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War of Remnant: A RWBY Anthology

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It was in the dead of night when a small group made its way towards the local dust shop. The few people that were out at this time made sure to steer clear from the group, especially who was leading them. Dressed in a stylish white coat, wearing a derby hat with a red band around it, and spinning his cane with one finger was the king of Vale’s criminal underworld. Roman Torchwick.

“Alright, listen up!” Roman turned to the goons when they were at the dust shop’s door. “We make this quick and clean. Got it?”

The goons nodded.

“Good.” Roman turned on his heels and opened the shop’s door.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I was…just…about to close up…” the old shopkeeper’s voice shrunk when he recognized Roman.

“Glad to see my reputation proceeds me!” Roman smirked, then snapped his fingers, one of the goons pointed a gun at the shopkeeper. “So, I take it you won’t be difficult when it comes to giving me I need, will ya, Gramps?”

The Shopkeeper raised his hands.

“That’s what I thought.” Roman turned towards the rest of his goons. “Get the dust. All of it.” He turned back to The Shopkeeper. “No worries, my boys and I won’t lay on you.”

The goons went over to the dust dispensers, but realized they couldn’t get them open.

“Uh…boss?”

Roman groaned. “Whaaaaaaaat?”

“The dispensers are locked up, tight,” the goon pointed at the lid on the dust dispenser he was in front of, revealing it was padlocked.

“I told you I was going to close up,” The Shopkeeper said.

“Where’s the lock, old man?” Roman demanded.

The Shopkeeper kept quiet

“I thought you weren’t going to be difficult?” Roman rubbed his eyes.

“Sorry son, that’s not how I am.” The Shopkeeper smiled.

“Listen here, you old fart-” the goon with the gun began.

“Okay first off, old fart? Really? You find that in ‘Insults for Dummy’s 101’ or something?” Roman interrupted. “Second off, don’t hurt the old man.”

“But boss-”

“Now, now, I made a promise!” Roman took a lighter and cigar out of his pocket, putting the latter in his mouth. “You boys and I won’t hurt him.”

A small woman suddenly appeared behind the old man, grabbed him by the back of his head, and slammed him down onto the glass counter, hard enough that it broke. The sound rang through the thought-empty dust shop, alerting a young woman whose song had ended just before it happened. Turning off her scroll and taking off her headphones, the girl looked around in confusion, then she started to hear voices.

“My lady friend, Neo, on the other hand.” Roman lit up his cigar. “That wasn’t part of the promise.”

Neo raised her blade over her head and stabbed into the counter inches from The Shopkeeper’s face.

“Now, you’re going to tell us where the key is, aren’t you?” Roman blew smoke into The Shopkeeper’s face.

“I will, promise!” The Shopkeeper assured.

“Where?”

“Under my desk!”

“Neo?” Roman looked at Neo.

Keeping her hand on The Shopkeeper’s head, Neo looked under the desk to see a small box. Grabbing its handle, she lifted it onto the counter.

“Good, now-” Roman noticed the code lock. “Okay, tell us the code.”

“No,” The Shopkeeper said.

Neo gasped, shocked her intimidation tactic didn’t work.

“What?!” Roman glared down at The Shopkeeper.

“I promised I’d help you find the key.” The Shopkeeper smiled. “Getting it, on the other hand, wasn’t part of the promise.

One of the goons snorted.

“I’m just going to pretend I didn’t just hear that.” Roman raised finger at the goons, then he pointed at The Shopkeeper. “You think you’re funny, you old fart?”

“Hey!” The armed goon whined.

“Shut up!” Roman barked, and the armed goon quickly shut his mouth. “I have to say, you’ve got guts, most men stronger then you caved after Neo does that.”

“I’m not intimidated by thugs,” The Shopkeeper spoke, defiantly.

“You know, you remind me of my father.” Roman snatched the gun from the armed good and pushed it against The Shopkeeper’s forehead. “I hated my father!”

“Hey, get off of him!” A young voice shouted.

Roman, Neo, and the goons looked towards the small girl in red.

“Hey kid, isn’t it past your bedtime?” Roman asked, sarcastically. “Run home so mommy can read you a nice story and tuck you in.”

“Far from home,” the girl said, reaching behind her back.

“What you have there, a gun?” Roman glared at her. “Aren’t you a little young for firearms?”

“For a girl my age? Yes.” The girl nodded, pulling out her sniper rifle and aiming it behind her. “For a huntress? Never.” She fired the gun, launching herself at the shocked criminals.

“What the f-”

The girl crashed into of the goons, knocking him threw the door and causing them both to skid out onto the night street. She landed on her feet as the goon bowling-balled into a group of trash cans. Roman, Neo, and the rest of the goons all stood in shock.

“Who are you?!” Roman demanded, aiming his gun at her, but the girl shot it out of his hands. “Argh!”

“I’m Ruby Rose,” Ruby held up her sniper rifle, that changed into a scythe, “this is Crescent Rose, and we’re going to kick your butt!”

“Did she just introduce her gun and say we’re?” One goon asked.

Ruby launched herself at the questioning good, and knocked him out with blunt of her scythe.

“You take that little brat down!” Roman ordered.

Neo let go of The Shopkeeper and ran outside to join the rest of Roman’s group.

The goons readied their bats and blades, and charged Ruby. She loaded her rifle with rubber bullets, and kneecapped one of the charging goons, causing him to fall to the ground

“Oh Gods those things still really hurt!” The goon cried, gripping his knee.

Ruby dodged a bat swing from a goon, and out distance between herself and the group by using Crescent Rose’s recoil, shooting a round into the attacking goons gut in the process.

“That’s it!” Roman shouted, getting his gun. “I wanted this to be quiet and clean, but I’m done! Boys!”

The goons looked at him.

“Switch weapons.” Roman aimed his gun at Ruby. “This little brat wants to use a gun? Let’s even the playing field!”

Ruby backed up as all the guns aimed at her, she noticed a dumpster in the alleyway behind her. When the shooting started, she backed up, spinning Crescent Rose to block the bullets, then dove behind the dumpster. Ruby managed to get nicked in the shoulder, but it went straight through, allowing her aura to heal it up. That didn’t make it any less painful.

“Ow…” Ruby held her hand to the shot shoulder even after the wound had healed, that’s when the bullets stopped, Roman and his goons began reloading. “Okay, let’s do this!” She shot out from behind cover and shot one of the goons straight in the forehead, and managed to take out two more before the group reloaded. “Uh oh!”

“Move in on her, you idiots!” Roman shouted.

As Roman and the other goons supplied cover fire, two more closed in on Ruby. She was able to see just enough to realize what they were doing. Unfortunately, all that stood in front of her was a brick wall.

“Looks like we got-” Roman was cut off by a loud bang, and the goon next to him screamed before falling face first onto the ground. “What the…?” He turned to see The Shopkeeper, shotgun drawn. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me!”

The Shopkeeper aimed his shotgun at Roman, but Neo dove in front of him, and when he fired, both shattered like glass.

“Huh?” The Shopkeeper didn’t hide his confusion.

“You guys keep going after the girl, we got this old fart!” One of the goons who was beside Roman aimed his gun at The Shopkeeper.

“You low lives really need to think up better insults!” The Shopkeeper aimed his shotgun right back.

“Enough.”

The goons were suddenly surrounded by a purple glow and lifted into the air. Ruby gasped as she looked out from behind cover to witness the sight.

“I know that power!”

Heels clicking against the road echoed through the block, until a blonde woman with glasses and a stern expression stepped under a streetlight.

“Glynda Goodwitch!” Ruby gasped.

The goons all struggled in the air, until Glynda raised her crop into the air, causing all of them to slam into each other at such a force, they were knocked unconscious. She released the goons to pile up in the middle of the street.

“Such a mess.” Glynda adjusted her glasses.

“Oh. My. Gods!” Ruby jumped out from behind cover and zipped over to Glynda. “It’s you! Glynda Goodwitch! The best teacher at Beacon! The right hand of Ozpin! The-”

“Quiet!” Glynda exclaimed, sternly.

“Eep!” Ruby shrunk back.

“Are you going to explain to me how this situation started?” Glynda demanded.

“Let me.” The Shopkeeper stepped forward. “This brave young woman saved my shop and my life with her bravery.”

“Oh…” Glynda softened. “Well, in that case, I suggest you come with me. I think someone would want to speak with you.”

“Me?” Ruby pointed at herself.

“Yes, I just need to clean this litter off the streets and talk to the police.” Glynda motioned towards the goons just as some VPD cop cars arrived, sirens blaring.

“That…hurt more then the bullet…” the goon Ruby had capped cried.

“Just, give me a few minutes.” Glynda raised the goons into the air and lead them towards the police.

Ruby watched in awe, but The Shopkeeper coughed to get her attention.

“Thank you so much, dear.” The Shopkeeper smiled at Ruby. “You’re already a huntress in my book.”

“Thank you right back.” Ruby returned the smile. “You’re the kind of brave folks I want to protect.”


“Well…that could’ve gone better…” Roman wheezed as he and Neo ran through the streets, away from the sirens.

Neo, who wasn’t tired at all, simply nodded in agreement.

After Neo saved Roman, the two took off down the nearest alleyway, knowing the gunfight would get police attention far faster then was necessary.

“Who was the idiot who started the shooting, anyway?” Roman asked, then looked to Neo, who cocked an eyebrow at him. “Oh…right…well, at least this night can’t get any-”

“What was that?”

“Didn’t even let me finish?” Roman looked up at the night sky, hopefully staring at the powers that be.

“Roman.”

“Hey! Cinder!” Roman turned and smiled at Cinder, her amber colored eyes the only thing he could see I’m the darkness she stood in. “Might I say you’re looking lovely tonight.”

“That’s a few more pounds of dust my plans will be lacking.”

“It was a lousy old dust shop owned by an old man, it can be replaced!” Roman assured, keeping his cool. “It’s a few more pounds I can easily score up!”

“You’re lucky I was taught to be merciful,” Cinder said.

“You’re lucky, too,” Roman said. “Without me your plan would be going nowhere.”

“Don’t push it.” Cinder snapped her fingers, and a bullhead rose into the air from behind a building, landing directly behind her. “Get on.”

“How did she hide that?” Roman whispered to Neo, who just shrugged.

Chapter Text

Ruby sat patiently in the room. Despite the kindly shopkeep saving her from any trouble, she still couldn’t help but feel intimidated by her surroundings. Ruby had been sat in front of a plan metal table, sat in an uncomfortable chair, and a room with only the light hanging over her head to keep her any company.

"I hope you’re feeling okay," a man spoke.

Ruby looked up to the man standing in the doorway, and gasped.

"P-Professor O-Ozpin?!" Ruby covered her mouth.

"In the flesh." Ozpin confirmed with a nod.

“I…you…me…in the same room!” Ruby flubbed with her words.

“I do apologize for the rather dreary room, Glynda wanted me to see you right away, and the one of police station’s interrogation rooms was apparently the only place they could keep you,” Ozpin explained.

“What? This old place?” Ruby kicked back, propping her feet up, left foot crossed over her right and bopping. “I’ve handled worse.”

“I hope you can say the same about your fighting skills,” Ozpin said. “Glynda had gone over the recording before she called and said you skills were unlike anything she had ever seen!”

“M-Me?” Ruby’s confident mask dropped, and she nearly tipped over on her chair. “Whoa!”

“Please, calm down,” Ozpin assured. “You aren’t in any trouble, quite the opposite, in fact.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ll see when Glynda arrives, for know I want to go over your file, if you don’t mind.” Ozpin held up a tan envelope.

“That’s cool!”

“Let’s see…” Ozpin opened the file, and his eyes widened. “Oh, do you mind if I say your dead name?”

“No worries, I’m comfortable with myself!”

“That’s good to hear,” Ozpin said. “So, Ruby Rose, born Rory Rose to Taiyang Xiao-Long and…Summer Rose…” he looked into Ruby’s eyes. “You’re a silver eyed warrior?”

“Yes sir.” Ruby nodded.

“You truly are remarkable, Miss Rose.” Ozpin set down the file. “I’m confident in what my decision will be when Glynda gets here.”

“What do you mean?” Ruby asked

“I mean, regardless of what I think of your combat capabilities, you confronted a group of armed things to protect an innocent,” Ozpin said. “If you’re not ready for Beacon now, I know you’ll be when you’re older.”

“Wait…what do you mean by ready for Beacon…now?!”

“He means you’ll be getting in early if he likes what he sees.” Glynda walked into the room, holding a scroll with the traffic recording on it.

“Glynda, there you are!” Ozpin held out his hand. “Let me see!”

Glynda handed Ozpin the scroll, and Ruby waited anxiously as he watched the fight. By the time he had finished watching Ruby had been so focused on him she hadn’t realized it ended.

“Well, Miss Rose,” Ozpin suddenly spoke.

“Whoa!” Ruby jumped a bit.

“I need to ask you something,” Ozpin said.

“Uh…sure…shoot away, Professor,” Ruby chuckled.

“Why do you want to be a huntress?”

Ruby was taken aback by the question, and finally let her vulnerability show. She sat up straight, hands on on her lap, as both feet were placed firmly on the ground. With a shaky sigh, she began her story.

“Back before I could even remember her face, my mother was taken from me, from my family. She was a skilled fighter and a powerful silver eyed warrior, but most of all she was kind, brave, and selfless. My mother went into this line of work knowing any mission could be her last…and eventually one was. I’m not going to tell you I’m doing this to be like her, I’m doing this because the stories I was told about her inspired me. My name is Ruby Rose, daughter of Summer Rose, and I want to be huntress to help others. Not just people like that brave old man, but also people who can’t put up a fight, and even fellow heroes like the men and women in the VPD, along with my fellow huntresses and huntsmen. I just…” some confidence left her, and she looked to her feet, “…want to do good.”

Ozpin and Glynda exchanged glances, then the former set down the scroll.

“Miss Rose, I would like to formally congratulate you,” Ozpin said. “I have decided to allow you early access to Beacon Academy.”

Ruby wheezed. “What?”

“I went over your skills, motives, and determination, and I am certain you don’t need to waste your time with classes that will get you nowhere.” Ozpin reached his hand over. “I know you’ll be a fine addition to my class.”

“Thank you…” Ruby stared off into space, but was still able to shake Ozpin’s hand. “I can’t wait to tell Yang.”

“Yang Xiao-Long?” Ozpin asked. “She had just been enrolled in Beacon, as well.”

“OMG, we’re going to go to Beacon together!” Ruby squeed.

“I’m happy for the both of you.” Ozpin smiled.

“You’re here to visit her before she went off to start classes in Beacon, were you not?” Glynda asked.

“Yeah, but she was helping the cops with something,” Ruby answered.

“What would that be?” Glynda cocked an eyebrow.


Yang strolled up to the night club, confidently. When the bouncer caught sight of her, he stopped her.

“Hold up, let me see some ID,” The bouncer ordered.

“I got something better then that.” Yang handed the bouncer a slip of paper.

“Huh?” The Bouncer read over and realized it was a search warrant. “You’re a cop!”

“Nope, just a huntress-in-training working with them,” Yang said. “You going to let me in, now?”

“Uh…sure!” The Bouncer stepped aside.

“Thanks.” Yang smiled and walked inside.

The second she was out of sight, the Bouncer reached for his earpiece. “Boss, we got a problem!”


The music was loud, the lights were bright, and Yang would’ve been all over it in any other situation. Right now, she was focused on the owner of club, Junior Xiong, sitting over in the bar. When Yang sat beside him, Junior gave her a confused glance.

“Hey kid, my bouncer told me of a huntress-in-training with a search warrant, but I can’t be you,” Junior snarked. “Can it?”

Without looking at Junior, Yang placed the search warrant on the table, and slid it over to him. He snatched and checked its authenticity, groaning when he realized it was real.

“The damn VDP can’t go one night without harassing a man with a legitimate business!” Junior whined to himself.

“Oh, this club is legit.” Yang finally turned to face Junior, eyes red. “Your little ransom schemes, however? They most certainly aren’t.”

“Look, I don’t know where you get off-” Junior began, but Yang cut him off by roughly grabbing his collar and pulling him right to her face.

“You got away with it for a while, but you made one fatal mistake!”

“What’s that?” Junior reached into his pocket and pressed the big red button that was on the remote.

“You kidnapped-” Yang was cut off by the music cutting out and guards forcing everyone off the dance floor and out of the club.

“Kid, you let go of the boss, right now!” A thug pulled out his sword and pointed the blade at Yang.

“You should do what he says!” Junior smugly grinned at Yang. “You’re just one little girl against a group of-WHOA!”

Yang wiped the smug look off Junior’s face by throwing him into the bar shelf, sending him, the shelves, and the alcohol all falling onto the floor.

“You’re going to regret that, blondie,” a thug shouted.

“No,” Yang turned towards them, eyes once again turning red, “I’m not.”

Yang suddenly charged the thug, who raised his sword and slashed down. She dodged and grabbed his wrist, squeezing down on it. The thug cried out, dropping his sword, allowing Yang to grab it, break his nose with the hilt of the blade, and then kicked him, sending the thug flying back. The other thugs watched as he slid across the floor right into a booth, breaking the table.

“Ugh…little brat…” Yang heard Junior speak behind her, she turned and threw the sword like a javelin, pinning him to the wall with his jacket, just barely missing his shoulder. “What the…?! Are you crazy?!”

Yang flashed him a small smirk, before turning back on Junior’s thugs, who were just staring at her. She could tell they were nervous, and used the time their fear brought her to slip on Ember Celica, loading her shotgun gauntlets then taking a boxing stance.

“Come on, boys!” Yang called. “Not going to leave a girl waiting, are you?”

The thug closest to her glanced at his comrades before they charged. Smirk growing wider, Yang punched down with both fist, causing the recoil to send her flying into the air, and right on top of a thug. Another swiped at her, but ducked and uppercut him. Two more thugs flanked, with one taking a jab, which Yang dodged, grabbed his arm, then spun him 180 degrees into the other thug, knocking them both out. She heard and scream and just barely dodged a slash from another thug.

“Whoa! Almost got me there!” Yang chuckled.

“Won’t be so lucky next time!” The thug swiped at Yang twice, but left an opening, allowing her to punch him square in the face.

“I was just about to say that!” Yang crackled her knuckles, then glanced around the room, counting up the remaining thugs. “So, you guys good or…what? Don’t tell me you big strong men are scared of one little girl.”

When none of the thugs made a move, Yang shrugged and shot three of them with Ember Celica. Then she charged a thug was at the center of the dance floor, grabbed by the collar, and spun his a full 360 degrees before throwing him straight up, his head getting caught in the disco ball. Another thug tackled Yang, but she quickly turned the tables, slamming him onto the ground and punching him in the face.

“How is she doing this?!” Junior watched as his men were being taken out. “N-No worries! The twins will take good care of her!”

Yang got to her feet, panting. She wiped sweat off her brow. She might’ve looked tired, but she wasn’t done, yet.

“Look at what we got here, Mil,” a girl spoke.

“It looks like a brute who is wrecking our bosses club,” spoke another.

That’s when two girls jumped down from the rafters, one dressed in white with bladed high heels. The other was in red, wrist blades that were at least a foot in length were pointed at her.

“Meet Melanie and Miltiades Malachite!” Junior shouted in glee, certain that this would be Yang’s end.

“Wow, interesting choice of dress, ladies,” Yang snarked.

“Like what you see?” Melanie asked.

“Give up, and we won’t only let you live, but give you a little…reward!” Miltiades smiled flirtatiously.

“Sorry girls, taken,” Yang said.

“Pity.” Melanie pouted.

“I guess we’ll just have to take your life!” Miltiades shouted.

Both twins charged, but Yang was too quick thinking. She took out Miltiades by sweeping her legs out from under her, and took out Melanie with an uppercut.

“Oh no…” Junior’s hopes were dashed after he saw that, he decided he needed to escape while Yang was distracted, and tried to tear his jacket free from the blade. “Come on! Come on!”

Miltiades recovered and jumped to her feet, slashing at Yang, who dodged back. The two stared each other down, when Yang remembered their were four pillars at each corner of the dance floor, and she was currently standing in front of one. She made the “come get me” motion at Miltiades, who began to slash at her, Yang dodging back until they reach the pillar. Miltiades slashed, but her blade got caught in the pillar.

“Huh?!” Miltiades tried to pull her arm free, but their was no use.

“Sorry I couldn’t cut, you a break!” Yang joked.

“I’m not done, yet!” Miltiades slashed with her free blade, but Yang dodged, grabbed her by the back of her head, and slammed her head into the metal pillar.

“Yeah, you are.” Yang watched Miltiades’ unconscious body slump to the floor, arm still stuck in the pillar.

“You’ll pay for that!” Melanie shouted.

Yang turned as Melanie charged, and did a flying kick, but Yang blocked the kick with her gauntlets.

“I wonder if this works on girls?” Yang asked herself, punching Melanie straight in the groin.

Melanie screaming and falling to the ground, hands between her legs, answered her questions.

“Yes!” Yang heard Junior scream, along with the tearing of his jacket.

“I hope you don’t think you’re getting out of her, Junior!” Yang shouted.

Junior looked over and saw Yang had defeated every single one of guards, even the Malachite twins. Eyes wide, he tried to run, but froze in place when she fired Ember Celica right next to him.

“I’ll only ask you this once, Xiong!” Yang stalked over to him, eyes red and hair raising as if it were in flames. “Where is Sapphire Ensley?!”

“What do you want with the girl?!”

“What do I want?!” Yang grabbed Junior by the collar the second he was in arms length, and threw him into the nearest pillar, denting.

Before Junior hit the ground, Yang caught him by the throat, lifting him into the air.

“Going to answer that question, now?” Yang asked.

“I keep all my hostages in the back!” Junior caved in, reaching into his pocket and handing Yang a key. “It’s the key to the janitor’s closet.”

“Thanks.” Yang pocketed the key.

“What’s this girl to you?”

“Oh nothing…she’s just my girlfriend.” Yang glared daggers.

“Oh…” Junior gulped.

“Yeah, oh.” Yang knocked Junior out with a punch in the face.

With all the resistance out of the way, Yang made her way to the back of the club, the music noticeably fading as she walked into the quieter parts of the club. When she found the closet, and she unlocked it and flicked the light on, and smile. There, tied to a chair, was a fair skinned girl with shoulder length blue hair, aqua colored eyes, and dressed in a cute blue sundress that was decorated in little flower. When the girl looked up, her eyes widened.

“Hey there, Blue.” Yang went to untie Sapphire.
--
“I know I wouldn’t have been held long with you here to look for me,” Sapphire said.

Yang was carrying her bridal style out of the club. When they exited, police had started to pull in, Yang flashing a smug grin at the bouncer as he was arrested.

“I see the girl is okay,” one half of the Hardy Boys noted.

“Yep, pleasure doing business with you boys,” Yang said. “Have fun cleaning up the mess!”

“Are you going to let me go?” Sapphire asked, laughing.

“Not until we’re back at our apartment!” Yang smiled, but then she saw Ruby, Glynda, and Ozpin standing in-front of her.

“Is that you sister with…” Sapphire widened her eyes.

“On second thought, sorry hon!” Yang gently set Sapphire on her feet, the ran over to the three. “Sis? What are you doing here?”

“I got two things: 1. Good job saving your girl!” Ruby gave Yang a thumbs up. “2. I just got accepted into Beacon Academy!”

“What?! You’re only fifteen, though!” Yang’s eyes widened.

“Hey, ask them!” Ruby pointed at Ozpin and Glynda.

“I hope I don’t come off as disrespectful but…really?!” Yang asked.

“Yes.” Ozpin nodded. “Your sister did some saving of her own, and after seeing her skills, along with learning of her will and motives, I can safely say your sister is more then ready for Beacon.”

“So…so your going to Beacon with me?!” Yang smiled wide.

“Yeah!” Ruby cheered.

“Holy crap, this is the best night ever!” Yang picked up Ruby into a bear hug, then set her down and motioned to Sapphire. “Come on, hon! Group hug!”

Sapphire smiled and ran into a tight group hug with the two sisters.

“I hope you know what you’re doing, sir,” Glynda whispered to Ozpin.

“When have I not?”

“Well…”

“Oh shush,” Ozpin chuckled.

Chapter Text

“Bye honey.” Yang and Sapphire rubbed noses and gave each other a quick kiss.

“You show them how to become a huntress!” Sapphire smiled.

“I’ll try to visit as often as I can,” Yang said. “I promise.”

“I’m holding you to that, Xiao Long.” Sapphire turned to Ruby and ruffled her hair. “Good luck to you, too.”

“Hey!” Ruby waved Sapphire’s hands away and started to fix her hair.

“Sorry, sorry,” Sapphire laughed.

The sound of an airship ruined the pleasant atmosphere. The three girls turned to see Beacon’s transfer ship landed, dozens of newly accepted students began to board.

“Okay, we got to go!” Yang kissed Sapphire’s cheek. “I love you!”

“I love you, too!” Sapphire waved as the two sisters ran towards the ship.

When they got on board, the looked around at all the students. One of them, a young cat faunus, accidentally bumped into Yang, the student dropping her book in the process.

“Oh salut! Je suis vraiment désolé!” The black cat Faunus apologized.

“Uh…what?” Yang cocked an eyebrow.

“Oh, sorry, I tend to slip back into my native tongue when nervous,” the Faunus said, cat ears lowering in embarrassing. “I said: Oh hi! I’m so sorry!”

“Oh,” Yang picked up the book and handed it back to her, “here.”

“Thanks!” The Faunus took the book.

“So, what’s you name?” Yang asked.

“Oh…I’m Blake.” Blake held out her hand. “Blake Belladonna.”

“Yang Xiao Long.” Yang shook Blake’s hand, then she pointed to Ruby. “That’s my little sis, Ruby Rose.”

“Hi!” Ruby greeted Blake with a two finger salute.

“Uh…h-hi!” Blake sheepishly covered her face with her book, blushing.

“Hey, it’s okay!” Yang assured.

“I know…I mean…I just…I gotta go!” Blake scampered off.

“Hey, wait!” Yang reached out to Blake, but she disappeared into the crowd of students, causing Ruby to notice just how packed it was.

“Wow, a lot of students here,” Ruby noted.

“Of course, Beacon is the most famous and prestigious Huntsmen Academy,” Yang said. “The best and brightest from all across Remnant rush to this place!.”

“Lucien! Dude, deck this out!” A boy with a pale complexion and brown hair ran up to another boy, this one fair skinned and with black hair.

“Yeah Adrian?” Lucien raised an eyebrow in concern.

“I was in the bathroom and grabbed us one of each!” Adrian held up two urinal cakes.

“Adrian I am not eating that,” Lucien said.

“Fine, more for-” before Adrian could even act, Lucien slapped the urinal cakes up into the air, and right onto a blonde boy’s lap.

“Oh Gods! Are these…” the boy covered his mouth and ran towards the nearest trash can.

“Why did you do that?” Adrian asked.

“Adrian you’re not supposed to eat those!” Lucien scolded.

“But they have cake in the name!”

“Adrian you can’t…I…” Lucien just threw his hands into the air, and began leading Adrian back to the bathroom.

“Why are we going back?”

“To wash our freaking hands!”

Ruby and Yang watched the entire ordeals unfurl, and when it was over they both glanced at each other.

“Okay, maybe not the brightest,” Yang conceded with a shrug. “The point is, Beacon gets a lot of students, you of all people should know this!”

“Yeah…I guess I just wasn’t expecting to be around so many so soon,” Ruby said.

“You’ll knock them dead, sis.” Yang hugged Ruby. “Even though you haven’t even started classes, I want to you know I’m proud of you. Getting into Beacon early is a real accomplishment!”

“Thanks Yang.” Ruby returned the hug.

“Ugh, barf!” A boy faked gagging, causing his friends to laugh. “You girls do realize we’re going to be Huntsmen, not sissies, right?”

Yang and Ruby turned towards the group of boys, their leading had a very punchable face, with a smug grin to boot.

“I’m sorry, who said you could butt into our conversation, jackass?” Yang asked, angrily.

“Cardin Winchester.” The boy pointed at himself. “Who’s me. By the way.”

“Alright Winchester, what’s your problem?” Ruby narrowed her eyes at Cardin and his friends.

“My problem is Huntsmen Academies still letting over-emotional, touchy-feely girls to be the protectors of humanity,” Cardin sneered. “I mean, what’s gonna happen when one of you chips a nail or gets scratched? Whine the Grimm to death?”

Cardin turned to his friends, as if checking to make sure they were laughing. This gave Yang ample time to sneak up on him, and kick him square in the groin. Cardin yelped, and fell to the ground, whimpering.

“Ow!” Cardin cried.

“What’s wrong? Gonna whine me to death?” Yang mocked, she looked up at Cardin’a friends, then scared them by fake charging at them.

“Hey guys!” Cardin watched his “friends” run off without him, and he got to his feet, awkwardly shimmying away.

“Well, I can already tell that asshat is going to be a beauty to deal with at Beacon,” Yang snarked.

“No worries, if you handle him like that, he’s shouldn’t be a problem!” Ruby nudged Yang. “Nice kick.”

“You thought that was brutal? You should’ve seen the one I did to one of Junior’s guards!” Yang chuckled. “Though it was a chick, and it was a punch instead of a kick.”

“Yikes!” Ruby awkwardly rubbed her knees together at the thought.

“Alright, I think we should find a seat.” Yang searched the chairs before noticing the blonde boy who had finished puking went back to his seats, two empty ones right beside him. “Come on, found two!”

Yang lead Ruby to the blonde boy, slouched in his chair, face green.

“Hey there, vomit boy, these seats taken?” Yang asked.

“What?” The blonde boy looked at them. “Vomit boy? Oh…I take it you saw that?”

Yang nodded.

“Of course, go ahead,” the blonde boy sighed.

“Thanks…uh…” Ruby scratched her chin.

“Arc. Jaune Arc,” Jaune introduced.

“Xiao Long. Yang Xiao Long,” Yang mocked a Scottish accent.

“Ruby Rose!” Ruby patted Jaune’s back. “You feeling okay?”

“Yeah, I got it out of system, I’m good,” Jaune assured. “Just recovering is all.”

“I guess we all are having a bit of a bad start, eh?” Yang asked, jokingly. “You get urinal cakes in your lap and we bump into a bunch of sexist jerks.”

“I’m sure things will start looking up when we get to Beacon!” Ruby assured.

“Speaking of which, look!” Yang pointed to a screen at the end of the chairs, showing the perspective of a camera placed at the front of the airship, showing off Beacon Academy.

“Really? Let me see!” Jaune squeezed past Ruby and Yang, only to slip on one of the fallen urinal cakes, face planting on the ground. “Ow.”

“Jeez, Lady Luck just isn’t on your side, is she?” Yang asked.

“Ah, I’m sure it’ll get better!” Jaune got to his feet, dusting himself off, then looked towards. “Wow, that place is beautiful!”

“Expcected nothing less,” Yang said.

“Well, I just wanted to see, so if I can just slip past you girls ag-” Jaune slipped on the other urinal cake and landed right into Yang’s lap.

“Whoa there!” Yang laughed. “You’re cute Jaune, but I’m taken!”

“Oh gosh! I’m so sorry!” Jaune got to his feet, face crimson. “I slipped and-you know what? I’m going to sit somewhere else!”

Ruby and Yang watched Jaune scurry off.

“Sure are meeting a lot of interesting folks,” Ruby noted.

“Yeah, I hope we see more of them!” Yang smirked, then frowned. “Except Cardin.”

“Jinxed it.”

“Damn it!”


Ruby and Yang took in the sight of Beacon’s courtyard, the latter whistling at the size of it.

“So, what’s the schedule today, sis?” Ruby asked.

Yang checked the list she had written on her scroll. “Let’s see…first we have an assembly, but we got sometime before it starts. Next we rest. Tomorrow we get our interviews, which is then we’ll be assigned a partner and a team.”

“Sweet!” Ruby pumped the air, the crossed her fingers. “Fingers crossed we’re on the same team!”

“Same here!” Yang raised her right hand, fingers crossed.

“Okay, so what do you want to do while we wait?” Ruby asked.

“I think I’ll just hang out in the assembly hall, honestly,” Yang said. “I’ll text you when it’s about to start.”

“Alright!”

“Later sis, have fun exploring!” Yang waved as she headed towards Beacon.

“Wow, this place is so beautiful!” Ruby gazed in awe at her surroundings. “I can’t wait to meet more nice and interesting people!”

That’s when Ruby noticed out of her peripheral vision, another airship arrived. It wasn’t like Beacon’s, this ship carried itself with a kind of grace and elegance. Strange, tail-like objects flowed behind it as it flew through the sky, eventually coming to a rest at Beacon’s dock. Ruby curiously walked towards the ship as a group of servants got out, carrying luggage of various sizes.

“Whoa, whoever owns that ship must have a lot of money on their hands,” Ruby said when she was as close as she could get.

“More then you could ever imagine.”

Ruby looked at the ship’s exit, there stood a girl with a white hair that was tied into a crooked ponytail, with a white jacket that had red inside, and a white dress under it. Knee high boots. Most importantly, a cold glare that really bore into Ruby’s being.

“Wait a minute…” Ruby realized. “You’re-”

“Weiss Schnee?” Weiss walked down the steps towards Ruby. “Heiress to the Schnee Dust Company? Daughter of the most wealthy man in all Remnant? Yes. Yes, I am.”

“Well, pleased to meet ya!” Ruby held out her hand.

Weiss scoffed, then walked past Ruby. “Save your friendliness for someone who wants it.”

“Man, that was cold,” Ruby said, then shrugged. “Might as well forget about her, just make sure to avoid her throughout the year.” She then walked back to Beacon’s courtyard, determined to get know her environment as quickly as she could.


Jaune walked through the doors of the assembly hall, staring up at the mile high ceiling. “Wow, this place is huge!”

“Well, the best huntsmen academy on Remnant would have to grand, would it not?”

Jaune turned and locked eyes with none other then Pyrrha Nikos. She had her hand on her hip, and was looking at him kind of dreamily, though Jaune was too stunned to notice.

“W-Wait…you’re P-Pyrrha Nikos!” Jaune pointed at her. “You’re the champion from my big sister’s home town! Argus!

“Correct,” Pyrrha confirmed with a nod.

“Wow, I must say, it is a pleasure to meet the mascot of my favorite cereal!” Jaune held out his hand.

“That’s what you like best?” Pyrrha laughed.

“I…uh…really like Pumpkin Pete,” Jaune said, sheepishly.

“How much?”

“Well…” Jaune raised the armor he was wearing, revealing the bunny logo.

“Oh wow, I remember that box top competition!” Pyrrha smiled.

“Yeah, I won like twelve of them,” Jaune chuckled.

“I sure determination like that will do you wonders in Beacon,” Pyrrha said.

“Thanks, I’ll be seeing you around.”

“Wait, why don’t we sit together?”

“The great Pyrrha Nikos, next to a dork like me?” Jaune shook his head. “Sorry…I think…you deserve better.”

“Oh…I understand.” Pyrrha frowned.

“Bye.” Jaune back away and made his way towards the closest seat.


When Yang noticed Glynda setting up the microphone, she texted Ruby.

Hey sis, the assembly is about to start!

On my way, now! Ruby responded immediately. Speed semblance, activate!

Yang chuckled and put her phone away, then she heard the familiar voice of Blake.

“Oh no!”

Yang saw she had tripped and dropped her book, which apathetic students were kicking away from her the second she got close.

“Allez! Allez!” Blake grabbed the book just as Yang did, the latter’s hand accidentally touching the top of her’s, causing to Blake to shiver at her soft touch.

“Oh sorry!” Yang stepped back.

Blake looked up at Yang, the two locking eyes. “It’s okay.”

“Good…good…” Yang rubbed the back of her head, then she noticed the cover of the book Blake had. “Oh, The Man With Two Souls! I love that story!”

“Really?” Blake looked at the book, then back at Yang.

“Heck yeah! It’s a classic!” Yang beamed.

“I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that,” Blake said, then she got nervous. “You want to talk about? Like…I don’t know, later?”

“Sure, maybe we can start a book club!” Yang suggested.

“That sounds like fun.” Blake smiled, then she walked past Yang. “Oh, and Yang?”

Yang hummed and looked at Blake.

“Tu es beau.”

“Blake, I can’t understand your native tongue.”

“I know.” Blake smiled, then walked away.

Yang heard something bang into somethings else, then heard boxes tumbling down, and then shouting.

“Dummkopf! Pass auf, wohin du gehst!” Weiss scolded Ruby.

“Sorry…” Ruby rubbed the tips of her pointer fingers together, looking into Weiss’ eyes. “It’s sometimes hard to get out of my semblance.”

“Well, try harder to get out of it before you knock over my stuff!” Weiss huffed and had her servants put  the luggage back on the carrier, then they all made their way deeper into the assembly hall.

“Hey, you okay, sis?” Yang walked over to Ruby.

“Yeah, it’s fine, she had a right to be mad,” Ruby assured. “Find any good seats?”

“Oh…crap…”

“You were here this whole time an didn’t get any seats?”

“Let’s just go look for so,e before it starts!”

Unfortunately for Ruby and Yang, since all of the students had arrived at the assembly hall, there were only two seats left. Right between Blake…and Weiss.

“Hey again, Blake.” Yang sat beside Blake.

“Hi…” Blake buried her face in her book.

“Are you kidding me?” Weiss glared at Ruby as she sat down next to her. “It’s been like…ten seconds since the last time you bugged me! Are you going to be doing this all year?”

“I’ll try not to,” Ruby said.

Weiss scoffed and rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”

Any chatting in the room went quiet when Ozpin finally walked up on stage.

Chapter Text

“I would like to congratulate all of you for sharpening your skills enough to be accepted into this great Huntsmen Academy,” Ozpin began. “However, I hope none of you think that the hard part is over, because you’d be wrong. In fact, I’d say it’s just begun. No more simple training dummies, now you’ll be fighting others who will hurt you if you can’t hurt back. Lectures will be long, and we’ll expect you to listen if you want to pass your exams. You will fight, you will learn, and when you walk out of this institution you will be true Huntsmen. If you don’t believe you can handle that, if you don’t have what it takes to be the best Huntsmen you can be, then you can leave at any time. Anyone want to leave now?”

Not a single student in audience moved, or even spoke.

“Excellent!” Ozpin smirked. “Let’s hope you can keep that determination for the rest of your stay here.” With that, Ozpin strolled off stage, allowing Glynda to take his place.

“A tour of the entirety of Beacon Academy will begin shortly, afterwards students will be handed individual sleeping bags and you all will be sleeping in the ballroom,” Glynda explained. “Only for tonight, once teams have been formed you will each be given dorms. Any questions?”

“Uh…yes!” Adrian raised his hand

“Adrian!” Lucien scolded.

“Will there be campfire and s’mores?” Adrian asked, Lucien face palming.

“You’ll be inside…so no,” Glynda said.

“Okay, but-”

“Adrian, we haven’t even technically begun our first semester and you’re already close humiliating yourself,” Lucien said. “Please. Sit. Down.”

“Never mind!” Adrian sat down, completely confused why students were laughing at him.

“That kid is really dumb,” Yang said, baffled.

“How did he get into Beacon?” Weiss asked, confused.

“Alright, anyone else have any questions?” Glynda looked around for any raised. “Then right this way, we’ll begin the tour now.”

“Wonderful, I can get away from you three.” Weiss stood and speed walked away from Ruby, Blake, and Yang.

“What a ball of sunshine,” Blake snarked, earning a snicker from Yang.

“You have no idea,” Ruby said.


Beacon was truly a large facility. By the time the students had been shown everything they needed to, it was nightfall, and they were more then ready for sleep.

Ruby was writing in her diary when Yang plopped down beside her. “Just give me a second, Yang.”

“What are you writing about?” Yang asked.

“Diary,” Ruby snarked. “Private.”

“Is it about any girls you like?”

Ruby blushed. “What? No!”

“Come on, sis,” Yang joked. “You’re in Beacon, now. This is a perfect opportunity to spread your wings, make new friends, start sucking face with a hottie and-” she was cut off by Ruby throwing her pillow in her face.

“I’m still fifteen, Yang,” Ruby said.

“Ruby, that is a completely normal age to start dating,” Yang said.

“Yeah…well…everyone here is too old for me.”

“Oh definitely, guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t talking about them.” Yang tossed Ruby her pillow. “I was talking about in Vale!”

“I’ll be here, training and studying.”

“You can’t stay cooped up in here for years, sis.”

“Just you watch me.”

“Okay, for real, at least try to make friends.”

“Like who?”

“Like Blake! She was cool, right?”

“I guess…”

“There are also people like.” Yang scanned the room, and her eyes fell on an orange haired girl, she was sitting beside a boy, completely talking her head off at him.

“AreyouexcitedbecauseI’mexcitedImeanyouandIwillgettobehunstmenandthat’sthecoolestdon’tyouthink-”

“Nora,” the boy calmly interrupted.

“Yes Ren?”

“Please, go to sleep,” Ren ordered.

“How can I sleep when-”

Ren pulled out his scroll and started playing classical music, causing Nora to face plant onto her pillow, snoring loudly. He smiled, then closed his eyes and calmly fell asleep.

“She kind of reminds me of you,” Yang joked.

“Hey!” Ruby narrowed her eyes at Yang, who laughed.

“What about that duo over there.” Yang pointed to Lucien and Adrian.

“Hey Adrian, I’m sorry if I made you look bad,” Adrian said.

Lucien noticeably softened for the first time that day. “Adrian, it’s okay! This is a new chapter for us!” He put his arm around his shoulder. “A jumping off point for change in our lives!”

“True,” Adrian said.

“Maybe we’ll get cool teammates, like…” Lucien looked beside him and saw a rather large boy with black hair. “Like this guy?”

“Huh? Me?” The boy pointed at himself.

“No worries, I meant it in positive way,” Lucien assured. “You being a teammate would be pretty cool.”

“Oh, thanks.” The boy smiled. “Names Deacon.”

“Lucien Canvas.” Lucien pointed towards Adrian. “Adrian Church.”

“Church?” Deacon chuckled. “My family name is Temple.”

“We should totally be on the same team,” Adrian said.

“Adrian, that’s for Oz to decide,” Lucien said.

“Yeah, but Ozpin is like super wise, and none of the team’s he’s pick have ever been wrong,” Adrian pointed out. “Name one famous team from Beacon that ever broke up.”

“Adrian…” Lucien began, only to stop before he said anything when realization hit. “That’s…actually a good point, Adrian.”

“Sound like those are rare or something,” Deacon said.

“Since when is having a good point a well cooked stake?” Adrian asked.

Deacon’s eyes widened in shock.

“Because they are,” Lucien sighed. “Anyway, I guess we’d need one more team member, any suggestions?”

“I got one.” Deacon tapped Lucien’s shoulder and pointed at the sleeping form not far away.

It was a dove Faunus, white wings tucked in as their owner slept. Occasionally turning on their side to show the two their shirt black hair and feminine face.

“She’s kind of cute,” Lucien noted.

“That’s a guy.”

“Oh…” Lucien blush.

“I agree with you on the cute part, though,” Deacon admitted. “I’ve been watching him sleep.”

Lucien and Adrian both stared at Deacon.

“Uh…” Adrian said.

“W-Wait!” Deacon widened his eyes in realization. “I wasn’t like watching him for hours or anything, we locked eyes as we walked in, but I just noticed him a few minutes ago and…I just…he was pretty and I couldn’t take my eyes off him…you get it, right?”

Lucien and Adrain exchanged glances.

“Yeah, I guess.” Lucien shrugged.

“I’m…gonna go to sleep now.” Deacon laid down.

“Yeah, you do that,” Lucien chuckled, then he looked to Adrian. “We really should get some sleep, too.”

“If you say so.” Adrian laid down.

Ruby and Yang watched as Lucien laid down and fell asleep.

“Well, looks like they’re a comedy trio, now,” Yang joked.

“Oh, what about Jaune,” Ruby said.

“Yeah, Jaune is-” Yang stopped when she caught sight of Jaune walking towards his sleeping bag after returning from the bathroom. “Oh. My. Gods.”

“What?” Ruby followed her eyes, and covered her mouth when she saw Jaune dressed in a Pumpkin Pete onesie.

Both sisters used their pillows to stifle their laughter, but eventually broke down into a fit of giggles.

“Will you two keep it down!” Weiss scolded. “The important people are trying to sleep!”

Ruby and Yang immediately stopped laughing.

“Wow, real mood killer that girl is,” Yang said.

“Yeah…” Ruby yawned. “…she is.”

“Looks like we should hit the hay, too,” Yang said. “Like she said, the important people need sleep, which means we need sleep.”

“Heck yeah!” Ruby high-fived Yang, then closed her diary and shoved it under her pillow, resting her head upon it and falling asleep.


When the time came for their interviews, students waited anxiously in the hallway for their turn to talks with Ozpin and Glynda. While there was no risk of getting kicked out, the interviews would still determine the team they were in and their placement in said team.

Before the interviews officially began, Ozpin personally went to meet with Ruby.

“Miss Rose, you can step out of the line,” Ozpin said.

“What, why?” Ruby asked.

“Because I know exactly what team you’ll be in,” Ozpin assured.

“R-Really?!” Ruby didn’t hide her shock.

“That’s right, you can wait in the assembly hall,” Ozpin said.

“Okay, if you say so.” Ruby walked out of line, watching as all the students stared at her in shock.

“Why is she getting special treatment?” Weiss whined. “I’m a Schnee, I shouldn’t need an interview to know I’m a natural born leader who will inspire-”

“Shut. Up,” Blake interrupted.

“I…” Weiss stopped when she noticed Blake’s Faunus ears. “Oh, I get it, now.”

“What?” Blake’s ears folded in rage.

“I don’t need to explain it to you.” Weiss turned away from Blake, who narrowed her eyes before staring at the lockers in front of her to keep her eyes off the girl beside her.

“Alright students, the first in line may enter.” Ozpin walked into the interview room.


“So, Lucien Canvas, why do you want to become a Huntsmen?” Ozpin asked.

“Well, I always admired my dad, and all the god he’s done over in Atlas,” Lucien said. “So I decided to apply.”

“Isn’t your father a high ranking member of the Atlas Military?” Glynda looked at Lucien’s file.

“Yep!”

“Then why didn’t you apply for Atlas Academy?” Glynda asked. “You would’ve gotten Scholarships.”

“My dad recommended me I come here because, in his words, ‘Screw Atlas’,” Lucien said.

“Okay then,” Ozpin said.

“Oh, and another!” Lucien sat up. “I must be partnered with Adrian.”

“That isn’t your decision to make,” Glynda said, sternly.

“Yes…but it also isn’t yours.”

“What?” Glynda was taken aback.

“Boosh!” Lucien pulled out an envelope. “That is a written letter from James Ironwood himself, saying that Adrian must remain in my line of sight by law, to protect others.”

“You can’t be serious!” Glynda exclaimed.

“This is most certainly James’ handwriting.” Ozpin looked over the document.

“What about Mr. Church requires this?” Glynda asked, shocked.

“Well…”


“I once set my house on fire trying to flush the toilet!” Adrian admitted.

Ozpin and Glynde were left completely speechless.

“We…we didn’t even start the interview!” Glynda rubbed her forehead. “You literally just walked in, sat down, and said that!”

“I felt I should be honest with my Technicians,” Adrian said.

“Tech…you mean teachers?”

“Tomato, Tomato,” Adrian said.

“Okay…Adrian, why do you want to be a Hunstmen?” Ozpin asked. “Are you actually mentally capable of understanding and answering the question?”

“Sure, I want to be a huntsmen because I like to help people!” Adrian smiled. “I don’t really have any inspirations or anything, I just want to help in anyway I can!”

“That’s…that’s wonderful!” Ozpin gasped. “That’s the qualities of a leader.”

“Leader is a type of color, right?” Adrian asked.

“My. Gods.” Glynda ran her fingers through her hair.

“That, on the other hand, is not,” Ozpin said.


“Jaune Arc, part of the famous Arc Bloodline, a descendant of the King of Vale, himself.” Glynda read Jaune’s file. “Quite the extensive family history you have.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Jaune said, nervously.

“Your acceptance form is also rather…interesting,” Glynda said.

Jaune tried to keep his cool. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Well, for starters-” Glynda began.

“Leave it be, Glynda,” Ozpin ordered.

Glynda sighed. “If this is what you want.”

“Thank you, professor,” Jaune said, relieved.

“You’re welcome, now why do you want to be a Huntsman?” Ozpin asked.

“Well, my extensive family history,” Jaune answered with a chuckle. “The King of Vale was just the first, his son, his grandson, his great grandson, and all my relatives up to me did wonderful things. I’m the only boy of siblings, which means I feel it’s my duty to continue that.”

“That is a mighty big responsibility,” Ozpin said. “You shouldn’t force yourself to a great hero.”

“That’s the thing, I’m not,” Jaune admitted. “I don’t want to find a way to kill all the Grimm or something, I want to do whatever my Huntsman job requires of me, clearing out Grimm, or even get a simple just like working as a crossing guard.”

“I see,” Ozpin said, impressed. “See Miss Goodwitch, I know I won’t regret a thing.”

Jaune smiled.


“Blake Belladonna, another member of a well known bloodline,” Glynda said. “Your great grandfather was responsible for-”

“The Faunus Civil Rights Act,” Blake finished with pride.

“Quite the accomplishment,” Ozpin said. “I take it that is your motivation to become a Huntress?”

“Well, actually, it’s because of the White Fang,” Blake said, somberly.

“The Faunus Supremacy group?” Glynda asked.

“Yes, they want to take the rights we fought for, what we’re still fighting for, and twist them to become the very same oppressive racists we’re fighting.” Blake clenched her fist. “Humans will become fearful of Faunus, again. You know how the saying goes, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. I want to become Huntress alongside the many brave Faunus here and in other Hunstmen Academies to fight against the White Fang and the Grimm, to remind the world we’re people, not violent animals.”


“Weiss Schnee, daughter of Jacques Schnee, CEO of the Schnee Dust Company,” Glynda said.

“We should feel honored, Glynda,” Ozpin joked. “We’re getting students of famous bloodlines from all across the globe.”

“The Schnee family has helped all Remnant with its dust products,” Weiss said, pridefully. “I wanted to become a huntress, so I can help people.”

“Just like your sister?” Glynda asked.

“Yes, just like my sister.” Weiss smiled, fondly.

“Why?” Ozpin leaned forward.

Weiss shrunk at the question. “Because…I know my father isn’t the best at running the company.” She showed another side of herself, instead of the confident, haughty Schnee, there was just a regular girl with lots of insecurities. “The steps he has taken the SDC in have brought great shame to the Schnee name, so much so my grandfather, the great man who started the company to help the people of Remnant, died due to the stress of it all.”

“So you want to bring honor back to your family name?” Ozpin asked.

“Yes.” Weiss nodded.


“Must say, it is an honor to be in your presence, Professor,” Yang said.

“Thank you, Miss Xiao Long,” Ozpin said. “Now, I want to go over your motives to be a huntress.”

“Sure, well…it’s still really uncomfortable for me to talk about, but my mother, Summer Rose, was a huntress, and one day…she was gone,” Yang explained, solemnly. “Ever since that day, I wanted to protect my loved ones and others from the monsters that torment us. From platonic love with my Dad, sister, and the friends I have and will make, to the not-so-platonic, my girlfriend, Sapphire.”

“I can only imagine how you felt when she was abducted,” Ozpin said.

“Let’s just say I’m glad Junior and his goons gave me an excuse to use excessive force.” Yang’s knuckles whitened as she clenched her fist. “The thing is…I don’t want this to overtake me.”

“What do you mean?” Ozpin cocked an eyebrow.

“Well…I’m not Batman, angsting over my dead parent, brooding, and being a jerk,” Yang said. “I still want to just…live my life. I want to fight Grimm, but I still want spend time with my Dad and sister, go out with friends, or kick back with my girlfriend.”

“Probably the first person who seriously thought about the balance between their Huntsmen life and civilian life in a very long time,” Ozpin said.

“Is it hard?” Yang asked.

“The life any huntsmen is hard,” Ozpin answered, honest but gentle. “However, once one manages to reach that middle ground, it gets easier.”

“I hope, I…I really love Sapphire,” Yang admitted. “Like, I wouldn’t go as far to say I love her more then my Dad or sister, but…there is something different about her.”

“Romantic love is far different then platonic,” Ozpin said. “First time in love?”

“Yeah. Doing surprisingly well for a rookie when it comes to this falling in love, thing,” Yang chuckled. “We’ve been dating since fifteen.”

“Almost three years,” Ozpin noted. “Impressive.”

“Thanks…I honestly want it to be forever,” Yang said. “She’s something different, and I’d fight every Grimm in the world to keep her safe.”

“Then I know you’ll be an excellent Huntress.”


When the interviews finally ended, it was time for Ozpin to set up partners and bring the teams together.

“I will start with the partners before the teams,” Ozpin began. “However, you’ve all chosen without your knowledge.”

The students began whisper and sound their confusion.

“You see, the first person you locked eyes with, will be your partner.” Ozpin dropped the ball. “Please don’t bother lying, we have a security camera set up at the entrance.”

Ruby’s entire being shattered.

“What?!” Weiss shot up from her seat.

“So…so I’m stuck with her?” Weiss pointed at Ruby.

“You won’t be stuck if you learn to get along.” Ozpin sipped his coffee.

“I can not believe this!” Weiss stomped over to Ruby and sat beside her.

“Uh…hi Weiss.” Ruby waved, awkwardly.

Weiss just glared at her.

“Hey!” Blake sat next to Yang.

“Hi.” Yang smiled.

“I guess I should thank this guy.” Blake held up her book. “If I hadn’t dropped him, who knows who I would’ve ended up with.”

“Same here, you’re pretty cool.”

“What? No! Stop!” Blake blushed.

“I know some of you won’t like this, but I hope you’ll understand my judgement…” Ozpin coughed. “Accept Canvas and Adrian, apparently they’re legally obligated to be partners.”

“Yeah, that’s right!” Lucien shouted from his seat.

“Now that that is out of the way, let’s set up our teams,” Ozpin began.

Many teams were formed, some were happy like CRDL, while others weren’t.

“Team JNPR: Jaune Arc, Nora Valkyrie, Pyrrha Nikos, and Li Ren.”

“Wh-What?! I’m the leader?” Jaune walked up on stage.

“That’s right…” Ozpin confirmed.

“Oh Gods…” Jaune didn’t hide his nervousness.

“Hey, it’s okay.” Pyrrha patted his back. “I’m sure you’ll do wonderful.”

“Team CARD: Lucien Canvas-”

“Yes!” Lucien jumped from his seat.

“…as I was saying, Adrian Church, Revon White, and Deacon Temple.”

Lucien practically danced over to the stage. Revon got out of his seat only to trip and face plant.

“Oh Gods, are you okay?” Deacon helped Revon up.

“Yeah, thanks handsome.” Revon smiled at Deacon

“What?!” Deacon accidentally dropped Revon on the floor. “Oh Gods, I’m sorry!”

“It’s okay.” Revon rubbed his back.

All of Lucien’s excitement vanished when he realized Adrian was still sitting. “Adrian! Come on!”

“Why?” Adrian asked.

“You didn’t hear his name our team?”

“Wait…he was talking to us?!”

“Yes, he was talking to us!” Lucien shouted.

“Oh, my bad!” Adrian got out of his seat and walked over to the stage.

Soon, team after team was formed and named, eventually leaving only four girls left.

“We’re going to be on the same team,” Ruby sighed in relief.

“Sweet!” Yang whisper yelled.

“I can’t wait to become leader of a huntsmen team!” Weiss squeed.

“One who set their hopes too high should brace for disappointment,” Blake advised.

“Oh please, I’m going to-”

“Team RWBY: Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long.”

“What?!” Weiss cried.

“I’m the leader?!” Ruby was shocked.

“Congrats sis!” Yang hugged Ruby. “Come on!”

Yang practicality dragged Ruby over to the stage due to the latter’s stunned state. Blake followed behind, laughing. Weiss sat in shock, then she fumed.

“I can’t believe this!’ Weiss stomped over to the stage.

“With that, it’s over,” Ozpin said. “Head to your dorms and get rest, students! When you wake, you’ll get your schedules, and your first year at Beacon will begin!”

Chapter Text

The first thing Penny saw was green. Everything was green. It was very confusing to her.

“She’s awake!” An old man walked into Penny’s line of sight, he was also green. “Salutations.”

“S-S-Sal…” Penny tried to speak.

“Whoa now, you don’t have to try talking just yet,” the old man assured. “We’re still working on the rest of your body.”

That’s when Penny noticed she couldn’t move. She could only look around. It scared her.

“Hey, it’s going to be okay!” The old man rested his hand on her shoulder when he noticed her fear. “I promise, I will take good care of you.”

Penny calmed down, something about this man was very soothing. It felt natural to listen and seek comfort in him. She noticed his name tag: Pietro Polendina.

“It’ll take some time, but I want to make sure we work on your legs so you can get moving!” The man adjusted his glasses, then he jumped into a swivel chair and turned himself in front of a laptop, typing away. “I know this is probably very confusing and scary, but it’ll make sense soon.”

“S-S-Saluta…” Penny tried to speak. “Sal…u…tations.”

Pietro was caught off guard, he was not expecting Penny to learn words so quickly.

“On second thoughts, why don’t we learn a few words while we wait for you legs, okay dear?” Pietro smiled. “Can you try to say it again, but completely?”

“S-S-Sal…” Penny tried to force the word out.

“Hey, don’t force yourself,” Pietro said. “If you try to rush things, you’re more likely to make a mistake,” he advised. “Go about it slowly, take your time. You might not get it right the first time, but that’s the beauty of learning!”

Penny nodded when she realized she could.

“Sal…u…tations,” Penny started with the best way she could say it. “Salu…tations.”

“There you go!” Pietro encouraged.

“Salutations!” Penny smiled for the first time in her life.

Penny woke up from her dream, her eyes adjusting to the darkness of her bedroom. Stepping out of her charging pod, that she called a bed, Penny removed the many wires hooked up to her arms, watching as her “skin” quickly covered up where they had been placed. She wondered what a regular person would do after waking up, and imaged all those funny cartoons her father let her watch as she was learning.

“Usually they yawn and stretch!” Penny did an over exaggerated yawn, then started making random poses in an attempt to replicate stretching.

“Good morning and Happy Birthday, Pen-” Pietro walked in just as Penny was doing an almost ballet level stretch. “Penny dear, what are you doing?”

“Oh, just trying to wake up like people, Papa.” Penny awkwardly got out of her stretches. “They yawn and stretch when they wake up, don’t they?”

“Yes Penny, they do,” Pietro chuckled.

"Do…do people see things when they sleep?" Penny asked.

"What do you mean, Penny?" Pietro widened his eyes

"When I was sleep, I saw my first birthday," Penny said.

"Penny…you dreamed?!"

"Did I do something bad?" Penny shrunk.

"No dear, the complete opposite!" Pietro smiled. "That's wonderful!"

"Really?" Penny perked up. "Then…what does it mean?"

"It proves what I've told so many others: you are human."

"Thank you, Papa. So, what do we plan on doing today?”

“Penny don’t you remember what day it is?”

Penny gasped and looked over to the calendar she had set up herself. It wasn't just her birthday, it was the day, after years of mentally “growing up” and training on dummies and simulations, Penny was going to meet the man who ordered her creation and go out into the world.

“Today’s the day I get to go outside?!” Penny smiled.

“Yes, but first you need to talk to James.”

“James?” Penny tilted her head.

“Come on.” Pietro held out his hand, and Penny took it, him leading her outside her room and down the hall.

When they arrived in Penny’s training room, a large man was talking with one of the nice doctors that helped Penny while training.

“Ironwood!” Pietro called.

Ironwood turned, his stoic, professional demeanor melting away into a warm smile. “Pietro! I take it this is Penny?”

Penny tightened her grip on Pietro’s hand and huddled closer to him as Ironwood walked over to them.

“Hey, I don’t bite.” Ironwood knelt down so he could be at eye level with Penny. “Penny Polendina, my name is James Ironwood, and I’m the reason you were born.”

Penny stepped away from Pietro, loosening her grip on his hand. “You are?”

“That’s right.” Ironwood nodded. “I think you can do a lot of good for the people of Remnant, but first you have to meet them.”

Penny’s eyes widened, practically sparkling when she realized what he meant.

“So Penny, think you’re ready to go outside?”

“Yes, yes, yes!” Penny cheered.

“Great, let’s show you around Mantle, first,” Ironwood said. “The people there are less…”

“Haughty? Arrogant? Elitist?” Pietro joked.

“Yeah.” Ironwood nodded.


Penny stared in awe at Mantle as the bullhead landed. She had been given new eyes then the ones she used to have, and could see all the beautiful colors the world had to offer. She practically jumped out the bullhead the second it was close to the ground.

“Penny, slow down!” Pietro called after her.

“Quite excitable, isn’t she?” Ironwood asked.

“Ever since I told her about the people, she couldn’t wait to meet them,” Pietro said.

“Salutations! Hello! Hi! Please to you meet you!” Penny zipped from person to person, then she spotted a dog and gasped, running over to the little guy and getting on her knees to pet him. “Hello, fluffy friend!”

“Uh…I’m glad you find him cute,” the dog’s owner said, gently tugging her dog away from Penny. “Come on, boy.”

“Okay, have a wonderful day!” Penny waved.

Everyone was staring at Penny more and more.

“She does know she’s supposed to be discreet, right?” Ironwood asked.

“Let the girl have fun, James,” Pietro said. “Getting friendly isn’t going to admittedly give her away!”

“Wow, you are far stronger then the average girl!” A man exclaimed.

Ironwood and Pietro’s heads shot around in the direction of the voice to see Penny using her strength to life a man’s car so he could get the keys that dropped.

“Thank you very much,” the man said.

Penny set down his car, waving as he got in and drove away.

Ironwood gave Pietro look of concern.

“Okay, I’ll have a chat with her after this…” Pietro chuckled, awkwardly.

Chapter Text

Sleeping was Hell for Winter. Every night, good day or bad, when the time came for her to close her eyes and fall into slumber, it was the same thing. The sounds of screaming, gunshots and a baby crying. The sight of blood covering the walls and flames overtaking everything she had loved. Yet, at the same time, it was always mercifully short. Time works differently in dreams, sometimes a dream can feel like years, but you still wake up the next day, and sometimes it lasts only a few seconds, but you still had your full eight hours. If Winter was grateful for one thing, it was her recurring nightmare was always the second.

“Tulip!” Winter’s eyes shot open as she sprung up, looking around her bedroom. “Daisy?”

“Too loud, dear…” a woman groaned, Winter felt the covers shift as she turned.

Winter looked to her right and saw a woman with her naked back facing her, then she remembered. They were dead, she was alone, and the only company she could find was in various “nightly escorts”, which is the what uptight and insistent people of Atlas liked to call them, as saying one ordered a prostitute or hooker would make them sound too much like the people they saw themselves as above. This one was Candy Cane, named due to her white and red striped hair. Probably the most beloved escort for the many women who loved women in Atlas. She had a real name, but Winter never bothered to learn it. Felt like even that would be too much of an attachment for her liking.

“Oh…sorry Candy…” Winter rubbed the tired out of her eyes, then fall back onto her pillow. “Just…a bad dream.”

“Oh,” Candy turned to face Winter, “want me to help you shake it off?”

Winter genuinely thought about it, and made no effort to stop Candy when she got on top of her, straddling her. Candy leaned down and kissed Winter, who returned the kiss. She felt Candy’s right on her cheek, then her neck, then her breast, and slowly made its way down, but both froze when Winter’s scroll rang.

“Damn it…” Candy whispered.

“Get off,” Winter coldly ordered, reaching for her scroll.

Candy grumbled, but did as she was told. Winter threw the sheets off her, the wave of cold that covered her naked form serving as a reminder to turn on the heat.

“Winter Schnee speaking.” Winter picked up.

“Winter, I hope you remember what day it is?” Ironwood asked.

“Of course, sir,” Winter assured, professionally. “I’ll meet you and the girl at the Atlas airstrip in 1400 hours.”

“Good, see you then.” Ironwood hung up.

“1400 hundred hours?” Candy asked.

“Military time, it’s 2pm.” Winter set down her scroll.

“It’s only 8am, you know what that means?”

Winter felt Candy’s warm hands caress her back, she whirled around and grabbed her wrist.

“Yes, it means you can take your time, leaving.” Winter released Candy’s wrist.

“Come on, Winty.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“Let me warm you up!” Candy smirked, giving Winter bedroom eyes. “Free of charge for my favorite client.”

“No.” Winter reached back to the nightstand with her scroll on it and opened the drawer, grabbing her wallet and pulling out the appropriate lien. “Leave.”

“If you say so.” Candy gave Winter a peck in the cheek before taking the lien. “See you, Ice Queen.”

Winter didn’t say anything, just stared off at nothing, listen as Candy got on her cloths and left. With her gone, Winter began to get dressed, putting on her pants, undershirt, tie, gloves, and jacket, then slipped on her knee-high boots. Finally, she pulled out a case from under bed, opening it to reveal her sword. Gently taking the weapon in her hands, Winter ran her fingers across the blades blunt side, staring at herself in its reflection, her cold, dead eyes stared back. Then she sheathed her sword into her belt’s holder, and leaving her apartment.


“Penny, can we talk?” Pietro asked as the bullhead took them back to Atlas.

“Of course, Papa!” Penny smiled. “I had such a good time in Mantle!”

“I’m glad sweetheart, but…” Pietro glanced at Ironwood. “…I know I told you could still meet people and make new friends, but you still need to follow James’ instructions.”

“Oh, I still need to hide…myself?” Penny asked.

“You’ll be able to be open and free with who you are, one day,” Pietro promised. “Remnant just isn’t ready for someone like you, yet.”

“I understand…” Penny lowered her gaze.

Pietro tried to be as gentle as he could, but still felt the guilt rising. “Penny, I-”

“We’re here,” Ironwood unintentionally interrupted as the bullhead landed. “Penny?”

Penny looked up.

“I want you to be ready, this is when the gloves come off,” Ironwood warned. “Winter won’t be as friendly as anyone you meet before.”

“What do you mean?” Penny tilted her head in confusion.

“It’s hard to explain, sweetie,” Pietro began. “Winter had a different life then yours…a much, much harder life. That mixed with Atlas’ much stricter discipline left her a little…intense.”

“I still don’t get it.” Penny shook her head.

“I didn’t want to do this, but it looks like you’ll just have to meet Winter yourself of you want to get it,” Ironwood said, noticing Winter walking over to the landing platform as the bullhead landed. “Speaking of which.”

The bullhead opened, giving Penny a clear view of Winter. She could already see the difference with her gaze, alone. It was professional, emotionless, and cold, emotions Penny has never seen on anyone’s face before.

“Winter.” Ironwood stepped off the bullhead, shaking Winter’s hand the second she was close enough.

“General.” Winter nodded.

“Hope we didn’t keep you waiting,” Ironwood said.

“Got here only a few minutes after you called me,” Winter said.

“So you waited here for hours?”

“Yes,” Winter answered, then she looked at Penny and Pietro. “Is that her?”

“Yes, it is,” Ironwood stepped aside. “Winter, this is-”

“Apologies for my interruption, General,” Winter said. “Please, don’t tell me her name.”

“Hello.” Penny greeted with a smile and wave.

Winter cocked an eyebrow at Pietro. “Couldn’t help nurturing her, Pietro?”

“What do you mean?” Pietro asked.

“Smiling, waving, I bet you don’t have a care in the world, don’t you?” Winter looked at Penny.

“I actually care very much!” Penny assured.

“Naïve little thing, too,” Winter noted. “She’s too soft.”

“I don’t intend on making her a soldier, Winter,” Ironwood said.

“Permission to speak freely, sir?”

“Granted.”

“That is foolish.”

“You may think so, but you’ve met Amber, you know how much good innocence can do.”

“Where is Amber now, sir?” Winter asked, coldly. “What did all that innocence get her?”

Ironwood was visibly taken aback by Winter’s question. “Winter, whether she had strict, Atlasian discipline, or was completely carefree, how she acted had nothing to do with what happened.”

“That’s not what I believe, and I’ll make sure this one won’t suffer the same fate,” Winter said.

“This is Winter Schnee.” Ironwood placed a hand on Penny’s shoulder. “She’s going to be your guide throughout Atlas.”

“Okay!” Penny nodded.

“We’re going to be waiting near the bullhead just like last time, but Winter will be at your side,” Pietro explained.

“Oh, a new friend?” Penny smiled.

Ironwood and Pietro cringed, both feeling Winter’s gaze intensifying.

“Friend?” Winter stepped forward. “There are no friends in this job!”

“There aren’t?” Penny shrunk. “Wha-What are there?”

“Superior, and subordinate.” Winter raised, then lowered her hands. “Guess which you are, soldier?”

“Um…subordinate?”

“At least you’re smart,” Winter snarked. “Front and center!”

Penny widened her eyes, looking at Pietro and Ironwood in confused .

“That means get over here, soldier!” Winter pointed to a spot in front of her. “Go directly where I’m pointing!”

Penny did so.

“Back straight!”

Penny went as stiff as a board.

“Eyes forward!”

Penny wished she had a way to permanently lock her eyes in place, but Winter barking her orders were motivation enough.

“You talk when I say you can, you do whatever I order you to, and don’t do what I didn’t tell you.” Winter paced in front of Penny. “Understand?”

“Yes.”

“Yes ma’am!” Winter shouted, causing Penny to step back. “Back straight!”

Penny immediately snapped back into position. “Yes ma’am!”

“At least you learn fast, too,” Winter said. “I’ll take it from here.”

Ironwood and Pietro nodded.

“You keep a distance of exactly 5 feet behind me,” Winter ordered Penny. “Don’t get too close, don’t get too far. Understand?”

“Yes ma’am!” Penny shouted.

“Good.” Winter turned her back to Penny and began walking. “Now, let’s get this over with.”

Penny took the time Winter wasn’t looking to glance back at Ironwood and Pietro, the latter giving her a comforting smile.

“I don’t hear footsteps behind me, soldier!” Winter didn’t turn around.

Penny ran over to Winter, slowing down to an even pace when she reached the 5 foot mark.

Chapter Text

Penny followed Winter through the streets of Atlas. The two walked in silence, Penny glancing at the sights Atlas offered, buildings belonging to various corporations, a museum for the city’s history, and many fancy restaurants. She was confused by the lack smaller businesses that Mantle had. No corner stores, street vendors, or people playing soothing instruments on the side of streets so people would throw lien into their hats. Penny considered asking Winter about this, but she didn’t want to anger her. 

Then Winter's scroll started to ring, causing her to come to a sudden stop, Penny bumping into her as a result.

“Oops…”

Winter turned and growled at Penny, causing the latter to back up 5 feet and stand straight, eyes forward.

“Who could possibly be calling me at-” Winter fell silent when she looked at her scroll.

Weiss

Penny inch closer to look at the caller ID. “Weiss?”

“Back off!” Winter hissed.

“Sorry, ma’am!” Penny did so. “I was just curious, who is Weiss?”

“Someone I’m too busy to talk with, right now.” Winter coldly declined the call, shutting her scroll off to ensure she wouldn’t be interrupted, again.

“Oh, I was wondering if I can ask about Atlas?”

“Go ahead,” Winter sighed

“Why are so little people walking around?” Penny noticed how everyone was taking their cars, with very few people walking the sidewalks. “Also, where are the small little shops Mantle had?”

“Well, if the gracious people of Atlas won’t tell you, then I guess I will,” Winter began. “Atlas is fake.”

“Fake?” Penny asked, confused.

“Yes, fake, cold, indifferent, apathetic, unloving, unfeeling,” Winter said. “Just a place where unhappy people can shove their wealth in your face in a desperate attempt to make themselves feel better about their worthless existence.”

“That doesn’t sound very nice,” Penny said.

“It isn’t.”

“Surely everyone can’t be like that, here,” Penny defended. “Papa and the other scientists who made me were very nice, and so is the General.”

“Exceptions that prove the rule,” Winter said. “You were merely lucky enough to be with the few people here who actually have some humanity.”

“You sound like you’re speaking from experience.”

“I am.”

“What happened?”

“None of your concern.”

“Oh…okay…” Penny looked down. “Aren’t you going to tell me about landmarks and key locations? If I’m going to protect this place, I should know all its ins and outs!”

“You won’t be protecting this place.” Winter looked around to assure the few people walking wouldn’t here them. “You’ll be sent to Vale for the Vytal Tournament.”

“Oh! I remember that place from the history books Papa read to me!” Penny smiled. “I heard it is a very lovely place!”

“Nowhere on this decrepit planet is lovely,” Winter stated, bluntly. “You’re wearing rose covered glasses.”

“But I’m not wearing any glasses.” Penny scratched her head.

Winter scoffed and rolled her eyes. “Guess I can take back what I said about you being smart.”

Penny deflated at the insult.

“Come, I just plan on walking you around this city for a few hours.” Winter walked towards the subway.

“You’re really not going to tell me how to protect Atlas?” Penny asked, concerned. “Aren’t you a solder?”

“I’m a Special Operative, I usually take tasks outside of Atlas’s walls,” Winter explained. “Also, no. I’m not going to tell you how to protect Atlas, this city has enough security that it isn’t necessary.”

“That sounds unwise to just assume a place will be fine,” Penny said. “Papa always told me it’s better to be safe then sorry.”

“I honestly don’t think it matters if this damn city is safe,” Winter said, bitterly. “I don’t want it to burn, but I wouldn’t care if it did. My loyalty is to the Atlas Military.”

“But, if Atlas fell, wouldn’t the Military?”

“General Ironwood would never let that happen.” Winter glared at Penny. “If you wish to continue to be under his wing, I suggest you don’t question his capabilities, again.”

Penny nodded.

“Good, now let’s continue.” Winter turned on her heel and went back towards the subway.

Penny watched as Winter went down the stairs, staring at the words above the staircase.

“Rose-Red Station,” Penny said, curiously.

“Penny!” Winter barked. “The train is here and I will not miss it!”

Penny rushed down the stairs, joining Winter as she entered the train.

“Special Operative Schnee.” The Conductor tipped his hat.

“It’s…good to see you, Peter.”

Penny stared at Winter in shock with how warm she said that, the ghost of a smile she had made it even more confusing.

“No ticket needed, as usual,” Peter assured. “What about this lovely young lady?”

“I-”

“She’s with me, I’m her guide,” Winter answered for Penny.

“What’s so special about her?” Peter asked, but he stopped Winter just as she opened her mouth to answer. “Let me guess. Confidential?”

Penny nearly jumped out of her skin when Winter laughed.

“Yes,” Winter confirmed.

“Alright then, no ticket needed for you either, kid.” Peter smiled at Penny.

“Thank you, sir!” Penny bowed.

Peter was a bit taken aback. “Very extravagant gratitude you have there.”

“Thank you!” Penny exclaimed, obliviously.

“Alright, head take a seat, the train will be moving shortly,” Peter said.

“Thank you, Peter.” Winter nodded, taking a seat.

As Peter began punching tickets to other boarding passenger, Penny sat next to Winter.

“Do you know him?” Penny asked.

“Yes, Peter Pepper, I used the train a lot while on patrols before I became a Special Operative, I was lucky enough to always get on board during his shifts,” Winter explained, fondly. “The pleasant fellow made this city just a bit more tolerable.”

“Do you consider him a friend?”

Winter was silent for a few seconds. “Yes, I do.”

“Then what about people like him?” Penny asked. “If Atlas burned, wouldn’t people like Mr. Pepper burn, too? Would care about Atlas, then?”

“Excuse me?” Winter realized she had been getting too friendly, and snapped her cold, uncaring mask back into place. “Move.”

“Where?”

“Across from me!” Winter pointed at the empty seat.

Penny, head low, sat up, took a few steps, then sat back down. Winter glared at her, while Penny kept her eyes to the floor.

“We’ll be getting off on Harp Street Station,” Winter’s tone softened, though only from the anger to a more neutral tone.

Penny didn’t answer, she just nodded.


Winter and Penny stepped off the train, but the former felt strange. She looked around the station, no citizens and employees. Harp Street Station was a miniature ghost town.

“Something isn’t right,” Winter said, grasping her rapier, but not unsheathing it. “Be on guard.”

Penny nodded, then she tapped her backpack. She was still felt odd. Penny was taught to kill in simulations, but she still thought life was sacred. She guessed she’d have to see how’d she handle taking a real life. This might be that opportunity.

“This way.” Winter motioned towards the hallway in front of them.

Penny followed Winter, who stopped before rounding the corner, holding up her opened hand to signal for her to stop. Winter slowly looked around the corner, and noticed a troubling sight. Blood smeared the wall at the end of the hallway, a trail lead from the wall to a door in the middle of the hallway.

“Do you see anything, Winter?” Penny asked.

Winter didn’t answer, she turned the corner and walked over to the blood smear. When Penny looked for herself, she gasped.

“What could’ve done that, Winter?”

Winter was silent when she reached the smear. She reached her gloved hand out to touch it, coating her middle and index finger in crimson.

“Winter?” Penny stepped closer to Winter.

Winter’s eyes widened, tears streaming down her face as white noise filled ears and darkness devoured everything around her, blocking out all noise and leaving her standing in a pitch black void. All Winter saw was herself, and the blood covering the wall, the floor, and her fingers. Then something started to replace the white noise, faintly, then it grew in intensity.

“No…” Winter covered her ears and closed her eyes. “No!”

“Winter! Help us!”

It was her, Winter could still recognize her voice even after all these years. Tulip was crying.

“Help us, Winter! Gods, please save us!”

“I can’t!” Winter shouted. “I…I couldn’t…”

“Winter!” A new voice echoed through Winter’s mind. “Winter!”

Winter was pulled back from her nightmare when Penny grasped her shoulder.

“Winter! Are you okay?” Penny asked, concerned.

Winter gasped.

”Winter, it’s okay!” Penny three caution to the wind. “It’s just me! Penny!”

“P-Penny?” Winter looked around, grateful when she realized none of the movements she did while in her nightmare actually happened, though she still had tears streaming down her face, annoyingly enough.

“Are you okay?” Penny asked, again.

“Fine!” Winter kept her face turned away from Penny, trying to wipe away her tears in a way she couldn’t see.

“Winter, are you cry-”

“No.” Winter snatched her shoulder from Penny’s hand. “Let’s just…figure out what happened, here.”

Penny nodded.

Winter grasped her rapier, yet still didn’t unsheathe the blade. The two made their way to the door the blood trail lead to, Winter opening it to see the body of a train station employee. Penny gasped once again.

“Be ready, Penny.” Winter finally pulled out her blade, completely. “Death is in the air.”

Chapter Text

Winter and Penny looked around the room and realized this was a dead end.

“Why would the killer drag him into this room?” Penny wondered aloud.

“They were most likely trying to hide it,” Winter answered.

“But the blood-”

“They were sloppy, meaning the perpetrator most likely lacks rational thinking,” Winter began. “Either through mental or intellectual defects.”

“What does that mean?”

“They’re too crazy or stupid to actually pull off a crime practically,” Winter stated. “Which, hopefully, means we didn’t just walk into a trap.”

“Then why kill all these people?”

“That’s what we’re going to find out.” Winter turned on her heel and walked out of the room.

Winter glanced at the blood smear one last time, the faint sound of a baby crying in distance caused a lump to grow in her throat, which she quickly swallowed.

“Where she we go?” Penny asked, pulling Winter from distraction.

“Follow the blood, I suppose,” Winter ordered.

“Are you sure you can do that?”

Winter whirled around, glaring daggers at Penny. “What’s that supposed to mean?!”

“It’s just…when you looked at the blood, the episode you suffered is similar to that of people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, abbreviated as PT-”

“I know what the damn abbreviation is!” Winter snapped. “I’m fine!”

“Are you-”

“Don’t question me, Penny!” Winter scolded. “You’re just wasting the time we could to find this killer!”

“Sorry!” Penny shrunk back.

“Don’t be sorry, be ready!” Winter looked down the floor, and as she guessed, saw bootprints left by the blood. “Looks like our perpetrator has lead a path right to them.”

Winter followed the bloody boot trail, Penny following close behind.

“Penny, they give you a good way to walk backwards?” Winter asked.

“Yes.” Penny nodded.

“Good, this may not be a trap, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful,” Winter said. “Watch my six.”

Penny turned, using her eyes to scan as far down the hall as she could. With Penny watching her back, Winter kept on the trail, occasionally looking up to make sure so,e blood soaked maniac wasn’t charging at them, which lead to an old, rusty door.

“Bloody footprints leading to a big, creepy door,” Winter snarked. “How inviting.”

“I’ve seen stuff like this in horror movies!” Penny noted. “The footprints belong to a slazer killer, who might be waiting in the dark.”

“Slasher killer, Penny,” Winter corrected.

“What?”

“The term is slasher killer.”

“Oh…”

“Unfortunately for our Myers want-to-be,” Winter cut the doors hinges and kicked it out of its frame, sending it loudly clanking down the stairs, “we aren’t your standard slasher victims.”

“That’s true!” Penny smiled. “I’m sure most teenage girls in slasher films don’t have backpacks full of blades!”

Winter half-chuckled, but caught herself.

“Did you laugh?”

“No.” Winter started rushing down the stairs before the conversation could continue.

Penny shrugged and followed Winter down the stairs, only bump into Winter.

“Oh sorry!” Penny winced, closing her eyes and waiting for Winter to growl at her again, but it never came. “Winter?” She opened her eye to see Winter standing motionless in front of her. “Winter, are you okay?” Penny walked around to look at Winter’s stunned expression, then followed her eyes, gasping at the sight. “Oh my Goodness!”

The room didn’t have much, a table surrounded by folding chairs, and a big bulletin board that had a map of Atlas. It’s what was surrounding these things that shook the two. In each of the four chairs was a dead white fang member, large holes in their backs, as if something had punched through the chest and left out the back. The bulletin board had a symbol of the shattered moon drawn in blood.

“What…what did this?” Penny asked.

“The Nightwalker.”

“Who?”

“A serial killing mass murderer that has been plaguing us for a while,” Winter explained. “He was once a great Atlas solider named Nicholas Shade, but one day he just…snapped. Started killing criminals across Atlas and Mantle. We don’t know why he lost it, no sign of trauma in his youth, or any incident that could’ve caused him to become disillusioned with how the Atlas Military handles things.”

“What happened, here?” Penny looked around the bloody room in shock.

“Looks like he had discovered this station was being used by the White Fang to plan attacks,” Winter said, looking at the board. “Despite his insanity, Shade has conducted investigations of his own, and managed to track down criminal before we could even get a proper investigation started, or, in this case, even know there was danger, at all.”

“Why kill that station employee?”

“Shade has completely lost it, not caring who is at the scene of the crime, if you’re there while a crime is in progress, you’re guilty and need to die.”

“What do we do?”

Winter didn’t answer, she just pulled out her scroll, turned it on, and dialed up a number.

“Code in,” a raspy male voice answered.

“Schnee, 071813.”

“What do you need Special Operative Schnee?”

“Patch me through to General Ironwood, I’m in the middle of a crime scene.”

“Right away.”

It didn’t take long for Ironwood to pick up.

“Winter? Is everything alright?”

“No sir, Penny and I are at Harp Street Train Station, and we found a room full of murdered White Fang,” Winter answered. “I believe it is the work of The Nightwalker, and that he is still here.”

“What?! I’ll send a squad over as quickly as possible.”

“Alright sir.” Winter hung up, reached into her pocket, pulled out another scroll, then handed it to a Penny. “Penny, wait outside for the squad to come.”

“What about you?” Penny hesitantly took the scroll.

“I’m going after Shade.”

“I can help you!”

“No, you can’t!” Winter pointed at the bodies before her. “Shade is one of the best fighters I know, and you aren’t ready for that.”

“If he’s one of the best fighters, doesn’t that mean he can kill you?”

Winter didn’t answer.

“Winter, please-”

“No! Wait outside!” Winter ordered. “Call me if you bump into him on the way back up.”

“Okay…” Penny nodded.

Winter and Penny headed back upstairs, Penny backtracking to the train station’s platform, and heading up the stairs to wait outside. While Winter, began to search the station for The Nightwalker, not realizing she was being watched by the station’s security cameras.

“Schnee!” Shade growled. “Ironwood’s right hand…crooked…vile…just like him…” he brought his fingers to his earpiece. “Master, I’ve encountered Winter Schnee…”

“Have you, now?” A distorted voice answered. “Perfect, don’t kill her!”

“Of course, Master…what should I do with the witch?”

“Capture her and bring her to me, I can’t wait to see the look on James’ face when I drop off the tortured and mutilated body of his top operative right in the middle of the city!”

“Yes master!” Shade left the security room to begin his hunt.


Winter’s boots were the only noise in the entire empty station. She looked around, but wasn’t particularly on guard, even sheathing her weapon. Instead, she stood up straight, hands behind her back. Without Penny beside her, Winter had no one to protect, certainly not herself. That’s when the lights started to flicker, then shut down, drenching Winter in darkness.

“Schnee…”

The lights shot back on, revealing Sahde standing right in front of Winter, who didn’t flinch. The mad man was dressed in all black from his shoes all the way to the hoodie covering his head. A looked of pure, psychopathic hatred was directed straight at Winter.

Damn, Winter thought, unsheathing her sword.

Winter thought walking out in the open would allow Shade to blow her head off before she could react, but he made himself known. Winter had promised herself, if she ever let herself die, it would either be by letting herself get caught off guard or die fighting. If dealing with a sniper, she’d walk out in the open, but if the sniper ran out of bullets and pulled out a knife, she’d fight him with all her might, just with the hope he’d overpower and kill her. Never could work up the nerve to kill herself, felt like Weiss and Whitley would be heartbroken enough to know she died, but at least if it was on duty they’d braced themselves for it ever since she was assigned as Special Operative.

“Still got that death wish, eh?” Shade mocked.

“Well, you’re still completely insane, so I guess we both got our issues, don’t we?” Winter snarked.

Shade suddenly pulled out his pistol and started firing. Winter jumped behind a nearby pillar, then used her summoning to summon a beowolf to flank Shade, biting him on the wrist holding his gun.

“Argh! Stupid dog!” Shade dropped his gun. “This isn’t fair, Winter!”

With Shade disarmed, Winter stepped out from behind the pillar and launched herself at him. Unfortunately, as her sword entered his gut, instead of piercing it, it pushed in his skin, like she was pushing in a pillow with her finger. A sudden volt of electricity flew through the sword, shocking Winter and knocking back her sword several feet away. She held out her hand, looking in disbelief before turning back, only to be greeted with a punch to the face for her trouble, causing her to stumble back.

“Forgot my semblance, fool!” Shade sneered. “Knock Back.”

“Yeah, now who’s playing unfair…” Winter snarked.

“It isn’t about what’s fair, it’s about killing you Atlas scum!”

“You were Atlas once, too,” Winter said. “What does that make you then?”

“It makes me enlightened!” Shade grinned. “I have my master to thank.”

“Master?” Winter cocked en eyebrow, but groaned in her head. I have to live if I want to tell any of this to Ironwood.

“A man who goes by the Great intellectual,” Shade explained. “I won’t give you his identity, but I can tell why he made me what I am: you destroyed him.”

“Me?”

“No, all of you, the Atlas Military destroyed his life and I will be his vengeance!”

“Cute!” Winter threw a punch, but he caught it, and countered with punch straight to the nose.

Shade let Winter go to watch her hold her face in pain. “You know I was always better at hand-to-hand then you.”

“For a guy who thinks the Atlas Military is scum, you sure do reminisce a lot,” Winter snarked.

“Just reminding you that you can’t win.”

Winter wiped the blood from her nose and stared at the red stain on her black glove. In her head, Daisy screamed, Tulip cried, and white noise briefly filled her ears. She forgot all about giving Ironwood the info.

“Yeah, I guess you-” Winter didn’t get to finish before Shade uppercut her, sending flying up and onto her back.

“No worries, I’m not going to kill you,” Shade assured.

Winter glared up at him, gripping her jaw, both defiance and rage at the news she wouldn’t be dying.

“First, I’ll beat you until your aura breaks, then I’ll knock you out, then I’ll take you to my master, and then he’ll torturously rip you apart before stringing you up for all Atlas to see!” Shade exclaimed.

“Should I feel honored?” Winter snarked.

“Doesn’t matter what you feel.” Shade reached down and grabbed her collar. “Let’s begin.”


Penny had only been outside for a few seconds before she felt anxious. It only took a few minutes for her to regret leaving Winter down there. By the six minute mark, she was booking it down the steps.

“They can find the entrance!” Penny assured herself, then she activated her heat vision, which pointed out two human shaped objects a few rooms away.

Penny considered using her rocket boots, but she had already made it to the battle before her mind could make up what to do. She watched as Shade throw Winter into the brick walls of the station, cracking the foundation and destroying her aura.

“What was the next step?” Shade mockingly asked.

Winter sat up, glaring at him.

“Oh right!” Shade reached for Winter.

“Winter!” Penny shouted.

Shade looked to see Penny’s blade flying towards him, causing him to jump back.

“What the…?” Shade looked and saw Penny glaring daggers at him, swords circling her:

“Get away from her!” Penny ordered.

“Who are you?!”

“I am Penny Polendina, and in the name of the Atlas, I place you under arrest!”

Shade scoffed, chuckling. “That’s cute.”

“Penny!” Winter shouted. “He’s immune to piercing weapons!”

“Right!” Penny nodded.

“All you got are swords!” Shade mocked. “What are you going to do?”

Penny retracted her blades into her backpack and took a boxing stance. “Fight you.”

Shade burst out laughing at that. “Really now? Adorable. So adorable, in fact, I’ll give you the first hit.”

Penny moved in on him, Shade lowered his face and pointed at his right cheek. It stopped being funny to him when Penny clocked him so hard he stumbled back and fell onto one knee, then she punched him in the face, sending him on his back. Getting his bearings, Shade kicked Penny away.

“What…how are you so strong?!” Shade got to his feet.

Penny didn’t answer, she just rushed him, delivering two punches to each cheek. Growling, Shade threw a punch just as Penny was, their fists colliding. Even Winter winced at the snapping noise his fingers made when Penny destroyed his hand, along with his bloodcurdling scream.

“What are you?!” Shade fell to his knees, holding his broken hand.

“I’m Penny Polendina, and in the name of Atlas, I place you under arrest!” Penny repeated, knocking Shade out with a kick to the face.

Penny looked at her hands, and realized she had just caught her first criminal. She squeed, jumped, and did a little celebratory dance, only for her smile to vanish and her eyes to shot open when she remembered Winter.

“Winter, I’m so sorry!” Penny ran over to the wounded Special Operative, holding out her hand to help her up. “Are you okay?”

Winter looked up at Penny, then pulled herself to her feet. “I thought I told you to wait outside!”

Penny recoiled at the ungrateful replay. “B-But…but you needed help…”

“It doesn’t matter, I gave you an order!” Winter pushed past Penny, but started to stumble and needed to hold herself up with a nearby pillar. “When a superior gives you an order, you follow it without question!”

“What would’ve happened to you, though?” Penny asked. “Would you have died?”

“It. Doesn’t. Matter!” Winter hissed. “All paths lead somewhere, questioning your superior will only lead to disaster.”

“I think I understand why Papa told me I didn’t need to follow orders, completely,” Penny said, sadly.

“What?” Winter glared at Penny. “Pietro told you to what?!”

“To not follow orders completely,” Penny repeated. “Even if they hate you for it, you do the right thing, not the thing you were told.”

Winter’s face softened, only to harden once again. “Pietro shouldn’t be teaching you that, I may have to look into him for this.”

Penny felt anger for the first time in her life. “What does that mean?!”

“It means I’m going to have Pietro investigated.” Winter leaned against the pillar with her back. “Teachings like that can lead to treason, and I want to stop that before-” she stopped when Penny’s blade embedded itself into the concrete mere inches from her head, cutting off a few strands of hair.

“You stay away from him.” Penny faced the ground.

“P-Penny, you c-can’t stop me from-” all of Winter’s attempts to gain composure failed.

“Yes, I can.” Penny embedded each of her swords around Winter, keeping her trapped in a way.

“Penny, listen to me-”

“No! You listen to me!” Penny shouted, walking towards Winter. “I have been following you around all day, dealing with your cold hearted nonsense, and you know what? I still liked you! I still respected you, but I also have feelings. When you barked orders at me, insulted me, tried to bring me down to your miserable level, it hurt. I did what you said, because I thought you were good and nice once I got to know you. But This? No. I will not stand for this. You can hate me, belittling me, be as ungrateful towards me as you want, and I won’t lift a finger. I swear, though, if you so much as throw an accusation in Papa’s direction,” she punched the pillar right next to Winter’s head, causing the whole station to shake, “I’ll be doing more then lifting a finger.”

Winter felt fear for the first time in a long time.

“Do you understand?” Penny asked.

Winter nodded.

“At least you’re smart,” Penny spat.

Winter slipped to the ground, bringing her knees to her chest. As her anger fell away, Penny felt guilty. She pulled her swords from the pillar, retracting them into her backpack and dropped her hands to her side.

