The Broken Huntress: Chapter One
'Dammit! How did this happen!?'
That was one of the few thoughts that kept running through Blake's mind as she basically dragged Yang through the ruined courtyards of Beacon. The fact was that Beacon was being overrun with Grimm and she wasn't sure they would be able to repel them. She thought of Weiss and Ruby, were they alright or was their situations as grim as hers? 'Grimm? Oh God I'm starting to sound like—Yang!'
Looking down at her trusted friend, Blake couldn't keep the tears from flowing any longer. She kept moving though, she had to. She wouldn't let Adam, the Grimm, anything take Yang away from her. As she ran she would take glances at Yang, her complexion disturbingly pale and face set in a silent grimace, unconsciousness hopefully holding back most of the pain that the blonde must be feeling.
Blake couldn't look at Yang's arm, what was left of it she thought. She didn't know what would happen if she did. She'd only been able to stop long enough to hastily try and tourniquet the stump that remained with the ribbon from her weapon. She could barely keep it together as is. The stab wound that the Bull Faunus had given her throbbed terribly, with each pump of blood she could feel seeping through her own fingers, trying to stem the tide. The exhaustion that continued to seep into her as she ran. The physical reminder that she desperately held between her body and Yang's. The severed portion of Yang's arm.
She wasn't sure how or when she managed to do it, but Blake, in her effort to save Yang, managed to save all of her. Blake hoped against everything that she could find someone soon. Too afraid of attracting attention of the White Fang or a wandering Grimm, she kept as silent as she could. It wasn't fear for herself though. Blake wished that Yang had never come looking for her, if she hadn't been so weak, Yang wouldn't be like this. Blake couldn't continue. She had been moving towards the docks but she was just too tired. Her vision had begun to fade. She could barely see in front of herself.
With the last of her strength she laid Yang down as gently as possible, and looked at the blonde girl's face.
"I'm so sorry Yang," she sobbed. "I couldn't save you." Blake brushed the golden locks that had fallen on the injured brawlers face.
'I wish I could see your beautiful eyes,' she silently wished. 'Those beautiful eyes...'
Blake collapsed beside Yang, almost protectively covering the blonde, grasping at the remaining hand that was still attached.
Beep... beep... beep.
That was the first sound that the blonde heard. The first thing that she could recall since she saw Blake being...
"Blake!" The blonde cried out, well she tried to at least. It came out more as a raspy attempt at speech. Her throat was so dry, she ached all over. She couldn't decide what hurt most at the moment. Trying to open her eyes she had to stop due to the blinding light that permeated the room.
Even still, she tried to raise herself into a sitting position, she placed both hands on the bed and tried to—
She couldn't feel her right arm, no, that wasn't right, it felt like the feeling of pins and needles. Like when someone slept on their appendage and blood didn't quite get to it. Oh well, she'll just lie there until her eyes adjusted and the numb feeling went away. After a few minutes, Yang's eyes did acclimate. Looking around the room she became aware that this was a hospital. She also noticed that Blake was lying in the only other bed in the rather small room. A hospital gown kept the raven-haired girl decent, she appeared to be hooked up to a heart monitor but other than that, there was nothing.
Yang herself was a different story. She saw an IV drip coming out from under the sheets pulled to her neck on her left side. A heart monitor was also attached to her. It was during observations that Yang realized just how tired she felt. She looked over at Blake again, she appeared to be sleeping, having dosed off with a book in her hands. Yang couldn't see the cover but it was not one of the Cat Faunus' regular books.
Not thinking on it she called out to her, "Blake," like before, it came out as a quiet rasp. The beds were close enough that Blake could hear her though. Amber eyes jolted open and looked to Yang with a fear that she had only seen once. Right before she charged at the Faunus with the red sword.
"Yang!" The girl practically screamed to her, sitting up and wincing as she did so.
"Whoa, kitten, easy, don't hurt yourself—".
Yang was interrupted as Blake extricated herself from her bed and moved to wrap her arms around Yang's neck.
"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm here." The Faunus sobbed, "Everything's going to be okay. I'm not going anywhere." Blake forced out through her body-wracking sobs.
"Hey, Blake calm down okay? I'm fine." Yang went to embrace the girl, she still couldn't feel her right arm as she held Blake. "My damn arm is numb though," she said offhandedly, Blake stiffened as she spoke, "Give me a second to rub it out Blake."
"Yang don't look!" Blake said with fear, but it was too late.
Yang was staring at her arm in confusion, from under the sheets it looked much shorter than it should have. Yang tried to wiggle her fingers. Nothing happened. The heart monitor started to elevate with the blondes rising panic. Blake held her all the tighter.
