AN: Wrote this at 7 am because I couldn't get the fuck to sleep. Features crossdressing!Ruby, and using an alternate name, so if you don't like it feel free to hit the back button. But if you stayed, I hope you enjoy it! :3 Bear in mind that this fic is written when I was like half-dead, so it's not accurate. Take it with a grain of salt if you will.
He's the mask that she wears to blur out the painful unnatural emotions. It's a ritual, an obsession that she does, needs, and it makes her breathe easier.
Every Friday night, she catches the eleven o'clock flight to Vale, a large duffel bag hanging from her shoulders. She gets off the airship and into a cab, and when it reaches her destination she takes out the exact amount, accurate down to the very last cent- and hands it to the driver with a small impish grin.
She hauls herself into the dingy half-lit bathroom, it's a small building near her real destination, and locks herself in the very last stall. It's big, so it gives her plenty of space to change- to break away- and she takes off the clothes that bind her to her identity. With each layer she pulls away, Ruby imagines herself as a melting wax figure. Her face, her personality, her dreams, her quirks- they all join the shapeless blob that sits in middle of the handicapped stall.
Then, it grips the pointed end of the rusty metal zipper and drags it in one direction, the contents of the bag exposed to the putrid waff of the bathroom.
It begins to put on the pieces of clothing, a red dress shirt, black pants and a vest, a pair of socks and freshly shined shoes. It has a form now, a body shape, and it uses its newly formed hands to tie up the shoulder length hair into a ponytail and clips up the crimson tipped fringes that rub against its forehead- flattening it against the scalp.
Ray tucks in the loose ends of the shirt and smiles before throwing the frilled combat dress and flat-toed boots into the duffel bag. He wraps his hands around the bundle of hair jutting out the back of his head, and makes sure it's tied tight enough to make his eyebrows pinch. He takes out a few more things from the bag, a pair of contacts, a nice leather wallet with grey two-tone and a fake ID. He's not old enough to drink, but he's not going to let such a small thing stop him.
He gets out of the stall and looks at the figure in the reflection- silver eyes stare back accusingly- and puts in the purple contact lenses. They're on the darker side of the vibrant colour, and it reminds him of the processed grape soda he loves. Now, Ray smiles at his reflection and hoists the duffle bag over his shoulders before sauntering out. As per usual he sees the homeless man propped up against the wall and walks over to him. Ray pulls out twenty lien and stuffs it in the man's breast pocket, and places the duffle bag beside him. He walks away just as the man wakes up with the smell of alcohol on his breath, who starts muttering in low, slurred tones.
Junior's club has a small line extending well until the half-broken traffic light sitting at the intersection. Ray ignores it, and walks up to the bouncers with a smug little grin and slips fifty lien into their pants. They let him through without a word after he flashes his ID, and shoot down the protests of the people in line with glares.
Ray is greeted by the twins who stand guard near the mouth of the entrance. Melanie gives him a delighted smirk that sends shivers down his spine, and Malachite winks at him coquettishly, which he replies with one of his own. But he not here for them tonight, and simply waltzes past them into the throng of people on the dance floor. He passes a pair of women in appallingly short skirts, and skirts around a quarrelling couple.
He makes it out of the dancefloor in one piece, and heads towards the counter with a slight spring in his step. Ray barely even reaches the barstool before she tackles him with a one-armed hug, knocking the wind out of him.
Yang looks down at him, her grin dazzling. "Miss me?" She says, and he puts his smaller but no less muscular arm around her waist before tiptoeing to kiss her cheek.
"Is that even a question?" Ray replies cheekily, making sure to deepen his voice. The low timbre his voice box produces is the result of hours of practice, and it sounds so natural that it can even deceive himself if he's not careful.
"I'll take that as a yes." She teases. Both of them make their way over to the counter and Yang whistles, the sound high and sharp, catching the bartender's attention.
"Strawberry sunrise for both of us. No ice."
Ray grins and slips him a twenty. "And don't forget the little umbrellas."
