AN: Final chapter, once more from Ren's perspective. I'll leave the rest of my thoughts for after the chapter.
One Day They'll Understand
Lie Ren II
Lie Ren finally got it.
He finally understood why Jaune and Blake Arc had started a relationship that led to a happy marriage with children.
It had only taken him ten years to do it, but later was better than never. Actually, it was a little embarrassing for him to admit it, but he was probably the last one in a long line of people to understand.
Yang Xiao Long had surprisingly been the first one to get it, several months into the relationship. Blake had gone to confess that she might have been falling in love with Jaune and Yang finally realized that the whole thing wasn't some elaborate prank meant to trip them all up. Although the very notion that Jaune and Blake would play such a prank was absolutely ridiculous to begin with so in a way it was amazing it took her that long to come around at all.
Ruby Rose had been next, which this time Ren supposed made sense. After all, her big sister had been first so it was only natural that she wasn't far behind. It also certainly helped that of everyone she was the one closest to both of them. Everyone else had really only been able to see it from one side because they had never bothered to truly get to know the other as well as Ruby had.
Nora, of all people, was the next one to figure it out. She possibly could've been the first if she had even bothered to acknowledge it right away. She hadn't tried to because she believed it impossible to work from the very beginning, just like she had thought of their own chances of having a relationship. It was because she had come to understand Jaune and Blake's relationship that she ever confessed to Ren in the first place and now the two of them were happily married with a child of their own.
Weiss Schnee, someone no one ever expected to get it, came to understand after she saw how happy the two of them were at the idea of starting a family. Her acceptance had been particularly surprising because she had never expressed any interest in knowing until after that happened. Apparently it was too dramatic a shift in the relationship for even her to ignore.
Pyrrha Nikos was the latest one to finally accept their marriage. Ren believed she might have never come around and for a while it seemed like she wouldn't. Slowly and over time, their children wormed their way into her heart and now she loved those three as if they were own. It was thanks to them that Pyrrha had finally managed to be happy for Jaune and his wife and let go of her past feelings. Like a true best friend she took time, but she remained by him all those years until she was finally able to come to this conclusion.
Even ignoring just them, countless others that had been absolutely baffled by their relationship had over time came to understand and accept their relationship, including Sun Wukong, Cardin Winchester, Velvet Scarlatina, and even their ever strict teacher, Glynda Goodwitch.
With so many others having come to get it, Ren wondered why he hadn't ever bothered to really try himself. He supposed he had never attempted to understand it because he didn't ever really think it was important. So long as Jaune was happy, Ren would support him no matter what. Reasons weren't important. So he just allowed their relationship to continue all these years without ever trying to further understand it.
Now, while just standing on the edge of the porch in Jaune's backyard and watching his own child run around playing a game of tag with their children, he could finally say he got it.
It was all so simple.
Just like this scenery before them. It wasn't an overly large lawn, but more than big enough for the children to frolic about without concern. In the corner was a swing-set and slide, crafted by Jaune himself during his free-time.
He heard a click behind him and turned to see Jaune holding up his scroll. His leader sat on a swinging bench, another construction of his own, his wife next to him, her head leaning on his shoulder as they rocked gently back and forth, simply enjoyed the beautiful weather. A small binder sat in Blake's lap that he hadn't noticed before.
"What was that?" Ren asked as Jaune grinned stupidly at his scroll. He had come to pick up his daughter and take her home after she had spent the night, but the kids were still having so much fun he didn't want to break it up just yet. Besides, he didn't mind spending some quality time with his old leader and his wife. It was becoming more and more infrequent that they could spend time together. In fact, it was thanks to their children's little playdates like these that gave them the excuse to meet up at all.
"Wanna see?" Jaune asked as he spun the scroll around. It was a picture Jaune had taken, a photo of the children as they ran around and played tag with one another. Despite the fact that it was something he could turn around and view in motion, there was something special that he couldn't describe that had been captured in this still frame. Maybe it was the cheerful smile on his daughter's face? Maybe it was just all four of the children being in one portrait, caught doing what was natural for them. No dressing up, no forced smiles, just them having fun with one another.
"That's nice." Ren nodded in appreciation. "What are you going to do with it?" If possible, he thought he wouldn't mind a copy of it. He was somewhat ashamed to admit it, but he didn't take nearly enough pictures of his daughter. Certainly they had pictures from all the big occasions, but just small moments like this were something he never thought to capture. Unlike his leader. Even now and it felt like Ren was learning small life lessons from him.
