Author's Note: …You do know what hiatus means, right?
Brain: I would hope I do.
So you know what that means but not 'nice and long'.
Brain: Hey man, you're getting your downtime. I mean you wrote most of this during breaks between Killzone. And look, it's a oneshot! Not like you're forcing yourself and me to write a near 250,000 word fan novelization within a six-month deadline by taking every tidbit of info from the DVD and timely release of production diaries which – oh yeah, YOU DID MAKE US DO THAT!
Which is why I want my hiatuuuusss! *whines* Just want to get my PS4 and practice my FPS skills on a controller I always hated to prepare for Destiny because my friends are still butt hurt about Microsoft trying always online and pay to share policies which was stupid and dumb but I always liked their controllers better-
Brain: Too bad! You're playing Destiny on the PS4 and you're writing this oneshot! We've been stung by the Bumblebeez and it's gonna take more than vinegar to make it go away!
Although they've cluttered their dorm room enough with their miscellaneous items, Team RWBY still found a way to make another addition to their dwelling in the form of a full-length mirror. It was Weiss's doing of course, the pampered heiress having justified it with the argument of how the only mirror they had was in the bathroom and, between four girls, it was, "Completely inefficient to restrict all of our styling to one room."
Blake had never cared as, other than Weiss, the only one who really concerned themselves with their appearance was the buxom blonde known as Yang Xiao Long and even then she tended to limit her care to that cherished mane of untamable curls. That didn't stop one online order being made, one that Weiss only told them about when there came a knock on their door - she paid for the same day shipping.
And it wasn't any ordinary full-length mirror: it was a full-length, free-standing, tri-fold mirror with silver finish. That in itself earned it more traffic than necessary as even Ruby found some use for it and the multiple angles it provided to practice her combat poses.
Now, it wouldn't be such a problem if not for the placement of the thing. As the Rose-Schnee side of the dorm was cluttered with Weiss's other belongings in the form of a tower of white cases, the Xiao Long-Belladonna portion had the room that could be made for the mirror. The closet being on that side as well further justified its placement, much to Blake's annoyance.
It was strange how the faunus could tune out the shenanigans of the two sisters and the high-strung heiress – who, more and more, was becoming susceptible to said shenanigans – to a tolerable but enjoyable level while she read but found that the time they spent for self-examination wasn't so easily ignored.
It was particularly distracting in this instance as Yang was spending a considerable amount of time in front of the mirror. While Blake was flipping through a page, she became distracted by movement brought on by not only the blonde but the three reflections that matched her motions. Having stuck to winding some of her locks around her fingers before smoothing them down, it evolved to typical poses a model would perform such as a hand on one hip with leg bent which transitioned to a swing of those same hips that briefly rose her skirt up before it fell back over her rear that she purposely stuck out with body angled.
With Blake having a front bunk seat and how that last movement happened to be directed at her, she wondered if Yang was doing it on purpose. She knew how her partner prided her body not only for its strength but its beauty. And just like how she was so confident in battle, she was exceptionally so when out of it. It was not just her clothing that showed off her assets but that casual walk and other actions that asserted that she had nothing to concern herself with because she was attractive. It wasn't so much her knowing it as such an attitude would lead to added flaunting as it was a fact that she accepted and, thus, she had no worries so flaunting was unnecessary.
Yet Blake was ready to believe that that was what she was doing until one of the reflective panels revealed how Yang's mouth was twisted curiously and when she straightened and examined herself, it was with a searching gaze that gave off how she was looking for something that was wrong with her but she couldn't locate it. Admittedly, Blake found that odd.
It was that apparent need to discover what that was that had Yang conducting a more thorough search of herself.
Trying to focus back on her reading, a flash of orange at her peripheral had the darker Huntress glancing back in time to see Yang's scarf having been removed and carelessly tossed aside so that it may pool on the floor. Bunching her hair within her gloved hands and lifting it up, Yang craned her head around to better examine her slender, smooth, but strong neck.
It was a wonder how such a removal of a single article of clothing could get people to notice a vast difference. Even when she was dressed in her pajamas, her orange top failed to bring to attention that runway of bare skin that went down from her now exposed throat and collarbone to her chest. Then again, she didn't have her jacket that was purposely zipped to lift the partially-hidden globes that were her breasts to such prominence.
It was this rare display that served to blur the words on the pages when Blake went back to them and she couldn't stop herself from taking a second look. It was femininity and muscularity working in concert. While it was that jacket that accentuated Yang's amble bosom that gave way to a smooth track leading up to her neck, it also emphasized the broad shoulders with their puffy sleeves and the clasps at the ends would strain against the toned biceps as Yang manipulated her hair this way and that.
When Yang decided to remove that too, it didn't disrupt the consistency as you would think it would.
Now, while Yang knew she was attractive, so too did Blake. Believe what you want whether Blake preferred or found equal measure between the differing genders or attendance with a terrorist group and fighting to survive and gain recognition of a downtrodden species has left her deprived of more intimate contact and experience that may be coming to a head what with being a teenaged girl of seventeen. In any case, no matter the explanation or the hormonal problems that may be entailed, when you come right down to it there was no denying that instinctive appreciation that any mammal had when viewing an exceptionally alluring specimen no matter their preferences or age. It was just human – and faunus – nature to be enticed by such physical qualities that Yang most definitely possessed.
That was the argument that Blake was using anyway when her eyes were momentarily stuck like magnets to the jiggling of Yang's breasts when she fiddled with the zipper of her jacket, the extra room that was cleared allowing them to bounce with a freedom that her shirt – well, more tube top than shirt - didn't restrict in the least before they settled down. Not that they wouldn't be coerced into further action as there came another shake when Yang swung her jacket up and around so that it became draped over one shoulder and held with one hand while the other returned to a pronounced hipbone.
