I do not own RWBY.
abyss - noun
1. a deep or seemingly bottomless chasm.
2. a wide or profound difference between people; a gulf.
3. the regions of hell conceived of as a bottomless pit.
"Sorry Romey, but it looks like our contract is terminating early."
It was the last thing Roman Torchwick recalled before the world went dark. Later, he awoke in an alley to handcuffs and a squabble of enforcers watching over him as he was transported to the local authorities.
They laughed at him. The jeered at him. He said nothing. He had been caught before on multiple occasions, and each time he got out. Lack of substantial evidence meant that he couldn't be held for long, and for the times that there was enough, escape had been easy.
But this time, things were different. It wasn't that he had been spotted at the scenes of activity, and he was now under severe watch. It wasn't the constant rotation of guards at all hours that surrounded his cell. It wasn't about barely being given his rights, the plea bargain, or receiving an inept defense lawyer.
The real difference was how he had been betrayed.
This wasn't the first time someone had crossed him. Usually it was a small-time thug who thought they could get away from his ever-watching gaze, or someone who just wanted a bit more of the pie than he was willing to negotiate. But this time, it was an equal associate that had thrown him to the ground.
He had gotten them what they wanted - more dust than the average person would ever see, the easiest and most reliable funding through his legitimate business fronts, and most importantly he covered for them, stating it was all a part of his operations, leaving bits and pieces to mislead the authorities.
Roman would admit, however, that his last few attempts had become spotty. Two botched robberies and a broken Paladin, all because a set of teenagers seemed hell bent on getting in the way and could connect dots better than the local police. But those moments must have outweighed his contributions to the group.
He could feel his teeth clenching, lips beginning to snarl at the thought.
Cinder had it all, he reasoned. Supple curves and an inviting face. Dark, beautiful locks of hair, cascading down in soft curls. Amber eyes that could drown a normal man in a desert, and now that she was able to steal the power that she has now, she could probably do it too. Everything she ever needed to talk a lesser man into doing what she wanted, she had at her disposal.
But he knew her type, and he resisted easily. Oh, he resisted. She was just a business partner. Had always been. Push all she wanted, he gave her nothing besides what was written on the contract. And once Cinder knew she would get nothing else out of him and his use had run out, she knew it was time to end it.
He should have seen it coming. He held onto the hope that in the new world that she sought to usher in, he might operate with her as a business partner. But things had changed and now she had stabbed him in the back, all because he was of no further use to her. Maybe she had meant to kill him, but whether by chance or luck he was still alive.
The first day of his incarceration ended with brooding and how he would take his revenge. It would be deliberate, slow. It would be terrifying for her, to see all her abilities fail in the hour of need. Fall Maiden powers or not, she would gasp her last breath in a helpless scream.
But like all good things, Roman needed a plan.
The second and third days were filled with more brooding. The authorities tried to speak to him again, and the defense lawyer never showed up. But he ignored them. Just flies on the wall, pointless noise. Their voices never reached him.
His orange hair became matted with dirt, and his immaculate white coat was beginning to show off-color. He might have cared earlier, but for now all he thought of was how much Cinder needed to die.
The fourth day, however, brought a strange guest.
The room was dark, the only source of light coming from a small lamp with a downward shade suspended from the ceiling, forcing the light to go onto the table they were seated at. The officers at Roman's sides gave a hesitant glance at each other before acknowledging the request. With one last check on his restraints, they left and closed the door.
The room remained silent. Across from Roman was an immaculate man. His dark green coat made his silver hair stand out, and the man's stare shone over his low-hanging glasses. He had a cup of coffee in his hands, the steaming vapor escaping into the room.
"It has been a long time since we've met, Roman."
Roman kept silent at first, but his lips split and he spoke for the first time in three days. His voice, just a little gravely and coarse, betrayed no fear. "I didn't know you made a career change, Ozpin."
"I'm not your lawyer."
"Oh, so I don't even get that now?" he chuckled, "Have they finally learned?"
The man named Ozpin remained firm in spite of his jabs. "You've got a long line of accusations against you. I suggest you don't waste my time."
"Care to read what they are?"
"Okay, okay," He didn't stop smiling, absolutely dauntless against the tone of voice Ozpin used. "So what are you here for? I'm sure you have much better things to do than visiting a convict. Being a headmaster is a very demanding job."
The man across from him huffed. "You and I both know that there is something bigger going on here. Something bigger than the local authorities are equipped to handle."
"And what makes you draw that conclusion?"
"Act all they want, the police can't hide the truth and they know it." Ozpin drew out his scroll and began to read from it. "'Infamous Kingpin Captured' is what the headlines say. Yet there are no mentions of how it happened - just the acknowledgment that you were brought in. And with the fact that you were spotted leading a string of dust robberies, and only dust, this further supports that fact. But they aren't making that public yet. They're controlling how much information they release because if they allude to a larger threat, not only will it make it harder to catch the ones at the top, but it could lead to a wider level of panic among the people. Panic that can attract Grimm."
"Hmph. The Grimm aren't my problem."
There was a brief pause as Ozpin stood and turned to face the dark walls of the room, leaving the coffee on the table. One of his hands went to draw something from his coat and the other soon went to fiddle with it.
"You're a good huntsman, along with the other unsavory bits you involved yourself with. You were also a good man for a while, too."
Ah, so was that what this was all about? Ozpin wanting his services? Roman gave a quick scoff, yet he danced around the subject. He knew that there was something more to it than he was letting on. "Funny that you make that distinction. Most people tend to put those two traits together." Raising his shackled hands and dragging them through his dirty hair, he eyed the back of the man as his hands settled into his lap. "Tell me, what separates the two for you?"
"Simple, Roman," Ozpin had still yet to face him. "One is about being skillful and the other is about making decisions."
"Oh, please, you're making it sound like I'm a good person." He felt his lips forming the semblance of a smile. "What makes you think I could still be one?"
"I don't," the man spoke firmly, "and I'm not here to debate what we're in agreeance over, Roman. I'm here for the other part."
In a sudden spin, Ozpin twirled around and his hand snapped out. A flash of metal glinted in the low light as it zoomed towards Roman's face. With a quick lean of his head, the knife whizzed by his ear and stuck itself into the wall with a vibrating thud.
"Glad to see your reflexes haven't dulled."
Roman found that he wasn't smiling anymore. So he wanted his abilities as a huntsman, then. But for what? Ozpin could have any number of hunters at his side with a touch of a button. His mind churned, wondering at just what the headmaster wanted with him.
Perhaps it was just best to ask.
Shrugging his shoulders, he looked at the other man in the eye. "So, I'm a huntsman," he admitted. "What do you want me to do, kill Grimm? Patrol the borders?" A sharp smirk grew on his face. "A suicide mission?"
"On the contrary, none of that sort." Ozpin slowly returned to his seat across from Roman, looking into his eyes once more. "You're an especially good huntsman - I can count the number of hunters I know who match your prowess with my fingers. But more importantly, you know the links behind the group you were working with. You might not know everything, but you know who else is involved at your level."
There was a brief silence before Roman responded. "You want me to rat out the people who are setting this all up."
"Not quite. I want you to pass on your knowledge of the underworld and how to fight it, to stop criminals."
The reply caught Roman's attention, and he found himself leveling his gaze against Ozpin's own.
"And for your first task, Roman, I would like you to train a specialized team of hunters to bring your betrayers to the light."
Dedicated to the villains of our stories - dastardly plans make for great conflicts, after all.