Chapter Twenty Eight: Tribulation
I'm going to ask her out on a date.
That was the first thought that Ruby woke up to before her eyes had even opened. The words felt heavy in her mind.
I'm going to ask Pyrrha out on a date, and she is going to say yes, and everything will be great! Her talk with Yang bolstered her confidence in taking action. Asking out her best friend was going to happen.
Yet instead of bouncing out of bed to face the day's tribulations, Ruby didn't move a muscle, staring up at the ceiling as the sun started to peek out from behind the curtains.
True, she was almost certain that Pyrrha was going to say yes - at least, if Yang was right, which she usually was about these kinds of things - but that didn't change the fact that Ruby had to actually ask her out. Like, for realzies. Like, go up to Pyrrha and ask in the most suave, cool and awesome way possible when she might be free for dinner. A fancy dinner.
Which implied that Ruby had a plan for asking her best friend out.
A very, very non-existent plan.
Ruby's heart sank a bit. Keeping quiet about the whole situation began to seem a more appealing option, or at least until she got a more solid idea of what to do. Maybe I could just do it tomorrow-
Ruby shook her head.
No, today. I'm going to do it today.
…so how am I going to ask her?
Ruby was standing under an increasingly cold shower, lost in her conundrum.
The most prominent of her issues around the situation was when exactly to do it. Even if Ruby was fast – which she was – there was little time left to ask before classes. Given that she'd spent the better part of half an hour in the shower, that possibility was vanishing quickly.
That left only the evening, the one part of the day that the two of them usually had to themselves. It was the only time they would have any amount of privacy; as gung ho as Ruby was, she wasn't quite that gung ho to have that particular conversation in public.
What am I going to say? That was the real problem; Hey Pyrrha, you should go out with me so you can make out with me… no, that's terrible! Uh, hey, I've had a crush on you forever, wanna go out on a date? No, that wouldn't do. Ruby needed to say something clever, not blunt. Wait, uh, does your butt hurt? …cause you fell from heaven?
Ruby let out a long, pained, groan. Whatever her plan was, Ruby would be spending the entire day, or close to it, waiting. On some level, it really wasn't all that long of wait; nothing compared to how long Ruby had been harboring this crush. Yet that didn't change the fact that it felt worse than anything in the preceding time. One way or another, something big was going to happen today, and Ruby hoped that it was a good big, not a bad big.
Just knowing that she could put it off for a few more hours on one level gave her an immense sense of relief, while on another, trepidation.
The water pouring over Ruby was starting to grow icy cold. She would find no more comfort waiting in the shower.
The waiting was starting to eat at her.
Even the chocolate chip waffles covered in whipped cream and strawberries were doing little to avail Ruby's mood.
Any other day, that stack of waffles would have been gone in a matter of seconds, and she'd already be hungrily eyeing Weiss'. Yet her appetite was non-existent. Slowly picking at it was doing nothing, and for the life of her, Ruby wasn't finding them particularly savoury like she usually did. In fact, if anything, the small nibbles she had taken were making her nauseous.
This sucks. Ruby pouted. Her stomach felt like one big tightening knot, worse than any time she'd worried about exams or tests. So absorbed was she in trying to quell the feeling in her stomach that Ruby didn't even notice when one of her waffles went missing. Nor did she notice Yang loudly smacking her lips.
"Hey sis, missing anything?" It was a tone that Yang used when Ruby knew she was trying to get under skin, just like any big sister; the kind of taunting tease of superiority. For once in her entire life, though, Yang's words went in one ear and out the other.
The mischievous smirk on Yang's lips fell a moment later. "Ruby? I ate one of your waffles…?"
"Oh." Silver eyes blinked, only now realizing that her plate was a bit emptier. Ruby lamely pushed it towards Yang. "Do you want the rest?"
"You've never given up waffles before," Blake idly noted from across the table. "You like waffles as much as Nora likes pancakes." Amber eyes regarded her with concern. "Are you feeling okay?"
Ruby gave the tiniest of shrugs. "I guess I'm just not hungry…"
Blake and Yang gave both gave her a look of sympathy, yet there was no sympathy in icy blue eyes of her partner.
