Welcome to the new Weapons Pointed at the Enemy. If you have not yet finished Volume 3 of RWBY I recommend you to do so before you continue reading. The fanfic picks up after Episode 12, so after you have seen the episode are you 'safe' to continue ahead. Without further ado, I give you:
Weapons Pointed at The Enemy
A frigid wind blew through the forest, dusting the snow from the trees. Ruby pulled in her cloak closer and her hood tighter, shielding herself from the biting cold. Winters in Atlas were always cold, the northern position of the continent enhancing it even further. Making her way quickly through forest to get to the mission site.
I wonder what the weather in Vale is like. Ruby pondered, her mind reminiscing simpler times. A crackle from the earpiece rudely pulled her back to reality before her mind could wander.
"Ruby, you should be coming up on the Grimm disturbance now. Remember, it's supposed to be only a few. So try to keep it low profile!" the cheery voice spoke. Ten years ago, at the Vytal tournament, Penny had technically been killed. But her consciousness remained. After a long process, they were finally able to reclaim it. Now Atlas used her as an AI operative, helping their 'specialists' during missions.
"Alright, Penny." Ruby replied, a small smile on her lips. She was glad to have Penny along. After all, she was nearly the only friend she had left. Only Jaune had stayed after their long journey to Mistral. Nora and Ren had left for Vale, wanting to help efforts in freeing Beacon of the Grimm. Ruby presumed they had stayed there. Jaune had been her partner in crime, or rather military, after that.
As Ruby came up to the clearing in the forest, she could already see the beowolves gathering. She snickered to herself. Ten years ago.. She mentally said to herself. Grabbing and unfolding Crescent Rose, she cracked her neck to ready herself for the fun to be had.
Crescent Rose had gotten a significant upgrade in the years since she joined up with Atlas. Using her position as a specialist, she had gotten many rare materials for it. As such, the weapon had evolved along with her. It boasted a far larger blade, extending her reach. The sniper fitted within had gotten overhauled, boasting a larger range and larger capacity as well. But because of the materials the weight of it had not changed, although Ruby swore it was even lighter than before.
As soon as Crescent Rose was fully unfolded, the beowolves turned to look at the approaching huntress cloaked fully by the blood red cloak. A large alpha beowolf stepped out from the small pack, growling at Ruby. With a large swing, she hammered Crescent Rose down and quickly shot at it. It howled in pain as the large bullet collided with it's facemask, the bullet deflecting after making a large crackle in it. Almost as a signal, the other beowolves attacked in unison. Ruby pulled out Crescent Rose out of the ground, a confident smirk on her lips. Readying herself, she awaited the first swipe from the lead beowulf.
As it swiped at her, she dodged and skillfully lopped it's head off. With nearly no effort, the second beowulf suffered the same fate. Quickly firing a shot, she managed to down another before it got close to her. Ruby held her defensive position, opting to attack only when attacked. Grimm were simple enemies and their stupidity easily abusable in a fight. Without much effort, she was able to weed out most of the beowolves before the Alpha roared again. It charged at her recklessly, rage overcoming the beast. Ruby swung at it with Crescent Rose, the blade lodging deeply in it's neck, shattering some of the bone on it's shoulders. It stared her down with a growl before Ruby pulled out Crescent Rose's blade and decapitated the Alpha. Slowly, it faded. Three straggler beowolves were left, Ruby opting to shoot them rather than chase them. As their bodies faded from existence as well, she pressed her finger to the earpiece to activate it again.
"Penny, I think I've taken care of all the Grimm. Can you check that for me, Please?" Ruby asked her friend.
"Ofcourse Ruby!" A chipper voice responded, "That seems to be all of them, Splendid Ruby! You should come back to base however. I believe General Ironwood wanted to speak to you." she trailed off, the last words sounding quite concerned. Ruby wondered why.
