'You're a complete failure.'
Those were the words – words that held truth, which echoed through Jaune's mind as he collapsed onto the cold floors of Beacon Academy's training room. Beaten, sweaty, and broken. He continued to lie there as the surrounding training drones auto-piloted themselves back to their designated storage.
He just wanted to become stronger, even by just a little bit. For the past week, Jaune had been practicing in the training room, hoping that, through sweat and tears, he would grow in strength. He had planned to start from the bottom, to practice against Easy-Mode drones; simple robotic skeletons wielding handicapped weaponry, with the simplest of A.I during all his personal sessions. He was always given the same result: failure.
Except, for every single failed outcome, Jaune wasn't surprised to say the least. Did he mention that failing at every single thing imaginable was a major characteristic for the Arc? No, really, ever since Jaune was born he's completely messed everything up. Helping others? They're sent to the hospital five seconds after he accidentally sets them on fire. Chores around the house? There wouldn't even be a house left once Jaune somehow started a fire using the kitchen sink. Lighting a match? Nope, the universe in all of its sadistic glory decides to flip him off by wiping the match out of existence. Quite literally he might add.
Every single training run, Jaune just couldn't seem to overcome the simple training drones. Whether he tried to adapt to his situation or recalled his training with his partner, the white Knight seemed to fall to the metal menaces.
"N-No...y-you're wrong..." the blond whispered to himself. He was going to prove himself wrong, that he wasn't some weak coward who sneaked his way to the most prestigious academy in Vale. With his sword, Crocea Mors, acting as his makeshift crutch, he panted heavily as he forced himself up. He felt his muscles scream out in pain as he stood on his two feet, the sweat from his failed effort dripping slowly down his face.
"O-One more time...just...one more time..." Jaune pleaded, his words holding desperation at this point. He limped over to the panel that controlled the training simulation. With a slow motion with his hand, he set the difficulty to easy and started the simulation.
However, instead of five training drones, only one advanced towards him from its slumber. Jaune figured as much though. After all, the training room constantly monitored the boy's aura level and would send out a certain number of drones depending on the level. But one was enough for the Arc. If he could just best the drone, yielding a blunt sword and round shield, there just might be hope for him in his quest in becoming Remnant's next defender.
'This time, this time... I am going to beat this bucket of bolts!'
With his shield raised, the Knight charged forward at the robot in an attempt to bash and stagger it with his side-arm defense. The drone, however, simply dodged the attack and proceeded with a swift counter slash against the blond.
And with only just that, the boy collapsed once again. His aura levels were below 10% at that point, it was only natural that his body would fail him after a simple counter-strike from that blasted drone. The practice drone returned to its original position before the Arc foolishly called upon it.
'Stop trying to run away from the truth, you're never going to amount to anything! You are, and always will be: a complete failure.'
The harsh thoughts, instead of a quiet echo, had become amplified and shrieked throughout his now-broken mind. And to add more insult to his apparent injury, the training room shut itself down. It was a safety precaution against rash students, such as the Arc, who planned on continuing their rigorous training despite their dangerously low aura levels. Now Jaune was in the dark; he was more alone more than ever now.
Jaune couldn't seem to understand why this was happening! Every day he was in the training room, and almost every night he would receive lessons from his good friend and partner, Pyrrha Nikos. So why? Why wasn't the blond getting any stronger? Why couldn't he win against simple training drones?
Why...just why did he want to become strong in the first place?
The answer was simple: to protect the ones he cared for, of course! But was that really the true answer? Deep down, Jaune knew the cruel truth to his personal question: he wanted to become a hero. Saving lives and killing the monstrosities that were the Grimm was part of the job, but what Jaune really wanted more than that was something selfish. He craved for recognition, to walk down the non-existent red carpet and have people chant his name; what Jaune really wanted – was to be loved.
"I-I..." he weakly muttered as tears began to roll down his cheek, "...I don't deserve to be a hero."
Despite his desires, he knew what he yearned for was wrong. How could he justify it? To protect innocents, just to be in the spotlight? Garbage!
Perhaps that's why he kept failing; he couldn't overcome himself. He couldn't become someone less selfish, couldn't become the true heroes that his Arc bloodline was so famous for.
"I'm just me, Jaune Arc, failure extraordinaire..." he cried as begrudgingly walked back to his dorm.
Pyrrha Nikos cared for her teammates, especially when said teammate was her partner and team leader, Jaune Arc. So of course, she immediately called out to the boy when she walked into her dorm to find her leader lying face-first on a soaked bed.
"J-Jaune?! Are you alright?!" the Spartan cried out as she ran over to her downcast teammate.
"Jaune, you can talk to me. I'm your partner remember?" she assured as she placed a comforting hand over his shoulder. "At the very least, could you please get up straight?"
The Knight listened to his partner's plea, and rose up, now cross-legged on the wet bed.
The Spartan inspected his face – they were blood-shot red, probably from all the apparent crying he had done on the sleeping mattress. "Jaune, please tell me what's wrong?" Pyrrha placed her hands on both of his shoulders.
"O-Oh, it's n-nothing Pyrrha! Nothing, really! J-Just fell down the stairs is all!" the Arc lied.
