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Characters / The Black Hearts

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Main Characters | My Name Is Cinder | An Emerald Unearthed | The Black Hearts | Roman's Empire | CRME

Characters appearing in The Black Hearts. Beware of spoilers from CRME.

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The Blacks

General Tropes:

  • Alliterative Family: Marcus, Melanie, and Mercury Black.
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  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: How else would you describe a family of sociopaths? Marcus is an abusive sadist, Melanie is a serial cheater, and their issues rub off on Mercury.
  • The Sociopaths: A recurring trait of the Black family. See their respective folders for details.

    Mercury's Parents 

Marcus and Melanie Black

The parents of Mercury Black, and not very good ones. They met when Marcus was a soldier and Melanie was a nurse. They married each other and gave birth to Mercury not long after.

Tropes applying to both:

  • Abusive Parents: Marcus physically abuses him, and Melanie verbally abuses him.
    Emerald: The only people who ever loved me were my parents and now they’re dead! [Cinder] was the only one I had left to turn to.
    Mercury: Wow. Your parents loved you. Must be nice.
  • Asshole Victims: They were awful people in general and it's doubtful that they'll be missed. (Least of all by Mercury.)
  • Hate Sink: Mercury's parents SUCK. Marcus is a total scumbag through and through. And not even being an abused spouse is enough to redeem Melanie.
  • Jerkass: To quote one of the tags for The Black Hearts, “Merc’s parents are assholes.” Reading their trope folders will provide more than enough proof.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: If they ever look like they're having a Pet the Dog moment, expect it to be negated sometime afterward. See the folders for details.
  • Knights of Cerebus: Mercury’s story is the darkest one in the series. And these two are the reason why. At least the other villains (even Brigit) had the advantage of being Faux Affably Evil. The Blacks are always blatantly abrasive and cruel. Even Mel’s appearance in CRME results in one of the darkest moments in the fic so far. Later, their images are used as a way to torment Mercury. And any discussion about them usually ends up making the tone slightly more somber.
  • Lack of Empathy: They both have no concern for Mercury or each other. Marcus will kill anyone for the right price or if they see what he’s doing, and Melanie is indifferent to the suffering of the people he tortures and kills.
  • Offing the Offspring: Marcus attempts to do this, and Melanie threatens to do this.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Mercury says that they will be violently arguing one night and then implied that they'd be having very loud sex the next night.


Marcus Black

Mercury’s father and a sadistic assassin. He was a former soldier for Atlas before being discharged.


