Welcome to the final chapter of Cinderella!

I'm excited to be here. There'll be more information from me (including a poll on my potential next story?) afterwards, so if you'd like to be in on that, read the AN. Also, there's an Omake at the end, too, answering a question I got asked once or twice about a certain characters conspicuous absence from this fic.

For now, let's get into it!~

Start Chapter 68

It takes quite a while longer than they'd initially planned, but eventually, yes, people do begin to leave.

It's only a few at first. Weiss decides that she's going to be heading back to Atlas, because she's worried enough about her sister, and feels ready enough to face her father. Ruby decides to go along with her, and that, of course, signals Penny's departure as well.

"I hope you guys still have a great time and all!" Ruby says as she hugs Jaune. "I really enjoyed spending time with everyone! We'll have to get together again sometime and do something like this again."

"I suppose we will have the time." Jaune laughs. "Now that we're all ostensibly retired."

Ruby giggles. "I don't know about that, but… well, maybe a teaching job wouldn't be so bad."

"Maybe not." Jaune says, seemingly thinking on the option, and Cinder has a flash of her soulmate teaching the next generation of Hunters, and finds the idea quite palatable. "Alright, well, we won't hold you guys up. Have a great time in Atlas, Rubes. Text me when you're headed back to Patch, maybe we'll come visit you guys!"

"That sounds great!" Ruby waves, before she joins Penny and Weiss outside of the Arc family home, and, with a final wave, shuts the door behind her.


It's a tad bit surprising for Cinder when the next folks to leave are Ren and Nora.

Cinder had expected them to stick around the longest of anyone, and yet, the two come to Jaune a few days after Ruby, Weiss, and Penny's departure with excited faces.

"We're going to travel the world!" Nora exclaims rather excitedly.

"Well, we're going to go along with a research team headed to scout some of the lower portions of the Grimmlands." Ren explains. "From what Atlas intelligence is suggesting, many of the Grimm that had swarmed about Evernight and the surrounding areas have started to scatter. It's believed that Salem may have, consciously or unconsciously, kept them around. Now that her influence has faded, even though the Grimm still occasionally spawn from out of the pools of destruction, they're not doing so nearly as frequently, and they're not staying in the area exclusively, either."

Cinder's eyes widen. It's… well, it's not entirely unexpected, she supposes, given that when the Brothers had faded away, so too had Ozma, and Salem, the Relics, and her own power as the Fall Maiden. It makes sense that any pull Salem would have had, magical or otherwise, on the Grimm would fade.

"That sounds good." Jaune summarizes her thoughts.

"In theory, it is." Ren explains, and Nora nods along. "We're going, however, in an effort to study migration patterns among the Grimm. They've never had such natural tendencies before, of course, but some Atlesian scientists are postulating that the reason the Grimm did not show more animalistic tendencies was that Salem's very existence caused them to behave differently. And on top of that, we need to know if any of the more monstrous Grimm Salem created are going to be headed towards civilization now that her keeping them near Evernight has ended."

"That… huh." Jaune purses his lips. "I don't think I would've thought about all that."

"Neither would I," Ren laughs. "But that's also why I am a Huntsman, and not a scientist specializing in Grimm behaviors."

Cinder feels that makes sense.

"Basically, we're going to go Grimmwatching, and if any of the Grimm get feisty, that's going to be upgraded rather quickly to Grimmwasting!" Nora cracks her knuckles.

"Yes, that." Ren says with a roll of his eyes. "So, I'm afraid for now that this is where our paths diverge."

It's a rather emotional thing, Cinder finds, the way that Team JNPR, for the first time in nearly a year and a half, truly goes their separate ways. It's not quite final, of course, and they'll see each other again almost certainly, but even so…

Well, it's the first real sign any of them have tangibly received that their adventure, their mad dash across the world, is well and truly over.

Cinder doesn't blame Jaune for being a bit down for the remainder of the day following Ren and Nora's departure.

"I just… I guess I thought I'd always have them there." Jaune says with a sad little laugh. "And now… now we're all parting. It… of course, it had to happen eventually, but I just… I wish it didn't."

Cinder nods, even as she takes Jaune's hand within her own and just… holds it there.

"Thanks." Jaune speaks.

"You've welcome." She responds simply.


Somehow, Yang, Blake, Mercury, Emerald, and Ilia have managed to get their trip to Menagerie back up and running. Cinder would question how they have all managed to be roped into yet another vacation after their vacation, but this is probably in large part due to the fact that it had been freezing outside for the majority of their stay in Domremy, and it's currently balmy and warm on the island nation they're headed towards.

They're currently discussing going surfing.

Cinder tries her best not to be jealous, but the jury is out on whether or not she's succeeded.

"It's been fun, Jaune, really!" Yang says as she crushes Jaune rather briefly in a hug. "And like Ruby was saying, we'll have to make time to all get together again in a few months."

"Yeah." Jaune says, before his expression dims somewhat. "That just feels so far away."

Yang seems to feel the same. "Yeah, yeah it is. But hey, we spent an awful long time constantly surrounded by our friends, at least now we get to spend some quality time just with our soulmates, yeah?"

She looks towards Blake, who tilts her head with some confusion back at her.

"I for one know there are some things I'd like to have the… space to partake in, how about you?"

Jaune goes red in the face, and Cinder finds herself in a rather similar boat. Yang cackles at seeing their reactions, before lightly punching Jaune in the arm.

"Seeya, vomit boy."

"Seeya, Yang."


Cinder ends up getting a moment to speak with Emerald and Mercury before their bullhead arrives to take them away, and she uses that time to finally admit something to the two of them that she'd always wanted to say.

Or, well, not always, since that implies that she'd had any intention of telling them prior to becoming a better person, which she had most certainly not. But as she is now… well, she needs to tell them something.

