Help me Skull is taking over my brain. WAY AU AND OOC AHEAD. (We all know I like my BAMF Skull.)
I don't own KHR or HP. I just buried myself in their sandbox apparently.
All of these words (and quite a few more) were words used to describe Skull by the mafia. Skull was many, many things but coward was not one of them. He wore a mask, just as many others wore masks. The difference between him and the others was that his mask was good enough to fool the best of the best. (I'm a showman little one. It is my job to make others see what I want them to see.)
Skull took pride in that.
He hid behind the image of 'Skull the Immortal' pretty well, and while that was a part of Skull it was not all that he was. Not even close. There was so much more to the Inverted Cloud than the world gave him credit for.
But that was alright with Skull.
That was fine, because Skull's world saw him for who he was. Skull's world saw through the mask and loved him unconditionally.
(I love you Papa!)
So Skull wore the mask to protect his world.
Harrison was a joy. Skull had found the little one abandoned in a park, handcuffed to a slide and positioned so no one could see him without walking right on top of the child. Skull had only found him because the child had been crying and he happened to hear it and follow the sounds.
He had been so small. Only three, but smaller then even Skull would eventually be as an Arcobaleno, looking more like a one year old. Skull had been horrified and then he had been angry. He had a soft spot for children, had since long before the Curse that would eventually be placed upon him. (He could remember wide eyed boys crowding him for autographs of the 'Immortal Stuntman' cooing over his stunts, and the occasional little girl with bright cheeks, wide grins and excited chatter)
He had rushed to help the child, easily picking the locks and picking the boy up. He had sheltered and helped the three year old. He'd sat with the boy and talked softly despite his anger at whoever had caused the little one to flinch at any sudden movements.
He'd discovered the 'who' and the 'what happened' very quickly from the three year old. Skull had talked his story out of the boy learning about the chores and the name calling, about how Harrison was locked out of the house, of the skipped meals, about the cupboard…
He'd been so angry (and if there had been a flashback in there of being curled in a small cupboard of his own muffling his sobs as his father threw beer bottles and his mother yelled for him to hide…well) and it hadn't even taken a thought to offer to take the boy with him.
Harry hadn't hesitated.
Skull hadn't either, picking the boy up and marching back to the caravan he had traveled with. After that Skull had raged into the house Harrison has told him was his, ready to murder, but carefully controlling the urge instead getting the Dursley family to sign their rights away to him. (It had been easy and Skull was angry again for the way the boy's relatives had just signed the boy away like nothing with no worry for who Skull was or what he wanted beyond the fact he wanted to take the boy. What if it had been some sort of creep that had offered to take him away?)
And so Skull found the boy who would become his world almost quicker then he could believe. And Harry found the father figure he had always wanted- the hero that would rescue him from the Dursley residence.
Harry was a quick learner and so eager to please. Skull had enjoyed teaching him everything he could think of as the caravan traveled as well as letting the members of the caravan teach his boy whatever they could. He would never forget the amazed squeal of excitement when Harry first saw him perform a stunt, nor would he forget the way the then five year old boy rushed his way excitedly babbling about how he wanted to learn to do that, and how cool Papa was.
Skull had swept the boy into his arms with a laugh before he had frozen in shocked surprise as it dawned of him what the boy he had cared for the last two years had called him. "Papa little one?" he has asked, his voice soft in his shock as he pulled back enough to look the child in the eyes.
Harry had looked down sharply, his cheeks blooming a dark red as he slowly, hesitantly nodded. "Can I…can I call you that?" he had asked so soft and scared, but the undertone of hope and gods Skull couldn't have said no even if he had wanted to.
The smile that bloomed on the Cloud's face was warm and happy as he had agreed "Yes little one. You may call me Papa."
Skull wouldn't be aware of it for a while yet, but that was the exact moment Skull's Cloud Instincts had cemented their claim on the bright young boy Skull had pulled out from beneath the slide two years before.
When the caravan Skull and Harry had traveled with finally breaks up to scatter across the winds it is when Harrison is nine and Skull has had him for six years (and been Papa for four of those).
