The boos of the crowd ring painfully in Yang's ears.
She can only stand there—slack-jawed and wide-eyed—as Emerald kneels before her partner. She can't tear her eyes away from Mercury's leg—bent at a heinous angle that hurts just look at.
She feels a hand—heavy and cold and locked in a metal gauntlet—seize her shoulder, but she's too stunned to lift a fist in reply.
Her righteous anger has folded up. Her flashfire temper has bowed out.
She allows herself to be pulled away—the image of her breaking Mercury's leg numbing her to the rest of the world—when suddenly she's jerked away by another set of hands.
She snaps to attention, looking up with wide violet eyes to see Sun Wukong wrenching her away from the soldiers.
"She's a student!" he's shouting. "You can't just haul her off like she's some kind of criminal!"
Then suddenly everything falls into place, sense slams into her, and a fire erupts in her chest.
"He rushed me!" she shouts, whipping around to scowl fiercely at the solider who had grabbed her. "Back off—he rushed me!"
The solider reaches for her again, and Yang—fresh from a fight with adrenaline singing in her veins—hauls back her fist.
Sun grabs her arm before she can throw a single punch, neatly settling himself between the two.
"Don't touch her!" the team leader insists. "This is a misunderstanding!"
"Step back!" the solider barks, planting a hand against his bare chest to force him back.
Sun's eyes catch fire at the contact and Yang watches as his hand slips up beneath his jacket, no doubt reaching for his staff. Yang lifts her fists, ready to fight her way out of this whole stadium, when a shadow falls over her and everyone stills.
"Get away from my niece." Qrow's voice is a low rumble in his chest. Yang's eyes flash to the shine of his greatsword, which he holds slack at his side. "I'd hate for Specialist Schnee to have to replace all you chumps because some of you got a little…" he hefts his sword up and rests it across his shoulders. "…hasty."
The soldiers hesitate for a moment, and Qrow cocks and eyebrow. "You wanna do this?" he asks. "Because they turned the cameras off, so I've got nothing holding me back."
At this, the guards fall back, and Qrow grabs a fistful of Yang's jacket.
"C'mon," he hisses at her, and gives her a small push. Yang stumbles forward, before throwing a look over her shoulder at Sun. His face is uncharacteristically drawn, but he gives her a reassuring nod.
It's the best she's going to get, and she forces herself to move forward, Qrow still gripping her jacket.
"Uncle Qrow, you have to believe me," Yang insists lowly. Her eyes scan the crowd, and she grits her teeth at the angry faces that she sees. "He came at me! I swear he did!"
"Relax, kid," he murmurs back. "We'll figure it out."
Personally, Yang would have preferred the words fight it out, but she decides to keep that to herself as she mounts the stairs. She scans the stands, and catches a few recognizable faces.
Her team is trying to fight their way to where she is. Weiss stands as tall as she can, jabbing a finger in the chest of a soldier who blocks her while Ruby is openly pleading with him. Blake stares down at him, her golden eyes bright with anger.
She passes the rest of team SSSN. Neptune catches her gaze and shouts something at her, but she can't hear him over the roar of the crowd. Scarlet is attempting to calm Sage, who looks like he's half a second away from just grabbing the soldier who stands in front of their aisle and hurling him out of the stands.
"Eyes up kid," Qrow mutters to her, giving her a nudge. "You aren't gonna find too many friends in this crowd."
Yang shifts her gaze back to the path in front of her, trying to block out the slurs hurled at her as she does so. She is a Xiao Long. She throws back her shoulders and lifts her chin.
Qrow won't speak to her as they make their way to a side room in the stadium. She steals a look at him. He looks distracted, and keeps working his jaw as he stares out the window.
"Uncle Qrow," she whispers. "Uncle Qrow, you believe me, right?"
He turns to look at her and their eyes clash; ruby against amethyst.
"'Course I do, kid," he tells her. He claps a hand to her shoulder. "I'm always in your corner."
She finds his words lacking the reassurance she was hoping for. For a wild moment, she wishes Taiyang were here.
Qrow raps quietly against a door, and it pulls back to reveal Glynda Goodwitch.
"You took your time," she tells them stiffly, stepping back. Qrow gives Yang a small push and she stumbles into the room.
