Sithking Zero: RWBY is the property of Rooster Teeth, as are all affiliated characters, merchandise, or fiction related to such. This is purely a fan-created fictional tale using characters from their universe, and I do not own them.

This story takes place in the world of the fanfiction "Professor Arc," by Coeur Al'Aran, but is not canon with that story. It was written with the express permission of the author, and in fact said author provided valuable assistance in helping with the story. You can certainly read this story without reading that one, but certain events and character actions make more sense if you are familiar with "Professor Arc" and its companion work, "Professor Arc: Staffroom Chronicles." Actually, you should read those first.

For a RWBY timeline perspective, this takes place in what would be season 2 of canon, but again, set in the "Professor Arc" universe.

On a more personal note, this is my first attempt at actually writing a multi-chapter romance story. Sure, I did have ambitions with what were intended as a trilogy of Code: Lyoko fanfictions, but as it says on my profile, all stories started before January 1, 2015 are cancelled, as if the fact that I haven't updated many of them in nearly a decade was not the primary indicator. That, and I, uh… never actually wrote the third one. In my defense, Ulrich and Yumi were REALLY hard to write for.

This story spun off of one of my other RWBY fanfictions, "Professor Arc Omakes," which is again, set in the PA universe, but not canon to it, describing humorous little situations that sometimes aren't as far off of canon PA as I'd like… strange as it may sound. Since each chapter is largely self-contained unless otherwise mentioned, I'd like to point out that it spun off of chapter eight, "Blake Calls Dibs." While it's not necessary to read it, I'd like to take a moment to plug my own work, so yeah.

Thus, in the words of Kosh, "And so it begins…"

Climbing Uphill

A Professor Arc Story

By Sithking Zero

With Aid from Coeur Al'Aran

In Loving Memory of Lisa Howey Trevor

Chapter One:

One Is the Loneliest Number

Jaune Arc, Student Counsellor of Beacon, slumped into the office's easy chair.

Well, he thought, that was eventful... no, wait, it wasn't-because "insane" is apparently the new norm for me.

He'd joined the Beacon staff completely by accident, when his forged papers that would allow him to join as a student proved to be too good. This led to Professor Ozpin hiring him on as an assistant teacher, later persuading him to take on the role of Counsellor for the students. His new job was to help those who needed it, such as those being bullied or those suffering from frayed nerves or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This had led to him forming more connections with the criminal underground of Remnant, the pressure of which hung over him like the Sword of Damocles.

The saddest part about all that is;that was one of the more NORMAL days I've had here.

Today's schedule had him helping out Professor Peter Port. While Jaune liked the man, there was no doubt that he was… eccentric, at the best of times. For example, today he brought in a baby King Taijitu for the class to fight. While bringing in Grimm wasn't exactly unusual, it was out of the norm when the volunteer- Russel Thrush- entered the ring. Peter had kept the type of Grimm a secret from the class, which was again, standard for him, and had unleashed the Grimm once Russel had taken a combat stance.

What no one had known until today was that Russel had a rather severe case of Ophidiophobia, or "afraid of snakes," as it was more commonly known, resulting in Jaune having to take off the entire rest of his day to calm him down. He seemed to be all right now, except for a slight twitch every now and then, but a good night's sleep should be all that was needed to put him back on the right track… hopefully.

Proooooobably need to read one of those books on phobias… as long as the students don't mind that I'm prioritizing that over PTSD, which they might need soon… ugh.

Even discounting the panic attack, the whole class had been a disaster. While Jaune and Peter had acted swiftly, the chewing-out that Peter was given by Glynda was nearly enough to strip the paint from the walls. Which, now that Jaune thought of it, would also need replacing once Russel's screams startled the young snake Grimm to the point it fled straight through said walls…

Jaune rubbed his forehead. At least, he grumbled mentally, Roman's been pretty quiet lately. Ever since Neo got sick and left me alone…

It had been strange, but shortly after he had recovered from the mess at the Docks, Neo had started acting strangely, appearing paler than usual, consuming things that weren't ice cream, and towards the end, had gotten violently ill more than once. Of course, even as she was being sick, she had made sure to aim directly for things such as his bed, his carpet, or even a spot in the bathroom just close enough to the toilet to ensure that he knew she could have reached it, but wanted him to know that she did it deliberately. She had left shortly after that, and his polite inquiries to Roman had gotten a reply of "It's none of your damn business."

