Author's Note: I think I mentioned something about not having any more oneshots planned so that I could focus just on Recurring Dreams. Well I lied. I lied so hard!
The idea came to me during my writing of the Weiss chapter. I had a bit of fun with her to the point where I might've made her more aggressive than usual (debatable though). Then I had the idea of having a Ruby that's perhaps a bit more aggressive.
At the same time The Incredible Hulk appeared on FX. The 2008 film version that is. Then the idea became a project that needed to be done.
...No it's not what you're thinking.
Weiss wondered if they were called sounders because of how much noise a large group of Boarbatusks could make. No matter how many feet were currently between the ground and her chosen vantage point, Weiss could clearly hear the grunts, snorts, and occasional squeals of the Grimm that she could see and those that she couldn't.
The ones she could see were going through the traces of humanity that had been left behind. One juvenile that was only beginning to form its armor plating was sniffing at a leaning drill experimentally before giving it a tap with its head. The contact forced the large tool to tip over and impact on the ground, the noise of which caused the juvenile to tense and lower its head to better present its half-grown tusks. No matter how challenging the grunt it directed at it was, the drill refused to get up and fight. Eventually the Boarbatusk understood that there was no threat and, after nudging the tool once more, moved on.
Weiss shifted her position on the wooden beam enough to find the source of the noise that clearly did not belong to a Boarbatusk. Its red activation lights blinking weakly, the security android – an old AK-130 model – was lying on its back. Its right arm twitched and sparked, the robotic fingers attempting to arm its guns but not quite succeeding.
Considering the damage it took, Weiss was surprised that it was still online. She could only assume that no matter how many times its torso had been gored by tusks or trampled, the Boarbatusks failed to hit its power supply. The former heiress found it difficult to examine the injuries at its lower half because it was missing entirely; the legs having been sheared off and dragged away to who knows where.
"I-I-Intruder," the android spoke again, its speaker muffled due to its head being locked in the jaws of another juvenile. "I-I-Identify. Identify. I-Intruder."
Its fingers twitched and whirled, the tips finally sliding back to reveal the gun barrels that the android now attempted to point towards its attacker. Unfortunately for it, a second Boarbatusk had been attracted to the noise and when the robot tried to bring its guns to bear the creature clamped down onto the twitching limb with its mouth. With the two Boarbatusks having secured a point, they pulled in opposite directions.
"Intruder. Identify. Intruder. Identify. Idenfity. I-I-I-I-I-I-I-"
With a squeal of twisting metal the Boarbatusk wrenched off its head. The red activation lights flickered one last time before dying completely. Still, even with the android's final destruction, the Grimm devoted a bit more time to toy with it. Its prize clamped securely within its mouth, the Boarbatusk bit down with its powerful jaws while violently shaking its head, slowly crushing the android's decapitated head that had been reduced to its chew toy.
The other Boarbatusk continued tugging on the machine's arm. Without the help of its sibling to anchor it down, the Grimm only succeeded in dragging the torso along the ground with it.
Weiss didn't know if the android had been forced to be left behind due to the suddenness of the evacuation or if its controllers actually thought it could fight against the Grimm. The young woman would have to shake her head if it was indeed the latter. No matter how much technology improved, no matter how combat effective a machine may become, it was still a machine. Though thought up by human minds and forged with human hands, the 130 lacked the one thing that humans possessed: an Aura.
In that regard it was just as soulless as the Grimm. No matter how much Dust you used to power it, if it lacked the light needed to combat the darkness that was the Grimm then it was inefficient. Only when humanity's soul was combined with Nature's Wrath could a powerful weapon be forged.
Weiss Schnee was such a weapon: a Huntress who was about to bring the light against the darkness. She was just waiting for the signal.
There came a crash down below. What had to be the largest of the male Boarbatusks – its armor plates and tusks fully grown – had decided to satisfy its own curiosity by breaking down a door. Having balanced on its hind legs, the Grimm had brought its weight and power to bear when its forelegs smashed into the door's surface. It didn't take much as the door soon collapsed and the Boarbatusk wandered in.
Weiss assumed that the one-story building held the main offices for the supervisors of the construction crew mostly due to how it was the only one in the area that can be considered a building. The rest of this small town was like the eight-story – an apartment building, she assumed - that she was currently standing on; skeletons with beams bolted into place but very little else in terms of walls or doors. The workers hadn't gotten very far before the enormous Grimm presence had them fleeing.
To be fair, the former heiress knew that they hadn't really done anything wrong. They followed the correct precautions: hire a team of Hunters to clear out the area, be mindful of the migration patterns of the local Grimm that have been previously recorded, and stay clear of any of the popular nesting areas that were identified. Once the settlement had been completed and proper fortifications had been built, Mistral would find itself in possession of another swathe of territory that had been liberated from the Grimm to expand its borders. The land would then be converted to provide housing and food to constantly-growing human and faunus populations.
Maybe it was because it's been so long since such a trespassing and seizure of Grimm territory had been done that they weren't prepared for the unexpected rise in Boarbatusks. Despite being well past their migration season, the hastily-established borders found themselves being overrun by multiple groups of swine.
Maybe that was the problem: they had treated the Grimm like any other creature that can be predicted and avoided. Humans have been allowed to live for so long within the protected walls of their kingdoms that they've forgotten that the Grimm were not ordinary animals. No matter how far humans have come along, it cannot be forgotten that the Grimm shall always be their eternal enemy and the enemy reacted to an invasion of their territories as any other would.
Nothing was more evident to Weiss then the sounder itself. Normally such a group averaged twenty when it came to their numbers. This one easily doubled that.
They sent their young and their old, Weiss thought as she continued to watch, ice blue eyes monitoring the maturing Boarbatusks meander about from within the shadows of her hood. All possessing that instinctive purpose to return mankind to dust.
She was one of the chosen few to make sure that that would never happen. It had been a long and arduous journey full of trials that tested not only her body but her mind yet here she was.
A gentle breeze had the white material of her half-cloak dancing around her form. With the cloth lifted one could see the sheathed rapier at her side, the revolving cylinder decorated with cartridges full of multi-colored Dust such as red, blue, white, and yellow. Her left hand was at the hilt, her fingers wrapped loosely around it.
There came a glint from the finger that was to the left of her middle. Catching it at the corner of her eye, Weiss let go of her Myrtenaster in order to bring the hand into view where she could better examine the golden band of metal that was around her ring finger.
