"You think he's having a wet dream?"
"Why the heck would you think that?"
"Come on Ren, he keeps moaning Pyrrha's name. I bet if you lifted the blanket off him he'd have a stiff one."
"Nora I'm not going to check for that."
"You're no fun." Ren and Nora's conversation stopped however when Ren looked down to see Jaune's eyes open.
"I'm not having a wet dream." Jaune said as he looked at his friends, he couldn't help but notice that his right eye wasn't opening all the way plus the right side of his face and body was throbbing in pain. He tried to sit up but Ren put a hand on his left shoulder.
"Jaune you shouldn't be moving, you're still hurt."
"Just, let me sit up man." Jaune said and Ren nodded as Nora disappeared only to return after a few moments with an armful of pillows. Ren set a couple of them behind Jaune and helped him sit up straighter.
Jaune could now get a better look around where he was. It looked like he was back in the apartments but not the original one that they were all sleeping in. He also couldn't help but notice that there was a tube in his right arm that connected to a plastic bag that hung off a hook.
There were also a number of scabs on his arm making it looked like someone took a knife and decided to score his skin a few dozen times.
Looking down he pushed the blanket covering him off, he was stripped down to the waist. What drew his attention first however were the white pads sticking to his chest.
Following the lines that connected them he could see a small EKG machine sitting on the nightstand to his right that beeped rhythmically. He also could see that he had purplish bruises running up the right side of his chest to his armpit.
"An IV? How long have I been out?" Jaune asked looking up at Nora and Ren.
"A little more than a week." Nora said softly and Jaune blinked.
"You've been unconscious for eight days now Jaune."
"That's our sentiment as well." Nora said as she walked over to stand next to Ren.
"If you're wondering what happened, we had an accident on our way back to Mountain Glenn. Believe it or not a deer actually came out from the woods and it struck the passenger side door and I may have freaked out then flipped the jeep so I guess I didn't help the situation." Ren explained and Jaune supposed that made sense since the right side of his face had been against the window where the deer would have hit. He looked up at Ren and could see some apprehension in his friend.
"It's fine Ren; you did what any of us would have done in that situation." Jaune said as he tried to smile but something painful was being pulled on his cheek.
"I know Jaune! I've been telling Mr. Grumpy pants here that it wasn't his fault but he's almost as stubborn as you are." Nora cried out then gasped.
"We got to tell the others!" She said slapping her face with both hands.
"I guess you can go tell them, I'll stay here with Jaune." Ren said and the orange hair girl scampered out of the room.
"So did anything else happen that I should know?" Jaune asked.
"You mean about our trip back? No, other than our accident everything went fine. We got to the city; the Army took you to a hospital on the east side of town where you stayed for a few days before the hospital finally let us take you home. You actually did wake up a few times but I suppose you were so out of it that you probably wouldn't remember that. Anyways they told us that you weren't in major danger. So we got some medical supplies than hooked you up in here for the last few days." Jaune nodded at that slowly.
"Speaking of which, who did the report for the Army?"
"Pyrrha did, though we had to force her to do it since she was spending almost every minute of the day by your side. Nora and Helena finally forced her to leave then banned her from your room until you woke up."
"What happened with them?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I'm pretty sure we're supposed to get evaluated then awarded on how we did." Jaune explained but Ren shrugged.
"I don't know the details on that; I suppose you'll have to talk to Qrow or Mina on that." Then realization dawned on his face.
"I can say though we did get some new people."
"Yup, Arslan and her three friends asked to join us. We didn't see anything wrong with that so we said yes." Ren explained.
"That's good, with more people we can probably tackle bigger if not more requests at once now." At that moment there was a knock at the door and the two teens looked. There stood most of the group along with both of his sisters who moved by his bedside quickly.
"Thank god you're awake now Jaune." Helena said as she kneeled down next to the bed.
"You really had us worried there little brother." Mina said as she stood over Helena.
"Seriously why do you keep getting hurt?" Helena asked as she sniffed loudly, Jaune reached out with his left hand to pat her head.
"I'm sorry Helena but I'm not trying to get hurt, it just sort of happened. A complete accident that none of us could have seen coming." He said and the younger girl nodded as she wiped her nose with the back of her hand.
"Be that as it may you're not allowed to go on the next mission." Mina said as she sat at the foot of the bed.
"Do we have another mission?" Jaune asked but Mina shook her head.
"You don't need to know."
"I actually think I do need to know since I'm technically the leader."
"Leader smeader Jaune, if I see you out of bed doing something I don't like I'm gonna shoot you in the leg myself that way you can't go anyway."
"But if you shoot my leg wouldn't that defeat the purpose of me not getting hurt?"
"On second thought I might just stab you with a fork instead." A few seconds wouldn't even pass by before Jaune started to laugh softly; Helena and Nora started to laugh as well. Mina's angry face melted way to give rise to a small smile.
"So how are you two?" Jaune asked and Helena snorted.
"He's been unconscious for a week but he asks how we're doing."
"I mean it's because I've been unconscious that I'm asking."
"Well Qrow and I had to take over dealing with the Army while you were bedridden." Mina said as she walked around the bed to sit in a chair on Jaune's right side.
"Aside from worrying about you, I've been fine as well. Weiss and I are going over a bandage and splintering book we found downstairs." Helena chimed in and Jaune nodded.
"That's good; we can never have enough people with knowledge in medicine or treating wounds." At that point Sun, Blake, Weiss and Ruby showed up but surprisingly there was a fifth person with them as well. A lanky orange hair girl that looked more than a little shy.
"Man you look like shit." Sun said loudly as they walked up to the side of the bed which earned him a jab from Blake's elbow.
"I mean, uh, nice to see you haven't kicked the bucket dude." Sun said with a cheeky grin as he held out a fist which Jaune bumped with his own.
