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Contemplation

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“Ozpin?”

Silence.

“...figures.”

It is just before sunrise. Oscar shouldn’t even be awake, let alone taking a walk. He had attempted to sleep earlier and failed after tossing and turning for hours. A walk seemed like it was needed. It wasn’t like he was going to walk into the forest and get mauled by a Grimm, after all. This was the city... perfectly safe.

“What ‘figures’?” a voice spoke up. It shouldn’t have been so surprising, but it made Oscar stumble over his feet a bit. “Apologies. I didn’t realize my absence was so concerning.”

“It’s okay, just thought you were asleep, is all,” Oscar replied. Though the two shared a body, they both still required their own sleep. Funny how that worked.

Ozpin chuckled. “I suppose that is a good assumption, as I did just wake up recently. Did you need me?”

“Um…” Oscar bit his lip. He did want to talk, but now he wasn’t so sure. “It’s not that important. You can go back to sleep.”

“Oscar, aside from what’s going on, I’m sure you can tell I’m not that busy,” Ozpin said. “Whatever you want to talk about is fine by me. Especially if it explains why you’re out so late.”

“Oh- I just… couldn’t sleep. Thought walking would work out some nerves, but… I’m not so sure right now,” he slowed his pace. “I wanted to ask…” he was trying to find something, anything else to bring up. But nothing would come to mind. “...what happened to the other people you’ve reincarnated in to?”

Silence.

“That’s-”

“I’m sorry. We don’t have to talk about that.”

“No, you have a right to know.”

Oscar was stopped in his tracks now.

“How long have you been thinking about this?” Ozpin asked.

“Since you told the others your curse,” Oscar confessed. He balled up a fist and bit his lip harder now. “There’s just- there’s been so many...a-and you’re only one voice. How… am I going to end up?” he felt tears rolling down his face and watched them hit the ground.

If voices could nod, Ozpin just did. “I understand. It can be difficult to think about these things… I’m glad you asked before it hurt you any more. Would it be alright if I took over while I explained?” Oscar nodded quietly, trying to quiet his sniffling as if Ozpin wouldn’t know he was crying. He shut his eyes and when he opened them again, Oscar was no longer in control.

Ozpin wiped Oscar’s tears and walked across a bridge, stopping in the middle to look at the oncoming sunrise. “Much as the day begins,” he paused and smiled, “so does life.” He resumed his pace. “My being here does not affect that in any way.”

“The people who’s souls I’ve bonded with are still here with me, but not how you may be imagining. When one passes on they do go to wherever you believe a soul goes after death. Heaven, hell,” he chuckled, “or reincarnation. Maybe something else entirely. Whatever it may be, they have moved on. The only difference is that a piece of them will stay behind… with me.”

“So… you don’t know what’s going to happen to me?” Oscar sighed. It wasn’t what he was hoping for, but then again, what was he hoping for?

“I can’t say I do… I apologize,” Ozpin stopped in front of an apartment complex, and stepped up to the door.

“What are we doing here?”

“Keeping a soul alive.”

Ozpin pressed the buzzer for an apartment. The two stood in silence before a voice came over the intercom.

“Who is this?” the voice asked.

“Your sun and day,” Ozpin replied. It didn’t take long after for the door to the building to unlock, and the two entered the building. They walked in silence as Ozpin wandered up the stairs to one of the apartments, knocking on the door when he arrived. The knob turned, and the door opened, revealing an older woman who was in tears. She guided them in and sat them down.

“You’ve changed again,” she said. “You were so young… what happened?”

“That’s a long story,” Ozpin nodded. The woman looked at him and smiled. She turned into the kitchen and began heating up a kettle for some tea.

“Ozpin, who is she? Why are we here?” Oscar was just confused. It was nowhere near the time Qrow would be awake, but it was early enough for someone like Ren or Weiss to be up and notice they were missing. They should be getting back now.

“This is Lucy Begonia. She’s is, in essence, my mother,” Ozpin said. “I know how that sounds, but believe me it’s simple. Before my previous life, I had bonded with the only person in her life… her son. I promised him that for until the two can meet again, I would keep her company and take care of her. At this point she has become as much as my mother as she was his. I wanted you to meet her.”

Oh.

Lucy walked back into the room, handed the tea she made to Ozpin, and sat down. “May I ask who you’ve brought with you this time?”

“His name is Oscar Pine. Would you like to talk?” Oscar knew Ozpin wasn’t talking to just her. He wanted to say no, to go back. But there was something compelling him to stay.

“Yes,” the two said in unison. Ozpin closed his eyes, and when he opened them, Oscar was looking at the elderly woman across from him.

“Hello, ma’am,” he tipped his head.

“Hello, Oscar,” she tipped her head back. “How long have you been with Ozpin?”

“About three months,” he sipped some of the tea.

“I see. You know, I wasn’t sure of that Ozpin at first.”

“Really?”

“Oh, yes. He bonded with my Benny when he was your age. Almost gave him a heart attack when they first talked.”

Oscar laughed to himself. “Trust me, I know.”

“When he first told me, I didn’t believe him at first. I wish I would have… it would have made things much easier on him. He set his heart on becoming a huntsman without telling me because of it, I believe. When he left for the academy it was the best day of his life, but the worst of mine. It was a few years before he would come back to me.” Lucy wiped a small tear from her eye. “When he came back, he was hurt and slept for days. I didn’t know what to do… but then he woke up, only it wasn’t him.”

“Ozpin?”

She nodded. “Ozpin woke up first, and explained everything to me. Benny had been on a mission with his team, when they were seperated. The rest of his team wouldn’t be seen again, but… I believe Ozpin saved him. To this day, he still won’t tell me why they were seperated, or why he even injured. But Benny was safe. That was all I cared about. They went through life together, every step of the way, side by side. Ozpin would be there for him, every step of the way… even when he would leave me.”

Lucy stood up and walked over to Oscar. She ran her fingers through his hair and patted his head. “I know why he brought you here,” she sat down next to him. “My Benny is gone, and Ozpin is still here. He’ll still be here when I’m gone, and he’ll be here when you’re gone… but he keeps each of us alive in his own way. Don’t be scared of what will happen, but be happy you have him here to go through everything with you.” Lucy gave him a big hug and patted his head once more.

Oscar looked up at her, tears in his eyes. “Thank you...thank you,” he wiped away his tears and smiled at her. He’d forgotten that in order to get to the end, he has much more to go through.

The two stayed for a couple more hours, taking turns talking to Lucy and telling her about their own stories. The three of them would talk for as long as possible, before Ozpin reminded Oscar about the others. When it was time to leave Oscar thanked her one last time and promised he’d be back again.

“I hope this visit helped you. I know life can be scary, but I thought it would be best if you saw for yourself how one can still be here when they’re gone, rather than just tell you about it,” Ozpin explained.

“Yeah, it helped a lot… I’m still scared, but it’ll be okay in the end. So I’ll find a way to be okay, too,” Oscar said, smiling. “But I have another question.”

“Of course, fire away.”

“Was it you or Benny who thought shoulder pads were a good fashion choice?”

“Th-that’s-”

“Got it.”