Another fic ending on the day after the last. Obviously not something I planned all of 2-3 years ago, but here it is. Damn. And two "epilogue style" endings. I don't normally write them but both stories just felt like it suited them more. Just a coincidence and I still tend to try and avoid them.
Cover Art: Jack Wayne
Jaune Arc set the cup of coffee down, leant one elbow on the counter and sighed. The tables were empty, his customers few. It wasn't unexpected given the date but that didn't help him break past the jitters in his stomach. A sense of foreboding hung over his shoulders, a sense of loss. Of an era coming slowly and inexorably to an end.
At twenty-one years old, he was finally starting to feel like an adult.
Strange really, that it came at such a specific time. Scratching the light dusting of stubble across his chin, he set his cup down and looked at one of several photos hanging on the wall. On it, him, Russel and Velvet stood side by side, arms around one another and smiling brightly.
He missed that. Missed Velvet. And would soon miss Russel.
The bell above the door jingled.
Tired and with eyes a little baggy, Jaune looked up with a smile. "Welcome to – Ozpin!?"
The man in the doorway paused to tug down the green scarf around his mouth, revealing a familiar old smile. He was taller somehow, more resolute in posture. The suit had been lost but what replaced it was a tight green jacket with a cream jerkin beneath, long trousers with belts down one side and boots almost knee high. His glasses had been replaced, still there but now simple spectacles attached to a thin golden chain linked to his collar, no doubt so he could continue fighting when they fell off. His hair was rougher, boyish, and the limp he'd once walked with appeared gone as he strode across the diner.
"Surprised?" Ozpin asked, that all-knowing tone back.
"I – well, yes! I've not heard from you in years! No one has!" Jaune hurried from behind the counter, then backtracked when Ozpin purposefully took a seat, laying his cane down on the table. Knowing what he'd want, Jaune slipped back. "Mistral? Or do you want something from Vacuo?"
"Hmmm. I just came from Vacuo, so hit me with something a little more fragrant."
Working quickly, he mixed several blends together and let them steep. After three and a half years of the work, his fingers moved much more quickly and the selection of blends, beans and spices had increased dramatically. Even though several other coffee shops had opened in Vale, there were few who could match the sheer range of options he had. They tried, but most of his premium blends were custom made by him.
Except for Velvet Smooth and Russel Brown. The two blends were the first his employees had made themselves, and he had a feeling it was going to become a tradition for all future employees to do the same before they left. Returning, he offered a drink to Ozpin and then took the seat across from him. He let Ozpin take a long drink and relax before he spoke.
"How have you been? I hear rumours every now and then but no one has been able to find you."
Ozpin chuckled over his mug. "Intentional on my part I'm afraid. If you cannot find me then neither can they. As for how, well, I've been good. Better than good, in fact." Ozpin drew a long breath through his nose, inhaling the sweet scent of his coffee. "I never realised just how much sitting in an office for years affected me."
"You do look healthier."
"Look and feel, my boy. Look and feel."
"Where have you been?"
"Where haven't I been? Atlas for a while. James and I spent some time together, caught up on old times and planned for the future. I'll be going to see him again soon. I visited Mistral, Vacuo and also spent time here in Vale. Not the city," he added, "But the wildlands. The frontier villages and settlements. It's always been a regret of mine how they're all but abandoned by the city. Having a chance to rectify that myself is… well, it's liberating." He laughed boldly. "I've even developed something of a reputation."
"You've not heard of the Emerald Knight?"
Jaune burst out laughing. "That's you!? The mysterious figure who comes in from the forest when people need him most? Vanishing into the mist after slaying the Grimm? People are saying you're the old king reborn, or a huntsman whose spirit lingers to protect those he served in life."
"So theatrical." Ozpin looked almost embarrassed at the fact. "I hardly need the reward from poor villages so I left without accepting one, thinking it would make matters less awkward. Alas, I seem to have miscalculated and now this..."
