Jaune braced himself for what would be likely the weirdest, worst decision he ever made as he finished weighing his options between being forced to marry Yang, being forced to marry Ruby, and being kidnapped by their very dangerous and likely unhinged mother. And after an additional check to make sure there wasn't some fourth, secretly sane option he could choose, he looked to Summer, marriage certificate in hand, and said…
"Yang, I'll… marry Yang."
It came down to an internal argument between marrying Ruby on the grounds it would be easier to annul a marriage to a 15 year old and not wanting to see what people would say about him legally marrying a 15 year old. Shame won out over strategy, and, Jaune figured, Yang was also someone who would not be down to getting married before she even finished her first year at Beacon. Least of all to him.
But while Yang might not be enthusiastic, her mother certainly was. Summer nearly swooned, crying out, "Oh, you've made me the happiest mother-in-law in the whole world! This is all for legalities right now, but, oh, when you're both 18… you two will have the biggest, most beautiful wedding that Sanus has ever seen! Oh, Tai's going to be so thrilled to meet you! Oh, and Yang'll be delighted, of course, once I explain to her how good this is!"
Jaune was less certain that she would be, but if there was one positive of this, he'd get to see how she'd actually react to being told she was in a mandatory, legally binding marriage. The fireworks would be… literal. Very, very literal, and the blast zone would be probably something he'd be intimately acquainted with.
But that was the one shred of humor Jaune could take from this moment, as Summer quickly pushed a pen into his hand and presented the marriage certificate—now seeming quite a bit more like he was signing his own execution. Explaining this to Weiss was going to be hard enough—even if it was wholly understandable that he was coerced, Jaune couldn't shake the feeling that he ought to have stayed strong—and explaining this to the rest of his friends would be… he didn't even know how that would go.
"Okay and now you sign here," Summer said with a grin, pointing to an open line with Groom beneath it. And with the bride… wait, hold on a second!
"I'm marrying… both of your daughters?" Jaune asked, seeing both Yang and Ruby listed as Bride (with Summer's signature as their legal guardian, of course).
"I thought you'd be happy to hear that!" Summer said in feigned surprise, "After all, what man wouldn't want two wives, particularly such exceptional girls like my daughters."
"But… but..." Jaune stumbled through his words, trying not to give in to the madness surrounding his life, "Why… why did you have me choose?"
Not that Summer seemed like it was a troubling question in the least. "To make sure you consented! And such a sweet man that you were to make my Yang happy, I just had to throw in Ruby—can't have my little girls think I'm playing favorites!" she said with a slight titter that somehow made her seem even more maniacal than before, then added, "And I couldn't exactly get two documents made without arousing suspicion. Just the one was easier—Polygamy's legal in Mistral, you know."
Jaune shook his head in disbelief. "I just..." he tried to articulate, "just… why?"
"Why?" Summer asked, a warm and gentle smile coming to her face that was so utterly motherly, Jaune almost wondered if there was a different Summer he'd been talking to a moment earlier. "Jaune, your Aunt is the most powerful person in all of Remnant and you are her favorite nephew. I am ensuring that my daughters will both live lives of safety, prosperity, and marital bliss. I learned the hard way when I was in Beacon that hoping for the fairy tale romance leaves nothing but a trail of broken hearts… you have to take an active role, and make sure that things happen the way they're supposed to be."
There was pain in her voice. Deep, deep pain, the kind that made Jaune, in spite of everything, sympathetic to his kidnapper. Which… might just be a trait of his, considering Vernal. But thinking of what he knew about Raven and her… attitude towards Yang, Jaune could see that there really was some ugliness there.
"And," she added, her words turning… nervous. "I'm a Silver-Eyed Warrior. It means nothing to you now, but I have obligations to Remnant… obligations Ruby will have to take up as well. I think… you might be one of the few people in Remnant who's of a comparable bloodline. Who might understand the pressures she's under, and when that time comes, you'll understand that joining the Rose and Arc families through you and Ruby will ensure that the power of our eyes is kept alive in humanity. "
This was the… third secret about Remnant Jaune had been introduced to in as many weeks, and between the Maidens being real and his Aunt being the Queen of Evil… and all his friends being cultists? Anyways, the unspecified Silver Eyes situation didn't hit quite as hard as the others, but Summer said it with such gravity that Jaune had no doubts it was of paramount importance. An importance that inspired a deep and abiding concern for Ruby's future well being.
