This is chapter 2. I posted these at the same time so make sure you're in the right spot.
Perhaps Skull would have stayed that way- helping to keep his family alive in hostile situations, struggling with his panic attacks and leftover bad habits from his many years on earth and the Wars he had participated in, but Tsunayoshi and Yuni had teamed up to perform an impossible task.
They had come to him, as the oldest, most experienced of the lot. Adding in his Cloud Flames, and their propagation property allowing their desperate gamble the best chance of succeeding…
Skull had said yes. Of course he had.
A chance to change the future? To give his family a better life than this?
A life where they were not always hungry, where they had not lost their homes, their livelihoods, where they could live again instead of surviving?
It hadn't even been a thought.
He had survived World War I and II, he had been an experiment in the darkest of the Nazi camps after surviving where he shouldn't have, he had been hunted, he had survived.
Despite this, he had not been prepared for the difficulty of arriving back in the past. Had not been ready for the bonds he had forged in Flame and shared suffering to be gone.
Unprepared for the way his mind would react to the trauma of having his bonds ripped away into nothingness. He had known that the bonds had helped to settle him, to calm his mind, but until they were gone he had not realized how much they helped him.
There was a moment where Skull didn't register the lack of bonds, too busy staring at the clearing he had landed inside, in the past. He had not seen this clearing since the times long before the End of Days. It wasn't that where he landed wasn't easily recognizable, but that he was surrounded by greenery. Trees, the likes of which he hadn't seen still standing in years. A thick cover of grass with wildflowers dotting here and there, in bright, vivid colors. The sky was so blue, the sun was shining and he could hear the birds singing.
It was like every dream he had ever dreamed of the days before the End, when the Earth was beautiful and alive. If it weren't for the way he could easily breath, how there was no pain or pull of one of the nastier scars he received after the End, he would have thought this was simply another dream.
It was too real, he was too real and he could feel.
And for one moment. One perfect moment, everything was fine and it was okay again.
Then the loss of bonds and people crashed into his mind, time travel, the dead weren't dead, but they weren't his family anymore and every muscle in his body locked up and his jaw clenched automatically without thought, so not a sound would escape him.
He recognized the tightness in his chest, the closing of his throat, the way his legs shook beneath him, and the way the edges of his vision were being overtaken by spots. He hunched over, a hand on his chest as he tried to breathe through the panic attack.
He just needed a moment. Just a minute and everything would be fine again, just a second to calm down and Skull would be human again and everything would be- everything is- just fine-
A hand grasps his shoulder with enough strength to hold him in place.
Skull doesn't think- can't think. Everything is automatic-someone snuck up on him- where was his Family? Why couldn't he feel them- he was going to die if he didn't kill them first- they were going to take him away again, Skull couldn't be taken away, he had too much to protect, he needed to fight back—
Skull lashes out sharp, and dangerous. His hand grabs the wrist at his shoulder and he twists throwing the person behind him over his shoulder. In the next moment he has turned to lash out at the next closest presence, registering absently that Rain Flames have just been used to slow his reactions by an instant. His Flames flare, vicious and furious as the male he had been aiming to kill prevents his death by a fraction of an second—