Okay, before anyone says anything about rip-offs or anything, I have written this upon much urging from my editor/co-writer Saraphima, who went to all the trouble of getting permission from Coeur Al'Aran to write this, based off his fic, White Sheep. Go check it out, it's great.
Secondly: I'm not dead… I've just been ping-ponging from idea to idea lately when I haven't snowed myself under with vidya. Nothing's gotten far enough to warrant that I start posting it yet. Lotta stillborn ideas in my google drive.
We're doing our best to get stories finished. In the meantime, enjoy! -Saraphima
In Plain Sight, inspired by White Sheep by Coeur Al'Aran and written with his permission.
Jaune glared at the door from his bed as if willing it to combust. His Mother still refused to listen to him, and insisted that he take part in her schemes. Jaune might be her son, but she was mistaken if she thought he would go along with her visions and goals solely because she was his Mother.
Jaune sat there and stewed on his feelings, ideas and arguments turning over in his head as he entertained brief fantasies of shouting his mother into submission.
He knew she would never listen, but he couldn't do nothing. He had to do something… he had to leave. He wouldn't go along with her plans, so he'd have to just manually tear them down himself.
Jaune rubbed his face as he stood up. He just had to tell his mother first.
Jaune groaned and rolled his eyes when he saw Tyrian's eyes widen in excitement as he walked past him in the hallway.
"Lord Jaune, it is an utter pleasure to see you again. I thought you would be in your room sulking for another three months," Tyrian said.
"I've decided… to take action," Jaune replied.
"Is my Lord finally seeing this from our side?"
"You will just have to wait and see," Jaune replied cryptically.
Jaune moved past the sycophantic psycho and pushed his way into the great vaulted chamber beyond.
Inside was his Mother and her cronies, in one of his mother's big important meetings.
Jaune looked between each face as he approached the table. Cinder would attempt to seduce him, making a power play by trying to marry into it. Hazel was a politician, and he was trying to manipulate Jaune to be under his thumb. Watts… Jaune knew that with three out of four bad eggs, the one he couldn't read was the worst of all.
If he stepped into the role laid out for him, it would be an uphill struggle to evade their influences. He would have none of it.
He couldn't act against them outright. Not here at least, hence his plan to leave. Quietly, so his mother wouldn't notice, he sent out a signal for a nevermore to be ready for him.
"Jaune, you came back."
"Hello mother. Having another meeting I see."
"Indeed. Why don't you sit down and take part? Perhaps you'll learn something?"
Jaune held in an eye-roll when he heard Tyrian begin cackling with glee. "Yes! I can teach Lord Jaune everything he needs to know!"
Jaune was glad Tyrian couldn't see the way his eye twitched. "Tyrian, you kill people."
Tyrian cackled again. "Precisely! Everything you need to know!"
A pitch-black tentacle shot out from Jaune's back, taking off the front of Tyrian's chair, but mercifully missing him by a very narrow margin.
"No thanks, I believe I'm good," Jaune said as the tentacle retracted.
Tyrians cackling intensified. "Oh, I like him!"
Jaune simply sighed. "Mother, you and I have had our differences, and we've argued back and forth for as long as you've wanted me to take up this… mantle you've set out for me; You've attempted, over and over, to get me to take part in your schemes."
There was an air of anticipation hanging around the chamber now.
"You've told me how disappointed you were with me, and I wanted no part with any of your plans to destroy the kingdoms… in our most recent argument, you declared that so long as I lived under your roof, I would abide by your laws," Jaune continued.
No one liked where this was going. They liked it a lot less when the Nevermore outside cawed.
"You can do nothing, especially not out there," Hazel said.
"Then I suppose I'll have to show you how much I can do, then," Jaune retorted. "Goodbye, Salem."
Salem's eyes shot wide; Jaune had always called her mother.
Tyrian moved to seize the wayward Grimm Prince, but Jaune was far faster than any human, and quickly moved out of the assassin's range and made a mad dash, not for one of the exits, those had already sealed at Salem's command.
Jaune covered his eyes and braced himself as he ploughed straight through the glasslike structures of the window and landed hard on the back of the Nevermore. It was as small and as fast as he could get whilst still being able to carry him. He clung on for dear life as the Nevermore took off, flying towards the setting sun as Salem realised that her control of the grimm wasn't absolute; that Jaune had willed this one from the spawning pools himself… and then she saw the white bundle in the bird's claws.
