This is a work of fan fiction, created for entertainment purposes only and with no claim to the characters depicted. Ownership of RWBY characters and concepts belongs to Rooster Teeth.
Love Potion Nora Nine
"N-no, wait! I think maybe you don't understand! I said I'd out 'U' and 'I' together. As in the words not the letters-'you' and 'I'. Get it!"
Somehow explaining the joke wasn't making it any more fun or charming, as Weiss just turned around and walked away with out a word.
Things weren't made better by a powerful thump on his back courtesy of a Yang who was roaring with laughter. "You and I together. Classic. Cheesy as hell, but classic. You keep doin' what you're doin' Jaune." The blonde brawler picked up her tray and and followed after her teammate to dump their trash and head out to their next class.
Ruby lifted her own tray and petted Jaune on the head like a favorite puppy. "Sorry, Jaune."
He just nodded his thanks and lowered his head as Ruby and Blake both left the table.
No one had to tell him he was bad at this. When his father told him the key to making women like him was confidence, he'd failed to tell him what to do if he didn't have any. False bravado and lines from sites on the CCT weren't working and beyond that... well he had nothing.
A groan escaped him as he pushed his tray aside and put his head in his arms. A light touch on his shoulder reminded him that his partner was beside him, supportive as ever. She didn't say anything—she never did when it came to his trials and tribulations with Weiss—just let him know in her own way that he at least wasn't alone. Even when his other friends were laughing at him or didn't really understand like Ruby, he always had his partner.
And that tender moment was shattered by Nora. "Heeeeey Jauney! Struck out again huh?" Oh yeah, there's the salt in the wound. He just groaned in her general direction. "Don't worry, Aunty Nora's got just the antidote to your Weiss problem."
It said so much that he was eager to accept such an obvious last resort. Slowly raising his head, he found his bubbly friend and teammate leaning across the lunch table, holding a vial of clear liquid only about the length and width of his thumb. Okay, this was weird even by Nora standard. "Nora?"
"Yeah?" she asked, grinning from ear to ear.
"What's that supposed to be?"
She'd clearly been waiting for him to ask, since she immediately drew herself up into her classic storytelling pose. "This, my dear leader is the Valkyrie family secret love potion. It's guaranteed to help you find love or your money back! Just get Icy Weissy to drink this and she'll be your like that!" She snapped the fingers of her free hand.
Jaune was stuck staring at the vial. He'd read tons of stories and... well weren't love potions meant to be red and come in heart-shaped bottles? Nora was... "Wait. What? A real love potion? You've got to be kidding me." His eyes darted to Ren to assure him this was one of Nora's larks.
The quiet young man just buried his face further in his book. "I want nothing to do with this."
"Aw, you're no fun." Nora pouted, then grinned at Jaune. "But seriously. Love potion. I promise this will fix everything or your money back."
Squinting are her suspiciously, Jaune regarded her expression carefully and... utterly failed at gaining any insight into what she was thinking. "You keep saying 'or my money back'. But I haven't given you any money."
"Oh." Nora blinked. "Um... then give me twenty lien."
"You're the one that made the point. Plus like I said: one hundred percent guaranteed to get you the perfect girl for you. Twenty lien seems like an awful good deal for-"
A pair of ten lien cards clattered onto the table in front of her. "Shut up and take my money!" Jaune blurted out.
"Done and done." Nora swiftly raked in the cards and thrust the vial in Jaune's direction. He reached for it only to have another hand intercept his.
"Nora, don't bilk Jaune out of his money," Pyrrha said with a heavy sight. "And Jaune, there's no such thing as a love potion."
Jaune gave his partner a look that could only have been replicated by assuring a child that their imaginary friend was real beyond the shadow of a doubt... and then telling them that was all a trick and now their imaginary friend wasn't just fake, but also dead. He knew on an intellectual level there was no such thing, but he had hope nonetheless. It was heartbreaking. "But Nora said..."
"Nora once said she and Ren made their fortune selling Ursa skin rugs. Trust me: there is no such thing as a love potion.
"Yes it is!" Nora piped up. "Maybe you've just never heard of it because you've never met my Gammy Valkyrie."
