JJD: Let's do this dance Cr00cy.
Cr00cy: One last time into the breach, huh? Let's do it JJD.
Once Upon A Time In Patch
Glynda Goodwitch was a godmother.
She knew this.
She also knew that she had competition in that regard, competition that she was eager to meet.
Now, she just had to break away from her tagalongs before their bickering killed her. Or, far more likely, she killed them.
"We're home! This is the best!" Ruby cheered.
"Ruby, calm down!" Weiss chastised. "Besides, it's not like we're in a real city, like Atlas."
She swore that they hadn't stopped from the time the bullhead lifted off in Vale, to the time they landed at the airport in Patch. Now, as they made their way down the streets of the city, she found herself wondering if Ozpin would care if she came home with a few less students.
"Patch is way better than dumb, old Atlas!" The reaper argued.
"She's right, you know." Yang chipped in, crossing her hands behind her head. "It's too bad we couldn't convince Blake to come along, I'm sure she would have loved it."
Weiss tsked. "I'm sure that she and her 'darling' are finding ways to entertain themselves in Menagerie."
Yang chuckled. "Yeah, with the size of that bag she was dragging behind her, I'm surprised she managed to make her flight. How many toys does a girl need, huh, P-money?"
"I've got no idea what you're talking about." The redhead countered.
"Yeah, sure. I'm just saying, I think we all know that magnetic poles aren't the only ones that you're playing-"
"And, that's enough! Thank you, Miss Xiao Long." She cut in, adjusting her glasses. "I trust that you and Miss Rose can show your team around the island?"
"Sure!" The blonde agreed happily.
"Are you going somewhere, ma'am?" Weiss asked.
She hummed. "Yes, I have a business meeting to attend to. A very important business meeting."
"It isn't with Mr. Arc by any chance, is it?" Pyrrha asked hopefully.
She gave the champion a rueful smile. "No, sadly work comes first, but I'll be meeting with him tomorrow if you'd like to join me."
"I'd like that." The girl quickly agreed.
"Going after married men, P-money?" Yang teased.
The spartan flushed. "What?! No!"
"Sure~." The brawler sang.
"That would be a remarkably poor choice." Glynda confirmed.
The redhead gasped in indignation. "Ma'am, you can't possibly believe that I'd do something so immoral!"
"Immoral? Well, I suppose that would make it a poor choice as well." She said, a small smile on her lips. "Miss Schnee, do make sure that your team stays in order?"
"I'll do what I can." The heiress responded sullenly.
"It's all that I ask. That, and staying out of prison for the next few days."
"We're not that bad." Yang complained.
She raised an eyebrow. "Both you and your sister have run-ins with Vale's police force."
"Well, that's technically true." The blonde admitted.
"It is entirely true." She corrected, as her Scroll started beeping and she glanced down at the device. "Well, I have an appointment to keep. I'll see you all at the hotel in a few hours, do try to behave." She pleaded.
"Yes, ma'am." Yang called out with a mock salute. "You can count on us!"
"I'm sure." She drawled as she began to walk away. She tried to pretend that she couldn't hear the girls already starting to whisper behind her back.
"Guys, I know all the best nightclubs!"
They'd be fine. They had Miss Schnee.
"I think not, Xiao Long, we don't need to commit any assaults tonight." The heiress scoffed. "Besides, I'll be the judge of any and all establishments we visit."
...who might or might not be the most stable.
"Not to worry," she continued, "I'll be sure to document all my findings on Schneelp."
Miss Nikos. Miss Nikos would keep them straight.
"How common do you think the name 'Arc' is?" She heard the redhead ask.
It didn't matter. She was teacher.
But right now?
She was a godmother before that.
Pyrrha Nikos was a champion.
She knew this.
She was reminded of the fact daily. However, there were certain people that were either unaware of this fact, or didn't care. Truth be told, either one worked for her. That taste of normalcy was something she needed now and again, and she knew Patch was the perfect place to find it. Now, she just had to find a way to steer the group towards her goal.
