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Behind The Mask

Chapter Text

 

 

POV Skull

 

 

Skull couldn´t sleep.

 Again!

 

The nightmares lessened with time, but sometimes. Combined with certain triggers they tended to haunt him even now. Bloody forty two years later.He trashed in the bed, turning left, right. Finally he flopped on his belly. Argh, okay okay he understood. Tonight no sleep for him. Well, it would certainly not be the first time.

Skull got up and dressed, leaving the usual lipstick, make-up and his piercing. Only the tape on his face was a must. The scars. He needed to hide the scars no matter what. He knew he was a master in hiding his true self. He had done it for almost thirty years now. Not one of the Acrobaleno had suspected anything.

Well, he was the loudmouth stupid lackey after all...who wouldn´t be able to hide a thing if his life depended on it. Ha...he wished it was so easy.

He scrutinized himself in the mirror. He hadn´t aged since he was twenty one. Thank the gods for those four years of mercy...if he had stopped aging right after he had gathered all three cursed items... This way he at least filled out a tiny bit, and grew to a normal height...for a woman that is. But he was never one to weep over spilled milk. He had learned long ago that if you couldn´t change something, then it would bring only pain to fight that fact.

 

Even though he still sometimes fell into deep melancholy. Why did it have to be him? Why did he have to suffer for all eternity?

 

And it will be all fucking eternity, yes because even if he died he would wake up right after. Healed, that is. Not that dying was nice, no not at all. He felt pain like every human being. He just couldn´t bite the grass, stay under, go for the next adventure...

 

Fucking Potter luck!

 

Fate had decided he would be her plaything, that had to be it. He sighed and brushed his hand through his hair. Purple hair, he smiled slightly. Purple was Teddy´s favorite color...before that day... The day they most of them died.

Leaving him forever alone!

 

Hasty he packed those memories back behind thick occlumency walls in his mind. After Sirius was killed in fifth year he took to learning about everything. Everything, which could somehow remotely help him win the war, without losing to many lives. Dueling, occlumency, legilimency, healing, potions, martial arts... He didn´t even falter before the dark arts, one had to know the enemy, had to know which spells they would throw at you. He was by no means a light wizard. No, he had steeled his resolve after Sirius death, they would not be able to win with just stunners. They had to go for maiming or killing. They had to put the Death Eaters out of order. Or they would bloody well come back, more vicious than before.

As one could probably guess, Dumbledore and his order of the fried chicken, didn´t take it well. And that was a huge understatement. But it all started in his summer holiday, so they were sure he wasn´t able to get any books to learn just yet. So they waited, planed.

 

But he was not dumb, he easily took the knight bus. With a bit of muggle make up, contact lenses and hair straightener nobody even sent a second glance in his direction. Wizards were sure one dumb species. While he was researching he found out about his heritage, about the ancient and most noble house Potter. But instead of questioning any of his friends or so called mentors, he went to the bank. Goblins sure were helpful. If you had money, they would do as you asked. No annoying questions.

It was a very furious and different Harry, who existed Gringotts. They had dared to steal from him, while making him believe he wasn´t even able to buy himself fitting cloth! Harry was rich, filthy rich and because of his unwilling participation of the Triwizard Tournament he was official an adult. He was able to access the Potter vault, not only his trust vault.

Then there were the bindings on his magic, abilities, the memory charms and the glamours!!! He almost destroyed his accountants office, when it came to light, what atrocities Dumbledore had committed.

Ha, like his father James with his Lily´s eyes, my ass. He wasn´t even their child. Oh, no his father was Sirius, while Remus was his mother.

They had the public believe he was Lily´s child to protect him from the werewolf prejudge. Lily´s will was very clear on that subject. In reality he had Sirius black hair, it was straight and reached him to his shoulders. He was slender but not underfed, with high cheekbones and startling sliver eyes. You could almost take him for a female.

Harry liked his new body, he was damn sure he was gay anyway.

 

After the war they stopped enduring his necessary (not that they would ever acknowledge that) methods and branded him as the next dark lord. He was just to powerful for them to control.

He was a master in defense, nobody could even get near him, and even if he was caught unawares he would just flicked his hand and heal himself in a matter of seconds. Wandless magic came to him like breathing after the bindings on his magic were removed, as well as a awareness for his movements, which rivaled a professional dancer combined with a war veteran, perfect recall, the defense of his mind and not to forget a understanding for magic nobody since Merlin possessed. Well, on top of that was the tiny problem of him being the owner of the Deathly Hollows, not that they knew of that annoying information.

After the fated day, when they killed nearly all his remaining true family...small sweet Teddy, strict Andromeda, brave Neville, Bill, George...

The only people he had left, were lovely Luna and Draco, who turned from the Dark Lord shortly after Harry decided to quit the stunner nonsense. As well as Fleur, Bill´s wife and their small daughter Sophia.

Luna was distraught over Neville´s death and set out to find rare animals, Draco left the country all together and was now selling potions somewhere in France, keeping Fleur company.

When the aurors started hunting him in earnest, issuing a kill oln sight warrant, he changed his identity and vanished. He held contact to only his true family. The goblins were again a very good asset. They had helped him remove the horcrux from his scar as well. Bloody Dumbledore, you have to sacrifice yourself for the greater good bullshit.

 

Skull was born. He changed his hair color, made up an outlandish personality and tried stunts. That he would be part of the cursed Acrobaleno´s was again Potter luck. Well, life had been a bit boring anyway.

 

Back to the present.

Skull turned from the mirror and was about to start on a really interesting book about runes. Charmed in a way that a muggle would only see it as a ordinary comic.

He heard a faint whimper. His hearing was exceptional. He was on alert in an instance, his war honed instincts had never faded. Without making any sort of noise he left his room and listened again. If it was any kind of hurt animal he would patch it up. His rare ability of beast speak, allowed him to speak to all animals not only snakes, as Dumbledore tried to set it up.

But no, this was no animal in need of rescue.

 

A distraught shout from Fon´s room made him disregard the rule to not breach the others privacy. Fon was trashing on his bed, caught in a nightmare. For a moment Skull contemplate just leaving. Fon wouldn´t want him, the lackey, to see him in this vulnerable state. In the end bleeding heart won out, like always. Gently he shook Fon. “Fon, wake up. It is only a dream. Fon.” When Fon lashed out, bleary blinking his eyes open, Skull simply ducked out of the way.

“Fon?”

 

 

 

POV Fon

 

 

Fon returned to reality with a deep breath. It took him a split second to register Skull on his bedside. Watching him concerned.

Skull´s crushed up eyebrows and overall worried expression took Fon by surprise. His confusion must have been written on his face, because Skull explained right away: “I heard you screaming and was worried something had happened.”

Fon nodded. He was glad Skull didn´t ask silly questions, like are you fine...  He was not fine, nor would he ever be. This world was just too cruel. The stuntmen studied him silently, unnervingly so. After a while Skull seemed to come to an conclusion. “Do you want to talk about it? Sometimes it helps.”

He was so serious for once, that Fon was left reeling. Was this Skull, their idiotic stuntman? He knew that Skull could get really protective. But those occasions, when he had to show that side of him, were few and far between.

“You don´t have to, but sometimes it is refreshing to just let the demons out.” “What does a civilian know of demons?”, the sentence was out, before he could stop it. And he regretted it instantly. The shadows visible in Skull´s eyes at his accusation, made him look impossibly old.

This was not the look of a civilian.

