This story may not remain weekly. I promised to give a chance for Raise to become a weekly story on Thursday, but have two new stories coming out - this one, and another next Tuesday. As such, on Tuesday, I will put up a poll on my profile asking which of the three you want to be the Thursday story updated every week. The other two will share Tuesday slots. The reason i am waiting is so you can read all three and decide which you'd like more. Please wait for poll and don't review to vote.
Simple. Poll will be up Tuesday.
On this story:
Since a lot of my other stories are a lot more focused around super-serious concepts and plot, I thought a lighter story might be nice. This is an age-old idea I threw around with College Fool absolutely years ago. I don't think it ever made it to the Writer Games.
The village was burning.
Jaune thought he ought to be more worried about the fact, but he instead felt floaty and distant from it all. It wasn't a village he recognised, and the heat from the fire lacked any real temperature. He was also dressed in the same onesie pyjamas he'd gone to bed with, and he remembered going to bed in Beacon, so it didn't take much to connect the dots and realise he was dreaming.
"Huh. Cool." Jaune turned his hand over before him and watched as a burning ember blew over his skin. It lacked any heat and slipped by like grease. "I don't usually realise I'm dreaming in a dream. Not even when it should be obvious."
This wasn't like his normal dreams either; he usually dreamed boring, stressful dreams of being caught sneaking into Beacon, or of Weiss rejecting him in harsher and harsher ways, some so cruel that he doubted she'd ever do them in real life. In those dreams, Ruby, Pyrrha and Ren would laugh cruelly at him – which was so out of character for them that he really should have figured something was wrong, but he never did.
Sometimes he was running away too, and he had limitless stamina. The weird thing about dreams was that no matter how unrealistic or stupid they were, you always believed in them at the time. Or usually, anyway. This was one of the only times in memory he'd ever been awake in a dream.
"This is… what's the word? Lucid dreaming?" That sounded about right. Jaune bounced on his feet and imagined floating, and sure enough his feet lifted off the floor. "Okay, this is kind of cool actually." He closed his eyes and chanted, "Weiss in a bikini. Weiss in a bikini. Weiss in a bikini asking me to rub sun lotion into her body."
Weiss did not appear before him, scantily dressed – or not dressed at all – despite his wishes. It figured he wouldn't even be able to dream of her liking him, let alone win her affections in real life. What he got instead was a loud howl of a Beowolf; it was something that had him flinching until he reminded himself this was a dream and thus he was in no danger. He floated up a little higher just to be sure. Dream or not, he didn't want to imagine in excruciating detail the experience of being torn asunder.
It was up in the sky above the ruined village that he noticed the Grimm going for someone else. They were racing angrily toward a whirlwind of activity, where someone moved back and forth between them swinging a giant hammer. "Nora…?" wondered Jaune, out loud. "Why am I dreaming about Nora?"
The orange-hired girl wasn't in her pyjamas like him and wasn't in her usual clothes either. She was dressed oddly – like a child, even if she wasn't – and she was screaming furiously as she lashed out with her hammer, beating the face of a Beowolf in. It exploded into smoke, but unlike normal Grimm, that smoke coalesced into myriad snakes that raced in to bite her exposed face. Nora flinched and closed her eyes, and he noticed as sparkling light the teartracks that had long since dried across her cheeks. Jaune felt an angry sensation well up inside him. His dreams mocked and belittled him all the time, and that was fine, but hurting his friends was crossing the line.
"Not in my dream!"
Jaune flew in, hit the ground and swung his arm. He imagined Crocea Mors in it and sure enough the blade materialised, slashing up and through the necks of the snakes, causing them to burst into smoke and blow away. He wished he had the forethought to imagine up some clothes as well, but he was already moving over to place his back against Nora's. It wasn't the hot fantasy he might have wished it to be with Weiss, but it wasn't the first time he'd had a nightmare about letting down his team either, and he sure as hell wasn't going through another.
"Hey Nora." He injected as much joviality and confidence into his voice as he could. "Fancy running into you here. Wherever here is."
"W-Who…? Fearless leader…? Jaune…?"
Nora sounded small and afraid, so utterly unlike her that he wondered if he didn't have some undiscovered fantasies his subconscious was pushing on him. There was no way he'd ever make a play on Nora however, not with her feelings toward Ren. Or, well, what she constantly assured him weren't feelings, but which neither he nor Pyrrha believed.
