Well, this is my first pure RWBY fic I'm trying out. The idea came to me while we were discussing things on discord. I came up with this story because of all the Jaune Arc gets expelled fanfics where everyone suddenly turns on him and treats him like trash. I always found those out of character, even though I knew people did that to get Jaune to go on some kind of revenge quest or to emphasize what he did was wrong. I wanted to do something where he gets exposed, but not because of Cardin. He ges exposed because Pyrrha believed it was the right thing to do.

Disclaimer: I do not own RWBY.

'I wasn't really accepted into Beacon…'

Even now, the words rang throughout her mind.

'I mean, I didn't go to combat school, I didn't pass any tests. I didn't earn my spot at this Academy!'

In retrospect, it made perfect sense, and yet she still couldn't fully believe it.

'I lied! I got my hands on some fake transcripts, and I lied!'

Stated so plainly, however, she had no choice but to accept it as the truth.

Jaune Arc, her partner, friend, and team leader had cheated his way into Beacon Academy.

Sitting on the edge of her bed, Pyrrha Nikos, for what felt like the first time in forever, wasn't sure what to do. Beacon Academy was a school for Huntsmen and Huntresses-in-training. It was a place for young men and women to learn how to combat the creatures of Grimm; Mindless, soulless, agents of darkness who existed solely to eradicate Humanity, and, despite certain claims some bigots might have about the different races, labels such as 'human' or 'Faunus' made no difference to the Grimm in their slaughter. To attend a huntsman academy like Beacon, one had to be capable of facing such monsters, and those few who were capable of such were often trained from a young age through the combat schools or by a licensed Huntsman.

Jaune hadn't experienced either of those things.

'It all makes sense now…' Pyrrha thought.

Looking back at Beacon's initiation, she remembered when she had learned about Jaune's aura, or lack thereof, and how she'd unlocked it for him. Aura, often called the physical manifestation of one's soul, was a shield used to protect oneself. It gave a person enhanced physical abilities, as well as a typically invisible barrier against harm. Once one begins to understand their aura truly, they might even discover their semblance, a power that was almost always unique to an individual.

The thing that had stuck out most when she'd unlocked Jaune's aura was the sheer amount he possessed. Pyrrha's own reserves were nothing to scoff at, both thanks to years of training and self-mastery, as well as pure luck, and yet Jaune's own reserves were over three times her own. Even among professional huntsmen, that amount would be incredibly rare and unusual. However, being in the middle of their initiation at the time, she'd hardly had time to process why he didn't have it unlocked before then or how he had such impressive amounts of Aura. Especially not with the giant Death Stalker they'd ended up fighting.

Of course, even during that fight, the signs were there. His form had been sloppy and overall technique was that of a novice, but he had managed to use his shield well enough to survive, and his leadership skills spoke for themselves when he'd directed what had become their team in combat and led them to victory.

"But is that enough?" The words came out of her mouth in a hushed whisper.

Having watched him fight in combat class for weeks now, it was as plain as day to see that Jaune's fighting skills weren't just subpar. They were worse than that. He was able to hold onto his shield, but all the basics one would learn within a month of training were utterly absent. His center of balance was off, he couldn't switch between offense and defense without leaving himself open, and his attacks were so weak that most people could completely brush them off without a second thought.

"Jaune… why?" Pyrrha asked herself.

Back home, Mistral was quite strict in these kinds of things. A student forging their way into an academy needed to be reported immediately. It was actually a criminal offense. Pyrrha wasn't sure what the laws in Vale were, but it was probably similar. At the very least, the offender would be kicked out of Beacon.

"He's my friend… I can't ruin his dream like this…"

That simple fact was the reason this was so hard. The idea of ruining Jaune's dream was devastating. Could she really call herself his friend if she told anyone else about his situation?

Pyrrha was a champion back home, and while there were perks, there were downsides too. It was hard to make friends, real friends, when someone only wanted to be near her for her fame. They either wanted the perks of being with a celebrity or wanted to steal her secrets. The rest wouldn't even try to befriend her, as they put her on a pedestal that was always out of reach.

Jaune wasn't like that.

At their first meeting, he was awkward and funny as he tried to get herself and Weiss on his team. Weiss didn't appreciate that, but Pyrrha felt something at that moment. That blond boy treated her like a person. Not Pyrrha the Champion or Pyrrha the Celebrity, but only as Pyrrha Nikos, a Huntress in training…

…and a girl.

"I would help you if you let me… so why, Jaune?"

Her emerald eyes began to water.

This is why the choice was so hard. Jaune was more than a friend to her. He was someone she could share anything with. Someone who saw her good points and bad points, but liked her all the same. He was kind, funny, goofy, treated people with kindness, and a great leader with an eye for strategy. It only took that first meeting in the locker room for her to be unable to get him off her mind. It was why she saved him during initiation, which turned out to be a blessing. If something happened to him…

Pyrrha put a shaking hand on her heart.

'I love him.'

Admitting that to herself took longer than she realized. The way she loved spending time with him doing even the most mundane things like homework. When Jaune lost in combat class, she wanted to console him and help him grow. Pyrrha wanted them to be together long after Beacon even though they didn't know each other that long. It really had been love at first sight.

Her feelings contradicted her morals and upbringing. She had heard of the saying of letting emotions cloud judgment, but she never thought it would cause her such turmoil.

"I really should tell the teachers," Pyrrha muttered, to herself. "It's just… I don't want him to leave." Her trembling hands gripped her arms. "He's special to me, but if he stays at his current level, he will d-d…"

The final word wouldn't come out because she honestly didn't want to think about it.

"If I try to push him to train with me, he'll just push me away."

Looking up at the mirror on the wall, she saw herself. Hair disheveled, bloodshot eyes with dark bags beneath them, were a far cry from the normal pristine look she was used to maintaining. The conflict raging within her was beginning to take its toll. Even her teammate Nora suggested she might be coming down with something.

One thought was clear through all this.

