Disclaimer: Monty Oum and Rooster Teeth own RWBY.
Of Ships and Stars
The sun shone lazily, a testament to the dying summer heat, but seemed content to bathe the world in strangely comforting warmth. The wind blew steadily, the salty sea breeze cooling any possible excess sense of heat. Two teens stood at some docks hefting two largish backpacks and staring out across the rippling ocean. Behind them towered a massively sheer cliff of white stone, with a set of equally sheer steps carved into it's face leading to the Beacon air-docks.
"I can't believe you." The female teen said with a tone of exasperation, her long red hair drifting languidly on the wind. She wore a simple red sleeveless top, black shorts and a pair of white and bronze trainers.
"I told you we wouldn't be flying." Her male companion replied, tilting his head to stare balefully at the airships soaring far above. He wore a light blue shirt rolled up this elbows, some denim shorts and his usual black and white shoes.
Pyrrha's purposefully blank stare bores into Jaune's pleading eyes. "A boat?"
Jaune, handily ignoring her deceptively calm voice, beamed at the small watercraft. "My boat." He said with not a little pride, walking out on the wooden pier towards it.
Pyrrha paused, ignoring her building irritation and taking a moment to run an appraising eye over the vessel. The long body of the boat is coloured a bright red, bearing the twin yellow Arc crescents on side. A single large kite sail stands, fluttering slightly in the wind. What looked to be a small cabin was built on the back end of craft. There were also various other parts Pyrrha hadn't ever bothered to learn because who in their right mind travels by boat, nowadays?
But, as she watched her goofy friend smile in genuine delight and excitement, she can't help but sigh in resignation. Right mind or not, she'd follow the silly boy anywhere.
"When did you get it?" Pyrrha asked with a small smile, the delight sparkling in Jaune's eyes smothering her annoyance with a spike of heady affection.
"When did I get it?" Jaune echoed with a hint of confusion, his brow furrowing minutely. Then it suddenly clears away and he gives Pyrrha a lopsided smile. "Oh! I never got her, I made her." He said, voice laced with the type of weightless joy elicited only by happy childhood memories.
"You did?" Pyrrha asked with honest surprise. Jaune laughed lightly at that, throwing his bag full of supplies into the surprisingly spacious boat.
"When I was thirteen I wanted to be a pirate." He said by way of explanation, embarrassed and playful in his unique clumsily charming way.
Pyrrha quirked a small grin in response, her eyes crinkling slightly with mirth. "And every pirate needs a boat."
"Ship." Jaune corrected instantly, in the way of someone who had done so a thousand times before. Pyrrha lifted an amused eyebrow at him, gesturing lazily at the admittedly small vessel before them both.
"This is a ship?" She questioned with the air of someone who knew the answer beforehand.
Jaune blushed lightly in embarrassment, coughing slightly. "Ah, uh… right, well technically it's a boat." He said, sounding slightly pained to admit as much.
Pyrrha chuckled as tossed her own bag into Jaune's boat as he busied himself untying the various knots keeping the boat safely harnessed to the pier. "So you sailed a lot when you were young?"
"Yeah, I loved it." Jaune shoots back giddily, still crouched over a particularly stubborn set of knotted rope. "I still do, before I came to Beacon I sailed almost every day."
"That explains a lot…" Pyrrha mused, thinking back on her first impression of Jaune. It had been a year since they had met, become partners, friends, and training mates. Jaune - despite his obvious talent - had… well really; he had been a truly atrocious warrior initially. It had taken a lot of work, and not a small amount of patience, but under her tutelage he'd flourished, quickly claiming a place as one of the most skilled in their year at Beacon.
However, she had always wondered how someone with such a lack of ability had developed so much muscle. His body had always displayed a rather impressive level of physical conditioning, and anyone who had trained as much as that, especially given his natural aptitude for combat, should have been a far better warrior.
"Pyrrha?" Jaune's voice called out, causing her to snap back to attention. She blushed when she realised the train of thought her mind had followed, thinking over the now solved mystery of Jaune's muscles. "Are you ok? You seem a little flushed."
Pyrrha waved him off, giving him a thankful smile. "No, no, I'm quite alright." She assured him.
"If you say so." Jaune said agreeably, taking her words at face value. "Ready to go?" Pyrrha gave the slightly bobbing boat an unsure glance, and Jaune, sensing her unease, laid a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Come on, I've done this a thousand times."
Pyrrha breathed out, expelling both air and a little anxiousness as Jaune lead her over. With a deft movement Jaune stepped over, long legs making easy work over the distance between the boat and the pier. Pyrrha blinked slowly in surprise at the display of balance, Jaune standing comfortably on the edge of the boat with a hand outstretched toward her.
"Thank you." Pyrrha said, grasping the proffered hand and throwing caution to the wind. With a small leap she jumped into the boat, almost falling over due to the completely foreign rocking motion. Jaune's warm hands hold her steady, one clasped with her own hand and the other gripping her firm upper arm. Jaune felt his mouth go suspiciously dry at the feeling of the rippling muscle, only to turn practically arid when she shot him a toothy winning smile, the type that swept all the way up to her beautiful emerald eyes.
"We-well lets get moving." Jaune said, hoping against hope that Pyrrha would ignore how obviously his voice had cracked under the strain of his waning self-control.
It had been a few hours since they had set out, and after her initial nerves had passed Pyrrha found herself truly enjoying the experience. The sky was a cloudless blue overhead, a perfect mirror of the lightly rolling ocean that spread out endlessly around them. The sprays of ocean, heavy with the tang of salt, and the sense of freedom as the cut across the sea was relaxing in a way that Pyrrha found she could not describe.
She was calm, far calmer than she thought she would have been. She had come to slightly dread spending any amount of time in a confined space with her crush, it put her off balance in a way that she found she could not hope to control, but that too had passed. She sat in companionable silence, simply watching Jaune sail, his features alight with a fierce joy, the broad smile that stretched across his face as soon as they had left not once wavering.
