A little project I'm working on with two good friends, essentially a series of self-inserts/displaced fics. No spoilers for what they're working on but I'll most likely add links later.
Prologue: Darker Dark Yet...Whiter?
It was amazing how time could change so much. Rivers become valleys, mountains become sand, even ideals can be twisted and warped to the point they barely resemble their original form.
Such was the case with the White Fang, an organisation set up in the wake of the Faunus Revolution to broker goodwill between the two sentient races of Remnant.
However, one of the few things Time could not change easily is ignorance and resentment. Both sides had paid a heavy price during the war, but the humiliation of being outmaneuvered by Faunus-kind led to Humanity finding alternate means of getting even. While the laws signed following the revolution prevented discrimination against Faunus, there were few who would go the extra mile to enforce them, and far too many who would simply look away.
As a result, while it was possible for Faunus to live among Humans they found themselves struggling just to get by. Those who managed to find work found themselves working for minimum wage, and even then there were many organisations that took advantage of their desperation. The greatest offender in this regard was none other than the Atlesian Schnee Dust Corporation, the largest refiner and provider of most of the World's supply of Dust and affiliated technology.
While the original founder of the company had been one of the first to embrace the non-discrimination laws, his son's business morals were a lot more…flexible. On paper he was quite magnanimous, providing a valuable resource to the world whilst providing honest work for a hard-working race that had fought hard for just that: A chance to make a life for themselves.
In actuality he was little more than a tyrant, forcing the Faunus to work in conditions not even hardened criminals should be forced into for minimum wage, taking advantage of their natural physical abilities to cut costs on safety equipment and gear, even going so far as to have them work in the dark without proper lighting, citing there was no need to for it when they could see perfectly fine.
It was a calculated insult, reducing the very trait that all Faunus had in common, that had brought them their finest victory over the humans, to a mere tool to line the pockets of the man who considered their lives expendable.
The White Fang had, naturally, objected to such treatment, calling for a boycott on all Schnee brand products and affiliated companies, only to be met time and again with failure, for while President Schnee's actions certainly drew their fair share of criticism, there was little the public could actually do about it, as there weren't any companies capable of competing with the SDC, the few who could had long been bought out or driven into the ground by President Schnee's wealth and connections.
Finally, after wasting five years in a futile attempt to reach a peaceful solution, the pacifistic leadership of the White Fang were forced to acknowledge the voices crying out for more 'effective' action, and thus stood down in favor of the more militant faction.
For Adam Taurus, this was the moment he'd been waiting on his entire life, the moment he and his comrades convinced their cousins to cast aside their self-imposed shackles and strike back at their oppressors, and who better to start with than the thrice damned Schnee Dust Corporation? Some would have been content with simply raiding their Dust facilities, liberating their oppressed cousins from the mines or looting the refineries, but Adam's cell took things a step further, going so far as kidnapping, torturing and murdering anyone with connections to President Schnee.
It was meant to be a calculated message, meant to inform the Schnee family and humanity at large that there was nowhere their fangs couldn't reach, and a call to arms for their cousins to cast aside their self-imposed shackles and rise up for the second revolution. It therefore came as something of a shock when the call to arms was met with derision and contempt as the majority of their fellow Faunus, even the ones they 'liberated' from the mines, denounced them as 'bloodthirsty animals', regarding them as monsters on par with the Grimm, if not worse.
Such things mattered little to Adam. After all, in the grand scheme of things, what did it matter if a few human loving fools got caught in the crossfire because they refused to remove the blindfolds that humanity had forced on them, too scared of retribution to stand up for themselves? In the end, anyone who stood in the path of the White Fang was simply another obstacle to be overcome.
And Adam Taurus was VERY good at making obstacles disappear.
That being said, since the White Fang no longer had the full backing and support of all Faunus kind, it was pretty clear that they were fighting a war of attrition with no-end in sight, for unlike General Lagune, the current leaders of Humanity had learned from their mistakes and weren't letting their guards down just because their enemies lacked the resources to challenge them head-on.