"You have a fan club! Boys want to be you."
"Women want to be with you."
Ozpin spluttered and glared over his mug. Jaune's incessant grin wasn't diminished in the slightest. "How annoying," the old man grunted. "And to think if I'd been selfish enough to demand payment, this wouldn't happen. So much for charity being its own reward."
"I think most people would be happy with a fan club."
"Most people don't know how annoying it is, then. Speaking of, no one here? Ah. It's exam period, isn't it? I'd almost forgotten."
"First day of finals," Jaune confirmed. "Ruby was almost in tears last night."
"She was a star student when I left. What happened?"
"Still is a star student. Just panicking."
"Ah." Ozpin chuckled. "I'd forgotten how the children could be. My, it's only been three years and I've already forgotten so much about Beacon."
"Haven't you spoken with Glynda?"
"Occasionally, but only via scroll. It was part of my agreement with… powers left well alone, that I not involve myself with the academies. I have been loyal to that, and so far they have been good to their word, focusing their attacks on me and only me."
"You're still here," Jaune pointed out.
"I think you'll find I'm rather difficult a man to kill, Jaune."
The door opened, bell tinkling. "I can confirm that. I've been hunting you across Vacuo," Cinder said, sashaying into the diner. "You're quite the difficult man to find at times, Ozpin."
"That would be the point," Ozpin replied. "Here for a drink? Or mortal combat?"
"The drink." Cinder's eyes sought his with easy practice. "My usual."
"Coming right up." Jaune hesitated. "Assuming I can leave you two to share a table with bloodshed?"
"Vale is neutral territory." Cinder took the seat he'd abandoned, claiming the warmer chair and sinking into it. "Technically, I'm spying on him and monitoring his movements. Unofficially, I have other business in the city."
"I consider myself quite monitored," Ozpin said.
Combat didn't look likely to break out, especially with how tired Cinder apparently was. Straining off some more of his Mistral stock, he came back with a cup for Cinder and a refill for Ozpin. He had a bowl of water but couldn't find a puffy white cloud that normally served as Cinder's shadow. "Where's Snow?"
"Mercury and Emerald are looking after him and Seraphina."
"Snowfall was lonely when I was on important jobs," Cinder said, almost embarrassed. "I thought to find him a friend to spend some time with. That stupid seller assured me she was spayed and I was too busy chasing Ozpin to check."
"You are blaming me for puppies?" Ozpin asked.
"Yes." Sighing again, Cinder turned back to Jaune. "You still live alone, don't you?"
"Most nights, yes."
It depended on what Miltia was up to, because whenever she had a free evening he very much didn't live alone. Or do much sleeping. Juniper was still asking when they'd take it further but neither of them were in the mood to. Miltia always argued that if they weren't going to stick with one another anyway, what difference would a couple of vows and an expensive ceremony make? Might as well pocket the money and go on holiday together.
"A canine companion would liven this place up."
"I'm not really sure the middle of the city is a good place for a dog."
"You misunderstand." Cinder leaned forward dangerously, fire burning in her eyes. "You will take one of Snowfall's puppies and raise it with the love and affection it deserves. I was not asking if you wanted one."
"O-On second thought, I love dogs. Ruby has been telling me to get one forever."
"Wonderful. I'll see you have a choice of the litter when they're eight weeks old."
Oh goodie. Miltia was either going to kill him or love him. No way to tell. At least Ruby would be happy knowing she wasn't leaving him alone. Jaune sighed and sat again, the action not missed by Ozpin.
"Something bothering you?"
"It's their final year…"
"Ah." He made an understanding sound. "I remember the feeling well. You grow close to your students, spend time watching them develop and then all too soon they fly the nest. It must be harder still for you since you'll be staying behind."
"Ruby has promised she'll visit all the time." It didn't stop him feeling morose. "She's going to be working as a huntress in Vale anyway, so it's not like she won't be stationed in the city or on Patch, and that's only a few hours away. Yang and Blake too. Even Weiss is thinking of sticking with the team now that Whitley has been made heir."
