A\N: Hey Everyone! A bit of time since the last update. I was toying around with my writing style, trying to make it a little bit less reliant on adjectives and what not.
A lot of people have been asking about the black ghost. It will show up in a way, but not really in the same way as in Ajin. Jaune probably also won't be able to control it like those in the manga. So it's not a direct crossover, but it definitely borrows ideas from it.
As always, thanks for reading and please review!
- Goodwitch Office - Day 4
"Uhm… I'm not in trouble am I? Because it's only the first day and I don't think I've messed up too much yet.."
Jaune sat nervously in a chair in Miss Goodwitch's desk. He had been called up to her office at the conclusion of afternoon classes with nary a warning. Said Goodwitch, sat across from him behind her desk. She let out a sigh.
"No Mr. Arc, you are not in trouble."
A sigh escaped his lips, his shoulders slouching momentarily before perking back up. He shot Miss Goodwitch a questioning glance.
"Wait, then why am I here?"
Another sigh escaped from her lips.
"Ozpin and I believe that you require… "
Jaune leaned forward in his seat, the woman in front of him momentarily hesitating.
Jaune rocked back. "Counseling? Like… Career counseling?"
Glynda slowly shook her head. "No, a different sort of counseling."
Jaune's face scrunched up as he thought upon Glynda's words. His arms crossed in front of him as he scrutinized Miss Goodwitch. "Uhm… what kind of counseling?"
"Ozpin and I are merely worried that you might have trouble… acclimating to everything. We merely wished to extend a helping hand."
Jaune's face remained twisted up in thought. "That's… awfully nice of you. Are you the student counsellor here at Beacon as well?"
This time Glynda's face twisted into a frown. "Not exactly."
"Ozpin, if Jaune is truly so scarred, shouldn't we be seeking help for him?"
Ozpin glanced at Glynda, a strange glint in his eye.
"What do you mean Glynda?"
"Well if we truly believe his story he's essentially been tortured. Any veteran hunter would have been sent for a psychological evaluation at this point."
"So you think that Mr. Arc requires the services of a psychologist?"
"Well going off of Qrow's words… I would believe so."
Ozpin clapped his hands together, a small smirk on his otherwise stoic face.
"Excellent. Thank you for volunteering Glynda!"
"Ozpin that's not what I-"
Glynda rubbed her temples.
"Not exactly. I… volunteered to do this with you."
Jaune's eyebrows shot up. "Oh. Uh… Thanks?" Jaune's face relaxed as his arms unfolded themselves. He slouched back slightly in his chair, a more thoughtful look on his face.
"Have you counseled a lot of students before?"
Glynda couched slightly at Jaune's question. The cough covered up a discrete twitch from her riding crop, an unseen force moving in concert with it to move 'Counseling for Dummies' out of view from her desk.
When she recovered, she sent what she considered her sternest of glares at Jaune.
"Are you doubting my qualifications to counsel you, Mr. Arc?"
Jaune immediately went ramrod straight in his chair. "W-ha- Of course not! I would never do that on purpose!"
Glynda dropped the glare, her inner self cheering. "See that you do not do that again."
Internally preening over her clever cover-up, Glynda missed Jaune staring at her. He nibbled at his lip slightly, wringing his hands before speaking up.
"It's just that… It doesn't really seem like… you want to be here?" The upwards lilt of Jaune's question caught Glynda's attention.
Glynda blinked owlishly at Jaune. The boy was surprisingly astute. She did not want to be here. It wasn't that she did not want to be in her office, it was that she did not want to be in her office with him.
She hated herself. She hadn't gotten over her fear yet and she hated herself.
She stared at her student. Her student unsure of what to say.
Jaune fidgeted in his chair. " Miss Goo-"
"Quiet!" Jaune straightened up at the whipcrack of her voice.
"I'm the one asking questions here!" Glynda stood up, shoving her chair back as she brought her riding crop smashing down upon her desk. "Do you understand?"
"Ma'am, yes ma'am!"
"Good! Now." Glynda sat back down, looking down and straightening the wrinkles in her skirt, before looking back up at Jaune.
"How was your day?"