Yang grinned as Miss Goodwitch's form retreated into the distance. "Well, now that she's gone, let's have some fun! I've been dying to hit the beach!"
"Yeah!" Ruby cheered.
"I think not." Weiss declared. "I'm going shopping."
"But Weiss, you're the one that needs the sun the most!" Ruby whined.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Her partner growled.
Pyrrha hummed. "Nora does say you could cause snow blindness. Maybe some sun would do you good."
The heiress huffed. "If you must know, I need to purchase a bathing suit. I didn't bring one with me."
Yang groaned. "What did you think we were here for?"
"The beach is Patch's culture!" The blonde exclaimed.
The white-haired girl sniffed. "Well, either way, I need a suit, so I'm going shopping. Pyrrha, will you accompany me?"
She balked. "Oh, actually, I was going to head towards-"
"P-money, go with her." Yang pleaded. "Otherwise she's going to come back with a wetsuit."
"There's nothing wrong with a little modesty, Xiao Long!"
The blonde shrugged."I'm just saying, you gotta show a little skin."
"This is how melanoma happens!"
"We'll buy you some SPF-5000." The brawler drawled before shifting her gaze back to the champion. "P-money, make it tasteful."
She sighed. "I suppose I can manage that." At least it'd give her a chance to explore the town.
"You're a champ."
She smirked. "Four-times running."
Yang grinned. "She's got jokes!"
"Yes, yes, you're all hilarious, we'll see you at the beach when we're done. Ruby, can you take your sister away?" Weiss complained.
"But I'm not done tease-"
"You got it, bestie!" The reaper saluted smartly, before grabbing onto her sister and disappearing in a storm of petals that had Pyrrha shaking her head at their antics.
The heiress ran a hand down her face. "I envy you sometimes, Pyrrha."
"I have Nora." She countered.
"I'll trade you one Nora for two sisters." Weiss offered.
She chuckled. "I think I'm ok."
The white-haired girl sighed. "Well, I had to try. Shall we then?"
"Lead the way."
The two girls set off down the road, eyes roving over the various storefronts and cafes, idle conversation keeping them busy as they looked for a clothing store. She had to admit, so far Patch was far preferable to Vale. She'd only been stopped twice so far for an autograph and photo, and she was fairly certain that one of those thought she was some actress. Though the way he had leered didn't make her terribly hopeful that it was a family friendly one. After a bit, her eye caught on a shop with various outfits and swimwear displayed in the windows.
"What about that one?" She asked, pointing to the storefront.
"The one without a sign?" Weiss asked, incredulous. "Hardly impressive."
She shrugged. "They're probably just getting started. Besides, as long as they've got what you need…"
The heiress sighed. "Very well, we shall give them a try." She said, moving towards the door. The bell on it jingled softly as she pushed it open, and Pyrrha's ears perked up as a familiar voice reached her ears.
"Welcome to 'Arc and son's!' Home of all your tailoring needs!" The blond behind the counter greeted.
"Jaune!?" She called out in surprise.
The young man's face split in a wide smile. "Pyr! How have you been? What are you doing here?"
"Good! We came in with Miss Goodwitch."
He cocked his head to the side. "Notorious G? She told me that she wasn't getting in till tomorrow. I wonder what she's up to?" His eyes drifted over to Weiss, widening a bit. "Oh, who's your friend?"
"Oh, this is-"
"Weiss Schnee, heiress of the SDC and student of Beacon." The shorter girl announced proudly. "Also, less than pleased with the service so far."
"Oh, sorry about that...and the lawsuits." He mumbled.
"I'm sorry?" Weiss asked, eyebrow raised.
"Don't worry about it." He answered quickly, before leaning in. "Hey, are you single by any chance?"
The heiress balked. "I don't see what that has to with anything, but yes."
He grinned. "Pyr, you remembered!"
"Um, Jaune. I don't think that-"
The blond ignored her as he turned toward the back room of the small shop. "Merc, I need your help with a customer!"
"Coming!" They heard a voice call from the back as the silver-haired man made his way to the front. "What's up, boss?"
