"Hmm…" Ozpin hummed in thought out of habit. There was an odd situation on his hands, with the team making being an especially unique case this year. In his hand was his Scroll, displaying the partnered pairs that still had not been placed on a team.
Nora Valkyrie and Lie Ren, while an unorthodox pair and opposing personalities, their friendship made them adequate partners. Relationships were an important part of Hunters' lives, after all, and for some they were the only thing that kept them sane. Sure, the bouncy girl would give the boy a run for his money, but he had obvious patience when dealing with his childhood friend. They had grabbed the white queen piece, and thus had no official team as no other pair had grabbed the partnered piece.
Pyrrha Nikos and Jaune Arc, arguably one of the luckiest pairs to have been matched in the Emerald Forest. They complimented each other very well, and were virtually complete opposites. Pyrrha Nikos was a famous champion in Mistral, well experienced and yet quite lonely. On the contrary, Jaune Arc, from a formerly famous family, was anything but experienced, but had a definite ease in making friends. His strategic mind made up for his lack of capable combat, which would make him a fantastic leader. They had grabbed the black bishop piece, which was where the problem lay. Ozpin grinned from under his coffee mug and switched the teams that they were originally going to be on (he had a feeling they wouldn't work well with Mister Cardin Winchester) and promptly switched them to what he felt was a more appropriate team. Team names could come later, but he sensed Lie Ren and Nora Valkyrie would compliment Jaune Arc and Pyrrha Nikos far more than the other freshmen.
But alas they were not the only problematic pair of partners.
Weiss Schnee and Yang Xiao Long, admittedly a rather unfortunate pair, but perhaps the talkative, laid-back, blonde would help Miss Schnee relax and open up. However their clashing values would definitely put them off to a rocky start. Yet, in his many years of heading the school, there had been many unlikely pairs blossom into warriors with an utmost trust in the very partner they had formerly squabbled with. They had snatched the black rook piece, which also had no partnered pair. Far too many students had backed out last minute or simply died by the hands of a pack of Grimm. Neither would've been worthy Hunters.
Ozpin frowned, unlike the other two pairs this particular pair had not encountered any Grimm during their initiation, which meant their combat performance had yet to be accurately determined. This unique situation was mostly at the fault of the fourth pair of not-yet-teamed partners.
Or rather, one member of the pair.
Her display of skill and unknown technique still played on an endless loop on the Scroll before him.
"Sir," Glynda said from beside him, sending his thoughts, "We should question Miss Rose." Glynda prodded, not for the first time. There was no need to voice what they would be questioning her about. As was typical when Ozpin becomes lost in thought, he found himself ignoring his trusted advisor.
"Sir?" Still no answer. Glynda was most definitely irritated by now, but Ozpin knew she would never voice it.
As if it was yesterday, despite how it was many, many, decades ago, Ozpin remembered meeting a specific species of Grimm, often thought to be no more than a myth: a Deceiver.
That particular ancient Grimm showed no interest in eradicating the human race as was common among the dark creatures, in fact her behavior was very similar to Ruby's. Only the dull uninterest in Ruby's eyes when he had met her conflicted with his current theory that Deceivers could change appearances.
Then again he had also treated her with little more than intrigue, and there was the possibility that she couldn't recognize his new body.
It was quite likely that she indeed was a Deceiver due to her apparent ability to communicate with the Ursa, and how the Grimm seemed afraid of her. Interesting as the situation was, it was rather sticky. If Ozpin angered this passive girl there would likely be bloodshed.
As if summoned from his thoughts, a hand appeared on the edge of the cliff. She pulled herself up, revealing her already known identity as Ruby. Ozpin acknowledged her presence with a nod, greeting her with a warm smile. A specific expression that he only showed to his past friends.
She blinked, confusion appearing in her gaze for a moment before realization seemed to come over her as a subtle, well-hidden flash of recognition coming across her eyes, as her partner appeared over the edge and climbed up alongside Ruby.
There it was: his confirmation of her identity. He would have to request her presence in his office later to catch up.
