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The Temptation (RWBY) The Temptation (RWBY) original

The Temptation (RWBY)

Author: JONTY_

© WebNovel

Chapter 1: Chapter-1

The first thing Jaune heard as he regained consciousness was the steady beep of the heart monitor. Confusion reigned for a moment, his thoughts muddled. When he tried to open his eyes, it felt like they weighed a ton, his mouth dry and throat parched. When he did finally open his eyes, the light blinded him, searing across his senses. Squinting through the pain, he observed the sterile white walls. Emotionless, without warmth, efficient – it encapsulated much of what the Atlas military stood for. His body felt weak, drained. He hadn't felt so feeble since before he had unlocked his aura, all those years ago in the Emerald Forest. Though it was a struggle to move, he felt no pain when he did. Wiggling his fingers and toes, he found that he had full control of his limbs. Peeling the blanket away, he shuffled into a sitting position, resting his back against the pillows. An IV line fed into his arm by the wrist, feeding him fluids.

He was alone.

 

A quick glance showed the room was void of people. Beyond the door, he could hear the soft voice of chatter and not much else. Outside the window was the impressive skyline of Atlas, skyscrapers alight in every color imaginable set against the pitch black sky. He stared for a moment, taken by the beautiful hues. It was a reminder of the dust that powered the kingdom, every color of the rainbow.

 

It was clear that he was in the hospital but try as he might, he could not recall why. The last thing he remembered was visiting the mission boards after an early breakfast. After that, everything was hazy. He could only see flashes – riding inside an airship, Nora's infectious smile, the familiar green of Ren's shirt. Then he could hear screaming, the clash of steel on bone, and then... nothing. They'd gotten into a fight but with whom? Grimm? Or had Robyn Hill and her merry band of Happy Huntresses decided to make a move? They had been growing bold, as of late, their latest attempt at hijacking one of their transports headed for Amity a sign that things were escalating. Or maybe they had clashed with someone much worse; someone working for Salem.

 

The fact that he was still alive was a good omen. He had gotten away, somehow, someway. Now he needed to find out if his team was safe. Nothing else mattered more than that. Everything else could wait.

 

His scroll was absent, the bedside table clear. With no other option, he searched the bed for the call signal. Finding it hooked to the railing, he pressed the red button. There was a moment where the chatter outside his door died down and then it flung open with a bang. Ruby Rose flew into the room and crashed into his chest like a comet, driving the breath from his lungs. A harried nurse stumbled after in her wake, chastising the young woman but she was deaf to it, her silver eyes filled with tears.

 

"Jaune," she sobbed in relief, her arms squeezing him with all her strength. It was more than a little painful to his weakened body, yet nothing ever felt so sweet. Leaning forward against her, he wrapped his arms around her body, embracing her with all his might.

 

"Sorry for the scare, Crater Face."

 

Her sob was choked back with a sudden laugh, burying her face in his shoulder. She nuzzled him like a cat, her slender frame shaking with suppressed cries. The nurse hurried around the bed, checking his vitals on the machine. When it was clear he was stable, she waited until Ruby was under control before inspecting him more thoroughly. Checking his pupils, she asked him a series of questions before leaving to fetch him some water and a doctor. When the door slid shut, Ruby squeezed him harder.

 

"How long have I been out?"

 

After getting her fill, she leaned back. Her eyes were red, cheeks ruddy. "A couple of days. Ren and Nora said you guys were attacked by Grimm, that you got separated. Do you remember anything?"

 

"I know we got into a fight," he admitted. "But that's it. You said we got separated?"

 

She nodded. "They feared the worst. There were a lot of Grimm. Way more than the mission posting speculated. When they found you, you weren't moving. They thought--" she paused, clearly upset. Reaching out, he rubbed her shoulder. She gave him a watery smile. "They thought you were dead. But you had no injuries, nothing they could see, even though your aura was broken. The Grimm just left you there."

 

That didn't sound right.

 

"I know," she said at his puzzled look. "It doesn't make sense. From what they were saying, it was a literal swarm. You were apart for almost an hour and they were fighting almost the entire time. Part of the roof collapsed, they had to take another route. Nora couldn't blast her way through in fear of causing an even larger cave in."

 

"We were in a mine," Jaune suddenly remembered. "I remember now."

 

It wasn't much but he could recall brief flashes of mining equipment, large earth movers designed to dig deep into frozen bedrock. Trucks, cranes, diggers and drills, all marked with the familiar snowflake of the Schnee Dust Company. An abandoned mine, one that General Ironwood was hoping to reestablish so it could help supply the Amity Project with dust. Similar to the mine they had encountered the Geist in but more remote, less likely to draw the attention of unwanted parties.

 

"I think I remember the roof caving in," he said. There was a lot of shaking and a loud crash, followed by a wall of dust and debris. It had nearly choked him. But after that, there was nothing. "I just can't – everything goes blank, I'm sorry." He looked down in frustration.