"That's my name. Short, sweet – well, you don't want to hear it."
"Why are you here?" asked Nora. She looked down. "Why are you in your pyjamas!?"
His face heated up despite the fact he shouldn't have been getting embarrassed in a dream of all places. "Less talk. More action. Let's kick some butt!"
If this were real life then he would have been more nervous and a whole lot more cautious, but this was a dream and he saw no point in not having a little fun. Jaune charged with a whoop, moving as fast as Ruby normally would. He ducked a claw and cut through an Ursa with a single swing, an impossible feat, then kicked off its dying body, somersaulted through the air like he'd seen Blake pull off and landed – somehow – on the shoulders of another. He stabbed down and twisted, then rode its body to the ground in front of a stunned Nora.
"What's with that face?" asked Jaune, laughing. "I'm two up on you already. Are you really going to let that stand?"
A spark of competition flickered to life in her eyes, and Nora's tragic expression morphed into a manic and familiar grin. "I killed loads before you arrived!"
"Oh sure, I bet you did. Pictures or it didn't happen." One was sneaking up on her and he stabbed past her, spearing the Beowolf through its chest and hurling it back. "That's three now. I guess you're going to be the rotten loser this time."
"No way! I'm not losing to you, Jauney!"
"Big talk from someone with zero confirmed kills."
Jaune laughed and brushed past her, enjoying her undignified squawk and the sound of her giving chase. Normally she'd have had no trouble at all outpacing him, and slaughtering her way through the horde facing them, but this was his dream, and he was as fast as Ruby, as strong as Yang and as skilled as Pyrrha. That didn't stop his dream image of Nora trying to catch up, but it was a doomed effort. Soon, the burning village was completely cleared of Grimm, and Nora was left panting with Magnhild pushed down to the floor, while Jaune stood, as fresh as a daisy.
"N-No fair," whined Nora. "W-When did you get so strong?"
"What can I say? I'm a bit of a badass."
Nora giggled. "You kind of were…" She leaned on her weapon and looked past him, over the ruined village. "I don't know why we accepted a mission to Kuroyuri of all places."
"Look," said Nora, pointing. "The sun is rising."
Sure enough, a white light rose over the horizon, burning sharply into Jaune's eyes. It was echoed by the buzzing, electric sound of an alarm clock.
Morning was a regular affair in Beacon by now. Team JNPR had gotten past the awkward stage of two boys living with two girls and found a comfortable arrangement involving who changed where and when, and how the shower was shared. There were occasional hiccups every now and then, but nothing too bad. Jaune yawned, not used to waking up so early. Ren, of course, had been up for twenty minutes already, and Pyrrha was in the shower. "Morning," said the eastern boy.
"Morning," replied Jaune. He heard Nora yawn and said, "Morning Nora."
"M-Mwa-Morning," yawned the girl, stretching. She put her arms down, looked at him and then away, her cheeks heating up a little. Jaune blinked, surprised. He looked down at himself to see if he'd made another dumb mistake. It must have been his onesie once again. He really needed to go out and buy some normal pyjamas.
Once the showers were done and everyone got dressed, they headed down to breakfast as usual to both eat and save seats for the perpetually late Team RWBY. The four girls arrived ten minutes later, Weiss looking annoyed and beautiful as ever, and Ruby apologising profusely for whatever she'd done to upset her partner that morning. They collected their own breakfast, took their own seats, and then the next part of the ritual began.
"So," said Nora, eyes sparkling. "There I was. Surrounded by Beowolves. Millions of them!"
Yang looked expectantly to Ren, only for the boy to smile and say, "I haven't heard this one, so I can't correct it. I'll take a guess it wasn't millions however."
"Hundreds," corrected Nora without losing her pace. "And I was surrounded on all sides."
Jaune began to doze off. He felt paradoxically tired, and more than usual. He always felt drained on waking up, but never quite this bad, and he yawned into his mug. Maybe he needed some coffee if he was going to make it through classes. He idly scratched his cheek and caught Weiss' dismissive look. He offered a smile that earned a huff and her head turning away. Oof. Maybe he should have put more effort into freshening up this morning.
"-and Jaune was there!"
"Jaune was?" asked Yang.
