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Family business [Private/Plot, Avieh and Lloyd]

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Avery couldn't help but agree at the thought that the room fit better as a ballroom than an enormous dining hall. She gazed at the portraits of the family members by the wall, breaking a small smile at the sight of a younger looking Lloyd amongst them. What she mostly recognised, however, was the lack of a family portrait with the four of them together in one frame. Probably in the living room, she thought casually.

As Lloyd proceeded to debunk her theory of being a killer hired to eliminate him, Avery snickered and nodded with an amused smile. "Yes, I guess that's true. Still, I won't take back what I said about you being too trusting, 'cause you know you are," Avy added with a small laugh.

With Lloyd's dinner finally served, Avery placed the napkin on her lap and picked up her utensils. "Bon appetit," she replied back. She found the silence between them comforting as they ate, even stabilised by the soft light from the fireplace. That continued until Avery finished her food as well as the dessert that came afterwards.

"Thank you for the meal," Avery said after finishing her creme brulee. She took one last sip of water and wiped her lips with the napkin. "Hmm, that was nice. Better than being stranded in the plane after having missed my stop. I'll treat you to dinner some time too in return," she said amusingly.

Avery's gaze landed on the portraits once again and this time she couldn't contain her curiosity. "If you don't mind me asking, I know why your dad isn't here. But what about the other two which I assume is your mom and brother?"

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Lloyd chuckled when Avy said once more that he was too trusting. It was true and he knew it all too well, yet he didn't want to change that. Even though it could potentially put him at risk, he wanted to trust in people, like his mother always did. When they both finished eating, Avy her desert and Lloyd simply the main course, Jasmine left them with tea while he replied to his guest. "You'll treat me huh? should I trust you on that?" He gave her a teasing smile before sipping his cup of tea.

Avy then questioned about the people on the portraits, his mother and brother specifically, which made Lloyd's gaze wander off to the wall once again. Looking at his brother's, he began to talk. "James left the manor a long time ago, and in the most jerkish way possible too..." he sighed before resuming. "...after discovering his Semblance, he decided to go on his own crusade against the Grimms, so he faked his death to leave his duty as heir, leaving everything to me... when I wanted to do just the same as him, help the world. But no, someone had to stay and take over our father at some point and I guess he believed in me. Now I have no clue where he is or if he's even alive..."

His gaze then shifted to his mother's portrait, his eyes softening at the sight of the woman with a clear smile on his face. "My mother, Debian, has passed away a couple of years ago, incurable illness. She died peacefully and without regrets knowing her sons would do good in this world. Or at least that what she said in her will. And as you know my father rarely comes here anymore so this manor was pretty much under my supervision ever since my she died, so without Marissa and the others, I would have been alone."

Looking back at the blonde girl with a smile that wasn't asking for pity, Lloyd questioned Avy on her own family. "How about your family? I don't recall you talking about them a single time ever since we met. I'm curious now about where you come from and all that, care to share? Of course you know me, I won't force you to." Taking a sip of his tea once again, he awaited patiently.


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Avery took a sip of her tea as she listened intently to Lloyd's retelling of her brother's events. She nodded slightly every now and then, able to understand both Lloyd's and his brother's reasoning. She found it ironic that both brothers didn't want anything to do with the Vanheim company. Meanwhile in my world, people will do anything to be the next leader, she thought with a snicker.

When Lloyd began talking about his mother, Avery couldn't help but sympathise. She had never experienced losing someone close to her, what more a loved one, and the thought was frightening. She couldn't even begin to ponder the suffering the guy had to go through during that event. "I'm sorry to hear that," she stated in a soft voice after he had finished.

However, the returning question about her own family made her cough lightly. Of course! It was common courtesy to ask the same question back. She shouldn't have asked in the first place. The blonde shifted her gaze from her tea and onto the two-tone haired guy. It's true she never disclosed any background information to anyone ever since coming to Syne. And while most of the time she would tell a blatant lie when the topic came up, she couldn't do it to him for some reason.