“I’m…I’m sorry…” Penny said. “I get it. You don’t like me. Once this day is over, you’ll never have to see me, again.” She turned around, noticing Shade’s unconscious body, picked him up by throwing him over her shoulder and walked away.

Winter got to her feet, shaking, and followed closely behind Penny.


When Penny and Winter exited the station, Atlas armored cars surrounded them. A car pulled in, Ironwood and Pietro came out of it.

“Penny, thank the Gods you’re okay!” Pietro sighed I’m relief when he saw Penny and Winter walking up the stairs, the former still carrying Shade. “Who is that?”

“Penny, did you capture Shade?!” Ironwood widened his eyes.

“It was Winter,” Penny lied.

Winter looked at Penny in shock.

“Is that true?” Ironwood asked.

“I…I…” Winter looked at Penny, then she shook her head. “No sir, Penny is being too humble, she single handedly saved me and defeated Shade.”

It was Penny’s turn to look up at Winter in shock.

“I foolishly tried to take him on alone and failed.” Winter looked at her feet. “I’m sorry, Penny.” She looked into Penny’s eyes. “Thank you.”

“Penny, it’s okay to take credit for the good things you do,” Pietro assured. “As long as you don’t let it go to your head.”

“Okay, Papa.” Penny smiled and nodded.

“Ugh…what happened?” Shade asked.

Penny threw him to the ground.

“W-Winter? James?” Shade looked up, confused. “Whale happened?”

“Penny beat you, remember?” Winter asked.

“Penny? Who is that?” Shade rubbed his head, confused. “The last thing I remember was grabbing a beer with the guys after we stopped the White Fang bombing.”

“What?!” Ironwood lifted Shade to his feet. “Are you lying?”

“Oh my gosh!” Penny covered her mouth.

“G-General?” Winter pointed to the back of Shade’s neck.

Ironwood turned shade around and found a small device, it had been broken when Penny knocked him out, having shattered when it hit the ground after the hard punch she gave him.

“Shade, do remember anything else from that night?” Ironwood asked.

“Wait, how long has it been?!” Shade looked around, terrified. “What did I do?!”

“That’s not important,” Ironwood assured. “Just please, try to remember.”

“I…I remember something…” Shade rubbed his head. “I was walking home when someone jumped me, put that thing on my neck, got a good look at him before he turned it on and I blacked out.”

“Did you recognize them?”

“Yeah…I know you might not believe me, but it was-” Shade sudden stopped, and fell to the ground.

“Shade?!” Ironwood turned him around to see the device released some sort of venom into his system. “No!”

Penny and Winter gasped.

“My God…who could’ve done this?!” Pietro asked.

Unknown to any of them, they were being watched by a man. Binoculars in one hand and the trigger to release the venom in the other.

“Idiot.” Watts sighed, throwing the trigger into the garbage. “Oh well, back to the old drawing board! With a new head on my hit list, as well.”

Watts walked over to the printer, revealing a close up of Penny he had taken while watching through the traffic cameras that littered Mantle. With a smug grin, he placed her image right next to Winter’s, then ripped off Shade’s imagine, tossing it into the same trash can as the trigger. Watts stepped back, getting full view of his board. On the board, dozens of pictures of Atlas’ best soldiers and scientists were placed in a circle, a red string connected all of them to a picture of Ironwood in the center of the circle.

“Now,” Watts rubbed his chin, “who shall I hurt next?”

Chapter Text

The students had just finished their first day of classes at Beacon. The newly formed teams were given their schedules and dorms, and since the first day was before the weekend, it allowed everyone to get settled. While freshmen were just getting started at Beacon, the higher students were preparing for their next semester.

By the time Team CVFY had returned to their dorm, it was early dusk. Each team member was doing something to keep themselves busy: Coco was cleaning Gianduja, an arduous process whenever she wanted to be thorough. Fox was sitting on his bed, listening to an audiobook reading of ‘The Man with Two Souls’ through a pair of earbuds to not disturb the others, unable to read it himself on account of his blindness. Velvet was taking a warm shower to help her relax. Finally, Yatsuhashi sat on the round area rug between the team’s four beds, meditating.

Coco’s eyes shot over to the bathroom the second she heard the door open. Velvet came of the steam room with two towels, one wrapped around her body, the other drying her hear.

“Velvet, I’m trying to clean Gianduja!” Coco mock scolded. “How am I supposed to focus with you distracting me with all that sexiness?”

“Oh shush.” Velvet blushed.

“I can’t help it,” Coco said, glancing behind Velvet. “Apparently nether can Yat.”

Yatsuhashi had opened one of his eyes when Velvet walked out of the bathroom. This eye quickly shut when he heard Coco.

“I don’t know what you mean, I’m meditating,” Yatsuhashi said.

“Sure you are,” Coco chuckled, rolling her eyes. “Dude, I am the master of sneaking glances at hot chicks, don’t lie to me.”

Yatsuhashi sighed in defeat, he knew he wasn’t a good liar. “Okay.”

“Yat!” Velvet blushed.

“See, your body is one of the most distracting on Remnant,” Coco said. “I bet Fox would look too…you know…if he could.”

“There are pauses between chapters.” Fox raised his middle finger at Coco. “So I just heard that.”

“Sorry Fox.” Coco rubbed the back of her neck.

Fox’s middle finger turned to a thumbs up.

“Anyway, got any idea on what you and that alluring body of yours are going to do for the evening?” Coco asked Velvet.

“Oh, I’m glad you asked, Coco!” Velvet smiled. “I was wondering if I could include you.”

“Do you, now?” Coco gave Velvet bedroom eyes. “You sure? I mean, with Yatsuhashi and Fox here?”

“You know that’s not what I meant!” Velvet punched Coco’s shoulder.

“Okay, what did you mean?”

“I think we should reach out to the new students,” Velvet suggested.

“What do you mean, hon?” Coco asked.

“You know, just say hi, give them some encouragement and comfort if they’re nervous, and just getting to know them!” Velvet frowned, digging the toe off her right foot into the floor. “It was really anxiety inducing when I first came here and almost nobody wanted to talk to because…you know…” her bunny ears fluttered, “I don’t want anyone to go through that. So I want to let them know they can find a friend right off the bat, with me. I was hoping you, Yatsuhashi, and Fox would want to help with me with this.”

“That’s sweet. You can count me in!” Coco smiled, then it turned into a flirty smirk. “After all, I could use some more gals to knock dead with my killer looks.”

“Coco, you know I’m anxious about us.” Velvet’s ears lowered. “Please, refrain from those jokes. We’ve already talked about this.”

Coco frowned, becoming more serious. “Sorry, honey bunny.”

“It’s okay-EEP!”

Coco wrapped an arm around Velvet’s waste, pulling her into a kiss.

“You guys hear that?” Coco asked Yatsuhashi and Fox.

“I did, and I think I’m down with making new friends.” Yatsuhashi stood. “At the very least, offering some comfort to newcomers, I shared Velvet’s anxiety.”

“Fox?” Coco looked to Fox, who wasn’t listening because the next chapter of his audiobook started. “Yat?”

Yatsuhashi tapped Fox’s shoulder, causing him to groan and pull out his earbuds.

“What?” Fox asked.

“Yo, Velvet wants us to go out to find some of the newbies, give them hellos, advice, comfort, etc., etc.,” Coco explained. “You in?”

“Going outside and meeting new people?” Fox gagged. “Hard pass.”

“Fox, you’re not going to stay cooped up in here like last semester,” Coco said, sternly. “At least come with us to get some fresh air.”

“Okay boss,” Fox sighed, placing his scroll and earbuds on the table. “I suppose you’re right.”

“Another thing, we want to make sure they feel safe and welcome, so no snarking, sarcastic insults,” Velvet ordered. “Understand?”

“I understand perfectly,” Fox assured, sarcastically. “Crystal clear! Right as rain!”

“Fox,” Velvet said.

“Just let me turn my snark-o-meter down to zero.” Fox pointed at his head.

“Fox.”

“Adjusting my sarcasm parameters.”

“Fox, I’m serious!”

“Okay, okay!” Fox raised his hands. “I’ll play the nice guy, for a bit.”

“Thank you, so let’s say we head out now?” Velvet asked. “It’s isn’t that late, so hopefully we’ll bump into a few students!”

“So what’s the idea, here?” Fox asked. “Just walk around and hope we bump into random students that just so happen to be newbies?”

“Uh…yeah, pretty much,” Velvet answered.

“So how many do you actually expect to run into?”

“A…lot?” Velvet scratched her face, awkwardly.

“This idea is super well thought out,” Fox snarked.

“Fox!” Coco and Yatsuhashi scolded, simultaneously.

“Sorry, sorry, I just kind of do it without realizing,” Fox said. “I’m like the scorpion from that one story, snarking is in my nature. I do it even when it’ll hurt me in the long wrong.”

“Well, unlike said scorpion you have an opportunity to work it,” Coco said. “Now, let’s go find us some new students.”


Team CFVY walked through Beacon’s courtyard, the slight chill of the summer breeze was pleasant enough for even Fox to admit. As they walked, they noticed Adrian sitting on a bench.

“Hey, isn’t that a member of Team CARD over there?” Coco pointed at Adrian.

“Yeah, I can see him perfectly!” Fox snarked. “That is most definitely a member of CARD.”

Coco and Yatsuhashi glared at Fox.

“Jeez, I can feel your eyes on me.” Fox shivered. “Sorry.”

“As I was saying, I think the kid’s name is Adrian,” Coco said.

“Yeah, I remember him from Port’s class,” Yatsuhashi said. “Quiet kid, but he was listening intently and jotting down everything Port said.”

“Smart kid,” Coco complimented. “Let’s go over and say hi.”

“Hey guys…uh…can I?” Fox asked.

“Fox…” Velvet narrowed her eyes at Fox.

“I know it feels like I haven’t been putting in any effort, but I do really want to try to be nice,” Fox admitted, tone much more serious. “Look, you guys will be right behind me, if I say anything out of line just shut me up and push me back.”

Velvet glanced at Yatsuhashi and Coco, then looked back to Fox. “Alright.”

“Thanks.” Fox smiled, awkwardly. “So…where is he?”

Coco took Fox’s shoulders and gentle turned him in Adrian’s direction. “Straight ahead, what he for the curves and Amy cracks.”

“I know that,” Fox said. “This isn’t my first rodeo.”

Fox walked forward, occasionally clicking his tongue to get a good bearing on his surroundings, the rest of CFVY following behind him. When he was sure he was close enough to Adrian, he spoke.

“Hey there, newbie!” Fox greeted.

Adrian looked up at Fox, glaring. “That’s not my name.”

“Oh, sorry,” Fox chuckled. “What is your name?”

“It’s…uh…” Adrian scratched chin.

“Do…do you not know your name?” Fox asked.

“No! I got it! I got it!” Adrian assured.

“Well…?”

“It’s Adrian!” Adrian snapped his fingers. “With a D and an A, then an R-I-A-N, and the D goes after the A. The A goes first. Also the D doesn’t sound like a D, it sounds like J, this is because of the aforementioned R placed after the aforementioned D.”

“Okay…” Fox shook his head. “You didn’t need to answer that so complexly, I asked for your name.”

“My name is Adrian.”

“You told me that, already!”

“I did?”

“Yes!” Fox threw his hands into the air. “Like…ten seconds ago!”

“Really, that long ago?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I was seven, so you’ll have to jog my memory.”

“Jog your…I said seconds!” Fox rubbed his temple. “Not years!”

“There’s a difference?”

“A monumental difference!”

Adrian was silent for a few seconds. “Does monumental mean big or…”

“Yes, it means big!” Fox ran his hands through his hair. “It’s off of the word monument, those things that are so important they can carved into mountains!”

Adrian was silent. “What’s a mountain?”

“By the Gods…” Fox sat next to Adrian. “Look, I just tell me about your team. Tell me about team CARD.”

“There’s four of us and we form a team called CARD,” Adrian answered.

“I know that!” Fox sighed. “Tell me what I don’t know!”

“What don’t you know?”

“I don’t know!”

“Well, I can’t tell you that.”

“Why not?!”

“Listen man, I only know, what I don’t know.”

“What don’t you know?”

“I don’t know.” Adrian shrugged.

Fox’s eye twitched. “You know this isn’t helping…”

“Actually, I didn’t know that.”

“You are trying my patience.”

Adrian gasped. “I’m so sorry, I don’t want your patience to go to jail!”

“Look, I just want to know about your freaking team!” Fox shouted. “What are the other members like?!”

“So don’t you ask the others members of Team CARD?” Adrian asked.

“I. Don’t know.” Fox rubbed his eyes.

“Well, at least now we know what you don’t know.”

“And don’t you know it.”

“I don’t, but you do.”

Fox whirled around to the rest of CFVY. “Please tell me you guys are still there!”

Coco, Velvet, and Yatsuhashi were all staring off into space, having lost track of the conversation quickly. Coco was the first to get her bearings.

“Yeah Fox, we’re still here,” Coco assured.

“Thank the Gods!” Fox stood up and walked towards the group. “I’m going to kill this idiot!”

“Oh no!”

Canvas, fell owed by Revon and Deacon, ran over to Adrian.

“I can’t leave you alone for ten seconds, can I?” Canvas asked.

“I suppose not,” Adrian said.

Canvas looked over to CFVY. “So sorry about him.”

“It’s fine,” Coco assured.

“Just got weirded out by him, is all,” Velvet said.

“He’s very eccentric,” Yatsuhashi said.

“I want to kill him,” Fox said, bluntly.

“All very appropriate responses to Adrian,” Canvas said. “Anyway, you guys aren’t freshmen, are you?”

“Nah, sophomores,” Coco answered. “I’m Coco Adel,” she motioned to Fox and Yatsuhashi, “that’s Fox and Yatsuhashi,” she smacked Velvet’s butt, “and this funny bunny is my Velvet.”

“Please to meet ya!” Canvas shook Coco’s hand, then he motioned to his teammates. “I’m sure you’ve all already met Adrian.”

“Too bad he didn’t meet the grill of a truck before he got here,” Fox snarked.

“Fox!” Velvet scolded.

“No, it’s okay, that’s not the first person who wants him to die,” Canvas assured. “I wouldn’t be okay with it if he didn’t have the memory of a fish.”

“Hey!” Adrian exclaimed, mad.

“Adrian, what did I just say?”

“I don’t know.” Adrian shrugged.

“There you have it.” Canvas motioned to Revon and Deacon. “That’s Revon, he’s…he’s gay.”

“Excuse me, that is not my soul trait!” Revon huffed, crossing his arms.

“Joking!” Canvas laughed. “Revon is also really sweet and clumsy.”

“I am not clumsy!”

“I once saw you trip standing still,” Adrian said.

“Oh, so you remember that!” Revon face-palmed. “Of all things!”

“That’s Deacon, nerd extraordinar!” Canvas pointed at Deacon,

“Unlike Revon, I embrace that part of me,” Deacon said.

“Jeez, call me out, why don’t you?”

“Well, it was pleasant meeting you!” Velvet smiled.

“Except you, Adrian!” Fox shouted.

“It was a pleasure to meet all of you.” Yatsuhashi covered Fox’s mouth.

“You guys, too,” Canvas said. “We should be heading back to the dorm, see you around!”

“Can’t wait to see you guys in action,” Coco said. “We should meet up and chat about our weapons!”

“Sounds lovely,” Canvas squeed. “I can’t believe we’re making friends so quickly!”

Velvet looked at Coco, happily.

“Guys, we need to back if I want to show you that musical I’m really into!” Revon exclaimed.

“Alright, later!” Canvas saluted CFVY, then walked away with his team.

“Musical, huh? You sure gay isn’t your soul character trait?” Deacon asked, jokingly.

“Oh shush!” Revon slapped his arm.

“Well, those guys are certainly interesting.” Yatsuhashi let got of Fox.

“The rest are pretty cool, but I can’t say the same to that…that thing made of stupid,” Fox said.

“Fox…” Velvet said, sadly.

“You know I can’t handle dumb!” Fox exclaimed.

“Well, if any good news came out of this, it’s that meeting any other newbie should be a breeze,” Coco said.

“Yeah, because no one else on all of Remnant can ever be that dumb!”

Chapter Text

Robyn woke up next to Wren, a woman with straight red hair and freckles. She reached over and brushed a strained of hair off of her wife’s face, gently tucking it behind her ear, causing Wren to stir. Beautiful amber eyes fluttered open, a tired, but warm smile formed on her lips as the music of their wedding began to play in Robyn’s head. Robyn concluded Wren would never stop looking beautiful in her eyes long ago.

In the blink of an eye Robyn was at the breakfast table, reading up on the news. Wren placed a plate scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage in front of her. Robyn set down the news paper, biting one of her bacon strips in half, then holding it out for Wren to take in her teeth, tongue pulling the who strip into her mouth. Robyn always found that alluring.

After breakfast is when Robyn would go out on patrol with Fiona, Jonna, and May, her Happy Huntresses. She’d kiss Wren goodbye on the cheek, promising to be home before nightfall, then head outside. The others were usually waiting at her apartment’s doorstep, and today was no different. They’d break off, today Robyn was paired off with Fiona. Mantle wasn’t big, so they didn’t use cars, just walked. It was quiet, like it always was. The two would stop on he corner store for lunch, Robyn playful teasing Fiona about them being on a date, getting the little sheep Faunus blushing and stuttering. Robyn will love this city until her last breath.

Once patrols were done, Robyn say her goodbyes for the day then head home. Wren would he waiting, cooking dinner, she’d greet her with a hello and a quick peck on the lips, like those old black and white sitcoms Robyn was obsessed with in her youth. Then they’d sit down and have a quiet dinner, just silently enjoying each other’s company. The food would be different every night, despite everything usually being the same, so Robyn didn’t bother to see what she was eating. Wren always cooked great food, that’s probably why it cycled through. Robyn hoped she’d be able to replicate it one day, just to make it feel like Wren was still there.

Then Robyn and Wren would dance. This wasn’t something they usually did when Wren was with her, but Robyn didn’t care. She could never hear the music, the music in her head was always too loud. It didn’t matter, it fit their slow dance, which they would do until they were tired. Robyn would pick Wren up bridal style, and carry her to their bedroom. One quick change into their pjs, and they’d lie down facing one another. She always made sure to stay awake long enough to watch Wren fall asleep. Robyn concluded she’d miss this about Wren the most.

Finally, Robyn would wake up. She would usually do so naturally, but today it was knocking on her door that pulled Robyn from her slumber. She always slept on the couch in the fetal position, holding Wren’s pillow in an attempt to mimic spooning with her, and fall asleep to their wedding video. Sitting up on the couch and setting the pillow down, Robyn stumbled over to her feet, always feeling dizzy and nauseous after her borderline nightly routine, the knocking didn’t help her head.

“I’m coming! I’m coming!” Robyn staggered over to the door, opening it to reveal a battered Fiona. “Fiona?!”

“Hey Robbie.” Fiona smiled and awkwardly waved.

“What happened?” Robyn asked, eyes wide in horror.

“Just…let me sit down, first,” Fiona said. “Can I come in?”

“Of course!” Robyn stepped aside, watching as Fiona walked over to the kitchen table, sitting down with a sigh.

“Water…and something for these, please!” Fiona pointed at the cut on her cheek.

Robyn nodded, going to the fridge. It was awkwardly quiet as she poured Fiona a glass of water, leaving it within her reach on the table, then making her way to the bathroom. Coming out with a warm, soap covered wash cloth, Robyn sat in front of Fiona, who had just finished downing the water, gently dabbing the wound. Fiona flinched, but got used to the pain.

“So, are you going to tell me what happened, now?” Robyn asked.

“Yeah, we…got info on the attack, Robyn.” Fiona took Robyn’s hand. “I think we have enough to start attacking Jacques’ illegal activities.”

Robyn was silent for an uncomfortably long time, then she spoke. “What do you mean?”

“I mean we got all of his contacts in Mantle and Atlas’ criminal underworld,” Fiona said. “From a lowly informant all way up to the mob bosses, we can start taking them down.”

“Who did this to you?” Robyn asked.

“Some goons of the aforementioned lowly informant jumped me,” Fiona answered. “Apparently he caught wind of our little investigation, and wanted to destroy morale by the Happy Huntresses’ killing the sweet, helpless little sheep Faunus.”

“And you educated them proper.” Robyn smiled. “How do you know the informant sent them?”

“Well…”

Fiona walked through the streets of Mantle, trying to call Robyn, but she wouldn’t answer. She was so focused on her scroll, she didn’t notice two men closing in on her.

“Come on, Robyn,” Fiona said after another call went to voicemail. “Where are y-”

Fiona was suddenly grabbed and dragged into a nearby alleyway, goons sure to cover her mouth. They threw her to the ground, one aiming his gun at her.

“Well, what do we have here, Star?” The armed goon mocked.

“Looks like an adorable little sheep Faunus, Rouge,” Star answered, smugly.

“Please…take whatever you want!” Fiona begged, tears in her eyes.

“We’ll be taking that life of yours!” Rouge pushed the barrel of his gun against Fiona’s forehead.

“Why?” Fiona asked.

“Percy Note sends his regards,” Rouge answered.

“The Pied Piper?” Fiona asked, shaking. “The underworld’s most infamous informant?”

“You’re correct! He didn’t like you and the other broads snooping in on his business,” Rouge explained. “So his two of best and brightest to…let’s call this, lowering morale.”

“You’re going to kill me?”

“That’s right!” Rouge sadistically grinned. “One of the reasons I told you all that, you won’t live to tell!”

“Thanks for the info.” Fiona smiled.

“What?”

Fiona suddenly grabbed Rouge’s arm, twisting it. He screamed in pain and dropped his gun, with Fiona catching it before it reached the ground. Star unholstered her pistol, raising it to shoot, but Fiona shot her straight through the eye.

“Jesus!” Rouge cried.

“Now, you’re going to run back to your boss, and tell him the Happy Huntresses are coming for him,” Fiona ordered.

“Yes! Of course!” Rouge nodded his head.

“Now beat it!” Fiona threw Rouge to the ground, watching as he scurried to his and ran off.

“That’s why I was a bit late.” Fiona smiled, sheepishly. “I had to talk to the police, afterwards. For obvious reasons.”

“I was asleep, so I don’t mind,” Robyn assured. “Let’s head out and meet up with Jonna and May.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Fiona nodded.

“Call them up,” Robyn ordered. “Tell them to meet us at the HQ, I’m going to get dressed.”

Robyn handed Fiona the washcloth so she could go to her room. Stripping off her pjs, Robyn slipped on her brown pants and knee high boots, then put on her brown neck high shirt, light gray short sleeved short, red vest, and black, sleeveless trench coat. Tying her hair into a ponytail, put on her index fingerless archery gloves, and armed herself with her trusty crossbow. Saving the most important for last, she wrapped Wren’s old, tattered, olive green scarf around her neck, stopping momentarily to stroke the emblem that held it together. Robyn stared at herself in the mirror, eyes narrowing in determination before leaving her bedroom.


“I can’t wait to finally give Jacques what for,” Fiona said, softly enough so no one around could hear. “That jerk has been getting away with too much.”

“We’ll make him pay for what he’s done to the Faunus, the people of Mantle, and…” Robyn stopped dead in her tracks.

“Robyn?” Fiona’s sheep ears lowered.

Robyn was staring at Mantle’s school. Children were playing, but she didn’t care about them. Soon, all sound vanished, and only Wren’s voice she could hear. Robyn closed her eyes, holding back her tears.

“Robyn…I’m so cold…”

“Why do you hate Atlas so much?”

“Yes! Yes!”

“Do you love me, Robyn?”

“Back away!”

Robyn opened her eyes to see a group of boys ganging up on a lone girl.

“Look at the freaky geek, guys!” The leader of the bullies mocked, his friends laughed.

Wren had a much more stereotypically nerdy appearance in her youths. The young girl’s ginger hair was puffy, her freckles more prominent, and a big pair of round glasses with big rims.

“Please, leave me alone!” Wren begged.

“Or what?” The leader snatched Wren’s books from her hands.

“Hey, give those back!” Wren tried to snatch them back, but the leader used his taller height to keep them out of her reach, but he still pushed her to the ground, anyway.

“So small and weak!” The Leader opened her book and began to skim through the pages. “So girlie and nerdy!”

“Please don’t!” Wren begged when the leader gripped one of the pages, clearly threatening to rip it out.

“That’s all you can do!” The leader laughed. “You’re not strong enough to fight me!”

“I might be able to.”

The bullies and Wren turned to see a young Robyn. Not much has changed about her, over the years. She was a tomboy in her youth, ponytail, vest, jacket and sweater, just small enough to fit her. Robyn had her arms hid behind her back.

“Really?” The leader tossed Wren her book. “Don’t view this as mercy, I’m snatching that back and ripping out the pages once I’m done with her.”

“How about I make you a deal,” Robyn said. “We fight, and you run away screaming to your mommies.”

“How is that a deal?”

“Sorry, I guess it was more of description of your futures,” Robyn snarked.

“Ha!” The leader laughed. “I’m going to make this quick.”

The leader charged at Robyn, who dodged out of his path. Then she revealed she was carrying a lead pipe behind her back, she did this by striking the leader in the back of his knee.

The leader cried. “You can’t do that! Fight fair!”

“I don’t care about fighting fair!” Robyn said, pointing her pipe at Wren. “All I care about is protecting people, and that means I fight dirty, then I fight dirty.”

“I’m going to make you-” the leader didn’t get to finish his threat before Robyn hit him in the back with the pipe, causing him to cry out. “Guys, help me!”

“Yeah, give him a hand!” Robyn slapped the pipe against her palm. “Please, I need practice on fighting multiple people at once.”

The other bullies at look at one another, then took off, crying for their mothers.

“Some friends you got there.” Robyn looked down at the leader.

The leader sniffed, then ran off crying. Robyn watched him run away, dropped the pipe, and went to help Wren up.

“Are you okay?” Robyn asked, gently lifting Wren to her feet.

“Thanks to you!” Wren smiled and nodded.

“Hey, protecting people is just what I do!” Robyn winked. “In fact, from this point forward, you are under my protection! No one will hurt you ever again!”

“That sounds like a pretty big promise,” Wren noted.

“What can I say? I dream big!” Robyn shrugged. “You tell me if those guys mess with you when I, not around.”

“Okay…thank you,” Wren said.

“Come on, let me walk you to class.” Robyn held out her hand.

Wren hesitated, then took it. Robyn watched as her younger self and Wren vanished as they walked towards the school. She smiled as she finally let the tears flow. Robyn had gotten detention, but she didn’t regret what she did even today.

“Robyn?” Fiona took Robyn’s hand.

“Oh…sorry Fi…” Robyn her tears away. “Just remembering, is all.”

“You need a minute?”

“No, I’m good,” Robyn assured. “Let’s go meet with Jonna and May.”

Chapter Text

“We’re meeting at the usual spot, Jack Symphony’s old movie theater,” Fiona said through May’s scroll.

“Understood,” May said. “I’ll grab Jo and we’ll be there as soon as we can.”

“Great, see you then!” Fiona hung up.

May put her scroll in her pocket, then made her way to Joanna’s apartment complex. She could tell which room was Joanna’s because of light shining out of one of the third floor windows, an orchestra of women screaming and moaning in pleasure. It didn’t take long for May to arrive at Joanna’s apartment, standing in front of the door with a deadpanned expression, eyebrow raised. She looked down the hall to see one Joanna’s neighbors glaring at her from his apartment, not happy with the noise. May shrugged, then knocked on the door.

“Oh…did someone just…” May heard Joanna’s voice on the other side. “Shush! Just shush!”

May heard footsteps, the lock click, and the door open to reveal Joanna. May said nothing, she just crossed her arms.

“What?” Joanna asked.

“Jo, I could hear the screaming from outside,” May said.

“Oh…” Joanna rubbed the back of her head.

“How many you got this time?” May asked.

“Uh…f-five…”

“Impressive, but I’m afraid those girls will have to wait.” May checked her watch. “The Happy Huntresses got a meeting.”

“Damn it…” Joanna whispered.

“J?”

Joanna and May looked to see a naked woman, standing up straight, not hiding anything. Four other women stood behind her, all equally unashamed.

“You coming back?” The leader asked.

May whistled.

“J-Just give me a second to sort this out,” Joanna said.

“I’ll give you five minuets.”

Joanna groaned. “Deal.”


Robyn and Fiona waited patiently outside the old movie theater. Fiona was watching videos on her scroll, while Robyn leaned her back against the front doors, left foot holding her up, right raised and pushing the sole of her boot onto the wall. With nothing to do but wait, she thought back to Wren, again. They used to come here when the theater was open, and Robyn closed her eyes to remember her favorite visit, seeing her teenaged self, Wren holding her arm tightly, shaking.

I can’t believe I let you drag me to that horror flick!” Wren whined. “I’m going to have nightmares forever!”

“Don’t be so over dramatic, hon,” Robyn laughed. “That white mask wearing psycho isn’t real, remember?”

“Tell that to my psyche,” Wren snarked.

“Even if our old pale Michael was real, I’d never let him lay a hand on you,” Robyn assured.

“You wouldn’t, would you?” Wren stopped, keeping her hold on Robyn’s arm to assure she stopped, too.

“Honey, is everything alright?” Robyn asked, concerned. “I’m sorry if that movie scared you too bad, I just thought it’d be fun for us to-”

“Do you love me, Robyn?” Wren asked, suddenly.

“What?!” Robyn shook her head, blindsided.

“Do. You. Love me?” Wren asked.

“I…I…” Robyn sighed, taking Wren’s chin and gently moving it up, assuring their eyes met. “I love you, Wren Brown. I love you with all my heart.”

“You do?” Wren smiled wide.

Robyn nodded.

“I love you, too!” Wren hugged Robyn, tight.

“Forever and Always?” Robyn gently pushed away so she could look into her eyes.

“Forever and Always.” Wren nodded.

Robyn thought for a moment. “So…”

“So?”

“Parents are out of town for the weekend, why don’t you come over?” Robyn asked. “We can cuddle.”

“I do like cuddling,” Wren said. “Sure!”

“Rob! Fi!” May called, pulling Robyn from her trip down memory lane.

Fiona immediately shut off her scroll when she heard May shout. Robyn put both feet on the ground, taking a few steps forward.

“Sorry if we’re late, one of us was having an orgy.” May pointed her thumb at Joanna.

“Oh…my…” Fiona blushed.

“Nice.” Robyn smiled, she nodded her head in approval.

“Thanks boss,” Joanna said, awkwardly. “I’m pretty proud of it, too.”

“Alright, enough sex talk,” May said.

“You’re the one who brought it up,” Fiona said.

“Yeah…well…uh…that’s besides the point!” May crossed her arms, blushing.

“Hypocrite or not, May is right.” Robyn walked over to the front door of the theater, knocking loudly on it three times.

“Come in,” an old man said.

Robyn opened the door, revealing a thin, aging old man with a bald head and white mustache. He wore a green shirt and blue jeans, a pair of loafers on his feet.

“Hey Jack.” Robyn nodded.

“Ladies.” Jack greeted with a two finger salute.

“Hope kept our base clean,” Robyn joked.

“Always do.”

“Thanks Jack.” Robyn hit the down button on the elevator, then she and the rest of her Happy Huntresses stepped inside.

The ride down was short and quiet, when the elevator doors opened, it was to a long hallway. At the end of the hallway was a door, and when the Happy Huntresses opened it, it revealed a room filled with crates and a large board, a collage of pictures, with Jacques Schnee on top. Robyn made her way to the board as the other three got in their usual spot, May hopped onto a crate, Fiona sat cross legged on the floor, and Joanna stood.

“Alright ladies, it’s time to begin our dismantling of Jacques’ operations,” Robyn began. “The election is less then a year away and I plan on running for a seat on the council, but so will he, so we need to as much damage as possible to keep him from cheating his way to victory.” She crossed off an image of a man in a cat mask. “Cheshire, the perp who killed…he’s is dead, unfortunately not by my hand, but hey, he was castrated and cooked alive, I’m happy.” Robyn shrugged. “So that leaves us with Percy, and who ever let Cheshire into that assembly hall that night.”

“Where do we start?” Joanna asked.

“With him.” Robyn pointed at the picture of Percy Note. “We start at the bottom, with the men who got all those people killed on the horrid night, then work our way up.”

“Sounds like my kind of plan.” Joanna cracked her knuckles.

“So, where is this…Pied Piper?” May asked.

“Fi?” Robyn smiled down at Fiona.

“Right!” Fiona jumped to her feet and pulled her scroll from her pocket, going over her map. “Percy is using an abandoned Schnee dust shop as a HQ.”

“You heard her, ladies.” Robyn spread the wings on her cross bow. “It’s about time the Piper paid, for a change.”


The old dust shop was surrounded by dusty wooden crates and fallen pipelines.

When the Happy Huntresses arrived at Percy’s hideout, it didn’t take long for them to bump into some obstacles. Three guards at the front door noticed the three, and stalked over to them.

“Alright ladies, time to show them our teeth,” Robyn said.

“Hey ladies, the boss knew you were coming and wants to speak with you.” The center guard took out his scroll, a holographic image of Percy appeared.

The Pied Piper was dressed in a red hoody, green jeans, and brown boots.

“Don’t think I don’t know what you broads are doing here!” Percy spat. “You best leave now, because if you don’t, you’ll only be leaving in a body bag!”

“Look, I’m going to give everyone here one chance to walk away unscathed,” Robyn said.

“Bitch, did you not hear what I just said?” Percy spat. “You and your little dyke brigade leave. Now.”

“That your final answer?” Robyn asked.

“Only one group is walking out of this, alive,” Percy said, coldly. “Considering we’re men up against a group of starry eyed girls, I think I know who’s getting their faces kicked in.”

Percy’s hologram vanished, and the guards cracked their knuckles.

“Robyn, let me,” Joanna s said.

“They’re all yours, Jo.” Robyn stepped aside.

Joanna suddenly charged the guards. The three were not ready for such a sudden attack, allowing Joanna to jump kick the center guard, knocking him out. The guard to her left and right tried a flank attack, but Joanna sweeped the leg out from under the right, then countered a punch from the left causing him to fall onto his back. Then he noticed a pipe, and quickly picked it up.

“Really?” Joanna deadpanned.

“Die!” The guard swung the pipe, which Joanna just dodged and hit him with a right hook so hard he spun around.

With the guard’s back to her, Joanna kicked the back of his left knee, causing him to fall onto that knee. She grabbed him by the back of his neck, taking him out with a open hand strike to his throat. Joanna heard footsteps approaching her fast, barely dodging the punch from the remaining guard.

“Come on!” The guard shouted.

Joanna made the “Come at me” jester. “You first.”

The guard shouted in rage, reared back, and threw a punch. He had left himself open for so long, Joanna would’ve needed to intentionally let him hit her. She caught his punch, grabbed his wrist, stretched out his arm, and dislocated the elbow with an upper cut. As the guard screamed, Joanna grabbed him by the back of the head and slammed him face first into the corner of the nearest crate. She dropped his body and wiped off hands.

“Ugh…what happened?” The center guard sat up, holding his head.

Joanna walked over him, giving the guard enough time to widen his eyes before she kicked him in the chin. A snapping sound could be faintly heard as he fell face first into the ground.

“Damn Jo, any of these guys still breathing?” May asked.

“That one is, ironically enough.” Joanna pointed to the guard who’s throat she struck.

“Alright then,” Robyn said. “Let’s keep moving.”


Inside the abandoned dust shop, four armed guards patrolled between the Happy Huntresses and their target, who they saw walk into the dusts shop’s office. 

“May I?” May smirked.

“You may, May,” Robyn said.

May, with a curtsy, cloaked herself. Then she headed inside the patrolled room. Thankfully, the room was filled with shelves upon shelves of unused dust, ensuring no one would see or hear May choke the life out of the nearest guard.

“Okay, let’s see what you have.” May pride the gun from his hand, smirking at the silencer on its barrel.

May looked around the corner, and saw a guard walking straight towards her. Closing her left eye, she took aim, and took him out with a shot through the head, unintentionally taking out the third guard that was behind him.

“Sweet!” May covered her mouth.

“I heard that!” The final guard made his way towards May, but Joanna stepped in.

“Surprise!” Joanna forced his neck against one of the shelves, and punched him in the temple, breaking his neck.

“Phew, thanks for the save, Jo,” May sighed in relief.

“I heard noises, what are you idiots…” Percy trailed off when he saw the Happy Huntresses. “Oh shit!”

“We just want to talk, Percy!” Robyn shouted.

Percy didn’t say another word, he just ducked back into his office, slamming the door shut. Robyn ran over to the door, barely getting behind the wall in time to dodge shots from Percy’s pistol.

“We can do this nice and quick, Percy,” Robyn said over the gun fire. “No more need to get hurt or die”

“I ain’t telling Happy Bitches nothing!” Percy fired his last bullet, quickly going to reload. “Gods damn it!”

Robyn acted fast, whirled around the door frame, and firing an arrow right into Percy’s shoulder.

“Gods!” Percy cried.

“Come on, Percy,” Robyn said. “Last chance.”

Percy glanced to the door behind him.

“Percy…” Robyn said, sternly.

Percy turned blew through the door with his good shoulder.

“Always go to do it the hard way.” Robyn shook her head. “Joanna, May, cut him off!”

“On it!” Joanna and May turned back the way they came.

“Come on, Fi!” Robyn booked it after Percy. “Percy!”

“Right behind you, Robby!” Fiona followed as fast as her small frame would allow

Percy ran down the hallway, plowing the door at its end like last time, slamming it shut behind him. Robyn kicked it open and took after him without breaking a sweat. Percy turned the corner and saw the exit, looking back to see Robyn gaining.

“Damn it!” Percy ran towards the door, only for Joanna to open it and grab him by the throat.

“Got ya!” Joanna threw Percy to the ground, stepping on his back and twisting his arm behind his back. “Squirm around too much, and I dislocate the shoulder.”

“Okay! Okay!” Percy cried.

Robyn blew through the door only to find the scene. “Oh…go job, Jo.”

Joanna nodded.

“Wait…for me…!” Fiona pushed open the door, bending over, holding her knees, sweating and panting.

“Now, you’re going to tell us, Percy.” Robyn leaned down. “I suggest you be honest, Joanna will snap your arm like a KitKat bar.”

“Wh-what do you want me to tell you?” Percy asked, desperately.

“Who. Let. Cheshire. In?” Robyn got real close to his ear. “Please, lie to me.”

“I won’t! Promise!” Percy exclaimed. “It was Dobson!”

“Dobson Doberman? The owner of the assembly hall?!” Fiona widened her eyes. “Why?”

“I don’t know, I swear,” Percy said. “I just leaked when and where the event would take place, Jacques and his rabid cat did the rest.”

“Still an accomplice, Percy.” Robyn nodded at Joanna, who dislocated his shoulder.

“Ah! Gods! Why?! I told you everything!” Percy shouted in pain.

“You also got my wife killed,” Robyn said, coldly. “Just be thankful you’ll live to get that arm all healed up behind bars.”

“B-Bars?!” Percy looked up in horror. “No! You can’t!”

“Why not?” Robyn asked.

“I ratted out half of the criminal underworld in both Mantle and Atlas!” Percy shouted. “I’ll be dead within the week!”

Robyn stood up, looking down at him. With a blank, emotionless gaze, she kicked him in the face, knocking him out.

“We still arresting him?” Fiona asked.

“You’re damn right we are,” Robyn said. “Jo, call the MPD.”

“With pleasure.” Joanna pulled her scroll from her pocket.

“With him out of the way, all we have left, is the man who let that psycho in.”

Chapter Text

“I should’ve known it was Dobson,” Robyn growled. “After the attack he was suddenly loaded, Jacques no doubt paying him in millions, if not billions, in lien for helping him.”

“Also explains why his guards are a bunch of psychopaths.” May looked through the files of Dobson’s guards. “Rape, torture, murder, you name it, they’ve done it.”

“Why hire violent thugs to guard your home?” Fiona asked.

“Most legit guards would never work under monsters like Jacques,” Robyn answered.

“So Jacques hired them because they had about as much morals as he did,” May finished.

“Which means lethal force is allowed,” Robyn said.

“Cool!” Fiona smiled.

Robyn and the others looked at Fiona, shocked.

“What? Lethal is faster!” Fiona shrugged. “I’m being practical, here.”

“Okay then…” Joanna brought the binoculars to her eyes.

Robyn and her Happy Huntresses camped out on a hill by Dobson’s home. Joanna, using a pair of binoculars, used her semblance, Heat Seeking, to keep count of everyone in there.

“How many guards we got, Jo?” Fiona asked.

“All thirteen of Dobson’s guards are present, add in Dobson and we got fourteen.” Joanna lowered the binoculars.

“Okay, sounds simple enough.” Fiona unholstered her revolver, loading each of the six chambers with a bullet.

“You go any more bullets?” Robyn asked, concerned.

“Don’t need them,” Fiona assured, then she slid down the mountain. “Call up Dobson, let’s give him a little scare!”

“I’ll send you a two finger salute is he doesn’t agree to come quietly,” Robyn said.

“Hopefully he won’t.” Fiona pulled back the chamber, smiling at the satisfy click, the hid in the bushes by Dobson’s home.

“She can be scary,” May said.

“Yeah…she can.” Robyn smiled. “It’s just one of the many things I love about her.”

It was Robyn’s turn to get weirded out looks from May and Joanna.

“Platonically love about her, of course!” Robyn coughed.

“Riiiiiight…” Joanna rolled her eyes.

“J-Just call him up!” Robyn ordered.

“Already on it.” May punched in Dobson’s number.

“Hello?” Dobson answered.

“Please hold for Miss Hill,” May mocked an operator voice, handing the scroll over to Robyn.

“What?!” Dobson sounded like he was panicking, already

“Hey there, Dobby,” Robyn said, venomously. “Robyn Hill, speaking. I’d like to have a little…let’s call it a chat. Is that okay with you?”

“What do you want?!” Dobson demanded. “How did you get this number?!”

“Be surprising how easy it is to hack into your files, even of rich scum like yourself.”

“What does that mean?”

“You know what I mean.”

“I don’t!”

“Three years ago, at your lovely little assembly hall,” Robyn reminded. “A business rival of Jacques Schnee was holding a charity, a bomb went off, and a lot of people died.”

“It was a tragedy!” Dobson exclaimed. “A horrific event we should all move on from!”

“Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Robyn gritted her teeth. “Just brush what you did under the rug to live the high life.”

“I did nothing!” Dobson was practically shouting. “I wasn’t even there!”

“I wonder why that is?” Robyn asked, mockingly. “Maybe it was because you didn’t want to get caught in the blast.”

Dobson was quiet.

“You still there, Dobby?”

“You can’t prove a damn thing.”

“That’s the thing, we actually can!”

“How?”

“We got word from the Pied Piper himself about your involvement.”

“He’s a criminal!”

“So are you.”

“Listen here you little wench…I’m not intimidated by you!” Dobson spat. “You can’t touch me, anyhow.”

“Why, because of your guards?”

Dobson was quiet, once again.

“There are thirteen of them, right?” Robyn smirked. “We’re scoping out your place, right now.”

“You’re bluffing,” Dobson finally spoke

“I’m not,” Robyn assured. “Now, I’m going to cut you a deal: either you surrender quietly, or Fiona kicks in your door, kills your men, and drags your sorry ass out here kicking and screaming.”

“Now I know you’re bluffing!” Dobson laughed. “No way that timid little sheep of yours can do that.”

“Don’t say I didn’t give you a chance.” Robyn saluted at Fiona, who snuck over to the front door, kicking it open, causing the alarm to go off.

“What?!” Dobson’s smug attitude went flying out the window.

“Have fun dealing with my ‘timid little sheep’, Dobby.” Robyn hung up.

May and Joanna sat down, and kicked back, knowing the task of capturing Dobson was in good hands. Though Robyn couldn’t help but worry.


“What tripped the alarms?” One of Dobson’s guards asked.

A few of them had gathered in the security room to check the cameras. The guards didn’t bother to hide their confusion when they saw Fiona strolling through the doors.

“That little ol’ thing kicked in the doors?” Another guard chuckled.

“Cute little sheep, isn’t she?” A third guard watched as Fiona moved through the house, stroking his chin. “She reminds me of another sheep Faunus I met back when I was an Atlas soldier.”

“What happened?” A curious guard sat beside him.

“Got me dishonorably discharged, to make a long, violent story short,” the reminiscent guard darkly chuckled. “Maybe I’ll take a nice trip down memory lane.”

“I say we make a bet!” A rather sadistic guard rubbed his hands together. “Whoever gets her first, gets to have her to him slash herself!”

“Sounds like fun!” The reminiscent guard put his finger to his earpiece. “You guys hear that?”

“I did, that sheep is as good as mine,” A patrolling guard said.

“Not if I get her first,” the guard beside him said, enthusiastically.

“None of you will be getting squat if you don’t get down there and stop her!” Dobson cut into the radio chatter. “Whoever takes her alive will get a raise and full authority to do whatever they want with her!”

The guards all smirked at one another, bolting out of the room, leaving no one to watch the cameras and keep an eye on Fiona.


“Thirteen…thirteen…thirteen…” Fiona, back to the wall, glanced around the corner and saw one of the guards coming towards her.

The guard was on alert, but thankfully didn’t see Fiona. She backed away from the corner, raised her gun, and waited. The second the guard’s head was in her sights Fiona took it off with one shot.

“Twelve.” Fiona cocked back her revolver’s hammer. “With five shots remaining.”

“Did you hear that?!” Fiona heard a guard shout.

“That didn’t sound like any of our guns, let’s go check it out.”

“Hey Fi, don’t forget-” Robyn spoke through Fiona’s earpiece.

“The EMP, I was just about to use it,” Fiona assured. “I’ll be fine, Robby.”

“Okay…sorry…just, please be careful,” Robyn said.

“I will, and I love you to.”

“Okay…hey, wait-”

Fiona cut contact, the press and held a button on her gauntlet. Raising her hand over her head, a blue crackled through the building, and everything went out

“What the…?!” Fiona heard the guard.

“Flashlights!”

“Those aren’t working, either!”

“Can you contact the guys?”

“Earpiece is out, too!”

Fiona smirked, stalking over to the two guards. Despite the darkness, her Faunus night vision allowed her to perfectly see both panicking guards, one male, the other female, no taller then her. Fiona rushed at them.

“Do you hear-” the male guard didn’t get to finish his question before Fiona drop kicked him, knocking him back.

The female guard aimed her gun in the direction of the noise, but Fiona sprung up,  grabbed the barrel and turned it towards the male guard, causing dozens of bullets to be shot into him. Fiona punched the female guard, causing her to turn, which Fiona used to get her in a choke hold. The female guard gasped, clawing at Fiona’s arm, a fruitless effort due to her gauntlet. By the time the others guard arrived on the scene, the female guard had already gone still.

“Ten,” Fiona intentionally spoke loud enough for the guards to hear.

“You hear that?” A guard asked. “Investigating.”

Fiona stepped away from the female guard’s body, watching as a guard armed with a pistol almost tripped over it.

“Got a body.”

“Is it her?” Another guard called over.

“Can’t tell, even our damn flashlights were taken out of commission.” The guard felt up the body and tapped the helmet. “No, it’s one of ours.”

“Yep,” Fiona said.

“Whoa!” The guard raised his pistol, but Fiona grabbed his wrist and struck him with the butt of her revolver.

The guard stumbled back, Fiona snatching his gun from his hand and shooting him right between the eyes with it. When two guards aimed their guns in her direction, she took them both down with the guards pistol and her revolver.

“Seven,” Fiona said, blowing smoke out of her revolver. “With four shots left.”

“What is going on?!” The once sadistic guard cried. “I thought she was just a stupid little sheep!”

Fiona shot his leg out from under him with the guard’s pistol, shooting him in the head as he fell to the ground.

“Six,” Fiona said.

“That’s it!” The reminiscent guard fired wildly in Fiona’s direction.

While Fiona dodged, the two guards behind her weren’t so lucky.

“Four.” Fiona threw the guard’s pistol at his head.

“Ah!” The reminiscent guard held his face. “What the fu-” he was cut off by Fiona shooting him threw the chest, causing him to fly back

“Three for both,” Fiona said.

Tow guards stood back to back, fingers shaking as they kept millimeters from the trigger. Fiona knew it’d be risky, but she slowly stood in front of one of the guard, and fired. As she guessed, her bullet went straight through one guard’s head, and went straight into the other’s.

“One guard down, two bullets left.”

That’s when the last guard rushed into the room, Fiona took aim to end it right then and there, but the guard unexpectedly shot at Fiona, shooting her revolver right out of her hand.

“Huh?” Fiona froze as the guard aimed her pistol at her.

“You’re cute…” the female guard purred.

“You can see me?”

That’s when Fiona realized the female guard actually purred at her. The realization was confirmed when the Cat Faunus took her helmet off, cat eyes staring straight through her.

“Guess it’s just me and you, Sheep,” The Cat Faunus mocked. “Names Mirage.”

“How I wish you were just a hallucination,” Fiona snarked.

“Got quite the tongue on you, sheep.” Mirage threw down her pistol and pulled out her knife. “I can’t wait to cut. It. Out.”

Mirage charged at Fiona, who blocked a knife slash with her gauntlets. Unfortunately, Mirage kicked her against the nearest wall, and held her blade to her throat.

“We made a bet, you know,” Mirage said. “Looks like I win by elimination! Which means I get a raise, and I get you.”

“Do you, now?” Fiona tried to push Mirage’s blade away from her throat, but she wasn’t strong enough.

“Don’t try to move too much, sheep.” Mirage moved closer to Fiona’s face, lips a hair’s length from touching. “I may let you go if you’re entertaining enough.”

“Oh, I’m tons of fun!” Fiona gabbed her pointer and middle finger into Mirage’s eyes.

Mirage screamed, loosening her grip enough for Fiona to kick her away. As the rabid cat Faunus dropped her knife, Fiona caught sight of her revolver. It was at the half way point between her and Mirage, who had just recovered. The two stared at each other, then both made a mad dash towards it.

Dobson had locked himself up in his office when Fiona had arrived, content his vicious guards would take care of her. The sound of two gunshots made him jump, and the sound of footsteps slowly making their way towards his room filled him with dread. Dobson prayed, but that went unanswered when the door was kicked in and Fiona pointed her gun at him.

“Oh no…” Dobson whimpered.

“Got ya.” Fiona smirked.


Fiona threw Dobson at Robyn’s feet.

“Good job, Fi.” Robyn smiled at Fiona.

“Don’t mention it, Robby.” Fiona smiled back.

“Anyway, while these two continue to prove they aren’t totally in love, why don’t you get to talking?” May glared down at Dobson.

“I…I…I…” Dobson’s smug mask returned, even if it was cracked. “I don’t have to tell you four, anything!”

“You got a bullet in that revolver, Fiona?” Robyn asked.

“Nope, used the last two on the final guard.” Fiona handed Robyn her revolver.

“That’s fine, Fi.” Robyn stroked Fiona’s face. “I got it.”

“They’reinlove,” Joanna coughed.

Robyn glared at Joanna, rolled her eyes, and took a single bullet from her belt. Loading it into a single chamber, she spun it, then stopped after a few seconds.

“What are you doing?!” Dobson asked.

“We’re going to play a little game, Dobby.” Robyn’s mood darkened as she aimed the revolver at Dobson’s head. “It’s like Roulette, except I’m not the one who is about to die.”

“You can’t do this!”

Robyn pulled the trigger, Dobson jumping at the sound. Nothing came out.

“We’ll play this as long as you want to,” Robyn said, spinning the chamber.

“What do you want me to say?!” Dobson cried, smug mask shattering once again.

“Did you give Cheshire access to your assembly hall?” Robyn asked, pointing the revolver at Dobson.

“No!”

The revolver clicked when Robyn pulled the trigger.

“Oh Gods!”

“Luck will only last you so long.”

“I didn’t!”

*Click*

“Please stop, I beg you!”

*Click*

“Okay! Okay! I did it!” Dobson cried.

Robyn had just spun the charmer again when Dobson cried out. She stopped it, then reached down and took his hand.

“Say that, again,” Robyn ordered.

“I let Cheshire into my assembly hall,” Dobson admitted. “I used the insurance money I got from its destruction and the money Jacques gave me for assisting to set myself up for life.”

Robyn’s hand glowed green. “Good, just got to make sure you didn’t just say that out of desperation.”

“Wait…your semblance is a lie director?!” Dobson’s eyes widened. “Then why did-”

“Why?” Robyn stood up, and pointed the revolver at Dobson’s head.

“What are you doing?!” Dobson curled into the fetal position.

“Answering your question.” Robyn’s face was blank, emotionless, and cold.

“But-” Dobson stopped talking when Robyn pushed the barrel of the revolver right onto his forehead.

This time Robyn didn’t bother spinning the chamber each time she pulled the trigger.

“Her.”

*Click*

“Name.”

*Click*

“Was.”

*Click*

“Wren.”

Miraculously, Dobson was still alive, though his shaking and pale face assured he wouldn’t be forgetting this experience for a long time.

“Let her name haunt your nightmares whenever you close your eyes and relive this moment,” Robyn hissed. “Just like it does with mine whenever I dream about the attack you caused.”

Dobson just looked up at Robyn in terror, not even flinching when she reared back her fist to punch him in the face.


It was well past midnight when Robyn and her Happy Huntresses had Percy and Dobson in police custody. All were tired and felt they had done enough damage to Jacques’ empire for the day.

“Alright girls,” Robyn yawned, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah, I’m beat,” Fiona agreed.

“Same time, tomorrow?” May asked.

“Maybe a few days, we could all use a break.” Robyn looked to her feet.

Joanna shared a concerned look with May and Fiona before stepping towards Robyn.

“You okay, boss?” Joanna reached out to Robyn, but she backed out of her reach.

“No, I’m not,” Robyn answered, bluntly. “It’s…what we’re getting into is a lot to take in.”

“If you don’t want to-”

“No!” Robyn snapped. “No! I will not sit idly buy and let over privileged sack of trash continue to make millions off of the lives of others!” She had a little realization, and her tone softened as she shrunk back, closing her eyes. “After this break I’ll be spending every waking moment tearing what he’s built, down.”

“We’ll be right by your side,” Fiona assured.

“I know.” Robyn didn’t look to assured, however. “Thanks ladies. You have a good night.”

As the Happy Huntresses reluctantly went their separate ways, Robyn shoved her hands in her pockets and decided that, despite how tired she was, she’d take the long walk home to think.


I was being too sadistic, Robyn mentally scolded herself as she walked home. Wren wouldn’t want me to become just as bad as the guys who…

Robyn stopped walking, a rather painful sight stood before, and one of the reasons she usually didn’t take this root home, anymore.

To any everyday citizen of Mantle, it was a condemned building. To Robyn, it was so much more. She took a few hesitant steps forward, but soon it developed into a natural walk. When she stood at its front entrance, Robyn considered turning and walking home, but decided she needed a reminder of why she was doing this. Turning the corner, she saw the fire escape, it’s ladder thankfully still lowered, and made her way towards it, body beginning to shake the closer she got. When Robyn reached the ladder she grasped it tightly, inhaling a deep breath before being to climb. It usually didn’t take long, a few minutes at most, but to Robyn it felt like hours. The building was at the edge of Mantle, practically built into the wall that surrounded the city. When she reached the roof, she sat down in the center of it and stared across the icy tundra at the stars ahead, unable to simply lie down and look up because of Atlas blocking her view. Just one of many things she despised about the city looming over her and the people of Mantle.

“Come on, Wren!”

“I’m coming!”

Robyn sighed, she knew it would happen, yet she came here, anyway. She looked back to the fire escape to see herself, this time looking no different then her current look, mainly because it was merely four years ago. Robyn was carrying a picnic basket, Wren a blanket, which she laid out so the two could sit and enjoy the view.

“This sight never gets old,” Wren said.

“Just another brilliant idea by yours truly!” Robyn jokingly bragged.

“Brilliant ideas are very few and far between with you,” Wren joked.

“Hey!” Robyn tackled Wren. “Take it back.

“Nope!” Wren smiled, cheekily.

“I suggest you do, for I know your weakness!”

“Really? What would that be.”

Robyn poked Wren’s stomach, earning a giggle from her. Wren realized what Robyn meant rather quickly.

“You wouldn’t dare!” Wren tried to wrestle free.

“Take it back!”

“Never!”

“Then you leave me no choice.” Robyn’s fingers danced over Wren’s stomach.

“Robyn…”

Robyn didn’t give Wren time to speak before assaulting her with tickles. Wren laughed adorably, and eventually stopped trying to free herself and just squirmed under Robyn’s hold.

“Surrender?” Robyn asked.

“Yes!” Wren screamed through her laughing.

“Ha ha! Victory!” Robyn got off of Wren, helping her sit up.

“You’re pure evil,” Wren said between sighs.

“A necessary evil,” Robyn corrected.

Wren snorted.

“Gods, stop it with your cute laugh,” Robyn mock ordered.

“I’ll stop when this view stops being beautiful,” Wren said.

“This view is like you.”

“How?”

“It’ll never stop being beautiful.”

“Cheesy, but appreciated,” Wren giggled.

Robyn looked out to the stars, smiling face becoming more serious. Wren picked up on this.

“Are you okay, Robyn?” Wren asked, concerned.

“I’m fine…just nervous,” Robyn said.

“About what?”

Robyn took Wren’s hands, standing both of them up.

“Wren I’m not good with really big, long speeches about love and all that, so I’ll just come out and say it…I love you and…” Robyn reached into her pocket, got down on one knee and pulled out a small black box. “…I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Wren gasped and covered her mouth. Robyn held her breath, breathing a sigh of relief when Wren nodded her head.

“Yes! Yes!” Wren had tears in her eyes

Robyn took the ring out of the box with one hand, took Wren’s hand in the other, and slipped the ring on her finger.

“I love you so much, Robyn!” Wren went to her knees to hug Robyn.

“I love you too, baby.” Robyn returned the hug. “Forever and always.”

“Forever and always!” Wren repeated.

As the memory vanished from Robyn’s sight, she curled into a fetal position and laid on her side. She didn’t care how dirty it was, she cried herself to sleep on that roof.

Chapter Text

Wren worked as a popular balloon saleswoman on the streets of Mantle. Robyn would occasionally bump into her while on patrols, usually surrounded by a dozen or more wide-eyed children who wanted a balloon sword or animal. Luckily for them, Wren was very talented when it came to balloon modeling, and always made sure to have as many balloon hats and swords ready before she went out. She preferred to make the animals in front of the kids, though it never bothered her to make whatever the kids wanted to her see her make. Today Robyn bumped into her while patrolling with May.

“Hey May, why don’t you go get us some sandwiches from the corner store?” Robyn handed May some lien. “I want to go say hi to the Mrs.”

May nodded and took the lien, then Robyn made her way over the back of the crowd of children surrounding her wife.

“Hi-a Honey!” Robyn greeted behind the crowd of children.

“Kids, move aside please,” Wren said.

The children unhesitatingly did so, all staring up in awe as Robyn walked past. She couldn’t help but smile at some of the things she heard them say.

“A huntress?”

“So cool!”

“I want to be just like her!”

“So, what are you making for the little scamps today, sweetie?” Robyn asked, leaning against Wren balloon stand.

“Well, I wanted to try something new,” Wren answered, turning to the kids. “Anyone have any ideas?”

The children remainder silent, either shrugging or looking at one another in hopes the kid next to them would have an idea.

“Come on, certainly one of you has something I’ve never made,” Wren said.

“I have a recommendation.” Robyn wrapped her arm around Wren’s shoulders.

“What would that be?” Wren smiled.

“A heart,” Robyn said.

“Ew!” One boy in the front of the crowd mocked barfing.

“Hey, love is a great thing, kid.” Robyn knelt down to be at eye level.

The boy shook his head.

“You’ll see when you fall for someone as hard as I fell for her.” Robyn ruffled his hair.

“No!” The boy flailed his arms.

“Okay, sorry!” Robyn stood up, chuckled. “So, a heart?”

“I suppose I haven’t made one of those before.” Wren scratched her chin, then looked over her unflated balloons. “Color?”

“Red, of course!”

Wren took a red balloon, blew it up, then tied it’s end to ensure no air would escape. Then she connected both ends and twisted them together. Finally, she centered the balloon, squeezing the air out and then letting it back in, ensuring the center bent like the center of a heart.

“Okay!” Wren held out the balloon heart. “Thanks for the recommendation, sweetie!”

Robyn gave Wren a silent thumbs up.

“So, which one of you wants it?” Wren asked.

A girl besides the grossed out boy raised her hand.

“Jewel! No!” The boy whined.

Jewel gleefully took the heart, blowing a raspberry at her brother.

“Rob!”

Robyn looked behind the children to see May, raising a hand holding a sandwich.

“Alright kids, I’m go to have a lunch break then go back on patrol,” Robyn said.

“Why don’t you kids show your appreciation for all Robyn does to protect us!”

“Thank you, Miss Hill,” The children said.

“Don’t mention.” Robyn side stepped towards Wren. “You know you could show some appreciation, too!”

Wren rolled her eyes, knowing what Robyn wanted, but the smile on her face never fell. She closed her eyes and moved to kiss Robyn’s cheek, but Robyn took both of Wren’s cheeks in her hands and gave her big kiss on the lips, instead. The grossed out boy closed his eyes and covered mouth.

“Now that, kids, is how you kiss someone you love!” Robyn waved to Wren and children. “See you tonight, honey!”

“Yeah…tonight…” Wren was still stunned by Robyn did.


When night fell, Robyn decided to meet back up with Wren as she was closing up her mobile balloon stand.

“Good day?” Robyn asked.

“Yep! Made even better by the sudden appearance of Mantle’s favorite huntress!” Wren smiled.

“Aww, you’re making me blush!” Robyn rubbed the back of her head, cheeks reddening. “I guess I’m just good with kids.”

“That’ll help when we get one.”

“Yeah…I guess it will…” Robyn said, nervously. “Let’s not talk about that, yet. We haven’t even been married a year.”

“Changing the subject, you are an inspiration to those kids,” Wren noted. “A lot of them talked about how you are the reason they want to become huntsmen and huntresses when they grow up!”

“That’s good, I suppose.” Robyn glanced away. “I just wish these kids had a better place to go then Atlas Academy.”

“Well…it’s the only huntsmen academy here.”

“Unfortunately,” Robyn scoffed.

“I don’t see the problem,” Wren said.

“It’s Atlas!”

“Why do you hate Atlas so much?”

Robyn was silent for a moment, then pointed to one of Wren’s balloons. “Can I have that one?”

“Uh…sure?” Wren, not hiding her confusion, untied the balloon from her stand and handed it to Robyn.

“For as long as I could remember, I’ve hated Atlas,” Robyn began. “It started with fear, waking up in the middle of the night with the red aura of the giant heaters glistening in through my curtains made little kid me fear Hell itself was upon us. When I got older, it didn’t get any better, because then I could understand the real reasons to hate the city above us. To start small, it’s always blocking our view of the sun, the moon, and the starts, ensuring only the richest of the rich could enjoy the nice view from outside their fancy mansion or expensive apartment. Then the bigger things, the privilege, stepping over us or using the citizens of Mantle as picking grounds for mistreated servants and laborers.” She released the balloon and watched it raise into the air, not taking long for it to pop when it reached the heaters. “That’s probably my biggest reason. Sure, all balloons pop when they reach too great a height, but Atlas never lets a balloon here rise. You let go of a balloon up their, it’ll reach the Heavens before popping, but down here, Atlas cuts it off, making sure it’ll never fully rise because that’s not what any of the balloons down here are supposed to do. They stay under Atlas, swiftly dealt with when they rise too high for the cities liking, while all the balloons up their reach their full potential. Not because of any reason, just because they were made up there, while the rest were made down here. That’s why I hate, Atlas.”

“Has Atlas hurt you that bad?” Wren asked.

“City hasn’t hurt me, yet.” Robyn shook her head. “It will, though. It always does.”

Robyn shot awake, gasping as she looked around, remembering where she was. Rubbing her eyes, Robyn stumbled to her feet, brushing as much dirt off as she could, then heading back down the fire escape. She looked around at the people of Mantle just minding their own business, then looked up at Atlas. Robyn felt that urge, again. A urge she tried so hard to resist but never could. She made her way to the Assembly Hall.

The Assembly Hall was never rebuilt. After the bombing, whatever was left of the building was torn down and turned into a memorial for the victims, names engraved on a marble pillar in the center of the block. The names were in alphabetical order, Robyn tracing her hand across all of the W’s until it found her.

Wren Hill.

Robyn’s fist clenched as she stared at the name, allowing herself to fall into the inevitable.

Nova Ivy was holding a charity gala in Dobson’s Assembly Hall. An important occasion needed protection, and Ivy wanted the best guards she could think of, so she hired the Huntsmen and Huntresses of Mantle. As payment, the huntsmen weren’t only going to be handsomely paid, but their families could attend, free of charge. This, of course, included Robyn and her team. Joanna and Robyn were the bouncers at the door, while May, Fiona, and the rest of the huntsmen and huntresses patrolled the interior.

“Name and Identification.” Joanna stopped a small badger faunus.

“Badge Thyme.” The Faunus handed Joanna his Driver’s license.

“Wait…Thyme?” Joanna looked at his idea. “Are you related to-”

“Uncle Badger!” Fiona shouted, running over to her uncle and hugging tightly. “I’m so glad you could make it!”

“Any chance I get to spend with you, I’ll take.” Badge hugged back.

“Ladies, this my uncle,” Fiona introduced.

“Yeah, I think we got that when you called him uncle,” Joanna snarked.

“He took care of me after my parents died in that SDC cave in,” Fiona said, somberly. “He’s raised me longer then my father did.”

“Well, you’re lucky to have someone who cares so much about you.” Robyn patted Fiona’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go help him to his seat.”

“Right!” Fiona nodded. “Right this way, Uncle Badger!”

Robyn watched as Fiona lead her uncle inside, a warm smile on her face. The rest of the guest attending didn’t leave that much of an impression on Robyn, until the last one.

“Stop! You seem to be very suspicious!” Robyn circled Wren. “How do I know you’re nothing carrying dangerous?”

Wren had an annoyed expression on her face, but Joanna was holding back her laughter.

“Robyn, just let me in,” Wren ordered.

“After a standard pat down!” Robyn started with Wren’s arms, then her waist and legs. “Alright, all clear!” She smacked Wren’s butt.

“Robyn!” Wren scolded, slapping Robyn’s arm as Joanna finally burst out laughing.

“Okay! Okay! Too far!” Robyn laughed, taking Wren’s hand and giving her puppy dog eyes. “Pwease forgive me.”

Wren rolled her eyes, then chuckled. “Fine.”

“Great, enjoy the party, honey.” Robyn kissed Wren’s cheek.

“I will.” Wren walked inside.

“Alright, I think that’s everyone.” Joanna looked at the list. “Let’s head inside.”

“Right!” Robyn walked inside and took note of all the huntsmen in the building.

Unfortunately, Mantle had very little huntsmen due to most having to join the Atlas Military because of Ironwood’s rules, so there were only about a dozen or so, here.

As Robyn scanned the room, Nova went up on stage.

“Hello everyone, I would like to start by thanking the brave huntsmen and huntresses guarding this charity event,” Nova said. “Then I would like to thank the generous donors to my growing company. I believe that Remnant can have a leading dust company that doesn’t used labor or dirty, underhanded tactics like the Schnee Dust Company. I hope Ivy Industries can be that company!”

As Nova was giving her speech, Robyn’s eyes fell on Wren.

“It’s okay, we got this!” Joanna nudged Robyn in Wren’s direction.

“Thanks, Jo!” Robyn winked, then quietly made her way over to Wren, sitting down beside her. “How are you liking the delicacies?”

Wren had a big plate of half of the food on the buffet table.

“They’re…okay…” Wren said, awkwardly.

“I think you find them more then okay,” Robyn joked.

“Okay, it’s delicious.”

“Hey, if Atlas has one good thing about it, those rich types make sure their food is the best in all of Remnant,” Robyn said.

“I agree completely.” Wren took a big bite from her chicken. “Hey, shouldn’t you be guarding?”

“We got dozens of well trained guards, beloved,” Robyn assured, placing her hand on top of Wren’s. “I’ll always make time for you.”

Wren smiled. “Thanks honey.”

“Don’t mention…” Robyn trailed off when she saw movement in her peripheral vision.

“Robyn?” Wren asked, concerned.

“Stay here.” Robyn readied her wrist bow and searched for the strange movement she had saw.

Robyn looked all around back stage, yet didn’t find anything.

“Huh…guess I must’ve been seeing things,” Robyn said.

That’s when she heard the back door open. Robyn whirled around, aiming her wrist bow at a man in a cat mask, purple hoodie, jeans, and even shoes, blue stripes decorating the back of his hoodie.

“Freeze!” Robyn ordered. “Who are you?”

“The name’s Cheshire.” The man greeted with a wave.

“Get on the ground and put your hands behind your head!” Robyn ordered.

“I’d love to, but I’ve got to get out of the blast radius.” Cheshire pointed at his watch, then began to vanish before Robyn’s eyes. “And the mome raths outgrabe…”

Robyn fired an arrow, but Cheshire had already vanished, leaving the arrow to stick itself into the door.

“What the…wait!” Robyn widened her eyes and turned towards the stage, seeing a red blinking light under it. “Blast radius…”

Robyn made a dash for the bomb, but it was too late. The bomb going off was deafening, Robyn’s ears ringing as she flew back and slammed against the wall, destroying her aura and allowing a large piece of wooden shrapnel to impale itself into her abdomen. She thankfully landed on her side to keep from digging it even deeper by landing on it. As her hearing returned, the ringing in Robyn’s ears was replaced by screaming. Robyn tried to move, but wooden shrapnel sent fire seething through her entire body. She looked down at it, gripped ain’t as tight as she could, closed her eyes, put all her thoughts on Wren, then yanked. Robyn was grateful shock set in, though she know numbing pain wasn’t good for an injury like this. Gripping the wound shut, Robyn stumbled to her feet, and out to the horrid sight to the rest of the assembly hall.

“My Gods…” Robyn looked at room in horror.

Men, women, children, and even a few of the huntsmen were bleeding, burned, or some horrific combination of the two. Thankfully, Fiona, her uncle Badger, May, and Joanna were fine, baring a few cuts and burns their auras had no trouble fixing up.

“Wren…” Robyn’s eyes widened when she looked over to their table, which had flipped on top of Wren in the blast. “No…” she tried to run, but the pain was coming back in full force, swallowing it down, Robyn rushed to Wren’s side. “Wren? Baby! I’m here!”

“Robyn?” Wren’s weak voice rasped.

“Yeah, it’s okay!” Robyn grabbed the end of the table and lifted it off of Wren, pushing it aside. “You’re going to be…”

“Robyn?”

Robyn froze. There was a large wooden shrapnel in Wren’s chest, given the placement it had most likely stabbed through her right.

“Rob-” Wren coughed out blood.

“Wren…” Robyn felt the physical pain fade into something much worse as she fell to her knees and held Wren in her arms. “It’s going to be okay, baby.”

Wren finally realized why her lungs burned every time she took a breath. Robyn couldn’t tell if the wooden shrapnel was small, or just really deep into Wren’s lung.

“Robyn…it hurts…” Wren looked up at Robyn, tears in her eyes.

“I know, but it’ll be okay just…just hold on!” Robyn looked around, not knowing what to do, she heard sirens growing louder. “You hear that! Help is coming, just look at me!”

Wren took Robyn’s hand, gripping tightly. Robyn was so sure she was going to be okay, she kept looking at the doors waiting for medics to come bursting through.

“Robyn…”

Robyn felt Wren’s grip loosen.

“Wren, hold on!” Robyn tighten her grip on Wren’s hand. “You can do this! You’re strong! Please, stay with me, baby!”

“Robyn…I’m so cold…” The light in Wren’s terrified eyes were dimming.

Robyn huddled up Wren, trying not to agitate the shrapnel. “I’ll keep you warm.”

“R-Robyn…” Wren raised a bloody hand, as if reaching for something. “I love you so much…”

“I love you, too.” Robyn finally broke, tears streaming down her face as she rested her forehead against Wren’s, allowing Wren to use the last of her strength to embrace her. “Forever and always.”

“Forever…and…always…”

Robyn closed her eyes as Wren finally slipped away in her grasp, embrace vanishing as her hand fell to the floor and body went limp.

“Wren?” Robyn opened her eyes to see Wren’s lifeless ones staring right through her. “Wren?!”

Robyn stared at Wren’s body, not believing the heart shattering sight before her.

“No…Wren, hold on…” Robyn held Wren’s body close. “Help is coming…just hold on…”

Robyn felt dizzy, her wound was bleeding, constantly moving around couldn’t have helped it.

“Robyn!” Joanna screamed. “This place is going down! We need to get out of here!”

Robyn didn’t listen to a word Joanna said.

“Robyn!” Joanna grabbed Robyn, practically lifting her into the air.

“No!” Robyn suddenly screamed, trying to wrestle from Joanna’s grasp, desperately reaching out to Wren. “Wren! Help Wren!”

Joanna dragged Robyn kicked and screaming out of the building just as it collapsed. Robyn let out a scream so haunting the usually stoic, tough as nails Joanna let her go out of shock.

“We need to help her…” Robyn wept, falling to her knees.

“Robyn…I’m so sorry…” Joanna reached out Robyn, who suddenly sprung up.

“No!” Robyn shouted. “Get her! Go help so…so…”

“Robyn?” Joanna widened her eyes.

Robyn felt the seething pain come back in full force, falling to the ground, screaming in a combination agony and grief.

“May! Fiona! I need help!” Joanna held Robyn, putting pressure on Robyn’s wound.

Fiona and May looked at Robyn, realizing what state she was in and absence of Wren. The two ran to the nearest medical team, who rushed to Robyn’s aid.

“Stop back,” one medic ordered Joanna.

Joanna reluctantly did so, allowing the team to help Robyn.

“Miss Hill, I need you to stop struggling,” the medic said.

“Why are you helping me?!” Robyn shouted. “Help my wife!”

“We’ll help her,” the medic assured.

Robyn’s struggle slowed. “P-Promise?”

The medic solemnly nodded his head, and Robyn stopped struggling, allowing the team to put her on the stretcher.

“It hurts so much…” Robyn gripped her wound.

“No worries, Miss Hill,” the medic assured. “We got something for that.”

When Robyn was placed in the ambulance, she saw the medic inject a syringe into a bottle.

“Please remind still.”

Robyn didn’t move an inch, even when she felt the medic inject something into her arm. After a few minutes, she felt all her pain fade away as a pleasuring rush relieved her of the mental agony of Wren’s death.

That was how it started…

Robyn felt tears run down her eyes as her distressing memories began to physically hurt her. Hyperventilating, she stepped away, gripping her head. Robyn saw light to her left and turned to see a truck stop just in the neck of time.

“Oh my Gods, are you okay?!” The truck driver opened his door.

Robyn stared at him, turned around and ran down the street, ignoring his calls. She wanted to back to her apartment, but she knew she wouldn’t. Instead, Robyn would go meet a friend of her’s in an alley to help with the pain the only way she knew how. He usually wasn’t out during the day, he preferred to conduct business at night, but he liked Robyn and made exceptions for her.


Robyn spent the rest of the day in her apartment. She sat on the couch, half dressed, barely paying attention to the sitcom or game show she has on. It felt like it took years, but finally night fell, and Robyn started the process.

Robyn shut the tv off and pulled her scroll out. Diving into her files, she found the video she wanted, and set the scroll face first on the table, allowing a holographic projection to appear in front of Robyn. It was a black screen with the play button ready to be hit. Before she did that, she pulled the small bag out of her pocket and set it down in front of the scroll. She looked at the white, powdery substance inside, tears rolling down her face because she knew this wasn’t the way to solve her problems, but she went to get her belt, cotton ball, ethanol, a cleaned syringe, spoon and lighter, anyway. Emptying the bag onto the spoon, Robyn held it over the lighter until it had melted into liquid. Setting the spoon down gently so it would spill, Robyn wrapped her belt around her arm and tightened it, exposing her veins. Gently applying the ethanol to the injection sight, Robyn sighed, took all of the heroine into the syringe and injected it. Grateful she had left Wren’s pillow on the couch so she could huddle up with it. Laying on her side and curling into the fetal position, Robyn pressed play on her scroll, beginning her and Wren’s wedding video. As the wave of relief and pleasure washed over her, giving her another temporary relief from the ugly reality of Wren’s death, Robyn closed her eyes as the music from their wedding helped drift off into sleep.

Robyn woke up next to Wren…
 

Chapter Text

Yang was the first of Team RWBY to wake up. She yawned and climbed out of bed, then grabbed her scroll from the bookshelf placed between to check the time. It was 6AM, classes didn’t start until 8, so she had some time to freshen up. Quietly making her way to the bathroom, making sure not to wake the others, Yang shut the door, flicked on the light, set her scroll’s alarm, placed it on the sink, grabbed a towel from the closet, draping it on the towel rack by the shower, and turned it on. As she waited for the water to warm up, she pulled off her shirt and pulled down her shorts and underwear, setting them, neatly folded, on the toilet. Yang pulled back the shower curtain to test the temperature, only to accidentally knock over one of the bottles of shampoo. She huffed in annoyance and went to get pick it up.

Blake was the second member of the team to wake up. She looked at book she had cuddled up with before falling asleep, ‘The Man With Two Souls’, one of her favorites from since she was a child. Still a bit groggy, Blake stuffed the book under her pillow and got out of bed, rubbings the sleep from her eyes. Deciding the first thing she was going to do was brush her teeth, she made her way to the bathroom, only to stop when she heard the shower on. Curious, Blake gently took the doorknob, slowly turning it and opening the door with minimal sound. Looking inside just as a naked Yang bent down to pick up the fallen shampoo bottle. Waking up at the sight and face turning bright red, Blake let out a small ‘eep!’, covered her mouth, and quietly rushed back into bed. Though it was masked by the shower, Yang still heard the noise faintly, and turned to see the bathroom door creaked open. Eyes narrowing, she walked over to the door and stuck her head outside to check the dorm, Blake successfully faking sleep for her not to notice.

“Guess it was nothing, maybe I didn’t close the door all the way?” Yang shrugged, shutting the door.

“Par les dieux, elle est chaude.” Blake caught her breath.

Ruby was the next to wake up. Hopping out of bed with a spring in her step, she joyously got dressed in Beacon’s standard uniform. Ruby grabbed a whistle from the draw by the dorm, and as she turned around, noticed Blake was awake, still steamy from what she just witnessed.

“Blake, are you okay?” Ruby asked, concerned.

“Huh…what?” Blake shook her head, finally getting her bearings. “Oh! Yes, Ruby, I’m fine!”

“You sure?”

“Of course!”

“Okay…if you say so.”

Yang liked to take quick showers, always making sure her scroll’s alarm was set for ten to fifteen minutes after she got in. Right on schedule, Yang had just finished conditioning her hair, the last thing she did while showering, when her scroll’s alarm went off.

“Still got it.” Yang shut off the shower, reached for the towel, and stepped out of the shower, wrapping the towel around her dripping frame.

Yang picked up her scroll and shut off the alarm, but before she could set it down, it started ringing. She wiped the fogged up screen to get a proper look at who it was, and saw that it was Sapphire. Yang immediately picked up.

“Yang?” Sapphire’s tired eyes and messy hair appeared on Yang’s scroll.

“Hey there, Blue.” Yang smiled, sitting on the toilet, not caring how wet it got from the water dripping off of her.

“Whoa, got all dressed up in my favorite outfit,” Sapphire joked.

“You’ve never seen me naked,” Yang laughed.

“Doesn’t mean I still can’t enjoy the view,” Sapphire said. “In all seriousness though, I wanted to check up on how things are going over at Beacon.”

“Things are looking pretty bright,” Yang began. “We got our teams, schedules, and classes a few days back, and just started classes a few days ago.”

“That’s good, so what’s your team?” Sapphire asked, excitedly. “Will I get to brag about dating a team leader?”

“Sorry baby, no, I’m actually the last letter of my team,” Yang chuckled.

“Oh…I’m sorry, Yang.”

“It’s okay, I’m the brute. I’m the dumb, blonde party girl,” Yang said, half-joking. “I’m no leader.”

“Yang…” Sapphire’s eyes softened.

“I’m just messing around,” Yang assured, tone giving her away. “Let’s just move on.”

“But-”

“Moving on, Sapphire,” Yang said, sternly.

“Okay, okay, who are the other members of your team?”

“I’m partnered with a cat Faunus named Blake, and we’re on a team with my sister and her partner, who is…uh…Weiss Schnee.”

“That sucks,” Sapphire deadpanned.

“Yeah, she does,” Yang admitted.

“Wait,” Sapphire widened her eyes, “you’re on a team with Ruby?!”

“Yep, she’s team leader,” Yang confirmed with pride.

“Let in early and team leader, your sister sounds like a prodigy.”

“She has a to be, I know she is.” Yang smiled warmly. “I don’t think she can make me prouder, though I’m sure she’ll find a way.”

Before the two could continue talking, a round of knocks on the door interrupted them.

“Yang, are you almost done in there?” Ruby asked.

“Just drying up, I’ll be out in a minute,” Yang answered.

“Okie-Dokie-Loki!”

“Sorry Blue, looks like I’ll have to go.” Yang turned back to Sapphire. “You have a good day at work.”

“And you have a good day of classes.” Sapphire blew Yang a kiss. “I love you.”

“You too.” Yang blew a kiss of her own before hanging up.

Outside, Ruby checked the time. Then looked over to Weiss, still asleep in bed, and then looked at the whistle in her hands.

“Not yet, grasshopper.” Ruby gently stroked the whistle.

“Ruby, what are you doing?” Blake looked at Ruby, confused.

“You talk to objects, I don’t!”


“Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!” Nora hopped out of bed.

“Good morning, Nora,” Ren said, causally.

“Wake up, sleepy head.”

“Nora, I’m talking to you.”

Nora was silent.

“It means I’m already awake.”

“Oh yeah!” Nora bumped her head. “Sorry, I’m such a silly head.”

“It’s okay, like your silly head.” Ren smiled at Nora.

“Oh shush, you!” Nora blushed. “You make it sound like we’re together. I mean together-together.”

“Is that bad?”

“Well…n-no…I mean, I’m sure dating you would be a magical experience,” Nora said. “I just meant that we aren’t.”

“If say so.” Ren shrugged

“Now, let’s change the subject by going down to the cafeteria and getting some pancakes!”

“Sounds like a date.” Ren smirked.

“N-No! Now, you’re being the silly head!” Nora’s face turned even more red. “Stop with such silly nonsense!”

“Okay, apologies,” Ren chuckled.

“Good morning, team!” Jaune sat up, yawning. “Team I’m the leader of…still can’t wrap my head around that.”

“I can.”

Jaune looked at Pyrrha, who, despite having just woken up, looked as perfectly beautiful as she did before she went to sleep.

“I know you have the heart and brain of a leader, Jaune,” Pyrrha assured.

“You really think so?” Jaune asked.

“Has Ozpin been wrong?”

Jaune scratched his chin, trying to think up a time Ozpin bang,y screwed up, but came up blank. “I guess not.”

“Then I know you’ll continue to prove his good judge of character.”

“Thank you, Pyrrha,” Jaune said, bashfully. “The Pyrrha Nikoe, the invincible girl, saying that to me? Means a lot.”

Pyrrha frowned at the mention of her title and Jaune’s idolizing. “You’re welcome.”

“Pyrrha, are you okay?” Jaune got out of bed and went over to Pyrrha, but she scurried out of bed and away from his comforting hand.

“I’m fine,” Pyrrha assured. “I just…need to go to the bathroom.”

Jaune watched as Pyrrha, holding herself, turned on her bare heel and went into the bathroom. He turned to Ren and Nora, the latter shrugging.


Canvas woke up due to the sun shining through the window and right into his face. “Freaking sun!”

“You think it’s annoying here, imagine waking up to the sun in Vacuo’s a thousand degree weather,” Deacon joked.

Canvas closed the curtains, but before he could go back to sleep, he checked the time. He sprung awake when he saw it was 7 o’clock.

“Deacon, wake up Revon,” Canvas ordered, turning towards Adrian’s bed. “I’ll wake up-”

Adrian was on his bed, watching an endless stream of cat videos.

“Adrian, did you get any sleep at all, man?” Canvas asked.

“I don’t know the meaning of the word…no, I don’t actually know,” Adrian answered. “That’s when you wake up, right?”

“No,” Canvas sighed. “Sleeping is when you get out of bed.”

“Then what’s waking up?”

“Waking up is when you wake up.”

Adrian stared off into space for a few minutes, then snapped his fingers. “Oh, I get it!”

“Do you really?”

“No.”

Canvas face-palmed. “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to drink.”

Deacon had just watched all of that, and was stunned. Working, and fighting, alongside Adrian was going to be quite the experience. He could tell.

That’s when Deacon remembered he was supposed to wake Revon, but he heard a feminine cry and something hitting the floor. He turned to see Revon, on the floor, blankets wrapped around him.

“Morning handsome…” Revon waved from the floor.

“You’re cute when you’re clumsy,” Deacon complimented, then face-palmed when he realized what he said.

“Am I, now?” Revon smiled, seductively.

“What?! No! You…I mean, not to be rude, you are super cute!” Deacon fumbled with his words. “I just meat…I don’t know.”

The room was quiet as the rest of team CARD looked at Deacon.

“Smooth,” Canvas snarked.

“Shut up, Canvas!”


Fox’s eyes shot open, and he got out of bed, rubbing his face and walking over to the dorm’s window, opening it and letting the breeze calm his nerves.

“Are you okay, Fox?” Coco asked when she noticed Fox was awake.

“The stupid one, he stayed up all night,” Fox said.

“How do you know?” Velvet asked.

“I can feel it in the cosmos,” Fox answered.

“Fox, you really need to let this go,” Velvet said.

“No.” Fox’s eyes cut through Velvet, not helped by nearly complete white orbs.

“I need to wash my face.” Fox turned and went towards the bathroom.

“Wow, that was intense.” Coco wrapped her arms around Velvet and pulled her back under the covers.

“Coco, we have class!” Velvet scolded.

“No worries, we aren’t going to bed.” Coco licked her fingers.

“What about Yatsuhashi?!” Velvet whisper yelled, pointing at Yatsuhashi’s large, sleeping form.

“Guess you better keep it down.” Coco smirked.


Weiss finally woke up, sitting up, yawning and stretching.

“You are ready.”

“Huh?” Weiss looked to her right, but didn’t get to fully see Ruby before she blew the whistle. “Ah!”

“Rise and Shine!” Ruby greeted, Weiss.

“You brat!” Weiss hissed. “Why did you wake me up?”

“It’s 7:15, and we still need to head down to the cafeteria to get some food,” Ruby explained.

“Always need your brain food!” Yang agreed, dressed in her uniform.

“It’s the most important meal of the day,” Blake, also dressed in her uniform, said.

“Whatever, just give me a minute, a Schnee’s preparation is a long process to perfection!”

“But Weiss, the time.” Ruby pointed at her scroll.

“Ugh…fine!” Weiss whined. “Just let me brush my hear, teeth, and then get dressed!”

“Okie-Dokie-Loki!” Ruby gave Weiss the okay jester.


All four teams left their dorms almost simultaneously. RWBY and CFVY were next to each other on the right side of the hallway, while JNPR and CARD were on the left side.

“Morning guys!” Ruby waved to the other teams.

The four other teams said their greetings.

“Hey Fox!” Adrian waved to Fox.

“Die.” Fox didn’t even look at Adrian, just walking down the hallway.

“Man, I can’t believe how much that guys likes me,” Adrian said, then whispered to Canvas. “I bet you he’s super jealous of you.”

“Why would he be jealous of me?” Canvas asked.

“Because you’re my best friend!”

“Adrian, I love you like a brother,” Canvas put a hand on Adrian’s shoulder, “but no one is jealous of my position.”

“But-”

“No one. Ever.”

“Okay!” Adrian shrugged. “Now, where is the food jail?”

“Food court, and this way.” Canvas took Adrian’s hand like a parent with their child, and lead him down the hall, Revon and Deacon following behind.

“That boy is quite interesting,” Pyrrha said.

“Yat called eccentric,” Coco said.

“Closing thing I could think of that wasn’t a flat out insult.”

“Must be as insufferable to deal with as Weiss,” Yang snarked.

“Hey!” Weiss huffed.

“Enough talk!” Ruby pointed down the hallway. “Team RWBY, roll out…to…uh…breakfast!”

Chapter Text

Teams RWBY, JNPR, and CFVY had all decided to sit together at lunch. Canvas agreed with Coco it was best for everyone that Adrian stay as far away from Fox as humanly possible, especially in a place silverware.

“How have your first few days been going, rookies?” Coco asked.

“Pretty good, all things considered,” Ruby answered. “The classes aren’t to bad, you just got to listen, and I’m good at that.”

“Shocking for someone so young and inexperienced,” Weiss spat, bitterly. “Someone who shouldn’t be a leader.”

Ruby noticeably deflated at the insult.

“I don’t know, acting like a total entitled bitch certainly doesn’t qualify you as a leader to me,” Yang said in Ruby’s defense.

Weiss gasped, putting her hand to her chest, then grabbed her tray and went to sit at another table.

“Glad to know the Schnee’s are as pleasant as I thought they were,” Fox snarked.

“So, got any advice for us first years?” Jaune asked, changing the subject.

“Honestly, listen during lectures and pay attention to how people fight in training or you will get your ass kicked,” Coco advised. “Trust me, no amount of skills will prepare for someone who can perfectly counter your fighting method.”

“For example, Coco and I are heavy hitters,” Yatsuhashi explained. “Anyone fast and agile can really ruining our day.”

“Interesting.” Jaune pulled out his scroll and jotted down the advice.

“Now for the more cynical questions,” Fox began. “Worst part of Beacon so far.”

“Weiss,” Ruby, Blake, and Yang all spoke at once.

“Really now?” Fox chuckled. “Shocking.”

“Really, the only bad part of Beacon is having Little Miss Privileged as a teammate,” Blake said. “That said, the library alone is worth putting up with her.”

“Book worm?” Nora asked. “Oh, you and Ren should start a book club!”

“You read ‘The Man With Two Souls’?” Blake asked Ren.

“One of my favorites,” Ren answered.

“Sounds like a yes to me!” Blake smiled.

“Cool, want meet up and discuss in the library?” Ren asked.

“Sounds like a date.” Blake nodded.

Nora’s brain fixated on the word ‘date’. “Well, I immediately regret bringing it up.”

“Any readers in your team?” Ren asked Coco.

“Velvet and Fox,” Coco answered. “Though I don’t think Fox wants anything to do with anyone that isn’t us.”

“And you’d be right,” Fox confirmed.

“Oh, the edgy loner, I like it!” Ruby squeed.

“What?” Fox would look at Ruby if he could.

“Sorry, I’m just good at noticing tropes and cliches, is all,” Ruby said.

“Excuse me, I am not a cliché.”

“I’m not sure, you got the whole blind warrior thing going on, too,” Yang joked.

“Oh my Gods, I can’t believe I didn’t notice that!” Ruby slapped her forehead.

Fox grumbled something under his breath. Coco laughed, nudging him.

“Got to give you newbies credit, you and that Adrian kid are probably the first to get regularly under Fox’s skin,” Coco said.

“Yeah, I bet you fell honored!” Fox threw his hands in the air. “Hand out the most annoying student awards!”

“For a man whose native tongue is snark, doesn’t take much to annoy you,” Yatsuhashi noted.

“I’m taking Italian, if that means anything,” Fox snarked.

“Guys, Velvet is on her way, now.” Coco noticed Velvet walking towards the table, a tray of fruit salad in her hands.

“What you got there?” A boy asked Velvet.

“Huh?” Velvet stopped and looked at Cardin and his team. “Oh, just a fruit salad.”

“For breakfast?” Cardin glanced at his friends, all of whom snickered.

“Well, yeah,” Velvet said. “I don’t find it very weird.”

“I find it pretty weird,” Cardin said.

“To each, her own,” Velvet said with a shrug. “You can have that opinion.”

“You can’t have yours, though.” Cardin stood up, looming over Velvet.

“Why…not…?” Velvet shrunk down.

“Because Faunus are below humans,” Cardin sneered. “So if I, a human, say fruits salad for breakfast is weird,” he slapped the tray out of Velvet’s hands, “then you act like the good little animal you are and drop it!”

Coco widened her eyes and got up from her seat, causing  RWBY, JNPR, and the rest CFVY to look at the scene.

“What’s going on?” Fox asked.

“Velvet’s getting bullied,” Yatsuhashi answered.

“Oh shit, I feel bad for the bullies.” Fox heard Coco’s knuckles crack as she clenched her fists.

“Hey, you can’t just-” Velvet was cut off by Cardin grabbing her fingers.

“I can do whatever I want to a Faunus, right guys?” Cardin turned to his laughing friends.

Any restraint Coco had left flew out the window, and she stomped over to Cardin and Velvet.

“Should we help?” Ruby asked.

