I know… What am I doing uploading a random oneshot when I have two stories out there that should be being worked on instead? Well, when the muse strikes, it strikes hard, and I knew I would never get any other writing done until I got this out, so… Boom.
I introduced my friend to RWBY the other day, and after watching the dance chapters, this idea suddenly hit me like a freight train. White Rose is now my new OTP (second only to Elsanna) and I wanted to have my turn at a WR story. This turned out significantly longer and angstier than I imagined, but I'm still proud of it.
.:Nights Like These:.
Weiss wasn't one to normally be nervous. Growing up in the family she did, it had been drilled into her to fight off any nerves. Schnees were never anxious—they were calm, collected, and, most importantly, in control. To show uncertainty at anything was to show weakness, and a Schnee could never be seen as anything but powerful.
Yet, in the confines of Beacon Academy's walls, far away from any family comfortably suited back up in Atlas, Weiss figured being nervous this one time couldn't hurt. After all, there was no way it would ever get back to her father, right?
Of course, if he finds out I'm getting so worked up about something he'd describe as "petty," I'd never hear the end of it… Weiss grumbled to herself as she continued her trek through the school's courtyard.
Yes, not only was Weiss Schnee, heiress to the most powerful, influential family business on Remnant, anxious for only maybe the third time in her life, she was so because of one silly thing:
Asking someone to a dance.
Besides, aren't boys supposed to ask the girls? she continued to think to herself in the dead of night. That's always how it was back home; boys—or really, their fathers—proposing to take me to a function or an event, not the other way around? That's always how it appeared in any popular media I've seen as well. Is it weird that I'm even considering this?
Her troubled musings were cut short, however, upon turning a corner and seeing the reason she was out here in the first place in all his glory: Neptune, the boy she had just met several days ago from Haven.
Well, Weiss, no backing down now. Just go up, be confident, and ask him to the dance.
Weiss gulped and paused after only managing one step forward.
But what if he rejects me?
Rejection was not something Weiss—or any Schnee for that matter—was used to. She knew to be rejected was a blow to one's self; after all, what was that saying? The "sting of rejection?" But was it even more so when one was considered of such high status? Would she be able to show her face anywhere around Beacon if Neptune were to turn her down?
Now that's just being a bit too ridiculous.
Still, Weiss couldn't deny she wasn't nervous as she came up behind the blue-haired boy and cleared her throat.
Said boy turned around in surprise, sure to have thought he was the only one out this late, only to see the lithe white-haired heiress standing shyly behind him, hands wringing out of sight behind her back.
"Oh, hey!" he greeted. "What's up?"
Weiss blushed and forced a smile. "I know this is a bit…unorthodox, but I was wondering," she paused and gathered her nerves in one breath, "would you…like to accompany me to the dance this weekend?"
Neptune immediately looked surprised, and even nervous himself, as one hand came up to rub the back of his head awkwardly and he smiled in a somewhat goofy manner. That look didn't seem too promising to Weiss.
Guess I better brace myself for that "sting", she grumbled bitterly in her head.
"Yeah, Weiss, I, uh…" Neptune paused himself as he looked awkwardly away from awaiting eyes. "It's got nothing to do with you personally, I just…"
As he trailed off, he managed to make eye contact with her. Weiss managed another small smile, though this one was considerably weaker and more hesitant.
"I just don't really do dances, you know?"
Weiss hated to admit that she felt her heart begin to deflate. It wasn't an outright rejection against her as a person, but that didn't mean it still didn't hurt.
"Oh…" she mumbled. "O-Okay."
And now I've been reduced to stuttering. Father really would have my head were he to see this pathetic display.
"I swear though, Weiss, it's nothing to do with you," Neptune tried to recover, immediately attune to Weiss's downcast look. "I really didn't even want to attend in the first place, but I know Sun's going to do everything in his power to drag me along. I guess I…just don't want someone else to be expecting anything of me that night."
"No, it's fine," Weiss replied, smile blatantly fake as she struggled to keep her confident family mask in place. "I get it. These kind of things aren't for all of us. My team and I have had quite the time convincing Blake to go as well."
"So you're not mad?" the boy asked with a feeble smile now.
"Not in the slightest."
Upset, maybe, but definitely not mad.
Neptune seemed immensely calmer at her affirmation as his posture loosened.
"Great," he sighed.
Before he could say anything else, however, Weiss turned to head back to her dorm, intent on going straight to bed in order to rid herself of the disgusting feeling of rejection.
"I'll see you later, I guess," she told him over her shoulder, and, managing another smile, added, "And try to have fun, okay?"
With that, she turned a corner, effectively putting her out of the boy's line of sight. It was then she let her façade fade as she clenched her eyes shut, her throat burning and giving away how hurt she really was.
Why do I feel like this? she chastised herself. It's not like I even know him well enough to really get this upset over it. I barely know him! Sure, I'd like to and he basically just shot that chance down, but still… I'm a Schnee! We aren't supposed to let trivial affairs such as a date to a silly school dance affect us like this.