She glances around as Qrow guides her inside. General Ironwood stands in the corner, arms folded behind his back. He doesn't acknowledge either Qrow or Yang in the slightest. Ozpin nods at her from behind a desk.
"Hello, Miss Xiao Long." He gestures to the only chair in the room. "We have a lot to discuss."
Yang glances sideways at Qrow, who nods as he takes a place against the wall.
She carefully settles into the seat, glancing at the headmaster.
"I'm not guilty," she blurts out. "Mercury rushed me. He came at me! I was defending myself!"
"Please," Ozpin raises a hand to stay her. "We will get to that, I assure you. For now I would like to discuss something else."
The wind effectively ripped from her sails, Yang deflates slightly. "Oh," she remarks. "What…what did you want to talk about?"
She watches as glances are exchanged amongst the adults.
"Miss Xiao Long," Ozpin begins. "Can you tell me about your Semblance?"
Qrow curses under his breath, looking away in disgust. Goodwitch shoots him an irritated glance.
"Um, sure," Yang says, shifting uneasily in her chair. "But I mean, it was on my transcript and everything."
"We did not all have the pleasure of reading your transcript, Miss Xiao Long," Ironwood drawls for him spot in the corner.
Qrow's eyes flash to the General's. "Watch your tone, Jimmy," the Hunter growls.
"Does he need to be here?" Goodwitch demands, appealing to Ozpin as she points her riding crop at Qrow.
"As long as you're planning on interrogating my niece like she's some kind of criminal," Qrow's voice is cold and dark. "Then I think I'll stick around."
Yang looks back to Ozpin with wide eyes. "Criminal?" she repeats. "I—no! I didn't do anything wrong!"
"You attacked an unarmed combatant." Ironwood's voice is coated with dislike. "You provoke the unity of the entire festival."
"He rushed me!" Yang protests, twisting in her seat to glare at the General. "I don't care what your cameras say, I know what I saw!"
Ozpin raises a hand to stay any responses. "Miss Xiao Long," he says, drawing the brawler's attention back to him. "Your Semblance, if you please."
Yang settles back in her chair, crossing her arms tightly across her chest.
"I get stronger the more I get hit," she recites dully, her violet eyes dark with mistrust. "An opponent knocks me down, I come back twice as hard."
Ozpin nods his understanding. "And how much control do you have over your Semblance?" he asks.
She pulls a face. "Control?"
"Your sister, for example," Goodwitch supplies. "She can activate her Semblance at any time, as can Miss Belladonna and Miss Schnee." She studies the blonde with a critical eye. "It is completely voluntary."
"I mean, I don't need my Semblance all the time," Yang defends herself. She knows fighting words when she hears them, and her eyes narrow at the platinum blonde professor. "I'm not always in a fight."
"But when you are in a fight," Ozpin presses gently. "How do you activate your Semblance?"
"Don't answer that," Qrow's voice whips out low and fast. Yang looks back to see her uncle staring absolute daggers at the headmaster.
Ironwood frowns darkly at the Hunter. "Qrow, if you can't control yourself—"
"Gentlemen," Goodwitch's voice cuts through the General's words. "This, as you may have forgotten, is about Miss Xiao Long. If you feel the need to exert your testosterone, I will ask you to leave the room."
"Glynda," Ozpin rebukes her softly. The Huntress falls silent with a small huff, folding her arms.
Yang glances around the room, uneasy. "I don't activate my Semblance," she explains. "It just happens."
Ozpin steeples his fingers, assessing the brawler carefully. "And what of the fire, Miss Xiao Long?" he asks. "Is that part of your Semblance?"
"Ozpin," Qrow snarls, pushing himself away from the wall.
"Answer him, Miss Xiao Long," Ironwood orders, drawing closer to the desk.
"I don't know!" Yang cries. She spreads her hands. "I don't know what you want from me! When I fight, I fight. Sometimes there's fire! Sometimes my eyes turn red!" She scowls. "What do you want? A six page report?"
"How can you have such a loose understanding of your own Semblance?" Ironwood demands.
Yang's chair clatters to the floor as she forces herself to her feet, whirling to face the General. "If you're so damn curious, maybe you'd like a demonstration!" she yells. Her eyes flicker and Qrow immediately steps between the two.
