Alexander Arc stood at the window of his store looking out at the street. In the last twenty minutes he had counted several ambulances and police cars speeding by in either direction. He looked down at his phone it was nearly twelve in the afternoon, Arabella had yet to call him again.
Earlier that morning when he was getting breakfast ready, she had called him saying that she wouldn't make it home due to an influx of patients. This wasn't that much of a concern since he takes the girls to school on his way to work.
However as time went on in his store, a large amount of people had come through buying materials ranging from food to camping equipment in bulk.
Sure it was great business but something about it felt wrong to him. The main fact was that most of them looked to be regular white collar people.
The sort who wouldn't rough it in the wilds on their spare time, though he always taught his kids that looks can be deceiving.
In this case, Alexander was fairly certain that he was correct in his assumption that most if not all didn't know what they were actually doing.
A familiar Mustang pulled into the parking lot in front of his store, Qrow stepped out of his Mustang and waved at him. He wore a loose red and grey three quarter shirt over dark jeans, black shoes, along with a pair of dark aviator sunglasses.
Alexander always thought Qrow looked silly in aviator glasses. Then again Arabella always chided about how he mostly wore as she calls it, stiff, attire.
He looked down; today he was wearing a grey button up shirt that was tucked in black slacks with a brown belt looped through it that rested neatly on his black dress shoes.
"I don't know what she's talking about, I look fine." Alexander murmured, as Qrow opened the door to the store, Alexander looked up at Qrow.
"What brings you my way today Qrow?" Alexander asked Qrow shrugged.
"Ah, traffics a fucking killer at the moment, tried heading south on the Dustberry to get the suburbs in the southeast but it was blocked up." Qrow jerked a thumb towards the street outside.
"Then there's whatever is going on around Vale, emergency services have been going nuts for the past hour." Alexander nodded as he headed to the main counter before entering a back door to bring out two chairs.
"I was wondering about that as well, Arabella had called me earlier in the morning saying she has to stay at the hospital for overtime because a few of the morning shift nurses hadn't shown up and there was several new patients."
"Yea that's pretty weird." Qrow said as he pulled out his phone, opening it to his contacts and scrolling down to David's home phone. Clicking it, he brought it up to his ear, after a few moments of ringing it went to voicemail. Qrow hung up and decided to call his cell, though this went straight to voicemail.
"Something a matter?" Alexander asked as Qrow nodded taking one chair in hand.
"Ah, well I'm trying to check up on that guy I told you about, David Reed, he got his hand messed up when we entered that apartment." Alexander looked puzzled and Qrow elaborated.
"I went to see him last night but he wasn't feeling well so I was gonna visit him this morning but as I said traffic is being a bitch, kind of reminds of Ice Queen." Qrow murmured the last part, and Alexander raised an eyebrow at that.
"Ice Queen?" Qrow looked up slightly startled at the question then waved a hand dismissively.
"Ah, you wouldn't know her, some chick I met at the last Policeman's Ball."
"Is that it?" Alexander asked as he crossed his arms, a small smile on his face, Qrow simply rolled his eyes.
"Of course that's it, what makes you think there's more?"
"I don't know, probably because you referred to this woman as Ice Queen." Qrow rolled his eyes, as he typed in Sarah's cell. He brought it up to his ear and it immediately went to voicemail as well, looking at the time he reckoned that lunch should be happening for her kids at the moment. Was her cell dead, or maybe she just didn't hear it.
"Qrow, what are you doing?" Alexander asked as he watched the man look at his phone obviously thinking about something.
"I'm sorry what?" He said after a moment.
"I asked, what are you doing, you've been staring at it like you're trying to figure out something." Qrow tucked it away.
"Just tried calling his wife but she didn't answer, probably teaching class to her snot nosed brats." Alexander shrugged. Someone started honking outside before there was a loud crash.
"What the fuck?!" Qrow yelled as both he and Alexander stood up, the two men raced outside to see two cars smashed together on the side walk. The lead grey sedan was pinned between a yellow truck and a brick wall.
"Alexander! Call emergency services!" Qrow yelled as he rushed forward, the sedan's horn was going off; the driver must be slumped against it. Alexander pulled out his cell and immediately started to punch in the three digits as Qrow rounded to the driver side.
The truck driver stumbled out of his truck, blood trickling down the side of his head. Qrow stopped him from falling and could see a large cut, most likely from hitting his head.
"You alright man?" The guy nodded weakly before pointing at the sedan.
"I'm okay, though I think something happened to that guy cause he jerked in his car in front of me, which is how we ended up here." The man slurred as Qrow put the man's left arm around his shoulder helping him. Qrow could feel him struggling to walk as they reached the sidewalk, helping him sit down. People from nearby stores came rushing out; Qrow turned to two women and pointed at driver.
"Keep an eye on him; I think he might have a concussion." Qrow said as he turned to face the smashed sedan, the horn was still blaring. Qrow stepped forward and gripped the door handle; taking a deep breath he opened the door.
Looking inside, he saw something that he would never forget. In the driver seat was a man who was obviously dead but that wasn't the part that made Qrow's heart seize in terror. In the passenger seat was a woman.
Qrow couldn't see her face as it was buried in the side of the man, he wasn't sure what exactly she was doing but he felt that finding out wasn't the best idea.
"Ma'am?" A new voice called out and Qrow snapped his head to see a tall bald man opening the passenger door.
"Wait!" Qrow shouted as he ran around to try and stop the man. He was too late.
The woman turned away from the dead driver and grabbed the man by the shoulders. Alexander watched her pull him close bite the man's neck, he started to scream in pain, Qrow grabbed him from behind to pull him away.
Qrow and the man fell back, the woman struggling to break free but were restrained by the seatbelt. The man was whimpering as Qrow rolled to the side. Qrow looked at the man's neck; it was a mess of torn flesh with blood pumping out no doubt in time with the man's heartbeat.
He needed to stop the bleeding fast; removing his shirt he placed it against the man's neck, pressing it firmly. He could feel the blood soaking his shirt, looking down he could see the man was incredibly pale, opening and closing his mouth as he tried to say something.
"It's alright man. You're going to be fine, emergency services will be here soon." Someone kneeled next to him. Qrow turned his head to see Alexander a grim look on his face; he looked down to see a medical kit in Alexander's hands.
"How long till emergency services get here?" Qrow whispered Alexander shook his head.
"The line was busy." Qrow blinked.
"The fucking line was busy, now shut up and move over." Alexander snapped as he removed bandages and sterilized gauze from the kit. Qrow moved aside removing the shirt so Alexander could press a thick wad of gauze against the wound.
"How can the line be busy, there's at least six dozen dispatchers at any time with an additional two dozen if things do get hectic." Qrow mused aloud as he kneeled next to Alexander who simply didn't say anything.
"I'll be back." Qrow said abruptly and stood up, looking around he could see other people on their phones. Some had the same frustrated look that Alexander had.
"Excuse me! Has anyone notified Emergency Services!?" Qrow called out, one woman responded.
"I'm trying but I keep getting some automated message saying that the lines are busy." A chorus of other people called out saying the same thing. Qrow was about to run a hand through his hair when he realized that it was covered in blood.
"Qrow! I need your help here!" Alexander yelled and Qrow turned around, kneeling next to him.
"What do you need?" Alexander leaned back and placed his hands on top of his head. Qrow looked down to see that man was pale; his eyes were staring unblinkingly at the sky.
"He's a goner Qrow."
"What do you mean a goner?" Qrow hissed Alexander simply shook his head.
"It means I don't have the medical ability to keep a man with a torn open neck caused by a human mouth from bleeding out." Alexander stood up, the woman in the passenger seat was still struggling to get out; he turned around to face the gathering people and pointed at her.
"No one goes near this woman, no matter what! She killed this man!" He yelled before picking up the medical kit and headed back into his store. Qrow placed his shirt over the dead man's face and walked over to his car popping the truck, he was sure he had a spare shirt somewhere. A woman screamed, and Qrow spun to see the dead man was now sitting up.
"What the fuck…"
Jaune stifled another yawn, as he sat down at the usual table. Around them the buzz of the cafeteria seemed to be noticeably more excited. Jaune tilted his head in thought, excited wasn't the right word. No, agitated seemed to be a better word that fit the atmosphere.
"Is something wrong Jaune?" Pyrrha asked looking at him quizzically, Jaune simply shrugged.
"I don't know everyone seems a little off to be honest." Jaune said as he took another look around, there were several groups of teens that seemed to be crowding in on each other. Jaune turned back to his food and picked up a forkful of cold pasta, shoveling it into his mouth.
"Bleh, please tell me I'm not the only one that thinks cold pasta just doesn't seem right." Jaune said as he washed the taste down with grape soda.
"I know! If anything they should serve more pancakes. No even better the kitchen should be open for students to make their own meals as well." Jaune chuckled.
"Chef would have a heart attack if a bunch of teens with no skill in cooking flooded her kitchen." Ren looked at Jaune.
"That's right I heard that the new Chef this year is really strict." Jaune shook his hand a little uncertainly.
"In a sense that's right but it's really just that she takes teaching a more serious than the last Chef." The last Chef seemed to be so disinterested in teaching that he simply let students bring almost any ingredient or food in to cook themselves.
Ultimately he ended up getting fired around the end of the year when a School District Observer had witnessed a few students putting together a cake that was shaped as a pair of breasts.
"So I never asked, but why did you pick that class?" Pyrrha asked as she wiped her mouth with a paper napkin.
"Meh, not much to it really, I watched my old man and mom cook as a kid, sometimes they'd even let me help out and before I knew it I just enjoyed making food." Pyrrha smiled.
"That's very admirable of you Jaune to be so dedicated to a field like that." Nora spoke up.
"It's a shame he's not becoming a chef, he makes great food…well except for pancakes, Ren's got him beat in that." She said nodding her head sagely; Pyrrha looked puzzled between Jaune and Ren who waved his hand dismissively.
"That's not actually true, Nora's just really biased when it comes to that." Jaune crossed his arms and huffed.
"Well it doesn't stop her from eating my pancakes whenever I do make them." Nora shrugged her shoulders.
"What? And let food go to waste? For shame Jaune, I thought you would have much more appreciation for food then that." Jaune opened and closed his mouth trying to say something but failed. That's when he noticed Pyrrha shaking as she looked away.
"Pyrrha?" He asked as Ren and Nora turned to look at her.
"I-I-I'm s-sorry." Pyrrha finally said as she turned back around, clearing trying to suppress a smile on her face. She looked Jaune in the eye and he could see that she wasn't trying to be mean.
Jaune smiled as her attempt failed miserably, laughter escaping her mouth, Nora quickly joined in, followed by him and even Ren. The four teens completely broke down in laughter that a few students at the other tables turned to look at them.
"What are ya'll laughing about?" A familiar voice asked and Jaune turned, laughter fading away as he looked up to see Yang Xiao Long standing in front of him holding a tray of food.
"Ah just some silly stuff, so what's up?" Jaune said he wasn't really sure why Yang was here, especially with a food tray.
"I was just wondering if I can sit with you guys." Yang said Jaune looked at the others who simply nodded.
"Yea sure, go ahead Yang." She smiled, and sat next to Jaune, who turned to face forward again. In the corner of his eye, he could see Pyrrha staring intensely, either at him or Yang. Pyrrha coughed slightly and Jaune turned to look at her.
"Anyways, what does Nora mean that you're not becoming a chef?" Jaune tilted his head a little.
"Didn't I tell you this already?" Pyrrha looked a little puzzled then shook her head.
"I didn't? Could have sworn I did but anyways, when I was younger I wanted to become a chef due to how much I liked cooking. However I changed my mind after some time to follow my father's footsteps and join the army, hence why I started training so intensely." Pyrrha blinked and looked surprised.
"So that's why you took boxing lessons with my old man." Yang said from Jaune's left, he turned and nodded.
"Boxing lessons with her dad?" Pyrrha asked, for some reason Jaune felt that there was more to that question than he knew.
"Yup I did boxing lessons over the summer, though I didn't know you two were related till you told me."
"Yea, I'm still surprised you never put two and two together. How many people do you know with the last name Xiao Long?" Jaune tilted his head back in thought, Yang smirked.
"Xiao Long is this list if you can't pick a number?" Nora shot a disgusted look at Yang.
"Was that a pun?" Yang turned her smirk to the orange hair girl.
"I have Nora idea what you talking about." Nora placed a hand over her mouth.
"I think I'm going to be sick." Jaune placed his hand over his face, Yang was well known for her weird puns and jokes.
"Yaaaaang! Don't torture them!" A new younger voice called out from behind and the five teens turned to see Ruby standing with her fists on hers hips, a pout visible on her face. With her were also Sun, Blake, Scarlet David, and Sage Ayana.
"Sup Ruby." Jaune called out and Ruby smiled before gesturing to the others.
"Hey Jaune, you don't mind if we sit with you as well?" Jaune quickly looked towards Ren, Nora and Pyrrha who simply nodded at him.
"Uh, yea sure go ahead though we might need another table." He said as he made to get up but Sun and Sage were already moving a table from their right to join with them.
"I still don't know what you're talking about Ruby, the Arc on those were Pyrfect." Jaune turned to look at Ruby; she looked like she was going to cry at any moment.
"You guys are so lucky; you don't have to go home with that." Nora hopped over the table and drew the underclassman into a hug cooing as she stroked her hair.
"Don't worry little one, we'll get you the help you need." Everyone at the table laughed save for Yang who still thought her puns were fine and Blake who just didn't seem to care.
