by Mina Lightstar

Leorio calls their relationship just that: A relationship. He doesn't label it as homosexual, because he is still of the opinion that they are not gay, they are not, it's just that they are in love and they both happen to be men. Not that Leorio has a problem with the idea of his being gay, it's just that he isn't, and feels that his relationship with Kurapika goes much deeper than simple same-sex attraction and so that makes it different. Because he says so.

Leorio-sensei, the genius physician at the city's most prominent hospital, well-known and well-rejected by every female doctor, nurse, and secretary, is most definitely not gay.

But Kurapika, the genius Blacklist Hunter who was so focused on other goals that, for the longest time, he did not think about sex at all and had never seen a set of breasts in his life (and if he had, it was almost certainly an accident) ... well, sometimes, Leorio really thinks he is.

He doesn't care, it just annoys him that the neighbors figured it out first. Again.

Leorio wonders why it took him so long to guess. As he rides the elevator up to their floor, he reviews some of the more odd points about his lover that he's never questioned before. One, Kurapika has cross-dressed. Alone, this is not significant; Kurapika's revenge once meant more to him than his own life, and Leorio knows the blond would have chucked his testicles any day in order to get it. Wearing women's clothing doesn't matter -- what matters is that Kurapika still has them. They're in the back of the closet, and they scare Leorio.

Two, Kurapika's tribal clothes. Leorio doesn't care what the blond says; there is no way all Kuruta men wore dresses. It is impossible. It's true that Kurapika rarely wears any of them anymore, but they, too, are in the closet.

Three, Kurapika looks pretty in anything. This isn't really a valid point; Leorio just likes thinking about it.

Four, Kurapika likes to cook. Normally, Leorio would attribute this to the blond's fending for himself at a young age, except that Kurapika cares about how food matches. He uses vegetables and spices for decorative purposes.

Five, Kurapika has sex with Leorio -- lots of it. This isn't a valid argument, either, but Leorio likes thinking about it, too.

Six, even after the whole Valentine's Day fiasco wherein he refused to be taken for a woman, Kurapika has been bringing flowers home. Not the roses they play with in bed, either.

Seven, Kurapika likes being on the bottom. He doesn't say he does, and probably never will, but it's obvious he likes it -- gets some private thrill out of it. It doesn't mean he doesn't like being on top, nor is it even a valid argument, but Leorio is distracted now, and knows exactly what he's going to do when he sees the blond.

"Leorio-kun!" a female voice chides him. "You look positively wicked! What are you planning?"

"Huh?" Leorio asks, dumbly, and suddenly remembers he is not alone in the elevator. "Oh -- Ishida-san. Hello." He grins.

The Ishida wife beams back. "So, so? What's got you all excited? Planning something big already?"


She elbows him. "Come on! You can tell me. You've only got a couple of weeks left; you must have thought of something."


She pouts at him, and Leorio wonders how thirty-year-old women can still pout cutely. "For Kurapika-kun! His birthday is soon, isn't it? April fourth?"

"... Oh. Oh. Uh, no, I don't really have anything planned yet." He still has to go to the sex shop. And damn it, their neighbors really did know everything. What if they had hidden cameras in the apartment?

"And what are you waiting for?" she demands, in a tone that makes her sound like his mother.

"U-uh, well... oh! This is our floor." The elevator doors cannot open fast enough. "Ishida-san, enjoy the rest of your day! See you tomorrow!"

"A-ah. Take care, Leorio-kun," she calls as she walks to her door. They are fairly far apart; Leorio and Kurapika make too much money to remain confined in an overstuffed building. Leorio waves at her, and then opens his door.

"I'm home!" he calls, slamming the door and kicking his shoes off. He frowns when his greeting is not returned and steps into house-slippers. "Kurapika?" he wonders, tugging off his tie and blazer as he walks through the apartment.

He's in the living room when he sees Kurapika outside through the patio door. The blond is kneeling and arranging something and -- What the--? -- are those flower pots?

Leorio has obviously walked in at the end of a project. Kurapika stands, sets up the latest of the pots, and then dusts his knees off before coming inside.

"Oh," he says when he sees Leorio. "When did you get here?"

Leorio looks him up and down, noting the dirt stains. He is wearing a pair of old jeans and one of Leorio's "ugly" shirts. "Just now." He grins, knowing it's feral. "And I'm hungry."