"The reason I took you all with me…" She says to them as she secludes the three of them behind a few trees, about ten meters away from the others. "I think it was because I saw some of myself in you."

Emerald's eyes widen in that moment, even as Mercury stays his normal, unflappable self.

"Really?" Emerald asks.

"I cannot be sure, of course. Who I used to be is… I don't entirely know that person anymore. I can't think like they thought. I cannot inhabit that frame of reference."

"I understand what you mean." Emerald admits as she looks back towards the others, towards Ilia most of all. "Ever since I met her, ever since we changed sides, and became the good guys, I… well, I haven't really had any want to look back."

"Eh, it's a pain in the ass, but I kind of feel the same way." Mercury shrugs. "I might not be as about it as you guys are, but… well, helping people… it's nice, I guess. Not like the greatest thing ever, but I get it."

Cinder nods her head. "I will admit; I assumed you were a sociopath."


"That you could not truly feel such emotions."

"Oh. Huh." Mercury frowns. "I guess not?"

Emerald shrugs. Mercury shrugs as well.

Cinder feels that sums them all up fairly aptly.


The adults pop in to tell them that they're heading out a few days after that. Or, well, again, Jaune's not trying to say that their group is not full of legal adults, but the difference between a gaggle of, largely, eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds, and four forty-year-olds is fairly sizable.

"Oi," Raven singles him out as Qrow, Tai, and Summer all head towards the clearing that a bullhead will soon land within. "A word."

Jaune chuckles, but nods his head and follows Raven to the same spot that Cinder, Mercury, and Emerald had all discussed something a few days back.

"So, what did you want to talk about."

"Well, I…" Raven pauses a moment, seemingly caught on exactly what it is she wants to say. Honestly, as much as she's blustering in the moment, she honestly doesn't need to say what she's likely about to say.

Jaune knows. She's shown it in her actions, if not said it aloud.

"I guess I just…" The woman sighs, before running her hands down her face. "Ugh, I can't believe I'm saying this to some nineteen-year-old kid, but thank you."

Jaune smiles. "There's no need to thank me."

"No, there is, as much as I wish there wasn't." Raven shakes her head. "If it weren't for you… I wouldn't have Summer back. I wouldn't have a general camaraderie beginning to build within the members of my old team again. I wouldn't have gone off and finally put an end to that idiotic bandit group I'd stubbornly refused not to be a part of. Hell, I wouldn't have a burgeoning, albeit somewhat stunted relationship with my daughter."

"That's grea–" Jaune's eyes widened. "Wait, what do you mean 'put an end to them?'"

"Oh, Qrow and I went out there about a week ago and I ordered them to disband. Mingle back in with society. Be good boys and girls."

"…Wouldn't they just not follow your orders."

"Oh, they weren't actually going to. But I was pretty sure they weren't going to; that's why I brought Qrow."

"…And when they refused to follow your orders, what did you do, exactly?"

Raven gives a grin, then, that is equal parts fond and feral.

"Are you sure you want the answer to that?"

Jaune comes to his conclusion regarding that fairly quickly.

"No, I don't, but I'm fairly certain I have a rough idea regardless."

Raven barks out a laugh, even as she shakes her head and steps up towards him. Jaune's unsure what she's doing at first, until she reaches behind her back, and pulls from off of it a large parcel, one which she thrusts towards Jaune.

"Here. The Branwen's don't believe in leaving their debts unpaid; although, to be fair, it's not like I really give a shit what the Branwen's do and don't do anymore. "

Jaune chuckles, even as he unwraps the gift that Raven's given him.

He finds his eyes widening once more as he gazes down at it.

In his hand is the single most beautiful blade he has ever laid eyes on. It's a longsword – that much Jaune can identify – made up of what seems to be an almost glowing metal. The handle is ostentatious, and looks almost ritualistically carved, yet it doesn't hinder its use as a weapon, either. Jaune holds in aloft, takes a normal stance, and finds it feels almost perfectly balanced in his hands.

"What is…"

"It's a blade made of high-carbon steel, inlaid with channels of a rather rare kind of light dust. The hilt and pommel are made of silver, and there are a few rubies in the cross guard, if I recall."

"What… Raven, why are you–"

"I told you; the Branwen's don't believe in leaving their debts unpaid." Raven speaks, and she does so with such assuredness that Jaune briefly believes it to be the only reason. "And… truthfully, because you changed my life. Every good thing I now have can almost singularly be traced to you. Some might believe such a thing could be rewarded purely with gratitude,"

"I would be one of those people, y'know." Jaune teases.

"But I am not one of them. That sword is a relic of the Branwen clan, existing within it for least a few hundred years. But then, knowing our 'illustrious group', it was probably stolen from someone at some point. And in this particular case, I believe I know just who it was stolen from."

"Then why should I of all people–"

"It is precisely someone like you, of all people, who should have such a blade." Raven speaks, and again, her voice leaves no room for arguments. "Why don't you look a little harder at the cross guard? I believe you missed something."

Jaune's brow furrows as he looks down at the blades guard, as Raven suggested. He studies it, and then, finally, he realizes that there is a pair of gemstones carved into a familiar pattern in the center.

Two crescent moons, one inside the other.

The Arc family symbol.


"Seems like some member of the Arc family ran into the Branwen tribe at some point in the past. That or they were a member. Either or, that sword had enough dust on it that I almost choked when I dug it out of the bottom of the Branwen's treasury. Once I dusted it off, though… well, it seemed obvious who should receive it."

Jaune finds himself gaping down at the blade, and studying the intricate channels of dust carved into it. He takes a step back, and swings it. The dust within the blade is clearly old and almost dead, but even still, the blade creates a trail in the air, one that hums with the energy the light dust had given off.