The obvious thing to say at that juncture was that Nora had never met her Gammy Valkyrie, seeing as by Nora and Ren's own admission, she was an orphan who met Ren shortly before he himself was orphaned. But it wasn't in Pyrrha's character to throw that sort of thing in her friend's face, so he had to gawk for a moment before retorting simply, "There's still no such thing!"
Pyrrha really should have seen the trap coming, but she still blundered right into it. "Is not."
Watching the incredibly childish back and forth, Jaune kept his eye on the vial. Sure he'd been excited at the idea, but now with the delay, he was having time to think about it. Even assuming the potion was real, he was starting to feel queasy about it. Sure he liked Weiss, but wasn't using a love potion basically forcing her to love him? That wouldn't be right at all.
He made up his mind right then and there that he wouldn't be using that stuff, And as leader of Team JNPR, he would also do his best to keep Nora from making or distributing any more of it. Now he just had to wait for the argument to peter out and...
"There is no such thing and I will prove it!" Apparently at her wit's end with Nora, Pyrrha grabbed the vial out of the perky bomber's hand, promptly uncorked it, and downed the liquid in one gulp." Slamming the empty container on the table, she sat back, looking slightly flushed and grimacing from the taste while trying to look satisfied with herself.
"S-see?" she swallowed a few times to try and get the taste out of her mouth. One hand came up to try and loosen the tie of her school uniform. "Nothing happened."
The only reply from Nora was wide-eyed shock. "Um... Renny, didn't you say you wanted to get to Professor Port's class early to ask him some questions on yesterday's homework?"
"Yeah, I thought so. Let's go right now!" Leaping up from her seat, Nora grabbed her childhood best friend's arm and dragged him away, leaving their lunch trays behind.
Watching them go, Jaune awkwardly rubbed the back of his head. "You know, I've been trapped in a cave with a giant Deathstalker, faced down an Ursa alpha, and charged into the Breech... and that's the most disconcerting thing I've ever seen."
"I have to agree."
There was a certain strain in Pyrrha's voice that made Jaune turn to her. She was still worrying at her collar. "Are you okay?"
"Perfectly fine. Just feeling a little warm is all," Pyrrha replied, letting go of her collar and then just sort of fiddling with her fingers as if not sure what to do with her hands anymore.
"Maybe you should go see the nurse. This is Nora: there's no telling what was in that stuff." He got up, taking hold of his partner's arm with an aim to help her up.
She in turn covered his hand with hers. "I'm fine Jaune. Really." Her hand lingered there, her thumb gently tracing a circle over his wrist. "But it's sweet of you to be so concerned. It's one of the things I really like about you." In saying that, she blushed, which made Jaune blush in turn.
The moment only lasted a few seconds before Pyrrha coughed nervously and let go of him. "We, uh... have a class to get to. And also Ren and Nora's trays to get rid of as well as our own."
"S-sure. Let's get to that." He reached across the table and dragged the two abandoned trays to their side, stacking their contents on top of his own. "Are you sure you're feeling okay?"
"Jaune," Pyrrha put her hand on his chest, spreading her fingers out across it. A few months ago, all she would have felt was sternum and angst, but now her fingers were tracing developing muscle. "I'm fine, really. Thank you for being worried, but there's really nothing to be worried about."
For a second, it was all Jaune could do to just stare dumbly at the hand pressed against his chest. Pyrrha had always been, well... touchy. He'd known that since Initiation. From the full contact required to unlock his aura, to a playful congratulatory punch to the arm that nearly knocked him over in spite of said aura, to numerous little pats and consoling gestures she doled out on a day-to-day basis.
Aura unlocking aside, none of those had been as lingering and personal as they'd become in the last couple of minutes. Not that he was complaining, but...
"Are you sure there wasn't anything in that potion that uh... could be doing something?" Somehow, Jaune couldn't get himself to actually give voice to his worries flat out.
Withdrawing her hand, Pyrrha giggled into her fist. "Of course not, Jaune. Love potions are just stories. You know as well as I do they're not real. Now let's hurry up, okay?" With that, he took off with her own tray in hand, leaving him with the other three.
The bewildered blonde could only scratch his head in contemplation. While Pyrrha certainly was acting a bit odd, she wasn't falling all over him like the victims of love potions always did in stories and in comics. Which, come to think of it, love potion stories never ended well for the protagonist. At absolute best, the potion wouldn't work on someone who really loved them—while making everyone else ax-crazy obsessed.
