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Fandom Shattered Hourglass [IC] [CLOSED]

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Gus Gungus

One Thousand Club
Prologue: An Epilogue

I believe we have much to discuss.
We're going to need a minute.
You know...it's okay if you're not okay.
Crappy tour guide much?
...
Hit me with it.
Your partner is here.

If you have any questions, now is the time.
Yeah, hi. Just one. Right over here..
Qrow, don't—

Did it ever once occur to you that maybe we're just tired of all your BULLSHIT?!

*BANG*

Yes.
It did.

Huntsman or huntress; human or faunus; hero, killer, or somewhere in between. The road you walked here is long and winding, the boots that carried you worn almost to the sole. You recall the journey well enough.

Remembering how it ended is the hard part.

---------



Legends. Stories scattered through time.

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It started, as these things often do, with a dream, a voice, and a vast, blank space. Raw materials, through a certain lens; ones many a wordsmith might use to commence the process of putting words to page. To forge a new beginning.

Or was it an ending?

Mankind has grown quite fond of recounting the exploits of heroes and villains; forgetting so easily that you, yourselves, amount to little more than stories in the end. Tales that have yet to be told.

Stories that are still being written.


Those cognizant enough to take stock of such things noted there were twelve of them, all told: Twelve mortal frames, grouped in fours, arranged in a loose triangle and framed against an ocean of endless white. That their faces were familiar may have posed some small reassurance; There was the maiden, Cinder Fall; the tinkerer, Arthur Watts; the scorpion, Tyrian Callows, all appropriately punctuated—and dwarfed—by the mountainous form of Hazel Rainart. At equidistant points opposite them were fate's perennial latchkey children, team MTEN: Mercury Black, killer-by-nature; Emerald Sustrai, thief-by-nurture; Neopolitan, enigma even to those who knew her best.

And a corpse.

He was as still as the rest of them, any kind of movement at all a feat beyond their collective ability in whatever transient dream they found themselves in, but there was no mistaking him for anything else. Where their immobile states were akin to a bad dose of sleep paralysis, the sluggish passivity of the dreamer, their eyes still functioned and their chests still rose and fell in a steady affirmation of life; Roman Torchwick was dead, through and through. His clothes were stained a faded crimson, his head lolled uncomfortably to one side, and though his once-smooth, fiery bangs thankfully hid the worst from view it was plain to see he was in the late stages of decomposition by now, his skin bleached grey and missing patches.

Off to one side were the outsiders, migrants from another world, another story; Qrow Branwen's form indicated a flurry of motion before they had all been rendered still, posture coiled as if mid-flight, scythe clenched in one fist and teeth bared in a fierce snarl. His twin and her daughter flanked either side of him, almost a mirror for one another in themselves, while rounding out their quartet hung one Ruby Rose: eyes closed, skin pale, a match even for Roman in her uncompromising stillness.

It all seemed of little consequence to the god standing before them.

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It was next to impossible to mistake the figure for anything else, even to those who had not once been afforded a relic's glimpse into the distant past. His vessel was one of light, not flesh; He appeared weightless, despite a frame that eclipsed even Hazel's with ease, nigh-featureless save for the pulsing set of antlers emerging from His head like a crown, immaculate in their symmetry. He looked at all of them with eyes that weren't there, and His voice, though plainly lacking in warmth or attachment, seemed to carry all the comfort of an embrace.

But this story's ink has run dry. Its pages are weathered and torn. The heroes of this tale are flawed, imperfect; They require guidance from those whose souls were always set on the path they now tread, yet in the face of adversity each of you fell to pieces no less readily than they did. As you are now, not one among you is prepared to face the battles to come.

At some point during the sentence His horned visage had turned to study the other Remnant's four, radiating a shocking amount of disappointment for a face so expressionless.

And yet... you twelve are the ones who must. I am certain of it now. And so I will tear the pages from the book, return you to the blank script, bless you with greater drive and purpose. The time for evaluation has passed. There are others who have shown promise, and some may yet have their own part to play in this tale, but...

His ethereal gaze lifted, and the outskirts of their barren surroundings began to find themselves populated by ghosts of memories, faint, translucent outlines more recognisable to some than to others. Witches, wizards, generals and inventors alike; all were reduced to mere echoes in whatever sterile plane they found themselves in.

...It falls to you. You alone will be the executors of my will. You will be the ones to stem my brother's tide of darkness, and in doing so give this story its rightful end. You—

A sudden impact and thunderous crash saw the void's peaceful tranquility disrupted, the entire realm rocking like a kayak on stormy waters despite the lack of any notable floors or geometry to speak of. More disconcerting still was the sight of a god doubling over in pain, hands on His abdomen and a strained grunt escaping His being as cracks started appearing in the reality around them, allowing a viscous black substance to begin squeezing its way through. He spoke again, this time in hallowed tones marred only by a twinge of exertion.

My intervention has not gone unnoticed. He nears, and our time grows short.

Heed these words well, mortals: seek the four relics. When you stand before Jinn, speak forth the question, "What would He have of me?" When the road is dim, look only to the child of light for guidance.


Though His was a visage bleached by light, the shadowed area under His eyes seemed to darken, and for the first time during His address the deity's tone grew truly grave.

But beware the daughters of darkness. The discord sewn into this world's fabric has made my brother strong, and as I have assembled my chosen in the realm of dream, so too will he come to them in their darkest nightmares. The embittered. The downtrodden. The disillusioned.

Already there exists one whose destiny I cannot see. One who will seek to untether the others like her. She is the envoy of his chaos, and his... shadow looms larger... with every... b-beat... of her...
pestilent... wings...


ᑎO ᖴᑌᖇTᕼEᖇ, ᗷᖇOTᕼEᖇ!

Whatever unseen intrusion the entity had been struggling to prevent was abruptly crystallised as the sky itself caved in, white fragments raining down amidst a sea of primordial black that cascaded into the tranquil white like a waterfall. Its inky mass swirled and coalesced before it had even finished settling, shaping itself into a gnarled set of limbs, horns, and teeth, which themselves twisted with a sickeningly visceral series of snaps and crunches into a form that was terrible, unnatural, yet not entirely unfamiliar.

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The dragon touched down on four legs with an unholy THOOM, taking no apparent notice of the mortals gathered as it reared back on hind legs and roared its fury at its elder sibling.

TᕼIᔕ IᑎᔕᑌᖴᖴEᖇᗩᗷᒪE ᑕYᑕᒪE ᗯIᒪᒪ Eᑎᗪ! YOᑌᖇ ᗯEIGᕼIᑎG Oᖴ TᕼE ᔕᑕᗩᒪEᔕ ᗯIᒪᒪ ᑎOT GO ᑌᑎᗩᑎᔕᗯEᖇEᗪ!

The god of light stood, calm in the face of such unbridled destruction, but what lay behind His tone's firmness when He stared back at His brother across the crumbling purgatory of His creation was as unyielding as it was terrifying, a darkness unto its own.

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Nor will your impudence.

Then His own form shifted, light bending and contorting around Him until it settled on the shape of a long, coiled, wingless dragon of more a more Mistralian provenance, already channeling His powers of creation into a huge, swirling orb to counteract the volatile sphere of crackling energy conjured by his counterpart. What followed when the beams collided, from the perspective of the mortals caught in the ensuing blast's radius, could only truly be compared to the perspective of an ant being torched by light funnelled through a magnifying glass.

The most merciful thing to be said for it was that it was quick.​
 
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Gus Gungus

One Thousand Club
Chapter One: The Sands of Time



...But she brushed off her bumps and bruises,
for nothing hurt worse than the loneliness in her chest.

Excerpt from The Girl Who Fell Through The World,
author unknown,
date unknown.

It started with a nightmare.