By this point Skull has discovered the Magical World and who Harry is to those people after a squib joined their caravan three years before when Harry was six and recognized the scar as well as the signs of accidental magic.
(Harry had actually put those incidents of accidental magic to use for the caravan pulling in crowds for his age and the amazing things he had managed with magic's aid.)
Skull was unspeakably glad for the squib who had prepared him for Harry's fame and allowed Skull the chance to prepare Harry. (Even if he had almost murdered the squib when said man had flown to Harry's side, dropped to his knees and snagged the boy's shoulder with one hand while the other reached up to brush his fringe aside. Harry had staggered back with a cry of surprise and the squib hadn't let go so Harry had called for 'Papa' and Skull stormed over with every intention of laying the man flat out on the ground and maiming him if he 'did not let go of his son right now'.) Harry had taken Skull's encouragement to learn and experiment to heart and flourished with the aid of books and the goblins.
(Skull could have been knocked over with a feather when they had taken the trip to Italy's Magical Alley-where they had been when the British Squib had realized who Harry was- and he was exposed to magic and all the things it could do.)
Pure determination and stubbornness alongside quite a few fantasy novels for ideas had allowed Harry to control his 'accidental' magic more completely so that he was capable of many frets of magic without the need for a focus.
It helped that no one had told Harry or Skull that what Harry was doing was supposed to be near impossible or very, very difficult for even adult wizards and so Harry believed he could do whatever he liked so long as he understood what he wanted to happen and willed it to happen as he wished, while Skull was there to support and encourage him whenever he hit a block. (Magic was mostly a matter of belief, will, and the understanding of how something happened. So long as these three things were observed a magic user really had no true limit to what they could do apart from their power levels. Harry was powerful, had the belief, and if he didn't know how something happened had the means to figure it out and if he didn't Skull did.)
Skull was so proud of his little one.
So Harry is nine years old and has been practicing for three years at magic (completely blowing the squib's mind in the process as he witnesses the child do things the squib 'knows' to be impossible. Skull had taken petty revenge for his manhandling of his son by helping Harry do crazier and crazier things with his magic in front of the squib) when the caravan breaks up and scatters around the world.
Skull takes Harry with him when he leaves, tucking the small boy into his lap as he rides his motorcycle. This is the start of his own personal traveling stunt show. Before that he had always been with an already established group though he had become famous and was a draw of his own to whoever happened to have him in their show. Harry is thrilled with the idea of Skull having his own show.
They have an entire year of this time for themselves before things change. Skull's show grows and grows and draws in more and more people as Skull continues to do bigger and better and scarier stunts and walk away. Harry is- as he always has been- in awe of his father and the ability the man has to become an entirely different seeming person on the stage.
Harry knows his Papa to be calm, and steady. A man with a quiet but firm voice. A happy man, who is very possessive and protective. An intelligent man who is sly and cunning and manipulative…but that's alright because above all things Harry knows that his Papa is safe. That everything the man does he does with Harry in mind and Harry loves this man who is so good to him, who offered him so much, so much more than he can say.
Even if the man is sometimes petty and can hold a grudge like nothing Harry has ever seen before when it involves Harry. (The one time someone had dropped him while he was learning to walk the tightrope- he hadn't been more than 15 feet off the ground- Papa had caught him and then proceeded to make the person's life miserable until he left the caravan completely. And that had only made Skull angry, the grudge hadn't disappeared with the man out of sight.)
On stage Harry's Papa becomes someone else. He is loud and overdramatic. He riles the crowds up and seems to ride the waves of their excitement. He is energetic on an extreme level, flitting from place to place. A man who comes across a little dim and very flamboyant.
Harry has asked about it once when he was six. Papa had laughed and answered "I'm a showman little one. It's my job to act as they crowds want me to act. To act in a way that will draw them in and get them to do as I want them to do. To be loud and energetic and the very center of their attention as I defy all their expectations with my next stunt. My job to make them hold their breath in anticipation and jump to their feet with a victory cry when I complete my next stunt. So that is what I allow them to see, what I show them when I am on stage because that it what they want to see."
(Harry begs for acting lessons, and Skull is happy to teach the boy. Both will be unspeakably glad for this in later years though neither knows it when Harry is just a bright eyed six year old who wants to be like his Papa.)
