So, this fic didn't win the vote and will take this spot, alternating with Remnant Invicta, which means it will update every two weeks. As always, you can check the bottom for the date of the next story.
Assuming I get it correct.
Jaune hated that the first thought to come to his mind once he figured out his Semblance was that he could use it to get into Weiss' head and try to sway her to wanting to go out with him. It was a ruthlessly selfish and manipulative thought process that brought about no small amount of shame – and then, to make things worse, a hormonal part of him realised he could use it to indulge in dreams of a more carnal nature if he wanted, and not just with Weiss. Yang, Blake, Pyrrha – there was no shortage of gorgeous women in Beacon. Hell, even Miss Goodwitch was sexy in a domineering, older woman kind of way. He wasn't the only guy in Beacon thinking that.
It was the disgust he felt at himself for such a horrible idea that dampened his spirits and his ardour. It would be no better than forcing himself on them, and if it did work then he'd be forever wondering if Weiss liked him for who he was, or if he'd tricked her into it. As for the others, how could he look any of them in the eye if he did that? How could he look himself in the mirror if he became that kind of person? He'd love to say that made the temptation go away; it didn't; it just pushed it aside, burying it under a heap of angry thoughts where he hopefully wouldn't have to think about it.
Miss Goodwitch sitting behind her desk brushing her blonde hair away from her face didn't help matters. He was busy sorting homework into alphabetical files, then sorting them by year-group and what needed doing when. It was boring work, but that was the whole point of detention. Blake wouldn't have to worry about any surprises.
"Miss Goodwitch. May I ask something?"
"Hmm?" hummed the woman, without looking up. She didn't sound annoyed, so he took that as his cue to continue.
"Is it possible to unlock your Semblance without realising it?"
"It is possible, though rare. Do you believe you have unlocked yours?" It wasn't much of a guess on her part given the question he'd asked, but Jaune still tensed up.
"I'm not sure if I have or not. It's just… My aura has been draining at weird times."
"Aura naturally replenishes given rest and a healthy lifestyle, so your aura draining outside continual use in combat is unusual." Miss Goodwitch turned a page as she lectured, and she talked in that same classroom voice she had used before. "You may well have unlocked your Semblance. Do you wish to tell me what it is?"
"Do I have the choice?"
"Beacon only demands information on Semblances if they are dangerous to the physical wellbeing of yourself or those around you. This entails combat-themed Semblances that we may need to know how to treat victims of after spars."
"I don't think it's combat related," said Jaune. Not unless he and his opponent wanted to take a nap first. "I'm not even sure if I'm right."
And if he was then he didn't want to tell Miss Goodwitch of all people that he'd imagined using it to re-enact a teacher-student fantasy in her dreams. He'd heard rumours of older students who mustered up the guts to flirt with her. It never ended well.
"If you need assistance then I would suggest approaching Doctor Oobleck."
"Oobleck? The history teacher?"
"He is a doctor before he is an architect, and his studies revolve around much more than ancient civilisations. He has several published works on aura theory, and Semblance theory, including studies on why people unlock the Semblances they do, how they can pass down through bloodlines and theoretical works on the dangers and risks associated with hypothetical super-Semblances."
"It is a theoretical term for a hypothetical individual with a Semblance of great power, or one whose ability has far-reaching implications. The ability to see the future is a favourite example of his. The work covers the ramifications of such a power, and how various groups would seek to use and abuse it. Governments, for instance, but also businesses, the stock exchange and criminal groups. A Semblance allowing you to predict stocks could, if used too much, cause the collapse of localised economies, and much financial instability, allowing one individual to shape the course of entire countries without realising. It is a fascinating, if dystopian, read, but I'm not sure it is what you are after. Either way, he is an expert on Semblances, and I am sure he would be willing to discuss if you approached him." Pausing, she added. "After school hours."
"Of course." Jaune hesitated. "Is there any advice you'd give for cutting down on unconscious Semblance usage?"
"Unconscious?" Glynda paused and looked up at him at last with a small frown. "There should be no such thing, Mr Arc. Semblances are fuelled by aura, which means that they cannot activate without you choosing to utilise them. They can be subconscious, such as if someone is running away from the Grimm and they activate a Semblance to let them run faster, but they will still demand aura usage."