 

What had happened to Skull...it couldn´t be the few people he killed, no this was way deeper. Like he had faced his innermost fear, had won and lost everyone in the process. “I recognize the look in your eyes”, was all he said. The fact that Skull had seen that exact look in the mirror and on the faces of his most trusted day after day in and after the war, was something left unsaid.

For a moment there Fon was sure, if someone could understand him, it would be Skull.

So without contemplating any further he just spilt. He told him how he was never good enough, too weak, too slow... And Skull just listened. Never interrupting. All the while never judging. Silence filled the room. Fon avoided Skulls eyes. He didn´t want to see the scorn, didn´t want to be hold lacking. Deep down he knew it would break him, would leave him picking up the pieces.

Skull startled him out of his destructive thoughts. The stuntman gently took Fon´s face in his hands, made him look him straight in the eyes.

“You are not weak! Damn anyone how would ever think that should go to a mental hospital. He clearly doesn´t have all the teacups in their cupboard. I admire you, your discipline, your kick-ass martial arts, your way to calmly deal with anything life throws at you.”  Fon swallowed thickly. Committing Skulls passionate rant to his memory, burning it in his brain. Skull was unaware just how much Fon had needed to hear his few heartfelt words.

“Please never think of you so lowly”, with that last sentence he climbed further on the bed and tucked Fon into a heartwarming hug. So much carved from Fon, who hadn´t felt any positive human touch in so many years.

In that moment Fon let go. He sobbed silently, buried deep in Skulls chest. He did not remember falling asleep. But he definitely recalled feeling completely safe and protected.

 

 

 

Better rested than in years he slowly opened his eyes. A pleasant warmth was pressed to his side. A small smile played on his lips. Skull was securely tucked under Fon´s chin, as close to his chest as possible. The martial artists arm was around Skull´s thin waist, keeping him securely in place. His legs were tangled with Fon´s. The cloud Acrobaleno´s delicate hands grasped Fon´s shirt, as if to make sure he stayed firmly by his side.

In his sleep the smaller man looked so young, innocent, so damn adorable... Fon startled slightly, when did he start thinking of Skull as adorable?

Maybe somewhere between Skull accepting him wholly and him bawling his eyes out. Slight red dusted his cheeks, but he kept observing the small form in his arms. Skull really was short and delicate in stature, more a woman than a man.

Skull wiggled slightly. Fon had to keep himself from reacting, the stuntman´s knees were way to close to a certain delicate area. Skull´s face scrunched up like a sweet kitten and he pulled his nose up. Promptly deciding he did not want to wake up yet and leave the warmth, so he just buried deeper in Fon´s chest. The fact that Skull obviously felt totally safe and at ease with him so close, made his chest puff up proud. Ahh, he really needed to sort there strange new feelings. Especially if the object of his baffling thoughts was right next to him, in his BED! Fuck, okay he needed space.

Luckily Skull bleary blinked up to him.

 

“Fon?”, his voice was still rough.

Fon´s brain supplied some rather unappropriated pictures of Skull in situations, rather pleasant situations, where his voice would sound like that as well... He scolded himself in his mind, while his eyes never left Skull´s slowly comprehending face. After a few seconds a cute blush creeped up his face, Skull squeaked adorably and determined Fon´s chest was the best place to hide. Fon chuckled and couldn´t suppress a smile. Skull peeked up from Fon´s chest.

 

“Your smile is beautiful. You should smile more often”, blurted the stuntman out. This did nothing to calm his blush, the next words were again muffled in Fon´s shirt: “Just leave me to die in mortification.” Fon´s grin did not subside. He tightened his arm around Skulls waist. He was so damn precious. Why hadn´t he realized earlier? Skull slowly distracted himself form the embrace, head lowered, still red. “I...I...”, he cleared his voice, looked him straight in the face and declared with his normal loud obnoxious tone: “The great Skull-sama will leave now!”, Fon had never seen someone out of his room so fast.

There was his answer. Skull was hiding. Firmly hiding himself behind masks. Masks so perfected not even the worlds greatest had noticed they were even there. Determined Fon stood up. He would get the little one to shed his distractions, even if only when he was alone with him.

 

 

 

 

POV Skull

 

Skull meanwhile was breathing heave, his face buried in his hands, crouching on the floor. He had slipped up! One month before the curse, and now after they had met up again roughly two month...it took him only fucking three month to fuck up... But his flames and magic were reassuring him that they were safe. That he could feel at home with them...that they could heal him!

Ahh! Bloody Potter luck!

His traitorous mind supplied him with how nice it was to wake up in Fon´s arms. How safe and protected, how loved he had felt. Fon´s arm around his waist. Alone he would have never been able to fall asleep again, not after that nightmare. Fon´s presence seemed to be soothing. He hadn´t slept so well in at least a decade.

Damn, his regrets bore less and less weight. Maybe he should let things play out, maybe it was not a bad thing to finally have someone again, someone who knew his real self. Apart from his all but blood family. A small smile played on Skull´s lips. His heart skipped a beat. It really had felt nice in Fon´s arms.

Bloody hell...

 

 

Skull straightened and made his way downstairs. He was hungry. He could tackle his other problems later.

Hours later he was sitting in the garden behind the mansion in his favorite spot. He was sunbathing. Not long and his many friends trotted, flew, and slithered to him. He had befriended nearly every animal in his vicinity. They loved him and he loved them. His beast speak made him able to actually talk to them. They knew him without his masks. It was damn important for him to shed his play for at least an hour a day, or he would freak out. He told them everything. Especially a sweet blue Varied Tit had taken to him. The smart bird was always the first who showed up and the last to go.

“Harry! Harry!” Skull laughed delighted and proceeded to stroke her. “Hello Natalie, how are you?”

“Never mind me, I saw you cuddling with the long haired one. What happened? Details! I want the juicy details!”

He buried my face in my heads, trying to ward off the blush. How the heck did she see me sleeping with Fon? Did she peep through the thin gap of the curtain?

 

Bloody stalker birds!

 

Now she would never shut up. Skull was just about to explain, when he felt a presence nearing. He didn´t change his body language, only kept quiet. Quietly murmuring: “Someone is coming, I...give you the juicy details later. But nothing happened! Don´t get all worked up!”

Who knew birds could have such a dirty mind?!

Natalie was a gossip queen on top of her carrier as a top notch stalker. Maybe next time he should think twice, before befriending anyone. What did it say about him, to be surrounded by hitman, assassins... Better not go that way.

 

Talk about a hitman and he shall appear... “Lackey! What are you doing?”

 

 

Chapter Text

POV Reborn

 

 

“Lackey! What are you doing!” Reborn scrutinized Skull as he sat on the grass petting various animals. Some who should normally kill or at least hate each other. But no, there was a snake, next to a butterfly, at least five birds, a cat and was that a mole? He wasn´t sure if he could trust his eyes.

Lackey was a bloody animal tamer...maybe someone mixed a drug in his espresso?

“Reborn, come closer. You love birds, right?” Lackey grinned cheeky and winked him over. Reborn was somewhat startled. That was not Skull´s normal way too loud voice.Was he keeping it down because of the animals? But it sounded way more natural.

In the end he was roped into sitting next to Skull, leaning against a tree, stroking a bird Skull called Natalie. After a while of silence he rested his head against the tree and dozed. Eyes open as always. He wasn´t sure when lackey had started to hum silently. It was soothing. Calmed his nerves. A few of the birds twittered with him.

