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Coming Home, Finding Home

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Jaune thinks he might be in shock. People are moving all around him but he can’t really hear anything, or feel his own body, or make his eyes focus.

Grimm are everywhere.

Beacon is gone.

Pyrrha is dead.

Ruby’s uncle had come back from the tower with only his unconscious niece and Pyrrha’s circlet. The dragon was frozen, Cinder was gone, and there wasn’t even a body to bury for Pyrrha, just the circlet and the shattered pieces of Miló.

Someone who looks authoritative says something about students being sent home. Jaune wonders for a second how Pyrrha is going to go back to Mistral, and then he remembers. She’s not.

He’s been sitting there for… he doesn’t know how long. Time doesn’t feel like it’s working quite right anymore. He’s been sitting for a while, in the somewhat-safe area that is holding everyone until they can leave for somewhere somewhat safer, when it suddenly occurs to Jaune that he has other people to worry about. As soon as the thought crosses his mind, his chest tightens with anxiety. Where are they? He hasn’t seen either of them since the beginning of the battle. They’re both incredibly powerful, but so is Pyrrha – was Pyrrha – and –

He finds them. Seeing them hurts almost as much as thinking about his partner, and he suddenly remembers that this is not the first time grimm have brought their world crashing down around them.

Ren is sitting on a bench, leaning heavily against the wall behind him. There are bandages on his left arm and side and his face is pale the way it gets when he runs out of Aura. Nora is beside him, her jacket torn and more bandages wrapped around her waist, Magnhild leaning, battered, beside her. She is holding his hand too tightly and talking like she’s high on a sugar rush from pancakes, not sitting in the rubble of her school – too animated, too excited, fake like cheap paint over cracking glass. Ren’s face is blank and he doesn’t respond as Nora talks and talks. She’s gone into overdrive and he’s shut down, and it both relieves and pains Jaune to see them. They’re alive, but what is left for them?

Jaune is moving slowly, both from the slow-hitting shock and the need to not startle his teammates. He gets closer to them and his heart twists when he hears exactly what Nora is saying.

“– and they’ll probably let us back in, I mean Professor Luma loved you, you were like her favorite student ever, she’d totally let you be her TA if you asked nicely, and I’m sure they would let me help with training if I showed Professor Kondile how much better I’ve gotten since we left, like I was good then but boy am I better now – did you even see how hard I hit that beowolf earlier? I went pow and he went whoosh and I couldn’t even see where he landed! But like, you would be the best assistant because you actually do the things and you’re good at them and everything and you’re so patient you could teach a rock how to read, and I would be the best trainer like I’d get all the students accepted into Beacon and they would all be the best. I’m sure if we go back to Umbra they’ll let us stay there, maybe there’s an old trailer or something somewhere that they’re not using, it’s not like we need much space, and we’d totally earn our keep so really they’d be getting a really good deal, and it’ll be fine, you’ll see, Ren! I mean, it’s not like it’s the first time we’ve done this. We’re lots better now, and we’re not little kids anymore, and we can totally do this again Ren come on please it’ll be okay –”

Jaune has heard enough. Here he is, all upset, and half of his team has literally nothing left. They hadn’t had much to begin with, and now that Beacon is gone the only things they own are the clothes they’re wearing and their weapons. They have no homes, no families, nothing. All of that had vanished the last time grimm had attacked them, and here Jaune sits moping while he has a huge safe caring family waiting for him if he can just figure out how to get home.

He’s putting his foot down. The school is gone, Pyrrha is gone, everything is gone and grimm have taken over the entire town but Jaune can do this. He can help the teammates he had left. He can do this one thing. He can save his team, or what’s left of it.

Jaune is taking JNPR home.

.

(Jaune is taking JNR home.)