First off, I would like to thank all those who left a review in the AN post, I appreciate all your guy's support and am truly thankful that you're all still around despite my long ass hiatus. You guys help make this fic what is with your feedback and reactions, and I couldn't be happier that you all still want to read it after going so long without anything new.

Also, I just wanted to say sorry again for how long it took this episode to come out, but thankfully I managed to finish this episode after the six month haitus!

The fact that this isn't the first time that has happened for this fic is both disconcerting, saddening, and showing how much I refuse to let this fic fade into obscurity.

Anyway, you all know already from the AN I posted why this took so long so I won't bore you all with the details. Instead I'm just going to get this episode started and not take too much more of your time!

Not much else to say, and I bet you all are hungry for some more Chris shenanigans after the .5 chap. So without further ado lets get things started, its show time!

}Episode 27: Sweet Release and Bitter Relations{

"I'm a bit confused here Mr. Sullivan," Ironwood said with his brow narrowed inquisitively, "You're...declining extra protection from one of my best operatives?"

I had to hold back a strong urge to be my sarcastically charming self when answering Ironwood's question, mostly because I had a feeling I had pissed him off.

"Yep," I responded trying to be as deadpan and blank faced as possible.

Ironwood only gave me a blank look of his own at my rather lackluster response, as if he couldn't contemplate my answer. He more or less looked through me for a good few moments there.

Okay, starting to worry that I broke the general of Atlas here. Ya gonna say anything anytime soon? I thought in slight paranoia fueled worry as the silence got awkward. Thankfully he eventually broke whatever mental gymnastics he was performing and gave me a stern look, and from a military leader, that's nothing to sneeze at.

"Alright, you're going to have to run me through that one. Why exactly do you not want more protection despite the fact that you are on both a terrorist organization's and possibly the Queen's radar?" he asked in what might have been taken as a calm and collected tone. I on the other hand was not fooled thanks to having had years of hearing it from my aunt every time I ended up in the hospital. I'd ruffled his feathers and he was trying not to let it show.

Oh boy, come on stay strong here, I mentally coached myself as I suppressed gulping. Getting on the bad side of the commander of an entire nation's army was not what I'd had planned. And while I wanted to run for the hills, even though I couldn't because of the whole recovering from death thing, I knew I had to remain mentally prepared if I wanted to tiptoe around this delicately.

And I'm sure you're all wondering just like him why I would defy all logic by declining having Winter as my bodyguard right? Well it was a perfectly legitimate reason and wasn't just my usual anxiety and paranoia so you can stop with the judging looks already!

Like I said before I knew I was stuck getting involved with the characters, and by extension the plot, thanks to Ozpin's manipulating ass and there wasn't a damn thing I could do to stop it, but Ironwood was a third party technically. If I was gonna be stuck at Beacon as a prisoner in all but name, then the least I could do was choose my jailers. I was gonna have my hands full as it was with most of RWBY and JNPR declaring their intentions to protect me, not to mention constantly being in the sights of Qrow and Cinder. So the last thing I wanted was the Atlas military getting in on the action and potentially dragging me into more bullshit.

It didn't matter specifically that it was Winter offered up as I would have declined anyone else as well, but it certainly didn't help that it was her either. Remember, until that point I'd been kind of a dick to her little sister throughout most of our interactions and was the sole reason Weiss had been put in danger in the first place.

Let's just say I have experience on both ends of the spectrum when you piss off an older sibling for messing with their younger one, and it is never pretty. And while the nastiest I ever got was dipping the shoes and purse of some Mean Girl type bitch into liquid nitrogen and releasing a live raccoon into her corvette for messing with my sister, I was fairly certain Winter Schnee would step it up a notch or two. And I did not fancy getting my ass kicked after getting released from the hospital thank you very much.

But, of course, I wasn't going to be able tell Ironwood that for obvious reasons, so I had to rely on one of my age-old skills that had gotten me out of plenty of situations just as many times as it had gotten me into them.

"Well you see General, the answer is rather simple when you think about it. I don't think it would look good from a political standpoint to have a respected member of the Atlas military following me around."

And that was to lie, and lie like my life depended on it, because it really did. I told him that B.S. line with such a straight face while maintaining eye contact and not even stuttering once, which is precisely why he seemed taken aback by my response.

"With all the baggage I've got, having someone distinguished attached at my hip would reflect negatively on them if others found out. I mean, you don't send in Superman to only protect the local crackhead yelling about aliens right?"

Again, Ironwood just stared through me as if I was an enigma, quirking a brow in confusion.

"…Are you seriously worried about something so trivial as that?" he questioned.

"I wouldn't call it trivial. Getting involved with me is career suicide, I'm telling you," I fibbed, though considering my track record is was more a half-truth than anything.

"Are you under the impression that this is going to be announced to the masses?" he asked incredulously.


"Because I can assure you that's the last thing we're going to do. It wouldn't make sense…on any front," he said as if explaining calculus to a four-year-old. "You're still considered dead after all."

I bit my lip as he started to poke holes in my hastily thrown together excuse.

"Well, I mean, I meant more along the lines for those in the know, you know?" I doubled back.

"Everyone who's 'in the know,' is already in the know about you," he countered as I began to slowly lose my composure. "Specialist Schnee's reputation is not going to lower by guarding you, and having someone as skilled as her would only secure your safety on and off campus if, Brothers forbid, any enemies manage to infiltrate the school."

Right, as if Salem hasn't already gotten her flame bitch inside already, I thought sourly, straining to keep it from my face. And like Ozpin will ever let me out of the campus without Qrow hovering over me like a stalker.

"Um, okay, maybe her reputation won't take that much of a dive, but that right there is the problem General, you want a Schnee to protect me," I floundered and to my surprise his face went from baffled bewilderment to a scowl of hostility.

"And just what kind of problem do you have with Specialist Schnee?" he nearly growled in a strained tone.

I was honestly a bit taken back by how quick Ironwood had gone from a calm and in charge general to an angry teacher whose prized pupil just got spat on by some random stranger. Which was what pretty much happened considering Winter was brought into the Ozpin mold by Ironwood, and anyone who was brought in by someone other than Ozpin had to be powerful and trustful in the grand scheme of things.

Heck before I'd gotten sucked into Remnant, there was a fan theory that she'd been considered a Fall Maiden candidate on Ironwood's insistence before Ozpin ensnared Pyrrha into the role. So yeah, whether that was true or not, she was a pretty big deal and insulting her would be like insulting Pyrrha to her fanbase, both in Remnant and back on Earth.

I'd also subscribed to the theory that every Hunter School had a maiden under their control and that if any of them croaked, then she would become one. And considering Rooster Teeth's track record I wouldn't have put it past them. So once more, I had to find the delicate balance to tiptoe between no man's land and not insult Winter personally. Seriously people, I don't think the animators over at Rooster Teeth did the good ol General right when it comes to just how intimidating the man could be.

"You're kidding right? Have you completely forgotten that the White Fang themselves want to tie a noose with my entrails and hang me with them?" I asked in a tone as if it were obvious, which only served to deepen his scowl and I mentally slapped myself in the brain.

I had been doing a pretty decent job playing nice with him till that point, but I guess it's impossible to avoid my smart-ass tendencies forever. I think it was just a combination of being sick of Ozpin's plans in general and being surprised by his sudden defense of Winter that I forgot to keep things docile.

It wouldn't be the last time I'd get snippy with one of Ozpin's conspirators, because dealing with stuck up types always got to me in the end. I still say it's Ozpin's fault for putting me in those situations to begin with. Speaking of which, it looked as though Ironwood was one sentence away from telling the Beacon Headmaster how much of a tragic accident I had falling out of the Hospital window, so I backtracked the snarkiness.

"U-uh what I meant w-was that putting two high profile targets together isn't very tactically sound. There's nothing wrong with Ms. Schnee personally, I've never met the woman before after all," I said pathetically trying to placate him. Thankfully it looked like that appeased him slightly as his glare lessened in intensity, however before I could let out a sigh of relief he continued to poke holes in my reasoning like the jerk he was.

"I can understand the reluctance having a member of the Schnee family in close proximity given their…uneasy relationship with the White Fang."

I think the term you're looking for is 'mortal enemies' Jimmy, I thought sarcastically.

"But you must understand that Winter Schnee is one of the best soldiers in our army," Ironwood began to say with a bit of pride slipping past his restrained tone, "even if having her as your guard does somehow draw some extra White Fang attention, I am confident that her skills will be more than a match for some low-level fodder."

Which wasn't a lie since the few scenes I'd seen of her before drifting dimensions, she could kick some serious ass, but that just meant she was regarded as a badass both in and out of universe. I might have failed with the damaged reputation approach, so I tried another angle with her infamy.

"Which is precisely why having this Winter lady guard me is a terrible idea," I argued, despite his intimidating presence.

"Care to elaborate?" he asked simply.

For someone as paranoid as I am, you'd think you would connect the dots, I thought in frustration, but struggled to keep a causal tone.

"It's simple, if Win-er Specialist Schnee is as tough as you claim she is, then the Fang would know that as well and send some more of their skilled members after her, and by extension me if they saw her in public," I explained. "All it would take is someone recognizing her and then I get dragged into some conflict that came about because of her status, not mine."

And the last thing I need is limb hating Adam or a crazed chainsaw wielding Lieutenant hunting my ass down due to proximity, I mentally sneered as Ironwood looked at me as though I still hadn't made my point.

"Are you doubting that my specialist could handle individuals with their Aura's unlocked?" he insinuated.

"No not at all, but you're talking like one or two, I'm talking about a whole squad or even a platoon of terrorists showing up and attacking us," I countered, and he rolled his eyes.

"Now you're just grasping at straws for the sake of being contrarian," he said brushing off my concerns. "What tactical advantage would come about from The White Fang sending an entire unit for one soldier and someone of…well, your stature?"

My eye twitched at his condescending tone and I had to bite the inside of my cheek to even sound civil.

"Yeah well, considering the sorry state they're in, I think they'd be desperate enough to gain any win at this point," I shot back and his eyes widened slightly in surprise. I immediately bit my tongue at that since that was information I technically wasn't supposed to have.

Remember how I was denied any access to any source of news once I finally started to remain conscious for more than a few hours? Well that little denial of information had kept going on long after I was cleared as 'mentally stable' by Dr. Grey. Apparently given my 'special' situation of, ya know, dying they didn't want to take any chances of me relapsing during my stay. So typical hospital mentality, I could go out and have a mental shutdown when I was finally released, but god forbid I do so within their walls and make them liable.

But anyway, you should all know me well enough to know that I hate not having as much information as possible, especially when it's about events that affect me. You can't make effective plans without info after all, but all I'd been getting was soap operas, movies and books to pass the time. The hospital and even my visitors were under tight scrutiny when it came to what they told me outside of our personal lives, and they were damn effective.

But they never factored Sun into those plans.

The monkey boy regularly started sneaking out of the hospital after a while, mostly to get us some better snacks than what the hospital provided, and on my behest, he started bringing me newspapers too. Say what you want about the monkey bro, but he is one damn fine smuggler.

And thanks to this little breach in their protocol, I was able to catch up on the outside world, and boy were the Fang up shit creek after the V1 Incident. While I avoided anything when exact numbers were mentioned for a death toll from that day, I came to find out that my boasts to Yang and Nora about knocking out half the Vale Fang with their rescue wasn't that far off.

I still didn't know why there were so much more members than what was depicted in the show, but the numbers for how many were arrested was staggering, and that's not even counting how many died, and I don't just mean the ones at the warehouse.

A few weeks into my coma, the police started finding small sects of White Fang members butchered in horrific, Silence of the Lambs type ways, and this kept happening on a weekly basis. There was a serial killer or killers out there killing their members and that only drove them further underground.

No one knew who was carrying out the deeds, whether it was an individual or a group of Anti-Faunus zealots, but my mind immediately went to Neo. A psychopath like her wouldn't even need a reason to butcher countless people, but since it was all Fang I suspected that perhaps Roman had ordered her to do it after that time when I got them to turn on him briefly.

Well, assuming that smaller umbrella wielding girl was Neo of course, but even if she wasn't, anyone willingly hanging out with Torchwick would have the same psychopathic tendencies I reasoned. But whatever the case was, somehow or another it came back to being attributed to me.

"Why?" you ask? Well because at the scene of each and every one of these ritualistic Jeffrey Dahmer-esque massacres, there would always be an image drawn in blood and other gooey bits of a Creeper from Minecraft.

I wish I was joking!

Since the official story was that I had died at the warehouse, the public started calling this serial killer, The Creeper's Curse, as if it was me hunting people down from beyond the grave. I don't even want to imagine how many idiots took that at face value, but it had to have been more than a few because some Fang groups just turned themselves in.

The stupid derogatory nickname the Fang had given me had now turned into something akin to the Boogeyman. No longer was The Creeper a simple erroneously labeled sexual predator, he was now something explosive and deadly and on the hunt. You know, just like the Minecraft monster.

So yeah, I hadn't been too thrilled when I'd learned about this, especially since it meant some whackjob was killing people based on my perceived actions at the docks.

