Beacon Academy, the Infirmary.
Blake grunted in annoyance as she pressed hard on Sun's shoulder, forcing him to sit up against the headboard to keep upright. "Hold still." He muttered something under his breath as she fought to hold him still, accidentally digging the heel of her palm into a hefty black bruise marring his lightly tanned skin.
"Ow." He hissed through his teeth, fighting off her hand as she shot him a look while winding the fresh bandage around his shoulder, at the same time cutting the other and throwing it away.
"You're terrible at this, are you trying to hurt me?"
She ignored him, finishing up on winding the fresh bandage around his shoulder when her fingertips accidentally brushed against his chest. Blake widened her eyes and blinked before snatching her hand away as Sun quietened down with a smirk. "Or is this just a opportunity to feel me up?"
Blake glanced away and fought the blush down before glaring back at him. "Being part of a revolutionary organization means you get to know your way around bandages and gauze. Now hold still and lift your arm."
Sun's eye twitched as she jabbed at his shoulder to make him lift his arm. She focused on rolling the bandage down to the crook of his elbow, covering his shoulder entirely. "Doesn't do wonders for your bedside manner." She rolled her eyes and leaned back as he folded his arms across his chest. "You should really try to quit babying me."
She grabbed another bandage. "Other arm."
He sighed and obliged. "The nurse could have done this."
"Well she isn't."
Sun raised a eyebrow and grinned, before loosing a sigh. "Y'know, I was kinda excited about seeing you guys in the Vytal Tournament."
Her eyes flicked up briefly before looking back down. "Uh huh."
"I was hoping it would still be on."
"Something tells me that the tournament won't held anytime soon." Blake glanced to the side out of the open window, where noises of men shouting and the squeals of drills boring holes or hammers slamming down onto nails drifted in occasionally. In the distance, beyond the next building over she caught a glimpse of the blackened and wrecked specter of the Centerkeep, still smoldering and burning in many places. She turned back to Sun and rolled her eyes. "Maybe next year."
"Aw, damn it."
Lowering his arm, he frowned and nodded, leaning forward. He laced his fingers together, resting his chin on them. "So, what are you big plans now?"
Blake shrugged. "Doing nothing for the next few months sounds really good."
Sun rolled his eyes. "Oh, please." He grunted, clamping a hand on his side as he shifted towards the edge of the bed.
"Hey, you're still recovering." She scowled and reached for his shoulder.
He smirked and brushed away her hand. "Nah, the Nectar ran out anyway." Sun swung his legs over the side of the bed, rolling his shoulders and gritting his teeth as they briefly flared up in twinges of pain. "I feel better already."
She got off the bed, glancing at the window and moving to block it before he got there. Blake folded her arms and gave him a pointed look, also snatching his staff up from where it leaned against the wall. "And you're going where?"
Sun gave her a look before turning and grabbing his bracers, slipping them over his arms as he shrugged. "Places?" He turned his back to her, and Blake briefly got a flush on her cheeks as she accidentally let her eyes wander a bit too much before she shook her head.
He shrugged on his jacket, glancing over his shoulder with a huge grin. "That's my plan!" Sun went to move towards her, only to stop at the brief downcast look on Blake.
"Oh." Her eyes slid to the side and she nodded, still holding onto his staff. "Just thought you'd be sticking around."
Sun sighed. "I usually never stick to one place. I always need to be on the move."
"Right." Blake frowned. "Guess that means I should probably move out of your way then."
He grimaced and rubbed the back of his neck. "Look, I'm not really-" He stopped himself for a moment. "Ah, what the hell." Sun muttered under his breath. He came closer and grabbed her hand, getting a look of shock from Blake. "My entire life I've constantly traveled. Never stopping long enough to think about doing anything else. That's who I am."
She slowly nodded, looking up at him just as the golden-haired boy leaned forwards suddenly. A rush of fire went through her as his lips brushed against hers, the surprise making her grab onto the windowsill behind her. Despite her bewilderment she closed her eyes, falling deeper into herself and finding that she was just enjoying the moment.