"So out of curiosity, why are all you guys over here?" Nora asked as both she and Ruby took a seat at the tables, Sun leaned forward.
"Well, we saw Yang head on over to your table and it looked like you were having fun, minus the whole terrible jokes, so we reckoned why not join you." Jaune saw in the corner of his eye Ruby frowning sadly.
"Though some of us didn't want to come." Jaune frowned as he tilted his head in thought when he realized that Weiss and Neptune weren't here. He looked over his shoulder to see Weiss still seated at their old table with Neptune next to her.
"Neps trying to get the Ice Princess to come over but, ya know." Sun trailed off as he remembered who he was talking too.
"Smooth move." Blake deadpanned, Jaune couldn't help but chuckle.
"I get it; I don't blame her for hating me." The atmosphere at the tables stiffened a little before Jaune clapped his hands.
"Anyways enough about that, I've got a question." The group once more looked towards him.
"Since you're more in touch with the information flow of the student body, can any of you tell me what's going on?" Jaune said, jerking a thumb over his shoulder towards the various bodies of students that were circled up chatting animatedly. Everyone turned to Yang was the top of the student body when it came to rumors second only to Coco Adel.
"Ugh fine, apparently there's been a ton of accidents and injuries that have been happening this morning." Pyrrha frowned as she leaned into the table to get a better look of Yang.
"What do you mean? Like a traffic accident?" Yang shook her head.
"That's the thing; none of them are really connected to each other, though the one commonality of the accidents or incidents as some people suggest. Is that someone always goes nuts and starts attacking other people. Doing things like biting or clawing at them, and they're so out of it that it takes two sometimes even three people to try and hold them down. So now the police and paramedics are swamped with calls." Jaune caught Ren glancing at him in the corner of his eye, this was sounding awfully like what happened in Vacuo. The atmosphere at the table once more began thickening as the teens absorbed that information.
"Ah come off it, these folks are just rowdy is all." Scarlet said in his ever present accented voice, now that Jaune thought about it he didn't know where he came from originally. The tension was broken as the group of teens started talking and laughing amongst themselves. Soon enough the bell rang and everyone started to gather up their trays.
Jaune smiled as he watched Yang dangle a box of chocolate chip cookies over Ruby's head that she had tried hiding from her older half-sister. Pyrrha and Nora were chatting with Sun as they followed Blake; Ren stepped to Jaune's side, matching pace.
"So what do you think?" He asked and Jaune grunted.
"I don't know man, part of me knows where you're going with this and that part wants to say that it's ridiculous and that everything will be fine. However I saw and read what you did as well, things that frankly scare the shit out of me. So you know what, when the time comes Ren, when we see that things are turning into Vacuo find me and make me understand then we can act accordingly. We'll get my family, you, Nora, Pyrrha and your mom then leave Vale." Jaune said as they left the cafeteria, in the cool breeze of the afternoon Jaune could hear sirens in the distance. A part of him knew that Ren was right, that if they didn't act soon they'll be facing a situation like Vacuo. However when would be the right time, acting prematurely wouldn't help but if they respond too late, well who knows.
"Jaune, I know your nervous because of your sisters but please don't hesitate to do what's right." Ren said and Jaune turned to look at him.
"What do you want me to say Ren? That we should just ditch class now, get my sisters, head home pack up then ride out the storm?" Jaune snapped, Ren didn't respond and as they got close to the main building Jaune stopped him.
"Look Ren I didn't mean to be an asshole." Ren raised his hands.
"Its fine I understand, so I won't push it for now but promise me Jaune that when I do come to you about this again you'll listen to me then." Ren said solemnly, Jaune nodded as he held out his hand. Ren gripped it and the two went their separate ways.
Qrow watched from the window as several more bodies of once dead people rose up to chase others. He wasn't sure what was happening but whatever it was he knew he didn't want to stick around to see.
Behind him Alexander had taken his dress shirt and trousers off only to replace them with loose black cargo pants and a plain grey short sleeve shirt. At the moment he was inspecting some of the surplus combat boots to find one to replace his dress shoes.
"So what's the plan?" Qrow called out as he turned around to look at the older man, he had a grim look on his face. Qrow wasn't sure exactly what was going through the man's head; no doubt he's worried about his family at the moment. So was Qrow in a sense, he wanted to find Yang and Ruby but knew that if worse came to bear they'll look after each other.
Qrow watched as Alexander pulled out a surplus black seven pouch chest rig. It had three slots big enough to hold two magazines each in the center with an additional large pouch on each side; another pouch ran up the left harness and the last pouch behind the magazine holders. He slipped it on and headed towards the weapon section of the shop.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Alex what are you doing?" Qrow flinched as Alexander slammed something down on the counter, it was his phone. He didn't say anything as he turned back to look at the rack of rifles and shotguns. Qrow picked up the phone, and turned the display on; it opened to a text message.
-Alex, I'm on my way to pick up Nessa. Get the girls and get home as soon as you can, we need to get out of Vale- Qrow put down the phone, Alexander turned around.
"I'm going to go and get my kids but something tells me I need to prepare myself to do so. Now you can join me Qrow and we can get Ruby and Yang as well then we can head back to my house we'll decide from there." He said as he looked at the wall.
"Fuck man, this is crazy." Qrow said before turning around to look for gear to use. After a few moments to decide, Qrow chose a worn down grey Condor Cross draw vest. The right side had three magazine pouches; above them was a large shell carrying pouch and a shooting pad.
The left side featured a pistol holster capable of carrying most medium-framed pistols, three pistol magazine pouches which were fully adjustable to the height of most normal-sized magazines. With an adjustable attached belt loop at the bottom.
Qrow walked back over to the counter to see that Alexander had already picked a side arm for himself, a Sig Sauer P226R. He was slotting a small flashlight in front of the trigger guard. Qrow looked down at the selection of Glocks and frowned.
"No 1911 huh?" He asked, looking up at Alexander who just snorted.
"I don't see why not, it's a solid handgun."
"I'm not going to argue that just never really got my hands on any of them. Did have a guy who sold me a 1911A1, I liked it." Qrow beamed a smile.
"You still have it?"
"Busting my balls here Alex."
"What can I say; I like the challenge of hitting something that small." Alexander reached down and set a Glock in front of Qrow.
"Well if you really want a handgun that uses the .45 ACP, use this, Gen 4 Glock 41 holds thirteen rounds." Qrow nodded as he Alexander slid a few empty magazines and a brick of rounds over to Qrow. He picked up the box immediately started pulling out the rounds to slot them into the magazines.
Qrow filled the pouches on his vest with the now full magazines he then looked up at the selection of shotguns before pointing at a Mossberg 500.
Alexander turned and picked it off the rack, handing it along with a box of twelve gauge shells. Qrow began loading the shotgun with six shells before storing as many as he could into the vest.
Alexander had walked towards the wall to open up the plastic cabinet; he reached in and pulled out a Stag Model 3 rifle. Turning around to look at Qrow, he pointed a thumb at the cabinet, Qrow shook his head.
"Nah, if you're taking one then we're fine with that, I've got something for indoors and you've got something for range, plus both have handguns which will be okay at a reasonable range." Alexander grunted as he fish out several empty thirty round magazines and a few bricks of ammunition.
"Shame we can't take more with us." Qrow said as he looked through the knife section of the countertop, Alexander sighed before slotting a magazine in the Stag rifle and pulled back the charging handle.
"I know but we can't take too much with us, we need to strip down to what we need to defend ourselves and the kids. Anymore we end up with the risk of slowing down." Qrow nodded in agreement.
"That's true but why can't we just get a bunch of bags, fill them up with supplies and take them with us? We can even just stuff them into the trunks, I doubt we would need to worry about their bags or anything, a textbook isn't going to help." Alexander stopped midway of slotting rounds into a magazine.
"Qrow you're a fucking genius." Qrow shrugged with a grin, Alexander pointed to the far side of the store.
"I've got duffel bags in the far back, just past the portable camping stoves." Alexander said as Qrow headed to the back, after a few moments he came back holding six duffel bags. Alexander set aside the Stag rifle and magazines for it.
"Alright then, two bags will be used for food and water, such as MREs and I think I've got a few boxes of some freeze dried food." Alexander called out as he headed through a doorway only to appear a few moments later carrying a large box which he set on the counter top. Pulling out a switchblade he sliced the packaging tape to reveal rows of blue colored packages, Qrow picked one up.
"Chicken Fajita Bowl? Have you tried any of this stuff?" Qrow asked looking up at Alexander as he scooped bags into an olive drab bag.
"I have out of curiosity and I won't lie, it's not a super tasty meal but it could be a lot worse and it does its job right. Enough chit chat, fill one bag with the food, and I'll fill the other with these." Alexander said holding up a nondescript clear bag of water with a screw on top.
"Water bags?" Alexander nodded.
"Looks weird I know but we're gonna need it, especially with this food. After that we need to fill the other bag with stuff we might need." The two of them got to work filling the bags, outside they could still hear screaming mixed with the ever present sound of sirens.
Soon enough Qrow zipped the last of the bags and set them by the door. Aside from the food and water bag, they had one bag filled with boxes of ammunition and empty magazines to fill later.
The other bags held items such as a single Butane stove, extra fuel, flares, flashlights, a couple of magnesium fire starters, first aid kits, water purifier tablets, lock picks, binoculars, rope, a hatchet, a few knives, even a survival guide.
Alexander had also made sure that they had spare parts and the right cleaning kits for their weapons, he had also brought manuals on basic maintenance.
"Alex, why is it that you want to bring all these manuals and stuff? We both already know this." Alexander set his Stag rifle down; he had been attaching a rail for a flashlight to the end of the gun. Along with a strap that was attached where the butt of the rifle connected to the back of the lower receiver.
"Well it's simply really Qrow, we know what we're doing but the kids don't." Qrow raised an eyebrow.
"What do you expect them to be using guns to defend themselves?"
"Possibly, I hope they don't but if things get worse and we ended up getting split off from them, incapacitated or worse, I would like to at least know that they'll have the knowledge to at least help themselves." Alexander said.
"I also trust Jaune to be able to handle a handgun just fine; though using it in a practical sense to hurt another person will be his test in that regard but aside from that if we're forced out of Vale we're most likely going to take to the forests or hills nearby so I would like to have him to have said knowledge to use to help guide him. They're not things to rely on sure but they can help. Now catch." Alexander said before throwing a grey device at Qrow. Catching it he looked down to see that it was a handheld walkie talkie.
"Switch to channel 20, I've got eight more right here just in case, along with some rechargeable batteries but for now stick to the alkaline ones." Qrow nodded, something bashed against the window of the store, the two men turned to see a woman leaned up against the window. She wore a black business suit with what used to be a white blouse underneath. It was stained red by blood that was seeped from a wound on her shoulder.
"Please! Let me in!" She screamed, behind her Qrow could see a trio of figures across the parking lot turn to her.
"They're coming! Please you've got to help me!" Qrow reached out to open the door but Alexander grabbed his wrist.
"Stop." Qrow did a double take.
"What?! We've got to help her." Alexander pulled Qrow away from the door as the woman screamed in terror again; the figures had started to run towards them. Qrow tried to shake Alexander off him but Alexander resisted instead forcing Qrow up against the wall. For an old man Alexander wasn't weak, Qrow knew that he probably could get out of this but not without hurting him.
"Listen well Qrow, even if we help her, you saw what happened out there, the man was bitten, he bled out and died but came back to life. Think about it, it's not the bite itself that killed him but whatever was transferred from that woman to him. Now I know you saw it just as clearly as me that she was bitten as well, the human mouth contains thousands of bacteria at any given moment so if it gets infected we don't have the knowledge to treat it properly especially now." Qrow glowered at Alexander.
"You're a real fucking bastard you know that?" Alexander shook his head.
"You think I like this? You think I don't want to help her? I do but in the end Qrow my job isn't to help every single person out there, just the ones I care about." The woman's screams intensified despite moving away from the store window. Alexander released Qrow as they peered out from the door. The woman had tried running further down the shopping center but she had been wearing high heels making it difficult to run. A man had tackled her to the ground.
They watched as she continued to scream shrilly as another man and woman joined the first one. Her screams died slowly, Qrow closed his eyes looking away. He wanted to go out there and help her; he was a fucking police officer.
However what Alexander had said struck a chord in him as well, he had to find Ruby and Yang. If that meant condemning an innocent stranger to death, so be it. He felt sick with himself, so easy to throw away his moral convictions about helping those in need. He's seen the apathy and aversion people had when it came to wrong doings in his job almost on a daily occurrence.
He always thought low of those people to abandon their fellow human beings. The Bystander Effect was a bastard both in its concept and its truth.
He never thought one day he would be doing such a thing, admittedly he could argue that it's not the same scenario. Though he still had the ability to help the woman, to open the door and protect her but he didn't.
It was then that he realized it was because he was scared. If he ended up dying now, he'd never be able to save his nieces; if anything he would probably join the very things that would kill them.
"Qrow." Alexander whispered, he turned to face the man but he was still looking out the window his face stony as he watched the woman get devoured.
"I'm sorry for keeping you from acting but it was for the best." Qrow didn't say anything, he did feel a little resentment towards the older man but he didn't truly blame him.
"I get it Alex, I really do but that doesn't mean I like it." He said as he looked towards the ground, unable to look at either his face or the dying woman anymore.
"One more thing Qrow."
"If I ever fall and you're forced to leave me behind, please. Look after my family." Qrow felt his heart clench both at the thought and why he felt the need to say that.
