Well, here it is.
I chose to make this a new story instead of tacking it onto Professor Arc, because I felt it might artificially inflate Professor Arc's follow and favourite figures, and not accurately represent this fic's stats. I'm not sure it's entirely necessary, but I had a few people asking and, to be fair, it's not a terrible idea.
Professor Arc was written a long time ago and stands as quite a complete story, all things considered. I'll let this stand as its own, a clear sequel.
Jaune Arc, eighteen years old and already headmaster of Beacon Academy, yawned into his hand and signed an important document, placing it in the `out` tray for Glynda to pick up later. A stiff breeze caught it the second he let go and the paperwork swept away, flying out of his reach before he could catch it, slipping out the window and escaping to freedom.
With a groan, Jaune stood and made his way across his office. The window was jammed, but with a solid pull he managed to close it.
The wall the window had been attached to fell inwards.
The other walls shook a little as well, what little integrity there was giving way as wind whistled through the huge holes. He didn't have a ceiling. He had a great big hole where one used to be, which looked up into the morning sun peeking over the horizon. Ozpin's once great clock face was shattered, though there was the minute hand stabbed into the floor like some giant spear.
As if to mock him further, the rest of the paperwork on the desk fluttered away and out another hole in the wall, scattering to the four corners of Remnant.
"The office has seen better days," Peter Port admitted.
"The whole school has seen better days, Peter. I've seen better days." Jaune sagged back at Ozpin's desk, at least pleased that the giant chair was heavy enough not to be blown away. His staff, his teachers, sat across the desk, all looking prim and proper despite the wind whipping at their hair, or the fact they were sat upon a ruined tower with no wall or roof.
Except for Roman, obviously. He was smoking.
"You should not smoke in the school building!" Glynda hissed.
"Hey. I opened a window." Roman grinned and indicated the ceiling, which he had, technically speaking, been involved in destroying. "Besides, you're the ones who wanted to hold this here. We could have done this in a warmer room."
"It's tradition." Glynda clutched her arms and shivered a little. "Jaune's original office was destroyed, and we're low on space as it is. I'm currently living in an empty student dorm. I did not sign up for that."
"I didn't sign up for the job at all," Jaune said, though he received no sympathy and instead a fierce glare. "Alright, alright, I get it. We need to get on with the rebuilding."
"Preferably before winter sets in," Oobleck said. "Though the student dorms still stand, the administration buildings are ruined, not to mention most of the classrooms. The cafeteria is completely lost. Buried under rock since Glynda used the ceiling as-" Oobleck cut off as Glynda coughed loudly and threateningly. "Since Adam Taurus was causing such a ruckus there and damaged the ceiling," he amended. "Necessitating Glynda to use said ceiling as a projectile weapon…"
"It was unavoidable," Glynda managed to say with a straight face.
Jaune sighed. "Couldn't you have limited the damage just a little?"
"I don't want to hear that from the man who crashed a battleship into the tower."
Jaune flushed and looked away.
"Speaking of," Roman said, "I got a letter from Atlas demanding we return their property. They also included a letter suggesting we gift-tie Jaune to it, followed with a third offering Glynda a job in Atlas."
"That's what, the fourth this week?"
Jaune sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He wished he could have some coffee, but the supplies had been hit by the White Fang, who had apparently run off with all the coffee. Bastards. Bastards all of them.
As for Atlas' demands, there wasn't much to do. The ruined battleship was practically a part of Beacon now, buried half into the ground from the impact and, in some weird way, holding up sections of the school it had crashed into. It was kind of like a knife wound; you didn't want to pull it out for fear of how much more damage that would do.
"Let me know if I'm wrong," Jaune said, raising a hand. "But Atlas already hates our guts, right? Hypothetically speaking, we couldn't make it much worse than this."
"I wouldn't want to ask on James' part," Glynda said, "But yes, that's accurate. Atlas could not invade Vale because we're independent of Vale, and they cannot actually attack us because it would endanger Vale, which remains its ally." Her eyes narrowed behind her glasses. "You're about to suggest something reckless, aren't you? Something that will give me a migraine."