Opening her eyes once she was certain she had fought any impending tears away, she blinked in surprise at the lone white rose she found at her feet. Reaching to pick it up, Weiss twirled it between her fingers.
How did this get here?
Looking around, Weiss failed to spot anyone else in the vicinity, and surely Neptune hadn't been carrying a rose around just to have suddenly dropped it. Inhaling the flower's scent, a small smile broke across her face before she decided to stash it in the pocket of her jacket. Flowers had always had a way to cheer her up.
Of course, as she continued making her way back to her team's room, she failed to notice a certain blond boy poke his head out from a cluster of bushes, sighing dejectedly as Weiss walked off.
When she finally made it back to the dorm, Weiss was confounded to see half of her team gone. Going on eleven o' clock, she had been expecting to find them sound asleep by now—perhaps excusing Blake as she instead would usually be curled up with a book.
Yet, her Faunus teammate and Yang were both absent at the moment, leaving only her team leader behind, laying up on that death trap of a bed and scribbling in a notebook.
As Weiss shut the door, said leader looked over her shoulder, eyes immediately lighting up as they took in Weiss's form.
"Oh, hey Weiss!" Ruby greeted. "What were you doing out so late?"
Weiss bit back a smart retort, finding she didn't exactly have the energy in the moment to be hostile. Besides, wasn't the "best teammate ever" supposed to be nice?
Instead, Weiss sighed as she took off her jacket and hung it on the back of her desk chair. "Nothing, Ruby," she answered. "Just…took a walk."
Head tilting curiously to the side, Ruby hopped down from her bunk and cautiously made her way towards Weiss.
"Are…you okay?" the young brunette asked next. "You seem kinda sad."
Weiss chuckled bitterly, a somber smile painting her face. "Nothing I'm not used to," she mumbled, still refusing to face Ruby.
In that moment, Weiss realized exactly why Neptune's rejection had affected her so greatly. It wasn't exactly the concept that she had been turned down for the dance, simply that she had been rejected at all. While rejection was new to her, Weiss felt as if she had somehow let Neptune down, and that's really why he had said no. Being a letdown was an all too familiar feeling on the other hand; she had actually grown so accustomed to it, that she hadn't even picked up on it for several minutes.
In a way then, she gathered suddenly, Weiss was actually used to being rejected; it felt like it was all she had ever been since she was born. Not by those around her, but her family itself. Now, it seemed, that was spreading, and Weiss was at a loss of how to stop it.
She let down her father by not being born a boy to rightly take over the SDC—though, in fairness, Winter joined her there—and she let down both her parents by not being that "perfect girl" Winter so desirably played. She wasn't as pretty as Winter, wasn't as smart or as cunning—even when she always strived as hard as possible to be such—and, most importantly, wasn't willing to give up her life to submit to the will of her father's company. The day she told her parents she wanted to become a huntress was a dark reminder that a disappointment was all Weiss would ever be to them. Sure, she played her part of a Schnee as well as she could, but in the end, she always felt like her parents regretted to even have to think of her as one of them.
She was hoping coming to Beacon would change that; she could now be her own person and finally begin to please others—or so she had foolishly hoped—but now it seemed she was doomed to fail anyone and everything. Even in a completely different kingdom, she was still rejected by others.
The timid, concerned voice of her leader brought her back to the present, and in her peripheral vision, she saw Ruby looking between her face—now red as she struggled to hold in more tears—and her white knuckles as she gripped the desk chair.
"Please," Ruby whispered, hesitating to reach out to the heiress, putting her hand out as if to touch Weiss before letting it fall back to her side lamely, "tell me what's wrong?"
"Where are Blake and Yang?" she asked instead, swallowing painfully as her throat began to burn—a familiar sign that she was about to break down in tears.
"They… They're somewhere talking," Ruby replied. "Or…dancing, I don't know. Blake mentioned she couldn't dance and Yang said she'd help her."
As Ruby uttered the "d-word," Weiss not-so-subtly flinched. Ruby, ever keen on her partner's behaviors, noticed.
"Is it… Is it something to do with the dance?"
Weiss bit back a sob as she nodded, yet felt disgusted with herself when a small sound escaped her anyway. Ruby must have heard her quiet cry as a hand was suddenly moving gently up and down her arm, the heat her partner was giving off closing in on her as Ruby stepped closer.
"Can I ask what happened?"
"I-It's stupid, r-really," Weiss mumbled as she quickly wiped at her eyes, still doing her best to avoid her partner's gaze.
She found that increasingly hard to do, however, when Ruby gently spun her to face her, her hands tenderly gripping her shoulders and emanating waves of comfort. Looking up hesitantly, Weiss finally met her eyes.
Distraught ice blue met an intense, unwavering silver, the look Ruby was currently donning making her appear much older and mature than she really, normally was.
"It's not stupid if it makes you this upset, Weiss," she told her with caring conviction, not matching her normal, carefree tone.