"Ease up, kid," he advises her lowly, putting a hand on her shoulder. "He ain't worth your time."
"Qrow, I would never attack someone while they're down." Yang Xiao Long doesn't beg, but she's damn close. "You know that, right?"
"We all know that, Miss Xiao Long," Goodwitch tells her, striding forward to frown sympathetically at the girl. "But, given the circumstances, and the fact that your Semblance could have possibly clouded your judgment, we have no choice but to disqualify you."
"What?" Yang rears away, eyes wide. "Disqualify me? But I won!"
"You broke a student's leg," Ironwood reminds her coldly.
Yang bares her teeth. "I told you—"
"Miss Xiao Long," Ozpin cuts her off as he rises from his seat. "The decision has been made. You are disqualified from the Vytal Festival."
The news hits Yang like a physical attack, and she sags under his words.
"Now," Ironwood strides forward. "If you would please leave, Miss Xiao Long. There are two guards who will escort you to a holding cell."
"A holding cell?" Yang practically shouts. "What—?"
"It's the only way to keep you safe, kid," Qrow tells her lowly. "People are real unhappy with you at the moment. If we send you back to the stadium, you and your team are gonna have a bad time."
It's the final blow. Yang's shoulders drop and she manages a small nod. The fire leaves her eyes. "Right. Got it." She turns to the door.
"Eyes up, kid," Qrow reminds to her as she turns the doorknob. "You're a Xiao Long. Act like it."
Yang's eyes spark with indignation, and she yanks the door open. She steps out and slams it shut with a resounding snap.
"You're too hard on her," Goodwitch chides the Hunter immediately. She looks to Ironwood. "And you! She's a student, James, not a soldier. I can't believe you spoke to her like that!"
Ironwood frowns. "It's not my fault," he protests. "It's the nature of the situation. If you recall, I voted we at least tell her our theories about her power—"
"Well, then why don't we just tell her everything?" Qrow yells, cutting the General off. "Why don't we tell her she's the daughter of a Maiden? Why don't we tell her she's not supposed to exist? 'Hey kid, ever wondered why sometimes your eyes go red and your hair bursts into flame? You've got magic powers. Pretty cool, right?'"
"Qrow, that's enough!" Goodwitch snaps.
"Where is that sister of yours anyway, Qrow?" Ironwood asks. "She must be doing something awfully important to be ignoring her duty."
Qrow's blood-red eyes narrow to slits. "I'm not Raven's babysitter." His voice is like a freshly sharpened blade. "So stop asking."
"You know her better than anyone," Goodwitch insists. "Surely you have some idea of where she is."
"Even if I did, it wouldn't make any difference," Qrow snaps. "Raven has never wanted anything to do with Yang. She never has, and she never will."
"Some mother," Ironwood remarks. "If only the Maid of Summer had actually stayed a maid like she was supposed to."
There's a crystalline ring as Qrow's greatsword clears its sheath and he levels it against Ironwood's throat.
"Qrow!" Goodwitch cries, but the Hunter has eyes only for the General.
"Don't you ever, ever judge my sister," he hisses. "Just because you're in this little club doesn't mean you know anything about what it really means to be a Maiden. You can't begin to comprehend what it does to you. It twists your mind, Jimmy. Mars your judgment. Raven was a person before she was the Maid of Summer. Don't ever forget that."
He sheaths his sword and turns on his heel. "Stay the hell away from my nieces, Ozpin," Qrow calls as he strides from the room. He puts his hand on the doorknob before he looks over his shoulder. "We're all on the same team, but Branwen blood trumps everything in my book."
"And what of Rose blood, Qrow?" Ozpin asks softly.
Qrow's eyes glitter like rubies. "Sure," he remarks coldly. "And when Taiyang Xiao Long breaks down your door for even mentioning the word maiden to Ruby, I'll be the one to carve I told you so on your tombstone."
"You have to say something!" Scarlet insists.
Sun sets his jaw, frowning at the swordsman. "Sure, Scarlet. Why don't I just skip on up to the tournament coordinator and tell him that he and the thousands of spectators are wrong and I'm right? What could possibly go wrong?"