"You deserve far more than this; but it is all I have to give you." Raven says.

Jaune just shakes his head, unable to process all of this in the moment.

"You don't owe me a thing, Raven."

"Yeah, no." Raven rolls her eyes. "The sword is yours by blood, if you even believe in that shit, I personally don't, but it was either going to sit in a burned down bandit camp to be found by some archeologist a thousand years from now, or it was going to you. Do whatever you want with it. Train with it, give it to your kids, hell, sell it, it'd probably fetch a good few hundred-thousand lien, I'm sure you could get a nice place out in Vale with it for you and Cinder."

Jaune finds his face heating up somewhat, even as Raven smiles, and forces the blade's sheath into his arms as well.

"…Thank you, Raven."

"Hah, I can finally turn your own words back on you, for once," Raven's wearing a rather shit-eating grin as she turns around, locks eyes with him, and says…

"There's no need to thank me."


Pyrrha, and Oscar are the last to leave.

They're to be taking a bullhead back into Mistral city. From there, Pyrrha will be staying with her folks for a time while she figures out what she wants to do, and Oscar will be commuting back to his family's farm, but only long enough to tell them that he intends to go off and become a Huntsman well and truly.

Cinder's happy for the both of them; quietly, of course.

She's not really expecting for Pyrrha Nikos to call her over to the same spot that everyone seemed to be having their goodbye's these days, but she doesn't complain. Pyrrha is someone she respects, in truth. It's hard to spent upwards of half a year with someone and not form at least some level of camaraderie with them.

"I'm happy for you." Is the first thing that Pyrrha says, and Cinder cocks an eyebrow at it. "I meant how you've been doing with Jaune. I'm not sure you realized, but–"

"You had a crush on him?"

Pyrrha laughs. "Then yes, it seems you did realize."

"Mm. I knew for quite some time. Frankly, I love Jaune, but I've no idea how he was so dense as to miss your affections."

Pyrrha's smile takes on a somewhat brittle quality. "Neither do I, in truth, but alas."

Cinder smirks. "He can be a handful."

"Yes, indeed. But he's reliable to a fault, and a good man. I respect him. Love him, even if that love has taken a different shape of late."

Cinder cocks her head to the side. "How so?"

"I think I've started to realize that I see the other members of my team more as family than anything else. Once I looked at Jaune in a romantic fashion, but… seeing him with you… well, it certainly hurt for a while, but…" Pyrrha pauses. "He's happy. You're happy. You make each other happy. I have no desire to get between you, and truthfully, even if you were out of the picture entirely, I don't believe I'd make any kind of move."

"So, you've moved on, then?"

"In a manner of speaking, yes." Pyrrha smiles, before shaking her head a touch bashfully. "My apologies, this is perhaps something I shouldn't be discussing with you, but–"

"No, I think I understand." Cinder speaks, nodding her head. "It helps to air your thoughts, to see how others react. To know that what you feel is real. Am I correct?"

Pyrrha nods after a moment. "Thank you, Cinder."

"I should say the same to you." Cinder bows somewhat. "For treating me as you have, despite everything; as a friend."

Pyrrha Nikos, champion of Mistral, smiles brightly.

"I should say the same to you." She mirrors.


It's just them, now.

Most of Jaune's older siblings have returned to their own homes, given the fact that it's been roughly a month since they first arrived. Many simply have jobs and other things requiring their presence.

Cinder doesn't mind. She likes things quiet.

It's funny, though, now that they're alone. They're dancing around each other more than they ever had when everyone had been here. Their great dinners are a thing of the past – which the local restaurant is probably quite grateful for, given that making a table for roughly two dozen people, and sometimes more, had been quite difficult – and they haven't been going out to fetch groceries nearly as much, courtesy of their being so many less people.

Eventually, Cinder tires of it entirely. This is no time to be getting skittish.

So, she takes Jaune's hand, guides him back to their room, and gives him a small surprise.

It's nothing much, really. Just a music player that his family had had in their storage room gathering dust, and a gown that had been in the same place. Jaune's eyes widen, but he smiles after a while, and takes Cinder's outstretched hand.

They dance a while. It's quaint, and Cinder finds herself surprised by just how well Jaune manages it. She herself is the far less experienced, which is aggravating, given that she'd done some research into the craft during the past few days to prepare for this. Ah, well, certain things simply aren't worth getting upset over.

At the end of the songs – which comes sooner than expected given the record that Cinder had put on began to skip – Cinder finds herself somehow out of breath, as if she'd just fought for as long as she'd danced. Jaune himself is the same, albeit he has a goofy smile on his face, one which Cinder wishes to see forever.

"What was all this for?"

"Nothing at all." Cinder answers honestly. "I simply had the idea, and thought it might be prudent."

"'Prudent.'" Jaune teases. "You can just say 'nice', y'know."

"I am not the type."

Jaune snickers. "I suppose not."

Cinder finds herself chuckling, even as the two just… sit down on their shared bed, and Cinder leans against Jaune.

"This is… nice. I don't think I've ever felt so peaceful in my entire life than I have during the time I've spent here."

"I couldn't be happier to hear that!"

Cinder can't quite help the way she reaches over with her right hand, and takes Jaune's left. She plays with the individual digits on it, manipulating the skin and muscles of his fingers as she tries to find exactly what it is she wants to say.

"You know, I once read this story when I was a child. About a young girl, raised in squalor, being granted magic and attending a wondrous ball. She dances the night away with a prince she's never met, and then the magic wears out. At midnight, she runs, leaving only a slipper of glass behind."

Jaune doesn't say anything. He just lets her speak.

"The prince has his armies travel the countryside, trying to find the woman he met that night by having each woman in the kingdom try on the shoe, to see if it fits perfectly."

