Doctor has referred me to an eye specialist that I'm going to see tomorrow for a full medical eye scan and test. Apprehensive.
Cover Art: JustFun101
Adam let the last of the hot water blast down across his body and turned off the shower, stepping out and picking up the fluffy white towel hanging from a heated metal rack. He could have stayed in bed and waited for Yang to wake up, but flustered panic and shouting wasn't his thing.
Perhaps it was selfish to go and have a shower rather than address the situation, but he figured Yang would be happier having a little time to herself to come to terms with things as well. Drying off, he prodded at the bags under his eyes, yawned into the mirror and dragged on his crinkled and creased clothing from the night before. It stank of cheap booze and barbecue sauce, which explained the ugly stain down his shirt. Apparently, he'd gotten as much of the questionable street food on his chest as he had in his mouth.
No one ever accused Adam Taurus of being the best drunk in the world. Most people seemed to forget he'd joined the White Fang early and not had much in the way of guidance to teach things to him. Everything he learned, he learned by doing and experiencing the consequences.
Yang was awake when he came out. Knelt on the bed, covers pulled up over her shoulders so only her head poked out, hair frizzy and eyes wide. She was very pale, as well. As pale as a Schnee. Her lilac eyes darted from him to her underwear draped over the back of a chair to his jacket thrown in the corner of the room back to him and then down to her sheets, beneath which she knew she was naked.
"Did we…?" she asked, voice strained.
Adam didn't see much point in pussy-footing around. "We did."
Yes. Quite literally. He didn't think Yang would appreciate the joke, so he held it back and let her gather herself. That involved a whole lot of repeating curse words over and over and a little hair gripping and head shaking. To be honest, he was surprised she wasn't blaming him. As the older one, and the guy, he expected she'd accuse him of taking advantage. He was pleased to see his opinion of her wasn't unfounded.
"Oh fuck," she whispered. "How many times did they warn us about this in class? How many times did Dad or Uncle Qrow tell me to watch myself? It'll never happen to me, I said. Ha. I'm Yang Xiao-Long. Fuck me sideways. I only went and did it."
"I brought a gown from the bathroom." He offered her the fluffy abomination and Yang snatched it out his hand, shuffling under the covers. They bucked and jumped and bumbled for a while before her upper body came back out, tightly snug in the new material. "The shower is still hot," he said. "It'll relax you."
"Shouldn't we… Shouldn't we deal with this first…?"
Probably. He'd thought she might want to make a run for it, though. Hide in the shower until she could gather her thoughts like he had. "What is there to figure out? We went out, got drunk and lost ourselves in the moment." Her to the atmosphere and him… well, he had a feeling he'd lost himself in a friendly and pretty girl because his emotions were so haywire thanks to Blake.
More than anything, this had to prove he wasn't in love with Blake anymore, because when they'd been together, he hadn't even found other women attractive.
"Do you want it to be something more?"
"No!" Yang shook her head, then realised how that might sound. "Uh. I mean, not that there's anything wrong with you, I'm just…"
"I get it, Yang. We were both drunk. I don't think this has to change anything. Do you?"
"Ignore it?" she asked. "Still be friends?"
Adam cracked a tired and hungover smile. "I don't see why not."
"Me neither." Yang grinned back, releasing a quick breath. Her shoulders untensed rapidly, her body going slack. "Wow. This is… This is a lot easier than I thought it'd be. Just like that? We had sex but we're cool with it because we're friends and it happened while we were drunk?"
"That's it." he confirmed. "I'll say sorry-"
"Don't bother. It takes two to tango."
"Even so, wasn't it your first time?"
"And I can't remember any of it, so next time I'm with someone will feel like my first."
"That's an awfully relaxed view to take."
Yang grinned. "I'm a relaxed girl. To be honest, it's chillaxed Yang or screaming panic Yang. Take your pick."
Adam snorted. Well, she was anything if not honest. He'd take the relaxed version if he had a choice. He didn't remember anything about the night either, certainly not them getting undressed or into bed together. He knew there had been intimacy, however. It was obvious not only from the smell but how his body felt. It was reminiscent of how he was after a night with Blake, except much more exhausted.
Best keep that bit to myself…
"We're cool, then?" Yang asked again. "You're not mad?"
"Not at you. Disappointed in myself more than anything."
"Yeah. Same." She smiled nervously. "But you're still cool with me?"
Hadn't he just said that? "I'm cool with you, Yang. Whatever that's supposed to mean. We had sex. That doesn't mean we need to become lovers or never talk to one another again. It's not so binary. Take a shower and get dressed," he suggested. "Talking will be easier when you're not in a dressing gown. I promise I'll still be here when you get out."
