For now, anyway. Birthday-fic for Chrislea, 2005.
by Mina Lightstar
Leorio wasn't exactly sure how it had come to this. He remembered speaking with Senritsu, learning just how soon she and Kurapika would be heading out -- leaving the old building they'd been hiding in and going back to the Nostrad party. He remembered keeping his temper as he exchanged small talk with the Music Hunter, remembered losing it as soon as he was alone with Kurapika again.
He'd been surprised that the others hadn't heard all the commotion they'd made. Well, rather, he'd been surprised neither Gon, Killua, or Senritsu had barged into the room to break up the fight. They must have heard; it was virtually impossible for that kind of shouting to go unnoticed.
Of course, he hoped they hadn't been able to make out the words -- even knowing that with Senritsu around, that hope was futile. But then, that was because at heart, Leorio was a rather private man.
Leorio had been angry. At first, Kurapika had been calm, but eventually his patience had worn thin and he'd resorted to shouting back. Leorio had paced the bare room, rage compelling him to just keep moving. Kurapika, by contrast, had remained rooted to the spot by his futon, hands balled into fists at his side. He'd followed Leorio's movements with a glare.
"I don't know why you're so upset," he'd said. "It isn't like you haven't plans of your own."
"I can't believe that's all you can think about!"
"I never said that. Stop trying to make me feel guilty."
"Oh, so I'd have to make you."
"Well, you certainly aren't helping your case at the moment!"
It had been the latest installment of their on-going argument -- and a stupid one, at that. There were so many other ways they could have gone about it, but they'd resorted to circular accusations, to shouting the first thing that came to mind, not bothering to think it through beforehand.
The entire thing had been a product of frustration, Leorio decided. He knew they were both discouraged, tired, and upset with their situation in general -- besides which, Kurapika had been recently ill. But for the blond to be snatched away from him just after all the drama surrounding the Genei Ryodan had subsided... Leorio would admit that "discouraged" didn't quite describe how he felt.
Perhaps it hadn't been wise to let himself get emotionally entangled with the Kuruta. There had been a brief period where Leorio had cursed himself every day because of it. The cursing was fueled by the fact that he really hadn't known just what Kurapika thought of it. Sure, they'd danced around one another for weeks, but it was Leorio who made the effort to call -- Leorio who visibly worried and pined.
So he'd said as much. He'd made every confession: What he felt, what he wanted, what he jerked off to in the shower. He'd demanded to know Kurapika's position (/"Just what are we to you? What do you want us to be?"/) and told him where he could stick it if the honest Kuruta suddenly decided to play games.
Kurapika had listened, his first two attempts at a reply having been rode over by Leorio's tirade. He hadn't, of course, listened passively. The Kuruta had looked more upset with each accusation and once, his eyes had abandoned blue for red and Leorio had been briefly afraid -- but had pressed on nonetheless, ending with a sneer and "So what do you have to say for yourself?"
And so here they were.
Sometimes Leorio forgot how strong Kurapika was. The Kuruta was small and thin, possessing both a soft voice and boyish beauty -- but Leorio had seen him lift a man three times his size. There was nothing frail about him, despite his thin shoulders and girlish waist.
He also packed an impressive right-hook.
Leorio, while not as battle-hardened as his friends, did know enough to effectively defend himself -- and in terms of raw physical strength, he was stronger when compared to Kurapika. He was stunned at the blond's sudden act of violence, but not surprised enough to let the hit land. Out of reflex he blocked the punch, catching Kurapika's wrist and tugging him along the path of the follow-through, trying to unbalance him.
He didn't account for Kurapika countering his counter, and yelped when the blond turned his arm, painfully twisting Leorio's own. But the pain became secondary to shock, because once Kurapika had freed himself, he seized Leorio's tie and brought their mouths together.
Leorio had always envisioned their first kiss to be perfect. They would go out for dinner, take a long walk, and their lips would touch as they embraced under the stars. More than once, they had come close to taking that step; more than once, their mouths had been a hairsbreadth apart before they'd been interrupted.