She didn't want her leader to die.

No, she couldn't let him die.

"I really only have one choice…"

Pyrrha hated this. She hated having to make this choice, but there was no other alternative. She stood up from the bed and took several deep breaths to calm her nerves, before leaving her dorm room. The journey to her destination was a blur and the champion couldn't even recall the faces of the other students she passed. There was only one thing on her mind. The only time she stopped was when she was standing outside a door.

'You have to do this. For Jaune.'

Her body was stiff, so it took a minute for her knuckle to hit the wooden door.

"Come in." The voice on the other side called out.

"I'm sorry for the intrusion," Pyrrha apologized, as she pushed open the door. "But I really need to talk to you, sir."

"It's no problem at all, Miss Nikos."

Across the room sitting at a desk was a middle-aged man with tousled silver hair and thin brown eyes. He wore shaded glass spectacles and a cowl around his neck. His outfit mainly consisted of an unzipped black suit over a dark green, buttoned vest, green shirt, and long, dark-green pants.

The man was Professor Ozpin, Headmaster of Beacon.

"Are you okay?" Ozpin must have noticed the troubled look in her eyes.

"I learned something… something important… I think you need to know…"

"I've got you this time!" Nora Valkyrie, a hyperactive girl with short orange hair and turquoise eyes, declared, as she, Ruby, and Jaune played video games in Team RWBY's dorm while Ren watched. Everyone was dressed casually as they didn't need to wear the Academy's uniform after class hours. The other members of Team RWBY were out running their own errands. Nora was wearing a white sleeveless t-shirt with a heart-shaped cutout above her breast line and a simple pink skirt.

"Oh no you don't!"

Ruby Rose may have been only 15 instead of 17, but she had managed to get into Beacon two years early. Her silver eyes narrowed as she shook her head to get a strand of her short black hair out of her eyes. Her favorite outfit consisted of a black long-sleeve dress with red trim. She also wore her signature red cloak, which she only took off when sleeping and her black combat boots had been kicked off into a corner.

Currently, she was bashing the controller as fast as she could, trying to stop Nora from getting ahead of her, but with a quick swerve, Nora moved her vehicle out of the way and Ruby flew off the track.


"Victory is mine!" Nora clicked her controller and her car shot forward in the racing game they were playing. However, she missed something as she rounded a corner, as her vehicle had suddenly spun out of control. "Who put that oil slick there?!"

"You're welcome."

The smug voice came from the third (and only male) player. Jaune Arc, resident leader of Team JNPR, and close friend of Ruby, smirked at Nora as he zipped past her out-of-control car to win the race. Wearing jeans and a sweatshirt with a bunny on it, he gave off the impression of a large teddy bear. No one would believe he could ever be threatening.

"How did you know where I was going to be?!" Nora wailed, as the final member of her team, Lie Ren patted her on the shoulder.

"You always get overconfident when you're about to win and take the shortest path," Jaune explained. "We've played this game enough for me to know there's a small blind spot there. I left it there last lap."


Watching the game, but declining to participate himself, Lie Ren sat on the edge of the bed. He was a young man with long black hair that ended midway down his back with a magenta streak on the left side matching the color of his eyes. He was wearing a dark green long-sleeve tailcoat with pink cuffs and gold trimming, along with white pants.

"Ren, you're supposed to be on my team!" Nora reprimanded, crossing her arms and pouting.

"When you lose, you should congratulate the winner and work harder to beat them next time," Ren explained to her. "Besides, Jaune's our leader. Isn't it only natural for him to be able to strategize like this?"

"Uh, when you put it like that…" Nora slapped Jaune on the back, her super strength sending him sprawling onto the floor as Ruby giggled. "You're amazing, Fearless Leader."

"You need to teach me some of your moves," Ruby begged Jaune. "I'll finally be able to beat Yang."

"Your sister is really good," Jaune admitted, rubbing the back of his head. "Last time we played, I barely won and she did not handle it well."

"She's a sore loser for sure," Ruby agreed and then switched to her infamous puppy dog eyes. It always got what she wanted as she gazed into Jaune's face. "Pleeeassseee? I'll help you come up with a super sweet upgrade for your sword."

"You really should come up with some kind of ranged attack," Nora jumped in. "Something that shows off, like a flamethrower."

"OOOO, that would be awesome!" Ruby exclaimed.

"For the last time you two," Jaune rubbed his temples with one hand. "My sword is a family heirloom and I'm not modifying-…" A loud ringing melody interrupted him. "One sec, scroll." He opened it up to see Ozpin's face. "Professor?"

"Good afternoon, Mr. Arc," Ozpin greeted. "If this is a good time, do you think you can come to my office for a moment? I need to discuss something with you."

"Sure?" Jaune didn't know what this was about, but he wasn't currently busy as they just finished their game. "I'll be up in a few minutes."

"Thank you."

The line disconnected and Jaune stood up.

"I got to head out, sorry."

"Oh, snap!" Nora laughed. "Jaune-Jaune is in trouble. What did you do?"

"Nothing." Jaune answered truthfully, unable to think of anything he did recently.

"Suuuuure," Nora replied, grinning with a glint in her eye. "That's what they all say."

Jaune rolled his eyes, waved goodbye to Ruby and Ren, and left the dorm to make his way up to Ozpin's office. At first, he didn't think anything of the headmaster's request. It wasn't unusual for Ozpin to check up on team leaders from time to time. The chats could range wildly from how they were handling their team, or just how they were doing. Schoolwork did come up from time to time and that gave Jaune pause. His combat grades were pretty crappy.

That single thought caused him to actually stop.

"No, there's no way…" Jaune muttered to himself, trying to ignore that uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.

The fake transcripts of his couldn't have been discovered, right? They got him this far and once he passed initiation, there was no reason for the school to examine them again. Only two people knew about what he did. Himself of course, and just recently Pyrrha. Pyrrha didn't take the news well, but that was partially his fault. She was just trying to help him improve his fighting style and he snapped at her. That was unfair. Jaune knew he had to apologize to her for his actions. It had been uncalled for.

