Okay everyone, so I had this idea going around in my head that I talked to Blaiseingfire about making a story where Winter did come back too late, and Jem was already an old man, and she came back just in time to see him die. And as I was writing it, I was watching one of my favorite movies, Secondhand lions. And I thought...wait...why not do it like that?
I could see Jem as being like Uncle Hub, so I am now rewriting it to be like the movie, with my own twist on it of course.
He probably won't be fighting shieks or anything, but hey, I'll see what I can do.
Anyways, here we go, Out of Time.
Winter was happy, she had finally done it, she had convinced the council to let her go back to Earth. It had taken her awhile. But she had finally done it. It had been two years since she had seen Jeremiah. She knew he would wait for her. But she wondered how he was? Had he gotten taller? Was he still growing his beard? Was he still drinking a lot? She had so many questions.
"Here I am again…" She said to herself as she saw the house of his parents.
For some reason, it looked…different, almost as if it was older than it was before. She figured it was just her eyes playing tricks on her. After all, she hadn't been gone that long. Granted two years was a long time, but not enough for the house to age that much.
Odd, she didn't see his truck outside. In fact, she didn't recognize the car that was in the drive? Did they get a new vehicle?
"How do you think he's been?" Nora was excited to come back.
Team RWBY and JNPR had been invited back to join her, after convincing the council of course. Either way, they were all excited to see their friend again. They wondered what crazy things he had been up to since they had been gone.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
"Did they change the door knockers since we were here last?" Ruby asked as the place looked so different.
"Yes, can I help you?" A tall man answered the door as Winter nodded.
"Yes, I'm looking for Jeremiah, is he here?" She asked as she didn't recognize this guy.
A visiting relative perhaps?
"Huh? Hang on." He said as he called into the house.
"Hey John! Someone is looking for Uncle Jem!" The man said as Winter was confused.
"Uncle?" She said as she didn't remember her saying he was an uncle.
"More importantly, this guy seemed way too old to be his nephew.
"I'll get it!" Another man came to the door as he looked over the nine.
"Are you one of those traveling salesman trying to find him?" He asked as they shook their heads.
"Uh, no, we're just friends." Winter was confused, traveling salesman?
"Friends, wow, its just…" He looked over all of them.
"Just what?" Ruby asked, she didn't know why they were acting so weird.
"Well, you're all pretty young." Okay, something was definitely off
"What is that supposed to mean?" Yang asked as Jerry was not that much older than them.
"Well, its hard to believe that old man would have any young friends considering how he tends to dislike a good portion of the younger generation." He said as the group got a very, very bad feeling.
"What…What do you mean Old man?" Winter asked as she suddenly didn't feel so good.
"Well, he's over eighty years old, that qualifies as old."
On the road
"Eighty years old?!" Winter couldn't believe it as the had rented a van to take to the address his relative had written down.
"Winter, calm down…" Weiss tried to reason with her.
"Calm down?! It's been over sixty years for him! Sixty years I kept him waiting! I wasted his life!" Winter was distraught.
Ever since Jeremiah's…nephew? Great nephew? Had told her that Jeremiah was in his eighties, she hadn't been able to stop shaking. How was this possible? What had been only two years for her, had been well over decades for him. Why did time move faster here? It didn't make any sense! Why was this happening?
"Look, at least he gave us the address, maybe we can go see him…" Weiss said as she had gotten Jeremiah's address from his nephew.
But he gave them a warning.
"My Uncle is a bit…eccentric, god help you if you step onto his property." The nephew warned as they were certain that Jem would realize it was them.
"So what did he say what Jeremiah has been doing with his life?" Ruby asked as Weiss nodded.
"Said he joined the Army, served for eight years, was honorably discharged, won the lottery, and ended up traveling the world, no one saw him for years until he finally came back." That was all Weiss could gather from the information.
Winter was nervous, she didn't know what to think. She was glad to hear that Jeremiah had a life to himself, but to think that she wasn't around to experience it. It made her sad, she remembered the kiss they shared so long ago, she thought it felt like ages ago…but for him it really was. The guilt was really getting to her.
"Winter…it's not your fault…you couldn't have possibly known that time moved differently here…" Weiss said as Winter had her grip tightly on the steering wheel.
"But…so many years we won't get to spend together…all because I couldn't convince the council to…let me come back…" She said as this day started out happy.
But now all she felt was sadness. And shame in herself that they would never be able to get those moments back. She could only hope that Jem would be willing to forgive her.
"Wow…look…" Yang said as Winter looked at the signs surrounding the road they were going down.
"WARNING! TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT!"
"TURN BACK NOW!"
"ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE!"
"He must not like visitors…" Blake said as she couldn't believe this was happening.
"Kind of a switch from when we knew him." Nora said as team JNPR looked out at the signs.
"Look at his house…" Jaune said as it was a fairly large house.
It looked like one of those old farmhouses, except fairly kept in shape, right next to it was a barn with a few old car wrecks in it. As well as an old beat up Dodge Dakota that Winter recognized as Jem's truck.
"Wow…how long has it been since we saw that thing?" Yang said as it brought back memories to when they got stuck in the back of the truck when he was driving them to his parents house.
"It's still in good shape." Winter remarked as he must have been taking care of it.
"So where is he?" The two teams asked as they stepped out onto the ground.
"RUFF RUFF RUFF!" They turned to see a dog heading their way.