The blond gestured excitedly towards the white-haired girl. "This young lady requires your assistance! She's looking for a-" He blinked, glancing back at her, "what are you looking for again?"
She sighed. "A bathing suit."
"The finest bathing suit we have!" Jaune announced proudly.
The mercenary cocked an eyebrow. "You ok, boss?"
"Of course! We can't leave a lady in need though."
Weiss hummed. "That's more like it. You may lead on, sales associate."
"It's Mercury." He corrected.
"I don't recall asking."
"Stuck up little-"
"Merc!" Jaune chuckled nervously. "We can't afford to start a third business. We're still trying to settle the last two lawsuits."
"I can take care of those." Mercury offered.
"No!" Jaune half-shouted, before coughing into his hand. "I mean, we don't do that anymore, remember?"
"Right," the mercenary sighed, turning back to Weiss. "This way, ma'am. Is there anything in particular you're looking for?"
"Do you have anything from the 'Revolution' collection? Daddy would kill me if he knew, but I find them quite fetching." She said, allowing herself to be led off.
Pyrrha just shook her head. "I'm not sure that will end well."
"Nah, they'll be fine." He assured her with a smile. "She's beautiful, Pyr!"
"So is a rose, but it still has thorns." She deadpanned.
He waved her off. "Meh, Merc's tough. He'll figure it out."
She laughed. "Quite the optimist."
He shrugged. "Hey, it's worked out so far. How's Beacon going?"
"Better." She said, smiling. "I've even heard that Miss Goodwitch intends to find me a partner while we're here."
"Yeah?" He asked, leaning on the counter-top. "I wonder who she's talking about. There's not a lot of Patch residents with Aura."
"I'm not sure, but I hear I have you to thank for that."
He rubbed the back of his head nervously. "I mean, maybe? I wasn't sure Ozzy would hold up his end of the bargain."
She cocked her head to the side. "Ozzy?"
He opened his mouth to respond, but a series of shouts coming from further in the store cut him off.
"What do you mean, I can't 'fill it out?'" They heard Weiss screech.
"Please, I've met curvier boards!" Mercury shot back.
"How dare you! You shall apologize at once!"
The mercenary tsked. "Yeah, not really my thing. What's wrong princess, not used to hearing the truth? Daddy tell you you were special?"
Pyrrha shot a nervous glance at Jaune. "Um, shouldn't we-"
He held up a hand. "Shhh. They're bonding."
"Don't even get me started on fathers, you silver-haired halfwit! I wouldn't expect you to understand what I've been through."
The young man burst into laughter. "Really? We're really doing this? The daddy issue olympics? You got nothing on me, daddy's girl."
She huffed. "I have a lifetime of stories about neglectful fathers."
He barked a laugh. "I wish my dad was neglectful. Though I admit, I can't claim a lifetime, not anymore."
She scoffed. "You have no idea what it's like to have a legacy thrust upon you!"
"Wanna bet? Girlie, I got stories for days."
"And if I had the time, I'd show you up, but I have to meet my friends!"
Jaune nudged Pyrrha as he leaned against the counter, sending her a wink before turning back to the bickering pair. "What are you doing tonight?" He asked Weiss.
She blinked. "Nothing, that I'm aware of."
He hummed. "Well, the Vacuan restaurant down the street opens up at six, you guys could fight it out there."
Mercury tsked. "She won't show."
"I'll see you there, dolt!" She snapped back.
"Well, it's kind of upscale, you'd have to dress up." Jaune continued, Pyrrha staring on in shock.
Weiss scoffed. "Not a problem, so long as this ruffian can clean himself up."
"Sounds like you're going to get shown up twice tonight!" He growled back.
Jaune clapped his hands together, a wide grin splitting his face. "Great, sounds like a date! Now, what's say we head to the beach?"
"Wait, what?" Three voiced chorused.
Glynda Goodwitch stared at the smaller woman sitting across from her at their small table in the ice cream parlor.
"I'm not sure I agree with the terms of the agreement." She tried.
