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Tarnished Dreams: Forbearance

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Jaune (sitting on the bed): Tell me, which of your associates... might listen to reason?..

Cinder (fixing her makeup in the mirror): Neo was loyal to Roman. Now, she's just mad at everyone.

Jaune: Potential.

Cinder: Mercury joined us just for the sake of killing... and being a jackass to people.

Jaune: Unlikely.

Cinder: Emerald...

Jaune: Now that's a face I rarely see on you.

Jaune: *stands up and walks up behind her, looking at her face in the mirror*

Cinder: I... feel... I shouldn't...

Jaune (quietly but firmly into her ear): Tell me.

Cinder: *quavers*

Cinder: She... loved me...

Jaune: *steps back a couple feet*

Jaune: Turn.

Cinder: *shyly turns*

Jaune: Then you will love her.

Cinder: You want to see me fuck her?

Jaune: Well, yes, but that's not what I said.

Cinder: *looks away*

Jaune: *grabs her face, forcing her to look him in the eyes*

Jaune: We found room in your heart for tenderness... are you saying there won't be room for love?

Cinder: *looks down*

Jaune: *kisses her on the forehead*

Jaune: There's a reason, I'm here, with you.

Cinder: You spared my life...

Jaune: You gave it away... and I took it. I saw... something in you...

Cinder: You just wanted a doll.

Jaune: I wanted you to give me a reason to let you live... and you did... And you accepted my tenderness... And guess what?, you are part of the team.

Cinder: *scoffs*

Cinder: You think they accept me?

Jaune: They will. They are wary, of course, but I saw it in your eyes...

Cinder: Saw what?

Jaune: You had nothing to live for. And when that happens, it doesn't take much...

Cinder: And how do you know that?

Jaune: I was once the same way...

Cinder: *looks at him questioningly*

Jaune: Until I found my team and RWBY... I had nothing... but now... I have everything...

*pause*

Jaune: You are part of this, now.

Cinder: I'm your slave.

Jaune: *pulls her in for a kiss*

Jaune: Answer this. Has all of my affection been for nothing?

Cinder: . . .

Jaune: Do you miss my affection? Does it warm your heart?

Cinder: . . .

Jaune: If you are mine, I want you to answer me.

Cinder: It... does... I don't know how it does... but it does...

Jaune: Is there room in your heart for Emerald?

Cinder: If there's room for anyone... it would be Emerald. I thought her love for me was a weakness... an exploitable one, but a weakness none-the-less.

Jaune: And now?

Cinder: I don't know what to think right now... other than being surprisingly happy...

Jaune: So, tell me?, do you have a way of contacting her, a way that Salem won't see through?

Cinder: . . .

Jaune: You know you're not allowed to lie to me.

Cinder: I have a way, but I can't be sure that Salem won't find out about it.

Jaune: We should talk to the team... when you are ready for dinner.

Cinder: *looks back in the mirror*

Cinder: Yes, Sir.

* * *

RWBY, JNR, Qrow, Oscar, and Cinder sat around a table.

Jaune: We have a plan. Not sure if it's a good one.

Qrow: Alright, I'll bite.

Jaune: We might be able to draw Emerald in.

Nora: And then we ambush her!

Jaune: I like the spirit, but no.

Yang: Let me guess, you are going to seduce her?

Jaune: Close.

Weiss: Why is that the first place you jumped to?

Yang: Not judging... as he got Cinder... I don't think anyone here understands how he did it.

Cinder: If you stopped thinking and just felt, you would understand it.

Jaune: Apparently Emerald was loyal to Cinder out of love.

Cinder: And Sir has ordered me to love her.

Jaune: *sighs*

Jaune: Maybe could have phrased that differently...

Cinder: That was how you...

Jaune: Yes. If Cinder could show her kindness and tenderness...

Qrow: So, you want us to trust our safety on... lesbians? No offence to the girls.

Blake: I'm as skeptical as you are.

Jaune: Obviously it's a risk.

Ruby: But we wouldn't be sitting around waiting for something to happen.

Jaune: Best case, we turn an enemy into ally.