He was as good as his word and had even gone a step further to order breakfast up to their room. The egg, bacon and toast was simple but starchy – and that was a wonderful thing when you were suffering after a night out. Adam had pointedly ignored the red blush on the face of the bellboy bringing it up. Apparently, they hadn't been quiet nor subtle the night before.
When Yang came out the shower, she looked a million lien again. Her hair was clean and in order – at least as much `in order` as she kept it – and she looked infinitely more relaxed. She came over, cheered at the sight of the food and flopped down on the bed next to him, picking up knife and fork and devouring it ravenously. So close to him, she smelled of peach from the hotel's stock shampoo. Once the food was done and they were nursing their orange juice, they got to work on setting terms.
"The team never finds out."
"Agreed." Adam said. "As far as they know, we spent a night out and crashed at a hotel. I slept on the couch."
"Awesome. Second rule, this doesn't cause any team issues." Yang pointed between the two of them. "We bonked and that's crazy but it's our problem, okay? We keep it cool for the rest of the team."
"Again, I agree. I think we can get past this."
"So do I. We're awesome like that."
"My turn." Adam said. "Your Uncle never finds out."
"Oh hell no! Uncle Qrow would never let me forget it if I told him. Nuh-uh." Yang made a cross with her arms. "No way. This goes no further than you and me. Our secret."
Good. This was turning out to be easier than a lot of the arrangements he'd had to make within the White Fang. Out of all the people in the team, he was surprised to find Yang the most reasonable. That was probably the subject matter. He couldn't begin to imagine how impossible things would have been if it were Weiss in this situation. Or Ruby. He shuddered. Fifteen was much too young for that kind of thing.
"So, we're still friends, still teammates and still drinking buddies. Though… maybe we should make sure someone else comes out with us next time. Just so nothing happens."
"Definitely. There is… one other thing…"
Yang looked at him quizzically.
"I was checking the dustbins while you were in the shower. I… didn't find a condom. Nor did I bring one out with me."
Yang's face remained carefully neutral for several moments.
"T-There's a pharmacist by the Bullhead docks," she stammered. "We'll stop by there and grab a pill. Problem solved."
"Sounds like a plan." It was a simple solution and no one – no one – needed little Xiao-Long-Taurus running around. "Are you ready? We'll need to look natural and relaxed for the team."
"Um. Yeah." Yang looked at him again and then away, nervously scratching her chin.
Adam frowned. "What is it?"
"You… You probably didn't notice. You know, all this being more important. But you… us… we were both naked. Obviously." Her eyes flicked back. "It's not that bad."
Ice cold gripped Adam's body and he twisted away, snatching the napkin off the spent plates and holding it up to the left side of his face. His bare face. The bandage was gone, discarded in what he could only assume was their wild tryst the night before. Swearing under his breath, he stood and made his way to the bathroom, determined to makeshift someone to cover it.
"You don't have to hide it! I won't tell-"
He slammed the door shut.
Yang came out the pharmacists red-faced and with a tiny packet in hand. She looked at him and then away, and this time he had to as well. It was one thing to talk about it, another to have to do it.
"Is that it?" he asked.
"Y-Yeah. The woman made me take one then and there. Said they're free to students but only if you take one."
"It's probably to stop people taking and selling them on or abusing them."
"Hm. Maybe. She said it's best to take for three days to be sure." Yang stuffed them in her pocket, caught somewhere between shame and embarrassment. It didn't feel right that it only be her who had to deal with it.
"I'm sorry," he said again.
"I said to stop saying that, didn't I? You didn't force me. I was as much a part of it as you."
"That you know of. What if I did take advantage?"
"You didn't," she said firmly.
"How do you know?"
"I just do. Okay?" Annoyed, Yang shot him a glare. "You think I'm unable to defend myself? We were both drunk. I'm not accepting the idea you forced me to do anything and you shouldn't either."
"You're right." He was borrowing misery. Or making his own up. "Must be the hangover speaking. I just wish I could remember anything about it."
"Y-Yeah." Yang blushed. "Me too. Well, let's get back. I bet the others are wondering where the hell we are by now. I just hope Ruby hasn't told dad or reported us missing…
Weiss and Ruby were waiting for them outside the dorm building. Weiss had her hands planted on her hips, and Ruby was mimicking it with a lot less success, barely able to hide her grin. There wasn't any shouting or search party. That was a good sign.
