A/N: This was never a story I intended to write down. But, like my first work, it has nagged me until I have broken down and decided to tell it. I know he's been flamed by the public, the fans and even the writers of the show as unredeemable, but just because his character isn't redeemable doesn't mean he couldn't have been an awesome and formidable villain. I don't plan on this being a story with a happy ending but we will see where it leads.
This story takes place after Volume 3 and diverts from the canon in the fact that Sienna Khan is not killed.
I hope you enjoy it and would love the feedback.
The floating city of Atlas shone in the night like a lighthouse for the oceans of the world. Hovering above the continent below, it stood as a testament to the tenacity and ingenuity of humans, their sheer will to exist and thrive despite any opposition, even gravity could be defied and controlled. While it held a beauty all its own, the city below suffered from light pollution. The sky never grew truly black, only dulling to a deep purple, the beacons for the departing and arriving aircraft obscuring any chance of seeing stars. The noise as well never allowed the city to grow still to hear the simple sounds of nature, instead the massive military base simply created a white noise to which the people who lived below had grown accustomed to the point of not even noticing anymore.
Adam noticed. And hated it. He hated carrying out missions in Atlas, almost as much as he hated humans, but he knew why he was assigned to the task. He'd embarrassed the White Fang for participating in the Fall of Beacon, but Sienna Khan could hardly expel him from the organization; he was too well liked in the Beacon chapter, had she tried to remove him, she would have had a rebellion within the ranks. So instead she gave him the best possible punishment. Sending him away, alone, on a mission to someplace he hated. At least his mission would give him some sweet revenge he had been looking forward to for years.
He sat perched in a tree, high enough into the foliage no human eye could spot him. He'd staked out the Schnee's mansion for weeks, carefully observing the patterns of the guards and the advanced security system, then went on to observe the layout of the house. He knew where everything that had a window was: Mr. Schnee's office, the kitchens, the music room, the gardens, and on the upper floor, the one room he needed: her bedroom. The heiress.
It was common knowledge that Weiss was the middle child, the eldest having run off to the Atlas military as soon as she was old enough to bolt. It seemed Jacques Schnee was so detestable even his own family did all they could to get away from him, some in body like his daughters, the others in mind, like his wife. Adam had spied the middle aged woman in the gardens often, drinking until she was numb to the rest of the world. Weiss, however was the heir. The SDC would be hers someday, and everything it represented to the faunus: discrimination, enslavement, exploitation at the hands of humans.
The light went on in Weiss' room. His chance was getting closer. Sienna Khan had been the first leader of the White Fang to promote violence of humans, but she wished to minimize bloodshed as much as possible. She preferred the theft and destruction of their oppressors' property. This, however was different. Thousands of her people freed from the dust mines in Atlas cried out for reparation in blood. In vengeance, and under the pressure she was feeling from the vocal majority, she indulged them, ordering Adam to assassinate Jacques Schnee's heir as a message from the White Fang to the human population: they were not going to let the humans pass their oppressive ways down to the younger generation.
Through the small gap in the drapes he could see the huntress was changing into her night clothes, carefully stowing her rapier in the chest at the foot of her bed. She was slender and pale, pretty in a noble sort of way, her muscles and figure not nearly as defined as Blakes, but nothing unpleasant to look at either.
Blake. He squinted his eyes and shook his head. Now was not the time to be distracted.
Blake had been his failure. She was supposed to be his perfect match: his protégé turned romantic partner, but she had wounded his pride and his trust. With her connections and possible inheritance of the throne at Menagerie and his eventual ascension to the head of the White Fang, they would have been the liberating force of the faunus. They would have been hailed as king and queen, establishing a legacy for their people to no longer be afraid to take what they deserved from the other four nations. But she left. She'd rather stay with people like Weiss Schnee and that bimbo he'd disarmed at beacon than himself and Ilia, people she used to call friends.
In her room, a man entered and exchanged a few words with Weiss before offering her a consoling hug and turning out the lights as he left. One by one other lights went out in the mansion until only the outside sconces were lit. Adam was patient, waiting another hour before scaling the tree further, slipping over the wall and up the stone walls. He'd already made a plan to get in: there were six identical intake air vents, three on either side of the main atrium of the house, that led directly to the upper floors. Adam chose one that was in a seemingly unoccupied part of the house; the drapes were always drawn and there were never lights at night, scaling the stones of the ancient castle like edifice.
He hadn't expected the ceilings of the upper floor to be vaulted so high. The vent dropped him twelve feet to the floor. Even with his faunus reflexes there was no way he was getting back out the way he came it, but it wouldn't matter, he could just smash a winder to make his escape at that point: the deed would be done and there'd be no need to sneak. He stole through the upper floor, counting the doors until he reached the one he knew was hers, turning the handle slowly with no sound at all.