Qrow: Worst case they all drop onto our heads. You know what?, I like it. This is our chance to get ahead of them. We just have to assume the worst case scenario and be ready for it.

Weiss: Does he have to be so pessimistic?

Yang: He... does...

Blake: And not wrong. Would it be nice if it worked?, yes, of course, but if we plan for the worst, we can make sure it's in our favour.

Qrow: Alright, hands in. Who's thinks this is a good idea...

Jaune: Maybe not a... good... idea... but something we should try.

Blake, Jaune, and Qrow quickly put their hands in.

Jaune: You're part of it, too.

Cinder: *slowly puts her hand in*

Yang: What have we got to lose? *puts her hand in*

Weiss: Only our sanity... and our viscera...

Ren: It's quite simply the best plan we have. *puts his hand in*

Nora: Totally in. *puts her hand in*

Jaune: Weiss objects.

Weiss: *rolls her eyes*

Jaune: Ruby?

Ruby: *puts her hand in*

Qrow: Ice queen?

Weiss: *huffs*

Weiss: Yes, yes, I know. I lost. I'll do my part. I reserve the right to silently complain.

Qrow: Did the rest of you... understand that?..

Jaune: She will the be most dedicated one to making the plan succeed.

Weiss: *prepared to huff*

Weiss: *gives Jaune a questioning look*

Weiss: *nods*

Chapter Text

Emerald walked up to Junior at the bar. He nodded his head to the stair case in the back, and she walked over, looking about the club. When she reached the top of the stairs, she walked around the gallery until one of the goons opened a door for her. She paused at the entrance, but the goon slammed the door, forcing her inward.

Out of the corner of her eyes she saw Jaune and Qrow, with Cinder seated in front of her.

Cinder: Come here.

A thousand feelings flowed through Emerald's face, but she slowly walked forward. Cinder walked out to meet her and fully embraced her. When they pulled back from the hug, Cinder kissed her on the lips. She then escorted the aloof Emerald to a couch. Jaune came out to sit on Cinder's other side, with Qrow on a chair opposite them.

Cinder: I know you have a lot of questions, but I'll try to keep it simple. They caught me.

Emerald: And you offered to give me up?

Cinder: No. I told him about your feelings for me, and he wanted me to support them...

Emerald: I can't... we didn't... it was...

Cinder: *kisses Emerald*

Cinder: I'm not the same woman I was. All I had was bitterness and anger. He didn't exactly give me a choice, but... he showed me kindness... cloying and sweet and insufferable... and I apparently had craving for it... For the first time in my life, I felt genuine kindness... I honestly did not know... what it was like...

Emerald: So, you joined them?

Cinder: They... didn't give me much choice... but... I'm not as angry... I'm... almost... happy? And you could be, too.

Emerald: How... how do I know... you're not toying with... how could... I mean?..

Cinder: He ordered me to love you.

Emerald: *eyes open wide with shock*

Cinder: I saw... your feelings for me... Before... I just thought about how I could exploit it... but now... it seems sweet...

Emerald: This isn't the...

Cinder: The Cinder you knew?

Emerald: What happened to you?

Cinder: *lifts the bang covering her left eye*

Cinder: He has healed me, in more ways than one.

Emerald (lost in Cinder's eyes): You're beautiful.

Emerald: *looks about nervously*

Cinder: *grabs her face, forcing Emerald to look her in her eyes*

Cinder: You don't need to be ashamed of that, anymore. I'm here to love you.

Emerald: And what about him?

Cinder: Him as well. I'm afraid I'm grown to depend on his kindness.

Emerald: You are asking me?..

Cinder: I know I'm asking a lot of you, but as I said, I'm a different woman; I'm ready to accept happiness.

Emerald: *looks at Qrow*

Emerald: And he's here?

Qrow: In case Salem showed up, or whatever. As you might imagine, I'm not alone.

Cinder: So, tell me, did you come alone?..

Emerald: Why would I?..

Cinder: *sighs*

Cinder: Salem...

Emerald: I would never?..

Cinder: So, you are saying you love me more than you fear Salem?

Emerald: *nervously stares into Cinder's eyes*

Jaune: You must love her quite a bit. If you join us, we will protect you like anyone else in our group.

