After my run-in with Summer I kept exploring until around eleven or so. Then I decided to ask the staff for something to do. After some asking around I was told to help get the cafeteria ready for lunch.
As it turns out this is a big job. With so many students here and with all the mental and physical training that goes on here the students need to eat a lot. And when I say a lot I mean a lot. Back home when lunch came around we would grab a small lunch tray and whatever was on it was it, that was lunch. Here it was more like a buffet! The students grabbed whatever they wanted and could come back for more! Of course all the food prepared was nutritional in some way and meant to keep the students good to go untill dinner, which was also provided by the school.
Geez, what kind of budget did this school have?!
So when I got there everyone was in a rush. They had a lot of foods to prepare from simple sandwiches to swordfish! It wasn't long before I was put to work.
I was told to help put together sliders and get then set out on the counter where all the students would pick out their meals. I didn't have much trouble with this thanks to my time working at the Knock Out drive in back home. Putting together a slider what pretty much the same as a greasy old burger as it turned out...
I stared at the trey full of sliders of various kinds, reminded of all the times I would stand by the window waiting for my shift to be over. Unless there was a mission I would never have to wait long for Arcee to show up.
I had to force myself to focus again, working even faster and harder to get my mind off home.
It didn't take long for an entire section of the counter to be completely full. I called over one of the chefs to check my work.
He didn't say anything for a moment before asking...
"You did all of these?" He asked.
Well...he didn't sound mad, I guess that was a good sign.
"On you own?" He sounded a little suprised.
"Um...yes...did I screw up? I was somewhat confused by his reaction. Back home when I first started if i called my boss to check my work (I usually wasn't very confident starting a job) he would just glance over my work and yell at me to not worry about it and get them set aside and work on the next batch.
This was quite different.
"No not at all! Its just most people I know who can get this much done are...well...a lot older." He said.
Huh. Well that was different...
After that I was told to get drinks prepared. I always hated this as if you were careless you would spill and I was almost always the one to clean when my shift was over (no one else would). So I had to balance being fast and being carful enough to keep the floor as clean as possible.
Here it wasn't that different except instead of soda it was energy drinks, coffee (lots of that), tea, and various juices.
As I got into a grove I glanced over at the cooks who were making the more complicated meals. They must have been doing this a long time because they were able to hold an entire conversation among themselves and yet they didnt make a single screw up that I saw.
If there was one thing I learned here it was that this school took their meals very seriously.
Before long It was lunch time and teenagers came flooding in through the two entrances. I watched as the students grabbed their trays and grabbed various assortments and went on their way.
Though I wasnt able to watch long, we had to keep restocking the counters as the food went very fast. Faster then it ever had at the KO diner.
Eventually the tides receded somewhat as most of the students had sat down to eat, giving us a much needed respite. I was able to take a look at the students as they ate. Talking about things that had happened in class or what they wanted to do after class was over. I began to realize just how much my hearing had improved after ending up on Remnant. I was able to heard nearly across to the other side of the cafeteria even over all the noise of the kitchen. And not only that but my sight as well, though this was a difference I had noticed before, but didn't want to admit.
I was starting to get used to being a Faunus.
And honestly that kind of scared me. It was a sign of getting used to my new environment. Of moving on.
What would happen if this continued? Would I eventually forget about earth? About my friends and family? I had a hard time believing that was possible but the doubt was there in the back of my mind. I didn't want to forget them.
This furthered my resolve to get home. Even if it took years, I'd spent too much time with them to just throw it away now.
Of course there was another problem. The longer I stayed here the more people I would meet. And some of those people could end up being friends. It would make leaving a lot harder if I made friends here.
So why had I agreed to meet with Summer and her team? I was supposed to be focusing on work and finding out how I'd ended up here. Not socializing.
Maybe it was cause if I didn't she would have pressed the issue? She seemed like the kind of person to do that kind of thing. Maybe I was just tired of being alone...
Whatever it was I had already said yes, I couldn't back out now. I'd just have to be boing enough for them to leave me alone. Shouldn't be too hard.
Once lunch was over it was time for the part I was dreading.
Yea this wasn't gonna be fun.
At very least all the noise was gone. It wasn't bad but it had begun to hurt my ears after a while.
I was about to get started when I noticed all the staff had gathered around a few tables, going back and fourth from the kitchen.
"Hey guys, whats going on?" I asked when I made my way to them. They glanced over to me.
