How did it all change? That's the question RWBY and the remainder of JNPR have been asking themselves for a year now. They asked the question but they knew the answer, they just didn't want to accept it.
A little over a year ago, Cardin 'let slip' that Jaune's transcripts were fake. As most would think, everyone turned against him, hated him and wanted him gone. Jaune accepted this and tried to move past it. But it wasn't until he lost what was important to him that things got too much for him to handle. First, Team RWBY shunned him for their own reasons. Weiss was the first, followed by Yang and Blake and finally Ruby. After that, Ren and Nora started to do the same, they felt betrayed by the person that was supposed to lead them. Pyrrha stood by him for weeks. Until eventually she also started to distance herself, at first it was subtle but soon it was exactly like the others. It was then that Jaune was alone.
He started to try to distance himself from them as well. Whether to give them space or just to avoid the hurtful looks they gave him was unknown. He'd arrive to class just before the bell would ring and stay until everyone left. He started to eat alone, study in the back of the library and even spent any and all free time anywhere besides Beacon. He even started to wait until his team was asleep before returning to his dorm and made sure to leave before any of them awoke. On top of that, Cardin and his team made sure to remind him of just how lowly he was. Soon, he had enough. He was going to prove them all wrong. The school, the students, CRDL, RWBY, his team and most of all, himself. He was going to show all of them that he was worthy of going to Beacon. So late that night, he took his gear and ventured into the Emerald Forest.
It was midday the next day, Pyrrha was worried. Even though she was distant from Jaune, she still worried for him. She would pretend to be asleep until she was sure Jaune returned then she would let herself sleep. Jaune never came back the night before. He also hadn't been to any of their classes so far. She finally asked the others if they had seen him. None of them did. Weiss suggested that he finally decided to leave. Pyrrha countered by saying all his belongings were still in their room. Yang suggested he was just off in Vale. No one disagreed. They assumed he'd be back by the end of the day. He wasn't.
Jaune was gone for a week before RWBY and NPR were brought to Ozpin's office. They had been looking for Jaune after they realized he was missing. They eventually told the Professors and they helped with the search. They were hoping that this would be the news they were hoping for. As soon as the elevator open Pyrrha ran in, "Have you found him, Professor?"
Ozpin looked up to her, he had a very grim look in his eyes. "In a way." He said.
The others were in front of his desk with Pyrrha at this point. They looked to see a cloth hiding something on his desk. Before they could ask, Ozpin took hold of the cloth and slowly pulled it off. What they saw made them all gasp. It was Crocea Mors. Or what was left of it. The shield was bent and twisted, barely looking like a shield anymore. The sword was just as damaged. The blade was shattered into at least a dozen pieces. Both also had blood on them, human blood. "We found these in the Emerald Forest. This was all we could find with his scroll. We couldn't find his body." Was all Ozpin said.
Ruby fell to her knees and started to cry. Yang was right there, holding her and trying to hold back her own tears, but failing. Blake was looking down also crying. Weiss had turned from everyone else and had her hand over her mouth, crying as much as the others. Nora started balling and Ren pulled her into a hug as he cried silently. Pyrrha took hold of the hilt of Crocea Mors before her tears fell onto it. They all may have been hurt or upset with Jaune, but none of them wanted this. To lose someone who was so pure and acted like a light in the dark. And the ones to blame were themselves.
That was a year ago. They tried to move on the best they could but his death still weighed on all of them. They couldn't even say his name. The pain was too unbearable. The pain of loss mixed with their own guilt and regrets. Nothing and no one could fix that.
Today was different though. All the second years and above were summoned to the arena for an announcement. Ozpin was standing in the center with Goodwitch, he spoke up "I thank you all for coming today. We are here for a special event. An 'old' student has returned to prove himself and return to this school. He will fight against a team of his choosing. If he wins, he'll be welcomed back. But should he lose, he will be removed from the grounds immediately." Everyone started to talk about this development. This had never happened before and they were wondering who was this person and who was the team.
"First, introducing Team CRDL." Ozpin said this and out came CRDL from the locker rooms. No one cheered. They were still bullies and jerks. Most of the students were hoping for them to be put in their place. "And their opponent. Are you ready?" Ozpin turned to the other door and out walked their opponent. He was tall and built. Not buff but very toned. He wore black boots, pants, long sleeve shirt that went up his neck and gloves. He had blood red armor on top of this. Vambracers, rerebraces, cuisses, greaves and chest plate. To finish this outfit, was a black, sleeveless trench-coat with a hood with red markings that started at his chest and over his shoulders leading down to the bottom of the coat. The hood was up, so no one saw his face. He had what appeared to be a longsword across his back in a black sheathe. The hilt, cross guard and pommel were black with blood red accents, like his armor. He stopped across from CRDL and everyone just stared at him. He reached up to his hood and pulled it off his head causing everyone to gasp.
