AN: Let it be known now, that this story will be touching upon subjects and areas of life that some people may find...disconcerting...
Without further ado, I now present
A Dance of Death.
There was a loud buzz from nearby, pulsating incessantly on the hard surface of his nightstand. Jaune Arc reached out with his hand and grabbed his phone.
The alarm was going off on it, and buzzed in his hands. He opened his eyes and squinted as the bright LED screen shined in his face. It was five in the morning on Monday; it was time for him to get up.
He threw his covers off and sat up in his bed, looking out his window he could still see that it was dark. Jaune had started getting up early in the morning to work out. While he may still be in high school he had a goal of joining the army when he graduated.
His father, Alexander Arc had been in the army for nearly thirty years, only retiring when he had his second daughter. Now he ran his own military surplus store, selling everything from tents to semi-automatic rifles.
His grandfather had also been in the Army for a few decades and his father before him as well. For several generations, the Arcs have always had someone in the military.
Jaune wanted nothing more than to simply carry on his family's legacy in joining the military. Though his old man was proud that he had a goal in mind for when he was out of school, he didn't seem to fully support it.
Jaune wasn't sure why but he was fine with that. His father always told them that he did what he had to, to ensure that they could live happy lives.
So that's what Jaune wanted to do, at first he had wanted to become a chef because of how much he liked cooking. However it wasn't until they had witnessed a Military parade when he was in middle school that he changed his mind.
As Jaune started his pushups he couldn't help but think about what it was like when he first started his workout regime.
For the last year and a half Jaune had been waking up early almost every morning to workout with the exception of weekends to recuperate.
He ran three miles every day, did a hundred pushups, a hundred sit-ups and a hundred squats before getting ready for school.
Suffice to say that for first few months he barely made his goal of doing that every morning. More than once he felt like he could barely move afterwards. In the beginning weeks his dad had to help him upstairs when he would stumble through the back door.
Now, he was able to do it pretty well, he'd still be sweating and tired from the workout but he wouldn't be gasping for air like before.
The pain was also no longer there as well but a surprisingly pleasant burn in his muscles. With the past few months, Jaune had started to add more to his workout.
At first it was just to add more reps and put another mile on but soon he add different types of exercise. He had even bought some dumbbells and a free standing pull up bar, that were downstairs in the garage.
During summer he had even taken classes on boxing, both to learn a form of fighting and give an addition push of physical activity to his routine.
By the end of the beginner's course the instructor had actually pulled Jaune aside to personally encourage him to try out for the more advance classes, saying that he had a knack for it.
He couldn't wait to see how much he's improved later today. School had just started and Jaune had signed up for a weight training class as one of his electives.
As Jaune stepped downstairs, not a single noise in the house was heard, his dad was probably still asleep and his mom was still at the hospital since she was a night nurse.
His sisters were asleep as well, though only four lived in the house now; Katherine had gotten a job over in Atlas, while Mina had just finished training at the police academy. Sepherina was still in college studying Medicine.
Helena, Claire, and Miriya were also starting High school today. Nessa the youngest of the seven children was still in Elementary.
Jaune headed into the garage and picked a set of twenty pound dumbbells and started working out with them. He did three sets of hammer curls, followed by two sets of ten reps of deltoid raises.
Hunching over while keeping his back straight and his feet shoulder width apart Jaune started his dumbbell rows.
After three sets of ten Jaune took a deep breath and exhaled slowly before getting down into a pushup position gripping the dumbbells. As he lowered and raised himself he lifted the dumbbell in his right hand, keeping it close to his body.
He continued to do this, alternating each arm, sweat dripped off his face at a steady pace as Jaune reached his fortieth rep.
Sitting back he switched to a sit up position but kept his knees and legs together as he raised them off the ground. Holding the weight close and in front of his chest he started bringing his arms to either side of him as he clenched his abdomen.
As he finished his twentieth rep, he sets the weights aside, his body was warm and sweat made his shirt cling to him. Taking the time to inhale and exhale slowly, Jaune stood underneath the pull up bar gripping it shoulder width apart, he bent his knees as he held on tight leaving him hanging on by his hands only.
Pulling himself up till his chin was above the bar, Jaune slowly started to do pull ups. After his fifteenth rep, he could feel his arms burning as he began slowing down, struggling to pull himself up.
Jaune finally leg go out the bar and looked up at the clock on the wall, it was a little after six.
"Guess it's time to run now." Jaune mused aloud as he set the dumbbells back on their rack in the corner of the garage. He began to do a series of stretches to loosen up his muscles before heading out of the garage.
Jaune headed towards the kitchen, opening the back door and stepped out. Locking it behind him and hiding his spare key under a rock near the door. He took a deep breath of cool air; it filled his lungs and was refreshing.
His phone buzzed and he looked down to see text message from his friend Nora, he opened it up to see an attached picture in it of Lie Ren as he slept. The message with it saying how she was so excited to be a junior and so was Ren.
Jaune smiled as he sent a quick reply and walked out into the street, slipping his headphones over his head. He cued up his Iron Maiden playlist and started jogging.
Lie Ren and Nora Valkyrie have been Jaune's friends since they were little kids. They weren't related but no one would deny that they were far closer than just friends. Some even remark about how they were practically married since they live together.
Nora's parents had died when she was little and the only family she had left was her grandmother whom she loved a lot. However raising a young girl wasn't something that her grandmother could do at her age. So she appealed to a close friend of her late daughter.
Thus Nora was taken in by Li and An Ren; there she met a certain young boy and the two inevitably became very close friends.
As for Nora, she had taken to the rumor of them practically being married very well. Especially when a transfer student had started hitting on Ren in sophomore year during lunch, Nora had seen it.
So she arranged a way to fight the girl after school. Of course, it being high school, a ton of people heard and it became a spectacle.
Jaune was still baffled at how Nora was able to leap practically out of nowhere and tackle the girl to the ground. It took Jaune, Ren and four other people to pry the orange hair girl off her as she screamed about getting revenge against any harlot that touched her to quote, "Renny Bear."
Jaune didn't let that go for weeks whenever he saw Ren, the magenta eyed teen simply slumped in defeat whenever he heard that.
As he reached the last mile of his morning run, he started to pick up pace, and before long was sprinting as fast as he could.
Breathing hard he pumped his arms, speeding past other early morning people, a few call out their greetings but Jaune mostly ignored them focusing on his breathing and steps. He could feel the burning sensation in his lungs as his body responded to his rapid breathing.
However just as he was about in front of his house a red head girl overtook him as he was sprinting.
"What. The. Fuck." Jaune gasped aloud as he slowed down; clasping his hands behind his head, sweat streaming down his face.
He walked up his drive way and looked up at his house; it was a modest two story building. Though when Nessa was born there were ten people living under one roof, in conjunction to his cooling body, he felt a chill of those stressful times.
He walked into the backyard, closing the gate behind him. He could see a light on in the kitchen and the smell of food being prepared. Soft jazz music was filtering out one of the windows.
Jaune picked up his spare house key from where he had left it and opened up the door. Standing in front of the stove was Alexander Arc, standing at six feet six inches; he was a tall and well-built man.
Despite having eight kids and a job he was still had a well-toned body that Jaune's caught more than one woman looking at the public beach.
He turned around; Jaune could see his short blonde hair going from brilliant yellow to silver, with matching stubble on his face.
"How was your workout?" Alexander asked as he plated scrambled eggs and hash browns onto a plate.
"It was good, bit chilly out at the moment." Alexander rolled his eyes.
"Of course its cold outside Jaune at this time of day, so be careful since autumn and winter are right around the corner." Jaune shrugged, and took out a water bottle from the fridge.
"Meh, I'm gonna go take a shower." Alexander waved a spatula as Jaune headed back upstairs to his room; grabbing a pair of jeans and a black V-neck shirt and headed into the bathroom.
Jaune peeled off the damp shirt from his body and took a look in the mirror. He looked over his torso and nodded at the visible results that he could see.
While not as built as his father or some of the guys at school. He had a leaner but well-toned body that shows his endeavor over the last year and a half.
After finishing his shower Jaune headed back into his room to gather his stuff for school. Shoving notebooks, pens and pencils into his black canvas messenger bag, slipping on his shoes, he headed back down stairs.
Coming in through the front door was his mother Arabella Arc. A short woman standing at only five foot six inches she had a slight oval face with shoulder length platinum blond hair and green eyes. She looked up at him, a smile splitting her otherwise tired face.
"Oh my baby boy is a junior already, I can still remember as if it was yesterday when you'd run around the house naked as a little boy cause you didn't want to take a bath." Arabella cooed as hugged Jaune and pinched his cheek, Jaune died a little on the inside.
"Morning mom, please don't repeat that. Ever." Arabella smiled, in Jaune's opinion it seemed that one of the many joys of being a parent was the ability to inflict emotional or social damage by recounting childhood stories from more than a decade ago.
"Nonsense you were so adorable back then." Arabella frown at that, slapping Jaune's arm.
"Does that mean he's ugly now?" A tired voice asked from above, and they turned to see Helena, Claire, and Miriya standing at the top of the stairs. Their blonde hairs at various lengths were damp from recently taking shower.
"No, he's my handsome little man now." Arabella cooed as she pinched his cheek again.
"Kill me." Jaune said whispered, earning another slap to the arm.
"Anyways Jaune go ahead and eat now, I know you want to go meet with Ren and Nora before heading to school. You girls can take your time; your father is going to drop you off at school today." Jaune headed into the kitchen and took a seat at the island in the center.
There were already six plates set around it; bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, hash browns, and an assortment of sliced fruit sat in the center of the island in bowls.
Jaune took a couple of scoops of eggs, hash browns and a few bacon slices, while pouring some water.
"In other news, to compound the spread of a deadly new epidemic, a series of murders have been springing up in Vacuo almost overnight, reports have come in that in the last twelve hours that multiple suspected homicides have occurred and at least a few hundred more cases of assault, most of the victims showing signs of animal like attacks, stay tuned for more coverage in the next hour." Jaune chewed slowly as he watched the Valean News Network, switch over to some lame political mumbo jumbo.
"Well that was fucking weird." Jaune muttered to himself, his dad flashed him a scowl.
"Language." He warned and Jaune mimicked zipping his lips before finishing his plate off of food. He stepped over to the sink and gave it a quick wash. Drying his hands, he grabbed his bag.
"Bye Dad!" He called out as he headed out the front door.
"Have fun at school!" Alexander replied, as the door closed, Jaune took a deep breath of the cool morning air. Autumn was practically around the corner, he could practically smell it.
He took off in the direction of his school, it wasn't that far away but it did reach the outskirts of downtown Vale.
About ten minutes into the walk, as Jaune waited at a stop light, someone jumped on him.
"Jaune Jaune!" An energetic voice cried out in his ear and he recognized both the nickname and voice.
"Hi Nora." Jaune said as he struggled with the hyper orange hair girl as she tried to crawl on top of his shoulders but gave up as Ren joined them. Jaune bumped fists with the quiet teen.
Nora wore a simple blue jacket over a pink shirt with a pair of worn down jeans with pink and white high tops. Ren wore a green flannel over a black shirt, and dark blue jeans that rested over a pair of black and white converse.
"How's your morning going?" Ren simply shrugged.
"About as well as any other morning when Nora's excited." Nora snickered from the side.
"He rarely complains."
"True, there's never a single thing to complain about, especially this morning." The magenta eyed teen said with a very rare smile touching his face, Nora's cheeks went a little red.
"What are you talking abou…" Jaune trailed off as she saw Nora turning red and could feel heat touching his cheeks as well.
"Oh…that." Ren simply chuckled as Nora slipped her hand into his and the three friends crossed the street as the light turned.
Signal High School was a large school. Stretching across nearly six miles the school was able to have upwards to four thousand students along with nearly a thousand teachers and support staff.
It was also a well-funded school being able to support multiple sports teams and clubs while maintaining a relatively high grade point average throughout the district.
Even now in his third year of high school Jaune could safely say that he didn't even know a tenth of the student body that made up his own year. Though there were a few exceptions to that, certain names that float around across the grades of individuals of note.
The worst of them would probably be Cardin Winchester; he was the resident school bully and star linebacker of the varsity football team.
He and Jaune had a few problems that occurred during their freshman year but thankfully as time went by he paid less and less attention to him. Though there were still occasions when Jaune would get unlucky and be on the wrong end of a raw egg or harassment.
In the polar opposite would be essentially the queens of the school, Yang Xiao Long, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Cinder Fall.
Yang Xiao Long was considered the leader of her own group that also happened to include Weiss Schnee and Blake Belladonna. She also happened to be the Captain of the school's boxing team, last year she went nearly undefeated, though she apparently lost to some girl from Sanctum High School in Mistral.
Weiss was a part of the Cheerleading team and rumor was that she could become Captain next year. She also brought a handful of not so fun memories for him.
Jaune had been smitten with her, and had consistently failed in trying to ask her out their freshman year. Thinking about it just makes Jaune want to groan in frustration of that time.
Jaune felt bad at having constantly pestered her, it made her look like a bitch at rejecting him. Where in truth the fault lies with Jaune in not taking no for an answer, maybe he could apologize sometime.
As for Blake, she was simply a quiet book reading girl that people thought was really pretty. There wasn't much to it aside from that.
Cinder Fall on the other hand, in Jaune's mind a mix between some cult leader and politician. Whenever there was something big going on, Jaune always felt like Cinder was behind it.
For instance their freshman year, two whole classes had their belongings ransacked when they left it behind for an assembly. Phones, wallets, and a myriad of other belongings were stolen, why people left that stuff in their bags Jaune wasn't sure but the fact that someone stole it was wrong nonetheless.
The teachers had accused two students of doing it, both of whom denied it but when the Principle came by to check their lockers out. Cinder came to talk with him, no one knew what was said but ultimately no one checked the lockers of the two students.
To this day, no one trusts Emerald Sustrai and Mercury Black. Something jabbed into Jaune's side, hard.
"Ow, hey what's that for?" Jaune complained rubbing his ribs softly, Nora pouted in response. Jaune realized that they had already made it to the school grounds and were standing outside the main building.
"Well if Mr. Brooding had answered my question for the last five minutes I wouldn't have elbowed him."
"Well ask me again."
"No." Jaune felt his eye twitch; thankfully Ren came to his rescue.
"She was wondering if we should celebrate during the weekend." Jaune looked puzzled at that.
"Celebrate what? It's only junior year." Nora sighed with annoyance.
"So? Do we really need an excuse to watch a movie and eat a bunk of pizza?" Jaune exchanged looks with Ren.
"She has a point." Ren said and Jaune simply shrugged.
"Sure I'll talk to my folks after school and see if I can hangout." Li Ren was a traveling business man and tended to be away at long stretches of time working while An worked as a receptionist at a Veterinary clinic. So whenever they wanted to hang out for long periods of time or overnight Jaune would go to their place.
Overhead the bell started to ring and Nora looked up in dismay.
"Ahhhh but we just got here." Jaune patted her arm and turned to Ren.
"What classes do you have?" He pulled out a paper from his pocket and Jaune did the same, the two teens looking over each other's schedule.
