Hello all of you wonderful people out there that are still waiting patiently on this slow dumbass behind the screen. I am terribly sorry that I am behind so much on this; I should have let you all know thin in advance, but I hit a mental brick wall that made writing twice as difficult. After my last post, I began working on the next chapter, but I just couldn't write with the consistant quality that I had in other chapters, and I couldn't feel comfortable posting a chapter that I felt wasn't up to par and unsatisfactory, so I took the summer off the refresh my batteries, read books to improve on writing wise, play video games to relax, etc. Do not worry; I've still been working on the chapters and I promise you, the next time I update, I will be posting 2-3 chapters to make up for lost time. And yes, I know that my word isn't very reliable after being so late, but trust me on this, I feel absolutely horrible for keeping you guys waiting, but I really needed a large break, any of you other fanfic authors can probably relate.

However, I would like to address a matter concerning my Beta reader. First off, please don't spam him with questions and answers about my progress, it does more harm than good because it stresses him out. Secondly, same subject, but it hurts me deeply to hear that my Beta reader has been getting some less than polite emails from some of you, specifically emails that threaten him.

And yes, one of you, to my knowledge, found it appropriate to send him a death threat and actually tried to make good on it.

NO!

I am grateful for your support thus far, but I will not stand for that, even if it is a bluff. Demonic has been nothing but helpful ever since Monty's unfortunate passing. He is a large reason that this story is still going, because without his friendship my motivation and spirits would be too damaged to even type. DO NOT THREATEN MY FRIEND, OR ANYONE ONLINE OVER SOMETHING AS TRIVIAL AS A FUCKING FANFICTION!

(listen everyone who has sent me a fucking PM threatening me harassing me or just all around being a fucking dick I might talk with Afro and yeah I beta for him but under no circumstances do I control him so if it was your bright fucking idea that I cracked the whip on him like a slave driver you are sorely fucking mistaken and guess what I'm sick of it in the past week one person tried to go through with their death threat I'm still here three days ago someone hacked into my bank account and spent all of my money I've just finished fixing that Afro might have my back and I love him for that in a platonic way but seriously you all need to grow the fuck up and stop harassing me since from now on every threat I get I will report you to everyone who has shown me even a little support thank you all of you guys are Afro's true fans)

I could not have said it any better myself. Seriously, to everyone who has waited patiently on updates, no words can describe my gratitude to you all, However, to the small fraction of you that have been doing nothing but turning this into a horrible experience, STOP. If you are so immature that you feel the need to harrass someone when you don't get what you want, than I don't want you reading my writing. There are thousands of better fanfictions out there that update more consistantly, go read them, because you select few have seriously made me wonder if this story is worth continuing.

Anyway, with that out of the way, here's one of the long over-due chapters I owe you wonderful people who have been waiting PROPERLY. Enjoy. ^_^

P.S: 10 MORE DAYS!

The sound of keys tapping rapidly against the keyboard was the most prominent sound that filled Pyrrha's room as she focused all of her attention on her computer. For the entirety of the day and the night before, she had been focused completely on her computer, planning out the impending mission in which she, Neo, and her new associate would be partaking in, and ever since said associate had solidified their agreement she hadn't separated herself from her computer. After hours of research and planning, she was glad that Blake would be joining them, for her assistance would be invaluable considering the possibility that her target would either be guarded by staggering numbers of guards, or possibly a member of the Zealots, maybe even both. If that were the case, then they would need all the help they can get.

Poke…

If it were just an assembly of guards, then there would be no worry at all. Both Pyrrha and Neo were well trained and able to take out small armies each on their own, but the situation wouldn't be so secret. The cargo was far too valuable to leave in the care of just soldiers, no matter how trained they were. If anything, they would have the highest caliber of agents under their command, an agent from the Zealots.

Poke Poke…

If they had sent both a collection of guards AND a Zealot, then Pyrrha wasn't entirely that even the combined efforts of Neo and herself would be enough to take them down. Neo's skills were well sharpened due her fraction of the work they do, but regrettably Pyrrha's skills had dulled due to her own job as the Broker. Trading information and selling it wasn't exactly the most physically demanding of work, so she had very little opportunity to keep her combat skills at one hundred percent outside of her occasional sparring with Neo. Not to say that she was out of shape; she was still very dangerous on the battlefield and physically fit, but she wasn't as effective battle-wise as she was years ago, so having Blake to make up for her lost skill would make all the difference for the success of the mission. She just hoped that it would be enough…Neo's life depended on it.

Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke Poke!

"Speak of the devil." Pyrrha thought with a frustrated sigh as she turned around in her seat and caught the offending finger that was insistently jabbing into the back of her head. "Is there something you need Neo?" she asked with a slight edge to her voice. She could feel a blood vessel thumping in the back of her head as she gave her shorter friend a light glare of frustration.

Neo wasn't fazed at all by her companion as she retracted her finger, crossed her arms, and stuck her bottom lip out in the form of a cute pout.

"Of course I haven't slept, this mission is too important to waste time sleeping on." Pyrrha replied as she rubbed her baggy eyes in an attempt to remove their instinctive need to shut.

Neo obviously wasn't pleased with her answer as she silently huffed and kept her foot on one of the wheels of Pyrrha's chair so that she couldn't roll back to her computer. Pyrrha had done nothing but work feverishly on her computer all day and night, not once even taking the time for a small nap at least, and it was starting to both annoy and concern Neo. She knew why she was working so hard today, she probably found another strand of white hair on Neo's head recently and it probably shook her up emotionally. It hurt Neo to see Pyrrha like this, and the only way that she would leave her alone if she saw Pyrrha's body in the bed under the covers.

"The answer is no Neo. I don't have the ti-" Pyrrha said with restrained anger before she was cut off in the middle of her sentence.

Not giving her dear friend much room to argue, Neo pulled the chair closer to her and quickly walked around it so that she was blocking the screen. She stared deep into Pyrrha's illuminant green eyes as she expressed her concern through her facial muscles and the sad gleam in her eyes, and even took her friend's hand in her tinier ones to emphasize how concerned for her health she was.

Pyrrha felt a sharp pinch in her heart as she stared into Neo's dual colored eyes, feeling considerably guilty for worrying her even though she felt it was necessary. She sighed sadly as she stared back at Neo and said, "I apologize for getting cross with you Neo…I just…want this mission to succeed."

Neo fully understood Pyrrha's concern, but she didn't feel comfortable that she was working too hard, even if it was for her sake. She simply wouldn't just stand by and let her friend work herself unhealthily, so with another effort to get Pyrrha to give in to her she sat down in her lap and hugged her chest as she snuggled her cheek against her.

"Puulleeesss…" She wheezed painfully under her breathe before coughing a bit into her hand.

Pyrrha sighed again as she leaned back in her seat, only now her sigh was one of resignation instead of frustration. If Neo attempted to speak to her through her damaged vocal chords, even if it did hurt her to do so, she truly was concerned for her. How could she say no to that?

"Ok, ok, you win Neo. I'll go to sleep." Pyrrha gave in as she reached over and grabbed a bottle of water, that she had yet to open, and gave it to Neo so that she could sooth her throat. Neo's smile returned happily as she took the bottle and downed in a few measly gulps, easing the burning pain with the ice cold liquid until there wasn't any more to be drank. After throwing it across the room into the trashcan, she got up from her companion's lap and happily pointed at the red-sheeted bed across the room.

"Yes, yes, just let me save my work." Pyrrha said as she pressed a few more keys to make sure that she didn't lose any progress.

She stood up from her chair and walked to the bed, but Neo could easily see that she was very hesitant to get inside the bed at all. She placed a gentle hand on the broker's shoulder and gave it a tiny squeeze, not liking how she was shivering a bit under her breath.

"I'm fine…it's just…I tried to sleep yesterday…then I had a dream about them…" Pyrrha shamefully admitted, exposing another crucial reason why she refused to sleep.

Neo frowned sadly as she rubbed soothing circles into Pyrrha's back. She should have known, she had another nightmare about their team…and most likely the vivid memory of their demise before they both escaped their old life. It had haunted Pyrrha for the rest of her days, and it was a constant fuel for Pyrrha's efforts. She didn't want to lose the last member of her family, but that would inevitable happen due to Neo's condition if nothing was done.

Hoping to do whatever she could to make her friend feel more comfortable, Neo pulled back the covers of Pyrrha's bed, then began to remove her clothing, much to Pyrrha's surprise and slight embarrassment.

"Neo what are you doing?" Pyrrha asked as the small agent finished undressing until she was only in her pink underwear. Her only answer was her assuring smile as she crawled into the bed and gently patted the unoccupied space next to her on the bed, asking her to do the same. The best thing she could do for Pyrrha was give her some form of comfort as she slept, just as she would do for her when she had nightmares about the past.

"Neo, really, you don't have to-"

Neo smiled dangerously at her partner, the same smile that she would wear when she was going to prank or scar an individual for life, like when she chased those three kids and that A.I. during Halloween.

Pyrrha flinched with a slight shiver of fear before she began pulling her clothes off. "Ok, ok, no need to be so pushy." she said with a gulp.

She was now only in her crimson red underwear, and after she made sure that she wouldn't be hogging the space on the bed she rested her head on the pillow with a relaxed release of breath. She had to admit that Neo's presence next to her in bed was soothing, but Neo wasn't just satisfied with keeping to her own side, she never was. She shut off the lamp next to them to allow darkness to gain dominance over the room, then did as she always and wrapped her slender arms around her friend so that she could cuddle in her sleep. Pyrrha didn't fight it, in fact she returned the favor and held Neo closer to her as she enjoyed the comfort the cuddling provided.

Neo almost had her face buried in between her companion's breast with how close she was and how tightly she was holding onto her, and soon enough Pyrrha felt the warmth and feeling of fur wrapping around her legs and brushing against the tips of her fingers as she gently rubbed Neo's head.

"You can relax Neo, I will sleep easier now, no need to squeeze me to unconsciousness or use your tails for warmth…but thank you." Pyrrha thanked, already starting to feel drowsy as time passed.

Neo nodded her head as she decreased some of the pressure she was accidentally putting on her friend, but she still kept her tails around her long legs anyway. Happy that Pyrrha was comfortable and getting drowsy, she slowly ran her small hand up her feminine waist, enjoying the feeling of her silky smooth skin as she rubbed moderately sized circles around and on her abdomen to lull her to sleep. Just as she hoped, Pyrrha's body finally succumbed to the sweet and pleasant world of sleep.

