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The Broken Soldier and her Therapist

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“Miss Xiao Long? Room three is available for you now if you’d like to make your way there.” The receptionist said softly, her older features conveying the ‘we’re all here for you’ attitude of the place Yang found herself in.

It had been three years already, three years since the end of the war and losing so much in her life.

She’d given her arm for her service.

She’d given friends for her service.

Now that she was back, it had seemed like it had been all for naught. Nothing had changed, everyone went on with their lives. She couldn’t really blame them of course, most hadn’t experienced the horrors of war so they didn’t have to wrestle with the demons in their own head. They didn’t have to deal with how difficult having only one arm was, the simplest of activities had turned into minutes of desperately trying to grab simple items like a mug, getting dressed proved to be even harder especially with nobody else around to help her. Both her father and sister hadn’t even known of her return yet. It was best to let them believe she was dead, better that than let them see the broken husk she had become.

The entire waiting room was featureless and too clinical. The walls were plastered white, only a few seats and the receptionist desk littered the room. At least she had chosen a day that was quiet. Aside from one or two other people that had attended, the room was empty and neither of them spoke a word.

That was until the receptionist spoke up again.

“Excuse me, Miss Xiao Long?” The receptionist said again, the truth be told, Yang hadn’t heard the first time. Instead she had been… out of it. She resigned herself to staring at the barren featureless wall. With nothing else to focus on, her mind wandered. Straight back into the hell she had already left three years ago. The things she’d lost. The… friends that were never coming back. The people she knew should be standing here, not her. She’d blamed herself for every loss.

“Sorry, I was thinking about something.” Yang started. ‘Good, be vague. You’re here for a reason but nobody else has to deal with your shit.’

There was that faint smile again that formed on the receptionist, a sort of attempt at lightening the mood Yang supposed.

“That’s perfectly fine, I said that room three is available for you now, if you’d like to step in of course?” The woman repeated, if it wasn’t for the short red hair Yang would have answered straight away and proceeded to the room. But for a moment she froze. Red hair… vivid green eyes… that same look struck a deep pang of guilt into her.

Staff Sergeant Pyrrha Nikos…

Avoiding those soft eyes as best as she could, Yang stood and proceeded to walk down the equally featureless hallway, she scanned each room’s number. With a sets of doors on each side it didn’t take her long to find room three. Yet upon reaching it, she stopped once again. Should she really do this? She was Yang Xiao Long… the toughest there was, the strongest will there had ever been and in desperate need of help to hopefully finally give her some peace and sleep at night. Deciding that she would need that help, she raised her fist up to the door and a gave it a gentle knock. Almost immediately a voice echoed from inside.

“You may enter.” The voice seemed almost distant, as if it were saying ‘Oh joy here comes another lost broken soul to try to fix...’ This already wasn’t good, and Yang’s hope had somehow fell even further upon opening the door and seeing the white haired woman sat in a leather wing backed chair. There was a sight of someone professional and arrogant to the world around them. Her very outfit portrayed that. While Yang wore her military uniform consisting of a dark olive drab short knee high dress and uniformed jacket with a leather belt and two breast pockets while one sleeve had been tied up neatly to cover the missing arm. A constant reminder of her ‘service.’ The other woman wore a silver shirtwaist flared dress and had a pair of equally silver cat eye reading glasses.

The woman in question waved her hand in the direction of the spare seat occupying the room, a grey chaise lounge chair. It seemed to the blonde that everything this woman owned must have been a variation of the colour white and that was it.

Cautiously Yang stepped further into the office and took the seat offered to her. She thought about laying down in it, probably what was expected of her. But she was never one to really follow the rules. So instead she sat on the edge and rested her arm across her leg, tightly gripping the hem of her own dress. This wasn’t exactly a situation she wanted to be in, but it was either try for help or spend the rest of her life alone with nobody to talk to and constant nightmares. She knew which one she preferred.

Several moments of silence hung in the dead air as she watched the ivory haired woman in front of her fill out a form every so often checking a box.

‘Great… she’s one of these people. No chatting until she’s finished. Wonderful.’ Yang thought to herself, if this was to be her therapist, then she was going to have a terrible time. What’s worse than actually going to a therapy session, than going to one where the other doesn’t even seem to want to make small talk, to do anything to remove the awkward silences that hung in the air.

All Yang could do was study her features.

The woman was in her mid twenties by the looks of it, her soft expressions however seemed to be locked away behind a seemingly cold and unfeeling face. There was no reassuring smile, no polite nods and not even a hum as she continued her work.

Only the ticking clock in the room let Yang know that time hadn’t stopped and she was still in the realm of the living. She’d come here to talk, to have someone that would listen to her. Not to sit in silence, so the obvious frustrations were beginning to show. It started off firstly as shuffling in the seat, then it transitioned over into a quiet faked cough before finally turning into very audible sighs. Yet still nothing caught the attention of the woman in front of her. Giving off one last sigh, Yang let herself fall back into the chair. If she was going to have to wait, then at least she’d wait comfortably.

“Good, now we can begin.” Came a voice that startled the blonde for a moment. Already she could tell by that tone that this woman was not going to make things easy for her. “You’re name is Miss Yang Xiao Long, correct?” The voice continued, a quick nod from Yang gave her all she needed to know before once again speaking up. “A Sergeant in the US Army, owner of several Military service medals including: The European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, a Medal of Honor and… a Purple Heart. Quite the list of achievements.” If it wasn’t for the attitude she had already heard, Yang was sure that there was a hint of surprise and maybe a little respect while she had read off that list.

But to Yang… those medals weren’t worth a damn thing. Not given the cost…

She never wore them.

They had been locked away in a small lock box and hidden away under her bed back home. She already had one constant reminder, why did she need more?

Yang gave a short scoff.

“Yeah sure. Achievements. Call it that.” She was short and to the point. As much as she knew she needed to be here, her heart didn’t want her to stay and longer than she needed to, because she knew where the other woman’s questions would lead, down a deep and dark path that would bring her most haunted memories to surface.

“Well, let’s start things properly. My name is Weiss Schnee and I’m here to help you through whatever problems you are facing. So… there’s no point in dancing around the inevitable. Let’s start at the beginning, when did you enlist?” The ivory haired woman’s tone had changed, in almost an instant she had gone from cold and calculating, to something Yang had not expected. It could almost be mistake for caring. But the blonde knew better than that. This was just her trying to get her to open up, to get things going. No, she wasn’t caring. This was just her job…

To fix the broken people.

‘She’d need all the patience in the world if she wants to try and fix me’ Yang thought to herself before taking a deep breath. One way or another she’d have to say something. She was here now, no going back after all.

“December 7th 1941, same as pretty much everybody else.” She was telling the truth, but not the whole truth. While most people had enlisted the day Japan attacked, she had tried several times before that date already. She had already heard of the war brewing in Europe and how desperate the good guys had gotten, how they seemed to face an overwhelming evil that was barely being held back. She wished to enlist at that point, as soon as war broke out. For the adventure of it all. That’s what the posters had said. To fight for Uncle Same and do your part. Save the good guys, defeat the bad guys. Overwhelming firepower to kick the Nazi’s asses. Saving the innocent people along the way was a bonus to her. Adventure was what she craved, and adventure was what she got, along with the horrors of war that were never told back home.

