The Writer Games (Or Something)
It can take decades to write a masterpiece, and years to plan it- so see what a couple of amateurs come up with in 15 minutes after a prompt. College Fool, Couer Al'Alran, and the Jaune story concepts that followed.
Coeur's Prompt – Jaune is a Faunus
He be Lion
He could lie about his scores, he could lie about his family, but he can't lie about what he is. Can a lion faunus who didn't even earn his way into Beacon find a pride of his own?
Jaune is a lion half-fanus. That's the long and short of it- he's not a mythical creature faunus, not a super-powered faunus, just a standard, mammalian, big cat faunus. He has callouses on his hands where pads would be, he has a tail, he even has the ears. Nothing special, as far as faunus go- unless you count the extra hair that's more of a mane, which makes it impossible to hide once the hoodie goes down.
Starting from the airship ride to Beacon, we see the differences that makes, which is… not much, because the hoodie is up. Sure, some people point and whisper, but compared to the battle to hold in his stomach he barely even notices it, and certainly doesn't care. From the start we see that Jaune is non-confrontational- not picking a fight over careless or rough elbows, lest people take a good look at him and realize his race. In his mind he knows it's not something he can hide forever/for long, but he'd rather avoid the nickname vomit-cat for as long as he can- the first indication of his history of being bullied for race. As long as his hoodie is up and his tail tucked in, he can pass for human easily- though a passing Blake gives him an odd glance as she passes him on the airship. Rather significantly, the news report on the TV about the White Fang protests is changed to telling us how the Council of Vale has agreed to demands made by the White Fang in opening more positions in schools and universities to faunus students.
The first butterflies start happening when Jaune helps Ruby up- Ruby notices the pads/callouses on his hand. Rather than ask why he helped her up, Ruby's curious about his hands- and why he's wearing a hoodie- and in her careless/socially awkward way breaks through Jaune's reluctance. Jaune lowers the hoodie, revealing himself as a lion faunus- which Ruby thinks is cool because Roar, and King of the Jungle, and all that. Jaune waves off that it's that good- after all, male lions don't do anything but look good because it's the females who hunt everything- but is secretly just as relieved to have made an initial friend as Ruby is.
In the auditorium, Ozpin gives his speech as per canon- but with an additional note on the presence of new students who have gotten into Beacon as a result of the Council's recent affirmative action policies. Ozpin gives a tough-love speech about how while entry may have been made easier, all students will have to earn their spot and prove their worth if they want to stay. Obvious foreshadowing towards Jaune is obvious.
Jaune makes his way to Ruby and Yang after the speech, in time for Weiss's confrontation with Ruby. When Weiss references Jaune in her 'tall, blonde, and handsome' quip, she does it without looking at him- and freezes like a deer in headlights when he walks over and introduces himself. After she recognizes him as a faunus- Jaunus gives a sarcastic quip about how, really? He's never noticed- Jaune introduces himself and asks Weiss if they can be friends. Weiss is flummoxed- unsure if he's ignorrant who she is or making a lie at her expense- and does the early-Beacon 'people should know who I am' spiel- though a bit less antagonistically than with Ruby and Yang. Here Blake enters the conversation again- a mirror/repeat of her role in Weiss and Ruby's first encounter- explaining Weiss's relation to Schnee Dust Corp. Blake is as taken aback and wondering how a faunus wouldn't know of the Schnee business reputation as Weiss is that Jaune wouldn't know her- but Jaune admits he does know the reputation, but doesn't want to judge without getting to know. Dropping the line about how his mother taught him that strangers are friends you haven't met yet, Jaune points out that they're all strangers and repeats his question to Weiss if she wants to be friends. Weiss retreats, thinking it some kind of trick to get inside her confidence for a future backstab, and the assembled (bar Jaune) watch her go with disappointment, while Jaune just waves her off and calls out 'maybe next time?'
Blake asks Jaune why he did that- tried to be friends with his race's sworn enemy- and Jaune gives a suitably idealistic answer about how they're all at Beacon to be heroes for everyone, human and faunus, right? Even Weiss. Ruby cheers about her dream, Yang smiles, and Blake gets a critical hit to the feels- all the more so when Jaune reaches out and gives her the same sort of question he gave Weiss- hey, since they're strangers, want to be friends? Caught in the moment, and for her own implicit reasons, Blake agrees- sticking with Ruby and Yang and Jaune, rather than walking away to be alone. Blake lets loose of subtle smile as Yang and Jaune make their own introductions, with Yang teasing/tormenting Jaune about why she's last- is it because she's pretty and he was nervous? Tell her it's because she's pretty.
The party of feels dims a bit as time continues, and the progressive atmosphere of acceptance dims as the lights do when it's time to sleep and Jaune goes off to find a place to sleep at what's unofficially the guy's side of the sleeping room. Jaune's friendly enough, striking up conversations when given a chance and extending that offer of friendship- but as the girls watch, they realize being a faunus is a tough sell, especially as Jaune tries to make friends with guys. Some are noncommittal and obviously uninterested- others are worse. Cardin in particular is downright cruel, for the obvious reason, even as he poses it in a mocking terms of being 'friends'- though obviously the sort Jaune doesn't want. Ruby and Yang watch with frowns, and Blake notes that it must be hard to be a faunus. When Jaune's unable to find a place to sleep on the guys side, he comes back asking if the girls can make room for him.
Which ends up being part of Weiss's issue- not just the noise, but the impropriety of a guy sleeping amongst the girls. When Jaune's inability to find a place to sleep is raised by one of the girls, Weiss is skeptical- but when the reason of 'because he's a faunus' is pointed out, Weiss shuts down. Blake throws an additional zinger- it's not like Jaune is an animal or something, controlled by his lust- Weiss is on the defensive that she didn't say that, and wasn't trying to imply it. Jaune speaks up in her defense- he doesn't believe she was suggesting that- and offers that family motto arc word and promises not to do anything indecent. Weiss, on the back foot, accepts it with a warning that she'll be watching, but takes her retreat. As Weiss leaves, Ruby and/or Yang notes that Jaune puts a lot of pride in his family, and Jaune admits to it. With the lights dimming too soft for a non-faunus to read, Jaune tells the girls a family story as a fairy tale before bed.