Later Reborn surveyed his surroundings, Skull was curled on the grass, sleeping peacefully.

Adorable!

After this first disturbing thought, he wanted to kick him. The idiot should never be so vulnerable, least of all outside. But as if the animals had read his thoughts, they all turned to him. If he didn´t know any better they were glowering at him. At him! Animals! The cat even hissed at him. This was so strange, that the hitman remained where he was. Not moving, waiting for the lackey to wake. Keeping watch together with the animals.

Lackey blinked drowsily, tilting his head cutely. Like a cat he stretched. Reborn was bestowed with a gentle smile as soon as he was spotted, still rooted on his watch spot.

Reborn´s heart stuttered. He was speechless. That smile was...so different from the one Lackey was throwing around daily. It was...genuine...like something you had to earn. Without any conscious thought Reborn lifted the corners of his mouth as well. Wow, that brought him a even more beautiful smile. Reborn was so out of it, that he needed a moment to comprehend Skull´s next words: “Come on, let´s go inside. I need to stark cooking. Do you have a wish for dinner?” The worlds greatest hitman was only able dumbly shake his head. Reborn would later state this as the exact moment Skull noticed the way he acted out of character and swiftly switched his mask back on.

“ALRIGHT! Everything the great Skull-sama cooks is delicious! Don´t worry!”

Reborn kept sitting under the tree for at least half an hour longer. Sorting his thoughts.

Skull was hiding! Skull was wearing a mask! A damn thick mask! One he had not noticed! One he only now had noticed after the Acrobaleno could very well part ways any time they wanted...he supposed Skull was now more relaxed. Fucking hell!

The real Skull was...was...he had to find out more!!! With that in mind Reborn stood up and determined made his way to the kitchen. He would have to observe the supposed weakest link.

 

 

POV Everyone

 

 

Later Fon, Reborn, Colonnello,Viper were waiting in the living room, impatient. Verde was as always in his lab, they were all unsure why he hadn´t ditched them already. Maybe because he would have to stop his research to relocate his lab?

Why, they were sitting there in silence, staring at the kitchen door? Well...

Skull was cooking! And if Skull was cooking then you had to be there in time or you would not be able to get any of the deliciousness. Because there were no leftovers! It did not matter how much Skull would bring on the table, everyone would do their very best to finish it.

Fon was looking forward to talking some more with Skull, hopefully he could lure him from behind his mask...but they were not alone tonight so he didn´t have too much hope.

Reborn had been standing in the corner of the kitchen for an hour, spying on the purple haired man...but then...Reborn threw a annoyed glance at the rain Acrobaleno.

Colonnello had got them thrown out of the kitchen!!!

It had started nice, Colonnello had just wanted to lend Skull a hand.

 

Flashback:

 

“Lackey! What are you cooking, kora?”

Now that Reborn was watching closely, he could pinpoint the exact reaction Skull showed when called lackey.

Before Colonnello had come barging in the animal tamer was relaxed. Even though Reborn was scrutinizing his movements. Even Colonnello´s bold leaning over Skull´s shoulder left him unruffled. Though as soon as that word left Colonnello´s lips he clamped up, not much was visible...no he concealed it like a professional. But Skull´s eyebrows scrunched up for a millisecond and then his shoulders sank defeated. Like a men, who had come to terms with a bitter reality and still made the best of it.

Before Skull had to chance to answer, Colonnello interrupted: “Can I help, kora? Please!”

“But, do as Skull-sama says!”

“Of course, kora!” Well...the disaster did not let us wait long. Colonnello was told to cut the tomato. Easy...well one would believe that.

“Colonnello! What are you doing?! Stop, these are chili pepper.”

“Ops, I already dumped three of them in the pot...” Skull inhaled deep and kept smiling. “No problem, the great Skull-sama can fix it. I just have to start again, I was not far along anyway.”

“Sorry, kora.” “Please just...let me do this. You can...peel the eggs.” The mumbled: “That shouldn´t be to difficult”, was not meant for Colonnello´s ears.

In did not take five minutes for Skull to change his task again. Apparently eggs weren´t peeled till you had only the yellow core in your hands. Skull turned his back and raised his hands praying to the ceiling. Reborn found the whole thing very amusing. But even he could have done better than that and he really did not know how to cook.

“Colonnello, please just...” “Please, kora. Give me one more chance! This time I will get it right!”

“Put a tiny bit of salt in the pot with the noodles and then go!”

“Easy, kora!”

“STOP! A tiny bit! Do you know what a tiny bit is?! Certainly not a whole glass full!”

This time Skull had to breath really deep and crunched the egg, he was peeling at the moment, in his hand. “Out!” “But...” “Out!” Then Skull was reminded of Reborn. “You, too. I need peace in the kitchen!” Skull made a very intimidating picture with the wooden spoon he was waving about.

Reborn didn´t want to miss Skull´s cooking, so he favored a tactical retreat.

 

Back to the point, when they were waiting in utter silence...

 

“Alright, I´m done! Please help with the pots”, came a satisfied voice from the kitchen. Colonnello was up in a split second, he had to make up for the disaster beforehand. Skull could really hold a grudge, if it was about his kitchen and the cooking there. Reborn helped as well. While they were happily digging in, Fon noticed Skull eating almost nothing.

“Skull, are you not hungry?”, he was concerned for their mysterious little one. “Oh, well I am. But I will eat more later. Together with Verde”, Skull had a determined glint in his eyes. “With Verde?”, that was hard to believe. “He is starving himself! He isn´t even eating the food I bring to his lab. So I will eat together with him and make sure he gets enough nutrition. If he wants to or not!”

Fon didn´t try changing Skull´s mind. He was in protective mode. Verde would have to suffer through it.

Reborn only grinned slightly. Interesting.

Chapter Text

POV Skull

 

Later Skull and Verde were alone in the house.

Skull was singing happily. With nobody watching he was free to do as he liked. He danced around the kitchen, cleaning.

Then he put together his and Verde´s meal on a serving tray. Still lightly humming he knocked on Verde´s lab door. “Verde, I brought dinner.” The door had no handle, it was locked with a electronic door lock.

A moment past and a disgruntled: “Yes”, sounded. The door opened. Cautiously he stepped into the room, making sure he did not trip over or destroy, as Verde called it the order. Skull, mindful of the things on the desk, set down the tray and waited. Verde was busily connecting wires in a strange huge metal box.

As soon as Verde seemed to come out of his thinking process, Skull took his chance. “Verde, please eat dinner with me.” The scientist turned to the stuntman. “With you?”, he asked with a raised eyebrow, staring down on the smaller man. “Yes, I will make sure you eat this time. So I might as well join you. Food always tastes better if you share.” “Lackey, I don´t have time for this. You go and eat in the living room, just leave mine here.” Skull deflated slightly and put his hand lightly on researchers arm. “Please, you need to eat.”

 

 

 

POV Verde

 

Verde was so shocked of the sudden contact, that he just stood there listening. “Your body needs nutrition or he will shut down. You will make mistakes. Your research and experiments will suffer, what if you faint in a critical moment? I don´t even want to think about your lack of sleep. Please, it will take only ten minutes and then you can work much more efficient.”

Verde stayed silent, studied Skull. “Fine, but give me five minutes to finish this.”

The researcher was stunned by the dazzling smile Skull bestowed upon him. His heart was pounding, he couldn´t look away. Damn, that lackey.

Verde turned back to his experiment trying to get his heartbeat under control.

