The days had started out as most days at Beacon did, it seemed: beautifully. Somewhere around the middle of morning classes, however, dark storm clouds had started to swirl in the distance, and students had heard the faint, ominous rumble of thunder, the threat of a storm. No one had paid it much mind at the time; the darkness had still been some distance away.
Then afternoon break had kicked in once morning classes were completed, and Pyrrha Nikos now found herself watching as sheet upon sheet of rain pelted the school grounds. Judging by the continuing growl of thunder and the occasional flash of lightning, the storm wouldn’t be clearing any time soon.
To be honest, as ugly as the weather was, Pyrrha was a bit relieved to see that even a storm could hit Beacon. The school was by and large the best place to go if one aspired to continue her education to become a Huntress, and it was certainly a very beautiful place, well above the rest of the city most of the students called home. But it also seemed, at first glance, almost untouchable, abnormal. It had made her skin prickle just a bit, during her first days there.
But now the rain was falling, and it reminded her that Beacon was a school just like any other. It was soothing.
Still doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t even consider bringing an umbrella, though…
Her situation was by no means unique, Pyrrha mused. None of the students, it seemed, had been prepared for the possibility of a storm suddenly hitting the school grounds, and now most of them were either desperately trying to figure out an alternate route they could use to get to their afternoon classes before the break ended, or taking their chances in the rain, using their bags or their books as cover. A few particularly creative students had even used their weapons, but Pyrrha’s combat classes didn’t start until after the break ended, during the afternoon.
A shame about that, really.
It would have been particularly convenient if some sort of covered, open air hallway had been constructed between the main educational school and the combat training arena, but if there was one thing Pyrrha had figured out about Ozpin, it was that he never did anything that would make it convenient for the students at Beacon. So she stood there in the shadows of an overhang, her bag slung over her shoulder, absently pondering if she could use it as a shield against the rain without completely running the books inside.
The voice was familiar, but at first Pyrrha didn’t even see Jaune; the rain was falling so hard and so fast that any students out in the downpour were dark shadows of movement, with no clearly defined features. But in an instant he was in front of her, hands braced on his knees as he caught his breath from running. “H-Hey,” he gasped out. “I thought I saw you.”
She blinked. “You could see me through this rain?” she asked, impressed. It seemed he had better eyes than she’d thought.
“Yeah, well, you know. I was already running, and I saw your eyes.” He gestured vaguely with one hand as he finally straightened up, rain water dripping from strands of golden hair and making his clothes cling to his body like a second skin. Pyrrha tried her absolute best to ignore the very clear view this gave her of his physique.
She was also failing. It seemed Jaune was nowhere near as scrawny as his first appearances had led her to believe. “You came from the arena, right?” she said, changing the subject before her mind wandered down that particularly dangerous path.
“Yeah. My combat classes are in the morning. Are you heading over there now?”
“Yes. Mine are scheduled for the afternoon.”
Jaune nodded before he glanced back out at the rain, studying it for a moment. Pyrrha shifted her eyes briefly to follow his gaze, found nothing of interest, and slowly returned her focus to him.
It had been a shock to Team JNPR when they’d learned that their leader had scheduled himself for as many combat classes as possible, most of them variations of learning how to attack and defend under fire. Judging by the bruises and scratches she could see on his face and neck, Jaune hadn’t fared particularly well in those classes. Pyrrha couldn’t help but wonder who had signed him up for those; surely his family knew his strength was in his mind?
“So.” Jaune’s voice distracted her from her thoughts. He nodded out towards the rain. “As you can see, it’s still raining. Very hard, in fact. Doesn’t look like it’ll stop anytime soon.”
Her lips twitched; she couldn’t fight the smile even if she tried. “Indeed,” she agreed. “This is going to be a problem for me.”
“No umbrella. By the time I saw the clouds forming, I was already in class.” And the break wouldn’t be long enough for her to go back to her room, pick the umbrella up, and head to the arena. She probably could have made it if she ran, but she wasn’t keen on taking the risk of being late. “I was thinking of using my bag, but my notes and my books will get wet. As you mentioned, it’s raining very hard.”
Jaune smiled sheepishly. The water falling from the sky was warm, but he was starting to shiver a little bit, and it was the faint rattle of metal that drew attention to the fact that he still had his weapons on him. Pyrrha blinked. “I thought our lockers were in the arena.”
“They are. Uh, my sword got chipped this morning, and my shield got scratched up a bit.” Jaune rested his hand against the hilt. “I wanted to see if the school weapons expert could do something for them.”
He could, Pyrrha mused, but not before he told Jaune that he should probably upgrade his weapons to something resembling the complexity of the other students’. Still, so far he’d stubbornly clung to his family heirlooms, and the nervousness over having harmed them in a non-combat situation showed clearly on his face. She couldn’t have resisted even if she’d tried.
She touched the top of his hand gently, a light brushing of her fingers. “I’m sure he’ll be able to,” she murmured. “He is an expert, after all. And your weapons are classics.”
“Yeah. Worth a shot, at least.” Jaune lifted his hand from his hilt. “So, uh, are you going to go out into the rain?”
“Not much of a choice.” She’d take her chances and run; the bag would end up soaked either way, but at least if she didn’t directly expose it to the rain, maybe she could keep her notes and her books from being ruined.
