"My dreams are the worst I've ever had. Images of the Winter Soldier fold in on each other... I see things I forgot happened... Like a door unlocking in my mind... Torture... Slaughter... And training others in their use... So much horror... I wake up vomiting. And don't feel much better afterwards. My bad dreams linger...but I wouldn't expect anything else…" - James Buchanan Barnes, Earth-616
It had all started out fairly normally.
A grand party to celebrate the aftermath of the Rainbow trials and the return of their adult bodies when everyone was recovered enough to start moving. At least, as ordinary as it could be with all of Vongola's allies in the same room, which wasn't much as Skull yelped and dove for cover when Tsuna's Cloud and Mist went for it. Their weapons clashing together with their Sky, Neo-Primo now, screeching for them to stop.
"Everyone seems to be relatively happy." A shy voice spoke up, and Skull turned and beamed at Enma who was watching the ongoing chaos in the room.
He and Adelheid were the only ones that saw fit to come as the rest of the Shimon had returned back to the island to finish things of their own. Something that Skull was still a bit disappointed by as he had wanted to thank them properly for being his representatives in the trials. On the other hand, coming back to Enma's question, Skull couldn't help but agree.
Even Yuni seemed to be enjoying herself as she giggled alongside Gamma and the other guests. Smiling despite the fact her mother passed away not too long ago and it was a good look on the girl who was forced to grow up so quickly.
His fellow Arcobaleno—former Arcobaleno now, Skull breathes a bit in awe—were spread out across the room in their own social groups. Mammon was with the Varia, hovering to make sure their co-workers didn't drop dead the way Squalo nearly did in the trials. Colonello was probably with Lal somewhere near the bar while Fon was seen smiling as he conversed with I-pin. Verde, on the other hand, was close by as he drank from his glass cup, dark bags under his eyes from staying up all the time finding ways to quicken their growth. A feat Skull should thank him for before they all went their separate ways. On the other side of the room, Reborn was with his student, smug as he stared down at Tsuna who still hasn't grown used to the fact that Reborn was the same man that lectured him in the trials.
What they had in common, however, was the fact that they all held a posture of ease. Dark shadows in their eyes alight with something brighter and less dull. It's been awhile, Skull considers with a softening of his eyes. Awhile since they've been this happy.
Skull stares for a bit longer and smiles, "Yeah, they do."
Enma looked at him in surprise.
At the look, the stuntman floundered, "W-What? Why are you looking at Skull-sama like that?"
"No, it's just." The red-head scratched the bridge of his nose. "I always thought that you disliked them, with the way they make you cry or push you around all the time."
Skull blinked. It was true that he was always the one that was shoved or ridiculed for being weak. Dragged around by Lal, shot at by both Reborn and Colonello, kidnapped for Verde's experiments. Refused each time by Fon whenever he asked to hang out, or cry whenever Mammon increased their debts on him for each information given. There was countless of times that Skull had wanted to rage at them for that. Furious at being treated like a scapegoat. Angry to be put aside.
However, it wasn't always like that. Back when Luce was still alive...it was different. It had been fun, despite being kicked around all the time. The missions they went through together? Hell. But, it was what brought them all together in the first place even if they did fight or bicker a lot. In the end, there wasn't anything they could do other than to acknowledge each other. Taking family dinners very seriously post-missions after the first tongue-lashing they got from sweet, soft-spoken Luce. And under her, they had somehow become a family. A concept Skull had never experienced before because he doesn't have a family nor a past that would hint at one.
Amnesia, Skull whispers at the back of his head as he shivered. Feeling the cold creeping up his back whenever he consciously thinks about it. It was always like he was stuck in a freezing winter storm when he tries to remember the past. And when he tries.
Like a biography book with the pages from the beginning ripped violently out from its spine. There was nothing. Nothing that Skull can remember before the point he opened his eyes to a deserted road and a bike sitting next to him. There was only the after story. His bike, his shows, and then, the Arcobaleno. The only people Skull had referred hesitantly as family.
He doesn't know what they were now when they've received freedom from what had gathered them in the first place, or if Yuni was going to ask them to stay. Only that he still cared for them in all their assholish-self. After all, they were like his first memories other than his rise as a stuntman.
His first memory of a family.
Skull snorts, a dysfunctional family at its most.