Back to the subject of harmonized femininity and muscularity that was previously mentioned, despite being dubbed the brawler Yang possessed an hourglass figure that matched her other designation as the blonde bombshell. Such joining of titles created swooping curves and, at the center, a hardened abdomen that, thanks to the mirror, Blake could see the discernable grouping of muscles that created slight bumps and dips that weren't overly-developed but nonetheless there.
The puffy sleeves were now gone but the noticeable fabric was replaced with deltoids that were similarly noteworthy with their own seasoned brawn and sinew that swept down to strengthened traps that were unfortunately cut off by Yang's top and the dangling jacket. The second was done away with when the blonde carelessly tossed it aside completely.
Whether purposely or not, the article flew up towards her bunk but succeeded in an incomplete landing that had most of it hanging off the side. Blake chose the suspended leather to divert her attention away from the brief show of flexing muscle over jutting shoulder blades, viewing the minute swinging that inevitably led it to slipping from the bunk and dropping to the floor.
Deciding that as good of an opening as any to cut into Yang's examination, Blake asked, "Yang, what are you doing?"
Her partner didn't answer her right away, attention remaining glued to her three images. She still had her skirt but that scrap of mixed cloth and leather can potentially be seen as appealing in some circles as well as her brown, knee-high boots when the majority of her torso was bare. There was also the fact that while that skirt veiled her long legs from the back, her reflections unveiled just how uncovered they were from the front thanks to those black shorts that were designed to offer the greatest viewing pleasure of her firm thighs.
"I don't get it," she finally spoke.
Lowering her book that had long-since become unreadable, Blake kept her face passive as she regarded her. "What don't you get?"
Again Yang put most of her weight on one foot, creating another subtle shifting of her hips to match the balancing while her arms were perfectly crossed beneath her chest to give it a minor rise that was far from matching the ascension that her jacket once provided. "I mean I can understand it happening once but I have to admit that I'm starting to feel a little insulted."
Yang sighed. "Oh, just a lack of appreciation." She didn't turn around to face Blake but the faunus saw how her partner was using the mirror to look at her. "Jaune I can understand as well as Sun, but with that new guy that makes it three times now. And two of them were for Weiss!"
Blake's response was to arch a brow as she attempted to come to a conclusion with what hints she was given which she decided were not enough. Fortunately, Yang chose that moment to elaborate with, "You put the four – well, three – of us together and the one boy who comes up to us decides to ignore the hot blonde. Not even one glance I tell ya!"
Funnily enough, Blake found herself more curious as to why Yang would use the number three until she realized that the choice was because she didn't want to think of her fifteen-year-old sister as the subject of what she now understood was the cause of the brawler's distress.
"Wait, you're upset because no one's hitting on you?"
"Okay, let's get one thing straight: I'm not that shallow. I don't go around looking for attention but even I'm going to notice when I'm passed over for it enough times." Cocking her head to the side, Yang stared into her own lilac eyes with a look that sought to administer blame to her mirrored image. "You know how the saying goes: if one person calls you an Ursa, ignore it. If two people call you an Ursa, start to wonder. If three people call you an Ursa, well I guess it's time to find a den and start hoarding sap."
The ridiculousness of such a saying aside – and, no, she didn't know how it went until Yang just decided to inform her -, Blake believed that she was catching on to her partner's problem. She didn't think that Yang would ever be a victim of it, not with all that confidence she held for herself, but she could see that her beauty which had seemed to be such an undeniable fact of her life once puberty hit her was being brought into question now that she was being presented with instances that once seemed to be rare and isolated but have become repeat offences.
"It's really Weiss that kind of bothers me," Yang added. "Yeah, she's got that dainty princess thing going on but, come on, she's as short as Ruby! And here?" She used her gathered arms to give her breasts another bounce. "Flat as a pancake! I mean, really? You'd think that once people realized how frigid she can really be they would back off. That bony collarbone can't save her forever, can it?"
As much as Blake could still take a measure of enjoyment when it came to making fun of the Schnee heiress even after putting their own differences aside, the ninja decided to defend her rather than add to what the blonde was seeing as an affront to her looks. Before she could, there came a knock at their door.
"Who is it?" Yang asked, her gaze actually straying from the mirror.
"You guys got pancakes?"
Blake rolled her eyes the same time that Yang hung her head and replied, "No, Nora, there's no pancakes in here."
"Someone said pancakes though!"
"I did but I was talking about Weiss!"
"…So no pancakes?"
The two waited until they could no longer hear the slow, dejected footsteps of the disappointed girl before they went back to the matter at hand. Still going on her decision to be the voice of reason, Blake said, "That 'dainty princess' does have its own appeal, especially to Jaune. Don't take it as an insult; he just prefers that type."
"Yeah but all those times Weiss rejected him and not once did he try to go for me. I mean, he made a pass to Pyrrha at least once!" Yang rested the back of her hand against her forehead, the other held over her heart to display an exaggerated image of distress that was reinforced with a dramatic, "Oh woe is me, to have been granted such sexiness for when the tried and true stereotype of blonde and boobs is no longer in fashion!"
Doing her best to suppress her smirk, Blake spoke, "I wouldn't call it that but it can be intimidating to someone like Jaune. Pyrrha is practically stuck to his side nowadays but he's still trying for Weiss."
"That is true and that's why I didn't think of it as anything at first, but then we got that Neptune guy!" Looking over her shoulder at Blake, Yang gestured towards the mirror. "Don't tell me that this and that didn't seem like they would go well together."
