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Blake spat the coppery taste from her mouth, amber eyes colder than Atlesian winters as she studied the man before her. Adam had changed since she had left, since the Fall of Beacon. No longer was he proud, tall, demanding. No longer was he the intimidating juggernaut she had lost to in Vale. She had grown since then. She had learned. Adam had given her a furnace, a trial by fire. And she had come out stronger. They had come out stronger. Yang rushed past her, fist drawn back for another blow as the bull began to recover. It was good to be back with her team again. She had missed Yang’s energy. As her partner’s metal arm cracked against Adam’s arm, she saw the blade recoil. He was preparing. “Yang, now!” The words tore from her, and almost instantly, the blonde fired her weapon into the ground, flying backward as Wilt flashed through the space she had been moments before.’

“Thanks.” Yang commented, the word coming out in a short gasp. She was pushing herself harder than she should. Quietly, her hand wrapped around her friend’s shoulder. A quiet squeeze and it was gone again. Yang’s crimson eyes never left the man as he looked up at them. She remembered the warm green eyes behind that mask, as she stared into them on long nights. Part of her wondered if they’d ever be that warm again.

“That’s what you left me for?” His voice trembled with disgust and rage. The raven-haired girl flinched, and he smiled. “Some bimbo with anger issues and a low cut top?” Yang’s anger flared, but before she could act, Blake charged him. He wouldn’t hurt Yang this time. She wouldn’t let him. Wilt’s blade crashed against Gambol Shroud, the ringing filling the room as they fought. “I never had a chance, did I?” Hints of regret filled his voice. All this anger, this spite, it all came down to her in the end. It was almost pathetic.

“That’s the sad part, Adam.” Her voice was soft, the way it used to be. The way his used to be. Before he grew hard, and she left. She stepped aside as Yang swung, letting Adam take her fist square in the jaw. His body crackled with red energy. No more Aura. “You did once.” She kicked him, square in the chest, the blow sending the man sprawling. Hands clenched into fists. After so long, she’d done it. She’d beaten him. Now there was only one thing left to do.

She had to make sure he couldn’t come after her again.

Gambol Shroud turned in her hand, the blade pointed down, pointed to the black heart in Adam’s chest. Kicking away his weapon, she stared down at him, her head leaning to one side. Yang was silent. If she was going to stop her, she would have to say something. “Do... it.” Adam forced out, each word rasping. She must have hit him harder than she thought. A cough escaped him, and the crimson spray of vitae ruptured from his lips. “It can’t be worse than losing you. Especially to her.” She thrust downwards, letting the blade sink into him...

It stopped on something hard.

She looked down, stared at the red and gold staff blocking her. “Sun.” The word was flat, even. Behind her, she heard Ember Celica cock and Yang’s footfalls. “Go away.”

“I won’t let you do this, Blake.” There was fear in his voice, enough to make her pause. “I won’t let you become this.”

“You don’t understand!” Her voice, wrathful like all the fires of hell, surprised even her. “He won’t stop trying to hurt me! To kill me! To kill all of us! I have to do this.” She returned her gaze to Adam. “Not just for me. For everyone I care about.” Yang stiffened. “I can’t let him try again.” A hand gripped her shoulder. Metal fingers, still shaking slightly from battle, tightened on her shoulder.

“And you think killing him is the answer? He’s beaten, Blake.” Another cough escaped Adam. More blood escaped his lips. “I won’t pretend to understand the amount of pain he’s caused you. But if you kill him, you’re no better than he is.”

“How DARE YOU!” Yang swung, and Sun backed away, catching the blow on his staff. “AFTER EVERYTHING HE’S DONE TO HER, TO ME, TO ALL OF US, YOU HAVE THE GALL TO SAY THAT?” Her yelling was loud enough that, at first, she missed Adam chuckling. She stepped away, knelt down, picking up Wilt and Bloom. Staring at that mask, white and red, she spoke.

“He’s right.” Yang froze, looking confused. “I can’t kill him. No matter how much I want to.” Slowly, her hand grabbed the mask, pulling it off his face. She stared into those deep green eyes, glazed over from the pain. Would he have been better if she had stayed? Would he still have worked with Cinder? It didn’t matter. She couldn’t change it. “Goodbye, Adam.” She whispered, slowly standing. “It’s time I finally moved on.”

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A woman in a white carved mask and black jumpsuit entered the darkened room. Her mission had been a success. Infiltrate the enemy base, gather all the intel she could, meet up with the evac team. Well, she hadn’t quite made it to that last part, but there was something more... personal she had to deal with first. They had left him alive. Idiots. She rushed to his side. He wasn’t badly injured. They could still save him.

“Illia?” He asked, his voice croaking.

“Hello, Adam.” Flat words followed his. “I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time.” Her hand moved, quickly, plunging her sword into his heart. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe they would make him a martyr. It didn’t matter. He wouldn’t be hurting Blake anymore.