A/N: Here we go. Split this into halves; rushing this would've felt pointless.

On a more somber note, my aunt has passed away. Funeral has been held, and I'm still in mourning.

Sister is also back from surgery, but in a lot of pain. She's going to be out longer than expected, which means I need to work even more hours to keep pace. Work wanted me to come in early again -we're talking crack of dawn- and I had to tell them to sod off.

Still, here we go. TEN chapters for this story in TWO MONTHS. Hope you enjoyed them; I'm utterly exhausted. I wanted, and still want this to be good story, not a simple "Naruto bangs a, b, c, d, yadda yadda yadda." His actions have consequences; his words and will shape the world around him; I wanted every chapter to reflect that. Hopefully, I succeeded.

RWBY may have been canned by Warner Bros for now, but we fanfiction writers are out here trying to keep the light alive, as it were. So here we go. The fate of this story depends on you, the reader. Your feedback determines the fate of this tale, and many others.

As ever, I own no references, quotes, themes or memes. They're tributes to legends far greater than little 'ol me, made solely for entertainment and the sake of laughter. Seriously, I own nothing.

This, and the following chapters will have some fun references to the following; Fallout, Hazbin Hotel, Genshin, Shogun, Epic the Musical, Avatar, alongside Equalizer, Marvel, and other media.

...and at long last, Land of the Lustrous and Blue-Eyed Samurai. If you haven't seen those two, they fit perfectly with RWBY.

You all know them well~! Now that we've gotten all those words out the way...Let's begin~!

The myriad misunderstandings between characters are GLORIOUS in this chapter.

But first let us briefly return to a certain birdie...the back to the brawl!

"You have snatched fire from the heavens to hold in your hands, and given it to the people of Mistral. How could I object?

I have done the same myself-with one significant difference.

I wore gloves.

Be careful. You dabble in things you do not full understand-and in this arena, at this scale, the unintended consequences of dabbling can be...severe. The wrong choice or alliance can destroy you. In your haste to do good you have turned the gold alchemists once sought into common coin, shackled the sublime to material world. And thus, you have altered the balances of things.

You've hardly been subtle about it, and that is more than enough to create an opportunity for one who knows how to seize it.

Change is coming. Whether you like it or not.

Perhaps it is already here.

~?

Battle the Girls

"Nice hair."

"Buzz off, Schnee." Qrow grimaced as he swept a hand through his bright bangs. "I couldn't wash all the dye out, alright?"

Willow hummed once in response, planted her chin in one hand and smiled at him from her seat across the table. On the surface that smile seemed kind, downright motherly, almost demure even; just the sorta smile one might expect from a mother of two.

He wasn't fooled-not for a second, but he had bigger fish to fry at the moment.

He ignored her and focused on polishing off the last of his dinner; gobbling up the last of his spaghetti with a slurp. When you grew up among the Branwen Tribe, you learned not to waste a meal. After all, you never knew when it could be your last. He might be years removed from those bastards -good riddance to bad rubbish!- but some habits stuck even after all these years.

He'd half-expected Whiskers to turf him out of the house come morning; that, or tie him up and lock him in the basement, promises be damned.

And yet he hadn't. Instead they'd let him sleep in till damn near evening; he'd awoken to a warm bed, a hearty meals, and the kids.

Gods above, the kids! Inquisitive little buggers were watching him even now from behind the sofa, ever curious.

None of them had approached him yet, but it was only a matter of time; he was certain of it, almost as certain that one of them was responsible for the crappy dye job he'd been subject to.

"Don't chew with your mouth open, dear." Willow chastised him. "Its rude."

What was she, his mother or something?

Belching once -deliberately- in her direction, he washed his meal down with a sip from his flask and fixed the matron of the manor with a dark glower.

"Soooo, a Schnee, huh?" he kicked up his feet onto the table with a smirk, clasped both hands behind his head, and fixed her with a roguish. "Seems the Headmaster is moving in high circles."

"I am indeed a Schnee." She didn't rise to the bait, damn her, didn't even bat an eyelash when he started drinking again. "And you're a long way from Vale, Qrow Branwen. Or would you prefer Raven's brother?"

Clever witch; she timed her words just as he swallowed; Qrow choked on his drink and thumped his chest furiously.

Willow smiled at him again as he rasped for air; but there was something different about her smirk this time; it held an icy edge that hadn't been there a moment ago. The sight sent shivers shooting through his spine.

Like she new something he didn't.

As though this was all just one big game to her.

"I'm sorry," she crooned, "Did I break your concentration?"

Qrow didn't much appreciate the feeling-not one bloody bit. He'd seen the like before. Y'see, wasn't the loud ones you had to be wary of; you'd see them coming a mile away. Or hear them. Same difference. Point being, they were obvious. Others...not so much.

It was the quiet ones you had to watch out for. Always the quiet ones. Always.

Willow Schnee looked harmless at first glance, which was precisely why he knew she wasn't.