"Reborn's a dick." Skull finally concludes with a puff of his chest. "Colonello's a jerk. Lal needs her priorities checked. Verde needs sleep, but Skull-sama approves if this is his way of heading towards an early grave-"
Crimson eyes widened.
Verde's fingers twitched.
"-and Fon's a total sadist behind that polite face. Not to mention Mammon robs me blind."
Skull bends down to meet Enma's line of sight and states sombrely, "They're nothing but assholes."
There was a growing miasma from somewhere Skull didn't care to pay attention to as he straightened up, rubbing the back of his neck.
"But," He grew embarrassed at this. "It's not like Skull-sama dislikes them because of that."
The heavy feeling disappeared, and the Shimon boss stared behind him blankly before a slow smile crept up his lips. His former representative opened his mouth to stay something, only to be cut off when suddenly a man out of nowhere bumped into Skull.
Skull squeaked, stumbling back before he caught himself and held onto the other's shoulder to stabilise both of them. Making sure they both didn't crash and smack their faces against the floor. The stuntman laughed, patting the man's shoulder as the stranger muffled out apologies as they adjusted their own stance.
"You alright there?" Skull questions as he rested his hand on the man's arm in concern.
"Yes." The stranger answered with hints of Russian colouring his voice.
Skull tilted his head, hiding the iciness that settled in his blood as he stared. There was nothing special about the man with his black suit and weathered face. The only thing that seemed remarkable was the odd mark below the corner of his right eye in the shape of an 'XIII'. Other than that, the man was normal enough. Yet, Skull found himself shivering anyways. There was something about this man that Skull couldn't put his finger on, and for some reason, it tasted oddly of iron and danger. He looked unsurely at the stranger, reluctant in turning his face away to smile at Enma that called for him with increasing confusion.
It was only a flash, but Skull saw the way the man smiled. All wide with flashing teeth, sharp with an edge of savageness. The stuntman took a step back, fearful, but the man snapped his hand forwards to grab Skull's arm in a bruising grip.
A muffled whimper escapes Skull, the sound dying to reel back his breath when the man pulled him close. The stranger—the enemy—drew Skull sharply so that his mouth rested right next to his ear. Hovering like that of a harrowing wraith.
"Chetyre." The animosity says.
"Voyna. Trup. Devyat-"
The world was muddling like water, voices drowning as Enma's panicked voice disappeared along with it. Pulling him into a blurred, sightless descent as he was thrown into-
-a war. The battlefield and the corpses buried under the mud. The blood. The screams. The-
-room. The flashes. The words. A hand holding a knife. His hand. A bloodbath. Inhuman eyes staring back. Dead men and women in his graveyard of death. The smear of blood on his lips, and the smile as he pulled the screaming face of a woman towards him-
Only darkness as Skull disappeared under the tides.
Reborn was talking with Tsuna when his student stopped mid-sentence. An expression of queasiness before he shuddered. It was a look Reborn has long gotten acquainted with while teaching Tsuna over the few years.
"Tell me." Reborn demands.
His student looks around uneasily and whispers.
"Something's wrong," Tsuna stares around the room and at the occupants, lowering his stance. "Very wrong."
Reborn would have been proud of his student's reaction and even prouder at his guardians for reacting to their Sky if it weren't for Tsuna's words. Sun flames flared as he turned his body towards the room, trying to find out what was going on as he received a similar flare around the room from the others. It was a warning beacon the Arcobaleno's used for years now and Reborn wasn't going to stop using it now just because he wasn't an Arcobaleno.
Answering the call, Colonello came running towards him with Lal right at his heels as they stopped in front of him. The blond gripped the strap of his rifle as he stared grimly at Reborn.
"What's wrong, kora?" Colonello asks, blue eyes sweeping across the room.
Reborn tilted his head towards Tsuna, and taking it in, both Lal and Colonello nodded their heads in understanding. They were tense afterward, expecting something when Lal furrowed her brows in worry.
"Skull hasn't responded yet." She reports,
They all frowned.
As if on cue, a loud commotion erupted from across the room, Verde's flames rising along with it in both alarm and panic. The three didn't hesitate before they rushed across the large room. Passing Mammon who was staring at Verde's direction too as they stood beside the growing agitation that was the Varia.
"Skull!" The alarmed voice of Enma echoed out, followed by a surprisingly vicious, "Let go of him!"