Admiring the golden surface as she smiled fondly, Weiss was once again reminded of her trials. Trials of love, loss…sacrifice. The road to becoming a Huntress had its perils and Weiss had been spared from none of them. The question would come up from time-to-time – whether brought up by herself or someone else – if she regretted her choices. Was she happy with a life that had become as treacherous as it was when the alternative could've been so much different?
It was a stupid question and she wondered why she still spent even a millisecond of her time pondering over it. She had regrets – who didn't? – over some of the consequences that had been the result of her choices. Had she done a few things differently, she could've easily spared herself from pain.
But did she regret the results? No. Not even for a moment.
There suddenly came a distant yet audible crack of gunfire. A single shot that echoed throughout the expanse of the half-completed town. Both Weiss and the Boarbatusks turned towards the noise. From down below there came a renewed chorus of curious snorts and grunts.
Up above, the Huntress's smile transformed into a thin line as she focused back on the job. That was the signal. Returning her hand to her weapon, Weiss made a small hop from her perch to empty air. Gravity immediately took over, grabbing and pulling her down. In contrast to the gentle dance it performed in the breeze, the ends of her cloak were now whipping around her head as she fell. Not even a second would pass before she was dropping down a floor, then a second, then a third.
Yet Weiss still had enough time to draw Myrtenaster, her left hand moving up and across to hold the hilt to the right side of her face so that she was practically looking down the length of the blade like one would peer down a gun sight. Her right hand also came up, tapping against the cylinder of her weapon as she drew upon the power of the Dust contained within before directing it down, two fingers pointing towards her feet while making a sweeping motion.
The power of Nature's Wrath came together beneath her in the form of a blue glyph that acted as a platform for the former heiress. Her descent stopped as soon as her feet touched it, her knees bending but that wasn't all. Before her cloak could settle back around her body, the glyph tilted down.
Weiss didn't so much as glance away from the pointed tip of her rapier. When the glyph tilted she watched as it became aligned with a Boarbatusk. Then, with the power of her muscles and Dust, Weiss struck when her bent legs and glyph acted as a spring to propel her towards her unsuspecting prey.
The slight movement of the Grimm's head might've been a sign of it catching on to the presence of the descending Huntress – whether hearing the flapping of her clothes or something else – but by then it was far too late. With her positioned eye, Weiss got a clear view of how the tip of her weapon pierced into the juvenile's hide where its still-growing armor failed to cover it before going in deep.
The Boarbatusk squealed in both surprise and anguish as the length of sharpened steel drove in hilt-deep. Its legs collapsed, its strength and life vanishing as it fell onto its belly. After Weiss twisted her blade the squeal stopped.
Three of its siblings whirled around to look upon the human who stood up to her full height while their slain brethren began to dissolve, returning back to the darkness that bred it. Weiss pulled Myrtenaster from its deteriorating body to hold it at her side, the tip now pointing towards the ground.
The sight of their sworn enemy overrode any feelings of fear or sorrow – if the Grimm could even feel such a thing – at the passing of the lone Boarbatusk. They started to snort and grunt menacingly, bearing their tusks and fangs while their feet stomped upon the ground in challenge.
The corner of her lip quirking up to form a grin, Weiss quickly brought her right arm up to thrust two fingers towards her foes.
Three glyphs – one for each – formed beneath the stomping feet of the Boarbatusks. The creatures barely had time to notice them before Weiss rolled her wrist so that those same fingers could point skyward.
Those challenging snorts and grunts turned into panicked squeals as the Grimm were launched into the air.
They wouldn't come back down alive. To any onlooker, they would see the Huntress launch herself up to the spinning and flailing Grimm, transforming into a white blur that sped past one of them. Yet another of those blue, glowing glyphs would appear in the air and Weiss would rebound off of it to fly past a second Boarbatusk. With each pass came a stroke from the rapier which ripped open their hides.
After striking the third, Weiss allowed herself to return to the ground, her boots sliding along the dirt until she came to a halt. Behind her dropped the three Boarbatusks; dead with black smoke trailing from their still bodies as they deteriorated.
The matured male that Weiss witnessed crashing into the offices earlier now rushed out of the building to see what was going on. By then the corpses had vanished completely leaving only the Huntress who turned to face her next challenger. The red, soulless eyes of the beast glared at her.
Unlike the juveniles, the male had grown enough to not only develop its tusks and armor but also learn a trick or two. It decided to use the signature move of its kind. Leaping into the air, the Boaratusk curled up on itself, forming into a ball before returning to the ground. When it did it had completely transformed into a spinning, armored weapon that shot towards Weiss.
The white-haired Huntress remained steady and brought up her rapier in an on guard position with head up, shoulders back, and right foot forward. Her thumb cocked back the hammer located behind one of the four prongs. While the Boarbatusk rushed towards her, intent on crushing the heiress beneath its bulk, the chamber of her weapon spun. When it stopped, the red Dust cartridge was glowing brightly. Upon stabbing towards the rolling Boarbatusk, the red glow had stretched to encompass the entire blade.
Myrtenaster didn't stab through the armor but with its Dust-enhanced power it didn't matter when Weiss's palm squeezed the trigger at the hilt. As soon as the tip met the Boarbatusk, the gathered energies exploded outwards with a force that not only stopped the charging monster but sent it flying backwards. It impacted into the wall of the same building it had come from, causing cracks to form upon its surface but the barrier held. The Boarbatusk flopped onto its back, dazed.
Weiss used the chance to rush forward and pierce the creature's unarmored belly. Like the others before it, the Boarbatusk squealed and twitched briefly only to become still as its life was extinguished.
Silence took over until Weiss had to reengage. It had taken a minute to slay five Boarbatusks but the previous scouting had hinted to such a number only being as little as a tenth of the entire group. And not all of them would be the weak juveniles that she had so easily killed; a few would be bigger…more difficult.
The Huntress nonetheless took advantage of this brief reprieve. Taking a step back, Weiss let her tight muscles relax, her shoulders lowering. After a slow, steadying breath she slid Myrtenaster back to its place at her belt.
The release of the Dust energies that she had gathered into her weapon for the previous attack had knocked back her hood to reveal her long, snow-white hair. Weiss had adopted a style that differed from how it used to be whereas once the ponytail had been high and off to side it was now low and centered. Holding it in place was no longer the tiara but a silky red ribbon, the ends mixing with her long white strands.
