Hey there, here's the new romance story to replace Stress Relief, which – if you haven't checked out – is well worth the read. I know many rebelled against the pairing, but give it a go if you haven't – you might find yourself surprised.

Anyway, this is a different pairing and one I haven't really done before, even if I like the idea of it. Some may recall this story as having come from the Writer Games with College Fool, but I assure you the actual story will be very different from what I came up with in just fifteen minutes. So don't be afraid that you'll be spoilered. Everything can be different.

Warnings abound for mature themes, though certainly not as many as Stress Relief.

Beta: College Fool

Chapter 1

Yang knew better than to look for love in a bar. Or a club, as it were. Tired, bruised and covered in dust, the only thing Yang wanted was a place to sit down and have a drink. She wasn't in the mood for flirting, dancing or any other crap. The bouncer seemed to realise that as she approached, shuffling his feet nervously at the sight of her weapons deployed. Or maybe it was the clear signs of a fight that clung to her skin, the way she scowled or just the look in her eye. He could take his pick, since she looked a mess. Felt it too.

"We don't want any trouble," the man said, not daring to stand in her way as she passed through the neon doorway of what was apparently the Golden Oyster. Well over six feet tall and dressed in a black suit, he looked like he wanted to say or do something but knew full well how it would turn out.

"I'm not here for any," Yang said, knowing it wouldn't do much for his confidence but feeling a little pity regardless. Maybe he believed her, maybe he didn't. It wasn't any concern of hers and actions spoke louder than words anyway. She sighed as she heard him whisper something into a communications device on his shoulder, no doubt passing her details around the club.

Whatever… let them watch her if they wanted, she just needed somewhere to sit down. Her dad would have her head when she got back, especially if Ruby tattled on her like she thought her little sis would. Yang loved Ruby, she really did, but come on... Two days before Beacon and here she was, causing a fight in downtown Vale and then being caught out by her fifteen year old sister, who had no good reason to be wandering around after dark. Yang figured if she was going to be grounded either way, then she might as well get a drink out of it. Give her old man time to settle down a little too. He was like her, with a temper that burned hot and cooled off quickly. It would just be an argument if she went home now. At least Ruby's fear of getting on Bumblebee with her had worked to her advantage, her little sis having gone home on her own.

The Golden Oyster was typical enough, she supposed, with a large open bar on the first floor, tables assorted along the walls. Loud music blared down from a staircase leading higher, and in any other situation she might have checked out the dance floor first. Instead she limped over to the bar, pulling herself up onto one of the stools and flopping her arms down atop the marble surface. At least it was a classy-looking place, with swanky strobe lighting and hundreds of colourful bottles lining the back wall.

Yang caught her reflection in the mirror behind them, wincing lightly. She looked like crap. The little scuffle at Junior's had gone her way, but that didn't mean she'd come out unscathed. Her hair was fine, and wasn't the asshole lucky for that, but her face had grime and soot dotted across it. With a sigh she snatched a napkin over the bar, rubbing herself down.

"Hey there," someone said as they settled into the seat to her left. Yang groaned into the napkin without even looking. "Not seen you around here. You new to Vale?"

"No. And I don't need someone to show me around either."

"Don't be like that," the guy laughed. Yang brought the napkin down to look at him, eyes roving up and down briefly. He was decent-enough looking, maybe even handsome if you liked your guys confident bordering on arrogant. Messy, brown hair, bright white teeth and blue eyes. Any other girl might have been flattered at the attention.

Yang wasn't any other girl.

"Do you think I'm an easy pick up because I look like this?" Yang asked, making the guy freeze. "Or maybe because I look young, like I don't know what I'm doing?" She nodded over to a bunch of other guys, watching with curious expressions. "I can see your friends over there egging you on. Well guess what, not interested."

"Playing hard to get?" He leaned forward as Yang fought the urge to sigh, "You know what they say? Feisty at the bar, feisty in be-"

"Girl said no." A surly voice grunted from behind the bar. Yang blinked as she looked away from the guy trying to chat her up, and towards an overweight man, easily fifty or more years old with an expression sour enough to curdle milk. "Piss off and leave her be or I'll have ye escorted out." Her paramour looked like he might argue for a second before thinking better of it and pushing away from the bar. He shot a scowl her way, downing his drink and storming off like he had every right to be offended. Yang rolled her eyes.