Blake had never really gotten the chance to get to know Sun's teammate yet so all she really had to go on was by appearances which Yang was alluding to. And, if she had to be truthful, it was strictly appearance-wise that Yang and Neptune seemed to match as the latter would've probably fit rather well with any of the numerous boy bands that the blonde enjoyed and occasionally gushed over. However, as Yang said, his attention had immediately been on the regal Weiss Schnee.
Try as she might, Blake couldn't say anything and an unspoken time limit must've been reached for, after a few moments, Yang rotated back to the mirror and muttered a resigned, "Yeah, I thought that too."
Silence descended upon the two of them but the ninja didn't feel inclined to intrude on it. Partners and friends they may be but Blake wasn't one to dwell much on appearances for obvious reasons. Quite honestly, what sympathy that she mustered up to comfort the blonde had waned when she realized that this wasn't going to be the quick fix that she hoped it would be.
She did like how she and her friends could fuss over such simple things but this specific topic was one that struck a chord. While Yang was dejected over it, Blake quietly confessed to the burgeoning annoyance that was result of her partner's attitude over something so petty, especially when Blake was of the opinion that she had nothing to worry about. Recent events – and not just that mirror – have contributed to it.
Raising her novel back up from her lap, Blake flipped to the page that she marked with her index finger, locating the paragraph she left at a second later. Yang, thankfully, was settling with standing still in front of the mirror. Well, for as long as it took Blake to finish one page and get through the next anyway.
"Now Sun, there's a guy I can relate to," she started again although she no longer sounded dejected. "Blond and those abs!"
Blake blew out a soft but long breath at this continuation that went unnoticed by her partner.
"I should think about taking a trip to Haven one day if I ever want to get a tan. Between Sun, Neptune, and did you see that one girl? Green hair and red eyes?" Giving her reflections a once-over, Yang nodded determinedly. "Yeah, I can make it work."
Blake chose to say nothing, wishing that Yang would give it a rest. The only sound that came from her was the calm turning of a page.
"Back to my original point," Yang went on ,earning a quiet groan from the ninja. "Sun and I seem so much alike but I saw that look that he gave you. Getting chased by cops but he still takes a notice to you and not me. He hasn't been leaving you alone since arriving at Beacon either. But, like I said before, I can't blame him."
The equally calm scanning of Blake's eyes ceased. Keeping them stuck to the contents of her book, she stated more than asked, "Because we're faunus."
Unperturbed by the accusation, Yang waved a hand flippantly. "There's that I guess but at least you got a few things that Weiss doesn't. Even when we first met, I saw the potential of just how much sass you have!"
Having been on the verge of snapping at Yang, the last comment accomplished in throwing Blake completely off guard to the point where she had to look up at her partner, startled. "What?"
"Blake, you are super sassy!" Yang emphasized, sporting a grin from ear-to-ear. "You didn't say much but you had those sauciest glances! How can anyone not be attracted to that?"
All Blake could really do was blink incredulously at the brawler for a few seconds, wondering if they were seriously having this conversation right now. It managed to put her earlier irritation off to the side as she tried to recall those instances that Yang was mentioning. She did remember them but she found nothing special about them. Having been distrustful and not having gotten Yang sufficiently pegged yet, Blake had tended to use facial expressions instead of words to transmit her thoughts and feelings to her future partner.
Actually, Sun did mention me having weird looks, Blake thought and, according to the monkey faunus, had performed another one right after saying so. She never considered them as being attractive though.
"If that wasn't enough, you have that walk that fits perfectly!" Yang gushed, spinning around to her partner. "That time when we reached the Forest Temple and asked if this was it? You did this," she languidly turned her head to the side, lids lowering over her eyes a third of the way while that large grin was attempted to be forced into a small frown but it kept twitching due to Yang's exuberance. "And then that walk!"
Yang moved away from the mirror to demonstrate, walking parallel along the side of Blake's bed. The faunus saw the difference immediately as while Yang usually carried with her that casual confidence that she was known for, this time her form was straighter – so much to be described as stiffer, maybe – and she noted an extra sway of those hips that, combined with this posture, made her entire upper body mimic the motion.
"I don't do that," Blake denied, actually feeling a bit flustered as Yang didn't stop upon reaching one end of her bed, actually turning and doing a repeat. With her hair trailing behind her and the close proximity, the black-clad Huntress could see how Yang's spine curved bewitchingly with her movements upon passing.
"You totally do!" Yang insisted. "I'm telling ya, Blake: super sass. And then that time when you and Weiss were arguing and you walked away? What kind of catwalk were you struttin' down, girl?"
The next time Yang showed off, that sway that Blake believed to be an over exaggeration became downright ridiculous. This transferred down to her legs with one foot always falling perfectly in front of the other with an added stomp that Blake assumed was meant to imitate her anger during that time and to give those brown boots a chance to achieve the clicking that her own , she knew, tended to emit when she walked. The blonde's hands also swung at her sides with increased energy.
"I mean, daaammmn," Yang drawled once she was done, gaze landing back down on Blake. "That hip work!"
The fluster evolved into cheek burning embarrassment and Blake brought her book back up in order to hide them. Unconsciously, her legs slid up as she drew them closer to give her a more guarded and abashed appearance in an attempt to protect her from her partner. It did the opposite.
"Oh my God!"
Before Blake knew it, she was being pulled off from her bunk with a violent tug at her arm. Her book flew from her fingers in surprise and landed on the mattress where it stayed there while Blake stumbled and tried not to fall. The grip on her arm switched to her shoulders with slight jerks following as Yang centered her.
