Pieces out of Line
Original Concept: RWBY/Fate/Stay Night
Created by: Rooster Teeth Productions/Type-Moon
written by: wrathie
wrathie: Err… what was I about to say again? I forgot. In any case, school for me officially starts this week. I'll have less time to focus on PooL and Flower, if you haven't read Flower Amongst Devils, do give it a try as well. I'm the author, I'm allowed for shameless advertising here, heh.
At any rate, I'm not taking a real sabbatical on it, it's that it'll be harder for me to publish as fast as I used to be. For why these last few chapters aren't released as fast as they used to - it's due to the complications of having many QC checks. I'm not complaining, it just makes me feel a little more secure that I'm delivering the best I can. This chapter… really tests the team and how well, I actually developed Kiritsugu and the differences of PooL Kiri and Canon Kiri due to the different upbringing and circumstances. It's long an AU fic, so hopefully you guys will like it. Oh, and I can't believe there's no love for the Tohsaka Sisters! I thought that was something quite well done!
And lastly - PooL has got a Tvtropes Reccomendation! That's awesome! Even if I am not sure if emotionally I've really caught up that euphoria... but I digress. Enjoy this update.
Razyangel: Alright! The plot thickens and is steadily coming to a boil. More insight to how the white fang works and kiri's involvement. To those who don't know it, the name of the infamous milk that Ruby religiously drinks is, "udder satisfaction", well played Monty… well played. And props to Jaune reading Xmen in the Library. Funny how Mutants and Faunus are so alike. Can't they get a lil love? enjoy the chapter!
ChaosVector: RL problems took me away from being able to help with PooL's previous chapter. I almost didn't make it for this week's chapter. Anywho, Kiritsugu's side of the story. If you haven't figured it out already or haven't read wrathie's notes, PooL!Kiritsugu is waaaay different than Canon!Kiritsugu. Why? Well, I can't possibly tell you that without spoiling, now could I? You'll just have to stick with us in the meantime to find out...
XoreandoX: In this chapter we get to cover what really happened with Weiss' family when she was younger and what Kiritsugu played in it. We also disclose what the humans call the Faunus Huntsman, for those who are unfamiliar with Mythology, Fenrir was the Wolf who was prophesied to kill Odin during Ragnarok; This title given by the Faunus was a symbol of strength for others. His other title was meant to demean the first, by implying that he is a Guard Dog (albeit a very big and dangerous one), instead of the a proud and powerful Wolf.
In response to some of the reviews regarding how Kiritsugu's odd behaviour in comparison to his Nasuverse counterpart, the reason for that is due to the different circumstances. The only part of his past I'll reveal early is the fact that he didn't have to kill his father, and for those who are more familiar with the Nasuverse; they will realize just how much that can change him from the person he was in Canon to the man you see here. However despite not having to kill his father, he does have his own share of regret as you can see in this chapter, and we plan to explain a bit more about this in the future as well.
I think that is most of the stuff I felt I needed to cover regarding Kiritsugu's past with exception of who the previous leader of the White Fang was, so I look forward to seeing what everyone might think she is. On another note I find myself slightly disappointed that no one quite caught on to what Kiritsugu's comment about Weiss' hair might really meant, but hopefully I'll see something about it in the future, so until next time; Keep on Writing. P.S. wrathie says I developed, he means WE considering how long it took for me to educate him on his past.
Kiritsugu told Weiss and all who were gathered what happened that night, around five years ago, after the White Fang had started applying pressure on the Schnee Group with their militia and strength.
Faunus weren't the most numerous, but they were still physically stronger and possessed better senses than the average human – they were more than capable of being a threat to humans.
What's more, Kiritsugu was maddened with guilt to say that he had trained many of the high ranking members of the White Fang in the art of combat so they could defend themselves... and they had twisted it to enact violence.
Kiritsugu was not someone who shied away from violence, but he was one who did not approve of unnecessary violence when it could be avoided. If it was not going to save lives, there was no reason for him to engage in the dance of death.
He had taught the members of White Fang his art and skill in order for them to protect themselves. There were humans who hunted Faunus for sport – most of those disgusting individuals had been exterminated by him, many of them personally while their crimes were exposed, the Hunter Association had no choice but to acknowledge and unhappily praise Kiritsugu for his work.