"Thanks for the save old man," she grinned lopsidedly.

"Horse piss," he scoffed, somehow capable of making the words sound like he was choking on them. "I can see what ye are missy, last thing I need is to scoop an entitled twat off the floor because he didn't take a hint from a Huntress."

"I'm not here to start trouble," Yang sighed once more, taking a guess that this guy was the owner of the place. "I just want to sit down, have a drink and relax."

"I can see that. By the look of ye, looks like you've had some trouble already."

"Which is why I just want a drink," she said. "Just a strawberry sunrise or two and I'll call it quits and leave without causing a fuss."

"Sounds good to me." Geez, he wasn't even going to pretend he didn't want her the hell out of his place, was he? The old man turned to a figure further down the bar, cupping his hands and shouting, "Oi, Jaune! Get over here and make the girl a sunrise." Yang winced at the volume right by her ear.

"You're standing next to her," the young man who approached sighed, "not to mention the ingredients are here as well."

"If I wanted to make cocktails myself then I wouldn't be paying ye now, would I? Get to it, ass-features."

The blond guy rolled his eyes towards Yang, making her giggle a little. Despite the words, there didn't seem to be any enmity behind it and it was clear the two had worked alongside one another for a while. The waiter was a blonde like her, though the shade wasn't as golden as her own. He had blue eyes and a fairly easy-going expression. He was alright-looking, she supposed. The main thing was that he didn't look at her breasts as he served up the cocktail, nor did he try and make some crappy flirt or witticism as he pushed it across the bar.

"I want an umbrella," she said. The waiter chuckled and popped two in, raising a single eyebrow in challenge. Yang grinned. "Well what do you know; the service here is already better than at Junior's."

"Junior?" the young man whispered, and it was the way the two simultaneously looked at one another that made Yang tense up. Great... she'd just gotten her drink and a place to take a god damned break, the last thing she needed was to hear this place was affiliated with the guy whose club she had torn to pieces. "You don't look like one of Junior's girls."

"She ain't," the old man grunted, and was that a trick of her eye – or did he look a little pleased? "I heard there was a commotion over at the Club. You cause that missy?"

"Might have," Yang hedged, taking a quick drink before they could snatch it away. Strawberry sunrises were alcoholic, though the content was very small, enough that she could have a few and still drive home. The heavy strawberry flavour soothed her muscles. "In my defence though, the asshole totally deserved it."

"I'll bet he did," the owner laughed – and it was that which let Yang finally relax. "Shit girl, the drink's on the house!"

"Yay," Yang cheered tiredly, raising it with a little smile of thanks. About time her luck started actually picking up for a change. She wasn't going to say no to a freebie. "I didn't think beating someone up was going to get me free drinks, but I won't argue."

"A free drink," the man clarified, making her snort lightly. His face lit up a second later, however, which was a bit of a nasty thing to witness. He looked like he wasn't built for smiling, and it made the wrinkles on his face stretch like chasms across his skin. "The guy's a piece of work anyway, runs a club but deals on the shady side too. His goons keep coming round here demanding protection money. We look after our own and haven't had much trouble, but a few of the help have been roughed up once or twice on the way home."

Yang glanced towards the blond teen at that, but he looked completely fine.

"Not Jaune," the man grinned. "He's got training an' aura, can look after himself. Kid's going to Beacon in a few days."

"Kid's right behind you," Jaune said, making Yang giggle again. "Kid's calling it here for the night too, since he has to get ready for Beacon. Can crotchety old man handle without kid's help?"

"Insolent brat," he cuffed the side of the young man's head with a burly fist. "Get out of here then. You'll get your cheque in the mail when I can be arsed to send it. You doin' any part-time while you're there?"

"Might as well," the blond shrugged and pulled his apron off, laying it somewhere under the bar. "I'll send you my timetable when I get it. Nice meeting you," the blond aimed the last comment towards her, nodding lightly as he pushed his way through a staff-only door.

"You too," Yang blinked, knowing he hadn't heard her. She'd thought to mention that she was heading to Beacon too, but the practised and fast-paced banter between the two had distracted her. Well, it was a nice change to see a guy who didn't treat her like a piece of meat for a change. Plus he made a good sunrise. Maybe she'd hit him up at Beacon, see if he could get her any cheap drinks as an employee discount.

