Fic is mostly an exercise with OCs. I've noticed that over the course the section's inception, the most popular colors have been blue, silver, and green, in about that order.
So I say, "challenge accepted".
"RWBY" series property of Roosterteeth.
Original characters property of author Person With Many Aliases.
There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat was spotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen. On Christmas morning, when he sat wedged in the top of the Boy's stocking, with a sprig of holly between his paws, the effect was charming.
The cell doors opened.
Out in the hallway, at least three of Vale's law enforcement stood at ready, fingers looped around their belts that stored an array of crime-stopping tools such as the nightstick, the hand cuffs, and of course, the heavy rod that produced light on one end, and therefore was classified as "a flashlight" rather than "the other truncheon".
All three did their best to look as unimpressed by the motley collection that they had stuffed into their concrete bin. By themselves, the four figures inside were quite pitiful looking in their opinion. Skinny, dirty, squalid, and unarmed. All the same, they caught fragments of the investigation that had been ongoing on the incident a few hours back. Bits of a report, second hand accounts, and rumors that were spinning out of control.
"Utter chaos", "Gang warfare", "Massive ring exposed", "Ship sunk off the coast".
Those people in the cell had been at the center of it. Perhaps even caused all of it. That they survived at all told the police officers far too much.
They kept their hands near their weapons at all times.
"Alright! The four of you are gonna be in a line up! Walk down the hall single file, and into the room at the far end. Don't cause any trouble," One of the cops said.
Beyond that command, the overwhelming silence continued, framed by the staccato of the four bodies shuffling wearily out of their shared room and down the linoleum floor.
The room on the far end they had been instructed to enter consisted of several black lines printed onto one of the walls, used to measure the height of the occupants, and a slightly raised platform to make sure the measurements were perfect. A mirror was built into the wall opposite, with an intercom speaker screwed in above the reflecting pane. Anyone who saw the TV shows would immediately know the mirror was one way, designed to hide the interrogators as they watched the suspects step onto the platform one by one, until they were all lined up against the wall.
Lights snapped on, illuminating the four women as they stood battered and bored out of their skulls.
A voice came through the intercom.
"Alright, you know the drill. Step forward when I call your number and say the phrase on the card. Suspect One."
A girl on the far left side stepped forward first. Smooth silver hair dripped down her face, framing blood red eyes. Her style of dress was eclectic, a gray leather jacket, its split off-center and closed by a zipper, a pleated skirt that hit her knees, and from there, her legs secured tight with bandages, blackened and weathered with use, wrapping from her shins downward and around the arch of her soles, leaving toes and heels bare on the floor.
The girl looked down at the card she had carried into the room.
"Suspect One, step forward and say the phrase on the card." The intercom ordered again.
The girl looked to the figure at the other end of the line with a questioning gaze. It nodded. She looked back down at the card and obeyed.
"…Open the safe, before I rip your head off," Suspect One blandly repeated through split lips, failing to understand the significance of her line, before passing the paper card to her left.
The next girl half sauntered forward, dressed in a thin tank top, and a pair of heavy shorts that had an uneven hem line, and printed with green forest digital camouflage patterns. One leg ended above her knee, and the other stopped mid shin, above the thick socks and boots she wore. Her red-brown hair was chopped up in a short spiky pixie cut. The nose splint and large bruise on her face couldn't detract from her twinkling dark blue eyes and her wild grin. Perhaps they even enhanced the look as she jumped forward, two fingers raised to pantomime a gun.
"GIMME THE CASH OR IMMA RIP YOUR HEAD OFF YOU SON OF A BITCH MOTHERFUCKGLAABRALGH!"
The garbling came in as she wildly shook her head, tongue swinging side to side in her open mouth, while the intercom cut in.
"That's enough, get back! Suspect Three!"
Suspect Two retreated, choking on restrained laughter like the others in the line up were, holding their mouths and looking away from their accomplice's passive-aggression.
The card moved to the tallest of the four, a woman in battered blouse with sleeves torn at spots, blue jeans covered in stitched repairs and a pair of shoes that all looked on the verge of disappearing from wear and tear, and long, feral blue hair pulled back to expose her forehead. A metal studded eye patch sat over her right eye, while the flesh ringing outside of it was a long patch of scar tissue. Her other eye was a pitiless and sunken black, lids dark and wrinkled. Her face and clothes where smeared in ash and char.
