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It's What You Do

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Illumi celebrated his twelfth birthday by travelling to a small circus and snapping the ringmaster's neck behind one of the worn looking caravans.

 

It was a small contract, one that barely paid well enough to justify the trouble, but Zeno argued that Illumi needed practice on solo jobs. He couldn't always pair up with Silva afterall.

 

He found his target smoking outside what was arguably the most garish of the caravans- though none could truthfully be called anything but inches away from dilapidation. Illumi approached silently, unseen, and while his small hands gripped the man's stubbly jaw and twisted, feeling the snap and crunch vibrate down his arms, his only thought was that the mustard coloured velvet suit was reminiscent of dried vomit.

 

The body hit the floor with a dull thud. Illumi stared down for a moment; the only sound the faint cheering from the crowds as some act performed under the bright tent in the next field over, and the quiet rustling of grass in the gentle breeze.

 

He pulled out his phone and text his father, letting him know the ringmaster was dead. He received no reply, but he hadn't expected one.

 

Illumi wondered, with a vague, distant kind of interest, if anyone had remembered his birthday. It didn't matter. Twelve wasn't an important age anyway, and now the family had baby Killua to look after.

 

"Oh my! What did poor old Philipe do to you, hmm?"

 

Illumi's head snapped up at the honeyed voice, eyes focusing on the boy stood only meters away- all messily dyed red hair and ragged clothing and big bubbles blown pale pink from gum. His yellow eyes laughed even as his mouth continued to chew and blow methodically as he stared at Illumi.

 

Meanwhile Illumi was trying to think of how to handle the boy. He'd never had a witness before. Father always said to never leave any witnesses, but to avoid killing outside of the contract if possible. But only weeks before Zeno had assured Illumi his nen was developing well, and he couldn't figure out how the too skinny boy with his intense eyes had approached without Illumi noticing.

 

And the boy wasn't scared. He just kept staring at Illumi in a way that would probably have made him squirm if he wasn't preoccupied with thoughts of the best way to kill him.

 

The man- Philipe- was between them, facedown in the grass, and Illumi truly didn't know what to make of the situation. He stared down at the body a little hopelessly, then looked back at the boy to find him still staring.

 

"Well?" The boy asked eventually.

 

"What?" Illumi's voice was quiet and dull. He looked at the boy's hands, loose and swinging slightly by his sides. He seemed perfectly relaxed, but Illumi could feel the tension in the cool autumn air; he knew, somehow, that if he were to attack, the boy would fight back. Would fight well.

 

"What did Philipe do to you?" The boy's eyes wouldn't stop dancing, and now that he was no longer blowing bubbles his mouth was stretched into a wide smile, pearly white teeth clearly on display. He looked happy, or amused, or delighted, or some other kind of pleasant emotion that Illumi really couldn't relate to.

 

"Nothing."

 

The boy cocked his head, smile still firmly in place. "He did nothing? Then why kill him?"

 

"It was my job. My contract." He didn't know why he was replying. Maybe because the only other person remotely his age is Milluki; whiney, spoilt Milluki who sulks when they train because Illumi refuses to hold back. This boy was smiling, at Illumi, which was something he hadn't experienced in months. Just a simple smile, though it was clear from the sharpness in his gaze thag there was nothing simple about the boy.

 

The boy raised his eyebrow, expression curious. "Assassin?" He guessed, and Illumi found himself nodding, despite the warnings drilled into him from birth. DO NOT REVEAL YOUR IDENTITY. DO NOT PUT THE FAMILY AT RISK.

 

"Aren't you a bit young to be an assassin? What are you, ten?"

 

And that dragged Illumi out of his thoughts, because yes he was a Zoldyck and an assassin, but he was still a boy insecure about his height and his baby face.

 

"I am twelve." He said, and his voice would sound empty to most, but the boy with the messy dyed hair grinned like he know's exactly how easily he got under Illumi's skin.

 

"Well, I'm fifteen. My name is Hisoka." The boy said in reply, and Illumi felt his mouth twist down into a frown before he could stop it.

 

"I didn't ask."

 

Hisoka laughed, long and slow and warm, and Illumi looked away, pink.

 

"No, you didn't. But how can we be friends when we don't know each other' names?"

 

Illumi was thrown back into reality by that sentence.

 

Friends.

 

Illumi didn't have any friends. He wasn't allowed any. He swallowed, noticed his mouth was dry. If his father were to find out about his interaction with Hisoka... he couldn't even imagine the punishment.

 

"Don't worry," Hisoka said suddenly, voice somehow a cross between mischievous and earnest. "I wont tell anyone about you killing old Phil. If the other's find his body like this later they'll think he fell out the door and caught his neck on the steps or something."

 

Illumi fought down the curdling heat in his throat and the shaking in his arms that was telling him to kill Hisoka. He was torn. He didn't know why he was fighting the instinct.

 

"I need to go." Illumi said after a moment of silence, fists clenching and unclenching repeatedly. One of the needles holding up his hair slipped out, and a the long fall of black obscured his vision for a moment before he tucked it back behind his ears. Hisoka's eyes followed the swing of hair, and Illumi couldn't read the secrets hidden in his golden gaze.

 

"You're leaving? So soon? But I was just starting to have fun!" Hisoka complained, and the strange leer in his eyes was still there, more intense now, and Illumi could smell bloodlust in the breeze, felt his own nen start to expand as a result, the black writhing mass in his chest trying to leak out of his skin. There was slim needles between his fingers and he wasn't sure how they got there, only that his arms and hands itched to throw, embed them in Hisoka's bright eyes and the hollow of his pale throat.

 

Hisoka watched Illumi struggle to fight down his instincts like he knew exactly what was happening. He laughed again, quiet and warm. "It looks like you don't want to play though. Maybe next time?"

 

Next time. Hisoka knew Illumi didn't want to kill him. He knew.

 

The crescendo of the crowd from the far away tent made a faint roar that carried in the wind, and Hisoka looked back towards the makeshift arena just long enough for Illumi to put one foot forward, push, and Hisoka turned back around just in time to see Illumi's hand slam into his throat and closes like a small vice, throwing him backwards into the grass.

 

Illumi fell atop Hisoka, hand squeezing tighter even as Hisoka bellowed a laugh; a loud, crazed sound, eyes delighted. He looked like he'd won, and Illumi was confused for the second it took him to realise he hadn't watched Hisoka's hands, and then there's something sharp pressed against the small of his back, pressing into his spine.

 

Hisoka grinned, as blinding as the sun, and hiccuped a gasping breath. "Truce?" He wheezed, and Illumi scowled down at him, completely frustrated. Checking the hands of your target was vital. How had he forgotten? His insides were all twisted up and Hisoka's smile was making it so much worse.

 

"Why did you make me do that?" He asked, and Hisoka feigned innocence, shrugging in what was probably meant to look a helpless manner.

 

"Why did you provoke me?" Illumi asked more distinctly, hand tightening until his knuckles cracked and Hisoka's pale face started to deepen to a bruised purple. He still wouldn't stop that smirk, and he was tracing something sharp up and down against Illumi's spine; gentle but threatening.

