(see part one)
~~ Part Four ~~
by Mina Lightstar
On April 28th, it was all over. The day he had been preparing for was over and done with. The final examination had taken nearly four hours to complete, and Leorio had used each and every minute.
He was... surprisingly relaxed. It was finished now; no more studying for hours on end, no more stress, and no more lack of sleep. He wasn't through with the course itself, nor was he free of homework just yet, but the most difficult part was over. In a week or so, he would be on a well-deserved vacation, and he would know how he scored on the exam. He wasn't too worried about his grade, though. Somehow, he was certain he'd done well.
Leorio all but skipped down the hall to his apartment, and could barely contain himself by the time he got inside. His shoes couldn't come off fast enough.
"Hey!" he called jovially, heading immediately for the couch.
Leorio grinned, rubbing his face in Kurapika's hair. "It's over!" he crowed.
"You seem better, already," the blonde remarked, pushing at the arms laced across his chest.
"Loads," Leorio replied, letting go and climbing over to sit down. "I can't believe this day is really done. I mean, I still have to wait for the results to be posted, but..." He shook his head, wanting to worry about that later. In a couple of swift movements, Leorio had pulled Kurapika against him and snatched the novel out of his hands.
The book landed on the low table, and Kurapika gave Leorio a Look when his page was lost. "I don't ever recall saying that you could toss my books around."
"Well, I don't ever recall saying that you could wear my clothes," Leorio retorted, plucking at the dark blue t-shirt that was a couple of sizes too big for the Kuruta.
"Mine are all dirty."
"So go down to the washing machines and clean them," Leorio suggested dryly. "Take mine while you're at it."
"It's your turn," Kurapika pointed out.
"So it is." Leorio put the discussion to a quick end by burying his face between the blonde's neck and shoulder. He inhaled deeply; Kurapika smelt faintly of sandalwood.
"Leorio, are you okay?" Kurapika's hands ran over his back. The Kuruta's palms were warm and soothing.
He raised his head so that his mouth was level with Kurapika's ear. They were alone, but he whispered, anyway. "Are you... will... will you be sleeping in my room tonight?"
His own stomach knotted at the question, and he heard the catch in Kurapika's breathing. Leorio wondered if the blonde had been aching as badly as he had over the last week. Since the night on the couch last Thursday, they had officially been practicing abstinence. Now, though, the exam was over. It was all downhill until mid-May, and he would have actual free time. They could....
"I..." Kurapika's voice was barely louder than a whisper. The hands on Leorio's back clenched, loosely fisting folds of his blazer.
"You...?" Leorio prodded, absently tracing the other's spine. His abdomen was tightening, and the way they were sitting made his hips want to push forward. He supposed their abstinence had been a good idea, despite the aching. If they'd been allowed to do this, Leorio wouldn't have gotten much studying done.
When Kurapika continued, his voice was stronger. "I... don't want to sleep on the couch."
Leorio exhaled sharply, the tension gone. Their hug tightened, and Kurapika pressed his face against Leorio's shoulder. "Then don't," Leorio whispered huskily. He swallowed, glimpsing the pale skin of Kurapika's jugular. The shirt he'd borrowed from Leorio's dresser was quite loose around the collar; the shirt was baggy on Leorio, after all.
Leorio shifted, moving the shirt further aside and attaching his mouth to the spot between Kurapika's neck and shoulder. Kurapika's shoulders were never bared, so Leorio didn't think a red marking would bother him. The Kuruta certainly didn't protest, willingly lolling his head away as Leorio sucked the skin, a faint shudder rippling through his body.
A loud buzzer sounded in the other room, startling both of them and shattering the moment. Quick as lightning, Kurapika's hands shot out and shoved Leorio away. The blonde scampered off the couch and was in the kitchen seconds later, Leorio very nearly at his heels.
"What is it?" Leorio asked, not quite anxious, but wondering what had made Kurapika rush to the other room.
"Dinner," the blonde replied curtly, turning off the stove.
Leorio noted the boiling pot on one of the burners. It didn't look like it had suffered from their negligence. "Is it okay?"
"Oh, yeah," Kurapika assured him with an absent nod. He was already moving the pot to another burner. "But I was hoping to catch it before we had to hear that."
"So no problem, then?" Leorio grinned. "What is for dinner, anyway?"
Kurapika replied as he moved to the cupboard, probably hunting down bowls and glasses. "Soup."
"It'll keep, then," Leorio stated, following close behind. He was hungry, yes, but for something other than food.
"For a while, definitely." Kurapika set the dishes down and turned, only to gasp and stop short when he found Leorio standing right before him. "Don't do that."
"Sorry." Leorio made sure he didn't sound sorry in the least, and gave his companion a bright grin.
"What are you smiling at?" the Kuruta demanded wryly, not protesting as he was backed further against the countertop.
Leorio didn't think his intent needed any words, so he moved the blue shirt aside once again and sought out the welt he'd been working on earlier. The attention was welcome, if the fingers threading through his hair were any clue.