"The same to you." Qrow said simply after a few moments, the three people that had attacked the woman had seemed to finished and wondered off back towards the parking lot.
"Okay now's our chance, take three bags and I'll take three bags, it doesn't matter which three I'll lead the way with my truck and you'll follow, sound good?" Qrow nodded as Alexander went back to the counter, picking up his rifle slinging it over his head and around his torso. He grabbed three bags as Qrow grabbed three bags, with his Mossberg slung over his shoulder.
Alexander unlocked the door, and pushed it out slowly; peering around it he could see that no one living or otherwise was near them.
Thirty feet away was Qrow's Mustang, next to it was a red four door F-150 truck. Alexander looked over his shoulder, Qrow meeting his eyes, he nodded. The two men moved forward, Alexander making sure the door didn't make too much noise as he closed it, locking it from the outside.
Turning around he could see that Qrow had already made it to his Mustang, popping open the trunk and placing his bags in before closing it again. He pulled out his Glock to watch the surrounding area as Alexander moved to his truck.
He wanted to put the bags into the back but the possibility of it flying out when they were driving might be a problem. He looked at Qrow waiting for him to turn around; the other man tilted his head confused. Alexander held up his keys then pointed to Qrow's Mustang.
"I need to unlock it to put the bags inside, so get inside and be ready to move as fast as you can." Alexander said at a low tone, Qrow nodded and moved to the driver side of his car. Alexander moved towards the left side of his truck keeping an eye out, he could see a nearby liquor store where people inside where watching him.
He took a deep breath and unlocked his truck; the audible beep indicating that it was unlocked seemed to be three times louder than it should be.
He flung open the back door and placed the three duffel bags onto the back seat. He closed the door and reaching for the handle of the driver side door, looking up at the reflection of the window he could see two men sprinting at him.
Turning around Alexander took hold of his rifle and raised it up, falling into a squared stance. Lining the sights up on the closest of the two he could that the man's clothes were torn and with blood soaked into it. He didn't hesitate as he pulled the trigger the rifle bucking slightly in his hands.
He watched as the man jerked back a little, as the bullet hit his right shoulder but he didn't slow down. Alexander fired more three times this time making sure to put them as center as he could, the man finally fell after the third round.
Alexander quickly switched his sights to the other man who was closing in on him. He calmly put half a dozen rounds into the man who fell forward, skidding across the ground from the momentum of sprinting.
It seems that they can handle more than a few shots from a rifle; this was both startling and welcome news. Welcome in the sense that they're not some invincible monster and startling because of the implications. It meant that even with a gun, fighting alone or in a group as against any large amount may prove troublesome.
Alexander opened the door of the truck, pulling off the rifle from his body and stepping in the truck. As he closed the door, something stopped the movement. Snapping his head around, he saw the woman from early holding the door.
The left side of her face was torn up; skin and muscle had been torn away along with her left eye, loose flesh hung from her mouth. He realized that it was her lips, her lipless mouth revealed blood stained teeth.
She opened her mouth wide as she lunged at him.
Jaune was taking a sip of water at fountain that was built into the wall. The sirens were a lot louder now; Jaune reckoned something must have happened nearby now for that to be the case.
He stood up and looked to his right; an open door was located a few feet from where he was. There was a breeze today and with it the smell of smoke could be detected. He frowned as he thought back to what Ren told him.
If Vale was undergoing a meltdown like Vacuo at this very moment, spending time sitting around in class wasn't going to help. Someone tapped his shoulder and he turned to see Pyrrha standing with a hand on her hip, an amused smile apparent on her face.
"Jaune, drinking water is an important part of working out but wasting it isn't doing you any good now." She said pointing at the water fountain; he felt his face flush as he realized that he was still holding down the lever for water despite just standing there.
"Haha, sorry about that Pyr." Jaune said as he stepped aside, something buzzed in his shorts and he pulled out his phone, missing Pyrrha's face as she blushed. He saw that it was a text message from his mom, which is strange; normally she's still asleep at this time. He opened it up and started to read.
Pyrrha felt the cool water flood through her body as she stood back up from the water fountain. It also helped give her time to beat down the heat that has risen to her face when Jaune called her that. Did he just give her a nickname? It was the first time anyone had really done that, sure Yang would play with her name but she did that with everyone so it wasn't really special.
She looked towards the blonde teen and frowned as she saw him staring intently at his phone. At first it was nothing but she noticed the look in his eyes as if he just realized that he had forgotten to study for midterms or something.
"Jaune?" She asked but he didn't respond she reached out tentatively with her right hand. Her heart beating faster for some reason as it closed on his shoulder but he snapped his head up and she retracted her hand.
"We need to leave." He said simply, Pyrrha frowned in confusion.
"What?" Behind Jaune Yatsuhashi turned to stare at him as well, having overheard him.
"No time to explain Pyrrha, we just have to get out." He grabbed her hand and started to pull her towards the door when Yatsuhashi stepped in his way.
"Jaune answer the question." He said Pyrrha could see though that the older teen's body was tensing as if expecting something physical. Jaune's hand let go of Pyrrha and he took a deep breath.
"Alright fine, my mom just sent me a text message saying to gather my sisters and wait for my old man to pick them up then to head home and prepare to leave Vale." Pyrrha frowned at that.
"Why?" Jaune shook his head.
"I don't for sure but something tells me it has to do with all these sirens we've been hearing, no doubt some of them were ambulances heading to hospitals. My mom's a nurse she's probably seen something that's making her panic, which if you knew my mother would know that's she's got a pretty cool head. At the same time, Ren and I have been thinking that whatever happened in Vacuo is happening in Vale. Vacuo fell apart and from what we read and seen from articles and videos of it, it started like this before falling completely apart within days." Pyrrha wasn't really sure what to say at that, so she just nodded slowly.
"You don't believe me do you?" Jaune asked in an exasperated voice.
"Jaune I'm sure that you and Ren put a lot of thought into this but surely you're just being…well overcautious about this." Unfortunately there was a commotion outside, people in the gym seemed to stop what they were doing and run outside.
"Come on." Jaune said as Yatsuhashi stepped aside, the three teens entered the cool hallway of the building, and everyone else was pressed up against the glass of the hallway looking outside. Jaune walked up towards it to see a man in a suit stumbling around in the distance.
Even from about forty yards away, Jaune could tell that he's clothes were torn up. Though why that was the case didn't make any sense.
"Alright, everyone stay inside no matter what!" Coach Elba shouted as he headed towards a pair of doors that led outside. Everyone watched as he made his way towards the stranger, they watched as he raised a hand. The stranger jerked towards the direction of Coach Elba, Jaune felt his throat tighten in fear, something was wrong here.
Elba seemed to freeze up himself, students whispered amongst themselves as to what's going on. Elba took another step forward, the stranger started to run at him. A commotion broke out from the students as they saw Elba turn and run back towards them.
He was waving his arms, shouting something but no one could hear it as the stranger closed in on him. They watched as Elba was brought down to the ground. Panic broke out amongst them as they watched the stranger lean down, face pressed against the back of Elba's neck and rear up again. Something red came away from Elba's back.
That's when they heard the screaming, a pure horrified scream of pain that couldn't come from anyone but Coach Elba. The stranger leaned back down and they could see Elba struggles to free himself lessen till he stopped completely.
Jaune could feel his heard beat rapidly in his chest; something gripped his hand causing him to jump a little. Looking down he could see it was Pyrrha's hand.
"D-D-Did he just really bit him?" Pyrrha stammered out, fear lacing her voice. In the distance Jaune realized that he could see more people coming from sports fields. Beyond those were residential houses, was that were they were coming from? There was a ding indicating the school's P.A. system turning on, Assistant Principal Tanner's voice came on, shaky and breathless as if he had been running.
"All students and Faculty must remain indoors; the school is now in Lockdown until further notice." There was a sound of something getting knocked over, there was a squeal of static, everyone expect it to shut off but apparently Tanner forgot to do that.
"Come on, hurry the fuck up we gotta get out of here." Tanner was heard talking to someone.
"What about the kids?" A new voice asked Jaune recognized Principal Matthews.
"Fuck the kids, you saw what that thing did to Ms. Jose, we're all fucking dead if we don't get out."
"You fucking moron! You left the P.A. system on!" There was a squelch of static and the system died, everyone in the hallway began panicking, Jaune turned to Pyrrha and Yatsuhashi.
"We need to get our stuff and get out of here." Jaune said the two teens nodded solemnly. Jaune pulled out his phone, and was about to dial Ren's number when he called.
"Ren, where are you?" Jaune asked the sound of people yelling could be heard in the background.
"I'm in the science wing; I'm heading towards you right now, I texted Nora, she says she is already by the locker rooms."
"Alright, Pyrrha and Yatsuhashi are with me, we'll wait for you there, be safe."
"You too." Ren hung up, Jaune turned to Pyrrha and Yatsuhashi.
"You cool with coming with us Yatsuhashi?" The bigger teen nodded.
"I need to find Velvet, Coco and Fox, till then I'll stick with you." Jaune nodded before looking at Pyrrha. He could see that she was frightened; if this was any other situation he would have thought she looked cute but now wasn't the time.
"Pyrrha, are you okay?" Jaune asked and winced, of course she wasn't okay, shit he wasn't okay either.
"I-I-I'm fine; just give me a few minutes." Jaune nodded as he turned around, most of the students that were in the hallway were panicking or leaving the building. Jaune wanted to stop them, that going out there was a bad idea but really, they needed to leave as well to get to the lockers.
"So what's the plan Jaune?" Yatsuhashi asked as they watched more students left the other buildings to try and leave the school. Jaune watched as numerous students ran essentially into the jaws of death. Strangers just like the man that attacked Coach Elba started to chase down the students and faculty that tried leaving through the back areas.
"We get to the lockers and take what stuff we need from them, I also need to head to my locker in the main building." Yatsuhashi tilted his head a little in confusion.
"My riding gear is in there, I'd prefer to wear it when I ride plus I think it might be useful for some protection." The taller teen nodded, Jaune watched as more people ran down students, attacking them in a similar manner as Elba.
Jaune turned to Pyrrha who met his eyes, she nodded once, and he could see that she nervous. He couldn't blame her; his hands were cold and sweaty with his heart beating at a hundred miles an hour.
"Alright let's go to the far side, I don't want to be any closer to those people than I need to be." Jaune said taking off at a jog down to their left down the hallway. He could hear Pyrrha and Yatsuhashi following close behind him.
Reaching the end of the hallway, there was a set of double doors to his right and another hallway that led to the lockers on his left. Jaune decided to go peek out the door again, gesturing for Pyrrha and Yatsuhashi to go on ahead of him. He saw Pyrrha hesitating before running down the hallway after Yatsuhashi.
Looking out the double doors of the building he could see more students were running. Most of them heading towards the field, which meant they didn't know about the people back there but if they were going that way wouldn't it mean they were running from something he didn't know about?
He shook his head and took off down the hallway. A few other students and faculty members were still in the hallways, people were yelling and Jaune could even see a few people fighting each other. He shook his head in disgust as if now was truly to time to settle some old score.
Jaune entered the boy's locker room and made his way to his locker, papers and bags were strewn all over the floor. Why was it that in every panic or disastrous situation loose paper was always lying around? He shook his head; it was a question for another time.
He slipped on his clothes, a grey shirt over worn blue jeans with a red and black checker flannel. He tucked his keys into his front pocket; Yatsuhashi rounded the corner wearing green sweater and brown khakis.
"Jaune! You in there!?" The voice of Nora called out.
"We're coming!" Jaune replied gesturing for Yatsuhashi to follow him. As they exited the locker room, Pyrrha and Nora stood in the hallway. Nora wore a blue bomber jacket with jeans while Pyrrha wore a red jacket with black yoga pants on. Jaune made sure to not get distracted as he looked down the hallways, which seemed to be deserted now.
"Jaune!" A familiar male voice called out and he turned to see Ren running down the hallway wearing a dark green zip up jacket and dark jeans. Even more surprising was Coco and Velvet were right behind him.
"You guys made it, did anyone follow you?" Jaune asked as he stepped forward, his hand extended, Ren shook his hand. Jaune noticed something on Coco's, cocoa-colored shirt, was a large dark splotch. Coco must have noticed Jaune's staring as her hand shakily reached up to take off her trademark sunglasses.
"It's Fox." She said and Jaune tilted his head in confusion.
"The three of us were running together when some woman tackled Fox to the ground, I kicked her off him and tried picking him back up to his feet but the woman just grabbed hold and bit his shoulder, his blood got on me. He pushed me away telling us to run as the bitch ate him. So we did, we followed this guy in as we saw he was heading here as well since we wanted to find you Yatsuhashi." Coco said, addressing them, Velvet stepped forward putting her hand on Yatsuhashi's arm. The teen simply nodded but Jaune could see that his cool was shaken to hear that is friend was dead.
"So Arc, what are you guys planning?" Coco said after a few moments as the seven of them just stood there in silence. Jaune took a deep breath running a hand through his hair.
"Well we're going to find my sisters then wait for my old man to come, and then I'm having Nora, Ren and Pyrrha accompany them as they head to our house. While I take my bike and follow behind them." Pyrrha snapped her head around at that but she didn't say anything.
"Is it cool if we accompany you? I've got my own car so we can ride in that." Jaune looked at Ren, who just shrugged.
"Alright then, we need to head to the main building, it's were my riding gear is and the closest building to the parking lot, we can hold up there till the time comes."
