I own nothing. A quick shout out to Ultimate Warrior of Zera, for being able to name which of the restraints of the round table I used last chapter.
Jaune's breaths came heavy as he splashed water in his face. He felt sick to his stomach and he had no airship to blame it on as an excuse this time. Jaune stared up into the mirror and red and black eyes stared back at him, a reminder of the taint of destruction that had flowed back into him from the Relic of Destruction three years ago. He could do this. HE COULD DO THIS. HE COULD DO THIS!
"Gonna puke VB?"
Jaune picked up his head to see Yang Xiao Long swagger into the room. A cheerful grin on her face and dressed in a three piece suit with her hair pulled back into a smart ponytail.
"I hate you, you know that?" Jaune groaned as he downed some water and tried to push his way past the headache. He did NOT need this today. "How are you perfectly fine? I know you had more to drink than me."
"Years of practice and a robust constitution, my soon to be brother-in-law," Yang snarked as she smirked at his suffering. Truly the Xiao Long women were a terrifying breed. "Still, we need to get you freshened up before the ceremony, can't have this *hanging over* the wedding."
Oh that pun was low, "Drop dead Yang." Jaune groaned pitifully into the sink as he washed his face once again. "I should've never let you plan the bachelor party. I don't even like drinking!" Jaune protested as he rubbed his hands over his face.
"Not sure I'm gonna believe that after last night, soon to be brother in law." Yang snarked as she walked up and started patting Jaune on the back. He refused to admit it because that would require giving her credit, but it did actually help the nausea a bit. "Be honest though, how much of this is booze and how much of it is nerves?"
"About seventy percent nerves?" Jaune admitted as he just stared ahead into the mirror. "I'm the most excited I've ever been Yang, but what do I do when I screw it up?"
"Screw it up? Screw what up VB? You screw things up all the time." Jaune felt himself slump in response to the harsh but not unfair descriptor from Yang. "So does Ruby, she'll screw it up a lot. And you'll both pick yourselves up and do better, but you could never screw the two of you up. Not when the two of you still look at each other that way."
Jaune picked his head up and turned to Yang, the teasing smile was replaced with warm kindness and a gentle tone. Jaune already knew the answer in his mind but he still needed to hear someone else say it. "Look at each other like what?"
"The same way you've looked at each other since that first night at Beacon eight years ago, Jaune. The way that let me know that while I could give you a hard time about it there was never a point trying to actually fight you two getting together. You and Ruby look at each other literally like you're the only two people in the world, like you found the one thing you've been missing all your life, like you just figured out the answer to everything at once."
Yang smiled toothily up at him as she tousled and then gently fixed his hair. "As long as the two of you are willing and able to keep looking at each other that way, I genuinely believe the two of you will be just fine Jaune. That being said if by some freak happenstance you do manage to hurt Ruby or break her heart then I swear by the Brothers that I will shove my arm, Ember Celica attached, so far up your ass that I'll be able to use you as the world's most lifelike sock puppet." Yang finished, looking Jaune directly in the eye, not a trace of humor about her.
"Pff-... PFFT! Hahahaha, will do sister number nine," Jaune snarked. He had done his best, he really had but it was impossible to maintain a straight face at the ridiculous threat that was proven a joke when Yang's attitude lightened at his laughter.
"There's the smile VB," Yang grinned as Jaune shrugged on the jacket of his tuxedo. "You ready to go?"
"I'm as ready as I've ever been Yang," Jaune promised. "Let's go, I don't wanna keep the others waiting."
"You sure? We could still do the sock puppet thing if you want." Yang snarked as she held open the door for the both of them. "I could learn ventriloquism and we could tour across Remnant."
Jaune made a brief show of considering it before waving her off with a snicker as the two made their way to the chapel. "Naw, I don't think my delicate constitution could handle the rigors of that much travel. I think I'll take my chances with your sister instead." Jaune and Yang walked the rest of the way to the chapel sniping back and forth good naturedly.
