Riding with the winds
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, nor Katekyo Hitman Reborn.
Summary: Harry finds himself in a new, strange world. Adapting… could've gone better. Harry-is-Skull fic.
Harry wakes up in a new world. He's not particularly surprised, nor particularly angry or sad.
He just wakes up, orientates himself and deals.
(He's never been very good at dealing well though, and the decision is made faster and with less bitterness than it should.)
He stands on the edge of the high, high desolate cliff. The wind is strong and loud, and grey clouds cover the sky.
He lifts his foot and steps in the air in front of him, almost comical had it been another situation. Then he falls; turning and fast. The drop is long with wind whirling around him and tearing at his clothes, it gives him that funny feeling in his stomach like only free falling could do. - It feels a little bit like home. –
The last thing he thinks before he hits the ground is that he's glad he chose this way to die.
The flames are a surprise. An unpleasant surprise.
(He isn't sure how to feel about the changing of his hair and eyes colour; on one hand, it's like a new start for this new world, on the other it reminds him of failure in finding a way out of the said new world.)
Sometimes he remembers.
He misses them.
Harry isn't sure what makes him ride the bike for the first time. Maybe it was because of Sirius, maybe because of Hagrid. Or maybe it was because of the horror stories that Harry remembers Mrs. Weasley telling them which would all inevitably end in death.
However riding his bike gives harry a feeling of freedom and home he almost doesn't recognize anymore. He remembers flying on his trusted Firebolt in the way the wind blows through his hair, in the way his eyes squint against the harsh wind, how his body feels weightless and his mind feels invincible.
It doesn't take long before he starts doing tricks. Wheelies, slides, bunny hops, jumping. Then loops in the air, the feeling on the bike so comparable to the one on his broom, but different also. A dive of an old warehouse and often harsh landings. He doesn't know how to make it actually fly, but sometimes he spells the bike so it will stay in the sky longer - almost floating - and to make it go faster and faster. And he laughs and laughs and not quite happiness, but a feeling close courses through him.
He's found by the circus not long after that. The director, Timero, is enthusiastic and begs him to join them for a few months in exchange for shelter, because with his fifteen-year-old body he looks as much as a run-away as the ones on the street.
Harry doesn't need it, doesn't really want it even, but the director talks about big shows, about stunts which would leave him in the air for far longer. He talks about fire rings and screaming crowds, and well, Harry has always a bit of an adrenalin junky, it's easy money and maybe it would give him release from the normal apathetic haze. So, he accepts.
Timero is ecstatic, and then Harry has his own trailer, and he travels with circus doing his tricks and stunts. At first all is well, even with his social skills long gone but when he one time almost brings one enthusiastic girl, who watched the show and asks for a signature afterwards, to tears because a misunderstanding, the director takes him aside. They talk and Harry gets to hear he has to do something more if he wants to stay.
He slips into his new personality with far too much ease. He becomes boisterous and loud. Make up covering his face together with the occasional bandage to cover up something or other. A new name is chosen: Skull de Mort. (He laughs when Timero proposes it, the irony being too much.) He gets a new outfit, together with helmet, and his hair's and eyes' flashy colours are finally of use. All in all, he becomes flashy, attention-seeking and a brat. He thinks his old self, from a time where acceptance was still seen as something reachable, would have been horrified, but now he only can muster up small amusement for the reactions he provokes.
Timero tells him it's scary how well he plays his roll, any admirers only become more enthusiastic and the rest of the circus just accepts.
Harry leaves the circus a year and a half later. He is experimenting with some new moves when he falls. He breaks bones, blood drips on the ground, purple flames spread and all he can hear is the scream of Jiro, a newbie aspiring to become some kind of juggler. Jiro runs off immediately and is gone before Harry can stop him. He sighs and looks forlornly to his bike.
The others come soon after, looking in disbelieve at Harry standing in the middle of the remains of his bike, surrounded by purple fire and blood looking completely unaffected. Harry is banished from the circus after that. Timero had been kind while doing it. He had wished Harry the best but made clear that he didn't want to have to do anything with him,
- 'Mafia' he whispered behind his back with a haunted face. -
and if Skull would stay silent over his stay at their circus, they wouldn't mention him either. He leaves and the last years haven't happened. They don't know each other and they never did. Harry feels something that could be hurt, but not really, because they were insignificant in the end. – They always were, they had to be - Timero doesn't exist to him anymore, he doesn't know him and never has, and he's relieved because if he did maybe it would have hurt.
It doesn't hurt. It doesn't.
(He repeats it to himself again and again and maybe, he thinks, it will be true someday.)