Couple that with at least four students showing up in the last day and a half for weekly sessions about stress reduction, two more who wanted advice on how to integrate better with their teams, and one who was in the closet and wanted to tell his partner about his feelings on Monday. Then Yang showed up claiming that her biggest psychological issue was "deeply buried sexual desires"- he had kicked her out in moments- and Jaune felt like his head was about to explode.

"Gods," he moaned as he lowered his head into his hands, "I've heard of 'Physician, heal theyself,' but I don't really think that should be the main strategy." He massaged his face slowly, before dragging his palms down slowly and muttering, "All I want is to just… I don't know, feel like a normal person for a while. I don't want to be a professor for just a little while, I just want to be me." He stopped, before burying his face in his hands again. "And now I'm talking to myself. I think maybe I've been alone too long."

Jaune leaned back in his chair. "At least I have a little while to mys-" he started, before he was interrupted by an alarm from his scroll.

Glancing at it caused him to slump back into his chair and groan.

"And now Blake's coming. Wonderful." He glanced around the room. "Aaaand the room is a complete mess… need to set on the tea… get some pens out, don't want her digging through my desk…"

As he stood up, he paused for a moment.

"Note to self, look up books to learn the implications of talking to yourself, this is kinda getting out of hand."


Blake stalked down the hallway, clutching her hands into fists tight enough to color her knuckles white.

Yes, she had made a deal with him to make these meetings not nearly as unbearable as long as she kept her nose clean, and that was better than having to go over the same points over and over- 'don't run away, accept help from your team, don't commit major crimes'- but she seriously did not have the time for this.

Even as she and her team had silly food fights and gossiped about the latest set of shenanigans their professors were involved in, the White Fang was out there, stealing dust and hurting people! Didn't these people care? Didn't these they know the things that they could do?

She did care, and she did know. Which is why she couldn't accept the suggestions of her friends.

'Go to the police!' was Weiss' idea, but if they hadn't caught Roman and had missed the Dust Heist at the docks, what good were they?

'Tell the Teachers!' was Ruby's suggestion, but Blake had shot that down. The last time a teacher was dragged into her struggles it led to him getting badly hurt. She wouldn't let others get hurt or killed for her sake ever again.

Which was why she couldn't accept Yang's cry of 'Let us help you!' Her team was good, but they didn't understand. They couldn't understand. Better to hide the truth from them. Better to stop the Fang herself.

No one would suffer because of her weakness.

No one.

With that she knocked rapidly on Professor Arc's door, resulting in a series of muffled crashes and equally muffled curses, resulting in the corner of her lips quirking upwards slightly.

"Just a second!" came the quiet cry, followed by more sounds of thudding, clicking, and what sounded like a garbage disposal. "Okay, now come in!"

Blake opened the door to find things pretty much under control. A pot of Earl Grey tea and a mug was waiting at her usual spot, with only a mild discolored spot on the rug and Jaune brushing off a tin of coffee beans to indicate what had happened, his back currently to her as he ran a damp rag over the countertop.

"You're late, Blake." He intoned as he scrubbed hard on one spot.

"I know."

"I'd rather not have to explain to the cops that you have to go to prison because you missed your sessions," he spoke, slightly more irritated now, scrubbing harder.

Blake felt as if ice water had been dumped down her spine.

"Are… are you threatening me?" she asked, barely keeping the quiver out of her voice.

"No… I'm… AHAH!" He stepped back, smirking in triumph, "Got it! Sorry, that little… been trying to get that stain out all afternoon. No, I wasn't threatening, I was… just… reminding…" he announced as he turned around.

There was a pause as he stared at Blake.

She matched his gaze evenly. "Oh, right," she blurted, reaching up and slipping off her bow to let her Faunus Attributes out into the light.

"Blake," he queried as she turned back to him, "are you all right?"

"Of course I am," she huffed, crossing her arms under her chest, "why wouldn't I be?"

"Well, you look… out of sorts," he waved his left arm in the air, as if trying to grasp the proper words.

And it was true. She hadn't had much in the way of clean clothing, so she had worn an old white shirt, which she hadn't noticed had a few stains on it until it was too late to change. Her hair wasn't bad, per se, but she clearly hadn't run a brush through it in a little while. And she hadn't noticed until this morning that the beginnings of heavy bags were showing under her eyes.

"Well, you did just threaten me," she growled. Couldn't she escape this sort of interrogation here, at least? Away from her team, in the office of the Student Counsellor, whose goal it was to help identify student problems?

