Don't own KHR.
Don't own the Cover Art.
A Wayward Cloud in an Endless Sky
Skull was getting so tired of his clients not reading his fucking contract.
What part of "I won't do hits on kids" was so difficult to understand? Sure he was a hitman now, but he was a stuntman before that and he has standards, damn it. And the primary two were "I won't be paid off" and "I don't kill kids".
But Skull didn't show any of his frustration, blinking guilelessly up at the seven year old in front of him. "Thank you for telling me, Tsuna-nii," he said innocently. "I'll go tell my friends that you don't want to play the assassin game."
Sawada Tsunayoshi – and god, it was surreal to realize that the Young Lion of the Vongola had actually reproduced, and that he looked so much like Giotto – looked a mixture of relieved and concerned. "W-what's going on, Skull-kun?" he asked, and was that a flicker of orange in his eyes?
The former stuntman felt a touch of pity for the boy. It was clear that he wasn't aware of the potential danger he was in day by day, and Skull hadn't seen hide nor hair of anyone that could be consider guards or protection detail. So Skull made a decision and beamed up at the boy. "I'll tell you soon, Tsuna-nii! And the amazing Skull-sama never breaks a promise!" Except when it involved killing kids, he added mentally as the boy relaxed a little. Then he wouldn't hesitate to break that promise.
Skull watched as Tsuna walked back into his house – and wow, this kid may be a little paranoid but he definitely didn't know that assassins may be visiting his hometown at some point or another – before he took out his "mafia phone" and sent out a text.
Reborn-senpai, are you still working for the Vongola?
He received a response about a minute later.
Why do you want to know, stupid Lackey?
Skull scowled at the text in peeved silence before answering.
I want to know 'cause they appear to have a rat rather high up in the food chain.
Ten seconds after he sent that text, the stuntman wasn't too surprised when his phone burst into a cacophony of rings. Nonetheless, he accepted the incoming call. "Yo."
"You better have proof for saying something like that, Lackey." Reborn sounded rather annoyed, but he always sounded like that around Skull so the purple-haired baby ignored it.
"How high up do they have to be to know that the Young Lion has a son, and that the family lives in Namimori?" Was all he said in return, and the silence that followed the question was telling.
"…I'll look into it," the darkness in Reborn's voice caused Skull to shudder a little and made him grateful that he wasn't the reason behind the Greatest Hitman in the World's anger. "So they hired you to take the boy out?"
"Yeah," Skull confirmed, leaning against the brick wall behind him. "I'm planning to drop the hit though. I won't kill kids."
"You're still too soft," Reborn scoffed, but Skull was used to the sound and so caught the hint of relief in his voice that Skull still had standards and loyalty to the other Arcobaleno, despite their abuse. "Lay low," the sun user ordered. "Anyone wanting to see the youngest Sawada dead won't appreciate you reneging on your end of the deal."
Before Skull could say anything else, Reborn hung up, leaving the weakest Arcobaleno to glower moodily at his phone. "Bastard," he muttered sulkily, before he focused again and looked for the number of the Family that had contracted him for the hit. A dark grin crossed his face and he cheerfully texted a, Fuck you guys. The deal's off.,before he smashed it into the wall behind him, cutting him off from his fellow Arcobaleno but also removing any traces leading to him in Japan.
"Senpai is going to be so mad," he mumbled to himself, but didn't feel any regret. Reborn would likely tell the others if he felt it necessary, and no one really called him, so he should be alright. The false child then took a fortifying breath, and went to the Sawada household.
After all, he did promise.
Tsuna eyed the little purple-haired boy that was sitting across from him in a chair, sipping juice and thanking his mother who beamed back before joining Tsuna on the couch. "So what was the important thing you wanted to tell us, Skull-chan?" Nana asked, and the boy put down his juice to fiddle with his helmet.
(Tsuna had seen the motorcycle that the child had parked in the garage, but didn't know what to think of it and its pierced rider just yet. The kid looked five, but the way he acted and looked at Tsuna was far older than that.)
"It…it's kind of hard to explain, Nana-san," the boy started. ("You can call me Mama, Skull-chan!" A bitter smile. "Maybe later, Nana-san. And it would be a disservice to you for me to put similarities between you and my birth mother.") "Well, to put it simply, I recently had some really mean friends who were way older than me, and they wanted to hurt you and Tsuna-nii because they don't like your husband." The boy, Skull, ducked his head as Nana gasped in shock and Tsuna felt a flash of surprise and resentment go through.
His father wasn't even here and he was hurting Tsuna and his mom. Tsuna definitely believed the boy; something told him that the child was telling them the truth, if a highly edited version of it. He certainly believed him more than his father who kept talking about being a construction worker and making the little voice in Tsuna's head call him a liar over and over again.
"I'm sorry Nana-san," Skull sounded sincerely regretful as he shifted nervously in the chair he'd claimed, pierced face set in a sad grimace that didn't look at odd as it might have on any other five year old. "I told them that I wouldn't be friends with them anymore and then I let another friend of mine that knows your husband know what was going on around here, but I just wanted to make sure you knew."
Tsuna watched as his mother rubbed her eyes and took a deep breath before looking up with a wobbly smile. "Don't apologize, Skull-chan. It certainly isn't your fault! And I really do appreciate you warning us; we'll be a little more careful about where we go and who's around." The smile was then replaced by a concerned look as she observed the child, Tsuna instinctively doing the same at his mother's expression.