The hustle of students was abundant in the auditorium, which was now filled with not only first years, but their friends, relatives, and some of the more senior students. Cheers rose with each name that was called, hands and banners being waved wildly.
"...Dove Bronzewing and Sky Lark, together you will form team CRDL…" Ruby recognized the names, and watched them receive praise from their parents and peers.
The next team was called up, "Jaune Arc, Nora Valkyrie, Pyrrha Nikos…" they too walked up the stage, as if to receive a reward.
Ruby found herself wondering why such troubles were made just to announce teams.
"Ruby…" Hearing her name she did as had been told and ascended the stage, her new teammates following her. "Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long. Together you will form team RWBY… Led by, Ruby." Ruby blinked, which was the only sign that she had even registered what was said, and looked at the professor. He was staring at her, gauging her reaction.
"It," he said, more to himself than the crowd, "Looks like things are shaping up to be an... interesting year."
The ancient wizard intrigued her, especially with how he recognized her after her changed appearance. Then again, they seemed to have a rather similar situation on hand.
Irritation, loathing, and numerous lesser negative emotions were laced with a curiosity that drew her gaze from the being before her. Her new teammate, Weiss Schnee, was staring at her with an irritated glare, with her gaze frequently transitioning from Ruby's wolf ears to her bored eyes.
Ruby shrugged, guessing her thoughts, "I didn't intend to be leader."
Apparently not the answer Weiss wanted, she scowled and turned away to the dorm area. The other three members followed her, with Blake silently bristling at Weiss' behavior.
Yang, the other member of their team, had an uncertain expression, clearly not used to open discrimination. She had an air of anger around her and she was likely ready to begin another argument with her unlucky partner.
The walk to the dorm was done with haste and deathly silence. Only Weiss's heels and Yang's loud footsteps made an obvious noise. The dorm room was plain, undecorated, and full of luggage (the majority of which had snowflakes printed on them that matched Weiss' clothes).
The team sluggishly prepared for bed after the long day, with Ruby lazily plopping down on her claimed bed. Ruby felt no actual fatigue, more of a muted sense of anticipation: an instinct that came with being a creature of the night. She didn't need or feel a need to sleep and she wouldn't be sleeping tonight.
In contrast she could feel the mental exhaustion in the form of unsaturated emotions from Blake that had become prominent after the exhilaration in the Emerald Forest died off. A lesser version of the same feeling came from Weiss and a far lesser from Yang.
Weiss' withering glares had died down for the night, as she dressed for bed, a light blue nightgown complimented her eyes and long silvery hair, making her a sight to behold.
Blake changed quickly, and sat in her claimed bed with a book as she waited for peace to settle in the room.
Yang was the last to lie down in her bed for sleep, as she spent nearly half an hour simply brushing her hair almost feverishly. Weiss had already settled in bed and appeared to be calmly sleeping, but a glance into her emotional state told Ruby that she was in mental turmoil.
The lights went off twenty minutes later, and each of the team members were asleep after another twenty five minutes.
Silently Ruby shifted, climbing out of her bed, and breathed in, relishing the feel of the moonlight on her skin through the window. Her foot went forward silently and her hand scooped up her scythe from its place under her bed, a barely audible shhnnn breaking the silence as the material hummed against the floorboards. Ruby stopped her advance: Blake was awake.
Ruby could tell by the feeling of being watched and a glistening yellow that Blake could see her clearly. A sense of alarm was prominent in the girl, clearly not expecting to be awoken by her leader hefting her scythe.
"Go back to sleep." Ruby whispered under her breath not looking at her teammate, knowing Blake could hear her.
A shift in the blankets told her that Blake was ignoring the order and getting up instead.
"Blake." The shifting paused, "It wasn't a request."
Confusion laced with worry and suspicion assaulted Ruby's senses and she turned to level a glare at Blake. "Go back to sleep."
Not waiting to see if the girl obeyed her this time, Ruby continued out the room. Quietly she explored the hallways, slowly mapping out the dorm building, before she stepped foot outside.
