There was a reason Skull was known as the Immortal Stuntman- and no, it wasn't because Skull had a flair for dramatics that is almost comparable to Reborn's. There was a reason Skull–weak, crybaby, Skull- was foolhardy enough to rush head-first into any trouble without any fear of death. It wasn't because he was arrogant enough to think that he wouldn't die -because by god he has faced that being with dried-sack-of-calcium-with-tattered-robes (also known as Death) and no manners far more times than any sane person would be willing to meet. The fact that Death hated his guts –because he always, always slips under his bony hands and always ends up alive even after dying doesn't exactly help his case. But well, it's not like he actually eager enough to die. For some reason, death –not the Spirit, mind you- seem to follow him eagerly like a lost puppy –one time he even ended up dying after slipping on a wet floor of his bathroom and ended up getting his cranium cracked. 'nuff said.

Though, the reason for his so called 'Immortality' happens to be a strange one. Simple, but strange. And a bit amusing too, well….. if you have twisted sense of humor that is. So…. the thing is, Skull isn't immortal because he did something gloriously amazing like saving the world or shit like you see in movies or comics –Pfft, really, what are you high on?!- nor did he do some gruesomely horrendous ritual to please some high deity with a sick sense of humor. What he really did was something relatively simple- and remarkably mundane enough to not warrantee 'immortality' in return.

All he did was made the Mistress of Death smile. And in return, he was granted immortality.

The story somehow went on like this….


The memory of their first meeting was still fuzzy and unclear to him, but she clearly remembered it well –being an immortal Goddess(?) and all. Meh, all he remembered from that encounter was bright flaming red hair and shimmering green eyes that reminded him of pretty emeralds-




The seven year old blinked as he stared at the strange place that was way too bright, making him flinch at the sudden brightness. He blinked and adjusted his purple eyes to the brightness, and stared curiously at his surroundings, and tilted his head in confusion. A train station. (A deserted one at that. And clearly much, much cleaner than any of the others he had the (mis)fortune of travelling to.)

How did he arrive at a train station in the blink of an eye? Wasn't he in the park though….?

He flinched as memories flashed before his eyes, reminding of what had happened to him earlier. apparently, he had been climbing a tree to escape the bullies who were oddly keen on making his life miserable –he didn't understand why other children needed to make fun of his hair and make his life miserable just because he looked different… So what if he had natural purple hair? it wasn't his fault his hair was like that, okay?!- and had slipped when a particularly persistent brat had threw a stone -the size of his fist- at him, making his footing unstable, making him fall down the tree and hit his head and then-


"I wouldn't do that if I were you." A soft voice snapped him out of his trance.

He blinked and glanced at the place where the source of the voice, and found himself staring at a woman sitting on a bench in a lone corner of the train station. Her body and face was mostly obscured by the dark cloak covering her body, but the red hair that spilled from her shoulders and green eyes that seemed to glow even with the strangely shadowing hood over her head made her recognizable enough. And he thought he had strange hair color.

He didn't speak, instead, he stared at her warily. A wise decision, considering the fact that these times weren't kind. Also, his Grandpa would have his head if he learned that he just trusted some stranger with a blind eye. Hey, he's seven, not stupid, okay?

The woman tilted her hooded head and spoke, "You're quite young to be here on your own. Tell me, did you leave something unfinished, and regret leaving early?"

He stared at the creepy lady who just did not make any sense.

"Ah, that explains it." The woman hummed a moment later, her green eyes oddly transfixed over his hands.

He wondered what was so interesting about his hands and glanced down, only to gasp in disbelief when he saw purple fire shooting out of his hands. His hands were on fire. Literally. And the creepy lady sitting across was just staring at all this with relative ease –as if he hadn't just accidentally shattered his world views into pieces and rendered physics useless with just an impromptu visit to some deserted train station out of nowhere.

What is the world coming to?!

The purple fire didn't recede, instead, it just kept spreading, and soon, his whole body was on fire. He shrieked, because hell, he's burning and it's gonna hurthurthurthurthurt-!

-only to click his mouth shut a moment later and stare disbelievingly at the purple fire that was being emitted from his body when he realized that it didn't actually hurt. For some strange reason, the fire didn't hurt him, at all.

This…. what is this sorcery?!

A chuckle resounded in the empty train station, and he later realized that it was the woman who had just laughed.

He puffed his cheeks in annoyance and asked, "What's so funny?"

The woman just shook her head and mumbled, "It's nothing." Green eyes blinked, and a moment later, she asked, "….What's your name, child?"

He shot her a wary look and said, "Grandpa said not to tell strangers anything about myself."

The woman nodded. "And he was right. You shouldn't talk to strangers." She then tilted her head and asked, "But we won't be strangers anymore if we introduce ourselves to each other, right?"

He had to admit –even if a bit reluctantly- that the woman had a point.

"Harry. I am Harry." The woman continued, "Now that you know my name, wouldn't it be polite of you to introduce yourself too, right?"

He pouted –and because his Grandpa didn't raise an impolite boy, he answered, "…..Neil. My name is Neil."