"Ah well you know Jaune, he's stubborn to the bone." Weiss said as she folded her arms a serious expression on her face but Jaune could see a twinkle of mirth in her eyes.
"I suppose you do have the most experience with that side of me." Jaune replied, to which she nodded.
"I actually still remember some of those love letters you'd send me." She said as a mischievous smile grew on her face whereas Jaune felt the blood drain from his.
"Oh what's this, my little brother sending love letters? You must tell me about them sometime." Mina said with a predatory smile on her face as well.
"Please don't." He whimpered as Ruby stepped up to him.
"I'm glad you're okay Jaune." She said.
"Yeah, I'm glad as well." Jaune said before nodding to the stranger.
"So who's your friend there?" Ruby looked at her then beckoned her over.
"Oh! This is someone that Weiss's sister entrusted us to watch out for." The orange hair girl held out a pale hand.
"Hello Mr. Arc my name is Penny Polendina, pleasure to meet you." Jaune took it and gave it a firm shake.
"Pleasure to meet you Penny, you can call me Jaune, Mr. Arc was my father." The girl seemed to frown a little at that and Jaune realized he had said that in the past tense. Which he had to be honest felt very odd even if it was true, he cleared his throat.
"Well you'll have to excuse me for not standing up Penny, I'm not exactly in the best shape and besides which I'm pretty sure no one in here is gonna allow me to get out of bed, my sister here already threatened to shoot me if I get out of bed." He said earning a small smile from the girl.
"To be fair, if we did find you out of bed before we allowed you then I'm pretty sure Pyrrha will break a leg or two." Blake said much to the amusement of the room.
"Now what am I supposed to think with all these threats of violence against poor defenseless me?" Jaune said as he pressed a hand to his chest in mock pain.
"Well let's be honest here Jaune, it seems like if we don't hurt you then you'll just do it on your own." Weiss said.
"Bah, I don't know what you mean."
"I guess we should let you rest for now, we'll send someone with your dinner." Mina said as she made her way to the door.
"Oh wait Mina before you leave, can you tell me what the Army said in regards to our mission?" His older sister looked at him.
"I forgot but I can send Qrow to talk to you about that, I'm pretty sure he knows the details." She said before waving goodbye, the others began to file out of the room as well.
"Nora, Ren, can you wait please." Jaune said and the two teens looked at each other before nodding.
"What is it Jaune?" Nora asked.
"I was kind of wondering where's Pyrrha? You said you guys made her do the report but where is she now? I'd figured she'd have gotten that done by now."
"Oh yea she finished it by the end of the first night we gave it to her as for where she is, well I think she's actually exercising but I didn't want to interrupt her to bring her down here." Jaune nodded as he settled back into the pillows.
"Fair enough, I guess I'll see you guys at dinner."
A Few Hours Later…
There was a knock and Jaune twitched as he opened his eyes. The room was dark save for light coming from underneath the door to the room.
"Come in!" He called out and the door opened before the ceiling light turned on temporarily blinding him.
"Sorry I should have warned you." A familiar voice said, one that made him smile, he looked towards the door to see Pyrrha standing there with a tray in one hand.
"Hey Pyr." He said as he slowly pushed himself up, Pyrrha smiled softly as she walked over to him.
"It's good to see you awake."
"It's good to be awake if anything." Pyrrha smiled as she shook her head softly then moved to his left side.
"I imagine having to sleep for that long then being forced to stay in bed can be bothersome." She noted and Jaune nodded though he couldn't help but remember a few snippets of the nightmare he had before waking up earlier. Pyrrha set the tray on the bed next to him; it was two plates with grilled chicken, asparagus and cubed potatoes.
"Who made this?" Jaune asked as Pyrrha handed him some utensils and a napkin.
"It was that new girl, Penny; apparently she's got a keen interest in cooking so she's volunteered to be the building's head chef as she calls it." Jaune nodded slowly as he stabbed his fork into a potato.
"So I heard you did the after mission report, how did it go?"
"Ah that, well Qrow and I submitted it together."
"Annnnd?" She shrugged.
"It went fine actually, you know how you said that there were points we'd gain for doing missions."
"Well, we had eleven hundred points."
"Had?" She nodded.
"Well we immediately had to procure some medical supplies for you along with the initial service by the hospital. Which cost three hundred points, then we had to buy a new car since the jeep was wrecked, we ended up settling for a Toyota Hilux for another two hundred points. Then another hundred points on fuel alone, and then two hundred points on ammunition." Pyrrha started to count off with her fingers.
"We got three hundred nine millimeter rounds for twenty five points, a hundred twelve gauge shells for another twenty five points, seventy five rounds of three oh eights for fifty points then for the last hundred points we got two hundred five point five six millimeter rounds." Jaune nodded a little.
"That doesn't seem too bad of a deal."
"You say that but between you and Ren you two ended up firing nearly three hundred rounds."
"Ah, never mind."
"I thought so, anyways, we then spent 75 points on food and twenty five points on clothes." Jaune frowned at that.
"Only twenty five points?"
"Well to be fair, each article of clothes is worth one point so we figured we'd only buy a few things for now. Besides which we already did find some clothes amongst the apartments so that's fine with the rest of us." Pyrrha explained.
"Well then that leaves us with what, two hundred points? Surely you guys could have gotten a little bit more." She shrugged.
"It didn't seem like we need to besides which we've got another mission tomorrow Qrow, Sun, Yang, Arslan and I are all going." Jaune frowned a little but Pyrrha noticed anyways.
"Ah don't make that face Jaune, your sister told me you were worried but it's really just a simple survey mission."
"Yea but that's sort of what they told us about our mission as well."
"True but they've reclassified the missions; we were on a Search and Destroy mission, while this mission is purely observation."
"Did they say what other types of missions they'd give us?"
"Well there's Hunter Missions in which we either go after some zombies or rogue groups of people. Then there's Capture and Secure Missions where they have us find a place then stay there until told otherwise."
