It’s a little past twelve in the afternoon when Illumi’s phone rung. Luckily he’d been in the middle of doing nothing particular, a rare spot of down time for an assassin who seemed to never receive any, and as such the phone was barely on the shrill pitch of its second ring before he answered it.
“Yes?” He answered sharp, brisk and to the point as always. He never bothered with any sort of greeting because anyone who called this specific phone knew who they wanted or would be hunted down and killed just for wasting his very expensive and valuable time.
Illumi was proud to say it only took the deaths of two telemarketers before people started to get the message.
“Illumi,” the voice on the other side said. The voice was strained and obviously tired in ways he’d never heard before but still unmistakable in its distinction.
“Chrollo. Is something wrong with Killua?”
Chrollo laughed, it sounded just as weary as before.
“I wouldn’t say there’s anything wrong with him per say.” A pause. “But how do you make your brother,” another pause as the caller searched for the right words. Sighed and decided to be blunt. “Act less like a brat?”
Illumi hummed, even though his brother had been abducted at two and had spent the past three years in the care of the Phantom Troupe, only the past year or so with Illumi actually knowing of his brothers still living statues, he still received calls like this on occasion from the leader, or some of the other troupe’s members when the leader was out for the day, on how to care for Killua when the other became particularly difficult or they simply just didn’t know what to do.
“How did this start?” Illumi finally settled on asking.
With a sigh Chrollo launched into the events that had transpired up until this point.
Killua had woken up grumpy; it had been clear from the loud screaming match that the five year old had with Uvo about changing out of his pajamas and into his day clothes. The larger one had eventually given up out of pure frustration and simply grabbed the pouting and tear streaked boy and carried him, like a furious mother cat, to the kitchen where he dumped the other boy in his chair then promptly left grumbling about taking out his frustrations on the nearest idiot he could find.
Chrollo had taken over from there, though Killua hadn’t been any better for him, trying to feed him breakfast, which the other promptly threw at the wall, then trying to put the little one in a time out for which he simply cried and yelled until Chrollo couldn’t take it anymore.
Shortly after that Chrollo had turned on the TV, dumped Killua in front of it and resigned himself to a day of doing absolutely nothing with a cranky five year old, when the pre mentioned five year old began to wail for no apparent reason.
That’s when Chrollo had swallowed what little pride he’d had left and called the resident Killua expert.
Illumi hummed and nodded, not that the other could see threw the telephone, in all the appropriate times as the other finally concluded his story. It didn’t take him long to decide what was wrong, it was simple really, and this behaviour was nothing decidedly new for Illumi especially in Killua’s earlier period of life.
“Could you put Killua on the phone please?”
“If you think you can talk any sense into him, then sure.” There was a brief scuffle and the sound of high pitch crying that eventually began to die down to a more manageable level as a soft voice soothed the temper tantrum.
“Lumi?” The voice was just as tired as Chrollo’s had been and strained from constant crying, it brought forth the brotherly instincts in Illumi and he could only just resist running to the troupe’s current location and offering his brother warm tea, a cuddle and his eternal devotion.
“Yes Killua, it’s me. How are you feeling little one?” Illumi knew as soon as Chrollo described his brother’s violent reaction to food this morning and the crying and screaming for no apparent reason.
It had happened a lot in Killua’s baby years, especially with his mother over feeding the baby poison every chance she could get, where he’d get a nasty temperament the day before, then falling violently sick the next day because of his weaken immune system.
Illumi was surprised that Chrollo, or any of the members really, had yet to deal with this particular warning sign of Killua’s, but he supposed with the lack of poison constantly being introduced to his system combined with being far away from their mother had improved his immune system and as such he hadn’t fallen sick in a long time.
“Feel bad 'lumi.” The other sniffed; it was accompanied by the sound of fabric pulling against skin as his brother rubbed his nose against his sleeve.
“I thought so, how bad Kill?”
“Real bad Lumi, I just want to go back to bed but no one will listen!” He could hear the other sniffle and whimper as more tears began to gather in the other’s eyes. There was the sound of movement on the other side and soft hushing as Chrollo tried to calm his brother down again.
“I understand Kill, don’t worry little one you can go to bed soon. Will you put Chrollo back on please?”
“K.” A pause and with a shattering amount of trust the other whispered “I love you Lumi,” before passing the phone back to his anxious guardian.
“He’s sick.” Illumi bluntly answered, his stomach churning at how vulnerable his little brother sounded, how much like a five year old he was acting despite his brother often acting twice, if not three times, his age.
“Yes. I’m surprised you haven’t dealt with this before but before Killua gets ill he gets cranky and unhappy, the best thing you can do is bundle him up, get some tea in him and let him sleep. I feel I should warn you though, the crankier he gets the worse it is and it seems like this one will be bad.”
“Thanks Illumi, I appreciate it. I’ll make sure to call again when Killua is feeling better.”
“See that you do.” Illumi replied. He shut his phone with a final click, pocketing it he went to his own room. He was feeling tired all of a sudden and a nap sounded like a perfect idea.