It was infuriating, to think they finally broke free of the shackles keeping them from fighting back, only to be forced to cower like rats, sneaking out to bite at their foes only to scuttle back into the shadows to avoid being squashed.
And then along came Cinder Fall and everything changed.
At first, Adam didn't know what to make of this human woman. On the one hand, he applauded her nerve for walking into the proverbial wolf's den with only two overconfident teenagers as back up. On the other hand, the very fact she presumed he'd entertain her offer of allegiance was so laughable he actually gave her the option to leave before he cleaved her head from her shoulders.
The White Fang were not mercenaries. They weren't guns for hire. They were no-one's pawns to be discarded. They were his comrades, his brothers in blood, a revolutionary army that would fight and die for no-one's cause but their own, and certainly not for some madwoman's mysterious agenda.
He'd thought he was being generous when he allowed them to leave with their lives, when by all rights he should have killed them simply because they'd seen their camp. But Adam had more pressing concerns, namely the upcoming heist of an SDC Freight Train hauling Dust to Mistral.
Given the importance of the mission, both in terms of its tactical value and the fact they'd be stealing from the Schnee, Adam would be handling the mission personally, partially because they lacked the manpower to send in a team in without leaving the camp undermanned and partially because there was no telling what defenses the SDC would have in place to protect the cargo.
Not that he'd be going in alone of course, for all his power he wasn't so arrogant as to believe himself untouchable, but there was only one person in the camp he trusted to watch his back, and it just so happened she was the one who would be accompanying him.
Blake Belladonna was a lifetime member of the White Fang, dating back to the 'old days' when they were content to hold futile peaceful protests and rallies. While she hadn't approved of the new regimes shift to more violent action, her dedication to the cause was second only to Adam's own, and her skill in battle was such that they often found themselves paired together on missions back when he was still climbing the ladder.
At first their relationship was simply professional, they were comrades, nothing more, nothing less. As time went on however, and they were continuously paired together for missions, they found themselves growing ever closer to one another, becoming friends, partners, confidants. To Adam, who despite devoting his life to the cause, despite pushing aside all other comforts for the sake of the mission, Blake was like a light in the darkness, a breath of fresh air, the only person he felt safe enough to confide his secrets and regrets with, the only person he allowed himself to be completely unguarded around, the only person he allowed to witness his weakest moments, she was, for all intents and purposes, the other half of his soul.
Which is why it hurt so much when she betrayed him and ran away.
If he closed his eyes he could still remember how beautiful she looked, reclining on a rock beneath a tree, watching the sun rise as they waited for the train to arrive. If he focused, he could recall the clash of steel and the crack of gunpowder as they tore a swathe through the small army of Atlesian Knight-130's that President Schnee had clearly used his considerable influence to acquire from the Military, the rage he felt as he watched his beloved fend off the giant spider-droid while he charged up his semblance for the final blow.
In his nightmares, he could still see the forlorn look in his eyes as she cut the cables holding the train cars to the train, her form vanishing into the distance along with his heart even as he reached for her.
He'd returned to the camp shaken and torn, though he managed to maintain his stoic mask even in the face of his lieutenant's offer to hunt her down, like all the other traitors. Part of him, the part consumed with rage over her betrayal, was sorely tempted to accept the offer, but in the end he shot the man down, not just because he was still trying to figure out what could have possibly driven Blake to betray them, but because he wanted to be the one to track down his beloved.
In the end though, it all turned out to be moot, for it was at that moment that Cinder returned, having somehow managed to steal the powers of one of the Four Maidens, to once again make Adam an offer for an allegiance. Only this time, she made it abundantly clear that refusal would not end well for him.
It was at that moment, as he stared into her glowing eyes and saw the madness, power and all-consuming hunger burning inside that Adam realized he should have gut the witch when he had the chance. Someone with power like that, power that defied explanation, that didn't share the White Fang's vision, was too dangerous to be trusted with the lives of his comrades.
Still, what choice did he have at that point? Sure he and his lieutenant could've cut down her two partners, if only to wipe the smug looks from their faces, but even if Adam wasn't still reeling from Blake's betrayal he could tell at a glance that Cinder could easily wipe the floor with both of them and would do so without a second thought before moving on to the other White Fang leaders with her offer.