"I was?" asked Jaune.
"Jaune was," said Nora. She laughed, and it was an oddly awkward sound. "He was there in his pyjamas."
Yang couldn't resist. "The dreaded onesie?"
"The one and the same." They shared a giggle over his mortification. Then Nora paused and said, "But he was kind of cool…"
"Eh." Yang snorted and flicked a bit of porridge his way. "This doofus?"
"Dream Jaune was a badass," said Nora, making Jaune's eyes widen just that little bit more. Was it coincidence that she dreamed of him while he dreamed of her, and could it be called as such if she echoed the exact same words he'd given her? That felt just a little too close to home. "He was like a huntsman out of legend, as fast as Ruby and acrobatic and kind of cool." Nora was blushing herself now and shrunk a little under Yang's excited gaze. "It was just a dream."
"A dream of Jaune." teased Yang.
"Scandalous," said Blake, joining in for the first time in forever. She'd even set her book down. "I wonder if that means Nora's image of Jaune is that idealised. Or maybe there's something she wants to share-"
"No, no, no, no, no!" Nora almost knocked her food over in her panic. "It was just a dream. I don't-" Her eyes flicked to him in a panic. "Not that there's anything wrong with him, but-"
"It was just a dream," interrupted Weiss. "And I, for one, am not surprised that the only place Arc could show any competence at all is in someone's wildest fantasies. It's in my fantasies that we stop talking about this and go to our lessons."
"Boring fantasies," mumbled Yang. "Mine are a little more exciting."
"No one wants to hear them!" said Ruby.
"I bet Blake does, though given what she reads maybe her fantasies are even wilder."
Blake sniffed. "Despite your beliefs, my dreads are pure. Thank you very much."
The dream was quickly forgotten, cast aside like all of Nora's wild dreams before it. This time she even helped pushing it away, not having enjoyed the embarrassment and the teasing. Ren looked all too amused, as did Pyrrha, but Jaune couldn't help but dwell on it a little longer. It could have been a wild coincidence, but Nora had described him in the same outfit, in the same fight, and as being as skilled and fast as he'd willed himself to be. It was like she'd experienced the exact same dream he had, which didn't make sense since it was his dream. It's just a coincidence, thought Jaune. A crazy, weird coincidence.
Their first lesson of the day was ethics theory with Miss Goodwitch. The instructor handled more than just combat, and ethics was a mixture of what they should and shouldn't do as huntsmen, which turned out to be a lot more complicated than just saving people and killing Grimm. History was rife with examples of huntsmen abusing their power, but also other people abusing or misleading huntsmen, and it was one of those very cases that she dove into as Jaune sat down, slumped on his seat and rested his head on his hands, barely above his desk. Ren sat on his right and Pyrrha on his left, with Team RWBY behind them.
"-must remember is that huntsmen are not independent contractors, no matter how it may sometimes seem. All huntsmen are essentially employees of the state, but they do not answer to any state or kingdom. That said, in the rase of Doe vs The Council of Vale, Doe allowed himself to be led astray by the claims of the businessman, which he may or may not have believed, but which led to that person's business interests being preserved while innocent people died. While many argued that Doe did not do this intentionally, the Council were able to argue that he was negligent in his duties, as any huntsman must use their own instincts and knowledge to decide the best course of action, and Doe ultimately failed in that task. You will all know better when it comes to Grimm than the average person," said Miss Goodwitch, her voice growing duller and duller in Jaune's ears. "And that means you must be prepared to stand your ground and make people aware of the fact when they have a differing opinion. There will come a time-"
Jaune wasn't fully aware of his forehead coming to rest on his arm, crossed over his desk, but he dozed off all too quickly.
It wasn't so much waking up as suddenly opening his eyes and being aware of the world around him. Jaune blinked, confused for a moment as to where the classroom had gone and why he was now in a world that looked to be made primarily, or even entirely, of red satin and velvet. Velvet floors, velvet walls, velvet ceiling and a low, pleasant drone like distant music.
"I'm asleep," said Jaune, surprised for the second time to be aware of the fact and with such immediate clarity. "I'm lucid dreaming again. Is that twice in one day? That must be a record. I wonder if this is going to become a thing."