Neo silently giggled at how it was rather easy to get Pyrrha to sleep so long as she was under the relaxation of a gentle tummy rub, not unlike a small child, and she couldn't deny that it was a cute quality of her friend. She continued to rub her stomach for an additional few minutes to make sure that she was asleep, and after she felt that it was safe enough to move around a bit in bed without waking her up, she smiled as she took the chance to do one last thing before she herself attempted to sleep. Confident that she wouldn't be awake to notice, Neo pulled herself up in the bed so that she was face level with her red-haired partner, cuddled into her a bit more, and planted a tiny, but loving, kiss on her cheek.

She would never admit it, but she did have feelings for her partner, feelings that had been present ever since Pyrrha had saved her from an untimely death when they first met, and that had remained hidden from Pyrrha since she simply couldn't reveal them to her. She wanted to make her affection known to her partner, but she wasn't entirely sure that she felt the same about her and didn't want to complicate things between them, but that was only part of the reason why she kept them hidden. Neo knew that even if Pyrrha worked hard as the Broker, there was still only a very slim chance that Neo would have the luxury of a full life. At best, she would probably live for only a few more years before the worst would occur, and she didn't deny it. Pyrrha was already devastated that she could very well lose her best friend in time, but if she were to lose a lover on top of that, it would do far worse to her already withered soul. Neo couldn't do that to her, even if it meant never acting on her feelings.

She was content with spending her final years with the one who she cherished above all else, even if she failed and didn't find a way to save her life.

After giving her hidden expression of love through her kiss, Neo rested her head against her companion's chest and followed her into a deep sleep, but before she closed her eyes and fell asleep she was grateful for having night vision.

It wasn't every night that she got to see Pyrrha smile peacefully in her sleep.

(Elsewhere)

The silence that overtook Jaune's bed room persisted for an indiscernible amount of time as Jaune stared at his best friend in vivid shock. Blake and Nora had yet to return yet from getting Blake dressed in more suitable clothes, leaving Ren and Jaune in private. They hadn't really done anything since then due to Jaune's complete astonishment from Ren's question.

"How...did you know?" Jaune asked after recovering from his shock.

"Well, after dressing her wounds last night and noticing the scars that looked like they were freshly healed in the same place as your cat, it wasn't that hard to figure out." Ren answered simply with a shrug of his shoulders, showing that he wasn't as surprised by the revelation as most others would be.

"How can you say that?! I had no idea until she showed me personally!" Jaune questioned, finding it hard to believe that even Ren, one of the logical individuals he knows, came to the deduction of something so outlandishly unrealistic. Who honestly comes to the conclusion that a teenage girl could turn into a cat?

"Here's a better question; why didn't you figure it out sooner, because I'm not around her nearly as much as you are. For starters, her eyes stay constant in between her forms. You didn't notice that your cat had the same exact eyes as "Arryn"." Ren questioned as he flexed his index and middle fingers in quotations, showing that he correctly suspected that the name he knew her by was a false name.

"Well…they did kind of look alike…but still." Jaune somewhat admitted as he scratched the back of his head.

"Ok then, let's aim higher. You honestly didn't find it suspicious at all that she knew exactly where to find you at all times without calling you, almost as if she already knew you well enough to predict where you would be?" Ren asked, obviously having put a lot of thought into the subject ever since last night.

"I'm a very predictable person?" Jaune replied in an attempt to somewhat justify his lack of knowledge concerning Blake's identity.

"Jaune, she wears your clothes." Ren said with a look that showed just how obvious it was. That fact alone made him slightly ashamed of himself that he didn't figure it out the first time he saw her at Luigi's.

"No she doesn't! My clothes are…too…big…" Jaune quickly replied before slowly realizing how self-defeating his response really was. It explained why she always wore such baggy, and very familiar, clothes whenever they met with each other, and why he felt like he was missing a hoody and pants. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that he really should have figured it out sooner. "Ren…am I stupid?" Jaune asked as he facepalmed with a light groan.

"Well if you have to ask…"

"Don't be a dick." Jaune complained with a frustrated growl as he threw a pillow at his friend, only for Ren to catch it in his right hand.

"Then don't be an idiot." Ren rebutted with an amused grin before gently tossing the pillow on to the bed.

Jaune gave the smirking teen a light glare that practically proved that Ren had won their tiny argument as he replied, "Ok fine, it was a fairly obvious thing to notice, but if you found out why didn't you ever say anything today?"

Ren's smirk faded as a frown took its place, but Jaune could almost catch a hint of slight anger behind his magenta-pink eyes as he answered his friend's question. "Because I noticed the positive effect she had on you, especially if you were mourning your parents again. I didn't want to disrupt that by exposing her, but seeing how that she wasn't in her cat form I correctly deduced that she had already shown you."

He was slightly surprised that Ren was able to deduce what his emotional issue back then was, but at the same time he wasn't. Ren was one of the few who knew him better than he himself sometimes. Jaune could not deny that knowing who Blake was might have interfered with his healing, but he was still curious as to why Ren looked a little hurt as he answered him. "Ren, are you mad at me?" he asked unsurely.

"Slightly." Ren answered as he crossed his arms and began to lightly tap his foot.

"Um…and you're mad because?" Jaune added to his question, slightly confused as to why Ren would be mad at him.

"I just find it mildly disappointing that you didn't feel that you could speak to me and Nora about this and turned to someone who was practically a stranger at first." Ren explained.

"Oh…" Jaune said as he slowly looked towards the ground nervously. "Sorry…it's just that I didn't want to worry you or Nora about my problems. You guys have enough of your own problems to deal with."

"Well if your intention was not to worry us, your methods of doing so had the exact opposite effect on us. We were constantly worried about how you were failing to function properly during the day due to your lack of sleep, and we were even more worried when we would find the very subtle trails of tears on your face. The only reason we didn't pull you into a room for an intervention was that Blake beat us to it and began helping you heal."

Jaune now felt like such an ass that he had worried them so much despite trying not to, and he knew that he now owed them for doing so if he wanted to make amends. "Sorry Ren, I promise I won't try to hide my problems from you guys anymore if they're that serious from now on." Jaune said with clear shame and regret that Ren easily understood.

With a dismissive shrug and a light smile that contradicted his previous demeanor, "Apology accepted, but do know that Nora and I have agreed to enact swift and unexpected payback on you without warning."

Great…Jaune was so screwed now, but he was glad that they weren't too pissed off at him.

He was ready to jump out of the window and hide in case that was the reason why Nora was taking so long, planning a trap for him or something along those lines.

As if on cue, the door opened to present a happy looking Nora Valkyrie dragging Blake into the room with her. "Were back!" Nora said happily as she walked in the room and pulled Blake in with her. Nora was wearing her usual house attire that consisted of her "Boop" shirt and shorts, leaving her feet bare since she wouldn't be going outside. Blake was blushing madly as her hair was a bit fritzy, and her clothing consisted of a black tank top that hugged her figure snugly, and a matching pair of shorts. Her feet were bare as well and her new tail dangled behind her through the hole that Nora tore in her shorts, but she still wore her bow over her ears and the gemmed necklace that Jaune gave her for Christmas.

Jaune noticed her embarrassment, and curiously asked, "What's wrong Blake?"

Nora giggled as she decided to answer for her new friend and said, "Oh nothing, I was just telling her some interesting things she could do for you in bed. She seemed like she was all for it because she was purring under her breath even though she tried not to. She even did this one thing with her tail tha-"

The boys could feel beads of sweat roll down the backs of their head as Blake immediately protested without losing her blush and pressed her hand over Nora's mouth. "For the last time, it's because I can't control my animal instincts on occasion! Just drop it!"

Nora was clearly showing that she was going to be just as much of a pain as Yang as she replied, "Weeeellll, I guess I could…but you've gotta do something for me in return."

"Are you blackmailing me?" Blake asked rhetorically as her left eyebrow twitched in slight aggravation.

"Blackmailing such a dirty word, I prefer to call it "fair trade"." Nora replied happily. "Oh, and I want little blonde kitties to play with in the next four years."

"NORA!" Jaune and Blake shouted embarrassedly as Ren subtly chuckled into his hand. "We just started dating for Oum's sake!" Jaune quickly said with a dark blush, trying to get the mental image of Blake with a slightly extended stomach out of his head.

"Relax guys, I was only kidding…I want them as soon as next year."

"GODDAMN IT NORA!" Jaune shouted as Blake just decided to treat the situation as if Yang were the one to tease her. "You're impossible." Blake said exhaustedly as she just decided to stop protesting heavily.

Ren decided that maybe would be a good time to intervene as he said, "Nora, we can discuss the terms of Blake's blackmail another time."

"Fiiinnneee." Nora whined under her breath before grumbling about wanting blond kitties. She immediately perked up as she then asked, "So, what do you guys wanna do tonight?"

"Well, considering that this will be the first time that we'll have a fourth member, perhaps we should ask her." Ren answered.

Blake admittedly felt a bit uncomfortable being the center of attention as her three friends all turned their heads towards her, waiting for her input as to how they'll be spending the night. She wasn't exactly the best at picking activities, and on the rare occasions that she partook in the "sleepovers" between her friends back at Beacon she would simply let either Yang or Ruby decide what they do, so for her to be the one with the decision was an unusual change for her. "Um…I don't know. What do you three usually do?" she asked unsurely.

Jaune smiled, finding Blake's shy nature adorable in so many ways, and answered, "We usually play video games, watch TV, a few drinking games, or play card games. We USED to play Truth or Dare, but Nora takes that game waaaaaaaaaay too seriously."

"Oh come on, it wasn't that bad." Nora said with a happy giggle, genuinely believing that it wasn't.

"YOU DARED ME TO DRINK A BOTTLE OF WHISKY FOR EVERY DOG I SAW THAT NIGHT!" Jaune shouted angrily at his friend.

Blake's head dipped to the side slightly in confusion, not seeing why her boyfriend was being so dramatic about a seemingly safe dare. "That doesn't sound too extreme." she commented, only making Ren laugh a bit louder at her statement.

"Nora made us watch 101 Dalmatians that same night. 'Nuff said." Jaune added as he glared at Nora, who was joyously recalling that night.

"What are you complaining about? You're still alive; you just forgot how to do math for about a week." Nora said without a bat of her eyelash. Ren chuckles were now just barely contained as his efforts to swallow roaring laughter were now clearly visible in his red face. Blake couldn't help but stare stunned at her boyfriend after he explained why he was so hesitant to play the dangerous game with Nora. "You consumed over one-hundred bottles of whiskey and lived?" she asked, finding it extremely hard to believe that a normal teenager could live through that.

Jaune simply nodded his head as if he wasn't impressed with himself as he replied, "Yep, I have a very high alcohol tolerance for some reason, so I can drink more than a bunch of hardcore drinkers. Never understood why."