No, if Adam wanted to come out of this ahead, he had to play Cinder's game. So he agreed to her offer of an alliance, on the condition that no-one was to give orders to his troops but him. In exchange, Cinder agreed to provide the White Fang with the resources they sorely needed: Enough Lien to purchase cutting edge military hardware to properly outfit their troops, and enough Dust to not only arm them, but also cripple their enemies.
And in that regard, the witch had delivered. In less than a year the White Fang went from a thorn in the Humanity's' side to a Dagger posed at their throat, only kept at bay by the persistent efforts of the military and the Huntsmen. In exchange, Adam ensured that his comrades toed the line, swallowing his pride behind a stoic mask, feigning compliance while making it absolutely clear to his troops that once the witch had outlived her usefulness, the very second she showed the slightest weakness, he'd rectify his past mistake and cleave her head from her shoulders.
If Cinder ever suspected Adam's blood-lust she never let on, always conducting herself like some master manipulator, though Adam suspected she herself was simply yet another piece in some-one else's game, especially considering she never revealed the identity of her mysterious 'associate' whose plan they were expected to carry out.
And what a plan it was. Adam would freely admit that when he first heard it he thought she was simply trying to butter him up. But no matter how hard he dug, no matter what buttons he pressed, the answer remained the same - Anarchy; Destruction; Humanity driven to the brink through the destruction of the three pillars of their oppressive society: The corrupt governments, the oppressive military, and the self-righteous Huntsmen Training Academies.
To say that Adam approved of this plan would be an understatement. Even if it all turned out to be just part of some 'bigger scheme' it still didn't change the fact that this was EXACTLY what the White Fang wanted, humanity driven to the brink of extinction by the very race they sought to wipe out all those years ago. If Cinder pulled a fast one later on, they'd simply sever ties with and disappear, leaving her without her precious forces , though given how powerful she'd become since stealing the Fall Power, Adam doubted the entire Atlesian Military could stand against her.
For now though, the White Fang were content to keep following her orders, more often than not delivered through her spokesman, self-proclaimed 'Criminal Mastermind' Roman Torchwick. Under his relayed instructions, they set up a base of operations in the underground ruins of Mountain Glenn, just outside the City of Vale. From there, they began orchestrating a series of Dust Robberies, all of which were routed back to the hideout before being shipped off to various other locations in order to avoid drawing too much attention, both from the authorities and the Grimm.
Adam would freely admit, despite his disgust for the man and his agenda Roman proved to be quite capable for a human. Indeed, if Adam didn't know any better he'd assume the man was part snake, or Fox if he was feeling generous. True, the way he managed to ingratiate himself to the younger members of the Fang with his silver tongue was troubling, but aside from that the man wasn't as big a threat as he made himself out to be.
A sentiment that was validated when the man turned up dead following a failed heist, his mangled corpse left for all to see, crucified in broad daylight beneath a message written in his own blood:
'STRIKE ONE, YOU YIFFY MOTHER-FUCKERS'
While understandably enraged by the loss of Roman this early in the game, as the man's contacts had all fled the city like rats fleeing a sinking ship not long after his death, Cinder had simply brushed the matter aside, as she was quite capable of overseeing their operations at this point.
What wasn't so easily brushed aside was the loss of Emerald Sustari and Mercury Black.
With Roman's death and the disappearance of Neo Politan, Cinder had tasked the pair with picking up the slack while Cinder oversaw operations, and their first task involved tracking down Tucson, a White Fang Deserter and veteran member of the 'Old Guard', much like his beloved had been.
While Tucson's combat skills weren't anything special in Adam's opinion, his true strength lay in espionage, using his lack of defining Faunus traits to infiltrate society to perform covert operations, ranging from Intel-Gathering, setting up safe houses and sabotaging government facilities. As a result, the man had accumulated a wealth of information vital not only to the White Fang, but to Cinder's little operation once they joined forces, which made it all the more imperative he be taken out before his bleeding heart got them all killed.
