Origins of a Criminal
 
The earliest, chronologically speaking, piece of the Life of Crime AU. 

Summary:

A sixteen year old Yang Xiao-Long looks down at her father’s gun and decides to do whatever it takes to keep food on the table. LifeofCrime AU.



Yang sighed as she counted the money for the fourth time.

 

No matter how she looked at it, they were screwed. Even with what little Uncle Qrow could spare, and all the cash from her own job, they barely had enough to pay the bills for the month.

 

Seemed like food was gonna be kind’ve scarce for a while…

 

“Dammit.” She let her head thump against her chair.

 

When mom and dad had died earlier that year, she’d tried to look on the bright sides. She’d managed to convince the government that she was not only capable of taking care of herself, but her sister as well. Mom and dad had left them the house, so it wasn’t like they’d be homeless, things like that.

 

She hadn’t realized then how much work it was all going to be. Paying bills, keeping food on the table, being there for Ruby….

 

She had no idea how mom and dad had done it.

 

Mom (Summer Rose, a little voice said in the back of her head. She quashed it without another thought.) had been a detective for years, always at the beck and call of her superiors, and she’d still been there for them far more than Yang felt she was able to do for Ruby.

 

Dad had been much the same, even though he had been ‘just’ a regular patrolman.

 

All she had to do was work a part-time job and take care of Ruby, and she could barely do that. Most nights she found herself just plunking down in front of the tv and drifting off, and Ruby had taken up the household chores she’d started neglecting.

 

She was just so tired. All the time. Tired of working at a gas station, tired of customers and her boss leering at her, tired of spending every day wondering if she’d make enough that month to get by.

 

Ad here she was,  a couple hundred dollars short of being able to live comfortably for the month, with no way to make it.

 

Wait.

 

She eyed the endtable by the door out of the corner of her eye.

 

Mom had always kept her service pistol there, ever since Ruby was old enough to be taught to shoot.

 

Dad, on the other hand, had kept his in his dresser.

 

She bit her lip as she considered her plan, then shook her head. No matter what misgivings she might have, this was probably the best way to make the money. She could sell one, and keep the other for emergencies, and the memories.

 

A little voice asked what she’d do next month, but she pushed it to the back of her mind.

 

She gathered up her resolve, grabbed dad’s pistol, and set off on the short walk towards the pawn shop.

 

/

 

“Only Fifty dollars? Are you serious?!” She hissed.

 

To his credit, the old man looked quite apologetic. “I’m sorry, but it’s really just another gun. I can’t sell it for much, so I can’t really afford to give you much for it.”

 

Yang bit her lip. “But… fifty dollars?”

 

He nodded.

 

For a moment, she wanted to say yes. Just go along with it, get that much closer to being able to afford food.

 

But then a devious thought strikes her.

 

She has three spare boxes of ammunition at the house.

 

She knows how to use the gun.

 

She knows how cops investigate things, and knows the response times in the city.

 

She could easily put this gun to a better use…all she needs is a plan and a target.

 

/

 

For the next week, she spends most of her time thinking about how she’ll pull off the crime.

 

She chooses her target carefully; a small jewelry store on the way to her job. For the last week, it’s had a help wanted sign in the front window, asking for those with experience as security guards. A quick look inside showed her that they were running ragged, and only had one guard employed at the moment.

 

She could handle one guard.

 

It was also less than two minutes away from the subway, by foot. Response times in that neighborhood were about six minutes or so, if she remembered it right, and it even had a nice, dark alley which she could duck into to change clothes.

 

It was perfect.

 

/

 

On the day the robbery took place, she woke Ruby up with a special breakfast, paid for with the reckless self-assertion that she’d either be able to afford it by the end of the day, or be dead. Or possibly imprisoned.

 

Still, despite the tight ball of anxiety she had in her stomach when she realized it could be the last time she saw her, Ruby’s face lighting up when she handed her a plate piled high with eggs, bacon, and chocolate-chip pancakes was worth it.

 

She only wished she’d been able to find good strawberries, but it was too late in the year for that.

 

Still, she made sure Ruby had a great breakfast, and gave her a huge hug before she left.

 

She even told her she loved her for what felt like the first time in years, and Ruby had replied with the same as she headed out the door on her way to school.

 

She watched her back until the younger girl faded from vision, then started preparing.

 

/

 

Yang looked at herself in the mirror, satisfied with her 'disguise.’