Come morning, Jaune's looking for his equipment and gear- and as Blake comes to and inquires, it's clear that it's been taken and moved as a bullying prank by Cardin, who moved Jaune's stuff to the locker room in a 'friendly' gesture. A pity he forgot which locker he put it in, which means Jaune will have to open each and every locker in the locker room to find it. Blake quickly volunteers to help, followed by Ruby and Yang in what Jaune jokingly calls 'Team Jaune', which leads into the locker room scene with Weiss and Pyrrha.
Jaune doesn't flirt, but opens up by greeting Weiss warmly again and assuring her that he kept his word about the previous night. Weiss knows- she watched- which leads into the icebreaker in which she introduces him to a curious Pyrrha. Jaune still doesn't know who Pyrrha is- but there's a slight difference when Jaune knows who Pyrrha's opponent was- Pyrrha's record-breaking victory was over a faunus, who him/herself would have been the first faunus to win the modern regional championship. All the hopes of the faunus were on the faunus, and Pyrrha crushed 'em. Pyrrha is embarrassed and a bit apologetic, but Jaune waves it aside as no biggie- if Pyrrha had taken a dive out of pity, the victory wouldn't have meant anything. Jaune says he respects Pyrrha's ability to be a Champion- Pyrrha becomes subdued and downcast- and then promptly asks if they can be friends. Strangers and all that. Pyrrha's mood is restored a bit, and then a bit more at Weiss's exchange with Jaune. Weiss points out/accuses Jaune that it could sound like he wants Pyrrha's friendship for his own benefit, but Jaune's denies it. Team Jaune is already filled with four people after all. He just wants what he assumes Weiss approached Pyrrha for- friends, right? Weiss is again on the backfoot, Jaune smiles beautifully/idiotically, and Pyrrha laughs and accepts Jaune's offer of friendship.
Weiss leaves- again refusing a yes/no for Jaune's question of friendship after a night to think it over- and Jaune's little audience of Blake, Ruby, and Yang are there with his gear. Jaune's a bit bashful all of a sudden as he accepts his gear, and admits that came out more confident than he felt. He begins to say something about the idea of Team Jaune- apologizing for presumption, and the start of a confession- but he's interrupted by Yang. He gets a little ribbing from Yang for calling the team his own like that- but it's not actually a bad idea. After a bit of discussion, the four agree to at least try. Ruby's still interested in Yang as partner first and foremost, and Blake's taken an interest in Jaune.
Interest becomes clearer when Blake pulls Jaune aside before the initiation. Blake suspects what Jaune was trying to confess earlier- from his insecurity, and the way he carries himself, she guesses he's not that good. She wants to know how bad he is. Does he have a landing strategy? Does he even know what aura is? Jaune shows that he does have his aura unlocked- and shares that despite his weakness, his family did teach him a little. He can make the landing- cats always land on their feet, right? He's just worried about the afterwards.
Blake gives him a promise of protection, and gives a gift of sort. Blake shows a transmitter- one capable of emitting sounds too high for a human to hear, but one which a faunus could hear. At max, it could be heard halfway across the forest. Blake says they should meet as soon as possible- using the transmitter as a guide- and Blake promises to look out for Jaune. She actually trips and reveals herself- foreshadowing/meta-knowledge- when she makes the 'mistake' of saying Jaune should stay put, stay safe, and she'll be there as soon as she can. Jaune points out that the strategy would only work one way- he's the faunus, after all- and Blake accepts the correction and tells Jaune to find her as soon as he can. Blake promises to protect him, and the two take their stations- though not without Yang offering a tease of the shiptease going on. Jaune reasserts that he can make the landing- he just has to aim for the open ground. Someone trollishly says good luck finding that in a forest.
Students are launched. Jaune isn't lying- he can make the landing. He just so happens to land in a tree, with a painful (and screaming) limb between his legs. Team Jaune hears the scream and makes haste, but Jaune's concerns are elsewhere- the reason he wanted to aim for the ground is because he's afraid of heights, and now he's the proverbial cat stuck in a tree. Can he get down before he's humiliated by being found stuck in it?
Answer is… mostly no. As Jaune hears Blake's transmitter getting closer- she heard the scream too- he ends up trying to jump and failing to. The limb he's on breaks, and he's falling dangerously, but fortunately pinned to the tree a few feet before impact. It's Pyrrha, who came when she heard the scream. Pyrrha asks if there's still any space on Team Jaune, and Jaune agrees, and the canon partnership is born. Jaune leads Pyrrha north towards Blake, whose transmitter he can still hear- though it's turning on and off oddly.
Despite the teasing of Team Jaune, its canon partnerships all around- just with a little twist by the Jaune focus.
Blake and Yang come across each other as Blake's making her way towards Jaune, afraid that he's hurt. Yang laughs at the thought that Jaune might become a ghost or something, but tags along. Blake is distracted- as if barely hearing Yang's words until Yang makes a quip/cough about her being interested in Jaune. Blake subtly turns off the transmitter as Yang claims she's noticed Blake's interest. Yang asks Blake if she's a faunaphile, or has a cat-boy fetish or something- and Blake, blushing from the teasing, denies it, though she admits is concerned/interested because Jaune is a faunus. It's at this time Jaune and Pyrrha make themselves known, having just been in ear-shot. Neither Jaune or Pyrrha make any indication they heard Blake and Yang's discussion. Blake, Yang, Pyrrha, and Jaune ultimately decide to head north- they suspect Ruby's moving south as well, but they've no real chance of finding her in the woods. Better to rally up north. Yang and/or Pyrrha thank Blake for having the transmitter on so Jaune could find them- and Blake realizes that she'd turned it off, and so Jaune likely heard the discussion.