Harry is ten years old when his entire world is changed. Harry is ten years old, and Skull is twenty-seven, when Skull is offered a job.
Harry is ten and Skull is twenty-seven when Skull is exposed to the Mafia. Harry is still ten though it is three months after his birthday, when The Fated Day comes to pass. Harry is three months into his tenth year when Skull staggers back to their house, his entire world view shifted with Harry the only steady thing in his universe.
Harry isn't sure what to do when his father comes home from one of his 'jobs' with the body of a two year old and a large pacifier gleaming purple flames. Harry's magic seems to bristle in the presence of the pacifier, very much not liking it. Harry hates it because he can sense the 'curse' anchored onto it that is binding his father to the body of a child.
He tries to break the curse with magic, but whatever the curse it it's old and it's powerful and Harry isn't strong or skilled enough to break it.
The first week after the Fated Day the two family members huddle together in their home, mourning for what had happened to Skull. After that they pick themselves up and brush themselves off. They resolve to fix whatever had happened to Skull.
It is for this reason and this reason alone- that resolve to remove the curse on his Papa- that Harry accepts when the letter reaches him with the invite to Hogwarts. Hogwarts which is supposedly the best school of magic there is. (He is sorted into Ravenclaw when he arrives to everyone but Harry's surprise.)
Skull supports his son as he has always done when it comes to learning.
Neither is aware of the tangled web Harry is walking into for all that they are aware of his fame. (Skull would never have allowed his precious boy, the son of his heart, to walk away from him that day on the platform if he had been aware of what was to come.)
In the meantime Skull presents his mask to the Arcobaleno and the mafia, cementing his image as the fool in their minds, the image of a lackey and a brat. It leads to people underestimating him, dismissing him as a threat when his cunning and manipulative nature means he is truly one of the most dangerous people there. Especially seeing as they believe him to be stupid.
However, while that is a wonderful side effect, it is not the main reason Skull acts the way he does. The personality he presents to the mafia makes them completely dismiss the idea he has a son. It is his way of protecting his boy from the others, his way of hiding and shielding his son from their eyes and the plots his son would be dragged into if anyone realized he was the Cloud Arcobaleno's son.
In the end that is all that matters to Skull.
That Harrison James Potter, his son, his world, remained safe. So long as his boy was safe Skull has no care for what others think of him.
And then Harry's first year at Hogwarts ends.
Skull almost succumbs to his Cloud Instincts the moment he sees his boy. Every possessive protective instinct he has, every bit of his intuition, all his experience with his son, all the instincts he has honed by being submerged in the Mafia screams at him that something badbadbad happened to his boy and that whatever it was happened at that magic school. (Destroy it Destroy it Destroy it Destroy it DESTROY IT DESTROYIT. The only thing that stops Skull from following the instinct to destroy whatever had caused that look on one of his was the fact that Harry needed him more and the school that had caused the issue would still be there later on. It had been close though. He had almost commandeered the train and driven it back the way it had come.)
"Harrison?" he asks softly after jumping easily to his son's shoulder, his hand burying itself into his boy's black hair.
He feels the subtle tremors traveling though Harry's shoulders and in the hand that rises up with the pretense of securing him on Harry's shoulder. He falls quite as his boy walks through the station, his hand never straying from its place running though his boy's hair.
When they arrive home (after traveling back to the alley to get to Gringotts and their untraceable International Portkey) Skull demands an explanation.
When it is given to him, the only reason Hogwarts remains standing is that he is in Italy and the Portkey was a one-way trip.
Why had his boy been forced to kill a teacher that was trying to kill him?
Why had he not been informed?
(Harry had explained that he had tried but none of his letters had ever been replied to. Skull resolved to murder everyone in Hogwarts.)
"And Papa…" he murmurs to Skull and Skull tenses subtly because he has the feeling he is not going to like this "I…uh…I…well look." And Skull watches with wide eyes as Harry lifts his hands and bright, pure gleaming orange flames bloom to life in his son's hands.
"You're a Sky." Skull breathes.
