spotto: (hong kong *STAAAAAARE*)
[personal profile] spotto
HELLO. THIS IS CHAPTER THIRTEEN OF ONLY STORY SPOTTO HAS BEEN WORKING ON FOR OVER TWO YEARS. I actually had writer's block for about eight months early on in this chapter before finally continuing, so... if you can tell where, you win a prize!

I also added a scene I wrote a few months back to make this a little more...cohesive? AND a scene I wrote like... a week ago, ha. So if it seems a bit unorganized or whatever... that is the reason. One of the scenes probably made more sense in chapter twelve but it's a bit late for that now. So yeah, got stuck on this chapter for forever, had tons of changes.

13

The smell of burnt asphalt was thick in the air during one humid morning. A bombshell of a blonde stepped off her yellow and black motorcycle, removing her similarly coloured helmet to reveal the entirety of her glorious locks. Despite the fact that she adhered to all the safety protocols a biker must have, her hair was not damaged or ruined in anyway, almost like the helmet was moulded just for her. She eyed the number that was visible just beyond her back wheel, forty-two, and headed towards the elevators. Deep in centre of Downtown Vale was a tall, high-rise building with some of the richest tenants possible. Yang knew of some especially well-off associates who lived in this building, but it was to her surprise months ago when she had driven Blake home from a very late-night shift, that her so-called humble abode was part of this building in particular. Most people dreamed of living in a place like this, and Yang was momentarily suspicious that Blake somehow afforded a place here, but all was forgotten when Blake's roommate invited her to the two's private jacuzzi.

Of course luxury was not why Yang was here today. She had attempted to contact Blake last night, but as it seemed to be the case recently Blake did not answer. She figured, knowing the faunus had the reputation that of an over-worker, to check up on her at least. It was definitely not an excuse to lay back in her 'sweet digs', Yang had called it, though that was a bonus if Blake was home. She'd make sure to leave immediately if Blake was dead to the world, buried deep within a pillow fort asleep. If it meant her rest and well-being, Yang wasn't going to take advantage of anything.

The ride up the floors was mostly uneventful, aside from a few spoiled children and their nonchalant parents giving Yang a moment of amusement when they had argued over who would press the button. She wasn't in any rush, and should their presence be too bothersome there was more than one elevator to take. When Yang finally reached the top floor, she turned the corner straight towards Blake's door, knocking on it gingerly and awaiting a response. She lingered in the hallways for several seconds before realizing that none would come. Blake had to have been home if she wasn't picking up her phone. Was she in such deep sleep she couldn't hear Yang's request to enter? After a few minutes the blonde decided to return another time, turning back and heading towards the elevator when she heard the ding that indicated someone else had reached the floor.

"Sun! Didn't realize you'd be out before the sun!" Yang croaked, jabbing at the faunus who was yawning a few too many times to appreciate her wordplay.

Still even with eyes closed more than not, Sun beamed, "I just got back from the craziest party."

"Wow it must've been considering it's past seven."

He felt around his clothing to find a pair of keys, pulling it out from his shirt pocket, "You just leaving? It's pretty early man."

"No actually I came to visit Blake, but it seems she's not home," Yang glanced back at the door, "She shouldn't be at work today right?"

Sun took a moment, tapping on his chin, "She did say something about having two days off yeah. Blake should be home. You wanna come in? She might just be asleep."

"Sure, I don't mind sticking around for an hour or two," Yang accepted his invitation, waiting for him to locate the keyhole with his key. She could see a few dents around the doorknob and on it from the previous numerous failures at unlocking the door.

When Sun finally got the door open, he flung it open without much thought. Yang took in the sights of Blake's penthouse, the beige leather sofas positioned perfectly around the big-screen television, the modern kitchen with the silver cupboards and appliances lining the walls on the other side, the pool table with a beautiful wood finish closest to the doorway in the rec room, and the damp slender figure in a towel with long, snowy white hair standing in the hallway.

"Wait what."

She caught a glimpse of wide ice-blue eyes before they vanished into a nearby room.

"Wait shit." Sun muttered.

Yang dashed towards the doorway where the almost ghostly figure had slipped into, "Was that Weiss!?"

"Uh, no. Who's Weiss? That was my uh, girlfriend who was staying over!" Sun quickly blurted out.

"Sun, you're gay."

"Oh did I say my girlfriend? I meant Blake's!" His mouth could not stop running.

"Blake's gay?"

"Sister! A sister!"

Yang could tell the man was panicking as she knocked on the door, "Hellooooo? Who might that be inside?"

There was no answer, though Sun continued on his attempted explanations, "Uh maybe you should let up on that door man, she's really shy around new people!"

"What? That doesn't sound like Weiss at all!"

"Exactly! So it's not Weiss!"

Yang smirked, "But you just said you didn't know who Weiss was."

"Well how do you know that's Weiss? All girls look the same when they're wet."

Yang blinked for a second, a huge grin forming on her face before she chuckled, "Wow, you are gay."