The White Fang themselves had leveraged on Kiritsugu's presence and had offered a leadership position to help encourage Faunus to become Huntsmen and Huntresses and increase their overall strength and influence.
It wasn't that uncommon to see members of the White Fang become Huntsmen and Huntresses as a show of strength. Even if the humans were overwhelming in numbers, Kiritsugu proved that Faunus could buck the trend as he had accumulated one of the highest bounty numbers within a few years upon joining the association due to his near-suicidal missions and exemplary success rate in deeply grimm-infested areas.
He was one of the greatest Huntsmen, after all. Until the White Fang staged their first hijacking of the Schnee Dust stores, did his reputation and name within the White Fang backfire on him and he was blacklisted by the organization for his association with the White Fang.
But none of that had to do with what happened that fateful night, no – one had to know of Kiritsugu's ideals – the same one that had made it so difficult for him to do exactly what he had do that night.
"My wish is to save people. My strength is meant to be used to save people... regardless if the person is human or Faunus, I will save them. This was both my wish and one of my vows when I became a Huntsman."
Kiritsugu replied softly to everyone who was gathered and the only individual that did not look awed, or at least surprised was his godson, who simply nodded his head as if he expected that. Somehow, that irked him to no end.
"… And that night my vows were tested... the White Fang decided on an assassination attempt on the senior board members of the Schnee Group."
Blake was aware of how Weiss' entire body stiffened and it must have taken a huge amount of effort for her to remain calm while Kiritsugu told his tale to Weiss.
"I had already left the White Fang by then, but they approached me for help regarding that mission... A mission that I refused to participate in. Their plan was to approach the elders of the Schnee Family directly in order to work out better terms regarding their employment contracts with the Faunus. I believe they sent a missive to the Schnee in advance and they offered the cooperation of around ten thousand members of the White Fang with the Schnee group if they agreed to their terms."
Kiritsugu paused for a moment, he studied the expressions of the others, waiting for any questions until Weiss gestured for him to continue. The heiress was being quiet, too quiet actually for him to believe that she was taking the truth so easily. She was like a volcano now, ready to explode and if not for her gestures to continue he would have called for a break for her to absorb his history as well as the White Fang's origins. No doubt Blake would have told them of her understanding of the events, but in the end she had just been a pawn. A very strong pawn. Kiritsugu had kept tabs on his adopted daughter and she had proven to be an amazing asset in combat for the White Fang before she left.
"However, even if the offer seemed tempting, the White Fang never had ten thousand members under its wing. We could barely muster five thousand at the peak of our strength, it was a bluff – a terrible one at that. There was just no way that the White Fang could hold up to their end of the bargain, and I believe that the Schnee themselves knew that."
Kiritsugu turned to look at Blake who looked confused at her father's sudden attention to her.
"Does the White Fang still rely on the old network and codes to communicate with the various teams? What about within the base headquarters itself? Did they change the code? Or... have they been using the same code all this time?"
Kiritsugu asked patiently and when Blake recited the code for him to listen, the older Faunus ran a hand through his hair and gave a frustrated sigh.
"This code has been compromised by the Schnee for years, I can't believe they were still using it even before you left... or could they have done that on purpose? It doesn't matter, what does matter is what happened. We all knew the deal wouldn't happen. If it were the old management, under her leadership, our terms would've been more than reasonable to accept. But him-"
Kiritsugu gave a growl that seemed more like his nature of a wolf Faunus, it was both dangerous and angry – speaking volumes of the fierce emotions he had regarding the person he was referring to.
Only Blake knew who that person was, or did she really? The current head of the White Fang was an enigmatic, violent but still a popular leader due to his actions in restoring the glory of the White Fang. Blake had forgotten to correct Kiritsugu earlier – at the last capacity where she had left around half a year ago – the White Fang was operating with around 15000 members. The problem was that the majority of them were homeless Faunus that had been driven out of their homes, children, or the elderly. There were a precious few who could guard the members of the White Fang or capable of providing them with food.
