Roman Torchwick had never had a good life.

Why was he thinking back to those things, at such a time? It must be because of the fatigue and the pain. No wonder. He could barely think straight. He leaned against the wall, and closed his eyes.

Like that, he could almost see an image from his own past. The town he had lived it. The streets, the busy people going from nowhere to nowhere. He grimaced. Yes, he certainly remembered where he had lived. However, he had never be a part of it. When hope faded, he grew up with only his bitterness and hatred to push him forward, push him towards life.

Thrown away by his parents, his existence had no worth for the start. He had lived in an orphanage. However, that didn't give him much more that a roof. The orphanage was in financial strains, and nobody really helped. The boys and girls had to practically fight from the food that was there, and the staff didn't get paid much.

They raised them, to an extend. They taught what was good and was right, they taught them a lot of things in hopes to be good children. Pure and beautiful. So he had believed that he had to be so, that if it was like that he would be rewarded with normal happiness. A family, some people that wouldn't throw him away and would love him. But love him for real, not the love show in the fake smiles of the staff of the orphanage.

That day didn't come. Was it that his face looked harsh, cold, nothing suited to a cute child? Was it simple that luck had dictated it so? He didn't know, but that day never came. Roman had a part time job since he was hold enough to be of any use, because of course he had. Most of the children of the orphanage had one. And those that hadn't were looking for one. Everybody had to do his part to kept the cogwheels spinning.

Anyway, he diligently worked even though what little money those people gave him went to the orphanage, and looked forward to were that day would come. Perhaps it would have come, if things had been different. But a few months after his eleven birthday, the orphanage finally collapsed under the weight of its financial problems, and so them, the children who had been unwanted by everybody, were left to their fates.

He lived in the streets since then. He continued that part time job, saved his money, and still, somehow, he held on to the illusion that things would one day be better. During the day he struggled to survive, and during the night, sleeping in the park or just outside a shop or houser or anything he could find, he sleep and dreamed of having a family. He didn't steal or anything, though the times were bad for him and often speed a week without eating anything at all and drinking only from fountains. Because he believed, he sincerely believed from the bottom of his heart, that he had to be good to deserve the normal happiness that had been denied to him for eleven years and all for the whims of his parents.

Eh. He had been such an idiot.

Fortunately, he realized what an idiot he was soon enough. With the money from his part time job, he brought himself some food. Nothing fancy. Bread that was so hard he could have broke his teeth on it, and milk. But at least it was something to eat. He eaten once a week, and rarely twice, so for him it was a feast.

Then a little runt who looked even skinnier that him tried to rob him. Roman struggled for his food desperately, but he could already see that the other kind would rid the bread off his hands eventually. So. There was a cane, held against one of the seats at the park. He didn't know why it was there, and he never knew. But he saw it during the struggle. He grabbed it with his left hand, and hit the other boy with it on his back.

He screamed, and dropped to the ground. Roman was breathing heavily, and the sound of his heartbeat beat pounded in his hearts. The food. He could only think about that. This boy had wanted to rob him, and he would rob him if he didn't make it disappeared. So he raised the cane again, and hit him in the back with all the strength he could muster.

He screamed. He begged him to let him go. But he didn't, of course. He hit him again. That strike broke his nose. He remembered that clearly, but the sight of the blood had made him lost count. He just hit again and again, completely terrified he would get back up and he would starve to death, cold, alone.

He didn't die. But he was left pretty battered up, and the bruises of his skin almost made him look like a corpse. Roman dropped the cane, took his food with him, and ran. He didn't even realize he had been crying the whole time until he had his back against the wall of alley, and he could breath again. He wasn't crying due to fear. He wasn't crying for having to do that to that boy he didn't even know.

No, he was crying because he had enjoyed it.

It had been fun. Every single one of those strikes had been fun, though it had took him a few ones to realize it. That kid had seen him as an easy target, had come to rob him what was his by right, and he had struck him down. He had struck him down easily, and hadn't stopped no matter how much he had begged. It felt… so good. For once, he was the one of the other side of the equation of predator and prey. So, yes, it feel good. No surprise there.

During a few hours, he went through that moment in his head. He thought about it, still crying. He asked himself why he had to felt so guilty about it… and he realized it didn't make sense. Enjoying other's suffering was bad, but what of it? It wasn't his fault, to begin with. If there was somebody to blame, somebody to call evil, then it was his parents, who had throw him away. Everything that happened happened because they had throw him away. So he couldn't be blamed for struggling to live, to have what they had denied him.

The ones thrown away. The ones forced by circumstances to do unpleasant things. Those people who nobody wanted who were left alone, to try and find some kind of meaning to their worthless existences. Were was the crime in that? If there was a crime in that, the crime was of this world, who let him end up in such a situation.