The same nightmare, every time. She was falling, falling for what felt like years, plunging into a bottomless black pit with no end in sight. She tried to reach out, grab something to slow her descent, but there was nothing there; tried to scream, but she had no voice.

Or it was just drowned out by someone else's.

Sometimes she saw things, out in the dark. Red eyes staring back at her. Rose petals fluttering just out of reach. A white cloak flapping far, far away, draped around a figure too distant in her memories to matter. But they were never anything substantial; just ghosts. Nothing that could help slow her fall.

She had to do that for herself.

The solution was so obvious, really. Enough that she felt stupid for having fallen so far at all. Falling was just what happened when you couldn't fly, and flying was in her blood.

All she had to do was spread her wings.

Feel them tear through her back, bone and talons piercing skin. Feel them rip their way free of the fleshy prison she'd been locked inside in a spray of blood and gore. It was so easy. Now she wasn't falling anymore; she was flying. Flying straight down, straight for what she'd never been able to make any headway towards when she was falling. Flying straight for the bottom of the pit.

What she found waiting there was the only thing that finally made it all make sense.

"⁠—ello? Are you even listening to me? Remnant to brute."

"Mmh? Not really."

The scandalised tone crackling through the battered, age-worn scroll on her lap's speakers finally made itself enough of a nuisance to jar her from her thoughts, though she didn't shift her stare from where it was affixed blankly on the back of her own hand. Flesh, blood, bone and aura. That was what little girls were made of. Right?

The scroll scoffed, unimpressed by her calculus.

"I feel a sudden urge to apologise to all the brutes of the world I may have offended with that statement. Either way, clean your ears out. The slightest foot out of place here could send our lord's grand centuries-long scheme into a tailspin, and I don't think I need to tell you where most of the blame'll end up should that happen."

She actually laughed at that, a harsh, scratchy noise done no favours by the heavy drag she took from the cigarette clasped opposite the hand she was studying. "Got that right."

The scroll went quiet for a moment. The icy blue eyes of the woman framed by the screen narrowed, as if something in the tone of the answers she was receiving vexed her; whatever that may have been, she apparently decided it wasn't enough to warrant comment, but whatever creeping sense of paranoia she was getting spurred her next question all the same.

"I was under the impression I'd be liaising with Ozpin's little masked butcher on this, you know. In fact, I distinctly recall it being a point of order that she was supposed to deliver the trojan to the communications tower. Is she with you?"

Another laugh, far more bitter than mirthful. "Always."

"Failing that, I expected Nikos. Or Belladonna. Or⁠⁠—ugh, woe betide me⁠—even Valkyrie. I wasn't even aware you were involved."

"Dontcha just love a city at night?"

"Pardon?"

Weiss Schnee had grown quite unused to the feeling of expecting an answer and receiving a complete non sequitur in its place, so the blink she gave when Dragon did exactly that was about as earnest a reaction as she was capable of giving. Ozpin's enforcer shrugged, eliminating the final fifth of her cigarette in a single drag and stubbing it out on the back of her own hand, another burn stamped on her flesh with a satisfying hiss, joining the numerous others grouped there. Weiss just stared, deciding it wasn't worth masking her blend of disgust and bemusement. Dragon exhaled one final cloud of smoke through her nose before the spent butt was flicked over the roof edge she was sitting on, lost to the night.

"Cities. At night? It's the only time they show us what they really are."

"What are you, taking a philosophy elective? I'm afraid I don't follow."

"Eh. I wouldn't worry about it. Was talkin to someone else."

Atlas's duly elected councilwoman was a paragon of composure, but even she would've admitted to a minor brow twitch. "Right. Well, unlike yours my time is actually valuable, and as much as I enjoy spending it listening to lunatics preach their wisdom there are preparations I need to make. The pertinent data will be with you shortly. Do take care."

"Seeya soon, princess."

A part of her enjoyed the hint of befuddlement in the councilwoman's expression when she winked and blew her a kiss, even when the line went dead scarcely a second later. Dragon yawned and swung her legs up, the Vale skyline sprawled out before her; but the sky was where her eyes went, high above the rooftops, blazing red locked on the shining feat of Atlesian engineering that was Amity Arena where it hovered well clear of Beacon Academy's tallest steeple. She framed it with thumbs and forefingers as she continued talking, still unused to having a full set again rather than one juxtaposed with talons and claws.

"This was all meant for you, y'know. Your place at the dinner table was set before anyone else's. All you had to do was not fuck it up." She smirked, bitter and wan, and the exhale that accompanied it was a terse, biting sound of frustrated resignation. "But you did. You really, really shouldn't have done that, sis. This didn't have to... I shouldn'tve had to have..."

The forceful huff of air through the lungs had been intended to rein in her breathing, but the way she suddenly spun on her heel and roared like her namesake was as much a concession that it had had the opposite effect as anything, the wave of flame and sheer kinetic force that washed out over the rooftop doing wonders to complete the effect.

"You shouldn't have tried to make me WEAK!"

The object of her rage gave no reply. It was difficult to answer such accusations when your heart was still and your head was twisted at a one-eighty degree angle, a statistic Dragon was more acutely aware of than anyone had any business being. Her momentary tantrum did, however, come with the unintended side effect of jostling the corpse a bit, enough that a small white hand slipped free of the red cloak she'd used to cover it like a tarp. She always imagined it'd hide the blood well.

A beat of silence followed while the perpetrator caught her breath, and there was a surprising amount of tenderness in the act when she finally stepped closer and dropped to a knee, gingerly slipping the hand back underneath the cloak like she was afraid she'd break something else. She checked to make sure the rest of it was secure, and whatever quiet words she mumbled under her breath were lost to the crosswinds of a passing cargo ship before she finally stood, padding back over to the roof's edge. She stepped off, weathered scroll in hand once more, and the group call she initiated with the stroke of a thumb had been answered by the time her boots touched down in the alleyway below, three new shadowy figures staring at her in varying degrees of surprise. It was Nikos who spoke first, unsurprisingly, just about the only one present who gave a shit to act like they had any kind of good manners left.

"Oh, my. Dragon. How... unexpected?" It was almost creepy how good she was at pretending she wouldn't have rathered answer the phone to literally anyone else. Pyrrha was in her nightgown, having clearly been in the final stages of preparing for bed; in the gloom behind her she could just about make out the form of Arc, bleary-eyed, muttering something as he heaved himself out from under their king-size. "We just finished final correspondences an hour ago. I don't think any of us were anticipating you to be part of the assault tomorrow. Or calling us. Or within a hundred mile radius of Vale. Lord Ozpin believed your talents were unsuited for an offensive requiring such delicate subterfuge, did he n-?"

"Plan's a fuckin wash, gals."

"...Really." The terror of Mistralian arenas didn't say as much, but it was clear from the brevity in her tone that she found that somewhat hard to believe.

"Bigtime. And you might wanna perk up those ears, kit—Belladonna, 'cause I know you're gonna like this part. Schnee's a rat." She let a moment pass for the gravity of that to sink in, then continued. "My dipshit little sister, too. That part I took care of; The princess gets hers later."

Elaborating on what that meant felt extraneous, so she didn't.

"For now, we play ball knowing the Fall Maiden and her ride-or-dies expect something to go down. Not only that, when shit hits the fan tomorrow they're gonna know what faces to look for. Oh, and when the Shadow Fang move in Blake's jilted ex is gonna show up with her group of disenfranchised faunus to run interception, so they're pretty much just gonna cancel each other out. You really oughta jot that down in your resume, babe."

She reached the end of the alley, where a sleek black motorcycle that had nevertheless seen some milage awaited her faithfully. She swung both legs over it with a grunt and kicked it into gear, even as Pyrrha found a way to articulate the feeling that had set in from the moment Dragon started talking.

