Dedication: This is for all those awesome fathers out there, especially the stay at home homies. You guys who do a good job raising kids? You rock.
Disclaimer: I (probably for the best) don't own RWBY, which belongs to RoosterTeeth. I also don't own the song 'Househusband Macho,' which belongs to Mike Nobel. You can get it from iTunes or Amazon.
Summary: Jaune left Beacon for a SAHD life. It's not a step down by any means: Jaune Arc may have failed to graduate as a Hunter, but he totally passes as a Stay At Home Dad. Behold the life of the even more impressive Papa Arc, who does what many a badass never dares do: manage a household. A series of shorts, each between Jaune and the lady of RWBY/JNPR that is the mother of his children. (Parallel AUs, not harem.) (Updated daily)
A Househusband Macho Or Something
Well he was born in the heat of Feminist flames/
When women grew tired of domestic chains/
He saw their plight, he joined their fight/
He has the guts to makes things right!
"What are we going to do, Jaune?"
That was the question, wasn't it? What do you do with an unplanned pregnancy before graduation? It would seem like a simple decision- a binary 'yes' or 'no.' But it's not just the 'what,' but 'how' and 'why.' There were many things you could do in response to that- but there were things he most certainly wouldn't do.
"Well first, I'm going to take responsibility," he said, as if it were even in question. "Next… we'll figure it out together." He took her hand and squeezed in solidarity.
She smiled, even though it didn't answer the question she meant. "It's just… the timing," she said. "You picked the worst time to get hurt, you know that?" she said, thinking back those months.
Jaune remembered- remembered the pain and fear from the brush with death, but he laughed instead. "I don't think my getting hurt caused this," he said with a chuckle. "I think it was what you did afterwards." A young couple of older teenagers, nearly broken apart and so relieved not to have been, emotions and hormones and relief and love overflowing, and yet no one had questioned when she'd said she would take care of her boyfriend and gone to the infirmary alone one night and-
"Are you saying this is my fault?" she asked, possibly joking but almost certainly not.
"I don't think 'fault' matters," Jaune said, tempering his inherent good nature with the maturity he'd picked up in the years since coming to Beacon. "It's not a bad thing," he said with another squeeze. "They're not a bad thing," he repeated, humanizing the unborn.
"I know, but-" she began, addressing the problem. "How can I become a Huntress if I'm raising them?" She had dreams- a future she had worked hard for- ambitions that didn't correspond with being cooped up in a home.
Even if the timing could work out, even if she could arrange to finish this semester and gave birth over the summer and struggle to get back into fighting shape for their final year, there's no way she could attend classes and manage two babies. She hadn't meant for this, she'd thought children would be safely off in the far future. This was such a complication she didn't need or wan-
"Then don't," Jaune said simply, and despite her own thought that had been forming in her head her blood chilled. Did he- was he really- yes, technically it was one of those binary options, and there would be those who would tell them that they were doing the right and responsible thing. But to say it so casually-
"I'll raise them," Jaune continues in the same breath. She looked at him in surprise, and he looked back with sincerity, and he squeezed her hand reassuringly. "I'll raise them," he said again. "We'll finish the year together, and we'll find a place nearby, and after the summer I'll stay with them while you come back to finish Beacon. And then when you graduate I'll still stay with them and raise them while you're off saving the day and bringing in the lien."
"Jaune," she said, touched and grateful but well aware that the reasons that applied to her applied to him as well. "I don't want to force you to give up your dream."
To be a Hunter. To be a Hero and save lives, like his father and grandfather and so on. He shouldn't have to give that dream away just because of something they'd done, something she'd wanted just as much as him. She'd been the one to enter his room in the medbay that night, she'd been the one who woke him by-
"I don't want you to give up yours either," he said back, brushing her knuckles with his thumb. "Besides, it's better this way- I've already changed my baby sisters' diapers enough to know what I'd be doing. And my knee? It's better, but it's still acting up now and then. The world needs the most amazing Hero it can out there kicking butt, and that's you," Jaune said with pride.
"Jaune," she began, tone warning against reverting into old self-pity and self-depreciation. He'd come a long way from the last-in-class weakling of their freshmen year. If he hadn't, she wouldn't have entertained the thought of a serious relationship, they wouldn't be here.
But Jaune didn't wallow- he'd kept moving forward past that, matured into the man who'd caught her eye. "Besides," he claimed, "I wouldn't be giving up my dream- just changing up the order a little."
He explained, and she listened.
"I've always wanted to have a family one day, you know?" Jaun said. "It wasn't just about a pretty girlfriend and fun dates and heroic adventures. I wanted to be like my ancestors, but they weren't just Heroes- they were parents. They did great things and then they came home and played with their sons and grandsons. They were awesome, and I wanted to be like that too."
He looked at her, and if there were some regret and tension behind his eyes his smile was still genuine. "Being a Hunter? That's cool, don't get me wrong- but I already know I could be one now. Graduating is just a diploma if you could already pass the test, and not to brag but Team JNPR is awesome- they won't fail whether I'm there or not. A diploma would just make it official. But the real Heroes, like my family that I want to be like? They don't need diplomas. They don't just save lives."
He reached out, and gently caressed the beginnings of the bulge at her belly.
"They give people a chance to live," he whispered. "You don't get to be like that if you refuse to raise a family, you know? So I'm not really giving up anything."
She looks at him, sees him talking not just to her but directly to the lives beginning inside her, and she smiles. If there were any doubts- that this was a mistake rather than simply unplanned, that it was hormonal puppy love rather than something serious, that she made the wrong choice with the wrong guy and this is the unfortunate result- if there were any doubts, this is the moment she can confidently throw them away and focus on planing their future with the young man before her.
"You," she declares with more than a hint of pride, as if challenging anyone to dispute her, "are going to be an excellent father, Jaune."
Jaune smiles back, even though the hard work hasn't even begun.
Those following 'A Common Criminal or Something' understand how this works: a post a day, each building on each other with deliberate pacing. If you don't like that sort of pacing, come back on Father's Day. If it seems slow now, give it a day or three.
This is not a 'build up' romance story. This is a story in which the relationship is already well underway- and more than a few months beyond that. You don't need to know the why or how it started- you don't even need to know the 'who' the heroine is in this case. The 'who' is 'all of them'- it's a quantum state, where it could have been any of them at the same time. Jaune would have had this conversation, and made this choice, with all of them. This is the foundational moment with the (ambiguous) girl, and all that would have changed would have been a style of speech. Going forward it won't be so ambiguous.
But let's be clear on something: this is not a harem. This is a series of shorts, which collectively encompasses the ladies of RWBY and JNPR. In each of them Jaune is with one, and only one, girl. Next chapter will by Pyrrha, and only Pyrrha will be the mother. The chapter after that, Pyrrha will never have been the mother, and it'll be someone else's story. And so on. The constant is Jaune. Context may change- the love of his life/mother of his children may change- but Jaune is Jaune is Jaune.
You'll see soon enough.