"Well that sucks; we don't have a single class together." Jaune said, Ren nodding in agreement.
"Aw Jauney I'll miss you, you were the second best blonde guy I've ever known." Nora said solemnly as she patted his arm.
"Nora I'm not dying and second? Who's the first?" Nora grinned.
"Isn't it obvious? Your dad is the best." Jaune rolled his eyes and bid farewell to his friends, promising to meet up with them at lunch.
Jaune stepped up a couple of steps to the main complex of the school. His first class for the day was a culinary class that was located on the opposite side of the main building.
The school was split into four two story buildings. There was the main building that held most of the elective classes, such as psychology, business, art, and now culinary.
The west building was mainly used by the various levels of English classes along with foreign languages. The east building housed mathematics, computer science, and other science courses. Lastly the north building is where the physical education and the sports equipment and teams were housed along with the various clubs of the school.
As Jaune entered a pristine commercial kitchen with a few dozen other students, he couldn't help but feel awed at the sight. He always found cooking to be interesting, something that had quickly become a favorite hobby of his that he'd practice with his father.
Over the next hour the teacher who was an experienced chef of twenty years prior in the field, working either in restaurants or as a private chef started to get down to business. She went over the fundamentals of sanitation practices that must be followed no matter what.
Jaune could see and hear a few students grumble about her being some uptight teacher. However Jaune didn't think of it like that. The class was in a sense a training course on how to function efficiently in a real kitchen, where they strictly follow the rules of the Food and Health Codes.
The next class was Valean History, Jaune also enjoyed this class. It was exciting to see the actions and events that lead to decisions that affected not only the nation but other nations as well even in this day and age.
After History was English which wasn't bad but nor was it a fun class. Though there were certain parts that were discussed that would be particularly interesting in the months to come, such as books to read.
Before Jaune knew it, the shrill bell of lunch sounded throughout the school, and Jaune could feel his stomach growl slightly at the thought of food.
Though mentally Jaune recoiled knowing that school lunches, while they were filling, weren't the tastiest meals out there. On the bright side he'd get to sit and chat with his friends.
Signal had two cafeteria's and even than it can be a little crowded at the start as ravenous teens flocked to get the best pieces of lunch while they could. Generally speaking the juniors and seniors allotted themselves one cafeteria while the freshman and sophomores took the other.
Jaune wasn't sure why that was the case; as far as he knew it was always the case. Though it didn't mean that they didn't mix at all, just that they mostly hung out with people in their grade.
Jaune got into line and looked around to see if she could spot Ren or Nora, but in the mass of students he was among it was hard to see them.
He picked up a tray with mash potatoes, gravy, a few slices of ham and mixed vegetables. Along with a bottle of water, he looked around but could see nothing but tabled filled with people.
"Great." He muttered to himself, in his periphery he saw an empty table at the far end of the cafeteria. Jaune headed over there, and sat down. The table was in a corner so Jaune could see the cafeteria in front of him without anyone behind him.
He saw a shock of orange hair in the distance, as people temporarily cleared his vision just in time to see Ren and Nora getting in line. He pulled out his phone and sent a quick message to Ren telling him where he was sitting.
Jaune began eating some of his food as he waited, soon enough Nora and Ren sat down opposite with him.
"How was your guy's day so far?" Jaune asked Ren simply shrugged while Nora looked ready to die.
"Gah it was soooo boring, I swear we should just have the first few days of school off early, because all of my teachers so far have simply gone over the course syllabus and then just had us sit there for the rest of the period." Jaune took a sip of his water, before tilting his head in thought.
"Well that doesn't seem so bad, it's not like they're giving you classwork or homework to do on the first day." Nora snorted and unzipped her backpack that was covered the sloth stickers and pulled out a stack of papers.
She held them out for Jaune to look at and he grabbed them and flipped through them. Grimacing at how it seemed like the teachers expected their students to immediately begin getting ready for tests and completing dozen page long worksheets.
"Wow, that's kind of bullshit, what did they think you bought study guides or text books in summer to prepare for the class?" He said handing them back.
"I know it's ridiculous." Nora replied as Jaune looked at Ren.
"What about you Ren, anything interesting?" Ren set his plastic fork down which still held some spinach from his salad on it.
"Actually there was something." Nora smiled and leaned in close.
"Oh, is this gossip I smell?" Ren shook his head.
"I wouldn't really call it gossip but apparently there was some new girl in class." Nora frowned.
"So?" Jaune realized what this could lead too, so he started to slide down the bench away from Nora.
"Well apparently she's some MMA star from Sanctum who transferred over this year; it was quite a stir considering that she played on a number of teams that which whenever they were against one of our teams she was single handily the star of the entire game as she crushed her us or any other team." Jaune blinked at that.
"Well that is actually something rather interesting, she give any reason why she transferred?" Ren simply shrugged.
"Nothing to it really, just that her parents got a job here so she's attending this school." Nora pouted then immediately brightened up.
"Wait maybe she's lying and really she's a secret agent that's after a magical girl who's in a coma under the school or some villain that's looking for the codes!" Ren and Jaune exchanged looks.
"Codes to what?" Jaune asked, and Nora shrugged.
"How would I know, I'm not a secret agent." Jaune scratched his chin in thought.
"Maybe but maybe you're just a sleeper agent and just have to hear the right word that'll make you fall asleep but your mind switches over to its secret agent side and you go on missions." Ren gave Jaune a quick glare as the bell signaling that lunch was over rang.
"Well I'll see ya later." Jaune called out as they split off, there was two more classes left in the day before he could head home. The next class was psychology, it was an interesting class but the teacher was peculiar, especially in her habit to randomly scream.
As the bell rang, Jaune felt slightly elation that his final class for the day was the weight training class. Jaune headed over to the locker rooms to get assigned his locker to store his exercise clothes when Cardin walked into the locker room with his usual arrogant swagger.
Jaune did his best to ignore him, but he could hear the deep haughty laugh as he made fun of some of the other guys in the locker room who weren't the most fit around.
"Hey boss it's that fag, Jaune." The nasally whine of Dove Bronzewing, came from behind him as he stuffed his bag into his locker. He could hear the footsteps of Cardin and his witless cronies gathering behind him.
"Hey there Jauney boy, ya know I always had a feeling you enjoyed watching real men sweat, but that's fine I guess, sucking men's dick probably would be your specialty." Cardin said, as Dove, Sky, and Russel stood watching for teachers.
"Say Jaune boy, if ya want maybe you can show me some skills for a few bucks." Jaune slammed the locker closed and turned around. Cardin had a height advantage over Jaune, so he was forced to look up at his sneering face.
"Oh did little Jauney grow a pair of balls or did you feel enough balls over the summer that you're acting like you have a pair." Jaune simply smiled.
"That's funny I heard you're cunt of a mother was trying out a new job as being a human bicycle for five bucks." Cardin's face turned beet red but before he could do anything Russel gave a loud but obviously fake cough.
Cardin's face scowled in annoyance and walked away as Coach Elba the varsity baseball coach and instructor for their weight training class turned the corner. The rest of Cardin's cronies gave their own dirty glares as they walked away.
"You know he's gonna target you now." A deep voice said from Jaune's right, he turned to see the senior and captain of the Kendo team Yatsuhashi Daichi. Jaune did a mental whistle at how tall the guy was if Cardin was tall then Yatsuhashi was a giant.
"Ya know you should play football, definitely would be a shoe in for a scholarship." Jaune replied instead, Yatsuhashi smiled a little.
"True but I prefer to follow the path paved by time than the path paved by man."
"Football is boring."
"Oh." Jaune said as a smile started spreading across his face and stuck out his hand.
"Jaune Arc, please to meet ya." Yatsuhashi gripped it returned and Jaune felt amazed to see his hand dwarfed by the older student.
"Yatsuhashi Daichi, a pleasure to meet you as well Jaune Arc."
"Also about what you said earlier I appreciate the warning but sometimes you gotta do what's right instead of what's safe." Jaune said trying to imitate Yatsuhashi earlier response; it must have worked because the big guy actually laughed.
"Those are wise words to live by Jaune Arc, just remember to never regret what you do, whether it's a mistake or not, because every result is a lesson in waiting." Jaune just shook his head, as he changed clothes.
"Alright hurry up everyone! Head to your respective classes now please!" Coach Elba yelled in the locker room.
Jaune switched into a pair of gym clothes, which was really just a pair of black shorts, sneakers, and a spare white t-shirt.
Jaune made his way out into the hallway, towards the gym. He looked around to see that there were at least thirty of them in the class. Cardin was standing off with his cronies, though Jaune could see that he was eyeing him intently.
Now that he had time to reflect on his actions he wasn't surprised to feel slight regret for talking like that. He wasn't sure why he did that but ultimately there was no going back on it, if he tried to say sorry Cardin would be all over him. He if didn't well Cardin would still be all over him most likely.
The door to the gym swung open as one of the teacher assistants opened the door, she was a short girl with long black hair. As far as Jaune knew she was a striker on the school's soccer team, Melanie or maybe Miltia, Jaune wasn't sure.
Stepping inside Jaune looked around to see a large room. To his left was a few dozen treadmills, on his right was row upon row of exercise machines, beyond them was the area for bench-pressing and other free weight equipment.
In front of him was a door that leads to Coach Elba's office. To the right of the door was a large rack of dumbbells that were lined up in front of a large mirror.
"Alright get your butts in there, pick up a progress chart in the office and make sure to have it filled out what you did and turn it in, that'll be your grade. Otherwise that's it, if there's anything you need help with come find me or my assistant Melanie." Jaune shrugged and got a sheet than immediately started to do stretches.
However it was at that point that there was a lot of hubbub that seemed to ripple through the boys. Jaune ignored it, so did Yatsuhashi and a few others who were more focused on working out. Jaune stepped forward from his stretches and picked up a pair of twenty pound weight and started to curl them.
It was only then that he noticed a tall girl, about six feet tall with red hair that was tied into a pony tail that wore black gym shorts and a red sports bra looking at him.
"You know it's rude to stare." Jaune said aloud, as he set down the weight and picked up a forty pound dumbbell, he held it above but behind his head at a ninety degree angle. Raising it up slowly then lower it back down and repeating the process.
Shifting his gaze over to her in the mirror he could see that she was blushing, probably out of embarrassment. However instead of leaving she stepped forward and took a forty pound weight as well and started to due overhead triceps curls as well.
"I'm sorry; it's just that I think we ran past each other earlier this morning." She spoke up, and Jaune was puzzled.
"Yea, you were running and I passed by you. I think I'm sorry I must have the wrong person." She said, Jaune focus on his repetitions loosened up and he recalled what happened earlier.
"Oh yea, I totally remember, you were really gassing it earlier." Jaune said nonchalantly, there was a slight squeak and Jaune frowned but kept looking forward.
"W-w-was I really?" Her voice seemed to be a little shaky, was she getting tired already?
"Yea, you were bookin' it so hard that even though I was sprinting you still easily overtook me." Jaune finally set the forty pound dumbbell down and turned to look at her.
He was immediately surprised to see how pretty she was, she had pale white skin that seemed incredibly soft. Along with that she had long flowing red hair that was tied into a high pony tail to keep out of the way. He made eye contact with her and could see that her eyes were vivid green, and really cute.
She also seemed to have really red cheeks; Jaune wasn't sure why that was. He reckoned that she was someone who worked out regularly as well seeing that she had well toned arms and abdomen as well.
"Could you not stare so much?" She said, and Jaune shook his head a little as he realized what he was doing.
"Fuck, I'm so sorry, it's just that you were so like red face and I was just wondering why because you seem like you work out a lot, I. Uh. I'm a weirdo; I'll leave you alone now." Jaune said as he bowed his head both out of shame at himself and to apologize.
However what he didn't expect was to hear her laughing, well that wasn't true he was used to hearing a girl laughing at him.
"Its fine, you apologized now so you don't need to feel bad about it." Jaune nodded glumly.
"Well I'll leave you to your workout. Uh." Jaune paused as he realized that he hadn't even asked her for her name. Sensing his hesitation she simply smiled and interrupted his internal meltdown.
"Pyrrha. Pyrrha Nikos." He smiled in attempt to hide the ever growing embarrassment.
"Ah, well Pyrrha nice meeting you, my name is Jaune Arc, anyways I'll leave you to your workout." Jaune said and with all the dignity he could muster walked away towards the free weight section of the gym.
Some of the guys seemed to be fixated on Pyrrha, which Jaune clucked at that. They were just going to hurt themselves if they tried working out distracted like that.
He stood over an empty barbell, and looked around for where the plates were kept. Jaune picked up two, twenty five pound plates and slipped them on. Moving around, he lay down on the bench and gripped the barbell shoulder length apart.
Taking a deep breath and releasing it as he lifted the bar up, keeping his arms straight and the barbell over his chest. He took another deep breath as he lowered the bar till it was nearly touching his chest, then exhaling he pushed up, and then repeated the process.
As Jaune racked the bar, he got up and pulled the twenty five pound plates off. He picked up two forty five pound plates, sliding them on the bar, then the twenty five pound weights.
Lying back down on the bench he did the same process as before, however halfway through, Pyrrha once again showed up in his vision.
"You know you're supposed to have a spotter." Jaune merely nodded as he focused on his breathing. He could see her roll her eyes.
"I'll spot for you then you can do the same for me." Jaune wasn't sure what to say so he just focused, after his thirtieth repetition Jaune could feel his arms burning from effort. Thinking that was enough for, he decided to rack the bar He could feel Pyrrha guiding the bar as he racked it and stood up, wiping the sweat from where his head was.
"Alright, I'll spot you now, how much do you wanna start with?" Jaune asked but Pyrrha had already taken off the twenty five pound plates and took up position on the bench.
"I'll keep it light for now." She said and Jaune wasn't sure if she was serious or not, but she lifted the bar off and began bench-pressing.
Jaune simply shrugged as he took up spotting position, and soon enough the two started to take turns spotting each other. As they took turn spotting each other, they talked about themselves, Jaune told her about his dream to join the military like his father and Pyrrha told him about going to college.
Jaune was surprised to find out that she was the girl Ren had spoken about coming from Sanctum High School in Mistral. Jaune did find it believable that she was a star athlete after working out with her. After doing five sets of thirty Jaune was tired but Pyrrha barely worked up a sweat.
As the bell rang for school to be over, Jaune turned in his chart in Coach Elba's office, he turned to leave the gym.
"Jaune?" A voice called from behind him and he turned to regard Pyrrha.
"That's my name." He replied with a grin and Pyrrha surprisingly laughed a little.
"It was nice meeting you."
"Likewise, Pyrrha, I'll see tomorrow." Jaune said and was about to leave again when she called out.
"Yea Pyrrha?" She looked a little bashful now as he looked at her, maybe she was shy.
"I was wondering, if ya know, you could show me around the school sometime, I'm still unfamiliar with the layout and all that." Jaune blinked in surprise at such a simple thing.
"Oh, well sure why not." He said and she smiled in relief for some reason that escaped Jaune's mind, they traded numbers and went their separate ways.