The chapel itself was small, a modest affair just like Ruby and Jaune wanted. The people of remnant may have wanted to celebrate the marriage of their two heroes but all the heroes in question wanted was for their closest family and friends to join them for the day. Twelve rows of pews filled the room and everything was covered in roses. Ruby apparently hadn't particularly cared about color so much as quantity by the end and red, white, and yellow roses completely filled the room. It was a tiny bit haphazard and a little bit poorly thought out and over the top and by that nature it was so very much like Ruby and Shirou both and Jaune loved it dearly.
Waiting for Jaune and Yang at the far end of the room near the pulpit stood Nora and Ren. Both dressed smartly in their own tuxedos waiting for him in the still mostly empty room.
"Hey guys," Jaune waved as he moved to join them. "Sorry for the bit of a wait. Kinda still feeling last night."
"You're fina Jaune-Jaune," Nora reassured Jaune as she reached up to pat him on the shoulder. "We're still early so far anyway."
"Thanks Nora," Jaune said as he gave a quick hug to the smaller girl. "Thanks again for being my… I was gonna say groomsmen but Ren is the only dude. Groomspeople? Yeah that works, groomspeople today. I really appreciate it." Jaune finished as he pulled Ren into the hug as well.
"No worries, we might still be team BRNX but we'll alway be team RWNJR too." Nora said as she reached up to pat his arm. "We're still your friends Jaune and we always will be. I'm more surprised you got Yang to wear a suit than anything else."
"Oh! That was actually part of a deal between me and Blake," the blonde brawler explained. "If I wear the suit today I get to wear the pretty white dress when she and I get married!" Yang cheered with a triumphant grin. Jaune just smiled in response at his soon to be sister's good mood. It was infectious really, even with his worries and his nerves earlier this was still an amazing day. A day he had been waiting for ever since she had met Shirou in that tiny little shack under moonlight so many eons ago.
The four gathered up and took their positions near the pulpit as guests started to trickle in. All their friends, their family really, filled the pews with no worries about whether it was the groom or bride's side as they all mingled and hugged and said how happy they were to see each other. Jaune spied Tai and Qrow walking in alongside his own family, the two chatting with his own parents and his sisters before Tai moved to the back of the room and the crowd took their seats. As the music started playing Jaune realized it was time.
The Book of Love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing
She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. A simple white dress with a single red rose on her left shoulder and her hair done up in a bun Ruby was beauty itself given form. But that would've been true with her hair in a mess and her dressed in a burlap sack. Ruby was and would always be the most beautiful creature in the world in Jaune's eyes, and as she walked up the aisle to him with a smile that could outshine the sun, Jaune couldn't help the way his eyes filled with happy tears or the way his mouth pulled open in a painfully wide smile as their eyes met and he saw the same look on her face.
I love it when you read to me
You could read me anything
Jaune's eyes were locked on the face of his true love as he looked back and saw a billion different faces past her back to the beginning but this face, right here, right now, would always be the most important to him as she was the one that finally found him and he refused to ever let her go.
"Do you, Jaune Dylan Arc, take Ruby Rose to be your lawfully wedded wife to have and to hold for as long as you both shall live?" Asked the youthful but wise voice of their friend Oscar Pine. No longer at risk of being subsumed by Ozma as his curse was broken with the death of Salem but still in possession of all the man's memories and magic.
"I do," Jaune swore in a vow he would never be at risk of breaking. "Til death and beyond, forever and ever."
"And do you, Ruby Rose, take Jaune Dylan Arc to be your lawfully wedded husband to have and to hold for as long as you both shall live?"
"I do!" Ruby smiled as she cheered, Jaune could see the tears of joy welling up in his love's eyes. "Forever and ever."
The Book of Love has music in it
In fact that's where music comes from
Some of it's just transcendental
Some of it's just really dumb
The reception was in full swing as Jaune and Ruby made their way onto the dance floor. Jaune smiled as he held Ruby's tiny waist and the two gently spun around the ballroom. He braced himself for that familiar feeling of deja vu, for the memories to overwhelm him, but it never came. As he looked down into silver eyes that crinkled in the corners from a smile Jaune felt a surge of something unidentifiable, almost a mix of giddiness and melancholy, as he realized what that meant.
"We... we never did this did we? We never danced... did we?"
"That's what tonight is for my king." Shirou- no not anymore, that wasn't right. Ruby smiled up at him. The wonderful, amazing, adorable Ruby Rose who loved cookies and strawberry milk and leveraging her cuteness against him to win arguments.