"Stupid brats," the man growled, leaning down across the bar from her with what she was starting to assume was his trademark surly expression. "Anyway, where was I?"

"Telling me how you were going to let me have loads of free drinks for smashing up Junior's bar," Yang joked, wriggling her eyebrows for good measure.

The overweight man dropped the glass he was holding. Yang winced as it smashed against the ground.

"You…" he paused for breath, "trashed his whole bar?"

Okay, she needed to have a word with her mouth because it kept spouting stuff it shouldn't. Yang was just about to explain herself, as well as assure him that she wasn't going to repeat the performance, but before she could the old man reared back, whooping in joy. The other waiters seemed to stare at him in shock, along with a good portion of the clientele. She hadn't broken him, had she?

"Free drinks?" he laughed, "Sod that! Wait there," he disappeared under the bar, rummaging around as Yang peered over the top. He came back a few seconds later, pushing something across the surface. Yang took it gingerly, looking down at the little package made of expensive black card. There was a golden-embossed image of an oyster over a black background, and when she opened it up she saw a little badge in the shape of the same thing.

"A... badge?" Yang asked, picking it out and looking at it. Again, a golden oyster to fit the club's motif. It was nice enough, she guessed, though not something she'd ever actually choose to wear.

"A VIP badge," the old man grinned, making Yang almost drop it in shock. "That little beauty will get you free access, free drinks and queue jumps at the Oyster for life."

"F-F-Free?" Yang stammered, suddenly worried she might drop it. She'd heard about these kinds of things, though she'd never seen any. There were always rumours in Signal, of cooler kids who somehow had access to any club they wanted and could do what they want. Inevitably those had always proven false, nothing more than arrogant boasts or urban legends.

Or so she'd assumed.

"Isn't this a bit much though?" Yang asked, part of her telling herself to shut up, the other struggling with her morals. Summer had always raised her to be honest, and this didn't seem like something she really deserved. The other part of her, the part raised by Taiyang and especially Qrow, said she should immediately staple it to her own forehead. Summer won out. She always did. "This is too generous."

"Pah," he actually spat to the side, making a poor waiter dodge, "no such thing. That bastard's been a thorn in my side for years and this is going to set him back hard. What's more, if he learns how you're a regular here, he'll think twice before sending any of his clowns over. You'd be doing me a favour accepting it."

Well if he put it like that... It wouldn't be right to accept this out of hand, but if she was technically helping them, then surely no one could say this wasn't deserved. Yang could already imagine Summer frowning at her, but hey – a girl had to have a little fun, right?

"Thanks old man," Yang chirped happily, pinning it to her top.

"Call me Reg," he grunted.

"That short for anything?"

"No." That answer was a little too quick, a little too automatic. Yang grinned and filed it away but decided not to ruin her current good mood. "Anyway, if ye want to get some peace I'd advise one of the VIP rooms. Rush hour's about t' start here and if you're gonna be at the bar you'll get more like the dipshit from earlier."

"Thanks for the advice," Yang said, standing from her seat with glass in hand. True to his words she could make out a few more people wandering in, one or two guys even looking her way. She thought about downing what was left and leaving, but it seemed a waste not to have a little look around, especially if this was going to become her new favourite place in Vale – and it totally was. "See you around Reggie."

"Reg!" he growled, shaking a fist as she skipped away.

Yang sighed as she pushed past yet another person that tried to catch her eye. She pretended not to notice it, which was far easier than turning someone down face to face. The old man had definitely been right about the crowds. The second floor dance floor was heaving, loud music blaring out over a large circular area with strobe lighting above. She'd given up fifteen minutes into it. Normally she loved that kind of atmosphere, but her muscles were still a little pained after the fight. With a fond look back she made a note to come back another time to dance, before heading down a dark corridor, drink in hand.

She scoffed as she passed a little booth where a young couple seemed to be performing a deep exploration of each other's tonsils. She'd seen her fair share of that too, which wasn't exactly unusual at the clubs she frequented.