He knew of her, sure, but only from the file Ozpin's had on her; Willow's wasn't exactly a pretty one. As the last living daughter of Nicholas Schnee, she'd been practically sold off to Jacques Gele in an attempt to revive the SDC. It worked, but by all accounts it hadn't been good for her; she'd had a kid then descended into despair, becoming a shattered wreck of her former self.

.

..

...and then Jacques suddenly gave the company up, and "retired" leaving the business in her hands as he ran away to gods-knew-where.

Good on her. He'd been a proper prick, and impossible to work with.

But that was where things got murky; because at some point Willow had another kid -heh, little Weiss was looking at him like she'd bitten into a lemon- and gone from a broken shell of a house wife to this smiling, wintry warrior sitting before him. Nowadays there were all sorts of rumors swirling around Willow back in Atlas, she'd refused to remarry, her constant visits to Mistral, to say nothing of the favor she'd shown Haven's Headmaster as of late. Be it through affection or funds, there could be no denying that her vast wealth had essentially paved the way for Haven to become one of the premier academies in Remnant.

Oz and Jimmy weren't best pleased at that. Theodore didn't much care, but few folks in Atlas did these day. All in all, it painted a rather confusing picture.

He looked past her towards the mini-Schnees seat beside, both of which were glowering at him now, and sghe. "Lemme guess, the brats are his?"

They had the look of it, if you squinted. His eyes were blue too, and he wouldn't put it past Naruto to try and get a leg up on Atlas.

Literally, in this case.

"They are his," The Schnee Matriarch lifted her chin just so, "In every way that matters.

"That phrase again? Screw that, you know what I mean."

She batted long lashes at him. "Do I?"

"Bloody Schnee!"

"Oh, very well." she tutted softly and took a long, languid sip of her water. "If you must know, Winter and Weiss aren't his by blood...

"Okay, great. Had me worried for a second there." The Headmaster of Hell was dangerous enough without having direction relations to the Schnee family.

...Whitley will be, however."

Qrow's throat went dryer than the sands of Vacuo. "Who?" he all but croaked.

Willow didn't respond, she didn't have to. She merely laid a hand on her stomach. The meaning was clear.

Crapbaskets. He'd really shacked up with the Schnee, then? How? Raven was seldom the sort to share, so again HOW?!

Instinct was hard to shake; he wanted nothing more than to run straight to Oz and tell him what he'd learned...and once upon a time, he might have. But now?

His trust had been shaken.

Salem was immortal.

Oz had lied.

If he'd been holding secrets like that back, then what else was he keeping under wraps? The Relics? The Maidens? The Gods themselves? He'd given them all the very last scraps of his own magic; him and Raven, Tai and even Summer, and for what? They'd been his warriors-no, his pawns. They'd fought for him, nearly died for him countless times, lost Raven because of him. Ignorance was bliss, but he couldn't afford that anymore; not with Yang's life at stake.

Ah, hell. This was going to blow up in his face, wasn't it?

Winter sniffed suddenly, drawing his attention.

Qrow squinted her way, eager for the distraction -any distraction!- so long as it kept his mind from the impending crisis. "You got a problem, princess?"

She turned up her nose at him. "I do not like you."

"Heh." He laughed and ruffled her hair, drawing a gasp from her sister and fearsome scowl from Winter herself. "Ain't that cute."

"Cute?!"

"Did I stutter?"

Winter went for her weapon.

"Now, now, girls." Willow interposed with a hum, "We must be polite to our guest."

Weiss wrinkled her nose. "Even if he smells like a brewery?"

Her mother smiled. hummed. "Even then."

Winter sighed. "Mother, I think this Uncle is broken. Can we trade him in for a new one?

Qrow laughed despite himself! Girlie had jokes! "If you're gonna be that snippy, we can take this outside-

"So you're Qrow Branwen." A voice spoke up behind him before he could thrash Winter. "Or should I call you uncle Qrow?"

Bugger. The other brats had mustered up the nerve to mess with him now, it seemed.. "Depends who's asking...

He pivoted and found a kid in a white jacket glaring up at him, cane in hand.

"And you are...?"

"Roman Torchwick, at your service." the youth sketched braced both hands upon his cane and tipped his head just so. "I'd give you my condolences, but you're basically screwed either way. Say hello the nice man, Neo."

Belatedly he noticed the girl beside him, tiny little slip of a thing with impish mismatching eyes and pink-on-brown-hair. She wore a smile that promised pain or, mischief. He wasn't sure which. Possibly both. She waved a small hand at him, and awkwardly, he found himself returning it.

But there behind them...

.

..

...ah, hell. He glimpsed a nervous girl with dark hair and bright golden eyes. Given the circumstances, he could understand why she was wary of him. And naturally, his brain made the logical conclusion.

His mind fizzled. "Aw, hell, Rae. When did you have another kid?"

Cinder squawked. "Me?!"

For some reason, Willow started laughing, and her daughters with her.

Roman blinked, gave him a once over and rolled his visible eye. "Not the smartest bird in the nest, are you?"

"What's that supposed ta mean?!"