"I'm not gonna lie but that kind of sounds like really shitty time."
"That's what Qrow essentially said as well." Pyrrha nodded towards his arm.
"Why do you still have the IV in?" Jaune shrugged.
"Here I'll take it out." Pyrrha said as she stood up then left the room before returning shortly with gloves and bandages. She walked up to his right side and sat down on the bed before pulling on the gloves.
"Hold your arm out please." She said and he did so. He watched as Pyrrha systematically gripped his skin with her left hand before pulling off the surgical tape then slowly began to gently pull the catheter adapter out from his arm.
Once it was out of his arm she immediately held a small cotton ball to the area where the catheter adapter was for a few seconds. Jaune could see her lips move slightly as she counted to herself before taking the cotton off then applying a clean dressing to his arm.
"All done." She said as she exhaled then looked up and smiled at him.
"When did you learn to do that?" He asked as Pyrrha put the medical supplies away.
"I've kind of always known that."
"Yup, my parents are doctors and they used to leave some of their medical books around the house so I would read them in my spare time."
"Well, that's something." Jaune said and Pyrrha laughed softly.
"I guess it does sound kind of pathetic, a girl who spends her free time reading medical books."
"I didn't think that, I was thinking that it's an awfully clear testament at the fortitude it took to actually read and learn something from medical books of your own volition. I know I wouldn't be able to do that." Pyrrha smiled as she patted his hand.
"Thank you Jaune." He smiled back.
"There's no need to thank me Pyr." They sat there for a few moments and Jaune locked his hand with her. Pyrrha looked down at their hands then up at him. Her hand felt unsurprisingly cool as always, a stark contrast to his rather warm hands.
"Oh, hey Pyrrha, you think you can get a mirror?" She tilted her head a little confused at the request and Jaune gestured to his face with his other hand.
"I'm kind of curious to see how my face looks at the moment; it feels a little odd on my right side so I figure it's something noticeable." Pyrrha nodded and reluctantly let go of his hand as she always enjoyed the warmth of his skin on hers. She stood up and looked around but couldn't see anything so she headed towards a door on the far wall.
She opened it and could see that it was a small bathroom. She reached in and felt around for a switch. Her hand brushed against something and she pressed it.
There was a slight droning sound as the bathroom lights and fan turned on. It was a relatively small bathroom with only a toilet and sink with a mirror above it.
Walking over to the sink she pulled on the bottom and it came away from the wall. Inside was a few small selves, she however found a small mirror in it. She found a little weird to have since there was already a mirror to look into.
Shrugging she walked back into the bedroom and walked up to Jaune handing him the small mirror as she sat down again.
Jaune wasn't sure exactly what he expected to find but he could see the purplish yellow bruises on his forehead and cheek. He was a little startled at how red his right eye was; it looked like there wasn't even a trace of white left in it. Lastly were the white bandages on the bridge of his nose, above his right temple and cheek.
"Wow, I look like shit."
"It's not that bad, you should have seen it a few days in." Pyrrha said with a smirk.
"Ya I think I'm fine with not knowing." He pulled down the blanket to see the purplish yellow bruises on his torso then began to compare his face with it.
"Actually never mind, the bruises don't look that bad in comparison to the chest. Though my eye really does look fucked up."
"That's just a Subconjunctival hemorrhage, it should go away soon."
"Subconjecting what?" Jaune asked and Pyrrha sighed.
"It's just some bleeding, nothing to worry about."
"Ya know when people saying bleeding that normally seems like something you should worry about." Jaune said but she shrugged.
"What else can I say? I'm not a medical professional all I know is that it's not dangerous." She seemed to think for a second.
"Well, I don't think it's dangerous."
"You can call me Princess Charming."
"My oh my, are you going to rescue me from the dreadful dragon that's keeping me captive?"
"Who's the dragon?"
"Ya know I think she would find that to be a compliment."
"Funnily enough I think immense destructive power seems like something she'd enjoy at the expense of being an overgrown lizard." Jaune said dryly and Pyrrha laughed as she took Jaune's hand into hers again.
The two of them sat there for a little while before Jaune started to scoot to his left a bit, setting the tray with food onto the floor next to the bed. Pyrrha was about to protest about him leaving his bed so soon but she was surprised when Jaune pulled off the cover then patted the spot next to him.
"If I'm gonna be stuck in bed might as well have someone else suffer with me." Pyrrha giggled a little as she climbed in with him. As she pulled the bedcover over her legs she realized something, Jaune was pretty much half naked.
That realization gave rise to a number of ideas that started bouncing around rather passionately in her head. Pyrrha squeaked when Jaune shifted closer to her, she could feel the warmth of his bare skin next to her; she turned her head to see Jaune watching her.
"Is this making you uncomfortable? If it is you can go or I can shift away." Pyrrha shook her head.
"No it's fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes ma'am." The two teens looked at each other not saying against. Even with the bruised face, Pyrrha could honestly say that she wouldn't mind being able to stay like this with Jaune.
Jaune started to lean closer, his face inches from her. Pyrrha started to lean in as well, his warm breath sending a tingly sensation down her skin.
There was an unfamiliar but strangely welcoming warmth in her that seemed to urge her to continue getting closer to him, their faces was barely an inch from each other.
"You know I was scared when I saw you after the jeep flipped. You were unconscious with blood covering your face and clothes. It was strange to think that everything that despite everything that happened, it would be a simple car accident that would kill you." She whispered as she locked eyes with him.
"To be honest now that I'm awake I'm still struggling to wrap my head around what happened. I didn't even see it coming and had it really killed me then I wouldn't have even known about it. If there is an afterlife I would wager that I would become a ghost or something."
"Yea I read somewhere that sometimes a ghost comes into existence when it's trying to figure something out like how it died."
"Where did you read that?"
"The internet is a weird place."