And… curse his tender heart, but Jaune was raised to help people in need!
Aaaaaaagh, how was he always like this when he was being kidnapped? With a groan, Jaune looked at the pen in his hand, glancing up to Summer, whose Silver Eyes didn't seem so much a portent of sacred destiny so much as "I will throw you down a ravine if you don't sign this document" and he wasn't really inclined to test that impression. So with a nervous, trembling hand, Jaune signed his name to the marriage certificate, to Summer's gleeful delight.
Weiss… Jaune didn't want to imagine how his girlfriend would take it when he told her that he was now legally married to an entire half of her team.
Admitting defeat was never easy. Not for anyone, doubly so for a Schnee.
Weiss had been raised to expect nothing less than absolute victory in anything she set out to do. And anything meant anything. She was supposed to dominate her schooling as surely as she was to rule the markets when she took over the SDC, but she was also expected to only associate with winners, to only comport herself with absolute self-confidence, and when it came to relationships...
Infidelity was… a not-uncommon thing among the wealthy of Atlas. But it was considered a shameful thing to be cheated on, even worse than being the unfaithful partner in the first place. It was proof that you were insufficient as a sexual partner, and that your husband thought you were foolish enough not to catch on. Weiss's own parents, though their marriage had nothing left than legal obligations amidst the ashes of matrimony, remained faithful, if only to not lose advantage in their loveless power games and the threat of scandal and divorce. It had been a lesson imparted upon Weiss many, many times over, in many different ways, but that she was never to lose. Especially in the bedroom.
At first, taking all Yang's teasing about her and Jaune inviting Pyrrha into their relationship in good humor had simply been a way to frustrate her most obnoxious teammate's efforts to get a rise out of her. And, yes, to indulge a little in imagining herself as a bad girl who could even make Yang blush. But it was just joking! She and Jaune had hardly even started kissing when he was… when he was taken from her.
She missed him terribly. Weiss hadn't realized how fond of Jaune she was becoming before he was gone, didn't even begin to realize how deeply she cared for her sweet, sometimes a little dopey, but above all, caring, understanding, and loving boyfriend. And now, it seemed that every girl wanted a piece of him. How strange it was, that she had, for a time that felt like a lifetime ago, thought him so far beneath her notice, and now, he was apparently a demigod?
Something that reminded her that she was out of her depth. But that drove Weiss to what she did know. Both in the demands of being a Schnee… and the skills that came with it. She wasn't conceited when she said she had experiences no one else in RWBY had. Even though she'd come to understand, admire, really, her teammates, she had talents they didn't even have a whiff of.
Because Weiss had been raised not to be a Huntress but a CEO. When things were unwinnable, she didn't dig in her heels and find a hill to die on. No, when the situation was shot, she was reasonable, pragmatic, and found a way to cut a deal. She couldn't win—but she could find a way to make it so she didn't lose.
"Pyrrha. Velvet," she began, her voice crisp, but not curt. "I think we both know what I'd like to discuss with you."
Their expressions were… not what she hoped. Velvet was indecisively caught between nervous fear and resolute determination, while Pyrrha had a mysterious smile that annoyed Weiss with how… serenely aware she looked. Like Weiss was only succumbing to what would inevitably lead her into the cult as well.
"I… had hoped that this conversation might happen with Jaune, returned to us safe and sound, but..."
"We'll find him!" Velvet cut in, more forceful than Weiss expected. Perhaps even more so than Velvet expected, but her surprise was quickly replaced with a resolute determination. "We will find him. He'll come back to us."
Weiss, already finding each day a struggle not to give in to her emotions, found Velvet's faith to be surprisingly touching. Even as she was her… romantic rival in the matter, Weiss remembered that it was Velvet who'd grabbed their teams and insisted they go after Jaune, together, back at Beacon.
"Thank you, Velvet," she said, softly, then fixed herself back to her stern, businesslike mien, "But we have a matter wherein you both have expressed an interest in my boyfriend." Velvet's eyes went wide before darting away, her cheeks red. Pyrrha merely smiled fondly, obviously thinking of Jaune. Weiss pressed on. "I believe the best way to proceed with this… arrangement is to speak with you both and, understanding that I can't deter your interest in Jaune, as it is… a religious matter to you," she forced through her teeth, "I'd like to offer a compromise. In exchange for the both of you agreeing to support my statement that I am Jaune's girlfriend and to keep the others… from making a move on him..." now or never, now or never, "I'm okay with you also having a relationship with him."
