Disclaimer, I do not own RWBY or any of the franchises referenced in this work

Chapter 5: Liquid Courage

Inspiration: Hangover

"Welcome back, here's one that's a little more light hearted." Blank said when his guests returned to their seat and the lights dimmed.

"What's this one about?" Ruby asked curiously as she made herself comfortable in her Summer's arms.

"An alternate reality where Jaune Arc cannot hold his liquor at all."

"Great, so we get to watch the dunce make a fool of himself while drunk… joy." Weiss snarked drawing several giggles from the crowd and a frown from Pyrrha.

"Hmmph, you are all huntsmen and huntresses in training and that makes you eligible to drink, but I must insist that you do so in moderation if you absolutely must partake. One Qrow is enough thank you very much." Professor Goodwitch said before giving the perpetual drunk a disapproving sniff.

"Hey! At least I know how to appreciate the finer things in life unlike you and your… ugh… tea." Qrow spat out the word with distaste before staring into his almost empty bottle. Giving a shrug, he chugged whatever was left and gave a loud burb, instantly getting smacked in the back of his head by Taiyang.

"Alright, show's starting, enjoy." Blank said as the screen came to life and the hubbub died down.

Ten days before the breach.

Sun, Neptune, Ren and Jaune sat around a table, a glass bottle of golden liquid and several glasses were placed at the centre of it.

"I don't think this is a good idea." Jaune muttered unsurely, staring at the bottle as though it was about to grow fangs and attack him.

"Oh come on, live a little man! Old enough to kill Grimm, old enough to drink." Sun laughed and slugged the blonde knight in the arm, getting him to wince and rub it.

"I don't know… my parents insisted that I never drink alcohol even when I'm old enough to do so. Maybe I shouldn't…"

"Dude, you should relax a bit. A little drink never hurt anybody, it's a guys night out, enjoy yourself yeah?" Neptune chimed in and smiled when he saw Jaune's hesitance start to waver.

"My parents were pretty insistent I never drink. Something about property damage or something. What if I'm a violent drunk?"

"Jaune, there are three of us here. If you lose yourself, we'll be able to restrain you. Or do you think you can take all three of us while drunk." Ren added his own two cents and Jaune conceded the point. All three of his friends were stronger and more skilled them him, they'd be able to stop him before things got out of hand.

"If you're sure."

"Oh why are you still hesitating!?" Sun grabbed the bottle and began pouring, sliding the filled glasses over once he was done.

"I'm starting to think you might be a chicken faunus in disguise."

"That's racist Wukong, and what even is this anyway?" Jaune shot back and stared at the glass of amber liquid dubiously.

"It's not racist if it's coming from a faunus." Sun shrugged and poured himself one before returning the bottle to the centre.

"That's… true? I think?" Blake started to protest about stereotypes but stopped short when she considered the fact that Sun was the one saying it. Her ears twitched as her mind contorted itself into knots, to the amusement to her team.

"That right there is grade A Vacuon whiskey, designed specifically for aura users. Most alcohol doesn't do much for us since aura burns it off faster than civies. This though? This is gonna stick in your system, the more aura you have, the longer it stays in system and the greater the effects. Guaranteed to knock you on your ass or your money back." Sun proudly praised the drink and gave a thumbs up.

"But Jaune has more aura than anyone I've ever met! This… will not end well." Pyrrha clasped her hands together in nervousness as she watched her team leader raised the glass.

"Well boys, we've had a good year so far. Stomped Torchwick twice, had an awesome dance and we're about to take on our first missions. Cheers!" Sun said and raised his glass.

"As I recall from the news, Torchwick was the one doing the stomping until reinforcements saved you. But I'll drink to the rest." Ren raised his glass as well, Neptune and Jaune following suit.

Glasses clinking in a toast, the four hunters in training drained their glasses in one swig, immediately coughing as the liquid burned all the way down.

"Ack, oh Oum it burns." Jaune gagged as his stomach rioted in protest against the alcohol, threatening to give him a repeat performance of his first bullhead trip to Beacon.

"Amazing isn't it?" Sun said once he felt the drink settle.

"It's far stronger than anything I've ever had in the past." Ren coughed out, pale face already turning pink.

"It's… actually pretty good. I… why is the world spinning?" Jaune muttered and tried to stand. That was a terrible idea and he lost his balance instantly, falling back into the chair and his head met the table before everything went black.

"Out cold in one shot? Kid's a featherweight. Shame, I was expecting more. So what now?" Qrow asked as the screen remained dark but the lights didn't come on.

"Oh, I see where this is going. This is just like that time when you both went out to celebrate STRQ's first official mission completion. That was when you-" Summer snickered and was about to bring up one of her team's infamous drunken escapades when she was shut down by a vehement protest from Taiyang and Qrow.

""NO!"" Both hissed out in unison, eyes wide with terror as the recalled the 'incident'.

"We will never bring up that ever again! And you have no proof! We destroyed all of it!" Qrow hugged his flask close to him for emotional support as cold sweat rand down his neck.

"Are you sure about that? I'm very sure Rae still has a few copies left." Summer casually mentioned and laughed when both males of STRQ paled considerably.

"I don't get it mom, what happened to dad and uncle Qrow?" Ruby asked innocently and Summer gave her several head pats.

"I'll tell you all about it later and we can all have a good laugh." She snickered again when Taiyang actually did pass out this time and Qrow began downing bottle after bottle of alcohol in the hopes of blacking out himself.

Jaune woke up with a splitting headache and cursed, everything hurt and he felt sticky all over. "Ow, my head! My back! Wha-what the hell did I do last night!?"

Rising to his feet, he staggered against his desk as his stomach lurched. Blinking blearily to try and regain his bearings, there was an angry buzzing in his ears that was driving him mad. It took his frazzled mind a while to realise that the buzzing was actually the radio playing in the background.

Wiping his hands on his shirt to try and get rid of some of the sweat, he blinked slowly when his hands came away stained red. Staring at it for a few seconds more, the realisation finally sunk in and he leapt back in shock, slamming his head against the wall and causing his stomach to flip again.

"Blood!? Gah! Am I… no, I… I don't feel any pain. Ugh, no pain that should indicate that much blood anyway." He hastily corrected when all of his body aches plus the new bump on the back of his head made themselves known.

Staring down at himself again, he was shocked to find the entire front of his shirt was soaked in half dried blood. Looking at the desk where he was sleeping at earlier, he noted that much of it was covered in blood as well and a trail of it led to the wooden door of the… office?

"Okay… what the hell is going on here!? Who's blood is on me and who's office is this. I… gah, there's a hole in my memories. What did I do? Think Jaune think… okay, the last thing I remembered was drinking with Ren? Y-yea I did that didn't I?"

Jaune rested a bloody hand against the wall to support himself as he cradled his throbbing head in the other. He froze in place when there was a knock on the door and it swung open before he could say anything.

