It's like looking in a mirror, Yang muses.
Not a true mirror. More like the funhouse mirrors from that time Summer had taken her and Ruby to the carnival back home. The distorted surfaces had reflected sloppy, disproportional images of the two sisters that had left them in tears from laughing so hard. One had transformed Yang's tall and athletic build into a squat, fatter version of herself, and another had thinned her reflection until she looked like she was made of sticks.
She and Ruby wandered the house for hours, while Summer Rose watched over them patiently.
But now Summer is gone, and Yang stares down her imprecise doppelgänger alone.
"We have a lot to talk about," the woman says again. Yang's jaw locks itself, her eyes narrowing at the muted aggression in her words. They're on Beacon grounds, she's well aware. Ozpin could probably take a cursory look out his window and see them. They need to move—there was just a major Grimm attack for god's sake.
Yang knows all of this, but stands her ground. Anger's got her rooted to the spot.
"Do we?" she demands, her voice low and hot. "Because I think it's a little late for that."
The woman's lips curve into a smile nothing short of serpentine.
"What would you rather we do, then?" she asks softly.
Sneering, Yang throws her arms down at her sides. Immediately, Ember Celica snaps to life, extending up her arms as the weapon unfolds itself. The gauntlets shine in the low light as Yang raises them before her, assessing the woman over her fists. She feels like dog shit after her disastrous bout on the train, but adrenaline surges through her like fire.
She's Yang Xiao Long. She's never not ready to throw down.
Her display draws a quiet chuckle from the woman, who shakes her head.
"Always so eager for a fight," she muses. "You truly are Taiyang's daughter."
"Of course I'm Taiyang's daughter," Yang spits back. "You wanna know how I know? Because he raised me."
The humor that had shone in the woman's crimson eyes dies, and she frowns in return. Yang watches her expression change and scoffs.
"Oh, sorry. Didn't mean to hurt your feelings," she remarks, a vicious cut to her voice. She settles into a fighter's stance, eyes sparking with a violet fire. "I never really got etiquette lessons. That wasn't Dad's thing."
The woman's hand ghosts toward the sheath at her side, expression darkening.
"Perhaps we should fight," she murmurs. "A lesson in respect could serve you well."
Yang's lips pull back in a snarl. "You have the nerve," she begins in a blistering tone, "to show up here, to my school, in a White Fang mask and tell me that we need to talk?" She narrows her eyes. "What could there possibly be to talk about? Huh? You think you can talk away seventeen years?"
"Yang," the woman tries, her voice cold with authority. "Yang, I know you're upset but there are things we need to discuss—"
"No!" Yang yells.
"I have information you need!" the woman insists sharply. "If you intend to protect Summer's daughter—"
Yang's eyes—a brilliant, striking violet—shift to a halting crimson.
Suddenly, the woman doesn't look so unfamiliar, and Yang levels her scarlet gaze at its twin.
"I will protect Ruby!" Yang snarls, and her words are low and fierce and they burn. "Because I'll be there for her!"
Her hair swings in the light as she lunges forward, giving it the appearance of living fire. Ember Celica cracks twice and the woman nimbly dodges the resulting explosion.
"Control yourself, Yang!" she scolds, one hand on the hilt of her blade. "Your recklessness will draw attention!"
"Stop telling me what to do!" Yang rages. She swings down, teeth gritted tightly, but the woman slips away again.
It's like a horrible rush of déjà vu. Yang strikes and strikes again, but the woman is always one step ahead, sidestepping every punch. Her anger and fatigue are throwing her off, but she digs deep for the last scraps of her Aura, determined to see this thing to the end. The wind howls around them, and Yang squints against it as she continues her useless assault.
"Think rationally," the woman reasons. They're circling each other now. Yang's chest heaves as she draws labored breaths, but her eyes still glow like cursed rubies. "Who saved you from that girl on the train earlier? She would have killed you if not for me! You owe me that much!"
Her words undo Yang. A strangled noise that is half battle cry and half broken sob claws its way out of her throat, and Yang throws a final punch, this time triggering Ember Celica to blast her fist forward with the deadly velocity.
"I don't owe you anything!"Yang screams.
She feels the familiar sensation of flesh breaking under her fist and it's not until she hears the delicate sound of bones cracking does she realize, with a wild sort of acknowledgment, she actually landed a hit.
The woman goes down hard, slamming into the ground and sliding away a few feet with the force of Yang's attack. The beads on her neck rattle and her heavy sheath drags against the ground, eliciting a horrible grinding noise. Her hair, dark and wild, spreads around her head, looking like a murder of crows.
Yang stands there, out of breath, as the woman eventually pulls herself into a sitting position.
Yang sucks in a breath through her teeth when she sees the blood on her face. The crimson stain contrasts sharply with her pale skin and she raises her gaze to Yang. Their blood-red eyes clash. Yang feels sick.
She's a fighter—a brawler. She's been taught to punch first and punch hard and to ask questions only when the dust settles. Dialogue is a stall for combat. Words are the weakest kind of weapon. Yang's approach to a battle is a closed mouth and a balled fist.
There's danger in talking to your opponents, Taiyang always warned her. Don't trust words. Only trust yourself and your abilities.
She wonders if he ever intended for her to apply that lesson to her own mother.
"Even Qrow stuck around," Yang whispers hoarsely. Her eyes sting and she blames the wind. "Qrow, my uncle—your brother—the biggest disaster this side of Atlas! Even he managed to pull it together enough to be there for me!"