"But you still feel as though you'll have lost something. I understand."
"I thought I got over this when Velvet left." His head fell to the table. "And that was bad enough. She started crying, then I started crying then Coco and Miltia lost it because we were crying." He waved a hand limply. "It was a disaster."
Velvet was fine, of course. She'd just graduated. Become a huntress. Working for him had only ever been part-time, and though she'd loved the job and the confidence it helped her build, she couldn't take an education from Beacon and throw it away to be a waitress. It was enough that she came back at least once a week when she wasn't on missions. Since then, it'd just been him and Russel, but now this year was coming to an end and Russel would be heading off as well.
"There, there." Ozpin rubbed his shoulder. "It's not the end of things, Jaune, only a new start. There'll be plenty of new students to Beacon and you may find yourself making new friends, customers and even employees from them. And Mr Thrush, Miss Scarlatina and Team RWBY will always be patrons and friends. You know that."
"I know. It's just…"
"The fear of change, I realise. It happens to the best of us." Ozpin offered a handkerchief. "Here. Dry your eyes."
"I'm not crying."
"Hmhm. I know. Dry them anyway."
Jaune dabbed his face and tried not to lose it. They weren't even gone yet and he was already like this. It was only going to get worse, wasn't it? Oh hell, him and Ruby were going to be pathetic and stupid and Yang was going to have that `no idea what to do` look on her face. That was if she didn't pull a Coco and break down the moment she saw them sobbing.
"This is why you need a dog," Cinder said. "Companionship."
He couldn't help but laugh through the tears. "I've already agreed to adopt one from you."
"Yes, but you could have two."
"Or eight. Would you like eight? I'll give you a bulk discount."
"Cinder," he said again, wiping his face. "Are you really struggling to get them adopted?"
"You're the first I've tried."
"Then why not try an advert in the newspaper?" Ozpin suggested.
If it was weird for two arch enemies to discuss the sale of puppies, they didn't show it. Cinder sighed the sigh of someone who had just heard something outright preposterous and threatened Ozpin with her mug, gesticulating wildly as she spoke. "And leave them to any old home with people I cannot trust to look after them properly? I think not. Snowfall's scions are not for Christmas only and it would be problematic if I had to come back and murder people for abandoning them in the street."
"Ah. You wish to vet the recipients personally and make sure they go to loving homes?"
"I must. How else can I be sure? Roman will take one. He shall take one or he shall die."
"He probably will," Jaune said. "He's pretty much retired on a bed of cash and I think he needs something to liven up his day. He's been whining about how boring it is now that he isn't constantly on the run."
"He was cleared?" Ozpin asked. "How did he manage that?"
"Very expensive lawyers."
"Ah. The old `throw the money at it` approach." Ozpin rolled his eyes. "Glad to see I never managed to get rid of that."
"Greed is something that will never go away," Cinder said. "And if it works then that's all well and good. I wouldn't want to leave a puppy with someone likely to be hauled off to jail. I have to shift them all before Ozpin leaves the city, however."
"I could stay for a week or two," Ozpin offered.
Cinder looked positively hopeful, and the fact she had to pained her. "Could you?"
"Of course. I'll call it a holiday from being a huntsman. Stay, drink coffee and catch up with old friends. You can keep an eye on me, naturally, and we'll begin the hunt again once you've sorted your little puppy problem out."
"Thank you." Cinder sipped her drink. "This does not make us friends."
"Not even after I killed Tyrian? Why, I even left his head on a pike for you to find."
"Okay, that made me like you a little," she admitted, pointing her drink at him. "He was a pain in the ass and I always despised him. Kill Watts as well and we'll talk, Emerald Knight."