Later that Night…
Jaune sat at the desk in his room scrolling through a popular video sharing site when he received a text from Ren.
Opening it, Jaune could see that it was a link to a video. Which was rare to receive something like this from Ren, normally it was just Nora who was sharing a link to some popular video that's going viral. Jaune clicked the link and it took him to a channel that was made from an independent news organization.
Jaune scrolled through the list of videos, there was a string of new videos that had been posted. All of them were talking about some press conference that was being held in Vacuo. Jaune was about to press it when Pyrrha texted him.
-Hey, Jaune you busy?- The messaged popped up and Jaune tapped it.
-No, what's up Pyrrha?-
-Jaune about showing me around school, I didn't actually say when but you think we can do that Friday? If so, would you like to meet up at the school or beforehand?-
-Uh, I'm okay with either really, which do you prefer?-
-I'd prefer meeting up before going to school.-
-Sure. What's your address?- She gave it to him and Jaune was surprised to see that she lived only a street over from him.
-I'll let you know when I'm outside your place.-
-Kay, I'll see you Friday then.-
Jaune set aside his phone and stretched his arms before getting ready for bed. He opened the door to go brush his teeth but someone jumped on him.
"Jaune!" Nessa cried out, Jaune wrapped his arms around her to keep her from offsetting his balance.
Nessa Arc, the youngest of the Arc family was nine years old with light blond hair going down to the small of her back and eyes taking after their mother.
"Whoa Nessa, what's up?" She looked up at him, flashing her little sister puppy eyes at him, and Jaune could feel his eye twitch in an effort to break its influence.
"Nessa Arc, you get back here right now." His mother appeared at the doorway, with her arms crossed, the index finger of her right hand tapping impatiently. Jaune gulped, everyone in the house learned not to upset their mother.
"Buuuut Mom I wanna stay up with big bro!" Nessa cried out, her grip tightening around him.
"Oh is Jaune planning to stay up late on a school night as well?" Arabella asked turning her gaze up to him.
"No ma'am I was just going to go get ready for bed right now." Nessa looked up at him with the look of betrayal shining in her eyes.
"Nessa, don't you wanna be a big girl?" Nessa nodded, Jaune set her back down onto the ground.
"Well if you go to sleep, then you go to school and the faster go to school the quicker you become an adult, but you can't do good at school if you're falling asleep in your desk now can you?" Jaune asked Nessa nodded glumly.
"Come on Nessa, show me that pretty smile." Jaune said a smile of his own forming on his face, he could see Nessa trying not to smile back but she failed flashing him a wide smile.
"That's my baby sister; now off you go to bed." Jaune said, taking a page out of Nora's book and tapping Nessa's nose softly, of which she let out a giggle.
"Thank you, now you go to bed also mister." Arabella said as Nessa scampered out of his room, with a stern look but Jaune could see the mirth in her eyes as well.
As Jaune got into bed, he turned on his phone again, the screen was still on the messages that he had traded with Pyrrha.
He started to think about her, she was really pretty and seemed like a nice person. Jaune wondered if she'd want to be friends, maybe he could ask if she wanted to tagalong with him to Ren's place this Saturday.
As Jaune drifted to sleep, he couldn't help but think that this year was going be great.
The Next Day…
Jaune walked down the street, texting to Ren and Nora that they can go on without him. As he rounded the corner he looked up to see that he had arrived to the address that Pyrrha gave him.
He was wearing a pair of loose jeans with black converse shoes, a white V-neck and a blue button up shirt.
In front of him was a two story house with an attached garage to the right side. The house looked to be constructed with wood and marble with several large windows that he could see extending to the side of the house. There wasn't any car in the drive way, so Jaune started to wonder if she actually got a ride to school and forgot to tell him.
He walked up the driveway, admiring the immaculate lawn and garden that surrounded a stone path up to the front door. Jaune felt somewhat nervous as he approach the glass double front door, and as he was about to knock when it flung open.
"Gah!" Jaune yelled in surprise while Pyrrha yelped in surprise as well. They starred at each other for a second before laughing.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you Jaune." Pyrrha said, Jaune smiled and shook his head.
"Nah, its fine Pyrrha, should we go now?" She nodded, smiling as she stepped past him; Jaune caught the brief scent of cinnamon.
Jaune took stock in what Pyrrha looked like; she was wearing an open dark blue cardigan over a long white shirt that poked out from under it. Along with that she wore dark skinny jeans that ran down her long legs to black shoes.
"Jaune?" He snapped his head up to see Pyrrha staring at him confused.
"Oh I'm sorry did you say something?" She just nodded slowly before continuing walking, Jaune cursed silently to himself at being so weird.
"So as I was saying earlier it's kind of freaky about what's happening in Vacuo lately."
"Vacuo?" Jaune asked, confused on what she meant, Pyrrha looked back at him surprised.
"Haven't you been watching the news lately?" Jaune shook his head.
"Well apparently there's some big flu epidemic that's going on over their now, it's so bad that they're starting to Quarantine people, and there's been a few rumors of Martial Law going into effect. Though earlier this week they were reporting animal like attacks and an increase of homicides but now there's no a sign or reports of that. It's all kind of freaky." Jaune remembered seeing something like that Monday.
"Ah well it's probably nothing, just the government laying down some preemptive actions to prevent a panic or anything." Jaune mused aloud, Pyrrha glanced at him.
"Well whenever there's some big disease or some crazy doomsday preacher that convinced people something big is gonna happen people go nuts. Like remember that big doomsday thing about five years ago about the world ending? Well it was false and people ruined their lives by spending all their money or savings doing something for the last day of earth." Pyrrha hummed slightly at this and the two walked in silence till they were across the street from the school.
"Say Jaune, aside from being a preemptive thing, what do you think the possibility of it actually being a real situation?" Pyrrha asked, Jaune tilted his head slightly both at the nature of the question and why she was so curious.
"Well judging by the initial reports of attacks and illness I suppose that the Government will be issuing an official statement some time, if not that they'll be giving an unofficial, official assessment that they're working on it. If it's getting out of hand they'll begin clamping down on public hours, like you said earlier, essentially Marshall Law. If it's even worse they'll start restricting internal then international traffic and communication then outside communication, and if things still get worse, they'll cut off ties with the outside and deploy the army." Jaune said as the crosswalk light turned green and they walked across the road. Pyrrha didn't say anything and looked over at her; she seemed to be thinking intently.
"Pyrrha?" She didn't respond, Jaune waved his hand in front of her face and still no response.
"Yo, Pyrrha." He said again while nudging her a little with his elbow and she looked up in surprise, her cheeks going red.
"Oh! I'm sorry, I guess I kind of spaced out there." Jaune smiled.
"Tell me about it, I thought you were sleep walking." Surprisingly Pyrrha laughed at his comment.
"No Jaune I was just thinking about what you said is all." Jaune tilted his head a little in thought.
"Are you really that worried? I wouldn't take stock in what I said or what you might be hearing." Jaune said as they crossed the front lawn towards the main building. A few people were giving them looks but Jaune mostly ignored them.
"Alright, well we're here with time to spare, so I guess I'll give you a little tour of Signal High School, Pyrrha." Jaune said with a warm smile on his face. Pyrrha looked him in the eyes, a smile of her own spreading across her face, and the two entered the school.
Later That Day…
Jaune was racking the plates he was using to deadlift with when he saw Pyrrha in the corner of her eye. She was talking to Melanie, she looked happy to be talking with the dark hair girl, though Jaune wasn't sure if she was as thrilled. Jaune simply shook his head before turning back to lift up the last plate.
As he turned around to grab his chart he saw Cardin leaning with one hand above Pyrrha's head. He had a slimy smile over his face. What he wanted was rather clear since he wasn't even trying to hide his attempt to check out her body.
Jaune could see Pyrrha say something that made Cardin frown and Melanie laugh rather loudly. Both of the girls turned away from him and walked away. Jaune watched as Cardin's faced took a deep scowl and went his own way. Something about it filled Jaune with unease.
Thirty Minutes Later…
Jaune splashed his face with cool water in the men's bathroom of the locker room. The week was over, and now it was time for the weekend and to head over to Ren's place. He wondered what kind of movie he should bring for the weekend as he left the bathroom to head over to his locker.
As Jaune changed clothes, he realized that there was no one around. He pulled out his phone and saw the time, school had ended twenty minutes ago, and it's the weekend, no one's gonna stick around here.
Slinging his bag over his shoulder he exited the building he could hear laughter and felt his blood run cold. It was an arrogant laugh that he was far too familiar with. Looking around he expected to see Cardin waiting to jump him or something.
Ever since Monday, Jaune's been expecting the repercussions of him telling Cardin off to catch up with him but nothing had happened.
Jaune decided to do the dumb thing and follow the sound of laughter. Rounding the corner of the building he headed towards the back of the building. No one really went there unless they were seeking privacy, either with a partner or for settling disputes
Jaune hugged the wall as he peered around, what he saw made his blood boil. Cardin and his normal group of cronies had Pyrrha surrounded. Jaune pulled out his phone and opened the camera, hitting record.
"Say there pretty lady, we're the most popular guys around and word has it that most of the people in this school think you're the prettiest girl here, unseating those cows like Xiao Long and uptight snobs like the Schnee. So why don't we get to know each a little, maybe we can show each other some cool moves since we're both athletes." The last part elicited a wave of snicker from his friends.
"Yea I don't think so." Pyrrha said and tried to leave but Dove and Russel pushed her back. Cardin grabbed her right arm and shoved her against the wall of the building.
"Where do you think you're going sweet cheeks, the boys and I are just trying to have some fun, now you can either enjoy it with us or don't, it doesn't matter to me cause we're gonna have fun either way." Jaune face twitched in fury at hearing this, so he took off his bag setting it on the ground and braced his phone against it.
Making sure it had a good look of the unfolding scene. Jaune stood up and turned his see Cardin's face inches away from Pyrrha.
"Whoa there Cardin I always knew you were shitty with women but this is a whole new low that I honestly didn't think you were capable of." The five teens turned to face Jaune, annoyance and angry were on Cardin's and his friends faces, while relief on Pyrrha's.
"I mean it looks to me like you were gonna rape her, and Pyrrha I'm sorry for not warning you about how much of a cunt Cardin is and how you should do your best to steer clear of him. Though I suppose after today, no one is gonna come within fifty feet of these four assholes." This brought them to realization of what's going on.
"Get him." Cardin growled, Dove stepped forward throwing a sloppy right hook, Jaune raised his arms keeping them close to his body, he turned his left side into it. Dove's fist hit weakly against Jaune's shoulder. Jaune immediately sent a right hook of his own, catching Dove in the Jaw.
The boy flopped to the ground, Sky and Russel charged Jaune. Jaune moved forward meeting them, ducking Russel's more effective jab and jumped forward, tackling Sky as he tried to kick him.
Jaune had both a height and weight advantage against Sky, bringing the teen down. Though he immediately rolled off him as Russel tried to press in on his open back. Russel sent another jab his way, but Jaune met it halfway with his forearm.
At that moment Sky came in from the side smashing his fist against Jaune's right cheek. Jaune stepped away, trying to create distance to gather himself as his cheek stung from the strike.
Shaking his head slightly he pressed in, working quickly he stepped into Sky's reach and instead up swinging up, he brought his forehead down against his.
"Fuck!" Sky yelled as he fell back clutching his forehead in pain, Russel swung at Jaune's face but he had his arms back up. He met the fist with his forearm again, and immediately struck with his right fist, catching him in the mouth.
Jaune pressed the advantage as Russel reeled back and sent up jab to his ribs with his left fist. As he brought his left fist back he lashed out with his right fist, catching him in the jaw. Russel fell to the ground, and Jaune was about to turn and face Cardin when he saw a backpack coming into his vision.
Jaune felt an explosion of pain erupt from his face as Sky swung his backpack. Reeling back he caught the backpack as Sky swung it again and could feel textbooks in it.
"That's not very nice." Jaune said as Sky blanched, Jaune pulled and Sky stumbled forward as Jaune punched in him the nose. The hit cause him to stumble a few steps back and fall down.
Jaune turned around, with his arms up ready to take on Cardin but instead saw a very surprising sight.
Pyrrha stood over Cardin as he lay on the ground with a bloody nose, moaning in pain. She looked up at Jaune and flashed him a warm smile with thumbs up.
"Holy shit." A new voice said from behind Jaune and he spun around to see Coco Adel and Fox Alistair standing there.
Coco was known for two things in school, one for her obsession with fashion, the other her proclivity for gossip. She was also the president the Journalism club which so happened to also be in charge of making the school's newspaper so it went hand in hand with her gossip network.
Fox on the other hand was just some guy as far as Jaune could tell that was incredibly silent. In the last three years, Jaune has never heard him actually say anything. None of the teachers call on him for anything, some say it's because he's mute but Jaune wasn't sure.
Coco stooped down and picked up Jaune's phone, he could see her tapping away at it, and a small chime could be heard as she pulled out her own phone. Did she just send a copy of his video to her phone?
"Kid that was badass." Coco said, as she took off her sunglasses, Fox simply nodded having nothing to say.
"Uh, thanks?" Jaune said scratching the back of his head before turning around to look at Pyrrha.
"Pyrrha? Are you alright? They didn't do anything to you?" Concerned lace his voice, in the back of his mind he couldn't help but think what would happen if he wasn't there but Pyrrha just smiled as she shook her head.
"I'm okay Jaune but thanks for helping, not many people would do that." Jaune shrugged and scratched the back of his head.
"Ah well I just do what I think is right and hope not to mess it up, plus I have sisters and I would hope that someone would come to help them as well." Pyrrha just beamed him a smile, Coco and Fox joined them.
"Hey Redhead, what did you do with Cardin, we caught the end of knight in shining armor here beating up the three lackey's but Cardin was down for the count at your feet before we got here." Coco asked, tapping her chin in thought, Pyrrha just shrugged.
"Oh, well I've been practicing Mixed Martial Arts since I was ten, so Cardin may have large muscle mass, but that doesn't mean much." Jaune made a mental note to never spar with Pyrrha. Jaune looked down at the groaning mass that was Cardin and shook his head in disgust.
"Why don't we all get out of here?" Jaune said looking at Pyrrha, Coco and Fox.
"Yes, we can let the filthy excuse of a man just wallow in its own despair." Coco said and Jaune felt a slight shiver go down his spine at the malicious in her voice but she turned to look at Jaune with a coquettish smile.
"You on the other hand, are a true man for sticking up for a woman, though you have a bravely stupid or stupidly brave for fighting outnumbered but on the plus side you're devilishly handsome so it's fine, what's your name?"
"Uh…thanks? Also my name is Jaune Arc." Jaune wasn't sure if he was being insulted or compliment but just rolled with it. However when he felt a hand smack his butt he nearly yelped in surprise, and looked at Coco to see her smiling.
"Nice to meet you Jaune Arc, you've got a firm butt, I like that." Pyrrha closed in, putting herself between Coco and Jaune.
"Ooookay, I think we should all be heading off now." Coco turned her gaze towards Pyrrha, her smile never faltering.