-Day 1 -
Jaune stared at himself in the reflection. It was his first day of school at Beacon Academy. His uniform was mostly assembled. His slacks were neatly pressed, his suit jacket free of wrinkles, and a host of pens and notebooks stood assembled on the table nearby. Everything was ready.
Except for his stupid tie.
Pyrrha's reflections walked up behind Jaune's own. "Uh Jaune?"
Jaune's eyes never left the reflection of his traitorous tie.
A frown marred Pyrrha's face. "What's wrong you look… distressed."
Jaune whirled around, his hands grasping at the air.
"My tie Pyrrha! I can't fix my tie."
Pyrrha took a small step back, as she looked at her hysterical partner's perfectly normal tie.
"Jaune? It looks fine. What's wrong with it."
Jaune stared at Pyrrha, a fire beginning to burn in his eyes.
"What's wrong? What's wrong?! My tie! Is crooked Pyrrha! It's crooked. How am I supposed to show up to the first day of school with a crooked tie?!"
Pyrrha reached forward and placed a hand upon Jaune's shoulder, her other hand motioning Jaune to imitate her own calming breaths.
"Breath Jaune. Breath. Your tie is fine. It doesn't look crooked at all."
Jaune took several deep breaths, before taking one final breath longer than the others. He shot Pyrrha a look and smile. "Thanks Pyrrha. I'm just… pretty nervous… I haven't been to school in a few years."
Pyrrha tilted her head. "Really? Were you home schooled?"
Jaune managed to suppress his wince. "Er… Yep! I know it sounds silly, but I'm really excited." Pyrrha mirrored the grin that broke out on Jaune's face.
"WE'RE LATE!" Jaune and Pyrrha's necks' snapped towards the door. Nora looked up from a stack of pancakes, as Ren leaned his head out of the bathroom door. They had all heard the familiar yell of Ruby Rose coming from across the hall.
Jaune sat in the cafeteria, Pyrrha and Nora to either side of him with Ren approaching with a plate of food for himself.
Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang sat across from his team, also enjoying lunch.
Jaune had seen Ruby's eagerly waving hands and had pointed out Team RWBY to his team. A few moments later and everyone was eating lunch together.
Ren and Blake had started a conversation, their voices calm and polite. Nora butted in with a compliment on Blake's bow, a bit of food flying from her mouth.
Weiss wrinkled her nose before proceeding to chastise Nora. Yang and Ruby started chewing with their mouths open, staring at Weiss as they ground their food like cattle.
The white-haired princess began to get whiplash, struggling to keep track of exactly who to reprimand. Pyrrha giggled as she watched the normally prim and proper heiress become so flustered.
Jaune sat there with a smile on his face.
Jaune stared at Glynda, the professor beginning to slowly arch her eyebrow as the time went on. He gave a little shake of his head, his eyes focusing back in.
"Oh sorry. It's…" Jaune felt a small smile fall onto his face, the same one that had been there almost the entirety of that first day. "It's… nice. "
Glynda nodded, scribbling down something into her notebook. Jaune craned his head, trying to get a look, only to stop once Glynda sent him yet another glare.
"And how does that make you feel?"
Jaune blinked at Glynda's question. "Uhm… nice?"
Glynda simply "hmmed", her pen once more jotting something down. Jaune felt himself beginning to fidget again. He couldn't help but feel like he had said the wrong answer.
Glynda crossed something out on her notebook, before looking back up at Jaune.
"And have you been sleeping well?"
- Day 3 -
Jaune stared into the mirror of Team JNPR's shared bathroom. Water droplets dotted his face, his hands still wet from washing his face.
Tired eyes stared back at him. He hadn't slept. He couldn't sleep. He could feel himself slip into sleep's embrace only to slip right back out. Every time he almost fell asleep he just thought, ' This isn't right. '
Jaune didn't know what wasn't right. It just wasn't. He had felt himself feeling more irritated lately. Not at his team. Never at his team. It had only been a few days but whenever he was around them he could feel his shoulders relax, his fists unclench, whatever unknown tension in his body leaving him.
It was at random things. Anything. The way Professor Port's moustache ruffled as he talked, Professor Oobleck's lightspeed ramblings, the way that this one girl had said "Supposably".