Blake just blinked blankly at Jaune as she tried to make heads or tails of what she was just told. The only reason that she could think of that would explain an inexperienced drinker, a teenager, being able to consume that much without suffering permanently was to have a powerful Aura to negate the effects of the alcohol more quickly, but Jaune didn't have the ability to use Aura, so that wasn't possible. She just chalked it up to him just being gifted with good health and let it be. "Well…I guess we could play a few drinking games to start the night." Blake suggested, knowing from experience with Yang that the best way to start parties, small and large, was with alcohol.

Jaune and Ren grinned slightly as they nodded, enjoying the idea of taking some stress off of their shoulders with booze, especially after the drama they've been suffering lately.

"Oooh! I have the perfect game in mind! How about a double-team drinking contest?!" Nora suggested excitedly. "We'll keep it simple this time, we'll split into teams and take turns matching how much the other drinks until onw team completely falls over."

Jaune groaned nervously as he considered the option. They had plenty of whiskey for it since they restocked a while ago, but he wasn't sure he wanted to engage in such a dangerous game with Nora, and for good reason. Sure, he could out drink both of his friends, but there would be stakes since that's how Nora played. "What happens to the losers?" he asked cautiously.

Nora snickered as she answered with a challenging grin, "The usual, whoever wins gets to have the losers do whatever they want. We'll split the teams into me and Renny-bear, and you and Kitty. Last one standing wins their team the game, and whoever gives up, throws up, or passes out automatically loses. If there are an equal amount of people on each team if we run out of booze, then we'll call it a draw. Fair enough?"

Jaune grunted as he knew that the "throw up" rule was designed as a handicap against him, but he wasn't one to back down from a challenge from Nora of all people. They had a slightly competitive relationship, even though Nora would usually be the one who would reign victorious over him, so he wouldn't give her the satisfaction of him backing down. "Bring it on Nutjob!" Jaune shouted passionately as he pumped his fist in the air.

Blake and Ren just watched their respective lover's butt metaphoric heads in their rivalry as they smiled amusedly, knowing that they were both just getting dragged into the rivalry tonight.

Oh well, they both could use a drink…or over a dozen…whichever it ends up being tonight.

(Beacon)

Ruby unlocked the door to her room and walked inside to let her reluctant new roommate in. "Well…home sweet home." Ruby said with a light smile as Weiss took small and careful steps inside with a slightly grouchy frown tugging at her lips. As soon as she was inducted into Beacon officially, she was evicted from her private room in the medical wards and told to move in with her new teammates. It posed no difficulty since Weiss had no possessions to move. The only object she had on her person besides the clothes on her back was her only true partner Myrtenaster, and to this day she had absolutely no idea where it was. She prayed that it wasn't destroyed in the fire that Frostbite left her in, but she could lament the loss of her cherished weapon later. She had to come to terms with being forced to live in the same quarters as her naïve acquaintance and her sister, who went absent for some reason during the finalization of Weiss's induction. There were far too many papers she had to sign just to join this place…she wouldn't have stayed either just to watch someone sign a mountain's worth of paper.

Weiss took notice that there was a bunk bed set a fair distance away from another bed that was lying in complete solitude, but the bunk beds could barely be called that. One of the beds, of which she assumed was Ruby's due to its red sheets, was hung up over the brand new looking bed that was most likely hers, and it was suspended as such by VERY unsecure looking ropes that did little to inspire confidence in Weiss that it was safe to sleep under it.

"This is a deathtrap waiting to happen." Weiss said with annoyance, and small traces of fear, tinting her voice.

"Oh come on, it's not that bad. This is only temporary until we can get some actual bunk beds in here. Besides, I personally made sure that they would hold up with my weight, so no big." Ruby informed with the utmost confidence as she pointed at herself.

"Forgive me if I'm not fully inspired by your assurance." Weiss replied sarcastically as she walked towards her bed, and after mustering up enough courage to hope that Ruby hadn't miscalculated, sat down on her new bed, sighing in slight relaxation as the cushiony surface bent and indented to match her body. Although the bed wasn't nearly as comfortable as her bed back in her old room, it was a welcome substitute to the hospital bed she had been sleeping in. The lack of comfort in the mattress was easily overlooked due to the relaxed atmosphere permeating the room and made the bed worthwhile even though she had to live with others as well now. She hadn't slept with anyone in the same room as her since…her.

"Wanna talk about it?" Ruby asked, knowing from the slight signs on Weiss's face that she was troubled by something, as she sat down on Yang's bed to face Weiss from a distance comfortable for the white-themed heiress.

"No." Weiss curtly answered as she closed her eyes and crossed her arms, clearly showing that she was maintaining the barricade between her and Ruby. Her talk with the red Faunus had arose sad memories that she would rather not dwell on, memories that she had hoped would stay buried in the past, but did not much to her dismay.

Ruby sighed as Weiss proved her right. Getting through to her would be as difficult as driving a toothpick through a brick wall, just as she had feared and anticipated, but just as Penny encouraged she would just have to keep trying. "Y'know…since we're going to be teammates, it would probably do us both some good to clear some of the air between us, wouldn't ya say?" Ruby asked, trying to ease Weiss into it.

"Just because you're my teammate doesn't mean that I have to open up to you. The only time teammates should is if it is beneficial to producing better results on the battlefield." Weiss replied stubbornly as she kept her face turned away from Ruby and her eyes shut.

Ruby rested her head against the palm of her hand as she looked at her acquaintance with slight pity. "Geesh, the way you talk about teammates makes them sound like…enemies under a truce."

"The last time I showed even the slightest amount of trust to teammates they stabbed me in the back…in more than one way." Weiss sourly commented before resuming her hardened exterior as not to show Ruby any more indulgence in her emotions. "Stop trying to understand me Ruby. You and I have opposite views on the world; it would be best if we just limit our interaction outside necessity."

Ruby shook her head defiantly with a frown. "Weiss, that's not going to work at all. You're not just my teammate on missions; it doesn't work like that over hear. Being someone's teammate in Beacon means a lot more than just helping me fight. I'm gonna be put in a lot of situations when I'm going to be putting my life in your hands, when I'm going to have to trust you without a single spec of doubt between us, and when you have to trust me in return. In order for this to work, we have to cooperate as much as possible."

Weiss frowned even harder as her eyes opened to bore into Ruby's own. They held a sense of pain that Ruby could immediately pick up on, showing that Weiss most certainly had issues with trusting others if it weren't obvious enough. "You make it sound as if groups have to be friends to be teammates. We've been over this before."

Ruby sighed once more as she nodded her head. "You don't believe we can be friends, I know. Can you at least tell me why? Is it because I'm a Faunus?"

Weiss was clearly starting to get irritated as she gritted her teeth from Ruby's constant onslaught of annoyance. "You're not going to drop this until I give you something, are you."

Ruby's eyes ascended to the ceiling as she thought on the subject for a few seconds, but she quickly came to a conclusion that sounded like it had very little thought to begin with. "Nope."

Weiss was briefly overcame with a flash of anger from Ruby's nonchalant response, but she immediately forced herself to calm down, less she just egg Ruby further to pry her for information. "Fine…you want to know why I don't trust anyone anymore? Why I don't believe in Beacon's cause as a possibility, and why I don't think you and I can ever be called friends?"

Ruby was inwardly happy that she finally had made progress with Weiss, but she kept it back as not to offend her during this rare breakthrough. She only nodded and kept eye contact with the ex-heiress, letting her know that she had her complete and undivided attention.

Weiss's frown shuddered a bit as she tightened her fist to painful pressure's before she gently released it and let loose a deep breath, whatever she was about to say was obviously very painful for her to speak of. "My sister…she was a trusting individual…she was an agent of peace and unity…and she was the friendliest angel one would ever meet…and she was killed because of this…by Faunus."

Ruby was certainly not expecting to hear such a astonishing reason from Weiss as to why she acted the way she did. She had a sister? She had never, not once, given any indication that she had other close family members besides her treacherous father, but Weiss's sister sounded as if she meant much more to her than her father ever did to her. The pain…the anger in Weiss's voice when she said this, it was so thick that Ruby could almost smell it.

Ruby only stayed silent and continued to keep eye contact, but her furry ears were now drooped down a little to show that she was disheartened to hear such tragedy in Weiss's past.

"My older sister…was the only person in the world that made me happy. When I was born, my mother died of childbirth, and ever since then my father's heart had frozen over, leading him to become the hateful man that he is today. He fully intended for me to follow in my sister's footsteps from the earliest age possible, to become an agent for the Order. Whether or not he considered this as repayment for taking his wife's life, or if he had planned this all along, I have no idea, but he was very forceful about this and gave me no choice in the matter. He only pushed me harder when it was discovered that I had lower than average Aura reserves, a weakness that was heavily frowned upon since it could easily jeopardize my development as an agent. He gave me almost no time for anything else besides training, I grew up with no friends, I grew up without the innocence that most children are entitled to, and I grew up being trained to be used as a weapon against my father's enemies. My life was miserable…until my sister took me under her wing."

Ruby had no idea that her father was this cruel. She knew that he was brutal against her people and fought any type of progression that they made to becoming more equal to humanity, but to force his own children into that lifestyle…what kind of man does that? Father's were supposed to protect their daughters, did he hate his enemies so much that he'd sacrifice his own children to be used against them? Well…the answer was obvious due to the point of this tale and why Weiss was in Beacon in the first place.

"It was evident in my progression that out of all the tutors that I had learned under at the time, I responded the most positively to my sister teaching me, and my father knew this. Even though my sister was only sixteen, she was gifted with skills and abilities that put her at the highest of ranks in the Order, so she was more than qualified to take a student under her wing. My father could never understand this, but the real reason why I excelled under my sister was because she didn't treat me like just an agent in training; she treated me like I was a little girl as well. She was gentle in her methods of teaching and applied pressure just as easily as comfort when the time called for it. She showed me the joys that life had to offer, more than what my father had ever attempted to do for me. She…was more than a sister to me…she was like a mother to me."

Ruby could smell it, the scent of tears again, but Weiss had yet to release any tears yet even though she looked as if she wanted to. It was then that she realized that the tear that she smelled was her own, but Weiss didn't seem to notice it. She was too busy staring at the floor as she told her tale.

