Depending on your definition of ending, this might be the finale of Aliens Among Us for you. I think this one is more in line with the tone I intended. This is it, this is the end, yet at the same time it isn't.
I wanted to catch a variety of approaches to the uncertainty of graduation, along with the additional complications in RWBY's case. I think some of these passages are much better than others.
There are some notes on Convergence after the review responses at the bottom.
Epilogue: Moving On
It was time to move on.
High school treated me well. I was the football star, the popular guy, got all the ladies, had all the fun, and did well enough. But all through it, there was this niggling little voice that said it wouldn't last, that soon I'd get thrown out of there and into the real world and everything would come crashing down.
That last year, I realized that yes, I was getting thrown out of there, but no, not everything would come crashing down. I wasn't good enough at football to make a life of it, but I realized that wasn't my life anyway. Did I like it? Hell yeah. But not enough to make a life out of it. I'd done a good job preparing- electrician was a good job, I enjoyed that kind of stuff, and I'd probably pay off my student loans within a couple years. It would be okay.
It was more interesting to watch the people around me. Darrel was still hoping for a football scholarship. Maybe he's good enough, maybe not. Aaron turned into a mopey mess. I could tell me brother wasn't looking forward to this, even though I said it would be fine. And then there's Yang, my, well, girlfriend. I mean, we're definitely a couple, but she's not like the flings I had before. I never though I'd like her- she's the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted in a girl- but somehow it just works.
Yeah, high school was over, and I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't miss it. But it's time to move forward, for better or for worse.
It felt like I'd already done this.
Last time it had been easier. I knew exactly where I was going to go after Signal and I didn't have to think about it. I still hadn't been sure it was the right choice, but I didn't really think about it too much. There were a lot more choices this time, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. With all the pressure to get it right, I had to force myself to just pick something and go.
I was handling it okay, and I guess my teammates were in their own way, too. School had done a good job of keeping us distracted from our predicament, but now it was done and it was really hitting us that we were here. Ruby approached it the same way she did anything, but I knew she'd made finding a way home her mission. Weiss actually seemed to like this place better. Blake had me worried with her moping, but I guess she had a reason. We were all the odd ones out, but she was the only really visible one.
I didn't think we'd go back. I was definitely hoping- I missed Beacon, I missed Dad, I missed Zwei and I missed just about everything about that world. But I knew that it was a long shot, and it could be a while. I had to move on, make the best of this world instead of clinging on to one that was gone.
Maybe the future wasn't as bright as it could have been, but there was a lot to try on this new world. It didn't matter where I was going- I was going somewhere.
Everything was about to go to hell.
An exaggeration? Maybe. But high school was good. Once I found my niche, things got a lot better. I met people, made friends, okay, still didn't get a girlfriend, but it was pretty good overall. At the same time, I felt like there was a lot I hadn't done. Regrets. A feeling of being unfinished, like I'd zipped through an area without doing all the sidequests and now I couldn't go back.
I didn't see a lot of good stuff going forward. I had a few bad choices. I could go to university or college, which is best described as a fuckload of hard work. I could try to get a job, which wasn't easy and I didn't have a lot of skills. Or I could be a hobo, which is obviously a terrible choice. No matter what I did, my friends would scatter, I wouldn't have much time to myself, and it was going to be nothing but work. If I could do it.
Was it that bad? Everyone had to do it, so why was I having so much trouble? I hated myself for that- what made me different? I always came back to the same answer, which was that I'm just overthinking everything. I guess, though, I eventually grew to accept it, if not like it. I would move on, try college, if that didn't work, get a job. It wouldn't be so bad.
I didn't want to move on. I knew I had to, I knew that it wouldn't be as bad as I thought, but I still didn't want to do it.
It was not going to be easy going forward.
I had realized very quickly that high school was a very good environment to blend in. Plenty of strange people, many distractions, and an overall attitude of not caring. No one would ask too many questions and I didn't have to answer them. Even with my team raising all kinds of hell, nobody cared too much.
Now that was over, and the future was looking pretty bleak. Where could I go? Everywhere was a risk- a risk of being exposed and crucified for it. I could minimize the risk, hide in the corner and get a job behind a desk, but would that be a life worth living? I already realized I couldn't get too close to anyone here because I wouldn't be able to hide from someone I loved, although that worked out in the end anyway.
Our ruse wouldn't last forever. Sooner or later we'd slip up, someone would find out, and we'd be all over the news. I'd pointed that out, but Ruby brushed it off, Yang didn't have much of an opinion, and Weiss said we could deal with it when it happened. I tried to be optimistic about acceptance versus hate, but I was afraid. What would they think of me? We had to get home before that could happen, but it was next to impossible. I knew I'd have to face it someday.
Objectively, I'd been through far worse situations, but this one was certainly the strangest and most out of context. It would be difficult, but I'd make something of it.
Everything was going to change.
I kind of lied and cheated my way through high school. I was the preppy rich bitch from the beginning, even though I wasn't. I got together with other girls like me- pretending to be something we really weren't. I lied to fit in- who didn't? I wanted to be the popular girl, and I guess I was, but it didn't really set me up for the future.
The future. I'd decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to be the same person once I crossed the stage. I wasn't going to fake my way anymore. It was time to make my way. I wasn't sure where I was going to go, but I wanted to figure it out and get it right. Maybe I was overreacting, countering a sea of lies with an artificial reef of truth, but that was what I wanted to do.
I wasn't quite alone. Most of my supposed friends would either drop contact or were too superficial to care, but I did have Anna. Such a strange girl, but I was happy to call her my friend. I felt a connection with her- not a romantic one, I'm not lesbian- that didn't make a lot of sense. I guess it turns out normal people and even weird people make better friends when you don't push them away.
