Disclaimer: I don't own RWBY.
This is the one chapter that the author notes are up front. Here's why- it's important to understand what you're getting into.
This is a story that isn't your typical read. Or rather, this is a narrative- an overview that will tell a tale of how I would tell a tale, without the usual prose of actually telling it.
In less pretentious words, this is a 16,000 word overview for a fic that I will never write. Why? Because even though I'll never write it, the story is worth sharing. This is the planning outline I referred to in 'A Common Criminal or Something,' now out for all to see. It will be a post-a-day, but divided around narrative arcs rather than chapters. Similar reasons apply- even though it's a summary, the design of the story is such that the flow is meant to be taken in over time.
Make no mistake, this may not be prose but it is a story- it is an account of imaginary people and events told for entertainment. It will have no dialogue. It has no fight sequences. Its style is beyond minimalist- it is a narrative that exists to make you imagine the events yourself in your own mind's eye. This is a work to convey an idea. But most of all, this is actually here. The alternative to this style isn't 'a full-fleshed story with better writing.' The alternative would be nothing.
In short- this is 'College Fool's sharing the idea of a story' in the same sense that Renegade Reinterpretations was 'College Fool's sharing the idea of a video game.' People enjoyed that- and I suspect people will enjoy this, even if it's definitely not the norm.
Accept these limitations if you're willing. Or don't, and leave now.
But for those who would, venture forward and see the creation of my thoughts in your own mind's eye…
"An Affair Or Something"
Jaune Rose had what should have been the fairy tale happy ending: married to a wonderful wife and amazing Huntress, raising two talented children who take after their mother, and a well-paying job as an administrator at Signal Academy. So why isn't he happy? When Jaune shares a drink called loneliness with a red-haired woman at a bar, their initial spark threatens to set his ideal life aflame... and that thought doesn't frighten him as much as it should.
Jaune Arc never went to Beacon, but still crossed paths with heroes. Rescued time and time again by Ruby Rose, their frequent encounters became a friendship that became something more. The day was saved, the White Fang was stopped, and Jaune Arc became Jaune Rose the day Ruby graduated Beacon as a full fledged Huntress. It was a rescue romance that ended happily ever after, and the story begins on their wedding day- in which Jaune is the luckiest man alive, he and Ruby have enough roses to start a beautiful Rose Garden that he promises to keep for her, much to her delight, and where Ruby and Jaune Rose enter their new home for Ruby's very own Happily Ever After.
Fifteen years later, Jaune is still living that happy ending. His (still beautiful) wife is both successful and loves him. He's raised talented children who will surely be great Heroes like their mother. He does a diligent job doing the necessary work that keeps Signal Academy running. He's even on good terms with nearly all Ruby's friends. The most dangerous part of his life is being pricked by the thorns of the Rose Garden, the beautiful private garden he keeps for his wife and promised to care for. It has a perfect view of the sky at night, when moon looks down upon the countless roses that populate it.
And he's never been more miserable. So let's try that again.
Fifteen years later, Jaune is suffocating and wondering where his happy ending is supposed to be. His wife is away for months at a time with men better than him in every way. He can't relate with the children, young fighters who don't take after him at all and seem to prefer any man with a semblance over him. He's nothing but a petty bureaucrat doing the thankless and endless task of pushing papers. He has no friends of his own, only his wife's friends who humor or put up with him. The only success he has to be proud of is the Rose Garden, but it's something almost no one else ever sees, and he's not truly the master of even that because Ruby made him promise to only have roses in no matter the thorns, because he fails to grow anything else. The garden is almost impossible to see in the dark of night unless the moon is directly overhead, because high walls and the city lights blocks out all the stars he hasn't seen since childhood.
Jaune, not even forty, is entering a mid-life crisis born of frustration, failed dreams, isolation, and a lack of (self)respect. And the only thing he can do is drink alone at the bar, occasionally telling some stranger his woes until they tell him to get over himself he has it so good.
Ruby, lovely and wonderful and well-intentioned as she is, is often away, and tries to make up for it when she's not. Which should be fine, it's just her way of showing love, except Jaune's pretty sure he's not just imagining that her fellow Hunter and frequent mission partner, Cardin Winchester, is being more than friendly. There's also the matter of the children, who don't seem to take anything after him except for taking him for granted, and are more interested in chasing after their dreams of being heroes and following anyone with an aura than they care to spend time with him. It's been years since they wanted to be seen in public with him, and now that they're at Signal they do their best to pretend they don't know him. And being a paper-pusher at Signal is hardly the sort of helpful work he wanted to do with his life... especially when everyone knows the reason he got the job is because of nepotism and Uncle Qrow pulling strings. He can't even tell it to any of his friends, because they're really Ruby's friends, and the ones who don't think he has anything to complain about go and take it directly to Ruby. Which leads to her trying to fix it for him with more coddling, which makes it worse even as he knows he should be grateful. The more Ruby helps, the less it does and the more he wants to scream. All he can do, except drink, is tend the Rose Garden- which Ruby watches but never interferes, and never lets the children interfere either.
It's one more night he's telling his story in a bar. It's one more night he can't understand why he's not happy with life, why he can't appreciate how good he has it. It's one more night, and he fully expects to be blown off. It's one more night like the rest… until he meets a beautiful red-haired woman who's also drinking alone, and who tells him she understands.
One night at a bar he meets (without recognizing) Pyrrha Nikos, lovely and living the dream of success and loneliness herself, all the more so because her two best friends are getting married. It should be a happy occasion, but she feels like she's being left behind, and hasn't been able to escape the shadow of her career for years. She has the money, the accomplishments, the success, the admiration of all- but she hasn't had a new friend in over a decade, or a relationship in longer, because the only people who dare are louts out for her fame or fortune. She's been type-cast into her profession, expected to stick with what she's good at forever, with no one to share her private interests with. She's the first to understand what he's feeling, about being trapped in greener pastures, and in turn he's the first to understand her.
Sharing a drink called loneliness, the two bond over how life isn't like what they dreamed a happy ending would be. They hit it off, one drink becomes two, two becomes too many, and when Jaune wakes up the next morning it's in her apartment and in her bed. His clothes are still on- nothing happened- but something did. Jaune cooks Pyrrha breakfast as thanks for his sob-session the previous night, even as she does the same. Before he leaves the two agree to meet up again. Jaune waves off raised eyebrows when he returns home, claiming he crashed with some a friend after too much to drink at the bar, and looks forward to meeting Pyrrha again for drinks. Ruby doesn't question him, but then she doesn't question him about his new friend either. Instead she chides him for his drinking habit, even as his children laugh and make light of him as a drunkard, and already Jaune has the urge for a beer.
'Just for drinks' becomes more as the two become closer- and as Pyrrha begins to help Jaune get a handle on his own life. Shared misery becomes encouragement on how he can turn his life around- the sort of advice of 'tell your family what's on your mind' and such. It starts with a shared shoulder, and then a suggestion of building a healthy sweat with her inviting him to the gym she's at, and then to be a student of the self-defense class she runs.
When Jaune one night admits his childhood dream of being a Hunter, a dream he was forced to give up long ago and which Ruby has refused to unlock his aura for fear he'd get himself in danger, Pyrrha does it instead in another evening of light drinking at her place. There's nothing sexual about it- he hardly sleeps in her bed on anything- but the night she unlocks his aura, she's so tired that she ends up falling asleep on the couch with him, asking him to wake her in the morning. He gives her his word, and spends the night with her- this time by choice.
Author Notes: End Arc 1. Key points: establishing the foundation of Jaune's discontent, the start of his time with Pyrrha, and the initial tenor of Jaune's relationships.