The rest of her attire showed just how far she had fallen from her lofty position. Instead of the lavish dresses and expensive jacket, beneath her cloak was a simpler blouse that was light blue. Her combat skirt possessed the same color but was its own separate article that covered her thighs yet lacked the flare that her previous one did. Around her waist was a belt hanging from which was her Myrtenaster and a gray pouch that contained spare vials of Dust for it. Although her mid-calf boots were of the same style as her previous ones, they were colored to match her blouse and skirt.
Gunfire continued to echo elsewhere to let Weiss know that the battle continued to rage despite her own little break. She was not alone in this task and while her clothing may have changed her sense of commitment had not. Taking a deep breath and reminding herself of the stakes that were involved, Weiss began to walk through this incomplete settlement, looking and listening for the next group to deal with.
As a growing habit she ran a hand beneath her ponytail to fully free it from the cloth prison that had been her hood so that it may better flow down her back. In doing so her fingers brushed the silk of the ribbon. It was habit still that had Weiss twirling one of the red ends around her fingers in order to bring it in front of her face.
She brushed it along the flesh of her left cheek. The motion would appear like Weiss was brushing an invisible tear from her face when, really, she was tracing one last addition to her person. Trailing down her left eyes was that ever-present scar.
Her first scar. The second was located just beneath her left eye, crossing over the lower half of the first to form a crooked X.
Weiss stopped. While the memories that the ribbon and the scar tended to provoke could be to blame, that was not the case. She looked over her shoulder.
The two could not possibly be responsible for the ground trembling beneath her feet. Oh no, that was the Boarbatusk that now charged towards her. A Boarbatusk that easily dwarfed the others that she had dispatched.
It was one of the fully-grown females that tended to shepherd these groups. It did not possess the vicious tusks that a male sported but it didn't need to. Not when it had more armor to make it difficult for even the thin blade of Myrtenaster to slip through. If the ground that only intensified its shaking was any indication as it drew closer, the female possessed nearly twice the bulk of a male. With such a mouth that opened wide to reveal its enormous fangs, such a Boarbatusk could easily bite the former heiress in half.
Releasing the ribbon, Weiss once again drew her weapon.
Soon, she assured herself.
She met the Boarbatusk head-on.
The first time Weiss found herself reevaluting her relationship with Ruby had to have been at the beginning of their third year at Beacon. At that point, she was wondering if she could keep it professional anymore for clearly the most difficult obstacle to get over was how grown-up she had become.
Gone was the child who she once believed had managed to luck her way into Beacon. Stepping into the courtyard, fresh from summer break, the heiress noted the familiar flapping sound of a red cloak within the autumn breeze. A turn of her head had her bringing the item into view to see it draped over a girl with matching red streaks in her dark hair.
As if detecting her stare, Ruby turned around to face Weiss.
At seeing the wide, bright smile on her partner's face, Weiss had been in mid-sigh as she could only imagine what shenanigans Ruby would drag her into this time. They would be exhausting, aggravating, drive her to the brink of insanity…but she would secretly enjoy them all the while. Her summer had been so dull with the severe lack of Ruby Rose.
That sigh, along with her lungs, froze when Weiss took note of the rest of her partner.
The most notable item was the red ribbon that was tied around Ruby's hair. For as long as Weiss had known Ruby, the scythe-wielder tended to have the hairs at the right side of her face longer than those at her left. During the summer she must've let them grow longer, the bundle of hair dropping far past her chin until it reached her breast. It had been tied into a braid and the ribbon bound it all together.
Weiss wouldn't discover the real reason for Ruby's design choice until later so linking the braid to her own off-centered ponytail had seemed ridiculous at the time.
Like Weiss, Ruby didn't seem to have any desire to change her usual getup during her summer break. Nonetheless, the clothing accentuated many of the certain…aspects that her team leader had gained instead. The corset, for one, was now hugging more defined curves while her stockings were worn tight against longer legs. Her skirt made it difficult to see the widening of her hips.
This was not to say that Ruby had grown overly curvaceous as her body had developed in ways more appropriate to her enormous strength. Similar to Pyrrha Nikos, there was definitely a layer of muscle that toned her limbs such as those legs; no doubt a result of always wielding that gigantic sniper scythe of hers and dragging giant Nevermores up cliffs. In no way can she ever be considered as thin or scrawny anymore.
There came a blow that landed solidly upon the heiress's pride when she realized that this eighteen-year-old Ruby, who had managed to match her in height even at fifteen, had to be at least half a head taller than her now. Not only that…
Weiss's gaze moved up from those curves to an area beneath her partner's chin. She hid a wince.
She's gotten bigger elsewhere too, she thought with a bit of envy. Ruby hadn't reached the measurements of her older sister but the image-conscious Weiss was still intimidated by what she saw.
"Eyes up here, Weiss."
Startled ice blue eyes shot up to meet twinkling silver ones. Ruby's smile turned playful.
Oh yes, how Ruby changed.
It took Weiss a couple weeks to know when Ruby was about to attack. A sudden displacement of air and the scent of roses followed by the sound of the settling cloth of that red cloak was a sure sign to let her know that Ruby had arrived. Of course, there was a clear difference between knowing when Ruby was coming and doing anything about it considering that ridiculous speed of hers.
Really by the time Weiss realized that her partner had arrived it was too late to do anything.
At first it was only a cheerful greeting that would follow Ruby's appearance. Before she had gotten used to it that was usually enough for Weiss to jump in place, yelping in surprise. Surprise would soon give way to irritation and Weiss would whirl around to face her grinning partner to unleash a few choice words about sneaking up on her like that.
No matter how angry the words got it did nothing to stop Ruby from continuing to do it. After a while, Weiss had decided to just deal with it. That ended up being a mistake for Ruby had translated it as permission to go further.
Now when Ruby appeared, chirping the heiress's name, the young woman would grasp a part of the heiress. This time it was her arm. Wrapping it within her own two, Ruby pulled the limb against her chest while her head leaned close to Weiss.
That was something that the snow-haired woman was having a much harder time dealing with. Whether on purpose or not (Who was she kidding? It was definitely on purpose), Weiss's arm would be drawn in between Ruby's more developed breasts, putting the heiress off guard at the two points of softness that enveloped her arm. That combined with the noticeably toned biceps that gently held her arm yet hinted to Ruby's true strength made Weiss, for the first time, feel a bit intimidated by the younger woman.
