It all began three years ago on Team RWBY's first official mission, their field trip to Mountain Glenn. The Huntsman they were shadowing, their history teacher Dr. Oobleck, was doing more than just guiding them and making sure they stayed safe. He was assessing them for how well they handled in the field and their motivations to become Huntresses.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ4nA9OzsmBh
When it came to her Oobleck had asked "And what about you, Blake? You seem to carry yourself with a sense of purpose."
Her answer was immediate, sure of why she had chosen her course. "There's too much wrong in this world to just stand by and do nothing. Inequality, corruption... Someone has to stop it."
Then with the simplest of questions her teacher changed everything. "Very well. How?"
Blake hadn't stopped thinking about that day in three years. She'd had no direction until then, just assuming that becoming a huntress would automatically put her where she needed to be. She wanted to wipe her slate clean, of course, of all the wrong she had done. She also wanted to make the world better for other faunus. So the question was how?673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡO8HQ9JeLeD
Her and Sun had broken up over this subject. He just couldn't understand how much this drove her. He was too care-free and from what she had seen Vacuo had much less bigotry towards faunus. While he was willing to help, and he still did today, he had lacked dedication in Blake's eyes. Aside from being another faunus they had nothing in common. 673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡHB2loEkmDk
So far Blake hadn't found anyone who could match, or even come close to matching, her drive who weren't an outright fanatic themselves, and she wasn't really looking. She had her friends, anything more romantic was just going to get in her way.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡwNfpC2YCTH
Direction came to her when she came across a fractured piece of White Fang. The meeting was easy, as a faunus, to find. They were using the same markings that had been used when Blake herself had been a member, and she followed them to an abandoned building. She was only there to see if this group posed any kind of threat to the peace. If the did she would decide what steps were needed to neutralize them.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡx8Twg584LQ
She went in without challenge or recognition. It was promising that no one there was wearing a grimm mask. It quickly became clear they were trying to reestablish White Fang and floundering. There was no organization, and no set doctrine to go about their desire to bring equality to the faunus. Protests had failed, as had terrorist actions. The former was ineffective; the latter had been effective for the wrong reasons.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ7hYky5gLWU
Blake listened for an hour as the discussion went around in circles with no alternatives becoming evident. She was happy with what she heard. They were trying to look for a balance of being effective without being illegal or hate fueled. If they had direction they would be formidable. Unlike Adam's version of White Fang this one wouldn't be operating from a dark place that would only breed more darkness.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡenwuQTXoRo
Quietly Blake left the meeting, going just as unremarked as her entrance had been. She had an idea, but she wasn't sure how feasible it was. She needed advice. She threw her black trench coat on as she hit the cold night air, as a nearly imperceptible shiver running down her back. It had been the last gift given to her by Sun before they broke up. It was her reminder of the cost of her quest. In the pocket her left hand brushed the ribbon she'd used to use as a bow to hide her heritage. A reminder of why her quest was worth the cost. The two gave her balance.
Reaching Beacon, she looked up at the tower that overlooked the rest of the academy. Those weren't the only two things that gave her balance. There was also her training, and there was her team.
A sound to the right caught her attention. Using the night vision that came with her breed she was able to spy 'team abs' making out near the cliffs. Not that anyone would call them that to their faces. A small smile crossed Blake's usually stoic face. She had to admit that Yang and Sun made a cute couple. The name was inevitable, given their physiques and the way they showed them off. Blake gave them a wide birth. Finding time to be alone wasn't an easy thing when you had three roommates. They needed it.
Reaching their dorm room Blake slowed down and took in a deep breath. If Weiss was in there it would be a good time to talk, but that talk would be strained. Even though in the end White Fang had redeemed itself, it was a sore spot for her teammate. Worse, for a month now Weiss had been getting more and more moody. She was almost purposely rude. Team JNPR, though concerned for their friend, had taken to avoiding her. So far most of Weiss's cranky behavior seemed too focused more on them, as if they had done something to her. Jaune had decided that staying anywhere near her was only exasperating the problem, so he told his team to let the rest of team RWBY deal with it.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡoUwxmNnhnJ
Still, waiting in the hallway wasn't getting her anywhere. Entering the room she saw Weiss sitting at her desk, apparently studying, and Ruby up on her bunk sleeping soundly with a leg hanging over the edge.