And Skull had been right. He really didn't like it. The sight of those Flames means that his son had been close enough to dying that he had reached for a Dying Will (that damn teacher was so lucky he was already ashes) it means that his son will be fought over if the mafia ever discovers his existence (and Skull knows they will someday, he's not a fool) it means the mafia will try to pigeonhole his boy into the role of a figurehead and leader and puppet because his son is a civilian, but he is a Sky and that means people will follow him. (Skull will kill them all first.)
At the same time Skull is so damn proud because he had always known his boy was something special. Always known that Harrison had been meant for great things and for leading. Always been meant for the freedom of the Sky, and this just confirms what he had already known.
So Skull resolves to provide the 'Cloud Cover' for his boy to flourish and grow without people who think they know better trying to force him to be something else (trying to cage his son) resolves to give his boy time.
The first thing Skull did was provide the therapy his son had needed after his year in Hogwarts, talking him through his first kill and the riding out the aftermath by his side. (He'd also stepped up the self-defense lessons Harry had been taking since he was little shifting from spars and regulated forms to the more dirty honest fighting of someone who was in a life and death situation.)
(It helped them both sleep at night.)
The second thing he did was explain the laws of Flame Actives to his son as well as start him of Flame exercises and control practice. He explained the attributes of Skies and Harmonizing. He explained what each Flame type represented and the difference between Classic and Inverted. He told his boy what it meant to an Element to find their Sky and what it meant for a Sky to find his Elements.
The third and final thing Skull did after Harry's first year was talk with his son about his options when it came to magic and the different choices they could make as well as the results of those choices. In the end Harry and Skull both agreed that Harry would not be going back to Hogwarts. Home tutors were just as good anyway, and Harry would be able to learn at his own pace as well with unbiased teachers.
And so in what should have been the beginning of Harry's second year Harry withdrawals from Hogwarts and begins his homeschool learning. (On Magic, fighting, Flames and everything else Skull could manage)
Harry's withdrawal from Hogwarts causes quite the stir in Magical Britain. Some plans are destroyed, some are remade and others still are made in light of this choice.
Harry is unaware of this in its entirety though he does know he has caused a public outcry.
Skull keeps an eye on it, but even he isn't aware of everything.
(And so the world- their world- will shift again.)
Harry is fourteen when the world shifts under them again. This time, however, the world of the Arcobaleno shifts as well.
Skull is in the middle of a rare Arcobaleno meeting when he gets a call on his emergency line.
When the phone rings, everyone in the room freezes, conversations stop and all eyes turn to Skull who has gone very, very still and very quiet.
(Red flags shoot up for the other Arcobaleno. Skull is never still and he is never quiet. This is wrongwrongwrong.)
Skull snaps the phone out before the first ring even finishes, answering it with smooth controlled movements that scream danger. "Hello?"
"Papa!" Harry's terrified voice rings in Skull's ears and Skull tenses.
"Papa I don't know what happened somebody took me and now there's fighting and so much blood and it hurts and-"
Skull's eyes narrow sharply and began to glow with his Flames as his Instincts stir at the threat to his son. He is unaware of the way the Arcobaleno have all stilled, their eyes unwavering as it dawns on them that Skull is a Cloud and someone had finally pissed him off.
"Where are you?" Skull's shadow stretches beneath him writhing across the floor and his voice deepens and it dawns on the Arcobaleno that Skull had passed 'pissed' and gone straight for 'irate fury' the likes of which they have never seen from him. "I'm coming little one. Hold on."
The Cloud stands and it's habit that has Colonnello and Reborn moving to block him to demand answers. "Lackey" Reborn begins, his voice like stone and his tone demanding. "What the hell-"
"Reborn" Skull snaps, his voice steel and his tone full of sharp warning all the while his shadow remains that of his adult form. "Get out of my way."
It is habit that has Colonnello reaching out to do something to the Cloud for the tone. No one expects the snarl that escapes the Cloud nor the way his hands lash out too quickly to do anything as he flings Colonnello away from him into the wall.
The Arcobaleno freeze, more than one set of eyes widening is shock before Reborn is moving, Lal right behind him to block their Cloud once more.