Ozpin groaned. "Anything but that…"
Jaune watched them natter like old friends, despite that they had, and would again after this was over, be busy trying to kill one another. For now, they were alive and if Cinder's attitude was anything to go by, that wasn't going to change anytime soon. That was enough for him. He'd catch up with Mercury and Emerald later.
"Should I be surprised you're discussing murder and working together around finding homes for puppies in my diner?"
"I don't see why you would be," Cinder drawled. "Wilder things have been discussed here."
There was no arguing with that.
"If a Bullhead travelling at sixty miles per hour is losing altitude from six thousand feet to ground level with an angle of descent of twenty-five degrees, what angle should the nose be dipped to avoid collision with a settlement two hundred and fifty metres ahead under siege by Grimm." Ruby slammed her hands down on the table. "What kind of question is that!? I thought I was studying to become a huntress, not a pilot!"
Older, prettier but no less volatile than she'd ever been before, Ruby Rose banged her hand down on the table a second and third time. The diner was full once more with students from Beacon. Various years, but all of them either in a state of rage over the exams, panic over mistakes or just flat-out in snooze mode on the tables.
He'd given Russel the night off seeing as the guy turned up looking like death warmed over.
"How did you answer that one?" Blake asked Yang.
Yang looked proud of herself. "Ninety degrees down."
"You mean crash the whole thing vertically into the ground? Instantly? You're going to piledrive an aircraft going at speed straight down?"
"That would kill everyone on board."
"Ah, but the question didn't say to worry about that. Only not to hit the village." Yang made a sound like a cash register. "Score one for me, baby."
"Huh." Weiss tapped her chin. "You have a point."
"WHAT!?" Ruby shrieked. "That's stupid! That – That!" She slammed her hand down three times. "I wrote sixteen degrees. Weiss, tell me you had the same."
"I also had sixteen," Weiss said.
Ruby's legs gave way. She fell into her seat with an exhale so relieved it sucked the very life out of her. Jaune arrived in time to put down a cake in front of the deflated girl and drinks before the others. Team RWBY had changed in little ways since they'd first started Beacon. Their outfits for one, but also their faces becoming slightly fuller and less angular. Blake had cut her hair short and Weiss now wore it in a thick braid. Ruby had given up on the single black and red outfit for something with a little more colour and variety, a white blouse under a corset with a red skirt. The cape remained, of course. She'd die before she let that be phased out.
"Tough day?" he asked cheerfully, just happy to have them around.
"Hmm. Free day tomorrow and exams day after." Yang sighed. "This is hell. This is literal hell."
"How was your day, Jaune?" Weiss asked.
"It was… interesting. I had some interesting visitors."
"Anything to do with that?" Blake asked, jerking a thumb toward a poster on the wall which featured a picture of several adorable young puppies with the caption `Puppies for sale. Loving homes only`. There were several students crowded around it making happy sounds and looking at the pictures.
"Maybe. You want one?"
"I'm a cat faunus."
"I'm not hearing a no…"
"Blake's not really an animal lover," Yang said. "And we've got Zwei. Not sure we'd be best to look after a pupper anyway since we'll be starting our careers soon."
Jaune felt the familiar pang of sorrow again and pushed it aside. "Will you be sticking together?"
"Yep." Ruby looked excited. "And guess what – we're going to get a place in Vale and be roommates! How cool is that!?"
"You dolt. We've lived as roommates for four years. How can you be this excited by now?"
"Because it'll be our own house. That's different. We can decorate."
"Can I trust you to decorate?"
"Sure. I want a red bathroom."
"DENIED!" Blake, Yang and Weiss said at once.
Jaune laughed. "You'll be living nearby then?"
"Yes." Weiss decided to explain. "We decided it would be best to operate as a team for our first few years, and house prices being what they are – and none of us looking to settle down anytime soon – it only made sense to pool resources. We're going to look at a house a few streets down once exams are over. See what's on the market. Whitley has offered to foot the bill on the SDC's account so long as it keeps me in Vale and away from him." Weiss chuckled. "Something I was happy to agree to."