"Yes, I'm sure that was the only reason he wanted to see so many women's feet."

Cinder rolls her eyes. "It's a fairytale, Jaune."

"Sorry, continue."

"In the end, he finds her, and takes her as his princess. They return to their Kingdom, and are happy forevermore. It's… not a complicated story. Not at all. I couldn't read when I was a young girl, but I heard a family tell the story in the foyer of the Glass Unicorn once. I used to think that maybe one day, I would have that same experience. That I would be gifted magic, and meet a prince, and live happily ever after."

She looks over at Jaune, and finds herself almost tearing up.

"I never really believed in fairytales, but… somehow, in the end…"

"I found him, my Prince Charming."

Jaune's eyes briefly widen, before he smiles so very gently, and leans forward, connecting their lips together.

"I love you."

"I love you, too."

"And I think… I think that I'd like to spent the rest of my days just like this. Content, and calm, with you."

"Yeah…" Jaune says, and his lips split into the widest smile.

"I think I'd like that, too."


Jaune finds himself humming underneath his breath as he looks down at the same notice that he's been studying for the last few days.

"It seems too good to be true."

"Well, you know how Weiss is," Cinder reminds him, and yes, it does make some sense, "She'd want to support her friends, and using her father's money to do it probably makes her feel even better."

"I get what you're saying, really, I do, it's just…" Jaune sighs. "A whole house!?"

"Admittedly, it does seem like quite the generous offer," Cinder admits, "For her to buy out homes for every single person who fought against the Brothers, but then, when you think of how rich the Schnee family really are, you realize that the 250 million lien they're providing for this is a drop in the bucket in their overall riches."

"How can it be a drop in the bucket!?"

"Jaune, the SDC is valued at over a trillion lien. 250 million to them is the equivalent to you having ten thousand lien and spending one."

"Oh. Huh."

"Yes, indeed." Cinder sighs. "I do not much care for those with such bottomless pockets, but I will confess that in this particular case, it aids us."

"So… do we just…" Jaune gestures rather uselessly with his hands, "Go looking for a house now?"

"I don't see any reason why we shouldn't."

"Well, we don't have jobs."

"Admittedly, that is a fair reason."

"And the demand for Hunters has quite literally never been lower now that the Grimm have, largely, stopped attacking human settlements en masse."

"We are in the top percentile of our industry, however."

"That is true, if anyone could find a job as a Hunter, it's probably you,"

"You could as well."

"Cinder, I love you, but there's no need to lie to me."

Cinder just rolls her eyes. "You're one of the heroes who helped save the world. I think that'll get you in the door for most positions. Have you thought about teaching at one of the Huntsman academies?"

"Do you think those positions are really still going to be around in twenty years? I mean, the Grimm don't seem to be all that threatening anymore!"

"As long as they're drawn to negativity, and humans are who they are, they'll never stop being a threat. For now, we exist within an era of peace, but I imagine that come twenty or thirty years from now, another war will break out over some asinine problem with resources or taxes or what have you, and the Grimm will be back at humanities doorstep."

"Wow, bleak."

"Human nature is bleak, yes." Cinder shrugs. "But there's nothing that can be done about it. Not truly."

"Well… maybe not, but I'd still like to try."

Cinder stares at him a while, before smiling and shaking her head.


"I was simply thinking that if anyone was ever going to have a chance to do such a thing, it would be you. After all, I don't think any other human could ever claim to have talked down the Queen of the Grimm on several different occasions."

"Ah, well… I guess that's true."

"But in all seriousness, Jaune, I believe that even if the Grimm are, at the moment, not a threat, that does not mean hunters are unnecessary. A village was wiped off the map in southern Vacuo just a few days ago."

"Yeah, but they're saying that was bandits, right?"

"Exactly. What's worse, they likely had a former huntsman among them. Which is why Hunters will always be required in some way, shape or form. As long as light exists, there will be shadow. As long as order exists, there will be chaos. Creation, destruction; isn't that what the Blacksmith said to us?"

"Duality, huh?" Jaune comments idly. "Alright, you're probably not wrong. Still, me, a teacher?"



"Because you have all the makings of a fantastic one."

"And those are…?"

"You are kind, and patient, and gentle. You were not naturally talented, and so you have the ability to relate to those who might struggle or otherwise fail. You can teach from experience, and give others a firm foundation upon which to build their own skills. Added onto that, your style is not flashy or unique, but rugged and simple, easily copied and added onto many others."

"Huh. Just kind of had that ready, did you?"

"I expected you to ask such a question at some point."

"So, you think I should go apply to Beacon once it opens up, maybe?"

"If that's what you want to do, then yes. Otherwise, no."

"But you just said–"

"What you want to do overwrites what you may have the skills to do. If you do not wish to be a teacher, then do not be one. It is that simple."

Jaune lets out a sigh, but it's a fond one. "Alright, alright. Let's change the subject back to houses. What do you know about what makes a good home?"

"Almost nothing."

"Huh." Jaune comments idly.

"Then we seem to be at an impasse, given I am much the same."


Jaune walks back into their new house with a bit of a stunned expression. Cinder looks over at him curiously over a mug of hot cocoa.

"…I got the job." He speaks.

Cinder's up on her feet in but a moment, happily hugging him, and he finds himself hugging her back, laughing into her shoulder.

"What did they say?" She asks him.

"Well, Professor Oobleck and Professor Port were on my side from the start I think, but Ms. Goodwitch pretty exclusively saw me at my absolute worst in terms of combat ability, and as their old combat instructor is planning on leaving this coming semester in order to scout out the Grimmlands…"

"You were interviewing for combat instructor?"