"Neil…." The woman glanced at the purple fire surrounding him, and chuckled, "How ironic."

He stared at her in confusion. What did she mean….?

The two of them stayed together in companionable silence. Neil guessed the woman –Harry- wasn't really bad, even if she was a bit creepy and way too quiet for her own good -but maybe it's because she's a bit shy…? Who knows?

"Oh," Harry said sometime later, "It's time for you to go back."

Neil stared down and indeed, he saw that his limbs were somehow fading (?) slowly. He glanced up at Harry, with questions and emotions churning inside him, waiting to be let out. Like- who are you really? What is this place? Why are you here, alone? What is with this purple fire? And what do you mean by 'going back'? So many questions, so little answers….

But somehow, when he opened his mouth, all he could think about was how her green eyes seem to flicker with loneliness, and he couldn't help but say reluctantly, "…I'll come to visit you as often as I can."

Harry –surprisingly- shook her head, and spoke "I appreciate your intentions, but don't." She then paused, and mumbled, "Don't come back here until you've lived your life to the fullest and have no regrets." She smiled and said, "I'll wait for you here."

The train station then disappeared from his view as he gradually faded away, and woke up in a pool of blood –his blood- in the deserted playground, with her words echoing in his head-

"So just stay alive and live, Neil."




The second time he met her a few years later, in the same deserted train station….




The teen glanced around at the overly clean train station, and the cloaked woman with green eyes sitting before him on a bench, and blinked his eyes in confusion. What is this? A dream? A hallucination?

Hadn't he dreamed of something like this in his childhood? So, what is this? A sequel of that dream or something?

The woman –what was her name again Hannah? Henry- wait, that's a boy's name!- huffed and said, "Didn't I tell you to not come here so soon?"

"Uh…." Neil scratched the back of his head, feeling quite like a child who has been caught red-handed while stealing cookies, and mumbled uncertainly. "I thought you were lonely, and decided to visit?"

Smooth, Neil. Real smooth.

The women rolled her eyes and mumbled, "Well, aren't you such a smooth talker." She then smiled –he couldn't actually see it, but he knew she was smiling, man's intuition and all (and yup, it's a legit thing… Oh shut it, if he says it's legit, then it is, okay?!) "You've grown into a fine young man, Neil."

His ears turned red- and no, he was not embarrassed. Nope. Not at all….- and before he could say anything, the woman –oh, he remembered now! Her name's Harry…it's still a boyish name- said, "It's nice to know you care about an old thing like me" -Old thing? Have you even watched yourself in the mirror?! even if he can't exactly see her face clearly–what with the cloak and the hood- but from the sound of her voice and her eyes, he can very well deduce that she was quite young and not as old as she imagined herself to be- "-but don't come back here until it's your time."

"Now, shoo! Do what you're supposed to do and stop visiting me here. Merlin knows how many inter-planar and universal laws you've broken by now by appearing here." Saying this, she waved her hand in a shooing motion, and an orange fire erupted around him, and amidst his panic of OhGodI'llbunburnburnbURNBURN-! he blacked out.

and then he woke up in the very alley he had been mobbed and then stabbed by a bunch of thugs, and wondered if it was all a dream or actually real.




And then he returned a third time-.




Harry stared at him, unimpressed. "Did I tell you to not come back so soon?"

He chuckled sheepishly and mumbled, "Uh, you did?

Emerald green eyes glared at him in irritation, and she growled, "Then why are you here?"

"Ah," Neil said with a somewhat cocky smile on his face –so as to hide his uneasy expression- and said, "Why wouldn't I visit a pretty lady such as you?"

She gave him a flat look, and then waved her hand. He stared at her, confused –


-only to screech in pain a moment later as a literal broom materialized from thin air and smacked itself on his head with his handle.

"Wha-?" he exclaimed and gaped at the hovering sentient broom and mumbled in coherently, "How?!" he then snapped his head towards her, and asked with wide, purple eyes, "How did you do that?!"

"Magic." She deadpanned, to which he just shot an equally unimpressed look. Yeah, right. As if he'd believe that. She just shook her head exasperatedly, as if expecting his reaction.




The fourth time he met her was when his Grandpa died-




Neil didn't know what he was doing here. All he remembered was sitting before his Grandpa's grave on a particularly stormy night, and the next moment he found himself back in the horrendously bright train station with Harry.

Harry –who was still sitting on the bench (doesn't she get cramps sitting at the same place in the same position every time he visited?)- observed his pale skin –paler than it usually is, the red rims around his eyes and the dark bags under his eyes, and asked blankly, "What happened?"

He toyed the idea about lying to her for some time, but then discarded it the next second. In all his visits till now, he had gleaned the fact that it was really hard to lie to Harry. Maybe she has a literal lie detector installed in her brain, who knows?

…Besides, he didn't want to lie to her. She was his friend –sorta- and he could do with the company of a friend for now. Someone, who won't either stare at him with pitying eyes while offering condolences,…..

