When you got right down to it, it was Nora's fault.

Not that anyone in Team JNPR gave a damn.

**********

They always knew Nora was a very... physical person. If she was happy, she hugged you... or hit you. If she was sad, she hugged you... or hit you. If she was glad to see you, she hugged you... or hit you. If she was sad to see you go, she... you get the idea.

Jaune was awkward, except when there was no more time to care and things had to be done NOW.

Pyrrha was reserved, except when when she needed to move forward, despite any obstacles.

Ren was placid, except when it was time to rage like a river.

Nora was fire and lightning, except when she was a scared girl who thought she might lose her friends.

That last one was a bit of a surprise to everyone involved. They weren't used to a Nora who couldn't sleep unless her entire team was nearby. It was just wrong for her to be constantly checking and rechecking on them throughout the day. And the panic attack she had in the library when she couldn't find Jaune one afternoon... the less said about that, the better.

But they were Team JNPR. They adapted.

When Nora surprised Ren every morning with a rib-cracking hug (literally), he just got used to needing to wipe the toothpaste foam off the mirror. When Pyrrha found Nora wrapped around her when she awoke each day, she just smiled and casually shoved their beds together so the smaller girl wouldn't have to brave the cold floor. When Jaune was disturbed in the night by soft whimpers, it was as natural as breathing for him to rub Nora's back soothingly until she fell back into a dreamless sleep. Jaune and Pyrrha just got used to having her with them when they were out training. ...and "out training," which was only enormously awkward.

They understood perfectly: Nora needed to feel them, to know they were there. So walking through the hallways, she'd get an arm around the shoulder or a hand held. Sitting in classes, they'd bump her leg with their own and grin. Eating lunch, they'd be sure to let fingers touch as they handed things to her. Each touch a reassurance, each on saying "We're here. We're safe. You don't have to worry about us."

It wasn't THEIR fault people started to misunderstand. If anyone had asked, they would have... well, they would have told them to mind their own damn business, because Team JNPR's business was just that: Team JNPR's business.

You defend your team mates against threats, whether they're physical or emotional. And you sure as sin didn't let other people know about their vulnerabilities.

Even if they HAD realized what it looked like to the rest of the school... they probably wouldn't have cared. And if they had cared... they still wouldn't have stopped. Compared to a team mate's well being, a stupid rumor didn't matter at all. Hell, if it meant Nora would laugh again, all three of them would have walked through the school dressed in Jaune's onesies. (Only the fact that Pyrrha most DEFINITELY did not fit into them stopped that idea. ...or rather, that she fit just a little bit TOO well. Jaune needed to have a little bit of a lie-down after that.)

The tipping point was due to Cardin. Cardin, who was better ever since Jaune had A Talk with him, but was still... Cardin. Cardin, who was kind of an asshole, even when he wasn't trying to be. Cardin, who didn't know Nora was standing behind him as he INSISTED there was nothing going on between "that Arc kid" and anyone on his team... because "no one was THAT stupid, right?"

Cardin, who discovered that angering someone half your height put their fists at EXACTLY the right height to punch you in the place a male least wanted to be punched... especially when that punch was delivered by Nora Valkyrie.

Jaune, it has to be said, took it surprisingly well when a fuming mad Nora marched up to him in the middle of lunch and yanked him into the kind of kiss that you usually only see in the really steamy romance movies. ...which is to say he only flailed a little and Weiss barely got any soup on her at all.

The silence that enveloped the cafeteria could have been used to put out forest fires, interspersed by faint, high pitched whimpers from Cardin.

Finally, Pyrrha cleared her throat just about the time that Nora's hand started moving in a vaguely southward direction, toward's Jaune's... lower lower back. There was a startled noise from the pint-sized dynamo as she broke the kiss and righted her team leader from the deep dip she'd pulled him into.

Which is when Ren's slightly upturned eyebrow and calm expression met hers... and, well, she couldn't let THAT stand, right? She literally dragged him out of his seat from across the table, capturing his lips fiercely, like a lioness seizing prey. It took Pyrrha clearing her throat AND coughing to break her attentions, that time.

Nora glanced at the room full of staring students and her face started to slowly turn red... just as her eyes caught Cardin's shocked and vaguely outraged expression from across the room. Her eyes narrowed... and caught on the final member of her team.

Pyrrha started backing up, holding her tray like a shield in front of her. Unlike Jaune and Ren, she wasn't going to be taken off guard. She wasn't going to be pulled down. She was the Champion of the Mistral Regional Tournament four times in a row, dammit!

She had no chance. Nora climbed her like she was a particularly curvaceous ladder, legs wrapping around the taller girl's waist as she gave HER a kiss, too.