 

"Wanted-" a choked rasp, "- to see if you would fight me." Illumi ripped his hand off Hisoka's throat with a vaguely annoyed sound, standing up and brushing off his leggings and long shirt. He yearned suddenly for his Kimono, his mother's soothing voice telling him about targets as she brushed his long hair.

 

"I am leaving." He said down to Hisoka, who was still sprawled on the grass, gasping and grinning like an idiot. An open pack of playing cards is in one hand, the queen of hearts in the other.

 

"What's your name?" He asked after a moment of heaving breaths. Illumi's handprint was a deep, blooming red against the unmarred skin of his neck. Illumi stared down at the strangest boy he'd ever met and wondered what harm a first name could do at this point.

 

"Illumi." He said eventually, turning and walking away without waiting for a reply.

 

He was halfway across the field when he heard a distant shout, giggly and excited.

 

"It's a pretty name! Like you!"

 

Illumi certainly did not pause and turn. He certainly didn't give a hesitant wave when he saw Hisoka stood waving both arms like a malfunctioning windmill. And when Hisoka blew a kiss, Illumi certainly didn't blush all the way home.

 

All in all, its was interesting birthday, even if his family had forgotten.

Chapter Text

Illumi was sixteen years old when he was sent on his first mission to York Shin. The city was crowded and bright and garish in a way he both loved and loathed. He liked the way everyone hurried around like they all had places to be and jobs to be doing. He liked the way that even in broad daylight, he could merge into a crowd or even stand in plain sight without being noticed.

 

He didn't like constant noise, or the graffiti, the litter, the unpleasant smell, the thick smog. He didn't like the lack of manners; men and women and the elderly all willing to push and shove one another in order to reach their destination that little bit faster. With such a structured upbringing, the disorder was jarring, even as it made his work easier.

 

Illumi's bangs fell into his eyes once again as he slipped through the second floor window of an extravagantly fancy apartment block in the upper class area of the city. As he closed the window quietly and hurried past disabled security cameras, he silently swore to never cut his hair short again.

 

His target, Debra Ringetta; a mob wife known for her illicit affairs; had company round when Illumi picked the lock to her private apartment and let himself inside.

 

The carpet was plush beneath his shoes, his footfalls silent as he went over the instructions left by his contract holder. 'Make it a messy death. An accident. Something that will not bring the Police or Hunters to my door.'

 

Illumi had easily accepted the contract and agreed to the terms of the kill. It wasn't like he cared about one man's jilted ideas of how a wife should behave when married to a gang leader. He was equally as uncaring about some unsatisfied middle aged woman who, despite the dangerous profession of her husband, still thought it was a good idea to sleep around with young men and boys barely legal. Illumi didn't care, he just killed who he was told to kill. If people choose to be stupid, well, it just meant he had more contracts to take.

 

As he walked silently down the hallway, he heard noises from two opposite directions. Someone in the shower, humming softly. Someone making coffee in the kitchen, cups clinking against the worktop and the smell heady in the air.

 

Illumi took a moment to listen before slipping into the bathroom, decision made.

 

When he left the room less than thirty seconds later, Debra was dead, half sprawled out of the bath, her head having hit the metal tap as she slipped in the shower. A truly tragic accident, one that would surely break her besotted husband's heart when the news reached him.

 

Illumi pulled out one needle, a thin blade with a thick, rounded head, ready to control the woman's lover until he could properly dispose of the person well away from the appartment. The needle pulsed between his fingers, full of Nen, just waiting to pierce the skin of the lover and leak into his mind, cloud his thoughts with nothing but crushing commands.

 

He reached the small but lavish kitchen just as Debra's lover puts two cups of coffee on the bench with a pleased smile.

 

"Hello again Illumi," Hisoka said.

 

Illumi immediately lost his grip over his Nen, needle clattering to the ground as his fingers went lax.

 

He looked down at the coffee, of which Hisoka had nudged one cup closer to Illumi. Under the cup was the queen of hearts, used as a makeshift coaster. He looked back at Hisoka, then back at the coffee again. Back to Hisoka.

 

"Hello, Hisoka." He said faintly.

 

Hisoka looked well. He was no longer the too skinny fifteen year old boy with messily dyed hair- though his big, sharp smile and lidded, secretive eyes remained unchanged. His hair was shorter, neater; still a bright red, but less messy. His clothes; a pink tracksuit and white tank top; were clean and fit his body well, accentuating the dips and curves of his muscles. He had a small star pained on one cheek, a crescent moon on the other. Hisoka was nineteen, and Illumi was now realising the look in his eyes was appraisal.

 

His chest felt hot and tight, but he managed to speak past the dryness in his throat. "Hisoka, why are you here?"

 

Hisoka slouches against the marble counter, tracing one manicured finger around the rim of his coffee cup. "You don't see me for four years and thats what you ask? You wound me Illumi," he said, dragging vowels and making the sentence sound much less innocent than it really should have.

 

"You are lucky I remembered you at all." Illumi replied in an even tone. "I was twelve, and our meeting brief. Why are you here?"

 

"Hmm. I was fifteen, and never forgot the pretty boy that killed my friend by snapping his neck." Hisoka's eyes were intense as he spoke and Illumi had to force himself not to take a step back. He didn't feel threatened exactly- if it came to a fight he was more than capable of holding his own- it was just uncomfortable to stand under the scrutiny of Hisoka's wandering eyes.

 

"The Ringmaster was my contract. If I had not killed him, someone else would gave been sent."

 

Hisoka's smile turned wry. "You don't have to defend your actions to me, Illumi." And of course he didn't. So why had he? "I'm just saying, what a strange coincidence that so many years after killing Philipe, you've now killed my lover."

 

Illumi's eyes widened. "You were her lover? She was forty six."

 

"Ah, and so in need of some appreciation. Her husband showed her none, and since you were sent, he obviously had no lasting feelings of kindness towards her."

 

"And she was forty six."

 

"Illumi, do I have to draw you a diagram? She was still a woman at forty six, just like she was a woman at twenty six and at sixteen."

 

Hisoka didn't look angry, but Illumi tensed anyway. 

 

"Are you upset or angry that I have killed her?" he asked, entirely ready to throw his scolding coffee over Hisoka's face and stab his nails into Hisoka's windpipe if needed.

 

Hisoka laughed, a low, dragging sound. His voice was much deeper at nineteen than it had been at fifteen. Smooth and soft and inviting like worn leather. "Illumi, would I make coffee and converse with you if I were upset or angry?"

 

"Possibly. I do not know you well enough to estimate your reaction to loss." Illumi lied. He remembered the way fifteen year old Hisoka had eyed the body of his 'friend' with a morbid curiosity- had been entirely unaffected by the corpse at his feet while his interested eyes devoured Illumi rather than looking for a way to run away- not exactly a normal reaction to finding a friend dead by the hands of an assassin.

 

Despite his words, Hisoka had not valued either of these people.

 

Illumi wondered faintly, what it would take to make stop Hisoka smiling.

 

"Well, I'm not angry, Illumi." A pause and another sip from his coffee. "Are you not going to drink the coffee I made for you? Milk, one sugar."