"Yeah." Jaune laughs, rubbing at the back of his neck. "It's almost funny. I don't remember a word I said. It was just nonstop questions, and me answering them to the best of my ability. It went… well, I guess it went well, since Ms. Goodwitch gave me the job."

"I'm proud of you." Cinder speaks with a smile on her face, and Jaune mirrors the expression himself a moment later. "We should celebrate."

"How so?"

Cinder shrugs. "Do you want to get something special for dinner?"

"We could go out somewhere?"

"That could work. Any preferences?"

"I could go for Mistralian, personally."

"Mistralian it is. There's that place on 31st… Villa Avitas or something?"

"Oh, yeah, I heard they have good breadsticks."


"Congratulations, you two!"

Nora and Ren both preen rather obviously at Jaune's words, wearing respectively a hot pink wedding dress – which Nora somehow pulls off, Jaune's not entirely sure how – and black tuxedo with a dark green shirt beneath.

They look wonderful. Jaune couldn't be happier for them.

"And everyone's here, oh, Renny, this is so exciting!" Nora bounces up and down, clearly too hyped up on… well, whatever energy source it is that Nora seems to possess. Probably ADHD. "We have to go and talk with everyone, oh, oh, and I wonder how Blake and Yang are doing, I hear they got engaged, we should ask them!"

"That sounds nice." Ren says, summing up Jaune's own thoughts rather succinctly.

The two drift away, and Jaune is left standing in his finest dress shirt, with a chute of champagne – which he became old enough to drink… two or three months ago? He's losing track – in one hand, when he feels another person's hand take his empty one.

"Sorry about that," Cinder shakes her head. "Had a stomach ache."

"No, it's fine." Jaune turns to face her fully, and finds himself once again getting lost in the gentle lavender dress that Cinder is wearing.

It matches with several others here, which makes sense, given that Cinder had been one of Nora's bridesmaids.

Jaune had been Ren's best man, and Pyrrha had ended up as Nora's maid of honor. It had been a brilliant ceremony, truthfully, and Jaune had had a wonderful time so far.

It's the end of the night now, though, and Jaune's starting to get a bit nervous.

Because he'd asked Ren and Nora if he could do something at their wedding, and they'd given him their blessing.

Now he has to actually do it.

He reaches his hand into his jacket pocket, and feels for the small box within. He finds his fingers shaking as he pulls his hand – sans the box – back out, and lets out a worried breath.

He's not really sure why he's worried. They've talked about this, he and Cinder. It's been a long time coming, honestly, given how long they've known each other. Going on three years, now. That's not to say that's an incredibly long period of time to wait to… well, Jaune's getting ahead of himself.

He looks over at Cinder, dressed in her wonderful little dress, and watches as she almost shrinks as the music starts, and people begin to stand up and dance. The auditorium they're within begins to swell with energy, and Cinder, as she always seems to, shies away from the loud and the crazy.

Jaune finds himself reconsidering something in that moment, and before he can second-guess himself, he reaches out and takes Cinder's hand.

"What is it?" She asks as she turns back towards him, and settles her metallic left hand atop her right hand, and Jaune's own.

"There's uh… there's something I wanted to show you. Will you take a walk with me?"

"Of course."


They don't end up going very far. Jaune had had a spot in mind, after all. He and Ren had been coming here for the past few weeks in preparation for the man's big day, and he'd grown quite familiar with the area.

There's a little veranda at the top of a tiny incline, one which Jaune finds himself liking very much.

It feels like as good a spot as any.

They step up into it together, slowly, carefully, their footsteps barely making a sound. Jaune's not entirely sure when it had gotten so dark out, but then again, the wedding had been set to start at 4:00, and it had been a while.

He's getting distracted, though.

Cinder must have some idea as to what's happening. There aren't many reasons for two people in a relationship to sneak off on their own to a veranda on a calm winter's night.

Well, unless they're the type to do naughty things in public, but Jaune and Cinder rather notably aren't.

"Cinder, uhm…" Jaune fumbles over his words a tad, before biting down on his bottom lip and almost forcing himself not to ruin this.

"Y'know, when we first met, it was like the world was ending."

Cinder's eyes widen somewhat at Jaune's words, although she doesn't much disagree, it seems. He doesn't exactly have to wonder why; they'd been in similar scenarios. Jaune had had his entire worldview shattered around him, only to find out his soulmate had been the woman trying to destroy his school. And for Cinder… well, she'd found out the little light she'd always sought, the one person she'd always wanted to meet, had been someone whose life she'd ruined.

"I don't really remember that day all that well. I was a mess, plain and simple. I think we all were, in a way."

Cinder nods her head, agreeing with his assessment.

"And yet… everything that happened after, everything we built, and came to… everything that we shared was because of that. It's funny, thinking about that. How in the end, despite it all, we came out of it together. Always."

Cinder nods her head.

"I just… I hope you know that I always want to be together with you. Through thick and thin, through rain or shine, through life and death. I want to be there by your side. I want us to share in the good, and the bad, and the in-betweens. I hope you know that. But… just in case you don't… I don't just want to tell you."

Jaune reaches into his coat pocket, his hand shaking, his breath quaking, and pulls from out of it that tiny black box. He lowers himself, kneeling in front of the love of his life, and pulls the box open, revealing a simple, but elegant gold ring.

"I want to show you." He says, trying to keep his voice from wavering. "So… Cinder, will you marry me?"

Cinder doesn't say anything for a moment, and Jaune's nerves, naturally, choose this to mean that she hates him and always has. Those fears are assuaged a moment later when her eyes begin to gather tears, and she looks away from him, silently nodding her head up and down as she purses her lips.

"Of course, I…" She stumbles over her words, her breath catching. "Of course, I will."