Silence answers her. The woman only stares up at her, emotionless even as Yang feels tears start to track down her face.
"Why?" Yang chokes out the word. "Why did you leave me? Why did you leave Dad? Was—was it a mistake? Did you not want me? Did you not want to be on a team anymore? Or did—did you just not want to be a Huntress?"
A sob wracks her frame, and she stubbornly swallows the noise. Her body trembles with the effort to keep herself quiet. She presses her lips together, determined to keep it together.
The woman—no, not woman. Her mother. Raven—rises gracefully to her feet as Yang stubbornly swipes at her eyes with the heel of her hand.
"I thought," Raven begins softly. "I thought, perhaps, if I let you hit me—if I gave you what you wanted—it would help." She folds her arms, and her gaze weighs heavily at Yang, who stares at the ground, still fighting tears.
"Catharsis," Yang mutters, idly remembering the word from one of her discussions with Blake. Discussion meaning Blake had spoke endlessly about whatever book she was currently reading and Yang would sit there, half-listening, half-daydreaming.
"Catharsis," Raven agrees. "However, it seems I've only made things worse."
"I shouldn't have hit you." Yang still won't lift her gaze. "I—I'm sure you had reasons, I just—"
"No." Raven cuts her off, and Yang looks up in surprise. Her mother's face is drawn and serious.
"That's a dangerous road, Yang. Do not justify other's treatment of you. If you are angry, fight. If you are sad, cry." She sighs heavily, raising her crimson eyes skyward. "People will hurt you, Yang. And not all of them deserve to be forgiven." She looks back to her daughter. "Perhaps not even me."
Yang frowns. "But, still, that doesn't mean—"
She breaks off in surprise as Raven suddenly strides towards her, clearing the distance between them to stand over her daughter. Yang, unaccustomed to having to look up at others, stubbornly lifts her chin.
"You are not a cruel girl, Yang," Raven tells her softly. "You are not evil, you are not malicious. I don't believe you have a wicked bone in your body. How could you? You were raised by Summer Rose." Yang's eyes widen in shock, but Raven only chuckles. "Why the surprise? She was the kindest woman I knew. Everything she touched bloomed with beauty and compassion. It's only natural you would do the same."
She sighs, crossing her arms. There's a faraway look in her eyes and Yang realizes she's remembering a time since passed.
"Summer was so quick to forgive," she murmurs. "We fought about it constantly. 'Stop holding grudges,' she would tell me. 'Judging others, hating, withholding forgiveness, withholding mercy. Just stop it.'"
"But you didn't," Yang says flatly. It isn't a question.
Raven chuckles, running a pale hand through her midnight hair. "I didn't," she agrees. "And I'm not here to tell you one way is better than the other. But I will tell you to never get so wrapped up in concern for others that you forget yourself."
Yang's gaze hardens. "I'm seventeen," she reminds her, a certain snap to her voice. "It's a little late for nuggets of wisdom like that, wouldn't you say?"
Raven levels her gaze at her daughter, who recoils at the intensity she finds there. "I told that to Summer every day until the day she died," she tells her. "There's no such thing as too late."
Yang opens her mouth with no idea of what to say, when Raven suddenly goes stiff. Yang swings her gaze around, wondering what startled her.
"What is it?" she asks, turning back.
Raven smiles thinly. "Another time," she answers, pulling a confused look from Yang. She dons the mask. "Be safe."
She draws her blade, and Yang gapes at the size of it. She takes an unsteady step back as Raven slices a clean cut through the air, ripping some sort of entryway from thin air.
"Wait, what do you—?" Yang's question dies as Raven steps smoothly into the rip in the air and vanishes from sight. The tear smooths itself over, leaving Yang alone.
She stands there for a moment, and all the feelings of her childhood slam into her. You're alone again, her mind hisses. She's left you, just like she did before. There's no one here who cares about you.
The blonde turns at the sound of her sister's voice, eyes widening. She watches as Ruby and the rest of the team run up, weapons drawn. It dawns on her she more or less left them after a major Grimm invasion with no explanation. Oh.
"What's going on?" Ruby asks, eyes wide. She seems out of breath from her sprint, and Crescent Rose gleams in the moonlight. "We just got out of a meeting with Ozpin. Where have you been? We were all worried!"
"I wouldn't say all of us," Weiss gripes, arms folded tightly across her chest. "Some of us have a little more faith in their teammates."
"Weiss!" Ruby whirls to face the older girl, frowning fiercely. "She's my sister!"
"She's still a Huntress in training, and she can physically outmatch all of us!" Weiss insists.
Ho boy. Here we are again.
Basically I've had the shittiest two days of my life and I am coming back with a vengeance. Vengeance in the form of some mediocre RWBY fanfic.
The long and the short of it is Yang is my favorite character and I love her to absolute pieces but don't try and tell me she wouldn't lose her goddamn shit over seeing Raven. It's episode like, what, three of the new season and we still haven't heard anything about it? Are you serious? What did the talk about? Why the hell did Raven choose now to come back? Does Taiyang know?
Anyway, I got fed up so decided I'd just write my own version of what went down between them. Because yes, Yang is patient and loving and all the jazz but she's also a fucking wildfire went she wants to be. I don't think she would have been too thrilled to see Raven just turn up out of the blue acting all superior. But hey, what do I know?