Oh she'd never taken part herself, though not for any great reason. The simple fact was that most people tended to look at her body rather than her. Yang had long been considered the biggest catch in Signal, which wasn't exactly what she wanted to be. The nice guys were too cowed to approach her, while the bullies, arrogant ones and popular kids had all tried their luck once or twice. Some had only given up after she beat it into them.

Not my fault, Yang scowled as she studiously ignored another couple with their foreheads pressed lovingly together, Maybe if there had actually been any guys who could look me in the face for ten seconds I'd have given them a chance. But no, hormones and the early onset of puberty had killed that faster than the male friendships she'd once cherished.

Whatever. It wasn't like it really mattered. Her mother and father had gotten together through being Hunters. Even her original mother had too, which meant there were plenty of opportunities for her to meet someone later on in life. Preferably someone who could actually respect her for being herself, and not for how big her tits were.

Yang's thought process came to a halt as reached a cordoned off area, with red ribbons across a curtained door with a burly man stood outside. A few middle-aged women chatted to one another as they approached, pausing to let the man check their names off some clipboard. The Golden Oyster seemed like the kind of club that catered to all ages, since she'd seen adults as well as teenagers on the dance floor. The bouncer pulled the curtain back with one hand, letting the two enter.

That must be one of the VIP rooms, Yang realised, glancing down at the golden badge on her left breast. She hadn't really been keen on the idea when the old man brought it up, but now that she knew just how tired she was, it seemed a better choice. Either way, it couldn't hurt to check it out.

"Reserved bookings only," the man at the curtain said, in a voice that suggested he'd been stuck turning away curious teens all night. Yang flashed the badge at him, and for a moment his eyes seemed to widen. "Ah, my apologies miss. Please enjoy yourself, the show will start soon."

"Thanks," Yang giggled, feeling a little giddy at the way he held the curtain back as though she were royalty. A girl could get used to this sort of treatment. The room she entered was different from the rest of the club. For one, the walls seemed to be sound-proofed, cutting off much of the noise of distant music. There were two long bars down one wall, but they were just about empty and instead waiters and waitresses came and went, bringing the drinks to people sat at small tables.

Those were low too; more glass coffee tables rather than dining ones. Plush couches and sofas surrounded them, each table sitting four to six with ease, while some in the corners were for smaller groups. The seats looked to be much comfier than the rest of the club too, with rich satin cushions arranged on them.

Someone bumped into her from behind, an older woman making a cattish comment as Yang staggered ahead. A few others looked at her as she passed, and Yang could see jealousy mixed with disdain in their expressions. Clearly they thought her a lost teenager who had snuck in or something, and to a degree they were right.

But she'd be damned if she let them make her feel like that. So instead of letting it affect her, she plastered a wide smile on her face, sauntering forwards and choosing an empty table for herself. The seats were as comfortable as they looked, the cushions giving way beneath her as some soft pillows flexed under her arms. Yang sighed blissfully as her exhausted muscles were finally allowed to rest.

"Would the young madam like a drink?" a feminine voice asked, a pretty-looking waitress smiling down at her.

"Strawberry sunrise," Yang smiled back, flashing her badge and getting a wide-eyed look in return. The waitress recovered quickly, promising to be back soon with her order. Yang let her head fall back, cool, air-conditioned air wafting across her. "Okay… officially now, this is the life."

Sure her dad was going to blow a gasket when she got home, but there was no way in hell she regretted trashing Junior's bar now. And once Beacon started she could come here on the weekends too, maybe even bring some friends when she made some. And when Ruby came of age she could bring her too, with a keen eye to make sure her little sis could get used to alcohol without making a fool of herself.

Better to show Ruby the ropes so she didn't get into trouble experimenting on her own, that had been Qrow's excuse when he got Yang so drunk she threw up into her dad's arms on her seventeenth. Sure it hadn't saved Qrow from what had been an epic beating by her dad, but it had saved Yang when it came to drinking with friends, since she knew her limit and how to pace herself.

A different waitress brought her drink back, though she never asked for payment so Yang assumed the message had been passed on. The drink wasn't as good as the one the guy from earlier had made, but it was still a damn sight better than what she was used to. So with drink in hand and smile on her face, Yang allowed herself to relax, blissfully ignoring the jealous looks she received. It didn't even occur to her to wonder why the VIP area was filled with women, or what the low stage taking up almost a third of the room was for.

