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Behind The Mask

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Reborn´s POV 

 

They were all in a very good mood when they stepped back in the mansion. The mission was a success and he had danced quite a few dances with the absolutely beautiful Skull. Skull had been the most wanted person at the ball, it had occasionally been quite difficult to keep Skull for themselves Fan girls and boys were a terrifying species. 

 

Then Skull´s phone rang. 

His first thought was, where the heck had Skull hidden the phone in his dress? 

And then, Skull had a phone? Since when? 

The first question was answered as Skull pulled up his dress robe, exposing his long, elegant legs and pulling the phone from a secret pocket. 

 

Of course he noticed how Skull had paled with the first ring of the phone. How his hands shook slightly, how his face had set into a stony mask. How his eyes had become unreadable, hard like diamonds. 

The other Acrobaleno had become utterly silent, everyone was watching Skull push a button on his phone and holding it to his ear. 

Skull didn´t introduce himself, he opened the call with a blunt: “Yes?” 

Skulls face paled even more, he swallowed hard. It was frustrating, but they couldn´t hear what the person on the other end had said. 

“Get to the point! What happened?!”, Skull´s tone was commanding, no one would question him with that tone. 

“Who?”, his voice had lost all emotion. 

Reborn watched with rapid attention as Skull’s eyes widened. He clasped his hand over his mouth and coked out: “Thank you for calling...I will be there.” With the last sentence his hand grew slack, the phone fell to the floor and Skull followed. 

Reborn was just fast enough to get a hold of Skull, when his legs buckled. 

“Skull!”, they were worried, he just sat there, staring straight at the wall, not moving a muscle. 

“Skull? What happened? Who called you?”, Reborn was shaking him slightly, hating the situation from the bottom of his heart. Someone had hurt Skull! Someone would pay!!! 

Suddenly Skull moved. He freed himself from Reborn´s grip, stood up and without lifting his head left the room. “I need to shower and then go to bed”, Skull´s voice was monotone. 

What the fuck just happened?! 

Chaos erupted as soon as Skull had left up the stairs. The Acrobaleno were talking over each other, worry evident in every action. 

“I'll talk to him! Don´t come near us until I call for you. We don´t want to overwhelm him”, Reborn´s command cut through the panic. The others nodded reluctantly. Fon seemed tempted to protest, but thought better of it, biting his lip instead. 

Reborn climbed the stairs, just as Skull staggered out of the bathroom, only wearing a pair of trousers. Skull didn´t even close the door as he made his way to his bed and sank to the floor in front of it. His hair still wet, at least it had its normal length again. Reborn didn´t ask how Skull had managed to get rid of the extensions, only concentrating on the well-being of their little one. 

He approached Skull, joining him on the floor. Gently placing a hand on Skull´s back. “Skull, talk to me.” He was out of his element. He could kill, kidnap and seduce, but comforting Skull... 

In the end he just moved Skull´s body, so he was facing him. 

Tears were brimming in his eyes. He looked utterly lost. 

It broke Reborn´s heart. His flames were wrecking havoc in him, urging him to destroy everyone,  who could have remotely been the reason for Skull´s devastated state. 

He could only pull Skull into his arms and hug him close. 

“Shhh, everything is alright. I am here. We are here. Tell us who to kill and we will do it without a moment’s consideration.” 

Reborn gently rubbed Skull´s back. 

This seemed to finally break the little one´s walls completely. Skull started to sob uncontrollably 

Fat, wet tears rolled down his face as he whimpered. He buried his face in Reborn´s chest, gripping his shirt like his life depended on it. 

Reborn pulled Skull on his lap, and started to caress his back and leg. His sun flames surrounded them, drying Skull´s hair and soothing the distraught man in his arms 

 

“I am here”, the hitman continued his monologue, blabbering comforting nonsense in hope to calm the beautiful man in his arms. 

After a while Skull had quieted down, lightly hiccupping. 

Reborn started another attempt to find out, what happened. If something was threatening their darling, they had to know! 

 

“Skull? Honey, can you tell me, what the call was about?” He regretted asking almost immediately, as tears started to gather again. “They...Luna and...”, a few more tears escaped, “and...and Fleur and...oh god Sophia, Draco...they...”, he gulped and shuddered, pressing closer to Reborn, “they...were killed...my last remaining family...” The hitman had to fight for control. He didn´t know these people, but they were obviously important family to Skull. As soon as he found out, who had murdered them...he...no they would...have some fun. He was pretty sure even Viper would help without payment. 