The smaller girl -Neo- hopped up and stood on the very tips of her toes to gain his attention. Idly, he caught sight of the Scroll in her hands and the words written within.

"Like your new hair?"

His eyes narrowed and one hand flew to his dyed bangs. "You...?"

Her lips peeled back ina shit-eating grin and though no sound emerged, any sympathy he might've felt was strangled by the lone word she mouthed. "Me."

He made a grab for her. "Why you...?!"

The girl danced out his grasp, vaulted over Roman's head, then alighted atop the sofa with eerie grace and a silent giggle. When he tried to pursue, he found himself blocked by yet another brat.

Just how many did Naruto have?!

"Hello~!" the newcomer chirruped happily. "Did you and daddy sleep together?"

Huh. Cute kid. Green eyes and red hair paired well with a pale complexion and amber-colored pajamas apparently-WAIT.

Dimly, he became aware of Willow's laughter; the Schnees were all smirking at him, making no attempt to hide it.

...w-what did you just say?"

The redhead touched a finger to her chin."Well, mommy said you and daddy had a long night and every time she says that, they-

"Hell no, we didn't! Now move, kid!" he nudged her aside roughly. "I've got a brat to strangle!"

She quailed under his glaring gaze and whimpered as he growled at her. "I'm sorry!"

Regret. Emotional damage. Instant karma, and it was all his.

All eyes turned upon him, narrowing with dire intent.

Willow tutted ever so softly. "You've done it now...

Blast it all, the redhead was entirely too nice for her own good. Like little Ruby, only older. "Look," he scratched the back of his head. "I didn't mean to upset you-

A sudden pitter-patter of feet from the upper floors was his only warning before someone came hurtling down the stairs at speed. He had time enough to glimpse a ginger girl with bright blue eyes and pink pajamas before she raced past him, grabbed a frying pan from the stove and brandished it like a mallet.

"Who made Pyrrha cry?!"

All fingers pointed to Qrow Branwen.

Baffled by the byplay, he tilted his head. "The heck is she?"

"Oh, her? That'd be Nora." Roman tilted his hat down and chucled. "Good luck."

He balked. "Whaddya mean good luck?!

Nora howled. "I CAST IRON!"

Ha? "Cast wha-

THUNK.

Contrary to popular belief, aura wasn't a miracle worker. It didn't render you immune to pain for instance. Sure, it helped you tank absurd damage and survive things like falls from incredible heights without a scratch, but you would still felt the impact, just as you'd feel someone say, slugging ya across the face or-

Case in point, he was very much aware of the frying pain nailing him between the legs.

Pain didn't even begin to describe what followed. Agony incarnate wasn't enough.

Nora jumped him while he was reeling. Or rather, she tried to.

Even with his groin on fire, Qrow was still a huntsman; he swayed back from her attack, tripped her up, then caught her by the back of her pajama's for good measure. From there, he spun her right round and dangled her before his face as one mighty a naughty kitten. Fitting, given that she tried to claw his eyes out.

"Do not," he growled through a haze of white-hot agony, "Do that again."

Nora thumped his face with her frying pain instead.

"Stop that!" he tore the improvised weapon from her grasp and flung it Willow's way, uncaring as the Schnee matriarch caught it. "What the hell is He teaching you brats?!"

"Lots of things." Roman, having apparently elected himself speaker for the lot of them, chuckled hoarsely. "Everything's a weapon, for one."

Nora wailed. "Rennny! He's being mean!"

Someone tapped Qrow's knee.

Just a tap, nothing more.

And yet his left leg buckled somehow; he wasn't sure what did it, but the momentary weakness sent him crashing down to his knees all the same. Brought low, he felt another jab stab into his right arm, weakening the muscles of the hand holding Nora. Immediately. the little sparky spitfire took the chance to squirm free to safety, much to his chagrin.

Qrow rounded on the perpetrator with a grimace, only to realize another run had snuck up on him when he wasn't looking. "Hey, you mind...?"

"You have my apologies." came the humble reply. "I apologize for Nora's behavior. She can be a bit...excitable."

Dark hair and pink eyes, calm face, serene smile, green pajamas. He wasn't alone in that regard. Two girls stood behind him in red and white gowns. Strange, it was almost like they were flanking him; no, guarding him. Was that the right word? One of them squinted his way and those thoughts went flying out the window.

"So who's the old geezer?"

Qrow crumpled. "Old?!"

"Did we stutter?"

Miltia, Melanie." Ren reprimanded them with the slightest frown. "Be nice to our uncle."

The twins bowed their heads in abject deference to him. "Yessir...

Ren pivoted on one heel. "That goes double for you, Nora."

The ginger huffed angrily. "I regret nothing!"

His frown deepened. "Apologize."

She wilted. "M'sorry...

Qrow felt his heart plunge into his stomach and buy a condo there. What manner of mad fever dream had he fallen into? He'd initially assumed Naruto had Yang to look after and while she had thoroughly disabused him of that notion, seeing was, as they say, believing. Now that he paused to put the pieces of the puzzle together, he wasn't sure he liked the picture he found.