“May I ask why you wished to be deployed to the European front, rather than fight here in the Pacific?” the voice was still displaying a warmer tone, but Yang knew better. This was more of an interrogation. To find out what makes her tick, what made her choose this path in life.

“Simple, a big evil threatening to crush the world while the light barely holds on. The Pacific would be easy, we own practically half of it already it’s just a big ocean. But Europe? All those cities, gone. All those people, subjugated. Why sit back and let that happen when you can do something about it? Plus the adventure of it all I guess.” That answer let slip more truth than she wanted. Mentioning saving people? Good, that made her seem more noble. Mentioning that it was for fun? Not as good. But people did that, they fought for fun, to seek thrills. Why was she any different?

“I see. With that over...” Weiss Schnee lay her pad down, finally content with the information she had on hand, and that she had gathered from the blonde laying in front of her. “Please, at your own pace. Recount your story.”

‘Well… Here we go.’ Yang’s final thought echoed in her mind. No escape. Time to relive her own hell.

Chapter Text

December 10th 1941

Three days had passed since war had officially broke out within the States.

“Please… Yang be careful.” That same plea had fallen on her ears hundreds of times already. While Ruby was too young to enlist and Tai had too many duties state side already, that left Yang the only one available to fight in the war. A part of her wanted to ignore what she wanted to do, in favour of staying with her little sister. That was how she lived her life after all. She would always be there for Ruby no matter what. But now, she was needed elsewhere.

“Hey, you know me, I’m hot headed but I’m not an idiot. I’ll be back soon I promise sis.” Yang said placing a reassuring hand on the younger girls shoulder followed by that all too familiar warm smile. A smile that you knew you could trust.

“I just… I worry. You know I’d enlist with you if I could right?” There was the ever optimist Ruby, always ready to dive into action if needed. It was admirable, if a little reckless Yang thought, though truth be told she could hardly say anything. ‘Reckless’ may as well have been her middle name.

“Oh I do sis, you’d always have my back. But this is…” Yang paused for a moment. She wanted to say dangerous. It was war, when wasn’t it dangerous? But she didn’t want Ruby to worry any more than she already was. Her father wouldn’t hear the end of it otherwise. “Just something I’ve got to do. Don’t worry, you haven’t seen the last of me.”

Those last words were in rather bad taste as it turned out.

Because that was the last Ruby had seen of her sister.

The train had finally pulled into the station which signalled that their time was up, off Yang would go to war… to an unfamiliar, dangerous land.

With a final teary goodbye and death like bear hug on both the girls sides, Yang set off.

What felt like hundreds of people littered the train carriages. Peering into the windows Yang could see that most of them looked around her age, roughly nineteen years old if she had to guess. Some were clearly even younger than that, they were just eager kids rushing off to see the wonders of the world.

Eventually after her snooping into compartments she had found hers. Compartment Thirteen. Unfortunately it looked as though she wouldn’t be alone… There were already three other people in there. They seemed like good friends, all chatting away. Before taking a step in, she observed them. One had the brightest red hair she had ever seen and vivid green eyes to match. Another had short orange hair and seemed to be the more… lively of the group. Then finally, a tall man with long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. Judging on sight alone, he looked to be the quiet mysterious one of the three.

‘Well. There’s always worse people to be stuck with on a train I suppose.’ Yang thought before opening the compartment door causing the three to immediately shift their attention to the new arrival. Yang gave the group a wide smile and quick wave, it was always easier to start off with being friendly. You’d make less enemies that way. That was a lesson the blonde had found out the hard way. Trying to come off as this angry ball of fire and rage at anyone who walked towards you was typically not the best way to make friends. Thankfully with Ruby’s help, her later years had fixed that issue. She was known more for her very outgoing attitude and ability to barge into conversations with this infectious giddy attitude.

“Hello, uh this is compartment thirteen right?” She stated deciding that just standing there would get her no where.

“It is, please take a seat.” Came a polite and calm voice from the redhead.

‘Yeah definitely could have been worse.’ That thought flooded Yang’s mind and left just as quickly as she did as she was told and took a seat next to the woman.

“My name is Pyrrha Nikos, pleased to make your acquaintance.” The initial pleasantries and well spoken manner stunned Yang, nobody was this nice without having an ulterior motive… but not this girl. She seemed genuinely… kind. Did she even know what she was getting in to? Did any of them…?

“Pleased to meet you too, that’s a fancy accent you’ve got, where are you from?” Yang asked finding that if she could keep the conversation going then maybe the journey would pass a little quicker than just sitting there in silence as the other three went about their activities.

“Austin, Texas. Born and raised.” The woman said proudly before turning her attention to the other two. “That’s Nora Valkyrie, we’ve been good friends for a long time, another Austin born badass. That’s Lie Ren. Originally from a province in China. However he’s lived in the states for a long time now, raised in Providence on Rhode Island. Now that you know us, what about you Miss…?” Pyrrha finished turning her gaze back to the blonde once more returning a smile.

“Yang Xiao Long. Well… I was born and raised for a few years in Montreal in Canada. But then my family moved down south and into Texas where we’ve been ever since. Was kinda hard to shake my accent though.” Yang answered as she looked to each of them. Even at this close a distance it was almost impossible to decipher whatever emotion was on Lie Ren’s face. But he seemed content and offered a short nod. What wasn’t difficult to decipher was Nora Valkyrie, the girl couldn’t seem to sit still! She was practically bouncing around in her seat, probably one of those people who had far too much energy for their own good. Pyrrha had also been another easy decipher, that smile never seemed to leave her face.

She was in good company it seemed.

“It’s nice to meet you Miss Xiao Long.” Came a soft masculine voice, that wasn’t quite what she expected from the man sat opposite her, or was it? Dark, mysterious and too quiet. Perhaps it was exactly what she was expecting. A soft voice to accompany the persona that surrounded him.

The next response she can safe say she really didn’t see coming.

“You think ya could kill someone with your hair?” That came from the fiery orange haired woman bouncing up and down next to Lie Ren.

“Uh. S-Sorry?” Was all Yang could muster after being taken aback by such an out of place question. The girl seemed to have no patience for getting to know someone. She had all she needed already. A name and a location. Nothing else really seemed to matter.

“Your hair! I mean it goes on and on, reckon ya could do some damage with that!” Nora exclaimed, it was true. Yang’s hair was a precious thing. If you wanted to continue your existence, you didn’t mess with it. So over the years it had grown and grown, her full mane of hair now carrying some weight behind it. Probably enough to hurt someone if it was swung in the right way of course.

“Um, maybe? If you really want to find out, just try and grab a hold.” Yang chuckled and leant forward, tilting her head to the side. ‘Let’s see if she’ll bite...’ the blonde thought to herself. If the glow in the other woman’s eyes was any indication, this was just easy bait!

“Perhaps another time.” Pyrrha chimed in seeing where this was going as Nora stood up to take a step closer to the blonde.

