but he had acted too late, and found himself falling over the edge of orgasm with sudden and unexpected force, cock trapped beneath his belly and the bed -- prostate worked over and over and over and he screamed into every thrust. His vision whited out as he came and came and couldn’t stop, after so long without sex, body jerking with every spurt of cum that pulsed out of him. The feeling was amplified even more as Hisoka came too, semen hot inside of Illu.
He panted against the bed, eyelashes wet, eyes closed, and part of him was quite grateful that sex with Hisoka wasn’t always so incredibly intense. They laid together like that for some time, still dressed, Hisoka’s cock still buried in Illumi’s ass, hands sliding down his sides in worship.
Hisoka kissed the back of Illumi’s ear as Illumi’s phone buzzed in his pocket. His pants, still taut between his legs, were within reach, so he fished his phone out.
11:14 Kalluto: Is everything okay?
Illumi’s ears went warm.
The healer was a very fragile-looking old man. He ambled into the apartment and stopped upon seeing Hisoka, who had dressed up for the occasion in a light blue costume with white accents and pointy-toed boots.
“I’m not sure I can fix that,” the old man said, “I’m not good at repairing mental issues.”
Hisoka’s face fell, but Illumi felt something almost like genuine laughter rumble inside of himself. He pressed a hand to his mouth. Hisoka watched him fight back the chuckle and narrowed his eyes.
Kalluto cleared his throat. “No, Roto. It’s his throat. He had it cut. He can’t talk.”
“Ah. Okay. Can we work outside? It’s nice out.”
Illumi nodded. “The terrace is this way.” He motioned and everyone followed him through the living room and out through the large glass doors to an oversized balcony. It was tiled with gleaming gray slate and had a full set of white furniture arranged around a gas-powered fire pit. The whole space was also filled with plush green plant life, well-maintained in the heat of the summer.
The old man took a seat on one couch and Hisoka sat beside him. He cleared his throat, closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, they were glowing a neon green. His aura burst out, the same bright green, and grabbed Hisoka by the throat.
“This will take some time,” the old man said, “The damage is deep.”
Kalluto glanced up to Illumi. “He charges by the minute.”
Illumi reached out and took Kalluto’s hand into his own, and guided him away from the terrace and back inside. “We will let him work. We can practice your throwing stars inside.”
Hisoka watched out the corner of his eye as Illumi left.
Kalluto was in Illumi’s office, a small room beside his bedroom with training equipment, throwing sharp murdery objects at various rubber figures spread around the space. Practicing dutifully.
Illumi left him to his work and returned to the living room with a book. He tucked his hair behind his ears and curled up on the couch, opening the text to the point he left off on last. He had been reading it throughout all of Hisoka's downtime, comatose in bed for so many days. The script of the book was Japanese and detailed some events of the last war the Japanese island found itself in, against the monarchy of Ruzzia. Illumi found it fascinating as someone who was a blend of the two cultures, to see how each country was depicted through a Japanese perspective.
The sun grew lower and lower in the sky, painting the living room in pink. Halfway into the six o’clock hour, Illumi glanced up and out the windows to see the old man slowly stand up. Hisoka did the same -- and then started talking. Illumi watched.
His heart was beating fast, suddenly. He folded the book closed and placed it on the coffee table, and slowly rose to standing. Hisoka and the healer walked in a moment later.
The healer didn’t even acknowledge Illumi as he made his way to the door and left. Illumi watched the front door of their apartment snap shut before looking over to Hisoka standing and staring from the balcony door.
Illumi didn’t know what to say. He took a step forward, and Hisoka was the first one to talk.
“The name on my phone reads Hisoka Zoldyck. Do you know why? It was quite a surprise to see.”
A murderous aura sparked the air.
Illumi tilted his head, round eyes gleaming innocently. “I declared you my husband in order to gain access to your phone account.”
Hisoka stalked forward. “Oh?”
Illumi offered a tiny smile. “Yes.”
“I think that’s a problem,” Hisoka said, and he was smiling back. Illumi moved forward, too.
“A problem? It is an honor to be considered a Zoldyck,” he said.
“It’s a problem because I’m not a Zoldyck, dear Illumi.”
“I am not sure you get a choice in the matter,” Illumi said. They were standing nearly nose-to-nose now.
Hisoka jutted a flat palm out to slam into Illumi’s sternum, but Illumi dodged right and sent an immediate elbow down to break Hisoka’s arm mid-air. Hisoka rolled with the hit, however, and grabbed Illumi’s wrist with his other hand. They spun around until Illumi found his back slammed into the wall beside the television, and the entire apartment rattled with the impact.
With Hisoka’s face so close to his, Illumi leaned in to brush their mouths together on instinct -- and Hisoka turned his head. He grinned, watching Illumi from the corner of his eye. “Best out of three pins, wins. You beat me, you can have me. Does that sound fair?”