Roman saw him staring and winked his way. "Get it now?"

He did; though he dearly wished he didn't. Marshaling his thoughts, he struggled to stand and do a headcount.

Nine of them. Ten, no, eleven if one counted Yang, who obviously wasn't here. Almost three teams worth of brats. "How many kids does this guy have?"

Willow smirked, finally deigning to rescue him from his sheer stupor at long last. "Yes."

"That does NOT answer my question! Ain't no way you're all related to him!"

Nora raised her hand. "Renny is."

Great. "And the rest of you?"

Adopted!

Of course they were. Whiskered just lived to prove him wrong, didn't he.

"Great." He growled into a hand. "Why stop at one? Might as well go for the full dozen. And where are your mothers? I already met the Schnee, so where.

A finger tapped his shoulder. "Ahem."

Against his better judgement, Qrow looked back.

Damn. A brunette and a redhead. Some guys had all the luck.

And then the world shook.

Raven howled somewhere above them. "Are you kidding me?! He attacks now?! Of all times?!

His eyes bulged. No. Taiyang couldn't be that foolish...

...right?


(.0.0.0.)


Mizu heard the noise.

Opened an eye, now. Yawned as she sat up.

After a moment's consideration, she shook her head and laid back down in bed.

Nope. She'd already learned her lesson for the week, thank-you-very-much.

Not getting involved in that. She couldn't kill him if she was dead.

Within moments, she was fast asleep.


(.0.0.0.)


"Well, that happened...

Naruto wrenched himself free from the rubble, rose now, dusted himself off, shook some broken masonry free from his blond bangs and climbed to his feet. Looking down, he found his suit dirty, but otherwise intact, much like his pride. His aura was barely even dented.

The same couldn't be said for the building behind him; he looked back and grimaced at the gaping tear he'd left behind.

Taiyang's punch had blasted him clean through one wall and out the other side, wreaking havoc in his wake.

A family of three balked back at him, frozen stiff in the middle of eating their breakfast.

Heat crawled up the back of his neck.

"For your trouble." he flicked a lien card their way, leaving it to alight perfectly upon their table. "Come to council tomorrow and I'll personally repair things the damages."

The child, a young girl bearing right eyes, dark skin and white hair waved his way with a grin. "Headmaster~! Good morning!"

Ah, miss Ororo Monroe. One of his students. How fortunate for him. Moreso their house at that.

After a moment's paused, more lien cards joined the first on the table.

"Here, buy her something nice. I'll see you in class next week."

The girl hummed happily, only to gasp a second later.

"Behind you!"

A shadow fell over him; to which he drove an elbow backward immediately. Taiyang's startled grunt was his reward, as were the family's startled gasps that followed. He grinned their way and drove a vicious mule kick into the older man's ribs without a second thought, leaving him to reel, right before a roundhouse caught his jaw. Yang's father hurtled back the way he'd come, skidding out in the street like a flung stone. Naruto sauntered after him, paused at the hole, flashed a jaunty wave, and gave chase.

Taiyang hadn't gotten far; the man was still sprawled int he street, one hand over his face when he found him Good. He'd be disappointed if he passed out after all that.

They had chosen their arena well, and the hour of their assault moreso; the streets were nearly empty, and most passerby had fled the moment Taiyang first sucker-punched him. While there were cameras on the shops and the odd lamp post -and he was sure it would be all over the news come morning-but the fact remained. They'd surprised him. No one was coming to help him. Not that he needed it, mind you.

He kicked Taiyang's shin. "Get up."

Tai growled at him.

Actually growled!

At him!

The gall of it all.

"You don't get it, do you?" he planted a fist upon one hip and nudged him with a foot once more. "I know you think my life, this role, is to just cause you misery, but it can't be just that. I have to make decisions all the time. What's best. What makes things right. What helps. And this time, helping means kicking your ass. So. Get. Up."

Taiyang surged to his feet and drilled a punch in at his face. He slapped it aside, grabbed him by the gauntlet, then slammed into the wall of a nearby building.

"What's wrong?" he goaded him with a hiss, "Where did all that fight go? Weren't you going to make me pay?"

A wordless growl was his only reward. No, no, no. Not having that. He wasn't letting him go feral.

"You're an big boy. Use your words."

"I SAID SHUT UP!"

He heard an ominous click come from the gauntlets and released him; well that he did at that; because the street exploded into a mess of wind and ice. He backed off, content to let the dust wear itself through before he made his next move. If he wanted to buy himself time to breathe, fine by him.

Now where was...

"Yang, don't worry! I'll save you!"

Aha! He craned his neck back and glimpsed his daughter flinging herself across a nearby rooftop, grinning like a loon as she dodged Taiyang's partner; or rather, her grasping hands.

"Save me...? She looked between them, baffled. "Oh!" a dazzling smile bloomed across her face. "You must be Auntie Summer! Hiiii!" her hand flashed forth in a wave. "Are we playing a game?"