The glow in his eyes has gotten worse and his lips pull back in a snarl at the sight of the two in his way. "Skull what the hell?!"
"Get out of my way."
When the two don't obey, Skull lashes out sharp and controlled and angry. Lal flies back, and Skull turns to Reborn his eyes gleaming with promise. Fon steps into his path hands up and in view, palms open. "Skull" he begins, but the Cloud is done pretending in that moment and snarls his interruption.
"Get out of my way and let me go to my son."
The clearing is silent, shock hanging in the air, as the others freeze and Skull stalks away, his shadow stretching back behind him and towards their feet.
Portkeys are amazing things and as soon as Skull is able, he uses the one that is anchored to one of his earrings that pulls him to the matching one in his son's ear. He's ready for a fight as soon as he lands his eyes flashing.
He lands in the middle of a sea of black robed wizards all staring at his son, who is pinned against an angel statue and is screaming as a deformed man presses his hand to his head and hisses something Skull is too far away to hear in his ear.
Skull reacts the long daggers he kept hidden on his body put to use. He doesn't actually use the originals, using his Flames instead to make a perfect copy before flinging them with deadly accuracy.
There is no mercy in Skull, each dagger flung with the express purpose of making sure whoever he hits will never get up again. He wants to fling his knifes at the man hurting his son, but from this distance he would have to fling the knife hard enough that it would go through the man and hurt his boy. He resolves to drive the man away from his son and then murder him.
He uses his Flames in his muscles to up his speed and strength, so by the time the wizards turn to the origin of his last attack Skull is behind them or beside them flinging another, his knifes all passing though the wizards no matter what was in the way- muscle, bone, or skin.
Skull is so quick and so small that the Death Eaters don't really get to see him, getting the impression of multiple attackers surrounding them. Voldemort turns to 'deal' with the attacker after the first few screams don't stop and in fact grow in number and intensity.
(Skull was very angry and each knife he threw was made of his Flames. If in his anger he used the Flames that passed through the death eater's body to ramp up their pain by stimulating the nerves sending pain signals to their brain in the instant before his knife throw killed them that was his business.)
That's all Skull needs.
The next knife he throws travels through Voldemort's skull and through the back, the knife passing through the next two gravestones behind Voldemort (in the opposite direction of the one his son was tied to) before lodging hilt deep into the ground.
Later, Skull will appreciate the irony.
The irony that it was the wards the Death Eaters had put up themselves that prevented them from escaping his rage. Portkeys could be used to arrive as he had done, but were blocked from leaving the area and so none of the men in the clearing were able to escape his anger despite technically being the ones that allowed him to arrive in the first place. Anyone that tried to run so they could get past the wards that prevented outgoing portkeys only provided Skull with clear shots to their back.
They shouldn't have touched his son.
The mafia whispers tales of the Cloud's rage. Most think of the Classic Cloud when whispering these tales.
It is in fact the Inverted Cloud that is the more dangerous of the two.
The difference is that while Classics will rage a path of destruction on the way to their target, the Classic is like a hurricane or a natural disaster in that they will leave survivors to whisper tales provided the people are not the focus of their ire. Inverted Clouds are hunters. They think through the rage and plot. There are no survivors to whisper of their rage.
Skull is hunting and none of these men will survive. (Not even the ones that hadn't shown up. He'll find them and they will die. It's simple.)
Harry can hear his father. He can hear his Papa, but he's having trouble actually listening to him. His head is ringing, and his every nerve ending is throbbing in agony and phantom pains. He had never been hit with the torture curse before, but he has now and he would very much like to never do it again.
He had been hit with a portkey to quickly to do anything before he was dropped into the clearing. His Papa's training had kicked in and he had rolled to his feet fighting. Daggers made of his Flames were flung out automatically and quite a few bodies had dropped as Harry ran his way to the forest. He'd taken cover and picked of a few more people as they approached him, but a stray Sectumsempra had gotten his chest. He had bled all over the place (he had used his Flames to burn away any blood that would have hit the ground for all that his shirt was soaked in it- like hell he would leave his blood anywhere for some sort of Magic ritual to be used against him) Shortly after that he had pulled out a Flame enhanced phone and dialed the emergency number to his father. He'd been caught shortly after that- after carving a significant chunk out of his attackers, but he'd called his father and he wasn't as terrified as he could have been.