"You know what that means, Jaune," Ruby said excitedly. "We're going to be neighbours!"
He didn't need to fake his smile. "That sounds awesome. It's the best news I've had all day."
"Doesn't it?" Ruby gave him a hand for a high five. "You're not getting rid of us yet. And whenever Weiss gets grumpy, I can come crash at your place."
"I do not get – why are you two nodding along with her!?"
Living in Vale, working from Vale and being close enough to call on. Jaune laughed along with Ruby, feeling that little bundle of nerves slowly unravel. Things wouldn't be exactly the same, but if it meant escaping a goodbye then he was all for it.
In fact, most of the graduates from Beacon typically came from Vale, which meant they'd be sticking around as huntsman for the Kingdom.
"Will Zwei be staying with you?"
"Yeah. Of course."
"Then won't your father be lonely without a dog of his own?" Jaune nodded toward the poster. What else could he do? Cinder was pulling her hair out.
Yang rubbed her chin. "You know, that's not a bad idea."
"Dad could use a puppy to keep him company." Ruby agreed. "And his birthday is coming up."
"Glynda! Good to see you."
"You as well, Jaune. I heard Ozpin was in town?"
"Here earlier," he said, mixing her favourite blend. "He said he can't involve himself in Beacon."
"No, but he can meet with an old friend. I'll be coming down tomorrow at lunch. If he comes earlier, can you ask him to wait? I'd like a chance to catch up."
"How can you be sure he'll-? Oh wait, it's Ozpin." He laughed and Glynda smiled. "Sure, I'll pass the message on when he comes for his morning coffee. Or his mid-morning coffee or the six he'll have between then and lunch."
"Thank you." Glynda took her paper cup to go and dropped some lien in his hand. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Wait." He reached below the counter and offered her a paper bag. "Cake."
"I… didn't ask for any."
"No," he said with a wince. "But Port did and said you'd come pick it up for him."
"Without asking me at all," she said, taking the bag with an angry sigh. "That man. Very well. I'll deliver this, and some choice words. Thank you, Jaune. And no," she said before he could ask, "I don't want a puppy."
"Pyrrha! How did your exams go?"
"Hey Jaune." Pyrrha smiled nervously. "They went well. I think. I hope."
"I'm sure you aced them."
"I like to think so…"
"What are you doing after you graduate?" he asked quietly. "I know Cinder wanted you as part of the whole agreement thing…"
"Oh, I'm going to be working out of Vale still." She laughed awkwardly, waving off his concern. "My side of the bargain is just that I don't hide away in some vault somewhere. I'm actually going to travel with Ozpin a little and learn to control – to better use certain things." The ending was vague, but he could guess it was something he didn't need to know. "Don't worry about me. Between the two of us, we should be more than fine."
He would worry; there was no helping that. Still, Ozpin knew what he was doing and Pyrrha was strong. Strong enough to hold her own. "Will you still be local?"
"Of course! I'll come visit you whenever I can." Looking around quickly, she leaned in and planted her lips against his. Jaune drew back, startled, but there was no avoiding the chaste kiss. "Sorry," she said, smiling brightly. "And I'll apologise to Miltia for it as well, don't worry."
"Y-Yeah." Jaune tried to ignore the urge to lick his wet lips. "No problem?"
"Something Melanie was urging me to do. Don't ask why."
He had a feeling he knew.
"I'll be gone for a month or two after I graduate so I wanted to leave you something to remember me by," she said. "Ozpin thinks two months will be enough for me to learn how to look after myself, then I'll be coming back."
"As a huntress?"
"Yes. I'm going to operate out of Vale, but I'm thinking about opening a small training school to teach children. It was a dream of mine back when I was still in tournaments. I lost interest once the fame got to me, but looking back, I think it could be fun. It'd also let me train up a successor."
"For your championship career?"
Pyrrha smiled oddly. "Sure. Let's go with that."