Ah, his dear demented daughter. Always seeing the best in people.

Summer stopped sort. "How do you know me?"

"Well, duh." she giggled. "Uncle Qrow told me, of course!"

Qrow's actually here?! Where is he? What have you done with him!?

That was his cue. He coughed into a fist, commanding her attention as he seamlessly slipped back into his headmaster persona. "Ah, that bawdy birdy? He's resting. We had a long night, he and I.

Summer's face went red. "W-W-What?!"

"Did I stutter? Yang!" he whistled up at his daughter, "We're playing keep away! Don't let Mama Summer catch you!"

Summer sputtered. "Mama?!

"M'kay!"

She jumped backward with a giggle, forcing Summer to give chase. Rose might be a huntress, but he'd been training Yang from the moment she could walk. Perhaps had she actually been trying to hurt her, she might've succeeded. But she was too busy trying to catch her, capture her, contain her. Yeah, good luck with that. Yang hadn't even busted out the Maiden powers yet.

He heard the ice crack behind him and smiled, craning his neck back."Did you have a nice rest?"

Taiyang was on him a second later.

Swaying aside from one punch, he left his spine nearly lateral with the ground, pushed off with a palm and lashed out with a crushing kick. Taiyang caught him by the heel and whipped him round, only for him to drive an aura-enhanced fist into the man's solar plexus. He ground his knuckles in, expecting a gasp of pain, but his foe didn't even flinch; if anything it only made him bring more momentum into his swing.

Curious.

Taiyang completed his revolution and tossed him, his body struck the street, bounced once, and crashed into -then through!- a rather unfortunate produce stall.

A man's reedy cry cut through the air. "My cabbages!"

He winced. "Sorry! I'll pay for-

Taiyang barreled into him.

He lunged forward and lashed out with a lariat instead, clotheslining his fellow blond. Again, he didn't show any signs of pain. He caught the next punch and drove three more home in retaliation with his free hand, jabbing into his neck, chest and torso.

Here at last, the blond brawling grimaced.

"Hurts, doesn't it." he grinned at him. "I'm guessing there's a trick to that semblance of yours...or a limit."

"I'll never tell."

Fire dust flashed in his face, followed by a roar of thunder. He tanked both punches, let the dust rake against his aura and punched HARD. Much to his delight Yang's father crossed both arms before his face and took the blow head on, letting it send him skidding back to safety.

"Sure you don't wanna monologue on me?" he catcalled after him. "That's what villains usually do.

Taiyang bristled indignantly. "I'm not the bad guy here!"

"Yes, you are!" He thrust a finger at him in cold condemnation. "You absolutely are the bad guy here. You started this fight, not me. And you're going to lose."

They closed with one another.

Taiyang fought hard. Not like a berserker despite his aura, but with tight and controlled movements. A boxer? No, a brawler. He could respect that. And those gauntlets hurt. He wasn't sure if they were dust or some sort of semblance, but the man was dauntless, driven, determined.

Even then he could've torn him in half at any given moment; but therein lie the crux of the matter.

He didn't want to. Not with Yang here and certainly not in public.

Brawling it was, then.

They traded; he slugged Tai in the face and Yang's father slugged him back. Blood and spittle through the air as their heads snapped back. It was brutish. Unseemly. He knew he could've ended it any number of ways, but he had a point to make.

What was the old saying?

Real men talk with their fists? That's the one.

A faint hiss of steam was his one and only warning. He wasn't taking that hit.

Tai's fist whisked past his face and obliterated a wall behind him in a rush of scalding steam, taking a few hairs with it as it went. Before he could think to chamber another, Naruto stepped in, stomped down his foot to pin him in place, and started swinging for the fences.

Two. Four. Six. Eight.

On the ninth punch Taiyang's gauntlets clicked, but this time he was prepared for them; he charged through the elemental dust that crackled forth and grabbed him by the wrist, wrenching it high.

"When I became headmaster of this academy, I swore to protect and serve the innocent and punished the wicked; to train those under my care and protect them until they could protect themselves." his fingers bit down into the metal armament, warping the steel beneath. "Not this person or that person, but everyone. I won't let you upset everything I've worked so hard to build."

"And what about me?" Taiyang's forehead slammed against his, jarring him. "I did everything right! I worked hard, I obeyed the law, I made a life for my family, for my wife and MY daughter! And what, I'm just supposed to forget about it, that they're just gone now! NEVER! I have seen things I was never meant to see, learned things I was never meant to know! How than this be the plan?! How can any of this be part of anyone's plan?!"

"I'm not telling you to forget-really?!"

He made an annoyed noise as an open palm slammed into his stomach and twisted, sending countless volts coursing through his body.

Blue eyes bled red as anger got the better of him.

His knee came roaring up, folding Taiyang in half with an audible wheeze. It barely slowed him; the blond berserker grabbed his face and tried to gouge out his eyes through his aura. He brought both palms crashing down on either side of his head, discombobulating him.

