**Special thanks to Mecharic and TheLandMaster for Beta-ing**

Junior Xiong had not had a very good night. In fact, in the past few weeks, he'd had a series of progressively worse nights. All of them stemming back from one poorly timed, and ill-planned decision. Things hadn't been this bad for him since his father passed nearly ten years prior. When he'd lost the majority of his family's assets to infighting and mismanagement. However, at least then, he'd retained something.

Staring across the bar, at the blonde brat, he was reminded how he'd lost the rest of it.

"Heya Junior~" Yang Xiao Long said brightly, as though greeting an old friend.

"Blondie," Junior said evenly, eyeing the young woman across the barroom. His eyes quickly flashing around the bar to take in any changes. Leave to relieve yourself, and the whole world suddenly turns on its head.

Yang Xiao Long looked better than the last time he'd seen her. That fact alone did more to piss him off than everything else that'd happened in between. But at that moment, being angry was rather low on his list of priorities.

At the far end of the room, he could see T's associates lying in a heap on the ground. It explained the crash he'd heard before coming out. Looking back towards Yang, it appeared she wasn't alone either. Which only had the small relief that it wasn't that crazy asshole she'd brought with her last time. Instead, it was probably some new crazy asshole looking to stab people with that oversized toothpick in her hands. She seemed more than willing to use it, given the tip of it was resting just under T's chin.

"Funny running into you here." Yang said, turning towards him fully.

"Not many places left to be." Junior growled, looking around the room, searching. He wasn't here, was he?

"I do remember hearing something about your club getting shut down." Yang said, feigning innocence "A fire, right?"

"You know what it was." Junior growled. No, he wasn't here, it was just blondie and her new white haired friend. She seemed to be watching the situation rather intently. What was with the mask she was wearing? Did she really think that was going to keep her identity secret… Well it did, he had no idea who she was. Yet.

"Whatever you say." Yang said coyly, smiling at him. "But, you're here. Why don't you come over and have a drink with us? Catch up."

A nervous, tickling feeling went down Junior's spine. He knew better than most how bad an idea it was to get within arm's reach of Blondie. T did as well, he remembered hearing the news about the last time Blondie paid her a visit. Then she went and hurt her neck after the fact, and everyone thought Blondie hurt her worse than that.

Only thing he knew for certain was that sticking around would be bad for his health. His jaw had only just finished healing after…

Junior pushed the thought away. He needed to get out of there.

"So, who's this?" Junior asked, slowly approaching, eyes scanning up and down the length of the bar, frantically. "You decide to ditch that asshole Steve for her?"

Yang pursed her lips for a moment then answered. "This is Snowflake. You don't need to worry about her… yet."

Snowflake whined at the use of her name. Junior didn't care, he could've called her Whitey and been done with it.

Junior continued to scan the bar top as he got closer. Looking for some form of opening. "What're you doing here?" He asked. "Looking to shut down another piece of Vale's nightlife?"

"Was hoping to get some information." Blondie answered, motioning to the barroom at large. "This place was just on the list. Yours was too, until recently."

"Ha." Junior said, derisively. "Funny. You should consider being a comedian if assaulting people doesn't pan out." His eyes landed on T. She was looking at him too, somewhere between vindictive and accusatory. Like it was his fault Blondie and her sword wielding friend chose tonight to stop by. How was he supposed to know? He'd stopped in to try and call in his markers. For the little they mattered now.

"Would match what I heard from a certain someone. That's not nice, spreading rumors about a girl." Blondie said, pretending to sound hurt.

"Not rumors when you know they're true." Junior growled.

"Well, we didn't exactly receive a warm welcome last time." Blondie answered.

This time, Junior barked a real laugh. An angry, acerbic, bitter noise that almost sounded more like a snarling dog. "You weren't welcome the first time. You shouldn't have come back the second."

"Hm." Blondie hummed, almost seeming to ignore him. "Anywho, maybe you can answer some questions for me."

Junior scowled at her, eyes flicking to T and back again. He stopped walking about half a dozen feet from her. As close as he was willing to get. "About?"

"Oh you know, stuff." Blondie smirked. "Torchwick, the White Fang, what their plans are, where they are-"

"Don't know, don't care, got better things to do-" Junior answered, ticking them off in a list as he went. "- and with the guys I lost to his antics, I'd see him dead myself if I knew any of it."

"-and what exactly the rest of those rumors are, involving me and 'Steve'." Blondie finished.

"…" Junior paused, as his mind went back to that night in the Club.

