I do not own RWBY

Ninja In Love

Chapter 4: Initial Impressions

"Jaune!"

Blake took off running after Jaune. She knew that she could catch up to him easy; she was not only in better shape, but years of infiltration work and being part of the militaristic White Fang had given her quite the edge in terms of athleticism. Breezing past the shelves, she could see Jaune running past the library doors, and when he turned his head to gauge his path, she could see a look of utter panic and despair written across his features. She was taken a back for a brief moment, gold eyes widening. Was he...crying? Her expression hardened and she began running faster, trying to catch up with him. She didn't mean to hurt him. Sure, she could just turn away now, but…

What kind of person would I be if I did that?

Jaune ran down the hallway, shouldering past people and earning irritated glares and shouts of anger, but he ignored it. He didn't know where he was going to run to, but he needed to get away. He'd slipped up; he'd told someone else about his lack of training. Blake is going to hate me! Oh god, what if she tells Ozpin? He began to slow down, both from being out of breath and the full impact of what he'd just done hitting him. Staggering to the side, the young blond slumped against the wall and whimpered.

"Jaune!" Blake's voice rang out. She noticed Jaune wincing and he turned around. He looked even more miserable than he was before. "Jaune, please, hold on." The Faunus walked up next to Jaune, who couldn't seem to pick his gaze up to meet her own. "Look, there's nothing wrong with not having official Combat School experience. I personally don't have official records..."

The young man slowly raised his head, and smiled a small, bitter smile. "Sure, but I bet at least you belong here. I...I don't."

Blake glared. "Don't say that-"

Jaune cut her off, glaring back at her. "It's true! I..." he paused. "I...I forged my transcripts. I never had any formal training. When I say I don't belong here..." He glanced back up at her with a timid look. "I meant it."

Silence was the only answer he received from Blake, her face contorted in thought. One of her hands grabbed onto her bicep and she bit her lip, looking away. Jaune looked at her, trying to gauge her expression, feeling more depressed the longer she remained quiet. Seconds ticked by, then minutes, until Jaune could take it no longer. With his shoulders slumped and his chest constricting, he turned away and began walking down the hall. It was time. If he didn't say anything, Blake certainly would. He'd have to confess everything to Ozpin.

"Where are you going?" Blake's voice spoke up from behind him.

"I...I'm going to tell Ozpin. I mean, that...that's what you're going to tell me to do, right?" Jaune's voice sounded weak and hollow even to his own ears.

"What...NO!" Blake cried out, eyes wide.

"Why not?" Jaune mused sadly. "Look, you don't have to mince words. I get it. I...I can't do it..."

Don't worry if you come back home, Jaune.

"That's not it!" Blake snapped, stepping forward to grab Jaune's arm. "Look, I...if anything, I'm honestly impressed."

Jaune turned around and blinked, his expression betraying his complete confusion. "Wait. What?!"

"Think about it, Jaune. How long have you been here, at Beacon? About half a year?" Blake explained. Her bow twitched as she tried to listen for anyone who might be approaching. So far, the coast appeared clear.

"Erm...less than two semesters, yeah. What's your point though?"

Blake sighed and rolled her eyes. "Think about it. You went from some horrible home training, to being able to at least fight relatively competently against most Grimm we've encountered thus far in only six months."

"Actually, about that..."

"About what? Pyrrha said you've been able to fight Ursa with relative ease now. That's a far cry from what you were when you first got here." Blake explained, slightly raising a single eyebrow.

"Oh, not about that. About the training...I...um..." Jaune sheepishly scratched the back of his head, his cheeks adopting a pinkish tinge in embarrassment. "I kinda didn't have any training what-so-ever when I first got here."

Silence once again fell between the two.

Then; "What."

Jaune winced at the sheer flat tone of voice Blake spoke with. "I know, I know! It's terrible. It's not like I didn't try, but my father wouldn't teach me anything! Nor would my sisters for that matter! No one would!" Jaune hurriedly spoke, trying to placate what he though would be Blake's incurring wrath. "I know coming here without any previous training was dangerous, but how else could I become a Hunter?" Finally the blond sank to his knees again with a sorrowful groan. Head hanging once again, Jaune spoke up one last time. "It's not like it matters. Like I said; I'll tell Ozpin everything."