Ruby and Weiss meet each other as they're making their way towards the scream. Ruby is happy enough with the idea of Team Jaune, and doesn't mind Jaune being a partner so long as she can have a stronger teammate like Yang or Blake (or Pyrrha?) to work out against. As per canon, she runs into Weiss when she's not paying attention. The two fight a bit- Ruby asks what Weiss is doing there- and Weiss admits she's investigating the scream. Over the course of a few scenes, Weiss and Ruby are picky at each other as per canon as they look for Jaune, but the fact that they're looking for someone who might be hurt keeps them united. Ruby ends up asking Weiss about why she's been giving Jaune such distance when he's tried to be friends. Is it because he's a faunus? Weiss denies it's about Jaune- after all, she's not making friends with Ruby, is she? But Ruby persists and pesters, because Weiss's distance is different from the acrimony she shared with Ruby, and Weiss ultimately admits that Jaune's faunus nature is a factor. Not for Weiss disliking him- again, Ruby- but for why she won't trust him. Weiss shares that the Schnees are so reviled and distrusted by the faunus for the SDC policies that they've had faunus pretend to be friendly just to get a shot at hurting them. Weiss makes a claim that her sister (Winter) nearly lost an eye for trusting such a false friend, and so Weiss doesn't dare make friends so easily- for humans or faunus, since false-friends wanting the Schnees for their own interests are the same. That's (partly) the reason Weiss had been hoping for Pyrrha- because Pyrrha was strong, yes, but because she was strong they could have been equals. Weiss's admission/reflections earn her Ruby's better opinion, and a tinge of pity, and Ruby concludes that Weiss isn't such a mean person after all. (Ruby sharing this opinion, however, sets Weiss off as she tries to shake off the moment they were having.)
Ren and Nora- no real change, though for the purpose of similarity Nora drags Ren into the cave for the 'relic.' Cue Nightstalker chase- and Nora mounting an Ursa as a get-away vehicle for her and Ren.
Anyways- the above are not all sequential, but overlap. When Jaune, Pyrrha, Blake, and Yang get to the temple with the relics, they get bored waiting and wonder how they could get Ruby there faster. Yang considers shooting a shell skyward, but it'd not be seen through the trees. The idea of a noise beacon returns- but Blake's device only works for Faunus. Pyrrha asks why/where Blake even got such a thing, to which Blake is evasive. Yang ultimately suggests Jaune- lions roar, right? Big, loud, impressive. Jaune denies his is anything like that- but ultimately gets bullied into it. Just have confidence, right? It's a total flop- like Simba from the lion king when he was a child- and while loud it's utterly embarrassing, much to Yang's teasing and Blake's defense of him from said teasing.
But it's loud- and loud enough to be heard. Nora and Ren drive the noramobile north, Deathstalker right behind them, in search of help. Further south, Weiss and Ruby realize Jaune moved long ago. Ruby has the idea for the Nevermore flight. They ride, they jump/fall, and when Weiss falls Jaune catches her and saves her a bad fall- to her apparent discomfort/unease, rather than sarcasm.
Fight happens, mostly akin to canon. There's a few changes for Jaune's role- Jaune is stronger than in canon, less clutzy, but he's also more afraid. Almost cowardly. He's the first to suggest they run away, and freezes when it comes to jumping across the bridge gap, even though it's within his ability. It's not till Blake is knocked off- Blake, was protecting him and told him to run- that he gathers his courage and jumps back over and into the fray with Nora. Ultimately JNPR doesn't defeat the Deathstalker- instead Jaune leads a defense and maneuver that buys them the space for all of them to make the running leap onto the bridge, leaving the deathstalker behind even as RWBY plays skirmisher with the Nevermore to protect JNPR as they run across the chasm. Jaune suggests they flee into the forest on the north side and avoid the fight- but RWBY follows Ruby's idea and wins the day, with JNPR providing minor support. A minor butterfly effects is that, in the course of the action, Blake gets a minor injury protecting Jaune/JNPR from the Nevermore's feather-bullets.
Initiation ceremony. Canon teams. Ozpin makes a remark about the different merits of team leaders- those who fight and win (Ruby), and those who avoid needless fights (Jaune). Ozpin holds it up as equally valid approaches- pointing out the injury under Ruby's command- but Jaune clearly feels guilty about it. All is forgiven, efforts are made to move forward, and Nora and Ren get to give their impressions about Jaune as a faunus.
Nora is… well, it's played for humor, but also dabbles into the casually racist. Nora thinks it's the cutest thing (Jaune protests that he's cool), and asks questions like if he likes fish (he prefers red meat cooked rare) and if he likes milk as much as she does. Blake is aghast at the casual racism, especially when Nora starts feeling and stroking Jaune's faunus parts- his ears, and his tale, his mane. That's the part Blake interjects- explaining how those are gestures of intimate closeness amongst faunus.
Is it? Jaune didn't know- his human step-sisters did it all the time. Here it's revealed that Jaune grew up in a human household- so Blake's actually more familiar with faunus-faunus etiquette than Jaune is. Nora is apologetic- she and Ren grew up without faunus, so Jaune's the first they've met. Blake was more offended than Jaune was, and it's no-harm-no-foul, and Ren makes peace by apologizing on Nora's behalf and asking for patience while they learn. Everyone's happy, and initiation arc ends.
Begin School Arc
Classes begin. Jaune the early hero of the hour when he alerts the teams in time for class. The reasons are implicitly a consequence of racism- Jaune reminisces about a series of draconian punishments he received when he wasn't on time. JNPR shocked, and Blake is practically seething, but Yang and Ruby have no context and accept it at face value, commenting they're glad they were home schooled. Jaune makes an idle note that he was glad he got homeschooled after that- an implicit rescue by his mother from a racist institution.
The first class starts a worrying trend when Professor Port, during the speech of brave and worthy hunters, selects Jaune as the demonstrator despite Weiss volunteering. Not letting Jaune back out- which Jaune tries- Port pushes Jaune into one-on-one with the boarbatusk while saying it's a trivial task for the brave huntsman-in-training that belong in this academy. Naturally, it's a disaster- it's not that Jaune's too stubborn to accept advice, but even if he's stronger than canon he's still too weak. While Jaune managed to stop the roll, when trying to wrestle the boar over and expose it's underside he gets gored- causing Weiss to jump in and save him with her glyphs before Port can finish it off. Jaune is rushed to the infirmary before the first class is over- and it's the start of a worrying trend. It's barely a consolation for Jaune when Weiss talks to him in the infirmary later, declaring that they're even- he saved her in the initiation with the catch, she helped him- and then offering him the notes for the lectures he missed. It's the closest she comes to officially answering his standing offer of friendship.
It's not that Beacon's professors are maliciously cruel or harsh towards Jaune- Professor Port even comes by to offer his apology for over-estimating Jaune- but Jaune seems to be a student of interest for every teacher. Asked for questions which he struggles to know (Jaune gets inadvertently humiliated in Oobleck's class when he doesn't know a question 'any faunus' would know- like the battle of Fort Castle), volunteered for demonstrations (which he ends up being the dummy of mostly)… and that's not touching on what Glynda stands by and tolerates during combat training. Jaune always seems to come out with more bruises than everyone else.
