I miss him even when he is around because he’s not Kurapika anymore. -LeoPika-
He had left his hometown to pursue a Hunter's License, left his newfound friends to pursue a medical career, and was often left wondering how they were fairing. Was Gon still as determined to find his father? Had Killua stopped his compulsive chocolate munching behaviour? Leorio doubted both counts, but thinking of his young friends made him smile. Gon and Killua hadn't changed a bit. Not like Kurapika.
The tall man hadn't heard from him in over three months. Not surprising really. Though they were both in York Shin, but the worlds they lived in were so different they might have well been a thousand miles apart. Kurapika had submerged himself in the life of a Blacklist Hunter, a life of violence and bloodshed. All Leorio could do was stand by and watch. The last time he'd seen the youth he hadn't even been able to recognise the old Kurapika. He just couldn't believe the jaded figure before him was the same one who had patronised him, outwitted him at every turn, and beat him up for absolutely no reason (he thought).
Kurapika was a stranger. A stranger he would do anything for because of who he used to be. If the Kurata was in trouble, Leorio would have stopped whatever he was doing to help him. But of course Kurapika never asked for assistance. He was too proud and never trusted any judgments except his own. If his friends needed help, Kurapika had demonstrated before that he would put even his revenge on hold. On the other hand, if Kurapika needed help, he would handle it himself and show up near-dead on Leorio's doorstep.
Leorio found this to be a lousy system. But he couldn't help a small feeling of relief each time he saw the blonde. Although Kurapika was smart, he could also be reckless. Seeing him grievously injured was a relief in the fact that it let the older man know he was still alive. And although Leorio was not a doctor yet, he was not about to let another friend die on his watch. It may have been selfish, but sometimes Leorio half-wished Kurapika wouldn't recover, so that he would stay with him and away from the Mafia and the Spiders.
No, being incapacitated would not stop Kurapika. His vengeance came first – he couldn't prioritize anything else. It wasn't often he was fully recovered when he left anyway, usually with the Music Hunter Senritsu. Leorio knew his home was only a temporary sanctuary for his friend. He couldn't go to a hospital, not with the Genei Ryodan searching for him, so Leorio's was the only place he could go that felt safe. Even if it was only familiarity and habit that kept him coming back.
Was it really? Leorio couldn't tell. He knew Kurapika could understand him, even before saying anything. He knew loneliness. He knew both hurt and determination. He knew that what had happened in the past made a person who they were today. Nothing could get between Kurapika and his hatred for the Spiders, and nothing could get between Leorio and his ambition to become a doctor.
The dark-haired man would pick up his phone at the first ring, but it was never the person he hoped it was calling. The one time it had been, Leorio had sprung out of bed at two in the morning to pick his friend up from just outside the city. The blonde had another confrontation with the Ryodan, and Leorio assumed another member was now dead by his hands. Not questioning anything, he had picked up the semi-conscious Kurapika from a ditch and taken him home, with only a small interference from the Amori Brothers (where the heck had they come from?) who tried to stop him carrying Kurapika through the doors.
"Oi, what are you doing with that young lady?" One of them, he couldn't remember which for the life of him, had demanded.
Recognising them, Leorio's eyebrows raised. "Since when did you three become cops?"
"Since when did you become a rapist?" Another with a higher voice said, hand on weapon.
At this a vein began to pulse in Kurapika's forehead as he lay in Leorio's arms, eyebrow ticking dangerously. "Since when," he said snippily, "did I become a girl?" Needless to say, his tone and expression sent the three brothers running quite quickly when they realized their mistake.
It was a mutual respect thing, and it was to the point where the med-student considered Kurapika to be his closest confidant. Not that he'd admit it, but Leorio felt almost completely at ease with Kurapika (other than the fear of being attacked if he made one of his usual tactless comments and hit a nerve). Leorio had spent lots of time with other friends, even meeting up with Ponzu – the cute girl with the bees in her hat. She had got together with Pokkle (no surprises there) after retaking the exam and began studying Nen, but Kurapika was the one he trusted most.
Precious study material would be shoved aside so that Kurapika could be placed comfortably on the futon. Chest heaving, eyes flashing red, forehead slicked with sweat, the Kurata would not utter a word of complaint. Once he broke out of his half delirious state to mumble that sounded like he was thanking Leorio.
Kurapika was smart. Kurapika was reckless. Put him in a dangerous situation, and he was smart. Put him in a personal situation, and he was reckless. And the Blacklist Hunter was in a very dangerous, very personal, ongoing conflict with the Spiders.
After recovery, it was always the same routine. Leorio telling him he wasn't fully rested, Gon and Killua (who always seemed to show up once they heard their rarely seen friend was in town) hanging off his ankles and begging him to stay. Leorio was half tempted to join them, but he didn't want to make it any more difficult for Kurapika. Especially since he wasn't going to change his decision no matter how much anyone begged.
"I have to leave. Killua, Gon…Leorio. I can't stay here forever. " Kurapika calmly peeled the two younger boys off his person.
Gon pouted. "Why not?"
"Yeah, I'm sure the old man wouldn't mind the company."
Hearing Killua's jibe, Leorio bristled indignantly. "Old? I'll show you who's old!" The fluffy haired teen guffawed as the 'old man' chased him around brandishing a flyswatter. Kurapika shook his head, a ghost of a smile flitting across his features, presence making Leorio feel very unrefined and immature by comparison. It was almost like they were a family.
He would agree to stay for one last dinner, and would be gone by the next morning. The dark haired man never knew if the Kurata left late at night after everyone slept, or early in the morning before everyone woke. Once he had stayed up to try and find out, but had fallen asleep, snoring against the door. He awoke the next morning on his bed, the spare futon cleared away, and the house left just as though Kurapika had never been there.
He had been there. But would he be back? The only thing they could do was trust that he would be, that he was strong enough to overcome any barriers he would face. That he would remain Kurapika. That he would not forget them. Soon Gon and Killua would embark on another escapade, and Leorio's apartment would be silent once again.
And that was why Leorio always felt like he was always saying goodbye.