But as the lights dimmed, Yang's eyes opened, catching the sounds of whispered conversation coming to a close. She looked around the room, noticing that most of the waiters and waitresses were now aligned along the back wall and out of the way. Yang looked back towards the front of the room, where she noticed a slightly raised platform before a velvet curtain. Now that she thought of it, the guy outside had mentioned entertainment. A band or singer perhaps, or some kind of comedy act?

The man who strode out didn't look like either. He was tall with a shaved head and a roguish smile, walking forward to stand before them in tight denim jeans and a white shirt that showed off his muscled physique. He was pretty handsome, actually, though not really her type. She preferred guys with hair, but even she could appreciate him as the kind of guy who didn't have to work too hard to pick up a girl. Yang raised the glass to her lips, taking a long sip as she wondered what it was he planned to do.

She nearly choked on it when he tore his shirt off in one furious motion, sending buttons spraying left and right as he bore his muscles to them all. Any attempts to breathe were quickly sabotaged by the way sensual music kicked in, the man starting to sway from side to side, raising his arms as women cheered.

Yang Xiao-Long was not a prude. Maybe she was a virgin but she'd kissed a few guys before and watched some videos with her friends on a dare. She knew how the bees and the birds worked and had even walked in on a friend having sex once – much to her humiliation at the time. She'd seen naked bodies, mostly in online videos and pictures. The guy before her didn't have anything she hadn't seen before, at least in one form or another.

But she'd never been to a strip-show before, and with how bright red her cheeks went, it had to show. The man strutted across the stage, slamming his feet down so that he stood with his muscled back to them, thumbs dipping into the waist band of his jeans, tight rear straining against the fabric as though it might burst free at any moment. It took her a second to realise that was the point, and that it would break free any moment now. Oh hell, oh bloody hell – she was sat in the middle of a striptease and the guy on stage was about to get completely naked and start dancing around.

Hell no. Yang didn't stand up. That would have suggested some interim motion between the state of sitting down and being on her feet. No, she flew up, as though her life depended on her immediate exit from the embarrassing situation.

Every set of eyes in the room locked onto her.

The man on the stage recovered quickly, smiling and continuing to dance and drawing some attention back to him like the professional he was. But from the other women in the room there was no such mercy. They sneered and smirked, no doubt understanding the situation and enjoying her humiliation. Yang bit her lower lip angrily. Was she going to run away and prove to these arrogant girls how much of a child she was?

"Another drink," Yang called boldly, hand held up before she settled back down into the plush couch, crossing one leg over the other. She let her arms splay out across the cushions, looking as at home and unconcerned as she could. Oh gods someone please help me. She was not quite so calm on the inside.

A fight, a Grimm attack – Junior smashing through the wall with his stupid-ass rocket launcher, thermos thing. At this point she'd even take her father having sprinted all the way to Vale to ground her right then and there. Just so long as she had a reason to escape.

No such miracle occurred. And Yang was forced to smile and accept her drink as she watched the man slowly divest himself of clothing, one piece at a time. Somehow the fact that she had called him handsome before made it all the worse. So instead she busied herself in pointing out his flaws, little things that could help to distract her from how good he was at his job – and he was good, that was clear from the way the other ladies clapped and cheered.

He was overly muscled for one. To a normal person he probably looked buff, but she was used to lithe and powerful figures of Hunters, which meant that burly muscles and rippling biceps weren't all that much use. Her uncle could probably bench this guy ten times, and that thought made her cringe because it inevitably made her imagine Uncle Qrow stripping on the stage instead.

And now I need to bleach my brain, Yang sighed. Well at least she'd mastered the art of thinking unsexy thoughts. Two minutes became three, and slipped into six or so, as the man's dancing slowly started to come to a close. Yang had begun to relax too, mainly because she couldn't keep up feeling embarrassed for so long. After almost ten minutes or so she had just gotten used to it. Yep, the situation was humiliating but oh well she was in it now, and no one would have to know.

It wasn't like she'd ever mention it again, and she'd just avoid this room like the freaking plague the next time she came to the Oyster. Maybe punch Reggie in the face when she saw him.