It was everything.
Jaune held up his hand.
He watched as small tremors shook through his hand.
Jaune struggled to focus in class, something burning in his veins. His breaths were shallow and sweat beaded on his head.
He wanted something. Not just wanted. Wanted. Needed even.
He still didn't know what, all he knew was that he needed something and if he didn't get it soon he felt like he would go crazy. He seemed some sort of release. He briefly entertained the idea of dying just to see whether that would fix things.
The thought lingered.
Pyrrha looked at him from her seat next to him, she turned to look at Ren, who had also been looking at Jaune.
A frown marred both their faces.
Still Jaune thought of death.
Jaune nervously chewed on his lip, a shaking hand shoved deep with-in a pocket. Glynda looked at Jaune's eyes, noting a hint of red.
"Of course." The lie came out smoother than Jaune would have liked.
The idea of dying was stronger now. It wouldn't be too hard. Just a quick jump off a cliff. He could be back and changed before anyone noticed.
This time a frown marred Glynda's face.
"I promise. I'm fine." Yet another lie.
The frown stayed on Glynda's face. Yet another note was jotted down on her notebook. Jaune really wanted to snap that pen. His hand twitched.
"Uhm… Miss Goodwitch?"
"Yes Mr. Arc?"
"Is it alright if I ask a question?"
Glynda mulled over the question a little bit. Jaune felt his fidgeting start up again.
Jaune looked around, his fidgeting becoming a bit more noticeable. Glynda reached a hand forward, laying it to rest on Jaune's shoulder. Jaune stilled.
"Relax Mr. Arc. You can tell me anything. "
Jaune's shoulders finally relaxed.
Glynda gave a squeeze before she let go. Jaune couldn't help but miss the contact.
"Why am I here? Ozpin could have squirreled me away in some kind of safe house… but instead he put me here, with the rest of the students… I've been thinking about it and to be honest it doesn't make any sense!"
Glynda matched Jaune's gaze.
She thought about what to say. She thought about coming up with some kind of lie. She knew that Jaune needed to know the truth.
"Ozpin thinks that you can be a great protector of mankind. " Jaune's face scrunched up as he heard Glynda's words.
"He thinks that with time… You could be a hero - of sorts."
His eyebrows practically shot through his forehead.
"A-… a hero? ...M-Me?"
Jaune sat in class, his familiar hoody and jeans underneath his meagre chest plate. Crocea Mors was sheathed and leaned against the seat next to him. In front of him, two students did battle on a stage in front of him.
Two green bars were on a screen next to each student's picture. The bars represented their aura levels. Jaune thought they looked like health bars.
It was combat class, and Glynda's words from the previous day still rung in his head.
His head turned to look into the eyes of his partner. He noted that both Ren and Nora were also looking over. Jaune could hear Team RWBY chatting away behind him, but he couldn't help but feel their eyes on him too.
"Are you okay?" Jaune raised his eyebrow at Pyrrha. He didn't notice the increasing tremors in his hand.
"I'm fine. How are you doing?"
Pyrrha shot a glance back at Ren and Nora before turning back to Jaune. The chattering from behind him had stopped.
"I'm fine… it's just tha-"
"Jaune Arc." Glynda's voice rang out from the front of the room.
Jaune stood up, picking up Crocea Mors and strapping it to his thigh. He shuffled down the steps to the arena.
Pyrrha's eyes followed him down the steps.
She turned back to see Ruby staring after Jaune as well. "Is Jaune alright?"
Pyrrha forced a smile onto her face. "Of course Ruby. Don't worry."
They both worried.
Jaune clenched the hilt of Crocea Mors, his knuckles turning white. His feet took him up the steps of the stage. He gave Glynda a nod, not noticing Glynda's eyes also following him as he stalked over to his side of the stage.
Across from him was… Who was that?
"Jaune Arc vs. Cardin Winchester." Ah right. Cardin. The boy was big. He was taller than Jaune, looked stronger than Jaune, and had a big-ass mace. Jaune didn't care. This still didn't feel right.