“No,” Yatsuhashi assured. “Coco’s got this.”

“I’m still not sitting here doing nothing.” Ren got up and followed Coco.

“Hey!” Coco shouting caused the whole cafeteria to fall silent.

“What do you want?” Cardin glared at Coco.

“Get your dirty little hands off my girlfriend!” Coco ordered.

“Girlfriend?!” Cardin laughed. “A Faunus, a girl, and a dyke! You’re three times inferior!”

“And you’re three times the pile of shit!” Coco stepped forward. “Last chance, let her go!”

“If you insist.” Cardin roughly pushed Velvet, causing her to fall and bump into a boy carrying his breakfast, covering her in milk and cereal.

As CRDL laughed, Coco became calm. She took off her glasses, slipped them onto the collar of her shirt, and stalked over to Cardin.

“Trust me, sweetheart.” Cardin poked Coco’s. “You can’t take me, so why do you go pick up your pet and get-”

Coco suddenly grabbed Cardin’s hand and squeezed, a cracking sound made the rest of CRDL wince.

“Let go!” Cardin cried in pain, trying to pull his hand from Coco’s grasp in vain.

Coco grabbed Cardin’s collar and pulled him into a head-butt. Cardin fell to his knees, muffled screams of pain as he held his hands to his face. Dove gasped, and noticed Cardin had left his weapon, a mace called The Executioner, at his seat. Dove grabbed the weapon, but Coco noticed and dodged his two swipes, so Dove went for an overhead swing. This was a move he’d regret, as Coco caught it mid-swing and kicked him in the groin, causing Dove to let out a girlish scream and fall on his side, holding his hands between his legs and weeping. Coco looked up to the last two members of CRDL, and saw Russel had picked up his twin daggers, shortwings, putting a stop to any plans he had of using them by throwing The Executioner at his head. Russel took a few shaky steps back before falling flat on his back, the blow knocking him unconscious.

“Got you, bitch!” Sky pointed the gun end of his Halberd at Coco, who froze and raised her hands.

That’s when Ren jumped in, grabbing Sky’s halberd and hitting his forehead with it, stunning him. Then he delivered jumping roundhouse kick, the students behind Sky barely moving out of the way in time as he went sliding over the table. Ren looked to Coco, who nodded in appreciation, then she glared down at Cardin.

“Uh…sorry?” Cardin looked up at Coco, fearfully.

“Think getting food all over you is funny, is it?!” Coco roughly grabbed Cardin by his hair, grabbed his plate of pancakes and stuffed his face in it, making sure to cover him in syrup. “Laugh. At. This.” She pushed him to the floor, and Cardin scurried away.

“You okay, honey bunny?” Coco helped Velvet to her feet.

“Yeah, thank you,” Velvet said. “You didn’t have to do that, though. I don’t want you to get in trouble for me.”

“Getting in trouble for you always worth it.” Coco stroked Velvet’s cheek.

“What is going on here?!” Glynda’s usually stern voice was raised.

The students all looked at the fuming Glynda as she looked at the mess of fallen food and the four broken bodies of CRDL.

“Who is responsible for this mess?!” Glynda demanded.

“I am,” Coco admitted.

“As am I.” Ren stood beside Coco.

“You two. Ozpin’s office. Now!” Glynda barked. “The rest of you get to class!”

The students didn’t hesitate to throw their breakfast away and leave the cafeteria. RWBY, the rest of JNPR, and the rest of CFVY did so with much reluctance, especially Nora.

“What happened to you?” Glynda asked Velvet, having calmed down.

“I had my ears pulled and was pushed to the floor,” Velvet answered, motioning to CRDL. “By Cardin.”

“Was your aura active?”

Velvet rolled her sleeve to reveal the bruise.

“Go to the nurses office.” Glynda’s tone softened, only to harden when she glared at CRDL. “You four, as well, then go to Ozpin’s office. Don’t think you can sneak your way out of it, I expect you four, Coco Adel, and Lie Ren to be there. Understood?”

All of Team CRDL got to their feet, keeping distance between them and Coco.

“Get out while I clean this place up,” Glynda ordered Ren and Coco, the two walking out of the cafeteria as Glynda used her semblance to fix the messes.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Coco said as she and Ren walked to Ozpin’s office. “I would’ve taken the fall for you.”

“Sky probably would’ve blabbed, anyway.” Ren shrugged.

“True…” Coco paused, using that time to put her sunglasses back on. “Why did you help?”

“A great man once told me, the worst action one can take, is no action at all,” Ren said.

“Dad?” Coco asked.

“How’d you guess?”

“Sounds like fatherly wisdom,” Coco noted. “Did…did you lose him, too?”

Ren looked to the floor. “I did.”

“Condolences.”

“Same to you, now let’s get to Ozpin’s.”

Chapter Text

“Hello students!” Professor Port greeted his first class. “Come in and take your seats!”

As students of all year’s entered his class, Port took notice of a few of the first year students looked to be really shaken up. He had heard about what had transpired in the cafeteria and knew that a school training for combat would have fights much more intense then standard educational systems, so he made it his duty to assure them.

“I would like to reach out to any of Beacon’s first years in this class and apologize for the incident in the café, this morning,” Port began. “We here at Beacon Academy know that that fight must’ve made a poor first impression, but let me be the first to assure you that the staff of this fine institution keeps its halls as violence free as we can, and with someone like Glynda stalking the halls, I can assure you most likely won’t see a fight like that for the rest of your time here.”

Port scanned the room, noticing many of the first year students starting to calm down.

“Excellent!” Port exclaimed, happily. “After all, why wail on each other when you can do that during training? Or, better yet, take out your frustrations on the Grimm!”

Some of the students chuckled.

“Speaking of grimm, I think it’s time we begin today’s lesson.” Port jumped on top of his desk. “Now, in my class, I seek to teach you all about manliness!” He flexed his muscles. “In my experience, nothing is more manly then being a leader!”

“Aren’t have of the teams here lead by women?” Fox asked, sarcastically.

“Women can be manly too, Fox,” Port scolded. “Breaking gender roles and all that!”

“That was a joke, but whatever.” Fox shrugged.

“Now, there are many qualities to a leader that must be had for your teams to be successful!” Port jumped off his desk. “One of the most important is communication! Which is why I prepared a very special test for you all…except team JNPR and CFVY because they’re missing teammates are out.”

“Phew!” Jaune whipped his brow.

“Does that mean we get to leave early?” Fox raised his hand.

“No,” Port deadpanned.

“Gods damn it.” Fox crossed his arms.

“Oh cheer up, Mr. Alastair!” Port laughed. “For this class, we’ll be going out and getting some fresh air!”

“Going outside? Getting the warm sun and clean air?!” Fox hissed. “That is doing the opposite of cheering me up!”

“Well, too bad!” Port pointed towards the door. “To the great outdoors!”

Fox groaned. “This is going to suck!”


Outside, Port lead his students behind Beacon, which was a wide open field. In said field were many cages, cages that were shaking and growling. They were in an arena of some sort, most likely to keep whatever was in those cages from escaping further then their cages.

“Students, in these these cages are so,e of the strongest variety of grimm there is,” Port began. “Boarbatusks!”

“Aren’t those Grimm infamous for having the strongest armor of any Grimm?” Pyrrha asked, scratching her chin. “Their armor is even greater then that of Goliaths’ or other larger Grimm!”

“And that is why you are one of many who aced your Grimm exams, Miss Nikos!” Port complimented. “She is correct! The best way to kill a boarbatusk is to get it on its back and shoot, stab, or even pull out its still beating heart with your bare hands through its soft and weak underbelly!”

“Dude, that was the most metal way to put that!” Canvas laughed.

“Thank you, Canvas,” Port said. “For such a gracious compliment, your team will get to go first, after my demonstration.”

“Oh…” Canvas’ smile vanished.

“Wait, demonstration?” Blake cocked an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

“Miss Rose, Miss Nikos, you two have sniper rifles, correct?” Port asked Ruby and Pyrrha.

“Yes.” Pyrrha nodded.

“What do you need me to shoot?” Ruby whipped out her gun.

“I want you both to shoot out eight locks on those cages,” Port ordered. “Since CFVY and JNPR won’t be able to participate, I’ve decided to show you all how a top tear huntsman deals with multiple of these beasts at once!”

Ruby and Pyrrha shared a glanced, then shrugged, taking aim. Pyrrha shot out six locks while Ruby only managed to get two, not because she was aiming poorly, Pyrrha was just that fast.

“Wow, you’re really good at this!” Ruby stared at Pyrrha, shocked.

“Thank you, and sorry if I stole some of your shots,” Pyrrha said, remorsefully. “I was trained to just…do things without thinking.”

“It’s cool, that was pretty sweet!” Ruby placed Crescent Rose onto the back of her belt.

“Good work, you too!” Port pulled out his own weapon from behind his back. “For any first year students, I would to introduce you to my weapon! Blowhard!”

“Wow, I relate to that weapon’s name so much,” Revon whispered to Canvas, who snorted and had to cover his mouth to keep from bursting out laughing.

“Now, let’s kill us some Grimm.” Port jumped into the area, the students watching excitedly as he let the right boarbatusks surrounded him.

“Man, what a spectacle to behold,” Fox snarked.

Two boarbatusks charged Port, who jumped straight up way higher then expected for a hefty man like himself. This caused both creatures to run into each other, knocking them both on their backs. Port shot one in its underbelly, killing it, and the recoil sending him hire into the air, which he used to grab the barrel of his gun and bring its axe down on the underbelly of the second boarbatusk. One charged him, but Port causally sidestepped and kicked the creature onto its side, shooting it dead.

“Remember students! While getting a boarbatusk onto its back is a good way to kill it,” Port shot a boarbatusk in the eye, watching as the creature fell dead, “a shot to the eye is also a good option!” He jumped over another charging boarbatusk and shot it in its unprotected behind. “A shot to its rear is great, too!”

The three remaining boarbatusks all charged Port at once. He non-fatally shot two of the threw in their eyes, causing the creatures squeal in pain and fall over, then he ran from the third, stopping at the arena’s wall. Waiting until the last second, Port dodged out of the boarbatusk’s path, causing the creature to ram into the wall, getting its tusks caught in the foundation. Port chuckled, walked behind the creature and effortlessly lifting it up by the tail and shooting its underbelly.

“I hope you enjoyed the demonstration, students!” Port shot out the underbellies of the last two boarbatusks, which were still on the ground, writhing in pain. “By the time you graduate, I hope to see you all performing such manly feats!”

Ruby clapped, which lead to the other students giving Port a round of applause. Port bowed.

“Thank you, but back onto the subject of today, communication!” Port hopped back up to the students. “Here’s how today’s lesson will go, three members of each team will go down into the arena, where one boarbatusk will be released. They have to kill it, but the trick is they can only kill it how the team leader orders them, too. I’ll step in if the boarbatusk gets the upper hand, but if your leader fails to give sound advice, or you do or don’t do something they tell you, either of you could be getting a big fat F for the day!”

“Wait, so how does this work?” Canvas scratched his head. “Is it like a Pokemon battle?”

“I…don’t know what that is,” Port admitted.

“Oh right. Old,” Fox joked, earning an instinctive chuckled from Yatsuhashi.

“Ha! Ha! Let’s all have a laugh at the old man like we aren’t going to age ourselves,” Port snarked.

“Back on topic, so they can only attack what we tell them and block when we tell the them?” Canvas asked.

“Well, if a leader isn’t giving good advice, you can block regardless,” Port corrected. “You should till not try to get beat.”

“So if the leader takes too long to think of an effective strategy they can just kill it on their own?”

“Correct!”

“Okay…I think I go it.”

“Wonderful!” Port cheered, because your team is still going first, we’ll start from last letter to third, so Deacon is up first. “You have one minute of preparation!”

“Oh crap! Deacon, what’s your semblance!” Canvas asked.

“I can turn into a completely invincible statue,” Deacon answered.

“Okay, okay, that word,” Canvas said, nodding. “Get down there.”

Deacon jumped into the arena, Port nodding at Ruby to shoot out one of the locks, freeing one of the boarbatusks. The boarbatusk glared at Deacon, then charged.

“Deacon, stand still until I say so!” Canvas ordered.

“Uh…okay?” Deacon stood up straight as the boarbatusk got closer.

“Trust me, man!” Canvas shouted. “Activate your semblance when I saw so!”

Deacon didn’t move an inch, though he didn’t hide the small nervous feeling as the boarbatusk grew closer.

“Now!” Canvas shouted.

Deacon activated his semblance, and turned his whole body to stone. Turns out he truly was invincible, as when the boarbatusk made collided with him its tusks snapped like twigs. The Grimm squealed in pain fell on its side, writhing in pain.

“Now finish it off!” Canvas ordered.

Deacon returned to skin and bone, then glanced at his gauntlets, a blade the size of an arm popped out from the top. He stuck the blade in the boarbatusk’s underbelly, the creature let out another agonized squeal before falling still.

“Excellent work!” Port clapped.

“Nice leadering, Canvas,” Adrian said.

“It’s leading, Adrian,” Canvas corrected.

“Idiot,” Fox whispered.

“Revon!” Port pointed at the dove Faunus.

“My semblance is-” Revon began.

“Actually, I aced that Grimm exams, too,” Canvas said. “So I know boarbatusks have Adrian level intelligence!”

“Oh man, they must be really dangerous, then!” Adrian widened his eyes.

“Yeah…so I’ll tell you what do when you get down there,” Canvas assured.

Revon shrugged, and flew into the arena.

“Stay in the air, Revon!”

Revon nodded as Ruby shot out the lock and the boarbatusk came charging it.

“Okay, now fly behind it!”

Revon flew over the boarbatusk’s head, and the creature jumped on its hind legs, tiny forelegs waving, as if trying to reach for the dove Faunus. The boarbatusk fell onto its back, and Revon stabbed it with a blade that came out of his elbow long bracelets.

“Wait, that thing was really dumb,” Adrian noted.

“Yep,” Canvas said.

“You said it had my intelligence.”

“Mhmm.”

“What does that mean?”

“If means you’re an idiot,” Fox said.

“Adrian is last for Team CARD!” Port called.

“Okay, Adrain, I need you to listen to me, buddy,” Canvas patted Adrian’s back. “When that boarbatusk charges at you, I need you to wait until it gets close, then swing your bat up, okay?”

“Up is this way…right?” Adrian pointed down.

Canvas sighed. “No…”

Adrian pointed his right right.

“No.”

Adrian pointed to his left.

“No!”

Adrian finally pointed up.

“Yes!” Canvas sighed in relief. “Now, just get down there!”

Adrian saluted and jumped into the arena. Surprising everyone there, when the boarbatusk charged him, Adrian perfectly timed when to swing his back up, practically upper cutting the boarbatusk. He aimed his bat at the stunned boarbatusk, and the head of the bad flipped open to reveal a canon, which fired and blew the boarbatusk to smithereens.

“That…that was beautiful.” Port wiped a manly tear from his eye.

“Wait, did he not die?!” Fox asked.

“Nope,” Ruby answered.

Fox groaned in frustration.

“Wonderful job, CARD!” Port clapped.

Canvas went over to the edge of arena and pulled Adrian up, giving him a fist bump.

“Now, which team wants to go next?” Post asked.

“Oh! Us!” Yang raised her hand.

“What…Yang?!” Ruby whined.

“Got to get us out there, sis,” Yang said.

“Looks like Team RWBY is up next,” Port said. “Which mean Yang Xiao Long will be entering the arena.”

“Alright sis, leader me up!” Yang rubbed her hands together in excitement.

“I don’t even know what that means, but whatever,” Ruby said. “You once flipped a boarbatusk in a training simulation, right?”

“Yes, I did,” Yang answered.

“Okay, so when it charges at you, you grab its tusks, flip it onto its back, and go for the kill!”

“Got ya, sis!” Yang jumped into the arena, cracking her knuckles.

Ruby shot out the lock and the boarbatusk came charging. Yang held out her hands, and the creature collided with her, but Yang dug the toes of her shoes into the dirt, stopping both herself and the boarbatusk. Smirking, Yang pushed it over with a shove, and shot it in the gut.

“Yeah!” Ruby cheered.

“Merveilleuse!” Blake clapped. “Excellent travail, Yang!”

“Okay, Blake, you’re up!” Ruby pointed at Blake. “Got a good semblance? Anything that could help you?”

“Well, my semblance allows me to leave behind a replica of myself to take a hit, I call them shadow clones,” Blake explained. “I can also combine them with dust rounds I put into my gun, though I can only leave behind fire and ice shadow clones.”

“These types got anything unique about them?” Ruby asked.

“Well, the first ones explode and-”

“Done!”

“But I didn’t get to-”

“Explosions, Blake!” Ruby exclaimed. “Do it!”

“I’m going to have to side with my sis on this,” Yang said. “Explosions are awesome.”

Blake blushed, smiled bashfully, and tucked a bit of her hair behind her ear. “I guess…if you want me to.”

Blake hopped into the arena, and shot the lock off of a boarbatusk’s cage, herself. As the boarbatusk charged, she loaded up a dust rounded and jumped back, leaving the fire dust shadow clone to be tackled by the boarbatusk. The creature looked at the shadow clone curiously, only to get blown up. Since it had its exposed underbelly on the shadow clone, it was killed instantly by the blast.

“Another job well done!” Port nodded in approval.

“See, you’re great at this leadering thing, sis!” Yang rustled Ruby’s hair.

“Now all we have left is-”

Weiss suddenly jumped into the arena.

“Get out,” Weiss coldly ordered Blake.

“But Ruby didn’t-” Blake began.

“Now!” Weiss barked.

Blake widened her eyes in shock, then narrowed them in frustration, but didn’t want to cause another fight. She did as she was told.

“Weiss, I can’t give you advice I don’t know anything about your abilities!” Ruby shouted.

“I don’t need the advice of a child!” Weiss spat. “I am a Schnee, and will do this my way!”

“But Weiss!”

Weiss ignored Ruby, and used her glyphs to launch her sword, Myrtenaster at the lock, cutting it. Then she used her glyph to bring Myrtenaster back to her, then took her taught stance. Head up, shoulders back, and right foot forward. Weiss could hear Ruby and the other members of team RWBY screaming at her, but she paid them no mind. Since all the students were doing the ‘barbaric’ way of killing the boarbatusks, Weiss decided to do a much more clean and dignified eye puncher. As the boarbatusk charged at her, Weiss caught the creature by the tail with her glyph, causing it to stop dead in its tracks. With a smirk, she jumped off another glyphs and reared back, ready to pierce its right eye and brain, but she didn’t account for the creature merely turning its head. Weiss’ eyes widened when Myrtenaster harmlessly poked its forehead. That’s when the boarbatusk broke free, from the glyph’s grasp and rammed into Weiss, knocking her across the arena, and knocking Myrtenaster from her hands. She tried desperately to scurry over to her rapier, but the Grimm cut her off, slamming into her and knocking her into the walls, then began an unforgiving assault, but was thankfully cut off by Port jumping behind it and shooting it dead. Weiss breath heavily as the boarbatusk’s body fell to the ground, then she looked up at the disappointed Professor Port.

“Looks like we got our first F for the day,” Port said, shaking his head.

“Me? An F?!” Weiss got to her knees. “I’m a Schnee! We don’t get F’s!”

“Well, over in Beacon Academy we treat all our students equally,” Port explained, a bit of an edge to his uncharacteristically calm tone. “So I don’t give a damn that you’re a Schnee. You failed. Which means you get an F.”

“But-” Weiss whimpered.

“I would also like to speak to you after class,” Port said.

“But-”

“You’re done, Miss Schnee,” Port said, sternly. “Now stop wasting the classes time and get out of the arena!”

Weiss lowered her eyes to the ground, grabbed Myrtenaster, and climbed out of the arena. Despite her previous attitude, Ruby still tried to place a comforting hand on Ruby’s shoulder, only to yank it away.

“You see, students?” Port looked to the rest of the class. “This is why communication is a two way street. You can have the most brilliant tactical in all of Remnant to give you orders, but all of it can rendered moot if you don’t listen! Now, let’s finish this up, shall we?”

Chapter Text

“I mean no disrespect, but I would like to firmly establish that, no matter what punishment you dish out, I don’t regret what I did and I will do it again if Winchester doesn’t keep his mouth shut and his hands to himself,” Coco said, crossing her arms and leaning back in chair.

“I second that.” Ren raised his hand.

“Look, I understand CRDL went way over the line, but your response wasn’t any better,” Ozpin said.

“Was it?” Coco asked. “We’re going to be huntsmen! We’re supposed to protect people, aren’t we? What are we supposed to do if we see some poor Faunus woman being harassed on the side of the street? Twiddle our thumbs and ask those poor bigots not to be meanies?”

“That’s different,” Glynda said, sternly.

“You’re right, outside stopping stuff like this is the right thing to do, but school teaches you to just sit back and wait to tell someone after the victim has been hurt or worse,” Coco snarked. “Well, outside of school I was taught to help, consequences for myself be damned.”

“As was I,” Ren said. “When I was a boy, I saw a homeless girl being bullied and did nothing, disappointing my father. He told me inaction can be the worst kind of action. While the consequences be damned part wasn’t part of his advice, I’m sure he wouldn’t be disappointed in me this time.”

Glynda opened her mouth to debate, but stopped herself, realizing she doesn’t have a good counter other then ‘you still can’t do that, here’. Ozpin was equally conflicted, as violent as the fight got for them, CRDL didn’t lose their auras and sustained no injuries, while both Velvet’s elbow and ear were bruised.

Ozpin sighed. “I suppose you’re right.”

“So, we’re not in trouble?” Coco asked, tone neutral as she didn’t care, either way.

“Ozpin, you can’t tell me you’re going to let them get away with-” Glynda began.

“Get away with what, Glynda?” Ozpin asked. “Defending a teammate and a peer?”

“Don’t forget girlfriend,” Coco snarked.

Glynda sighed.

“Look, if you’re looking for someone to punish, wait for CRDL to get out of the nurse’s office,” Ozpin said, then he looked to Coco and Ren. “You two can go.”

Ren stood, and bowed. “Thank you, Professor Ozpin.”

“Thanks.” Coco stood up, herself.

Ren and Coco entered the elevator to Ozpin’s office, the latter winking at Glynda as the door closed.

“Got to say, made a good first impression, newbie.” Coco patted Ren’s back. “You can hang out with CFVY, anytime.”

“That sounds lovely.” Ren rubbed the back of his neck, an awkward smile on his face.

When the elevator doors opened, Ren and Coco saw CRDL standing before them. Fortunately for them, the four boys simply stepped out of their way in fear.

“Just thought I’d let you boys know Ozpin let us off the hook.” Coco swaggered past CRDL.

“What?!” Cardin shouted.

“Ruled it self defense,” Coco said. “That said, even if I did get in trouble I’d leave you with this warning: You keep your hands off my girl, or I’ll break them, next time. Understand?”

“Yes, ma’am…” Cardin whimpered.

“Ma’am?” Coco glared at Cardin.

“Yes…sir?”

“Better.” Coco smirked, turned on her heel and walked away from the group, Ren scaring them with a look of disdain before following her.


Weiss sat in the front row of Professor Port’s classroom as the students filed out. She was looking at the table in front of her, leaving insignificant scratch marks on the foundation with her nails. When the last student walked out the classroom, the door shutting behind them made Weiss wince, she heard footsteps walking towards, and finally looked up to see Port.

“Why didn’t you listen to Miss Rose?” Port asked, simply. “Why did you disregard the words of your leader?”

“It’s not fair!” Weiss whined, pointing to the scar on her face. “I didn’t get this just so I could ordered around by some child!”

“How did you get that scar?” Port asked.

“My father wanted me to join Atlas, I wanted to go to Beacon,” Weiss explained. “So he gave me an ultimatum, I kill an armored Gigas, and I can go. I won, but it broke my aura and left me with this.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Port said, genuinely sympathetic. “Jacques’ cruelty is known throughout Remnant.”

“Helps that your sister is an Atlas Specialist, meaning she can travel the world and tell stories of our loving father,” Weiss snarked, bitterly. “Now, because of Ozpin, I got this for nothing.”

“You didn’t get that scar for nothing,” Port corrected.

“Excuse me?” Weiss widened her eyes.

“You still got into Beacon,” Port said. “Isn’t that what you wanted?”

“I also wanted to be a leader!” Weiss exclaimed. “Ozpin took my chance to show the world I can lead!”

“You took that chance.”

Weiss was taken aback. “What?!”

“You’re the reason you’re not leading a team, not Ozpin.” Port shook his head.

“Ozpin chose a child over me!” Weiss got to her feet. “I am heiress to the Schnee fortune! I will be running a company in my future!”

“That doesn’t automatically make you a leader.”

“Well it should!” Weiss slumped back into her chair. “I don’t understand why Ozpin could look over me, like that.”

“All this time, you keep blaming Ozpin.”

“Who else is there to blame.”

“Not blame, take responsibility,” Port corrected. “That’s what you need to do.”

“Me?!” Weiss pointed at herself.

“Ozpin isn’t blind or deaf, he saw how you treated students before and after the interviews,” Port explained. “You were cruel, condescending, dismissive, and overall unpleasant.”

“So?!”

“So you didn’t become leader because you can not lead,” Port answered.

“But…but…” Weiss flubbed for her words.

“You need to think of others, Miss Schnee,” Port advised. “It is noble to want to fix the state your father has left the Schnee Dust Company in, but a noble goal does not immediately equal a noble person. You still need to think like a huntress, and treating others with even an iota of decency and respect can go a long way.”

Weiss looked to the floor in contemplation as Port looked at the clock.

“I wish I could explain this to you in more detail, but my next class will be coming soon,” Port sighed. “You don’t have to like everyone, you don’t have to be kind to everyone, but you also don’t have to hate and be cruel to everyone, either. Think about it.”

Weiss didn’t say anything. She just grabbed her books and walked out of class. Outside, the rest of team RWBY was waiting for her.

“Weiss, are you okay?” Ruby asked, concerned.

“I’m fine!” Weiss spat. “Just…leave me alone!”

Ruby watched sadly as Weiss stomped away, the Team had separate classes for the rest of the day, so they won’t be seeing her until all of team RWBY heads back to their dorm.

“I knew we shouldn’t have waited,” Blake scoffed.

“Have to agree with Blake on this one, sis,” Yang said, solemnly.

“What am I going to do?” Ruby asked. “How can I lead a team if one of the members hate me?”

“I…I don’t know, Ruby.” Yang placed a comforting hand on Ruby’s shoulder. “But…you’ve been doing wonderful things these past few days, and you’ve made me the proudest big sister in all of Remnant. You stopped a robbery by the king of Vale’s underworld, you got into Beacon early without an application, you’ve become the leader of a team handpicked by Ozpin himself, and you’ve already proven yourself capable of communicating effectively to the teammates who will listen. I know you’ll find a way to get Weiss to, at the very least, listen, because you can do anything you set your mind to, Ruby.”

Ruby sniffed. “Thanks Yang.”

The bell ringing interrupted their talk.

“Let me walk you to your class, sis!” Yang smiled.

“Be what about your class?” Ruby asked.

“Eh, we’re all late, already.” Yang shrugged. “Might as well, right?”

Yang and Ruby waved to Blake as she went to her class, then walked down the hallway, Yang wrapping an arm around Ruby’s shoulder.


When classes ended, Ruby held off on going back to Team RWBY’s dorm, and decided to take a walk around Beacon to clear her head. As she walked, she saw Teams JNPR and CFVY chatting and exchanging numbers by the statue of the King of Vale, even Fox looked glad to be making new friends. It made her smile, and lifted her spirits, even if she still didn’t know what to do about Weiss. Ruby eventually sat down on a random bench, watching the sky changed from blue to orange.

“Feeling okay, Miss Rose?”

“Ah!” Ruby screamed, jumped to her feet, and entered a Kung-fu stance, only to immediately drop it when she saw it was Ozpin.

“I have to say, quite an impressive form you got there,” Ozpin joked.

“Oh…” Ruby chuckled. “Hi there, professor! What brings you out here?”

“I was looking for you, actually.”

“Me?” Ruby pointed at herself. “Why?”

“Professor Port told me about what happened,” Ozpin said, tone much more serious.

“Oh…that…” Ruby kicked a pebble a few feet away. “I’m sorry, not really a good leader, am I?”

“Don’t worry, Miss Rose, that wasn’t your fault,” Ozpin assured.

“It wasn’t?” Ruby asked.

“You did all you could to help Miss Schnee, but she wasn’t having it,” Ozpin said. “That said, I’ve come to give you a bit of advice.”

“Really?”

“Please, sit down.” Ozpin sat the bench Ruby was sitting on.

“Okay…” Ruby sat beside him, nervously.

“Today you’ve seen what it means to be a leader,” Ozpin began. “Coco defending Velvet, a true leader always looks out for their teammates. You and the other students in Professor Port’s class learned the importance of communication, even in the heat of battle. However, leading isn’t always sunshine and lollipops.”

“What do you mean?” Ruby’s nervousness vanished.

“Have you ever been scolded and grounded?” Ozpin asked.

Ruby nodded her head.

“I assume many parents, and authority figures in general, probably wish they didn’t have to put their foot down, but sometimes it is what someone needs to learn from their mistakes,” Ozpin explained.

“I don’t think I have it in me to be a stern leader,” Ruby admitted.

“You don’t have to be,” Ozpin assured. “However, even the most lenient parent needs to discipline their child when they act out. You want to be yourself? To be a kind leader who treats her teammates like family? You can do that, but if they step out of line, it is your responsibility as their leader to straighten them out. Do you understand?”

“Yeah…I think so…”

“Good, I hope my advice can help you make Miss Schnee a bit more tolerable,” Ozpin said.

“I think it did.” Ruby nodded.


Blake was reading a book and Yang was watching videos on her scroll when Weiss finally entered team RWBY’s dorm. Blake ignored her, but Yang pulled out her earbuds.

“Hey, where were you?” Yang asked Weiss.

“I was out for a walk,” Weiss answered. “Where is your baby sister?”

“She actually texted me she was going to be out.” Yang waved her scroll. “You see this, its called the send button.”

“I needed some time to myself!”

“I hope you used that time to think about accepting Ruby as your leader.”

“I still haven’t accepted it, yet,” Weiss said.

“Why not?” Yang asked.

“I don’t need to explain anything to you!” Weiss spat.

Ruby walked down the hallway and was just about to unlock RWBY’s dorm with her scroll when she heard the shouting, causing her to freeze.

“Why is that?!” Yang demanded

“Don’t play dumb, I know why you two hate me!” Weiss shouted.

“Why is that?” Blake asked.

“It’s because you’re a jealous, egotistical Faunus!” Weiss shouted.

Ruby’s grip on her scroll tightened, threatening to crack the screen.

“Your kind have always hated successful people because you’re too lazy, prideful, and egotistical to do your own work!”

“You take that back!” Yang shouted.

“Don’t even get me started on you, you brainless, blonde haired, hard drinking party girl sl-”

“Enough!” Ruby blew open the door, causing its handle to crash into the wall, embedding itself into the plaster.

“Ruby?” Yang looked at Ruby, shocked by her sister’s rage.

“Oh, it’s-” Weiss began, condescendingly.

“Shut. Up.”

“Excuse me?!”

“Shut up!” Ruby grabbed the door and slammed it shut. “Listen to me, Schnee! Blake, Yang, and I have been dealing with your garbage for days, and I can’t stand it anymore! You keep accusing me of being a child, a child Ozpin foolishly chose over the oh-so-great and intelligent Schnee heiress, and a part me feels you’re right, that Ozpin did make a mistake and that I’m in way over my head, but you know what? That didn’t stop me from accepting his decision, and I intend on being the best leader I can be! What have you done, Weiss? You’ve trashed anyone unlucky enough to speak to you, and have disrespected me every chance you got! Look where that brought you. I don’t want to be mean, but Adrian listened better than you did. You might be smarter than him by a country mile, but on the maturity scale you make him look like Ozpin himself! All this spite, whining, and vitriol. Why?”

“I-It’s b-because-” Weiss stuttered.

“Don’t answer, I know why. It’s because you got glossed over, Princess!” Ruby interrupted. “It’s because someone finally told you no, and it’s driving you up the wall! I’m leader, whether either of us like it or not. So why don’t you act as graceful as you claim to be and deal with it!

The room was dead quiet. Weiss took a few steps back from Ruby, staring at her with wide eyes. Ruby was panting, finally catching her breath after such a long rant. Blake and Yang would flip between looking at each other and then Ruby and Weiss

Weiss was the one who finally broke the silence. “Okay…”

Without another word, Weiss turned and went into the bathroom. The rest of team RWBY heard its lock click, and for music to suddenly start blasting.

“Looks like she’ll want some privacy after that,” Blake said. “For the first time since I’ve met her, I can say I don’t blame her.”

Yang didn’t say a thing, she just gave Ruby a small round of applause.

Ruby let out a shaking sigh, finally calming down. “That…wow…anger is an intense emotion…”

“Sis, that was amazing,” Yang assured.

“I just…I hope that got through to her, I don’t like being mad,” Ruby said.

“Eh, you get used to it!” Yang shrugged.

“Yang, you have a temper problem,” Ruby pointed out.

“Which I’m used to!” Yang exclaimed, defensively.

“Okay…I need sleep…” Ruby didn’t bother getting changed, she just slipped off her shoes and went under the covers. “Good night, girls.”

“Good night, Ruby,” Blake said.

“You made me proud, yet again, sis,” Yang said, warmly.

As much as Ruby hated anger, she couldn’t help but smile at Yang’s words.

Chapter Text

“Reported disturbance at Atlas Base 227.”

“Do we have anyone on the scene?”

“Shots fired! Shots fired! Atlas Base 227 is under siege!”

“What?!”

“I repeat we have shots fired, an assault in progress at Atlas Base 227!”

“Does anyone have any contact with the soldiers in that base?!”

“Special Operative Schnee is at that base and we believe she has tried to reach out to us!”

“Did you hear anything?”

“None yet, General. Wait…we got something!”

“This is Special Operative Schnee! We are under heavy fire! My aura is depleted and I’ve been cut off from the other men in the base!”

“Winter? What happened?!”

“Unknown, sir! I came to this base to follow up on the Nightwalker incident and the next thing I know we’re under attack! What I do know is they managed to hack through our security systems! All defenses are down! The gates, the cameras, and even the Knights were bypassed!”

“How…?”

There was an audible gunshot, and Winter screamed.

“Gods damn it! I’m hit!”

“Winter?!”

“Send backu-” Winter was suddenly cut off.

“Winter?!”

“Apologies, James,” a distorted voice spoke on the line, “I’m afraid Special Operative Schnee has been disconnected. I’d say leave a message, but if all goes according to plan she won’t be around to hear.”

“Who is this?!”

“None of your concern.”

“Anyone who attacks my men, my people, is very much is my concern!”

“Oh James, your empathy is exactly why they’re dangerous!” The distorted voice laughed, cruelly. “The love and care you have for them, especially Miss Schnee, is makes ending their lives all the more…invigorating!”

“I will find you! Do you hear me?!” Ironwood shouted. “And when I do I’ll put a bullet in you for any soldier who dies in that base, and Winter dying will give you an extra five.”

“I’d recommend you save your ammo, as this won’t be the last attack,” the distorted voice mockingly assured. “Not that it matters, you’ll find me when I want you to. For now, I’ll enjoy making you squirm!”

After another cruel laugh, the distorted voice cut out.

“I want all units at Base 227, now!”

“Understood sir.”


Winter turned a corner, panting heavily as she leaned her back against the wall. She touched the wounded area, a bloody glove greeted her when she looked at her hand after pulling it away. Unsurprising to Winter, as she could feel the blood trickle down her leg, and was already feeling dizzy. Winter has taken a nasty shot to the abdomen, and the white she usually wore no doubt highlighted how much blood she has lost. She looked at the pistol in her hands, she lost count of how many bullets it had left and was out of extra clips. Winter cursed herself for being sloppy, as she had set her sword down while overlooking the files on the Nightwalker incident.

“That’s what happens when you get too comfortable,” Winter scolded herself.

“I think she went this way!” A male voice shouted.

Winter froze as she heard voices just around the corner.

“Why are we zoning in on this one chick?” A female voice asked.

“I don’t know, but that Great Genius or whatever-the-Hell his codename is wanted her captured or something.”

“Why?”

“Something about getting info about some chick named Penny and some maidens? Also, hurting Ironwood.”

“I still don’t get it.”

“Look, he’s paying us extra to get the Ice Queen,” the male groaned. “Why are you whining?”

“Good point!”

Winter inhaled deeply, and then whirled around the corner, firing off two shots at the first body in her line of sight. The female voice shouted and then fell dead.

“Oh crap!” The male stepped back, then foolishly turned his back to Winter. “Guys, she’s over-”

Winter shot him in the head for the dumb move. She heard shouting and the sounds of dozens of boots coming towards the hall. She noticed a door to her right and quickly ran across the hall. Winter noticed a water cooler that leads down a long corridor with a few turns across from her, summoning a small nevermore, and glancing around the corner to check if the men were there, she sent the little bird flying at the cooler, but it stopped just short of it

“Did you see where she went?” Another male voice asked.

Winter quietly made her way to the door, opening it and leaving it cracked so she could see outside. She looked at the tiny nevermore and had it knock over the water cooler.

“You hear that?!”

The sound of footsteps rushing caused Winter to make the tiny nevermore vanish. Then she saw a group of men in black.

“It was just a water cooler,” one sighed.

“Idiots, she was hit!”

The rest of the group was silent.

“So she is disoriented!”

Silence.

“So she was just over here and might’ve knocked it over running down the hall.”

One of the men in black scratched his head.

“Gods…just check down the freaking hallway!”

The group went in the opposite direction of the door, each going down an individual hall they passed as they moved down the corridor. Winter sighed and quietly shut the door.

“That should buy me some time,” Winter said, but now she was alone with her thoughts, and they weren’t helpful.

Why do you want more time?

Winter shook her head, looking around the room, and realized she had run in a big circle. This was file room she had been using to catch up on Nightwalker, and she looked down to see her rapier resting by the door. Winter grabbed it and sheathed the blade, then looked around the room, taking note of the heavy file cabinets. She looked at the door, gently taking the nob to open it, and looking outside. All of the men in black were gone.

“Still would be risky to make noise,” Winter noted.

Do it. Maybe they’ll find and kill you.

Winter rubbed the bridge of her nose and shut the door. She noticed a file cabinet to her left, sighed, and went over to it, loudly pushing it across the room and in front of the door. Winter paused, listening closely, sighing in relief when she heard nothing.

Why are you relieved? You guaranteed you’ll continue to be stuck in this miserable existence.

Winter was making less effort to ignore the voice in her head but went over to the flipped table in the center of the room, sitting behind it to use as cover. She looked to her right and jumped when she saw somebody beside her, but realized it was one of the men who had jumped her, apparently thinking he could take on an Atlas Special Operative and had his neck broken for his trouble.

“Hi,” Winter greeted, darkly.

Catching her breath, Winter leaned her head back and stared up at the ceiling, her eyes blurring every few seconds reminded her of the wound. She looked down at it. The bullet had gone through, but that just meant blood was pooling outside of two ends instead of one. While it was painful as all Hell, she still wasn’t sure if it had hit anything important. As if to answer her question, Winter coughed, covering her mouth, and when she looked at her hand her right glove mirrored the left when she had touched the wound earlier.

You’re in pain, and dying already. Why don’t you just end it, now?

Winter looked down at the pistol on her lap. With a shaky hand, she picked it up, giving in to the voice

You’re surrounded by enemies, surly the Atlas military will think you shot yourself to keep the important info out of their hands. You heard them, they want to get info on the maidens and Penny! Whoever this Great Intelligence is, he is in league with Salem. Think about it, one miserable life compared to millions of people with their who lives ahead of them.

“Sounds like a fair trade.” Winter put the barrel against her temple, but two things caused her to hesitate.

Weiss and Whitley will survive without you. They’re strong! Do it.

Winter’s grip on her pistol tightened.

Do it.

Tears ran down Winter’s face.

Do you want to spend another second on this Gods forsaken planet?! DO IT!

Winter pulled the trigger.

*Click*

Winter slowly opened her eyes and looked at the empty pistol in her hands. She bitterly chuckled, which soon turned into a full-on laugh. Winter laughed at whatever misguided or cruel deity watching over allowed her to live, though her laughter died down, and bitter humor was replaced with rage. Grip tightening on the gun, she tossed it across the room, and looked to the body of the man, realizing he had a loaded pistol and a few clips on his belt. With a groan, Winter pulled the pistol from his grasp and put the clips onto her belt. She listened for the voice to tell her to use this perfectly loaded gun to end her suffering, but it was gone, and with it, her desire to die. After checking the loaded clip, she once again leaned her head back and stared up at the ceiling. Winter could feel blood trickle out of the side of her mouth and found herself fading. Maybe it was best she didn’t blow her brains out, dying of a gunshot wound is a much better way to go out. While Winter welcomed death with open arms, it was what came before it that truly scared her. The part where her life flashed before her eyes. Her miserable. Miserable life. That’s what she dreaded most.

Just as she feared, as she finally fell away from consciousness, she blinked, and was a ten-year-old girl attending her grandfather’s funeral…

Chapter Text

During her grandfather’s funeral, Winter felt a cold chill in the air. Looking back it was most likely a warning from the Gods themselves that her life was about to get a lot harder. Jacques’ inhuman reaction to Nicholas Schnee’s passing was disturbing enough. Willow wept for her lost father, a five-year-old Weiss cried into Winter’s sleeve, and Winter only kept it together for her sake. Jacques? Nothing. Just a cold, detached look. Not an ounce of sympathy for his wife and child’s plight.

The drive home was similarly dark and dreary. Klein shot her sympathetic glances from the rearview mirror. Weiss has cried herself to sleep on Winter’s shoulder, while Willow had finally caught her bearings, though still let out the occasional sniff. Once again, Jacques’ emotions during this trying time should’ve been major red flags for Winter, as he once again showed no emotions. This wasn’t a man keeping himself held together for the sake of his family, or someone who admittedly never cared for Nicholas, it was lack of any sort of comforting words or jesters that made Winter’s skin crawl.

The next day is when Winter’s childhood, and the childhood of her siblings, took a turn for the worst. Winter had woken up beside Weiss, having carried her baby sister to her room and fell asleep beside her, when she heard it. Shouting. Winter, with a yawn and while rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, gently slipped out from Weiss’ grip and opened the door to Weiss’ room. Looking down the hall towards her mother’s office. That was definitely where the screaming was coming from. She gently closed the door to Weiss’ room and started reluctantly making her way to the office. As Winter got closer, the voices became clearing.

“It’s my father’s company, Jacques!” Willow shouted. “I’m the heiress, I should run it while he’s gone!”

“You aren’t ready to run anything, Willow!” Jacques shouted back. “You’re a wreck! All you’re going to do is drive his company into the ground!”

“I would never tarnish my father’s legacy!”

Winter stepped just a few inches from the door, reaching out and turning the doorknob, she quietly opened the door to her parents argument.

“Willow, that is exactly what you’re going to do,” Jacques said, taking a gentler approach.

“It’s only been a damn day, Jac!” Willow spat. “I’m sorry I didn’t get over my father’s death fast enough for you liking.”

“You and I both know that’s not what this is,” Jacques began, tone much more gentle and sympathetic.

“Wh-what do you mean?”

“Willow, you’ve always had emotional problems.” Jacques took Willow’s hands.

“No, I don’t!” Willow snatched her hands, away.

“I didn’t want to say anything in front of the girls, because they’re not old enough to understand,” Jacques explained. “You’ve always had this problem, constantly crying, laughing, and getting angry at inappropriate times. I hate to do this to them or Klein, but you can ask any of them, and they’ll tell you how unsettling you’ve been.”

“I’ve…I’ve been scaring the girls?” Willow asked, shocked.

“You have.” Jacques nodded.

Winter was confused as she watched this, as she never remembered being disturbed by Willow. Even for a “ignorant” child, nothing about her mother’s behavior was off putting or even strange. It wasn’t until Winter was older did she learn what Jacques was doing: gaslighting. Willow didn’t have problems, at least not at this point. Jacques used his father-in-law’s death, Willow’s emotional vulnerability, to manipulate her to his own ends.

“You need to hand over the Schnee Dust Company to someone who can properly run it,” Jacques said.

“You…do I really…?” Willow looked at her hands.

“It’s not your fault, Nicholas’, may the Gods rest his soul, deteriorating health was effecting you mentally,” Jacques said. “You can confirm with Klein or-”

“No!” Willow shot up, then slowly sunk back down. “If my behavior has truly been negatively effecting any of them, then I don’t want to bother them, anymore.”

“What about the SDC?” Jacques asked. “Who will you hand it over to?”

Willow looked at Jacques, taking his hands. “You.”

“Me?” Jacques was taken aback, or, at least, tried to sound that way.

Jacques wasn’t as brilliant a manipulator as he saw himself as. When Winter was a child she could always feel something off, and looking back, the only reason Willow fell for this was her poor emotional state state.

“Willow, I can’t accept this.” Jacques shook his head.

“It makes the most sense, you knew and worked closely with father, and as the man humble enough to not only accept my love, but to accept to do the rare action of taking the wife’s maiden name to keep the Schnee name alive, I know you’ll never tarnish my father’s legacy.” Willow looked down. “Not like I already have.”

“Willow, you did no such thing.” Jacques gently raised Willow’s face by her chin. “I made sure to stop you before you did, but if you really think I can run this company, I won’t let you down.”

Willow leaned forward and kissed Jacques. After the kiss, she turned to the portrait of her father, and opened it to reveal a safe. Unlocking the safe, she pulled out the deed to the Schnee Dust Company, and with a shaky sigh, signed it and handed it over to Jacques.

“It’s all yours, now.” Willow smiled.

“I’ll be sure to make the most of it,” Jacques said.

“Can you please give me some time alone?” Willow’s smile vanished. “I need to think about calling some people if I need help.”

“Of course.” Jacques nodded and turned, catching sight of Winter, his eyes widening as she backed out of the door.

“Something wrong?” Winter heard Willow ask.

“Nothing, dear!” Jacques assured, cheerfully.

Winter heard Jacques footsteps come towards the door.

“Okay…I love you,” Willow said.

Winter heard Jacques’ footsteps stop.

“You too.”

Then Jacques opened the door and looked down at Winter, closing the door behind him

“Honey, what are you doing up?” Jacques whispered.

“I heard yelling,” Winter answered.

“It’s okay, sweetheart.” Jacques knelt down to be at eye level with Winter. “Mommy and Daddy just had a little argument, but it’s all better, now.”

“Why did you lie?” Winter asked.

Jacques shot up. “What do you mean?”

“Mommy has never been scaring, she hasn’t been acting any different, even when grandpa was sick,” Winter said.

“Winter, honey, it’s okay, you don’t have to lie to protect your mother.” Jacques took Winter’s hand, and began leading her say from Willow’s office. “She has been scaring you.”

“I don’t remember her-” Winter felt Jacques’ grip tighten. “Ow! Daddy, that hurts!”

“I’m only doing this because you’re lying, Winter,” Jacques said, sternly. “You’re mother has been scaring you, she isn’t going to get better if you tell her she isn’t!”

“But-ow!”

“Listen to me, you don’t say a word to your mother, do you understand me?” Jacques hissed. “She needs help, Winter! Do. You. Understand. Me?!”

Winter didn’t, but Jacques anger scared her into nodding yes.

“That’s my girl.” Jacques smiled, as if he flipped a switch to turn the loving father he was back on. “Now, you go wake your sister for breakfast, okay?”

“Okay.” Winter nodded.

“Oh, and don’t mention this to your sister, too.” Jacques tightened his grip on Winter’s hand again, but not enough to hurt her. “Mommy doesn’t want to disturb either of you, anymore. Understand?”

Winter nodded.

“Great.” Jacques finally let go of Winter’s hand and walked down the hall towards the kitchen.


Weiss’ 10th birthday is when any pretense of Jacques’ humanity was lost to his family. It was already dreary start when he didn’t show up, leaving a Fifteen-years Winter, five-year-old Whitley, and Willow to comfort her. They tried to celebrate as best they could, but Weiss didn’t enjoy a single moment of it. Even after everything he put them through, he at least never missed a birthday before this. Winter could tell Weiss felt unloved. It was late when Jacques arrived, the Schnee kids were getting ready for bed when Jacques finally came home.

“Where the Hell were you?!”

Winter, Weiss, and Whitley heard their mother shout. The three went over to the door of their shared bedroom, Winter slowly creaking the door open so their parents couldn’t hear, allowing them to see down the hall.

“Willow, I don’t have time for this!” Jacques tried to step around Willow, but she got in his way.

“No, you’re not leaving this conversation!”

“Willow, I’ve been busy running the company you gave to me, the company I’ve dedicated years of my life to run so the Schnee legacy lives!” Jacques shouted. “I’m currently dealing with a radical terrorist organization stealing and destroying my shipments!”

“It’s Weiss’ birthday!” Willow scolded. “You always had time for the kids, but now you’ve been neglecting them! I stayed silent because I thought you’d never miss a birthday party, but apparently I overestimated your compassion.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t waste the time I could be spending making this family millions for that worthless brat!”

“She’s your daughter!”

“She’s nothing to me!” Jacques shouted.

Willow stepped back. “She’s…she’s your daughter.”

Jacques finally let the stress get to him, and he snapped. “You’re a means to end!”

“We?!”

“That’s right, Willow!” Jacques got into her face. “I married into your family for the wealth and the power!”

“You don’t mean that…” Willow covered her mouth, tears in her eyes. “Jacques, please tell me you don’t mean that!”

“No, I’m sick of you jumping down my throat for not spending time with you and those brats!” Jacques spat.

“You bastard!” Willow shouted. “We’re done, you hear me!”

“No, we aren’t,” Jacques said, voice cold and hollow.

“Yes, we are!”

“No. We. Aren’t.” Jacques straightened his tie. “I run your company. You sighed and handed me the deed yourself, remember? I own all of the stocks, you leave me, and I take all this.” He motioned around their mansion. “I’ll continue to make millions while you and the kids rot.”

“You wouldn’t dare…” Willow’s eyes widened in horror.

“Oh, but I would, Willow.” Jacques loomed over her. “I will take all of this away and you can’t do a damn thing about it. So please, try me.”

Willow covered her mouth, fell to her knees, and cried her eyes out. Jacques showed no remorse, using Willow’s break down to finally slip past her and get to his office. Winter held Weiss and Whitley close as they cried their eyes out. As they wept, Willow stepped by and looked inside, red eyes widening when she realized her children heard all of that. She looked ready to speak, but stopped, and ran away crying. The next morning was the first time Winter found her mother passed out drunk.


Winter was twelve when the stress of running the business got to Jacques even more then before. While from a profit perspective the Schnee Dust Company was doing incredibly well, becoming the leading dust provider in all of Remnant, running most of Jacques’ rivals out of business. It  was from a different ball park that the SDC and Jacques suffered. Being such an important company lead to it being the target of the Faunus supremacy group the White Fang.

“They did what?! What?!” Jacques shouted from the office he took from Willow. “The whole damn train?! Blown to Hell?!”

Winter, with an eleven-year-old Weiss, waited outside their father’s office as he screamed his head off at his assistant. Whatever happened, it caused him to cancel any appointments he set up for the girls, singing lessons for Weiss and grueling business classes for Winter, the current heiress of the SDC.

“You listen to me you waste of flesh!” Jacques spat. “I want another train fully stocked and ready for transport by tonight or I’ll kick you and that worthless family of yours out on the street! That’s not all I’ll do, oh no, I’ll make sure your Gods damn great grandchildren won’t be able to get a job in Atlas or that rat infested dump this glorious city looms over! Do you understand me?!” He was silent for a few seconds. “Good!”

Winter and Weiss winced when Jacques slammed the telephone onto his desk. They heard the cracking sound of the phone breaking from outside the office.

“Winter! Weiss! Get in here this instant!” Jacques barked.

Weiss was shaking, and Winter took her hand.

“It’ll be okay, Weiss,” Winter promised.

“Don’t make me order you again!” Jacques shouted.

Winter, still holding Weiss’ hand, went into their father’s office. Jacques seemed to have calmed down, though his rage was still present.

“Girls, I called you in here to give you a lesson.” Jacques pulled out his scroll. “You two know what Faunus isn’t? Don’t you?”

“Yes father,” both sisters answered, simultaneously, just as they were taught.

“Good.” Jacques pulled out his scroll, and set it down on his desk, and a holographic video sprung from it, but neither Weiss nor Winter could tell what the video contained, as all they saw was a black screen, the play button in its center. “If either of you wants to run this business, then you need to learn that the Faunus are dirty, rotten, and vicious animals who don’t deserve a damn thing, let alone the too many rights we humans have foolishly given them!”

“But…but many of our servants are Faunus, father,” Weiss spoke up in the faunus’ defense. “They are very kind and loving.”

“That is their natural state, dear Weiss,” Jacques explained. “They aren’t people, they’re pets, property, to be owned and to serve humans, because do you know what they do when they have freedom?”

Winter and Weiss looked at one another, then back at Jacques. With a blank, emotionless face, he hit the play button, and before their young eyes was a video of many White Fang members holding SDC board members hostage. Winter went to shield Weiss’ eyes as one of the White Fang placed a gun at the back of a board member's head, but Jacques paused the video and slammed his hands down onto the desk.

“No! You both watch this!” Jacques barked.

“I won’t let her, father!” Winter shouted, defiantly.

“You will do as I say or so help me…” Jacques threatened.

“I’m not scared of you!” Winter spat. “Do your worst.”

“Poor choice of words, because I won't be punishing you.” Jacques stood up.

Winter looked down at Weiss, realizing in horror what Jacques meant. “Wait, father, please!”

“You wanted this!” Jacques stomped over to the two sisters and ripped Weiss from Winter’s arms. “Sit down!”

Weiss stepped back and sat down at one of the two chairs in the office. Jacques took Winter’s arm and went over to the video, restarting it and pressing play. After also setting the video to play on a loop, Jacques dragged Winter out of his office and threw her to the floor, slamming the door shut and locking it.

“Father no!” Winter cried, trying to reach for the lock, but Jacques held her back. “Please stop! She doesn’t deserve to see!”

Jacques said nothing as the sound of a gunshot came from his office. Then another, and another. Winter was helpless as her eleven-year-old sister was all alone in a dark room, forced to watch innocent people get executed over and over again to kill whatever remained of her innocence. She never could bring herself to scold Weiss for her future hatred of Faunus, as she felt it was a failing on herself as an older sister, not Weiss.


When Jacques wasn’t abusive, he was neglectful. Since he spent so much time keeping the SDC running, it means he was neglectful mostly. Winter used this to her advantage. She had dropped out of forced business classes and instead went into a different profession. When Winter was seventeen, she finally let Jacques know.

“Father, I have an announcement,” Winter said, standing straight in Jacques’ office.

“What’s that?” Jacques didn’t even look up from his papers, keeping him from realizing Winter had her suitcase packed and ready.

“I’m leaving to join the Atlas military.”

Jacques’ head shot up, seeing Winter dressed and ready to leave threw away any notion she was joking.

“How?” Jacques hissed.

“You aren’t perceptive, father,” Winter mocked. “I’ve been training to be a huntress for years, now.”

“You what?!” Jacques sat up.

“I just got accepted into Atlas Academy.”

“You didn’t get accepted in a damn thing!” Jacques spat. “You aren’t going.”

“I’m afraid that’s not a decision you can make.”

The look on Jacques’ face when Ironwood opened the door to his office was priceless to Winter, though she kept her stoic face.

“G-General?!” Jacques stood, dumbfounded.

“Yes, I came personally to transport Winter to Atlas Academy,” Ironwood explained. “She’s passed her initial huntress classes with high honors, and that makes her a must-have for Atlas. As long as that’s what she desires, she in .”

“Which I do desire,” Winter said.

“You can’t do this!” Jacques shouted.

“I can,” Winter said. “I will.”

“Come on, Winter.” Ironwood placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I think you’ve been here long enough.”

“Yes sir.” Winter nodded.

“Winter!”

Winter didn’t turn around as she walked out of the office.

“Winter Schnee!”

Winter was almost put on the door.

“You walk out that door you’re cut off!”

That caused Winter to stop.

“You walk out of that door, and you’re on your own,” Jacques said. “You won’t get a cent from this family.”

Winter turned to face Jacques, keeping her rage in check as he smugly smiled at her,

“Good.”

Jacques's smug grin contorting into shock was too good, Winter couldn’t help but crack a smile as she left his office, slamming the door shut. Winter didn’t fear Jacques, because she knew she’d have to face the two people she truly dreaded leaving. She had let Weiss and Whitley know what she had planned, but that didn’t make it any easier for them.

“Winter!” Weiss and Whitley ran out for the Schnee Manor.

Winter’s confidence fell. “General, can you-”

“Way ahead of you.” Ironwood picked up Winter’s suitcase and carried it to the car himself.

“Winter, don’t go!” Whitley begged.

“We need you!” Weiss had tears in her eyes.

“I know, and I’m sorry, b-but I can’t stay here.” Winter hugged them both. “You guys need to be strong. I’ll try to keep in contact for as long as I can, but I won’t always be there.”

“What do we do?” Weiss asked.

“Don’t let him get to you.” Winter knelt. “Don’t let him drag you down to his level.”

Weiss looked to Whitley, both unsure.

“You guys can survive him, he’s nothing!” Winter assured. “You need to have a plan, though. A goal to help you get through the day.”

“Why are you joining the military?” Weiss asked.

“To help people,” Winter answered. “We’ve all seen first hand what kind of monster selfishness can make you.”

“Then that’s what I want to.” Weiss wiped her tear-stained face.

“Me too!” Whitley agreed.

“That’s good, but you need passion, a drive that makes however you two wish to help others a light at the end of a dark tunnel,” Winter advised.

“We will,” Weiss said, Whitley nodded. “We won’t let you down!”

“I know.” Winter gave them both one last hug, then stepped away. “I love you both so much, please don’t forget that. Goodbye.”

Winter reluctantly turned towards the car, Ironwood opening the door for her. When he shut the door, Winter looked out to her siblings, making sure to give them a tearful, but reassuring smile.

Chapter Text

You know the saying, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If Winter could thank Jacques’s hellish parenting for anything, he made the Atlas Military’s drill sergeants look like complete jokes. This allowed Winter to soar in Atlas Academy, graduating with high honors and the admiration of her peers and teachers.

Winter kept in contact with Weiss and Whitley as she had promised. Offering words of comfort whenever Jacques hurt them, or congratulations in rare moments of happiness for the Schnee children. Weiss was going to be a huntress, as well. Though she wanted to go into Beacon, as it’s considered the best and thought that would be perfect for her. Winter was a tad concerned about Weiss’ growing arrogance, but she trusted her sister would be humble while attending Beacon. Whitley, however, dived headfirst into business, as he wanted to run the Schnee Dust Company and make it better than what Jacques had done. Plus, he wasn’t much a fighter. All in all, things were looking up for Winter, but that’s not when her happiness peaked.

Atlas Huntsmen and Huntresses build themselves up, starting as simple patrolmen and going up the totem pole. The highest rank was Atlas Special Operative, who answered directly to Ironwood himself and became his closest confidants. Those with high honors could skip being a patrolmen, but Winter didn’t like going the easy way, so she stuck with it. Considering what this decision lead to, Winter wondered whether not skipping was a blessing or a curse. It all started with a simple robbery.

“Alright, everyone put their hands in the air!” A robber wearing a rabbit mask shot his pistol in the air.

Everyone in the store raised their hands, except for Winter, who had stopped by the store for a water bottle.

“Did you hear me you…” The Rabbit lowered his gun when he saw who he was threatening. “Uh oh.”

“The White Rabbit, correct?” Winter asked, causally. “One of the most prolific robbers in Atlas.”

“Uh…yeah…” The White Rabbit’s face was hidden behind his mask, but Winter was good at telling when people were uncomfortable.

“Considering your fearful reaction, I take it you know who I am?”

“Yeah…”

“So, why don’t you be a good little rabbit and come quietly?”

“Well, look at the time!” The White Rabbit looked at his nonexistent watch. “I’m so late, I really should be going!”

Winter unholstered her pistol, but The White Rabbit grabbed a woman to use as a human shield before she could get a good shot at him. The woman had snow white hair, and yellow eyes.

“Alright, you drop that gun!” The White Rabbit ordered, putting his pistol against the woman’s temple.

“Okay, okay…” Winter raised her hand and gently set her pistol to the floor.

“Now kick it over!” The White Rabbit ordered.

Winter kicked the gun across the floor, it sliding to The White Rabbit’s feet. He let go of the woman to reach down and pick up the gun. That’s when Winter pulled out another.

“Drop it!” Winter barked.

“What the…?!” The White Rabbit jumped back.

“You jumped one of the few Atlas Patrolmen who carries a concealed carry along with their standard pistol,” Winter said. “How unfortunate for you. Now drop both weapons and put your hands in the air!”

“Gods damn it!” The White Rabbit dropped the guns and raised his hands.

“Down on your stomach, hands behind your head!” Winter ordered.

The White Rabbit did as he was told, and Winter went over to him. Making sure to kick both guns out of his reach, she pulled out her handcuffs and retrained his hands behind his back. The whole store erupted into claps and cheers as Winter dragged The White Rabbit to his feet.

After the attempted robbery, and when everything had calmed down, the woman Winter saved went to her.

“Thank you so much!” The woman shook Winter’s hand. “I owe you my life!”

“Just doing my duty, ma’am,” Winter assured.

“Still, thank you, thank you, thank you!” The woman smiled. “My name is Daisy!”

“That’s a…lovely name…” Winter complimented, awkwardly.

“Really?” Daisy blushed.

“I’m sorry, I have to get back to my patrol!” Winter looked at her watch. “Good day!”

Winter rushed away from Daisy, ignoring the calls from her as she rounded the corner. She eventually went to the subway and caught the train she usually took on her patrols, meeting up with a friend.

“Word spread quickly of your heroics, Miss Schnee!” Peter smiled at Winter.

“Thanks Peter, but I’m really just doing what I sighed up for,” Winter said.

“You okay?” Peter noted Winter’s red face. “You look like your catching a fever!”

“No, I’m fine…I just…met this lovely woman and…well…”

“Oh, I see,” Peter chuckled. “You caught a bug!”

“A bug?”

“The love bug!”

“Oh Gods,” Winter laughed. “Please.”

Winter looked at Peter, who smirked at her.

“Okay, maybe just a little.”


Daisy would always “accidentally” bump into Winter while the latter was out on her patrols after the attempted robbery. She was always ready with a water bottle so Winter didn’t have to pay for one and a few kind words. Daisy wasn’t a very subtle woman. It was one of many things Winter loved about her. 

Eventually, Winter asked her out on a date, and took her out to a nostalgic spot. It was one of the few times Winter dressed causally, wearing a white silk dress and white flats. Daisy wore a yellow sun dress with matching white flats. Winter was always grateful the artificial climate Atlas had allowed her to see so much of Daisy when they were outside.

“Where are we going?” Daisy asked.

“One of the few places from my childhood with found memories,” Winter half-joked.

When they reached the top of the hill, Daisy couldn’t help but be taken aback by the sight. The beauty of the Northern Lights was unmatched.

“I’d go here from time to time with my siblings growing up,” Winter explained. “Our mother would take us…but when she shut down, like a lot of things, I took over.”

“I’m sorry,” Daisy said. “Jacques is quite possibly the most hated man on Remnant.”

Winter chuckled, bitterly. “You’ll get no defense from me, here.”

“I’m sorry you had to grow up with that.”

“I lived, it’s my brother and sister I’m worried about.” Winter looked down, and sighed. “I know they won’t let father get to them.”

“If they’re anything like you, I’m sure they won’t.” Daisy took Winter’s hand.

“Thanks.” Winter smiled, then pulled Daisy to the ground.

“Winter, what are you doing?” Daisy landed on top of Winter.

“Better to just lie down and admire the beauty,” Winter said.

“Are you taking about the lights or…”

Winter cupped Daisy’s cheek in her hand. “Guess.”

Daisy smiled and rolled off of Winter, laying down beside her. Both were silent, enjoying each other’s company as they looked up at the stars, together.


Winter and Daisy were six months into their relationship, and they never went on very extravagant dates. Winter always took Daisy to landmarks or made candlelight dinners in the comfort of her own apartment. It was during one of these candlelight dinners when Daisy got curious.

“I hope I don’t come off as a gold digger, but why don’t you ever take me to fancy restaurants?” Daisy asked.

“You can thank my childhood for that, as well.” Winter walked over to the table with two plates of chicken Parmesan, setting one of the plates down in front of Daisy. “Though places feel so…void, to me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Father was always obsessed with appearance, always taking us out to galas or restaurants,” Winter sighed. “I very rarely, if ever, experienced the simple, mundane action sitting down at the dinner table, at home, to eat with your family. That’s just me, though. If you really want to go out-”

“No, no!” Daisy assured. “It’s fine.”

“You’re not just saying this because of the sob story, are you?” Winter asked.

“No!” Daisy reached over to rest her hand over Winter’s. “I totally understand, and I do appreciate the warmth of home made dinners.”

“I hope I can continue!” Winter picked up her wine glass. “To our love?”

“To our love!” Daisy tapped her wine glass against Winter’s.


Winter always had anxiety. Another great gift from a childhood living under Jacques Schnee, where any slip up could lead to being shouted at, or, on really bad days, beaten. So as she stood beside Daisy on their second anniversary, visiting the spot of their first date, the anxiety hit her like an oncoming train. Winter was standing still, staring off at nothing, so it didn’t take long for Daisy to notice something was up.

“Winter?” Daisy took Winter’s hand.

“D-Daisy?” Winter shook her head, getting her bearings. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Daisy assured. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah…yeah…I just…” Winter rubbed her forehead. “D-Diasy, you’re…I mean…I want to ask…”

Daisy cocked an eyebrow, not hiding her confusion. Winter looked out at the Northern Lights, and sighed.

“Oh, forget it.” Winter got down on one knee and pulled a small black box from her dress pocket. “I think you know the question.”

“Winter…” Daisy covered her mouth.

“So, what do you say?” Winter gave Daisy a dorky smile. “Care to be my Mrs. Schnee?”

“Yes!” Daisy didn’t hesitate to answer.

“W-Wait…r-really?” Winter was genuinely shocked it worked.

“Oh, just shut up and put that ring on my finger, you dork!” Daisy laughed, tears of joy in her eyes.

Winter got to her feet and slipped the ring onto Daisy’s finger.

“I love you so much!” Daisy jumped into Winter’s arms.

“I love you too, Daisy.” Winter looked out to the Northern Lights, growing disturbed when she saw they had suddenly vanished. “I love you, too.”


Pretty much every decision Winter made sense proposing to Daisy was filled with the same anxiety. Picking who to invite, what to wear, where should they hold the wedding, etc. Winter settled for inviting her comrades, even Ironwood agreed to come, and her family. Weiss and Whitley got Klein to drive them, neither Jacques nor Willow bothered to even make up an excuse as to why they didn’t want to go. As for what to wear, Winter went with a white tuxedo, black bow-tie, and white dress pants. Daisy went for the much more standard bride’s gown. They both agreed to hold the ceremony at their spot. The most anxiety-inducing, and something Winter dreaded the most, was her wedding vows. Daisy gave a short and sweet vow, to be there for Winter no matter what. Winter felt that was enough, but she still wanted to go more in-depth, and so she did.

“When I was a girl…I never knew what a happy couple looked like,” Winter began, taking Daisy’s hands into her own. “My father only loved himself, so even when he pretended to do so, the love he showed my mother was never something I would hope for my marriage. So, I thought I’d spend the rest of my life alone, no one to love me, and then that idiot rabbit happened.”

Some members of the audience laughed.

“In a way, I’d like to thank him, because if it wasn’t for him, I would have never met you,” Winter said. “You, who has given me more joy and happiness than I ever could imagine, who has shown me, love, I never experienced before, and who I solemnly swear to love support until I take my last breath. This is my vow to you, Daisy.”

Daisy, eyes red and puffy, cracked a smile. “You just had to outshine me, didn’t you?”

“Just telling it like it is…” Winter smiled back.

“Daisy Lid, do you take Winter Schnee as you lawfully wedded wife?” The priest asked.

“I do.” Daisy nodded.

“Winter Schnee, do you-”

“I do.”

“You may now kiss the bride!”

Daisy jumped into a kiss with Winter, the latter embracing her as the audience cheered and clapped for them. When they finally broke their kiss, Winter looked to her family to see Klein drying his eyes with a handkerchief, while Weiss and Whitley waved to her. She gave them the biggest smile the three had ever seen from her.


After the wedding, Winter’s anxiety vanished throughout her and Daisy’s honeymoon. Ironwood gladly gave Winter paid leave, and the newlyweds spent the whole week drinking, dancing, and making love. From that moment to a year into their wedding, Winter thought her anxiety would never flair up, again. 

Then Daisy asked Winter if she wanted to adopt. The thought of being a parent was the most terrifying thing in the world to Winter. She barely knew what true love was, after all. However, after realizing Daisy taught her about love, she thought a child could teach her about being a parent, so she agreed. Both wives agreed they wanted to start from the beginning, so looked into any orphanages that had newborns up for adoption. Couldn’t find any in Atlas, so they checked Mantle, and got lucky.

The place had a simple name, Jack’s Home for Lost Children. They had set up an appointment beforehand, so the kindly old man at the front desk, Jack, took them straight to the where they took care of the babies. Most of the newborns were sleeping when Winter and Daisy entered, all accept for one, who was laughing and playing with her toys. Winter curiously walked over to the crib, the name Tulip was carved into the wood, and looked down at the child. Tulip looked up at her with crimson eyes. Crimson seemed to be running theme for this baby, red eyes, red hair, and red fox ears. Winter reached her hand into the crib, and Tulip took her pointing finger in her small hand.

“D-Daisy…?” Winter looked at Daisy.

“I’ll go get the papers,” Jack said.

Jack left to get the papers, and Daisy went to Winter’s side.

“Daisy?”

“Yes Winter.”

Winter’s eyes looked into Daisy’s, tears running down her face. “I’m so scared.”

“It’s okay, baby.” Daisy embraced Winter. “You’re not him.”


Winter had managed to not only create a home and family she never had growing up, but she was also rising through the ranks of the Atlas Military, Ironwood supporting her every step of the way. Life was good, the future was bright…then he happened. It wasn’t long after Winter took down a major drug lord in Mantle’s underworld. Ironwood personally congratulated Winter on the bust.

“I knew I was write bout you.” Ironwood shook Winter’s hand.

“Just doing my duty for the people of Mantle and Atlas,” Winter assured.

“I know, but I think it’s time you start doing your duty for the people of Remnant.” Ironwood reached into his pocket and pulled out a collared red jeweled brooch. “Winter Schnee, I would like to promote you to Special Operative.”

Winter widened her eyes. “Really?”

“Really.” Ironwood nodded, a warm smile on his face. “You’ll not only be one of few to become my right hand, but you’ll also travel Remnant, helping people in the name of the Atlas Military.”

Winter excitement melted into solemn realization, and her hand froze as she reached for the collar. “You mean…I won’t be in Atlas for long periods of time?”

“Yes.”

Winter gently closed Ironwood’s hand around the collar. “I’m sorry, I can’t.”

Ironwood was taken aback. “Are you sure?”

“There’s too much for me, here,” Winter explained. “Not just Daisy and Tulip, but Weiss and Whitley. Maybe once they’re out from under father’s thumb I can talk to Daisy about being out, but for now, I can’t accept.”

“I understand.” Ironwood lowered his hand. “The position will always be open to you.”

“Thank you, James.” Winter smiled. “It means-”

An explosion cut Winter off, and the two looked outside to see debris and smoke rise into the air. Winter and Ironwood shared a panicked glance before dashing outside of the Atlas base.

Outside was packed, civilians gathered to watch the burning restaurant in shock. Ironwood and Winter pushed their way to the front of the crowd, and saw the Atlas Fire Department arrive. It didn’t take long for them to put the flames out, inside was a disturbing sight, dozens of charred bodies in a number of positions were in the once bustling restaurant. Most of the rest were just people sitting in their chairs

“General Ironwood!” An Atlas soldier ran up to Ironwood and Winter. “We found something!”

“What is it?” Ironwood asked.

The soldier wordless handed Ironwood a white cloth. Ironwood unfolded it to see the familiar emblem of the White Fang.

“Of course.” Ironwood growled.

“This is the third attack this month,” Winter noted, sadly. “We’ve lost over fifty civilians in the last two attacks, already.”

“We have to put a stop to this.” Ironwood let the cloths fall into a pile of burning embers, causing it to catch fire, then stomped it into ashes.

“Agreed, sir.”

Winter and Ironwood stepped outside to be greeted by Atlas press.

“General Ironwood! Miss Schnee!” A news reporter exclaimed. “Do you have anything to say about the attack on the restaurant only a few hours ago?”

“No comment.” Ironwood walked past the reporter.

“I have something to say,” Winter said. “Whoever is committing these attacks is not doing so for Faunus rights, they’re doing this because they’re a hatful, bigoted monster just looking for an excuse to kill, but is still so utterly cowardly, they refuse to show their face to the public.”

Winter walked past the reporters as many tried to get more comments out of her.
--
Winter was looking over a map of all of the locations the White Fang attacked. The strange thing was, none of has any importance to Atlas. Gas station, a store, and now a restaurant. Atlas had plenty of historical and cultural land marks and buildings.

“Why just these places?” Winter asked, herself.

“Winter! Get out here!” Ironwood shouted.

Winter gave the map one last passing glance before heading outside her office. Ironwood and a handful of Atlas solders looked at the scroll in one of the soldier’s hand.

“What’s wrong?” Winter asked.

“It’s…for you…” the soldier handed Winter the scroll.

“Hello?” Winter answered.

“Take it back,” a male voice demanded.

“Who is this?”

“Take back what you said!”

“You’re the one leading these attacks, aren’t you?”

“I. Am. Not. A. Coward!”

“Oh, did I hurt your little feelings?” Winter asked, sarcastically. “I’ll take back nothing, in fact, I’ll be adding immature alongside the cowardly.”

“You’ll regret this!”

“I doubt that.” Winter hung up.

“W-Was that wise?” A soldier asked.

“We’re Atlas, we aren’t intimidated by anything or anyone, let alone some terrorists,” Winter said. “I’ll find this bastard. I swear.”
--
Winter dropped the file she had on the White Fang attacks into the passenger seat of her car. As she drove back to her apartment, she tried to take her mind off of the attacks by thinking of Daisy and Tulips, the latter’s birthday was coming up, and she was wondering what to get her little flower.

“Maybe I should ask Daisy when I get home,” Winter said.

When she arrived at her apartment complex, Winter grabbed the file and went inside. As she was walking up to her apartment’s floor, she wrestled with herself on whether to open the file to continue researching, or dropping it for the day. Any thoughts she had were wiped away when she saw the door to her apartment was kicked open, and her fellow tenants. Eyes widening in horror, Winter dropped the file, unholstered her pistol and dashed to the group.

“What’s going on?” Winter demanded.

“Oh, Winter, thank the Gods!” An elderly neighbor exclaimed. “We heard screaming and crying coming from your apartment, one of the tenants tried to get in, but he was shot.”

“We put him on the couch in our apartment,” a young man said.

“Did you call the police?” Winter asked.

The elderly woman nodded.

“Good, stay out here.” Winter kicked opened the door, expertly shooting the White Fang member guarding the door in the head.

“Oh Goodness!”

Winter ignored the elderly woman as she moved through her apartment. Any attempt to keep her composure fell when she heard Tulip crying.

“Daisy! Tulip!” Winter shouted.

“Winter!”

“Daisy?!” Winter turned down the hall, and saw Daisy, Tulip in her arms, being forced into their bedroom by two White Fang members, one in a mask and the other black trench coat. “Daisy! Tulip!”

The bull Faunus turned around, and aimed his gun at Winter, who barley ducked behind cover I’m time to dodge the shot.

“Distract her,” Winter heard the Faunus say, recognizing the voice as the one on the scroll.

“Understood.”

Winter heard the bedroom door close and thunderous footsteps closing in on her, and she whirled around the corner to take aim, but the White Fang Lieutenant grabbed her wrists, causing her to fire up into the ceiling. He punched her, and Winter fell onto her stomach. As she got to her knees, she felt a gun to the back of her head.

“You’ve made Adam very angry,” The White Fang Lieutenant said. “Now you’ll understand why he’s called the spiteful bull.”

“Winter! Winter, please!” Daisy cried.

Winter let her rage take over, and she whirled around to knock the gun out of the White Fang Lieutenant’s hands. She grabbed his head and slammed it into the wall, then dragged him towards the kitchen window and threw him out it, onto the roof of a car. The apartment only had three floors, but the fall still knocked him and his aura out.

“No! Just kill me! Please, Gods, just kill m-”

Daisy cries were cut off by the sound of gunfire. Winter bolted down the hall, grabbing the pistol on the way, and kicked her bedroom door open, pointing her pistol at Adam, who had his own gun, blush, out.

“Drop the gun!” Winter ordered.

Adam dropped the gun, glancing to the corner of the room. Winter followed his eyes, and her entire world came crashing down at the sight. A lifeless Daisy laid in the corner, a hauntingly silent Tulip in her arms. Winter dropped her gun, eyes wide at the sight. She heard Adam walk over, pick up his gun, and lean closely to her ear.

“Told you you’d regret it.” Adam walked out of the room.

Not long after Adam walked out, Winter heard the sound of glass shatter and smelled smoke. Looking back, Adam had most likely thrown a Molotov cocktail somewhere in her kitchen. Winter didn’t give a damn, she was too focused on the bodies of her family. She was so close to saving them, but she failed. As the smoke filled the room, Winter paid it no mind, never taking her eyes off the bodies. Eventually, she heard shouting.

“Winter!” Ironwood shouted through his coughs. “Where are you?!”

Winter didn’t answer.

“There you are!” Ironwood ran into the bedroom. “Winter, we have to go!”

Winter didn’t move.

“Winter, the apartment is on fire we need to-” Ironwood finally looked into the corner, and his state was similar to Winter’s. “Oh Gods…”

“Sir, did you find her?!” A soldier shouted.

“Get in here!” Ironwood ordered.

Two soldiers ran in as Ironwood picked up Winter, bridal style.

“I got her, get…get them!”

The soldiers looked to the bodies, and were horrified.

“Is…is that a baby?!”

“Please, just grab them!” Ironwood ran out of the room as the smoke inhalation finally pulled Winter into darkness. “Stay with me, Winter!”
--
The first thing that returned to Winter was sound. Beeping. Then it was sight, as she finally opened her eyes to see a tiled ceiling. Rubbing her eyes, Winter looked around and realized an IV was in her arm.

“Hello?” Winter called.

Winter her shuffling from outside the room, then the door opened. It was Ironwood.

“Winter?”

“Yes sir.” Winter sat up.

Ironwood sighed in relief. “Thank the Gods you’re okay.”

“What happened?” Winter asked.

Ironwood grabbed a chair by the door and set it down to Winter’s left, sitting on it.

“You and…you and your family were attacked by the White Fang a few days ago,” Ironwood explained. “You’ve been out for most of that time due to smoke inhalation.”

“Right…from the…” Winter’s eyes widened when the image of a bullet ridden Daisy and Tulip flashed through her mind. “Tulip! Daisy! Did you save them?! Are they okay?!”

Ironwood inhaled sharply, looking down at his feet.

“James, are they okay?” Winter asked.

Ironwood looked up, mouth hanging open as if trying to speak, but nothing came out.

“James…” Winter said in a childlike tone.

Ironwood closed his eyes, calmly exhaling. “Winter…they’re-”

Winter suddenly jumped out of bed and grabbed Ironwood by the shoulders, pushing him back against the wall. The IV was pulled out of her vein, but Winter didn’t care.

“Winter, you can’t-”

“James!” Winter shouted. “Are Tulip and Daisy okay?!”

“Winter…”

“You son of a bitch! You tell me! You tell me they’re okay!”

Ironwood gently took Winter’s wrist.

“James…please…” Winter begged as tears fell from her eyes.

“I’m so sorry, Winter,” James said. “They were gone before we got there.”

Winter stepped away from Ironwood, covering her mouth. She shook her head, not wanting to believe a word he said.

“No…you’re wrong!” Winter held her face in her hands. “They’re okay…Daisy, baby…Tulip, my little flower…” she fell to her knees. “I’m so sorry, Tulip, mommy failed you! M-Mommy failed you…”

“It’s not your fault, Winter.” Ironwood knelt down, placing a hand on Winter’s shoulder.

Winter looked up at Ironwood, and finally shattered completely. She crashed into his chest, letting out a haunting whale as he held her close. Winter felt tears fall onto her hair, Ironwood’s own usually unflappable mask falling as he wept with her.


The funeral was held a few days after Winter woke up. The very same audience who celebrated their wedding know mourned the woman and child who lost their lives due to a mere act of spite. It was all blur to Winter, one second she’s getting condolences, then she’s standing over the bodies in their casket, saying goodbye, and then she was watching the casket to be lowered into the dirt. Daisy and Tulip were placed in the same casket, the former holding the latter in a motherly embrace for all eternity.

“Winter, I know I’ve said this before, but it’s all I can say,” Ironwood said. “I’m sorry.”

Weiss, Whitley, and Klein went to her side.

“Winter…Gods…I’m so sorry.” Klein took off his hat.

Winter didn’t respond.

“I’ll be here for you.” Weiss took Winter hand.

“As will I,” Whitley said.

“Well, look at this.”

Winter finally looked up when she saw Jacques standing in the doorway. All her grief and despair turned into pure, unadulterated, rage.

“Condolences for your loss Winter, really,” Jacques’ tone was cold and sarcastic. “However, I’d like to thank you for serving as a great lesson to your brother and sister.” He looked down at Weiss and Whitley. “You two want independence? Look at where that got her.”

“Shut up!” Winter shouted, tears in her eyes. “I will not have you use them to bully them!”

“I’m not bullying them, I’m simply stating the truth!” Jacques scoffed. “If you had stayed with me, the Da-”

Before anyone could react, Winter suddenly snatched one of Ironwood’s pistoles and shot at Jacques’ feet, causing him to jump back and land flat on his back.

“Winter, what are you doing?!” Jacques was shaking from fright.

“You keep their names out of your filthy mouth!” Winter spat.

“You’re just going to let her threaten me like that?!” Jacques looked at Ironwood.

Ironwood shook off his shock, then stared down at Jacques, coldly. “Yes.”

“You can’t-” Jacques was cut off by Winter pressing the barrel of the pistol against his forehead.

“You’re not going to say another word, do you understand me?” Winter’s voice was cold and detached.

Jacques nodded his head, sweat running down his face.

“Good.” Winter lowered the gun. “Now get the fuck out of here.”

Jacques scurried to his feet and ran outside.

“I’m so sorry, James.” Winter handed Ironwood his pistol.

“It’s okay,” Ironwood assured. “I probably would’ve-”

“I accept.”

“What?”

“I’ll become a Special Operative.”


Winter was pulled from her life by something banging against the door. The shock giving her a sudden burst of adrenaline, she got to her feet and aimed her gun at the door. The pistol shook in Winter’s hand, and the voice came back.

This is it! We’re finally going to be with them again!

Winter lowered the gun.

Please, make them kill you! Let this end!

Winter raised the gun, ready to shoot whoever was knocking.

Tulip…mommy’s coming, Winter took control of the voice in her head.

“Winter?!” Penny’s voice shouted from the other end.

“No…” Winter dropped the pistol, stepping away from the door.

“Winter, I’m coming it!” Penny shouted. “Get back!”

The sound slashing filled the air, and Penny finally burst threw the door.

“Winter!” Penny smiled at Winter, sighing in relief. “We took the base back from those bad! That doesn’t matter, though. What matters is your ok-”

“Damn you.”

“What?” Penny’s smile vanished and she took a step back.

“Gods damn you, Penny.” Winter looked at the floor as tears ran down her face. “Why?! Why didn’t you let me die?!”

“Winter, I don’t understand.” Penny didn’t hide her fear.

“Why won’t this end?!” Winter held her head, falling to knees. “I just want to be with them! I just want to fucking be with them!”

“Winter!” Penny went over to hug Winter, but Winter grabbed her collar.

“Kill me!” Winter begged.

“What?!” Penny’s eyes widened in horror.

“Kill me, please!” Winter begged, eyes silently screaming to be released of this tortured existence. “I can’t live like this!”

“Winter, I’m not-”

“Every second is agony, Penny!” Winter beat Penny’s chest. “Every step, every blink, every breath, hurts me! My legs feel broken, my eyes feel dry, and my lungs are on fire! Yet, I’m alive. And for what?! What good do I offer?! What purpose do I serve?! Why does whatever deity watching over want me to stay and live in this nightmare?! I’m nothing. No, I’m worse then nothing. I’m a burden. A detriment to everyone who loves me. All I do is bring pain…and…death…to everyone I…”

Winter felt the blood loss finally take its toll.

“Winter?” Penny’s eyes widened as Winter fell unconscious. “Winter!”


“You have one new message,” the answering machine on Winter’s scroll said.

“Winter? It’s been months, please talk to us,” Weiss begged. “What happened wasn’t your fault! Remember what you said? The light at the end of a very dark tunnel. I’m so sorry you lost your light. I…I love you so much, Winter. P-Please don’t end it. Please don’t leave us.”

Winter wishes she was

You’re a failure.

Winter looked down at the bag full of whiskey bottles.

You’re just as responsible for their deaths as the man who pulled the trigger.

Winter took one of the bottles out of bag, pouring it into a small, clear glass cup with shaking hands. With tears running down her cheeks, she drank. She drank until the alcohol pulled her into oblivion. Where there was no pain, no anger, and no sadness.

Now…you’re just like you’re mother.

Chapter Text

Injury leave.

The two words rang through Winter’s head on the drive home. Ironwood considered her wound too great for her to continue working, so now she’s to spend the next few weeks off duty. Which meant she’d be spending the next few weeks alone. Winter had no friends, and she stopped reaching out to Weiss and Whitley after what happened to Daisy and Tulip, only talking to them whenever they called her, and even that wasn’t a guarantee if she thought she was too busy.

When the taxi stopped in front of her apartment complex, Winter paid the driver and stepped out of the car. Looking up at the building she called home, she had moved to a much larger complex, not being able to stomach living in the place her family died in. On heavy legs, Winter began the long trek to her apartment. It was on the top floor, a balcony giving her a beautiful view of the city she loathed more than anything. The taxi driver graciously asked if he could help Winter carry her groceries, and she was grateful, both for the help and for him not asking why she had over dozens of bags of whiskey bottles and painkillers, with nothing else. Oblivion was always Winter’s haven. After all, loneliness wasn’t a problem if you weren’t conscious enough to care.

When Winter and the driver arrived at her apartment, they set the bags down by the coffee table. She gave the driver a tip and sent him on his way. In Winter’s cynical mind, she believed that was the only reason he had helped her at all. She couldn’t afford to see the good in the people of Atlas, at the moment.

Unsheathing her blade, Winter stared at her eyes in its reflection, noting how much deader than usual they looked. Going into her bedroom, she pulled the rapier’s case out from under her bed, and gently placed it inside. As she was pushing the case back under the bed, she glanced at the closet, a lump growing in her throat. Winter stood up and walked inside, flicking the closet’s light on, she stared at a large black box that was stuffed in the furthest corner of the room, and picked it up, flicking off the light as she walked out and into the living room, setting the box onto the coffee table. She stripped off her clothing as she went to the bathroom. By the time Winter was splashing the sink’s cold water on her face, all she was in was her dark blue tank top and matching panties. Staring at her dripping face in the bathroom mirror, she pulled her hair out of its ponytail, letting her snow-white locks fall past her shoulders. Winter looked over the army of whiskey bottles and painkillers, lifting her shirt to see the wound that had taken her out of her job, her distraction.

Distraction.

That’s what Winter needed. A distraction to hold off the itch, even if only for a few minutes. She sat on the couch and flicked on the tv to some sitcom she cared very little for. Winter set the remote down next to the box, and her hands shook as she pulled her hand away. Sitting back, she began to get antsy, and the feeling the room was heating up pounced on her. Using the couch as a stool, Winter turned on the ceiling fang, and then jumped off the couch and went over to her balcony, opening it and letting the soothing night breeze into her apartment, then she sat back down.

Winter was fighting a losing battle, both the box and her two forms of escape calling out to her. She finally gave in, grabbed the box, and punched in the code: 0-6-2-2-1-9-8-1. Opening the box, Winter felt of wave of guilt and despair washing over her at its contents. She had such a complicated relationship with framed pictures of Tulip and Daisy she had. On one hand, Winter never wanted to see them, again. On the other, she couldn’t live with herself if she threw them away. Taking the family photo, she set it down next to the box. Bringing a shaky hand to her mouth, Winter stopped delaying the inevitable and went over to the fridge, but stopped herself. She was going to get the pitcher of water, as she wasn’t supposed to wash the painkillers down with alcohol, but then she remembered she didn’t give a damn, anymore. Winter grabbed a glass from her cabinet, took a bottle of whiskey and painkillers from the closest bag at her feet, and started her descent. She poured herself a glass to start, downing it in a few seconds, then refilled it, then poured a handful of painkillers, way more than what was necessary and safe, into her palm. Shoving the pills into her mouth and downing them with the alcohol, Winter felt the effects in seconds, falling onto her couch and blacking out.

The sun was up when Winter woke up and looking at the clock she saw it was half-past noon. The painkillers had a drowsiness warning, and she was relying on that to keep her out of consciousness. Wasting no time, Winter finished the first bottle of whiskey and set the bottle at the foot of the couch. Before she could reach for another, she noticed the family photo. Despair and guilt turned to rage, and Winter picked up the photo and threw it at the balcony, shattering against the railing.

Winter spent the next couple of days sinking in and out of consciousness, occasionally ordering delivery to keep herself from starving to death.

One night sirens made Winter stir, and she bitterly glared out her balcony, feeling like the shattered moon was mocking her. Another night she had her first dream. Not of anything relating to Daisy or Tulip, thank the Gods, but instead, it was more an ugly trip down memory lane to remind Winter of who she became. It was Willow, staggering into the Schnee Manor’s wine cellar, and grabbing a few more bottles before staggering out, completely walking past the young Winter, who had been watching her. Waking from said dream caused her to roll off the couch and land her stomach. The tv was still on, playing a rerun of the sitcom, which just so happened to have the laugh track go off when Winter fell, not doing her any favors with her ideas that whatever deity was keeping her alive did so out of a malicious sense of humor. Snatching the remote from the coffee table, she turned the tv off.

Then Winter looked outside and caught sight of her family photo. Crawling on all fours over it, she picked it up and well and truly looked at it. It was taken out at her and Daisy’s favorite spot, the northern lights illuminating what Winter hoped would be a happy family of three, Tulip in Daisy’s arms as Winter had an arm around the latter’s shoulders, a smile she knows she’ll never have again on her face. The sight shattered the floodgates and Winter curled into the fetal position as she heard the picture to her chest, crying herself to sleep on the balcony.

Chapter Text

Teams RWBY, minus Weiss, JNPR, CFVY, AND CARD all sat in a circle in the center of RWBY’s dorm. It was nightfall, thunder cracked and lightning flashed. It was Friday, and the teams had finished up all their classes for the day, so Ruby had an idea for them all to get together. Weiss claimed she wanted to go to the library to study, but it was more likely she had recovered from Ruby’s verbal thrashing.

“Why are we doing this, again?” Fox asked, annoyed.

“Team bonding exercise!” Ruby cheered.

“You do realize that refers to one team, right?”

“Oh.”

“Wow, you’re really intelligent," Fox snarked. "I can see why Ozpin let you in early."

“Fox, don’t be a dick,” Coco ordered.

“I wouldn’t be if they didn’t invite him.” Fox pointed at Adrian.

Adrian looked behind himself, then pointed at the door. “What, the bathroom?”

Fox just let out a resigned sigh.

“Anyways!” Ruby interrupted, zipping over to the lights to shut them off. “It’s time for one of my favorite ways to hang out with friends…” she turned on a flashlight under her face, revealing she was wearing a clone mask. “Scary stories!”

Jaune shirked and hid behind Yatsuhashi. “Ruby, please take that off!”

“Yeah, we’re huntsmen, and huntsmen aren’t scared of that,” Fox said.

“Jaune is scared of that.” Ruby pointed at him.

Fox glanced at Jaune. “Sorry, let me fix that, true huntsmen aren’t scared of that.”

“Fox!” Velvet scolded.

“Yeah, come on, dude,” Yang said. “Jaune’s cool!”

“Certainly doesn’t deserve to be treated like this.” Pyrrha glared at Fox.

“Hey, it’s not my fault shade is my expertise,” Fox boasted. “I can shroud people in darkness on the brightest day in the year.”

“Guys! Focus! Scary stories!” Ruby whined.

“Shush, everyone shut up,” Yang ordered.

“Okay, so let’s start from my personal favorite from my childhood,” Ruby began.