Regardless, Yang clapped politely along with everyone else as the man bowed and collected his scattered clothing. She firmly kept her eyes away from his rather generously-sized… well… she focused on his face, is what she meant to say. He didn't seem bothered by his nakedness, so Yang didn't see why she ought to either. Naturally her bright red cheeks didn't agree, but they'd get over it. Either way, he'd done a good job and she felt he deserved the applause, if only for having to put up with the other women's hungry looks.

And here she'd thought it was only men who looked at the opposite sex like that.

The noise and applause died down once the man had disappeared behind the curtains entirely, yet the lights did not come back on once more. Yang made to stand up, using the excuse of the end of the show to run while she had the chance, but the music came back on before she could. With a frustrated pout, Yang sat back down.

Fine, one more and then she was done. Surely no one could accuse her of cowardice if she had stayed for two shows.

The man who came forth from the curtains was better than the last to her eyes, and probably to everyone else's as well, if the frenzied cheers were any indication. Probably a local favourite or something, Yang winced as the words main course slipped into her mind. Sheesh, even her brain was starting to think dirty thoughts.

He was as tall as the last, but this one had a head full of wild hair that fell across his face. It was a dark red, with golden highlights running through it that made her think of yellow leaves falling through an autumn forest. His most discerning attribute were his eyes, if only because the sapphire orbs glinted out from behind a black, velvet mask that covered the top half of his face, from the bridge of his nose to his eyebrows. His limbs were less muscled too, though definitely in a good way. He was slim but not at all flimsy, stalking to the front of the stage like some kind of powerful animal.

Let's see what you've got to offer bozo, Yang frowned and crossed her arms, leaning back once more. Having gotten through the first act, she was fairly sure he didn't have anything to offer than she hadn't seen before. Mr Mask's shirt was a rich red and shimmered with satin, while he wore tight, black dress trousers with black shoes. He looked smart, like the kind of guy you might see in an up-market restaurant. Only his age gave him away, because he couldn't have been more than two years older than her. In all truth, dressed like that, he looked a little pretentious.

The music picked up, changing into something altogether slower, with a deep beat she could feel through the floor beneath her feet. With a quick smile and a flick of his head, the man moved.

She couldn't describe it any better than that. Even calling it moving did his motions a disservice. Perhaps he swayed, but that suggested a lack of control, of which this man was in full grasp of. It was more like he glided, floating across the stage as he tightened and relaxed individual muscles to create a rippling pattern she could see through the back of his shirt. A few women began to catcall and whistle, but Yang simply frowned. So he could move… he'd have to do better than that.

Almost as though hearing her thoughts, his eyes seemed to flash over to her. Yang's breath caught for a moment, but of course those sapphire orbs moved on – she cursed herself for thinking otherwise, and for freezing in the first place. He ran his hands slowly up his sides, fingers dragging the shirt higher, just enough to show his toned abs as the hem rode tantalisingly higher. He gripped his own shoulders with tight fingers, his lips quirking into a sinful smile filled with dark promise. Yang crossed her legs a little tighter.

What was he doing? It wasn't like the last guy and he hadn't even taken anything off yet. She had thought the audience might become impatient but he seemed to have them in the palm of his hand as he danced upon the stage. Not for him the dancing of other people though, with random trusting and flailing. Each step was measured and controlled. His foot slammed down, making her jump, before she realised he was moving in time to the music itself, heels striking wood on the notes. It felt like it was in time to her heart beat too.

He didn't tear off his shirt. He didn't give into them like that. Instead, he reached up one hand to ever-so-slowly tug open a single button. Yang's breath caught as he teased them, her nails clenched tightly on the soft cushion by her side. His skin was taut and muscled, the power within them as clear as day. It wasn't a bulky or muscled body, but lithe and taut… the physique of a Hunter.

No wonder he caught her attention so. No wonder he seemed so dangerous. She sipped of her strawberry sunrise, trying to distract herself as his fingers delved within the confines of his satin shirt. Her body jumped a second later, however, as the man pulled down and popped a button from his clothing with an audible snap. His smile said it was on purpose, the way he looked at her teased that he knew how she'd reacted. But of course his eyes didn't notice her. It wasn't her he was teasing – but rather, every single person there. "Take it off," someone rasped hungrily. Yang flushed when she realised it was her own treacherous mouth that had dared whisper those words. No one heard her. Hell, no one would have paid attention to her anyway, not with him on stage.