"My point still stands!"

Yang brought up a finger, "Oh no no no, that was definitely Weiss. After all I've showered with her everyday for months. No one else has such a fine contoured butt in only a towel!"

"I-uh, what?" Sun was at a loss for words.

"Unless Blake somehow discovered the most elusive, valuable of booties I can't very well believe it's anyone other than-"

"Stop!"

The door creaked open, a fully dressed Weiss stood at the doorway, entire face flushed with red. Though she willingly revealed herself she couldn't keep up a gaze with Yang, so embarrassed was she. She simply stood there, finding the lamp sitting on the bedside table far more enthralling than these people in front of her. Yang for her part had to absorb all of Weiss' presence before her mind accepted that Weiss was here and not six-feet under. The awkward, long, and silent pause was immediately ended by the taller, larger blonde pulling the shorter white-haired girl into a tight, patented embrace.

"It really is you Weiss! How? Why? Oh who cares, you're here!" Weiss made no movement to return the hug, stunned by Yang's gesture and words. She never thought she'd see the day anyone at all would be so relieved, so happy, that she was around. The feeling was strange, foreign, a sense of warmth that entered her often cold heart. She was so unsure of these new-found feelings she could do nothing but just stand there and take on the love assault. On the other hand being pressed into such a well-endowed chest did not lessen the blood surging through her cheeks.

So instead she focused her energy on something she was familiar with, "Sun! How could you be so careless?"

"Sorry man! I was tired, wasn't thinking, but I mean, with what's happening here I don't see the harm in letting Yang into this," Sun tried to save himself.

Yang turned to face Sun, still keeping Weiss tightly in her arms, pouting, "What's this about letting me into this? Has Blake been keeping Weiss all to herself this entire time?"

"You can stop hugging me now, you bumbling oaf," Weiss grumbled, her eyes doing whatever it could to avoid staring straight in front of her.

"But what if you disappear once I let you go?" Yang said playfully, lifting Weiss up in the air slightly with her almost crushing powerful arms.

Weiss didn't realize her arms could press up to her sides to this degree, her ribs about to rub against her lungs, "I'm not-going to-disappear!"

"If you say so."

With her feet now firmly back on the ground, Weiss took a deep breath to relieve herself of the stranglehold Yang had put her in before she noticed the blonde pulling out her mobile and tapping like a madman, "What are you doing?"

"Letting Ruby know the good news."

Weiss swiped the device from Yang's hands, "You will do no such thing!"

"I will do such a thing and you can't stop me!" Yang stole the phone back, holding it up at heights unimaginable for Weiss.

Sun did nothing as he watched Weiss stomp directly onto Yang’s foot, causing her to let go of her phone. Electronics were not smashed as Weiss mercifully caught it in her hands. After wincing for a few short seconds Yang began to chase Weiss in circles throughout the living room, attempting to catch the smaller girl who had held the mobile device close to her chest. This comical scene was sadly interrupted as Sun’s own phone began ringing.

“Yello? Oh hey Blake!”

Both Yang and Weiss screeched in their tracks, “Blake!?” They shouted in unison.

“Mmhmm. Uh huh. Oh yeah sure. No the milk hasn’t expired yet. Yeah. Uh huh. Mmhmm. That’s cool.”

He didn’t notice the two girls staring at Sun, one with an impatient glare and the other tapping her sore foot. The call seemed rather routine as Sun continued with his brief words, “Okay then. Sure I’ll let her know. I can do laundry in the meantime, no biggie. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Right on! See ya!”

As Sun hung up, his attention was finally set on the two girls who had froze in their place as if everything that had just happened before the call had no significance whatsoever. They were gawking at him, stiff as a tree otherwise. Was there something on Sun’s face? Did he forget to brush his tail? Did he forget to zip up his pants? These women needed to say something, and something fast!

“You seriously just hung up?” Yang exclaimed.

“Oh yeah, that was Blake.”

Weiss narrowed her eyes, “We know!”

“Oh,” Sun began, “Haha. She said something about not coming home for a few days.”

“Why?”

Sun shrugged, “It ain’t my business.”

“What do you mean it isn’t your business? Are you not curious of the reason why Blake might not be coming home? Are you not concerned she may be in danger or in trouble!?” Weiss argued, her volume levels rising with every word she spewed.

“Well, I dunno. Blake’s never really been open about stuff so I never really ask.”

Yang exhaled, a breath that sounded like her inner frustration coming out, “Typical. Ah well, guess I’ll try to catch her in a few days then.”

Weiss jerked up, her eyes darting back and forth from Sun and Yang, “What? No! Why are you just accepting this like it’s normal?”

“Well, she does always do this,” Yang said.

“Yeah. That’s Blake for ya.”

“And neither of you have any idea why Blake is absent for such random intervals? It has nothing to do with her career as far as I know. And the two of you are supposedly some of her closest friends, right?” Weiss gave a pause as the two blondes nodded, “Then how well do you even know Blake?”