I'm asleep when they happen. I'm not choosing to activate it.
"It may be that you are activating it without realising," she continued. "Control issues are common in newly unlocked Semblances. Unfortunately, I cannot give you specific advice without knowing the details. Each Semblance is different, and as such the methods of activation and control will differ as well. I really do advise going to speak with Doctor Oobleck, even if you are uncertain if it is your Semblance or not."
"Thank you, Miss Goodwitch."
He would put some thought into it for sure, but he really didn't want to admit to anyone right now that he was a walking – well, sleeping – breach of privacy. He could delve into anyone's head, look up their darkest fears in their dreams, and influence them. He could, and had thought all too many times about, flood Weiss' mind with dreams of him, all positive and all painting him in a glorious light and use that to slowly manipulate her into going out with him.
Rules, thought Jaune. I need rules. Lines I won't cross and things I should and shouldn't do.
A strong set of rules would keep him safe.
A tiny clock on Glynda's desk pinged. "You're free to go, Mr Arc. Please do try your best to stay awake in classes in the future."
"Yes Miss Goodwitch. I'm sorry Miss Goodwitch."
It was too late for training with Pyrrha by the time he got back to the JNPR dorm, which was for the best since he wouldn't have to explain the curious expenditure of his aura to her. He swung into the shower and turned the water to cold, hoping it would wash away all the stupid little tempting ideas running amok in his head.
Rule number 1 – no taking advantage of the girls in their dreams.
That one if nothing else.
He was in an arena.
Or more precisely, he was in a dream. It was easier to notice now that he was aware of it – and really, he'd never even seen this place. It was a rather modern-looking arena with big screens here and there, rows upon rows of blue seats in metal stands, and thousands of faceless, cheering people. And he did mean faceless. Their faces were blurry messes, little more than splotches of skin-colouring with mouths that kept opening and closing, but with booming chants that didn't synch with the lips.
"This is actually kinda creepy," said Jaune, poking one of the people. They didn't feel real, more like mannequins than people, and that was somehow less relaxing. "Mannequins and dreams don't normally go hand in hand, but at least you're not pretending to be still and coming after me when I turn my back."
"FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!" boomed the crowd.
Metal crashed against metal down in the centre of the arena, as two people fought a blistering melee. Assuming that was where the dreamer was, Jaune made his way down the stands and past the roaring crowd. In all the dreams so far, he'd started a little distant from the person dreaming, being outside the village Nora was fighting at, and outside the weird throne room Blake had been inside. That made sense since he was invading someone else's dream, so he ought to enter on the edges of it like stepping into a room.
Rule number one is not to take advantage of anyone in a dream, thought Jaune. Rule number two must be not to tell anyone what I see. People's dreams are private. Blood crept up his neck. Especially Blake's dreams.
It also felt like that should apply to not telling someone he had been in their head either; honesty was nice and all, but how could someone trust him if they knew? Aside from them hating his guts, they'd act differently around him and constantly be afraid he knew their deepest, darkest secrets. It would destroy any chance of a working relationship and leave his teammates forever wary.
Fortunately, the current dream was about as far away from an erotic as you could get and didn't seem all that frightening either. The fight down below was obviously a competition and not to the death, and there were no Grimm involved. Jaune hopped the barrier and strolled up to the raised arena, correctly guessing that the dream security guards with the blank faces wouldn't try and stop him. They just stood in place like inflatable dolls, waving their hands to ward off a static crowd loudly chanting.
It kind of made sense that background characters in a dream wouldn't have much focus, and yet it was something he'd never considered before. "I'll need to read up on dreams if this is going to keep happening. I bet there are loads of books on what it means if you dream certain things."
He was familiar with the usual ones of being at school naked meaning you were afraid of embarrassing yourself, or a fear of failing in an exam meant you were feelings crushed by expectation and didn't want to fail. The obvious ones. There was one about your teeth falling out meaning a loss of control, but he wasn't as sure on the why for that one. He'd have said it was more a fear of the dentist, though maybe that was too obvious.
Up close, he could make out one of the fighters – or two, in fact. They were both Pyrrha. His partner was fighting herself in an arena while people screamed out for victory. Pyrrha was brutal, swinging to wildly to dispatch Pyrrha as Pyrrha dodged and kicked her away, and then Pyrrha charged Pyrrha before Pyrrha could recover.