Salem flew into a rage as she sent her grimm to bring her wayward son back to her. Projectiles of varying descriptions attempted to shoot him down, but shooting a flying foe posed a number of challenges. Jaune quickly cleared the airspace above the dark lands and tried to recall what he could of the kingdoms, plotting a course for the one furthest from his Mother's domain.
Jaune took a deep breath as he felt his nevermore's mental inquiry.
"We're heading to Vale," Jaune stated, the Nevermore cawing in response.
The Nevermore knew the way, and quickly winged its way across the wasteland, rapidly traversing the 'unexplored continent' as he put simple distance between him and his mother, in an attempt to keep her from pursuing him. It wasn't long before Jaune saw a vast… ocean of blue that he'd simply never seen before.
Jaune had no clue what the future held now. It was a liberating feeling… but also a frightening one.
As Anima's north-eastern coast approached beneath him, Jaune had his Nevermore fly low, to avoid human detection devices and to make this next part easier to survive.
As the city of Vale, and the fortifications of Beacon Academy came into view, Jaune reached down and used his powers to dismiss the grimm beneath him. The Humans would shoot him down quicker than he could say 'oops' if he tried to fly in on a Nevermore. He'd have to walk a fair distance to reach the Human settlements.
As the Nevermore evaporated, he made sure his cargo would be undamaged as well, and with a few tentacles he was able to snag the bundle as it began to fall. He didn't have very far to fall, and thus not much time. Shifting the bundle to his arms, Jaune used his tentacles to grab at branches and slow his motion like a pair of bungee cords.
He carefully set himself down on the forest floor, and looked around to get his bearings, before heading for the large castle-like structure in the distance.
"O- Ozpin?" Goodwitch asked. "Are you alright?"
Ozpin was trembling wide-eyed and pale, like he'd seen a particularly nasty ghost.
"Glynda… look at this," Ozpin said, his usual eloquence beyond him at this moment.
Glynda looked and saw what looked like a boy at first glance, but was actually a grimm. A Human grimm.
And in its arms was a large white bundle.
Glynda nearly dropped the scroll. Ozpin had told this story only once, when Qrow had slipped whiskey into his coffee. Ozpin had been extremely melancholy as he told the tale of how an almost perfectly human grimm had stormed a stronghold that had withstood the worst and fiercest fighting in the Great War.
Ozpin himself had been the only survivor, and that was because he was knocked unconscious by falling rubble which managed to hide his body.
Qrow stared in mute horror at the video as well.
"It's… it's headed this way."
"We all knew this day would eventually come… get ready, we've got to buy some time for the others to get away," Ozpin stated.
"Just us three?"
"I'll have the other professors come to join us as they are able, but this thing must not get to beacon before we can effect a general evacuation," Ozpin said.
Qrow and Goodwitch nodded, before leaving to get ready to intercept this incredibly dangerous Grimm.
Jaune felt the eyes on him before he saw or heard anything. Felt their fear and apprehension rolling off them in waves.
A tall man with grey hair and wearing a green suit stepped from the underbrush, carrying a cane that he slowly and carefully leaned against a nearby tree.
Jaune knew this man, his Mo- Salem had drilled his face into his skull: This was Professor Ozpin, headmaster of Beacon Academy and one of the largest thorns in his moth- Salem's side.
"Greetings… I'm here to talk," Ozpin said.
"So am I," Jaune replied, which seemed to surprise Ozpin.
"I'm fed up with Mo- Salem's controlling ways. I don't want in on her plans… can you call off the hunters? I'm not going to attack you," Jaune said.
"I hope you can understand, but I cannot- in good conscience- tell them to do that unless I can be sure you aren't a threat," Ozpin said.
"I suppose it was too much to ask for… I found this one in Salem's Dungeons. She's in bad shape- Salem was…" Jaune said before trailing off, shifting the white-wrapped bundle in his arms.
"Say no more," Ozpin said, checking the bundle.
Pulling back the hood on the tattered remains of the cloak the figure in the Grimm's arms wore, Ozpin took a step back in shock.
She was bloodied, bruised, and showed other classical signs of torture, but under the damage was Summer Rose.