A game they played often. Illumi blinked. “Yes.”
He released his aura in a pitch-black burst of power so intense that even Hisoka was startled off-guard, taking a step back. The two of them moved suddenly and with unfathomable speed, blurred forms shifting around in the living room that seemed very suddenly cramped, limiting their movements.
Hisoka kicked the coffee table at Illumi and the assassin held his arms in front of his face and let the glass of the table shatter over himself. Sparks of light rained across their home with broken glass. Hisoka was there the moment the table hit, and he slammed Illumi into the ground. The hardwood floor crackled beneath the force.
Pin one: Hisoka.
Illumi landed a solid punch into Hisoka’s upper arm and the strike of aura against aura sent a shockwave through the apartment, flickering the lights and rattling the walls.
Illumi’s eyes darkened as he fetched his needles, four of them appearing in-hand. Hisoka moved simultaneously, pulling playing cards from the air. He whipped one at Illumi, who snatched it from the air, slicing open his palm in the process, and he threw it back full-speed at Hisoka, who ducked beneath it. It landed with a thunk against the far wall of the living room near the kitchen.
The smell of Illumi’s blood filled the air and their fight went frenzied, quickly, with literal sparks snapping around them as they moved like two bolts of lighting in a storm.
Illumi slapped his bleeding palm against Hisoka’s mouth and had him pinned onto the carpet beside the couch. Hisoka shivered, eyes tilting up in pleasure, and he licked Illumi’s hand -- slowly.
Pin two: Illumi.
Hisoka’s mouth and jaw were covered in a smear of red blood as they parted and started exchanging blows again. He looked good bloody, Illumi thought, and Hisoka smirked like he had heard that thought aloud. Illumi went just a touch pink.
One of the side tables beside the couch went flying and shattered against a wall, leaving a dent and splinters of wood all over the space. Illumi threw several of his needles and they soared through the air only to land into varying walls and one painting beside the entry door. Hisoka pulled himself close to Illumi, their noses nearly touching, calves entwined, and their hands met. They were still for the first time since the fight began, muscles trembling as Hisoka used his greater strength to prevent Illumi from moving at all.
But Illumi was not losing this fight. He said, "I love you too.”
Hisoka’s eyes widened and Illumi kicked his legs out from beneath him and had him pinned with both hands beside his head, next to the fireplace.
They laid unmoving for a moment, breathing just slightly labored.
Pin three: Illumi. The winner.
Illumi released Hisoka’s wrists and slid his hands to the sides of Hisoka’s face, and Hisoka slid arms around Illumi’s middle, and they kissed. Illu sighed into the embrace and Hisoka grinned. And kept grinning. Illumi pulled back, finally, eyes narrowed.
“Stop grinning while I am trying to kiss you.”
“Your family is here.”
Illumi shifted up suddenly, at the same moment his front door opened, and Silva stood there with Kikyo. In the doorway of the hall, Kalluto stood holding a single throwing star, eyes wide.
Everyone froze in place.
Illumi shoved himself to standing, looking absolutely guilty with kiss-swollen lips and tousled hair. Hisoka looked much the same, blood still staining his mouth, but he was smiling. Beaming, really.
Silva looked uncomfortable. Kalluto walked over to him, expression mirrored, and Silva placed a large hand on his son’s shoulder. Kikyo’s mouth was open.
She then screamed, loud enough to scare the pigeons off the terrace outside: “Illumi is gay?!”
Months later, during the cold nip of fall, Hisoka and Illumi were seated with mugs of hot tea out on the terrace, sharing a large scarf and a plate of cookies. They were watching the sunrise as it came over the desert in the east of Yorkshin.
“I let myself get captured,” Hisoka said, breaking the quiet of the morning. “I could move. Jude didn’t realize how quickly his powers faded through my ren.” He bit off the end of a cookie. “I mean from months ago, when I got hurt. It was pretty entertaining seeing you question yourself. You were much, much faster than Jude, dear Illumi, but you wouldn’t chance it. It was quite fun to watch.”
Illumi went still. He narrowed his eyes. “You are lying.”
“Maybe,” Hisoka said, taking a sip of tea. He nudged his foot against Illumi’s calf.
“I wanted to see you cry. It turns me on.” It certainly seemed like the truth, the way his tongue slid along the corner of his mouth, the leer in his eyes. “I love how you look when you struggle.”
Illumi shrugged, and sipped his tea. Confessions. “I said I loved you in order to make you agree to a long-term commitment to the Zoldyck name.”
Hisoka grinned. He took Illumi’s mug from him, and placed it beside his own on the short table in front of them. “You’re lying.” He leaned in, arm sliding across the back of the outdoor sofa. Illumi snapped his round black eyes to Hisoka and leaned in, too, so their lips touched.