"What about those people out there? We're gonna need to defend ourselves from them." Ren spoke up, Jaune scratched his cheek.
"Well if we're here where the P.E. classes and sports stuff is kept why not find something amongst that equipment like some bats from the baseball team." Nora suggested Jaune nodded before looking at the others.
"That sounds good to you guys?" They nodded and the seven teens headed down the hallway to look for the sports equipment room. After a few minutes of navigating the hallways, a loud scream echoed throughout the building. It sounded like a woman, she was begging for her life but her tirade was cut off by another pained scream.
"We've gotta hurry, now." Jaune said, gesturing for the others to go on ahead as he closed a set of double doors behind them. His phone vibrated in his jeans and he reached into his back pocket pulling out his phone, Helena was calling him.
"Helena, where are you?" Jaune asked as soon as he hit answer, jogging through the hallways after the others.
"We're in the main building, we figured we'd meet you there since that's where you locker is with the motorcycle stuff."
"Alright, I'm here with Ren, Nora and a few others, we'll be there as soon as we can, find someplace to hide and don't answer to anyone but one of us."
"Alright I'll tell the others that as well."
"Stay safe Helena, I'm on my way." He could hear his sister start to say something but her voice choked up and she hung up. Jaune slipped his phone back into his pocket when he heard the sound of running behind him. He slipped to the side, hiding in a doorway when something hit the double doors that he had closed.
Peering around the corner he could see that something was beating against it, a normal human would have just been able to open it. In the windows of the door he could see a smear of red, it was blood.
Whoever it was, it wasn't human as far as he was concerned, but that thing he had seen killing Elba. After a few moments the beating stopped and the sound of running followed by another scream could be heard. Jaune stepped out from the door way and backed away slowly before turning around, running straight into Pyrrha.
They both fell to the floor, and Jaune realized he was lying on top of her. He immediately stood up and held a hand out for her to grab, trying his best not to look her in the eyes. All he wanted to do now as just climb into a locker and go to sleep.
"I-I-I'm so sorry Pyrrha I-I was distracted and didn't hear you behind me." Jaune stammered out but he felt the cool skin of her hand gripping his and he pulled her up to her feet.
"I understand Jaune; it was my fault for running into you as well so no need to worry about it." She said smiling and Jaune wasn't sure what say. She nodded her head to the side indicating him to follow her.
"Come on, we found the baseball supply room, Coco's trying to open it right now." Jaune frowned.
"Open it? How?" Pyrrha winked, and Jaune could feel his face flush in surprise.
"That's a woman's secret." Jaune shook his head as he followed Pyrrha, after a few minutes of running through the hallways they turned the corner to see Velvet standing at the far end.
"Over here!" She called out, waving a hand for them to follow. As they turned the corner they saw an open door with the lights on. Coco stepped out with a blue aluminum bat, Yatsuhashi followed behind holding two bats. Velvet walked up to him, which he handed her a brown bat.
"Jaune, I've got one for you." Ren said as he and Nora came out next holding two bats.
"Pyrrha! I picked a bat for you as well!" Nora cheered as she skipped towards the redhead. One would think that nothing was really going on by the way she acted. She held two large bats there were both red, she handed one to Pyrrha. As Ren walked up to Jaune, he handed him a silver bat while he had a green and black bat.
"Alright we've got something to defend ourselves with, but I would rather we avoid getting in contact with anyone nonetheless." The teens nodded in agreement as Jaune checked his phone for any calls or messages from his parents but there was none. A sudden thought hit Jaune as he turned towards Coco.
"You know once we're at the main building you don't have to stick around if you don't want too, you said you had a car you can escape." Coco surprisingly looked conflicted about this, but Jaune could tell that she was in a sense happy to be given an out.
"How about this, I can take one of your sisters with me and drop her off at your place along with Velvet and Yatsuhashi, then come back for the rest of you." Jaune scratched his chin in thought it wasn't that bad of an idea.
"Maybe but for now let's just get over there." Jaune said and the assembled teens nodded. They took off again down the hallway this time heading towards the south exterior exit. As they neared the last set of double doors, passing empty rooms and offices, Jaune motioned for them to slow down.
Peering through the glass he could see more than a few figures spread out to east and west. None of them were too close but he could make out a few blood stained clothes, which must have meant that they were attacked. Jaune didn't want to get close and see if they were alright, he turned to address the group.
"Alright, I'll take lead and go out first, I'll signal you to follow if it's clear. Nora you're on my left, Pyrrha on my right, Coco you and Velvet stay in the middle, lastly Yatsuhashi, Ren you're bringing up the rear. Once we're out there, no unnecessary sounds alright." Once again he could see Pyrrha hesitate but she didn't say anything. Jaune turned around and slowly pushed the door open. Crouching low he descended the steps, the smell of smoke was surprisingly thick in the air.
Looking to the east he could see the sooty black clouds of smoke rising high into the sky. There must be a massive fire going on nearby. Looking around on the black asphalt he could see bags and other personal belongings that had been abandoned in the rush to leave school.
So far no one had looked at him yet, moving forward in a low crouch he made it about thirty feet from the door when he decided to stop. Turning around slightly he gestured with one hand for them to follow, the door openly slowly and Yatsuhashi held it open as the others quietly headed down the steps.
Jaune watched as Yatsuhashi slowly closed the door, behind them without a sound. He headed down the steps to follow the rest of them as they made their way across the school grounds. It was about halfway through that they heard a sound. It was a low guttural sound, like something breathing out with an excess amount of phlegm in their throat.
Jaune saw that a girl was limping towards him; she wore a knee length skirt and a pink blouse with a grey cardigan on top. However the abdomen area of her clothes had been ripped open, hanging from the torn skin of their stomach were her entrails which were being dragged across the ground. Her movement was slowly and jerky causing the loose intestines to fall further out.
Jaune could feel the acidic quality of bile rising up but he clamped his mouth shut willing to keep it from going any farther up. He waited as the girl continued on; Jaune realized that he had been holding his breath the entire time. He slowly released it, before exhaling slowly.
At that moment something shattered on the ground in front of him. Jaune froze, it was a bottle. He slowly looked up to see the girl from before standing still. She snapped around, Jaune could imagine her glazed over eyes staring right at him as she charged.
"Fuck. Fuck. Fuck." Jaune repeated like a mantra as he stood up, reading the baseball bat, the girl issued another guttural sound like before but much louder. Behind her he could see others locking up as well, as she closed in Jaune stepped forward, swinging as hard as he could.
The sound of the bat cracking her skull was something Jaune doubt he could ever forget. It was a wet crack as the bat smashed into her temple, sending her sprawling to the ground.
Jaune gestured for the others to keep moving as the girl sat back up, Jaune could see that he had cracked her right temple destroying the eye in its socket. The skin was deformed and uneven, blood leaked from where skin broke from the strike.
Jaune swung downwards; the bat skidded off to the side this time he could see the blow had caved the right side of her skull inwards. Blood oozed out of the broken skin in the impact area; however the girl wasn't done trying to get up.
Jaune swung again, his aim was off going far lower, the bat impacted her lower jaw and Jaune watched almost as if in slow motion as her jaw deformed.
Teeth broke off and flew out from her face as her jaw collapsed from the impact of the bat before time sped up again. She fell back this time, her jaw was completely gone. Blood was oozing down her neck her tongue and other loose flesh flopping down the neck, no longer constrained by the jaw.
Jaune looked up to see that more people were running towards him. He turned back towards the main building and broke into a run but for some reason his legs didn't seem to want to work. He fought to keep bile down as he willed his legs to move faster. The sound running was getting closer; he was less than a dozen feet away.
He could see his friends waving at him frantically to hurry up. Jaune stumbled up the steps before finally falling through the double doors of the building, Yatsuhashi and Pyrrha closed it behind him. Pyrrha slipped her bat through the handles of the door to hold it in place as several bodies started slamming against it.
"I'm not sure how long that's gonna hold you guys." Pyrrha said as she backed away, disgust filling her at the sight of blood smearing the windows from the people trying to get in. She turned to see Jaune crawling to one side of the hallway to empty the contents of his stomach on the floor, retching at what he had done.
"Jaune, are you alright?" Ren asked as he kneeled down, waiting for his friend to finish up. After a few moments Jaune was just dry heaving but finally was able to stop.
Sitting back Ren could see that his friend was pale, shaky, and breathing heavily, he was in shock. Not that he could blame him, he saw what Jaune did to that girl, and he didn't think he would react any different himself.
"That was fucked up man." Jaune said after a while before starting to get up, Ren stood first holding his hand out so Jaune could grab it. Jaune took it; Ren could feel how cold and clammy his hands were.
"Let's get moving." Jaune said simply but this time Pyrrha stepped forward.
"Jaune are you sure? You're not looking so great." Jaune nodded as he took a shaky step forward until he was a little more surefooted. Pyrrha frowned as she watched he walk down the hallway, Ren, Nora, Coco and Yatsuhashi followed after him.
Pyrrha turned to look at Velvet; she didn't know the girl that well other than what she's been told. She wore a large brown sweater with black sweat pants. Even with those clothes Pyrrha could tell she was a thin girl, holding the bat just seemed to accent it even more.
"You okay Velvet?" Pyrrha asked, the brown hair girl looked up at her, looking as if she was on the verge of tears.
"I-I'm o-okay." She said before holding out her bat, Pyrrha looked puzzled.
"Y-you used yours to block the door, so here's mine, you'll probably make better use of it then me." Pyrrha smiled, putting her hand on the girl's shoulder. She flinched at the contact and Pyrrha felt sorry for the girl.
"Thank you Velvet, I mean it." The brown hair girl shook her head as turned to walk away, following the others. Pyrrha frowned, that lack of self-confidence in herself isn't going to be a good thing, especially now.
Pyrrha looked back at the double doors, the people, things, or whatever was still trying to get in. Pyrrha backed away, keeping an eye on the door until she turned around and jogged further into the building to catch up.
After a few minutes of running past empty classrooms and hallways where backpacks, loose paper and other belongings were strewn on the floor. She entered the main rotunda of the building; it was a large room able to fit over several hundred people at any given time.
Another structure was built into the center with doors lining the bottom for faculty members. A staircase on the outside led to the second floor where counselors and the principle office were located.
Thought Pyrrha doubted they were still in there given what they had all heard earlier over the P.A. system. Looking around she was surprised to see that there was a number of other students as well.
"Pyrrha!" A familiar voice called out, Pyrrha turned to see a shower of bright gold hair clouded her vision, a pair of arms circling around her torso.
"It's good to see you Yang." Pyrrha said as Yang released her hold. Yang was wearing fitted black jeans with brown boots going up to mid-calf with a brown and gold stripped leather jacket along with black leather riding glove.
"Do you know what's going on out there?" Pyrrha asked Yang shook her head.
"I was hoping you might have an idea, I was trying to get Ruby out of here but the parking lot was swarming with students, teachers, and those things we decided to head back inside to wait till the commotion died down." Pyrrha nodded in understand.
"Jaune, Yatsuhashi and I all saw Coach Elba go out to confront one of them before the panic started, the guy attack him and started to eat him." Yang's eyes widened in surprise to hear that, Pyrrha realized that she hasn't seen what exactly was going on.
"Eat him?" Pyrrha nodded.
"Yea it was crazy but before that Jaune got a text from his folks telling him to find his sisters and wait till his father got here to pick them up and get home afterward." Yang nodded slightly but Pyrrha could see that she was still contemplating over what Pyrrha said about Coach Elba.
"Have you seen Jaune come in?" Pyrrha asked for a second she thought she saw something flash in Yang's eyes but ignored it.
"Yea but he ran off with Ren and Nora as soon as they found a corner to sit in." Yang pointed behind her to the far western corner of the rotunda.
Coco, Velvet and Yatsuhashi were sitting at a circular table looking exhausted. Weiss, Blake, Ruby along with the others had moved over to join them. However she noticed that Scarlet and Sage were missing. As they made their way over to the group, Pyrrha remember one of the reasons Jaune wanted to come to the main building.
"Oh yea, Jaune must have gone off to look for his sisters." Yang looked at Pyrrha confused.
"He's got sisters?" Pyrrha nodded.
"Yea he said that he's father told him to gather his sisters to wait for him to come and pick them up so they can get home." Yang nodded slowly at that.
"At least he's got a plan." She said aloud as they joined the group.
"Who's got what plan?" Weiss asked, her voice as petulant as ever, Pyrrha could help but feel her nerves fray at the other girl's voice. Yang brought forth her mane of hair, brushing it slowly as she sat down in an empty chair.
"Oh, Pyrrha was just telling me how Jaune plans of waiting for his father to come and gather his sister while he rides on his bike back home." Everyone save Pyrrha, Coco, Velvet and Yatsuhashi turned to Yang in surprise to hear that.
"Really? I couldn't get through to my old man and Blake's dad said he wouldn't be able to make it due to whatever's going on." Sun said he wore a white shirt along with a pair of faded blue jeans. Blake was wearing a black hoodie with a normal pair of blue jeans.
"Hey, a plan is a plan isn't it?" Coco said as she leaned forward, resting her chin on a palm.
"Maybe we can group up with him till this all blows over." Ruby spoke up; she wore a black with red sleeves inclined zipper hoodie. Along with dark jeans and black combat boots that were loosely tied at the top.
"Arc's cool with us tagging along I'm sure he'd be fine with you coming as well." Coco said, Ruby smiled and nodded at the older girl who returned it.