Pyrrha wasn't the kind of person to rat him out to Ozpin either. Was she?

"I'll explain my situation to her after I apologize," Jaune whispered softly, to make his desires a promise. An Arc never goes back on their word, even to themselves. "Pyrrha will understand. I really do need her help."

It took a little bit to push his pride aside and admit the truth.

Lost in thought, he didn't notice his arch-enemy and resident school bully Cardin Winchester watching him. Cardin heard what happened that night on the roof, as his window to his dorm room was open and his room was right below where Jaune and Pyrrha were talking. He had been thinking about how to use this to his advantage…or maybe just getting Jaune kicked out of Beacon for being a loser.

"Arc's going to Ozpin's office?" Cardin questioned out loud, watching from a distance. "Timing's too perfect for this to be a coincidence." Gears in his mind clicked into play. "Hah, Beacon found out!" He rubbed his hands together. While he wouldn't mind having an errand boy to boss around, the decision was made for him. "No way we're keeping this quiet. The other students deserve to know. Not for revenge of course, but to maintain the dignity of this school."

His laughter did not make his words sound very persuasive.

"How are you today, Mr. Arc?" Ozpin asked pleasantly from across his desk to the boy seated across from him.

"Fine, sir." Jaune replied politely.

"Are you settling into being a team leader?" Ozpin questioned, examining Jaune closely. "Last time we chatted, you were unsure of yourself."

"Oh, I still am!" Jaune couldn't resist laughing. "My team has been really supported though and I like leading them. They are a lot stronger than I am, so the fact they are willing to listen to me is a blessing."

"Strength isn't everything," Ozpin commented and Jaune could hear the change in his tone. It felt like Ozpin's next words weren't directed completely at him. "Moving hearts and minds can't be done with force. Leadership requires something else besides physical prowess." Ozpin's expression changed back from one daydreaming to one focusing on the boy in front of him. "Not all people are suited for the role. It's something I keep an eye out for during initiation."

"And you saw that in me?"

Jaune was shocked to hear this. He wasn't used to hearing compliments. His family didn't believe he could be a Huntsman and when he left for Beacon, they assured him there was a spot at home for him if he failed. They didn't think he could get in and somehow he proved them wrong. Still, knowing how powerful everyone around him was did make him feel inadequate sometimes. Especially in combat class when Professor Goodwitch only criticized him. It was supposed to be helpful, but having no compliments class after class began to weigh down on him.

"I did," Ozpin confirmed, giving him a small smile. "You brought Team JNPR together against that Death Stalker and came up with a plan to kill it. That level of cooperation isn't something most new teams can do. The same with Miss Rose."

"Knowing you think highly of my leadership skills means a lot," Jaune admitted, looking at the floor as his ears burned. "I still need to work on improving my own combat skills though. I can't be holding my team back because of that."

"No, it's good you can understand your weaknesses," Ozpin agreed. "Few people have the capability to look at themselves objectively to find their faults. Without having formal combat training, you have to learn everything yourself."

"Yeah, it's difficul-…"

The boy's words trailed off and his eyes widened in horror as he stared up at Ozpin. Ozpin was not smiling but was maintaining a neutral expression.

'He knows!'

The moment Jaune realized that his face began to pale. Ozpin had called him to discuss his fake transcripts. The initial pleasantries were designed to get him to lower his guard. Jaune's entire body grew stiff as his mind tried to figure out what to do. He could deny the transcripts were forged, but if Ozpin dug deeply into them, it would be obvious they were a fake. Playing innocent was off the table due to his earlier words and he doubted Ozpin would be that stupid to overlook it.

"It has come to my attention that some of the information in your transcripts you provided to Beacon may not have been entirely accurate," Ozpin continued, not looking upset. "Is this true?"

Jaune didn't answer immediately. He was still trying to figure out how Ozpin discovered this. What would make him go back and check his transcripts after all this time? Was his performance in combat class so poor they wanted to verify his training? Only two people knew about his fake transcripts. Himself and…

'Pyrrha! She sold me out!?'

That couldn't be the case. Jaune refused to believe his partner turned her back on him like that. His stomach began to churn under Ozpin's gaze, as the headmaster waited patiently for Jaune to answer. The entire situation was heavy and part of Jaune wanted Ozpin to appear to be angry or at least just come out and say it. It was like having his parents be disappointed in him rather than yelling. There was only one answer he could give at this stage.


His eyes were glued to his feet as he replied.

"Which part?" Ozpin pushed a folder with a copy of the transcript in front of Jaune. "I want to make sure we have correct information on file."

"…All of it."

"Excuse me?"

Jaune wasn't sure if Ozpin didn't hear it well enough because he was mumbling to his feet or just wanted to add salt to the wound. Gritting his teeth, he forced his gaze up to stare directly at Ozpin.

"All of it! My entire transcript is fake!"

Silence followed this announcement and Jaune was panting.

"This is very serious," Ozpin finally responded, leaning back in his chair and interlocking his fingers. "Can you explain why you did this?"

"Does it matter?" Jaune asked, slumping down his chair as the weight of his actions finally caught up to him. His life was over. At best, he would just get kicked out of Beacon. "You're kicking me out, right?"

"I would still like to know," Ozpin replied calmly. "Why a talented student such as yourself did this. I doubt you woke up one day and said, 'I want to go to Beacon.' Most students go through years in combat schools before coming here. There are rare exceptions, such as those who live outside the major cities and have grown up fighting Grimm." He tapped a finger on his desk. "I know the Arc family so I was surprised to find out that their only son wasn't trained."

"My father wouldn't train me," Jaune explained, feeling exhausted all of a sudden. "No matter how much I wanted to be a Huntsman, he refused to. The only training I was able to receive was what I could learn on my own through books or from a passing Huntsman who stopped by and was willing to show me a few things. Yet, I wanted to become a Huntsman. It was my dream. I wanted to be the hero, not the person being saved. I want to help people!"