"Oh, no, you better not be getting sick on me, Ruby Rose! We've got to present our project today for Professor Oobleck, and I'm not doing it alone!"
"I'm not sick, Weiss." Ruby waved off her partner, who was already scrutinizing her with the bizarre mix of concern and annoyance that could only come from the Schnee heiress. On some level, Ruby was happy that her teammates had picked up on her misfortune - it was something she really appreciated. On another level, however, she really wished they hadn't picked up on it at that very moment. "I promise."
"That's what you said right before you threw up at the cinema," Weiss coolly retorted.
"…I didn't think five 3D glasses would be that dizzy, but seriously, I'm not gonna be sick."
"Are you not feeling well?"
Pyrrha's concerned voice was far too close to Ruby's ear to be comfortable. The knot in Ruby's stomach tightened painfully, as the cause of her anxiety sat down, mere inches away. Panic-stricken, Ruby kept looking at Weiss, having gone stock still.
"I-I'm just feeling… uh, not very hungry?" A fierce redness lit up the back of her neck, spreading to Ruby's cheeks. "It's noth… thing…"
Words died in Ruby's throat as her best friend laid a hand against her forehead. "You're burning up."
"Ruby…" Weiss' voice was too uncomfortably close to a growl for Ruby's tastes. Inadvertently, Ruby's gaze darted away from Weiss, before meeting with Pyrrha's deep emerald eyes. Deep, dreamy, pretty emerald eyes.
"You better not be planning on skipping out, you promised you'd present if I finished it last ni-"
Weiss' accusation was left hanging in the air, as rose petals floated to the ground.
"Just so you know, Weiss is freakin' pissed at you right now."
Ruby let out a groan as she stared up at the ceiling of the nurse's office, her boots nervously tapping together as Yang sat down next to her on the sick bed.
After the incident at the cafeteria, she'd decided to check herself in and had spent the last two periods lost in her own thoughts, doing effectively nothing. While it made it so she didn't have to deal with her problems, with nothing else to distract her, the waiting was even worse than before.
"So, feeling any better…?" They both knew the answer to that particular question; a quite empathetic no. Really, it was just the purple elephant in the room that Ruby was actively trying to ignore out of existence.
"I feel fine." Ruby murmured to no one in particular. "I just need some time to myself."
"Uh-huh." Yang deadpanned. "So the last two periods and making Weiss pop a vein was just because you were feeling dandy, eh?"
Ruby had nothing to say to that.
"C'mon Rubes." Yang's shoulder bumped her own. "What's really going on?"
Perhaps it was because of the comforting sound of her sister's voice, but Ruby realized that she had no reason to feel embarrassed. She had already told Yang everything, so there was no point in hiding the rest of her thoughts.
"I can't handle waiting anymore." Her voice was quiet, yet Yang still listened intently. "I don't know how I'm going to ask her out."
Ruby stared up at her sister imploringly. "Like, do I just ask, 'Hey, wanna go on a date with me?' or 'You're super pretty, please be my girlfriend?'!? How am I supposed to get Pyrrha alone to ask her, and what am I supposed to do if she says yes?!" Ruby's head bowed into her hands. "This sounded so easy, but just thinking about it is gonna drive me crazy!"
"Crazier than Weiss the day before exam week?" Yang curiously inquired after a moment, gently patting Ruby on the back, something she hadn't done since Ruby was ten.
"Like… five times as worse!"
Yang's mouth formed the shape of a giant circle. "Oh. That's bad."
"Yeah. I know."
"Well, I got the perfect plan for you, then."
Ruby's head slowly rose out of her hands, a look of relief spreading across her face. "Really?"
"Mhm." Yang nodded. "Don't worry, you'll be feeling great in no time at all... but only if you trust me, okay Rubes?"
"I'll do anything," Ruby stated without a second thought.
"Great!" A worrisome smile danced across her sister's lips.
"Yang, wh- ah! Put me down!"
I hope Ruby is doing okay.
Pyrrha couldn't help but think of her best friend, who had hurried away to the nurse's office. Ruby would tell her if she was sick, right?
Yang had said she was going to check on her after their second class ended, so she'll have any updates on her when sh-
"Hey, Nikos, heads up!"