He leaves without a bike, the clothes on his back, his backpack and a blank look on his face. He doesn't look back.
The next time he rides a bike again is a two and a half year later. Weirdly enough, he ended up working in a garage somewhere in Japan -and man, he wasn't good at speaking Japanese at all, the vowels and consonants mashing into each other and don't even get him started on those suffixes. - and the old man who's his boss after having taken pity on him, Fujita-San, shows him two bikes which are utterly ruined. He smiles and tells him the bikes still have some useful parts, enough to make a new bike out of them with some work and a few other bought parts. He gives the old man a puzzled look, and he smiles again ''I saw you looking at the bike of that blond customer last week and this will be a lot cheaper with the income you have'' he says and Harry is left dazed.
He takes to building a new bike like he's obsessed. And maybe he is. He spends hours reading and screwing, welding and getting to know bikes inside out. The old man smiles at him, and brings him tea while he works late evenings and Harry is thankful. A month later he's finished and so, so proud. He shows his bike to the old man, and he laughs loudly and tells him to show him what he's got, and Harry does. The bike feels familiar as always and the tricks and stunts leave the old man a little bit wide-eyed.
Before he knows it, he rides everyday again, and then he's picked up by someone again. A manager this time with plans for big stunt shows, Harry hesitates but Fujita-San basically forces him to accept on the condition he has to keep contact. And harry leaves again, this time actually leaving a friend, and he's performing again. He's recognized by one of his old admirers as 'Skull de Mort, that guy who worked with a circus before.'. It raises eyebrows and while no one can get the name of his previous circus out of him, or even anyone else because apparently, no one can remember - magic was a beautiful thing as much as it was vile-, they do find a video of one of his shows on internet. His new manager immediately likes the character he played and suddenly he's Skull again.
The return of his identity comes with a new purple suit.
The leather of the outfit is as much comforting as it is painful.
It's too tight, but also gives the perfect mix in-between movability and protection.
It doesn't cover enough, even though it covers his whole body.
It's so hot sometimes and it makes his scars burn and ache. But it also feels comfortingly cool in the evening. Like ice put on a wound.
It's a protection against everything and everyone. A layer they will never be able to pull away. He makes sure to never take it off ever since that first day he gets it.
At least the psychical scars will never hurt as much as the mental ones.
The first-time Harry - but he's Skull now - gets involved with the mafia is because of the old man. Fujita-San has done a lot for him, tore his thick wall down with patience and kindness, and when his daughter calls Skull in panic in hope he may have heard something, because apparently, the old man has been missing for three days already, Skull asks for a short leave. His manager hammers, whines, lectures and procrastinates but Skull is nothing if not stubborn and a day later he's back in Japan looking for a trail. Two days later the daughter of the old man gets reported as missing too.
Four days later he has caught the trail. It takes him to yakuza in Japan, after that to the mafia in Russia and in the end mafia all the way in Italy. Apparently, the old man has roots there, a father – and Skull really doesn't know how the old man's father wasn't dead yet of old age. – and a son. They had both left him for the organised crime in Italy, but Fujita-San had never wanted to do anything with it. Regardless he had obviously been dragged in it anyway.
Skull finds them in an old warehouse. Fujita-san is crying; he looks like he has aged years in the last weeks and together with his daughter he lays in a puddle of blood. They are surrounded by men in black suits, two of them he recognizes as the son and father of the old man respectively. One of them is carrying a bloodied knife, and the other has a gun directed at the daughter. Skull already knows it is too late for the both of them the moment he steps in the warehouse.
He doesn't remember much of what happens afterwards. He remembers tearing into the men, He remembers screams, blood, sickening crunches and an even more sickening feeling of absolute joy.
When he gets out of his haze everything, including himself, is soaked in blood. Dripping sounds unnervingly in the open room and every movement he makes can be heard because of the liquid having spread. The bodies are dead or dying, he sees one with a metal pole through his stomach and another has suffered a head shot, a hole straight through the middle of his forehead. It's as pleasing as it is nauseating.
He's surprised when he sees that the old man is still alive, even more when he beckons him. It's not a habitual action for people who have seen him lose control. People usually don't even want to be in the same building as him after it. He moves to the man anyway. Through tears, Fujita-San smiles at him, the same smile as the ones he gave on late nights with him tinkering on his bike, one of those warm annoying smiles that are really too good for this world, much less this.. situation. The blood which stains his teeth proofs that as much as anything.
''Thank you, Skull-kun. You've always been too kind.''
Skull begins to cry.
He crumbles right in front of this man, who has just lost everything. He falls on his knees, screams and buries his head in his hands, because what this man said was laughable and dumb and stupid. Skull wasn't kind. He was selfish and broken and he had fucked up because he had been far too late to actually save anyone.