"Probably." He shrugged. "Roman, I want you to gut that battleship of any weapons and sell them on for profit. Since it's Atlas tech, Vale might be happy to buy it on the down low and reverse engineer it. Peter, Bart, how hard would it be to turn the battleship into part of the school?"
"Um." Oobleck scratched his cheek. "You mean to strip it for material?"
"Nope. I mean incorporate it into the school building. It's a big ass ship designed to transport hundreds of men, with barracks, rooms and storage facilities. I figure we can get some classrooms, offices and maybe a small cafeteria out of it."
Glynda groaned. "James is going to go ballistic…"
"Diplomacy aside, it could work," Oobleck mused. "We'd want to disarm it first, but the ship was designed to withstand an impact and much of it remains in good condition."
"Ho ho ho! I could think of a few students who would jump at the chance to have a dorm in an Atlas battleship."
"By any chance, Peter, are you among them?" Glynda asked snidely.
"Absolutely! I claim the Captain's Quarters."
"You can't just-"
"I claim," Peter said seriously, moustache twitching, "-the captain's quarters…"
"You are so immature…" Glynda sighed. "Fine. We still have issues of finance, however. Repairs cost money and unless I'm mistaken, we're very low on that. We've already had to import fresh food for the students and commission repairs on water, power and the heating systems. The budget wasn't designed for this."
"Well, there's still Roman's idea…"
"And I am still not comfortable with the idea of hiring students out as mercenaries! It sends the wrong message."
"So does going bankrupt."
"You may be fine with our students being told to risk their life for profit, but I am not." Glynda snatched the cigar from Roman's mouth with her Semblance and crushing it. "And I told you not to smoke in front of me! You're setting a bad image for the students!"
Roman cocked one eyebrow. "Says the woman who slept with a seventeen-year-old?"
It took the combined efforts of Peter and Bart to hold Glynda back from tearing Roman's eyes out with her bare hands.
"Do you have to bait her?" Jaune asked, hand on his face. Those two had never been the best of friends and being asked to work together hadn't helped. If a day went by without a fight of some kind, it usually meant one had happened out of sight.
"Honestly, I think I do. It's like a physiological need."
"Glynda, ignore him," Jaune said. "It's what I do and it's what Neo does."
"I despise him," Glynda said, face red and hair frazzled. "That man is a menace."
"I'm right here, you know."
"I will not indulge him with my attention." Glynda huffed and looked away. "Be sure to inform him that if he wishes to speak to me, he can leave a written message with you and you will deliver it to me."
"Seriously, woman? How childish can you be?"
"I shall inform him," Jaune said, avoiding the argument. "Now, Roman. Business. You're our finance officer. What's the situation?"
Roman pulled out a little black book and started to flick through it. "I've managed to balance the books so that we're nominally making a profit, but that's not going to last. Not with the kind of repairs we're looking at."
"How the hell did you end up with us making a profit? We just got invaded and spent everything we have on keeping this place running? What, did Ozpin have a billion lien hidden down the back of the sofa or something!?"
"Creative bookkeeping," their new Head of Finance replied. "Very creative bookkeeping. I wouldn't look at it too closely or it'll fall to pieces. Much like the school. Anyway, selling some Atlas weaponry will help prop us up a bit, but it's a stop-gap at best. We're broke ladies and gentlemen. Completely and utterly broke. You either let the kiddies earn us some cash, or you start turning tricks on the street corner yourself."
Glynda shuffled nervously.
"Or we sell Jaune to Atlas. They do have a rather big reward on his head."
To Jaune's irritation, it took Glynda, Oobleck and Peter a few seconds to decide that was a bad idea.
"We're all going to have to make sacrifices," Jaune said. "We'll be careful with the mercenary aspect and make sure we don't charge poor villages who can't afford it or ignore people in danger because they can't pay. Make it a voluntary thing, but strongly imply we'll be more likely to send experienced teams based on how charitable they are."
"Open up a protection racket," Roman said, ticking it off. "On it."
"That's not what I said!"
"It… kind of is," Oobleck admitted.
Jaune groaned. "Just… Just go teach some classes or something. I need to find a new office and re-do all my paperwork."
It wasn't the same without Weiss.