Except this one was acting as a guard dog, and it was not happy to see them.
"Woah! Down boy!" Ruby said as the dog continued to growl.
It was a large doberman, and it was very protective of its master. It would not let anything get to him without his permission, it would not be-
"Look what I got!" Yang said as she held out a piece of bacon.
"RUFF!" The doberman got distracted as he sat on his haunches like a puppy.
"Why do you have that?" Ren asked as she shrugged.
"Lesson I learned from Jem, always have emergency bacon on you." She said as she gave it to the dog who proceeded to run back to his perch on the porch.
"That's good, but…where is Jem?" Winter asked as they suddenly heard a noise.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
"COME ON NOW!" They heard an elderly voice say as Winter froze.
It was old, and different, but she knew that voice anywhere….It was him.
"It's coming from over there…" Nora said as they went behind the house.
Only to see an elderly man hunched over looking at the water with a shotgun. Another Doberman by his side as he seemed to be trailing something.
"Damn catfish is elusive, okay Brutus, when I shoot, you swoop in there and get him, got it?" He told the dog as the two teams and Winter were terrified of saying something.
"HEY JEM!" Nora yelled out as the old man twitched a bit.
He turned around and that was when they got a good look at his face. His beard had gone gray, and it was only down to his chest, his eyes had grown dull, but they still retained the spark, his face had gone wrinkly, but there was no doubt about it.
"Jem…" Winter said as they started walking forward.
"Who the hell are they?" Jem said as he turned to his dog who seemed just as confused.
"Jem! It's us!" Nora said with a wave as he still looked confused.
"You know! Us!" Ruby joined in as he couldn't get a good look.
"Team JNPR! RWBY!" They yelled as his eyes widened in recognition.
"Them….." He said in a low voice.
"Damn…." He saw that one figure in particular was getting closer.
A figure he recognized all too well.
"Winter…." He said as she walked forward.
"Jem..its…its good to see you-" He just walked right past them with a sour look on his face.
"Oh crap…" Yang realized this may not have been a good time.
"Jem!" Winter yelled as she saw him walking up to his house.
"Leave me alone!" He said as he took his vest off and put it on a post.
"Jem! Please! I just want to talk!" She said as they followed the elderly man up the steps.
"Talk? Talk? After sixty years?" He said in a bitter tone as he looked back at them.
"And look at that…none of you have aged a day…just my luck." He said as he whistled.
"Julius, why the heck didn't you stop them?" He asked as he saw Julius licking his chops.
"Oh…Bacon….damn we got to teach you not to take things from people we don't know." He said as Winter winced at that.
"You know us!" Nora said as she was actually shocked at what he was saying.
"Do I really?! Do I?" He asked as he leaned against a post.
"What do you mean?" Weiss asked as he looked at them.
"Don't you remember? The promise you all made a long time ago?" He said as they all looked down.
"You said you would come back…" His eyes flashed with sadness for a bit.
"But we did!" Pyrrha couldn't believe this old man was the same boy that took them in all those years ago.
"In another time and another place!" He couldn't help it, his age had made him irritable.
"What happened to the man who would welcome us with open arms? The one who made a promise to me…" Winter said as Jem went silent.
"The promise that we would see each other again?" She asked as Jem looked away.
"That man is long gone….this old man is all that's left of him…" He said as he walked inside.
"Now get on out of here, I'm sure you all have important work to be done back in Remnant." He said as he sat down on his porch.
Only for the two teams to just stand there and look at him.
"Well? Go on…" He made a shooing motion with his hand.
"Yeah about that…." Ren said as he cooked up a lie.
"Oh you got to be kidding me, don't tell me that you have no way of getting back? Don't tell me that crap!" He said as Ren narrowed his eyes.
"The machine we used to get here has a recharge fuction, it can only be used once a month, we figured that…you would be fine with having us around for a month." Ren said to the old man as he narrowed his eyes.
"Well you thought wrong, find a hotel." He said as he stood up.
"Wait!" Ruby said as he turned to look at her.
She was giving him the puppy dog eyes.
"Oh no! That may have worked on me when I was younger! But I am not falling for that again!" Jem said with determination.
"mmmmmm." She got her eyes to water a little bit.
"Sorry still nothing." Jem wasn't cracking.
"MMMMMM." She dribbled her lip a little bit.
"Not going to do it." There was a slight crack in his facadae.
"Pwwweeeaassse, for old wimes sake?" Ruby said in a cute tone.
"…Son…Of…A…Bitch…" He said as he opened the door.
"Get in there…" He said as they started to walk in.
"Still works!" Ruby signed to Yang.
"Yeah, but we were THIS close to getting thrown out!" Yang signed back.
"I don't think he actually will! Jem may be pissed, but he's not heartless to turn someone in need away!" Ruby knew Jem was pissed off right now, but surely he would come around eventually, right?
"Jem…" Winter put a hand on his shoulder.
"Winter….just please get inside…" He said as he didn't want to look at her.
Winter had never felt this guilty in her life, she wanted to explain to him that she didn't mean for this to happen! She didn't mean to leave him alone for so long, but..how could she say that? After all, he wasn't exactly in the most forgiving mood, and she knew how stubborn he was before, imagine what he was like as an old man?
"I'm sorry…" She whispered as she walked in.
What could they do to mend this situation?