Blake mentally smacked herself in the head for her own stupidity at that thought, but the point was the same!

Jaune shook himself. "I was just trying to remind you of the terms laid down by the police, I don't want you to get in trouble because you slept in or something," he backtracked hastily. "I'm sorry if I implied otherwise."

"Got it."

"Seriously though, are you all right?"

"Why does everyone keep asking me that?" she snapped as she stalked past him to her usual seat. "I'm fine. Can we just get on with this?"

She caught his glimpse of… was that pity? Towards her, but ignored it. The sooner she got this done, the sooner she could get back to work.

"R… right, if you insist… Today we have some second year papers from Oobleck…" he started hesitantly, his voice gaining strength as he went on.

The two settled into an uncomfortable silence after that, broken only by pens scratching against sheets of paper. But Jaune's mind was whirling.

She's hiding something, he thought, and it's eating her alive. Not even being a member of the White Fang bothered her like this. So what's got her so stressed? It can't be her team, they know they can come talk to me about things… when I'm not actively discouraging them from doing so… Goddammit Yang.

Jaune stood up and walked around the desk to the electric fireplace set in the wall. He had rolled his eyes when he first saw it- given Ozpin's luxurious office, this looked unimaginably cheesy in comparison- but he had been feeling more than a little chilly lately, and he could overlook the less-than-stellar appearance of the device as long as it provided the warmth he needed.

And speaking of warmth…

As he moved back to the table, he noticed that Blake's head looked… odd. Almost like her neck was shorter and her head was slightly lumpy, until he realized that her ears were almost pressed flat against her skull and her shoulders were tensed so much it almost looked like she had no neck. He raised a hand, about to make a placating gesture as he opened his mouth… and stopped.

His eyes darted over to the couch, and a memory flashed into his mind unbidden. Of Coco Adel, pinning him there in a rage over his accusations and how her friend had been treated… of how him simply offering help was rejected time and again, until Coco had stepped in to point out how it was disturbing her friend.

The people who most need help are the ones least likely to accept it, sometimes… he mused. He looked around the room and took in several details as a scheme unfolded in his mind. The tea mug, sitting next to its recipient nearly untouched. Blake's shoulders, tenser than a taut rubber band. The fireplace, now venting soothing heat into the room.

And a stack of letters resting on the mantle. He grabbed one, scanned the return address. Perfect, he thought to himself.

With a few quick steps, he was back at the table, the black cat ears popping up briefly at the scraping sound of the chair on the floor, before going back to their flat position.

And now the moment of truth, he thought, fighting a grin as he deliberately tore the letter open. He pulled the letter out, and began to read it. As his eyes scanned the document, he began chuckling, at least until he felt two amber eyes glaring at him.

"Something funny?"

Huh, Jaune could have sworn that he had turned on the fireplace, why was it so cold all of a sudden?

"Oh, ha, oh yeah," he laughed. "Letter from home, about my little sister. She has a new boyfriend, and this one sounds like a keeper!" Seeing the nonplussed look on her face, he hastened to add, "The last few were bad. One was a specist prick, and another was just… weird. This one, I like."

She folded her arms under her chest. "She dated a specist?"

"Jasmine didn't know he was that way at the start," he defended, "and she broke up with him."

Blake huffed in approval. Still, he could see that she was distracted now.

"So what'd he do that made you like him so much?"

"Okay, to tell that story, I have to tell you this other story about my grandmother. See, she's about seventy years old and pretty physically frail. Well, my cousins were going on a hunting trip up north, and so me, Erie, Jasmine, Mom, and Dad were joking with Grandma about the whole thing, how it'd be so boring just fishing and hunting, and then Grandma just announces that it'd be no fun if they were hunting deer."

Blake raised an eyebrow.

"We ask her why, and so she goes 'Well, all you need to do is get into a tree,'" he pointed upwards for emphasis, "'and bring a sharp knife with you' and she has this butter knife in her hand as she's saying this," he grinned, gesturing to a clutched fist as if it was carrying the knife. "So we're just staring at her as she describes this scenario of her waiting in the branches of a tree for hours until a deer wanders under her, and then…" he had to stop for a moment to control his laughter, holding up one finger. "So she says, 'then I'd drop down from the branches, grab the deer by the neck from behind, and slit its throat, like this!' And then she makes the gesture of slitting its throat with a knife!" He grinned, noting the very edge of Blake's mouth beginning to quiver upwards slightly. "And we're all staring at her horrified because, well, it's Grandma, announcing her plan to go all Ranbow on a deer and demonstrating how she's ready to do this, and then Jasmine says, 'Grandma, you realize that you'd have to climb the tree first, right?' Grandma looks shocked at this, and says 'No, I didn't. I guess I can't go hunting then.'"

