There was never a time to where I couldn't just stop myself. I just kept beating those down into depression. Funny how long it took for karma to catch up to me, it sure did take its sweet time. What I question however is that why did it suddenly offer me a choice to fill in so I could redeem myself? Was it all part of a game? Or is it for a design?

I could remember that look Ozpin had given when I came back, safe and sound. Man, I had felt something flick inside. Almost guilty for everything, I knew coming bad was only fair on his conscious. No man who has so much to uphold like himself should endure a mistake from me. Especially if it meant dangering others. Trouble always did seem to wash off of me and spread around like a wildfire.

I'm changing that as best as I could. After all, it is my oath...

Trying to meditate on one of the many roofs of the campus was harder than smashing in the face of your typical criminal. As hard as that might seem, you truly don't know difficult it is when you made enough mistakes to find out. Anyways, the reason for being up here was trying to set aside all the burning hate that came every now and again. It's especially not easy when you have someone else in your soul that rumbles with you. You try shutting him up.

Earlier before that was being taken place, it was 4 hours before that had me driving once again through the streets of Vale. It was the same thing happening during that week. Find someone connected to Torchwick, bag him, get some dirt on the bastard, fry him. Rinse and repeat.

After having Eli park the car in a spot for later, I was busy pinpointing the sneaking weasel trying to run away. It wasn't hard, however, as sensing the sins he committed was leaving a trail behind each step he took. It was when I had snatched him out of thin air that we ended playing cat and mouse. The usual cussing and squirming in my hold took place, but after having a brief session of twisting his thumb to a not so healthy spot was where he spilled everything.

After dropping him on the floor, I was ready traditionally end this interrogation.

"In a way, I pity you, I really do."

I had said that, now this wasn't at all anything that was done in previous moments.

"But because of your actions, it would, either way, still end with me doing my job."

Typically, he started squabbling and pleading for his life. Just to shut him up, I kicked him down on his back with my foot on his chest. It promptly knocked the wind out of him.

"For god sake, die with some fucking dignity."

I honestly had no problem with the killing anymore. It was just instinct. How I chose to finish him off was real simple, cops would later find an empty room that was decorated with crimson paint. Along with the crowbar embedded into his jaw after caving his skull in. What can I say, I always get the job done.

Back to now, I had the so-called 'pleasure' of putting up with Eli's constant nagging with murdering a couple dozen more scumbags. I just didn't feel like it though, and I wouldn't need to either. Small petty crimes that ranged from the overused purse snatching to muggings had ceased down in a couple of weeks. I admit I did feel somewhat better that people wouldn't have to bother worrying about the small things. No, of course, they'd have to cower in fear of the bastard creating such a ruckus who liked stealing dust crystals.

It was already way past the curfew hour and the sleeping issue was beginning to kill me more often than not. You can't expect some guy like me to sleep like a baby with all the shit that goes on left and right. If it's not the extermination of those needing cleansing, it was the teams that felt as though it was a mission to fuck with me.

Yeah, can you believe it? We still had problems after someone had made it very clear for it to stop. I swear, sometimes I don't know why I even bother. Then I remember. It saved me from being the bastard I once was.

I had tried my best to zonk out that night, but it just wouldn't work. I was even given a prescription for sleeping pills and yet it seemed like it was not even worth taking them. It was getting worse too with my behavior. Hey, you can't blame a fire ridden guy with a disadvantage for trying to get some shut-eye. So don't expect me to be Mr. Chuckles.

A couple times during the past weeks, I'd catch Annie awake and try to help me sleep. It bugged me since I knew that even at her age that sleep was important for her. I lectured her that her sleep came first before mine. I didn't give a damn if she thought it was lame of me to brush it off like it was nothing.

Then it was one night that I finally managed to get some actual, pure, stress relieving sleep in a long time. Eight hours straight without a single disturbance. It was amazing. After that, insomnia filled nights left me. Although in retrospect, I found out why. In fact, the evidence had shown on my body.

I was feeling down, believe it or not. Annie was off at her own school now, I was hoping things went well for her. Even when she boarded the bullhead, we didn't break our eye contact until the ship left. You wouldn't understand how difficult it was when we had to say goodbye. Today was her first day for attending school. I mean, granted, I know I'd get to see her soon, but this was a difficult time.

You just can't walk away with family going away for a while.

Sparring had ended and I was just about done with Arc. He's been dealing with something on his chest and yet I honestly didn't give a damn. It's like over time, he's been holding a bigger grudge than usual. Fine, I don't care. If you can't get over it, then you're not a real leader. I even said it to his face when he lost. He cut the left side of my eye with his sword and was guided to Ozpin's office immediately. What a fucking baby. I was actually pretty peeved at his cheap shot. Good thing one of his teammates held me back. She was also one of the reasons why he was being such a bitch.