 

Illumi looked down at his cup.

 

"This is not how I have my coffee." Illumi said. Hisoka smiled like he knew something Illumi didn't, but made no reply.

 

There was a short pause. "I liked your hair longer." Hisoka said.

 

Illumi fought down the urge to lift his hand to smooth his bangs, but Hisoka seemed to see his urge to do so anyway as he continued talking. "I like it short too, though. It frames your eyes." Illumi heard the smile in his voice.

 

Illumi's last target had commented on his eyes. A middle aged man who owed money to the wrong people. 'You have dead eyes. Soulless. Damned.' he had hissed moments before Illumi had crushed his windpipe like a cigarette butt beneath his foot.

 

He didn't know what to say, so he kept quiet; Hisoka's smile stretching as the silence lengthened.

 

"Illumi."

 

"What?"

 

"Will you fight me?" Almost purred. Illumi cocked his head, narrowed his eyes.

 

"No."

 

"Hmm. Why not?"

 

How was Illumi to answer that?

 

I do not want you dead.

 

You are the closest person to a friend I have, even though this is only our second meeting.

 

I do not trust you.

 

You might win.

 

"I have fulfilled my contract. I will not fight you unless someone pays me to do so."

 

"What If I pay you to fight me?"

 

Illumi smiled at that, a grim little quirk of his lips that Hisoka followed with his eyes. "Hisoka." He said, voice almost pitying. "You couldn't afford the fee if you won the title of Floormaster at Heaven's Arena."

 

"Oh?" Hisoka asked, eyes still trained on Illumi's mouth. "You're that good?"

 

"Yes."

 

A flash of sharp, pearlescent teeth. "I bet. It makes me want to fight you more."

 

The room was warm and smelt like coffee, and Hisoka's eyes were knowing as they stared at Illumi in a way that made him feel tense and a little uncomfortable. Hisoka drummed his nails on the marble counter, each clack matching the speedy beat of Illumi's heart, much higher in his throat than he'd ever care to admit.

 

"I am leaving now." Illumi announced into the loud silence. He had three more contacts in the city before he had to return home, and they longer he stayed conversing with Hisoka, the longer he wanted to stay. He was confused, and a little attracted, which if anything made him more confused.

 

Hisoka pouted, a mockery of a vulnerable expression that did absolutely nothing to mask the danger. "But when will I see you again? I like our conversations."

 

"Hopefully never." Illumi answered.

 

"Maybe I'll come and find you sometime," Hisoka continued as if Illumi hadn't spoken. "Whats your last name, Illu? So I know who to look for."

 

Illumi snorted, surprising himself slightly- the sound unprofessional in a way that would have angered his mother. "If you cannot work with the name Illumi and the profession Assassin, you do not deserve to find me."

 

Hisoka chuckled warmly, walking around the counter to leave the kitchen. He paused by Illumi and kissed his cheek, a soft brush of lips that shocked Illumi rigid.

 

"You're right of course. Maybe next time I'll try and kill you. You'd fight me then, wouldn't you? I'm going to get my things. I'll see you around, Illu~."

 

Hisoka was gone from the kitchen a long time before Illumi so much as blinked. He lifted his hand to his cheek; it felt normal beneath his fingertips.

 

The last person to show him affection was Killua, who used to hug Illumi's neck when he was carried, shoving his cold nose and pink cheeks into the hollow of Illumi's shoulder and giggling in the way all toddlers seemed to do. That had ended well over a year ago.

 

Illumi left the apartment silently, listening to Hisoka hum gently from the bedroom as he packed his things.

 

There was a small cafe at the end of the busy street, blissfully quiet but for the buzzing in Illumi's head.

 

"What can I get you, darlin'?" A woman with curly pink hair asked as Illumi approached the counter.

 

"One coffee to go, please. Milk, one sugar."

 

He could almost hear Hisoka laughing as he took the steaming cup and handed over the money.

 

The laughter followed him out of the cafe and down the street, and when he went to sleep that night, back in his own bed, he could still hear it, and feel the tingling on his cheek.

 

He slammed his pillow over his head and forced his eyes closed.

Chapter Text

"Illumi, there's a freaky looking guy staring at you."

 

Illumi looked down at Killua, who had his face only inches from the screen of his games console.

 

"Mother doesn't want you using that game while we're meant to be socialising, Killu." Illumi said, disregarding Killua's previous comment. There were many men and women staring at Illumi. At Killua too. The Zoldyck children were something of a spectacle even at major functions involving a number of other assassins and socially elite. This ball was no different; the powerful and the strong and the wealthy and the depraved gathered to whisper and titter and make deals in the shadows.

 

Illumi was uncomfortable. He hated to stand so exposed in a room full of people that were equally as two faced as himself. They all had their own agendas.

 

"Yeah, well mother is over by the food talking to Bob Wisen, so unless you snitch on me she's not gonna know."

 

"Who is Bob Wisen?"

 

"I don't know, I just heard her screech his name when she saw him. Dad's trying not to sulk."

 

Illumi sighed. Considering Killua was still a young child, he was already twice the trouble Milluki had been. At least Milluki had been too lazy to answer back.

 

He combed a piece of Killua's hair back into place with his fingers and received an ill tempered grumble for the effort. Illumi took solace in the fact that his siblings felt the same as he did; both Killua and Milluki looked like they would rather be anywhere else. Milluki was sat in the corner, eating what looked to be an entire cheese platter and sweating profusely. Killua just looked grumpy and bored.

 

Phinks walked past Illumi with a sneer plastered across his face; he looked Illumi up and down slowly, and apparently found him lacking.

 

Illumi smiled grimly at him, and Phinks seemed to have trouble holding back his expression of disgust.

 

Hate me if you like, but we both know that I'm the one that's hired when Chrollo knows you and your friends would fail.

 

And I actually have eyebrows.

 

"Illumi, he's still staring at you. He looks really weird. Kind of creepy."

 

Ah. What a familiar sinking feeling.

 

Illumi looked to where Killua was pointing and found Hisoka smiling sunnily, a full champagne flute in each hand. He raised one when he met Illumi's eyes, and Illumi had to physically force his shoulders not to hunch.

 

Father cannot see me with Hisoka. None of the family can. But he would never just leave me alone. Why would he? It's Hisoka. If there's one thing he likes to do its try and provoke me.

 

"Killua, I must go and speak to an associate. Why don't you go and make sure Milluki doesn't choke on all that cheese."

 

Killua scowled up at him. "Alright, but if he does choke I'm not reviving him."

 

Once Killua had left Illumi's side, impervious to the coos and compliments about the 'sweet looking boy with the big blue eyes', Illumi walked over to Hisoka and picked up one of the champagne flutes, continuing onwards to the balcony without speaking. He had limited time to get rid of Hisoka without causing a scene, and if the look in Hisoka's eyes was anything to go by, it would not be an easy task.

 

Thankfully it was quieter outside; the night air was cool and only a few groups were milling around chatting in their long dresses and pressed suits.

