Adam Taurus was angry.

It wasn't surprising, as he was the first to admit that he had a tendency to default into anger. To be fair, he had a lot to be angry about. The horrible treatment he had received in mining camps that left him disfigured, the endless discrimination both he and his race had to suffer while everyone with authority closed their eyes, the pointless pacifism of old White Fang while believing that they could change things with brochures and protests, and Sienna's unnecessarily political approach that didn't seem to be working any better… The fact that his semblance was linked to his emotions —its combat applications were almost exclusively driven by his anger— wasn't exactly helpful for his reputation as well.

However, as he traversed the streets of Vale, his anger had well past its usual level of simmering. It was boiling, searching a way to explode, for two reasons. First, just weeks ago, his lover suddenly decided to run away without saying a word. It was insulting, not only because of the abandonment, but because it implied that she didn't trust them to let her go free. Though, considering what she had done after leaving, maybe he should have actually kept her imprisoned. She went and joined Beacon rather than returning to Menagerie, and joined a team with the heiress of SDC, the biggest bane of Faunus.

Then, like that wasn't enough, fucking Cinder appeared in his life, forcing him to work for her. Oh, she supplied him with money and weapons, while also positioning it as an alliance of convenience, but the threat of violence was not far from the surface as she forced White Fang to act like a bunch of two-bit thugs, helping human thieves to rob dust stores. It was patently insulting and unbearable.

Too bad Cinder was too strong to strike against her directly.

Adam didn't know why, but Cinder's semblance was so strong that he didn't trust to win even if he had ambushed her. Of course, if insurmountable odds had been enough to dissuade Adam from trying to take revenge, he would have been still working in an SDC mine in the middle of nowhere, making the Schnee family even richer.

Revenge was not a smooth journey, however. He had caught evidence of direct communication between Sienna and Cinder after Cinder's forcible intrusion, which meant he couldn't trust the members of White Fang under him, who might betray him for Sienna. Sienna was a political animal, and while he was able to act in impunity because he was the best fighter there, that was before Cinder's appearance, destroying the balances completely.

Sienna would have loved to get rid of him before his reputation developed to a point of making him a viable leader candidate.

So, he was sneaking through the Vale streets in the middle of the day while trying to look nondescript with a worn-out cape, not just to take revenge but also make sure he wouldn't end up riddled with bullets in a dark alley.

He stayed silent until he arrived at his destination, a bookstore empty other than the owner, only to see a familiar face. "How can I help you," asked the owner.

"Hi, Tukson," Adam murmured as he let the cape slide down, revealing his face, doing his best to keep his smirk down as Tukson blanched. He might not hate Tukson, but he didn't like him enough not to enjoy his display of fear. He also noted that despite his obvious fear, Tukson made no attempt of raising his claw, knowing a hopeless battle when he saw one.

"So, you're my executioner," he murmured resignedly, trying to look brave despite his white face.

"Calm down," Adam ordered. "I had two years to kill you if I actually wanted to kill you." Adam took a step forward, looking around. "Really, a bookstore where you met new people every day? Is this the best you can do to stay hidden?"

Tukson looked at him incredulously, unable to say anything for a while. "So, you're not here to kill me."

Adam sighed. While his violent reputation was useful —and not entirely unearned— sometimes it became a true chore. "No, Tukson. If I wanted to kill you for wanting to hang your weapon, I wouldn't send Shemp and Curly to track you down."

"But you still made them hunt me down," Tukson said, though this time much relaxed.

"Of course I did. I was a new leader, and your reluctance was already known. Why do you think Sienna put you in my team. She either wanted me to kill you to paint me as a fanatic, or let you go to paint me a softhearted fool. Why do you think I sent you a patrol for a week with Sienna's old boyfriend as your partner. By that way, I managed to avoid the situation by looking like a green leader, while Sienna shared the blame for her boy toy's fuck up."