Ruminating on that made him frown a little. Entertaining the notion that Nora's little sipping drink really was a love potion and it worked the way it was supposed to... well that confirmed what he'd always sort of known: Pyrrha didn't harbor any hidden feelings for him.
It made him a little sad, but he reminded himself that he'd been certain of that since initiation.
Then the rest of the implications of the standard love potion scenario sunk in: nothing good ever came of them, so if he had tried using it, he'd have been screwed anyway! And now this whole thing was making his head hurt. Hefting the three trays, he struck off after his partner.
He needed to stop thinking about Nora and her wacky plan. That's all it was, after all: a wacky plan and Pyrrha having a bad reaction to whatever weird sugar bomb that 'potion' actually was. It would all pass.
By now, he was actually looking forward to Professor Port's latest droning story. It would help take his mind off all this.
Nothing Professor Port could ever say could distract Jaune from what was going on.
Maybe the man said he'd once oil wrestled a Nevermore wearing leiderhosen to the Atlasian polka as played on the accordion with theramin accompaniment, maybe Jaune might find it in his power to give a second to acknowledge it. And even then, only if the answer to 'who was wearing the leiderhosen; Port of the Nevermore was 'yes'.
It started out innocently enough. Pyrrha had beaten him to their usual spot in the lecture hall. At the time he hadn't noticed that she'd scooted her chair closer than normal. He was noticing now, because every few seconds, she'd go to turn a page in her notebook and her arm would graze his, or shift in her seat, causing her leg to brush up against his thigh, or she'd reach for her pencil at just the right time for their hands to make contact.
Such things happened before—they'd been sitting together almost the entire semester—but it had never happened with anything like this kind of frequency.
And every time—every single time—he'd look over and catch Pyrrha peeking at him through her lashes. She'd give a shy smile and then turn studiously back to her notes. The message was so clear and unambiguous that even he couldn't mistake it: she was doing this on purpose. And there was only one reason she'd be doing it on purpose and then giving him that sweet, flirtatious look like that.
Not that he didn't try to rationalize a reason anyway.
The sugar bomb. He'd taken to mentally calling it a sugar bomb because it came from Nora and that's what it had to be. The other option was laughable and unthinkable... and disheartening and terrifying. Sometimes in those stories the going crazy part was slow onset. And training or no, if Pyrrha went spare on him, there wouldn't be enough left to send home to his parents.
So yeah, the sugar bomb was making her hyper and twitchy and those weren't flirty looks but sheepish, apologetic smiles. That's all it was. He wouldn't even be thinking about it the other way—or about just how pretty that particular smile was on her—if Nora hadn't been talking up the stupid 'love potion' angle.
Thus, he desperately tried to concentrate on what the professor was saying. Something about riding an avalanche down a mountain using an immature Deathstalker as a bobsled. But just as he was finally starting to succeed in distracting himself from his distraction, a weight started pressing down on his left arm and shoulder.
He had a good idea what he'd see when he looked over, but had to do so just in case. Sure enough Pyrrha Nikos, model student who managed to take notes on whatever insane stories Port told, could decipher Ooblecks's light-speed lectures, and usually only earned one scowl from Glynda Goodwitch a day, had fallen asleep in class.
Resting her head on his shoulder.
Jaune tried his best to pretend he didn't notice she was blushing and not breathing deeply or evenly enough to actually be asleep. Clearly she was just crashing from Nora's sugar rush concoction. Yes, that was what it was. And everything would be back to normal once she woke up.
It was difficult to tell if things had actually been fixed by Pyrrha's nap. The last class of the day was Combat with Goodwitch and he'd spent part of the class in the locker room and part facing off against Ruby.
True to form, his fellow leader had started out going easy on him. In Ruby's case this meant choosing not to close at super-speed and wail on him with Crescent Rose in scythe mode. Instead, she hung back and barraged him with semi-automatic sniper fire.
A few short months ago, that tactic could and did whittle his aura down in short order. Now though, he lowered his stance to put as much of himself behind his shield as possible, angled it to deflect fire instead of just taking the hits straight on, and charged.