After who knew how long he broke contact, straightening and giving a sheepish smile. Sun rubbed the back of his neck, while gingerly reaching forward to grab her hand. "You're the one who slowed me down." He blew out a shaky breath and chuckled. "Besides. Someone's got to keep tabs on that Adam guy and those White Fang nutjobs."
Sun slowly pulled her away from the windowsill, and she shifted out of the way, standing to the side as he collapsed his staff and slipped it underneath the back of his jacket's collar. He slid open the window, closing his eyes against the fresh morning breeze and sighing in relief.
Blake never thought about wiping the furious blush off her cheeks as she watched him hop onto the windowsill, a tight smile on her. "Just... just get out of here."
He lowered himself over the lip of the bricks, peering back into the room with a large grin as he saluted her with a chuckle. "I'll write or something!"
And just like that, Blake watched as he hopped down from the window, disappearing from her sight.
She stood there for a few seconds, until she quietly moved towards the windowsill.
Blake narrowed her eyes, staring out into the warm orange sky through the open window, rubbing her cheek. "You better."
"So... Sun, huh?"
She blinked and turned around, sensing the huge grin on Yang as she leaned against the doorframe. Blake couldn't wipe off the small smile on her face as she offered a slight shrug, approaching her friend.
"Let's help 'em get everything packed."
Team Juniper's Dormitory.
He rubbed at the heal-bands on his cheek, before looking down at what he had left.
Jaune held up his black hoodie, staring at it for a few seconds before placing it on top of his bed. He grimaced as he rolled it up, bending down to fit it into a clear space inside his luggage. He swore as somehow it expanded to twice it's former size, swallowing up his sky blue feetie pyjamas in the process and taking up the entire interior.
The boy grunted as he wrestled the rebellious fabric, managing to fold it into a smaller size and get it in with a final push of effort. His arms flailed as he fell flat on top of his luggage with a surprised squeak.
Groaning he lifted his head, looking across at Lie Ren's neat and ordered luggage to the other side of the room, where by some unknown method Nora's luggage just barely contained the clothes inside, while Pyrrha's was sorted out across her bed, ready to be packed in.
They were all out with their parents, either saying their goodbyes or just making sure they were okay after the previous night. He decided to skip all of that and get his stuff ready.
A sigh came out of him as his shoulders sagged when he picked up one of the creamy white plates that made up his pauldrons, brushing a finger on the scorch marks with a grim look as he remembered exactly how close he came to falling before Cinder during her little test for him.
He felt that he was going to have trouble sleeping for a while.
Jaune placed the plates into his luggage, before glancing down at Crocea Mors lying flat on the bed, with his unfolded shield alongside it. He stared at the silvery white surface, remembering the shining brilliance it gave while in his grasp.
"I remember these rooms when I was your age. They were nice."
With a surprised yelp he whirled around, almost thinking of picking up Crocea Mors just in case it was Cinder, only to see the amused raised eyebrow on Professor Ozpin. "I'm not who you were expecting?"
Jaune winced. "Sorry." Jaune breathed a sigh of relief, moving away from the bed.
He came to a stop and grimaced, glancing away and rubbing his elbow. "...Why are you here, sir?"
"Just a friendly talk before you go home." Professor Ozpin moved around the room a little, a noticeable limp in his step as he leaned on his cane. "Fighting Cinder must have been harrowing."
Jaune gave a tight nod as his eyes slid to the side. "Uh, yeah. A bit."
"You've probably got questions?"
Ozpin stopped, both hands clasped over the top of his cane as he waited for Jaune's answer.
He hesitated for a few moments before he did. "Who is she? Why did she take everyone hostage? Why is she so interested in me?"