Tukson was surprised. Adam sighed. While his bloodthirsty reputation was useful, it would have been nice that once a while, people asked why he was the most successful team leader in White Fang both in terms of mission success and survival rates. Personal combat power had its limits, after all.

"Why are you here, then?" Tukson asked.

"I need your help."

"No," Tukson replied immediately and resolutely. "Even when I left, I was unhappy with the new White Fang. Now that it has fallen low enough to help human thieves robbing stores, there's no way I help you, not even if you kill me."

Adam felt a sudden red curtain falling into his vision. He lashed out, barely managing to target the counter instead of Tukson's face, breaking it into pieces. "You think I want my comrades to follow the orders of a two-bit thug," Adam bellowed angrily, before he took a deep breath and contained himself. "I hate it, and I want to stop it. That's why I need your help."

"What?" Tukson said, shocked.

"It's a bit complicated, and more you know, more dangerous it will be for you, but I need to do something before White Fang's reputation in Vale is ruined completely," Adam said. "These human thieves have a backer strong enough to threaten the whole chapter here, and I can't take her down without risking everyone's lives, and even then, it's not certain."

Tukson looked at him suspiciously. "If things are as bad as you say, why doesn't headquarters help. You might be one of the best currently active, but a few more experts should be enough to clean up whatever problem you're having."

"Unless Sienna is willing to sacrifice the mission in Vale to get rid of me," Adam explained.

"Do you think she would be that ruthless," Tukson asked, shocked. "I know that she's not the nicest person, but…"

"I'm sure Ghira and Kali trusted her and believed that she wouldn't risk their mission for power, but how that it ended for them," Adam said. "But before he finally stepped down, Ghira survived six assassination attempts by humans, while his location was supposed to be a secret, while White Fang lost several key members who, coincidentally, would support Ghira no matter what. Do you think she would bat an eyelash to make me vanish when the risk for her leadership outweigh the benefits?"

"That's dangerous," Tukson said.

Adam shrugged. "I don't have a problem with danger, as long as I could see a path for victory, which I can't. That's why I need you to keep your ears open to get me some information. I need you, Tukson, to save the soul of the White Fang," he said, making sure to let his tone shift deeper as he spoke, using his public speaking skills to make Tukson take the leap of faith.

"What kind of information," Tukson said, still trying to sound disinterested, but Adam knew that he had his first recruit for his dangerous game. Just from the way his posture shifted, Adam could read that he was almost sold to the idea.

"Roman Torchwick has the priority for the moment. He's the point man for my forced allies, and it'll make things much easier if I can just get rid of him, or convince him to stay away," Adam explained.

"You don't want me to research his mysterious employer," Tukson said, surprised.

"No, too risky," Adam vetoed. Researching Cinder was the better option, but it was also almost certain to end with his death. Adam didn't earn his reputation by sending his allies into certain death. "Just collect everything you could about Roman, and we will decide from there," he added, deliberately implying that Tukson would be a part of the decision-making process.

"I still need to know more," Tukson said, and Adam started explaining, giving most of what he knew about Cinder and her allies, including their looks and demeanor, with a strong recommendation to run away the moment he saw them around. If Adam didn't trust himself to take them with a team, what chance did Tukson have?

They talked for an hour, discussing various plans and contingencies, before Tukson asked. "When do you think you can visit next?"

"I don't know, but it'll definitely take more than a week," Adam answered. He couldn't disappear repeatedly without arousing suspicion, which, at this point, would have been deadly.

"Then, let me go and talk with a couple of people before you leave, just to make sure we can take action," Tukson said enthusiastically. It seemed that the possibility of changing White Fang's path appealed to him even more than Adam had expected.

"Where should I wait?" Adam asked.

"Stay here, I have to close for repairs in any case," Tukson said as he pointed at the counter Adam had broken into matchwood with just a punch earlier the day.

"Sorry about that," Adam said insincerely, and Tukson laughed before leaving, locking the store with Adam inside. Adam didn't exactly feel panicked, because if Tukson wanted to do something to him, there was no need for him to try to put a trap. A scroll call to Sienna would have been enough to end his life. He chose to pull a book and started to read.