"I'm here Yang, I'm here. Just listen to my voice." The words came quick and concise.
Yang wasn't listening though.
The sheet fell away to show her arm, thickly wrapped in fresh white medical gauss. The wrapping stopped before it reached the blondes elbow, with nothing else beyond that. That's when she screamed. Yang screamed and cried, thrashing in Blake's hold. Nurses rushed in during the episode and put some sedatives in the blondes IV to force her heart rate down. Through it all, Blake continued to hold Yang as she sobbed.
Blake wasn't sure how long Yang cried for, or when she herself started to cry with her. But eventually Yang began to calm, the occasional hiccup was all that happened for a time, after a while she finally spoke, words harsh from her tears.
"Could you get me some water? Please?"
Blake was hesitant to let go, but she soon did, turning to a pitcher and glass that was set on the end table at some point during the day. She filled the glass and turn back to give Yang the glass. Yang went to reach for it but she stopped and began to weep. She had tried to reach with her right arm.
Blake embraced the blonde again and whispered cooing noises and reassurances, Blake gently took Yang's hand and placed the glass within it, closing her hands around Yang's.
"Please, drink some water, Yang."
The blonde did so and sat quietly for a while longer. "What happened Blake?" The brawler sounded so broken.
"I was hunting an alpha, trying to take it out so the Grimm would disperse. I ran into Adam, my old partner. I fought him... and I lost," her voice beginning to tremble, "Then, you called out for me, that's when he, hurt me, and then you charged in and, and," Blake sobbed. Taking a moment to collect herself she continued.
"I managed to get us away but, we were bleeding so much, I passed out. Weiss and the others found us. We almost didn't make it. The only reason you made it is because of your Semblance." Blake started to cry again, "I'm sorry. I just wasn't strong enough."
It took everything Yang had to ask, "What happened to my arm?"
"I, I found it, carried it with you but, but, we were so far from help." Blake just sobbed, "They couldn't save your arm Yang, I wasn't strong enou—".
"Shut up." The tone was so hard Blake held her breath, looking away from Yang.
"Blake." Yang said harshly, "Look at me Blake."
She didn't want to. She couldn't bear to see the hate that waited for her in the blondes' eyes, but she did anyway. She deserved the hatred. She failed Yang, the woman with those beautiful lilac eyes. But when she looked she didn't see hate, she saw... understanding. Compassion... Love?
There were tears still, pain for the lost limb. Sadness of the situation in general. But she spoke, "This isn't your fault, Blake. I will never blame you for this, so please, don't blame yourself."
Blake covered her mouth and wept.
"And come on, I'm gonna totally get a super cool robot arm!" Yang joked lightly, "I can get Ember Celica built into it maybe too! How cool is that, right?" Yang grinned at Blake.
Blake couldn't stop herself, she thrust herself at Yang, wrapping her arms around the blonde once again and cried. In doing so she didn't see that the grin didn't reach Yang's eyes, a frown marred her face as she held Blake with her left arm, and silently cried while looking at what remained of the right...
Almost two weeks had passed since the Battle for Beacon and Vale occurred, and Yang had only been awake for the second. The blonde was surprised that she had been out for so long, though in hindsight, she had never been hurt so terribly. In those two weeks much had happened, she was happy to hear that all the members of RWBY, JNPR, CFVY, SSSN, and all the competitors that they had faced made it out of the battle to the best of their knowledge. Yang and Blake being the ones to get the worst of it out of all the students they knew. Though for everyone else, the same couldn't be said.
They won the battle, but it was hard fought. Without the air support of the Atlesian Fleet, casualties were taken. Soldiers, students, and civilians alike died in the attack. Blake informed her of the most important details. First, she started by saying that Roman Torchwick was killed in the fighting, fighting Ruby actually, the girl never landed the killing blow but she was present when he had been swallowed whole by an Alpha Griffon. Neo was MIA after her confrontation with Ruby, Yang was overjoyed that Ruby wasn't hurt near as badly as she could have been.
It was the news that Ozpin, Headmaster of Beacon Academy, was killed in combat against the apparent mastermind of the attack. The information rocked Yang to the core, she always thought that Ozpin was a strange man. But a man who exuded an air of utter power beneath a facade of indifference. His death was not in vain though. Blake never saw the battlefield of choice but from the way it was described, Ozpin didn't stop until he knew the woman that caused all the suffering couldn't continue. In the aftermath, General Ironwood, Professor Goodwitch, and her Uncle Qrow finished the monster off.