And then there's Cardin. Just… Cardin. Jaune waves it off as Cardin is a jerk to everyone, but there's obviously a racial motive behind it- especially when Jaune dares stand up to Cardin's bullying of Velvet the first time it happens. Cardin backs off then- mainly because Blake follows Jaune after he did it even if she warned him against getting involved- but vows to put Jaune in his place. Velvet thanks Jaune for helping her, but Jaune denies it was because it was she was a faunus. He thinks- he'd like to think- that anyone would have done it- but Velvet sadly points out that no one else did. Jaune can't deny it- but he does notice that the other faunus in the room didn't intervene either. Uncomfortable Blake is uncomfortable.
Even though his team tries to help- and Jaune is willing to accept their help in training and classwork, comparing it to his sisters efforts to train him before he came to Beacon- it seems that the faculty has it out for Jaune. Or at least is pressing him harder than the normal students, and more students than just Cardin seem to have it out for Jaune.
Jaune gradually buckles and cracks under the stress. The days in which Jaune offered friendship to every stranger are long gone- a departure from his idealistic optimism from early on which even his friends notice. Even so, Jaune hangs in there- frequently citing his family and his need to live up to their legacy with a devoted dedication that takes a desperate tinge. Musings of a mother that begin fond take a desperate tinge when Jaune refuses to call or even think about returning home.
Through it all, Jaune's most passionate supporter/encourager is Blake. Blake's the first to bristle at implicit racism in play, the most sincere in her encouragement for Jaune to not give up his ideals, and the first to lament his fading idealism. Her support has grown since Initiation, to the point that all the friends notice it- Yang even jokes if she and Pyrrha should become partners, to stop being the third wheel. For all that it's platonic- or at least, Jaune makes no move on Blake- but it's very clear that Blake is more interested in Jaune succeeding than any of them. Despite this, it's not actually clear how close they feel towards each other- Blake gives no jealousy vibes and encourages Jaune spending productive time with anyone, and Jaune accepts Blake's encouragement the same way he does everyone else- and a bit less fondly than Pyrrha, who's training him in combat. It's an odd, confusing relationship for the rest of the friends to watch, which is to say Yang can't stop wondering.
This school/Jaundice arc breaks from canon during a particularly hard week of classes and bullying. This is the week that Cardin pounds Jaune to the ground with extreme prejudice. It starts with Jaune being provoked beyond reason- just from being called a Bastard and some insults to Jaune's mother- but Cardin's beatdown is so over the top that even Glynda steps in, and Blake thrashes Cardin in the very next match. Despite that, Jaune's no happier- in fact, he doesn't talk to Blake at all in a case of unclear reasoning- and to try to help Jaune relax Team JNPR goes to the city. RWBY does not come because of Jaune's tiff with Blake- Blake's upset/concerned, but the rest of RWBY cautions her to let Jaune have time with his team. Yang in particular points out that Jaune's probably upset that Blake showed him up so badly by beating Cardin- instead of making Cardin look bad, it made Jaune look even worse. Best just to give Jaune some space to cool down. Blake pretends to accept this and goes to the library… from which she sneaks out and makes her way to Vale.
While out in town- and seeing the preparations for the Vytal Festival- JNPR stumbles into Penny. Literally. Penny is posting missing person fliers, and asks for help. Despite being worn and not wanting to be bothered, Jaune (with a bit of nudging from Pyrrha) agrees to hear Penny out, giving the magic words of strangers and friends… which Penny finishes for him, knowing them already. Penny celebrates making her second new friends, who asked her to post these fliers. Pyrrha takes a closer look at the missing person flier, and gasps.
Blake is also going around Vale, looking for Jaune and Team JNPR. Blake's not sure what she intends to do- needs to do to make up for the tiff- or even can do to help Jaune- but she feels she needs to be the one to do it. In her musings, she comes across a blonde human woman desperately proffering the missing person poster, but being ignored by the crowd. Despite having her own person to look for, the woman's desperation- and her please if anyone has seen her son- draw Blake over to talk to her. At the very least, she can keep an eye open. Talking to the woman, she looks at the poster-
And sees Jaune.
The human woman claims to be Jaune's mother, and tells Blake her story. Jaune ran away after a fight, and the family hasn't seen hide or hair of him sense. Jaune's mother clearly regrets the fight and is desperate for any sign of Jaune and takes relief in Blake's recognition. Blake isn't everything she hoped for, though, because Blake starts putting together things Jaune has said- about his motivations for having to prove he's worthy of the family and his complex about his mother- and Blake suspects that there was more to the fight than a few careless words. Jaune's mother won't elaborate, and so Blake refuses to divulge Jaune's location. When a fight nearly breaks out- Jaune's mother is stronger than her, and won't let go- Blake takes a shot in the not-so-dark when she accuses the (human) woman of not being Jaune's real mother. The shock, like a slap in the face, lets Blake escape.
Blake returns to Beacon, after she's made sure she shook Jaune's mother, to find that JNPR is there as well- as soon as Jaune saw the posters, he retreated from Vale and has been alone on the rooftop ever since and not talking with anyone about what happened. Blake thinks she knows, and goes to speak with him.
Long story long, Blake touches a couple of raw nerves and learns she's mis-read Jaune. Blake's effort to sympathize with Jaune over the systemic racism in the school runs into Jaune's difference of opinion of the nature. Jaune's dark secret isn't faked transcripts- it's that he only got into Beacon through affirmative action. Which was admittedly an open secret of sorts, but it gives a non-racist reasoning for a lot of the troubles he's been having. The Teachers aren't discriminating on Jaune because they hate his race- they're trying to give him a chance to prove himself as worthy as everyone else, even though he isn't. Blake and Oobleck go easy on Jaune, wanting him to be a heroic rolemodel for faunus everywhere? Jaune prefers Weiss and Goodwitch's acerbic evenhandedness- at least with them he knows he's earned any good word. And if they don't have any, it's because he didn't earn it, just like he didn't earn his place here- even Cardin actually earned a spot. Jaune got in because terrorism works, and it created a reform of racial pity for the undeserving.
And if there's something that Jaune hates depending on, it's racial pity. And Blake is just full of it.