"I mean what is can you expect from it?"
"Something normal I guess."
"I mean there are plenty of places where normal people visit but there are just a lot weirder places to go."
"Like porn sites?"
"Why would you instantly suggest that?"
"Well Nora said that you had a wet dream about me."
"Even if that was true why would you connect that with me?"
"Well to be fair why wouldn't I connect the two?"
"So did you really have a wet dream about me?"
"Why do you sound surprised?"
"Well maybe I was just curious."
"That's an odd thing to be curious about."
"I don't think so."
"Well just because you think it's not weird doesn't make it not weird."
"I'm pretty sure me thinking that it's not weird means it's not weird."
"But that wouldn't make me think it's not weird."
"Do you think it's weird?"
"Then why are you arguing against me?"
"I thought it would be fun."
"Now that's weird."
"So you really didn't have a wet dream about me?"
"If I say yes will you drop it?"
"Well then no, I didn't have a wet dream but I'm curious on why you're so interested." Jaune said and he could see Pyrrha flush a little at that.
"Are you suggesting that I like the thought of you having a wet dream about me?"
"Uh, no, I was just wondering why you're so curious about whether or not I had one."
"Oh." Jaune chuckled then kissed Pyrrha's nose, the red head rubbed her nose softly in surprise.
"Sorry." Jaune said sheepishly but before he could say anything else Pyrrha kissed his lips quickly. The two of them stared at each other for a few moments before Pyrrha leaned back in then began to kiss him again.
It felt a little odd as the right side of his face tingled at the soft pressure from her face against his. Alas Jaune didn't care as he reached up with his left hand, cupping her cheek rubbing his thumb back and forth softly on it.
It wasn't long before Pyrrha gently pushed him to lie flat on the bed. She pushed down the covers and Jaune felt the cool air touch his exposed chest. He couldn't help but flinch a little at the sight of his bruised torso but Pyrrha smiled as she sat up in the bed.
"I know what you're thinking but I think you look fine even with the bruises; I guess you can say they add a certain level of ruggedness." She said and Jaune looked down at his body. While he hadn't worked out in more than a few weeks he was still in a relatively fit state though he could tell he must have lost some weight.
Even with the high calorie meals like the MREs or freeze dried food, he supposed running around in an almost constant state of life or death must burn a lot of calories.
He became distracted however as Pyrrha began to run her hand up and down his chest softly. She was careful not to brush his bruised side to hard but honestly he probably wouldn't care. She leaned forward and kissed him before leaning back.
Jaune could see the look of adoration in her eyes and for some reason he couldn't help but remember the nightmare. The look she had given him in there as she died in front of him scared him in how real it felt, so real Jaune wasn't sure if he wasn't in fact dreaming right now instead.
What Pyrrha began to do next was terrifying.
She reached down and grabbed the hem of her shirt then began to pull it up but as soon as he could see the bare skin of her stomach he reached out to grab her arm.
Pyrrha frowned at Jaune stopping her then she realized that Jaune looked like he was about to have a panic attack. He was breathing heavily and looked a lot paler than a few minutes earlier that it made the bruises look darker than they should be.
"Are you okay Jaune?"
"Just, please, you don't have to do that."
"Is everything alright?"
"I'm fine, can, we just lay here?" Jaune said softly and Pyrrha tilted her head a little but nodded. She let go of her shirt almost feeling reluctant then laid down carefully next to Jaune, resting her head next to his.
"I'm sorry." She whispered thinking that she had pushed too fast for him but Jaune shook his head slightly then looked at her.
"It's not you, it's me." He took a deep breath.
"I had a nightmare." Pyrrha cocked an eyebrow at that.
"It wasn't because I was having a wet dream with you in it that made me call out your name." It clicked in Pyrrha's head at what he was saying but she didn't say anything to interrupt him.
He began to give a detailed account of his nightmare, being abandoned in the jeep then making his way to Mountain Glenn to see it burning. Then finally coming across the legions of undead slaughtering the denizens of the city before finally reaching the apartment building where he found them dead or in her case dying.
Pyrrha was honestly not sure what she should say or do so she just took Jaune's hand in her own. He looked towards her and she could see the tears in his eyes.
"I know it's crazy of me to be upset from it but it felt so real."
"Jaune it's alright, nothing like that is going to happen."
"I know, I know but there isn't really any guarantee that it won't happen. What if the Army deserts or a zombie gets in and starts biting people without anyone noticing till it's too late? What if a new disease appears due to the appearance of the undead? There are so many variables that can get us killed that scares me."
"True but this isn't your dream things won't just spiral completely out of control, we can and will work together to keep each other safe." Jaune smiled and Pyrrha kissed him lightly again.
"I guess I should go now and let you rest since you're not fully healed yet." She said as she made to get out of bed but Jaune grabbed her hand again.
"Please stay." He said softly and Pyrrha smiled hoping he'd say that.
A Few Days Later…
Jaune limped down the steps to the main floor, while most of his bruises were healed completely he still felt incredible sore.
In front of him Qrow, Pyrrha, Yang, Arslan and Sun were double checking their equipment. They had another mission this time a mission down the mountain in one of the towns where they had to observe the zombies there.
There had been reports by a few survivors that had made their way to the Mountain Glenn that a horde of undead was collecting in the town.
The Army had been able to do a brief aerial scan with one of their helicopters confirming that there was indeed a rather large amount of undead in the town. However what they wanted to know was whether or not the undead were in fact moving up the mountain and inevitably towards Mountain Glenn.
As even with their best effort, there were still miles of the city perimeter that was only protected by chain-link fence. If the zombies were heading towards Mountain Glenn then they would want to have the forewarning to prepare for it.
Qrow and Sun now carried the two Model 3 Stag rifles. Yang and Arslan both carried shotguns. Arslan had her shotgun that they had found her with the first time while Yang still had the Shockwave.