"Yea but how do we get there?" Pyrrha asked, feeling that it would better to get that cleared out now rather than later.
"Well I've got Bumblebee, so I can take Ruby with me." Yang said as Sun fished out a lanyard, holding several keys along with a banana and cat accessory on it.
"I've got my jeep, it can hold six if we cram a few in the back." At that moment Coco looked up and started to wave. The group turned around to see Jaune, leading Nora, Ren and three younger blond girls.
One girl was roughly five feet, six inches with short blonde hair that barely reached down to her neck; she wore a white blouse with faded blue jeans.
The second girl was the same height but had longer hair tied up in a bun, she wore a white denim jacket with a black shirt underneath along with black jeans.
The third girl was taller nearly reaching six feet; she had longer strawberry blonde hair that reached down to the small of her back. She wore a form fitting shirt pink shirt and black yoga pants. Pyrrha couldn't help but note that she was also the more, developed, girl of the three. No doubt Jaune was aware of that by the way he stood in front of her with his fists clenched.
"Jaune! You're back." Pyrrha said, standing up from her chair, the blonde teen simply smiled before looking at the group.
"Hey guys, I guess introductions are needed so let's get this done quickly. This is Helena, Claire and Miriya, they're my sisters." Jaune said pointing first to the tallest, then the girl with her hair in a bun and lastly the girl with the short hair. Each girl in turn nodded and said their own greetings to everyone at the table.
"So what were ya'll talking about before we got here?" Jaune asked as he brought over a few chairs for his sisters to sit in as he moved around to the wall behind them where lockers were lined up. Pyrrha spoke up as he opened the locker up to reveal his riding gear.
"Oh we were just wondering if you'd be okay if Yang and the others could tag along with us to your place." Jaune turned, confusion etched across his face.
"Of course, we don't live that far away and the house is used to being cramped but aside from Yang and Coco have vehicles, how are we gonna get everyone there?" Sun held up his keys again.
"I've got a 93' Grand Cherokee." Jaune nodded as he strapped on his knee guards, which extended a few inches up his thigh and six inches down his shin.
"Great, Ren, and Nora you two should be able to fit in my dad's truck along with my sisters. Coco you said you can fit four so Pyrrha you can go with her as well. Sun I assume Blake is obviously going to go with you but you can also take Weiss, Neptune and maybe fit in Ruby unless Yang wants her to go with her." Yang nodded as she turned to face Ruby.
"You're gonna stick with Sun little sis, it's not safe for you to ride with me at the moment." Ruby crossed her arms as she rolled her eyes as she deadpanned.
"The way you drive Yang, I was never safe to begin with." Jaune couldn't but laugh as well as most of them, except Weiss who just seemed to have a permanent scowl on her face before opening her mouth.
"I have a question." She said bluntly everyone turned to look at her.
"Why are we making these plans to go to your home Arc?" Jaune tilted his head confused by what she meant.
"To stay safe and plan our next move." She rolled her eyes as if he said something incredibly stupid.
"I mean why though, all we have to do is just wait for the Police to show up and deal with these. Ruffians." She waved her hand ambiguously; Jaune was starting to get an idea of what was going on.
"Weiss, do you know what's actually going on?" She scoffed.
"Of course I know, some creeps wondered onto campus and now we're in lockdown, I don't know why everyone panicked or why you're carrying baseball bats like a bunch of vigilantes but I know when the Police arrive everything will be solved." Surprisingly enough Velvet was the first to respond, slamming her palm onto the table.
"Fox is dead, we saw him get killed by those people, if you're too much of a prissy little princess to believe us then go outside and see for yourself. But don't come crying for us to save you when they're ripping you apart." Weiss visible closed her mouth; most of the people at the table were surprised to see such an outburst from Velvet of all people. Coco and Yatsuhashi placed their hands on her shoulders as her composure finally broke, tears glistening in her eyes before falling.
"Look you can think what you want Weiss, I'm just trying to keep my friends and family alive. I know you hate me for what I did and I can't take it back but doing whatever this is you're doing isn't going to help anyone, yourself included. So trust us, and if you can't trust me fine, just trust you friends." Jaune said simply as he slipped his elbow guards on, Weiss glared at him.
He could see the utter disdain she had for him. Some may think it's irrational but people aren't truly rational at all. They're slaves to their thoughts and emotions to the point that only they can ultimately change their mind. At that point the last person Jaune wanted to hear or even see appeared.
"Well if it isn't the cuck Jaune Boy." Jaune turned to see the sneering face of Cardin Winchester with his usual group of cronies at his back. Something in his smile made Jaune uneasy, maybe it's because Cardin choose this of all time to make his appearance again. He had been hoping that video that Coco had spread would have shamed Cardin enough to not confront him again.
"Looks like he's made some fine new lady friends, hey girls why don't you ditch this loser and hang out with real men who can protect you." Cardin said as he approached Helena, Jaune felt his eye twitch in rage. Instead Pyrrha stood up between Helena and Cardin, her arms crossed a dark look of her own visible on her face, Cardin recoiled a little at the sight of her.
"Well if it isn't the tranny slut Pyrrha Nikos." A ripple of anger spread across the table but instead Pyrrha gave a saccharine smile.
"Why Cardin it sounds like you're implying I'm really a man in disguise, it would make sense though cause I have a bigger pair of balls then you anyway." Jaune finished strapping his chest guard on, watching Cardin in the corner of his eye he could practically feel something was about to happen.
"Now if you excuse us, we're talking." Pyrrha said as she turned her back on him.
"Yea! Fuck off!" Sun called out, Blake elbowing him to quiet down. Jaune watched as Cardin pulled something from behind him. However he was too slow and too far away to do anything. Instead Yatsuhashi stood up, between him and Pyrrha as Cardin jammed something forward.
They watched as the two teens were pressed against each other; before Yatsuhashi stumbled back clenching his stomach. His back slammed into the table they were sitting at, tipping it over.
Jaune and Sun rushed Cardin as he turned to Pyrrha who stared in mute horror at Yatsuhashi. Velvet was screaming in terror as Coco stood over her, trying to block her sight.
Blake, Ruby, and Ren were by the bigger teen's side, Jaune grabbed Cardin's arm which was holding a box cutter. The dull grey steel of the blades were red from stabbing Yatsuhashi. Sun wailed on Cardin, punching him repeatedly in the face before sending a hard jab at his throat. The bigger teen reddened at the strike.
Jaune let go as he shoved Cardin away before sending a right hook straight into Cardin's jaw. He finally fell back, letting go of the box cutter. Sun kicked Cardin in the side of the head, the larger teen slumped sideways unconscious. Looking down at the bloody box cutter, Jaune kicked them away before looking up at Dove, Russel, and Sky.
"Is this what you fucking wanted?! Stabbing someone to prove you're the fucking Alpha dogs of the school?! You're all fucking bastards!" Jaune screamed raising his clenched fists as he moved towards them, the three teens stumbled back.
"We thought him throwing that bottle was enough but this is too far! He said he was just going to teach you a lesson! Not this!" Dove bawled in terror as Sun and Jaune closed in on them. Other students and teachers running over to see what the commotion was. The three teens scrambled away, the oblivious crowd not stopping them as they ran out of the rotunda.
Jaune turned around and went back to the group; Yang was comforting Ruby as the younger girl buried her face against her sister. Neptune was comforting Weiss, Nora, Ren stood over Yatsuhashi. Jaune noticed that Ren had taken off his jacket, looking down he saw that it was draped over the teen's face.
The magenta eyed teen had blood covering his hands and forearms. He looked over at Jaune and shook his head slightly.
His sisters were holding comforting each other; Claire was sniffling as she tried to hold back her tears. Jaune went over to them, the three breaking apart as they rushed to hug him as well. Jaune draped his arms over them comforting them the best he could. Looking to the side he could see Pyrrha's ashen face staring memorized at the ground.
Jaune tapped his sister's to indicate for them to let him go; leaving their embrace Jaune stepped towards Pyrrha. She looked up at him and he could see tears brimming in her eyes before embracing him as well. Jaune wrapped his arms around her holding her as she started to cry, Jaune himself was at a loss for words. After a few moments he felt something vibrating in his pocket.
Reaching down with his right arm, he fished into his pockets to pull out his phone. He turned the display on and saw that it was a text from his dad.
-Almost there, get ready- Jaune closed his eyes, he needed to be strong. As much as he wanted to just lie down and go to sleep for the rest of the week, the world had different plans. Jaune tapped Pyrrha's back slightly so she would let go of him, he could tell that she hesitated in that but paid no mind to it.
"Nora do me a favor, find some tape, preferably duct tape, if not rope or chains will work also." The bubbly orange hair girl who had been abnormally quiet nodded and walked away. Ren stepped closer to Jaune and Pyrrha.
"What's up?" He asked and Jaune held up his phone.
"My old man is nearly here, we need to get ready." Ren shook his head.
"Jaune I admire your ability to handle this but I'm not sure the others can, Velvet looks like she's on the verge of a breakdown, Ruby and Weiss seem to be in shock as well." Jaune sighed; of course it wasn't going to be any easier.
"What are you guys talking about?" Yang called out, Ruby was sticking close behind her as the blonde girl joined them.
"My father is nearly here, we've need to be ready to move." Yang nodded slowly.
"Well I'm ready when you are Jaune." She said Jaune could see the steely determination in her lilac eyes and nodded in return before looking at everyone else.
"Alright, I know we're all upset about Yatsuhashi, I liked him as well, he was a good guy but he wouldn't want us to get caught up over him when things are still dangerous." Weiss seemed to snap a look at Jaune.
"Have you no remorse Jaune Arc, he's dead and now you're using it to further your own goals." Jaune rubbed his eyes in irritation.
"Look I know that's what it seems like but we've got to keep going, Helena, Claire, Miriya, dad just texted me that he's nearly here. So get what you need and let's move, Sun, Blake if you're still coming with us now would be the time to get ready as well." Jaune said, scooping up two bats, walking over to Sun and holding one out. The other blonde teen gingerly took it before nodding.
"Weiss I think we should stick with them for now." Jaune overheard Neptune whispering loudly, Weiss scoffed before clicking her tongue in annoyance.
"Fine but keep an eye out on Arc, I don't trust him." She said in an equally low voice, Jaune paid no heed to her distrust and turned around to see Nora running back with several rolls of duct tape.
"So Fearless Leader, what's with the tape?" Jaune sighed with a slight smile.
"First Nora I am not the leader, second I'm far from fearless, as for the tape it's for that." Jaune said curling his lips in disgust as he pointed at the unconscious form of Cardin, Nora grinned before jumping to her task.
"Jaune are you really gonna tie him up like that?" Ruby asked from behind Yang, surprise evident on her young face. Jaune didn't answer her as he picked up his helmet, looking at the black tinted visor before slipping it on his head. He slipped on his gloves and held his bat in both hands, looking down at the slightly dent in the side, a few droplets of dried blood were on it.
"Let's move." Jaune said simply before taking off in a jog towards the front of the building ignoring the various other students and faculty that simple stood by idly. He could hear the numerous sounds of footsteps behind him as he moved through the empty hallways of the building. Round the corner he saw the front entrance of the building and stopped.
As the others arrived Jaune slowly crept forward, keeping his grip on the baseball bat tight as he neared the door. On the other side he couldn't help but notice at least several small pools of blood.
"Where are the bodies though?" Jaune murmured to himself.
"No doubt they're looking around for their next victim." Ren whispered in return, Jaune felt his heart stop in sheer terror.
"Holy fuck Ren, don't scare me like that." Jaune angrily whispered back but Ren simply put a finger to his lips before pointing out the door.
Jaune narrowed his eyes as he saw that people were milling around the parked cars of the school parking lot but not like a normal person would do. No, they were different, more like the students they encountered on their way to the main building. In the distance more smoke billowed into the sky and Jaune could see several helicopters in the air.
The sound of car engines drew Jaune's attention back to the earth as a red four door truck followed by a Mustang came careening from the main street into the parking lot. Footsteps echoed behind Jaune as Ruby and Yang appeared by their side with surprised looks on their faces.
"I knew it! It's uncle Qrow!" Ruby said delighted.
"Well I'll be damned." Yang muttered as the two vehicles pulled to the front curb of the main building. Jaune watched as his father appeared on the other side of the truck holding rifle aimed outwards as dozens of people started running towards them. Jaune flinched a little as rapid sharp bangs of Alexander firing meant he had a run in with whatever's going on as well. There was also a duller but still equally loud boom of a shotgun going off.
A tall dark hair man came into view holding what Jaune could see was a Mossberg 500. Jaune opened the door with Yang, Ruby behind him. Ren stood inside beckoning everyone else to come out.
"Uncle Qrow!" Ruby cried and looked like she was going to run forward to hug the man but Yang held her back. He still had the shotgun in his hands and wore a dour looking expression on his face.
"Alright hurry up we can't stick around here forever." The man grunted before turning around to descend the steps, Jaune looked back at the group.
"Nora, cover the left side, Ren and Sun the rear, I'll cover our right. Remember to stick close to this man and don't get in his line of sight." Jaune called out, the group didn't verbally respond but Jaune could see them moving into position as they ran after Qrow.
Jaune was glad he had the helmet on, it would keep everyone from seeing how absolutely terrified he was heading out. Gunfire still echoed across the parking lot as Alexander kept the people at bay.
"Dad!" Jaune screamed as they reached the cars but Alexander didn't acknowledge him, he turned to Qrow lifting his helmet visor up.