"The soup is going to get cold," Kurapika warned softly after a few minutes had passed.
Leorio detached himself from the blonde's jugular, taking a moment to admire the mark that would be there for a day or so yet. "We can just warm it up again," he pointed out. Kurapika's halfhearted protests subsided once Leorio's lips covered his.
He was positive that neither of them had planned to lose their virginity on the kitchen floor.
On May 5th, Leorio's semester was coming to a close. Things weren't nearly as hectic as they'd been before, though there was a lot to do with registration, gathering final grades, and getting books ready for the next semester. Still, Leorio could see light at the end of the tunnel. A little over a week to go, and then he would be free for a couple of months. The hardest part was over, so he knew he could make it to the end. He could handle anything the course could throw at him.
He practically ran down the hall back to his apartment. He couldn't wait to eat, shower, and then settle down with Kurapika. Now that the final was over and done with, Ryou had expressed some puzzlement over Leorio's continued hibernation. When Leorio had declined to join some of the others for a bout at the local gym, something he had been known to agree to on occasion, Ryou had chuckled and made some comment about him not getting enough exercise. Leorio had been quick to assure his classmates that he did, indeed, exercise regularly.
He was pretty sure that rolling between sheets with Kurapika didn't constitute "exercise," though. At least, not the kind his classmates were referring to.
"Hey," he called as he shut the door behind him. No "hi" returned his greeting. In the kitchen, he could hear Kurapika's voice. The Kuruta was probably talking on the phone. Leorio confirmed that thought a minute later, after he'd set his bag down and gone to get a drink.
Kurapika gave him a sunny smile when he went to the fridge, and Leorio returned it before drinking straight from the milk carton, finishing it off. It went into the trash, and Leorio moved around the table to stand behind Kurapika. The blonde was wearing Kuruta clothing today, so Leorio occupied himself by tracing the gold designs on each breast of the tabard.
"Hang on," Kurapika said to the person he was speaking with, and shoved the phone up to Leorio's ear.
"Who?" Leorio asked quietly, taking the blonde's cell phone.
"Wish Gon a happy birthday," Kurapika encouraged, breaking free from Leorio's hold and letting him take the chair.
"Gon?" Leorio asked into the phone, settling into the chair as the Kuruta went to the sink.
"Leorio!" Gon's energetic voice sounded joyful, as usual. "How is your course coming?"
"Good, good. Almost done." Kurapika looked over his shoulder and they shared a grin. "And you? Where are you now?"
"Whale Island, still. Mito-san really wanted us to stay for a while longer, at least until my birthday passed."
"Us." So that meant Killua was still by Gon's side. Leorio permitted himself a smug smile; he'd never expected anything less of their group's younger pair. "And a very happy birthday to you," Leorio spoke up. "Slow down, kiddo. You're catching up to me."
"Tell him that he still has a few decades on you," Killua's voice piped up from the background.
"Tell Killua I said to respect his elders," Leorio retorted good-naturedly. "Happy birthday, Gon."
"So what did Killua give you?"
"A shove into the lake," the younger boy admitted sourly.
Leorio laughed. He'd missed talking to the two younger, livelier members of their close-knit group.
When the conversation finally ended, a tentative date for a gathering had been set. Conditions permitting, they would all meet on Whale Island come the first of February of the following year. Indeed, with three - Killua remained with Gon, after all - different schedules to abide by, reunions had to be planned well in advance. Of course, there was always the possibility of them meeting by chance at some point. Fate worked in mysterious ways, after all.
"I miss those kids," Leorio commented after hanging up. He set Kurapika's phone on the table and stared at it.
"I miss them, too," Kurapika said softly, putting dried dishes away.
"On one hand, I know that life is like that sometimes. On the other, to know that months may go by without seeing friends again..." he trailed off, knowing that where he was headed would be a little close to home.
All the same, it didn't take Kurapika long to start following his line of thought. "It's May," he uttered quietly, putting the last fork back in the drawer.
"It's May," Leorio agreed. Little by little, they were approaching the date they hadn't thought a great deal about. Sooner or later, it would have to be addressed - one way or another.
"I... need to take a shower," Kurapika said, leaving the room.
Leorio remained quiet as the Kuruta shuffled through his bag for clean clothing, and then shut himself in the bathroom. Leorio knew that Kurapika's need for a shower was really a need to avoid that conversation. Fine, then. Leorio would indulge the blonde for a little longer. Maybe Kurapika had to work something out on his own, first. That was okay; he wouldn't push - until they were backed against the wall, that is. But they weren't there yet. So they wouldn't broach that topic right now. There was still some time left to simply enjoy what they had.
He waited as the water was adjusted and the shower started - a strong spray today, good. Leorio stayed in his seat until the sound of the water changed, pattering against skin and not tile. Then he moved.
Kurapika was surprised when he threw back the curtain, giving him the exasperated "I told you not to do that" Look, but otherwise didn't stop Leorio as he joined the blonde under the spray.
They didn't say a word. But then, none were necessary.