Weiss managed a thankful smile of which Ruby returned, before slowly letting Weiss go.
"I…asked Neptune to the dance and he…rejected me," Weiss admitted in a whisper.
"Was he mean about it?" was Ruby's immediate response, a curious spark of what looked liked anger flashing in her eyes.
"No, he was…n-nice," Weiss answered, the entire conversation on repeat in her head. "It's just…"
Ruby only canted her head when Weiss trailed off, the look that remained in her silver irises showing nothing but compassion. Weiss briefly wondered what happened to the real Ruby.
"All my life I've been a letdown and constantly rejected," she began to explain. "At first it was strictly my family, but…now it seems as if that's extended to here too."
"You're not a letdown, Weiss," Ruby stated, perhaps too confidently.
"How can you of all people say that?!" Weiss snapped, finally regaining some of her cold, Schnee personality. "I was a complete bitch to you when I met you, and I honestly haven't done a good job improving since then. I told you I'd be the best teammate ever, but I'm even failing that. Not only have I failed as a daughter, an heir, and a huntress, but apparently I'm also failing as a teammate and something someone would want to be seen in public with."
"I'd want to be seen in public with you, Weiss," Ruby mumbled, a light blush dusting her cheeks.
"W-Well, you shouldn't," was Weiss's lame retort, shocked at Ruby's quick, confident answer.
"But I do!" Ruby persisted with a smile. "You're an amazing person, Weiss. I'm not going to act like I can speak for your family, but if they truly don't see anything but disappointment in you, then they're the failures, not you."
Weiss let out a dry chuckle. "If my father heard you say that, he'd have your head."
Ruby grinned. "Let him hear it," she said confidently. "I'll gladly stand up to him if it's in defense of you."
The heiress couldn't stop the small blush that overtook her face at Ruby's words. No one had ever spoken with that much conviction to her before. Or, if they had, it was her father clearly stating his detest of her.
"And don't you ever think you're letting me, Blake, or Yang down as a teammate," Ruby went on. "You're the best we could've asked and hoped for. Sure, we may have all had our differences at the beginning, but we've made up for that. I mean, just look at what happened between you and Blake when we found out she was a Faunus." Weiss flinched at the memory. "Yeah, it was rough at first, but despite having grown up believing the White Fang were nothing but murderers, you came to see that that's not the case for each individual member as a person. You set aside your differences for a friend, and that's a great accomplishment; not failure."
"When did you get so mature?" Weiss asked suddenly, hoping to lighten the atmosphere somewhat, even if her stomach still felt some unease.
Ruby giggled and blushed. "I thought you'd be happy I wasn't acting like a child."
"I am," Weiss told her honestly, smiling purely for the first time that night. "I'm proud, even; but that doesn't explain your sudden shift in personality."
"Yang and Uncle Qrow said I've always been wise for my age," Ruby explained with a shrug. "I can when I want to be, but I choose instead most of the time to act ignorant because that's how I wish everyone could be: carefree and not burdened by anything."
"That's…quite a way of thinking," Weiss mumbled, though still with a small grin.
Ruby's cheeks darkened a bit more. "Guess no matter how mature I wish to sound, I'll always retain some fifteen year-old method of thinking, huh?"
"You'll grow out of it," Weiss delivered with a joking undertone. When Ruby beamed, Weiss mirrored a smile. "Really, thank you, Ruby. I feel… I feel better."
"Anything for my best teammate ever!"
Weiss's stomach fluttered at the brunette's exclamation, but she decided to leave that stone temporarily unturned in favor of heading to the showers. It was getting considerably later, and after an emotionally-taxing past hour, all Weiss currently wanted to do was go to bed.
Emerging from the bathroom some time later, Weiss saw Ruby had likewise decided to turn in, Blake and Yang still gods know where. Approaching her bed, Weiss paused and looked up towards where her partner slumbered. A grateful smile lit her face as she thought about the young girl and how much she had changed since their first untasteful encounter.
"Thank you, Ruby," she repeated in a whisper before crawling into bed.
Above her, Ruby grinned and blushed.
When Weiss awoke the following day, she was again surprised to find the room empty. Curious as to why her teammates let her sleep so late—even though they didn't have class until later, Weiss was normally one of the first two up—she rose from bed and peeked above her, double checking that the room was entirely hers. When no Ruby-shaped lump caught her eyes, she deemed herself truly alone.
A torn piece of paper caught her eye from the desk, and Weiss instantly went over to look. In Ruby's hasty scrawl read, "I thought you'd like being able to sleep late after last night. We'll be down at breakfast when you want to join. – Ruby." A silly smiley face topped it all off, causing Weiss to smile.
"Dolt," she mumbled as she set the note back down. Ruby may have acted well beyond her years last night, but it was true that fifteen year-old girl in her was still most dominant.
Still, Weiss couldn't help but feel grateful for the note. Not that she would have freaked out at her team's absence, more like it was nice to know someone cared so much about her as to leave a simple note in their vacancy. What may seem like something trivial to others meant a great deal to Weiss. After waking many mornings to her parents gone without a trace or indication of when they'd be back, it was a nice, needed change.