"This... seems highly irregular. We're talking about months, years of planning, and misses Schnee and Rose have been nothing but willing. Perhaps if we were to receive some manner of confirmation from lord Ozpin—?"

Dragon rolled her eyes. "No time. Evernight doesn't get good cell reception. So if we're gonna go that way, anyone wanna volunteer as fall guy when all those years of planning go down the tubes tomorrow and Oz doesn't get what he wants 'cause you chucklefucks decided not to hear me out? Not it."

Silence.

"Anyone?"

Her red eyes practically burned a hole through Pyrrha, who eventually shifted hers down towards the desk she was sitting at, pensive. The next voice came not from her screen, but from Valkyrie's, where a quiet, slender figure with black hair bound in a ponytail and somewhat gentler eyes than the rest had silently appeared beside her at some point during the proceedings. His brow was furrowed, stare attentive on the monitor he and his employer stood before, attuned to a frequency separate from the other killers and rapscallions present as he analysed Dragon's person carefully.

"She's telling the truth. Or believes she is."

She snorted. "Now that's a keeper. How come you haven't called me yet, stud?"

His reply came almost a little too hasty, at least partially in an effort to quell whatever reaction that invoked in the ginger-haired crime boss next to him. "What do we need to do?"

Her bike roaring to life when she twisted the handle drowned out all other sound for a moment, a burst of chaotic static when funnelled through a scroll receiver; she waited until it had settled in a more steady purr before giving her reply, no trace of concern on her face despite the monumental setbacks they'd seemingly been posed.

"I believe the expression is 'we call a fucking audible.'"
 
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Gus Gungus

One Thousand Club


One by one, they awoke.

When one finds themselves waking from deep slumber, eyes fluttering open to allow the sun's warming rays through en masse, typically it takes a few seconds to truly comprehend what's happening; to reconcile one's surroundings with rhyme or reason, with the place one felt consciousness drift away. Such phenomena are commonly a mere product of human instinct, the complex biological mechanisms of the dynamo that was the brain.

This was different.

On this fateful morning, for twelve souls in particular, reconciling the environment they found themselves waking to with the last thing they remembered proved an impossible task. Not simply because singling out the last thing they could remember was, in itself, a struggle; whether it was a foray into the underground, a walk among the sands, or a dream of dueling gods.

It was impossible because the place they found themselves waking in quite literally should not have existed—At least, not in its present state. Because it was a place that they, be it in a literal or metaphorical sense, had seen destroyed.

Some of them more than once.

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There was really only so much one could do to personalise the cramped, barren dorms they packed quartets into like sardines at Beacon Academy; learning to live in sparse environments was a key skill any huntsman or huntress could only benefit from developing, and learning to live alongside those one might not necessarily like was an exercise in patience that had helped many a student from all walks of life grow. Yet team WTCH had done what they could to make the space their own, for as disparate a set of personalities as they were; keepsakes, mementos, books and tools littered the shelves, personal artifacts with a significance that could only truly be understood by the individual who placed them there.

At least half those items, a long with a few of the shelves themselves, went crashing to the floor when the man mountain, Hazel Rainart, lurched right off the side of his bed, far too small to accommodate his gargantuan frame. It was not the first time such a thing had occurred, though it was easily the most violent, the brutish student heaving on hands and knees for the moment as he stared, dumbfounded, at the beams of light peeking through the swaying curtains, lips struggling vainly to keep up with what he was seeing.

"I—how—wha— Gretchen."

That was as much of a crystallising impulse as his mind appeared to need in the moment, and he rose up to blot out the sun and issue his teammates a deep, apologetic bow.

"I must go."

And then, as promised, he was gone, quite literally shouldering their room's door off its hinges and straight into the dorm opposite's with an unholy crash (which, incidentally, was also not a first time occurrence), sending throngs of early risers looking to occupy the best seats in Amity screaming and diving out of the way as he thundered down the corridor like a freight train. No one questioned it too much, though. Good seats were hard to get, after all.

And it was the morning of the finals.

The lummox's awakening and subsequent door-on-door collision meant no one in the room opposite had a gentle awakening, either; itself worsened by the impulse reaction from the bunk in the farthest corner of the room, where Mercury and Emerald both launched the extremely heavy textbooks—neither of which looked to have been opened for their intended purpose—they kept on hand for precisely this situation with pinpoint accuracy towards the hall.

"ASSHOLE!"
"FATASS!"

If all four of the room's occupants weren't awake after the insults let fly, they most definitely were when the books hit the poor abused doorframe with twin crashes almost as loud as Hazel's ruckus. The thief and assassin both pushed themselves upright, the latter immediately taking to rubbing the copious amounts of sleep out of his eyes, while the former's attention was immediately taken by something in the opposite corner of the room.

"Guhhhh, what time is itwait. Wait, what the actual f—"

"Mercury. Shut up."

"Dude, don't tell me to shut up. Did you not see the two ginormous primordial dragon go—"

"Mercury!"

Something about her tone at least got him to finally look over at whatever she was freaking out about, and— oh.

What he saw made him lose his train of thought, mind a blank fuzz for those next few seconds. And as the two stared at the living, breathing, very much alive form of Roman Torchwick in bed, for the first time in an obscenely long time Emerald and Mercury both shut up.

---------

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who did not belong to this world found themselves the recipients of a much colder, more solitary awakening.

"Yang?"

Though not entirely solitary, in this case. For Yang Xiao Long, the first slivers of consciousness came in the form of some percussive stimulus, hands jostling her shoulders in gentle fashion.

"Yaaaannngggggg."

Then not so gentle fashion.

"Oh, come on. Even now you sleep like a log. And snore like the chainsaw that cut it down. Heh. Nyeh heh heh heh."

The voice appeared to be a fan of its own weird, esoteric sense of humour if the quite frankly dorky snicker it made a terrible attempt at muting was any indication, which was reassuring in that it was very much a trait that ran in the family.

"Okay, Ruby, gameface. Yang!"

Less reassuring was the full on thwap on the snout the blonde received to finally jolt her all the way into the land of the waking, where the first sense of awareness she had was of familiar hands gently guiding her up into a seated position from where she was sprawled out on the metal floor. Assuming she was receptive, she found a pair of worried silver eyes blinking back at her, nervously tilting her chin up and waving a finger back and forth in front of her face to test for a concussion.

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"Are you okay??? Before you ask no, I have no idea what's going on, which I know has been a recurring thing lately but SUE ME, okay, like, like what the heck even is any of this?! And the last thing I remember we were in Vacuo, in the inn, and—" She cut herself off to take a deep, steadying breath, banishing the last of her nerves now that her sister was visibly responsive and moving to help her to her feet if she so allowed. "—I mean, look where we are, Yang."

Amity-Inside.png

She didn't have to. It had, in all likelihood, been the first thing she noticed after Ruby. She needed no reminding of where this was, with its vast open floor, tiered rows of seats, domeless peak and massive LED screens; one of the worst moments of her life had happened here, after all. Even completely empty, cast in the eerie glow of the early-morning sun, it was abundantly obvious where they were.

Amity Colosseum.

Ruby swallowed hard, and though there were precious few things capable of shaking her these days the look she cast across the arena was, for lack of a better word, haunted.

"How can we be here? I just don't... is this really happening? Can this really be happening again?"

---------

Far below, no such bedside manners were invoked for the other pair of siblings from another Remnant.

"WAKE UP, YA LAZY BROAD!!!!!!!!!!"

Thus did Raven Branwen, maiden of spring, feared and lauded chieftain of the Tribe, have half the contents of a hip flask full of water dumped in her face after a few cursory nudges from Qrow's boot failed to do the trick. The veteran huntsman growled, immediately turning away to let her collect herself as he stalked to the other side of an environment every bit as familiar to them as the colosseum was to Yang and Ruby. More, even.