"Weiss?" Blake watched Weiss stiffen in surprise. She must have been deep into her studies to have not noticed her.
A waspish look was directed at her from Weiss as she turned to face Blake. "Don't sneak up on me like that!" That was not the voice Blake had hoped for. Well, it was late. Maybe she should have this conversation in the morning.
"Never mind, it can wait."
"Oh no, you broke my concentration already. You might as well make it worthwhile!" The tone was caustic and uncharacteristic of the woman Weiss had grown into the last few years, but it had become more and more common in the last couple of weeks.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ835uWGlZ4D
Trying to ignore it, Blake continued. "Well, you know how I've been keeping an ear to the ground for White Fang activity, right?"
"Of course. We need to make sure they don't decide to blow up Beacon or some other nefarious plan."673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡqk5814VU8z
Was Weiss trying to make her angry, or was she just grouchy again? Blake wasn't entirely sure at this second. "That is one way to put it, I suppose. I found a small cell tonight."
"So tell Headmaster Ozpin so they can get rounded up then." That superior tone! It grated right down Blake's spine as it brought back memories of their fights when they were still freshmen. She had hoped that this subject had healed over time. Obviously some wounds took longer than others.
"No, these were different. They were looking for a way to get the message across peacefully," Blake said as she was put on the defensive.
"Hmmmph, that will be the day."
"They can do it!" In spite of herself she lost a tad of her cool. A month of Weiss's attitude was making the provoking statements that much worse.
"I'm not saying the Faunus can't coexist, I'm just saying the White Fang can't."
"But we did, we only protested peacefully."
"And that is why you went into hiding at Beacon," Weiss pounced, reminding Blake of when she'd left the Fang for Beacon. "Because of how noble the White Fang was."
"That was Adam's influence. We didn't all agree with him, and most of us left when it got crazy." More and more heat was entering Blake's voice with each attack from the Ice Queen.
"If it hadn't been Adam, it would have been someone else, and you know it. Tell Ozpin and end it now before it gets bad." Another verbal slap in the face.
This wasn't the conversation that Blake had wanted, and far from the advice she was looking for. "I want to help them, and I want you to help me. I have ideas..."
Weiss took a slow deep breath as if Blake was the one that was being unreasonable. Then as if talking to a dunce she said "Let me get this straight; you want a Schnee to aid a known terrorist group intent on exterminating every member of her family?"
"To direct them away from that doctrine of hate and a peaceful road to equality!"
The snoring had stopped at some point. From of the corner of her eye Blake saw Ruby looking over the edge of her bunk. "Would you two stop fighting already? Weiss, didn't you ask Blake to come to us for help? What's the problem?"
"I thought helping would mean stopping them, not giving them help. That's the problem." Weiss turned back towards Blake. "Your old friends are degenerate scum. They proved it before, and they will do so again if given the chance." Something was wrong. This was far beyond moody. If Blake stayed, she was going to do something she was going to regret. It felt wrong, but Blake turned and left.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡTA1ZGCf7Tc
She needed some fresh air to cool off and get some perspective. The next floor up was the roof, which was often used by Pyrrha and Jaune to practice. It was late enough that Blake thought it should be deserted. She was wrong. The sound of steel on steel rang out clearly; telling Blake that the two were still up and working on their relationship, in a fashion. Not stopping, Blake opened the last door slowly, just in case a shield might be flying in her direction. Then she stepped to the side to watch.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡQIlTCiDxbx
Pyrrha hadn't changed her appearance much since Blake had met her. The vambrace on her left arm had been replaced with armor that covered her arm from shoulder to wrist. Most still didn't know about her semblance, but Blake did. She knew that with her use of polarity she manipulated the armor so not only did it not slow her down any, but she actually could use it for additional force. The same concept had always been used with her leg armor, which hadn't changed at all. She had gotten more practical boots without the heals. Except for Weiss they all had after one too many rolled ankles.
Jaune, on the other hand, had a whole new look; at least when in any form of combat. He'd replaced his older armor with a new set that fit him as if it was made for him, which it had been. It was shining silver, which contrasted with Pyrrha's gold nicely. It covered not just chest and shoulders. Panels that protected his hips and vambraces on both arms had been added.