“Sorry to be the first to interrupt after shushing everyone, but horror stories for kids might not be the best way to start,” Yang said.

“Hey, there are some really scary ones!”

“Ruby, I ended all of those stories with the monster turning out to be good,” Yang noted, then noticed everyone staring at her. “I’m soft with her, alright! Give me a break!”

“I think that’s sweet, Yang,” Blake assured.

“I mean…I can still tell those stories.” Ruby pushed her pointer fingers together. “The buildup before the reveal was scary.”

“I. Am. Not. Listening, too freakin pre-k horror stories,” Fox said.

“Awww…” Ruby sat down.

“I have some horror novels,” Blake offered. “Plenty of them are anthologies and can get gruesome.”

“No, you have to tell the story on your own,” Yang said. “Those are the rules.”

“But-”

“Blake! Those are the rules!” Ruby scolded.

“But-”

“So shut your face!”

“Yeah, but that leaves us with nothing,” Ren pointed out.

“Oh, I got one!” Nora raised her hand.

“Nora, a story about the shortage of pancake batter is not scary to anyone but you,” Ren said.

“Yeah, but it leads to riots and mass death!”

“Sounds like a good time, to me,” Fox joked.

“I found the first time she told that story quite disturbing,” Pyrrha said, raising her hand.

“Me too…” Jaune whimpered. “So don’t tell it!”

“You guys are terrible at this,” Canvas said, bluntly. “You’re putting in more effort to explain why you shouldn’t tell a story than just finding a story you can tell.”

“He’s hot a point,” Yatsuhashi agreed.

“Good thing Fox is here.” Coco patted Fox’s back. “He’s got some pretty twisted tales from Vacuo.”

“You’re from Vacuo, too?” Deacon asked.

“Oh, fellow Vatican?” Fox raised his fist. “The few types of people I don’t hate!”

“Really?” Deacon went to give Fox a fist bump.

“Nope!” Fox left him hanging. “Freaking hate that place.”

“Oh…” Deacon deflated.

“Oh, so you guys are from Vacuo?” Revon noted. “No wonder your muscles are so…pronounced.”

“Yatsuhashi is pretty strong,” Velvet said.

“Does he like guys?”

“Nope,” Yatsuhashi answered.

“Do either of you like guys?” Revon asked.

“Yes,” Fox and Deacon answered, simultaneously.

“Then you are going on my hit list!” Revon smiled, then realized what he said. “I meant hit list as in, hit on. Not kill.”

“Yeah, I got the idea,” Fox said. “Wait, what we’re doing again? Oh right! Scary stories!”

“What do you have in mind?” Coco asked, curiously.

“The Mansion in the Woods,” Fox answered with a smirk.

“Oh, that’s a good one!” Coco smiled, excitedly.

“I don’t like that one…” Velvet cuddled up next to Coco.

“It’s okay, honey.” Coco held Velvet close. “I got you.”

“Now this one is pretty screwed up,” Fox warned. “Blood, gore, and other unsavory themes crop up. You guys ready?”

“I’m not,” Jaune whimpered.

“Let me ask, again,” Fox coughed. “Anybody who’s not a whiny little bitch ready?”

“Hey!” Pyrrha spoke up in Jaune’s defense.

“Come on, man,” Jaune said, hurt.

“Fox, seriously,” Coco said, sternly.

“Okay, I’ll back down,” Fox said.

“Apologize?” Velvet suggested.

“Let’s not get too far,” Fox scoffed. “Everyone ready for the story?”

Fox looked around the room as everyone nodded, then he rubbed his hands together. “Excellent!”

A young boy walked through the woods at night. Soon he-

“Wait, why is the boy in the forest?” Canvas interrupted.

“It’s a short horror story,” Fox explained, not hiding his annoyance. “You’re allowed to leave things unexplained.”

“I need things explained to me…a lot,” Adrian said.

“That’s unsurprising…” Fox said.

“Also, does this boy have a name?” Revon raised his hand.

“No! You don’t need that for freakin short story!”

“I would prefer if you did,” Deacon spoke up.

“Agreed,” the rest of CARD spoke in unison.

“Fine, you guys come up with something, then!” Fox gave up.

Canvas scratched his chin, then glanced at Adrian. “Can it be Adrian?”

“I’m not going to insert his dumbass into a story.” Fox crossed his arms.

“Is this one of those horror stories where the protagonist dies gruesomely at the end?” Blake asked.

Fox thought for a moment, then continued the story.

Adrian walked through the woods at-

“Wait!” Canvas interrupted.

“Oh my Gods, what?!” Fox snapped.

“We didn’t think up an explanation!”

“Fine! Why is he out in the middle of the damn woods?!”

“I got lost trying to find my way to the bathroom!” Adrian suggested.

Everyone looked at Adrian.

“Sounds like something I would do.” Adrian shrugged.

“Adrian, you have done that,” Canvas said.

“Oh…but it was a while ago.”

“It was yesterday.”

“Oh…how long ago is that?”

“To continue!” Fox shouted.

Adrian walked through the woods at night, having…Gods damn it, got lost trying to find his way to the bathroom. Soon, he came across an old manor. Adrian noticed the lights were on and thought-

“Uh…I don’t do that.” Adrian raised his hand.

Fox sighed.

Adrian noticed the lights were on and said to himself.

“Oh boy, I sure hope there are a bunch of sexy guys to save me from this scary forest and my virginity!”

REVON!” Fox glared at Revon.

Yang fell onto her back laughing, tears in her eyes. Canvas doing his best to hold in his laughter, covering his mouth as he snorted.

“Sorry, forgot this was a horror story,” Revon said. “Probably shouldn’t insert my fantasies.”

Canvas let the laughs escape after Revon spoke.

“Stop laughing!” Fox cried. “This is supposed to be scary!”

“Were there any sexy guys?” Revon asked.

“No!”

“Sounds plenty scary to me!”

Yatsuhashi and Coco both covered their mouths. Fox looked at them, feeling betrayed.

“Why?” Fox asked, softly.

“It’s fine, Fox,” Velvet assured. “Continue.”

“Okay…”

“I sure hope they have a place where I can sleep,” Adrian said.

“Wait, I thought he was going to the bathroom?” Blake interrupted.

“I hate you so much, Blake,” Fox said, bluntly.

“I sure hope they have a restroom,” Adrian said, walking up to the front door to ring the doorbell.

After a few minutes of nothing, footsteps walked over to the door, and a little old lady greeted Adrian.

“Oh, what can I do for you, young man?” The little old woman asked.

“Can I use your bathroom?” Adrian asked.

“Oh, you poor thing, come right on in.” The little old woman steps aside, allowing Adrian to enter. “We’re so glad you came around when you did.”

“Really? Why?” Adrian asked.

“You’ll see, you go use the bathroom, and maybe you can join my family and me for dinner,” The little old woman said.

Adrian agreed and-

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! I would never pass up a chance for free food!” Adrian shouted.

Canvas face-palmed.

“You. Didn’t!” Fox hissed. “That’s what agree with means, you dumb fuck!”

“Oh, continue, then!”

“I. Would. Love to.”

After using the bathroom, Adrian-

“Wait, we just skipped over that part?” Adrian asked.

“Yes! Yes, we did!” Fox gripped his head. “Why is that problem?!”

“Well, that’s my whole motivation!” Adrian explained. “Shouldn’t the main protagonist’s motives not be glossed over?”

“I am not going to describe you going to the bathroom!” Fox’s anger melted away into exasperation. “It’s almost over. Please, just let me finish!”

“Okay,” Adrian sighed.

After using the bathroom, Adrian went down the stairs and was greeted by the little old lady.

“By the way, why were you happy to see me?” Adrian asked.

“Well, you see we were one plate short.” The little old lady lead Adrain into the kitchen to see they were serving-

“Pancakes!” Nora cheered.

“No!” Fox broke. “They weren’t serving pancakes! It was people! They were cannibals!”

“Oh…that story doesn’t sound that bad,” Jaune said.

“Shut up, Jaune!” Fox cried.

“It’s just a story, dude,” Jaune said. “No need to get so over-emotional about it.”

“I will get emotional about it!” Fox shouted. “It’s a well-known Vatican story!”

“I thought you hated that place?” Deacon smirked.

“Well…”

“Would a true huntsman get so upset over a ruined story?” Jaune asked, a bit sarcastically.

“I like that story!” Fox whined.

Pyrrha hummed. “Now who’s being the whiny little bitch?”

Fox stood up and walked to the door.

“Where are you going?” Coco asked.

“I’m going back to the dorm,” Fox whimpered, opening the door and walking out.

The teams all sat in silence after he left. The only sound coming from the patter of the rain against the dorm’s window, and the occasional crack of thunder.

“Okay, why don’t we just tell regular stories of varying degrees of genres?” Ruby sat up and flicked the light back on.

“That sounds lovely,” Pyrrha said with a smile.

“I can give context to Adrian getting lost in the woods while looking for the bathroom!” Canvas raised his hand.

“Tell away, friend!” Ruby gave Canvas a thumbs up.

Chapter Text

A day after RWBY had the story night with JNPR, CFVY, and CARD, Yang went on her weekly afternoon drive through Vale’s streets on bumblebee. She stopped at a corner store for a snack and something to drink, settling on a simple bag of potato chips and a water bottle. Before checking out, Yang decided to call up Ruby to see if she or the other members of Team RWBY wanted anything.

“Nah, I’m good!” Ruby answered. “What about you, Blake?”

“No thanks,” Yang heard a distant Blake answer.

“I guess we’re good,” Ruby said.

Yang sighed. “What about Little Miss Privileged?”

“She’s not here, she said she needed to study in the library.”

“For what test?”

“You know she’s lying, Yang,” Ruby said, frustrated. “She’s been jumping through every hoop to avoid coming back here and being in the same room as me.”

“Hey, it’s okay, sis.”

“Did I do the right thing?” Ruby asked. “Maybe I was being harsh.”

“Ruby, you needed to be harsh,” Yang assured. “You tried to be nice, she wasn’t having it, so you had to put your foot down.”

“But-”

“But nothing,” Yang interrupted. “You didn’t do anything wrong. Weiss is being childish, Weiss is being a jerk and Weiss is avoiding you because she can’t stand to look at, who most likely is, the first person to well-and-truly put her in her place.”

“I still wish she’d just talk it out with me.”

“That would require being the slightest bit mature.”

“I guess so…” Ruby was silent for a few seconds. “I don’t know, I still feel like I did something wrong. Like I’m failing as a leader.”

“A leader only fails when their teams fail,” Yang assured. “This is a personal failing for Weiss, and you’ve done all you can.”

“So we just play the waiting game?”

“That’s all we can do.”

Ruby sighed. “I’m tired.”

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have.”

“No, no, it’s okay, not your fault for asking,” Ruby said. “I need a nap, you have a good drive, Yang.”

“I won’t let you down, leader.” Yang smiled when Ruby snickered.

“I know you won’t,” Ruby said. “Later sis, love you.”

“Love you, too.” Yang hung up and went to check out her snack.

After leaving the store, Yang walked over to bumblebee and sat down, both legs leaning over one side. She looked up to see the shattered moon was visible today, and it always looked even more bizarre and mysterious while faded in the blue sky. Yang always thought it was beautiful, in its own, unique way. Nothing was truly ugly to her. Well, at least not physically. You could have warts, a hunchback, lazy eye, and deformed leg, but if you were kind she’d find you as attractive as the hottest guy or gal on the planet. Ugliness was hate, cruelty, and other horrible things a human being could be. Yang would admit Cardin isn’t bad looking, far from it, it’s the words that seeped out of his mouth that made her gag. None were as beautiful as her Sapphire, though.

“Sapphire…” Yang whispered to herself.

Yang has said to herself dozens, maybe even hundreds of times, but it never changed. Romantic love was so different. Sapphire made anything bad in Yang’s life just disappear whenever she thought about her. Whenever Yang was face-to-face with Sapphire was even more of a blessing. They could be caught in a blizzard and she would make it feel warm and comforting. Mainly because that has happened. While she’d never throw them to the wolves, Yang would admit if she was ever in a situation where she had to choose between her Dad and Ruby, or Sapphire, it’d be the hardest decision in the world, to her. They were equal, Sapphire, Ruby, and Tai. Yang would gladly die for them, whether individually or for all three of them. Though, Yang always worried about how her death would affect Sapphire. She, of course, knows Ruby and Tai would be heartbroken, especially after losing Summer, but Sapphire had…nothing. It was a testament to Junior’s stupidity that he tried to ransom off a girl with no family. Sapphire never knew her parents and lived in foster homes until emancipating herself at 15, only a month before she met Yang at Patch. To say they clicked would be an understatement, and the past three years are the happiest Yang has ever felt.

“I should probably give her a visit, today,” Yang said to herself, remembering her promise. “Ruby is pretty torn up, though. I’ll drive on it.” She finished her chips and washed them down with the water, then she hopped on bumblebee, the engine sputtered and it didn’t start. “Huh?” Yang tried again to the same result, her eyes went red and she nearly punched bumblebee before she got a grip on her temper. “Well…looks like I’ll be visiting Sapphire after all…guess I better grab a few things.” She stepped off of bumblebee and went back into the store.


Gemstone Mechanics

Yang had a lot to be proud of Ruby for, but Sapphire running a successful, independent Auto repair shop was right next to all Ruby had accomplished. What gave this achievement that little extra, but admittedly selfish, push, was that Sapphire did that for her. When Yang got her chance to get into Beacon, the thought of being apart was so painful Sapphire went with her and started this business so she’d have money to stay. She got them a cozy little apartment Yang crashed in as she was completing her application into Beacon, free of charge.

Yang strolled up to the repair shop, pulling bumblebee by her side.

“Hey Blue, you open?” Yang banged on the garage door.

“Yang?” Sapphire called. “That you?”

“Why don’t you open up and find out?”

Yang heard the sound of a button being pushed and the garage door began to clatter open, echoing down the entire block. Sapphire’s eyes shined when she saw Yang.

“Hey, baby!” Sapphire hugged Yang. “I missed seeing you in person!’

“I did too, Blue.” Yang returned the hug.

“How have things been going over at Beacon?” Sapphire asked, pushing away from the hug to look at Yang. “How has dealing with the Schnee been?”

“Surprisingly tolerable,” Yang answered. “Mainly because Ruby verbally kicked her ass.”

“Really?” Sapphire’s eyes widened in shock. “Sweet, adorable little Ruby got pissed?”

“You would’ve loved to see it,” Yang fondly laughed, then glanced over at bumblebee. “Sorry to cut off the catching up, but something has been up with bumblebee.”

“Oh, bring her in, then.” Sapphire waved for Yang to follow her, which she did, taking bumblebee into the garage. “What’s been going on with her?”

“I don’t know, I was just driving around, stopped at a store for some snacks, and when I came back out she wouldn’t start,” Yang said.

“You didn’t sabotage her just to see me, did you?” Sapphire asked, jokingly.

“Wouldn’t be worth it, I love this bike more than you.”

Sapphire mock gasped, putting a hand on her chest with the most cartoonishly shocked expression on her face. “You’re cheating on me with a bike?”

“Had to come out somehow.” Yang shrugged.

Sapphire and Yang then burst out laughing.

“Gods, that was weird,” Sapphire said.

“Yeah, but seriously, can you tell what’s up with her?” Yang held up a bag she was carrying. “Once you are done you and I can have a lunch break!”

“Sounds like an idea.” Sapphire smiled and pointed at the workbench at the back of the room, “wait over there.”

“Of course.” Yang bowed and went over to the workbench, sitting on it and setting the beg beside her.

As Yang watched Sapphire work, she enjoyed it when a hot Sapphire unzipped the front of her khaki overalls, letting the top half fall past her waist. She was wearing a white tank top, and her muscular arms were shown off. Yang clapped and whistled, pulling out her wallet.

“How much more to get the rest of it off?” Yang smirked.

“Oh, shut up.” Sapphire rolled her eyes, but she had a smile on her face. “I’m working.”

“Alright, sorry…” Yang checked, sitting back, holding herself up with her hands, then she had a more serious thought. “H-Hey Blue?”

“Yeah.” Sapphire dropped what she was doing when she noticed the tone of Yang’s voice.

“I was just thinking…with how dangerous my profession will be,” Yang sighed, bracing herself. “What would you do if I died?”

Sapphire widened her eyes, then shrunk, hugging herself. “I don’t know…”

“Yeah, I’m sorry for springing this on you, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Yang explained.

“Let’s not talk about it, then.” Sapphire turned back to her work.

“Of course…sorry…” Yang leaned forward, looking at the floor.

“It’s okay…wait, what the Hell?”

Yang looked up. “What?”

“Yang, come here.” Sapphire motioned to Yang.

Yang hopped off the workbench and knelt next to Sapphire.

“Look at this, there is a hole on your gasoline tube.” Sapphire pointed at the circular puncture.

“I guess it must’ve got cut on something?”

“Not like this.” Sapphire held her chin. “That incision is more like a knife.”

“Wait, are you saying some sabotaged my bike?” Yang’s eyes went red. She might’ve been joking about loving bumblebee more than Sapphire, but that doesn’t mean she’d just fine with someone damaging her.

“I think so…but why?” Sapphire looked at Yang.

That’s when the sound of vehicles speeding down the road was heard. Both girls looked out the garage as two black cars came to a screeching halt, a group of eight armed goons came out, guns were drawn.

“Oh shit!” Yang tackled Sapphire out of the way, both taking cover behind the wall.

Yang hit the button and the garage door started to close.

“Go! Get in there! Get in-” the thug was cut off by the garage door closing.

“That won’t keep them out for long,” Yang said, turning to Sapphire and taking her shoulders. “You got any weapons?”

Sapphire shook her head, eyes wide.

“Get in through the doors!” Yang heard a shout from outside.

Yang looked around for anything she could use as weapons, and her eyes fell on the tool bench. A wrench and a screwdriver were begging to be used. Taking Sapphire’s hand, she leads her next to bumblebee, dragged the tool bench in front of her, took out the toolbox, and flipped it, using the table as cover.

“Blue, can you fight?” Yang asked.

Sapphire shook her head.

“It’s okay, that’s alright.” Yang stroked Sapphire’s cheek. “These guys are most likely Junior’s idiots, so they shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Are you sure?” Sapphire took Yang’s hand, holding it to her cheek, only to jump when the door was kicked.

“Ow! My leg!”

“Gods, you got them weak, pussy ass legs! Let me show you how a real man kicks open a door!” The door was kicked and a womanly scream was made. “Oh, Gods! I was the true owner of the pussy legs!”

“Yeah, I think I got this.” Yang grabbed the wrench, jumped over the table just as the door was kicked open.

“Yeah! I got it!” The thug who kicked open the door cheered, only for Yang to threw the wrench at his face.

The thug dropped his gun as he brought his hands to his face. Yang grabbed the gun before it hit the floor and knocked him out with the butt of it. Then she opened fire the goons trying to get through the door, hitting two in the legs, but ran out of bullets.

“Ha! Got you now!” A thug aimed his gun at Yang.

Yang simply ax threw the gun at his head, stunning him. Then she picked up the wrench and rushed him, knocking him out with one good right swing. The thugs were in a narrow hall, so the idiots lined themselves up for Yang. She stunned the next thug by thrusting the wrench into his nose, then knocking him out with a punch to the face. The next was hit in the stomach, and then in the face, but after he was taken down one of the last two thugs shot the wrench out of her hands with his pistols. The two grinned smugly, their cockiness leads to them getting too close to Yang, one pushing the barrel of his pistol against her head, but Yang pulled out the screwdriver and stabbed it through the hand with it, causing the other thug to jump back and the stabbed one to scream. The thug dropped his pistol, but Yang once again caught it before it reached the floor, shooting the spooked thug in the leg with it before knocking the last guy out with the butt of the gun.

“Is…is it over?” Sapphire poked her head out from behind cover to see Yang, standing among the unconscious or injured bodies of the thugs.

“It’s over, Blue.” Yang gave Sapphire a comforting smile.

“Are you okay?!” Sapphire rushed to Yang, cupping her face in the palm of her hand.

“I’m okay, I promise.” Yang held Sapphire tightly. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“I know.” Sapphire returned the hug. “Thank you so much, baby.”

“Don’t mention it, Bl-”

“Ugh…” the thug yang threw the gun at stirred, interrupting her and getting her attention.

Yang’s eyes turned red as she gently pushed Sapphire aside to stomp over to him, grabbing by the throat and slamming him against the wall. “What was that you said? Oh right! Got you, now!”

“Wait, wait!” The thug begged. “We were just sent by Junior to rough you up a bit as payback! We weren’t going to kill ya, honest!”

“Really?” Yang cocked an eyebrow.

“Really!”

“That’s why you brought guns and the first thing you tried to do was shoot us down?”

“Uh…yeah?”

“Right, so here’s how this is going to go, you’re going to run out of here and tell Junior and the rest of the criminal element to leave Sapphire out of our squabbles,” Yang ordered.

“Why should I?” The thug crossed his arms.

“Because I’m giving you and your friends mercy,” Yang said. “You get to walk out of here, and they go to prison.”

“How is that mercy?”

Yang pulled the thug right up to her face. “Because next time I’ll fucking kill them.”

“Oh…”

“You understand?”

“My pants are soiled…so yeah.”

“Good, now get out of here!” Yang pushed him towards the door.

The thug shimmied out of the room, clearly trying to keep whatever he filled his pants within his pants.

“So…now what?” Sapphire asked.

That’s when police sirens were heard.

“Oh right, these idiots did just shoot up a place in the middle of the day,” Yang noted. “Guess we’ll talk to the police and I’ll make a call.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just…let’s just say I’ll be teaching Junior not to pull this crap, again.”


Junior was in the prison cafeteria, eating the slop they served and missing the food at his club. Though he was a bit excited, as he had sent a hit squad filled with his best and brightest to kill Yang and her little girlfriend. Junior knew he would get the news of their deaths any minute, now.

“Hey there, Junior.” A fellow prisoner sat next to him, on his left.

“How are you doing?” Another prisoner sat to his right.

“What do you idiots want?” Junior didn’t bother looking at the two.

“Nothing, just to give you a little message.” One prisoner to her right grabbed him by his head and slammed it onto the table.

“Argh!” Junior fell onto his back, holding his face.

“No worries, we aren’t going to kill ya,” the right prisoner said.

“Yeah, just fought you up a bit as payback.” The left cracked his knuckles.

“Who wanted to you do this?” Junior asked, terrified.

“Here ya go!” The right threw a slip of paper, and it landed on Junior’s chest.

Junior took the slip and read it. The sinking realization that his hit squad failed and he was about to suffer the consequences of sending them to hit him as a point-blank shot straight to the face when he read the note.

Thanks for sending those training dummies! Really good work out! Just don’t send them after my Sapphire again or I’ll have you shanked :D

-Love, Y.

“Hope it was worth it, Junior.” The left threw the first punch.

Chapter Text

Three sounds were emanating from Winter’s apartment. The sound of the television, this time playing an Atlas game show. The fan spinning overhead, having not stopped since Winter turned it on over a week before. Finally, there was Winter herself, snoring loudly as she says cross-legged on the floor, sleeping face first on her glass coffee table in a pool of her drool. A round of knocks on the apartment door pulled Winter from her not-so-peaceful slumber.

“Miss Winter?” Penny innocently called out as she knocked on the door.

Winter’s eyes slowly opened to the blinding sunlight seeping in through her windows. Pushing herself up, she wiped the drool from the corner of her mouth and looked around her apartment. Whiskey and painkiller bottles littered the floor, with the rest still in the shopping bags surrounding Winter and the coffee table. It was then she realized she had fallen asleep looking at the cracked family photo, almost having a panic attack when she saw the crack had grown bigger, having traveled between Winter, separating her from Daisy and Tulip. Winter shoved the photo back into the box and slammed it shut, scurrying back bringing her knees to her chest. She winced when Penny knocked, again.

Well, this is certainly doing wonders for the hangover.

The voice in Winter’s could be humorous when it wasn’t shaming her for her failures or trying to get her to kill herself. Though it only came off as the snarky best friend whenever she was drunk.

“Miss Winter, are you home?” Penny kept knocking. “I was told you haven’t left your apartment since you were put on leave.”

Please, take your time. I’m sure you love to have the split in your head grow larger.

“I’m coming!” Winter shouted, but she groaned and gripped her head.

Loud noises of any kind are bad for hangovers. Even if said loud noise comes from you.

Winter stumbled to her feet, taking a few minutes to steady herself on shaky legs. Then she walked over the door, on to step on one of the bottles on the floor, and face plant, causing her ears to ring.

“Miss Winter! I heard a loud noise!” Penny exclaimed in concern. “I’m coming in!”

Winter growled and kicked the bottle away, then got to her feet, opening the door just before Penny could kick it open.

“What?!” Winter shouted, causing Penny to jump back.

“Oh! Salutations!” Penny greeted with a smile and salute.

“Hi…” Winter greeted, very flatly.

“May I come in?”

“No.”

“Oh…well, how are you?” Penny asked. “Are you doing okay?”

“Do I look okay?”

Penny looked Winter from head to toe, taking note of her extremely pale skin, messy hair, and miserable expression.

“Uh…no?”

“Smart girl.” Winter’s mouth briefly formed into a small smirk, but her grimace returned. “Now, what possessed you to come here and give me a headache?”

“Well, I wasn’t possessed by anything,” Penny assured. “I was requested by General Ironwood himself to come here.”

“Is he taking me out of leave, early?” Winter genuinely smiled in hope and excitement.

“No worries, he has no intention of doing so,” Penny said, completely missing the point.

Winter deflated. “Oh.”

“He had heard you have been cooped up in your apartment, so he was wondering if you’d like to come to the unveiling!”

“Unveiling?”

“Of the new Atlas Knights and Paladins,” Penny explained. “Their prototypes are now officially being shelved for the real deals.”

“I have been looking forward to that…” Winter glanced back into her apartment, feeling shame for the empty bottles on the floor.

“The Atlas Military will be there as security, and he wants you to come and see the unveiling for yourself,” Penny said. “Not as a soldier, guard, or huntsman, but as someone who wants to see the Atlas Military grow as a protective superpower.”

“Will there be alcohol?” Winter asked, jokingly.

“I think so.” Penny scratched her chin, looking up in thought.

“Well, you’ve convinced me,” Winter chuckled. “When is it?”

“19 o’clock!”

“You mean nineteen hundred hours.”

“What time is that?”

“7 PM.”

“Yeah, that’s when!”

“Alright, I’ll be there,” Winter said with a nod, then she began slowly shutting the door. “It was nice seeing you, Penny. Really.”

“Winter, wait…” Penny held out her hand.

“Yeah?” Winter cocked an eyebrow.

“Back at Atlas Base 227, after your outburst…I asked the General who you meant by them.” Penny looked to her feet, then back into Winter’s eyes. “He told me everything.”

“Penny, don’t ruin this moment,” Winter ordered, coldly.

“I just want you to know that what happened wasn’t your fault.”

“You’re walking on thin ice.”

“I don’t think they’d want you to die.”

“Penny!” Winter shouted. “That’s enough!”

Penny shrunk back. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t possibly know what you’ve been through, and-”

“That’s right, you don’t.” Winter gripped the door. “Now get the fuck out of here.”

“But Winter-”

Winter slammed the door in Penny’s face. She turned around, placed her back against the door, and slid to the floor, hands on her face.

“I’m so sorry, Winter,” Penny’s hollow voice spoke through the wood. “I…I’ll see you at the party.”

“Yeah, you too,” Winter said, tone softening.

Winter listened as the sound of Penny’s soft footsteps faded away. Winter pulled herself to her feet with the help of the doorknob, locking the door before stumbling back into her living room. Before she could reach for her glass, a gust of wind blew through her open balcony, drawing her attention to it. Penny’s admittedly unintended damage took hold, as the alcohol wasn’t working and the voice in Winter’s head wasn’t her snarky friend, anymore.

Jump.

Winter didn’t move. She just stared at the open balcony, watching the curtain gently sway in the wind.

It’ll feel so nice to have the cool air on your skin. Wouldn’t it?

Winter walked towards the balcony but stopped at the threshold.

Come on! At this height, it’ll be just as quick as a shot to the head!

Winter clenched her fists, then reached for the sliding door and slammed it shut.

No!

Winter threw the curtains shut so she couldn’t look at the balcony.

What are you doing?!

Winter stepped back from the balcony.

Jump!

Winter covered her ears.

JUMP!

Winter whirled around, grabbing the glass and the nearest bottle, filling it, and downing it. She repeated the process until the voice faded away into oblivion, planning to do the same thing herself. Sighing in relief, Winter sat down on the couch. Someone had won something stupid on the game show, and the sight of someone succeeding made her angry, so she grabbed the remote and shut the television off. Setting it down next to the black box, Penny’s words continued to do more harm than good, as Winter tensed up as she stared at it. She didn’t notice her grip on the glass tighten, she didn’t notice it start a crack, and it wasn’t until it shattered and cut up her hand did she finally notice. Despite the pain, Winter just looked down at her bloody hand, got to her feet, and went to the bathroom, being sure to grab one of the whiskey and painkiller combo bags as she did so.

Wrapping her hand up, Winter took the bottle of painkillers and did something even riskier than usual. Instead of pouring a large amount of the pills in her hand, she threw her head back and practically drank the pills, washing them down by drinking directly from the bottle. To say the effects weren’t pleasant when they kicked in would be an understatement. Winter realized she must’ve finally come disturbingly close to overdosing when she lost her balance and fell flat on her back, ear ringing, she felt the bile rise in her throat and barely managed to crawl over to the toilet in time to release her contents. It felt like hours before Winter finally felt like she could leave without worrying about throwing up on anything else. Flushing the toilet, she went back into the living room, grabbed the black box, and went into her bedroom. Furiously throwing the box into her closet and slamming the door shut, Winter fell onto her bed, curling up into the fetal position before falling into a dreamless slumber.


Watts whistled casually as he walked through the streets of Mantle to meet with his contact. Occasionally flaunting his superiority, though only to himself, by causing traffic by stopping remote-controlled cars in the middle of busy streets or screwing with stoplights. Though he enjoyed the resulting chaos as cars crashed into one another, the selflessness of the bystanders of Mantle stopping to help the injured disgusted him.

“Oh my goodness!” Fiona covered her mouth in horror when Watts stoplight trickery resulted in two cars getting into a head-on collision, with other cars crashing, as well.

“May! Joanna! We got a collision on Wolf Street!” Robyn screamed into her scroll. “Fiona and I need help! Get here as quick as you can!”

“Just another good reason to burn this place along with Atlas,” Watts sneered.

Watts eventually grew bored screwing with the people of Mantle, so he went back to whistling. Eventually, he made it to the meet-up point, a dark alleyway, but his contact wasn’t there.

“Ugh…of course, he isn’t here on time.” Watts checked his watch. “Shame this is the only way I could get the info needed. Can’t rely on anyone but yourself, Arthur.”

“A little patience would come a long way,” a male voice said.

“Is that you, Silver?” Watts stared into the darkness of the alley.

“It is.” A robed figure walked out from the pitch-black shadows, hood shrouding their face in the darkness.

“Quite the codename you’ve chosen for yourself, is it because you’ve always been second best?” Watts snarked.

“Are you insult me when I haven’t given you the information you need, yet?”

“Oh please, I know you, and the fact I have yet to give you the money you crave means I’m in charge, here,” Watts scoffed. “Seriously though, are you trying to be intimidating? Meeting up in a dark alley and with that ridiculous hoodie and robe combo. It’s almost adorable how hard you’re trying.”

“Do you want your damn info or not?!” Silver pulled out a file from his robe.

“Depends on how much you want this money.” Watts held up a wad of lien, waving it like he was trying to bait a dog.

“We toss on three.”

“Deal.”

“One…two…three!”

Watts tossed Silver the lien and Solver threw the file, both catching their respective desires for the evening.

“So beautiful…” Silver ran his fingers over the lien.

“Ew, I did not need to see your money fetish,” Watts mocked.

“Whatever…” Silver shoved the lien into his pocket and started to walk away.

“Hold it.” Watt pulled out his 20-shot, double-barreled revolver, pointing it at Silver.

“Hey!” Silver froze.

“Stay there, got to make sure you aren’t scamming me.” Watts didn’t take his eyes off the file.

“Fine, just look at the freaking file, no need to threaten me!”

Watts hummed, then lowered his holstered revolver so he could look over the file with both hands.

“Everything you need to know about the ins and outs of the unveiling,” Silver said.

“I’m surprised how okay you are with this,” Watts mused. “I’m going to get a lot of people killed.”

“Doesn’t matter to me, as long as I’m paid,” Silver said, coldly. “Since I’m holding a nice little wad of lien in my hand, I think you can do whatever you damn well please.”

“Looks to be everything.” Watts shut the file. “Pleasure doing business with you, 2nd place.”

“I can’t say the same thing, you mustached prick,” Silver grumbled.

“Now, now, you best watch that tongue of yours, Silver,” Watts threatened. “You may think you’re big and scary, and to the ants crawling around Mantle, you probably are. However, I’m the bigger fish. I’m the one working for the shark, so you best understand your place.”

“Whoever your working for is only human,” Silver said.

“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” Watts unholstered his revolver. “You wouldn’t want me to do that, would you?”

“No…” Silver stepped back.

“Good.” Watts holstered his pistol and closed the file. “Be seeing you, Silver.”

“Yeah…be seeing you.” Silver watched Watts leave the alleyway.

Chapter Text

Penny looked at the clock, frowning at the sight. It was 6:30, and no Winter insight. She and Pietro had arrived at the unveiling of the new Atlas Knights and Paladins early. It was being held in the dining area of Atlas’ Grand Hotel, the tallest building in both Atlas and Remnant as a whole, with the Paladins and Knights to be flown into the back, and the room was filled with Atlas soldiers, students, and the wealthy contributors to the process of creating the two types of robots. Outside of James, the soldiers, and the students, who were all dressed in their standard uniforms, people were dressed up for the occasion. Pietro wore a simple black suit and bow tie, the latter he was having trouble tying. Penny, on the other hand, wore a light green dress, which matched with her light green heels, with a short skirt and short sleeves, as well as black detailing around her waist with a white-collar.

“Stupid tie.” Pietro tried to use his reflection in the glass of the window he was beside to help him tie.

“Let me, Papa.” Penny gently lowered Pietro’s hands and tied his bow into a perfect knot.

“Thanks, sweetie,” Pietro said.

“Don’t mention it, Papa.” Penny smiled, but it soon vanished when she looked at the clock.

“Penny, is everyone alright?” Pietro asked, taking note of Penny’s growing sadness.

“It’s almost time for the unveiling to start and Winter hasn’t arrived, yet,” Penny answered. “The General said it isn’t like her to not be early.”

“That is out of character for her,” Pietro noted. “Well, she is also still injured.”

“I think it’s my fault.” Penny looked at her feet.

“Why do you think that?”

“After she agreed to come, I tried to…I brought up…”

Pietro’s eyes widened. “Penny, please tell me you didn’t bring up Daisy and Tulip.”

Penny didn’t answer, the face she made did for her.

“Penny…”

“I thought if I let her know it wasn’t her fault…that it’d help her.”

“Penny, I know you had good intentions, but sometimes people don’t have wounds that are physical.” Pietro tapped his temple. “Sometimes they have wounds in here, and those wounds take longer to heal. If they heal at all.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt her.” Penny wished she could cry.

“I know, so try to be careful of what you say around people you know have a past they don’t like to talk about.”

Penny nodded. “I hope she still comes.”

“I hope so, too,” Pietro spoke in a comforting tone.


Winter had to will herself to get out of the bed and get dressed. She thought it’d be a good idea to drink and pop pills the same day of the unveiling, and now she was going to break her usual routine of being early for events related to the Atlas Military. As a sort of punishment for getting so reckless, instead of wearing her standard Atlas military uniform, Winter forced herself to wear the same suit she had worn for her wedding with Daisy, plus the gloves she wore with her Atlas attire.

You should burn this. You don’t deserve to remember the happier times.

Winter rubbed her eyes, then stared at herself in the mirror.

Maybe actually you should, to remind yourself of what you lost due to your arrogance.

Winter couldn’t help but agree with her voice on that aspect. Stepping out of the bathroom, she went to get her rapier from her bedroom but stopped herself. Winter remembered she very much planned on drinking when she got to the unveiling.

“Maybe getting trashed with a sword on my waist isn’t such a good idea.” Winter turned and went towards the door, stopping just short of the knob. “Last time you left your sword behind it got you shot…” she looked at her bedroom door, shaking her head. “It surely won’t happen again.”


“Do you got everything?” Watts asked Slash, the leader of a militant group of robbers, impatiently.

“Quiet down, I’m looking them over,” Slash said.

“What’s wrong? Are those schematics making your little head hurt?”

“Shut it,” Slash growled, closing the file. “Alright, I’m done.”

“The info good enough?”

“Yeah, it should be enough for our guys to pull it off.”

“Good, Silver has played his part,” Watts said. “Now I want you to kill everyone there!”

“Hold up, Mr. Mustache, that’s not how we do things.”

“What?!”

“We’ll kill the Atlas soldiers, but we keep non-combatants out of the crossfire,” Slash explained. “You’ll still get to make Ironwood suffer, and we can get our cash without compromising what little morals we have.”

Watts growled. “Fine.”

“Hey, if you don’t like it, why did you hire us?”

“All my other guys got killed at Base 227.”

“Well, I can tell you’re going to be a great employer,” Slash snarked.

“Just get it done!” Watts hissed.

“We will!” Slash assured.

“Don’t forget to grab that fat idiot,” Watts sneered. “Did you also get what you needed to take down Ironwood and the robot?”

Slash threw a staff into the air and caught it to answer.

“Be sure to take them down first.”

“I’m the tactical guy here, Wattsy,” Slash snarked. “Let me handle this.”

“Fine, we’ll both get what we want by the end of this.” Watts glanced to his left, then nodded.


“Winter!” Penny smiled and ran towards as Winter strolled through the door, hugging her. “I’m so glad you came!”

“Yeah…” Winter patted Penny’s head, not returning the hug.

“Winter, I’m sorry about yesterday,” Penny said, sadly dropping the hug when she realized Winter wasn’t returning it. “I promise I won’t bring up-”

Winter glared down at Penny.

“It won’t happen, again,” Penny corrected herself.

Winter sighed. “Where’s the freaking bar?”

Winter caught sight of the bar and casually stepped past Penny to make her way towards it. She mainly came to get something stronger than the whiskey she had been drinking the past few days, and the bottles on the top shelf looked pleasing.

“Winter!” Ironwood, one person in the entire party who could actually stop Winter, called out to her.

Winter stopped and turned in his direction as he walked towards her, a warm smile on his face. She couldn’t help but return a ghost of one, herself.

“I’m so glad you came,” Ironwood said. “How have you been holding up?”

“I’m alive if that means anything,” Winter half-joked.

“Have you never left your apartment since you were put on leave?” Ironwood asked. “What have you been doing?”

“Drinking,” Winter answered, bluntly. “It helps numb the pain.”

“Does the wound still hurt?!” Ironwood asked, conceded. “I can prescribe you a stronger opioid if-”

“That’s not what I meant.”

Ironwood paused, it didn’t take him long to figure it out. “Oh…”

“You’re going to announce when you’ll be unveiling the finished Knights and Paladins, correct?”

“Yes,” Ironwood confirmed with a nod.

“Great, I’ll keep an ear out.” Winter turned back to the bar. “Lovely seeing you, James.”

“You too, Winter,” Ironwood sighed, solemnly.

Winter hopped on the closest barstool, causing her chair to spin, but she stopped herself by putting both hands on the bar counter.

“Quite the entrance,” the bartender joked. “What’ll be?”

“Top shelf.” Winter pulled out a wad of lien and slid it across the counter. “Strongest you got.”

“Sure thing, Special Operative Schnee!” The bartender gave her a wink and thumbs up.

As Winter waited for her drink, one of the contributors to the Knights and Paladins project came over to her. When he tapped her shoulder, Winter turned to him, getting off the barstool to shake his hand when he offered.

“Winter Schnee?” The man asked.

“In the miserable flesh.” Winter curtsied.

“I’m Ash Canvas, and close friends with Lucas Church,” Ash introduced.

“I am aware, Canvas bloodline has been friendly with the Church’s for centuries at this point,” Winter noted. “Been protecting Remnant from their stupidity.”

“Hey, it’s what we do,” Ash chuckled, awkwardly.

“So, what do you want with me?”

“You see, our sons are going to Beacon Academy with your sister.”

Winter took interest. “Really?”

“Yeah! We haven’t heard much from our boys, though,” Ash said. “They’ve been pretty busy with the studying and training, can’t give their dear old dads the time of day,” he joked. “I was wondering if Weiss had said anything about them.”

Winter felt a lump in her throat, and the guilt almost made her tear up. “I…I don’t know how Weiss is doing.”

“Oh, I thought she would’ve kept in a more constant contact with you,” Ash said. “One of the few things Lucien told me was how much she practically worshipped you.”

Winter turned around, letting her tears run down her face so she could wipe them away.

What kind of sister are you?

“Here ya go, Miss Schnee!” The bartender handed Winter the drink, only for Winter to snatch it from his hands and scarf it down in less than a second.

“Give me the whole bottle.” Winter threw down the rest of her lien.

The bartender shrugged, took the lien, and took the bottle directly off the shelf, and gave it to Winter. She snatched it from his hand took a big swig.

Look at you, sitting alone at a party, drinking in a pathetic attempt to run away from your problems. You truly are Willow Schnee’s child.

“Shut up,” Winter’s guilt turned to rage, and it caused her to talk back.

“Uh…Miss Schnee, who are you talking to?” The bartender asked, concerned.

“No one…”

Look out, people might start to think we’re crazy!

Winter threw her head back and began to drink as much of the bottle between breaths, trying to smother the voice. As this was going on, Lucas walked onto the scene.

“Hey, Ash, what’s going on here?” Lucas asked.

“I don’t know, I came over to ask about our kids and she just starts drinking up a storm,” Ash answered.

Lucas watched Winter drink. “Man, that chick really knows how to handle a battle.”

“Bottle.”

“What?”

“She’s drinking from a bottle, Lucas.”

“Oh…what’s a battle then?”

“You can figure it out on your own.”

Lucas scratched his chin. “Is a battle that Academy in Atlas?”

“You mean…Atlas Academy?”

“Yeah!”

“No, a battle doesn’t mean Atlas Academy.” Ash facepalmed. “That’s not even remotely the right context!”

“What does it mean, then?”

“Luke, buddy, we will sit down and read a dictionary after the party,” Ash sighed. “Just…go back to your seat and try not to hurt yourself.”

“Okay then!”

Lucas began to walk towards the exit, but Ash turned him around using his shoulders, sending him in the right direction.

“Quite the comedy act you two got going on.” Winter stumbled out of her seat, the effects kicking in much faster and stronger than she expected.

“Uh…you okay?” Ash asked.

“My Dad beat me, my Mom didn’t care, my wife and baby girl are dead, and I just realized I’m a shitty big sister,” Winter snarked, darkly. “So why don’t you tell me?”

Ash’s lips formed into a hard line and his eyes darted left to right. “I was going to come up with an excuse to stop talking to you, but I can’t. So I’m just going to walk away very slowly, now.” He did just that, Winter glaring at him all the while.

“Maybe you should go sit down,” the bartender advised, regretting giving Winter the whole bottle.

“Yeah, maybe I should.” Winter looked around to a secluded spot, and her eyes fell upon a booth tucked away in the far corner.

Winter walked to her destination on shaky legs, occasionally taking a swig from the bottle to make it even harder for herself to get there. When she arrived, she sat down, drank the rest of the bottle, and passed out on the table.

Penny had watched the whole situation unfurl, and her guilt returned even worse than before. She resisted the urge to run over to Winter and try to comfort her, but she realized she had done enough already.

“Penny…are you alright?” Pietro placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“I don’t know what to do…” Penny admitted.

“Maybe try giving her some space,” Pietro advised. “Wait for you two to get another job together or for her to reach out to you, first.’

“Okay, Papa.”

Before they could continue, Ironwood tapped his spoon.

“Soldiers, students, and gracious contributors, years of hard work have finally paid off.” Ironwood turned and looked up into the night sky as bullheads with crates hanging off of them flew in.

The crates were gently set down, and the metal cables were detached, the bullheads flying away. The crowd noticed how one crate was the size of a locker, while the other was bigger than a bus.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the future safety of Atlas and all of Remnant!”

The smaller crate opened first, and an android with slick white armor that glistened in the moonlight was revealed. Then the bigger crate was opened, the door falling to the ground and shaking the earth when it did so. Inside was a hulking Blake and white mechanism, walking out of the crate and shaking the ground with every step.

“Meet the new and improved Atlasian Knight Paladins!” Ironwood motioned to the two robots, both bowing as the crowd applauded. “However, Atlas Military couldn’t have done it without any of our financial backers, so I’d like you to come up on stage and stand alongside me for this great moment.”

As their husbands stood to take their place beside Ironwood, Ash and Lucas’ wives clapped for them.

“What’s going on?” Lucas’ wife, Anna, asked. “I’m completely lost.”

“When are you ever not lost?” Ash’s wife, Lily, snarked.

“I don’t know, I once got lost trying to go sleep,” Anna said.

“How did you even do that?”

“Well, it was hard to go to sleep when I didn’t know where it was.”

Lily sighed. “Anna, if you stop talking I’ll give ice cream.”

Anna gasped like a little girl and quieted down.

After the contributors were all on stage (and after Lucas was facing the wrong direction, causing Ash to have to turn him around) Ironwood spoke.

“I would like to congratulate all of our contributors and the hard work of good men like Pietro Polendina.” Ironwood paused as the crowd applauded for Pietro, Penny hugging him. “People like him and the humbled men who paid for this are the future Atlas-”

A bolt of electricity shot through the air and struck Ironwood, causing him to go as stiff as board and fall flat on his back. The crowd jumped from their seats and turned to see Slash and his men in the back of the room, the former was holding a smoking staff.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen!” Slash greeted, cheerfully. “We are tonight’s entertainment!”

The room filled with screaming and gunshot as every Atlas soldier was gunned down. Penny summoned her blades and charged at the group, but Slash just blasted her with the staff as well, and she fell motionless.

“Penny!” Pietro ran to her side. “Are you okay?”

“P-Papa…c-can’t m-move…”

Pietro looked up at Slash with rage in his eyes. “What did you do to her?!”

“Calm down, she’ll be fine,” Slash assured. “You, on the other hand, are coming with us.”

“What?!” Pietro struggled as two of Slash’s men grabbed him. “Hey, get your hands off me!”

“P-Papa!” Penny cried, trying to move even as her artificial nerves burned and screamed at her to stop. “P-Papa!”

Chapter Text

The sound of gunfire woke up Winter with an agonizing headache. She closed the palm of her hands over her ears in an attempt to block out the noise, but it stopped on its own. Winter opened her eyes to see Slash and his men shooting down the last of the Atlas soldiers, and froze, not knowing what to do.

“Alright, all you wealthy folks and students get in the center of the room!” Slash ordered. “We don’t want to hurt or kill any of you, so don’t give us an excuse!”

Some of Slash’s men circled the crowd, aiming their guns at them, forcing them back, while a second group moved tables and chairs away from the center of the room so the crowd could sit on the floor.

“Alright boys, let’s be quick about this.” Slash set his watch. “You know how long it takes for APD to get here.” He looked to the two guys holding Pietro. “You two come with me, we’re bringing Pietro to the landing platform on the roof, Razor is going to be there with our bullhead. We’re going to get fatty secured and then we’ll find and open the vault.”

“Hey!” Pietro shouted, offended.

“You seven stay here to keep our hostages in their place,” Slash ordered his remaining men, ignoring Pietro. “We’ll call you up so we can all get out of here.”

“Sounds like a plan.” One of Slash’s men nodded.

“Come on Mr. Polendina, we’re going to get you settled in for your flight,” Slash joked, before he left, he looked to the nodding man. “Spear, you’re in charge.”

“Understood, sir.”

“P-Papa!” Penny still couldn’t move, but she tried.

“Penny!” Pietro cried as he was dragged off.

“You heard the man, before,” one of Slash’s men said to the hostages. “We’ll get in, get our money, get out, and then leave. No more blood has to be spilled tonight.”

Winter’s world was spinning, but she still felt she needed to act. She instinctively reached for her rapier, only look down and not seeing it on her waist, remembering she had left it at her apartment.

You’re an idiot.

All things considered, Winter couldn’t agree with the voice in her head more than this exact moment. She still needed to do something, but before her disoriented mind could think of an even remotely good plan, the sound of a baby crying caused her to look at the hostages, eyes wide.

“Hey, shut that brat up!” One of Slash’s goons shouted at a woman who was cradling her baby.

“I’m sorry, she’s scared!” The woman held her baby close.

“Yeah, well, I’m annoyed!”

“Leave the girl alone, Shank,” Spear scolded.

“You know I hate babies, they’re so annoying!” Shank whined.

“Just be patient, we’ll be out of here before you know it.”

“Fine!”

The baby continued to cry.

“Oh, my Gods!” Shank shouted.

“Seriously, man, it’s been like ten seconds,” Spear sighed in annoyance. “At this point, you’re being more childish and annoying than the freaking baby.”

“Will you please shut that…wait a minute…” Shank grabbed the woman and pulled her to her feet.

“Hey!” A man got to her feet but froze when Shank pointed his gun at him.

“You’re the Castles, aren’t you?” Shank asked. “The richest family in all of Remnant!”

“What’s your point, Shank?” Spear asked.

“We can take Mr. Castle’s wife and daughter!” Shank grinned.

“What?!” Mr. Castle took a step forward, causing Shank to fire a warning shot.

“Don’t be dumb, you can have them back once you paid the ransom.” Shank grinned.

“Shank, we aren’t doing that,” Speak spoke up.

“They’re the richest family, Spear!” Shank exclaimed. “Us making them pay more than double the amount that’s in the vault won’t even be half their income!”

“Still, kidnapping and ransom…” Spear looked uncomfortable.

“Any of you guys in?” Shank looked at the rest of Slash’s men, who all lowered their guns in thought

“Are you guys serious?!” Spear looked at the six, exasperated.

One of the hostages used Spear’s distraction to lunged at him. After a brief struggle, Spear managed to push the man to the ground.

“Looks like I’ll have to make an example of you!” Spear aimed his gun at the man, but he was suddenly stabbed through the back with one of Penny’s blades. “Oh…Gods…” he fell to his knees, and then to the floor.

“Oh shit!” Shank held Mrs. Castle and her baby in front of him as Penny rose from her spot.

“What, but I thought he said she’d be down for the whole night!” One of Slash’s men shouted in panic, only to get shot in the head.

The hostages and what remained of Slash’s men looked to see Ironwood, a smoking gun in his hand.

“So, who was this ‘he’ he was talking about?” Ironwood asked.

“Get back! Get back!” Shank pushed the barrel of his pistol against Mrs. Castle’s head. “Lower your weapons!”

Penny and Ironwood both lowered their weapons.

“Guys, get behind me!” Shank ordered what remained of Slash’s men. “We’re getting out of here!” Shank and the robbed backed away from the scene, leaving into the hallway where the elevators were.

“Are you all okay?” Ironwood asked the hostages.

“You have to get my wife and baby girl!” Mr. Castle shouted.

“Papa!” Penny cried.

“We’ll have to split up,” Ironwood said. “Penny, you save Pietro.”

Penny nodded.

“I’ll go after-”

“I got it.”

Penny and Ironwood looked to see Winter snatching a pistol from the hands of the dead robber.

“I’ll get the baby and woman,” Winter repeated.

“Winter, are you sure?” Ironwood asked, cautiously.

“You should be the one to protect the hostages.” Winter motioned to the hostages. “Please James, you know I’d never let a woman and baby die.”

Ironwood sighed. “We don’t have time to argue, go.”

Winter nodded and ran towards the elevator hallway, but was stopped by one of the few Atlas soldiers who survived, but was wounded

“Get them for the others.” The soldier held out his rifle.

Winter was shocked, but her expression hardened, and she took the rifle as the soldier sat down to stop aggravating his wound. She went to the double doors, slowly opening them to make sure the coast was clear. When Winter saw no one, she gave Ironwood a quick salute before disappearing through the doors

“Penny, you heard where they were going with Pietro?” Ironwood asked.

“Landing platform on the roof,” Penny answered.

“Get there.”

Penny saluted and ran outside, looked up, and took off into the air using her rocket boots.


Winter’s head felt like an ax had been lodged inside of it, but she was somehow still alive. Her vision blurred and noises sounded distant and muffled, though she still managed to pick up on the voices just around the corner.

“Come on you freakin elevator!” Shank shouted.

Winter turned the corner to see Shank and the remaining robbers standing in front of the elevator, the former repeatedly pressing the button in panic. One of them glanced in her direction and saw her just standing there, Winter’s reaction time and wits being severely hindered by her drunken state.

“Oh shit, it’s Winter Schnee!” The robber who noticed her panicked.

Shank and robbers opened fire on Winter, who barely had enough time to realize what was going on, and turned the corner as cover.

Nice, you going to get another woman and baby killed with your stupidity?

“Be quiet,” Winter hissed.

“Winter!” Mrs. Castle shouted as her baby started crying over the gunfire. “Winter please!”

Winter felt sick to her stomach. It reminded her so much of that moment. The white noise came back as Mrs. Castle’s screaming faded into Daisy’s. Winter was being assaulted with loud gunfire while hungover, was in a stressful situation, and was having another attack. To say her state was poor would be an understatement. Back against the wall, Winter slid to the floor, covering her ears and crying.

“Screw this, let’s split up!” Shank shouted when his gun clocked empty, but the elevator door finally opened. “Three of us are taking the baby and the elevator! You two take the Mrs. and use the stairwell!”

“No! No!” Mrs. Castle shouted as her baby was ripped from her arms, desperately. “Tulip!”

Winter was briefly pulled deeper into the darkness when she heard the baby’s name, but it was as if someone had dunked her head into a barrel of ink and immediately pulled her out. She got to her feet and turned the corner just as Shank and two other robbers entered the elevator with the crying Tulip.  Winter booked it but was unable to reach the elevator before the doors shut.

“No!” Winter punched the doors, denting them.

You can at least save the mother.

“Damn it, where are these freaking stairs!” Winter heard a robber shout from around the corner.

“This building sucks ass!” The one holding Mrs. Castle shouted.

“There!”

The stairwell was at the end of the hall, but before they could even take a step towards it, Winter whirled around the corner and shot the robber not holding Mrs. Castle in the kneecap. He fell to the ground, dropping his gun and holding his leg as he screamed.

“Oh, Gods!” The robber pointed his gun at Mrs. Castle’s head. “Stop!”

Winter stopped.

“Drop the gun!”

Winter, not taking her eyes off of the two, her neutral expression never changing, did as she was ordered to.

“Now kick it over here!”

The robber and Mrs. Castle turned into the white rabbit and Daisy in the blink of an eye in Winter’s vision, though they were back to normal in another blink. She kicked the rifle over to the robber’s feet, and just like that day, the robber pushed the woman they had hostage away as they reached for Winter’s dropped gun. Winter pulled out her concealed carry.

“Drop it!” Winter barked.

Unlike that day, this robber wasn’t as smart as the white robber, because despite the fear in his eyes, he raised his gun. Winter put him down with a shot between the eyes, but her cold expression softened when Mrs. Castle started screaming and crying.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” Winter said, going over Mrs. Castle and helping her to her feet, cupping her face on her hands. “You’re okay.”

Mrs. Castle looked behind Winter, and her eyes widened. “Winter…”

Winter turned to see the shot robber crawling towards his gun, and her cold expression returned. She casually strolled over him, even stopping to pick up the rifle, stepped on his hand with a sickening crack. The robber cried out as Winter stepped off his hand to kick the gun out of his reach, allowing him to roll onto his back.

“Where did they take Tulip?” Winter loomed over the robber.

“I don’t know we just-” the robber cut himself off when Winter pointed the pistol at his head. “The parking garage in the basement! We know how to hotwire cars and were going jack one to get out of here!”

“Cute.” Winter knocked the robber out with the butt of the rifle, then turned towards Mrs. Castle. “Go back to the dining area with the others.”

“What about Tulip ?” Mrs. Castle asked.

“I’ll get her back.”

“I can help you!”

“You’ll just get in the way.” Winter coldly walked past Mrs. Castle.

“She’s my daughter, you can’t expect me to-”

“I said I'll get her back, Daisy!” Winter snapped.

Both women stood in silence, Winter’s face contorted into a horrified look of realization at what she said. Without a word, Winter turned around and walked to the stairwell, Mrs. Castle doing the same in the opposite direction.


“Come on!” Shank whined as he tried to hotwire the car.

“Why are you so bad at this?!” The robber holding Tulip shouted.

“I’m trying, man!”

“Well, at least we got the baby to stop crying.” 

A gunshot caused all the three men to jump, and Tulip started to cry, again. Looking outside, they saw Winter standing outside the stairwell, pistol aimed at the ceiling, and giving them the mother of all death glares.

“Get. Out,” Winter ordered. “You leave the baby in the car, put your hands on your head, and you get at the halfway point between the car and myself, then you get on your stomachs. Understand?”

The three were too scared to try anything else, they left Tulip in the back and got out. Hands-on their head, they got to the halfway point and went to their stomachs. Winter circled them, gun acting as a deterrent until she made it to the car. Then she picked up Tulip, gently setting the pistol down to hold her in both arms.

“Tulip, it’s okay,” Winter cooed. “Mommy’s here.” She gently rocked Tulip, her cries slowly stopped, and the baby stared up at Winter with eyes that shined in the lights of the garage. “I’m sorry it took Mommy so long to get here.”

Tulip had crimson hair and eyes. This child has blonde hair and blue eyes.

“She…she tried to be as fast as she could.” Winter’s lip quivered. “She hopes you don’t think she thought less of you for being late.”

This is a human. Tulip was a Faunus.

“Mommy would’ve given up everything for you.” Winter shook. “She asked the Gods every day why she didn’t die instead. She’s here now, though…” Winter let her tears roll down her cheeks. “Mommy saved you…”

This isn’t your child.

“Mommy finally saved you.”

This isn’t Tulip.

“I love you so much, Tulip.”

Tulip is dead.

“Say hi to mama for me.”

Winter wept as the sound of sirens filled the room, causing Tulip to start crying again. A SWAT van screeched onto the scene, and a group of fully armored men jumped out of the back. One of them walked over to Winter.

“Miss Schnee?”

Winter looked up at the man. “C-Commander Blade?”

Commander Blade nodded.

“I’m…glad you’re here.” Winter stood up straight, face turning blank and unreadable. “The situation has mostly been resolved, though Penny may need some assistance in dealing with what remains of these scum on the landing platform.”

“On the roof?” Blade asked.

Winter nodded.

“Okay, you heard the lady!” Blade barked to the SWAT team. “I want all of you up there. Now!”

“What about you?” Winter asked.

“I’ll watch over these three.” Blade pointed his thumb at Shank and the other two robbers. “I think you’ll do a better job leading my boys than I can.”

“Understood.” Winter looked down at Tulip. “I want one of you to take this child to their mother in the dining area.”

A SWAT officer volunteered, taking the baby and using the elevator while Winter and the rest of the team used the stairs. That left Blade alone with Shank and the other two robbers.

“This sucks!” Shank whined. “Our plan would’ve gone off better if that staff had kept Ironwood and the girl down for longer!”

“Why would he lie?” One of the other robbers asked.

“Because he was using you,” Blade suddenly spoke up.

“What?” Shank looked up at Blade.

“You boys were sent here to kill the Atlas soldiers to hurt Ironwood, that’s it,” Blade said.

“How do you know that?”

Blade walked over to Shank and knelt next to him. “Because I’m Silver.”

Shank widened his eyes as Blade stood up, aiming his gun at him.


“Guys, what’s going on down there?!” Slash shouted into his scroll.

“Slash, I hate to say this, but I think we need to get out of here,” Razor said as Pietro was tied up in the bullhead, he looked down to the streets below, seeing the army of cop cars. “The cops showed up way earlier than expected.”

“But…Spear and the others…” Slash said, sadly.

“I know, but we can’t all get caught,” Razor said. “If they’re still alive, we can break them out.”

Slash tried to contact Spear one last time, then sighed in defeat. “Let’s get out of here, boys.”

“You aren’t going anywhere.” Penny landed beside the bullhead, shaking the whole roof. “Not with my Papa.”

“What?!” Slash aimed the staff at Penny. “You were supposed to be stunned until dawn!”

“I’m not.” Penny stood up straight.

Slash pressed the button on the side of the staff that shot the electricity, but nothing came out. “What the…”

“Give up!” Penny ordered, pointing floating array’s blades at the group.

Slash threw the staff at Penny, who just knocked it aside with her blades. Slash and the robbers who just finished up subduing Pietro opened fire on her as Razor got in the back seat. Penny managed to block the shots with floating array, but the bullhead began to take off.

“No! Papa!” Penny cried.

Slash and the robbers ran out of bullets, so they closed the bullhead’s doors, hoping Penny couldn’t do any more damage. With her no longer needing them for cover, Penny launched floating array’s blades into the bullhead.

“What the…?!” Slash looked around as the whole bullhead shook. “What was that?!”

“You underestimated her strength,” Pietro smirked.

“The girl is pulling down the freaking bullhead!” Razor shouted.

“Gods damn it!” Slash shouted, he opened the bullhead’s doors and watched as Penny stepped back, dragging the bullhead with her.

“I suggest you give up,” Pietro advised.

“I got a better idea!” Slash pulled out a knife and began to cut Pietro’s binds.

As Penny was pulling the bullhead down, she noticed Slash hanging Pietro over the edge.

“Hey girl, you want your ‘Papa’ so bad?!” Slash so pushed Pietro out of the bullhead. “Go get him!”

“Papa!” Penny pulled her blades from the bullhead and activated her rocket boots, flying after him.

“Let’s get out of here!” Slash shouted, shutting the bullhead’s doors as it flew away from the landing pad just as Winter and the SWAT team rush out.

Winter noticed some of the SWAT team raise their guns. “Hold your fire!”

Penny held out her hand as Pietro did, and the two embraced as they fell. Penny used her racket boots to slow their descent to a crawl, so when they reached the ground they were unharmed.

“Phew!” Pietro wiped his brow.

“Are you okay, Papa?” Penny asked.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” Pietro assured, still catching his breath. “All thanks to you, sweetie.”

“Excellent work out there.”

Penny and Pietro turned to see Ironwood and the hostages walking out of the Atlas Grand Hotel’s entrance.

“You have proven yourself a capable guardian,” Ironwood complimented Penny.

“Thank you, General.” Penny bowed.

“How did they manage to stun you guys like that?” Ash asked.

“Most likely some sort of paralyzing agent,” Ironwood answered, making sure to cover for Penny.

“Alright…thanks, by the way.” Ash gave Penny a thumbs up. “It was pretty crazy reenacting an abridged version of Die Hard.”

Up in the sky, Slash fell back onto the seat of the bullhead.

“You okay, boss?” Razor asked.

“We more than half our guys, we didn’t get the money, and we had to drop our payload,” Slash sighed. “This plan was a total bust.”

“On the contrary,” Watts suddenly spoke. “You and your crew did exactly as I wanted.”

“Watts?” Slash looked around.

“In your hands, genius,” Watts snarked.

Slashes looked at the staff. “How are you talking through this thing?”

“I put a microphone in it,” Watts answered, sarcastically. “Real hard to understand. I know.”

“Wait a minute, why did this thing stop working?!” Slash demanded. “Why didn’t it keep Ironwood and his little droid down for as long as you promised!”

“Because I just wanted you to shoot down the soldiers guarding this place.”

“So you screw us over just to strike a blow at your enemy?!”

“A minor blow, at that!” Razor shouted.

“That’s right,” Watts admitted, bluntly.

“I thought you said we would both get what we wanted!” Slash gritted his teeth.

“I wasn’t talking to you.”

Slash realized that Watts wasn’t glancing to his left when he nodded, he was looking at someone.

“Now, I don’t need you, boys, talking about Penny being a robot, that might cause you to discover the maidens and Salem and I can’t have that.”

“What do you mean?” Slash asked.

Watts didn’t answer. Instead, a red light started blinking on the staff.

“That son of a bitch.”

Back on the ground, Penny suddenly remembered.

“I just realized the bad men flew away!” Penny’s eyes widened. “Should we chase after them?”

Before Ironwood could answer, an explosion shook the group. They looked up to see a flaming bullhead falling from the sky.

“I think that won’t be necessary,” Ash snarked.


Ironwood personally drove Winter home after the incident was all wrapped up. When he stopped in front of her apartment complex, Winter didn’t immediately get out, leaving the two sitting in silence.

“You did good work tonight, Winter.” Ironwood broke the silence.

“I still failed,” Winter said. “Shank and those two other idiots almost killed Blade because I left a single officer alone with three goons.”

“Blade had ordered you to do so, that’s on him,” Ironwood said.

“Whatever you say.”

“Winter, do you want to be let off leave early?” Ironwood asked. “It’s clear to me your injury hasn’t impeded you.”

Winter looked at him, then stared straight ahead.

“It’s still your choice.”

“I…I think I’m actually going to finish my leave,” Winter answered.

“I understand, just…please don’t lock yourself away,” Ironwood advised

“I won’t.” Winter opened the door and stepped out. “Have a good night, James.”

“You too.”

Winter closed the door and watched Ironwood drove away, only turning around when he made a turn and vanished among the buildings. She turned back to her apartment complex and started the long trek to her apartment.

When Winter closed her apartment’s door behind her, she looked into the living room and saw the shopping bags filled with whiskey and painkillers. She felt lighter than usual, talking with “Tulip” healed less than a fraction of her current mental strife, but the weight on her shoulders was so heavy even the smallest bit of closure was noticeable. Winter walked into her bedroom, opening the closet and taking out the black box. She punched in the code, opened it, and stared at the pictures. A single tear rolled down her face as she grabbed a hammer and a few nails from the closet.

You’re not genuinely going to try and get better, are you?

Winter looked around her apartment. She had hanged the photos of Daisy and Tulip back where she had ripped them off the same day of their funeral.

“You’re damn right, I am,” Winter said.

How are you even going to start?

Winter didn’t answer, she just looked at her scroll. She was on her contact list, Weiss’ name screaming out to her. Winter, after some hesitation, tapped the name with her thumb and waited anxiously as Weiss’ phone started to ring.

“W-Winter?” A meek Weiss answered. “D-Did you just call me?”

“Hi Weiss,” Winter greeted, staring at her reflection in her family photo. “Yes. Yes, I did.”

Chapter Text

“Class, what if I told you we are all being controlled by sentient beavers?” Doctor Bartholomew Oobleck asked his class.

The class looked at Oobleck. First years like teams RWBY, JNPR, and CARD all looked him in confusion, while second year and up teams like CFVY were used to such bizarre questions from the conspiracy theorist.

“Uh…professor?” Yang raised her hand.

“Doctor!” Oobleck corrected, loudly.

“Sorry!” Yang raised her hands, defensively. “Doctor Oobleck?”

“Yes?”

“What does humanity being controlled by…what?”

“Sentient Beavers!”

“Right, what does being humanity being controlled by sentient beavers have to do with the history of Remnant?”

“Well, if we’re all being controlled by sentient beavers then that would be pretty damn important to the history of Remnant!” Oobleck sipped his coffee. “Don’t ya think?”

“I…guess?” Yang glanced at Ruby, who shrugged in confusion.

“I suppose your developing brains can’t fathom the bomb I just dropped,” Oobleck sighed. “So we’ll have to move to a different topic.”

“That’s certainly an idea…” Fox snarked.

“What was that, Mister Alistair?” Oobleck zipped in front of Blake.

“Nothing!” Fox answered in a sing-song voice.

“Oh, Doctor!” Blake raised her hand.

“Yes, Miss Bellafonna!”

“Belladonna,” Blake corrected, annoyed. “I was wondering if we could take about faunus’ history on Remnant? Specifically the Faunus War!”

Cardin gagged. “Who wants to talk about that blemish on humanity?”

“Mister Winchester, may I ask why you see the victory of the Faunus as a blemish?” Oobleck zipped over to Cardin.

“Well, to start, we lost to a bunch of worthless animals,” Cardin explained, smugly. “Humanity is superior to the Faunus in every aspect, that’s why they were our servants for so long.”

“Slaves.”

Cardin cocked an eyebrow at Blake, who glared back at him. “What was that?”

“We were your slaves,” Blake hissed.

“Slaves, Servants, pets, it’s all the same when it comes to those animals.” Cardin kicked back in his chair, putting one foot on his desk. “Oh, apologies, you animals. Don’t think I didn’t notice those ears, kitten. Why don’t you do us all a favor and cover them up with a cute little bow or something? No one wants to see those.”

“As soon as you get something to cover your ugly traits, I’ll consider getting a bow to cover my ears.”

“What do you want me to cover?”

“You’re entire body because your mere existence is disgusting.”

“Listen here you little-”

“Enough!” Oobleck slapped his yardstick on Cardin’s desk.

“Eep!” Cardin squealed and fell off his chair.

“Since you know so much about the Faunus population, why don’t you go tell Miss Goodwitch what you learned in detention?” Oobleck asked, sarcastically.

“What?! Detention?! Why?!” Cardin whined.

“Oh…I don’t know…just a little blatant racism,” Oobleck snarked, handing Cardin a detention slip.

“Oh, man!” Cardin snatched the slip and sulked out of the room.

“Let that be a lesson to all of you!” Oobleck warned. “Beacon is a place of inclusion, where anyone can come to learn. Hatred from either Faunus or human will be met with strict discipline!”

“Good.” Blake’s cat ears lowered in rage.

Ruby and Yang both wordlessly comforted Blake. Ruby patted her back while Yang placed a hand on her shoulder and gave her a warm smile. Blake’s ears rose as she meekly smiled back, but the sound of Weiss scoffing caused her ears to drop and grimace to grow on her face. Blake glared at Weiss, who glared back before Ruby sent a gaze ten times more intense her way, causing Weiss to shrunk back and look away. Ruby gave Blake a thumbs-up as the latter’s smile returned.

“Now, can someone tell me why the Faunus won the war?” Oobleck asked.

Pyrrha raised her hand.

“Ah, Miss Nikos!” Oobleck pointed to Pyrrha.

“Due to the inherent Faunus ability of superior sight, including night vision, smell, and hearing, they were able to stop human army’s attempts to flank or sneak attack,” Pyrrha answered. “The ability to catch your enemies by surprise is key to victory in both battle and war, and since Faunus was nearly incapable of being sneaked up on, the war only lasted for a single year.”

“Excellent, Miss Nikos!” Oobleck complimented.

“Didn’t know you were so knowledgeable, Pyrrha,” Jaune said. “You’re going to be a valuable asset.”

Before Pyrrha could say her thanks, Weiss spoke up.

“Of course she is, you dolt,” Weiss spat. “She’s the invincible girl, leagues better than a million of yourself will ever be.”

“Oh…” Jaune deflated.

“I got your back, Pyrrha.” Weiss smiled at Pyrrha, but it turned to confused fear when the latter glared daggers at her.

Oobleck then looked at the clock. “Looks like class is almost up, does anyone want to have a crack at extra credit?”

“Extra credit?” Canvas looked to Coco.

“Oobleck gives someone a really hard question not yet taught in this class,” Coco answered. “You get it right, the whole class gets extra points.”

“This question pertains to the Kingdom of Atlas’ ability to float!” Oobleck looked around. “Any volunteers?”

“Hey Adrian, you’re from Atlas, right?” Fox asked, a smirk on his face.

“No…wait, I mean, yes,” Adrian answered as Canvas face-palmed.

“Why don’t you go up there and answer the question?”

“Okay!” Adrian raised his hand.

“Mister Church, please stand in front of the class!”

Adrian hopped out of his seat as Fox tried to hold in his laugh. Despite the situation, Canvas looked confident.

“This is going to be so great,” Fox whispered. “He’s probably going to say flying goldfish or something!

“I know he’s dumb 99.9% of the time, Fox, but Adrian got in this school for a reason,” Canvas said.

Fox rolled his eyes. “Sure, I totally believe-”

“The reason Atlas floats is because of the overabundance of gravity dust found beneath the city while mining in the earliest time in the city’s history,” Adrian explained. “A miner by the name of Fredrick Church, a descendant of my family, accidentally caused a chain reaction that activated all of the gravity dust crystals while picking his nose. If it wasn’t for the intelligence of George Canvas, a descendant of my best friend in the whole universe, the city would have flown too high into the atmosphere to be habitable. After stopping Atlas’ ascent, George founded Mantle and swore his bloodline would watch over mine so we, and I quote, ‘Won’t destroy us all with their malignant stupidity’.”

The entire class was silent. Anyone who had interacted with Adrian’s jaws hit the floor.

“Excellent, Mister Church!” Oobleck slammed Adrian’s back. “Extra points for the whole class!”

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Fox shouted.

“Except for you, Mister Alister,” Oobleck said, sternly. “All you’ll be getting is a nice, all-expense-paid trip to detention!”

Oobleck zipped over to Fox, detention slip in hand.

“Gods damn you, Adrian Church!” Fox waved his fist before stomping out of class.

“I love you too, Pumpkin Pete!” Adrian waved, then he looked to Canvas. “Who was that, again?”

Canvas sighed, but he still had a smile on his face. “I don’t know, buddy.”

The bell rang and all of the students got out of their seats. It was the last class of the day, so many were looking forward to hanging out in the courtyard or other hotspots.

“Hey guys, I accidentally left my weapons back at the training arena, I’ll grab them and meet up later,” Jaune explained.

“Oh! Ren!” Nora slid closer to Ren.

“Yes, Nora?” Ren smiled.

“Want to go see that new movie with me?”

“Lovers Under the Stars?”

“What, romance?!” Nora laughed. “Pffft, no! I totally wanted to see the Mega Lizard vs Colossal Kong, but if you want to see a gushy romance that’s fine.”

“Well-” Ren pretended to think.

“Okay, you convinced me!” Nora took Ren’s arm and began to drag him away. “Lovers Under the Stars it is!”

“See you guys at the dorm!” Ren called.

Pyrrha and Jaune both looked at each other in confusion, but Pyrrha spoke up.

“Speaking of stars, I know a beautiful spot on the roof where we can see a beautiful view of the stars and shattered moon,” Pyrrha said, meekly. “Would you…maybe wanna hang out there?”

“Really?” Jaune smiled.

Pyrrha nodded.

“Oh, cool!” Jaune got pumped. “Yeah, sure, I’ll go get my stuff then meet you tonight!”

“I can’t wait.”

Jaune gave Pyrrha a two-finger salute before walking off. Pyrrha waited until he was out of sight to squee and do a little victory dance in the hallway. Weiss watched this, then looked in the direction Jaune went in.


“There you are!” Jaune pulled out his sword from the weapon’s locker by the training arena, shutting the door only to jump when he saw Weiss behind it.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Weiss asked, crossing her arms.

“Uh…getting my weapon?” Jaune didn’t hide his discomfort.

“Not that!” Weiss rolled her eyes. “I meant with Pyrrha.”

“Oh, that, we’re just going to admire the stars on the roof,” Jaune said.

“Look, it’s already a twisted stroke of luck you got her as your partner and teammate, don’t push that luck.”

“What do you mean?”

“Pyrrha Nikos, The Invincible Girl, world-renowned champion of the city of Argus,” Weiss began. “She graduated at the top of her class in Sanctum Academy, won the Mistrial Regional Championship four years in a row, and is the mascot of Pumpkin Pete’s!”

“Yeah…I…know that.” Jaune looked at his feet.

“Of course you do, her name has been in every news station in Remnant and she’s known by all as a prodigy in combat,” Weiss said, coldly. “Who are you to Remnant, Jaune?”

Jaune didn’t answer.

“Exactly.” Weiss turned on her heel and walked away. “Nothing.”


Pyrrha checked the time on her scroll. She didn’t give Jaune the exact time they should meet up, so she wasn’t going to worried about him being late. It was just his excitement that made her think he’d be here a little earlier.

“Pyrrha.”

“Jaune!” Pyrrha turned to the roof’s entrance and smiled, she went over to him, be he raised his hands and shook his head. “Is everything alright?”

“I…I don’t know if I can do this…” Jaune walked past Pyrrha, sitting on the roof’s edge.

“Jaune…” Pyrrha took a step back.

“No worries, I’m not going to jump,” Jaune chuckled, bitterly. “I’m not that upset.”

“Then what’s going on?” Pyrrha asked.

“As I said, I do think I can do this.”

“What do you mean?”

“Weiss told me all of your achievements, and pointed out how I had none.”

“She did what?!” Pyrrha’s fist clenched, knuckles whitening. “Jaune, don’t let-”

“I’m sorry, Pyrrha.” Jaune stood up and turned to Pyrrha. “Weiss is right, I’m nothing.”

“You can fight.”

“No, I can’t.”

“You’re a skilled leader!” Pyrrha shouted.

“Ozpin was wrong!” Jaune shouted back.

“You got into Beacon!”

“Because I cheated!”

The two were silent, Pyrrha’s eyes had grown even wider while Jaune’s just looked to his feet.

“I just…I just wanted to help people, but I was never good enough,” Jaune began. “I was always called weak and pushed around. Your family can only supply you with enough support to not want to give up, but I think that support is all used up.”

“J-Jaune?”

“I don’t think you deserve someone as weak as me.”

“Jaune…please, don’t do this.” Pyrrha’s wide eyes were filling with tears.

“I don’t think we should be partners,” Jaune said.

“Jaune, wait, hear me!” Pyrrha begged.

Jaune’s glistening blue eyes gazed into her vivid green ones.

“I…you…” Pyrrha sharply inhaled, rubbing her forehead. “Think about it, before you do anything drastic.”

“Pyrrha-”

“Please!”

Jaune was taken aback by Pyrrha’s desperation. With a conflicted look on his face, Pyrrha could tell he was trying to speak.

“Jaune?” Pyrrha asked, meekly.

“I’ll…I’ll think about it.” Jaune nodded.

Pyrrha breathed a sigh of relief. She was going to convince Jaune of his worth. She wasn’t going to let her status destroy another relationship before it could begin. She wasn’t going to let her mother win.

A young, 10-year-old Pyrrha was in her backyard. She was practicing her sword skills with a wooden staff and training dummy.

“Hey there!”

Pyrrha looked to her right to see her neighbor, a girl about her. Pyrrha always remembered how she looked, straight black hair, unnaturally pale skin, and aqua-colored eyes. Looking back on it, she probably had a crush on her. It was kind of hard to figure out you’re bisexual at 10-years-old and had a mother like her’s.

“Uh…yes?” Pyrrha fell out of stance.

“Hi!” The girl waved. “My name Rouge.”

“Oh…um…hi Rouge.” Pyrrha held her wooden sword behind her back, shyly digging the toes of her boot into the dirt.

“What’s your name?” Rouge asked.

“My name is Pyrrha…” Pyrrha whispered.

“What? I can’t hear you.”

“I said my name is Pyrrha,” Pyrrha said, louder.

“Okay Pyrrha,” Rouge said. “I was just wondering if you wanted to come over and play.”

“Play?”

“Yeah, you’re always out here training, and it must be so boring,” Rouge said.

“What do we do when we play?”

“I like tag and hide-and-seek!”

“I don’t know those.”

“They’re games!”

“I don’t know what games are.”

“What?!” Rouge’s eyes widened in shock.

“My mom doesn’t let me play any games,” Pyrrha said, sadly.

“Why not?”

The backdoor to her home opened.

“Because she’s supposed to be training.”

Pyrrha froze when she heard the sound of the backdoor closing and footsteps drew closer. Pyrrha’s mother walked into her vision.

“Pyrrha doesn’t have time to waste it on worthless games,” Pyrrha’s mother said, coldly.

“I was just asking.” Rouge shrunk.

“Don’t ask again,” Pyrrha’s mother ordered. “As a matter of fact, don’t ever speak to my daughter every again!”

“But-” Rouge’s lip quivered.

“Get out of here!” Pyrrha’s mother shouted, sending Rouge running into her house, crying.

“Mom, why can’t I-” Pyrrha was cut off when her mother whirled around and smacked her so hard she fell to the dirt.

“Talia!”

Pyrrha’s father ran onto the scene as Pyrrha sat up, holding her bruised cheek.

“Let me see it, sweetie.” Pyrrha’s father gently lowered her hand, letting him see the dark red mark.

“Gods Alamar, can’t go a single second without you babying her,” Talia scoffed.

“Can’t you go a second without being violent?” Alamar stood up.

“It’s not my fault you both don’t respect me!” Talia spat. “I’m trying to make our baby girl a star, and she can’t waste time talking with lowly worms this family will rise above!”

“She needs to be a child, Talia.”

“That won’t make her famous,” Talia said, coldly.

“Talia-”

Talia snatched Pyrrha’s wooden sword and gabbed Alamar in the eye with it. He screamed, kneeling as he held his bleeding eye as Talia tossed the sword to the ground.

“Dad!” Pyrrha hugged Alamar in an attempt to comfort him.

“Let this be a lesson, sweetie,” Talia said, voice soft and motherly. “Listen to mommy, and get back to training.”

With that, Talia turned and walked back into their home. Leaving Pyrrha to hold her father.

She never had a single friend or relationship after that day.

Pyrrha hugged herself as Jaune walked past her. She looked into the shattered moon, tears glistening in its dim light.


After classes ended the next day, Team JNPR walked through the halls of Beacon, in no hurry to get anywhere. Jaune had been quiet that whole day, not talking to not only Pyrrha but pretty much everyone. Ren and Nora were worried, and Pyrrha was terrified of his decision.

“Hey, P-Pyrrha?” Jaune finally spoke.

“Yes, Jaune?” Pyrrha looked at Jaune, hopeful.

Before Jaune could speak, they bumped into Weiss.

“Hi, Pyrrha!” Weiss greeted with a smile and wave. “Is this nobody still bothering-”

Pyrrha suddenly grabbed Weiss and slammed her against a row of lockers, causing the entire hallways to freezes and fall silent.

“Listen to me you self-absorbed sack of garbage, you don’t speak for me!” Pyrrha spat, venomously. “I want to hang out with Jaune! I want to be his friend!”

“Why?” Weiss asked, genuinely confused. “You’re leagues above-”

“I’m not leagues above him, I’m leagues above you.” Pyrrha let her anger take hold. “Though I’m not special in that regard, almost everyone here is leagues above you. Because most people aren’t bigoted, arrogant, cruel, and vapid little princesses that think they’re owed everything and know what’s best for their ‘equals’. You’re not my equal, you’re not anyone’s equal but CRDL’s, because you’re all lower than pond scum.”

“I-I…I don’t understand,” Weiss whimpered.

“I have so many issues, Weiss,” Pyrrha said, sadly. “I’d go as far to say I’m more flawed than a regular person should be…but at least I’m not you.”

“What?” Weiss’ lip quivered.

“If Jaune is nothing to Remnant, then I can safely say your its detriment.” Pyrrha, let go of Weiss.

Weiss, tears in her eyes, covered her mouth and ran away.

“What were you saying, Jaune?” Pyrrha asked.

Jaune stared at her in shock. Everyone did.

“Jaune?”

“Oh…right…I’m sorry I let my insecurities get the better of me, last night, ” Jaune said.

“It’s okay, ” Pyrrha assured.

“Would you want to go to the roof, again?” Jaune asked. “No drama, this time. Promise.”

Pyrrha smiled. “That would be lovely.”

Pyrrha won’t let her mother win.

Chapter Text

The man ran through the dark streets of Mistral. He was panting, sweating despite the cool weather. The man stopped to catch his breath, and that brief second he stopped, an arrow flew from, the darkness and embedded itself in the wall mere inches from his head. He jumped and turned to run down the double end alleyway, only to stop when he saw two people standing in front of him. Gasping, the man turned around, only to see two more people. He was trapped.

“Hey there, Nail.” Robyn stepped out of the shadows revealing her face.

“Leave me alone!” Nail shouted.

“I can’t do that, Nail,” Robyn said. “I can’t let you walk, but if you agree to testify against Jacques, I can assure you get a lighter sentence!”

Nail looked around, making sure he was truly trapped.

“Come on, you know Jacques isn't smart enough to have you shanked in prison,” Robyn assured.

Nail sighed. “Okay, I give.”

“That’s good, Nail.” Robyn gave him a genuine smile. “You were dust smuggling, not a major crime, and you shouldn’t get more than two years.”

“What do I have to do?” Nail asked.

“Just put your hands on your head, and we’ll wait for the cops to show up,” Robyn said.

“Alright.” Nail put his hands on his head.

“Fi?” Robyn looked to Fiona.

“On it!” Fiona pulled out her scroll and dialed up the police.

“You did the right thing, Nail,” Robyn assured. “You’re the last cog.”

“What do you mean?” Nail asked.

“Jacques had many illegal operations running, you’re dust smuggling was the last,” Robyn explained.

“Oh…so what does that mean?”

“It means we can finally start the 2nd phase of taking him down.”


Jack’s Movie theater was packed with dozens, if not hundreds, of Mantle citizens. The Happy Huntresses has been placing fliers all around Mantle, telling the people of this event. It was advertised as a recruitment drive, and due to the good Robyn and her Happy Huntresses have done, many were ready and willing to join. When Jack stepped on stage, he tapped the microphone.

“Is this thing working?” Jack asked. “Testing, testing, 1,2,3.”

“We can hear you just fine, Jack!” Robyn assured from offstage.

“Alright, just making sure the audience can hear you.”

“I appreciate that.” Robyn walked out on stage and was taken aback by the round of applause she got.

“Robyn! Robyn! Robyn! Robyn!” The crowd cheered.

“Looks like I’m hogging the stage for the real star,” Jack joked. “It’s all yours, Miss Hill!”

Jack stepped off the stage, allowing Robyn to take the microphone.

“I would just like to start by showing my appreciation to how many citizens of Mantle showed up,” Robyn began. “One of the key aspects of finding change is numbers, and I can safely say we have more than enough!”

The crowd cheered loudly.

“Another aspect is passion and motivation,” Robyn said. “How many of you have been hurt by Atlas?”

Robyn watched as almost every person in the audience raised her hand.

“Heartbreaking, infuriating, but not at all surprising,” Robyn sighed. “The citizens of Atlas view us as ants, slaves, tools built to serve and die for their needs! Their wants! Their desires!” Her passion and voice were raised. “Well, no more! Because I would like to humbly announce that I will be running in the upcoming election for a seat on the council!”

The crowd was briefly silent, Robyn noting the shocked faces. Then the loudest round of applause came, started graciously by Jack. She gave a smile and nod as a silent thanks.

“On the council, I promise to rectify every injustice done to us, by Jacques Schnee, the Atlas Military, and all of those who loom above us, acting as if they’re the Gods themselves!” Robyn raised her hand to cut off the crowd before they could cheer, again. “I would like to start by saying, when I asked you all if you had been hurt by Atlas, my Happy Huntresses and I should’ve raised our hands, as well.” She took a deep breath. “Three years ago, I lost the love of my life, Wren, due to an assassination by Jacques Schnee that killed not only Nova Ivy but many citizens in the crowd, as well. My wife is one of them, and I know I’ll never be the same person again because the happiness she gave me is gone. The rest of the Happy Huntresses have all lost people, due to Atlas, and I want you all to hear their stories. They invoke the loss of parents, siblings, and children, so I suggest you step out now if you don’t want to hear it.” Robyn looked around the crowd, not a single soul moved. “I’m glad you’re willing to listen. Fiona!”

Fiona meekly walked onto the stage, only to let out a cute “eep!” while jumping behind the curtain when the crowd scared her by suddenly applauding her. She poked her head out, sheep ear raising, then she walked on stage, beside Robyn.

“You can do this.” Robyn handed Fiona the microphone.

“H-Hi everyone…” Fiona began. “I’m g-glad you all c-came to join our c-cause, and to l-listen to our stories.” She got her grip, becoming forlorn. “When I was a girl, my parents, Calvin and Marina Thyme were the best people knew…”

A five-year-old Fiona and her father were walking down the street, going on one of their routine walks when they heard a strange noise.

“Is that a siren, daddy?” Fiona asked.

“I don’t think so.” Calvin looked around, trying to find the source of the noise, and his eyes fell onto a metal trash can. “Fiona, get back.”

Fiona stood behind Calvin as he moved closer to the whaling trash can, looking inside to see a mother cat and a litter of newborn kittens.

“Oh, my Gods!” Calvin covered his mouth.

Fiona looked into the trash can herself, gasping and mirroring her father’s reaction by covering her mouth.

“I need to call a vet!” Calvin pulled out his scroll. “Fiona, watch over them, but don’t touch them.”

“Why?” Fiona asked.

“Because they might be so dirty they can get you very sick,” Calvin said. “Just watch over them. Please.”

“Okay, Daddy!” Fiona nodded.

So, Fiona watched over the mother cat and her litter as her father called a vet. After making an appointment, Calvin called up a friend to help. He asked him to bring a box with softening and drive them there. When the vet was done cleaning up the family, Fiona and Calvin took them home to temporarily care for them. The gentle, warm kindness Calvin showed the mother and her litter had stuck to Fiona her whole life. She especially remembered how he would let the kittens play with the hoop earring he wore in his left ear.
--
“Mommy! Mommy!” Fiona cried, hiding under the covers of her bed.

“Fi?” Marina ran into Fiona’s bedroom, bat in hand. “Are you alright?!”

“I had a bad dream!” Fiona jumped out of bed and ran into Marina’s arms, causing her to drop the bat. “I was all alone in the dark, and no matter how loud I called, you and daddy didn’t come.”

“Oh, baby…” Marina carried Fiona to bed, tucked both Fiona and herself in for bed, making sure to take off her bell earrings and setting them on the nightstand beside Fiona’s bed. “Don’t worry, Mommy and Daddy will never leave you.”

“Promise?”

“Promise,” Marina said. “Now let’s get you back to sleep.”

Fiona huddled close to her mother’s chest, letting Marina’s heartbeat and soothing humming of her favorite lullaby gently let her fall into slumber.
--
Fiona’s mother didn’t keep her promise, though Fiona never blamed her parents for it. It wasn’t their fault, it was the fault of their boss.

Dust Mining in every other part of Remnant was up to code, and as a result, cave-ins and any other catastrophe that happened were very rare, with some mines not ever suffering one even if it’s been around for centuries. The only place in Remnant that had unsafe dust mining operations, was Atlas. Jacques Schnee didn’t give a damn about anything that wasn’t himself, or his back account. This means he cut down on safety percussions to save money, and this lead to the Schnee Dust Company’s mining operations having the highest casualties due to cave-ins, alone. Of course, Nicholas was perfectly willing to spend his hard-earned money protecting his workers, so Jacques’ negligence was only recently a problem.

That didn’t matter to Fiona, of course. Nothing can comfort her after she was hit by the news.

It was a Friday, and Fiona was happy not only to start the weekend but to celebrate her sixth birthday. She got off the school bus and began to skip her way home, wondering what her parents had gotten her. They promised to give her a big surprise when she got home. Fiona’s curiosity vanished when she turned the corner to see a police car in front of her apartment building. She noticed her Uncle Badger talking to a solemn policeman, with Badger himself looking incredibly distraught.

“Uncle Badger?” Fiona called.

“Fiona!” Badger gasped.

“What’s going on?” Fiona ran over to the officer and Badger. “Why are you her eyes? Where are Mommy and Daddy?”

“F-Fiona, sweetie, come here.” Badger hugged Fiona, then held her shoulders, letting out a shaky sigh. “There…there was a cave-in at the Dust Mine your parents worked in.”

Fiona’s eyes widened. “Are they okay?!”

“I’m so sorry, Fiona,” Badger wept. “They’re gone.”

“N-No!” Fiona pushed Badger off her. “They got out! Maybe they just didn’t find them, yet!”

“Fiona,” the officer knelt to bet at eye level with Fiona, “we did find them.”

Fiona widened her eyes, tears welling up. “No…”

“It’ll be okay, Fi!” Badger helped Fiona, keeping her up as her legs gave out.

“Mommy!” Fiona screamed. “Daddy!”

“Ever since that day, I’ve never taken these off.” Fiona motioned to her earrings, then let out a bitter chuckle. “No, I didn’t have mixed match earrings because I have a terrible fashion sense.”

Some audience members let out a few reluctant chuckles.

“I didn’t lose hope, though.” Fiona ripped the mic from its podium. “I may have lost my parents, but I didn’t let it destroy my life! I’m still here and ready to fight! To fight for the Schnee Dust mines to be made safer for future employees, and I know Robyn joining the council will be able to deliver!”

Fiona places the mic back to its podium as the crowd cheered, so,e audience members already in tears.

Then May walked up…

Chapter Text

“You got this!” Fiona gently held May’s hand as she walked by.

“Thank you, Fi.” May slid her hand out of Fiona’s as the latter walked off stage, leaving May to look out at the audience. “This…was a gift.” She pulled off her orange scarf, holding it above her head. “A gift from someone close to me, who understood me and accepted me for who I was. A gift from someone…who Atlas took from me for the pettiest, spiteful reasons anyone on this planet can think of. This was a gift from my brother, Henry Marigold. The last gift he gave to me before he was taken from this world.”