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The hours the two of them had spent in this place couldn't have been accurately gauged by a clock triple the size of the one he now stood beside, letting his fist thump against the glass as he stared out at the fleet of Atlesian warships littering the sky.

"We're bein' screwed with. Have been from the second we first got here. And I'm finally starting to get a sense of who by." He growled again, a low, guttural sound, keeping his gaze locked firmly on the horizon. "It's God. Great, right? Actual God is fucking with us."

His sigh was heavy as he chewed the inside of his cheek, jaw locked in a rigid scowl of defeat.

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"Go figure."
 
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TheNewBlood1988

"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
"You shouldn't have tried to make me WEAK!"

The object of her rage gave no reply. It was difficult to answer such accusations when your heart was still and your head was twisted at a one-eighty degree angle, a statistic Dragon was more acutely aware of than anyone had any business being. Her momentary tantrum did, however, come with the unintended side effect of jostling the corpse a bit, enough that a small white hand slipped free of the red cloak she'd used to cover it like a tarp. She always imagined it'd hide the blood well.

A beat of silence followed while the perpetrator caught her breath, and there was a surprising amount of tenderness in the act when she finally stepped closer and dropped to a knee, gingerly slipping the hand back underneath the cloak like she was afraid she'd break something else. She checked to make sure the rest of it was secure, and whatever quiet words she mumbled under her breath were lost to the crosswinds of a passing cargo ship before she finally stood, padding back over to the roof's edge. She stepped off, weathered scroll in hand once more, and the group call she initiated with the stroke of a thumb had been answered by the time her boots touched down in the alleyway below, three new shadowy figures staring at her in varying degrees of surprise. It was Nikos who spoke first, unsurprisingly, just about the only one present who gave a shit to act like they had any kind of good manners left.


There had been a lot that Ruby Rose would have liked to forget.

The life she had with her father and wondering whatever had become of her mother.

All remembering those things did was hurt her.

....But not as badly as she'd hurt the one she'd always love, unconditionally or otherwise.

Yang. Not just any Yang, hers.

It was all very quick. The murderer who'd earned herself the moniker of The Red Masque was no match for her sister in a contest of strength. She never even came close despite any protests to the contrary. Her prosthetic hand, having been returned back to it's former patchwork self, and not the monstrous limb she'd had forced upon her. It pulled and scratched, it punched, her boots kicked and slammed. No matter how hard she tried to struggle, it wouldn't change anything in the end. This was the end for her.

Her eyes, as bright as the moonlight that cascaded down, grew dim.

*CRACK*

Her head had been turned with such ferocity that there was a grossly visible bit of vertebrae that'd been ripped out of place. Bulging against the skin as Masque's body trembled and shook. Her eyes began to close and she fell back from her sister's arms.


"yang...."

She fell back onto the ground, her cloak splayed out behind her. Blood dripped out in trails from under her eyes and the bottom of her mask. Leaving a trail of sickly bright red running down her chin and across her throat. Her body convulsed as she spat up blood before settling back down and going fully limp.

She was dead.
 

TheNewBlood1988

"What's your favorite scary movie...?"


Life hadn't been easy for Roman Torchwick or anyone around him for that matter.

It's why he never tried to complain too much. Sure, jokes were fine here and there. Maybe occasionally he'd get the slightest bit jealous of how smooth Mercury was with the ladies. Couldn't exactly learn to flex your stuff if the only girls you really hung out with on a regular basis were

A: So far out of your league, they may as well have been in Atlas.

B: Meant more to him than anything else.

He also wasn't exactly the best fighter around. At times, he felt more like a poser trying to put on the front of a tough guy. Which depending on who you may have asked, was probably either 100% accurate or Roman just being too hard on himself. He liked to think it resided somewhere in the middle. He wasn't entirely incompetent, but he wasn't Mercury-levels of badass either. Still, at the end of the day, he guessed he didn't need to be superstrong or super skilled. He always had his best friend by his side to protect him. Whether he'd admit to needing her protection or not.

It'd only be in a nightmare that'd something bad would happen to him. It made the most sense after all. Neo and him had already been through the worst that life had to offer. What else could have possibly been done to them to make their lives any more miserable than they'd been when it was just the two of them against the world?

dio-brando-kakyoin-noriaki.gif

In the throes of his sleep, Roman winced and shivered as he subconsciously ran a hand over his stomach. Instead of his fingers pinching any bits or pieces of his imploded stomach or fractured ribs, they found the hard plastic buttons on the upper half of his pajamas, bright orange with the symbol for lien branded across them. His hand moved back from under the covers and Roman's eyes began to shift, his lips pursing together as he mumbled, still caught between the drowsy state of being awake and still slumbering.

Once he saw his hand and that it was entirely blood free?

He smiled.


"....Just a bad dream."

Reaching over to grab his hat from where he always kept it next to his pillow. For safe keeping and also because he liked to hide midnight snacks under it. Helped to keep Neo from finding them. Placing it atop his head, he clasped his hands together and for the splittist of seconds, looked like the perfect picture of harmony. If he'd looked this peaceful upon his death, perhaps those close to him may not have suffered as much.

"....?"

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"Mercury? Em?"

Roman's head was the only thing poking out from under his blankets. Reaching to hold onto the brim of his hat, he turned his head to look towards his fellow teammates.

"I'm flattered my snoozin is so enticing but....Were you guys just watching me sleep or....?"
 

MyrtenRose

Knight of Rebellion
It was supposed to be a good day. The sun was shining bright, warm, no different than any other day, but this was the day! The day of the finals!! She would be down there in the crowd, cheering so loud for Tyrian and a team WTCH victory that Watts probably want to shoot his own ears off. But this day was...it was in the past. She knew that. What should have been a good day turned out to be...not so much. This was the day she remembered seeing Penny die, torn apart. Beacon was attacked, criminals, Shadow Fang, grimm, hacked security drones and more. Somehow they managed that day to repel it all, and Beacon remained standing. Vale remained secure. But that didn't change that...Penny had died. That goofy, lovable, innocent girl. A good friend. Though she came back eventually, rebuilt, better, the sting didn't...hurt less.

And it wasn't the only thing she remembered. Others had suffered too.

She saw other deaths at Beacon. Remembered the battle of Haven, before it fell. Getting kidnapped. Learning from the rescue squad that...Roman had died too, when she hadn't been there. Forced to think about how maybe she could have stopped it, had she been there. Witnessed her team argue and split apart because...because she chose to leave them, in the hopes that maybe...if she was strong enough, she wouldn't have to see another friend die. She was a maiden, one of only a handful of people with incredible power like that...and what good was it if she couldn't even keep them safe? So she remembered telling herself, but what she really got out of it was watching Arthur, Hazel and Tyrian all pull away from each other, go their separate ways. The death of team WTCH, and it was all her fault.

She saw her torture next, the beating she'd received from the cat faunus. The pain that wracked her when her knee was broken, her head slammed against a car as hard as possible...that dreadful feeling in her stomach when she thought she'd killed Blake. An awful feeling, she remembered, but it was nothing compared to the awfulness she felt when she learned that there was another her. An older her, one from a place where she'd been the one to attack Beacon, had destroyed it, orchestrated the death of Penny and so many others, killed the maiden and took her power before killing Beacon's headmaster. How there was a her so monstrous she even melded with a grimm, replaced her arm with one of theirs, forged of darkness and hate and hunger. Seeing such a terrible version of herself, and thinking she herself could have taken a similar path if things had gone just a little bit differently.

She remembered how what remained of MTEN stuck together too, but they'd...fallen far from the people she'd known back at Beacon, back here. Mercury didn't even bother to hide his resentment, but Emerald did try to, and in some ways that made it even worse. And Neo, she lost herself to bloody vengeance, however understandable it was it still hurt to see. And they had all come close to losing Neo in the other way too. If she hadn't been fast enough in her flight...