The only reason Torchwick put the matter off for so long as he had was due to Cinder ordering he focus his attention on 'acquiring' as much Dust as he could, which to the man's credit he accomplished, amassing a stockpile so large it was unlikely they'd run out anytime soon. With Cinder handling things it should've been child's play for Mercury, a trained assassin, and Emerald, whose semblance could manipulate the senses, to put the traitor out of his misery.
Which is why it came as something a surprise, and not an entirely unpleasant one, when word got back that not only had the two been brutally murdered, their corpses mutilated to the point even Adam felt something bordering on pity for them, but that Tucson had seemingly vanished into thin air. Normally Adam would have savored the look of impotent rage on Cinder's face when she heard the news, but refrained from doing so out of a desire to keep from being burnt alive, and because it was clearly the work of the same party that offed Torchwick, evidenced by the message left behind:
'STRIKE TWO, YOU YIFFY MOTHER-FUCKERS'
It was clear by this point that someone was gunning for their allies, someone clearly affiliated with neither Ozpin nor Ironwood, as Cinder had confirmed that both men were looking for the perpetrator with just as much zeal as she was.
It was almost cathartic, watching the smug, arrogant bitch struggle to reign in her temper. While Roman's loss had been a minor irritation, as by that point the Fang were more than capable of pulling off heists on their own, the loss of Neo, Emerald and Mercury had severely hindered her plans.
The initial plan had been to use the sealed-off underground rail systems that connected Mountain-Glenn to Vale to transport several trains loaded to the brim with dust and time bombs to blast a gaping hole in the city's defenses during the Vytal Tournament, allowing the hordes of Grimm drawn by the amassed negativity to infest the city, all while broadcasting the event to the world.
Unfortunately, due to the deaths of Roman and her pawns and the unforeseen discovery of the Mountain Glenn outpost by a team of Trainee Huntresses, whose number Adam was stunned to learn included his beloved in the follow-up report, lieutenant had been forced to execute Stage 1 early to cover their tracks in the resulting chaos of what the media fittingly referred to as 'The Breach'.
Adam would freely admit that part of him had wanted to enact the second stage immediately after Blake's presence was confirmed at Beacon, but the more logical part of him resisted the temptation. For one thing, there was still their mysterious assassin to contend with, and while they clearly hadn't made an appearance during The Breach that was by no means a reason to assume they were dead. For another, the loss of her pawns had forced Cinder to reconsider her approach, as she had been banking on their unique talents for the second stage,
Originally she'd intended to use Emerald's semblance to force Pyrrha Nikos, the four-time Mistral champion and arguably the most talented student at Beacon of her generation to brutally murder her opponent during the Vytal Tournament, broadcasting the event worldwide in order to sow the seeds of chaos and discontent by ruining people's faith in the Government, the Military and the Huntsmen.
Without Emerald, they were forced to rely on more…drastic measures, namely the destruction of the Amity Coliseum through the use of strategically placed explosives. Soon enough, the hour they had all been waiting for had arrived. No sooner had Cinder sent out her broadcast to the world to spread suspicion and paranoia amongst the masses did Adam finally gave the long awaited order to charge.
Thus began the invasion of Beacon Academy, the White Fang reveling at the chance to finally bare their fangs at one of the symbols of their oppressors, cutting down all who stood in their way, whether it was Atlesian soldiers, Hunter Trainees or civilians, all while the Grimm they smuggled into the city went on a rampage, dividing the enemy's forces.
Adam had to admit it was refreshing to finally see their plans come to fruition, but nothing could compare to the elation he felt when he happened across his beloved in the Academy's disgustingly opulent dining hall, her feature locked in a mask of horrified disbelief as he casually dispatched one of Ironwood's grunts.
"Hello, my darling." He greeted, smiling sardonically as he turned to face her, all the conflicting emotions within him coming to a point as she took a cautionary step back, like the cornered cat she was "Running away again?" he mocked, knowing better than anyone that the best way to keep her from fleeing was to attack her pride "Is that what you've become, my love? A coward?
"Why are you doing this?" Blake demanded, clearly shaken by his appearance, her eyes filled with confused disbelief, mounting horror and, dare he say it, a hint of betrayal? As if she had the right to feel betrayed.