He stared at her tiredly, and mumbled, "My Grandpa died."

"Oh." She stared at him with no pity or any kind of judgement in her eyes. Just plain, old nonchalance.

"He had always been there when I needed him." he choked out. "After my parents died, he had been the one to pick me up." Words tumbled out of his mouth and he just kept babbling, "You see, he fed me, clothed me, took care of me….. He made me what I am today. I thought I'd get the chance to repay his kindness. You know, he always used to say that he wanted to visit Venice for once in his life. I had wanted to make his dream come true with my own efforts. And now….. he isn't here." Tears spilled out of his eyes, and rolled down his cheeks, and he couldn't help but sob. He had thought his tears had dried after crying so much, but maybe… he just hadn't cried enough. "I just…." he gasped. "I just wish I had spent more time with him…. that I should 've worked harder to get more money so that I could make his dream come true….."

He didn't know why he blabbed everything to her, but he guessed he just needed to let it all out.

"….You had so many regrets, huh?" She spoke softly.

He just nodded, since he wasn't confident enough to not break out into another round of sobs if he spoke again.

Her green eyes stared at his crying form in conflict, and then she sighed in resignation. For the first time since he had ever met her, she got up from the bench and walked towards her.

"Five minutes," She said as she dropped something cold in his palm. He wondered what she was giving him, and glanced down, only to face palm on seeing a black stone in his hand. Really… why a stone though?... She ignored his expression and just kept explaining in a monotone. "Think about your Grandpa while inserting a small amount of Cloud Flames-" at his questioning look, she answered- "Purple fire into the stone." She the patted his head and said, "Make sure you don't have any regrets regarding him."

Saying this she vanished into thin air before his eyes, quite literally.

He stared disbelievingly at the place Harry had just been standing on, and once again wondered if she was a magician or something, because her tricks were really cool. How does she even do that?

Shaking his head, he squinted his eyes at the stone in his hand. What had she said to him…..? Insert purple fire in the stone?

….How was he supposed to do that, again?

He shrugged. Meh, he'll just wing it then.

He stared at the stone. Maybe if he stared hard enough, then the stone will catch fire?

…..No result.

Huffing, he resisted the urge to throw the damn stone away. What would it even accomplish anyways…..? Damn Harry, why can't she just say anything without the usual amount of cryptic messages and general creepiness?!

She had said to insert Cloud Flames in the stone, as if it had been simple enough task. Yeah right, as if anything in like is that simple. Like, he just had to will it, and the stone will catch on fire.


He yelped and almost dropped the stone. Holy shit, the stone really caught fire! ….Maybe Harry really was onto something when she said about magic being real.

Okay, what else had she said? ….Think about Grandpa?

He thought of his Grandpa- the grumpy old man who would whine about his old age to make Neil do his chores properly, who'd make fun of his cooking but would still eat what he had cooked, who would tell him stories of all the fascinating places he had visited and the people he had met….

A moment later, the stone in his hand –that was engulfed in purple flames- glowed, and soon, he found himself staring at a flickering visage of an old man standing before him.

"Neil….." the old man smiled. "How have you been?"

Neil gasped, tears welling up in his eyes and threatening to once again roll down his cheeks. "Oh, grandpa…." he choked out.

(A few minutes later…..)

Harry walked back on the polished marble platform of the blindingly bright train station and eyed Neil, who sat on the lone bench with his head down, and hunched shoulders. She then sat next to him.

"…Thanks." Neil mumbled as he gave her the stone back. She just took it with a nod. He observed her from the corner of his eye, and asked, "You are not human, are you? Who exactly are you….?"

She didn't even glance at him as she replied blankly "Death."

"Ah…" he said with a nod, unsure of what to feel. What was he supposed to feel anyways? Fear? Awe? Wonder? Horror?

…..He didn't know.

"…..Are you afraid?" She asked hesitantly a moment later.

Was he afraid of her? He mused. He thought about it for a while. Sure, he had known Harry was strange from the very first time he met her. But he thought she was some creepy magician –or maybe just some figment of his imagination. Her being Death was quite a far-fetched conclusion he would never have come to if she hadn't spilled it out to him out loud word-to-word.

But now that he knew this, was he really afraid of her?

Well, that wasn't that difficult of a question to answer.

"No." He answered resolutely and honestly.

Since he was sitting so close to her, he saw Harry smile as the dark hood shifted a bit –a smile so bright that it would even blind the sun- and he was almost dazzled by the sight.

"Thank you….." She spoke warmly from the bottom of her heart and Neil wondered that maybe, having Death as a best friend wouldn't be bad.





After that incident, he now knew that Harry wasn't a dream or any illusion. That she was quite real, and every time he died –whether it be because of his own stupidity or unfortunate incidents- he'd find himself –his conscious, actually- back at the train station, and would spend his time with Harry while his body back on Earth would repair itself with purple fire –"Cloud Flames", she called it.