"You must have all that sass to hide this much cute!" Yang squealed at her ear.
When Blake sufficiently recovered and looked up, there were three other Blakes staring right back at her with wide, golden eyes and each one blinked the same time as she did. Each one had a dusting of red on their pale complexion, so out of place in a scheme of black and white.
Embarrassment began to wane in the face of a sudden development of unease that her reflections created. The three pairs of ambers slowly shifted up to better take in the bow that was at the top of each of their heads, the band that the decoration was tied to barely distinguishable within midnight tresses that possessed a smooth silkiness not so much different from the knotted fabric.
Possibly due to the collection of attention, the bow wiggled on top of her head with a subtlety that could be attributed to the wind or a response to an action performed by Blake if not for the fact that the window to their dorm was closed with curtains drawn over it and the faunus had become still. Even if it was different, a trained eye may be able to see how the bow moved in such a way that would be abnormal to such explanations. One end moved forward, the other back, as if they were being manipulated by two separate influences.
The three Blakes casted their gazes down as their faces cooled. Their lips moved but it was the original who spoke. "Okay, Yang."
"Aw, come on," the brawler said. Each Blake had a Yang with her chin hovering over one of the shoulders that she held. "Don't be shy!"
Shyness was hardly what she was feeling despite how it may look. Blake tried to shrug off Yang's hands but it was a weak attempt that hardly affected her yellow-themed partner. Instead of explaining, she just said, "I want to get back to my book."
"Yeah, books," Yang replied off-handedly. "You have a lot of those and I'm sure they're all different and interesting but there's only one of you. Take a moment to appreciate yourself."
Honestly, she wasn't sure if the blonde knew what she was saying or not considering how Blake's unease grew at that specific wording. She glanced up at her reflections, finding three glances being returned in reply, and forced herself to hold it for a few seconds before looking back down. "Alright, I did. Let me get back to reading."
One hand gave way entirely, leading Blake to believe that her partner was going to allow her to do just that until there came a tut of, "Ah, ah, ah. How can you fully appreciate yourself with this?"
The shock originated from her head and traveled like lightning down her body as there came a tug and she could feel her bow being undone. Yang made sure to do it quick, Blake hardly having any time to register the cloth sliding against fur before the air touched feline ears that became fully exposed. Her head jolted up and the ninja saw for herself the violet triangles that were the markings of her faunus heritage.
She could also see Yang, the blonde smiling pleasantly at her. One hand remained gripping her shoulder, the other held off to the side with a black ribbon hanging from her fingers.
The unease turned to full-on anxiety at seeing three pairs of those ears which were much more obvious against her dark hair. Instead of turning, Blake entrusted the mirror to help guide her to the unraveled bow as she sought to reclaim it. One hand went up, half-blindly reaching for the ribbon as Blake demanded, "Give it back."
It was with that reflective glass that allowed Blake to witness Yang pull the ribbon just out of reach. "There's nothing to be afraid of, Blake."
"I'm not afraid." Her cat ears visibly twitching on top of her head, Blake made another grab for the ribbon. "You know how I feel about people playing with the bow. Give it back."
This time her fingertips managed to brush against it but Yang held it up high like how a much bigger kid would do to a smaller one. "But it's just me."
Yang wasn't that much taller than her though – at least an inch, two if one didn't count Blake's ears – and the ninja added a small jump to her latest attempt, sure that it would be more than enough to grab hold of the ribbon. Having apparently predicted it, Yang tossed it aside much like how she did to her scarf and jacket. She didn't stop there for Blake felt her partner grab her wrist. The faunus instinctively tugged to free it but found it locked in a firm grip.
"This isn't funny anymore, Yang!" Blake snapped, a tiny hint of desperation pervading her tone. While she maintained her efforts to get her one hand free, the other tried to tug off the black ribbon that she kept tied around that arm, intending to use it as a replacement for her bow.
Yang's other hand shot from her shoulder to that wrist, seizing it. Not only did she yank it away from her arm but the brawler restrained her by manipulating both of her hands to cross over her body and be held at her sides. This led to an awkward half embrace, half pin as Yang had to cross her own arms over Blake's form, sufficiently entrapping her with both their limbs.
The height difference may be miniscule but when it came to strength Yang had her beat. Blake struggled but the straining of much slender arms seemed laughable in comparison to the thicker forearms that hardly budged. "Let me go!"
"Mmm…nuh-uh," came Yang's reply.
"I'm being serious!" It was Yang's apparent amusement both in her voice and that smile that had shrunk but remained present that gave Blake the idea of throwing her head back to wipe it off her partner's face and free herself. She resisted the impulse albeit barely and her faunus ears were slowly folding back to visibly convey her agitation.
"It's only a mirror." That amusement was gradually dying down but not the strength in Yang's hold.
"Yes, and I don't feel like wasting my time worrying about how I look unlike the rest of you! Just let me go and give me back my bow!"
There came a curious tilt of Yang's head. "Why the bow?"
Why would she bother asking such a pointless question? That was her immediate thought yet when Blake tried to form what should've been an obvious answer, she found herself hesitating because of how weak it sounded. Her struggles momentarily ceased as she eventually replied, "I always wear it."
"You do," Yang confirmed. "You wear it all the time. In Beacon, in Vale, among strangers, among friends…and teammates."
Blake knew what she was getting at and how her partner's tone was steadily softening didn't give any motivation for the faunus to resume fighting against her. In fact, much like when she tried to hide with her embarrassment, Blake found herself attempting to use their entwined arms as a barrier as she tried to shrink in on herself with something that she identified as an inkling of guilt. Seeing three Yangs staring curiously at her had her lowering her head to get them out of her sight 'less they became fuel for it.