Cinder remembered all that and a whole lot more, but now...she was back here, and she didn't know what to do.

So much so that even minutes after waking, after seeing Hazel rush off and destroy their dorm door in the process, she still hadn't gotten out of bed. Cinder just sat up, moving her covers aside and hugging her own legs close, trying to process and think. They had been chosen, the 12, by the dragon or so he said, and they had to...do it all again? Make it right, somehow, by getting to the relics. Before his brother could make it all worse.

God. It really would be soooooo comforting if that had all just been a wild dream gone extra crazy.

"..." Her eyes shifted towards their team leader's bed, though she still didn't move from her spot. "...Arthur? Did you...see that too?"
 

Schnee Corp Lawyer

STILL not over Birthright's ending
The lummox's awakening and subsequent door-on-door collision meant no one in the room opposite had a gentle awakening, either; itself worsened by the impulse reaction from the bunk in the farthest corner of the room, where Mercury and Emerald both launched the extremely heavy textbooks—neither of which looked to have been opened for their intended purpose—they kept on hand for precisely this situation with pinpoint accuracy towards the hall.

"ASSHOLE!"
"FATASS!"

If all four of the room's occupants weren't awake after the insults let fly, they most definitely were when the books hit the poor abused doorframe with twin crashes almost as loud as Hazel's ruckus. The thief and assassin both pushed themselves upright, the latter immediately taking to rubbing the copious amounts of sleep out of his eyes, while the former's attention was immediately taken by something in the opposite corner of the room.

"Guhhhh, what time is itwait. Wait, what the actual f—"

"Mercury. Shut up."

"Dude, don't tell me to shut up. Did you not see the two ginormous primordial dragon go—"

"Mercury!"

Something about her tone at least got him to finally look over at whatever she was freaking out about, and— oh.

What he saw made him lose his train of thought, mind a blank fuzz for those next few seconds. And as the two stared at the living, breathing, very much alive form of Roman Torchwick in bed, for the first time in an obscenely long time Emerald and Mercury both shut up.



Life hadn't been easy for Roman Torchwick or anyone around him for that matter.

It's why he never tried to complain too much. Sure, jokes were fine here and there. Maybe occasionally he'd get the slightest bit jealous of how smooth Mercury was with the ladies. Couldn't exactly learn to flex your stuff if the only girls you really hung out with on a regular basis were

A: So far out of your league, they may as well have been in Atlas.

B: Meant more to him than anything else.

He also wasn't exactly the best fighter around. At times, he felt more like a poser trying to put on the front of a tough guy. Which depending on who you may have asked, was probably either 100% accurate or Roman just being too hard on himself. He liked to think it resided somewhere in the middle. He wasn't entirely incompetent, but he wasn't Mercury-levels of badass either. Still, at the end of the day, he guessed he didn't need to be superstrong or super skilled. He always had his best friend by his side to protect him. Whether he'd admit to needing her protection or not.

It'd only be in a nightmare that'd something bad would happen to him. It made the most sense after all. Neo and him had already been through the worst that life had to offer. What else could have possibly been done to them to make their lives any more miserable than they'd been when it was just the two of them against the world?

dio-brando-kakyoin-noriaki.gif

In the throes of his sleep, Roman winced and shivered as he subconsciously ran a hand over his stomach. Instead of his fingers pinching any bits or pieces of his imploded stomach or fractured ribs, they found the hard plastic buttons on the upper half of his pajamas, bright orange with the symbol for lien branded across them. His hand moved back from under the covers and Roman's eyes began to shift, his lips pursing together as he mumbled, still caught between the drowsy state of being awake and still slumbering.

Once he saw his hand and that it was entirely blood free?

He smiled.


"....Just a bad dream."

Reaching over to grab his hat from where he always kept it next to his pillow. For safe keeping and also because he liked to hide midnight snacks under it. Helped to keep Neo from finding them. Placing it atop his head, he clasped his hands together and for the splittist of seconds, looked like the perfect picture of harmony. If he'd looked this peaceful upon his death, perhaps those close to him may not have suffered as much.

"....?"

View attachment 991159

"Mercury? Em?"

Roman's head was the only thing poking out from under his blankets. Reaching to hold onto the brim of his hat, he turned his head to look towards his fellow teammates.

"I'm flattered my snoozin is so enticing but....Were you guys just watching me sleep or....?"



Neopolitan's grip on reality had been tenuous for a long time now. It wasn't as if she could forget what happened (Not ever. Not in a single moment since had the sight of Roman on the ground, every visceral detail burned into her eyes so deeply that she could recreate it inch for inch, had recreated it, been further than the edge of her conscious thoughts), but the idea that everything that had been a dream, that they'd never boarded that train to mistral, or that Beacon had been attacked, never found herself in the middle of a blood splattered hallway again with a grimm mask staring her down, never longed to feel that same look of satisfaction of blood spilled by the deserving-

The idea that it could have never happened had drowned her thoughts just as much as the truth that it absolutely did.

It was an idea that had fed on her semblance. Its very name was Overactive Imagination, thoughts made unreality. It wasn't the first time she'd woken up to see a shock of orange hair across the room, but it had been a while since the last. She'd... she'd thought she'd been getting better. That she was drawing closer to acceptance, even if she hadn't closed her grip around what she was going to do with that acceptance, what she was going to do about those she deemed responsible. Yet here she was, sitting up in bed, staring at a calm, slightly confused and sleep deprived looking Torchwick poking fun at their other two teammates.

It had been a dream. Not the death, the destruction, none of that rang false in her mind. The God of Light had been a dream, his declaration, the violent spectacle as divine brother crashed against divine brother. It had to be, right? A scene out of a fairy tale. A farcical, bizarre fantasy from a troubled mind.

It hurt. It hurt how much she wanted this to be real, and it hurt how much she wished she could think about anything else but the scene in front of her as she tried to dismiss her semblance.

"..."


She frowned as nothing happened, her shoulders starting to shiver from effort and distress in equal measure. Her eyes began to dart around the room, her hands gripping her upper arm on either side in a tight squeeze as she tried to rationalize that this room was Beacon, that Emerald and Mercury looked shocked, that they'd fallen asleep in Mistral, that nothing that was surrounding her was going away, or that she couldn't feel her aura's slow siphon from semblance use. This couldn't' be real. They'd seen so many horrors and wonders that defied reality. Time couldn't move backwards. Visitors from an entirely different timeline had been here from the moment everything had gone wrong. She couldn't handle accepting this was real and it being taken away again. There wasn't anything she wanted more from the moment they'd left Mistral than to be back in this room. Her eyes started to blur, her chest began to tighten as every breath started to feel short and heavy

Neo's bedside clock hit Torchwick's shin beneath the blankets at mach ten thousand a moment after Neo snatched it from her end-table, desperate to try and shatter the illusion and breaking apart inside at the idea that what she was looking at could be real.

The clock broke instead, Roman was presumably some flavor of distressed, and Neo began to bawl.



It was silent and unmoving at first, the tears suddenly spilling out of her otherwise still form like she was a garden fountain that was just turned on. But then the first hiccup of a sob came, a thin and raspy as any sound she ever made but most certainly there, for all to see and hear. Just like he was. Roman was alive. Time really had been turned back. It didn't matter that it was essentially impossible to do past the covers, that it came at an awkward angle that was going to result in spearing him more than hugging him. There wasn't any sort of conscious thought to the movement as Neo bolted out of her bed, still tangled in her own covers with none of the grace and poise she'd moved with even in her darkest moments, and tackled Roman with every bit of strength her arms could manage, the ragged sobs that followed loud even to her own ears.
 