"Okay," said Jaune, watching. "There's definitely some psychoanalysis I could be doing here. Uh. Pyrrha is her own worst enemy? She's uncertain about something and the indecision is represented as an internal battle…?" There was no answer, and neither seemed closer than the other. Sometimes dreams just didn't make sense. The answer was a mystery, but the question was simpler. "Should I stop it…?"
Pyrrha fighting herself in an arena wasn't necessarily something horrible. He'd stepped in with Nora because she was crying – it was obviously a nightmare – and he didn't feel bad about that. Blake, he'd intruded on. This? He wasn't sure. Pyrrha didn't look to be in any emotional distress, and unless one of the two started actively trying to murder the other, he wasn't sure if she needed him poking around.
Maybe the obvious thing to do is just not interfere at all and let her dream run its course.
That seemed safest in the current situation. Pyrrha was his partner, his friend and someone who had believed in and was actively helping him in Beacon. If there was anyone he didn't want to take advantage of, it was her. Even being inside her dreams when she didn't want him to be was a step too far. Jaune walked over to a set of nearby chairs, picked one out and dragged it close to the stage to watch. He didn't think she'd begrudge him the chance to see her fight and pick up a few tricks.
"You're terrible, Pyrrha!"
"We don't want you, Pyrrha!"
"We only like you because you're famous!"
Those three voices were familiar, and Jaune's vision was drawn over to a spot right by the stage where he, Nora and Ren were shouting out insults at the two fighting versions of Pyrrha. It was bizarre seeing himself standing and shouting when he was over there, like looking in a mirror. His and their faces were detailed as well, though they'd never say anything like that.
"Okay, enough of that." Jaune walked up and pushed the fake-him away. The figure put up no fight and kept shouting even as he fell over, and Ren and Nora similarly toppled like felled trees. Jaune coughed into his hand, put his hands around his mouth and shouted, "Go Pyrrha! You're awesome!"
The fight stopped.
It was jarring in its suddenness, and awkward in how both of Pyrrha stopped, mid-combat, to stare at him with identical expressions. So much for not interfering. He hadn't thought a single shout, among thousands of others, would have this big an impact. Looking at the two versions of his teammate, he could tell this wasn't an evil-Pyrrha versus good-Pyrrha scenario; both of them looked tired, and both were panting, but both were looking at him with wide eyes. They moved as one, ignoring each other to come forward and ask, in perfect unison, "I am…?"
"Uh." Jaune was used to dealing with Pyrrha, but not two Pyrrha, and not both staring at him so intently. The crowd had gone silent. They were still, not saying a word. "Uh. Y-Yeah. I mean, you're a great fighter, and you're always looking out for me, and you saved my ass in initiation. Not to mention you do all that late-night training to help me get better…"
He trailed off not because he was out of ideas, but because both versions of his partner had walked off the arena, the floor coming up impossibly to meet them so they were walking down ramps instead of falling and were suddenly up in his face. They were smiling – a good sign, and that gentle, friendly smile he'd come to love seeing every morning – but they were also crowding him a little. One Pyrrha took his left hand, and one took his right, and they hugged against his sides.
"Am I a good teacher?" asked both of them at once. It was a little weird, but he tried not to hold it against her since it was a dream and those obviously wouldn't make sense. At least they weren't saying we and making it even worse.
"You're great. Really, I've learned so much under you. You're a brilliant teacher, and you're an amazing partner. I'm lucky to have you." He winced and added. "To have you both…?"
He was heaping it on a little thickly, but hearing the dream versions of him, Ren and Nora insulting her had him concerned she might subconsciously think that way. Yet another case of invading someone's private thoughts. It made him wince, but as long as he didn't mention it outside of the dream then maybe that was okay. Dreams didn't mean you thought that way either; he didn't actually think Weiss would flush him down a toilet and drown him, but he'd dreamed it. They played more on abstract fears. Maybe Pyrrha was just distantly worried she'd upset or disappoint them in some way, even if she didn't believe that would happen, or maybe this meant she genuinely respected their opinions, and they were thus the only ones whose insults could hurt her in a nightmare.