Sun stroked his chin, “Blake’s such a bro though. When I had just met her, she pretty much jump-started my life back on track! I owe her lots. The fact that she chips in to help us keep this huge place is even better. So really, whatever she does on her own is her own business and I don’t feel like intruding if I can help it.”

“Yeah that’s pretty much Blake for me too,” Yang added, “It’s not only that she cares when you’re part of her job, but we’re still friends with her on the outside. She really cares. So yeah, I do get a little worried about her sometimes, but if it’s really private or personal then I’d give her her space.”

“No, no no no,” Weiss shook her head, “It’s not about what’s she done for you. What do you know about Blake herself? Her interests? Her hobbies?”

The blondes drew a blank.

“Well there you go!” Weiss threw her arms in the air, “We know nothing about Blake. That’s already a cause for concern. If she were really your friend she would come to you about her own problems too, right? It’s not a one-way relationship!”

Yang suddenly adopted a rather smug look on her face, “Huh, I didn’t know Ms. Princess here was such an expert on relationships.”

“It’s called common sense. I’m sorry you’ve never heard of it.” Weiss on the other hand appeared done.

Yang raised an eyebrow and switched her sights back to Sun, “Well you heard the girl Sun, call Blake back. Let’s get us some answers.”

“You sure?”

“Do I look like I’m kidding?” Yang flashed a reassuring grin.

“When don’t you?” Weiss said flatly.

Yang chuckled, “Ah little Weiss, can’t go a single breath without sassing me up, can you?”

“Please never speak to me in that tone ever again.”

Weiss did not expect the heavy, heavy slap to her back from Yang, who acted almost as if she were drunk, though that wasn’t likely at this early hour, and the white-haired girl spent all of her power keeping herself from tumbling onto the ground. A low growl escaped her mouth which only further amused Yang, now seeing Weiss as some sort of little harmless puppy, a pug perhaps with its perpetually grumpy face and small size. As Weiss bared her teeth and began her counter-attack, the loud purposeful beeps from Sun’s cellular stopped the two in their tracks. They clamped their mouths shut and proceeded to let Sun do what must be done.

But all that could be heard was a busy tone.

“Hm, I guess we can’t reach Blake just yet, huh--” Sun couldn’t help himself as he finished his sentence with a yawn, “Maybe we’ll call her later. I need t’get some shut eye, quick.”

Yang slipped out her own phone, “Well we can just continue where you left off! Thanks Sun!”

“Sure. Keep it quiet out here, k? I mean, you probably can’t. But I figure to ask anyway,” Sun waved and retreated to his room, shutting the door gently behind him.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Weiss quipped after the faunus was out of earshot.

Yang simply snickered again, “You really aren’t aware of yourself sometimes, Weissy.”

“Stop your insolent nicknames now.”

“Really? That last one was real tame. It’s not as if I called you Ice Queen or whatever--oh wait, that was your actual nickname on the inside wasn’t it? How’d that come about again?” Yang mused, tapping the bottom of her chin as she peered up at the featureless ceiling, aside from the fan.

Weiss had her arms crossed as she looked away, feeling uneasy as the topic at hand switched to another. For once Yang dropped the subject and started tapping on her phone in boredom before deeming enough time had passed to attempt a second call. She threw herself backwards, landing on the couch and sagging in her seat, tired of standing all day. Weiss though remained at her spot, silent as she waited for Yang’s attempt to go through. The noisy little dial tone could be heard by the ex-heiress, but all that led to was a pre-recorded message Yang had gotten far too familiar with over the time she knew Blake. She grunted in frustration and stuffed her phone back in her pocket.

“No dice, Weiss.”

Weiss sneered at the blonde, knowing she had called her by her name this time simply for the rhyme which somehow despite being such a small little thing, annoyed her further, “Perhaps it’d be better to confront her in person when she returns.”

“That sounds like a plan!”

“In which case, you may leave now. You have no reason to stay here longer,” Weiss said, attempting to sound polite for once but really just asking Yang to get out of her ‘house’.

Yang grinned, “Oh ho ho ho, you aren’t getting rid of me just yet. Blake’s not here to police you or anything like that, so I’m gonna do what you’re never going to do.”

“Your whole life is what I’m never going to do.”

“We,” Yang continued, choosing to ignore Weiss’ latest statement, “are going out!”

Weiss raised an eyebrow, “No we are not.”

“No one is stopping us!”

“I’m stopping us!”

“But you can also not stop us. Free will and all, y’know?”

“I will be recognized and that will ruin absolutely everything!”

“Pft. Everyone thinks you’re dead. A simple large hat and some dark shades will be fine! It’s not as if you’re a wanted fugitive everyone’s on the lookout for. Do you really have no desire to leave the house? You’ve been locked up in a real prison and now a figurative prison. If I were in your shoes, I’d have left long ago. I wouldn’t be able to stand being inside at one place for so long,” Yang elaborated, heading for the door, “Seriously, don’t tell me you haven’t at least been thinking about it!”