Things had finally started to go right for him again, after the first time Blondie had trashed the place. He'd had to spend a lot of lien to get the place fixed, after she'd torn it apart. More Lien than he could manage. He'd had to burn favors, call in markers he'd have rather saved. But they were up and running quickly. Getting a steady flow of income to make a good recovery.

Then she came back.

And she'd brought… him, with her.

Junior wasn't a cautious man, or even a bright one, but he believed he learned from his mistakes. After the first time, he'd made a plan in case Blondie came back. Make sure all of his boys were on standby, try to keep her off her guard. Getting ahold of that Hexen venom hadn't been cheap. If anyone had known he had it, the cops would've been able to put him away for life. But it would've been worth it, to spite her.

Best of all, it had worked.

Then things went horribly wrong.

He could still see it all, hear it. Being there, in the darkness of his Club. Waiting for someone to get the power back on, while his men got slaughtered one by one. The stink of something smoky and acrid in the air while that music wailed in the background. The brief flashes of light, when his boys opened fire, when their scrolls swept the room.

His rocket launcher exploding beside his head.

But it all paled to the way it ended. The things he saw, the way the shadows suddenly came to life twisting and turning, ripping his boys apart.

That thing Blondie had brought with her. How it chased him out onto the street. Left him limping blindly through the city until the sun finally came back up.

As he came back to himself, he could feel his heart beginning to hammer in his chest. "… Is he here?" he asked.

"Who?" Blondie asked.

"Steve." Junior growled, trying to keep the anger in him burning brighter than the fear. "That freak you call a boyfriend."

"Boyfriend?" Blondie asked in confusion. "He's not-"

"Answer the damn question!" Junior barked.

Snowflake's blade suddenly swung towards him, her face set icy calm and focused. But Junior wasn't afraid of her. She was frail and dainty. He knew he could take her far more easily than Blondie.

She'd also made a terrible mistake.

"A bit jumpy, aren't we?" Junior asked.

Snowflake went to speak, mouth opening-

Then T leapt across the bar, cracking her in the face with a hard punch. Blondie immediately wheeled around in surprise. The moment she did, Junior's leg swung forward, kicking a barstool into her. The stool broke as it crashed into her, causing her to stagger. But it gave Junior all the room he needed.

Without pause, Junior pushed off the bar and ran for the far wall. He angled himself for one of the big windows, and threw himself through it. The glass shattered and scattered across the ground and he tumbled through. He landed roughly, scrambling to his feet as he heard the fight break out in the bar behind him. He wouldn't have long.

Junior ran down the alley as fast as his legs could carry him, away from the bar. He moved with long and loping strides. He wasn't quick, but he could cover ground with great speed all the same. Even faster, as his aura began to flood into his legs, pushing him faster.

"Hey!" Blondie echoed from down the alley. "Get back here!"

Junior forced himself to begin moving even faster. He knew they'd be after him as soon as they were finished with T. The only good fortune to come for him tonight was that Blondie hadn't brought her boy with her.

Even as he ran, rounding a sharp corner and bolting down the street, Junior found himself searching. Waiting for some shadowy, red eyed demon to appear out of nowhere, finish the job he'd started. It'd been like that ever since he'd escaped. He didn't know if he was still being hunted or not. At least, he hadn't. Now he was sure he was.

He needed to leave Vale. Go someplace far away from here. Vacuo was supposed to be lovely this time of year. Couldn't go to Mistral, the Spiders would eat him alive after this whole mess. Wouldn't bother with any of the mountains there either. He'd heard that there were supposed to be one or two large settlements. But he needed a place near the heart of things. Atlas was always a possibility, lot of upscale clientele. It'd be easy to start fresh there, or down in the slums of Mantle. Though he didn't like his odds with the Atlas Military being his neighbor.

As his mind raced in tandem with his feet however, he heard the distant thunder of gunfire behind him. Not directed at him, but present, rising over the dull thrum of the city and rhythm of his hammering heart. He recognized the sound. Blondie's gauntlets. He could remember them going off in his face. Sending him through the front window of his club the first time.

It made him run harder. More desperate to escape. His mind started on a downward spiral.

No more contacts.

No more markers.

No more safehouses.

His resources: exhausted.

His body: beaten.

His mind: in shambles.

All the result of a series of bad decisions and aiding the wrong people. Everything was gone. The more he thought about it, the more he wondered why he was even bothering to run at all.

He turned sharply down an alley-

Blondie leapt in front of him, appearing from nowhere.

Before he even had a chance to react, her iron hands clasped into him and pulled him in. She spun, planting her fist in his stomach. Her weapon fired and he flew back, slamming into one of the alley's walls.