 

 

 

POV Skull

 

While Skull looked around, he noticed the construction plan of the experiment Verde was currently working on. Intrigued he bent over the plan.

“Verde? If you connect these wires...”, Skull spun around, eyes wide in panic.

“It will explode!”

Too late.

 

BOOM!

 

Skull was thrown back. His magic surged to the front. Protecting him from the flying metal shards, cushioning his fall. In midair Skull turned and flicked his hand at Verde. Protecting him as good as possible. His ears were ringing.

He coughed, the damn metal box was in shambles. It smoked and some pieces had caught fire.

“Verde?!” As he got no reaction, he jumped alarmed to his feet. The lab looked like a hurricane had ran amok. Gingerly, but as fast as possible he made his way over to Verde. He was slumped on the wall next to the door.

His eyes widened. Fuck! Metal shards had pierced his skin. Skull had not been fast enough to protect him from them, he was only able to lessen the damage.

“Verde?!” Skull knew he had to keep calm, long years of practice made him capable do just that.

First he checked his pulse. Still there!

But one of the shards was dangerously close to Verde´s heart. As more smoke filled the room, the automatic fire sprinkler finally started. Ten seconds later they were fully drenched. Bloody fucking hell.

Skull checked a list in his head.

He had no choice, he had to remove the shard immediately. He wouldn´t be able to move him otherwise.

Damn, Verde had fucking luck, that he was a wizard. Healing was never his strong point, but he was able to help him enough. He would survive without any lasting effects.

Skull had never abandoned his magic, he was not allowed to. He had to let out his magic once in a while, he had to train it or his body would suffer. The downside of being a impossible powerhouse.

After taking care of the one critical injury, Skull hoisted him up and dragged him to the living room. For just a millisecond he was tempted to grab him by the feet and drag his head over the floor...but nope. Damn he should really work on being more evil. He dismissed magic right from the start, it had exposed him to much already by healing the fucking idiot. With a long suffering sigh he shook his head to get at least rid of some of the annoying water. It was getting into his eyes. He really would like a towel right about now...or better a warm shower. But no, he had to patch up a dumb scientist, who didn´t know when to sleep and eat!!! Why always him?

Leaving Verde lying in a heap on the floor for a moment, he grabbed the extensive first aid kit and a plastic blanket. Then he lengthened the couch, put the blanket on top of it and heaved Verde on said couch. The researcher grunted in pain. “Shh, you are fine”, of course Skull without missing a beat tried to sooth him with slight humming. Never mind that he just ranted about said idiot... With steady hands he started to cut his cloth to make room to work, removed shard after shard, disinfected the scratches and took care of the burns. Half way done and Verde stirred. “Shh, keep still. I need to take care of your injuries.” Verde tensed and tried to sit up. “Don´t move, please.” Skull caressed his cheek, looking him deep in his eyes. “I am half-way done. How strong is the pain? Let me give you something to help."

Chapter Text

 

 

POV Verde

 

Pain. Pain was the first thing he registered. He tensed. Trying to survey his surroundings. Slight humming comforted him. He blinked his eyes open, making a move to sit up.

“Shh, keep still. I need to take care of you injuries.” Lackey? He relaxed slightly.

A shit...the experiment. It exploded... “Don´t move, please.”

Skull caressed his cheek, gazing deep in his eyes. Again Verde was captivated. His heart started beating faster. What was happening to him? “I am half way done. How strong is the pain? Let me give you something to help.” Verde only nodded. Seconds later Skull had injected him with a pain killer. “It will help soon.” Finally he got his voice back. “You are drenched.” Skull blinked a couple of times, then laughed. It was a beautiful laugh. He almost said so. Did he have a concussion? Yeah, that would explain his strange behavior...but before the explosion his heart had showed this strange anomaly as well...

“Well, so are you. The fire sprinklers went off.” Verde decided to just wait and let Skull do his job. He and the rest of the Acrobaleno had found out quite some time ago, that if you had injuries to best one to patch them up was their lackey.

Skull cleared his voice. “I need to cut your trouser as well”, he said it in a matter of fact tone, though he noted a slight adorable blush. Wait...adorable? “Well, what are you waiting for”, Verde felt flustered. After Skull was finally done, he was shivering. He was laying there in only his boxer shorts and the bandages.

“Get yourself a towel and some fresh cloth”, it was more or less an order, but he couldn´t quite hide to tinge of concern buried underneath.

Verde tried to sit up slowly, but he had lost more blood than anticipated. He swayed. “Wait here, I will be back in a moment and then help you to your room.” Skull stood up, but kept staring. “Yes, yes. I will stay and wait.” That seemed to satisfy the stuntman, as he hurried away. But not before tucking him carefully under a blanket.

Verde finally let his smile free, while he scrutinized the blanket. Maybe Skull deserved a bit of personal research.

In a blink of an eye, Skull was back. His hair was still a bit dumb. Together they made it to Verde´s room. This was the first time any of the Acrobaleno would enter his space.

 

 

 

POV Skull

 

Verde was hanging on him more and more. He got weaker with each step. Damn why couldn´t the exhaustion wait for one minute longer?

They were one step away from the bed and Verde collapsed.

Staggering from the sudden weight Skull fell forward, landing on the bed Verde half on top of him.

Well, that was kind of awkward. Mindful of the mans injuries he maneuvered him of his body. But then fate had to intervene. Because where would the fun be in him just walking out of the room. So, Verde groaned in his more or less sleep and pulled Skull closer again. Gripping him like some teddy bear.

Skull was so used to fate screwing him over, he just grinned and began wiggling again. Damn that man had a grip. Evidently he wanted to keep his stuntman cuddle toy. And...Verde was almost naked...and was not bad to look at. His face got as red as a tomato.

In the end Skull had to try with force...arg...but the man had strength. Where did that strength come form? He was in his lab all day! Well he had slept in stranger places and with stranger people. So Skull settled down, after somehow getting them both under to cover and keeping his thoughts strictly on line. Away from sexy naked bodies...

Mmm to be honest, it was quite nice, he had to acknowledge grudgingly. Verde somehow smelled like lavender and something he couldn´t identify. His arms were not bad as a cushion ether. And his magic seemed to settle instinctively, not completely, but enough to be able to sleep in peace. He trusted Verde on some level. Confusing...

 

 

 

POV Verde

 

He felt great. There was this slight pain in the back of his mind. But he felt rested and relaxed. When did that happen last? He was warm and there was this comforting weight pressed against him. Wait... He stiffened and opened his eyes. Looking down on his chest. Skull. Skull! What?!

Skull had brought him to his room last night and then...he did not remember getting in his bed.

Skull smacked his lips and snuggled tighter against him. His back was firmly pressed against Verde´s chest.

He was spooning Skull! And...it felt so damn right. The smaller man fit snugly against him, like a long missing puzzle.

Adorable... His hair was tousled and all over the place. His thick long eyelashes caressing his cheeks. The lips red and so tempting. He tried to clear his head...but...

One of Skull´s hands was balled in a fist and pressed to his lips. The other lay on top of Verde´s. Now he noticed his traitorous arms! They were around Skull´s waist. Holding him close. 

STOP! What was he thinking about? This was the useless lackey!

On the other hand, he took care of him yesterday. If he remembered correctly Skull even had noticed his failure before the explosion. How? The mechanic of his experiment was complicated, not many researcher would be able to understand them...but Skull had done just that and in a matter of seconds.