I found out the truth eventually…and uh, I'll get to that when it's time. It's still…hard to think about what happened and why…

S-sorry about that I…Let's move on.

The point is the White Fang were scared and backed into a corner thanks to all these factors, and like any cornered wild animal, they would bite back with reckless abandon. And if a high profile Schnee and a supposedly dead Creeper were to appear together, then they would be on that faster than a magnet on a shitty manager's computer.

But yeah, I knew all of that in a time when I wasn't technically supposed to, and the fact that I knew this rubbed Ironwood the wrong way.

I bet he's not too thrilled his idiotic soldiers haven't been able to keep that info out, I reasoned as I saw his eyes harden again. I guess it also paints me in a bad life since they already suspect me of being a spy.

After a few moments of staring me down, he let out a light sigh and shook his head slightly.

"You're not wrong, the White Fang indeed are not doing so well. The Vale branch at least," he admitted begrudgingly.

"E-Exactly," I said deciding to push my luck. "And while I'm sure your specialist is highly skilled and can hold her own, having to babysit someone who can't even freaking fight would be detrimental to her if the worst were to happen."

And by worst I mean Adam! I thought apprehensively.

"I…suppose I can understand your concerns in that regard Mr. Sullivan," Ironwood mumbled out, his tone low and gravelly as he forced the words out of his mouth. "But even with these few cons, you still refuse the plentiful benefits she can bring?"

"Yes I do, and I'm sorry about that," I responded with false guilt and understanding. "But I honestly don't think it's necessary. And besides, Ozpin's already got more than enough people to make me feel secure."

And trapped, I thought bitterly. The military head seemed to process my words as he continued to study me, before he closed his eyes and sighed and stood up.

"Well I suppose if you're that adverse to this I truly can't force you to accept despite my concerns," he said in what I thought was a defeated tone.

Wait are you serious? I thought in genuine shock. That actually worked? Well I'll be damned, who'd have thought you would be the reasonable one in Ozpin's cir-

"At least that's what I would like to say, but it's far too late for that."

All thoughts of victory came to a screeching halt as my jaw dropped and I stared at the grim looking Ironwood dumbly. In fact, I was so cut off guard that the only response I was able to jumble out was,


Ironwood let out one of those annoyed chuckles people give when they hear a bad joke way too many times at my ever-eloquent response.

"To be perfectly honest with you Specialist Schnee's new orders were already given just a few days ago. I had no idea that you would decline my offer, and I truly mean that," the bastard explained, even having the balls to pretend that he was embarrassed and not just lying through his teeth.

"B-but can't you just rescind the order or something!?" I gaped, grasping for any loose threads, but he only shook his head and shrugged, completely ignoring the panic in my voice.

"At this point in transit it would be impossible for my orders to reach her, and even if that wasn't the case it would be a waste of resources to stop her halfway. Might as well let your reservations go since it's already come this far," he said plainly and my blood boiled.

This had never been about giving me a choice. Just like with Ozpin, this asshat had decided to come in and twist my balls and lord over how in control he was. The only difference was, Oz had been upfront, while this bastard was pretending there'd been a miscommunication.

It was a BS excuse and we both knew it. But instead of just grumbling in acceptance that I was once again screwed over by one of the supposed 'good guys' I decided to call out Ironwood on his bs right then and there.

"That's a bullshit excuse and you know it you Winter Solider rip-off!"

"Oh is it now?" he asked simply as if I hadn't just shouted at him.

"Don't give me that crap! What's next? Ask if I want a house arrest ankle bracelet while putting a microchip in my brain before I can answer?!"

"Hmm, would you in fact want one?" he asked still not reacting and I bared my teeth.

"No you asshole I would not! Now I don't care if Winter is already halfway here, I don't want or need your little pawn interrupting my l-"

"Alright Sullivan, I think that's enough of a tantrum from you," he said with authoritative resolve and my tongue stopped flapping. He hadn't shouted, and hadn't really raised his voice, but he didn't have to, because at his words, any ounce of anger I had was drowned. I'm not even being facetious when I say drowned either. The atmosphere of the room felt much denser and claustrophobic, and it felt like the temperature dropped a few degrees at his simple words. My heartbeat started to beat faster and I scooted a bit back in my bed as I shut up and looked at him clearly.

His overall appearance had made no sudden changes, but his eyes….his eyes had glazed over, almost as if he wasn't focusing on anything, but I knew that they were locked onto me and me alone. I felt as though I would burst into flames if I so much as even breathed while under his scrutiny, and I cursed my earlier fit of anger.

The Ironwood that I had been debating with earlier was much more open and cordial with me, even if it was all fake and used to make me feel more comfortable with him. This Ironwood…was the real one. The General who had seen too much, done too much, and would continue to do much more if it meant doing what he thought was right.

I would later learn that this was his semblance at work, which was basically my Zone on overdrive, but even knowing that then wouldn't have made that situation any less terrifying for me.

"That's better," he said in a voice devoid of emotion. "Now, I've been more than fair with you, but I feel like I must remind you of your situation."

And similar to Ozpin all those weeks before, he leered over me, his towering form adding to his already frightful aura.

"You are neither an ally nor enemy according to Ozpin. You stand in the middle of a war that is much, much bigger than your little spat with the White Fang. And as such, the proper precautions must be enacted for the safety of everyone."

"Th-then why did you even pretend to offer me a choice…?" I stuttered out as sweat began to run down the back of my neck.

"That was merely a formality, an example for you to look back on later. Any choice you think you have is merely an illusion given to you by either Ozpin or myself. Every move you make will be monitored by us, carried out by us, and decided by us. Consider any idea you had of free-will before today a fleeting dream of a time long since passed."

Rage once more welled up in my heart as he continued to stare me done with cold, logical eyes as if what he just said didn't paint the picture of me being a tool in every sense of the word. However, that flame too was snuffed out from the unrelenting cold of his gaze.

"There were plenty of more efficient ways of dealing with you Sullivan, and if it were up to me your cage would not be a school," he told me with all sincerity. "But Ozpin has a different agenda for you, and since he holds nearly all the cards in this partnership, I have to follow his lead. But mark my words…"

The temperature dropped even more as his gaze pierced my soul.

"You cross one line, break one rule, so much as piss in the wrong place and I will see to it that you will never see the light of day again. Are we clear?"

The words refused to come, so I started nodding my head rapidly.

"I said are we clear!?"

"S-sir yes s-sir!" I croaked out which took all of my willpower to accomplish.

With a gruff nod and seemingly satisfied Ironwood made his way towards the entrance to my room. Just as he was about to open it and leave my poor terrified self alone he stopped and looked over his shoulder back at me.

"Ozpin likes to gamble with certain variables, especially when relying on that washed out drunk, and it's infuriating" he told me plainly, but I dared not speak. "So some insurance on my part is going into effect, no ifs ands or buts. Because just like how you supposedly claim, I don't trust Fall either, I never have."

You don't?! I mentally bellowed, but he continued.

"Specialist Schnee will escort you to Beacon the day you're discharged. Make any attempts to flee and she shall restrain you in any way she sees fit, permanently or otherwise. Understood?"

"S-sir yes sir…" I responded, albeit in a defeated quieter tone. He simply nodded, satisfied with my answer before he opened the door and left without another word.

Long after his footfalls disappeared down the corridor, I sat in my bed as the weight of reality crushed me. That had been the second time I'd all but had my humanity and freedom stricken from the records, the second time a supposed good guy in this war had threatened me like a psychopath, and the second time where I'd been given a metaphorical noose and told to hang myself.

"GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!" I yell with as much hatred as I could muster and flung my book at the door. The bang as it hit it and the floor echoed throughout the room and startled the idiots on the other side as I was left huffing shallow breaths. "You bastards! Why are you doing this to me? Why!?"

Ozpin had caused me to break down under the weight of an existential crisis, his threats and orders had been overwhelming, but I'd had time to come to terms with them. Ironwood had been just as terrifying, but because it had happened before anger had taken the place of dread.

I was pissed off at Ironwood for manipulating me and making me think I could ever have a sliver of a choice in my predicament. I was pissed at Ozpin for putting me in this situation in the first place instead of just letting me leave town and disappear. I was pissed at my lackluster guards who'd sooner argue about idiotic things than protect me, angry at the White Fang for labeling me a monster, angry at Cinder for putting me in the hospital in the first place, and angry at Emerald for making me feel conflicted about her.

I was pissed at the world, the universe, God, the Butterfly Effect, hell I was pissed at everything and everyone. But most importantly, I was pissed at myself.

If I just didn't give a damn about a bunch of fictional characters I could have avoided the V1 Incident all together! If I didn't give a crap about some idiots who were gonna die in a few months I never would have gotten involved with their teams. If I had just been a normal grown ass man who didn't obsess over cartoons, I could have just left them all to burn.

"Why…? Why do I care about all these fake ass people?! None of them are real! They're not re…" I trailed off as other images flashed through my mind.

I saw Ruby smile at me in hyperactive happiness, the times I bickered with Yang and Emerald, tutoring the Faunus students who took notes on everything I said, Nora bringing me back my clothes that she'd tirelessly restored, and even flipping the bird with Penny to Velvet's audience. Those gave me the answer as to why I cared, because they were real people. Real people that I couldn't help but care and fret over.

Trapped in prison of my own making, the anger segued into the overwhelming sadness and loneliness I'd felt since getting sucked up into this world.

"I…I just want to go home…" I whispered sorrowfully as I held my pillow to my chest and face.

And I remained like that for the rest of the day and a good chunk of the next one till Sun showed up for our workout routine and managed to snap me out of it.

Needless to say Ironwood's threat left its mark on me, and severely ruined my mood for my remaining two weeks in the hospital, and much longer after that if I'm honest.

But I swore one thing while I wallowed in self-pity. I was going to make Ironwood regret having Winter babysit me in every way I could that didn't involve her killing me. I'd had years of practice with psychological warfare against bullies, but now it was time to be the bully. I would make her resent, or best-case scenario hate her superior, and if all went well she'd ask for reassignment herself.

I knew it wouldn't be fair to Winter in the slightest for what I had planned, but I just wanted to hurt that dead faced metal armed bastard in any way that I could. And so I set about creating plans that would make me the worst client anyone would have to bodyguard.

It's a decision made in anger that I still regret to this day.

}Line Break{

The following two weeks leading up to my release were less then pleasant for me. While I had recovered enough to the point that I could walk on my own with the help of the walking cane Dr. Gray had given me, my mood never really improved by much.

With both the ever-present threats of Ozpin's and Ironwood's plans for me, the small amount of confidence I had gained regarding my new plans had all but crumbled to dust.

I had become just another pawn on their grand chess broad, and all it took for me to realize that fully was having the head of an entire nation's army all but shove that fact down my throat. So yeah, my sour mood stuck around.

It also didn't help that the one person who broke up the monotony of hospital life was given a clean bill of health the day after Ironwood's visit.

We'd had one last day at the gym together, and after the previous day it had been mentally therapeutic to exercise. As someone who'd mostly gotten the same sense of ease from playing videogames or blowing up trashcans, I began to appreciate the workout routine a bit more as I was able to use my anger to fuel how far I pushed myself. But of course, a dampener was still placed on the whole affair since Sun was leaving.

After cleaning up, and getting the all clear from the staff, Sun had come up to my room and placed a hand on my shoulder as I sat and watched TV.

"Listen bro, you don't have to be a genius to see that you're pissed off again," he'd said plainly, and I rolled my eyes.

"Not like I'm trying to hide it," I huffed, and he smirked.

"Well maybe you should just a bit, it brings everyone else down," he chuckled.

"Wow, great motivational speech there coach," I responded sarcastically.

"I am a great coach aren't I?" he responded smugly before patting me on the shoulder again. "But seriously, it's perfectly alright to be pissed considering the hand you've been dealt. Just don't let it beat you bro, use that energy into improving yourself. Better your body using that anger just to spite it, and you'll end up happy."

"…I feel as though that doesn't make sense, but at the same time does?" I said as my head tried to process his speech.

"The best things in life are like that," he said patting me once more on the shoulder before walking to my window. "Now, I know you're gonna miss me for the next two weeks."

"More like the distraction aspect, but sure," I quipped, and he continued.

"But that don't mean you can just start slacking off. I want you to push yourself using our routine while you're in here, and even once you get out," he said seriously. "I'll know if you have been slacking, and I swear I'll make you run an extra 10K on top of the workout you'll have with me and the guys."

"Alright, alright, I won't slack," I appeased before my eyes went wide. "And wait, what do you mean by that last part?"

"Oh, did you think you could weasel out of hanging with me and the boys?" he trolled. "Sure we'll go out for drinks and stuff, but we all still gotta keep in shape for the ladies…and the Grimm, but mostly the ladies."

"Glad to see where your priorities lie," I said with a sigh. "And look let me recover enough to where I can walk without the cane before you start running me ragged alright?"

"Sounds like a plan Joker," he said with a smile. "But don't worry, the day you get out we'll just chill and take it easy. I'll introduce you to some of my buddies. Unless of course you want some alone time that day?"