“Matt!” Henry knocked on the bathroom door. “Are you okay in there?”

May had been in the bathroom, putting on makeup and lipstick, not realizing someone had come home until her brother knocked on the door.

“Matt!”

“I’m almost done!” May washed off her face as best she could before flushing the toilet to pretend she was using the bathroom, drying off her face, and opening the door. “Sorry, I was in there for a while!”

“I can tell,” Henry said. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” May assured. “Why do you ask.”

“Because I heard you running the sink before flushing the toilet,” Henry noted. “Why were you faking?”

May’s confident mask faltered. “Oh…well…”

“And why is Mom’s makeup kit in the bathroom?”

“H-Henry?”

“And why is your face-”

“Henry!” May shouted, causing Henry to jump. “J-Just promise me not to tell Mom and Dad.”

“Tell them what?” Henry asked, softening.

“I was wearing Mom’s makeup and lipstick,” May admitted. “Because…because I realized I’m not Matt.”

“I don’t understand.” Henry scratched his head.

“I’m…I’m May Marigold,” May finished.

Henry continued to look confused for a few seconds before his eyes widened in realization. “Mat…I mean, May?”

May nodded.

Henry put a hand on May’s shoulder. “Brother, sister, you’re still my younger sibling, and who you are will never take even an ounce of my love for you.”

May smiled, tears in her eyes, and jumped into Henry’s arms. “Thank you so much, Henry!”


May and Henry spent the next few days discussing May’s revelation, with Henery trying his best to understand what was going on. Today, they sat in Henry’s room, May explaining the last bits of her gender identity to him and making him take a vow.”

“You have to promise me, don’t tell Mom and Dad,” May ordered.

“Why not? Mom and Dad are cool,” Henry said.

“I read the stories, so many girls just like I thought the same thing until they came out.” May hugged herself. “Suddenly their loving parents beat, toss them out into the streets, and sent to some awful place to be fixed.”

“May…you know Mom and Dad aren’t-”

“No, I don’t,” May said, sternly, but then her stern expression softened to a more pleading look. “Please Henry, don’t tell them. I’ll do it myself when I’m ready.”

Henry looked saddened but nodded his head. “Not a word.”

“You swear?”

“I swear.”

May breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Henry.”

“Oh, that reminds me!” Henry snapped his fingers, lightening the mood. “I brought you a belated birthday present!” He looked guilty. “Sorry about missing your birthday, by the way.”

“It’s fine, you had to work.” May have him a comforting smile

“The money from which I used to get you a little something!” Henry went over his closet and pulled out a small birthday gift, all wrapped up and everything. “Here ya go br-I mean, sis!”

May took the gift, tearing off the wrapped and opening the cardboard box to reveal a little orange scarf.

“I know it’s not much, but-”

“Henry,” May interrupted.

“Yeah?”

May wrapped it around her neck, smiling at Henry. “I love it.”

“A few months later we told our parents, and they accepted me as well,” May explained. “Where the problem arose was becoming my true self physically, which wasn’t possible due to money issues that came with living in the slums of Mantle.” She tightened her grip, sharply inhaling, then exhaling as every fiber of her being shaking. “Our parents weren’t afraid to steal for us and didn’t get upset when we did. They understood our situation, and what we needed to do to survive, but someone didn’t see it that way.”

Henry and May snuck up to the pharmacy from the back. May pulled out a lock pick and went to work.

“Are you sure about this, May?” Henry asked. “I know not being able to be yourself must be terrible, but this is dangerous!”

“We’ve done this, before,” May said.

“Not with places with alarms,” Henry pointed out.

“You don’t want to help me? Fine.” May finished picking the lock, opening the door, and heading inside. “By the way, you don’t know what’s it like.”

“M-May…come on,” Henry said. “Okay, I’m sorry, I’m coming.”

“Thanks.” May looked back at him and smiled.

“So, what are we looking for?” Henry asked.

“Diuretic Spironolactone,” May answered. “Aldactone.”

“What does that do?”

“Blocks male sex hormone receptors and suppresses testosterone production.”

“Okay then, what do they look like?”

“White boxes with red or blue on one end, has Spironolactone Aldactone printed on the side.”

“Sounds simple enough.” Henry pulled out his scroll, turned on its flashlight, and began to search for the medication.

May pulled out her own scroll and did the same. It was tedious, to put it lightly. As expected of a pharmacy, there were rows upon rows of medications, and searching in the dark certainly didn’t help matters. After much searching, however, they finally struck gold.

“May, I got it!” Henry whispered-yelled.

“Really?” May smiled wide.

Henry grabbed the box and faced it towards May, shining his scroll’s flashlight on it.

“Yes, Henry that’s it!” May hugged Henry. “Thank you so much!”

“Don’t mention it, sis.” Henry returned the hug.

May and Henry grabbed a few boxes of the medication, the former stuffing them into a bag she had brought. Just as the two finished, the sound of sirens caused them to freeze.

“Did this place have a silent alarm?!” Henry’s eyes widened in horror.

“No, I scoped this place out for months!” May’s reaction mirrored Henry’s.

May and Henry ducked behind the counter when a SWAT car pulled up to the abandoned building across from the pharmacy.

“Set a perimeter!” Commander Blade barked. “I don’t want a single one of those rats to scurry out!”

The SWAT circled the building, covering all the windows and doors. Commander Blade then leads a group inside.

“Well, at least we know they’re not here for us,” Henry said.

“What are they doing?” May asked.

“Looks to be some sort of bust.”

That’s when they heard gunshots and screaming. A man burst out the front door, running away as fast as he could, only for him to drop when two bullets were fired into his back. May gasped and covered her mouth.

“Idiot.” Commander Blade walked out, smoking gun in hand. “Drag the rest of the mischief out here!”

The SWAT team dragged out five men with their hands on their heads, then forced them to their knees.

“I bet you drooling monkeys thought you were so brilliant holding up in a condemned building,” Commander Blade mocked. “Am I right?”

None of the five men answered.

“I asked you a question!” Commander Blade pressed the barrel of his gun against one of the men’s forehead.

“No!” The man cried. “Why are you doing this?! The cops of Mantle-”

“We aren’t Mantle cops,” Commander Blade explained. “No. Due to you smuggling drugs to Atlas instead of just selling down here in Mantle, Atlas sent us down here to deal with you. Which is very unfortunate for you.”

“What do you mean?” The man asked, shaking in fear.

“You’re about to find out.” Commander Blade nodded to five SWAT team members, each had the barrel of their guns at the back of the men’s heads. “Execute them”

May and Henry could watch as the men were mercilessly killed.

“Th-they can’t do that!” May backed away and ended up bumping into one of the stands, causing it to come crashing down.

The alarm went off.

“What’s that?” A SWAT officer asked.

“The alarm to the pharmacy!” Commander Blade pointed at the building. “Looks like we stumbled onto another crime, let’s take them out!”

Henry sprung to his feet and grabbed May’s hand, running to the back of the pharmacy.

“Hey, I see them!” A SWAT officer shined his flashlight on May and Henry just as they opened the door.

“Shit!” Henry slammed the door shut, then both he and May ran to the front of the store, but the SWAT team already had the doors covered.

The back door was slammed open, and the pharmacy filled with SWAT officers. May and Henry got down on their knees, hands on their heads.

“Well, what do we have here?” Commander Blade circled the Marigold siblings. “Looks like we got a couple of thieves.”

“P-Please…don’t hurt us…” Henry begged.

May was too scared to say anything.

“You lost that privilege when you broke in here,” Commander Blade sneered. “Why did you come here, anyway.”

“Sir, they have a bag!” A SWAT officer pointed to the simple plastic bag May was carrying.

Commander Blade nodded to the SWAT officer, who snatched the bag from May and handed it to him. He looked into the bag, noting the medication inside.

“Being them outside,” Commander Blade ordered, walking through the front door.

May and Henry were forced to their feet and, with an army of gun barrels pointed at them, forced outside. The SWAT officers brought time to their knees outside.

“Why this medication?” Commander Blade asked.

“M-My sister needed it,” Henry admitted.

“Where is this sister?”

“It’s me,” May finally spoke.

“But you’re a…oh.” Commander Blade rolled his eyes. “Whose ideas was this?”

“It was-” May began.

“It was me,” Henery interrupted.

Commander Blade sighed and shook his head. “This truly is a tragedy.”

“Wh-Why?” Henry asked.

“Because you just died so your brother could play dress up.”

Before another word could be uttered, Commander Blade shot Henry straight in the head. The blood spattered on May’s face, and she screamed in horror.

“Quiet!” Commander Blade barked.

May shut her mouth.

“Listen to me, boy,” Commander Blade spat. “I’ll leave you alive so you can spread the message from the city that actually matters.” He pointed up to Atlas. “You keep your drugs and crime away from Atlas, and I won’t come down killing every criminal insight. Understand?”

May nodded her head.

“Good, let’s get out of here.” Commander Blade and his men casually strolled over to their SWAT van, getting in and driving off.

May scurried over to Henry’s body.

“Henry?” May shook Henry but knew it was pointless. “Henry?!” She had to try anyway. “HENRY!” May held her brother's lifeless body close as she screamed in rage and grief.

“It was my fault just as much as it was the bastards who pulled the trigger!” May shouted, tears running down her face. “I shamed him…guilted him into helping, when if I had just listened he would still be here! He wouldn’t have died terrified out of his mind, but still brave enough to protect…protect me!”

Fiona and Robyn exchanged worried glances, they looked across the stage to do the same with Joanna.

“That’s why I’m up on the fucking stage!” May pointed at Robyn. “Because I know this great woman will take those vicious, rabid dogs dressed as SWAT officers and the man holding their leash down!” She looked out to the crowd. “So you vote! You fight! You tell those stuck up, arrogant pricks above our heads that we are people! People that won’t stand for horrible, disgusting events like this!” She eventually stopped to take a breath. “Th-Thank you…f-for listening to my story…”

As May walked off stage, the crowd was silent, this time. Not because they weren’t affected, quite the opposite. They were stunned silent.

“May, I appreciate your faith in me, but what happened to your brother wasn’t your fault,” Robyn assured.

“You can keep telling me that, but it will never change my mind,” May said.

“May…” Fiona’s sheep ears dropped.

“Save your sympathy…” May watched as Joanna went on stage. “We all know what J went through.”

Chapter Text

“I’ve seen so many people stair when they walk by me on the street.” Joanna motioned to her face. “The tattoos on my face and neck are very noticeable, I know.” She ran her hand across her face. “Not a gift. It’s more like a physical memento I put on my skin. Just something I did to myself to remind me of my whole world. That’s what Atlas took from me. Maple was my little girl, only five years old, and she’s dead because of him!”

“How is she doing?” Joanna asked into her scroll as she stopped her car in front of her apart, she glanced to her right, noticing a little girl with long green hair and a cute little sundress.

“Not good,” Fiona answered. “Robyn has been so torn up about Wren, she’s locked herself away in her apartment and hasn’t come out.”

“How long has she been in there?”

“Weeks.”

Joanna sighed. “Robyn’s strong…just…give her some time.”

“Are you sure?”

“She’ll bounce back from this, Fi,” Joanna said. “I know she will.”

“If you say so.”

“Look, I have to go, we’ll talk later, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Bye, Fi.”

“Later, J.”

Joanna pulled the key from the ignition and stepped out of her car. “Maple?”

“Mommy!” Maple looked up from the paper she was holding.

“What are you doing waiting out here?” Joanna walked over to Maple.

“Waiting for you!” Maple stood up.

“Why?”

“Mommy, it’s your birthday!”

Joanna widened her eyes, pulled out her scroll, and checked the date. “Son a bitch…”

“Bitch?” Maple tiled her head.

“Hey, no, no, no!” Joanna laughed. “D-Don’t say that word.”

“Why?”

“You know, bad words.”

“Oh, sorry!”

“And I’m sorry, shouldn’t use words like that around you.”

“It’s okay, Mommy!” Maple held out the paper. “You’re still the best mommy in the world, so I made you this!”

Joanna knelt to take the paper from Maple’s hands and looked at it. It was a drawing of a woman, very similar to Joanna in almost every aspect, the only difference being the strange tattoos she was covered head to toe in.

“What’s this, Maple?” Joanna asked.

“It’s you as a superhero, Mommy!” Maple pointed at the picture. “Those tattoos are your power, you can form whatever creature or weapon you want, then it’ll pop off your skin and you can use it!”

“That’s a very unique idea for a superhero, Maple.” Joanna picked Maple up. “You’re quite creative.”

“Really?”

“Really.” Joanna nodded with a smile.

“Does that mean this will go up on the fridge?” Maple asked, excitedly.

“Not only on the fridge, but it’ll also be going in the family scrapbook,” Joanna said. “I see you becoming a great artist in your future!”

“I’ll be sure to practice!” Maple began to bounce in Joanna’s arms. “Can we go to the store and get drawing things?”

“Whoa, calm down.” Joanna chucked, almost tripping due to Maple’s bouncing. “Yeah, we’ll go tonight.”

“Yay!” Maple cheered, then she realized. “Wait, but it’s your birthday, you shouldn’t have to buy me things on your birthday.”

“The gift you gave me is good enough.” Joanna kissed Maple’s cheek. “Seeing you happy and doing what you love is another, and getting you what you need to draw will do just that.”

Maple snuggled up into Joanna’s shoulder. “I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you too, Maple.”


It wasn’t too late in the day when Joanna took Maple to the art shop in the local mall to get colored pencils and a scrapbook. Deciding to have “Birthday Dinner”, they went to the food court to order some “Birthday Burritos”, as Maple called them. As Joanna was ordering, making sure to glance back at Maple to see if she was still at their table. She was barely five feet away, but maternal instincts left Joanna with a “better safe than sorry” method when it came to Maple’s safety. As for Maple, she was already drawing away in her scrapbook, the biggest smile in the world on her face. Joanna couldn’t help but feel proud of her little girl, already. Maple’s art was exceptionally good for a five-year-old, and with enough learning and improvement, Joanna could see her becoming a world-renowned artist.

“Ma’am?”

“Huh?!” Joann shook her head, having spaced out.

“I said your orders are ready.” The cashier pointed to his right, where a tray with two perfectly wrapped burritos lays.

“Oh…uh…sorry.” Joanna grabbed the tray. “Thanks.”

The cashier tipped his hat as Joanna went over to Maple.

“Hey, what are you drawing there, Maple?” Joanna asked.

“The Amazing Tattoos Woman’s friends!” Maple showed Joanna the picture of a girl with blue hair. “I haven’t gotten to the others, yet.”

“You take your time, Maple.” Joanna sat down across from Maple. “You can’t rush art.”

“Okay!” Maple took one of the burritos and unwrapped it. “Food break!”

“Food breaks are a good way of taking your time,” Joanna chuckled. “When you’re done with your drawing, I should show the rest of the Happy Huntresses.”

Maple stopped short of taking a bit. “Even Miss Robyn?”

Joanna widened her eyes, then lowered them. “I’ll try my best to see if she’s willing to look.”

“Is she okay?” Maple asked. “What happened to Miss Wren?”

“Maple, honey, Miss Wren isn’t going to be around anymore,” Joanna explained. “She’s…she’s off to a better place, and I hope that knowledge will help Robyn recover.”

“Do you think my drawing will help her feel better?”

“I’m sure it will.” Joanna smiled. “Now eat your food, a good artist needs brain food!”

Maple took a big bite of her burrito, humming in satisfaction. Joanna took hers, but before she could take a bite, she noticed a human-shaped shadow on the floor just behind Maple. Confused, she looked up, face contorting into one of pure, unadulterated horror when she realized it was a White Fang member standing next to the skylight. That’s when the sound of glass shattering and gunfire was heard as the White Fang descended from the windows on ropes. Joanna tackled Maple, shielding her from the shards of glass that rained down on them. She was cut up, but her aura took care of the wounds. Joanna pulled out her scroll.

“Mommy! Look out!” Maple cried.

Joanna turned as a White Fang member jumped her, knocking her scroll from her hands. He went for his gun, but Joanna grabbed his wrist. They wrestled with it, but Joanna came out victorious, ripping from his hand and instinctively shooting him dead. Maple’s scream made her realize what just did, and she dropped the gun.

“It’s going to be okay, Maple!” Joanna looked around the floor until she found her scroll, picking it up and taking Maple’s hand, they hid in the nearest store. “Come on! Come on!” She looked at her scroll.

“J! Are you at the Mall?!” Fiona asked the second she picked up.

“Yes!” Joanna screamed. “I’m with Maple, we need help!”

“Someone had called in the attack in advanced, we and the authorities are already on their way!”

“Hurry!” Joanna ordered.

“Just hold on!”

“Everyone put their hands in the air!” A White Fang member barked as he entered the store, shooting his machine gun into the ceiling, causing all the citizens to duck. “We’re not looking to kill all of you, so don’t give me an excuse!”

Unfortunately for the White Fang member, a security guard he hadn’t paid any attention to pulled out his pistol and shot him dead. Maple screamed and buried her face into her mother’s chest, Joanna holding her close.

“Perry, that bastard killed Woods!” Another White Fang member shouted.

The security backed up as two more White Fang charged in, only managing to kill one before Perry shot him dead. Then he pulled off the grenades strapped to his chest belt and threw them around the store, one landing near Joanna and Maple. Maternal instincts kicked in once as Joanna shielded Maple from the blast. Though her aura broke and her ears rung, both were okay. Eventually, the ringing ceased and Joanna could hear again.

“Mommy, what do we do?!” Maple cried. “I’m so scared!”

“It’s going to be okay!” Joanna assured. “You heard Miss Fiona, help is almost here!”

“We got helicopters inbound!” A White Fang member got Perry’s attention.

“What?!” Perry screeched. “How did they get here so fast?!”

“I think we were set up,” the White Fang member said. “They were on their way here before our attack started, so whoever put in the call, they called in advanced.”

“Who could’ve called in advanced…” Perry froze, and even though he wore a mask, Joanna could still see the shock on his face. “That White mustached prick…”

“We got to go, Perry!” The White Fang member shouted.

“Coming!” Perry ran out of the store.

“It’s okay, Maple,” Joanna sighed in relief. “We’re going to be-”

Joanna was cut off by load creaking, and the back of the store started to fall apart. Joanna picked up Maple and ran out of the store just as the ceiling collapsed completely. It was havoc out in the mall, White Fang members and the Mantle Police and huntsmen were in a vicious gunfight. The police were helping citizens get to safety while the huntsmen supplied gunfire. Joanna wanted to get to the huntsmen, to find Fiona and May, but she wasn’t going to drag Maple into a war zone. She looked around, and her prayers were answered when she saw an emergency exit. Holding Maple close, Joanna ran over to the door and kicked it open, running through the hallway as the sound of the screams and gunfire faded. Then she reached the exit and opened the door, breathing heavily as she finally set Maple down.

“Are we safe?” Maple asked, tears running down her face.

“Yeah, Maple.” Joanna knelt and hugged Maple. “We’re safe.”

Suddenly the door blew opened and a White Fang member with batwings and a high-powered rifle backed out of the door, scroll in hand.

“Yuma, do you really think he ratted us out?!” Perry asked on the scroll.

“Of course Jacques ratted us out!” Yuma shouted.

Joanna and Maple were frozen, neither knowing what to do. Due to Yuma backing out of the door, he had yet to notice them, but there was nowhere to hide. Eventually, Joanna picked up Maple and tried to quietly slip away.

“He gave us the security codes, he gave us these weapons that even Damian would take forever to get us, and the police just so happen to have been called in advanced!” Yuma shouted. “He was the only one who knew about this plan!”

“Because he planned it!”

“I know he planned it.” Yuma rolled him and started pacing, that’s when he noticed Joanna and Maple.

Both froze, just staring at each other. Then Yuma aimed his gun at Joanna and Maple.

“Shit!” Joanna turned to shield Maple from the shot, and she felt her insides burning as the bullet flew straight through her.

Yuma ran over to the two as Joanna fell, managing to position herself mid-fall so she wouldn’t land on Maple. She looked up to see the bat Faunus aiming his gun and held up her hand.

“P-Please…just kill me…” Joanna begged.

“Not a chance.” Yuma coldly pointed his rifle right at Joanna’s head. “I’ll gladly kill you first, though.”

Joanna closed her eyes and heard a gunshot. Yet, she didn’t feel anything and heard Yuma scream. She opened her eyes to see him standing there, staggering, then another gun shat and he shot up straight.

“Gods…damn it…” Yuma fell to his knees, then his lifeless body fell face-first onto the ground, revealing Fiona behind him.

“Fiona…” Joanna sighed in relief.

“J?” Fiona ran over to Joanna and Maple. “Are you two okay?”

“I’m shot, but I’ll live,” Joanna assured. “I made sure no one touched…” she looked down at Maple, and her face went pale.

Joanna had been holding Maple close to her chest, and the bullet had gone through her. Maple’s heart had been pierced, and she had died before Joanna even noticed she was hit.

“M-Maple…” Joanna held Maple, staring at her body, unable to comprehend the sight.

“Oh…Gods…” Fiona dropped her gun and covered her mouth when she got a look at Maple. “No!”

“Maple?!” Joanna looked into Maple’s lifeless eyes. “Come on, look at me! Look at Mommy!” She shook her. “Maple? Maple?! Maple fucking answer me! Maple!” Joanna hugged Maple’s as she fell to the cold hard ground. “Please wake up…please come back. Please Maple…please…”

Fiona chocked up at the memory, needing Robyn and May to comfort her.

“The tattoos I have?” Joanna pulled out Maple’s drawing of her in her superhero form. “Are based on how my neck and face looked in her drawing.” She held out her hand, allowing Jack to take and he handed it off so the crowd could take turns looking at it. “After that, I threw myself into addiction…mainly of women…” Joanna choked back a sob. “It may have been the White Fang who killed my baby girl, but I know what I heard. Anyone who remembers that day would also know Jacques Schnee used the attack to get backing for his anti-Faunus rhetoric. I want any Faunus in the audience to know I don’t hate them. That I don’t blame them for taking away my Maple. Hell, I’m even completely hateful of the White Fang. Who do I hate, though?” She pointed up. “That’s who I hate. That’s who I blame. That’s who I hope Robyn tears to pieces when she gets on the council!” Joanna pointed at the sobbing woman holding Maple’s drawing. “So you look at that drawing and you think of my little girl! You think of Henry Marigold! You think of Calvin and Marina Thyme! You think of Wren Hill!” She let out a bitter chuckle as tears of rage and grief rolled down her cheeks. “I’m being selfish, you think of however Atlas hurt you…”

Robyn, May, and Fiona ran on stage as Joanna finally broke down. As May and Fiona comforted Joanna, Robyn took the microphone.

“Thank you for hearing out our stories,” Robyn said. “I want you all to know we didn’t tell you what we’ve lost to get sympathy, we told you to show that we’re better than Atlas. That we’re human beings who won’t sit in the ivory tower of a kingdom. No, we are your equals. Atlas has hurt us all, and together, we will hurt them back!”

The crowd cheered.

“So vote for me this coming election, and I promise you, every debt, will be paid in full!” Robyn raised her fist over her head, the audience mirroring her action as they chanted her name.

Chapter Text

“I just…I don’t know what to do,” Weiss said. “I’ve been avoiding her for weeks now.”

“You can’t hide from her forever, Weiss,” Winter advised. “You’ll have to face her eventually.”

“What should I do?”

“Do you want peace or do you want to continue to be bitter?”

Weiss was silent for a few seconds, then she answered. “Peace.”

“Apologize, give her a coffee, and start following her lead,” Winter said. “Stop being difficult, Weiss.”

“I know…”

“You’re better than that.”

“I know!” Weiss snapped, then her tone softened. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m not the one you need to apologize to.”

“You’re right…” Weiss sighed. “I should probably start the reconciliation process. It was lovely speaking to you, Winter. I hope you start calling regularly, again.”

“I hope so too, Weiss,” Winter said. “Bye.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Winter looked at her scroll as Weiss hung up, listening to the droning noise the phone made when the line disconnected. Then she dropped her scroll onto her glass coffee table, leaned back, and looked over to the fridge, face scrunching up as the itch came back. Winter had shoved all the whiskey and painkiller bottles away, in the fridge and under the bathroom sink, respectively. She knew the healing process wasn’t going to be easy, but she at least wanted to try and go a day without drinking.

Who is kidding? Get over there and grab yourself a bottle!

Winter tried to ignore the voice.

Don’t pretend I don’t exist!

Winter grabbed the television remote and turned the tv.

What? You’re just going to ignore me? You know I’m louder than that.

Winter turned the tv over to the sports channel, closing her eyes and focusing on the screams of the crowd.

If you aren’t going to do the world a favor and off yourself, the least you can do is get trashed so you won’t be a bother.

“I didn’t…bother Weiss…” Winter was giving in.

Sure you didn’t. You neglect her and Whitley for years, then suddenly just pop back into their lives and start handing out advice like you are some sort of wise mentor archetype. Like you aren’t a complete mess.

“They need me.”

Daisy and Tulip needed you, too. Where were you then?

“That wasn’t my fault!”

You insulted the terrorist. You didn’t take back the aforementioned insult when he ordered you to.

“It was his choice!” Winter screamed, not caring about bothering her neighbors. “For all, we knew he was going to kill them regardless!”

If you had kept your big mouth shut he wouldn’t have had any reason to target you. Take some responsibility!

“No!” Winter covered her ears. “There is nothing for me to take responsibility for!”

Gods, you’re pathetic. I’m you, idiot. I know you don’t believe that.

“Shut up!”

Want me to quiet down? Grab yourself a drink!

“No…”

Drink.

Winter turned up the volume on her tv.

I know you want to.

Winter turned the volume up even higher, and soon the room started to shake.

Drink. Drink! DRINK!

Winter screamed, muted her tv, threw the remote to the floor, and bolted towards the fridge. Grabbing the first whiskey bottle in sight, she pulled off the cap but stopped herself.

What are you doing? Come on! Drink up!

“Can’t expect to be cured in a day, Winter,” Winter spoke to herself. “Small steps.”

What do you mean?!

Winter went over to her cabinet and grabbed a small glass from it.

You’re seriously not going to drink from that little cup, are you?! You can drink more than that!

“I can…but I don’t have to.” Winter poured herself a single glass before putting the bottle back in the fridge.

What are you doing?!

Winter took a glass, taking a small sip.

You’re making a mistake.

Winter didn’t answer, the voice began to fade.

You need to drink more if you want to forget about it-

Winter looked at the cracked family photo, and the voice vanished entirely. She noted the crack from when she threw it was still there.

“Really should get that fixed…” Winter mused.

Before Winter could take another sip from her glass, a knock on the door made her jump. Setting down the glass, she walked over to her door and opened it. Winter expected to see a woman her height, so she was surprised when she only saw the top of a head covered in puffy hair. She looked down to see a little old lady with white hair, rimmed glasses, and a pale skin tone.

“Are you okay, Winter?” The Little Old Lady asked.

“I’m fine…wait, how do you know my name?”

“Everyone knows you, Miss Schnee!” The Little Old Lady smiled. “You’re one of Atlas’ greatest heroes!”

Winter was taken aback by the complicated. “Th-Thank you…sorry about the noise Miss…”

“Cavern. Opal Cavern.”

“Sorry about the noise, Opal,” Winter said. “It won’t happen again.”

“It’s okay, dearie,” Opal assured with a sweet smile. “Say, you wouldn’t want to come over to my place and have a snack, would you? I make some pretty mean cookies!”

“Why the offer?”

“I’m sorry if I seem like I’m prying but…you seem very lonely, Miss Schnee,” Opal said. “I was wondering if you wanted any company.”

Winter rubbed the back of her head. “I’ll think about it.”

“That’s fine, I was just asking.” Opal gave Winter an understanding nod. “You can come over whenever you like.”

“Thank you, Opal.”

“You have a good day, now.” Opal walked down the hall, Winter watching her to see if she had a room in her hall.

Opal did. Not far, in fact. Probably why she was disturbed by the ruckus.

She was sweet…

“Yeah, she was.” Winter closed the door, and went back over to the glass, picking it up and going to her balcony.

Such a lovely view.

“Of such an ugly city,” Winter bitterly snarked to herself, taking another sip from her glass and leaning her hands on the rail.

Winter was pulled from her thoughts when her scroll started to ring. Curiously, she picked it up and saw it was Ironwood. Winter answered immediately.

“Sir?” Winter asked.

“Winter, the Vytal Tournament will be starting soon, so it’s time for Penny and I to head to Vale,” Ironwood said. “I wanted to say goodbye, but Penny wanted to know if you’d do so in person.”

Winter looked at the clock on the wall. “What time are you leaving?”

“1400 hours,” Ironwood answered. “If you decide not to come, Penny’s-”

“I’ll be there.”


Ironwood, Penny, and Pietro all stood by the very same landing pad they had used when Penny first met Winter. Only this time, they were waiting for bullhead to pick up Penny and Ironwood. Penny looked ill, and she squirmed around like there was a knot in her stomach. Pietro picked up on this.

“Are you okay, Penny?” Pietro asked.

“I’m so scared, Papa.” Penny grabbed Pietro’s sleeve, grip tightening. “I don’t want to leave you.”

“I’ll always have time for you, sweetheart,” Pietro assured, gently taking Penny’s hand. “You can call me whenever you need me to.”

“I’m also scared about going to a new place, being surrounded by so many new people,” Penny said. “What if someone hurts me?”

“No one is going to hurt you, Penny.”

“Are you sure?” Penny’s innocent eyes looked into Pietro’s.

“I’m more than sure,” Pietro said in confidence. “After all, you’ll have Ironwood and Atlas Soldiers to protect you. Where they fail, you’ll be more than a match for anyone out to get you.”

“If…if you’re sure.” Penny smiled.

“I’m certain.”

“It’s almost time to go, Penny.” Ironwood checked his watch.

“Did Winter say she’ll be coming?” Penny asked.

“She said she would be, but we need to go when it’s time to,” Ironwood said.

Penny deflated. “Okay…”

“Penny!”

Penny gasped and turned in the direction of the voice, smiling as she saw Winter running over to them. When Winter made it there, she stopped, panting and holding her knees.

“Winter!” Penny went to hug Winter, but she held up her pointing finger as she caught her breath, causing Penny to stop.

“Sorry…haven’t been active these last few weeks.” Winter stood up, straight. “I’m not used to running.”

“It’s okay, I’m glad you’re here!” Penny shrunk. “Are you still mad at me?”

“No, Penny.” Winter’s face softened. “It’s okay, I know what you were trying to do, and honestly, convincing me to go to the party allowed me to have a moment of closure, however brief. Even if it was only because crazy robbers tried to kill us.” She shook her head. “My point is, I’m not mad. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

“What do you mean?” Penny tilted her head.

“When we met, I said there were no friends in this job…” Winter pulled a slip of paper out of her pocket and handed it to Penny. “There are a lot of things I want to change about myself, and this is one of them.”

Penny looked at the slip and gasped when she saw it was a number. “Is this…?”

“I won’t be able to answer all the time,” Winter said. “I got two younger siblings to also keep contact with and I’m getting off of leave, next week.”

“I completely understand!” Penny hugged Winter. “Thank you for wanting to be my friend!”

“Thank you for putting up with me long enough to accept.” Winter returned the hug. “I’ll…I’ll miss seeing you in person, Penny.”

“Me too!” Penny smiled, as she pulled away from Winter. “You can always call me back!”

“Can I?”

“Do you have a pen, Papa?” Penny turned to Pietro.

“You k ow I always keep one on my person!” Pietro pulled a pen from his pocket and handed it to Penny.

“Thank you, Papa!” Penny wrote her number on the back of the slip of paper, then held her hand out to Winter. “Here, take my number!”

“But Penny, the paper was for you to remember my number,” Winter said.

“No worries, I have it digitally saved into my memory,” Penny assured.

“Oh…right…robot…” Winter took the slip of paper. “I forgot about that.”

“That’s a good thing,” Ironwood pointed it out.

Winter chuckled. “I suppose it is.”

“Alright, it’s time to go,” Ironwood said as the bullhead landed, he smiled at Winter and held out his hand. “Glad you came to say goodbye in person.”

“Have a good time in Vale, James.” Winter shook Ironwood’s hand. “Say hi to Weiss for me if you see.”

“I’ll be sure to.” Ironwood nodded then he turned towards the bullhead.

“Bye Papa!” Penny hugged Pietro. “I love you so much!”

“Me too.” Pietro returned the hug. “You knock them dead at the Vytal Tournament!”

“For you, Papa!” Penny nodded, then followed Ironwood to the bullhead, looking back and waving to Winter. “Bye Winter!”

Winter gave Penny a two-finger salute as she boarded. She and Pietro watched as the bullhead took off and vanished into the distance. Leaving both Winter and Pietro in silence.

“I want to thank you, Miss Schnee,” Pietro spoke, breaking the calm silence.

“Why?” Winter inquired.

“For befriending my little girl,” Pietro clarified. “Can I…uh…can I be blunt.”

“Of course.”

“I didn’t expect you to like her at all,” Pietro said. “You’re kind of…”

“I want to work on it…” Winter’s eyes lowered. “I know they wouldn’t want to see me like this.”

“Knowing how determined you are, I’m sure you will pull yourself up.” Pietro smiled. “You know you’re considered one of Atlas’-”

“Greatest heroes?” Winter guessed. “Yeah, I’ve been told. Very recently, in fact.”

“That’s good.” Pietro felt a cold gust of wind. “We should get off this platform.”

“Agreed, don’t want to get sick just before I get off to leave.” Winter walked with Pietro off the platform.

“Say, Winter, you wouldn’t stay in contact with me, would you?” Pietro asked. “I can keep you updated on Penny when you can’t respond.”

“That’s a good idea, Pietro,” Winter agreed. “I…I would also like to get to know you, better.”

“Well, with James out of the picture, I guess you’ll need another father figure.” Pietro stroked his beard, chuckling. “Even if it’s a cheap, dollar store brand father figure.”

“Oh shush, Penny has given you plenty of parental experience.”

“Not just Penny…” Pietro saddened.

“Right…sorry…” Winter didn’t hide her guilt over forgetting.

“It’s fine,” Pietro assured, pulling out a pen and paper. “Now, let’s get you my number.”


Winter was frozen as she stood in front of Opal’s door. She had her fist raised in the knock position, but it just hovered mere inches from the door. Finally, with a shutter inhale, Winter knocked.

“Coming!” Opal called.

Winter heard Opal shuffling towards the door, the click, and the door opening to a warm smile from Opal.

“Winter!” Opal opened the door and stepped aside, silently telling Winter to come in. “I’m so glad you came!”

“I am too, actually,” Winter said.

“Please, take a seat, make yourself at home!” Opal gestured to the dining table. “My granddaughter is visiting and will be here soon, hope you don’t mind.”

“Of course not, I would love to meet someone new,” Winter assured.

“That’s wonderful.” Opal smiled, then there was a knock on the door. “Oh, speak of the Devil!”

Opal walked over to the door and opened it.

“Cadet!” Opal greeted.

“Hi grandma,” Cadet greeted.

Wait, that voice sounds familiar.

“Winter?”

Winter looked up, eyes widening when she saw Cadet. Though she knew her as Candy Cane.

“Candy Cane?” Winter’s mouth was agape.

“Candy Cane?” Opal scratched her head. “I haven’t heard that nickname.”

“Well, it’s from…” Winter glanced at Cadet, who made a chopping motion at her neck, mouthing “She doesn’t know!” repeatedly. “…it’s from around town.”

“Well, this old crone needs to get out more,” Opal noted. “You two make yourselves comfy, I’ll have tea ready in a few minutes!”

“Thank you, grandma,” Cadet said.

Opal walked into the kitchen as Cadet awkwardly took the seat across from Winter.

“So…Cadet?” Winter asked.

“Yep…”

“That’s a nice name.”

“Thanks, Ice Queen.”

Chapter Text

Weiss leads the rest of team RWBY down the streets of Vale. She had graciously offered to take them out and treat them to a nice dinner in an attempt to reconcile her previous behavior

“I know the best place to buy a meal in all of Vale!” Weiss pointed at the location of the diner on her scroll, then looked at Ruby. “They also have great cookies!”

Ruby gasped. “Weiss, you have already been forgiven!”

“They also have…uh…” Weiss looked at Yang. “What do you love, Yang?”

“My girlfriend,” Yang said.

“Not that!” Weiss rolled her eyes. “I mean what do you like to eat?”

Yang smiled, slyly. “My girlfriend.”

“Yang!” Ruby scolded, slapping Yang’s arm.

She has a girlfriend? Blake’s ears and eyes lowered.

“What about you, Blake?” Weiss got Blake’s attention. “I always see you drinking coffee.”

“Tea,” Blake corrected.

“What?” Weiss cocked an eyebrow.

“I prefer tea.” Blake didn’t lookup. “That’s what you see me drinking.”

“They have that, too,” Weiss assured.

Blake’s ears perked up. “That’s nice.”

“Alright, drop it!” Team RWBY heard a man shout.

They turned down the street to see two guys using cranes to unravel a large banner over the street. It was an image of a floating arena blocking out the sun like an eclipse, the words “VYTAL TOURNAMENT” in big white letters were at the top of the picture.

“Holy crap, I completely forgot about the Vytal Tournament!” Yang exclaimed.

“Well, looks like you’ll have a constant reminder, now.” Ruby noticed many more banners of the same picture were being hung over the streets of Vale.

“They sure do like to advertise,” Blake noted.

“Of course they do,” Weiss began. “The Vytal Tournament is one of the most important annual events in all of Remnant! Don’t your people have televisions over in that ghastly island?”

“It’s called Menagerie, and yes, we do have televisions,” Blake said, offended.

“Okay! No need to be snippy,” Weiss said, defensively.

“No need to be racist!” Blake hissed.

“Chill out, I was just curious about how things worked over at Menagerie.”

“Just get me my damn tea,” Blake ordered through gritted teeth, her mood was already dowered after learning about Yang, so she was lacking patience.

“Listen-”

“Weiss, that’s enough!” Ruby scolded. “You said you wanted to be a better teammate and make up for your previous attitude, but you’re failing! Now apologize!”

“But-” Weiss tried to argue.

“Apologize. Now!” Ruby pointed at Blake.

Weiss sighed. “Sorry Blake, I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“Whatever,” Blake grumbled. “We’ll see how good this tea is and maybe I’ll forgive you.”

“Perfect!” Weiss perked up. “I know this place won’t let you down!” She looked at her scroll, then pointed ahead. “This way!”

As Team RWBY continued their stroll to the diner, they made it to the edge of Vale, the docks. They noticed boas and airships arriving, usually filled with cargo or students of other academies.

“Already setting up advertisements and shipping in students,” Yang said. “Yeah, Beacon is about to get a lot more interesting!”

“There she is!” Weiss pointed at a place called “Three Bears Diner”. “Let’s get some dinner.”

Ruby and Yang cheered.

“Yeah…wahoo…” Blake deadpanned, halfheartedly pumping her fist in the air.

“Cheer up, Blake!” Yang wrapped an arm around Blake’s shoulders. “A nice meal with help you forget Weiss’ ignorance!”

“Hey!” Weiss exclaimed.

“She’s not the only reason I’m upset,” Blake said.

“What else is bothering you?” Yang asked.

“Nothing important.” Blake shook her head.

“Okay, but if you ever need to talk, I’ll always be ready to listen,” Yang promised, a warm smile that made Blake’s heart melt with the kindness, and hurt knowing Yang’s heart was already.

“I know.” Blake smiled, solemnly. “C'est l'une des choses que j'aime chez toi.”

“Blake, I don’t know what that means,” Yang said.

“Yeah, I’m counting on it.” Blake looked away from Yang, walking past Ruby and Weiss, the former shrugging in confusion.

The rest of Team RWBY joined Blake at the crosswalk, waiting for the light to turn red so they could cross. As they waited, some commotion at the docks caused them to turn around, as they saw the Hardy Boys chasing a monkey Faunus.

“Hey! Drop the fruit!” Frank Hardrock ordered.

The monkey Faunus ran past team RWBY just as the light turned red, assuring he could cross the street safely.

“Hey, Hardies!” Yang greeted.

“Hey…Yang…how are you?” Joe Hardrock asked, both him and Frank stopping to catch their breath.

“Fine,” Yang answered. “So, what’s going on with you guys?”

“Nothing, but that boy took our freaking snack fruit!” Frank exclaimed.

“Fruit for a snack?” Ruby gagged. “Yuck.”

“Hey, you got to keep healthy you want to keep hard on the crime in this city,” Joe said.

Team RWBY shared an awkward glance with one another.

“You want to phrase that a different way or…?” Yang asked.

“You know what I meant,” Joe groaned.

“Well, we were about to head over to the diner,” Yang said. “Want to come with? Weiss’ is treating!”

“Hey, you can’t just invite people willy-nilly!” Weiss scolded. “I’m not made out of money, you know!”

“Yes, you are,” Blake said, bluntly.

“Nah, we got to catch this thief,” Frank said. “Thanks for the offer, Yang.”

“Say hi to Sapphire for us!” Joe nodded.

Team RWBY watched as the Hardy boys ran after the Faunus.

“Do you know how much distance the thief must’ve gotten while they were talking to us?” Ruby asked.

“Yeah…that’s one of the main reasons I need to help the VPD out, a lot,” Yang answered.

“We can continue this talk in the diner,” Weiss said. “I’m starved!”

“Agreed,” Blake said.

After entering the diner, taking their seats, and giving the waitress their orders, Team RWBY got comfortable. Ruby was playing a game on her scroll and Blake was reading, leaving Weiss and Yang with nothing to do, so Weiss spoke up.

“So, you work closely with the Vale Police Department, Yang?” Weiss asked.

“Yep, I’ve helped them out quite a bit,” Yang answered. “Helping them take down Junior after he kidnapped my Sapphire was the most recent thing I helped them out with.”

“How long have you been working for them?”

“Since I got accepted into Beacon and moved to Vale with Sapphire.” Yang scratched her chin. “So, definitely a few months.”

“Do you know what this means?!” Weiss smiled.

“What?” Ruby, Blake, and Yang asked at the same time.

“We can stop crimes and give ourselves a name before we even come close to graduating Beacon!” Weiss exclaimed. “Team RWBY would look like huntsmen prodigies!”

“Well, Ruby is already a prodigy.” Yang patted Ruby’s back.

“Oh shush,” Ruby ordered, bashfully.

“Exactly,” Weiss said. “Why don’t we show Remnant how good she is? How good we are! Solving crimes and winning in the Vytal Tournament would put Team RWBY’s name on the map!”

“That… doesn’t sound like a bad idea.” Blake shut her book and set it down so she could pay attention to the conversation better. “I say I’m in”

“I agree!” Ruby smiled. “I’m in!”

“I guess it wouldn’t be that different from what I usually do.” Yang rubbed the back of her head, then shrugged. “Screw it, how much worse could it do? I’m in!”

“Awesome!” Weiss pumped the air as their orders arrived. “First, we finish our dinner! Then, we catch ourselves a thief!”


After their food was finished and paid for, Weiss took point in leading Team RWBY.

“Okay, I’ve taken many criminal investigations courses while studying to be a huntress in Atlas,” Weiss began. “So I should lead the Team while we’re fighting crime.”

“No,” Blake said, not looking up from her book.

“Ruby’s the leader,” Yang said. “That’s final!”

“Not even now?” Weiss whined.

“I thought you accepted it, Weiss,” Ruby said, much more calm and ration, but no less stern.

“I…I just want to lead for a little bit,” Weiss said. “Just when it comes to solving crimes! I’m good at it!” She huffed and crossed her arms. “I bet you couldn’t find our thief before the day is done!”

“Uh…isn’t that him right over there?” Ruby pointed behind Weiss.

“Wha…?!” Weiss turned to see the monkey Faunus, watching the sunset.

“Looks like Ruby’s still the leader!” Yang cheered.

Ruby, Blake, and Yang all hi-fived, though Blake never took her eyes off her book.

“Unbelievable…” Weiss grumbled before she took action. “Thief!”

“Huh?” The monkey Faunus widened his eyes when he saw Weiss coming at him. “Uh oh!”

Weiss gave chase to the thief, paying it no mind when he dropped something as he ran. She should’ve, as it was a banana peel, so slipped and landed flat on her butt. The thief chuckled as he turned to the corner and vanished from sight.

“Pffft!” Yang snorted.

“Weiss!” Ruby ran over to Weiss, genuinely concerned, and helped her up. “Are you okay?”

“My aura protected me from that little bump, but I feel humiliated.” Weiss rubbed her bottom.

“Don’t be,” Ruby assured.

“No, she definitely should,” Blake snarked.

“I didn’t expect a Schnee to slip up!” Yang laughed. “Come on Weiss, you fell for that one!”

Ruby, Weiss, and Blake just looked at her. Blake’s right eyebrow was cocked.

“Jeez…tough crowd.” Yang rubbed the back of her head.

“Wait…the thief!’ Weiss pulled her arm from Ruby’s grasp and ran down the block, turning the same corner only bump into something smaller than her, but surprisingly sturdy, causing her to fall on her butt, again. “Oof!”

“Oh my gosh! Are you okay?” Penny held out her hand.

“Fine!” Weiss slapped Penny’s hand away. “Ow!” She waved her hand when pain flew through it. “What are you made out of? Metal?”

“Whaaaaaaaaat?” Penny stepped back, hands behind her back, eyes darting in all directions. “What a silly thing to say!”

“Did you fall again, Weiss?” Ruby asked after noticing Weiss on the ground, exasperated.

“Not my fault this girl is built like an Atlas Paladin.” Weiss got to her feet, dusting herself off.

“Huh?” Ruby looked up and locked eyes with Penny.

People have told Ruby the real world isn’t a fairytale, but she never believed in love at first sight more than this moment. Penny felt the same, wishing she could mirror Ruby’s blush.

“H-Hi…” Ruby greeted.

“Salutat…” Penny saluted. “Wait, I mean salutations!”

“My name’s Ruby.” Ruby waved, awkwardly.

“Penny!” Penny smiled.

“Penny?” Ruby returned a smile of her own. “That’s a cute name.”

“C-Cute?” Penny was taken aback.

“Oh! I’m sorry!” Ruby widened her eyes, waving her hands like she was trying to wipe away what she said. “I just thought it was a cute name for a cute girl and-”

“Cute girl?!” Penny’s eyes widened.

“No…wait!” Ruby gripped her head.

“What is going on, right now?” Weiss asked.

“I know exactly what is going on!” Yang gushed.

“Me too.” Blake smiled, fondly.

“You see…what I meant was…uh…that you are cute, and you have a cute name,” Ruby said. “That’s it.”

“Oh, well, thank you very much!” Penny turned around. “I best be off, now!”

“No, wait!” Weiss shouted.

“Huh?” Penny turned back around as Weiss walked towards her.

“Did you where that monkey ran off to?” Weiss asked.

“Monkey?!” Blake’s eyes were ablaze.

“Quiet down!” Weiss hushed.

“I didn’t see a monkey anywhere,” Penny answered.

“Are you serious?” Weiss asked. “He just turned the corner!”

“You mean that boy?” Penny asked.

“No, the monkey,” Weiss “corrected”.

“He isn’t a monkey!” Blake shouted.

“I agree with her,” Penny said.

“Did you not see that tail swaying?” Weiss didn’t hide her growing annoyance.

“He’s a Faunus with monkey traits, it is very offensive to call them what animal they share traits with,” Penny said.

“Oh Gods, he’s a criminal!” Weiss exclaimed.

“Which isn’t an excuse!” Blake spat.

“You know, I was trying to be nice to you, Blake!” Weiss pointed at Blake. “This is too far!”

“I was about to say the same thing to you!”

“Girls!” Ruby tried to get their attention, but she realized quickly her stern leadership wasn’t going to help.

“I can’t believe you’re defending a criminal!” Weiss shouted, exasperated.

“Just because he’s a criminal, doesn’t give you a free pass to be a bigot!” Blake shouted. “Throughout history, Faunus men have been over punished by the system! You can’t let the fact they are genuinely guilty gloss over their human rights!”

“What do you know, you Panther!” Weiss spat.

Blake gasped and stepped away from Weiss. Ruby gasped as well, and Yang covered her mouth.

“I…think I should go!” Penny scurried away from the scene.

“I couldn’t agree more.” Blake, face emotionless turned on her heel and walked away.

Weiss looked at Ruby and Yang, their shocked expressions turning enraged. She stepped back as the three walked away, deciding to keep her distance from her teammates as they walked back to Beacon.


Team RWBY’s walk back to Beacon was the most uncomfortable Ruby has ever felt in her entire life. Yang and Weiss would agree, while Blake was too angry to care. As they walked through the halls, Blake blew past CFVY.

“Yeah, an excuse me would be nice,” Fox snarked.

“Sorry about her, guys,” Ruby said as Yang and Weiss walked past.

“What’s going on, Ruby?” Coco asked.

“Something is going on between Blake and Weiss,” Ruby answered

“A Schnee being difficult?” Velvet crossed her arms. “Color me surprised.”

“Hey, I’m the snarker around,” Fox said.

“Guys, seriously,” Yatsuhashi said.

“Yeah, Ruby’s going through something serious right now,” Coco softly scolded, then she placed a comforting hand on Ruby’s shoulder. “Hey kid, I hate to tell you I don’t know what you’re going through, but I don’t. I’m not very good with comforting…obviously…but, I know you can pull your team out of this rut.”

“Thanks, Coco…” Ruby gently took Coco’s hand off her shoulder, then followed the rest of her team.

“I can’t believe she said that!” Blake hissed, turning the corner just as Canvas, Adrian, and Revon did.

“Wait until we’re back at the dorm,” Yang advised.

Canvas, Adian, and Revon stepped out of Team RWBY’s way, noticing the tense atmosphere.

“Oh…drama!” Revon smiled.

“Revon, don’t be nosy!” Canvas scolded.

“I’m not being nosy,” Revon said, defensively, then he began to follow Team RWBY. “I just want to see what’s up!”

“No!” Canvas grabbed Revon’s arm and began to drag him away from RWBY.

“Wait, my drama!” Revon cried.

“Wait, what’s a nose?” Adrian asked.

Blake stomped over to the door of Team RWBY’s dorm and opened it, holding the door open for Yang and Weiss. Jaune opened JNPR’s door before Ruby entered, having heard Blake’s stomping.

“Hey, Ruby, everything okay?” Jaune asked.

“No Jaune…just…I can’t talk right now,” Ruby said.

“Oh, I understand,” Jaune assured. “I’ll be ready to share leadership woes if you need me to.”

“Thanks.” Ruby gave him a small smile that vanished when he shut the door, and she sulked into RWBY’s dorm.

Blake slowly closed the door.

“I can’t believe you’re angry at me for speaking the truth,” Weiss huffed.

Blake’s rage took hold, and she slammed the door shut.

“Would it kill you to acknowledge when you need to shut up!” Blake turned to Weiss, eyes ablaze.

“No, I’m done taking this abuse!” Weiss exclaimed.

“You’re being abused?!” Blake was stunned.

“What I’m saying isn’t wrong, and you guys are angry at me, for it!”

“That’s because-” Yang began, but Ruby stopped her.

“Yang, I think we should stay out of this,” Ruby advised.

Yang nodded and kept quiet.

“Have you ever considered leaving that little bubble of yours and admitting you are wrong?” Blake asked.

“I know what the Faunus truly are!” Weiss shouted. “You have no idea what the White Fang has done to me and my family!”

“The…White Fang…” Blake unexpectedly softened.

“Yeah, my father showed me when I was only seven.” Weiss turned to the window, staring at the shattered moon. “Board members being…executed…on repeat…for hours…”

“Weiss…” Blake took a comforting tone.

“After that day I’ve seen the other ugliness of the Faunus,” Weiss explained, bitterly. “Family friends up and vanishing only to turn up dead. All because of the Faunus.”

“Because of the White Fang.”

“What?” Weiss turned back to Blake.

“Weiss, what happened to you was horrible, and I think it’s widely agreed upon by the people of Remnant that Jacques is a monster, but you can’t blame the Faunus when you already have something to hate,” Blake explained, calmly.

“I don’t understand…”

“The White Fang killed the board members and family friends, The White Fang hurt you and so many others.” Blake hugged herself. “Even me.”

“Please, you’re a Faunus, why would they hurt you?”

“Supremacy on either side of the street is wrong,” Blake said. “Most Faunus would be right alongside you if you just hated the White Fang.”

“They didn’t hurt you.”

“Yes, they did.” Blake tried to hold her tongue, but Weiss was getting her angry, again. “I’ve suffered at their hands just as you have.”

“You’re just trying to guilt me!”

“You just got on our case for not knowing what you’ve been through, and now you’re just disregarding what I’ve been through?!” Blake snapped.

“Yeah, but you didn’t go through anything!”

“Will you wake the fuck up, please?!” Blake clenched her fist. “I was trying to understand you Weiss, but you just reminded me of a very valuable lesson.”

“What’s that?”

“Just because you suffered doesn’t give you the right to act this way!” Blake pointed at Weiss. “You’re so wrapped up in your self-pity you refuse to acknowledge your hurting others!”

“The Faunus deserve it!”

“The Faunus didn’t hurt you, Weiss! The White Fang did!”

“What gives you to right to say what I can and can’t hate?!”

“Because I don’t hate you!” Blake spat. “At least…not for the reason you think.”

Weiss was taken aback. “What?”

“Do you know how much suffering your father has caused the Faunus?” Blake asked. “I can safely say I’ve seen similar things to you, friends abused, enslaved, and killed just so your father can line his pockets.”

“You don’t know how nasty my father is.”

“You’re not the only one he’s hurt, Weiss.” Blake began to calm down. “The unsafe conditions of his mines have already claimed the lives of dozens.”

“I don’t need to hear this.” Weiss turned away from Blake.

“Yes, you do,” Blake said. “We all come from somewhere. Some of us have lost parents, been abused, and…” she dug her nails into her arm, leaving red marks “…taken advantage of by someone who you thought you could trust. Yet, none are cruel like you.”

“Be quiet!”

“Despite what your father has done, nobody hates you for being related to him.”

“Bull. Shit,” Weiss hissed. “You think I don’t hear you! As expected of a Schnee, unsurprising for a Schnee, Schnee this, and Schnee that! You all hate me because of my father.”

“We don’t hate you because of your father, Weiss,” Blake said. “We hate you.”

“What?” Weiss was shocked.

“You heard me, we hate you.” Blake pointed at Weiss. “We hate your arrogance, your bitterness, your petty and childish attitude, and so many other ugly aspects of your person.”

“What are you saying?!”

“We hate the person you are, Weiss,” Blake said, bluntly. “The only one who thinks your father for how people view you…is you.”

Weiss had tears running down her face. “I…you…just…”

“You know I’m right.”

“You don’t know anything!” Weiss hissed.

“I know that Faunus that Faunus have suffered at the hands of humans for centuries,” Blake glanced at Ruby and Yang, “and I think we deserve basic humans rights.”

“Human rights?!” Weiss laughed, hysterically. “That’s rich!”

“What do you mean?”

“What human rights do you deserve?!” Weiss spat. “I hate to break it to you, but you’re Faunus! Not humans!”

“Weiss…” Ruby regretted not stepping in.

“You’re nothing but a bunch of stupid animals that should do exactly what your fellow cattle do!”

“Weiss!”

“And fall in line!” Weiss shouted.

Blake’s face contorted into shock. “Are you saying we deserve to be slaves?”

Weiss didn’t answer, but her glare said enough.

A tear rolled down Blake’s cheek. “Fine.”

Before any of them could react, Blake turned, opened the door, and ran out of the room.

“Blake!” Yang cried, following her.

Weiss wasn’t expecting that reaction and stood stunned as Ruby looked out the door. She turned back to Weiss, angrier than Weiss has ever seen her.

“You have two options.” Ruby words cut through her like an old blade. “1: You stay here and deal with facing her when we get back or 2: Come help us bring her back here because if anything happens to her, it’ll be on both our heads.” She turned and walked over to the door. “If you pick option 1? Have fun sleeping tonight, Princess.”

Weiss looked around the empty dorm, then she felt awful in the pit of her stomach. Then she let out a sob, and bolted out of the dorm, leaving the door to gently close.

Chapter Text

“Hey!” A male voice echoed through Blake’s disoriented mind. “Hellooooooooooooooooo?”

Blake stirred when she felt someone lightly knock on her head. “Wha…?”

“Hi-a!”

“Whoa!” Blake’s head shot up when she saw the thief from before’s face filled her vision, hitting him in the nose.

“Ow!” The thief stumbled back, holding his face.

“You!” Blake instinctively reached for gambol shroud but remembered she left it at the dorm before leaving for dinner and didn’t have time to pick it up after returning. Damn it!

“Hey, hey, hey, no need for that!” The thief held his hands up defensively, not realizing Blake didn’t have her weapon. “I mean no harm!”

“You…don’t?” Blake narrowed her eyes at the thief.

“Yeah, just checking up on a fellow Faunus,” the thief assured. “The name’s Sun! Sun Wukong!”

“Well, Sun Wukong, why should I trust a thief?” Blake crossed her arms.

“Oh come on, I stole some freaking fruit,” Sun groaned. “I was starving and those guys looked healthy enough.”

Blake’s expression didn’t change.

“Okay…bad first impression, fair enough.” Sun slouched, tail curling downwards. “Give me a chance to earn your trust?”

“I ask you again, why should I?”

“To start, I think letting me take you out for food is better than sleeping on a bench.” Sun pointed at the bench Blake had slept on after running away from her dorm.

“Oh…right…” Blake sighed.

“What’s with that, anyway?” Sun asked. “You’re not homeless unless the Belladonnas fell out of favor.”

“You know who I am?”

“I know you’re a Belladonna, but I don’t know your first name.”

“Before I tell you either of those things, you’ll have to earn my trust.”

“Oh…uh…right.” Sun rubbed the back of his head, chuckling.

“What was that you said about going out for food?”

“I know a pretty nifty joint where we can get breakfast,” Sun said. “So…what do you say? Willing to give me a chance?”

Blake reached behind her back, causing Sun to flinch, closing his eyes. After nothing happened, he opened them to see Blake pointing a finger gun at him.

“Bang.” Blake “fired” the gun, pretending to blow out the smock afterward. “Yes.”

“Phew!” Sun sighed in relief.

“But if you try anything, I will kick your teeth in.”

“That’s fair,” Sun squeaked in fright.


Ruby, Weiss, and Yang walked out of the Vale Police Department after reporting Blake missing. Teams JNPR, CFVY, and CARD, along with Sapphire, were waiting outside for them.

“What did they say?” Pyrrha asked.

“A search will be started,” Ruby answered, solemnly. “They’ll be sending out a word to all patrolling officers to keep an eye out for Blake.”

“This is all my fault.” Yang ran her fingers through her long, golden locks. “If only I was fast enough…”

“Shush, baby.” Sapphire took Yang’s hand, holding her cheek. “Don’t blame yourself. Please.”

“After all, it isn’t your fault.” Ruby glared at Weiss, causing everyone to mirror.

“So, we deserve to be enslaved?” Velvet barely hid her rage.

“I didn’t say that!” Weiss exclaimed, defensively.

“Sounds to me like you didn’t need to,” Revon said.

“I…” Weiss stammered.

“Okay guys, we’re not going to get anywhere scolding Weiss,” Ruby said. “We need to search for Blake, ourselves.”

“What?!” Weiss exclaimed. “I’m not doing that!”

“Yes, you are,” Ruby said, sternly. “We have a responsibility, Weiss.”

“We don’t have a responsibility for anything,” Weiss said. “Blake was the one who chose to leave, and the cops are going to be searching for her!”

“We all have a responsibility, Weiss.” Ruby walked to Weiss and pointed at herself. “I have a responsibility as a leader.” She pointed at Yang. “Yang has a responsibility as a partner.” She pointed at JNPR. CFVY, and CARD. “They have a responsibility as friends and peers. “And you have a responsibility as the person who drove her to run away!”

“But-”

“You are helping, Weiss!” Ruby commanded. “That is final!”

“Okay…” Weiss whispered.

“Wow, is this what her dressing down Weiss is like?” Sapphire whispered to Yang.

“Yeah,” Yang answered, casually.

“Where do we start?” Jaune asked.

“We’ll break off into teams of two to search for Blake,” Ruby said.

“Only fifteen of us can look,” Yatsuhashi said,

“What about Fo-” Ruby began.

“Blind,” Fox reminded, dryly.

“Right…” Ruby rubbed the back of her head. “I guess one can be a team of three.”

“I can help!”

“What?” Ruby looked in the direction of the voice, but CFVY was blocking her line of sight. “Who said that?”

The four moved out of the way to reveal Penny.

“Oh…” Ruby blushed.

“Salutations!” Penny greeted, walking over to the group. “I heard you speaking about your missing friend! I could help!”

“What’s in it for you?” Weiss asked.

“The joy of helping others!” Penny beamed

“Okay…you can help, Penny!” Ruby zipped to her side. “I’ll pair up with Penny!”

“Oh, that girl is totally in love,” Sapphire whispered to Yang.

“I know right?!” Yang squeed.

“Yang, you’ll be with Sapphire.” Ruby pointed at the couple.

“Sounds good!” Yang wrapped her arm around Sapphire.

“Weiss you’re paired up with…” Ruby paused.

“I volunteer.” Pyrrha stepped forward.

“Alright!”

“Call dibs on Ren!” Nora grabbed Ren’s arm.

“No arguments, here.” Ren smiled and rolled his eyes.

“You can pair up with Yatsuhashi, Jaune,” Coco said.

“I’ll trail behind you like a vulture following its dying prey,” Fox snarked.

“I guess that works.” Jaune shrugged.

“Sticking with me, honey bunny.” Coco slapped Velvet’s butt.

“Coco!” Velvet scolded

“Guess we’ll all stick with our usual partners,” Canvas noted to Team CARD. “Adrian is with, Revon and Deacon will stick together.”

“Alright guys, let’s go find Blake!” Ruby narrowed her eyes in determination.


Sun and Blake had just finished their breakfast at the diner.

“So?” Sun gave Blake a goofy smile.

“So?” Blake cocked an eyebrow.

“I earn your trust, yet?”

Blake shrugged. “Maybe.”

“You willing to tell me a little bit about yourself?”

“Fine, my name is Blake, I’m training to be a huntress at Beacon Academy, and I’m bi.”

“You swing both ways, too?”

“I prefer girls, honestly.” Blake shuddered. “I don’t like guys touching me.”

“What happened?”

“You didn’t earn my trust for serious shit that,” Blake said. “I haven’t even told my team, yet.”

“Alright…” Sun scratched his chin. “Want to hang out after this? I can take you down by the docks and we can enjoy the view of the shattered moon as it reflects in the oceans!”

“That sounds nice,” Blake admitted. “Are we just going to walk around all day?”

“We’ll take walks, sit by the green, grab lunch, and just keep each other busy!” Sun admired the beautiful day from their booth. “That doesn’t sound bad, does it?”

“No.” Blake shook her head, looking out the window herself. “That sounds lovely, actually.”


Weiss and Pyrrha walked together, an eerie silence between the two of them. Both felt tense, but tried to keep their mind off each other looking for Blake. Eventually, however, Weiss couldn’t take it, anymore.

“This is so unfair!” Weiss whined.

“What?” Pyrrha stopped and glared at Weiss.

“Why don’t you guys understand why I said those bad things to Blake.”

“Are you serious?”

Weiss nodded.

“Blake is missing, Weiss!” Pyrrha shouted. “She’s missing because of you, and still all you can think of is yourself!”

“No one else is!”

“And why do you think that is?”

“At first I thought it was because I was a Schnee, but Blake told me it was because of my personality.”

“So what does that tell you, Weiss?”

“That you all don’t understand me!”

Pyrrha groaned and facepalmed.

“You have no idea what it was like for my siblings and me, growing up with my father,” Weiss said. “He screamed at us, beat us, and once showed me a video of people being killed by the White Fang for hours when I saw seven.”

“Weiss, that is absolutely horrible, but having a dark past doesn’t give you the right to be mean,” Pyrrha said. “Stop using it as a crutch for the bad things you’ve done.”

“You don’t get it, Pyrrha,” Weiss said. “None of you know what it was like being abused.”

“Yes, I do,” Pyrrha said, voice cold and hallow.

“Wait…what?” Weiss’ eyes widened as she looked at Pyrrha.

“My mother, Talia Nikos, was a parasite who made my life hellish just so she could profit from it,” Pyrrha exhaled shakily. “Just like you, I was screamed, beaten, and even forced to witness a murder.”

“What do you mean?” Weiss’ face contorted into a look of horror and confusion.

“It doesn’t matter.” Pyrrha shook her head. “What matters is that I suffered a very similar life compared to yours.”

“I don’t understand…”

“Of course you don’t, because you live in your little world,” Pyrrha said, bitterly. “A world where you’re the only one who suffers. A world where Weiss Schnee is the center of the universe.”

“How did you do it?” Weiss asked.

“What do you mean?”

“How did you survive a home and come out undamaged.”

“Who said I wasn’t damaged?”

“You mean…you’re still suffering from your past?”

Pyrrha nodded.

“Then why are you so polite?” Weiss asked.

“Because I still moved on, Weiss,” Pyrrha answered. “I made a promise that I’d never let my mother control me, to rule every aspect of my life by letting her cruelty and bitterness infect me so I would treat others similarly to how she treated me. I made a promise to never let my mother win.” She sighed, sadly shaking her head. “You let your father win.”

“What?!” Weiss’ lip quivered.

“Weiss, when I look at you, all I see is arrogance, spite, pettiness, and bigotry,” Pyrrha said, bluntly. “I see your father.”

“No!” Weiss screamed, tears rolling down her face as she shook her head, frantically. “I’m not him!”

“Then be better, Weiss!”

“How?!” Weiss begged. “How did you be better than your mom?!”

“I realized I wasn’t the little girl she pushed around, anymore.” Pyrrha put her hand on Weiss’ shoulder. “I took control of my life.” She let go and let her hand drop to her side. “I grew up, Weiss.” Pyrrha turned and walked away, but she gently turned her head without looking directly at Weiss. “When will you?”


“This way!” Sun motioned for Blake to follow him. “I know the perfect spot with the best view!”

“I’m coming, slow down!” Blake called.

The cat and monkey Faunus were jumping from rooftop to rooftop as they raced to the dock. Sun was enjoying himself and Blake would be lying if she said she wasn’t enjoying this.

When they arrived at the docks, Sun did a running start, then jumped across the street, landing on a shipping container.

“Bet you can’t top that!” Sun bragged.

“I bet I can make it without needing a running start,” Blake said.

“Loser has to treat for the next meal we share!” Sun smirked.

“Deal!”

Blake breathed in, counted to ten in her head, then breathed out. Then she jumped and used a shadow clone to boost herself across, landing right next to a stunned Sun.

“What the…you didn’t tell me you had a cool semblance!” Sun whined.

“Thanks, and you didn’t ask.” Blake smiled, cheekily.

“Oh well…” Sun sighed, then looked out to see the shattered moon was halfway risen out of the ocean. “At least we made it.”

“This is a beautiful spot,” Blake admitted. “Didn’t you just get here yesterday, though? How did you find this spot?”

“Dumb luck, I suppose,” Sun said. “I have insomnia, so I just traveled the rooftops of Va,e before coming across this lovely sight.”

“Well, you certainly have good taste,” Blake complimented.

“I always have faith in my abilities!” Sun breathed in his and wiped them on his white coat.

“Sun?”

“Yeah?”

“I want to thank you,” Blake said. “You did make me feel better, and are quite the character.”

“Soooooooo do ya like me?” Sun asked.

“Yeah, I guess I do,” Blake giggled, but then she frowned. “I just need to ask you something…”

“Shoot!”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why did you treat someone you don’t know to a fun day?”

“I know the fruit stealing got us off on the wrong foot, but I’m the kind of person who hates seeing people having a bad time,” Sun explained, seriously. “I just like to cause a little mischief, every once in a while.”

“I can understand that,” Blake said, nodding.

“By the way, did I earn enough of your trust to tell me why you were crashing on a bench?” Sun asked.

“I’m…I’m on a team with Weiss Schnee,” Blake answered, bitterly. “We got into a fight, and she…it’s complicated, she didn’t say anything bad, but she gave a physical implication.”

“Yikes, is she as anti-Faunus as her deal old dad?”

“Afraid so.” Blake nodded.

“Hey, forget about her, at least for now,” Sun said. “Why don’t we enjoy the view?”

“That sounds like a-” Blake cut herself off when she noticed something behind Sun.

“What’s up?” Sun turned around and almost jumped out of his skin. “Is that White Fang?!”

Blake shushed him watched the White Fang member open the shipping container and steal a large amount of dust, then he walked out of sight.

“Remember the between all of the Faunus, good sight, good smell, and good hearing,” Blake said. “Keep a wide birth.”

“Right.” Sun nodded.

Blake and Sun hoped across the shipping containers and then came across as sight. It was White Fang members loading dust in bullheads.

“Oh my Gods, what is taking you guys so long?!” Roman stepped out of one of the bullheads. “This was supposed to be a quick in and out! It’s been like…an hour!”

“We kind of got mixed up with the difference between dust and spices,” a white fang member answered. “So we ended up loading on a bunch of canisters of salt, pepper, and paprika, which means we needed to unload it and then find the dust.”

“Have you idiots considered looking at the side of the cargo containers!” Roman walked over to one and tapped it with his cane, revealing the word “DUST” in big white letters.

“Oh…I didn’t know that!” The White Fang member nodded.

“You’re all so stupid!” Roman face palmed.

“What do we do?!” Sun asked.

“Call the police,” Blake ordered.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going down there.” Blake searched around and noticed some empty beer bottles most likely left by the dockworkers at the foot of the peer. “That’ll do.”

“Blake wait!” Sun tried to stop Blake, but she had already jumped down. “Dang it!” He pulled out his scroll and dialed up the VPD.

Blake grabbed both bottled and smashed them on the side of the peer, leaving her carrying two “blades”.

Roman checked his watch and tapped his foot. “You morons do realize we are all going to die if you don’t do your work fast enough!”

“We’re on lunch break!” A white fang member took a bite of his sandwich.

“What the…you idiots realize we’re on a schedule, right?!”

“Eh, schedule smedule.”

Roman’s eye twisted, then he took a deep breath. “Well, at least this night can’t get any-”

“Don’t move.” Blake grabbed Roman’s chin, held his head up, and pointed the sharp glass at his throat.

“Gotta stop saying that…” Roman squirmed.

“Hey, they got the boss!” A White Fang member shouted.

Every White Fang in the dock pointed their guns at Blake.

“White Fang, what are you doing working for this human?” Blake asked.

“We don’t you an explanation, Belladonna!” A White Fang member spat.

“I think it’d be wise for you to let me go,” Roman said, smugly.

“Not going to happen,” Blake said.

“Fine.” Roman pointed the curled end of his cane at Blake and launched it straight into her face.

Blake shouted, letting go of Roman to stumble back, holding her face. She heard an army of guns clicking, and looked up to see Roman and all the white fang foot soldiers aiming their guns at her.

“Got you now, kitty cat,” Roman smirked.

Chapter Text

Blake jumped away from the hail of gunfire, leaving a shadow clone to be riddled with bullets while she ducked behind a shipping container. She curled into the fetal position, trying her best to cover both her cat ears and regulars simultaneously.

“Blake!” Sun had just hung up after calling the police and jumped to where he heard the sound of gunfire.

Not far from the docks, Ruby and Penny heard the sound of gunfire, as well.

“What was that?!” Ruby widened her eyes.

“I am uncertain, but it doesn’t sound good,” Penny said. “Call you friends!”

“Where are you going?” Ruby asked.

“To see what’s going on over there!” Penny took flight with her rocket boots and flew towards the gunfire.

“She…she has rocket boots…” Ruby wiped the blood out of her nose before calling up Yang on her scroll. “Focus Ruby!”

While out of Ruby’s line of sight, Penny used her thermal imaging mode in her eyes to locate the source of the gunfire and assess the situation. She landed on the roof near the docks, and zoomed in, taking note of the armed White Fang, who were lead by Roman Torchwick, moving in on Blake, along with Sun leaping to her aid.

“Hey Clockwork Orange!”

“Clockwork what?” Roman looked up just as Sun landed on him. “Ow.”

The White Fang members all turned their guns on Sun.

“I…I did not think this through.” Sun raised his hands.

Before the White Fang could fire one of them was stabbed from behind.

“Oh shit!” A White Fang member shouted as Penny flew onto the scene.

“Get off me!” Roman pushed Sun off him, noticing Penny and the dead White Fang at her feet. “Who are you?!”

“I am Penny Polendina.” Penny released her blades from her backpack. “Salutations.”

“Kill her!” Roman barked.

Roman and the White Fang opened fire on Penny, who spun Floating Array to deflect all of the bullets fired upon her. Sun used their distraction to pull out Ruyi and Jingu Bang, taking out two White Fang members with a shot from each gun, then he connected them into a staff. The gunshots got the attention of a few White Fang members, who Sun started dispatching with his staff.

“Gods damn it!” Roman shouted. “This can’t possibly get any-wait!” He stopped himself. “Did that count?”

As if to answer Roman’s question, Ruby sped onto the scene using her semblance.

“Of course it did!” Roman slapped himself, jumping when the White Fang member next to him got a rubber bullet to the head.

“Roman!” Ruby glared at Roman.

“Little Red!” Roman and Ruby stared each other down amidst the chaos. “I still owe you for ruining my robbery!”

“I owe you because you’re a criminal who needs to be stopped!” Ruby shouted.

“How do you plan on doing that?” Roman asked.

“Why don’t you have a listen?” Ruby tapped her ear.

Roman listened noticed a sound growing louder over the gunfire. It was a motorcycle.

“How will we stop you?” Ruby asked. “With teamwork!”

“Wahoo!” Yang cheered as launched bumblebee into the air with her gauntlets, Sapphire holding on for dear life.

“What?!” Roman screamed before getting hit head-on by bumblebee, Yang stopping her motorcycle to send Roman flying into a collective of oil drums.

“Stay here, baby.” Yang kissed Sapphire before running at the White Fang.

“Yang, wait!” Sapphire reached out to Yang, but the gunfire had already obscured her voice.

Yang ran to Ruby’s side just as Blake finally came out from behind her cover.

“Screw this!” A White Fang member shouted. “We got to get out of here!”

A group of White Fang backed away from the fight and towards some bullheads. Sapphire noticed this and turned to where Roman was lying down. She ran over to him.

“HeycanIborrowthisthanks!” Sapphire picked up Melodic Cudgel and ran towards the bullheads.

“Go, go, go!” A White Fang member ordered the one piloting the bullhead.

“I’m going!” The pilot took off just as Sapphire aimed with Melodic Cudgel’s cross hares.

One of Blake’s cat ears rose when she realized the gunfire was way too chaotic to be a group of armed thugs closing in on her.

“Sun!” Blake widened her eyes and grabbed one of the shattered bottles, only be shocked when she saw Ruby and Yang. “Ruby?! Yang?!”

“Blake!” Ruby and Yang shouted simultaneously, both running to Blake’s side.

“What are you girls doing here?”

“Looking for you, dummy!” Ruby hugged Blake.

“You…looked for me?” Blake didn’t hide her confusion.

“Not just us, Teams JNRP, CFVY, and CARD agreed to help!” Ruby smiled. “You’re loved Blake, nothing Weiss says will change that.”

“Did you also get that girl from yesterday to help?” Blake asked.

“Penny? Yeah!” Ruby tilted her head, completely missing Penny blasting the army of White Fang with her lasers. “How did you guess?”

“Luck,” Blake snarked.

“My girlfriend Sapphire also agreed to help,” Yang said. “I should introduce you.”

Just then, a loud explosion made them jump, and a bullhead that had its turbine shot out crashed to the ground.

“I got it!” Sapphire jumped. “Did you see that baby?! I got it!”

“Is that Sapphire…?” Blake asked, mouth agape in shock.

“Yeah…” Yang was equally shocked.

One of the bullheads took flight, but it suddenly stopped in the air.

“What’s going on?!” A White Fang member asked as the bullhead they were in shook.

The bullhead was forced to the ground as Pyrrha jumped into the fray. Using her polarity semblance to pull the guns out of the White Fang members’ hands.

“That’s not fair!” A White Fang member whined.

“Too bad.”

They were suddenly blown up from a fire dust shot from Weiss’ revolver rapier, Myrtenaster. She revealed herself standing behind the group.

“Whoa!” Sun jumped. “That was freaking awesome!”

“Do you girls know where the others are?” Ruby asked.

“They said they’d be as fast as they could, but a lot of them are on the other side of Vale,” Pyrrha answered, then she noticed Blake. “Blake, are you-”

“I’m okay,” Blake interrupted.

“Good, we’re glad.” Pyrrha smiled warmly, then she looked at Weiss. “All of us.”

“You came looking for me?” Blake didn’t hide her shock.

“I did,” Weiss said.

“Why?”

“Because…I had the responsibility as your teammate and…the one who drove you away, to tell you that you’re valued.”

Blake was even more taken aback, but before either could speak, the last bullhead flew into the air, causing dust and debris to get into the girls’ eyes, disorienting all except Pyrrha. Its side opened to reveal a White Fang member with a rocket launcher. Pyrrha tried to use her polarity, but a quick-thinking sniper shot her in the shoulder. Though her aura protected her, it gave the rocket launcher enough time to fire upon the girls, taking out all their auras in a single explosive shot.

“Oh no!” Penny, along with Sun, had just finished off the last White Fang member in Torchwick’s army when she realized team RWBY and Pyrrha were hit.

“Go! Get us out of here!” The sniper shouted.

“No, you don’t!” Penny launched every sword in Floating Array at the bullhead, embedding themselves deep into the airship

“Okay…now what?” Sun asked.

“Ugh…” Ruby gripped her head, getting her bearings just in time to see Penny stepping back, causing the bullhead to stop. “No way…”

“Holy crap!” Sun widened his eyes as Penny started to pull the bullhead down.

“What’s going on?!” The sniper shouted.

“I want my mommy!” The rocket launcher cried.

Penny, eyes narrowed and using all her strength, yanked. The bullhead came crashing down, and Ruby felt more blood dripping down her nose.

“Dude, that was the sickest!” Sun raised his hand for Penny to give him a hive five, which he regretted when she gave him one. “Ow!”

“Oh, sorry, I don’t know my strength, sometimes!” Penny cringed.

“Is…is everyone alright?” Yang asked, rubbing her head and getting to her feet.

“Yang!”

Yang shook off whatever disorientation remind when Sapphire screamed. She looked in the direction of the scream and saw Roman had gotten his cane back and looked about ready to murder Sapphire.

“Hey!” Yang shouted, eyes red and hair aflame.

“Uh oh!” Roman took Sapphire as a human shield. “Back up, Goldie Locks!”

Yang froze, as did the others. Roman smirked, and fired a shot at the group, hitting Blake in the abdomen.

“Blake!” Weiss cried out in anguish as Blake fell.

Roman whacked Sapphire on the head with his cane, knocking her out.

“Sapphire!” Yang exploded, and she took off at Roman at blinding speeds.

“I admittedly regret that.” Roman stood, frozen in fear until Yang punched in the face and sent flying into the ocean, skipping along the water like a stone before sinking into the inky depths.

Yang stood still, panting loudly until she remembered why she got so angry in the first place.

“Sapphire!” Yang ran to her side just as Sapphire stirred. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah…just got a headache…” Sapphire answered.

“I got you, baby.” Yang picked Sapphire bridal style and met up with the rest of the group.

The cops had arrived, as did CFVY, CARD, and the remains of JNPR.

“Aw, man! Did we miss the fight?” Canvas whined.

“Looks like it,” Yatsuhashi said.

“Damn it!”

“Help!” Weiss shouted, putting pressure on Blake’s wound.

“Is…is Weiss…helping someone?!” Velvet exclaimed, shocked.

The Teams went over to RWBY, Pyrrha, Sun, Penny, and Sapphire.

“Weiss?” Blake looked up at Weiss in confusion.

“I’m sorry!” Weiss cried. “I’m so sorry! For everything!” She sniffed. “For being a brat about not being  leader, for being bigoted, and just being so mean and unpleasant!” Weiss broke down. “I thought just because my father broke me, that gave me an excuse to break others, it doesn’t…I know that, now. I’m sorry. I’ll be better. I promise.”

“Step back!” Paramedics came onto the scene, stretcher ready for Blake.

“Are you okay?” One of the paramedics asked Pyrrha, noticing her shot shoulder.

“Help Blake, then help me,” Pyrrha said.

The Paramedics got Blake on the stretcher.

“Wait,” Blake said, stopping them. “Weiss?”

Weiss looked at Blake, eyes still red and puffy, but she had stopped crying.

“I…I don’t forgive you.” Blake shook her head.

“I understand.” Weiss deflated.

“Not yet,” Blake said. “If you’re serious about making an effort to be better, then I’ll gladly be your friend, then.”

Weiss gasped, but her face turned to one of understanding, and she nodded.

“Alright, teen drama or whatever over, we got to get this patched up!” One of the paramedics exclaimed, and he and the other paramedics wheeled Blake away.

The Teams stood silently as Blake was placed in an ambulance.

“You know, other than Blake getting injured, that was pretty fun,” Sun said.

“No need to rub it in, Blondie!” Canvas shouted. “Gods damn it!”


Miles away from where the fight had taken place, Roman had been dragged by current, towards the ocean. He desperately tried to keep his head above water, and when all hope seemed lost and he was about to accept drowning with grace, he heard a shout.

“There he is!” Cinder shouted.

Crap…I think I was better off drowning! Roman thought.

Roman felt a chain wrap around him and start reeling him towards the shore.

“Thank you, Emmy.” Cinder walked to the edge and glared down at Roman.

“G-Give a guy a hand?!” Roman chuckled, nervously.

Cinder reached down, Roman held out his hand, only for Cinder to reach further and grab him by the collar, lifting him out of the water. Emerald and Mercury stood behind her, Emerald looking worried while Mercury smiled sadistically.

“That’s more dust lost, Roman,” Cinder said, her calm tone had a hint of anger so sharp it’d cut through Roman-like butter. “Fewer men in my army.”

“I know, I know, I know, okay?” Roman held up his hands. “It’s that damn red! She always shows up at the most inconvenient of times!”

“Then I suggest you start taking her and her little friends into account for now on, understand?” Cinder hissed.

“Completely!” Roman gave Cinder a shaky thumbs-up.

“Good.” Cinder gently set him down on his feet. “Now let’s get you dried up.”

“Works for me,” Roman sighed in relief.

Cinder walked away, Emerald catching up to her so they could hold hands. Roman cringed at every squelching noise his shoes made whenever he took a step.

“You know I was hoping she'd killed you,” Mercury said, bluntly. “Slowly and painfully kill you, of course.”

“I wish that too, belief or not,” Roman groaned. “At least I learned a valuable lesson.”

“What’s that?”

“Don’t ever go anywhere without Neo again!”

Chapter Text

Roman looked over the massive supply of stolen dust in his warehouse. Piles of shipping containers littered the place, stacked from the floor to the high ceiling.

“Good…this is good!” Roman rubbed his hands together. “I’ve already made up for the shipments I failed to steal before!” He looked at a map of Mt. Glenn and Vale. “Now, all I need to do is-”

“Mr. Torchwick?”

“I’m in the middle of something, Perry!” Roman waved Perry away, not turning around to look at him. “The attack on Vale is almost here, so I’ll be busy planning and can’t afford to have my time wasted.”

“Cinder is here.”

“Good thing talking to my good friend Cinder is not a waste of time!” Roman corrected himself, turning to face Perry, laughing nervously. “Send them in.”

“It’s cute that you think you’re the one who can give that order.”

Roman cringed when he heard Cinder’s silk-like voice. Perry stepped aside to see Cinder standing in the doorway behind him, Emerald and Mercury at her side.

“You two wait out here,” Cinder ordered Emerald no Mercury. “I want to have a private discussion with Roman.”

“Of course, ma’am.” Emerald nodded with a smile.

“Yes, sure whatever.” Mercury pulled out his scroll and started playing a violent, gory video game.

“So, how does the dust stealing go, Roman?” Cinder walked inside, Perry stepping out of her way in fright.

“I think you’ll be pleased to know I’ve made up for all the dust I failed to steal those last two times,” Roman answered. “Which means I can form a more concrete schedule and begin planning out the attack!”

“Excellent.” Cinder gave Roman a genuine smile. “I’m glad you’re picking up the slack, Roman.”

“Hey…you’ve got some great methods of encouragement!” Roman tugged at his collar.

“That I do, but one last thing.”

“Yes?”

“Tukson.”

“Traitor,” Perry hissed.

“The White Fang defector,” Cinder said. “Did you take care of him?”

“Yes, I did,” Roman assured. “I had Neo track him down.”

“Good,” Cinder said, turning towards the door. “That’ll be all for now, keep up the good work.”

“I intend to.” Roman tipped his hat.

“The store should almost be open, by now.” Cinder checked the time on her scroll.

“What do you need to go to the store for?” Emerald asked.

“Have you forgotten, my little gem?” Cinder slipped her scroll back into her dress pocket. “The Beacon dance is coming up, and I need a dress for the ballroom, along with something for the infiltration of the CCT tower and more causal huntsmen attire for when I’m out of uniform.”

“Oh…you’ll be trying on clothes, then?” Emerald asked. “G-Guess that means you’ll b-be doing a lot of…you know…undressing?”

“I suppose I will.” Cinder chuckled. “If you want to come, meet me at Shopkeep’s this afternoon. For now, I’ll need some privacy.”

“It’s a date.” Emerald blushed.

“See you then.” Cinder walked away from Emerald and Mercury.

Emerald exhaled a breath she didn’t know she was holding.

“You two are already together,” Mercury pointed out. “Why are you gushing out?”

“Yeah, but I’ve never seen her naked!” Emerald exclaimed, she checked the time and saw it was 10:30. “Okay, got some time.”

Mercury just rolled his eyes. “Well, what do you want to do while we wait for your regularly scheduled session of drooling at the sight of the boss’ naked body like a dog locking a BBQ?”

“For starters, screw you,” Emerald began. “The second…I don’t know. What do you do for fun?”

“Kill people,” Mercury answered, casually.

“Well, I don’t think-” Emerald began, but she stopped talking when she heard Perry.

“Mr. Torchwick, I didn’t want to say this with Cinder still around, but I thought you haven’t actually taken care of Tukson?” Perry asked.

“I haven’t, Neo is with her family and I have no intention of spoiling that with a hit job,” Roman answered. “I’ll send her after him later.”

“Why don’t you send one of us?” Perry asked. “A lot of White Fang want to get their hands, or claws, in some instances, on that traitor.”

“You’ve all more than proven yourselves to me to be incompetent idiots!”

“Still, Tukson isn’t an idiot,” Perry noted. “Once he left our cause, he more than likely plans to leave the city, which puts us on a time limit.”

“Just let Neo have her day.”

“What if he’s gone by the end of it?”

“Look, I don’t care what your issues are,” Roman spat. “I need to focus on this attack, Neo needs to focus on her family, and you need to keep this information to yourself! I know where he is, the bookstore he named after himself, so I know where to send Neo. I assure you, she’ll be quick and efficient.”

“If you say so, but if he gets away it’ll be all our heads,” Perry warned.

“I’ll handle it, Perry.” Roman turned back to the maps. “Now get out of here.”

Emerald activated her semblance so Perry couldn’t see or hear herself or Mercury when he walked out of the warehouse, not making herself and Mercury visible until Perry was out of sight.

“Did you hear that?” Emerald looked at Mercury, who had gone back to playing on his scroll. “Mercury?”

Mercury didn’t look up, causing Emerald to smack him in the back of the head.

“Ow!” Mercury rubbed his head. “What?!”

“Shush!” Emerald pressed her finger against her lips and then pointed at Roman, who thankfully didn’t hear Mercury. “You want to kill people right? I think we can do something mutually beneficial to the both of us!”

“I’m listening.” Mercury finally shut off his scroll and slipped it into his pocket.

“I get to help Cinder and you’ll get to kill someone,” Emerald said. “All we have to do is find that bookstore.”

“Vale is a pretty big city,” Mercury pointed out.

“How hard could it be to find?” Emerald asked, then she took Mercury’s arm and began to pull him away from the warehouse. “Come on, you want your fun or not?”

“I do.”

“Great.” Emerald let go of Mercury’s arm. “Trust me, you won’t regret this!”

2 Hours Later

“Well, I fucking regret the shit out of this,” Mercury crassly said, leaning his back against a brick building.

“Will you quit whining and help me look?” Emerald looked down the street, hand shielding her eyes from the sun.

“I can’t…” Mercury mock whined. “My feet are killing me!”

“Okay, we both know why that’s BS.”

“At least you know something,” Mercury snarked.

“Okay, I didn’t think this through!” Emerald threw her hands into the air. “I thought the place would be easier to find!”

“Well, it wasn’t and now we’re lost.”

“I guess we should start asking around.”

“Nope!”

“You never do that when you’re looking for a target!” Mercury left his relaxed stance to point at Emerald. “If you go asking ‘Hey, do you know where X is?’ then when X turns up dead, who are they going to point to?”

“The strangers asking around.”

“Exactly!” Mercury returned to him relax stance. “That’s why I’m the murder expert, and you’re the lowly thief.”

“Whatever…” Emerald scoffed, then she felt her scroll vibrate in her pocket.

Emerald pulled out her scroll and saw it was a text from Cinder.

Not coming, my little gem? I noticed a skintight outfit I know you’ll love to see me in!

Emerald growled I’m frustrated. “Gods damn it.”

Sorry, I’m hanging out with Merc.

That’s fine, beloved.

Thanks for understanding. I love you.

I love you, too! <3

Emerald sighed shoved her scroll into her pocket.

“I take it you missed your scheduled ogling of the boss lady?” Mercury asked.

“Yeah…” Emerald groaned.

“Great!” Mercury pulled out his scroll and held the call button. “Hey scroll, can you give me directions to Tukson’s Bookstore?”

“Sure, Tukson’s Book Trade has located her.” Mercury’s scroll gave him directions.

“What the…Mercury!” Emerald glared daggers at Mercury. “You had that the whole time?!”

“Yep.” Mercury set the directions so he and Emerald could follow them.

“Why didn’t you do that before we left!”

“I wanted you to miss your appointment with Cinder.”

“You wandered around aimlessly with me for two freaking hours just to keep me from Cinder?!”

Mercury wordlessly answered Emerald with a smug grin.

“You asshole!” Emerald punched his arm.

“You want to keep being angry or do you want to kill this guy for Cinder?” Mercury waved his scroll in the air.

“Let’s just go find this guy…” Emerald huffed and crossed her arms.


Emerald and Mercury stood before Tukson’s bookstore, staring up at the overhead sign. Mercury looked around to see if anyone would notice them entering, while Emerald looked down to one of her dual guns, Thief’s Respite, deploying its blade to look at her reflection.

“Nervous?” Mercury asked, mockingly.

“I’m not…I’m not a killer.”

“Says the chick with scythe guns.”

“I’m serious, Mercury.”

“Hey, so am I!” Mercury “comfortingly” slapped Emerald’s. “It gets easier, Em.”

“How would you know?” Emerald rubbed her back. “You enjoyed killing since the start.”

“True, but that’s what my dear old dad used to say.”

“Considering what you told me, you most definitely loved him with all your heart.” Emerald rolled his eyes.

“I loved killing him.” Mercury shrugged.

“Let’s just get this over with.” Emerald walked towards the bookstore, holstering her guns behind her back, and opened the door.

Emerald and Mercury walked inside the bookstore, looking at all the empty shelves collecting dust. Tukson most definitely planned on leaving soon.

“It’s a good thing we found him when we did,” Emerald whispered.

“Yeah, yeah, I need you to distract him,” Mercury ordered, tone much more professional and serious. “I need to…prepare.”

“Uh…okay…” Emerald walked over to the front desk and tapped the bell.

“I’ll be right out!” Tukson called.

“Remember, use your scythes, guns are too loud,” Mercury advised.

Emerald glanced back to see Mercury locking the door.

“Yes, how can I help you?” Tukson asked, causing Emerald to snap back to him.

“I’m sorry, are you closing up?” Emerald asked, meekly.

“I’m just preparing to leave this city, is all,” Tukson answered. “No worries, though. I’m still open, and I can get you any book you need.”

“Thank you…” Emerald hated how nice he was. “Do you have anything on how to keep a relationship steady?”

“A little insecure about your love life?” Tukson asked, jokingly.

“Uh…it’s complicated…” Emerald glanced off to her right.

“I was just messing around, I know it isn’t my place to pry,” Tukson chuckled. “I’ll see what I can get you.”

Emerald watched as Tukson went to the back of the bookstore, shuffling through the boxes full of books. She looked back to Mercury, who had briefly stopped closing the blinds when Tukson had come out, and was now resuming, finishing just as Tukson came out with three books.

“Should this help?” Tukson asked.

“Yeah…” Emerald looked at books.