"I can't wait." He laughed abruptly, practically bouncing around the deck with an air of exuberance.
Pyrrha smiled at him indulgently. "I'm sure your family misses you as well, Jaune." She said fondly. Jaune had missed his family greatly over the year, and had been overjoyed when the holiday season had finally arrived. Her smile faltered at the thought, a pang of quickly suppressed hurt shooting through her at the thought of her own family.
Jaune watched as Pyrrha's face fell, and mistook her sudden sadness as anxiety. "Don't worry, my family will love you." He assured gently.
Pyrrha felt her nerves spike at that, worrying her lip with her teeth and swinging her gaze over the endless expanse of water around her. "I hope so." She said softly.
"Hey, I'm serious!" He said bumping her shoulder lightly with his own as he sat down next to her. "You have nothing to worry about."
"But-" Pyrrha began, only to have Jaune silence with another, slightly more vigorous shoulder bump.
"No buts, I told you, everything will be fine."
"Are you sure, Jaune? It's your family, I don't want to intrude."
Jaune blows out a breath, giving Pyrrha a half exasperated half amused look. "Yes, I am sure. You won't be intruding since I invited you. And isn't it a little late for all this anyway?" Jaune asked, gesturing to the ocean around him with a raised brow.
Pyrrha laughed at that. "True." She admitted. "I won't be making a grand escape any time soon."
"Probably." Jaune agreed with a chuckle. They sat in silence for a few moments before Pyrrha spoke up once more.
"I just… I don't want to spoil such an important occasion for your family, Jaune."
Jaune rolled his eyes, an unfamiliar gesture to match Pyrrha's own unfamiliar lack of confidence. "For the last time, Pyrrha, it's fine. I want you there!"
"Sorry Jaune, I've never celebrated the holidays so," Pyrrha shrugged, looking slightly apologetic. "I just don't know."
Jaune's eyes softened at that. "Look, I know you had it pretty tough with your family," He began.
"Tough is an apt description." Pyrrha muttered bitterly.
"But you'll love it at home, and I know you'll love the holidays. It's all about sharing, giving, and being with the people you care about."
Pyrrha quirked a small smile at that, an air of wistfulness about her. "That sounds… nice."
"It is." Jaune concurred with his own slight smile. "I know your family hasn't ever celebrated it, but I am glad that you said yes to coming to mine."
"It was really kind of you, inviting me to get me out of Beacon like this." Pyrrha said genuinely.
"That's not why I did it." Jaune replied, shaking his head. "This wasn't about springing you from Beacon – I didn't even know you were planning to stay until after – I asked you because I wanted you to come."
"What?" Pyrrha exclaimed, surprised.
"Like I said, you share this holiday with the people you care about." Jaune said with a sunny smile. "That's why I invited you."
Pyrrha swallows slightly, past the building lump in her throat. She quickly turned and wrapped her arms around him, burrowing her face against the crook of his neck. Jaune returned the hug, ignoring the suspiciously damp feeling where Pyrrha's face rested.
As Jaune took in the world around him; the feel of Pyrrha's heartfelt embrace, the smell of sea-salt and subtly sweet smell of her perfume coupled with the calming sensation of the waves, he knew he would never forget such a powerful moment.
After a few moments, Pyrrha disengaged, moving back slightly. She wiped her eyes quickly with the back of her hands, before giving Jaune the warmest smile he'd seen on her face yet. "Thank you, Jaune."
"No problems Pyr."
Sailing, Pyrrha decided, was her new favourite spectator sport. It was mid afternoon, and Jaune had long ago abandoned his shirt. She'd seen him sans shirt before, of course, as they lived in the same dorm and Jaune wasn't exactly shy. She really should have expected as much, considering how nonchalantly he took up wearing a dress to the Beacon dance, but this was an entirely different thing.
She watched the corded muscles in his arms, how his shoulders bulged and stomach flexed as he pulled and pushed in his efforts to steer…
Well her mild sunburn wasn't the only reason her face was bright red. The only thing hampering her enjoyment was her building hunger.
"Jaune, how do you feel about lunch?" She called out to him. Jaune took a moment to secure the ropes he had been handling, tying them deftly before shiting his attention to Pyrrha.
"Sounds awesome." He said with a chuckle, hopping down from the side of the boat he was standing upon. "Just give me a sec." He bargained, walking past her to the living area at the back of the boat. Ignoring the muffled yelp - a common occurrence - Jaune joined her not long after he had walked inside, holding a tub of pasta and wearing a loose white shirt - much to Pyrrha's chagrin. "Ta-da!" He said theatrically, holding up two forks and the pasta as he performed a low, sweeping bow.
"Classy." Pyrrha replied with a chuckle.
"I do try." He said with an easy smile, plopping himself down next to her on the lightly cushioned bench. With a small thanks Pyrrha took her proffered fork as Jaune popped open the container of food. A simple pasta paired with salad greens, chicken, and fresh vegetables - Pyrrha took a moment to glance at Jaune. The warm look in his eyes confirmed that yes, he did know that this was a favourite of hers, and that was exactly why he had made it.
"Thank you Jaune." She said, bumping shoulders with a grin and a blush. "It's one of my favourites." She confirmed.
"Mine too." He admitted easily, getting comfortable and propping the tub between them, sitting in the middle atop their lightly brushing legs.
"Oh really?" She queried, voice suddenly playful. Before Jaune could question it, her fork was already loaded with a towering amount of salad, which she promptly stuffed in her mouth. Jaune sat in stunned silence at Pyrrha's chipmunk cheeked gluttony, before she swallowed and loaded another massive forkful. With an indignant squawk Jaune realised her intentions, diving into the food with fervour to match his scarlet haired partner.
"Pyrrha, that's cheating!"
"Ow! That fork is not a weapon, woman!"
"Shows what you kn- hey!"
"Vichtory ish mine!"
