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Stubborn Flocks

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He stared up, and up, and up. 

His wide red eyes are unshielded as he stared, shades lain forgotten somewhere around him but he can't move. There's someone beside him, shaking him and trying to get him out of his frozen stupor with their sharp hands digging into his clothes and tearing at it slightly and he can faintly hear the sound of glitched out shrieking, he can't tell if its human or not. 

But all of that is white noise compared to the uncomprehending sounds of ticks and tocks, the rings of bells and sharp clangs of gongs with the distant echo of ominous cawing of a black bird. 

There's another set of hands appearing, more human-like but hard as steel. They're both trying to get his attention but they're failing and they know it, the human-like set of hands disappear abruptly as if pushed away as the light he's staring into shines brighter and the less-human-like hands clutch at his ruined shirt tighter. 

It's overwhelming him, them, everyone.  The glitched out shrieking intensifies and there's another scream joining in just as glitchy as the other one but it was more human.The colorful light is overwhelming and it's too late to stop now. And suddenly the less-human hands are gone and he's alone.

The overwhelming pain that floods his senses drowns out his final thought just as he feels his torso writhe in pain and something's wrong with his back.  

He thinks of his brothersAnd he is gone .

"... Most interesting don't you think master? I honestly did not see this coming, did you? But in the long run, it makes no difference. At least things will be even more interesting here, hoohoohoooo~" 


 

'This. This is awkward man.

Qrow thought plainly as he sat beside Nepeta, keeping his cool facade as he ate the sandwich Nepeta offered him. Mindful of the sharp nails that secretly dug into his hidden hand that was behind him, Nepeta was careful not to dig her nails into his hand too deeply. Just enough to cause pain but not enough to break skin. 

"Tho... you're not Dave Thtrider, you're RA'th big brother. Qrow Davith..." Sollux said with a confused deadpanned look, Roxy sat by his side. Not taking her eyes off of Qrow for one second. 

"Yeah. And you're Sollux Captor, the guy my little bro has been messin' with." Qrow retorted with a smirk that made Sollux fume a bit. Change the subject, focus on the thing he came for which was supposedly Hal. Speaking of the lil' brat, he was so getting his arm confiscated the moment Qrow came back. Damn it Lalonde please look away it's very unnerving know you're there

"You know he'th been fucking with me?" 

Qrow snorted, "Course, he's my little brother. Lil' shit's a gogdamn pain in the ass sometimes but he's a good brat, a smartass lil' shit but a good brat." 

SC: How sentimental. 

TF: you sir can shut your ass up i have no literal shit in what im doing and this is all **your** stupid idea and all your fault if it fails.

TF: remember that asshole

SC: Duly noted.

Roxy frowned, as much as she wanted to insist to Dave that he didn't have a little brother, seeing as he was the little brother according to Dirk, and that he was Dave. She knew it wouldn't get through his stubborn head, she didn't know what was going on. Was Dave faking not knowing who she and Dirk was? Did he have amnesia? Or was he truly someone else that wasn't related to Dave in anyway besides looks and possible personality? 

No that wasn't it, she trusted Dirk's judgement and if he says that this was Dave then dammit it was Dave!... Right?

She doesn't have a clue, so she let herself be ignored and gathered what she could from the talk. But that didn't stop her from sending out a message to Jane and the others, they'd be at that restaurant this afternoon right? It's not that far away, they'd have to take a cab but if she could get 'Qrow' to stay longer and keep talking... 

Sollux inhaled and sent him a wary but slightly hopeful look, "And the chanthes of you tellin' me hith name are..."

Qrow chuckled and shook his head, "Zilch. Sorry buckaroo, but this big bro ain't spillin' nothin. This mouth is under tight-lip lock and key, might as well call me Sir Zipper Lips of Lock Kingdom." He said with a smirk, though inwardly he was holding himself from rambling even further on instinct. It was hard work not to let his lips rag on like usual, but he managed. Barely. 

Roxy raised a brow at the familiar title, 'Sir Zipper Lips'? Aawfully similar to her own creation of, 'Miss Zipper Lips'. She hasn't used that familiar title in a while and she could vaguely remember telling that to Dave once before after the blonde was keeping a secret from his brothers; it was for their birthdays. 