Yang took the lead. "Look, I know what you're going to say. We should have told you we wouldn't be back. We're both really sorry and-"
"What are you talking about, Xiao-Long?" Weiss snapped. "You texted us last night. Over fifty times no less." She held up her scroll. Neither of them were close enough to see anything but Weiss still brandished it like it was the plaque of truth. "I had to turn my scroll off to make it stop – and then you just started messaging Ruby!"
"Uh. Sorry…? Wait, so we told you we'd be at a hotel?"
"At three in the morning! While I was trying to sleep!"
Yang laughed awkwardly and muttered out an apology. Adam simply rolled his eye. After finding his bandages in the room, he'd covered up again, though the itchy fabric kept scratching against his skin. It needed a change.
"At least I told you both."
"You certainly did. Ugh. Between the constant texts and the pictures you kept sending-"
"Pictures!?" Yang cried. Shrieked. Howled. Adam wasn't sure which it was, but it sure as hell wasn't the `act natural` he'd told her to. Weiss and Ruby flinched back, and several people looked over. Realising her position, Yang flushed and tried to laugh it off. "Ah. P-Pictures. Yeah. Um. They weren't embarrassing pictures, were they?"
"Some of them certainly were."
They hadn't. Surely not. Having sex was one thing, but there was no way they'd sent evidence to their teammates. Adam stared at Weiss' scroll while Yang was far less subtle and jumped for it. "Show me!"
"W-What are you doing? You took them! Don't you know what they're of!? Get off!" Weiss wrestled free. "Check your own scroll, damn it. This is a new model. You sent them from your scroll, idiot!"
Yang wasn't listening to reason and in the end it was Ruby that came and offered hers. Yang snatched it and opened up the texts from her. Though less violent about it, Adam did slide up to look over her shoulders, a pit opening up in his stomach.
The first was in the club, dark, and showed him tilting a bottle back upward, the neck in his mouth, with his hands to the side, drinking without holding anything. Yang's face was in the bottom corner grinning like a mad woman with her fingers in the peace sign.
Next was the two of them with their arms around one another. Yang looked far worse for wear but no less happy, while he had a sarcastic look on his face that made it abundantly clear he'd been forced into posing like that. The third was later on – Yang taking a picture of his back for some reason as he ordered at the bar. Then there was a picture attempted to be taken on the dance floor. The bright, neon strobe lighting made it a mess of colours with no focus.
They went on like that. Some must have been taken by him for it was Yang in the focus and she would be posing and waving at the camera. There was one of him nursing a drink on the bar, looking to the camera out the corner of his one good eye. It was almost artistic, and Yang must have thought so because the text beneath it read `looking good` with a few emojis after.
Yang scrolled to the end, through at least twenty pictures. They had obviously left the club. One picture was them sat side by side on a sidewalk, knees and hips touching, trays of fries and kebab meat in their laps as Yang held the camera out with one arm that could be seen on the edge, taking a selfie. They both looked drunk, but even then he was hardly someone prone to smiling like one. Still, there was a hint of a grin on the face of the Adam in that picture, and that was as big a sign of his inebriation than anything.
Underneath that final picture was a message: "Gna fnd hotel. Cya 2moro. Xxx"
Adam looked up, choosing to assume the x's were kisses and not a terrible suggestion of what they planned. "Your text speech is horrendous."
"Get off my back. You're probably the kind of guy to write full prose."
"What's wrong with that?" Weiss asked.
"The fact you of all people are asking is why it's wrong." Laughing, Yang pulled back, as relieved as he was that their drunken texting hadn't given anything away. "I guess I wanted to document Team RYST's first official night out. Well, half of the team anyway."
"Yes, well, we could have done with the documentary delivered not in the middle of the night." Huffing, Weiss put her scroll away. "You had fun, though? I guess that's all that matters."
"Oh yeah. Fun. We had lots!" Yang laughed a little longer than was necessary, cracking off nervously. "So much fun that we're kinda all `funned out` if you know what I mean."
"You're acting weird, Yang…"
"Who's acting weird? You are, Rubes. Gosh, you're such a dork." Yang cackled and slapped her sister's back. "Don't mind me. I'm just hungover. A-Anyway, I'm gonna go get changed. Last night's clothes stink."
So much for acting natural. Adam felt Weiss and Ruby looking to him for an explanation. Keeping his lips set into a neutral frown, he shrugged once. That was all they'd get from him.
He left Team RYST on the honest excuse of being too hungover to want to train. There were limits, even for him, and there'd been plenty of exercise the night before. Dancing, he meant, though the slip only brought back more thoughts of what else they'd been up to.
