AN: This isn't exactly how I wanted to debut my work. But I just had to get this out there and share my piece. This is the first time I'm contributing to something this earth shattering. I don't even expect this to even get too much attention. I just wanted to honor my now late Idol Monty. This story will contain OCs of my creation.

I own George, Rachel, Nikki, and Dente

I don't own RWBY.

Please enjoy.

*BOOM!*

The battlefield held a certain chaotic beauty.

The slashing of Dust-powered blades carving through Grimm was accompanied with the sound of heavy artillery shots that were common for most Hunter weapons. Despite being in this violent skirmish, I couldn't help but feel joy.

I, George Saint, leader of the newly minted Team DRGN (Dragon) was finally testing our mettle in our first 'Search and Destroy' Mission with Teams RWBY and JNPR supervising. I heard all the stories. To think, these upperclassmen with only a year of experience has accomplished so much in a short amount of time.

RWBY was of course the forefront of such tales but JNPR was, in my opinion, the most dynamically sound of the teams. JNPR was lead by Jaune Arc, self-proclaimed ladies man. While not the most physically robust of the team he had an uncanny intuition during combat. It was as if the will of God was channeling through the guy.

Nora is their heavy hitter, almost akin to me in that respect, but that's where similarities end. She' s loud, impulsive, has a fantasy of breaking legs, and is in a seemingly permanent state of sugar rush. She always rushes into battle with a smile; it's oddly fitting for her I suppose.

Next is Pyrrha, "The Invincible girl". Her nickname is appropriate considering she had all the top marks in her academics and combat. I developed a friendly rivalry with her when she was on the cusp of her fame. Heck, I could have been the one in the limelight if I cared for it. And to be honest, I cant see how she can stand to see her face on all those cereal boxes. Despite being Remnant's little darling, she is a gentle soul always putting the needs of others before her own.

Lastly is Lie Ren. To be honest, I don't know too much personal information about him to consider him a friend. However, he had one trait that I always had respect for. His calm under pressure and aura of assurance in any situation was inspirational. Ren had this way to inspire those around him with just his words, despite him speaking so little. He was an awkward frie—.

"LOOK OUT!"

That snapped me out of my musings. I was toppled over by the subject of my current musings. It was quite the accomplishment considering in my armor I weigh about a ton. And a good thing too, or else that Ursa Major would have taken off my head!

Heavy gunfire, arrow volleys, and fireballs eliminate the Grimm with extreme prejudice.

"Keep aware of your surroundings George," Ren scolded lightly, while the rest of my team came rushing up to us.

"Sorry sir…" I responded sheepishly.

"Yo Boss, You ok man?" That was Al Dente, my team's resident brawler. The guy is informal in everything he does, even mission reports! He said he considers me his "bro" and every variation of close companion terms. Well at least I think… He doesn't always make sense to me with all the slang he uses. Dente is reliable nevertheless.

"ERR! George! Have you been daydreaming again?! Only you have the ordinance to deal with those A-class Grimm, but we can't kill them if your off in "LaLa Land"! BAKA!" Nikki Susanoo, our Archer. Nikki comes from a privileged family from the Shinto Kingdom. Her family produces Dust based weapons and armors. The Susanoos rival the Schnees in power and wealth. With that power, unfortunately, Nikki is also contender of Weiss' title of, Pardon my Mistral, "Ice Bitch". Despite her stiff attitude, she is a great comrade and close friend.

"Hey! Lay off of him. George is dependable and is our leader. Show him respect!" Rachel Drake, thank goodness she is on my team. She is such a kind spirit. Always kind and respectful to us and others but is quite the firecracker when she needs to be. She is our Mage class Dust wielder, favoring Burn as her name suggests. I have a small crush on her. If you impart that tidbit of information, I will show you why Dragon Faunus are so dangerous!

"Nikki is right. George your cannon is the only deterrent to the larger Grimm. We're nearly at the heart of the infestation. We just need one last push."

Ren had a point. Out of all the teams' weapons, my Lance Shield/ Cannon, Chanaan Fidem, had enough kick to put down Goliaths if need be. And since the recoil could kill anyone who can't withstand it, I'm the only one who can properly and physically wield it.

"It won't happen again. Sorry sir."

I can only feel embarrassment from being belittled from my squad in front of one of my idols. Hmm, the term "belittle" always seemed odd for me to use since I was taller than most people.

"Don't worry, just call the play George. My team and team RWBY will act accordingly." Yeah, the fate of our teams' lives on my shoulders. No pressure.

"Right. Nikki, advance 20 paces, then find a perch. Rachel, provide midrange support for Weiss, Blake, Jaune and Pyrrha. Dente, you're going to be in the thick of it with Yang. Smash the shit out of them. I'll keep hitting them from the rear to give you guys breathing room to advance further. After each cannon hit advance on your own discretion. Keep Faith my friends, we're almost at the finish line!"

Despite our rookie status, we did excel in Team cohesion, tactics and, to put it as Dente calls it, "Overall Badassery".

"Right, I'll get to it," With that, Rachel sprinted off to provide aid to the people I mentioned.

"Heh! This'll be cake! Hey Nikki, I bet I can kill more of those bastards than you!"

"Please Dente, no need for your posturing. And for the record, I'll be well into the double digits before you get your first kill, TEME!" Nikki ran off to get into position.

"Oh man, does she want me. See ya later Boss!" With a hand cannon blast, Dente flew off to Yang's position.

"You have quite the collection of friends," Ren commented as we both went off to the battle.

"Yup, I wouldn't trade them for anything on Remnant."

We both chuckled until Ren stopped, having a sudden and violent coughing fit. That caught my attention.