"I see," Ozpin tapped his finger on his desk some more. "Based on Glynda's reports, your defense isn't too bad, but you lack the ability to switch to offense."

"Why does this matter?" Jaune couldn't stop himself. "It's not like I can stay to fix that. You're expelling me…" Jaune stood up. "I'll pack my things."

"When did I say you were expelled?"

At the headmaster's words, Jaune froze.


"When did I say you were expelled?" Ozpin repeated. "Please, have a seat, Mr. Arc."

His mind numb at the weird turn this conversation took place, Jaune sat down automatically.

"Let me explain," Ozpin sat up and took a sip from the mug on his desk. "First, I have no intention to expel-…"

"Why!?" Jaune interrupted and then looked away embarrassed. "I mean… it's not like I want to be expelled, but it doesn't make sense for you not to do that. My transcripts are fake. I never went to any combat schools!"

"Yet you passed initiation," Ozpin cut him off. "Transcripts are only a measure for us to weed out those that may not be able to handle Beacon's curriculum. We fight Grimm, Mr. Arc. Students should have a certain level of skill or they will die during initiation. Mistakes are made and some people slip through the cracks, such as yourself, but there is little we can do. These were excellently forged by the way. The thing is, you passed the initiation. Once that happens, it doesn't matter what your transcripts say. Plenty of people who went to combat schools have failed or were rejected."

"I only survived because Pyrrha saved me. That's why I'm here in the first place."

The irony was not lost on the headmaster.

"So you can relax," Ozpin decided not to mention it. This was something the children needed to discuss amongst themselves. It was also important for students to believe they can trust the professors by reporting things anonymously. "I was merely curious as to why you did this."


Jaune realized how stupid he sounded, but from being relaxed to thinking he was going to be expelled, to feeling the weight of the world get lifted off his shoulders, he was mentally exhausted.

"Now, that doesn't excuse your performance in Glynda's class." Jaune flinched at Ozpin's words. "You admitted you're far behind the other students for the reasons you also mentioned above."

"I'll work hard," Jaune promised instantly. "For giving me this chance, Professor. I'll never forget it. Thank you for believing in me. I have an idea what to do."

'Definitely have to apologize to Pyrrha and accept her offer.'

"Might I make a suggestion?" Ozpin pushed a piece of paper across the table.

"What's this?" Jaune picked up the paper and looked at it. "Hunter Apprenticeship Application?"

"You have a lot of work to catch up to the other students."

"No denying that, sir."

"This is something Beacon has set up to allow students to shadow a licensed Huntsman around on their duties," Ozpin explained. "Normally, this is reserved for extraordinary students at the third year or up, but exceptions can be made."

"I've never heard of this application before," Jaune muttered, eyeing the paper in front of him. "Why offer me this? I'm hardly a star student."

"This is how Huntsman trained students before the Academies were created," Ozpin informed him. "An experienced one would select students and train them. With the Academies formed, it's used a lot less frequency because of the dangers. Apprentices literally spend all their time traveling and fighting Grimm. You can condense a year of training in schools into a single month. The reason we avoid advertising this to everyone is many due to some students preferring this over classroom studies."

"I can see that," Jaune agreed. "Nora would jump at the chance to get out of class." Before completing initiation, he probably would have instantly agreed to this too. Though, the way Ozpin said dangers, told him getting out of class wasn't the only reason. "Dangers…"

"I need to warn you, fatality rates for apprenticeships are much higher than being a student at Beacon," Ozpin's face darkened. "I have a Huntsman in mind, but I warn you, Mr. Arc. This will be grueling work. You will be traveling along the borders between Vale's lands and the wilds full of Grimm, moving from town to town to help out with Grimm problems and assisting your teacher with any jobs they have. You could be stuck in the middle of Grimm-infested lands for days, if not weeks at a time with no civilization. This is not a decision to be taken lightly."

"No wonder you don't advertise this," Jaune muttered darkly. "This might be too much for me. I might go with my plan."

"You don't have to make the decision today," Ozpin assured him, holding up a hand. "I want you to think this through thoroughly. This path is dangerous, but you'll grow in more ways than you will know. If you choose to stay here and learn at Beacon as you planned, I will not hold this against you. This is your decision and yours alone."

"Why me though?" Jaune couldn't stop himself. "I know you want me to catch up because of my lack of training, but why go out of your way to bend the rules?"

"I have several reasons," Ozpin admitted and gave Jaune a small smile. "The most important one is I think this training will provide you the most optimal route for reaching your goal. The world needs people like you. Those that want to help others and protect them from the threat of Grimm."

The boy shivered a little at that conviction.

"I'll give you until the end of the week," Ozpin moved to the topic at hand. "If I don't hear from you, I shall assume you declined the apprenticeship."

"This is a big decision." Jaune muttered.

His entire future could hang on this one decision. Agreeing to get trained by a fully licensed Huntsman was a huge honor. Unless someone in your family was one, that was an opportunity that didn't come along very often. Even in a family of Huntsman, like the Arcs, Jaune still wasn't given the chance to prove himself. He had to steal his family's sword and run to Beacon under false pretenses. The danger was real though. His life would be at risk if he accepted the position.

'I would have to leave my team behind.'

Pyrrha, Nora, and Ren were like his family. They haven't known each other that long but were already incredibly close. They could trust each other completely, which is why he kept reliving how rude he had been to Pyrrha. Then there was Ruby, his first and best friend at Beacon. They had a blast spending time hanging out. She was also very sympathetic when he lost and was always trying to help him upgrade his weapon. He didn't want her too of course, but he appreciated the offer.

How many people could say they had a friend who wanted to make their sword into a gun for free?

"It is," Ozpin agreed. "And one not to be made lightly. Take your time. Of course, spending too much time fretting over a single decision is not good for a young man. Are you familiar with chess?"