Jaune's cracking under the strain here, and Blake's attempts to be understanding only fan the flames. Jaune's lashing out, and not entirely without cause- Blake's interest and concern for him is, at the end of the day, entirely because he's a faunus. Not only is her political ideology defined by 'faunus rights', but she's not shown a similar sort of concern towards any other human. The fact that there are no humans as bad as he is doesn't challenge the point- Jaune is certain if he were more human, she wouldn't care about him. Even as he knows he depends on her help, Jaune resents her paternalism, how she treats him like a project to be her ideal faunus. Like a pet.
Jaune is ranting, and Blake's upset- a bit angry, but mostly hurt by how Jaune thinks she sees him. The more she tries to claim commonalities, the more he rejects any- not the idealism of what hunters should do, rising above racial divide. At a loss, Blake pulls her trump card to prove that they have commonality, and reveals her super amazing secret that no one reading the story would ever have guessed.
Blake is actually a faunus! Le shock!
More surprisingly- Jaune isn't moved. In fact, it opens up a new anger, a new angle of resentment. Jaune rejects Blake's claim that she understands what he's going through. Ridiculing the idea that all faunus have it the same, Jaune points some relevant difference. Blake was able to earn her way into Beacon in her own right, unlike him. Blake has been able to pass herself off as human all this time, unlike him. And Blake is still only giving a damn because he's faunus- and if there's a second thing Jaune hates, it's the idea of faunus solidarity. That's what those monsters in the White Fang think.
Jaune's unleashing it all on Blake, all of his anger and frustration and despair. Blake thinks she knows what he's going through? That they're similar because they're both faunus? She may know the feeling of being rejected by humans for being too faunus. But she knows nothing about being rejected by faunus for being too human.
Blake is shocked. You're a halfbreed, she says before she can stop herself.
Jaune gives a wry grin. Halbreed. That's right- half faunus, half human, the worst of both and the best of neither. And a bastard born of an affair to boot. Still think they're the same?
Blake leaves, returning to her room in silence. When RWBY asks if she was able to fix things, she says no- and she realizes she never was able to bring up his mother in town.
On top of the roof, Jaune comes down from his venting. He's already regretful, but parts of it needed to be said. He just hopes he can apologize- but before he can follow Blake, a nasty chuckle makes itself known. It's Cardin, and what a delight it was to hear all that. Jaune being an affirmative action case was almost an open secret. And Cardin doesn't really care about half-bloods. But Blake being a faunus? Think of what might happen if that went out. Fortunately Jaune is his favorite faunus…
(Got way too dragged into this. Speeding up.)
The blackmail arc is shorter, or at least different. Cardin can't claim Jaune's time or friendship after everything, but he can still exploit him. Friends notice, but can't interfere since Jaune won't say what's being blackmailed. Jaune and Blake are unreconciled. The climax at forever falls has a similar resolution- Jaune saving Cardin despite everything- with a key highlight. Overwhelmed by many Grimm, Jaune has to call for help while he stands over Cardin- and to do that, he lets out an epic lion's roar that echoes across the valley. It stuns the Grimm, shocks Cardin, and the girls all come and save the day- and at the end Cardin is still stunned and Jaune threatens him against ever using the blackmail against Blake.
(As a point- Jaune's roar stunning people is actually his semblance- he can choose who it affects or not, and anyone who's unprepared gets stunned.)
Despite this, Blake and Jaune aren't reconciled, much to Yang's frustration. Things that were said can't be taken back so easily, especially when parts of it were true and sincerely believed. Blake's shooting glances at Jaune, Jaune's avoiding them, and while people are relieved that the tension with Cardin has toned down. Yang worries about her favorite ship (as she teases Blake about getting too close to Jaune), and Weiss takes it upon herself to help clear the air. RWBY conspires to force Jaune and Blake to talk together- ultimately kidnapping Jaune into Vale (where they aren't aware of the Wanted Posters, still a secret with JNPR) while taking Blake separately for the Vytal Festival greeting.
Things are awkward, but with much prodding the two begin to interact, even as Jaune tries to keep an eye out for Penny and his mother. They meet Sun, which starts the Weiss-Blake argument. While Weiss clamps down on the more blatant faunus tones, courtesy of Jaune, she's still hard on Sun for being a miscreant and rule-breaker. Jaune agrees with her- much to her surprise- because of his own experience/perception of being caught in the collective stigma of rule-breaking Faunus. Blake protests- and possibly a bit hurt that Jaune is siding with Weiss over her- and this leads into the White Fang escalation. Jaune is even more passionate in his hate of the White Fang than Weiss is- another surprising commonality- and this definitely hurts Blake. As the argument picks up- and repeats parts of Blake and Jaune's earlier fight about faunus who think they know what's best for other faunus- the rejection of White Fang as ever having been good becomes the climax point when Jaune passionately swears he hates the White Fang for murdering his father. Blake's denial that she had anything to do with it becomes the accidental confession, and she flees.
The chase after her gets complicated by Penny, who recognizes Jaune and tries to grab him. Penny's efforts- on behalf of her 'friend' Jaune's Mother- lead to a separate chase in which Ruby and Weiss are separated from Jaune and Yang. Ultimately Jaune realizes he's trapped in Vale because his mother is staking out the airship ferry to and from Beacon- where she encounters Weiss and Ruby at late evening. Between Weiss and Ruby, and Yang and Jaune in a cafe, Jaune's issue with his mother is developed.
Jaune is a half-faunus, insultingly called a half-breed. In a world where humans who love faunus are called animal-fuckers, and faunus who love humans are called whores who roll get off on human oppression, it's not a fun place to be. Jaune was born when his unfaithful Father, while away on a mission, had an affair with a faunus who gave birth to Jaune. Jaune's father took responsibility but tried to keep it a secret, not even giving his name to his second family. When the faunus mother was killed when Jaune was five, from fellow faunus discrimination, he sent Jaune home to his human family.
Jaune's relationship with his human mother is very strong and very complicated. On one hand, there's a very strong love- Jaune's first memory of his Mom is of their first encounter when she took his hand and walked with him into the home and made a warm meal for him. She accepted him despite being a faunus, and gave him the name Arc. Jaune loves her, even though he has conflicting feelings and other memories of his birth mother.