Shots glanced off the white enamel as he closed the distance and went for a shield bash. Even without her Semblance, Ruby was still quick though, and she rolled under the bash, performing a little breakdance-like move that ended with her pivoting around an arm planted on the ground so as to kick him in the back with both legs, sending him stumbling.
Regaining his footing, he shifted to face her, then made what felt like the best tactical choice at the time: try and deprive Ruby of her weapon. So he lasted out with his foot and punted Crescent Rose as far as possible. It was only once the weapon was in flight and he could see the look of shock swiftly giving way to affront, that he realized his miscalculation.
First of all, while kicking a normal opponent's weapon away was a great tactic, doing so to a speedster just gave her a reason to open up more space between you while she easily reacquired her weapon. Second? He'd kicked Crescent Rose, Ruby's precious baby.
Her baby which she then proceeded to wail on him with.
"All things considered, you made an excellent showing. Ruby is an exceptionally difficult opponent in most situations, much less when—well—enraged. Speaking of which, you should get her something to apologize. Not that you were in the wrong, but she's very attached to her scythe."
While Jaune very much noticed that Pyrrha had her arm draped around him as they entered the library, he was too tired to worry about it. Even with his large aura reserves, the beating he'd taken was taking a lot out of him to recover from.
Ruby had apologized of course, but that didn't change the fact that she'd juggled him. Like in a video game. Through a series of well timed shots, scythe slashes and good old-fashioned aura-powered kicks, she'd kept him in the air for almost a full minute. Granted part of that was thanks to him blocking those attacks with his shield—allowing himself to be thrown higher in the air each time, but...
Well at least his everything didn't hurt anymore.
"True. I'll head into Vale tonight after our study session and hit that bakery she likes."
"Would you... like some company when you do?" The odd little nervous twinge in her voice made Jaune glance over at her. There was that blush again. It was really cute on her, he had to admit. As was the standard school uniform, now that he was paying attention...
...Which he should not be doing. He looked away, making a show of scanning over the shelves of books and open tables. "Um... sure."
Pyrrha hummed in contemplation before saying, "You know, we could make a night of it. Wasn't there a new Spruce Willis movie you wanted to see? And there's this wonderful little Vacuoan bistro Team RWBY, Nora and I discovered on our last girls' night. Is... that something you might be interested in?"
Dinner and a movie in other words. As in date. As in a date.
Yeah, there was no fitting that into his sugar rush theory. But then again, given how sheltered Pyrrha's upbringing had been while being groomed to be a Champion, maybe she was the one missing the implication here and once again he was just reading into things because of the love potion stuff.
He couldn't say it was an unattractive prospect now that he thought of it, but...
Before he could say anything though, Pyrrha changed the subject. "Doesn't look like the others are here this evening. Let's sit over there then." She indicated an are off of the normal study tables, situated near where the less academic and more pleasurable reading material was located. Instead of tables and chairs, there were beanbags.
Some weekends, when there was hardly anyone around, they would grab his collection of X-ray and Vav comics and just spend some time reading and chatting about things. It was an extension of their quiet time after training on the roof at night: just two partners bonding. Jaune really had no objections to the suggestion.
Nor did he question the absence of the others. Team RWBY only studied right after class if Weiss or Blake won the eternal battle of wills that was their team dynamic or Ruby was in team leader mode. Meanwhile Team JNPR was more consistent about it since Pyrrha knew how much Jaune needed the extra time given the outdated and incomplete small village education and Ren was already inclined to study in the first place. Nora surprisingly didn't fight it all that much, and while she goofed off even more than Jaune did, she still knew when it was time to buckle down.
Which wasn't to say she didn't convince Ren to play hooked once in a while, leaving Jaune and Pyrrha alone like they were now.
"So..." Jaune plopped down in a beanbag, "What subject should we go over first? History homework?"
He glanced up to see Pyrrha standing over him looking conflicted. She pursed her lips tentatively, playing with her hands As he watched, she seemed to come to a decision.
It was at that point that he learned something. Namely, that a six foot one-inch woman with a highly athletic build was heavy with or without her armor. Especially when she just drops herself into your lap and effectively wraps herself around you.
Yeah, there was no mistaking this. One arm had snaked around his waist while her other palm was pressed against his chest again. The rest of her body was practically molded to his while her face was just inches away, those big, green eyes filling his vision.