"I've played a bit with my grandfather. Why?"

"I find it a great way to stimulate my mind when I need to make a tough decision. Would you like to join me in a game before heading out? It's been a while since I've had time to play."


Jaune shrugged before scooting his chair up. There was a lot on his mind. Not only about the apprenticeship but he also wondered what the real reason was that caused Ozpin to let him stay. His explanation seemed plausible, but Jaune had grown up with his parents and sisters telling him one thing but meaning another. Like them saying they supported him going to Beacon, but he was always welcome home.

At least he could trust his partner and friends to be honest with him.

While Jaune was obliviously playing chess with Ozpin, Cardin had started a fire in Beacon's rumor mill. Rumors had always spread quickly, but this one was different. Beacon Academy was known as the best Huntsman Academy out of all four kingdoms. The vast majority of students had trained for years to get into Beacon. They were considered the best of the best. Everyone was training to protect the kingdom from the monsters of Grimm.

Having someone cheat their way into Beacon was an affront to them.

The subject at hand is what caused this rumor to spread at Ruby-like speed. The fact that these rumors were about Jaune Arc made it even worse. It was no secret Jaune was the weakest first year. So any of the first years who were questioned would tell the upperclassmen about him. The rumor combined with how bad Jaune was in combat class made believers out of many. Within an hour of Cardin spreading Jaune's secret, everyone at Beacon knew.

Even the famous first-year team, RWBY was discussing it and if the rumor was true.

"Sure, he's weak, but Beacon wouldn't let a fake transcript slip under them. Goodwitch would never have allowed it."

Yang Xiao-Long, Ruby's older sister, was laying on her bed which happened to be the top bunk of a double decker, head propped up on her arm. Saying she was stunning was an understatement. Tall, toned, with an impressive rack, guys would give their right arm for a single date with her. She had lilac eyes and a large amount of long bright golden hair. Since she wasn't in her uniform, she was wearing her favorite outfit consisting of a tan jacket that revealed her midriff. Underneath this, she wore a low-cut yellow crop top. A brown belt was wrapped around tight black spandex shorts.

"That's just it! Arc had to have found a way."

The silver-haired girl with an off-center ponytail, pinned with a small silver tiara, and pale blue eyes was marching back and forth in the middle of the room. She was wearing a thigh-length strapless dress with a faint color gradation from white to pale blue at the hem. Over this, she wore a bell-sleeved bolero with the same color gradation as her dress from shoulder to wrist.

Her name was Weiss Schnee, heiress to the Schnee Dust Company.

"It all makes sense!" Weiss continued. "Why he's so bad in combat class. He never had training and just cheated his way into Beacon." Her eyes glared at Yang. "Why aren't you upset? We worked hard to get here and he gets in without any effort."

"It's just a rumor, Weiss Queen," Yang reminded her. "As I said, he's pretty weak, look at those noodle arms, but he survived initiation and helped take down a Death Stalker."

"Pyrrha was in his group though," Weiss pointed out, still consumed by anger at the thought of Jaune sneaking into Beacon. "Maybe he sought her out so he could pass?"

"Didn't Pyrrha pin him to a tree to assist him in his landing strategy?"

"Because he called for help. She wouldn't leave someone alone. That idiot must have planned it."

"Really?" Yang crossed her arms under her chest and raised an eyebrow. "You called him an idiot and at the same time suggest he somehow forged transcripts good enough to get past Goodwitch, befriended Pyrrha before initiation as an ally, and then teamed up with her to pass initiation because he couldn't fight himself? Do you realize how ridiculous this sounds?"

Weiss paused her rant. Hearing that out loud, it did sound kind of far-fetched.

"Okay, I'll give you that." The heiress reluctantly conceded. "The thing is, most rumors usually have some basis in fact. If it was a rumor about you cheating your way into Beacon, no one would believe it and it wouldn't spread like this."

"Maybe that's why the rumor was about Jaune?"

Weiss and Yang looked at the third girl laying on her bed. Blake Belladonna, a young woman with wavy black hair and amber eyes. She was wearing a black, buttoned vest with coattails and a single silver button on the front. Underneath this was a white, sleeveless, high-necked, crop undershirt and white shorts. Her full stockings graduated from black to purple at her ankles. Atop her head was a black bow.

"What do you mean by that?" Yang asked curiously.

"Cardin started the rumor after Jaune headed to Ozpin's office," Blake explained, not taking her eyes off her book. She had been listening to their conversation, but not really getting involved until now. "I would take it with a grain of salt."

"Thank you!"

Yang and Weiss jumped after hearing Ruby shout suddenly from her top bunk over Weiss' bed.

Ruby had been uncharacteristically quiet while her team had been arguing. Clutching her pillow tightly on her bed, her stomach kept churning uncomfortably. Those rumors couldn't be true, right? Jaune wasn't the kind of person to cheat at anything. He was honest, kind, goofy, and treated everyone with respect. During their first meeting, Jaune went out of his way to cheer her up after her first fight with Weiss, which left her in a Dust-created crater.

Besides that, he was Ruby's first and best friend. Well, best male friend. Weiss was still her best female friend. It was obvious Jaune wasn't strong, but as Yang pointed out, he did survive initiation. Nora and Pyrrha always said what a good leader he was too. Just because he didn't brag about his achievements, didn't mean he wasn't a good leader.

If he left, Ruby knew Beacon would be a lot lonelier. Weiss was an awesome friend, smart and caring once you got past her initial prickliness, but she tended to be too serious and worked on school work all the time. Jaune was fun to hang out with and did silly stuff which reminded her of Yang, minus the horrible jokes. Even if he wouldn't let her upgrade his weapon with something cool, like a gun or flamethrower.

"Weiss!" Ruby continued, glaring at her partner. "I know you aren't a fan of Jaune, but this is enough. You don't need to insult him every day! He's my friend and even with all the mean things you say about him, he never says anything bad about you. Or anyone else for that matter!"