She stepped forward and looked down at the card. Then snorted. It brought on another round of barely restrained cough-laughs about her. The pixie cut girl smacked her shoulder for making her laugh again, and she returned her own slug to Suspect Two's.
"Look, before I begin, I've been wired for the last six hours. I need a smoke," the blue haired woman leered widely, showing her steel teeth, the front six on top and bottom having letters embossed on their surface to spell 'GO!GO!' and 'ZAFFRE'.
"Read the card, Suspect Three."
"Come on, you guys are just a door down, I'll take whatever cig you got."
"None of you are leaving this room until you all say the phrase."
She rolled her eye and sighed, "Fine, fine. Op'n safe 'n' rip y'r head off..."
Suspect Three frowned, "What?"
"Louder, and more clearly."
"'Open the fucking safe'! Whatever, fuck," Suspect Three all but threw up her hands in annoyance before throwing the battered paper card to the last in line.
The last girl in line was dress in the tattered remains of an casual dress, hem chopped up around her knees, and her brown outdoor jacket's seams split at points, hints of wool poking out. Her milk chocolate hair fell down her shoulders, but the most outstanding feature on her were the pair of soft rabbit ears that protruded out the top of her head, real and very much attached, indicating her status as one of Vale's less reputable beings.
Velvet Scarlatina looked down at the card in her hand and chuckled weakly for a second and shook her head. She didn't think she had it in her to even smile given she was most likely about to face time in prison. But everything that had happened in the past day still seemed wholly unreal in her mind, like some bizarre extended dream. Even the words on the card, though she had been there herself to hear them uttered, to see them only as print made everything seem so far away, like it wasn't any of her business.
All the same, she was in a line up. This was really happening.
The faunus took a breath and said the line.
"Velvet Scarlatina, female Faunus, age seventeen, parents unknown, raised under the care of the Mother Sparks Orphanage until last week… a noticeable aptitude for mechanical engineering that rewarded a scholarship to the Beacon Academy for Grimm Pacification…"
The table lamp was tilted in Velvet's direction, the harsh yellow beam making her wince and cause her animal ears to droop, like a plant wilting in the heat. The figure on the opposite side of the table, her interrogator, spent several minutes, simply reading aloud through a file containing her dossier. It was difficult to make him out with the light in the Faunus' direction, little more than a silhouette masked by a harsh glare.
"Remember. They want to scare you into saying what they want to hear. Just tell your story and you'll be fine. None of this was your fault."
Velvet remembered the advice from other girls she shared the cell with, and steeled herself when the interrogator stopped reciting, and began asking.
"No prior criminal history, no indicated propensity for misdemeanor. All in all, a record of a outstanding citizen who's made the most of her opportunities in the face of your various drawbacks," He said, fingers clasped atop the table.
Something about those last words annoyed Velvet.
"Are you talking about how being a Faunus is a drawback…?" She muttered. She wondered how the others would have responded had the man made similar insinuations at them. Stolid silence. A wry retort. Explosive accusations. She wasn't like them, though.
"Only in the broadest sense, I assure you," the interrogator answered, "The opportunities for a Faunus to improve his or her situation in life is sadly limited, and atop that, you entered this world with less than most, with your background stemming from an orphanage.
"But with that said…" The shadow of the interrogator leaned forward slightly, tone changing, "How do you explain your sudden complicity with yesterday's events? How did a girl waiting to take the shuttle flight to Beacon academy wind up on a burning cargo ship out in the bay?"
Velvet was silent, looking down in her lap, brows furrowed. The interrogator spoke for her.
"I can guess that you and your… unusual associates made an agreement while you were in your cell. Have you all finished fabricating the story you'll all tell? You'll say it was an accident? That you four were all victims of circumstance?"
"No, it's not that."
"Is that so?"
"They want me to say it's their fault, that they caused all the trouble, so I can get off lightly."
"But you don't agree with that."
"They're my…" The Faunus turned her head for a second, trying to figure what to say, "I… I'm as responsible as everyone else."
Velvet raised her head, staring into the light, "Mister, I'll tell you everything I know. I won't lie, I won't make up anything. But you have to promise me that you'll be fair to the others… don't be rough on them or anything."