"Gettin something to eat. You hungry kid?"
I was mildly suprised. If I had eaten any of the food back home without paying for it I would have most likely been fired.
"Is that allowed?" I asked. They shrugged.
"No ones stopped us yet." One of them said as he took a bite out of a finger steak.
I decided not to question it anymore and just role with it.
"So kid, whatcha think of Beacon? You've only been here a day right?" A man with blue hair asked. I nodded. I had been about to say more, before remembering that it was a bad idea to socialize too much.
They made a few more attempts at small talk with me after that before just talking among themselves for the rest of the meal.
Once we were done we moved on to cleaning. The staff continued to talk among themselves and I went to the back of the cafeteria to clean.
Teens could be real pigs.
It had taken at least two hours to get everything cleaned and the food put away. And once it was done I felt like I had put in a full shift at the KO diner. Still, at least I had something to do while I was stuck here.
By the time it was all said and done it was around 4:00 PM and classes would be ending soon. I decided to spend what time I had left before I would meet with Summer in my room. I had found a spare notebook and decided I would use it as a diary, though I wouldn't write anything too sensitive in it until I found a good hiding spot. I had just made it back to my room when my scroll went off. I set my notebook down and saw a text from miss Goodwitch.
"Professor Ozpin has requested to see you. Please make your way to his office immediately. I've sent directions to your scroll."
Scrap! I'd better get over there fast. I may not want to meet with Summer (or do I?) but I don't want to just blow her off. With that in mind I pulled up the directions to the professor's office. As it turned out the professors office wasn't that far away as it only took me about two minutes to get there. The office itself was rather small, just a bit smaller then my dorm in fact. Almost everything seemed to be made of wood, what kind I couldn't tell. And right behind the large desk at the other end of the room sat professor Ozpin, waiting patiently.
"You wanted to see me sir?" I asked, hoping I wasn't in trouble.
"Yes, Mister Darby. Please sit down." He said calmly. I sat down, becoming steadily more nervous. Pressure gathered in my chest.
"Now, to start I would like to ask you how you've found your stay here so far?" He asked. I was glad that he hadn't asked about my past, though I didn't want to drop my guard just yet.
"Its been better then I thought it would be to be honest." I stated, wanting to say more but...also getting the feeling that I shouldn't. I decided I'd leave it at that for now. The professor waited a few awkward moments before nodding.
"...Very well. Have you found everyone friendly? Has anyone harassed you at all?" What was he getting at with this? Did he know about my run in with the orange haired kid? If so was he trying to see if I would say anything? Well it was his school. If he didn't know already then he would soon enough, no need to bring it up.
"Nope, so far everyone has been quite friendly." I lied through my teeth. I could have sworn I'd seen the professors eyes narrow just a hair. But if it had happened it was gone as quick as it had come.
"Good. Here at Beacon we try to maintain a friendly environment to all who stay here, Human and Faunus alike. Though I know that cannot always be the case." He sighed.
"I know you have plans so I will cut to the chase. I brought you here to give you another chance of explaining the mysterys surrounding yourself and the lack of information on you." He said, looking straight at me. He didn't look angry though, if anything he looked determined. That didn't stop the fear from invading my chest again though. On one hand if I gave him the same answer I had at the station...yea that wouldn't end well. At the same time if I lied he would probably be able to see through it. I was already pretty sure he'd seen through my previous lie. So that just left the truth. A truth that would land me in a mental asylum with no way of getting home. They say the truth will set you free but in this case it would do just the opposite! I'd just have to selectively tell the truth. Just enough to explain a few things.
"Well...for now let's say that some good friends of mine were in a lot trouble and I was in a good position to help them out." I said, referring to Optimus' memories and the key.
"But...when I did I got separated, and now I don't know how to find them again...In fact I'd never been to Mountain Glenn until about a week ago." I stated. The professor said nothing for a moment. Probably trying to see if I was lying.
"So your from outside of the kingdoms, the Grimm invaded your village, and you used yourself as a distraction. Is that it?" He listed.
"Wha- I...I mean..." I was utterly floored! How had he gotten that from what I'd said?! While I was still fumbling with my words Ozpin chuckled, then sighed.
"Its not the first time I have seen this happen. In fact a few of my students have a similar background. And in their cases most of the records on them were either lost or destroyed. Short of being from another world this is the only possible explanation." He explained.