It's strange, really, how happy Jaune feels in that instant of time. It shouldn't really affect anything, should it? And yet, as he rockets up, and tackles Cinder in a hug, as he spins the two of them around the veranda, almost dancing, almost laughing, almost crying, he finds that he's never felt better in all his life.

This… it's everything to him.

It seems to be for Cinder, too.

"I love you."

"I love you, too."

"So much."

"I love you more."

"I love you… most?"

"That works, sure." Cinder giggles, even if the noise is stunted by her crying. "…I don't think I ever thought this could happen. Not in all my life."

Jaune waits to see if Cinder has anything else to say.

"I just… want to share this moment with you a while longer. Just the two of us."

Jaune finds himself smiling, silently agreeing with his soulmate, even as the two of them dance the night away, alone, but always together.


It's a fairly warm day at the tail end of Summer.

The birds are chirping. The flowers are blooming. There are children out playing in the grass, and getting into hijinks.

And one of these children is a young girl, only around eight years old. She has dark, black hair, bright blue eyes, and a feisty-streak a mile long. She, unlike many of her friends, is not simply playing around to enjoy herself; no sir.

She is training.

In her hands is a wooden sword with blunted edges. She swings it to and fro, doing her best to emulate her father's style, with some of her mother's trademarked flare.

It goes so-so. Mostly because she is eight.

She sniffles as she takes a tumble to the dirt beneath her, and pushes herself back up. She knows she shouldn't cry, because big kids don't cry, and she's a big kid – no matter how much her parents insist rather strongly that she is not, in fact, a big kid – so she won't cry.

She sniffles again. A third time.

She starts to cry.

Her mom hears her, as she always seems to. It's barely been a few seconds before the door to the backyard opens, and her mother comes walking out, kneeling down beside her and smiling down at her.

"What's wrong, darling?"

"I… I fell."

"Oh, I see. Did you hit yourself somewhere?"

"My knee…"

"Okay, let me see it."

She rolls up her pantleg so that her mom can inspect the wound. Or, well, wound is a really strong word, given that it's really more of a bump, with some dirt stuck on her knee. Her mother sees this, and so uses her semblance to warm her hand the smallest amount, before placing it upon her daughter's knee.

"There. All better." Her mama says, and she believes her. "Now, you've been training for quite a while. You should come back inside, Meyrin."

"But I don't wanna…"

"I'm making grilled cheese?"

Meyrin feels her will to continue training dwindling rather rapidly.

"Well… okay."

"Good." Her mom smiles down at her, before holding her arms, one human and one robot, out towards her. "Since you hurt your knee, would you like it if I carried you inside?"

Meyrin knows that big kids don't get carried places. She knows this as a fact.

She also knows that she wants to be carried back inside.

So, she lets her mom pick her up, wraps her arms around her mother's neck, and enjoys the ride.

Their house is a nice place. It had been built on the outskirts of Vale some fifty or so years ago, which meant that while it hadn't been new when they'd gotten it, it hadn't been aged or worn, either. Or, well, that's what her mom and dad say, but she doesn't really understand that much of it, really, so Meyrin just kind of parrots them.

"Where's daddy?"

"He's out at the store." Her mother tells her, smiling down at her as she sets her down on the couch in their living room. "He should be back any minute now, actually."

Just then, the sound of keys rattling in the doors handle echoes out, and Meyrin jumps up excitedly to greet her father. Her mom, even if she is more subdued about her excitement, clearly is just as happy.

The door opens, and in walks a blonde man in his early thirties. His hair is brought back in a ponytail behind his head, and he carries a sword and shield on his waste, albeit folded in on itself to make it more convenient. When he looks over and sees Meyrin, a big smile blooms on his face, and he sets the groceries he'd brought in on the table beside the doorway so that he can hold out his arms.

Meyrin runs right into them.


"I'm glad to see you, too, angel." Her father, Jaune Arc, speaks as he lifts her up in his arms, and smiles up at her. "And what have you been up to that's got your outfit all dirty?"

"Training!" She answers excitedly. "I'm gonna' be the bestest huntress ever!"

"You've got some rather stiff competition." Her mother, Cinder Arc, chuckles under her breath. "But I think before we worry about being the bestest huntress, we should worry about being the fullest Huntress."

Meyrin turns around to see her mother has finished making her grilled cheese, and she eagerly walks over to their kitchen table to eat. Her mom places the plate down in front of her – along with a glass of juice and a few apple slices – and lets her get to eating. While she does, she hears her parents getting all emotionally mushy behind her – bleh!

"I'm glad you're back."

"So am I." Her dad answers, clearly pleased. "Actually, the reason I took so long is because I ran into Ruby."

"Oh? How'd that go?"

"It went. She's the same as ever somehow. Almost as energetic as Nora. I feel like I'm twenty years older than I am when I'm with her."

"Doesn't help that she's still fighting fit, either, I hear."

"Yes, yes, poke at the teacher, very funny, like I don't get enough of that from the kids at Beacon." Her mom laughs. "How've missions been going lately?"

"Fine. I've asked to stay on lower-priority missions for the foreseeable future. I think my days of taking on the biggest threats the world has to offer are over."

"Well, no matter how good you are, I'm glad for it. It's always better to have you around."

"Hmhm. Yes, I agree. And what of Beacon's newest addition, I hear someone has recently taken up a position there?"

"Oh, right, I totally forgot about Summer. Uhm… well, she uses that voice modulator thing to speak, which helps, so she's taken on Port's old job of Grimm studies at the moment."

"And nothing of value was lost?"

"Oi, I liked Peter!"

"And did you like how he taught Grimm Studies?"

"That's an entirely separate subject."

Her mother snorts.

"In all seriousness; is Summer going to be better at teaching Grimm studies? Yes, probably. But I will miss Port, even if I'm happy for him getting to spend more time with his family in retirement."