Yang and Blake missed Ozpin's funeral, being too injured to be present. It hurt Yang and brought immeasurable pride in equal shares that Ozpin fought so hard to protect those he called his own. His students.
With the defences of Vale all but shattered, all survivors had been evacuated to the three other kingdoms and outlying villages that could help. All the students were sent to Atlas, and the citizens split between the three remaining kingdoms until a force could be built to take back Vale and repair the breach in its defences. Until then though, everyone was to lick their wounds, get stronger, and be ready for when they could take the fight to Vale.
Many were biting at the bit to move, chief among them were the teachers of Beacon, Qrow—and surprisingly to the blonde—General Ironwood himself. Yang wanted to fight too. But, she was afraid. She wouldn't admit it to anyone, not Ruby, Weiss, Qrow, not even Blake. She kept up a cheerful demeanour to hide just how broken she felt. She was a boxer, an honest to Gods brawler, and now she only had one arm. She was afraid she would never fight again. She'd wake up in a sweat after horrible nightmares of her own dismemberment, and dreams of watching Blake die that night in the Beacon dining hall. If Yang was honest with herself, the latter was what woke her screaming in fits.
Ruby and Weiss had come by to visit a few times. Some of them while she had been unconscious, hoping for her to wake. Neither of them had spoken much, though. Yang had tried to keep up good spirits for them, but, they both could see she wanted to be alone more often than not. Well… as "alone" Blake was willing to leave her.
Blake almost never left her side. Even after being fit for discharge, she refused to leave. The hospital was going to remove her forcibly to free the bed but someone, Blake was never told, pulled some strings and that was it, Blake was Yang's bunkmate for the foreseeable future.
There were days that Yang wished the golden-eyed girl wasn't there. Those days she wanted to cry, sometimes, she evening considered ending it all. That was probably one of the reasons that Blake would leave only if absolutely necessary. Yang could never do that though, end it. She would never forgive herself. Even in death if she would suffer for doing that to those she called family.
Blake had begun to notice that Yang was nowhere near as "alright" as she had claimed to be. It wore on the girl to see Yang in such a state. But it was the blonde who broke first.
"I can't take it!" The shout of frustrated anger was amplified by the cup that crashed into the wall opposite of Yang's bed.
"Yang!" Blake called from the bathroom as she ran in to the room, concern laced her voice.
"I can't take it anymore Blake! I can't eat by myself! I can't go to the bathroom alone! I can't even read a god damn book!" Yang's voice getting louder with every exclamation, reaching a sobbing scream by the end of it.
Running to the blondes side, Blake took Yang's hand and placed the other in the girl's lap, "Yang, I know you're going through so much right now, I can't imagine how this must be-."
"No Blake! You can't understand! I'm a fucking cripple!" The tone managing to scare even the blonde, "I'm a fighter Blake... what am I if I can't fight?" The blonde begged for an answer, but Blake didn't have words.
"I can still feel it." Yang admits, "I can feel it like it was still there, and it hurts all the time," tears begin pooling in her eyes, "And then I look, and, and all I see is this ugly, bandaged stump!" Looking into Blake's eyes she spoke, "What the Hell am I going to do Blake?"
Blake didn't have words. She couldn't see how to make it better without it sounding like the hollow reassurances that the two girls had been feeding each other through the last week. Before things could explode any further though...
"I apologize for interrupting, but I would like to speak with Ms. Xiao Long." Spoke a calm, confidant, and strong voice. Both girls looked to the door and saw someone they didn't expect.
"General Ironwood?" Blake questioned.
The man looked at her directly, "Hello Ms. Belladonna. It's good to see that you have recovered." He spoke with sincerity. Eyes getting serious again, he continued, "But if it would be alright, I would like to speak with Yang alone for bit. It is very important." The general stressed, when Blake looked concerned.
Blake was going to speak but was stopped by the hand that squeezed her own, "It's okay Blake, why don't you go grab some food. I know you haven't had anything good lately, go grab yourself a tuna sandwich or something," the blonde joked.
Blake looked her in the eyes, "You sure?"
Nodding, the blonde let go of the raven-haired girl's hand and gave a shooing motion, "Don't be so dramatic." Completely ignoring her own outburst not even a minute ago.
Blake sat for a second before finally nodding and leaving the room at a sedate pace. Ironwood gave Blake a thankful gesture before closing the door to the room.
Ironwood kept his back to Yang for a moment before turning to look at Yang with an expression she couldn't decipher. She knew that the look was not pity, or something similar to it, but it wasn't a happy look either. Ironwood walked up to the bed and sat in the chair that Blake had just vacated, entwining his fingers together, elbows on his knees, he spoke, "So, Yang—may I call you Yang?" he started off.