"Jaune, that's a lie and you know it. Please, I can't help you if you don't tell me your problem."
"I-It's just that..." the Knight caved in, "Pyrrha, do I really belong here?"
"Jaune, if this is about the forged transcripts, I can assure you that everyone here accepts –"
"I'm a failure..." the Arc grimaced in a torn-down expression.
"Jaune Arc, you are not a failure! You are the proud leader to JNPR; you're a hero!" her grip on his shoulders began to tighten in a further attempt to encourage him. The red-head couldn't stand to see her friend like this. She wanted to see that smile that he always had on his handsome face, and that kind personality where he would stand up to even the smallest injustice. She wanted her partner to be happy again.
However, that seemed to send the Arc into a deeper depression than before. "Am I really? Can a guy like me, a person who just wants to be noticed, be considered a hero?" the blond began as he forced one of the Spartan's hand away, "I know what everyone says about me behind my back. That I fail at everything to the point that my ridiculous actions "self-proclaim" who I am . . .Pyrrha, why can't you see the truth?! I'm a failure! My grades are absolute crap, I can't seem to make new friends despite my open approach, and I can't even beat a single training drone on easy-mode!" he wanted to cry more, but all the tears had left his pathetic body.
She was a bit taken back Jaune's colourful choice of words, but that only steeled her resolve to save her friend even more.
"Just leave me alone- "he couldn't finish his statement as he felt a sharp pain on his right cheek; his partner just slapped him.
"You are not a failure." She quickly interjected, a single tear rolled down her eye as she faced him, "Jaune. You. Are. Not. A. Failure. You're my friend, the best friend anyone could ever ask for! Who cares if you're a little selfish, everyone fights for a reason, and everyone can change if they just really tried! Who cares if your academics are poor, you just need to study even harder then! And the people who don't want to be friends with you? Forget them – they're blind to that sweet personality of yours!"
"I'm...I'm not a failure?"
"Yes Jaune, you are not a failure! You just need to tackle your problems one at a time. Maybe, find a new reason to fight?" she smiled warmly; she was close to getting her team leader back.
Maybe, just maybe, once this was all over, Jaune would finally come to understand her undying feelings for him. It was a long stretch, but even a champion such as herself has to have a fantasy too.
"A new reason...to fight?" Jaune pondered out loud. The gears in the back of the Knight's brain began to accelerate in full motion at the idea. A new reason to become a hero? What could he possibly think that would make him. . .
And then it hit him.
"T-That's it!" he yelled out, his self-depression no more. Why didn't he think about it before?! It was standing right in front of him! "A loved one!"
"W-wah...?" her partner questioned as she lowered her hands.
"Who needs to fight for fame and glory when you can fight for love and romance?!" the Arc declared brilliantly. Indeed, it was the greatest idea that he had ever come up with. Well, except for the Arc-mobile, he wasn't going to go back on that idea. Ever.
Why should he fight for the attention of the mass crowds when he should be fighting for his beloved? If he had someone to call a lover, then he would surely be the strongest huntsman alive. Love was truly a powerful emotion after all!
"J-Jaune, what are you- " the red-head was cut off by the most unexpected scenario possible.
Her partner, the dense Jaune Arc, had embraced her with a hug. Yes, she couldn't believe it either, but there she was -held firmly by her leader's affection over her.
"Pyrrha Nikos, you are the best partner any failure could ever ask for!"
"J-Jaune?! D-D-Does that mean that you...t-that I-I...that w-we-" Pyrrha was in a complete fluster at this point. No doubt that her face was as red as a tomato.
"Yes Pyrrha!" he yelled out as he jumped out of the bed.
Finally, finally the Arc had finally returned her feeling for hi-
"...I am no longer depressed anymore, thanks to you! My heart is relit! My name is Jaune Arc, and as of this moment, I vow that I will have a girlfriend by the end of this school year!" he ran out of the dorm once he finished his declaration, his tone upbeat and happy.
"WEISS SCHNEE, I'VE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH YOU AGAIN!"
"W-WHAT?! G-GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM, Y-YOU PERVERT!"
"WEISS?! WEISS WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! PUT DOWN YOUR MYRTENASTER- AHHHHHHHHHHH"
"Heh...heh...heh..." And as these events transpired, Pyrrha Nikos just sat on the bed; her eyes and jaw wide open from shock. She collapsed onto the floor, retreating to her delusional fantasy. A fantasy where she was happily married to her blond leader, without a care in the world – a world where she was happy.
Meanwhile, outside of Beacon Academy, was a certain Lie Ren who rested on a bench with his sleeping childhood friend, Nora Valkyrie. He was currently busy eating the remaining pieces of candy that his partner had "purchased".
Why was he eating Nora's candy?
Why, the answer was simple: he didn't want to chase the Ginger all around Remnant again like last time.
I believe that this will be the only time Jaune will be extremely depressed like this (though, I might make him depressed at some moments). Also, the harem part will occur in a long time. I'm not going to post a chapter focusing on a female character and instantly have her fall for our Failed Knight. Probably round chapter 15+ is when the accidental harem begins.