Ozpin shrugged. "I've never really understood her ways. But my guess is that all of that was planned-" He narrowed his eyes. "-For the most part at least- to make sure you would stay in that hall for as long as she needed. Roman Torchwick was a part of that plan, as were the White Fang." He smirked. "She didn't plan for how strong your aura was going to be, or the presence of Team Ruby either."
Jaune nodded to everything the Headmaster said, but one thing made him pause. "Wait. You sounded like you already know her?"
"She was a friend and a Huntress in this academy. Her and her team were... rivals of a sort to mine."
"She was after this power of mine. Pyrrha called it 'aura'?"
"Something that you appear to have exceptional control over." Ozpin said. "Not a very common trait shared among most humans nowadays."
For a moment, he thought Ozpin was going to say something more when Jaune noticed something over his shoulder. At the sight of his mother's stern brown eyes, Jaune faltered for a moment as he glanced down at his feet.
Ozpin's fingers drummed on the top of his cane. He nodded and turned to Jaune. "I'll leave you two in peace."
Jaune continued to stare at the floor as Ozpin took his leave, limping through the doorway while stroking his chin, eyes downcast in deep thought.
Jaune's mother watched him go for a few seconds, before raising her chin high and slowly coming into the room, her arms folded and eyes firm as she looked at Jaune.
She gave a pointed look at Crocea Mors, before she stared at the heal-bands on his cheek with a tinge of concern. Immediately it was replaced by a stony mask.
"Nope." He muttered.
"Good. That's good."
She nodded at his luggage. "Still got a few things left?" At the glimpse of his feetie pyjamas, a almost amused smile nearly crept up on her before she reinforced her facade.
He shrugged. "I suppose."
Silence filled the gap between them for a minute or so. She looked downwards, starting to move around the room a little but never straying too close to Jaune.
Jaune's eyes were firmly fixed on the floor, before finally he gave in to that little voice, and looked up at his mother. "Sorry."
She stopped in her tracks, not saying a word.
"Sorry for leaving without a note." He shrugged. "Sorry for worrying you and dad sick about me." He sighed. "Sorry for leaving."
Her quiet words next surprised him in every possible way. "I'm actually proud of you, Jaune."
His eyes widened.
She turned around with a uncertain light in her eyes. But she focused on him without wavering. "You saved lives. You stood up to her to keep everyone safe." Her warm expression faltered and she quickly looked down. "I... thought you weren't strong enough for this. But you proved them wrong. You proved me wrong." A very small twinge appeared in her smile. "You proved your father right."
"The fresh air did you some good... You needed to get out of the house."
He raised a eyebrow. "Wait, so, you're not-"
A spark flared in her eyes as she rushed forwards, stabbing a finger into his chest as his eyes widened in fear. "Oh, don't think for a single second that you're off the hook, mister!"
Jaune whimpered under his mother's evil gaze. "Once we get back home, you're cleaning every single inch of the house! And you're going to put your grandfather's sword back where it belongs after polishing it to a shine so bright you'll be forced to do the dishes blind for a month!" His mother leaned forward with a wicked grin. "Enjoy the next hour, because once you leave Beacon, you'll know the likes of darkness and evil you've never seen in your short little life."
Right at the end, when Jaune was shaking in his shoes, his mother gave a warm grin, patting him on the head and giving him a motherly peck before marching out of the room humming under her breath.
Catatonic, Jaune dreaded the sound of someone apologizing to her as she moved down the hallway, before arriving at the doorway with a look of worry. Pyrrha peered into the room, glancing over her shoulder.
Jaune quickly straightened his shoulders, taking a deep breath before folding his arms and scratching his ear. "Hey."
He nearly looked twice at her as she cautiously came in, dressed not in her usual bodice and armored greaves, but instead in a tan long sleeved shirt and pants. "Finished packing your stuff?"
"Uh. Just about to."
Pyrrha grinned and nodded stopping in front of him. "That was your mother wasn't it?"
"Yeah. I'm going to get it once I get home." Jaune glanced to the side. "I suppose I deserve it."