Aaaand the world had changed while he was distracted. Jaune blinked away the fog as the arena vanished and they were now in a restaurant, sat at a table. There was only one Pyrrha thankfully, dressed in a flowing crimson dress that looked amazing on her. She was looking at him over the top of a menu, her eyes bright and her smile filled with happiness.
I guess this is better than a bad dream about fighting, thought Jaune, as he picked up the menu. Maybe it's better to play along and act like I'm a part of the dream. I can see why having a meal with a friend would be better than being yelled at.
His clothing had changed as well. Not a choker and yellow feathers this time – thank you, Blake – but a black tuxedo with a well-fit jacket and shiny leather shoes. It was way too fancy, but Pyrrha was famous and had presumably been to places like this before. This might even be a restaurant in Mistral that she liked and had subconsciously summoned up in her dream.
"What do you want to order, Jaune?" asked Pyrrha.
"I don't know." He opened the menu, only to see the pages blank. Pyrrha obviously wasn't dreaming up details she couldn't see. He closed it, set it down and said, "What do you suggest?"
Pyrrha's smile grew. "I personally suggest the-"
"Are you ready to order?" asked a sickeningly sweet and simpering voice. Jaune half-turned, then froze as a pair of slim arms wrapped around his neck from behind and linked over his chest. Warm air puffed against his cheek as white hair brushed against his chin. "Maybe you'd like to order some Weiss-cream, mmm?"
It was Weiss' face, Weiss' voice, and Weiss' body pressed against his back, but the words that came from her lips in such a sultry tone were not Weiss'. Jaune choked on the very air he was breathing. "W-Weiss!?"
"Oh Jaune." Weiss tittered. TITTERED. It was so unlike her. "I didn't realise it was you. Mm. You look so handsome in that suit. Do you want to go to the school dance with me?" Her hands rubbed over his chest, and Jaune sat there, stunned. "Or maybe we could ask Ozpin to put us on the same team. We could share the same room, maybe even the same be-"
"No!" yelled Jaune. He ducked and pulled his head down, and pushed her hands over him, then dodged out his chair and turned to face her. His words, already strained, turned strangled as he took in the exceptionally slutty maid's uniform his crush was wearing.
Weiss looked good all the time in his humble opinion, but Weiss dressed as a maid with a window where her cleavage should be was… It was almost too much. "Rule one!" chanted Jaune desperately. "Rule one. Rule one. Rule one. I will not take advantage. I will not take advantage!"
"Oh Jaune," teased Weiss, sitting on the chair and spreading her legs. Jaune whipped himself around, narrowly avoiding seeing up her skirt. It hurt him to do that. "You can't take advantage of someone who wants to be taken advantage of. Tee hee."
"Weiss does not tee-hee," wheezed Jaune. "And Weiss would kill me if I ever suggested she wear something like that."
"I'll say and wear whatever you want me to, my love."
And now it was a cruelty. Jaune gritted his teeth and clenched his eyes shut. Weiss would never act like this, and he couldn't say having a fake her pretend that way was as much fun as he thought it would be. Maybe it would have been nicer in a real dream, where he believed it was real, but he knew this was fake and he knew she'd never look at him this way, which only made it feel plastic, and made him feel unclean. This wasn't his Weiss, and the falseness of it all made him angry.
"I want you to leave me – us – alone," said Jaune. He willed a new chair behind him and took his seat beside Pyrrha, forcing himself to look at her stunned expression and to not even peek in Weiss' direction. He was afraid of what he might see. "I'm here having dinner with Pyrrha, and you're not invited. Go and fetch us another waiter or waitress. One who can be more professional."
The Weiss evaporated in a puff of smoke, disappearing as the entire restaurant seemed to zoom in on them. That probably meant Pyrrha was only dreaming of their table now, which wasn't a bad thing. Jaune let out the breath he'd been holding in and sank back into his seat. It was safer with just the two of them. At least Pyrrha wouldn't jump him. Jaune opened his eyes, looked his partner in the eyes and froze.
Pyrrha jumped him.
Waking up with a loud yawn, Pyrrha stretched her arms and rose from bed with a large and lazy smile on her face. She did not normally wake so well, nor so rested or just plain happy, but she'd had the best dream of her life. Or one of the best in ages. Jaune had come and swooped her away from a tournament, taken her out to a restaurant and wooed her all night long, and had even ignored Weiss when she came and tried to ruin it. The rest was hazy, a mix of Pyrrha feeling immense confidence and doing what she knew she'd never have the guts to in real life.