"It's a long story," Avery dismissed the question with a casual shrug and finished her tea quickly. "I'll tell you some time when we're not both needing a shower and good night's rest, 'kay? Good night," she added with a smile before standing up and allowing herself to be ushered by one of the maids to the guest room.

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Lloyd shook his head when Avy apologized for his loss before replying with a smile. "It's fine, don't worry about it. I had my time to mourn her after so many years. Besides, she wouldn't want me to be sad about it, she'd want me to move on and have fun living."

As the blonde mentioned that her family history was a long one, he tilted his head in curiosity before nodding in agreement. "You're right, a good night sleep will do us good. Although I'd be surprised if you managed to sleep after the "nap" you had today." Giving her a teasing smile before sipping his tea, he waved at her as she was leaving the room, guided by one of his servant to the guest room. "Good night to you too."

Lloyd remained alone in the room for a while, taking his time to finish his tea while staring into the flame before Marissa joined him, sitting where Avy was not too long ago. "Young Lord, are you alright? I mean having a guest, you never brought anyone with you before. Not that I think it's a bad thing, I'm just surprised." She was obviously teasing him, but it brought a smile to his face. "I know right? Who thought I could make friends?" He laughed at himself while the faunus giggled. "So is she a good friend of yours? Do you spent a lot of time together?" "I guess. She's the one I spent the most time with so far, but you know how antisocial I can be. Why do you ask?" "Because you don't speak the same way as before. You sound much more relax, more... yourself, if it makes any sense." "Ah yeah, I see what you mean. She's just wasn't a fan of the overly fancy talk when I met her, thought it sounded fake or something. I just changed my speech pattern to be more casual and it stuck." "Well, you sound less like your father, so it's a good thing if I may say so." Marissa then stood up and walked out of the room, but stopped at the doorway. "Try not to go to bed too late, you know that you're groggy and impatient when you don't sleep enough." With a smile he waved at her, not to be rude and of course she herself didn't see it as such. She had served him for years, she knew how he was thinking.

Lloyd was now back alone and he stayed there for about half an hour before heading for his own room. He walked pass Avy's and for some reason waved at the door, like he was waving good night before he entered his room and directly went to bed. He was really tired for some reason, more than usual.

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The night has past and it was now morning and while Lloyd thought he would get a nice night of sleep and laze in the morning, it seemed like things would be different. Jasmine opened the door abruptly and ran to wake him up. "Sir, please wake up! We need you right now!!" Waking up in surprise, he looked around before focusing as much as he could when half asleep still on the girl. "Jasmine? What's wrong? Did something happen?" "Not yet, but it's your father. He arrived earlier with some men, he seemed really mad, threw a tantrum and is now in the dinning hall. When we asked him what he was doing here as we only awaited him in a week or so, he shouted at us to get you." "What? That's not normal... Go wake up Avy and get everyone in the airship and wait there until further notice. I'll go deal with him." "What are you going to do?" "Well, he wants to see me, so I'll go see him."

Lloyd stood up and began to change himself while Jasmine ran to Avy's room to wake her up and gathered everyone. All the servants began to head for the landing pad while he made his way to the room his father was waiting in. And just to be sure, Lloyd had his weapon with him, he had a really bad feeling about this.

OCC:
The --- line is a time skip... didn't need to go for a dream sequence XD


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Avery was still marvelling the interior decors of the halls as they walked past when she heard the faunus maid speak. "I hope dinner was to your liking, miss," the faunus said in an almost questioning tone to which the blonde responded with a small nod. "Yes. It was satisfying."

"I'm glad. This is the first time the young lord has ever brought a g-girl over so..."  the faunus trailed off and was now blushing. Avery tilted her head in confusion at the maid's reaction but decided to shrug it off. They soon stopped in front of a door and Avy thanked the latter for escorting her to her room only to be even more confused by the response. "This is actually the young master's bedroom..."

"Oh. Then why did you take me here?" Avery asked. The maid remained silent and it took a full minute for the gunslinger to understanding everything before her eyes widened in realisation. "Wait, did you think Lloyd and I are..."