The room was quiet. Ruby rarely raised her voice unless it was in excitement. Expressing anger was unusual for her. If she was upset, Ruby usually snuck away to be alone and calm down. Little did the rest of her team know, when she was having trouble trying to adapt to the stress of being a leader, Jaune always listened to her worries and gave great advice. She did the same for him.

"But…" Weiss spluttered, at last, trying to find the right words to use here.

"She has a point," Yang admitted, shrugging a bit. "Yes, he continues to ask you out, and honestly, he needs to take a hint, but he never actually insulted you like you do to him. He's even dialed it back a lot so he only asks like what? Once a week? You won't believe how many guys suddenly start getting aggressive and angry if I decline their advances. Nice guys, am I right?"

"That's not the topic at hand!" Weiss's face was glowing slightly in embarrassment. "It's the fact Arc may have done something illegal. You know it's a crime to forge documents like this for Huntsman Academies. Expulsion would be a natural result of him cheating-…"

"You don't know he cheated!" Ruby cried out, jumping out of her bed. "I'm going to find out from him. Don't you dare help spread that rumor. That's a Team Leader order. Also, no insulting anyone anymore!"

"This is an abuse of power!"

"No Insults!"

Ruby slammed the door behind her as she went to look for Jaune, leaving the rest of her team in silence.

"What did I do?" Weiss finally asked.

"Really?" Yang stared at her in exasperation. "Do you really not know?

"You could dial the insults back a little bit," Blake suggested, closing her book. "But she is acting out more than she normally would because of stress."

"Stress?" Yang and Weiss repeated.

"She's afraid of losing a close friend," Blake continued. "Even if you two don't think much of Jaune, he's been a good friend to Ruby." From time to time, Blake actually caught them talking about their problems and comforting each other. It was kind of interesting to see a true platonic relationship. Jaune was surprisingly insightful from the glimpses she saw.

"I guess you have a point," Weiss admitted, looking at the ground. "Maybe I have been too hard on him." She gripped her hand into a fist. "If that bastard did sneak into Beacon, I'm never going to forgive him and it's going to confirm everything I've said."

"One step forward, two steps back." Yang sighed.


Pyrrha jumped into the air as she sat on her bed. The door to her room flew open with a bang as Nora rushed in frantically, Ren close behind her. Nora slammed the door shut and turned to Pyrrha, eyes wide and looking to be in a panic. This was a far cry from the cheerful girl who would always laugh when facing Grimm or angry teachers ready to dish out punishment.

"Did you hear!?"

"Hear what?" Pyrrha asked, confused. She really hadn't been all there since Jaune's confession. "Did something happen?"

"Jaune's been expelled!"

Those words caused Pyrrha to freeze. She had been bracing for this moment ever since she told Ozpin, but she didn't expect it to affect her this hard. Reality was quite different than scenarios she ran in her head.

"It's just a rumor," Ren added quickly, noticing Pyrrha's condition. "It seems Cardin is spreading a rumor that Jaune's transcripts were fake and he's been expelled."

"Which is a load of bull!" Nora declared, crossing her arm. "Our team leader is amazing. Sure he's a little weak fighting against people, but he'll get better. He's smart and thanks to him, we're one big happy family. Other teams still argue all the time."

"Spreading a false rumor about Jaune does seem like something Cardin would do," Ren agreed. "We should let Jaune know when he returns so he won't be caught off guard."

"Then we kick Cardin's butt for those fake rumors!" Nora cheered, raising her fist into the air.

"They aren't fake…"

Nora and Ren paused. Pyrrha's words were so low, they barely registered them.

"What did you say?" Ren asked softly.

"Those rumors… aren't fake." Pyrrha repeated.

"How do you know?" Nora pressed.

"Jaune told me. The night I took him to the roof to ask if I could help him train a bit." Pyrrha's hands were clutching each other so hard, her knuckles were going white. "That's when he told me. He never went to any combat school, never trained with anyone. He got in by forging transcripts."

Ren and Nora went silent.

"I don't know the full reason why Jaune did this," Pyrrha continued, wanting, no needing, to get this out after being bottled up so long. "I didn't get a chance to ask him. He was upset with me. I think I pushed too hard and he took it as me calling him weak. We haven't really talked since then. I've been questioning myself what to do…" Her body trembled. "I finally decided to tell Ozpin about it. How Cardin learned… I don't know… but I'm afraid the rumors are true."

"It was your fault?!"

Pyrrha jumped at Nora's furious outburst.

"Nora…" Ren tried to calm her down.

"No, Ren!" Nora was actually shaking in anger. "Jaune told her an important secret and she betrayed his trust! We were supposed to be a family. Trust each other with any problems. Then the moment he opens up to you, you stepped all over him!"

"It's not like-…" Pyrrha tried to explain.

"I'm not listening!" Nora covered her ears. "I don't want to hear it!"

"Nora!" Ren interrupted and his voice was firm. "Let her explain." He turned to Pyrrha, his face still unreadable. Pyrrha wished he would at least show if he was angry or not. Trying to read him was next to impossible. "Why did you do this?"

"Because if I didn't… Jaune might… on a mission…" Pyrrha choked out some words. "He's my friend… the closest I can ever remember having. If something happened to him…"

Ren frowned ever so slightly.

"I see…"

"You can't be siding with her!" Nora gasped, shaking Ren's arm, causing his entire body to jerk.

"I haven't sided with anyone," Ren replied calmly, yet stern. "I believe I understand your position, Pyrrha. At the same time, I feel you should have talked to us about this before you went to Ozpin. This secret affected all of us. Because of going to Ozpin, there's a chance you destroyed any chance of remaining friends with Jaune."

"And me," Nora huffed. "You got our leader expelled. He actually accepted me and didn't call me crazy like other people do. Now his dreams are ruined because of you."