Skull shifted slightly and Verde´s whole attention was on him again. Now, that he was thinking about it...his flames were utterly calm. Contend. He  had never felt like this, not even with Luce. Well, Luce had never been his sky. She was just too weak, too shaded...too...

Though why made him Skull feel like this...Fuck!!! He hated it, when he did not understand something, especially his own feelings! This screamed for research!!!

Again Skull shifted. His sweet butt cheeks came dangerously close to his lower half. He just had to move a tiny bit forward and he could fit himself snugly between...STOP!

Panic surged through him. He had to get away!

Hasty he disentangled himself from the smaller man and almost jumped out of the bed. Unfortunately he forgot his injuries in the process and landed on his butt next to the bed. Suppressing a scream.

These actions woke Skull. He bleary looked around. It didn´t take long for his brain to come to reality. Even faster was the cloud Acrobaleno out of the bed and crouching next him.

“What happened? Are you hurt?”, Skull´s voice was concerned. The big purple eyes wide and full of compassion for the man before him. It stunned Verde. “I...am fine.” Skull hovered over him for a moment longer, obviously tempted to check him over to be absolutely sure, but relented in the end. “Please, lay down again. You have lost a lot of blood yesterday and you shouldn´t irritate your wounds.” “Really you don´t need...”, Verde trailed of, when Skull gave him a hard look. “Please”, fuck he was using the puppy-eye look... Argh! “Fine.”

The smile Verde received made his heard flutter, it made him feel warm. Fine, fine...if he was granted that kind of smile, he would stay in bed a bit longer. To his embarrassment Skull did not finish fussing until he had tucked Verde under the covers tightly and made sure he was lying comfortable. All the while wearing a gently expression, which rendered all thoughts in Verde´s head useless.

“Why were you sleeping in my bed anyway?”, he finally made it!

Skull immediately grew red and avoided looking him in the eyes. “Äm, you were holding on to me and lying on top of me...I couldn´t get...out”, the last words were mumbled.

Now it was Verdes´s turn to start blushing, even though he managed to control it a bit.

After an awkward silence Skull proclaimed, he would make breakfast and bring it to his bedside. So he had to stay right were he was. Before Skull left the room, he turned around again: “Should I bring you something else? And do you want something specific for breakfast?” Verde again was pressed to admit how utterly adorable Skull was...while he declined. With another of those gentle smiles Skull left Verde to his troubling thoughts.

 

 

 

POV Fon

 

He was just talking to Colonnello, when he spotted Skull leaving Verde´s room. Nobody left Verde´s room. Nobody even knew how Verde´s room looked, let alone had been in it. And obviously Skull had not been alone in the room.

“Skull, what are you doing?”, he couldn´t suppress the question, jealousy rearing its head.

Even more so, when he noticed Skull´s appearance. His hear was tousled, his clothe crunched and in disarray. Had he slept with Verde!? Fon squinted his eyes.

“Oh good morning Fon, Colonnello. Skull-sama has to make sure Verde stays in bed to let his injuries heal!” They had of course all noticed the damaged lab, it was hard to miss. So Skull had helped Verde. Well, that was not difficult to imagine.

But why the hell was Skull so disheveled? “Were you sleeping in Verde´s room?”, Fon had to know.

Skull promptly blushed, though he held Fon´s gaze. “I was making sure he was fine.” Then he just turned around and headed down. So mother-hen mode was active again.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

POV Everyone

 

In the following weeks Fon had made it a habit to join Skull for a cup of tea in the afternoon. First Skull switched between being utterly loudmouthed and talking nothing at all. Though each time Skull seemed to loose some of his anxiety and began opening up a little. They were finally after all these years getting to know each other. Their real selves, not the masks. Fon enjoyed his time with the little one. He was a very good conversationalist, if he let himself. He was insightful, undoubtedly intelligent and was a great person to debate different topics. Skull as well learned to trust Fon a little bit more, learned to trust his flames, who urged him to get closer to Fon. His flames had never led him wrong. Never betrayed him.

 

Reborn as well had changed his daily schedule. After he had found out, that Skull spent each day at least one hour with the animals in the garden, he made a point to appear during these times and keep Skull company. It was soothing his flames. The animals started to like him, but they never kept their eyes of him while Skull was taking a nap. They were still protecting the stuntman fiercely. Reborn began feeling protective of Skull as well. Each time he witnessed the gentle real smile Skull was gifting the animals, the desire in him grew to receive on of these smiles as well. After the first few times Reborn had seen Skull without his boasting mask, he began learning to distinguish a real and a false smile. Began noticing when Skull was really enjoying something and when he just told them so. His thoughts were thrown in a riot concerning Skull.

 

 

 

POV Skull

 

He had a nightmare. Well, he should have expected it. Today was a full moon. He never slept good on a full moon. His inner werewolf was always running amok on these nights. Fenrir Greyback had bitten him back in the war. Due to the basilisk venom in his blood the bite did not turn him into a werewolf. But it gave him some of the abilities a werewolf portrayed. His senses were heightened, and his reflexes were better.

Skull decided to go out and train a bit. Practicing martial arts always helped him calm down and center himself, especially after a nightmare.

He was out for about twenty minutes, when Colonnello stumbled into the garden. He was utterly drunk.

“Colonnello?” “Skull, what are you doing...hic...out here, kora?” He swayed on the spot and blinked sheepish. “I was doing a few katas. What are you doing? You should get in your bed”, Skull hovered near the man concerned. It was miracle that Colonnello was even awake now, normally he would immediately fall asleep after drinking so much.

Suddenly Colonnello fell forward, Skull tried to catch him. It ended with them both in the grass. Colonnello on top of Skull. “Colonnello?” Damn, why always him? First Fon, then Verde and now Colonnello?!

While Skull berated his life, Colonnello grinned and shifted off Skull. Skull tried to make some space between them, Colonnello had none of it. The Acrobaleno grabbed Skull by the waist and dragged him on his lap. “What...” “You are so tiny”, he held Skull tighter and swayed left to right, all the while nuzzling Skulls neck and hair. “You smell good! Why do you smell so good?” He cuddled the smaller man happily. “My flames like you”, he continued in a matter of fact voice. Skull had meanwhile resigned himself to staying in the lap of the other man for the unforeseeable future. Well, weirder thing had happened to him. Skull just waited for the other Acrobaleno to explain himself, no need to force him. Everyone deals with his problems different. Even though using the man you bully as a teddy bear was unique.

“Why, Skull why us?”, his voice was just above a whisper. “I don´t know.” Skull was quiet for a moment, sorting his thoughts. “A friend of mine always said, everything happens for a reason. We just have to wait and find out.”

“That´s shit. It helps nothing.” Skull chuckled. “Yeah, that´s what I said as well. But in the end we can´t change things. We have to live with it. As hard as it sounds, either become stronger with the challenge or give up.” Colonnello pressed the smaller man harder to himself, burying his face in his hair. “How do you not give up?” There was so much blunt emotions in the statement, it made Skull swallow hard. “Sometimes, I don´t know. But then again...as long as you have friends, family, you will never be alone. You don´t have to go through all of it alone.” With the last sentence Skull turned around as much as possible in his position, staring in Colonnello´s eyes with passion. “The other Acrobaleno are there for you.” He stocked. “I...I am there for you.” Skull´s face came bright red, but he didn´t avert his eyes. Trying to get the message across.

After that they fell silent. Colonnello was asleep in a span for ten minutes, leaning on a tree stump.