They were getting desperate then – and being one of the desperate individuals – Blake knew the risks they were willing to take to ensure their survival.
And if they were even more so, they would be willing to do even more reckless things. Blake believed her father when he said that their plan was just atrocious and that he could never agree to it.
"Whether the negotiations were to succeed, he ordered the board members of the Schnee to be captured or killed to force the family to give control of the group to the younger, and more easily intimidated members of the Schnee. I have honestly no idea how the Schnee allowed this meeting to pass, they must have known about their intention... and yet, they agreed to meet."
Kiritsugu paused again to look at Weiss before asking her a question.
"Did you know about the meeting, Weiss Schnee? I'd assume you were around ten years old when this incident happened.
"No, I wouldn't have been given the title of the heiress at that age. As such I would not have been made aware of such a meeting taking place, let alone what the decisions they would have made then. In... In fact, there were no records of any meetings that took place on that night."
Weiss choose her words carefully while staring at Kiritsugu, her friends had begged her to take an open view of the situation and she was, she was trying so hard to do just that. But there was just no proof that Kiritsugu was saying the truth besides well, the obvious -
"I do not wish to appear disrespectful..."
Weiss bit her lip in anger that she had to show so much respect for an individual that might have killed her family, but ingrained her was the small amount of doubt that wondered what if all her accusations against this particular Faunus were wrong? So she had to be polite – he was the most respected and famous Faunus Huntsmen after all, at least that is what she has been told.
"But... if you are unable to provide proof of the meeting having taken place, or any reply from my family that they received such a request... I am afraid it is difficult for me to believe your words"
There was a tense silence that happened between the two of them that was interrupted by Ren giving a small cough and adding in lazily.
"'It would have been too easy for either side to destroy the evidence of it happening... No one would wish to have ties with a terrorist organization... and for the White Fang, having that kind of evidence would just mean that they are all but admitting that they were the ones who killed your family. However, we can't rule out the possibility of it...actually happening."
Ren's points made sense and the heiress gave the boy a nod in acknowledgment while internally she was gnashing her teeth in frustration – so now they were relying on possibilities instead of hard facts? Fine, she would play along for now.
"I have to hold you to your words – Mr. Kiritsugu, if you are lying to me..."
Weiss warned Kiritsugu, who didn't seem too affected or impressed as he nodded in acknowledgment before continuing his story of that fateful night.
"I understand, and for you to listen for so long without attacking me... is a sign of trust and your desire to find the truth of that night... And the truth was simple – I failed that night. I was there that night yes, I was also there in the burning room where your family laid slain, yes... and I was the one who pulled you out of the ro-"
Weiss interrupted suddenly at the end of Kiritsugu's speech and the Faunus gave her a look that showed confusion.
"You did not pull me out of the fire – you left me to die!"
Weiss raised her voice angrily at Kiritsugu only for the Faunus to look at her in utter surprise.
"Impossible... I pulled you out from that burning room myself. The... dining room, it was in danger of collapsing, it was all I could do to pull you out that night."
Kiritsugu explained patiently while Weiss just shook her head, there was something different about the story that she remembered. She remembered being in the room, in one corner, tied up and helpless while someone stood there, she was sure it was Kiritsugu – but now, she wasn't so sure. His figure was wavering in the heat of the flames together with the bodies of her family lying in front of him. It was his fault, Weiss had been so sure of it – and now, he said he wasn't?! There was no way that she would believe that.
"I don't believe it! I saw you, you were there with my family's cooling bodies. I was bound and gagged, but I remember. I don't know who did that to me, but someone did. I remember that night well, the fire, the heat – and your figure, standing over my family. You... you murderer!"
Weiss screamed at him and for the first time, she lost control of her emotions and rushed forward to grab his collar to shake him.
"Murderer! LIAR! You left me to die there! You said you weren't at fault – so – LET ME GO!"
It was Blake and Shirou who pulled Weiss away from Kiritsugu, the two of them struggling to pry her fingers from his collar as the Faunus Huntsman looked both disturbed and confused at what Weiss was saying. What she said did not tally with what he knew of what had happened that night. There was something missing here, but until she calmed down to walk through the sequence of events with him – he wasn't sure what pictures she was missing.