Lastly Pyrrha had her Model 10 rifle slung over her shoulder, Jaune walked up to her as she double checked the straps to her vest.
"Here let me check for you." He tugged slightly making sure nothing was too loose or tight then patted her arm.
"You're good." She smiled.
"Thanks." He smiled back before the two of them turned towards Qrow who was given the role of being in charge for the mission.
"Alright, this will probably take about a day or two at the very least before we're done since we got to establish a pattern of movement. So I've taken the opportunity of packing bags filled with two MREs each, two water bottles, a blanket, a flashlight, and one walkie talkie. Arslan and I however will also be carrying medical kits in case anyone gets hurt. Though I would rather not have to deal with that so please remember to be careful once we're out there, alright?" Qrow said as he handed out backpacks to everyone.
"Alright, is everyone set?" He asked and the group nodded. Jaune watched the five of them walk out of the front door.
"You think they'll be gone for long?" Ruby's voice came from behind him and he looked over his shoulder at her.
"Maybe it sounds like it'll be a tough mission, sure they shouldn't run into any big trouble but that doesn't mean complications can't arise out of it." He replied to which Ruby sighed loudly.
"You know Jaune, I wish you would have just lied and said no." He turned around and patted her head.
"I can't do that Ruby, it's better to have a practical outlook on things like this."
"Ugh, you're no fun."
"That's my job as an older brother; it merely transferred over to you as well." Ruby laughed a little.
"So you're feeling better?"
"I suppose I am feeling better but I doubt I would be in the best shape to have gone on the mission with Qrow today." Jaune said as he eased himself down on the stairs to sit down.
"Would you have gone in Pyrrha's place if you could?"
"Yes and no, while I would take her place if it seemed like it was necessary but I also can't just force someone off rotation. Especially if they volunteered for it, Arslan on the other hand I might have taken over for since I don't know how well she reacts under pressure but I would still encounter the same issue with her as I would with Pyrrha."
"So you're saying that you wouldn't treat Pyrrha any different than the others?" Ruby asked and Jaune titled his head a little at that.
"What are you suggesting?" Ruby shrugged as she looked sheepishly at the floor and it clicked in Jaune's head.
"Ah, no, I wouldn't treat her any differently in those kinds of situations as it's my duty to make sure everyone gets back alive. I would lay down my life for Sun, Yang, Qrow, Blake, my sisters, Weiss, Ren, Nora, you and Pyrrha. In fact I would do my best for anyone's sake in our group." Ruby nodded as she sat down next to him then flashed a knowing smile.
"So how are you and Pyrrha?" Jaune wrinkled his nose at that.
"Not sure how that's any of your business."
"I wouldn't say that brother." Helena's voice appeared from behind him and he sighed.
"I'm pretty sure it's definitely not your business."
"If you don't tell us now we're just gonna have to convince Mina to pressure you into telling everyone then." Helena replied evenly.
"I hate you."
"Nah, I'm adorable."
"Fine, I'll throw you two a bone, we both like each other a lot and we know that we both like each other a lot. Hell we've even slept in the same bed when I woke up." Ruby and Helena were practically on him in an instant. Jaune did take notice that Ruby looked excited while Helena seemed a little more furious at him.
"What did you do!?" Helena shouted but Jaune held up his hands to ward them off.
"I didn't do anything like that, we just laid there together talking then we both went to sleep." He explained.
"That's kind of disappointing." A third voice spoke up from behind him, Jaune turned to see Blake and Karen standing at the doorway.
"I'm not sure how that's disappointing." Karen laughed as she walked past them towards the front door.
"You'll find out one day Jaune." She said before leaving but Blake walked up to the stairs.
"Did you really not do anything?" Jaune simply rested his chin on his hand.
"And you're cool with that?" Jaune shrugged.
"I'm cool at whatever pace Pyrrha wants."
"But what if she's only being cool with what she thinks you want even if it's not what she wants?" Blake asked and Jaune tilted his head a little in confusion.
"So, wait, you're saying that Pyrrha might be in fact be matching with my pace because she thinks that's what I want when she might want to go further or faster?" Blake shrugged before walking up the stairs between him and Ruby.
"I guess its food for thought."
"What does that even mean?" He asked but Blake just kept on walking up the stairs, he looked at Ruby but the younger girl just shrugged.
"Well I'm gonna go bug Weiss, I'll see you two later." Ruby said as she stood up then walked up the stairs leaving Helena and him alone though neither of them said anything at first.
"Ya know it almost doesn't feel like the end of the world." Helena was the first to speak up and Jaune looked at her.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean we're just sitting here doing nothing, I would have thought that we'd be spending every second of our time trying to stay alive." Jaune shrugged at that.
"It's not just the fight that keeps us alive it's what we do in-between that lets us live."
"What does that even mean?"
"I don't know it sounded like a cool thing to say." Jaune said with a smile and Helena just snorted.
"Okay, okay, fine, I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not just about fighting that we have to worry about but living in this new world. You can fret and worry all you want but if that's all you do then you're not living you're just surviving and to me there's a difference but that's all subjective." Jaune said as he stood up.
"Then what should we do?" Helena asked but Jaune shrugged again as he patted her head.
"We do what we have to, nothing more and nothing less."
A Few Hours Later…
Pyrrha sat in the passenger seat of the Toyota Hilux; Qrow was in the driver seat while Sun, Yang and Arslan were in the back.
They had been on the road for a while now that she expected that they'll be at their destination soon. She fiddled with the Vortex Viper telescopic on the Stag 10 which Ruby had taken from one of their M40 rifles.
"So what was this place called again?" Sun asked.
"Lakeside, it's at the foot of the Mountain Glenn Range. If I recall correctly it's got a population around eighty thousand but it's pretty spread out so that might be in our favor in preventing them from congregating too much." Qrow said.