"There's nothing wrong with that," Blake argued. "It's just something I've gotten used to wearing. You can't blame me for keeping it on."
Half of what she was saying was a lie and she knew it. Although Yang was too kind to call her on it, she was clever enough to take advantage of an opening when one was obvious enough. "Then there's no need to wear it, at least not here. We've seen your ears before."
"I know, but…" Blake trailed off, unable to come up with a suitable response. Not even a weak one.
There was a reason but one that she couldn't say. It was the reason as to why her reflections bothered her, especially with her extra set of appendages in view. To say it would to admit to what she's been fearing ever since the docks and how she continued to wear her bow even in the presence of her teammates.
There came a weight on her shoulder and Blake didn't need the mirror to reveal that it was because Yang had decided to rest her head on top of it. She could feel the curly, heavier strands of her blonde hair pushing against her black locks like sunlight shifting aside the shadows in order for them to tickle at what skin was bared at Blake's face and arms.
The closeness both comforted and unnerved her with Yang adding to the second when she asked, "There's no reason to hide them from us, is there?"
A sense of déjà vu hit her strongly, reminding her of when a question similar to this had been asked of her recently. It had not been asked of her by her friends nor asked in her dorm but within a small room with a certain headmaster.
"Why hide who you are?"
It had been easy for Blake to draw upon her own distrust and the painful memories that humans had done to her kind to respond crisply to Ozpin. She couldn't do that with Yang; not her partner and friend who's been sticking with her since the beginning, even after all that occurred before.
"It's not you I'm hiding from," Blake tried to explain gently. "I'm not hiding from anyone. You know what it's like for us, Yang; I'm just trying to avoid unnecessary attention. Not everyone is like you or Ruby or even Weiss." She didn't have to elaborate on what she meant by 'us'.
The weight at her shoulder increased as Yang dipped her head to show that she did know what she meant but she still tried with, "It's not just us though. Everyone in JNPR knows, Sun knows, and Neptune knows as well. None of them are treating you differently."
Blake couldn't argue against that although she was unhappy about the idea of JNPR knowing. It had been Weiss who suggested it and the members of that team have been her friends for months so they did have a right to know almost as much as RWBY. They were still her friends but a part of her wished that her secret hadn't been shared to them as the fewer who knew, the easier it would be to keep it from spreading. "That's only a few out of the many who are here at Beacon. There are other teams out there like CRDL who'll treat others badly, especially faunus."
"And I'll kick their asses if they do," Yang heatedly replied.
While touched by her partner's willingness to defend her, Blake shook her head. "That's why I keep wearing the bow; I'd rather avoid such confrontations entirely. I don't want people to treat me differently because of what I am. Anyone who meets and befriends me, I want them to do so knowing who I am."
It was the same explanation that she gave to Ozpin and one that she believed had true, honest intentions behind it. Who sounded so much personal and sincere than what. What was an impersonal generalization that made her sound like some kind of creature that wasn't seen in the same way as a human. It was a word that seemed so heartless when directed at a person and it had been directed at her kind numerous times with cruel purposes meant to demean them.
But much like Ozpin, Yang seemed to find some fault that she pointed out bluntly with, "That's dumb."
Blake stiffened within her arms. "What?"
"Yeah, see?" Yang pointed out with a trace of humor. "You can't learn a lot if you don't ask what something is like what I mean by saying that's dumb. You can't answer who you are without asking what because what you are is part of who you are."
"And what are you?"
"I don't understand," Blake responded just as she did back then.
But Yang didn't continue with a question that made Blake nervous or make her gut twist with apprehension when Ozpin mentioned the White Fang and asked if there was anything else she wanted to tell him. What else was she supposed to tell him? There was nothing else for her to say that should matter.
There came a hum that was oddly pleasant from her partner and for a few moments that was all that Yang uttered, making Blake wonder just how long the other girl was going to leave her hanging. Then, with another considerate tilt of her head that had it bumping against Blake's, Yang said, "You never went to a combat school but even if you did I'm not sure if you'd be asked to do the same thing. It happened during my senior year at Signal, just as I was finishing and planning on going to Beacon with a bunch of my friends."
Blake raised her head, once again deciding to use the mirror to bring her partner back into her sight. "And what would that be?"
"I actually thought it was kind of dumb but I think it might help here." Her mirrored visage stared thoughtfully at Blake. "One thing that we were told to do was ask ourselves five important questions: who, what, when, where, and why. By asking and answering each one, we can truly understand anything that we want to know. For us, it was figuring out our purpose for becoming Huntsmen and Huntresses."
"And you think answering them will let me figure out my purpose?" Blake questioned, already sounding doubtful about the whole thing.
Yang shrugged and grinned. "Eh, you never know. I'll even help you out by telling you what my answers were for each one. Consider them as references."
With her current predicament, there wasn't much of a way for Blake to refuse. With a weary sigh, she relented, "Okay."
"Alright, we'll start with the easy one: who."
"And what did you answer for that?"
Yang flapped her lips and Blake grimaced with the unpleasant sound so close to two different ears. "I'm Yang Xiao Long, of course. Who are you?"
Blake hung her head in exasperation. "Blake Belladonna."
"Nice to meet ya, Blake Belladonna! See, that wasn't so hard, was it?"
Blake shook her head and was glad that it was positioned in such a way to hide her short-lived grin.
"Mo~ving on," Yang partially sang, clearly having fun. "Hm…where sounds like a good one. Where are you from, Blake? One of the kingdoms?"