"You and I were going to change the world, remember?" he reminded his beloved, striding confidently towards her all the while drawing Wilt from its sheath "We were destined to light the fires of revolution!"
Pausing over the still form of another Atlesian Grunt, he smiled mockingly at his beloved, watching in satisfaction as her golden eyes widened in realization as he aimed the tip of his weapon at the unconscious fool's chest.
"Consider this...a spark."
As predicted, his beloved's misplaced sense of justice overrode her common sense, causing her to lunge for him with the same grace and ferocity that had made her such a valued asset to the Fang. As she drew closer, she drew Gambol Shroud from her back, the black blade clashing with Wilt as she actually forced him back a few steps.
"I'm... not... running." She growled, and Adam couldn't help but marvel at how beautiful she looked, golden eyes blazing with determination, her ebony locks wild and untamed, even as her ears lay flat against her skull in anger.
"You will." He promised her, shifting slightly so that he could deliver a retaliatory kick to her midriff, catching his beloved off-guard and sending her flying backwards to the air to land in a heap on the ground. A nearby Creep, no doubt drawn to their battle by his malicious, conflicted emotions, quickly turned its attentions to her downed form, only for Adam to dispatch the brute before it could even get close enough to catch her scent with a well-placed shot from blush.
"But not before you suffer for your betrayal, my love." He promised, his smile giving away to a snarl of rage as he towered over her trembling form "This could've been our day!" he snapped, glaring down at her accusingly, trying to make her see reason "Can't you see that!?
"I never wanted this!" Blake shot back, her eyes filled with stubborn defiance even as she matched him, glare for glare even as she transformed Gambol Shroud and levelled it at his head "I wanted equality! I wanted peace!"
"What you want is impossible!" Adam shot back, deflecting both bullets with well-timed sword strikes before re-sheathing Wilt and backhanding his beloved, sending her tumbling back to the floor "But I understand…because all I want is you, Blake.
It was clear his words affected her as she hesitated for the briefest of seconds as she raised Gambol Shroud for another shot, allowing him the opening he needed to kick it out of her hand, knocking her over once again.
"And as I set out upon this world and deliver the justice mankind so greatly deserves," he vowed, leaning over his beloved to look her in the eyes "I will make it my mission to destroy everything you love."
"Blake!" a voice called out, drawing their attention to the broken windows just in time to see an admittedly buxom Blonde take down one of Adam's comrades with a shot to the face "Blake! Where are you?!"
Adam's grip on wilt tightened, not just because of the blonde's attack on his comrade, but because he recognized her from the report regarding his beloved's Team-mates. When he'd first read the report, he hadn't given the blonde or the child much thought as he was still reeling with shock and revulsion at the revelation that his beloved was playing buddy-buddy with Weiss Schnee, the prodigal heiress and younger daughter of their hated nemesis, the President of the Schnee Dust Corporation.
At first he tried to rationalize it away, clearly Blake was simply using the situation to earn her way into the heiress' trust so that she could assassinate her. After all, it wasn't like the Fang hadn't considered doing so the moment they learned the little brat was leaving the security of Atlas, where the SDC's influence was strongest, to become a student at Beacon.
But as time passed it became abundantly clear that his beloved had not only betrayed their cause, she'd gone so far as to sell her pride to become one of the Schnee's lackeys, even going so far as to turn her fangs on her former comrades to protect her from their righteous wrath.
There would be a reckoning for that. By the night's end he vowed, if nothing else, that he would personally mount Weiss Schnee's head on pike for her Father, no, for the entire world to see, to drive home the fact that there was nowhere the humans could run to escape the White Fang's justice. For now, however, he'd settle for giving his undivided attention to punishing Yang Xiao-Long, the arrogant brat that dared to usurp his position as Blake's 'Partner'.
"Starting with her." He promised, relishing the terrified expression on his beloved's face as he drew Wilt and stabbed down, intending to pierce her abdomen to make her cry out, baiting his beloved's 'partner' here so he could cut her down while Blake was powerless to do anything but watch.