"You should be more aware of your footing, Huntsman." he hammered a heel palm into him as he reeled. "The way you fight is shaped by your aura and your semblance." he batted aside another blow and nailed him with a knee to the chin. "When you have never experienced a difficult battle, your tactics become repetitive and monotonous.

He swept his legs, sending him sprawling to the ground.

"I have fought battles that would break your bones!" he stomped down after him, nearly crushing his skull before he tumbled aside and shattering the street regardless. "Horrors that would flay you flesh, make your very soul shudder! But you...and the strong lack a sense of danger. Even now you don't think you're goign to lose. Allow me to quote an old friend and make things ABUNDANTLY clear."

This speaking, he conjured his staff to one hand and brought it down, smiling as the shadows lengthened behind him.

There is nothing in this world that cannot be destroyed, nothing that once given, cannot be taken away." he said. "Class is now in session. The subject is pain. Take notes. You'll be quizzed on this."

Another shadow flitted by overhead and for a moment he tensed; but no, he could still hear yang laughing in the background as she gave Summer the run around.

Besides, he didn't sense any ill intent. So who...

.

..

...ah.

A dusty old bird winged down and transformed into a familiar figure, alighting in a pointed crouch.

Qrow shook himself mightily, rising with a groan. "You don't do subtle, do you?"

Naruto scoffed, mildly offended. "Hey! I can be subtle...when I want to be."

Taiyang balked. "Qrow?! What the hell are you doing over there?!"

Qrow looked his way, pleading. "...lemme handle this."

Naruto stepped back "By all means."

"I'll tell you what I'm doing over here, Tai." Raven's brother raised both hands and stepped forward, careful to keep them well away from his weapon. "Making sure no one does anything stupid. Calm down. Take off those gauntlets. We can still fix this.

"Fix it?" Taiyang's face twisted, words piquing in pain. "There's only one thing to fix here and its him! That bastard is still breathing! Get out of my way!"

...I can't do that."

Naruto felt something snap in the battered blond before him,. It felt like his mind.

"No...no...no! His shoulder slumped and a hoarse chuckle escaped his lips, piquing into a wail. "Not you, too! You were like a brother to me, Qrow! How could you turn your back on us?! On Summer?! On Team STRQ!"

"It ain't like that!"

Taiyang flung up his arms with an aggravated shout. "Then what is it like?! You're standing over there with HIM!"

Qrow opened his mouth to reply, looked his way, hesitated now. "...look, its complicated."

"Bullshit! Get over here and help me take him down!"

He wondered if Qrow would. Raven's brother looked his way. Touched a hand to Harbinger's hilt...

.

..

...and let it fall.

He shook his head. "I can't do that."

"If you're not with me, then you're against me!"

"Damnit, listen to me, you blond bastard! I ain't fighting on his side.

"Then why are you here, Qrow?!"

Naruto saw his moment bulled in, all smiles. To watch. Y'see, I don't hate you, Taiyang. On the contrary, I'm grateful.

Yang's father faltered, his rage flickering for a moment. "Wha?"

"You heard me." he held out a hand, beseeching him. "Without you, Yang wouldn't exist. I've met so many people because of her, because of you, experienced so many tings, good and bad alike. I wouldn't trade this for the world. So, thank you. Listen to your friend and you can walk away from this with your dignity intact."

It was the wrong thing to say-he realized it too late.

"You think I care about my dignity?!" Taiyang was suddenly furious, shouting, screaming, tears flowed freely down his face. "To hell with that! I want my life back and you out of it! Who are you to judge me?!"

Qrow winced. "Ah, shit...

His heart hardened.

"Everything." He lowered his hand and conjured his staff back to his palm. "I keep my enemies close I keep the chaos of this city in check through sheer force of will. Not that it matters to you. You've come charging in here like an Ursa in a dust shop, and upset a delicate balance. I know who the monsters are, where they are, and what they're capable of. I've righted so many wrongs and built countless bridges. If I wanted to, I could claim this city, I could be its king, its very GOD do you understand?!

Taiyang flinched in the face of his shout, but stood his ground. Good on him. It wouldn't save him.

"But I don't want that." he tapped his staff down with a sigh. "I just want to be a father. In that regard, I'll be the first to admit that semblance of yours is impressive; annoying, yet impressive. But that's the funny thing about semblances." his eyes closed, marshalling his chakra for what was to come. "They only last as long as you have aura, don't they. Be it shock absorption, impact nullification, invincibility or whatever the hell your ability is, it will only last so long as you have aura, correct?"

"Yes?"

His grin grew. "And how familiar are you with the term shock and awe?"

Qrow blanched. "You don't have to do this."

"I really do."

The world flickered around him as he stepped in and drilled an almighty rasengan into Taiyang's gut.

Yang's father rocketed across the square with pained yowl and smashed through a fountain.

Naruto didn't give him time to recover; he pounced on him with a snarl.

A/N: THE BRAWL CONTINUES NEXT CHAPTER AND RAVEN ARRIVES.

Would you like another early update next week? By that, I mean Friday. Perhaps even earlier?