"Morning boss, we heard you were awake." A masked faunus stepped through the doorway and gave a lazy salute. Jaune's blood chilled when he recognised the mask from the news and the stories team RWBY were telling.

"White fang!? What are they doing there?" Blake shot up in panic when she saw the faunus walk in.

"He called Jaune boss though, what's up with that? I thought Roman was their boss, they all have the same tacky fashion sense." Yang said and attempted to calm her partner down.

"Not by choice I assure you! I'd rather never work with such incompetent fanatics. And there is nothing wrong with my fashion sense!" Roman shouted out in protest, missing Neo's heavy sigh from behind him.

"Ooooh I see, Jaune-Jaune must have beaten the old boss and taken control! I hope he broke a few legs! Hey! That must be why he's covered in blood!" Nora shouted and Ren gave a small shrug, in the absence of any other information, that theory was as good as any.

"What!? There's no way that noodle beat me! And besides, the white fang would never work with him of all people." Roman sniffed disdainfully, not wanting to entertain the idea that some blonde kid had thrashed him badly enough that his blood literally painted a third of the room.

"As much as I hate to agree with the criminal, he does have a point. The white fang aren't animals, we don't decide leadership through trial by combat." Blake said while glaring at Torchwick.

"I… uh…" Jaune stuttered as he cast his eyes about the room, searching for a weapon. Crocea Mors was nowhere to be found since he left it back in JNPR's dorm room.

"Perry, my name's Perry boss. Why does everyone forget it? It's not even that difficult! Everyone else just calls me private or mook or minion." The white fang member hung his head in depression.

"Uh, Perry right. Uh do you mind giving me a quick refresher, just a… memory test so maybe I won't forget your name again." Jaune closed his fist around a bloody letter opener, probably the source of the blood on him, before hiding it behind his back. The terrorist wasn't taking any hostile actions just yet so maybe he could bluff his way out.

"Of course boss, what do you want to know?" Perry pipped up cheerfully when he heard someone other than himself use his actual name.

"Right, so what did I do to become the boss again. Spare no details." Jaune said in his most commanding tone, pushing aside all the aches and pains in his body to give the image of a commander who didn't take kindly to nonsense of any kind. It must have worked since Perry swallowed a nervous gulp before answering. Come to think of it, his blood-soaked visage might have something to do with it as well.

Pyrrha blushed lightly as she witnessed a side of Jaune she'd never seen before. Seeing him take command like that made her feel warm under the collar. Sure, he could be commanding during team exercises but never anything so visceral. Several seats away, Yang wasn't in much better shape.

"O-of course boss! It… actually it started with that." Perry pointed to the radio that was still playing. Jaune's eyebrows furrowed in confusion before his mind caught up and recognised the news broadcast for what it was.

"Vale's crown jewels remain missing and the police are at a loss on who the mysterious phantom thief 'A' could be. Several unconfirmed sources state that the heist was pulled off by the white fang's new leader. There were reports that the white fang are working with the well known criminal Roman Torchwick but as of now, leadership appeared to have shifted to someone new…"

Jaune's migraine returned with a vengeance as the hazy memory floated back to the front.

Bloodshot eyes barely focused on the road ahead, Jaune staggered through the darkened streets of Vale, his drinking companions nowhere to be found. Several hairbrained ideas floated through his addled mind, the product of an overactive imagination and the extremely potent alcohol.

"Ahhh… hurts to think, but the white fang… they follow that thief… Rom… romance? Whatshisname. Ugh… they were stealing… stole dust and a giant mech right? Damn, he's good, no wonder he's the boss…"

"Well it's nice to know someone appreciates my talents." Roman proudly puffed out his chest and smirked at the irate Beacon students.

"Shut up Roman, why don't you follow your minion's example and mute yourself." Blake hissed out at the criminal.

"Errr I think I remember Blake saying they were a cult… no wait that was Sun. Uh… oh yes, misguided faunus that was it. I wonder… oho, brilliant!" Jaune's mad laughter echoed into the night as the beginnings of his masterplan came together.

"All I need to do is be a better thief than their boss and the white fang will follow me. Then I can shift them away from being a cult, it's perfect!"

"That's… ridiculous. Arc's gone insane." Weiss stared dumbfounded as Jaune giggled maniacally, fully convinced in his fool proof plan.

Roman was about to chime in before biting his tongue and frowning. Cinder put him in charge of the fang despite his protests because he was the best in the business, if someone proved to be a better fit than him… wouldn't that make him expendable? Even more so than the fire bitch already considered him?

Quietly passing a written message to Neo, he kept up appearances that everything was perfectly fine in his dark little corner of the world.

The ice-cream themed girl nodded and promptly destroyed the message. Whenever they returned from this place, she'd have to step up the timetable on their exit strategy before Cinder sent them their… severance package.

Stumbling over the uneven pavement, Jaune braced himself against the wall and hissed in pain. A flyer stuck to it caught his attention. 'Crown jewels of Vale on display at the national museum. Artefacts from the collection of Vale's warrior king including his sword and crown available to the public for viewing until the end of the month… perfect.'

Humming an offkey tune, the inebriated knight made his way to the museum, eventually ending up in an alleyway next to it. "Front door and windows locked, can't go through them or the alarm will trip… through the wall it is."

Eyes glowing with azure radiance as Jaune's alcohol affected aura kicked into overdrive, he stabbed Crocea Mors into the brick wall and began sawing his way in. Once he cut a solid square into the wall, he laughed heartily and kicked the slab in with a loud crash.

"No alarm… perfect as expected ahahahahahah!" Enjoying his good fortune, he made his way through the darkened interior until he found his quarry, the sword and crown of Vale's last king. Jaune hummed appreciatively as he beheld them, instead of some overly fancy bejewelled piece that the Atlas bigwigs loved, the sword and crown were both plain by comparison to all the other items on display. A simple longsword and bronze crown, simple, timeless, classic, perfect for the new king of thieves.

Shattering the reinforced glass case with a blow from Crocea Mors, alarms started blaring instantly. Jaune ignored it all and retrieved the items, hanging the sword on his other side and putting the crown on, he was briefly surprised when the crown unfolded into a full-face helm that obscured his face from prying eyes.

The stomping of feet drew his attention as several pissed off faunus in Grimm masks rushed into the room. "Well hello there, nice night isn't it?"

"You! Who the hell are you!? And why the fuck are you messing with our dust collection efforts!?" Perry raised his rifle at Jaune's head. Their mission to relieve the museum of their dust exhibits had been going along swimmingly until someone chopped a hole in the wall, squashing their jammer beneath a ton of rubble and then set off the alarms.

Jaune's eyes glowed again as his aura flared, the ethereal glow visible through the translucent eye guard and giving off a creepy vibe that had the terrorists shaking slightly. "Me? I am…"

Jaune paused mid sentence as his own name slipped through the many cracks of his twisted mind. 'Eh… I'm sure it starts with A or something. Fuck it we'll roll with it."

"A. Phantom thief A, has a nice ring to it don't ya think?"