That was the first thought to cross Yang's mind as the morning insanity happened as usual, with Ruby running to claim the bathroom first and Blake making a half-hearted, sleepy, protest. Normally, it would have been Mount Weiss to erupt about how she had claimed it first, then bang on the door until Ruby turned the shower on and drowned her out.
The room felt empty without all of that.
Even Zwei couldn't get into the mood. The poor thing was snuggled up on Weiss' pillow looking dejected about the loss of his greatest fan and best back-scratcher. The little corgi let out a mournful whine.
"I know, boy." Yang sat on Weiss' bed and rubbed Zwei's head. "I miss her too."
"Hm. Me too." Blake yawned. "You think she's doing okay?"
"Hey. It's Weiss. I think she'll be doing fine, and probably making Ironwood's life hell in the process. I pity the poor bastards who try and replace us. Besides, she has Penny on her side."
"Which does not inspire me with confidence as to the state of Weiss' sanity."
"Heh. Penny is alright. Sort of. In small doses."
"I'll take your word for it." Blake began to collect her uniform for the day, laying it out on the bed while Yang played with Zwei and tickled his tummy.
There hadn't been any communication send back to them from Weiss, but that made sense, what with her being watched. The news had commented on Weiss Schnee's return to Atlas, however, so Yang was fairly sure they'd have heard if anything bad happened to her. The only thing they could do was support her from a distance.
For now, that was. They were totally going to hatch a plan to get their teammate back.
"You got another late-night session with the prof?" Yang asked.
"You mean the headmaster. And yes."
"No. Not lucky at all." Blake rounded on her, eyes ablaze. "Whatever debauched things you're imaging we get up to, you can stop. I spent more time signing and filling in paperwork than anything. I don't even know why I'm still stuck doing this. It was months ago that I ran off. Haven't I been punished enough?"
Yang rolled her eyes. "Spending the odd night with the youngest and hottest teacher in Beacon is not punishment."
"You… I…" Blake rubbed her temples. "There is so much wrong about what you just said that I cannot begin to process the level of stupid. You're a moron." Turning away, she shook her head. "And frankly, I'm beginning to think I'm just an unpaid intern being used as slave labour. I joined a terrorist organisation to escape this the first time."
"And we all saw how that went~"
"Yang… shut up."
"Heh. Fine, sour-puss." Yang grinned at Blake's evil glare. "You think we'll get lessons outside again?"
"Unless they repaired the school overnight, yes."
"It's fine with me. A little sun, a little wind. It's way better than a stuffy classroom."
"We'll see if you change your mind when winter sets in. I'm not sure how the school is going to cope. The numbers don't look good."
"Financial records," Blake explained. "I look over them occasionally."
Sheesh. Blake got to hang with prof Jaune in his office on her own, just the two of them, and she was spending her time reading through accounting. Lame. If it were me, I'd have cracked that sexy bastard already. Hell yeah.
"You're thinking something stupid again. I can tell."
"Meh," she waved it off. "So we're a little low on cash. It's fine. We'll do that volunteer thing that's being mentioned."
"The mercenary thing?"
"Sure. Sounds fun."
"Team Raven would disagree. The last mission they went on turned into some zombie apocalypse with a body-horror mad doctor."
"Yeah." Yang sighed. "Those guys get all the fun…"
Once the showers were all done and Zwei was fed and taken out for a potty break, the three members of Team RWBY – who refused to call it anything but that – made their way down to the gardens outside Beacon, which had been turned into a buffet and BBQ style affair, with numerous tables laden with food and a collection of cooks working on fresh eggs, bacon, sausages and the like.
It was weird have to eat on plastic plates sat across the grass, but not uncomfortable. The weather was still warm, though there was a crispness to it that hinted of winter, and while there were a lot of students, the gardens were big enough to host all of them. Some people even sat upon the edges of craters left in the ground, using them as impromptu benches.
In the melee of chatting students and fast food, Yang spotted Team RVNN and yelled a greeting, leading Ruby, Blake and Zwei over.
"Yang!" Nora said, cheering as if they'd not seen one another for days instead of hours. The bubbly girl patted an empty spot next to her, which Yang took. Nora then cuddled Zwei under her bosom, rubbing the dog's stomach and making his leg kick happily.
"Morning," Ren said, more serene.