-He was always too late, too weak, too impulsive –
But the old man shushes him and comforts him, giving him a weak hug while blood floods out of a hole in his stomachs and is spilling from his lips and Skull feels his own stomach turn. ''Just remember, Skull, that even the biggest mistakes sometimes deserve forgiveness, including your own.'' He laughs softly ''I would also tell you death is a part of life, but I think you understand that already. Remember nonetheless that just because of that fact, it doesn't mean living itself isn't just as important.''
When the old man relaxes and his last breath spills out of his mouth, Skull explodes. His fire spreads leaving nothing but ash. The body in his arms crumbles and Skull feels the madness tugging once again.
He leaves the black, burnt ruins of the warehouse with tears streaming down his face, a sick feeling in his stomach and with a pain in his heart he hasn't felt in a long time. He wasn't sure why the old man's death had such an impact on him, but Skull feels like he's being torn apart and his words echo in his head.
He makes sure Fujita-san and his daughter get the most beautiful headstone he can find. Their actual funeral though is only attended by nine others in total and Harry hates how the kindest people still suffer things like loneliness.
(He doesn't realise he has murdered a full famiglia until much, much later. No, he walks out of the mafia world with the same ease he had as when he stepped in it.)
He doesn't know exactly why he entertains the suspicious letter.
Maybe because he wasn't worried about repercussions -no longer, no longer he had to-, maybe because the paper talks a tale of years and years and the ink of sacrifices of sweat and blood even if the words written are bland and lacking, maybe he had just been curious, maybe it had been a whim, maybe all of the above.
The Arcobaleno-to-be are intimidating, scary even on their first meeting. -but he can't die, should he be scared of anything? – The ones already there when he enters the room surround a wooden table in a room that was dimly lit, and look up to study him, if only for a second. A man with red Chinese clothes and a long braid, a man with a suit, a fedora and an aura that said 'test me and I'll kill you', a woman with shoulder-length blue, nearly black hair and a figure who was hidden under a black cloak so only their lower face could be seen which had two purple triangles on it, almost shaped like teeth.
Skull's not the last one to arrive as there are still three empty chairs. So, he nods and silently sits in the last chair that's still somewhat in the shadows. A few minutes later a green haired doctor joins them, clicking his tongue at the seats that are left but sitting down nonetheless.
The last appears through another door than he himself did, or the doctor for that matter. A woman, or girl, he isn't sure.
– Age doesn't seem to matter anymore when you have too much time and everyone else hasn't had enough. –
She wears a big hat, and a sweet smile that smells of guilt and kindness. Skull doesn't care about that though.
She talks about power, about missions with each other, about money and rewards.
'You're the strongest, no flames can compare.'
Skull smiles. His chair scrapes on the floor when he stands up to leave. He sees the girl blink in shock, the others shift in intrigue.
''I'm sorry but I'm not interested.''
He has already opened the door when a hand clamps down on his arm. He squashes down the feeling of danger, of enemy – enemy his mind whispers as he tears through the bodies - and turns around. The girl looks up to him with pleading eyes. ''I'm sorry, but please give it a chance. It pays very well. Just one mission and after that you can -if you're still not interested, leave.'' Skull looks down at the girl with the too big eyes and too much hope for what could have been minutes, but also seconds. He sighs and agrees. The girl seems to brighten, a smile splitting her face.
(This, together with his civilian status, is how he gets the reputation of being easily defeated. Easily defeated changes into weak. Weak changes into lackey.
Altering his new status isn't needed, nor really worth the trouble. Harry plays his role like he's supposed to.)
The next mission fulfilled he stands again with the girl, Luce she's called. He smiles brightly, prattling how she was really kind and sweet, but there was nothing for him here, and in his life revolved around his stunts and his trusted motorbikes. Her offer was appreciated but really, not necessary.
Once again, he is stopped by the girl. She smiles, and begs, and guilt and betrayal is still there in her eyes, but she is kind – Did that really matter though? Hadn't he been kind too? – and he agrees. And agrees and agrees until it's a routine almost. It takes him six months to accept to become an active member of whatever they were.
He wonders if he the only one that realises this will only end in anguish and anger.
In a way, it's comfortable.
It's comfortable to not be the first one that people look to when they need help but rather the last. It's comfortable to not have that responsibility. It's comfortable to complain and make mistakes. It's comfortable to look at Reborn and Lal and Verde and Fong and Viper and not see expectations but a vague form of steadfastness and the feeling of obligations to the 'youngest' and 'weakest' from the group even if the looking down on him somewhat grates. It's comfortable to be selfish.