Schnee Corp Lawyer

STILL not over Birthright's ending
It was supposed to be a good day. The sun was shining bright, warm, no different than any other day, but this was the day! The day of the finals!! She would be down there in the crowd, cheering so loud for Tyrian and a team WTCH victory that Watts probably want to shoot his own ears off. But this day was...it was in the past. She knew that. What should have been a good day turned out to be...not so much. This was the day she remembered seeing Penny die, torn apart. Beacon was attacked, criminals, Shadow Fang, grimm, hacked security drones and more. Somehow they managed that day to repel it all, and Beacon remained standing. Vale remained secure. But that didn't change that...Penny had died. That goofy, lovable, innocent girl. A good friend. Though she came back eventually, rebuilt, better, the sting didn't...hurt less.

And it wasn't the only thing she remembered. Others had suffered too.

She saw other deaths at Beacon. Remembered the battle of Haven, before it fell. Getting kidnapped. Learning from the rescue squad that...Roman had died too, when she hadn't been there. Forced to think about how maybe she could have stopped it, had she been there. Witnessed her team argue and split apart because...because she chose to leave them, in the hopes that maybe...if she was strong enough, she wouldn't have to see another friend die. She was a maiden, one of only a handful of people with incredible power like that...and what good was it if she couldn't even keep them safe? So she remembered telling herself, but what she really got out of it was watching Arthur, Hazel and Tyrian all pull away from each other, go their separate ways. The death of team WTCH, and it was all her fault.

She saw her torture next, the beating she'd received from the cat faunus. The pain that wracked her when her knee was broken, her head slammed against a car as hard as possible...that dreadful feeling in her stomach when she thought she'd killed Blake. An awful feeling, she remembered, but it was nothing compared to the awfulness she felt when she learned that there was another her. An older her, one from a place where she'd been the one to attack Beacon, had destroyed it, orchestrated the death of Penny and so many others, killed the maiden and took her power before killing Beacon's headmaster. How there was a her so monstrous she even melded with a grimm, replaced her arm with one of theirs, forged of darkness and hate and hunger. Seeing such a terrible version of herself, and thinking she herself could have taken a similar path if things had gone just a little bit differently.

She remembered how what remained of MTEN stuck together too, but they'd...fallen far from the people she'd known back at Beacon, back here. Mercury didn't even bother to hide his resentment, but Emerald did try to, and in some ways that made it even worse. And Neo, she lost herself to bloody vengeance, however understandable it was it still hurt to see. And they had all come close to losing Neo in the other way too. If she hadn't been fast enough in her flight...

Cinder remembered all that and a whole lot more, but now...she was back here, and she didn't know what to do.

So much so that even minutes after waking, after seeing Hazel rush off and destroy their dorm door in the process, she still hadn't gotten out of bed. Cinder just sat up, moving her covers aside and hugging her own legs close, trying to process and think. They had been chosen, the 12, by the dragon or so he said, and they had to...do it all again? Make it right, somehow, by getting to the relics. Before his brother could make it all worse.

God. It really would be soooooo comforting if that had all just been a wild dream gone extra crazy.

"..." Her eyes shifted towards their team leader's bed, though she still didn't move from her spot. "...Arthur? Did you...see that too?"
Arthur Watts sat on the edge of his bed, his hands clasped in front of his mouth as his elbows rested on his knees, his thoughts slowly churning the required 'what's, 'how's, 'why's, and 'no really, what the fuck's, their current situation required. The idea that this had all been a dream was entertained, then discarded quickly in the wake Hazel's quick exit and Cinder's suppository towards him. His sanity clarified, as ever, he leveraged whatever his own immediate concerns and feelings into the back of his mind to be exhumed at a later date, when he could scream and rage in frustration on his own time lest some black or grey haired idiot dragged it out him like a cat into the bath-

Then he picked up the sound coming from the other room, and an image crystallized in his mind from their foray into the realms of dreams or gods or wherever the fuck had been their bus stop on their way back to Beacon months ago.
And a corpse.

He was as still as the rest of them, any kind of movement at all a feat beyond their collective ability in whatever transient dream they found themselves in, but there was no mistaking him for anything else. Where their immobile states were akin to a bad dose of sleep paralysis, the sluggish passivity of the dreamer, their eyes still functioned and their chests still rose and fell in a steady affirmation of life; Roman Torchwick was dead, through and through. His clothes were stained a faded crimson, his head lolled uncomfortably to one side, and though his once-smooth, fiery bangs thankfully hid the worst from view it was plain to see he was in the late stages of decomposition by now, his skin bleached grey and missing patches.

The sound of Neo in the other room, her particular, horrific to the ears and heart flavor of crying, and the sight they'd all been accosted with left his stomach pitted with a dread he couldn't just bury, and he suddenly bolted to his feet and barged through MTEN's door with an aura boosted shoulder crash-

Oh.

There certainly would've been better things to say, ones that encapsulated his relief, the rare, genuine smile that should've touched his face to accompany the swell of warmth his heart felt at the scene, but as ever his mind focused on the inconsistency at play of the very alive roman sitting in bed.

"....Well that's just stupid-"

-------------------------------------------------------


Watts stumbled back into WTCH's dorm, holding a hand against the nose that was crooked and bleeding from a clock that had been thrown at his face so, so much harder than it had at Roman before he locked eyes with Cinder with a fervent sort of urgency.

"The finals. Penny."
 

TheNewBlood1988

"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
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"Guys?? C'mooooooon. C'moooooooon! Don't leave me hangin! If you wanted a snuggle buddy, all you had to do was ask! There's enough room on the bed for all three of us! It'll be like a mini slumber party! But in the same bed! Neo! You want in on this spectacular idea or-"


He noted the stare of his best friend.

It was one of disbelief. Like the kinda face she'd put up to tease Roman for so heartlessly betraying her by eating the last candy in a bag that he'd pinched from the vending machine. To which Roman usually replied by using Melodic Cudgel to just straight up smash the vending machine's glass and bolt with as many snacks as he could carry for the two of them.

Well.

Maybe a bit more serious than that.

"Neo...? Pal, what's wrong?"

Neo's bedside clock hit Torchwick's shin beneath the blankets at mach ten thousand a moment after Neo snatched it from her end-table, desperate to try and shatter the illusion and breaking apart inside at the idea that what she was looking at could be real.

The clock broke instead, Roman was presumably some flavor of distressed, and Neo began to bawl.
1654553014756.png

"Ah!"

That shook away any remaining traces of sleepiness in Roman's body. He was wide awake now and could tell that something was obviously wrong with his best buddy in the world.

He just didn't know what.


"Neo, if you just wanted to tell me the time. You could have just shown me your scroll, knuckle...."

Oh, there it was. The crying.

"...head."
It was silent and unmoving at first, the tears suddenly spilling out of her otherwise still form like she was a garden fountain that was just turned on. But then the first hiccup of a sob came, a thin and raspy as any sound she ever made but most certainly there, for all to see and hear. Just like he was. Roman was alive. Time really had been turned back. It didn't matter that it was essentially impossible to do past the covers, that it came at an awkward angle that was going to result in spearing him more than hugging him. There wasn't any sort of conscious thought to the movement as Neo bolted out of her bed, still tangled in her own covers with none of the grace and poise she'd moved with even in her darkest moments, and tackled Roman with every bit of strength her arms could manage, the ragged sobs that followed loud even to her own ears.

1654553163522.png

To wake up from an absolutely horrible dream to the sight of his beloved partner sobbing her eyes out.

It was a hard pill to swallow. Using one hand to delicately place his hat atop Neo's head, he returned the gesture. Wrapping both arms around the smaller woman and holding her close. Forehead to forehead as he tried to use his thumb to wipe away some of her tears.


"Ah geez, Neo. I don't know what's got you all upset. But it's breakin my heart."

His hug grew tighter and he sniffled himself.