 

The last time Illumi had seen Hisoka face to face, he had been sixteen, Hisoka nineteen. Hisoka looked more striking at twenty two than he had at nineteen, though Illumi was more than happy to excuse his wandering eyes and blame the obscure outfit Hisoka was wearing, rather than his thick muscles and small waist.

 

He was wearing a strange take on a jester's outfit- tight white trousers, a white crop top and a purple undershirt that matched heeled boots. His hair was a bright fuchsia and slicked back from his face. His dangerous, smiling eyes were the same.

 

"What do you want." Illumi asked flatly. His palms were a little sweaty, and he was at once glad that Hisoka was not the type of man to move in for a handshake.

 

"Oh, bad day at the office?" Hisoka purred, and Illumi's champagne flute snapped between his fingers, the glass pattering as it hit the floor. The champagne stung slightly as it makes contact with the open cuts on Illumi's hand, and he picked out a shard of glass embedded in his palm detachedly, trying to retain his composure and decidedly not stare at Hisoka's toned thighs.

 

Hisoka's smile deepened. "My my. Someone doesn't seem very happy to see me. Do you want to fight me now, Illumi?" His eyes were lewd.

 

"No."

 

"Why not?"

 

"I will not fight you, Hisoka. I am getting sick of you asking. Desist."

 

His expression turned wolfish. "Why don't you make me."

 

Illumi glared at Hisoka as he shook his head. This was not how their meeting was meant to be going. So why wasn't Illumi walking away? The prickling on his neck and the rapid pulse in his wrists warned him that his father or mother could spot him talking to Hisoka at any moment- but against all common sense he found himself unwilling to leave.

 

Illumi took a deep breath, let it out slowly. "Stop trying to provoke me, please. I find your persistance distasteful."

 

Hisoka pouted, the usual veil of cheer hiding the sadistic streak behind his gaze. "So mean!" He looked down at Illumi's bleeding hand. "Do you need to do something about that?"

 

In honesty, Illumi had already forgotten. Such minuscule pain barely registered anymore. He lifted his hand and licked at the lines of blood, following the trail back to the source; the shallow cut along the length of his palm.

 

When he looked back at Hisoka, its was to find Hisoka's yellow eyes almost all dilated pupil; half lidded and fixed on Illumi's mouth. Illumi licked his lips, ridding himself of the lingering taste of coppery blood and relished the dull throb of excitement in the hollow of his lower back as Hisoka continued to stare. His expression was obscene.

 

A woman across the balcony glanced over, though she immediately turned away panicked when Illumi's dead eyes meet her curious stare. She didn't look back.

 

"Are you sure you aren't up for a... sparring session, Illumi?" Hisoka ask quietly, eyes narrowing and one hand coming up ever so slowly to stroke down the length of Illumi's braid, hanging over his shoulder and falling to his waist in silky black. His voice was closer to a moan than anything composed, and Illumi was loathe to admit it but he was enjoying this attention. Hisoka had never been quite so blatant.

 

Illumi allowed himself a small, vicious smile. "I am fine, thank you."

 

Hisoka breathed in, a sharp inhale as his eyes narrowed. "Oh, the things I would do to you, Illu."

 

"Illumi?"

 

His blood froze. Killua was stood in the doorway of the balcony, expression a cross between confusion and boredom as he took in Hisoka and Illumi; the small, intimate space between them.

 

"What is it, Killua?" He asked, taking a step back from Hisoka and trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Killua's eyes narrowed as if he could somehow sense Illumi's disquiet.

 

"Father has asked that you come inside. Mr Benson has been asking about you and your latest mission." Killua turned his too-knowing eyes to Hisoka. "Who is this?"

 

Hisoka smiled at Killua, but didn't move away from Illumi.

 

"My name is Hisoka," he said, voice soft. "I'm Illumi's dear frie-"

 

"He is no one." Illumi's voice was hard and cutting, and Hisoka looked at him in surprise. "Hisoka is a pest, but no threat. Killua, tell father I will be in soon. First I must deal with this."

 

Killua's suspicious gaze probed Illumi for a moment longer before he nodded once and went back inside.

 

Illumi looked back to Hisoka and found he was no longer smiling, his yellow eyes veiled.

 

"A pest?" He asked, voice light.

 

"I do not have friends." Illumi replied as honestly as he could. Its was true. He did not have friends. He didn't know what to consider Hisoka, but somehow the word friend didn't seem to cover it anymore.

 

Hisoka's entire expression shuttered as he took a step back from Illumi, and when he spoke again it was with a small sneer; softness no longer in his gaze. He looked almost petulant.

 

"Your family make quite the impression. All so striking in apprearance. And so powerful."

 

Illumi went cold. "Don't." Spoken softly: a warning.

 

Hisoka's smile widened, became vindictive and something twisted, close to a snarl. "And your brothers. All so cute. Especially the little ones. What was that tiny one in the furisode called, Kalluto? So sweet." Hisoka put down his champagne. Illumi's eyes burned, unblinking. "And the other one. Killua, was it? I could feel the power radiating from him. I bet he grows up very strong. I wonder if he'd be interested in a fight--"

 

Illumi snapped.

 

He moved without registering it, palm slamming into Hisoka's chest with the force of a truck, knocking the breath out of him with an audible whoosh, his other hand poised to follow with a long, wicked needle.

 

Hisoka, wheezing in with a painful sounding breath, caught his wrist in a vicelike grip, and his smile was a petty, sadistic sneer.

 

Illumi's eyes burned, and he growled. The sound echoed across the balcony, raw and deep and completely inhuman. Hisoka moaned lewdly, hand tightening as his Nen began to form, a bruised purple entwining in the air with Illumi's own nen; the black writhing mass emerging from his skin in thick tendrils.

 

His free hand reared back, another needle poised, and Hisoka flicked his wrist, a card appearing between two fingers, coated in his nen. The queen of hearts.

 

"ILLUMI."

 

Illumi jerked back, body going rigid at the sound of his father's voice.

 

Oh no.

 

Hisoka let go of his wrist slowly, still wheezing with that sickening grin firmly in place.

 

"Father, I-"

 

"Enough. Get your brothers, we are leaving." Silva's voice was hard and brittle. Kalluto was stood behind him, barely old enough to walk by himself, grasping onto Silva's trouser leg and peering at Illumi with curious eyes. People were stood by the doors, staring at Illumi and Hisoka like they were some kind of circus show. Phinks was smirking.

 

Illumi bowed shortly and brushed past Hisoka without a word, without a glance. He was furious beneath his exteriour; heart beating frantically, the need to rip Hisoka's limbs from his body clouding his mind and his vision as he grabbed Killua's wrist and snapped his fingers at Milluki, ignoring their protests, and left the function room through one of the fire exits. The front door at this point would just add insult to injury. At least a hidden door was descrete.

 

Their mother was waiting just outside, her crimson dress taking up most of the floor of the stairwell.

 

"Illumi," she said gently, and his blood seemed to slow in his veins. "What a humiliating display. Do you have anything to say for yourself?"

 

A loaded pause as he scrambled for some kind of excuse for his behaviour. Nothing came to mind other than Hisoka provoked me.

 

"I am sorry mothe-"

 

He was silenced by her slap, long nails raking deep grooves into his cheek.