"We need to get Coco and Sun to their car, so they can follow us!" He shouted pointing at both of them as they stood next to him. Qrow's red eyes simply stared before nodding, he took out something and handed it to Jaune, it was a walkie talkie. He clicked what he assumed the push to talk button was.
"Hello?" The rifle fire paused for a second, his dad's voice echoed from the device.
"Jaune!? Get your sisters in the truck now, Ren and Nora as well." Jaune clicked the push to talk button again.
"Dad I've got two friends here as well that have their own cars but we need to get to them." There was a pause before his dad responded again.
"Alright fine, tell everyone that I'm dropping off to get in the back of the truck, I'll get them where they need to be." Jaune nodded before tapping handing the walkie talkie back to Qrow but he shook his head.
"Keep it kid I've got plenty. Ruby, get your butt inside!" He shouted before moving back to his car, the younger girl following him. Jaune turned to the rest of the group and pointed at the truck. His sisters along with Nora and Ren were piling into the truck.
"Everyone hop into the back, Coco, Sun my dad is going to drop you off at your cars. Remember once he stops get in them fast and be ready to move." Jaune said before turning to Pyrrha.
"Jaune maybe I should ride with you." Jaune shook his head.
"No, it's too dangerous for you besides I need you to guide Sun and Coco to my house since they don't know where I live, alright?" Pyrrha looked hesitant but nodded after a few seconds.
"How many I going to communicate with them?" She asked.
"You still have your phone, don't you? You can call or just give them the address." Pyrrha nodded before turning to Coco and Sun.
The rifle fired ebbed away before going silent. Alexander walked around holding a rifle in his hands, though Jaune could see the relieved look in his eyes at seeing him. He looked at everyone in the back.
"Alright where do I need to go?" Jaune watched as Coco and Sun talked with his father, Jaune stepped away to get to his bike, sliding his visor back down.
"Jaune, wait." His father called out, Jaune turned and his father stepped closer. Jaune was surprised to see that blood covered his father's hands and arms. He reached down to his waist and unhooked something before handing it to Jaune. It was a black handle knife, pulling it out of the sheath; he saw that it was a straight edge Ka-Bar knife.
"You're gonna need something more manageable on that bike of yours instead of a bat." Alexander with a small smile looking down at the bat in Jaune's other hand. Jaune nodded his head his father frowned before wrapping his arms around Jaune bringing him into a hug.
"Be safe Jaune." Jaune patted his dad's back.
"I will dad, I'll see you soon." Alexander nodded and turned away to jog back to the truck. Jaune tucked the knife into the waist of his pants, tossing aside the bat before looking for his bike.
When he reached his bike, he saw that Yang was already sitting on her bike. She was wearing a yellow helmet with a black decal of what looked to be a flaming heart on the right side of her helmet.
"You ready have some fun, riding partner?" Yang asked cheerily, Jaune simply shook his head.
"If it this was just riding around with no purpose except for the pure fun of riding, sure. At this very moment, I wouldn't say that so much." Yang simply shook her head with an amused smile before it died away as voice blared out from Jaune's pocket. It was the walkie talkie that Yang's uncle gave him.
"Jaune, it's me Coco your dad gave us walkie talkies, I've made it to my car with Pyrrha and Velvet." Before Jaune could say anything, Sun's voice came over the line.
"Same here, me, Blake, Neptune and Weiss are ready to go." Jaune pulled the walkie talkie out of his pocket.
"Alright then, Yang and I will meet you at my place follow my dad's truck or Yang and Ruby's uncle. Also Pyrrha can tell you where I live so if we get separated by chance so listen to her." Jaune said, releasing his thumb from the push to talk button then tucking it away in his jean's front pocket. Hopping on his bike he started it and looked up to see dozens of more people round the school building heading straight for them.
"We've gotta move!" Jaune shouted Yang backed out from the parking spot with Jaune following suit. Pushing forward he applied the throttle and took off down the road, shifting gears as he picked up speed, with Yang a dozen feet behind him.
Around him he could see more people running into the parking lot to chase them down. He gritted his teeth as he took a tight turn to enter a straightaway to the main street.
He could see a small convoy of vehicles with his dad's red truck leading away followed by a light blue BMW M3 followed a red Jeep Grand Cherokee lastly the black and red Mustang. Jaune slowed down enough to take a tight turn onto the street.
Jaune gritted his teeth as in front of him as far as he could see that there were numerous abandoned cars and those things. Jaune leaned in as he gunned it down the road the wind roaring in his face as he did his best to avoid hitting any of the people running at him along with abandoned cars in the road.
As Jaune passed around an over turned car he hit the brake skidding across the ground, struggling to stay upright as he encountered a trio of burning cars blocking the most direct route back to his house. To his right more cars packed too close for him, Yang pulled up next to him.
"What's a matter?!" She shouted the guttural moans of the things behind them were almost as loud as the four cars in the distance along with sirens even further out. Jaune pointed to the left, where they could see a row of houses blocked off by brick walls on the right side with stores and apartments on the left.
"We have to head down and make the first right we can then we're on the home stretch!" Jaune shouted Yang nodded as Jaune pushed forward, applying the throttle. Yang following again as a red truck rounded the corner tires squealing, Jaune could see in his side mirror, two people getting smashed aside by the truck.
Jaune looked ahead, turning the first right he saw and took off into the residential section. Looking left and right he could see smashed windows, doors and bodies. He focused on the road, turning left instead of going to his house; he wanted to go to Ren's house. Yang was still following him as he finally slowed down in front of Ren's place and pulled out his walkie talkie.
"Dad." A few seconds passed by.
"Jaune? Where are you?" Alexander's voice came through, he ignored the question.
"Dad, can you give Ren the walkie talkie, I need to talk with him." Again he waited a few moments until Ren's voice came through.
"What's up Jaune?"
"Ren, do you know if you're mom's home? I'm outside your house at the moment." There was a pause then Ren replied.
"Yes, she didn't have work today."
"Alright I'm going to get her then." Jaune said as he turned off his bike, he hopped off his bike and walked towards the house, pulling his helmet off. Yang turned off her bike, following Jaune up the yard as well.
"Jaune? Where are we?" She asked as she pulled off her helmet, fluffing her hair with one hand, he pointed at the house.
"This is Ren's place, I'mma get his mom and bring her with us." She nodded as they approached the door but Jaune stopped as he saw that the door was open. He gestured for Yang to slow down as they approached the door slowly. Jaune saw that there was blood smears on the wall to the right and door knob.
He slipped his helmet back on then pulled the knife his father gave him out with his right hand.
"Yang, stay here." Jaune whispered as he pushed the door open slowly.
"What? Why? I can help you." Jaune shook his head.
"You don't have a weapon, so it would be better if you stayed out here, let me know if you see any more of those…things." Yang shot Jaune a disgusted look at that.
"They're not things Jaune, messed up sure but still people." Jaune was glad he put his helmet back on otherwise he wasn't sure how she would react to his face when she said that.
"Just stay here, will you?" She sighed.
"Fine but I'm not a kid Jaune, let me help next time." He didn't say anything as he pushed past the door. The lights were off inside, nor could he really smell anything with the helmet on. Maybe the helmet wasn't that great of an idea.
"An?" Jaune called out; there was a bump in the hallway further down to his left. He entered the living room to see that it was demolished, furniture torn up and destroyed. Holes in the wall and the door to the garage broken in, Jaune frowned.
"An!" Jaune called out again but this time there was nothing. He decided to head into the hallway, checking inside the rooms, again destroyed but Jaune got the feeling that it wasn't torn up in panic but someone looking for something. He decided to head straight towards An and Li's room, he stopped outside of it.
The door was slightly ajar and Jaune could see that the door knob was broken. Someone had kicked it inwards. He could feel sweat beading his face as he opened the door. The master bedroom was like the others, clothes strewn all over the place, drawers overturned and the full length mirror to the side was smashed.
Jaune's heart broke as he saw the naked form of An Ren on the bed. Her arms and legs were tied to the corners of the bed frame. Jaune stepped closer, he could see whitish gray liquid dotting her body, looking up he could see the red line across her neck. Jaune felt sick to his stomach again, stepping back he tripped on a drawer and crashed into a dresser.
"Jaune!?" Yang's voice called out, he could hear her walking down the hallway. He needed to stop her but his voice failed to respond.
"Jaune?" Yang asked again, appearing at the doorway. Jaune pushed himself to his feet and walked towards her.
"Oh my god." She whispered clearly horrified, her voice cracking at what she saw. While she wasn't particularly close to Nora and the Ren Family but she was dismayed to see this done to another human. Jaune wrapped his arms around Yang, leading her away from the bedroom.
"What kind of sick fucker would do that sort of thing?" Yang cried out as they reached the living room.
"The human kind." Jaune said sadly, looking at the destroyed living room. It wasn't even a week since he was last here laughing, eating and having a good time. Now those memories were tainted by the image of An Ren's assaulted and dead body.
"Oh god, Ren…" Yang said as she leaned against wall, Jaune sighed.
"I'll tell him." Yang looked at Jaune, he couldn't see her face in great detail but he had a feeling that it was a look of shock.
"You sure?" Jaune nodded.
"It's best to tell him now then lie to him that we didn't find her here causing him to have the false hope of seeing her again or something." Jaune said, walking towards the front door with Yang behind him.
They exited the house; Jaune looked up at the sky. Clouds had started to form with splotches of smoke rising into the sky. Jaune shook his head as he made his way back to the street, looking up and down the street for any signs of the people who had attacked An. There was no one, not a single sign of life in the neighborhood.
"Let's get out of here." Jaune said turning to face Yang, who surprisingly enough was already looking at him. She looked like she wanted to say something but instead turned to get on her bike; Jaune got onto his and started it up.
Jaune turned around and took off down the street with Yang following him again. He didn't speed like before, opting instead to take it slow in first gear in order to keep a better eye on the surrounding area. After several minutes he made the turn onto his street, in the distance he could see cars parked outside his house.
Releasing the throttle he cruised up to the sidewalk, once more switching the engine off and pulling his keys out. Stepping off, he put the kickstand down before taking off his helmet. Looking again up and down the street he didn't see any signs of life which was surprising. He would have expected to see something wandering around due to the noise they had made traveling here.
"Something a matter?" Yang asked as she got off her bike behind his, taking off her helmet and proceeding to fluff her giant mane of hair.
"Ah, it's nothing just thinking really." Yang shrugged and started to walk up the driveway, Jaune pulled out the walkie talkie.
"It's me, Yang and I are outside, doesn't seem to be anyone nearby, so uh, don't shoot us or anything." Yang snickered as he tucked the walkie talkie away again and pinpointed his house key to open the front door when it flung open. Nora was standing on the other side, a serious look on her face.
"Where is she?" She asked and Jaune felt his stomach drop, he swallowed exchanging a look with Yang.
"Get Ren, we need to talk, I'll be in my room. You know where it is." Jaune said as he stepped into the house. Helena, Claire and Miriya came running, the three girls practically tackling him.
"Jaune you're safe." Miriya said as she held onto his arm.
"We saw you speeding around those people and cars it was scary, please never do that again." Claire said.
"Alright girls I need to take care of some stuff." The three of them let go of him and turned to Yang, dragging her with them. She looked back at Jaune for help but he simply shrugged, they were just gonna show her around the house, probably.
As Jaune passed the living room he could see that Sun, Blake, Weiss, Ruby and the others were sitting on the couches watching the television. It was a new broadcast of what looked to be Downtown Vale. The reporter was talking about Police using lethal force as they clashed with what they assumed were rioters and anarchists. He noticed that Pyrrha wasn't amongst the others in the living room.
Jaune simply shook his head; he needed to lie down in order to gather himself to deal with Ren and Nora. As he reached the second floor he began to unlatch his chest gear. He didn't realize how much he sweated as it separate his torso and cool air enveloped his shirt. He sighed, he was gonna need to get a change of clothes now as well.
He reached his room and opened the door. What he didn't expect to see was Pyrrha rolling around in his bed with the bed sheets wrapped around her.
"Uh…" Pyrrha stopped and started to get up but the sheets were wrapped around her that she ended up falling off his bed.
Jaune just sighed as he ignored Pyrrha struggling with the sheets and proceeded to set his gear on his desk. Then went over to his closet and started to look for a change of clothes, Pyrrha must have finally gotten herself straighten out as he heard her get to her feet and take a deep breath as if to calm herself.
"Should have knocked Jaune, you surprised me." Jaune turned his head with utter confusion on his face; Pyrrha was looking down her hands behind her back. He could see her face was lightly red from embarrassment, which was understandable to a certain extent.
"Why would I need to knock? This is my room." Pyrrha opened and closed her mouth a few times.
"Uh…What if I was changing clothes." Jaune shook his head as he picked up a black three quarter sleeve shirt.
"But you weren't changing; you were rolling around on my bed." Jaune deadpanned. He turned around and could see that she was looking away now, face red from their conversation.
"So what took you guys so long to get here? You were ahead of us then you went off somewhere and only now came back." Pyrrha asked changing the subject. She watched Jaune's back stiffen slightly at the question.
"I just had to go check something." He said simply, he wasn't sure if he should tell Pyrrha this since she also met An. However he decided not to, at least not yet he wanted to tell it to the two people who would be effected by it most first.
"Jaune?" Pyrrha asked again, he shook his head as he realized he had spaced out.
"I'm just going to need a few moments; you know to think about some stuff." He heard Pyrrha step closer.
"If you want Jaune, you can tell me. I'm your friend aren't I?" For some reason Jaune felt that there was more to that statement then was said but he wasn't really sure.