"Why did you say it like that?" I questioned feeling disturbed and he just grinned that trollish grin again.

"Oh nothing, just that you've got prime opportunity to get more reunited with that hot janitor chick you work with."

"What?" I stammered caught off guard and he just shrugged.

"I'm just saying man, I didn't have any bombshells crying on my chest after I woke up, so you might as well shoot your shot while it's still there," he advised and I facepalmed in embarrassment and annoyance.

"Sun, I get that you're an out-of-control hormonal high schooler, but please shut up and leave," I grunted and he chuckled.

"Your wish is my command Joker," he said with a mock salute before opening the window with his tail. "But seriously, think about all the things I just said, and I'll see you in a few bud."

"Wait, are you gonna jump out the-"

"Yup!" he interrupted as he backflipped out of my window, somehow closing it with his tail as gravity took hold of him.

I gaped for a few seconds, before walking to the window and looking out. Instead of a red splat on the ground, he of course was doing his monkey boy thing as he ran down the building like a freaking ninja.

"Alright, see ya…bro," I said to no one but myself as I closed the curtain and sighed.

As much as Sun's constant dude-lingo got on my nerves, the guy was still a pretty great person to hang out with. That and he let me rant off to him without judging too much, which if you couldn't tell I really appreciated. He might have been embarrassing and annoying at times, but that's the territory when it comes to bros, and for better or for worse, that's what we were.

And so, without him around, those last two weeks were pretty miserable for me, a fact that Dr. Grey and Nurse Snow picked up on immediately. Snow, bless her clumsy heart, actually attempted to fill that Sun filled void. She took a day off from work and decided to keep me company all day…which entailed marathoning Grimm and Bear It past seasons she had on DVD. Let's just say that bitching and moaning about how unfair life is while pumping iron can't easily be replicated by watching a show whose actors randomly change every so often and having it handwaved as the character having facial surgery.

Still though, she put in the effort and despite my mood I did feel touched at the gesture. Though that quickly was replaced by guilt as for the next few days she wound up doing maintenance jobs around the hospital to make up for the day she took off. When I asked Dr. Grey about it, he flat out said she'd already used up her paid time off for the year and didn't realize that when she spent the day with me. So the maintenance jobs were more or less punishment as well as for a spot of extra cash.

As someone who'd been volunteered by his aunt to do clean up at her hospital after my fifth chemical burn incident, I did not envy her.

So yeah, there I was stuck in a never-ending spiral of frustration and self-loathing with no one to really vent to, until on the day before I was released, two unexpected people showed up for one last chat/interrogation/therapy session. Honestly it was a decent combination of the three...and believe it or not, they actually helped break me out of my funk.

}Line Break{

I had been true to my word with Sun and had not stopped working out in his absence. I used my anger and frustration to push myself just like he wanted, and though it probably didn't do too much in the grand scheme of things, I felt healthier. Really all those weeks together with him had given me back quite a bit of my lost pre-death muscle mass, and then some. Mind you I was nowhere near what I was Pre-Remnant, but thanks to the physical therapy I was at least only slightly below average in compared to the regular Remnant resident. I was still a noodle, but at least that noodle had some density now.

The day before my release date was no different and I'd done enough exercises to make my legs sore and require the cane for balance. Once my workout was done, I hit the showers in my room like usual, and while the water rinsed over my head, I heard the sound of clattering equipment in the hallway.

As usual when loud noises occur around me now, I stiffened as my body prepared for any danger, but then a gruff old voice called out,

"Just what in the name of the all mighty Atlas kingdom are you doing Private?!"

"Teal did it!"

This caused me to sigh and continue washing myself, because this hadn't been the first time this happened.

Great, these dumbasses again, I thought annoyed. Granted, all of my Atlas guards were dumbasses, but these two were a deadly combo. One was old, mean and overly serious to a T, and the other I swore had mental problems.

"Private Teal is nowhere near this facility solider! I have half a mind to report you to the higher command, and the other half agrees!"

"Your brain is in two halves!? You're so lucky, Chapel says I have no brains and you have two halves of one!"

I swear one guy is straight out of Full Metal Jacket, and the other is missing more than just his marbles. I thought with a roll of my eyes as they began to bicker, just like the others did.

Their inane ramblings went on all throughout my shower, which I guess did have the benefit of not leaving me with my thoughts of vengeance against Ironwood, but as I began to dry off I heard the sound of a shotgun cocking and the bickering stopped.

Oh crap, is the old guy gonna kill the idiot, or is there a threat? I thought apprehensively as I tensed up, my ear to the bathroom door.

"Halt in the name of the glorious Atlas army! State your name and reason for being here or I will put you down dirtbags!" the old bastard growled.

"Oh put that gun down this instant! I am Weiss Schnee, heiress to the Schnee Dust Company. A real Atlesian should at least know that!" a haughty voice responded, and my eyes went wide.

The hell is she doing here!? I thought in a panic as I began to pull on the hospital clothes as quickly as I could. I had not seen her since the V1 Incident, and quite frankly I never expected her to visit. I mean, I had put that poor girl through hell and because of me she'd had to witness a lot of death and destruction.

"Oh really? A Schnee traveling with a Faunus eh? Totally not suspicious at all," the old guy insinuated.

Faunus? Blake? I wondered, having not expected her visit for similar reasons.

"She is a fellow classmate and my teammate you rude old man!" Weiss scoffed and said old man began grumbling.

It is Blake! I thought in surprise. Wait, did they actually make up? I thought I put a dampener on the whole "them becoming friends" thing.

"I think icy girl is right sergeant," the dumb guard spoke up. "This girl has kitty ears, and that means she has a kitty tail, and as we all know kitty tails are soft and fluffy, which means that kittens cannot be terrorists."

There was a moment of silence as even I tried to process the logic behind that statement before the old guy grumbled out,

"Shut up Trane."

"Yes, and keep your hands away from my friend or we will retaliate," Weiss threatened.

"Okay angry ice girl."

"Now quit holding us up or I will report on you to General Ironwood personally."

Oh please do, I'd love for his day to be ruined, I thought a bit maliciously as I walked out of the bathroom and sat down on a chair expectantly.

"Hmm, I believe you have convinced me little miss, go right on in," older guard said.

You know, as incompetent as these guys are, I'd take them over Winter any day. At least with them I'd be able to easily fool and manipulate them while carrying out my plans, I thought with a sigh just as the door handle turned and the door opened.

There in the doorway stood the other half of RWBY that I was least acquainted with. Both girls seemed composed, but just like every other student that visited, there was an air of apprehension about them. Walking through the door, their eyes were glued on my empty bedside, so they did not notice me at first near the window in my chair.

"Hello? Mr. Sulli-" Weiss started to call out, but I interrupted her with a little joke to lighten the mood.

"Well well, it must be an old movie because all I'm seeing is black and white," I said with a grin which caught both her and Blake off guard. Typical of those that hear my jokes, they didn't laugh.

"Oh come on, that was a good one right?" I pleaded and the two shared a look with each other before looking back at me.

"I, uh, suppose we do tend to only dress in shades of black and white…" Weiss ventured, and I sighed again.

"Yang would have laughed," I grumbled before I sat back in my chair and gestured them inside. "Well come on in you two." They didn't even hesitate at my request and shut the door behind them.

"Well, I suppose with your…unique humor that you've recovered nicely?" Weiss asked and I just shrugged.

"I am getting released tomorrow," I pointed out. "Which is why I'm surprised the two of you even showed up. Could have just waited you know?"

Blake winced at my words, but before I had a chance to figure out why Weiss scoffed and put her hands on her hips.

"Honestly Mr. Sullivan, only you can have such a response to someone visiting you. Why was I expecting any less?"

"Heh, what can I say Princess? I just know how to break people's expectations," I quickly spilled out, caught off guard by the playful tone behind Weiss's words.

Uh….did I miss something? Shouldn't you be all standoffish or something?

My confused thoughts and shock did not end there as Weiss actually chuckled at my response.

"It's good to see that your sense of boorish humor hasn't left you after everything that happened Mr. Sullivan. I know Yang would be awfully cross with you if you did lose it," she said with a grin. I honest to God gaped at the complete 180 of her attitude.

"Did you hit your head or something Princess? Why are you being so...non-Weiss with me?" I asked in genuine curiosity. True I knew it was already Volume 2 chronologically, but I hadn't expected her to change into my favorite version of herself that quickly. Especially not after what I'd put her through.

Instead of taking any offense to my question like I thought she would, Weiss instead rolled her eyes in exasperation at my dumbfounded words.

"Really, only you of all people can still think I don't have at least some small amount of respect for you after what had happened. Is it really that surprising that I would want be cordial with the man who helped keep me alive from dangerous terrorists?"

Considering how I'm the one who put your life in danger, yeah! I thought in slight irritation as I nodded dumbly at Weiss's rhetorical question.

Weiss's eye twitched in annoyance and it looked like she was about to go off on one of her lectures, which for those curious have nothing compared to Goodwitch's, when she was interrupted by her silent tagalong.

"Weiss," Blake said gently causing the heiress to turn towards her with a raised brow. Upon seeing the Faunus girl's somber expression however, the glyph huntress nodded in understanding and let the cat ninja step towards me. "Hi Mr. Sullivan."

If I were to be completely honest, I had suspected that the next time I'd see Blake would be her as a nervous guilty wreck. It was no secret among the fandom that one of Blake's biggest character flaws was that she constantly blamed herself for when things went wrong with any Fang interaction…or really whenever she got involved in any situation and it all went to hell. The finales for Volumes 1 and 3 and the beginning angst of the fourth Volume were all the evidence you needed to see that.

That kind of self-blaming mentality isn't exactly healthy and can take its toll on someone both physically and mentally, I know this from firsthand experience, and let me tell you, I don't recommend it. The fact that neither she nor Weiss had turned up till now made me conclude she was wallowing, and I'd already come up with a few motivational words that I'd plan to use on her when I got back to Beacon.

So imagine my surprise when she walked into the sunlight through my window with no bags under her eyes, and a small, albeit timid smile on her face. She looked healthy, well rested, and most of all, legitimately happy to see me.

"Uh…Hi Blake," I said bewildered.

Okay, the Weiss thing threw me off, but what the hell is this? Where's the overwhelming self-pity and unnecessary anguish? Are you actually Blake? I thought confused. A bit dickish, yes, but come on, wouldn't you all feel thrown off? A lot of White Fang had been killed and she'd been betrayed by them and also Sun had nearly died. I expected some sort of angst.

As if reading my thoughts, she bit her lip and looked down at her crossed hands, which in turn made me feel like a jackass.

Ah man, I didn't mean…ugh! I mentally grumbled as I subconsciously itched at my beard.

And so for a few good moments of silence that felt like minutes, the two of us awkwardly fidgeted, neither side not knowing what else to say. Weiss for her part seemed content to just stand to the side observing us quietly, looking like she had all the patience in the world.

Eventually the silence got to the both of us, and almost as one we both spoke up at the same time.

"I'm sorry!"

Both me and Blake stared at each other in surprise before Blake's shocked turned to confusion as she questioned me,

"You're sorry?! Mr. Sullivan you have nothing to be sorry about. It was my plan to prove the Fang's innocence that got you…that almost…."

Blake seemed to struggle with what she was trying to say, as if the words trying to leave her mouth were physically harming her to acknowledge. I had a pretty good idea what those words were, so to spare her the trouble I bluntly interrupted her with a dull stare.

"I died Blake, plain and simple."

Blake and Weiss both flinched at my words with how harsh they were, but I had had plenty of time to come to terms with what happened at the dock regarding my injuries. The phantom burning on my chest was a constant reminder of it, and I wasn't about to try and look over it even if it meant being a blunt ass about it.

"Ye…yes. You died Chris," Blake's tone was filled with remorse as she looked towards the ground in shame forgoing her earlier formality, "If I had just talked with my team after my secret was exposed instead of running away like a coward, none of this would have happened! You died because of my choices, and I can completely understand if you hate me for what happened. But I just want you to know that I am utterly and truly sorry."


I could only stare at her lowered head and drooped ears as I felt like a bastard.

Cleary I had been wrong, as while Blake looked fine on the outside, she did indeed feel needlessly responsible and guilty. Even if she was handling it better, she still had some inner turmoil, and here I'd been feeling her character had changed drastically.

"Listen Chri-Mr. Sullivan, I will do anything in my power to make things up to you. Even…even if that means leaving the academy so you don't have to see m-*bonk* Ow!"

"Mr. Sullivan!?" Weiss gasped in shock, which was well warranted since I had just bonked Blake on the head with my cane. Said girl looked at me with a lost expression as she rubbed her head.

"Oh, sorry about that, I just heard something incredibly stupid so I kinda lashed out, my bad," I said uncaringly as I shrugged my shoulders in indifference.

"Wh-what?" she sputtered confused as she continued to rub the bump I'd made.

"Leaving Beacon? Why in the hell would I ask you to do that? That was so stupid and idiotic to hear I just got angry. Especially when there's nothing you have to make up for." I chided and she just looked at me incredulously.