"In case you get lonely in your room tonight..."

"NO! It's not like that! It's not like that at all!"

Needless to say, it was an eventful night as she had to explain everything in detail to clear the misunderstanding.
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The following morning, Avery was abruptly pulled out of her sleep by a sudden knock on the door. Is this how the Vanheim's start their morning? she thought groggily, unamused. All thoughts of going back to sleep flew off as she was informed she had to head to the airship with everyone. Weird. Rushing her morning routine and a change of clothes, she opened the door in time to see the guy walking in the hallway.

"Lloyd, wait," she huffed as she hurried to catch his pace. "Ja-- what's-her-name told me everything. Well, I kinda forced her to but whatever. Are you really just gonna have a 'talk' with your father?" Her eyes fell on his lance. "With men on his side and weapon in yours? I know it's none of my business and I know you don't want me involved but... I mean...  I'm not stupid to let a friend go there alone," Avery muttered with a roll of her eyes, trying not to sound overly concerned even though she was. She nudged him with her elbow playfully. "Don't worry, since he has staff on his side, I'll pretend to be your secretary," she added with a beam.

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As he was walking towards the dinning hall in order to meet with his father, Lloyd turned around when he heard his name and saw Avy who was catching up to him. He was about to ask her what she was doing still here and didn't follow the others but then he got his answer, she was worried about him. He couldn't help but chuckle at how it was obvious event he she tried to be a subtle as possible. The guy then smiled before staring at her. "Thanks, I appreciate the thought but..." He couldn't finish his sentence that the blonde nudged him with her elbow, saying that she would pretend to be his secretary. He sighed, knowing full well that he wouldn't be able to change her mind and just accepted that she'd follow. "Just let me do the talking alright?"

They then continued their way toward the dinning room and went they reached the doors, Lloyd took a deep breath before pushing them open and entering the room. Chairs were thrown on the ground, pots were broken and not much was left on the massive table where a tall man garbed in red was leaning against, panting. Two other men where standing in the corners opposite to where Avy and Lloyd came from, staring at them as they entered. "Finally, I've been waiting for you to show up. Sorry for the mess by the way, it was an accident..."

The man then straightened up and look in the direction of the two, his eyes darting at the two tone haired guy specifically while giving glances at the girl every now and then. "Did you think I wouldn't know? Hm? Did you think I wouldn't notice?" The man in red then began to walk slowly towards the two while Lloyd tilted his head, wondering what his father meant. "What are you talking about? Notice what?" "HER!!!" did the man shouted by pointing at Avy as he walked closer and faster. Lloyd took a step and got between them before he got too close, making sure that his lance was putting some distance before the man stepped back one step and bowed towards the girl. Let me introduce myself, I am Mercer Vanheim, CEO of Vanheim's Freelance Industries and Lloyd's father..." Mercer then got up and stared directly into Avy's with his own red ones with a smirk on his face before he continued. "...but of course you already knew all that, being one of those Nightfrost kids..." "Wait what!?!" Lloyd was caught off guard by this news. "What? You didn't know? And you dare bring a "friend" to the family mansion without knowing who they are?!? I feel like you two should have a talk..."

Laughing at his own son, Mercer walked back towards the end of the table while Lloyd looked at Avy with "surprise" written all over it. "Is that true? It would explain why you never talked about your past... feared of friction between us? or was it just so you could avoid attention in general? He was genuinely curious as to why she never talked about it, not that he was mad at her. Besides his state of surprise, Lloyd had still the same tone to his voice, showing that he was calm about this reveal.


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"If anything goes wrong, I blame Oli..."
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"Of course." Avery nodded enthusiastically as she walked beside him towards the dining hall. Once the door opened, her lips parted in surprise as she scanned the mess. Well someone's in dire need of anger management classes, she thought while looking at the man responsible. She knew him, at least by face value, and that's all she needed to acknowledge the head of the Vanheims.

