Kindling Hope

After four years of travelling, Killua and Gon finally reunite. Killua develops feelings around Gon he doesn't entirely understand, and Gon thinks he started to recover his nen… the moment their hands touched.

Four years have passed since Killua and Gon last saw each other, when Gon accepted his father's challenge and climbed to the top of the World Tree. Since then, they parted ways. Killua traveled the world with his sister, Alluka, and Gon traveled the world himself, training, searching for a way to return his nen and to find his destiny. Of course, they wrote to each other constantly. Gon claimed he'd grown wiser over his journeys, but Killua doubts it. He bets his best friend is exactly as sincere and light-hearted as ever.

Alluka, now with better control over her power of Something, decided that she wanted to follow in Killua's footsteps and take the Hunter Exam. Afterwards, she planned to return home to reconnect with her family.

Now alone, Killua urged Gon to meet up with him. He didn't mentioned so in the letters, but he hopes to travel side-by-side with Gon again.

Killua leans his head back on his park bench, then glances at his phone. 1:00pm. This is definitely the meeting place Gon requested, a wildlife park known for its hundreds of species of birds. Killua observes the flight of two scarlet doves above him as a teenager with spiky hair and gleaming brown eyes walks toward him.

"Killua," Gon shouts. He runs to him and embraces him. Killua grunts, then awkwardly pats Gon on the back. When Gon straightens, Killua gets a good look at him. He grew tall, though still not as tall as him. He wore black pants and boots, and a green jacket that fit tightly, making it clear Gon became more muscular in the past four years. His face is more mature, sharper, but his eyes are still as full of life as Killua remembers. "I've missed you," Gon says. "Traveling was hardly the same without my best friend."

Killua reddens. "So you've said in every single letter." It's more embarrassing hearing it face-to-face. But it makes him hopeful. Maybe Gon will agree to travel together again.

Gon grabs his hand and pulls him up. Killua forgot how innocently Gon used to touch him, and he is stunned to silence from the spark he feels when their skin touches. That didn't use to happen, did it? He watches Gon uneasily, similar to how he examines an opponent to gauge their power before a battle. Gon still has no nen, but vulnerability and fear quakes in Killua's stomach. And he doesn't understand why.

"Come on," Gon says. "I'm starving." He leads Killua down the street to a local restaurant, and their hostess seats them at a table beside a couple on a date. The pair are holding hands, their fingers interlocked.

Killua loosens the top of his turtleneck. He's sweating, all of a sudden.

Across from him, Gon smiles, and Killua is glad that his smile has stayed the same. When Gon smiles, he glows. His eyes, his face, his aura-everything radiates. Killua looks at the menu quickly so Gon doesn't catch him staring.

Then Gon's smile turns serious. "I haven't been able to sense an aura in years, but, just a few minutes ago, I feel like I started to sense yours."

"Are you sure?" Killua asks. He doesn't want Gon to get his hopes up. His letters about his quest to rediscover his nen were painful to read, both because he hated to hear of Gon so distressed and because it reminded him of when Gon was in the hospital, dying, his body shriveled and black like a charcoal spit out from a fire. That was the worst time of Killua's life, when he thought he would lose Gon.

Gon nods. "I think so."

"But why would you start sensing nen now?" Killua says. "Unless… I think there's two options. One, you did start sensing nen just now, with me; or two, you started sensing it earlier but only realized it just now because you recognize my aura."

"I don't think so. I would've noticed if I was sensing nen before." He furrows his eyebrows. "It was when I touched your hand."

"That doesn't make any sense," Killua says, but he isn't sure. He's no nen expert. As far as he knows, only intensive meditation or a powerful nen attack can activate someone's nen. But Gon is a special case. He gave up his nen during his battle against the Chimera Ants, and Killua assumed up until this point that he'd never recover it.

Before Killua can react, Gon grabs his hand. Though startled, Killua doesn't move it away. Gon's hand is warm and callused, the exact opposite of Killua's icy, smooth hands.

"I can definitely sense it," Gon says. "But I can't see it. Do you think, because we trained in nen so much together, mine is reacting to yours?"

"Uh, I guess it's possible."

The waiter comes to the table, and Killua pulls his hand back to his lap. They both order water and quickly send the waiter away so they can continue their discussion.

"Do you have any plans coming up?" Gon asks him.

"No. I…" I was hoping I could travel with you, he thinks.

Gon fidgets in his seat. It's strange watching him do that, like he used to do four years ago. Every time Gon does something, it reminds Killua of the past, and of how much he'd like to Gon to become a part of his present.

"Would you want to go to Kista with me?" Gon asks.

"Kista? The gambling city?"

"Before it was a gambling city, it was a spiritual area where people trained. Maybe being there, training with you, will help me find my nen again."

"Of course," Killua says, perhaps too quickly. "I mean, I don't have any plans. I'll help you get your nen back. Whatever it takes."

To be continued...