They made it just in time to see Enma shove away a suited man from Skull who stood hunched over himself. Protected by the Shimon boss who glared at the man with an arm thrown out securely in front of Skull. Reborn stalked towards them and without further ado, drew his gun at the man's head.
"Who are you." The hitman looked darkly at him from beneath his fedora, "And what are you doing with our lackey."
The man only shook his head with a delighted smile, "Just waking up an old soldier, that's all."
Reborn narrowed his eyes and was about to demand again when Enma's worries caught his attention.
"Skull! Skull? Can you hear me?" Enma touched the purple leather-clad shoulder when Skull remained still. "Skull, what's wrong? What did he-"
The silence didn't last for very long as Reborn watched with shock as Skull dropped the hand held over his face to seize Enma Kozarto by the neck. Lifting the boy high into the air with both of his arms and squeezed. Enma choked as he scrambled over Skull's hands, wheezing and trying and failing to tear the offending appendages apart.
"Sku-" Enma's attempts were in vain when Skull gripped harder, only the pained chokes forming around soundless words escaping him.
"What the hell do you think you're doing, Skull!" Lal yells, readying herself to intervene when an alarmed scream resounded out.
"ENMA!" Adelheid sprints in, furious and panicked eyes set on Skull as she reared her leg back to save her Earth.
"Wait-!" Verde's words fell to deaf ears as she continued her assault.
It never met the intended target as Skull grabbed her leg with one hand while still holding onto Enma by the neck, and the force of his grip resulted in an anguished cry from Adelheid before he flung her away from him. She flew, crashing against the wall with a sickening thud, and the impact leading to splintered wood and a shallow crater. Adelheid's eyes rolled to the back of her head before they fluttered shut altogether, dropping to the floor like a stringless doll and left abandoned there.
"Lackey." Reborn says slowly with growing tension, and nobody had the time to react when the mentioned just slammed Enma's head against the floor with a callousness that startled him.
"Why-?" Tsuna's sudden appearance by his side was derailed when Fon darted forwards to grab Skull by his arm.
"Enough!" Fon shouts as he tries to pry the hand over Enma's face with obvious trouble. Made alarming when the blood around Shimon's crown of red hair was starting to grow in deathly speeds. "Get a hold of yourself, Skull!"
The martial artist grabbed Skull's shoulder to push him up to face him, and that's when everyone saw it.
It was like winter when they caught Skull's eye as the usual bright purple solidified into something hard and cold. The iciness freezing them in their place as those eyes focused only on Enma with the intent to kill. His body was coiled with a killer's subtleness, and Reborn could have imagined almost anyone other than Skull to display that sort of mephitic skill.
"That's not Skull, kora." Colonello voices out what they've all been thinking.
Reborn turned towards the man in charge of all of this. Seizing his collar harshly while lashing out his gun to their temple, livid like that of a burning sun.
"What. Have. You. Done." He growls.
The only reply he got was a grin as the man sagged back at the blow, and Reborn wants to put a bullet through the other's head at their mocking look.
"You shouldn't have done that." The man purrs, and Reborn was seconds away from following through when someone screamed.
The hitman turned around and promptly raised his hand to grab the fist aimed at his head, unflinching when something in his bones cracked at the sheer brute strength. Reborn watched coolly at the face of his lackey staring down at him. His desolate purples glaring daggers at him.
"What do you think you're doing, lackey." He drawls smoothly.
Skull didn't reply other than to glower, pulling back his other arm to punch forwards. Palm met fist and the force of it caused Reborn to grunt before he used it to launch himself backward. He caught himself, sliding across the floor in a crouch as he watched Skull straighten his back like that of a drunk or someone who was still incoherent to the world.
A surge of vexation crossed Reborn, as just moments ago Skull was making jabs at them with his annoyingly, loud voice. That bold shouting that belonged characteristically to Skull who'd always pale if Reborn and the others made their way over. Who'd naturally try to stand up to them at first, yelling, flailing, puffing his chest, and eventually, cowering.
How did this get past them, Reborn wonders as he watched Fon hold his broken arm. And had Skull always been this strong?
The one in question stood in front of Reborn like some sort of dark angel with his clouded eyes, protecting the bastard that had caused all of this. Reborn's flames washed over him, healing what was broken, and narrows his eyes. Watching the way Skull flickered his eyes at them like they were the threat here.
The stranger stood while brushing his suit casually, "S vozvrascheniyem, Soldat."
