“Everything we did was for nothing! ” Jaune’s fist slammed into the wall.
“That’s not true.”
“Really? Cuz it sure does sound like it.”
“If Salem can’t be killed, then how are we supposed to win this?” Ren’s question was met with uncomfortable silence. What could even be said at this point?
“Wow. Great plan everyone.” Jaune turned to face the window, his voice dripping with frustration. Oscar stepped forward, trying to ease the tension.
“Look, none of this is great, we know. But we’re not the bad guys here.”
“Are we sure about that?”
“What?” Oscar’s eyes widened as Jaune turned to face him once more.
“He’s in your head, isn’t he?” Jaune started to approach Oscar. “Did you already know about this?”
“He didn’t know any of it!” Weiss shouted, trying to diffuse the situation. Jaune grabbed Oscar by the shirt and slammed him against the wall.
“How much longer can we even trust him?” His voice was rising, loud and angry.
“How do we know it’s even really him? What if we’ve been talking to that liar this entire time?” Oscar screwed his eyes shut and turned his face to the side, bracing for an impact.
“ JAUNE! ”
Ruby’s shout made Jaune freeze for a moment, Oscar trembling in his grip. Orange gloved hands raised up slowly and shakily. Glaring once more at Oscar, Jaune released his grip before heading up the stairs.
The blood rushing in his ears made everything sound muffled, the scene before him feeling far away. Oscar could see the others saying something, still distressed about the information shared. The only sound was his heart beating- it felt like it jumped up into his throat. Tightness started squeezing up his chest. Run. Run. Get out. Now. Oscar slipped through the door. Then he ran.
It was all for NOTHING!
The cold wind whipped against his face as leather boots thudded against cobblestone.
How are we supposed to win this?
Tears were pooling in his eyes, blurring his vision.
Can we even trust him?
Oscar swipes a hand against his eyes. His lungs start to burn.
His foot catches on a loose stone, sending him sprawling onto the ground. Red hot pain pulls at his arms and knees. No time. Scrambling for traction, he keeps going.
It’s your fault.
Cobblestone gives way to a dirt road, then snowy forest. Tears kept streaking down his face, stinging in the cold air. Dark trees pop out of the white expanse, barely dodged at the last second. His boots fight for grip in the snow as he runs.
If only you were useful. Why are you so pathetic?
The light is fading fast from the forest. How long has he been running? Minutes? Hours?
You’d be more useful to them if you died. Let Ozpin find someone capable this time.
Oscar’s legs give out from underneath him. Hands pull out from the snow to grip at brown hair, pulling in frustration and despair. His lungs heave in his chest, trying to pull in oxygen between shuddering gasps.
You should have never left the farm.
Scared and alone, Oscar screams.
~ ~ ~
“Dinner is ready, if you all are ready to eat.” Saffron nudged the door open to JNR’s room, the three teammates sitting on one of the beds together. Looking up, Jaune is the first to respond.
“Yeah, that sounds good. We’ll be down in a bit. Thanks Saff.” As Saffron cracks the door closed, Jaune wipes his hand across his face. “I still don’t know how to feel about all this.”
“It’s all so, so crazy,” Nora chimes in. “Maybe we’ll feel better after dinner. I know food always makes me feel better!” Ren nods in agreement.
The three walk downstairs, joining Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang at the couches in the living room. Ruby glances up as they step off of the stairs, offering them a warm smile.
“How’re you guys doing?”
Jaune sighs, rubbing the back of his neck. “Honestly I don’t know. Everything’s so different now. I don’t feel as angry right now, but I’m just..,” another sigh, “tired, I guess.”
“Well, sitting here moping isn’t going to do anything!” All eyes turned, where Maria was walking into the room from the kitchen with a plate in her hand. “Eat up, before it gets cold. Then we can work on what to do next.”
“Ah, right, yeah.” Jaune could feel the heat creep into his face, before turning to walk into the kitchen.
“Um,” Ruby’s voice was quiet, hesitant. “Does anyone know where Oscar is? I haven’t seen him since, um, since earlier.” Jaune looked back at Ren and Nora, who both were shaking their heads.
“We haven’t seen him.”
Silverware clattered in the kitchen, before Qrow appeared in the doorway behind Maria. “You haven’t se- ugh we just got everyone back together.” His hands ran through his hair, closing his eyes. “Alright.” A sigh escaped his lips, before he looked over at the kids again. “You kids eat, then split up. I’ll head out now, keep your scrolls on you. Let everyone know if you find him.”
“But Uncle Qrow-”
“No, Ruby, you all eat. As much as you want to look now, you won’t be able to fight or search for long on an empty stomach, and it’s already getting cold.” Qrow took long strides over to the front door, pulling it open. “I’ll search the forest. Now eat.”
Dinner was silent and quick. After eating, Jaune, Nora, and Ren took one half of Argus, while Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang searched the other. Maria decided to stay behind at the house, in case Oscar came back while the others were out.
~ ~ ~
Sobs wrack Oscar’s body as he curls up on himself, hands sliding to the back of his head. His legs and face are static, numb from a lack of oxygen. He struggles to fill his lungs before a choked gasp pushes the air back out.
They don’t care about you. They’re glad you left.
Qrow’s fist colliding with his face. Yang’s shouting. Jaune pushing him against the wall. The void that Ozpin left in his mind.
You’re a burden. A waste of space.
The snow is seeping through his clothes. The air is sharp as his lungs try to pull anything in.
They’re better off without you.
His forearms sting. The blood is starting to drip into the snow.
Just die already. No one will miss you.
He twists to lean against a nearby tree. The palms of his hands wipe across his face and against his eyes, trying to stop the tears.
Without Oz, why would they even want me around? He was the only part of me they wanted to deal with. And now? Now they all hate him. He’s gone, and they don’t want me around anymore.
Oscar’s snow soaked clothes chill his shaking body. His pant leg is torn from falling earlier, his knee skinned and bloody underneath. Trying to steady his shaking breaths, he tilts his head to look up at the sky above him. The last of the sunset’s light is fading, the clouds a dark grey in shadows. Snowflakes are starting to fall- they land on his cheeks, melting and joining the tears running down.
They hate me, and once I die they can find Oz with someone who’s actually useful. They can come up with a plan and figure this out. I’ve only made this all worse.
Oscar pulled his knees closer to his chest as fresh tears began to spill. The cold was getting more and more intense as the adrenaline ebbed away. His body felt like lead. He let his head fall against his arms, and hazel eyes slowly slipped closed.
“Oscar, talk to me...”
“..found him, but his aura is low-- I’m bringing him back to the house.”
cold. hurts. Oscar tries to move, but all he can do is grunt in pain. Hazel eyes creak open, finding black and grey. A blink, and then there’s red.
“Thank gods, Oscar. Stay with me here.” who is that? The voice is low, rough, gravelly. It’s hard for Oscar to hear. He recognizes that his body is being moved. He’s too cold and tired to do anything about it. There’s something warm on his side. When did his eyes close? Oscar tries to open them again. The trees are moving. cold. He tries to get closer to the warmth.
“Hold on kid, I’m gonna get you home.” It’s dark again.