As Ruby walked into the hidden Atlas base, she found it to be more lively than usual. Scientists, engineers and general workmen were rushing quickly to get to their destinations and seemed working harder than usual. Ruby raised a curious eyebrow at them as she made her way to her room. As she came up to it, she pulled out the card to her room, swiping it through the slot. The door unlocked and she stepped inside quickly and closed the door. She hummed to herself as she leaned with her back against the door and looked over her room. It was simple. A bed, a desk, some drawers, a locker for her weapon and a bathroom with a shower. Only the necessities. It was Atlas after all.
Ruby placed Crescent Rose inside of the locker and made her way over to the desk. Wiping away the mess she had made of it, she took a small round device and pressed one of the buttons on the side. A hologram of Penny showed up on the surface of the disk and she placed it down on the desk and took off her hood.
"So.. Any idea why Ironwood wants to talk to me, Penny?" she asked her friend as she combed her hand through her hair. It had become longer throughout the years, although she didn't let it go past her shoulders. When she first had it cut again, Jaune was insisting her to at least try longer hair. It had taken her a while, but she liked the look of it. She was no longer a little girl and the haircut made her feel more confident in that as well.
"Uhhh… No idea!" her friend started, trying to sound as innocent as possible. Ruby still found it interesting that all of the human traits Penny had were pretty much exaggerated. In this case, all the signs of lying to her.
"Penny, you're my friend. You don't have to keep secrets for me. You know I don't tell anyone." Ruby spoke sweetly and with an innocent smile. "Please?" Ruby quickly added.
"Oh. Alright. Something happened in Vale and General Ironwood wants to send you and Jaune to investigate it." she spoke. Ruby's eyes widened.
Vale.. Am.. I able? She thought. It's been a long time.. And what of Jaune? Can he even go there after what happened?
"Ruby? Ruby? Hello? Remnant to Ruby?" Penny said, waving her hand to try and get some attention from the shocked woman. Ruby shook her head as she returned to reality from her thoughts again and let go of the lip she was unconsciously biting.
"Sorry Penny. I just, drifted into thought for a moment." Ruby spoke, faking a small smile towards her friend. Penny didn't seem to notice and continued.
"Anyway, I don't really know many more specifics on the mission. Only that it'll be in Vale. Oh! General Ironwood wants to see you right now, actually!" Penny spoke, flashing a large grin at the last of her words.
Ruby groaned audibly as she fell on her back on the bed. She hadn't even gotten a chance to catch her breath after her mission. A short knock on her door made her groan again, although she answered. "Come in, Jaune."
"I .. can't really do that without you opening the door, Ruby." he said, chuckling. Leaning towards the door from her bed, she pulled on the doorknob and fell over again. As Jaune entered the room he closed the door gently behind him. "Oh, Hello Penny." he said, spotting the hologram on her desk.
"Salutations!" she responded, waving at him.
Ruby responded to him muffled by her cloak, before rolling back on her back with a soft sigh.
"So.." Jaune started, grabbing the chair from her desk and sitting down. "Your thingy went well?" He spoke sincerely, although a hint of amusement in his voice at the state of his friend.
Ruby merely groaned before propping herself up on her elbows. "Ironwood wants to see us." she said, looking at him with her hair slightly disheveled from her previous actions.
"Well. He kind of needs to, we're specialists. We have to go to the briefings." Jaune responded casually, grabbing a small gadget from Ruby's desk.
"No. Jaune. I don't mean a briefing kind of deal. He needs to see specifically us." Ruby said, a more serious look in her eyes.
"Oh." Jaune responded, his tone lower than before. Leaning a little back in the chair, he tilted his head towards the ceiling of the small room. "What about?" he continued, levelling his gaze at Ruby again.
Ruby held her tongue, only looking at him, fighting her inner conflict at breaking the news to him. An uncomfortable silence passed between them before the door to Ruby's room opened and the general himself stepped in. Instantly Ruby and Jaune stood up to try and salute, but were quickly stopped by Ironwood's waving hand. "There's no need for that now. Penny told me you two were here. She opened the door." he spoke with a gentle tone and turned towards Ruby.
"Undoubtedly, Penny has already told you why I needed you two." he said, a hint of amusement in his voice. Penny eeped at the mention of her name and disappeared from the hologram. A soft chuckle left James' lips in response. Ruby nodded at him, shooting a quick glance at Jaune beside her.