Reborn lowered his head with his eyes glowing golden by now underneath his fedora. The man was referring to it as a name, he realised.
Everyone tensed when the man pulled a knife from the inside of his suit pocket and handed it to Skull who immediately grasped it without looking. The former Cloud Arcobaleno twirled it around his grip before seeming satisfied as he settled with holding it loosely in his hand.
The man with the 'XIII' tattoo looked at his watch and said, "Nam nuzhno uyti seychas."
Skull nodded mechanically.
Reborn, on the other hand, has heard enough.
Like hell he'll let this man take Skull away.
Soldier's sudden awareness of the world was like a winter's breeze over his face as he breathed in calm, shallow breaths. The activation words uttered from his associate's mouth clearing his head, bringing an old order back to the forefront of his mind.
Escape was the first objective.
Return to the base was the second.
With those orders clear in his mind, Soldier began to assess the threat before him, at the gun held in the man's hand as gold flashed underneath veiled darkness. A fit of brewing anger in their eyes as Soldier tilted his head in detached interest at the threat.
Dismantle, disable and eliminate the threat, Soldier remembers his commanders' words with a twist of his knife.
Soldier levelled a steady gaze at his opponent. Opponents, he corrects as he trailed his eyes to the growing crowd. Surrounded, he observes next. The knife flying across his hand in a series of twists and turns as he calculates his escape routes. Kill them, Soldier thinks immediately with a winter's coldness. Kill them all and be done with it. It would be easy, so easy, to draw his blade across flesh and watch the blood spray. He's already broken the arm of the man in the robes, how hard would it be to break a few more?
A distortion in the air. Unnoticed to the untrained eye, but Soldier was anything but untrained. A slash, knife meeting air as Soldier flung his arm in a quicksilver arc. It was like tearing a harsh line through fabric as he gazed dispassionately at the fraying air in front of him. The reality itself splitting with a line that grew a steady red until the air shimmered and warped in on itself to reveal a cloaked figure. Clutching their bleeding shoulder with their mouths parted in a silent shout and a glimpse of a shocked indigo eye before they stumbled backward. Illusionist, Soldier categorises. Troublesome.
He gripped his knife, lowering his stance to bury his knife into their necks despite the way his instincts stung oddly at the idea. On the other hand, his muscles were already coiled to launch himself at the illusionist that had caught their balance with a stumble, and went for the kill. He was stopped. Forced to lean back to dodge another knife thrown at him from a blond boy with a tiara on top of their head, hissing at him. How unfortunate, Soldier thinks before the knife in his hand disappeared to streak across the room to bury itself into the chest of the teen.
It had all happened in a split second and a deathly silence settled across the room when the blond tipped back, and fell.
He's out of practice, was the Soldier's only thoughts on the matter as he frowned. Flexing his stiff fingers that had thrown the knife.
He had missed the heart.
Just how long has he been asleep?
His opponents, on the other hand, had gone ballistic.
It was chaos as Soldier dodged and weaved and traded blows with the people coming at him. Face impassive as he met a set of angry—enraged set of ruby eyes before kicking the man out of his way across the room, ducking when a flash of silver met his notice. The tonfa sailed close over his head, but Soldier didn't have time to ponder as he rolled to the left when the swing shifted mid-air downwards. He flipped, landing back on his feet just in time to catch the next swing of the other's weapon, taking pleasure at breaking the metal under his grip. Though his opponent was stubborn as they swung with the other weaponised arm, and Soldier put a stop to it real soon as he caught the wrist mid-swing and pulled him down to slam his knee to their face. Shoving the disoriented boy away, Soldier swirled around to grasp the butt of the shotgun trying to knock him out.
Curious, why would they need him alive? Soldier tilted his head as he stared across the barrel, meeting hard blue eyes that wavered when their gazes met.
"Skull." The women breathed with a shaking fury. "What the hell happened to you?"
That name again. The one the red-haired boy had first called him. The worry in his crimsons which the Soldier had quickly gotten rid of by slamming his head against the floor. As if he knew him, Soldier thinks with irritation.
"I..." Soldier speaks. "Do not recognise that name."
He latched onto the barrel of the shotgun at the women's widening of her eyes before pulling it downwards. Drawing his other hand back to slam his palm to her chin when it was blocked with military ease. Purple eyes narrowed, calculatingly, and whirled his body in lightning speed to deliver a devastating kick to her gut, sending her crashing against the floor while still holding onto the shotgun.