"One of those things I'm not allowed to know…?"
"Sure," she repeated, smiling cheekily. "Let's go with that."
"Ozpin and his secrets…"
"It really is for your own good. Trust me. Anyway, I won't be leaving for another two weeks, but I wanted you to know so you didn't assume the worst when I suddenly vanished. We can't really tell anyone where we're going."
"How did-?" Pyrrha sighed. "Okay, so I can't tell anyone where we're going but apparently, he can. Sure. That's fair. Did he just say it?"
"No. He mentioned catching up with Ironwood though, and if you needed somewhere safe to train, I can't think of a place safer than Atlas. Ozpin's only prevented from involving himself with the schools, right? He can still work with the Atlas military." Jaune winked. "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone. Honestly, I'm relieved knowing you'll be safe."
"My safety is apparently the most important thing to Remnant according to Ozpin, so I wouldn't worry. To hear Ozpin and Ironwood go at it, I'm going to be the most heavily protected person on the planet. There's even an Ace-Ops team being formed to work with me."
"Sounds tiring," she said with a sigh. "Like being famous all over again, though at least this time I'll have you, Melanie, Miltia, Coco, Velvet and Russel to rely on. Have some cappuccino waiting for me when I get back? I've a feeling I'll need it."
Jaune stacked chairs on tables and shut down the machines at the end of a long day's work. With the good news from Team RWBY, he finally felt cheery enough to smile again, humming to himself as he worked. Cinder had taken the news about a potential new home for a puppy well, promising to have Mercury visit Mr Taiyang – in disguise, of course – and see if he would be interested.
Carrying the used cups to the washer, he slotted them in, closed the door and set it to go, standing and wiping sweat from his brow. "Yikes. Talk about going from dead to busy. If the whole exam period is like this, I'm going to collapse."
He really needed another part-timer. Maybe it was time to bite the bullet and distribute some more leaflets around Beacon. There wouldn't be anyone until after exams were over, but Ozpin had a point. No use holding off just because he was afraid of change.
Maybe Miltia and Melanie can help in the meantime. Or Neo. No, she'd smack the first person to look at her wrong. Hm. Maybe Junior has some guys who can lend a hand. It's only a week or two. He made a note to ask in the morning, wandered to the counter and began counting earnings for the day, writing down the total in the books and sealing it in the safe. As he was doing so, the bell above the door tinkled yet again.
"Sorry," he called. "We're closed for the day."
"I am sure you can make an exception for me."
The voice delivered an icy chill straight into his bones. Jaune stiffened, rose and looked back to see a woman shrouded in black and covered by a thick cloak. Even then, the darkness seemed to cling to her menacingly. She was alone, and yet he was sure she wasn't. Like something was crowding in around her. Without a single aggressive motion, she left him paralysed with fear.
"Cinder spoke of this place. Spoke of the meetings and the agreement. I must admit, I found myself curious." The woman reached up to peel her hood back, revealing an inhumanly pale face. Bright red eyes fixed on him. "Curious enough to come out my way to see for myself, just what could evoke such change in an otherwise stagnant game."
"You…" Jaune swallowed. "You're the one behind Cinder? The one hunting Ozpin…?"
The woman smiled. "I am."
His hands were clammy and cold. By association, this woman was more dangerous than Cinder, more deadly than Adam and focused on killing Ozpin to the point that she would have allowed the slaughter of Beacon and everyone in Vale. Someone who Cinder feared disappointing, and who Ozpin genuinely thought had the power to threaten all of Vale. In his diner. Stood before him, staring down on and making him feel like an ant.
Terror did not begin to describe what he felt. It was too weak a word for the mind-numbing cold that seeped into his head. It blocked out rational thought, rooted him to the spot and wiped away all those thoughts of calling Ruby, Ozpin or Miltia. Left without that, he naturally defaulted to what was familiar, to what had always worked before. It wasn't the best idea, but he did it without thinking, stepping around the diner and walking up to the woman.