"I'll promise to do what I can, if it means you'll cooperate wholly. This also will be the best for everyone. Including your friends."
A shadow of a finger moved to a tape recorder Velvet realized sat next to the base of the lamp, and pressed a button. The wheels began to spin.
"My friends… I only met them yesterday. I don't even know who they are to me."
"Yet you'd side with them and share their risks."
Velvet nodded slightly. It was likely she didn't even realize she had.
"I was as responsible as they are. It's not fair to them if I just walked away with a slap on the wrist."
"Then tell the truth. Tell me how everything happened."
"Where do you want me to start?"
"Wherever you think is most appropriate. Let's start with something small. According to this file…"
The interrogator looked down at the stack of sheets.
"…You only received notification of your Beacon scholarship a week before yesterday's events. Would you tell me about that?"
Velvet nodded again.
"Like you said…"
6 Days Before:
"But Velvet, I don't wanna leeaaave," The boy whined. He was only a child, dressed in a new sweater and slacks, and on the verge of ruining both with the amount of snot, spittle and tears that were about to burst from his face.
Velvet sighed, and crouched down so she matched his height. The teenaged girl had been helping the boy pack while he was suffering from a sudden bout of petulance the day he was departing the orphanage. Though she tried to keep speaking positively, it seemed Velvet's words didn't help much, until, finally, the young child finally blubbered out his fears and his anxieties. Velvet was familiar with the emotions the departing adopted often went through when leaving Mother Sparks. This was no surprise for her.
"Don't be like this, Albert. Angelica worked hard to find parents for you. Didn't you say you liked them? And that they liked you? Now you have the chance to live with them at their house."
"But I'm gonna leave everyone here now that I've got parents!" Albert moaned.
"Shh, don't think of it like that," Velvet said, rubbing the boy's back soothingly, "Leaving doesn't mean going away forever. Your parents know how many friends you have here. All you have to do is ask them, and they'll let you visit."
"Y-You think so?"
"Goodbye isn't forever, Albert," Velvet said, patting him on the head, "You can visit us, you can write to us, you can call us. Don't think about it as trading families, but getting even more."
With that, Albert was soon bundled up by his new parents, taken to their car, and driven off down the road, the last Velvet seeing of him being his face turned back to look through the rear window towards her as she waved farewell, still looking unsure, but certainly more hopeful than he had been earlier.
The car shrunk away into the distance, and that was that. Velvet turned, dress swaying slightly with her, and looked at the woman who had waved her own farewells to the child. She was older than the rabbit-eared Faunus, her golden years beginning to set in. She had a face worn down with time, but it was far yet from eliminating the gentle expression she had. The kindness she carried would not solve the problems of the world, but for her, it was enough to support the orphanage she ran.
"Hopefully they'll treat him well," Angelica murmured, as they began walking back over the front lawn to Mother Sparks' front entrance.
"They seemed nice enough," Velvet said, shrugging, "I don't see why they wouldn't try and raise him the best they could."
"I just worry, I suppose," The older woman admitted, as they passed through the front doors, into a classic wood furnished vestibule, with a reception desk set in between two stair cases, a little something for visitors. For the residents, it was something they barely recognized as they passed it by
"I probably see too much of my own children in them" Angelica mused, "I shouldn't, but I can't help but feel sad every time I see them leave for better things. The orphanage feels emptier."
"Aw, you shouldn't say that," Velvet laughed, "You'll make the other children feel sad. Besides, now I'm even more worried what will happen to you when I leave."
That comment gave Angelica pause, and made the rabbit ear girl turn around to look at her where they stood in the living area of the orphanage. Through walls, the muffled sound of children playing could be heard.
"Then you'll do it? You'll go and find work in the Schnee company?"
"I've nearly finished my application. Why?"
The older woman rubbed one of her arms. Velvet detected some unease rippling through the woman.
"Are you sure you should be working for them? I just worry… how difficult the miners have it, and how little benefits they give Faunus workers… The company always acts apologetic, but feeling sorry isn't the same as making amends… Are you sure you can't find work elsewhere? I just don't feel good about this."
"Where else would I find work?" Velvet tried to joke, though it really was more the truth, "Besides, it's not like I'll be working in a Dust mine. The recruiters said they were interested in my technical skills, so I'll probably be in an office or something. I'll be fine! It's a secure job, anyways."