It therefore came as something of a shock when not only did his sword come to a halt a hair's breadth from penetrating Blake's pale, smooth, milky-white skin, but he found himself unable to move a muscle.
'What-?' he exclaimed, or tried to at least, for his jaw, like the rest of his body, was suddenly unable to move, his eyes locking onto Blake's, which were likewise startled by this development, just before a tremendous force, like being caught in a giant hand, gripped his form and hurled him backwards across the hall away from his beloved, vanishing the instant he crashed head-first into a pillar, sending him tumbling to the ground amidst the rubble.
"Whoa there Casanova." A lazy voice drawled out from the shadows, Adam forcing himself to look up through the pain, his aura having absorbed most of the damage, "You can't just go thrusting it in like that, didn't your ma ever teach you manners?"
"Who…?" Adam growled, pushing himself slowly back to his feet, glancing around beneath his mask as he tried to locate the source of the voice and whatever the hell had sent him flying "Who's there?"
"I mean at the very least you could've taken her out for a classy dinner and a trashy movie." The voice drawled, sounding amused for some infernal reason "Though considering it IS Blake we're talking about you probably could've pulled it off with an all-you-can-eat-sushi joint and a copy of Ninjas of Love: The Ninja-ning."
"Hey!" Blake exclaimed, her confusion giving way to righteous indignation as she glared at the source of the voice, a shadowy figure standing not too far from where she lay, clad in what looked like a simple blue hoodie with fur trim over a pair of cargo shorts and sandals "What are you implying?!"
"It ain't implying when it's true Pussy-Willow." The figure chuckled, earning an embarrassed glare from Blake for the nickname "Or are you telling me you aren't addicted to tuna and soft-core hentai Light Novels?"
"It's not hentai!" Blake shot back, leaping to her feet, one of which she stamped petulantly as she glared at the figure, Adam apparently forgotten, much to his understandable irritation.
"Can't help but notice you're not denying having an addiction though." The figure chuckled, Adam's blood boiling as he watched him reach out to ruffle Blake's hair as if petting a cat while she groaned into her palms in embarrassment "I'm proud of ya kid, takes a big person to admit they got a problem."
"Get your filthy hands off her!" Adam snarled, lunging forwards with Wilt sheathed at his side, intending to cleave the man's arm off at the elbow, only to pull up short as he was forced to deflect an attack from what appeared to be an arrow of light.
"Yeah, you just take it easy there Samurai Jackass." The figure chortled, Adam's eyes narrowing, his night vision piercing the shadows, revealing a tall teen with a shock of white hair set above a cock-sure grin that promised nothing but mischief. "See, normally I wouldn't dream of getting' in the middle of a Lover's Spat, WAY too much work for so little payoff." he mused even as he continued to pat Blake's hair, or rather, fondle her ears despite her attempts to stop him "But Y'see, this particular stray happens to belong to a friend of mind, and trust me, she doesn't like anyone else playing rough with her pussy."
"So here's the deal." He continued while Blake's protests devolved in to embarrassed choking noises, her face bright red from mortification "Option A: You crawl back into your hole like the flea-ridden, cowardly rat-bastard we both know you are, and I'll pretend you didn't just try to stab my friend in the gut. Or you can go with Option B and attack me."
"Now personally, I'd suggest you go with option A…" the teen admitted while shrugging nonchalantly, allowing Blake to escape his ministrations even as he grinned cheekily at Adam "'cause the only thing waiting for you if you cross that line is a Bad Time."
"Don't you look down on me, HUMAN!" Adam snarled, lunging forwards with Wilt held in a ready stance, intending to cleave the arrogant bastard in half, only to shiver as he finally met the teen's eyes.
"Well…can't say I didn't warn ya…" the teen sighed, all traces of geniality vanishing from his eyes, replaced with the same madness and power Adam saw in Cinder's that day so long ago, an ominous blue flame, like a will-o-the-wisp, forming in the left socket as he held his palm towards him, the one lazy smile now a mocking, skeletal leer.
"Get Dunked on, you Yiffy Mother-Fucker."
Well, that was a thing.
Pretty sure we can all guess what the themes for this is.