"Ok, let's try this again." Blondie said, scowling at him.

Junior had no idea where she'd come from or how she'd caught up to him. But she was alone with him. Snowflake was nowhere to be seen.

"Torchwick and the White Fang, where are they?" Blondie growled.

Junior's mind raced as he looked down at the girl. Terror and fury, a hurricane of confusion and dismay on his senses as he tried to find his way. But the only thing he wanted to do was flee. Even if there was nothing for him in doing so. There was nothing for him in anything he did.

But as that thought occurred to him, he felt himself calm. The hurricane vanished from his mind, and everything was silent and still in his head.

He had nothing left.

He only had his life.

He had nothing to lose but that.

And the only person he was afraid would take it, was nowhere to be seen.

So he laughed.

"I don't know, and I don't fucking care." Junior breathed, a sneer in his voice.

Blondie scowled at him, but he didn't care. She was clueless in all this. If she wasn't she wouldn't have come looking for answers. She didn't even know about…

A cold smile bloomed on his face. He could see the way Blondie faltered, this wasn't going her way.

"You said you wanted to know?" Junior asked. "About those 'rumors' T told you about… Do you really want to know? Do you really not remember?"

A cautious look began to settle on Blondie. It gave Junior a rush of power, a sense of control he hadn't felt for weeks now. It was more pleasant than any narcotic or vice he could remember trying.

"Alright." Junior said, never losing his smile, it only grew bigger and colder. "Why don't I tell you about how you and your boyfriend butchered all my boys."


I think out of all the shorter ones I wrote, this one actually turned out to be the shortest. Most of this second batch were like that, But I think that's because they were mostly set-up for what's coming next. Productivity has unfortunately continued to backslide as well. I've basically had a continuous month of overtime, and it's cut production down by half. But, by consolation, it's still better than it was, so I'll take it for what it is. If nothing else I've kept my number of reserve chapters stable, so updates can remain regular for the time being.

'Memese': It's less a matter of what one might want, and what they need to do. Six doesn't often mentions it, but he knows he needs to get back to the Mojave. Matters there are ultimately pressing, but worrying about them without knowing of a clear solution won't do any good.

'Monster_King': Naturally, carry on king.

'Marineplus': Not necessarily, all that was really accomplished was getting the paparazzo's eyes off them for a moment. Sure, it was an odd coincidence that he ran out at exactly that moment, but it's Vale People wear weird clothing, and with people coming in for the Vytal Festival, they're only getting weirder.

'Darkromdemon': How do you get a Dragon Break? You screw up your own internal timeline so thoroughly you have to perform a soft retcon of your series. This makes what, number three in the past decade?

'TheDoodlerofWriteing': Pyrrha: ... Who is she?

'Buttermu': They're a bunch of teenagers/Young adults, not being given the guidance they need. It happens.

'Gigglemesh': Don't worry, I'm sure something's bound to go wrong eventually.

'Thepkrmgc': What about both?... mm, yes, both is good.

'Ballin'_And_Can't_Get_Up': I think regenerating from his fight would've been a stretch, But the odds were in his favor for survival. As the matter stands, there isn't much that could stand against him, barring literal magic. Were there someone like Horrigan running around, Oz probab;y would've had a much worse time of things.

'Helloever22': Wouldn't be her if she could just say: 'Date me! I'm the eligible single in your area!' would she?

'Guest': I did actually hear about that one. Haven't read it myself since I don't know much about Arknights, but it's always nice to see new blood in the pits. "Did we hit something?" "Speed bump!"

'Cousin687': I've got plans to go my own way eventually. My displeasure for certain aspects of later volumes isn't particularly private knowledge, but even if it wasn't it'd be a poor showing of me to not at least try something new. RWBY may eventually land in a new home, but beyond research purposes my time with it is effectively over. I with them the best of luck in their endeavors, they've got a road ahead of them.

'Shadylizzard': He's on his way back to it. As mentioned in previous chapters, he wasn't always this much of a wreck, even if he did struggle. He's also picking everything up a lot faster than everyone believed he would, so he might be back to par before much longer, in universe anyway.

'Holandia1013': That's what happens when you write a love interest for the express purpose of killing her off. It's like being on Mr. Bones' Wild Ride.

Ok, I'm gonna nap and get back to the grind tomorrow, hope you all take care and I'll catch you on the flip.

This Fanfic is brought to you by Horrigan's Health Supplements. 'Feel Unkillable, Be Unbreakable.' (Not liable for hemorrhages)

Adios.

-Ash