  • Adaptational Villainy: He fits based on what was currently revealed about him on the show when this was written. The most you could say about him in canon is that he was an abusive, alcoholic assassin who tried to kill his son. This fic ramps him up to a full-on Ax-Crazy Sadist who also tortures people for money and has killed people for almost no reason. Also, as bad as he was implied to be in canon, there was no implication that he would kill young children.
  • Alcoholic Parent: As implied in canon, he is a heavy drinker.
  • Ax-Crazy: He joined the Atlas Military just to kill people, he likes to fight others, and he takes a lot of pleasure in torturing people. He also often has violent outbursts that he takes out on his family. Even the bar patron in CRME said he killed three people there. This comes to the forefront when he attempts to kill Mercury.
  • Blood Knight: As Mercury points out:
    Something he always tells me is that there’s nothing like the thrill of killing. Well, that and “Don’t touch my whiskey or I’ll beat you to death.”
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He may be an Ax-Crazy alcoholic, but he’s a competent assassin and fighter. Mercury says that many of his employers may overlook the alcoholism because he still gets results.
    Bartender: He’s one of our more violent customers. But he’s a damn good assassin. I can tell you that much.
  • Combat Pragmatist: As shown when he trains (and eventually fights) his son, Marcus is not above using cheap tricks to win. After all, when it's a life or death situation, there's no room for fighting fair.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: It's hard to say he didn't earn it, but Mercury shoots him in the neck and lets him choke on his own blood.
  • Deadpan Snarker: One of the many things that Mercury gets from him. Marcus downplays it, but he still has some occasional snarky lines.
    Melanie [grabbing Cobalt] You're not going anywhere! Marcus! Kill [Cobalt]! Now!
    Marcus: [smirks] How much are you paying?
  • Domestic Abuser: To Mercury and Melanie. He frequently beats them and shouts at them for little to no reason.
  • Doomed by Canon: No matter what, he’s going to get killed by Mercury.
  • Evil Is Petty: Ultimately, what makes him snap and want to kill Mercury is the latter insulting him one too many times.
  • Evil Mentor: He taught Mercury how to fight and kill people.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Because he was kicked out of the Atlas military, he became an assassin to sate his bloodlust. Likely, his skills in the military were used on this job.
  • For the Evulz: He's a psychopathic sadist, so he'll often commit actions just for the sake of being cruel.
    • He does like getting paid for his work as an assassin, but it’s mostly just a way to sate his bloodlust. Later on, he says that he’ll kill Mercury “free of charge.”
      Melanie: You'd kill someone for fucking free and you know it!
    • It's not limited to killing. He tells Cobalt that his father hired him to torture his mother to death when he had no reason to do that other than to be a cruel dick about it.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Downplayed. He doesn’t get angry at every little thing, but it can be very difficult to tell when he’ll just be mildly annoyed or when he’ll be borderline homicidal. And it is usually over the minor things. While Melanie might be doing things that any reasonable person would get angry at, Mercury mostly just tries to survive in the Black household. And he’s frequently on the wrong end of Marcus’ rage.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Those training sessions that Mercury complained that Marcus was going too hard on him for? That was him going easy on him! Just before Marcus and Mercury get to the final climactic fight, he admits this and sees no reason to hold back anymore as he fights him in the next chapter.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He claims to be trying to train his son to survive on his own and thinks that Mercury won't make it, but Mercury quickly calls him out on it by saying that he's just a terrible teacher since he doesn't actually teach anything and only takes it as an opportunity to beat up Mercury. He's not trying to do the best for his son; he's just a dick. Even his acceptance of his son's homosexual behavior is just him not caring rather than actual acceptance of Mercury's sexuality.
