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The kind that dies if you don’t cuddle it enough

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Skull steps into the room and narrows in on the only familiar person here. He remembers Reborn, though it’s been at least two years by this point. Kind of difficult to forget someone with those legs. Skull grins wide, loping up to the round table.

“Reborn, yeah?” Skull chuckles, throwing himself into the empty chair beside the Italian. “Nice to see you again.”

Reborn doesn’t even look at him. Maybe he doesn’t remember Skull?

The stuntman isn’t the last to arrive but the others come in quickly after so he doesn’t get much more of a conversation than that.

Skull just now realises that he may have gotten in over his head when the blue haired woman -Lal- blatantly explains how the well-built Chinese man -Fon- is going to have to beat the shit out of some people so the others can get past the gate.

Skull stays quiet. He sort of wants to do it because he’s an adrenalin junkie, but at the same time…these people are fucking terrifying – casually talking about flash grenades and mind control.

Reborn stands up and leaves the room with his empty coffee mug. Skull hesitates a bit but eventually jumps up to follow.

Skull ducks into the kitchen where the Reborn is filling up the kettle. “So you’re…military?” Skull muses, sliding up behind the Italian to give him a hug. “Did I get fucked by a spy-“

Reborn whips around, grabs Skull by the throat and slams him up against the wall. Skull chokes and scrambles to pull back Reborn’s fingers, feet kicking empty air, but the man is just so strong, too strong.

There’s fire in Reborn’s eyes. “I don’t know much about politics in the Russian mafia,” he admits softly, wary of the others hearing him. “I don’t know much at all about your country. However, I do know that a good twenty powerhouse mobs put aside any differences they may or may not have had, just to fuck me over the entire goddamn week I stayed in that frozen fucking wasteland.”

Reborn lets Skull slide down the wall until his feet are touching the ground but the hand on the stuntman’s throat doesn’t loosen.

Reborn tilts his head and smiles. It’s not a kind smile. “I lost my luggage, my wallet, my phone - and my clothes were not equipped for a Russian winter. I had one gun and half a clip of ammo, they closed the borders on me, and God knows the Italian embassy didn’t want me. When I had met you, I’d been awake for four days straight, I hadn’t eaten in two, and quite frankly I was willing to do anything for a place to sleep.”

Skull hits the ground, wheezing past his half-collapsed throat.

Reborn takes a calming breath. “I killed over two hundred of you Russian motherfuckers in that one week. So how about you count yourself lucky that I didn’t deign to waste my time on you.”

“Go,” Verde murmurs through the earpiece.

Reborn slips out from a side room, gun at his side. Skull quickly follows and they pace down the hallway a night guard just left. Reborn stops at the door to the garage and the lock pops open soon after.

Skull’s eyes go wide when he sees a shoe just past a corner but Reborn grabs the back of his collar and drags him in, shutting the door just before the guard looks to them.

Reborn lets go after and Skull scrambles back to keep his distance. The hitman doesn’t move for a long moment but now really isn’t the time to address Skull’s very logical fear of him.

They weave through cars to reach the crates stacked up to the high ceiling. Reborn turns to Skull and points at a jeep, telling Skull to do your job and carjack the vehicle for a quick escape before he moves off, searching barcodes on the wooden boxes to find their payload.

“I’m sorry I hurt you.”

Reborn comes to a stuttering halt. He slowly looks back at Skull.

“You were scared,” Skull says quietly, head down. “And I took advantage of you.”

There’s a faint sound from the earpiece and Reborn remembers that people are listening to them. He lunges forward and clamps a hand over Skull’s mouth before the idiot says anything else. The hitman rips the device off Skull’s ear and turns it off before doing to the same to his one.

Reborn shoves both in his pocket and focuses back on the stuntman. Skull is crying.

“I-“ Reborn looks away. They’re hidden from any entrances and the boxes stacked up around them give them a good sound barrier. Reborn pulls his hand back from Skull’s mouth. “I should not have said that to you.”

Skull sniffles.

“When I saw you, I was caught off guard,” Reborn admits. “Some…memories came back. But you’re a civilian, you had nothing to do with it.”

“You were just trying to find a safe place,” Skull mumbles.

This is the third job the Arcobaleno have done, though it’s the first time Reborn and Skull have been alone together. Reborn knows Skull, has done background checks, and the man is a lop-sided muffin who’s just trying his best. Skull is a dopey, weak little pet who likes to follow people around the house so he doesn’t get lonely. If he was an animal, Skull would be the kind that dies if you don’t cuddle it enough.

“Skull,” Reborn sighs. “It was a transaction. You didn’t hurt me. You even fed me in the morning, which was very nice.”

Skull’s head snaps up, eyes wide and watery. “You shouldn’t have to sell yourself for basic human rights!”

“This is the mafia-“  Reborn cuts himself off because that logic will not help in this situation. “I don’t treat sex like most people do, okay? It’s not important to me, it's a tool. I don’t mind if I need to use it as a bargaining chip.”

Skull looks even more horrified. “Has…someone hurt you before? Is that why you’re like this?”

“No,” Reborn reassures. He sighs and closes his eyes, done with this. “I would be more upset if you stabbed me, does that help?”

It does not help.

Reborn takes a step forward, holding onto Skull’s shoulders. “Skull,” he begins seriously. “Okay, pretend you’re offering me chocolate. I didn’t ask you for chocolate, I didn’t really want it, but if you offer it to me then I’m not going to say no.”

“Because n-no one has told y-you that it’s okay to say no?” Skull sobs. 

No, it’s because I like chocolate!” Reborn shakes the idiot. “I like sex. I love sex. I’ve already fucked Fon and I’m working my way towards Verde, okay? If I wanted to say no then I would have shot you in the fucking face and slept on your bed anyway. I am the World’s Greatest Hitman and you think I couldn’t have fought you off? I was stressed and sex calms me down!

Skull blinks. “Really?”

Reborn breathes deeply. “Yes. I very much enjoyed it, you didn’t hurt me – you couldn’t hurt me if you tried. Now can we please never talk about this again?”

Skull purses his lips. “If anyone tries anything, you have to tell me.”

Reborn raises an eyebrow but he just wants this to be over and done with. “Fine, yes. I will tell you immediately.”

The garage door explodes with Storm flames because Fon slaughtered his way inside as soon as the communications got cut after that very disturbing claim from Skull.