Neo scoffed and pointed to herself, before holding up a single finger.
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, I know you were the first, but only through deception."
The multicolored girl made stabbing motions with her spoon.
"And you think that I wouldn't have if I had been there if I had known?"
Neo shrugged and mimed a crying gesture.
"No, that doesn't mean losers, weepers! It means that we're going to come to terms on this godmother business."
The girl leaned back in her chair with a sigh and motioned for her to continue.
She adjusted her glasses and nodded. "Very well, I suggest a monthly system. We switch who's going to watch over them every other month."
Neo scoffed and mimed splitting something in half.
"No, we're not going to each take one! They're sisters! Besides, I'm not sure you can compete with my financial situation." She said proudly. "My position pays quite well, I could take care of both."
The multicolored girl had a good laugh at that, before pulling out her Scroll and tapping at it for a moment and then shoving it into her face. Her eyes widened at the number displayed, and she coughed into her hand.
"Well, money isn't everything. Speaking of which, perhaps we should set a spending limit on spoiling the children."
The assassin rolled her eyes.
"They need to learn the value of a lien!" She argued.
Neo shook her head and made the 'make it rain,' gesture.
Glynda sighed. "You're insufferable. Fine, we'll come back to it. Let's talk holidays."
The smaller girl nodded and pointed to a calendar on her Scroll. Glynda leaned in for a better look, before scoffing.
"You're taking all the good ones!"
Neo held up a single finger again.
"No, you're not the number one godmother!" She ran a tired hand down her face. "We're not getting anywhere. Let's just agree that no holidays are off limits for now, yes?"
The younger girl shrugged and nodded.
"Very well, now about this other matter…"
Neo groaned in silence and fell back in her seat.
She tsked. "It's not that bad! Besides, what other options do you have? It's not like your other line of work has been busy since Roman went legitimate."
The girl mouthed 'boring.'
Glynda hummed. "And you're not bored now?"
The girl shrugged again. An annoying habit, she decided.
"Well, think of it this way, you'll be a legitimate Huntress. You get a chance to explore the world and get paid for it."
Neo raised an eyebrow and ran her spoon across her throat.
The teacher winced. "Yes, I suppose you'll get to do that too...from time to time. All you have to do is agree to be this young girl's partner."
The assassin tapped her finger on her chin, before holding up a finger again.
Glynda sighed. "Very well, what do you want?"
The girl quickly set to typing, before holding up her Scroll for her to see.
The older woman raised a brow. "You want me to be someone's date? To what?"
Neo grinned as she pulled out a well-worn notebook from beneath the table.
Emerald Sustrai was a thief.
She knew this.
What's more, she was a warrior, a spy, an assassin upon occasion. But currently?
She was a bartender.
She been working this shitty beach bar for the better part of six months, listening to to every pick-up line under the sun, as she mixed drinks in her green bikini. So she had a theme going, sue her. But, she knew they had to maintain a cover. It was important. It was-
"Hey baby, why don't you get me a martini? Shaken, of course." The man leaning halfway across the bar said, leering at her chest.
-So goddamn hard.
"I think you've had enough." She replied evenly. Well, close to evenly.
"Nah girl, Imma need that drink...and your number." He finished with a wink.
She was aware that she should feel bad about the illusionary cobra the man was suddenly struggling with as he shrieked and fell back on the sand, it was certainly bad for business, but she just couldn't find it in herself. Plus, it was hilarious.
"I don't know what you just did, but it was awesome."
Her eyes darted over to a blonde in a yellow bikini grinning at her.
She scowled. "Can I help you?"
The girl held her hands up in a placating gesture. "Easy there, tiger. I'm familiar with Marty Mc'Douche's type." She spared a glance down at the man. "Speaking of which, shouldn't you call off...whatever that is?"
She sighed. "I suppose," she let the illusion slip, maybe a tad slower than she needed to, before turning back to the blonde. "Sorry about that, long day."
The girl shrugged. "I get it. I'm Yang, by the way."
"Emerald. What can I get you?"