Yang laughs at that and presses herself into his arm, lilac eyes twinkling with bashfulness and mirth. He gives her a salacious wink that makes her laugh harder, and leans into her touch. She puts a hand on his wrist; his skin instantly burning at the touch of her calloused fingers, and the rough and uneven skin of her palm. The bartender pushes two strawberry sunrises in Ray's direction, and they grab it their own before walking over to their favourite spot. A small sofa at the corner of the club.
They waste the night away talking about nothing in particular, basking in the raunchy pop music playing from the speakers and enjoying each other's company. They don't talk about their problems because this has become their reality, and if it means bluffing themselves as a means of escape, they'll gladly do it. Ray more so than Yang.
She goes through all the drinks he buys her like a pro, while he struggles to swallow his own because he hates the taste of alcohol. It burns like gasoline, and blazes a trail down his throat.
By the fourth drink, Ray feels his stomach protesting violently, churning like choppy ocean waves in a storm. He sets down the half-empty glass, and buries his head in the crook of Yang's neck, vision spinning like an uncontrollable top.
"Already?" She asks, her voice sounding amused and the good kind of exasperated. She smells like cinnamon and spice, and he makes a small noise of appreciation against her neck.
"Hey, that tickles." She giggles, running a hand through her gorgeous locks, "Honestly, you're such a lightweight."
"m'kay…" He mumbles, his tongue tripping over itself to make sense of the signals sent by the brain.
Yang links her fingers with his, and even in the drunken haze he's in, Ray imagines her with a smile on her lips in crystal clear clarity. If his heart beats any faster, he might just keel over then and there. It's the ideal death, but he'd rather be alive to experience the warmth radiating off her like a roaring fireplace.
When the headache subsides, Ray lets out a warbled sigh and mumbles an apology as he tries to push himself up. Before the back of his head even touches the fur of the sofa cushions, she grabs the scruff of his neck and pulls him down. He lets out a yelp of surprise and falls into her lap, and ends up looking at her smug face with wide eyes.
"Y-Yang?" Ray splutters, feeling her thighs under his head shift as she makes herself more comfortable. He inwardly winces at how his voice sounds, nothing like the confident, suave version of him that walked into the club tonight. His cheeks burn with shame, but she interrupts his pity party by bending down to kiss him.
His hands brushes against the brown, felt jacket trying to pull her closer to him. He fails, but Yang has already taken the matter into her own hands, pulling him upwards with one arm, their bodies pressed flushed against one another. He's aware of her tongue slipping into his mouth, and mirrors her action with sloppy determination. Yang moans, the sound vibrating against his lips, and Ray drags a haphazard trail down her shoulder to her arm, the pads of his fingers lightly stroking the vast expanse of flesh.
"God, you're such a cute drunk." She whispers as they break apart. "I could just eat you up."
He flushes at the compliment and clears his throat. "I'm a mess." He says, "I'll probably end up giving you a stomach ache." Ray sighs in relief when his ability to string together words comes back to him, and chuckles when she rolls her eyes.
"I'll take that chance."
"Mm. Don't say I didn't warn you though." He rasps, turning his body to face the dancefloor, his cheek resting on her thigh.
Yang grunts, picks up his half empty glass of strawberry sunrise and downs it in one gulp. He stares at the tiny umbrellas laying against the dark grain of the knee high table. He still doesn't know why she likes these things, other than them being cute.
"It's already six am." She suddenly says, her tired voice jolting him out of his daydream. How long have they been sitting here? He takes the scroll from her and sees the numbered clock, long hand pointed at twelve and short one pointed at six. Ray grimaces.
"So it is. Doesn't feel like it though."
"Right?" Yang grumbles, "Ah, this blows. The extra taxi charge is gonna hurt my wallet. Greedy assholes."
Ray laughs and pats her knee. "Or you could just walk to the airship dock."
"Hell no." She says, slapping his arm lightly.
Ray rolls his eyes and uses his palms to push himself off her lap, smiling at the pout she gives him. He bends in to kiss her again, and this one feels different from the others because it's gentle and soft, and it makes him feel as fragile as glass. He knows it makes her feel the same way, because Yang gives him that look, the one with knotted eyebrows and dull eyes.