She smirked. "Maybe." Pyrrha folded her arms and looked over her shoulder at the doorway, where she spied the grim-faced visors of her bronze-armored guards. "I wish they weren't following me."
Pyrrha shook her head and sighed. "Nora and Lie Ren are coming back as well. It's hard to believe, but their parents are possible more protective than mine."
Jaune chuckled, nervously, remembering the storm of storms he sensed when meeting her mountainous father, in particular picturing his gigantic bronze greatsword in perfect detail. "Yeah. That's an achievement."
Pyrrha loosed a relieved sigh as she moved past him and sat down on the side of his bed, absent-mindedly brushing her fingers along his shield's face.
"You're a princess."
She raised a eyebrow and glanced up at him with a confused look. "I'm sorry?"
"You're a princess." Jaune repeated, faltering at the look of complete puzzlement on the red-haired girl before clearing his throat. "I mean, your mom and dad are the King and Queen of Mistral... so that makes you a princess. Like in the fairy tales." He pursed his lips and nodded, hoping his red ears weren't showing. "Uh. Yeah."
Pyrrha chuckled and shook her head. "Oh, that gets everyone confused. Even our own officials at times. My parents govern the city-state of Mistral, not the Kingdom of Mistral. It was where the Kingdom was first united."
He smacked himself in the forehead with a groan, getting a laugh from her. "Why didn't you stop me?" He muttered.
She giggled and shrugged. "It's a lot of fun watching you be... yourself." Pyrrha stifled her laughs as she picked up his shield, collapsing it into a sheath and laying it alongside Crocea Mors before shifting across the edge of the bed closer to him. Pyrrha glanced up at him for a few seconds.
He raised a eyebrow before her fist flew into his arm. "What?!" Jaune rubbed his arm, hissing as she grinned.
"Nothing. My dad likes you by the way."
Slowly, Jaune stopped rubbing his arm. He stared wordlessly at her for a few seconds. "But he's been silent and... glarey... every single time I've talked to him!
"He doesn't talk much. He prefers mother does the talking." Pyrrha folded her arms. "But don't worry. He likes you."
"If you say so." Jaune moved around the back of the bed to the side, clearing aside his shield and Crocea Mors before sitting down next to Pyrrha. He nervously glanced at her, lacing his fingers together.
"So... I guess you'll be heading back to Mistral with them then? I mean, they rule a entire city so..."
Pyrrha gave another shrug. "Well. They are." A smile grew on her. "I'm not."
"I'm a transfer student. And transfer students usually stay near their school."
"Where are you going to stay?"
"I was thinking of renting a apartment in downtown Vale." She gave him a smirk. "After all, a 'princess' must have a castle, right?"
He went red and chuckled. "Guess so." After a few moments he automatically said the closest thing that came to mind. "Heh. Maybe that means we can get some more training in."
Jaune screamed internally and looked away from her, falling silent. He cleared his throat, hearing it loud in the silence the filled the room. A warm sensation enveloped his hands. In surprise he looked down, going pale when he noticed Pyrrha laid her hand on his.
Quickly he looked at her. "Um-"
Pyrrha had the strangest look in her as she gave a nod. "Isn't there something you want to do now?"
He froze as he gently tugged, realizing that she wasn't going to be moving her hand anytime soon. Jaune glanced away and gulped before giving a nervous smile, unnerved a little by the sly look in her normally honest green eyes.
Just like every single other time, every other thought in his head drained away as he found himself staring into time. Under her hand he turned his upwards and gently grasped hers.
She smiled as a single thought made him lean across in less than a second, a hand placed on the top of his luggage for balance as his lips brushed against hers. Pyrrha's grip tightened on his hand and his thoughts numbed.
His eyes widened on reflex before he closed them and slipped into the moment. Jaune barely registered moving his hands upwards to cup her cheeks, holding her still as he spared not even a single thought about wondering how long they could do this before obeying the need to come up for breath.
A small satisfied sigh from Pyrrha reached his ears as she suddenly broke contact. She blinked twice, as if realizing what she was doing and smiled apologetically.