The feeling didn't get any better when, upon turning her head to face Ruby, Weiss found her nose nearly touching her partner's as she stared into those mischievous eyes. The hairs of Ruby's braid and an end of that red, silky ribbon brushed against her bare collarbone with their combined movements. Even with her head lowered, Ruby could meet her eye-to-eye; further evidence as to how much bigger Ruby had become in every way possible.
The closeness flustered the heiress. Her cheeks warming, Weiss turned her head away from her partner in an attempt to hide how awkward Ruby was making her.
"W-what do you want Ruby?" Weiss cursed at how she stammered out that first word. So much for that plan. Nonetheless, she refused to turn her head back.
"I was wondering where you were going!" Ruby replied, smiling from ear-to-ear not that the heiress would notice with her turned head. "It's lunch time but you're going the wrong way! The cafeteria's the other way!"
Weiss felt her brow twitching while she attempted to cool her cheeks through sheer will. "I'm very well aware of that, Ruby. I'm heading to our dorm. Professor Oobleck has offered some extra credit work and I'm going to get a head start on it. I have a small lunch packed for the occasion so-"
"You're going to eat alone?" Ruby's eyes went wide at that.
"It'll be much easier for me to concentrate if I'm al-woah!" Weiss was interrupted when Ruby pulled on her arm.
"Eating alone is bad for the digestion," Ruby spoke, practically dragging the heiress behind her in the direction of their dorm. "I'll come with you!"
"Ruby, wait! It's fine! I don't mind! Really!" Yet no matter how much Weiss protested or how much she tugged her arm in an attempt to free it, all she could do was stumble along after Ruby.
Okay, so Weiss would have to amend her previous statement: Ruby may've grown up but that child she remembered meeting during their initiation was still there. That overly-happy and headstrong dolt who would always leave her exasperated at the end of the day.
This new, older Ruby still left her exasperated but for slightly different reasons. She may still maintain a bit of that childish nature but Weiss had to admit that she matured in ways other than what could be found on her body. For example, when the two did return to their dorm and Weiss had begun working on her extra credit work, Ruby had remained unusually silent and was respecting her partner's privacy.
In fact, when Weiss would glance over, she would see Ruby's nose buried in her own textbook. That once teenaged girl who couldn't sit in one spot or keep constant attention to her studies was lying upon her stomach on the carpet of their dorm, her gaze staring intently at the printed words on the pages. Next to her was a package of cookies that she would occasionally reach out to pluck a chocolate chip morsel from to munch on. Not once did her eyes stray from her book.
The only time that Ruby did look away was to catch Weiss staring at her. As if able to sense when the eyes of the heiress would be on her, the scythe-wielder would turn her head in time to catch Weiss's stare with one of her own. The result would be Weiss jerking her head back around to her own book, cheeks aflame. When she thought it safe to take another look she would find that Ruby had also returned to her book with the addition of a smile on her face.
Weiss would later suspect – and rightly so – that Ruby had decided to lay on the floor instead of hiding out of sight in her top bunk for this very reason.
The heiress was completely baffled by how one summer had changed the partner she once knew so well. Seeking an explanation, she turned to the only person who could possibly give her one. She would soon regret it.
"Well she was fifteen-years-old when you first met her," Yang explained, amused by the perplexed Weiss. "Three years leaves a lot of room for more growth."
"How come I'm only noticing this now?" Weiss questioned. "This kind of growth is supposed to be gradual! How can she become the way she is in just one summer?"
Yang shrugged. "A lot of milk. Seriously though, it's not like it occurred all at once. She was growing at sixteen and seventeen; you just hadn't noticed. The rest of it just happened to come in one last growth spurt right when she was turning eighteen."
Weiss had paused at that, taking a moment to think back to the last two years. Attempting to visualize her team leader as she had been, the heiress thought she could make out slight discrepancies with fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen-year-old Ruby. An extra inch in height maybe, a subtle thickening at her limbs perhaps, but nothing that came close to the beaut- specimen that was the current, eighteen-year-old Ruby.
Choosing a different route, Weiss began again with, "That doesn't explain her attitude! She's always around me now! Every time I turn a corner she's there! I certainly don't remember her ever being this…" she paused to try to find the right word before ending with, "…clingy." Unconsciously she rubbed at her arm, remembering the touches of certain features of Ruby's growth that had encased it. "More so than usual."
If anything, that only got Yang to grin knowingly. The sight caused Weiss to frown. Just what, exactly, was the blonde all knowing about?
"She's just being affectionate. She hasn't seen her dear partner all summer."
Weiss felt her cheeks start to burn. This was becoming a regular thing this year it seemed. "She's suffocating me! How am I supposed to do anything with her around me?"
The grin widened. "Methinks that the Ice Princess is having trouble keeping her eyes off of my not-so-little sis."
The lump that came from Weiss hammering her fist on top of Yang's head took a couple days to fully heal.
Contrary to her complaints, Ruby hadn't really been doing anything to force Weiss to stray from her studies. In fact, when compared to their previous years, she found it easier to complete her own schoolwork this year. Teen Ruby and her attention-wandering tended to be a chore herself which forced Weiss, in order to fulfill her promise to be the beast teammate, to devote some of her time to help Ruby make up for her slackening grades.
Adult Ruby, on the other hand, did not have that problem if that incident in their dorm room was an indication. If anything it was Ruby who would drag Weiss to the library or their next class once she learned that was the heiress's next destination. While Weiss knew that it was just another excuse for her team leader to get all touchy-feely, she couldn't deny that when they did get to such a destination Ruby would devote herself to her work.
This actually led to a two-woman study session that benefited both participants. Whereas Weiss would have normally been the one quizzing Ruby and telling her to keep studying when her answers were inadequate, now the two partners were quizzing each other with answers and questions both being tossed between them. It was a refreshing and worthwhile experience if the heiress had to admit it.
However, it was during the weekends where Weiss's earlier complaints about Ruby smothering her became valid. With her team leader's increased motivation when it came to school, Weiss had dreamed of using what was usually a break from school to get even further along with their classes. This, unfortunately, was where Ruby apparently drew the line.
When the weekend came around they didn't even remain in Beacon; it was off to the city instead. Again Weiss was hardly allowed to have any say in the matter. As soon as she was awake, showered, and dressed, it was Ruby who would direct Weiss as to where to go.