I was outside the assembly building that held the matches, smoking a cigarette. I've been doing that too, except I've been running through 3 packs. You think that was bad, it wasn't that many packs a day, it was an hour. Perks of having an asshole ghost in you, you can't die easily. I was thinking of Annie and I regretted it instantly. The cigs weren't helping as much, but anything was better than just sitting around with everyone you hate in one place. That's not an exaggeration.

"You ok ?"

I didn't have to look, not that I could since it was still healing, to see it was Nikos. My left eye was still bleeding heavily, I just didn't have it in me to fixate my aura to heal. I had so much on my plate that I couldn't even do the simplest of things for even myself.

"The real question is, are you okay ?"

Pyrrha looked away but still stuck with me outside, I really didn't care. I might've not hated Nikos, but that doesn't mean I have much care for alot of people unless it was Annie. So we laid up against the walls, sitting down in silence on our own free time. She was there for a reason, not to check up on me, but to get away from her own problems. Even I admit that can't even be easy to anyone if it came from your own team. I might've been departed from my team, but that was a miracle. Cowardly little bastards.

"I reckon Ozpin's going to give him his ticket. There's just no way he's going to let this slide," I said after inhaling some smoke. Pyrrha didn't answer, I didn't need her to, she knew it just as well as I did. Y'know it's funny how much people can change during time. Give them a week, they're just a tad off. A month, it's just not the same. It kind of makes me wonder since I wouldn't have the friends who've ever acted like that. Annie was just the same bubbly girl and Ozpin and staff were slightly different. Only because they had the misfortune of dealing with the team's bullshit.

"Honestly, I think you're going to have take over the team."

She was just a mess, the ground wasn't doing much for her when she looked downwards for any support. I was picturing it all and deep down, I knew she was too. Arc would be walking the avenue of shame, board the V-TOL, his back completely facing towards his friends. Then what, his family greets him back home. Though that's just it, I just didn't know exactly how they would respond to it. It was either welcome arms or just disappointment. I think he'd hate either one. What the fuck was he thinking ?

"Fucking moron."

I swear, Ren better not start with me about this. I was not in the fucking mood. Everyone was just miserable here. You'd think I'd feel contempt about that, knowing that they were just as worse off as me, but... I just wasn't. Whenever the chance was given, we were at each other's throats. You couldn't leave without a bark or a bite. Plain and simple.

"So... Annie's first day at school, huh ?" she managed to utter out, the steadiness in her voice could only last for so long. Right then and there, I wasn't feeling anything. Not a single bit.

"Yeah," I dragged out after puffing out my cigarette. "You're not fooling me, Nikos."

Still not facing me, I could still make out her shaking her head, fumbling for a way out. The first sign of her voice was reaching for scrambled words,"No-no, I'm-."

I made it clear, I didn't need to see this from her. Not from someone as strong as her.


This time my right eye looked straight into hers, it was enough for her to register what truly was possible for the team. After that, she just broke. Softly bawling to herself with sickening whimpers, it didn't ease my stomach at all. In this line of work, it'll get worse before it gets better. If there was one thing that I was sure about, it's that Arc regrets this once this is all over.

I noticed the gray skies had changed the cloud's positions, it was probably a half hour after the crying. My cigarette was still in the corner of my lips, I was tired. Pyrrha was quiet and just kept to herself.

"You got one to spare?"

For a second, I thought I was just dreaming what I just heard. So just to confirm it, I asked her, "What?"

Pyrrha looked to me with a look that meant she was in no real mood to repeat herself. "Do you have a cigarette I can just borrow?"

After sitting there, I just opted to lend her the one I was currently using. I gestured it to her,"You can take mine."

She looked at it as if it was a trap, even though she was asking for it, and shakily stretched her hand and took it slowly. All I could do was just watch her do her best to inhale and puff the smoke out like an amateur. It was a sight to see actually, the great Pyrrha Nikos bumming for a smoke with a degenerate. Reminds me of a similar time. After that one moment, she more than willingly gave it back. I knew she wasn't too crazy about it, but it did her in. Both of us were drowsy, I could tell she was too when she leaned her head on my shoulder. Arc didn't know what he possibly just sacrificed.

Soon after, the droplets of water sprinkled from the sky, the air growing more chilly. It was enough to finally put me to sleep as I conjured my semblance to heat my body temperature up. It helped Nikos quite well.

Even if you're in the same boat, you still have others sinking in at lower depths in which they can't get out off. Then, you're in the ocean. Drowning from the troubles. And then you're free. Except we're still drowning and we haven't reached to the surface.