On the other, though, Jaune is tied to the bitter memory of his father's infidelity- one that repeated over and over until Jaune had seven step-sisters. Mr. and Mrs. Arc had a contentious relationship they tried to keep away from the children, extremely volatile in passion and anger. Despite this, Papa Arc loved (or at least gave affection) to all his children, and so Jaune looked up to him as much as Mother, much to his mother's resentment. The marriage ultimately ended without divorce by a White Fang terrorist attack that killed Jaune's father. Hence Jaune's hatred of the White Fang.
The root of Jaune's family issues/running away from home was his desire to emulate/preserve the Arc legacy- having grown up with it and loved the Father and Mother who accepted him into it, Jaune wanted nothing more than to keep it alive and bring honor to it. His mother, though, sees it as tainted and wanted to move past it and remarry. Not only did she not want Jaune risking himself as a Hunter, she wanted him to change his name with hers. This prompted an argument- possibly at the fiance's instigation if he didn't want Jaune around- which ended up having words that couldn't be taken back- 'no son of mine' and 'well I'm not.' Jaune left with the intent/idea that if he become a Hunter and could make her proud of 'Arc', it'd all be better.
With Yang as his listener, he gets some understanding on the complicated feelings of two mothers- and a knock on the head anyway for being stupid and worrying either one of them. From the table beside them, Sun leans over and goes- tough life, dude. Because eavesdropping right beside them- and too afraid to leave lest she be noticed- are Blake and Sun.
Yang's happy, Blake and Jaune are uncomfortable, and even Sun picks up on the something between them. Blake drags up her own past, and Yang and Jaune accept it well enough. Sun mentions that they're watching for the White Fang, Yang and Jaune demand in, and Blake's plan to solo it all gets blown apart as the four spend the night in Vale since the last shuttle to Beacon is closed. The four spring for two hotel rooms, and after alerting the rest of their teams they relax for Friday evening for the shipment that comes Saturday.
Jaune and Sun bond, faunus to faunus, for reasons entirely other than being faunus. In fact, Jaune's initial skepticism/suspicion that it would be that- and Sun's denial- is their commonality that gets things kicking off. Sun picked up on the whatever between Blake and Jaune, and while he is interested in Blake he doesn't want to butt in if Blake's taken. Jaune, once more, denies any interest and encourages Sun, earning him Sun's love forever more- but Sun pushes Jaune to reconcile anyway since it's clear it's bothering Blake. The two talk girls a bit- specifically Blake- with Sun's reasons being 'she's hot' and 'I'd don't know, but I'd like to learn,' with Jaune giving various praise and things for Sun to look forward to learning. When Sun asks Jaune what he wants in a girl, Jaune actually has nothing he can think of except a vague sense of someone who could be maternal- which doesn't call to mind Blake as far as he's concerned.
In the other room, Blake and Yang talk as well. There's the part in which Yang knocks Blake for running off without her partner and trying to do this solo. Yang also confronts Blake about her and Jaune's fight. Blake summarizes it, and admits she probably had more interest in Jaune than she admitted- partly romantic, perhaps, but also the 'ideal faunus' of what she wanted to see- idealism and a desire for heroism above racism and such. She's not heartbroken or anything, but she regrets the space between them now. Yang playfully claims that if Blake doesn't make her move then Yang might steal Jaune away, but really all Blake wants is reconciliation.
Ultimately, Sun and Yang kick Jaune and Blake back into the same room to reconcile with their apologies. Jaune for taking everything out on her, and the irrational stuff. Blake regrets the paternalism and trying to force Jaune on a pedestal as the 'ideal' faunus. The two gain healthier space- but there's no longer any indication of romantic tension. Blake tones down trying to fight Jaune's battles and blaming everything on racism. As part of their reconciliation, Jaune promises to support Blake with Weiss come tomorrow, and Blake tells Jaune to meet his mother in town.
Saturday is reconciliation day mk 2 as it all comes together. Ruby and Weiss come into Vale on the first airship, and reconcile with Blake before the possible fight that night. JNPR comes as well, to support Jaune as he meets and makes peace with his mother- familial love triumphs, and while she doesn't like 'Arc' she still loves Jaune and blesses off on his attempt to keep the family name alive. Jaune's still looking for that 'pride' he's been looking for, but his mother takes a look at the assembled friends and thinks he's already found it. Total metaphor of the girls being lionesses.
When night comes, it's a cakewalk- eight trainees, Sun, Penny, and Jaune's mother make for a cakewalk massacre so epic that Torchwick is doesn't have a chance to escape. The scene, and the arc, actually end with the teams on the roof- Jaune giving another full-throttled roar to stun the White Fang, before the teams jump down to win the battle.
End the School Arc
Begin the Dance Arc
(Much, much faster. Primary characters: Jaune, Weiss, Yang)
Beacon Season 2. Jaune's place in Beacon is much firmer. He's no longer the affirmative action pity case- he's holding his own, albeit with help from his friends. With the group's capture of Roman Torchwick (which was not according to anyone's plan), things are looking up and going good. In fact, Roman's capture led to a roll up of the local White Fang operations, including the Breach- and while the lead conspirators are at large, their plans for the foreseeable future are foiled.
Jaune and Blake's relationship has settled quite healthily into 'just friends' for real. His relationship with Pyrrha, never quite having the romantic interest undertone thanks to their first meeting and Blake's moving in as 'Jaune's closest support' in season one, is strictly platonic as well.
Which is why, with things settled so comfortably, thoughts turn to love and Jaune starts moving closer to Weiss.
Compared to canon, Jaune's much more of a gentleman, and much less obnoxious. He even has a good list of reasons for attraction- ranging from the physical to the abstract (touching back on how her respect/approval is fairly won for humans or faunus) to the personal (despite being a Schnee with reason to distrust, she gave him a chance and they became friends- and she's trying to reform her company).
Even so, Weiss is clearly reluctant. Despite their earlier less acrimonious start, Weiss doesn't give him a response- neither a yes or a no, but avoiding it. It's framed like Jaune's earlier initial attempts at being friends, so Jaune doesn't give up and he's not a complete tool for not doing so. Jaune is a polite suitor, and Weiss's attempts to reject him without actually reject him come off as less sympathetic for her.