"One day…she was sent to Vacuo on a mission to weaken the White Fang presence in the capital and areas around it, but she wasn't like other Order agents. She avoided killing completely; not once in her entire career did she ever have a kill under her belt or anyone's blood on her hands. She strongly believed in diplomacy and mercy, and whenever she did fight an enemy she always aimed to knock them into unconsciousness rather than take their life. This irritated the Conclave to no end, but she never let them sway her sense of purity. That mission…was no different. She beat the White Fang forces into a retreat, or persuaded them to leave on their own volition. At one point during her mission there, she had found a horribly wounded White Fang grunt in the wilds, a grunt who had accidentally gotten separated from his group and was attacked mercilessly by the dangerous wildlife there. The smart thing to have done in that situation was to kill the grunt to end his pain, or at the very least stay away from him to avoid any trouble that might occur due to being around him…but that wasn't my sister. She didn't see a wounded White Fang soldier at her feet, nor did she see a wounded Faunus, the very people that her organization oppressed regularly. She saw a wounded living being at her feet…so she carried him into one of her hideouts. She fed him…bandaged his wounds…did everything to bring him to a quick and healthy recovery…and what does he do to repay her angelic kindness? The bastard…sells her out to other White Fang groups in the area that she hadn't evicted yet. They killed her…because not only was she an Order agent, she was a daughter of Arcticus Schnee, one of their worst enemies."

Weiss gritted her teeth angrily as her fist vibrated and clenched as she was consumed in hate for the White Fang, mentally damning them to hell for taking someone so precious away from her, the only precious person she had ever had in life. "My sister died a horrible death, alone, surrounded by enemies…because she was the ideal Beacon agent…just like you."

Ruby finally got it now…why Weiss could at the same time tolerate Ruby more than anybody else in Beacon, while at the same time be so hostile towards her. Ruby…was a living breathing reminder of her sister. Her rant at Beacon's edge made more sense than ever now; Ruby had essentially done the exact same thing as her sister had. She had taken in an injured enemy into her walls and tried to help her when the smart thing, just as Weiss said now and last time, would have been to let her die, but she let mercy and compassion guide her actions instead of cold and ruthless logic , and if Weiss were anything like that White Fang grunt Ruby could have ended up just like her. Her anger towards Ruby…was more clear now…so was her way of thinking when it came to trust and the possibility of peace between the two warring people.

"Weiss…I'm…so sorry. I had…no idea." Ruby said with nothing but pure sympathy filling her voice.

"Well, now you do." Weiss seethed angrily as she glared menacingly at Ruby, but the Faunus didn't react to the hostility at all. She only continued to stare sadly at Weiss, being as understanding as possible right now for her. The ex-heiress slowly calmed down and eased her anger, knowing that her anger was misplaced at Ruby right now, even if she had been the one to initiate this disturbing conversation. She stared solemnly back at the floor as she felt a sense of deadness in her core.

"Don't you see now Ruby? I can't believe in my sister's and your ways…in the end, all they accomplish is your death. My sister died…because she was an angel in a world consumed by devilish conflict. She was a human who showed Faunus nothing but compassion despite who she represented, but her death was as certain as any other human's in the Fang's eyes. She was the only one in the world that I felt like I could trust, she promised me that she would come back and teach me how to use the weapon that she passed on to me, but she didn't. She died…trying to be the change that Beacon wants in the world…and accomplished nothing."

Ruby doubted that Weiss had any energy to get angry at her at the moment, so she deemed it was safe to try a personal, but bold move. She rose up from her spot on Yang's bed and sat down next to her so that she was closer to the pillows than Weiss. Just as she hoped , Weiss didn't protest her closeness or show signs that she cared, maybe she wanted the comfort and even despite her current depression she wouldn't admit it. Ruby could only imagine what it was like to go through life with such depression every single day. In way, she could envision it happening to her even if Weiss's scenario was much more dismal. She had lost someone similar, her mother, but she still had her older sister. Her father was nothing but kind and gentle to her, the complete opposite of hers, and she still had friends she could turn to when all else failed. Weiss…lost both her Yang and Summer in the form of her sister, her Taiyang had been anything but fatherly to her, and she now understood why she had no friends. Nobody could heal the damage that had been done to her, nobody could make friends with that much damage.

"What was her name?" Ruby asked, wanting, needing, to know the name of such a person that she wished that she could have called ally in Beacon.

"…Winter." Weiss answered in an emotionless, dead tone, almost as if the very sound of her name off her own tongue pierced her already damaged soul. Ruby found the name ironic; it was a name associated with cold and lifelessness, but that was the exact opposite of what she embodied from the way Weiss spoke of her. It was also ironic that both her mother and Weiss's mother figure be named after two opposing seasons of the year, yet share so much in common with each other. Maybe after Weiss had calmed down, and she felt more comfortable speaking to her about personal things such as this, she would tell her about her mother, but that was for another time.

Feeling that she might be overstepping her boundaries with her next move since she knew that Weiss didn't like to be touched, she decided to preemptively sooth Weiss by springing her surprise now, a surprise that she had planned for her new teammate when she went to bed. As she gently placed a hand on Weiss's back and rubbed soothing circles in it, she reached under Weiss's pillows and pulled out her gift, then gently slid it into Weiss's lap as she continued to rub her back.

Weiss's cloudy hazed eyes widened as her hands gripped Myrtenaster, the weapon passed down to her by her beloved sister. She thought she lost it, but she could tell just from the slight extra weight and it's polished shiny gleam that Ruby had been taking good care of it. It looked like she had even added an extra compartment for more Dust, a welcome upgrade that would prove to be helpful.

"Your sister…sounded like she would have made a great Beacon agent…just like you."

Weiss's gaze turned away from her cherished blade and to Ruby with a look of confusion, silently asking her to explain.

"I know you don't think that your sister accomplished anything trying to be the change that this world needed, even if her superiors disagreed, but I don't think that's true at all. She was able to make sure that your father didn't break you and turn you into the heartless person he wanted. The things that made her…"her" was what gave her such a sweet personality to help you. Not to mention how brave she was in speaking against her superiors, bravery I'm sure you got from her. Weiss…she's not really gone, you're her inheritance; she lives on in you. That's what daughters and little sisters do…we carry on the lessons from our big sis's and mom's." Ruby said with a small smile as she continued to rub her back. She felt the subtle vibrations of sobs that ached to be released, but Weiss maintained a steel tight grip on them as all that escaped was a lone tear that slid down her cheek and landed on her blade.

Ruby continued to console her as she added, "Maybe…it was destined to be this way with you being here. Even if you tried to kill me, and even if you don't think there's a chance for peace, I don't think that you belong there. Just like your sister, you at least acknowledge that you would want to live in a world like that, and that alone says that you belong here with us, just like your sister should have. If you want to honor her memory…why not at least try and fight for a world she would have wanted…as the Beacon agent she should have been?"

Weiss remained silent as she took great, but silent, comfort in her acquaintance's back rub and words that held more wisdom than she had ever heard from her. It certainly put her into a new perspective on how she had handled life after the loss of Winter, and how she had lived ever since she woke up in Beacon. Should she have betrayed the Order before they betrayed her and left for Beacon earlier, even if she still thought that their ideal world was purely fictitious? What good came out of her choice to stay with the Order? What would Winter have said to her if she knew that her little sister was on a slippery slope to being a hateful warmonger like her father? These questions rattled on and on inside her head as she calmed down from her emotional turmoil, but thanks to Ruby's comforting words of wisdom, she was able to come to at least one definitive conclusion.

Ruby was right, the best way to honor her memory was to be the Beacon agent that her sister should have been, and even if she thought their goal was asinine she should do what she can to at least make it slightly possible like her sister would have done.

"Thank you…Ruby." Weiss finally said, shocking Ruby for a split second with the sincerity behind her voice that was masked by her composure. There was genuine gratitude in her voice, Ruby could hear it, and it made her immensely happy that she was able to make such huge progress with her to get such words out of her.

"Anytime Weiss." Ruby replied happily as she retracted her hand and rested it on her own lap as she smiled proudly and happily as she stayed quiet, not daring to say anything to ruin the moment between them.

"By no means does this make us friends, you know this right?" Weiss asked, immediately killing the moment instead of Ruby and causing her to gawk at her white teammate before falling to the floor in pure shock and disappointment.

"AW, COME ON WEISS! Pleeeaaaassse can we be friends? We can't have such a breakthrough after all of this and not be friends! Pleeaaasssee?!" Ruby begged as she looked up at her teammate with the notorious "Ruby Pout", the most feared weapon in Beacon's arsenal besides the legendary "Reality Breaker Cannon", that not even Yang herself was COMPLETELY immune against.

Not even Weiss, despite the layers of ice cocooning her soul, was unable to completely stave off the soul-warming waves that emanated from Ruby's large watery eyes and quivering bottom lip.

The fencer sighed as she rubbed the bridge of her nose and decided to throw the wolf Faunus a bone…ironic. "Ok…I'll compromise. How about instead of "friends"…we'll be… "friend…lies"?

Ruby instantly took the bone and gnawed on it voraciously with glee and excitement as she leaped at her new "friendly" and said happily, "I'll take it! Welcome to Beacon my icy teammate!"

"Personal space, PERSONAL SPACE, PERSONAL SPACE!" Weiss shouted as she barely kept Ruby back and off of her with her hand placed firmly on Ruby's face as the overly excited puppy tried to wrap the "touch-me-not" into a powerful hug.

It wasn't the perfect start to their "friendship"…but it was a start none the less, and that was good enough for Ruby.

(Elsewhere)

The building that once served as the battleground for the vicious confrontation between Adam and Frostbite was now little more than a pile of destroyed burnt hardware, and frozen remnants of the structure of the building. The fight between them was long and destructive, and the only reason that they hadn't attracted the presence of any of civilians was due to the fact that the base itself stood far away from civilization. This did not help matters at all for Adam, because despite all of his power, and all of his skill that matched that of his opponents, Frostbite simply possessed more raw power than the bull Faunus, and he definitely knew how to use it. Adam simply couldn't maintain the levels of power necessary to win the fight, but Frostbite looked as if he was an inexhaustible well of Aura, not once showing signs that he was running low on it or energy.

Adam was panting and using his blade, which was stabbed in the ground at his feet, to keep himself standing as he glared angrily at his enemy, who was calmly floating a safe distance away from him as he kept his arms crossed. His armor was much more sharp and fearsome despite not losing its pure white color, the plates were much more sharp and sleek to match the icy wings that flapped behind him, and the helmet had changed shapes to be more sharply angular with twin horns that extended cleanly and gracefully in an arc behind his head.

"Hmm…I see. So your actual Semblance is the conversion of the adrenaline in your body, aroused by your anger, to Aura that you use to increase your power and stamina, as well as give yourself accelerated regenerative properties. How fitting for a bull, but it would seem your anger has reached its limit." Frostbite analytically commented as he floated gently to the ground, still radiating a cold force around his body that froze the very dirt he stood on. "Tell me, before I destroy you, for what reason would you go through such lengths for one girl. You obviously hate humans, you are still attached to your roots as a White Fang despite being a Beacon agent, why follow through with such folly of being with Beacon just for her?"