"I'm sorry…" Angelica almost murmured.
When she said that, Velvet's heart broke into so many different pieces, each wanting to say a different thing. Some parts forgave her guardian figure time and time again. Others ranted and railed, demanding why she had to carve that wound open once more. The rest just bled as usual. It happened every time the matron of the orphanage apologized in that way, and every time, it was because it was time to say goodbye to yet another child who found a family that welcomed him or her with open arms, and Velvet watched. Had only ever watched. Could only ever watch.
"Whatever for?" Velvet brightly smiled, "It's not like you did anything wrong. You've treated me so well these years… but I'm grown up now. It wouldn't be fair for me to just keep depending on you, now."
The teenager backed away a few steps, "I… I have to work on that application and resume for the job… I'll see you later, Angelica."
Velvet Scarlatina took off for her room, and left Angelica to stew in her thoughts.
Velvet, as a Faunus, had been at times acutely aware of how the world saw her. It wasn't all bad, though. She had the support of Angelica, of course, who had seen her grown up and knew her better as a person than as a bipedal animal, and some of the children has been receptive to her, being too young to be yet fully inundated by the beliefs at large. Still, the orphanage was a safety zone… the world outside it, however…
For lesser people, the experiences would have slowly ground away their hopes and dreams. Perhaps for Velvet, who smiled, it still had. Of course, she had a kernel of pride in her talents, scientifically proven, and meaning she had some truly quantified value as an individual.
But as a Faunus, she had come to accept that because of the ears on her head, her place in the world would be somewhere low on the ladder. As it was, that Schnee Dust would be willing to offer her a desk position instead of summarily tossing her into manual labor was already pretty lucky.
It was a very pessimistic point of view, in ways, but it was what Velvet believed.
That was why she was surprised when Angelica entered her room and told her she had a visitor to see her personally, when she had already finished scribbling and signing her application to be mailed out later in the day.
The Faunus followed Angelica into a sitting room that was used for visitors of the orphanage. It wasn't really a room that could be described beyond "pleasant". The walls were painted a soothing green, and a brick fireplace jutted out from one side of the room for that homey touch in the winter seasons. There were some comfortable chairs set about, and a low table stacked with magazines to keep the occupants distracted for a little while.
It was in this room Velvet met her visitor.
For a moment, the girl paused, temporarily stopped by the woman's beauty. Much more a "woman" than Velvet was, a figure wrapped up in a white blouse and black skirt, a purple capelet throw over her shoulders, a straightforward face accented by the rimless glasses she wore, green eyes behind them. Blonde hair pulled up into a proper bun, with one stray bang twisted into a self sustaining curl.
"Velvet Scarlatina? A pleasure to make your acquaintance," The new woman said cordially, if somewhat too clinically, "My name is Glynda Goodwitch. I'm the deputy headmistress of Beacon Academy."
Okay, this was someone Velvet was seriously not expecting to shake hands with.
"It's… it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance…!" Velvet managed to politely eep, "Is there something I can help you with at Mother Sparks?"
"There is," Glynda said, as she reached into a small satchel she had under her arm, and pulled out a sheath of papers, "It's entirely voluntary, but I would like you to take a small test."
"What kind of test…?"
The magazines were stacked and pushed aside on the coffee table to make room for the spread of white sheets. As Velvet looked at them, she realized they were detailed blueprints for a…
"This is a basic chemical-Dust hybrid firearm used by Hunters world wide. It's an old, but standard design. I like you to look over it and suggest three improvements to this ten year old weapon, proven as a reliable, resistant to weather, and extremely simple to operate."
The Faunus swallowed at the papers. On them, a printed maze of parts and shapes, dotted arrows pointing this way and that, that would harmoniously join everything together into an S9 Carbine Practical. It was almost sacrilege to try and intrude on this laboriously fine tuned concept with improvements.
"How do you want me to add suggestions?"
"You do it any way you wish. You can draw on the sheets if it helps you. I just like to hear the line of reasoning when you do so."
For an instant, Velvet's gaze shifted to look at a corner of the room, where Angelica had hung back, observing the proceedings. The matron caught Velvet's unsure, querying look, and with the subtlest of motions, nodded, assuring her.