As the bombastic blonde creaked open the door, her eyes still lingering on the motionless ‘prisoner’, Weiss found herself lost in her thoughts as she realized how right, as much as she hated to word it in such a way, Yang was. The outside had always been tempting and it had been so for far longer than her acquaintance could have possibly known. Before she was even in this colossal mess and was being schooled to inherit her father’s empire, Weiss was forbidden from doing any real thing without permission. She had adapted to her lifestyle, remaining at their home and being obedient to her father’s words, but perhaps all that led to was Weiss’ rebellious personality. In a way, being away from her father was a strange sensation of freedom all on its own even if she had spent it being stuck in a cage and a lavish apartment respectively. Yang had said nothing in these few moments, still holding out her offer and keeping her serene kind eyes set on Weiss, waiting for the perhaps predictable answer.

-

Adam shut the door behind him lightly, but did not treat the heavy-duty binder in his hands with as much care. The metal binding made an audible 'thump' as it slammed onto the fold-able table. Blake's ears perked up, twirling around like prey spooked by a nearby predator. She had pride in her sense of hearing, but for whatever reason Adam was able to make soundless movements like it was nothing, leaving Blake all the more unnerved by his presence. That didn't stop Blake from growling and narrowing her eyes at Adam, intending to back out of this arrangement Adam had planned. After all they had a deal, and Blake was going to make sure this deal continued unopposed no matter how threatening this man was. She backed away slightly, finding the casual smile on Adam's face far more menacing than the relaxing atmosphere among colleagues he was attempting.

"Ah, good to see you made it."

"What do you want, Adam!?" Blake demanded immediately, her ears erect as they could be, pupils nary a slit.

Adam flipped through the binder, landing on a page somewhere between the middle and the end, "I have a target for you."

"And we had a deal!" A low hiss began growing in volume.

Adam shook his head, "Tsk, tsk Blake. I thought you were a penchant for detail."

Blake only squinted her eyes further in response.

"If you recall, that was what the Alpha had agreed to. That doesn't mean I cannot give you hits personally," he explained as he tapped on the laminated documents he sifted through.

The cat faunus found her hands gripping a little too hard on a plastic chair behind her, "We're equals. It would not be fitting for me to take commands from you."

"Then maybe you can see it as a personal favour," Adam dropped his hands from going through the confidential binder he had carried in, "After all, this hit benefits you the most."

Blake shook her head, "There is no situation where the death of another would be any good to me."

"You may want to hear this before you go off with such assumptions," Adam finally rested his arm on his hip, "There was another man who recently defected from us, a little more high-up than Boomer ever was."

He noted Blake's subtle twitch the moment he had mentioned one of her victims, "Unfortunately, he seems to have joined the Syndicate."

"That's not my problem. Get someone else to-"

"He is a man with little loyalty. I believe he might be an informant as well," Adam displayed a rare moment of emotion, gritting his teeth as well when he let out this tidbit of information, "I already dealt with the individual who had him recruited. To think we could trust a human amongst our brotherhood."

Blake was beginning to think Adam was simply wasting her time, wondering what would happen if she just bolted out of the room mid-conversation, but for whatever reason she remained on her spot, somewhat intrigued by what Adam was disclosing.

"I've begun to see patterns, those he had affiliated himself with the most have been arrested," Adam reached for his holster, the thought of this human already gathering a pool of hatred within, "and he knows you are the hitman the police have been seeking all this time. He could easily have your life ruined in an instant."

Blake blinked a few times to process this startling revelation, "Wait, why would he of all people know this? I thought my role was a well-guarded secret among the higher ranks."

"As I said, the recruiter was dealt with."

Blake wanted to be surprised by what Adam meant, but couldn't fight how commonplace 'disappearances' amongst their ranks were. Even if it didn't surprise her the very idea should have frightened her. She was going against the White Fang's wishes behind there back far easier than she could have predicted. She was too used to such an environment and it was that fact above all that bothered her the most. Her own method doing things, her own role in this organization, and yet despite how disturbed Adam was, those small internal factors were not apart of her uneasiness with the man. Perhaps it was because she herself too part in this activities. She did 'vanish' a member of the White Fang after all. It was only recently when she began to feel her level of security was not at all any different than some common lowlife in the gang.

"Now I know after last time you're going to be a bit skeptical," Adam flung the binder towards Blake, so that she could easily see the text on the documents, "but this is coming from me, not the boss. I care about you, Blake. I'd hate to see you taken down before your time."

Blake was not convinced, "If that's so true why am I to be given this hit? You dealt with the recruiter, why not the traitor?"

"The recruiter was still within our territory," Adam explained, "It wasn't very difficult to do the deed. But for him, he's within Syndicate territory. The only intel I can give you is that he's one of the men accompanying a little shipment from a small airstrip across town. They should be there tonight. You are one of our best, I daresay our very best. If there's anyone who can do this cleanly, it's you. I hear their precious cargo is a little more lively than usual."