"No," Blake replied, some of her initial cheer vanishing. "I was raised outside of the kingdoms."
Yang didn't comment immediately and Blake expected that. When it came to living inside and outside the kingdoms, you had two vastly different lifestyles. Cities like Vale, Vacuo, and Atlas; they all had walls and other protective measures to keep the Grimm and other enemies out. Between their technology and trade routes with each other, they were mostly self-sufficient although some elements tended to be sent out with prospects of readying areas beyond their walls for potential expansion. However, most of those who lived outside the kingdoms sought to make a more independent living for themselves with the trade-off being a lack of protection that was offset by Huntsmen and Huntresses who were sent out.
Faunus usually fell into that category. Making a living in a kingdom was difficult for a variety of reasons but, unlike humans, they had certain advantages that would allow them to survive better in the wilderness. For many faunus, they were willing to accept the risks of living dangerously but freely.
Possibly because she knew of that, Yang decided, "Alright, well I was raised on Patch along with Ruby. I got here after completing my education at Signal. Um…I'm guessing you were trained enough to take the entrance exams on your own."
Blake nodded silently.
"Alright, next one!" The enthusiasm and her smile were clearly more forced but it didn't deter her. "Now, why are you here?"
If where had been enough to dampen her optimism, why was a question that nearly killed it. Frowning, Blake said, "You know why I'm here."
Blake was in mid-glare, about to retort sharply, but paused when she saw Yang's face. The blonde wasn't joking with a disregard of her feelings. She had another of her smiles but it was earnest, lacking any kind of tease, and the faunus reined herself in when the three panels gave it three times the strength.
"I want to dedicate my life to becoming a Huntress," Blake finally answered sincerely. "I want to use my skills to help people and do good again." And make up for all that I did.
Yang waited but when Blake didn't add anything else, she asked, "That's all?"
"How did you answer it, then?"
"Well, I suppose my answer was the same as yours when I answered it back then. When I think about it now…" Yang pursed her lips and Blake could see how three sets of lilac eyes briefly drifted up to signal deep thought. "Actually, I think I'll wait on that one. Let's move on."
Blake arched a brow but Yang didn't say anything further. Deciding to resume their game, she asked, "Which one now?"
"What are you?"
"And what are you?"
Although she should've known the question was coming, hearing it had Blake freezing.
What was she? Even if it was a friend who said it, Blake nonetheless felt offended upon hearing it. It was just how…dehumanizing it sounded. She heard from plenty of humans of just what they believed her to be.
She was a faunus. She knew this, it was how she was born, but it was a designation that carried with it so much hate and prejudice. There had been – and still were – numerous unflattering additions to the classification. Faunus with horns tended to get it the worst what with insults like 'spike heads' while others who possessed traits like her cat ears had humans referring to them as if they were as low as the animals that their traits were similar to – dogs, mutts, rats, long-ears, etc. With the particularly wicked individuals, they may compare them to Grimm.
There were so many ways to slander them that there were instances where Blake wouldn't even hear the word 'faunus' for an uncomfortable length of time, being replaced by those slurs. Her bow was meant to stop people from seeing her ears and immediately thinking of what she was as if she was something other than human. No one could blame her for that.
So why can't people leave me be? Blake asked, specifically thinking of her current situation.
Why did Ozpin have to ask such unsettling questions? Why did Weiss feel like JNPR needed to know? Why did Yang have to concern herself with why she still wore her bow? Couldn't they understand that she just wanted her time here to go as smoothly as possible which could be attained by hiding something that everyone knows has been responsible for causing her so much trouble?
Blake gritted her teeth. Right, she was hiding. There was no denying it because of how she was always being reminded of it such as when her teammates would stand in front of this contraption and only need to fuss over misplaced hairs or wrinkles in their uniforms and nothing more. Whenever Blake would roll around on her bunk to present her back to the mirror, she knew it was to hide from the reflections that she would catch at the corner of her eye and would instinctively want to remove from her sight entirely.
She just wanted to be seen as Blake Belladonna, not Blake the faunus. Yet even if it sounded so right and logical, she knew that she was still hiding a part of herself. All those times she fretted about her teammates finding out, shouldn't she be relieved that they knew her secret, were accepting her, and didn't that mean she didn't have to wear the bow anymore?
But she couldn't. She still wore it, even around them, because it's become such an ingrained fear to let people see what she was born with and have them judge her based on that after having it happen for so long. And she was ashamed of that.
A compression brought on by Yang's arms tightening around her had Blake become aware of how she had shrunk further into her partner's hold, turning her gaze away from her reflections and, in extension, herself.
"I think it might help if we switched questions for a second," Yang advised delicately.
Blake recounted the ones that they've answered and the ones they've yet to do. Other than what, the only one left was when and the faunus wasn't sure how to answer that. What did they mean by when? Like when she was born? "I'm not sure what you mean by 'when'."
"It might seem tricky at first, but it's actually really easy," Yang assured. "In fact, I think it might help quite a bit once you hear my answer. I'll give you a hint: it's the same as everyone else's."
The same as…? Blake frowned, silently mulling it over. Behind her, Yang watched her brows knit together as she patiently awaited her answer. Unfortunately, as the seconds drifted into a full minute, this so-called easy answer didn't come to her.
"Time's up!" the brawler declared, a bit of her humor coming back. "My answer and everyone else's answer is 'now'." At Blake's befuddled expression, Yang explained, "Now is what's most important and the true beauty when it comes to us Hunters. Where you came from, why you're here, who and what you are; we come from different origins yet here we all are now."