"Of course you are Pyrrha; I value you, your opinion, and our entire friendship. With that being said this, well this is something I need to think on my own." Had Jaune been looking at Pyrrha at that moment he would have seen the conflicting emotions across her face at what he said.
"I understand." She said simply, her voice quieter than before.
"Thank you." Jaune heard her leave and turned around. He headed towards the vent in the wall that he kept his handgun. Pulling the metal box, Jaune swore that the box was heavier than the last time he had held it.
He looked back at his door, it was closed. Walking over to his desk, he unlocked it and pulled the Glock 19 out. He set it on his desk looking at it; he closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. After everything that happened today, he knew that it was time to use it but he didn't want to.
The image of the girl's jaw giving way popped into his mind and he flinched. It was quickly followed by watching Coach Elba get attacked by the stranger. Lastly the naked, assaulted dead body of An Ren appeared in his mind. He took a deep breath; he didn't have a choice in this matter it seemed.
Leaning forward he unboxed the nine millimeter rounds, as he reached for the six empty magazines in the box and started to load them.
Ten Minutes Later…
There was a knock at his door and Jaune tucked the Glock into his desk drawer and tossing the shoulder rig along with the empty ammunition boxes under his bed.
"Come in!" Jaune called out, the door opened to reveal Nora and Ren. They entered, Ren closing the door behind him. He nodded at Jaune, which he returned.
"Where's my mother Jaune." Ren said bluntly and Jaune winced. He knew that it would be difficult but he wasn't ready to jump right into it, he stood up.
"Ren, I'm going to need you to sit down, you too Nora." The two teens exchanged looks with each other before doing as Jaune told him. He walked to his window, looking out to observe the neighborhood. There still was no activity in the area but Jaune could see more smoke billowing into the skies in the horizon along with a few dozen helicopters.
"Ren, Yang and I went to your house." Jaune paused; he really didn't want to go any farther. The thought of what he was going to say tore at him. However withholding the truth hurt even more, he took a shaky breath before exhaling.
"Ren, we entered your house to find that someone had ransacked it." Jaune turned around to look at his friend.
He could see the confusion and worry in his magenta eye friend. Looking next to him Nora's aqua colored eyes however had an inkling of what may be going on. A level of hurt that Jaune had never felt or seen in his friend stared back.
"We found your mom in the master bedroom…assaulted…and dead." Ren and Nora stared at Jaune. Once again he could feel a bead of sweat drip down the back of his neck. He covered his eyes, taking a dead breath.
"I'm sorry." Ren stood up abruptly; Jaune took a step back as the magenta eyed teen closed on him. Jaune closed his eyes, gritting his teeth half expecting Ren to punch him in the face. Instead he felt Ren wrap his arms around him, followed by another pair of arms. Opening his eyes he saw Nora and Ren were hugging him.
"It's okay Jaune; you don't need to say sorry. It's not your fault." Nora said, her voice slightly muffled by being buried into his side.
"I know but."
"No. Jaune trust me you're like, no, you are my brother and I know you would have done everything in your power to protect her." Jaune wasn't sure what to say, he could feel a stinging sensation behind his eyes, blinking he kept it back.
"I'll leave you guys alone for now. You know to clear your heads out before coming downstairs." Jaune said as they broke the embrace. He walked towards his door and stopped to turn around to face Ren.
"Ren I just want to let you know you're also my brother and I'll die before letting you get hurt. The same to you Nora, you're like another sister to me." Nora grinned.
"Though we both know that you don't need another sister, you're parents are doing a fine job on that end." Jaune smiled before leaving his room, making sure to close the door behind him.
What he didn't expect to see was his father standing before him with his arms cross. He still wore the gear he had on earlier save for the rifle. Though Jaune noted that he had taken the time to clean the blood off his hands and forearm.
"Jaune we need to talk." Alexander said, Jaune sighed.
"Can we not?" Alexander just gave Jaune a blank look, Jaune nodded.
"Alright fine, but can we do it elsewhere? I had to break some bad news to Ren and Nora." This time Alexander looked puzzled.
"What news?" Jaune looked down at his shoes.
"When I went to Ren's place, someone had broken in ransacking the place and attacking An, I found her dead in the master bedroom." Jaune looked up to see sympathy in his father's eyes; he placed a hand on his shoulder.
"That's a very difficult thing to handle Jaune but I'm glad you told them, I'm proud of you son." Jaune nodded with a weak smile.
"I don't feel proud." Alexander bobbed his head slowly.
"It's not going to be easier but let's head down to the kitchen to talk about what's next." Jaune followed him downstairs to see that Pyrrha, Yang, his sisters and everyone else were in the living room still watching the live panel discussing what is happening to Vale.
Jaune saw Yang and Pyrrha were giving him a look as he passed by following his father into the kitchen. There Yang and Ruby's uncle, Qrow Branwen sat at a chair sipping water from a glass cup.
"What's up?" Jaune asked as Alexander took out a glass from a nearby cabinet and filled it with water.
"Jaune, I'm leaving." Jaune blinked.
"What?" Alexander turned to face him, his face grim but determined.
"I need to find your mother and Nessa, your mother hasn't responded to my calls or messages. So I'm heading out to find them." Jaune nodded slowly before responding.
"Alright when are we going?" Alexander frowned in confusion.
"We?" Jaune nodded.
"Yea, we, as in you and I. We'll take your truck and find them together." Alexander shook his head.
"No, I'm not going to do that to you. I'll be taking Qrow with me, what I brought you down here to discuss really is what I do want you to do." He pointed to the living room where the others were sitting oblivious to their conversation.
"Jaune, trust me, I understand the dangers out there but I need you to hold down the fort here alright? Look after your sisters and keep your friends safe. We should be back in a couple of hours; I'll call to let you know when we've got your mother and sister. So stay safe." Alexander said, Qrow stood up and walked out of the room, Alexander set his cup aside.
"Another thing Jaune, I've brought some basic supplies from the store, most of it is emergency food and water, so no need to touch it yet. There's also camping gear which we won't need for now as well. However there are manuals and guides in there that can teach you a number of things that you might need to know especially when I'm not around to help you like now." He lowered his voice and stepped closer to Jaune.
"I'm leaving you in charge of the group while we're gone Jaune. Keep them safe both from themselves and the outside. Also start packing up supplies that we might need because once we're back we're going to be leaving Vale." Jaune frowned.
"Leaving? Where are we going?" Alexander scratched his cheek.
"I don't want to stay here any longer then I have too, far too many people to deal with. If we get attacked by the same number of people we saw on the way here we would have a hard time defending ourselves. Not only that considering what happened to An it means that there are people out there willing to take advantage of the chaos to harm others. So we head either east or south where there's still smaller towns and villages but with wide open ground to put a lot of distance between us and anyone that might kill us."
"What about going north? We can try to get to Atlas." Alexander shook his head.
"No, Atlas is probably started shutting down its borders the moment they got word that Vale is collapsing like Vacuo. Even then from what we've seen on the news heading north would mean getting caught in clashes the Vale Police and National Guard are having with these people or things. So it'd be far too dangerous to head that direction for now." He put his hands on Jaune's shoulders.
"Jaune I trust you and know you'll do the best you can to keep them safe and do what's right." Jaune didn't say anything as Alexander let go, going over to the island and picking up his rifle. Jaune followed him as he headed towards the front door. His sisters jumped up from their seats to see that he was leaving again.
"Dad! No!" Miriya cried out as the three girls went to him, grabbing his arms to try and keep him back. Jaune stepped forward and pulled them away.
"Jaune!? Why aren't you stopping him!?" Helena turned to face him; outrage clearly on her face, Jaune shook his head.
"Dad's going to go get Mom and Nessa. He's got Mr. Branwen to accompany him." The dark hair man turned to Jaune.
"You can just call me Qrow kid; Mr. Branwen makes me feel old." Yang stepped forward with her hands on her hips.
"That's because you are old and did you really think you can leave without telling me and Ruby?" Said girl was looking from the couch looking like a lost puppy.
"Come on, it's not like I've left without saying goodbye before." Yang narrowed her eyes.
"Yea but we knew that you'd come back alive." Qrow shook his head.
"No, you assumed I would and so did I to be fair. I'm a police officer Yang, death and injury is in the job description. Not everyone makes it back alive." Yang shook her head and turned away. Ruby in turn left the couch and ran to Qrow, wrapping her arms around him.
"Please come back." She said Qrow nodded.
"I'll try." He said as Ruby let him go. Jaune stood next to the younger girl and his sisters watching from the door as the two men got into the red truck and start it up. As the truck drove away, the pops and cracks of gunfire could be heard; Jaune couldn't help but think that the city was tearing itself apart.
He closed the door, and turned to see that his sisters were heading upstairs. Ruby however stood in front of him, he could see that the girl was trying hard to keep her emotions in control. He put a hand on her shoulder.
"Are you going to be alright?" Ruby nodded before rubbing her eyes roughly.
"Yea, I still have Yang. Though I wish my dad was here also." Jaune nodded in understanding.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Taiyang was just sitting by the front door of his gym bashing the head of anyone crazy enough to cause trouble." Jaune said with a slight grin, Ruby looked at him in surprise.
"How do you know my dad's name?" Jaune tilted his head a little confused.
"Didn't Yang tell you? Your dad gave me boxing lessons." Ruby seemed to smile at that.
"Now you know where Yang gets all her bad jokes." Yang's head appeared from behind a couch, her face marked with affront.
"Hey! That's not fair!" Jaune grinned.
"She's right Ruby, that isn't fair. Taiyang is a dad, so they make bad jokes on purpose. Yang just has bad jokes." This brought a burst of laughter from not only Ruby but Sun, Neptune and Coco as well.
"So why did they leave?" Weiss's cold voice cut through the laughter. Looks of curiosity turned to Jaune, and he cursed himself.
"They went to go look for my mom and youngest sister."
"But why did both of them go?" Jaune stepped forward into the living room, making his way to one of the couches, sitting next to Pyrrha.
"Well it's best to move with a trusted partner that way they can watch each other's backs."
"But if they didn't leave they wouldn't have to watch each other's backs." Coco looked at Weiss.
"What are you trying to say?" Weiss rolled her eyes and spoke slowly as if she was talking to children.
"If they thought about it rationally seeing that they didn't need to go out, they wouldn't be in danger." The mood of the room soured and everyone looked towards Jaune expecting him to be angry but he wasn't, he just sat there with a bored expression on his face. Yang on the other hand was debating what might happen if she chucked Weiss out the window. Jaune clapped together his hands and stood up.
"Well I think I'll see what we have to make for dinner." Everyone just watched Jaune leave the living room and head into the kitchen. As soon as he was gone they looked towards Weiss who recoiled slightly at the annoyed glares she was receiving.
"What?" She asked Coco crossed her arms.
"Your being a real bitch right now you know that?" Weiss looked at Coco in shock.
"What?! I'm not a bitch Coco Adel, what right do you have to talk to me like that?" Coco look like she was going to say something else but Velvet put a hand on her arm. Coco leaned back and said nothing.
"Weiss you did kind of imply that Jaune's father was wasting his time to look for his wife, Jaune's mother if you miraculously seem to have forgotten and his youngest sister. That's kind of a bitch thing to say." Yang said with her arms crossed.
"Not only that you implied that my uncle was an idiot in helping his friend look for his family, which I also think is a bitch thing to say." Weiss looked around and could see that no one was going to come to her side. She looked at Neptune, her boyfriend for support but the blue hair teen didn't look at her. Instead he opted to keep his eyes on the floor.
"Wow, this is just like before. I turn him down time and time again and I get made out to be the bad guy. Not him for pestering me time and time again despite me saying I have zero interest and learning to take no as an answer. Now when I'm trying to be the reasonable once again while he's doing something stupid I'm in the wrong, it's completely unfair." She said as she stood up looking everyone in the face. She walked past everyone and went up the stairs to the second floor.
On the way down the steps were Ren and Nora. Both had somber faces on, Yang remembered that they had gone up to talk to Jaune about Ren's mother. Nora caught her looking, the two girls nodding towards each other as the two teens headed into the kitchen, Pyrrha stood up to follow them. Yang sighed as she took a seat on one of the couches.
"Man this are getting fucking crazy." Sun said as he rubbed his face with one hand, Blake nodded as well.
"To think that earlier today we were laughing and enjoying school, we're now in a house after escaping the fall of our school and watching society crumble around us on a television set." Yang looked at Blake.
"Jeez Blakey can you be any more depressing?" Sun leaned forward with a smile.
"Don't tempt her." He said before yelping as Blake drove her elbow into his side, Neptune and Coco laughed at his distress.
"She's not wrong." Velvet said as she watched the television.
"No one heard or reported anything like they did with Vacuo so really the only big difference I can see is that we didn't know anything until it was already in full swing." Yang nodded slowly and looked to her right to see Ruby stand up and head towards the kitchen. The sound of a knife on a cutting board and laughter could be heard coming from the kitchen. Jaune's sisters thumped down the steps, chatting excitedly amongst themselves about something.
So Yang decided to get up and check out what was going on. As she entered the kitchen she was surprised to see that everyone save Pyrrha was sitting down watching Jaune cook. To her left Jaune was mincing parsley with a large pot of water that was beginning to boil. Pyrrha was slicing a trio of large baguette loafs.