    • Most likely, he probably just saw Mercury as a useful assistant for his assassinations. He just uses his son as a tool and gets angry when he doesn't live up to his standards.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: The most punishment he ever got for anything was being discharged from the military for the assault on Vacuo. He still got his house paid for by Atlas and he continued to be an assassin for seventeen years without repercussion. He didn’t even get banned from a bar he frequents for killing three people there. If not for Mercury killing him, who knows how long he could’ve kept playing Karma Houdini.
  • Kick the Dog: Abusing his wife and son obviously count. However, he gets a specific example when he tells Mercury to shoot Stevens right in front of his daughter just before killing her. He also reveals that he killed Cobalt's mother on his father's commission just to be cruel.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: While abusing his wife is definitely a Kick the Dog moment since he doesn't care if she's a good person or not, Melanie is no angel. She's abusive to Mercury in her own right, is blatantly homophobic, and just generally a horrible person. Not nearly as bad as Marcus, but still pretty close. In that respect, his abuse may not come off as bad as it might be if Melanie were a decent person.
  • O.C. Stand-in: In canon, we only know that he was abusive, an assassin, and possibly an alcoholic. He was already shown dead before he could establish his character. He may be a canon character, but most of his characterization in this story is created by the author.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Mercury notes that Marcus throwing half a bottle of whiskey at him is a big red flag of how angry he is considering the fact that Marcus would never waste alcohol like that.
  • Open-Minded Parent: An extremely generous thing to say about Marcus as far as Mercury's sexuality is concerned. He doesn't really care about his son being gay, but it has less to do with being progressive and more with not really caring much about him in the first place. At the very least, it seems that he's not homophobic like Melanie. He even brings Mel up when Mercury was making out Cobalt on the couch, suggesting that he knows that she will have a problem with it.
  • Politically Correct Villain: When he sees Mercury making out with Cobalt, he asks if Melanie is around, implying that he's not homophobic like her.
  • Posthumous Character: In CRME. By the time he shows up in that story, Mercury is about to kill him. He later shows up as a projection from Emerald.
  • Psycho for Hire: Marcus is already a sadistic maniac. He thought he might as well get paid for it. He isn’t too crazy to be effective, however.
  • Sadist: For someone who likes torturing and fighting people, obviously this trope is true. He also takes pleasure in emotional pain as shown when he tells Cobalt that his dad hired him to torture his mom to death.
  • Smug Smiler: He does this a lot when fighting Mercury. Now we know where Mercury gets it from.
  • Smug Snake: Downplayed. He's a competent fighter and assassin. However, he underestimates his son all the time and it ultimately gets him killed when he thinks he got him out for the count.
  • The Sociopath: Mercury literally calls him a psychopath in the opening paragraph. Marcus does have many hallmarks of a low-functioning example. He is a ruthless assassin and domestic abuser with no empathy for anyone. He mostly cares about his own self-interests and gets angry when people try to go against it. He has some impulse control, but it’s clear that he still has issues with this with how much he beats his family and his alcoholism.note  And he has absolutely no problem killing witnesses, even if they’re children. When he finds out Cobalt is the son of one of his clients and his mom was the target, he tells him about it just to twist the knife. He even attempts to kill his own son for talking back to him too much.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Type 2 as the entry above shows. He was a former soldier in the Atlas military and only joined so he could kill people. He was discharged after an attack on Vacuo as Mercury notes later.
  • Torture Technician: He likes taking his time torturing people and killing others. He sometimes even gets extra pay for doing it in certain circumstances. It’s one of the only things that he and Mercury “bond” over.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He regularly abuses his wife and will take out female targets.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He kills the daughter of one of his marks simply because she saw him and Mercury attacking him.


