Chapter 8

Blake Belladonna valued silence. Silence gave her the time to think, to whisk her thoughts to faraway places. Raised in the streets, in a world that hated her kind, she saw the value in escapism. Books were one of the better ways to escape from the world. Literature simultaneously made her think and forget about her past, her circumstances, and the greater world beyond.

Shirou Emiya and Rin Tohsaka.

Her friends saw them as nothing more but strangers from a faraway place. But Blake saw them as an anomaly.

How could two people just come from a different world?

Everything on Remnant functioned on laws. Aura was a resource that everyone could use, but like any resource, Aura could run out. Aura granted people incredible abilities, but those abilities were still grounded by the rules of nature. Semblances were unique to every person, but every Semblance followed its own set of rules as well. As far as she knew, Semblances did not evolve into new abilities. And the Grimm, while monstrous in nature, followed rules of their own.

Rin and Shirou broke this world's rules the moment they arrived. Their abilities were too different from the abilities that huntsmen normally possessed. How they got here was a question that Blake asked herself every day. There were still so many mysteries left in the world. Had the world itself summoned them here? Or was it an accident from their world that brought them to Remnant?

Then, just as that, the door of the dorm room opens.

"Hello~" Rin announced, stepping inside.

"Excuse me." her much more polite companion said, following behind.

"Oh, everyone's gone." Rin said. "Except for one Blake Belladonna."

The girl grinned. Blake was never sure if her grins meant more than just a friendly gesture. There was obviously more to the girl despite her seemingly eternally friendly disposition. She was a much more refined person in her first few weeks with RWBY, a bit like Weiss but less of a jerk. Now she's a bit more loose, a bit more casual, and a bit more loud.

"Where's the rest of the team, Blake?" the blue-eyed girl asked.

"They went out to eat." she replied simply.

"Huh. I see." Rin nodded, immediately walking toward Blake's bed, her smile never moving from her face. "Why didn't you join them?"

"I didn't feel like it." Blake replied. "I'm feeling a bit under the weather." that was a lie.

"Ahh." the girl sat down on the opposite end of Blake's bed. "Well, how are you feeling now?"

Behind her, Shirou moved toward Rin's own bed and sat down.

"I'm feeling better now." Blake replied wearily. "If you guys want me to go out for a bit because you want to—"

"Blake, how does it feel like being a Faunus?" Rin said suddenly, her eyes no longer betraying humor.

Chapter 8
The Measure of a Magus Part Two

"I—I wouldn't know." she replied, almost out of reflex.

"Blake. You're a Faunus. Of course you know." Rin's voice had a hint of sympathy.

Blake relented, slowly lowering the book in her hand as her eyes narrowed. "How did you know?"

Rin shrugged, raised her hand and flicked her finger. Strange red lines began to radiate from the floor, some running up like vines across the walls, toward the ceiling. An odd feeling washed over Blake. She felt that she was somewhere else, no longer within the safe, familiar walls of her dorm room.

"Oh right." she said. "This thing."

"Bounded Fields serve a good number of purposes." Rin explained. "But I assure you, me finding out that you're a Faunus was an accident. The moment I activated it, I immediately sensed that your biology was different from everyone else's."

Blake sighed. "I suppose I have to thank you for not telling the rest of the team."

Rin smiled. "It's your choice if you tell them Blake, when you tell them. They'll find out sooner or later, I'm sure. You're slated to spend four years in this school, after all." she straightened her back and cleared her throat. "Shirou and I have heard about the White Fang."

Blake's heart stopped, growing concerned. Her heart resumed its pace, racing faster than before. Did they know? Did she know? What does she want?

In her brief bout of panic, she failed to notice Emiya's eyebrow raise in curiosity.

"…they're an interesting group, if anything." Rin continued. "May I ask what's your opinion of them?"

"Excuse me?" she spluttered out.

"I'm asking your opinion on them. I mean, if you have any."

She forced herself to calm down, breathing a sigh of relief. Rin, in all her weirdness, might have been able to sense that Blake was a Faunus, but there was no guarantee that she knew more than that. Her magic circle thing might have been able to sense Blake's Faunus biology, but hopefully that was it.

"I don't really have an opinion of them." she lied. "But if I did, I'd think that their cause is just. Their methods however muddle their purpose."

"We share a similar opinion then." Rin nodded. "We have similar organizations back home, people who are fighting for an ideal, an idea, or a religion. But even then, in our world, most of those sorts of groups were small and somewhat disorganized. This White Fang sounds like an intercontinental organization. Faunus must really have things rough for such a large movement to exist."

"Why are you interested in the White Fang?" Blake asked, trying to sound neutral.

"They're a threat." Shirou said from across the room. "That's just about it, really. With the Vytal Festival coming up, Rin and I assumed that the group would do something to mess with the festivities."