Adam stood more upright as he glared at his enemy with anger, but his Semblance had worn itself out from overuse. He had long lost this fight, but even if he had found a way to turn the tide of this battle in his favor he still wouldn't have been able to get back to Beacon to give them this crucial information about Blake. He could feel it, there was a third presence hidden in the shadows of the destroyed building, a dark presence that was merely acting as a passive observer during the battle, but that presence would spike whenever it looked as if Adam was going to land a lethal hit on Frostbite, proving that they were on his opponent's side. He didn't understand why the dark one hadn't come to help Frostbite, but it didn't matter at this point. He was most likely going to die, but he was ok with that. He had one last trick up his sleeve to kill his enemy before the presence could intervene and kill him.

"Because…she was the only one that made me feel like I was more than just a killer…a monster. You are correct…I don't particularly care for humanity after the pain they've put me and my people through…but for some reason she does…so I tolerate them…because she's my family. Not like you'd understand…" Adam panted and growled as he held his chokuto, Wilt, out in extension to ready himself for one last attempt at victory.

"Hmph…Love? Love is what motivates you?" Frostbite questioned lowly, yet still carrying weight in his question so that his chilling and metallic voice could be audible through his helmet. The armored menace gave a genuine chuckle of amusement as he walked slowly in Adam's direction. "I've no need for such frivolous concepts as love and family…not anymore. I've learned through experience that they hold no real meaning in this world, only power does. One does not change the events that transpire around them with "love", they do so with power and abilities at their control. And family…heh, if you can't find your own motivation on your own terms, you are merely dependent on those who simply share the same blood as you. It is through that sickening dependence on those individuals that formulates the romanticized vision of "family"." Frostbite immediately zoomed at Adam with his longsword ready to lob the Faunus's head off, but Adam anticipated it and summoned the very last of his strength to speed at his enemy and swipe his glowing red blade at the menace. The two locked once more in a vicious power struggle between their bright red and blue radiances as their blade's spurted hot sparks from how hard they scrapped against one another, but it was clear that Frostbite now had the most strength between the two of them.

The armored assassin roared with power as he completely pushed Wilt away then wrapped his hand around Adam's throat to hold him up in the air with a tight grip. Adam gagged painfully as he felt his enemy's cold Aura seep into his body and freeze him from the inside, and as his enemy relished in his suffering they growled, "In the end, what did your "love" accomplish? What did it do for your already slim chances of survival?"

Adam merely laughed past his lack of air as his enemy interrogated him angrily, not realizing that he had fallen right into Adam's trap. The Faunus's finger slowly slid down the length of Blush as it brushed up against its trigger, and the bullets inside that he had yet to fire were being aimed directly into the opening past Frostbite's chin near his throat, and he was none the wiser. Just a few more seconds of careful aiming and they would be lodged in his brain.

"What did *cough*… your blind anger… accomplish?" Adam asked in return, reciprocating the same insult that Frostbite had thrown at him during the beginning of their confrontation.

Frostbite was slightly confused by the bull's words, but didn't care enough to think on the subject much further than that. He raised his longsword up to Adam's chest where his heart was as it clicked and whirred during its shift into sniper-rifle form.

Adam was ready to fire Blush into Frostbite's head at that moment, just as Frostbite was ready to fire his rifle into Adam's chest, but one completely unexpected occurrence left them both still with shock long enough for both of their attacks to cease.

"faaaallllccoooOOONNN…" a voice shouted in the distance as it grew closer and closer.

Frostbite shot his head in the direction of shout just as Adam rebounded from the surprise. "What the he-"

"PUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNN!" Yang screamed triumphantly as she buried her gauntleted fiery fist into the face of Frostbite's helmet. Ember Celica fired upon contact and sent Frostbite spinning and flying through piles of the frozen and ruined remains of the building. This shook Adam violently as Frostbite released him, but unfortunately for him this meant that the round he fired, that was intended to kill Frostbite, missed its target completely and sailed the air over Yang's fist and where Frostbite's head used to be. As Frostbite was buried under the pile that fell on top of him, Adam fell onto his knees at Yang's side, then shot his head up at her and shouted angrily, "You idiot! I had him, and you just blew it!"

Yang's once exultant smile spoiled into a sour glare as she looked down at her ally and shouted back, "What the hell is your problem! I just saved your life you ungrateful ass!"

Adam growled angrily as he came to the conclusion that Yang was completely oblivious to the presence of the other person hiding in the area. For some unknown reason, the dark presence's Aura spiked as soon as Yang entered the area, and before he could shout this information at her the pile of debris that Frostbite was under exploded in a blast of ice, freeing him from the crushing weight of the destroyed pieces of the building. He stared angrily at his surprise attacker with murderous intent leaking off of him in waves, but he was slightly shocked by her face.

"Who the hell are you?" Frostbite asked with anger clear in his intimidating voice.

Yang grinned with confidence, not intimidated at all by the strength of her opponent as she slammed her fists together and flared her fiery Aura around her as she replied, "Yang Xiao Long, and I'm here to do what I do best; break the ice!"

The area around them remained silent as both Frostbite and Adam stayed in place, trying their hardest to understand both why the blond was making jokes during such a critical moment AND how she thought that her joke was funny. A tumbleweed rolled along the ground with the wind across the space between the Beacon agents and their foe before Frostbite finally regained his ability to speak. "Your death…will…be of legendary pain of the likes this world has never seen." Frostbite responded with disgust lacing his voice.

"Heh, says you Ha." Yang shot back insultingly as she cocked back both her fists to ready her gauntlets for another shot each.

Frostbite was once again confused by his new enemy's choice of words as he readied his sniper rifle for an extra round of combat. "Ha?" he asked with irritation heavy in his voice.

Yang grinned her mischievous and taunting smile once more as she replied, "Well…your last name is obviously Snowballs."

Frostbite instantly connected the two names in his head, and after realizing he was being crudely insulted once more by the blond he shot his rifle at her multiple times in anger. Yang leaped away from her spot as Adam did the same and crawled behind a piece of a wall for cover since he was in no condition to fight now.

Yang cart-wheeled and back-flipped in various directions as the bullets whizzed by her body, sending a slight chill down the skin it almost penetrated and letting her know that the bullet's were soaked with his freezing Semblance, and after Frostbite ceased firing he sped at his enemy as his rifle shifted again. Yang bent her back mid-dodge and blocked the swipes and stabs of her enemy with Ember Celica, illuminating the surrounding area with the resulting barrage of sparks as the clanging of metal meeting metal reverberated through it. Yang finally found an opening and delivered a powerful surprise upper cut into Frostbite's chin that sent him meters high into the air. Frostbite stabilized himself in the air after flapping his icy sharp wings, and as he stayed afloat in the air he waved his sword across the air to fire a volley of sharp ice sickles down at Yang. Yang's fiery Aura blazed around her and centered around her fist as she swatted and punched the ice sickles away, making it easier to break and deflect them. She then fired round after round at her enemy in the air to force him to dodge or back up, and succeeded in doing both before she rolled to a large flat piece of wall and grabbed it with both hands.

"Get ready for a wallop!" she shouted as she spun the piece around with her body and released, letting it fly and spin at her enemy.

"You're sense of humor is atrocious!" Frostbite growled as he sliced the piece of wall in half, then shot his hand outward and concentrated his Aura in the palm of his armored hand.

Yang narrowed her eyes and held her tightened fists out, ready to block or dodge whatever Frostbite was about to do, but as Adam observed the fight from behind cover his eyes widened as he recognized what Frostbite was about to do.

"NOW!" He mentally screamed as he forced himself to jump over cover and speed his way in front of Yang with Wilt ready to intercept the imminent attack, despite his body's painful protests. Just as he had predicted, Frostbite fired the concentrated Aura Beam at Yang with the intent to freeze her into paralysis then kill her, but Adam had just saved her from the attack as he absorbed the ice cold energy through his blade. Adam glowed with a bright red gleam after absorption, but even though it was a welcome boost it still wasn't enough to keep him going for too much longer.

Yang was not expecting the sheer speed behind Frostbite's attack, and if Adam hadn't intercepted it she would have mostly likely been iced…in more ways than one. "Um…thanks." Yang said appreciatively as she kept her eyes on Frostbite as he glared at them from above.

"I didn't do it save you, you daft idiot. I needed the energy." He informed with a sneer.

"Asshole." Yang insulted before firing another barrage of shots at Frostbite, only instead of simply dodging them, he flew past every shot with evasive twirls and barrel rolls. Before either Yang or Adam knew it, Frostbite blurred in front of them and grabbed them both by their face.

"ENOUGH!" He roared angrily as he slammed both of their heads into the ground, then back handed Adam during his rebound so that he flew right into a wall. Before Yang could get back up from the unexpected attack, Frostbite immediately focused his aggression on her as he quickly and powerfully slashed at her with his blade. Yang was able to roll away from the initial slash as she got back to her feet, but she was left very little breathing room afterwards as she soon found herself not being able to keep up with the swift and violent slashes. She yelped in pain after every successful cut on her body that she wasn't able to block, and even with her fiery hot Aura coursing inside her she could feel the cold seep in through her wounds and numb her slightly. Her stomach and arms now bore a few mildly deep cuts that bled considerably, and with the hope disarming her opponent before he got a fatal cut on her she charged him and grabbed at his blade.

This was a mistake, for as soon as she attempted this Frostbite promptly gripped his free hand and mercilessly slammed his armored fist into her stomach. Yang bent over and wheezed as her foe brutally knocked the breath out of her body, and before she could regain her bearings Frostbite followed the blow with another to her face that sent her zipping through the air before her body made painful impact with the same wall that Adam was keeping himself up against.

Yang's mind was reeling in pain as her body formed a deep indent in the wall and a spider-web of cracks before she fell to the ground on her stomach. As she tried to fight off the dizziness of the blow, Adam stumbled and wobbled to his feet as he gritted his teeth in frustration, simply not understanding how Frostbite had not run low on either energy or Aura at this point. In fact, he could feel it; Frostbite's Aura levels hadn't dropped at all…they were rising.

"Heh heh…man…and I thought my combat instructor during training was merciless…but this guy's…just cold."

"If there is any solace to the situation, it is that you and YOUR PUNS will die with me." Adam growled darkly as he was tempted to cut Yang for her jokes during such a critical moment.

"I couldn't agree more." Frostbite commented as he stomped towards the two downed Beacon Agents, taking his time to relish the hopelessness of their survival.