Blake snorted, quickly covering up her mouth with her hand to hide her mirth as Jaune continued talking. "The best part is that it looked like this was the part that would put an end to her hunting trip, and not the fact that she has maybe half my mass and the endurance of a child, but she looked so disappointed that she wouldn't be able to leap out of trees and murder some deer!" At this point, Jaune had to stop, taking a drink of water from his glass. "This is the same grandmother that insists on getting a kiss from each of her grandkids and has golf every week with her friends, and she just…" He shook his head.

"So how this relates to my sister… we told him the story, but we didn't think much of it. But see," Jaune waved his letter, "Mom just wrote to me that Jasmine just ran her first half-marathon, and her boyfriend was there with her. Now," he held up a hand as if to stop Blake, who was making no moves to interrupt him, "We told him this story months ago, we honestly thought that he'd forgotten it. But he shows up to the race to help support Jasmine, and shortly before the race begins, he vanishes. It was when they found him again that got me laughing…" he closed his eyes. "He had gone further down the race course to wait until J started running. He was waiting up in a tree, and when he saw her, he called out to her. 'Don't worry, Jasmine!' he called, 'I'll get us some food after the race is done, my treat! I'll get it myself!'" Jaune started scissoring his arms in the same motion he had indicated his grandmother doing earlier, "And he's doing those arm motions as he said it! J almost stopped running, she was laughing so hard." At this point, Blake had removed her hand in order to grab her mug of tea, a small smile present on her face. "Dad says that Jasmine's lucky to have a guy like him." Jaune paused. "He also says that he's lucky he wasn't shot for that little stunt, but hey," Jaune shrugged, "It made us accept him, so I'd say it's worth it."

"Your family," Blake started, "sounds… interesting."

"Like you would not believe," grinned Jaune.


"… So my mom is just standing there, looking embarrassed as all hell, having to explain that she needs help getting her seventy-year-old mother and ninety-nine-year-old grandmother out of a car that they locked themselves in." Jaune shook his head as Blake laughed softly.

She took one last sip before setting down the mug. "So tell me, does anything normal ever happen in your life?" She grinned, "I had this running bet with Ruby that your semblance was related to getting into trouble, but… it's genetic, isn't it?"

He shrugged ruefully as she sat back in her chair. "Seems that way some times. How many other people can honestly claim that they got super speed from drinking coffee, dealt with their own fan club, and unloaded a massive, unnecessary, solid-gold statue into a cafeteria in the same week?"

"Unnecessary?" She asked innocently.

"You heard nothing."

"I have four ears, Jaune, I'm pretty sure I heard you."

"You heard. Nothing."

Blake rolled her eyes as she leaned back in her chair.

Jaune's eyes scanned the letter again, taking in the details on the page. Blake stared at him as he did so, thinking all the while. She had gone into this session with such a bad mood, but ultimately it hadn't turned out so bad. She got to spend time with her favorite teacher, laughed at some funny stories, had some nice warm tea, and got to enjoy the warmth of the fire. And it certainly didn't hurt that Professor Arc was so passionate in talking about the misadventures his family got up to. Overall, she just felt so relaxed…

The two slipped into a comfortable silence. Minutes passed by in a blur…

Until Jaune looked at his scroll.

"Oh, crap," he breathed. They'd been here for hours! It was almost eleven thirty!

"Well, Blake, I think that we've spent enough time here today," he announced, pushing back his chair and walking over to the counter, picking up her bow. "I guess you'll need this back and… huh?" For some reason Blake had not moved from her chair. "Blake?" He asked, walking towards his student. "Blake, your teammates are going to get nervous, you need… to…" his words slowly petered out as he heard an odd sound coming from her.

Soft snoring.

Still sat upright, her head leaning back against the wall, eyes closed. Blake Belladonna was out cold.

"Huh," he muttered. Frowning, he leaned in and grabbed her shoulder, shaking her gently. "Blake?" Je asked. No response. He shook harder. "Blake." Still nothing. "Blake!" He called. And still, there was no response.