"Kay, I'll see you kiddies around, come on Fox." Coco said before the four of them went their separate ways.
"You want me to walk you home or anything?" Jaune asked Pyrrha nodded smiling briefly.
"Thank you Jaune but can we stop by my locker I need to get some of my textbooks out." As they walked through the white hallways of the main building, most of the students had gone home for the day. None of them said anything as they walked; Jaune wasn't sure what to say really.
"Uh…Jaune?" Pyrrha said, and he turned to look at her, it was only then as they were so close to each other that he noticed that she wore green earrings.
"Yea Pyrrha?" She wasn't looking back at him, keeping her gaze ahead of her as they walked.
"I wanted to thank you for doing what you did earlier." Jaune simply chuckled which earned a look of confusion from Pyrrha.
"It's no problem Pyrrha; you don't need to thank me for doing the right thing."
"I think I do Jaune, there are a lot of people out there that wouldn't have done what you did." Jaune chuckled slightly.
"Seriously Pyrrha its fine, a bruise or two is nothing if it means doing the right thing, so there's no need to thank me for helping a friend." Pyrrha didn't say anything as they rounded a corner in front of them was a row of blue lockers that the school provided students at orientation before school starts. Pyrrha started to unlock her locker when she turned around.
"Jaune I hope we can stay friends despite what happened today." Jaune looked at her puzzled.
"Of course we're still friends, I would never think otherwise Pyrrha, so don't worry about it, taking a few bruises for a friend just comes with the territory." Pyrrha brightened up at that but immediately frowned.
"Bruised?" Jaune nodded.
"You must not be able to see it but I can tell that I'll have some bruises Monday for everyone to see." Pyrrha looked distraught for some reason and Jaune sighed.
"Ah but don't worry about it Pyrrha, if anything I say it'll make me look more dashing." Jaune said flashing a smile and puffing up his chest a little, Pyrrha laughed a little. Jaune felt relieved, though he hoped that she wouldn't continue to blame herself or anything.
"Anyways now that you've got your things, why don't I walk you home, I walked you to school so I'll walk you home, that cool?" Pyrrha smiled and nodded, and the two teens left together.
However as the two of them were leaving the building neither of them saw a tall silver hair teen watching them.
Later that Night…
Jaune was checking his belongings, normally whenever he planned to stay at Ren's place, it would be for most of the weekend. So he would need some spare clothes, his phone charger, deodorant, and his toothbrush. He packed them into a large black travel backpack he had gotten when his family had gone camping last spring.
Zipping the bag closed, he lifted it up, and all in all not even a fourth of the bag was taken up by his belongings.
"Maybe you should use something smaller." A deep voice observed behind him, Jaune turned, it was his father.
Alexander stood in the doorway dressed in a dark blue button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The shirt was tucked into dark slacks with a black belt looped around the waist and black shoes.
The clothes only served to add to Alexander's physique, behind him Jaune could see his mother passing by and doing a double take at Alexander's behind. Jaune could hear the pat that his mother gave his father and a part of him died but Jaune simply cleared his throat to answer.
"Nah, I don't mind, I like it." Alexander nodded before stepping in, looking over Jaune's room. It was a simple room, a bed in one corner with a window above it. A desk opposite of it with a lamp and a laptop sat on the desk along with his textbooks. Alexander pulled out the chair of the desk and sat down.
"Jaune we need to talk." Jaune furrowed his eyebrows.
"Dad you already gave me that talk." Alexander snorted and pointed to the bed; Jaune shrugged and sat down on the bed.
"Son, you're eighteen, by law you're a man but in all honestly to me, you didn't become a man when you turned eighteen." Jaune frowned at that, Alexander noticed.
"Ah before you misunderstand me, what I mean is son, you were already a man far before that when you decided to start working on your goal to join the Military. Now you know how I feel about that, it isn't because I don't think you're good enough for it but the opposite. It's not good enough for you, there's a great deal of career paths out there that you would excel at should you put your mind to it. Alas I'm not here to talk about that, I heard from your mother that you been looking into getting a ride, specifically a motorcycle." Alexander fished in his pockets for a few seconds before pulling out a set of keys. Jaune could feel his heart practically skip a beat, he had gotten his license when he was seventeen and the moment he had turned eighteen he applied for a motorcycle license. Taking classes over the weekend and passing the final test before summer started.
However the newest motorcycle cost at least five thousand dollars. Which Jaune did have but parting with five thousand dollars would be more than Jaune could stomach especially.
"I talked with a buddy of mine who's got a niece with a bike of her own so he directed me to a guy to buy a brand new bike for a pretty good price; in fact it's in the garage right now. What is kind of surprising is that you missed the big object with a blue tarp over it for the past few days." Alexander said but Jaune ignored the last part as exhilaration filled his heart at this.
"Holy shit, am I dreaming?" Alexander scowled a little as he peeked over his shoulder to make sure no one heard.
"Sorry." Alexander sighed with a wry smile before turning serious again.
"Remember this Jaune, this bike while it may be legally yours since I got the paperwork done in your name but it's still a privilege as long as you live under my roof. Doing something dumb the keys are mine, got it?" Jaune nodded vigorously.
"Alright Jaune but there's one more thing, something that your mother doesn't know about." Alexander stood up and closed the door, he took his seat again.
"As you're growing up and doing things on your own, you'll need to protect yourself. Now I know you took those boxing lessons which I heard you did well at but sometimes you need something more than your fist. Plus I see that you've must have put it to use today" Alexander gestured to Jaune's bruised eye and cheek.
"Haha, did mom tell you about that?"
"Yes she did, though you apparently told her that you simply slipped down some steps and hit your head at school. Which to be fair would just make her worry as much if you had just come clean and told her you got into a fight." Jaune grimaced.
"You can tell?" Alexander rolled his eyes.
"Come on son, I was a teen once too, I know a bruise made from a fist when I see it." Jaune scratched the back of his head.
"Ah well I had a good reason for getting into a fight." Alexander raised his hand, stopping Jaune from continuing on.
"I'm not concerned with that, if you think it was a good reason, I trust you. However as I was saying before, your fists at some point aren't going to be enough to protect you, your friends or your family Jaune, that's why I want you to have this." Alexander reached into his pockets and pulled out a card and handed it to Jaune. Jaune looked it over in his hands and his eyes widened.
"A conceal and carry permit?" Jaune knew that gun laws weren't that strict in Vale like in Atlas but the response time in obtaining the permit was long. This would have meant that his father either started the paper work since he turned eighteen or somehow pulled some strings.
"Yes, I did most of the paper work for you but you'll need to head to the nearest Precinct to submit a picture and some redundant information that you need to verbally answer. After that I'll help you purchase a gun, though mind you, you'll be paying for most of the costs so don't pick something fancy." Jaune nodded slowly, for some reason he could feel his palms get clammy as he held the card. Alexander snapped his fingers and Jaune snapped his head up looking his father in the eyes.
"Just like the motorcycle Jaune take this responsibility serious, you mess around with this, and this house will no longer have a place for you." Jaune swallowed slightly and nodded.
"Thank you dad, I won't let you down but why this? It doesn't seem like it would be necessary." Jaune said looking at his dad. Alexander didn't say anything and it was only then that Jaune noticed that he wasn't really paying attention to the current topic at all. His eyes seemed to be focus on something else that wasn't there. It only last for a few moments until Alexander focused back.
"Ah right, well I understand you're confused but as I said before, you have to look after yourself but not just that but your sisters as well. Sure you're not the oldest but aside from me, you're the only man in this house and it's your responsibility to take care of them if I'm ever in the state of which I can't do that."
"Dad is there something you want to tell me?" Jaune asked something was off about his dad.
"It's nothing Jaune, don't worry about it."
Earlier that Morning…
Alexander Arc was man of many talents, he's seen and done things that very few in the civilian world would understand or empathize with.
His beautiful wife, whom he's totally devoted too, tried to understand some of the things he had done in the army during the last war. However there were just things that she would, no, could not understand.
Alexander knew Arabella would stick by his side despite that past; she even attended some of the appointments with the Veteran Affairs office for his psychological testing.
Now he ran his own military surplus supply store. Once obtaining a clean bill of health from the V.A. he was able to gain the necessary license to hold and sell some of the items in his store.
He had lots of items to sell, basic survival guides, tactical medical packs, military webbings, canteens, binoculars, rope, road flares, flashlights, knives, hatchets, tents, portable stoves. He even had a section of the store devoted to surplus weapons and even some new ones at that.
Alexander went over to that section. He tested, cleaned and maintained the weapons, out of habit and to make sure that he wouldn't sell a gun that might have a faulty part in it. He looked down at the glass counter that held the handguns.
He had a few dozen Beretta 92FS handguns, several Sig Sauer P226Rs, and a dozen variants from the Glock series. Looking up at the wall he had placed rifles and shotguns on hooks for people to see.
He carried several Remington 870 shotguns, four Mossberg 500s and a few new SPAS-12 shotguns that he had received at the end of last month.
The guy that sold them to him practically wanted to give them away for free for the price of the shotguns he wanted. Alexander essentially gave the man a pick of any item that wasn't a firearm in the store for ninety percent off. Even then the man simply thanked him and left.
Moving on from those he carried a few Remington Model 700s, and even carried two Karabiner 98k rifles. In addition he had six BM-59 rifles that someone had sold to him for dirt cheap, along with a few models of the M40 and two M110 rifles.
Lastly what gun section wasn't complete without a few automatic weapons?
Alexander looked to his left towards the wall mounted plastic cabinet of the weapons. He could see seven Stag Arms Model 3 rifles, six Stag 10 rifles and six Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifles.
He even had taken Jaune out to shoot some of the weapons he owned as well, especially considering Jaune's intent to join the military.
Alexander wasn't too keen to see his only son go off to the military; sure there wasn't any sign of conflict now. However there were always bandit groups that preyed on both civilian and military groups that travel outside the protection of the Four Kingdoms.
He sighed, it didn't matter what he say to the boy. Jaune was set on doing this and all Alexander can do was stand by his side when he needed him.
There was a chime indicating that someone had just walked through the front door. Alexander turned around from inspecting the weapons when he saw a familiar face.
"Ah Qrow, what brings you in today?" Dressed in his uniform Qrow Branwen was a Staff Sergeant for the Valean Police Department; he was also someone Alexander met quite often at the local shooting range. After a while they started to talk and became friends, or so Alexander at least liked to think.
The man had a habit of always stopping by his store whenever he was assigned to the patrol the area so that would probably indicate that he must have liked Alexander's company.
"Nothing much Alexander, just thought I'd stop by, ya know, take a breather and talk." Alexander narrowed his eyes a little.
"Take a breather? Did something happen?" Alexander asked as he pulled out two chairs from behind the counter, indicating for the man to sit.
The man looked more haggard than normal which is saying something. Alexander had driven the man to his apartment more than once after a hard night of drinking.
His red eyes had a spaced out look that suggested that what he was seeing wasn't really there. Alexander was half tempted to take the man home right at that moment but an explosive exhale drew him out of that thought.
"Man this shit is getting crazier and crazier." Qrow said running a hand through his hair.
"What do you mean?" Qrow leaned his head back, covering his eyes with one hand.
"Alexander I can trust you right?" Alexander blinked in surprise.
"Of course, anything you say that you want kept secret, I'll take to the grave." Qrow snorted at that a little.
"Alright then, it's about earlier today, I was providing back up to a domestic disturbance call down by the docks." Alexander held up a hand stopping Qrow, and stood up. He walked towards the front door and locked it, while turning over the sign that said the store was open. Alexander went back to his seat as Qrow starred at some of the items on the shelves nearby.
"So, what happened? You seem a little on edge right now" Alexander observed.
"A little? Fuck Alexander shit is about to hit the fan, you know what's going on in Vacuo?"
"Yea? They said something about Martial Law being implemented and a travel restriction of all civilian and commercial craft."
"Well it's about to get worse."
"What's getting worse? Qrow quit jerking my chain and tell me."
"Alright fine. So as I said I was responding to a call about a domestic disturbance, when I got there, there was already four other officers. The initial responder told me that shots were heard coming from an apartment on the third floor, so I radio in for backup and talked with the owner of the building and she told me that the tenant had family visiting from Vacuo but they couldn't return because of the travel restriction. However that morning a few other people heard screaming coming from the place, no one did anything, you know the classic bystander bullshit but when they heard guns shots. Well that's when someone had to balls to notify the building owner who went up to check it but she couldn't get the door opened and called the Police saying that she thinks the someone's hurt or worse. So anyways we head upstairs, calling out to the people inside but no response. So we took matter into our own hands and broke down the door. However it looks like someone barricade the thing with the couch, we go in to see a man with a shotgun sitting in the hallway across from a door, the back of his head and brains were all over the wall. I call out to see if anyone else is there but no response. So I try the door he was sitting across from but it was locked so me and David Reed, good guy, we knock down the door and inside we see a fucking blood bath. The asshole in the hallway had apparently killed his family, his wife, his mother, father, brother. However what was missing was the daughter, the owner expressed concern earlier about the nine year old girl getting hurt so we look for her and David finds her. She's hiding in the closet covered in blood and has a big ass wound on her forearm, David reaches out to her, here's where things get weird, and she bites his hand, like really bites it. David is trying to pry the girl off his hand and I go in the stop her, so I wrap one arm around her waist and another around her neck. She's ice cold and I pull hard, she fucking rips a chunk out of his hand and I throw her into the corner of the room and she comes at me." Qrow started to choke up and Alexander could feel his heart hammer in his chest as he knew where this was going.
"I…I…I don't fucking know, I just was working on instinct at that moment and I pulled out my 1911 and put three rounds in her chest and she goes down like a sack of potatoes." Qrow's eyes were looking down at the floor.
"That's not the worst part, what's worse was that she looked like my youngest niece when she was that age. It got me thinking what if that was Ruby, what if I had shot Ruby because I wasn't thinking straight." Alexander looked to the younger man with sympathy; killing was never an easy thing to do, especially when it involves those that remind a person of their own loved ones.
Man made their enemy looks like demons in order to cope with the idea of killing another human being. However in sense it was true, people were demons in disguise. Mankind's greatest enemy in this day and age was itself.
"Qrow you going to be alright?" Alexander asked and Qrow just nodded.
"Fuck I don't know, the I.A. assholes will have me grounded for weeks if not months dealing with this publicity nightmare that was going to happen. Police shootings are always a strain on the Department when people come after them for doing their job but now a cop shooting a kid? Fuck I'd be surprised if I'm still on the Force."
"Qrow you're a good guy and I understand things are a tense for you, so do yourself a favor just take this time to relax. You've been through a lot today kid and trust me I've been some shitty days myself." Alexander said Qrow just shook his head as he started to look even more serious.
"I get it man, I really do but I have this gut feeling that things aren't going to be normal anymore. When I grabbed that little girl, she was stone cold, and when I looked at her and the other bodies I noticed that most of them had abnormal wounds that weren't done by the shotgun."
"What do you mean?"