She was sleeping soundly, the moonlight peering in through the drapes making the silver in her hair almost luminescent. For a brief moment, Adam didn't see her as an enemy, he saw her for what she was: a girl sleeping in the comfort of her own home. Not much more than a child, a girl about Blake's age.
Blake again. Blake would be devastated when she heard about her teammate. He smiled at this thought as he unsheathed his sword. Weiss barely stirred. And her family would certainly feel the loss of it: the Schnee's who had never suffered a hardship once in their life would be left to deal with the guilt of their daughter slain in their house. He stood silently at her bedside as he raised his sword to plunge it into her heart. This would indeed be sweet, perhaps as sweet as what he did to the blonde friend Blake had risked her life to protect.
But it could be sweeter. A thought crossed his mind just before he struck. There could be a better way: a way for him to get the vengeance he wanted on Blake, the Schnee family, and the SDC while still furthering the cause of the White Fang. It would take time, but that would just make his victory all the more satisfying when it came. He changed the direction of his sword, instead holding the red blade gently against her throat as he used his other hand to cover her mouth.
The smell and feel of the leather on her face woke her almost instantly, panic setting in moments later. She gasped for air and began to flail as Adam's mask seemed to peer at her from complete darkness.
"Move and I will slit your throat. Scream and I will slit your throat. Do you understand me?" he pressed the sword gently to her skin to show he meant business.
Tears immediately began streaming from her face. She nodded lightly to show she comprehended.
Tightening the grip on her face, he pulled her up, first to a sitting position, then out of the bed. His ears picked up two men coming down the hallway, continuing past, but clearly walking with a purpose. Adam pulled the heiress with him closer to the door, keeping the blade against her skin the entire time. If she was a huntress, she would surely have some kind of combat training he would have to be wary of.
"Vent is open here too," he heard one of the men say, "We'd better start searching, go wake Mr. Schnee."
He hadn't anticipated them finding his entrance route that quickly. He turned Weiss around, keeping his hand on her mouth, but standing behind her, using her to shield himself going out. He waited until the footfalls of the guards were no longer in their wing of the building. "Open the door," He hissed quietly.
She complied, gingerly reaching for the knob and turning it silently. He guided them out the wing and down the main staircase, looking for an easy exit. None was to be had, not with the security guards inside systematically searching the rooms. If he was caught, he would simply kill the girl and escape per his original plan, but until then, he continued guiding/dragging his hostage room to room looking for a silent exit. She remained silent the entire time save for a few sobs and whimpers of pain as he continued to grip her jaw shut.
He finally gave up after a near miss in the kitchen. He whirled the girl around, covering her mouth again immediately and pushing her into the wall with his blade. "Listen to me, I need a way out of here and if you help me, you'll live. Scream and you die, mislead me and die. Either way, I will make it out alive, whether you make it out with me is up to you." He spoke in low tones but with an intensity that almost would have been perceived as panic.
She gingerly reached up with both hands, guiding them away from her mouth. He was her superior in every way and she knew it; he could tell from the terror in her eyes. She had no intention of defying him.
"There's a secret passage in the library." She whispered. "It leads to the drainage system but extends far beyond the outer wall. The guards don't know about it. Only family and Klein."
Adam was almost skeptical. She was afraid of him yes, but thus far, she'd been almost too easy to manage for a hostage being forcibly removed from her home. It was almost as if she wanted to get kidnapped, or at least was complicit in the idea.
He let her lead, keeping a tight grip on her waist and a blade at her back, navigating the labyrinth of the tables and carts of the extensive kitchen back out into the main foyer. The guards were even more numerous now, but at no point did the heiress try to attract their attention. Keeping in the shadows, they reached the library with no suspicion. He'd stolen the heir from under their noses, even with them searching and they wouldn't even know she was gone until it was too late.
The bookcase made a terribly scraping noise as Weiss pushed it out of place. Adam shoved her through the opening, not even caring to put the shelving back in place and cover their tracks. "Move. And stay in front of me."
The walk seemed like hours with Weiss' bare feet. She cringed, tears coming to her eyes as she sloshed through the small amount of water in the drainage pipe, something slimy oozing between her toes with each step. She stopped, trying to keep herself from vomiting. Adam pushed her forward again, but unprepared, she fell to her knees, soaking her nightgown and splashing her in the face with gods knew what.
"Get up." He ordered.
"I'm barefoot and this is gross!" she said, the first sign of defiance she'd shown all night.
"Well, I'm not carrying you and we're not slowing down, so get over it." He growled, yanking her by her elbow upward and giving her a push forward again. She led the rest of the way. If she slowed, the man in the mask shoved her from behind, ensuring he could see her without her being allowed to see him as they trudged.