 

"Hey," Ruby touched his cheek, forcing him to meet her eyes. "You have nothing to be sorry for. It's okay. All that matters is you're safe. If you can't remember now, then maybe it'll come back to you later," then she shrugged. "And if it doesn't, well, it doesn't matter that much anyway. All I care about is that you are okay."

 

Jaune felt a surge of affection for his friend.

 

"Yeah, sorry," he rubbed his neck tiredly. "It just feels a bit weird, not knowing what happened."

 

He knew Ruby was being completely truthful. She didn't care about the specifics. All that mattered to her was that he was safe and well. But he also knew that she was curious about the circumstances. He knew that because he was also curious, and he knew how his friend thought. By all rights, the Grimm should have torn him to shreds. He should be dead. The fact that they hadn't was more than a little strange. When it came to Grimm, strange did not mean anything good. Doubly so with what they now knew about Salem.

 

"I better message your team," Ruby said while pulling out her scroll. "They've been worried sick. We all have. Weiss has barely left your side since it happened. Not that I've been any better."

 

"Really?" Jaune asked, feeling his lips tug into an amused smile. "Weiss was worried about me?"

 

"Absolutely," Ruby returned his smile with one of her own, some of her natural cheer returning. She looked much better smiling. "Don't let her tell you otherwise. She'll try to act all tough but she was in pieces the entire time. Yang has been in the gym every day, working herself to the bone. She gets like that when she's worried. Blake has been trying to get her to slow down but – well, she has been a little withdrawn. Ren has been doing his best to keep Nora calm but she has been joining my sister in blowing off steam. I'm pretty sure she can bench like seven of her now."

 

He really did have some amazing friends.

 

While Ruby went about informing their friends, the nurse returned with his water and a doctor. They went over some things, the doctor running a few more tests. He had sensation in both hands, as well as both feet. His breathing was normal and his heart rate was steady. His muscles felt weak, though that was on account of being stationary for a few days. It would take a little while to regain his strength. When the subject of his hazy memory came up, the doctor reasoned that he may have sustained a concussion. They'd given him a thorough scan when they brought him in, afraid that the reason he wouldn't rouse was a brain bleed, but all signs were good. They had also run some blood tests and while his testosterone levels were a bit high, everything else came back normal. Even his aura had bounced back quickly.

 

For all intents and purposes, he had a clean bill of health. They wanted to keep him for a few more days to remain under observation but then he was free to go.

 

They heard Nora well before they saw her. Like a rampaging bull, she made her way down the hall and burst into his room just as the doctor was leaving, nearly bowling the poor man over. When security followed her in, the doctor waved them away, though Jaune quickly lost track of what was going on. If he thought Ruby's embrace was tight, it felt like Nora was trying to pop him like a pimple.

 

"Nora, ease up," he grunted. Teary eyes met his own.

 

"I'm so glad you're okay," she sobbed.

 

"So am I," he said gently, heart breaking as her jaw wavered. "Hey, come here."

 

He hugged her back tightly, burying his face in her hair. He sighted Ren coming through the door, giving him a nod. Ren's smile of relief lit up the room.

 

"Good to see you, Ren."

 

It wasn't often that his teammate showed much emotion, though it was clear that he was struggling to contain himself as he walked over. Nora made room and Jaune pulled his brother in. The three stayed like that for several moments, reunited once more though forever short one. Jaune felt Ren's fingers bunch in his hospital gown.

 

"Sorry," Jaune whispered.

 

"Shut up," Ren rebuked him softly.

 

"Jaune!"

 

Yang had appeared, hair disheveled like she had just woken up. Ren and Nora pulled back as the blonde approached.

 

"Hey Yang—oof," he grunted as she fell into him. The hug was short, yet no less meaningful. When she pulled away, she socked him on the arm though it lacked her usual vigor.

 

"You had all of us worried for a good minute there, man," she joked. Her face was pinched, though her smile was genuine. "I'm glad you're okay. Things wouldn't be the same around here without you, big guy."

 

Weiss and Blake arrived together, and they weren't alone. Specialist Schnee accompanied them, resplendent in her uniform. The look on Blake's face was of extreme relief, the faunus girl hurrying over. Their embrace was firm, the girl lingering as if to confirm he was really fine.

 

He had never been hugged so much since the last time he had seen all his sisters in the same place. It was nice.

 

Weiss looked unsure, lingering by her sister. He gave her a warm smile.

 

"Hey Snow Angel," he teased. Her unsure look became a frown before smoothing out, face neutral as she approached. Hesitating for a second, she swooped down and hugged him, her slender arms holding him firmly. Her fingers bunched the back of his gown, clutching at him.

 

"You idiot," she admonished softly, voice shaky.

 

He leaned against her, unable to stop his heart from giving a little jolt. Time may have passed but it didn't change the fact that he had once carried quite the torch for the girl currently in his arms. While those feelings had smoothed out into friendship over the years, through time and distance and adversity, he admired her no less than he once did. Rather, he admired her even more now. It also didn't help that she was even more beautiful now than she was then, something he thought impossible. It took some effort to retain his calm as she pulled away.