Jaune's cheeks were still red. "Uh-"
"You have no idea how long I've been waiting to do that, Jaune." She muttered before rushing back in, forcing her lips back onto his again and again, pushing him back a little each time as he fought hard to keep still, or focused, just fought to even convince himself it was not a dream that was happening.
"I can get used to it." He managed to mumble in-between each kiss-
"I finally got Jotunn pointed in the right direction!" Nora's shouted words echoed into the room, startling both of them as outside one of Pyrrha's guards swore and dropped his glaive.
A series of heavy and deep breaths made Jaune turn around as the floor shook, only to see a muscled mass of shaggy white fur, blazing blue eyes and black teeth filling the doorway, looking down at him.
In between its long legs, Nora squeezed through and tumbled into the room with a grunt, pulling Lie Ren with her.
"What is that!" Jaune shouted in alarm, getting to his feet and backing away as the huge creature gave a low moan and reached for him with one of its long arms, clutching at him with shiny grey claws. He went white, staring at them before standing very still.
Lie Ren got to his feet as Nora ran to the giant's arm, scratching several places and putting on a cutesy voice as she looked up at its wrinkled grey face.
The giant hummed appreciatively even as behind it, Pyrrha's guards continued to panick and mutter. Lie Ren got to his feet, smoothing his hair back into place with a glance at the creature. "Jaune. This is Jotunn. Nora's 'cute and fluffy' ice monster. He has a sweet personality."
"Don't worry, Jaune! Jotunn here isn't a Grimm, he's a Yeti He's come to say goodbye!"
Jaune glanced at Pyrrha. "Okay?"
Weiss raised a eyebrow, watching her family's helpers carting around white and gray briefcases, trunks and racks of all shapes and sizes into a ever growing cluster near the edge of the central walkway.
Next to her, Ruby heard the girl mutter something under her breath and shake her head.
"They're doing it all wrong as usual."Ruby raised a eyebrow and hid a snickering chuckle behind her palm.
The racks being wheeled by jostled endlessly, rattling rows upon rows of vibrant crimson, teal and emerald filled phials and canisters filled to the brim and lid with Dust.
Each time one shook or moved Ruby noticed Weiss's eye twitch."So I didn't know you brought this much stuff with you."
Weiss glanced at her. "Most of its being donated by my family to the academy on grandpa's request to help repair the damage." She folded her arms and gave a little smirk. "From what he told me, father's not too happy about it. Which is good."
Ruby quietly nodded, noticing one of the handlers was fighting to regain control of the rack of dust phials he wheeled along, rushing and pushing on various parts of the frame to keep it steady. For a moment it stopped wobbling and sat still, enabling him to breath a sigh of relief and wipe his brow. Then it began to tip over, shaking all of the dust phials hanging from it violently.
Just before it fully tipped a black blur flitted through the air, appearing out of nowhere on the other side of the rack and righting it again. The handler yelped in surprise at the sight of the raven-haired girl, before recomposing himself and giving a nervous nod of appreciation.
Blake returned the nod, leaving him to move the rack towards the airship berth. She approached Weiss and Ruby with a slightly self-impressed look.
Weiss managed to let go of the breath she was holding, the blue draining from her face. "That was showing off, Blake."
Blake shrugged. "Eh." She glanced over at Ruby and frowned. "Uh oh."
Ruby's eyes settled on a single tinkling mote of crimson dust, sparkling and glittering in the bright sunlight as it was about to float down below the tip of her nose. The girl's eyes widened as a itchy fire immediately rushed up her nostrils.
Weiss's eyes widened as she reared back, shielding herself. "Not again!"
Ruby wrinkled her nose as her eyes boggled and watered against the incredible itchiness, just begging her to release the sneeze before she exploded. "Ah- Ah!- Ah-cho-"
Yang stepped in front of her and pinched her nostrils closed with her fingers. Ruby gasped and went a shade of deep red, before feeling the itchiness drain away.