This man turned out to be no other than the dead student, Jaune Arc. His hair was slightly longer and now it was black besides the tips, they were still blonde. He had a scar that started above his lip and ran down the right side of his lip and stopped at his chin. His eyes were still the same blue but they were cold. He smiled at CRDL but it was a smile devoid of humor or happiness. It just filled people with unease. "Are you ready, Mr. Arc." Ozpin asked.
It took a few seconds before Jaune turned to him and answered, "As I ever will be, Professor." He said with his usual happy tone.
Ozpin and Goodwitch stepped to the side and the timer started to count down from sixty. Cardin soon spoke up, "Wow. Thought you were dead, Arc." He said with a sneer.
Jaune chuckled but like his smile it was devoid of humor. "You're gonna wish I was." He says coldly before he draws his sword. Which they could all see now that it was a flamberge, the blade was black with a blood red edge to the blade. He didn't get into a stance though, he just held the sword at his side while staring at CRDL with his cold eyes. They were all on edge but weren't about to back down from Jaune Arc.
When the timer hit zero, Cardin charged at Jaune with an overhand swing. Jaune just raised his left hand to catch it, stunning everyone. Cardin was knocked away to the right when Jaune kicked him in the stomach. Russel charged next, trying to deal a flurry of dagger slashes. Jaune lazily parried every one of his slashes, each hit sending vibrations up Russel's arms because of the blade's shape. Jaune soon knocked away his arms before slashing both his shoulders at an incredible speed, taking a large amount of his aura with it. Jaune grabbed him by the front of his shirt before throwing him in the opposite direction of Cardin. He turned back to Dove and Sky, who were opening fire onto him. Jaune simply called his aura to cover his body, but it wasn't white. It was pitch black.
Every bullet was knock away as soon as they hit his aura. The two stopped in shock and Jaune just looked at them with that cold smile before motioning for them to 'bring it on'. They both charged. Sky jumped over Jaune and Dove charged forward to flank him from opposite sides. Jaune parried Dove's sword with his own and caught Sky's halberd. He spun his sword to disarm Dove before he kicked him in the chest. This sent Dove flying back the way CRDL started at and doubled as a springboard for Jaune to jump over Sky while still holding onto the halberd, causing his arm to be bent painfully. Jaune remedied this by hitting him in the back of his head with the broadside of his sword, causing him to stumble forward. Jaune stepped in front of the dazed Huntsman before punching him in the face, sending Sky flying to the only empty corner of the arena left.
The students were just staring in shock at the display. Jaune Arc, the formally dead and worst fighter in the school, was effortlessly beating CRDL. Everyone was at a loss for words, especially the members of Team RWBY and NPR. This was way too much for them to deal with at once. Jaune was in fact alive and stronger than ever but he was fighting more ruthlessly than anything they've seen of him. It was scary.
Jaune didn't bother to move. He just stood there and waited for CRDL to stand. Once they were all on shaky legs, he spoke up, "Come on. Is that all you got? I thought I was a waste of space, remember?" His tone was still cold and clearly mocking. Cardin growled in anger before slamming his mace to the ground. A series of explosion were sent at him. Jaune just stuck his sword in the ground before sending his aura into it. The blade glowed black before the explosion hit it and it was stopped right there. Dove charged at him while he was distracted. Jaune pulled his sword out and swung at him with the broadside of his sword. Dove managed to recover his sword and brought it up to block it but on contact an explosion happened. It sent him flying away and took half of his aura. Jaune chuckled at that, "Here's a tip for you. My Tourmentage Tordu can absorb energy. If I send my aura into it first, that is." He turned to the stunned Cardin, "I absorbed your explosion and used it against your teammate." He smiled at Cardin but this one was different. It did hold happiness and that was more unsettling.
At that moment, Sky charged him. Swinging his halberd to try and hit him in the side of his head. Jaune ducked under it before he spun and swept his legs out from under him. As he was falling, Jaune swung Tourmentage Tordu down in a two handed swing. Sky blocked it with his weapon but the force created a crater under him and took away most of his aura. The attack knocked the air out of Sky, as well. Jaune raised his sword to finish him but Russel ran in to save his teammate. He crossed his daggers to stop the hit but the vibrations were too much for him. As his arm were shaking, Jaune kicked him in the ribs and away from Sky. Jaune slowly walked over to him. Russel was nearly in the red at this point but he was still raising his daggers to fight. Jaune sheathed his weapon after that. Russel swung his left dagger at Jaune's face but he merely caught his wrist with his left hand. Jaune spun behind Russel and kicked the back of his knees, driving him to the ground. Jaune grabbed his other wrist and planted his foot in the middle of his back. With that twisted smile, he pulled the arms and pushed with his foot. Russel was screaming in pain before his aura broke and with one last jerk, so were both of his arms.