"Between the dream I had, seeing you like this, I might start sobbin myself!"

Still, he had to at least try and appear to be strong. The two of them wouldn't get anywhere if they were BOTH sobbing!

1654553568495.png


"....But I'm awake now, and I'm here for you. I always will be. Okay? I love ya, you little scamp."
 

TheNewBlood1988

"What's your favorite scary movie...?"


Tyrian had been.....lost.

To put it in as understandable terms as possible anyway.

He'd been pulling on too many threads with too little time or miniscule bearing to them.

In truth, all the running he'd done and it'd felt as though he'd run in a circle deep enough to burrow through the whole of Vale.

If anything, the idea that all his running around and everything else that had transpired was some kind of dream? It made him feel a bit better about all the pointless wandering and his friends ever being introduced to Trifa. Some things he'd preferred stay hidden if he ever got a second chance.

Which left the faunus currently lacking a t-shirt of any kind, as was the traditional norm with him, laying on a pillow with his arms and legs tucked in close. Like a dog or cat laying on it's side. His tail curved up behind him, the stinger swaying almost hypnotically from side to side.


"Zzz....."


Watts stumbled back into WTCH's dorm, holding a hand against the nose that was crooked and bleeding from a clock that had been thrown at his face so, so much harder than it had at Roman before he locked eyes with Cinder with a fervent sort of urgency.

"The finals. Penny."

Hearing the door back to their door open again, Tyrian cracked an eye open and glanced over.

1654554659086.png

"Hehehe....."
 

Gus Gungus

One Thousand Club
It was silent and unmoving at first, the tears suddenly spilling out of her otherwise still form like she was a garden fountain that was just turned on. But then the first hiccup of a sob came, a thin and raspy as any sound she ever made but most certainly there, for all to see and hear. Just like he was. Roman was alive. Time really had been turned back. It didn't matter that it was essentially impossible to do past the covers, that it came at an awkward angle that was going to result in spearing him more than hugging him. There wasn't any sort of conscious thought to the movement as Neo bolted out of her bed, still tangled in her own covers with none of the grace and poise she'd moved with even in her darkest moments, and tackled Roman with every bit of strength her arms could manage, the ragged sobs that followed loud even to her own ears.​
1654552531580.png


"Guys?? C'mooooooon. C'moooooooon! Don't leave me hangin! If you wanted a snuggle buddy, all you had to do was ask! There's enough room on the bed for all three of us! It'll be like a mini slumber party! But in the same bed! Neo! You want in on this spectacular idea or-"

He noted the stare of his best friend.

It was one of disbelief. Like the kinda face she'd put up to tease Roman for so heartlessly betraying her by eating the last candy in a bag that he'd pinched from the vending machine. To which Roman usually replied by using Melodic Cudgel to just straight up smash the vending machine's glass and bolt with as many snacks as he could carry for the two of them.

Well.

Maybe a bit more serious than that.

"Neo...? Pal, what's wrong?"


An unnerving amount of time passed where Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai, who practically ran these halls, who bore tongues as sharp as razors and had reduced no less than three separate DAs to tears on three separate occasions (each), truly and honestly had no idea what to say. They didn't even know what emotion they were supposed to be showing right now, or feeling. Emerald, at least, was letting the tiniest sliver of hope slip past her eternal skeptic's barrier, carefully constructed from brick provided by a lifetime of crushed hopes and pulverized expectations. Mercury...

He just held that same blank stare. Like he didn't even really know how to react.

How was he supposed to? Not that the idea of Roman being there again, a living, breathing presence with hopes and dreams and a future, didn't sit well with him, because it did. Obviously it did. But how was he supposed to feel having spent all those months carrying around all that rage? All that guilt on his conscience for a death he let happen, no matter what anyone did or said to try spare his feelings, letting it gnaw his insides down to the bone, letting it destroy the idea he thought he'd been getting of who he was? Not a day went by when he hadn't thought about getting payback, sure. But that vengeance never really would've been his, and he'd spent too long watching it eat another friend he let down alive to believe there was any real closure to be gained from it in the long term. All the rage, hate and anguish he felt over what happened, there was never any real direction for it to go but inward, like it always had. It had eroded any sense of self he built here at Beacon, any real belief that he could ever be anything other than what his dad wanted him to be. Not someone who enriched anyone's lives. Someone who snuffed them out.

And now, what, he was supposed to swallow the pill that all of that had just been a load of self-inflicted bullshit?

It was all he could think about. He couldn't even see past it enough to feel the happiness he was obviously supposed to be feeling, let alone feel any kind of way about the whole 'chosen by god' situation. To feel anything.

What the fuck was wrong with him?

Emerald had managed to slide off the bunk by this point, extricating herself from the mass of tangled blankets she had arranged into a ramshackle canopy for privacy to cautiously approach the other pair of beds, having clearly still not quite known whether to buy what she was seeing or not right about up until Roman started talking.

169.jpg

"Bad jokes, tone deaf, vague horny energy. Yeah, that's you."

Even she would've admitted it was something of a regression for her, but she never was the most sure-footed in these situations, and beyond even the cynical instinct that this was all about to get pulled out from under them like a crappy magician's act there was the overwhelming sense that she wasn't even really sure if she... belonged in this moment. As relieved and happy as she was, it very much felt like a Neo and Roman thing. Her mind was already trying to formulate some excuse to step out even as she hovered by the foot of the bed, arms crossing and uncrossing, posture shifting in a way that was hilariously awkward for someone like her.

"I'm... It's really nice to see you up and..." Oh, screw this. "Roman, you fucking died—"

SLAM

Mercury gave her the excuse she'd been drawing a total blank on when he threw off his bed's blankets, stomped out into the hallway and slammed the door behind him with so much force it was almost aggressive, such an unexpected act during such an unprecedented reunion it actually had the thief jump about a foot into the air. She stared at the door in unabated shock, then thumbed over her shoulder as she awkwardly started sidling towards it.

"Um... Better go see what's up his ass. I feel like you two need a minute anyways. Or, like, a thousand. Roman, it, umm, it, yea. Don't die."

There was a much, much softer click when she shut the door behind her.
Watts stumbled back into WTCH's dorm, holding a hand against the nose that was crooked and bleeding from a clock that had been thrown at his face so, so much harder than it had at Roman before he locked eyes with Cinder with a fervent sort of urgency.

"The finals. Penny."


11.jpg

"We dropped acid, right?"

Mercury stormed into the room with so much vigorous energy matched with such a deeply frustrated scowl that it was almost aggressive, looking like he'd been made the subject of some particularly vicious prank. He failed to give much of a fuck about Watts's nose as he gripped his shoulder in an iron vice to whirl the other team leader back around to face him.

"We were all so stoked about breezing the semis we went out and got ourselves some good ol' fashioned LSD, you did whatever weird poindexter Heisenberg bullshit you do on a regular basis to turn it into mega-LSD, and everything running through our thoughts right now is all just the comedown from some big wacky collective nightmare trip none of us ever have to think about again. Say that's it."

His intonation and posture almost carried the edge of a threat, and he didn't get the chance to expound on what might happen if Arthur did otherwise when—
1654554659086.png


"Hehehe....."


"Okay, point to my theory. Also? Creepy as shit."
 
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TheNewBlood1988

"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
"I'm... It's really nice to see you up and..."
"Well, it's nice to see you guys too."

Just, uh, well felt a bit weird that this all came about after a messed-up dream. One that ended with him getting a hole punched through his stomach and straight out the back.

....Wait a minute, he'd read an article on his scroll at some point about shared dreams. That those close to you could potentially become SO close that they start to feel what you feel, see what you see, think what you think.

Well, naturally, the website he'd found said information was totally reputable and all of the information had been fact-check by a peer reviewed group study-

Oh who was he kidding?? He'd found it on some conspiracy blog while scrolling through his feed.

