"Hey? Are you alright? Mister?"
The voice was young and childish. Innocence bled through their tone clealry. Small and calloused hands reached out.
Illumi hated that he couldn't open his eyes. He had underestimated his target. While he had been successful in taking out his target, he had unfortunately been too cocky and had lost quite a bit of blood. And he hadn't reached the safe house before he collapsed in some nowhere backwater place. Now he was dealing with some brat who wouldn't leave him alone.
"Geez, don't you know it's dangerous to sleep out here mister?"
Illumi felt his body being lifted mostly off the ground and dragged. The voice grunted.
"Man, you are heavy."
Illumi didn't like the mumbles and grumbles from whoever was complaining. Nor did he give permission for his body to be touched.
"Don't worry. You'll be safe at my place. I've got water and bandages. That stab wound doesn't look too good."
Illumi remained silent. His body unable to move. He felt his shirt being lifted but not removed. A wet cloth gingerly touched the injured spot. Familiar motions of cleaning a wound gingerly touched his skin. There was a little digging as the wound was cleaned of any debris.
"Man this looks painful. I wonder what happened? It looks like a stab wound, but it's really deep and the entry is small. Some kind of arrow?"
Illumi silently acknowledged that the owner of the voice was right. And no doubt a child with the tone and pitch.
"No stitches, but when you try and move, you'll need to be careful. I don't know how much blood you've lost, but you need some water. When you're conscious, I'll have some ready for you. It's too much a risk to try and hydrate you otherwise."
Illumi didn't know why the child was still talking. Such a worthless trait really. The child was lucky he couldn't move yet, or he'd have killed the boy. Thankfully the child was no longer talking. Instead he heard pages turning from a book. Then just their breaths. The occasional scuffle from outside, paired with the turning of pages, were the sounds Illumi rested to. He had rested in worse conditions. But he loathed to be exposed as he was.
Still he waited, his nen revitalizing him faster than the common plebians filling this run down area.
It had been hours of him lying there when there was loud yelling. Illumi felt fabric being quickly draped over his body, covering him like a corpse.
"Please play dead," the child advised with false bravato. He could hear him walk to the door and open it slightly with a click.
"Can I help you?"
"Child," a gruff voice Illumi loathed spoke. The lucky archer who had put him in this undesireable situation. "We are looking for this man."
There was movement from parchment. An image no doubt of himself on the blasted thing.
"Have you seen this man?"
"I can't say that I have," the kid responded without hesitation. What?
"Are you sure-?"
"I'm sure. He looks pretty distinctive. I'm sure I'd know."
There was a crashing sound. The kid grunted.
"Search the place-"
"Hey! What gives you the right to search my home?"
"This man is a killer. He killed Lord Zemort. We are to bring him in and execute him."
"I just told you-"
"That you haven't seen him. Well forgive me boy if I would rather check for myself." Illumi heard some movement, then felt the fabric over his hand be lifted.
"Please respect my brother!" the called out. The fabric stopped moving. Illumi hated the circumstances, but hated himself even more for being curious as to where this was going.
"Yes my brother! He died last night and if I want his soul to pass on peacefully, he must stay under the shawl that's been blessed by the pastor for three days. If we disturb it..." The kid's words trailed off even though the fear seemed so real. Illumi listened as the kid was comforted. He waited in silence as the man had allowed the kid to mourn in peace.
Once the door was shut, it was mere seconds later that his face was uncovered.
"I'm gonna have to move you. I don't want to chance him mentioning me and discovering I don't have a brother. And it goes against my oath to have you be harmed in my care."
Just who was this kid?
He felt the small hands begin to move him off of the surface he had been placed on, and moved onto something wooden. He felt what he assumed was the kid's head on his chest. No doubt checking to see if he was still alive. It didn't stay long as the kid hummed.
"I need to cover you up again. Be quiet and don't move."
His head was covered once again. And then they were moving. Illumi realised he was being pushed in a pace was slow, but steady. The kid grunted a little but didn't complain. Illumi took in a slightly larger breath. He clenched his hand into a fist. He didn't move though. A good assassin knew how to hide and when to strike. It was a few bumpy minutes when he heard a clap of a hand on skin. They stopped moving. He heard the kid yelp and a crashing sound.
"Your brother eh? I guess this is your brother here huh?"
The fabric was grabbed as Illumi opened his eyes. Without hesitation Illumi attacked. The struck through the fabric and he effectively ripped out the archer's heart. The fabric fell away as the archer gasped.
"You... Bas... tard..."
The lucky unremarkable man fell to the ground. Dead. Illumi spared no extra time on him, instead turned his head to a skinny dark haired boy who was scrambling out of trash. His arm hung limply and appeared to be a point of pain. The boy didn't bother to hide his grimace.
"That's gonna hurt for a while. Gah! Did you kill him?!"
"I did," Illumi stated. "I wasn't going to allow him to kill me."
The kid looked only slightly unnerved. His eyes avoided the dead body and faced Illumi.
"Well, I'm glad you're feeling better. But you really shouldn't be up yet. You need water and food."
"Why do you care? You hardly look like you can care for yourself."
The kid's eyes sparked with emotion.