He also wondered if he was talking out loud since he was aware and talking in his own dream, but since no one woke him up he assumed not. There wasn't much to see in the expanse of red satin and velvet, but he thought he could make out something in the distance. He'd been able to fly in his dream about Nora, but he willed himself instead to be there, took a step and found that he crossed what must have been hundreds of metres in a single step. It was his dream after all. Who was going to argue? Jaune came to a stop before a large door covered by a curtain.
"Halt!" commanded a familiar voice. Yang Xiao-Long stepped out in what could have generously been called a chainmail bikini, and what might realistically be called several strips of metal and cloth covering her naughty bits. She had a spear, he supposed, but that really wasn't what kept his attention.
"Okay," whispered Jaune. "Now this is a dream I can get behind."
Yang looked a little different too, slightly tan and ripped in a way he knew for a fact she wasn't. Yang was fit, all huntresses were, but she walked around belly exposed sometimes, and he hadn't seen the absolutely chiselled six-pack before. Not complaining though. Damn. Okay, subconscious, you let me down on fighting with Nora, but you're making up for it big time now.
"Who are you who trespasses on our queen's domain?" Yang's spear tickled Jaune's chest. He hadn't noticed her lower it, but that might have been because his eyes were glued elsewhere. "Interloper. You are my prisoner now."
"Oh, hells yes. I'll be your captive any day."
It was a dream, his dream, so what was the harm? He sincerely doubted he was the only guy in Beacon to have fantasised about Yang. As long as she didn't find out (or Weiss) he was fine. Jaune brought his hands up, grinning madly the whole time, and linked them behind his head. Yang nodded, brought her spear down and ushered him through the curtains.
"You will be brought before the queen."
The queen, huh? Who was that going to be? Weiss? He hoped so, except that his dreams about Weiss were usually less of the sexy variety, and more of the crushing confidence issues kind. He really didn't want this moment to be ruined by Weiss screaming "off with his head" and having him executed.
Past the curtain, the air was hazy with smoke and the smell of foreign spices. It was warm, and the ground underfoot had become sand somehow. He wasn't sure when. Bright cushions lay about the floor, upon which several felines moved about slowly. Jaune tore his eyes away from then at the sound of clinking metal and looked up to see a gilded golden birdcage vastly expanded in size, within which stood a pale-skinned man with red and black hair.
The man was naked but for a leather thong that really didn't cover much, and he was dancing provocatively, running his hands over his muscled body which, Jaune noticed, glistened like it was oiled up. His movements were sensuous and to the beat of the music, and his handsome face was covered by a black mask over his eyes and nose.
"Uh." Jaune stared. "Okay, subconscious? Is there something you're trying to tell me? Because, if so, I want to know why there is a naked man oiling himself up in my sexy fantasy. Subconscious? Are we exploring things? Are you trying to tell me something?"
There was no answer, and Yang nudged him past the nearly naked man, up toward a sea of thick cushions. There was odd, exotic music playing he could swear he'd never heard before, and at the back of the cushions was a large wooden and satin throne, upon which sat a figure partially obscured by the back of Ren of all people, topless but for a black bowtie around his neck, and with leather pants so tight Jaune was surprised his ass wasn't bursting out of them. He was bent forward, offering a silver tray to someone.
"Okay," said Jaune. "My dream is taking a turn for the very freaking confusing right now…"
Ren stepped aside.
Jaune's eyes sparkled. "NEVER MIND!"
"Hmmm?" Blake Belladonna lounged sideways across her throne, her bare, pale legs hanging over one armrest while her arms hung over the other. She was dressed – if one could call it that – in the thinnest set of cloth he had ever seen, which covered her modesty not by virtue of opaqueness, but because they were bunched up by her posture in such a way that the wrinkles covered her. It was otherwise sheer and see-through.
Subconscious, I take everything back, thought Jaune. I'm sorry I ever doubted you.
"What is this?" asked Blake, purring loudly. Two black triangles pricked up above her head, and Jaune noticed they were moving. Cat ears? Was he fantasising Blake as a cat-girl? Well, it was a surprisingly natural look for her. Blake's golden eyes smouldered as she eyed him up. "A new slave for my collection?"
Jaune loved Weiss, he really did, and he'd never really paid much attention to Blake before. That didn't mean he was immune nor blind. His mouth was dry and, dream or not, he was more than willing to play the part in this sordid fantasy. "I'll be whatever you want me to be."