“Pfft. Spoil sport.” Nora replied, sinking back into her seat with a feigned pout and annoyed huff.

These people seemed good, Pyrrha was kind, Nora looked as if there was never going to be a dull moment around her and Lie Ren seemed to be the sensible quiet one, the type of person you’d go to for actual help and advice.

Yang had found that time indeed passed quickly this way, for the most part she simply sat back in her seat and listened into the others conversations, occasionally chipping in with a comment here and there about seemingly mindless things.

The sun was already setting when silence eventually befell the compartment. Nora must have worn herself out with chatter Yang assumed.

That assumption had been confirmed when she saw the woman draping herself over what Yang had also assumed her partner of some sort. Typical, the loud boisterous and over-the-top one and the quiet moody and mysterious one. That seemed oddly familiar to her for some reason…

No, not oddly familiar. Just familiar. She’d been in that situation before, but both of them had agreed to break things off before it got too serious. It was better that way for Yang, to at least have some say in why someone would leave her.

Quickly shaking those thoughts from her mind she turned her attention to her new ‘friends.’ All of them had worked themselves out by the looks of it, Yang was the last one standing.

Considering how she expected this day to go, things had actually turned out pretty well. Part of Yang wanted to keep on talking, to get to know them a little more. To see where they were going, what they had planned before she would most likely never see them again. But she decided against that for now. Just let them rest, perhaps get some rest her self. Which after a few minutes, she found herself getting some much needed sleep.

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December 10th 1948

“These three people you met, they seem like lovely people. Dependable people. Did you ever see them again?” Weiss asked hesitantly. Truth be told, she already knew. She had Yang’s file. Most of the blonde’s events were recorded and given to her upon Yang’s application to see a psychologist. But files and records could only give you one part of the whole story. As painful as she knew it would be, hearing the events from those that survived tended to allow her to help them better.

“Yeah. Those three were my closest friends I suppose. Pyrrha is… was a truly remarkable person. Nora and Ren were two people you could always count on when the chips were down.” Yang said softly. Even the mention of Pyrrha’s name hurt. The guilt over her death and the memory that haunted her every dream. One moment Pyrrha was stood there, ready to pull everyone together and lead them into hell and then straight back out. Then the next… she lay in a pool of her own blood. One bullet was all it took to fell the mighty Pyrrha Nikos. One bullet that should have had Yang’s name on it instead.

“I’m… sorry to hear that. But what about this other woman? This sister of yours?” Weiss spoke back up again, sensing the sudden shift in the blonde’s attitude. The woman had practically started to shrink in on herself.

‘If that’s just what happens at the mention of a name… what happened to you?’ Was the question that ran through Weiss’ mind. Already she could see that the blonde in front of her was going to be far more of a challenge than any of her other patients. But one that she would rise to meet and hopefully, fix.

“Ruby Rose. Half-sister actually. But that doesn’t matter to me. She’s family through and through. There’s nothing that I won’t do for her.” A faint smile found it’s way onto Yang’s face. But that quickly diminished as reality brought her back. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for her, except abandon her completely and let her think that her sister was dead and never coming back. No body. No flag. No box of personal items. She had disappeared from her life…

“Does she know you’re alive?” Came Weiss’ voice, a new subtle harshness seeping in. Yang’s file had everything. Including the fact that she had not returned home. Instead she had moved somewhere completely different and there was no attempt at contacting family members.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Yang shot back with a glare as she sat up. Before Weiss could respond a ringing signalled that their time was up.

“I’m sorry, that is all we have time for today. If you wish to arrange another meeting you can make an appointment with our receptionist.” Within a second the ivory haired woman had shifted from subtle anger to a professional focused on a job.

“Fine. I think that’s all I can take for today.” The blonde sighed before raising to her feet and eventually leaving the room itself. How an hour had already passed confused her, it had only felt like a few minutes ago she had stepped into the room and now she was already leaving. But she couldn’t complain on that part. The psychologists previous comment had particularly ticked her off. How dare she try to chastise her for her actions. She didn’t know… she didn’t have a single clue about what she’d been through. Why she couldn’t go back as a broken mess.

Chapter Text

The walk home was thankfully short, however not entirely uneventful. Despite living on the island for several years at this point, people still gave her a wide berth and glanced her way as the passed by on the streets. While Yang had told herself time and time again that she didn’t care, it was hard to deny the affect it was having on her. Part of her wanted friends again, people to talk to, to go out and have fun with. But that side of her died the same day Pyrrha did. Now only guilt racked her, fear and shame too. A wonderful mix of emotions.

The sun had already started to dip below the horizon by the time she had finally reached her home the blue sky was now tinted a blazing orange with hues of purple that scattered across the ocean before her. A small seaside home, the view was perfect. Calming even. Plus it was far enough away from any other civilian which meant she had time alone. Time alone to be stuck in a prison of her own making.

The house itself could barely be classified as such, one floor with interconnected rooms and a single bedroom. Most of the rooms themselves were devoid of any personal items. It was almost as bad as that therapist’s office. Bland and with no character. But this was her home. Nobody dropped by so why bother decorating?

The shift in temperature as she walked through the door was welcoming, although the distance from the therapist office to her home wasn’t long, the heat baring down on the blonde was almost unbearable at times, she often found herself dreaming of being back in Canada. Perhaps that would have been the better choice she thought. She could deal with the cold easily enough, but excessive heat was a different thing. Placing the keys down on the nearby counter tops in the kitchen she began to search through each cupboard in an attempt to find something worth eating, which was more difficult than it seemed. Canned food upon canned food. Upon returning back to the States she found that all her favourite foods seemed to turn to ash in her mouth. Nothing had taste any more. Everything felt… bland. Steak, turkey, lettuce, carrots. Nothing had taste. She couldn’t even find any suitable replacements for her K-Rations she had been supplied with during her service. Hard biscuits, dry sausages, hard candy and chocolate. Hardly anything sustaining, but it was better than nothing and to be fair, during the colder months later on in the war nobody complained at all. Food was food, if it could sustain you for just one more day then you ate whatever you had.

Sigh in defeat, she closed the cupboard and resigned herself to her normal afternoon activities. Sitting on her ‘living room’ couch and attempting to read the newspaper.

Placing the paper down next to her on the couch she fumbled with the pages, after a few seconds she had finally opened it to its first page.

Boring.

Trivial information.

Memorial services.

Items for sale.

Each page contained about as much useless information as the last to Yang.

That had been her life for the past three years.

Mope around the house and just waste away the day. She had tried so many times to pick herself back up, to move onwards to tell herself that she was not there yet. That things would get better.

But each time had failed her. Instead deciding to slip back into the comfort of her home and continue living out what remained of her life.

After a few more minutes of difficult page turning she had eventually finished reading the paper. She was getting better at it. The whole having only one arm situation and the difficulties it brought, but that didn’t mean anything was as easy as it was before.

‘Look at yourself. You’re useless… You sit here wallowing in your own self pity. Pyrrha wouldn’t do this, she was stronger than you ever were. You’re nothing.’