It didn't end there, however.
A wave of growing anger bubbled from deep within his chest as Soldier fought off one opponent after another. Series of painful flashes going through his head as he gritted his teeth while doing so. It was like a heavy pressure was weighing down on his head in clear protest as he knocked away the men carrying blades, broke the hand of another, and lashed out at illusionists. It was growing to the point of being a nuisance as he grabbed one of the Mist users, meeting her fearful eyes when he disarmed her, tucking her head between his arms and the shotgun to snap her head. The muddled blood-thirst bleeding into his eyes as the pressure in his head increased and increased and—
The Soldier was struck back before he could wring the girl's neck, head snapped to the side as his cheek flared like a wildfire. Purples eyes glowed as they swirled towards amber ones that burned like a blazing sunset in the horizon. The brunet's teeth were gritted, a raging fire in those resolute oranges, and a face set with a purpose the Soldier couldn't understand.
Soldier looked at him and snapped.
The room erupted in a volcanic burst of Cloud flames. Sending everyone bursting away from him as he slumped in on himself. Heaving as the Soldier gripped the side of his head with squinted hurt.
"Skull." A voice whispered quietly and Soldier turned towards it slowly.
The girl was small. So very small as her soulful blue eyes gazed at him with sorrow. Green hair framing her face with some strewn over her face from the power of his flames unleashed at its full potential. He took a step towards her. Then another. And another. Till they were only a small distance apart as he looked down at her and her clasped hands. Watching the way her shoulders were tucked close to her ears as she looked up at him with her all-seeing eyes. Soldier calmed at her presence with a surging cruelty in his heart.
Ah, he thinks, he can kill this girl.
A hand reached for her to do just that when a man yelled out across the expanse, "Princess! Princess! P-Pri—Yuni!"
The name 'Yuni' rang through his head, chilling him to the bones as he remembered something else in the distant past.
Of a similar smile, but older, more encompassing as her prescient blue eyes stared at him with the same sorrowful look. Brushing back green hair from her face as she stood in a background of a snowless day. Peering up at the grey clouds overhead as she breathed out white puffs from the frigid cold, huddling further into the winter jacket she wore like a dress. White, he had marvelled that day.
The woman turned towards him as she moved forwards and before he knew it, arms were looped around him. Distantly, he recalled this was called a hug.
"Your winter storm will end one day, Skull." The woman had whispered to him with tears in her eyes.
"Just," Blue eyes disappeared behind closed lids. "Just don't forget who you are."
"If you continue one more step towards her, I'll shot him." A deep voice spoke up, and Soldier found himself stepping once to the side to twist his head over his shoulders carefully.
It was the man in the fedora again, holding a gun steadily at the head of his associate once more. Except, this time the man was forced onto his knees with blood running down the side of his face. Both of his arms broken as he rasped in pained intervals. The hitman holding him hostage didn't even spare Soldier's associate a single glance as he looked at him.
"Drop your weapon, or else." He warns with tension.
The associate, Thirteen, Soldier noted as he finally caught the ranking number on the man's cheek. Sporting a growing harsh smile on his weathered face as he jerked forwards to catch a glimpse at the hitman.
"You'll regret this." The Russian grins with bloodied teeth. "The Soldier will kill you for this!"
Thirteen turned towards him, "Kill him! Kill him! We need to leave, Soldat!"
The man in the fedora narrowed his eyes, near golden in flame warning as he aimed his gun downwards, and shot one of Thirteen's legs. Those very eyes were still staring at Soldier's as they both ignored the howling scream from the man's current hostage.
"Come. Here." The hitman finally demands bitingly, and for some odd reason...The Soldier can't help but feel like there was an unspoken something missing from the man. Like an...insult.
The whimpering sound of his associate caught his attention, "S-Soldat."
It was faint. Soldier flickered his eyes towards Thirteen with a blank expression before giving a slow, careful nod towards the hitman. Moving away from the girl that reminded him so much of the women lost to the haze of his memories, Soldier stepped towards the other man. With the shotgun still held in his hand, he lowered it to point towards the floor. That didn't deter the hitman's alertness though as Soldier made it halfway, ignoring the others scattered around the room watching or tending to whoever was injured.
