It's only the logical solution.
by Mina Lightstar
He wasn't so much waiting for the phone to ring as he was expecting it. A quick glance at the clock on the wall told him that it was half past noon, the time Leorio had claimed he would call. Kurapika knew from experience that when Leorio decided he would call at a certain time, he kept his word. In fact, the older man was often so accurate that Kurapika made an effort to be free when the hour rolled around, or else set his ringing options to "vibrate."
He wasn't free at the moment, exactly, but neither did the task at hand require all of his attention. Leafing through the Nostrad estate's plans for the following month was something he'd been doing every four weeks for almost half a year. The paperwork was for information more than anything else, detailing any events Nostrad himself wanted to attend, and who would accompany him. Kurapika was flipping through the papers almost lazily, except that he never really did anything lazily. His mobile phone lay on the desk beside him, and as he glanced at it once again, it rang.
He picked it up on the first ring. "Hello?"
"Kurapika," Leorio's voice was tragic, "why don't you love me anymore?"
Kurapika had to bite back a laugh. "If I didn't, I wouldn't have answered."
"But you never call," Leorio whined in what must have been the most unconvincing tone Kurapika had ever heard.
"I don't have to," he pointed out, using one hand to lazily scan and turn the pages before him. "You always seem to be on top of that."
"So if I didn't call, you would?"
"If I needed something." Kurapika was smiling when he said it, but Leorio couldn't see so he didn't mind. It might have ruined the effect otherwise, not that it really mattered. It hadn't taken long for their initial hostility to cool and become familiarity, and with the friendship eventually came the almost uncanny ability to tell when the other was kidding. Kurapika often thought of their friendship as an older, more mature version of Gon and Killua's.
On the other end, Leorio was making surprised, disgusted sputters. "You know, I don't know why everyone always says you're the nice one. You're awful."
"Well, you'll keep my secret, won't you?" Something clattered outside, and the noise distracted him until he decided it was nothing more than a clumsy maid. "So, what have I done to warrant a phone call?"
"Oh, to business, then? Fine, I'm actually only calling to remind you about next month's meeting. It's on the fourth, and don't forget to take an early flight."
"You wound me," Kurapika replied absently, double-checking one of Nostrad's reservations. "Not only would I never forget, but I do own a calendar, and there happens to be an option for memos on my phone. And let's not forget Senritsu," he added with a smile.
"Well, I wanted to make absolutely certain you would remember. Gon is really looking forward to seeing you. It's been ages, you know."
"Ah, I see. I guess it doesn't matter whether you see me or not." When he realized what he'd said, his eyes widened and he took in a quiet, but sudden, gasp of breath.
Leorio, oblivious, fired back automatically. "You make it sound like I love being apart from you!"
There was a notable pause in the banter, and Kurapika instantly regretted causing it. He hadn't really meant to drag them toward the particular subject of their distance.
As Kurapika had given the opening, he felt the need to smooth things over. "I'm sorry, Leorio. I didn't think before speaking."
"No, it's all right," Leorio replied hurriedly. "I should have ignored it and... heh."
Kurapika sighed and went back to the paperwork on his desk. "Well, it started well, at least." He thought of ways to catch their stumble and steer the conversation toward more cheerful things. His friend, on the other hand, had other plans.
"Speaking of... I've been thinking." Leorio paused and then, as though it wasn't obvious, added, "You know, about us."
Kurapika paused, fingers poised to flip another sheet. "Oh?" he asked, intrigued and making no effort to hide it. They had visited the topic of What Might Have Been before -- or at least, Kurapika had. He could only assume Leorio had done the same. In fact, if Kurapika knew Leorio (and he did) he would say that the older man had probably spent more time thinking about their would-be relationship. If it could be called a relationship.
What they had seemed so natural: something that had gradually flowed together to form its present state. However, when Kurapika stepped back and analyzed, he could see that it wasn't so simple. Somewhere along the way, their friendship had deepened, but they were still holding back, just shy of a relationship. At the moment, they were bordering a deep friendship and a mild romance -- not quite one or the other. There were several reasons why they'd refrained.
"And there's only one thing to be done." Leorio was resolute.
"Which is?" Kurapika was partly wary and wholly interested. He wondered if Leorio was like him. Kurapika had two things now that he held dear above all else: obligation and friendship. He would rather give neither up, but if forced to choose, he knew what he would have to pick. Some called him foolish for dedicating his life to an oath sworn to a graveyard, but he didn't think he could live with himself if he didn't keep that oath.
"You have to run away with me to Whale Island."
To say Kurapika was caught off-guard was an understatement. "What?"
"You and me," Leorio emphasized. "We need to run away together -- to Whale Island," he added energetically.
Kurapika couldn't decide if what he was hearing was amusing or absurd. "But... what brought this on?"
"It's only the logical situation, isn't it?" Leorio laughed.
By that point, Kurapika was smiling. "Why Whale Island?"
Leorio paused. "Well, why not? Gon and Killua think it's a nice place, and if we went there, we would see them more often, right?"
"All right," Kurapika conceded, "should I bring relics of my past life?"
"No, nothing. No phones, no anything. Just... money, so we can buy food and clothes."
"Oh, so it's not a 'back to nature' venture?"
"No, just a romantic one."
"Well, I try. Is it not to your liking?"
"It might be. So, where would we live?" He sat back in the chair.
"Oh, uh... somewhere close to Gon's aunt, so we wouldn't be too far from him. And well, maybe in a small, cozy house. I don't know; I've never been to the countryside of Whale Island."
Kurapika chuckled, not because it was funny but because it was Leorio who had said it. "Maybe you should do some more research before we decide to drop everything and run."
Leorio made a sound of displeasure. "But then what's the point in running away?"
"Well," Kurapika decided, "one day, then."
They lapsed into silence for a few minutes, before Leorio continued, "Really, though, if you don't show up next month, we'll leave you a hundred hateful messages."
"I've only ever been absent once, and I called." He had generous amounts of free time, but there were occasions when work had to come first.
"Well, make sure you come." This in a tone that denied argument. "I... was thinking we'd have time to talk in person."
"Of course I'm coming." He didn't ask what Leorio meant, because he knew what they would probably talk about -- and he knew that, as they had once before, they would probably decide to wait.
"All right, then."
From there, the conversation turned to other things, from work to play, from more banter to other serious matters. When they said goodbye, Kurapika stared at his mobile long after it had hung up. He wondered about Leorio and time and patience, and just as quickly stopped wondering. If patience was necessary, then they would be patient. Kurapika knew he would wait.
Whatever they had, he liked it.