Even after the way I've treated her, she still cares, Weiss mumbled internally as she readied herself for the day. Is she just that good-natured of a human being to not let things like that affect her, or is it something else? If I wasn't her teammate and just some stranger, would it be any different?
Knowing she would most likely not find the answers filed away in her brain, conveniently placed next to Grimm anatomy, Weiss shook her head and headed to breakfast.
Hopefully Neptune won't be there, she added as an afterthought before resolving not to let thoughts of last night consume her anymore.
When she did arrive, she spotted her team sitting together—team JNPR apparently absent—and, after getting her breakfast, headed their way. As she approached, however, she noticed Yang and Ruby hunched together, backs to Weiss, mumbling quite enthusiastically about something. Blake, meanwhile, was of course absorbed in a book on the opposite side of the table.
"…tell her," she caught the end of Yang's sentence.
"…don't want to…" Ruby's was harder to understand as she remained speaking in a hurried whisper.
"You don't know… …shot." Yang replied, getting considerably quieter at Ruby's plea.
Now standing right behind them, she looked at the sisters curiously, wondering what they could possibly be discussing which deserved such hushed conversation. It was then Blake finally looked up from her book and noticed her standing there. She quickly glanced to Yang and Ruby before clearing her throat and looking back at Weiss.
"Good morning, Weiss," she greeted.
Yang and Ruby immediately flew apart, the latter spinning around in her seat and beaming.
"Weiss!" she exclaimed, Weiss finding it even more curious as to why Ruby seemed to be blushing. "Did you sleep okay?"
"Yes," she answered carefully, drawing out her response as she took her place beside her leader. "Did I…miss anything important?"
Ruby instantly looked away at that, to which Yang simply rolled her eyes.
"Not really," the older girl answered instead. "Ruby was just telling us that you had a rough night, huh?"
It was Weiss's turn to look away, but only momentarily, before meeting Yang's gaze again.
"I did," she answered honestly. "But Ruby was there and I'm feeling a lot better today."
"Good on ya', lil' sis!" Yang exclaimed with a clap to Ruby's back.
"Sorry we weren't there," Blake added, truly looking apologetic when Weiss glanced her way.
"D-Don't worry about it."
Weiss supposed she couldn't say breakfast was any more peculiar than usual, although the repeated, furtive glances Ruby kept shooting her the rest of the day did send up red flags in Weiss's head. Weiss had come to learn that Ruby was anything but subtle, but even this was a bit ridiculous by her standards. When Ruby glanced her way for what had to be the twentieth time their last class alone, Weiss couldn't take it anymore.
"Ruby?" she began, making sure to keep quiet, but silently thanking her leader for wanting to sit near the back today. "Is there any reason in particular that you keep looking at me?"
The girl's face immediately erupted in a shade of red almost matching her cloak, and Yang could be heard suppressing a laugh from her sister's other side.
"Was I really that obvious?" Ruby mumbled, her eyes still flitting from the desk to Weiss nervously.
Weiss rolled her eyes. "Maybe not the first fifty times, but after then, yeah," she quipped, keeping her tone light so Ruby would know she was joking for the most part.
Ruby affixed her gaze at the desk then as she began twirling her pencil in her hands, her teeth coming to chew on her bottom lip. Something in the far reaches of Weiss's mind screamed, "That's so adorable," but she immediately shot it down.
"It's n-nothing, Weiss," Ruby whispered, though an elbow to the side from Yang had her squeaking at the end. Closing her eyes, she quickly added, "ButIwouldliketotalktoyouafterclassplease?"
It took her a moment to understand what Ruby had just garbled to her, but after deciphering it, she stammered out, "O-Okay."
The rest of class took forever.
When it finally ended, however, Ruby quickly darted from her seat and out of the room, causing Weiss to stumble after her in a haste. When she found her leader pacing right outside the doorway, she began to grow anxious herself.
Why was Ruby so nervous?
Why was Ruby so nervous around her? And all of a sudden too? Last night she had been nothing like this.
What had changed?
"Ruby?" Weiss spoke carefully, their roles now so reversed from last night Weiss would have laughed at the absurdity had Ruby not been borderline panicking at the moment.
As Ruby continued to pace, Weiss caught Blake pulling away a grinning Yang. Choosing not to dwell on what that look meant—as it could mean just about anything, coming from the blonde—Weiss focused back on Ruby, taking after the leader's actions last night and placing her hands firmly on Ruby's shoulders, halting the brunette mid-step.
"Ruby," she said firmer, mustering any ounce of authority she could. "What. Is. Wrong?"
"N-Nothing's wrong!" Ruby immediately cried. "I just…" She looked away and reached into her cloak, pulling out a familiar white rose from gods know where. "I wanted…to ask you to the d-dance."
Stunned speechless, Weiss truly had no way to respond. Hands falling from Ruby's shoulders, they fell limp at her sides, her eyes remaining wide and flickering between the rose now presented to her and the younger girl's blushing face.