Her lips tilted to a smile, she knew it. This was Dave... But did Dave knew he was Dave? Her inner Mom and Cousin Rose thought carefully about it all, carefully observing the little subtleties that D-Qrow was showing. 

Knowing Dave, he was going to be stubborn so might as well call him Qrow while he's using that name regardless if he had amnesia or not. 

"Well fuck." Sollux cursed before turning back to Qrow, "Why the hell not?" 

Qrow shrugged, "This is between you and him, I got no place between two hackers in that virtual world you both skulk in. You're just going to have to deal with it, as much as a brat the lil' shit is he mostly knows what he's doing. Other times, not so much be definitely tries..." He says dryly with a hidden twitch of the eye, yeah he mostly knew what he was doing with Sollux but he didn't know that the guy was going to be bringing Roxy now did he? 

"Though I will say, you're the smartest asshole that's been going after my lil bro so far. A lot of people have tried to get through his, what did he call it? 'Barriers', and barely any of them managed to even scratch the surface of 'em." He admitted and smirked as he sees the light puff of pride the other had at that, that was true really.

"Well, what else can you tell us about your little brother?" Surprisingly enough, Roxy's the one to ask this and Qrow is a bit taken back since he was mostly focused on Sollux to pay attention to his, ex-ecto-mother-sister-cousin-friend?

Nepeta has long removed her hand from his, but he already knows the pointed soundless question he get's from the feline-loving teen. 

He answers, much to Nepeta's gowing ire, concern, worry and other emotions the feline teen had for him at the moment. She clearly remembers his determined decision in steering clear from the Lalondes, Striders, Egberts and Crockers. By all accounts if it weren't for Kankri and her involvement he would've been avoiding her the whole time since she was friends with Jade and John and knew and was known by the entire group. 

"Mmm, I guess telling a few things won't hurt. 'But knowing my luck it probably will but I'm doing it fucking anyway' I'm guessing we're the same age and shit so know that when I say lil bro I mean it, he's definitely younger than us but he ain't no kid that can't handle himself. If it weren't for certain circumstances I'd say he's completely capable of being independent, but even then I'd still be on his ass since he's my bro and all." Qrow drawled. 

Roxy mentally took note, promising to do a background check up on 'Qrow Davis' and possibly try to find 'RA' on her own. Though she'd help Sollux if he asks for it, but she knows he was probably going to do the same the moment they get to a computer. 

SC: Again; such sentiment. Shall I show this to our special little hacker to ease his nerves? He seems to be working quite the tizzy on my end, and I even doubt he's checking in on our chat!

TF: nah let him panic a bit more

TF: shit deserves it for this

SC: Alright then. 

SC: Oh and before I forget, I do wish to compliment you on your little tirade with the Crew. Hal informs me that regardless on what happens, it would seem that the operation succeeded nonetheless and I have no doubt that it did. We both know that Diamonds will make the final choice in the end. Well done once again Avian. Though I truly commend on the certain part with Spades, marvelous work there. 

SC: Dare I say that Highblood might even be proud at that! Do I have express permission to show this little clip to him in our next and latest meeting? For legal and peaceful entertainment purposes only of course, nothing else. 

SC: That also reminds me, their newest 'Bard' will be attending. His Highblood would like you to do the same with his Bard as you did with his Prince, however without Huntress LL this time. 

TF: huh

TF: sure why the fuck not

TF: its been way too long since i kicked juggalo ass anyway

SC: Please refrain from calling them that in person, they are quite sensitive to that dear Avian. They don't take it too well and I doubt that even my abilities will stop them should you do go with that little nickname and enrage them, and I doubt that you will escape unscathed this time. 

TF: whatever yeah

TF: ill do it, the whole bard thing

SC: Wonderful. 

SC: Do excuse me for a moment, I'm tutoring Hal more on gunplay. When his other arm is complete I have no doubt that his gunplay mastery will heighten and improve, he might even come close to my own skills if he so wishes and focuses on more on firearms.