But more important, was Skull also a target? Was their cloud in danger? 

For now he would make sure Skull stayed in his sight, until he found out more. 

But that would have to wait. 

 

Skull had fallen asleep, utterly exhausted and still gripping his shirt. 

 

Reborn studied the smaller man in his lap. He was still beautiful, even though his eyes were swollen, red and puffy. He would not change him for the world. But he would change to world, so that Skull would never have to be sad! Ambitious, but he was not the greatest hitman for nothing! 

 

Reborn stood up, holding him close. Carrying him like a princess, he headed for his own room. The other Acrobaleno met him in the corridor. They had been waiting. 

One look at Skull´s face, another to Reborn to make sure he took care of the little one and they retreated. 

 

Reborn sat down on the big comfy leather armchair in his room, all the while making sure not the wake Skull. He put his legs up on a stool and arranged Skull more comfortably. Then he snatched the blanket from the nearby table and covered Skull. 

Skull let out a contented sigh and snuggled closer to Reborn. 

Reborn smiled warmly and caressed his arm. 

 

Then he received a book from the side table and started to read. He wouldn´t be able to sleep, not with his flames in such a tumult. 

 

Later Fon checked up on Reborn and Skull, making sure everything was alright. Skull would need time, but they would be there for him. 

 

 

Skull´s POV 

 

Reborn had just been sleeping for maybe an hour when Skull stirred 

At first he was just enjoying the warmth surrounding him, soothing his flames. Then he noticed his pillow moving. But that was nothing new...well after Fon, Verde and Colonnello, he had somehow started so simply relish in such moments of perfect contentedness. 

Sadly his brain started to reboot and reminded him of yesterday's events. He bit his lip to suppress a whimper and promptly buried his face in Reborn´s chest again. There he was safe, nobody could hurt him. 

 

Skull´s movement had woken Reborn. He shot Skull a understanding look and gently rubbed his back. They stayed like this for about half an hour, until Skull´s stomach started to protest. 

“Come, let´s eat breakfast, the others are surely worrying.” 

Skull nodded and sat up awkwardly. He noticed his unclothed state, horror filled his eyes. His scars! Hasty he warped the blanket around himself again. But he was not fast enough... Reborn had seen. Skull shrank into himself, as Reborn´s eyes narrowed and utter fury showed. “Skull?”, Reborn´s voice was nearly gentle, but he could clearly hear the restraint. Skull screwed his eyes shut and exhaled shakily. Slowly he let the blanket fall once more, not having the courage to see the judgment in Reborn´s face, he kept his face down. Gently Reborn´s finger caressed his skin. 

Right now the hitman was only able to see his chest and arms, his back was so much worse. The scar tissue was thick. It painted a horrible picture of his past. “How?”, the man in front of him seemed to almost choke on the single word. Finally Skull faced Reborn and smiled even though tears were running wetting his face. “War”, one single word, it explained to much and yet nothing at all. Reborn was about to ask more, but Skull interrupted: “I will tell you later, the others will want to hear as well...” In this moment he was back to Harry, Skull only a mask. Skull, no now Harry, didn´t touch his make-up, didn´t obscure the scars on his face with tape, didn´t wear his usual biker cloth and left his piercings on the nightstand. 

 

The rest were anxious to see Skull. As soon as they spotted the stuntman´s changed appearance everything seemed to come to a halt. It took a comment from Reborn, and a few pointed glares to get them to move again. Colonello was already opening his mouth to ask questions as Reborn hit him, with no small amount of glee. Who could blame him, he had to get all his anger out somehow. “Later. First we eat.” 

Skull could feel their curiosity burning in their gazes, but so was their protectiveness... Really hardcore over-protectiveness. They were hovering all over him at breakfast. 

Skull was not even allowed to walk in the kitchen alone to get himself some food. The atmosphere was smothering. Especially after they noticed how high strung Reborn was, as if Skull was made of glass, and could break any second. The smallest Acrobaleno took it with stride, even though you could clearly see he had never been in such a situation and was slightly uncomfortable.