"Jaune you can cook?" Yang asked as she pulled up a seat next to Ruby. Jaune set aside his knife and turned holding a plate of minced garlic with a plate of minced parsley. He took a small basting brush and used it to mix a small bowl of melted butter, where he added the minced garlic and a table spoon of parsley.
After mixing it together he brushed the cut sides of the bread with the mixture. Pyrrha took them and set them across a cooking trays lined with aluminum foil. She picked up the trays and turned to her right were Jaune was standing next to an oven. Jaune opened the oven door for Pyrrha the slide the trays in and closed it, setting the time. He turned to Yang and smiled brightly.
"Yup, I always enjoyed cooking and considering what happened today, I figured why not? It would be nice to give it a go again for this many people." Setting the plates aside, he turned back towards a large refrigerator and opened it, after a few moments of rummaging around he pulled out a large package of ground beef, two eggs, ricotta, and Pecorino cheese.
"Pyrrha, there's a box of bread crumbs in the cabinet to my right, mind getting them out for me?" Pyrrha flashed a smile but Jaune was facing away from her.
"Sure Jaune." She said as she stepped to his right and opened a cabinet, after a few moments she pulled out a brown box.
"Is this what you were looking for?" She asked, Jaune looked over at her and smiled.
"Yup, that's it. Thank you Pyrrha, you know you don't have to help me cook. You're a guest in the house, you should be relaxing." Pyrrha waved her hand dismissively.
"Nonsense Jaune, what kind of friend would I be if I let you do everything for me?" Jaune chuckled as he turned his attention back to the food. He grabbed a towel hanging off a peg in front of him, to wipe his hands.
Turning to the boiling water, he pulled out four large packets of spaghetti and poured them in. Afterwards he grabbed a salt grinder and gave it two full turns into the water before setting it aside then reached for a medium size saucepan. Setting it on another stove top he crouched down to open another cabinet and pulled out three jars of marinara sauce.
Opening them he poured them in, quickly before setting the now mostly empty jars aside he turned on stove on at a high burn. Turning his attention back to the ground beef, he opened the package and poured it into a large blue mixing bowl. It was quickly followed by two eggs, a large portion of the minced parsley, a quarter cup or ricotta and two table spoons of shredded Pecorino.
The assembled teens watched as Jaune quickly mixed the contents of the bowl, before proceeding to take chunks of it out to roll in the palms of his hands. After which he set aside on another plate for later. After finishing that he leaned down to bring out another large sized pan which he set on the stove, and quickly added olive oil on it.
With one hand he reached up to the cabinet above him and started to bring down garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and dried basil. Opening and pour a seemingly measured amount of each item into the red sauce while using his left hand to pick up the pan and roll the oil around in it to coat it evenly.
Setting the pan down and turn the heat for the sauce down as well, Jaune turned his attention to the pasta and stirred it with a forked pasta server. Finally he turned to the raw meatballs and picked them up with a tong, and started to place them onto the pan.
The moment the first meatball hit the hot pan a sizzle could be heard followed by the smell of cooking meat. Pyrrha took a deep breath as the smell made her stomach grumble, she froze as she looked around to see the grinning faces of Nora, Ruby and Yang staring at her. It only lasted for a few moments as the teens at the island counter laughed, even Ren who cracked a little smile.
"Man, what smells so good?" Sun asked as he, Blake, Coco, Velvet and Neptune walked in.
"Jaune's making food!" Ruby said.
"Wow Arc, you cook as well?" Coco asked as she carried a chair over and sat with them.
"Yup, Jaune's a pretty good cook. He normally cooks whenever mom and dad were too busy." Helena said from the other end, Miriya nodded.
"God he was a lot better than Katherine at the age of twelve than she was at eighteen. I still have nightmares about her scrambled eggs." Helena made a face at that.
"She somehow managed to get more egg shell than actual egg into that mess she called breakfast." Claire leaned in to look at Pyrrha and the others.
"Katherine is the oldest of all of us, she's a pretty smart person but she couldn't cook a pack of instant ramen if her life depended on it." Everyone laughed at the table when Nora snapped her fingers.
"Who was it that made that really yummy cake on Ren's birthday a few years ago?" Ren spoke up.
"I'm pretty sure that was Mina, she is the only one that I could think of that makes better dessert than Jaune aside from high tier restaurants and bakeries." Jaune turned with a hurt look on his face.
"Ren, I thought you liked that cake I made for you a few years ago." Ren held his hand out flat and shook it a little. Everyone laughed at that, before long Jaune was mixing the spaghetti, sauce and meatballs together.
Putting on some oven mitts he walked to the oven and opened it to pull out the tray of garlic bread. He pulled out fifteen plates and began to label two scoops of pasta on each one, then he cut up the garlic bread and set a piece on each plate before getting the remaining Pecorino to sprinkle on top of the hot pasta with an added dash of parsley.
"Wow Jaune this looks amazing." Pyrrha said picking up a plate as Jaune stepped away to wash his hands in the sink.
"Ah it's nothing that special; it was just the first meal I could think of that could be able to feed everyone here." Jaune noticed that there was still a plate besides his on the counter and realized that Weiss hadn't joined them. Neptune must have realized this as well as he took his plate in one hand and picked up her plate with his other.
"Sorry about that Jaune, I'll take it to her and see if I can get her to come downstairs." Jaune simply nodded as he grabbed his plate and saw Pyrrha waving him over, an empty seat next to her. Jaune sat down flashing a smile at Pyrrha and the two of them tucked into their meal.
"Not only are you good looking, you know how to fight, have a good sense of justice, but you cook really good food Jaune. My god how do you not have a girlfriend?" Coco said as she swallowed a mouthful of pasta, Jaune just shrugged.
"I did try that but as you can see it didn't turn out well." Coco chuckled at that before turning back to her food. The teens laughed and talked amongst themselves the events of the day fading with the companionship they gave each other. The horror and stress they all face soon fading into joy and relief.
An Hour Later…
Qrow slammed the door of the faculty office shut, reaching over for a chair to wedge under the door handle. A few seconds later multiple bodies slammed against it but weren't able to bust open the door. The sounds of fists beating against the door increased along with the guttural moans of those things were outside.
Qrow brought his shotgun up, put a shell into the chamber and ran the action forward before putting in the rest of his shells.
"I'm sorry baby girl, I'm so sorry." The choked voice of a broken man came behind him. He turned to see Alexander sitting on the tiled floor of the faculty room, cradling Arabella in his arms.
They had come into the elementary school expecting to find trouble but they had gotten much more than they had asked for. The young ones had been turned; Qrow had frozen up at seeing the once human children covered in blood and torn flesh charging them.
Alexander took action firing his Stag rifle on full auto into the crowd of children charging them. Though Qrow could see that even he was torn up doing this, after dealing with them, Alexander had said it was best if they split up to look for his wife and youngest child.
Qrow had gone out to the back of the school to see dozens of former children wandering aimlessly around the playground and fields. Whole hallways covered in blood indicating where the kids had been ambushed early.
It wasn't until about ten minutes later Alexander called for Qrow to come to the faculty room as fast as he could. The sound of gun fire echoing through the halls prompted Qrow to run as hard as he could. Unfortunately he nearly ran into a group of turned children, fortunately or unfortunately depending on whom you ask Qrow was able to defend himself against the things.
Each blast of the Mossberg sent one or two children down at a time, ragged holes into their tiny frames. Qrow had to blink fast to keep the stinging sensation in his eyes from blinding him as he made his way around the school.
After running and gunning down the children he had finally made it to the faculty staff room. Now he was looking at dead body of Arabella lying in the lap of Alexander. His rifle was on the floor; however his Sig Sauer was in his hand.
"Alex?" Qrow asked, stepping closer to the crying man.
"I had to Qrow, she begged me to do it." Alexander choked out as he pressed his forehead against Arabella's forehead. Qrow could see a bite mark on her calf, he knew what that meant.
"She told me that she had tried getting Nessa out but the school was already teeming with them so she decided to hide here knowing I would come to get her. But Nessa hadn't told her something vital, so the next thing she before she knew it our own child had turned on her. She locked herself in one of the bathrooms while Nessa was in here. When the coast was clear she opened the door and asked me to kill her, I didn't want to but she made me promise to end it before it was too late." Alexander said leaning back up, tears streaming down his face as he recounted the story, blood marking his forehead now. Qrow could now see the hole in Arabella's forehead from where he had shot her. However something was odd about that story.
"Now I need you to keep your promise to me Qrow." Alexander said, Qrow looked puzzled than remember what Alexander said to him in the shop earlier that day.
"What?" He whispered hoarsely, Alexander held up his left hand, blood oozed out of teeth marks on his left hand.
"It looks like this is the end of the line for me." Qrow walked forward and sat down next to Alexander.
"Holy shit dude." Alexander nodded slowly.
"Holy shit indeed." They sat there for what seemed like forever, the steady beating at the door slowly started to ebb away.
"Qrow, I think it's time for you to get out of here." Alexander said as he lifted Arabella's body up with him. Moving to a table he set her on it, and began to undo his chest rig, setting it on the table.
"Want me to take this stuff?" Qrow asked looking at the Stag Rifle.
"You can take the rifle, there's more ammunition for it in the bags we brought from the store. Here you might want to put a fresh magazine in that." Alexander said, pulling out a magazine from a pouch on the chest rig.
"Also you'll need these unless you wanna walk back." Alexander said as he dug his keys from his pants along with the walkie talkie he had been carrying with him. Qrow sorted all the items and look up at his old friend.
"Are you going to keep that?" Qrow said pointing at the Sig Sauer on the table, Alexander nodded.
"Well it looks like this is it Qrow." Alexander said reaching out with his right hand, Qrow gripped it and shook it.
"It's been an honor Alexander." The man smiled slightly, Qrow let go and headed towards the back of the room. There were a few windows there, he opened one, and peered outside making sure the coast was clear.
Looking back inside he could see Alexander sitting in a chair looking at the body of his wife, in the corner of his eye he noticed a bloodied white sheet laying on top of a small figure. Qrow felt a lump in his throat as he realized who it was and climbed out the window.
The cool air nipped at his skin, the slight trace of smoke filled the air as Qrow took a deep breath. Looking around he couldn't see any sign of movement and slowly made his way off the grounds. He was holding the Mossberg in his hands while the Stag rifle was hanging on its strap around his torso.
As Qrow reached the sidewalk where they had parked the truck there was a single gunshot that rung out from behind him. Qrow cleared the surrounding area and unlocked the car, hopping into the driver seat and closed the door. He sat in the driver seat and closed his eyes.
Jaune stood at the sink with Pyrrha next to him washing dishes. It was always the most tedious part of cooking, the clean up after the fun. However his mother always told him that she always had a satisfying feeling when she did this.
To be able to make people happy with food and know that these dishes she washed were the tools that helped her. It was something that Jaune always associated with her, the ability to bring a smile out with her warmth. Not just from cooking but her presence as well.
"Jaune?" Pyrrha asked softly as she dried a plate and set it on a tray to her right.
"Yea Pyr?" She seemed to pause when he said that but recovered quickly. She looked behind her before continuing.
"Do you really think things are going to be okay?" Jaune hummed a little.
"Maybe, I'm not sure really but my dad told me before he left that we would all leave Vale. Even if things do ultimately go back to normal, it'll be a violent time before that happens." Jaune had no doubt about that last part especially after what happened with An Ren.
"For what it's worth Jaune, I-I'll be by your side throughout the entire way." Pyrrha said before looking at him with a bright smile. Jaune smiled back genuinely, though a part of him inside knew that despite that smile Pyrrha was scared. He couldn't blame her though; he was utterly terrified as well.
The flash of him bashing the girl's face with the bat flashed in his mind, followed by Yatsuhashi getting stabbed by Cardin and the dead violated body of An.
"Hey, you think Cardin is still tied up?" Jaune asked looking at Pyrrha, the girl's face darkened for a moment.
"I hope so, such a vile excuse for a human being." Jaune could see her hands tighten around a glass cup so hard that he legitimately thought she might break it. He shook his hands quickly before reaching out, grabbing her hand with his right while prying the innocent glass cup away.
He noticed how soft her hands were, which was surprising because of how hard he's seen her working at the gym. So he expected to feel callouses, but instead all he felt was soft skin. He realized that he was still holding her hand, not only that feeling it softly.
Jaune looked up at Pyrrha and saw that she was staring at him. Though he didn't see any discomfort or disgust in her eyes, her vivid green eyes that reminded him of a forest, he'd visit with his family.
Someone cleared their throat behind them and the two teens turned to see Yang standing there. However Jaune was surprised to see that she didn't looked amused at all, if anything she looked annoyed. Though he could be wrong as the power shut down at that moment, a chorus of questions filtered out from the living room.
Jaune however didn't pay any attention to them as he focused on the sounds of Vale burning as it tore itself apart.
Well isn't that something.
Anyways thank you everyone who commented on the first chapter. I appreciate the enthusiasm that you all had for it.
Now I've got a question, no one is obligated to answer but I wanted to hear what are your thoughts on the RWBY Characters, do you like how I am depicting them or is there something left to be desired?
The other side of that question is who is your favorite and least favorite character, it can be from Canon, my stories or just the general depiction that's done for that character in the Fandom.
Moving on from that I'll still continue to update the Chapter progress for this and The Lost Sons on my profile. I also figured I'll probably alternate working on the stories so don't expect the next Chapter to be started until I finish the current chapter for the The Lost Sons.
Anyways besides that feel free to leave a comment, review or really anything you want. I'm generally accepting of what most people have to say, whether it's good or bad, I wanna know.
Till Next time...