SC: Though I take it I will have to find out *after* you give him his arm back after confiscation.

"Qrow, are you alright?" Equius' voice snapped him out and Qrow nodded as nonchalantly as he could.

"Yeah sorry, just thinking about something. Kinda forgot what though." 'How long should I keep the arm, a few days or a full on week? Decisions, decisions. Man being a responsible big brother is sure hard work.

"Honestly, your tendency to nod off like that is sometimes concerning." Equius deadpanned and Qrow sent him a quirked brow, he didn't do that often did he? He definitely didn't, he voiced this to the mechanic who only huffed and sent him a look beneath his cracked pair of shades. 

"No not often, but enough times for me to take note about it. Isn't that right Nepeta?" 

The olive-wearing teen hummed, "I dunno Equius, but I guess Qrow does tend to do that doesn't he?" She questioned sweetly, "Well, I'll be sure to make sure he's paying more attention next time! I swear it!" She says cheerfully and Qrow sweats a little underneath his hoodie at the underlying tone underneath it. 

"Oh boy..." Qrow muttered as he closes his eyes and rubs them, fully aware and ignoring the fact that Roxy was pointedly staring at him as he did that. He was so going to kick Kankri's ass in a strife for this, preferably with his 1/2 sword since he wasn't as used to fighting with a gun instead of a blade. 


BANG BANG BANG

Kankri hummed as he observed Hal's progress, despite of only having one arm his aim was better than most of his own men sometimes. Though that would probably account for his robotic mind and augmentations, nonetheless it was still impressive. 

"Do be mindful of the recoil, that and be mindful of the noise when using regular firearms without silencers. On those matters, any new model of silenced and modified firearms available yet? That and those specialized bullets I've requested as well, I've been running low on those shock bullets as well as the explosive ones. Especially the explosive ones." Kankri asked with a purr and a grin that had Hal rolling his digital eyes at him. 

"Sure, I got a new set waiting for you. Wanna take a peek?" Hal asked as he tosses the pistol back into the strife card, done with gun training and wanting to check on the progress of his arm; which would soon be confiscated due to his 'rookie move'. Hal grimaced at the thought, though to anyone, especially his brother, it would look like he was pouting instead because of his young physical features of a young 13 year old. 

Kankri grinned sharply, "Certainly!" He exclaims and closes the laptop he had in his lap after a final glance at it, Qrow was idle as of now and had yet to reply to his latest message so he just puts it in his sylladex for now. He sits up from his place at the sidelines and makes his way towards Hal who waits for him only for a moment before moving on, fully expecting Kankri to follow him. 

Though Kankri has been in their base enough time to not need an escort but it was a moot point seeing that if he even tried to use their 'alchemiter' as they had put it, he wouldn't know jack shit about it. He was no dumb teen, he was very intelligent even in his masked persona so never say to him that he was a stupid person. Never. Regardless of who he was at the moment. 

But he will admit that he was a bit at a loss at the Davis' personal creation, a machine that did amazing things and could easily make millions of dollars should both brothers actually agree on it. However they don't, they keep it to themselves and do what they like with it. Something that Kankri both approves of, it was better to keep advantages to yourself to help you in the long run mostly. 

The fact that the Davis' brothers had trusted him enough to let him know how they made their things and even share their creations to both him and his group was part of the reason why he left the thing alone to both brothers. 

They entered the 'Alchemy' room as Qrow and Hal dubbed it, and it would never fail to slightly awe Kankri every time he sees the process in action. Just as they enter he sees Hal's arm being slowly completed by the machine, floating in the middle of the giant platform and slowly appearing into existence in the middle of the beams. 

"Hmm, almost done but not yet." Hal muttered as he too looked at his arm before turning to the side and facing one of the very old and broken down machines and carefully extracted sylladex cards from their hiding places from said old machine. Yeah these old buckets of bolts still had their uses besides being spare parts and metal scraps for the the alchemiter or whatever project he was working on, like hiding inventory from prying eyes. 

He looked at the cards before settling them down at the edge of the platform of the alchemiter and motioned Kankri to them, all the while turning to another old machine and began getting cards from that machine as well. 