The moon was entirely shattered, with the pieces scattered across the sky. One of the very few things that Ruby continued to see as beauty after her long life. She settled into a patch of grass, closing her eyes and soaking in the moonlight, much as a lizard or cat would sunbathe.
With a content sigh she settled in for the next hours until dawn.
The next morning Blake awoke to the door quietly clicking open. Squinting her eyes open, she saw bright red travel to sit in the empty bed. Silently cursing to herself, Blake realized that she must have fallen asleep sometime after Ruby left. She had been trying to stay awake and wait up for the girl, but clearly her exhaustion from initiation hadn't allowed that.
The feeling of eyes on her told her that Ruby was aware that she was awake. She inaudibly cleared her throat.
Her partner unnerved her, to say the least.
The small girl who couldn't be older than fifteen had an age that was spoken in her eyes that told her that the girl was far, far older than she looked. It was the bored, inexpressive look that was near-constantly on her face that told Blake that her partner had probably had to grow up far too quickly. The knowledge saddened her, but a prickling doubt in the back of her mind told her that there was something more than merely a horrible childhood.
How could she cut an ancient Grimm's armor like paper? Why did she go out all night and what did she do? How did Ruby know she was awake? Not just once had questions appeared by the dozens in her mind. A shiver went down her spine as the intense gaze her partner had set upon her moved away. Blake slowly sat up in bed, groaning unconsciously as she stretched. She couldn't keep the yawn back and her mouth spread wide. She closed her mouth as quickly as her body allowed, her face taking its usual impassive expression as she looked at Ruby.
She travelled to the bathroom, having fished her uniform out from under her bed, and the bathroom door closed behind the unnerving girl. Not thirty seconds later, before Blake could assess the situation, Ruby re-emerged, now in her uniform— which was wrinkled with miscare. She held her worn armor and mangled cloak in her arms, seemingly debating where to put it. Eventually she carefully laid the clothes on her bed, not-so-subtly caressing her ominous weapon as she laid it flat on her sheets.
Her partner seemed to be able to stare into her soul, her silvery eyes rarely showing little more than boredom. Yet, her partner wasn't looking at her: Ruby was staring at an alarm clock, one that Blake faintly remembered Weiss setting the night before. 7:59
Blake barely had the time to register what was about to happen as the clock advanced to the next hour, and an obnoxiously loud beep began to blare repeatedly. Blake bit back an instinctual hiss as she covered her human ears in a vain attempt to stop the sound. She had two pairs of ears after all. Offering relief, Ruby sternly tapped the machine before Weiss' drowsy hand could reach it, before glancing at Blake with a barely noticeable upward curve to her lips. Blake sighed and nodded gratefully. There she was again, always a step ahead and aware of her teammates' feelings. Truthfully, Blake could very clearly see why she had been the appointed leader. Insane strength aside.
Weiss sat up gracefully, stretching before stifling her yawn with a pale hand. She glanced around, distinctly aware that someone else had stopped her alarm. Her gaze found Ruby, then Ruby's wolf features, and then she returned to her behavior the night before, bristling. With an annoyed huff she stepped out of her bed, padding to the bathroom to get ready for the day, shooting a quick glare in Ruby's direction.
Blake bit back a hateful statement, it was better to let things sort themselves out, Ruby was a strong person, that much Blake could see. If Weiss could learn to accept their leader as a Faunus, then maybe…
However, as was present, Weiss showed no interest in interacting with the wolf-eared humanoid anymore than was entirely necessary.
Blake nibbled her tongue, glancing at the leader. She had moved from her position near Weiss' bed and was traveling to the other side of the room, towards Yang's bed.
Faintly Blake realized that her scythe was already strapped to her back, and she seemed to have polished her boots and mended a few of the tears in her cloak. Was that where she had gone last night?
Ruby stopped at Yang's bedside. The soft snores that could easily be distinguished told Blake that the blond hadn't been disturbed by the alarm clock in the slightest.