"But isn't that actually a bad thing if they're too spread out? How are we gonna get accurate information if we can't see the whole picture?" Arslan pointed out.
"True but I think the Army really just wants to know if it's a coincidence that the undead are moving in a direction together or if they're working on a similar mindset."
"Similar mindset?" Sun echoed.
"I think he means they want to know if the zombies are turning into a pack or horde." Pyrrha explained.
"Wouldn't that mean that they are intelligent?" Yang asked but Pyrrha shrugged.
"I wouldn't say that, wolves work in packs but I think that's an instinctual trait not necessarily an intelligent one." Pyrrha continued then shrugged slightly.
"Actually I don't really know myself."
"Still smarter than me." Sun said with a heavy sighed.
"Same." Yang said as she began to laugh.
"So has the Army given you any news on what's going on in the outside world?" Arslan asked instead changing the subject.
"Like what?" Qrow replied.
"I mean, is the Army making progress anywhere? Has Atlas finally come to lend its support in cleansing our country? What about Mistral or Vacuo?" Qrow simply shrugged.
"I doubt Vacuo is going to be any help, Mistral doesn't seem like it's doing that great as well but I don't think people like us will ever know that since information is scarce. As for Atlas, I also have no clue what's going on there."
"Well that sucks, I was hoping for things to start going back to normal by the end of winter but it's starting to look like that's not the case." Sun said.
"I'm not sure why you thought it would be simple, it's a zombie apocalypse. Vacuo is essentially zombie territory and Vale's falling apart as we speak. Then we don't know if the zombies will decay at the same rate or by the very fact that they're moving means they decompose slower." Qrow pointed out and everyone sat silently. Pyrrha thought she remembered Jaune or maybe Weiss mentioning their worries about the decomposition rate of the undead as well.
She sighed as she looked out the window; they were descending down the mountains now so it wouldn't be long till they reached the town. After a few minutes Pyrrha realized that they didn't have a plan of action or if they did then she'd had just forgotten.
"Uh, Qrow?" She asked and the older man grunted in response.
"What's the plan?"
"Yea, we're on an observation mission and I know the goal is just observe but how are we gonna do that? Split off into smaller teams or stick together then find a spot to post up in to watch for movement?"
"Hmm, you make an interesting point. Anyone here have an idea they want to share?" Qrow asked.
"I figured we'd just stick together since splitting up in a heavily infested area seems like a bad idea." Yang replied.
"I mean really all we have to do is just find a really big building to watch out from and besides that Pyrrha's rifle has a scope so we can watch them from a distance. There's nothing really to it." Sun pointed out.
"Well that sounds like a plan to me, everyone good with it?" Qrow asked and the four teens gave their acknowledgments.
Half an Hour Later…
Qrow eased the pickup truck to a halt; in the distance he could see the outskirts of the town. The town really did earn its name as Lakeside as it wrapped around a large lake that probably would take forty maybe fifty minutes just to circle it.
"Doesn't look so bad." Pyrrha noted from next to him but he wasn't sure. He could actually see some damaged buildings close to them most of it however seemed to be fire damage so it wasn't clear if it was on purpose or not.
"Shit, ten o'clock." Sun hissed and Qrow turned to see a few dozen figures in the distance. It seems just far enough that they didn't notice the noise of their truck.
"Alright, I'm gonna reverse then find somewhere to park. From there we'll be walking." Qrow backed the pickup down the road making sure to keep an eye on the group of zombies in the distance. After a few minutes he finally turned the pickup onto the shoulder of the road.
The five occupants got out and Qrow immediately set off amongst the trees to look for an open spot. Finding one he quickly returned to the pickup and got in it but gestured for the others to stay put.
Pyrrha watched as Qrow drove the pickup amongst the trees then began to take random branches then pile it onto the truck. She turned towards the town and moved forward in a slight crouch before raising her rifle to her shoulder.
Looking through the scope on top she could see that the zombies hadn't moved in their direction since they arrived. If anything they just seemed to be standing around and doing nothing.
"See anything?" Arslan's voice came from her left and Pyrrha shook her left hand in an unsure gesture.
"The zombies didn't notice us but it also looks like they aren't moving at all, just standing around." Pyrrha said before handing over her rifle to the dark skinned girl who lifted the rifle up to her face.
"See them?" Pyrrha asked as she gently guided the rifle to look in the direction of the zombies they had seen.
"Yea and it looks like you're right but who knows what the larger groups might be like." Arslan said as she handed the rifle back to Pyrrha.
"Everyone ready to move?" Qrow's voice came from behind them, Pyrrha and Arslan turned towards him. Pyrrha flashed him a thumbs up and the older man nodded.
"Alright then, I'll take the lead then its Yang, Arslan, Sun and Pyrrha you'll bring up the rear. Keep ten feet apart, that way we can avoid any friendly fire if someone starts shooting. If you see anything then go and tap whoever is in front of you then have them relay it up towards me. Do not use the walkie talkies unless it's very important." Qrow made sure to meet the eyes of each of them then nodded before unclipping the Stag 3 from his vest then in a low crouch jogged towards the town.
Pyrrha waited till Sun was about ten feet from her before she moved to follow the others. She wouldn't be lying if she said she wasn't nervous.
The more she thought about it the more it seemed completely crazy that they were doing this mission. Of course she knew that if none of them did the missions that the Army was giving them then they would get their status as Auxiliaries removed.
With that gone they would be kicked out of the apartment along with not being given any food or supplies for free. They would be another group amongst the thousands struggling to survive in Mountain Glenn.
She shook her head, now wasn't the time to think of that as their pace slowed down. Pyrrha could see Qrow pointing in the direction of the zombies they had seen.
Pyrrha lifted her rifle up and after a few second found them through the scope. They were moving now; they weren't heading towards them or the town but towards the tree line.
