The river’s tears surround his body. In and out, his mind drifts with the tide. Weakly, he blinks, the world around him is white, blinding. His skin is ice, pulse slowing. Each breath is agony. He couldn't wait to stop.
Blood, his blood, is being gently pulled from his open wounds. Tenderly, the water washes the stab marks, readying his body to be taken by the elements and animals.
Slowly, Adam blinks away the tears that dried. His eyes close, welcoming the dark to take him. Maybe the afterlife will be equal?
All is left is his hearing. Leaving this world to the gentle crash of waves is a peaceful way for anyone to go. Some may say being surrounded by family, but this is bliss for the dying faunus.
Suddenly, the soft crash of a weed-woven basket bounces in the grass by the riverside followed by a sharp gasp. ”Oh my, ” a woman whispers in horror. ”Somebody, please! A man has been hurt!”
”Over there!” He hears from far away.
Soft hands rummage in his mucky red hair. “Don’t worry,” she whispers, “help us coming,” she reassures the dying man with a caring smile.
Adam blinks up at the stance woman. ”How pathetic, ” his voice rasps, his vision blurring up at the human woman. “Dying in the arms of a human,” he bits out before weakly coughing up blood.
Adam closes his eyes, sure that this will be his final moment alive. Around him, the word is finally dark and quiet. Peaceful.
The scent of creamy stew fills Adam’s nostrils. He breathes in the softness smell of mouthwatering smell. The crackling of cinder reaches his ears, a calming crackle.
Blinking, the world is nothing but smudges blending together to make a fuzzy image of Adam’s surroundings.
Adam attempts to push up, moaning at the awful sting in his abdomen. ”Fuck,” he hisses, holding is abs. Adam folds into the pain, hugging his waist as he roars in pain. “Gah!”
Low thuds rush towards him. A door swings open, drawing Adam’s eyes to the same woman from the river.
She tucks a hair behind her ear as she moves to him. ”What’s wrong?” she asks, kneeling before the bed. ”Oh dear, you must have moved to fast. Hold on for a moment, ” she says before rushing back out the door of the bedroom.
The room is small. The bed is in a hole in the wall, the ceiling above high enough for him to sit up in and no more. A stone fireplace tucked away in the corner. On the other side is a small desk with a chair, with some papers neatly tucked in the corner with an oil lamp to the side. There are no windows. Only a door.
The woman walks into the room with a small bundle of cloth. ”Get away, ” he growls.
She stops as he commanded for a moment. She takes a deep breath, breathing in the scent of the crackling fire and smell of simmering creamy soup before walking again.
Adam goes to jump out of the bed, throwing off the blankets and kicking his legs off the bed. As he steps, Adam’s legs tremble, giving in to gravity and slamming into the ground. ”Gah!” he screams.
The woman rushes over to the fallen man, dropping the bundle on the bed. Carefully, she goes to hold his arm. Adam swats at her, growling at her weak attempts to help him up to the bed.
Disgracefully, Adam is forced to use the woman as a support for his weight. Her hand strokes down his banged back. She's warm and smells like a warm cooked meal. ”It’s okay, ” she whispers. ”Deep breaths now.”
Through gritted teeth, Adam gives in to her wishes, trying to slow his breathing so it may no longer burn.
”There you go, ”she praises, slowly lowering him back on the bed.
Adam looks up at her with anger. She's treating him like an animal. ”I don't need a human's help, ” he growls.
She hums gently, a gentle smile still on her face, ” of course not, ” she said as she reaches for a bundle again. She places in on his lap. It's cold to the touch. And an ice pack. ”I'll be back, ” she says before leaving.
Adam holds the bundle of ice in his hands, pressing it against his abdomen, sighing out in pure relief. His belly still aches, but the frozen package gives him the relief that has been well needed for a long awhile. Adam closes his eyes, leaning his hand back against the wooden base of the wall.
A soft knock echoes from the doorframe. Adam opens his eyes to find the woman holding a tray. On top of it are a bowl, a spoon and mug.
”Here, ” she says, ” placing it in his lap. ”I’ll be back to clean your bandages once you’re done.” She gets up and starts to walk back to the door before pausing. “I forgot to ask, what’s your name?” She asks.