"We'll add it to the rest, of course." Blake patted the book in her lap but he must have still looked curious, because a second later she handed it to him. "Here. Take a look." There was a slight pause as Ren decided whether or not to accept it. For some reason, it felt like this was something greatly personal. No, maybe personal wasn't the right word but... sacred. Like he was about to view something that the two of them only kept between themselves. Yet Blake offered it to him without hesitation. So he accepted it and flipped the book open before he could dwell a moment longer, not wishing to complicate his thoughts further.
His eyes widened immediately at the sight. Nearly half the book was already filled to the brim with pictures of Amber, Blaine, and Kuro. They ranged from when the three of them were just born to things he knew must've happened last week judging by the timestamps at the bottom of the photos. It was an album of all the times the three of them had together, plus the occasional image of their happy parents mixed in.
This book... it brought up a familiar scene from the library at Beacon, a scene that had happened ten years ago. One he had forgotten until now. The scene rushing back into his memory helped him to realize his own earlier hesitance. Back then he hadn't wished to interrupt their date, that moment that had just been for them. This binder had in a way been representative of that, if only in his subconscious.
Ren couldn't help it, he let out a small laugh.
Jaune and Blake glanced at one another because of his uncharacteristic reaction, "What's so funny?" Jaune asked. There was no offense taken, just general curiosity in his voice. As if Ren's laughter was contagious, both he and his wife were starting to chuckle along with him, despite being completely clueless as to what it was he found so humorous.
Ren took a couple seconds to regain his composure as he waved Jaune's worries off with a dismissive hand. "No, no. It's just... this reminds me of something that happened a long time ago. Back when the two of you had just started dating."
"Oh?" Blake asked, her curiosity perked.
There was another pause. He opened his mouth to tell them, but stopped with the words still on the tip of his tongue. More than ever now, that scene in the library was fresh in his mind, as if it had happened yesterday. A scene he was never supposed to be a part of.
"Sorry," Ren shook his head. "It's kind of something just for me." He didn't want to trample over something they maybe didn't even remember by revealing he had been there. The two glanced at each other, the corner of their mouths twisting upwards in knowing smiles. Just as Ren suspected, even with just that, they knew exactly what he was saying. Of course they did. The two of them had so many things that were just for them. Things no one else had ever seen.
Yet even with all those unseen things, the things that were visible made the strength of their relationship unquestionable to everyone.
Yes, back then and even now the answer to why Jaune and Blake Arc had started dating and later married were all too obvious.
Remnant was an extraordinary place. So extraordinary that most people got swept up in it and ran forward, constantly in search of great adventure and accomplishing amazing feats.
In the midst of doing all this, Jaune and Blake had found comfort in a simple relationship which had led to simple lives.
They took great joy in doing something that others might find mundane, such as a flipping through an old family photo album in the library on their day off.
There was no continent crossing adventure together, no world-renowned villain trying to take them down, and to their knowledge they had never toppled a secret society. Just two people spending ordinary days together. Jaune and Blake's relationship began when they met in a bookstore. Despite living next to each other all that time, it took an unexpected meeting in a not so unexpected place for that first conversation.
Nothing more than that.
Just something simple in a world of the extraordinary.
AN: And I suppose that's that.
This story took quite the journey that I had never anticipated when I started it not even two full months ago. I just kind of posted a funny idea for a one-shot and left it open to add more in case some more ideas ever struck that could be used in the same place. It wasn't until after I started writing the fourth that the idea for Weiss' chapter came to mind and that set it down this path that caused this story to mature in ways I couldn't imagine.
Still, it felt right to begin and end this story with Ren's perspective. I'm really pleased with the way this whole thing turned out and I really hope y'all are too. Certainly there are a lot of missed opportunities, and perspectives that I could have done, but I feel I reached the natural stopping point for the route this story took and I don't want to force in other perspectives unnecessarily just to fill a quota, partially because at that point I wouldn't really be into it and that wouldn't be fair to you or myself.
On that note, thank you to everyone for giving me so much support for such a simple story. I appreciate it immensely and I doubt I would've been able to take this story this far without all the excellent feedback I received from you all. These chapters jumped around a lot in tone and genre as they went but hopefully for the most part this story gave you some amusement.
I know I got some writing it at least, so I guess we'll call that a win.