Avery hadn't said a word as she listened idly to the father and son's greeting until the man pointed at her with a booming voice. "The hell is your problem?" she whispered in annoyance, taking a step back with her hand moving to the golden gun on her thigh holster as she saw him walk closer. Thankfully, Lloyd was there to put distance between them while the man introduced himself. Mercer Vanheim.

"...but of course you already knew all that, being one of those Nightfrost kids..."

Avery visibly stiffened at the mention of her family name, goosebumps running across her skin. "H-How did you..?" Nightfrosts were defined by their characteristic midnight-blue hair and ebony eyes which Avy didn't possess, so a preoccupied CEO like him who wouldn't be able to recognise her common and ordinary features was the least of her concerns. Or so she thought.

Her fingers clenched around her arm as the dreaded questions began. She could feel Lloyd's curious stare but couldn't bring herself to meet his gaze. It took a while of pondering in silence before she spoke. "I-It's true," Avery said in a small voice and finally looked at him in the eye. "But I never meant for this to happen. I didn't want to cause you trouble. If I had known, I wouldn't have..." She wouldn't have befriended him in the first place.

Avery bit her lip and lowered her head. She didn't know what he thought of her after all this. That she was using him? That she was sent by her family against the Vanheims? Or that she enjoyed playing with his ignorance? None of which were true.

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Mercer stared at Avy with a grin as she wondered how he could have know who she was even though she was the oddball of the family with her blonde hair in comparison to the rest of the Nightfrost who had way darker hair. "Are you really that surprised? Come on, I heard you were a bright kid, who wouldn't research their main competitor, huh? I know everything I need to know about you..." Lloyd listened to his friend as she tried to convince him that she never wanted this to happen. But there was nothing to do, as Lloyd didn't care at all. Walking to her, he grabbed her by the shoulder with his free hand and locked eyes with her. "Hey come on, you really think I'm going to blame you for hiding who you are? I've been doing the same ever since I'm at Syne. Do you know how much people hates me just because of my name? I'd be the jerkiest hypocrite if I was going to be angry at you in any manner. So keep it cool, I'm not about to delete you from my life. You're basically the only true friend I have right now, it'd be a shame to lose you for something so stupid."

The sound of someone slowly clapping could be heard echoing across the massive room. Lloyd's father was staring at the two with a condescending look. "Bravo, bravo, I nearly believed in it. Great performance. Someone give her flowers please. Marvelous!" "What the hell are you talking about?" "Don't play dumb with me boy, I'm your father, have some respect. I know exactly what you two are up to. I know the whole scheme." "Scheme? What the.... are you mad right now? Or drunk? Please be drunk and go home..." Mercer walked a bit in circle, keeping his eyes on the two hunters before he continued. "Mad? I'm totally furious!!! My son, my own flesh and blood is betraying me!! Selling himself to the Nightfrost!! What have I done for you to do this to me?!" "Okay... the hell are you talking about?""Of your plan idiot!! The one you created to get the company for yourself!! Or worse, you're planning to sell it to the Nightfrost completely, just for her!!! Getting rid of me, Nightfrost Tech will be able to flood Vale's markets as well. With your help it would be easier, bring in someone to do the dirty work, you, as my heir becomes CEO and give them what they want while in exchange you get the girl!" "What?!? "Get the girl"? You really think it's some plan to marry her?" Lloyd couldn't believe what he had just heard. His father was simply nodding with a face that said "I know everything" and yet, it was clear that he had lost the reason. "Why else would you have brought her here huh, if not to flaunt your charms... just like your mother did..." Lloyd didn't heard the last part, but he was sure that it was more delusion from his fool of a father.

"Listen, you're completely out of it. I'm not about to sell the company to Nightfrost Tech. How do you want me to do that when you outright disowned me from the title of heir! You're just keeping me around as a bargaining chip. I'm no use for you. So drop the act already. You don't want me as your son, you never did..." Even though Lloyd clearly hated his father, those words he had just said, they still hurt and it was even audible in his voice, a small dose of sadness was in there. Mercer then looked towards him with madness in his eyes. "No use for me... this is interesting, I have been thinking the same for a while actually... but there's still one thing I need you for my son, and it's your coat." "I already told you, this is not to be used as a weapon! Do you really think you'll be able to control that kind of power!!!" "Why can you and I couldn't? No matter, I will find a way. Boys, get him. The girl and the servants too, we can't have witnesses." "You think I'll let you do that? Why do you think I came armed in the first place?"

