Part 4

Blake sat on her bed and closed her eyes to remember the last few moments of her life.

She had ripped the pages about Operation White Rose out of her diary while screaming her head off because of her conversation with Yang a few days ago. Since she had been discovered, Yang had made sure to interject herself in small ways to make sure Blake was never too close to Ruby or Weiss. There was never an empty chair next to the two girls in class, Yang always had something fun to say to Ruby, and there was even a time, when Ruby was in the shower, that Yang maintained a long and involved conversation with Weiss about the painting she had put up on the wall. Blake wouldn't have been able to go through with her plans even if she had them. Finally, the pressure had become too much and she tore apart her diary.

The resounding silence in the dorm made her uncomfortable. She punched her pillow and took no solace in the soft thwump. Maybe she shouldn't have even done anything. Her bow twitched and she covered her face with her hands. There was no good reason behind her actions, either! She had just been bored! Blake groaned loudly and thought of how one side of a Ruby doodle had fallen next to a shredded Weiss. The black haired girl wanted to burn them. Saner minds had prevailed, but she felt the drawings looking at her from the trash can.

The door opened. Blake opened her eyes to see Weiss poking her head in, scanning the whole dorm before coming in and closing the door gently. She stayed there, facing the door, and rested her forehead against it for a minute. Blake saw the heiress' shoulders were shaking, but she refrained from speaking. Maybe she was just tired from training? No, that wouldn't explain her surveillance of the room before coming in.

When Weiss turned around, Blake saw her face was red and she kept wringing her hands. She stepped closer to Blake, icy blue eyes misting over, and said, "Blake, you're the only one around who I can talk to about this. Do you think you could maybe help me with something?"

Blake looked over the fidgeting heiress. Seeing the normally confident and boisterous Huntress-in-training reduced to a skittish and scared girl forced Blake to blink. Her immaculate, white hair was frayed and her ponytail looked like it was about to come loose. The jacket and combat skirt both looked pressed and well-maintained, made more noticeable by the wreck that Weiss was. Blake's chest tightened, and she wanted to double over as the horrible pain that still festered was making itself known again.

Despite it all, Blake couldn't help but wonder if her work was finally paying off. She closed her eyes momentarily, forcing herself to not shed any tears, and then looked at Weiss once more. The heiress' disheveled appearance bothered her, and Blake felt the urge to poke a little fun at her distressed teammate to lighten the mood. Summoning a small smirk, Blake said, "Sure, if I can keep my insatiable sexual appetite in check."

Weiss' face flushed deeper and her scar became more visible. "Will you stop doing that? I am so not in the mood for those sorts of games!" she yelled. Weiss looked down at her clenched fists and took a deep breath. "Besides," she lowered her voice and looked at the floor, "I think I'd rather do that with someone else."

Life started to flow through Blake's veins. She forced herself to not jump off the bed and cheer at the news. With effort, she maintained her usual look of indifference, or at least she thought she did. "Do tell. Who is the lucky man?"

Weiss was as red as the inside of her coat, but she managed to look Blake in the eye as she said, "I-uh-it's a girl, actually."

Blake sat up from her reclined position. Weiss shifted her weight to her right foot and Blake could tell that the heiress' discomfort was growing under the increased scrutiny. The black haired girl tried to offer a reassuring smile. "Alright, who is the lucky girl?"

"It's," Weiss crossed her arms over her chest and looked around the room. She clenched her jaw and her shoulders started to rise and fall rapidly. The heiress took a deep breath and said, "It's Ruby."

Blake's smile widened and she motioned for Weiss to continue.

However, it seemed that Weiss was either unwilling to speak out of nerves or a daydream. Her icy eyes had completely glazed over. Blake sighed and asked, "Where did that come from?"

Weiss shook her head and a nervous, dopey smile spread across her lips. "It's been a while, actually. I've been ignoring it for most of the time, but being in the same bed as her hasn't helped." Weiss sat on her bed and tried to keep her hands on her lap and away from her ponytail, which she failed to do. "I was just hoping that it would go away. I mean, it couldn't have been anything serious, or at least it shouldn't have been, but this… this crush is just growing instead. Just being in the same room as her makes me feel like I'm going to suffocate and I can't even think straight." Weiss forced herself to stop playing with her hair. "I just don't know what to do."