Angelica's permission shouldn't have meant much, but somehow, seeing her give an okay somehow gave Velvet the needed moral imperative to start talking back. Though hesitantly, while she reached for a felt tip pen that came with the stack of papers.
"It's a ten year old weapon, right? Perhaps… we can start by replacing the sights?"
"What would you suggest, then?" Glynda asked.
"They just need to be raised… isn't it that a three dot sight is an improvement…?" Velvet said, making a small mark to the sheets to remind herself. Just a small one.
"What else?" Glynda pressed slightly.
"Just very basic stuff… The grip needs stepping for better contact, and you need extend the safety... and make it ambidextrous…"
Slowly and surely, as Glynda's proddings began to disappear as Velvet disappeared into her own world, her suggestions losing their meekness and her scribbles becoming more bold, arrows, circles, and crosses joining her words.
"The magazine well needs to be beveled…" Velvet muttered to herself, raising one sheet to the light to peer through the blueprint, "This designer didn't believe in free floating barrels, did he? He shouldn't use the barrel as a way to secure the frame…"
Velvet herself didn't realize how much time had passed, as she sketched out a dirty concept to replace the gas system with more reliable one she had heard about. It was a rare thing for the Faunus to have a free hand in playing with something new, something besides old TVs and abandoned toys in need of repair. Not that they weren't relevant. Velvet's talent had a lot to owe to her desire to help others, but all the same, these blueprints were the first time in months she had a challenge.
It was only when she one of her arrows hit the same target again that she snapped out of her intense eye furrowing haze of tinkering.
"Did I talk about the iron sights? Rails are good but, perhaps if we update- Oh. I already made the suggestion…"
Velvet blinked. The exhilaration left her, and she realized a good third of the blueprints were almost unintelligible with a multitude of her black felt additions.
"Oh, I'm sorry!" She apologized, out of instinct.
"It's fine," Beacon's deputy headmistress dismissed Velvet's apology off hand, picking up one of the blueprints, "These are copies, anyways. You have some very interesting ideas, Miss Scarlatina."
"W-Where did you learn so much about guns, Velvet?" Angelica had to add, more than slightly mortified that she had somehow missed that her oldest charge at some point gained a working theory of weapon engineering, until now.
"Um… sometimes when I'm in town, I buy some magazines?" The faunus offered guiltily, "I read about cars and motorcycles, too, but Hunter weaponry always had the best material. I… I guess you could say I picked up a few things since then?"
"A 'few things' is putting it lightly. The level of mechanical engineering you've displayed is something people would expect of university students," Glynda stated simply.
University level? That couldn't be right. She was just… it was just… well… you know… Where was this going?
Velvet tried to play it off with a lame chuckle, "Eheh… well, machines always came naturally to me, and the children here are always breaking something, so I got a lot of practice, too."
The Beacon deputy head kept her stern look up as she asked, "Have you ever considered taking advantage of this talent for work or study?"
"To be honest, I've just finished my application for a job at the Schnee Dust Company. The recruiter said I could be guaranteed a position in their transportation department."
Velvet wasn't entirely sure why this woman would be so concerned, but the faunus was instantly shriveling under Ms. Goodwitch's powerful stare that was obviously informing her "That Was The Best You Could Come Up With?"
"…It seemed like a good offer…!" Velvet began to explain.
Glynda's eyes narrowed slightly, and the severity of the look increased exponentially.
"…At the time."
"Perhaps you would be open to another offer?" Velvet's visitor suggested, before another paper was handed over. Taking it, the faunus only needed a glance before she realized what she was holding.
"A Beacon application…!?" She turned to look at Glynda with nothing but complete and utter confusion, "This is for me?"
Glynda's eyebrow rose in a gesture of disbelief. That meant the answer was 'yes'.
"But… but why?"
"I thought it was obvious, but if you require an explanation…" the older woman sighed, "Beacon Academy runs additional programs that scout out exceptional talents that may be beneficial to the hunting community. Not just fighting, but also tracking, and applied Dust sciences, for example. In this, the student transcripts your school made available transcripts showed you have a natural talent for mechanical engineering, something I've just seen for myself."
"Believe it or not, this is a useful skill in the field of hunting, Ms. Scarlatina. It can translate to the development and maintenance of Hunting tools, a skill many a prospective student sadly keep overlooking because they're too busy hitting Grimm over the head."