The pipe eventually emptied into what looked like a reservoir. Rocks that covered the shore scraped her feet bloody as the White Fang leader ordered her to push on, only letting her short rests to regain her breath and let her aura heal the gashes in her feet.
The White Fang hand camped in a concealed wooded area about ten miles outside the main city, about six from the Schnee's expansive estate. By the time Weiss stumbled into the camp, the purple haze of the night sky was beginning to bleed into the gray rays of dawn. Marched through the middle of the camp, Adam refused to speak to his underlings, dragging the white-haired huntress into his tent. Ilia was waiting for him.
"What is this?" the chameleon's face flushed pink with shock. "Sienna will not be happy."
"Let me deal with Sienna," Adam said, "Bring me one of the dust mine collars."
Ilia hesitated, looking over Weiss once again before slipping out the back.
With a forceful push, Adam forced his captor down on her knees before walking to her front, never letting the blade lose contact with her ivory skin. Standing in front of her now, Weiss was able to see her captor in the light. Fiery red hair, horns, blood red sword and a specially designed White Fang mask. He needed no introduction. She knew who he was.
"You're Adam Taurus." She said, not looking him in the eye.
"You are a huntress from Beacon Academy. You fought at the Fall of Beacon and on the Mountain Glenn train. Yet you didn't fight against me at all." He spoke these things all as a matter of fact. "Why?" his tone changed, demanding an answer from her.
"You had a weapon and the element of surprise. I was clearly at a disadvantage," she replied. "You said you'd kill me and I knew you weren't lying. So, I complied."
"You could have misled me," Adam countered. "You didn't have to lead me to an actual escape route. You could have led me into a trap."
"Perhaps. But why would I risk that, especially when the opportunity of getting out from behind the walls presented itself."
Adam laughed at her ignorance. "Miss Schnee. This wasn't a rescue mission for you."
"And yet, I'd rather be at your mercy than my father's. I assume you'll be seeking a ransom as soon as the morning comes, and I can guarantee whatever price you demand, my family will pay it in exchange for my safe return."
"There will be no ransom for you Miss Schnee. While you will be our prisoner, I have a much different plan than holding you as a bargaining chip."
Ilia slipped into the tent behind Adam, brandishing one of the seamless metal collars worn by the faunus in her father's dust mines. With just a nod in Weiss' direction, his orders were clear. Ilia stepped behind the kneeling girl, slipping the collar around her neck and under her hair. As soon as it snapped in place, Weiss immediately felt nauseated as the aura in her body drained.
"What is this?" she panted, grasping at the collar, but unable to pry it off.
"I'm not surprised you didn't know. The collars worn by the employees of the SDC aren't merely decorative. They have advanced Atlas technology that blocks aura. Supposedly these keep the upper management safe from any potential riots that may occur in the mines. What they really are is just another way for your people to oppress mine."
"That's not true!" Weiss shouted defiantly, "My father provides honest employment for the faunus where other company owners in Atlas wouldn't even give them jobs. And they repay us by destroying our ships, terrorizing our people and robbing our trains."
"You can't be that naïve!" Ilia spat the words at her, raising a hand to strike her across the face. She hesitated a moment to see if Adam would stop her and when he didn't, she slapped the Schnee heiress across the face so hard the handprint pulsed red on her cheek. "My parents were killed in a mining accident and do you know what your people did? You honest employers? They laughed!" She slapped Weiss again. "They mocked our loss!" Another blow. "And all the while, you sit in your palace and wonder why we hate you?"
"Enough, Ilia," Adam said. "That is the exact purpose of why I've decided to let Miss Schnee live. Killing her would profit nothing if she didn't know exactly what the faunus have to endure at the hands of her so-called benevolent company."
Ilia snorted before retreating a few steps in compliance with his orders
Adam knelt, gripping Weiss' jaw in his hands, forcing their eyes to meet, hers through tears, his through the slits in his mask. "Starting tomorrow, the White Fang is going to give you first hand experience of what it's like to be a faunus for the Schnee Dust Company. And the collar is just the beginning. We'll see if you believe your father and the people of Atlas to be as benevolent after you've faced the reality of what that benevolence costs us." He stood and turned to Ilia. "Put her in one of the cells tonight. With that collar there's no point in restraining her. She's not a threat to anyone. We'll introduce her to the miner's life tomorrow."
The thought to plead for mercy crossed Weiss' mind as Ilia pulled her to her feet, but she knew it would be in vain. Adam was a man who hated humans. It was in his bones. There would be no pleading or reasoning with him. Somehow this was his cruel idea of vengeance: punishing the child for the sins of the father.
What terrified Weiss the most that night was not the cramped uncomfortable cell, the collar that blocked her aura leaving her defenseless, or even the murderous glares she got from the faunus passing by. Her greatest fear was what she was going to experience tomorrow and if it was going to be as horrific as Adam had made it out to be.