That thought plagued her every waking moment, and the voice inside her head was right. Pyrrha would accept her situation and push on. Make things right. As much as she hated to admit it… to herself anyway, that voice was right. Yet it didn’t offer her any other alternatives. Any way of moving on. Instead it taunted her.

‘It could be so easy. Just one moment… one bullet. Solve all your problems. Nothing to worry about then, you’d be officially dead then. Not just hiding away like a coward.’

Desperately trying to shake away those intruding thoughts she scanned the room, trying to identify whatever she could, something to ground her again. Three things… All she needed was three things.

But the room lay bare. No paintings. No old photos. No decorative plants. Nothing…

That was her life. Day in and day out.

Trapped with only her thoughts for company.

She really needed someone…

She was twenty six years old and it felt like her life was already at its end.

While she was still annoyed at her therapist’s comments, the blonde understood that she was the only person who would actually listen to her. It was her job sure, but it was human interaction. It was something. She needed a friend if nothing else.

‘Isn’t that just weird though? A patient and a therapist being friends?’ Her thoughts finally managed to drift away to something other than self loathing.

It certainly was a little weird. These things didn’t tend to happen with normal people. But, Yang was far from normal at this point. Plus that therapist looked like she really needed a friend too, a little too overly professional, when someone acted like that, they tended not to have many friends either. Perhaps they were made for each other…

Even though she was barely calmed now, Yang knew that there was nothing else to do. It was getting late already so with that she decided upon trying to get some rest. Although she knew none would come. It never did. Cat napping was more her style for these past three years.

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Flicking through the pages, Weiss scanned every word, paid attention to every single detail in the blonde’s service file. Decorated was definitely something to call the woman. Several medals only attainable by incredible feats of bravery and courage under fire. Weiss had already dealt with several service members returning home from the war, each having their own stories and injuries, things that kept them awake at night. But none really stood out to her like Yang Xiao Long did. There was more under the tough exterior than met the eye. Already Weiss noticed a few things that would only trigger terrible memories.

The first was Staff Sergeant Pyrrha Nikos, she would need to find that file too if possible. Any information would help her deal with Yang. Make it easier to sympathise with her that way. Maybe then she wouldn’t feel as alone.

The second was to do with her family. Judging by the way she reacted upon the subtle ‘suggestion’ of contacting family members, she would have a big problem there too. From the way Yang had told her of the first day of enlisting it seemed like she had a fairly good family life. A loving sister and father, yet no indication of a mother. Strange. Maybe there was something in her file about that? Weiss would have to check another time though. Right now she was a little more interested in the blonde’s sister. This ‘Ruby Rose’ Strange that they did not share the same last name. Again, another thing for her to look into. From what her patient had told her, the two seemed to have a very good relationship, then it struck Weiss.

The promise. The promise to come back.

Yang Xiao Long had broken that promise.

But why? Was the thought that ran laps around Weiss Schnee’s mind.

Too many questions, and right now. Not enough answers. In a way she was thankful for the alarm ringing to signify the end of their meeting, it wasn’t of course that she’d planned it… definitely not. Weiss Schnee had totally not managed to structure their timing based upon what she had read from the Sergeant’s file… No. Well. Maybe a little. It provided her with just enough information to judge the patient, to see the beginning layers of their emotional trauma. Which, if only mentioning names caused issues then Yang Xiao Long had a lot of that trauma buried down. She was going to be a tough one to fix, that much she knew already.

But in another way, she had almost wished that alarm hadn’t gone off. Things were getting interesting. As stated before, no other patient had managed to grip her the way Sergeant Yang Xiao Long had in one quick meeting. There was something captivating about her, the way this rather large and powerful woman carried herself, yet displayed a shyer side too. The woman was clearly nervous upon her entry into the room. Yet she seemed to adjust quick enough once she had finally realised she should lay down. Most of her other patients simply walked in, laid down and talked then left. It wasn’t that they were uninteresting in any way. But they lacked the personality that the blonde had displayed.

Page after page only further intrigued her.

Yang Xiao Long. Her school life had gone well, nothing extraordinary but she was no slouch either. Good grades and other than a few physical altercations there was nothing to comment on. Later years also provided some further information, the woman had worked in the family business. ‘The Fixers’ what Weiss had assumed to be some sort of mechanic work, likely to do with the automotive industry. The woman clearly had a sharp mind then, with a natural knack for handy work. Then came her enlistment. Passed physical training with flying colours, exceptional hand-to-hand combat and worked well with close range weaponry. There were a few more… intriguing parts of her training however. Mainly several physical altercations with a fellow trooper. Some Private Cardin Winchester.

Weiss noted that name on the small notepad next to her, another thing to add to the list. Hopefully that name wouldn’t hurt to bring up Weiss hoped.

Continuing her reading once more she came upon the mission report of December 25th 1944. The “Battle of the Bulge” in the Ardennes Forest, a small corner of Wallonia in Belgium. Yet another thing to add to the list it seemed… while her file had dates and names of places, it rarely contained any useful information about the events. How many soldiers were in one area? How many times were they attacked? What was the strength of the enemy forces? All hidden away from public view. Maybe she could find some other contacts that would give her some insight into that particular battle. Maybe some other service members? A figurative lightbulb moment then appeared.

There were two other names… Nora Valkyrie and Lie Ren… perhaps they were still alive. If only she had some way of finding that out, and then finding them. Or she could just wait until that particular event would come to her attention during the next meeting with the blonde.

Either way would do, but Weiss hated not being prepared. If she knew more than she was letting on, it tended to give her an emotional advantage over her patients. Allow her to sympathise that little bit more with them and hopefully let them feel a little calmer knowing that someone else did seem to care.

While there were several other interesting events in the woman’s file, they would have to be saved until later. The time was getting very late and the sun had already begun to set, it’s faint hues of orange and purple just about lighting the sky. Finally content with her research and further investigation she decided that it was time to return home.

The home in question was fairly large, what else was expected when she had a salary that large? Something fancy to show off to people. The rooms almost resembled that of her office. The walls plastered white but not bland, several paintings scattered across in ‘artistic patterns.’ Different types of plants lay potted on her windowsills, all kept in perfect condition of course.

The problem that came with such a large house however was ever present. It was… lonely. With a difficult family past and no real ‘relationship’ status to brag about the luxury of space and wealth was spent on nobody but herself. Power and wealth meant nothing compared to something far more intimate. A life with someone. A life without loneliness.

But that was her life.

Barely any contact with her own family except the few passing letters sent between her and her elder sister. She had put so much effort into her work and being the best she could that life had seemed to already pass her by at the ripe old age… of twenty three…

Hopefully this new patient would prove to be a useful distraction if nothing else. Simply thinking about the blonde brought what might just be described as a small to her face. There was something deeply captivating about the flowing blonde hair and lilac eyes that clashed so spectacularly.

Yet those thoughts were quickly swept away.

A wave of tiredness swept over her entire body. Despite no extreme or demanding physical exercise, simply talking about emotional troubles was enough to wear her out.