 

He heard Killua gasp, but kept his eyes trained on the floor.

 

"Get in the car, all of you. We will speak more at home, Illumi." Kikyo said quietly, walking back into the party. Likely making excuses for her children and their untimely departure from the party.

 

"You okay, Illumi?" Milluki asked, eying Illumi's torn cheek queasily.

 

Illumi's gaze snapped to his brother and Milluki flinched, stumbling back a step.

 

"I am fine." answered woodenly.

 

My fault.

 

Surely Hisoka would have left the party after such a spectacle, or at least hidden a while. Still, Illumi's gut churned with the thought of Silva approaching Hisoka, demanding answers. It was partially Hisoka's fault, but he did not deserve to face Silva's wrath. He didn't know the concequences, because Illumi had failed to explain the situation. Illumi was as angry with himself as he was with Hisoka- if not more so.

 

Guilt was an unfamiliar, unpleasant feeling.

 

The three made their way out of the building in silence.

 

Jarek; one of the butlers; was waiting by the car, holding the doors open. Milluki and Killua climbed in without a word, but when Illumi moved to follow, Jarek stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.

 

"A man left this for you, Illumi-sama." He said, passing over a small card.

 

The queen of hearts, a mobile number scribbled on the back in black pen, a small note beneath.

 

♦️Do you want to see a magic trick?♥️

 

Illumi's lips twitched, despite his fury.

 

-

 

Later that night when his cuts were clean and his torso a canvas of bruises, Illumi messaged the number.

 

Illumi:
Stop provoking me.

 

Five minutes later, he received a reply.

 

Hisoka:
Hmmm, no. I'm a pest, remember?

 

Illumi:
How could I ever forget. I sometimes wonder if your friendship is ultimately worth it.

 

Hisoka:
Friendship?

 

Illumi:
If I offended you when I addressed Killua, it was not my intention. Friendship has always been forbidden for my siblings and I.

 

Hisoka:
Oh Illumi, if you wanted me to be your dirty little secret you should have just said so<3

 

Illumi:
Die.

 

Chapter Text

Illumi hated honeypot contracts. Hated them.

 

"Illu-ni, why is your hair blonde?" Kalluto asked, staring at Illumi in the mirror. Illumi didn't pause the painstaking process if inserting needles into his face. One on the side of his nose, disgusted as a stud. Three down the length of his tongue. Two in the lobe of each ear. One between the vertebrate of his lower back, a painful twinge every time he shifted in his seat.

 

"I am going undercover, Kalluto. I need to look different."

 

"What colour are you going to make your eyes?" Kalluto asked, reaching out to grab a handful of Illumi's long hair, now a honey blonde.

 

"Hm. I don't know." He turned around to press the tip of Kalluto's nose gently with one finger. "Why don't you pick?"

 

Kalluto smiled sunnily. "Okay!" He paused, thinking. "What about green? I think you'd look nice with green eyes."

 

Illumi nodded solemly, picking up more needles. He turned back to the mirror to pull down his eyelids and insert a needle below each eyeball. It was a sting of agony, but one he was well familiar with. He turned back to Kalluto.

 

"How do they look?"

 

"Great!"

 

Finished, Illumi stood, pausing for a second to allow the needles to settle, ensuring none fell out or shifted. He brushed off his new clothes, already uncomfortable. He never wore jeans. Especially not so tight. And the shirt, big and baggy, kept falling off one of his shoulders. If this is fashion, I am quite happy to remain out of style.

 

"Where is your mission, Illu-ni?" Kalluto asked as Illumi moved around his room, gathering accessories and makeup he would need to apply once he reached his hotel room.

 

"At a club in York Shin. There is a man there who likes to hurt young people. I have been asked to dispose of him discretely."

 

Kalluto's eyes shone. "That sounds exciting!" He paused, expression morphing into a scowl. "Mother said I'm not allowed to start missions until I'm ten."

 

Illumi picked up an eyeliner, considering. He didn't often wear makeup, but with green eyes it could perhaps have a greater impact. He packed it, just in case.

 

"That is a good thing, Kalluto. The world is dangerous."

 

"But you were seven when you started missions!"

 

Illumi looked over to his brother. "And Milluki started when he was fourteen. You will start when mother thinks you are ready. If she does not yet feel that you are, then continue to train. Besides, I only started solo missions once I turned twelve, everything before that was with father or grandfather."

 

Kalluto looked away, pouting. "Okay. Will you be back by tomorrow?"

 

"Perhaps. I cannot tell so early. Why?"

 

"When you come back will you train with me? Like you do for Killu-ni? I want to be strong too."

 

Illumi bent down so he was eye level with Kalluto, who was looking everywhere but at Illumi, face hidden behind his fringe. "I've been told I'm not very fun to train with. Milluki and Killua are both fast to complain. Are you sure?"

 

A vigorous nod. "I don't want to be the weak one! Just because I'm the youngest, mother babies me. I want to be strong too."

 

Illumi stroked his hand across Kalluto's cheek, smiling faintly. Killua was his priority, but Illumi had a soft spot for Kalluto. He did not whine like Milluki, for one reason. He was also very cute, and even so young had a natural talent for getting his way. Illumi respected that.

 

"As you say, Kalluto. I must leave now, so while I am gone practice your stamina, try to increase your speed. I will not be a gentle mentor."

 

"Yes, Illu-ni. Happy hunting."

 

Illumi's lips quirked up. "I'm sure it will be."

 

-

 

Hisoka:
I'm in York Shin. Are you near the city? We could catch up. ♠️♦️♣️♥️

 

Illumi:
I am in the city, but I am about to start a mission. Perhaps tomorrow.

 

Hisoka:
Why not later tonight? When do you finish?

 

Illumi:
When my target is dead. I do not know an exact time, Hisoka.

 

Hisoka:
Can I tag along?

 

Illumi:
Absolutely not. Do not try and find me. If you interrupt my work, I will be very irritated.

 

Hisoka:
Well, if anything that makes me want to do it more~

 

Illumi:
No Hisoka.

 

Hisoka:
Would you fight me if I messed with your work?

 

Illumi:
Yes. But I would not fight to kill. I would aim to castrate.

 

Hisoka:
So mean!

 

Illumi:
I must go now. I will contact you when I am done.

 

Hisoka:
Have fun♥️

 

-

 


Illumi was most certainly not having fun.

 

He hated honeypot missions. He hated nightclubs. He hated attention.

 

This particular mission happened to be a sweaty, claustrophobic mixture of all three. Illumi forced his way through swell of heaving bodies and multicoloured strobe lights, arriving at the bar more due to sheer luck than intention.

 

"Hey georgeous, can I buy you a drink?" A man asked him, breath smelling of beer. Illumi looked over his shoulder. His target, Lin Kabrinski, was sat in a private booth, surrounded by barely legal boys and girls. His eyes were wandering and he had a large whiskey in his hand.

 

Illumi turned back to his companion. "Yes, you may purchase me a drink. I will not have sex with you, however, so any subsequent attempts at flirting would be wasted." Oddly enough, the man didn't seem so keen on buying him a drink after that.