There were 3 cards on the platform and Kankri looked over each card and its contents with interest. There were two rifles and one pistol, and they certainly looked interesting. 

"Hmm, interesting design." Kankri hummed as he takes a rifle in hand, measuring the weight and aiming at the wall and looking through the scope and his eyes widen as he sees the view through the scope and he grins, "As well as interesting upgrades." he purred as he looked content with the rifle before moving on with the next one. 

"Thanks, these things weren't cheap you know. Took a long time too, you're lucky we even had these finished since we decided to create them earlier this week. Though they haven't been tested yet, Qrow thought he'd let you test it out for us like usual."Hal said as he gets two more cards and puts them on the platform. 

"Shock and explosive bullets, your favorite. Anything else?" 

Kankri's grin sharpened as he takes the contents of each card, he wasn't completely out of the bullets so he just stacked them in the same card, Hal takes the two cards back and stashed them back as storage space. "I'll be sure to inform you on how they do in action, though I know that Qrow and yourself may see yourselves. Though if I use them and you're not within vicinity I'll be sure to report their status." Kankri says cheerfully as he twirls the rifle before switching it for the pistol. 

 "I have been meaning to order for the type of computation devices like Qrow's goggles and shades, I think it's time we had more conventional ways of communication. More subtle and hidden than our usual methods of communication. Less hands on." 

Hal nodded, "Been wonderin' when you were going to ask me that. So I made these in advance, you're welcome." He says nonchalantly as he throws Kankri a pair of bracelets which Kankri deftly caught after quickly putting away the pistol, he observes them and puts them on and was surprised to see a small holographic screen appear as he touched at one bracelet. 

"You'll get the hang of it, one bracelet is for pesterchum and computer shit, the other is like a phone that you can use. There's three settings on the phone bracelet, though I'll have to borrow that for a bit since I need to implement the phone setting to Qrow's goggles and shades. After what happened with the Crew I guess I should get that over with." Hal says and Kankri complies, letting Hal take one bracelet that seemed to be the phone one. 

"I see, thank you Hal... Is there any more for the others?" Kankri questioned, fiddling with the holographic screen. Already logging onto Pesterchum with both handles, also checking if it was safe though he doubts it wasn't since it was Hal who made it and installed Pesterchum. 

Hal shook his head, "Not much, I've got a few other pairs of that type of bracelet with certain designs for certain others and none for the phone bracelets as of yet. I got one for Nepeta when she asks or when its needed and another one for Psi as well. If you're thinking of giving this stuff to everyone in the group then you're going to have to wait a long damn while." Hal admitted as he puts away the brace-cell and takes out another two compute-lets that were designed and colored in olive and gold. 

Kankri smiled, "Psi will definitely be very happy for that, Nepeta as well if she doesn't claw both you and Qrow when they come." 

Hal blinks before groaning, "Oh fuuuck, that's right... Nep's there with Qrow and she's gonna be so pissed at meee..." He whines as he rubs his face before perking, "Oh wait, she'll be more focused on you." He pointed out happily. 

Kankri chuckled and shook his head, "Focused on me yes, however who was the one who neglected checking on the youngest Captor's company?" 

Hal groans again and chucks a plush Hella Jeff doll at him, Kankri's nose curled in distaste at the plush and promptly threw it back at Hal who grumbles at him. 

"Don't be like that Hal. Anyway, I suppose we should be checking back on Qrow shall we? We've left him unsupervised long enough." Kankri says lightheartedly and smiles at the underlying worry that Hal gains at the mention of that. 

"Ngah shit, you're right. He's probably knee-deep in shit again, c'mon let's hurry." Hal urged and exited the Alchemy room with the crimson-wearing teen following him with amusement. 

Hal quickly uses a chord and plugs one that lead to the tv and one to his glasses so Kankri could see what he saw. After a few minutes the two had to flinch at the unexpected close up sight and sound of a pissed off Dirk Strider that seemed to be looming above Qrow. The footage angle was slightly awkward indicating that his shades were knocked askew but not completely of Qrow's face.