"An unknown enemy is difficult to deal with." Rin explained. "We have no intention to involve ourselves in this world's politics, but the White Fang, like the Grimm, are a presence that we'll probably be involved with soon. Giant hairy monsters that want to eat our souls are one thing, masked terrorists are another."

Blake decided to humor the two. She narrowed her cat-like eyes and surveyed the pair. "I don't know much about them. But what's your opinion of them? You mentioned you did your research. What can you tell me about the White Fang?"

Rin shrugged, her hair bouncing off her shoulder. "It's hard to judge a movement based on news articles alone. I don't know the whole picture; it's like looking through a keyhole."

"Do you think they're evil?" Blake asked.

"Evil is a strong word." Shirou countered. "And I've seen evil. I've seen all the evils of the world. A group, no matter how large, of Faunus fighting for a cause through violence cannot be judged as evil, based on the simple fact that it's impossible to tell each and every member's opinion on the actions they do."

"They kill people." Blake pointed out.

"But do they enjoy it?" Shirou asked. "Does every White Fang member enjoy it when he or she has to pull the trigger? If a White Fang member is asked to kill a civilian, what does he feel once the act is done? Does he cherish it? Does he regret it? Does he see the violence as nothing more but a means to an end? Does he feel hesitation or regret?"

"What Shirou is saying is that it's impossible to put all of the White Fang into the same basket." Rin explained. "We have little to no opinion about the group's cause. Whether it's just or not is up to the person you're asking. Right now, we are only considering the White Fang as a threat that needs to be prepared for."

Blake listened to Rin's words, contemplating them. Could Blake tell them? Could she trust them? They're a bit more open-minded on the topic than other people she's met before. But that could only be because they're from somewhere else. Had they lived their entire lives on Remnant, where they grew up in a world that resented her kind, would they still share the same opinion?

"I was one of them." she found herself saying.

Rin widened her eyes slightly in surprise. Shirou didn't hesitate in saying, "I knew it."

"You… did?" she asked, exasperated.

"Your body language gave you away." Shirou smiled. "You visibly tensed when we opened the topic to you. That's not a natural reaction, considering the subject matter. Though you could have also presumably been involved with the White Fang indirectly, like losing a loved one or whatever."

"Well this is a surprise." Rin said, her finger touching her chin. "Guess this means you can tell us a lot, eh?"

"That's it?" Blake asked. "You're just… you're just going to accept what I said?"

"Uh, yeah."

"You're not going to think I'm lying, or call me out, or call me a terrorist—"

"I can tell you're not lying because of my Bounded Field." Rin explained. "And I'm not going to call you out on your past. You had your reasons for joining the organization, and you had your reasons for leaving. But I'm not going to ask you those because one, that distracts from the conversation, and two, because you probably don't want to talk about it. Regardless of your past, Blake. Right now, you're nothing but a source of information. No offense."

Blake was flabbergasted. She wasn't sure what to say. Rin spoke her words in a calm, casual manner, with neither a hint of hatred nor annoyance in her voice. She didn't care that Blake was once a member of the group they had just considered a new threat. She didn't care that Blake lied about being a Faunus— to not only her, but their friends and teammates as well.

All she cared about was information.

It was refreshing.

Blake closed her eyes and the words left her lips on their own. "What do you want to know?"

[—

"So this Adam guy, he's one of the heads of the White Fang?" Shirou asked, roughly half an hour later.

Blake nodded hesitantly. "He wasn't always like how he is now. We didn't always have to rely on violence or stealing to get our point across. But that all changed when peaceful protests and talks stopped getting anywhere. One day, I just had to go."

The two magi were quiet for some time. They looked like they were considering their options. Finally, Rin spoke up.

"Thank you Blake. This probably wasn't easy, but thanks." she stood up, dusting her skirt. "It sounds like the rest of the team's back." she shared a look with Shirou and the other magus nodded. "We should get going. See you later, Blake."

They headed for the door, Shirou opening it for Rin, when Blake stood up and motioned after them.

"Wait." she said "I know that look. What are you two planning to do?"

"Nothing." Rin shrugged. "But the night's still young and I feel like going on a long, romantic walk."

The Faunus narrowed her eyes, knowing that Rin was lying. "If you're going then I'm going."

"You don't mind being the third wheel?" Rin laughed.

"I'm serious." she said. "Whatever it is you're planning, can't be good."

"I'm surprised you care, Blake."

Blake lowered her gaze, the confidence evaporating from her. "I'm not with the Fang anymore, but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if anything happened to you guys because of what I told you."

"Blake," Shirou said gently. "We were going to do this regardless if you opened up on being a member of the White Fang or not. Don't blame yourself for anything."