Jaune had been excited about the idea of a nice scrap. But this…
"Remember to stop once your opponent's aura hits the red."
Jaune frowned. What was the point in stopping short?
Cardin shouldered his mace, a smirk on his face. "What's the matter Jauney Boy? Scared?"
Jaune stared at him for a moment, his brow furrowing. "Who are you again?"
Cardin's mouth fell open, before clicking shut. His brow furrowed as well, his jaw clenching.
Yang's voice rang out from the crowd, prompting a few giggles as well. Cardin turned red.
Jaune shrugged as he unsheathed his sword, the sheath transitioning into it's shield form. He frowned as he brought the shield up in front of him.
'This still doesn't feel right.'
Jaune was broken out of his thoughts by the sight of Cardin's mace swinging towards his face. The larger boy had grabbed his mace with both hands, a grunt coming from him as he twisted his body violently, sending the head of the mace flying towards Jaune's face.
His shield came up just in time, the mace slamming into the ancient metal. Jaune felt his arm give way, the shield flying back towards his own face. He felt himself fall back onto his back leg, his shield flying out of place.
Still Jaune frowned.
'Still not right.' The burning sensation in his veins had become unbearable. He was so close. To what he still did not know.
Cardin's mace came back around, flying forward towards Jaune's face once more. Jaune's shield was still flung back, it wouldn't make it in time. Jaune managed to fall backwards, his graceless fall prompting several snickers from the audience.
The mace whistled past his face, just barely grazing Jaune's nose. His eyes widened.
Jaune rolled backwards, coming back up to his feet. Cardin did not follow. Instead he leaned onto one foot. Idly twirling his mace. A smirk once more settled onto Jaune's face.
Whispers broke out in the crowd. Jaune was already in the yellow. From one blow.
"That can't be right…" Pyrrha whispered as she looked at the screen. Ren frowned as he looked at the screen. Cardin hit hard but he didn't hit that hard. And Jaune hadn't even been really hit. It all pointed to one thing.
Jaune had an incredibly small aura.
"That doesn't make sense…" Pyrrha repeated to herself.
"What doesn't make sense Pyrrha?" Pyrrha did not even look at Ren, as she continued to stare at the screen showing their aura levels.
"I unlocked his aura. I felt his aura. It's big… Much bigger than this…"
Snickers had broken out in the audience. Jokes about Jaune's aura ran rampant.
"Small aura, small soul. What else could be small? Ehehe."
Cardin laughed at the joke from onstage. Nora frowned. She cupped her hands and brought them to her mouth.
"Break his legs Jaune!" Ruby stood up, a similar fire in her eyes. "Yeah! You can do it Jaune!"
The rest of Team JNPR and RWBY followed suit, shouting words of encouragement. Jaune didn't hear any of them.
He knew what was wrong.
That narrow miss with death. That mace could have taken his head clean off without aura. He wanted that. He needed that.
He slid his shield off. It hit the ground with a clang, the snickers starting up once again in the audience.
The shield took away from the thrill.
Cardin also snickered. "You giving up ol' Jauney Boy? You scared?"
Jaune dropped his sword, the blade slipping out of his loose grip. His friends continued to yell words of encouragement, more concern tinging their voices.
The sword wouldn't let him get close enough and was too slow.
He reached up, his hands deftly unbuckling his chest plate. It fell to the floor with a hollow clang.
His armor made him too heavy. It slowed him down too much.
"BAAHAHAHAHA!" All eyes turned to Ruby. "IT'S A CUTE LITTLE BUNNY RABBIT!"
The eyes went back to Jaune, where more snickers broke out. Hidden underneath Jaune's armor there was a bunny rabbit emblazoned on his chest. Specifically, Pumpkin Pete, the cereal mascot.
Ruby sank into her seat. She held her face in her hands as she realized what she had just done.
The jeers had reached a fever pitch. People called for Cardin to put Jaune out of his misery. Glynda continued to watch, a tight grip on her riding crop.
"I'd begun to forget."
Cardin tilted his head to side. "What was that Jauney Boy?"
Jaune had not noticed Cardin's words. Nor had he noticed that the jeers from the crowd had fallen silent when he spoke. A heavy weight fell upon the classroom.