Do let me know; we'll be picking up here, but with the notifications down, I really need to hear from you here, especially with the site glitched.

RWBY may have been canned by Warner Bros. but we fanfiction writers are out here trying to keep the light alive, as it were. So here we go. The fate of this story depends on you, the reader. Your feedback determines the fate of this tale, and many others.

So by all means, speak up! Raise your voice! Make yourself heard! Your reviews matter!

That's no joke! I can't write without feedback. Guess that makes me weak...T_T

So in the Immortal Words of Atlas...

...Review Would You Kindly?

And enjoy the previews!

Potential ones at that.

Also, references.

And as ever:

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

SPOILERS AWAIT THEE~!

YE BE WARNED~!

(Previews)

"You don't treat your savior like a slave."

"But he is supposed to save me , serve me and..."

"You see, that's where you got it all mixed up...HE ISN'T.


Phone call for you, headmaster.

My thanks. He set it to his ear and smiled. Naruto speaking?

...you don't know me, but I know you. The signal was grainy; the figure almost indistinct. Pity his eyes were sharper than most.

You strike me as a rather sentimental man, headmaster. That's surprising, given what I know of you. Fortunately, I don't possess the capacity for that. I could never understand what comes from feeling that way except...weakness. Our queen feels much the same.

Our queen?

But of course.

Watts, was it? Ordinarily I'd say what you do is not my concern, the world is full of people like you. Perhaps in a perfect world, everything comes with a price. But this isn't a perfect world. People do bad things, and if you're lucky, you get a chance to set it right, but most of the times it goes unpunished. This isn't one of those times. You take one step toward me, or my family, and I'll kill you. The only disappointment for me in all this, is that I'll only get to do it once. What you say to me is immaterial to me; you're even less entertaining than dry cereal.

"You think this is a joke?!" The man on the other end -Watts!- sputtered spectacularly, black mustache bristling like some great hungry caterpillar. "Don't you dare ignore me! I'll show you suffering-

The image on the other end crackled; he sneered at it. "Oh, no! Your signal is buffering!"

"I'll destroy you! You little-

The scroll winked out.

"I'm afraid you've lost your signal.

He closed down his scroll, pushed back his chair, and began to hum under his breath.

"Let's begin...you're gonna wish I never came along...


"Someday, if you ever have a child...the first time you look them you get a feeling all at once, that you'd die for them. Little thing you never saw before, and you would stone cold die for them.

That feeling doesn't go away. You might forget, but it's always there...always there.

I want you to leave my daughter alone.Call it a day. For your sake.


It is indeed a dark day, when a good man...or woman...should go to war. For there is no wrath greater, no fury stronger, no hatred purer, than one so kind and so caring, should they take up the sword.

For there will be no kindness, no forgiveness, NO MERCY."

"Demons run when a good man goes to war. Night will fall and drown the sun when a good man goes to war. Friendship dies and true love lies, night will fall and the dark will rise when a good man goes to war Demons run, but count the cost. The battle's won, but the child is lost."


EDIT: Equalizer references are entertaining, as always~! A shame I can't bring the main man himself into this story...

We all end up where we're supposed to be. Some of us just take a little longer to get there. Which means your man on the left, he's got his finger on the trigger but she's a foot too close, which renders your man on my right dead already. He just doesn't know it yet. I feel sorry for his family. Nine seconds. That's what you have to decide your fate. Nine seconds.

His smile split his face as he began to count down.

Eight...Seven...


EDIT: Viva la Reacher~!

By not telling me everything you know, you're protecting the people who want to kill my family. Which makes you an enemy of Haven, and by default, me.

I'm not gonna waste my time with enhanced interrogation techniques. I'm just gonna squeeze the life out of you.

So if at any point before you die you feel like fully unburdening yourself, blink.

They blinked, eyes bulging in their head.

I'm sorry, I didn't catch that.

They blinked harder.

One more time.


You don't know what death is. You have no IDEA what death is! Five pounds of pressure on a trigger. That's all it takes to end a life. That's all.


Pickerel raised his gun and blew smoke from the barrel. "I bet all that aura makes you feel like a big man, don't it? I did too, until I fought a bastard that cut right through it. Y'see, there's just one problem with aura. Most people I know, they have to consciously keep it active. I wonder if you can manage that?

One of his attackers fell with a bloody gurgle.

A grin split his face. "I guess not."

Then he was among them.

Guns blazed in the dark.


"Ren, my friend!" Roman slung an arm around his shoulder. "You and I are the only men in this menagerie of women. We gotta stick together.

Easy for you to say, Roman. You're older.

"Wiser, too! A man must sometimes be insolent to make his dreams a reality!"


EDIT: Avatar (Live Action Version on Netlix) reverence is obvious...and fitting, given Ozpin.

