09 – Limits

Edmond was perplexed. But now he had a situation to deal with. He couldn’t allow anyone to see Q in this state, but if Mercain went through all the trouble to actually come here in person, he had to let him in.

Thinking quickly, the Count came up with an idea. “Hey,” he said to Q. “Look at me.” Q’s watery green irises looked up to Edmond, who in turn locked their eyes. “Aine,” he commanded. “Go to sleep.”
The Count wasn’t sure it would work, but it was quick thinking. Q’s eyes seemed to glaze over for a second, before he closed them sharply and jumped back. He startled himself and those around him, as he hit the coffee table and almost lost his balance. He brought his sleeve to his face, trying to wipe it dry. He reached out his free hand, and Edmond put the sunglasses in it.

Q quickly put his glasses on and looked away, bringing his hands to his sides. “I am sorry you had to see me like that.”
Edmond sighed with relief. “It’s all right,” he replied. “I know it wasn’t really you.” He was just glad the command had worked. He couldn’t have Mercain walking in and seeing a scene like what had just occurred.

Edmond turned to the servant, who was still waiting patiently. “You may let Mercain in, now.”
The servant nodded and walked back over to the door.

Q sniffed, and wiped his face with his hands a few more times. He didn’t even know he was capable of crying.
“Why don’t you go upstairs and wash yourself off,” Edmond suggested. “And when you think you’ve recovered enough, you can come back down here, alright?”

Q nodded, and walked back upstairs just as Mercain came in with a worried look on his face.
Edmond, shirtless. With fresh bandages over him. The hacker sat in a  chair across from the Count.

“I heard about what happened, and I came to see if you were all right.”

Edmond chuckled slightly. “Well, I’ve been better, as I’m sure you can see.”

Mercain leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, “Well, against Shoy, I’d say you’re doing pretty good. I’ve heard bad stories about him.”
Mercain was finding this seat rather uncomfortable. And he felt like it was too dark in the room. There were no glowing monitors around… It was too open here. He found himself growing uneasy by the open space.

“Yes, well, I had help at the last moment. Though I do believe we were evenly matched.” That was a lie. Edmond knew he would’ve lost, unless Q had stayed there to help him the entire time.

“Really?” Mercain smiled slightly. “Well, your reputations precede the both of you. What I would’ve given to see that fight.”

“I wouldn’t say it was that entertaining…” Edmond smirked.

“Quit being so modest,” Mercain replied.

Edmond Chuckled. “I’ve never seen you get out of your office before. There must be something more important at hand than my health, here.”

Mercain looked around the room, fumbling with his hands. “Well… Maybe not more important…”

“Oh?” Edmond grunted as he pushed himself to sit up on the couch, rather than lay. The pillows behind him shuffled, and one of the servants quickly went to his aid, replacing them so Edmond could sit more comfortably.

Mercain watched, and waited for the servants to be done before continuing. He lowered his voice, as if unsure. “I got a call earlier from Q today. I didn’t even know he could use the phone.”

Edmond frowned. So that’s why Q had the laptop. He wondered if he was already losing himself to Aine when he had called Mercain. “What did he say?”

“He told me about Tali,” Mercain replied. “Said he had contacted Opal, she told him how to kill her, and he asked if I had invented a device to suppress someone’s resonance soul.”

Edmond’s frown deepened. “I didn’t know he had contacted you about this. I’m sorry to have wasted your time, but…”

“No, no,” Mercain waved his hands. “It’s all right. I actually do have a generator for that purpose. But I was under the impression you already had a limiter, so I wanted to ask you about it.”

Edmond’s brows furrowed. “No… You know how I am about technology. What would make you think we had one?” He was lying through his teeth. Q had just come down complaining of his being breaking…

“Well, it’s just that, you know,” Mercain was trying to come up with a way to say this without blowing his cover. “I was wondering how Q could be in contact with Opal without, you know, dying. So I looked him up, and a pretty consistent fact about him is that nobody can feel his presence. Ki, Rez. Nothing. And even normal people have a little ki…”

Edmond had to think of an excuse for that, quickly. “Ah, Q has always been that way. I think it is because he is not human.”