The man in the fedora eyed him, watching his every move as Soldier slowed to a halt, just a few meters away from each other. At that very moment, Thirteen gasped and shuddered as the blood continued to flow, and Soldier honed in on it sharply. Lowering the shotgun to the floor, he raised his head to meet the hitman's gaze, their golden hues like a scorching sun under those shades.
Soldier tilted his head at the other, and smiled.
There was a shattering bang as Thirteen was blown backward with a bullet between his eyes. Shotgun held loosely in Soldier's hand as he recalled the brief look of betrayal and horror flashing through Thirteen's eyes before he fired. That fool, Soldier thinks, he should have realized that their designation was their death warrant.
His commanders have told people branded with the mark of 'XIII' will always be the sacrificial lamb to their cause. It's because they knew about the Soldier program, they knew the activation codes, and they knew they would be safe from him because of the programming.
Or so they were told.
How tragic, Soldier mused, to be at the bottom of the hierarchy as he peels away one of the patches on his cheek. And what appeared behind it was the black roman numerals of 'VII'.
The man carrying the gun had only froze for a moment to let the blood splatter his face and the removal of his patch to process before he reacted like that of a snake. He shot him, and Soldier's shoulder dipped backward for a moment before he righted himself just as fast. The Soldier was unamused with the new bullet wound that was already closing as he glared darkly at the one responsible for it. He received only a blazing look instead, reminiscent to those of the sunset horizon that belonged to the brunet, and the Soldier tilted his head up at that.
"You..." The man says lowly, and Soldier huffed blandly at the tone.
Perhaps these people had been something to the Soldier as he took a brief once over around the room. Finding it strange how strongly they were reacting to him. But they were nothing to him now, and it makes him wonder again just how long has he been inactive? By the fact that he hasn't killed anyone yet other than Thirteen, he concludes that it's been too long.
He needs to return to his commanders as fast as he can.
A click of a gun caught his attention and Soldier observed the shadowed eyes that were looking at him as if he knew Soldier's train of thoughts. And they were just daring him to move. The nerve, Soldier thinks disdainfully. He tightened his grip on the shotgun before throwing it to the side, purple eyes burning.
The Soldier answers only to his commanders. Not to the likes of him.
Enough is enough.
Leaning back, Soldier let his Cloud flames coil up his arms, taking pleasure in the way the man's eyes widened in realisation. He swore, a name dying on his lips when Soldier tipped his head back with a mirthful, "Dasvidaniya."
Enma wakes up just in time to catch the purple flames flickering out towards the expanse of the gala, and Skull hurtling out the windows right after. Soundless when he calls out for him as he lies prone on the floor with his head resting on his own blood. Everything hurts. Mostly his head. But it hurt just as much to see the purple eyes that had belonged to his friend, stare at him as if he was nothing while trying to kill him.
What had happened?
Who was that man?
Why did Skull...
Groaning, Enma opened his eyes blearily and took in the sight. It seemed as if devastation was left behind with the way the room stood in shambles, and the unconscious bodies lying on the floor. Just what had happened in the short time he was knocked out? To result in the Varia huddling around Belphegor shouting, cursing up a storm as Mammon cast illusions for the motionless officer, holding onto their own injured shoulder. To the Vongola spread out to attend to the injured with the exception for Hibari who was being tended by Tsuna's Sun Guardian. And to Tsuna's two Mists sitting by the side as the man murmured quietly to the girl's ear as she shook with terror in her eyes.
"Shit!" The faint curse reaches Enma's ears as he trailed his eyes towards Verde who was running towards Tsuna's tutor whose bloody sight paled from Enma's own.
He breathed in shakily. Catching the way the former Storm Arcobaleno slumped next to Hibari with his usual serene expression morphed into a tired blankness. The way Lal held Colonello's hand that wasn't broken and the way Yuni cried quietly with Gemma fretting over her.
Adelheid being laid out beside Tsuna's Cloud with her face marred with scratches and a leg so bruised and bent that it had to be broken. His eyes burned and Enma closed them when the world startled to blur before him. Numb to the hands reaching out to him to pull him up or Tsuna's frantic voice in his ear. There was just the dragging feeling in his chest. The kind that felt heavy and sad and frustrating as Enma's consciousness started to waver.
Ah, Enma breathes as he remembers the time the Vendice left a hole through Skull's head.
It feels a lot like despair.