"How did…? Why do…?" Weiss cursed her sudden deficiency in the English language. "Me?"
Finally, Ruby looked up at her, and Weiss's stomach flipped and her heart went haywire at the unwavering scene of affection swimming in silver pools.
"Yeah," her leader replied in a whisper. "You don't deserve to go to the dance alone, and I'd…l-love to be able to accompany you. I mean…I-I didn't get asked either, so I thought…I gotta be the best leader ever a-and ask the best teammate ever, 'cause that makes s-sense, right?" Blush intensifying, she added, most likely not meaning to repeat, "Plus, I'd…reallyliketogowithyou."
Had the situation been in the realm of what Weiss would consider normal, she most likely would have jokingly chastised her leader for repeating the same thing and mumbling so incoherently, all the while ranting such actions were not suitable for a leader of high caliber. However, this situation was something Weiss could never have even fathomed upon waking up this morning, so she was left truly lost.
Ruby really wanted to go to the dance with her? Was that why she was blushing so much recently?
That brought up an entire new line of thinking Weiss wasn't sure she wanted to delve into at this moment or any time soon. How, exactly, did Ruby feel about her? Was this really just a leader/teammate proposition, or was it a not-so-clever cover up for the girl's true desires?
A shiver ran down Weiss's spine at the sudden thought: Does Ruby…l-like me?
More importantly, did Weiss like Ruby in the same way?
The fact she hadn't scoffed yet and criticized her leader for being so cheesy made Weiss begin to think the answer wasn't an obvious no.
Sure she was blushing almost as much as Ruby now, Weiss took the rose from Ruby's still-outstretched hand. Smiling, she twirled it between her fingers as she had less than twenty-four hours ago, Ruby watching intently the entire time. Time to stop thinking and just go with her gut.
"I'd… I'd love to go with you, too, Ruby," she answered with confidence, not being able to fight the smile that overtook her face at the younger girl's excited look.
The squeal of glee that followed was sure to be heard all throughout the school.
Two days later, on the night of the dance, Weiss was feeling nervous yet again. Forcibly refusing to think about what her father would say about her sudden high levels of anxiety, Weiss returned her attention to the mirror before her. The dance was to start in two hours, but Weiss had to be there earlier, as she and Yang had been put in charge of the function in team CFVY's absence. Yang was busy getting ready out in their dorm, leaving Weiss with the bathroom all to herself for the moment.
Tightening her ponytail one final time, she centered the hairclip holding it in place before taking in her appearance in the mirror. A grimace warped her lips.
Weiss, despite many boys' obvious thoughts, never thought she was all that attractive. She paled in comparison to Winter and her mother, and had constantly wondered when she was younger why she was never as pretty as mama or her big sister. The older she got, the more she realized superficial things such as looks weren't all that mattered, and she came to the conclusion that she was who she was, and she really wouldn't want to be anything else.
Tonight, though, her lacking attractiveness was unsettling her stomach yet again. Her thoughts drifted to her…date for the night.
In the privacy of the bathroom, Weiss hesitantly admitted to herself that her leader had made an impact on Weiss since their first meeting—and not just because of the explosion which left her in a cloud of smoke. Her cheerfulness, innocence, and lack of fear were only a part of the reason Ruby had left such an imprint; and for the first time, Weiss allowed herself to think that Ruby was…well, cute.
She's…adorable even, really, Weiss thought with a blush. But why is this suddenly affecting me like this? Didn't I think this at least in passing when we first met? Or was I simply blinded by such foolish fury that I let that construe her image?
Regardless, what mattered now was Weiss's admittance of Ruby's appealing looks and the fact that such an adorable girl was accompanying her to the dance tonight.
Her, with her ghastly pale skin, too-skinny-to-possibly-be-appealing body, and…that. Hand shaking—whether from devastation or anger, Weiss wasn't sure—she ran her finger down the length of the scar across her left eye.
How could anyone possibly think she was attractive with such an ugly scar? Ever since she had received it years ago, it had plagued Weiss, damaging her already fragile self-consciousness.
Should she cover it with makeup in order to make herself as appealing as possible—which, Weiss grimly admitted, wouldn't help all that much, there being much more she'd need to change for that to ever start to be possible—or just leave it be? She wished she could call back her way of thinking a few years prior when she thought just being who she is was enough.
A knock at the bathroom door startled her from her self-deprecating reflection.
"Weiss?" Yang's voice carried to her. "You almost ready?"
"Y-Yeah!" Weiss called back, cursing her voice for cracking. "One minute!"
Less than that, she emerged from the bathroom, blinking in puzzlement when she saw Ruby was noticeably absent.
"She wanted to wait until she met you at the dance to see you all dolled up," Yang answered with a grin that actually seemed genuine and not with any hidden teasing malice. "Although if I had to speak for her, I'd say she'd be a blushing, bumbling fool right about now. You fix up good, Weiss."