"Grrr… you think this is some kind of joke!? Kill him!" One of the white fang grunts shouted before pulling the trigger and sending a hail of lead towards Jaune.

The knight didn't bother dodging, still too drunk to process why standing in the middle of a bullet storm is a bad idea. Semblance activating subconsciously to boost his defence, the bullets simply pinged off him harmlessly, several of the ricochets narrowly avoided putting holes in the shooters.

"Cease fire! Cease fire damnit!" Perry shouted as a bullet zinged past his hair, inches away from splattering his brains. Not for the first time, he cursed his lack of aura. And whoever this A guy was he must be some kind of super hunter, who else would laugh and shrug off gunfire without flinching?

"Oh are we done?" Jaune asked once the gunfire died down, his ears were ringing slightly from all the shooting and several bullets had gotten stuck in his clothes, absentmindedly wiping them off with one hand, he failed to notice the white fang backing away in fear.

"So who are you people anyway?"

"W-we're the white fang and we ain't a-afraid of you human scum!"

"Oh! You're the cult I was looking for!"

"We're not a cult! We're freedom fighters!"

"That's what they all say. Don't worry, I'll save you all from your misguided ways. You're all faunus right? That means you follow the strongest, so all I gotta do is beat the ever living crap out of you until you bow down." Jaune said happily, completely oblivious to how his words would come across.

"What the- THAT'S RACIST! We're not animals damn it! We don't decide leadership through trial by combat! You can't just beat someone until they submit to your rule, that's tyranny! And the white fang isn't a cult!" Blake roared in anger and the rest of her team gave her a wide berth while she calmed down

"You son of a bitch!" A grunt lost it and charged Jaune, arms outstretched to try and strangle the boy to death before his comrades could stop him.

Jaune couldn't help himself as a yawn escaped him, his arm muscles spasmed involuntarily and his fist shot out in a punch, slamming into the faunus face hard enough to shatter the mask. The man was out cold before he hit the ground.

"Oh that was easy, anyone else want to show initiative? No? Then I'll just have to go to you." The armoured knight stalked towards the terrorists, aura glow increasing in intensity as his semblance continued boosting him.

"Damn you! What the hell do you want!? You think you can stop us!? We'll make a better world for faunus kind no matter who stands in our way!"

"Sure… and being part of a cult is totally going to help with that." Jaune snarked as he drew the king's sword for a closer inspection.

"We're not a cult!"

"Uh huh… you wear grim masks, tacky uniforms and have an unhealthy obsession with stealing dust. You also have late night meetings in abandoned warehouses where you stand around in front of a giant robot idol. I'm pretty sure I've heard of faunus sacrifices in shady bookshops as well, death by multiple gunshot wounds. Sure you aren't a cult…"

"That's- uh…" Perry trailed off and exchanged glances with the others, why were they stealing dust again? Because their boss… a human… told them to. And the masks were there to… inspire awe? But most other faunus usually ended up running away from them too even when they were helping. Then there was the robot and what was this about sacrifices?

"Oh my Oum, we are a cult." Perry dropped his rifle in shock and nervous whispering spread amongst the goons, none of them paying attention to Jaune anymore.

The theatre exploded into giggles and sniggers at the admission as Blake frowned and crossed her arms angrily. Torchwick wasn't much better off, grumbling while pulling his hat over his eyes.

"Great. From master thief to cult leader extraordinaire, I'm really moving up in the world." Neo gave him several pats on the back in consolation despite finding it hilarious on the inside.

"Relax, I'm here to change that. But first, you should leave before the police arrive." Jaune pointed at the glass windows, flashing lights already visible beyond them.

"But you're the one who set off the alarms!"

"Details, details. Don't sweat the small stuff or you'll never make it in life. Run along now, I'll distract the cops, you lot just get out of here, can't let my new crew get arrested before the big heist."

"Heist?"

"Oh yeah, I still have to beat Torchwick for title of best thief in Vale, he stole a Paladin from Atlas, I'm gonna have to one up that."

"What!? He didn't steal that, the white fang got it for him!"

"Details, details. Point is, everyone thinks he did it and that's all that matters. PR matters minion, that's why nobody wants to be your friend. You look like a nutjob in your uniform, seriously do your bosses have to sense of taste?" Jaune said as he started pushing Perry in the direction of the door, he had a busy timetable and no time to waste springing his crew from jail if they got caught.

"HEY!"

"Funny as this is, it's pretty rich coming from good ol vomit boy, I mean this is the guy who thought wearing a bunny onesie the night before initiation was a good idea." Yang shrugged and the others silently agreed when they recalled that insult to common decency.

"Now get a move on Perry, you can't help me fight for faunus equality if you're locked up behind bars. Shoo. Shoo! I'll distract the cops while you run, oh and gimme your scroll so I can contact you all later."

Jaune whistled happily as he pocketed the scroll he liberated from Perry, he'd send them their instructions after he finished cementing his legend. If they tried to run… he had confidence he'd be able to track them down and press gang them into service one way or another. But for now, the cops waiting outside.

Strolling out the front doors swinging his sword in a lazy arc, he was immediately beset by several shouts for him to surrender as the police levelled their weapons at him.

"Put down your weapons! We have the place surrounded, you're not getting away!" Jaune stared blankly at the cop shouting through a megaphone before sniggering.

"Oh but I think I am, ah what was the quote… oh yeah! You'll always remember this as the day you almost caught the Phantom Thief 'A'! Haha! Top this Roman." Jaune's aura flared mid swing and a blast of wind shot out from the king's sword, sending the police flying backwards.

"Well, that's new. So long suckers! You'll never take me alive!" Cackling madly as the auraless police lay on the ground groaning in pain, a pale white shroud of aura formed around Jaune as he leapt into the air, landing on the roof of a nearby building and making good his escape.

"Meh, not enough explosions." Nora pouted and folded her arms.

"Nora, there's never enough explosions with you." Ren sighed when he received an exuberant 'yup!' in response.

"Well the kid has style if nothing else." Qrow shrugged and appreciated the theatrics for what they were.

"Is nobody else worried about what he's going to do to one up Torchwick? Ruby, exactly what kind of people have you been hanging around with?" Taiyang gave his daughter a questioning glare and the girl squirmed uncomfortably.

"Eh… he's normally nice?" Ruby offered hesitantly and glared at Yang when her sister snickered at her expense.

Jaune's mind snapped back to present and he had to fight hard to resist the urge to repeatedly introduce his head to the desk. 'I am so boned.'

"Ahem. Right. So what happened next?" Not allowing the panic and despair to show on his face, he continued to pry and fortunately Perry didn't catch onto his current state of mind.

"Right boss. Next was the big heist, I… don't know where you got that talking crow from but the two of you pulled off the hijack of the century then picked me and the boys up afterwards."

Qrow coughed and sputtered as he spat out the martini he was drinking. "Say what now!?"

'Talking crow… hijack? Oh. Ooooooh…' Another memory shot to the surface and Jaune found himself lost in it.