There wasn't really an attack on the Schnee manor, it just wasn't possible since the negotiators from the White Fang were invited into the manor by the Schnee themselves. They had agreed to let their assassins into their home, were the Schnee that arrogant? Or perhaps they had other plans in mind by inviting them to their home that night.
Kiritsugu did not know, he was worried about the meeting – disgusted at the extent that they had fallen and wanted to prevent blood shed that was bound to happen.
"… I do not know what happened that night, I came too late to interfere with what I know would happen. The negotiators that were sent to the Schnee, they would have killed all of you – it would not only be a terrible blow to the Schnee, that is not the extent of the impact that would have on Remnant. It would have changed the entire Faunus and Human relationship forever."
Kiritsugu answered calmly as he watched the Schnee Heiress being restrained by Shirou and Blake, she had been controlling her emotions very well up to this outburst. However considering what he had just told her, he could not blame her. Even he himself was confused – he'd better put all his cards on the table.
"Having the Faunus assassinate such prominent human leaders like the ones in the Schnee Group would mean war, there was no doubt about it. I do not know whether that was the White Fang's purpose, but at the very least it would set the entire human and Faunus relationship back some hundreds of years, during the events of the Great War. Faunus and humans always had an uneasy relationship from the time the Faunus were born. How we came to being has always been contested, but it was true that we prospered when we shouldn't have, and we fought hard to be acknowledged by humans. The sad fact is that humans, for all their intelligence, have their pride to blame for not viewing us as at least their equals. They know that any Faunus who has trained and studied as hard as any human would be better, if only due to the physical and natural talent that a Faunus would have compared to a human. We are the superior race, there is no doubt about that."
Kiritsugu paused, he was going out of topic here and it was a touchy subject that he did not like to broach. As much as he loved justice and was driven by the instinct to save, it was also true that he had been the subject of much discussion and debate due to his position, strength, and acts of heroism. The humans never liked the idea of a Faunus beating them or dominating in an area that was supposed to be their field to show their strength. It was an insult to them that Kiritsugu, a Faunus, could do what human Huntsmen could not. Perhaps it was why they insisted on calling him Cerberus, the Guard Dog of Hades when they heard that the Faunus chose to call him: Fenrir, the Wolf who was destined to slay a God. In a way Kiritsugu was the leading banner in showing that Faunus were better, stronger, and did not deserve being alienated – especially since they meant no harm and were willing to work with humans.
Kiritsugu had welcomed that image, it had helped the White Fang tremendously till they tore it down with their own efforts.
He had a choice: To stand up for his own people, the Faunus, and try to prevent the White Fang's plans or ignore what was about to befall the Schnee in their own residence and allow the helpless slaughter of the innocent. It would no doubt lead to bloodshed for both sides when everything degenerated due to that act of folly by the White Fang. Regardless of the outcome of that conflict, hundreds, if not thousands, would die because of their actions.
And although blood was not on his hands, Kiritsugu would not condone or accept it.
The alternative, was to kill the Faunus assassins, putting himself in danger to take out those that were his allies - an act that would show weakness in front of the Schnee Group. Showing that the White Fang itself has split, fractured, and has dissenters amongst its ranks would only strengthen the Schnee's confidence in dealing with the White Fang; potentially leading to the only symbol of hope and resistance for the Faunus to come crashing down.
But it could be rebuilt. If he was willing to take a stronger stance, to seize control of the White Fang – it might just work.
However, Kiritsugu was not someone who was capable of leading, nor was he one who could inspire others. He got the job done according to his ideals, his wish to protect and that was all he was. Giving people hope, strength, and direction - that was her job. But he seriously considered both options, before deciding that there was only one way answer to this dilemma. He would have to let his fellow men suffer, just like how he had watched everything and everyone he loved suffer for this promise and ideal of his.
He had walked this path before, and he decided on that path on that fateful day as well – just like how he would continue doing so till the end.
"So I decided to interfere in that meeting, it had to be stopped – but I was delayed by those that I had once called my allies. They were expecting me, and their resistance was enough... for them to set the manor on fire."