She realized that this was the sort of evidence that had the Army in Mountain Glenn was worried about. If the majority of the undead population is in fact moving towards places where the living are it would mean that Mountain Glenn would sooner or later be in trouble.
Qrow didn't stop the group however as he continued pushing forward into the town. Pyrrha could see abandoned cars lining both sides of the road with buildings and shops with no signs of life in them as well.
There were a few that had their doors opens, as Pyrrha passed by a grey sedan she could see dried blood in the shapes of hands on it.
Ahead of her Sun stopped then crouched low, the others had done so as well. Pyrrha shifted a little to the left then raised her rifle. She could see Qrow watching a small intersection, looking past him she could see a few zombies that crossing away from them but there were still at least a dozen other zombies that just stood around.
Qrow turned around then pointed to his left before beckoning the rest towards him. Pyrrha quickly moved towards him in a low crouch till she was less than a few feet from him.
"Alright, we'll cut through this alleyway. If the street on the other side is clear then we'll continue further into town, if not we'll either cut across another alleyway or return here. Pyrrha if we have to double back that means you'll be on point, keep an eye out for anything that so much as twitches at you." Qrow instructed in a low voice and she simply nodded.
"Move." Pyrrha waited for a few seconds after the others started to move before following Sun. Glancing to the side she could still see the zombies shambling in the intersection oblivious to their movement.
The smell of something rotting hit Pyrrha's nostrils the moment she entered the alleyway. As she followed she could see Sun step over something and she realized what she had smelled.
There was a pile of bodies in the alleyway, judging from the manner that they lay on the ground she guessed that it was a last stand of sorts. Three bodies were scattered close to her, sections of their bodies were mauled revealing the dried up bloody flesh and bone underneath.
However she could spot the holes where she assumed bullets hit them. Past them was another body, one that was slumped against the wall.
As they made their way past the bodies Pyrrha was able to get a better look of the body slumped against the wall. It was a woman, who was mostly intact save for her forehead and stomach. Pyrrha had to swallow hard to prevent herself from vomiting at the smell.
She guessed that the woman had been shot in the forehead before getting her stomach ripped open as she still had smile on her face. Which to Pyrrha meant that she had someone kill her before the zombies could get to her.
Pyrrha shook her head at the sight as she continued following the others as they pushed forward through the alley. Ahead of her Qrow stood up then leaned out of the alleyway, looking towards his left and right then gestured for them to follow.
They came out onto the street; this street showed more signs of violence. Most of the building fronts had broken windows, smashed up abandoned cars, and the occasional pocket mark from a gun. Of course there were also a few bodies, most likely of zombies that were killed in the panic.
Qrow stopped then waved for everyone towards him as he dropped into a crouch behind a car that had all its windows broken. Several holes stitched across the left side of the car and Pyrrha could see signs of dried blood on it as she got closer.
"Alright I think I found a place where we can stay at for now." He whispered before pointing to a large building in the distance. Pyrrha stood up slightly to see over the car, he was pointing at a church that stood at the top of a small hill.
She could see the most notable aspect which was the tower attached to the roof, which would probably give them a clear view of the area.
"Are you sure we should go there?" Yang asked but Qrow made a cutting gesture that silenced her much to the blonde girl's annoyance.
"Let's go." The four teens exchanged looks before following Qrow towards the church. At the first intersection they crossed, Pyrrha turned in the direction that the first intersection they saw was supposed to be.
She could see the zombies growing in numbers at the intersection; they seemed to be shambling in their current direction. Pushing on they could hear the hoarse groaning of the undead growing.
Which Pyrrha found a little odd since they were supposed to be dead, which if that is the case then their normal bodily functions shouldn't allow them to make that sort of sound.
Then again, she supposed it's a futile endeavor in trying to understand the bodily functions of a person with their entrails hanging out and half of their skin missing that was running on legs that had their tendons ripped off.
As they climbed up the hill, Pyrrha took the time to turn around and look over the town. She could see that it was in fact not a very large or small town. Thought most of it was in fact just surrounding the lake, while it was big; it was still just a lake. So maybe it was her perspective that limited her ability to accurately judge its size.
Then again she did remember that Mistral practically had an ocean size lake smack right in the middle of it. Though the more she thought about it the more she realized that she didn't actually remember if it really was counted as a lake.
As they reached the building's parking lot, Pyrrha was surprised that there weren't a lot of cars, if anything there was only three cars. She had expected that a place like this would have a lot of people coming to it during the apocalypse.
Inspecting the building Pyrrha could see that it was a pretty big building, at least twice the size of their apartment building. The five of them moved up towards the front door, two bronze crucifixes were fixed on the doors as Qrow reached out for the handle then pulled a door open.
Inside he could see any movement so he slowly moved in. There were candles alight at the far end near the pulpit but there weren't any signs of people living or otherwise. Behind the pulpit was a large wooden crucifix.
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." A voice spoke up and Qrow snapped around pointing his rifle at an older man in a priest's outfit that had a double barrel shotgun pointed at the side of Yang's head. Qrow clipped his rifle then let go of it, letting it dangle by his side as he raised his hands.
"Look, we don't mean you any harm. We thought the church would be abandoned so we came here to use it as a temporary base." Qrow gestured towards Yang and himself.
"This is my niece, we're actually sent by the Vale Government to check out how the undead in Lakeside." The Priest seemed to relax his stance at that as he scrutinized Qrow a little longer before taking the shotgun away from Yang's skull.
"Thank you." Qrow started to say but the Priest simply walked past him, ignoring Qrow, as he made his way over to the large Crucifix hanging on the far wall. Qrow turned back around to Yang who had gone down to her knees breathing rapidly.
"You okay kiddo?" Qrow asked as he moved to her side.
"Just, let me have a moment Uncle Qrow." He nodded before gesturing the others to come in. Pyrrha closed the door softly behind them.
"You think we should stay here?" Arslan asked and Qrow shrugged.