It was strange, when she was younger dealing with people and their problems especially emotional never happened. She ignored them and came off as the ultimate Ice Queen. Cold to the core. Yet over the years as she finally broke free from the name of Schnee and became her own person that persona had diminished. All she wanted now was company. Someone to call her own. If only there was someone like that for her…

Maybe one day.

Chapter Text

“Fuck this cold… we’ve been here for days! With nothing to do but sit in our damn foxholes. Why can’t we be literally anywhere else in the world right now? Hell I’d even take somewhere in the Pacific. At least it’s warm there.” The blonde’s words echoed through the forest. Only a tired grumble came from her squad mate next to her. The cold wasn’t too bad really, but that wasn’t the biggest reason for her annoyance. The waiting. The silent, boring waiting… every day they sat on the outskirts of the town, just hiding in the forests waiting for the next inevitable attack to come. But over the past few days? Nothing. Not even a peep.

Finding that Nora didn’t seem to be in any mood to talk, Yang instead focused her attention back towards the town. Quiet still. Some movement from what she could hear, but nothing to report about. Picking up the pair of binoculars that had been gently covered in a thin layer of snow, she shook it off and proceed to scan the area. The town of Foy was beautiful in its own way, the old stone houses blanketed by snow. If there were no war going on, it was most likely a place she would have loved to visit at some point. That was the case with her time in Europe. The scenery was beautiful, serene and peaceful. Except when the world exploded around her, but aside from that. Beautiful. Maybe after all this was over, she’d return here maybe even settle down here? But right now, she had a war to win.

Her reconnaissance revealed nothing new. Still the same figures clad in grey uniforms wandering the streets.

‘At least they’re warm...’ She thought to herself, knowing that Nora was practically out of it for now. The cold, boredom and… that event had sapped away her normally bubbly attitude. Even from here she could see a plume of white smoke rising from one of the chimneys. Of course they had warm interiors to hide in and fires to keep them warm while she was stuck outside in the mud in snow freezing her ass off just waiting around.

The soft crunches of snow behind her momentarily caught her attention, quickly she reached from her M1 Thompson and turned to face her would-be assailant. Thought thankfully her front lines weren’t already broken and the person in question was none other than her Staff Sergeant, teammate and friend, Pyrrha Nikos. With a soft sigh she returned her weapon to its resting spot now clear of any snow.

“Hey Staff Sergeant.” Yang managed to say through a yawn and the sniffling of her nose, the cold beginning to take its hold on her.

“Hello Sergeant, although Yang. We’ve known each other for a long time now. You can quit with the formalities.” Pyrrha loved to remind that to the blonde. The girl was formal when the time called for it, but honestly it got a little annoying after a while, having to constantly remind her to call her ‘Pyrrha’, rather than ‘Staff Sergeant.’

“Yeah… right. Sorry. I’ve got nothing to report. Same old same old really. I don’t suppose you’ve got any blankets or hot food hidden in those pouches right?” Yang said, a little more relaxed now that Pyrrha was around, and reminded her for the umpteenth time that they were friends.

“Unfortunately I don’t have any pouches that go on infinitely so that’s a no I’m afraid. How’s Nora doing?” The redhead whispered as she crouched down. She got her answer when no no answer actually came. The girl was sleeping by the looks of it, a rare sight to see indeed. “I see...” She finished, content with her question being answered in a weird way.

“Do you know how much longer we’re gonna be stuck here Pyrrha? Any word on when help is coming?” Despite her stoic nature and natural ability to be unfazed by any horror of war, that question had a distinct underlying uneasy tone. The cracks were finally beginning to show. Although Yang would try her best to never let that happen. She was the firecracker of the group. Always trying her best to keep the others in a good mood. But as the years dragged by, that façade had become more and more difficult to maintain.

War, was in fact… hell. Even the toughest of spirits could be broken given time.

“I… I’m not sure. But they’ll be here soon I know that much They won’t leave us out here high and dry. Backup is coming, we just need to be here when it arrives.” The Staff Sergeant had a strange way of turning even the worst news into something a bit more positive. Yang had her question answered, but not fully or the way she actually wanted. Help would come. Some day. Just not today. Nor tomorrow. Neither the day after that. But one day soon… one day soon it would arrive. If any of them were still around that was…

With a deep sigh Yang sat back down into her foxhole, with barely enough room to spare between Nora and her, the hole in the ground wasn’t exactly comfy or gracious in its lack of personal space. Not that Yang entirely minded of course, Nora was her teammate and friend, someone she’d been fighting alongside since their enlistment. From the North of Africa, to the shores of Sicily, then back to England for the ‘top secret’ landings of Normandy to lead the charge into mainland Europe. Nothing so far had stopped them, and the engines of war only strengthened their bond. Sharing a foxhole was nothing. The lack of any real personal space, was nothing. The truth be told, Yang was just happy it would do something to impede the flight of a bullet aimed at her.

“How are you doing Yang?” Came Pyrrha’s voice once more, that all too familiar tone of concern laced with warmth and honesty. Staff Sergeant Pyrrha seemed almost made for war, a destiny to fight and fight and never surrender. Nothing could harm her, no physical pain stopped her and no emotional pain held her back. Destined to win the war all by herself…

“I’m doing fine. Just a bit cold is all.” Yang’s reply was short and quick. If that didn’t just give away the truth. She was a horrible liar after all. She wore her heart on her sleeve and it had betrayed her stoic and bubbly attitude several times over.

“I know that isn’t true, so come on. What’s wrong?” Pyrrha asked, placing a comforting hand over the blonde’s shoulder and giving it a slight squeeze. Yang considered herself lucky, there weren’t many other officers out there who would go as far as Pyrrha did when it came to the welfare of their troops. Pyrrha was the type of person to help shoulder your burdens, to carry them if need be. She was always there to help. This time was no different.

Knowing that her superior wouldn’t leave until she had the truth, Yang gave another sigh and let her shoulders slump.

“I left about three years ago now. I’ve got a little sister, and I know what she’s like. The second she’s old enough, she’ll enlist and try her best to find me. Back then I didn’t have to worry so much, we had time. Time to get this whole thing over and done with. I thought we’d only fight for like maybe a year or so? But this has gone on for a lot longer than I would have hoped… which means Ruby is at that age where she can enlist. I’m not gonna be there to protect her, she’s smart, and brave. But bravery can only go so far before it turns you into a reckless idiot. I guess I’m just… afraid.” Admitting that was hard to do, she had tried to dance around that feeling for as long as she could. But with Pyrrha’s unwavering commitment to her friends, eventually it would come out. She was afraid. Not just like seeing a particularly nasty bug or of talking in front of a room of people. This was a far worse fear. All her life, Yang had been there to protect her little sister. Now however… she’d have nobody. Of course Ruby would try her best to find her sister, but it was a hopeless dream. In a war that stretched the whole world, finding one person was nigh impossible, even then trying to get to the same unit and the same squad was never going to happen. So Ruby would be there… alone. Somewhere in the world doing God knows what and fighting in some godforsaken hell hole. If she wasn’t already dead…

That very thought plagued her for every waking moment.

She’d made so many promises over her life time. The biggest was to protect Ruby from harm, to keep her safe throughout her life. She had no idea what she’d do if she had broke that promise.