"You make it sound so stupid when you say it like that," Scarlet mutters, slouching in defeat.
"That's because it is stupid!" Sun insists. "Scar, I want to help Yang just as much as the next guy, but this isn't the way to go about it!"
"There is no next guy," Sage cuts in darkly. "This whole stadium is against her."
The team stands in a group in the middle of the stage. The stadium is in complete disarray after Yang had been hauled off by Qrow, and Port had announced that there would be no fight until this was sorted out. The rest of the team had climbed down from the stands to meet up with Sun and discuss Yang's fate.
Neptune scoffs, folding his arms. "Team SSSN is fighting for an unpopular opinion?" he remarks, sarcasm coating his words. "Say it ain't so. We never do that."
He receives withering looks from his teammates, and holds his hands up in defense. "Okay, okay! We'll think of something else."
"Like what?" Sage demands. "Yang is getting disqualified as we speak. She attacked a downed opponent."
"Yeah, but it's Mercury," Scarlet mutters, scratching absently at his neck. "I mean, he kinda looked like a prick, didn't he? Who fights with their shoes?"
Sage looks askance at Scarlet, and the redhead goes obediently silent at the look in his eyes.
"That goes against the entire spirit of the Vytal Festival," Sage states flatly, turning back to the rest of the team. "It's about unity. Her uncalled for attack will be viewed as an attack on everything this tournament stands for."
"It wasn't uncalled for though," Sun growls, his tails swishing angrily around his ankles. "It was a trick."
"Well then, it's over," Scarlet reasons. "Right or wrong, Yang shattered Mercury's leg. He's not going to be doing much of anything for a while, including making illusions."
Neptune shakes his head. "It's more complicated than that," the trident-wielder mutters. "Yang's attack shouldn't have broken Mercury's leg. That wasn't the hardest punch she'd thrown the entire match—not by a long shot. He dropped his Aura intentionally. He wanted her to break his leg."
"But he was out of Aura," Scarlet insists. "That's the whole reason she won!"
Sage scoffs. "You're never truly out of Aura," he mutters.
Neptune nods in agreement. "If a blonde bombshell comes at you with red eyes and a rocket-powered fist, you're gonna find some scraps of Aura left to defend yourself."
"We're all forgetting the most important part," Sage says. He shoots a look at the team leader. "Sun can see through illusions. Simple as that."
Sun grits his teeth. "It's not simple," he argues. "Maybe home in Vacuo, but here? At the Vytal Festival?" he shakes his head. "All the tournament staff cares about is my Semblance and my weapon. Weird, mystical quirks?" he crosses his arms. "Not a chance."
"So forget the tournament," Neptune proposes. "Let's do some poking around ourselves."
"Where would we even start?" Scarlet complains. "We have no information, outside of Sun's weird magical eyes."
"How about we start with the team that claims they're from Haven, even though none of us have ever heard of them," Sage suggests, a dark undercurrent to his voice.
The team turns to glance across the stage where Mercury sits, still clutching his leg while Emerald fusses over him.
"Wanker," Scarlet grumbles, eyeing the scene with distaste. "I'm a better actor than that."
"Where are their other two teammates?" Neptune demands. "The creepy pigtail girl? She was one of them, wasn't she?"
"I never watched their match," Sage mutters, frowning at the ground in thought.
"Maybe he doesn't have any teammates," Scarlet suggests brightly. "If he can create illusions, maybe his whole team is an illusion." He frowns at the looks he receives for his theory. "What? It explains how anyone can stand to be around him!"
"Mercury isn't causing the illusions," Sun's voice is sure and steady as he surveys the downed fighter. "But someone here is."
"And when we find them, we're gonna destroy them, right?" Neptune asks eagerly.
Sun laughs. "No, when we find them, we're gonna drop their name to Yang Xiao Long."
So this is a little thing I whipped up because I'm so sad and so scared for my precious blonde boxing child, Yang Xiao Long.
Also, lots of my personal theories. I firmly believe Raven is a Maiden, and no I have no evidence to back it up. But I think that's why Neo freaked when she appeared on the train and I think that's why she was never around for Yang–maidens should stay maidens.
Honestly, RWBY is so heavy in fairy tales and it's always some weird virgin bullshit in fairy tales.