Chapter One: This Will Be the Night
The city of Vale was no place for a Faunus at night as hateful people showed no mercy on them and the police wouldn’t lift a finger to help in a fight. But, as the sun slowly sank beyond the horizon a Faunus boy about the age of twelve stood shivering on the cold sidewalk. His name was Roman. He was thin and worn, dark circles and bruises covered his eyes where he had been beaten up by the human teenagers. A particularly nasty looking scar on his right eye he covered up with a portion of his orange hair. Instead of having normal human ears he possessed those of a donkey, a feature that had earned him countless ridicule throughout his childhood. How he wished that he hadn’t been born a Faunus, how he wished that his parents hadn’t abandoned him to supposedly join the White Fang, how he wished there was something he could do to part from these infernal ears forever, then maybe he would have gotten a family and not been forced to run away from the orphanage to escape bullies and perhaps he wouldn’t be on a street corner waiting for nightfall and death. As a car drove past, mud splashed onto the curb and hit Roman squarely in the face. The mud stung as it ran into his eyes; he was temporarily blinded and unaware that he had staggered out into the street as he tried to rid his eyes of the sludge. He was also unaware that truck filled with dust was barreling towards him. He heard the horn blast and he saw through blurred vision the image of the truck mere feet from him.
Ambrose Ozpin stepped out of his front door, then making sure he had his extendable staff tucked safely in his belt he began to walk calmly down the sidewalk. Most people would have found it odd that a twelve year old boy was walking the streets alone as the sun began to set, especially considering how unsafe Vale could get at night, but Ambrose was already a huntsman in training and his father was the current Headmaster at Beacon Academy; a most prestigious school for huntsmen and huntresses. Nobody had ever seen Ambrose fight, but then again he didn’t really have to most of the time. He was really a quiet and peaceful soul and was incredibly mature for his age. Many believed that he would be his father’s successor as Headmaster, but Ambrose didn’t usually talk that much, so no one knew what was on the enigmatic boy’s mind. That night, there was actually a lot on Ambrose’s mind, but one thing in particular. He had always wanted a friend, but there didn’t seem to be any children in his neighborhood he could really talk to. That was partly the reason Ambrose constantly patrolled the streets at night, he hoped that perhaps someday he could find a friend, though nobody really shared his interests. Then one night, while he was out walking he spotted a young, orange-haired Faunus boy sneaking out of a second story window of the local orphanage. Naturally, Ambrose was puzzled at this sight and decided to follow the boy. As night began to fall, the young Faunus sat down near the edge of the sidewalk. “Not a very safe place to stay,” Ambrose thought to himself as he stealthily observed the boy from across the street. His jet black hair and jacket made it easier to hide in a shadowed corner. For some reason he felt a need to protect the boy, mostly because he seemed like the type that would probably get into trouble. Suddenly, as a bright red hot rod came zooming around the corner, it drove through a mud puddle which splashed directly into the red-head’s eyes. Ambrose watched in horror as the Faunus staggered out into the street as a truck came barreling up the road. Ambrose put aside any fear and leaped forward towards the truck.
Still barely able to see clearly Roman braced himself for impact, but found himself yanked back and away from the oncoming traffic. He watched as the semi passed him almost imagining himself being flattened by the massive load, but why hadn’t he? He found that the answer was lying beside him. A young boy, about his age, with thick black hair and inquisitive brown eyes stared back at him. His clothes were pristine except for a few places where his jacket had become smudged from the impact with the muddy curb. He looked like a child that had been loved and taken care of.
Then all of a sudden he spoke, “Are you alright?” he asked. Roman found this boy’s expression odd; his furrowed brow and slight frown made him very adult-like for his age. His tone was concerned but calm. Roman began stuttering; it was his natural defense mechanism against suspicious adults.
“I-I didn’t mean to…some mud splashed in my face…I-
“I know,” he said. Roman went silent.
The black haired boy stood up and brushed himself off, “What is your name?”
“Roman,” the red haired Faunus replied. “Roman Torchwick.”
The black haired boy smiled and offered his hand to Roman. The Faunus took it, still a little shaken.
“So, what’s your name then?” Roman asked as he stood.
“Ambrose Ozpin” The boy replied. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Roman.”
“Where are you from?” Roman asked. He didn’t mean to sound rude, but he had never held a conversation with someone so polite.
“I live in Central Vale,” Ambrose explained.
“I’m guessing you have a family then?” Roman asked.
“Yes, my father is the Headmaster of Beacon Academy and my mother used to be a huntress, that is, before she had me.”
“What’s a huntress?” Roman asked as the two boys began to walk down the street.
“A huntress or a huntsman is a person who fights the creatures of Grimm and keeps peace in Remnant,” Ozpin explained, “That’s what everyone expects of me someday.”
Roman seemed intrigued by this idea. The more Ambrose told him, the more interested he became. The two laughed and talked as they walked down the street. It occurred to Roman in the back of his mind that Ambrose did not appear to be afraid of Vale’s nightlife and seemed to be familiar with every street and alley, but Roman put the thought aside as they continued their discussion about huntsmen and Grimm. The two were like old buddies or even brothers, Roman had never really opened up to anyone before since everyone usually overlooked him or treated him as an inferior and he found it surprising how easy it was to talk to his new pal.
Suddenly, Ozpin stopped in front of a massive green house in the middle of town square. Roman looked around; it was a nice community filled with neat beds of flowers and fenced in trees. The house itself was ornately decorated with grand pillars and arches; the front yard even included a giant green statue of a stoic looking man holding a sword high. Roman couldn’t help but stare at it and imagine himself being the hero of the city, that he was the one holding the sword and leading his team into battle.
“That is a statue that was presented to my father by the city of Vale,” Ambrose explained. “It was awarded to him for his incredible acts of valor.”
“Whoa,” was all that Roman could say as he stared admiringly at the statue.
Ambrose looked at Roman, and then got that very mature concerned look again, “Roman, do you have a place to stay?”
Roman suddenly snapped out of his trance and turned to look at Ozpin. “Um…well…I-
“That’s what I thought.” Ambrose said.
Roman’s ears drooped and a scowl began to form as he turned away from his friend. He knew it; Ambrose was probably going to tease him now because of what he was and how nobody loved him. He was surprised when he felt Ozpin’s hand on his shoulder.
“I’m sure my parents wouldn’t mind having a guest for a night or two,” Ambrose smiled.
Now Roman was really confused, “You mean…you’ll let me stay here?”
“Of course, I would have to speak to my parents to see how long you could stay, but seeing as you’re a friend…”
Roman was overjoyed. For the first time in his miserable childhood, someone actually cared about him and wanted to give him a chance.