She'd expected at least a bit of shock from her companions. But of course, nothing could deter the Invincible Girl.
"As Jaune's chosen consort," Weiss tried not to flinch at that phrase, which Pyrrha kept using, "you have my total and unwavering support and adoration, as is owed to the First Wife."
But while Pyrrha was happy to jump to agreement—something the Weiss of a few months ago would have killed to hear—Velvet was… unsurprisingly too nervous to really answer, her eyes darting between Pyrrha and Weiss and seeming very much out of place.
"I, um, I w-want that, yes, b-but… why… me?"
It killed Weiss so see Velvet trembling like this, her adorably bunny-soft ears twitching in pure n-nervous… b-bunny cuteness—but she had to be business Weiss! And maybe petting Blake's ears had shown Weiss that she loved cute Faunus, but there was absolutely no way she could possibly bring it up! Ever! Especially not here!
So instead, she gave a different explanation. "I've assessed the situation, and I've realized that, though it is my preference that Jaune only has one girlfriend… I don't believe it is possible to maintain that. Not with… everyone being... the way they are. Since the both of you have such a… strong interest in him, I felt that the two of you would help keep other girls away. And possibly Neptune. But mostly the girls, and particularly Yang."
The last sentence is said with particular vigor. Not that she disliked Yang, but of all the girls expressing interest… she was by far the most obnoxious about it. Pyrrha nodded, grinning, before saying, "If that is your will, you have my assistance."
Velvet wrung her hands as she followed that up. "A-and I don't, um, I d-don't want to cause any problems! I j-just really like Jaune a-and think he's r-really nice and cute and- and… I'll stop talking now." But Velvet's silence did not last long, as she looked up, her cheeks bright red, "A-are we d-dating you, too?"
Weiss was too scandalized to answer. She- she was- why was everyone always jumping to the most perverse possibilities- this couldn't even be blamed on Yang! But even more so, Weiss had no idea how to process the hopeful note in Velvet's voice.
"Of course we are," she answered, "in a beautiful sisterhood of love and-"
"WE CAN DISCUSS THIS LATER!" Weiss said, louder and more forcefully than she intended.
Today… today was gonna be her day!
They were not far from Argus, Blake had shown her she was holding the map upside down before they started traveling, and, really, Ruby was just feeling upbeat and chipper! The sun was shining, the stream was close by making fetching water for breakfast easy, she was hanging out with new people (Vernal was actually really nice and not like Raven at all! And Marrow was nice, too, and Neptune was being nice before Yang just started punching him for no reason like a jerk!), and really, she felt like she could take on anything! Like tell Pyrrha that- that-
Ruby suddenly felt that tremble come to her legs, the tremble that threatened to shake her entire body apart. This was- this was all Velvet and Yang's fault for making her- making her think about harems and the fact that she was constantly surrounded by really, really pretty girls! Who were all into Jaune, so it was like- like she didn't have to choose!
It was hard enough to admit she had a crush on Pyrrha. There! She did it! She had a crush on the effortlessly perfect celebrity renowned for her looks who was also the nicest person and had the shiniest red hair! Okay? Wanna fight about it? And, yeah, Emerald had a really nice butt! And Ruby liked it! A lot! And Blake had a nice butt, too! And- and Velvet was really pretty, and maybe she wanted to kiss Weiss! Was that so wrong? Was that really so weird, when they were all dating Jaune?
And- and if she dated Jaune, her besty who never treated her like a little kid, too, w-wouldn't she be allowed to m-maybe k-kiss some- OW!
So distracted by her endless personal problems, Ruby walked right into a tree.
It knocked her flat on butt as she stumbled backwards, her aura pulsing to restore the minor bump and scratches, but, emotionally, it did put a damper on things.
"You okay, kid?"
She looked up to see an extended hand. "Thanks Uncle Qrow," she mumbled as she took it.
Her uncle grinned. "Don't mention it. Heh, when I was at Beacon, your mom used to-"
"HEY EVERYBODY!" the booming voice of Nora Valkyrie shattered the morning quiet, "JAUNE'S BACK!"