“Right. Afternoon combat classes. Can’t miss those.” Jaune scratched his cheek, and for a moment they both stood there, watching the rain. It was still as dark and gray as it had been when it had first started raining, and briefly Pyrrha wondered if it would stay like this for the rest of the day.
After a moment, though, Jaune seemed to make up his mind about something. His hand lowered to his belt again, this time passing his sword completely, and closing on his shield. Pyrrha heard the mechanical click of the defensive weapon expanding itself and frowned a bit, wondering what her team leader had on his mind. “Jaune?”
“Well, you need to get to class. And it’s still raining. And, you know, uh….” Jaune paused for a moment, then held up his arm so the shield was over his head, as if to demonstrate his intent. “It makes for a pretty good umbrella. Wish I’d thought to use it.”
He can’t be serious.
“Jaune, you can’t. That shield isn’t big enough for both of us, you’d just get soaked again. And didn’t you want to take it to the weapons expert? You won’t have any time left to do that in break if you walk with me back to the arena.”
He shrugged. “Eh, well, I’m already wet, so one more go won’t change much.” He paused. “And you’re right about the weapons part. But, uh…”
Oh my God, he’s serious.
“… Leaders are supposed to look after their teammates, right?” He gave her a nervous smile. “And it would be bad for you if you got sick from the rain.”
A part of Pyrrha had to resist the urge to point out that going by his string of luck, she’d be perfectly fine after being drenched in the rain, and he’d be the one who would end up sick. But beneath the nerves, she saw a gleam of steel; he’d already made up his mind about escorting her to the arena regardless of the outcome for him. She could convince him otherwise, of course; it wouldn’t be hard, if she used logic and brought him down gently.
That was what the mature warrior side of her told her to do. If she really wanted, she could even turn his leader statement against him, pointing out that the team would be much worse off if he, the leader, fell ill.
The side of her that was a seventeen year old girl who had, quite frankly, a huge crush on her team leader, however, won out over the mature warrior. It was selfish of her, and unfair to Jaune, and at that moment all she cared about was he was willing to do it for her, even if he justified it as for their team.
She’d take what she could get, for now.
“If you’re sure it won’t be a bother,” she said, already winding her arm with his. She could have sworn that for a moment she saw him blush, but he wouldn’t meet her eyes and it was still too shadowy for her to be sure.
“It won’t be, okay? I really don’t mind. I’d rather help keep you dry than worry about my weapons.”
Jaune Arc, smooth talker, she mused with a hint of amusement as they stepped out into the rain and he held his shield up and over her. They weren’t words that would make any girl swoon over him, that was for sure. He was simply far too blunt, too honest, when he actually wasn’t trying so hard.
Pyrra found she preferred his honesty. It wasn’t what most girls her age wanted to hear, but… she’d heard enough smooth talkers to be sick of them. Jaune was honest, and kind, and his heart was in the right place, and to her, that was better than any number of smooth words.</p><hr size=1 noshade><p>Of course, he got sick.
It wasn’t nearly as much of a shock as it probably should have been. Jaune hadn’t mentioned it to Pyrrha at the time, mostly because she always did so much for him and he felt he didn’t return the favor often enough, but usually whenever he wound up out in the rain he got sick the next day.
He’d been able to avoid the potential awkward questions by pulling his sheets over his head, assuring his team that he’d be after them in a little bit, he was just a little sore from his arena training. The only one who had seemed to doubt this was Ren, but thankfully he hadn’t said a word as they had filed out for class.
Jaune had been grateful for it. He’d seen the worry in Pyrrha’s eyes, and the last thing he wanted was for her to blame herself for his decision. It had been his call to accompany her out to the arena; he’d known the risks. At least, from the window, he could see that today was a beautiful day. Hopefully the weather would hold and there wouldn’t be more rain for her to deal with.
He had just started to drift to sleep, exhausted by the faint ache of his body and the heat of his fever, when he heard the door to their shared team room quietly open and close. He groaned, shifting and opening his eyes a bit. “Who is it?” he rasped, wincing at how scratchy his throat felt. He didn’t know if other people got this sick from being out in the rain, but he always did.
“You could have just told me you were sick.”
At Pyrrha’s voice, he winced and tried to sit up, bracing himself on his pillows; she gently pressed her hand to his chest, holding him down. “Shh, shh, don’t move,” she murmured. “You’ll tire yourself out.”
He sighed, slumping back. “How did you know?”
She gave him an amused smile, sitting on the side of his bed. “You’re usually the first one up, reading all those books about leadership and strategy. I thought it was odd when you were still in bed.”
“Nothing gets past you,” he muttered, and squirmed a bit when she touched his forehead, pressing the back of her hand to her own to compare temperatures. “I don’t want you to miss class because of me.”
“I had Nora and Ren tell the teacher I wasn’t feeling well.” She gave him a small smile. “I got caught out in the rain, too, you see.”
His lips twitched, and he chuckled at how her excuse sounded. He slipped further back under his sheets, sighing as she ran a hand gently through his hair, a comforting gesture that only made him even sleepier than he already was. “Didn’t have to,” he mumbled as his eyelids drooped.
“I know.” Pyrrha waited until his eyes closed and his breathing evened out. Her smile softened, just a bit, as she covered his hand with hers and laced their fingers together. “But even a leader needs to be looked after sometimes.”