Three days after the museum break in, the knight was still drunk off his ass, slightly more functional then the three day blank period. All he remembered was several barfights, stealing and eating a whole chicken from a barbeque and recruiting several more white fang members when he drunkenly busted into one of their safehouses and beat everyone senseless.

The alcohol madness had subsided somewhat so he could function semi-normally now and plan for the big score. Jaune sat on the roof of one of the warehouses overlooking the harbour, grumbling away.

His fool proof plan had disintegrated over the course of the blackout period and he was drawing blanks now. It was still there somewhere but currently lost beneath the waves.

"There you are. You're a hard man to track down Mr Phantom Thief." A surly voice called out to Jaune from behind him. Turning back to look, he found himself staring at a fellow dishevelled drunk.

"Hello! Wonderful weather we're having today."

Qrow stared at the teen and sighed again, the boy was swaying in the wind, as though one good breeze would knock him over. Stupid bullshit jobs, damn drunken idiots, he was on leave damnit, why the hell was he looking for one of Ozpin's lost sheep?

Oh yeah, because his nieces asked him to, and Glynda had noted a similarity between her student and the newest diabolical criminal mastermind to plague the streets. He blamed his semblance. It was only one in the morning, too damn early for this shit. He needed a god damned drink.

"Huh… wasn't expecting to appear like that. Man, it must suck for the other me, get a day off and have to spend it hunting down someone. It's not like I don't do enough hunting on a day to day basis already." Qrow shrugged and relaxed into his chair. It was nice to see someone else being the universe's chew toy for once… even if it was technically another version of himself.

"Name's Qrow, I… well you could say I work with Ozpin. Come along kiddo, you got a lotta explaining to do."

"Crow? Not a parrot?" Jaune frowned under his helmet as the gears in his mind began churning again.

"…My name is Qrow, Qrow Branwen. Parrots have nothing to do with me and I swear if Yang had something to do with this…" Qrow trailed off and frowned, he wouldn't put it past his niece to have made some kind of pun at his expense.

"Well you do repeat yourself a lot. I mean you've already said your name three times in two sentences." Yang grinned and stuck out a tongue at her uncle.

"Mmhmm, and you do have a colourful… personality and vocabulary to go along with it." Taiyang joined in the teasing with the same shit eating grin as his daughter, causing his brother in law to slam his head against the headrest and slump.

"Oum… why are there two of you… why can't you two be more like Ruby?"

"Aw don't worry uncle Qrow, you'll get used to it eventually. You're going to be around us for a Xiao Long time after all." Ruby said cheekily and several gasps could be heard.

Qrow buried his head in his hands and began sobbing about how his favourite niece had been corrupted as well. Taiyang grinned proudly and Yang scooped her sister up in a big hug and squeed.

"I knew there was a pun master in you somewhere! Gimme a hug!"

"Ack! Get off me Yang! Need. To. Breathe!" Ruby struggled in Yang's iron grip while their parents looked on proudly.

"Weiss… it's spreading." Blake stared at the sisters in horror, her look mirrored by the heiress.

"You know, my father's offer to attend Atlas Academy instead of Beacon is still open, I'm sure I can talk him into securing another slot."

"I might just take you up on that."

"Oh I remember what I was gonna do now, thanks Mr birdie." Jaune leapt to his feet and secured his swords to his side again.

"Do? You're not causing anymore havoc, you're going in the drunk tank until you're sober again."

"Nope!" Jaune said with a pop.

"You're not a parrot but I could always use a bird on my crew. Whadaya say?"

"…Do you even understand how much trouble you're in Arc? You broke into the museum, stole priceless artefacts and put several police squads in the hospital. Not to mention all the property damage you've caused in the last three days." Qrow sighed and his hands slowly inched towards Harbinger, he'd rather not fight the boy but the kid clearly wasn't coming in without a fight.

"I had a good reason I swear!"

"Oh yeah?"

"Yup! It's all about the white fang and their PR problem."

"The white fang is a terrorist organisation who's stated goal is the extinction of humans." Qrow deadpanned.

"Exactly! Whoever's their PR manager should be fired, I mean they went from peaceful protest movement to doomsday cult in what, a year? They're like, the greatest public relations disaster in the history of forever. It's why no one takes their goals seriously. How are you supposed to believe in an organisation that can radically change their goals so quickly?"

"Huh… he does have a point actually." Blake furrowed her brows as she processed Jaune's words. Briefly wondering exactly how much of the white fang's woes were self-inflicted.

"Which is completely none of your business. Let the authorities handle them. They're there for a reason you know."

"Oooh yeah, because they've been so effective recently. They're so good at their jobs that team RWBY is the one kicking ass and taking names… Hey. Wait a minute." Jaune trailed off sarcastically and tutted.

"Oh believe me, I will be having this conversation with my nieces soon. First year students should not be messing with international terrorist groups… no matter how incompetent the system may seem." Qrow's lips curled into a snarl at the thought of Ruby and Yang getting injured or worse.

Team RWBY sunk into their seats as the adults glared at them, not expecting their 'adventures' to be brought up like that.

"It was for a good cause." Ruby whined as the glares intensified.

"Miss Rose, your dedication to helping others is admirable, but I must insist you leave criminals and terrorists to the police or fully trained hunters." Goodwitch adjusted her glasses and Ruby continued to wilt under the glare

"Well somebody has to do it. Or a lot of people are going to get hurt." Jaune shrugged and replied honestly. He always wanted to be a hero, and heroes don't run away and leave problems to others, not when someone else might not be able to resolve the issue the way they can.

"Yeah, yeah, well the white fang have already been… wait are going to…? Are they planning another attack!? Kid, if you know something spill it now!" Qrow's glare sharpened and his fingers twitched towards his weapon again.

"Oh yeah, it's going down in a few days and I have the perfect plan to deal with it and fix the white fang PR problem at the same time… well the Vale branch anyway, can't do anything about the cultists overseas."

"I don't think so. Tell me what you know and maybe we can sweep your drunken rampage under the rug yes?"

"Nope. I'm the only one who can fix the issue, if you try they'll all just run and hide again."

"And what makes you so special?"

"Eh, I'm the new boss of the white fang in Vale."

"You're what!?" Qrow shouted incredulously.

"Yeah, convinced a few of them to see the error of their ways at the museum, got them to leave the cult and join my crew. They been spreading the message, mostly that Perry guy, promised them that I'd help reform the fang into something better and give faunus a better image." Jaune nonchalantly said as he checked his scroll, several more messages from Perry and some of the other fang grunts indicated several more cells pledging to his cause.

He was pleased if a little worried about some of the responses. Pledging their loyalty just because he was a boss that didn't call them animals or threaten to kill them painfully for failure was a bit much. Exactly what kind of bosses did they use to have?

"But there's a problem. We're having a bit of a leadership crisis right now, the fang in Vale are mine and they're no problem. The one's outside the city answer to Torchwick and they're the one preparing for the attack."