"Nothing to make up for? But I-"

"Look Blake, what happened at the docks, none of that was your fault okay?" I said switching to a sympathetic tone which just baffled her more. "What happened there was…was all on me okay? So don't you dare go blaming yourself for my mess!"

"B-But you ran after me because I…" she trailed off, beyond confused to my reasoning. On one hand her confused face was adorable, no doubt thanks to the cat genes, but on the other hand she still hadn't bought what I was selling.

"Look catgirl, no one made me run off like an idiot through town but myself. In fact, if it weren't for me and my stupidity, then Weiss and I wouldn't have gotten captured," I pointed out and the white-haired girl shuddered in remembrance.

"You say no one forced you, but Weiss told me you were specifically looking for me," she countered, and I sighed. "So it was still my actions that led you to-"

"Actions that you were taking alone because I got too involved and not involved enough!" I shot back.


"I was too cowardly to get involved with your team spat back in the maintenance room when all you needed was help and I let you run off," I admitted truthfully. "And meanwhile I'd given Ruby and Yang advice that had actually been detrimental when it came to helping a friend. So all in all, I was fixing a mistake I made."

"I understand what you're saying Mr. Sullivan, but I can't just accept that logic," Blake said stubbornly.

"Why the hell not?! It's the truth!" I shouted as I gripped my cane harder and she reflexively put her hands over her head.

"Because I did not run off because of any decision you made Mr. Sullivan. When I came to you, I was already leaning towards finding the White Fang and trying diplomacy. Instead of talking with my team, I burdened you with worries that you did not want or need, and even after that I still foolishly tried to do things by myself."

"I get that Blake, but I'm still the reason your friends didn't run after you immediately!" I countered, my eye twitching in annoyance.

"Which wouldn't have been necessary if I'd just talked with my friends!" she argued back with a hiss.

"Oh my god why are you so stubborn for?! It's my fault!" I shouted pointing my cane at her.

"No it's my fault!" she growled back stomping her foot on the ground.

"No, Mine!"



"Oh for goodness sake you two, stop shouting!" Weiss hollered as she stood between us halting our tirade. "It's not one singular person's fault for what happened that day! Everyone involved has a varying level of fault in the matter. Even me!"

She looked between myself and Blake with a scornful glare before sighing and softening her features.

"If I had not acted as I did towards Blake when learning of her past, then you could argue that I put her on that path in the first place," she said in melancholy which caused both Blake and I to wince in sympathy.

"No Weiss-" I started.

"You didn't-" Blake began, but the heiress cut us both off.

"But of course things are not so cut and dry. You're the one who taught me that Mr. Sullivan," she declared, giving me a grin.

I did? I thought in bafflement as she continued.

"The factors you two are arguing about are certainly instigators, but each and every person has a choice on how to respond, and we all made our choices that day, the good and the bad," she lectured, and I found myself once again awed by how far her attitude had changed.

"But Weiss, you got captured because of me and-" I started to argue but she held a figure up and wagged it in front of my face.

"Ah ah ah, none of that Mr. Sullivan," she lectured sternly before switching to a gentler tone. "I have long forgiven you for what happened seeing as how you helped save my life."

'But I-"

"Like I said Mr. Sullivan, we all made our decisions that day, and I chose to follow you. The events that followed were unfortunate, but none of us could have predicted what was about to happen," she said looking between me and her teammate.

Only…I kind of did, I thought a bit morosely, because other than my metaphysical knowledge, what she was saying was sort of the truth.

"That being said, I do expect a proper apology one of these days, but no matter what, know that you have nothing to feel guilty about regarding me and the events at the docks. Do I make myself clear?"

A flash of the warehouse exploding and Sun bleeding out crossed my mind, so with a heavy heart and dry mouth I forced myself to sound agreeable.

"Crystal," I said, even though I knew the guilt would always be at the back of my mind. No matter how you sliced it, things changed because I was in a world I wasn't supposed to be in…but they didn't need to know that.

"I suppose that's the most I can ask for," Weiss smirked before she turned to face Blake with a light glare, "As for you Ms. Belladonna, I believe we've already had this discussion regarding your involvement at the docks."

Talk? I guess they would have talked about what happen after this long, but I don't remember them doing anything outside that last scene in the original volume I ending. I thought to myself as Blake flinched at Weiss's words.

My confusion quickly turned into amusement as Blake, like a kid caught with a hand in the cookie jar, slouched in slight shame while trying not to look Weiss in the eyes as she mumbled out,

"I-I know Weiss. B-but I just had to apologize to Mr. Sullivan! Even if the entire dock incident wasn't completely my fault his involvement…was…"

Aww! Adorable…sad…cat girl face! Damn you Blake, you trying to kill me by pulling that out of nowhere!? I mentally gushed as Weiss put a hand on her shoulder.

"And I told you to come talk with us if you still felt that way. We're all a team, remember? We're there for each whenever our pasts catch up to us so we can sort it out together like a team should." Weiss said in what I swear was the gentlest tone the dust heiress had ever used before.

A part of me was a bit off put that Weiss had taken my words to heart so much that she was repeating them to others, while the rest of me was just pleasantly surprised by how close the two had gotten.

"Yeah, I know…thanks Weiss," Blake said with quiet gratitude.

Okay, this is weird, even in the show they weren't this close after putting their differences aside. Weiss is supposed to be besties with Ruby, so did I screw up the friend dynamics of the group? I thought with apprehension before my eyes widened in fear. I didn't accidentally set up the S.S. Monochrome did I!?

I quickly shook my head and decided to take that idea out back and shoot it in the face and not give it a proper burial. I had a lot on my plate already and the last thing I needed was unnecessary shipping costs. I'd learned my lesson with Arkos, and I was not gonna go down that road again.

Well whatever the case, them being closer in any capacity is just going to make Blake leaving the team that much harsher on Weiss. I don't even want to think about what an even more depressed Weiss might do when stuck with that dickweed dad of hers.

That thought of course led me to start contemplating about how any of my so-called 'good' changes that I made could also have disastrous results. Characters I liked were still going to be killed and maimed as angst injections were incoming, and I pondered if any added happiness would just lead to more heartache for the survivors.

So wrapped up in my questioning of causation and morality, that I didn't immediately recognize as Blake came back to my chair and kneeled in front of me. My mind was certainly pulled back to reality though when she did something truly unexpected.

She hugged me.

"I…I don't think I cannot not blame myself about what happened to you and Sun…yet. But either way I just want you to know I am truly sorry about what happened to you, and that I-we are doing everything we can to protect you and Yang."

"Uhh…" I trailed off as my eyes widened in surprise at that.

"Yang told me about how you've been given a gag-order about what happened," she leaned back a gave me a confident smile that filled me with dread as she finished, "But don't worry, me and the rest of RWBY and JNPR are going to find and stop this 'Sin' no matter what. They won't get near you or Yang, you have my word."

Now usually that kind of declaration from one of the up-and-coming huntress-in-training should have filled me with both relief and happiness. Instead, her words only furthered my rising paranoia and fear.

Oh for the love of-What even is the plot anymore!?

I appreciated what Blake and the other's were trying to do, truly I did, but they weren't supposed to know anything about the Maidens until much later, even if the only clue they had wasn't really a clue in the first place. I didn't know how Ozpin was gonna manipulate the situation when they all started digging, but them getting involved this early would just paint targets on their backs while they were still under leveled. Hell, even when they were prepared, shit hit the fan and they got their asses kicked, so jumpstarting that had the potential to get them all killed.

Of course I couldn't exactly tell them that without risking Ozpin and Ironwood locking me in solitary confinement for the rest of the life or just straight blowing my brains out, so I just had to pretend that I was grateful.

"That's…great Blake, I'm glad to have you and the other's on my side in this mess." I stiffly whispered back in response as I died a little inside.

Even if I did somehow warn them, they're all so stubborn and wouldn't listen to reason anyway, I thought in defeat.

Somehow Blake managed to not pick up on my tone, Weiss on the other hand did and raised an eyebrow at me inquisitively. I just looked at her pleadingly to drop it, and by some miracle she actually conceded. She did, however, give me one of those 'we will discuss this later' looks that made me shiver in dread.

After Blake broke the hug, she looked over at the white-haired girl expectantly and Weiss just gave her a deadpan expression.

"I'm not going to hug him Blake," she said haughtily, and the cat girl just smirked.

"Don't be such a sourpuss Weiss."

"I am not a sourpuss!" she responded with a stomp of her foot which got a chuckle out of me. "It's just not…proper."

"Really?" Blake pushed her buttons and the white hair girl pouted.

"Yes!" she spit before pushing the older girl out of the way and holding her hand out to me. "A hearty handshake is how these things are supposed to be performed."

"What is this a business deal?" I joked before taking her hand.

"Something like that," she said giving me another smile which would have been more endearing if she hadn't simultaneously been squeezing all feeling out of my hand. As a man with pride, I chose to suffer in relative silence than admit that a high school girl was breaking my hand during a tender moment, because even I knew she wasn't doing it on purpose. Some of my inner turmoil surfaced though as my face started turning beet red, but luckily Weiss read between the lines and released her vice grip, choosing not to call attention to it.

"I, uh, I'm glad you guys came to see me today," I partially lied while I put my hand behind the chair and started shaking feeling back into it, while also discretely dropping the crumpled-up piece of paper she'd slipped to me.

"As are we Mr. Sullivan," Weiss said sounding truthful. "And forgive our rudeness, we didn't answer your first question you asked when we came through the door."


"You asked why we came the day before your release instead of waiting," Blake reminded me. "And the answer is that we wanted a chance to talk with you ourselves before Ruby takes up all your foreseeable time."

"Oh…" I said as realization dawned on me. "I guess she would clamor all around asking a million questions and trying to catch up with enough energy for ten people."

"Our thoughts exactly," Weiss nodded and smirked at me in playful maliciousness. "And seeing as how you still require a cane, it will be hard for you to avoid her outside of classes."

"I have the feeling I'm not going to be avoiding anybody for a long time," I sighed, taking in the good with the bad.

After that both girls sat down with me and we just sort of had water cooler talk. We didn't talk anymore about the docks or the warehouse or even the Fang, which I was thankful for. I was sick of talking about them to so many people by that point. No really, we just focused on personal stuff, like their plans for the Vytal festival. And by their I of course mean Weiss, because despite having mellowed out she was still the same competitive ice princess we all know and love.

We talked about Sun for a bit and I found out he'd already had a little reunion with Blake and Weiss, which actually did bring relief to my weary mind. Of course they noticed this and shared a conspiratorial look with one another and playfully teased me about missing my bro. And to not give them the satisfaction, I decided to not even deny it, I did miss the monkey boy.

Then came a subject that I definitely decided to feign ignorance on.

"The other day I got word that my older sister would be arriving in town soon," Weiss brought up and I bit my tongue.

"Oh, is she coming to cheer you on at the Vytal Festival?" Blake asked inquisitively and Weiss just shook her head.

"Unless she took an immense amount of leave time just to come see me, which doesn't sound like Winter at all," she explained albeit with a slight wince. "She's most likely been given an assignment here in Vale, but I wouldn't say no to her coming to the festival."

"I'm sure she will. It's a big sister's duty to support the younger right?" Blake said good naturedly. A spike of rage passed over my heart at that innocent comment, but I bit my tongue and pushed those memories down so as not to spoil the mood.

"It should be," was all I said in that regard.

Aside from that, the discussions were fairly lighthearted and they filled me in on things I'd missed, like Ruby apparently kicking Cardin's ass in a duel, which made me feel elated. By the end of the visitation, they'd actually put my mind at ease. I'd been so mired in self torment after Ironwood, but just a simple small talk with those girls was enough to lift me up.

"Well I suppose we'll see you sometime tomorrow or the next day depending on how our schedules go," Weiss said as she neared the door.

"Yeah, I don't know the exact time tomorrow they're kicking me out, but we'll see," I said with a wave.

"We look forward to your return Mr. Sullivan. The Faunus students are eagerly awaiting your dust lessons," Blake smiled, and I scratched at my beard.

"They might have to wait for a while yet Blake," I said vaguely, knowing damn well my new security detail would monitor me around dust. Taking note of my tone at that last part, the cat girl raised an eyebrow before suddenly asking me an out of nowhere question.

"By the way Mr. Sullivan, I know you're a well-read man. I was thinking of reading into The Man in the High Castle, do you think that's a good recommendation?"

'The Man in the High Castle'? I thought taken off guard. That's that alternate history book with the Nazi's winning right? Mike said it was good because it had sci-fi elements to it, but how the hell is that a thing in Remnant? There was no World War 2!

"Uh, yeah, I heard it's a good read," I answered truthfully. There were many books and movies and games in Remnant that were practically the same as on Earth, except for some key differences in location and actors, and for all I knew this version of The Man in the High Castle was about radical Faunus winning or something. The minute I gave my recommendation though, I knew something was off because she gave me a look of understanding.

"Thanks Mr. Sullivan, I'd suspected that it'd be an eye-opening experience. I'll make sure to tell you what I think of it later," she said conspiratorially.

