All characters © Amano Akira

The immortal head of combat forces, part of I Prescelti Sette; the kid who laughed in the face of the Reaper. His name is Skull.

Sleeping With No Identity


Something crazy, that no normal human would do.

There were brains under that skull, even if Skull himself did not want to admit it. He was an excellent strategist, which in turn made him a superb chess player. He didn't really care for what he called "mamby pamby" stuff; sitting in the park quietly playing a game like the old folk seemed like a fate worse than death. Yet, he found himself drawn to the game because it called to think ahead. Like planning a raid.

In all of history, there has only been one person able to match him at chess. A curlicued bastard who never gave his name not once, a handsome but sadly paranoid fellow who Skull eventually looked up to once they had been cursed.

While it was true that "Reborn," as he called himself after his second birth as an Arcobaleno, had gone into exile after the curse, he had also gotten a few visits from yours truly. Of course, finding people who didn't want to be found could be damn tricky. The world was a big place, even if it was slowly becoming a dog's pen.

With the mostly illegal resources of Verde (who was an even bigger ass than Reborn), Skull had eventually tracked Reborn to the Hindu Kush, to some obscure place on the Kabul River that took a ridiculous amount of effort, time and crumpled maps to reach. And all for a game of chess, can you believe that happy crappy?

No, Skull supposed it wasn't just for the chess. Reborn had a...power. It was like Colonello's, but different. They were the Sun and the Rain. The Cloud bore the rain, and the Sun illuminated it from above.

Ultimately, Reborn hadn't been too surprised to see him one October morning. "Pomegranate?" he offered mildly, as if Skull turning up was an everyday and (infuriatingly) expected occurrence. From there they got to talking and drinking goat's milk, which was surprising giving that Reborn's addiction to coffee was a promulgated fact amongst the Arcobaleno.

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time," Skull recited on one occasion. The two of them were in middlegame and had their bare feet comfortably tangled in a Persian lamb coat. Skull was happy. In the beginning, before the curse, there had been the initial frustration of being looked down upon by the others. Then, once Skull had calmed and had found his center, he realized that the only times Reborn actually treated him as an equal were in chess. So yeah, maybe Skull had come all this way to play a game.

Reborn looked thoughtful as he twirled a black pawn. "Mark Twain?"

"You would know, of course," Skull scoffed. It had gotten so the two of them could talk and strategize simultaneously now. "And by the way, what the hell's with this writing? Arabic?" he gestured to the chess board.


"You speak that too now, huh?"

"Of course. As for the board, the good doctor gave it to me," Reborn replied, eyes skimming the spaces on the board. "Shamal does have style, despite his annoyances." Skull had no idea who the "good doctor" was, but he had to admit the board was pretty nice.

A green veiled chameleon lazily nestled in the rim of Reborn's fedora, which had been discarded on the rug next to him some time ago. Skull had the unfortunate pleasure of sitting on it when he first arrived, for which Reborn had given him a roundhouse kick ("You like him?" Reborn had asked once Skull had recovered. "I got him in Yemen. Don't know what to call him yet...")

Skull casually executed another en passant. "People expect you to be predictable," he told Reborn. The game went on for a while; neither of them noticed the brilliant sun dog on the horizon as night slowly crept in.

"People are predictable," Reborn said sometime later. "It's their nature. I can't read minds, contrary to Miss Mirch's amusing outbursts. I merely predict."

"Exactly! Which is why ya have to do something to catch them off guard. Something crazy, that no normal human would do."

Reborn grinned. " this?"

Skull gaped as he watched a pudgy hand shoot out and claim his queen in a move that would have put Stamma's mate to shame. Dear sweet linguine, how did he not see that?

"God dammit!"