Eyes fluttering closed.
Gambol Shroud, so close.
Yang was falling, the barest pieces of her remaining consciousness could tell that much.
Pain, so much pain. Dissolving.
The last thing Yang expected to feel at that moment was solid ground, she certainly did not expect to feel grass of all things.
Looking around in a panic she found herself at a cliff’s edge, the forest behind her overwhelmingly familiar.
The grave in front of her even more so.
How am I here?
Ambrosius had warned them not to fall yet she had.
Did I die? Is this even Patch?
Yang got up with a groan, her tired muscles protesting as the shards of her broken aura spiked into them.
There was only one way to find out.
The trail Yang took through the woods was a familiar one, walked countless times at the dead of night. Although there was no set path, the bent bushes and hacked away trees might as well have been a trail of lanterns.
The evening light was getting darker, if she was really here, if this was truly Patch...
She should make it home by nightfall.
She did not.
The trees seemed to flow on endlessly.
I’m not really here am I.
This place wasn’t real, she wasn’t actually on Patch.
Am I dead?
Yang sped up, using the kickback from Ember Celica to launch herself through the forest.
It did nothing to help.
She still wasn’t getting anywhere. Was there anywhere to go?
The small amount of Aura she had regenerated broke against the branches whipping past.
Yang stumbled and misfired her next shot, launching herself directly into the forest floor.
She was exhausted .
The fight, Cinder, Neo.
Flying through the forest definitely didn’t help.
Looking back the way she came Yang was horrified to see the clearing right there.
This isn’t real at all.
Rising up with shaking limbs, Yang walked out into the clearing and up to the grave.
Yang Xiao Long
The girl who fell through the world
Yang took a panicked step back.
This was her grave.
She had thought it was her mothers but no, it was hers.
And so she wept. She wept for her sister. She wept for Blake, Weiss.
Nora, Jaun, Ren, Oscar.
Her father should be right there, right through those trees.
And yet he wasn’t.
She would never be able to reach them, be able to reach anyone .
Jinn had shown them there was an afterlife, would she be sent off there or did the gods take that with them too.
I won’t leave.
I can’t leave.
They need me, all of them do.
But I need them more.
A refusal was made, in the form of her gauntlets fired straight into her grave.
Her aura should have shattered a third time. It didn’t.
A footstep behind.
A footstep in front.
Looking up, Yang found herself staring at her mother.
It was her. Summer Rose.
She knelt down in front of her daughter's grave, covering the cracks with her hand.
Yang had no words. This clearly wasn’t real but it was her.
The mother she had always known, the one she would always love.
“I took a chance but I knew that even if I succeeded I wouldn’t return. I didn’t plan on bringing anything back.”
Yang felt her mother’s ghostly hand on her cheek. She leant into it as they both locked eyes.
“I don’t need to return to bring something back.”
Eyes closed, a jolt, a tug and a pull. Nausea.
Suddenly she was back.
The ground felt more.
This time it was real.
The time had changed, it was now morning.
Morning on Patch.
The same day she fell.
Morning on Patch.
The same day she fell.
The same day she fell.
Scrambling to her feet for what was it, the third time? Yang looked down at the grave.
It wasn’t hers.
It’s not mine.
A footstep behind her. A bark.
Spinning around, Yang found herself blessed with the sight of her father, standing just inside the clearing with Zwei not far in front.
A cry of joy mixed with sadness, longing, and confusion.
Before Taiyang could take another step, he found himself barely standing, a crying Yang crushing him in a hug neither wanted to break.
Many explanations later and both father and daughter found themselves on a high speed airship heading straight to Vacuo, accompanied by a few of Ozpin’s circle, those who had stayed in Vale after the fall.
It was significantly past noon by the time they arrived, time zones stating it should be near nightfall in atlas.
It wasn’t until an hour after they arrived that the sandstorm started.
The exit portal was supposed to appear somewhere outside of Vacuo.
There was no way to tell where it was.
All of those people, all in one spot.
They would be a beacon for the grimm, Ren’s semblance would only be able to do so much.
As such, Various airships were sent out on patrol, Yang taking up one with Taiyang, Glynda, and Professor - Doctor! - Oobleck.
To her luck, she was the one that first noticed something was up.
The grimm they had been clearing out all suddenly turned and flew towards one spot.
One very populated spot.
Landing was slightly difficult with how many people there were, running around and panicking due to the sheer amount of grimm raining down on them.
Three of them were out the instant they touched down, spreading out to try and help as many people as possible.
Yang instead fought her way through the hordes to try and reach the portal, ending up fighting side by side with a very confused Ren.
Straining her ears to hear over the mix of screams, sandstorm, and fighting, Yang could barely make out what Ren was saying.
“When did you come through the portal?”
“I didn’t, it’s a long story,” Yang replied, “I brought help.”
Soon enough the rest of the fleet arrived one by one, bringing with them the hunters of Vacuo and the students of Shade, all helping to defend the fleeing citizens of Atlas and Mantle.
After what felt like hours of fighting, the steady stream of people seemed to come to an end. The flood of people had been sent off to Vacuo with a combination of various portal semblances and yet Yang saw no sight of the rest of her team, or anyone that would hint at the terrifying possibility of them having lost.
She had already tried going back through, against what Oscar - Now Ozpin, the magic he had used during the early stages of the fight had completed the merge - had said. Maybe because she never left through conventional means, she would be allowed back in?
To her ever growing despair that didn’t work.
And then the portal closed.
Nobody else had come through.
Had someone used the staff?
Had that place ceased to be?
Were they all dead?
No, it couldn’t be.
And then there was light, accompanied by a swirling green stream of petals right where the door had been.
It was Ruby, her semblance somehow having been enhanced by a now unconscious Penny.
They were alive .
Yang ran over, shouting out in relief.
Ruby, Weiss, and Blake all looked up at her voice, their faces each containing a mixture of shock, love, and relief.
They all fell to the ground, their knees pressing deep into the rough sand.
The hug did nothing to get across the full amount of relief they all felt. At finding each other alive, at getting out safely.
It wasn’t until Blake took her hand that Yang fully understood the full weight of how scared for her they had been.
It wasn’t until Blake kissed her that Yang fully understood the full weight of how relieved Blake was to see her.