"Huh?" I questioned, not understanding her tone and facial expressions, but she continued.

"Have a good day, and see you tomorrow," she said with a wave before opening the door and walking out.

"Yes, have a good night Mr. Sullivan," Weiss said, bowing her head slightly before she followed her teammate out the door.

Why are they acting all secretive? I thought as I wondered what they thought that they thought I knew. Is that book code for something? Man in the Hi-Oh Shit!

"Wai-" I went to call out but the door was already closed and the mumbling and bickering of my guards and visitors drowned out anything I would have shouted.

"God damn it," I sighed and looked at my feet tiredly. I'd inadvertently told Blake to go snooping into Ozpin because I hadn't picked up on her subtlety in time. The guy was already on my ass as it was, and I didn't want to be accused of sicking students for info they didn't need. Hell, I'd already done that by asking Velvet to stalk Lilly, but at least that one had been intentional.

I'll just tell her tomorrow that that book is trash and maybe she'll pick up what I'm putting down…but I doubt it, I thought with a sigh before leaning over the back of my chair and picking up the piece of paper Weiss had slipped to me.

The paper itself was just your run of the mill notebook stationary, but in eloquent handwriting was a date less than a week from my release date, along with a time and location. Clearly Weiss had something she wanted to talk to me about, and I had a pretty good idea as to what.

Guess it was foolish to think that discussions about the dock and Fang were over with. But all this Tom Clancy secrecy crap isn't going to work if your sister is attached to my hip!

"So much for being a team and helping one another out huh Princess?" I grumbled out grumpily as I folded up the paper and put it in my trench coat pocket.

I mean I get it, this isn't exactly something you'd want to talk with your team with, but why me!? Is this about the serial killer? I sure hope it's not. I am not putting you on Neo's radar this early!

All in all, I decided I would try to put both girls off this spy stuff before Ozpin or Ironwood's watchdogs decided it would be enough evidence to disintegrate me. Speaking of those watchdogs, I was to meet one the next day so I decided to go to bed early to mentally prepare myself for it.

Though as usual, my preparations ended up being useless thanks to some unexpected twists and turns that led my release day anything but peaceful.

}Line Break{

The very next day I found myself finally out of my hospital gown and back in my trusty trench coat, pink shirt, green pants combo. It honestly felt pretty liberating being out of that hospital gown after being forced to wear it for so long.

Of course it was a bit of a challenge to put my old clothes on at first, thanks to my ever so gracious burn scar on my chest making it a bit difficult to concentrate. The bandages had come off more than a week ago, and Grey claimed it was healed enough, but I still had trouble looking at the thing for too long. It was not a pretty sight to behold. Imagine a deformed and jagged X that was centered right at my breastbone, with my flesh going from dark red to lightish pink the further out from the center it went like tendrils of lightning.

In fact, why imagine it? Let me lift my shirt and give you a good look.

Yeah, told you it wasn't pretty, and this is after it's had more time to heal. Right out of the hospital, it was much more pronounced. I didn't faint or get panic attacks anymore from the mere sight of it, but if I did stare at it too long the phantom burning would become more pronounced. Thankfully, putting on clothes no longer irritated it as much so my soft Princess shirt felt heavenly upon it.

I hadn't been officially released yet as I still needed Dr. Grey to come and make it official, but I sat patiently getting used to the sensation of real clothes once again. It was during that waiting time that my Squirrel Faunus nurse walked on into my room.

"Well well Mr. Sullivan, eager to get back home are we?" she asked playfully.

"More than you know," I said with a slight twinge in my heart.

"Well Doctor Grey is finishing up the last of the forms, and we're all waiting for your escort to arrive, so it'll be some time yet," she explained.

"Yeah, I figured. I just…having clothes that are thicker than paper again is something I gotta acclimate to," I said truthfully, and she giggled.

"Well thanks to Mr. Wukong, I'm sure you're not going to collapse under the weight of cotton," she teased, actually getting me to smirk.

"Yeah, I'm pretty much ready to fight any Grimm that's made of donated clothing, that's for sure," I joked, and she laughed.

"The local thrift shops better beware," she added with another chuckle before looking me up and down. "But in all seriousness, I'm glad to see you leave."

"Um, ouch, that was hurtful. Was I really that bad a patient?" I asked in mock hurt and she rolled her eyes.

"You know what I meant," she said in mock frustration. "It's just nice that you're being able to leave under your own power despite the condition you were in when you arrived."

"…I guess dead guys don't normally get that chance huh?" I said plainly and she nodded.

"No they most certainly don't," she said with a serious tone. "And seeing as how you were my first big patient, I'm really glad I was able to see you heal, despite how clumsy and scatterbrained I can be."

"Oh, uh, thanks Snow," I said taken aback by her sincerity. "You, uh, you did help my stay be more bearable, don't be so hard on yourself."

"Nah, I have to," she hand waved. "It's the only way I'll become a better nurse and one day have Dr. Grey be proud of me."

Knowing how strict the masked red head man was, I knew that was going to be a tall order for her, but I decided not to rain on her parade.

"Well alright then. Good luck Nurse Snow, and thank you for all your help."

"And thank you Mr. Sullivan for putting up with me," she said with a cheery grin. "I'm gonna miss our soap hours."

"Uh, yeah, me too…" I lied not very effectively. In truth, not being forced to watch soap operas every day was one of the highlights of being released.

"Oh I know you will Soap buddy," she said obliviously. "In fact, how about one last episode before you hit the road?"

I groaned internally but I really had nothing else to do.

"Sure…" I forced myself to say and she beamed.

"Great! Today we'll find out if Armando's father is also Lisa's as well which would make their engagement super taboo!"

"Oh goody," I said unenthusiastically as she turned on the TV. She then turned back to me and got a sheepish expression.

"And, um, since you've got the time and all, do you mind if I do one last thing for you before you leave?"

"Uh, what are you thinking?" I asked a bit apprehensively.

"Well…" she trailed off as she reached into her pockets and came out with a pair of scissors and an electric razor. "I was thinking maybe a shave and a haircut?"

"You want to give me a haircut?"

"Mmhmm. The last thing we need is a hunter putting you down because they mistake you for a Beowolf," she joked, and I began to ponder that.

I was honestly surprised at the offer. Sure more than a few people had suggested I clean up since I still looked like Robin Williams after he came out of the jungle in Jumanji, but I'd just never had the time with all the B.S. that happened to me. I looked at her expectant face, before pulling at my Alan Moore hair and beard.

You know, if I don't want the Fang recognizing that I'm alive, cleaning up wouldn't hurt, I reckoned.

"You know what? Sure," I nodded and she squealed in delight. "But just the hair alright? I've got a thing about other people putting blades near my face so I'll handle the beard."

"No problem Mr. Sullivan!" she said dancing in place. "After I'm done, you'll have to beat the ladies off with a stick."

"If you say so," I said with a roll of my eyes. "Even when I was clean shaven women tended to ignore me."

"Well with that attitude, it's no wonder," she chided slightly. "But either way, your shampoo bill is going to go way down."

"I guess," I shrugged, having been pilfering Beacon's supply before using what the Hospital provided.

Snow then proceeded to pull the sheet off of my bed and wrap around me so that my clothes wouldn't get hair on them and with a comb and scissors, she began to work on my hair while Grimm and Bear It came on. The episode was just as I expected it to be, nonsensical and overdramatic, but it helped the time go by as my hair fell all around me with every snip.

"Phew. Thank goodness they aren't actually half siblings so the wedding can still go on," Snow sighed in relief as the episode went to commercial break.

"Something tells me some other grand revelation is going to take place before that even happens," I snarked with a roll of my eyes.

"True, Jorge is still around after that mad scientist brought him back to life with robot parts," she nodded in agreement.

"They're just running out of ideas on how to bring in new actors without killing the characters off for real," I told her plainly and she pouted.

"Don't ruin the magic Mr. Sullivan!" she chided and bonked me on the head with the comb.

"It's not magic, it's crummy writing! There's no getting around that!" I argued. Of course, I was completely right as the wedding was interrupted by said cyborg claiming Armando was a robot too.

"Oooohhh, things are getting spicy," Snow concluded, and I just shook my head at the stupidity.

"You done yet with my hair?" I asked and she perked up.

"Oh right! The hair!" she said before grabbing a towel and brushing loose hairs off. "Yup, we're all done and now you look bet…" she trailed off which rang warning bells in my head.

"What's wrong?"

"Um…nothing's wrong per se…" she said nervously which betrayed her words. "But maybe you should wear a hat for a bit to-" I immediately stood up, the clipped hair scattering all around me as I barged into the bathroom.

Looking in the mirror, I was surprised to see my forehead and ears after so long. My hair was now no longer hanging past my shoulders, but…

"What the Hell?!" I exclaimed as it looked like a weed whacker had been taken to my head. There were patches of hair that were longer than others, some places that were clipped right to my scalp, and other places where it hadn't been cut at all. My bewildered face caught Snow's eyes in the reflection of the mirror, and she was sporting an extremely sheepish expression.

"Heh heh, so…"

"What the actual hell Snow?! I look like I've got freaking mange!" I scolded and her ears and tail wilted.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I got distracted a few times when the drama was amping up and…" she starting making excuses.

"Have you actually cut hair before?" I accused and she avoided eye contact.

"Yes…on my dog," she admitted, and I balled my fists up and put them against my cheeks.

"Oh my god!"

"Look, we can still fix it, I just need to even out some areas and comb over others and-"

"Just give me the damn clippers, I'll fix this!" I ordered holding my hand out. She hesitated for a moment, before reaching into her pocket and handing me the electric razor.

"Sorry," she muttered and I sighed.

"It's fine, whatever, I'll fix this just…it's fine," I grunted as I flipped the switch on the hair trimmer. I studied the thrashed-up rat's nest for a good few seconds before deciding that the only way to fix it was the jar head look.

"Guess I'm really saving on the shampoo now," I quipped as I took the razor to my scalp and cleaned the entire slate. I'd never gone for a buzzcut before, and it showed as my scalp was several shades lighter than the rest of my skin. As for my beard, I decided to only trim it up slightly so it wasn't wild and loose and hanging past my chest. I needed to make up for the lack of hair up top after all.

After my clean up job, I no longer looked like a hobo true, but now I looked like a backwoods banjo player. Think Walter White without the glasses and he grew his beard out to join ZZ Top, and you'll have a pretty accurate image. After ridding myself of any excess loose hair, I turned back to Snow who was slightly wincing at my appearance.

"Well?" I demanded.

"You look…great," she said in the same enthusiasm I'd given her for the soaps. Since she'd not called me out on that instance, I decided to just sigh and let it go for now.

"Least I've got a hat," I relented as we stood in the hair littered floor.

"I'm gonna just clean that up," Snow said awkwardly as she went out to get a broom. And while she did, I looked back at myself in the mirror. Considering the image the Fang had been accustomed to, this new look would definitely throw them off at first glance so the mission was accomplished slightly. However with my scalp free to the breeze, I knew Yang and Emerald were gonna have a field day.

After that, Snow cleaned up the hairy mess on the ground and kept apologizing to which I kept placating her, and eventually Dr. Grey showed up. If he was surprised by my new look, he hid it very well, but somehow or another, he knew it was Snow's fault.

"Nurse Snow, we are going to have a discussion over the professional relationship between patient and caregiver after this," he told her sternly.

"I said I was sorry!" she bellowed but he just ignored her.

"Now Mr. Sullivan, I am happy to say that you are now released from our care. I hope your rehabilitation continues to go well and I hope you never have to grace our walls again and live a healthy and carefree life."

"Um, thanks. I'll try Dr. Grey. Thank you for all your help," I said as I put my hand out. He quickly and firmly gave my hand one shake with his gloved hand, before immediately pulling the thing off, throwing it in the trash and donning another one.

"You are quite welcome. Now, all that's left is to follow your Atlas guards to the lobby where your arranged escort will take it from there."

"Aw, we can't walk with them?" Snow complained and the red headed man scowled at her.

"No no, we are far too busy relearning hospital guidelines after all," he said sternly she pouted.

"Dang it," she muttered before looking back to me. "Well, have a good one Chris, and sorry again about the hair," she said before giving me a quick hug.

"No worries Snow. Good luck out there," I said as she let go, just in time to watch as Dr. Grey took hold of one of her ears.

"Ow, ow, ow! Dr. Grey!" she complained.

"Protocol Snow!" he chided.

"But he's not our patient anymooore," she whined as he led her out the door and down the hallway. I watched this strange display in awe as my two caregivers turned the corner and out of sight.

That guy is an enigma wrapped in a mystery, and somehow that doesn't sound as scary as it should, I thought as I still couldn't comprehend how someone as frightening as him couldn't trip my fight or flight instinct.

Unfortunately for the Doctor's well wishes of living a healthy life, that moment wouldn't be the last time we'd meet. And considering how he saved my life again the second time, I still give him a pass for all his weirdness.

Anyway, once Snow and the Doc were gone the two soldiers outside my door turned to me and I was surprised to see a different duo than the usual idiots. There was a fellow bald man, though without a beard, and a red headed woman.