Pyrrha pouted at at Jaune, who was struggling mightily to chew around the mountain of pasta in his mouth. Despite her superior fork wielding abilities, and her head start, she had been trumped by Jaune's duplicitous tactics. A stray cherry tomato escaping from his captured salad-territory had proved to be a mere feint, leaving her stockpile open. He had promptly swooped in and stolen a crippling mouthful of her now depleted supply of pasta.
Jaune's smug face suddenly turned slightly red as he started choking on his ill-won goods. Pyrrha, noticing his distress, slammed an open hand across his back in an effort alleviate his predicament. Jaune went from the mild discomfort of a slightly blocked airway to the super-nova of fiery destruction centred on his upper back, courtesy of Pyrrha, who now looked smug herself.
"Th-thanks." Jaune whimpered, doing his best to maintain a stoic air despite the torturous agony on his back.
"Of course, partner." Pyrrha said demurely, fluttering oh so innocent eyelashes at him. Jaune looked up at her and vowed to never get in the way of Pyrrha and her favourite treats ever again.
He also noticed a stray bit of dressing on the corner of his mouth. "Oh Pyr, you've got some dressing," He trailed off, rubbing his lip indicatively.
"Oh," She exclaimed. Jaune watched, suddenly frozen and with widening eyes, as Pyrrha's tongue took a distressingly slow route of her lips. The sensuous glistening movements caused his breath to catch, and no doubt he was blushing up a storm. "Better?" She asked, oblivious to his plight.
"A-ah yup! You got it!" He said, doing his best not to squeak like the hormonal teenager he most assuredly felt like. Luckily for him, Pyrrha seems suddenly distracted, before breaking out into a yawn, covered politely with a hand.
"Oh my." She breathed out softly.
"A full stomach and a day in the sun will do that to you." Jaune said sagely, getting up and stretching out to work some energy back into his own drowsy form.
"Mm." She agreed placidly, struggling with now droopy eyes. "I think I might take a nap."
"You do that." Jaune replied, before pointing to the cabin at the back of the boat. "There's a small bedroom back there, along with a bathroom."
"How grand." Pyrrha mumbled, stifling another sigh. A bed sounded heavenly, right now.
"I can't wait." Jaune said, once more affirming his desire to return to his home.
"You'll see them soon." She reiterated, standing up, and shuffling her way to the cabin.
"Just another three days." Jaune agreed, his gaze locked into the distance, as if he could already see the welcoming shores of his birthplace.
"Mm." Pyrrha hummed in agreement, struggling against her sleep addled mind. Clumsily, she opened one of the left of the two doors in the cabin. The room was small, and rather dark, with only a small covered window allowing in scant light. The bed was plain, with light blue sheets, and a thin blanket. Beneath the bed she could see the tufty ends of heavier, furred blanket. With a sigh she fell to the bed, moaning slightly in relief when the bed proved to be rather comfortable, if a bit small.
It was as she was falling asleep that something registered in Pyrrha's mind.
'Just another three days.'
Her eyes practically flew open, panic flooding through her veins at top speed. Her heart hammered in her chest, but she was unable to say if was due to excitement, anxiety, or simple shock. Her hands fisted in the sheets as she stared up at the wooden roof above her, now completely awake.
"Three days?" She breathed, then she remembered how much she had struggled in one afternoon; struggled to hide her feelings, or her instinct to make a move on the sweet, kind, goofy, gorgeous... "Three days!" She groaned.
She was doomed.
As it turns out, she probably should have seen this coming. Ever since Jaune had asked his family if Pyrrha could join them for the end of year holidays, she'd been a veritable bundle of nerves. She wasn't a particularly skittish person, nor was she unconfident, but she did do her best to remain humble. Arrogance killed in her chosen profession, so despite her talents and long list of achievements she remained grounded, but proud and unyielding. Which is exactly why her heartfelt yearning to be accepted by his family left her so off balance.
In this slightly less than ideal state, she'd apparently not been as perceptive as she usually was. Jaune would suffer through even aerial transport if the trip was short enough, which really should have been her first clue. The amount of food and drink he brought should have also given her an inkling that the trip was longer than the few hours that she was expecting. Jaune had always been rather pragmatic about supplies, a trait she'd held pride in for her team leader. He wouldn't have packed more, or less, than was needed. He'd also packed a fair few changes of clothing, which was odd for someone returning home to a full wardrobe. And she didn't even want to think about how often she'd come across him pouring over the forecasts and current readings for the trip, dismissing it as bit of nervous paranoia. Jaune might have come a long way, but still wasn't exactly the most confident person around.
So here she was, taken completely by surprise, and stuck with her love interest on a boat in the middle of nowhere all on their lonesome for three days. She was torn; this was either a very good thing or a budding disaster.
Ah well, once the panic had past she did have an excellent rest. Having regained a bit of equilibrium, Pyrrha ventured forth out on to the deck. The air was cooler now, as dusk settled around them. The waning light bathed the sky around with brilliant shades of orange, streaked with dusky red, coupled with deepening ribbons of darkening purple.
Jaune sat on the same bench they had enjoyed lunch on earlier, propped up against the the edge and rail of the boat, reclining comfortably. In his hands was a small pad of paper, held loosely as he sketched. Pyrrha hadn't ever seen him draw before.
"Hello, Jaune." She said warmly as she approached. His head snapped up, more surprised than startled.
"Oh, hey Pyr." He called out distractedly, chewing absentmindedly on the end of his pencil.
"What are you drawing?" Pyrrha asked curiously, sidling up to him on the couch. She smiled inwardly when he unconsciously leaned into the mite of physical contact.
"Have a look." Jaune said, offering the pad to Pyrrha who grasped it delicately.
"Oh my!" She exclaimed, her mouth falling open slightly. The picture was an intricately detailed piece of Nora and Ren from earlier the previous semester. Nora sat atop a bench, smiling widely, obviously gesturing in a boisterous retelling of some epic battle. Ren had his signature half smile, and Jaune had even managed to capture the slightly indulgent look in his eyes that he had when he listened to Nora's fantastic tales. He was kneeling, hands cupped and glowing with Aura as he healed the scrape on his hyper-active partner's knee. Pyrrha remembered walking in on them like this just after Nora's victory against Neptune in the Vytal tournament. "This is beautiful, Jaune." She breathed.