 

She’d used the last of her mom’s foundation to make her face much paler than it normally was and clever application of eyeshadow gave the appearance of bags under her eyes.

 

She was wearing baggy jeans over a pair of cycling shorts, and after spending half an hour trying to do something to her hair to make it less immediately recognizable, decided to stuff it all down the back of a baggy hoody she wore over her tanktop and throw the hood over her head.

 

It took some doing, but she managed to make it look somewhat natural.

 

The hood had the added benefit of casting shadow over her eyes, making their color look more ambiguous.

 

All in all, the baggy clothes hid her figure, and covered up all the easily recognizable aspects of her appearance. If Ruby had come back for something, even she would’ve had trouble recognizing her.

 

According to the plan, after she robbed the place she’d take off into the alley, strip off her outer layer and throw the clothes into the purse she was gonna put the money in. Then she’d put that in a little gymbag she had folded up inside one of the hoodie’s pockets, and just like that she’d turn from a random thug to a cute blonde on her way back from the gym.

 

She sent the stranger in the mirror a cocky smile, and started loading her dad’s gun.

 

She was hoping she wouldn’t have to hurt anyone, but she knew better than to attempt a robbery with an empty gun.

 

When she was sure the gun was ready, she made sure the safety was on and tucked it into her waistband, then set off walking towards her target.

 

/

 

Yang walks confidently into the store, eying the lone guard.

 

She suppresses hysterical laughter when she sees him nodding off at his post.

 

Smiling, she goes to wait in line, planning on pulling her weapon when she’s close to the clerk, in order to prevent a silent alarm.

 

The store’s fairly crowded, maybe fifteen people milling about, and she knows that she’ll either have to do this quietly, do this quickly, or intimidate all of them, and she’s not entirely sure how she’d pull that off.

 

The queue moves slowly, and by the time she’s third in line she’s starting to have second thoughts.

 

After all, there’s got to be a safer way to get the money, right? She has Ruby to look after, and shes only sixteen, and oh, she doesn’t want to die!

 

She’s eying the exit, and so she sees the three figures walk through the door, and her eyes widen.

 

One of them is ridiculously tall, with short, spiked up hair red enough to look like a bad dye-job. He’s wearing a bandanna over his face, and that’s Yang’s first clue that these three might not be there to buy Christmas presents.

 

The second is the shotgun he’s holding in one hand, as he gestures to the others with his free hand.

 

The other guy isn’t as tall, but he’s much buffer. Yang’s immediate impression is that he’s somewhat forgettable, but still not a guy to cross. He looks mean, like he’s more used to kicking puppies than petting them. He’s carrying a machine gun of some kind, judging by the ammo belt coming out the side that he’s slung over his shoulder.

 

The third person however, catches her eye. She’s the most breathtakingly gorgeous girl Yang’s ever seen, with amazingly soft-looking black hair, a figure to rival her own, and the most striking eyes Yang’d ever seen.

 

It’s the eyes she focuses on, all golden and enchanting and looking for all the world like she could just get lost in them, and she almost doesn’t notice the gun in her hand flying up because of it.

 

Yang drops to the ground as Beautiful fires a couple shots into the ceiling, Big Ugly yelling for everyone to get on the ground.

 

Everyone obeys without much fuss, the screams ending abruptly when he fires towards the security guard, leaving him dying on the ground. Beautiful shoot him a look, but keeps her mouth shut.

 

Dye-Job strides forward then, walking up to the clerk and dropping a bookbag on the counter. Yang’s too far away to hear what he says, but the clerk nods and starts emptying the registers, visibly shaking as she does.

 

Yang bites her lip and curses her luck as she notices just how much money she’s putting into the bag, cursing her luck.  Out of all the stores in the city, they just had to pick this one.

 

A crazy fantasy strikes her then, of shooting the robbers and taking the money herself, but she knows deep down that even if she somehow managed to outshoot all three of them, her escape plan is blown. Big Ugly’s gun was way louder than her own, after all. Surely someone had heard and called the cops by now.

 

The clerk hands Dye-Job the bag, and he raises his gun.

 

She barely has time to widen her eyes before he fires.

 

Yang resists the urge to retch, instead watching as Beautiful steps forward, hissing at him.

 

“What the hell, Adam? Why’d you kill her?”