So, when his combat sense blared suddenly, he was surprised. He threw himself to the side, and a familiar weapon passed through the space his head had been occupying moments ago. Gambol Shroud, the weapon of his former girlfriend. He turned, just in time to dodge another attack. He was shocked at Tukson's betrayal, and he was even more shocked at the inaptitude of it. Blake was strong, but not nearly strong enough to rival him even in a two-to-one scenario.

Then, Blake spoke, solving that particular mystery. "Where's Tukson, you monster," she shouted even as she attacked again, this time using the ribbon of her weapon for an extended attack, sloppily in anger, Adam avoided it easily, and rather than running away or escaping, he grabbed the ribbon and tugged hard. It was a hard maneuver, but Adam was too familiar with her fighting style to miss the opportunity.

Before Blake could react, her arms were already bound with the ribbon of her own weapon, immobilizing her. "Long time no see," Adam said casually, trying to ignore the anger blooming in his heart. Her betrayal hurt, not just because of their romantic relationship, but because Adam had done a lot to protect her from Sienna's mechanisms, most she was unaware of. Her escape hurt him badly.

Even worse, no matter how angry he was feeling, he still wanted her, his Semblance making things even harder.

"What are you doing here, you monster?" Blake said, trying to look brave, but unable to hide the tremble in her tone.

"You lost the right to ask me questions, Blake," he answered.

"Why, because I didn't want to be a part of your murderous rage," she shouted, even angrier.

Adam sighed even as he brought his hand to her head. She flinched like he expected him to hit her, which made him even angrier, showing just how little she knew of him. He had loved her unreservedly at one point, and though she was the same, apparently, it was a one-way street, if she was willing to believe the worst about him that easily. He didn't say anything though, instead just pulled the bow from her head.

The bow that was hiding her cat ears.

"This is why, Blake," Adam said, not bothering to hide his disappointment. "Running away is one thing, but hiding your ears like a coward and trying to buy acceptance by selling our kind…"

That was enough to cut the wind of her sails. She suddenly looked ashamed. "It's not like that, I needed to get away-" she tried to say.

"Yes, and of course you couldn't just return to Menagerie, it's not like you know anyone that could keep you away from White Fang there," Adam said, and Blake blanched even more. She tried to cut in, but Adam didn't allow her. He was angry, and cutting her into pieces with the word was the easier choice. "You could have just sent a message to your father, and leave White Fang without a problem. But it wasn't angsty enough for you, is it?"

"It's not like that!" Blake tried to counter, but Adam spoke over her. "No, it felt like a story, right. Poor, misunderstood hero, trying to earn acceptance by hiding her true self, unable to trust anyone, trying to gain acceptance of her new friends." Adam scoffed. "Of course, our poor little heroine probably ignores the fact that her father is the chieftain of one of the Kingdoms. Did you really think that Ozpin allowed you there for anything other than getting leverage over Ghira and a useful card against White Fang?"

"But-" Blake tried to say, but Adam pushed her against the bookshelf, silencing her with a kiss. It wasn't the first kiss that they shared, on the contrary, they shared many times together. But all those times, Adam was soft and tender, respecting her boundaries, allowing her to develop. Still, despite that, her lips responded immediately.

He wasn't going to play with her anymore. If Blake was willing to act like a spoiled bitch, Adam was going to tame her the way she deserved, maybe even using a feature of his Semblance he had never used before…


Author notes. Hello, everyone. Here is yet another story, this time with a bit more story driven. I'm sorry to post yet another one before finishing the others, but sometimes, it's really impossible to reject the call of the muse.

In this story, we'll see a different Adam. Still an aggressive and domineering one, but reasonably less racist and markedly more intelligent, unlike the ridiculous shift that he had in the canon.

Of course, like my other stories, expect a lot of lemons.