He hadn't ever figured it would be like this: Done on a whim after they'd come one punch shy of a fight. It was closed-mouthed, because Kurapika didn't think to open his right away -- and wet, because Leorio did. It was awkward, because they spent the first few seconds utterly confused, each opening and closing his lips in an attempt to accommodate the other. It was a little clumsy, because Kurapika was trying to lead and evidently this was something he didn't excel in.
When the Kuruta pulled away, Leorio resisted, bringing one hand up to the back of Kurapika's head. His fingers tightened in the blond hair, holding him in place while Leorio moved in to continue the kiss -- or rather, to begin a new one. Leorio had been kissed many times before, and Kurapika was a quick study; it wasn't long before they were thoroughly entangled.
It was only long minutes later, when their lungs strained for air, that they pulled apart. Leorio inhaled deeply, fought to calm down. The kiss had extinguished his temper, made his blood race and his breath quicken -- and had given him one hell of a hard-on.
"I'm sorry," Kurapika managed, still catching his breath. "I didn't mean--"
Leorio cut him off with a sharp gesture. "Don't you dare say you didn't mean it, or that you want to take it back."
Kurapika looked surprised. "That's not--"
"Good, then shut up." And Leorio wasted no time bending down for another. Once you found the right person, kissing was like a drug: There couldn't ever be enough. He held Kurapika to him as though fearful the Kuruta would bolt given the chance, despite the fact that the blond didn't seem keen on being anywhere else. They clung together with such force that they almost lost their balance, having nothing to brace themselves against. At some point, Leorio realized that Kurapika might be uncomfortable; he was shorter, and had to crane his neck in addition to turning his head sideways. Reluctantly, Leorio decided to give the blond a break, and pulled away. Immediately, Kurapika lowered his head, resting his forehead against Leorio's chest.
Leorio frowned, concerned. "Are you...?"
"We shouldn't be doing this." Kurapika's voice was a breathless whisper, and Leorio only heard him because the room was utterly silent.
Leorio wasn't sure how to take those words. For the moment, he settled for replying, "You started it."
"I know, I'm sorry." The blond's fingers tightened, bunching up the fabric of Leorio's shirt.
All at once, Leorio understood. Despite the almost thunderous argument they'd had not ten minutes ago, he wasn't angry. "Hey," he ventured, "it's not like we're never going to see each other again."
"But 'if' isn't the issue, is it?" Kurapika mused. "It's 'when' we have to worry about."
"If, when..." Leorio sighed, feeling defeated. He cupped the Kuruta's cheeks and tilted his head up so he could see the blue-green eyes. "It's always 'if' and 'when' with us."
"It is," Kurapika agreed, averting his gaze but not breaking Leorio's hold. "It strains us," he added a little more lightly, referring to their ongoing argument.
"I'm sorry," Leorio sighed, letting his fingers slip from the blond's cheeks. He turned and walked over to the futon Kurapika had spent the last couple of days sleeping in, sat down on the thin mattress and lowered his head.
"No, I'm--" Kurapika stopped himself, sounding annoyed. "No, apologizing back and forth is no better than arguing. It isn't getting us anywhere."
"I'm just frustrated," Leorio said, rubbing his hands through his short hair. He could feel all the arguments and accusations he'd thought up and thrown in the blond's direction fading from his mind. Just like any storm: It rained and then it was over.
Kurapika looked better, too. He sat down next to Leorio and pushed one of his feet against Leorio's calf. "You're too patient with me," he muttered.
"I am," Leorio agreed. "You'd better be worth it. Ow, don't kick me, you bastard."
"All right, so I deserved that," Kurapika conceded. He looked at his feet. "I think you're worth it, though. On occasion," he added wryly, and Leorio's grin turned into a scowl.
"You know, you can spout all your fancy paragraphs and big words and recite the dictionary all you want, but you? You are so bad at this romance thing. Really. Awful. You need lessons."
Kurapika rolled his eyes, unfazed.
"But it's okay, you know." Leorio touched the blond's shoulder. "You're good enough."
"Thank you for your validation." Kurapika's tone was dry, but his mouth was wet when Leorio kissed him again. There were still a few hours for them, yet, and that would do -- for the moment.