 

Dye-Job shrugs. “We can’t leave witnesses, Blake.” He nods at Big Ugly, and the goon points his gun at a whimpering old man. Beautiful jerks her gun up, speaking through gritted teeth.

“I can’t let you do this. There’s no reason to kill them!”

 

Dye-Job turns and raises his gun at her, and Yang moves, pulling out her own pistol and firing a shot at him.

 

It hits him in the throat, and he goes down as blood spurts from him. Big Ugly fires off a volley of shots, but Beautiful dives to the side, firing off a shot of her own as she does.

 

It catches him in the side, and dark, nearly black blood starts oozing out almost immediately.

 

He falls to his knees, and Yang ignores him, walking over to where Dye-Job fell and grabbing the bookbag of cash, trying to ignore the blood pooling around the man as she slings it over her shoulder.

 

She nearly pitches forward, but manages to catch herself. “Geez, money is fucking heavy…”

 

Dye-Job suddenly sits up, pointing his gun at her and she squeezes her eyes shut, waiting for death.

 

It doesn’t come, the harsh boom of the shotgun refusing to make an appearance and instead being replaced by the much more subdued pop of a handgun.

 

Something splatters against her, and she blocks the thought from her mind, craning her head up before she opens her eyes.

 

Beautiful is standing in front of her, looking pale but still managing to cut an imposing figure as she glares into her eyes, pointing the gun at her.

 

She doesn’t raise her gun, and Beautiful seems to deflate, putting away her own and grabbing her by the arm. “Come on, we have to get out of here. We-I have a getaway driver outside.”

 

She allows herself o be lead away from Dye-Job’s corpse, and pulled into a sedan that’s waiting outside.

 

Inside is a girl with brown hair that Yang vaguely registers as older than her and cute as a button, but her thoughts are occupied by the spurt of red that had come out of Dye-Job when she’d fired, and how quick he’d fallen.

 

Brown hair’s eyes open wide when he sees Beautiful.

 

Yang can sympathize.

 

“What happened?”

 

Beautiful shakes her head, and motions towards Yang. “Don’t worry about it. The guys didn’t make it, we’re going to her house.”

 

Yang wanted to protest, to say that she couldn’t let some random criminal in her mom’s house, but it struck her that she’d killed a man today, and she was profiting from his death.

 

So instead, she leaned forward and started giving the girl directions.

 

/

 

When they pulled into the driveway, Beautiful bit her lip. “Hey, Velv? How much?”

 

Brown hair eyed her for a minute. “Adam said five hundred. And he didn’t ay anything about her, you know.”

 

Beautiful sighed, then turned to Yang. “Give her a thousand. Velv, you might wanna lay low for a while, okay?”

 

Brown hair looked like she was going to say something, but just shook her head and sighed. “I never saw you, okay? I took off when the cops showed up. Got it?”

 

Beautiful nodded. “Thanks.”

 

Yang swallowed as she counted out the money in the bag. It was a haphazard mix of hundreds, fifties, and twenties, and she had no idea how much was in there, only that it was far more than she’d expected.

 

She counted out ten hundreds, and passed them to Brown hair, who smiled at her. “Thanks. Stay safe, you two.”

 

They got out, and she drove off.

 

Beautiful turned to her, biting her lip. “Well, uh… should we go inside and split the money?”

 

Yang nodded, and opened the door, leading them into the living room. She tossed the backpack onto the couch, and pulled out her gun, pointing it at Beautiful.

 

To her credit, she didn’t even blink, just taking out her own and setting it down on the table. “Better?”

 

Yang nodded and set her own pistol down. “One sec.”

 

She pulled off the hoodie and stripped out of the jeans, sighing in relief at getting out of the hot clothing.

 

Seeing Beautiful’s eyes widen was nice, too.

 

She stretched her arms behind her, popping her back and giving her a chance to see Beautiful blush.

 

“Hey there.” She blew her a quick kiss. “I’m Yang. Nice to meet you.”

 

She plopped down on the couch and started pulling out the money, laying it on the coffee table and humming to herself. After a moment, Beautiful joined her.

 

/

 

Yang whistled. “Thirty thousand dollars. Holy shit.” She let out a manic chuckle. “I wont have to worry about rent, or food, or… anything!”

 

“Fifteen thousand.” Beautiful pointed out. “And a couple hundred over that.”

 

Yang nodded. “Well, yeah. But still, that’s more than I make in a year.”