“Want all three?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, that’ll be-” Tukson cut himself off when the lights were turned off. “What the…” he looked to the front of the store to Mercury, a psychotic grin on his face, hand still on the light switch. “What do you think you’re doing?!”

“I’m so sorry.” Emerald whipped out one of her guns, a sickle reflecting what little light came from outside, and slashed at Tukson’s throat.

Tukson expertly countered the attack, dodging the blade, grabbing Emerald’s arm, and throwing her to the back of the store.

“Gods damn it.” Mercury rolled his eyes.

“I take it the White Fang sent you?” Tukson stalked over to the fallen Emerald, nails extending into sharp claws.

“No.” Emerald shook her head. “The love of my life did.”

“Well, whoever they are, I feel sorry they’ll lose you.”

Before Tukson could act, Mercury kicked him away with a roundhouse kick. Emerald scurried to her feet, pulling out both of Thief’s Respite and deploying both sickles. Tukson growled and charged the two assassins, who dodged out of his path.

“Emerald?” Mercury glanced to Emerald.

Emerald nodded and activated her semblance, causing both her and Mercury to vanish from Tukson’s perspective. Now he couldn’t see or hear them

“What?!” Tukson desperately looked around. “Where are you?!”

“I’ll let you do the honors,” Mercury said.

“I…I don’t think I can…” Emerald whimpered.

“This was your idea, and also what you sighed up for,” Mercury reminded. “I suggest you get used to it, and this would be a great way to starting that process.”

Emerald, shaking, tightened her grip on Thief’s Respite, and closed in on the panicking Tukson. When he turned towards her, she attacked, and cut out his throat.

“Oh shit!” Mercury laughed.

Tukson back away, gripping his throat, until his back was against the wall. Emerald looked at what she had done in horror, watching as Tukson made agonizing noises, while Mercury loved watching him die in pain. Eventually, Tukson slumped over and went still.

“That was awesome!” Mercury laughed.

“I should’ve killed him…” Emerald stared off into space. “I should’ve ended his suffering.”

“Oh don’t puss out on me now,” Mercury said.

“It’s one thing to get used to killing, it’s another thing entirely to like causing something that slow and…p-painful…”

Mercury scoffed. “Whatever.”

“Let’s just get out of here.” Emerald holstered Thief’s Respite, wiped the tears in her eyes before they could fall, and headed towards the exit, Mercury following.


“Ah, Mt. Glenn has the subway system!” Roman slapped his head. “Of course!”

“Uh…Mr. Torchwick?” Perry opened the door. “It’s…Cinder again.”

“Right.” Roman turned around as Cinder walked in, a look of concern on her face. “What’s the matter?”

“I’ve texted Emerald a few times and she hasn’t gotten back to me, and it’s getting late,” Cinder explained. “I’m worried, and I was wondering if she was here.”

“Why would I have her?” Roman asked.

“I don’t know where to look…” Cinder admitted.

“Hey, boss.” Mercury knocked on the doorframe.

“Mercury!” Cinder turned to him and smiled. “Is Emerald with you?”

“No, she was being a baby, and I’m not exactly the caring and comforting type,” Mercury explained. “So she told me to take a hike.”

“Then…you don’t know where she is, too?” Cinder swallowed, hard.

“Why do you care?” Mercury asked.

“I’m not losing another…I’m not losing her, Mercury.” Cinder realized what he had said. “What was she upset about?”

“She wanted to tell you.”

“Then she should pick up!” Cinder snapped.

“I’m sorry.”

Mercury looked behind himself to see a meek Emerald.

“Emerald, baby!” Cinder ran to Emerald and hugged her. “I’m so glad you’re okay, my little gem.”

“I’m sorry for worrying you, I know you’re extra paranoid about losing loved ones,” Emerald said, remorsefully. “I just…didn’t feel right.”

“About what?” Cinder asked.

“We heard Roman and Perry chatting about how they lied about killing Tukson,” Mercury answered, smiling sadistically, knowing he had just thrown the two into the fire.

“What?” Cinder widened her eyes. “Is this true?”

Emerald nodded.

“Y-You heard that?” Roman asked, then he slammed his hand over his mouth, realizing too late he had just confirmed their accusations.

“Roman.” Cinder turned to Roman, eyes glowing. “Why did you two lie?”

“I-I…uh…you see…”

“I would also like to point out that Tukson was most definitely going to leave,” Mercury said.

“Why?” Roman whimpered.

“Why not?” Mercury rhetorically asked, smug.

“So, let me get this just right.” Cinder stalked over to the terrified Roman, hand ignited in flames. “You fail yet again to follow a simple instruction, almost allowed a target to escape, lied to my face, and most importantly wasted the time of Emerald by essentially making her do the job you were too lazy to do.”

“L-Look, I was going to send Neo, but she was with family and I couldn’t-”

“Roman, you and I both know why I’m fine with that,” Cinder interrupted. “That is way justifies you not sending a White Fang assassin, or even Mercury, to get the job done.”

“I could’ve…but I didn’t because…”

Cinder aimed the palm of her hand at Roman.

“Wait, wait, wait!” Roman coward. “You still need me to get more dust and plan the attack!”

Cinder briefly lowered her hand. “You’re right.”

“I…am?” Roman opened his eye.

“Yes, you are.” Cinder whirled around and blasted Perry with fire.

Perry screamed in agony as Mercury watched with a smile on his face, Roman utterly terrified, and Emerald still too numb from killing Tukson to care. When she was finished, Perry’s petrified body stood, frozen in his attempts to kill shield himself from the blast.

“Word of advice, Roman,” Cinder spat. “You best pick up the paste before I roast you until your skin crackles like fireworks. Understand.”

“Yes ma’am.” Roman nodded.

“Good.” Cinder dropped the flame from her smoking hand and her eyes stopped glowing.

“Bravo!” Mercury clammed and whistled.

Cinder ignored him and made her to Emerald, who had her head down, gently taking her chin to lift her into a kiss.

“Thank you so much, Emmy,” Cinder said. “I know that must’ve been so hard taking your first life.”

“It was.” Emerald let tears run down her face. “I know I’d have to do it for your plans…b-but…”

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Cinder cooed, embracing Emerald as she finally broke down in Cinder’s arms. “It was hard for me, too. Just remember why we’re doing this.”

“So you can protect me,” Emerald said.

“So I can protect you,” Cinder repeated. “Now let’s get you washed up.”

“Okay…”

Cinder took Emerald’s hand and lead her away from Roman and Mercury. The former was still shaking, hand to the chest as he breathed heavily.

“Boo!” Mercury suddenly shouted, causing Roman to jump out of his skin.

“You worthless rat!” Roman shouted, fear turning to anger. “Get out of here!”

Mercury laughed as he gave Roman a middle finger salute before following Cinder and Emerald.

Chapter Text

It was a bright Monday afternoon when Team RWBY headed to the cafeteria for lunch, though since they still were serving, breakfast for some students, deciding to sit with Team CFVY. The team was quiet as they ate, Ruby and Yang made faces at Nora, Weiss was silent, and Blake was drawing in her scrapbook, specifically sketches of Yang. She felt like a creep and noted she should probably stop doing this before Yang noticed.

“Blake!” Yang tapped Blake’s temple.

“What?” Blake shook her head. “Sorry, what were you saying, Yang?”

“I was asking how your bullet wound was doing.”

“Oh, it’s fine.” Blake rolled up her school uniform to check the patched-up wind. “Just a little sore, is all.”

“Good.” Yang looked at Blake’s scrapbook. “Hey, what you got there, Blake? They look like drawings of-”

“Nothing!” Blake slammed her scrapbook shut.

“Okay…looks like you were drawing ladies,” Yang smirked and wagged her eyebrows. “You know, if you ever need a muse you can draw like one of your French girls, I’ll gladly take up the offer.”

“What about your girlfriend?”

“Blake, I was just joking.” Yang frowned. “I would never do that to Sapphire.”

“Right…of course…sorry.” Blake lowered her cat ears.

“I-I can be your muse, Blake,” Weiss offered.

“Shut up, Weiss.”

“Okay.” Weiss glanced to Ruby, who was staring down Nora. “Ruby, what are you doing?”

“Nora and I were having a silly face off.” Ruby never took her eyes off of Nora. “Now we’re having a staring contest.”

“Who’s winning?”

“Staring contests only determine the winners when one has blinked,” Ruby answered, dead serious.

“I feel you’re taking this a little too seriously.”

“Silence!”

Nora’s eyes started to get strained and glanced down at her juice box. She grabbed it and tossed it at Ruby’s head, but she moved it out of the way just in time. Ruby wagged her finger, mouthing “No Cheating” with a cocky grin. Nora clawed the table, knuckles whitening, then let out a frustrated groan when she blinked.

“Victory!” Ruby fist pumped.

“Congrats Ruby!” Weiss clapped, causing everyone to stare at her. “What?”

“Weiss, I appreciate that you’re trying, but a going just a tiny bit overboard,” Ruby said.

“If you’re definition of tiny is the size of Beacon itself,” Fox snarked. “Yeah, I completely agree.”

“Sorry…I’m still new to this…atoning thing,” Weiss said, meekly.

“Hey, it’s good, it’s good!” Ruby took Weiss’s ponytail and stroked it.

“Can you not do that.”

“Oh sorry, that was probably really creepy.”

“Probably?” Coco joked.

“Okay, that was super creepy,” Ruby conceded, then a spoon hit her head. “Ow!” She reached under the table and picked it up, glaring over at JNPR’s table. “Nora!”

Nora looked around and shrugged in mock confusion.

“Throw a spoon at my baby sister, will you?!” Yang stood up. “You’re going down, Valkyrie!”

Nora made a “Come at me” motion with both hands. Yang narrowed her eyes and picked up her plate of pancakes.

“I will use what you love against you!” Yang started throwing her pancakes like frisbees.

Nora ducked under the table, the pancakes to fly over her head and all hit Canvas at once, causing him to drop his sandwich.

Canvas sighed, not even angry. “Why?”

“Wow Canvas, I guess you can say you got pretty…battered!” Deacon joked, blushing when Reven cutely giggled.

“Whoa, Canvas what happened!” Adrian asked.

“It happened right in front of you,” Canvas said.

“Sorry, I spaced out.”

“Of course you did,” Canvas sighed. “To answer your question, Yang hit me with pancakes.”

Adrian’s headshot in the direction of RWBY and CFVY’s table. Yang felt uncharacteristically intimidated by how angry Adrian looked.

“Adrian…don’t!” Canvas reached out his hand, but he was too late to stop Adrian from throwing his tray of food at Yatsuhashi.

The entire cafeteria went quiet.

“Why is everyone so quiet?” Fox asked, uncharacteristically concerned. “Did…did Yatsuhashi just get hit?!”

“Yes,” Velvet answered, everyone else at the table too stunned to say anything.

“Why did you throw it at him?!” Canvas shouted.

“Wait…that’s not Yang?” Adrian scratched.

“No! That’s Yatsuhashi!”

“Sorry, their names both start with Y!”

“That has nothing-” Canvas was cut off by the sound of Yatsuhashi slamming both hands on the table, getting to his feet, and turning to team CARD.

“Alright.” Yatsuhashi threw his pie at Adrian, who didn’t have time to react before he was struck so hard he went flying into a nearby pillar, cracking it.

Nora grinned madly, jumping on top of the table. “Food Fight!”

“Oh my…” Pyrrha covered her mouth.

“Oh boy.” Ren facepalmed. “Not again.”

“I’ve actually always wanted to be a part of these!” Jaune grabbed his plate.

“If you’re in, then so am I!” Pyrrha nodded.

“I have experience with Nora and food fights,” Ren said.

The whole café erupted into havoc, any student not taking part in the fight bolted out of the room. Ruby and Yang smirked, jumping on their tabled and stealing Fox’s sandwich, which was cut in two. They threw their respective halves at Nora, faking her out. Nora dodged the one Ruby threw, but ended jumping right into the path of and getting hit with the one Yang threw. It stuck to her face and she fell off the table.

“Hey!” Fox shouted.

“It’s war, my dude,” Ruby said. “Team RWBY, get to the kitchen, arm yourselves! Tonight! We dine on the blood of our foes!”

“It’s freaking 12!” Canvas shouted.

“No matter!”

Weiss, Blake, and Yang bolted towards the kitchen.

“Oh no, you don’t!” Nora pulled the sandwich off her face, then ran down the table, picking up every plate, bowl, or even the food directly off of either, and threw it at WBY.

Ruby gasped and used her semblance to intercept every tossed food and zipped in front of Nora, all of the food, plates, and bowls stacked on top of one another to former an unstable tower.

“I can defeat you, but I know that will not hurt you!” Ruby exclaimed in a stereotypically evil voice. “Instead, I will hurt what you love!”

Nora instinctively went to shield Ren, leaving Pyrrha open. Ruby threw the food in Pyrrha’s direction, but Jaune shielded her, taking all of the food while Pyrrha was left unharmed

“Jaune!” Pyrrha cried, holding him. “Why?!”

“It’s what a leader does,” Jaune fake coughed. “Now…avenge me!” He “died”.

“Mwhahahahaha!” Ruby evil laughed. “Now you are leaderless!”

“Team RWBY is about to be, as well.” Pyrrha grabbed a cartoonishly large sub, jumped on the table, jumped at Ruby, sub raised over her head like a sword.

“Whoa!” Ruby barely dodged in time, then used her semblance to speed away.

“Coward!” Pyrrha shouted, then she noticed the lunch trays near the kitchen. “Nora! Ren! Come, we must avenge our leader!”

Nora and Ren nodded, picking up as much “ammo” as they could, Nora specifically using the sharp end of Magnhild to stab a watermelon to use as her hammer, and confronted team RWBY just as they left the kitchen. Weiss armed with a swordfish, Blake a string of sausages she used as a whip, and Yang two turkeys on each hand to function as gauntlets. Ruby stood in front of them, waiting to give the order to attack.

“You have one chance to surrender,” Pyrrha said.

“Ha! Foolish invincible girl, I will not cow to your worthless mercy!” Ruby pointed at NPR. “Team RWBY, at-” she was cut off when she got “headshot” by a bowl of ice cream, and her lifeless body fell to the ground.

“Ruby!” Yang cried.

Both teams turned to see CFVY, Coco smirking and spinning another bowl of ice cream on her finger.

“You guys forgot the one rule of war, keep an eye on all your enemies!”

“A third party has entered the fray,” Yang said, taking command.

“As well as a fifth party!” Canvas shouted as CRD jumped onto the scene.

“That’s fourth party, Canvas,” Deacon corrected.

“Oh…right…sorry,” Canvas said. “I catch Adrian’s stupidity whenever he isn’t around.”

Canvas then suffered a similar fate to Ruby’s, taken down with an ice cream bowl to the head.

“Literally got done saying not to take your eyes off your enemies!” Coco scolded.

The Teams all stared each other down intense silence, then Nora let out a strange battle cry and they all attacked. Revon took to the air, “bombing” his enemies with cakes, the largest landed on Fox’s head, dulling his senses long enough for Nora to take him out with one good swing from Magnhild, sending him flying across the room. Nora laughed as she gave in to her “bloodlust” and began to swing madly at her enemies, though she was so reckless many saw her attacks coming from a mile away and dodged. Unfortunately, when Yatsuhashi dodged, Ren was standing behind him and was struck by Nora.

“Ren!” Nora dropped Magnhild and ran to Ren’s side. “I’m sorry.”

“Nora…why?” Ren closed his eyes.

“Ren, stay with me!” Nora screamed at the ceiling. “What have I done?!” She noticed a fallen pancake, she took it. “I have ruined my life.” Nora pushed the pancake against her heart, and fell over, she reached her hand out to Ren’s, but “died” just inches away from it. “Bleh.”

As the battle raged on, Blake put an end to Reven’s bombing by wrapping the string of sausages around his leg.

“Uh oh!” That was all Revon had time to say before Blake pulled him to the ground, him splitting a table in two.

“Revon!” Deacon held out his hand, but this allowed Blake to wrap the string of sausages around his wrist.

“Got you!” Blake smirked.

Blake tried to yank and pulled Deacon towards her, but he turned to stone.

“Huh?!” Blake was stunned.

“On the contrary, I’ve got you!” Deacon grabbed the string of sausages and pulled Blake towards him, taking her out with an armbar. “That was for Revon.”

“Now you may join him in the afterlife.”

Deacon turned around, but couldn’t react in time to stop Yatsuhashi from striking him down with a fish.

Weiss and Pyrrha were swords fighting with their respective food.

“I’ve always looked up to you as a great warrior,” Weiss said, dramatically.

“Then you know you will die!” Pyrrha spat.

“Maybe so, but you’re coming with me!” Weiss exclaimed.

Weiss lunged at Pyrrha, who widened her eyes and poked Weiss in the chest with her sub, but Weiss used the last of her strength to poke Pyrrha in the heart before falling over “dead”. Pyrrha stepped away from Weiss and held her wound.

“Heh…good one, Schnee…” Pyrrha smiled as she closed her eyes, but she did not fall, “dying” on her feet like a true warrior.

“You killed my sister!” Yang shouted as she attacked Coco.

“Yang, you don’t understand!” Coco begged. “Please listen, Ruby wasn’t truly your sister!”

“What do you mean?” Yang froze. “Ruby is my only sister.”

“No, I am your sister.”

“No…that’s not true…that’s impossible!”

“You’re right, it is.”

“What?”

“I was just distracting you.”

“From what-” Yang gasped, then fell to her knees. “Sister…forgive me.” She fell to the ground, revealing Velvet standing behind her, having ended the fight by throwing a pie into her back.

“We did, Velvet,” Coco said. “We won.”

“Did we?” Yatsuhashi looked at Fox’s body.

“We may have won this day, but at what cost, Coco?” Velvet asked. “At what cost?”

Coco looked solemn, before bursting out laughing. All of the other Teams soon joined, each getting out of their death poses.

“That was way more dramatic than I thought it’d be!” Jaune got up.

“I have to say, you are a marvelous actor.” Pyrrha helped Weiss to her feet.

“As are you.” Weiss smiled.

“None are as dramatic as you, Nora.” Ren sat up as Nora posed.

“Ripped straight from every story of star-crossed lovers!” Nora exclaimed.

“That was actually…pretty fun!” Fox tried to wipe the cake out of his hair.

“Agreed,” Yatsuhashi said.

“That unintentional double team was pretty cool.” Fox turned to Revon and Nora. “Smart move taking out my hearing, Revon.”

“Oh…thanks.” Revon blushed.

“Hey, I avenged you,” Deacon said.

“And I’m so grateful!” Revon rolled his eyes.

“Damn Coco, really took advantage of my stupidity?” Canvas tossed the bowls feed taking it off his head.

“Agreed!” Ruby jumped to her feet. “That was pretty dirty, but in a good way!”

“Just be thankful you learned the lesson outside of a real spat,” Coco said.

“Oh my God, I thought all died!” Adrian suddenly exclaimed.

“Yes Adrian, because Weiss totally got killed by being poked in the chest with a freakin sandwich,” Canvas snarked.

“Isn’t that actually possible?” Adrian asked.

Canvas sighed and rubbed his temple. “No Adrian, that isn’t possible.”

“What. Has. Happened?!”

All the students turned to see Glynda standing in the double doors of the cafeteria’s entrance.

“Uh…food fight?” Jaune shrugged.

Glynda waved her wand and fixed every broken place, splattered food, and even any damages to the foundation. When she was finished, she was about to scold the teams before Ozpin stopped her.

“Glynda, it’s all alright.” Ozpin put a hand on her shoulder.

“But-”

“The world of Remnant has so little moments of fun and levity,” Ozpin said. “Let’s these kids have this moment.”

Glynda begrudgingly nodded.

“Uh…Miss Goodwitch?” Ruby’s meek voice asked.

Glynda looked to the students, still, covered in food.

“Mind getting this stuff off of us?” Ruby gave her a small smile.

Glynda looked to Ozpin, who motioned his mug in the students’ direction, then rolled her eyes and sighed. “Fine.”

Chapter Text

It was Tuesday morning. After the incident at the docks, Yang put in a good word to the VPD, and Team RWBY started investigating small-time crimes all across Vale. From robberies to assaults, they had surprisingly proven themselves to be fairly competent detectives. Since preparations for the Vytal Tournament Festival Ball had taken up the time of Beacon’s Professors, plus with how disruptive the organizers being there would be for the students and organizers themselves, the Beacon students had a day off. Team RWBY used their day off as a chance to close a case they had been looking into with the Hardy Boys. It involved a group of robbers called the Caucus Gang, who all wore animal masks to hide their identities. Weiss recognized this gang as the one that had been a nuisance to Atlas years ago, mainly because her sister had, unknowingly at the time, captured a member, which caused the gang to leave the city in fear of bumping into her, relocating here. After coaxing what information Winter, who was hesitant to relive the memory due to Daisy, knew out of her, Weiss handed the information to the Hardy Boys and they and the team were close to wrapping up the case. Once they deduced where the Caucus Gang would hit next, they scoped the soon-to-be scene of the crime, dressed in casual clothing, and hiding their weapons to strike when the robbers arrived.

“Yeah, we’re going to bust them, Blue!” Yang gushed to Sapphire on her scroll. “It’s going to be so freaking cool!”

“Yang is…are you on your scroll?!” Ruby whisper yelled.

Yang covered her scroll’s speaker with her hand. “Uh…maybe?”

“Yang, we need to focus!”

“Right…” Yang held her scroll close. “Sorry Saph, ruining our surprise ambush, tell you how it went later.” She made a kissing noise. “Love you, too.” Yang pocketed her scroll. “Sorry, sis.”

“Just be lucky those guys didn’t come in while you were talking,” Ruby said.

“Are we even sure they’re going to be here?” Weiss asked.

“Hey, the Hardy Boys ain’t never wrong,” Frank said.

“Yeah, they’re just hard.” Yang laughed at her own joke.

“Hard on crime!” Joe corrected.

“Dude…that literally does the opposite of help your case,” Yang said.

“Anyway!” Frank got between Yang and Joe. “This jewelry store is one of the only places the Caucus Gang haven’t hit yet, and our profile predicted this is where they’ll strike!”

“Yeah, so get back to acting natural!” Joe ordered.

“Alright, alright, jeez,” Yang said.

Turns out Joe was correct, as just when the group got their act together, six people in animal masked walked in. They were so inconspicuous, the other customers at the jewelry shop didn’t notice until the leader, a man in a Dodo mask, fired his pistol into the air.

“Everyone get down on the ground!” The Dodo barked.

“How about instead…you…get on the ground!” Weiss pointed at the group.

“Real intimidating, Princess,” Yang snarked.

“Like we’re going to listen to a bunch of little girls!” The Dodo laughed.

“Then maybe you’ll listen to us!”

“What?” The Dodo recoiled in horror when he recognized the voice.

Weiss stepped out of the Caucus Gang’s line of sight, giving them a good look of the Hardy Boys, standing back to back. They slipped on their sunglasses and held out their badges.

“Oh no!” The Mouse cried. “It’s them!”

“The Hardy Boys!” The Owl hid behind The Dodo.

“Are you going to get hard on us?” The Duck asked, terrified.

“Oh for the Gods’ sake…” Yang facepalmed.

“You’re damn right we’re getting hard on you,” Frank said.

“Can you guys stop, please!” Yang shouted.

“I suggest you come quietly.” Ruby aimed Crescent Rose’s sniper rifle at the group.

“Yeah, and what if we don’t?” The Lory asked.

Ruby raised an eyebrow at the Lory and casually shot him in the chest with a rubber round from Crescent Rose.

“That.” Ruby cocked Crescent Rose.

“Step aside.” The Eaglet walked to the front of the group. “I eat bullets from breakfast.”

“Do you now?” Ruby shot him in the head with Crescent Rose, and the Eaglet went flying backward, unconscious. “Oh…I thought that guy had like a bullet-deflecting semblance or something, now I see he was just freaking dumb.”

“Enough of this crap, Mouse!” The Dodo pointed at the Mouse. “Smoke bomb!”

“Smoke bomb!” The Mouse pulled out a sphere-shaped object from his pocket and slammed it on the floor, causes a large cloud of smoke to fill the room. “Okay, now what do we do?”

“We can either continue our plan to rob this jewelry store or make our escape.”

“Let’s rob the store,” The Duck said. “That seems to be the most intelligent decision.”

“Why are all the criminals in Vale so dumb?” Weiss asked.

“Hey, makes our job easier,” Yang pointed out. “Would you want to change that?”

“Good point.” Weiss nodded.

“Okay girls, I took out two, so that leaves four for each of us!” Ruby grinned, excited to be in another skirmish. “I’ll take the leader.”

“We’ll take whoever we bump into,” Yang said.

“Ready?” Ruby asked.

“Yep!” Yang loaded Ember Celica.

“Of course!” Weiss spun Myrtenaster’s chamber.

Blake was silent, the situation not enough to pull her from her train of thought.

“Blake?” Ruby looked at her.

Blake looked up, and took out Gambol Shroud, unfolding its blade. “Sorry, ready!”

“Let’s get in there!”

RWBY ran into the thick smoke just as they heard the sound of glass shattering.

“Come to Daddy Dodo!” The Dodo took a handful of necklaces of all kinds and stuffed them into the duffle bag he had slung around his shoulder.

“Dude, that’s such a weird thing to say,” Ruby whispered into his ear.

The Dodo whirled around, but all he saw was scattered rose petals. He tightened his grip on his pistol, handshaking.

“Are you shaking?” Ruby asked, mockingly. “The leader of a group of robbers is shaking at a fifteen-year-old girl!”

“Shut your face!”

“You first,” Ruby said behind him.

The Dodo didn’t have time to turn around before he was hit over the head by Crescent Rose, knocking him out.

The Owl was pathetically trying to punch the glass case open, but he just kept hurting his hand. Weiss caught sight of this and casually strolled over to him, hands behind her back as she looked on, curiously.

“Hey,” Weiss greeted.

“Yo.” The Owl punched the glass. “Ow!”

“You know you have a gun you can easily break that glass with.”

“I am aware.”

“Then why are you trying to punch it?”

“To prove my strength!”

“You know, you don’t need to do that,” Weiss genuinely advised. “I spent too much of my time trying to prove my superiority, and all it left me with was hatred of my peers. Now I’m trying to pick up the pieces, so I can earn forgiveness from the people I’ve hurt.”

“Huh…I never thought of it like that.” The Owl went to break the glass with his gun, but then he froze. “Wait, you’re trying to stop me!”

“Yep.” Weiss tripped the Owl’s legs out from him.

“Oof!” The Owl landed flat so he's back, and when he tried to stand up, something forced him down. “Why can’t I stand?”

“Glyphs.” Weiss pointed the black glyph underneath the Owl.

“Oh, man!” The Owl whined.

“Hey, at least we had a good talk, right?”

The Owl sighed. “Yeah.”

Blake stood in the center of the smoke, Gambol Shroud’s blade raised. She listened, cat ears following every sound until she heard feet shuffling towards her. Blake turned and clashed swords with the Mouse, pushing him away from her. The two stared each other down in silence before the Mouse took two more slashes at Blake, both of which she blocked. They clashed swords once again, Blake and the Mouse glaring into each other’s eyes as they pushed their blades against each other. The Mouse chuckled, and Blake felt him knee her in the stomach. She widened her eyes and fell to her knees, holding her stomach.

“So, you want to fight dirty?” Blake glared up at the Mouse.

“My favorite way to fight!” The Mouse slashed at Blake, but she left a shadow clone to take the hit. “Huh?”

“Ask and you shall receive.” Blake folded Gambol Shroud’s blade and shot the Mouse in the shoulder with her pistol.

“Oh, my Gods!” The Mouse fell to the ground, gripping his shoulder.

“Guess you don’t like to fight dirty after all,” Blake snarked.

The Duck stood, frozen as he heard all of his teammates get taken out.

“You know, I’m starting to regret not encouraging the guys to leave,” the Duck said.

“You really should,” Yang whispered into the Duck’s ear.

The Duck turned around and received a punch to the face, breaking his mask and nose. As he held his face, she tripped his legs out from under him, but before he could hit the ground, winked at him and punched him to the floor so hard it created a gust of wind that blew all the smoke out of the room.

The Hardy Boys and customers were quiet for a few seconds, then the customers gave RWBY a round of applause.

“Damn girls, could’ve saved some for us,” Joe chuckled.

“No worries guys, we’ll let you take some of the credit,” Yang said. “Fair?”

Frank nodded. “Fair.”


As the Caucus Gang were shoved into the back of the police van, the Hardy Boys spoke to the news reporters crowding around the jewelry store. Despite their earlier jokes, both detectives gave team RWBY filled credit for stopping the robbery. As for Team RWBY, they, sans Yang, were talking to the shopkeeper.

“Saved me once again, Miss Rose,” Shopkeep said, gratefully.

“Don’t mention it SK.” Ruby smiled, then she frowned when she realized something. “Wait, I thought you owned a dust shop?”

“I do.”

“You own a dust shop and a jewelry store?

“Yep.”

“I think I’ve also seen you running noodle stands.”

“Yeah, and a clothing store!” Weiss widened her. “How many businesses do you own in Vale?”

“A lot,” Shopkeep answered.

“How do you work so many of them at once?” Ruby asked.

“Some secrets are best to keep hidden for their masters.”

Weiss’ face contorted into one of pure confusion. “I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean!”

“Exactly.” Shopkeep winked.

“What?!” Weiss shook her head.

“This guy I pretty strange, right Blake?” Ruby turned to see Blake was gone. “Huh?” She looked around, then caught Blake near the docks, staring out at sea. “Weiss!”

Weiss looked at Ruby, who pointed to Blake.

“Look, we have to go,” Weiss said to Shopkeep.

“Understood.” Shopkeep nodded. “Thank you, girls, again.”

“Where’s Yang?” Ruby asked.

Shopkeep pointed to the case holding engagement rings, where Yang was. She was staring at the rings, hand on her chin and covering her mouth, she looked serious and was contemplating something.

“Yang!” Ruby called.

Yang turned and walked over to the group. Before she followed Ruby and Weiss, she stopped Shopkeep

“I think I’ll stop by to have another look at those rings,” Yang said.

“You can have whichever one you want,” Shopkeep said. “Free of charge.”

“Really?!” Yang didn’t hide her shock.

“Trust me, I’m loaded,” Shopkeep assured, confidently. “I’m pretty sure I’m richer than Jacques Schnee.”

Hearing what Shopkeep said caused Weiss to freeze.

“Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!” Weiss turned to look at Shopkeep.

“Weiss, Blake needs her team.” Ruby took Weiss’ sleeve. “Later.”

“Right,” Weiss sighed.

“Thanks!” Yang patted Shopkeep’s shoulder, then followed Ruby and Weiss to Blake’s side.

“Blake?” Ruby placed a comforting hand on Blake’s back. “Are you feeling okay?”

“No, I’m not,” Blake bluntly answered, not taking her eyes off of the sea.

“What’s wrong?”

Blake sighed. “Ever since the docks, I’ve never been able to get the White Fang off my mind.”

“Why?”

“Don’t you find it strange that a Faunus supremacy group was willingly taking orders from Roman Torchwick, a human?” Blake asked.

“That is incredibly odd,” Yang admitted.

“Understatement of the year,” Blake snarked. “It’s…wrong. It all feels so wrong.”

“What feels wrong?” Ruby asked.

“Everything.” Blake looked Ruby in her eyes. “Don’t you feel it?”

“Feel what?” Ruby didn’t hide her concern.

“I don’t know, but I have this feeling in my gut that whatever’s going on with the White Fang is bigger than us,” Blake explained. “Bigger than anything the huntsmen of Remnant are ready for.”

“Blake, don’t you think you’re being a bit paranoid?”

“I…I guess?” Blake ran her fingers through her hair. “I feel like this is going to keep me up at night.”

Ruby looked to Weiss and Yang, then back to Blake, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Then let’s do something about it.”

“What?” Blake’s eyes widened.

“Blake, as your leader and friend, I can’t in good conscience let you spend nights sleepless,” Ruby began. “We’ve been investigating crimes, we can investigate this.”

“This is different from assaults and robberies, Ruby!” Blake exclaimed. “The White Fang are terrorists, they kill people!”

“We’re going to be huntsmen,” Ruby reminded. “We’ll have to start putting our lives on the line for the good of the people of Remnant eventually.”

“Are you sure?”

“If you think this is bigger than us, then someone needs to figure it out,” Ruby said. “I believe we can if we do it together.”

Blake looked at Ruby in disbelief.

“You two in?” Ruby turned to Weiss and Yang.

“You’re damn right I am!” Yang stepped forward.

“We’re a team,” Weiss said. “Of course I’m in.”

Ruby looked back to Blake, holding out her hand.

“Thank you, girls.” Blake took Ruby’s hand.

Chapter Text

“Alright Team RWBY, the first step to solving this mystery is…to check out how to fly we look in these super cool infiltration outfits!” Ruby gushed as she set up the full body mirror. “As the team leader, I think I should go first!”

“Sure thing, sis.” Yang smiled.

Ruby struck a pose as she admired her “Slayer” get up in the mirror. This outfit consists of a long-sleeve, light gray shirt with black belted cuffs near the ends of the sleeves. Over the top of the gray shirt is a black pinafore with two vertical lines of red stitching that resemble the lacing on a corset. She wears a red skirt with a large black print of her emblem on the side and matching black tulle underneath.  Her stockings and shoes remain the same as her original outfit, though the boots lack the red trim that decorated the top. A few pieces of metal arranged in the shape of a rose are attached to the shoulder of her left sleeve, and her cloak's hood has been wrapped around her neck in a scarf-like fashion, while the rest hangs down like normal.

“Look fine, Ruby,” Ruby said to herself. “Looking fine.”

“Ruby, is this really necessary?” Blake asked.

“High self-esteem is always important, Blake!” Ruby gave Blake a thumbs up.

“You tell her, sis!” Yang cheered

“I just did!” Ruby pointed at Weiss. “We’re going in order, you’re next Weiss!”

“Okay…?” Weiss walked up to the mirror and stood straight up.

“Boo!” Yang gave Weiss a thumbs down.

“Weiss, you got to be stylish,” Ruby said.

“I don’t what to do!” Weiss cried.

“Strike a pose!”

Weiss thought back to all the times she ice skated or took ballet lessons. She closed her eyes and spread her arms wide, 2nd position in ballet terms.

“There you go!” Ruby cheered. “Now open your eyes and check yourself out!”

Weiss opened her eyes to see “Snowpea”. This outfit consists of a white, double-breasted pea coat with black piping, cuffs, and buttons over a white, pleated full skirt with black lace trim. She also wears a pair of white, thigh-high boots with black heels and lace-topped black stockings.

“How do I look?” Weiss asked.

“How do you think you look?” Ruby asked back.

“H-Hella fine?” Weiss shrugged.

“Then you look Hella fine!”

“Yeah…I do!” Weiss grew a confident smirk, much better than the arrogant grins she had before.

“Now let Blake show her stuff!”

Weiss ballet twirled away from the mirror, a meek Blake taking her place. She held her arm, and would constantly look away from her reflection,

“Come on, Blake,” Ruby encouraged. “Look at yourself.”

Blake closed her eyes, let out a shaky sigh, then looked at her reflection in the mirror.

“Strike a pose?” Ruby suggested.

“Ruby, this is ridiculous,” Blake said, bluntly. “Why are you making us do this?”

“Blake…” Ruby frowned, becoming more serious. “Ever since I discovered I was Ruby Rose, not Rory Rose, I’ve had issues looking at myself in the mirror, even after getting my true body. I feel this helps build confidence, raise self-esteem, and is just a very mentally healthy way to express yourself. The way you held your arm and refused to look at yourself, I’m talking from experience when I say it’s because you don’t like your body. I don’t want to force you to do this, though.”

“Wait! I’m sorry…I just…” Blake held out her hand. “Hand me Gambol Shroud.”

“Yang?” Ruby looked to Yang, who was already grabbing Gambol Shroud.

“Hera ya go, Blake!” Yang handed Blake Gambol Shroud.

Blake grabbed the sheath, closed her eyes, inhaled, silently counted to four, and in the blink of an eye unsheathed her blade, holding the sheath-like one would hold a sword in the reverse grip.  Gambol Shroud’s blade folded and she aimed her empty gun at the mirror. She felt confident enough to look upon her outfit, “Intruder”. This outfit consists of a white, v-neck, zip-up crop shirt with a black hem and three-quarter sleeves. Her emblem is printed in off-white on the left side of the shirt. She wears black pants that have a vertical gray stripe on the outer side of each leg and a black belt.  Attached to the rear of the belt is a black piece of fabric that covers her from hip to hip. Underneath this is a longer, translucent, purple piece of fabric. She also wears black high-heel boots with two straps and buckles and purple under roles, reaching to mid-calf. She retains the black ribbons on her forearms and her black bow.

“Show off.” Weiss crossed her arms and huffed.

“Dang Blake didn’t give me a chance to be the most extra one here,” Yang mock complained.

“Sorry…just wanted to be me.” Blake sheathed Gambol Shroud.


“That’s all you need to do,” Ruby said.


“Well in that case.” Yang went over to the bookcase between Team RWBY’s beds and slid a small box out from behind it.


Yang opened it and looked at the three pictures inside. One was a family photo taken when she and Ruby were kids, Ruby wasn’t her true self yet and Summer was smiling in the picture. The next was taken only a few months before, when Yang got her application into Beacon, Tai between Ruby and Yang hugging them both tightly. The last wasn’t taking too long after the 2nd, it was of Yang and Sapphire, suitcases packed and ready to leave for Vale, Yang had one arm around Sapphire while the other was making a peace sign. Ruby had taken the picture.


“Do you always keep those?” Blake asked.


“Never go anywhere without them.” Yang walked over to the mirror and stuck the photos into the mirror’s edge, then she backed up, took out her scroll, and took a picture.


Yang used the picture to check out “Hunter”. This outfit consists of a deep-collared cream vest worn over a low-cut black shirt; both are covered by a dark gray shrug with a raised collar, three-quarter sleeves adorned with a single black stripe down the outside of each sleeve, and gold cuffs. A black mini skirt is worn under the cream vest.  A pair of crooked black belts with gold accents are slung around her hip, with a purple piece of fabric attached to the left-rear section of the lower belt. She wears thigh-high stockings attached to her miniskirt by garter-belts on the front and back of each thigh, decorated with four golden studs above her knee and her emblem on the outside of each thigh in gold. She also wears black ankle boots with multiple buckles and white ribbons on the back tied in a bow. She snapped a photo and sent it to Sapphire, along with a text.

Like the new outfit? Will be back for Bumblebee in a bit! Love you 😘✌


“You’re a lot more sentimental then I expected, Yang,” Weiss said.


“Hey, I can’t be all parties and punching things,” Yang joked.


“Since we’ve officially completed step one, now it’s time for step two!” Ruby exclaimed. “Essentials!” She pointed to Yang. “Yang, you’ll be getting bumblebee!” Ruby pointed to Weiss. “Weiss, you will be getting all the info we need on the stolen dust!” She pointed to Blake. “Blake, you’ll be taking to Yang’s prison contact to find the location of another White Fang get together we can crash!”


“What about you?” Weiss asked.


“I’ll be recruiting as many friends as I can!” Ruby pointed at her chest.


“Sounds like a plan,” Blake said.


“Great!” Ruby pointed at the door. “Team RWBY, roll out!”


Ruby slipped her scroll into her pocket, having just gotten team CARD and JNPR on board. While she was grateful to them, they’re not the main person she wanted to recruit. Ruby found Penny standing on the side of the street, hands behind her back.


“Penny!” Ruby greeted with a smile and wave.


Penny gasped and shushed Ruby.


“Penny, what was that?” A male voice asked from the portable restroom Penny was standing beside.


“Nothing, Mister Key!” Penny assured.


Ruby was confused when she reached Penny, and opened her mouth to speak. Penny acted fast, zipping over to Ruby and holding her mouth. Pressing her pointing finger to her lips, Penny motioned at the portable restroom, then pointed to a nearby ally. She took Ruby’s hands and lead her into the ally.


“Okay, we can talk normally now,” Penny said.


“Penny…what was all that about?” Ruby asked.


“I’m not…supposed to draw so much attention to myself, and the fight at the docks did a lot of that.”


“Why?”


“It’s a long story.”


“Then I guess we can give you a short one.”


Ruby and Penny looked down the alleyway to see CRDL.


“What’s up girls?” Cardin smugly grinned.


“What do you want, Cardin?” Ruby asked, annoyed.


“Nothing much, just a nice work out.” Cardin cracked his knuckles. “Specifically ones that involve beating the snot out of any friend of Coco and Ren.”


“Excuse me,” Penny said, politely. “You interrupted our conversation, if you could please wait a few moments then we’ll be happy to chat!”


“No Penny, these are bad guys,” Ruby whispered.


“Oh, then we won’t be happy to chat!” Penny corrected.


“That’s not…”


“Look at what we got here, fellas,” Cardin laughed,taking The Executioner off his belt, the rest of CRDL did the same with their weapons. “A little airhead we can beat on!”


“Wait…are you attack us?!” Penny wasn’t expecting to get into another fight so soon.


“That’s right!” Cardin charged and raised The Executioner above his head.


Penny pushed Ruby out of the way, taking the hit from Cardin. Cardin smirked, but it disappeared when glared at him, barely reacting to the hit.


“What the…?” Cardin looked at The Executioner in disbelief, giving Penny ample time to kick him in the groin, without pulling her kick.


Cardin screamed so high it reminded Ruby of an opera singer, then he fell to his knees. Penny looked down at Cardin, then looked up at CRDL, who had all frozen in fear. She fake lunged at them, causing the three boys to run a way in front.


“Guys…wait for me!” Cardin shimmied away, dragging The Executioner along beside him.


“Those guys were jerks.” Penny huffed, then she turned to help Ruby up.


As Ruby was reaching for Penny’s hand, she gasped and recoiled away.


“What?” Penny asked, tilting her head.


Ruby silently poked her cheek causing Penny to do the same. Penny’s eyes widened when she realize The Executioner’s hit had broke the skin, exposing her metal skeleton, though her aura closed up the wound.


“Penny?” Ruby got to her feet, looking at Penny in confusion.


“Let’s just say Weiss wasn’t wrong when she asked if I was made of metal…” Penny admitted.


“You’re…a robot girl?”


“Sometimes I don’t feel like a girl,” Penny said, shaking her head. “I don’t feel like a person, because I have to-”


“Hide who you truly from to the world,” Ruby finished.


Penny looked at Ruby in shock.


“Penny, I might not be a kickass robot, but I’ve been where you are.” Ruby took Penny’s hands. “You are a girl, and when you show the world who are you, they’ll either have to accept it or get out of your way.”


“R-Ruby…” Penny began.


“Penny!” Key walked out of the portable restroom, looking around.


“I’m sorry.” Penny took Ruby’s shoulders.
“Wait…what are you sorry for-OHMYGODS!” Ruby was tossed into the dumpster she was standing besides, the lid slamming shut.


“Penny!” Key looked down the alleyway, sighing in relief. “There you are! What are you doing down here?”


“Sorry Mister Key, I just got curious, is all.” Penny balanced from her heels to her toes.


“It’s fine, just tell me next time,” Key assured. “Now let’s get out of here.”


“Okay!” Penny nodded, giving the dumpster a glance before leaving with Key.


Groaning, Ruby opened the lid and crawled out of the dumpster, landing on her back. Then she got a call on her scroll. Looking at the caller ID, she saw it was Weiss, so answered.


“Hey Weiss…” Ruby greeted.


“You okay, Ruby?” Weiss asked. “You sound pretty down in the dumps.”


“I’m fine,” Ruby chuckled at the unintentional pun. “Did you get the info? How much Dust has been stolen?”


“Over…by the Gods…over half a million pounds!”


Ruby shot to her feet. “What?!


“Over half a millions of pounds of fire dust have been stolen, Ruby,” Weiss said. “That could take out a city block.”


“It’s a good thing we got involved, then,” Ruby said. “Who knows what they’re planning!”


Blake sat in front of the clear glass, waiting for Junior to come in. After a few minutes of anxiously waiting, he finally walked in, sat down, and grabbed the phone, Blake doing the same.


“Hey, you’re that Golden Demon’s little cat Faunus friend, right?” Junior asked.


“Uh…yeah?” Blake didn’t hide her confusion.


“What do you need?”


“White Fang HQ locations.”


“Now why would I know anything about that?”


“Because the aforementioned Golden Demon reviewed the footage of Ruby’s scuffle with Roman, and recognized the guys working for him were yours.”


“Th-that doesn’t mean I know anything!”


“True, but your shuttering fear does.”


Junior sighed, hung up the phone and called for a guard. Blake watched as he asked the guard for something, and the guard left, coming back with a marker and slip of paper. Junior told the guard what to right down, and then the guard left with the paper. Then he picked up the phone.


“The guard will give you the slip on the way out,” Junior said. “That’s your location.”


“Pleasure doing business with you, Xiong.” Blake hung up and walked away from Junior’s booth.


“Okay, meet the new and improved Bumblebee!” Sapphire threw the tarp off of the bike.


“Whoa…” Yang’s jaw dropped.


Bumblebee looked like the day Yang had first set eyes on her, but somehow even better. She was so clean it looked like she could glow in the dark, and the fancy new gasoline tube didn’t go unnoticed. Sapphire slipped a switchblade out of her pocket and took a few jabs at the tube to show off its sturdiness.


“No more sabotages, again.” Sapphire gave Yang a confident smile.


“I love you so much!” Yang hugged Sapphire.


“I love you, too.” Sapphire returned the hug. “Digging the new outfit, by the way!”


“Thanks, I call it, Hunter!”


“Well Hunter, I think I have something that’ll make your new look complete!” Sapphire ran out of the garage to a different part of the shop.


“What could make this look better?” Yang genuinely asked.


“This!” Sapphire ran out and hid something behind her back.


“Don’t say this and hide it!” Yang groaned.


“Sorry, here!” Sapphire held out a rectangular box.


Yang looked at the box, shocked. She looked back up to Sapphire before taking it, opening the box to see a purple pendant set in silver.


“Well, do you like it?” Sapphire asked, though the confident, yet warm smile on her face told Yang she already knew the answer.


“Saph, I…I don’t know what to say.” Yang took the pendant in her hands. “It’s beautiful.”


“It is, but nearly as lovely as you!” Sapphire kissed Yang’s cheek. “That was originally going to be for our third anniversary, but I found something better, I still didn’t want this gift to go to waste.” She gave Yang a fake angry look. “I hope you haven’t forgotten.”


“Never…in fact, I promised the owner of the place your gift is that’ll I’ll be back.”


“Oh, leave me in suspense, why don’t you?”


“Can you help me put this on?” Yang laughed, awkwardly running her fingers through her long hair.


“Sure thing.” Sapphire took the pendant.


Yang had to use both hands to hold her hair up long enough for Sapphire to put the pendant around her neck. When Sapphire was finished, she dropped her hair, then held the pendant.


“Purple suits your new look,” Sapphire said. “I didn’t even know you were going to dress like that!”


“Matches my purple!” Yang turned slightly to show off the purple sash she usually wore on her knee on her hip.


“Hey, where is your orange scarf?” Sapphire asked. “I liked that cute little thing.”


“It’s a good thing you gave me this pendant when you did.”


“Why?”


“That makes this a whole lot easier.” Yang pulled her orange scarf out of her pocket, then held it out. “Here.”


“Yang…you had that since you were a kid!” Sapphire shook her head. “I can’t.”


“I had it since I was born,” Yang corrected. “You saw the baby pictures, I was practically wrapped in it at the hospital.”


“Exactly, so I can’t-”


“I held this scarf the day I took my first breath, and I’ll hold this scarf when I take my last.” Yang gently took Sapphire’s hand, and placed the scarf, closing Sapphire’s hand around it. “It means the world to me, and so do you. I’m not letting it go, because I’m not letting you go.”


“Yang…”


“You two have so much in common,” Yang began. “You’re both warm, good to snuggle up with, supply me comfort in times of stress and sadness.” She smiled, slyly. “Maybe one day I can say it feels great to put you both on in the morning!”


“Yang!” Sapphire laughed. “You’re ruining the moment!”

“Sorry…” Yang said. “Please keep it, Saph.”


“Not going to change your mind, am I?”


Yang smiled.


“You’re a stubborn thing.” Sapphire wrapped the scarf around her neck.


“Orange fits your overalls,” Yang complimented.

“Thanks.”

Yang was about to say something, but her scroll ringing cut her off. She groaned and picked up.


“Yeah?” Yang answered.

“Yang, we’ve all played our hands,” Ruby said, cryptically. “Now it’s time you’ve played yours.”

“Ruby, you’re cool enough on your own, stop trying too hard.”

“Oh…one second.” Yang heard Ruby muffle the mic. “Canvas, she said it wasn’t cool!”


“Damn it!” A distant Canvas shouted.


Yang heard Nora laughing her head off at Canvas.


“Sorry about that,” Ruby said. “Anyway, you coming sis?”


“Yeah, Sapphire just finished with bumblebee.” Yang flashed Sapphire a grateful smirk. “I’m on my way now.”
“Alright, see you then!”


“Peace!” Yang hung up. “Sorry hon, duty calls.”


“It’s fine, this is what being a huntress calls for,” Sapphire assured.


Yang kissed Sapphire, then touched their foreheads.


“I love you so much,” Yang said. “Not just for fixing my bike.”


“I know.” Sapphire gently pushed away. “Now go kick some ass!”


Yang smiled and nodded, jumping on bumblebee and revving. She turned back to Sapphire, both blowing each other a kiss before Yang drove out of the garage and took off down the street.

Chapter Text

“Alright everyone, listen up!” Ruby exclaimed. “This is what we’re going to do!”

Ruby banged the chalkboard, causing Yang to flip it around. Revealing the words, “Operation: Torch Torchwick”.

“Clever wordplay,” Jaune complimented.

“Thank you, Jaune,” Ruby said with a bow. “I can see why Pyrrha loves you.”

“What?”

Ruby slammed her hand over her mouth as Pyrrha widened her eyes at her.

“I said I see why Syrrha loathes you!” Ruby exclaimed.

“What?!” Jaune shook his head in confusion. “Who is…why does…?” He threw his hands into the air. “Oh, just forget it!”

“Phew!” Ruby sighed in relief, wiping sweat off her brow.

“Well, that was certainly a thing that happened,” Canvas snarked.

“Do it again I wasn’t looking!” Adrian looked at Ruby.

“Yeah…no.” Ruby shook her head. “Anyway, getting super off track, so let’s get back on it!”

“We were on music?” Adrian asked.

“Adrian, she means like train tracks,” Ren said.

“Trains ride on music?!”

The room was completely silent.

“Wow!” Nora broke the silence. “You never cease to amaze me with your stupid, Adrian.”

“Thanks!” Adrian have Nora a thumbs up.

“Adrian that wasn’t a…oh, never mind,” Canvas sighed in defeat.

“Guys, stopping the crime boss who might have plans to destroy the city!” Blake exclaimed

“Do I need to remind you of half a million pounds of fire dust?” Weiss asked. “You know, the amount that could take out city blocks?”

“No,” JNPR and CARD said, simultaneously.

“Good, so listen up!” Ruby pointed at the board. “Our first step is finding the location! I’ll let Blake take over from here!”

“Thank you, Ruby.” Blake stood in front of the group as Ruby sat down. “White Fang uses abandoned buildings and warehouses as hideouts,” Blake began. “Whenever they have meetings they cycle around which location they go to. I’ve concluded that tonight they’ll be meeting in the abandoned warehouse just at Vale’s edge, the one near the highway.”

“You sure know a lot about the White Fang,” Jaune noted.

“Yes, I do,” Blake said, flatly.

“Step two is infiltration!” Ruby exclaimed, standing between Blake and Jaune. “Which Blake will also explain!”

“Right…so Revon and I will sneak into the White Fang base disguised as members,” Blake said.

“Oh! Can I design my own White Fang uniform?” Revon asked, excitedly. “I chose to go into fashion as a 2nd carrier choice is the huntsman thing didn’t work out.”

“Gay!” Canvas fake coughed.

“Oh, you know it, bitch,” Revon said, pridefully. “So what if I’m a tad stereotypical?”

“True,” Canvas said. “Y-You knows I was just joking, right?”

“It’s fine, Canvas.” Revon rolled his eyes. “I’m more annoyed with you backpedaling than the joke itself. Have confidence!”

“Haha!” Canvas fake laughed. “Nope!”

“To shut you guys up and answer Revon’s question, the VPD has graciously offered us two fitting White Fang uniforms from their evidence room,” Yang said.

“Awww…” Revon’s wings dropped down.

“Revon, this is serious,” Blake reminded. “We’re taking down a dangerous terrorist organization, not planning the Vytal Festival Dance.”

“Oh crap, I forgot about that!” Jaune’s eyes widened.

“Maybe I should design my outfit,” Revon pondered.

“I’m sure…whatever you’d make would be lovely,” Deacon complimented, awkwardly.

“Thanks, Deacon.” Revon smiled.

“We really need to get a date,” Jaune said.

“I already have one!” Nora took Ren’s arm. “We are super completely definitely platonically going to the dance together!”

“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that,” Yang snarked.

“Guys! Please!” Blake cried in exasperation, rubbing her temples with both hands. “Focus!”

JNPR, CARD, and Yang all apologized and focused.

“Okay, so-” Blake began.

“Wait!” Adrian raised his hand.

“What?!” Blake snapped. “What could you possibly want to ask that caused you to”

“Isn’t it dumb for you to go to a White Fang rally?” Adrian interrupted. “They probably have your scent and know what you look like.”

“It’s going to be fine, Adrian,” Blake answered, calmly. “Thank you for the question.”

“If you say so.”

“Step three!” Ruby held up three fingers. “Blake and Revon assess the situation, they’ll be given wires also graciously donated from the VDP!”

“Then what?” Revon asked.

“Forth and final step has two separate outcomes: we either just listen in and give the VPD our evidence, or, if you think we can handle it, we bust them!”

“As in…take them down?” Pyrrha didn’t hide her shock.

Ruby nodded with a confident smile.

“Anyone have any more questions or wants to back out?” Blake asked.

While teams JNPR and CARD shared glances, they all shook their heads.

“Good,” Blake said, professionally. “Be ready by tonight, we leave by through the cover of darkness.”


“Come in, come in,” Ruby spoke into her earpiece. “Blake? Revon? You hear me?”

“Ruby,” Blake said.

“Testing 1…2-” Ruby counted.

“Ruby, we can hear you!” Blake interrupted.

“Alright! Sorry!” Ruby let out an awkward chuckle. “You guys there, yet?”

Blake and Revon turned the corner to see Adam’ Lieutenant guarding the door, letting in some White Fang members.

“Damn it!” Blake swore.

“What?” Revon asked.

“He’s going to recognize me.” Blake pulled up her hoodie and adjusted her White Fang mask.

“How?”

“Long story, I can’t share now,” Blake said. “Just listen, I need you to stay the password!”

Adam’s Lieutenant noticed the disguised Blake and Revon walking towards him.

“Stop!” Adam’s Lieutenant held up his hand. “Password.”

“From shadows,” Revon said.

Please don’t ask individually! Blake mentally crossed her fingers. Please don’t ask individually!

“Okay, you both can head inside,” Adam’s Lieutenant stepped aside.

Blake exhaled a sigh of relief, hoping none of Faunus with advanced hearing heard her.

“Alright, you two,” Ruby began. “These earpieces were designed so only the wearer can hear the voice, so keep quiet and keep your hands away from your ears. Now you two need to get to the front of the audience so the wire can pick up whoever is hosting this rally best.”

Blake and Revon shared a nod, then made their way through the crowd of White Fang.

“Ow!”

“Hey!”

“Watch it!”

“Jerk!”

“You know you can at least say excuse me,” a White Fang member scolded. “We might be racist terrorists, but that’s no reason to be a dick!”

Blake and Revon ignored all the complaining White Fang members. When they finally made it to the front of the audience, they waited. After a few minutes that felt like hours to the two, Roman walked out on stage, Neo behind him. The White Fang booed him.

“Jeez, glad you all are so happy to see me,” Roman snarked. “I was sent up here by the true host of this rally to introduce him.”

Adam? Blake’s tightly gripped her pants.

“You know him and you love him, mainly because he signs your checks, ladies, and gentlefaunus, may I proudly introduce, Damian!”

The Faunus in the audience all clapped and cheered as a young man in his early twenties walked up on stage. He had tanned skin, black hair, and wore a business suit, along with a grin that just oozes smugness. It was hard to see, but if one looked behind his back, they’d see a small, yet bushy, rabbit’s tail.

“Who is that?” Revon asked, using the claps and cheers to mask his voice.

“Damian Void,” Blake answered, venomously. “The man who funds the White Fang. Appropriate name, as Void is where his heart should be. He’s to the Faunus what Jacques Schnee is to humans, a rich, vicious bigot determined to make the lives of humans as miserable as possible. Every blade, every bullet, and every bomb was bought and paid for by him. In a way, he’s responsible for every life the White Fang have taken.”

“Why?” Revon asked.

“As I said before, bigotry,” Blake answered. “That isn’t all, he’s got two other reasons. Greed, as he orchestrated White Fang attacks put rival corporations out of business. Finally…fun.”

“Sounds like a real charmer.”

“I have this weird…quirk…where I look at someone and think, ‘they are the personification of this word’.”

“What’s Damian?”

“Hello everybody!” Damian greeted, voice as smooth as an oil slick on an iceberg.

“Slime,” Blake growled.

“I hope you all had a great time wiping out humanity one terrorist attack at a time,” Damian said. “I’m hosting this little rally to make a very special announcement!” He whistled and snapped his fingers twice, causing two White Fang members to pull the curtains behind him away, revealing multiple large objects hidden under equally bigger tarps. “Not long ago, James Ironwood dropped Atlas’ old Paladins for a shiny new upgrade! The old prototype models were to be scrapped for their metal, but I’ve taken the liberty of borrowing a few.” Damian snapped his fingers and the White Fang members yanked the tarps off, revealing the hulking mechs. “Now these may not be the new and improved Paladins, but I’m pretty sure humans won’t care about the state of the model when you’re crushing their skulls in the mech’s hand.”

“By the Gods…” Blake said, not even whispering.

Revon looked at Blake with wide eyes, and Blake clasped her hand over her mouth.

“Huh?” Damian looked into the audience, noticing Blake and Revon. “Why isn’t it Adam’s ex.”

“Blake?” Ruby spoke into Blake’s earpiece.

“Get them!” Damian barked.

Acting fast, Blake whipped out Gambol Shroud and shot the gas tank to one of Paladins, mainly the one besides Damian.

“Ah shit.” Damian deadpanned before he was blown back by the explosion, though his aura protected him from any serious injury.

“Blake…he said…” Revon tried to find his words.

“We need to go!” Blake grabbed Revon’s hand and pulled him through the crowd, forcing any White Fang members who tried to stop them back with Gambol Shroud’s blade.

“You!”

Blake and Revon froze when Adam’s Lieutenant bellowed.

“You broke Adam’s heart, and for that, I’ll break your spine!”  Adam’s Lieutenant cracked his knuckles.

Revon looked up and saw a window.

“Get ready, Blake!” Revon picked up Blake by the shoulders, taking flight. “This is going to hurt!”

“Revon what are you doing?!” Blake screamed as they flew through the window, the glass stinging as it cut their skin, but their auras protected them.

Damian got to his feet, holding his head. When he looked up to see a shattered window, he snarled in rage.

“Roman, make yourself useful, get in one of those undamaged mechs and take care of them!” Damian barked.

“Yes sir!” Roman saluted.

Outside, Revon flew Blake and himself towards their teammates.

“Are you guys okay?!” Ruby asked when Revon and Blake landed besides RWBY, JNPR, and CARD.

“We’ll live…” Blake assured.

“Not for long!”

Roman busted through the wall of the warehouse.

“Crap!” Jaune cried in horror.

“Time to-” Roman was cut off by his mech freezing up. “What the…?”

“Guys!”

The three teams turned to see Pyrrha using her semblance to stop the mech.

“Scatter!” Pyrrha ordered.

“What about you?!” Jaune asked, worried.

“I’ll be fine, just go!” Pyrrha assured. “I’ll catch up!”

“I’ll get out of this!” Roman shouted.

“Jaune come on!” Ruby shouted.

Jaune gave Pyrrha a worried glance before splitting off with the rest of JNPR. Roman shot a missile from the mech. Pyrrha released her hold on Roman’s mech to redirect the shot back at him, causing it to fall on its back.

“Argh!” Roman growled in frustration.

Pyrrha used the time the mech spent recovering to bolt from the scene. When the mech was back on its feet, Roman realized all the students were out of his line of sight.

“Where are they?!” Roman activated the mech’s heat vision, smirking when he caught sight of the familiar shapes of team RWBY. “Time for some payback, Little Red!”


Team RWBY found themselves on the highway. None of the cars had people in them, as they were all automated.

“Now what?!” Weiss cried.

“Give me a second to think!” Ruby exclaimed in panic.

“Oh, Little Red!” Roman’s voice echoed as the mech entered team RWBY’s line of sight, turning the corner to charge at them.

“I don’t think we have a second, sis!” Yang cocked back Ember Celica.

Ruby turned to the highway.

“Girls, catch a car!” Ruby leaped, landing on one of the cars.

The rest of team RWBY looked at one another, then Yang shrugged, launching herself using Ember Celica’s to leap on a car. Weiss jumped off a glyph, while Blake wrapped Gambol Shroud around the antenna of one of the automated cars, pulling herself towards it.

“Oh no, you don’t!” Roman charged onto the highway, knocking several cars over the edge, sending them crashing down to the ground below.

“Uh…Ruby, he’s still after us!” Weiss shouted her earpiece.

“Okay Weiss, time to prove how better you are, now,” Ruby said. “Because we need to use some teamwork!”

“Say the word, sis!” Yang cheered.

“We jump off our cars on three!” Ruby shouted. “1…2…3!”

Team RWBY jumped off their cars, landing on the roadside by side.

“Ice Flower!” Ruby shouted.

Weiss activated her glyphs, causing threw of descending order to form in front of Crescent Rose. She took three shots, all of which hit their target, the slim window the paladin used for sight. The bullets did no damage, but they froze on impact, obscuring Roman’s line of sight.

“Oh my Gods-WHY?!” Roman whined. “Why can’t anything in my life is easy!”

“Checkmate!” Ruby shouted.

Weiss and Blake nodded at each other, then charged the blinded mech. They attacked with a barrage of slashes, one after another, giving the mech no room the breath. Roman shouted in rage and began to wildly flail the mech’s arms, causing Weiss and Blake to jump back.

“That was a great team attack, Weiss.” Blake smiled at Weiss.

Weiss was shocked, but then she smiled back. “Thanks”

Roman had the mech punch itself, breaking the glass and returning his sight.

“Ha Ha!” Roman laughed, madly. “I got you now!”

“Freezer burn!” Ruby shouted.

Yang suddenly ran last Blake grabbing Weiss by the back of her collar. “Come on, Princess!”

“Ah!” Weiss cried as Yang pushed her forward.

Weiss spun Myrtenaster’s chamber, stomping on ice. Then she slashed her blade three times, freezing the ground around Roman. Weiss spawned glyphs that Yang gleefully jumped off of, spawning one directly above the mech. With a wide smirk, Yang jumped on the glyph, activated her semblance, then jumped off, firing Ember Celica to increase her momentum, so she punched the mech it sent a hot shockwave that evaporated the ice surrounded Roman in a thick mist, blinding him once again.

“Gods damn it!” Roman tried to wave the mist away.

“Let’s finish him off!” Ruby smirked. “Pollination!”

Yang jumped forward, Blake stood behind her, Weiss stood behind Blake, and Ruby stood behind Weiss. Just as the mist cleared, Ruby activated her semblance, picking up the other three members of team RWBY in a comet of red, white, black, and yellow, petals of similar colors falling from it. Roman only had enough time to say one thing:

“Fuck me.”

The comet hit Roman’s mech, taking off one of its right arm and causing it to fall back toward the railing of the highway. With a loud creaking, the railing gave way, and Roman and his mech were sent plummeting to the cold hard ground below, Roman screaming all the while. Team RWBY looked over the railing just as the mech hit the ground, becoming a flaming wreck.

“Man, I can’t believe he really…fell…for that one!” Yang smiled as Ruby, Weiss, and Blake groaned. “Did you see what we did when we hit him? It was disarming!”

“Yang, as team leader I order you to stop,” Ruby deadpanned.

“Doh…” Yang crossed her arms.

“Wait…the White Fang rally!” Blake widened her eyes, then took off back to the warehouse.

RWY looked at one another before following Blake.


When they arrived back at the warehouse, Team JNPR and CARD had returned, they were with the VPD.

“Guys, did you catch anyone!” Blake ran over to the teams.

“Blake…I’m sorry…we don’t have anything,” Pyrrha apologized.

“Nothing?” Blake asked, despair evident. “Didn’t capture anyone? Didn’t find any evidence?”

Pyrrha solemnly shook her head.

“No…” Blake covered her face in her hands.

RWY came onto the scene, noticing Blake crying.

“Blake?” Ruby went over to Blake and placed a comforting hand on her back.

“It’s been eating away at me, Ruby!” Blake cried. “Whatever’s been going on…it has been haunting me. Like something horrible is about to happen and we just blew our once chance at stopping it.”

“It’s okay, Blake.” Ruby hugged Blake.

“Yeah, we’re here.” Yang joined the hug.

Weiss hesitated, but then joined the hug, as well. “All of us are here for you.”


Neo floated down to the wreckage with her umbrella. When she landed, walked over to it, hands behind her back. Neo kicked the front of the paladin, causing the cockpit to open and Roman to come tumbling out.

“Neo…that’s the second time I forget the ‘never go anywhere without you’ rule,” Roman said. “If I get a third strike. Kill me.”

Roman fell flat on his back, unconscious. Neo sighed and rolled her eyes, picking up Roman and slinging him over her shoulder.

“Let’s…get…you…home…” Neo rasped out.

Chapter Text

“So, is everything ready for the school dance tomorrow night?” Ozpin asked Glynda, who was going over everything on a clipboard.

“You mean the Vytal Festival Tournament Ball?” Glynda asked.

“Always so clinical,” Ozpin sighed. “Yes, I meant the Vytal Festival Tournament Ball.”

“Looks like it, sir,” Glynda answered, a small smile on her face.

“Excited?” Ozpin smirked.

Glynda’s smile vanished and looked away from Ozpin. “Maybe…”

“Why wouldn’t she be excited?!” Oobleck exclaimed. “Balls are the only thing that keeps the sentient beavers from controlling us!”

“Oh, Gods.” Glynda rolled her eyes.

“How do dances keep these beavers from controlling, Bartholomew?” Ozpin asked, humoring Oobleck.

“Please don’t enable him, Ozpin,” Glynda groaned.

“Not dances, balls!” Oobleck corrected. “Any type of balls.”

“Okay…” Ozpin was starting to regret asking the question.

“So yes, dances are one of the types of balls that free us from their control,” Oobleck explained. “The other way is through sports balls, tennis, soccer, football, you name it!”

“That’s it?”

“I think so.” Oobleck scratched his chin, then he snapped his fingers. “Of course, I forgot testi-”

“Okay! That is enough of that!” Port shouted, cutting off Oobleck.

“Thank you, Peter,” Glynda said, gratefully.

“Don’t mention it!” Port gave Glynda a thumbs up.

“I hope you two are much more open about your excitement than Glynda is,” Ozpin said.

“Damn skippy!” Oobleck exclaimed.

“I…don’t even know what that answer is supposed to mean, but yes, I am also excited,” Port answered.

“Any dates?” Ozpin smirked.

“Not unless you count my thermos.” Oobleck held up his thermos. “Which I most definitely will be awkwardly dancing with during the Ball.”

“Alright…” Ozpin didn’t hide how weirded out he was. “I hope you won’t be going to the Ball with an inanimate object Pet-”

Port was holding up Blowhard, which he slowly hid behind his back. “Of course I won’t!”

“What about you, Glynda?” Ozpin gave Glynda a knowing smile.

Glynda’s eyes darted to the side before she coughed. “I’mtakingGannet.”

“Who?”

“I’m taking my wife, Ozpin,” Glynda sighed. “Also…I’m excited.”

“Glad you admit it, so I guess that makes the four of us.” Ozpin raised his mug before sipping from it.

“Five of us, actually.”

The four Beacon teachers looked to the entrance of the Ballroom to see Ironwood.

“General Ironwood!” Ozpin set down his mug on one of the tables so he could greet Ironwood with a handshake and hug.

“Oz, no formalities,” Ironwood said, patting Ozpin’s back. “You can call me James.”

“Well James, it’s good to see you regardless.” Ozpin stepped back from the hug, going back to the table to get his mug.

“I can say the same to all of you.” Ironwood smiled at the group. “I only wish Qrow could be here to enjoy the dance, too.”

“This is supposed to be a family event, James,” Glynda snarked.

“Qrow still has a right to be here.”

“So that drunkard can get trashed and break something?” Glynda scoffed. “Or start a fight, or streak like he did at that one party, or-”

“Okay Glynda, we get it,” Ozpin interrupted, then he looked back to Ironwood. “Got a date?”

“No, Oz.” Ironwood rubbed the back of his head. “No, I don’t.”

“I hope you can enjoy regardless.”

“Agreed, it would be nice to forget about-”

“You’re right.” Ozpin raised his hand to silence Ironwood. “So please don’t bring her up.”

“Of course…apologies.” Ironwood awkwardly adjusted his suit, then checked the time. “Sorry for having to leave on an uncomfortable note, but I just wanted to stop by to say hi and let you know I’m here.”

“It’s alright, James,” Ozpin assured. “I hope you and your students enjoy your stay.”


In the guest student dorms for the Huntsmen-in-training coming to battle in the Vytal Tournament, Cinder, Emerald, Mercury, and Neo had just gotten settled. Cinder was talking with Watts, checking up on his progress in the creation of their ace in the hole.

“Is it finished yet, Watts?” Cinder asked into her scroll. “Is the Black Queen Virus done?”

“Coding takes time, Cinder,” Watt answered, sardonically. “It takes intelligence, patience, and maturity, all of which you lack. Especially the first thing.”

“Sorry if I seem a tad impatient, but the dance is tomorrow and that’s my only opportunity to sneak into the CCT,” Cinder pointed out, calm but cold. “If I miss that deadline our plan, Salem’s plan, gets a wrench tossed into it for the foreseeable future. Now tell me, Arthur, which one of us is going to have to report that failure.”

Watts was silent for a few moments. “I see your point.”

“Now who’s lacking in intelligence?”

“I’ll get it done, Cinder!” Watts hissed through gritted teeth. “Give me an hour or two.”

“Good boy, Watts,” Cinder mocked a cutesy voice. “After I get back I’ll give you a nice treat.”

“Listen here you little-” Watts was cut off by Cinder hanging up on him, sighing in frustration after she did so.

“Asshole,” Cinder said under her breath, setting her scroll down on the desk she was leaning against. “So difficult to deal with.”

“Kind of like working with Mercury.” Emerald, who was reclining on her bed, pointed her thumb at Mercury.

“Ha Ha! Fuck you, too!” Mercury flipped Emerald off, never taking his eyes off his scroll as he gamed.

“Alright, that’s enough you two,” Cinder said with a chuckle. “Do you have everything you need? Haven Academy Uniforms and dresses for the dance.”

“Yep!” Emerald smiled.

“Check and check,” Mercury deadpanned.

Neo raised two thumbs.

“Excellent!” Cinder smiled, clasping her hands together. “Every piece is in place. By the end of tomorrow night, the Vale CCT will be ours.”

“That’s wonderful, m-my e-ember?” Emerald stuttered out.

“Emerald, is that a cute pet name for me?” Cinder asked.

“Y-You like it?” Emerald looked away from Cinder, scratching her face in uncomfortableness.

Cinder went over to Emerald, sat by her side, and turned her face towards her’s so they could share a kiss.

“I love it, my little gem.” Cinder smiled, warmly.

“Really?”

“Really.” Cinder’s smile fell. “It pains me to know I’ll have to miss dancing with you to plan the virus into the CCT.”

“I understand.” Emerald looking at the floor, Cinder cupping her face in her hand caused Emerald to look back into Cinder’s eyes.

“I’m sorry, Emmy.” Cinder rubbed her thumb against Emerald’s cheek. “I promise to be as quick as I can, and we’ll celebrate this victory by dancing the night away together.”

“It’s okay.” Emerald gently took Cinder’s hand.

“Ugh…barf!” Mercury shut his scroll off and shoved it into his pocket, getting up and walking towards the door. “Can’t be in here with this lovey-dovey BS.”

“Jealous you don’t have a date?” Emerald mocked.

“I’m not exactly into the whole ‘forming any remotely affectionate connect with people’ thing,” Mercury snarked. “So no. I’ll be dancing with the only person who matters to me.”

“Your…self?”

“Bingo.”

“Is that how you have sex, too?”

Cinder and Neo snorted.

“Get it?” Emerald asked.

“I got it!” Mercury grumbled, slamming the door after leaving.


Team RWBY was in their dorm, along with JNPR, making plans of their own.

“Oh, my Gods we need to do so much!” Ruby paced across the room. “We need the most extravagant dresses, the most gorgeous jewelry, and we need to learn choreographed dancing so we look amazing!”

“Ruby, we don’t need to do all that,” Weiss said.

“Yeah, Ren already taught us the dancing part,” Jaune said.

“What?” Weiss cocked an eyebrow at Jaune.

“Nothing, nothing,” Jaune said.

“So, maybe we can all get dresses together!” Pyrrha recommended. “Just us girls.”

“Sorry, I can’t,” Yang answered. “Got to make sure Sapphire gets an invitation.”

“Awwww…” Ruby deflated. “Can anyone else not make it?”

“I can’t.” Blake raised her hand.

Ruby looked at Blake, sympathetically. The poor girl had, unfortunately, kept her promise of not being able to sleep after failing to nab Torchwick or any evidence of his and the White Fang's wrongdoings.

“That’s fine, Blake,” Ruby assured. “In fact, I think you should stay here and get some sleep. Maybe we can get your dress for you.”

“I’m not going to the dance,” Blake said. “I’m not getting any sleep. I can’t, yet.”

“Blake…”

“Not when there is still so much to look into.”

“Blake, please,” Ruby begged.

“Look…I’m okay…I just…need to take a walk…or something…” Blake got off her bed and sulked towards the door, opening it and walking past Team CARD.

“Wow, that girl is not okay,” Canvas noted.

“Thank you, Captain Obvious,” Yang snarked.

“Hey guys,” Ruby greeted, trying to pick her mood back up. “So, guess it’s cool to ask if anyone has dated?”

“We have absolutely no one,” Canvas admitted, bluntly. “So we’re all just kind of going together. In the platonic, team way.”

“Or the not-so-platonic way.” Revon got between Canvas and Adrian, wrapping each arm around both their shoulders. “How about we make this a four-way?”

“How about no!” Canvas took Revon’s arm off his shoulder, Adrian doing the same.

Revon huffed and crossed his arms.

“Do you want to go to the dance together?” Deacon suddenly asked.

“Really?” Revon looked at Deacon.

“Uh…yeah.” Deacon gave Revon a dorky smile.

“That sounds lovely.” Revon smiled back.

“Well, I’ll be going with Sapphire, obviously,” Yang spoke up.

“I’ll be going with this fine hunk of man right here.” Nora took Ren’s hand. “C-Completely platonically, of course.”

“Riiiiiiiight…” Ren rolled his eyes, but the smile never left his face.

“I got no date…as usual.” Jaune sighed.

“Actually…I was wondering if you wanted to go with me, Jaune,” Pyrrha said.

“Wait…really?” Jaune looked at Pyrrha in shock, then pointed at himself. “Me?”

“You.” Pyrrha nodded.

“Together.”

“Mhmm.”

“On a date to the dance.”

“Just say yes, vomit boy!” Yang shouted. “Jeez!”

“That sounds lovely Pyrrha,” Jaune said, quickly.

“I won’t be going with anyone…” Weiss said, sadly.

“Don’t feel too bad, Weiss,” Ruby said. “I don’t think Blake will be either.” She glanced at Blake’s bed I’m thought. “That said, I’m going to try and convince her to go to the dance.”

“So I take it you won’t be going to get dresses with us?” Weiss asked.

“I guess it’ll just be you and me, Weiss,” Pyrrha said.

“Oh…” Weiss blushed. “Pyrrha, that would be”

“Hey!” Nora got between Weiss and Pyrrha. “You forgot about me!”

“Oh, I’m so sorry Nora!” Pyrrha rubbed her temple. “My brain is being fuzzy for some reason.”

“It’s fine!” Nora reached over to grab Weiss, putting both her and Pyrrha in headlocks. “So why don’t us fine ass ladies get ourselves something to make us look hot!”

“That sounds lovely!” Pyrrha beamed.

“Yeah, that’s great…” Weiss deadpanned.

“Yang’s getting an invite for her gf, Team WNP are getting dresses, and I’ll be chatting with Blake,” Ruby said. “Sounds we have our affairs in order, let’s get this done then dance our heads off tomorrow night!”

Chapter Text

Yang waited impatiently outside Glynda’s office, at the end of a long line of students waiting to head inside and get an invitation from Glynda. She was tapping her foot, arms crossed, and constantly checking the time. Beacon students could walk into the dance free of charge, but they obviously couldn’t let any random citizen of Vale just stroll into the ballroom, so guests needed to be requested and given an invitation by a student or staff.

“Hey Yang,” Fox greeted as he walked by.

“Hey Red,” Yang said. “Got an invite?”

“Yep.” Fox waved the slip in his hands.

“Who are you inviting?” Yang asked. “Who could the snarky, misanthropic, Fox Alistair possibly desire to go out of his way to be with?”

“Ha Ha,” Fox deadpanned. “My…my boyfriend. Ink.”

“You have a boyfriend?” Yang smirked. “You?”

“Yes.”

“Why haven’t I heard of this Ink.”

“He’s shy and likes to keep things about himself quiet.”

“Is he here?”

“You think he’s staying in Vacuo? In that cruel, heartless shit-hole of a kingdom?” Fox asked. “You bet your ass he’s here.”

“Just you two, then? No family?”

“Oh, you mean family like our loving parents who beat us until we were ‘strong enough?”

“Sorry.” Yang’s had a remorseful look on her face.

“It’s…it’s fine,” Fox sighed. “Sorry for getting uppity about it, just don’t like to talk, or think, about my childhood, is all.”

“I get it,” Yang assured. “So, does he have a job?”

“Yeah.” Fox nodded.

“Got any plans after graduation?”

“I have no intention of going back to Vacuo, that’s for sure,” Fox said, then he chuckled. “Maybe I’ll stop by when I’m older to show our parents how strong I became, but we got a nice little apartment I wouldn’t mind living with him, in.”

“Kind of similar to me and Sapphire,” Yang noted. “Though I do intend for us to move back to Patch when I graduate.”

“I heard Patch is a lovely place.”

“Thanks.” Yang smiled. “It is.”

“Maybe I’ll actually move us over there.” Fox scratched his chin.

“I hope we become neighbors and it’ll be like a wacky family sitcom or something.”

“Well, life is a joke, it might as well have a laugh track to go along with it.”

“There’s the Fox I know!” Yang playfully punched his arm. “I was worried some mushy shapeshifter had taken your form.”

“What can I say? He softens me up,” Fox said, warmly. “Now that I think about it, I think it’s a bit too early for us to be making plans like that.”

“Is it?”

“I certainly think so.” Fox shrugged.

“That’s you,” Yang said. “I know for certain Sapphire is who I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

“Jeez Yang, with confidence like that you might as well propose right now.” Fox felt his scroll vibrate and he looked at it as he took it out of his pocket, completely missing Yang’s face changed to a more serious look.

“Yeah…” Yang looked at the floor.

“Gods damn it!” Fox’s yell made Yang jump.

“What?”

“Apparently Coco thought it’d be a good idea to get out Ball outfits with CARD, and Adrian, in his great wisdom, got our clothes struck by lightning!”

“Struck by…it’s a cloudless, sunny day?”

“He’s a special brand of an idiot.” Fox shoved his scroll in his pocket after texting Coco he’d meet up with the two teams. “They manage to screw up in so many majestic ways!”

“If Ink warms you up, Adrian sure knows how to freeze your heart.”

“I honestly hate him more than my parents, at this point.”

“Wow!”

“Yeah, now if you excuse me, I’m going to prepare for the day I knock the shit out of my parents by practicing him.” Fox walked away. “Have a good day.”

“You too, buddy.” Yang barely acknowledged Fox leaving, too wrapped up in thought about her anniversary gift for Sapphire.

Thankfully for Yang, being wrapped up in thought caused time to fly much faster for her. Soon as she knew it, she was walking into Glynda’s office.

“Good afternoon, Miss Xiao Long,” Glynda greeted. “I guess you’re looking for an invitation for Miss Ensley?”

“How’d you guess?” Yang asked

“You singlehandedly destroyed an entire club and an army of mobsters to get her back.”

“Oh yeah…” Yang chuckled, rubbing the back of her.

“I’d honestly do the same for my wife,” Glynda admitted, uncharacteristically warm. “More importantly, you acted within the law.”

“I would’ve done it regardless.”

“Miss Xiao Long, as a Huntress-in-training one must work within the law.” Glynda’s strict mask slipped back on.

“Would you have?”

Glynda noticeably lost her composure and tried to regain it as quickly as possible. She stoically sighed her name on the invitation.

“I hope to see you at the Ball.”

“Can’t wait to meet your wife.”

“Get out of my office,” Glynda deadpanned.


Yang parked bumblebee in front of Vale’s library. Sapphire had texted her that she was there, but didn’t tell Yang why. Walking inside, Yang looked around until her eyes fell on Sapphire. She was at a table in the back of the library, scribbling down something in a notebook.

“Hey, Sapphire!” Yang instinctively shouted.

“Shhh!” Everyone in the library hushed Yang.

“Oh…sorry!” Yang whispered.

Yang ran over to Sapphire and sat across from her.

“Hey Sapph,” Yang greeted.

“Quite the scene you made there,” Sapphire snarked.

“It’s not my fault I want to shout your name at the top of my lungs.”

Sapphire cocked an eyebrow at Yang.

“That innuendo was completely unintentional,” Yang said.

Sapphire hummed in response.

“Anyway, here ya go, Blue.” Yang set the invitation on the table and slid it to Sapphire.

“Sweet!” Sapphire squeed in glee.

“Shhhh!” Everyone was in the library hushed.

“Sorry…” Sapphire shrunk.

“Now who’s making a scene?” Yang smirked.

“Oh quiet you,” Sapphire chuckled. “Thanks for the invite.”

“Keep your hands on that,” Yang ordered. “Miss Goodwitch is strict about everything, and definitely won’t write me up another invitation if you lose it.”

“And miss a dance with you?” Sapphire gasped. “I would never dream of it!”

“I know.” Yang gave Sapphire a warm smile, but it vanished when she started thinking. “Say, what are you doing here, anyway?”

“Nothing!” Sapphire answered, loudly in her desperation.

“Shhh!” The people in the library hushed, again.

“Sapphire-2, Yang-1,” Yang snarked.

Sapphire sighed. “If you must know, it’s for our third year anniversary.”

“The gift that was better than this?” Yang held up the purple pendant, it having still been wrapped around her neck since she had been given it.

“Yes.” Sapphire nodded with a smile, then she winked. “Glad you’re still wearing Hunter, by the way.”

“I do think this look is genuinely cooler than my last.” Yang looked down at her outfit, then she looked at Sapphire’s neck. “Glad you’re still wearing my scarf.”

“I’d have to die before I let someone take this off.” Sapphire petted Yang’s scarf.

“So, willing to share anything about your gift?”

“Are you?”

“Not really.”

“Then neither am I.” Sapphire motioned Yang away. “Shoo! Shoo! Get! I don’t want you sneaking peeks!”

“Alright,” Yang says up, pausing to kiss Sapphire on the cheek, then began to walk away. “See you at the Ball. Love you.”

“You too.”


Blake walked through Beacon’s courtyard, so groggy she would occasionally stumble, but always managed to regain her stride.

“Hey, Blake!” Blake heard Sun call out to her, turning in his direction just as he ran up to her. “Been a while! I heard about your awesomeness on the Highway!”

“Oh…thank you, Sun,” Blake said.

“You okay?” Sun asked.

“I’m fine.”

“In that case, I was wondering if you wanted to meet my team!” Sun pointed to three boys a few yards away.

One of the boys had blue hair, a redshirt, and goggles. The second was very feminine in appearance, look hair covering one eye. The third was a tall, ebony-skinned guy with dark green hair.

“The blue-haired guys is-” Sun began.

“Sorry Sun…not right now,” Blake interrupted.

“That’s cool!” Sun assured. “When will be up for it?”

“I don’t know…” Blake shook her head, hugging herself as she back away. “I don’t know.”

“Blake?” Sun didn’t hide his concern.

“I have to go!” Blake ran off, ignoring Sun’s calls.

Blake ran until she found a secluded bench near one of the many red-leafed trees planted around Beacon’s courtyard. She sat down, holding her hands to her face, wishing she had grabbed a book or something else to distract her. Fortunately, Blake’s scroll vibrated, and she took it out of her pocket to see it was a text from Ruby.

Meet me in Doctor Oobleck’s classroom as soon as you can.

Blake sighed, but stood up and began the long trek to Oobleck’s classroom.


“Hi, Blake!” Ruby greeted, sitting on Oobleck’s desk.

“Hi…Ruby…” Blake held her arm.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Ruby assured. “We’re friends, right?”

Blake nodded.

“Come over here and sit next to me, I want to talk.” Ruby patted the empty space next to her.

Blake reluctantly did so. “I know you’re going to tell me to get some sleep, but I can’t! Not with-”

“I actually wanted to tell you a story,” Ruby said.

“A story?”

“Yep, one I wrote up on my own.”

“Okay…”

“It’s called, ‘The Little Girl in the Woods,” Ruby began. “Once upon a time, there was a young girl, still growing up and not knowing much about the world. This girl had a mom, an amazing, kind, heroic mother, a mother she never truly got to meet or remembered.”

“Qrow, what happened?!”

“I’m sorry, Tai. When I found her…she was already gone…”

“How?!”

“I don’t know. I found her, laid in a bed made of leaves, branches, and flowers. She…she looked like she was just sleeping.”

“This girl was unable to recognize her mother’s face in photos, and wanted so desperately to meet her,” Ruby continued. “She was told she couldn’t, that the only way she’d be able to talk to her is at her resting place. The girl hadn’t been there since the funeral and thought she could retrace her steps from that day. She left her home in the dead of night, walking into the forest. Naturally, the little girl got lost and was so for three days. With the lack of food and water claiming her, the girl collapsed on the third day. This girl lived in a place known for young be wolves, scavengers that devoured the dead or dying. As she lay there, the pack that been unknowingly stalking her made their move, circling the girl. Just when she thought she was dead, help arrived. A friendly bird.”

“Ruby!”

Ruby stared up at the blue sky, the sun shining on her face, then she closed her eyes. She heard the Grimm howl in pain as they were effortlessly dispatched. Soon, when the last beowolf fell, Ruby heard footsteps coming towards her and felt someone pick her up.

“It’s alright. I got ya, kiddo. I got ya.”

“Since that day, the girl only visited her mother’s grave with friends, or, when she got older, her beloved weapon.” Ruby placed Crescent Rose on her lap. “The girl also learned not to let her desires take such a hold of her, that she hurt herself or the ones she loves.” She looked at Blake, silver eyes locking with amber ones. “Do you understand, Blake?”

Blake had tears in her eyes, and sharply inhaled, nodded. “I’m sorry…”

“Hey, please don’t apologize.” Ruby hugged Blake. “Just please get some sleep.”

“I will.” Blake her eyes, realizing her purple eye shadow was running. “I promise.”

“Thank you.” Ruby smiled, warmly. “So…will you be going to the dance?”

Blake nodded.

“Good, I’ll text Weiss to get you a dress.”

“I don’t have anyone to go with.”

“You can go with me.”

“Ruby…that would be lovely.”

Just then, the door to the classroom opened, and Oobleck walked in.

“Huh? What is this?” Oobleck widened his eyes.

“Oh, sorry Doctor Oobleck, I was just-”

“Wait!” Oobleck exclaimed, holding his hand out in front of him to silence Ruby. “I know exactly what is going on here!”

Ruby and Blake both shot confused glances at one another.

“You aren’t my students, you’re the Beavers!” Oobleck accusingly pointed at Ruby and Blake. “You have snuck into my classroom to assassinate me because I know the truth!”

“Wait…what?!” Ruby shook her head, trying to comprehend Oobleck’s logic.

“Unfortunately for you fools, I’m like John Wick!” Oobleck punched the wall he was next pull, pulling out a bag. “I got weapons hid all over this school!” He pulled out a tennis ball and threw it at Ruby, hitting her head.

“Ow!” Ruby rubbed her head.

“Yeah, take that you bucked tooth Cephalopods!”

“Cephalopods? Beavers are mammals!” Blake exclaimed, exasperated.

“I knew it! Only a beaver would know that!” Oobleck threw another tennis ball.

“Or someone who has picked up a bo-Ow!” Blake rubbed her head.

“Okay, let’s get out of here.” Ruby activated her semblance, picked up Blake, and the two sped past Oobleck as a red and Blake comet, dark petals trailing behind them.

“I will save humanity from you!” Oobleck shook his fist.

Chapter Text

The shattered moon was full as every student from Beacon to Atlas arrived at the ballroom to dance the night away. Team RWBY, minus Blake, waited patiently outside for friends or significant others. Ruby and Weiss wore red and black dresses, while Yang was in a tuxedo with a yellow coat and black undershirt.

“I hope Blake comes,” Weiss said, sadly.

“She doesn’t have to come, just be glad she’s getting sleep,” Ruby said.

“I got good news for the both of you!” Yang pointed ahead at Blake.

“Blake!” Ruby cheered.

“Hi girls.” Blake greeted with a meek wave and smile.

“I’m so glad you came!” Ruby hugged Blake tightly, then took her hand, leading her inside. “Come on, I promised you a dance!”

“Guess I better go join them,” Weiss said. “Not like I’m waiting for a dance.”

“You go on ahead, I’m waiting for Sapphire.”

“Yang!”

Yang’s face light up when she looked ahead to see Sapphire running towards her, occasionally stumbling due to her heels. She was wearing a long blue silk dress that had a slit across her right leg and matching blue heels.

“Blue!” Yang ran to Sapphire, who jumped into her arms and spun with her, the two settling and touching foreheads. “You look beautiful.”

“Thanks, you look quite handsome yourself.” Sapphire took Yang’s hands. “Now knock me off my feet with your amazing dancing!”

“Let me!” Yang leads Sapphire into the ballroom, Weiss following closely behind.

“Guess I’ll be lonely by the punch bowl,” Weiss snarked. “You guys have a good time!”

“Later Weiss!” Yang saluted Weiss as she went over to the punch bowl.

“Wait, that was Weiss?!” Sapphire asked, shocked.

“Did you not recognize her?” Yang chuckled in confusion.

“She wasn’t being an unbearable bigot,” Sapphire answered. “So no, I didn’t.”

“She made a promise to be better, and it looks like she’s keeping it!”

“That’s…nice, actually.”

“Hey!” A male voice got Yang and Sapphire’s attention.

The two turned in the direction of the voice to see Fox, dressed in a red tuxedo, holding the hand of another young man. He wore all black, matching his black hair. Fox whispered to the boy, who kept shaking his head, nervously.

“Come on, come on!” Fox practically had to drag the boy over to Yang and Sapphire. “Yang, this is my boyfriend, Ink.”

“H-Hi…” Ink gave the girls a shaky wave.

“Hello!” Sapphire waved.

“Sup!” Yang greeted with a salute.

“Okay I met them we can go!” Ink turned but Fox gently took his shoulder.

“Man, you weren’t kidding when you said he was shy,” Yang said.

“He’s got anxiety …”

“I can see that.”

“Come on, hon.” Fox turned Ink towards him and stroked his cheek. “You got to lighten up and have a little fun!”

“I…I’ll try,” Ink said. “I just don’t want to meet new people, right now.”

“Okay, that’s fine,” Fox assured. “Sorry girls, probably be away for the rest of the ball.”

“That’s fine, you two go have a blast!” Yang gave the boys a thumbs up and wink.

As Fox and Ink walked away, another, unfamiliar voice got Yang and Sapphire’s attention. They looked to see a woman with brown hair and pale skin, wearing a white dress hug Glynda.

“Glynda!” Gannet hugged Glynda.

“Hi, sweetie.” Glynda smiled.

“Whoa, that is nuts!” Yang was a little terrified of Glynda smiling.

“I missed you so much,” Gannet said. “Why are you always so busy?”

“Sorry sweetie, duty comes first in the world of Remnant.”

Gannet’s face fell, and Glynda picked up on this, shocking even more students with the look of sadness and guilt.

“I still will spend as much time with you as I can during these events,” Glynda assured, gently raising Gannet’s chin.

