Title: Like Old
Fandom: Hunter x Hunter
Summary: Zepile really likes antiques. (And Milluki really likes figurines.)
Characters: Zepile, Milluki, Zeno
Pairings: Zepile x Zeno
Notes: The pairing came from a numbered list where you chose two numbers. These numbers had characters associated with them and so would create a random pairing. I had to do something with it.
Zepile had thought the sun’s sudden disapearence was due to an unexpected eclipse. Instead of the frightening phenomenon, however, he found himself looking at a costumer. Zepile didn’t want to admit it, but these were rare for him and the promise of one made him excited.
“Welcome! Is there anything specific you’re looking for?”
The man’s displeased expression was replaced with one of annoyance. In between heavy mouth breathing, he answered: “I called about the Hanako figurine. Where is it?”
Zepile’s enthusiasm immediately went down a few notches when he recognized the voice as that of a rude caller from the morning. Milluki. He reminded himself that he still had to be civil as he turned to the display case behind him and opened it. Next to a dining set made entirely out of human bone stood Hanako, one of the earliest known models in a long line of cute mini-females. He pulled it out and gently placed it on the counter.
Milluki let out a small gasp and rushed over. Besides judging Milluki to be an unpleasant person, Zepile had also seen him as a very serious collector of such figurines and so was not surprised to see the over-eager hands stop themselves from touching the figurine.
“Oh, little Hanako, it’s really you. The measurements, the paint, the material; it’s all correct!” Milluki said with a shaky voice.
Although he was certain of the answer, Zepile asked: “Would you like to buy her?”
“I gave you the price over the phone. I’m afraid I can’t go any lower. As you know, these earlier figures are hard to come by and she was no exception.” He was only lying a little. He could let the figurine go for a lower price, but it really hadn’t come easy and he wanted to be paid for his troubles.
Also, his rent was overdue and the landlord was coming soon.
“I don’t care. Money’s no problem.” And, as if to demonstrate, Milluki pulled out a very thick wallet from his back pocket and rummaged through a collection of jenny.
“You’d better hope that’s authentic with all the money you’re about to spend on it, Mil.”
The voice surprised Zepile, although the large man wasn’t bothered.
“It’s real. I can tell.”
“Well, I guess if the expert says so, it’s must be.” As the words filled the small shop, their source stepped out from behind Milluki.
Like an involuntary organ, Zepile’s appraising skills started without him willing it. First, he saw the old man in full before he started a closer examination from the feet up. Boldly striped pants, a suspicious hands-behind-the-back pose, stooped shoulders, and two neat gray tendrils making up a mustache. Basic personality: clever and dangerous.
Zepile could feel the heat in his face rise steadily the longer he looked at the old man. Nothing gave him more of a thrill than discovering a new antique, but he had never experienced the feeling this intensely before. All he wanted to do was jump the counter and get a closer look.
Reality came and tried to give him a good kick to the crotch. Its aim was off, but he got the message.
Zepile managed to pull his gaze away from the elderly man. He found money being shoved at him, which he took and counted.
“If you’d like, I’ll wrap that up for you,” he offered when he had finsihed. Milluki nodded.
As Zepile wrapped the figurine up, he tried not to unwrap the old man was his mind. To distract himself from these thoughts, he started to make idle talk with the object of his interest.
“Do you collect anything?”
The man stopped looking around the shop and stared directly at Zepile. Zepile held it, relishing the feeling that came with the powerful gaze. Antiques could take on a life of their own, but nothing beat knowing a valuable one was studying you.
“I collect knowledge,” he answered, using one bent finger to point to his head. “I find it more useful than material items. There was time, when I was your age, that I left everything I owned to go seek knowledge. I went days without food or the comfort of a bed, but I’ll never lose what I gained. Everyone should do something like that. It would make the kids these days more interesting.”
Zepile listened, completely enraptured. Everything interesting held countless stories; he could do this all day.
But Milluki could not. When Zepile finally finished wrapping the figurine and put it into a box, he headed for the door.
“Grandpa, I’m going over to that Yadeshini restaurant.”
“Make sure not to drop your doll.”
“She’s not just a doll! And I’d never drop her,” Milluki said while clutching the box closer to him. He left quickly. There was no embarrassment on the man’s face, but neither was there pride.
They were alone. Zepile needed another question to keep him there just a little longer.
“As you can see, I’m not busy. I wouldn’t mind hearing some stories. I bet you have a lot.”
The man absorbed this. Instead of closing his eyes and drifting off into the past, he gave a knowing, one-sided grin.
“Why don’t you just come out and say you like me.” Not a question, but a suggestion. It caught Zepile off guard. He didn’t realize he was that obvious.
He lowered his head a little.
“Sorry, was I that obvious? It’s just that, I don’t often meet people as intriguing as you are,” said Zepile. He was embarrassed, but still in a good mood.
“Remember, the knowledge,” another point to the head. “I’ve been around.”
He grasped the right part of his moustache and let his fingers run along it.
“Well, I guess I have time for one story…”
Zepile shut the record book. There was no use looking at it when Zeno and his story were all he could concentrate on. He wanted to keep that euphoric forty minutes vivid in his mind, make it a memory he could access in a down time. It was better than any physical touch he had felt.
He wished there was a way he could add Zeno to his collection.
But then again, he thought, the most priceless artifacts could never be owned.
This turned out a little longer and not as dirty than I expected. I'm hoping it's not as boring as I fear (but, come on, something in there has to be good!).