“Why didn’t you just say you weren’t feeling well Killua?” Chrollo asked as he put away his phone and scooped the little one up into his arms.
The bundle of white fluff pressed his head against the crook of Chrollo neck, warm with a fever that Chrollo hadn’t noticed before, his whole body snuggled up to Chrollo a line of softness and baby fat that made Chrollo wonder how he’d ever lived without it.
“I tried but you didn’t listen.” Killua sniffed and pressed his face deeper into Chrollo’s neck. His little face was damp with tears and more were beginning to well with frustration at his current predicament.
He didn’t feel good and Uvo was mean and Chrollo tried to give him food even though he told the other his tummy wasn’t hungry and then he got put in time out for throwing the food even though it had really been Chrollo’s fault for not listening to him. Chrollo should have been in the timeout not him!
“I’m sorry Kill, but I’m listening now aren’t I? How about I give you a nice cool bath and you can go to bed, okay?”
The tiny face nodded up and down against his neck as Chrollo walked them to the bathroom, stripped the little one and filled the tub up with pleasantly cool water, he placed Killua in and made sure the other was alert and aware before going to get Machi and asking her if she could run to the store for some children’s Advil and ingredients for chicken noodle soup and some lemons for tea.
Illumi hadn’t specified what type of sickness the other would have so the best thing Chrollo decided he could do was get the resident medic prepared for the oncoming storm.
Now would be the best time to do it too because when the little one truly did get sick he had the feeling he wouldn’t be the only member of the troupe to be too distraught with worry to think clearly in the coming days.
He came back to find a still grumpy, but significantly less so, Killua nodding off in the tub. Worried about the other one possible drowning he pulled him out of the tub, dried his hair with soft motions that the white locks deserved, before bundling him up in the biggest, fluffiest, towel he could find on such short notice and carried the other to his room.
The room was in the middle of the compound, it use to be the storage room for Chrollo’s most recent treasure but after they’d obtained Killua he’d had it cleared out and turned into the little boy’s room. Chrollo had found it appropriate, it was the most heavily guarded room in the house with the least amount of access; there wasn’t even a window, just the one door to get in and a trap door skillfully hidden under Killua’s bed for emergency exits. It was defiantly the treasure room; even with the priceless artifacts and do dads gone it still housed the Phantom Troupe’s most irreplaceable being, little Killua.
It was painted a soft blue with five over flowing bookshelves at one end of the room and an overstuffed and oversized blue bed at the other that could handle upwards of two troupe members at one time plus Killua, even Uvo with his massive size could easily fit on it and had on more than one occasion. Besides that there was a small grey dresser that held all of Killua’s clothes with a tiny lamp and glass of half-filled water on it, the room was bare.
It wasn’t for lack of effort though. The troupe members had all tried to spoil Killua with toys and books and games at one point or another but beside the occasional plushy or interesting book he’d make the others return them or give them to other children that lived close by.
When asked about Killua simply said he didn’t need more then he already had and didn’t want to push his luck too far. Unless they were going to give him chocolate, Kill could never turn down chocolate or sweets in any form.
Chrollo finished drying Killua off with well-practiced movements, when the other was no longer wet he grabbed Killua’s favorite pajamas, cotton two piece white things with a hood on the back of the shirt that had little cat ears attached and little flaps on the bottom of feet to be turned into little boots that looked like cat paws, before placing him in his bed.
Killua had been dosing against his shoulder while he’d dressed him and turned bleary eyes on him as he pulled the blue comforter over his shoulders so he could snuggle in.
“I don’t feel well Chrollo.” The other told him.
“I know sweet one but you’ll feel better after a little nap okay?”
“Alright Chrollo.” As the clouded blue eyes began to slip shut Chrollo made to leave but a soft voice stopped him.
“Will you stay?” Killua asked with such vulnerability that Chrollo ached with the sound of it.
“Of course little one; just let me get my book and I’ll be right back.” Killua nodded, his eyes beginning to slip close as his tiredness, even from such a short day, began to take over him.
As promised Chrollo grabbed his book from where he’d left it on the kitchen counter this morning and returned to his sweetlings room.
Killua had almost been asleep when he returned but smiled at Chrollo none the less and shifted over so Chrollo could fit comfortably on the bed without feeling like he would be constantly falling off. Chrollo attached a little book light to the spine of his latest novel and turned off the overhead light so Killua could sleep in peace.
Within minutes the room was filled with the gentle sounds of a tiny body succumbed to sleeps alluring warmth and the soft swish of pages of a book being turned.
Chrollo stopped for a moment and looked at the little thing he’d adopted, curled up tight in his comforter and sweet face slack and young in sleep, and came to the sudden and startling realization that he’d never give this up. Even the bad days, the ones when he wanted to stab pins in his brain just to make the whining and crying stop, were worth it even for just the tinniest glimmer of the piece and contentment that Killua offered him.
He turned his eyes away from his little one and back to his book where he picked up his reading again; a silent guard for his greatest treasure.