"And where is he? I will take care of him personally." Qrow said with a sinister grin, relishing the potential opportunity to execute the man responsible for causing his nieces so much grief.

"Oooh ice cold, do you go round killing people off so casually?" Roman snarked from behind the safety of the barrier.

"Actually, yes. I am a hunter, sometimes I hunt Grimm, other times I hunt humans. You'll just be another face I'll forget once I get the next mark." Qrow replied casually.

"Uncle Qrow! You can't just kill people like that!" Ruby shouted at her uncle's blatant disregard for life.

"You're still young Rubes, a hunter's duty is to protect humanity, sometimes from itself. Sooner or later you'll have to bloody your hands as well, it's the only way you'll stay in this business."

"QROW! THAT'S ENOUGH!" Taiyang glared at his brother in law and his jaw set in a firm line.

"You can't protect them forever Tai, sooner or later they'll learn exactly what it means to be a hunter in this world. Make no mistake Roman, if I meet you once we get out of this theatre, I'll kill you myself and nothing will protect you from me. Count on it."

"Better men than you have tried, all have failed."

The students were left to stew in silence, alone with their thoughts. None of them had ever taken a life and none of them ever did, the idea that they would have to do so eventually didn't sit right with them at all. Ozpin could only sigh, he'd hoped to preserve whatever innocence they may have had left before the world took it from them, children should have a right to be children.

"No clue, the plan is for him to appear on the day of the attack itself. He's hiding in a safehouse somewhere in the city and none of my fang know where it is. Only way to get to him is to wait for him to show up on his own and blast him then. If you stop the attack early, he'll escape and try again and sooner or later he'll succeed."

"…Alright, I see your point. So say I buy into this, what's your plan to deal with the attack?" Qrow conceded the point and shifted his hands away from Harbinger, assuming the boy wasn't operating on some alcohol induced hallucinations, this was too big to let slide. Ozpin wasn't expecting him back with his wayward student just yet, he supposed he could tag along for the time being until the situation resolved itself one way or another.

"The fang obey Roman because their old boss told them to, and he's a good thief. Nothing I can do about the old boss but I can upstage Torchwick and give them a reason to doubt his ability. Thing is, he stole a Paladin and I need to steal something bigger than that to get eyes on me. The museum was a start but it's not enough."

"How much bigger are we talking?"

"I'm going to steal a ship. General Ironwood's flagship to be precise." Jaune said in a completely serious tone, causing Qrow to blink several times in disbelief before he realised Jaune wasn't joking.

"You're insane. Screw this, I'm bringing you to Ozpin now. Do you have any idea what you're planning to do? Atlas isn't Vale, Ozpin won't be able to protect you and if you steal the tinman's personal ship… that's grounds for war. It isn't just illegal, it's treason!"

"Nope! See this?" Jaune drew the king's sword and displayed it for Qrow to see.

"I remember doing a project on this for Dr Oobleck. During the great war, Atlas was still Mantle and the army only defected halfway through the war when the warrior king convinced the army high command that Mantle was on the road to ruin and pledged his support in the rebuilding efforts. His upholding of that promise was the birth of the close relationship between Vale and Atlas that still exists today."

"Okay… and?"

"And, one of the post war agreements was that Vale would be able to requisition whatever they needed from the army in times of crisis as long as they presented the king's sword even after the monarchy was dissolved. Even if it's been nothing more than a museum piece for the last eighty years or so and I'm not royalty, that law still stands. Ironwood has to give up the ship or he's the one committing treason." Jaune stated and Qrow's jaw dropped.

"Oi Oz, is that-"

"Yes Qrow, there is such a law, and while this is most definitely not how anyone ever expected it to be used, Mr Arc… does have a point." Ozpin reluctantly admitted.

"Well I'll be damned. Say, you don't think I could borrow that sword do you? Man, I can't wait to see ol jimmy's face once he learns about this."

"I really don't think James will appreciate your brand of humour Qrow."

"You have balls of steel, I'll give you that. Alright, I'll get a call through to Atlas and give the good general a heads up. He can get the ship into-"

"No. It's all about the image, I have to be seen as the one who hijacked the ship just like how the public blames Torchwick for stealing the Paladin when it was the white fang who did it. If Ironwood hands the ship over, I'll lose credibility with the fang and be seen as a collaborator. Because the fang really really do not like Atlas. The sword can be presented afterwards and it'll be fait accompli."

"You've given this a lot of thought but I don't know…" Qrow said unsurely, on one hand things looked like they'd be fine but on the other… so many points of failure.

"Eh I don't really need you though, I've already got my in. it's just every captain needs a parrot you know, you're a crow for some reason but I'll settle for it. If you'd rather not, I'll just have to find another bird somewhere else."

"What captain?" Jaune rolled his eyes at the question, not really sure how Qrow could miss the obvious like that.

"A pirate captain of course, what else. I'm gonna be a sky pirate, already have a crew and first mate ready, I'm just missing the bird."

"SOLD! I'M IN CAPTAIN, WHEN DO WE PLUNDER IRONWOOD'S FLEET?" Qrow did a one eighty and instantly agreed to Jaune's plan once the words sky pirate left his mouth.

"Uncle Qrow, what the hell?" Yang stared at her uncle in a mix of shock and disbelief. The drunk crow had the decency to blush at the sudden attention.

"What? My childhood dream was to become a sky pirate okay? Sue me." Qrow then started grumbling under his breath about lucky alternate universe counterparts who got to live the dream.

Qrow looked on in amazement from his perch up in a tree, below him several dozen white fang members milled around in camouflage gear, blending into the snowy surroundings. Somehow the kid had pulled it off even with the alcohol still clouding his mind, in two days he'd shipped a good chunk of his fang across the border into Atlas and secured operator manuals for one of Atlas's prized battleships.

"Still can't believe you pulled this off."

"Too early to celebrate, we don't have the ship yet. And it wasn't that hard really, you'd be surprised by just how many people detest the system. The white fang proper may have limited influence in Atlas, but there are plenty of disillusioned people willing to throw us a bone if it means sticking it to the man."

Qrow nodded and held his breath, waiting for Ironwood's ship to pass overhead. A little bit of misdirection and a good bar brawl had caused enough of a delay for Ironwood that the general missed his flight, the plan was for him to catch up on a separate flight at the border… only his ship would be long gone by the time he arrived.

"If nothing else, this'll teach Jimmy to not rely on those tin soldiers anymore." Qrow scratched at the uncomfortable specialist uniform he was dressed in, the white fang had managed to procure two sets for the only humans on this operation and the proper authorisation codes as well. With Ironwood's ship being a glorified taxi for the general, Qrow and Jaune would outrank everyone else aboard as soon as they boarded, from there it'd be a piece of cake to order the knights to arrest everyone else on suspicion of being a traitor. Of course, they'd have to disable communications first before their ruse could be discovered by a quick check via CCT, and that was where the white fang jammers came in, it'd worked on the paladin shipment, it'd work here.