Another change was the loss of his trademark hoodie and jeans, though those were still normal when just walking the halls of Beacon. Instead leather breeches and jerkin were added, along with a gambeson that was padded more than it needed to be. Both were in a blood red. With his shoulder length hair he wouldn't be mistaken for a hero of old, but he did give the overall impression of competence.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡZAlx0yCerz
Jaune may have been worthless as a fighter when he first got to Beacon, but that wasn't the case anymore. To call what Blake was watching fighting, or practicing, was almost a sin. They danced; moving with a near choreographed perfection that came from an understanding of each other transcending reality. As beautiful as it was for Blake to watch when they sparred, it must be awe-inspired terror to their enemies as they charged the battlefield.
Four years, and where other couples had fallen apart when put to the test of time, they had only gotten tighter. The romantic in Blake was smitten by it, but the majority was nearly nauseated. Just too much sugar. There wasn't a single crack in their relationship, and often made the rest of the universe feel broken by comparison.
Jaune won the round, which was a bit unusual. As good as he'd gotten, it was still rare to see the student best the teacher. Smiling and laughing the two came over to Blake. "Hey Blake, done patrolling the city already?" Jaune asked casually. Team JNPR, like team RWBY, was aware and helping with Blake's silent mission.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡcCLF25ls5c
Well most of them were helping, apparently. The sour look on Blake's face must have been worse than usual. "What happened?" Pyrrha asked, both with caution and concern.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡIiIxAutHjI
Blake took in a deep breath, and then let it out slowly to release the last of her temper. Once she achieved a modicum of calm she explained both what she'd found in the city as well as the conflict with Weiss.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡYZ0iuSdCn4
Where the Jaune who had first stepped onto Beacon's grounds would have hesitated out of self doubt, this more mature version's hesitancy was him gathering his thoughts, analyzing the situation, and deciding on the strategies to get the best possible results. This pause was normally a lot quicker than that of his younger self, and much more reassuring.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡLSWHYCG9pF
Blake was expecting something great from her friend when the pause lasted more than three seconds. The first sentence almost crushed her. "Not sure what got into Weiss lately, but I have to admit she has a point. Even with the best of intentions no future versions of White Fang will ever be faced with anything but open hostility." The light in Pyrrha's eye and the slight smile on her lips told Blake there was more. She couldn't read Jaune perfectly but for Pyrrha he was like reading a story from her childhood. Jaune had something.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡPjUbxlH7i9
"Alright," she said simply, waiting for the rest.
A boyish smile crossed his face, realizing he was made. "Well, the answer is obvious. White Fang has to die and never be heard from again."
Confident that Jaune had something or not, the fearful "but..." left her lips in reaction to those words.
"But that's only in name Blake. Pull the pieces together. Give it organization and purpose, and breathe new life into them. Just not as the White Fang. Call them something else... like... like... I don't know. It doesn't really matter, honestly; just something else."
The corner of Blake's mouth lifted in amusement, seeing some of the boy he once was show through. Her eyes shifted over to Pyrrha and saw the adoration and love in those eyes and suddenly felt like a third wheel. "Thanks Jaune. Pyrrha, I leave him in your hands," she joked a bit awkwardly, then left quickly.
"Pyrrha? What are you...?" she heard through the door. A second later a loud thunk sounded as armor hit the ground, then a hearty feminine laugh. Then they were out of her hearing radius, though she could guess what Pyrrha was up to easily enough.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡSVHweywu7k
Even Nora's sweet tooth would meet its match against those two.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ4b1x0ZCGG6
Blake hesitated at the door of her room, remembering the argument with Weiss not all that long ago. It was an odd sensation. A loner by nature, team RWBY had become family to her that transcended her introverted nature. To not feel welcomed by any of them left her at a loss.
Well, no point putting it off any longer. Opening the door silently, she looked in to find Ruby still in bed, completely asleep again, and Weiss gone. Blake wasn't sure if she was thankful or upset about Weiss's absence.