Pyrrha couldn't argue as she stared at her feet. Tears welled up in her emerald eyes as she thought about Ren's words. The boy was absolutely right. She should have told Ren and Nora first. It would have gotten some of the guilt off her chest without ruining Jaune's life. They could have gotten together and helped him. Pyrrha couldn't even defend herself with the fact that Beacon may have discovered it at a later date. Her emotions had been running high and she wasn't thinking straight.

Jaune's future was distorted because of this.

There was no doubt in her mind he was going to despise her now.

Before they could continue their conversation, they heard a click. Turning around, the person they were discussing decided to walk in at the moment. Jaune was sipping a can of Everybody Loves Grape Soda and once inside the room, shut the door behind him with his foot.

"Hey guys," Jaune greeted. "Have you ever had one of those days where it seems like everyone is looking at you?"

"Pyrrha told Ozpin about your transcripts!"

"NORA!" Ren couldn't stop the girl's outburst in time.

The can in Jaune's hand fell to the ground with a thud, spilling purple liquid all over the carpet. No words escaped the poor boy's lips as he gaped like a fish out of water.

"Jaune…" Pyrrha forced herself to meet his eyes. Her voice was trembling.

"You…. told… Ozpin?" Jaune croaked out. "No… you… couldn't have…"

He couldn't believe it. Before this moment, there was no way he would entertain the thought Pyrrha would tell. Ozpin discovering it might have been a coincidence or someone overheard. Having his friend and partner betray him like this? It was like he didn't know the slowly nodding redhead in front of him.

"How?" Jaune's voice got stronger as anger began to seep into his words. "How could you do this?"

"I'm sorry!" Pyrrha cried out. "I'm so sorry, Jaune!"

"You're sorry?" Jaune's hands began to form firsts. "You're sorry?! I trusted you with the biggest secret in my life and you immediately go and tell Ozpin! You betrayed me! Do you despise me that much!? Did you want me off your team because I didn't earn my way in?"

Pyrrha opened her mouth, desperately wanting to tell Jaune her reason. That the only reason she did this was to protect him because she cared. Yet all the words got stuck in her throat. His anger washed over her and she didn't blame him at all. Nora was right. Their team was supposed to be like a family and Pyrrha destroyed any trust they could have in each other. They all had secrets they didn't want to share, but Jaune took the step and did. Now he was going to be expelled.

"Nothing to say, fine." Jaune turned around. "You'll get your wish Pyrrha. I'm going."

He turned around and left the room, slamming the door behind him.

"You should have let me tell him," Ren reprimanded. "I could have eased him into it."

"I'm not apologizing," Nora muttered, walking over to her bed and hiding under the covers. "He needed to know."

Ren rubbed his temples. He would give Jaune a little bit to cool off and then see if he can help explain things and decide on the team's next step. Looking between Pyrrha, who seemed to be a shell of herself, and the bundle of blankets that was Nora, he knew it wasn't going to be easy.

It might even be too late now.

Night had begun to fall over Beacon, and Jaune had no intention of moving. He was sitting under a tree, looking out over the Emerald Forest. His entire belief in his partner had been shattered. Pyrrha had told Ozpin about his transcripts. The small feeling in the back of his mind had been right and it wasn't coincidental his transcripts were discovered. He hadn't been expelled, but staying with his team, no, with his current partner, was impossible. He hadn't planned on accepting Ozpin's offer.

Now the decision had been made.


The blond boy jumped and looked around at the surprising guest.

"Ruby? What are you doing here?"

"Can I sit down?" The silver-eyed girl asked nervously. The fact he was up here wasn't a good sign.

"Sure." Jaune gestured next to him and Ruby took a seat.

"There have been some rumors around Beacon," Ruby muttered, pulling her knees up to her chest. "About you…"

"What kind of rumors?" Jaune sighed as if life couldn't be any worse.

"That…" Ruby trailed off. This was really hard for her to ask but she gulped and then forced herself to continue. "You cheated your way into Beacon and you lied about your transcripts."

There was no immediate answer, which only confirmed Ruby's fear. In fact, her friend looked defeated.

"Who told you?" Jaune asked, fearing the worst.

"Cardin spread the rumors."

"Cardin?!" Jaune gaped at her. 'How did he learn about my transcripts?'

"He's telling everyone you forged your transcripts and you've been expelled!" Ruby looked at her, her eyes watery.

"Well… I haven't been expelled." Jaune forced out a weak chuckle.

"So you… did forge them?"

"I did."

It was a mark of their friendship that Ruby didn't berate him. Instead, she just asked a question.


So Jaune told her the same story. How he wanted to be a hero, to help people, but his family never gave him the chance. How he had no choice but to get his hands on those papers to be at least given a chance. The entire time he talked, Ruby listened, her face devoid of judgment.

"And the worst part?" Jaune looked over at her. "My family never believed in me. When I left for Beacon, they told me there was a place back home if I failed. They expected me to fail. Yet, here I am." He sighed and leaned against the tree. "Maybe it was a mistake. I thought Beacon would teach me how to fight. Instead, I'm just seeing how amazing you all are, while I'm just used as a punching bag. I'm pretty useless."

"That's not true!" Ruby moved and sat down directly in front of him. "Don't say that Jaune!" Her eyes narrowed and it was one of the few times he had seen her angry. "Yes, your combat skills are pretty bad, but you can learn to fight. But you have so many other great qualities. You're smart and clever. You came up with that strategy to kill the Death Stalker at initiation with people you never met before. You're kind of patient. Whenever I have problems, I can come to you for help. Without you, I would have gone crazy already here. Don't sell yourself short."

"I…" Jaune swallowed. "Thanks, Ruby. That means a lot."

"I'll help you train too," Ruby volunteered. "Plus, you have your team. I might even be able to rope Yang into helping, though she doesn't know much about swords. Maybe Pyrrha can help? She's really strong and uses a shield and sword…"

Ruby trailed off as Jaune looked away.

"Jaune…? What happened?"

"I found out who told Ozpin about my transcripts," Jaune muttered. "It wasn't Cardin."