Emerald eyes darted up from the textbook she had been reading in the courtyard – well, trying to read. The redhead's thoughts were a bit preoccupied, making her reread the same passage several times in a row – only to a see an incoming blur of red.
It took Pyrrha only a split second to realize that the blur was not the attack, but rather a person, before catching her best friend with an iron grip. Wait, isn't Ruby still in the nurse's office?
"Good luck, I'm rootin' for ya Rubes!" Thoroughly confused, Pyrrha only managed to catch a glimpse of the blonde mess of hair before Yang ducked back into the main building of the school.
"Damn it Yang!" Ruby yelled, quite loudly for someone who had been feeling unwell just a short time before. "That's the last time I'm going to trust her, this is just lik-"
Almost instantly, it looked like Ruby's renewed vigor faded and she was back to her less than stellar self from the morning. "Oh, uh, hi Pyrrha... nice weather today, heh heh." Ruby laughed nervously. Feeling her friend tense up a bit, Pyrrha immediately let go.
"Why did Yang throw you at me?" Crimson hair swished as Pyrrha shook her head. "More importantly, how are you feeling? Did the nurse already let you go?"
Ruby refused to look her in the eye. "Um, about that…"
Pyrrha was starting to feel apprehensive; it's not like Ruby to be anything less than her normal, bright and cheery self. "Ruby?" The name came out less incredulous and more confused.
Ruby took a deep breath.
"So, um, Pyrrha… wat'cha ya, uh, up to on, like, Saturday?"
Pyrrha's head tilted in confusion. Of all the things she expected to hear, a question about her weekend plans was not one of them. "I'm sorry?"
Ruby started to visibly shake. "Would you, like, um… to go out for dinner on S-Saturday night?"
"Sure? I'm sure Nora would love to join-"
Ruby whispered something so quiet, Pyrrha couldn't hear.
"Just the two of us."
A numbing shiver rolled down Pyrrha's body. Her heart jumped a beat. She knew just what Ruby meant, but she still didn't believe it. "What, like a date?" she asked quickly, just a little too quickly.
Ruby's head dipped down and back up, in a nod.
Pyrrha's voice cracked from genuine shock.
"I really like you-like you," Ruby mumbled after a moment. "Like, more than just a friend. Maybe, um, maybe you don't feel the same away about me, but I really, really wanted to come clean."
Emerald eyes widened into saucers. Is this real? Is this actually happening? To me? Pyrrha was slack-jawed as Ruby continued in an excited fervor. "You make me happy like no one else does, and every moment I'm around you, is just super-duper awesome! I-I was kinda thinking that 'hey, if I feel this way, maybe she does too?' So I thought that maybe I could just try and ask, y'know." When Ruby looked her straight in the eyes, Pyrrha saw something warm and caring yet vulnerable.
The person who Pyrrha adored, no, cherished the most in the world, the one who she would die for and made every day worth living for had just admitted she felt the same about Pyrrha. That Pyrrha made Ruby feel as happy as she felt around her. That Pyrrha's daydream of better life with Ruby had a chance to become reality.
Silver eyes stared deeply into emerald ones, as Pyrrha's mouth opened and closed when she realized Ruby was waiting for her to say something - anything. For once in her life, Pyrrha had no idea what to do. Or rather, she did, but the words were just not quite agreeing with her. "I do… that is to say… I would like, to, uh, do that a lot." Yes, perfect. Nailed it. 100%. She could feel an uncontrollable heat prickle her skin all over as embarrassment washed over her. 99%.
Ruby's brow furrowed in confusion in the face of Pyrrha's utterly incoherent response. "What I mean, is that I would love to go on you with a date- go on a date with you- multiple dates! I mean," Pyrrha corrected herself after a moment.
"You… do… um, what?" The confusion in Ruby's eyes dimmed as excitement started to take its place. "Is that a yes…?"
"I-you-that's…" Pyrrha let out a sigh, as she covered her face from sheer embarrassment from her fumbling. "Yes."
"Yay!" It felt like a train had just ran into Pyrrha as Ruby hugged her tightly, ending the embarrassment for the tall redhead. "I-"
"RUBY ROSE!" A very shrill and angry voice echoed in the courtyard as one of the doors to the building slammed open.