Wow, uh… she's really out cold, he mused. Can't carry her through the halls unconscious - that'd look REALLY weird. And I can't wake her up… crud.

Jaune sighed and walked into his bedroom, pulling down the sheets and blankets before grabbing a change of clothes for himself. He moved out into the main room, dropping the clothes on the counter. That being accomplished, he ducked under the desk to come face-to-face with Blake's legs. Suppressing a blush, he carefully worked off her shoes, momentarily marveling at the toned physique she had cultivated, before returning to the task at hand. Placing the shoes off to the side, he stood up and gently picked her up in a bridal carry, lifting her into his bedroom and placing her on his bed, before softly tucking her in.

He hesitated at the doorway for a moment, noticing the look of almost total serenity on her face, before he closed the door with a click.

"Well," he whispered to himself, "the couch isn't that bad of a place to sleep…"


Author's notes:

Special thanks to Coeur Al'Aran for betaing this story, and for creating the world of Professor Arc. None of this would have been possible without you.

The title of the story was originally going to be "Blake Calls Dibs," after the original story it spun out of, but the line has significantly less weight in this, the third version of the story (seriously). The title comes from a quote from Sarah MacLean, which states "The trick to great romance is in overcoming adversity. In realizing that love is worth some uphill climbs." I felt that that was a pretty awesome quote, and fit what I'm trying to go for pretty well.

This is the third (technically fourth) version of this story. The original was chapter eight of PA Omakes, and the expanded version was going to be… well, the follow up from that, where Blake dragged Jaune to his room and… well, did very not-PG things to him. Upon reflection that came across as more than a little… Rape-y, no matter what Coeur suggested. Version two… well, that was actually not bad, but it wouldn't work for a full story. Parts of it will be integrated in later chapters. This is obviously version three.

The chapter is named after the song "One Is the Loneliest Number," by Three Dog Night. Fitting name since it's the first chapter, Jaune is lonely, and Blake is isolating herself.

Ophidiophobia is real, and it refers to the fear of snakes. Given King Taijitus… yeah.

I threw in a little something for Picard Lovers.

Also, they still have paper letters in RWBY. And Jaune's office has an electric fireplace. Because.

The stories about Jaune's grandmother, his sister's boyfriend, mother, and great grandmother are all absolutely true, and are from my family. Because when you want wacky family shenanigans, you can't beat the real deal.

"Ranbow" is Rambo in the RWBY-world, but modified so it's a color pun.

If you're wondering why she fell asleep… she hasn't been sleeping well, the stress kinda takes a toll on the body, and then there's the fact that the room is rather warm and she IS a cat-faunus. Now, I'm not one to say that the cat nature is overwhelming in her, but this is based on Coeur's works, where Faunus are just people with some odd attributes. Blake likes fish and warmth makes it easier for her to sleep. Simple as that. Also adorable scene setting up shenanigans in the future. Because true romance in fiction, IMHO, relies on these two fundamental elements: Adorableness and Shenanigans. From these two, romance and love may truly bloom.

Blake… I love her, she's honestly one of my favorite characters, but she's kind of selfish at times, exacerbated by a stubborn streak wider than an eight-lane highway. She claims that her big flaw is that she always runs away… and I tried to capture this a little here. She tries to stand up for her beliefs… by running away from her team. Rather than accept help from the super-fast scythe wielder, the super-strong berserker, or the super-rich magical heiress who could help her in innumerable ways, she has to do this on her own, despite that she wouldn't have survived had it not been for help from other people at the Docks.

And then the team decided to split up for one-on-one battles in the season two finale despite them being better as a team as was demonstrated in the giant robot fight.

Do you people see why I hate the second half of season two of RWBY?

Anyway, as we begin 2016, I'd like to remember someone very important to me. Lisa Howey Trevor was the mother of my best friend, and a close friend to my entire family. My parents went to high school together with her, and she remained a solid presence in their lives for decades. In 2012 she was diagnosed with cancer, but even though it was deemed terminal, she never stopped trying to live, going on vacations and making the most of the time she had left. She passed away, her son at her side, on January 1, 2015. She left a massive hole in our lives, but she wouldn't want us to grieve. We all miss her dearly, and hope that somewhere, she's happy.

Anyway, this is my first multi-chapter romance fanfiction. I hope you all liked it, please let me know what you think. This is Sithking, signing off.