During these visits, he came to know a lot about her. Like how her name was actually 'Harriel Lily Potter' and that she was actually a witch; about how she was actually older than him –like, thousands of years older, and wasn't that a shocking fact?!- and the only reason she looked young was because she was immortal and did not age, at all; she told him about how she wasn't actually Death -as she had claimed to be earlier for intimidation purpose, but was in fact the "Master of Death"-a title she head unknowingly gained in her late-teen years for uniting the three ancient artifacts of Death, and then throwing them away because she knew better than to thirst for power –apparently the only person who can get this title is the person who does not greed for Death's power and would treat Death like an old friend when they die; that this title was nothing but a farce –a curse, really- because other than granting immortality, and the ability to neither die nor age, she had no power over death –some Master she is; she'd often tell him about the years she spent wandering different worlds and planes, the knowledge she gained from her adventures, the different sort of people she met –her stories always fascinated him, and he loved the times when she spoke to him about them.

She didn't speak much about her life before she gained her accursed title, whenever he asked about that, she would turn away from him, and her green eyes would have a faraway look in them that made her seem like an ethereal being that would fly off into the sky –and away from him- when given the chance. And that scared him. He was reluctant to admit that he had gotten attached to her –maybe a bit too much-and their visits were something he cherished very much –even if Harry disapproved of him dying again and again just to visit her (though in his defense, it isn't his fault that he's so inherently clumsy that he can't even walk on ground without tripping over a stray pebble and cracking his cranium against a stray rock, and hence leading to his "Death". By now, he'd equated the word "death" with "visiting Harry", and nothing Harry says will change this fact. )

So when Harry would go in a daze, Neil would talk about his himself –of the pranks he had pulled on his bullies in his childhood, of his Grandpa scolding him for his mischiefs –and the way he would fold on himself and flail in panic when Neil started crying, of the woman next door who loved to dress Neil up in ridiculous clothing and –to his Horror- would often grab him for an impromptu make-up session, of the old man from the vegetable store who'd sneak in a few pieces of tomatoes in his bag every time he came to buy groceries, of the over-worked couple living in the next street who'd often call him to babysit their rowdy twins, of his school days and how much his teachers despaired the fact that they couldn't make Neil study, of him taking on part-time jobs when his Grandpa couldn't earn them much daily expenses in the later years.

For all his loudness and talkative nature, there were some things that Neil would never speak about, even to her- like how he had depressed for months following his Grandpa's death; how his Uncle and Aunt –whom he didn't know even existed- turned up after Grandpa's funeral to claim as his guardian and snatched away everything his Grandpa left for him; Of their verbal and physical abuse he had to endure every. single. day; of them snatching away his paychecks from his part time jobs before he even had a chance to buy something for himself.

Though for all his secrecy, he didn't think he had actually hidden those facts from her well enough –what with the way her green eyes would stare at him knowingly, as if she knew all his secrets, but won't push -to keep the illusion of privacy. It also didn't help that these days, more often than not, he'd turn up in that strange train station with tired eyes, hunched back, and bruises littering his skin that barely stayed hidden beneath his clothes. When that happens, she would never ask what, or how, or why he hurt was, she would just glance over at his wounds, and heal them with a wave of her hand –all the while humming a soothing tune under her breath- and all his exhaustion, hurt and anger would melt under her warmth and sometimes he wondered what had he done in his last life to deserve such kindness from her.

And then, one day he overheard his relatives conversation about how they were going to milk him for all his worth, and would make him work off the debts that his parents owed them, and would not let him leave, and he decided that enough was enough. He was going to leave this place and never come back ever again.




"I feel like a bird in a gilded cage," he said. "A bird that has it's wings clipped and is being forced to remain in the cage. I don't want to be caged, to be tied. I want to be free." He spoke with a faraway look in his eyes.

His purple eyes then flashed momentarily with pain and exhaustion and he said "But as long as I am Neil, I cannot free myself of the feeling of being caged. Every time I hear someone call me by this name, I feel suffocated, as if I am being tied down forcibly to something I do not want." he stared at her and asked, "Does it make me a bad person for wishing to be someone else?"

"No." she admitted with a nostalgic look in her eyes. "Merlin knows how many times I myself have wished for the same thing."





And so Neil discarded his name and left the house of his relatives –not home, never home- and took to streets. He usually spent his nights sleeping either on the benches of park, or in some cheap hotels, he would often eat whatever food he could get from the meagre salary he managed to get with his odd-jobs, and he would wander form place to place –sightseeing, meeting new people, experiencing their culture. He never stayed at the same place for more than two months. For all his wandering, never once did he feel homesick-like most people usually felt after spending so much time travelling. The uneasiness he had felt back with is relatives started fading, and soon, he was enjoying his journey. He would often meet up with Harry, but as years went by, his visits became less and less frequent. he once asked if she minded his absence for longer times, but was relieved to hear that even though she was lonely, she was even more glad he finally was able to do what he wanted, and it was right of him to not visit the train station as much as he did –apparently, living souls should not cross over to limbo and be allowed back to their own bodies. Apparently, the only reason his soul hasn't been dragged to purgatory for breaking the interdimensional laws was because of Harry's interference. He really was glad he had such a great friend like Harry.