Papa had come for him, just like Harry had known he would. But Papa was calling him now and that meant Harry had to open his eyes even if he wasn't sure what his father was saying beyond his name.
His eyes squint open (when had he closed them) but they don't focus very well. He sees purple and slurs out a "Papa."
"Little one" his father breathes "Where are you hurt?"
There's a lot of blood.
"Chest" Harry slurs after taking a moment to wrap his brain (even is brain hurt, that torture curse was nasty) around the question. "Nerves."
Skull goes very still. His nerves?
The only magic Skull knew that would hurt the nerves on a person enough for them to still hurt after the curse was…
Skull's eyes widened before narrowing in parental fury.
He should have made them all suffer.
Skull is gentle as he pulls Oodako from her place on his back, pumping him Flames into his animal partner so that Oodako grows large enough to reach out and pull the stone pinning his son away while also picking the boy up gently. When Harry moans in pain at the gentle touch Skull resolves to burn the entire area into ash since he can't re-kill the dead in slow creative ways.
The small group moves- Skull setting everything on fire as he goes willing his Flames to grow hot, to burn until there is nothing but ashes- until they are past the wards that had trapped the Death Eaters the way they had meant to trap his son. Skull uses the second portkey on his person- the second piercing in his ear- as well as his son's to get them out of there.
Skull needs someone to look at his boy. He needs a healer, a doctor to look at Harry's nerves as well as the slice across his boy's chest. (It's going to scar.)
(It makes Skull even angrier. If the Arcobaleno had just gotten out of his way maybe he would have been in time to stop that from happening.)
He wants the best for his boy and that means Shamal or Reborn. Shamal isn't close enough, but Skull knows where Reborn is and he's even close by.
(The destination of the second portkey earring changed with their movements. It was anchored to Skull's bike rather than a location)
Oodako and Skull walk back into the clearing where he had left the Arcobaleno.
They're still there, and their heads snap his way as he approaches.
Skull slinks out of the woods around the Arcobaleno mansion like a shadow. That doesn't hold their attention for long though. No the others are more concerned with the blood that covers their Cloud's front.
They know he's not injured from the way their Cloud carried himself, but someone had been or was.
(The blood was actually Harry's. Skull had been too fast for any of the blood to hit him while on his killing spree, but he had sat as close to his son as he could while slowing the bleeding as much as he could manage. )
"Reborn." The Cloud calls with Oodako on his heels and looking much more threatening than the Arcobaleno ever remembered seeing as she cradled something close to her chest. "I need you to heal my son."
Reborn wants to argue, but this was a Skull he had never deal with. This was an enraged Cloud. A furious father. A man who would fight to get what he wanted. And while Reborn was sure he could take their Cloud, he was also sure he didn't really know his Cloud like he had thought he had. He was also one of a handful of people what had ever seen an Inverted Cloud rage so he was aware of how dangerous that was.
That meant caution.
(And Reborn had always had a soft spot for kids anyway.)
He nods as he approaches- and is very aware of the danger thick in the air- as Oodako lays her burden down as gently as she can manage. The boy still moans in pain.
It's difficult for Inverted Suns to heal- their Flames were more meant to be used internally or offensively- but Reborn had only seen that inclination of his Flames as a challenge and had worked hard to be damn good with his Flames whole healing. So when he touches the boy Skull called his son, he goes very still.
"What the hell did they do to his nerves?" the hitman asks "They're all strained. All of them. As if they had been activated at once."
Skull growls low and loud in the silence as he replies "That's because they did. Can you fix it?"
Reborn looks at the man- this man was not a Lackey, this man was dangerous- and nods once. If he had been any other Sun most likely not. They wouldn't have had enough Flame to manage it, but he is the World's Strongest Sun after all.
I don't know what happened. I just thought to myself 'why is it that none of the Papa!Arcobaleno fics are for Skull?' and this monster clawed its way up from the depths.
Oneshot that I don't plan to continue though if someone wants to continue it for me feel free so long as you tell me!