Now the clothing stores she didn't mind, especially as Ruby had intricate knowledge as to where to locate ones that had the widest selection of combat skirts what with her having been born and raised in Vale. Weapon and Dust shops were equally worthwhile if only for the heiress to see the latest uses of humanity's most vital resource that her family mined. It was the movie theaters, restaurants, and other places of such worthless nature that she had a problem with.
They were time wasters. With the next Vytal Festival being months away, the heiress had no idea as to why Ruby would drag her away from academic perfection to spend so much time in the city.
"I don't see the point," Weiss would verbally say to Ruby in an attempt to get her partner to see sense.
It was during one of their city lunches that she tried. The two of them were seated in a booth next to a window that offered a clear view of the crowds and towering buildings that came with city life. Weiss had already finished her own meal which consisted of a simple, healthy salad and her empty plate had already been collected by their waiter. Ruby had chosen a grotesque lunch that consisted of a sandwich of ground beef cooked well done with a side of greasy, salty, deep-fried potatoes that had been cut into wedges.
To Weiss's disbelief, her team leader hadn't been satisfied and decided to go for dessert. Spoon in hand, Ruby was eating from a bowl filled with a frozen mix of milk and cream complete with strawberries piled all over it.
"Beacon supplies its students with the adequate foods to provide optimal nutrition," Weiss argued while Ruby stuck a spoonful of ice cream into her mouth. "I don't see why we need to go to the city for meals, especially if you insist on eating something so unbelievably unhealthy. Have you even seen the nutrition fact sheets? They're required to provide them for a reason you know."
During her argument Ruby had spooned up another bit of ice cream but only raised it halfway to address the heiress. Loose strawberries slipped from the spoon and fell back into the bowl as she focused on Weiss. "It gets boring to eat the same old thing at Beacon. Don't you want to treat yourself every once in a while?"
Weiss was unsure what Ruby meant by 'treating yourself' but assumed that it involved that artery-clogger that she had witnessed her eat. If that was the case then, no, she didn't want to do that. Sighing, she pinched the bridge of her nose before she tried again. "Do you even know the amount of calories you just consu-mmf!"
She was silenced by a spoon laded with strawberry ice cream that Ruby slipped into her mouth.
Having declared Yang to be a lost cause, Weiss tried to find a sympathetic ear in the form of their faunus teammate. The feelings that she had been suppressing required an outlet and no way was she going to expose them to the blonde. The nature of the feelings themselves made it strictly impossible.
Amber eyes peeking over the top of her latest novel, Blake questioned, "And what do you think about all of this?"
"That's the thing," Weiss replied. "I shouldn't be."
Feeling inexplicitly torn, the snow-haired woman was pacing back and forth at the foot of Blake's bunk. With arms crossed over her chest, head bowed, and jaw clenched, Weiss was deep in thought over this conflict that she's found herself in the middle of.
This seemed really important. Understanding it as such, Blake set her novel to the side before sitting up on her bed and crossing her legs. Her eyes slowly tracked the pacing Weiss while her cat ears did the same on top of her head.
"My family is very traditional," Weiss started explaining, turning on her heel to cross in front of the bunk again. "And very strict. Yet those two things are what have allowed us to survive and remain as prosperous as we have been since the time of my grandfather." She sighed, eyes closing briefly. "Not that we had a choice."
Blake remained silent. This was not about the war between White Fang and the Schnee Dust Company. It was a factor but it was not the main point. The point was the well-being of two precious friends who fate may very well tear apart due to how one of them had been born.
Blake could understand that very well.
"We expect perfection because that's the only thing we can allow ourselves to have. Perfection leads to prosperity and prosperity means survival. It means status, fame…strength. Everything a Schnee must do, everything a Schnee does, is to better themselves and the family. My time at Beacon was only allowed because what I can learn here shall accomplish that. When it ends…"
Here the heiress stopped, one hand coming unbidden to her ponytail. She looped a lock of long white hair several times around her fingers before tugging on them. She bit her lip.
Seeing Weiss as stuck as she was, Blake gently asked, "What do you feel?"
"Pressure," Weiss replied, giving her hair another tug. "Fear of failure, to become a failure, to let my family's prosperity end here after all the pain and hard work that they've been forced to go through to come this far. It is pain that I have felt since my childhood."
Blake nodded solemnly even if Weiss couldn't see the movement with her gaze elsewhere. It was not unlike her own burdens. To be born a faunus was to be born to a life of pain and pressure that the masses would bring down upon you for being different. In general, what Weiss felt and what Blake had felt were not so different from one another.
The only difference here was that Blake had recognized and found her bit of solace that allowed her to overcome it. It was just a matter of Weiss needing to do the same. She needed to recognize what she had inadvertently found.
The faunus tried to point the heiress in the right direction. "And when you're with Ruby…?"
A slow, weary sigh. Untangling her fingers from her hair, Weiss let her arm and chin drop. "The pain…the pressure…it's still there. In some ways, when I think about Ruby, it just becomes more complicated. Stressful."
Her chin slowly rose. "But when I am with her I find myself forgetting about everything. I find my burdens lifted and in their place is a feeling of…" she chewed thoughtfully on her lip. "…a lightness. With her I no longer feel afraid of what may come. With her I feel like everything is somehow going to work out for the best." She scoffed at her own words.
Meanwhile, the faunus smiled. "I believe that's what people call happiness, Weiss."
Weiss blinked and turned to her raven-haired teammate. For some reason the smile that she saw was similar to the one that Yang had directed at her previously. That smile that frustrated her to no end because it told her that people knew something that she didn't.
The heiress thought back to those times in the dorm and the library when it was just her and Ruby, the two of them passing questions to each other, each one smiling when their question was answered correctly.
She thought back to those trips to the city that she had thought to be so wasteful. That visit to the arcade where Ruby had held a stuffed, white bunny to Weiss; a gift that her leader had apparently won for her and, if she looked right now, she would see it on top of her properly-made bunk. She had rolled her eyes at being given such a childish toy but for some reason she had never been able to throw it away.
She remembered that one time in the theater when she had cracked a smile and giggled. The reaction had not been because of the movie but due to the laughter of her partner who sat next to her. Weiss had laughed because Ruby was laughing and at the time it seemed to make complete sense to her.