As Jaune tries to appeal to her, he asks the rest of RWBY for help, and ends up with Yang's assistance. Yang thinks it would be nice to help Weiss unwind, and is a sucker for forbidden romance, and goes along, coaching and helping with the flirts and such. Yang, competitive, gets rolled up enough in it that when Neptune comes around, Yang pulls him along to free up Weiss.
While Jaune and Weiss are significantly closer than in canon, having been on friendly terms since shortly after initiation, Jaune's lion-hearted attempts at romance still fail. But the manner of Weiss's denials, and her refusal to give a good reason, start to lead to bad implications- that it's racism on her part. There's a bit of drama, and Yang pokes/prods/provokes Weiss to prove it by actually going on a date with Jaune.
It's not a bad date. Jaune is a gentleman, and Weiss eventually enjoys herself. But there's no magic, and at the end Jaune accepts it and asks if he can get the reason why. Is it really because he's a faunus?
Weiss denies it, close enough to be honest with him. In fact, being a faunus was one of his merits when she thought about it seriously- and that's almost as bad, because she shouldn't date someone just because daddy would hate it. Going on, Weiss says that while she's not interested, and that ambivalence should be enough, she's not personally opposed to Jaune either. She might not have a good reason to want to date him, but she doesn't have a good reason not to.
But she does have an important reason not to, even if it's a bad one. What it comes down to is her company- Weiss will inherit SDC. She will be married one day. And when she does, she'll need children who can inherit SDC from her to continue the family line.
Jaune gives an 'oh' and says he understands. She says she's sorry. The two return to Beacon in silence- and Jaune goes to his room without a word. Weiss returns to the RWBY room and denies that Jaune did anything wrong, but is clearly unhappy herself.
Jaune falls into a depression that catches his friends off guard, even as he doesn't talk about it. Concern and worry turn towards anger at Weiss, who refuses to explain what occurred. Pyrrha and Yang try to stir Jaune about the upcoming ball, but he sees no point. The more Yang tries to encourage him- the romance, the girls- the worse he seems to get. When Sun notices how depressed his bro Jaune is, he gets angry at Weiss as well, and Sun's anger translates to Neptune's anger which ruins Weiss's chance at what she wants. Even so, she keeps her reasons for rejection to herself. It's Jaune's choice to explain. Even though Jaune denies Weiss did anything wrong and encourages Neptune, the fact that Jaune's clearly in a funk means interest is null and void.
The equilibrium is shaken on Dance Day when Ruby intercepts/uncovers a letter to Jaune from his mother about his intent to uphold the Arc name and legacy. Specifically, Jaune's mother calls it an impossible task- and that the only way for Jaune to handoff the Arcs to the next generation is to do for someone else what she did for him. Ruby's confused and asks Yang, Yang doesn't know but is willing to find out, and asking Blake gives her enough to figure it out.
Jaune, as a half-breed, can't father children.
Humans and Faunus are like Lions and Tigers- they can interbreed, but the offspring- ligers- are a separate species and generally sterile. They have the parts, but they can't make it stick (so to speak), and so it's an evolutionary dead end. It's one of many reasons that half-faunus are so rare and marginalized, and part of Jaune's greater disassociation from humans and faunus both.
It also touches on some of Jaune's issues and changes in character from canon. Jaune's not the hormonal guy looking for a girlfriend from the start, such as with the near-opportunity with Blake, because from the start he's not been looking for a girlfriend to settle down and have kids that he can't have. It also touches on his fixation of preserving the Arc Legacy- a doomed quest that means so much for him, with ties into how he was both/neither born into it (his father sired him, but didn't share the name) or brought into it (his mother shared the name Arc, but has tried to make him change it).
It's a cultural/personal hook up- and Yang reminds Jaune of this fact with a boot in the butt and a reminder that adoption is an option- but it's a hookup that touches on Jaune's past and experiences with family and lineage. Jaune had always expected that he'd be able to adopt or something, but then he fell in love with Weiss- and Weiss's rejection came down to lineage- and it kicked that safe assumption away.
Is it stupid? Sure. Maybe. But is it how he feels? Yeah. It's a complicated knot, and Weiss gave his heart strings a tug. Made him doubt wonder if a family was really about blood, and if the Arc legacy would die with him.
With some friendly support- and Yang's tough love and telling him to stop moping- Jaune starts to move on. He explains it- and concern for his feelings on his sterility was why Weiss wouldn't share- and the 'Weiss is a racist!' worries die down in time for the Beacon Dance. Jaune hooks up Neptune and Weiss, cements Sun a dance with Blake, and returns to Yang for a mutual blonde-hair touchup/clean up session. Jaune, with a manicured mane and all tidied up, helps Yang in her role for the dance as the greeter/almost-imposing faunus bouncer.
As they finish their job and become wallflowers, Yang and Jaune talk some more, about Jaune's complicated feelings of family and belonging between two groups and worlds. With Blake, Jaune could never be the faunus she wanted him be. With Weiss, he wasn't the human she needed to achieve her own dreams. He cares for both of them greatly, and he knows they cared for him, but it just wouldn't work.
Yang, who's been helping him through this arc and since the Blake fight and thus gotten pretty close, tells Jaune to look for the silver lining in it all. Jaune's a bit clueless, but's come to terms with something- be proud of the friends he has, his own 'pride' of huntresses (and Ren and Sun and now maybe Neptune).
Yes, that's a good image… but Yang gives him one better. Think of all the money he can be saving on condoms while having all the wild, crazy unprotected sex he wants. He's, like, the perfect pussy cat. Party girls like her dream of finding guys like him. He should totally go out on the dance floor and see who jumps.
It's vulgar enough to shock, cheeky enough to make him laugh, and Yang carries it just far enough that Jaune disclaims he's interested in pity sex with a stranger. Yang laughs, and gives him a slap on the back before ruffling his mane- when has she ever pitied him? Jaune thinks back, and can't remember any- Yang's been supportive in the hard times but also kept him honest and moving forward, and kicked him out of self-pity. As he's remembering the frank and personal moments that makes him like her, he remembers a much earlier conversation from initiation.
Realizing how she phrased that 'girls like her' and how she disclaimed pity when he'd been talking about strangers, and how Yang was supporting him throughout reconciling with his mother and Blake and the entire Weiss courtship, Jaune asks Yang if she remembers what Blake said about touching faunus features.
Yang gives a coy smirk, roughs his mane up once more, and walks towards the dance floor, sashaying as she does so. Jaune, with a laugh and a shake of his mane, does.