Mercer nodded to his henchmen, who both unsheathed their weapons. The first one, who was bulkier than the other had a pair of chainsaw-sword while the smaller one had a greatsword. You thought that being the biggest the first would have been the one with the more massive weapon but, seemed like this wasn't the case this time. Taking a stance with his weapon in hand, Lloyd prepared himself for the two guys before thinking and looking at Avy from the corner of his eyes. "Look, normally this would be the moment where I'd be like "Now you should go, I'll take care of this..." and blah blah blah... but yeah... I need your help. Think you can deal with those two on your own? I have some family issues to deal with here..." Smiling and nodding to his partner, Lloyd used his Semblance to go past the henchmen and land right in front of his father. "You foolish boy, I'll have to force you into respect." "Less chit-chat, just do it."

Lloyd's father immediately swung his arm at him, from which the sleeve extended like a blazing whip as sparks and embers flew when Lloyd raised his lance to block the attack. It seemed like Mercer had researched how to transform clothing into weapons based on his son's own work. The two tone hair guy parried the attack before lunging forward for a thrust that his father dodged by stepping aside, delivering a kick in his side that sent Lloyd flying into the wall. Mercer himself backed up a bit and looked in pain, which was normal considering that his son used his Semblance to Repel the kick, which of course didn't left Lloyd unscathed. To send him into the wall at the speed he went even if her Repelled, it had to be a really powerful one. Standing up from the slightly crumbling wall, the white garbed hunter looked up before realizing that his dad's coat might be the source of this strength. It wouldn't be an easy fight, that's for sure.


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"If anything goes wrong, I blame Oli..."
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Avery flinched, her eyes shifting to the hand on her shoulder. No, she didn't like being touched, but in that moment it brought her a sense of relief. The guy was naive and could be too trustful but he wasn't shallow; he understood her reasons even when she never disclosed them. You're seriously too kind for your own good, she thought with a small smile.

All that was cut short by his father's sarcastic remarks. The girl simply listened in confusion as he began his rant about selling the company and... marriage? She almost burst out laughing. "I think your dad's watched too many soap operas," she whispered to Lloyd.

Selling Vanheim Industries won't benefit either company from a business standpoint. If he'd taken the liberty to research about her, he should know she wasn't just a Nightfrost. She was the sole heiress. In the unlikely case that the two get married, their companies would merge into one powerhouse that could monopolise Remnant's arms industry. It would actually be beneficial for Mercer, but he just had to have an antagonistic mentality.

Then came the fact that he had disowned his own son. Avery glanced at Lloyd. Even though it was surprising, she'd leave it to them to settle their business. She looked at the two bodyguards, immediately taking out her guns as they showcased their own weapons.

"Think you can deal with those two on your own?" She heard Lloyd say which she responded with a snicker. "Oh please. You think such close-ranged barbaric weapons used in the olden times can as much as make me serious?" Avery said before she saw his lance and grinned. "No offense."

With Lloyd engaged in battle, the two guards shot towards her, a pair of chainsaws coming down from above which she blocked with the barrel of her guns. She immediately dropped low, barely dodging the horizontal slash of a broadsword before she jumped back to gain distance and release bullets that the two easily blocked with the flat surface of their weapons. She was outnumbered and definitely with less combat experience but that never stopped her before; she knew how to play her advantages. A tap of her foot on the ground turned it into ice which caused her to move freely while impeding the two's movements. This allowed her to simply keep skating backwards while opening fire at the guards who couldn't as much as balance in the slippery floor nor shorten their distance to attack. Avery hummed while firing her guns and looked over at Lloyd, finding their battle more entertaining than this one-sided fight.

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