"Hello." she said, suddenly looking anywhere but at him.
"Um... hi?" Without really thinking about it, he'd pulled his arm around her waist in turn to keep her stable. Right. That was it, just to keep her stable.
"Hi," she repeated unnecessarily. Licking her lips, she took a moment to regulate her breathing. Then, with aching slowness, she started to lean closer.
Jaune's mind went blank for a second as it tried to reboot and process what was going on. This was really happening. It wasn't some indulgent fantasy or a dream; it was real and amazing and kind of scary at the same time.
Now that there was absolutely no way to explain what was going on in any way... well he'd have to admit it felt really good holding her like this. And it'd be nice to take her on a date later. And right now, it was looking like it'd be really nice to kiss her.
But wait. Wasn't that exactly what had been bothering him about the idea of using the love potion on Weiss?
This wasn't real. That wasn't the worst part though: this was utterly against Pyrrha's will. This wasn't love, this was the result of a drug. A poison. If he took advantage of his partner like this, it would make him the worst kind of person.
They weren't living in a story where somehow some way what was going on was just some funny or dramatic shenanigan that would just be swept under the rug at the end of the episode. No, this was a very real violation that was going happening to a real person he cared about. Someone he cared for more than he'd allowed himself to admit.
So it was with a heavy heart that, he jerked his head away at the last second. The look of betrayal in her eyes in that moment would have torn his heart in two if it wasn't for the fact that he knew that same expression would have been multiplied by a thousand if he'd allowed her to kiss him in this state and then she came to and regretted it later.
"Pyrrha, no. We can't," he leaned away from her, doing his best to apologize with his eyes. "I mean it's not like I don't want to. I mean at this point, I'm even okay with getting in trouble over this but... but this isn't you."
She blinked at him, her expression somewhere between confused and mortified.
"It's the potion."
...Quickly replaced by dull weariness and grudging understanding. "Jaune, there's—"
"No such thing as love potions. Yeah. You've said that, but have you noticed yourself doing a couple of things today you never would have done on any other day?" He gestured with his free hand at their current position, "This for instance?"
Pyrrha let go of him entirely, depending on him to hold her steady as she buried her face in her hands. A huff of embarrassment escape her before she groaned. "Maybe they weren't things I would do, but that doesn't mean they weren't things I wanted to do."
"So... the potion brought hidden desires to the surface? Huh. That's a new one."
"No, there wasn't a potion at all, Jaune. It was just a little perfume bottle. It was supposed to be full of rose water, but Nora filled it with grain alcohol to make me flush because apparently she didn't trust my acting."
She pulled her her hands away from her face and timidly met Jaune's gaze. "You see, I was too shy to actually just come out and tell you how I felt, or even really show you overtly. The closest I ever got was during the dance. You know when I said you were the kind of guy I hoped would ask me to the dance? What I originally planned to say was that you are the guy I wanted to ask me."
Jaune blinked. "Oh."
"Right... so the idea was that I could actually show you how I felt and then if you reacted... negatively... I could always claim it was because of the 'love potion' and we could just go back to what we had before. I guess it wasn't really thought through very well—somehow we never considered a moral objection to the whole thing." She mustered a small, proud smile, "You really have the soul of a knight, Jaune."
Then after an awkward pause, asked, "So... what you said before about saying it wasn't like you didn't want to kiss me?"
Still working his way through the logic that brought them to this point, Jaune took an agonizing few seconds before he thought to nod. "W-well yeah. I meant it too. I seriously don't care if we get in trouble for this anymore." He started to lean toward her only to be stopped by a quizzical expression followed by a query.
"Why do you think we'll get in trouble."
"Well, I mean there's got to be a rule against this kind of thing, right? Partners getting together? Fritteration, I think it's called?"
Try as she might, Pyrrha had to laugh at that. "Fraternization?"
"That's the one."
She laughed more, having to bur her face in his shoulder to get things under control. "Jaune, this isn't the military. In fact, the whole point of the team and partner system is because people fight harder to protect those they share a bond with. No one would be so stupid as to discourage the strengthening of those bonds. Plus, Aura strength and some Semblances are hereditary. Keeping hunters from procreating when two of the pillars the institution is genetic would be cultural suicide."