Blushing despite herself, Weiss mumbled back, "Thanks."
Giving her a wink, Yang turned away to exit the room. "Just wait until you see Ruby," she said. "I have a feeling she won't be the only star struck idiot tonight. She's really going all out with this."
All out? Weiss repeated to herself. That couldn't possibly bode well.
Still, Weiss's blush grew, she couldn't deny the sudden bubbling excitement to now see her leader later.
Luckily, the final set up for the dance went swimmingly and quickly, and soon students were beginning to file in, many in pairs and dressed to impress. Weiss was relieved to see some students coming in by themselves, whether they were meeting others or truly attending alone made Weiss feel much better about her situation.
Of course, she wasn't attending alone anymore, she reminded herself with a smile. She was going to be here with Ruby.
Speaking of which, where was that dolt?
"Ruby messaged," Yang told her eerily on cue. "Said she wants you back at the dorm. Apparently she wants to walk in with you to show you're together."
But not together-together, Weiss found herself using Nora's saying.
Trying to hide her quickly reddening cheeks from Yang, Weiss scurried past her with a whisper of thanks. She wasn't even going to try denying to anyone nor herself that she wasn't anxious as she hurried back to the dorms.
But, for the first time Weiss could think of, these were good nerves running rampant in her stomach. Sure, they were still highly inconvenient and uncomfortable, but, in a strange way, appealing.
Halting in front of the closed door to their room, Weiss stopped. Taking a deep breath, she smiled and knocked on the door.
Her smile only widened at her date's frantic call. Clearly the dunce was nervous too.
Weiss didn't know if that should make her feel better or more unsettled.
"W-Weiss?" Ruby asked, still not having opened the door. "Is that you?"
"Yes," the heiress answered, almost in a question. "Didn't you want to walk in together?"
"Y-Yeah!" Ruby exclaimed, and Weiss could almost picture the adorable panicked look her leader donned behind the door. "Just gimme a sec!"
"Can't I come in?"
"No! Just…" she heard Ruby heave a great breath. "I want it to be a surprise."
Now confused beyond belief, Weiss somewhat impatiently waited, the continued sounds of some kind of scuffle from within their room reassuring. A moment later, approaching steps had Weiss straighten her posture in anticipation.
"R-Ready?" Ruby squeaked.
"Yes!" Weiss couldn't help but exasperatedly huff.
The door opened a crack before stopping, and Weiss heard Ruby take in another deep breath before it opened the rest of the way agonizingly slow.
Weiss couldn't hold in the gasp that escaped her upon laying eyes on her…transformed team leader. Weiss never thought she'd see the day when Ruby wore something other than her trademark red and black combat outfit, or some other variant, but here she was…and quite frankly, Weiss thought with a rising blush, hot.
Gone was that awkward fifteen year-old girl; standing in front of her was a ravishing young woman, there was no other way to put it. Weiss also never thought she would ever think a woman could pull of looking good in anything but a dress, but, damn, was she glad Ruby was proving her wrong.
Ruby was dressed—still in black and red, Weiss noted with a smile—in a red, button-up dress shirt with a dark gray vest over top. A skinny black tie was tucked into the top three buttons of the vest, and black slacks with matching black flats pulled the entire look together. With her red-tips, the brown in her hair didn't clash horribly with any of the black she donned. Weiss felt heat pooling beneath her stomach.
"O-Oh my god," she uttered.
"What?!" Ruby all but shrieked, her eyes flying open after having been squeezed shut upon opening the door. "Do I look ridiculous? I knew I should've worn the dress, but I just really hate them and those stupid lady stilts especially so I didn't, but you look so stunning in yours and now I'm getting the feeling I just look incredibly awkward…"
"No, Ruby!" Weiss exclaimed, halting the girl's ramble. "I didn't mean it in a bad way! You l-look…" Her cheeks darkened even further. "You look amazing."
Ruby's cheeks soon mirrored hers in color. "T-Thanks… I…" she looked away bashfully and toed the ground with her foot. "I still don't think I could ever compare to y-you."
Weiss playfully scoffed on the outside as she replied with an, "Oh, please," but inside she was secretly swooning. Ruby really thought that?
"Y-You really do look b-beautiful, W-Weiss…"
Averting her attention back to Ruby, Weiss flushed even more. Not only was the compliment very nice on its own, but the way Ruby said it—fumbling with every word, pink-tinged cheeks, and eyes absorbing Weiss with such attentiveness—made it even more special. It was like a high-schooler flirting with their crush.
"Thank you," Weiss managed to respond, calmly on the outside with a polite nod of her head, but all the while internally screaming with gratitude and bashfulness.
"S-So," Ruby cleared her throat before closing the door, outstretching a hand to Weiss, "shall we go?"
Smiling, and with no hesitation, Weiss took Ruby's hand, an amazing warmth instantly filling her entire being at the contact.
"Please," she said.
Ruby beamed at her before escorting her back out the dorms.
"Ohh~, you two look so cute together!"