"Maybe not but I don't think he means any harm to us."
"Well I think he's a fucking asshole." Yang whispered angrily.
"Can you blame him? Five people armed with guns come to his place then walk in unannounced." Sun pointed out.
"I'm pretty sure we would have shot him without question had the situation been reversed." Pyrrha noted and Arslan looked at her.
"That seems pretty messed up." Pyrrha shrugged.
"Honestly I wouldn't want to risk it." Qrow sighed as he stood up then rested his hands on his hips.
"Alright then I guess we'll stay here for a while unless he kicks us out. For now Pyrrha, Sun see if you can go upstairs and maybe find a way into the tower. Arslan, Yang I want the two of you to double check the area and make sure it's defensible. Make note of any paths in that aren't properly defended or completely vulnerable." The four teens scattered to do their respective tasks. Qrow however turned towards the old priest who knelt in front of the crucifix, as Qrow approached him he could hear the old man talking to himself.
"O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our faith in Him." Qrow frowned as he just stood behind the man as he continued to talk to himself. After a while the man finally spoke to him.
"Tell me again, my wayward son, what brings you to this house of God?"
"Like I said, we're here on behalf of the Vale Government to observe the undead that have gathered in your town."
"Ah, the Secularists have sent me some mercenaries?"
"No sir, I'm actually a police officer from the capital. I'm just lending what help I can."
"Help? No singular man or woman can help us now officer, faith alone was what could have saved us but the people have forsaken Him. Thus now irony afflicts us as He has lost faith in us. With that, the gates of Hell have opened and the Sins of our past have come to embrace us."
"Be that as it may not all of us are terrible people, I've lost friends who I know where good people."
"If they were truly good then rejoice for they now reside in the Kingdom of Light. Alas if they were not as good as you think than know that they will wallow down here with us as well. For this is no longer the Land of the Living but the realm of the Damned."
"What does that mean for you then, aren't you a man of the cloth?"
"Aye, that I am but I was not always. In my youth I did terrible thing, things that haunt me even now. For those crimes I must pay by staying amongst those that are damned or confined to live a restless life in this cold perpetuity."
"Okay then." The old man looked at him and Qrow could see a pair of scars on his chin going across his lips. He had piercing green eyes that seemed to glow slightly; his gaze however was unwavering, almost as if he was sizing Qrow up.
"You must think I'm crazy." He said and Qrow shrugged.
"Even if I did think that I wouldn't pay much heed to it, as an officer of the law, I can say for certain that we're all a little crazy."
"True but you only see the people on the outside after they've let go of their restraint. As a man of the cloth I see them as they grow or fall, I see the spark of hope in the youth and the jagged edge of despair in the old."
"You really like talking like that, don't you?" Qrow asked and the old man smiled.
"Aye, it's fun." Qrow chuckled as he saw down on a nearby bench.
"So tell me old man, how have you survived for this long alone?"
"Hm? I guess could say it's the will of God but I know that won't satisfy you. No instead, I simply did what I thought was right. The church windows have heavy shutters which can keep the dead out as long as not to many come, the same for the front door. So all I had to do was shut them close, though I tend to open the shutters up during the day as it wouldn't do it justice to block the sun out all the time. As for other entrances I pushed something to keep them from opening or took the boards from the fence around the cemetery then boarded up the doors. I also have a lot of leftover food from the last Church fundraiser as for protection I've got my double barrel and a Cooper Model 21 which I use whenever I'm up in the bell tower, which was also how I knew you five were coming." The old man explained as he slowly got to his feet then turned to sit down next to Qrow.
"Huh, did you have any trouble?" Qrow asked and the old man nodded solemnly.
"The cars out front don't belong to me, never did like driving those things, God gave me legs thus I prefer to use them." Qrow chuckled at that.
"I buried them out in the cemetery, I don't have a tombstone for them but I figured I'd just borrow a few things from the Church to mark their graves." The old man said in a quiet, regretful voice.
"How many?" Qrow asked softly.
"Six, four of them a family, the other two were just strangers that sought shelter." Qrow nodded.
"When was this?"
"About two days into when this all happened." Qrow raised his eyebrows in surprise.
"And there hasn't been anyone else?" The old man shook his head.
"No, I reckon those that were still alive either had already left or weren't going to be alive for long."
"So you've been here, alone, this entire time?"
"Now I know you're not suggesting I'm crazy or something." The man said as he narrowed his eyes at Qrow to which he responded by holding up his hands.
"Hey, if anyone can live alone out here for that long, they have my respect." The two sat silently for a second before Qrow decided to speak again.
"When we do leave Father, would you like to come with us?" The old man shook his head.
"Someone has to stay and watch over the Lord's House if I'm not here then I doubt anyone else will."
"I'm sure the Lord has the ability to clean his own house from time to time." Qrow said and the old man chuckled.
"You don't get it do you? That's fine I wouldn't expect a young man such as yourself to understand though one day I hope you will."
"I'm not that young."
"To those kids you haul with you sure you're old but to me you're as young as them as they are to you." Qrow sighed.
"Fair enough." Then he looked at the old man who met his gaze as well.
"So then Father, let me ask you this as a formal question. Can we stay and use your church as an observation base for our mission?" The old man smiled.
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Another Lemon Scene safely disposed (read: thrown) out the window, only Ren and Nora can have that ball busting action.
That's not why this took so long, it's actually because I did write a Lemon Scene, though not between who you might think so it was irrelevant. (I think.) Which I then had to take out then rewrite the second half cause of that so, meh.
But the real question you should be asking yourself, is this a dream or was the last chapter a dream?
Spoiler: The last chapter was a dream, I'm not an asshole (At this moment)
I don't have much to say in regards to this Chapter, so feel free to leave your thoughts or Opinions on what you thought about the chapter or if you want you can send me a PM and speed the process up of my response to you.
See ya next time!