"Oh, and about your idea?"

"Which id– Oh!"

Her parents suddenly start whispering towards one another, which Meyrin has long since learned means that she is being talked about, but she can't know what her parents are actually discussing because either she's not old enough, or they're discussing presents for her.

Given her birthday is tomorrow, it's likely the latter.

She finishes eating and turns around to see her father with a goofy grin on his face. He sees Meyrin watching him and winks at her, which causes Meyrin to giggle.

Somehow her dad grins all the wider.


The day of Meyrin's birthday comes around.

All of her friends come. All their parents come. It's a fun event.

She spends the majority of the day playing outside with her friends, shooting their foam-dart guns at each other, playing hunters, or otherwise getting into trouble.

As kids do.

She opens her presents, and is generally quite happy about what she receives. She gets a few toys, a few sets of these bricks that build together to make cool stuff like sharks and planes, and even the complete collection of one of her favorite shows.

It's a pretty good haul, all things considered.

So she's somewhat surprised when her father, later that night, calls her down into the basement. Her mom comes, too, and Meyrin finds herself squinting in confusion.

"What are we doing, daddy?"

"Well… we have a surprise for you." Her dad answers, clearly excited.

"And that is…?"

Her father goes over to their laundry room, opens the door, and takes a wrapped item off of the top shelf. She says wrapped, but really, it's swathed in a cloth, not exactly wrapped in wrapping paper.

He places it down on the floor, and urges for Meyrin to be delicate as she unveils the item.

When she does, her eyes widen into great, big circles!

It's a sword. She doesn't really know that much about swords, other than her dad's, but she knows this is a sword because it looks just like Cro… Croca… her dad's sword! It's even got the same symbol on it on its guard.

The Arc crest, her dad says.

Her mouth's hanging open in awe, which causes both her parents to chuckle. Normally, she might be embarrassed about that, but she's too excited to care at the moment. Instead, she reaches down, and handles the great weapon.

It's heavy! That's the first thing Meyrin really has to learn. Real, metal swords are much heavier than the small, wooden swords she's grown used to training with.

It's also sharp! Immediately, Meyrin cuts her finger, and has to pull her hand away, yelping out under her breath. Her father is there immediately, trying to do something of some sort, but it seems like it's having no affect.

"What is…"

"She doesn't have it yet." Her mom says, and her dad seems to understand, even if she really doesn't. "But… I think if we're giving her a weapon, it only makes sense to give her a means to defend herself as well, no?"

"Mm. Yeah." Her dad says.

Her mother stretches her hand out, and places it on Meyrin's shoulder. She looks up at her mom curiously, and is a bit startled when, instead of telling her what she's doing, she instead just starts talking.

"For it is through love that we achieve retribution. Through this, we become a grand and steady flame, burning ceaselessly through time. Infinite in strength and joined hand in hand, we release your soul, and by our love, protect thee."

Suddenly, Meyrin feels as if her entire being is flowing out all around her. She looks down at her body, and finds that she's glowing a powerful orange color. More than that, the wound on her finger closes right before her eyes, as if it had never been there at all!

"Woah…" She mutters under her breath. "Uhm… what was that?"

"We unlocked your aura." Her dad says, before smiling knowingly, as if in on some kind of joke. "And you have a lot of it."

"Woah…" She says again. "…I don't get it."

Her parents both laugh at that, and she feels quite embarrassed, her lips curling into a deep frown. Her mother notices her plight and brings her up into her arms, running her metal hand up and down her back.

"Don't worry, darling. This isn't all going to make sense immediately. It's going to take time. And right now, what you need more than anything… is to go to sleep."

Meyrin summons her best complaining face. "But it's my birthday! I don't wanna go to bed!"

"Even if it's your birthday, that doesn't mean you still don't have school in the morning."

"But I don't wanna go to school!"

"Mhm. I'm sure you don't." Her mother placates her as he hoists her up, and walks her back up the stairs. Her dad stays behind to wrap the blade back up, before joining them in her room.

Despite her complaining, she is tired. In fact, as her mom lays her down in her bed, and tucks her in, she finds herself yawning, her eyes fluttering closed.

"Happy birthday, darling." Her mother says as she leans down, and kisses her on the forehead. "Goodnight."

Meyrin doesn't hear her.

She's already asleep.


Jaune finds himself well and truly exhausted as he lays down in bed that night.

As much as they'd gone all out to make sure Meyrin's birthday had been as successful as it could possibly be… well, that level of commitment took time, and effort. Jaune and Cinder both had spent quite a bit making sure their daughter's birthday would be wonderful.

And now… it's over.

He lets out a weary sigh as he slumps against his pillows, lamenting not for the first time that they are not nearly as fluffy and nice as he'd like. He always says he'll go out to the department store one of these days and buy some fluffier ones, but then he usually falls asleep about five minutes after that, and so such thoughts are forgotten by the time he wakes the following morning.

It is an agonizing cycle.

Cinder slinks into bed beside him and lets out a loud yawn. Jaune laughs. "I feel you, there."

"Mm. People are tiring." Cinder says, and Jaune understands what she's talking about, given she's definitely still an introvert, and she'd had to play parent today to well over twenty other children and parents.

"I know. But you did wonderfully."

His wife smiles. "Thank you. I'm doing my best."

He reaches over, takes Cinder's hand – it's the metal one, but he's really not all that picky – and kisses it.

"Oh? And what is this for?"

"Nothing, really." He laughs at Cinder's incredulous expression and raised eyebrow. "I'm serious! I just… I love you. I love the effort you put in, despite how hard I know this can be for you. And I want you to know it."

Cinder's smile grows a touch softer, then, a touch gentler. She's become so much more so ever since becoming a mother, and Jaune… well, he's changed, too, albeit it's hard for him to really analyze himself from such a perspective.