Pyrrha and Velvet gave their own greetings.
"Morning!" Ruby said, sitting next to Pyrrha. Blake took the spot on her other side, between Ruby and Ren.
Strange to think that only a week prior, the school had been the sight of an invasion. It still looked it, obviously. The craters aside, the fountain was now a wreck, the tower of Beacon was a stump, and there was a big battleship poking out the side of the main building. But they'd all just sort of got used to that, as if they were temporary additions. No one batted an eye as they skirted around rubble on the way to lessons or opened a door only to have it fall off its hinges.
Beacon was their school. Their home. That it was in a state of disrepair – if one were feeling particularly generous in saying it – didn't really bother them. It was Beacon. That was the only thing that mattered.
"Have you heard the rumours?" Velvet asked.
Bacon clutched between her teeth, Yang asked, "Whmfl rmmrs…?"
"Cardin and his team were out training earlier and saw the teachers and some builders looking over the Atlas battleship. They weren't taking it down, either. They were actually carrying benches and chairs into it."
"Oh my God, do you think they're going to make it a new dorm?" Ruby's legs kicked excitedly. "I want the captain's quarters!"
In the distance, a loud voice screamed, "NEVER!"
"Cool it, sis. We already have a dorm, remember?"
"Lucky you," Ren replied. "There are still some teams bunking in shared accommodation. Velvet's old team lost their room altogether. We've been letting hem borrow our shower in the morning, so they don't have to queue up with a hundred other people."
Yang grimaced at the thought. It was a little too reminiscent of their first night crammed in the auditorium. That had been fun, but only in a `looking back` kind of way. At the time, it sucked balls.
"How are they going to stop Atlas from freaking out if we re-purpose their military hardware into a dorm?" Blake wondered. "You can't just paint it the same colour as the school and claim it's a part of the architecture."
"I dunno…" Yang watched awkwardly as Oobleck and Port walked by with buckets of paint in hand.
"Maybe they just don't care," Pyrrha said. "What can Atlas do?"
"Put more pressure on us?"
"They've already maxed that out," Velvet snorted. "If the headmaster even enters the city, Vale has to make an attempt to arrest him to avoid political backlash from Atlas. There are sanctions on what can and can't be brought into Beacon by us students, and I don't know about you, but I think a trade embargo on coffee beans, cigars and ice-cream might just be targeted at some people Atlas doesn't like very much. Just saying."
"Huh. That'd explain why Mr Torchwick offered me an A on my next exam if I smuggled some cigars in for him," Nora said.
"Nora…" Ren said. "You didn't…"
"An automatic A, Renny! What was I supposed to say?"
"No!" Ruby, Ren, Pyrrha and Blake all said at once.
"He's a criminal, Nora!" Blake added angrily. Out of everyone, Blake despised Torchwick the most. Ironically, it was Ruby who was the least bothered by his new position in the school, despite that Ruby had fought him the most. "He can't be trusted, and I have no idea why Headmaster Arc chose to take him on in the school. He doesn't fit here."
A dry chuckle sounded from behind Blake. "Nice to hear your thoughts, kitty-cat. That'll be a detention by the way."
Roman Torchwick stood in his usual white coat, though it had seen better days and was frayed and burned at the edges, with black splotches all over it. His bowler hat was nowhere to be seen, the one true tragic loss of the battleship's impact with the school.
Well, that and the giant lemur statue.
"Also, good work on stocking me up, Nora." Roman lit a cigar and puffed happily. "You're a good student."
Nora giggled. "Thanks, Mr Torchwick!"
"No! Don't thank him!" Blake growled and would have risen to her feet if not for Ruby holding her down. "You're a crook, Torchwick. A criminal. I don't know why Beacon was willing to give you a second chance after what you did-"
"Like it did you, sweetheart?"
"Erk." Blake's face froze. "That… I… well, that's different. And you can't give me a detention for sharing my thoughts."
"Course I can. I'm a teacher and you are a student. Ergo, I can punish you. I'd like to see you walk past Miss Goodbitch and call her names. No, seriously. Try it and I'll revoke the detention. It'll be worth it just to see what she does."
Blake wisely chose not to take that offer.