 

Illumi bought his own drink and sat at the bar for a while, sipping at his vodka lime and trying to ignore the wandering hands that always seem to make their way to his ass. He considered his options.

 

I could try and lure him away from his companions, but success seems unlikely. Perhaps wait until they are separated and execute him quickly. Or manipulate one of the bouncers and have them kill him when he leaves the club.

 

Illumi's nose started to itch as the smell of cigarettes and expensive cologne filled the air.

 

"I'll have another whiskey please Dave, and whatever he's drinking." A smooth voice rang out above the music of the club. Lin watched Illumi with a slight smile, eyes appraising.

 

I suppose this could work too.

 

"Vodka lime, please." He said smoothly, flashing a small smile in thanks. Up close he could feel Lin's nen, a hazy, calming balm against his skin, fogging up his thoughts.

 

No wonder people were so susceptible to his advances. With a nen like that, he could have gotten very far. Instead, he was taking advantage of barely legal kids in a seedy nightclub.

 

"A strong drink for such a pretty young man." Lin commented, eyes travelling not so subtly up and down Illumi's frame. The needle in his lower back altered his height, and at five foot seven, with long blonde hair and green eyes, he apparently didn't have the same aura that so many people called menacing. Of course, it may just have been the eyeliner.

 

Illumi looked up at Lin through his lashes. "I'm much stronger than I look."

 

A leer. "I'll bet you are. What's your name?"

 

Illumi brushed a hand against Lin's jacket, using the excuse of dusting of some lint. When he pulled his hand away there was a tiny needle embedded in the fabric, a tracker in the head. Just to be safe.

 

"My name is Eli." The rehearsed lie fell easily from his tongue before he downed the last of his drink, gesturing to the bartender to bring the next. "And yours?"

 

"You can call me Lin." He picked up his whiskey. "A toast? To making friends."

 

"Of course. To making friends." Illumi repeated, gently tapping his glass to Lin's with another small smile. As his arm moved back down, his shirt fell of one shoulder again, and he didn't miss the way Lin's eyes followed the movement, or the way they lingered on the side of his neck.

 

How distasteful. I truly hate honeypot contracts.

 

"You are a beautiful specimen, Eli. Such amazing green eyes." Lin said, and Illumi had to fight to keep his smile in place. Specimen? How insulting.

 

"I'm glad you think so," he replied, voice light, and thankfully not betraying his annoyance. "I could say the same. You are truly... something."

 

Lin smiled broadly, clearly pleased. "You know, I own this club."

 

Illumi did know that. "Oh? I had no idea."

 

"Yes, and the benefit of owning a club is that you have your own office."

 

Ah. This was Illumi's chance.

 

He looked down, rolling his glass between his hands. His three silver rings clinked against the glass with each twist of movement.

 

"That does seem like a good benefit. Especially when you want to get away from the crowds, right?"

 

"Exactly." Lin moved closer, lifted Illumi's face with a finger on his chin. Illumi's hands tightened on the glass, and he had to force himself to loosen his grip when he felt it start to crack beneath the pressure. "Why don't we go up to my office now, and we can... get to know eachother."

 

It felt like something out of a terrible erotica novel.

 

Illumi smiled and nodded, not trusting his voice. He wanted to kill Lin, wash off his makeup, change into his own clothes and go to bed.

 

"Ah, Lin? Long time no see." A smooth, unusually toneless voice said behind Illumi, and he turned, disbelieving, to see Hisoka greeting Lin like an old business associate.

 

Hisoka actually looked serious. And bored, if anything.

 

"Hisoka, yes it's been far too long." Lin replied gruffly, shaking Hisoka's hand with a firm grip.

 

Illumi sat, completely baffled and somewhat resigned. Hisoka hadn't even noticed him, due to the disguise. He was ruining Illumi's mission without even realising it. Of course.

 

"Oh, where are my manners. Allow me to introduce Eli, my companion for the evening. Eli, this is Hisoka, an old associate."

 

Hisoka turned to Illumi, and the shock on his face would have been funny if Illumi hadn't been sure his own expression was an exact mirror.

 

Lin seemed to pick up on the mutual surprise. Thankfully he didn't pick up on Illumi's sudden yearning to jump off a high building. "I take it you two know eachother?" He asked, brow raised.

 

Illumi's mind raced through dozens of excuses, but before he could do so much as open his mouth Hisoka was already blithely spewing all over Illumi's plans. "Yes, we know each other intimately."

 

Illumi was going to kill him.

 

"How so?" Lin asked, frowning. Hisoka had regained his composure, and the dirty gleam in his eye was back like it had been there from the beginning.

 

"We were lovers, you see. Until cruel fate ripped us apart."

 

Oh, two could play at that game. Hisoka had already thoroughly ruined Illumi's plan; at this point he had nothing to loose. He would have to kill Lin when he made his way home, and hope it could be passed off as an accident. 

 

He turned to Lin with a bland look. "It was less fate's fault, and more that Hisoka has a small cock and could never satisfy me. It helps his ego to blame everything else."

 

Hisoka's smile twitched, and the look in his eyes turned dangerous. "Small? Well, I've never heard that from anyone else. I thought you were just frigid."

 

Illumi scowled, hackles rising. "Frigid? Not for the right person. Maybe my interests just lie elsewhere."

 

A raised brow. "Oh? It's never seemed that way. Blushing and shy whenever I so much as looked at you."

 

Illumi turned to face him fully. "Maybe it was because I had never been so close to a sex driven pervert before, and was unused to such blatant appraisal."

 

"I would have stopped if you weren't interested. I'm no monster."

 

Illumi laughed, harsh and grating, and his hold on his nen slipped for a moment. His eyes flashed a fathomless black. "A monster is exactly what you are."

 

Hisoka smiled with all his teeth. "Maybe."

 

Lin shifted, drawing their attention back to him. "I'm gonna go," he said uneasily, already shuffling backwards into the crowd. "It seems like you two have some issues you need to work through. I'll catch you later." He turned and fled.

 

Illumi looked to Hisoka, who was smiling prettily, like he had no care in the world. Of course he didn't care. It wasn't his mission that had been utterly destroyed.

 

"You deliberately ruined my misson." He hissed at Hisoka.

 

"Who, me? Of course I didn't! I was just having fun." A smile that was closer to a snarl. "I'm still having fun."

 

Bloodlust was roaring in his ears like a flooded river about to burst its banks. Illumi pushed himself away from the bar and squeezed through the crowd towards the exit. His mind was clouded with the urge to rip out Hisoka's jugular with his teeth, and when a strong hand gripped his wrist and pulled him sharply through the crowd to an empty space beside the wall, he followed without registering it.

 

Hisoka crowded him against the sticky wall, breathing harshly against Illumi's bare shoulder. The pulsing bodies around them paid no attention, each lost in the booze and the drugs and the rhythm of the pounding music.

 

Illumi stabbed a needle into Hisoka's exposed side; a warning. His eyes widened when Hisoka groaned loudly and licked his neck.

 

"Fuck me up, Illu." He breathed, and Illumi's hands curled into fists. He was too short. He reached down to his own back and ripped out the long needle, immediately using his regained hight and surprise to spin Hisoka and reverse their positions, forcing Hisoka against the wall.