"And besides," Rin said, a bit more loudly. "Don't worry about us. We know how to handle ourselves."

Blake was about to speak up, when she heard the familiar sound of her roommates, in animated conversation, from the end of the hallway. Rin smiled and Shirou nodded politely as they stepped out, gently closing the door behind them.

"Where are you two off to?" Blake heard Yang's playful voice from outside.

"Just going out to enjoy the moonlight." Rin replied in a sing-song voice.

Blake tuned out the rest of their brief conversation. Her hands balled into fists as her eyes gazed into the city.

[—

It was an hour until midnight. The streets were mostly empty. The occasional businessman walked to and fro, the occasional car drove by, and the occasional drunken pair of friends strolled together. Shirou and Rin stood near the ledge of a skyscraper, observing the vast city below them, their eyes glowing shades of green.

"This probably brings you back, doesn't it?" Shirou asked.

"Hm?"

"You and Archer had a favorite spot back on Fuyuki. A place where you could see the rest of the city and plan out your moves."

"Ahhh." Rin nodded. "I guess. Though technically we only went there a few times. And then you know, he betrayed me and all that." she paused then added. "Hey Shirou, if you somehow do still end up becoming Archer, don't betray me, okay?"

"No promises."

"Shirou!"

He hushed her with a gesture, placing his finger on his lips. His eyes narrowed, gazing toward a street in the distance.

"8th Avenue. The Dust shop near the fast food place. A truck just pulled up and a suspicious-looking group is funneling out."

Rin followed his instructions, her gaze eventually arriving on the spot Shirou described. Six people emerged from the back of a truck parked on the street. Her reinforced eyes allowed her to make out their attire, black-and-white armor topped off with a white half-mask. The pair watched silently as one of the people placed a device on the Dust shop's electronic lock. A spark triggered and the steel grate protecting the shop opened.

"Definitely bad guys." Rin said. "How do you want to do this?"

"Non-lethal, of course." Shirou said, standing up. "We'll probably make enough noise to alert the police. When that happens I assume we can just tell them that we're from Beacon?"

"Probably. Beacon is a pretty respected institution. And Huntsmen are basically freelance cops, right?"

Shirou shrugged, stepping toward the ledge. "Let's just get going."

[—

They descended the building by leaping off the ledge into the dark below. They landed three blocks away from their destination, pretending to be a couple on a midnight walk for the first two blocks, then blending in with the shadows once they were close. They skirted around the Dust shop, sprinting toward a barely-lit alleyway. A second and third truck arrived not a moment later, parking close to the first.

Rin leaned out of a corner, watching as the two new vehicles released their own cargo of white-masked Faunus.

"Guns, guns, guns, someone with a sword…" Rin whispered. "Not unless those guns turn into swords."

Shirou looked out of the corner with her, glancing at the weapons. It took him only a moment to realize the answer to her question.

"Those are just standard guns. They don't turn into anything."

"So, grunts?" Rin said, retreating back into the alley.

"Probably." he followed her as she strolled toward the store's back door.

The White Fang were apparently bold enough to rob the store from the front entrance, but there was still a good chance that someone was guarding the back. Rin placed her fingers on the door's cold steel, closing her eyes as her magic circuits flared to life. A pulse of red light radiated from her fingers into the door, before echoing into the building beyond.

"There are twelve people inside, five outside. Looks like one of them might be a boss of some sort; he has a stronger Aura than the rest of them."

She placed her hand on the door's bar and pulled, grunting audibly as the locked door refused to cooperate. Green-blue lines crisscrossed into her arm, and she tried again, this time ripping the door straight out of its hinges.

They funneled in, Rin first and then Shirou. They made their way past what looked like a janitor closet, into the interior of the store. Rin held up her hand and Shirou stopped. A girl in a mask approached, holding a boxy looking rifle. Rin retreated into a small alcove as the girl passed by. When the girl paused to examine something on a nearby counter, Rin emerged and immediately wrapped the girl in a tight hold.

While the girl felt almost as strong as an athlete back on earth, it took only a bit of reinforcement for Rin to overpower her. The girl lost consciousness after a slight struggle, slumping to the ground. Rin hid her in the janitor closet they passed, closing the door gently as they left.

The magi made their way deeper inside, their footsteps as silent as whispers. Three more White Fang blocked their path in the store's showroom.

"Looks like they're not interested in the money." Rin noted.

"The rest are probably deeper inside," Shirou replied. "Where the majority of the Dust is being kept. Let's get rid of these guys and the ones outside."

"We won't be able to clear them out without making noise. We're not exactly Assassin, Shirou."

"Terrible point to make. Not even Assassin was an actual assassin."