In a puff of rose petals, all thoughts of Uncle Qrow's story forgotten, Ruby zoomed back to the camp to see…
And- and she found Jaune! Jaune was back! Weiss had him in a tight hug, and Ruby… gave them a few minutes rather than tackling them both in a hug and kiss- and welcoming them back! She would- she would give them a minute. Because they were dating. That was only fair.
"Hey, Summer," Nora's dad said with a nod.
"Hey, Tyrian," her mom replied.
"Wait..." Ruby cut in, "How do… how do you know each other?"
'That's- that's an excellent question," Ruby heard Qrow pant from behind her, apparently a lot faster than he appeared. "How the hell do you know one of Salem's agents, Sum?"
Tyrian broke into a broad smile at that, asking "You've heard of me?"
"All terrible things," Qrow growled, but only seemed to excite Tyrian more at his… notoriety?
But Mom just waved it away. "Oh, we used to swap parenting tips when he got his little munchkins." She looked to Nora. "My, how you've grown! You used to be this tall, but you could be just as loud as you are now!" she laughed.
"WAIT," Nora burst out, grabbing Ruby by the shoulders, "DOES THIS MAKE US SISTERS? FOR REAL?"
"No?" she answered.
Nora sighed and kicked the ground. "Darn."
More and more of the group had returned, summoned by the power of Nora's lung capacity. Pyrrha arrived, her eyes sparkling in almost disbelieving happiness to see her partner again which was so romantic and- and back on track, so was the rest of the group! Also here! Including Yang who just gawked in surprise to see Mom.
"Mom?" she asked, "How did- You rescued Jaune?"
That… dog guy Huntsman, the nice one that everybody picked on, chimed in. "This… does raise some significant questions. Are you acting under Ozpin's direction-"
But of course, he was talked over. "YO JAUNE!" Coco yelled, "We got some STUFF to DISCUSS, K?"
But… Mom's eyes glittered with what Dad called "the scary look" as she glanced around to see Velvet, Pyrrha, Vernal, Cinder, Emerald… all the girls who were watching Jaune with that… particular interest.
"You have something to tell them," she said, her eyes narrowing as she took on what Dad called "her scary voice," "Don't you, Jaune?"
"Umm..." he rubbed his neck, looking at Weiss in pure, mortified awkwardness as he croaked out, "I might have… in order to find where you guys were… didn't realize you, um, went after me..."
"What..." Cinder asked, a sudden realization dawning upon her, "What did she make you do?"
"I… I'm married to Yang. And Ruby."
There was a pause as everyone- WAIT SHE WAS MARRIED TO JAUNE?
"MOM!" Yang shrieked, "Why are you- WHY ARE YOU EMBARRASSING ME IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!"
"It's okay honey," Mom said, "Mommy's just making sure-"
"There is no way that is legally binding!" Weiss snapped, her anger almost palpable in the air. "He is my boyfriend, and no… no dolt is standing in my way with some... promise of marriage!"
But Mom just smiled, her eyes flashing with silver power. "Oh, do you think that?" she produced a very formal looking paper from her cloak, "Because I have a signed marriage certificate. Oh? Is something wrong? Is there something your money can't buy, you homewrecking harlot?"
The sheer scandal written on Weiss's face was intense enough to paralyze her, but Velvet spoke up in her place. "I- I don't think… I mean, it can't… there's no way that this is a lawful marriage!"
"I wouldn't be so sure about that," Neptune said, looking over the document, "This is a real, Mistralian marriage certificate. It's signed by Jaune, and Ruby and Yang's legal guardian, plus it's notarized by… Headmaster Lionheart?"
"He owed me a favor," Mom said with a smug smile, "And now that it's been recorded, it's a legally binding, polygamous marriage. It doesn't take action until my girls are 18, but that also means there's no possibility of divorce without my signature until then. Just another few months we'll have a big, beautiful ceremony, and then... I get to be a grandma!"
"Jaune is the nephew of our Goddess Salem and is not within the jurisdiction of Mistral!" Pyrrha snapped back at her, "And while I have no objection to any of your daughter's being joined to Jaune in holy matrimony, I will not abide such slander directed at Weiss, his chosen consort."
Ruby, however, really wasn't listening, because… she and Jaune… married… they were married… oh gods… they were married…
"Breathe, kid, breathe!" Qrow said, putting a hand on her shoulder before shooting her mother a scandalized look, "Summer! What the- what the hell? You're- deep breaths, Ruby, deep breaths, just keep breathing."