So he changed. He not longer care about acting properly. He did what he had to do to survive, without even a trace of guilt. He stole and stole. He nearly got caught a few times, but he always managed to slip away, one way or another. By his thirteen birthday, he had already joined a criminal group. There wasn't even an illusion of camaraderie between them, but he had stopped looking for that long ago. That they would have his back was enough for him.

The rags he wore during his stay in the streets got exchanged for sharp business suit as he ascended through the organization. While he was at it, he made sure to get the support of the other members. Making better plans that ensured their successes, risking his life to save other members, brought them, got them in their debt and other such things. When he was twenty, everything he had been carefully building came into fruition. He killed the previous leader, took over the group, expanded it and brought it to next heights. It didn't take long for his face to become the face of the organization, and even to the public. That pleased him to not end, because it made clear how things were even to the masses, even though it brought a few problems of his own.

He didn't hate the world. Not really. He didn't have any great ambitions, besides enjoying all kinds of pleasures and keeping himself rich. Still, he did waver for that purpose. Once. When he had made himself the leader, he directed a few of his men to investigate one thing: his parents. It didn't take long for them to find them, and then they paid them a little visit.

He introduced himself to them, first of all, to let them know why this was happening. That the son who they had throw away was coming back to end them. They begged him to stop. They said that they hadn't wanted to put him in that orphanage, but it had been of necessity. Because they had two daughters before him, and they just couldn't feed even one more person. Roman didn't care. He wasn't interested in their reasons.

He said he understood. He also said if they spoke even a word of it to anybody, he would know, and he would kill them for it. Then he left. It wasn't like he cared if they spread it around or if they called the police. He had already had a big target painted on his back, so it wasn't like it would change things for him or for his organization. No. That warning had be so they would have time to set everything up for being the scenes without too much trouble.

He ensured that their bank accounts were reduced to zero. But the money didn't simply disappear overnight. It was easy to arrange for his men to hide a stack of drugs on their garage for the police to discover, extract the money from it, faking purchases, that they had wasted money on several casinos which were under his property and other such things. It wasn't perfect, that was for sure. But it was good enough for him.

He would have just ordered his men to kill them, back then. But it wasn't about that. It wasn't about enjoying seeing them quickly killed, like some animal. He wasn't an animal. This was, first and foremost, about justice. They had taken his life away from him, so now he had taken theirs. Fair enough, right? And also, the lives of their daughters would suffer a big blow too. That was just the icing of the cake, but it was still worth mentioning.

Cinder had approached him a year or so later, for the sake of cooperation. He had agreed, because he saw no harm in it. Of course, he was wary of her. She would dispose of him at the first opportunity, of course, but that was to be expected. He didn't meant. He simply meant that, even in their first meeting, she almost didn't seem human to him. No matter how well she faked it, he understood that her heart was made of steel.

But he wasn't going be her sacrifice.

She could try all she wanted, but he was free. Nobody could take his freedom away. He wouldn't let them. So he had tried his best to survive, to live. He fulfilled his duties and tried to put himself into a position where he wasn't just a lose thread in their great scheme, so Cinder couldn't just throw his life away. And he had made plans in case he would fail at that or that they would wish to get rid of him. But somewhere along the way, he failed. And things had ended up like this.

He wasn't even mad, really. This was his own damn fault.

Roman opened his eyes again. He stared at his stomach, at the wound, at his hand stained with blood. They had killed him. As things were now, there was no chance for him to escape. But he didn't really care. He had lived a long time like he had wished: merely indulging in his whims. Perhaps those few years were small compensation for what he had suffered, but he was contempt. Especially because he had been able to left his parting shoot.

He eyed his scroll. Details of the plans of the White Fang, their settlements, all the important, all the underground complexes, snippets of conversation he had heard and all sorts of stuff. He had send this all to Ozpin, and to that girl, Red. It hadn't been hard for his men to get hold of their numbers.

Approaching footsteps. But well, whatever. They could hurry and panic all they wanted, but this was already over. He had showed them what it meant to betray him. He saw them turning the corner, the five of them. They aimed their guns at him. He didn't care. With a wry smile, he raised his scroll so they could see see it clearly, and waved it at them, as if rubbing it on their faces.

“What a shame, but its too late.” he said, as if singing. “You're all so useless. You can't even kill one unharmed man. I wonder how the fuck do you even tie your shoes in the morning.” a pause. “Anyway, please tell Cinder something. She, right until the end… was a complete bitch.”

Then Roman threw his head back, and laughed, laughed, laughed through his bloody teeth.

Until a gunshot silenced him.