 

“Hm.” Beautiful nodded, then sighed. “I’m gonna have to buy a new apartment with my half. Adam’s mail was being sent to mine, so they’ll search it.”

 

Yang bit her lip. “Adam… he’s the one with.. or, who had the dye-job, right?”

 

Beautiful blinked. “No, that was his natural color. Speaking of which…” She sighed. “Thank you. For… taking care of him. And saving me.”

 

Yang bit her lip. “Well, you didn’t k- shoot me, so I’d say that was thanks enough.” She gave a weak chuckle.

 

Beautiful nodded. “Still, scared me a bit when you pulled that gun. Thought you were a cop. You handled yourself pretty well, y'know.” She looked Yang up and down, a calculating look in her eye. “Who do you run with? Or, y'know. For.”

 

Yang scratched the back of her head. “Actually, that was my fir-only. Only time. I’ve never done anything like that before, I just wanted to get enough to feed me and my sister.”

 

Beautiful raised an eyebrow. “Really? Your first job…”

 

“Only job.” Yang repeated.  

 

Beautiful nodded, a far-off look on her face. “Right, right… so, where are you gonna stash the money? And the evidence?”

 

Yang blinked, a hand coming up to play with her hair. “I… uh..”

 

Beautiful nodded, a small smile on her face. “Here, let’s go find a good place.”

 

/

 

Yang watched with roaming eyes as Beautiful pulled up a floor board in the basement, and smiled. “Yeah, this’ll work. Not too damp, and inconspicuous enough. You’re going to want to hide your weapons down here, and any money that would seem odd for you to have. Usually anything more than a couple hundred. Okay?”

 

Yang nodded, her eyes wide. “Yeah, I got it.”

 

Beautiful smiled at her. “Good. Now, if you’re done staring, mind grabbing the bag and tossing it to me?”

 

Yang obliged, slipping a couple hundreds and a few twenties out and putting the the pistol into the bag first. Beautiful pushed it into the hiding space, then replaced the board and stretched.

 

They headed back upstairs, Beautiful giving her a rundown on how not to get caught after the fact in the process.

 

/

 

“-and most importantly, aside from not bragging about it like an idiot,” Beautiful said as she plopped down on the couch, Yang vaguely noting that she seemed far too comfortable in her home. “Is making sure that you don’t go around buying stuff above your means. No big purchases, or anything like that.”

 

Yang nodded. “Got it.”

 

“Now,” she continued. “Later on you’ll probably find a way of laundering money, and you’ll be able to get away with more, but you should still be careful. Trust me, finding new safehouses is an ordeal.”

 

She sighed then, looking up at the clock. “Speaking of which… I’d better go. Have to try and find somewhere to lay my head tonight, then find a new apartment… and then a new crew.” She sighed, looking broken and beaten and Yang tried to resist, because she knew the kicked puppy act well, was used to that kind of stuff from Ruby.

 

Still, seeing it from a girl who had probably saved her life earlier…

 

She sighed inwardly.

 

“Do you want to stay here for a while? No one will think to look for you here.”

 

Beautiful gave her a wide smile then, her expression clearly saying that she was unused to this kind of kindness. “Thank you, that would be wonderful.” She reached out and took Yang’s hand in hers. “I’ll make sure to buy my own food, and pay half of the bills.”

 

Yang gave a halfhearted glare, which the smaller girl responded to with a roguish grin. “I meant for a few days, not as a roommate…. but it would help me explain to Ruby how I’m covering rent…” She sighed. “Fine, but no leading the cops here, okay? I really don’t need anyone asking questions.”

 

Beautiful smiled then, a genuine smile. “Thank you. And I won’t be pulling any jobs for a while, not until I can smooth things over with Velvet and get back in, or find a new crew. Doing stuff on your own is dangerous.”

 

She sits back on the couch for a moment, a sly grin coming across her features. “Of course, if I had someone I could trust to watch my back, someone I knew was good…”

 

Yang glared. “I told you, that was a one time thing. By the time that money runs out, I’ll probably have a better job.”

 

Beautiful nodded, but Yang could tell she didn’t believe her for a second.

 

“I’m serious. Besides, 'trust’? What makes you think you can trust me? Hell, why’re you acting all buddy-buddy with me, anyway? We just met.”

 

Beautiful shrugged. “You saved my life earlier, and didn’t insist on killing anyone. So far, that puts you above my old crew in my book. Speaking of which, do you guys have anything good to read?”