What she’d say to her father…

“I’m sure she’s fine Yang, from what you’ve told me over the years. She’s a smart girl, she knows to keep her head down when the time comes. You’ll see her again, I promise.” Once more Pyrrha’s words somehow managed to instil some sort of courage in her, a sense of stillness. Like things might turn out okay.

“Maybe, you know the thing about Ruby is-” Before she could finish that sentence a thundering cacophony echoed over the open field.

Not long after did the trees explode open violently, large splinters scattered at high velocity in every direction. It was enough to shake Nora awake, that and the fact that her Staff Sergeant had just thrown herself into the already overcrowded foxhole.

This was the worst part for all of them. Where there was nothing you could do but cower in a hole and pray to whatever Gods existed out there that you got lucky, that a shell did not have your name on it, or any splinters of wood too. In fact, if anything had your name on it you really didn’t want to find yourself on the receiving end of it.

The barrage lasted for several minutes, a few shells landing near her foxhole and the following shock waves punching her guts to pieces.

Then silence.

Total silence.

Just like that, a cacophony of explosions and thundering cracks. Then nothing.

That however, never lasted too long. Artillery fire was dangerous, unlike a bullet, the shell didn’t have to hit you. It just had to get close enough. Isaac Newton that son of a bitch, speedy thing goes up, speedy thing comes down… or in this case, large calibre pressure sensitive high explosive shells go up… It always found a target.

Screams always followed the silence.

Through the mist and snow fall it was impossible to figure out who the sound was coming from or even where it was coming from.

All she could do was sit and wait. At the drop of a pin another bombardment could strike again. As much as she wanted to leap out of the foxhole, to run over and help. She knew better than that. Whoever the poor bastard was, he’d have to wait. Yang hoped that there was someone closer already tending to him though. A few whispered shouts gave her that hope. Someone was helping… good.

“You two, stay here. I’m going to check on the rest of the team. Stay. Down. You understand?” Pyrrha barked out, her gaze turning to something fierce. Her combat demeanour.

Two quick nods was what she received before disappearing off into the mist and snow.

One minute passed.

Two minutes.

Five…

Ten…

Yet silence still permeated the air.

Then Yang felt warm.

A gentle breeze washing over her.

Lilac eyes shot open and immediately her form had shot up from her resting position.

Those eyes surveyed her surroundings. Walls. Windows. Roof. Bedroom… she was in her home.

It took a few shaking breaths to eventually steady herself.

‘Damn it, that same fucking dream...’

It was hardly one of her worst, but even those simple moments tore at her. Just... the quiet moments with her friends. She desperately wanted those back.

Looking at the pocket watch that lay on her dresser provided her with the time.

2:33 AM.

Great, a new record.

2 hours of sleep…

Sighing, she lay back down. She knew that no more sleep would come. But it was better to at least be comfy she supposed.

Her left hand shook with the tremors that always accompanied her dreams. Yet she could do nothing to stop it, no steadying hand to offer assistance. She’d have to endure it alone. Just like she always had.

She was alone.

Chapter Text

“This dream? You’ve had it for how long now Miss Long?”

“Since I returned home, so about three years now.” Yang responded, she didn’t exactly want to return, but she couldn’t do this alone forever. There were people to help her, people to listen at the least. She wouldn’t have to suffer alone. Not any more. Her therapist was trying to be kind and offer a sort of warming tone but the very looks of the woman conveyed someone who appeared cold and uncaring deep down. Literally anyone else in the world would have been a better choice for Yang, but she was stuck with her for now.

“I see, forgive me for saying this. But that dream… things seem to go well for a while. Why does it seem to bother you? Combat Stress is a perfectly normal thing, the explosions can trigger some unpleasant feelings. But I feel as if that is not the reason for your dream to return so often. I think there is something else about it. Would you care to inform me of that reason?” Weiss asked hesitantly. She needed the information if the process of fixing the blonde was to go ahead, as painful as the memories were they needed to be addressed.

Taking a deep breath Yang realised that the ivory haired woman was right.

The barrages and constant explosions did have an effect on her, any loud noises would startle her, but it wasn’t the reason for her dream.

It was Nora Valkyrie.

That was the last few moments she would share with the woman. In a foxhole, in the snow in the middle of a god damn forest in the middle of nowhere.

A perfect grave…

One she had been asking for a while at that point. The loss of her partner mere months prior had left the woman broken. A shattered person who had lost so much, the death of her partner during the landings on D-Day proved too much. Yet she continued fighting on. Until that fateful day.

“It’s not the explosions. You’re right about that. It startles me, but it’s not the entire reason.” Yang replied quietly.

‘Great, let’s open up another wound shall we? This’ll be fun.’

Weiss said nothing, but offered a nod instead. She was allowing the blonde to take this at her own pace, traumatic memories could do far more damage if they were brought up in a too hurried way.

‘Now or never coward. You’ve seen people come in here, they could do this easily. What’s stopping you?’

“Shut up.” Came Yang’s harsh but hushed voice.

“I’m sorry Miss Long?” Weiss replied, the blonde’s voice hadn’t been as hushed as she would have liked and of course her therapist would have picked up on it. She was just sat there in silence, waiting for Yang to continue.

“Nothing, sorry.” That was hardly the best lie she could tell.

“The reason for that dream… It was… It was my friend. Nora Valkyrie.”

In an instant the figurative lightbulb appeared over Weiss’ head.

Nora Valkyrie.

One of her squad mates!

Perhaps Yang would let something slip, about where the girl could be now. Any further help would be perfect, any other contacts would-

“She died that day. Seconds after Pyrrha went to check on everyone else the Germans began their assault. We were all stretched out too thin along the front lines. Nora and I were about a few hundred meters away from any other team. One machine gun and a sub-machine gun to hold off the waves that approached us.”

The blonde’s voice had become a shell of its normal self. The shaking in her retelling of the story showed only fear.

Plus there had gone Weiss’ only lead to get any further information. She’d just have to rely upon Yang Xiao Long now…

“I’m sorry, that sounds terrible.” Was all that Weiss could offer at the moment. It was a lot to take in all of a sudden. But why hadn’t the death of one of her teammates been mentioned in the file?

“Yeah, worst day of my life actually. That same day I lost another friend and my arm. Both of those because of my own stupidity.” This time her tone changed to something far more harsh, one filled with self doubt and anger directed only towards herself.

“We can talk about this another time if you’d like? We don’t have to delve into the deep end already. We can build up to it.”

That shocked Yang for a few moments. Shrinks were supposed to go right for the trauma right? Take things head on and bring up the worst moment of their lives. But this woman, this seemingly cold appearing woman wanted this to be taken slowly? At her own pace? There had to be some ulterior motive right? She was searching for something. She had to be. Maybe trying to dig up whatever other trauma she had.

‘Look at you, pathetic. You can’t even see when you’re being offered help without assuming that they want something in return. You don’t deserve her. You’re nothing.’

“Xiao Long? Can you hear me?” That voice snapped her back into reality. The woman had lowered her pen and pad and looked into her very soul with icy blue eyes that strangely conveyed nothing but concern.