"Well hear me out, this is all speculation but it looked like they attacked each other first, and the husband killed them except for himself and his daughter with the shotgun. I checked him after I noticed he had a wound like on the others on his calf. Along with that he locked the door from the outside and block the main entrance, for some reason I feel as if he was trying to keep us out but not for the reason we might think." Qrow mused before standing up; Alexander stood up with him and held his hand out. Qrow shook it, looking him in the eyes.
"Take care of yourself and your family, friend." Qrow said while Alexander simply nodded. Qrow turned to leave but stopped right at the door and turned around again, gesturing at the entire room.
"You may want to start saving some of this stuff for yourself."
Jaune watched as his father left the room, and lay back onto his bed. Despite the exhilarating news of getting a motorcycle it was left with a bitter taste in his mouth as he looked at the permit in his hand.
He essentially could walk around with a load gun, which could kill people. It was a little odd in how his father thought that it was important for him to have it.
A small part of his mind flashed to what happened earlier with his father. Jaune knew that he had things to deal with on an emotional or mental trama due to his time in the military.
However this was different, it was the look of a man who was remembering a deep-seated fear. There was a loud vibration sound as his phone went off on his desk. He picked it up and saw that it was a text message from Ren.
-Hey dude, you coming tonight or in the morning?-
-I'll come in a little bit, though I've got a surprise for ya'll-
-Wait…What kind of surprise?-
-Don't worry; it isn't like that time when Nessa gave Nora coffee.-
-Good, cause I might have to kill you if it was.-
-Seriously though it's gonna be cool-
-It's a motorcycle. - Jaune blinked as he reread the message and typed furiously.
-What!? How do you know!?-
-Your parents told me-
-Don't worry Nora doesn't know so I'll act surprised for her-
-You're a dick- Jaune set aside his phone and sat up. He looked over towards his desk and saw the permit was still on it. He sighed and picked before sliding it into his wallet before standing up to get dressed.
Walking down stairs Jaune wore a black V-neck, worn blue jues and black converse with his bag slung over his shoulder.
Arabella and Alexander were standing at the bottom of the steps; Arabella held a slightly strained smile on her face.
"Hey mom, did dad tell you what I got?"
"Of course and while I'm not fully supportive of the idea of you on a bike, your father convinced me if I was allowed to pick the gear." Jaune raised one eyebrow in confusion as she took him by the hand and led him to the living room.
The living room was where the family gathered to watch films or play games together. Though it could be very difficult to pick and watch something with seven sisters, which led to Jaune spending more time on this laptop.
There were three couches that surrounded a large coffee table on three sides. Opposite of them was a large fifty six inch flat screen television set.
Numerous photos lined the family of the various family members and events that they had taken in their lives together.
Nessa, Helena, Claire, and Miriya all sat around on the couches. They were poking away at motorcycle equipment that Jaune assumed was now his.
The first thing he saw was a white and black hard shell chest guard that would cover his chest, back and shoulders. Then there were two match knee guards that would extend down to his ankle, next to them he spotted black gloves.
"Jaune! You got a motorcycle!" Nessa yelled as if she was the one breaking the news to him, though it was slightly muffled by the fact that she wore a white helmet with a black tinted visor.
"Nessa take off the helmet will ya." Claire said as she reached over to lift the far too large helmet from Nessa's head, who pouted at the older girl. Jaune grinned as he looked over the equipment before Helena spoke up.
"Well? Put the stuff on already, we wanna see." Jaune spent the next ten minutes trying to figure out how to put on everything. It was relatively simple once he did find where all the latches and straps where for it. Soon he had the last of the gear on and stood before everyone.
"Dang Jaune, looking good in that stuff." Miriya said, Helena and Claire nodding in agreement admiring him in his gear. Alexander stepped in before Arabella could fuss over Jaune and patted him on the back.
"Well son, time to show you, your new ride so you can get on your way, don't wanna show up late to Ren's house." Jaune nodded, he wasn't quite sure what to say at the moment due to the excitement.
Alexander led them to the garage, opening the door and flicking on the light. Four lights illuminated the room casting a pale glow around everything. Jaune saw in the corner the tarp that his father had mentioned earlier.
"Wow, how did I miss that?" Jaune mused aloud; Helena spoke up from behind him.
"From what I hear at school you're pretty oblivious to a lot of things." Miriya and Claire snickered but Arabella appeared behind the girls, with a sweet but deadly smile obvious on her face.
"What sort of things is my sweet baby boy oblivious too?" The two girls immediately went quiet; Jaune on the other hand didn't hear them. He was far too enthralled by what was under the tarp; he looked down at Nessa who was holding onto his helmet.
She flashed him an excited smile of her own and he stepped forward reaching out for the tarp. He pulled it off to reveal a brand new red Yamaha FZ-07.
"This must be the most amazing day of my life." Jaune breathe as he ran a hand over the leather of the seat. As he was about to climb on he stopped, and walked towards his parents and hugged them.
"I love you guys." Jaune said and Arabella patted his cheek.
"We love you also Jaune, sorry we couldn't get you another color we know that you're not a big fan of red." In Jaune's mind, he saw a flash of Pyrrha and her hair. He shook his head, a small smile forming on his face.
"Its fine mom, thank you." She smiled.
"Well you better get going son." Alexander said as he reached over to the wall behind him and hit the garage door switch. Jaune grinned and head back to his new bike. He climbed back on and slotted the key into the ignition and turned it on.
The bike roared to life and he could see Nessa get startled at the sudden sound. He smiled reassuringly down at her and she gave her best smile back.
"Nessa give Jaune his helmet." Alexander said calmly, Nessa looked down at it before looking back up and handing it to Jaune.
"Can I ride with you Jaune?" Nessa asked as Jaune took the helmet, he shook his head.
"Sorry kiddo not this time, maybe another time." Nessa pouted a little then Jaune rubbed the top of her head, messing up her hair. She frowned in annoyance but it quickly wore off as she smiled again.
Jaune slipped the helmet on, and lifted the visor up. He lifted up the kickstand and shifted to neutral before backing down their driveway. His family watching him, as he made it to the street, he could see his sisters waving.
He shifted to first gear and started to move forward, waving back to his family as he did before turning around and speeding up to second then third gear.
It was an amazing feeling to be on a nimble vehicle, as he reached the corner he couldn't help but look at Pyrrha's house. The lights were off save in one window but no cars in the driveway, was she home alone? Jaune mentally shook his head before going back to driving, now wasn't the time to get distracted.
In a sense Jaune was kind of sad that Ren lived so close to him, as he was unable to enjoy riding his new bike.
He could see a certain orange hair girl and black hair teen waiting on the sidewalk for him. As he pulled in closer Nora noticed him.
"Whoa, Jaune is that you?" She asked amazement evident on her face before turning into excitement.
"Oh my god! You got a motorcycle!?" Jaune chuckled as he turned off the bike, and climbed off. Nora grabbed Jaune by the arms and started shaking him.
"Quick! Do a wheelie!" She said as Jaune wondered if he could die by having internal bleeding in his head by the shaking.
"Nora, that's enough, Jaune's still new to riding so he won't be doing any wheelies soon." Nora pouted and crossed her arms in displeasure.
"Well let's head inside." Ren said as the three of them headed inside.
The Ren family lived in a modest thirty five hundred square foot home. Entering through the wooden front door, Jaune was in a well light entryway, photos of Nora, Ren and his parents lined the wall. Jaune took off his shoes, and set them aside as he started to unbuckle his riding gear.
He found a use for the extra room in his travel backpack by putting in the gloves, knee guards in it while looping the chest guard on the outside with a strap. Making sure they were secured he picked up the bag and walked deeper into the home. From the entry way Jaune entered in the living room, two couches were lined up on his right.
Opposite of them was a glass table on which sat cookies and chips on plates or in bowls. There were also a few plates of pancakes, though Jaune knew that Nora would eat them before any of them could. Though he figured that was Ren's way to keep Nora from gravitating to something she shouldn't.
There were three doors in the living room. The furthest away was a glass swinging door that led to the dining room and kitchen and by extension the backyard. A simple dark wood door to Jaune's right led to the garage and to Jaune's left was an open doorway to the rest of the house.
Jaune went left and walked into a long narrow hallway. Five doors were there, two on either side with the fifth at the very end. Jaune headed to the last door on the left and opened it. It was the guest room, originally it was meant for Nora but she had quickly taken to sleeping in the same room as Ren.
It was a simple room with light blue walls and a white ceiling with a dark wardrobe in the far corner. In front of the wardrobe was a single bed, next to it a small desk with a lamp on it. To Jaune's right was another door that led to a small bathroom.
Jaune set his pack on the bed and start to unpack his clothes; he had two black shirts, another pair of jeans, two pairs of socks, boxers and a few other items like his phone charger. He then proceeded to set his helmet on the desk and turned to leave but stopped as he felt his phone vibrate. He pulled it out and saw that there was a text message from Pyrrha.
-Hello Jaune! Sorry to disturb you…- Jaune stepped out into the hallway and headed back to the living room.
-Nah its fine Pyrrha. So what's up?-
-Oh nothing. I just wanted to see how you're doing, you know for getting in that fight with me, I imagine your parents must have been furious with you.-
-Well my mom was worried, but whose mom doesn't worry when their kid comes home with a bruised face, as for my old man. Well he was fine with me being in a fight as long as I was doing the right thing, which in my mind helping you is a good cause to fight for.-
- Well thank you anyways for helping me. - Jaune rolled his eyes as he took a seat on a couch and popped a cookie into his mouth.
-Serious Pyrrha, you don't need to thank me or apologize, that's what friends are for!-
-Oh. Well then, what are you up too?-
-I'm at my friend's place, gonna stay the weekend.-
-Oh. That sounds grand! - Jaune snorted a little before typing a response.
-Grand? Anyways he doesn't live that far from where you are Pyrrha, when you arrive home you should see about coming over to hang out.- Ren walked back first through the swinging door holding a tray of drinks.
"Hey Ren, you wouldn't mind if I invited someone else would you?" Ren furrowed his eyebrows in thought.
"Invite someone else? Who?" Jaune waved his phone as if Ren could see who he was texting.
"Pyrrha Nikos, that transfer student you told me about, she's in my weight training class, so we exchanged numbers and she lives between us." Nora appeared on Jaune's left her chin resting on the arm of the couch.
"Oh you mean that girl that you fought that pussy Cardin and his cronies over?" Jaune tilted his head in confusion.
"Wait, how do you know about that?" Nora rolled her eyes.
"Duh, Coco Adel started sharing around that video of you fighting Dove, Russel and Sky. Though I have to say, I think Pyrrha would have been fine fighting them alone seeing how she kicked Cardin's ass." Ren spoke next.
"Indeed it was like watching a master demonstrating a textbook take down on a rookie." Jaune held up a hand to stop them.
"Wait, wait, wait, what do you mean?" Ren pointed to Jaune's phone which he held in his hand.
"Dude haven't you looked at the video? It's on your phone." Jaune simply shrugged, he had totally forgotten about it. Nora just sighed in frustration and poked in him the cheek.
"Well come on! Pull it out and check out how she kicked his ass!" Jaune swatted her hand away and checked his gallery for the most recent entry. He hit play on the video and fast forward a bit till he got where he needed.
He saw himself fighting Sky and Russel but he ignored that, instead focusing on Pyrrha and Cardin. As Cardin turned to face Pyrrha again she made her move, kicking straight at his torso. Jaune reckoned she hit his solar plexus as Cardin fell to his knees and looked to be struggling to breath.
Pyrrha stepped to the side and kicked Cardin in the face, the larger teen fell back. However she wasn't done, stepping forward she lifted Cardin up from the ground and started to punch him repeatedly in the face. Jaune could see that was how he had gotten the bloody nose that he had seen earlier.
After hitting him enough for her taste, Pyrrha let Cardin drop back down to the cement. Then just stand there with her arms crossed and a smile on her face as she watched Jaune fight. Jaune hit the pause button and put down the phone.
"Wow, she totally kicked his ass." Jaune said, Ren nodded in agreement, Nora stretched her arms.
"Anyways, let's start this party night!" Nora said as she munched chips with handfuls at a time. Ren lectured her a little but ultimately gave up when she put a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie in his mouth.
"I'll order us some pizza then." Jaune said Nora raised her hand.
"Oh! Make sure to order the meat lovers pizza with extra meat." Jaune grinned before looking at Ren.
"Don't worry, I'll also place that order for the veggie pizza." Ren nodded his thanks as he proceeds to turn on the television set and switch to the DVD player. Jaune opened the app for the local pizza chain and started placing orders for four pizzas, two cheese pizzas, a meat lovers and a veggie pizza. As Jaune was paying for it, he only then realized that he had received a reply from Pyrrha while ago.
-Oh. I'm actually home at the moment; my parents tend to come home late. - Jaune felt bad that he didn't respond.
-Hey, sorry about responding so late, I got caught up in something with my friends. - Almost instantly she responded.
-That's okay, I understand.-
-If you want I can pick you up and you can hang out with us. - Jaune could practically sense the hesitation from here.
-You sure? I wouldn't want to be a burden or make things awkward or anything.- Jaune looked up at Ren as he put a disc into the DVD player.
"Hey Ren, can I go bring Pyrrha?" Ren looked back at Jaune confusion obviously on his face.
"I mean I'm cool with it and I'm sure Nora is as well…" Nora's hand shot up.
"Bring her dude! I wanna hear what it was like beating up Cardin." Ren and Jaune chuckled at her enthusiasm, but Ren's face turned serious again.
"If you really want to bring her, and she's willing to come, then go ahead." Jaune grinned, and headed towards the guest room to gather his riding gear.
-Hey, I'll be over in a bit, so gather anything you might to have with you. - Jaune had finished strapping on his gear when he got another text message.
-Seriously!?- Jaune couldn't help but grin and shake his head.
-Yes! I'll be over in a little. - Jaune typed and head towards the front door to slip on his shoes. Opening the door he stepped out into the cool night.
"Wow it's already gotten dark huh?" Jaune mused; looking at his phone the time on the display only said it was eight. He headed down the driveway to where his bike was parked and climbed on.
He turned on the bike, the headlight illuminating the road and sidewalk in front of him then put his helmet on. Putting up the kickstand he shifted gears and turned around, then took off door the road. Once again the feeling of riding was awesome though short lived as he was already closing in on Pyrrha's house.
He could see that there were a few more lights on in the house but still no car in the driveway. Jaune decided to pull up into the driveway. Turning off the bike and putting down the kickstand he went up to the front door. He pulled his helmet off and held it in the crook of his right arm.
He knocked on the door, there was no sound inside so Jaune pulled out his phone and sent a message to Pyrrha saying that he was at her front door. A few moments after he sent the message he could hear the sound of someone running and a thump followed by cursing.
The front doors flew open and there stood Pyrrha. She was dressed in tight jeans, with a black cardigan over a red shirt, her hair was tied up in a high pony tail, and she also seemed to be wearing green eye shadow. Jaune thought she looked very cute, but wait, why were her cheeks so red?
"Uh…Jaune, you're staring." Pyrrha said as she looked to the side away from Jaune.