Yang of course was not in the room either. Sun couldn't make it out to Vale very often and when he did the two made the most of it. Tomorrow he'd be heading back home and Yang would be barely conscious for classes. If Blake saw Yang before sunrise she'd be shocked.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡC0haVWxdgt
The next morning the tension between herself and Weiss was still palpable. Blake was happy that classes would occupy most of her time during the day, and studying in the library after. She did get a chance to talk to Ruby alone to get her take on the situation. Her answer, in typical Ruby fashion, was sympathy for both of them though she wasn't sure what had been eating at Weiss. Ruby was set on finding out. Basically she wanted Blake to stay out of the way for now until she got a handle on that problem. Blake trusted Ruby, so she let it be for now.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡphxinxHGEN
After classes she found Yang, Ren, Jaune and Pyrrha also in the library. It didn't take long for all of them to be done with their studies and "Remnant: The Game" was broken out soon after. Jaune was always the odds on favorite, but they all enjoyed it anyways. With the luck of the cards a bad hand sometimes made it possible for one of the others to have a chance.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡgDL8NKDUKn
Being only a four player game, Yang was the one left out. She stayed for a bit anyways and gave a running commentary, but eventually she grew bored and headed back to their room to check on Ruby. Judging by the dark circles under her eyes Blake hoped sleep wouldn't follow to far behind. 673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡk28jShGiyz
Ren took forever to make a decision in this game, always being cautious and thoughtful with every move he made. It wasn't till last year that he even broke down enough to play despite Nora's constant playful needling. He was also still eerily quiet, so Blake started up a side conversation with Pyrrha and Jaune; continuing the conversation from last night and shared her own thoughts from before she fell asleep last night.673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ0P56QxeD7h
"I'm not sure what to call them once I get them together, but you're right about renaming them." Blake sighed, as she kept her eyes fixed on Ren, who was still studying his cards. "The real problem though is getting them together in the first place, and getting them to let go of the hate and anger so we can concentrate on real change."
"I play Steel Curtain, blocking Jaune's forces from getting any closer to my city." Ren calmly set the wall pieces on the map, blocking Jaune's large army. "Then I'll play 'Shrouded Grim' summoning a wandering group of Beowulfs to attack your forces." There was a certain feeling of smugness at this play. He then looked over at Blake, "Give them purpose. A plan on how they will bring equality."
Jaune waited until Ren finished giving his idea, then "Trap card, 'illusionary force.' My army is actually over here." Jaune moved his pieces to the other side of Ren's city. "The Beowulfs will now attack the nearest unit regardless of player, which would be your supply lines. You have nothing to stop my army from sacking your city." Ignoring Ren's highly emotional sigh by his standards (Anyone else would have just figured he'd blinked his eyes) he added "I like that idea. I'm going to assume you already have one Blake?"673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡDCxWq7vz4j
"I'm sorry Jaune," and Pyrrha really did sound sorry, because she was. "But you left your city open. I play 'City unrest,' my spies infiltrated your city and incite riots. With no troops to stop them they're going to cripple your already strained economy." Pyrrha looked sadder than Jaune at having effectively removing him from the game.
Blake enjoyed the shocked look on Jaune's face. He was definitely out maneuvered. It also dove tailed nicely into the description of her very sketchy plans. "I got an idea, but I need Weiss's help with it. I want to put pressure on businesses to help with the cause. I just don't have the head for business to know what kind of pressure we can lay."673Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡnQU3DfaIjJ
"You're right. That's definitely Weiss's department. I'm willing to bet she'll have an idea or two" He favored Pyrrha with a smile. "Well played Love."
"Oh Jaune, I just got a lucky card. We all know it."
"You know Pyrrha; you don't need to build up my confidence anymore. I got too much if anything. Please, just take the compliment."
"If that's what you think is best." That line seemed to be some kind of inside joke between the two. Whenever anyone asked about it Jaune would get flustered and embarrassed, and Pyrrha would simply smile. It could have looked nasty, instead it looked loving.
Blake had learned her lesson long ago about obsessing and needing to take time out. It was moments like this that reminded her of that lesson. Picking up her dice, she rolled her turn to see if she had any chance of coming from behind and enjoy the rest of the day. Creating a new faunus movement to equality could wait till tomorrow.ns 126.96.36.199da2