My life was about to change completely and I knew it. I had no idea how it would go, but I hoped that it would be a good change.
I was looking forward to life here.
I thought Beacon had been one hell of a change compared to being the heiress back in Atlas, but life on Earth put that to shame. Even at Beacon, I was expected to be the heiress, and everyone was watching. On Earth, I was nobody, only a handful of people were watching, and I could be whoever the hell I wanted.
I hadn't even realized what freedom felt like before experiencing it. Making my own damn choices in my own fucking life. I enjoyed video games a lot, so I decided to go into the industry. It was impulsive for sure, and I wondered if I was overcompensating for being so ponderous before. In some ways, my upbringing had done me well, but I still resented it and wanted to get as far away as possible.
The others had mixed feelings, but I really didn't want to go back. I would have to give up everything I valued most. My amazing girlfriend. My dreams of a better life. My peasant tastes. My bad choices. My wild personality. I don't know if I could even be the cold heiress again. I wanted this more than I missed home.
I could stay on this planet. I wanted to stay on this planet, even with the little voice in the back of my head saying everything was wrong.
It was going to be weird.
Even though we're really different, Gavin is a good big brother. He was always there in my life. And now he's moving on. I mean, he'll still be at home, probably, but for how long? That's a big disruption in my life, and everyone in my house was feeling it.
And it's not going to be that long before it's me too. After doing Grade 10, that's only two years left in high school, then graduation and doing... something. I still had no idea where I was going to go. I mean, maybe I could try to become a video game designer or go into engineering or something.
Life was already changing. I'd made new friends and lost old ones, and other people were changing. I guess I was, too. Getting out more, being more outgoing, being more independent. Growing up. Part of me was excited to go forward and do that, but part of me was scared and desperately just wanted to keep being a kid. And I felt like I was the only one feeling it, except for...
Ruby. I guess she's my girlfriend now? Funny, I never thought about girls much before except that I kept making them hate me. In a lot of ways she's the girl I've always dreamed of. Cute, but smart and tough. And maybe she's not beautiful to everyone but she's beautiful for me. I think I'm falling for her, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.
It was going to a weird summer.
But it was going to be a good summer.
Life on Earth was weird.
Despite my best efforts, we'd got comfortable and replacement. Compared to where we were on Remnant, we got lazy and not fit and started doing a lot of silly things. It was bad. But at the same time, it made sense. We were going in a totally different direction and we didn't have to fight Grimm anymore. Sure, we had our little secret, but that's way different than fighting monsters.
I tried really hard to hold on to getting home soon, but I knew that it maybe wouldn't be that easy. I mean, there are lots of really smart scientists here, and all they had was theories and nothing usable. We could be here a long time, maybe even living long parts of our lives on Earth. Which would kind of suck, but it could be way worse. We couldn't stay hiding forever, and I was scared of what would happen when we couldn't do it anymore, but it would be okay.
And if it wasn't, I'd make it okay.
In the meantime, we had our weird lives. And mine was really weird. With Yang and Blake and Weiss looking at college that left me kind of alone in a way. I mean, they were still there, but pretty soon they wouldn't and we'd be separated again. Literally the last of our kind, we'd pulled together as a team and I would try really hard to keep that together. But I had Connor and his friends and we were going to go places and do stuff, so I guess I was building a life on Earth too.
It might take a while to get home, but we would get there. And for now, we have our weird life on Earth.
Wei Tzu: I think Ruby is actually the one who changed the least, and that was a deliberate choice on my part. She's idealistic and optimistic and stubborn enough to cling to it.
Firehawk242: To be honest, I have no idea what a hangover actually feels like, so I probably have no respect for them either.
Tatopatato: The original OCs from Emergence? They're in a few of the Asides. They'll appear in Convergence, but probably won't have a significant role.
GreatWyrmGold: Vicki is strange, and that might be my fault. I felt that there should be more Ruby as well, but I didn't really know what to put in. And we'll see some familiar faces in Convergence.
ShadowofAxios: It's been an adventure for me as an author, too, and I'm looking forward to writing Convergence.
Krazyfanfiction1: I'd actually originally planned for White Rose and Bumblebee, but I changed my mind near the beginning of Aliens Among Us. Those used to be my favourites, but Monochrome is growing on me.
winxfan808: To me, the buildup felt bigger than the event even in real life, and I guess the chapter reflected that. We'll see the OCs in Convergence and beyond, but they'll probably be fairly minor characters or even cameo appearances. Each OC is also a kind of reflection of Team RWBY, although I'm honestly not sure if I always intended to write it that way or if it just kind of evolved into it. I'm going to kind of miss this fic, too, but I'm excited for Convergence.
So, Aliens Among Us has run its course. I have mixed feelings about this fic. I think there were a lot of good ideas, some of which made it in and some of which didn't. But it would take twice the length of this fic to do a really good job, and trying to keep the mundane exciting was very difficult for me to do. Writing this fic was fun, but also frustrating.
I've learned a lot from the fics I've written, and there will be some major changes to the format of Convergence. It won't follow a fixed or semi-fixed schedule. Chapters will come out when they are ready, with a goal of 1-2 chapters a month as time allows. However, they will be somewhat longer chapters, aiming for 3000-4000 words instead of 1000-2000. Hopefully, I'll be able to put out a better fic and have more time for other things by stretching out the fic across a year or so.
Convergence will be out some time in July- I'm not sure when. In the meantime, I might release a few Asides or update my other fics, but I'll mostly be working quietly on Convergence.