"Whatever I want, hm?" Blake's lips curled up. "Whatever I want…" Jaune's body shimmered, and he yelped, looking down to see he was no longer in the school uniform he'd dreamed of himself in, but now dressed in a bizarre outfit that involved bright yellow shorts – tightly clinging to his hips and thighs – and not much else. He had a choker around his neck, from which hung several yellow feathers. He was otherwise bare and exposed and, weirdly enough, about ten times as ripped as he was in real life. "A little canary who has wandered too close to the cat," purred Blake, suddenly off her throne and before him. Her fingernails brushed down his chest and he found it hard to care much about his outfit at all. "You're not my usual type, but there's something to be said for innocence." Her lips and tongue caressed the word. "Down on your knees, slave."
The only way he could have gotten down faster was if a Beowolf took his legs off at the knees. He watched, rapt and in awe, as Yang stepped up behind Blake and massaged her shoulders, making the girl purr again as she was slowly disrobed. Black lingerie covered her, but he knew it wouldn't for long. Jaune's breath came out in a whisper.
"Best. Dream. Ever."
Blake leaned closer. "Shall we break you in properly, little slave?"
"Command me, my queen-"
"ARC!" shouted an angry voice. Blake's fingers, so close to his face, suddenly flicked his forehead with significant force, knocking him back.
Jaune gasped, snorted and yelped all in one go, reeling back from the piece of chalk that had been levitated and shot into his face by Miss Goodwitch's Semblance. He scrambled and would have fallen back off his chair if not for Ren catching and steadying him. That was all Ren could do, however. He shot Jaune an apologetic look, and it soon became apparent why.
"Mr Arc, you shall stay behind after class!" snapped Miss Goodwitch, staring up at him furiously. "For sleeping in class."
Crap. Jaune groaned into his hand, both for having been caught and getting a detention but also, deep inside, for the moment in his dream that Miss Goodwitch had brought him out of. It had just been getting to the good part.
"And Miss Belladonna can join you as well," said the teacher.
Jaune turned to look back, realising that the girl was sat right behind him, and that she was cringing like he had, blinking sleep away from her eyes. She lowered the book she'd undoubtedly been trying to hide her nap behind, her cheeks flushed and her eyes misty. She caught him looking, their eyes meeting for a moment, and then Blake's snapped away, red creeping up her face as she grumbled an apology to Miss Goodwitch.
Blake too, huh? It looked like he wasn't the only one who hadn't gotten much sleep. Weird. I still feel tired even after napping off. Jaune yawned, earning himself a fierce glare from Miss Goodwitch.
There wasn't much left to the lecture, and everyone filed out for the morning break. Everyone except him and Blake, who trudged to the front of the class like they were going to their own executions. He caught Weiss loudly complaining how she'd expected this from Ruby of all people before they were shooed away with his team by Miss Goodwitch. Soon, it was just the two of them.
"Is my class that boring to the two of you?" asked Miss Goodwitch. Jaune knew a rhetorical question when he heard one. Blake too apparently, as she also stayed silent. "Nothing to say? Neither of you?"
He wasn't stupid enough to say anything.
"You will both be serving detention." No big surprise, but Jaune still winced. "Mr Arc will serve detention tonight at six through seven. My office. Miss Belladonna will serve tomorrow. Same hours. Am I understood?"
"Yes Miss Goodwitch," said the two of them in unison. There wasn't much point arguing and making things worse. Not when they'd both been caught. The teacher glared a little more, then dismissed them with a wave of her hand. Jaune and Blake hurried out. Their teams had already headed odd.
"I'm sorry," said Jaune.
Blake eyed him strangely. "What for? I was the one who fell asleep."
Idiot. He'd apologised reflexively. "Uh. I guess because she only noticed you because of me. I drew her attention."
"I was still asleep," said Blake. "I got caught, the same as you." She sighed and said, "It's a pain, but it's not your fault. I didn't get much sleep. Yang…" She grimaced. "Yang snores like a chainsaw caught on a rock."
It was Jaune's turn to snort. "You know, I can somehow imagine that of her." Jaune's eyes rose above her head. In his dream, she'd had cat ears – a strange thing for his subconscious to tack on, he thought, but he couldn't help but look at the bow in her hair now and see them. In fact, he could almost see the fur- Blake's bow twitched.