Skull allowed his face to show the wounds the words about family and friends had teared open. He missed them. Everyday. A single tear escaped him.

Then he got himself together, disentangled himself from Colonnello´s arms.

He got the man a blanket and a small pillow, adjusted his sleeping position and went back to his katas.

 

 

 

POV Colonnello

 

He woke up with the sweet sound of someone singing. For a long moment, he just kept his eyes closed concentrating entirely on the calming wonderful sound. Sooner or later he came aware of the unusual atmosphere around him. Where the heck did he fall asleep last night? Wait...he was drinking and then stumbled over Skull in the garden. His cheeks grew warmer. He had blurted out his inner thoughts without any care...Skull must think him a total pussy. But he did not react negative last night. He took his worries serious. Colonnello felt better now, after the talk.

And why the heck had he wanted Skull close anyway? Why had he blurted out, the way his flames reacted around the stuntman nowadays?

Skull was no sky! Was he falling for the man? It started with Fon, then Reborn and now Verde acted strange around the smaller man as well... Skull seemed much more natural lately, he didn´t shout as much. He was...adorable...fuck fuck fuck!!!

He needed to sort this out! Wait...who was singing anyway? He had a pretty good guess.

 

He stretched and sat up. Wow... Skull was sitting in a circle of birds and obviously singing with them. Well more like, Skull was the main voice and the birds where doing the background choir. It was a picture right out of a fantasy novel. Had Skull always been so good with animals? Had he always had this lovely voice?

In this moment Skull noticed him, and stopped singing. “You are awake. How have you slept? I hope it wasn´t to uncomfortable, but I am not strong enough to carry you all the way inside to your bed...” Colonnello smiled, his heard making somersaults in his chest. Oh my god, one bird had landed on Skulls hair and was now puffing his chest up, as if it was the best place possible. Combined with Skull, who was absentminded stroking the birds near, his eyes bright and happy combined with that smile... Fuck, he was so done.

He had to clear his voice: “I slept good.” His body warmed noticing the blanket and cushion. “Thank you for these, kora.” “No problem. But I should probably get inside and start with breakfast, I promised Reborn yesterday I would make him espresso flavored pancakes.”

Colonnello sweat-dropped at that...espresso flavored...really...

He wanted Skull to stay, he wanted to listen a bit more to him sing, wanted to watch him smile and... Yeah, he was so done. Falling hard...his flame was doing a victory dance, totally approving his hearts choice.

“You have a wonderful voice, kora”, he couldn´t stop himself praising. Skull flushed, ducked his head. A shy smile appeared. He felt damn accomplished having triggered these delicious reaction. He would make it a goal to compliment Skull as often as possible. “Thank you”, then Skull turned around and jogged away. Colonnello grinned slyly.

 

 

 

POV Skull

 

A few days later they were discussing a mission. It was seldom, that they went on missions together, but this one was more like a favor and as Colonnello put it, it would be fun.

They had to attend a dance gala and stop a deal taking place. In the best case kidnap the dealer, while not disrupting the party. Easy.

Well, the only problem was...they were all man. And to survey the ball, while not looking suspicions dancing was the best.

“Skull should cross-dress.” Verde had been quietly scribbling in his notebook so far, but now all eyes were on him and of course Skull.

“What? No!” Skull was shaking his head, trying to back out of the room, away from the contemplating gazes. Fon was his rock in the storming sea, as the man pulled him closer, shielding him somewhat. Skull had learned to rely on some of the Acrobaleno in the span of the last few month.

“It could work”, came Reborn's assessment.

“He has the right height and features.”

“I could make a body suite, to give him breasts. I wouldn´t even have to form much of a waist, it is already quite womanly.” Skull looked a bit affronted...

“With a bit of make-up nobody would suspect anything.”

Skull had a internal crisis...why why always him??!!! He buried into Fon´s chest.

“But, can he dance?”

“You know I am still in the same room? I can hear you just fine!”, Skull tried to intervene, but was ignored without so much as a side glance. At least Fon caressed his arm a gently.

“Mmm...”

Finally they turned to him. Scrutinizing, judging. But before he could fall back to his Skull-persona, Fon put a hand on his lower back.

Immediately he relaxed a bit. “Honey, can you dance?” Fon had taken to giving him pet names...they always made him blush, but Fon just wouldn´t stop and he wouldn´t explain why he did it in the first place! 

Tentatively and already regretting it, he said: “Yes.”

“Well, that´s great. We will test this right away!”, Viper proclaimed. Everyone was surprised at that. Normally Viper would only do anything with payment. So for him to volunteer. Skull eyed him skeptically. Viper stood up and bowed, holding out his hand.

“Will you give me the honor of a dance?”

Skull of course normally did the part of the man, but he knew enough to handle to woman part as well. For a moment Skull was flummoxed. What should he do? Mess it up like Skull? But Harry loved dancing. It as one of his passions, he was not often able to live it out. In the end he decided to screw it. He would do what he wanted, for once!

So he led go of his Skull-persona completely. With grace Skull could have never portrayed he stood up and curtsied. His voice was smooth and light: “Of course, I would be delighted.”

The Acrobaleno were stunned, Skull had turned into a pure blooded noble in a matter of seconds.

Viper only grinned slightly, posture showing a perfect gentleman. It reminded Skull very much of his past...

“Verde, if you please.” Verde pulled a tablet from his white robe and pressed a few buttons, music began to play.

Ballroom music for a waltz was filling the room.

 

Chapter Text

POV Everyone

 

As soon as the pair started moving, it seemed as if they had never done anything else. They were gliding through the room with elegance and grace. 

Skull astonished them. His figure was excellent, they had never seen someone this smooth, this eye-catching. 

The pair twirled, sidestepped, turned, changed hands and steps with an ease and balletic feel not often observed. 

Viper even threw Skull in the air, while performing a twist. Needless to say the audience, the other Acrobaleno, even Verde (though his notebook was in his hands) was captivated. All the while Skull had a wide smile on his face, he was truly enjoying the dance. You could clearly see it, his eyes were shining. 

Even Viper had a gentle smile on his face, not once averting his eyes from his dance partner. 

It was mind-bogglingly! Skull was clearly a man, but he danced better than any woman. 

 

Fon was slightly jealous. He wanted to be the one Skull smiled at. He wanted that close body contact with his little one. 

 

Reborn had to change the facts he thought he knew about their weakest link yet again. If Skull was this graceful while dancing, why was he so clumsy while fighting? Someone once said to him, lad if you can fight you can dance. And if you can dance, well then you can learn to fight. 

 

Verde was stunned. Skull really was a damn interesting research subject. But it would be even better, if he could do a hands on experiment. He nodded. Yes, he would need to dance with Skull himself. Not that he just wanted to be close to the smaller man, no it was of course solely for scientific purposes. Of course! 

 

Colonnello had only one thought in his head, the rest had been blown out after seeing Skull move. So he can sing and dance like a star. 

Skull was a treasure, he couldn´t fathom how they had overlooked that universal fact before. He decided to go dance with Skull as often as possible, he clearly seemed to enjoy it with all his heart. And the real smile of his, was worth anything. 

 

Soon the song was over. They bowed to each other, then turned to the other Acrobaleno in the room and bowed again. 

“Not bad.” 

“Wow, you did great, kora.” 

“Yes, well done. Skull I acquire to dance with you as well. We need to be prepared for the gala”, Verde explained with an even voice, stood up and hold his hand out for Skull. 