Gannet noticeably perked up. Glynda took her to the dance floor, where an army of students watched their teachers' slow dance in confusion. They didn’t know which was weirder, Port and Oobleck dancing with their weapons, or Glynda Goodwitch showing emotions.

As Yang watched Glynda in disbelief, she felt Sapphire tug on her shoulder.

“What’s up?” Yang looked to Sapphire.

Sapphire didn’t verbally answer, she just pointed at JNPR, and Yang’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. Pyrrha and Nora were in a red and pink tux respectively, while Jaune and Ren were in dresses, the former in a plain white dress, while Ren had a long, flowing green one. Jaune wore his regular converse, but Rem had gone the extra mile and was wearing green heels to match his dress.

“G-Guys what are you doing?” Yang asked after walking over to JNPR.

“We wanted to do something different from everyone else,” Pyrrha answered. “So we swapped up our suits and dresses.”

“I just wanted to feel handsome.” Nora struck a pose.

“I just wanted to feel pretty,” Ren admitted.

“As a loud and proud bi, I can safely assure you both look how you feel,” Yang said.

“It’s so cool you guys are comfortable doing this,” Sapphire said to Jaune and Ren. “I’ve seen women in suits, but I’ve never seen guys wear dresses.”

“I’ve actually done this before,” Ren said. “I prefer it.”

“I can get behind that!” Yang took Sapphire’s hand. “I think we’ve stalled dancing long enough, you guys have fun!”

Yang, Sapphire in hand, joined her teachers and peers on the center of the dance floor. When they found a nice spot, Yang held Sapphire’s hand with one hand, and gently placed the other on her back. The two swayed along to the music, both looking into each other’s eyes. Yang realized she wanted to stare into those aqua-colored eyes forever, and all hesitation was gone.

Fuck it, Yang thought to herself.

Ruby and Blake had already begun dancing before Yang and Sapphire entered. While Ruby was a fine dance partner, Blake couldn’t help but give sad looks to Yang and Sapphire.

“I know,” Ruby said.
“What?” Blake looked back at Ruby.

“I know you like my sister,” Ruby repeated. “I know you like Yang.”

“Ruby I…you’re absolutely correct.” Blake didn’t try to deny it. “I’m sorry for constantly looking over to them.”

“It’s fine,” Ruby assured. “Learning a crush is taken can suck, just don’t let it affect your friendship with her.”

“I’m not the jealous type.” Blake grimaced and looked sick enough to hurl. “My last relationship taught me that.”

“I’m sorry to hear, but don’t think about it right now.” Ruby gave Blake a warm, comforting smile. “You just focus on having fun tonight.”

“You’re the leader, what you say goes,” Blake joked, a small smile growing on her face.

Unknown to the students, they were being scoped out by Emerald and Mercury.

“Look at them, all fun and smiles,” Mercury’s voice was full of hatred. “Disgusting.”

“What is actually wrong with you?” Emerald asked.

“Narcissism, sadism, and extreme low functioning psychopathy,” Mercury answered, sarcastically.

“Gee, thanks for the answer.”

“Is the boss out?”

Emerald shook her head. “Not yet, I hope she gets the job done soon so we can dance.”

“You actually find joy being around people who are happy?”

“Yeah, you freaking lunatic!”


Ruby and Blake tired, they found a random seat to rest up at, Weiss joining them after standing around drinking punch for nearly an hour. Blake still sadly watched Yang and Sapphire dancing.

“I think I need some air.” Blake got to her feet and walked to the open balcony.

“Blake wait!” Ruby called as quietly as she could.

Yang heard Ruby and followed her eyes to see a dejected Blake walk outside.

“It’s okay, my feet are killing me, anyway,” Sapphire assured.

“Thanks, Saph, you’re the best!” Yang gave Sapphire a quick peck on the lips before following Blake outside. “Blake?”

Blake turned to face Yang. “Oh, hey Yang.”

“Are you okay?” Yang asked. “Ruby sounded pretty worried when she called out to you.”

“I’m fine, just starting the process of getting over a crush is all.”

“Oh…well, the girls and I will always be there if you need anyone to talk to.”

“Thank you, Yang.” Blake put a hand on Yang’s shoulder. “Je veux Que tu sois heureux, bien-aimé.”

Yang widened her eyes and stepped back, out of Blake’s grip. Blake tilted her head in confusion.

“What?” Blake asked.

“Blake…I went to the library to give Sapphire her invitation, and as I was leaving…I found a book on French languages.”

It was Blake’s turn to widen her eyes. “Yang…wh-what are you saying?”

“I’m saying…Je connais.”

Blake’s cat ears shot up straight, and she rushed off the balcony, running by Ruby and Weiss, who had gotten up from their seats to check on Blake themselves.

“What happened?” Weiss asked.

“I told Blake I knew she had a crush on me in her native tongue.”

“Oh…”

“Let’s just go back inside.”

Before Ruby could follow Yang and Weiss, she noticed something out of her peripheral vision. It looked like someone was prowling on the rooftops ahead.

“You coming back inside, Ruby?” Yang called.

“I need some fresh air, myself,” Ruby answered.

Yang looked to Weiss, who shrugged. The two went back inside, Weiss taking her place with the other partnerless attendees by the punch bowl, while Yang sat with Sapphire, offering to rub her foot when she saw Sapphire had taken her heels off to find blisters.

Ruby jumped over the railing of the low balcony, pulled out her scroll, and called the locker containing Crescent Rose to land near her.


Cinder closed in on the CCT, using the shadows to hide from the guard at the front doors. She was wearing a skin-tight jumpsuit, hooded mask that kept her head and face covered. Connect her twin sword, Midnight, into their bow mode, Cinder materialized an arrow out of thin air, then shot it. The guard at the gate was nailed in the chest. He backed against the wall, gasping as Cinder causally walked past him. When he fell silent, an orange glow flashed, and his body disintegrated, leaving behind only his gun.

Cinder walked inside the CCT hips swaying. One of the guards noticed her and held his holstered pistol.

“Hey, this is a restricted area!” The guard barked. “State your business.”

Cinder continued to stalk towards him.

“I’m warning you!” The guard pulled out his gun.

Cinder raised one of her swords, holding her hand out in front of her. The guard opened fire, and to his shock, every bullet was caught in a small tornado that brought all of them to the palm of Cinder’s hand as her eyes glowed white. Curling her fingers as her eyes glowed from white to orange, the bullets melted together into a ball, and she shot the ball back at the guard, it flying right through his chest. The other three guards in the room all readied their stun batons, circled Cinder, and all charged at once. Unfortunately for them, she jumped into the air, and in a quick flash, she landed, blades held out. The guards stood, dropped their guns, and then their heads, their bodies following a few seconds afterward. Cinder heard the elevator ding and looked to see two guards casually chatting as they walked out, only for their conversation to be stopped dead when they saw their comrades dead, and Cinder standing in front of them. Before either could act, Cinder threw both of her blades like javelins, pinning them to the back wall of the still open elevator. She coldly strolled into the elevator, pressing the button to the control floor as the two guards gasped and reached out to her.

Ruby’s heels clicked as she ran inside, Crescent Rose’s sickle ready for battle. She gasped when she saw the bodies of the guards and noticed the elevator doors were closing, catching a quick glimpse of Cinder. Eyes narrowing in determination, Ruby used her semblance to speed up the stairs.

In the control room, Cinder had pulled her blades from the chests of the now-dead Atlas guards, connecting them to form their bow mode. She found the central control console and placed her scroll in the slot, watching as the screen lit up with the image of a black chess piece on a red background. When the image disappeared, Cinder knew it was done and removed her scroll from the console.

“Hey!” Ruby called.

Cinder and gasped and turned to see Ruby standing in the doorway.

“What are you doing here ?!” Ruby demanded. “Why did you kill those men?!”

Cinder didn’t say a word, she just pulled back Midnight’s bow and spawned three arrows. Ruby gasped and spun Crescent Rose to block the attacks, causing her to stumble back due to her heels.

“Freakin heels!” Ruby kicked her heels off so she could move better, then fired multiple shots at Cinder.

Like before, Cinder caught all of the bullets, but instead of melting them into a deadly fireball, she used her semblance, Scorching Caress, to superheated the bullets to turn them into needles. Ruby widened her eyes and dived out of the way Cinder launched the needles at her, embedding them into the wall. Ruby took cover behind a console, panting heavily. She jumped when the elevator dinged, and opened to General Ironwood, pistol out. When noticed Ruby, he lowered his pistol.

“What are you doing here?” Ironwood asked.

“General, get down!” Ruby warned.

“For what?”

“For the psycho right…” Ruby stood up, only to see Cinder had vanished. “…there.”


Emerald checked the time. It was almost midnight, and the dance lasted for not long after. She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned to see Cinder, a black dress that came with matching black gloves, choker, and heels.

“I believe I owe you a dance!” Cinder held out her hand.

“I would be honored.” Emerald smiled, taking Cinder’s hands as the two began to slow dance with the ignorant students. “How did your day go?”

“Bumped into some annoying teenager, but other than that, the day passed by without a problem.” Cinder smirked, confidently.

Chapter Text

Ruby sat uncomfortably outside of Ozpin’s office.

“Miss Rose, you may come in!” Glynda called.

Ruby breathed in, counted to ten, and breathed out. She got up from her seat and went inside, being greeted by Ozpin, Glynda, and Ironwood.

“Uh…hi…” Ruby pushed the tips of her pointer fingers together.

“Miss Rose, I can assure you, you are not in any trouble,” Glynda assured, uncharacteristically soft.

Hearing the usually stern and cold Glynda Goodwitch speak comfortingly definitely helped take Ruby off the edge. She walked over to the three, hands behind her back.

“Now, can you tell us anything about the woman who attacked you?” Ozpin asked.

“Well…I had seen her running across the rooftops and went to investigate, bringing my weapon just in case,” Ruby began. “By the time I arrived at the CCT…all the men inside were already dead.”

“That’s not your fault,” Ironwood assured. “It’s the fault of the animal that killed them.”

“Right, of course.” Ruby’s tone still held guilt. “When I arrived, I saw the dead soldiers and saw a woman getting into the elevator, so I used my semblance to speed up the stairs, checking every single floor until I found her at the CCT’s Control Room. We got into a little fight, but she was gone by the time you arrived, General.”

“Thank you for the information, Ruby.” Ironwood stepped closer to Ruby and put a hand on her shoulder. “I would like to correct Miss Goodwitch, not only are you not in any trouble, I want to say you’ve earned my respect. You showed you are already thinking like a true Huntress, and I understand why Ozpin let you into Beacon so early.”

“Thank you so much, General Ironwood.” Ruby smiled.

“That’ll be all for now, Miss Rose,” Ozpin said. “We’ll call you if we need you to answer any more questions.”

“If it helps bring the killer of those men to justice, I’ll always be ready.” Ruby turned and walked towards the elevator. “See you at training, Miss Goodwitch!”

“Yes…see you then,” Glynda said, professional mask slipping off when the elevator doors closed. “By the Gods, I forgot about training, today!”

“That doesn’t seem very in character for you, Glynda,” Ozpin joked to lighten up the mood, a bit.

“No, it isn’t, and I know why,” Ironwood began. “There is clearly something bigger going on here, Ozpin.”

“Agreed.” Glynda nodded.

“I’m not going to deny my fear these attacks may have been perpetrated by one of Salem’s Inner Circle.” Ozpin leaned back in his chair, hand on his chin.

“If she’s planning something this close to the Vytal Tournament, then we need to be prepared,” Ironwood said. “I say you call Qrow here, and I’ll call Winter. Then after that…I was wondering…if you’d let me ship in my army.”

“What do you mean?”

“If you haven’t heard, my Atlasian Knights and Paladins have finally been completed,” Ironwood began. “Pietro is a brilliant and hardworking man, these bots were created to lessen human causalities, both soldier and civilian, and are being mass-produced back at Atlas. A couple hundred thousand won’t go amiss. Them, mixed with my human soldiers and airships will ensure the Vytal Tournament will be safe.”

“I don’t know about that, James.”

“Please Oz, think of the people.”

Ozpin sighed. “How long will it take for them to get here?”

“Not long,” Ironwood assured. “You won’t regret this, Oz. I promise.”


The bell of the jewelry store jingled when Yang walked through the door.

“Ah, one of my rescuers has finally returned!” The Shopkeep greeted.

“Hey SK.” Yang leaned against the front desk. “How are things going?”

“Fine, thanks to you and the rest of team RWBY, I’m certain no criminal will want to even look at this place!”

“That’s good!” Yang gripped the front dusk, knuckles whitening. “I got a training sess over at Beacon this afternoon, so I can’t stay long.”

“Are you okay?”

“Wha…?” Yang released her grip on the desk. “Sorry, I’m just really nervous.”

“I take it you still want an engagement ring for…Sapphire, was it?”

“How do you know?”

“Because you said her name while chatting with her on your scroll.”

“Right…during the stakeout.” Yang let out a shuttered sigh. “To get back on track, yes.”

“For what you did for me, and your pick will be free of charge!” Shopkeep motioned to the engagement rings.

Yang’s fists clenched as she made her to the display case for the engagement rings. She looked over every single one until she saw what had caught her eyes all those days ago: Twin Yellow Diamond engagement rings, both gemstones formed the shape of a heart when connected.

“Those two.” Yang pressed her pointer finger on the spot just about the rings, leaving a smudged fingerprint.

“Excellent choice, Miss Xiao Long.” Shopkeep unlocked the display case and took out both rings, placing each in individual black boxes.

“You’re serious about them being free?” Yang asked, rubbing her hands together, nervously.

“Do you want to pay?”

“No…I just…sorry, I’m nervous.”

“You look more than nervous.”

“Am I taking this too fast?” Yang asked, suddenly. “We’ve been together three years, so I would say no. It’s our age that’s the problem. Are we too young?”

“Listen, kid, I’m a shopkeeper, not a psychologist,” Shopkeep began. “I don’t know, but I would like to remind you these rings are free.”

“So?”

“So you can take them, but if you don’t feel you’re ready you can bring them back.”

Yang stared, unblinking, at Shopkeep, then she blinked and nodded her head. “Yeah, that works.”

“You have a good day, now.” Shopkeep slid the small black boxes holding the rings over to Yang.

“Okay…yeah…” Yang had calmed down a little, but her hands still shook as she took each box and shoved them into her pockets. “You have a good day, too.” Yang turned to leave, opening the door.

“Hey!” Shopkeep called.

Yang stopped, the door half-open when she looked back at Shopkeep.

“Whether you propose now or not, you remind me when I was ready to propose to my wife,” Shopkeep said. “If you don’t feel you’re ready, then don’t. It’s not like that’ll take away her love for you. If you chose to bring those rings back, I’ll make sure to hold onto them until you think you’re ready.”

Yang smiled. “Thanks.”

The bells jingled when the door shut behind Yang.


“Team CRDL, your combat capabilities are incredibly lacking,” Glynda said, bluntly.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Cardin asked.

“It means you suck,” Blake snarked.

“Thank you for the comment, Miss Belladonna,” Glynda said, sternly glaring at Blake. “Though I would suggest you leave the criticism to me.”

Blake nodded and crossed her arms.

“As I was saying, your team is failing the combat section of your grades.” Glynda adjusted her glasses. “I shouldn’t have to explain to you why failing combat in this Huntsmen Academy is bad.”

“We’re perfectly capable!” Sky shouted.

“Yeah!” Russel agreed.

“You’re just not perspective of our skills,” Dove said.

The whole class went dead quiet, all staring at CRDL in shock of their disrespect. Glynda’s face never changed, but she began to noticeably shake and started breathing heavily.

“Well, care to test that theory?” Glynda asked.

“We can handle anything you throw at us!” Cardin shouted.

“Yeah!” The rest of CRDL obnoxiously agreed.

“Fine then, you’ll be going four on one with one of the best students in the class.” Glynda looked to Yang. “Miss Xiao Long, are you up to the task.”

“Always!” Yang shot to her, smirking.

Pyrrha sighed in relief.

“Why the sigh?” Ruby asked Pyrrha.

“I’m finally not the first person people look to when asking for the best,” Pyrrha said. “I…I’m starting to feel like a human being, again.”

“How long has it been since you felt human?”

“Since I was ten years old,” Pyrrha answered, grimly.

“Oh…” Ruby shrunk.

Yang readied Ember Celica as CRDL held up their weapons.

“We’ll try to go easy on you, girlie!” Cardin shouted, grinning as the rest of CRDL laughed.

Yang didn’t say a thing, the smile on her face never falling.

“Begin,” Glynda said.

CRDL all charged Yang at once. She initially did the same, but suddenly dipped to the floor, sliding and causing Cardin to flip onto her back. Sky looked down at Yang in shock, she flashed him a cocky grin before taking him out with an uppercut. Dove stepped back in fright, but Russel wildly slashed at Yang with Shortwings. She expertly dodged every slash, occasionally delivering a punch to Russel’s face whenever he left himself open. After three direct hits, Russel stumbled back and fell to his knees, Yang taking him out with her knee. Dove had shaken off his fear too late but charged at Yang regardless. She heard footsteps also approaching from behind, and ducked, leading to Cardin knocking Dove over the head with The Executioner. Whirling around as she ducked, Yang took out Cardin with a punch to the groin. Cardin squealed as his aura depleted to nothing and he fell to the floor, crying. With the battle won, Yang dusted her hands off.

“Expertly done, Miss Xiao Long,” Glynda complimented, then she looked down to battered CRDL. “Well, Mr. Bronzewing, I can safely assure you I was paying close attention to your fight. So it’s safe to say I perspectively know you four need to improve. Now get back on the stands to heal up.”

Yang watched as CRDL, groaning and whimpering pain sat down at the closest seats to rest up.

“Now, who wants to go next?” Glynda asked.

“I’d like to!” Mercury raised his hand.

“Mr. Blake from Haven,” Glynda noted. “You may pick your sparring partner.”

“Let’s see.” Mercury got up and looked around the room, tapping his chin before pointing around. “Eenie-meanie-minie-moe!” He pointed at Yang.

“Miss Xiao Long has already battled,” Glynda said.

“It’s cool, Miss G.” Yang crackled her knuckles. “Not like CRDL did any significant damage to my aura.”

Glynda conceded with a nod. “Come down to the arena, Mr. Black.”

“I’m going to knock Blondie down a peg!” Mercury whispered to Emerald before joining Yang in the arena, missing Emerald roll her eyes.

Yang and Mercury stood across from one another.

“Begin,” Glynda said.

Yang and Mercury both used the recoil from their guns to launch themselves into the air. Mercury smugly grinned, confident he had this battle in the bag. Confidence that was quickly dropped when he went to kick Yang, only for her to catch it and swing him down to the floor below. Mercury got to his feet, holding his head as Yang landed in front of him. Growling, Mercury charged Yang attacking with a flurry of kicks and punches Yang dodged, then stunned him with a headbutt. He stumbled back, looking at his aura meter, shocked to see he was only one hit away from losing. Yang and Mercury stared each other down, but when she made the “come at me” motion with a smirk, he snapped and tried to jump kick her. Yang blocked the move with Ember Celica, then pushed Mercury’s leg, tripping him up long enough for her to end the fight with a vertical double fist punch to the chest, sending Mercury sliding across the floor as the aura meter went off.

“Mr. Blake’s aura has been sufficiently depleted,” Glynda said. “Excellent work, Miss Xiao Long.”

“I fight better when I’m in a good mood,” Yang said.

“Well, I hope whatever makes you happy continues to heighten your skills,” Glynda said. “Alright class, enough for today. This will be the last training session until the Vytal Tournament’s end.”

“Yeah!” Canvas cheered, shrinking when Glynda glared. “That was…louder…than I thought it would be.”

“Right,” Glynda said. “To the students here to battle, good luck to you all.”

“She…beat me?” Mercury hissed to himself. “She. Beat. Me?!”

“Hey, good fight!” Yang held out her hand.

Mercury snarled and smacked Yang’s hand away.

“Whoa! No need for that!” Yang rubbed her hand.

“I won’t forget about this, Blondie,” Mercury spat, turning and walking towards the door as the rest of RWBY joined Yang in watching him leave.

“Jeez, and I thought Weiss was childish,” Blake snarked.

“Hey!” Weiss exclaimed, defensively.

“Weiss, you were child,” Blake said, bluntly.

“I…yeah.” Weiss crossed her arms.

“So, what got you so happy, sis?” Ruby asked.

“I’m nervous about it, but I think I’m about to make the greatest decision of my life!” Yang answered.

“What is it?” Ruby tilted her head, curiously.

“I’ll…I’ll tell you, girls, later, it’s pretty big,” Yang said. “The point is, I’m happy! I feel things are really looking up for us, and our time here at Beacon will only continue to get better!”


In the large, destroyed city of Mountain Glenn, the White Fang used the large caverns as a makeshift construction site. A crane set train cars down on the tracks, the cars had specially designed canisters that were filled with fire dust on each side. With the push of a button, these canisters would crush the fire dust crystals contained within them, causing the whole train car to blow up, specifically blow a hole into the Grimm infested city of Mountain, and then into Vale to let the resulting Grimm take into the city. Also on this train were Prototype Atlsian Paladins, which will be piloted by some White Fang members to assist the Grimm in the slaughter of Vale.

On the catwalks of this makeshift construction site, Cinder, Roman, and Neo watched as the train that will destroy Vale was almost complete.

“Are you two fine with this?” Cinder asked.

“Do I get to live?” Roman asked.

“Yeah.”

“Then I’m fine.”

This city took everything from me, Neo sighed. It’s about time I took everything from it.

“We got exploding train cars and robots prepared to rip this city apart!” Damian joined the three. “You best show your appreciation Cinder, this has cost me a pretty penny.”

“It is, Damian,” Cinder said, gratefully. “Thank you.”

“Yeah, yeah, a lot of business rivals in Vale need to be dealt with.” Damian leaned forward on the catwalk’s railing.

“You’re fine with this as long as they die?” Cinder asked, shocked.

“Aren’t you?”

“This sacrifice is necessary for my plans to obtain the power so I may protect the ones I love,” Cinder explained. “I’m not fine with it, but it has to be done.”

“Sure.” Damian rolled his eyes, then he smiled sadistically. “To answer you’re question, I’m more than fine with it. I can’t wait!”

Chapter Text

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Yang stirred as her phone rang, ringtone obnoxiously shrouding the room in loud beeping. Groggy, Yang looked around the empty room. It was 1 PM, and the other members of Team RWBY were playing the board game, Remnant: The Game, with JNPR in Beacon’s Library. Yang had decided to sleep in for the day, her brain was a jumbled mess and only sleep gave her any sort of relief.

I’m doing this. Yang slid the boxes holding her and Sapphire’s engagement rings out from under her pillow, opening the one she planned to propose to Sapphire with. Be nervous all you want, Xiao Long. You. Are. Doing this.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

“Gods damn it, I’m up!” Yang jumped out of bed, bare feet landing silently on the wooden floors, and snatched her scroll from the bookshelf to check the collar ID, planning to cuss out whoever was calling her.

👍DAD!👍

Yang softened and she picked up. “Dad?”

“Yang! I knew I should’ve called you first,” Taiyang said. “I’ve been trying to get in contact with Ruby for like…an hour.”

“She’s playing Remnant.”

“The game?”

“The Game.”

“Always turns her scroll off,” Tai sighed. “I’m getting too wrapped up in my BS, how are you girls doing?”

“Pretty great!”

“That’s wonderful,” Tai said. “Tell…tell Ruby I’m sorry, I feel I’m not calling as often as I should.”

“It’s fine, Dad,” Yang assured. “Blake has nothing but nice things to say about her parents, and they haven’t called her yet!”

“Blake is your teammate, right?” Tai asked. “I still can’t believe you’re sharing a team and partnered with the daughter of Menagerie’s chief. You might as well be friends with Ozpin’s or Ironwood’s daughters!”

“They don’t have kids, Dad,” Yang snarked.

“You know what I meant,” Tai chuckled. “Anyway, I didn’t call just to catch up, I wanted to tell you, girls, I sent you a gift!”

“Really?!”

“Should be arriving any second now!”

Right on cue, Yang heard a knock on the door.

“I got an extended mission and Miss Sharp is sick and can’t house sit for me.”

“Wait…” Yang widened her eyes.

“I’d thought you’d like to catch up with him, too,” Tai said. “So I thought why not kill two birds with one stone. Tell Ruby I love you.”

“Got ya!” Yang rushed over to the door, pausing when she put her hand on the knob. “Love you!”

“Love you, too.”

Yang hung up and opened the door, her excited face turning to one of confusion when all she saw was a mail cylinder.

“Huh?” Yang picked up the mail cylinder and started to open it. “Dad better not have been joking about-”

It all seemed to go in slow motion to Yang. Cans sprayed out of the mail cylinder-like snakes in a can, along with a can opener and a black-headed tricolor corgi with gray eyes and a bobbed tail jumping in her direction. He also had a cute red collar was around his neck, a golden pendant engraved with vertical black bone with two dots on either side. As Yang fell back, the corgi smiled wide, she mirrored his face and held out her hands.

“Zwei!” Yang cheered, catching Zwei as time returned to normal speed, causing herald Zwei, the cans, and the can opener to fall to the floor.

Zwei happily licked her face.

“I missed you, too!” Yang hugged Zwei tightly. “Do you know who else misses you?”

Zwei jumped out of Yang’s arms and ran in a circle.

“Slow down, buddy.” Yang got to her knees to put him. “Let me get dressed, then we’ll head to the Beacon Library!”

Zwei nodded, running over to the door to sit there patiently. Yang got her Hunter outfit from the drawers and got dressed as quickly as she could. When she was putting on the purple pendant, she remembered Sapphire and she glanced to her pillow. Yang sighed and hopped on her bunk, pulling the box from under the pillow, being sure to check if it was the engagement ring she was going to give to Sapphire. Zwei's barking caused her to jump, and she turned to see the corgi tilting his head at her curiously.

“I-It’s nothing, Zwei.” Yang quickly shut the box and shoved it into her pocket, walking over to Zwei. “Let’s get to the library so you can see Ruby!”

Zwei dropped his curiosity and jumped in excitement.

“Then after Ruby, we can visit Sapphire!” Yang squatted to rub Zwei under his chin. “You miss her, too?”

Zwei nodded, tongue out and panting.

“I’m sure she misses you, too.” Yang stood up and reached for the doorknob. “Now let’s give Ruby a nice surprise!”


“I sucked at that game!” Weiss wept.

“Don’t feel bad, Weiss.” Ruby put a comforting hand on Weiss’s shoulder. “Everything is hard for beginners!”

“Well, got to give the game props for being realistic,” Blake joked. “If someone goes from a rich, spoiled-rotten snob to a general leading an army, they’re probably going to fail.”

“Oh shush!” Weiss huffed. “I’ll get better and show you how good I am at leading!”

As RWB left the library, Ruby looked ahead and gasped at what she saw at the foot of the staircase. Yang and Zwei, the former telling the latter about one of their fights.

“After that, he hit Sapphire so hard he knocked her out!” Yang exclaimed.

Zwei growled.

“No worries, buddy,” Yang assured. “I sent him skipping across the sea like a thrown pebble!”

Zwei immediately perked back up.

“Okay, so then-”

“Zwei!” Ruby’s cheer interrupted Yang as she sped over to the two to scoop Zwei up in her arms. “What are you doing here?!”

“Dad is going on an extended mission and Old Miss Sharp is sick.”

“So we’re watching him?!” Ruby beamed.

“Yep!”

“Wait, why didn’t dad tell me?”

“Because you turned your phone off.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“Never mind that! Group hug!” Ruby jumped into Yang’s arms, the sisters’ embrace keeping Zwei from falling.

“Is that a corgi?” Weiss asked.

“IS THAT A CORGI?!” Blake screeched.

“Yes to both questions!” Ruby held out Zwei. “Isn’t he cute?”

“Cute?! He’s…he’s…ADORABLE!” Weiss squeed. “Let me see him!”

Ruby handed Zwei over to Weiss, who held him like a mother would her child.

“Who’s a cute little boy? Who’s the most precocious thing on Remnant?” Weiss let Zwei lick her cheek. “You are! Yes, you are!”

“Damn Weiss, you sure seem…” Yang paused.

“Passionate?”

“Yeah, let’s go with that,” Yang said. “…passionate about having a dog.”

“Growing up, I always wanted a dog,” Weiss explained. “I was never able to get one because my father wouldn’t even let me pick out my toothbrush, let alone allow me to get a pet.”

“Oh…” Yang shrunk back.

“Why are you holding him like a baby?” Ruby asked

“That’s the only experience I have in holding cute things.” Weiss shrugged.

“You’ve held a baby?”

“Yeah, my older sister, Winter, adopted…” Weiss froze, eyes wide and staring off into space.

“Weiss?”

“Nothing,” Weiss's tone was emotionless and dead. “My sister didn’t adopt anyone.”

Weiss handed Zwei to Ruby and went to go sit down.

“What about you, Blake?” Ruby changed the subject, holding Zwei out to Blake.

Blake hissed and took off in the opposite direction. “Keep him away from my stuff!”

“Okay…” Yang looked between Weiss sitting down and Blake running away. “At least they don’t hate him!”

“I’m pretty sure Blake hates him.” Ruby held Zwei under her arm.

“Well…at least she’ll…tolerate him?” Yang shrugged.

“Better,” Ruby said. “Why do you think Blake doesn’t like him?”

“Ruby?”

“What! I genuinely don’t get it!”

“I think it’s safe to say it’s not racially profiling to point out Blake hates him because she’s part cat.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Alright, hand the little mutt.” Yang held open her arms.

“No! I get the snuggies!” Ruby held Zwei protectively.

“I just want to tell Sapphire he’s here,” Yang said. “You know she loves him, too.”

“No!”

“Ruby,” Yang groaned.

“No!”

“I’ll let you have the snuggies with him for the first night!”

Ruby pondered, then held out Zwei. “Deal!”

“Come on, Zwei.” Yang took Zwei and patted her pocket holding the engagement ring. “Let’s give Sapphire a nice surprise…maybe two.”


Yang parked bumblebee in front of Sapphire’s apartment building, Zwei riding in her backpack. She opened up her scroll and looked to Sapphire on her contacts list.

❤️💛💚💙💜❣💕💞💓💗💖💘💝Sapphire💝💘💖💗💓💞💕❣💜💙💚💛❤️

Zwei cocked an eyebrow when saw the screen.

“Hey, I love her!” Yang exclaimed, defensively.

Zwei didn’t change his expression, he just turned it to Yang instead of her scroll.

“Okay, maybe I need to dial it back,” Yang admitted. You say as you’re about to pop the question.

Hey Blue, you up? Yang texted.

Hi-a sweetie, and yes! Sapphire texted back.

I’m outside with someone who wants to see you!

Who 🤔?

Come down and see!

Yang pocked her scroll and reached into her pocket, letting out a shaky sigh. When Sapphire stepped out, in her pj's and slippers, she gasped.

“Zwei!” Sapphire cheered the second she saw Zwei.

Zwei barked happily.

“I didn’t expect to see you here, buddy!” Sapphire took Zwei from Yang’s backpack, hugging him tightly

“Yeah, Dad couldn’t get anyone to dog sit, so I guess he’s stuck with us.” Yang stepped off bumblebee, leaning against it while crossing her ankles.

“That. Is. Amazing!” Sapphire giggled as Zwei licked her cheek. “Does Beacon allow pets? Not asking so I can keep him!”

“Sorry Blue, it does and Ruby already called dibs on snuggies.”

“Awww…curse the International Dibs Protocol!” Sapphire waved her fist, then chuckled and set Zwei back in Yang’s backpack. “Thanks for telling me.”

“Don’t mention it, Blue.”

“So do you want to hang out?”

“Sorry, kind of got to get Zwei situated for his stay.” Yang rubbed the back of her head. “Don’t know how long dad it’ll be away, and Blake doesn’t like him so we’ll have to figure out how to deal with that…it’s going to be a bit of mess.”

“Okay.” Sapphire kissed Yang’s cheek. “It was good seeing you, honey.”

“Same to you.” Yang smiled.

Sapphire turned and was about to walk into her apartment when Yang grabbed her wrist.

“Sapphire…wait…”

Sapphire turned back to Yang, concerned. “Something wrong?”

“No, everything is wonderful, Blue.” Yang smiled, eyes tearing up. “You’ve made me so happy these last three years, and I wanted to wait for our anniversary, but I can’t.”

“Yang, what are you saying?”

Yang felt like her confidence was being sucked out with a Spirit Sucker.

“I’m saying…I love you, Sapphire Ensley.” Yang took Sapphire’s hand. “I know I always will.”

“I love you, too!” Sapphire jumped into Yang’s arms. “You and your family are all I have, and I don’t know what I’d do without you!”

“Neither would I.” Yang returned the hug.

“Was that it?” Sapphire asked.

Yang’s mouth hung open, but she shut it, smiled, and nodded her head.

“Well, that was the best anniversary gift you could’ve ever given me.” Sapphire took a few steps back. “Bye Yang.”

“Bye,” Yang said, softly.

With a warm smile, Sapphire turned around and went back into her apartment building. When she was out of sight, Yang broke down. She didn’t cry but was sniffing and tears were running down her face. Yang got on bumblebee and just drove to calm herself down, eventually stopping in a secluded part of the city, getting off bumblebee to just sit down beside it.

Zwei, who had jumped out of her backpack, whimpered and rested his head on her foot.

“It’s okay, Zwei,” Yang falsely assured. “I’m okay.”

Suddenly, Yang’s scroll started ringing. She pulled it out to look at the caller ID and saw it was Frank. Yang tried to gain as much composure as she could before answering.

“Hey, what’s up Frankfurter?” Yang greeted.

“Gods damn it, you still have that as my caller ID?” Frank asked, annoyed.

“Yeah.”

“Ugh, whatever, look, we’ve been looking deep into this thing with Torchwick and the White Fang, and we found something.”

“Really? What?” All of Yang’s sadness vanished in an instant.

“We’ve been given photo and video evidence that White Fang is moving stolen dust shipments to…Mountain Glenn.”

Yang sat down on bumblebee in shock. “Whoa…”

“Yeah, whoa,” Frank said. “We ain’t got no jurisdiction out there, so unless you want to plan a very dangerous camping trip, I’m afraid there isn’t much we can do.”

“I understand, Frank,” Yang assured. “Thank you.”

“Sorry Yang, be seeing you.”

“It’s fine, be seeing you.” Yang hung up, grip tightening on her scroll. “Zwei get back.”

Zwei knew what that warning meant. He scurried off as Yang let out an inhuman howl of rage and caused her semblance to flair up, knocking back everything around her.


“So…that’s it, then?” Blake asked, despair evident in her voice. “We’ve hit a roadblock?”

“That’s what it sounds like.” Weiss put a comforting hand on Blake’s back.

“That son of a bitch, he’s smart!” Yang was leaning forward against the bookshelf, looking outside the window at Beacon’s Courtyard. “Get out of the city where the law can’t reach him, using Mountain Gleen, a place where millions of people fucking died hide from the law like the cowardly, scum-sucking parasite he is!” She punched the bookshelf, cracking the wood.

Ruby had been sitting quietly on Weiss’ bed, hand on her chin in thought, then she had a realization.

“He’s not smart enough!” Ruby got to her feet.

“What?!” Yang whirled around at Ruby. “What…” she put her hand to her face, breathed in, counted to ten, then breathed out, getting her bearings. “What do you mean, sis?”

“It’s Friday,” Ruby pointed out.

“Which means?”

“Which means we have three days to get over there and stop him!” Ruby smirked in determination.

“How?” Blake asked.

“I would say we sneak out, but Mountain Glenn has Grimm that is way out of our league, so we’ll need to convince a teacher at Beacon to help us!”

“Which teacher could possibly be okay with-You’re talking about Oobleck, aren’t you?”

“Yep!”

“Well, that sounds…interesting…” Yang scratched her head.


Team RWBY stood before Oobleck’s classroom.

“Of course Oobleck is the only teacher who stays even when there are no classes,” Blake noted.

“I don’t know, I honestly thought Glynda would be that type,” Yang said.

“I thought it would be Port considering he has made out with his weapon.” Weiss scratched her cheek, awkwardly.

“Wait, what?!” Ruby looked at Weiss, incredulously.

“Yeah, I saw it myself…we both staring at each other…it was extremely awkward.”

The rest of Team RWBY looked at Weiss in disgust.

“Okay…let’s forget about this conversation!” Ruby reached for the doorknob but paused. “Wait, do you hear that?”

Team RWBY went silent as they listen.

“Is that…is that Bubblegum Bitch?!” Yang’s eyes widened in realization.

Ruby opened the door, allowing Team RWBY to see Oobleck on his desk, his tie wrapped around his head like a bandana, and he was using his thermostat torch as a guitar. Team RWBY walked down the stairs, causing Oobleck to notice. He froze, then broke the radio he was using by stepping on it.

“What are you girls doing here?” Oobleck tried to act naturally.

“Seeing things that require a soothing bottle of bleach in eyes,” Yang sardonically said, never losing her stunned expression.

Ruby stepped in front of Yang. “What she meant to say was, we need your help, Professor-”

“Doctor!” Oobleck corrected.

“Doctor Oobleck!”

“What do you need help with?”

“Well…we were wondering if we could use your bullhead to fly to the destroyed and Grimm invested city of Mountain Glenn so we could maybe stop a criminal organization that may or may not be there.”

Oobleck was silent, glasses lowered, exposing blue eyes, then he adjusted them. “Sure!”

“Wait?!” Yang was finally pulled from her shock.

“Heck yeah, sounds like fun!” Oobleck pumped his fist.

“Uh…cool!”

“When do you want to leave?”

“Before sunset.”

“Perfect! I’ll…” Oobleck paused and sniffed the air. “Wait. I smell it…dog!”

“Whaaaaaaaaaaat?” Ruby’s eyes dart from left to right.

“You must bring the feline!” Oobleck ordered.

“Canine,” Blake corrected.

“Whatever!”

“I guess Zwei would be helpful.” Yang shrugged.

“Why though?” Ruby asked.

“It’s had enough we’ll dealing with the Grimm, so the last thing we need is the beavers to figure out this plan,” Oobleck said. “Dogs are the natural enemy of the beaver.”

“Pretty sure they-” Blake was cut off by Ruby covering her mouth.

“Of course they are!” Ruby chuckled. “Come on girls, let’s go pack!”

“Alright, see you, girls, later!” Oobleck waved.

Team RWBY was shooed out of the classroom by Oobleck, who then walked back to his desk, looked around, then pulled out another radio and started blasting Bubblegum Bitch again. The girls could still hear the music.

“Oobleck is a strange man,” Weiss noted.

“Well, that strange man is the only way we’ll to Mt. Glenn,” Ruby pointed out. “It’s either that or give up, and none of us want that, right?”

“No!” Weiss shook her head.

“We’ve come too far,” Blake said.

“Let’s crack some skulls!” Yang punched her fists together.

“Thought so.” Ruby nodded. “Let’s get ready girls, we’ve got a crime lord to stop!”

Chapter Text

“Good evening ladies and gentle dog!” Oobleck greeted RWBY and Zwei as they met up with Oobleck at Beacon’s helipad, his bullhead ready for take-off.

“So we won’t get figured out when people hear this bullhead taking off, right?” Blake asked, pointing at the bullhead.

“Of course not!” Oobleck assured. “This is my personal bullhead, I can take where I please when I please!”

“That’s what I was counting on,” Ruby said. “Let’s get to”

“Hold up!” Oobleck held up his hand.

“What?” Ruby deflated.

“I hope you don’t think you could drag around Doctor Bartholomew Oobleck on some misadventure without something in return!”

“Oh…well, I don’t want to be selfish, what do you want?”

“I think seeing the wide variety Grimm of Mountain Glenn will be a good learning experience for you girls!”

“We’re going there to kick ass, not learn,” Yang said.

“I’ll give you extra credit on assignments about Grimm.” Oobleck’s brow furrowed.

“Hell yeah, we’re going to kick ass and learn!” Yang cheered.

“I actually like learning,” Weiss said.

“And I would love more information on the creatures we’ll be fighting there and in our future.” Blake meekly raised her hand.

“Agree with you on that one, Blake.” Ruby turned to smile at Blake, then looked back to Oobleck. “Anything else?”

“Yes, where is the…the dog?” Oobleck adjusted his glasses.

“Why did you say it like that?” Blake whispered, slightly terrified.

“He’s right here.” Yang turned to show off Zwei in her backpack.

“Yes!” Oobleck zipped over to Zwei and picked him up. “You and I are going to have the greatest bromance in history, I bet my life on it!”

Zwei barked happily.

“Alright girls, that’s all.” Oobleck put Zwei back in Yang’s backpack, then whirled around and pointed at Mountain Glenn. “Now let’s go learn about Grimm!”

“Also stop a terrorist organization and crime lord,” Blake deadpanned.

“That too!”


“This is it!” Damian squeed. “By tomorrow, Vale’s streets will be running red with blood!”

“Dude, you are freaking me out,” Roman said.

“Oh quit your whining Torchprick.” Damian waved Roman away.

Neo glared at Damian and held up her umbrella, blade popping out from its tip. She advanced on Damian, but Roman stopped her by putting his arm in front of her.

“We need him, Neo,” Roman reminded, sadly. “You kill him and Cinder will have both our heads.”

Neo sighed and lowered her umbrella, blade retracing back.

“Man, are you sure you’re not part dog, Neo?” Damian grinned, smugly. “Because you follow orders real well.”

Neo glared daggers at Damian.

“Quiet down, jackrabbit!” Roman shouted. “Cinder ain’t here right now, so they might change if you keep running your mouth!”

“Yeah, yeah,” Damian said, trying to hide his cowardliness, though his shaking gave him away.

“Well, looks like Void is quite yellow.” Roman leaned Melodic Cudgel against his shoulder, smirking.

Neo crossed her arms and smirked as well, earning a grumble from Damian.

“Where the Hell is Cinder anyway?” Damian asked, changing the subject.

“She’s with Emerald and Mercury back at Beacon,” Roman answered. “Got to keep that cover, after all.”

“Whatever.” Damian looked back at the White Fang finishing up construction. “Hey! You sorry bunch of sad sacks know when that'll be done?!”

“In a few hours!” A White Fang member answered, then whispered to himself. “Jackass.”

“Well then get moving!” Damian barked. “I don’t want my entertainment to be delayed!” He turned back to Neo and Roman. “At this rate, no one will stop us!”


“We will totally stop them!” Ruby exclaimed, her voice echoing through the city.

“Miss Rose, be quiet!” Oobleck slammed his hand over Ruby’s mouth. “Are you trying to attract every Grimm in this city?”

“Sorry.” Ruby gently pushed Oobleck’s hand off her mouth.

“Why did you even shout that?”

“I don’t know, dramatic irony?” Ruby shrugged.

“I…you know what’s? Forget it!” Oobleck waved the air. “So, where should we start looking for these Terrifying Terrorists and their Creepy Crime Lord ally?”

“We should start…” Ruby deflated. “Oh, my Gods I don’t know where to start.”

“Are you serious?!” Oobleck widened his eyes. “You had no plan for when we got out here?!”

“Uh…Yang, can you call up the Hardy Boys and ask for any info?” Ruby turned to Yang.

Yang pulled her scroll from her pocket, but it didn’t work. “Damn, looks like we’re out of range with the CCT.”

“So…we’re just going to check an entire freaking city that held millions of people for a small group of criminals?” Blake asked, exasperated.

“Looks like it…” Ruby smacked her hands over her eyes, dragging them down her face.

“Well, Miss Rose, at least you learned a very valuable lesson about planning ahead,” Oobleck said. “On the bright side for me, that means I can teach you gals all about the Grimm in this area!”

Team RWBY collectively groaned and sulked while following a marching Oobleck, though Zwei was happily following him.


It was a tedious process, checking every abandoned apartment complex, parking lot, office buildings, and more in search of Roman and the White Fang. The Grimm packs didn’t help, constantly attacking the group because of Team RWBY’s ever-growing frustration, though it was thankfully the weaker variety of Grimm, nothing a veteran huntsman and well-trained huntress-in-training couldn’t handle. After another attack, Oobleck came up with an idea.

“Say, I think I know how to get this Grimm off our backs!” Oobleck tapped his chin with his pointer finger.

“How?!” Yang violently snapped the neck of a creep, the last Grimm of this pack that attacked the group.

“The best way for a huntsman to stave off negativity is to not thank negative!”

“Wow, you mean thinking positive means we won’t think negative?” Yang asked, sardonically. “Color me shocked!”

“What is your problem, Yang?” Ruby asked.

“What?”

“You think we haven’t been noticing how much more angry and on edge you’ve been.” Ruby crossed her arms and looked at Yang sternly. “What has been going on?”

Yang’s features softened, and she away from Ruby in guilt. “I’m sorry……I don’t know.”

“I know that’s not true.”

“I don’t want to talk about it, right now.”

“Yang-”

“Miss Rose, I’d hate to play devil’s advocate, but if this subject is negatively affecting Yang, then it should be dropped for now,” Oobleck interrupted.

“Thanks, Doc,” Yang said, softly.

“Don’t mention it!” Oobleck bowed. “Now, to think positively is a tip giving to all Huntsmen and Huntresses. After all, what’s the point of fighting Grimm if your anger or fear is drawing more in? Soon you’ll be tired put and overwhelmed! So you to think about what you love! Who you love! Think about the very reason you are fighting these creatures!”

“That sounds pretty nice,” Weiss said.

“It is, that’s the point,” Oobleck stated. “Why don’t we give it a test run, hm? Let’s go in team order, Ruby!” He pointed at Ruby.

“Oh…well…I want to help people,” Ruby answered. “So I guess that means I’m fighting for…everyone, I suppose. Friends, family, strangers I walk past on the street, and even people millions of miles from us who I’ll never lay eyes on me in either of our lifetimes. I fight for them.”

“Excellent reasoning, Miss Rose!” Oobleck clapped, then he looked to Weiss. “What about you, Miss Schnee.”

“I’m fighting for my family and home,” Weiss answered. “The people of Atlas aren’t all as bad as I am, some are capable of kindness without acting like cold-hearted jerks. I…I failed to represent that at the start, but I’m trying, and I hope…one day…I’ll have enough humanity to run the SDC and save people as a huntress.”

“Wait, you want to be a CEO and a huntress?” Oobleck cocked an eyebrow.

“Is that bad?”

“I know thinking positive was my idea but…you got to be realistic,” Oobleck explained. “Being a CEO and a huntress are demanding jobs on their own, trying to combine them would lead to you actually killing yourself through exhaustion.”

“I didn’t think about that…” Weiss looked at the ground, then she perked up. “That said, my brother has been studying business and the like, and since I’m mostly training to be a huntress, that’s what I’ll do.”

“While your brother fixes the Schnee name by running the SDC!” Blake finished.

“Now that’s thinking wisely,” Oobleck complimented. “Now, let’s move on to Miss-”

“Wait, I’m not finished!” Weiss raised her hand. “I’m also going to be a huntress because…three years ago, my older sister, Winter Schnee, adopted a baby girl named Tulip with her wife, Daisy. They were both the sweetest things, but before Tulip even reached one year of age, she and Daisy were killed by Adam Taurus.”

Blake gasped and covered her mouth.

Weiss closed her eyes as tears rolled down her cheeks. “I know it doesn’t excuse my hatred of Faunus, but I will hold nothing but contempt for”

“Stop!” Blake shouted, covering her cat ears.

“Blake?!” Yang reached out to Blake, putting a hand on her back

Blake began hyperventilating.

“What’s wrong? What did I say?!” Weiss widened her eyes in horror.

“Miss Belladonna, breathe slowly!” Oobleck ran to Blake, comfortingly holding her shoulder.

Blake had tears running down her eyes, which she wiped away as her breathing slowed. Ruby and Weiss went to help, both took each of Blake’s hands in their own. Zwei even disregarded her orders to stay away from her to rub his head on her knees.

“There is everything-” Oobleck began.

“To stop the White Fang,” Blake spoke, suddenly.

“Pardon?”

“They want to tear down everything we’ve spend centuries trying to earn,” Blake explained. “They want to make Faunus be the oppressors, to enslave humans, to torture and kill them at their leisure.” She shook her head. “That’s not what we fought for. Not what my family fought for. We fought for equality, not the same supremacy of our previous tormentors.”

“Why did you panic after my story?” Weiss asked.

“Can’t…can’t talk about it.” Blake shook her head. “Not ready.”

“I…I understand.” Weiss reached out, hesitance evident, but embraced Blake.

Blake was cut off guard but accepted the hug.

Oobleck looked at Yang, awkwardly. “So…uh…you want to, Miss Xiao-”

“No,” Yang answered.

“Alright.”

“Weiss?” Blake asked.

“Yeah Blake?”

“You’re forgiven.”


It was nightfall and still no luck in finding Roman and the White Fang’s HQ. Thankfully, Team RWBY and Oobleck were savvy enough to bring camping equipment along with them to camp out for the night. Beacon had three-day weekends, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Though they had found nothing on Friday, they had a full day tomorrow, but couldn’t stay all of Sunday. The group needed to get back to Beacon before the staff realized they were missing.

Oobleck and Zwei were keeping watch, Oobleck sitting in the windowsill, looking out to the dark, barren city. Oobleck, to get his bromance with Zwei, poured some of his thermoses into the little corgi’s bowl, which Ruby and Yang were also Savvy enough to pack. As for Team RWBY, Ruby was playing a game on her scroll, thankful it didn’t require access to the CCT. Weiss and Blake were sharing a book, chatting about starting up a book club with Ren and Yang. As for Yang, she was writing on her scroll’s diary app, which she always wrote as messages to Summer.

“Girls! Come quickly!” Oobleck whispered yelled, getting RWBY’s attention.

RWBY all glanced at one another before dropping whatever they were doing onto their sleeping bags and join Oobleck at the window.

“Look.” Oobleck pointed ahead to a herd of Goliaths, towering Elephant-like Kaiju that dwarfed some of the tallest buildings.

“Whoa…” Yang widened her eyes.

“Should we be worried?” Blake asked, concerned.

“No worries, Goliaths are the most dangerous species of Grimm on the planet, but they rarely act on their size,” Oobleck assured. “They never attack groups like ours, even if they see us.”

“Why?” Ruby asked, curiously.

“Goliaths’ intelligence is so great, they are said to prophetic,” Oobleck explained. “So they wait until something big happens, and then they strike. That’s why this herd is here, they’re from the fall of Mountain Glenn all those years ago. They knew Glenn would fall.”

“Then why are they still here?” Weiss asked.

That’s when the last Goliath in the herd stopped and slowly turned its head towards RWBY and Oobleck. The good doctor showed no fear, but Team RWBY and Zwei could not afford to say the same. Zwei whimpered and jumped away from the window to huddle in the furthest corner. Ruby held onto Yang’s arm, the latter holding her hand comfortingly, while Weiss and Blake both held one another, shaking in fright. The Goliath then looked to Mountain Glenn itself, then to Vale, then looked back at the group, narrowing its eyes. Then, just as Oobleck predicted, it did nothing. Despite the fact it could easily destroy the building they camped out in, it simply turned its head and followed its herd.

“Well, I certainly didn’t need to sleep, tonight,” Yang joked to lighten the mood.

“Want to take my watch, then?” Oobleck asked.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Doc.”

Team RWBY all went bag to their sleeping bags, Yang whistling to Zwei to get poor, terrified corgi over to her so he could find comfort on her lap. They all say in silence, too shook up by the Goliath to say do anything. Eventually, Yang broke the silence.

“I wanted to apologize again, for how I’ve been acting,” Yang said, looking at the group.

“You don’t need to apologize, Yang, just please tell us what’s going on,” Ruby begged.

“We’re a team,” Weiss said.

“So we’re here for you,” Blake finished.

“I am also here…” Oobleck raised his hand, causing RWBY and Zwei to stare at him. “I mean, I do have the legitimate duty as one of your many teachers to ensure you’re all safe and comfortable!” He raised his thermos to take a sip from it. “After all, what could possibly have you so shook-”

“I’m going to propose to Sapphire,” Yang blurted out.

Oobleck spat out his coffee, RWB stared at Yang in shock, and Zwei fell off her lap, scurrying to his feet to join RWB in staring at her.

“I mean…I was going to, but I don’t know now,” Yang explained. “Shopkeep gave me two engagement rings for free after we saved his store from the Caucus Gang, and I’ve been holding onto them ever since.”

“Yang…I don’t know what to say,” Ruby began. “I out of anyone here knows that what you and Sapphire have is something special but…are you sure you want to commit now?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Yang…as much as this makes me worry…I’ll support whatever decision you make.” Ruby took Yang’s hand, squeezing it. “I might be leader, but your still my big sis, and I’ll trust your judgment.”

“Thanks, Ruby, that actually makes me feel a lot better.”

Blake, Weiss, and Oobleck remained silent, not knowing what to think. Zwei however, made his way over to Yang and licked her hand.

“Doctor Oobleck, can I take the watch from you?” Ruby asked. “I need some air after that.”

“Sure thing, Miss Rose.”

“You want to come, boy?” Ruby asked Zwei.

Zwei sat up and barked happily. Ruby picked up Crescent Rose and headed outside, Zwei scampering behind her.

“So…are we just done with the convo?” Blake asked.

“Yeah.” Yang turned so her back was facing the group.


“Man, Yang, and Sapphire married,” Ruby pondered. “I mean, I always knew those two were meant for each other and going to get married, but not this early. Not this young.”

Zwei nodded his head.

“Still, three years is a long time for a couple, and in a few months they’ll be adults,” Ruby noted. “I mean, think about it, they’ve been living together for months with no problems, aren’t they already kind of married?”

Zwei lowered his ears.

“Yeah, I’m hurting my brain box, too,” Ruby said. “Let’s leave it be.” She looked ahead and stopped dead in her tracks.

There, only a few feet away, was Damian Void. He had gone out to smoke a cigarette and get some fresh air, the darkness thankfully kept Ruby hidden from, sight. The only reason she saw Damian was because of the light of his cigarette. She took a step back, but accidentally stepped on some shattered glass, making a crunching sound.

“Hey, who’s there?!” Damian reached behind his built.

The darkness kept Ruby from seeing what Damian was doing, so he aimed his pistol at her, she froze and raised her hands. His pistol had a flashlight on top of it, so he could get a good look at her face.

“Well, isn’t it little red?” Damian smirked.

“Roman…” Ruby narrowed her eyes.

“That’s right,” Damian smirked, stalking over to Ruby.

Zwei growled and charged at Damian, but he dodged Zwei’s bit and started viciously kicking him, the poor corgi yelping every time.

“Zwei!” Ruby reached for Crescent Rose, but Damian was close enough to strike Ruby with his gun, causing her to fall and hit her head on the curb.

“Come on, Red.” Damian picked up Ruby her hood, dragging her away from Zwei.

“Zwei!” Ruby reached out to the whimpering corgi before she fell into unconsciousness.

Chapter Text

“Wakey wakey, Red.”

Ruby sprung to consciousness when somebody smacked her hard across the face. Her eyes shot open, and she was greeted by Damian’s smug face. Ruby saw she was in a dingy room with stained floors and peeling walls, the only other thing in the room other than the chair she was tied to was the flickering light above her and Damian.

“Hey there!” Damian greeted.

“You!” Ruby glared daggers at Damian.

“Yes, I am me,” Damian snarked. “You’re very observant.”

“What did you do to Zwei?!”

“Nothing, I just left the whimpering little mutt to wallow as I dragged you off.”

“You’re that smug jerk from before,” Ruby said. “The one from the White Fang rally.”

“The one where you had Blake blow have of my hard-earned products to Hell?” Damian asked, smugness replaced with rage. “Yeah, I’m that jerk.”

“Where is he?!” Ruby demanded. “Where is Torchwick?!”

“Right here.”

Ruby sat up straight as an arm reached across her to grab the chair she was tied to’s arm and suddenly turned around, the chair screeching as its wheelless legs were dragged across the floor. Neo had been the one who turned her around, Roman standing in the doorway, lighting up a cigar.

“Hey there, Red.” Roman snapped his fingers as he walked over to Ruby, Neo quickly grabbing a chair and set it down in front of Ruby so he could sit. “How have these last few weeks been treating you?”

“Why should I-” Ruby was cut off by Roman harshly grabbing her face.

“Because they’ve been very stressful for me!” Roman shouted. “No thanks to you and your little friends!”

“Sorry for the inconvenience,” Ruby mocked remorse. “It’s not our fault it’s the heroes’ job to make a life for bad guys like you hard.”

Roman chuckled, letting go of Ruby’s face so he could lean back in his chair. “You think you’re really cute, don’t you?”

“Oh, I think I’m adorable,” Ruby smirked.

“Well, you adorable little pain in the ass, how about you get to telling me why you and your little dog are here.”

Ruby’s smirk vanished and she glared at Roman, defiantly.

“Listen Red, you tell us now and I’ll think about showing you a little mercy,” Roman offered. “If not, I’ll have to leave you with Damian, and life will go from uncomfortable, to very painful for you.”

Ruby said nothing.

“Very well.” Roman shrugged, getting up and head towards the door. “Your funeral.”

“Li…her…al…ly…” Neo rasped out before following Roman.

“Oh boy, I sure do love me some defiant captives!” Damian turned Ruby around, revealing he had taken off his jacket and tie, rolling the sleeves of his dress shirt up. “So, before we begin, I have two questions our little session is going to answer: ‘Why are you here?’ and ‘Are you with anyone else?’”

“Two questions you’ll never get the answers to,” Ruby spat.

“Sure I won’t.” Damian leaned down and put a hand on Ruby’s shoulder. “Say, do you know what auras are incredibly weak to?”

Ruby remained silent.

“Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s right!” Damian applauded. “Electricity!” He stood up and went into the dark corner of the room, rolling a wheeled counter into the light, revealing a car battery with jumper cables hooked up to it. “Now this is a very good way to conduct electricity.” Damian tapped the jumper cables together, causing sparks to fly. “Ready to talk? Please say no.”

“Do you worst.”

Damian smiled. “Even better!”


Zwei’s barking woke WBY and Oobleck up.

“Huh? What time is it?” Yang checks her scroll. “I thought we were sleeping in shifts?”

Zwei rushed into the room, nudging Yang.

“Zwei? Where’s Ruby?” Yang rubbed her eyes, immediately waking up when she saw Zwei had Crescent Rose in his mouth. “Zwei, where is Ruby?!”

Zwei whimpered, pointing his snout towards the door.

“Follow?”

Zwei nodded.

Yang set Zwei down, and he ran towards the door. She noticed Weiss, Blake, and Oobleck were still a bit groggy, so she fired Ember Celica into the ceiling, the bang causing all of them to jump.

“Yang, what was that?!” Weiss rubbed her ears.

“It woke you up, didn’t it? Get your weapons together, Ruby is in trouble!”


Ruby gritted her teeth as Damian electrocuted her, laughing maniacally. There was a red flash as her aura broke, Damian taking off the jumper cables to stop just as this happened.

“Okay, the aura is down!” Damian grinned. “You thought it was painful before? Oh you poor, poor thing, it’s about to get a whole lot worse if you don’t talk!”

Ruby let out a few shaky breaths, but once she steadies her breathing, still said nothing.

“Alright then!” Damian was about to gleefully continue the electric torture, but a sudden loud explosion shook the hideout, causing him to drop the jumper cables. “What the Hell was that?!”

“Hey Damian, I changed my mind, and decided I’m going to talk,” Ruby said. “I did come here with a few people.”

“Where is she?!” Yang bellowed. “Where is my sister?!”

“One them being my murderously protective older sister,” Ruby smirked.

Damian looked out the window to see White Fang members firing upon approaching flames, only to turn pale when he realized the flames were a red-eyed Yang, slowly stalking towards the White Fang members as their bullets melted before they could touch her.

“Oh, my Gods!” Damian backed away in terror.

“You look scared, Void,” Ruby mocked.

Damian looked at Ruby, then grabbed the back of her chair and dragged her out of the room.

Outside, Yang was singlehandedly decimating the White Fang. She charged into the group, uppercutting a White Fang member so hard he flew to the top of the city-sized cavern and got his head caught in the ceiling. The other members faired no better, Yang caved in skulls with every punch, shattered spines with every kick, and was always guaranteed to send any White Fang she hit a few miles away. Weiss, Blake, and Oobleck watched in a mixture of impression and horror. Zwei, on the other hand, had seen this before, and he most definitely wasn’t going to fault Yang for doing whatever she could to save Ruby.

“Hold up!”

Damian’s shout caused the havoc to fall quiet, and Yang looked to see Damian in the door of the hideout, blade to Ruby’s neck. He was kneeling beside her, cowardly using Ruby as cover.

“Calm down now, dearie,” Damian said. “Her aura is gone, so her throat can be slit just like any 15-year-old girl.”

Yang stood up straight, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. The flames down, her hair fell past her waist, and her eyes went from red to lilac.

“That’s good.” Damian stood up. “Now why don’t you-” he was cut off when he was suddenly shot in the shoulder, falling to the floor and dropping his knife.

“Got you!” Blake spat, smoking the gun in her hand.

“Zwei!” Ruby shouted.

Zwei looked up to Ruby.

“Six ‘Em.”

Zwei growled and charged forward just as Damian was standing up, jumping and biting him right between the legs. Damian screamed in pain and fell back to the ground, trying to pull Zwei off. Yang used the White Fang’s distract to start pummeling them again, though joined by Weiss and Oobleck. Blake went over to Ruby, cutting her binds.

“You okay, Ruby?” Blake asked.

“I’m fine, but my auras down.” Ruby rubbed her wrist.

“What heck is going on out here?” Roman came out of the back of the train. “Did Wool set off the explosives, again?” He looked out onto the scene and saw Team Blake helping Ruby, Yang beating down the White Fang, and Zwei biting Damian’s crotch, him screaming all the while. “Uh oh.”

Blake opened fire on Roman, who rushed back into the train and slammed the door shut behind him. He pulled out a Walkie-talkie.

“Go! We have to go now!” Roman shouted.

“Are we ready?” The conductor asked.

“It’s either now or not at all, and I think Cinder is going to be a bit more pissed at us if we do the first one!”

“Alright then!”

The train jolted and started to move. Zwei let go of Damian when he heard the train start-up, and Damian used the distract to chuck Zwei off of him, rushing out the back of the hideout. Zwei growled and was about to follow him, but Ruby stopped him.

“Zwei, forget him!” Ruby shouted. “Whatever that train is going can’t be good!”

Yang rushed at the train, jumping onto its roof using her gauntlets. Weiss did the same using her glyphs, while Ruby helped Blake, Zwei, and Oobleck using her semblance.

“So, what are we trying to stop exactly?!” Weiss asked, having to scream due to how loud the train had become as it sped down the tracks.

“Don’t know, but we need to get inside and take out any White Fang we see!” Ruby shouted.

“Speaking of which!” Yang pointed forward, revealing an army of White Fang members, some getting into prototype Paladins to battle.

“Dog!” Oobleck shouted.

Zwei looked at Oobleck.

“Can you survive being hit with so much strength you’ll break the sound barrier while simultaneously being set on fire?”

Zwei smiled and nodded.

“Excellent!” Oobleck readied his torch like a bat. “Jump!”

Zwei did so, and Oobleck struck, sending him flying straight through the bodies of the prototype Paladins.

“Love that dog!” Yang cheered.

“Did he just turn that dog into a freaking cannonball?!” A White Fang member shouted, turning his back on RWBY and Oobleck.

Yang used his foolishness to rush him. The White Fang member turned just as she swiped his legs out the form under him, winked at him, and punched him to the roof, but instead of just hitting the roof, he flew through it and made easy access into the train.

“Guys! Got away in!” Yang called jumping inside the train.

“Weiss! Blake! You follow Yang!” Ruby ordered. “My aura is down so I need to hang back and take shots from a distance!”

Weiss and Blake looked at one another and nodded, rushing towards the freshly made hold and jumping inside.

“Ruby, prepare an obituary,” Oobleck ordered.

“Doctor Oobleck, you need to have faith,” Ruby said.

“I didn’t say for me!” Oobleck rushed the now terrified White Fang.


Inside the train cars, Weiss, Blake, and Yang ran side by side but stopped when they entered one car and saw Neo. She smiled and curtsied.

“Take me on,” Yang offered. “Let’s my friends pass.”

Neo nodded and stepped aside for Weiss and Blake.

“Yang?” Blake didn’t hide her worry.

“I got this Blake!” Yang held up her thumb.

“Okay…” Blake ran past Neo, glaring at her, Weiss following behind.

Yang cracked her knuckles and entered a boxing stance. Neo just stood with a sweet, innocent smile, hands behind her back. Yang didn’t want to let her guard down, but after a few minutes of just staring at each other, she moved in on Neo and throw a punch. The smaller woman effortlessly dodged and sent Yang stumbling back with an elbow to the face. Yang held her face in shock, then looked back to Neo, who had returned to her “innocent” stance. Growling, Yang rushed and tried to sweep Neo’s leg, but she jumped and kicked her in the face.

“Alright, you little…come on!” Yang motioned for Neo to come at her.

“Wrong…move…” Neo rasped as she went on the offensive.

Yang had no time to react as Neo rushed her at blinding speed, sliding between her legs and hitting her in the back of the with her umbrella. Yang stumbled forward, rubbing her head.

“Gods, is that an umbrella or a baseball?” Yang asked, jokingly.

“You…tell…me…”

Yang stood stock still, looking at Neo who smirked back. Then she suddenly throws a punch, but Neo had already firmly established herself as the quicker one, dodging the punch, grabbing Yang’s arm, and throwing her across the train car. Yang’s back violently hit a metal box, her aura already depleted due to the earlier use of her semblance. Yang stumbled to her feet, panting as she glared at Neo, who mocked Yang’s earlier “come at me” motion. Yang grabbed the metal box she was thrown against and threw it at Neo, who jumped into the air and kicked it back. Yang widened her eyes in shock before they slammed into her, knocking her against the wall. Yang slowly slid to the floor as Neo moved on her.

“You’re strong for someone so small,” Yang chuckled out what she thought was her last joke before falling unconscious.

Neo pulled her blade from her umbrella and was ready to coldly execute Yang when something cut her blade as she was thrusting. Neo looked at her blade in shock, then looked to where the slash had come from, only to see a woman with black hair as long as Yang’s, a grim mask, and a sword with a blade the size of the woman carrying it. To say Neo was intimated would be an understatement, and her once smirking face turned to one of pure terror as she jumped back and vanished from sight. The unknown woman walked over to Yang and knelt beside her, cupping her cheek in her hand, only to recoil when Yang stirred. The unknown woman stood up, slashed her blade to open up a portal, and left, portal vanishing just as Yang opened her eyes.

“Huh?” Yang looked around in confusion.


Weiss and Blake rushed through empty train car after empty train car.

“All of the White Fang must be up top fighting Ruby, Zwei, and Oobleck,” Blake said.

A loud crash came from outside. Weiss and Blake looked outside to see a prototype Paladins fall to the tracks, getting torn apart by inertia

“You mean getting decimated by Ruby, Zwei, and Oobleck,” Weiss corrected.

“Yeah, better phrasing,” Blake said. “Hopefully we can get to the front of the train without any-”

“Traitor.”

Weiss and Blake froze when the next train car they entered had Adam’s Lieutenant standing in the middle of it, chainsaw humming.

“You left Adam! You left our cause!” Adam’s Lieutenant shouted at Blake. “For that, I will cut out heart.”

Blake stepped back, but Weiss stepped in front of her.

“You’re not doing a damn thing to her!” Weiss glared at Adam’s Lieutenant. “Go Blake, I’ll deal with this thug!”

“Thank you, Weiss.” Blake rushed Adam’s Lieutenant, getting past him by letting him cut down a shadow clone and running into the next car.

“You aren’t getting away!” Adam’s Lieutenant was going to follow Blake, but a glyph shut the door to the next train car and kept it shut. “What the…? Open, damn you!”

“You want out?” Weiss asked, sarcastically. “You’ll have to go through me.”

Adam’s Lieutenant turned to Weiss and raised his chainsaw. “I prefer killing traitors than Schnees, but I’ll happily kill two burns with one stone.”

Adam’s Lieutenant charged at Weiss, who jumped off a glyph and slashed him. He stumbled back, but remained on his feet, and whirled around to try and slashed at Weiss, who merely dodged and slashed him back. Adam’s Lieutenant stood strong, and Weiss dedicated she needed to get faster, so she used her glyphs to send metal boxes flying at him. Adam’s Lieutenant managed to cut one of the boxes before it hit him, but was beaten down by the rest of the boxes and knocked out his back. As he was getting up, several glyphs formed around him, and Weiss lunged, jumping off every glyph to slash him in quick succession. By the time she was done, Adam’s Lieutenant’s aura was shattered and fell to one knee.

“Time to end this!” Weiss stood in front of Adam’s Lieutenant and reared back her sword.

Adam’s Lieutenant suddenly grabbed her face. “I was just about to say the same thing!”

Adam’s Lieutenant slammed Weiss into the floor several times, threw her up into the ceiling, then struck her with his chainsaw as she was falling. The tables had been turned, Weiss’ aura broke.

“You’re Winter’s sister, aren’t you?” Adam’s Lieutenant asked, mockingly. “Good, I’ll continue the job Adam and I started three years ago with her wife and baby.”

Weiss’ eyes sprung open and she looked up at Adam’s Lieutenant with seething hatred. “It was you?!”

“That’s right.” Adam’s Lieutenant stalked closer to Weiss. “Now I’m going to kill you, then your brother, and that’s when she’s shattered completely and begging for death will we finally release your sister from her torment.”

Weiss felt her rage unlock something, and a glyph appeared behind Adam’s Lieutenant.

“Goodbye.” Adam’s Lieutenant raised his chainsaw. “May no one mourn you.”

Weiss laughed. “That’s funny.”

“How is that funny?” Adam’s Lieutenant was suddenly stabbed when an armored arm with a large blade shooting through the glyph.

“I was just about to say the same thing.” Weiss got to her feet.

Adam’s Lieutenant fell to his knees as the blade was pulled out of him.

“I…I failed,” Adam’s Lieutenant said in devastation before falling to the floor. Dead.

Weiss might’ve felt sympathy if he hadn’t killed her baby niece.


Blake made it to the final train car. “Torchwick!”

“Ah, shit!” Blake heard Roman swear from the conductor’s area, then he walked out. “Well, isn’t it one of Little Red’s equally annoying friends!”

“What are you planning?!”

“What am I planning?” Roman held up one trigger and flicked it.

The train and entire tunnel system shook as dozens of the train cars detached and exploded violently. Ruby, Zwei, and Oobleck had just jumped off the last one as it was happening. The explosions blew a hole in the tunnel system, and an army of Grimm jumped into the tunnel.

“I don’t understand!” Ruby shouted. “What are they doing?!”

“Oh, my Gods…” Oobleck said, uncharacteristically emotionless in fear. “The tunnel system was built to connect Vale to Mt. Glenn…which means if they blow a hole in Vale, an army of Grimm will be invading the city from its center.”

“What?!” Blake shouted, eyes wide after Roman had told her the same.

“That’s right!”

“Why?!”

“Why?” Roman dropped the trigger. “Nothing personal, and I honestly never wanted to destroy Vale, but powers greater than I are threatening myself and the one thing in the world that matters to me, my daughter.”

“Kill millions to protect one?!”

“I’d kill everyone on this worthless hunk of rock to protect her!” Roman shouted. “What has this place done for me? Hitched me with a suicidal mother, a vicious control freak of a father, and made me grow up in a neighborhood where the only way to get buy was in crime! Well, guess what?! I got by, and now I’m top dog in Vale’s criminal underworld.”

“An underworld you’ll be destroying,” Blake said.

“All my needs mean nothing compared to Neo’s,” Roman said. “My…my criminal lifestyle has hurt her enough, already.”

“I’d probably be more sympathetic to your sob story if you weren’t about to kill millions.”

“Not looking for it, just distracting you as we make our way to Vale.”

Blake widened her eyes and charged Roman, who shot at her with Melodic Cudgel, but she left a shadow clone to take the bullet. Roman swung his cane when Blake was close enough, but she left an ice shadow clone to get his cane stuck in.

“What the…?” Roman tried to pull Melodic Cudgel but to no avail.

“Let me help you with that.” Blake behind a fire shadow clone.

“What’s that supposed to-” Roman was cut off by the fire clone exploding and sending flying backs to the wall, shattering his aura.

“Thought you’d be tougher,” Blake said.

“As my old man would say, I never could take a beating,” Roman chuckled.

“Unless you want to be reunited with your old man, I suggest you give up.” Blake aimed Gambol Shroud’s pistol at Roman.

Suddenly, the train came to a halt knocking Blake off balance. Using Blake’s loss of focus, Roman pulled out a second trigger and flipped, that’s when another group of train cars exploded.

“Whoa! What the Hell is going on?!” Yang reunited with Ruby, Zwei, and Oobleck, Weiss joining not long after.

“No!” Oobleck shouted. “A hole was blown into Vale and the grim are coming!”

“What have you done?!” Blake glared daggers at Roman.

“What I needed to do to survive,” Roman said, coldly.

“Poor choice of words.” Blake stalked over to him, raising Gambol Shroud.

“Wait, wait, wait!” Roman held up his hands in terror, but Blake stopped just short of his face. “Huh?”

“Got you.” Blake knocked out Roman by kicked his head against the wall.

“Hey boss, what’s…” the conductor walked out to see Blake. “Oh shit!”

The conductor reached for his gun, but Blake shot him down with Gambol Shroud.

“Blake?!” Ruby shouted.

Blake rushed outside to see an army of Grimm coming right at her.

“Blake!”

Blake looked up to see Ruby and the others using the roof of the train car to get through the hole. She jumped up, joining Ruby as the rest of Team RWBY, Zwei, and Oobleck stood in the middle of the city, dozens of civilians looking at them in shock.

“Wait a minute……this is the green!” Yang shouted in horror. “We’re right near-”

“Yang?”

Yang looked to see Sapphire walkout from the crowd.

“Sapphire, get back!” Yang rushed towards her. “I need you run!” She looked out to the crowd. “All of you need to run!”

“Yang, what’s going on?” Sapphire didn’t hide her confusion. “Why did you come out of a hole in the middle of the city?”

“We were” Yang began an explanation, but a deafening hiss caused everyone to turn to the hole as a King Taijitu rose from the hole.

RWB and Oobleck fired upon the beast, but more Grimm came spewing from the hole. All of the crowd except Sapphire ran, screaming as the Grimm began their assault.

“Oh, my Gods!” Sapphire covered her mouth.

“Sapphire, I love you so much.” Yang hugged Sapphire, then let her go. “Please, run.”

“N-No.” Sapphire shook her head, tears in her eyes. “I can’t let you die!”

“We signed up for this!” Yang shouted.

“Please Yang…let me stay…I c-can’t live without you…”

Sapphire’s negativity got the attention of a boarbatusk and King Taijitu. The boarbatusk charged at the two, much faster than the hulking snake.

“No!” Yang shouted as Burn activated, she jumped in front of Sapphire.

Sapphire stepped back as Yang stopped the boarbatusk dead in its tracks by grabbing its tusks. Screaming in rage, Yang reared back and punched straight through the boarbatusk’s skull. The King Taijitu tried to scope Yang up in its jaws, grabbed its fangs, tore them out, and stabbed one of them through the top of the black head’s head. The white head turned when it felt its other half die, only for Yang to chuck its second into its eye. The King Taijitu hissed in pain before falling dead.

“I’m going to fight, Sapphire,” Yang said. “I’ll fight so you won’t have to live without me.” She turned to Sapphire and cupped her cheek in her right hand, wiping away a tear with her thumb. “Because I know whatever peace lies beyond the threshold of death will be nothing but torture without you.” Yang kissed her. “Now run. Please.”

“I love you…” Sapphire stepped back before turning and running.

“Yang! Behind you!” Ruby shouted.

Yang turned to see three ursas standing behind her. One was a cub, small but vicious. The next was a regular Ursa, a very dangerous and strong Grimm. Finally, there was an Ursa Major, one of the most dangerous Grimm species on the planet. Yang made sure to charge the Ursa Major, first.

Chapter Text

Ruby tried to put all her focus on stalling the smaller Grimm crawling out of the hole by sniping them, but the Grimm was not an unintelligent species, and a truckload of the Grimm who had gotten through was closing in on her. Thankfully, Weiss, Blake, and Zwei were there to provide her cover, while Yang and Oobleck focused on the larger Grimm. Oobleck, for all his eccentricities, was disposing of the Grimm with the stoic professionalism expected of a huntsman, while Yang was butchering her way through them in a blind rage. She punched clean through Alpha Beowolves, pulled the wings of Nevermores, and caved in the skulls off creeps.

“We can’t keep this up forever!” Blake jumped back when a creep snapped its jaws at her, but she ended up jumping right into the swipe of an Ursa,  she was sent sliding to Ruby’s feet.

“Blake!” Ruby stopped firing upon the Grimm to help Blake up, this allowed them to start spewing from the hole like a water fountain.

“Well, this is certainly bad,” Oobleck said, realizing the Grimm surrounding the group in a way that pushed them all together, and the only thing keeping them at bay was Yang.

“Doctor Oobleck, what do we do?!” Weiss asked, terrified.

“Only thing we can do, Miss Schnee. Distract them.” Oobleck looked up and smiled when he saw Atlas-style bullheads flying onto the scene. “Looks like we succeeded!”

The Atlas soldiers prioritized the safety of the citizens, first. Setting up perimeters around Vale’s Green to cut off the Grimm from the civilians. With them safe, Atlas Knights and Paladins were airdropped in from the three airships now circling Vale. While the Knights gunned down the smaller Grimm, the Paladins started dealing with the bigger Grimm, using their shoulder-mounted mini guns to take down flying Nevermores, and their immense strength to kill the large land Grimm.

That wasn’t all of the reinforcements, however. Vale-style bullheads arrived carrying students from Beacon. The first carried Team JNPR.

“Oh wow, that’s a lot of Grimm!” Jaune stared blankly at the hole still spewing out Grimm.

“I know, right?!” Nora cheered, excitedly. “This is going to be fun!”

“Nora, that’s not what I-” Jaune was cut off by Nora grabbing by his hoodie.

“Come on!” Nora jumped out of the bullhead, dragging Jaune along with her.

Ren sighed, unholstered StromFlower, and jumped into the fray. Pyrrha didn’t jump out, instead of surveying the battle, looking for something she could use. She smiled when she noticed the dozens of metal light poles lining the park’s crosswalk. Though usually used for lighting up the Grimm so nightly visitors could see, now they’ll be serving as weapons. Pyrrha jumped down and held out both of her hands, closing her eyes as she used all of her strength to focus. A grey aura surrounded the light poles as they were uprooted from their posts, wires sparked with electricity after being pulled apart. Pyrrha turned her palms to the sky and closed her hands, causing the light poles to shake, then she quickly spread her fingers, causing them to shatter into needles, and sent a tornado of sharp blades towards the Grimm, tearing them apart with ease.

The second carried Team CARD.

“Hey guys,” Deacon said, getting the rest of CARD’s attention. “What if I cannonballed onto one of the Grimm?”

“That sounds pretty sick,” Adrian said.

“I say go for it,” Canvas agreed.

“You can cannonball on me any time,” Revon whispered.

“What?” Deacon looked at Revon, blushing.

“Me? I didn’t say anything.” Revon covered his equally blushy face with his wings.

“Alright, here I go!” Deacon jumped, curling up into a ball like he was actually jumping into a pool.

“What do you think he’s going to land on?” Adrian asked.

“20 Lien he lands on an Ursa,” Canvas pulled out some lien.

“I say Beowolf,” Revon said.

“I think a Nevermore.” Adrian watched as Deacon plummeted.

“Why would he hit a flying Grimm while falling to the ground?” Canvas cocked an eyebrow at Adrian.

“Take a look!” Adrian pointed.

As Deacon was falling, a Nevermore accidentally flew under him and got hit. The creature screeching all the way down, Deacon crushed it in a massive crater created on impact.

“Whoa!” Deacon jumped up and cheered. “You guys see that!”

Adrian held out his hand, and Canvas and Revon gave him their lien, grumbling.

The third and final bullhead had team CFVY and Professor Port.

“Let’s get down there!” Port spun blowhard.

Team CFVY and Port jumped down in the fight. As Port went to backup Oobleck, CFVY got a plan together.

“Alright guys, these Grimm think they can come into our city, kill our people, and trash my favorite place to shop?” Coco shook her head. “Nope, I don’t think so!”

“What’s the plan, boss?” Fox asked.

“Fox, you and Yatsuhashi just get in there and slay any Grimm in your line of sight,” Coco ordered.

Fox and Yatsuhashi nodded the latter taking point before kneeling, allowing Fox to jump off his back and fly through the air. Fox landed in the center of Grimm, but his echolocation gave them all away, and he used Sharp Retribution to cut them all to ribbons as they rushed him. Yatsuhashi, meanwhile, attacked an Ursa Major, stabbed me the creature in the center of his chest, and slashed up, cutting the Ursa Major vertically in half.

“Honey?” Coco looked to Velvet.

Velvet smiled excitedly.

“Do your thing.”

Velvet gasped in delight and pulled out her camera. She looked over to Ruby and ran over to her, taking a picture.

“Velvet, is this really the time to be taking pictures?” Ruby asked.

“With Anesidora?” Velvet smiled, warmly. “Battle is the best time!”

“How?”

Velvet held out her hand, and a holographic projection of Crescent Rose appeared beside her. Taking the weapon, Velvet showed Ruby it worked by sniping a Nevermore.

“Whoa!” Ruby jumped back. “V-Velvet that is incredible!”

“Aw Shucks. Thanks.” Velvet blushed, then raised her hollow Crescent Rose. “Now let’s tear these monsters apart!”

“Gladly.”

Ruby and Velvet attacked a group Beowolves. Velvet would mirror Ruby’s attacks, so when Ruby did a jump slash against an Ursa Major, only cutting into his side a little, Velvet leaped in and cut the beast half completely.

“That’s my girl.” Coco watched Velvet fight in pride, but her face hardened when she looked at the Grimm coming out of the hole. “Let’s put an end to that, Gianduja.” She closed her eyes, activated her semblance, Hype, and fired upon the Grimm.

Every Grimm that came out of that hole was torn to shreds by a hail of gunfire. Coco closed in on the hole, and eventually, no Grimm was coming out at all.

“Whoa! That is awesome!” Oobleck noted.

“You haven’t seen Miss Adel fight before?” Port asked.

“No, actually,” Oobleck answered. “By the way, where are Ozpin and Glyn-”

Port pointed behind Oobleck, who turned to see an enraged Glynda stomping onto the scene.

“Oh no, she’s mad!” Oobleck hid behind Port in fright.

Glynda looked at the hole Coco was still firing on.

“Miss Adel, get back!” Glynda ordered.

Coco stepped away from the hole, keeping her gunfire active as Glynda used her powers to seal it up.

“Good work, Miss Adel,” Glynda said. “Now end this!”

“Everyone get down!” Coco barked.

RWBY, JNPR, CARD, the rest of CFVY, and even the teachers did as they were told and hit the deck. Coco screamed as used all of her strength to spin Gianduja and herself, ripping apart any of the remaining Grimm. When she slowed, her wooed spun, and Coco dropped to her knees, Gianju landing beside her. Everyone applauded Coco as she sat there painting, but she managed to grow a shaky smile.

“We did it!” Ruby jumped to her feet.

“W-We did it?!” Yang shouted, then she slowed her heavy breathing, rubbed her eyes, and then opened them, red eyes and flames left her. “We did it.”

“You all performed excellently,” Ozpin praised. “You especially, Miss Adel.”

Coco was still too tired to speak, but she raised her thumb. Velvet ran to her side, kneeling so she could hug her.

“As much help as we had, we never would’ve been able to protect the civilians if it wasn’t for the Atlas Military,” Weiss said.

“Yes, I supposed allowing James to bring in his army was a good idea, after all.” Ozpin looked to the soldiers assuring civilians, the Knights and Paladins patrol for any Grimm stragglers, and up to the trio of airships above. “I’d say the Vytal Festival is in good hands.”

“Hey, we found this guy crawling out of one of the smaller holes.” Two Atlas soldiers threw Roman to the ground in front of the group.

“Hehe…Hi.” Roman waved.

The group wordlessly glared down at Roman, then Yang stomped over to him.

“Wait! I’m sorry!” Roman begged.

Roman's please fell on deaf ears as Yang knocked him out by stomping on his face.

“Prick.” Yang pulled out her scroll to call Sapphire.

“Take me to the smaller holes,” Glynda ordered the two soldiers. “I need to make sure to cut off all access to the tunnel system.”

“Of course, ma’am.” One of the soldiers bowed. “Right this way.”

Upon the rooftops, Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury watched as the students celebrated their victory.

“Well, I am incredibly disappointed.” Mercury crossed his arms. “I was ready for a massacre.”

“Good thing that wasn’t our scheduled massacre,” Cinder said.

“What do you mean, my Ember?” Emerald asked.

“I mean this was all part of phase two of our plan,” Cinder answered. “The true massacre comes later. For now, we should lie low, don’t want any unnecessary military attention.”

“If this wasn’t the true massacre, how are we going to keep the White Fang on our side?” Emerald asked. “A lot of them, including the right-hand man of this brand of the White Fang, died for us. A ‘human cause’.”

“I can keep them in line.”

The trio turned to see Adam standing behind them.

“As long as you help me get at Blake, I will follow you,” Adam assured.

“Right, revenge on your ex,” Mercury said.

“Yang, you did it!” Mercury heard Sapphire yell.

Mercury looked down to the green and watched Sapphire jump into Yang’s arms.

“I did it for you, Blue.” Yang kissed and embraced Sapphire. “I would do anything to stay with you.”

Mercury grew a wide, sadistic grin.


Ironwood looked over the city of Vale from his airship.

“Sir, the prisoner has been secured,” a young, ebony-skinned woman with a burn that whitened the skin over her right eye said.

“Thank you, Ciel.” Ironwood walked past her into the prisoner holding area, stopping in front of Roman Torchwick’s cell. “Hello, Mr. Torchwick.”

“Hey,” Roman greeted, grimly.

“So, Miss Belladonna got to telling us about the ‘powers greater than you that have been threatening the life of you and your daughter,” Ironwood said. “Maybe if you tell us about them, we can guarantee your protection.”

Roman bitterly chuckled. “You can’t protect anyone from them, let alone me.”

“I’m trying to be diplomatic here, Torchwick,” Ironwood warned. “I’d like to remind you we are not the police, and I’m willing to have my men be more…aggressive…with their interrogations.”

“They scare me a lot more than you and your little army, Jimmy,” Roman said. “Do whatever you want, I’m not talking.”

“We’ll see about that.” Ironwood walked away from Roman’s cell.


After everything had been wrapped up, questions had been answers, repairs had been made, victories had been celebrated, Sapphire went back to her apartment, plopped down on her bed, and all but blacked out. She awoke later in the night to someone knocking on her apartment door.

“Guh…” Sapphire groaned, got out of bed, and sulked over to the door, opening it. “Yes?”

“Hey Blue,” Yang greeted.

“Yang? What time is it?” Sapphire rubbed her eyes.

“Only 6 PM, Saph,” Yang chuckled.

“Oh…well, I’m tired from everything that happened today,” Sapphire said. “What do you need?”

“I…I wanted to apologize.”

“For what?”

“I had lied to you about your anniversary gift.”

“What do you mean?”

“Okay…” Yang breathed in. “Sapphire, my brain has been an absolute wreck thinking about this decision. One moment, I’m super confident about it. The next, I feel like a complete joke. Today changed that. Overcoming a deadly situation like that has taught me something.”

“What’s that?”

“My profession is dangerous and deadly, I lost my mother to it, and I thought I was going to join her, today,” Yang explained. “A huntsman doesn’t know what the next day might bring, so I’ve decided I’m going to live life to the fullest.” She pulled out the small black box, got down on one knee, and taking Sapphire’s left hand in her free right one. “You make my life more full than one could ever imagine.”

“Y-Yang…are you serious…” Sapphire covered her mouth.

“Probably the most serious I’ll ever be.” Yang smiled. “How does Sapphire Xiao Long sound?”

“Amazing!” Sapphire exclaimed, tears running down her face. “Yes! Yes, yes, yes!”

Sapphire knelt to tackle Yang into a hug, both falling on the floor laughing, crying, and kissing.


“Though citizens of Vale are understandably shaken up from this harrowing incident, not a single soul was killed or even injured in this unexpected attack by the White Fang, lead by notorious mob boss Roman Torchwick,” Lisa Lavender explained. “Why is the infamous Faunus supremacy group are allied with a human, and why did the equally infamous Torchwick go from mob boss to terrorist? We have no answers now, but Torchwick has been placed in the custody of the Atlas Military, and they assured they will get the information out of him, by any means necessary. This is Lisa Lavender, on VNN.”

“Argh!” Damian snatched a machine gun from a nearby White Fang member and smashed it through the television, beating the tv with the gun like a bat. “This. Is. Bullshit!”

“It’ll be alright, Damian,” a White Fang member assured.

“How?!”

“Uh…I don’t know.” The White Fan member shrugged.

Damian glared at the White Fang member, then empty half the clip of the machine gun into him. He casually tossed the gun back to the White Fang member he stole it from.

“Alright, so I was promised fun, dead humans, and annihilated business rivals,” Damian turned away from the other White Fang members in one of many of their secret bases around Vale. “I have absolutely none of those three things, so do you guys know what this means?”

“Take matters into your own hands?” One member suggested.

“That’s right…” Damian turned back to the group, a demented grin on his face. “Fuck Cinder! Fuck Torchwick! Hell, even fuck Adam!” He laughed. “Get your torture devices, ready boys! We got some humans to take care of!”

Chapter Text

“I…can’t believe you actually did it.” Ruby stared off into space.

Yang had just sat down the other members of Team RWBY, Weiss and Blake sat on Weiss’s bottom bunk, while Ruby and Yang sat on Blake’s bottom bunk. She had just told them she had proposed to Sapphire and she said yes. Weiss and Blake had a similar reaction, though combined with stunned silence. Zwei had been drinking from his bowl when Yang dropped the ball and showing much of an influence Oobleck had been on him, did a spit take.

“Problem?” Yang asked, not a hint of confrontation in her voice.

“I meant what I said about trusting you, Yang,” Ruby assured. “I’m just shocked is all.”

“Yeah, I’m kind of surprised I did it, myself.” Yang admired her engagement ring. “I don’t regret it, though. All my doubts and anxiety just…melted away when I finally popped the question.”

“Don’t you still think you’re too young?” Weiss finally broke her and Blake’s mutual silence.

“Yang has experience doing things when she’s not even close to the proper age,” Ruby defended. “She was pretty much my Mom when our Mom…didn’t come home, and Dad shut down.”

“Oh…I’m sorry to hear that.” Blake’s cat ears dropped.

“Like you said, Blake.” Yang shrugged. “We all come from somewhere.”

“So…what now?” Weiss asked.

“Not much on your guys’ end,” Yang answered. “I intend on having more communication with Sapphire than I usually do. Texting her, calling her, visiting her, and just making sure my wife knows I’m there for her…” she grew a huge, dorky smile. “Wife. I can’t stop saying it, feels like silk pouring from my lips. Wife!”

“I’m happy for you, Yang.” Ruby took Yang’s hand. “You’re far more mature than people, including yourself, give you credit for. I’m sure you’ll knock down whatever opticals come your way from this decision.”

“Thanks for the faith, sis.” Yang hugged Ruby.

“What about you two?” Ruby asked Weiss and Blake.

“I’m still not sure about this…” Weiss said.

“It’ll take some getting used to.” Blake looked to the floor.

“Oh…” Ruby deflated, but Yang cupped her cheek in her hand.

“It’s okay for them to be unsure, Ruby,” Yang assured. “Most relationships that go this direction usually don’t end up good, and it’s because of my utmost confidence when it comes to anything related to Sapphire that makes me sure we’ll be happy.” She gave Weiss and Blake a wink and a thumbs up. “Hey, at least you two can give me a blunt ‘I told you so if we crash and burn.”

“I’m not going to do that.” Blake shook her head.

“I might,” Weiss pondered, tapping her chin and looking up.

“On a more serious note.” Yang closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “I need this to be on the down-low. Oobleck might be known for bending the rules, but I doubt he’d be okay with this, so if he asks say I backed out. Under no circumstances are any of the faculty to be told.”

RWB all nodded.

“As for our friends, I’ll tell them eventually, just…just not now.”

“Understandable.” Weiss nodded.

“Let Sapphire and I get settled, maybe a year, then I’ll tell them,” Yang said. “JNPR, CFVY, and CARD will know, minus Adrian. I’m pretty sure that kid has a 50/50 chance of forgetting me telling him that, or blurting it out in a moment of stupidity.”

“Fair,” Ruby said.

“He probably would,” Blake said.

“He’s an absolute moron,” Weiss bluntly stated.

Zwei even barked in agreement, despite the fact he’s never met, Adrian.