"Yang." Ruby said sternly, her voice slightly louder than was typical for her. The blond didn't budge.
Ruby leaned down to her ear and said the blond's name once more, at the same volume. Yang drew in a long breath, clearly not used to the new, admittedly creepy, presence of the cloaked girl. Her lilac eyes opened and she shot up, to which Ruby wisely moved out of her fists' range in a single, elegant, step. Yang blinked once, staring at Ruby, twice, then a flash of recognition went through her eyes.
"Heya, Rubes, what time is it?"
Blake blinked. Ruby blinked.
"Rubes?" Ruby finally voiced.
"Yea—," Yang answered, voice breaking into a yawn, "I give nicknames to my friends, don't mind me." She waves her hand to show that it was no big deal.
Ruby seemed taken aback at the word 'friend', but brushed it off, "It's 8:03, we have to get ready, class will start at 9:00."
Yang groaned loudly, "Why'd you wake me up so early?" She flopped back into bed, pulling the covers back over her head. "Let me sleep until at least 8:30, c'mon."
Ruby actually had the audacity to roll her eyes, a behavior Blake wasn't expecting. Blake raised her brow in question but her partner paid her no mind.
"Don't you still have to unpack?" Ruby prodded bluntly, looking vaguely amused.
"Shit," Yang mumbled not-so-subtly, while Blake herself rolled her eyes, "You're right." The blonde climbed out of bed clumsily, taking extra measure to pointedly groan like a dying animal with every drowsy step she took.
The blond's belongings consisted of clothes, hair supplies, combat supplies, TV show posters, and a couple of pillows of interesting shapes. She haphazardly threw her belongings onto her side of the room, only making time to stuff the clothes into her dresser, hang the posters, and set aside the hair supplies, likely to put them into the bathroom when Weiss came out.
Blake had just begun organizing her books (by author) when Weiss, as if on cue, exited the bathroom. The white haired girl took a brief moment to recognize what they were doing and set to work organizing her own belongings. She put a superfluous amount of energy into neatly folding her clothes and organizing every drawer. With an obvious practiced grace, she moved quickly and efficiently, finishing surprisingly fast, having taken only twenty minutes or so. Then she set off on organizing everything else she had packed.
Blake turned away, unwilling to watch what was a truly unnecessary amount of luggage. She frowned as she realized that she had packed too many books to fit in the small bookshelf. She started putting the books under her bed then frowned, where would she put everything else?
Likely sensing her discomfort in the unnerving way she seemed to be able to, Ruby spoke up, breaking the quiet shuffling of the room.
"You can put the extra books under my bed." She said simply, practically reading her mind, again.
Blake looked up, then nodded quietly. Weiss had glanced over irritation in her eyes, her 'rhythm' having been disturbed, to which Blake barely held back a nasty smirk. Yang had similarly glanced up at the break in the silence but went back to brushing her hair (a process which appeared to take a specific concentration of sustained brushing).
Blake had finished stacking her books under Ruby's bed, a barely hidden blush on her face from her secret collection, when Ruby spoke again.
"It's 8:50 we need to get moving."
Weiss made a muffled sound almost like a strangled bird (which forced Blake to hide a smile in laughter behind her hand), before shooting to her feet. Yang snickered at the barely hidden panic that was written on her face.
"Yes, thank you for alerting us of the time." Weiss said, all business. Her belongings were still strewn about, and she would likely finish during the evening after classes.
Without another word Ruby left the room. Still unnerved, yet unwilling to be in the room with Weiss any longer than was truly necessary, Blake followed her partner. Weiss followed immediately after her, quickly overtaking her with a quick pace, while Yang, not wanting to be left behind, followed as well. The blonde attempted to keep a conversation going between her and Blake, but Blake wouldn't have it, and by the time they reached the classroom she was pouting at Blake.
"Monsters! Demons! Prowlers of the night! Yes, the creatures of Grimm have many names, but I merely refer to them as prey! Ha-ha!"