Skull was perplexed yet again. But he soon smiled and accepted to hand. Verde turned back to the table for a second and taped on his tablet. “We should prepare different genres. I hope you are well acquainted with with a few more modern and faster dances?” 

Skull grinned. “Naturally.” 

“Well then, I do quite like the quickstep.” Interesting, Skull wouldn´t have guessed this dance to be Verde´s favorite. The other Acrobaleno obviously neither, because they settled with raised eyebrows to watch the spectacle. In the end Skull let out a delighted laugh, while they twirled and skipped around the room. Luckily the room was big and spacious. Don´t stop me now from Queen, was a very lively and happy song. They never would have pecked Verde to select it. But maybe he had a different reason for choosing it, because entire dance he kept scrutinizing Skull with an unreadable face. Skull later stated he had seen the joy in Verde´s eyes nevertheless, the other Acrobaleno weren´t so sure...if that was true. And in case he really had seen some kind of joy, had it been because of the dancing or some kind of experiment he was conducting? Some mysteries better stay unknown. 

 

Fon´s choice fell on the rumba. He was the next to pull Skull close and he milked his song for what it was worth. Thinking Out Loud from Ed Sheeran played in the background. 

Skull was pressed to the taller man´s body, moving to the beat, rolling his hips. Fon turned Skull around, they danced for a moment back to chest. Different dance figures came in quick successions. 

He pulled Skull up in his arms, turned and sat him back down all without missing a beat. 

The cloud felt perfectly safe and cared for, willingly returning the body contact. Gently smiling up to Fon, whose face showed the same emotion. 

 

Next Reborn with a tango. Skull molded to Reborn like he belonged there. Reborn´s flames screamed at him, that Skull was right where he belonged. 

 

Colonnello ended the party with a Cha Cha Cha. Jennifer Lopez, let´s get loud filled the room. “Let´s show them, how it´s done, kora!”, Colonnello proclaimed and pulled Skull close with a quick arm movement. 

 

Skull had loved the afternoon. It had been the best he had had since a long time. He couldn´t remember the last time he had danced that freely and cheerfully. 

 

“Thank you for the dances!” 

“Skull you need to accompany me to the lab. I need your measurements for the bodysuit”, these two sentences brought Skull back to the harsh reality. Why always him? 

Fon narrowed his eyes. Reborn snickered. Verde didn´t let Skull any opportunities to escape, as he simply grabbed Skull´s hand and pulled him forward. “We can plan the rest later”, Verde threw over his shoulder, mind already on his newest experiment...well if you could call Skull that. Poor poor Skull. 

 

 

A few days later Verde stalked out of his lab in search for his prey. He had done it, now he needed to make sure it fit! 

Skull felt a shudder travel down his spine. Something was coming! 

Verde found Skull going trough katas with Colonnello. Colonnello could only watch as the scientist captured the tiny animal, called Skull, and preceded to kidnap him. Verde had a scary twinkle in his eyes. Oh, his species was truly frightening on a mission, especially for a new invention. 

Verde simply threw Skull over his shoulder and carried him back in the villa. Skull squieked and whimpered defeated. The following dinner (Skull had convinced Verde to attend dinner and breakfast at least four times a week) Verde was radiating smug. And Skull had a blush on his face each time he made eye contact with the researcher. 

The other Acrobaleno decided unanimous to keep an eye on Skull as soon as he came in contact with Verde. He was dangerous for their little one. 

 

 

Chapter Text

POV Everyone 

 

 

The day of the dance gala came. 

Reborn had been the one to pick the dress for Skull and Viper was now the one who did Skulls hair, well wig. Skull had made sure to conceal his numerous scars with magic. To do that he had to charm an article he was wearing and even than the charm would only work for five hours. Because many of his scars had been caused by dark magic magic could not be used to efficiently hide them for long. At least he would notice ten minutes before the charm run out and replenish it accordingly. 

Another sacrifice of the war. 

 

While Skull had been dressing the Acrobaleno had had a serious discussion. 

It was a matter of life or death! 

It was war! 

 

Who would be allowed to escort Skull into the gala hall?! 

 

Who?! 

 

Reborn ? 

Colonnello ? 

Viper ? 

Verde ? 

Fon ? 

 

In the end there was only one solution! 

They had to decide it with a death match! 

 

But they were already wearing their suits...damn...then the next best thing! 

 

A game of Rock – Paper – Scissors! 

 

Fon won and had the biggest grin and most smug look on his face to be ever seen! The other Acrobaleno took the defeat more of less with dignity. 

 

The Acrobaleno were waiting impatiently for Skull to ascend the stairs. Finally Skull on Viper´s arm came into view. He wore a gorgeous black dress, with purple highlights. His purple hair had been extended and been skillfully arranged, some strands braided and some curled. 

Colonnello jaw fell open, his eyes almost falling out of their sockets. Wow! 

Reborn was totally stunned. He had never seen anyone this beautiful. 

Verde´s heart was beating faster again, right in tact with the other Acrobaleno, not that he knew that fact. 

Fon was in seventh heaven. Damn now he could die. 

Viper felt like won the lottery and was now proudly showing off his price. 

 

Skull felt astonishingly enough quite comfortable and confident in the dress...well as comfortable and confident a men in a dress could feel. He was certain nobody would have an ickle of a suspicion, about him being no woman. He even wore shoes with a small heels (he had won that small fight, therefore the heels were only small). 

 

The gala was very nice. Skull was constantly dancing with one of the Acrobaleno, they made sure he was always surrounded by one of them. 

Because nobody was to be trusted! Alone the looks Skull was getting...be it man or woman he was the center of attention. The openly studied him, lust clear in their clouded eyes. 

So each time anyone came to close to their Skull, or had even the thought of asking Skull for a dance himself...well they would be directed elsewhere FAST. 

Skull was theirs! They would not share! 

Even though they couldn´t explain their possessiveness and protective instincts, they embraced them. And not only because their flames urged them to. No they were all seriously screwed, they had fallen for Skull and not even noticed, until they felt the dirty gazes of the other guest upon him. 

 

On a different note, the mission was a success. And just like Colonnello had prophesied the evening was wonderful, the Acrobaleno enjoyed it immensely to hold Skull this close, to be able to show open affection. It truly was incredible what a possessive hand on Skull´s waist could achieve. It was like a repellent, especially if it was done by one of the strongest in the mafia world. 

Skull enjoyed the attention of the Acrobaleno and danced with all his heart. 

Chapter Text

 

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. 

Chapter Text

 

Viper´s POV 

 

 

Later they made themselves comfortable in the living room, on the couch and chairs. Skull was bundled in a blanket and sandwiched between Reborn and Fon. 

Slowly Skull began his tale. 

“I...first you need to know my true name. I...”, Skull sighed and swallowed hard. “Viper probably knows me...” The Acrobaleno narrowed their eyes at Viper and Viper frowned not liking where this was going. 

 

“I am Lord Hadrian James Potter-Black-Peverell.” 

 

Viper gasped. “You...you are...” Skull´s, no Harry´s face showed only resigned acceptance, while Viper was positively gaping. 

“Fuck...oh fuck...that´s...”, they had never seen Viper this out of it. 

“What do you know?”, it was a command, Reborn wanted answers, now. 

“He is, Lord Potter-Black-Peverell! The Savior, the Defeater of the last Dark Lord. 

 

“He is the current Dark Lord!” 

 

“Dark Lord?”, Fon´s questioning gaze landed on Hadrian. 