He heard another Gasp, and Qrow leapt from the tree he'd been in to take Summer from the grimm boy.
"Salem didn't like her silver eyes," Jaune said, giving a pointed look at Ozpin who subtly nodded his head and handing Summer to Qrow who promptly left for the Beacon infirmaries.
"She's actually the reason I finally chose to leave," Jaune added.
"Do tell," Ozpin urged.
"Mo- Salem and I never saw eye-to-eye," Jaune said. "But-"
"You struggled to simply abandon your mother," Ozpin said.
Jaune winced. He had been hoping Ozpin wouldn't catch the slip-ups… he nodded in defeat.
Ozpin nodded, having a better grasp of the situation. The child had left behind everything he had in rescuing Summer and disobeying Salem.
"I believe we should continue this conversation in my office," Ozpin said.
"You can't be serious, sir!" Goodwitch shouted in objection.
"I am. This boy has sacrificed a lot to bring Summer back to us… I believe we can work something out," Ozpin said.
Glynda stared daggers at the human grimm before her, but eventually she relented. "Fine, but-"
"If I make one false move, I'm toast. Got it," Jaune finished for her.
Glynda bent at her riding crop and frustration, but didn't act on it. She'd get revenge later.
Glynda's face was red in anger at Ozpin's newest scheme.
"You can't be serious!"
"Would you rather him stay here where we can keep an eye on him, and, if necessary, intervene? Or would you prefer to having him roaming wild throughout Vale to get up to Oum knows what on his own?" Ozpin reasoned with her.
"But… as a student?!"
"I recall one ability from… that time," Ozpin said. "She got past the fortress gates disguised as a beggar of all things. We had no clue until the night shift had taken watch… we never saw it coming."
Ozpin seemed to have a thousand yard stare as that night's events played themselves across his mind's eye once more.
Jaune however, got the message.
Focusing, he began to shift his form, to hide his abnormalities. His skin gained a peachy red tone, his hair gained some yellow colour, his eyes remained blood red, however; No amount of shapeshifting seemed to get rid of that. Many of the features that would have identified him as grimm retreated into his body, and in the span of a handful of seconds, he looked for all the world to be human.
Glynda was visibly disturbed.
"How do I look?" Jaune asked.
"...Human," Goodwitch replied reluctantly.
"Great! I struggled with the ability for forever," Jaune said.
Glynda turned to Ozpin looking concerned. "Sir, if Human Grimm can disguise themselves as humans, how can we protect any civilisations?"
"As far as I know, there should only be two of them."
"Uh… I have seven sisters," Jaune said. "They're not so enthusiastic about Mom's plots… but they're not opposed to them like I am either."
Both Ozpin and Glynda looked incredibly frightened of this fact, and glad that they weren't taking an active part in their mother's plans. One was bad enough… eight? Even if seven were indifferent and one was on their side, eight human grimm were a terrifying prospect.
"I'll… I'll work on arranging things for you to join in with the first years in a few days time," Ozpin said distractedly.
Jaune heard the explosion as he watched the first years, and, sensing a lot of fear, misery and- oddly enough- hate originating from its source, he decided to investigate
"Are either of you injured?"
"We're fine… no thanks to her."
"I said I was sorry!"
"She hardly seems like the sort to just attack someone out of nowhere. What did you do?" Jaune asked the girl who was, at that moment, best described emotionally as a spite-filled ball of hate.
"H-How dare you!"
"I've got no patience to waste on a spoiled brat. Leave her alone," Jaune said flatly.
Weiss noticed the air around her dropping several degrees. It was a pleasant summer day, but at that moment she could've sworn it was the depths of winter. Every instinct she had screamed danger at her.
Weiss felt her protests die in her throat, and she quickly re-packed her bags and left, suddenly unable to get away from Jaune fast enough.
The red-haired girl was pale and shaking, having been caught in the aura of fear, but she seemed to recover somewhat as Jaune turned it off… then Jaune turned to her. "Are you okay?"
The red-haired girl nodded slowly. "What was that?"
"That? My Mom taught me how to do it," Jaune said. "Sorry for, y'know…"
"Oh uh… No harm done… just… frightening. Please don't do that again.." Ruby said, shaking and nervous.
Jaune nodded and helped Ruby up. "I'm Jaune."
"Well, Ruby, why don't you walk off the fear aura with me?" Jaune asked.