Nurse Melanie Black

Mercury’s mother and a nurse working in Atlas. She met Marcus through her nursing job.


  • Ambiguously Evil: No doubt that she’s a terrible mother, a serial cheater, and has no problem with Marcus’ profession. However, compared to Marcus, she doesn’t have many moments to show her as truly evil. The most you could say is that she's a shitty parent. She does threaten to kill someone for a rather petty reason, but the intent wasn’t inherently malicious towards the victim. She is also a vicious homophobe and berates Mercury for making out with a guy. Even her death threats to Mercury are out of anger rather than a genuine desire to kill him. She loses some of that ambiguity in CRME when she threatens to kill Mercury for not coming with her. And this time isn’t just out of rage. She genuinely means it.
  • Back for the Dead: She comes back in CRME only for Cinder to kill her.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Aggravating Cinder was a big mistake that she pays for severely.
  • Females Are More Innocent: A technical example at best. She’s only verbally abusive to Mercury and is still being abused by Marcus. Later, she subverts this by threatening to kill Mercury if she doesn't come with her.
    • Her profession counts as well. Marcus went to be a soldier to kill people and then went on to be an assassin. She was a nurse, a profession that helps people.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Subverted. Mercury notes that she's an excellent cook and is usually the one cooking in the Black household since Marcus is too busy drinking or killing people. However, she is abrasive, rude, callous, and vulgar. Her personality isn't particularly feminine.
  • Hidden Depths: She’s an excellent cook and she worked as a nurse. She goes back to that job after leaving Marcus and Mercury.
  • Implied Death Threat: When she forces Mercury to come back with her and give up being an assassin and he refuses:
    Melanie glared at him. Then Cinder noticed a change in tone. “I don’t know what happened, doctor, but it seems that someone gave him too much morphine. He overdosed. Someone should’ve been paying attention to how he was being medicated.”
  • It's All About Me: Some of her behavior suggests that she believes in this trope. She talks down to Mercury while claiming she isn’t the boss of her and even gets angry about Marcus torturing someone because he won’t eat the dinner she worked so hard on. Not out of concern for the girl since she was going to kill her if he didn’t come up.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: She finds Mercury again and continues being abrasive, but then she reveals she wants to take him home with him so he won’t go out to be an assassin. However, the sentiment rings hollow when she threatens to kill him for not going with her.
    • This could also apply to the fact that she worked as a nurse at all. With the way she treats Mercury and her general Lack of Empathy, it's almost surprising that she went into a profession that involves helping people.
  • Kick the Dog: Berating Mercury for his sexuality.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: She's still pretty bad, but not as bad as Marcus.
  • Maternally Challenged: She certainly isn’t suited to be a mother but it’s more due to lack of maternal instinct rather than being willfully cruel like Brigit. She still makes sure Mercury is fed. Even her attempts to keep him safe are rendered moot when she threatens to kill him for not coming with her. She’s just a shitty person with virtually no concept of caring about others.
  • Missing Mom: She simply left around the time Mercury and Marcus went up to the mountains. She sees him again when Mercury is admitted to a hospital.
  • No Body Left Behind: Cinder turns her body into a pile of ash using Dust after she strangles her.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. The writer hadn’t realized that there was already a character named “Melanie” on the show, one of the Malachite twins. This is mentioned once the twins included. However, the two characters never appear in the same story together.
  • Parental Neglect: Downplayed. She does keep him fed, but she doesn't care much about his wellbeing.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: A bonus chapter shows that she is extremely homophobic. When she catches Mercury making out with a guy he brought home, she furiously hurls homophobic slurs at him and insists that he isn't gay.note 
  • Put on a Bus: She leaves her family when Marcus and Mercury live in the mountains...
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Some of her behavior suggests that she doesn’t have a lot of mental maturity. She always belittles Mercury for no good reason and gets into frequent shouting matches with Marcus when she doesn’t get what she wants. What cements the “psychopathic” part of the trope is when she threatens Marcus at gunpoint just to make him come eat the dinner she worked so hard to cook. And her wanting Mercury back seems more like wanting to take an old toy she lost back for herself.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: She is the most profane character in the entire series. She’s the only character who liberally uses profanity. Even Marcus of all people only swears once. As soon as she is taken out of The Black Hearts, profanity virtually disappears. This is toned down in CRME since she isn't dropping f-bombs, but she still uses almost as much profanity as everyone else in the fic combined, even in her short appearance. The illusion of her that Emerald makes has a swear word in almost every sentence.
  • The Sociopath: She is noted to have sociopathic tendencies by the writer. She doesn’t have any empathy for her family or anyone else. She threatens to kill a woman just because Marcus won’t come upstairs to eat dinner. She’s a serial cheater and shamelessly confesses to that. She also has severe anger issues. For example, when Mercury brings home a guy that he's been making out with. She demands that Marcus murders Cobalt. When she returns in CRME, she shows no concern for the fact that Mercury murdered Marcus and threatens to kill Mercury if he doesn’t come home with her.
  • Walking Spoiler: Not in her story of origin, but her appearance in CRME accounts for most of the spoilers in her folder. Her appearance in that fic is meant to be a surprise since she left Marcus and Mercury after Chapter 4 of The Black Hearts.


Mercury Black

The son of Marcus and Melanie. Find his tropes here.

Other Characters


Shade Stevens

One of Marcus’ marks and a known mob associate.


  • Alliterative Name: Shade Stevens. A loose example at best.
  • Ambiguously Evil: He worked for the mob, but he did care about his daughter and we weren’t given details about what he did. However, someone wanted him dead. It is justified that we don’t know more. Marcus would just take the hit regardless of what the mark has done. And since the story is from Mercury’s perspective, Marcus probably didn’t feel the need to tell him more even if he did know.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He did love Sapphire since he told her to go inside when Marcus came along. And didn’t want the last thing she saw to be his murder.
  • Non-Action Guy: Marcus noted that he had virtually no fighting ability.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Not much is known about him before he is killed by Mercury.