"…Is there a career in weapon development?"
"Doubtless. We at Beacon believe in cultivating a wider field of specializations, and if you're willing, the headmaster would like to personally invite you to train there, with full scholarships."
"F-Full!?" Velvet spluttered, "You mean, like, everything paid for?"
"So long as you continue to display the same talent you've just shown here."
This was insane. Well and truly insane. Velvet had been ready to advance to the next stage of her mediocre existence when all of a sudden a chorus fell from the sky, proclaiming her generally unfeminine, but highly necessary past time of poking at broken things for the children and the neighbors was enough to consider her training at the most elite hunting school in Vytal, the place where legendary warriors were born and bred and-
"Um, Miss Goodwitch? If I go to Beacon, does that mean I'll have to… fight monsters?"
"That is implicit. At Beacon, you will be required to achieve a minimal level of combat ability for grading purposes, and this will include live field training and exercises. For less prepared students, we provide a number of extracurricular combat training programs."
"'Live'… you mean I'll have to fight Grimm?"
Velvet winced. The affirmation had all the comfort of a cold knife between her ribs. Well, wasn't that quite a trade off? If she recalled, being at Beacon meant staying four years. Four years of free tutelage, four years of food and security, four years of prestige, and the inclusion amongst one of the most valued armed forces on Remnant.
This came with four years of learning how to fight, which meant getting into fights, which opened the possibility of getting beat up by other students who probably didn't like her very much because she was a faunus. If not them, then it meant getting into fights with great big monsters full of enough teeth and claws to outfit a cutlery shop, and probably would like her too much as small appetizer.
The rabbit was pretty sure she knew where she stood where her combat skills rated.
"But the scholarship! If you graduate, you can really get out there!" Velvet thought to herself, before mentally adding, "But the giant slavering beasts that could probably bite your head off without even trying!"
Career Opportunities! An early, shallow grave in some godforsaken jungle!
My god, Velvet, if you take this, you don't have to live the rest of your life working for pennies under the Schnee! Yes, because I'll be busy being eaten alive by some giant crocodile I'll be asked to poke for homework! And they would ask me! They would ask me first, because I'm a faunus, and nobody cares if a faunus dies!
With all the churning thoughts and maybes and what-ifs going through the rabbit's mind loud enough that Angelica and Glynda could see her furrowing her brows in indecision.
Finally, at the end, when faced by the the girl gave the most sensible answer she could
"C-Can I think about this?"
Glynda didn't appear particularly affected, and simply nodded in accent, "Take the time you need, but I'll need to have an answer soon."
Velvet departed from the room not long after, with a sort of languid pace that Glynda knew showed she was distracted by her hard thinking over the matter. That was good. It meant she was taking the offer seriously.
As for her, when she and Angelica left the visitor's room, the orphanage matron graciously led the huntress to the room that doubled up as her office and study. It certainly was a good sight more personal than other rooms in Mother Sparks: all the furniture showed signs of regular and unintended use. A small round table in the middle was surrounded by a few battered wood chairs that were all busy hosting stacks of papers, files and other knickknacks, some which spilled from table to chair to floor, like some frozen paper waterfall. Old books of all shapes were all lined up on older shelves, ready to be drawn at any time that Angelica needed recall anything. Angelica's own desk was modest, and equally swarming with paper and books, save for the small work space she could carve for herself in the never ending job of looking after all the children who had made a home here.
A small table set flush against the wall held a tray with a tea kettle and cups, which Angelica used to pour one warm drink out and offered to Glynda, who thanked her.
"Oh, you don't have to thank me," Angelica smiled slightly, "If anything, I should be the one thanking you. This scholarship of yours really is a godsend for Velvet, though I don't think she realizes it yet."
Glynda took one calculating sip of her tea, before responding, "You seem to be very attached to Miss Scarlatina."
"I would like to think so. Velvet's been here the longest of all the children. She's practically a second daughter to me, really."
"Is that so? Do you know what became of her parents?"
"Honestly?" Angelica shrugged, "I really don't know. Velvet was too young to really remember what happened, and she was transferred here from another center. As far as she knows, this place is her home… which is what breaks my heart when I think about it."