”Adam Taurus, ” he bites out.
She smiles, ” well it's very nice to meet you, Adam Taurus. I'm Jane. Welcome to my home.”
Adam wakes bathed in sweat, chest bouncing with his hypertension. Above him, Jane sat, dabbing away at his forehead with a damp cloth. Dark circles round out under her eyes, only seen by the dim flicker of the oil lamp.
”Mommy?” a small voice whispers.
Jane turns, a finger placed between her lips. ”He’s sleeping, ” she hushed softly.
”Why is he in dad’s room!” the boy asks.
The woman goes silent for a moment, her face dark under the shadows of the oil lamp. ”Honey, ” she says, getting up from the chair. She kneels over the young boy. ”Daddy doesn't live here anymore, remember?” she said.
The boy sniffles, ”but won't daddy be mad when he finds him in his office? You already changed it so much. Now he's going to be double mad.”
She kisses his head, ” oh baby, daddy isn't going to hurt me, ” she says, ” daddy is—away. Now off to bed.” The boy hugs her before heading off the bed.
Jane takes in a deep, trembling breath for a moment while she rubs her eyes. ”He’s not going to hurt me anymore, ” she says in a crocking voice.
Adam closes his eyes as she walks back over to him. She continues to clean him from his sweat and dried blood.
He listens when she speaks, ” that's my son, ” she says, ” he’ll be turning five soon. He really likes you.”
Adam pretends to be sleeping, listening when she starts to hum. A quiet ditty that lulls Adam back into sleep.
The boy sits on the floor of the room Adam is trapped in. He colours with a red marker, looking up once in a while to see Adam glaring back.
If he had his sword, he could fight his way free, or at least threaten them for his freedom.
Suddenly, the boy gets up with the picture, holding it up to Adam. ”This is you, mister.”
Adam studies the picture half-heartedly. ”I can see that, ” he grumbles.
”What a lovely picture, ” Jane says as she walks in with a change of clothes. ”I'm sure Mister Taurus really likes it.”
She places the clothes on the bedside as she goes to take the picture. She studies it with a smile before walking over to the desk. She picks up a pin and pressing it into the picture and wood by Adam’s bed.
She claps her hands, ” now he can look at it.”
The boy puffs out his chest and smiles. ”Now I'm going to do one for mommy! So mister Taurus won't be lonely.”
”Great idea, ” she says. ”Now run along. I have to help him get changed.”
The boy runs off, leaving the two of them like always. She takes out a bundle of bandages. She leaves to bring in a bowl of freezing water.
”Arms up, ” she says, playfully doing the action herself.
”I know what to do, ” he growls lowly.
She unravels the bloody bandages, tossing them aside. With a careful hand, Jane places the damp cloth on his stitches, gently dabbing away dry blood.
”Why are you helping me?” he asks. ”I could kill you and your son any moment.”
Jane continues to clean the forming scars. ”You needed help.”
”You know I'm a criminal, ” he bites out.
”There are people in the world that hurt you, ” she says, ” no one has shown you kindness in a long while have they?” she asks.
Adam shuts his mouth, letting her clean him without any trouble. She helps pull up his pants and button up a long-sleeved black shirt.
She offers him a hand, half-heartedly, he takes it. Adam hisses in pain, leaning into her for support and balance.
They clasp hands and Jane pulls back. ”One step at a time, ” she says, slowly leading him to the door.
Each step is shaky, his legs tremble as he tries to hold his weight. ”Humans are heartless, ” he growls under his breath. ”You wouldn't help me if you didn't get something out of it.”
”You aren't wrong, ” she says, ” humans are cruel. You aren't alone in that, ” she chuckles softly. ”Want to see something?” she asks with a raised brow.
”What?” he asks.
Jane let's good his hands for a moment, making sure he is safely propped up against a wall. Carefully, she unbuttons her shirt, reviling her tank top. Jane turns her back to Adam, showing off a massive scar marking up her back.
”My husband came home drunk and angry from losing money. I told him I would no longer allow him to spend money we don't have, that he can't get into my bank anymore. He kicked me down a beat me before taking out a pot of cinders burning me. The house caught on fire. He made it out fine but I had to get Kei, who was four. A burning beam fell on me and burned my back. Luckily, the local huntsman got me out.”