"And if I refuse?"

Adam chuckled, "Then I suppose that shipment will be lost."


-

"Hold still, hold still! This will be over soon..."

"I'm going to need something a little more precise..."

"The pizzaman's finally here? Did he remember the pineapples? What? No pineapples!?"

"Aha! I got it! Now, to extract this might be a teensy bit of a sting, but I know you can pull through it!"

"Well, just for these situations I do have some emergency supply stored. Now there won't be a pinch at all!"

"See...fading...don't go to....light.....morphine...kicking...."

"....bullet...explode...shrapnel...."

Haze. Blur. What can or cannot be deciphered through ones' eyes, ears, and nose? The whirlwind of colour and patterns no man knew how to describe, was like the thrill of a lifetime had there been any self-control to grab at what seemed physical but was nothing at all. A numbness down one side, that sparked to life from time-to-time, like an electric shock blitzing through the limbs. It was some sort of eternal ecstasy. Was this it? The end of the line? The final path to take to an oblivion no one knew of and could only guess through fables and tales passed down generations? Time was at a standstill, or perhaps it did not exist at all. She could not be sure. A thought process was difficult to achieve and to be aware of at this endless hour.

Light.

A dull orange light, that resembled a dim glow from a candle stick flickered to her right. Blake blinked twice, and the empty blackness began to clear up, an outline of items and objects, beds, nightstands, doors, and a silly portrait of a perky redheaded female and an expressionless rigid male. Over-the-top effects like an artificial multicolour palette and clip-art flowers and bees surrounded the pair, the backdrop a corny-looking fake sky filled with cartoony clouds that only a child would purposely scrawl out. Blake blinked once more, the door ajar off the corner to her eye, and only then did memories return.

There was a pounding on her shoulder, splints and stiff bandages keeping it at bay, from making even the slightest movement, but otherwise her body was not impaired. She shifted the sheets off her, sitting up and taking in the surroundings. She recalled now that she had a duty to fulfil. A mission she was given to complete for the sake of so many others. A task she was so very familiar with. She could close her eyes and see her younger self, shaking as she held the pistol, pointing at these faceless men and women that spoke far too loudly than she could tolerate. They would bring these helpless faunus to work for them, to use them, to treat as if they were machines that did their dirty work with no real purpose beyond that. She could never forgive these humans, these sacks of scum that possessed no heart as they processed through what they considered their livestock. Adam had always said a bullet between their eyes was an unforgivable mercy, but it was the fastest and easiest way to stop their deeds. It only became easier from there.

Blake took far too long to think for herself, lives lost beyond what was necessary. She had nowhere else to run, to hide, to escape. This was her life now, her duty. The only thing she knew how to do, and the only thing that got her through life. Adam always said someone had to take the trash out. It wasn't something they wanted to do, but it was a necessary evil to cleanse the world of the filth that poisoned it more each and every day. Their efforts were not in vain. It was not a futile battle of violence and blood, traded back and forth amidst a carnage of death and destruction. They had to, for otherwise the humans would win.

But then she realized that she had already finished her deed. The man she saw in that hangar lie still...or did he? There was a crimson liquid that painted the floors, but an unmoving figure did not flash back into her head. No, he had survived. What a lucky bastard. How could she have possibly missed? She never missed.

Crimson liquid...crimson, red...rose.

No.

She purposely aimed to disable.

Because killing was wrong.

No, she knew that fact the very first time she killed a man. What stopped her now? What was even the point of sparing such a despicable being when all her life she did not even flinch at the prospect of ending their lives? She had driven her conscience back into the depths of her mind years ago, for otherwise she'd have gone insane doing what she had to do. Who came around and dug that part of her that she believed was gone forever back up to the forefront of her identity? What felt like hours going by to unravel such a mystery was only minutes, when Blake brought her free hand to her head, rubbing her temples as she squinted for answers. Her pupils caught sight of the briefcase she kept glued to her side during these perilous missions, and through all that chaos and confusion it sat on the nightstand, untouched. She reached for it, her fingers clumsy as she unbolted the locks, the silver box opening to reveal her pistol.

It was clean.

Shiny, as if she had bought it just yesterday.

"You need to hide that better."

Her ears popped up.

A man stepped closer to her, closing the suitcase. Blake said nothing in response, eyes gazing up and down the tall, lanky individual. He had an unsettling neutral stare.

"Nora's asleep. She spent over six hours straight fixing you up," he stated, taking a seat in a nearby chair.

Blake lowered her head, her sights falling back onto her shoulder.

"I don't know what she was thinking, using up the last of our supply on you," he continued, crossing his arms and glancing at some general direction beyond Blake.

Blake remained still, unsure what to say to the man who continued with his words.

"She saw that suitcase too, and what was in it, what your friend," he paused, wondering if that was the right way to refer to her," had placed inside."

The faunus clenched her good hand, raising her head just slightly, "Do you want me to leave?"