It was during one of his odd-jobs that he found the love of his life-





"Well, I'm not opposed to having someone help me around with my work," Daniel admitted as he scratched the back of his head, not minding his grease-stained hands and he shot the purple haired man a quizzical look and said, "But do you even know anything about vehicles –let alone repairing them?"

"I- I can learn!" He reassured the older man hastily.

Daniel stared at him sharply for quite some time, and he held the older man's gaze suppressing his own trembles, never backing down. Just when he thought to step back from his intense stare, the older man blinked and chuckled. "Ah, well, I guess having you around would be fine." The man then tilted his head and asked, "What's your name, though?"

He waved his hand and said, "Just call me Cloud."

"Cloud, huh?" the man barked out in laughter and said in amusement, "How unimaginative."

And so, he started working in Daniel's Garage.




It took him a few days to get a hang of the situation. By then he could help out with small errands like changing punctured tyres, checking on the brakes, oiling the engine of the various vehicles, etc….. sometimes, Daniel would even allow him to test-drive the vehicles to see if they're fully repaired or not.

He loved those times, especially when he was allowed to test drive a motor-bike. the first time he was asked to do so, because the customer had been such an asshole and he had been irritated by him so much that in a spurt of moment he had cockily told Daniel that he knew he how to drive a bike –when in reality he knew shit about it. Praying not to fall down and break his bones –along with his pride- as weak as the motorbike, he had turned on the bike, and started out slow. It didn't take long before the euphoria of driving a bike for the first time –especially with wind that seemed to kiss his face, ruffling his hair as he had unconsciously sped up, and the adrenaline rush he felt for driving so fast that a mad cackle escaped from his lips- took over him, and by the time he had drove back to the garage and got off the vehicle, both Daniel and the customer were gaping speechlessly at him.




"….Holy shit." Daniel finally exclaimed, being the first one to break the stupefied silence. "Who taught you such mad driving skills?"

He had a feeling if he told him that this is his first time driving a motor-bike, he'd definitely get smacked. So, he shoved all the blame on Harry, because when under suspicion, blame Harry."Oh, just from a crazy friend of mine."

"Oh. my God." the customer –a man with dyed green hair, heavy make-up and piercings over his years and lower lip, mumbled as he stared at him in wonder. "You were just so amazing." His eyes sparkled and he asked eagerly, "Can I meet your friend? I hope they can teach me too!" He then clapped his hands excitedly and exclaimed, "Maybe I should ask them to join my circus for stunt-biking!"

He imagined Harry stunt-biking in a circus, and resisted the urge to roll on the ground with laughter –because holy hell, the Master of Death doing death-defying stunts in a circus no less, fuck, that's hilarious!- as he bit the inside of his cheeks a bit too hard to not start cackling right away and somehow spoke out in an even tone, "Yeah, uh- I don't think she'd agree."

The man looked disappointed for a second, before he regained his enthusiasm and asked, "Well, Why don't you join our circus?"

Like hell he'd do that.

"Oh, I just remember I need to repair the rear brake-shoes of Mr. Gabriel's car." saying this, he quickly fled into the garage, leaving behind a gothic emo swearing to make him join the Circus one day, and his own Boss Daniel who was laughing his ass off at his (mis)fortune.





The bright green haired punk –Marco- appeared at the garage during his work hours and would nag him for hours to "leave this shitty job and join the circus as a stunt-biker" –Marco's words, not his- and Cloud would refuse him every single time while Daniel would just stare at the bickering pair in amusement. Marco wasn't deterred by his refusal to join his circus, though. He'd just slump dejectedly and go away at the end of the day, and would return back again with enthusiasm the next day with another round of argument –sometimes he even wrote them on a paper and would read them out loud because he wasn't that good at arguing and had definitely someone helping him with it –which Cloud had a suspicion as actually Daniel who sneakily helped Marco just for shits and giggles. Damn that old man

So when the annoying pest didn't turn up for about three days, he was a bit worried –not that he'd ever speak it out loud, since Daniel would just give him an amused look and coo at him and say that "You're so cute" and all.




The next afternoon, though, a woman rushed into the garage, panting as she asked Daniel, "Where's Cloud?"

Daniel pointed at his figure –who was wiping his grease-stained hands.

The woman quickly grabbed his arm –and ignoring his protests she dragged him towards the other end of the town. "Marco got into an accident. His leg is fractured and he can't perform tonight." She admitted to him. "Today's show is very important –our Ringmaster has even invited the Mayor from the nearby town, and Marco's stunt-biking was supposed to be the highlight of the show."

"Marco said you know how to perform stunts too….."She took in a shuddering breath, and turned to him and pleaded, "Can you substitute Marco for today? Please?"

He tried to argue that he was a novice, and what if he messed up, but she just retorted, "Marco vouched for your skill, I'm sure you'll be fine." hence, without listening much to his protests, she dragged him to her circus. After greeting with her Ringmaster, she grabbed him and left him to the make-up artist, saying "Just work your magic on him." and from the glint in the other woman's eyes he was reminded of the neighbor from his childhood home who used to drag him for a make-over and dress-up and shuddered in fear. And yup, the experience was just as horrifying and mentally scarring as it had been in his childhood.