Adam didn't speak as he looks at the deep burn scars. He touched his eye looking at her own.
”The world is cruel, ” she says. ”My ex-husband isn't the only proof I have, ” she says.
Adam’s core tingles when he ventures out into town with Jane and Kei. She loops her arm around him, keeping him from limping off and leaving this town.
Kei runs around them in circles, Jane dragging him about like a trophy from stall to stall, shopping for food.
He can do nothing but spectate as the human woman smiles like always. The shopping district is small. It lines around a round mural in the mirror where children play around a band.
Its a small village, filled with a close-knit group of people, human and faunus alike. Adam’s eye catches Kei, Jane’s son run around with other kids. He can't help the small grin he hides.
His eyes wander to the only vendor selling weapons and dust. It's the only one in the square, which is strange.
”Why are there no huntsmen?” he asks.
Jane looks up from her shopping list, ” oh, we have a wall surrounding the town, ” she says. ”All the huntsmen hang around there, ” she says.
Suddenly, a child screams, drawing everyone in the squares gaze.
”Do you know how I am?” a woman hollers angerly. ”Stupid brats, ” she hisses, taking out a sword.
”Kei!” Jane calls over her son, the boy looking back at his mom with pleading eyes.
Other kids start to cry, mothers and father pleading to their children.
Adam looks around. No huntsmen.
His body moves on its own. Adam goes to the weapon salesmen and steals a sword and fore dust. He pours it onto the sword as marches up to the woman and her gang.
As she raises her sword, Adam charges his semblance, slicing the sword from her hand.
The word smudges into a blur as he charges for the group of thugs. It's like knives driving into his flesh as he moves, screams flood his ears in the sweet symphony of agony. He loves the screams.
”Filthy human scum, ” he smiles.
Adam wakes in the same bed from the first time. Jane is speaking with a doctor at the door of the room.
The man leaves, allowing the two of them to be alone. Jane walks over. She kneels down and combs back his bangs.
”What happened?” he asks.
Sadly, she smiles, pained and hurting, ” you pulled quite a the stunt, ” she chuckles softly. ”While you were kicking ass, you opened up your stitches and blacked out.”
Adam hums, looking up at the ceiling. ”Is the kid okay?” he asks.
”Everyone is fine, ” she whispers. Jane kisses his head, ” thank you, ” she praised, ” thank you so much.” Her arms wrap around his neck, crying into his shoulder. ”God, I would have killed you if you died.”
Hesitantly, Adam reaches up to rub her back. His heart squeezes when she touches him, hearing her sobs, Adam is uncertain what to do.
”Lucky I'm not dead, ” he says.
Jane pulls back, whipping away her tears with her sleeve. ”I forgot something, ” she said, reaching into her pocket. She pulls out an eyepatch with a red rose in the center. ”You're always hiding it, ” she says, placing it in his hand.
Adam holds up the eyepatch, getting a good long look at it. Carefully, Adam pulls the patch over his eye and looks up at Jane.
”How do I look?” he asks.
Adam looks into his reflection. Two small and slim scars are bright against his pale pecs and abs. The same mirror on his back where the blades had pierced.
”Adam, come help with the garden!” Jane calls from the backyard.
It's been months since he was stabbed, and now loving with Jane and her son.
The village had offered him a job as a huntsman to guard to town. Gladly, he took the offer.
He hadn't forgotten about his fight with Blake and Yang, but he couldn't bring himself to leave.
Adam pulls his shirt down over his chest and smooths it out. He fiddled with eyepatch before leaving his revelation alone.
Outside, Jane kneels in front of a garden in the works. A flower garden in front of the small home, filled with red roses.
Kei digs up worms and puts them in a muddy pale. Adam leans over with a wet cloth and rubs his face.
”We’re going to have to give you a bath, ” he says.
”No, ” the boy whines, flailing at Adam to get away.
”Kei, you need a bath, ” Jane says, joining in on shipping her son’s face.
”Mommy no!” he moans she starts tickling him.
”You can't escape me, ” she playfully roars, smothering Kei in a hug. ”Adam, can you bathe him? I'll finish this up.”