Jaune smiled bashfully, a bright blush on his cheeks as he looked at the picture. "Ah well, it's nothing to write home about, but..." He shrugged in a self-depreciatingly.
"How come I've never seen you draw before? I didn't even know you were interested in art." Pyrrha questioned.
Jaune hummed in a non-committal way, taking the sketch from Pyrrha's hands and staring at it. "I just wasn't in the right environment, I guess."
"The right environment?" Pyrrha murmured, frowning lightly. "But Beacon is beautiful."
"Oh, for sure." Jaune agreed instantly, picking up his pencil again and shading some shadows in idly. "I just never really felt it there, you know?"
"It?" Pyrrha asked, with a slightly raised brow.
Jaune took a moment, tilting his head back and staring at the now almost completely darkened sky. "It." He said simply, throwing out an arm as if to encompass the entire world around them. And indeed, Pyrrha realised he probably was. There was a definite... atmosphere, if she was to call it anything. An ethereal quality to the stillness and serenity of the fall of the sun on the ocean.
"Ah, I see." And she really felt she did. "I didn't take you for an artist."
"You didn't take me for a sailor." He pointed out with a small smile.
"True." Pyrrha admitted with a chuckle. "Hiding any other secret talents, hm?"
The sidelong look he gave Pyrrha caused her heart rate to spike. "A few." He murmured, putting an arm around Pyrrha. In her surprise, she was unable to do anything but give a surprised 'oh!' before she found herself laying with her back on his chest. She nervously craned her neck up to look at him, but straightened out when she saw him with his eyes closed. She blinked slowly when he started humming softly, and then her eyes widened when he started singing, soft and sweet.
'I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
There was a small pause as he hummed, and Pyrrha sat enraptured as the blonde haired warrior's voice sang out softly in the stirring night.
'It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
The song died in Jaune's throat and his eyes flew wide open as Pyrrha herself began singing, perfectly in time with his own words. Her voice was rich, with a deep burring quality, rough due to lack of practice but absolutely stunning nonetheless.
'Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah'
Jaune smiled widely down at her, a startling dichotomy of warmth and joy against the sombre tune carrying across the lonely sea. He once again picks up the song, now in time with Pyrrha, his hands beating a soft tempo on the side of the boat, sketchpad forgotten on the floor.
Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah'
They sit, laying against one another, swaying in time with their music. Together, a pair of voices can be heard for miles in the perfectly silent night, irreverent to the calm of the darkening world.
There was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who has seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
Pyrrha almost paused as she heard Jaune's voice taper off into silence. For the first time, she opened her eyes, craning her neck up to look him in the eye. Even with the lack of light, she can clearly see the delight and warmth in his cerulean gaze. He rolls his hand, motioning for her to continue the song on her own. She nods, slightly unsure, but he makes no indication that he is unhappy with her efforts, in fact his wide smile speaks volumes to the opposite effect.
'You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
Both are lost in the moment, Jaune unaware that was once again humming, and Pyrrha, singing with heartfelt emotion, deeply content as she was held by her love. Jaune felt much the same, and Pyrrha began to see it, see the affection he has for her exhibiting as a simple embrace and a song for the stars.
'I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
Jaune clapped enthusiastically, despite the slightly awkward positioning of his arms as Pyrrha lay on his chest. Pyrrha chuckled, smiling lightly and tucking some of her scarlet hair behind her ear. Before Jaune opened his mouth to say something, he feels Pyrrha begin another song, and then he hears it. With a questioning look in her eyes she looks at him, humming the tune still. Jaune smiles warmly, closing his eyes once more and humming the same tune as Pyrrha, who smiles as well, mimicking him and burrowing further into their embrace.
Neither are sure how long they sing for, silent except for the exchange of songs. Sometimes only one sings, sometimes the other.
They say more to each other in those scant hours under the dazzling night sky than they've ever before.
Pyrrha woke first, initially only aware of the coldness above her, and the warmth below. With a small, delicate yawn, Pyrrha opened her eyes sleepily. Her sleepiness evaporated quickly once she realised the source of her warmth. Jaune was lying on the padded bench below her, his arms wrapped around her shoulders. Pyrrha closed her eyes again, sighing in contentment at the feeling, and the memories of the previous night.
She groaned lowly in annoyance when the feeling of her very full bladder made itself known. Extricating herself delicately she headed to the bathroom, unaware of Jaune himself waking.
She came back to the sight of Jaune stretching, and yawning in his uniquely effeminate manner. He smacked his mouth a few times, squinting against the growing brightness as dawn sped onward.
"Good morning, Jaune." Pyrrha greeted with a small wave.
"Morning Pyr." He said with droopy eyes and smile. "Would you like some coffee?"
"Not as much as you would." She said, amused.
"Mm, ok!" He agreed, apparently not completely lucid. Pyrrha stifled a chuckle. "Milk, no sugar?" He recited vaguely.
"That would be lovely Jaune."
"Just a sec, then." He said, shuffling into the room where he put the supplies. As Jaune rummaged around his bag, he noted idly just how well made his bed was. Lightly ruffled, almost as if someone had just slept atop it and not in it, which was ridiculous given how cool the weather got out at sea during this time of year at night. Pyrrha must have went through a lot of trouble to fix it up considering she was notoriously terrible at bed-making.
Ah well, no one was perfect.
Jaune grasped the large bottle of water, the coffee grounds, and his field-flask. They were simple things, but extremely useful. Meant to carry up to two litres of water, they came with built in filter, and a small burn Dust crystal. The uses for it were many fold, but most often used to unfreeze the liquid when Hunter's were in colder climates or to boil impurities from any water contained within.
He quickly threw in some grounds, poured in the water, and began to run some Aura through the crystal. Immediately it began heating up, and would eventually bring the water to the boil. He went to the icebox, lined with freeze crystals, and grabbed the milk. On his way out he nabbed Pyrrha's own flask for her to drink out of.