Qrow: Can't exactly promise to succeed...

Cinder: But you will get to spend your life with me.

Emerald: My life?

Cinder: He did say love. I might not be the most experienced... with love... other than exploiting it, but isn't that how it usually works? Truly, madly, deeply, forever in love?

Qrow: *scoffs*

Jaune: Just ignore him, he's a bit of a pessimist.

Qrow: Bit? I am a MASTER pessimist. Unlike you, with your shining shininess.

Cinder: His kindness managed to reach me...

Qrow: After he beat the living hell out of you...

Emerald: *stands up, grabbing her weapons*

Emerald: You what?!

Cinder: *holds up her hands to Emerald*

Emerald: But...

Jaune: To be fair, I figured to stop her from using her Maiden powers, I had to strip her of her aura. I was careful to make sure I did not strip too much...

Cinder: You what?!

Jaune: I guess you never asked...

Qrow: He's really good at playing the bad guy, and I do mean playing. He's basically a bundle of rainbows and sunshine...

Cinder: So, you weren't going to kill me?

Jaune: Oh, I would of if I had to. It might cause me crippling depression and self-worth issues, but you were too dangerous to be left alone.

Emerald: He just said he would have killed you?!

Cinder: *audibly exhales*

Cinder: We did try to kill them...

Emerald: But...

Cinder: I've found happiness. You can try to argue with it, or try to be happy with me...

Jaune: To be fair, you can leave if you want to. If you do, we need to know if you will be an ally or an enemy.

Emerald: You would just let me leave?

Jaune: To be fair to your feelings for her, yes.

Emerald: What does that mean?..

Cinder: I want you to stay. Before... this... looking back on my life, you were the only person... to actually care about me... You are beautiful, and wonderful, and I'm starting to realize just how wonderful that is.

Emerald: You... you want me...

Emerald: *moves in to kiss*

Cinder: *pulls away*

Cinder: There are... some... conditions... of course...

Emerald: What kind of conditions?

Jaune: Join us; fight with us.

Cinder: Share my bed with him. I am basically his slave, and I want you to join me.

Emerald: That's... asking... a lot...

Cinder: I know... we know...

Emerald: *heady breathing*

Emerald: Does this mean I'll have to join in the group hugs and sing with you guys?

Jaune: Group hugs, yes, but they are pretty infrequent.

Qrow: You don't have to be anyone's best friend, but you're still part of the team.

Cinder: Also, no petty thieving, as much as you love doing that. The goodie-two-shoes here probably wouldn't appreciate it.

Emerald: Then what do you do for money?

Jaune: We're huntsmen?

Qrow: Do you have any idea how well huntsmen get paid? My booze doesn't exactly grow on trees. I thought about making my own still, but Taiyang didn't think it would be a good example for my nieces... there's also the thing about my semblance... Yeah, I have to admit, it really wasn't a good idea.

Emerald: Could I have... another... kiss?.. while I think it over.

Cinder: If I kiss you and you say no, it will be the last kiss I give you.

Emerald: *looks down as the thoughts run through her head*

Emerald: *looks at Jaune*

Emerald: And what would you do if I do act up?

Jaune: Spank you.

Emerald: Without a hint of?.. you are serious about that, aren't you?

Cinder: Oh, he is. I was not exactly reformed overnight.

Qrow: I still have no idea how the kid did it, but Cinder is part of the team now... at least just through Blondie here.

Emerald: Did you really beat her up like that?

Cinder: After putting me in chains.

Emerald: I really didn't think you goody-goody's had it in you.

Jaune: We are trying to save the world. Did you think we'd do it through the power of friendship?

Emerald: What?

Jaune: Okay, yes, friendship is a big part of it, but it only works because we're huntsmen. That's the part that will save the world.

Emerald: *stares at the table*

Emerald: I really underestimated you guys.

Emerald: *holds her hand to Cinder*

Emerald: *looks Cinder in the eyes pleadingly*

Cinder: *takes her hand*

Emerald: *breathes deeply*

Emerald: *breathes headily*

Emerald: *looks Cinder in the eyes*

Emerald: We could be together?