"No? Cool. Don't worry, I won't make you write lines or sit in a corner. I hear you're pretty handy with paperwork, and I've got a lot of that." Turning away, Roman waved over one shoulder. "See you tomorrow night, kitty-cat."
Blake fell onto her hands and knees, eyes wide.
"There, there," Ruby said, rubbing her shoulder. "It's not that bad…"
"M-More paperwork… no… no more… Is this my life? Why…? What did I do…?"
Yang sighed and rolled her eyes.
It was going to be another one of those days…
"You seem lost."
Jaune glanced up from his new desk set in the bridge of the Atlas battleship. Or what was left of the bridge. It was all a little complicated since the ship had fallen nose down, which meant the floor he stood on was actually the wall, while the wall itself had metal chairs and terminals sticking horizontally out of it.
It was like one of those paintings designed to confuse your eyes and give you a headache. It was still better than the ruins of Ozpin's once proud office.
"I thought it was Bran," the man said, stepping into the room and then stumbling a little.
"Watch that first step. The floor isn't exactly even."
"Y-Yeah, I can tell." Qrow caught himself on a sideways chair and looked down to the hand-railing he'd tripped over. Those were on the floor now, along with windows, panels and the occasional storage cupboard. All were metal and almost impossible to remove, now forming the obstacle course that was Jaune's new office. "This place is giving me a headache just looking at it, and you want to work here?"
"Why not? All the work Ozpin left behind is giving me a headache anyway. It can't get any worse." Jaune slapped the final piece of paperwork into his drawer. The final piece for today, anyway. He still had a million and one other things to do.
"Have you had any luck getting in contact with Ozpin? Or the boy he's possessing?"
"I managed to get a call through. It's not easy. He's in a kid that doesn't have a scroll, so it was more him getting in touch with me. He's not safe in Mistral, either, so he's moving about a lot."
"He'd be safe here."
"I know." Qrow carefully made his way around the office and sat on a wooden chair propped up over a window. The huntsman didn't seem to feel comfortable that his chair leg could go through it and spill him outside at any moment.
"Those are reinforced. It's fine."
"Still feels weird. Offices shouldn't have glass bottoms. Or glass ceilings." Qrow shuddered. "Anyway, Ozpin says he's going to head to Haven – Mistral's version of Beacon – and that we can contact him there. His old friend is the headmaster and knows about Ozpin's little condition."
"Great. We'll meet up and drag him back to Beacon," Jaune said, slamming a hand down. "And then…" He laughed. "Then, Ozpin can take this blasted position back again!" Jaune rocked back in his seat and laughed maniacally at the ceiling-wall.
"Yeah," Qrow said nervously, "About that…"
"I find myself not liking your tone, Bran…"
"Eheh… well… I talked to Oz as you know. And… well, he seemed to think he wasn't coming back to Beacon."
Jaune's mug cracked in his hand.
"Excuse me? Did you just suggest that Ozpin thinks he can get away with dumping me with this job while Beacon is literally falling to pieces so that he can gallivant around in the body of a pubescent child?"
"I think the kid is a little older than that…"
"Don't change the subject, Qrow."
"And to be fair, he didn't wander off and leave you the job. He died. He was murdered. That kinda wasn't a conscious choice on his part, and I doubt he got himself killed to inconvenience you."
"Most people die when they're killed. Ozpin is very much not dead. Ergo, technically, he is still the headmaster of Beacon, and I'm just filling in as his substitute." Jaune leaned across the table and glared at Qrow. "And I want him back! I want him here, chained to a desk and filling in his own damned paperwork for once! He created this situation-"
"Technically, you did. You're the one who helped Cinder into Beacon."
Jaune winced. "She'd have just found another way if I hadn't. Probably posing as a student and organising things from under Ozpin's nose."
"Jaune, Ozpin isn't that dense. He'd have noticed if a student was plotting an attack like that."
"I think you greatly overestimate him."
"Ozpin wants to stay in Mistral to deal with Salem," Qrow finally said. "I've told you all there is to know about her, and you know how dangerous she is. She makes Cinder look like a little puppy."
"And she wants to collect all the Relics," Jaune said.
"Which can only be opened by the four Maidens."