Kiritsugu looked to the side slightly as he heard Blake gasp. His adopted daughter was no doubt finding it hard to accept that he could kill his fellow kin, but that shouldn't be surprising. He had to take down rogue Hunters before, and like the humans, the Faunus were not as closely knitted as one would think they might be. Amongst the Faunus there were murderers, rapists, and villains among all the good and simple folk that want a normal life.
Kiritsugu had no qualms in killing his kin if they did wrong, and that night they were acting as the catalyst of a potential genocide.
"I broke into the manor to try and save whoever I could. The Schnee, as broken as it might be after the attack, was still a powerful family. If there was just one person saved from this disaster – they might still recover. Of course, I also resigned myself to be viewed as a villain the moment I stepped into the manor. The Faunus were no doubt the ones who had initiated the attack. To the human survivors, they would assume I was the aggressor..."
Kiritsugu suddenly trailed off as he remembered something important, something he didn't consider very important that night. He hadn't met with any aggression at all. The humans and serving staff there were in a panic, but none of them seemed to find or register him as a threat. It wasn't... well, it was odd, that's what it was.
Kiritsugu looked up to see Weiss still glaring at him, Blake pale as a sheet but still listening to the story. The other three, Shirou, Ren and Sun Wukong simply looked on patiently – they knew of conflict and how lives were lost.
Good, they weren't naïve – Roman Torchwick was not going to be arrested – he would be executed for his crimes and the potential danger he posed to the world, to humans and Faunus alike.
"I saved several people from the main foyer during the fire that night, all of them were human. One of them, I am sure was you, Schnee, and I rescued you from the fire unconscious, bound and gagged... in the corner of the room."
Kiritsugu looked at Weiss but did not wait for her response as he continued.
"It was all I could do to bring the survivors out of the mansion and out of harm's way... but the last place I checked was where the fire started in the first place. It was at the dining room where the meeting took place. It wasn't really a surprise... everyone was dead. There were no survivors from the fire, there were just bodies, of humans and of Faunus. I considered getting them out after you, but the place was getting more dangerous by the moment. It wasn't possible for anyone to stay there for long after I pulled you out... so tell me, Weiss Schnee... was it really me, who you saw that night in that room?"
Kiritsugu paused briefly before he sprung the question on to her, and he continued the questioning with a hard look.
"There was no one left in the dining room that could be alive... it was in danger of collapsing due to the heat of the fire, I had to leave before it got too dangerous. Why did you say that it was me that you saw that night?"
Weiss Schnee was faced with an impossibility that she could not, for the life of her, comprehend what she was hearing. This man, a Faunus, had saved her life? From her understanding and his reputation, Weiss could easily believe that. He was known as a merciless killer, but he only killed those that hurt or caused harm to others and did have a penchant for saving people in danger regardless of their race. He could have saved her, it was possible, he would have spared her since couldn't have done any harm to others given the condition she was in, it was possible. But to say that she couldn't be in the dining room when the fire took place was -
There it was, the discrepancy that her and Kiritsugu's story had -
"You said you only entered the dining room when the fire was already raging... but I... saw you ... when the fire was just starting..."
There it was, a difference – something was odd, something was wrong here and from the look of things, she was the one who had been mistaken. No, she couldn't be! There's – he has to be the one that was wrong, not her!
"… There are plenty of corpses that would testify that I am speaking the truth. I only arrived after the fire went out of control... as to who it was that bound you, I believe he or she is long dead."
Kiritsugu replied calmly as he considered the implications of what that had happened. Someone had been there before him, impersonating him and trying to kill the heir of the Schnee family.
That however didn't make sense. Why would they risk a potential heiress being in the immediate vicinity where an attack could take place? Their heiress was someone who was going to lead the group someday – an investment in time, education, and training that money can't buy. She was the future, why didn't they send her away? Perhaps it was like she said... she did not wish to be there, but was kidnapped and brought there.
If so, who? By the White Fang?
If the White Fang had her, there would be nothing holding the Schnee back from wiping the White Fang out in pursuit of their heiress. But what if the whole operation was just a cover for them to target and capture the Weiss Heiress instead?
If that was the case – it makes sense that they would still wish to attend the meeting, if only to serve as a distraction.