Rin shrugged, realizing his point before she moved toward the closest target. Magical energy coursed into her legs and she dashed forward, faster than the eye could see. She slammed into the White Fang, throwing him hard into the counter. Before the Faunus, could react, Rin punched him across the jaw, knocking him out. Confusion took over the other two White Fang. Before they could react, Shirou appeared before the first, slamming a reinforced fist into the White Fang's face.

The third White Fang raised his weapon to fire. Shirou moved in another blur, crossing the five-meter distance in the blink of an eye and sending a kick to the cat-Faunus' midsection. The force of the kick shattered the Faunus' Aura and sent him crashing into a nearby wall.

By this point the White Fang outside reacted to the intrusion. Shirou and Rin saw the four White Fang readying their weapons, moving toward the store's glass windows. A bow materialized in Shirou's hand and Rin raised two fingers together. A barrage of arrows and charged, but non-lethal Gandr shots broke through the glass walls and peppered the White Fang. Shirou's prana-charged arrows broke through their Auras, while Rin's shots cursed their bodies into unconsciousness, too fast for the Faunus to even find cover.

"Lene, Lene, are you there?" one of the White Fang's radios sparked to life.

The two magi shared a concerned look before running inside, deeper into the store.

Shirou pulled out his scroll as they rushed through a hallway, dialing an emergency number and placing the device to his ear.

"Vale emergency hotline, what is your concern?"

"I'm a member of Beacon Academy's security. There's a robbery happening at 8th avenue, in a Dust shop shopped called Dust'vidania."

"Okay sir, can you please tell us your name—"

"No time. Just send help, thank you." he closed his scroll just as a pair of White Fang emerged from the other end of the narrow hallway.

The White Fang raised their blocky rifles at Shirou and Rin and pulled the triggers, peppering the hallway with bullets. The hallway was too tight to maneuver out of and even with their considerable speed, the distance was still too far to cross without getting hit.

Realizing this, Shirou's arm shot out.

The trigger was pulled. The hammer fell.

"Rho Aias!" he shouted.

The incantation was instant, but the spell was incomplete. A single petal emerged, materializing in the space between the Faunus and the magi. Bullets ricocheted off the petal harmlessly, much to the Faunus' surprise. Shirou and Rin continued their charge, crossing the distance in a sudden dash. The pair slammed into their targets, hitting with enough force to deplete their relatively weak Auras and knocking them out. Shirou's martial skill was far from Rin's, but he had managed to learn a few important things from her.

They turned right at the end of the hallway, eventually finding themselves in an open area. The walls were reinforced and several members of the Fang stood waiting, blocky rifles aimed at the entrance. A particularly tall and muscular man, one who wore a larger, more intricate mask than the others stood in the middle of the group. Behind him appeared to be a large safe.

Shirou and Rin skidded to a halt, Shirou materializing Kanshou and Bakuya, while Rin threw her hand forward.

"What do we have here?" the leader said in a heavy, muffled, and baritone voice.

"Just a couple of students out on a walk." Rin snarked. "What do you have back there?"

"None of your business, kid." the leader took a step forward. His hand was holding onto something. Rin at first thought that it was a sword, but as the man brought the blade to its full length, she realized it was some kind of weaponised chainsaw.

"Seeing that I'm a citizen of Vale and that this all looks very illegal, I think this is my business."

"Kid." the man repeated. "You don't know what you're getting into."

"Old man," the magus replied. "You don't know who you're dealing with."

The leader gestured to his men and readied his weapon. A Faunus at the end of the room depressed a switch, turning off the lights. They charged, head-on into the darkness, expecting a one-sided fight. It came as a surprise to them when a flurry of arrows, followed by blood-red bullets, slammed into their Auras.

The White Fang leader frowned at the sight, but grinned inwardly at the anticipation. The chainsaw in his hand roared to life and he stepped forward.


A/N: Yay. In other news, ufotable is starting to hint Heaven's Feel. Weirdly enough, I hope that it's another series instead of a movie.

chaosglory626: Basement's probably super reinforced, so Shirou and Rin might not be able to sense anything that's happening down there.

Katherine Sanderson: Yeah, that's generally what I'm going with.

AzureStorms: Thanks. Good news, this chapter had a bit of Blake's POV.

Server lock: It's k.

Noodlesandrice: Thanks, man. Yeah, this Shirou is mostly based on UBW Epilogue Shirou.

THE 51L3NT A55A551N: Unlike in other fics, this Shirou has a ton of mana to spare and will probably not need a backup physical weapon to fight. Sorry.

Mingyu: Always been a fan of the ShirouxRin pairing, mainly because it's the only romance that I find to be the most realistic. So thanks.

Guest: Don't know what you're exactly saying. You mean the stealing powers thing? They're safe from that. They're not Maidens or anything.