Choked with emotion Jaune smiled back down at the love of all his lives. "That's right," he whispered, "and tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and the day after that. Forever and ever my dear cook."
I love it when you sing to me
You could sing me anything
Ruby laughed at the look on Flynt's face as Weiss got down on one knee to propose. She had warned him that if he took too much longer Weiss would take matters into her own hands. The two of them had been a delight that surprised Ruby when they reached Atlas and Flynt had said, "It's good to see you again Snow Angel." When Weiss had brought up her scars Flynt's only response was, "You're still Weiss Schnee aren't you?"
The Book of Love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It's full of flowers and heart shaped boxes
And things we're all too young to know
Ruby smiled joyfully with tears in her eyes as she stood next to her sister in a bridesmaid's dress, hands clasped over a slight baby bump. Yang was radiant and her smile wide enough to encompass the entire room as she stared her soon to be wife in the eyes and yes indeed, Yang was the one wearing the pretty white dress while Blake was dressed smartly in a tuxedo smiling back at Yang.
I love it when you give me things
You ought to give me wedding rings
Ruby smiled gently at the exhausted but pleased look on Nora Ren's face. In her arms she cradled a new, small life with black hair that had a shock of his mother's orange running through it. Ren stood nearby hovering fretfully over the two even as Jaune laid hands on both pouring his aura into them, strengthening both mother and son. The birth had been touch and go for a while but seeing the family before her now, her family, Ruby understood why Nora had pushed for it.
I love it when you give me things
You ought to give me wedding rings
"Hey Rubes," Ruby heard the voice of her husband ring out from the kitchen as the song finished playing. "Damask just called, he said he would be on his way here with the kiddos in about an hour for solstice dinner. I'm gonna be in here working on it if you need me for anything!"
"Thanks babe!" Ruby shouted back and smiled as she closed the photo album before putting it back up on the shelf. Wizened hands still strong, dextrous, and holding the calluses of a weapon. It had been a good life, a long life, and it would be much longer yet if she had anything to do with it. She had grandchildren to embarrass and spoil in equal measure.
Ruby had been blessed and was grateful for every moment of every second of every day that she had been able to live this life. Her own herd of children, of a size that would make even Mama Arc proud, a life training the next generation of huntsmen in an era of unprecedented peace, and the king she loved more than anything by her side every step of the way, possessing no country, no castle, and no crown but still noble in demeanor.
She made her way to the kitchen as the scroll speakers began playing the next song and the house filled with the sound of high pitched voices as Eden and her family walked through the front door. Ruby wasn't sure what waited for her and Jaune beyond this. Oblivion? More reincarnations? A seat on Remnant's equivalent to the throne? It didn't really matter in the end. Ruby knew that no matter which route it took she would be by Jaune's side throughout it all, forever and ever. Just as importantly, to Ruby at least, she was now comfortable with the answer to the question that had plagued her ever since that fateful night when an awkward boy held a crying girl as they walked back to the dorms from their first date. What happens when the search ends?
Life. Life with all its amazing twists and turns and peaks and valleys was what she found at the end of her long search.
And they lived happily ever after.
I hope all of you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. It's been a blast all the way through and even if it's not perfect I'm still genuinely proud of this final product. Some people might get mad that it's not longer or that I didn't do this or that thing or that there wasn't more action but ultimately that wasn't the point of this story. The point was and has always been what happens when two people, one tasked with searching tirelessly forever and the other patiently waiting forever finally find each other. This is the story of the important moments in the lives of these two people and what happens when the search ends.
Now I'd like to give a quick shoutout to both PatricianLurker and TooMuchTime88 who have helped me a lot with this story in terms of betareading and Lurker in particular being the watchdog on my Fate lore and keeping to the spirit of both series lol. I like Fate but that man is a BEAST (possibly Beast 8 lolol). They've both been great and a lot of help and I genuinely feel this story wouldn't be as good as it is without them, be sure to give their fics a look.
So that's about it. I hope you all enjoyed and look forward to my other works. My next story is going to be a White Knight romance in a no fall AU with some rock and roll mixed in lolol. Keep an eye out for it. The title will be Between Shots and Songs.