Finally she was reminded of the cold treat that had slipped passed her lips. That sweet, juicy taste of strawberries with the frozen milk and cream melting on her tongue. The dessert that, when the waiter had come by asking if they wanted the check, had Weiss raising a hand and asking for one for herself. She had avoided Ruby's gaze and was distinctly aware of yet another bout of heat at her face.
Linked to each memory was Ruby with that dazzling smile, twinkling eyes, and that braid that waved gently at the side of her face with the slightest movement.
Back in the present, Weiss felt the corners of her mouth quirk slightly upwards. The facial reaction surprised her and, instinctively, she killed it. This so-called happiness felt unbelievably pleasant but the fencer found something wrong with it. Specifically how it had been absent during her childhood. Its current existence put her off.
"This wasn't part of the plan," she revealed to Blake, meeting her teammate's inquisitive look. "The plan had been to attend the top combat school to be trained by the best. I'd get perfect grades, get the strongest team, and all would know the name Schnee that would rival anything that had ever come from Beacon. No one would ever question my integrity as everything I had done here I did on my own. Once I graduate, I would take my position at the head of the company, find a suitor to continue our line, and produce a suitable heir who would replace me."
Blake had quietly listened, her sharp eyesight allowing her to clearly see how Weiss's blue orbs flicked from right to left as if trying to visually spot what had gone wrong. As she mentally went over this convoluted plan that the fencer just revealed to her, a question came to Blake's mind.
"Was this your plan?" she asked. "Or your father's?"
Those searching eyes and the heiress's entire body stilled. The silence that followed was enough of an answer for Blake.
"I didn't hear anything in his plan that considered what you wanted."
Weiss jerked both her head and shoulders up, eyes narrowing towards her black-haired teammate. Other than a twitch of her cat ears, Blake met her glare with an unblinking stare knowing that Weiss wouldn't be able to win this contest and not just because of her faunus heritage.
Finally Weiss blinked. Head and shoulders lowered as did her gaze. "I think that's because he didn't plan on me being happy."
If not for her ears, Blake might've missed the words with how quietly the heiress spoke them.
The heiress stumbled and nearly fell forward. Fortunately, with half their third year at Beacon long-since past, Weiss was slowly developing a sixth sense when it came to Ruby's sudden appearances. She couldn't fully explain how but whenever she walked through Beacon's halls she would get hit with a premonition.
If the halls were crowded, Weiss would suddenly become acutely aware when the surrounding space opened up enough that Ruby would be able to slip through a body of students with her Semblance and catch her partner. If the halls were empty the heiress would note, even if she was the only one here, that things had become too quiet; a great time for her cloaked leader to appear.
This was one of those times. Having been walking at a steady pace with not a soul around her, Weiss halted with her left foot forward. She began to move her head to look over her shoulder.
One breeze and flap of a cloak later and a weight collided solidly into her back.
No, this has still done nothing to assist the heiress in avoiding such attacks; not with that speed. It did, however, give the fencer an extra half-second of time to prepare. Using that left foot as a brace, Weiss shifted the added weight upon it to keep from falling before straightening.
Not that Ruby had any intention of completely flooring her partner. The no longer thin arms that came around Weiss's neck tightened; not enough to choke her but enough for Ruby to help her in keeping her on her feet if it was needed. It was only when Weiss had straightened into a proper standing position did Ruby's arms become loose.
Weiss could no longer bring herself to summon up the previous irritation at such acts even if she wanted to. Those days seemed to be long gone now.
Now the heiress found herself tilting her head to the right, enough so that she could press her cheek against one of those arms. At her left came the silky sensation of a ribbon while the soft bundle of red and black hair that it was tied around caressed the skin there. Glancing over that way she would find Ruby's chin hovering over her shoulder. Past the hair and its accessory she could see Ruby looking to her.
"Hey, Ruby," Weiss greeted, a smile slowly sprouting.
"What should I do then?" Weiss asked, seeking wisdom. "I don't know where to go from here. Even I didn't expect this."
"The greatest things are the ones you don't plan on," Blake replied.
Their positions had been reversed. Instead of Blake sitting on a bunk it was now Weiss with the faunus kneeling in front of her, patting her knee in a form of morale support. It was the touch and the stuffed bunny that the heiress hugged against her chest that she was seeking to anchor her swirling thoughts.
"Everything that's happened to me since coming here," Blake continued, "I hadn't planned on. I turned my back on the only thing that had ever been constant in my life in exchange for something that I didn't understand but hoped for the chance that it would be better than what others were pushing me towards. Meeting Yang and Ruby, the two of us settling our own grievances, all of it had come from a chance meeting in a forest to something like one sentence spoken without thinking. I have regrets over some of the bumps that have occurred but do I have regrets concerning the results? None whatsoever."
The words that her teammate spoke made sense but Weiss found little direction in them concerning her own problem. It didn't tell her how she should deal with Ruby, how she could possibly handle this fluttering within her chest whenever her leader was near, or how flustered she always got when she was touched and dragged by her.
Even though Blake had just said it, it took the heiress a moment to understand that that was the whole point. "So you're saying to just let it go and see where it leads?" That was easier said than done; she preferred to manage things to keep everything nice and orderly. This whole thing with Ruby was anything but.
Blake smiled gently and gave her another pat on the knee. "That's life for you, Weiss. What you're experiencing right now is just something that can fall right into a person's lap or have them waste their days wishing for. Fighting it will only make it more painful. You will inevitably have to make a choice but do so after you've taken the time to understand your own feelings on the matter. Listen to them and not whatever plan had been laid out for you. The rest will fall into place."
The heiress looked down at the stuffed toy that she held onto. It was just one of the several strange additions of her life brought on by Ruby Rose. Just like the bunk beds, these objects and feelings had once been absent and unknown to Weiss while growing up. She fiddled with one of the fluffy ears.
That's life, huh? she silently questioned.
She decided to see just where it may lead.
"Where you going?"
Ruby's question and warm breath on her face brought Weiss from her musings. The heiress parted her lips, breaking her smile so that she could release a breath of exasperation. "I'm heading to Grimm Biology, Ruby."
"Mind if I walk with you?"
Ruby knew perfectly well that the class was on the other side of the Beacon campus whereas Weiss knew that her leader's Weapon Dynamics class was only one building over from their current location. A trip across campus and back would add another ten minutes to Ruby's time at least.
Weiss's lips came back together to reform her small smile. "If you want."