It wasn't so much the act that bothered him as what it meant. Sex was sex. It was a physical thing that didn't always have to mean romance. He'd only ever been with Blake before, someone he'd truly loved, but he would never scoff at the White Fang who slept around casually or sought comfort in one another before or after a raid. People dealt in different ways and physical intimacy was far less destructive than something like drugs.
If Yang was happy that they could remain friends and move on, then it was well and truly done with. It didn't matter. Thus, it didn't bother him either – but what was more concerning was how he'd unconsciously – or perhaps subconsciously – done it in the first place.
He hadn't gone out hoping to pull – as Yuma would have put it. He'd actually gone out explicitly planning not to. Or rather, he'd gone out with a female friend hoping to distract himself from his feelings. The `not getting any` aspect was heavily implied.
Why, then, had he gone and done it? Why had he, drunken or not, decided to have sex with Yang?
This wasn't the first time he'd gotten drunk with female friends. Most of those had been subordinates, but there had been genuine friends among the White Fang as well. Even before he and Blake were a thing, he hadn't slept with any of them and hadn't ever felt the desire to. The question was, had he fallen for Yang during the night?
Not fallen in terms of love, but attraction, mood or desire. Adam didn't think he felt any desire right now to go out with Yang, but when you were drunk, hot and having fun with someone, it wasn't hard to see how you could mistake those feelings. There had to have been a spark, though. A spark of something.
Strange as it would sound, he would have been happier if he'd wanted her.
He wasn't sure he had.
Did I sleep with Yang to distract myself from Blake…?
If so, that wasn't fair to Yang or himself. He almost wished he could say he had feelings for his teammate, since at least that would have made understanding it easier. The last thing he wanted was to be so pathetic that he'd sought comfort in a rebound, potentially ruining a perfectly good friendship at the same time. Adam sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying as hard as he could to think back and recall anything about last night.
The best he could manage was them paying for a room, Yang laughing and singing while he hefted her shoulder up, no better than her but at least quieter. He could vaguely remember being given a key and directions, then moving toward an elevator. Everything else was gone. How they made it to a specifically numbered room in a hotel with many others was an outright mystery.
"I can't live my whole life based around Blake. Not if I want to move on from her…"
The problem was, he mostly had. Joining the White Fang and bringing about equality had been his life's goal, but he'd let Blake take over. When she left, he threw away his goal to chase her – instantly making her the most important thing in his life.
"Don't be a hypocrite," he told himself. "That's not her fault – it's yours. You're the one who chose to drop everything to run after her. You're the one who joined a school for huntsmen just to prove her wrong."
He really was pathetic, wasn't he? And now having accepted that he might have fallen out of love with her, that he might have wasted all this time, he'd gone and hopped into someone else's bed. For what? A night of comfort? To prove to himself he didn't need Blake? Or had he done it to get back at Blake?
If so, he doubted it would have the intended effect. Blake had moved on from him far more effectively than he had from her. I'm a mess. What's making me act like this? I'm normally a lot more focused…
That was it.
"I don't have a goal."
Saying it out loud helped make it more obvious. He'd always been working toward something before, toward either the White Fang, defeating Atlas or saving faunus. How could you focus if you didn't have a goal to focus on? Even when he'd come to Beacon to prove Blake wrong, that had been a goal. A petty one, he could admit now, but a goal all the same. Now, he didn't have anything. He was adrift. Confused. Looking for something to distract him or catch his attention long enough to make something of.
That must have been why Yang was so afraid of him leaving the team before; she'd realised what he hadn't. The night out might even have been her way of trying to help. It'd be just like her, acting so blind yet being so perceptive. And here he was, the one who really was blind.
I need a goal. I need an ambition. I can't join the White Fang now and it has to be something aside from Blake. Become a huntsman? That wasn't really a long-term goal, nor something he found particularly enticing. I can't just make a goal up. It has to be meaningful to me or I'll not be interested. What can I do, though? The only thing I've ever cared about is faunus and the racism…
That could be it. That could do. Adam blinked, surprised at how simple it sounded, but also how right. He couldn't join the White Fang again after leaving them, but the White Fang weren't the only route to the firs goal he'd ever had.
Equality. Fairness. Justice.
Even in Beacon, there was still racism – he'd experienced the brunt of it, but others had too. Maybe, just maybe, he could focus on trying to fix that. I've already made a start. Ha. Without even realising, I've been working toward it. Maybe my body knew what I wanted even when my mind was too busy obsessing over Blake.