"There's a reason we keep everything confidential," he continued almost as if he ignored Blake's words, "because Nora never wants to know what her patients were up to that led to the injury."

He went on when Blake did not even make a movement, "She's idealistic. I like that about her," he said, "She wants to help absolutely everyone. Well, in her own terrifying little way, but..."

"You are the only White Fang member we treat. You are the only one out of them all," he stated, "and every associate I've seen you with has been human."

"Coincidence." Blake murmured.

Ren stood up, taking short steps back towards the door, "Perhaps."

"You're uncomfortable," Blake said.

"I don't want to go against Nora's wishes," he replied, "but if everything you do ends up catching up to us..."

The faunus jerked up, "It won't!"

"Let us hope that is the case. We can then remain in our merry ignorant world," Ren finished, closing the door behind him, "where we're all just a bunch of casual old friends."

-

Three days now Ruby had come in to the small almost derelict building next to her favourite restaurant to visit Blake. The small little room with a few patient beds set aside wasn’t quite as hygienic or professional-looking as a true hospital room, but it was adequate for its job. Overnight, Ren had run a particularly perilous errand and returned with some much needed medical supplies, and Nora made use of them immediately. She had decided, especially due to Blake’s constant refusal to stay in bed like she had told her to, to sedate the faunus so she may rest as she recuperated. Ruby had brought food into the room for those few days, keeping an eye on the drugged up patient. Because of all this, Blake had spent these last few days in a complete haze, often not questioning or speaking or really recognizing what was happening. She had basically been eating and sleeping these few days. Really, the one time she was alert enough to do anything was when she had called her roommate to let him know of her absence, but otherwise Blake was out like a light.

Knowing how overworked the faunus could be, especially from her experiences in prison, Ruby was relieved to see these turn of events. She had millions of questions trapped in her brain, but finding the answers to them would be a tough task indeed. Approaching the subject in question directly often never worked, as whatever she needed to ask was likely very personal to Blake. But her actions during that fateful night were as suspicious as ever. Ruby never did learn who Blake was trying to take out or why they had kidnapped a small group of impoverished-looking faunus. Blake being one herself gave Ruby a little bit of an explanation for her motives, but most of it was a lack of context the young heroine had little to fill up with. So, she simply decided to stay by Blake’s side and care for her. Maybe answers would gradually come to her if she was patient.

It was late afternoon during Ruby’s latest visit, and to her surprise the moment she stepped into the room Blake was awake. She had her back facing the doorway, her ears which Ruby had now become accustomed to as if they had been there all along were flat on her skull. The uninviting atmosphere slowed Ruby’s pace, but she headed to the faunus’ bedside all the same. Neither Ren nor Nora had let her into the pawn shop this early morning, but the door was open as if the shop was open. Despite Blake’s state of consciousness, it didn’t seem she acknowledged the new presence.

“How are you doing, Blake?” Ruby piped up to perhaps get the bedridden girl’s attention.

Blake took her sweet time sitting up and when she was finally in a position for Ruby to see her face, she sucked in a breath to withstand the disaster. Instead of shock though, Ruby felt confusion. Blake had been resting nonstop for the last few days, so why did she look like she had just been run-over by a steamroller? Her hair was tangled in places Ruby couldn’t even imagine existed, and the bags under her eyes rivalled her state when she worked thirty-six hours in a row at the prison. Blake’s posture was a sad excuse for a slouch.

“Oh,” Ruby could only say.

But Blake had an air of tension around her, “I need to go.”

“Go? You mean leave?”

Blake said nothing as she pushed herself off the bed. Ruby rushed to her side in an instant, trying to keep her from straining herself. But all the body language Blake gave off was distance, the shielded stare, the raised shoulders.

“Nora said you can’t leave until she gives the all clear, remember?” Ruby added.

All she received from Blake was a grunt, though that had been better than usual. Ruby followed the faunus as she headed out the back door of the pawn shop, exiting to the small parking lot in the alley. There were really only two or three spaces for cars to sit idly by, and two of them were taken. Ruby assumed the forest green four-wheeler was owned by the owners. The other car however, had been the one Ruby had parked out front when she and Blake had first arrived. It was an unnoticeable black sedan that never would’ve stood out in any parking lot, not even here when there was only one other car. Ruby was shaken out of her thoughts when she realized Blake was stepping into the driver’s seat.

“H-hey!”

For once, Blake stopped, eyes raised at Ruby.

“If you’re really wanting to leave, I should do the driving,” Ruby suggested.

“No.”

The crimson teen picked up her pace as she tried to convince Blake otherwise, “I know you weren’t happy about my driving the other day, but your shoulder is still wounded. I haven’t seen you move that arm at all! Plus, you’re about as coherent as my uncle’s cat after he’s been on catnip for three hour...”

Ruby trailed off when she noticed the glare, “Oh, right. Faunus. Uhm, but you know what I mean! You’re practically drunk! You can’t drive better than I can in that state!”