"It was…" Jaune had to bite back the bitterness. "It was…Pyrrha."

"Pyrrha?" It was Ruby's turn to gape at him. "But… why? She l-… likes to be on your team."

"I don't know," Jaune muttered angrily. "But she told him. I told her about my situation and she went to the headmaster. I'm lucky I'm not being expelled."

Ruby was trying to process this. Why would Pyrrha rat Jaune out? She was his partner and they were supposed to be like family. It didn't make any sense. With her skills, that girl could have trained Jaune to be a super amazing fighter. Their team would give Ruby's team a run for their money on the best first-year team. Plus, Pyrrha had a huge crush on Jaune.

It didn't make sense.

"What's going to happen now?"

"I'll be gone for a while." The grin on Jaune's face was forced. "Here." He passed over a creased piece of paper.

"Hunter Apprenticeship Application?" Ruby read out loud. "What's this?"

"My options," Jaune explained. "I'm not expelled because I passed the initiation. Transcripts are just a way for Beacon to filter out applications. Initiation is all the matters. I'm incredibly lucky there, but as you said, I'm really bad at fighting, so Ozpin gave me a choice. I can either continue Beacon's curriculum and try to work hard to catch up… or I can take an apprenticeship under a Licensed Hunter for a couple of months then return."

Ruby's eyes flickered from the form to Jaune, back to the form, and then up at Jaune.

"That's so cool!" Ruby gasped. "But why haven't I heard about this?"

"Because people like Yang will want this option over classroom learning." For the first time, he cracked a smile. "Right?"

"Yeah, she would." It was Ruby's turn to smile back.

"It's also more dangerous," Jaune continued. "I'll be traveling outside Vale's walls and constantly fighting Grimm. It's 24/7 training."

"And you're going to do it?" Ruby asked.

"I don't have much choice," Jaune pointed out. "My partner wanted me gone and most of the school now seems to know about my situation. It's probably best. At least this way, I won't be a liability for Nora and Ren."

"They would never say you're a liability," Ruby interjected forcefully. "Nora has always looked up to you and Ren does too."

"That means a lot Ruby," Jaune gave her a real smile. "I'm glad I met you. You're my best friend and the one person I can really trust." Ruby blushed. "I mean it. Life at Beacon's been a lot better with you around. I would probably be a lot mopier if you weren't. I really appreciate you being my friend."

"I'm glad you're my friend too." Ruby hugged him. "Just promise me… you won't give up. You'll come back to Beacon and we'll be the best leaders here."

Jaune was her best friend and he needs someone to be there for him. Hearing Pyrrha gave up his secret must have hurt. As his best friend, Ruby needed to be there for him in any way she could. It's what friends do. The question was, what could she do?

"I promise," Jaune told her, feeling a lot better after talking with her. "And you know an Arc never goes back on their word."

"I know." Ruby giggled and sat back down next to him.

Jaune continued to stare out over the forest, but the atmosphere was a lot more relaxed than it had been. He felt a lot better with his decision and returning to Beacon would be worth it. For Ruby, Nora, and Ren, his true friends.

Meanwhile, Ruby was staring at the application form as an idea slowly began to creep in her mind.

"So he accepted, Oz?"

The man on the other end of Ozpin's scroll had graying black, spiky hair, faded pink eyes, and slight stubble along his jawline.

"Yes," Ozpin confirmed. "When he returned the form, all the doubt had cleared from his eyes. I'm pretty sure I know what happened and while not a pleasant situation for one of any age, it was an important event that can shape who we are."

"Did you tell him the Hunter Apprenticeship was just a fancy title for dealing with troublemakers?" The man asked with a grin. "Beat some discipline into them by teaching them what a Huntsman is about."

"In a way, I think this will apprenticeship will teach him that," Ozpin agreed. "Thank you for agreeing to this. You're the only one I can trust with this."

"Not too happy about being a babysitter, but if he's as smart as you say he is, I bet he'll be useful." The man pulled out a flask and took a swig from it.

"He just beat me in a game of chess."

Ozpin was greeted with a spectacular spit take.

"A kid… beat you in chess?" The man spluttered. "I know Jimmy gets upset every time he loses to you."

"Yes, he foresaw every move I tried and countered it spectacularly. He mentioned he played with his grandfather, but I didn't expect his level of skill. I don't think he's aware of his talents yet."

"Huh, maybe the kid will be useful."

"I do have one more thing," Ozpin continued. "You may not like this news."

"Blah, I'll get over it. I always do."

"Another individual learned about the Apprenticeship and wants to participate. I couldn't find a reason to refuse and she was just as determined as Mr. Arc."

"Always making more work for me," The man groaned. "Fine, Oz. It's fine. I'm babysitting one brat, I can look after two. I promise to bring at least one back with me. Two out of three. That's over fifty percent."

"How much have you been drinking?" Ozpin asked.

"I just got back in Vale, so I needed one… or seven." He smirked and swept his hair back. "I'll see you tomorrow. The earlier we get started, the sooner I can investigate."

"Good luck." Once the man hung up, Ozpin leaned back in his chair.

'I wonder if I should have told him who signed up.'

However, Ozpin remembered a couple of 'pranks' the man pulled on him when he was in Beacon, including hiding his favorite mug and swapping out his hot chocolate for coffee. No one could say the headmaster wasn't capable of being petty.

"I'm sure it will be fine."

His eyes fell on the name of the application on top. The ink glistening under his lamp.

Ruby Rose.

Feel free to leave a review, comment, suggestions, or ideas, I love reading them. If you have a question you wish I ask and would like a quick answer, feel free to message me directly. I try to respond to those within a day or two. Comments, I tend to respond to in the next chapter.

Wishez: Back again, I didn't think I would beta this but here I am. Ben got sick so I had to step up a bit, he is a better beta than I am, however. Hope you guys enjoy the new Darkbetrayer fic, it seems like it has a lot of potential and I hope to keep betaing for the foreseeable future.