Time. Ozpin chuckled once. Time's a funny thing. The past, the present, the future, for me, it all mixed up. There's only one way to keep it straight. By remembering what really matters. Of course, keeping sight of what's important can be had. Sometimes it feels like we will always be alone and the only thing keeping us company is our own pain. We tell ouselves we are the problem. Especially when things we can't control come our way. Tha's why we must let go of our pain and regrets and remember what is we are really fighting for. The ones we love. Let that be the light that guides you through the most treacherous of times...and the darkest of nights.

Its amazing how far we'll go to hide our true selves from others; because we don't want people to know how much they really mean to us, which is funny, because the truth is, we would do anything for them. We travel incredible distances, risk our lives, fight monsters. But I suppose it can be scary to admit you need people; some might see that as a weakness, a liability. After all, what greater pain is there than losing someone you love, or worse, discovering someone you love has left you behind. I suppose that is why we feel the need to hide away and protect ourselves at times. So we put on a mask Its hard to understand why, almost as hard as knowing that sometimes...the mask is who you truly are.


So, you thought you had all the pieces right where you wanted them.

There are so many moves I've yet to play.

You should've stayed away.


"Team SLVR." he greeted them at a glance. "Shiro Wan, Lin Fucshia, Victor Farrow, Rory Andrews. By all means, come in! He granted each of them a smile. "How are you settling in?


Team HCIN, welcome. Heather Shields, Nova Carillo, Ivy Altham, Inigo Nash. Tell me, how do you feel about entering the Vytal Festival?"


Team CBLT. Carmine Escalados, Bertilak Celadon, Lali Choi and Caroline Teale. I take it you're here to enter the Vytal Festival?


"I'd almost forgotten. The weak always get taken from. Thats how it works here. Which means you guys understand how it works too, right? Those who prey upon others should be prepared to be preyed upon themselves.

"I'll give you whatever you want! Please! Just let me live! I'll pay you double, two times-

Three times.

"What?"

Three times you tried to kill me. Did you think I'd forget? And now you want mercy...? No. What happens in Mistral stays in Mistral...


Cinnabar heard the laughter.

She was poison.

She always had been, always was, always would be, for as long as she could remember. She couldn't be touched, couldn't draw near.

The door creaked open.

Stay back!

I don't want to dirty anything more than I already have. I don't want to be seen. It's shameful. I don't want to fight...then you won't have to.

"What do you know?!" she glared at him. Someone like you, beloved by all they couldn't possibly now what it feels like to be lonely.

Honestly, he tuted softly like an amused parent. Everyone's making this mistake. Its your semblance. You control it. Not the other way around.

Don't doubt yourself. Doubt kills. That's who are you, who you've always been, who you always will be. Sometimes we make the wrong choices to get to the right place.

No! I'm poisonous! You can't touch me-

You can't possibly adopt everyone.

I am running effectively running two academies in Mistral. Sanctum, where children learn what it is to be a Hunter and Haven where they BECOME Hunters.

Is this going somewhere?

The point, dear girl, is that I consider each of them my children. You're hardly the most difficult case that's come to me. I know someone who sprouts claws from his knuckles, a girl capable of wiping minds, and a boy who literally cannot open his eyes without incinerating someone. Then there's this rather surly gargoyle girl -fairly certain she's a faunus- who seems convinced that I'm out to kill her, to say nothing another student with six arms who enjoys kicking temari balls around. Oh, and my daughter flings lightning bolts when she's angry.

Her head was spinning. "And your point...?

"My point is, a bit of poison won't bother me.

She hiccuped once.

She melted into him.

Cinnabar.

Cinna, then. He patted her head. "Welcome to Sanctum."


EDIT: Tribute to Blue-Eyed Samurai here~!

Listen up, Students of Sanctum! A weapon is the soul of every Huntsman and Huntress, and so it must match them. Not solely in outward appearance, but their nature. Some weapons are rigid and thin, others large and powerful, others flowing like water. When crafting a weapon we beat the blade to remove the impurities from the steel, and thus harder the harder it is, but too pure and it becomes brittle. We must leave something of how it was made. Some might say any and all impurities must be removed. Perhaps, yet an impurity in the right place strengthen's one's weapon. Soft steel in the center, hard steel for the edge. Place the two together and you can have greatness. But what is a weapon? It is a line. On one side of that line is life, and the other, death. The edge you forge here today will cut the between the two. Now then...

He stepped back.

...craft your weapons."


The single quality that is common across every living creature on this planet.. is Fear It's funny then, that as common as fear is. We so easily underestimate its power Fear of growing close to someone. A subsequent fear of loss, a fear of failure. And as more people depend on you. Those fears can take on greater power.

But fear itself isn't worthy of concern; it is who we become while in its clutches.

Will you be proud of that person? Will you forgive them? Will you understand why they felt the need to do the things they did? Will you even recognize them?

Or will the person staring back at you be the very thing you should have feared from the start?

..I suppose we all find out sooner or later.

EDIT: Hey, thanks for reading!

Feels good to write another chapter for this. Hope you enjoyed it!

So by all means, speak up! Raise your voice! Make yourself heard! Your reviews matter!

Hope you have a great day~!

R&R~!