They had gotten the Schnee Heiress like they had planned, they had her in their grasp and yet they left her for dead? He should have known something was wrong when he discovered her in that room in that state. But he had been distracted with too many thoughts, so many implications and the future actions he would have to take to minimize the damage. If it was planned and executed by one person – it would prevent the White Fang from being crushed by the much stronger and numerically superior human forces.
"Why, why did you save me?"
Weiss suddenly spoke and Kiritsugu was pulled out of his thoughts to look at her cautiously for a moment before replying.
"You don't need a reason to save people."
Kiritsugu noticed Shirou staring and giving him a lopsided grin that he could read as pride? Why was he proud of him all of a sudden?
"… No doubt the Schnee blamed the incident on me and the White Fang. I was forced to leave when the remainder of your staff appeared on the scene and accused me of starting the fire and killing everyone. It was all but official that I was the one who led the White Fang on that attack without even allowing me to have a statement. So I left and severed all connections with the White Fang after that to shoulder the blame."
Kiritsugu looked impassively at Weiss before asking the heiress.
"That is the truth, from my mouth as you requested, now... what are you going to do?"
Kiritsugu had many things left for him to do, hunting down Roman Torchwick was one. Getting rid of the current leader of the White Fang was another, but most importantly – he wanted to continue his lifelong dream to ensure equality between the Faunus the humans instead of turning against each other.
He wanted to save and this was an endeavor that would lead to more peace and would save more lives, if the humans just relented from their position.
Shirou could pick up on the misunderstanding and lack of information from both ends of Weiss and Kiritsugu's stories. Weiss was convinced that Kiritsugu was the one who left her for dead in the fire after killing her family. However if that was the case – why did she not remember that she was kidnapped or bound like she said she was? That was one point that the two's stories matched and tallied with one another. So it had to be the truth.
So why did she never mention what happened before that? Was Weiss unable to remember or she could not say what was going on before the incident?
As for Kiritsugu, as much as Shirou trusted him, he hoped he knew Kiritsugu. But the majority of the story could only be verified by himself. Any chances of them trying to even find the truth would be buried by the years that have passed and the connections that they did not have – namely with the White Fang. It was a plausible story and more than believable, plus Shirou believed his father was telling the truth. To sacrifice his own allies for the greater good was definitely a trait of Kiritsugu, even if Blake might not agree with it.
Shirou was of two minds about Kiritsugu being so open with what he had done. Firstly, it made him relieved that his father never changed. Everyone needed a hero of justice now and then, and Kiritsugu was definitely one. Secondly, it would perhaps give a wake up call to Blake. She was part of a rebellion fighting against another group of individuals that would not hesitate to get rid of her, not to mention she was the adopted daughter of one of the most well-known terrorists in the world.
To be honest, Shirou was amazed that Kiritsugu could go around the city without anyone recognizing him. Perhaps he was recognized, but there were other records that showed that he still patrolled the areas that he used to frequent. He brought in bounties of the most hardened criminals and was still one of the most famous and most skilled Huntsman despite his reputation. It must be a mixture of his skill, fame, and deeds that made it hard for people to report him. Shirou was sure that those he killed would disagree and would have loved to see him arrested.
No doubt attempts have been made only for them to fail – thus leading them to this situation now.
He, personally, believed in Kiritsugu – Weiss was just leaving too many holes in her own story – gaps that needed to be rectified. Was she hiding something as well? Everyone has secrets after all.
"Enlighten us, Schnee... of what happened that night. I admit, no one can verify my story, but I am certain that we could verify yours. Do tell us your side of the story."
Kiritsugu spoke softly, Weiss listened and after a brief spell of silence, the Schnee Heiress gave a weak sob as she tried one more time to struggle out of her two friend's hold.
"I was there... they wanted me... to be there... My father asked me to come... but then, I... the next thing I knew you were there. You started the fire, and you had killed everyone – the Faunus, my family – everyone so why... why, must you... why -?"
Weiss sobbed weakly as all the strength left her – it was an absolute disaster for the heiress as well as Kiritsugu – that they ended up having more questions than answers.
"It's going to be a long night."
Ren sighed at the background and Shirou agreed … a long night indeed.