There came another squeeze as Yang hugged her. "That's how it'll make things easier. By focusing on now, you don't let anything unimportant get in the way. When I ask what I am, I only have to look around and reply, 'I'm a human, a Huntress-in-training, a partner, a sister, and a friend'. When I ask myself why I'm here, I can proudly say that I'm not only here to help people and become a Huntress but now I find that I want to be the best friend and partner I can be and do what I can to help you." Looking Blake straight in the eye, Yang asked, "So, Blake, what are you?"
Blake found that the question really did become simple. Going by Yang's advice, thinking of this moment helped a lot. How she was being embraced so caringly by her partner, how they were able to stand here and talk about such incomprehensible things, and just how amazing it was that, despite where she came from and what she was, she was able to come to Beacon in the first place to experience all this with so many different people.
So, going by what she could see in the mirror, she replied, "I'm a faunus, a Huntress-in-training, your partner, your friend, and I will make sure that I'll be the best I can be of all of that for you and our team."
The pleased expression on Yang's face and the lifting of her previously weighted spirit in the presence of it assured Blake that she answered correctly. She did love being here and that self-imposed duty to become a Huntress had become joined with a need to protect everything and everyone around her, even against her past as this whole thing with Torchwick and White Fang was turning out to be.
She was more than just Blake Belladonna, a student of Beacon. She was a trained agent who would use her skills of stealth and subterfuge to infiltrate and bust whatever plans that their enemies may be plotting. It didn't matter why she may've initially obtained them as she would use them now to defend what's dear to her.
And she would do so as a faunus. To reject what she was was to reject an integral part that was Blake and not see the advantages and good that came from her affiliation with her team. Always seeing her race as a detriment, she could now see the blessing that came with more than just whatever benefits came with an extra set of ears and other qualities. Her race was another piece of her that she'll use to protect her team – all human – and show just how much she cherished and was cherished by her friends because of it.
She pushed against Yang's arms, ready to prove herself, and her partner let go of her wrists. But she didn't release her. Instead, the brawler used the opportunity to coil her arms more firmly around Blake for a proper embrace.
"You know what else I know about myself?" Yang asked.
Her partner's tone had become low and – with how her mouth happened to move towards Blake's faunus ear -, there came a rather steamy quality to it that was enforced by how the ninja's appendage flicked against a wave of breath that seemed unusually warm.
"I know that I'm hot and blonde," she continued before Blake could speak. "Sure, I was a little worried at first, but I just so happened to notice how there was someone who was appreciating what I had."
Blake shuddered in her grip, suddenly taking note of how those toned and bare arms were pressed against her form. Those strong arms held tight and for some reason the strength in them didn't seem so off-putting against her smaller frame as they did now. Those were not the only things that she noticed either as she became acutely aware of how something else was being pressed against her back like soft, squishy cushions and that was when she remembered just how lacking in clothing Yang was when it came to her top half.
"And I thought I could take this moment to return the favor and appreciate some of you."
Blood rushed to Blake's face. "Um, no, that's okay. You really don't have to."
"Aw, but I want to," Yang cooed, the sound producing another shiver that went down Blake's spine. "After all, I couldn't help but notice throughout this little examination of what an adorable brunette of a partner I have."
Oh, what is she doing? Blake thought with a bit of panic. She struggled but this latest attempt seemed feeble. Feeble enough for Yang to keep her restrained with one arm while the other became lax to give her the opportunity to trail a couple fingers along Blake's stomach; nowhere near as chiseled as Yang's but a bit of pressure from those fingers against the taut skin tested and proved the existence of the muscles underneath.
"I think I mentioned something about your hip work."
This was bad. This was really, really bad. That was what Blake tried to convince herself anyway despite how what she was sure had to be a careful manipulation of Yang's Semblance that transferred heat from those fingertips to her belly that coaxed a fire to begin burning in a very uncomfortable but not entirely unpleasant way. Suddenly those hormonal problems and inexperience with handling them was becoming a very big concern.
Those flames were carefully nursed as Yang's fingers continued to graze along her navel – Blake having begun to suck her stomach in - and, true to her words, they slid over until a palm could lie flat against one hip.
"I got my investigation disguise all selected," Yang went on, ignorant of Blake's increasingly obvious discomforts and was even rubbing her head against hers. "If I could make some suggestions on yours, maybe you should cut down a little on these." Her hand went further back, Blake becoming straight as a ramrod when it tried to tug aside one of her coattails from between their bodies. "If you have it, you should flaunt it."
Blake's left ear swiveled on top of her and the faunus cried out, "Yang, someone's at the door!"
"Are you expecting me to really fall for-?"
"No!" Blake interrupted, brought on by another tug against her coattail. "Really! Someone's there!"
Enough honesty must've gotten through to her panic because the blonde ceased tugging. After a sigh, she let go entirely and Blake blew out her own breath when this included her partner's arms falling away from her.
"You're no fun," Yang commented disappointedly before turning to the door whether to humor Blake or if she really believed her.
With her partner having left her side, Blake worked to settle herself with one hand coming to rest against her chest in an attempt to smother the rapid beating of her heart while she forced herself to take slow, deep breaths. Glancing up, it was to see three Blakes doing the same except she could also see the reddened faces that were only starting to cool. Hair that was usually so flat and fluid have become unkempt and three pairs of cat ears were twitching uncertainly.
Once she settled her breathing and chased away the red at her face, Blake worked to smooth down her hair, her hands brushing against her furry ears as she tried to regain some sense of order. It was when she managed to mostly accomplish this that she paused and stared at the mirror.
While her arms remained up, Blake's attention went down. Overcome by a sudden urge, there was a brief shimmying of her hips and the ninja was drawn to the fluttering of her coattails.