This one may have taken longer than 15 minutes by the look of things lol, either that or CF is the most desirable type-writer in existence.
Anyway, for such a long story there isn't much for me to say. I liked Blake's initial angle of protectiveness turning into pity and pampering. She basically becomes a sneakier form of Pyrrha, but it doesn't help Jaune much. Sure it's okay in assuring he has a landing strategy - that's a legitimate concern, but letting it take over her? Eh, it's a recurring theme in CF's work actually - the whole "protectiveness taken too far" - you can see it in more than a few prompts.
Not as recurring as Bullhead inferno's, but come on - let's not be crazy here!
Anyway, in this world where faunus are more allowed, there's little reason for Blake to hide - so CF might in a full story have wanted to counter it by placing more emphasis on the WF as baddies. Almost in a "we gave you what you wanted, why are you still being terrorists!?" And so Blake feels more reason to hide than before. Alternatively you could just go with the "she's more sensitive, and wants to hide more" angle - but it feels a little stale.
I also like the angle of the teachers seeming racist at first, before the reveal comes later that they have their own reasons. It's kind of like what I suggested in faunophobia, where CF hides the initial intent, to build up reader anger - and I really love how it's been used here as well. There really is NO point in conflict, if the reader knows it isn't real.
The missing person angle, and the mother are interesting aspects - bit more than that I like the fight between Blake and Jaune, and how Cardin uses that to blackmail Jaune. I do feel like it ends too soon though, as it's a nice conflict piece that doesn't go far enough for me. It's Chekhov's gun in that it's a plot piece which doesn't actually change anything - they start it at odds, and end it at odds. Honestly either utilise it more, or get rid of it. This is an Au anyway, so you could drop the blackmail arc without losing anything. At the minute it just sort of needlessly pads things out.
I do like the maturity of Jaune's mother - as a poor writer would take the easy out of "she hates him for the infedelity of the father" - but emotions aren't always that easy, and this is far less cliche. Instead Jaune places most of the pressure on himself. Lo and behold - like most people with self-esteem issues do! It's psychologically accurate.
I liked the failed relationship with Weiss too, but my biggest dislike was the casual ending of Yang suggestive with Jaune. I don't know... not everything needs to include romance, and that felt a little shoe-horned in. By that point it almost feels like Jaune has been through half the girls. With a suggestive Jaune x Blake early on - a Weiss x Jaune later - then settling for sex with Yang x Jaune.
I'd maybe have preferred to see it not explored, or hey - maybe finishing on a Blake x Jaune. Why not? Initially it's pity, then they are friends for ages - "just friends" - but maybe right near the end, Blake figures that she wants to try for more.
Either way, it's a good fill for the prompt. And it avoided the super-obvious "cowardly lion" trope, which would have had me rolling my eyes out of my skull. That said, i just felt like the Yang x Jaune ending was a little weak, because sure - while Yang and Jaune interacted well throughout the entire story, it never really felt exciting or electrifying in any way.
I'd have almost preferred a celibate ending. Sure he doesn't get anyone, but he's surrounded by girls (and guys) that he loves like family. His relationship with his own family is fixed - and life is looking up. He can find a girl later, he still has a life to live after all.
What to say except I got carried away? This, by the way, is one of two reasons why there's no Ghost Jaune this week. Planning was relatively simple, writing was many many hours. (Problem of the 'Beacon but slightly different' AU's- reiterating canon is tedius, and can be limiting- think how I resolved the mother subplot so quick, so that it wouldn't interfere with the dance arc.)
Here I tried to hit the racism angle harder, from multiple directions. There's the overt racism of Cardin. There's the unintentional racism. And there's even the intended-to-be benevolent racism of Blake. There's also the politically touchy subject of affirmative action. Even suggesting it can be a double-edged sword is heresy to some, but I've known and seen people who felt it. It's a double-edged sword here, just like Blake's paternalism- Jaune needs it, wouldn't be there without it- and so it opens an opportunity he wouldn't otherwise have- but it comes with a burden as well.
I also wanted to hit on how racism isn't the cause for everything wrong in a racially oppressed person's life. Jaune's faculty bullying has more to do with being an affirmative action case than his actual race. Jaune's mother issues are infidelity of the father, not the race of Jaune's birth-mother. Biological realities (the half-faunus = liger sterility) have an impact on relationships. These are things that came about because of the race, but would also still apply if the actual issue came about with a different race.
A significant weakness overall is, as in canon, how unimportant JNPR is to Jaune's story. If initiation didn't work so well, I'd swap Jaune and Ruby's teams. Maybe Ruby encounters Pyrrha first and they split for Jaune, but end up stuck as partners becasuse of the rule.
Finally, the love stories of sorts. I don't really think of it as one. Blake's interest in Jaune was on the boundary of romantic interest, and could have been had he reciprocated, but I wanted to fight the 'faunus x faunus' shipping from the opposite of the norm. Coeur hates SunxBlake on the basis of faunus being the commonality- here I added a bit more (Jaune being Blake's 'ideal' of what a faunus should be) to make Blake guilty of the sin- in this case, projecting onto the idea of an 'ideal faunus' she wants Jaune to be. The Weiss angle was to be doomed in reverse- where race is the issue, just not racism per see. Race is a factor, but it's not the racism per see as much as biology and incompatible ideas of family.
Yang wasn't really intended to be romance, per see. More like comfort sex, without dipping into pity sex. I wanted to avoid sterility = celibacy, for some reasons that would take too long to say. It's not so much romance, as 'friends with benefits' to take advantage of that silver lining of his life. Even so, Coeur's suggestion has merits. You could certainly end on a strong point of everyone's together, and Jaune realizes that this- his friends- is his lion's pride.
And... ugh. Did I mention how long that took? That was my last hurrah before this new job shot my writing time. Don't expect anything like this again soon.
Reader prompts. Some good ones out there. Some not so good ones. I'm going to hit on the topic of respect again, though. Specifically, if you want ours.
We are not your fill generators. Please do not treat us like we are. If you send a PM or leave a review that's nothing more than a prompt, when we go through this effort to produce and share ideas for consideration... well, you aren't actually reviewing what we do. If you don't give consideration to what we do, why would you expect us to give consideration to your idea?
Think on it. I'm not looking for apologies, or expressions of regret.