"Damn, he makes a nice punk." Marco whistled as he limped towards him with the help of crutches and stared at him- what with the thick eyeliner over his eyes, purple lipstick and especially the beautiful teardrop shaped mark under his eye.

"He does, doesn't he?" Daniel laughed as he stared at him in amusement.

"What're you doing here?" he squawked at him.

"I closed the garage early today." the older man waved off his concerns in a dismissive manner. "After all, I can't miss my apprentice's first ever public performance now, can I?" Daniel teased him, to which he scowled.

Before he could retort a scathing remark, the woman who had dragged him here –Martha- eyed him from top to bottom, and nodded at him in approval. "I'll get you're your outfit." She then walked into the other tent, leaving him with Daniel and Marco, who were eying him appreciatively.

"Are you done?" he stared at them unimpressed. "I didn't agree with this."

Daniel rolled his eyes and patted his shoulder. "Come on, now you're just deceiving yourself. You know you love motor-bikes, more than anything, but you're still restraining yourself. Why are you even suppressing your own desire when you can just let it go and be free, huh kiddo?"

He didn't reply. Instead, he huffed and he turned away.

"Hey bro, just do it this once, okay?" Marco mumbled reluctantly. "If you don't like this, I won't ask you ever again." When Marco saw his resolve falter, he pushed on a bit more, "Look, today's show is important, okay? Just do it for today, I swear I won't bother you again."

He sighed and reluctantly agreed. Damn he's such a pushover.

(It wasn't until that he went to get changed into his biking suit that Martha brought in, that Daniel chuckled in amusement and asked Marco, "So Marco, on one hand you've already promised to not bother him again, and on the other hand, you've crossed your fingers behind your back. Care to explain?"

Marco just gave him a deadpanned look. "I finally got a chance to meet someone with a natural talent at stunt-biking. Like hell I'd let him slip through my fingers."

"But seriously though, crossing your fingers behind your back as you promise?" Martha shook her head and said, "What are you- a child?")





Needless to say, the show was a huge success. The moment Skull had entered the arena that was filled with people of all ages, who were screaming and cheering for him, he had almost taken a step back again in flabbergast. If Martha hadn't pushed him back outside, he'd have really fled. He walked into the arena with faux calmness, trying his best to not tremble and let the anticipated whispers and tensed silence get to him. He thought he'd feel suffocated inside the arena whose seats were filled to the brim with audience, but he was clearly wrong because the feeling that bubbled inside him was definitely not claustrophobia or suffocation. And then when he first sat on his motor-bike and turned it on, he finally realized the feeling he was feeling- euphoria.

So he didn't hate the cheering of audience. Huh, good to know.

He pushed the accelerator to the maximum and suddenly, the bike flew. Laughter bubbled from his throat and escaped from his lips in euphoric glee as he controlled the bike semi-consciously, and cackled as he flipped in mid-air without falling down or breaking his own bones. he twisted and turned the bike with perfect control, making the Audience scream positively, and let the amazing sensation wash over himself. When he was on the motorbike –doing twists, and turns, and flips, and letting the bike drive through the ramp and fly in the air and ending the stunt with him doing a one-eighty flip in mid-air without letting the bike go- he loved every. second. of. it. It made him feel as if he could fly, and was a bit closer to sky –to her…. Is this how a bird feels when it flies in the vast sky? ….No wonder birds don't like to be caged. Who'd want to give up their freedom and this calm elation for a gilded cage?

When the show was over, he was greeted with a thunderous applause and cheers from the audience. Too high from the sudden rush of adrenalin and delight, he pulled off the helmet from his head and cackled and waved at his lovely audience, who themselves screamed and responded to his greeting with much more enthusiasm.

When he finally walked backstage to get changed out of the leather suit and to get the make-up off his face, he was greeted with congratulations, fist bumps and pats on his back for a "Job well done" from other circus members, and while Marco fanboyed in the background at his utter epic performance, Martha hugged him and invited him to the circus, saying-

"You were absolutely amazing out there, Cloud. I've never seen anyone looking so much at ease, and still utterly delighted while stunt-biking."

He had gone back to the garage to help out Daniel, more and more times he'd find himself back at the race track where Marco would practice stunt-biking with a few of his pals, and sometimes he'd even join them. One day, Daniel got so fed up with his unsure attitude that he dragged him back to Martha and asked her to just keep him and not let him run away.




He had smacked the back of his head and said fondly, "You're such a confused brat. Honestly, why can't you just agree that you're not interested in being a mechanic, and would rather spend your time stunt-biking than in garage repairing vehicles? So why don't you just do what your heart says?"

"But you'll be left here all alone…." he hadn't wanted to admit it, but he had gotten attached to the old man, and just the thought of leaving him behind sent a pang of longing and sadness inside him.