"Anyway," said Blake, yawning into her hand. She didn't notice his shocked expression, and thus didn't notice his eyes widening even further when her bow flattened slightly as she yawned. It was subtle, but it moved independently of her. "I'm going to go catch up with the others. Do you mind telling me what she has you doing in detention?"
"Uh. Yeah, no problem." Jaune kept staring. They were ears. He could see it now he was looking. The bow covered the upper parts and the tip, but if he looked closely then he could see the bottom spread out, as her ears tapered outward to join her scalp. He'd not noticed before, but then he'd never really inspected her bow before. Blake was a faunus. It wasn't hard to guess why she hid that, after seeing how Cardin acted with the other girl's ears. "I'll give you the heads up tomorrow at breakfast if you remind me."
Blake offered him a wry smile. "Thanks. Good luck tonight."
"Y-Yeah, no problem." He'd shared a dream with Nora last night, and he'd had a dream involving Blake here. Involving her without her bow, as a faunus, which he could now see that she was. It might still be a coincidence. It genuinely might. He had to know for sure. "H-Hey Blake?"
The girl, already walking away, looked back, surprised. "Hm?"
He hadn't put any real thought into what he was going to ask. His brain drew a blank now. The words did you have a wet dream involving me really didn't feel like the right way to get his point across, or to avoid having her foot buried in his crotch. Think, brain, think.
"D-Do you think I'd look good in yellow?" He touched his neck. "Like with a choker?"
It was an asinine and random question that would mean absolutely nothing to Blake. Or it should have meant nothing. Her eyes widened instead, and she choked on air, gasping and pounding her chest for a moment as her face turned bright red. "W-What?" squawked the faunus, choked and panicky. "W-Why would you ask that!?"
"It's just something Nora said." Deflectors on full blast. Shields to maximum. "I meant it more to see if you thought Weiss would like it. You know, you being a girl and all and her teammate. I figured you'd know her tastes."
"Right. Of course." Blake recovered admirably, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She still looked a little panicky. He had a feeling he knew why. "I don't think it's my place to say. My preferences are a little different to hers."
Redheaded men in cages and ripped versions of Yang, he wanted to ask. He wanted, but he didn't dare. "Yeah, that's fair. I'll see you later, Blake."
Blake fled. It was hard to think of it as anything but her running away, but that was fine. He kind of wanted to run away as well. Or scream in panic. Had he really been in her dream? Had he been in Nora's dream this morning? No way. That didn't make sense. He couldn't just enter someone's dreams like that.
"Unless it was a Semblance," whispered Jaune. "How would I know if it was-? Wait, aura. Ruby can't keep running fast if hers runs out, and Weiss can't make glyphs forever without aura."
He fiddled his scroll out, activating it and bringing up the reading meter attuned to him, the same as was used in combat class, and which Miss Goodwitch kept telling them to pay attention to. He brought up the display of his body, the empty shape that represented him, and let the readings open up. He'd not done any training today, no combat class, and he hadn't fought anyone. His aura should by all accounts be full.
It wasn't. It was at half.
Yep. That's right. It's a dream-invader Jaune. When CF posed this to me, oh, I think it must have been years ago now, I had an almost-immediate thought for how it could go. I didn't write it because the story never really felt plot relevant. It seemed more like a one-shot thing, like Jaune getting to know people by experiencing their dreams and such, but more recently I thought of it again and realised it doesn't need to be full plot. Service with a Smile wasn't, and that story was fun to write.
Something slice of life and about exploring the characters and having Jaune learn things, and learn to keep things secret, and growing closer to people felt like a relaxing change. And, of course, Jaune is a teenage boy – and given Blake's constant smut reading, her dreams are a little spicy for him.
Also, in case it wasn't clear, Blake was NOT having a sexy dream about Jaune. He wasn't in her dream at all, but when he inserted himself her subcobscious decided to run with it. Same as how Nora wasn't dreaming about him, but about her past and her helplessness when she was a child, and Jaune inserted himself into that.
Next Update: Depends on Poll
Like my work? Please consider supporting me, even if it's only a little a month or even for a whole year, so I can keep writing so many stories as often as I do. Even a little means a lot and helps me dedicate more time and resources to my work.
P a treon . com (slash) Coeur