"I think I understand what you mean. So no one considered adopting Velvet as a child."
Angelica's pleasant expression began to melt, "Not once did anyone ever come in and give her a even second look. Some of the things they had the nerve to say to me, whether or not Velvet was in the room, like she was some thoughtless animal, when they didn't even try to speak to her! She waited year after year, hoping..."
"Nothing," the matron said, downcast, "Which perhaps is the worst. She was twelve then, and after the visitors left, she just shrugged, smiled, and went back to her errands. After that, she tried harder to look after the younger children and help around the orphanage. I realized she gave up and accepted her place here."
"Most adults looking to adopt prefer younger children. They don't want to deal with the baggage of memories someone older would have already developed. Velvet would be statistically too old for them. It's not your fault," Glynda said, diplomatically.
"I know, but it's not about her age. Velvet gave up because she finally decided that since she was a faunus, it was how things had to be," Angelica sighed heavily, "It's petty of me, but sometimes I look up at the stars and the moon and ask, 'what sort of world is this? That it would give those ears to this beautiful, intelligent girl that does nothing but belittle and torment her?' She's given up, and now she's willing to work at the first dead end job available to her…"
Angelica's dark features transformed as she fixed onto the Beacon huntress with a determined look.
"If your school can give her the chance to change all that, then I beg you, find a way to bring Velvet there!"
The Beacon deputy headmistress' mouth curled up at the sides for a second, before retaining her professional composure, "Your dedication to your charge is admirable. But if you are so adamant, I should also warn you of certain…" Glynda thought for a second to find the next word, "realities if Miss Scarlatina accepts."
"Oh?" Angelica said, a streak of wariness moving over her face.
"Hunting might not be as blatantly segregated as it is working under the Schnee, but there are certain prejudices that run at the upper levels, too. Even if Velvet Scarlatina graduates from Beacon, she or any faunus might be expected to undertake more dangerous missions, or have certain accomplishments overlooked. Hunting comes with its own nepotism, sadly."
Velvet's guardian was silent for a second, before hesitantly asking, "But… if she survives…?"
"If Scarlatina has a good team supporting her, and she works hard, she can't be denied the full benefits allotted to a huntress. Even if she doesn't commit to a fulltime career, being a Beacon graduate should open up more than enough doors that she won't need to spend her life working on quarry drills."
Angelica nodded, somewhat appeased. No journey was ever easy, "Now, if I could get Velvet to see things this way…"
"I'm certain the allure of the benefits will overcome any doubts she has," Glynda answered succinctly.
All good witches had a talent for seeing the future, apparently. The moment the deputy headmistress made her assertion, the door to Angelica's office was rapped upon from the other side, before cracking open so that two familiar brown rabbit ears poked through, followed by Velvet Scarlatina's sheepish expression.
"Angelica? I was just thinking- Oh, miss Goodwitch, you're here!"
"Do you have something to say Velvet? Remember your manners. Don't just poke your head in, come inside," The matron chided, with an amused smile on her face.
Velvet ducked her head quickly, with an apology quickly slipping out of her mouth as she slipped inside the room, and stood, fingers wringing themselves as she looked uncertainly at Glynda.
Prospective student Velvet may have been, the huntress regardless spared little patience, and preempted, "Yes, Scarlatina?"
"U-um!" Velvet yipped, back jumping up straight, "I was just thinking about your offer to go to Beacon, and I decided I should accept. I would be foolish to turn down such a generous offer."
Glynda nodded, and Angelica did her best to keep her smile from being too ecstatic.
"Excellent. You'll still need to fill in your application, though. If you wish, I can also provide you some material to read to familiarize yourself with Beacon."
"That'd be great," The rabbit said, nodding in accent.
"When you're ready, come to Vale by the 17th. There will be a shuttle on that day to transport new students to Beacon, otherwise you'll have to find your own method of transportation to Beacon. Try not to be late, or you'll miss your initiation ceremony."
"No ma'am, I won't be late for anything!" Velvet said, still looking unsure, but more hopeful than before.
"Well, then, I hope to see you in a week," Glynda answered, and raised one open hand.
Velvet didn't realize it, but when she shook that hand, it began a series of events that would find her jumping off a ship in the middle of Vale's bay, flames licking at her back, and the percussion of a mighty explosion ringing in her head.