She did. Letting go of her partner's neck, Ruby pulled away so that she could stand at her side. The absence of physical contact only lasted a few seconds and then Weiss felt the fingers of Ruby's right hand slip between those of her left before squeezing. Weiss found herself responding with a squeeze of her own.
Going by Blake's advice, Weiss didn't even try to look to the future. Doing so would only lead the fencer to a void of uncertainty that gave her no comforts nonetheless an inkling of what she should do. In it were Ruby and the variety of consequences that would result if Weiss maintained her link with her.
Contemplating the future would remind Weiss that Ruby was a commoner who was nothing like the other noble individuals who had been born into such a privileged lifestyle such as Weiss. Nobility should remain noble and the heiress should keep her company to those who could benefit her line. Preferably with an heir of her own and being associated with another profitable business to add to the Schnee dynasty. Ruby couldn't provide either thus her affiliation with a Schnee should be invalidated.
So the snow-haired heiress decided to stick to the present and focus on the moments between her and Ruby. She found it to be much sweeter and easier that way.
Such as when Ruby held her hand. Weiss didn't mind that the rough, calloused fingers were unbefitting of a proper lady. Instead she found herself pondering how they and the strength contained within them could grasp her delicate ones with such a light, caring grip. Or exude the warmth that transferred from flesh-to-flesh.
Their times continued and Weiss chose to enjoy them rather than find reason behind them. The next time they sat together in their dorm or the library to study, Weiss took a second or two from her textbook and note-taking to listen to the turning pages and scribbling of a pen nearby that matched her own movements. Her blue eyes glanced up to meet silver. Instead of turning back to her own work with quick, jerky movements Weiss gave her partner a smile before going back to studying.
Occasionally Weiss would feel Ruby's leg give hers an accidental bump beneath the table or, when passing notes, her hand would brush against hers. She made no reaction although, eventually, Weiss allowed her own leg and hand to 'accidentally' do the same.
During their times in the city, Weiss would tune out the surrounding sounds of the crowds and focus solely on Ruby. No matter how many times they came to Vale's commercial district it never seemed to get old to the scythe-wielder. Her eyes were as bright as her smile as she scanned the city, her mouth moving as she talked about this and that whether it be their latest destination or a story of a Vale as it was during her childhood.
The destinations and the stories were all so childish and ate up hours of time but the heiress didn't find herself caring. They both proved to stir up a surge of envy as Weiss noted how her own childhood seemed to be severely lacking these things that were like everyday life for Ruby.
Their lunches now involved Ruby trying to get Weiss to taste what foods she hadn't tried before like the strawberry ice cream. Though she continued to keep to her salad, Weiss would become aware of one of those wedge-shaped potatoes or some other deep-fried monstrosity that Ruby held towards her mouth whether it be with her fingers or a utensil. Weiss would lean forward and eat it either way with her lips and teeth grazing upon the silverware or Ruby's fingertips.
In associating herself with Ruby, Weiss found herself experiencing more of that happiness.
Unfortunately, despite the joy she found in the present she would inevitably find her concentration slipping towards the future. It couldn't be helped; her common sense and its looming threat would come to her as their time at Beacon continued to dwindle. After the current year ended there would only be one more. Then they would graduate.
After that…she didn't know. There were the responsibilities she had to her family and then there was Ruby. They clashed ferociously, making it difficult to find a middle ground. Was that the choice that Blake had warned her about? As much as she wondered if a compromise could be reached, as a Schnee Weiss had to plan for the worst.
The logic that was as cold as her reputation put it in layman's terms: she would choose between a responsibility that dated back to her grandfather and a young woman who she knew for almost three years. If she was forced to make a decision, was she willing to toss aside all that training and studying to become head of the Schnee family for one person? Was Ruby even that important to her?
Funnily enough, it would be Ruby who would force Weiss to answer that question.
Doubly funny was how Weiss was thinking about it when she and Ruby returned to their dorm one evening. Although usually devoting an ear to listen to Ruby's plans on how to spend their time off, Weiss was lost in thought and her leader's words became background noise that she was ignoring.
She had been going through the motions. With classes having ended, Weiss was unbuttoning the jacket of her school uniform before tossing it onto her bunk with the tan vest following suit. Attempting to untie the red string that kept the collar of her shirt tight, Weiss did not notice how Ruby became unusually quiet.
It was only when Ruby's arms came around her waist and crossed over her middle did Weiss return to her senses. At the back of her head she felt something soft as Ruby buried her face into her ponytail, breathing deeply within that mass of snow white hair. The scythe-wielder's arms pulled Weiss back in order to draw her closer and the heiress became distinctly aware of how her partner's chest pressed into her back.
This was nothing like the more aggressive ambushes in the halls that her partner enjoyed. The effects were just as different with Weiss tensing within Ruby's grip, eyes wide with surprise and confusion at this behavior.
Unexpected it may be, Weiss allowed herself to be drawn in nonetheless. Her hands dropped from her collar to grasp Ruby's arms that were folded over her stomach but made no move to pull them apart. They remained like that for however long it was as Weiss wasn't keeping count. Eventually she felt Ruby move her head to the side in order to bring her lips closer to her ear.
"Hey, Weiss?" The voice was, unlike her chipper self, faint. It was more like Ruby breathing the question into Weiss's ear rather than actually speaking it.
Weiss turned a head a fraction to her right. It was far from enough to bring Ruby into view though the movement would let her partner know that she was paying attention. "Yes?"
"Are you happy?"
Weiss blinked, the question catching her off guard. Why bring that up all of a sudden? Had Ruby noted her silence and mistaken it as a sign that she was unhappy? Thinking that was it, Weiss hastily defended, "It wasn't you Ruby; I was just lost in thought. I was thinking about-"
It was obvious that Ruby noticed how the heiress broke off yet didn't comment on it. Her arms gave Weiss a squeeze before she repeated her question. "Are you happy, Weiss?"
"Yes." Weiss decided to just give her a proper yes or no answer to make up for her blunder. A truthful one as it was happiness that she was experiencing with-
Weiss tensed at the question although she wasn't sure why. She forced herself to relax as there was only one answer she could possibly have for that. "Yes."
Ruby pressed her cheek against the side of her head and Weiss could feel the flesh stretch into a smile. "I'm glad."