"Catch!" He called out to Pyrrha. He lightly tossed her flask, and Pyrrha caught it easily, as she did all things metallic. "Coffee will be done in a minute." He said, shaking his own flask lightly.
"Ah, thanks." She said. "So, what's the plan for today?"
"Whatever you want."
Pyrrha gave him a rather unimpressed look. "You can't think of something for me to do? I haven't ever really been on the ocean before, Jaune."
"Ok, well um... hm." Jaune scrunched his face up in thought. "I swim, read, eat, fish, sing, draw, and well, sail, usually." He listed with a shrug.
"You swim? Is that wise?"
"Of course, it's perfectly safe. The Grimm hate cold water as much as we do. And it's not exactly like there is an excess of negative emotions at the bottom of the ocean. Aquatic Grimm are only found mainland, you should know that."
"I haven't taken Grimm geography yet, Jaune."
"Ah, right, of course."
"Next year I have a few lessons on it, however." She told him with thumbs up.
He returned the thumbs up. "It's incredibly dull." He told her with a dry grin.
"Yup. I'm surprised a man like Dr. Ooblek such an un-energetic subject."
"I'm surprised the man doesn't bleed caffeine." She said with a grin.
"How do you know he doesn't?" He asked with a raised brow.
"Ruby mentioned graciously gifting him one of her pink Beowolf bandaids when he cut his hand on accident at Mountain Glenn."
"Damn. Well there is still Ozpin." Jaune pointed out, shaking his flask lightly as the water reached near boiling point.
"What about him?" Pyrrha asked curiously.
"Well, he's always drinking coffee too." Jaune said, miming holding a mug and taking a sip.
"How do you know he's drinking coffee?" She asked.
"How do you know he's drinking coffee?" She repeated.
"Well... It's just a guess. He could be drinking tea." He said, lifting a hand palm up.
"No one knows." Pyrrha informed him with a quirk to her lips.
"Not even Goodwitch?" He commented unsurely.
"Not even her." She informed him. "Apparently it drives her crazy."
Jaune chortled, amused by the image of a Ozpin purposefully frustrating Goodwitch with his mysterious habits. "What about the faunus?" He pointed out. "Some of them have real sharp senses, they could have smelled it."
Pyrrha shook her head with a growing grin. "Not even them. When I mentioned it to Blake she was just as stumped, she can't tell either. Apparently none of them can."
"Seriously?" Jaune asked with a hint of disbelief. "Blake's got some crazy strong faunus traits."
"I wonder how he does it." Pyrrha mused. "Or why."
"Because he's nuts?" Jaune supplied blithely.
"He's... eccentric, not insane." She disagreed.
"Remember how I cheated my way into Beacon?" He asked unnecessarily, but Pyrrha replied with a nod anyway. "He knew what I was doing from the start."
"Shouldn't that give you more faith in him, considering he showed you an appreciable measure himself?" Pyrrha lectured with a raised brow.
"He launched me off a three hundred foot cliff at sixty miles an hour knowing full well that I didn't have a landing strategy, never mind me having my Aura unlocked."
Pyrrha froze, giving Jaune an uneasy glance. "That is a little crazy." She allowed.
"Just a little." He agreed, walking up to her, flask in hand. He poured divided the coffee, leaving both with a sizeable amount of the dark brew. Pyrrha sighed with pleasure as she sipped at her beverage, with Jaune echoing not a few moments later, despite his slight grimace. "Nothing like warm coffee in the morning." He said.
"You don't look particularly pleased with it." She pointed out.
"No honey." He said a tad mournfully. "The one thing I forgot."
"Ah well, at least it's nice and warm."
"True." A silence stretched out between them as both enjoyed the morning air and their first cup of coffee. "It is weird though..." He said thoughtfully, with a slight furrow to his brow.
"What is?" Pyrrha asked him.
"It should've freezing outside last night, but I woke up this morning totally fine."
Jaune looked at Pyrrha curiously as her cheeks gained a definite dusky tint, but dismissed it as he took a sip of coffee.
It wasn't like it was important, anyway.
It was nearing lunch when Pyrrha and Jaune sat on the side of the boat, geared up to fish. Jaune had been getting strange vibes off Pyrrha all morning, his partner had been oddly flustered. But it seemed as if she had calmed down some as they stared out across the rippling waves side by side.
"So, what now?" Pyrrha asked, lifting her fishing pole slightly to help her keep balance as they bobbed slightly on the choppy water.
"Now we wait." Jaune replied simply, stretching his legs out in front of him with a groan.
"Is that all?" Pyrrha asked with a hint of disbelief.
"Fishing is meant to be relaxing, Pyr." Jaune pointed out, perfectly happy to soak in the warmth of the sun.
"...Ok." Pyrrha answered unsurely, returning her attention to her task.
Jaune sat in complete relaxation, almost dozing lazily. Conversely, Pyrrha was immensely focused, tensing at even the slightest movement of her line. As her partner, and Pyrrha being the person whom had unlocked his Aura, he carried a slight level of empathy toward her. So, when he started picking up on her impatience, and intense focus, he opened his eyes to look at her.
"Relax." He told her, shaking his head slightly at her stoic vigil. "It's just fishing."
Pyrrha shot him a look out of the corner of her eye, before visibly taking a breath and easing a measure of tension out of her form. "I've never fished before." She admitted.
"Really?" Jaune asked, not all that surprised. Pyrrha had been pushed hard as a child. It undoubtedly had made her an peerless warrior for her age, but she had been robbed of any semblance of a normal childhood. "Well the whole point is to unwind."
"I thought it was about catching fish?" She said with a slightly raised eyebrow.
"That too." Jaune said with a slight chuckle. "But it's kinda like the meditation Ren makes us do."
"Makes you do, I commit to it voluntarily." Pyrrha said with a small snicker.
"It's not my fault I can't 'empty my mind', I think a lot." He grumbled.