As if to deny Frostbite complete satisfaction, Yang just laughed a little more through her pain as she struggled and pulled herself up to her feet as she activated her Semblance. Her long, flowing locks of gold shined as bright as the sun with fire dancing across its length, and her eyes glowed a dark red that contrasted the amused grin on her face.

"No way dog…I'm gonna live forever." She coughed as her Semblance kicked in, giving her a much needed second wind.

Frostbite growled as his foe refused to just simply lie down and die. He didn't just come here to eliminate any leaks of information, he also came here to preserve any data that hadn't been sent to HQ yet. He wouldn't be able to do that if the entire area was reduced to nothing but cold dust, so with that in mind he had been trying to hold back his power, but apparently it was only serving to extend the short lives of his enemies. He could have frozen them easily, but not without possibly jeopardizing his mission, and it was infuriating him to no end.

"While I respect your tenacity and indomitable will, even you must learn when to give up. There is no possible way you can win." Frostbite growled as he channeled Aura into his blade to sharpen it two-fold with ice.

Yang shook her head, still retaining her grin as she did so. "Nope. Unluckily for you, I…don't…learn…"

Frostbite was, admittedly, curious as to why the girl trailed off mentally in her sentence, but he soon found his answer as his eyes followed hers to the small object that landed at his feet.

Was that…a strand of yellow hair?

"yoouuuu…" Yang hissed under her breath as the flames fluttering through her fiery mane emitted even more heat, almost as if to angrily mourn the loss of the strand of hair. Her eyes shut as her fists tightened with knuckle-straining force; the heat around her was so intense that Adam began to sweat as he wisely stepped a few feet away from the ticking time bomb.

"YOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUU MOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRR!" Yang roared monstrously as she exploded in a fiery geyser of rage and destruction that sent building debris around her flying into the distance at dangerous speeds. Adam had to stab Wilt into the ground and hold on with most of his strength to refrain from being blown away from the force of Yang's explosion, and immediately after the force calmed down the slightest bit Yang blasted towards Frostbite with the ferocity of a blood-thirsty behemoth out of Hell. Her blazing hot roars echoed across the field with the forceful eruption of an active volcano as she sent fiery punch after fiery punch into her enemy, most of which were blocked by the alarmed icy agent, but a few had actually managed to slam powerfully into his armor and bruise the hidden flesh underneath slightly and leaving noticable dents in his once prestine armor. Yang's wrath didn't cloud her mind enough to prevent her from seeing an opening in Frostbite's defense, and as soon as it caught her ruby-red eyes she took the chance to launch her enemy directly up into the air with a swift upper-cut to the chin. The assault didn't end there; as Frostbite reached the apex of his painful ascent, Yang blurred above him in a streak of golden fire and pulled her fist back as it was consumed in a small vortex of red-hot flames.

"HEAT THIS!" the monstrously livid girl roared as she rammed her fist into Frostbite's chest plate and sent the evil agent bulleting back towards the ground screaming angrily in a ball of fire. The explosion that followed shook the land with its intensity and sent plumes of dust clouds rising into the air that concealed the results of the attack on her enemy. Gravity reclaimed its hold on Yang's body and sent her falling back onto the ground with her rump as the cushion, and after her energy finally gave out her hair returned to its normal lustrous blond, and her eye color bled back into a royal violet.

Adam was lying on the ground silent with his back resting against the wall, stricken speechless by the insane comeback that his fellow Beacon agent had just performed. He actually found himself finding a muster of respect for the girl despite they're vivid dislike for each other that sometimes bordered on the cusp of hatred, and as much as he didn't want to admit it she had in fact saved his life with her intervention. Yang released a deep breath of relief that the dangerous foe had finally been defeated, then summoned a small speck of strength she used to crawl painfully in the direction of the wall Adam was resting against. The bull blinked confusedly behind his solid eye-mask wondering why the blonde looked so crestfallen when she, of all people, would be dancing in victory or making another victorious pun to sweeten her victory. He gritted his teeth in disbelief at the asinine blonde as she revealed the cause for her sadness. "You've got to be kidding me…" he groaned as his gloved hand met his face.

"Don't worry my little gold one…" Yang whimpered pitifully as she cradled the strand of hair she lost into her bosom. She held onto the strand as if it were a grieving and lost child that had been thrust into a dark lonely world, and patted its metaphorical back as she whispered, "…you have been avenged."

"It's just a strand of dead cells you idiot. Get over it." Adam groaned exasperatedly, slightly annoyed by the stupidity of Yang's anger. She was an agent for crying out loud, didn't she have more pressing concerns in life besides her hair? Though to be fair, it was her insane attachment with her hair that had allowed her to beat their adversary in the end.

"Kiss my ass!" Yang shouted angrily at the Faunus with an angrily pointed finger. "My hair is beautiful and a work of art! Do you know how hard it is to keep it that way sometimes?!"

"Oh for-"

Adam was swiftly cut off by the sense of dread in his core as he felt a powerful chilling wind pass them both. What followed was a heated and murderous bellow from the small crater that was consumed in a thick shroud of dirt, and an explosion of cold icy-blue Aura that violently dissipated the air-borne dirt surrounding the area and revealed the irate armored agent at the center of the explosion. His chest plate had a notable fist-sized dent in the center that was charred slightly from Yang's flames, and the plating around his arms had come off slightly in disorganized cracks, indicating that he had used his arms to guard himself from the brunt of the collision and revealing the tight black under-suit that clung firmly to his surprisingly slim arms.

He glared menacingly at the blond and brunette/red-head as his Aura climbed even higher. The dark slits that were his eye-holes glowed the evil blue of his Aura, further communicating the murderous intent that he had for them at this point. All thoughts and concerns of completing the other half of his mission were swept aside as the armored agent rose up into the air and set his feet on the top of a tall fraction of wall and aimed the palm of his hand in the direction of his enemies.

"YOU'VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!" Yang and Adam shouted both in anger, shock, and fear as they felt a deadening sting of hopelessness at the sight of their enemy readying himself to kill them.

"Congratulations Beacon Agents, you have officially pushed me over the edge. I'm going to enjoy striking your frozen corpses into dust." Frostbite growled forcefully as his Aura collected around his outstretched arm. Adam gritted his teeth as a small sphere of blindingly bright blue Aura, no bigger than a marble, formed and floated in front of his palm. The Faunus could tell just from the sheer intensity of the light beaming from the sphere that it was a highly concentrated collection of Aura. He was not confident that he would be able to absorb all of the energy, for even he had his limits on how much energy he could absorb. His body could end up releasing all of the absorbed energy by exploding like a balloon with too much air, and from the intensity of the sphere Frostbite was creating he was fairly sure that would happen.

There was no room for a come-back now. Death was practically imminent now.

"Man…talk about do Aura die huh?" Yang chuckled and panted without energy as she crawled painfully to the wall next to Adam and rested her back against the wall.

"You just had to get one last shitty pun in before we died…I fucking hate you" Adam groaned as he leaned his head back against the wall, wondering what kind of sadistic bastard power in the sky would put him through the hell of dying next to this woman.

"I know." Yang replied with a hopeless chuckle, preferring to go out with a bit of humor.

The two exhausted and immobile agents screwed their eyes shut in fearful anticipation of their demise, both slightly regretful that it would end this way before much had been done. Adam lamented not being able to do more for his race in his life, and hoped that Blake would somehow elude these dangerous enemies, while Yang was slightly more content internally, taking solace in the fact that she would get to see her beloved mother again. Her only regret was not being able to give Ruby a proper goodbye and last loving sisterly advice for life, but she was confident that Ruby would do fine, even without her.

Frostbite readied his attack that would freeze every ounce of liquid in their body as well as considerable amounts of moisture in the air around them, but right before he would be able to fire at them, an unexpected presence appeared beside him and grabbed him by his forearm and interrupted the flow of his Aura, cancelling the attack in the process.

Adam flinched at the arrival of the dark presence from before, having completely forgot about it in the middle of the fight, but he, as well as Yang, were shocked to open their eyes see this unusual looking individual arrive out of nowhere and practically save their lives. It was a woman carrying a ridiculously long red blade in hand, with hair blacker than the most vivid of darkness. With the exception of her intimidating red and black themed clothing, that was all they could see of her, for her face was concealed by a grimly chilling bone mask that allowed the tiniest glimpse at crimson red eyes if one were to squint hard enough.

Frostbite growled from having his kills rudely interrupted by the unexpected arrival, and calmly asked in a voice with evident anger, "What are you doing here, I have this under control. Release me."

The enigmatic woman shook her head in response as she replied, "Evidently not considering you were about to freeze all remnants of this area, thus making leftover data retrieval impossible. I've already done that part, but I sense that you're battle has attracted a strong ally of theirs. I can sense that they will be here soon. Fighting is pointless; we should go before more possibly arrive."

As much as Frostbite was confident that he could take on whoever was on their way, fighting on a larger scale would only be problematic in the end, and he knew this despite how infuriating it was. He yanked his arm out of the woman's grasp and glared down at the enemies he had made today as he powered down. The icy wings on his back melted away as he gave them a final remark before they began their departure. "Luck is on your side, but shall we ever meet again, no unexpected arrivals will save you from death's cold embrace."

Seeing that her ally was finished and ready to leave, the dark woman reared her blade back and sliced the air behind them. As if the very air itself was rice paper, the slash tore a sinister black and red portal where the air was sliced, baffling the two injured Beacon agents since they had never seen such an unusual ability before. Frostbite gave them one final glare before calmly hopping through the portal, but the masked woman stayed behind momentarily, having stared at Yang as her comrade took his leave. Instead of her sensation of being a fearless dragon that she was used to, Yang felt more like a paper lizard in front of the most sinister and windy of storms as her violet eyes made slight contact with the gleaming crimson orbs that looked far too familiar for comfort as they hid behind the mask. The woman radiated a dark Aura among herself effortlessly, easily matching that of the icy enemy they had almost been slaughtered by, and even Yang herself could feel it despite having no talent for sensing the Aura of others.

"A word of advice children: You should learn to cooperate more effectively. Your teamwork is poor; you won't live long in this war in the future if you can't improve on such a key factor of combat. I can't help but feel that you would have found Belladonna by now if you too would simply combine your efforts." The woman wisely advised despite clearly being on the Order's side. Adam was perplexed to say the least; not only did this mysterious woman save them from her own comrade, she was also even giving them words of wisdom as if she wasn't the enemy. She was a walking contradiction at its best, and this confused Adam, but the mention of Blake was enough to anger him and growl under his breath.

"I don't usually make a habit of listening to the enemy's advice." Adam replied with a light sneer as he kept Wilt in hand, even though he was in no condition to fight.