"Ren, are you okay?" I asked with worry. It took a few more minutes before he could regain his breath to speak.

"It's nothing. Just a slight cold. Just keep the pressure on the nest and we'll be finished before evening comes."

He ran off as soon as he was done talking. I stood there for a second before steeling my resolve and got to my position.

With each roar of my cannon, packs of Grimm turned into mush. We managed to complete advance 60 yards to our destination. We were practically at the doorstep of the Grimm nest when something terrible happened. While observing the battle for my next target, I checked on everyone's progress. When my eyes landed on Ren he seemed to go into another coughing fit and collapsed to the ground. The Grimm seem to also take notice of Ren's moment of vulnerability and started to swarm him.

I then had to make a choice, push on and eliminate the Grimm or save Ren and potentially fail in my first mission as leader.

It wasn't even a decision.

I transformed Chanaan Fidem to its melee form, a giant lance and shield, and charged to Ren's position. I was a flurry of shield smashes and powerful thrusts. When I got to him, he looked even paler than usual. I gathered him up and tried to get back into position to provide my artillery support but I was cut off by the numerous Grimm that out flanked my formation.

The Grimm, no longer being turned to paste by my cannon, took advantage of the lapse of fire. They swarmed the others' positions, forcing them back.

"What happened?" Ruby exclaimed cutting down another of the seemingly endless amount of Beowolves that now congregated towards her.

"We lost our momentum!" Pyrrha shouted, warding off a group Ursai with Jaune.

Everyone was tired from the fight, and the sudden influx of the Grimm getting their second wind didn't help matters. So, to save them, I gave an order I'd never thought I would use in the start of my career as a Hunter.

"FALL BACK! I'M ABORTING THE MISSION! FALL BACK!" I roared over the battle to the teams. Each of them were in shock. Teams RWBY and JNPR Never failed in their missions no matter how daunting. However, I was made mission commander so I had final say. One by one, they pulled back to my position.

I ordered a fighting retreat until we find an empty landing zone for the drop ship to pick us up.

While no one else noticed, Nora Valkyrie saw Ren propped on my back.

"GEORGE! What happened to Ren?!" She was naturally worried for her best friend.

"I don't know. I just saw him collapse. Make your way to the field we saw a few clicks back immediately." I told her, trying to regain a semblance of the calm and command I had prior to mission abort.

"WHAT? HOW DID HE—" She was cut off by a surprise attack of a Beowulf, which I luckily killed with a thrust of my lance.

"NORA! GET OUT OF HERE NOW!" The anxiety and the closing danger from all sides was getting me, causing me to panic.

She was still in state of shock, her face conveying a mixture of shock, worry, surprise and other things I couldn't identify at the moment due to the chaos of the situation. She casted a worried glance to Ren's inert form before complying to my order. I quickly followed, all the while going over how the mission got so FUBAR.

I looked down to Ren again with worry.

'Ren, what happened to you?'

In the lobby of the Hospital of Vale, Teams RWBY, the remaining members of JNPR, and even my own team were in our own groups waiting to hear the news.

What we learned from the doctors was that Ren fainted due to a health condition that he managed conceal during his time at Beacon. All of us were shocked. I was shocked. I thought he fainted due to an injury during the mission, not afflicted by a disease.

Everyone was digesting this information. JNPR especially, since Ren never revealed his condition to his Team. After that shocking news, all we could do was wait until we could hear about Ren.

As soon as the doctor came out of the operation room, Teams RWBY and JNPR intercepted him before he got even close to the group of friends. My team was staying back a distance due to not being as closely knitted as RWBY and JNPR. I couldn't hear what they were saying but I got the idea of what happened.

Nora was the first one to go up to the doctor, most likely asking about Ren's condition. Her face was filled with streams of tears and a hopeful expression. That expression immediately fell when the doctor responded. She was wailing in anguish now. Nora fell to her knees, bringing down Pyrrha who was trying to comfort her, crying just as hard. Ruby, Wiess, Blake, Yang, Jaune, and Pyrrha were all in various states of sadness and devastation.

Just looking at them caused my own Team to breakdown into tears. These people, RWBY and JNPR, were larger than life. They were unbeatable, invincible! Hell, one of them has "Invincible" in their moniker! But seeing them now, reminds me how mortal we all are.

Ren didn't deserve a death like that. He should have had a memorable death that meant something. Not something as mundane as an illness. Just thinking of it sends me into a rage of indignation. How can someone as skilled and talented as Ren just succumb to something so…. Uneventful….

I wanted to join them in their sorrow. Offer condolences, a shoulder to cry on, SOMETHING! I just couldn't do it. Anything that I could come up with would just be empty words, and mean nothing to those who truly love and understand him.

"What happens now George?"

Dente's voice pulls me away from the scene. My Team showed their own signs of grief. Rachel's soul ached for them, manifesting her sadness in rivers of tears. Nikki seemed to look pissed, swearing up a storm under her breath before looking at me. Dente's joyous and easygoing demeanor was subdued and replace by a rare show of seriousness.

All of them were looking to me. Wanting, needing guidance and assurance that everything will work out. That everything will be okay.

In that moment, I was filled with doubt. How can I assure them that it would be okay if the teams I looked up to looked as lost as I felt. I then remembered what Ren was to me.

Ren was the embodiment of dedication and steely resolve. He was the rock of his Team, the foundation. He provided stability to JNPR with just his presence alone. So, I guess that is what I need to do. Stabilize. With one last look towards the other grieving Teams, I steeled myself and calmly said.

"We keep moving forward."

With that, I walked out of the hospital with my team following in my wake.

I won't remember how you died Ren. Instead, I'll remember how you lived…..

In memory of Monty Oum

The most amazing person I had the pleasure to even know in passing