"Of which, we have one here – Pyrrha Nikos."
"And we also have one of the Relics hidden here somewhere, though neither you nor I know where and only Ozpin does."
"Meaning," Jaune said, leaning forward, "That Salem can't do a damn thing at all as long as Beacon stands. Hence, why she tried to bring it down. Probably for the exact purpose of putting Ozpin in a vulnerable situation where he can be captured and tortured to give up information on where the Relic here is hidden."
Qrow's mouth fell open. "I… did not think of that…"
"Damn it." Jaune groaned and massaged his forehead. "What was Ozpin's idea, Qrow? Tell me."
"Uh…" Qrow's hesitation suggested he wouldn't like it.
"Just saying, it's his idea, not mine."
"He wanted us to send Team RWBY to Mistral to personally help him in collecting the Relics," Qrow rattled off quickly. "I'd go with them to keep them safe and we'd move as a party of six across all the Kingdoms collecting the Relics until we could find a way to defeat Salem once and for all. Meanwhile, you would stay here and keep Beacon running until Ozpin needs you."
"It's fine, Bart," Peter said. "We'll just ask the young lad if we can set aside some budget to reward students who smuggle coffee into the school. I'm sure he'll-"
Peter Port's words were cut off as an almighty smash echoed from within the ship's bridge, which was followed by a wooden chair crashing through the glass window and exploding on the floor outside. It had come from within Jaune's new office.
Oobleck and Peter exchanged looks.
"On second thought, we could ask him later. Looks like he's busy."
"Good idea, old friend. Good idea."
"NO!" Jaune roared. "Absolutely not! That is the worst idea I have ever heard, and this is coming from someone who thought becoming a professor with zero qualifications and not even an unlocked aura was a good idea!"
"I mean, what the hell, Qrow!? Team RWBY is three people right now. Three teenage girls who, while strong, are hardly Cinder Fall, Hazel Rainart and Tyrian Callows strong, let alone Salem strong! And collecting the Relics? WHY!? They're locked away. This seems to me a good thing. What would possess you to collect them in one spot where she could conveniently get all of them at once?"
"Well, I mean… Ozpin would protect them."
"Ozpin was murdered by Cinder! If he couldn't protect himself in a fully-grown body in the middle of his school surrounded by huntsmen loyal to him, and with the back-up of the Atlas military, then I very much doubt child-Ozpin and three-quarters of a team can do better!"
"No," Jaune said, trying to sit and then realising he'd thrown his chair away in a fit of anger. He stood instead. "You want to know how we're going to stop Salem and her people from destroying the world? We're going to do it by leaving the Relics where they are, keeping Pyrrha safe so that the Relic of Knowledge can never be retrieved, and re-building Beacon into a fortress."
"Sure. Why not? I mean, my office currently has the capability to fire lasers and missiles." Jaune patted the, disarmed, terminal poking out behind him.
"Huh. Touché…" Qrow leaned back and crossed his arms. "I guess that does make sense. If Salem sent her people to bring down Beacon first, it must have been for a reason. Both to get the Fall Maiden and to cut away Ozpin's support base. Fall Maiden opens the door to the Relic of Knowledge, which she could use to find the location of the other three Relics. And without the Fall Maiden's powers, that door won't be opening."
"Exactly. We keep Pyrrha safe and Beacon standing and we're pretty much set. Which means that Team RWBY doesn't have to wander around risking their life for no good reason and Ozpin can come back and save me from this waking nightmare."
"I don't think he's going to like his plan being usurped, though."
"Obviously." Jaune rolled his eyes. Ozpin was probably revelling in being free from this bureaucratic nonsense. He would be if the positions were reversed. "We won't tell him. Simple. Next time he calls you, tell him we'll meet at Haven as planned. Except that Glynda and I will be coming with you, and we'll explain to Ozpin the new plan and drag him back."
"Works for me. To be fair, I didn't want to set Ruby and Yang off on something like this either." Qrow laughed nervously. "He'll be pissed, but I guess he'll understand if we explain."
"If there's something I'm missing, I'll listen to him," Jaune said. It wouldn't do to dismiss Salem entirely. "But if there is, and Ozpin really does need people to help him, it's going to be professionals. Not students. Throwing Team RWBY to the Beowolves is just stupid."