 

Yang stared for a moment, then sighed. “Whatever. I’m not doing anything like this, ever again. And Ruby has some old novels in her room, I’ll get you some in a bit.”

 

Beautiful nodded. “Thank you. Now, I should probably go stash my share…” She got up and walked towards the basement door, hips swinging probably a bit more than was necessary.

 

Yang watched her for a moment, then shook her head and sighed.

 

She went to Ruby’s room to get the irritating girl something to read.

 

/

 

When Ruby opens the door, she’s treated to an interesting sight.

 

There’s some girl she doesn’t know curled up in a blanket on the recliner, reading her favorite book with a smile on her face.

 

Yang is staring at her in that way she does when she’s trying to be subtle, and keeping up a constant buzz of conversation.

 

“I mean, you know my name, so it’s only fa- Hey, Ruby!” Yang hops up and jogs to her, pulling her into one of those bone-crushing hugs.

 

The other girl stood up, stretching and Ruby’s mind goes a bit blank.

 

She’d always thought Yang was beautiful, had been convinced for year that she was born to be a model or a movie star. Always thought Yang was the epitome of female attraction.  

 

But this girl…

 

She was an entirely different kind of beautiful, and when she turned her eyes on Ruby, she found her throat going dry.

 

Yang smiles at something the other girl said, and turns to Ruby. “Anyway, this is my friend… and she’s gonna be staying here for a while, okay? She’s already said she’ll pay half the bills.”

 

Ruby nodded numbly, already feeling the stress of wondering if they’d manage starting to wash off of her.

 

The other girl stepped closer, and took her hand in one of her own.

 

Her own really soft and warm hand.

 

Ruby shook it, trying not to blush.

 

The girl smiled. “I’m Blake. It’s nice to meet you.”

 

Yang threw her hands in the air and walked towards the kitchen, muttering under her breath.

 

She stopped in the doorway, though, turning around to face them with a wide grin. “Hey, Rubes? You want some fast food tonight?”

 

Ruby jumps at the chance, dashing off to go put her school stuff up.

 

/Omake 1-Basically How It Went/

 

Brown hair looked like she was going to say something, but just shook her head and sighed. “I never saw you, okay? I took off when the cops showed up. Got it?”

 

Beautiful nodded. “Thanks.”

 

Yang swallowed as she counted out the money in the bag. It was a haphazard mix of hundreds, fifties, and twenties, and she had no idea how much was in there, only that it was far more than she’d expected.

 

She counted out ten hundreds, and passed them to Brown hair, who smiled at her. “Thanks. Stay safe, you two.”

 

They got out, and she drove off.

 

Beautiful turned to her, grinning. “Well, guess I’m living here now.”

 

Yang blinked. “What?”

 

/Omake 2-I Don’t Even Know Man/

 

“Now,” she continued. “Later on you’ll probably find a way of laundering money, and you’ll be able to get away with more, but you should still be careful. Trust me, finding new safehouses is an ordeal.”

 

She sighed then, looking up at the clock. “Speaking of which… I’d better go. Have to try and find somewhere to lay my head tonight, then find a new apartment… and then a new crew.” She sighed, looking broken and beaten and Yang tried to resist, because she knew the kicked puppy act well, was used to that kind of stuff from Ruby.

 

Still, seeing it from a girl who had probably saved her life earlier…

 

She sighed inwardly.

 

“Do you want to stay here for a while? No one will think to look for you here.”

 

Beautiful’s eyes narrowed. “How do I know you won’t kill me in my sleep and take the money?”

 

“How do I know you won’t take the money and run off in the middle of the night?” Yang countered.

 

“How do I know you won’t run off in the middle of the night and leave the money?” Beautiful asked, her eyes wide.

 

“How do I know you won’t leave the money and kill me?” Yang snarled.

 

“How do I know you won’t kill the money and let me stay here tonight?” Beautiful asked, tilting her head slightly.

 

“How do I know you won’t stay here tonight and take me?” Yang asked, fluttering her eyelashes.

 

Beautiful blinked. “Is that an option?”

 

Yang nodded.

 

“Hella.” She grabbed Yang’s arm and led her to the bedroom.

 

Yang wanted to ask how she knew where the bedroom was, but remembered that omakes were noncanon anyway so it didn’t matter.

 

AND THEN THEY FUCKED.