Weiss slowly lowered her hands, while Blake glanced at Yang with a smirk.
After a few seconds, Yang stepped back and flicked her on the nose. "Better?"
Ruby yelped, rubbing her nose as she nodded. "Thanks for that, Yang. Could have been explosive!"
"You need to have a different allergy."
"Oh, by the way, I'm kind of moving out of home, sis."
"Yep. It's time for me to spread my wings. Dad's cool with it." Yang jerked her thumb at their father.
Ruby looked to him, only for her mouth to drop open when he shrugged.
"I am." He smirked at Yang. "You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this day." Yang frowned and glared at him, only to see his tongue sticking out at her.
She narrowed her eyes, before lunging and pulling him into a headlock. "Really, dad?"
Yang sighed and released her father, allowing him to regain his breath.
Ruby just continued to stare at him, gobsmacked. "You are?!"
He raised a eyebrow. "Yeah."
She glanced at Yang with a frown. "But, you'll be in your really cool downtown apartment all by yourself! Alone!"
Yang held up her hands, only to look to the side and shrug. "Uh, well, not quite alone." She jerked her thumb over at Blake, and Ruby noticed the black satchel hanging from her shoulder, loaded full of books and nothing else.
Blake patted her satchel. "How many books can I fit in there, anyway?"
Yang grinned with a thumbs up. "All of them."
"You're living with Blake?"
Ruby pouted and folded her arms, turning away from Yang's apologetic expression. "Aw, man..."
"Aw, don't worry!" Yang came over, ruffling Ruby's hair. "I've still got to make sure everything's ready to move, so for the next couple of days I'll still be at home!"
"Come on, it'll be fine. You always wanted my room anyway, right? Well, there you go!"
Yang sighed and wrapped Ruby in a hug, nearly squeezing every bone in her body at once before releasing her. "Nothing will change, Ruby." When she said this, the steady streams of people moving down the paths coming from Beacon to the airship pier started to quicken and thicken. Glancing at them, Yang and Blake started walking down the path, leaving Ruby with a smile. "We'll meet you guys there."
Carmine nodded, staying behind to look at Ruby with a smile. He placed a hand on his daughter's shoulder. "Uncle Qrow will meet us on the airship."
Ruby gave a slight nod, her head still hung as he left to follow Yang and Blake. "Uh huh."
Weiss watched them go, before checking to see that her luggage had successfully made it onto the airship with no trouble at all. She turned back to Ruby. "Don't be so glum."
Ruby lifted her finger, pointing it at her. "You better visit, Weiss."
"But- but I'll finally be back in the lap of luxury!"
"Hey, don't make me call your grandfather and get him to make you come down to Vale!"
"Alright, Ruby... I'll visit."
"Awesome. It's because you love me, right?"
Weiss rolled her eyes. "Sure, why not?"
Up ahead, Yang and Blake stopped in their tracks, just as the massive cylindrical engines of the airship began to whir up to a sonorous hum.
"Stop bickering you two, the airship's about to leave!"
Weiss watched as a massive jet of sky-blue flames flared to brilliance, flickering furiously as the slender wing-pairs on the fuselage started to move up and down in time with smaller fins placed along the top and bottom in regular intervals.
"Ah, now look at what you've done!"
Just as she said this, Jaune and Pyrrha sprinted past, breathing heavily as they ran down the path towards the loading ramp of the airship.
Ruby noticed that they were holding hands, dragging each other along before Weiss slapped her shoulder.
She was jolted into action, already breaking into a run with Weiss following."I'm not letting Jaune and Pyrrha get ahead of us, we're beating them onboard. Ready!?"
"Oh, please..." Weiss muttered behind her.
Ruby chuckled under her breath, before glancing over her shoulder and noticing Professor Ozpin standing at the start of the path, watching her with a amused smirk.
Ruby looked forwards, setting her eyes solely on what was in front of her.