"Oh! I'm sorry but I was just thinking about how cute you look." Jaune said his eyes closed as he nodded then stopped as he realized what he just said.
"Whoa! Uh did I just say that aloud, maybe I should probably stop talking now?" Pyrrha reddened even more but surprisingly enough she actually smiled, before a low laugh sprung forth which turned into a full blown laughing fit. Jaune watched as the red hair girl broke down in laughter and soon he found himself laughing as well. After a few more moments they started to calm down.
"I'm sorry Jaune but it was just funny." Jaune smiled as he took a deep breath.
"Its fine, I thought it was funny as well, so you ready to go?" Jaune thought he saw her smile waver a little but it was gone a second later so maybe he was imagining it.
"Yea, let's go." Pyrrha said as he stepped back down the steps, she locked the door behind her and followed Jaune to the driveway and saw him getting on the motorcycle.
"Whoa, you have a motorcycle." Pyrrha said incredulously.
"Yea, I actually got it today, and besides didn't you notice the gear I was wearing when I was at your door or the helmet in my arm?" Pyrrha felt her cheeks heat up at that.
"So, uh how are we getting there?" Pyrrha asked, dreading the answer, the bike started up and Pyrrha closed her eyes briefly as the headlight came on.
"Simple really, you're gonna ride with me."
"I mean I'm not going to let you walk alone and I have a feeling that you don't know how to ride a motorcycle." Pyrrha looked a little nervous so Jaune took off his gloves and held a hand out. She looked at it then back up at him in surprise.
"Trust me." With those words she sighed and reached out, gripping his hand, which he mentally noted was really soft, climbing on the back of the bike. As Jaune put his gloves on, he realized that he didn't have an extra helmet for Pyrrha, so he took his off and looked over his shoulder at her.
"Before we go, I want you to put this on." She looked confused, and he handed the helmet to her.
"Safety first." He said with a grin but Pyrrha didn't return it.
"What about you?" Jaune waved a hand dismissively in front of his face.
"I'll be fine for now; I'll go out looking for an extra helmet another time in case of situations like this but for now this will have to do." Pyrrha took the helmet and ran a hand over the top before slipping it onto her head.
"Alright hold on." Jaune said as he walked them back down the driveway and onto the street. He applied some throttle and the bike moved forward, picking up speed as he shifted gears and soon the two of them were speeding down the road.
Pyrrha wrapped her arms around Jaune's waist as they sped past houses. It was weird having her arms around a boy whom she only met less than a week ago.
At first even she would have been a little perplexed by it but now that she's gotten to know him and seen him sticking up for someone that he barely knew. Pyrrha could say with confidence that she could trust him.
As the bike started to slow down she couldn't help but feel a little sad that they couldn't spend more time riding around together. The bike pulled up to a curb and the rumbling of the engine below her stopped.
"So? How was your first ride?" Jaune asked as she climbed off and pulled the helmet off her head.
"It was amazing." She said with a smile as Jaune climbed off the bike and took the helmet as she held it out for him.
"Ah well if you want, once I get some additional gear, we can go riding around some more." Jaune said as they walked up the lawn towards the house.
"I would like that." She said just as the door flung open and Nora charged out.
"Jaune! You've returned!" She said before switching to Pyrrha.
"Hi I'm Nora Valkyrie and you're very pretty, wanna be friends?" Pyrrha blinked and looked at Jaune confused, he shrugged so Pyrrha smiled and nodded her head.
"Hi Nora I'm Pyrrha Nikos and I would love to be your friend." Nora cheered and hugged Pyrrha then whispered in her ear.
"If you touch Ren, no one will find the body." Within seconds she was already at the front door beckoning for them to come in. Pyrrha looked back and forth in surprise, Jaune stopped to look at her.
"Something a matter Pyrrha?"
"I…I…No…" Pyrrha said before giving up and following Jaune into the Ren household.
Jaune closed the door behind Pyrrha and indicated to the shoes that were lined up to her right. So she took her own off and set them neatly in the corner, looking up she could see Jaune walking away as he unclasped his chest piece.
"I'mma go and drop my things off Nora, you think you can show Pyrrha around?" The bubbly orange hair girl saluted and Jaune left the two of them there. She indicated Pyrrha to follow her, and soon found herself in a living room. A black hair boy with a pink strip in it stood up from a chair and walked over to them.
"Hi, my name is Lie Ren, you can call me Ren." He said extending his hand out. Pyrrha smiled as she took it and shook it in return. In the corner of her eye she could have sworn that Nora was holding a knife.
"So, why'd you come?" Ren asked, her smile falling away at the question, Pyrrha blinked.
"I'm sorry what?" Nora rolled her eyes.
"Why did you accept Jaune's offer to come over, you barely know each other." Pyrrha wasn't sure what the sudden turnabout was for but she wouldn't be cowed by it.
"Does it matter why I accepted his offer?" Ren shrugged as he sat back down and popped a chip into his mouth.
"Let's just say it's curiosity on what's going on with the two of you."
"Jaune's able to take care of himself." Ren held up his hands.
"I know he can but he's also the kind to avoid asking for help unless he absolutely needs too or forced. Which I don't have to say can lead to him getting into trouble more than once." Pyrrha stayed silent.
"Did you know that Cardin and Jaune have a history together?" Pyrrha shook her head.
"Well it goes back to our freshman year; Jaune wasn't like the guy you're seeing now fit, strong and able to hold himself in a fight. No, back then he was only Jaune Arc, the kind hearted boy with seven sisters who was a lanky kid with good grades. Cardin was already well known as a bully and started to pick on him almost the first day, making him do his homework and the rest of his lackey's assignments on top of his own. However one Friday evening, Nora and I had enough of waiting for Jaune to do the smart thing and ask for help, so we went to his folks and told them but Jaune wasn't home. So along with Jaune's father we go back to the school and start looking for him. It turns out that Jaune had enough so he went to confront Cardin, suffice things didn't turn out well for him, we found him having been beaten senseless. Jaune had a swollen cheek, a black eye, a bloody nose, a split lip and a cut on his forehead that bled over his face so bad that Jaune's father took him to the emergency room. He got four stiches for that cut and he had a beat up face for almost two weeks." Pyrrha wasn't sure what to say, part of her wanted to ask what did that have to do with her. Another part wanted to go comfort Jaune for getting bullied and hurt like that.
"So now you can see why I don't want Jaune getting targeted again by Cardin over recent attacks, now I'm glad that he helped you in your need but I just want you to be aware that these events may bring their paths to cross far more than what I'm comfortable with."
"Then so be it." A cold voice said behind Pyrrha and she shivered as she turned around to see Jaune stand in the doorway with his arms crossed. An annoyed look evident on his face, the temperature in the room seemed to drop.
"Ren, Nora I appreciate the concern but do not hound Pyrrha over this, it's not her fault, I would have done the same for any other stranger." Ren simply stared back at Jaune while Nora looked away, Jaune smiled brightly, clapping his hands.
"Alright! I'm hungry, is the pizza here yet?" Nora quickly took up the offer to change the topic.
"Nope, they should be here soon. Say Pyrrha what kinds of toppings do you like on your pizza?" Pyrrha blinked at the sudden question.
"Hmm, I like mushrooms." Nora nodded in agreement.
"Mushrooms are nice."
"I also like meat, except for pepperoni." Nora nodded again.
"Oh! Pineapples!" Nora stared in horror at Pyrrha.
"What!? Pineapples!? You poor girl you've been deluded by the devil." Nora said with her bottom lip quivering she raced to hug the red head.
"It's okay we'll get you the help you need." Pyrrha just laughed as she returned the hug. Soon enough there was a ring of a doorbell and Jaune went to answer it, a few moments later he returned with four boxes of pizza. He set them out, side by side on the table, the smell of warm pizza wafted through the air. There was a loud grumble of a stomach, Ren and Jaune turned to Nora.
"What? That wasn't me." The three of them turned to Pyrrha who was already halfway through a slice of cheese pizza.
"Whuut?" She said through a mouthful of cheese pizza, Jaune, Ren and Nora all exploded in laughter. After the laughter died down the four teens were gobbling slices of pizza when the door opened.
"Ren? Nora?" An older female voice called out and a dusky rose hair woman in a white blouse with a black skirt walked into the room.
"Hi Mom." Ren called out, and Nora stood up with a paper plate of veggie pizza, handing it to An with one hand as she took her handbag.
"Here you go An, a slice of pizza for you, and I'll take this to your room." An smiled and cupped Nora's cheek.
"Thank you Nora." An said as she sat down next to Ren, quickly give him a peek on the forehead. Ren tried to look nonchalant about it but Jaune could see the slight red forming on his cheeks.
"So Jaune, I see that there's a motorcycle outside of our house, that wouldn't happen to be yours now would it?" An asked as she finished her slice of pizza, setting the paper plate on the table, Jaune grinned.
"Yes ma'am, it is indeed mine, I got it today." An smiled.
"I'm glad to hear that, now why don't you introduce me to your girlfriend here?" Pyrrha and Jaune blushed as An looked confused by their interaction. Ren and Nora on the other hand were doing their best not to laugh.
"Uh…actually, we're not dating." Pyrrha said her face flushed at the insinuation, An frowned slightly.
"I'm sorry but you two just look adorable together, I have no doubts that you'd have cute babies together." Jaune just sunk into the couch as Nora and Ren laughed hysterically.
"Mom, please, you're gonna kill them with embarrassment." An smiled a little before looking at Pyrrha.
"I'm sorry dear; would you like to hear about how Nora would always try to jump in the bath with Ren when they were kids or how Ren made a promise after only a month of Nora moving here that he was going to marry her?" Nora shot up, her face pale, Pyrrha grinned.
Three Hours Later…
Pyrrha looked down at her phone and balked, it was eleven at night, she was having so much fun that she had lost track of time. Jaune noticed her looking at her phone.
"Something a matter Pyrrha?" She looked up at him, a strained smile on her face.
"Oh, it's just gotten so late, that I need to get home now." Jaune nodded as he stood up and headed to the hallway. Pyrrha stood up, thanking Ren, Nora and An for having her over. Nora gave her a hug and exchanged numbers with her plus giving Ren's as well. Ren nodded at her as An stood up and giving her own hug as well.
"You're welcome to come over any time Pyrrha." She said, Pyrrha smiled in return and turned around. Jaune stood at the front door with his gear on again and helmet in hand, Pyrrha blinked in surprise.
"Jaune?" He raised an eyebrow at her.
"What? I brought you here, I should at least bring you home, and beside I would never let a lady walk home alone at night, which goes double for a friend." Pyrrha smiled.
"Thank you." The two of them walked towards Jaune's bike, Jaune handed his helmet to her and she took it with a thanks.
"So, did you have fun?" Pyrrha looked up to see his face but it was too dark out.
"Yes, I had a lot of fun." Jaune couldn't help but smile when hearing that, as he climbed onto his bike, Pyrrha followed suit.
"You know, if you want you can hang out with us more, I know Nora enjoyed having you around, Ren did as well but it might be hard to see it."
"What about you?" She asked, and Jaune paused for a fraction of a second.
"Of course." What he couldn't see was that she flushed at the speed and lack of hesitation at his answer. They didn't say anything as Jaune drove them back to Pyrrha's house, as he pulled up, he couldn't help but frown at seeing that even now there was still no car.
"Hey, how come no one's home?" Jaune asked as Pyrrha took his helmet off and handed it to him.
"Oh? That's because my parents are both doctors, and they work the night shift at the hospital, so I only ever really see them in the early mornings and before they leave in the evenings." Jaune grimaced at that.
"Damn, that's rough."
"Its fine, I'm used to it."
"How come you're back here, you could have stayed longer." Pyrrha didn't say anything and Jaune couldn't see her face.
"Maybe another time Jaune." Jaune hummed a little wanting to push farther but knew it wouldn't be polite so he nodded.
"I understand Pyrrha, but seriously you can hang out with us more, like at school." Pyrrha gave her own hum before replying.
"Alrighty, thank you Jaune, I'll take you up on that."
"Hey, what are friends for?" Jaune said before taking off, Pyrrha stood there watching his receding figure.
Three Days Later…
Jaune was putting on a grey shirt after taking shower; the air was chilly in his room. At that moment his phone chirped, picking it up, he saw that it was from Pyrrha.
-Hey, you busy?-
-No, what's up?-
-I was just wondering where I should find you guys at lunch. - Jaune smiled.
-I can show you, what's your fourth period?-
-English with Baca.-
-I've got English with Calisto, I'll meet you outside your class when lunch starts and show you.-
-Kay, you see at school! - Jaune tucked his phone into his pocket and picked up a black stand collar jacket. Turning around he saw himself in the mirror.
He wore a pair of jeans with black converse shoes, his jacket was a little snug but comfortable. It hugged his figure quite well, and while Jaune was normally a modest person even he thought he looked good. He proceeded to start strapping on his riding gear. The door to his room flung open, and Nessa came running in.
"Jaune! We're going to war!" Jaune blinked in surprise.
"What?" Helena appeared in the doorway.
"Ugh, Nessa don't be so dramatic, Vacuo officially announced that they're deploying all their armed forces for its Martial Law. Nessa just thinks that we're going to war cause Vale and Atlas have positioned their Navies outside Vacuo waters." Helena grabbed Nessa's hand pulled the younger girl away.
"That is kind of weird." Jaune said aloud, though no one was there to hear him. Jaune shrugged and slung his bag over his shoulder. As he headed downstairs, he could hear the main television set blaring with news and speculation on the Vacuo Martial Law and what it might mean economically for Vale.
"What a load of garbage, nothing but endless talks about economic effects, they're looking at the symptom and not the cause." Arabella snorted in disgust as she sat on the sofa. Jaune quirked his eyebrows at the hint of disdain his mother had for the news.
"Ah well, people see only what they want to see, not what they should see." Alexander caught Jaune in the corner of his eye.
"Ah Jaune, heading off to school now?" Jaune nodded, Arabella turned around with her arms outstretched, and Jaune sighed with a weary smile before closing in with a hug.
"Have fun at school sweetie." Jaune stepped into the garage and lift the garage door upwards. He took a deep breath of the cool breeze as it came into; relishing the chill feeling it gave his lungs.
Hopping onto his bike, he turned it on and backed it out of the garage, down the driveway. When he reached the street, he put down the kickstand and walked back up the driveway to close the garage door again.
Jaune returned to his bike, pulling up the kickstand and putting on his helmet. He gripped the handles, pulling back on the throttle; he drove forward and made his way towards school.
Ten Minutes Later…
Jaune pulled into the student parking area for motorcycles, there was only one other there. It was yellow and black, with a bumblebee sticker on the side. Though he wasn't familiar with what kind of model it was.
"Huh, kind of does look like a bumblebee." Jaune muttered as he took off his helmet, a few students were looking at him and talking amongst themselves. Jaune just furrowed his eyebrows in confusion at why they were looking at him, he looked down. He still had his pants on, so there must be something else.
He switched off his bike and got off it, tucking his helmet into the crook of his right arm. As Jaune entered the back of the main building he could see more than a few people were staring at him. One kid even patted Jaune on the back, thanking him.