The memory of that had her blushing, even if her dream had cut obnoxiously short just as she was working her fingers into the buttons of his dress shirt. Muffling a squeal into her pillow, she rolled over and stretched out on the bed, feeling, for once, like she could just lay in and enjoy the morning. Idly, she wished her dream could have gotten to the good bits, but the Jaune in her head had been so skittish and innocent and… and cute. Pyrrha covered her cheeks with her hands and giggled again. She would never dare be so forward or so confident in real life, but it was a nice fantasy even if ended all too soon.
"Someone's in a good mood," said Nora.
Pyrrha couldn't even find it in herself to be embarrassed. "Mmm. I had a nice dream."
"A nice dream or a nice dream?"
"Shush. You." Pyrrha's elated giggle probably made it obvious which, and Nora cackled.
An agonised groan from the next bed over interrupted her thoughts. Pyrrha sat up and looked down at Jaune as he cracked his eyes open, bloodshot and raw, with an expression that suggested he'd been dragged through the wringer. It was almost enough to dampen her euphoria. Almost, but not quite. She still looked at him sympathetically and asked, "Rough night?"
Jaune's returning glare was the flattest, dullest, most nasty glare she had ever seen from him. He stood, eyes locked on her, and side-stepped his way around the room using Nora as a human shield, then locked himself into the bathroom and, a moment later, screamed angrily into a towel.
Pyrrha looked to Nora.
Rule number one; don't take advantage of anyone in their dreams.
Jaune hated that rule. He hated it as much as he hated himself for twisting Pyrrha's innocent dream into a direction she obviously never would have wanted. In a way, he felt he should admire himself for having resisted for so long, but he didn't. That damn dream had taken years off his life, and it was a miracle he'd managed to keep from staining Pyrrha's honour. That didn't mean he could look at her without blushing, however, so Jaune kept his eyes fixed to the plate, stabbed his breakfast and growled menacingly at anyone who tried to talk to him. Blake's bow was flattened to her hair, though no one else noticed, and she looked terrified.
"Was the detention that bad!?" she whispered.
He was annoyed enough at the world that he let her believe it. Stupid Blake and her stupid daydreams had cost him everything. Jaune's head fell to the table, and he banged his head against it.
"He looks dead," said Yang.
"He woke up like this," replied Pyrrha. "I don't think he got any proper sleep at all. Jaune, are you absolutely certain you don't want to call in sick?"
"She's right, Jaune," said Ren. "You're a wreck."
"Your face is a wreck," mumbled Jaune.
Ren blinked, while Yang snorted and Ruby giggled into her cereal. The normally quiet boy sighed and shook his head. "Yeah, I think I'm going to take you to the nurse for that alone. Pyrrha?"
Ren stood and dragged Jaune's arm over one shoulder. Pyrrha took the other before Nora could put down her stack of pancakes. Jaune groaned and tried to shy away from Pyrrha's chest, which was close to his face. Rule number one. Rule number one. RULE NUMBER ONE. "Rule number one…" groaned Jaune. "R-Rule number one…"
"That's right, Jaune," said Ren calmly. "You just focus on the rules. Let us help you out."
He wasn't really aware of the journey to the infirmary, or of how they got there, but he felt himself being pushed down onto a soft bed and welcomed it. Some sheets were drawn up over his chest and he heard voices.
"His aura is very low," said the doctor, Tsune, a faunus with the unusual traits of having two animal features - both a tail and a pair of vulpine ears. "Has he been training in the mornings, or getting involved in spars?"
"We normally spar late at night but we didn't last night," said Pyrrha. "He had detention. He hasn't done anything this morning that should be draining him."
"I'll keep him here and let him rest. Here. Take this and give it to his teachers; it will excuse him for the day. I will alert you if anything transpires, but it seems to me he just needs time to rest and recover. I will keep an eye on him through the day."
"Thank you, Miss Tsune."
It was the afternoon when Jaune woke up again, about five, and he felt refreshed. Blinking away sleep, he sat up in the infirmary, surprised for a moment until he remembered how it came to pass. He hadn't dreamed, and hadn't invaded anyone's dreams, and a quick check of his scroll showed his aura back near to full. Not quite, but close enough that it was over ninety-five per cent.