"Shut up, Yang!" Ruby yelped as she and Weiss walked into the ballroom, still hand in hand. Both wore identical blushes as Yang continued to rave about them. "You're making people look!"
"Don't you want people to look?" Yang asked. "I mean, look at you, Rubes! When you said you wanted to go all out, I couldn't have ever expected this!"
"That's exactly what I thought…" Weiss mumbled shyly, glancing between the sisters.
Yang looked to Weiss and shot her another quick wink before gently pushing her and Ruby forward.
"Well, get out there, you two!" she exclaimed. "Turn some heads!"
"Thanks, Yang," Weiss returned happily.
Meanwhile, Ruby blushed and grumbled, "Speak for yourself."
Despite Ruby's initial apprehension, she led Weiss a few steps towards where everyone had gathered to dance before looking to her with a small, but confident smile.
"Wanna dance?" she asked.
Weiss's smile turned coy as she replied, "Well, it is called a 'dance' for a reason." She giggled softly as Ruby's face only continued to redden, but could feel her own cheeks becoming pink once more as Ruby continued to lead her forward.
Ruby may not be aware, but Weiss was about to have her first dance outside of family affairs with her. As Ruby furiously studied the stance of her feet, however, before carefully placing one hand on Weiss's waist and taking her left hand, the heiress figured her leader was nervous enough already and chose not to reveal that secret.
They stared at each other for a moment, waiting for the next song to begin, and Weiss only smiled encouragingly at Ruby. When new music picked up, Ruby flashed another hesitant smile before they began to move, surprisingly perfectly in sync.
"I didn't know you could dance," Weiss spoke up after a while, when their staring began to grow a little awkward. "Let alone lead."
Ruby bit her lip momentarily and glanced away bashfully before mumbling, "I seem to be surprising you a lot lately."
Weiss grasped the hand Ruby was holding a little tighter. "They're all good surprises, don't worry."
Her leader looked back at her and smiled at that, and Weiss smiled back. She couldn't adequately describe it, but every time the brunette smiled at her, Weiss felt her whole world brighten; like Ruby's smile was her sun, and Weiss was always happier with it around, dreading those dreary days. She didn't know what those thoughts meant, exactly, but she had a pretty good idea.
And that unsettled her, because it only helped confirm her musings from the bathroom earlier.
She may actually like Ruby as more than just a leader and friend.
And she didn't know what to say; let alone if she should.
Ruby seemed to grow more confident as she led the pair in their dance, easily finishing one song and flowing effortlessly into another. Both girls giggled in obvious enjoyment as Weiss was spun out from Ruby before gently being pulled back in, her dress moving beautifully with her gracefulness of each step. After pulling her back close once more, Ruby grinned, her eyes shining with affection as she focused on Weiss.
"Am I doing okay?" she asked.
"You're doing great," Weiss whispered back.
Ruby's grin only grew before fading suddenly as she locked on to something over Weiss's shoulder, a spark of anger catching and setting fire to her eyes. Curious, Weiss strained to look behind her, only to see a certain blue-haired boy laughing away with Sun and Blake.
"I can't believe he has the audacity to come after turning you down and then act like nothing's wrong," the younger girl grumbled, all but shooting daggers towards the boy.
Had the night been going any differently, Weiss may have joked about Ruby using a word such as "audacity" so effectively, but instead she stepped in front of Ruby's line of sight with a serious, yet gentle look.
"Hey," she told her. "It's alright, okay? I'm fine; better than fine, really. I'm here with someone—with you—and I couldn't be happier, honest." Weiss grinned slyly before adding, "Screw Neptune."
Ruby snorted a laugh before pulling Weiss imperceptibly closer.
"Screw Neptune," she repeated happily.
When the current song ended, Ruby stepped away from Weiss briefly to give a bow, signaling the end of their dance, to which Weiss curtsied back with a blush and smile. Stepping back together without hesitancy, Ruby took Weiss's hands again without a second's thought. Shooting her yet another smile, Weiss noticed her leader's cheeks begin darkening once again.
"Can I…talk to you for a sec?" She looked around the full ballroom and added apprehensively, "Privately?"
Curious as to what Ruby possibly wanted to say to her in such secrecy and how she could go from a bumbling—yet always adorable—idiot one minute, to confident dancer the next, only to finish as a shy school girl, Weiss nodded in response.
Grasping her hand tighter, Ruby led her through the tangle of students and to a flight of stairs. They ascended them quickly and came to a balcony overlooking the ballroom. Ruby didn't stop there, however, instead turning them down another hall, doorways situated now and then to lead to overlooks outside. Bypassing the first one after seeing Jaune and Pyrrha occupying it, engaged in their own discussion, Ruby skipped the next before finally stepping outside. Dropping Weiss's hand only then, she continued to walk forward until she leaned against the railing, her deep sigh carrying across the winds of the night to Weiss's ears.
"Ruby?" she prodded carefully, approaching her suddenly tense leader as one would a frightened animal.