Blake took a deep breath. The situation was delicate enough that just one wrong word could ruin all she had hoped to accomplish. Keeping her tone neutral, and making sure to look Weiss in the eye, Blake said, "You know what you have to do now, right?"

Weiss shook her head.

"You have to tell Ruby."

Blake doubted that she could get the same expression if she suggested that they burn down an orphanage.

"That is out of the question!" Weiss was on her feet and pacing in the blink of an eye. "No, Ruby can never learn about this! I'll just hurt her if she ever knew and it would ruin the team dynamic if she found out and did you ever notice that tiny little smile she always wears?" Weiss pointed to her own mouth for emphasis. "That will go away if I say anything and I don't want that to happen because it'll ruin one of the high points of my day!" Weiss stood in the center of the room, face flushed and gasping like she had run a marathon.

Blake wanted to mention that Ruby mostly wore that smile when Weiss was around. "So you don't want to say anything to Ruby because you're afraid of rejection?" Blake drawled.

"Not only that," Weiss said. She paused and opened her mouth a few times as she tried to force out what she wanted to say. Before she could, the door opened and a dejected Ruby Rose shuffled in. Weiss pressed her lips into a thin line, but her face was still flushed from the conversation. Blake smirked.

Ruby's silver eyes immediately locked onto Weiss and that same smile that melted Weiss' heart appeared. "Hey."

"Hi."

The two stood still awkwardly, blushing, staring.

Blake wanted to yell at them.

"I gotta go somewhere," Weiss said and was out of the room before anyone could react.

"Weiss," Ruby said, reaching out to stop the heiress, but she was too late. Her hand full of emptiness, Ruby whispered, "Wait."

Her arm flopped back to her side and she fell on her bed. Blake noted that Ruby had buried her face in Weiss' pillow.

Thanks to her Faunus heritage, Blake could pick out the tiny sobs coming from Ruby. The sound made her throat tighten. Was this all because of her? Had she set her teammates—her friends—up for this sort of torture? She almost wished Yang would enter, just to see what Ruby was going through, just so Blake could finally be on the receiving end of the blonde's threat.

Blake cleared her throat, which made Ruby jump. "Uh," she began. "Is something wrong?"

Ruby nodded, unable to speak. She wiped her nose on her sleeve and rubbed her eyes. Blake frowned when she saw how puffy Ruby's eyes were. Maybe Weiss had been right that day when they were arguing over the White Fang. Maybe she really was a scoundrel. Her bow twitched.

"It hurts," Ruby said. Her voice made it sound like she had scoured her throat with sandpaper.

"What does?" Blake moved over to Ruby's bed and sat next to her team leader. Ruby immediately wrapped her in a hug. Blake repressed the shudder as she thought of Ruby's snot-covered sleeve on her back and returned the gesture.

"My heart." Ruby sniffed loudly and started crying again. "Blake, what's wrong with me? Am I going to die?" The redhead pulled away and added, her voice cracking, "I don't want to die, but it hurts so much."

The look in those silver eyes was one of pure misery. Blake pulled Ruby close, but mostly so she wouldn't have to see that pained expression again. "How long has this been going on?" Blake whispered.

"Before my bed fell." Ruby's grip started to hurt, but Blake stayed quiet. She knew she deserved it. "It only hurts this bad sometimes." Ruby took a long, shuddering breath. "Where's Weiss? She was here not too long ago, right?"

Blake rubbed a hand on Ruby's back, hoping to make the girl relax. "She was. Why do you ask?"

"Because the pain only goes away when she's around."

Blake pulled away from the hug and tried to offer a smile. She longed to tell Ruby that Weiss felt the same way, but she knew that was something the two would have to confess to each other. Instead, she said, "Ruby, you're not dying." Seeing the girl's mood instantly brighten, Blake added, "It just sounds like you're developing a crush."