"Follow us please," the man ordered.

"And do not stray," the woman added. Both were no nonsense and serious, which was a far cry from the other rabble.

"Uh, right," I nodded as I put my detective hat over my buzzed scalp, which fit better by the way, and followed the strict guards. Seeing as how I didn't know if Winter's 'take out if necessary' order applied to them as well I didn't hesitate to follow their orders, and considering what Ironwood had said, I didn't want to chance it.

I wonder on a scale of pissed to livid, how Winter will look like at me when we meet? I wondered as we stomped down the empty hallways. I figured that Ironwood had told her not to be gentle with me after I'd mouthed off to him, and considering the whole putting Weiss in danger thing, I felt like she would carry that order out with gusto.

True Weiss had claimed it was all water under the bridge, but like I said, older siblings can hold grudges much longer.

After a few more minutes of navigating hallways, we eventually reached the back entrance of the hospital.

"Your escort is on the other side," baldy informed.

"We will take her personal vehicle to the bullhead and from there you won't be our problem anymore," red said without a hint of sympathy.

Yeesh, I prefer the morons to you uptight twits, I thought bitterly as they reached out and opened the door. Hell I'd take paycheck reducing Goodwitch over a pissed off Winter any d-

"Hello Mr. Sullivan, good afternoon," the blonde woman said adjusting her glasses. invoking her name summons her, good to know-I mean WHAT THE HELL!?

My jumbled mind was courtesy of Glynda Goodwitch greeting me instead of the cold glare of Winter Schnee that I'd been expecting.

"Ms. Goodwitch!? What are you doin-I mean what a pleasure to see you again ma'am! But what are you doing here?!" I sputtered in disbelief causing her to sigh.

"Don't act too surprised Mr. Sullivan, as someone who has dealt with your more...drastic incidents the Headmaster saw fit to send me to watch over you on our way back to Beacon."

"I, uh…"

"And as much as I know your return will cause the school an untold amount of property damage, I suppose it is good to see one of my colleagues fully recovered as well. It is nice to see you again Mr. Sullivan," she said while giving me, I swear I'm not lying, a gentle smile.

Unlike the strained, forced unnerving ones I'd been subjected to in the past, this one was strangely genuine, which was all kinds of baffling since there was no way Oz hadn't filled her in on what he suspected of me. And since I'm programmed to see the worst in humanity, I came to the obvious conclusion.

She's smiling because she wants me to cause destruction. She gets off on taking cash out of my payment, and now that she thinks I'm a possible spy, she'll enjoy taxing me even more. You evil, evil sadistic witch! I thought in disturbed disgust.

Yeah, obviously the wrong conclusion in hindsight, but at the time I wasn't giving anyone in Oz's inner circle the benefit of the doubt. Being the unproven psychic that she may or may not have been, she caught onto my inner cursing of her character and returned back to her usual disappointed scowl.

Ah, that's more like it, I thought in relative relief.

"But let's hold off on small talk till we're in a more secure location," she ordered before nodding at both of my guards. The two silently nodded back as the bald guy was handed a key and he walked over and unlocked a car that I hadn't noticed in my initial shock.

"This way Mr. Sullivan, time is of the essence," she ordered and I knew better than to disobey, but I was still confused on one thing.

"Uh, hang on a moment Ms. Goodwitch, shouldn't we wait for Specialist Schnee? General Ironwood said she would-"

"Ironwood says a lot of things Mr. Sullivan, and not all of them are as accurate as he thinks," she cut me off with an indifferent tone. The red headed guard winced a bit at the badmouth of her boss, but she said nothing.

"Oh, uh, so is she not actually coming to Vale then?" I asked, not being able to hide the hopefulness in my voice.

"Oh no, Ms. Schnee will still be arriving in Vale in the next few days," she explained as she opened the backseat of the car. "It seems a sudden Grimm migration cut off her original flight path, so she had to take a longer route for safety reasons."

"Grim migrations?" I asked skeptically and she nodded.

"Yes, quite unfortunate the timing on that," she said belaying no emotion.

More like it's far too coincidental I reasoned before I inwardly smiled. Well, well, looks like Ozzy didn't appreciate Ironwood pushing her onto me either. He probably pulled some strings and had a false report called into her pilots.

With that theory all but believed, I smiled outwardly too, giving Goodwitch the same conspiratorial look Blake had given me the day before.

"Yeah, quite unfortunate," I smirked as I entered the vehicle. The image of Ironwood grumbling and not being able to do a damn thing about it brought me some much-needed vindictive joy, and soon I hoped to cause him more.

I was shoved into the middle seat, sandwiched between the red head and Goodwitch as they shut the doors and ordered baldy to start driving. The windows themselves were heavily tinted so I couldn't really see out of them, but both women on either side of me were looking out of them intently. They obviously weren't going to give me the chance of running off, or have anyone else make off with me for that matter, and really I couldn't blame them for their demeanor. I knew I was essentially a POW that technically held 'valued' information, so I was just glad the treatment wasn't as Spartan as it could have been.

After a while of driving and twiddling my thumbs in silence between the two women, we stopped inside of a vacant lot where a small Bullhead waited. I'd read about this type of airship in one of my many pilfered textbooks back in Beacon, so I was extremely impressed. Smaller in design, this was a stealth Bullhead, a ship that was normally reserved for the military or extremely wealthy citizens. Essentially it was akin to a celebrity having their own private jet and that jet just so happened to be a stealth bomber.

"Stay for a moment," Goodwitch ordered me as she and red stepped out of the vehicle and began scanning their surroundings.

They're really going all out for this, I thought impressed as I looked through the back window myself on the off chance of seeing Cinder taking aim. I didn't see her, but I did see someone else that made me sweat.

Of course he would be here, I thought nervously as I saw a large black bird circling around. And just to clear any doubts about it being a regular bird, it cawed and I saw Goodwitch glare at it with an intensity I only got when I was caught slacking off on the job. Well the plot is screwed six ways to Sunday, but at least some things are still consistent.

After glaring at the drunken hitman disguised as a bird, she leaned back into the car and urged me out.

"All clear, come along Mr. Sullivan."

And like I was the president being led onto Air Force One, I went up the steps of the stealth blimp, and into a very lavish looking cabin. There were couches and recliners and even a mini bar, but unfortunately I was not offered a drink. I was sat down on one of the many couches as the two Atlas guards went into the cockpit and fired up the engines, which was a hundred times quieter than the larger models. We gently and gracefully lifted off of the ground, but all of the window shades were pulled down so I still had no idea where we'd lifted off from.

I did sort of miss the rumbling engines I'd come to expect from a Bullhead though since it would have cut off the monotonous silence that we and my present company had been in since leaving the hospital. Now as I sat on a plush couch drifting through the air and the guards were busy piloting, I figured perhaps now would be a good time to gain some info from the blonde woman who kept checking her scroll.

I had just opened my mouth to ask her something, when not even looking up from her screen she asked,

"So I noticed your head has been shaved. Did the hospital perform some kind of cranial tests that Ozpin was not aware of?"

"Oh, uh, no nothing like that. This only happened like thirty minutes ago actually," I explained.

"Hmm," she said briefly glancing up from her scroll before looking back down and typing. "So this is all purely cosmetic then?"

"Yeah, something like that," I sighed before making an excuse. "I just got tired of how much shampoo I had to use."

"A wise economic decision," she nodded, still not looking at me. "And your beard has been more uniformly shaped, but why not shave that a well?"

"I needed to keep some hair on me," I responded self-consciously, and she nodded.

"Ah, prideful vanity. Understandable," she said before sending her text.

"Are…are you updating Ozpin on my new hairstyle?" I asked disturbed and she looked at me over the rim of her frames.

"It's important to remain up to date on information Mr. Sullivan. A fact you should know all too well," she countered, and I flinched.

"Alright, alright. I still don't get how me going cue ball is important, but you do you."

"I will do me regardless," she lectured before crossing her arms and leaning back in her chair. "Now, before we arrive at Beacon, do you have any questions? Now is the time to ask."

I heard the hidden implication in her words, that I might not be answered in the future, so I coughed into my hand and composed myself.

"Okay, um…I was told that I still got my job right?" I asked, throwing out an easy one first.

"Yes," she nodded. "You will still be required to carry out your janitorial duties on a day-to-day basis, though until your mobility is fully recovered, your workload shall be shared once more with Ms. Zatanna."

"So our usual buddy system like before huh? Well that's good at least," I thought somewhat grateful that I wouldn't have to clean alone while hobbling around with a cane. "So, Ozpin was saying I was going to have "upgraded" living arrangements outside of the Maintenance Room?"

"That is correct," she nodded. "Many faculty members have rooms available to them, mostly in or near their offices. Your new room will be…issued to you once classes are done for the day." During her pause she had discretely glanced towards the cockpit where the Atlas guards were and I knew she didn't want to give specifics with them in earshot.

"Oh, okay. And is it like just a room?"

"There are other facilities within it, including your own bathroom and kitchen," she explained, and my eyes lit up.

"Wait really? Awesome!" I cheered which actually got a smirk out of her. After months of squatting, I was basically getting my own apartment. Even if it was under lock and key, I was getting better living conditions than most prisoners.

"Indeed. At the end of your shift every day you are permitted the entire facilities to move around, but you must be within your room by midnight every night until further notice," she insisted. "During all of this you will be closely monitored."

"Ah man, a curfew? I haven't had one of those since high school," I pouted before nodding. "But alright, that sounds fair."

"It's not fair though," she mumbled under her breath.

"Huh?" I questioned, thinking I misheard her. She looked me dead in the eye and repeated,

"It most certainly isn't fair for you."

To say I was speechless was an understatement. I couldn't comprehend why she would say that, other than perhaps thinking that I should be in a jail cell, but she continued.

"You are a prisoner Mr. Sullivan, no matter how flowery your cell may look," she said, touching on points Ironwood had made…but in a completely different tone. Where Ironwood was matter of fact, she sounded…sympathetic. "For the foreseeable future, Beacon will be your prison."

"Yeah, I, uh, I already figured that out. Ozpin didn't leave much room for interpretation," I said scratching at my new beard out of habit.

"…Ozpin sees no problem in caging you, but not everyone thinks the same Mr. Sullivan," she said with sigh filled with frustration.

Wait…are you disagreeing with Oz? I thought with alarm. In the show and in fandom, Glynda Goodwitch was the loyal second in command to a T. To even think that she potentially disagreed with his orders outside of the school budget was akin to blasphemy, yet her she was insinuating just that.

"Really? Others don't agree with this? Despite what they all suspect?" I questioned gingerly and she closed her eyes and took a deep breath before looking at me intently again.

"Despite what may or may not be suspected, there are some who feel we are acting no better than Her forces," she said, her scowl deepening, but the emotion wasn't for me. "So yes, there are those with misgivings that would not see you pushed to the other side of this conflict."

I was silent at her words for a few moments as I mulled them over. She was afraid that Ozpin treating me like this would push me into joining Salem. A ridiculous notion sure, but I couldn't help but see some merit in that worry. If I had no clue about how evil she was, Ozpin's and Ironwood's actions might just have made me think about joining the dark side. But I wasn't a braindead moron, so that option wasn't on the table. Besides, her fiery thot assassin had already killed me while Ozzy and friends had only threatened death.

"…These people with the concerns," I said discreetly while looking her right in the eye. "They don't have to worry about that. I'll take Oz's prison over whatever the hell anyone else is offering any day."

She pursed her lips at this, and I couldn't blame her. I was actually defending Ozpin in a way. Sure he was a bastard, but he was also one of the few forces keeping canon in place, and I didn't want dissent within his court this early.

She leaned forward, her voice much quieter than before as she stated,

"You shouldn't have to be put in such a position in the first place, because the truth is, we don't know what you know."

"That makes two of us," I told her plainly and she just stared through me for a few seconds before leaning back and looking back at her scroll.

"When we arrive at Beacon, you will be clocked in for a half day's work, though you won't be required to do any actual activities this day. You will be given time to have a meal, and to converse with individuals of your choice, but by 4:00 PM, I expect you to report to my office to finalize your living arrangements. Understood?" she asked all businesslike again as if we hadn't just had an intense discussion.

"Understood," I nodded.

"Very well, Now, if there's no more questions then-"

"Actually, I do have one more," I interrupted, and she scowled.


"It's just…how are things going to work out when Specialist Schnee does arrive?" I asked. To this she took another deep breath and looked back at her Scroll.

"That is something we will be discussing with the Headmaster about."

I involuntarily took an intake of air at that news. I knew I'd have to see Ozpin again, it was unavoidable at this point, but I didn't think it'd be that soon.

With silence falling back over us, she reached into her pocket and pulled out another Scroll and handed it to me.

"A replacement for the one you lost. We didn't deduct the charge from your last paycheck, but please do be more mindful of this one," she ordered. Without a word I took the mobile device and nodded, hoping beyond hope that Remnant had cloud storage backup so that I could still listen to my tunes.