"Because no one should go without medical help."
Illumi's expression remained stony. Medical?
He watched as anger seemed to overcome the child. Something personal then.
"Not even someone who's killed someone else."
"You're a peculiar child."
"Hey! My name's Leorio!"
Illumi was unconcerned over his name.
"Leorio Paradinight! And it's not peculiar! I'm gonna be a doctor."
"You? A doctor?"
"Yep. I'm gonna be a doctor who helps everyone regardless if they can afford it."
"You have no money to compensate for such actions."
Leorio huffed at the older and more deadly individual.
"I'll figure it out."
Illumi didn't say anything. Something surged in his mind. This kid had seen his face, found out his activities and had gone out of his way to help him. He may have been from a family of assassins where no one was to be trusted, but he seemed to have found a new candidate for a family "doctor" of sorts. With presice movements, he knocked out Leorio and threw him over his shoulder. He then began to walk towards the nearest station to get home.
Leorio woke up with his neck in pain and on a material that felt incredibly foriegn and soft. His eyes shot open and he sat up quickly. His eyes darted about the room trying to figure out where he was. He noticed he was on a bed with actual sheets and some kind of blanket.
"Gah!" Leorio yelped, jumping slightly and falling out of bed. He groaned in pain as a well dressed man with a serious expression looked down on him. Leorio scurried back up the bed to not be under the man's foot. "Who are you? Where am I? What happ-"
A feeling of dread forced Leorio to stop. As if saying another word would get him killed.
"You may survive yet."
Leorio said nothing as he tried to control his own heartbeat.
"Young Master Illumi has brought you here to study medicine. He does not like having debts. You will learn. Any questions?"
"Who are you?" Leorio repeated.
"I am Gotoh. The head butler of the Zoldyck family. I will also be serving as a mentor. You hardly know how to act in higher society."
Leorio stared with wide eyes at Gotoh's statement.
"Now, out of the bed. You must prepare for the day. You will bathe in the bathroom before dressing appropriately. Your clothes are in the closet. You will not be wearing those rags any more."
Leorio was left alone in the room. His breathing was heavy and he felt little. He did slip out of the bed and made his way over to the bathroom. He stepped in the shower and turned the water on. His movements were mechanical as his mind tried to sort through what had happened. Before being in the bed, all he recalled was talking to the guy who was stabbed. Then the bed. He groaned and hurried his movements. His shower was quick and he stepped out feeling refreshed. He admired the towels as he dried off. So soft and warm as well as effective in their job. He then made his way to where he was told to find clothes, slightly curious. He saw dark pants and button up white shirts, vests, jackets and ties. Odder still was the prestine underwear folded neater than anything Leorio had ever seen. Way too fancy than he felt comfortable wearing.
Leorio turned to grab the clothes he had been in, only to find them gone. A bit disturbed someone had clearly been in the room while he had been naked, he got dressed in the most basic wear. He went to the door to see if anyone was there.
"Quite finished? You aren't wearing your full uniform."
Leorio felt himself being turned around and forced back to the closet where he was dressed to Gotoh's standards with even socks and shoes Leorior hadn't noticed earlier.
"This is a bit much isn't it?"
"If you want to survive in this house, you must always be presentable."
"You are being sponsored to learn medicine by the Zoldyck family. If they believe you aren't up to their standard they will kill you."
"Wha- I didn't agree to this!"
"It is no concern of the family. You will either learn, or you will die."
Leorio had no follow up to say. He was scared and had no idea where he was or why Zoldyck seemed so important.
"Come along. Master Zoldyck wants to speak with you."
Leorio followed Gotoh through many halls and passages, anxiety building in his chest. He didn't slow down though. If his life was truly on the line, he'd need to keep up.
It didn't take too long to reach their destination. A door more ornate than the others where Gotoh knocked. The door opened and Leorio felt Gotoh's hand push him through the opening. Wide eyed and nervous, Leorio stepped into an oddly lit room with a rather muscular man sitting. His eyes were cold and icy, judging his every movement. Leorio lowered his head in respect but did not dare sit.
"So you are the boy my oldest has brought home."
"Um... Yes sir."
"Do you know why you're here?"
"T-To learn medince?"
"You could learn medicine anywhere. Do you know why you're here."
"Hm. As expected. Illumi is efficient but cocky. Hopefully this will humble him."
"You are here because my oldest son's failure led to weakness that required someone to save him. Most would have been thrilled to have killed one of my family. The prestige alone would have allowed them to ask for more money for a job. Instead you saved him."
"It was nothing," Leorio spoke with a nervous inflection.
"Precisely why you are here."
"Those who would not kill him would have tried to extort money. And die by Illumi's recovered hand."
Leorio paled at the casual admittance.
"You were a contradiction he was not ready for. He had brought you here to learn medicine child. You will be trained to be able to handle any medical situation or emergency we give you. Or you will be a doctor to no one."
A threat of death was all Leorio could compare the statement to.
"I understand sir."
"Good. Gotoh will see to your basic training, as well as make sure you know your way around our home. We welcome your future position as Doctor, little Leorio."
Odd freaking idea where Leorio is pretty much brought into the Zoldyck family.