Dealing with the racism would give him a reason to stay, a reason to right and something to fight for. Adam drew a deep breath and let it go, pleased to feel just that little bit lighter.
And for once, he'd figured it out on his own. That was a pleasant change.
No violence this time. He was under too much scrutiny to rely on it. Well, violence was but one means to victory. The White Fang fell on using it because no one in authority took their oppression seriously. That wasn't the case in Beacon. Ozpin had proven himself a surprising but vigilant ally to the faunus students, as had Oobleck and Tsune. Students had been expelled. Others had been chastised. Punishments were handed out. The authority figures were doing something. That meant he could focus on the student body.
Yes, he thought. This will do nicely.
Wouldn't it also be the most wonderful irony if he fixed the faunus problem peacefully, just how Blake said he couldn't- No. A fierce shake of his head knocked those thoughts away, even if there was a part of him that felt a vindictive thrill at the thought of proving her wrong about him. Okay. Entirely letting Blake go was going to be harder than he thought.
Adam lay curled up on his side in bed, Team RYST in their own further down the room. His was by the furthest wall with Ruby's a few feet away, then Weiss' and finally Yang's. With his head running wild with ideas of how he could spark a change in Beacon, sleep was slow to come. Not only for him, it seemed. His scroll lit up and buzzed silently. Only once. A message. Idly, he reached over and picked it up, seeing it was from Yang.
Adam rolled his eyes and typed back. "Not now. What is it?"
"I've been looking through my pics."
"We took a lot."
That sounded just ominous enough that he had to respond. "What kind?"
"Not sex pics!" Yang sent her reply with a sick-looking emoji face. "Going out pics. Smiling. Looking happy. Drinking. Uh. And then this one…"
An image appeared, slowly loading as his scroll received it. The picture was clearly taken inside the hotel room they'd booked. Adam was grateful they were both clothed in it, but that was as far as his relief went. He was sat on the double bed, Yang in his lap. She was sat half sideways with her arm out holding the camera selfie-style and her face nestled against his neck. He had an arm around her, very low down her back. His bandage was missing in it, showing his horrid scar, the `SDC` branded into his face like he was a fucking animal. The Yang in the picture didn't seem to care.
"Tell me you didn't send that one to Weiss or Ruby."
"No. It must have been the last one before we… you know…"
He knew. There was a long silence where he wondered if he should reply or not. That picture looked like the kind of thing an idiot would send to an ex to get back at them. Luckily, he didn't have Blake's new scroll number so there was no risk there.
"I already did. Is it ok to keep the others?"
"The going out ones. The happy ones."
"You can keep them."
He received a big smiley face in return, followed by "We had fun, didn't we? Aside from this morning. It was fun."
"It was." he admitted. He considered himself for a few moments before typing "Are you really okay with this? It was your first time, and I took it because I was upset over falling out of love with my ex. Doesn't feel right."
"It wasn't like that!" Yang's reply was immediate, her fingers audibly tapping away. "You weren't thinking of her at all. You responded to me!"
Adam stared at that message for a long time. "How would you know?" he asked back. "I thought neither of us could remember it."
"I don't remember it!"
"That's what I said. What did you mean that I responded?"
"I'm tired." Yang's final message said. It was almost stroppy. He heard her roll over and sigh angrily. "Goodnight."
Confused, Adam sent back a quick `goodnight` and put his scroll down.
"Are you two finally done texting each other?" Weiss grumbled. "We sleep in the same damn room. Why do I have to listen to tap-tap-tapping when you could just talk to one another…?"
Yang rolled up in her blankets and refused to answer.
Adam sighed and whispered an apology.
There's such a thing as being too mature, Adam.
And no, this isn't some "grand attack" on the Bumblebee pairing or community as one or two people have suggested. I don't subscribe to pairings and being loyal to them. The characters are all make believe, which is why most of my stories have wildly different pairings. I think the idea of being obsessed about any pairing is just weird and I like to explore wild and wacky pairings because it's fun to write them.
The only real pairing I dislike is Oscar x Ruby. It's mostly to do with age, the issue of Ozpin and the fact that Oscar is a character just randomly thrown into the plot, and that Ruby is dealing with the death of Pyrrha and all this nightmarish stuff going on in canon. She has so much more to concentrate on that I don't think the plot should try and push any pairing, let alone some random kid possessed by her headmaster who joins the party out of nowhere and quickly gets to the level of skill needed to fight other huntsmen.
Next Chapter: 8th December
P a treon . com (slash) Coeur