"I'd begun to forget that feeling… That feeling of exchanging lives… Those long slow dances with death as you lean into her embrace. That moment preceding the end of your short life..."
Jaune shivered, a grin beginning to stretch his face. His blood began thumping in his ears. The grin felt like it was going to split his face in two.
"Isn't it great?"
Jaune's right hand came down onto his thigh, settling on the familiar grip of the hunting knife he had taken from Verdan what seemed like ages ago. He pulled it free with a rasp, holding it loosely by his side.
"It's Mr. Stabby!"
Everyone looked at Ruby, who had blurted out the name of Jaune's knife. She slapped her hands onto her mouth and sank back into her seat as she felt everyone's eyes briefly fall on her.
Jaune hadn't noticed, his eyes had a glazed over look as he seemed to stare through Cardin. That same damnable smile was still on his face, sending shivers down everyone's spine.
"To fight is to live… to die… to struggle… to have fun! Now…"
Jaune stepped forward. Cardin stepped back.
"Let's have some fun!"
Jaune leapt forward … and tripped.
Pyrrha heard someone laugh. Ruby behind her gasped. Everyone in Team JNPR was silent. They had seen that stumble before.
Cardin had not. He let out a roar as he brought his mace down from over hand, intent on slamming it and Jaune into the ground.
Jaune neatly sidestepped the blow, coming out much too quick from that stumble. A feint.
Cardin realized it too late.
Jaune was in close now. He ducked low and slipped both of his arms around Cardin's legs. Beowolves were hard to push back while standing, but the back of their knees were from their bony-white armor and easily folded.
His forearms dug into the backs of Cardin's knees, his legs easily folding at the joint. Jaune lifted up and Cardin fell onto his back.
Jaune didn't wait for Cardin to settle into his new position on the ground. He climbed over Cardin's legs, a knee and a foot pinning Cardin's arms to the flower. He pressed down deep into the elbow joints of Cardin's arms. Cardin for his part feebly tried to raise his arms, only managing to wave his forearms feebly.
Jaune flipped his knife into a reverse grip before he slammed the point into Cardin's neck. Cardin gagged, his aura managing to stop the blow from driving deep into his neck. His eyes began to bulge, his breath growing quick as he felt the weight of fear settle into his chest.
'This can't be it.'
He slammed the knife into Cardin's neck again.
'He can't be done already. What's he so afraid of? Why doesn't he fight back?!'
The knife slammed down again.
Cardin began to babble as his aura flashed red before shattering. A warm liquid began to stain his pants and the floor.
'WHERE. WAS. HIS. DEATH.'
Jaune saw red. He drove the knife down again.
"JAUNE." Jaune's knife stopped mid-descent. His vision cleared.
Glynda let out a sigh of relief, her riding crop out and a glow beginning to fade from it. He had heard her.
Jaune let out a sigh as he stood up from Cardin's shaking form.
'That was a disappointment.'
It was then that Jaune felt many eyes upon him. The classroom was quiet. He looked up and flinched.
The entirety of the classroom's eyes were on him. Eyes full of fear.
The same eyes as the ones Clover and Verdan had looked at him when he had killed his first Grimm in the forest.
The same eyes that Jaune would sure would haunt him once more.
- Glynda's Office - Day 4
Glynda frowned. Jaune had been laughing for a minute straight. He stumbled out of his seat, still laughing as he made his way towards the door.
He wiped a tear as he held his sides, his laughs finally subsiding.
"I'm… hehehe…. I'm not a hero…" Jaune looked down at the ground, a small smile coming onto his face as he clenched his fist.
"I'll probably never be one either… Goodnight Miss Goodwitch…"
Jaune left without another word. Glynda stared at the closed door he left behind him.
"I hope you're wrong Mr. Arc… I really hope you are…"
A\N: Whew! Turns out fewer adjectives means you need to write more :|. Who knew?
I sort of borrowed Jaune's little speech from Isekai Tensei Soudouki with a bit of modifications. The general idea is the same though.
I hope you all liked this chapter. I struggled with it for a little while, but then I fell into a semi groove and just pounded it out.
See y'all later!