"I'll believe it when I see it." Pyrrha said dryly. Jaune pouted at her, and she laughed, waving him off lightly. "I'm just kidding."
"Yeah, yeah. Like I was saying, just take a moment to enjoy the silence. Oum knows that we won't get any of that at home."
"Or Beacon." Pyrrha pointed out.
"Not with Nora around. Or everyone on team RWBY minus Blake. Or team Sun." Jaune listed, then he hung his head with a groan. "No matter what we do, we won't escape."
Pyrrha snorted rather inelegantly, giving Jaune long suffering look. "You realise this now?"
"Well at least your not the last." She mused.
"Who else is in the club?" He asked curiously.
"Weiss, Blake, Velvet, Yatuhashi, Fox, and myself." She told him. "And you, of course."
"Oh my!" Pyrrha yelled suddenly as her line gave a rather sharp tug. "Jaune, I think I have something!"
"Sweet!" Jaune exclaimed with excitement, before miming pulling up the rod. "Well, reel it in!"
Pyrrha pursed her lips in concentration, putting all her effort into defeating the foe on end of her line. Jaune cheered her along enthusiastically as she struggled, doing her utmost to catch her very first fish. After a few minutes of intense effort, Pyrrha yanked the line upward. The large, silver fish wriggling on the end of her line burst through the water, sailing through the air. With a victorious cheer Jaune clapped for her as she dropped the fish in the box they had prepared before hand.
"Yes!" She celebrated, cheeks flush with excitement. That had been a lot more fun than she thought it would have been.
"Good catch, partner." He congratulated with a smile, hopping back up onto the edge of the boat. Pyrrha followed, grabbing some more bait to prepare for next attempt.
"I enjoyed that." She beamed at him, still hopping up and down a little due to the energy caused by her excited state.
"Well, you had excellent pole control." Jaune said with a sly smile. Pyrrha froze, before blushing and smacking Jaune on the shoulder.
"Jaune! That- you!" She couldn't find the words, so she settled for smacking him again. Jaune looked bewildered by the turns of events.
"Sorry, I won't joke about your semblance." He mumbled, shifting a little uneasily.
"You know, polarity." He said, stressing the word slightly. Pyrrha's mouth fell into a startled 'oh' of surprise. Jaune looked at her inquisitively, before slowly raising an eyebrow.
"What did you think I was talking about?"
Pyrrha blushed furiously, ducking her and looking forward, pointedly avoiding his gaze.
"You've been spending too much time with Yang." He accused with an amused grin.
Pyrrha's blush deepened, and Jaune knew he had hit the nail on the head.
"Oh, and your grip on that shaft."
Jaune didn't even manage to catch a glimpse of Pyrrha's fishing rod before she'd clubbed him in the back of the head, throwing him into the ocean, laughing all the way down.
"Yeah, we should probably take down the sail." Jaune agreed, shading his eyes and peering in to the distance. A building layer of light-grey clouds could be seen rolling in.
"Did your research say anything about storms?" Pyrrha asked nervously.
"Yeah, but mostly just rain and some light wind." Jaune reassured her. "Don't worry, it isn't the season for storms."
"Oh, well, splendid." Pyrrha said, breathing a sigh of relief. "It's a good thing we've already made dinner, isn't it?"
"It's a good thing one of us learnt how to spell us some fire to cook the fish." Jaune said smarmy grin.
"You were bound to be of use sometime." Pyrrha said blandly.
"Ouch." Jaune winced, both physically and audibly. "How cold, from my own partner, no less!" He mourned dramatically.
"Do you know what else is cold? Getting soaked during winter in the middle of the ocean." Pyrrha said, gripping some canvas and beginning the laborious process of furling it away safely.
"Right!" Jaune agreed, suddenly remembering the oncoming storm. Ten minutes later, the sails had been successfully packed away. Both Jaune and Pyrrha were sweating, having pushed themselves to get the work down in a flurry, neither wanted to get caught in the rain.
"Just in time." Pyrrha murmured, as the rain started a to beat a steady tattoo on the deck, some weak droplets splashing against her skin. Jaune acknowledged her statement with a grunt, pulling the last rope knot taut with a heave.
"Let's get inside." Jaune said, sweeping past her and heading for the small cabin. Pyrrha followed after him, the two still warm foil packets of their dinner in hand. "Welcome to my humble abode!" Her friend said grandiosely as he stepped into his small bedroom. Pyrrha laughed faintly, sliding past Jaune to sit on the bed, putting down their dinners as she did so. She grimaced when she smelt her clothes. After their impromptu swimming session - clothes and all - this afternoon, she'd not changed. She was mostly clean from the swim, but did not relish the the thought of staying in her funky gear.
Pyrrha gave Jaune a considering look, before frowning at her bag. With an almost imperceptible nod she steeled her nerves. "Jaune, do you mind if I get changed?"
He gave her a strange look, before shaking his head slowly. "Of course not Pyr. I'll just, uh - well I'll just be... here." He said lamely as he turned round to face the corner of the room, away from Pyrrha. She gave him a fond look he was entirely unaware of, then moved to her bag. She was quick, the clothes she had picked out were simple, she might trust Jaune but that didn't mean she wanted to extend the slightly awkward experience more than she had to.
Jaune was focusing intently on the wall in front of him, and not the mostly undressed, absolutely gorgeous woman behind him, no sir. Even as the boat rocked unexpectedly - probably due to a largish wave - and a warm weight collided against his back with an 'eep', he still wasn't thinking of Pyrrha in her underwear. "Are you alr-" No, Jaune wasn't thinking much as he turned around, ready to help his partner, and was confronted by her clad only in a bra and panties. In fact his mind was all but blank, sputtering out like a candle in front of a tornado in what could only be described as hormonal overload.
Pyrrha could feel her face heating up as Jaune froze in front of her, eyes going wide. If it wasn't for the way his body tensed, she would have dismissed it as shock causing the dilation of his eyes but... No, it definitely wasn't shock. Well, maybe a little shock, but she would have to be blind not to see the desire in his stare. She would be lying if the thought didn't send a trill of excitement up her spine, but she couldn't get ahead of herself.