Cinder tells him that he's a lot goofier these days, and he takes her word for it because she's pretty much the foremost Jaune expert on the planet.

He doesn't even really rank in the top five.

Still, in that moment, but one thing calls out to him.

"I'm… exhausted."

"As am I…" Cinder laughs. "Then… perhaps we should get some sleep? I'm sure now that Meyrin's training is progressing, she's only going to grow into more of a handful."

Jaune rolls his eyes. "Yes, she… probably will."

"…I wouldn't miss it for the world."

"No…" He smiles. "And neither would I."

He slides towards his wife, and pulls her against him. They embrace in the middle of their bed, staring into each other's eyes. Perhaps on another night this might progress in a more intimate manner, but not on this night. This night they both truly are exhausted, and long for nothing more than sleep.

And that is what they'll get. Hand in hand, in each other's arms, they drift off to sleep.

They are smiling. Happier than either of them ever thought they could be.

And they always will be.

Like two characters from out of a fairytale.

Like Cinderella, and her Prince Charming.

End Chapter 68

End Cinderella and Prince Charming

That's all, folks!

I have to say that in the end, I'm quite pleased about this story! There was definitely a period around the middle point (during the Menagerie Arc specifically) where I was running out of motivation to write this. But then... I don't know. I guess I saw that so many people loved it, and it helped to make me love it more, too.

I wish I had more to say on this fic in the end than I do haha. To be honest, I don't think there's much to say. I wanted to do something a bit different for my next fic, but I do want to preface this by saying that no matter which fic is chosen, it will be a few months before it releases the first chapter. I haven't started writing any of them.

Here are the prompts.

1. Ever since returning from the Ever After, Jaune has begun to feel oddly left out of his friends conversations. The things they discuss as recent were decades ago for him, and they can't seem to grasp that. One night, while going to a bar to try and de-stress, He finds companionship with an unlikely source: Weiss' mom!?

Jaune/Willow romance post Volume 9. Yes, this is crack. But taken seriously! Probably a shorter story, more focused. Featuring a romance and Jaune reconnecting with his friends after decades apart (for him).

2. Jaune Arc is just a civilian aboard the Space Colony Vale, hanging over the planet Remnant. An attack on their station, however, unveils an ancient weapon, one which might just be the key to annihilating the hostile alien force known as the Grimm.

Straight up RWBY crossed with Giant Robots (my two loves). It'll basically be a Gundam story, but, y'know, a fanfic, so not. Probably somewhere in-between Super-Robot and Real-Robot, if anyone in this fandom has any idea what that means. Obviously the plot will be different, but this would be a longer form story.

3. Deep within a ruin far beneath Vacuo, Jaune must somehow survive a deadly maze that seems tailor-made to take his life. Worse yet, his partner in this endeavor is his worst enemy, the woman who'd killed his best friend, and destroyed Beacon; Cinder Fall.

The post Volume 9 Knightfall story I've been talking about, which I... just couldn't come up with ideas for? This would probably be slightly longer than the Jaune/Willow story, but I'm not certain how much longer. I think this one would max out at like 100k words. Jaune/Willow is probably like 60k ish? And then the RWBY mecha idea would probably be very long. Probably the same length as Paved, my other RWBY story.

I have some ideas for some oneshots and stuff that might come out between now and my next story, but I should also make it clear that just because one story gets more votes than the others, that does not mean it will be done. I want to do the mecha idea more than the others, and probably want to do the Knightfall story the least, if I'm being honest. If it gets like a billion votes, though, I might do it. If you want to vote... I guess just leave a review? Well, I'd hope you'd do that anyways, since this is the final chapter, but you get what I mean.

Okay, that's all from me. If you want more of my writing immediately (I don't know why you would) you can check out my Pokemon fic 'Who We Used to Be' which updates biweekly on Saturday's-ish. I also have a few fire emblem and xenoblade fics over on my AO3 account - the name is the same - if you wanted to check those out, too. For now, I leave you with this Omake, farewell!


The western beaches of Vacuo are known for being prime tourist attractions.

Many a person goes there to enjoy fun in the sun, sunbathing, and other sun-related activities. Surfing, wakeboarding, and other activities that involve boards also are enjoyed in these areas.

Two particular goers to this particular beach, however, are present for far different reasons.

"Y'know, I was thinking," A man around thirty or so years old, with brightly colored hair and impeccable fashion sense speaks, and his compatriot, with really weird hair and meh fashion, nods her head silently. The silence makes sense. "We were never really that cool, right?"

The woman beside him raises an eyebrow, even as she deftly takes the watch right off of the wrist of a woman who'd passed by them for just a moment.

"I just mean, we were pretty much strung around by everyone and their mothers, right?"

She nods.

"We got roped into that garbage at Beacon, I nearly died – you cut me out of that Griffin's stomach, which, I'm not really sure how you did that,"

The woman shrugs, as if such is particularly casual.

"But hey, frankly, no complaints on my end. And then we ended up in west Vacuo just twiddling our thumbs while the world fell down around us."

She shoots him a look that seems to translate to something along the lines of 'And this is going… where, exactly?'

"Don't you ever think we could've meant something? I mean, hell, Cinder fucking Fall became a good guy! She saved the damned world. And here we were twiddling our thumbs and throwing back pina coladas on the beach, stealing shit from random passersby, and accomplishing nothing at all!"

The woman nods her head sagely.

"I mean, do you ever think that maybe we could've been out there, helping save the world, making a difference; truly mattering in the grand scheme of things?"

The woman instantly, and without hesitation, shakes her head no as she takes a sip out of her martini.

The man stares at her a while.

And then…

"Yeah, you're probably right."