“Wait…what about Dad?” Ruby asked.

Yang looked away from Ruby. “After we graduate.”

“Yang…”

“Please, don’t tell him, Ruby,” Yang said. “He’s the most important, but alps the most protective, he’ll never let me do this.”

 “Yeah, I know,” Ruby sighed, knowing first hand of Tai’s overprotective nature.

“Won’t say a word?”

“Not a peep.” Ruby zipped up her mouth.

“Thanks, guys, I know it must be uncomfortable to be in a situation like this.” Yang looked to Weiss and Blake.

“I’ve made worse mistakes.” Blake huddled into a ball.

“My father is the king of making things uncomfortable when he doesn’t get his way,” Weiss assured. “This isn’t anything.”

“Wow…you guys had hard lives.” Yang rubbed her neck.

“It’s Remnant,” Weiss pointed out. “Who doesn’t?”

“True,” Yang conceded, then her scroll rang. “Okay girls, I have to go!”

“You set an alarm?” Blake cocked an eyebrow.

“Yeah, to-”

“To make sure she’s always early to celebrate her and Sapphire’s anniversary,” Ruby answered in Yang’s place.

“Yeah, that!” Yang rushed out the door. “Definitely won’t be back tonight!”

“Have a good time!” Ruby called.


Yang knocked on Sapphire’s apartment door, bouncing on her feet excitedly.

“In a minute,” Sapphire called.

Yang pulled out her scroll and started its stopwatch. After a few seconds, Sapphire opened the door.

“Liar,” Yang said.

“What?” Sapphire asked.

“You said a minute.” Yang showed Sapphire her scroll. “That was thirty seconds!”

“Do you want a divorce already?” Sapphire crossed her arms, though the smirk.

“I don’t marry lairs.”

Yang and Sapphire were silent then burst out into a fit of giggles. Once the joking was done, they changed to a much warmer tone.

“Hi,” Sapphire softly greeted.

“Hi,” Yang greeted back.

“Come in, hon.” Sapphire stepped back, opening the door further as she did so.

“So, what’s the replacement anniversary gift since you gave me this early?” Yang gripped the pendant.

“Well, with the money I’ve been saving up not having pay for two mouths to feed while one of them isn’t paying rent.”

“Which said mouth totally offered to do, but the other mouth said no.”

“Touché,” Sapphire said. “As I was saying, I’ve saved up money for cooking lessons.”

“You’re making dinner?”

“From this point forward.”

“Oh…”

“Upset?”

“No more splitting Large Anniversary Pizzas?”

“You sound disappointed.”

“Well…a little.” Yang held her pointer finger and thumb close together.

“They were very nice, guess we start a pattern or something,” Sapphire said.

“We have a lot of stuff to plan out,” Yang said.

“For now, you sit and I’ll cook.” Sapphire strolled past Yang and went into the kitchen.

Yang watched her with a warm smile, then went over to the couch, sat down, and started thinking. Time always flew when she did this, as before she knew it Sapphire was placing dinner on the glass coffee table in front of her. Yang gasped at the boiled Lobster in front of her.

“Thought you’d like a meal you could break,” Sapphire said.

“You know me too well.” Yang gleefully grabbed the lobster and twisted it in two.

Sapphire sat beside Yang, a simple chicken Alfredo instead of seafood. The two ate in comfortable silence, occasionally giving each other a taste of the other’s dish. When they were almost finished is when Yang struck up a conversation.

“Feel free to say no, but I was wondering if you want to talk about our future?”

“A little bit,” Sapphire said. “Nothing too serious.”

“Understood.” Yang nodded. “So…uh…that’s not much, marriage is important.”

“True.” Sapphire scratched. “Just bring up a topic and I’ll say yes or no.”

“Surname?”

“Easy, Sapphire Xiao Long, as you said.”

“I was just joking to lighten the mood, Blue,” Yang said. “I’ll gladly take Ensley, or we can both become Ensley-Xiao Long.”

“That implies the name Ensley means anything to me,” Sapphire said. “I want to be Xiao Long.”

“Okay, your choice!”

“After all, your bloodline is cooler,” Sapphire joked.

“Truth,” Yang boasted. “I mean, you have seen the pictures of my grandma?”

“I didn’t need to see pictures, remember?” Sapphire laughed. “Her bench pressing that pickup truck has been engraved into my mind.”

“Noni Xiao Long is great.”

“Noni Xiao Long is amazing.”

The two continued the conversation as they finished their dinner, and when they finished both, Yang sat back and looked at the ceiling.

“Staying over?” Sapphire asked.

“You’re damn right I am.” Yang looked back at Sapphire, frowning.

“Something wrong?”

“Sapphire…this is entirely your choice.” Yang took Sapphire’s hand. “If you don’t want to do this I’ll gladly settle on the usual kissing and cuddling before bed.”

“Yang, what are you saying?”

“I want us to give each other a mutual gift,” Yang said. “Sapphire, I want…I want to give you my…uh…”

“You want to make love?” Sapphire blushed.

“I’ve always joked about it with the girls,” Yang chuckled, trying to lighten the mood. “Thought, ‘hey might as well take it to step further by making them true’!” She noticed Sapphire was thinking. “Again, your choice.”

“Yang…”

“I wouldn’t want to make you do anything you’re not comfortable with.”

“Yang.”

“I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable by-”

Sapphire grabbed Yang’s collar and pulled her into a kiss. It was the longest kiss they’ve ever had, and they finally broke off Yang was in shock.

“I’d love to.”

Yang shook the shock off and smiled, taking Sapphire’s hand, leading her into her bedroom. They both stared at the bed, Yang dropping her hand.

“So…do you want to take my clothes off or should we like…do that while kissing?” Sapphire asked.

“Let’s just…do it ourselves.” Yang pulled off her jacket.

It was awkwardly quiet as they stripped, nothing but the sound of them shuffling out of their clothes. When they were finished they both stood across from one another.

“You look beautiful.” Sapphire admired Yang’s form. “I saw a little in that towel all those weeks back, but your body is truly something.”

“You look breathtaking too, Blue.” Yang took a few hesitant steps forward and wrapped her arms around Sapphire.

The two kissed growing confidence as both laid down on Sapphire’s bed. When they finished kissing, Yang pushed herself up with one hand.

“Yang, I’m ready.” Sapphire stroked Yang’s cheek.

“Then…together?” Yang asked, rubbing her cheek into Sapphire’s hand.

“Together.” Sapphire nodded.

Yang gently pressed her body’s against Sapphire’s, pressing their vulva together. Both moaned at the wave of pleasure that went through their bodies.

“Faster, Yang!” Sapphire wrapped her arms around Yang’s shoulders. “Faster!”

“Anything for you, Blue.” Yang picked up speed.

“I love you so much, Yang.”

“I love you too, Blue.”

In a tight embrace, both kept their promise of climaxing together. Their moans filling the room as they came off of their respective highs. Yang pushed herself off of Sapphire and rolled onto her back.

“W-Was it good for you?” Yang asked, awkwardly.

“Amazing.” Sapphire looked at Yang, panting, but with a smile on her face. “You?”

“Also amazing,” Yang answered, then she yawned. “Now I’m amazingly tired.”

“Me too.” Sapphire snuggled up to Yang, letting the warmth that always seemed to emanate from Yang’s body carry her into sleep.

“Good night, Bl-” Yang was interrupted by Sapphire’s snores, she chuckled. “Good night, Blue.”


Hours later, Yang woke up in an empty bed. Rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, she checked the time and saw it was 7 AM. Luck was on their side, their anniversary was on a weekend, so they could spend all of last night together.

“Sapphire?” Yang quietly called out.

Nothing.

Yang was about to call again when she realized she heard the shower running. Getting out of bed, Yang groggily went to the bathroom, though her grogginess disappeared when she heard crying.

“Sapphire?” Yang opened the door to see Sapphire curled into a sitting fetal position, crying in the tub, the steam from the warm water fogging up the mirror. “Oh baby…” she closed the door and sat beside Sapphire in the tub. “Sapphire, what’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry,” Sapphire sniffed. “It’s just too much to take in.”

“Did I move too fast?”

“No, you were always too much to take in.”

“Always?”

“Not being adopted does things to you, Yang,” Sapphire began. “I felt so unwanted, unlovable like I was just a burden to the staff of the orphanage. When I emancipated myself, I was certain I was going to spend the rest of my life alone…then a month later, you’re there. With your beautiful lilac eyes, your long, flowing hair, and your stupid, adorable puns. Having you and your family in my life has given me something I’ll never be able to repay you.”

“Your love is enough.” Yang hugged Sapphire close.

“I still worry about what I’d do without you.”

“Then let me make another vow.” Yang gently turned Sapphire’s face to hers. “Sapphire Xiao Long, I solemnly swear to stay on this earth with you for as long as possible. I won’t back down or submit to any threat, Grimm or human, and if they manage to take me from this world, I’ll go down swinging until I take my last breath.”

“If that happens…I’ll be strong.” Sapphire nodded her head. “I’ll try my best to live.”

“I know you will. I love you, Sapphire.”

“I love you too, Yang.”

Yang and Sapphire touched foreheads, silently. The only sound coming from the light hum of the shower.

Chapter Text

Hey guys, anyone who has been following has probably noticed the “Eclipse” arc has been removed. To be honest, it was boring, the game’s minimal story and lack of any meaningful development for the characters is pretty much impossible to adapt and I was growing frustrated as I tried to write an interesting plot.

Sorry for wasting time writing something only to get nowhere. Preparing my retelling of V3 and I’m very excited! Until then!

Chapter Text

Robyn was stirred from her slumber by a knock on her door. Sitting up, she gently set Wren’s pillow down and hurriedly threw away all evidence of her addiction, then went over to the door, opening to see Fiona.

“H-Hey Robbie,” Fiona greeted with a smile and awkward wave.

“Hey Fi.” Robyn smiled.

“C-Can I come in?”

“Of course.” Robyn stepping aside. “Is something wrong?”

“No, quite the opposite, in fact,” Fiona assured. “I’m feeling hopeful about the coming election, and since the Vytal Tournament is coming up I was wondering if…you’d want to…you know…hang out with me and watch it? Specifically at nice restaurants that have good views of their televisions.”

“Fiona Thyme, are you asking me out on a date?” Robyn crossed her arms and smirked.

“M-Maybe…” Fiona put her hands behind her back.

Robyn glanced at the wall behind her, frowning as she fell into a more somber mood. She walked over to the wall to look at her and Wren’s wedding photo.

“If you don’t want to, it’s fine,” Fiona said. “I don’t it to seem like I’m trying to take Wren’s pla-”

“I’d love to.” Robyn turned back to Fiona, smiling.

“Are you sure?”

“It’s been three years, Fi,” Robyn began. “Wren…she’d…I know she’d want me to move on.” She chuckled and rubbed her neck. “Honestly, I’ve been crushing on you for a while, anyway.”

Fiona’s face turned crimson. “Y-You…c-crush…on m-me?”

Robyn nodded.

“Not to question your judgment or anything but…why?” Fiona asked. “I’m just some timid, orphaned sheep Faunus who doesn’t have the courage to pump up protests as you do.”

“Fiona, you’re one of the bravest people I know,” Robyn began. “You went up on stage and told people your story, you walked into a place with thirteen guards with six shots and walked out without a scratch, and those are just the recent examples.”

“I…guess I did do that, huh?”

“Yeah, and it was hot!” Robyn smiled. “Outside of that, you’re also kind, strong-willed, and passionate. That’s why I’ve always been crushing on you, and that’s why I’m saying yes.”

“Thanks, Robbie, I wish I noticed these things about myself,” Fiona chuckled. “The Vytal Festival Tournament start tomorrow afternoon.”

“Any restaurant you had in mind?”

“Just that quiet bar down the street.”

“That sounds lovely.”

“See you then?” Fiona backed towards the door, not taking her eyes off Robyn.

“See you then.” Robyn nodded.

“Great!” Fiona beamed. “Now if you excuse me, I have to go throw up my nervousness!”

Robyn chuckled as Fiona rushed out the door, and she looked back at the wedding photo. She took it off the wall and stroked Wren’s face with her thumb.



May pulled herself out of bed and stumbled towards the bathroom. She turned on the sink and splashed cold water on her face to wake herself up. Then she brushed her teeth and walked into her living room, sitting down and turning on the tv.

“Major illegal dust smuggling bust today,” the newsman began. “Today I’m with the man who leads that bust, Commander Simon Blade.”

May shot up, eyes wide as the camera turned to Blade.

“Mr. Blade, since every criminal in the bust ended up dead, aren’t you worried you’ll never figure out how they’ve been smuggling dust in and out of Atlas?”

“I can assure you, making sure punks like these smugglers are kept off the streets of Atlas are my top priority,” Commander Blade answered. “It is, unfortunately, none of these scumbags surrendered so I could take them in alive, but as long as they’re out of the picture, I hap-”

May turned off the tv and resisted every urge she had to smash the screen in with the remote. She sat back, then rushed into her bedroom to grab the scarf Henry gave her. May held it to her chest, crying.

“We’ll get him, Henry,” May promised. “I swear.”



Joanna stopped her car by the graveyard, grip tightening on the steering while as she braced herself. She grabbed the red rose bouquet and got out of the car. Joanna never could stomach going here, and usually only did it for her birthday, but recent events caused her to decide to visit early. It was a short walk to her grave, but with how heavy Joanna’s legs felt, it always took longer than it needed to. She stopped when she found it, trying to grab and hold onto whatever composure she had in a death grip before looking at what was edged into the tombstone.

Cherished Daughter
Maple Greenleaf
2010-2015

“Hey sweetie,” Joanna began. “Told the story about what…happened to you a few days ago. I did it to help inspire the people…I hope you don’t mind. Outside of that mommy hasn’t been doing much, spending all my t-time thinking about you…” she held on to her composure for as long as she could, but being alone meant she felt no shame in letting it out. “She’ll never forgive herself for what happened to you, b-but Robyn is running for a seat on the Atlas council. When she wins, she’ll see to it you’ll finally have justice, and maybe mommy will find peace along with it.” Joanna went to set the bouquet down, but fell to her knees instead, resting her forehead on the cold stone as tears rolled down her face. “I’m s-sorry Maple. I’m not the best mommy in the world. I couldn’t even do what an average mother could. I couldn’t protect you.”


Winter pulled out a bottle of vodka from the fridge, kicking the door shut with her heel. She’d recently went shopping for stronger stuff, trying to drink less lead to her drinking harder.

Small steps indeed. Like, incredibly small. Like millimeter length small.

Winter groaned and sat down on her couch, not even bothering with a glass. “At least I’m more sociable.”

Yeah, because that’s what your main problem was. Not the alcoholism, suicidal depression, and just general self-loathing.

Winter took a big swig from the vodka bottle.

Did I mention the guilt complex? You most certainly have that, as well.

Winter went to take another swig but froze when her scroll started to ring. When she saw it was Ironwood, she slammed the vodka bottle onto the coffee table and tried her best to gain a professional composure, then picked her scroll and answered.

“Winter, I’ve been told you’re free,” Ironwood said.

“Yes sir, I am.” Winter glanced at the vodka bottle.

“Good, I take it you heard about the breach?”

“I did, and I also saw my Weiss deal with it.” Winter smiled in pride.

“I’m sure you’re proud, but I’m afraid we got a problem over here.”

Winter frowned. “What is it?”

“The only adat after the breach was stopped, bodies started to pile up daily,” Ironwood explained. “The VPD initially thought it was a simple spree killer, but then a White Fang symbol was drawn in the victim's blood at one of the crime scenes.”

“White Fang?” Winter stared at a photo of Daisy holding a Tulip.

“I want you to come here and help investigate,” Ironwood said. “You know more about the White Fang than anyone working in the Atlas Military.”

“I’ll be on the first flight there, sir.”

“Excellent, see you then.”

Winter looked at her scroll for minutes after Ironwood hung up. She set her scroll down and picked the vodka bottle up.

Looks like if you don’t want withdrawal symptoms to impede you, you’ll have to keep drinking!

Winter looked back at the photo of Daisy and Tulip, shamefully drinking from the vodka bottle as she took it to bed.


“Alright, step right up and test your strength!” Coco set down Gianduja, in bag form, on the table in the center of Beacon Library.

Teams CFVY and CARD were hanging out together when Coco suddenly made the offer.

“Oh no.” Velvet facepalmed.

“Wait, what is this?” Canvas asked.

“Just a sadistic game Coco likes to play,” Yatsuhashi answered.

“Hey, it’s not sadistic!” Coco exclaimed, defensively. “This test can earn you a great amount of my respect!”

“I still don’t understand,” Canvas said.

“Gianju is heavy is as dicks, most people, not even Yatsuhashi, can pick it up,” Fox explained. “Only Coco and Velvet can do so.”

“Wait…Velvet?”

“She make look small and timid, but my honey bun can punch down a brick wall,” Coco said, in pride. “Observe!”

Coco stepped aside as Velvet picked up Gianju with ease, then set it back down. CARD all looked at one another.

“I guess I’ll take a crack at it!” Canvas stood up and took Gianju’s hand, and pulled. “Whoa!” He looked at CARD when it didn’t budge.

“Wait, for real?” Deacon asked.

“Yeah, try!”

“Oh, I’m not doing that!” Revon threw up his hands.

Deacon cracked his fingers and knuckles as he stood up. Canvas stepped aside and he grabbed the hand and pulled.

Nothing.

Deacon didn’t stop until his strength gave way and he was left panting.

“Done?” Coco asked, smugly.

“How…on earth…do you pick that up, Velvet?” Deacon asked between pants.

“Well, Anesidora’s copy abilities wouldn’t mean much if I didn’t have equal strength to what I was copying,” Velvet explained. “I’ve copied Gianju dozens, if not hundreds, of times in battle, so I know how to hold her.”

“I have no idea what you just said!” Adrian suddenly exclaimed.

“Adrian, do you understand anything?” Fox asked.

Adrian paused. “I have no idea what you just said.”

“Why did I agree to come knowing you were going be here?” Fox asked himself.

“I don’t know.” Adrian stood up. “I also forgot what we were doing.”

“Testing our strength by picking up Coco’s handbag,” Canvas answered.

“Oh, it’s just a handbag, guys.” Adrian walked over to Gianju.

“Adrian, I can assure you, Gianju isn’t just a-” Coco went dead silent when Adrian casually picked up Gianju with even less effort than her or Velvet. “Excuse me what?”

“Oh yeah, Adrian is freakishly strong.” Canvas patted Adrian’s back.

“Yeah, I can see that, and I got a word of advice,” Coco said. “You guys are fighting in the Vytal Tournament, right?”

“What’s that?” Adrian asked.

“You don’t-of course he doesn’t know,” Fox cut himself off, rubbing his forehead.

“As I was saying, pick him for every round,” Coco said. “Strength like that is really helpful in a fight.”



Team JNPR, minus Jaune, were in their dorm room. Ren was taking a shower and Nora and Pyrrha were discussing some things quietly. Then Jaune, who had just finished studying at the library walked in.

“He’s here, goes, goes!” Nora lifted Pyrrha to her feet and pushed her towards Jaune, who watched in confusion.

“Okay, I’m going!” Pyrrha stood up straight, hands clasped in front of her with a bright smile on her face. “Hello, Jaune!”

“Uh…hi Pyrrha.” Jaune waved, awkwardly. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah! Great! Wonderful!” Pyrrha was acting too cheerful. “Such great weather! Don’t you love the weather? I sure do! We have something in common!”

Nora's facepalmed, shaking her. “Girl…no.”

“I guess?” Jaune’s eyes darted from right to left.

“Pyrrha, stop acting like a weirdo!” Nora ordered.

“Sorry!” Pyrrha closed her eyes. “Jaunewillyougooutwithme?”

“W-Wait what?!” It was Jaune’s turn to become a blushy mess. “P-Pyrrha Nikos…The Invincible Girl…wants to date me?!”

“Yesshedoes!”

“Sure!”

“Yaywanttogoout?!

“Iknowagoodspot!” Jaune was talking a mile a minute as well.

“Greatwanttogonow?”

“Thatsoundslovley!”

“Thenlet’sgo!” Jaune rushed towards the door and held it open for Pyrrha, who rushed out with him following behind, slamming the door shut.

“Finally!” Nora breathed a sigh of relief as she fell onto her pillow.

“Uh…”

Nora sprang up to see Ren standing in the doorway of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist.

“Ren, how much did you see?” Nora asked.

“All of it,” Ran answered. “What just happened?”

“Love Ren.” Nora smiled. “Love.”

Ren looked between Nora and the door a few times. “What?”



That night, in team RWBY’s dorm, Weiss, Blake, and Yang stood in attention between their bunks, Ruby pacing in front of them.

“Alright girls, this is it!” Ruby began. “Tomorrow we fight for Beacon! We fight for Vale! We fight for our right to be Huntresses! To do that, we need rest! I expect everyone here, including myself, to get a full eight hours' rest! Understand?”

“Yes ma’am!” Blake and Yang saluted.

“Ruby, this is-” Weiss began.

“Understand?!”

Weiss sighed and did a little salute. “Yes ma’am.”

“Good!” Ruby beamed. “Team RWBY hit the sack!”

Ruby used her speed semblance to rush into bed, the rest of the team just getting into bed normally. As Yang rested her head on her pillow and drifted off to sleep, she suddenly awoke in a white void.

“Whoa!” Yang jumped to her feet, looking around.

“It’s okay, Yang!” A familiar voice spoke comfortingly.

“Wait…Sapphire?”

“Yep!” Sapphire popped in front of Yang, wearing her pajamas.

“Whoa!” Yang jumped back. “Sapphire, what’s going on?”

“Well, remember when I said I was taking cooking lessons?”

“Yeah.”

“I lied, I was also taking some semblance classes, as well.”

“This…this is your semblance?!”

“Yep, I can pull people into my lucid dreams, or join them in theirs,” Sapphire explained. “I call it Wonderland.”

“Wonderland?”

“Cause that’s the place in my dreams, and I’d like you to visit!” Sapphire snapped her fingers and the white void suddenly turned into a vast forest.

Yang looked around in the beautiful, yet admittedly strange, environment. Giant playing cards grew out of branches instead of leaves, statues floated in midair, gently swaying up and down, and waterfalls “fell” upwards.

“Sapphire…this place is beautiful…but I need to be rested up for the Vytal Tournament tomorrow,” Yang said.

“Yang, you’re dreaming!” Sapphire laughed. “You’re still getting your eight hours.”

“Oh yeah…” Yang chuckled.

“I just wanted to give you something fun before the tournament starts,” Sapphire explained.

“So considerate, Blue.”

“Wouldn’t be a good wife if I wasn’t!” Sapphire took Yang’s hand.

“True…” Yang glanced over at a nearby lake. “Can I control this dream too, right?”

“We’re lucid dreaming, we can do whatever we want! Plus dreams can be as long as they want, so we can basically hang out indefinitely until you want to wake up, and you’re always guaranteed to have your full eight hours!”

“In that case, let take a crack at it.” Yang let go of Sapphire’s hand and went over to the lake.

Yang scratched her chin, then held out her hand, palm facing the sky, and raised it. Just as she had hoped, the water rose, leaving a dry ditch in its place. The water took the shape of a sphere, and Yang motioned it over the side of a cliff, ensuring the clear water would give them a good view of the heavenly sky that surrounded the floating island they were on.

“Take it you want to go swimming?” Sapphire asked.

“Nope.” Yang snapped her fingers and her clothes vanished, she smirked when she saw Sapphire’s face contort into blushing shock. “I want to go skinny dipping!”

Yang turned ran towards the sphere and jumped off the cliff. Instead of falling, the sphere had its gravitational pull, so Yang jumped into the water.

“This is amazing!” Yang surfaced at the top of the sphere. “Come on, Blue!” She dived back into the water, though Sapphire could steal see her naked form in the clear water.

Smiling, Sapphire raised her hand to snap her clothes off.

“I’ll always be here.”

Sapphire froze, recognizing the voice. She turned to face the creature that would occasionally pop into her dreams to say something cryptic, but with her borderline God-like abilities, she always snapped it away. Despite this, it always came back no matter how many times she made it vanish with the intent to do so permanently, one time even violently “killing” it, but it always came back to say the same thing.

“I’ll always be here.”

Sapphire scanned the environment until her eyes fell on the beast. It was huge, reptilian-like with membranous bat-like wings that appear too small to support its weight in flight. It has garnish limbs, a long sinuous neck, and a long tail. Its feet are plantigrade, with three clawed toes, while its hands have four long dexterous clawed fingers. Its round head, resting atop the serpentine neck, possesses blank insectoid eyes, a mouth equipped with upper and lower incisor teeth like those of a rodent, a pair of long thin antennae, long whiskers on its cheeks, and a pair of short tentacles or feelers protruding from the sides of its mouth.

“I’ll always be-”

Sapphire disintegrated the creature with a snap of her fingers.

“Still waiting, Blue!” Yang called after surfacing once again, having missed the whole thing.

Sapphire was glad Yang missed it. She didn’t want that freaky thing to interrupt their time together. Smiling, she snapped her clothes off and joined Yang in the water sphere. The two laughed, splashed, and kissed for what felt like a full, joyous hour. When they were finished, they jumped from the sphere, instantly drying and dressing.

“Gods, this is the best!” Yang cheered. “I’m married and going to kick ass in the Vytal Tournament! I know these few weeks are going to be the greatest of my life!”

“I’m glad I helped.” Sapphire smiled.

“I’m glad I have you.”

“So, what next?” Sapphire asked.

“Let’s do something quieter,” Yang said.

“You? Quiet?” Sapphire cocked an eyebrow.

“Oh shush,” Yang chuckled.

“Going to sing?” Sapphire blinked, and Yang suddenly had a guitar in her hands.

“Yep!” Yang strummed her guitar. “Get comfortable.”

Sapphire reclined in midair, Yang doing the same when she noticed. Then she started to sing.

“An old fairy tale me…”

Chapter Text

Sapphire looked out the window of the airship as it took her to Amity Arena, the ticket to the Vytal Tournament stirred nervously in her pocket. When the ship landed, she and dozens of other people made their way to the entrance.

“Ticket,” the guard said.

“Here ya go!” Sapphire handed him the ticket. “Did you know my girlfriend is going to be fighting?”

“Did you know I didn’t ask?” The guard snarked.

“Did you know my girlfriend is Yang Xiao Long?”

The guard’s face went pale. “The one who messed up Junior’s club.”

“Yeah.” Sapphire nodded.

“Apologies for the disrespect!” The guard handed Sapphire her ticket. “Have a nice day and please Gods don’t tell her about this!”

“I’ll think about it!” Sapphire innocently strolled past the guard, hands clasped behind her back.

Sapphire walked into the seating area of the arena, the sound of the crowd cheering washed over her. She looked at her ticket. It was a front-row seat ticket, granted to any loved one of a contender. As Sapphire went to find a seat, dozens of students walked into the arena, and the commentators made their introductions.

“Good evening ladies and gentlebeavers, I meant gentleman!” Oobleck exclaimed. “Welcome to the…which annual Vytal Tournament is this?”

“This has been going on for centuries, we don’t keep count,” Port said.

“Oh…welcome to the Vytal Tournament!”

“For those of you who don’t know, the Vytal Tournament is an annual event where teams from all over the globe come to battle in the name of their schools,” Port began. “We start with four vs four matches, then two vs two, and end it with a one vs one!”

“So, which teams get to duke it out for the first round?” Oobleck asked.

“We’re cycling through now.” Port looked up at the large screen that was flashing pictures of different teams.

Eventually, it slowed down on Team RWBY and an unknown team.

“Looks like we’ll be starting with Team RWBY from Beacon vs Team ABRN from Shade!” Port announced.

The two teams stood across from one another.

“Oh, how can I forget!” Port slapped his forehead. “We also change the arena to form different environments for the students to do battle in!”

“Shakes things up,” Oobleck said. “Adds a little variety so they don’t get boring! I mean, who wants to see people just hitting each other on a flat plane, talk about boring!”

“You do realize the two vs two matches don’t have changing environments, right?”

“By boring, I mean boringly amazing!”

“That makes no sense, but whatever!” Port looked down to the arena. “Let’s see what environments they get!”

As the team’s waited, they got themselves ready.

“Hope you’re ready to lose, Panther!” Reese spat at Blake.

Blake widened her eyes, cat ears briefly raising, then gritted her teeth as her ears lowered in rage.

“Reese!” Arslan scolded. “Shut it!”

Reese grumbled to herself.

“Sorry about her, we don’t want any bad blood between us,” Arslan said.

“Yeah, this is just a game,” Bolin said.

“Then I suggest you keep a muzzle are your loudmouth.” Ruby glared at Reese.

“Will do.” Arslan nodded.

Yang hadn’t been paying attention to the conversation, at all. She was too busy scanning the front row until she found Sapphire, to whom she waved and blew a kiss. Just after she did so, the terrain was chosen, one half was fire, and the other half was ice.

“Fire and ice, cute,” Weiss noted.

“Kind of reminds me of Yang and you, Weiss,” Blake joked.

“Blake,” Ruby whispered and didn’t turn towards Blake to avoid ABRN’s attention.

Blake’s cat ears raised to silently show she was listening. Ruby glanced at her to make sure Blake was hearing her.

“The second that buzzer goes off, leave a fire dust shadow clone,” Ruby ordered. “We want the team scattered.”

Blake patted Ruby’s back as a way to confirm she understood.

Up in the stands, Teams JNPR, CFVY, and CARD were cheering RWBY on. Unknown to any of the teams, the four people plotting their destruction were sitting right behind them

“This is when things are getting fun, right boss?” Mercury asked, excitedly.

“Only for you, Mercury,” Emerald pointed out. “I think he means phase two.”

“That’s right, Mercury,” Cinder confirmed with a nod.

“Alright!” Port exclaimed. “With our combatants set and environments were chosen, let the Vytal Tournament begin in 3…2…”

“Here we go.” Cinder clasped her hands together and leaned back in her seat.

“…1!”

Blake left a fire dust clone in front of ABRN, team RWBY jumping away from it.

“Whoa!” Nadir widened his eyes. “What is the-”

Nadir was cut off by the fire dust clone exploding, sending all of team ABRN flying back towards the ice. Arslan and Bolin recovered, but Reese and Nadir slide across the ice.

“That was crazy!” Bolin shouted.

A red mass dropping roses suddenly swept Bolin away.

“Bolin!” Arslan held out her hand, then she heard thunderous footsteps behind her.

Arslan turned and took a right hook to the face from Yang, sending her flying into an ice wall by Reese.

“Whoa!” Reese jumped.

“You should be the one ready to lose!”

“Huh?” Reese felt something wrap around her ankle. “Uh oh…”

Blake yanked Gambol Shroud, causing Reese to face plant hard onto the ice. She yanked again to pull Reese towards her. As Reese was being dragged away, Nadir was trying to get his footing on the slippery ice. Just when he got it, a boarbatusk smashed through the ice wall he was using to keep himself.

“What the…Grimm!” Nadir pointed his gun at the boarbatusk, but it vanished.

“Not exactly.”

Nadir turned to the voice and gulped at the sight. Weiss stood proud, her Arma Gigas summons standing behind her.

“Just a gift from the Schnee bloodline,” Weiss smirked.

Ruby came to a sudden stop, throwing Bolin into a rock on the fireside of the arena. He stood up, spinning his staff and taking a combat stance. Ruby shot on the ground, Crescent Rose’s recoil sending her flying into the air. Bolin tried to tell where Ruby was, but he was blinded by the sun, allowing Ruby to land directly on top of him. Bolin grunted and pushed Ruby off him, and she jumped back as he was getting to his feet.

“Watch out!” Ruby warned, pointing behind Bolin.

“How stupid-wait a minute, I’ve seen scenes like this in movies, there is something behind me!” Bolin turned around to see nothing. “Damn it…”

Ruby knocked Bolin out by using Crescent Rose’s recoil to strike him in the head.

“Looks like Bolin Hori is the first contestant to be eliminated!” Port exclaimed.

Weiss’ Arma Gigas completely brushed off Nadir’s gunfire. It raised its blade and swung down, Nadir dodging but slipped on the ice and slid across the battlefield, which the crowd found humorous while he found humiliating. Finally coming to a stop by sliding against an ice wall, Nadir tried to get to his feet as quickly as he could, but Weiss once again sent the boarbatusk at him.

“Oh, man…” Nadir sighed in defeat.

The boarbatusk smashed Nadir through the ice wall and sent him flying off the arena.

“Ring-outs are also a disqualification!” Port exclaimed.

“Though only if a contestant hits the ground,” Oobleck added. “If they can recover in midair and get back to the arena, then they’re still in the fight!”

“Doesn’t look like Nadir Shiko can be used as an example.” Port watched Nadir hit the floor below the arena. “He’s out of the game!”

Reese unholstered her dual pistols and fired upon Blake, who used an ice clone as cover.

“What’s wrong kitty cat?” Reese mocked. “Scared of the loud noises?”

Blake growled, resisting every urge that told her to bolt out from behind cover, rush Reese and kick her teeth. Instead, she calmed herself down and waited as the ice clone was being chipped away. Reese grew a smug smirk, knowing Blake was running out of cover, but then she ran out of bullets.

“Damn it!” Reese reloaded, giving Blake time to rush deeper in the ice side of the arena, among the larger ice walls. “Get back here, Panther!” Reese held her guns together, turning them into her hoverboard,  the tossed to the ground and jumped on, taking off after Blake. “You won’t escape this defeat!”

Blake turned as she ran, seeing Reese on her hoverboard gave her an idea.

“Got you, now!” Reese grinned.

“I was just about to say that,” Blake whispered to herself, leaving a fire dust clone in Reese’s path.

Reese’s face contorted from a smug grin to wide-eyed terror. She had too much momentum to stop, so flew right through the explosion, covering her face with her hands to shield herself from the flames. Miraculously staying on her board, Reese looked ahead but had no time to avoid getting clotheslined by Blake, who was standing on an elevated ice hill and had just thrown Gambol Shroud, sticking its blade into the ice wall across from her so the ribbon was completely straight. Reese fell off her board, slid across the ice, and slipped off the edge of the arena to the ground below.

“Reese Chloris has been eliminated!” Port didn’t hide his shock. “Things aren’t looking so good for Miss Altan, as now she’s one against four!”

Arslan, despite her predicament, kept her cool while fighting a Yang. She stayed on the defense, dodging and blocking Yang’s punches and striking her face whenever she left an opening.

“Uh oh, looks like Miss Xiao Long’s aura is getting dangerously low!” Oobleck checked the aura meters on the large screen above the arena. “Maybe Miss Altan can turn the tides!”

Arslan effortlessly dodged a punch from Yang, causing the latter to stumble past her. Taking advantage of Yang’s back to her, Arslan kicked the back of her knee. Yang fell to one knee, and Arslan punched her in the back of the head sending Yang to the floor.

“One more hit and Miss Xiao Long is out of the fight!” Oobleck was at the edge of his seat.

“Careful,” Port warned.

“It’s fine!” Oobleck waved Port off. “Focus on the fight!”

“If you say so.” Port looked back to the arena.

Arslan held off on taking Yang out to pant and catch her breath. Yang got to her knees, not having the strength to keep fighting.

“You got this, baby!”

Yang looked up to see Sapphire, she had unintentionally taken the fight as close to her as one could get without falling out of the arena. The crowd had quieted down, which combined with how close she had gotten, allowed Yang to hear her.

“You didn’t give me front row excess to see you lose, did you?” Sapphire asked. “Get up, baby!”

Yang forced herself to her feet just as Arslan prepared to deliver the knockout.

“What?!” Arslan didn’t hide her shock at Yang’s hardiness.

“Come on.” Yang motioned for Arslan to come at her.

Arslan clenched her fist and rushed Yang, preparing a right hook. Yang dodged the punch, ducking and sweeping Arslan’s leg out for, under her.

“No!” Arslan shouted.

Yang raised her fist, gave Arslan a wink, and punched her to the ground. A buzzer went off, signifying Arslan’s aura had been depleted.

“What stunning come back!” Port cheered.

Oobleck slipped off the edge of his seat, chin hitting the desk on the way down. “Gods damn it!”

“I warned you.” Port shook his head. “As I was saying, Arslan Atlan has been taken out, which means Team RWBY from Beacon has won the match!”

“Bit my freaking tongue!” Oobleck cried. “Blood is everywhere!”

“Let’s here for Yang RWBY!”

“It’s the Beavers, I tell you!” Oobleck waved his fist at the sky.

Team RWBY met at the center of the arena, the crowd cheering for their victory.

“Yang, that was amazing!” Ruby hugged Yang.

“I honestly expecting that,” Weiss said. “Still impressive, nonetheless.”

“The swiftness of you turning the tables was beautiful to behold, Yang,” Blake complimented.

“Don’t thank me.” Yang felt the arena jolt just as she let go of Ruby, it began to slowly lower to the ground. “Uh oh!” She rushed in Sapphire’s direction.

“Yang, where are you going?!” Ruby called after Yang.

“What’s this?” Port watched Yang, curiously.

Yang ignored Ruby, reached the edge of the arena, and used Ember Celica’s recoil to boost herself up to the stands, grabbing onto the railing in front of Sapphire.

“Yang, what are you doing?!” Sapphire covered her mouth.

“Coming to thank the source of my will.” Yang held out her hand.

“Looks like Miss Xiao Long is celebrating her victory with her girlfriend,” Port said.

“Oh my Gods, get that shit on the kiss cam!” Oobleck jumped to his feet.

Yang looked up to screen to herself and Sapphire in a heart. Sapphire turned crimson and pulled her shirt over her head.

“Come on, Blue,” Yang said. “Don’t leave me hanging with everyone watching.”

Sapphire peeked out, eventually pulling her head out entirely. She sighed, took Yang’s hand and held it against her cheek, then moved in. The crowd cheered as the two kissed.

“You’re welcome,” Sapphire said after breaking the kiss.

“What would I do without ya, Sapphire?” Yang smiled.

“You’d probably fair a lot better than I,” Sapphire chuckled. “Now get out of here.”

Yang let go of the railing and dropped down to the arena to regroup with the rest of Team RWBY.

Chapter Text

Team RWBY walked through the Vytal Festival, looking for something to celebrate their victory against ABRN.

“Guys! Noodle stand!” Ruby pointed at the stand, mouth-watering.

“That works for me!” Yang mirrored Ruby’s reaction.

“I want all the fish,” Blake said.

“I’ll treat.” Weiss held up her credit card between her pointer and middle finger. “So feel free to go nuts!”

“ThankyouWeissyou’rethebest!” Ruby rushed to the stand using her semblance.

Before Weiss could follow, her scroll started ringing. She pulled it from her pocket and saw it was her father, a grimace formed on her face.

“You okay, Weiss?” Blake asked, noticing Weiss’s grimace.

“You guys go on ahead, I’ll catch up.” Weiss didn’t take her eyes off her scroll.

Blake and Yang looked at one another in concern but did as Weiss requested. Weiss looked at her scroll, grip tightening, and handshaking. With a sharp exhale, she argued with herself over what to do, then threw caution to the wind and denied the call. Weiss felt a weight lift off her shoulders, she closed her eyes and sighed, a smile growing on her face. Then she made her way over to Team RWBY.

“You good, Weiss?” Blake asked, again.

“Looking a lot happier,” Yang noted.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Weiss said. “Now, did you three order?”

The rest of Team RWBY nodded.

“Good, just a regular bowl of noodles for me,” Weiss said to the cook.

The cook nodded and got to work. After only a few seconds, four bowls slid across the table in front of each girl. Ruby, Weiss, and Yang had a normal bowl of noodles, while Blake’s was full of fish.

“That’ll be $35.54,” the cook said.

“Of course.” Weiss handed the cook her credit card.

The cook took the credit card and slid it at the register, only to beep.

“This card has been canceled.” The cook tossed the credit card on the table in front of a stunned Weiss.

“What?!” Weiss widened her eyes.

“So, can any of you girls pay?” The cook crossed his arm.

“I can.”

Team RWBY looked to their left to see JNPR, Pyrrha smiling at them.

“Thanks, Pyrrha.” Blake hugged her bowl away from the cook, who was about to take it before Pyrrha made her offer. “You’re a lifesaver.”

“Don’t mention it,” Pyrrha said, then she looked to the rest of Team JNPR. “You guys feel free to order, too.”

“Got to be prepared for our fight!” Nora beamed. “I’m also really hungry!”

“When do you guys fight?” Yang asked.

“In an hour, so we got to be prepared,” Jaune answered. “We got to rest, now we need nourishment!”

“Four regular bowls of noodles, please,” Ren said.

“I’ll take a regular, as well.”

“As will I.” Pyrrha sat down beside Jaune, taking his hand.

“I want mine spicy!” Nora demanded.

“Understood, I’ll be done in a few seconds,” the cook said.

“Seconds? Don’t you mean-” Ren was cut off by the cook placing four bowls in front of each JNPR member.

“No,” the cook said, casually.

“Food!” Nora didn’t even bother using any utensils and stuffed her face into the noodles.

“Nora, that isn’t a good idea!” Ren advised.

“No worries, Renie!” Nora waved him off. “I g-g-go-HOT!” Her face turned red as she started fanning herself. “HOT! HOT! HOT!”

“I tried to warn you.” Ren shook his head.

“Water?!” Nora begged.

“Sorry kid, just a noodle stand,” the cook said.

“Pyrrha!” Nora looked to Pyrrha, eyes begging.

“Here, go get some water!” Pyrrha handed Nora some lien.

“Gift from the Gods, Pyrrha!” Nora ran off to where she remembered she saw a water stand. “You’re a gift from the Gods!”

“Anyway…good luck guys!” Ruby gave JNPR a thumbs up. “You’ll need it!”


After eating, JNPR returned to the arena for their first battle. They met with their opposing team in the center of the arena.

“Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen!” Port exclaimed. “After that short break, it is time for our next battle!”

“So, who’s up?” Oobleck asked.

“For this match, we have Team JNPR from Beacon battling Team BRNZ from the shade,” Port answered. “Both teams should the time the arena takes cycling through which environments to pick to prepare themselves!”

“Alright team, group huddle!” Jaune ordered.

JNPR all huddled together, much to the confusion of BRNZ.

“Any ideas?” Jaune asked.

“We should try eating their souls!” Nora suggested.

“Any ideas from literally anyone else?”

“I got nothing.” Ren shook his head.

“Unless we can think of a neutral idea, we can’t plan because we don’t know what kind of environment we’re going to be placed in,” Pyrrha pointed out.

“That’s most likely intentionally done,” Ren said.

“Looks like we have a mountain and a forest!” Port exclaimed.

Team JNPR looked up to see a mountain raise in front of them, a forest behind team BRNZ.

“Let the battle commence in 3…2…1…fight!”

The leader of the team, Brawnz, charged at Jaune, tackling him away from the group

“Jaune!” Pyrrha cried, running after them.

“May, you know what to do,” Roy said to May.

“Right!” Mary nodded and ran into the forest.

“You guys are going down!” Nolan activated his cattle prod.

“Is that…a cattle prod?” Nora smiled.

“Yep!”

“I got this one, Ren.” Nora didn’t even reach for Magnhild.

“Then I’ll take him.” Ren locked eyes with Roy.

“Don’t think I’ll be an easy fight, pretty boy!” Roy shot his duel buzz saws at Ren, who effortlessly dodge them.

“Now you’re weaponless,” Ren pointed out.

“Not exactly!” Roy’s gauntlets began to glow purple.

“Gravity dust!” Ren instinctively ducks just in time to dodge the returning buzz saws.

“Smarter then you look,” Roy said.

“Thanks.” Ren slides StormFlower from his sleeves. “Now let’s do this!”

Brawnz was straddling Jaune, keeping him pinned so he could wail on him with his claws. Jaune tried to cover his face, but his aura was getting low. Thankfully, Pyrrha rushed to Jaune’s aid. She jumped, put Brawnz in a headlock with her legs, and flipped him off of Jaune.

“Are you alright, beloved?” Pyrrha helped Jaune to his feet.

“Yeah, thanks Pyrrha.” Jaune smiled.

“You’re-” Pyrrha cut off by a shot echoing through the area. “Jaune, get down!” She pushed Jaune out of the way and blocked a sniper shot from May using Akoúo.

“Pyrrha, you deal with the sniper,” Jaune ordered. “I’ll deal with the leader.”

“Are you sure?”

“I got this.” Jaune flashed Pyrrha a confident smirk.

Pyrrha nodded and rushed towards the forest, using the glare from May’s scope to pinpoint her spot.

Jaune turned to Brawnz, who was getting to his feet and rubbing his head.

“Ugh…you’re girlfriend isn’t around to save you, now!” Brawnz took a combat stance.

“Don’t need her to!” Jaune unsheathed Corcea Mors.

“Sure you don’t!” Brawnz mocked.

Jaune glanced behind himself to see he was near the mountain. This gave him an idea.

“How sad is it going to be when you lose to the guy who needs his girlfriend for protection?” Jaune asked, mockingly.

“Why you!” Brawnz charged Jaune and threw a punch the second he was in arm’s length.

Jaune dodged, which resulted in Brawnz punched the mountain and getting his hand stuck.

“What the…?” Brawnz tried to pull his hand free, but it wouldn’t budge.

“Got you!” Jaune slashed Brawnz’s back multiple times with his sword.

Brawnz growled and pulled his hand free, causing Jaune to step back. Brawnz then charged Jaune and threw a punch, which Jaune blocked with his shield, but Brawnz pushed against Jaune’s shield in an attempt to trip him up, but Jaune wouldn’t fall. As he held Brawnz back, Jaune noticed his foot and decided to fight dirty by stepping on Brzwnz’s foot.

“Ow!” Brawnz gripped his foot, jumping on one leg.

Jaune used Brawmz's distraction to knock him out with the hilt of his sword.

“Looks Brawnz Ni had been eliminated!” Port exclaimed.

“This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the team,” Oobleck pointed out.

“No, it doesn’t,” Port agreed. “A leaderless team is an uncoordinated one!”

In the center of the arena, Nora and Nolan were staring each other down.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” Nora held open her arms. “Come on.”

Nolan hesitated, but lunged at Nora and electrocuted her with his cattle prod. He at first thought he had just been given an easy victory, but that faded when he realized Nora didn’t look affected at all.

“Fun Fact about me,” Nora began. “My semblance is High Voltage, which allows electricity to power me up!”

“Oh…” Nolan deflated.

“Yeah, oh.” Nora reared back and punched Nolan with all her might, sending him flying through the forest, knocking down every tree he flew through.

In the forest, Pyrrha found the tree May was hiding in and threw Akoúo at it. The shield cut through the bark, and a cracking sound echoed through the arena as the tree fell. May tried to keep her balance but ended up falling off of the branch she was on. Pyrrha ran at May’s falling body and dropkicked her before she reached the ground, sending May flying into another tree, though she managed to hold on to her sniper rifle the whole way through.

“That…the best you got?!” May got to her feet, sniper rifle changing into an ax. “Come on, Invincible Girl! Let’s dan-” she was cut off by Nolan flying into her, both knocking down every tree until both were sent flying off the arena’s edge.

“Unbelievable!” Port shouted. “With a single punch, Nora Valkyrie has eliminated Nolan Porfirio and May Zedong!”

Meanwhile, Ren and Roy had brought their battle to the top of the mountain. Roy fired his buzz saws at Ren again, who used StormFlower to shoot them down, causing them to fall off the mountain to the arena below. Roy foolishly turned his back to Ren to summon his buzz saws back to him, and the latter took advantage of the foolish move by drop kicking Roy off the mountain. Roy’s aura shattered when he hit the arena floor after the long fall.

“That is it, folks!” Port cheered. “Let’s have a big round of applause for Team JNPR for another victory for Beacon Academy!”

Ren jumped down to join the rest of Team JNPR in the arena.

“Thanks for the assist, Nora,” Pyrrha said.

 “Don’t mention it, Pyr.” Nora gave Pyrrha a wink and thumbs up before turning to Ren. “That was pretty hot, Ren.”

“Hot?” Ren cocked an eyebrow with a smirk.

“I meant cool!” Nora laughed, awkwardly. “You know…the polar opposite of hot…”

Ren hummed in response.

As Jaune caught his breath, Pyrrha wrapped her arm around his waist and pulled him into a kiss

“Looks like we got another one for the kiss cam!” Oobleck cheered.

Jaune and Pyrrha’s kiss was put on the screen for the audience to see. Team CFVY, specifically Coco, took interest.

“Hey Honey Bun?” Coco put a hand on Velvet’s shoulder to get her attention.

“Yes, love?” Velvet looked to Coco.

“We’re getting on that kiss came if we win,” Coco promised.

Chapter Text

“So, who’s up next?” Oobleck asked, excitedly.

“Up next we have Team SSSN from Haven Academy vs Team CFVY from Beacon!” Port exclaimed.

Teams RWBY, JNPR, and CARD all clapped and shouted words of encouragement.

“So, anyone wants to place bets?” Canvas asked, rubbing his hands together.

“I’m going to have to give it to team SSSN,” Deacon said.

“Agreed with that.” Canvas turned to Adrian. “What about you, buddy?”

“I’ll agree with you because I wasn’t following at all!” Adrian admitted with a smile.

“Fair,” Canvas chuckled.

“I’m going with CFVY,” Revon said.

“Why?”

“Because I don’t find any of the guys on team SSSN cute.”

“Revon, you can’t just rate someone’s combat capabilities on how much you want to suck face with them.”

“Hey, if I’m wrong you’ll be getting 20 liens.”

Canvas shrugged. “Good point.”

Sapphire, who was sitting between Yang and Canvas and had heard CARD’s bets, spoke up. “Hey guys, can I-”

“Whoa!” Adrian jumped. “Who are you?”

Canvas facepalmed.

“I’m Sapphire.” Sapphire put a hand to her chest.

Adrian narrowed his eyes in thought.

“Sapphire Ensley.”

Adrian scratched his head.

“We met when we went searching for Blake!”

“Wait for…who’s Blake?”

“What…what is wrong with him?” Sapphire asked Canvas.

“Nobody knows.” Canvas shrugged. “The entire Church bloodline is like this.”

“Really?”

“I’ll tell you the long history of the Church and Canvas bloodline one day.” Canvas patted Sapphire’s back.

“Anyway, I’ll be voting for team SSSN as well.”

“Looks looks like Revon is going be paying us 20 liens each,” Canvas said.

“Or I’ll be getting 80 liens, today.” Revon kicked back in confidence.

“We’ll see.”

Down in the arena, SSSN and CFVY chatted as the environment for their battle was being chosen.

“Hello, ladies!” Neptune gave Coco and Velvet finger guns.

“Gay and taken,” both Coco and Velvet said while taking each other’s hands.

“Oh…sorry!” Neptune awkwardly smiled and rubbed the back of his head with a chuckle.

“So, you two together?” Scarlet asked Coco and Velvet.

“Yep.” Coco nodded, looking at Velvet, smiling warmly.

“Same here.” Scarlet took Sage’s hand.

“Cool, maybe we could meet up for a double date after the match,” Velvet suggested.

“That sounds like a plan,” Sage said.

“Hope you aren’t going to be bitter about us kicking your butts!” Sun smirked.

“I was about to say the same to you.” Coco cracked her neck, then she looked to Sage, then down to Gianduja in her hand. “I take it you’re the muscle of this team?”

“I’d say so.” Sage heaved his sword onto her shoulder.

“Cool.”

The arena settled on a tropical island-like environment. It had a large mountain with a cave and even had a miniature island with a single Palm tree growing out for it. The environment spawned behind team SSSN, who turned to admire it, but Neptune screeched and ran behind CFVY, specifically Yatsuhashi.

“Uh…you okay?” Yatsuhashi looked down at Neptune.

“Sorry…aquaphobic,” Neptune admitted.

“Don’t sweat it,” Coco said. “I’d do the same thing with tight spaces.”

“Let the match began in 3…2…”

“Hey, Sage!” Coco called.

Sage didn’t hide his confusion as Coco raised Gianduja.

“…1…fight!”

“Catch!” Coco threw Gianduja at Sage.

“Whoa!” Sage shouted when he caught Gianduja, only for the weight to send him flying back into the water and keeping him pinned to the thankfully steep depths. “What the…why is this bad so freaking heavy?!”

“Sage!” Scarlet took his eyes off CFVY to look at Sage in concern, which Fox used to his advantage.

“Don’t take your eye off your enemy!” Fox rushed Scarlet and dropkicked Scarlet onto his back.

“Fox, cave twenty paces forward,” Coco said.

Fox smirked and ran into the cave. Scarlet scurried to his feet and ran after him.

“Neptune, distract them!” Sun ordered. “I’m going to try and spring Sa-ow!” He covered his eyes when a camera flashed on his face. “My eyes!”

“Nice weapon!” Velvet clicked Anesidora back onto her belt. “What her name?”

“Oh uh…” Sun rubbed his eyes. “Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang.”

“Nice names, let’s test them out!” Velvet spawned a holo of Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang, charging.

Sun was momentarily shocked but recovered fast enough to block Velvet’s staff swing. She took the fight away from the remaining three combatants, leaving Neptune with Coco and Yatsuhashi.

“I feel like I’m a very bad spot,” Neptune said.

“You are.” Yatsuhashi unsheathed Fulcrum as Coco cracked her knuckles.

Neptune gulped and opened fire on Coco and Yatsuhashi with Tri-Hard. Yatsuhashi jumped in front of Coco to shield her from the gunfire, his high aura and durability ensuring he’d not take too. I have damage himself.

“Yatsuhashi, Cocoball maneuver!” Coco ordered.

“Need to rename that, but a sure thing!” Yatsuhashi picked up Coco and threw her into Neptune, knocking Tri-Hard from his hand.

Coco recovered fast, making sure to kick Tri-Hard out of Neptune’s reach before he could. He got to his feet, he and Coco staring each other down.

“Yatsuhashi, you go back up Velvet, I got this.” Coco didn’t take her eyes off Neptune.

“Got it.” Yatsuhashi and ran towards Velvet and Sun’s battle.

“Hope you got decent hand-to-hand,” Coco said, taking a boxing stance.

“I guess we’ll both be finding out!” Neptune took a fighting stance of his own.

Velvet was getting a nasty reminder why it was never good to use Anesidora again a fellow huntsman. The two had changed their respective Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bangs into their nunchaku modes, and Sun had been destroying Velvet, taking advantage of every opening to strike her and pump her aura full of lead. Sun kicked Velvet’s legs out from under her and pointed Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang’s gun barrels at her.

“You’re pretty good at copying, but still can’t stand against an expert,” Sun said with a smirk.

“Okay…you got me…” Velvet looked up and smirked. “That said, he’s got you.”

Sun realized he was drenched in shadow, and turned only for Yatsuhashi to headbutt him. Sun was stunned, so Yatsuhashi kicked him so hard he went flying across the arena and slipped off the edge to the floor below.

“Uh oh! Looks like another team has lost their leader!” Port exclaimed.

“That is not good at all, Peter,” Oobleck said. “Taking out a Team leader is like cutting a head off of the hydra and burning the stump when it comes to the 4v4 matches!”

Inside the cave, Scarlet was as blind as a bat. The mountain was small, the price for being artificial, but the tunnel system instead functioned more as a maze, so only a few turns in, the light of the entrance had already abandoned Scarlet.

“Looks like we’re both fighting blind,” Scarlet said.

“You should pay more attention to your enemies,” Fox’s voice bounced off the cave’s walls, making it impossible for Scarlet to pinpoint his location.

“What do you mean?”

“Did you not find my white, colorless eyes strange?”

Scarlet froze. “You’re…blind…”

“That’s right,” Fox mocked. “Scarlet, was it? I’m afraid I’ll have to correct you. We aren’t fighting blind, we’re fighting on my home turf.”

Scarlet heard footsteps rushing him, not having any time to react before he was assaulted by multiple slashes coming from every direction. 

Unfortunately for Neptune, turns out he had very poor hand-to-hand combat skills. Every punch he threw Coco would expertly block and deliver a hard punch to the face. While that fought, Scarlet’s aura meter fell to zero so fast no one even knew what happened.

“Looks like Scarlet of Team SSSN suddenly lost all his aura!” Port noted. “Who could’ve delivered those vicious blows?!”

As if to answer his question, Fox threw Scarlet’s unconscious body out onto the arena.

“Looks like it was Mister Alastair!” Oobleck pointed at Fox as he walked into the light.

Coco was distracted by Fox throwing Scarlet’s body out. Those brief few seconds allowed Neptune to bolt over to Tri-Hard, but Coco got back in the game when she realized her mistake, rushing Neptune just as he picked up his gun and opened fire. Coco aimed Tri-Hard’s barrel towards the sky, ensuring the bullets would just harmlessly bounce off Amity Arena’s shield. Neptune pushed Coco away and aimed at her, but his gun clicked empty. Growling, he changed Tri-Hard into its trident and swung at her, Coco dodging every swing while backing up, eventually backing into the water. Neptune froze at the threshold of the sand with the water.

“Come on, Neptune!” Sage encouraged. “This water isn’t even a foot high!”

Neptune closed eyes, glared directly at Coco, putting all his focus on her before charging into the water. He leaped into the air, raised Tri-Hard to bring it down on Coco…only for her to jump back onto the island while Tri-Hard’s electric trident plunged into the water, frying their auras down to nothing. Neptune staggered, the fell back into the water, unconscious.

“Another victory for Beacon Academy!” Oobleck cheered.

“Let’s give our congratulations to team CFVY!” Port exclaimed.

The crowd cheered as team CFVY united in the center of the arena.

“Well, look at that!” Revon held out his hand.

The rest of CARD, plus Sapphire, all gave 20 liens to Revon.

“Gods damn it!” Adrian pouted.

“You guys did-” Velvet’s compliment was cut off by Coco pulling her into a kiss.

“Kiss cam!” Oobleck shouted.

Teams RWBY, JNPR, and CARD, along with Sapphire, clapped and whistled for CFVY. As they did, a crow flew over the arena, scanning the audience until it found Ruby and Yang. It looked at them, before flying down to Vale and landing at the nearest bar. Weiss’s scroll was interrupted and she looked at it to see a text from Winter.

Keep an ear out

“What could that mean?” Weiss tilted her head in confusion.

“Alright everyone, after another hour-long intermission, we’ll be back!” Port announced.

“So, who’s next?” Jaune asked.

“I believe team CARD has the next match.” Pyrrha looked to CARD.

“Wow, sucks to be those guys!” Adrian laughed.

Revon was just about to speak when Canvas stopped him.

“Let him figure this out on his own,” Canvas ordered.

Adrian went back to watching Team CFVY as they left the arena, and almost a full minute went by before he widened his eyes.

“Wait, we’re team CARD!” Adrian shouted.

“How are you even alive, right now?” Yang asked.

“Your dutiful servant is in attendance.” Canvas raised his hand.


“You said this was going to be an easy match, right boss?” Mercury stretched as Cinder’s Faction made its way to the arena.

“I set us up against those bumbling morons Team CARD,” Cinder answered. “I can assure you, this should be a walk in the park.”

The group walked into the arena and were greeted by the cheers of the audience.

“I can’t wait for these screams to be one of terror and agony, but right now I’ll stick to the limelight!” Mercury waved and blew kisses to any woman willing to take her top off for him.

“Ugh…” Emerald rolled her eyes.

Cinder’s Faction met with CARD in the center of the arena.

“This match with being Team CARD from Beacon against Team CMEN from Haven!” Port exclaimed.

“Wait, wouldn’t the Haven team be pronounced as se-” Oobleck began.

“It’s pronounced Caiman, Bartholomew,” Port sighed. “Be an adult, please!”

“Hi!” Canvas greeted.

“Greetings,” Cinder smiled and nodded.

“Hey!” Emerald half-waved.

Neo simply waved.

Mercury flipped them off.

“Rude.” Revon crossed his arms.

“Mercury!” Cinder scolded.

“Fine, I’m sorry mom!” Mercury groaned. “Hi.”

“Whatever,” Canvas scoffed.

The arena chose a forest environment to surround the combatants.

“Let the battle commence in 3…2…1…fight!”

“Neo, scatter them,” Cinder ordered without missing a beat.

“Wait, what?!” Canvas asked before getting drop-kicked by Neo so hard he went flying into the forest, Cinder following him.

Adrian’s attention was immediately pulled to Canvas, allowing Neo to stun him with a kick to the groin. She then jumped between Revon and Deacon and slammed their heads together, allowing Emerald and Mercury to take Revon and Deacon respectively. Then she turned her attention to Adrian, who was getting to his feet.

Mercury had Deacon on the ropes. The latter was rather tall, not as big as Yatsuhashi, but still way larger than a boy his age usually should be, which made it all the easier for Mercury to run circles around him. While Deacon did turn to stone to block the occasional kick he could see coming, he didn’t know that Mercury was leading him towards the edge. Just near the edge, Mercury intentionally threw an obvious kick, causing Deacon to turn to stone, he then gleefully used his leg strength to push him over the edge. Deacon made a notable dent in the floor when he landed, though he turned back to normal realizing he had been had.

“Son of a bitch!” Deacon sat in defeat.

“Looks like Deacon Temple is out of the match!” Port exclaimed.

“That was…fast,” Oobleck deadpanned.

Revon was delirious, to put it lightly. He was trying to fly through the thick trees, but would always hit a tree he for some reason didn’t see, eventually resulting in him plowing headfirst through one of the wider trees at the arena’s edge, getting his wings caught so he couldn’t fly.

“Uh oh!” Revon pathetically kicked.

“Yeah, uh oh!” Emerald smirked and cut them down using the sickle of Thief’s Respite, causing it and Revkin to fall over the edge.

“Oh, son of a bitch!” Revon cried as he fell.

The entire audience cringed when Revon landed headfirst on the ground.

“Revon White is down,” Port said, not hiding how uncomfortable he was getting.

The audience was getting uncharacteristically quiet at the utter curb stomp they were witnessing.

Adrian grunted as Neo kicked him around. Stumbling to his feet, he saw her mockingly bow. That’s when Adrian saw Neo was right near the edge and decided to charge, hoping he’d at least drag her down with him. Unfortunately, despite Neo being right in front of him, he somehow missed her by a foot and ended up running off the edge.

“Son a bitch!” Adrian shouted as he fell.

“It appears Adrian Church…I can’t believe this, it appears Adrian Church has just walked off the edge of the arena all by himself.”

The audience finally made a noise, and that was them roaring with laughter. The only ones not laughing were teams RWBY, JNPR, and CFVY, along with Sapphire, though Fox was laughing his head off so hard he had tears in his eyes and fell out of his chair...

“There it is,” Canvas sighed in resignation. “The never live it down the moment he has in every. Single. School. We go to. The dumb thing he’ll never escape until he graduates, only to then do it in the next school!” He rubbed his eyes. “Okay, focus Canvas, try to, at the very least, take out Cinder!”

Cinder quietly stalked through the tall trees. She had lost sight of Canvas but was keeping her cool and waiting for her moment to counter his attack. Unfortunately for Cinder, Canvas jumped from a tree behind her and whipped her in the back with his electric whip sword, the volt of electricity sending her flying, something falling out of her jacket’s pocket.

“Argh! Coward!” Cinder hissed.

“It’s a legitimate strategy!” Canvas shouted, but he noticed what had fallen out of Cinder’s pocket and picked it up.

Cinder’s eyes widened and she checked her pocket only to feel nothing. Canvas curiously looked at what he had picked up and realized it was a photo. It was of Cinder, a woman, and a young girl with black hair in a twin tails style. Before he could question this, Cinder let out an inhuman wail and flew at Canvas, grabbing him by the face, flying him through several trees, then finally over the edge of the arena.

“Son of a bitch! Canvas shouted as he fell.

With that, the buzzer went off, and yet most were silent.

“That’s all the matches for today, I hope everyone has a pleasant day,” Port said, uncharacteristically quiet.

“Thanks for stopping by.” Oobleck was equally uncharacteristically quiet.

Teams RWBY, JNPR, and CFVY sat in silence for a bit.

“Are…do we have to talk about that or…?” Sapphire asked.

“Maybe we should try to find something to…take our minds off that,” Weiss suggested.

“Like what?” Yang asked.

“Like…” Weiss froze she heard the sound of a familiar ship, and her scroll buzzed another text from Winter.

Lookup

Weiss did so and saw Winter’s ship.

“Like my sister.” Weiss smiled.

Chapter Text

“Wow, those poor boys got their asses kicked,” The bartender said, cleaning a dirty glass while trying to make small talk with the only patron at his bar.

“Yeah, really unfortunate for them.” The bar patron fished another glass, not bothering to hide his apathy.

“Man, I tell you’re really interested in these fights,” the bartender snarked.

“I only came to watch my nieces and fight, as well.”

“You look way too old to be in the Vytal Tournament.”

“Good thing I didn’t say the Vytal Tournament, then.” The patron looked outside when he heard an airship, and saw Winter’s airship flying towards Beacon. “That’s the fight I’m here for.” He placed some lien on the counter and got off his seat, hands in his pockets. “Thanks for the drink, buddy.”


Winter set down her wine glass as her airship landed in Beacon’s courtyard. Looking out the window, she couldn’t help but grow a small smile when she saw Weiss was rushing towards her ship, a smile so big Winter could see it from here. Grabbing her rapier on the way out, Winter exited her airship to greet Weiss.

“Winter!” Weiss cheered, running into an embrace. “I missed you so much!”

“I did, too.” Winter returned the hug.

Weiss turned to see the rest of team RWBY, along with Sapphire, JNPR, CFVY, and a very miserable CARD.

“Winter, these are my friends.” Weiss motioned towards the group.

“I take you reconciled with them?” Winter asked.

“Yep!” Ruby smiled, warmly.

“It took her a while,” Blake said, bluntly.

“Lots of racism and whining, but she isn’t a bitch-tornado, anymore,” Yang chuckled.

“A what?” Weiss looked at Yang in confusion.

“Nothing!” Yang looked away, whistling.

“I’m glad you’re doing better, Weiss.” Winter knelt to be at eye level with Weiss. “I also what tell you how proud I am of you for saving Vale, and you’ve been doing wonderful in the Vytal Tournament, so far.”

“Thanks.” Weiss smiled. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”

“Yes, I must thank you all for helping my sister,” Winter said to the others. “I can speak from experience just how important a friend can be when you’re trying to recover from pasts as ugly as ours.”

“I can understand that,” Pyrrha whispered.

“So, introductions?”

“Alright teams, roll call!” Ruby stepped forward, striking a pose. “Ruby Rose.”

“Blake Belladonna.” Blake timidly raised her hand.

“A Belladonna.” Winter widened her eyes.

“Yang Xiao Long!” Yang greeted with a two-finger salute.

“Sapphire Ensley!” Sapphire leaned against Yang, who wrapped her arm around her.

“Jaune Arc.” Jaune motioned to the rest of JNPR. “That’s Nora Valkyrie, Py-”

“Pyrrha Nikos,” Winter interrupted. “My word, I didn’t expect you to make so many famous friends, Weiss.”

“Same here,” Weiss chuckled.

“And Lie Ren,” Jaune finished.

Coco stepped forward, wrapping an arm around Velvet’s waist. “Coco Adel and Velvet Scarlatina.”

“Fox.” Fox bowed.

“Yatsuhashi.” Yatsuhashi nodded.

Winter looked to team CARD, who wasn’t paying attention. “Are you guys okay?”

“I’d rather not about it,” Canvas answered.

“Actually…my airship had a television,” Winter admitted, cringing.

“Oh, great!” Canvas threw his hands in the air. “Lucien Canvas!”

“I’m…” Adrian opened his mouth, but paused, and began to scratch his chin.

“Oh, my Gods.” Canvas rubbed his eyes.

“Wait, I got this!” Adrian rubbed his head. “A…A…A…”

“Adrian! Adrian Church!” Canvas snapped.

“Dude, I had it!” Adrian whined.

“You so didn’t!”

“Uh…Revon White,” Revon greeted, awkwardly.

“Deacon Temple,” Deacon causally greeted, the least affected by their loss.

“I met your fathers,” Winter said to Canvas and Adrian.

“I have a dad?!” Adrian shouted in shock.

“Well, after today I wish we didn’t,” Canvas snarked. “Yeah, we’re probably just going to…disappear for a bit, maybe take some low huntsman job outside of Vale.”

“Hey, it’s okay guys,” Pyrrha tried to comfort. “We all can’t succeed 24/7.”

“Yeah, but failures usually aren’t that bad!” Canvas crossed his arms. “Come on guys, let’s just get out of here.”

CARD sulked off, Adrian still trying to get Canvas to tell him what a dad is.

“I hope they feel better,” Weiss said.

“I’m sure they will,” Winter assured. “Right now, I was wondering if we could get some quiet time together.”

“That cool with you guys?” Weiss turned to her friends.

“Of course, wouldn’t want to intrude!” Ruby waved the others back.

Weiss watched her friends leave, and Winter enthusiastically took her hands.

“Don’t think I didn’t see it!” Winter beamed.

“What?” Weiss tilted her head.

“Your summon!”

“Oh…right!” Weiss slapped her forehead.

“What happened?”

Weiss frowned. “It…”

Winter lost her enthusiasm. “What’s wrong, Weiss?”

“It happened during the breach, I was attacked by…” Weiss inhaled deeply. “I was attacked by Adam’s Lieutenant.”

Winter’s face contorted into our shock.

“He mocked me about you and your family and…my rage allowed me to unlock my summoning,” Weiss finished.

“Did you kill him?” Winter asked, venomous.

“Stabbed him right through the back,” Weiss answered, coldly.

“Good.” Winter walked past Weiss.

“Winter, wait up!” Weiss ran beside Winter, four Atlas soldiers followed them, two besides, and two watching further back.

“Let’s just…change the subject…” Winter ordered.

“Of course, want to talk more about my summoning?”

“Works for me.”

As the two conversed, a crow landed behind the two Atlas soldiers. Before anyone knew it, the two soldiers were attacked, and the two Schnee sisters turned to see a smug man had knocked both of them out.

“Qrow?! What is the Gods’ name do you think you’re doing?!” Winter glared at the man.

“Sorry, I thought I was beating up the soulless automatons.” Qrow held up one of the unconscious soldiers before tossing him to the ground. “You can probably understand why I got them mixed up.”

“Qrow?” Weiss looked at Winter, confused.

“An unfortunate associate.” Winter didn’t take her eyes off of Qrow. “If either of those men is injured you’re paying for their hospital bills.”

“Sure thing, Ice Queen,” Qrow snarked. “I’ll get right on it.”

Winter clenched her fist, left eye twitching, but she took a deep breath. “Get out of here.”

“Come on Winter, don’t you want to avenge these beaten men?”

“I’m not going to fight you, Qrow.” Winter turned away from Qrow.

Qrow frowned and narrowed his eyes at Winter, then he took one of the helmets of the guards and chucked it at Weiss, hitting her head.

“Ow!” Weiss rubbed her head.

The entire courtyard froze in horror. Winter looked at Weiss in disbelief, then she growled in a way that sent a chill down the spine of anyone close enough to hear it.

Teams RWBY, JNPR, and CARD had sat around chatting at a group of benches when Sun ran up to them.

“Yo guys, some drunk idiot just hit Weiss!” Sun exclaimed.

“What?!” Yang’s eyes went red.

“No worries, I think Winter Schnee is going to teach him a lesson.” Sun motioned for them to follow. “Come on!”

Yang ran after Sun.

“Yang, wait!” Sapphire ran after Yang, the rest of the group the following suit.

When the group made it to the courtyard, they pushed their way to the front. When Yang saw who the drunk idiot was, she immediately dropped her semblance.

“Oh no,” Ruby and Yang said, simultaneously.

“What’s up, girls?” Blake asked.

“That’s… their uncle,” Sapphire answered, having grown accustomed to Qrow’s drunken antics.

“Oh…” Blake watched the two huntsmen glaring at each other down.

“You are going to pay for their hospital bills and apologize to my sister, now!” Winter demanded.

“I’ll gladly do it…if you beat me in a fight!” Qrow smirked.

“You don’t want to do this,” Winter hissed.

“Try me!” Qrow unsheathed Harbinger.

“Oh put that sword away you overcompensating sack of trash!” Winter took off the tactical belt that held her rapier and handed it to the Atlas soldier beside her. “You want to fight? Fine!” She took off her gloves and tie. “Why don’t you act your gender and fight me like a man!” She finished by taking off her jacket, revealed a dark blue tank top that showed off her muscles.

Every girl in the audience suddenly started to feel a whole lot warmer. Coco even lowered her glasses to get a better look at Winter.

“Oh, a fistfight!” Qrow stuck Harbinger into the ground with its blade, then cracked his knuckles.

“Sh-Should we stop him?!” Sapphire asked.

“I don’t know,” Ruby answered.

Qrow casually strolled to the center of the courtyard, completely unaware that Winter was moving in on him.

“Don’t you want to know what I get if I-” Qrow’s smug mockery was cut off by Winter punching his square in the face?

“Gods I wish that were me…” Pyrrha said, absentmindedly.

“Pyrrha!” Jaune looked at Pyrrha in shock.

“Oh, Gods I said that out loud!” Pyrrha covered her mouth.

Winter punched Qrow back against a pillar, but he ducked the next punched and delivered a hard punch to her stomach, causing her to stumble back. He threw a punch that Winter caught, and kicked him back. Qrow went on the offensive while Winter went on the defensive, blocking and dodging until her back was against a pillar, so when she dodged Qrow ended up punching the pillar and hurting his hand.

“Argh!” Qrow held his hand.

Winter used his distraction to punch him in the face, but Qrow caught the next and kicked Winter into a group of girls, who all caught her and helped her to her feet. Winter nodded at the girls, causing one of them to faint, then turned back to Qrow.

“Cute,” Qrow said.

“Jealous?” Winter smirked.

Qrow charged at Winter.

“Get back,” Winter ordered the girls, who quickly got out of the way.

Qrow threw the punch, that Winter caught, turned him towards a bench, and kicked him back so hard he flew through the splintering wood. He stumbled to his feet, panting.

“What’s the matter little bird?” Winter asked in mock concern. “Tired?”

Qrow charged Winter again, and this time Winter kicked his legs out from under him and punched him across the courtyard. He slides right in front of the Atlas soldier holding Winter’s rapier and snags it.

“Hey!” The Atlas soldier shouted as Qrow attacked Winter.

“So much for fighting like a man,” Winter snarked.

Qrow ignored Winter and slashed at her with her blade. She casually dodged every slash, combat rolled over to Harbinger, pulled it from the ground, and knocked Qrow out with the blunt end of the blade.
The courtyard was silent after Qrow went down, then every girl in the audience hollered and cheered as Winter tossed Harbinger to the ground. She took her rapier from Qrow’s hand and walked over to the Atlas soldier holding her tactical belt, who handed it to her, along with the rest of her stuff.

“What is the name of the Gods is going on here?!” Glynda shouted.

Winter just finished putting on all her stuff, then looked up at Glynda.

“Oh, hey G,” Winter greeted, causally.

“Don’t G me!” Glynda scolded. “What is the meaning of this?!”

“I’m thinking the meaning is this drunkard assaulted my men and my sister and I educated him properly.” Winter pointed at Qrow, who was just getting up.

“Oh, Qrow,” Glynda said, then she fixed the bench. “At least you didn’t make too much a mess.”

“Winter!”

Winter gasped when she saw Ironwood and Penny.

“Penny…” Winter smiled.

“Alright everyone, that’s enough!” Ozpin came onto the scene. “Will students please go back to their dorms and any civilians move on!”

The students and civilians all began to leave.

“What-” Ironwood began.

“James, let’s continue this in my office,” Ozpin interrupted.

Ironwood nodded.

“How have you been?” Penny asked.

“I’ve been doing better if that means anything,” Winter snarked.

“It does to me.”

“Wait, Winter, you know Penny?” Weiss asked, walking between the two.

“She’s the friend who helped me,” Winter answered.

“Oh.” Weiss turned to Penny. “Well, thank you for another thing, Penny.”

“Don’t mention it!” Penny saluted.

“I’m afraid we’ll have to interrupt,” Ozpin said. “Winter, can you please meet me in my office.”

“Right…of course, sir.” Winter bowed, she turned to Weiss and Penny. “Apologies, I’ll have to catch up, later.”

“I understand.” Weiss nodded.

“Have a good time,” Penny said.

Ozpin turned around and walked towards his office, Ironwood and Winter followed him. Glynda, on the other hand, stalked over the Qrow and loomed over him, tapping her foot.

“Hi,” Qrow greeted.

“Would it kill you to act like an adult?” Glynda asked.

“Maybe,” Qrow snarked.

Glynda glanced at the audience, and Qrow followed her eyes, his widening when he saw Ruby and Yang had just seen the whole thing.

“By the way, Weiss Schnee, the girl you hit, is their teammate,” Glynda revealed, then she turned on her high-heeled boot and followed Ozpin, Ironwood, and Winter. “I hope it was worth it.”

Qrow scurried to his feet, but he could only watch as Ruby and Yang turned away from him to comfort Weiss.

“Are you okay, Weiss?” Ruby asked.

“Yeah, just gave me a little bump that my aura fixed,” Weiss assured.

Qrow felt guilty, but before he could do anything, he was struck in the back of the head by the butt of a gun.

“Jerk!” One of the Atlas soldiers he had knocked out spat, the other rubbing the back of his behind him.

Qrow rubbed his head, then sighed. He walked past Ruby, Yang, and the others, the sisters looked at him in disappointment. Qrow turned into a crow, causing any of the audience that remainders to gasp, and flew towards Ozpin’s office.

It didn’t take him long to get to Ozpin’s office. Ironwood and Winter immediately went off on him.

“What was that?!” Winter hissed.

“You deserved that beating,” Ironwood said, then he sighed and shook his head. “I can’t believe I wanted at the Vytal Tournament ball.”

“Sorry, just not too big on the Atlas Military butting in on Oz’s turf,” Qrow defended. “So I thought I’d knock down a peg.”

“Two things: 1. Ozpin let my army come here,” Ironwood began.

“2. I kicked your sorry ass,” Winter hissed.

“Why are you even here, Qrow?” Ozpin asked.

“I got news on Vacuo and Mistral’s CCT issues,” Qrow answered.

“You do?” Ozpin sat up straight, everyone else in the room went quiet.

“Yeah, it isn’t anything good, unfortunately,” Qrow began. “Vacuo’s has flat out been destroyed, and while Leonardo has been looking into it, Mistral’s CCT won’t be back up anytime soon.”

“That’s two CCT towers down,” Ironwood noted. “You know what’ll happen if we lose another.”

“A complete communications breakdown.” Ozpin sat back in his chair, rubbing his temple. “That’s exactly what Salem needs.”

“In that case, I think we should beef up security,” Glynda recommended.

“That’s a good idea,” Ironwood agreed. “I’ll make sure to double the security of both Atlas and Vale’s CCT, and I’ll have Paladins working along with the guards, as well.”

“Sir…what about the White Fang,” Winter said.

“Right, they’re clearly in league with Salem now, too.”

“Looks like we got a lot on our plate, guess I better stick around,” Qrow said.

“I think that’ll hurt our chances more than help them,” Winter snarked.

“Come on, you know I can be of service,” Qrow smirked.

Winter narrowed her eyes at Qrow.

“As dumb as he was today,” Ozpin began.

“Hey!” Qrow crossed his arms.

“He is right, Qrow will be of use,” Ozpin sighed, then he glared at Qrow. “Though I suggest you get an attitude adjustment.”

“Try my best, Oz,” Qrow said, genuinely.

“In the meantime, Winter.” Ironwood turned to Winter.

“Sir!” Winter stood in attention.

“You and I will be checking out one of the recent murders committed by the White Fang.”

“Understood.”

“The Beacon staff will still be running the Vytal Tournament,” Ozpin said.

“And I’ll be digging into the seeder parts of Vale and see if I can find anything about…what’s his name…Torchwick’s bosses,” Qrow said.

“Looks like everyone has their duties. Good luck, everyone.” Ozpin looked out the window to Vale. “We’ll need it.”


“Sorry about Qrow, I didn’t think he’d pull off such a stupid stunt,” Ironwood said as he and Winter walked through the apartment halls.

“Don’t worry about it, sir,” Winter assured. “You had no idea he was here.”

As Winter and Ironwood turned the corner, they saw two Atlas soldiers standing outside an apartment whose door had been blocked off with police tape. When the two soldiers noticed Ironwood, they stood in attention.

“Has the crime scene been damaged at all?” Winter asked.

“No ma’am!” One of the soldiers answered.

“Good.” Winter ducked under the police tape and walked inside Ironwood. “Where is the body?”

“Bedroom,” the other soldier answered.

Winter’s face was detached and professional like she always was when dealing with bodies. The sight of death has gone numb to her, but there were some exceptions. When Winter walked into the bedroom to see a woman who had been tortured to death, she realized this would be one of those exceptions.

“Oh no.” Ironwood widened his eyes, he knew what was about to happen.

The woman looked like Daisy.

“D-D…” Winter’s eyes widened, tears streamed down her face when white noise filled her ears and darkness devoured everything but her, the woman, and the bed she laid on.

“Winter…” Ironwood reached for Winter’s soldier.

“Daisy!” Winter shouted, and she was about to rush to the woman, but Ironwood stopped her.

“Winter, you can’t!” Ironwood held her back.

“Daisy!” Winter shouted, fighting Ironwood’s grasp. “I’m coming!”

“Winter!”

“I won’t fail you, again!”

“Winter,” Ironwood braced himself, “Daisy is dead!”

Ironwood’s words echoed through her head and pulled her from her delusion. She stopped fighting him, and soon just stood there.

“Winter…?” Ironwood slowly let her go.

Winter wiped her eyes, turned, and ran out of the apartment, right through the police tape. She placed her back against the wall and slid to the floor, holding her hands as she cried. The two soldiers watched her in shock, Winter very rarely showed her vulnerability in public, as it only really happened in uncontrollable attacks like this.

“Give us a minute,” Ironwood ordered the two soldiers when he exited the apartment.

The two soldiers shook of their shock, saluted, and rounded the nearest corner.

“Winter?” Ironwood knelt. “Are you okay?”

“A man once that grief can turn to rage…an impossible anger that leaves the memories of your loved ones poison in your veins, until you catch yourself wishing they never existed so you’d be spared this pain,” Winter began.

Ironwood was silent.

“That’s not me, though.” Winter shook her head. “I wish I never walked into that store, I wish I never fell in love with her. I wish I never adopt…” she let out a choked sob “…I wish I never laid my eyes on her crib! I wish I didn’t exist because then they wouldn’t be dead.”

“Winter, it wasn’t your fault,” Ironwood spoke.

 

 

A̸̢̢̧͙̟̻̦͎̮͎͔̝̣͕̱̥̥̥̰̞̦̒͝͝L̷͇̲̼͚̗̽̉̅̾̒́̀̏̾͆͊́͗͌̌̉̌́̍͛̾͐̎͘̕͝Ľ̴̨̗̺̗̼̼̙̏̊̈́͛͑͛̓̽̓̌͋̑̆̒͛̇̏̔́́̅̈́̚̕͘͝͝͠ ̶̢̡̢͈̫̠̺̫̖̠̳̥̤͓̻̤͔̤͚̔̀̀͋͋̋̓̑̚͘ͅY̷̠͎̔͌͑̎̓͆̿́̂͊̍̃͗Ơ̶̫̯͓̺̠̯͇̮̩̳̠̥͇͇͖̥̩͚̍̈̏̾̿͒̂́̆͆̑̎̽͂͋̀̑̽̒̄́̀̆͌͘ͅͅU̷̹͔̝͓̫̹̫̲̒͛̅́́̏͊̎̍̆̌̄̈́̓̆͊͑͗͆̈̄̀͛̓͝͝R̴͇͔̬͉͗̆̇̒̆͛̈̓̔͒̈́̊͋̓̉̂͑̀̇͋̓͛̔͝͠ ̸̳̠̹̺̹̼̙̭̭͍̦̫͚̜̻̭̼̣͎̄̋̅̄̓̆F̸̡̗͍̼̹̞̺͇͚̮́͋͐̈́̿͂̅̏̐̅̀̔̆͊̓̈́̚Ǎ̸̧̞̹̟̳̳͙̮̹͐͊͗̿̔͜͠Ư̷̡̨̧̡̯̤͖̩͌͒́͠L̴̢̡̨̨̬̞̭͈͍̯̙̹̬̣̊͆̃̄̂͐̾͐̒͆̀͌̊̉̂͋̂̉̊̅͆͛͒̂͑͗͜͝͝͝T̷̨̡͍̖̖͇͎̟̞̹̪͓̖̞͙̦̖̳͔̮̲̬̜͐̔̈́ͅ

 

 

“It is!” Winter shouted. “I…I was…”

 

 

 

S̸̨̧̘͉̝̠͔̞̲̫͎̞̟̼̬͍̠̠̮̱͔̯̖͉͔͚̠̈́̀̏̒̾̍̓̓̎̏̇͒̈́̽̂̿̚͜͝ͅṮ̶̨̥͎̮̤̣̺̈́͗U̶̡̡͖͕͎̘̲̱̺͍̭̲̺̬̰̭̮̦͛͆̓̄̔̓͐͌͜ͅṔ̷̟̦̤̳̫̳̰̭̭͎̻̰͉̼̊͊͐̓̓̔̄̑̓̿̒̊͘͜͝͝I̴̧̻̰͙͙̺̩̱̪̣͍̩͍̮͉̮̝͔̠̦̘̣̻̜͌̎̏̅ͅD̴̢͙͇̤̝̻͍͓̖̝̪̭̦̝̈̍̂͐̈́̋̎̈́͊̉̈́̈́̈́̈̅̅͘͝͠͝ ̶̢̛͉̜̫̹͓̼̭͚̙̤͖̀͑͒̈́͊͛̓̒̀̇̄̑̈́͑̎̚̕͘͘A̵̘̲̰̫̠̘̦̤͓̭͚̙̱͈̘̙͒̈́̔́̿͠͝R̵̡̧̬̟̜̯͍̟̯̙̟̩̪̻̼͖͍͌̈́̎̂̿́̏͂̄̊̿͗̄̒̂͌̑̇̀̚͘͜ͅR̴̛̩̱̐͗̎̃͋̏͑́̃̒̓͊͂͛͗̏͑̈͂̆̾̐͊̈̑̂̒̅͝Ǫ̷̢̨̡̲̖̮̪̳̩͓̪̮͕̤̘̙̹̤̜̪͖͚̳͋̈̑̄̀̇̑̉̂̇ͅĢ̵̫͔͔̱̹͙̺̘͕͇͓͎̲͈̪̘͔͚͈͍͎͓̽́̏̍͊̀̅͆̈́͌̃͌̔͂̀̓̍̿̐͐̚̚͜͝͠Ą̶͇̮͇̺̐̄̀̓̊̃͘̚͝N̵͓̮̼͆̓̽͗̽͑͝Ṯ̴̛̻̩̗̭͈̟̪͉̰̞̿͂̓̒͋̀̂̓͊̋̌̑̇̌͑͛̓̕̕͝͠͠ͅ ̵̧̞̖̭̙͇̫̯̫̙͙̫͈̘̮͒̀́̉͐̌̕͝͠S̷̬̞̝̖̖͔̹̩͍̻̝̘̠̈͋̽̌̓͛̍̐͂̈́͛͗̐̄̐̋́̄͊̓̽̕̕̚͘̚H̶̨̢͙̯̥̜̫̪̯̜̟̳̙̘̜͎̺̙̮̯̺̓ͅỠ̴̡̛̗̟̮͍̤̺̗̟̲͍͈͓̜̳̩̬̦̥̹̞̟̫͍͓̽͋̋̑͛͛̀̅̔͊̋̌̋͒̈̚͘̕̚͝ͅR̷͎̔͛̿͂̓͗͗̎͆̄T̷̢̢̛̛̻͕͕̤̺̝̝̘̮̳̜̦̣̪̬̳͌̾̌̏͌͆̋̉̄́̿͊̅̔̈́̆̍̏̏̓̀͂̑͗̿́̕͝S̵̛̛̛̭̜̹͓̬̙̈̽̊͑͊̅́͑̒̑̐͂͆͑͗̊̊̕̚̚͝I̶̛̦̺̥̟̞̟̊̽̈́̌́͆̍͗͐̈̽̀̃̈̕G̴̺̣͓̣̲͎̤̰̻͈̮̺̘̀̓̽̓͠H̵̛̛̬̠͙̱̗̿͂͊͝T̶̨̨̹͙̗̥͙͕̫̮̠̱͇̯̣͙͉̞͗͌̊̔̓̂̋̎̋̀͛͐͆̒̿́̈̍̃͐̽̇̇̅̕ͅĘ̶̲̞͈̲̬̤͈̠͓͖̩̩̮̱̹͎̦͚̣͈̩̙̆͛́̃̉͊̐́̊̿̚͘͜D̶̝̖̝̩̲̹͖͕̝̦̱̞̤̦̗̘̤̯̯̮͚̩͔̹̼̲̥̈́͒͋̽͆ ̶̘̘̂̅̑̒̆̄͐̿̑̐͛͂͗̓̈́̆͛́͒͠Ŕ̸͓̙̱̱͍̀̾̓͗͜E̶̯̩̟͖̥̱̺̤̫͓̘̲̰̦͑̈̓͊̃̎̈́͛̏̅̔͛̈́͆̚͜͝͝C̸̢̖̹̙̙͎̗̭̠̬͉͉̭̩̬͓̼̬̞̯̹̤̙̰̀̂̆́͒̅̏̓͜ͅK̶̨̧̢͙̟͓͙̲̮͍͍̞͕̠̮͎̺̙̦̟͇̲̹͔̂̀́͌́̎͐̇̑̀̋͂͝ͅL̷̠͓͔͈̞͚̟͖̥̲̭̽̋͌͋̐̎͂̌̿Ę̴̡̡̢̢͇̭̤͇̙̺̲̳͚͔̼̘͉̜̖̔̾̾̀̓̈́͛̐̿́̏̏͗͊͑͐̈́̓̍͋̄͋͆̕͘͘̚̕͝S̴̢̗̑̎͂̉̑̒̿̈́̚͘͝S̴̨̛͎̗̼̪̲͙̬̖͔̗̀̂̊͂͗

 

 


“Winter, look at me.” Ironwood took her shoulders and waited for Winter’s eyes to meet his own. “He killed them.”

“But I-”

“It doesn’t matter.” Ironwood shook his head. “You aren’t the bastard that pulled the trigger.”


M̴̺̻̞̹͉͙̙̄̏͆̂̒̚U̷̡̪̩͍͈̱̝͓̟̪̜̯̞̩̞͎͙̳͇͍͎̎́̽̀̉͠Ṟ̸̨̡̢̜͇͚͓̥̗̬̰̳̪̪̫͔͍͖̪̱̮̯̱̈́̈́̉͌͑̔̐̿̓͑D̸̨̛̠̽͐́̈̈́̉̐̔͊͑ͅE̷̡̢̨̮̼̥̠͙͍̫̯͙͎̫͔̘̙̹̣̝̼͈̅̋̐͒̒̆̊̃̎͜R̴̨̛̠͈͇̭̠̦̮̼͓͈͇̫͉̥̭̳͚̞̰̬̈́̏͐͊̃̾͐͆̄̿̏̆̆̂̎̃͌ͅĘ̶̙͈̩̗̼͕͎̝̠͓͖̼̩͎̲̥̼̙̖̪͎͉̲͙͕̟̌͛̀̊͊́̾͒̓̉͌̉̂̇̕̚͘͝͝ͅR̵̦̼̞̱̊̈́͜ͅ



“I might as well have been.”

“But you aren’t, Winter,” Ironwood assured. “You aren’t their killer. You made Daisy happy and I know you would’ve been a great mother to Tulip.”

“I wish I got to truly be a mother…” Winter wiped her eyes.

“We all do, Winter,” Ironwood said, sadly.

Winter finally steadied her breathing and tears stopped rolling down her face.

“Are you feeling better?” Ironwood gently lets Winter go.

Winter nodded.

“Okay, it’s getting pretty late, we can pick up tomorrow,” Ironwood checked the time on his scroll. “I got you the best apartment in Vale before you arrived.” He pulled a key from his coat pocket. “I’m sure you’ll make the most of it.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Ironwood helped Winter to her feet, giving her the key and address.


Winter listened to the night sounds of Vale as she looked over the city from her apartment balcony, a glass of vodka in her hand. She daydreaming, not paying attention to her surroundings until she heard her scroll ring. Going inside her apartment, she found her scroll checked it, seeing Weiss had texted her.

I hope you’ll watch me fight! 😄❤️

Winter couldn’t help but smile as she texted back.

Wouldn’t miss it for the world!

Chapter Text

Hey guys, going to be taking an extended break due to a surgery this Friday. I’m pretty nervous about it and I want to either write something more lighthearted or not write at all. I hope you understand!

Wish me luck!

Chapter Text

Hey guys, if you didn’t see in the comment section of the last author’s note, my surgery went well and the recovery process is running smoothly. That said, I decided to take a break from this work for a bit. I can’t say when I’ll be back, but it won’t be too long.

See you, then!