“Yeah sorry, I uh. Spaced out for a moment there. Comfy chairs!” Yang joked trying to push back the thoughts that clawed at the back of her mind. Hoping that her therapist wouldn’t notice anything off about her.

That ‘joke’ had only earned her a short glare and subsequent eye roll.

“Of course, you haven’t answered my question though. Would you prefer to take this at your own pace? Go back to the beginning, I believe last time we spoke you were on a train to your training ground correct?” Despite not receiving an answer, Weiss had already assumed that taking things slowly would be what the blonde would want and as such, that statement had left the other woman an open opportunity to take. Weiss remembered exactly where their last conversation had left off. But this way allowed her to give Yang Xiao Long a chance.

It worked.

With a slow nod and a deep breath the blonde spoke back up.

“Yeah with Pyrrha Nikos, Lie Ren and Nora Valkyrie.”

-----------------------------------------

December 10th 1941 7:43 PM.

By the time the train had finally reached its destination the sun had already begun to set. Several long and arduous hours of doing nothing but sitting still on a train had left her legs numb yet every movement also ached.

At least she wasn’t alone however. Her new ‘friends’ would be there with her. At least for basic training anyway. There was no hope that beyond these next few weeks they would still be together. Or even on the same continent. But she still had her own hope that they would stay together. Making friends wasn’t a challenge for the rather boisterous over the top blonde, but keeping these three would be a lot easier than making new ones.

The place looked almost run down, a little worrying considering it was a military base…

Already there were several groups marching around the base.

Only now did things fully catch up to the blonde.

She was going to war…

There was a serious risk of dying out there…

Yet strangely only now did it strike her.

Her and the rest of the new arrivals were standing around awkwardly, there seemed to be nobody around to tell them what to do.

That was until a very strange man approached them all.

At first he said nothing, just simply scanned each of them intently. His gaze fell upon Yang and she felt her blood freeze. But fortunately his gaze then passed just as quickly to another hopeful promising soon-to-be soldier.

“I’m sure you’re all tired. It’s been a long trip after all. I shall show you to your barracks where you shall spend the night. Tomorrow morning your training will begin. It will not be easy. Take the time now to rest and be prepared for tomorrow’s activities.” The man finally spoke before turning quickly and marching towards another run down building on the base. Everyone else followed quickly, however less elegantly. Just a mass of bodies oddly shifting in a seemingly aimless direction.

It wasn’t long before they were all ‘settled’ into their barracks. The bunks were hardly comfortable and the cold wind blowing in through the gaps in between the wood panels and broken windows certainly didn’t help. But Yang supposed this was all just part of a test. A way to see how long it would take for the more easily breakable people, to well. Break. Being so uncomfortable and cold was the easiest way to weed out weakest of the groups. At least, that’s what Yang thought anyway. It made sense, you weren’t going to be staying in fancy hotels when you’re out on the battlefield. You’d be lucky if there were any houses left standing really.

The bunks themselves were covered in the same olive drab that the mysterious solider outside had worn. Army green. Wonderful. The only thing audible over her own thoughts was the grumbling of several other new recruits. One individual in particular caught her attention. A tall man with burnt orange hair, surrounded by three other people, his ‘friends’ probably. Already he acted like he owned the place, searching each bunk to find the one in best condition before claiming it as his own. Just by sight alone, Yang knew that he was going to be a problem. He wouldn’t be one to back down from a single nights uncomfortable rest. So she’d more than likely have to deal with him throughout boot camp. Another wonderful thing to add to her list then…

“Soooooo… bunk mates huh? Dibs on these two for Ren and I!” Nora proclaimed before dragging the poor man straight to one of the beds.

That left only Yang and Pyrrha.

“I guess, these are our two then? You a top or bottom?” Pyrrha said softly motioning her hand over to the spare bunk next to Ren and Nora’s.

“I’m sorry?” Yang said, admittedly her mind had taken that sentence a little… further than she would have liked.

“Top bunk or bottom bunk? Which would you prefer?” Pyrrha clarified without missing a beat.

‘Oh. Bunks. Riiiight.’

Clearing her throat Yang spoke once more.

“Bottom, I won’t roll off the bed in the night that way. Or if I do, it won’t hurt as much.” She joked, thankful that her mind had been put back on its right path.

She really couldn’t afford to think like that now that she was enlisting after all.

Placing her things in the short foot locker at the end of the bed she surveyed the room again. Most of these people wouldn’t last a week if she had to guess. Pyrrha and her friends she had faith in. They looked strong, possessed a heart strong enough to carry them through difficult times and seemed to work well together. They were the lucky ones, Yang however… She was less than lucky. She had nobody else here to rely on here. She had made friends with Pyrrha and her group, but were they ‘friends’ with her? Would they mind if she tagged along with them, joined the close knit circle? Only time would tell.

For now, she would have to make do.

Have to make do with a terrible night ahead and more than likely, a terrible and painful day tomorrow judging by what that man had said. ‘It will not be easy.’ That thought ran laps around her head as she lay down on the bottom bunk trying to get whatever semblance of rest she could before the sun rose. Of course it wouldn’t be easy, joining the military wasn’t going to be a cake walk for anyone, even the toughest of people.

But how hard could it really be?

By the same time tomorrow when she was back in her bunk, Yang Xiao Long would know...

Chapter Text

As it turned out, training had been hell.

Normally, Yang could handle the physical exercise, it was nothing to her. But normally she would have been allowed to take breaks. Have a moment to recharge before continuing on again.

Not here however.

Every morning at the crack of dawn the peace and serenity of a quiet barracks was immediately shattered.

Their new instructor, Captain Ozpin was not a man to take things slowly or even let the new recruits rest. A few hours of sleep was all they could manage before being awoken abruptly and forced out for the three mile run. Well. Three miles forward, then three miles back. There was no truck waiting at the end to give them a ride back to the camp. Add to that, the blistering heat, lack of any drinking water and various other physical exercises during the rest of the day made the whole experience very exhausting. But Yang counted herself lucky, at least she could take this gruelling punishment day in and day out. The other recruits however… well it would be impossible to have not noticed the now several empty bunks back in their barracks.

They had been washed out.

Only the best of the best could survive, and Yang was determined to be the best. No matter the cost.

All she had to do was make it through boot camp. Just a few more weeks…

Out of all the rigorous exercises that she was forced to do, there was only one that truly unnerved her.

The live fire exercise.

Crawling through a few meters of mud with barbed wire overhead while someone with a machine gun fired over their head. Something about training them to keep their heads down under fire. As it turns out, more of a thing done out of reflex rather than being trained for. Bullets kill, everyone knows that. But some times bravery gets the best of people and they tend to forget that. There had already been one case of that bravery so far during her time here. One man who seemed to not care about the danger, who simply crawled through and for some damn reason lifted his head just enough to try and look back to strike up a conversation with someone behind her. The next moment his body hit the mud and a splash of crimson scattered over the blonde’s face as the gunfire came to a cease and personnel ran over to the body.

That look would never leave her.

Yet it wouldn’t be the first or the last time that a single look would haunt her memories.

