New story I guess? I wanted to do some hurt/comfort feels at 10:30 for no apparent reason.
They had pushed out the White Fang, and Vale was safe, for now at least.
The first day was surreal, sleep came easy, exhaustion overriding everything else. The second day the smoke cleared, and what was left felt meager and broken. Of course, no one wallowed in pity; Everyone immediately went to work, students helping clear rubble and Grimm stragglers. No one talked about what happened.
No one wanted to.
Ruby couldn't sleep the third night; which was fine, because that just meant more hands to help carry rubble. It meant more hands to carry bodies. The worst part was when they found student, usually first years, because, you see, when Grimm kill, they maim. They leave little left to find; oftentimes their weapons the only distinguishing factor from the rest of the dead. Later, she would swear she would feel the aura on them, even after they were dead.
Every second Ruby wasn't working with what was left of JNPR, she was with her sister. Yang would wake up, never fully conscious; Ruby would see again and again the same face of horror and pain when her arm was no longer there. Yang would try to fight it. Yang would cry, screaming, and when she calmed down she would ask for Blake. Ruby wouldn't have an answer.
Now almost a week after the attack, Ruby finally was forced to stop working, along with Jaune. Both of them seemed to have been trying to kill themselves in their work. General Ironwood wouldn't have it, he told both of them to rest, even promising an apartment for them to use. When the protested, he gave them a Look. They listened.
Now, both of them, in their dirty battle clothing, sat down on an untouched bench in front of Beacon. The overcast darkened as the sky thundered.
"What happens now?"
"I…I don't know. It's all kind of confusing."
"Will things ever go back to normal?"
"I…I don't think so."
The final words were lost on Ruby. She wanted to scream. She…she wasn't able to stand, even as the rain picked up from the light drizzle. Jaune reached for her arm, hesitating for a moment, before lifting her from the bench.
"Let's get out of here."
For a moment Ruby looked up, she watched the rain painted lighter stripes of tan on his face as they rolled down, his hair a mess, slowing soaking up the precipitation.
"Yeah. Let's go." A small smirk on her faced appeared as she activated her semblance. "Race you."
A yelp of protest was all she heard behind her as her body launched across the broken walkway into what was left of the academy. The huntress-in-training just stared…the damage felt so fresh. Only the bare minimum had been done to keep the place from falling. Grimm marks, weapons marks, and dust marks all were apparent on the walls. Dried blood and still-melting ice from attacks were everywhere, the ground glossy from the melted dust attacks.
She heard panting and gasping behind her, "W-wait up!" She turned to see a winded Jaune bent over and clutching his knees, gasping for air.
And for the first time since before the attack, she giggled. A short second only, but it was enough. Jaune's head jerked up, and slowly the ends of his lips curled up into a smile.
"Looks like things are going back to normal pretty fast, I guess."
The words were empty, they both knew it, but for a few seconds, Ruby allowed herself to believe it.
"Yeah…yeah, I guess they are."
Ruby hesitated for a moment, having no real direction or objective to head towards. Thankfully, Jaune eventually stepped up to her, taking her hand.
"C'mon, let's give ourselves the tour. I don't think anyone could stop us." The mirth in his voice was subtle, but there nonetheless.
And for the briefest of moments, she hesitated; but she gave in, squeezing his hand.
"I'd love that."
The two of them raced down the halls, Ruby no longer the more reluctant of the two, but still was being led by Jaune.
"Jaunnnee, where are you taking me?"
A short laugh came from the blond.
"You'll see soon enough!"
Eventually, they reached the kitchen, much of it untouched, along with some evidence of temporary residence, probably by the workers that had made the building structurally sound once again. Opening various cabinets, Jaune frantically searched for what seemed like forever, before pulling a brown cardboard box from the back of the fridge.
"Aha! They didn't find it!"
Opening the box, inside there were various ingredients…for a pancake?
"Is that milk okay?"
"We…we were actually planning to make pancakes right before the attack. The refrigerator is dust powered too, so it should be fine."
A moment passed, both of them unsure of their next course of action. Then a laugh.
"I- I didn't think this through did I? I thought, maybe we could…maybe if we could make some pancakes, but we don't even have any tools, the stove probably doesn't work! I-"
Ruby cut him off, pulling him into her arms. Then a tear.
"We can cook this in the apartment that Ironwood gave us…and Jaune?"
They made their way out of the school, racing through the rain, laughing. After getting to their apartment, and a couple showers later, they got to work. Soon, the empty words of hope didn't seem so empty anymore to Ruby. Maybe, just maybe, things would be alright.
Not sure where I was going with this tbh. Enjoy the 900-ish words of Lancaster i wrote just now tho!
Please call me out for being a shit (read: tell me what's wrong)!