Chapter 4; Angst and Advice

"Nora," Ren stated back, as calm as she was hyper. "Good to know you haven't forgotten my name."

"Right!" She chirped happily before grinning. "Hey, hey, hey, Ren, guess what?"

"What?" He asked, humoring his partner. While it might seem that he was simply humoring her, since most of his attention appeared to be focused on cleaning his weapon. But that was actually wrong. He'd simply grown used to multitasking when he was holding a conversation with Nora. He might not appear to but in fact, he loved simply enjoying hearing her babble about whatever interested her, concerned her, excited her, frustrated her, infuriated her or simply caught her eye. If whatever it was did any of those, Ren knew he'd hear about it.

"C'mon, Ren! Guess!" She spoke sang, skipping circles around the table that he was calmly cleaning StormFlower at.

"We're going to a training mission in the Opal Outskirts for a training session tomorrow?" He phrased it like a question but he knew that it was true. The Opal Outskirts, an area that contained several cliffs, a dense forest, a complex cave system and a rather serious Grimm infestation was indeed their next field trip destination.

"Yup!" Nora cheerfully confirmed, as if somehow he had completely missed the announcement. "But do you know what were gonna be doing?"

"No idea, Nora."

"We're gonna be collecting Dust Crystals!" She bobbed her head. "It's not as tasty as that sap from Forever Fall but it'll still be fun! Maybe we could get a pink Dust crystal that they'll let us keep! Wouldn't that be awesome? Ooooh, I wonder what pink dust does...? Red's lightning, right? And White's like, kinetic force. I wonder...? Cuz Magnhild's dust appears pink but we both know it's colored White Dust. . ."

Ren stopped her there, knowing how off topic they'd get if she rambled. "Wait, they're just letting us mine Dust?" Normally, he'd already know this but he'd had to miss a day of class since the Beacon nurse insisted that she check that his wounds from the Deathstalker had healed correctly.

"Yeah! Weeelll, not mine, but collecting," Nora nodded eagerly, orange hair bobbing. "Professor Peach says that the Opal Outskirts aren't very potent so big companies like the Schnee Dust Corporation don't bother with them but they make great training. Oh! She also said that if we collected enough, students might get to keep some! Wouldn't that be awesome?"

"That would be," Ren agreed. "What's up, Lark?"

The blue haired boy jumped at Ren suddenly addressing him, as he'd been approaching the table quietly as to not interrupt. And he hadn't even turned around! Cautiously he took a seat at the table and Nora stopped her skipping to do the same. "I've got a problem, dude..."

"What?" Ren asked calmly snapping StormFlower's pieces back into place and stashed the weapons back into his sleeves.

"Well, you remember several days back?" He asked, nervously wringing his hands. "You know, when ya and the Arc kid helped me out?"

Ren nodded and Nora looked confused, as she hadn't been there, and Sky continued. "Well, I got a problem with Velvet..."

"Break her legs!" Nora chipped in so suddenly that it made the other two doubt whether she understood the situation. Or who they were even talking about.

"It's not a bully problem, Nora." Ren sighed. "Different kind of problem."

"Aaaaaaah," Nora looked disappointed that her suggestion had fallen through again and Sky subtly shifted away from her. He valued his life...and his legs.

"So what happened, Lark?" Ren asked. From the CRDL's member dejected expression, he thought he knew the gist of it.

"She turned me down." Sky hurried his face in his hands after admitting that.

Lights lit up in Nora's eyes and she giggled maniacally. "You liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike her!"

Sky's face then proceeded to get buried even further into his hands. "So what if I do, mate? Dove already is teasing me endlessly 'bout it. You'd think he'd give his partner his break, wouldn'tcha?"

"What happened?" The calmer of the two present JNPR members asked.

"So, I caught up to her in the lunchroom, right? And we made some small talk for a bit, 'bout Oobleck and Port's classes...that kinda thing," Sky mumbled from his self inflicted prison that at this point was him face down with both hands on his head. "Finally, I worked up the courage to ask 'er 'bout maybe goin' to da dance with me..."

"And?" Ren prodded after a second. Nora was unusually quiet, a look plastered over her face that Ren recognized as the 'deep in thought, oblivious to the world' look. After a second she snapped out of it and quietly, something extremely off for her, said she had to go find Pyrrha. Ren nodded, ignored a pang in his stomach as she left and turned back to Lark.