The silence didn't end, but the quality of it certainly changed, gaining a certain amount of nudging and winking. ...and then it ended as multiple boyfriends suddenly discovered they were in BIG trouble.

The uproar from the sea of instant arguments hid the rapid exodus of Team JNPR from the cafeteria neatly... an uproar that Team RWBY may have contributed to significantly. After all, you cover your friend's backs when they needed it, especially for a tactical retreat.

The dorm room was silent. Utterly, completely silent, despite the four members of Team JNPR sitting on their respective beds. A few times, Jaune started to open his mouth, then paused, then closed it again. Ren, for his part, was just staring at the nearby wall, apparently completely calm... except for the fact that a fly had landed directly on his eye a few seconds ago, and he still hadn't blinked. Pyrrha... well, it was hard to tell where her face ended and her hair began, especially with her head bowed like it was.

And Nora... Nora was wrapped in a blanket and completely hidden, like a particularly determined turtle.

When the silence was finally broken, it wasn't the one anyone in the room expected to break it.

"Cardin fainted." Ren announced, as though it was the most important knowledge that could be imparted upon the mortal plane. "I saw it. Fell right into a bowl of spilled pudding."

There was a choked sound from inside the bundle of blankets and a finger wormed a hole through the tangle, opening it for a single turquoise eye to stare at the dark-haired boy.

A beat.

"Dove dropped his soup onto Cardin's brand new pants, too." Ren added helpfully. That choking noise sounded again from the blankets... and, slowly, spiralled into helpless giggling. Giggling that turned into snickers. Snickers turned into laughter. Laughter that, eventually, turned into pained wheezing as ribs were clutched.

"Did... you see... Weiss's face?" Pyrrha gasped... and set them all off again, in another almost giddy round of laughter. It took a while for this explosion of laughter to die back down in a chorus of wheezes and pained exclamations. When it finally ended, it was the most natural thing in the world that all four of them were tangled up on the combined expanse of Nora and Pyrrha's bed.

There was a long moment of silence, only occasionally broken by a soft echo of laughter, before Nora squeezed the hands that had automatically moved to fill her own as her team mates wrapped themselves around her. She didn't need to say it. She knew it. They knew it.

She said it anyways. She couldn't NOT.

"Thank you." For being there. For helping her. For understanding. For not judging. For accepting her, weirdness and sudden unexplainable insecurities and all.

The response didn't need to be said. They all knew what it would be. Jaune said it anyways, because sometimes you needed to state the obvious.

"Always."

Silence covered the room for a few more long seconds, then it was Pyrrha's turn to break it.

"You realize that everyone in the school now believes we're in some sort of four-way relationship."

"Don't be silly." Nora scoffed. "They do not. They think we're in regular one-way relationship: I'm dating all of YOU, because I'm awesome and if I want to date all three of you, I WILL. In fact..." Grandly, Nora jumped off the bed, ignoring the slight splintering sound it always made when she did that with the ease of long practice and spinning to face the trio still tangled in blankets there, arm outstretched and finger pointing. "We're going to the movies tonight! You all better wear something nice! I'm gonna go buy us tickets!"

There was a long, long silence after the door slammed shut behind the tiny redhead.

"We... wha... bluh?" Jaune finally articulated with the eloquence they'd learned to expect from him after anything weird happened.

"Are... we all dating Nora now? Is that what just happened?" Pyrrha asked, face a mask of confusion as she stared at the other two. "Can... can you even DO that?"

"You wanna tell her no?" Jaune asked, staring at the closed door.

"She went out without one of us." Ren noted calmly from his reclining position on the bed. There was a long pause as everyone in the room tried to remember the last time Nora had done that. The result was... not recent. Jaune lifted a finger into the air a few times, then sighed, met Pyrrha's eyes, made a questioning face, and lifted his hands. In return, she lifted an eyebrow just a bit, reached out to lace her fingers through his, and shrugged. Both of them glanced at Ren, then back at each other... and shrugged again.

"Um... Ren?" Jaune hesitantly offered. "You wanna... maybe... convince her you CAN'T do that?"

"It's Nora." Ren said calmly, lifting his hands to place them behind his head. It would have taken a microscope to measure the movement of his mouth, but it was obvious to his team: Ren was smiling.

"...touche." Pyrrha muttered, tightening her grip on Jaune's hands for a moment. She pursed her lips, eyes staring into the distance for a long, long moment, then sighed and met the eyes of her kinda-sorta-we've-never-said-anything-but-there's-this-THING friend-who-happens-to-be-a-boy... and gave him a little nod, lips curling into a soft smile as she did.

"Well, I guess we're all dating Nora now." Jaune finally announced into the room. "Crap, that means I have to remember EVERYONE'S anniversaries now!"