He smiles, ”Alright, ” he says. Adam lifts Kei up and props him up on his shoulder. Kei pleads for mercy, but it is far too late when they reach the bathroom.
Turning the nozzle, hot water bursts from the fosset. He leans ice the tub, his hand waving back and forth to test the warmth.
”Will you come in with me?” Kei asks.
Adam looks over at Kei, who is already stripping off his shirt, and looking up at him with big eyes.
Soon Jane enters the house again, covered in dirt and grime. She walks over to the bathroom, hearing giggles inside. Slowly, she pushes open the door, viewing the boys covered in bubbles. Kei waves his rubber duck, while Adam holds a toy shark, them having an epic battle.
She starts to giggle, drawing their eyes to her peeping.
”It isn’t what it looks like.”
She opens the door, stepping closer to the tub. “May I join?” she asks.
Adam is about to protest, but Kei cheers, ” Yay! Mommy can join too, ” he said, taking out a toy octopus.
Without hesitation, Jane pulls off her clothes and hopes into the bubbles. Her back pressed against Adam’s chest, as she plays with the purple octopus.
Jane gives him a cheeky smile, cheeks lightly flush pink as she acts like she doesn't know.
That night, the moon brightly shines down on the small village. Adam looks at the window, to the bright night sky.
Adam moved out of that small room into Janes bedroom. She lays on her chest, naked and bare under the blankets next to him.
The white fang, Blake, it all became a distant memory by the time. Adam made a decision to stay. He honestly didn't care what happened anymore. He is free from it all.
This is his new start, a knew life.
Slowly, Jane pushes up to look at him with a sleepy gaze. ”Are you going to sleep?” she asks. He smiles, laying on his side. Jane crawls over him, resting over his chest. ”What to go another round?” she asks.
His fingers crawl up her body, making the woman moan and arches into his gentle touch. Adam leans up and kisses her. Jane mouths along with him, slow and gentle.
Jane moves back to straddle his hips. She tosses her head back, moaning softly not to wake her boy.
Adam pushes himself up form the bed and holds her close as they move together gently.
”I love you, ” Jane whispers into his horns.
Adam’s throat goes dry as he kisses her neck. He tastes the words, ” I love you, too.” She moans, hugging him close to her chest. ”I’m so happy I met you, ” he says.
Adam looks at her from afar, that long black hair, ghostly pale skin and yellow eyes. She glares at him too, in horror—and he doesn't blame her.
”How are you alive?” she demands in a low growl, taking out her weapons, crouching into a fighting stance.
Adam takes in a deep breath, calming his pumping blood. But without her, he wouldn't have made it here.
”It’s been while Blake. Four years right?” he asks with a smile.
”What are you doing here?”
”I believe the question here is, why are you here?” He twists the question.
Blake stares at him,” What?” She says,” clearly you don’t belong here,” she said pointing her blade in his detection.
Adam shakes his head, ” no. That would be you, ” he says, ” I've been living here for years now.”
She doesn't move from her stance, eyeing him up like a size of meat.
”I've changed Blake, ” he says.
”Monsters don’t change,” she growls.
”Dad!” a boy calls out from afar, racing towards him.
Both Blake and Adam turn to him and a woman hustling after him with a blue bundle tied around her shoulder and across her chest.
The boy looked about ten, Blake steps back when Adam lifts the body up, hosting him up on his hip.
”Kei, Daddy is working, ” Jane says. ”Miss, I am so sorry for my son’s behaviour, ” she apologizes.
”It’s okay, Jane, ” Adam says. ”Blake, this is my wife Jane, and adopted son, Kei, ” he says. He points over to Jane, how does a turn. Showing off two redhead twin in the front and back of Jane. Both the boy and girl had small black horns on their heads. ”And those two mine, ” he says.
”It’s nice to meet you, ” Jane says. ”I’m sorry Adam, he really wanted to see you.”
He leans over and kisses her, ” I’ll be home in soon,” he says, placing Keith down.
Jane and the children leave, allowing Blake and Adam to have a moment.
”Thank you for stabbing me, ” Adam says. Blake grit her teeth.
”You should have died, ” she says before leaving.
Adam takes in the summer air and smiles. A changed man.