Jaune let go of him and he collapsed onto the floor before Jaune turned to see Sky charging at him with his halberd, ready to avenge his teammate. Jaune pulled a revolver from his belt and aimed at Sky. The handle was blood red and so was the trim of the metal but the whole thing was black besides that. He grinned before introducing his weapon, "Meet Souffrance Eternelle." He fired a bullet and it caught Sky in this upper arm and shattered his aura. He fell to the ground and Jaune returned his weapon to its holster as he walked over to him. He grabbed Sky by the back of his shirt and his belt before he lifted him over his head. His unsettling smile grew and he brought Sky onto his knee and shattered his back. Sky screamed in agony before passing out from the pain
He shoved Sky off of his knee and looked over to Dove. Jaune took a step forward before he was engulfed in a purple aura. He shifted his eyes over to Goodwitch, "That's enough, Mr. Arc!" She shouted in anger.
Jaune chuckled, "No. It's not." He closed his eyes and soon the purple energy surrounding him shifted to black before it faded away. Goodwitch was shocked that her Semblance was just gone. Jaune swung his hand at her before she was pushed away and against the wall as she was covered in a black aura. She fell to the ground and Jaune spoke again. "And I am NOT Mr. Arc. Not anymore."
He looked back over to Dove. Dove aimed his sword at Jaune to fire at him but he pulled out Souffrance Eternelle, it started glowing black and he fired a shot into his right shoulder. The bullet broke through his aura and into his shoulder. Dove cried in pain before dropping his sword. His right arm was just hanging limply by his side. "Souffrance Eternelle's bullets can absorb my aura and use it to cause several times more damage." His smile grew wider before he fired three more aura charged bullets at him, one into each knee and the other shoulder. Dove collapsed to the ground while bleeding out.
Jaune finally turned to Cardin. He was shaking in fear at this point. The guy whose life he made a living hell just destroyed his teammates and now had his sights set on him. "Arc, please-" before he could continue, Jaune fired his last shot at the ground at the bully's feet. The bullet created an explosion that sent him flying at Jaune. He landed on his face at Jaune's feet. He looked up in time to see Jaune kick him in the face. Jaune stood over Cardin and charged both his fists with his black aura before he started to mercilessly beat Cardin. Everyone just watched the brutality in shock, not able to do a thing. Team CRDL deserved a lot but nothing like this.
A couple a minutes later, Jaune was standing above his once bully breathing raggedly. Nearly every bone in Cardin's body was broken. He raised his fist one last time to finish it.
"That's enough!" Jaune turned to Ozpin, whose aura was acting up and shining. He was beyond angry. "Continue and I will not hesitate to stop you."
Jaune just grinned before stepping off of Cardin. "Of course, Professor." He bowed to him, "Thank you again, sir." He raised his head, "I guess you now know. I didn't want to reenter Beacon, I wanted revenge on those who made his life hell. I'm glad that your pity for Jaune Arc overpowered your common sense. But with that I'll take my leave." He made his way for the exit before he stopped. "Oh wait, I nearly forgot." He turned to the students, "To all of you out there, if you ever cross me…" he motioned to CRDL "That is your fate." He gave them all that unsettling smile and his eyes lingered on his friends before he turned to leave.
Jaune was at the cliff that he was launched off of during initiation. He took a deep breath and smiled, a real smile. "Well, that's done. Now to get back." He started reaching for his blade when he heard footsteps. He turned to see seven people, RWBY and his old team. His real smile left his face for a neutral expression. "Hey."
They stared at each other before Ruby took a step forward, "Jaune?" she asked in disbelief. He nodded and she looked like she was about to run over to hug him but he placed his hand on his gun.
"Don't." he said in a cold voice. Ruby's eyes went wide before she stepped back to the others. His hand slowly left his gun. "What do you want?"
Pyrrha hesitantly stepped forward, "We want to know what happened to you."
Jaune chuckled, "Really? That's a laugh, considering you wanted nothing to do with me before." He bit back. They all flinched like they were hit. Pyrrha was about to speak but Jaune cut her off, "Don't bother apologizing. It's far too late for that." Tears started to form in Pyrrha's eyes. "But, I'll tell you how I became the real me though." He turned away from them and looked over the Emerald Forest. "I wanted to have you guys back. Losing you was just too painful and I wanted the strength to prove myself. So, I decided to venture into this very forest. I wasn't going to leave until I was stronger. At least, that's what I wanted but Jaune Arc just wanted the pain to end. And it did." He turned back to them. "I fought for hours and eventually my weapons broke and I was out of aura. I remember thinking that this was it, the end."