"Then consider it a warning then Adam, Yang. This war is on the verge of escalating to a scale the likes of which either of our sides have ever seen, and if you want the slimmest chance of succeeding, you will heed it." The woman retorted, not at all effected by the rudeness of the Faunus below her as she had yet to step down from the large piece of debris.

Yang frowned as even she could tell that the person coming on their way to help them wasn't as close as the woman had made them out to be if they hadn't shown up, so this woman clearly intended on sparring their lives for some reason. "Not that I'm complaining or anything, but why did you save us?" Yang asked.

The woman turned her back to the Beacon agents to face the portal, clearly getting ready to take her leave. Yang could almost hear the faintest sounds of a sigh from the woman before she answered her question after a short silence. "That is a question for another time. Do not mistake this as an act of kindness, the next time we meet, I will attempt to end your life myself…and I fully expect you to do the same." Before Yang could even utter another word, the woman jumped into the portal as Yang shouted with an outstretched hand, "Hey wait!"

The portal dissipated silently, leaving the two agents where they were as Yang let her hand fall back into her lap when it was evident that the woman was gone for good. She could feel the deadness in the woman's voice during her last statement, and it only confused her even more that an Order agent sounded as if she was speaking directly to her and disregarding Adam.

"Who…was she?" Yang lightly asked under her breath with a sigh as she leaned back against the shattered wall.

Adam gave a disinterested grunt as he relaxed his hold on Wilt, just glad that both Frostbite and the masked woman were gone now. Now that the intimidating Aura of their "savior" was absent, he could now sense that a presence was indeed headed their way, and he was fairly confident that it was a friendly just as the woman said.

Yang rolled her eyes at her company's aloof attitude, but still asked, "So…did you find out anything about Blake? I didn't think you'd be here since my information pointed me to here."

Adam ignored the blond and continued to wait patiently for the arrival of the friendly, not in the mood to answer her questions. Although he was confident he had more information than her, he was sure that when he reported to the Council she would find out through them anyway. The fact that the Order was actively interested in Blake and observing her and her unknown friend from wherever they were deeply troubled him, but he didn't feel that it was necessary to tell Yang this. That and he simply didn't want to speak with her, she disliked him just as much as he disliked her after all.

Yang eyebrows bent into a vaguely frustrated glare as she replied. "Look, you don't like me and I sure as hell don't like you, but she's right y'know. We would have an easier time finding her if we worked together. Don't you think her safety is more important than the beef between us?"

Adam gritted his teeth as he was getting irritated from Yang's attempts to push him into a temporary truce. "I don't need your help Xiao Long, I can find her without you. You'll only be a nuisance."

Yang's eyes would have bled into their indicative red color if she had any usable Aura left from the fight. She didn't take too kindly to his tone or his blatant insult and replied with her own growl. "And what the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Exactly what you think it means. Your skills at reconnaissance are mediocre at best, and the fact that you even found this place is laughable considering you probably repeated the same foolish tactic of walking into their territory and punching the information out of them. Stick to field combat." Adam retorted, not at all caring that Yang looked fully prepared to sock him.

"Oh I'm sorry, I guess I should be more thorough and kill my enemies but leave one survivor for information like I'm some kind of sadistic monster." It was blatantly clear that she was referring to him, the sarcasm made it a little more stinging, and while Yang could admit that showing her enemies that she would kill them would most likely yield more results information wise, she couldn't bring herself to go that far, unlike Adam who was more merciless than the average Beacon Agent. "I saved your pathetic ass didn't I?"

"If you had taken the time to observe the situation like any agent with a brain would, you would have seen that I was preparing to kill him. Like I said, nothing but a nuisance." Adam growled back, though a small part of himself knew that the only reason that the masked woman even saved him was most likely because of Yang. She seemed to be far more interested in preserving her life than his.

The muscles in Yang's arms clenched as she was ready to punch the Faunus square in the jaw for his complete lack of gratitude, making her wish for a split second that she had left him to twist in the wind, but it would hurt Blake to hear that the asshole was dead, so she stood by her decision. She still wanted the satisfaction of knocking that mask clean off of his face, but before she could achieve this she was halted by the sudden explosive entrance to their right.

"Alright you heinous devils, prepare for righteous punishment from the illustrious and dashingly handsome stud of Beacon that will leave you soaring through the sky into the sun, or my name is not Peter Po-"

Port ceased his speech of bravado as he noticed the battlefield's lack of enemy inhabitants, finding that the only souls in the audience to his entrance were the two young Beacon agents who were staring at their late assistant as if they were contemplating whether or not being left alone with their murderous Icy enemy was such a bad thing. After observing the field full of the shattered remnants of what used to be a building and the left over ice of the enemy they were fighting, the wizened agent grunted as he placed his blunder buster back on the holster on his back as he stroked his animate moustache. "Shame, and here I was looking forward to an invigorating challenge for the first time in years…"

"You're late." Adam said with an irritated frown, probably glaring at the man behind his eye mask, but the older man laughed it off boisterously as if he didn't have an ounce of concern. "Well, as the old saying says, better late than never!"

"If we hadn't gotten lucky this time, we would have both been dead when you got here." Yang informed with a twitching eye brow, slightly less irritated by the older man than Adam but only slightly.

"Well perhaps if two young hot heads would make more of an effort to report in to HQ concerning their whereabouts or their intended destination, they wouldn't feel the need for an unexpected rescue now would they?" Port laughed at the slight flinch his comeback elicited, believing it to be an indicator that he had won their small argument. It did, but Port had no idea how accurate he was when he said "unexpected rescue", and he wouldn't until they reported in to the Council as far as either of them were concerned.

"Can you please just help us get home now please? I think I have ice cubes in places I didn't even know I had." Yang complained lightly, wanting nothing more at that moment than to fall face first into a comfortable bed and fall asleep until next year, preferable next to a fire place until said ice cubes melted.

Yang and Adam soon found themselves hoisted over the surprisingly strong shoulders of the old man, not expecting him to be this strong at all given his age and physique, even with the assistance of Aura. Adam was less than pleased at his position and would have preferred to limp home than be carried like this, but Port's hold on him tightened momentarily to squeeze out a pained gasp from the Faunus and let him know that he didn't have a say in the matter as the man effortlessly began walking back to Beacon with them in hand. "You youths are so reckless I'm surprised you've made it this far. When I was a boy, we enjoyed our youth while it lasted, but we didn't let it blind us to common sense and acts of wise caution, or at least most of us did. I recall this time when a select few of our team during my starting years at Beacon chose to throw caution to the wind and charge a base full of Order agents that was considerably fortified, far too much for simply the two of them, but didn't even possess the equipment necessary for such a foolish attack. Luckily for them, I was on their team, and charged with them against my better judg-."

"For the love of Monty can we please just spend the next hour in sile-AAAAuuuuugggghhh!" Adam gasped and gargled slightly from the increased pressure around his injured ribs that effectively shut him up for his interruption. Yang would have been laughing her ass off at how Adam helplessly squirmed and wiggled around in the old man's grasp if she hadn't been contemplating doing the same. Port was tightening his grasp on her as well, but not enough to hurt her since she wasn't being as rude as Adam was, but it did keep her arms to her sides so that she couldn't use her hands to shield her ears from the tale that was sure to be longwinded and self-absorptive. The two teens were now in a fate far worse than any death Frostbite could have forced on them: being the prisoners to Port's stories….Monty bless their poor souls.

By the time they got back to Beacon hours later, Yang was in a catatonic coma from boredom, and it would forever be remembered as the day that Adam had actually shed a few tears in public.

(Jaune's House)

The night hadn't been as relaxing as Ren and Blake had hoped thanks to the intense competitiveness of both of their respective lovers. Their friendly drinking game had turned into an all out drinking war when neither Jaune nor Nora showed any signs of giving up on their game until their opponent was defeated. Ren and Blake wisely submitted, leaving the two to play a game of poker until the two were done, but their lovers had began to drink too much to the point that it was starting to get unhealthy. Ren chose to end the drinking game after Blake beat him in poker, and pulled the ever-familiar tranquilizer gun from his pocket and gave them both a dose since he knew he would have to fight them to end their game otherwise. The only reason he was able to hit them was because he had the gun no less than a foot close to them…but he would be damned before he told them when the woke up. Blake stared with a raised eyebrow as Ren got to work putting up the bottles that were finished yet and throwing away the ones that were empty after rinsing them out.

"It's hard being the responsible one." Blake said sympathetically as she got up to carry Jaune over to the couch. She would have done the same had Ren not beat her to the punch after finishing cleaning up quickly, and sat down on the couch while placing Nora's head on his lap after putting one of the pillows between her head and his lap for comfort. "A burden that I'm guessing you're familiar with?" Ren asked with a small smile as he gently pet her forehead, knowing that she liked while she slept. Nora smiled contently as she curled up in her sleep further into her lover, proving this to be accurate.

"You have no idea." Blake replied with a low chuckle as she followed Ren's example and, after situating him comfortably on her lap, gently pet her own lover in his sleep as her tail rested on his chest. Jaune hummed lightly in his sleep with a relaxed smile, but unlike Nora he hadn't curled up into her. The two quiet teens stayed in peaceful silence as they provided soothing comfort for their unconscious lovers, and after a few minutes of persistent silence Blake broke it with a curious question.

"How long have you known?"

She was slightly surprised to see that Ren wasn't fazed by her question at all and answered back as if she had only asked him what time it was. "If you mean besides the fact that I haven't seen a black cat all night besides you, Nora and I've had our suspicions, but it was clear after I gave you first aid at Luigi's." Ren answered as he petted.

"And…you're not at all shocked by this? Not even a little?" Blake asked, not at all expecting such a relaxed response from even someone like Ren.

Ren uncaringly shrugged his shoulders. "I've learned to accept that the world is full of unique oddities that society deems impossible or unrealistic. Your simply proof that this lesson has merit, and you've been a blessing to Jaune, so I won't argue with it…just please…no more attacking us." Ren shuddered at the horrific memories of when he and Nora had tried to save Jaune from Blake's wrath after he tried to give her a bath, only to fall prey to her as well. Blake embarrassedly blushed as she looked away and replied, "No promises if you try and take me to the vet or tub again."

Ren found her response funny enough to chuckle slightly, recalling the tale his uncle told him in which how he got those scratches on his face.

Now that Blake thought of it, this was truly the first time she and Ren had ever truly spoken to one another. Not just the occasional one word greetings they would exchange with respectful head-bows to each other, but truly spoke to one another. He was ever so calm and accepting, just as she always felt he was from the times she would watch him and Jaune interact, and it was nice to have a conversation with someone more like her than any of her other friends.

"I won't tell anyone and neither will Nora, so you can rest easy on that subject, I can assume that either you choose not to reveal yourself for personal reasons or that perhaps you maybe are limited by rules from some third party." Ren assured.