The man huffed and smacked the back of his head. "Stop pitying me, brat. besides, don't think I haven't noticed you getting restless making yourself stay forcefully in this dingy town." he gave him a stern look, to which he ducked his head and shuffled his feet –as if he were a child who's been caught stealing a cookie. "You aren't meant to stay at one place, kid. You're meant to be free- just like the clouds you're named after."





And so, he joined the circus on a six months contract basis. At that time, he wasn't sure it was a good decision or not, and hence had signed a contract to work with the circus for six months –and in case if he got fed up with stunt-biking, he could always leave after that time period –he had always been fickle like that. So, when –to his surprise- he still wanted to perform stunt-biking even after the six months had passed, he wondered if he should renew the contract.

It was Martha who disagreed, saying that Cloud's performance was much more incredible than the circus's shows –considering most people these days came to their circus only to watch him stuntbiking-and chaining him down to a small town circus when he could do so much more didn't sit well with her. And so she proposed for him to have his own troop.

he was skeptical at first, but Marco jumped for the opportunity. And so, they broke off with the circus, and the three of them founded their own entertaining group. It was quite hard at first –since not many people wanted to sponsor a seemingly no-name stunt-biker- but as he participated in races and shows and started winning, he soon became widely known as the "Genius on the race track" and "the man who even Grim reaper Hated" for his life-threatening stunts and amazing ability to shrug off even worst training accidents and still not lose the zeal to strive harder, there weren't many people who wouldn't offer to sponsor him now. Though there were some who wanted to sponsor him for very different reasons, but he digressed.




Martha frowned. "You need a stage name."

Green eyes flashed in his mind, and he smirked. "I just know the perfect one."


Harry's reaction to his stage persona though, had been hilarious.




Green eyes eyed the man standing before her disbelievingly, unable to believe the vision they showed. The man's purple eyes glimmered with mischief as he watched her flabbergasted reaction, and a chuckle couldn't help but pass from his purple painted lips. His purple hair looked like a rat's nest, and the make-up that caked his face made him look like an emo teen –what with black eyeliner, purple eyeshadow, as well as a teardrop shaped purple mark on his right cheek just under his eye- and his clothes didn't help dissuading the image –what's with the purple leather jacket, black pants and boots, and especially the helmet?!

The man puffed his chest in a poor imitation of a peacock and cackled, "Have I stunned you with my awesomeness, Harry?"

"You look like a walking, talking fashion disaster." she deadpanned, to which he couldn't help but chuckle.

"Now, you're just being rude." he said in a mock-offended tone, to which she just gave him a flat look. "My fashion sense is obviously supreme to yours." he spoke as he pointedly eyed her dark cloak and hood.

"I beg to differ." She said dryly.

He sniffed haughtily and said, "You obviously don't understand the amazing fashion of the great Skull-sama!"

She tilted her head as soon as she heard his new name. "Skull?" She asked softly, "Why Skull?"

He gazed at her, his eyes flashing with emotions at a quick speed before he smiled and said "Who knows?"





When he told her of his stage name –Skull De Mort- the blank faced Harry who usually won't even speak much to him started laughing her ass off. He didn't understand what was so damn funny, and was even offended enough that he didn't talk to her for the next five minutes. It wasn't until her fill-blown laughter had tone downed to just hysterical giggles that she told him about the Dark Lord who had been after her life just because of some shady prophecy-the one who had killed her parents before she wasn't even two, and who attempted to get her killed every at least once a year since she joined her Magical school, and was the reason for the death of many of her loved ones, and was just a menace until she fought against him in the War and defeated him. And apparently, just thinking about how much Lord Voldemort must be rolling in his grave if he knew that he –a muggle stuntman- was using the last half of his proud title for entertaining muggles….. Well, he guess he could see the humor in the situation too.

So after being told the history she had with "DeMort" he still kept that name –especially after being told that- because well, getting a chance equivalent to saying a "fuck you" to Harry's tormentor who has been dead for centuries? Like hell he'd let such a golden opportunity slip away!

No one gets to hurt his friend and get away with it.

No one.


He started out slow –with Martha as his agent and Marco as assistant and sometimes partner- and performed with them, but when his wanderlust hit him again, he started his journey once again, and would often perform every once in a while. In about two years' time, Skull deMort became a household name, and soon, he was started to be known as the Immortal Stuntman. Maybe it's because of that one time the bike had malfunctioned in the middle of the show, and Skull fell from quite a height in midst of a flip in mid-air –which would've killed anyone else- but landed safely with only a few cuts and broken bones, Since then, he had gotten the title of 'the Immortal Stuntman" and "the Man whom even the Grim Reaper hated".

Ironic, really, since Harry quite liked him enough that she'd often laugh her ass off after hearing about his shenanigans and training accidents –which were the reason these days he often died and appeared in her train station- and would tease him for being "the Immortal stuntman".

His life stayed peaceful for a few more years –well, as peaceful as life can get for someone who dies as often as he changes towns- and he was happier than he had ever been.

