Hi again. This chapter really didn't want to come out. Incidentally sorry about it being shorter. In future I'm going to try and shoot for 4k words a chapter. If anyone has any tips for writing Ruby and Yang please review and tell me. Enjoy.
Mercurial Chapter 2
Mercury woke with a start. He glanced around his breath coming in shallow bursts, gripping the sheets tightly.
'Just another nightmare' he thought to himself as his heartrate slowed.
Ever since the fight with his dad he had nightmares. People on the edge of his vision whispering to him. Telling him that he was still in that house. Telling him that he hadn't been rescued and that Marcus had killed him. Worst of all telling him that he was exactly what his father intended and that by killing him he had fulfilled what his father wanted for him.
He sat up in bed and took a moment to process his surroundings.
'Soft bed´ he thought to himself, 'Been a while since I had something like this.'
In an effort to make him tougher his dad often had him sleep in worse conditions leading to many cold and sleepless nights.
'Fuck those dreams, offing that man was the best thing I could've done,' but no matter how he tried he couldn't chase those thoughts away fully.
He looked to his left seeing the clock on the side table. The glowing display read 1:30 PM.
'How long did I sleep for?'
He shuffled to the edge of the bed and moved to stand, he stopped himself before moving he moved himself off the side looking down at his legs.
In all the madness of the last few days he was almost able to forget the loss he had suffered. Traveling with Qrow, taking the painkillers and the excitement of possibly fixing the damage he suffered had made him blind to the loss.
Now though, it was laid bare for him to see. He ran his fingers over the stumps. The doctors had done a fantastic job considering the damage. The stump while still red and raw was a clean cut with nothing jutting out or causing him discomfort.
'Wonderful, just another shit situation to deal with'
His dad could never just leave could he. He had to leave some sort of present. A permanent reminder of him.
'It couldn't be a nice present. He had to fucking neuter me'
Letting his anger stew for a while, he tried to calm down. Taking large breaths, he felt it subsiding. Looking to the left he saw the wheelchair that he had become very familiar with over the last few days. At least Qrow had the foresight to leave the chair folded out.
Using some of the experience he received from his traveling, he hoisted himself using the edge of the bed and the side table and sat down in the chair. He hands flew to the wheels and he began moving himself to the door.
'Might as well find Qrow' if he could find the older man the maybe he could get a better idea of what they were doing.
He pushed open the door leading out of the guest room and wheeled himself outside. Now that he wasn't so tired Mercury was able to get a better look at the house. He had only registered the pictures on the walls last time and even that was coming back fuzzy when he tried to recall it.
It was a comfortable looking home with warm wood furnishings and soft-looking carpets scattered on the floor.
Realising that he still hadn't seen Qrow and that most people would probably be awake by now he decided on the next best course of action.
"Qrowwww" he called, "Qrowwww?"
Well no such luck at finding him straight away and now that he finally used his voice he realised how parched his throat was.
Making his way to what looked like the kitchen with the intention of getting a glass of water, Mercury took a few moments to reflect on the past few days.
His father, Marcus, had finally seen it fit to finish his basic training and progress to the next step. Mercury had tried to make it clear early on when he was younger than he wanted to do something else and nothing to do with killing people. Even at an early age Marcus had made no attempt at hiding the truth of his job from Mercury. Grooming him to be his successor
However, his complaints had stopped as soon as they came as his father made it clear what happens if he questioned him.
'I've still got the marks' he thought bitterly.
From then on whenever his dad was home it was just drill after drill and exercise after exercise in an attempt to make him stronger.
Mercury had gone along with the training. Developing his own unique style different from his dad. Strengthening himself for the inevitable day when he could escape and survive on his own.
His dad must've figured something out or at least had an idea of his intentions because shortly before he got the hell out of there, he woke up strapped to a table.
Mercury awoke feeling vaguely like his head was wrapped in cotton. The last thing he remembered was talking to his dad and actually being offered some water during training by him.
Damnit, of course the water was drugged. It's not like his dad to offer any respite from the training and recently he seemed to be pushing him even further.