"Strawberry Sunrise, please."
She nodded and began reaching for the necessary ingredients.
"So, what brings you to Patch?" The blonde asked. "Haven't seen you around here before."
Emerald shrugged as she began to mix. "Business mostly. Used to work in Vale, but it's gotten a bit wild for my taste."
Yang nodded in understanding. "The new kingpin everyone is talking about, right? What did they call him? The 'Dark Knight?' Sure he's made the city safer, but it's still weird, knowing that someone is out there pulling the strings of the underworld."
"Sure, let's go with that." She said, handing the blonde her drink. "You a local?"
"Born and raised." The girl said, saluting her with her drink.
"How do you deal with it?" She asked, pointing at the man, quickly limping off.
Yang chuckled. "You just gotta own it. Let'em know that you're in charge, and half of them will be too intimidated to make a move."
"Sure." The green-haired girl drawled.
"I'm serious!" Yang defended.
"Whatever you say, top-heavy."
The girl laughed. "Don't get many tips, do you? I can prove it."
She raised an eyebrow. "Yeah?"
"Sure," Yang said, gesturing back to the beach behind them. "Pick any guy, and I bet if I put the pressure on, they'll fold."
The tanned girl scanned the beach for a moment, before her eyes locked in on a very familiar blond boy walking with a white and red-haired girl, Mercury trailing behind sullenly.
"What about that one?" She said, nodding towards Jaune.
Yang shot her a questioning look. "You have weird taste."
"Please don't make me hurt you."
The blonde snorted and threw back the rest of her drink. "You're on. You owe me a Sunrise if this goes well."
"Go get'em." She encouraged.
The blonde girl saluted, before dutifully hopped of her stool and made a beeline for the young man, weaving between them beach-goers as she went. Emerald smirked as she approached Jaune, and another figure, belly bulging, started to hurriedly waddling towards the two.
"That's it, tits, pour on the charm." She laughed, watching as Cinder reached the pair. She supposed she should feel bad about this too, but hey, it'd been a long day. She was entitled to a little entertainment every now and again. To her horror however, the blonde raised her hands in surrender as soon as Cinder reached them, and then something miraculous happened. They started talking. Not getting threatened, actually talking. You know, like normal people. She felt her jaw drop as the blonde reached out, and Cinder leaned forward, letting her feel her belly, both gushing as she felt a kick.
"Sonuvabitch!" She growled. "That's some bullshit."
"Trying to go the Summer Rose route, eh?"
"What the fuck!" She shouted, almost dropping the glass she was cleaning, before glaring at the small girl who had suddenly appeared at her counter. "Where did you come from?"
Ruby shrugged. "Been here for a minute."
She tsked. "I don't know what the 'Summer Rose route' is, but I feel like I should be insulted."
"Worked out for me." The smaller girl responded.
"Are you even old enough to drink?" She questioned.
"I'm a Huntress!" The girl argued.
She rolled her eyes. "Sure you are."
"I've got an ID right here." Ruby challenged, feeling around her bathing suit. "Uh, well, not on me on me."
"Weird." Emerald deadpanned.
"You're a meanie." She pouted.
"So I've been told. Can I get you anything? Water? Something virgin? An adult?"
The red-head sighed. "Milk."
"On the beach?"
"I gotta grow!" Ruby complained, jerking a thumb back towards Yang. "I have to compete with that."
Emerald chuckled as pulled a bottle out from under the counter. "Ok, I can understand that."
Ruby hummed, "Summer Rose, indeed."
"Do you want the milk or not?"
"Yes, please!" She replied, sitting up a little straighter.
Emerald sighed as she poured the girl a glass.
Just so goddamn hard.
Cinder Fall sighed as she fell back onto her bed in her new, somewhat more humble home.
"Jaune, I'm fat," she complained.
Her husband chuckled beside her. "I think the medical term is pregnant."
"I'm hideous, my feet hurt, walking is hard. I'm not sure why anyone does this."
"Something about continuing the human race. I'm not totally sure, but I'll get you the details. There's got to be some literature out there."