"She said...she said 'I'll think about it'," Sky moaned in despair. "What'm I gonna do, mate? I totally blew it!"

Ren arched an eyebrow. "That's it?"

"Wadda ya mean, 'that's it?' She probably hates me!" Sky stated matter of factly, leaving his cozy of protection under his arms. Then a wave of horror passed over his face. "She does, doesn't she? I mean, she's got every right to, after how I was...oh, Dust. I shouldn'tve done all that stuff to 'er! I mean, I knew that before but...She hates me! She-"

After dealing with Nora for so long, Ren knew when to cut off a rambling rant before it got to bad. "You didn't blow it, Lark."

"I did, mate!" The CRDL member frantically shook his head. "Blew it!"

"She didn't turn you down, did she?"

A nod of conformation followed by a look of realization.

"Then she doesn't hate you," Ren reasoned calmly. "And there's still another two weeks or so until Prom night, correct?"

Another nod.

"Want my advice?" Ren waited for another nod before continuing. "Give it time and don't pressure her. Spend some free time with her, get to know each other some more. Once prom gets a little closer, ask her again. Maybe you'll get a different answer this time."

Sky smiled at this, logic regaining control over his panic. "Maybe you're right, mate! Thanks, Lie!"

As Ren nodded in return, another Beacon student walked over to the outdoor table they were seated at. The Faunas, for it happened to be the subject of the conversation held seconds earlier, smiled politely at them.

"Would you mind if I sat here too?" Velvet asked shy, brushing a lock of brown hair out of her eyes.

"No, go ahead." Ren said standing. "I was about to go find Nora, anyway. So I'll leave you two to it."

As he walked away, Sky caught his eye with a grateful smile and a mouthed 'thanks'. Ren returned the motion with a rare small smile of his own before heading out to find his partner. As it turned out, he didn't have to go far before she found him.

"Ren, Ren! Reeeeeeeen!" She grinned, happily falling into step beside him. "I found Pyrrha but she was busy. She and Jaune were training up on the roof again. Probably getting more practice in before the trip. It seems like a good idea. Maybe we should get more training too. Or maybe not. I dunno. Whadda you think, Ren?"

"I think we're good." Ren said simply. They spent most of their time training already.

"Hey, Ren?" Nora asked. The question sounded jus as chipper as every other time she asked it in the day but he detected a small trace of something hiding underneath.

"Yes, Nora?"

"How long have you been giving relationship advice out?"

"Well," While no one except for Nora would notice, the question threw him off. He had known shed listened in on the beginning of his and Lark's conversation but the question still caught him off guard. "Just for Lark, actually. He came to Jaune and I one day when you, Pyrrha and Team RWBY were out dress shopping. Why?"

"Because you've never had a girlfriend yourself, have you?" Nora asked even though they both knew the answer.


And that's what lead to the first awkward silence between Rem and Nora to their memories. Sure, they'd had silences between then before but they had always been comfterrable between the two friends. But this one was thick with tension, as if some question that they both wanted to ask hung just under the surface. A question that they both hoped, feared, dreaded and anticipated to be asked.

When it wasn't, they both stayed silent for several seconds longer.

Then Nora broke the silence, shattering the awkward tension as if had never existed in the first place. "So you wanna go to the dance together? Not together together but together. I've got a pretty dress and its going to be so much fun! Oh! Maybe we should get a signal..."

Ren shoved aside the jumpy feeling he felt at the thought of being together together with Nora and smiled. "I don't think we need a signal for it, Nora."

"Ahhhhhhhh," Nora groaned in disappointment. "Signal's make everything better."

Ren sighed, knowing he shouldn't give in. "How about you make a signal for tomorrow's mission?"

Nora's squeal of joy could probably be heard from Professor Port's room on the other side of Beacon.

Author's Note; Simply said, you guys astound me. I planned for this to be a short story, max of three chaps, and now it looks to be at least six. So thanks for all your support! Also, Sky's entrance was actually put into this chapter since I got an awesome review concerning his characterization. Which brings me to the point that thank you guys for all the awesome reviews, they just make my day. Finally, I created the Opal Outskirts, since I didn't want to use the Emerald Forest or Forever Fall simply because they've been used a lot...Okay, sorry for rambling, Baldore out!

Edit: Thanks to Nixta for keeping me accountable on spelling. This should've been edited a little sorry, guys..