In a few days Mercury had planned to leave without so much as a note and try his luck at enrolling at one of the numerous combat schools. Maybe the Mistralian, maybe the Valean one. Probably not Vacuo or Atlas. Too hot and too cold.
Even if he hadn't been able to get into the combat schools he would've been fine just getting a job at café or something. Anything would be better than this hell.
He blinked the weariness from his eyes and attempted to sit up, only to find that he couldn't move his arms or legs. He lifted his head and looked down seeing his limbs bound to the table.
'What the hell?'
He heard the door open and saw the man who put him here walk in.
"Hey dad, mind telling what the fuck this is?" said Mercury. His dad probably had something sick planned and if Mercury could distract him maybe he could loosen his bindings enough.
His dad chuckled, a dark, thick sound that chilled Mercury down to his bones. His dad never laughed, not even so much as a smile. So for him to be laughing did not bode well for Mercury, not well at all.
"Oh son, this is the next stage in your training." he said his laughter dying down "I've seen you planning something and I'm not sure what it is but I know it's not going to be good for me." He paused. "I've invested too much time into to you for you to fuck it up now"
'Invested time? Is that all I was to him?' Mercury knew that he and his dad were at odds practically all the time but he had hoped that underneath there was some sort of paternal affection there.
Seems he was wrong though and damnit it hurt. Even through everything that he had been put through, hearing his dad admit it without a change in his face still hurt.
"You're better than I thought you would be at your age. You had such slow progress at the beginning but with some careful motivation you advanced so quickly." Marcus smiled, a strange expression on his face. It seemed to cleave his face in two and physically hurt him. Mercury could almost see his dad's Aura draining to heal the strained muscles.
"But there is still one more step, you've created an interesting fighting style for yourself even without the use of weapons"
Mercury felt sweat running down his face. His dad was never this forthcoming with his praise, so for him to being saying things like this Mercury could feel his chances of escape dwindling.
"Well you know I try." Mercury laughed nervously.
'Damnit, I need to find a way out of this, this is wrong, something is seriously wrong.'
Marcus laughed again, a louder, harsher sound. "That's right you do and luckily I found a way to work with that. On a previous contract I… acquired some experimental combat prosthetics."
Mercury felt his blood chill. 'Prosthetics, what the hell does he need prosthetics for.'
"These prosthetics go against all conventional rules of warfare as they have a system which allows them to be controlled either through a neural integration or through just the mechanisms of the leg."
Mercury's eyes widened. Controllable prosthetics, of course his dad would try and find some way to take control of his style.
Mercury began to pull harder on the bindings trying everything he could to loosen them.
"You see, while you may have made improvements I still have to deal with you not listening."
Mercury's thrashing stopped as he stared at his father with fear.
"You refuse the simplest commands and, if I'm correct are now intending to leave?"
Mercury said nothing, fear gripping his heart filling his chest with ice.
"So, I've come to a simple conclusion, I'll make you listen even if you don't want to. These prosthetics are for you Merc, they'll make you stronger and in time you'll learn to appreciate it."
Mercury opened his mouth to scream only for his dad to shove a rag in, muffling any sound. He saw his father move back to a drawer and remove something. As he turned around the blade of the bone saw glinted in the firelight.
Mercury was startled from his memories by a high-pitched voice. Looking around he saw the interior of the kitchen and a pair of curious, silver eyes looking directly at him. The girl peered at his face as if taking in all the details. She looked a few years younger than him
Realising that she was waiting for something Mercury tried his best to respond with the diction of one trained to interact with any target and gain the trust of any person.
The girl looked slightly off put at this.
"I said, what's your name?"
Mercury paused for a moment deciding whether it would be a clever idea to give his name. He concluded that he'd probably be staying for a while and getting on any of the residents' bad side would be bad.
"Nice to meet you Mercury, I'm Ruby. You know my Uncle Qrow right?" This all came out in the span of about 2 seconds.
Mercury took a moment to process what she was saying. That and the obnoxiously high voice was beginning to give him a headache.
"Yeah, I know Qrow, he's your uncle?"