They do seem a bit long, Blake mused, becoming struck with an idea. To make it easier, maybe she should do away with her vest entirely. She should stick to some kind of plain shirt though – she was going undercover soon so best not to draw attention. She still wanted something there but perhaps something…shorter and a single piece. Thinking of Yang's skirt, Blake wondered about such a style with two different fabrics woven together. Not leather but…hm.
It was something to think about.
Behind her, Yang opened the door to their dorm, looking unimpressed when she found no one standing in front of it. She took a step forward, about to lean out to examine the hall just in case until she quickly jumped back when her foot landed on something that wasn't the hard surface of the floor. Looking down, a mix of emotions played across her face: surprise and disbelief followed by slow understanding which led to exasperation. Regarding the intruder with hands on her hips, Yang said, "Nora, I said there weren't any pancakes here."
The hammer-wielder was lying on her belly, having tried to look beneath the seam of the door. "I'm just saying; if someone says pancakes and then tells me there aren't any, it's a little hard for me to believe without making sure."
Author's Note: *lies face against desk* Oh my God, what did we do?
Brain: …I've got nothing on this. I just wanted to have some fun with the fact that the hot blonde was being passed over by nearly every male character that's been introduced so far and suddenly it turned into a finding of oneself and some last minute teasing. And, no, I didn't forget Port; I'm just not counting him.
Well, as always, that became bigger than I expected. Kind of disappointed in myself that I once again reverted to faunus-human relations and Blake getting over those issues. I need to get better ideas before I become a one-trick pony.
…No. I think I'm just going to wait to see more of Vol. 2 before I do anything else. Speaking of which, my current thoughts on Vol. 2? Friggin' AWESOME! Jesus Christ where was all this writing in Vol. 1? Learning so much but at the same time there's still so much more to learn! Kingdom militaries, fleets, hinted geometry (Vacuo desert-oriented?), possible symbols of the kingdoms, Atlas, Schnee Dust, WEISS HAS A SISTER!
Brain: Not gonna lie, was flipping the hell out over the Cross Continental Transmit Tower. I was with Ruby on that one: ITS SO COOL! HOLOGRAPHIC SECRETARIES AND PLANETWIDE COMMUNICATIONS AND WAONGDAGODAJGODANGONAD! WHERE WAS ALL THIS BEFORE!?
Unfortunately, there does seem to be people more concerned with potential attacks against their favorite pairings. Now, though I am a loyal follower of the White Rose and Bumblebee, I haven't been as affected by the introduction of Neptune and his interactions with Weiss as many others are. Honestly, I'm very much unconcerned.
I've seen plenty of shipping wars in my time and seen how bad they can get in the case of certain people. In my honest opinion, it's still WAY too early for pairings and I think Monty knows that. While in his interview he did confirm LGBT pairings and that not only do fans but cast members and crew would like to see them, he did stress that they weren't going to be shoved out there. Not only are the RWBY team still kids but you have to remember that despite all the awesome fanfiction and very creative AUs, what do we really have going for us in terms of official, canon material? Hardly anything and there are plenty of people who call us crazy for becoming so loyal to pairings of characters who – in some cases – hardly exchanged more than a few words, specifically Yang and Blake.
Call it bad writing or pacing – which I don't – or more RT testing the waters with the series – which I do -, when you get right down to it we have very little to go on with RWBY which is why I'm finding so much enjoyment with Vol. 2. We are learning A LOT; much more in three episodes then we did in Vol. 1 I believe. My stance at this moment is to keep an open mind and don't get restrained by pairings that may not come about until years later and keep you from enjoying what else the series has to offer. Even the writers of RWBY admit that they are learning more about the characters as they write them and they want whatever may happen to them to be natural and they do look outside their gender for that.
Let's face it, no matter how appealing it may seem, Ruby and Weiss getting together right now sounds very unnatural. Ruby's fifteen, way more excited about machines and weapons and being a Huntress than relationships, but that may change when she gets older. And during that time there are plenty of threats that we don't fully know about (is Cinder the supposed Queen if she's fine with walking around Beacon?),a universe we've only scratched the surface of, and we don't even know the full background information of ANY of the characters, including the main ones as we just learned about Weiss having a sister and a little more about Blake being raised outside the kingdoms. And there's still the question of the girl who Yang was looking for. This Volume is a time for learning, not pairing, and I'm enjoying it as such.
In my opinion, Weiss and Neptune being interested in each other this early means it won't last in the long run and maybe Weiss will realize she's gay because of it, lol. Now, I am not insensitive as I know there are those who do like Neptune/Weiss and if it does end up happening, I will respect it. I may prefer otherwise but I will respect it. And, as characters, I do find Neptune and Sun to be an amusing pair. RWBY is a great accomplishment for RT and I can tell how proud and excited they are. More importantly, they are very fan friendly and do take the views of their fans into consideration and a lot of the improvements they've made in Vol. 2 were in response to fan complaints. This does not, however, mean we can demand what we want from them. It's their work, their story, and the final decisions of what happens is theirs and theirs alone. We just have our fanfiction and other works to make it better for whatever disagreements we may have for some of those choices.
Brain: And we've just completed one more!
Yep! I certainly didn't expect to write up another fic so soon but here it is. I'm not too proud of this but, after Soulbound, I'm not sure if anything – especially this measly one-shot – will ever seem great for quite a while. Still, I can't help but feel like I rambled at certain points in the fic. Ah well, this just convinces me to just sit back and watch more of Volume 2 amidst my Killzone playing before I try anything else!
Brain: Unless I get another really great idea!
…Please refrain from those for a while. I still want to enjoy my hiatus.