She watched him with inhuman eyes. Unarmed, but ready.
He stopped before her.
"Welcome to Jaune's." He took a chair from a table, set it down and drew it back, smiling at her now confused expression. He held the chair out for her, "Please take a seat. Do you have an order in mind or would you like me to surprise you? I've some cake left over. How does chocolate sound?"
Bemused, the personification of all evil sat. He used his foot on the back leg of the chair to gently push her back under, then moved the others down and laid out the table for her. The woman watched, curious and intrigued.
"Have you tried coffee from Vacuo?" he asked casually.
"I have never in my life tasted coffee."
"At all!? Then you're in for a treat!"
The woman hummed and sat back, still watching him as he worked but with less caution and more curiosity. Jaune busied himself and brewed as best he could, then sliced some chocolate cake, added a scoop of ice-cream and crushed a chocolate biscuit over the top of it. He brought it all out and placed it before her with a quiet "Ta-dah!"
"I did not ask for any of this."
"It's on the house. It would be going to waste if you didn't eat it."
The woman brought the mug up to her lips and sipped. There was no suffusion of colour, no visible reaction. The angry red lines that cut across her face and around her eyes, which he noticed had black sclera, burned brightly, but otherwise proved the only colour. Those eyes closed briefly at the taste, and the woman hummed.
"How was it?"
"Passable." Her eyes opened. "You don't fear me?"
"Oh, I do. But I fear a lot of things. Cinder, Adam, my friends graduating and moving on. Submitting my tax returns late and leaving the toilet seat up at my girlfriend's place. But this is Jaune's. This is my diner. And if there's one thing we stand for here, it's good service, no matter who comes through that door. I've served criminals, terrorists and military generals, and I've done it all at the same time. I figure I can handle this."
"Interesting. My name was - or is - Salem."
"Jaune. Jaune Arc. Short, sweet and rolls off the tongue. The ladies love it." He held out a hand, and after a long second of looking at it, icy cold fingers took it. His introduction looked to have amused her, proving it was just as effective as ever at getting women laughing at him. He shook firmly. "So, Salem. I've got one question for you."
"Would you like another drink?"
The Queen of the Grimm looked down at her mug, no doubt wondering when it had become empty or why she was licking her lips so. Gently picking up the spoon provided, she used the edge to cut into the warm chocolate cake, raise a bite to her lips and taste it. She hummed contentedly, eyes slipping shut.
"Yes. I think I would."
And on that note, Service with a Smile comes to an end. Deciding an ending for this was always something that was going to be a challenge. It was billed as a slice of life, and even though it ended up involving the RWBY plot, I like to think it managed to keep itself slice of life. The ending isn't some big, bombastic fight but an understanding being made.
Would it work in canon? Nah. Not a chance.
I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing though.
So, there will be a new story to replace this – A Rabbit Among Wolves won't become a weekly fic, because I still want to keep Tuesday for fortnightly. Gives me more time to plan. I've got one or two ideas for long epics (the really long stories) but I think I might release a shorter one for this slot. Just to give me more time to work on the plans for those long epics before committing.
Either way, there will be an empty slot the next time this comes up which is for planning purposes, which means that the new story won't come out until the 18th February. Sounds crazy, I know, but it's Rabbit Among Wolves on 28th Jan, planning free period 4th feb, RAW on 11th Feb and then the new story to release on the 18th Feb.
I'm knocking a bunch of ideas around. Team STRQ origin story. Adam joins Beacon and tries to change for Blake's sake. AU where Salem won decades ago and the world is under her yoke. Probably leaning toward a serious story since "Rabbit Among Wolves" already fulfils comedy for the Tuesday slot.
I can't say what the chosen story will be yet. The more time I have to plan, the better an idea I'll have. I can only say it will come out on the 18th Feb.
Thank you for reading Service with a Smile.
Next Story: 18th Feb
P a treon . com (slash) Coeur