They were all quiet, "But that's when everything changed, when I changed." He looked up to the sky, "I was just sick of it. Beacon, Grimm, even myself. My anger, pain, frustration, and hatred that I accumulated over the weeks came to the surface. Those emotions drew upon a different part of my soul, a stronger part. And that turned me into what I am now." He looked them in the eyes, "I was tired of being the weak light trying to fight to protect those I cared for and losing everything. So, I extinguished that light and became the invincible darkness that destroys everything in my path and has nothing left to lose." His black aura shifted to the surface to prove his point. His aura stopped, "Jaune Arc died that night. And I was born in his stead."
They all stared at him for a while. Pyrrha spoke up, "Why didn't you come back sooner?"
He snorted, "Why would I do that?"
Ruby stepped beside her, "To be with us. Your friends!"
Jaune started to laugh manically. This made them all uneasy. Once he was in control again, he looked back at them. "Friends? Yeah right. If that's how you treat your friends than I hate to see your enemies. We were never friends."
They were all stunned by this, "That's not true!" Pyrrha tried to defend them.
"Really? What do you call abandoning someone and letting them exist in a living hell?" He started to walk towards them. "You all cut ties with me when I became too much of a burden. You caused me to suffer more than any other." He was now standing in front of Pyrrha and gently cupped her cheek, "I hoped you were different, Pyrrha, but you were just like them. The way you cared for me and loved me, I thought you'd stay by my side. But I guess, the great Pyrrha Nikos didn't need a weak partner." Pyrrha started crying at that point and turned away.
Jaune turned his gaze to Ren next, "I thought you'd be the brother I never had. Someone I could lean on." He turned to Nora, "And I thought you'd be like another sister to me. Someone I could always be myself around. Turns out I was the only one to think that. Because what did you do after you heard about the transcripts?" Nora started to cry and Ren held her.
Jaune looked at RWBY next, "You guys aren't that surprising. Blake, you never even tried to be friends with me. We hung out because our teams did. We had no relationship." Blake looked down, his words were true. "Weiss, you thought I was a waste of space and convinced yourself that I wanted you for your money and power. I can't believe I actually loved you." Weiss' eyes went wide at that 'confession' before her eyes started to water. "Yang, you only dealt with me because I was you sisters 'best friend' and I think, you thought you could tie me around your finger like any other guy." Yang looked away, both angry and hurt by his words. "And finally you, Ruby. I was only your friend because you were desperate for any kind of friendship. But as soon as you had 'better' friends, you didn't need me. So much for that innocent and happy girl you pretended to be." Ruby started to cry her eyes out.
Yang eyes turned red before she charged Jaune. Right before her fist would make contact with Jaune's face, she was covered in a black aura and stopped. They all looked in shock. Jaune just looked at Yang, "That was not smart." He raised his hand and Yang went into the air before he dropped his hand and she crashed into the ground in a crater. She was breathing heavy and her aura was almost gone. She opened her eyes to see Jaune looking down at her. "I think I put up with your attitude because it was nice being around a pretty girl like you." He knelt down beside her, "But now, I have someone more beautiful than you. Although, you two are very similar."
He stood up and walked over to the cliff again. He turned to see them helping Yang to her feet. He drew Tourmentage Tordu and its blade started to glow black. "That is your only warning. Next time, I'll kill you." He swung his sword behind him and a black portal formed. He looked back at their shocked expressions as he sheathed his sword. "Remember this: The weak die. The strong live. Those are the rules." He smiled a true smile before saying the next part. "Those are the truest words I, Jaune Branwen, have ever heard." Ruby and Yang's eyes went wide at that. Jaune just turned around and walked through the portal.
Jaune arrived in a forest. He looked around before he felt a blade at his neck. He smiled, "Hello, Beloved."
Raven stepped out into the clearing, "You let your guard down. I could've killed you."
Jaune still smiled, "Maybe. But would you kill me?"
She sheathed her blade and walked closer to him, "How did it go?"
"Great. Destroyed those weaklings and delivered the message. Also, Goodwitch gave me a gift." He raised his hand as it started to glow black and a rock nearby levitated as it was surrounded by the same aura.
Raven watched, "Interesting but I don't like the fact that you cheated on me."
Jaune wrapped his arms around her waist, "Don't even think that. The amount I stole from her is nothing compared to what you gave me."
She wrapped her arms around his neck, "Good to hear. But if you encounter her again, don't hesitate to take all of it, my husband." she smiled.
"As you command." The two kissed passionately and pulled each other closer. The world of Remnant would soon be shaken to its core.
A/N- I randomly came up with this idea and needed a break from Elemental Swordsman. Don't worry, I will be updating that soon. Anyways, just to clarify, Jaune is 19-20 so he is not underage. I may continue this or it can just stay as a one-shot, depending on how well it goes. But Elemental Swordsman is a priority right now. Catch all of you later.