"Jaune, you're not getting it, are you?" Blake muttered, shaking her head.

"Not getting what?!" Jaune got to his feet, slightly glaring at Blake. "I shouldn't be here. I forged my transcripts! Me being here is only putting everyone around me in danger, and I still can't catch up to everyone despite all the training that I've-"

Blake stepped forward, swinging her hand with blurring speed at his face. SMACK! "Stop feeling sorry for yourself and think for five seconds!" The faunus girl yelled, grabbing him by the shoulders and staring into his surprised, shocked and slightly worried gaze. "If you stop comparing yourself to everyone around you and think about how far you've come when you've started off with nothing, you'll realize that you've managed to come absurdly far in such a short period of time!"

Cheek still stinging, Jaune's mouth opened and closed silently for a few moments before he managed to catch his voice. "Wait, what?"

"Look," Blake began, "I'm not saying that you're the best by a long shot. You've got a long ways to go, even to catching up to most of us. However, you're also, well..." She let him go, shrugging. "You're average. I know that sounds like I'm damning with faint praise, but think about the fact that you started off where most Beacon students started off over four years ago. What I'm trying to say is, giving up now would be a disservice to everything you've done so far. If anything, giving up now would be more insulting to Pyrrha's efforts than outright stating that you feel like you're going nowhere." Blake finished, watching Jaune closely to gauge his reaction.

Nervously, the blond coughed and blinked. "So...you're...you're not going to..."

"I won't say a thing, Jaune." Blake responded. "You should know; I have my own secrets to keep. I mean, you haven't said a thing about my bow, so why would I say anything about you?"

"It's different!" Jaune cried out, "Your secret isn't possibly causing harm to those around you through inaction! I'm a leader; if I fail, I'm not the only person hurt by it!"

Blake gave an almost bitter laugh. "Perhaps this isn't my only secret? Regardless, you are stronger than you think. Look, you said you feel like you aren't going anywhere, right? Maybe you just need a different perspective on things."

"Hm?" Jaune looked visibly relaxed by this point, much to Blake's relief. "Different perspective?"

"Look, Pyrrha has a certain method of teaching, I'm willing to bet. A certain way of going about things. You could have someone else watch you fight and from there, figure out what things you need to work to improve upon."

"A good idea," Jaune muttered with a frown, "but where would I find someone to help me? Goodwitch isn't exactly helpful, and I don't think any of the other Professors would be willing to help, especially not without asking a bunch of questions."

Blake sighed. "I can help."

Jaune waved his hands before him, blue eyes widening. "I-I can't have you do that!" He exclaimed, "It's bad enough Pyrrha wastes her time helping me to catch up with everyone, but I can't have you wasting your time as well!"

"Jaune, I wouldn't have offered if I didn't have the time. We have a free period together and all I'd be doing during that time is reading anyway, which is something I do all the time anyway. Least I can do is give you a hand."

Jaune frowned again. "Are you sure? Look, I'm sure you'd rather be reading, and I don't want to bother you-"

Blake glared. "I'm sure. It's either that, or watch you be all super mopey and depressed all the time. Just accept the help when its given, and use someone else' perspectives to help improve yourself. I know you can do it, you just need some extra help, and honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. So stop looking so mopey, and let's go back to the library so we can get some more reading in, alright?"

Silence.

Then Jaune flashed her a smile so grateful and soft, that for a moment, Blake found herself oddly taken aback. "Sure. Thanks, Blake."

She turned away from him, fighting the urge to smile. "Don't mention it. Come on, we've only got half an hour of break left."

Author's Note: So, a very short update, but I might try to update certain stories more often with shorter chapters as an experiment. It might help with my constant distraction what with all the awesome video games I've been getting my hands on. Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3, Hyper Light Drifter, Hyrule Warriors Legends...yeah. I'm gonna be busy. Again, I know it's a short chapter, but I might start updating more often with short chapters.

As always, remember to leave a review!