Jaune nodded, confusion etched on his face. He sighed, there was no point in trying to figure it out, and so he simply went to his locker to put away his riding gear. When he arrived there, there was paper stuffed into the slits of the door.
"What the?" He pulled one out, and started to read it. He blanched; it was a thank you letter from someone. They had watched the video of his fight with Cardin's cronies and thought it was admirably for finally standing up to the bully.
"This might be a problem." For the next four periods Jaune had to endure people whispering about him, looking at him, or congratulating him. He wondered how Pyrrha was handling it since she was the only who actually put Cardin on his ass.
The bell rang for lunch and Jaune remembered that Pyrrha wanted to meet up for lunch. He grabbed his bag and headed out of his English class, looking around as people crowded the hallway.
"Jaune!" A familiar voice called out and he turned to the source of the sound, he spotted a familiar color of red. He waited as people cleared out in front of him and took that moment to head towards Pyrrha. As they got closer he could see Pyrrha.
She was wearing a red skirt with black yoga pants on underneath, with a dark red and grey cardigan with a white shirt underneath it. A small portion of Jaune's mind was drooling, but he reined it in and smiled.
"Hey Pyrrha, you ready to go?" He asked and she smiled.
"Yup! Lead the way." She said energetically, Jaune just chuckled as they turned to leave. As they left the English wing of the building, they headed outside towards the Junior and Senior cafeteria. Jaune could see that a few people were staring at them and talking.
"Hey Pyrrha, can I ask you something?" She glanced to the side towards him, confusion in her eyes.
"Sure, what's on your mind?"
"Have you noticed anything, I don't know, strange going on with some of the other students wherever you went?"
"Gonna have to specify Jaune."
"I mean like watching and talking about you in a hushed way." Pyrrha hummed and shook her head.
"Can't say that I've noticed really." Jaune nodded slowly.
"Well, I've noticed and I think it's because of what happened with Cardin last week. A copy of my video that I took of the fight got posted on the School's Facenovel page." This got Pyrrha's attention, because she turned her head to look at Jaune.
"Wait, your video?" Jaune grimaced as he realized that Pyrrha never knew that Jaune had actually taken a video of that fight.
"Oh, well, when I saw what was happening I knew that there was a chance that I would lose, so as insurance I decided to take a video of what was happening to use against Cardin if he did anything to you." Jaune said as he stared straight ahead, not wanting to look at Pyrrha's face.
"Fair enough but how's that video circling if you're the one who took it? Jaune shrugged.
"That's simple now that I think about it, remember the girl and guy that found us after that? Well the girl, Coco Adel, is like a journalist, rumormonger, tabloid reporter, all mixed together and she sent herself a copy of the video from my phone." Pyrrha sighed.
"Well I guess there's nothing we can do about it now." The two of them walked up the steps of the cafeteria building and opened the doors. While not everyone turned to look at them, quite a few people did in fact do that.
"Alright let's get some food and find Nora and Ren." Pyrrha said cheerfully, wholly ignoring the stares that she should have noticed.
Jaune simply followed her and grabbed a tray, as they proceeded down the food line, Jaune felt like someone being watched on a reality television show. As they left the food line, someone called out to Pyrrha.
"Pyrrha! Over here!" Jaune noticed the luminous shine of yellow hair that belonged to Yang Xiao Long; she was calling to Pyrrha to join them. Pyrrha however simply gave a polite nodded but ultimately didn't go to greet the girl.
"Oh! There's Nora." Pyrrha said instead and Jaune saw the bubbly orange hair girl waving at them. As they reached them, Jaune and Pyrrha sat side by side across from them.
"Hello!" Pyrrha said beaming a smile.
"Hiya guys, what's it like being a rock star?" Nora asked, resting her chin on her fists. Jaune just waved his hand dismissively.
"It's nothing, everyone's gonna forget about us within the day." Nora tilted her head a little in thought.
"Really? I heard that you got a bunch of love letters stuffed into your locker today." Pyrrha looked at Jaune in a mixture of surprise and horror.
"Love letters?" Jaune laughed nervously, scratching the back of his head.
"Ah, well there weren't actually love letters; they were just people thanking me for standing up to Cardin. I mean he's bullied a lot of people since freshman year." Nora and Ren nodded in agreement, while Pyrrha's face seemed to soften.
"Not surprised, and now that I think about it, I'm starting to realize why Coco happened upon you guys like that." Jaune tilted his head a little at Ren.
"Think about it, Coco's very protective of her own, and I can think of a certain shy photographer who happens to be friends with her that gets bullied by Cardin." Jaune nodded in understanding, Nora and his face darkened, Pyrrha on the other hand looked puzzled, Ren saw her look.
"Oh, I'm sorry I forgot Pyrrha, you're still new." She shook her head.
"Its fine Ren, please continue." Ren nodded after taking a sip from a bottle of water.
"Well there's a photographer in the school's journalism club, which Coco is the president for, that also runs the school's newspaper, Velvet Scarlatina. She's a kind hearted girl, who's a little shy but people love her anyways. However she became Cardin's favorite target last year, speculation about what he did varies but the worst however was that he and his friends repeatedly assaulted her. It didn't come to anyone's attention about how bad it really was until Coco went to visit Velvet at her house near the end of school because she didn't come to school one day. She found Velvet in the tub with her wrists slit, thankfully she was able to keep her conscious till an ambulance arrived but Velvet spent the entire summer at therapy, she still is here at school but she's kind of a shell of herself at the moment." Pyrrha gasped at hearing all of this, inside she could feel disgust and rage building in her at Cardin. She wished she had done worse to him to make him suffer for what he's done.
"So wait, Cardin got away with it?" Pyrrha asked incredulously, Jaune spoke next, his face a visage of contempt.
"Apparently there was supposed an investigation of the matter by the police but Cardin's dad is a politician so he apparently pulled some strings to have whoever was in charge of the investigation to throw out good evidence on some bogus grounds that it was deliberately placed to steer the investigation in a direction." Pyrrha shook her head; it broke her heart to hear about the injustice done to that girl.
"Heads up, tall, blonde, and busty is on the move." Nora said, at that moment a blonde girl sat down next to Jaune, elbows resting on the table.
"Hi there!" She said a wide smile on her face.
"Hello." Jaune said simply, he wasn't sure what one of the most popular girls in school was doing here.
"You're Jaune Arc right? The guy that beat the shit out of Cardin's group?" Jaune nodded, she laughed a little.
"I thought so! Dude that was some awesome stuff I saw there." Jaune nodded again, this time he could see the smile seem to leave her face for a fraction of a second.
"What? Not much of a talker? Or do I just make you a little too flustered? Don't worry I have that effect on people." She rattled on, and Jaune felt slightly annoyed that she wouldn't just stop talking.
"I'm sorry Yang is there an actual point of you being here?" Jaune said this brought a look of surprise from Yang who clearly wasn't use to not having guys fawning over her.
"Actually yea, but it doesn't have to do with you." She said plainly before standing up once more and moving over to sit next to Pyrrha.
"Hey Pyrrha, how come you didn't come over to sit with us?" She asked, Pyrrha looked at Yang with a small apologetic smile.
"I'm sorry Yang but I felt like hanging out with Jaune." Yang frowned a little.
"You know Ruby will be sad that you don't want to hang out with us."
"I'm sorry; please tell Ruby that if she ever wants to talk I'm always willing." Yang nodded a little.
"Fair enough but Weiss is also going to be upset that you're talking with you, know who."
"You mean me?" Jaune interrupted before Pyrrha could say anything, Yang looked unsure of what to say for a second.
"Yea." Pyrrha set her plastic utensils down and looked at Yang.
"Well I'm sorry she feels that way but generally I think that it's best to judge people only when I meet them and not through hearsay." Yang raised her eyebrows again surprise before giving a fierce smile.
"I'll pass the word; have fun with your boy toy." Pyrrha and Jaune both turned beet red as Yang left, Nora was cracking up as well. Ren was much more composed but Jaune could see the amusement in his eyes. After things settled down, Jaune turned to Pyrrha.
"You know if you wanted you could have gone to sit with them." Jaune said Pyrrha didn't look at him; instead she simply stared at the table.
"It's not that I don't like them, Ruby's a nice girl, so is Yang despite her humor, Blake I can't really say much about cause she rarely talks except whenever Sun stops by or if Yang forces her, Neptune is alright but kind of a womanizer, the person who introduced me to them if anything is the one that I like least, which happens to be Weiss."
"Is it because she's a rich snob?" Nora asked but Pyrrha shook her head.
"In a sense that is and isn't the case, it's hard to describe but I guess it is how she acts. She's living in some weird social hierarchy kind of world. I think she expects me to be a firm believer in that world or someone who tolerates it since I've apparently made my own name in Mixed Martial Arts tournaments and have already gotten offers for scholarships from universities." Jaune was surprised to hear the last part.
"Whoa, Universities are already scouting you out?" Pyrrha shrugged.
"Kind of, they're probably gonna start watching my progress over the next two years depending on how well I play, well if I play." Ren looked at her.
"If? Do you not want to do anymore sports?" Pyrrha looked down again.
"I don't know, maybe? I haven't really decided in the end." Her musings were interrupted when Nora gave a loud belch.
"Well Pyrrha, in the end it doesn't matter, as your friend I'll attend your games if you decide to try out for a team?" Pyrrha looked at the orange hair girl in surprise.
"Friends?" Pyrrha asked and Nora snorted a little.
"Of course we're friends Pyrrha! Even then any friend of Jaune is a friend to me as well, right Ren?" She asked, addressing the last part to the stoic young man.
He didn't say anything at first, Jaune frowned as he saw confusion etched on his friend's face, and he was reading something on his phone. Nora elbowed him and he looked up, uncharacteristically startled.
"Oh yea, if Jaune trusts you, we trust you." Ren said simply before looking back at his phone, Jaune exchanged looks with Nora but left the matter for now. For the rest of lunch they sat there talking until the bell rang.
Jaune waited until Pyrrha and Nora were ahead of him before turning to Ren who had mostly been reading something on his phone.
"Ren?" The sound of his name drew the quiet boy's attention.
"I know what you're gonna ask Jaune, and yes it's important."
"What is it?" Ren gave a pointed look at Jaune.
"Did you not watch the video I linked to you last week?" Jaune scratched the back of his head.
"Uh, some of it, something about Vacuo having some epidemic going on and that they're restricting travel." Ren nodded a little before continuing.
"And do you know what happened recently?"
"Complete Martial Law, including their Navy forming a blockade." Ren nodded again.
"Yes, but it isn't the keep the outside out so much as to keep the people inside from leaving, it's a quarantine Jaune. There was a report that just came in an hour ago of Vale warships witnessing the Vacuo Navy firing on commercial ships that were trying to run the quarantine line." Jaune looked at Ren; a Navy firing on civilians hasn't been seen since the last war.
"Do you really think its quarantine Ren? It could easily be some Coup and the Government trying to rein it in without global spectators." Ren shook his head as they left the building.
"Trust me, a Valean frigate tried picking up some survivors in the water but the Vacuo warships nearly hit the Vale warship as they took out the survivors, their reasoning was that the possibility of infection was too high." Jaune frowned, Ren was right something was amiss, Ren patted Jaune's shoulder.
"I'll send you the article links after school, I'll see ya later." Jaune nodded and walked towards his next class.
A Few Hours Later…
Jaune was sitting on his bike, scrolling through his phone for what song he wanted to listen to. The parking lot was mostly empty now as students and faculty went home for the day.
"Hey." Jaune jumped a little when someone spoke up next to him, looking up he was surprised to see Yang standing in front of him. Holding a yellow and black helmet in her arm, she looked a little bashful.
"Uh, Hi?" Yang rolled her eyes at his simple response.
"Look, I just wanted to apologize if it seemed like I came off a little rude earlier." Jaune quirked an eyebrow surprise.
"I mean that whole Weiss thing, I know you two have a shaky past and she's not exactly the friendliest person out there but what she thinks doesn't speak for the rest of us." Jaune held up a hand to stop her.
"Yang its fine, I didn't exactly give her much of a choice but how I acted, so I'm not surprised that she hates me."
"But she doesn't hate you, she just, doesn't like being around you." Yang cringed internally, that wasn't exactly helping but Jaune waved a hand in dismissively.
"I would hate someone who did that to me as well, constantly coming back after saying no, multiple times but it doesn't matter now, all I can do is just give her space." Yang smiled at that.
"I had a feeling you were a nice guy despite everything, my old man was right." Jaune looked at her confused.
"Old man?" Yang nodded.
"Yup, I'd saw you coming into his place all the time in the summer and he'd give you boxing lessons, didn't realize how well you took to them until now with that fight." Jaune looked puzzled and Yang rolled her eyes again.
"Come on! You took lessons with my dad." Jaune blinked in surprise.
"Taiyang is your dad?"
"Duh! Did you not notice his last name, Taiyang Xiao Long? Or the gyms name Sun Dragon Fitness?" Jaune scratched the back of his neck as he felt his cheeks flush at not realizing that.
"Uh, no." Yang stared at him for a few seconds before breaking out in laughter, after a few moments Jaune did as well.
"But seriously I always saw you working hard during my dad's lessons, and running to and from the gym every time. He'd always talk about you, how you worked and listened diligently; it was interesting to see my dad so enthusiastic about teaching someone." Yang said, though instead of a smile her face settled to that of introspection but it didn't last long.
"Anyways, what's up between you and Pyrrha?" Jaune frowned.
"What do you mean?" Yang scoffed as she leaned against her bike.
"Come on, a guy comes to the rescue of a girl and she suddenly starts spending more time with him than with others." Jaune shook his head.
"I get what you're trying to say Yang but Pyrrha and I are only friends."
"That may be what you think but is it what she thinks?"
"That's a little cliché? Guy saves girl, girl likes guy for it?"
"The thing people seem to forget about clichés and stereotypes Jaune is that they only become those things because they happen so often in life." Jaune sighed.
"Maybe but I don't think she likes me in that sense." Yang smiled at that before stepping close to Jaune her face a foot away from his. It was only then that he realized that Yang's jacket was opened at the top, revealing far more skin than he was comfortable of a certain area.
"Well maybe I'm okay with that." Jaune blinked, keeping eye contact with her, a part of him wanted to look down but he knew that he'd get socked in the face. However Yang leaned away, a wolfish smile on her face, she knew what she was doing and Jaune cursed his luck in his mind.
"Let me see your phone." She said and extended one hand out, palm up, Jaune just looked puzzled at her.
"So I can give you my number, ya goof."
"Oh." Jaune opened his contacts and handed it to her, Yang tapped away quickly then gave it back.
"Well big boy, I'll see ya later and who knows maybe we can go a few rounds, some of them even in a boxing ring." She said with a sly smile and wink, Jaune felt his face flush a little. Yang simply chuckled and got on her bike, the engine roaring to life. As Jaune watched her drive away he couldn't help but speak what was on his mind.