With a nod from the blonde he continued, "So, Yang, tell me, how is your arm doing?"
Confused, Yang lifted her left arm, "Its fine, I guess, why?"
Shaking his head he clarified, "No Yang, how is your other arm?"
"What the Hell would you know about it?" The tone was utterly frigid.
"Phantom Pain," He started, "It occurs almost always after an... amputation." He spoke. Before Yang could speak he moved on, "Phantom Limb, the sensation that what's gone is still there. It feels like it can move, or you can feel something touching it when you know there isn't. These symptoms vary from patient to patient," Ironwood stood up and unbuttoned his jacket, "These are both extremely common in amputee victims, sometimes happens with an organ removal, like the appendix," He then removed the glove of his right hand to reveal it was mechanical, then his jacket came next, Yang was speechless as he continued to disrobe.
Beneath the clothes, Yang could see that the general's right half was composed entirely of metal, joints faintly whirring, no longer muffled by his jacket and unbuttoned dress shirt, "I know quite a bit about these because I still feel both to this very day." He finished, folding his arms behind his back.
It hit Yang then what the expression was. It was understanding. Ironwood was looking at someone who truly understood the pain that was ailing the pair. She looked at the man with a wide eyed stare, unable to speak.
"It won't be easy, Yang, I won't lie to you. But you can—and will—get better. I need people like you, and your team, strong people who can help take back Vale. There are people who care about you Yang, and I know that you are not fine." He spoke in a solid voice, "But I promise, that your team will help you, Ms. Belladonna has more than proved that." He, added, "And I will help you as well."
"Why?" Tears overflowing in her eyes as he made his proclamations.
"Because Yang, when you and the other students had the chance to run, had the chance to make yourselves safe. You all chose to fight. And what happened to you," Gesturing to the wrapped limb, "Is something that I never wished to see happen to another person. But I owe it to you. When you needed my help, Ozpin's help." He added. "We failed you." Ironwood showed so much emotion in his eyes then, "And I won't stand by and fail you again, not after you sacrificed so much for your friends and family."
"This leads to my important question." He states, then he grinned, pulling out a holographic projector, "Would you like to help me design an arm that will make me jealous?" he spoke with a surprisingly playful tone.
Tears still streaming down her face Yang smiled, really, truly smiled since she woke up a week ago, "Hell yes! You're damn right I'm gonna help Ironwood.
James Ironwood stood stunned for a solid ten seconds.
Then he could stop laughing for almost a minute.
Blake came back to the room but stopped when she heard the animated tone of voice coming from Yang and Ironwood, though his seemed much more subdued by comparison. Blake, silently as possible, opened the door to the room to see one of the most beautiful sights ever.
Yang was smiling, staring and pointing at a holographic image of what appeared to be an arm as Ironwood would make comments and alter the image to some specification that Yang had requested. The hurt was still in Yang's eyes, but it was it was as far away as Blake had seen it in a week.
The scene brought tears to her eyes as she walked into the room.
"Now, this is only a fabrication, and it will take some time before we can get to the point of attaching it. But with your Semblance, the process will go much quicker than with most others." Ironwood spoke, "Once the bandages are off I can bring in the prefab versions and see how they look, then we can continue forward after that. I'm going to be busy for some time, but I'll make some time to be here next week. The healing should have progressed enough by then, given how quickly things have gone thus far." Turning off the projector and standing, Ironwood turned to leave, "Besides, your roommate is back." He spoke in a playful tone.
'Ironwood? Playful? What the Hell happened when I was gone?'
"Sounds good Jim! I'll see you next week, then! I need to talk with Blake now anyways." The blonde said with a light tone, like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
Ironwood gave her a lightly reproachful stare, probably for the shorthand use of his name, "Of course, Yang. You and Ms. Belladonna have a good day." With that, James Ironwood quietly left the room.
Blake just stared at Yang with a tear filled gazed.
"Hey Kitten," Yang slyly said, "Should I get some sort of scratching post attachment installed on the new hardware?"
Blake still didn't speak.
"Hey, hey Blake!" Yang said breaking the Faunus from her sightless stare. Yang smiled. "I'm not okay yet. But I'm gonna be, alright?"
Blake rushed to Yang and cried. Hugging so tight, as if were she to let go Yang would just, fade away.
Yang stroked those raven tresses as she quietly kept saying that she was going to be okay. The difference from a week ago though, is that she meant it this time. She may be broken, but anything broken can be fixed with the right tools and a good mechanic, Yang thought fondly, thinking of the woman currently being held in her arm.