Typically, it did not, and I spent the remainder of that Bullhead ride re-downloading my extensive library, all the while wondering just how far the rift between Oz and Glynda actually was.

}Line Break{

Eventually, the Bullhead began its decent, and Goodwitch finally opened a window. Sure enough, there was Beacon Academy in all its glory coming into view. The sight of it gave me both a feeling of safety and dread. Here at least, the White Fang wouldn't chance upon me, assuming my suspicions of Lilly were false, but at the same time my would-be assassin lurked within, trusted by everyone but myself and the metal armed jackass apparently. But as I'd told Goodwitch earlier, I preferred those walls over the unknown.

We landed without issue, and Goodwitch gestured for me to get off, but I held back for a moment. Both guards still sat in the cockpit and would immediately leave once we stepped off, but I just had to ask them something that'd been itching at my mind.

"Hey, you two?" I asked and they both turned around looking annoyed.

"What?" asked the man grumpily.

"How come until just now I had a whole bunch of unprofessional morons guarding me? Where were you and all the other serious guards this whole time?"

"Working actual important jobs," the woman responded harshly before turning away from me and I frowned.

"Ergo, why we were called in today," the bald guy added. "And those idiots you spoke of will hopefully be transported to the middle of nowhere if the higher ups are kind…which they're not."

"Don't I know it," I grumbled as I finally descended the steps behind Goodwitch. Almost immediately the ramp closed, and the Bullhead lifted back into the sky heading back towards the city. And as I watched them go I spotted my ever present stalker bird circling above us.

The minute I walk into the school you're gonna piss off and get hammered aren't you? I thought huffily. So absorbed in this mental slander I didn't even notice the approaching figure until they had wrapped me up in an almost bone crushing hug.

"Chris! It's good to see you finally out of that crappy hospital!" Emerald's cheerful tone shook me out of my thoughts and helped me ignore the slight burning on my chest from the pressure on it.

Goodwitch immediately gained a look of disproval on her face, and I was once more thrown for a loop from getting glomped by the attractive lady I was conflicted about.

"H-Hey Z! Careful now, still technically a cripple here," I gasped out, waving my cane around.

"Oh don't give me that, you didn't get hit in the legs," she laughed, but she relented and let me go. The second she did her eyes widened and her jaw dropped in shock.

"What? Something on my face?" I joked, as I knew exactly what she was looking at. Sure enough, she immediately lifted my hat off, exposing my dome to the high noon sun.

"What the hell happened to your hair?!" she exclaimed, and I smirked at her.

"The hair fairy broke into my room and pointed a gun at my head and forced me to take 20 lien for my beautiful mop," I snarked.

"Alright, be a smart ass," she said with a chuckle. "But seriously, this is pretty drastic. You practically look like a different person."

You're one to talk, I thought as I said,

"So what's that say about you running up and hugging random strangers? You that starved for affection?" I teased and she rolled her eyes.

"You're still dressed like a watermelon Chris," she pointed to my shirt and pants. "And the hat hid the hair from a distance, so maybe you should keep it off."

"I'm still not used to this chrome dome feeling myself though, everything's much chillier," I admitted as I rubbed my scalp.

"Can't imagine why," she giggled before handing my hat back. "I just know your adoring fanbase is gonna flip when they see this. The illustrious Professor Dust Devil has prematurely gone bald, oh woe is the world." She said that overdramatically while placing the back of her hand to her forehead and I just pinched the bridge of my nose.

"Z, please, never bring up that ridiculous nickname ever again. I get enough of that from the students, I don't need you doing it too."

"Oh believe me, Yang and I are going to come up with a lot more before the day is over," she said with a devious grin. And before I could protest such a promise…

"Ms. Zatanna, do we need to go over the rules of conduct between co-workers…again?"

Goodwitch's tone, which was a mixture of her usual annoyance and something else, caused both me and Emerald to jump in fright.

Crap! I'd actually forgotten you were there, I thought in embarrassment. In Emerald's case, she backed a few feet away from me as she quickly waved her arms back and forth in panic.

"Hehehehe nope! No need for that Professor Goodwitch, that was just a bit of a kneejerk reaction there is all hehehehe…"

At Goodwitch's raised brow Emerald's nervous chuckling only got worse.

"Heheheh…Oh would you look at the time! Hey Joker, let's go get some food. I bet you're dying to eat some proper food after so long, so why don't you come with me? Oh you will, great! Comeonletsgonow!"

Before I could even blink Emerald had grabbed my arm and had started dragging me away from the landing pads as fast as possible. I could only stare dumbfounded as I looked back and forth from her and Goodwitch while clutching my cane like it was a lifeline.

"My office at 4:00 P.M. Mr. Sullivan! Don't be late!" Goodwitch called out to me as I was dragged away. There was really only one thought going through my mind as this wackiness occurred.

Hold up…what does she mean by again!?

What? I said I only had one thought in mind, never said it was a good one.

But anyway, after practically dragging me out of view of Goodwitch, Emerald stopped her frantic dash and let out a frustrated sigh.

"Damn it, I better not have to sit through another freaking meeting because of this," she grunted and kicked at the ground.

"Sooo, you hugging other staff members is a common occurrence?" I broached and she stiffened. "As in it's happened often enough to require multiple visits?"

"What, jealous that you're not the only one?" she tried to act nonchalant, but I wasn't taking the bait.

"No, I'm just surprised my whole starved for affection joke was actually spot on," I laughed and she got red in the face.

"Shut up! I am not starved for affection!" she yelped in embarrassment, which only got me laughing more.

"No no it's fine. Plenty of people never grew out of their Care Bear and Barney phase. They do have very valuable lessons for small children after all," I teased, and she puffed out her cheeks and groaned.

"I don't know what Barney is, but the Care Bears were too cutesy for me, even when I was little!"

Alright, no Barney, add that to the list of missing media, I mentally noted, as I shot back,

"She says as she advocates their message enough to get in trouble with school faculty."

"Oh for-Let's just go get some lunch!" she said spinning on her heel and walking down the hall.

"Good idea, food can't exactly say no to excessive displays of happiness," I chuckled and hobbled after her as she groaned again.

"It's not even been 5 minutes and you're already being insufferable," she grunted, her voice actually getting higher pitched and squeaky the more frustrated she got.

"I know I have that effect on people," I chuckled. "But if it's bugging you Mayyyyybbbbeee we should consult the HR contract, see if there's any teasing clause I should know of?"

Emerald just groaned into her hands at that, which only fueled me more. Why was I pushing her buttons? Because after getting the second worst haircut I've ever had, being transported secret service style and still being frustrated by my scenario, it was good to cut loose with her. Also, she, Yang and Coco had been unrelenting when it came to busting my balls, so I figured some payback was due now that I had some good material. Of course, that was a two-way street.

"I swear I will intentionally make a mess that not even you can tidy up Mr. Clean!" she countered, and I was metaphorically slapped.

"Oh, starting in on the bald jokes already?" I challenged and she nodded.

"You know it! I might just paint a blue arrow on your chrome dome when you least expect it," she sneered.

"Hey now, I wish I was the freaking Avatar, it'd solve most of my problems," I said nonplussed. "I mean, aside from whatever issues you have."

"Keep pushing it Joker and I'll make you eat only veggies like that little nomad," she threatened and that actually caused me to wince.

"Yeah, please don't, I need my meat. Sun was very insistent on that front for gaining muscle mass."

"Or if you want to go steal cars again and again Mr. Wheelman," she said gaining her grin back.

"Oh come on, those movies are-"

"Heck, you still have trouble walking right? Why don't I just sit you down in a wheelchair and we can go recruit some gifted youngsters?"

"Alright, okay, I'm sorry for pushing it so far," I relented holding my hands up in a sign of peace. "Truce?"

"…For now," she said with a smile before turning back around and marching towards the cafeteria. "But the war can only be put on hold for so long Joker."

"I would be disappointed if it didn't," I chuckled as I limped next to her. "But in all seriousness, it is good to be back and to see you again Z."

She looked at me with her sly grin and nodded.

"Glad to hear it. The place just hasn't been the same without you."

"That's what everyone keeps saying," I shrugged.

"Because they mean it. Say, how about we recreate your trash sandwich video and send it out to let everyone know you're ba-"

Her terrible idea was interrupted as her Scroll chimed which startled both of us.

"Hang on, I've gotta check this," she said switching to business mode as she pulled the device out. With the urgency in which she checked her Scroll, I suspected that she'd been messaged by someone that could make her bark.

Great, not even a minute back and the wannabe Cinderella is on my ass. I mentally growled in annoyance. I bet Emerald's eyes are gonna get that annoying 'oh yes mistress' sparkle in them at any second and leave me in the dust...again!

Now I was by no means annoyed that my reunion with Emerald was going to be interrupted by the one who put me in the hospital in the first place. Nope, definitely wasn't annoyed for that reason. I was pissed because I got an instant reminder of how far Cinder had buried her claws into the one person who had once again made me temporarily forget about all the bad shit in the world.

I don't appreciate your doubts.

Anyway, to my surprise instead of beaming like a dog excited to see her master, she instead scowled which put my bitter mood back on hold.

"What's wrong?" I inquired and she sighed.

"Some of the kids have made a mess in the cafeteria, so it looks like I'm gonna have to clean it up," she grumbled.

"Oh…well that's not so bad. I'm not exactly starving right now so I could wait," I pointed out.

"I can't ask that of you man, you've been eating nothing but hospital food for months, you need to get a good meal already," she argued.

"Z, I can wait, I promise you," I reassured her. "And since we're heading there already, I can just help you get it done faster that way we can both chow down." She raised a brow in surprise at that.

"Chris? You know you don't have to help me right? I mean you just got back and I don't think it's a good idea for you to get to work right away since...well…." she gestured to my chest and the cane, the look in her eyes showing sympathy.

"No need to worry Z, I'm more than capable of working today," I waved my cane around a bit as I continued, "This is more for show than anything else, and I don't want to give Goodwitch an excuse to dock my pay for 'slacking off' and all that."

Emerald gave me a doubtful look at that, which was well warranted since I had been lying about my cane being just for show. Besides I was technically back on the clock according to Goodwitch, and I really did want to have lunch with her like the old times. She was still my friend despite her confusing circumstances, and I didn't feel like leaving her hanging.

"Well…I guess since you're offering," she relented before giving me a grateful grin.

"Yup," I nodded and that was good enough for her.

"Alright then, but I'll do most of the heavy lifting," she said as she took a detour towards an unoccupied classroom and pulled her cart out.

"Please do," I chuckled and followed after her.

"I'll try to make it quick, however big the mess is, because I know for a fact that once Ruby sees you, there's not gonna be a chance to eat and chat," she laughed.

"Weiss and Blake pretty much said the same thing," I responded as I tugged at my beard. "But yeah, I'd rather have a bite to eat and a pow wow before I face the little cinnamon bun."

"Speaking of cinnamon buns, I think the chefs actually made some today," she informed as we got closer and closer to the cafeteria.

"Oh kick ass! I haven't exactly had any sweets since the candy Sun snuck in and-"

I was cut off as a large crash came from up ahead.

"What the Hell was that?" Emerald and I said at the same time. We then double timed our speed, or tried to in my case as we rounded the corner, and saw three more janitors waiting expectantly outside of the cafeteria doors.

"Hey, what's going on?" Emerald asked and one of the older janitors with a mustache turned to us.

"From the looks of things, a war zone missy," he said in his gravelly voice. "We're just waiting it out till it peters out." Even as he said that, the sounds of breaking furniture, splattering food and the laughs of several teens echoed out the door and my jaw dropped.

"No freaking way…" I gasped as I walked past my fellow cleaners and opened the door.

"Wait, Chris!" Emerald called out but I'd already opened the door and stepped inside, and what I saw was exactly what I expected. Various foods were splattered against every surface of the room, including the ceiling as the epic food fight scene from the beginning of Volume II was taking place.

I gaped like a dying fish, not only because chronologically, this scene should have happened a month or two ago when the semester started, but also because RWBY and JNPR weren't the only ones involved. Team CFVY were mounting a frontal assault on Nora's castle, Cardin and his cronies were holding position in a corner as they were assaulted by several Faunus students wielding baked goods. There were many, many teams that I didn't know the name of, that were involved and each and every one of them was throwing perfectly good food around like they'd never missed a meal in their life.

This is…this is…epic and infuriating at the same time, I thought as my fists clenched and a stray cupcake whizzed by my head.

"Holy…Crap…" Emerald gasped as she entered beside me and took in the scope of the battlefield.

"Yeah…that's…yeah," I nodded as some kid got buried under cake. Emerald and I could only stare at the haunting majesty before us as things started to heat up.

"I think we might have to do a rain check on lunch," Emerald sighed in frustration.

"Good call," I nodded sarcastically as a table broke in half under the weight of several students. Emerald looked at the situation, before putting a hand on my shoulder.

"Why don't you go hang out in the maintenance room while we clean this mess up?"

"Yeah, I like that idea," I nodded. And because comedic timing is my eternal curse, my Scroll lit up. Glancing at it I found a message from Goodwitch, imploring me to assist in whatever way I could with the inevitable clean up. At the end she even added not to push myself too hard.