He'd...just made me a backstory... "
Sir...thank you, I wasn't sure you would believe me." I was hardly able to keep a smile of relief off my face, though not for the reason he thought. The professor nodded.
"Your welcome. Now you may have noticed that a few precautions were taken to prevent you from...leaving." He started. I nodded, knowing he was referring to the sealed window and monitored scroll.
"I am sorry for that." He apologized.
"It was the only way I could convince the authorities to let you come with me, rest assured that soon you will have your full freedom back." Wow. Today was just full of great news. I just nodded and let him continue.
"Also I was informed of your work in the cafeteria earlier today. I would like to offer you a wage in exchange for continuing to work there every afternoon. Its hard to find diligent workers who are not already working in the full restaurants of Vale." He laughed. All I could was just nod at this point.
"Very well. I think that covers everything, you may leave if you like."
"Alright. Thank you sir. This...it's more then I could have hoped for." I said.
"Your quite welcome mister Darby. I see no reason to believe you don't deserve it."
That wiped the smile right of my face. The professor noticed immediatly and looked concerned. I left before he could do anything about it. It may not have been my lie but that didn't change the fact that I didn't stop him from believing it.
I thought about the conversation all the way to the cafeteria. He'd said I deserved it, but I knew he wouldn't have said that if he knew the truth. I didn't deserve anything.
But thinking like this isn't going to help me. I need to keep moving, I still have more to do today. It wasn't long before I made it to the cafeteria. The kitchen staff was just arriving for the dinner service, getting everything prepared. And sitting at one of the tables was Summer. Along with a blonde haired boy. Apparently he'd been in the middle of a joke when I arrived because they were both barely holding back laughter.
"And then, haha and then the guy says, now that's a katana! hahaha!" He said and they both exploded into laughter. They were laughing so hard a smile was beginning to form on my own face so I decided to stop them before I got caught up in it too.
"Hey Summer!" I called. I was still by the entrance a few hundred feet away and they couldn't hear like I could so I had to yell. They both turned around and waved me over. When I got to them Summer shot up and pointed to me.
"Tai, this is Jack! Jack, this is Tai!" She exclaimed and shoved me beside the blondie, who held out his hand.
"Nice to meet you Jack, like the ball of energy said my name's Taiyang, but everyone just calls me Tai." He chuckled.
"Nice to meet you Tai." I said and shook his hand.
"So the Branwens should be here in a bit so we have some time to kill before then." Summer informed. Tai nodded and looked back at me.
"So Jack, what brings you to Beacon? Summer already told me that you aint a student so why else would ya be here?" He asked. I saw Summer lean forward in interest.
Time to be boring.
"Long story short I was part of a misunderstanding and was brought here until they could clear it up." I said simply. There smiles turned into pouts. They were obviously hoping for a story.
"I know it's not exactly interesting but hey, I'm just an ordinary guy so it fits." I smiled. Eventually they just shrugged.
"So what's it like living out in Mountain Glenn? Do you see a lot of Grimm?! I'd bet they have to send patrols into the forest all the time! Ahhh! It sounds so awesome!" Summer cried. I didn't really know what to say to that.
It kind of reminded me of Miko.
"Hey Hey! Your scaring him Sum." Tai joked. Summer had the decency to look embarrassed and her face took on a shade of red.
"Yea sorry. Its just we train here so much that we hardly ever get to see any Grimm other then Creeps and Beowulfs." She poured. Yep. I could definitely imagine Miko saying that.
"I mean I'm glad the bigger Grimm don't come around here all that often but it would be nice to get an Ursa or something, maybe even a Deathstalker." Tai added.
"Why would you ever want to fight a giant scorpion?" I asked.
"Well when you fight the same thing over and over again for the past year and a half you tend to want a bigger challenge. I mean yea an Ursa would be nice but a Deathstalker! Man that would be an awesome fight!" Summers silver eyes glazed over as she started making cartoonish fighting noises in her excitement. I shook my head.
"You are absolutely-"
"You!" I heard someone yell behind me. I turned around to see who...it...was...
Standing by the entrance was the very same Qrow and Raven who had brought me into the station the days before.
Oh look, two chapters in a single week! Im beginning to see something worthwhile in this story. My skills have improved somewhat and im finding it easier to write. Its great for helping me think.
Also I'd like to thank everyone who has reviewed so far. Its great to see people interested in my story. That said it would be great if you guys could continue to offer criticism.