"Jaune." She said, trying to get his attention. Her lip twitched in amusement, even as she felt a tad embarrassed, and she tried again. "Jaune." She uttered more forcefully, snapping the Arc out of his stupor.
"Oh - oh!" He said, recognition flaring across his features, only to be replaced by horror as he spun around, facing away from her. "Oh dust, Pyr, ah- sorry!" He stuttered, standing ramrod straight.
Pyrrha laughed lightly, slipping the last of her nightclothes on, a red tee shirt and sweatpants. "It's ok, I'm dressed."
Instantly Jaune turned around, falling to his knees, bowing his head, and raising clasped hands in supplication. "I'm so sorry! Forgive me!"
Pyrrha laughed a bit harder, waving her hands in front of her face. "Really, it's ok." She told him.
"I didn't see anything... well, I did. I mean, what I did see was... but it wasn't like I was looking-"
"Jaune." Pyrrha said, laughing harder than ever. "S'fine." She said in between breaths.
Jaune looked up, and realised Pyrrha was laughing. He was torn between being abashed and pleased that Pyrrha was finding the situation funny. "How about dinner?" He offered as a distraction.
"Of course." Pyrrha agreed, still stifling a few bouts of giggles. She took the dinner Jaune offered with a thanks, sitting across him on the bed. The foil contained one of the fish they had caught earlier, baked with salt and herbs, still steaming hot. She looked up, and caught Jaune giving her a bright eyed smile, lifting his own fish.
"Bon appetite." He said with a wink. Pyrrha didn't need any more prompting, taking a piece of fish with her fingers and popping it into her mouth. She made a satisfied sound that made Jaune grin and blush in equal measure.
"So, why don't you -mm, this a lovely! - tell me about your family?" She prompted with a smile. Jaune's face lit up, and he made a delighted sound before he popped a large chunk of fish in his mouth. He then lifted a hand to stall Pyrrha, diving into his bags once he had put his fish down.
"Aha!" He declared, lifting his electronic scroll.
"What are you doing?" She asked in bemusement, staring at him and chewing slowly.
"Introducing you to the family." Jaune said warmly, sitting back on the bed and moving up next to Pyrrha. "This is Lucille, and she is the youngest." He said lovingly, showing Pyrrha a picture of an adorable little girl in dirty denim overalls with sea green eyes, and neon pink hair in two messy pigtails. "She loves getting piggy-back rides, so if she jumps on you, I just thought I'd warn you. Oh and..."
So Pyrrha sat, even as the sky grew dark, ignoring the storm outside their world of pictures and stories. The love Jaune held for his family was more than readily apparent, and Pyrrha felt her heart swell. She laughed until she cried, sometimes the opposite, but she truly enjoyed hearing about each of his sisters, his mother and father. They ate and told stories of their childhood, even if Jaune supplied many more than she did, lit only by the dull glow of the scroll.
It wasn't until much later that she noticed that she was dead tired. Her yawn also alerted Jaune to this fact, as it wasn't the most subtle of actions. "Wow, it's getting pretty late, isn't it?" Jaune realised, staring at the clock on his scroll display. He frowned, staring at his door. "It's still raining."
"Yes, it is." Pyrrha concurred, giving him a questioning look despite her droopy eyes. Jaune shifted, leaning over the edge of the bed, and grabbing the thick blanket beneath.
"I was going to use this," He lifted the blanket indicatively. "to sleep outside."
"Why?" She asked with a puzzled expression.
"This is the only bed, Pyrrha, and there isn't space on the floor." He said pointing to the distinct lack of floor space. "So I was going to use this to keep me warm. But it won't do me much good in the rain."
"Ah." She said simply, understanding the situation.
Now Jaune might not be the most perceptive person, and maybe it Pyrrha's tiredness that left her expression so unguarded, but his partner's worried expression was the last piece of a puzzle he'd unconsciously been solving all day. The reason why he had woken completely warm, her strange frame of mind in the morning, and the extremely neat bed...
Pyrrha had fallen asleep with him last night, she hadn't slept inside at all. And she hadn't scolded him about it...
"Do you mind if we share the bed, Pyr?" He asked boldly, but secretly watching her like a hawk.
"...I'd really like that." She told him sleepily. And that was all the confirmation he needed. Pyrrha had always been perfectly forthcoming when she was nearing sleep, an odd quirk of hers.
Climbing into the tiny bed with someone else was an awkward experience. Jaune wasn't a small man, and Pyrrha herself was much taller than the average woman, but in the end they managed. It was a mess of shuffling, of awkward pauses, and uncomfortable positions, but it worked. Pyrrha lay facing Jaune, curled up slightly with her head against his chest. She wasn't about to complain, as even in her half asleep state she felt deeply content with her love so close.
Jaune had to restrain himself from sighing with happiness more than once, which would wake Pyrrha up, and be ridiculously sappy, even for him. But this was something that he'd wanted.. well he'd wanted it for quite some time now. It was an experience for him. Pyrrha had always been his rock, absolute and unshakeable, a pillar of support during his darkest hours. She protected him, shielded him, and he couldn't be more grateful.
But as she lay curled up into his side, sleeping quietly, he felt he really enjoyed being the protector. Even if it was something as simple as holding her and warding off the cold, it made him happy. She looked so small, small and peaceful. It was something that Jaune could get used to, he thought as he fell asleep.
And so they slept sharing the simple comfort of each other's warmth, at peace despite the storm of the world that surrounded them.
Love was difficult. It always had been such for Pyrrha. She didn't have much experience with it.
Her parents said they loved her, but even as they trained on her birthdays - often forgetting the importance of the occasion altogether - she began to doubt that. Growing up, she'd received more than a few declarations of love from boys she hardly knew. At first it was flattering, but eventually she noticed how looked at her with those hungry, shallow eyes. And people would often rave about how her fans loved her, but how could they if they didn't even know her?
It was an elusive thing, an emotion she yearned to understand more intimately. More honestly.
