Fanfiction Fridays: Coming Home, Finding Home by luoup

Things haven’t been easy in the RWBYverse, and with the way things are going they won’t be for a while. With the big bad getting her cards in place for her final hand, Season 5 is sure to be filled with even more pain and pressure for the cast. I’m not here for speculation today, though. I’m here… for comfort fic!

RWBY Ren Nora Jaune

(via the RWBY Wiki)

Season 3 left everyone, but especially the students of Beacon Academy, reeling and looking for whatever safety they could manage to find. And since the CRWBY arguably completely botched Yang’s recovery arc (and gave no signs of going into anyone else’s recovery), I’m no longer trusting them to take care of anyone else. These kids suffered through their school falling to evil forces and their friends getting hurt and even dying—there’s no way everyone is as well-adjusted as they seem! Especially not the remains of Team JNPR! Today’s fic explores the long, hard path JNPR started on during the timeskip between the third and fourth seasons; the path that led them from being lost to being closer than ever and prepared to set out once again as Hunters.

As author luoup implies in the title of their fic, Coming Home, Finding Home, the two actions aren’t necessarily linked. After the fall of Beacon, Team JNPR’s leader Jaune pushes past his own fears and anxieties, his final meeting with fellow teammate Pyrrha still all too fresh and painful, and gathers his remaining teammates, Ren and Nora. Knowing that there’s nothing left at Beacon for any of them, Jaune does the best thing he can do for them: he brings them to his home. Though Jaune didn’t leave his home on the best of terms (he did sneak out to attend Beacon, after all) his large family immediately embraces him and his friends and knows well enough to tread carefully when asking about what happened back in Vale.

RWBY Ren Nora Children

Nora and Ren’s background may deviate from canon a little bit in this story, but their strong childhood friendship still remains an important aspect. (from RWBY, “Kuroyuri”)

JNR’s (now missing their “P”) trauma is almost tangible, and while Jaune has “come home”, he and the other members are faced every day with the fact that they’ve found a home in each other. Coming Home, Finding Home never writes the team’s struggles off as overreaction or them needing to get over it and get back to their Hunter duties. The entire fic is devoted to giving the three students a safe environment to heal in, even when their nightmares wake the whole household, even when they cling to each other and forgo the typical similar-gender sleeping arrangements in return for all of them piling in Jaune’s bed.

In canon, a timeskip may have been narrative-friendly, but it cut out everything that could have shown some growth between the survivors of the attack at Beacon. Why is Ruby traveling with Jaune, Nora, and Ren in Season 4? It’s a mystery. How is Jaune holding it together so well almost counter to his emotional characterization? Sure, something happened, but the viewer has no choice but to think “he must have dealt with it”. luoup bridges this gap—at least in the case of Team JNR. There is no doubt in my mind how important Jaune became to the two life-long friends during this timeskip or why they would all work so hard to stay together, and it’s what impressed me most about this fic.

…He didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but what he heard froze him, heart and body.

“What if we’re cursed?”

Just like that, Jaune’s original plan was gone. Nora’s voice was… quiet, fragile in a way that Nora Valkyrie never was. He didn’t move, listening to his closest friends even though part of him shouted to move on, to leave them to their conversation in private. But he couldn’t go.

Jaune had hoped that Ren would respond, would deny his partner’s question. Instead the silence hung heavy, without Ren’s sensible words restoring reason.

As if she couldn’t stand the quiet, Nora continued. “I mean, at least we had a couple of years at Umbra, but what if that was a fluke? The… the, the outlier? I mean, there was home, and then,” her voice jerked a little, “then all the time after, then Beacon – how many times does it take until it’s not coincidence anymore? We keep – it keeps happening. Grimm follow fear and bad feelings, but what if they follow us too, somehow? What if it’s vus?” There was a moment of pause, then Nora’s voice blurted out, sharp like she couldn’t hold it in, “Ren, what if we bring it here, too? What if we hurt Jaune’s family just because we are? We –”

Jaune had heard enough. He wasn’t supposed to be listening, but here he was and he could not allow this to continue. He couldn’t let his teammates suffer like this, thinking themselves the cause of all the things that had happened to them.

When he shoved the door open, Nora froze like the prey animal she never was and Ren full-body twitched, as if he’d had to physically restrain himself from lunging for StormFlower at the sound of Jaune’s surprise arrival.

“You’re not,” Jaune blurted. The two stared at him, and he barreled on. “You’re not cursed.

“A lot of bad things have happened to you. Really terrible things, things I can’t ever begin to imagine. They happened, but they weren’t your fault. I don’t know why grimm came to your village, and I don’t know why nobody ever tried to help you after. I’m so sorry you had to live like that for so long. I’m so glad Umbra Academy took you in, and even happier that you both came to Beacon and that I got to be part of your team.”

They were really staring now. Jaune knew, felt it somehow, that if he messed this up, whatever was happening between them would shatter and they would never find all the pieces again. He couldn’t fail them now.

“Beacon was not your fault. It was the White Fang, and –” his voice almost cracked, “and Cinder, and plans and plots that were waybeyond the control of a bunch of teenagers. Beacon was terrible, but it was not your fault.”

Now he was moving, and his teammates were looking like they were made out of glass. Jaune knelt where the remainder of his team sat on his bed, reaching out, uncertain of reception of touch. He needn’t have worried; almost instantly they both reached back, both of Nora’s hands cold and tight wrapped around his, Ren’s warm like pale sunlight and touching like it too, like he could vanish at the slightest movement.

“You’re not cursed,” Jaune murmured. “Bad things happen, but they’re not your fault. We’ll come back from this, like you came back from everything else. You’re not alone. We’ll be okay. You are not cursed.”

If you’re like me and feel a little let down by the glossing over of trauma in RWBY, then this may be the fic for you! Coming Home, Finding Home is currently at 22.5k words with six out of the planned eight chapters published, and all of it is hurt/comfort fic at its most platonic, familial, and wonderful. Make sure to check it out here at AO3!

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About Tsunderin

Greetings and salutations! Feel free to just call me Rin—we’re all friends here, or nemeses who just haven’t gotten to know each other well enough. I’m a video game lover from the womb to the tomb, and Bioware enthusiast until the day they stop making games with amazing characters that I cry over. And while I don’t partake as often as I used to, don’t be surprised to find me poking around an anime or manga every once in a while either. A personal interest for me is characterization in media and how women in particular have been portrayed, are being portrayed, and will be portrayed in the future. I’m not going to mince words about my opinion either.