Ruby stared at this elder human, a distinguished aura was surrounding him, alerting her of his skill, yet his flippant attitude betrayed it, preventing her from gaining any true respect for the human.
His failed attempt at what seemed to be a joke (Ruby still lacked in some social cues apparently), caused a sense of exasperation to fill her teammates. The feeling seemed to be more pronounced in Weiss, but as was common with her she suppressed the emotion and focused on the class.
Ruby cocked her head with a sense of wonder as the retired Hunter began an exaggerated story of his youth. She felt eyes on her, and she glanced at her white-haired teammate who was watching her carefully in expectation. Ruby stared back, then at the notes Weiss had been taking. She carefully read the tiny, neat, handwriting and blinked in realization.
"I have a good memory," Ruby whispered to Weiss, "I don't need to write to remember." Apparently not the answer she wanted, since Weiss scowled in response and returned her attention to the rambling professor, quickly jotting down a few notes (many of which were likely unnecessary for the future).
A shadow of darkened negativity became apparent to her, coming from one of her kin. Among the potent fury and blazing rage a sense of sorrow came to her senses. Ruby focused intently on the small, stocky cage that was vibrating with the struggle of what was likely a Boarbatusk. He had been caught after his brothers and sisters were killed and taken from the forest.
The boar shuffled uncomfortably in his cage, instinctively drawn to her presence but unable to get closer. Trapped.
Ruby lost interest in the class quickly, realizing within minutes that the professor was spouting hyperbole after blatant lie and focused on the boar. The class continued with a sense of drowsiness and boredom before Port spoke up, his voice taking on a different tone than his 'storytelling voice', which caught the attention of many students.
"So, who among you believes themselves to be the embodiment of these traits?" Taking the hint, Ruby raised her hand, staring intently at the cage. An indignant sense of horror to her right told her that she had beat Weiss to the 'honor.'
"Ah, already noticed my little friend, eh?" He had noticed her pointed stare at the cage, and a twinkle in his eyes told Ruby that he was interested in her abilities. "Marvelous! Step forward and face your opponent!"
Ruby took no time to walk down the stairs, instead she jumped onto her desk, covering the distance in a single leap and landing in a graceful crouch.
She readied her scythe, preparing to end her misfortunate kin as quickly as possible.
The professor smiled from under his bushy mustache, "Alllright! Let the match begin!" He brought his axe-gun down on the cage. The boar burst forward as the light hit its face, before abruptly rounding on the professor. The burly man frowned, clearly not expecting such behavior. He wrestled with the thing before turning it back towards Ruby who was whispering, seemingly to herself.
"I am a human. See me as a human." Aura was forced behind her order and the boar bellowed in a forced anger. It charged at her an unearthly squeal, to which Ruby near-absentmindedly sidestepped.
She ignored the typical Hunters' procedure of forcing the boar to expose its unarmored belly— instead she swiftly lunged forward her scythe lashing out. The tip of the blade gouged into the armor as if there was no resistance, and a deep slash was carved into the boar.
Panic encompassed the boar as it was forced to go into a wide turn and attack her once again. Had the boar been older he likely would've been cursing her betrayal in anger. The blind confused trust this boar possessed enabled it to only be able to feel panic as he attacked his elder.
The moment the boar was back in range of her scythe, she took a small step forward, taking her scythe into an arc. The boar dispersed into shadow within the next few seconds.
She whispered her typical farewell quietly beneath her breath while awe and suspicion assaulted her senses.
"Bravo! Simply splendid! It appears we are indeed in the presence of a true Hunteress-in-training!" He dismissed the class, with the students filing out in a hurry. Prickling hesitation and suspicion met her and she could feel the gaze of Weiss and even Blake. Yang appeared to be appreciative of her strength, thankfully caring not for the details.
Ruby glanced at her teammates, then in a single, fluid, motion she set her scythe onto her back and began her stride out the room. She might be late to the next class, but she had been delaying the meeting since learning of the wizard's identity. She had questions.