Unbeknownst to either of them, a single large corvid observed the exchange from the back of the airship with curiosity. The kid looked oddly familiar, in a way he'd have to go over some old photos later on… but he knew that he didn't want the kid with grimm aura anywhere near his niece.
Jaune didn't sleep. Few grimm did, and he was no exception. It was one of many ways teams of beowolves harried down Hunters in the wild after all.
Instead, Jaune found himself meeting with Ozpin in his office once more, at Ozpin's request.
"If you are to pose as one of my students, you'll need a weapon," Ozpin said.
"What did you have in mind? I did get a little training but nothing spectacular." Jaune said.
"That's good. I can get you something basic to use for now, but I need to know what sort of weapon you'd prefer."
The shadows exploded at the other side of the room, and from the blackened miasma, Jaune saw one of his Sisters in full grimm-form emerge.
Ozpin stood up but a raised hand from Jaune kept him from hitting the alarms.
"We heard that our Baby brother finally ditched Mom and we all chipped in and put our effort together to get you this as a 'Welcome to the Real World Gift'," Jaune's sister said, tossing a parcel wrapped in brown paper and string at him.
Jaune caught it and began the long process of unwrapping it.
"Just call me Pride when I'm like this," Pride said.
"We decided to scare the humans shitless with a seven deadly sins theme," Pride said, looking quite pleased with herself.
"Right… well, thanks Pride," Jaune said, before finally getting through the paper.
Inside was a shiny mechanised sheath holding what looked like a classically styled nodaichi- a longer version of a katana, as well as a smaller companion blade- a Wakizashi.
Jaune drew the sword several inches and saw it had a perfectly black blade that felt right at home to him… his sisters still remembered all those training sessions and all that sparring practice it seemed.
Grabbing the straps, Jaune tested the harness that would keep the sheathe on his back and tilted to keep it from trailing in the ground for fit and found them to be an eerily close fit. Jaune hadn't realised they'd been watching him.
"The blade is made of a few special alloys and bonded with grimm blood… Mom, you, and the rest of us are the only ones who can hold that sword for any length of time," Pride said. "It'll also help you with cleaving through Mom's creations and Aura."
Jaune nodded. "What's up with the sheathe?"
"We knew you were a traditionalist kind of guy, so we knew the sword itself was off limits, beyond what Wrath, Greed and Gluttony added to the basic pattern. Envy helped supply a number of new designs she 'stumbled across' in her dayjob and Sloth wanted to pack it full of little 'quality of life' features like self-cleaning and maintenance. I worked on the dust features that should coat it with dust when you sheathe it."
"That's awesome… But what did Lust help with?" Jaune said.
"She supplied an awful lot of blood and made the harness… we all chipped in, but Lust insisted on giving a lot of her blood," Pride said, shrugging with an uncomfortable look on her face.
Jaune cringed, before nodding as Pride made to leave. "Be sure to thank the others for me. And sis? Please warn me if Lust decides to visit."
"Deal," Pride said with a shudder as she left, the shadows leaping up to engulf her like a cloud of black smoke.
Jaune stood there for several seconds before Ozpin cleared his throat.
"Well, that was eventful. Before you go, Jaune, what should your last name be in your transcripts?"
Jaune looked over his shoulder at Ozpin as he entered the elevator. "Arc. My name is Jaune of Arc."
Qrow looked in on the initiation ceremony and team assignment. His nieces had managed to get on the same team, and they'd somehow avoided that strange kid with the grimm aura.
The stony-faced kid was carrying a pair of black eastern blades, a Wakizashi that the kid had put to good use in an emergency and a nodachi which he seemed to prefer.
He didn't think much of it at first, until he saw the kid coat his sword in dust… by sheathing it and having the sheathe do the job for him. He had a few sneaking suspicions about this 'Jaune of Arc' fellow, and guessed he might be going under an alias.
He'd only seen that style of weapon being used by one person, and as he didn't strike him as the sort to have studied with her, that left one other option. He certainly looked 'edgy' enough to be one of 'hers'.
When his team was called out, Qrow got a good look at the kid's face at long last, and he nearly fell off his perch when he saw the kid's blood-red eyes. Qrow was going to investigate this one way or the other.
If someone raised by Raven was in beacon, it couldn't mean anything good.