"You know, it's a little disturbing how he managed to put all this together in so little time." Blake quietly stated what was on everyone's mind, internally grateful their Jaune was never part of the fang.

"He's always been good at tactics and planning." Pyrrha offered as she recalled every one of Jaune's unorthodox plans that worked out for them.

"Fearless leader is fearless leader, just a lot more fearless than normal now." Nora quipped as several diabolical plans floated through her imagination.

"Nora no, we will not be getting Jaune drunk so he can help you steal pancakes." Ren sighed and poked her in the forehead, stopping her plans in their tracks.

"Awww…"

The roar of the engines silenced the would be pirates as they held their breaths, waiting for the trap to spring. As soon as the flying fortress passed overhead, Jaune and Qrow fired their grappling pistols into the side of the ship while the white fang activated the jammers.

The winches activated and hauled the fake specialists into the air towards the belly of the beast. Keying several codes into his scroll, Jaune remotely unlocked one of the cabin windows and entered it. As soon as they were clear, the white fang started shooting.

Alarms sounded and the sound of panicked crew members rushing to their stations could be heard from where Jaune and Qrow were hiding.

"Alright Arc, we're in. Leave the talking to me while you deal with the controlling the knights, they'll never buy the lie that you're a specialist with you being so drunk." Qrow said and privately marvelled at how Jaune was still functional and semi sane, whatever drink was doing this to him was something else and he needed to get a shot of it before all was said and done.

"Me drunk? What about you? I can smell the alcohol on you Qrow. When was the last time you were sober?"

"You really should be drinking less, it's not healthy you know." Summer gave her old teammate a disapproving glance and the old crow just shrugged in response.

"I can pull off the old veteran look, you… not so much."

"Tch."

The hijackers lapsed into silence as they carried out their tasks, the uniforms proving a god send as barely anyone thought to question them. Gaining access to the bridge was a simple task and the guards were relieved to see two specialists appear in the middle of their crisis. A quick excuse that they were Ironwood's temporary replacements due to the debacle back in the city satisfied any curiosity they might have had.

Jaune hummed a tune as he fiddled with his scroll, grinning when the legion of Atlessian knights aboard accepted his pass codes and the system handed operational command over to him. Next came the onboard surveillance systems, allowing him to track everyone on the ship.

As the screen displayed a live feed from the cameras, his face fell. "Qrow, we have a problem."

"…What kind of problem?"

The doors hissed and opened up, allowing a third specialist to enter. One with white hair and piercing blue eyes.

"Alright, I need… Qrow! What are you doing here!?"

"Damnit, I hate my semblance."

"Sister?" Shock coloured Weiss's face as her sister stepped into view. Several seats away, Qrow slammed his head against the seat in front of him and let out a long suffering sigh.

"Great, ice queen is here."

"So much for plan A, hit the deck kid!" Qrow shouted and drew harbinger, firing at Winter once Jaune ducked out of the way.

Panicked shouting erupted as the bridge crew scrambled for cover when two of Atlas's finest started throwing down in the middle of the room. Jaune sought shelter behind a console as several rounds soared overhead, fingers already keying in commands to have plan B activated.

Several sleeping gas canisters installed in the ventilation system released their payload and the knockout gas began circulating the enclosed ship. Jaune hastily put on a gas mask to avoid the effects and waited for Qrow to finish things on his end.

"What do you think you're doing you old drunk!? This is too much for even you!" Winter snarled as she parried and countered with her sabres.

"What can I say? It's a pirate's life for me." Qrow grinned and threw himself to the side, avoiding one of the Schnee's glyphs from freezing him in a block of ice. A flurry of fur and fang obscured his vision when Winter's summoned beowolf rushed him.

A quick stab through the chest finished it off and he froze in place when a time dilation glyph appeared under him, slowing him down considerably. Two swords rested at his neck as Winter forced his head to tilt towards her.

"You're under arrest for impersonating an Atlas Specialist, I suggest you surrender now."

"Nah, I have better things to do ice queen, say are you feeling sleepy yet?" Qrow grinned when Winter's grip slackened slightly, the blades wobbling as the gas began to take effect. The specialist stepped back and clutched her head as her vision began to waver, all around her the bridge crew were collapsing one by one.

"W-what did you do?"

"Plan B of course, good night ice queen." Qrow chuckled and slammed harbinger down on the afflicted Schnee, breaking her aura and knocking her out before she could think to blow out the windows.

"HEY!" Weiss snarled and glared at Qrow who was barely holding in his laughter.

"Relax ice queen junior, your sister is still alive but damn if I'm not enjoying this."

"And that's a wrap." Qrow managed a slur as he felt the gas affect him too. Scratching the back of his head, his personal magic activated and switched into his crow form.

"Good thing the gas doesn't work on birds."

"You can turn into a bird? I don't suppose you can turn into a parrot can you?" Jaune asked as he stood up to survey the wrecked bridge.

"No such luck captain, it's a talking crow, take it or leave it."

"Meh, beggars can't be choosers."

"Chirp, chirp." Qrow sang as the students affixed him were a questioning gaze, the most intense of which came from Ruby.

"Uncle Qrow! You can turn into a bird!? Why didn't you tell us!?" She whined and her uncle leaned over to ruffle her hair.

"A man's gotta keep some secrets you know, mysterious is my middle name." Taiyang grinned at Qrow's little boast before throwing his own little jab.

"Really now? As I recall, your real middle name is Hu-"

"Not another word Tai!" Qrow vanished from his seat and reappeared with his hand firmly clamped around Taiyang's mouth.

"If you shut up about this, I'll… I'll stick around for one of your oumdamned pun recitals." Qrow spat out bitterly as if the words physically hurt him.

"Deal."

Jaune shrugged and sent a message to the white fang to stop shooting, with nearly all of the ships crew out cold and the mechs under his control, there wasn't a reason to continue wasting ammunition on a diversion.

"Alright, it's done, the AKs are moving everyone to the hold, we can dump them at the border and shoot out a flare to signal the border patrol for pickup." Jaune said as several silver robots entered and began carting the limp bodies out.

"I don't suppose we can make em walk the plank?" Qrow asked and received a deadpan stare in response.

"I really don't think they'll be walking anywhere any time soon. I was planning that if plan A succeeded but that didn't work out."

"Damn ice queen always ruining my fun." Qrow bitched and managed to send the Schnee an irritated glare before huffing.

"So we have the ship, what's next on the masterplan?"

"Pick up the crew and return to Vale, the attack will be going down soon. Communication with Roman's group is a mess but there's something about underground tunnels from Mount Glenn and a really big bomb."

"…You cannot be serious. That will kill thousands!"

"Huh?"

"Shit, Mount Glenn is overrun with Grimm and the tunnels to Vale were sealed long ago. If they blow it open, Grimm will flood the city, thousands will die. The attack must be stopped."

"That's what we're here for, have a little faith."