Later that Night…
Jaune finished watching the latest update of the news site Ren had sent him and leaned back in his chair. The flow of reports online from smaller independent news groups was far more informative than the main stream media. However that more inclusive reporting was much more frightening.
A massive epidemic was running rampant in Vacuo; no one that got infected lived more than four or five days. What was even creeper was the fact that transmission was being narrowed down to bodily fluid contact, specifically blood and saliva.
People were attacking each other like animals. A new video popped up on the newsfeed of the site, Jaune clicked it. After a few moments buffering he realized that it wasn't a video but a stream.
A tall, built man with a raggedy beard came on. He wore a Kevlar vest with the word "Press" stuck on the front. He was breathing heavily and sweat was visible on his face, Jaune could see the fear in his face. The camera panned left towards the street.
Jaune could see fires in the distance, most of buildings were dark, and there were a few police helicopters in the air. The only lights nearby were coming from street lamps and cars on fire.
The camera settled on a group of riot police nearly eighty strong lined up facing away from them. Dozens of other officers were behind them dressed in tactical gear and armed. The man from earlier started to talk.
"This is Edward Iillyan of Mice News, reporting live from the rooftop of the Vacuoan Downtown 8th Police Precinct. Things have deteriorated even more here in Vacuo to the point that I doubt that they'll be able to handle without outside intervention. The National Guard and other military assets have been deployed and authorized to use any means to subdue the rioters, even lethal force. As you can see down there, the police are gathering to meet an oncoming group of rioters that were spotted heading this way. I've talked to a few people who've been fleeing the city from that direction that witnessed the rioters killing a dozen police officers that were directing foot traffic. In addition they also were attacking innocent bystanders that simply wanted to get out of the danger. One man said that they were like monsters, attacking indiscriminately." At that moment someone could be heard yelling, the camera zoomed in on a Police Officer pointing down the street. The cameraman looked up, and in the distance they could see a group of figures turning the corner. It was an assortment of soldiers, policemen and civilians.
"Looks like more stragglers from the city are trying to make their way to the police line. Wait a minute. Jim! Zoom in!" Edward yelled at his camera man, the man focused in, but not on the people but what was behind them. Jaune felt his stomach curl as what looked to be dozens of figures came running at the group.
The soldiers motioned for the others to keep moving and turned towards the coming mass. They raised their weapons, Jaune felt his heart hammering against his ribs at what he was about to see.
However at that moment the feed was cut. Jaune blinked as he registered what just happened, he refreshed the page, hoping it was just on his end but to no avail. At that moment he got a text and opened his phone, it was from Ren.
-Were you watching that Broadcast? - Ren asked.
-Yea, what the hell is going on over there? -
-I don't know man but some officials are saying that thousands of refugees already made it to other places like Vale or Mistral. So maybe it's already here. - That's when a terrible thought struck him.
-Yo, dude, you know where you dad was? - Jaune waited a bit for a reply.
-He's in Mistral so he's probably still safe. -
-I honestly don't know what's going to happen. - Jaune typed, a few moments later Ren replied.
-Me neither dude, all I know is that me and Nora have your back. -
-Hopefully it doesn't come to that. - Jaune however knew that wasn't going to be the case, and he was sure that Ren knew that as well. Pushing back from his desk, Jaune got up from his chair and headed towards a small ventilation grate in his wall. The screws weren't placed in properly, Jaune wanted easy access to it in times of need.
He pulled out a metal box with a padlock on it, reaching back into the vent, Jaune pulled out a key. On Sunday he and his father had gone out shopping for his first weapon. Unlocking it, he opened to reveal a brand new fourth generation Glock 19.
His father had funded the additional purchase, of three thirty round boxes of nine millimeter ammunition.
Jaune had also bought a mounted tactical light and a shoulder holster. His father thought it was a bit excessive but Jaune thought it was cool so he had bought it with his own money.
Though now he looked at the black steel of the handgun with trepidation. Not fearing the tool but fearing what he might have to do with it. Though a part of his mind rationalized that the possibility of whatever that was affecting Vacuo wouldn't happen in Vale.
That was enough to give him comfort.
Qrow Branwen stumbled out of the bar, another night gone to drinking. Though despite how he may appear to others as a stumbling drunk fool. He was in fact quite aware of his surroundings. He was never sure why his tolerance for alcohol was so different but he made good use of it whenever he got into bar fights.
To be able to trick his opponents to not taking him seriously but just some loud mouth drunkard who needed to be taught a lesson. Suffice to say, he rarely left those fights with a mark unless the other guy was a good brawler. However brawling and fighting were two different things.
As he made his way to his black and red 67' Shelby gt500 Mustang, it was his most prized possessions on Remnant. As he opened the door and sat in, he took a deep breath. He still couldn't help but feel uneasy about what happened but he knew that he had to shake it off.
That's when he remembered David got his hand bite and was off the job till it healed, maybe he'll visit him. Qrow turned the engine on and backed out of the bar's parking lot and headed south to the suburbs.
Ten Minutes Later…
Qrow pulled up to the curb of a corner one story house, the lights were off but David's car was in the driveway. A simple grey sedan, Qrow shook his head; the man never had good taste in cars. Getting out of the car, the cool air of night bite Qrow, and he shivered.
"Fucking shit, it's getting cold." He muttered as he rubbed his arms and walked up the pathway to the front door. The light turned on as he knocked and waited a few moments but he didn't hear anything inside.
There was a sound of a car behind him and Qrow turned to see another sedan pull into the driveway. Qrow turned and shielded his eyes as the headlights shone into his eyes.
The sedan turned off and a woman stepped out, Sarah Reed, a tall brunette woman who was an elementary school teacher.
"Qrow? I thought that was you, never seen anyone else with that car before." Sarah asked as she walked up the path.
"Hi Sarah, you caught me, I just felt like dropping in to see how David was doing." Sarah put a hand on Qrow's arm reassuringly.
"I know, David told me what happened, I'm sorry for you having to go through that, those Internal Affairs people always seem harsh on good officers like you." Qrow chuckled.
"Ah well, it comes with the territory, most of the time we understand that they have to be tough to do their jobs, though it doesn't mean we like being looked at as if we are the real bad guys." Sarah nodded in understanding, the spouses and partners of Law Enforcement were often use to hearing about these sort of things.
"Anyways, I'll just head off then, probably grab something to eat." Qrow said Sarah looked surprised.
"What? You're not gonna stay?" Qrow shook his head.
"Nah it's fine, I can come back another time, besides I think David's getting some shut eye cause when I knocked I didn't hear anything inside." Sarah frowned at that.
"I'm not surprised; David was really feeling out of it, he had a fever last night I figure he's probably coming down with a cold or something."
"Well, I guess I'll stop by later, you take care now Sarah." Qrow called out as he walked away from them towards his car.
Sarah stepped in the dark hallway of her home for the last twenty years and for the first time in those twenty years, she shivered. Not due to the cold air but the underlying tone that seemed to suffocate everything.
"Lucy? Where are you girl?" Sarah called out but the dog was nowhere to be seen. She felt her hair go on edge and she stepped further into the house. She heard the buzz of the bathroom ventilation and a sink running.
"David?" She called out and rounded the corner to see the bathroom door slightly ajar. Light was shining from the door, looking down she could see something seeping out from under the door was a dark crimson fluid, blood.
"David!?" Sarah called out and threw open the door, the first thing she noticed was Lucy lying on the floor. The poor dog had its ribcage broken open, blood pooling around it along with various chewed on entrails. Sarah felt bile rise up and clamped a hang over her mouth and turned away but run into something.
Looking up she could see the pale face of the man she loved. His eyes were glassy and the area around his mouth was red by dried blood.
"David?" Sarah whispered, the icy grip of fear gripping her heart. The animal part of her mind screaming for her to move her legs but she couldn't.
What use to be David fixated its glassy eyes on her and opened its mouth, Sarah could see sinews of meat from Lucy logged in its mouth.
The creature lunged at Sarah, the force and weight of it causing her to fall backwards as she slipped on blood. Sarah cried out in pain as her head struck the tiled floor of the bathroom.
In the corner of her eye she could see that she was next the savaged corpse of Lucy. That creature that was once her beloved husband loomed over her with its mouth open. Saliva mixed with blood leaked out of its mouth onto her face, the fetid breath of raw meat wafting in her face.
Her heart was hammering and tears spilled from her eyes as she tried to fight it off, begging and pleading for it to not hurt her. Her arms gave way and it closed on her, she screamed in pain as its teeth sunk in her shoulder.
"David please!" She screamed in pain and horror, her mind racing to understand what was happening. The creature reared back and for a fleeting second Sarah thought she was saved before it opened its mouth again and lunged down. This time it aimed for her stomach.
Sarah could feel the dull pointed pressure of teeth biting her flesh. She screamed as the teeth broke skin, sinking into her flesh. She continued to scream as loud and shrill as she could before passing out from the shock, her body being devoured by her former spouse.
The Next Morning…
In the early hours of morning the neighbors of David and Sarah Reed decided to call the police to report a domestic abuse incident. They had seen an unknown man talking with Sarah outside her house at late night and it wasn't even ten minutes after that they had heard the screaming.
When a squad car appears a little while later, Officer James Higgens and Thomas O'Brian would approach the house. Higgens being the senior officer touched the radio on his right shoulder.
"This is Higgens on 4th and Baker respond to a possible 2-4-3." There was a brief crackle and the dispatcher on the other ended responded to him.
"Roger that Higgens, do you need assistance."
"Negative Dispatch, we're gonna check it out first."
"Copy that Higgens." He turned to his partner.
"Let's go." The two of them knocked on the front door but there was no sound that they could hear at first until they heard something break. Deciding to not waste any more time, they break down the door.
They weren't ready for what greeted them; the scent of blood was thick in the hair. Higgens felt a cold sweat breaking out on his neck as he pulled out his firearm.
"Vale Police! Anyone here!?" He shouted but there was nothing.
"Shit dude, what the hell happened?" O'Brian whispered, people were gathering out on the street, Higgens reached for his radio again.
"Dispatch this is Higgens, requesting backup at 4th and Baker, possible 1-8-7."
"Roger that Higgens, dispatching additional Officers and EMTs now, E.T.A ten minutes." Higgens didn't reply when he heard the sound of running.
"Vale Police! Identify yourself!" He yelled, his partner backing up several paces to cover him. The steps came louder and his partner yelled in surprise. A man was on top of him, his grey face covered in dry blood that ran down his shirt.
"Get this fucker off me!" His partner yelled, Higgens turned and moved forward but as he did, he heard another set of footsteps behind him. He turned in time to see a woman with her entrails hanging out of her ruined midsection running at him. The mauled intestines flapping back and forth as she ran at him.
He raised his handgun but it was too late. She barreled into him, not enough to knock him down but send him stumbling back into the wall. Pictures fell and broke as his back connected with the wall; he looked up to see her coming at him still.
She grabbed him, Higgens watched as her face got close to his. Pain flared as her teeth sunk into his left cheek and pulled back, stripping his cheek from his face.
As he fell to the floor with the woman still on him, he could see that his partner was already dead. Gurgling blood, his throat a mass of ruined flesh, the man had ripped his throat out.
The man who did it to him was already out the door chasing down others. The screams of terror indicating that people had stayed against their better judgment; Higgens felt the weight of the woman on him. He looked up to see her bloodied teeth, bits of his cheek still in her teeth.
The last thing he saw was her bloodied open mouth descending on his vision.
When additional officers finally arrived on scene what they saw was multiple bodies on the ground, the man and woman hunched over chewing away at bodies.
"Freeze!" One officer shouted as they got out of their squad cars, pulling their handguns out aiming straight the two people. They turned to look at them and started running, the Officers could see something was very wrong, especially with the disemboweled woman running at them.
They wasted no time in firing their weapons. The barrage of nine millimeter rounds tore into them, each impact resulting in a puff of blood. The officers unloaded their handguns into the couple, after running only six meters the two had fallen under the fire, the officers kept their handguns trained on them.
"Holy shit, did we really just do that?" One woman asked as she stepped forward, her sidearm still aimed at the two people.
"Shut up Daniels, you saw what they were doing! Fucking eating people? That's fucking nuts." A second Officer snapped, his voice high pitched and frantic.
"Alright that's enough." Sergeant Gerris of the arriving officers snapped, he was an older man with salt and pepper hair.
"Daniels, Jenkins, check the house for Higgens and O'Brian. Oliver, Gwen, Hailey, check for survivors." As the Officers dispersed, Gerris walked up towards the nearest house, he could see bloody impacts of fists against the door.
He walked up to it, his right on his the butt of his handgun; he pulled out his baton with his left hand. Rapping the metal head of the baton against the door, he called out.
"This is Officer Gerris of the Vale Police Department, is there anyone in there?!" He waited a few moments as he heard someone thumping down a flight of stairs.
Gerris stepped to the side, not putting away his baton or taking his hand off his gun. The door swung open and a disheveled man came out, blood caked the front of his white shirt. Gerris snapped his handgun out of the holster, as the man carried a hatchet in his right hand.
"Sir! Put down the hatchet!" He barked and the man looked at him. Gerris could see the fear clouding the man's eyes for a few moments, thankfully he blinked and recognition of appeared.
"Officer?" He stepped forward; Gerris took a step back, his handgun still aimed at the man.
"Sir. Put the hatchet down." Gerris gritted out, and the man looked down at the weapon, dropping it. That was when Gerris noticed that the man's arm was torn up.
"What happened to your arm?" Gerris said as he stepped closer, putting away his baton and sidearm. He gripped the man's other arm and started guiding him to the street.
"It was David, the other officers arrived a little before you did and went inside, Ms. Johnson was the one to call them, when I went out she told me about what had happened and we stood there but then David came charging out and tackled me, he sunk his teeth in my arm real good but I knocked him off and ran, I guess he tried to follow me but failed so he went after the others." The man said quickly, Gerris could see that he was pale, sweaty and shaking a little, no doubt from shock.
"Sir, EMTs are here, we've got two more wounded but it looks like no one on the street made it through." Gerris nodded, and looked down at the man.
"Sir, the EMTs are here to take you to the nearest hospital to get your wounds treated." The man nodded shakily as Gerris helped him up and leading him towards the waiting ambulances.
Gerris watched as the man, along with another man and woman was helped in the ambulances. The doors closed and they began driving away, sirens blaring. Gerris ran a hand over his face, the day had barely started and he already felt tired.
"Man, things can't get any worse."
Oh dear, he has no idea.
Surprise fact, that classroom incident that I spoke of in this story of the people getting they stuff stolen was something from my actual life. Though it was really two girls and the Vice Principle chose not to open the lockers on his own will power.
Anyways thanks for reaching the end of this trial story of sorts, I felt like trying it out for a while. So during my time off I started writing it down and here we are.
Also this is actually the first few chapters condensed so if enough people want me to continue it I'll make more but most likely at a smaller word count on average.
So let me know what you think, whether it's things to improve or things you like or don't like. I'll try to address as much as I can and take your advice as best I can.
Also if you haven't, feel free to check out my first story called The Lost Sons, a RWBY and Warhammer 40k Crossover.
Till next time!