"Won't find me disagreeing. Alright, I'll keep quiet for now. What about the kid?" Qrow asked. "The kid he's possessing."
"What about him? I feel bad for the poor guy – I mean, he has Ozpin in his head, and Ozpin hasn't had his special coffee for weeks. That has to be the worst fate imaginable. I'm not sure what I can do about it, though."
"Not that. I mean, he's fourteen, maybe fifteen. He can't exactly become headmaster at that age."
Jaune saw his dream spiralling down the drain. Desperately, he clung onto it.
"He can still do paperwork. I don't mind being a figurehead, but Ozpin isn't leaving me to navigate this mess on my own. I've got Ironwood trying to tear my head off, the Council of Vale alternating between half-hearted attempts to arrest me and attempts to get me to attend Council meetings at the same time. Apparently, I hold a seat because of my position."
Never mind the question of how he could attend without being arrested, or how they were going to do either of those things in the first place. It wasn't even like he could sneak in since he was the number one person of interest to every media outlet on the planet right now. There were more paparazzi in the forest than Grimm.
Not to mention paparazzi corpses.
A whole load of those…
"Meanwhile, our budget is a black hole, the White Fang are still out there – except now I have them suggesting we meet. Some Sienna Kahn, and yes, she looks as terrifying as she sounds."
"I'm not going to answer that. Apparently, she says the White Fang did not, and would not, organise an attack on a huntsman academy, and that the rumours that the White Fang did, are all fraudulent."
"Which is pretty hilarious," Qrow commented, "Considering all the video footage we have."
"Yes. And I've also got to watch out for Cinder, who, if I'm not being cynical here, probably wants to tear out my entrails and roast them over an open fire."
"And finally, I have Jacques Schnee inviting me to a formal charity dinner in honour of Beacon and to help with the repair efforts."
Qrow perked up. "That's good!"
"Attended by Ironwood."
Qrow winced. "You're not… uh… going, are you?"
"Roman thinks it'll send the wrong message if I don't, and we do need the money. Badly. Also, it'll be a grave offence if I send someone else and don't attend myself."
"Shit… That… That sounds bad."
"Thanks for the analysis. So, you can probably see why I'm a little stressed." Jaune crossed his arms and sat on the edge of his desk. "Ozpin is coming back to help with this if I have to swim to Mistral myself, stuff him into a canon and fire him back!"
"You've… not had any coffee today, have you?"
"It's been trade embargoed," Jaune said, voice filled with despair. "Ironwood's sanctions have hit us hard. There's only so many bags Roman's contacts can smuggle in. Glynda offered her herbal tea, but…" A tear ran down his cheek. "It's just not the same…"
"Riiight." Qrow uncorked his hip flask and took a swig. "Times like this I'm glad I chose a safer thing to get addicted to. What's the plan, then?"
"I'll let you know when we figure it out. Glynda is currently agonising over how to both attend this dinner, not start a war and come out with funding. Short of poisoning Ironwood ahead of time so he gets diarrhoea and can't attend, I'm out of ideas." Jaune shrugged. "I figure we'll just show up and wing it. How hard can it be?"
"Still not harder than getting rid of Cinder and saving Beacon."
"True," Qrow admitted, "But you did that by crashing a battleship into the school you were protecting and causing untold collateral damage. I don't think we want that to happen at the Schnee manor. It might not endear you to the richest man alive."
"As long as Ironwood keeps his battleships away from me, that won't be a problem."
At least he'd have a chance to catch up with Weiss and see how she was doing. Now, he just had to figure out how to tell Team RWBY they wouldn't be coming to the gala. Something he was sure would cause quite a few complaints.
"Would it be so bad if you stayed headmaster?" Qrow asked.
"I'm not sure how you can ask that with a straight face. You know the truth, Qrow. I'm no teacher and no huntsman. I'm a kid. I'm Yang's age. I should be trying to ask girls out and making an ass of myself, not plotting how to handle several political, military and terrorist organisations at the same time, while running a school which is currently crumbling down around our ears."
"Eh. But you're doing a good job."