"Stop lying you asshole! We thought you fucking died, there is a motherfucking grave with your name on it, it's YOUR GRAVE!"

"I'm telling you you got the wrong guy! I am NOT Dave fucking Strider!

"No you fucking are! You're my shitty ass little brother, DAVE ELIZA-FUCKING-BETH STRIDER!!

"No. I. Am. NOT!

With that Qrow's fist is seen hitting Dirk across the face, knocking the pointy anime shades off as Qrow throws the Strider off of him. The footage is shaky and jerky as Qrow moved around and there's multiple voices shouting, Qrow included. And suddenly the shades are knocked off completely and are on the grass as it showed the scrambling feet and legs of everyone included.

"Well fuck, I know I said he was in knee-deep shit and all but I certainly did not fucking expect this shit." 

"Yes, well..."

"Yep, definitely your fault."

"Hush, I was simply following my instinct and senses."

"Some senses you got there boss, top notch grade A senses right there."


Dirk Strider was on a war path. 

He had been the moment Jane had shown him Roxy's text, the others were following him closely and keeping him from colliding and exploding with anyone in his path. 

"Dirk please calm down! I know you're determined and all but Dave's not really going anywhere soon. Roxy's stalling him till we get there!" Jane called out as they finally reached the park, the cab they had took had been held up due to sudden traffic and they had to hoof it towards the park. 

Dirk grunted and said nothing but his stride noticeably shortened as everyone caught up with him, Jane and John. 

"Oh gosh, are we really going to see Dave again?" Jade questioned quietly towards Rose, panting lightly along with her and Jake. 

The blonde shrugged, "I suppose so, we'll have to see." She replied tersely as she fixed her crooked hairband on her head. 

"F-Finally! We're here, now where did Roxy say they were at?" Jake questioned as he took to Jane and Dirk's side, a small look of nervousness on his face. Tugging at the seam of his short-sleeved green jacket. 

John answered, looking over Jane's shoulder. "They're by the lake on a green and blue blanket, you can't miss'em!" He says as they entered the park, instantly they hone in on the lake and find the green and blue blanket being sat on by 5 familiar individuals. 

Quickly they made their pace and quickly they saw Roxy and Sollux along with Nepeta and Equius, leaving the fifth individual to be...

Roxy noticed them and beamed at them, waving frantically with a strange look on her face despite her smile that seemed to strain a bit. That caught the attention of everyone around her as they turned to look at what she was waving at and with bated breath, the fifth individual in a black and red hoodie turned. 

Everyone's breaths hitched as they stared into a stoic face with orange aviators, aviators that shouldn't be orange but black. 

"Oh god.../Holy shit..." Breathed Jade and Rose as they see proof to Dirk and the other's claims, Dave was alive. Or he seemed to be, Rose argued as the chance that this teen just had the unlikely uncanny look to her deceased friend and jesus he's even got Dave's facial structure down to the bone

It didn't seem to be faked, no artificial surgical structuring of any kind. 

Qrow shifted slightly, very uncomfortable and his heart hammered underneath his desperately stoic facade, "... Sup." He says lamely and immediately wants to take it back and just slam his leader's face in for even suggesting this shit. He was not ready to face everyone at once! Especially Dirk. 

John smiled brightly if a bit wavering, "Dave! See Rose, Jade, we told you Dave was alive, he's right here!" He laughed slightly, tearing up a bit. The shock was wearing off quickly with the second meeting and the sobbing relief was coming in. 

Qrow cringed at the sight of the teary looks, guilt building up at that. He, he didn't like being the cause of his friend's tears. He never wanted... But he can't be their Dave, he just wasn't. He was Qrow and he had Hal as a little brother who was waiting to get his arm confiscated and ass kicked back at home, not to mention Kankri and the whole fucked up world he and Hal were involved with. 

He can't get them involved. He refused to. 

Qrow sighed, "Look, I-!!" He was cut off as he was suddenly lifted from his place on the blanket and into the arms of one slightly shaking Dirk Strider. The other blonde was hugging Qrow tightly, as if afraid that he would disappear if he'd let go and that nearly doubled the guilt that Qrow. 