"Yeah he's super cool and he's teaching me how to fight!"
"That's great kid."
"Kid? You don't look much older than me."
She was right of course, Mercury was only two years older than her and barely old enough to even consider calling anyone kid. But to Mercury, he felt much older than he was.
There was a pause as the air seemed to fill with awkwardness. Ruby seemed to have run out of this to say and was pointedly avoiding looking at his legs whereas Mercury didn't seem interested in pursuing further conversation for now.
However, the silence was not to last as a mane of blonde hair appeared from around the door well.
"Ruby! Do you know where my…" The girl cut herself off as she looked at the stranger in their kitchen.
"That's Mercury. He's Uncle Qrow's friend from yesterday."
She took a moment to consider him, taking in his appearance and, as he expected, gravitating to his legs. Rather than the expected rictus of disgust he instead saw her take on a melancholy look as if the sight physically pained her.
"Mercury huh, I'm Yang. So…" she said drawling the word out, "How do you know our uncle?"
"He got me out of a bad spot and decided to bring me here to help."
"Ok. What kind of a bad spot?"
'The really fucking bad kind. Like bad as shit kind."
"Hey!" she said covering Ruby's ears, "Language."
Mercury simply rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right."
This wasn't missed by Yang or Ruby. Yang's eyes narrowed and she looked like she was going to retort.
The tension was broken by the entrance of Qrow.
"Hey kid, come outside for a moment."
Mercury nodded and began wheeling himself out. Ruby and Yang both seemed wary of him as he left. Qrow looked at his nieces and then towards Mercury. His lips tautened as he followed Mercury out of the room.
Mercury and Qrow moved a bit further away from the door until they were out of earshot. Qrow sighed.
"Look kid, I want to help you, I think you've got potential but you can't treat the people who live here like shit."
"I don't even know any of them, why should I care?" Mercury responded.
Qrow took another sigh and unclipped his flask from his belt, unscrewing the cap. The strong smell wafted over Mercury making his eyes water. While he had told Qrow his reservation about drink it didn't seem to change anything in the slightest.
"You should care because, annoying as you may be, you're going to be living here for a while so maybe not acting like a dick towards my family is a good idea" he said after taking a long drink from the flask.
Mercury considered this. He had already concluded that annoying people would be bad. 'It's not like I'm trying to annoy them.'
Qrow's face softened at this. "Alright kid. Now come on, I've got to show you something.
Following Qrow into the area behind the house Mercury saw all the makings off a forge as well as the blond man from yesterday. The heat from the forge rose off in hazy waves making the surrounding area pleasantly warm. Mercury could feel his eyes fighting to stay open even though he had just been sleeping.
The blond man noticed them and walked towards the pair.
"Hey Qrow, Hey Mercury."
Mercury started at this. He filled in the blanks quickly though. Qrow must have told the man his name.
"Hey Tai. Kid this is Taiyang. Ruby and Yang's dad."
Mercury grunted in recognition of the statement. Qrow looked wearily at him.
"Anyway Tai, can you show the kid the stuff."
Taiyang nodded and moved towards a case in the back. Flicking the latches on the case he removed a long, smooth object.
"Atlas-quality, dust reinforced, polymer ready for integration and allowing for easy movement. Basically, a highly-adaptable, mobile and strong prosthetic which you can use for your fighting."
Mercury's eyes widened with each feature explained. Qrow was right, he would've never been able to afford this by himself.
"Only problem is before we can work on adding any sort of weapon or even making it usable with however you fight, you're still missing one piece."
Qrow decided to get involved at this point.
"An adaptor allowing the prosthetic to interface with your nerves needs to be installed. So unfortunately kid you're going to have to go to hospital again."
Mercury paled for a second but then steeled himself. If it was the only way that he could improve then he would do it without question.
"Ok then, time to go to hospital"
So yeah. Not entirely happy with this chapter so I decided to leave it shorter and start on a fresh chapter for the hospital and further interactions between the sisters and Mercury once I study their character more. I'll try to keep the updates regular. Hope you enjoyed :)