"Oh?" Kurapika says again, in the same quietly surprised tone. "I haven't started dinner yet."

Leorio visibly slouches, libido deflated sometime between those words and when he noticed how small Kurapika looked in his shirt.

"Do you want something light or substantial?" Kurapika asks as he walks to the bathroom, pulling his shirt off in the process. "I'll start it after I take a shower."

Leorio whips his head to the plants decorating the balcony, to his retreating boyfriend, and mimics Ishida-san's pout. Between the sudden weirdness and Kurapika's ignoring the implications of Leorio's declaration of hunger, Leorio is reduced to sputtering.

"Y-you -- I was totally ready for a round on the couch, you know?!"

"Oh? I'll catch the next round, then."

"And I want curry!"


Kurapika is very, very strange. Leorio has always known this, has always found it puzzling at best but endearing at the same time. The blond finds things like budgeting relaxing, and sometimes his nose is so far into a book, Leorio swears he could drape himself all over his lover before he was noticed. He can take fifteen minutes to pick a brand of soya sauce, and buys engagement rings to win arguments.

So when Kurapika does things like randomly turn their balcony into a garden, well, Leorio doesn't even ask, anymore. Instead, he says, "Nice flowers." He can see the little garden from the couch. He reaches out with one arm to grab a piece of curry from his plate, which is on the low-table. It's still quite warm, and tasty; it really was a quickie. "Mmm."

"... You don't mind?" Kurapika sounds mildly surprised.

"Why would I?" Leorio asks around a mouthful of chicken. "It's not like we used the balcony for anything else."

"Hmm." Kurapika shifts underneath him, trying to untangle their bodies without success. "Could I have my curry now? I haven't eaten since this morning."

Leorio feeds him one. "Why not?"

"Had visitors." Kurapika says this in a tone that implies he doesn't want to elaborate.

So Leorio says, "Don't talk with your mouth full."

At least now he knows what all the flowers were for.


Kurapika is entirely too pleased with his little garden. When the weather is favorable, he sits outside and reads, his back against the door. Leorio wonders about this, but since reading is not a new hobby, he doesn't inquire. It must be a good new book, too, because he stays out until it's dark and he can read only by the living room light -- until Leorio pulls him inside.

Three nights after the garden's creation, Leorio frowns. "The book and the plants are hogging you," he mutters, and it's stupid and unfair, because he isn't a woman, either, and they aren't clingy, except that he supposes they are. And he feels ridiculous, insecure, for the first time in many months.

Kurapika looks surprised, and then genuinely apologetic. He tosses the book aside and pulls Leorio into an embrace.

They don't have sex, though, because that's not how they fix things.


By the end of the week, Leorio hopes Kurapika's fascination with his new plants has diminished at least somewhat. Friday is Beer and Onigiri Night, with sex for dessert, and has been as long as he can remember, now. He also thinks he's spoiled; Leorio isn't used to not having Kurapika to himself when they are both in the apartment. Now he has to compete. With plants.

Thankfully, Leorio finds onigiri on the table when he gets to the kitchen, and corners Kurapika against the counter for an enthusiastic hello.

Everything is back to normal, he thinks in relief. Or at least, as normal as they get.

He takes this back the following morning, when he wanders into the kitchen in search of coffee and finds Kurapika with a mug of his own. He does a double-take, making sure he is seeing what he thinks he is seeing, and then gapes.

Kurapika is flipping through a catalogue, looking at drapes.

"This is much worse," Leorio pronounces, ignoring the puzzled look Kurapika gives him.

"What do you me--HEY, what are you--?!"

"Oh, good," Leorio exhales in relief after checking, "you're still a guy."

"--what are you talking about?"

"I need coffee." He takes Kurapika's mug and ends up downing the rest of its contents.

"You've had some. Now make me another one."

"Only if you swear you will never subscribe to women's magazines and fill out How Sexy Are You? quizzes!"

Kurapika looks as though Leorio has suggested the sky is green. "I can't believe you think I'm the weird one."


Leorio loves Kurapika. He likes to think he will love Kurapika no matter what the blond happens to be: Male, female, dog -- okay, maybe not a dog, but that isn't the point. The point is, Leorio can handle a male Kurapika, he could handle a female Kurapika, but he cannot handle something in between. Kurapika is strange enough as it is.