Spinning around, Weiss halted in her tracks, the variant of emotions shining so painfully evident in Ruby's eyes startling. So many hidden secrets seemed to be cowering behind a fragile wall of silver, and Weiss had the feeling that wall was about to be torn down, those feelings finally freed to only spill forward.
Taking her own breath, Weiss mentally prepared herself.
"Weiss, I…need to say something," Ruby stated, her voice quiet yet strong, though Weiss reasoned she was the only one who would be able to detect the waver behind such a strong façade. "And I want you to listen to everything before jumping in, and…r-really think it over before responding 'c-cause this is…kinda super important."
Meeting her gaze abashedly, Weiss found she could only grant her a small nod in turn, too stunned and curious to even smile.
"I-I… I'm kinda happy Neptune didn't go to the dance with you 'cause t-then I never would've gotten the chance to. And t-tonight's been so much fun—more so than I ever could have d-dreamed—and it's still early, so I'm hoping it will only continue to be fun, b-but I couldn't wait any longer to say this 'c-cause I've been keeping it bottled up for w-weeks now."
Weiss blinked as the gears worked in her head, trying to figure out what Ruby would possibly say. As the girl before her took a breath and gathered her thoughts, it suddenly dawned on Weiss. A magnificent scarlet overtook her cheeks, her throat clamped shut, and her palms began to sweat; all the while a pleasant heat rose within her, and Weiss could only hope she was right.
Ruby remained silent for a moment longer, gathering her resolve before her eyes hardened and she stood straight, looking at Weiss with such an intense ferocity the heiress shivered. Suddenly, Ruby had done another one-eighty. The stammering girl was gone, replaced by the confident woman her looks provided her.
"I really like you, Weiss," she admitted openly, voice firm and sure, yet underlying with pure affection and unconditional care. "I've never felt like this about anyone before, but I know that's what this is. I know we didn't have the best start, but I really feel like we wouldn't be where we are today had it not played out like that. You've shown me your true self here in the past few months, and now I know that the cold girl I met our first days here wasn't the real you; 'cause I've been living with the real you and I love it.
"You're so amazing Weiss, whether you realize it or not, and I'm honored not only to have you as a teammate, but a friend as well. Ever since they announced there'd be a dance to kick off the festival, I had the desire to go with you. At first I didn't know why, but lately I have. You're so amazing," she repeated, now stepping up to Weiss for the first time since coming out here, "and I wanted to be the one to accompany a girl like you to such a public event. You deserve to have people see you, Weiss—the real you—because I have and it's beautiful."
By now, Weiss felt tears building behind her eyes as no one ever had spoken so confidently and lovingly about her before in her life. Ruby was making her feel like she mattered, and that was something Weiss truly thought she'd never hear anyone say.
"I know…this is a real cheesy way for me to admit this," Ruby continued with a small chuckle, "but we said a few nights ago that no matter how mature I think I can be, some part of my younger self will always shine through, and here it is. I honestly don't think I would have ever gathered the confidence to say this otherwise, but I feel like you really needed to know that someone does really care about you, Weiss. Someone does think you matter, and someone doesn't think you could ever be a letdown even if you tried. You don't deserve to be rejected by anyone, Weiss, and someone will make sure you never are again." Gathering Weiss in a big hug, Ruby finally broke her as she uttered, "And that someone is me."
Weiss choked on a cry at that, before she was gripping Ruby with such strength, she was sure her legs would give out beneath her if she let go. Finally allowing herself to break down, Weiss did so with no fear that she would be rejected or turned away for showing what her family would see as weakness. She clutched Ruby close to her, her precious, remarkable leader, and poured her heart out.
"R-Ruby," she stuttered, her cries muffled by the girl's shirt as she sobbed into it. "That means more than you c-could ever know. T-Thank you. I… I really l-like you, too."
She could feel more than see Ruby's radiant smile as her leader turned her head towards Weiss's cheek at her admission, the silverette continuing to hide against her shoulder. She held back a shiver as tentative lips caressed the scar across her eye, never have being able to fathom something so magnificent could come from something so ugly.
As the two continued to hold each other, both with tears running down their cheeks and with their hearts fluttering wildly, they felt themselves coming together as one, strengthening the bond they both knew had sprouted between them their first meeting. No one could take away what they shared, and in the peaceful quiet of the night, they felt invincible.
When Weiss had finally calmed somewhat, she pulled back from Ruby, trying her best to ignore the now rather large wet spot that marred her partner's otherwise flawless appearance. Ruby simply gave her a loving smile, hand reaching to cup her cheek before moving several strands of Weiss's hair to tuck delicately behind her ear.
"May I k-kiss you?" Ruby whispered in question, red cheeks betraying her desire.
Weiss shyly nodded before she felt herself leaning in, Ruby following and trying to hide her haste.
And as Ruby's lips sealed over hers, gently pressing into her in the most searing kiss Weiss ever thought imaginable, she knew things were about to change for good.
For the first time in her life, Weiss was confident she wouldn't let someone down.