It was with mortified horror that Yang realised just how hot she was. Too warm and penned in on every side, her breath came out in harsh gasps as her toes curled in her boots. He ran his hands down his bare skin, her own tingled - as though she could imagine them doing the same to him. The couch she was sat on was so long and luxurious that she could just imagine being pushed down into it, as-

No, no, no! Yang shook her head, she was not thinking about this – definitely not like that and to someone like him! She looked back, determined to be unconcerned, only to nearly choke as she saw him tease the top button of his black trousers apart. She could just make out from between his fingers, silk boxers – no doubt the same colour as his gorgeous hair. Her skin was flushed, her breasts rising and falling as she realised just how heavily she was panting. A sheen of sweat shimmered on her brow, and to her embarrassment Yang noticed how her legs had been rubbing together.

No one turned to look as Yang flew to her feet. They were too enraptured by the sight before them, as she had been. But that was fine. His eyes met hers across the sea of faces – and this time there could be no mistake, for his eyes were fixed unto her and her alone. That sapphire gaze threatened to tear down her defences, it made her question whether she'd stood up to leave – or to move closer and dance with the man before her. The mere thought of it made her body shiver, and not in fear.

Yang knew better than to look for love in a bar. But even if she hadn't, she would have known better than to be attracted to someone like him. So she downed her drink, wishing it were strong enough to drive away her treacherous desires.

He watched her as she left. She could feel his eyes, burning a hole into the back of her. But she was already gone, face like fire as she pushed her way out into the bitter cold air outside. She had to get home, get home and then to Beacon. Then she could get on with forgetting about all of this.

And especially about masked men that made her feel things she shouldn't!

"Brilliant as usual," the twenty-seven (or so she claimed) year old woman complimented him as he stepped back behind the curtains, listening to the raucous applause outside. "I believe if we told them you were leaving there would be a riot."

"I'm not leaving yet," Jaune sighed, nodding his head in thanks as she handed him a fresh pair of pants and a shirt. Not a single man or woman looked at his naked body, there were as many others wandering around backstage in various states of undress. It didn't bother him, nor did his bother any of them. "I still need the money so I'll be working part-time, at least until I graduate from Beacon."

"You'll always have a place here," the woman smiled, reaching up to his face. "May I?"

"Thanks Nina," Jaune sighed, letting the woman touch her fingers to his hair. The familiar ripple of her semblance washed over him, as the crimson shade faded away, revealing his natural blonde locks once more. She pulled his mask away too, her fingers trailing down over his face. "You're a lifesaver, as usual."

Nina giggled. It was a musical sound she'd perfected over her time there. They all had such little tricks they'd picked up over the years, their unique points that made them special or desirable. It had become a part of her now, and he doubted she even remembered what she used to sound like. That was the way of things, in most cases. The industry swallowed you, made you into something different.

"I saw your little runaway during the show," she smirked at him from between her fingers, green eyes twinkling with mirth. "Methinks you made quite the impression on the poor girl."

"Don't I always?" He finally fixed the last two buttons on the shirt, tucking it into his blue jeans. With a quick tug to make sure they were secure, Jaune slapped a hand against her bare arm and smiled. "Anyway, I've got to go for serious this time. I need to pack and make sure all my paperwork's in order. Look after yourself, okay?"

"Bye Jaune," Nina waved, as other girls turned away from mirrors, topless and in bras, to wave and wish him well. Brian clapped his shoulder too, naked from the waist up as another woman rubbed sparkling glitter into his chest. Jaune laughed as he looked back on it all, the hazy scent of smoke and alcohol thick on the air. Entertainers, strippers and dancers rushed back and forth, doors connecting to various VIP rooms opening and closing. It wasn't like he was leaving for good, not quite yet, but it was a taster of what might come in but a few years' time.

When he could put this life behind him.

And that's the first chapter. This story will be a pure romance, which does mean that while there may be battles and such, they will not necessarily be the focus. So for those who often say things like `this is RWBY, where are the Grimm and weapons?` Well, this may not be the fic for you.

Hope you all enjoyed, please feel free to leave any thoughts in a review. My update schedule for this is dictated by my patron support - which currently means a chapter of this every 14 days, every second Monday.

Next Chapter: 26th September

P a treon . com (slash) Coeur