It was almost a miracle when after a pause and Blake’s lingering stare that the incapacitated officer finally made a good decision as she rounded her vehicle towards the passenger side. Ruby stood in awe for a moment before remembering her task at hand. She instead skipped towards the driver’s seat, slipping in and throwing on her seat belt. This time, unlike the last, Blake witnessed the young driver adjust the mirrors and push up her seat, giving herself enough leeway to see all facets of the road. Ruby flashed a thumbs up at her passenger.

“I had another lesson yesterday! My instructor went over the mirrors with me.”

Blake’s eyes widened just slightly. To think Ruby had driven her to Jade Dragon without such integral information and that they had somehow survived was luck beyond anything Blake had seen. By habit she herself strapped on her seat belt, but inside she was screaming to herself how horrible of an idea it was to trust Ruby with the wheel not once, but a second time. Perhaps the morphine and whatever other drug Nora had forced into her was inhibiting this reasonable part of her brain, but Blake simply slouched and relaxed in her seat. Sun’s penthouse wasn’t too far off from here, so all she had to do was endure a few terrifying minutes. What’s a few adventures on the road compared to her entire life as a whole so far? It was much safer to return home to her designated safe house than to remain on the streets or in a rundown building with criminals crawling all over the walls. And if Ruby was going to insist on visiting her every single day in this neighbourhood, the guilt Blake would take on top of everything else she had caused would’ve been far too much to handle.

Fortunately for Blake the drive was a rather pleasant surprise. Though Ruby may have been driving a bit too slowly, the opposite of her problem that one night, she was following the rules of the road to a tee. Ruby had in fact re-read her driver’s manual while sitting by Blake’s bedside these few nights, not able to speak with the faunus considering she spent a majority of the time slumbering. Blake would’ve fallen back into that state in her seat as well if it weren’t for a rude man behind them assaulting his car horn just because Ruby had missed a cue to turn. Blake was a few seconds from rolling down the window and slinging her own verbal assaults after being far too impatient to deal with a single thing today, only to see in the rear-view window a white van barrel into the aforementioned car, the man vanishing out of her sight.

“What the heck!?”

Blake only needed a second glimpse to confirm her worst fears, “Drive! Drive now! Go, as fast as possible!”

“Wait what’s going on!?” Ruby asked as she thrust her foot into acceleration. They sped through the red light, more honks going off from the halted traffic on the intersection, but all those infuriating noises were overshadowed by the clear distinctive noise of one.

Gunshots.

Ruby careened pass a corner just before hearing the back window shattering from a bullet that had barely missed her head. Her heart-rate soared beyond anything comprehensible as they mixed with the shrill chaos overwhelming her eardrums. Blake had turned around on her own seat, her chest pressed to the leather material as she ducked and peeked in expert timing to dodge the deadly lead bouncing throughout her car. Only when the faunus bumped her head into the ceiling after realizing their near-miss with a fire hydrant did she realize how dire of a situation this was for an inexperienced driver to be thrown into the wolves of a wild car chase. The white van that had mercilessly tackled the bystander out of the way was screeching through the streets keeping up with their murderous pursuit. Ruby gritted her teeth, praying none of the stray bullets hit her as she tried desperately to swerve around cars, pedestrians, and very hard solid objects away from the death that chased from behind. She had almost smashed into a light pole when Blake gave a very distracting light tap on her shoulder.

“I will drive. You, reach under the seat and fire back.”

Ruby almost had to double-take, “Fire back!?”

Then she noticed the familiar crimson sheen that flashed momentarily in dawn’s sunlight below. Blake had already taken control of the wheel as Ruby weaved her small body towards the passenger’s side. The cat faunus was easily able to swap places with Ruby from her own natural instincts, quickly letting gravity drop her onto the seat and her feet holding its position on the accelerator as the short pause of no control returned to her hands. Ruby pulled out her Crescent Rose, the very weapon she had shown to Blake and was subsequently confiscated, had been sitting on Blake’s car floor this entire time, as if the faunus had zero respect for the engineering ingenuity Ruby had created. The makeshift hero had little time to think about this, sinking her eyes into the scope and seeing the details of their attackers. They wore shades to cover their face and shroud their identities, but they both were dressed well in fine white suits. Ruby recognized them from the other night, when she had discovered Blake in her most suspicious position at the top of a building holding a gun with a similar purpose as hers. After all this, Ruby definitely needed answers.

She hoped they’d survive so she could get those answers anyway.

As Blake took a sharp turn, she noticed Ruby’s shots were off-the-mark, “Ruby? Where exactly are you shooting!?”

“I’m trying to hit their tires! Where else do you think I’m shooting!?”

It almost hit her like the flying brick that narrowly missed their windshield. Ruby despite their most harrowing situation, was still trying to fight back in a non-lethal manner. Blake gulped at such ramifications as she tried to keep her focus on the road. It was almost seven-thirty in the morning but all these early commuters heading off to work had just been given a rude awakening. What madman would go after their targets just after sunrise? Who would put such monumental risk to end their lives at this time of day when everyone’s eyes and ears were as open as they could be? Blake didn’t want to know the answer. She drove, speeding into an alleyway and hoping the garbage cans she had knocked over might slow the rushing van down.