 

With his height back they were evenly matched, and Hisoka leant his head back against the wall, staring at Illumi with eyes almost all pupil. "Illu, you really are something else."

 

"Stop it." Illumi snapped harshly, his breathing ragged. "Stop whatever this is. Stop it."

 

Hisoka smiled, slow and languid and screaming of ill intentions. "You're stunning. I've watched you on missions, you know. Blood on your face and eyes like obsidian. I've dreamt of you fucking me like that. Of fucking you."

 

Illumi stumbled back a step, mind chaos. He didnt know what to do.

 

"Illu," Hisoka began, dragging Illumi closer with hands on his waist. "If I kiss you will you kill me?"

 

A shaky whisper. "Yes."

 

Hisoka laughed, and it was pleased and affectionate and something else Illumi couldn't identify. "Good." He said, pressing his lips to Illumi's.

 

It took a moment to register that Hisoka was kissing him. That he was reciprocating.

It wasn't gentle. Hisoka kissed like all he wanted to do was devour, and Illumi had never been one to back down. It was hard, vicious, wet enough to make Illumi's thoughs cloud and his knees feel weak, his stomach clench and his hands shake. Hisoka tasted like bubblegum and cinnamon and his teeth were sharp when Illumi tongued them. His hands were in Illumi's hair, bunched tight at the roots and pulling, and Illumi's nails were embedded in Hisoka's wide shoulders, digging deep into the muscles, feeling blood well up around his fingertips.

 

Hisoka moaned lowly as he sucked on Illumi's lower lip and bit down, and Illumi's heartbeat skyrocketed as he forced himself ever closer, chest to chest, hip to hip. He was kissing Hisoka. Clever, twisted, sly Hisoka who's tongue felt like a brand and a promise.

 

Illumi jammed a needle into the side of Hisoka's neck and pushed him off.

 

Hisoka went willingly, laughing breathlessly as he rolled to the side, pulling the needle out without so much as a wince.

 

"It took you longer to do that than I expected, Illu. Do you have something to tell me?"

 

"I do not." Illumi answered resolutely, trying hopelessly to calm his breathing and school his face into anything but the hopeless confusion and desire warring in his chest.

 

"Hmm. That's okay, I can wait." Hisoka sang, smiling at him with red lips and lewd eyes.

 

"Okay guys, this is the last song of the night! Dance away, its your last chance!" The DJ shouted, jerking Illumi's attention away from Hisoka. He had yet to kill Lin. He looked through the crowd to Lin's private booth and found it empty.

 

He looked back to Hisoka. "I have to go and find my target, so thank you for completely destroying any semblance of order this evening. It isn't appreciated."

 

Hisoka couldn't have looked less sorry if he had strained himself trying. He looked entirely too pleased with himself. "I'm off to take the Hunter's exam next week, so I probably won't be in contact for a while. This was a pleasant send off though. I guess I owe you a favour now."

 

"You owe me your organs served on a platter, Hisoka." Illumi replied, scowling. "I'm leaving to finish my mission, or to at least scrape up the last dregs of it." He didn't wait for an answer, instead pushing back through the crowd without being diverted.

 

The air outside the club was cool and fresh, but did nothing to settle his racing thoughts. In the shadows of an alley he pulled out the remainder of his needles, shedding his disguise and tying his hair in a tight bun atop his head. He checked his phone; the small tracker showing a fast path was being weaved to a high end estate on the other side of town.

 

He put his phone back in his pocket and started running.

 

-

 

Hours later, when Illumi was finally clean and free of makeup, his phone buzzed twice in quick succession against the nightstand.

 

Hisoka:
Sweet dreams ♥️

 

Illumi didn't dignify that one with a reply. He checked the next.

 

Kalluto:
Did the mission go well?

 

He threw his phone across the room and turned out the light.

 

He still hated honeypot contracts.

 

Chapter Text

Hisoka remembered, in vivid detail, the twelve year old boy with silky black hair and a solemn gaze. He had been so small. So cute. Hisoka had watched him from a distance when he first entered the Circus and completely bypassed all the acts.

 

Maybe he's too shy to approach anyone, Hisoka had thought, stealing a candied apple from one of the stalls. He ate it while he travelled, always maintaining a fair distance. The boy didn't look real. He looked like a pretty porcelain doll.

 

When he snapped Philipe's neck without so much as blinking, Hisoka fell a little bit in love.

 

-

 

At the age of nineteen, dressed in a suit and with his long hair loosely braided, Illumi hit Hisoka hard enough to crack three ribs.

 

Hisoka had known from that moment that it was destiny.

 

-


He found Illumi in a small bar, cramped and cozy and warm. Illumi hadn't spoken to Hisoka since Killua had left with the little cutie in the skirt, and Hisoka missed the attention.

 

He ordered glass of red wine before joining Illumi at his table. Illumi was reading a worn looking fabric bound book, a half empty glass of port on the table. He didn't look up when Hisoka sat down, so he took the time to leer. He loved it when Illumi tied his hair up. He was wearing it in a loose bun this evening, with a few silky wisps framing his face. It exposed the graceful line of his neck, made Hisoka want to mark him with bites or bruises or both.

 

"Tell me something from your book, Illu." He said, leaning his elbows on the table and watching the delicate bones in Illumi's hand shift as he turned a page.

 

"A Glaistig is a water fae, half woman, half goat. She hides her goat-like features under a long green dress, and lures men to dance with her by the side of her lake. She then drinks their blood." Illumi paused, setting the book down gently. "My last date didn't go very well. He acted scared when he saw me, which was odd. I don't suppose you have any idea why he suddenly decided I am terrifying on the third date?"

 

Hisoka took a sip of his wine. Widened his eyes. "I have no idea! He sounds like a strange man. Maybe you're better off without him, hm?"

 

Illumi's face didn't move, but the annoyance in his eyes was as clear as day. Hisoka loved Illumi's eyes. Dark and endless and so easy to read. Well. At least to Hisoka. Everyone else seemed to disagree somewhat.

 

"Hisoka." A not so gentle rebuke.

 

Hisoka grinned, lifting his wine. "What? I only told him the truth."

 

Illumi narrowed his eyes. "And what truth was that?"

 

"That if he ever touched you again I would rip his limbs off and force-feed them to his family."

 

Illumi sat back in his chair, eyes going big and round. "Excuse me?" His voice was faint. How sweet.

 

"What can I say? I just don't like sharing."

 

Illumi's hands clenched. "I am not something to own, Hisoka. If you ever voice something so insulting again I will rip out your throat."

 

Hisoka took another sip from his wine. It was deep, dark, and strong. Much like his companion. "Lets play a game, Illu. Tell me something about yourself that no one else knows. Then I'll tell you something."

 

Illumi frowned. "Why would I want to do that?"

 

"Humour me. For the sake of our longstanding friendship."

 

Illumi's sigh was soft and ghosted against Hisoka's face. "I am adept at playing the piano and violin. As a child, one of our butlers used to teach me when I came back from training. The lessons stopped when mother killed him, but I continued to learn in private."