“Not human?” Mercain wasn’t buying it.

“He’s sort of a werewolf.” Edmond stated flatly.

“A werewolf.” Mercain really wasn’t buying it, now.

“I can’t make stuff like this up,” Edmond reasoned. Oh god. A werewolf? Is that seriously all he could come up with?

Mercain leaned back in his chair. It was clear to him that Edmond was pulling reasons out of his ass to get away from the limiter issue. Finally, Mercain came out with it.”I saw what happened when Aine was murdered. I know Q has a limiter.”

Edmond let out a sigh. “It shouldn’t matter if he has a limiter or not, he was clearly asking for your help in the matter of the phoenix.” Just because Mercain said he’d seen something, didn’t mean he understood it. If he could get off the issue…

“Well, I understand that. And I am willing to help with my generator, of course.” He was being cordial, before he got to the rude part. “But I want to know why Q has a limiter. And you know my curiosity, Edmond. If you don’t tell me, I’ll figure it out sooner or later.”

“Then you’ll just have to figure it out for yourself,” Edmond growled.

Just then, Q walked down the steps, still in his suit. He was much more composed now, standing up straight.
Mercain, at the sound of the other’s footsteps, stood up and turned toward Q.
“Ah, Q. We were just talking about you and your limiter.”

Q grit his teeth, looking toward Edmond through his glasses. Would he? No, Edmond knew better than to tell anyone about his problems. He turned back to Mercain. “The limiter I asked you for?” He was going to play dumb.

Mercain forced a smile. This was proving more difficult than he envisioned. “No, the one you already own.”

Q looked to Edmond again, grasping at some type of hint of what he should do. Edmond saw the look on his partner’s face, and chimed in again. “I told you, whether or not he has a limiter shouldn’t matter.”

Mercain growled to himself. “Edmond and I were discussing your Rez.”

Edmond grunted, “What?” How did the situation turn into this? “Mercain, what does it matter what his Rez is?”
If only he could get up without hurting himself…

“It matters to me!” Mercain shouted, turning to Edmond, but pointing to Q. “There is something wrong with that guy, and I want to know why it’s so important you protect him!”

Q was taken aback. He wondered what had happened here. Why was Mercain acting like this? Was this what Opal was talking about?
“I don’t have a Resonance Soul,” He said.

Mercain jumped at Q, putting his arms around the man’s neck. “That’s bullshit! I saw it!” Mercain was trying to choke Q, but Q’s collar was in the way. The hacker moved his hands up more, but wasn’t strong enough to restrict Q’s breathing, so Q did nothing to protect himself.

“If you saw it, then you already know what it is,” Q rasped.

Mercain tightened his grip as much as he could, he had no response to that.

“Let go of him, Mercain!” Edmond shouted from his couch. “Get out of my house!”

Two servants rushed in, pulling at Mercain. Mercain eventually released Q from his grasp, but ran toward Edmond to do the same, clenching his hands around the Count’s neck. In this, his grip was stronger since Edmond was sitting, and shorter than Mercain. The servants tried to separate him, but he wouldn’t budge.
“You fucking bastard. I don’t know how I’ve put up with you for so long. But now that you’re in this shape, I’ll kill you with my own hands!”

Edmond closed his eyes, and rather than struggling, simply relaxed his body, and turned into thousands of Monarchs, slipping through the hacker’s fingertips. “Edmond!” Mercain screamed.
The servants grabbed him and threw him out of the castle, but the hacker still pounded on the door outside. “I’ll fucking kill you, Edmond! I’ll do it! You bastard!”

The butterflies massed near Q, before reforming into their host, Mr. Dantes. For a moment, the Count staggered, not fully able to handle his weight. Q held his shoulders. Edmond winced.
“What just happened?” Q asked. He was incredibly confused.

Edmond grunted, “I’m not too sure.”

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