"You know, I never actually realised how close to being a complete disaster the breach was, why can't we beat the crap out of Roman again? If he's evil enough to do that why do we have to be civil to such a monster?" Yang asked and glared at the criminal with blazing red eyes.

"Gimme a break, you think I wanted to do it? I'm a thief, I need people alive to steal from and sell my goods to, if everyone's dead where the hell does that leave me blondie?" Roman shot back and folded his arms in anger.

"Could have fooled me, you seemed pretty damned eager to set it off."

"You say that like I have a choice in the matter."

"Then enlighten us if you would… although I think I can already guess, the one forcing you wouldn't happen to be called Cinder would it?" Ozpin said as he sipped from his mug.

"So you already know, she's gonna kill me for this." A look of despair crossed Roman's face as he stared blankly at his feet. Several pats from Neo gave him the reprieve needed to steel himself.

"Fuck it, if I'm going down might as well put it on the table yeah. Crazy bitch showed up outta nowhere one day with strange ass powers. I've been in business a long time and I've seen semblances and I've seen dust, what she did was none of the sort. Found her sitting in one of my safehouses, made me an offer I couldn't refuse."

Yang burst out laughing at that point before continuing to glare at Torchwick. "Wow you're pathetic aren't you, afraid of an exchange student from Haven? What a wuss."

Roman eyed her balefully and shook his head. "Hopelessly naïve, not sure why I bother, if you fight her you die simple as that. I've hidden from both Vale and Atlas for years, she found me in a day. I wasn't first choice you know that, she brought along the last idiot to turn her down, burned him to ashes from the inside out slowly. I can still hear the screams when I close my eyes. Survival is the only thing that matters, if that means being her slave so be it."

"Then why didn't you run away or go to the police?" Ruby asked innocently, drawling a bark of laughter from the master thief.

"Sure, turn myself in, because that'll work out so well for everyone. Not even the best minds of Atlas and Vale were able to track me down and she just waltzed into the most secure safehouse I own, where am I supposed to run where she can't find me? She isn't human, there's something very wrong with that bitch and I want nothing to do with it, but she just won't leave me alone. Fuck, even being arrested by Atlas is part of her plan, my life's been shit ever since she appeared." Roman swore and slammed his fist down on the armrest, denting it.

He wasn't even being paid for his work damnit, months spent stealing nothing but dust and paying for hired help out of his own pocket had depleted his reserves. Do this, do that, don't question or I'll give another demonstration… Cinder was the bane of his existence, and loathe as he was to admit it, there really was nothing he could do. Ironically, being imprisoned by Ironwood was the safest action he'd taken in months… although if Blank were to be believed, that would end in his death all the same.

"That's right, I stole the ship from right under Atlas's nose." Jaune said and hummed thoughtfully, internally fighting a losing battle to keep the panic down. Looking around the office again, he now recognised it as Ironwood's personal office aboard the ship, the office that he commandeered as his own planning room.

"Where is Qrow?"

"The crow? He's making Emerald and Mercury walk the plank right now. Um, I suppose I should inform you that he made an unscheduled deviation from the flight path, we're currently hovering over an active volcano that he plans to drop the stowaways in." Perry answered sweating lightly, hoping Jaune didn't decide to shoot the messenger.

"Walk the… I should stop-" Jaune cut himself off as two distinct screams could be heard and two bodies fell past the office window. Qrow's cheering wafted into the room shortly after.

"YEAH! FILTHY LANDLUBBERS WALKED THE PLANK ARR! I'M A PROPER SKY PIRATE NOW! SUCK IT RAVEN! SUCK IT! YO HO HO AND A BOTTLE OF… RUM!"

"And uh, he's also raided the ship's rum supply."

"You dropped Cinder's lackies into a volcano? Huh, maybe you ain't so bad after all. Those two have given me plenty of problems of their own." Roman said with a modicum of respect.

"Your approval fills me with shame." Qrow grunted and tactfully ignored the looks on his family's faces with a frown on his face.

Even if he was secretly ecstatic that some version of him was out there living the dream shared by both Branwen twins. That Raven couldn't share in the joy was a major plus in his books. That'll teach her to go back to the tribe, HA! Who's not a sky pirate now?

Jaune was secretly glad that his already pale face couldn't pale any further. He stole the crown jewels, hijacked a state-of-the-art battleship and was now involved in the cold blooded murder of two unknown individuals. Then there was the bloodstains all over his chest, where the hell had that come from?

His head ached again as more recent memories surfaced.

The breach was in full swing and their arrival was almost too late to make a difference. White fang communiques indicated that the attack was forced to start early when team RWBY crashed their operation in Mount Glenn, forcing the operation to go ahead or risk being canned entirely.

Grimm were pouring out of the hole by the bucket load but were being held off by several Beacon teams and the white fang loyal to him. Torchwick had shown up in another stolen Paladin but strong as the mech was, it paled in comparison to his new toy.

Reinforced mech armour proved ineffective against battleship grade cannons, his opening salvo destroying much of the mech and the surrounding Grimm. The thief surrendered shortly after, waving his hands in surrender so as to not get hit by another volley.

Jaune took the opportunity to step out of the ship and onto the main deck to look down on his defeated opponent. Aura cloak courtesy of his semblance flared in the wind, eyes glowing through the helm and the king's sword raised in the air, he set an imposing sight captured by more than a few cameras.

Pyrrha shifted uncomfortably in her seat and adjusted her collar, a blush already spreading across her cheeks. Jaune's new look was very, very welcoming in her opinion.

"Ooh yeah, mama like." Yang was slightly more vocal about her appreciation and a tiny bit of drool leaked out. Summer giggled at her daughter's reaction while Taiyang glared, anything he was going to say though was cut off by a hand on his shoulder.

"Ease up Tai, kid ain't that bad. I'll have to fill you in on another universe we watched earlier, Yang's in good hands. So relax, and enjoy the show." Qrow said and offered the overprotective dad a drink. Taiyang grunted and accepted it without any further protest, he'd get his answers eventually.

"Cool, Jaune-Jaune's like a superhero now." Nora added her own thoughts and began plotting again.

Ren sighed and knew Jaune's fashion choices were about to be ruthlessly slaughtered by both Pyrrha and Nora as soon as they returned.

"Having trouble down there Torchwick?" Jaune smirked behind the visor as he stared at the chaos unfolding below. Nothing like raining overkill on Grimm to brighten up the morning.

"Who the hell are you!?"

"The new best thief in all of Remnant of course, Phantom Thief A at your service. I'm also the new boss of the white fang here by the by, you're obsolete Torchwick." Jaune bit back laughter as several white fang members 'gently' hauled the defeated thief away.

His grin widened when professor Goodwitch arrived to seal the breach. Everything was proceeding swimmingly, with all of Vale bearing witness to members of the white fang fighting to protect both humans and faunus in the city from the Grimm under his command, their image had gotten their much needed boost. Whatever evidence the Huntsmen found to incriminate the fang could be laid at the feet of Torchwick and with the media inevitably focusing their attention on him, Jaune's truth would be the only truth that mattered.