Blake giggled lightly as she leaned back more comfortably against the cushiony couch. "Jaune's right about you. You know so little sometimes, yet you always know so much at the same time." She was glad that she wouldn't have to explain why she couldn't make this known to others, it was hard enough explaining to Jaune.

Ren chuckled as he slowly trailed his petting to Nora's soft orange hair and let it slide in between his fingers as he pet her. "Well, it is one of the many gifts that I have been blessed with. If you'd like, I can reveal a secret of mine as well so that I don't have you at an disadvantage?"

Blake would usually decline such an offer, but Ren was an enigma and intrigued her. She knew very little about him, and for him to be willing to share something as personal as a secret with her spoke much about comfortable he was with her. It would be rude not to accept, at least that was how she felt. Blake nodded her head, wondering what Ren had to be secretive about. She couldn't have predicted what she saw next, and it left her with slightly widened eyes and a somewhat dropped jaw.

Ren's free hand reached back to the band that kept his hair back into a neat tail and pulled it off to let his hair breath. He then smoothed out his ebony-black hair to release some of its tension since he usually never let his hair free, but the real surprise was when two furry ears rose from the black locks that kept them flattened against his head.

"You're…a Faunus?" Blake asked, seeing the very answer in front of her, but not being able to find any other words to speak at the moment. She found this to be incredibly ironic to be on the receiving end of such a reveal since it was usually her doing this exact same type of revealing, the only difference being that he used a hair band instead of a bow.

Ren nodded his head as his round ears twitched, almost as if to stretch from being in a ungodly long slumber. "A sloth-bear to be precise."

It certainly did explain a few things for Blake, like when the first time they met she smelt the faintest scent of animal fur from him, but she assumed that this was because he helped his uncle at work sometimes, and like when he and Nora had eavesdropped on her and Jaune when she introduced herself as "Arryn", all the while from a considerable distance.

"And…you hide this? Does Jaune know?"

Ren nodded his head to both questions before replying, "Yes, he knows, I wouldn't hide something like that from him. I do hide it…for the same reasons you do I suppose. Less racism to worry about when humans believe me to be one of them, it's easier to find work, and it protects me…" Ren looked down at the angel in his laps as he stoked her cheek lightly. "…and her."

Blake also looked down at her friend, having a bit more respect for her for falling in love with a Faunus willingly without being intimidated by the hardships associated with it. This new knowledge only made it more clear just how much the young lovers were devoted to each other and adored one another. Nora was six handfuls due to her wild and unpredictable personality, no normal man could even dream of having the patience to maintain that twenty-four seven, but Ren was that exception due to his love for her, and Nora was just as brave since there were so many negatives to dedicating one's self romantically to someone whose race was black-listed and constantly under racial attack by her own race, but she evidently did not care and loved Ren all the same. "You two…really love each other, don't you?"

Ren nodded his head as he continued to lightly run the tip of his finger down her cheek. "I came from a broken home as a child. My mother died when I was very young…and my father just couldn't handle it. He let his grief take control of him, and I spent the next few years of my life being beaten by him over the smallest of things, sometimes for nothing at all. To top it all off, I had to deal with the racism a lot of our kind learn to deal with as we grow, so as you can imagine I had a particularly difficult life at the time, with no light in sight for years."

Blake was completely appalled by this story she found herself listening to attentively, clinging on to every word since she had no idea that Ren had been though this. "Dear Monty Ren…I'm so sorry. Didn't you tell anyone? You uncle surely must have done something?"

Ren shook his head as he continued to stroke Nora lovingly and gently. "I didn't tell a soul, and to this day I still don't fully understand why. I hated him for what he put me through, there was no definite reason not to turn him in or make my uncle aware…and yet I never had it in me to do so. Maybe it was pity for him…maybe it was because I knew that wasn't who he really was because I briefly remembered him being a loving father before Mother's passing…maybe because the pain was the only thing that felt real at the time, I never knew and still don't. It didn't really matter, in the end he took his own life one night while I was asleep and the police found out about what he did to me afterwards, but it's behind me now, so don't pity me." For the first time during his story, he frowned dismally before he continued. "When I was taken under the care of my uncle, I was considering taking my own life…nothing brought me happiness anymore…everyone either hated me for being a Faunus or were put off by my silent personality…it was a tempting choice, and I was fully prepared to do it…until I met her." Ren's somber mood disappeared just as quickly as it came as he smiled lightly and chuckled at the memory playing across his brain as if it happened yesterday. "It was pancake-day in the cafeteria at school one day, and I was sitting alone in the corner as usual, eating my own stack in silence, but my concentration was broke off by the sound of pitiful crying at a table close by. It was the new girl at school, and she had arrived late to school and missed out since the lunch line had ran out shortly before she arrived. Nobody wanted to share since pancakes were like gold in the cafeteria, it was one of the few foods the school served that didn't taste like crap, and they were of surprisingly good quality. Deciding to help her, I gave her my plate and gently put it in her hands. She looked up and down from the plate and me with the most shocked expression on her face as if I had just given her a plate of diamonds. I instantly found myself on the ground after she put the plate down and trapped me in the tightest hug I had ever found myself in, and as I could feel my soul bubble out of my body from the pressure being applied to it she shouted happily and excitedly "I LOVE YOU!" at the top of her lungs. She followed me around ever since, and no matter how much crap she was put through for being with me because of my heritage, not once did she ever leave me…and as the years went on I grew to love her back."

Ren slowly and carefully hugged Nora closer to his abdomen with a smile as he kissed her on the forehead, thanking the powers that be for giving him such treasure. "Everyday has been a gift since then, she saved me from myself and I'm grateful every day, good or bad, that I was blessed with her. That is why I told Jaune that if he ever found his soul mate, the one that he truly loved, make the most of it, because I can't envision my life having gone anywhere without mine."

Blake slowly looked down at her blonde boyfriend as her petting slowed down to an eventual halt. She let the story settle now that it was over, and replied, "That's…beautiful Ren…but why share this with me?"

"Because I can tell that you are very conflicted, it's on your face every single time you look at him, and since you've already come to terms with your feelings for him, that most likely means that your conflicted on whether or not to stay and be happy with him, or go back to wherever you came from." Ren answered, making Blake wonder if he himself had unlocked Aura at sometime in his life and his Semblance was mind-reading. She saw no reason in hiding it, and replied with small voice mixed with sadness and confusion, "What should I do…I want to stay with him…but I can't abandon my responsibilities."

Ren smiled, not seeing why she was so torn between the two as he asked, "Why not both?"

Blake looked at him as if he had spoken in a completely different language. "What?"

"Why. Not. Both? I don't fully understand the gravity of your situation, but I know that you shouldn't have to choose between love and responsibility. If Jaune truly loves you, and trust me he does, then he'll accept any consequences of allowing you that third choice, just as Nora has loved me despite my heritage."

Blake shook her head, not seeing the possibility of the golden third option to be feasible at all. "Ren…I can't get him or any of you involved in my real life. It would be dangerous, and I've already broken so many rules even telling you this much. What if there is truly no middle ground?"

"Then you make one." Ren answered without a shadow of a doubt that the only reason that it wasn't an option was because Blake wasn't trying to make it so. "There's always a way Blake…you just have to look for it and find it…and looking is not always through the means of the eyes."

Blake was struck silent by Ren's powerful, wise, and more than impactful words on her soul as she looked back down at Jaune. Was he right? Had she been agonizing over nothing this entire time when this option could be a choice? She honestly didn't know, Ren was making it sound like the easiest choice in the world, but she was confident that he didn't know the ramifications and potential blowbacks of trying to make such a choice…what it could mean for Jaune….but damn was it tempting now.

Ren stood up with Nora in his arms bridal style, happy that he had at least made me consider it, and gently added, "I'm not saying that it's the best choice, but it's a choice none the less and you should give it more though than you apparently have been. If you'll excuse me, I should get my destructive ball of sugar in bed. She tends to get very grumpy and whiny when she has a hangover, I recommend you do the same with your lovable idiot. A word of advice: keep the trash can next to the bed, he pukes when he does get hung over. Goodnight Blake." With his final words said, he left Blake to tend to Jaune with his lover in his arms. She stared intensively into his face as she was truly giving Ren's words serious thought, wondering how Jaune would feel on the subject. Taking momentary comfort in the fact that she couldn't even make the choice without consoling her boyfriend first, she put the thoughts at the very back of her mind for now and carried the blond on her back as she walked carefully up the stairs to his room. His arms instinctively wrapped around her as he snuggled his face into the nape of her neck, almost as if to reassure her that everything would be fine no matter what choice became the final conclusion to the dilemma, and she couldn't help but feel calmer and smile as she gently rested him onto the bed.

Blake stretched her body out with a tiny yawn, planning to join him in bed and start the next morning with a workout since she needed to get back in shape now that her injuries were gone, but before she could lie herself down her furry ears twitched from the familiar sound of her TOME beeping just loud enough from the other room for her to hear.

"Tucson? No…he would be asleep by now…Pyrrha." Blake concluded in thought as she immediately began walking over to the guest room, but stopped in her tracks as Ren was waiting outside the door with her secret stash in hand, having placed the beeping TOME on the top so that she could grab it easily.

"Um….thanks." She said awkwardly, grateful that Ren had respected her privacy enough to not open the TOME. He had sensitive hearing just as she did, so it wasn't surprising that he had heard it.

"No problem, just be glad that Nora isn't the one with sensitive hearing. She would have shoved it in places you didn't even know you had then call it." Ren replied with a smile, taking mischievous delight in Blake's shivers since she knew that he was telling the truth.

"Noted…" Blake said with terror in her eyes and body language, vowing to never wake up the beast that was Nora when she was asleep, even though she couldn't see it being worse than Yang with her hair cut….she still shivers from the memory of being chased with a whip.

After Ren left to return to the guest room, Blake immediately placed her box down and retrieved the TOME to open it, wondering what Pyrrha could want at this time of night. She got her answer as soon as she opened it and read the message that popped up.

Next week we begin our mission.

Her workout regime went through some extensive changes as she closed the TOME.

Hope you enjoyed it guys, but I would like to address a few more things now that you're done. As you may have have noticed, the rating has changed to M, so I will hold back a bit less on some of the sexual, dark, and violent themes, but don't worry. Like I've said before, this won't change the plot in any way, there will just be less censoring at certain parts. Also, addressing Ren's backstory, please, if you are in a similar position and you feel as if you're having suicidal thoughts, please don't do it. There is help out there for you , and if you can hang in there you might even find something (or someone in this case) that will make life much better than before for you.

Anyway, 'till next time guys.