"Roman, you fucking died—"
"Died????"

He turned back to Neo.

"....Oooooooffffff excitement from spending so much time with my favorite people in the world right?"
There was a much, much softer click when she shut the door behind her.
Roman watched them go without a fuss.

Then, once more, he looked to Neo.


"....Right?"
 

MyrtenRose

Knight of Rebellion
It was silent and unmoving at first, the tears suddenly spilling out of her otherwise still form like she was a garden fountain that was just turned on. But then the first hiccup of a sob came, a thin and raspy as any sound she ever made but most certainly there, for all to see and hear. Just like he was. Roman was alive. Time really had been turned back. It didn't matter that it was essentially impossible to do past the covers, that it came at an awkward angle that was going to result in spearing him more than hugging him. There wasn't any sort of conscious thought to the movement as Neo bolted out of her bed, still tangled in her own covers with none of the grace and poise she'd moved with even in her darkest moments, and tackled Roman with every bit of strength her arms could manage, the ragged sobs that followed loud even to her own ears.
The sound of Neo in the other room, her particular, horrific to the ears and heart flavor of crying, and the sight they'd all been accosted with left his stomach pitted with a dread he couldn't just bury, and he suddenly bolted to his feet and barged through MTEN's door with an aura boosted shoulder crash-

Oh.

Any initial response from Watts never got the chance to exit his mouth, what with the sound of that awful crying reaching them before anything could be said. Arthur ran to barge into the other room, and ordinarily she would have been right there with him, if not ahead of him even, but...she still could not bring herself to get out of bed yet. She just hugged her legs even tighter and closer, glancing at the other only still occupied bed in their dorm room. Tyrian seemed to be asleep still, so she said nothing towards him and lowered her gaze back to her own bed.​

Watts stumbled back into WTCH's dorm, holding a hand against the nose that was crooked and bleeding from a clock that had been thrown at his face so, so much harder than it had at Roman before he locked eyes with Cinder with a fervent sort of urgency.

"The finals. Penny."

She raised her head again when Watts came back. An eyebrow raised at his bleeding nose, but she felt if she asked he would only snap at her in that way Arthur so excelled at, so she didn't question it. Instead, when he addressed her, she nodded slightly and began to respond. "I know--"

Hearing the door back to their door open again, Tyrian cracked an eye open and glanced over.

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"Hehehe....."

"..." What the hell was that about? She felt like she kinda didn't want to know.​

"We dropped acid, right?"

Mercury stormed into the room with so much vigorous energy matched with such a deeply frustrated scowl that it was almost aggressive, looking like he'd been made the subject of some particularly vicious prank. He failed to give much of a fuck about Watts's nose as he gripped his shoulder in an iron vice to whirl the other team leader back around to face him.

"We were all so stoked about breezing the semis we went out and got ourselves some good ol' fashioned LSD, you did whatever weird poindexter Heisenberg bullshit you do on a regular basis to turn it into mega-LSD, and everything running through our thoughts right now is all just the comedown from some big wacky collective nightmare trip none of us ever have to think about again. Say that's it."

That...would also be a comforting scenario. It was just some trippy dream. She didn't think it was, but that would have been easier. Cinder didn't say that though, still remaining as stationary as a statue and now just as silent as one too, just staring over at the two team leaders in contemplative quiet.​
 

MyrtenRose

Knight of Rebellion
Far below, no such bedside manners were invoked for the other pair of siblings from another Remnant.

"WAKE UP, YA LAZY BROAD!!!!!!!!!!"

Thus did Raven Branwen, maiden of spring, feared and lauded chieftain of the Tribe, have half the contents of a hip flask full of water dumped in her face after a few cursory nudges from Qrow's boot failed to do the trick. The veteran huntsman growled, immediately turning away to let her collect herself as he stalked to the other side of an environment every bit as familiar to them as the colosseum was to Yang and Ruby. More, even.

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The hours the two of them had spent in this place couldn't have been accurately gauged by a clock triple the size of the one he now stood beside, letting his fist thump against the glass as he stared out at the fleet of Atlesian warships littering the sky.

"We're bein' screwed with. Have been from the second we first got here. And I'm finally starting to get a sense of who by." He growled again, a low, guttural sound, keeping his gaze locked firmly on the horizon. "It's God. Great, right? Actual God is fucking with us."

His sigh was heavy as he chewed the inside of his cheek, jaw locked in a rigid scowl of defeat.

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"Go figure."

"...You asshole." Those were the first words out of her mouth after she got shocked awake by the cold water splashed across her face. There was no hint of teasing or mockery in those two words, but there was no real venom in them either. Truth be told, getting out of that mess she saw while sleeping was a plus, so she just left it at that. Raven sat up, ran a hand across her face and then through her hair--she suddenly hesitated before running both hands through...yep. She had all her hair again, it was no longer cut short. That probably also meant...eh that wasn't so important. She stood up now, and she hardly needed to look around to recognize where she was. How much time had been spent here...her, Qrow, Ozpin, Summer, Tai, the rest...

Raven sighed. If nothing else, Qrow's words implied he had seen the same stuff she had. "Somebody's always screwing with somebody else. You know that as well as I do." She commented with a shrug before starting to stretch her arms while mid-stride towards him. "Question is, what do you intend to do about it, brother?" She stopped by the window too, staring out towards those same ships, the kind James was so so ridiculously proud of. "Personally, I would have wagered you'd take a drink of something strong before anything else, but that was before."
 

Schnee Corp Lawyer

STILL not over Birthright's ending

The door closed for the umpteenth time.

"Neo, explain!"

Roman said calmly.
Yea that is the exact opposite of what she did, her normally at least somewhat empathetic connection to the rest of her team and whatever distress any of them were feeling totally and utterly lost in a flood of tears
 

TheNewBlood1988

"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
Yea that is the exact opposite of what she did, her normally at least somewhat empathetic connection to the rest of her team and whatever distress any of them were feeling totally and utterly lost in a flood of tears
"Neo, I...."

Well, while he certainly would have liked to have thought and maybe talked more about the whole 'having actually died' bit.

It was more than obvious, blatantly so, that his dear friend needed him here.

Now more than ever.


"...I'm not going anywhere."


He held her close and let her cry.
 

TheNewBlood1988

"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
Mercury stormed into the room with so much vigorous energy matched with such a deeply frustrated scowl that it was almost aggressive, looking like he'd been made the subject of some particularly vicious prank. He failed to give much of a fuck about Watts's nose as he gripped his shoulder in an iron vice to whirl the other team leader back around to face him.

"We were all so stoked about breezing the semis we went out and got ourselves some good ol' fashioned LSD, you did whatever weird poindexter Heisenberg bullshit you do on a regular basis to turn it into mega-LSD, and everything running through our thoughts right now is all just the comedown from some big wacky collective nightmare trip none of us ever have to think about again. Say that's it."

His intonation and posture almost carried the edge of a threat, and he didn't get the chance to expound on what might happen if Arthur did otherwise when—

"Hup!"

Tyrian hopped to his feet, his tail swinging out behind him before settling into a relaxed position around his waist. The stinger nestling itself in so he was left with a rather grotesque looking 'belt.' "I didn't want to spend too much time thinking on it since it was either one freaky dream that we all happened to share which..." Tyrian shook his head. "Doesn't make any kinda sense unless it was the work of someone's semblance but that's about as improbable as it gets too." Besides, who did they possibly have beef with that would conjure up something so....so crazy!

"...Besides, if it's drug related at least it'd make things a bit easier to swallow. That whole thing, it just left me feeling...I don't know kinda restless." As though he'd been just walking without a purpose. Or much of one anyway. He had to get off the comfy bed and stretch his legs a bit after that.
 

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