Is it because I slept during the day and no one nearby was asleep? A quick look around showed the other infirmary beds were empty, so no one had been recovering for him to hop into the head of.
"Awake, Mr Arc?" Tsune approached with her scroll and held it to his arm. "Your aura reserves appear healthy, and you seem more cognizant. Tell me, have you been having trouble sleeping?"
"I… Yes. I have."
"Hmm. I can prescribe you some sleeping pills." The faunus opened a cabinet and came back with a small plastic bottle. He recognised the brand as something you could buy in any pharmacist. "They're not prescription-only, so it needn't go on any records, but they should help you sleep. Take two before bed and inform me if you experience any side-effects or if your sleeping patterns do not improve."
"Thank you, ma'am. May I go?"
"If you feel strong enough, yes. You have been excused from lessons for the day."
Jaune walked out the infirmary five minutes later but did not make his way back to JNPR's dorm room, even though he knew his team would be wondering if he was okay. Last night's dream and the draining of his aura had made it clear he had a problem, and that his Semblance was going to keep firing off in the night. Worse, while his self-imposed rules had kept him from doing something to Pyrrha he might later regret, he couldn't guarantee it would last forever. It had been a close call, with Pyrrha pinning him to a bed with her hands on his shirt when morning came.
I basically manipulated her into having what was almost a wet dream about me. I'm surprised she could even look at me this morning without feeling disgusted. That he'd stopped it at the last didn't make it any better, because she'd still been influenced. He knew it because she had been dreaming about an arena fight before, and it only changed when he went and involved himself. Something had to change. Jaune rapped his fist on Doctor Oobleck's private office, and waited for the man to call him in.
"Mr Arc." Oobleck looked surprised, from behind his desk. "I'd heard you were rather ill today and in the infirmary. Are you feeling better?"
"I'm recovered now, sir." He stepped in, closed the door and approached the desk. "May I sit? Miss Goodwitch told me I could come to you if I…" He closed his eyes and readjusted his words. "I think I've unlocked my Semblance, sir, and it's proving to be a problem."
The teacher leaned back, and set the book he had been reading down, folding a corner to mark his place before slowly closing it. "I see. Your Semblance is the result of your drained aura, then? Enough that it put you into the infirmary. Yes, I can see why that would be a problem, and Glynda suggested me for my work and research into aura theory. Yes, yes, that makes sense. Well, Mr Arc, I am more than happy to help you. What is your Semblance?"
"It's a weird one, sir."
"Mr Arc, I am personally acquainted with a huntsman whose Semblance is a self-inflicting curse of perpetual bad luck. I have seen my fair share of unusual and less-than-helpful Semblances in my time. Not everyone gets the fortune of having aa versatile, combat-applicable Semblance like Glynda, Miss Rose or Miss Schnee."
"I invade dreams."
The man's head tilted slightly. "Excuse me?"
"I sleep; I invade the dreams of people sleeping around me; I experience their dreams with the full knowledge that I am dreaming, and I can change things. Influence things." Jaune collapsed into the seat across Oobleck's desk and let his head fall into his hands. "And I keep accidentally turning them sexy without meaning to!"
Doctor Oobleck brought one hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose. He took a deep breath, let it go, then picked up his mug with his other hand and threw his head back, downing his coffee in one gulp. He let out a breath, set the mug down and released his nose, facing Jaune again.
"Okay, Mr Arc. Again. Slowly, this time."
Only the one instance of dream-walking this chapter, but Jaune needs to have an ally in this, and Oobleck will become it. He won't really be telling anyone else his secret for reasons that will become apparent, but mostly relate to his second rule of "not telling anyone" what he sees. The basic idea is that if people know he is broaching their privacy, they will feel awful around him and worry that he knows their every secret, so he pretends not to so they don't have to worry or have panic attacks, as explained in this chapter.
To keep the comedy and make it a fluffy, funny story, Oobleck is going to be Jaune's coach and wingman, and no one else is going to find out what's going on. After all, Jaune is trusting Oobleck, and if he tells anyone then he is also kind of sharing personal information about the people whose dreams Jaune enters.
Next Update: 1st November (Two weeks)
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