    Spoiler Character 

Sapphire Stevens

The daughter of Shade Stevens.
  • Alliterative Name: Sapphire Stevens. A better example than her father.
  • He Knows Too Much: She wasn’t even the mark. She just saw Marcus and Mercury attacking her father. In Marcus’ logic, that meant she needed to die, too.
  • Kill the Cutie: Killed by Marcus just for being a witness.
  • Only One Name: Subverted by Word of God. She was not initially given a name in the story, but the writer decided to give her a first name after the fact.
  • Walking Spoiler: Downplayed. It’s not like she’s very important to the plot, but her death is one notable moment that shows how vicious Marcus really is. It's something that's obviously meant to come as a shock.


Cobalt Michaels

Mercury's former boyfriend.


  • Abusive Parents: His father was abusive to him because of his sexuality and he had his mother killed because she accepted his sexuality.
  • Ambiguously Brown: He is said to be dark-skinned.
  • Bury Your Gays: Melanie threatens to do this, but it is thankfully subverted since Marcus doesn't want to deal with her problems.
  • Gayngst: He has to deal with his abusive father's homophobia.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: He retaliates against his abusive father by killing him, and we only see him getting arrested on the news.
  • Patricide: Cobalt goes home and ends up killing him in retaliation for having his mother killed. Mercury finds out that he was arrested on the news.
  • Reality Ensues: Good job on killing your dad, Cobalt! Too bad that it’s against the law. Predictably, since he doesn’t have any proof of what his dad did, he ends up getting arrested for murder.spoiler 
  • Satellite Love Interest: Downplayed. It's tough to say he's a love interest for someone like Mercury, but most of his character revolves around his relation to Mercury.
  • Shoo the Dog: Marcus doesn’t want to bother with Melanie's problems and homophobia, so he allows Mercury to get rid of him. Cobalt goes willingly.
  • Straight Gay: He doesn't have any stereotypical gay behavior.
  • Theme Naming: Between him and Mercury. Cobalt and mercury are both elemental metals.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted. One could expect to never hear from Cobalt again, but Mercury sees a news report about how he killed his father.
  • You Killed My Father: Marcus was hired by Cobalt's father to kill his mother and finding that out angers Cobalt. So much so that he does not want anything to do with Mercury and goes out to kill his own father — and his feelings towards his own father fit the trope more so.

    Cobalt’s Parents (Spoilers) 

Jaylin and Azura Michaels

The parents of Cobalt Michaels.


  • Abusive Parent: Jaylin abused him because he was gay.
  • Asshole Victim: Jaylin was a homophobic abuser who hired a hit on his wife because she accepted his son’s homosexuality. He definitely deserved to be killed by Cobalt.
  • Family Theme Naming: Along with Cobalt, they have names that relate to the color blue.
  • The Ghost: They don't actually show up in the story. Justified in Azura's case since she's already dead.
  • Kick the Dog: While Jaylin abusing his son for his sexuality is already bad, hiring Marcus to torture his wife to death just because she accepted his homosexuality is a whole different kind of low.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Azura accepted Cobalt's sexuality, and it is the reason Jaylin had her killed.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Cobalt’s father is such a homophobe that he had his wife killed because she accepted his son’s homosexuality.
  • Posthumous Character: Azura was already dead long before she was mentioned.
  • Walking Spoiler: Downplayed same as Sapphire. They’re not very integral to the plot but knowing about them reveals a lot that is obviously supposed to be a surprise.
  • You Killed My Father: Actually, Cobalt's father killed his mother, but the trope still applies.

    Spoiler Cameos 

Cinder Fall and Emerald Sustrai

Two women who find Mercury after he kills his father. Find most of their tropes here.



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