She didn't say any more and Weiss wasn't sure if she should say something. Despite her latest stance to live in the moment and to be guided by her own feelings, nothing was coming to the fencer. Bereft of direction, Weiss chose to remain in Ruby's embrace. The palms of her hands glided along Ruby's arms and the scythe-wielder nuzzled her cheek against her head in reply. Her lips remained near her ear but Weiss heard steady breathing instead of words.
"I was happy when you became my teammate," Ruby finally spoke again. "Not when we met in the Emerald Forest. To me, you became my teammate when you chose to be."
Weiss understood when that time was. In all honesty, she couldn't believe that over two years had gone by from when she had given Ruby that cup of coffee and a declaration to become a true part of Team RWBY. With the closeness that she was currently sharing with her team leader, Weiss found it equally difficult to believe how she had initially disliked her.
"You helped me a lot," she continued. "You probably don't even know how much. I had been sent to Beacon two years ahead and had to leave a lot of friends behind. I came here alone and was afraid."
Funny thing about that…, Weiss couldn't help but think. The heiress had come here alone but she hadn't been afraid. She had been confident in her own abilities as they were all she had ever needed to rely on. She hadn't been looking for friends but subordinates who would obey her commands.
"It was more than the grades." Another nuzzle. "It was your friendship and our time that we spent together. The friends I left at Signal are attending their first year here by the way but when I try to talk to them it's like I'm talking to strangers; we've been apart for too long and I've experienced so much that it's difficult to relate to them anymore.
"That's when I became afraid about us. We're nearing our final year at Beacon. I know that me, Blake, and Yang are all going to be Huntresses but I also know that you have responsibilities elsewhere due to your family's company. I understand that when our time is up, it'll be difficult to keep Team RWBY together."
Weiss felt a prick at her heart. She unconsciously tightened her grasp on Ruby's arms. She tried not to grip too hard 'less she ended up digging her nails into her skin but hearing that Ruby was just as aware of their problematic future bothered her.
Or maybe she should be relieved? As much as the future stressed her, seeing that she truly wasn't alone in the matter eased her somewhat. There was someone else who held the same worries that she did.
Ruby's arms constricted around her, almost enough to cause a bit of discomfort but not quite. "I wanted to make sure to treasure our time together if that was the case. I know that our studies are important but I wanted to spend time having fun with you. I've always admired your focus on work but if that's all it'll be for the rest of your life, why not take this time to enjoy it?" A pause. "You've been enjoying it, right?"
Weiss nodded. "I have. I said it before; I'm happy with you." Ruby's breathing had remained steady but the heiress noticed how it suddenly hitched as soon as she finished.
"I'm sorry," Ruby apologized. Weiss had no idea why. "You must think I'm just overreacting, right? You're probably not worried at all and I'm just a dolt for being so."
That's not true.
"I don't want us to become strangers. You're important to me, Weiss."
You're important to me too. Weiss felt her breathing start to quicken as did her heart. She felt the nails that she had tried to keep under control dig into her partner's arms.
"Promise you won't forget me, okay?"
When Weiss moved it was because she wanted to. As she told Blake and promised herself, she decided to let her feelings guide her. She put little thought into what may happen when she turned around within Ruby's embrace, her hands coming up to grasp the scythe-wielder's shoulders.
Seeing Ruby made it that much easier. In response to Weiss's sudden movements, Ruby had pulled her head back which gave the heiress a better view of how wide and startled they were. Weiss felt a sense of accomplishment to be the one who managed to catch Ruby off guard.
The kiss did an even better job of that. With her hold on Ruby, Weiss pulled her closer while she tilted her head.
Ruby's lips were rough yet meshed well with her soft ones. However, they were just as sweet as the strawberries that Ruby had her taste before and she enjoyed them all the same as she became lost in that sweetness.
She half-expected Ruby to push her away but as the milliseconds stretched into full seconds with Ruby's lips remaining locked with hers she found nothing to worry about. The fact that Ruby's arms now sought to keep her in place as if she might have second thoughts despite starting it certainly dashed any fears that her feelings wouldn't be reciprocated.
When they broke for air, Weiss was partially surprised to find the two of them on her bunk. She soon considered the position to be a wise one as she seriously began to question if her legs would buckle beneath her if she tried standing right now.
This did put her in a bit of an awkward position though. Finding herself on her back, she became aware that the knot she had loosened at the collar of her shirt had become completely undone with their actions. The result was a rather decent exposure of skin. While it actually didn't show off as much as her combat outfit, Ruby's position right on top of her and the hairs of her braid brushing along her throat and beneath her collarbone contributed to the growing warmth at her face.
Ruby's eyes were still a bit wide but no longer alarmed. Her face was as red as her partner's but then that grin that Weiss has come to associate with this eighteen-year-old Ruby appeared. It faltered when she, too, became aware of the position, transforming into a shy, uncertain look that Weiss remembered belonging to a younger Ruby.
She looked as if she was going to get up. Weiss stopped her with the hands that she kept at her shoulders. The uncertainty grew, forcing Ruby to look away.
Weiss was patient. More importantly, she was sure about what she wanted. Whatever the future may bring, whatever consequences may come with this choice, she didn't care. She loved Ruby and knew that her most desired place to be was with her. It will all work out somehow.
So when Ruby met her gaze with a silent question, Weiss nodded her head with an equally silent answer. There was still hesitation but soon Ruby was lowering back down for a second, more passionate kiss.
The remainder of Weiss's uniform was scattered upon the bunk with her vest and jacket. One or two articles perhaps fell off the bed entirely. Ruby's soon joined them on the bunk and floor.
Weiss got a long, in-depth look as to how Ruby truly changed.
Author's Note: Well this was supposed to be a oneshot but it didn't turn out that way. Instead it shall be a two-parter! I really only decided to post this much because with Black Friday (Yaaaa…working retail) tomorrow and me having a busy work weekend I wanted to have something up for this week.
I do have a portion of the second part already typed up and I expect it to have it up in a couple days once Black Friday and the weekend ends. It's probably best that I do divide the oneshot into two chapters as I have noticed how people would mention in reviews (not just for my fics but others) that chapters can become a slog to get through when reaching around the 15k mark. I expect this two-parter to reach around 20k words total.
Oh and I had always fantasied as to what Weiss would look like with a cross-shaped scar. Thank God for funblade for giving me a true image of it. Check out the little project that funblade and Amipiai are working on when you get the chance; looks pretteh cool.