History is written by the victors after all.

"Credit where credit is due, the kid has style." Roman admitted, a little sore over seeing himself blown up by a battleship but he'd grant the kid his win. Maybe, he'd be able to recruit the boy in the future, now wouldn't that be a kicker?

The next couple of hours passed in a flurry as he was bombarded by hundreds of questions from everywhere about the breach and his sudden appearance.

Answering every last one of them to the best of his ability, he thought he did a pretty good job painting the reformed white fang in a good light. Spinning a tall tale about how he was nothing more than a concerned citizen who happened to be in the right place at the right time to make a difference and how Torchwick was the one who enslaved desperate faunus to be his muscle in a dastardly plot to overthrow Vale.

That more than a few of his men had stories to tell about Roman's less than civil way of treating his employees did wonders to boost his credibility. It was easy enough to tell by the end of the impromptu press conference that he had the sympathy of plenty of the reporters, hopefully that would go a long way towards sealing the public opinion.

For the average white fang member on the ground though, it was a more surreal experience. Being thanked by humans for saving their lives and homes wasn't something that had ever happened before. Hate, derision, apathy, they were used to all of that, gratitude though? That was something else.

In one move, their new leader had done more to advance their cause towards equality than all of their attacks put together. And whether Jaune knew it or not, his image as a larger than life messiah had been cemented among the fang.

Jaune himself was bushed as the last of the alcohol started to flush from his system and the exertions began to catch up with him. Making his excuses to leave, he retreated to his office while Qrow fended off several persistent reporters and stopped Goodwitch from carting him off with her semblance.

Sinking into his chair, Jaune rested his head against the table and let out a yawn. It wasn't as comfortable as he would have liked but it would do, there was still work to be done in the morning after all.

But before sleep could claim him, several loud bangs on the door dragged him back to wakefulness. Frowning as anger surged through his system, he grabbed the letter opener and wrenched the door open.

Cinder, Emerald and Mercury were waiting for him outside, several white fang guards were unconscious on the floor beyond, disabled by a combination of Emerald's semblance and well-placed kicks to the head from Mercury.

"You ruined months of work. Normally I would kill you for this, but as it stands, I have a new vacancy in my organisa-" Cinder never got to finish when Jaune's semblance activated, aura enhanced strength and speed sending the letter opener straight through her defences and into her stomach.

Burying the blade up to the hilt, Jaune ripped the blade free before stabbing again and again and again. Cinder barely had time to scream before her stomach and chest were stabbed to bloody ribbons and she fell to the ground, bleeding out rapidly.

Bloodshot eyes glared at her lackeys and they backed away from the deranged teen in fear.

"I've spent the last couple of days trying to save the damn city and fix the white fang. I, am tired. And I, want to sleep now. So help me god… I WILL SHANK THE NEXT IDIOT TO DISTURB MY REST!" Jaune roared and both fists shot out in a double punch to Emerald and Mercury's faces, sending them flying.

They came to a stop at Qrow's feet and recognition flared in his eyes. "So you're the ones who attacked Amber. Heheheh… we're gonna have a nice little chat. Captain, you don't mind if I ask them a few questions do you?"

"Knock yourself out, I'm going to take a nap. Too tired for all this bullshit now." Jaune yawned and slammed the door shut, not even bothering to remove his blood drenched specialist uniform before resting his head on the table and allowing slumber to take him.

"So I finally have a name." Qrow rubbed his hands together and began plotting several painful executions to avenge his earlier failure to protect the fall maiden.

"Huh, that's almost like trying to wake Yang up early. Only less punching and more stabbing." Blake commented as she recalled the first time she tried waking her partner for class. They needed a replacement window that day.

"I need my beauty sleep damnit!" Yang growled as her team and parents shared a laugh at her expense.

"Alright… what's on the schedule?" Jaune asked Perry once he felt calm enough to speak again. His memories were mostly back now save a few sketchy point. He could fix this, he just… needed to falsify a new identity and run off to hide in vacuo.

"Um, according to Qrow, there is a meeting with Beacon's headmaster and general Ironwood in a few hours. Mostly about the operation and the fate of this ship. Oh yeah, there's a message from Sienna Khan as well about your leadership, she too requests a meeting about the white fang's future."

"I see. No rest for the weary huh." Jaune sighed bitterly and resolved himself to deal with the fallout, come what may.

"I'm… sorry?"

"No, no forget it. My choices, my responsibility. I don't suppose you can get me a change of clothes? This isn't exactly proper attire to meet with anyone, let along headmaster Ozpin and general Ironwood." Jaune gestured at his bloodstained clothes and shrugged in a what can you do fashion.

"Of course captain, there should be spare uniforms lying around, I'll go retrieve them now." Perry saluted and left the office, leaving Jaune alone with his thoughts.

"Well this is a mess. Ugh, I knew drinking was a bad idea. Pyrrha's gonna kill me for this." Jaune retrieved his scroll and hesitated for several seconds before steeling himself and giving Pyrrha's scroll a ring.

His partner's worried face filled the screen in short order. "Jaune!? Where are you? You've been missing for more than a week! A-and then you appeared on the ship! What's going on Jaune?"

"Haaah… it's a long story Pyr. It all started when Ren and I left for our guys night out…"

The screen went dark and the lights came back on, the theatre was silent for several seconds before chattering broke out as everyone strived to make their thoughts heard at the same time.

Blank had a small laugh as RWBY and NPR formed a consensus that Jaune would never be allowed anywhere near alcohol Sun had come in contact with. Pyrrha and Weiss were of the opinion that he should be barred entirely while Yang and Nora refused to accept that. The potential for entertainment was too high to simply pass up. Ren and Ruby were on the fence while Blake was more concerned with how Jaune managed to shift perception of the white fang from a terrorist group to a group of heroes in such a short time, as expected.

The adults were lost in their own conversations about Salem's plans and how best to derail her plans. Roman and Neo on the other hand were merely basking in the moment, seeing Cinder stabbed to death by an actual drunk was hilarious and a good form of catharsis.

"Ahem, next showing will begin soon. Feel free to refresh yourselves whenever. Be back before the movie starts though."


Author's notes: I live. Destiny 2's new DLC is big fun and I was going to release a D2 inspired chapter to commemorate the launch, but it got too depressing so that idea is currently shelved. All I'll say is that it was going to be set after the fall and would have been based on the lore of the Luna's howl quest line. For the FFVII story though, I'm leaning towards Blake as Tifa mainly because of the whole white fang/avalanche deal even if Yang would be a closer match for fighting styles. Was originally planning for Jaune as Zack but Jaune has more in common with the original cloud. Aside from the obvious blonde hair blue eyes schtick, original cloud also suffered from severe motion sickness, wanted to become a hero but his skills were ultimately not up to par and only achieved greatness after tragedy took the people close to him. And yes, both of them have ended up in a dress.