"Well how in the hell can I not?!" I screamed at my phone and Emerald grimaced, having read the message over my shoulder.

"Whoa, calm down Chris. I know it's pretty crummy and I know this seems like a lot, but I'm sure the others and I can clean up the hard stuff and-"

At this point Jaune was thrown into the wall right next to us, interrupting her as we both watched the poor kid slide down the wall leaving cake and blueberry stains as he groaned.

",,,On second thought, this is definitely gonna blow," she sighed in defeat.

"Nope! I'm not cleaning this!" I stamped my foot stubbornly, squashing a piece of honeydew by accident. "Not even Goodwitch can make me do it! I just got back and this is too much crazy for my first day! I'm just gonna shut off my scroll and take your advice and go to the maintenance roooo…"

I trailed off as I locked eye contact with someone across the room. Emerald followed my line of sight and gasped in acknowledgement as she too saw everyone's favorite grim reaper in the making.

Ruby, on the complete opposite side of the room, had stopped dead in her tracks in the middle of throwing a pie at someone. Said pie, now lay forgotten and smashed against her feet, as her focus switched solely to me and her eyes rapidly shifted through a wide variety of emotions. She got hit by a couple of cakes, but she didn't even flinch as her eyes began to well up with tears. A spike of guilt shot through me at that, but before I could get too depressed a bright grin split across her face as pure, unadulterated joy washed over her.

"Oh boy," Emerald said worriedly as she took a few steps back from me, and with good reason. Ruby got into a runner's staring position and she started sounding like a car engine revving up, even over the roar of the food fight.

"Cccccchhhhrrrrrrrr…" she started, her voice getting louder and louder, and my pupils shrank as I remembered just how the food fight ended in the show.

"Nononononononononono!" I waved my hands back and forth, trying to dissuade her. "Ruby whatever you're about to do sto-"


And like that my words fell on deaf ears as Ruby charged at me with her super speed, with a torrent of food, debris and the occasional unlucky student getting caught up in her wake, just like in the show.

"PROTECT ME CANE!" I bravely cried out brandishing my walking stick, but it was all for naught. She glomped me with such intensity that I was lifted off of my feet and her momentum carried us past Emerald, through the cafeteria doors, past the other janitors, past a bewildered looking Sun and Neptune, and clear down the hallway. The food on her shoes acted like ice skates as she physically stopped running but continued to slide down the hallway with me in her grip.

You wanna know the most surprising thing about all that? I hadn't been hurt at all. Sure there had been pressure from the sudden momentum shift, but that superhuman little girl had scooped me up without even knocking the wind out of me. By the time her drifting came to a halt, my feet were back on the floor but she was still desperately clinging onto me like I was the last limited edition comic at a convention. Her teary eyes and bright smile beamed up at me as she simply said,

"I missed you Chris."

Now really, there was only one thing I could do in this situation.

I gently wrapped my arms around her to return the hug, and gently said,

"Yeah…I missed you too Red."

For all you assholes who thought I was gonna panic and chuck her off me, screw you! I have far too much respect for Ruby to do that to her. Besides…no never mind.

I hugged her back and that's that. I'd been getting a lot of practice in the last two days from Blake, Snow, Emerald and now her, so excuse me for going with the flow.

It's moments like that that kept my time in Remnant from being a complete soul crushing experience, and you can't take that away from me.

So yes, I took a moment to make a little girl happy, which in turn made me happy. It wouldn't last for long obviously, but it was enough.

"What happened to your hair?" she immediately yelped in shock as my hat had flown off in the glomp.

"Let's just say there was this easily distracted squirrel and leave at that for now kiddo."

}Episode End{

And thus Chris is thrusted back into the Beacon life, and a certain red riding hood has made sure to welcome him back in the grandness of ways! Also he's bald now, and thus has become a skinny noodly, tiny version of Kratos with his beard.

I was this close to having that glomp injure Chris, but I figured we had enough angst and shit being flung at him thanks to Irondick that I needed to give the guy a break. Small mercy's and all that, especially considering what I have planned for him next ep *evil chuckle*.

Anyways! Before I go into the usual review thing I do, I just want to mention that yes I have managed to watch Volume 8 despite the mess my life had been. Needless to say I am feeling a lot of mixed emotions right now, plenty of which are of the negative variety. I was alright with most of the season, and yes including how they handled you know who's descent to madness, especially when a certain character decided to go to the other side of the street after realizing how crappy their company was.

Called it back in V6, and damn proud of it since I love those kinds of transitions!

However, the last two episodes are the source of my negative emotions for reasons those who've seen it most likely know. I particularly dislike how a certain character made such a huge change and opened the door for a bunch of character development and adorable moments…only for the disaster of a final episode to stab that idea into tiny pieces along with my emotions.

Ahem, anyway before I go on a rant I'd like to ask you all not to post any spoilers in the reviews for the show. I know the finale left a big impact and me ranting slightly about it here might spark something, but none of that for those who haven't watched it yet.

I thank you in advance for understanding, and hope your prepared to be smite by the might of an angry nerd over the internet if you don't!

Anyway, enough about the show! It's time to call you guys out, so lets not waste time and get things started!

Unsettling-A.I.R: Welp….this did not age well. Some summer huh hehehehehe…Thanks for the support!

Oblivious IJ: *Blinks owlishly* …Well okay then. I personally prefer Kuudere's over the vast -dere troupes, the adorableness when one finally shows emotions is just too much for this poor author's heart to handle! To each their own as they say.

Kevin Bakeland: Your quite welcomed my good sir! I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as you enjoyed the last one!

doomqwer: Upupupupup~ Trust me if I had it my way, this story would be drowning in the despair of Danganronpa references! Sadly, there is a time and a place for such glorious references to be made. I absolutely love the franchise, so you bet I'm gonna try and make as many refences as I possibly can!

VirusChris: Virus my man, I always enjoy your long reviews but I don't want to make this AN any longer then its going to be. So to keep things simple, I'm glad you enjoyed this glance into the lives of those not our esteemed MC. Who knows, maybe when another major event happens I might do this again…if we can ever reach another major event at least. If you want my specific thoughts just pm when ya got the time! As for the identity of the crazed Fang slasher…well where's the fun in telling you? *trollish smile*

Bomberguy789: Okay, being completely honest that first bit flew over my head and I have no clue what your referencing. That being said I'm glad that you liked how I'm working things, doing the expected is never any fun so why not twist everything to make it all the more fun! And the Creeper title may disappear one day, but who knows when? And that dust bit at the end has given me some wonderfully evil ideas, so thanks for the inspiration! *evil cackle*

TM Calypso: A part of me was hoping you'd notice that ship name was reference, and your reaction pleases me greatly…even if RabBot beats my name out of the water by a mile. I'm glad you liked the different povs, and your confusion about who the Yandere is always a blast to see. Also damn that was a really good month for ya huh? Hope things are still going your way after that long, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter just as much as the last one!

Guest(A): Yes! Drown in your questions as you swim to find the answers you so desperately want. But in order to reach these truths you must read the rest of this story Mwahahahahaha!

SouthernGentleman11: Hopefully your eagerness didn't fade with time, as finally the next chapter is here! I hoped you enjoyed this one as much as you possibly did the last!

Rogal Dorn: You thought I would acknowledge your reference, but it was just a ruse, as I throw this reference right back at your face!

Thomas Knightshade: No problem man! I'm glad I seemed to get their personality's on point, some of them were easier to write then others *stares heatedly at a smug Ozpin* so I was a bit worried there. Neo's interest can't mean any good for our hero, and a quarter of the Fang aren't dead, that was referring to the Fang knocked out by Nora's divebomb and Yang's brawler attack before Chris got shot.

Majesticleviathan: I'm honestly a bit to happy that this fic has theories beind thought about it like the actual show. It's brings me an odd feeling of pride, like I somehow am one step closer to being on canon's level or something. Anyway, so many interesting theories to look at. Now I won't say anything, because there's no fun that way *troll smile*, but I will say this my dear little theorizer; One's truth is another's lie, but its up to those who look on to judge which is which. Also thanks for the support, and can't wait to see ya in 2022 when we finally get to Volune III~ Oh, and good luck truing to unravel my madness, cause let me tell you the Mad Hatter sees me and thinks I'm crazy!

Ubivashka-kun: Phew! You had me going there for a few seconds man. Anyways, glad to see your still enjoying the fic so much! As far as pairings go, or the idea of it being a harem or, well let's just keep it all a surprise shall we? Stories that tell ya the pairing outright when its not focusing on it always ruin the fun of guessing who gets with who, and I ain't joining that league any time soon no thank you sir! No offense to those who do enjoy those fics, of course, since they are still badass but just not my cup of tea is all.

GEStorm: What truly defines 'good' or 'bad?' Is it the laws given to us by society, or is it by the lessons and wisdom one gains as they journey on through life? Either way, one's bad is always another's good. So whose to say what Cinder is, for only Cinder herself can judge her actions and label them as such.

Masquer Q: Glad you're enjoying the story! I always believe that any good comedy needs its dark and serious moments in order to balance out the wackiness, and I strive to showcase that in the stories I write. Its not something a lot of people enjoy, so I'm glad to see you enjoy this type of writing just as much as I do!

FuruMega: Thanks so much for the support, and I hope you enjoyed this chap as much as you enjoyed the last one and the one before that!

Someguy the anon: Who knows~? *Trollishly smiles*

Guest(B): Fixed it, through I had to use a common instead of a period for a reason I can't remember hehehehehehe….

Spasminos: So many interesting thoughts and conundrums to ponder about, all of which shall be answered in good time! I'm glad your enjoying the story so much, and I'll be sure to keep your advice in mind further down the road!

DarkFox17: Fear not, for an update is finally here! And while Chris hasn't done anything too crazy yet I hope you still enjoyed this chap regardless!

G119: I'm so so happy you enjoy the fic so much to reread it occasionally! I do the same with a couple fics on the site whenever I can't find anything new to read myself. Out curiosity, what has been your favorite character moment so far and why?

Yaldabaoth'sApprentice: Beg no longer, for AN UPDATE IS HERE!

Guest(C): Nope~!

StarShredder: I'm glad you gave this fic a chance and that you enjoyed it despite its crazy randomness. I like to call it 'Control Madness' and as you've seen, it can bring some truly interesting things to life when done right. I hope you continue to enjoy the story as we continue down the road that is Chris's life!

rameramean7: The magic word has been stated, deploying chapter now!

eseer: This review is now ten times as funny thanks to the ending of this ep, and I laugh far too long because of this when I read it.

WPUrchezem23: Thanks for the support, and uh hehehe yeah my exposition can get a bit…long. Sorry bout that, that's just how I write is all.

Rwby Fan: Yeah, reading isekais tends to get boring when the same thing happens over and over again. I prefer a bit of realism when it comes down to it, so why not shove that down my fics throat every chance I get?

Guestinator: Sorry you feel that way, I just felt all caps adds a bit more impact than just a sentence with an exclamation mark. To each their own as they say.

Captain stag: Let's just say there was a lot of happy, borderline maniacal, laughter and a tub of celebratory ice cream. If this AN wasn't already as long as it is I would be gushing my thanks for at least a page or two with pure happiness over what happened.

CykoZoah: Hehehehe…I refer to my response to WPU's review and leave it at that.

A Petty Theif: I shall give no specific age, cause at this point it would just be out of character for me to do so, but I will say that he is at least old enough to drive and live on his own. No other hints shall be given till an age is given in the fic, and thus I have spoken!

Phew! That sure was a lot of reviews to call out on, but then again I have been gone for a good couple of months so the amount makes sense. That's not even going into the AN posts reviews, which I would respond to but it would just be me thanking you guys over and over again for your concern and understanding and this AN is already a good few pages long.

Said amount of pages is why I'm not doing my usual Fav/Fallow recount as mentioned int Stag's review response. Don't want this to go on too long and give you guys a migraine thinking you have to read a chap over 21 thousand words after all hehehehehe….

I will say this, with as much sincerity and happiness typed words on the internet can give, thank you all so much for all the support and for making this fic reach over 1,000 follows. I honestly can't express how much joy seeing that number brings me, and its all thanks to you guys.

If a react fic 'watching' this story ever came to be, or a freaking tvtropes page for this fic pops up, I might just die of pure happiness right then and there.

Anyways, my wishful thinking aside, as usual feel free to leave idea for future jokes or Omakes! I can never get enough inspiration from your guys, and I just love seeing your guy's reactions to the fic in the reviews!

All logic used in this fic is completely head-canon, especially in relation to dust and the physics behind it. If you don't agree then that's okay, its just how I see things.

Now before I sign off, next chapter shall be having a non-canon Omake shouldn't it? Well, while watching Volume 8 I got a dreadfully delightful idea to show you all. As a hint, I have a little question for you all…

Have you ever heard the Tale about the Fox and the Hound?

*grins evilly* I shall leave you with that question and your curiosity behind it. Till next time, this has been LightDusk16 signing off!