"It's been a weak. Give it time…"
Although his room had been totalled, he'd found another; a disused student dorm that only had one bed, the others removed and used to help those students without rooms at all. While it felt unfair to have a room to himself when others didn't, Glynda pointed out that appearances were important. With his workload, he couldn't afford to not get a good night's sleep.
Unlocking it with his scroll, Jaune stepped inside.
The loss of a kitchenette hurt – not because he was a good cook, but because it meant his alcohol cupboard had been lost. The room could fit four students comfortably, but somehow seemed cramped on his own.
Not that he was. He could easily see the shape asleep in his bed.
"You don't waste time, do you?"
Neo didn't answer, not that she could have if she wanted to.
Unlike Roman, Neo hadn't been granted an official position in Beacon. But then, what could they give her, and why bother? Neo was a law unto herself and went wherever she pleased. It didn't surprise him to see she'd bundled herself up in his bed any more than it did to see she hadn't left him any blanket space, having wrapped it all around her small body and stacked all his pillows under her.
Even asleep, she was a complete bitch.
Don't be fooled by the cute, he thought, looking away from her slumbering face. Or the sexy, he thought again, trying not to think on how her lips had felt on his. Grumbling, he opened up a cupboard nearby and grabbed a spare pillow and blanket. Coming back to the bed, he laid them down on his side.
Neo immediately rolled over, collected the hew blanket and rolled back, wrapping it up around herself until she was a cocoon of blankets with her head poking out.
All without waking up.
"Son of a bitch…"
With a sigh, he placed his pillow down and laid back on it before she could steal it, claiming his side of the bed and laying there with his hands hooked behind him. Somehow sensing his heat through all the blankets, the Neo-roll rolled over against him and began to silently snore. Jaune stared at the ceiling, at least grateful for the fixed heating that meant the room would be warm enough without blankets.
Amazing how even if some things changed, so many more remained the same.
"Zwei, no! Stop!"
"Get that mutt off my bed!"
Jaune sighed and clenched his eyes shut.
Also, amazing – and fortunate – that Team RWBY hadn't realised he'd taken the room directly next to theirs. He dreaded to imagine what their reaction would be if they did. Yang would probably try and climb out her window and sneak in. Or worse, Zwei. The stupid assassin-dog still had it in for him. Nervously, he checked the drawn curtains, even if he could hear Yang laughing through the wall behind him.
"So, did you get up to anything fun with Jaune in counselling?" Yang asked.
"What? You saying he didn't bend you over his desk? Boring. If I were you, I'd wear sexy lingerie and let him catch a little glimpse. Tease him until he snaps and pushes me down."
"Yaaaang, stop," Ruby whined. "It's embarrassing."
"What? Not like he'll ever hear me say it."
Closing his eyes and ignoring his embarrassment, and his red cheeks, Jaune stifled a groan and prepared for a couple of long nights. Frankly, if this were going to continue, Ozpin couldn't be dragged back soon enough.
Neo's face twitched at the noise and she rolled over, rolling directly on top of his stomach and chest and somehow finding that comfortable. Of course, she didn't care that her multicoloured hair had fallen across his face, or that it tickled his skin and her body had his hands pinned to his side. To wake her up was to suffer. To leave her was to suffer a worse pain.
"Fuck my life…"
Hoo boy. It's been a while since I wrote Professor Arc. This chapter was as much me reminding myself of the scene as it was reminding everyone else. A lot of "setting up" for this opening chapter. As you might remember, I said I'd have to place it on hiatus while I waited to see what RWBY canon would bring us. And, ironically, after seeing Seasons 4-6… I've decided not to use them at all.
Not because of any hate for the direction and everything, but because it just wouldn't work.
The magic of Professor Arc very much involved Beacon as the setting. The story only worked because of the school, the threats to it and the interactions between the various members of the faculty – often comedic, usually silly, but always heartfelt.
Professor Arc 2 wouldn't work if they left Beacon and went on an adventure to stop Salem, so I decided that I couldn't use any of canon in this. Or rather, I couldn't use the canon plot. Salem and her lot still exist, but Beacon didn't fall, which means their attack on the school isn't done. As such, we'll be staying here in Beacon.
Next Chapter: 7th March
P a treon . com (slash) Coeur