That and being hugged by a younger looking Scratched version of his Bro felt really weird and slightly wrong, yet is felt right

"You fuckin' dumbassWhat the actual fuck dude." Dirk shakily said as he clutched at his younger twin, younger twin he had a twin again, a brother again. He, fuck, there goes the Strider facade! 

Just as he hugs he sees the stunned faces of the other 4 people on the blanket by the lake, Roxy looks at him happily, tearing up and crying a bit. Sollux seems confused as well along with Equius, both looking at each other unsurely with Equius being more unsure. Nepeta on the other hand...

Nepeta was looking at Dirk with wide eyes, shocked obviously but there was something else in her eyes as her fists clenched in her lap that went unnoticed by the others. And right before he's being pushed away he swears that Nepeta's pupil seemed to dilate unnaturally... like a cats

Unfortunately he couldn't focus on that as he focused on his younger twin, pushing him away. 

"Wha-"

"Personal space man! And I definitely think you got the wrong guy, I don't know you. I'm sorry but I've never even met you before the whole graveyard chase bash we had a week ago! I don't, fuck man, look I'm sorry for touchin' your 'Dave's' grave but I ain't him I can promise you that. My name is Qrow Davis, and I am not your brother." Qrow says firmly, throwing every Strider-esque training he had been taught and beaten into him by his Bro who was dead and buried on LOWAS and was desperately keeping it up. He hope he's doing enough because he isn't really sure and he thinks he's shaking ever so slightly and if he is, he hopes no one notices. 

That stuns everyone with the exception of Nepeta who is trying really hard to keep calm and stay in the background until necessary. 

Dirk looks at him in disbelief before anger swiftly replaces that disbelief and he grits his teeth because how dare he, how dare he deny who he was when it was clear he was DAVE

"Don't you fucking dare shithead, you are Dave Strider, you are!" He says as he steps closer to Qrow who nearly falters before stepping forward and butting heads with Dirk. 

"Don't call me a shithead asshole! And no, I am not." Qrow spat back, black shades clashing with orange as the two teens of equal height glared at each other. 

Behind them everyone was uneasily shifting and looking at the two with worry, unsure on what to do. Though they all yelped and yelled in surprise as Dirk tackled Qrow down, looming over the other blonde angrily as he stared into one red eye as Qrow's glasses were awkwardly angled on his face. 

His eyes were red, Dave's eyes were red-his eyes were red

"Stop lying you asshole! We thought you fucking died, there is a motherfucking grave with your name on it, it's YOUR GRAVE!" 'You made us bury you, made your grave and thought you were dead for years WHY?!'

"I'm telling you you got the wrong guy! I am NOT Dave fucking Strider!" 'I'm not your Dave, I never was, I never will. That's not my grave, I'm alive and I already have a brother, and he's not you.' 

"No you fucking are! You're my shitty ass little brother, DAVE ELIZA-FUCKING-BETH STRIDER!!" 'Please, please for fuck's sake just stop it and come back and just tell us why...'

"No. I. Am. NOT!" 

Dirk grunted as he was knocked off of Dave, shades knocked off and laying on the grass as everyone gasps. His jaw hurts at the punch, Dave always had one hell of a right hook. 

Both Dirk and Qrow scrambled to stand as they glared at each other, and for a moment it's all still before Qrow and Dirk are at each other's throats shouting as everyone scrambled to get them apart. Shouting as well. At some point Qrow's shades are completely knocked off and everyone can see his red red red eyes that were narrowed and angry. 

No one knows what to do completely as the group half themselves to keep one Strider away from the other, or rather one Strider away from one Davis. 

Dirk has Jake, Jane, Roxy and Equius on his side to keep him away. 

Qrow has John, Jade, Rose and Nepeta on his side to keep him away. 

Sollux is just there on the sidelines unsure of what the fuck was going on. 

From the forest hidden from everyone's sight and knowledge there is movement. 

"Hmm... Yes, very interesting indeed. Everything was getting quite boring, this is too good so far~ Yes, that little mistake of mine, and how rare that is really, seems to have made into a perfectly interesting event! Oh how I so look forward to the future! Hoohoohoooo~"