She then heard a pop and a yell from her passenger, “I got ‘em!”

In the mirror, Blake saw the van skid out of control, twisting and turning until it crumpled into a dumpster, stopping it in its tracks. Sirens then began to blare, but Blake did not hesitate to send their car flying down another alleyway and into a parking lot she used as a detour to reach the other side of the oversized building. She came to a stop several blocks away from the crash, her car shaded by a small makeshift roof made out of discarded materials from a freshly-built high-rise across the street. Blake exited her car gingerly, out of breath with drops of perspiration still dripping from her hands. Ruby held Crescent Rose tightly as she too was recovering from the massive bout of adrenaline, but her mind and focus was still stuck straight on Blake. Just what the heck happened?

Her eyebrows rose when she noticed Blake cringing, holding onto the damaged shoulder that had little time to heal and now had been overused during their escape, “Blake! Are you okay? I should have stayed on the wheel!”

“No, our roles at the end was what got us out of it,” Blake managed to say as she continued towards the sidewalk, “You need to go.”

“Go? Go where!? Shouldn’t we do something about this? Are you really just going to leave the car here? What’s been happening Blake? Who are you?”

The last question stung Blake more than the pain reverberating through her shoulder joint. She stopped, sighing as she heard the sirens in the distance begin to fade out, “...those questions can be saved for later. Right now we need to split up. You must return home, get out of here before anyone can track you.”

“But Blake!”

“No buts,” Blake started, “It’s imperative we leave now.”

Ruby tightened her fists, sucked in a breath and bit her inner cheeks as she saw Blake off, who turned a corner and disappeared from her sights. She held a strong grip on Crescent Rose, her pupils slowly going up as she noticed a pathway up the old hotel building she was standing next to. She took a running start and reached for a fire escape’s ladder hanging just above her. She pulled herself up, dashing vertically up the building by leaping onto whatever crevice or edge was sticking out from the walls. In only the span of half a minute she was nearing the peak of the building, and Ruby could see the majority of the neighbourhood from her vantage point. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves and muscles after such a hastened pace up the building. It was a feat she had moulded well into and beyond her sentence, remembering her tricks to run up not only the wall but also bound downwards off the ceiling as well. Her eyes scanned the area and she could still see Blake who too, with her faunus heritage had already managed a significant distance from their abandoned car. Then Ruby saw her enter quite possibly the tallest building in the area, and Ruby quickly followed suit from the tops of the buildings, following and wondering if perhaps this invasion of privacy was a bad idea. She shook the hesitance off quickly, knowing that from everything she’s known of Blake so far, getting the answers from the subject’s mouth itself was as likely as Yang shaving off all her hair.

-

Ding!

The familiar noise was music to her ears as Blake stepped into the hallways leading to Sun’s penthouse from her elevator. She knew the tendons in her shoulder, still raw from her injury were likely damaged in a manner than may possibly permanently affect her movement, but at the moment after everything she went through today, Blake hoped to just collapse into bed and forget everything had happened. She hoped Ruby got home safely, but in the state the car was in had no ability to get her home, herself. She’d have to figure out what to do with the vehicle after sleep, perhaps ask Sun’s friends who owned a car repair shop to replace the windows. Of course that was after she cleaned up the bullet shells, vacuumed the seats, and scrubbed off the dry blood stains. If the cops had located the car before she was able to do anything with it she’d be in bigger trouble than she already was.

But again, all of that would be a worry tomorrow. All Blake had to care about now was hope Weiss wasn’t on the other side of that door ready to lecture her ear off for being gone for a few days and coming home much worse for wear. She simply wasn’t patient enough for any of her incessant whining. She didn’t even think she’d make it to her bed, hoping to land softly on the couch closest to the door without even bothering to make sure if there was anything else on the piece of furniture, whether it be an object or a person.

Blake twisted her key and the door clicked open, but it opened rather easily as if it had never been locked at all. Sun had a habit of just closing the door without bothering for any sort of security, so Blake wasn’t worried. She was however a tad miffed above all the other emotions flowing through her veins, adding a nonphysical note to herself in her brain to remind her roommate of such things. As Blake stepped in, the curtains weren’t drawn, darkness taking up the apartment. This was odd as both Sun and Weiss enjoyed the sunlight and would often keep the curtains open especially in the morning. Blake reached for the lights, flicking open a switch and as she raised her head while stepping towards the sofa, she stopped dead in her tracks.

There was a person impeding her from using the sofa, one she could not ignore, a faunus to be exact. The man was standing, but was leaning onto the armrest, one hand supporting his weight. His expression was impossible to read. Blake on instinct took a step back, her heart in her throat as she realized the implications of what this man’s presence meant.

“Hello Blake.”

Adam.
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