(He likes being Skull too much to stop.)
Sometimes he wonders what they think of him. Skull, the civilian, with only the skills of being a stuntman. Weak.
He thinks they know though, at least to a certain extent.
There's something weird with Skull and he's has never been good at hiding, covering everything; with small white spots in his painted scene, never filled in with colour correctly or completely, which always made the most observant and sharp people able to tear the whole thing down.
And these people are observant and sharp.
He has a spot in his past; a spot he knows Viper notices by a lack of public information and pokes at again and again.
He has a spot in his knowledge of martial arts; Skull thinks that Fong knew this practice already when he walked in on that first day, dark eyes scanning his movement and challenging him even as the ever peaceful, benign smile lays on his lips.
He has a spot on his body; covered with scars that when small parts seen on those rare, rare times make Verde's eyes sharpen in curiosity.
He has a spot in his immediately following orders, a spot in his knowledge of battle strategy and weaponry; The first time Skull has to improvise on mission, Colonello and Lal look at his actions and their eyes glitter.
He has a spot in his inability to get hurt; which leave Reborn's eyes ever roving and checking after missions. Reborn's all-seeing eyes are always looking and Skull has never felt more like a fake, fake puppet than if front of him.
Luce, though, is the only one that does tear at them; she scratches and pulls and twists and pushes, so that the whole painting only hangs together by small threats, the colours mixing in ways they shouldn't and the white spots overtaking the rest. But it does, if barely. The painting keeps together. It has too after all.
Skull doesn't necessarily understand what his flames are. He knows they're not originated from his magic. He knows they're purple. He knows they heal him even is he for all purposes should have been dead. (He knows he hates them just a bit.) He knows how to call on them and make them burn but he doesn't know why he has them, or how, or anything besides that really. It's just like somethings of magic for him, really. Some thing you just don't understand and that's alright.
It takes the other Arcobaleno a while to notice that though. Or to be more accurate they only notice when he overuses them. He wakes up in his bed with the others bowing over him, cursing him out for being stupid. The honest confusion on his face is probably the thing that clues them in.
A few rants later over 'skyflames' clear up a whole lot.
He tries again after he has utterly exhausted himself, until not one spark of fire is left.
The cliff is just high as the last time and for minute he hesitates. He thinks of the other Arcobaleno with a hint of what must have been regret or possibly guilt, maybe both. (He wonders if they would actually care when they found out he was gone.) He thinks of old Fujita-san who told him living was important. But then there's the promise of final, actual rest. It's so close, and he would be home again.
The pull is too strong and as he falls backward with his eyes staring up to the sky, his eyes catch the stormy clouds that pour rain all over his face, the light mist that always hangs around the cliff, the hints of sunrays faraway in the distance and he hopes that maybe they will forgive him.
It fails. His flames dance merrily, teasingly as he wakes up.
When everything finally goes to shit, it's as much expected as unexpected. Because Skull is a baby now and stuck in this form until the curse will break. -This is another opportunity; one Skull isn't sure he's willing to pass up. – The rest of the Arcobaleno are angry and confused, and it breaks apart their already not-too-close group in a spectacular explosion. It has always been easy to blame faults on others and it's no different for them.
But Skull has been surrounded by magic for the most part of his life and he already has given up his actual life long, long ago.
He slips into this new roll with the same ease he slipped into Skull's.
Third time's a charm, right?
The new body is an opportunity because it pulls him tight, and strains his muscles in a way that's dangerous. His presence is too big for this body, his magic blusters trough his veins with a violence that makes him nauseas and hazy.
And the body is weak. It's quaking and losing as Skull tries to live.
It doesn't have the energy to save him. His flames are barely keeping his body together too. Skull's flames and body are barely surviving anyway.
It should have worked.
But once again Harry wakes up on the ground in front of the too high cliff with only some dirt on his clothes to show for his troubles.
So, uhm, second story ever, yay!
I got a bit in a snitch over my other story, a writer's block if you will, so I decided to post this instead of another chapter for Adjusting the focus as I've, uhum, only had this on my laptop for like a year…
This was actually one of my first stories that I've written and I decided no one would ever like, so I just hid away the best that I could. Really liked the concept of Skull-is-Harry because of the whole Master of Death thing but then I found other stories who had the same idea, so decided it was pointless to post.
Anyway decided to post this anyway. I already have several scenes for a chapter two, though this is probably gonna be only a few chapters, like three or four I think.
If you have any tips or remarks for anything, you see any spelling or grammar mistakes, or something that's not clear please tell me, I would really like to hear it. I'm here to get better.
Eh, I hope you enjoyed it, and please review!