"Ha ha," she grumbled. "I blame you."
"That is technically correct." He admitted, "but I think you were there too."
"You can prove nothing."
"I mean, they have tests for that now." He laughed when she scowled. "But I think I trust you," he finished, rolling over and nipping at her nose. She squealed and pushed him away.
"You married me."
"Why?" She questioned.
"Because I'm apparently a lot more charming than I thought?"
She sighed, "Why do you trust me?"
"You're my wife." He answered easily.
"I lied to you, " She countered, "more than once."
"Yeah, you did," he admitted.
She sat up. "So be angry! Be mean, be something."
He shrugged and fell back onto the bed. "I tried, for awhile." He took a deep breath and let it out. "But I thought about it, and I just...couldn't. I'm not over it, but..." He hummed. "It comes in waves, I guess. Sometimes I hate it, the thought of being the fool for so long, but then I just look at you and…" He shrugged again.
She fell back onto the bed beside him. "I'm so sorry, Jaune."
"I know, baby."
"It's not enough. Not for what I've done."
"Maybe, maybe not. It hurts, but I can't change it. I can only choose."
She rolled over and looked into his deep, blue eyes. "I can't understand why you'd choose me."
He cupped her cheek and kissed her forehead. "Because you make me happy. Maybe that's what matters."
"It's not all that matters." She countered.
"No." He admitted, "but maybe it matters enough. I want to find out."
"You're crazy." She repeated.
"Are you going to be crazy with me?"
He smiled as he wrapped an arm around her. "Have you thought of names for the girls?"
He kissed her cheek. "Are you you going to tell me?"
She sighed, "You'll laugh."
She looked away and mumbled something under her breath.
He raised an eyebrow. "I'm sorry?"
"Ember and Venus." She repeated, slightly louder, a light blush finding her cheeks.
He laughed. "You big softie!"
"Jaune Arc, you will not laugh at me!"
He grinned, "It's sweet." He comforted. "Are you ever going to tell them that you picked the names for them?"
She scoffed, "And let their egos inflate? Not on your life. Besides, if they can't figure it out, they don't deserve to know."
He chuckled and pulled her closer. "You're ridiculous."
"You married me."
"I know." He said, placing a gentle kiss on her lips. "And I'd do it again in a heartbeat."
She sighed as she pulled herself into his chest, and he held her like she was fragile, like she might break. She loved him for it.
Cinder Fall was a wife and mother.
She knew this.
There is boy on a beach.
Sweat rolls down his back as he hacks at the tall trees that he has selected, pulling them down to the the sand and arranging them just so. Each is chosen with purpose, with pride. The work is hard, but that is not what matters, not to him.
What matters is the plan that forms in his mind, even if he can't yet place it into words. Even if no blueprint can yet hold his design.
He knows that it's there somewhere, hiding in the lumber. His ship.
And so he begins his labor, slowly peeling and shaping the wood, making it what it will be. He knows that he can do this, that it will be something, that it will be his. That it will sail upon the seas of the fandom.
He knows this, because he is a builder of ships.
For what else would he choose to be?
JJD: Well everyone, this is it for A Monster's Marriage, at least in this format. I've enjoyed writing this story immensely, and it's been awesome having you all along. It started off as a joke, but it became a story about a family, and one I'm glad I got to tell. The support from friends and readers alike has been unreal, and I thank you all.
For you rare psychopaths like me that like enjoy the mundane adventures of Jaune and Cinder's little family, I'll probably have a small collections of stories detailing their life together (because I'm weak) that I'll publish separately. But this? This is feels like a good closing point.
Well, I'll see you out there sailors. May the winds be with you!
Also, I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to do this, but I decided to start a ko-fi page. I'm using it to save up money for when I stop being a pansy and decide to pursue publishing something original (don't worry, it'll be awhile before I get the nerve).
It's ko-fi dot com slash jiu_jitsudude
If you feel like you'd like to throw in a few bucks, I'm honored. If not, I'm still going to keep on writing. It's cheaper than therapy