 

Hisoka smiled. He pictured twelve year old Illumi sat at a grand piano, absolutely dwarfed by the instrument. He did have the fingers for it though. Long and slim and graceful.

 

"Hmm. I lost my virginity when I was fourteen. Naughty, I know, but I've always had a weakness for older women. Nancy was simply too pretty for my young body to deny. I hear she's married now."

 

Illumi sipped his drink, his eyes shuttered. "I dont know what you are getting out of this, Hisoka."

 

"Just tell me something else Illu. Something no one knows."

 

"I have not cried since I was four years old. I found an injured cat, and nursed it back to health. When father found out, he made me kill it."

 

Hisoka paused. "I was eleven when I first killed someone."

 

"I was seven."

 

"I don't like vegetables. I much prefer fruit, like cherries or raspberries."

 

"My favourite flowers are Plumerias."

 

"My favourite drink is green tea."

 

"I enjoy poetry."

 

"I'm in love with you."

 

Illumi's eyes snapped wide open and he jerked back in his seat. Hisoka smiled, finishing his wine.

 

"It's your turn to give me a secret, Illu."

 

It took a few moments, but Illumi regained some composure and spoke, his voice quiet and somewhat unwilling. "I do not completely despise you."

 

"My goodness! What a revalation!" Hisoka exclaims. "I truly had no idea."

 

"Are we done now?" Illumi asked, voice strained. His face was tense; there were tiny creases at the corner of his eyes that Hisoka wanted to lick away.

 

"Not yet. My go! I lied when I called you frigid."

 

"I lied when I said you have a small cock."

 

Another grin. "Oh, I know that one. I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to fight your grandfather."

 

"I would kill you before you touched any member of my family."

 

"I'd try anyway."

 

"I know you would. I think you have been cheating. I do not think all of your statements have been truthful."

 

"Hm, you're right of course. But which ones were lies?"

 

Illumi stood abruptly, his dark eyes sliding away from Hisoka's gaze. "I have had enough of this. Please don't scare my dates." He picked up his book and left the pub quickly.

 

Hisoka gave it a moment before following, easily catching up. Illumi was a dark shadow under the city night sky; enchanting and dangerous. Hisoka's pulse was thudding a dull rhythm of excitement as he fell into pace.

 

"It was the tea." He said, glancing over to see Illumi staring resolutely in front as he walked.

 

"What?"

 

"I lied about the green tea. I think it tastes like grass. I much prefer coffee."

 

Illumi's resulting sigh sounded hopeless. "You are not going to stop scaring my dates, are you."

 

Hisoka turned away to hide his smile. "Probably not. Of course, it depends on the person. I wouldn't have any objections if I felt they were right for you. Consider it me looking out for a dear friend."

 

"And who would you consider to be right?"

 

"Well, me of course. I thought that was obvious. You're pretty slow sometimes, Illu."

 

Illumi smacked Hisoka with his book. Hisoka rubbed his arm and pouted, but it was more out of principle if anything. Illumi obviously hadn't meant it to hurt, or Hisoka's bones probably would have have shattered upon impact.

 

"I think you are trying to mess with me again."

 

Hisoka raised a brow. "Do you really think I'm that bad?"

 

Illumi frowned at him. "Hisoka, you got an erection when you fought a twelve year old boy. That is certainly not something a good person would do, and I'm sure it's something that Gon won't ever forget."

 

"Says the man that stalked his little brother."

 

Illumi's frown deepened. "I was not stalking, I was monitoring."

 

"Of course, of course," Hisoka replied, trying to smother a laugh. Illumi stopped walking.

 

"Do not mock me."

 

"I'm not!" Hisoka objected, raising both hands in a display of innocence. "You truly must think the worst of me, darling."

 

Illumi's mouth pinched. "I feel sick. Never call me that again."

 

"Sugar dumpling?" Hisoka volunteered, taking a step forward.

 

"Stop it."

 

"Cherry blossom?" Another step. He couldn't stop grinning.

 

"Stop it, Hisoka."

 

"Love of my life?" He asked, inches away from Illumi, staring into those endless eyes.

 

Illumi made an aggravated sound in the back of his throat, but this close Hisoka could see the faint pink tinge to his cheeks. He stroked two fingers down the elegant column of Illumi's neck, resting them against the steady pulse.

 

"You need to think of a pet name for me too. Thats how cute relationships work." He breathed, ever so close to Illumi's scowling mouth.

 

"Murderous pervert."

 

Hisoka huffed a surprised laugh. "Accurate, but not exactly complimentary. Try again."

 

"Sadomasochistic clown."

 

"Illumi, I'm not sure you're understanding how this works." He paused. "Though again, that was pretty accurate."

 

Illumi's lips quirked up into a small but genuine smile. "Why do pet names matter? I'll probably kill you within the week anyway."

 

Hisoka kissed him softly; a faint pressure that was nothing like any kiss he'd ever given- ever wanted to give. Illumi opened beneath his lips like a flower blooming, and Hisoka fell into the kiss in the way he'd dreamed he would since he was fifteen years old and watching tiny Illumi blush and splutter. Illumi tasted deep and sweet like the port he'd been drinking, and beneath that something darker still; heady and addictive. His teeth were blunt against Hisoka's tongue, and Hisoka took a long moment to trace the studs along the line of Illumi's tongue. He hadn't kissed Illumi in years, but now he'd started again he knew he didn't have the willpower to stop. Hisoka was selfish after all, so why would he even bother?

 

Illumi pulled away slowly, eyes as deep as an ocean and full of desire. "I haven't fucked anyone since we were last together." He said slowly, eyes on Hisoka's lips.

 

Hisoka's knees weakened as all the blood drained from his head. "I really think you should have told me that when we were near a bed, and maybe not on a public street. Now I'm going to have to walk with an erection, and that's never fun."

 

Illumi smiled grimly. "Good. My hotel is three miles away. I'm sure, if you want me enough, you can make it that far."

 

Hisoka laughed quietly, bending down to leave a lingering kiss against Illumi's neck, unable to resist biting a little. "Of course, my lovely."

 

Illumi drew back abruptly, face souring. "I changed my mind. I hate you. Go away."

 

Hisoka laughed loudly, entirely too pleased about being told he was hated. "You can't say that to your boyfriend!"

 

"I didn't say it to my boyfriend. I said it to you."

 

"You wound me, Illu. Come kiss it better."

 

"You are the worst person I have ever met."

 

Hisoka grinned widely, and his heart skipped a little when Illumi smiled back, releasing a quiet breath of laughter, hand in front of his mouth. He looked almost shocked to hear himself laughing.

 

"I am pretty terrible, aren't I?" Hisoka asked, grabbing Illumi's hand and linking their fingers. "It's a good thing you're just as messed up as me."

 

"That is yet to be proven."

 

"So what's my pet name then?"

 

"I would rather put out a fire with my own face than call you baby."

 

"Maybe just stick to calling me Hisoka for now then." He said, grinning. "After all, I'm sure we'll think of something."

 

Illumi gave no verbal reply, but his eyes were a little softer than the usual blank black, and really, that was all the reply Hisoka needed.