"I did what I had to do," Mom snapped, "Uniting the Rose and Arc families ensures the lineage of Silver Eyed Warriors will be protected by Salem herself!"
Tyrian nodded, "Not a bad plan, we definitely would have to step down on the murdering-"
"THEN WHY'D DID YOU HAVE HIM MARRY ME?" Yang shrieked.
"You're opposed to this?" Coco asked Yang, lowering her sunglasses, "Thought this was your whole goal?"
Yang just moaned, "All I wanted to do was bang him, not- not marry him!"
"I didn't need to hear that!" Qrow cried in dismay, "You- all of you, you're just- crazy! You're-"
"Jaune and I are getting married," Ruby giggled, feeling almost drunk on the sheer emotion, "Jaune and I are getting married."
Mom clapped. "That's the spirit, honey!"
All hell was about to break loose, but then Ren intervened with a sharp, "Hold on!" that was punctuated by Nora screaming "REN IS TALKING NOW!" as she brandished Magnhild.
With the camp's attention, Ren turned to Weiss. "Legally, a marriage like this would only matter for property division… you could still marry Jaune and consider the Ruby-Yang-Jaune marriage to be simply a legal technicality, while you could pursue a relationship, and possibly marriage, under an ecclesiastical court. I believe that would work for all parties?"
But Cinder shook her head. "It's… not that simple."
"Mistralian law recognizes polygamous marriage, so long as all parties are married together in the same legal 'marriage'" Blake explained, "So now that Jaune's married to Yang and Ruby… there's not a way to marry Weiss without first dissolving his current marriage."
"How do you know so much about Mistralian marriage laws?" Sun asked with a raised eyebrow.
Blake turned bright red. "M-maybe there's some books that cover this topic in a r-really engaging fashion that make the legal complexity part of their themes for-"
"Ah, it's porn," Coco nodded, "Well! Now that Jaune's married off, I gotta go find out what Vernal's up to do next and-"
"IT'S NOT PORN, IT'S LITERATURE!" Blake screamed, "I'm not the weird one, she's," she pointed at Mom, "the weird one!"
"Not cool, Blake," Yang cut in, "She's still my mom. But… yeah, mom, what the hell?"
Qrow braced Ruby, still tittering, as he accused, "Yeah, what the hell, Sum? You- you know that this kid's tied to- to Salem? And you're marrying your kids to him?"
Ruby… vaguely knew that that was bad, but… she was much more focused on what this meant for her… and Weiss and Pyrrha and Emerald and- and- and… SQUEEEEEEEE!
Blushing, Ruby realized that everyone was looking at her now. But fortunately, Mom saved the day by answering Uncle Qrow's question. "Things… aren't as simple as Ozpin makes them out to be, Qrow. This war is not how he's presented things, and Salem… doesn't have to be our enemy."
Qrow glowered at Summer. "Can't believe you, of all people… you're sounding a lot like my sister right now. But we'll be seeing Oz soon enough when we get back to Vale and-"
"No, we're still going to Argus," Weiss growled, "Because from there, we'll get a flight to Mantle, and then my family's lawyers are going to have their say on who Jaune is married to."
"Try all you like little girl," her mom said, her voice harder edged than Crescent Rose, "but you're about to learn money can't buy everything."
"D-do I get a say in this?" Jaune asked in vain.
"Don't seem like it," Sun added, "By the way? I'm Sun Wukong. Heard a lot about you, your Holiness."
"Don't think that's his title, buddy," Neptune chimed in, "But if we're making introductions, how about you and me find a nice place to get dinner and help you learn all about Neptune Vasilias." He added two finger guns and a wink at the end of that line.
Jaune glanced around the crowd, looking at all the new faces. "Who… who are all these people?" he asked Weiss, who gave him a pained expression.
"We… we've got a lot to catch up on..."
Thanks to Renarde for feedback on this chapter!
I like to describe Ruby's character as "I have a crush on every girl!" and... she more or less does. But yes, everyone is reunited and everyone is crazy, but now Jaune can finally get some answers from his friends and cultists about what's really going on. Particularly a good, long conversation with Weiss about their relationship, and also how she's started subletting it just as he got legally married to two other women. So... a lot to discuss.