"Wow..." Jaune drew out the word, leaning his head back on the beanbag. "I feel I was denied critical need-to-know information. Like I had my priorities all wrong. And.. I probably reacted to things all wrong."
Jaune continued to stare at the ceiling, mind dancing through the what-ifs. "Well, remember when I was asking you and... and Weiss to be on my team? See, I was careful to say team and not 'partner', because I thought partners can't date and... well you were—are—really hot. Ideally, I was going to partner up with Ruby, you and Weiss would be partners and we'd all be a team. Team RWPA... Team SJNR... Huh. Now that I think about it, they probably wouldn't have let us be a team because you can't make a color with our names.
"Anyway, when you went through the trouble of actually pinning me to a tree, well I figured you had the same idea in mind: pick someone you wanted for a platonic best bud for a partner. Which meant you totally weren't into me."
At this, Pyrrha was forced to squint at him. "So Weiss rejects you dozens of time, often in very unkind ways... and you thought that was still hope. Meanwhile, I did my level best to make sure you were going to be in my life for the next four years and in your mind that put me off limits."
"You see why I feel so stupid now?"
"I wouldn't normally reinforce that feeling, but... yes, I kind of do." she admitted, now resting her head on his shoulder. Then inspiration hit her. "What about Team SNAR – as in snare? A snare drum? It's not a color, but music is an expression too, so it would still be a tribute to the Great War."
Jaune laughed, relaxing more and more as time went on. "That'd have been interesting. But now that I know there's no rule against—y'know—this, I'm even more happy with JNPR than I was before." He reached up with his free hand and lightly combed his fingers through his partner's lovely red hair. "This is nice, by the way."
"Mmmhmm. Yes. I've waited quite a long time for this, and I can honestly say I am not disappointed."
"So about going down to Vale... I think it's a great idea."
"As do I," replied Pyrrha turned fully toward him and rested her forehead against his, gazing into his eyes. "But... do you mind if we stay like this just a little longer?"
Feeling bold, he took advantage of the proximity to lean up just a little and ghost a kiss across her lips. "I don't mind at all."
AN: I hate love potion plots.
Like if love potions had a face, I would punch it.
Despite being more or less resigned to never experiencing romantic love myself (me being the reigning cover model for Ugmo Magazine), I'm still one of those people that loves love in all its form; platonic, familial and romantic. The way the very concept of a love potion, which packages and subverts romantic love, treats the concept galls me. Its attendant tropes make it worse.
"Oh no, the love potion didn't work and now literally every potential love interest of my is tsundere to the extreme! What a problem!" No, the problem was that you planned to force someone to love you with magic/pheremones/etc and the plot either does not see this as an issue or thinks the right way to punish you is to rob more people of their personality and will to make you feel mild panic for the next twenty-two minutes of run time.
But any of you that know me and have followed my author's notes on other fics or my blog over at descendantsserial DOT com know that I'm not one to be content with just hating a trope and leaving it alone. I like taking it apart, examining it, seeing what works and what doesn't, then seeing what can be done with the result.
Thus, a love potion story where the idea of the love potion is the catalyst for romance rather than the stuff on its own.
Someone is going to mention that Nora slipped Pyrrha alcohol, but I'll point out that it was less than a shot's worth and I made sure to make it clear that Pyrrha was cognizant and thinking about what she was doing the whole time.
I'm making it a hobby now to collect explanation for Jaune's... er... inattention to Pyrrha. Granted, I admit and have experienced how a zeroed out self confidence can make someone blind to obvious affection, it's fun to explore a bit. Especially when to look closely at the series and realize that Jaune was clearly flirting with Pyrrha (even if still looking past her to Weiss) before Initiation, but once it was done... nothing. Since RWBY is maddeningly vague about the rules of the world and character motivations, it's total fanfic fodder and this is my explanation for it... at least for this fic.
Only one reference this time: Jaune's lament about information is from the best monster movie ever put to celluloid, Tremors II, a line from the legendary Burt Gummer.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little oneshot. I really needed to write something fun and light right now and none of my other ongoings was in a place where I could lay down some pure fluff, so I did this one.
Also, someone needs to do a series based on Port's pre-Beacon adventures when he was clearly Remnant's answer to to Baron Munchhausen.