And Jaune Arc was nothing if not honest... Beacon entry papers aside.
She could see it perfectly clearly now, that her worries had been for naught. She'd been so blinded by what she expected to see from him, grand gestures like playing a guitar as an invite to the dance as he did for Weiss that she completely missed the things that mattered. What he had for Weiss had been infatuation - something she was familiar with - but what he had shown her...
It was in the light touches, the way he conveyed his support by simply being there. It was in the innumerable kindness he extended almost subconsciously, constantly caring in his own goofy way. It was in his determination to improve himself for the sake of his team, for her. Most of all it was the tenderness in his blue eyes that she'd somehow never been aware of.
Jaune watched patiently as Pyrrha stared at him. He suppressed his excitement when he felt her hand twine within his own, her slender fingers threading neatly between the gaps. He could see the building recognition in her sparkling eyes as she came to the same conclusion he had the night before. She could take her time, seeing as she didn't have the advantage of a sleep deprived, uninhibited partner to confirm her suspicions.
And they lay together, slowly coming together more closely. His arm came to rest behind her as she moved closer. Her leg folded atop his next. He smiled softly when she lifted a deceptively delicate hand to his face, cupping his cheek gently. She smiled back when he unlaced their hands to reciprocate. Nothing was said, as feelings were explored and displayed through their simple actions.
It was a delicate thing, a declaration of words unspoken. A promising silence sealed by fleeting touches and gentle eyes.
Their lips met slowly, tentatively. They were almost perfectly still, save for their intimate joining. Jaune relaxed when Pyrrha deepened the kiss, tilting her head back to give him better access. Pyrrha relaxed when Jaune pulled her close, matching her increased affections just as she'd hoped he would. She felt almost dizzy, fit to burst with joy and relief. He was suppressing the urge to smile against her mouth, his own giddiness fighting against his desire to continue the kiss.
Eventually they parted a little, noses touching almost imperceptibly, two pairs of eyes meeting each other in unison.
"I love you." Jaune said simply, voice quiet, but laced with deep devotion.
"And I, you." Pyrrha breathed passionately, sparkling green eyes slightly wet with unshed tears.
Their next kiss was equally soft, and even more sweet. They kissed, and Jaune threaded his hands through Pyrrha's hair as she ran her own hands up and down his side. The kiss ended when they both realised they were smiling, unable to stop themselves. Pyrrha laughed, nuzzling Jaune's neck and closing her eyes.
"How long?" She asked him, reaching out and grabbing hold of his hands.
"I don't know." He said honestly. "It feels like it's always been like that for me. You?"
"Since the beginning." Pyrrha admitted.
"The beginning?" Jaune queried, looking down at her with a questioning set to his face.
"Initiation." Pyrrha said. "Well, it started then." She clarified.
"I guess it did." Jaune murmured into her hair. "That's a long time."
"Yes..." Pyrrha agreed. In a flurry of movement she flipped over, now straddling atop a wide eyed Jaune, pinning his hands above his head. She leaned in, dipping her head forward, darkening her features with a curtain of scarlet hair. "You have a lot to make up for." She purred lowly, whispering against his lips.
"Yes ma'am." Jaune said breathily.
"Fantastic." She said as she claimed his lips in a ferociously hungry kiss. "I've had a lot of time to think about this."
Jaune Arc's father, Johanne Arc, was an excellent hunter. Many would claim it was the Arc blood shining true, a testament to the powerful legacy of his line. This was possible. Personally, he would claim that he worked his ass off for thirty years to get where he was today.
You learn a lot of things over the years. The best hunters, which he most assuredly numbered as one of, had vast skill sets borne of their many varying experiences. And if there was one thing that he'd come to notice about human behaviour - faunus too - was that everyone had patterns. A major deviation from expected results was almost always due to outside circumstances or stimuli.
His son, Jaune, was an amazing sailor. And this wasn't just parental pride speaking. He'd honestly expected the young man to forgo the hunting lifestyle all together and take it up as a career. He might have even joined the Navy. He'd been surprised and delighted when his son had told him otherwise. But he digressed, his son was an excellent sailor.
So it was suspicious when his son, master navigator, landed ten kilometres off his usual target. It was baffling for even a mediocre sailor to make such a large error on such a short trip, never mind his Jaune doing so. He was also late - which Johanne supposed could be due to the weather - but something in his old bones told him otherwise.
Johanne spotted them first, among the various other people setting up at the docks. The bright mop of unruly blonde hair so distinctive of the Arc line, that could only be his Jaune. The boy had grown in the last year, Johanne noted with pride. The tall girl with crimson hair and clever green eyes must be Pyrrha, his partner. Hmm... she seemed a good sort, if he was to guess. He was gut feelings tended to be rather accurate.
A flash of... something, caught Johanne's eye. He narrowed his gaze, subtly channeling Aura into his eyes to enhance his vision. Johanne had seen more than few fights in his time and thus more than a few injuries. Those bruises on Jaune's neck seemed... odd.
And was the girl limping?
"JAUNE MY BOY, YOU'VE FINALLY BECOME A MAN! I'M SO PROUD!"
Jaune and Pyrrha could only stand in mortified silence as Johanne Arc's distinctive bass voice bellowed across the docks, audible to anyone within at least a kilometre. More than one curious head swung round to stare at the dual hunter's in training in question.
As they stood, Jaune going pale as a sheet as his far too jocular father bounded toward them, and Pyrrha blushed a crimson so profuse she outdid her hair, she realised that she was right to dread meeting Jaune's family...
For all the wrong reasons.
So, what do you think? I liked it. In fact, I like it so much I plan to continue it sometime... Probably a long time from now. Depends on how much I want to do 'Christmas Arc' thing.
I have plans for Johanne. He's going to be Alex Louis Armstrong from Fullmetal reincarnated, but with fatherly pride. It'll make for a fun character, I think.
Oh, and the lyrics I used earlier come from Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'. I imagined them singing it more on the lines of Jeff Buckley's rendition however.