Ray watches her chest rise as she takes in a deep breath.
"I know it's not much but…" She trails off, glancing at the steady stream of people leaving the club. "Here." Yang presses a small stack of fives into his hands.
He scowls and pushes them back into her hands. "No. We've been over this before." He tells her firmly. He makes to move his hand away, but she holds it tight, the lien squashed between their palms.
"No- I can't. You've been great to me and I just…"
"Yang." He says, his lips thinning. He doesn't want this. It makes everything they've been through seem like an act, as if the two of them were merely actors on a stage. Ray refuses to acknowledge it, because the some selfish part of him wants this, craves this. To him, it's as real as it's ever going to be. "Please. Please don't. I'm not putting up a farce. This is real. We are real."
Yang bites her lip and let's go of his hands, and the action itself seems as though she's moving further and further away. She tucks the lien into her pocket and they fall into silence.
They leave Junior's club and he walks her to the narrow road leading out to the main one. The taxis are plentiful there. Ray stops just as the road branches out, and Yang stands a few paces away from him, lilac eyes glinting under the morning light.
She smiles at him weakly. "See you next week?" She asks, her voice smaller than anything he'd ever heard from her.
"Yeah. Stay safe, Yang." Ray nods, his eyes tracking her every move.
"You too. Bye."
And with that, she turns on her heels and walks away. Ray watches as her tall figure disappears around the corner, and feels the weight on his shoulders lift. Any longer and he would grabbed her and kissed her long and hard, but he couldn't do that, could he? Under the cover of darkness, they could've been anything. But without it, the image they'd built would crumble down like a house of cards.
Trekking back toward the club, Ray sees Melanie smoking outside, her red counterpart nowhere to be seen.
"Ray." She grins, the ashes from her cig falling onto her dress. "The blonde, huh? I see you guys every Saturday."
He nods, not exactly trusting his voice to reply politely. He's always been a short tempered when it came to Yang.
She laughs when she sees his frigid stare. "I'm not gonna ask. I just feel a little jealous that she has the pleasure of your company without having to fork out a bit of cash."
"I owe her." Ray answers, his shoulders tightening.
"If that's what you tell yourself. Fine." Melanie shrugs, taking another drag of her cigarette.
Ray snorts and tucks his hands into his pockets. "You know my number if you need me."
The girl smirks and waves him off, blowing out a grey wisps of smoke. Sighing, Ray turns and walks away, heading toward the moulding building several blocks down the street. He stops to stare at the now sober man who was still propped up against the walls. The homeless man gives Ray a toothless smile.
"Off the clock?"
"Yeah. My bag, please." Ray glares when the man kicks the duffel bag towards him, and brandishes his outstretched palm, shaking it wildly. Rolling his eyes, he drops ten lien into the hand and picks up the duffel bag, ignoring the grunt of 'heh easy money'.
Leaving the man to drink himself into another drunken stupor, Ray enters the bathroom again, and shuts the door of the exact same stall he was in the night before. And so, the process begins.
Ruby yawns, swaying as the airship bobs up and down. The bag is slung across her shoulder, the girl staring down at her blinking scroll. Four messages and three missed calls. Steeling herself, Ruby dials the number and waits. A loud click sounds when the call is answered.
"Rubes, where the heck have you been?" Yang demands.
She huffs, staring out of the window. "Well hello to you too."
"Don't change the subject, Weiss told me that you've been out all night!"
"I was at the arcade." She grumbles, thankful that her sister wasn't here. She couldn't lie for shit if Yang gave her the death stare. "Anyway, I could be asking you the same question. Where were you, huh?"
"I took bumblebee out for a spin." Yang replies. Ruby shut her eyes when she heard the slight quiver in her voice. Liar, she thinks.
"Whatever. Where are you now?"
"Er- still in Vale."
Ruby swallows, not having the heart to point out the sound of the airship engine in the background. "Okay. See you back at Beacon."
"Kay, bye Ruby."
"Bye." She mumbles, and the call disconnects.