"Well-this-has-been-fun-see-you-on-Saturday-gotta-go-bye!" Rose petals floated to Pyrrha's feet as an equally fast white blur shot by her. The clamor of the chase faded as Ruby and Weiss turned a corner, leaving Pyrrha transfixed in the middle of the courtyard. She still couldn't believe what had just happened.
Ruby likes me.
That short bundle of energy and joy that barreled into her life and gave it so much color... she likes me.
The more and more she told it to herself, the crazier and fantastic it felt. Pyrrha felt... alive. More than ever, she was filled up with a wild energy that made her want to skip down the hall and tell everyone that she was going on a date with Ruby Rose. Ruby Rose, who likes her. Pyrrha smiled stupidly and wrapped her arms around herself.
Ruby likes me.
Pyrrha could not imagine anything better in the world.
AU: HUZZAH THE SHIP FINALLY SAILED! :D
…what, did you think we'd be beating around the bush for ten chapters or something? Fuck that noise.
So this is going to be a long and rambly author's notes, so strap in.
First off, I'd like to apologize (as I always due) for the long wait. I honestly thought I'd get this done in time for July 1st… and I very nearly did. This chapter was done in the middle of June. But a combination of me going on a trip for the last week and first week of June/July and more job related stuff made time go by so fast I hadn't finished editing by the first of the month. Oops.
In that regard, this chapter feels like I wrote it ages upon ages ago, oddly enough.
It's funny how the evolution of the scene came about. In my original outline for a 13 chapter story, this was chapter 11 (which is something I'll talk about in a little bit too), and in that version Yang basically went "I saw what happened to Arkos, nope we aren't doing the whole waiting around thing, RUBY-THROW!" and threw Ruby at Pyrrha.
I thought it was a cool little scene but as time progressed, and the story became more of a serious endeavour, I cooled on the idea a lot more. Eventually it became Yang giving Ruby the push via a heart to heart beforehand. However I was talking with a good friend a few months ago and mentioned the original thing I had planned on doing and he pointed out that it was the most in-character thing for Yang to do; i.e. throw Ruby at Pyrrha, hence it stayed in the final version.
That brings me to my biggest point. My original outline was for something like 13 chapters and as of now, we're up to 28 covering roughly the first 11 chapters of that outline. Slight spoilers but chapter 12 of that outline was literally just a montage of their relationship, and since I doubt people want a 1k long chapter of montages…
…well, I'm going to have to take a break and actually outline the rest of this damn story.
I bet for a moment you thought I was going to say that this was the end, didn't you? :P
The current plan, tentatively, is that we are at the midpoint of the story. Chapter 13 will still be its own thing – that idea for that chapter has never changed (at least significantly) but instead of doing a short, 15k word story, I'm going to be closer to 300,000 words when I'm actually done. However… my outlines for the next, oh, 15 to 20 chapters that I made waaaay back in late 2015 are super SUPER out of date by now. So out of date in fact that they stopped be relevant back around chapter 17 or so. Hence why I'm formally going to be taking a long break.
My tentative plan is to have a month or two of outlining before getting back to it… which would place the next chapter at coming out around… the first of the next year? Yeah, that sounds right. Keep in mind that those original 11 chapters have been changed and added to and expanded to such a degree that they resemble pretty much nothing akin to the original outline and most of the time I was flying by the seat of my pants with MAYBE the next half chapter planned concretely for the past… 6 or so chapters… or whenever Pyrrha got her butt kicked by the robot who was supposed to be a reference to the cestus deception but turned out to be Genos in disguise...
Side note; I'll actually answer the reviews as they come this time. The reason I typically don't answer until the next chapter is close to out is generally the mindset of "if I have time to answer, that's time I could be writing" which doesn't end until I send it off to the editors soooo… yeah. Not quite the same mindset this time around.
I think that's about it? If I forgot anything I'll add it in later!
OH! Quick thing, but I would like to know, for those who have the willingness and inclination to write this, of course, but I'd like to see where people think the story is going. I'm curious to see what people think this far in and who knows, I might take some inspiration from that :P
…chapter 12 was sparked by a single review, so you never know!
Thank you all for your kind words and patience (and reviews! I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH SO THANK YOU :D) and for bearing with this super long author's note.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day and enjoyed the chapter! :D