 

At some point, Winter had moved up right next to them. Weiss noticed at the same time he did, stepping back in alarm. Winter's eyes were cool as they regarded her sister, the younger Schnee adopting a look of panic.

 

"Interesting," Winter said calmly as Weiss flushed scarlet. Due to her delicate skin tone, it was rather noticeable. It also didn't help that her ears also turned bright red. 

 

"I need some air," she muttered, storming from the room amidst Ruby and Nora's giggles. Yang shook her head in amusement.

 

If Jaune hadn't been looking her way, he was sure he would have missed the small smile that graced Winter's lips. It quickly vanished when she noticed his attention, her pretty face becoming stone, her already perfect posture somehow straightening further. He looked away quickly, suddenly feeling very awkward though he wasn't sure exactly why.

 

"Jaune Arc," she began slowly. "General Ironwood would like to speak with you."

 

He nodded. "Right. Uh – the doctor said they want me to stay, just in case."

 

She nodded. "Of course, the General understands. He will come see you at his earliest convenience. I just thought it prudent to make you aware so you know to expect him. You are well, then?"

 

"They say they can't find anything wrong with me and I feel fine. A little weak," he shrugged. "It seems like I got lucky."

 

Ice blue eyes scanned him up and down, like she was cataloging each part of his body and inspecting them for faults. It was a little uncomfortable how intense the elder Schnee could be, so much more serious and straight laced than her sister. Who would have ever thought that Weiss was the more laid back one in her family?

 

"That is good. My sister was very worried about you. I have never seen her so concerned about another person before, the way she was with you. She spent any minute she could by your side with Ms Rose and Ms Valkyrie," she peered at him closely and it took considerable willpower not to flinch under her searching eyes. "You two are close, then?"

 

Was he being grilled by the protective older sibling? Was this really happening? He remembered Saphron doing something similar, once upon a time with another one of their sister's friends. She had brought a boy home – big mistake . While Jaune had been too young at the time to truly understand what had been going on, in hindsight he realized she had been scoping out the potential interloper, testing him. The poor boy had never visited again, not after Saphron's antics had driven him away. Violet wouldn't speak to Saphron for weeks after that, though she really had been lucky that the rest of their sisters hadn't been home at the time. Things could have been so much worse.

 

They could have had Winter Schnee for a sister, for example, a respected specialist of the Atlas Military, an incredibly powerful, skilled huntress.

 

"Well," he coughed awkwardly. "I guess?"

 

"Those two?" Yang piped in and Jaune felt his inside seize in dread. "Well, if by close you mean--"

 

Thankfully Blake came in with the save, covering her partner's mouth with her hands. Whatever it was that Yang had been about to say would have spelt his doom, he was positive. He'd have to do something nice for Blake later, to make it up to her. She was a true friend.

 

"Weiss hated his guts," Nora cheerfully supplied, Ren not nearly fast enough to catch her. Jaune slumped. "Though not anymore. It is actually kind of sweet how far they have come since then."

 

"Oh?"

 

Her calculating gaze prickled against his skin.

 

"It seems there is a story there," she continued coolly. "I shall have to ask my dear sister about it some time."

 

Having informed him of Ironwood's pending arrival, Winter soon took her leave. As she stepped out into the hall, it was barely a minute when Weiss came back in, looking positively frazzled.

 

"Ignore my sister," she said at once, almost pleading. "She can be difficult sometimes."

 

"Big sisters suck," Ruby agreed, squawking when Yang put her in a headlock and proceeded to give her a noogie. It looked particularly painful given that Yang was using her robotic arm to administer justice, the reinforced steel knuckling Ruby's poor, tender scalp. When Yang was through with her, her hair resembled a bird's nest.

 

"Don't think you're old enough to sass me yet, sis," Yang boasted.

 

Jaune smiled happily as they engaged in small talk, the group catching him on what was happening. Amity was on schedule, though the situation in Mantle was still as dire as ever. Grimm were periodically breaching the damaged wall, wreaking havoc in the streets. When they weren't watching over his unconscious form, they'd been helping to keep the people safe. Weiss of all people had taken to escorting the children to and from school, while Ren and Blake had taken up a rotating shift with some other huntsmen in keeping an eye on the wall. Robyn Hill had been quiet, so there was nothing new there, though they expected things to change as the election got closer.

 

As for Salem – well, no news was good news.

 

Things were good. As good as things could be, considering the position they were in. Near death experience aside, Jaune was feeling quite content, surrounded by his friends. His eyes lingered on Ruby, on Blake, Yang and Weiss. When his eyes met Nora's, she gave him a beaming smile, hopping onto the bed to sit with him. He felt warm, from the tips of his toes to the top of his head, comforting and energizing all at once. Rubbing his neck, he felt something shift, though when his fingers passed over the spot again, there was nothing but smooth skin.

 

He suddenly felt hungry. Very hungry.

 

"What can I do to get some food around here?"


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