Despite that moment, she carried on. Best of the best. She needed to be that. Any show of weakness and she would be washed out, never to return.

Fortunately for her the rest of the physical training exercises were easy enough. Hand to hand combat being her personal favourite. There was just something about being that physical with someone that sparked a fire within her. However, that didn’t mean it was easy. Especially when she was paired up with the likes of Pyrrha and eventually Nora. Pyrrha was good, she gave Yang a run for her money. But Nora? The girl was short but built like a damn house! Each day one would triumph over the other, currently their score was settled at an even 50/50, just as many wins and loses when it came to disarming the other.

Aside form that, the rest of her ‘free time’ was spent maintaining her weapon in the barracks. Which as it turned out, was pretty easy. Yang knew weapons like the back of her hand, back when she was younger her father would take her hunting and keeping your weapon in good condition with so many varying weather conditions was essential. Taking things apart, fixing and cleaning them? All like a second nature to her.

Which was more than could be said of some of her other enlistees…

Cardin being the most obvious.

That ‘man’ was beyond annoying. His numerous attempts at flirting and trying to fraternise with her pushed her to an edge on several occasions. But that was never enough to warrant punching the man’s lights out.

But the way he treated other people AND got away with it? It was disgraceful. Something had to be done…

“So, I’m thinking. You take this apart, clean it and put it back together and maybe I’ll go a little easier on you tomorrow.”

Just hearing his voice across the barracks sent waves of anger through her body. That stuck up, pompous lazy, no good asshole!

It was to no surprise that she saw him picking on another enlistee once again. Give someone the slightest amount of power and they abuse it. Cardin Winchester seemed to be no different.

Deciding that enough was enough, she lay her newly reformed and serviced M1 Garand on her bed and made her way over to him. Another thing that was of no surprise to her, was the he was surrounded by his goons. Three other ‘boys’ desperately trying to act cool and gain favour with Cardin so he might not pick on them too.

“Hey asshat, why don’t you pick on somebody your own size?” Yang yelled as she made her way across the barracks causing all attention in the room to be shifted to her.

Once she reached Cardin he said nothing, just simply ran his eyes over her figure. The man was definitely a creep and he seemed to have something for a woman in uniform.

“You know, maybe not somebody my own size. But two things my own size.” He trawled out and gave a spine chilling wink.

Oh he’s dead...

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that, now back the fuck off or I’ll break something.” Yang was straight to the point with Cardin. He had seen her physique during training, if she wanted to. She could break any bone in his body. But today was the day he thought he’d take his chances.

“Oh you’re into rough stuff huh? I can make that work.”

Yep. He’s a dead man.

“Yang… just let it go.” Pyrrha’s words and footsteps echoed through the room and a deathly silence followed soon after.

“Ooo, a friend too? Think she’ll enjoy some time together?”

That’s it...

Before anyone else could utter a single word, a fist connected to Cardin’s left cheek throwing him off of the bed he was sat on and right to the hard wood floor.

At that moment you could hear a pin drop.

It took a few seconds for Cardin to regain his senses, but the sharp stinging pain in his cheek brought them back soon enough. Already his cheek had begun to swell up and turn a deep shade of red and purple.

Wow, I really hit him hard didn’t I…?

Before she could fully inspect the damage she had done, a body came flying at her direction.

Cardin’s body to be exact.

If the man was lacking in anything, and he was lacking in a lot. Strength was definitely not one of them. Within a second her whole body had been flung to the floor, her head being the first thing to take the blunt impact. Already she could feel that after all of this was done, that would hurt like hell. But right now her focus was on the man atop of her, with fire in his eyes. As quickly as she could, she raised her arms to cover her head, blocking any attempted blows at her face. It worked for the most part. But she couldn’t block everything, the force and speed of each attack eventually took its toll and her guard broke. One sharp crack later something was definitely wrong. That particular punch had landed right on her nose, if the taste of iron on her lips was any indication. Her nose was broken…

Pyrrha having noticed this immediately tried to step in, but before she could do anything the doors at the end of the barracks flew open, a loud thud echoed as they impacted the walls in a very not gentle manner.

That seemed to stop the fight immediately. Cardin shot up and off of the bleeding blonde now adorning the floor.

Can this day… get any… worse…?

“Private Xiao Long.”

Ah fuck.

Raising her head up took a bit of effort and the light suddenly becoming almost unbearable didn’t help either.

“That’s my name, don’t wear it out.”

You. Are… a colossal moron Xiao Long.

“Both you and Private Pyrrha Nikos are to report to Captain Ozpin immediately, this altercation will be dealt with by him. On your feet.”

Judging by what she could see of their uniform, they were Military Police. Somebody had done the sensible thing and ran to get someone before things got out of hand. Unfortunately, Yang’s quick to anger attitude and Cardin’s quick to infuriate attitude didn’t allow that to happen.

Eventually and slowly the blonde managed to pick herself up off the floor, the sudden rush of movement only sent her mind spinning.

But one thought did manage to stay still in her head. Why was Pyrrha being called too? She hadn’t done anything. Then it clicked. Cardin had a powerful family and a powerful family had money. That’s how he was able to avoid anything happening to him Yang finally realised. Bribes… a few dollars here and there to turn a blind eye. So much for Democracy and a fair system!

Tilting her head back she tried to stem the blood flowing from her nose, to no avail. Maybe she could grab something to at least block the flow before she left.

However that was wishful thinking, pretty much as soon as she was able to stand up straight for a few seconds both Pyrrha and her were escorted out of the barracks.

Managing to look back for a few seconds Yang saw Cardin once again surrounded by his cronies and giving her an all too familiar ‘friendly gesture’ with one finger.

Great, it’s been a few days and you’ve already got a broken nose. Way to go Yang! You’re really out doing yourself.

It didn’t take long before the two girls were shown into what looked like vastly more suitable quarters, Captain Ozpin’s most likely. Photos of what must have been home and family decorated the wall. One also seemed to be of a wedding. A typewriter sat on the desk with several piles of paper already stacked high beside it. The man seemed to be nothing if not busy all the time, yet not busy enough to practically torture the entire unit with painful exercises.

However the Captain was nowhere to be seen. While the two MPs waited outside the door it gave the both Pyrrha and Yang some time to speak.

“Yang, why couldn’t you just let it go? He’s not going to stop harassing you now, you know that right?” Pyrrha said softly as she looked over at the blonde. Her head tilted backwards in a desperate attempt to stem the gentle flow of blood coursing down her face and pinching her nose, the slight grunts of pain coming from Yang only further solidifying her belief that it was broken in some way.

Opening one eye she looked at Pyrrha.

“Yeah well, he needed to be stopped. He just pushes people around and fights when he can’t get it handed to him. Y’know he’s reminds me of my ex in a way, only she used to hit me with stringed instruments. If only I had known about her history of violins.” She said with possibly the largest grin Pyrrha had ever seen forming across her face.

That blond was unbelievable...

“Are you being serious? Right now Yang? Right now?”

Waiting for Captain Ozpin would feel like an eternity if she was stuck with a blonde bombshell and awful puns.