When Leorio comes home to find Kurapika sipping coffee and leafing through a magazine about interior design, he finally snaps.

"Okaythat'sit!" he cries, slamming his hands down onto the table. "Look at me. Look at me, look at me, lookatme."

"I am looking," Kurapika says dryly. He doesn't sound the least bit put out, because for Leorio, outbursts like this are a matter of course. He takes another sip of coffee.

"Look, if you want to be a woman so badly, why didn't you just tell me? We can pay for the operation and have it done, if you want -- Kurapika, are you okay?"

It takes a while for him to stop choking, and Leorio winces sympathetically, and then in mild disgust when he eyes the trail of coffee splatter that goes across the table and to the floor -- and then he nods approvingly, because that is pretty good distance, considering the coffee came out of Kurapika's nose.

"What -- are you -- talking about?" the blond demands between coughs.

Leorio whacks him between the shoulderblades. "You! All these... flowers and girly things and what the hell, you fucked my brains out the first time I joked about you being the woman, and now you want to be one?"

Kurapika glares at him. "I did not," except that he did, "and I do not!" He stands up angrily. "And if this is some stupid ploy to convince me to wear that skirt to bed--"

"Oh, would you?" Leorio wishes he could glimmer and no doubt become more endearing.

"No! And anyway, where did you even get that kind of idea?!"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe all the feminine habits--"

"You are stereotyping -- and you like the fact that I can cook and clean and shut up! You cook and clean, too!"

"But I'm not a girl about it!"

"You are being stupid!"


"Why the hell do you keep imposing female stereotypes upon me?!"

"I'm trying to be supportive! And it's almost your birthday, so make up your mind. I need to know if I should get you boxers or a bra!"

Sometimes Leorio forgets that Kurapika throws a really, really nasty right-hook.

When he regains consciousness a few minutes later, he is on the couch. Kurapika is sitting in the chair, and when Leorio sits up, he finds water and aspirin on the end-table, both of which he takes advantage. Then he says, "Okay, so I maybe kind of deserved that?"

"Well, not really," Kurapika acknowledges. "I did it out of love. You were obviously insane; someone had to snap you out of it."

"You did not do it out of love, you lying assho--"

"Shut up or I'll deck you again. I'm kind of angry."

Leorio rubs his face. "I'm going to have a huge bruise."

"... I'm sorry."

"Yeah, I know."

"Why the stupid assumption?"

"Being a woman isn't bad, is it?"

"No, but -- oh, don't even get into that. If we start talking about it, we will never stop." Kurapika sighs. "Why didn't you just ask me why I was looking through the catalogues?"

Leorio shrugs. "Thought you wouldn't want me to. You really are kind of weird, you know? Why didn't you tell me why you were looking through them?"

"Thought you weren't interested. You've been so wrapped up in your work these days, anyway. Besides, I was going to tell you the whole story only once I'd decided what I was going to do."

"... What are you going to do?"

"Get a sex change."

"Oh, ok--hey! Jerk."

"Leorio, we've lived here for years. I want to at least change the bathroom. It's so... well, the paint is starting to chip, and so on. It could use an overhaul. And," he hesitates, just for a second, "and I think it's about time we trashed one of our bedrooms and turned it into a real guest bedroom. With a double-bed," he adds, "for Gon and Killua."

Leorio swallows, feels like an idiot. "... Oh. Oh. Oh." He smiles. "You just wanted a redesign, I get it. The garden, too?"

"Oh," Kurapika smiles, but it's directed inwardly, Leorio thinks. "No, the garden, well, you know Ana-san from down the hall?" Leorio nods. "She was over here the other day, and mentioned that we didn't have any plants in the apartment. Somehow, we started talking about gardens, and it turns out she likes gardening as much as my mother did, and it made me remember... you know."

Leorio rubs his temples, wondering how long Kurapika has been wandering through a haze of saddened nostalgia while he's been overworked and away from the apartment. Now he feels bad for pulling the blond away from the memories so often. "Sorry. I should have noticed."

"It's fine," Kurapika replies, in a tone that makes Leorio know it's true. "You're here now, and that's more important than just memories." They're starting to get mushy -- and as eloquent as Kurapika is, he isn't that mushy. So he quickly moves on with, "Want to help me pick up a new shower curtain?"

"Okay," Leorio agrees. "But I get to pick the color scheme!"

They decide on green, like a garden.