"He doesn't know yet, however." she said. Jaune stood there looking confused at the both of them. With a heavy sigh, Ironwood motioned for the both of them to sit down. Ruby plopped down on the bed again with a little bounce and Jaune sat down in the chair. Ironwood placed his hands on his back.
"Jaune. There have been unusual Grimm and White Fang disturbances in Vale. We're sending you and Ruby to investigate. Since both of you are fully fledged specialists now, we're sending you without aid. So this will be your first official specialist mission." Ironwood spoke, keeping his back straight. His eyes betrayed him however, shooting the blonde a look of worry. Jaune's reason for joining Atlas was because of what happened at Beacon and James knew this very clearly.
Jaune's breath hitched in his throat. Memories came flooding back and his hands balled to fists, so hard that they became white. Ruby grabbed his hand and squeezed it, trying to comfort him. The clenching didn't stop however.
"Jaune?" Ruby asked, her voice gentle as could be. She was afraid he'd take it this hard. Ruby had always felt guilty at not being able to save Pyrrha. It was one of the reasons why she'd become quite close with Jaune. When they were still at Beacon they had been great friends from the first day onward. Both being leaders of their respective teams, they shared tips and tricks that they had learned and tried to improve themselves.
It wasn't until after Pyrrha was… gone, that she started understanding how close they really were. After Ren and Nora left, Ironwood offered Ruby a place in Atlas. Her skills were admirable, but she couldn't do it alone. With Weiss gone, Blake missing and Yang still coping with her lost arm, she asked Jaune to come with her. He agreed, making an off remark on having nothing better to do. It had taken a while for them to process through everything that had happened and move on to continue their training as Hunter and Huntress. They shared the same goals, to become a hero to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It was through this connection that she found herself grow closer to him. As a partner would in the teams the schools often set up.
Jaune knew it was his duty now, as a Hunter, to help those in need. Vale however was a different challenge. He had faced many opponents in the years since joining Atlas. But this was different. He would have to face himself and his memories. Already his eyes stung from tears being formed. Jaune quickly wiped the tears away with the sleeve of his still iconic hoodie, causing Ruby to take back the hand she put on his. He nodded slowly at Ironwood. His voice stammered as he spoke. "W-when do we l-leave?".
"As soon as you two are ready. There's an airship ready to drop you two off. It'll be quite a way, so you'll have time to rest on the ship. But make sure you are mentally ready to go before you board." Ironwood spoke, his eyes still showing the same empathy he showed earlier. "I can only imagine how hard this must be for you two. Take some time to process this. Penny will have all the details for you two when you're on the ship." He nodded his head at the both of them before turning around and leaving the room, leaving the Hunter and Huntress speechless in his wake.
A moment passed, the both of them processing through their memories. Ruby had found peace with most of what happened. Maybe she could try and visit Yang at Patch, to see how she had been doing. Ruby had sent letters to her, but received none. She persisted though, never quite one to back down and sent her a letter every week. Even make careful note of Yang's birthday to send her something special along the way.
Jaune only remembered one thing specifically. Pyrrha. She remained in his mind everyday, making sure that the sacrifice she had made would never be in vain. Pyrrha had believed in him like no one else had before and the rest of his team and later his friends backed him up in that regard. Jaune kept up this believe for himself, working hard at everything he did to make sure he did everything he could to do it as well as he could.
"Hey. Maybe this isn't all that bad. We could see our old friends again." Ruby said, half-jokingly, trying to break the awkward silence. Jaune looked at her, cracking a small smile through depressed eyes. "I guess so." he responded, "See what Ren and Nora have been up to. Maybe look at the town a little.".
Ruby patted on the empty spot beside her on the bed, signalling for Jaune to come sit next to her. Jaune stood from the chair and plopped down beside Ruby, leaning his head on her shoulder. "It's going to suck, ain't it?" he said, sighing softly.
"We've ran from the past for so long.. Best we finally face it." Ruby said, before gently leaning her head against Jaune's.