And then Skull was invited to the dubious meeting of I Prescelti Sette by an equally shady man with questionable fashion sense –quite ironic, especially coming from Skull, and everything changed.




Skull grinned eagerly as he exchanged high-fives and fist bumps with his fellow coworkers as they retired for the night after the last show for the day. After saying good-bye to his friends and fellow coworkers, he walked back to his cabin, exhausted but still content grin on his face. Though the grin didn't last long when he entered his cabin and felt his instincts hiss in apprehension, and he couldn't help but narrow his purple eyes and scan the insides of his cabin. Everything was the same as it had been when he had left it that way before he was off to work for today- except for the man with a checkered mask sitting on his purple coach and sipping tea as if he wasn't trespassing on someone else's property.

For some reason, Skull didn't think this man was like those occasional crazy, stalker fans whom he had to deal with every once in a while, who in the end get kicked out by Marco for bothering skull and intruding in his private space, well, if Skull didn't hit them first –because no one encroaches on his personal space (his territory) and gets away with it. Well, except Harry. She's exceptions to many of his things. Huh, he hadn't thought of that before, at least, not too deeply. Maybe there's something more at play than his faint crush on her.

He had a feeling that if he didn't play it right this man might even annihilate him. Sure, he had experience fighting (especially since the members of his troop were a rowdy bunch who brawled for the silliest of things and needed to be detained physically , which always led to Skull himself joining their rambunctious brawls to stop the morons before either the collateral damage was too much or before Martha appears. None of which he liked since in the first case the repair money goes out from his pocket, and in the second case he always end up being scolded along with the rest of the morons, and damn can Martha deafen him with her boring lectures.) but he had a feeling that he'd be so outclassed in this fight that it won't even be funny. And then he'd die again, and Harry would laugh at him –but not before kicking this creep's ass, and his too, just for the heck of it.

So –more for his sake and less for the shady masked guy's- Skull decided to play the fool as he first blinked dumbfounded at the men with checkered hat and mask and then tilted his head and asked, "Who are you?" Without waiting for his answer, he let his eyes sparkle –as if a light bulb just seemingly lit up in his head from a treacherous idea- and he lightly slammed his fist on his palm and said in that annoying tone that always frustrated Martha to death and amused Marco to no end- "Ah, you must be another fan of the great Skull-sama!" He nodded to himself and muttered, "You must've wandered after the show and got lost. No worries though the amazingly awesome Skull-sama will send you your way!" Skull exclaimed cheerily.

The man's dark eyes eyed him from his mask distantly, his gaze never looking underneath the metaphorical mask he wore as "Skull" before those he did not trust and nodded as he spoke, "Yes, you'd do quite perfectly."

For some strange reason, those words sent a chill down his spine.

Still acting oblivious, Skull tapped his chin and tilted his head and grinned. "Oh, I see, you want the great Skull-sama's autograph, right? Of course the amazing me will give you his fantabulous autograph, after all, it's rare to see such dedicated fans of mine!" Skull cheered and pulled out a pen and asked, "Where do you want me to sign? On some paper? Or on your coat?" His eyes brightened as he stared at his hat and exclaimed, "Oh, your hat would do too!"

To his disappointment, the man didn't react to his annoyingly foolish ramblings. He was as apathetic as Harry on her worst days, which made Skull falter. The man simply leaned a bit forward and shook his head, "Ah, you've misunderstood, I'm here for a very different reason, Mr. Skull." His dark eyes glinted from behind the checkered mask, and Skull resisted the urge to step back as his own flames bristled inside him in warning. "I'm here with a job offer for you."

Skull was taken aback by his words. "A job offer?" he repeated after him slowly, and then shook his head –still acting like an annoying fool- as he said, "Ah, why didn't you say so earlier! Well," he scratched his head and said sheepishly, "If you want the great Skull-sama to perform for you, you should contact Martha first though! She's my agent and she'd definitely make an appointment for you in our very packed schedule if I put in a good word for you."

The man tilted his head to the side and spoke, "I do not have any business with your agent." He then pulled out a gold-plaited envelope and placed it on the table and tapped it gently as he spoke, "I'm here to invite you to the meeting of I Prescelti Sette."

Saying this, he vanished before Skull's very eyes –as if he hadn't just been sitting lazily on his purple coach as if he owned it and invited Skull to some creepy pow-wow- making Skull snap his head around the room with wide eyes and exasperated wails of "Ghost!"

He didn't let down his mask until his own flames settled down.

"Who the hell was he? How did he enter my cabin-I clearly remember I had locked it earlier….." Skull mumbled as he scowled and warily eyed the couch the man had been sitting on. A thought occurred in his mind and he wondered out loud, "Was he like harry? A witch?" he paused and smacked his forehead in exasperation, "Wait, isn't he a male, though? that'd make him a wizard, right?!" he growled in frustration and tugged his already messed purple hair a bit too harshly, "AHHHHHHHHHH! I'm so confused!"

Sighing, he collapsed on his bed and stared dully at the ceiling of his cabin as he mumbled, "What should I do, Harry…?"