“They proclaimed me to be the next Dark Lord, I am not”, Hadrian´s voice was firm, allowing now arguments. 

Then he turned to Fon, uttering only one sentence: 

“I am a wizard.” 

“Fucking hell”, mumbled Viper under his breath, trying to progress that their supposed weakest link was the most powerful wizard to ever live, the battle commander of the wizarding army and killer of the man, nobody was even brave enough to speak the name of. 

Shit, he really had a lot to make up for. No more payment for his services needed for the next few lives of Sku...no Lord Potter-Black-Peverell. 

 

 

POV Skull 

 

 

After Viper had somewhat calmed down. Harry began a short introduction about the wizarding world. “The witches and wizards live in a secret society, almost completely isolated from all non-magic users. We, well they, call the non-magical people muggles. We have a law, similar to Omerta to make sure nothing leaks out.” Verde was busy scribbling in his notebook, while he listened with rapid attention. Reborn had put on a stoic mask, betraying nothing. Colonnello was skeptical. Viper was as white as a sheet and mumbling incomprehensible words. Fon was silently giving support by placing his hand on Harry´s knee. To make sure they fully believed, he waved his hand. Immediately sparks flew, coming together in shapes. A small dragon was happily bouncing around, breathing fire (well more small sparks) now and then. Verde scrutinized the spectacle judicial( What do you mean by this?) The supposed Dark Lord vanished the dragon and levitated one of the cushions to him. Then after another wave of his hand, it turned into a small puppy. The dog barked and licked Harry´s hand adoringly, but still wasn´t able to make him smile. Verde was the first one he handed the puppy, the scientist´s eyes were wide open, his mouth opening and closing rapidly. “Remarkable...” Colonnello was very eager to play with the dog as well. “You are born with magic or without it. Magic can be used for almost everything, as long as you can imagine it. Well and as long as you are strong enough". Harry explained. Verde turned to Viper. Viper was gaping, staring blankly at Harry´s hand, then at the puppy, then back to the hand again. “Viper?” 

“Wandless magic...he did...fuck how strong are you?”, eyes full of awe and gratitude met his. He was damn glad there was not an ounce of fear present. It would have destroyed him... 

“Apparently stronger than Merlin”, Harry said nonchalantly. Viper choked on his spit. Colonnello took pity and patted his back. Reborn raised an questioning eyebrow. “You can´t simply transfigure an cushion into a normal animal...that´s very hard magic...and without a wand...that´s impossible.” “Viper, I have a damn lot of magic in my veins. After I learned to control it, it became as easy as breathing for me. For me magic is like another limp.” He studied the men around him. “I am glad I don´t need to hide anymore. I will supply you with books about magic, for now we should come to more pressing matters.” He signed deeply and took a deep breath. Fon moved closer to him, pulled him flush to his side. Harry´s nodded thankful. Reborn, who was sitting on his other side, leaned in closer as well. Colonnello shot him an reassuring smile, Viper righted himself grimly, and Verde put his notebook on the side for once. 

 

“Before I was born, there was a Dark Lord...” 

He recounted my parents death, briefly his Hogwarts Years, but only those he came in contact with Voldy the final battle and him leaving the wizarding world behind. 

“...Cheakerface approached me a year after I joined the circus. He threatened”, he stoked and had to breath in deeply “Luna, and... I don´t think he knows about magic, only that they are...were very important to me. You know what happened in the end.” He stared off to space, but lastly choke the rest out: “Yesterday I got a call that my last remaining family, in all but blood, was killed. The funeral is in two days.” Tears were running down his cheeks, he pressed his hand to his mouth, trying and failing to keep a grip. 

Fon didn´t falter, he pulled Skull on his lap, enclosing him in his arms, silently cooing and soothing the little one. His storm flames were running amok in his body, demanding to destroy, to destroy everyone who hurt his Sk..Harry. Did he want to be called Harry? 

Reborn´s eyes were hard as steel, one hand was destroying the couch, so hard was he burying his fingers in the leather. The other hand was running circles on Skull´s back. 

Colonnello had sat down in front of Harry, slung his arms around on of Skull´s legs, letting his flames sooth. 

Verde and Viper scooted closer, wanting to hug their small one as well. Needing the contact, needing to make sure he was with them, safe and cared for. 

 

 

POV Skull  

 

 

Viper approached him, needing to know, how Skull knew she would be knowledgeable about the wizarding world. Skull smiled and explained, because he was so in tune with his magic he had felt that she was a squip the moment he had first seen her. But Skull had been sure the mist user was raised in the wizarding world, at least for a few years, after they had danced together. Viper´s dance steal had just been to similar to the lords he grew up with. 

 

The next few days were spent cuddling and reading, learning about magic. Skull was never alone, someone was always there for him. He was sure he would feel constrained after a while, but...the others presence, their flames, calmed him, made him feel better, made him feel protected and warm. 

The most difficult decision came, when it was time to go to bed... 

 

 

 

Flashback: 

 

“I will sleep with you, to keep away the nightmares”, came Reborn´s announcement after dinner. Skull could only stare and nod, but was glad he wouldn´t have to face sleep alone. 

“Oh, no, kora. I won´t let you alone, in a bed, with him”, Colonnello pointed at Reborn, as if he was a monster incarnate. “Ho, will you now?”, Reborn had already aimed his Leon-gun at Colonnello. 

Verde pulled his glasses up: “If that is the case, then I shall share his bed.” Verde smirked slightly. 

“Oh, no Verde you don´t have to go so far. I have already slept with Skull once, I will gladly do so again”, Fon interrupted, seemly sincerely. 

That sentence caught the attention of the fighting duo, for once they had one opinion and voiced it as one: “You have what, (kora)?!” Fon cursed himself, he shouldn´t have announced that. Well shit happens. 

Viper had narrowed his eyes all the while, he and Skull had come closer in the last week and he won´t sacrifice him, especially not after what he had done for the whole world. 

Skull contemplating if him saying something would change anything...he came to the conclusion, that they had forgotten he was even in the room. These man really were one of a kind and he wwouldn’t have it any other way. 

In the end Skull had to be the voice of reason, if he didn´t want to replace the whole living room. “Why don´t we just camp in here together. Nobody is left out and everyone can keep check on the others.” A round of nods and it was decided. 

We were all lying on the living room floor. The couch had been pushed away, before another fight could break out about who was allowed to sleep on it. They had found enough futons for everyone. Skull snuggled into his fluffy blanket and pulled a pillow closer to his belly, curling around it. He was positioned in the middle. After quite a bit of shoving, Reborn had taken resident on his left side, Verde on his right (he had used an unnoticed moment to claim the sleeping place). Fon was above him, while Viper and Colonnello were perched close to his feet. 

Skull phrased the sentence repeatedly in his head, finally gathered enough courage to kick his inner butt and ask: “Can...please someone accompany me to the funeral...”, his voice was quite, timid, already almost resigned to be rejected. He lifted his head and looked Reborn in the eye, who was smiling sadly. 

“Of course, you don´t need to ask.” 

“Damn right, kora. We won´t let you go alone.” 

“That´s correct”, announced Verde. 

“We are with you.” 

“You won´t face them without us”, Viper added. He could only smile slightly, tears of gratitude brimming in his eyes. “Thank you.” 

“You are our little one”, with that sentence Reborn pulled him flushed to his chest. Even though Skull´s face warmed and turned red, he snuggled closer, listening to the hitman´s calming heartbeat.