Skull looked tired, and aged, as if he was decades older than what his body portrayed, fatigue seeping into his tiny frame now that the talk was over. Nana spoke up for the both of them. "Are you alright, Skull-chan? Do you need to go lay down?"
Skull grinned, and while it still didn't look completely natural it was much more so than the one he'd given Tsuna earlier that day. "Arigato, Nana-san! I would really appreciate it!" He said with false cheer, honestly happy but faking his level of enthusiasm. "Since I stopped being friends with those bad people, I don't really have a place to sleep."
Nana gasped, jumping to her feet. "Poor thing! What about your family?"
Skull actually flinched at that before trying to cover it up, and while he may have fooled Nana, Tsuna flinched like that whenever kids talked about his bullies near him and something in him bristled in protective anger at the sight. "My family isn't…isn't nice, Nana-san," the child told her awkwardly, fidgeting in his chair once again. "And…they kind of threw me out of the house a few months ago."
"How horrible!" His mother gasped again, looking angered that someone could do that to such a sweet if odd child. Tsuna agreed, but also felt a sense of relief from the admission. He felt like Skull was lying about when they threw him out, but the kid was just unusually happy that he wouldn't have to go home to his own personal bullies ever again. His mother spoke up again. "Well then, you're welcome to stay with us for as long as you like, Skull-chan. You can stay with Tsu-kun." Tsuna nodded in agreement when Skull looked at him, and felt a little taller, a little less Dame, when he saw the pure gratitude on the boy's face.
"A-arigato gozaimasu, Nana-san – I mean, kaa-san! And Tsuna-nii! Skull-sama promises to pay you back however he can!" Nana and Tsuna gave a bright smile back, Tsuna's shier but no less genuine, and the older boy stood to show Skull the room they would be sharing. While they were going up the stairs Tsuna tripped, and closed his eyes in preparation for the pain of collision. When nothing happened Tsuna opened one eye carefully, and then the other and shot a look behind himself.
Skull had stopped him from tripping, one hand gripping tightly to the back of Tsuna's pants, the arm suspiciously muscled compared to the rest of the child's body. Seeing that Tsuna was paying attention again, the purple-haired boy tugged his body back upright and looked at him with worry. "Be careful, Tsuna-nii," he told him, and when Tsuna nodded, he let a broad (fake, Tsuna's mind hissed) grin cross his features. "The great Skull-sama won't always be here to help you!" He said cockily, but Tsuna just snorted at the proclamation, which earned a smaller, realer smile.
The two continued upstairs in companionable silence.
In the middle of the night, Tsuna jerked up with a stifled yelp and began frantically looking around. He thought he'd felt something…but no one else was in the room. Not even Skull was there, Tsuna realized with a sinking feeling in his stomach as he started trying to get out of the bed, falling out with a muffled thump that was thankfully too quiet to have awakened his mother.
Standing up shakily, the seven year old looked around, looking to see if Skull had just fallen off the bed himself or left the room entirely. As he looked around, Tsuna glanced at the window before freezing, caught off guard by the flash of purple light he saw and reluctantly mesmerized by it. The child scrambled over to the window, peeking through it onto the street below. A man was out there, shooting a gun that barely made a noise at a small form that jump and ducked around the bullets.
The small person was finally close enough to lunge at the man, and took him out with a solid kick to the temple, making Tsuna wince a little at how painful that must have been. The small person then looked up, the light bouncing off something he was wearing on his head and making Tsuna shut his eyes in response. When he opened them again, the two people were gone.
Tsuna stared at the street for a while before the sound of the door opening caused him to jump and swing around. Skull was there, and the two locked eyes for a moment before Tsuna blinked and frowned at the child. "What's going on, Skull-kun?" he asked for the second time that day, and strange feeling lingered in his mind, authoritative and waiting for the child's answer.
Skull seemed to sense that change in Tsuna, as the smile on his face faded away, and he eyed Tsuna thoughtfully for a few seconds, his eyes far older than anything Tsuna had seen before. The purple-haired child finally sighed, and lowered his head a little to the ground. It made the softer, realer side of Tsuna cringe to see that body language and to be the cause of it, but he pushed the thought away for the time being.
"You and your mother are in danger, Tsuna-nii," Skull told him honestly, hands clenching around the leather of his outfit. "Your father is in a group, and he's making enemies. So people are coming here, to hurt you and kaa-san in an attempt to hurt your father. I…" he hesitated for a moment but continued. "I was sent to hurt you, but I don't hurt kids so I told them I wouldn't. I'm sorry, that's probably why there're more people outside your house now –"
"No," Tsuna interrupted him, fire and blood roaring in his ears. What has his father gotten himself into? "Don't apologize for standing by your beliefs. You protected us so far, so there's nothing to apologize for. Thank you for telling me this." He stayed silent for a while, mulling over their options as Skull continued to stare at the floor. He smiled at the child and put his hand on the boy's head. "Tomorrow, we will tell my mother and Hibari-san what you have told me. For now, let's sleep."
With the last word the heat that had been cycling through his body abruptly left and he fell in the rush of exhaustion that followed, a surprised Skull catching him and leading him to bed.
And so my new KHR fic begins! This story was inspired by many people, but primarily cywscross and hiruma-musouka's conversation on tumblr about Skull and his potential.
I hope Tsuna was in character at the end. I don't really know how seven year olds act...