Ruby sniffed loudly and mumbled, "That's what Yang said."

Blake scrunched her nose. "Really, Ruby; that joke never makes any sense."

"No, that's what she actually said." Ruby's brow furrowed. "Does a crush feel like your heart is full of broken glass?"

"Why do you ask that?"

"Because I've never had something that feels like this before. Yang said it sounds like a crush." More tears fell down Ruby's face and she turned her red face away. "It feels terrible. I don't like it," she whined.

"Have you tried telling Weiss about this?" Blake asked before she could stop herself.

Ruby shook her head. "I can't. I mean, I wish I could, but that'd be really awkward because we're both partners and we're stuck together for our whole time at Beacon, so yeah…" Ruby trailed off and looked away. "I really want to, though."

Blake looked around the room. A question dangled on the tip of her tongue that she really wanted to ask, but it could also ruin the conversation. However, the combined exhaustion from Yang's reprimands and Weiss' confession also made Blake want to be blunt. Throwing caution to the wind, she said, "So, the fact that you're both girls…"

"I know that's not an issue."

"Oh?" Had she missed something crucial?

"Yeah." Ruby sniffed loudly. "I noticed when the beds had first fallen, and we were talking about where we would all sleep." A weak chuckle escaped Ruby. "And then you tried really hard to get her in your bed, but you looked like you wanted to die when you were holding her. Weiss was really getting into it, and she was looking right at me the whole time." Ruby's voice had slowly shifted towards a whisper as she spoke. When she was done, neither girl knew what to say.

Blake couldn't tell whether she should be happy or sad. Her sacrifice had not been in vain, but that sort of attention had made Weiss hot under the collar. Blake suddenly felt like taking a shower, but only after Ruby had been helped. Her eyes went to the Grimm Studies book on her desk and an idea started to form. "Why don't you just treat this like a fight?"

"A fight?" Ruby's hushed, embarrassed tone was instantly replaced with curiosity. If Blake could turn the problem into something that Ruby knew how to deal with, maybe the redhead would be able to help herself.

"Sure. You know all about fighting Grimm. You just need to treat your doubts like they're the enemy." Blake internally yelled at herself for her poor delivery. She massaged her temples and said, "What I'm trying to say is that you are often confident in combat. If you can carry that confidence to talking to Weiss, then you shouldn't have a problem, right?"

Ruby rubbed her eyes. "I guess so."

Blake scooted away from Ruby. She pumped a fist in the air and excitedly said, "That's the spirit. Now go get her!"

"You're right!" Ruby said, energy already flowing back into her words. She jumped off the bed. "Thanks a lot, Blake! For everything." Ruby ran up to her desk and pulled something out of one of the drawers. "Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an heiress to find!" Ruby exploded in a shower of rose petals.

Blake felt a sense of warmth spread through her body and she offered herself an imaginary pat on the back. Maybe it would be worth all of the tears if it meant that the two partners could share a meaningful relationship. Blake was about to select a book to read when she realized she was not alone.

Yang stood in the doorway, eyes glazed but focused. They flickered between lilac and red, and the blonde had her arms crossed. "Good job," she said without emotion. She took a step forward and hissed, "But the offer still stands."

"Do you think you can stop with these threats?" Blake had said it in a harsher tone than she had intended. Hearing both Ruby's and Weiss' confessions had drained her and she didn't want to put up with any sort of posturing.

Yang was before her in an instant. Her eyes were a solid red. "That's really funny," she said. "Maybe you should've gone into stand-up comedy instead."

The blonde stormed out of the dorm. Blake blinked and sat still for a few minutes. She randomly chose a book and opened it to a random page. Her hands were shaking. She turned on a light and forced herself to focus on the words, and not on how fast her heart was racing.

Ruby had gone all around Beacon's campus only to find Weiss in the center of it. She stood there, alone, looking at the statue of the triumphant warriors standing over a fallen Grimm. Ruby paused to compose herself, running a hand through her hair even though she didn't have a mirror. She was about to start walking towards Weiss when she remembered to pull the gift box out of one of the pouches on her waist.

Weiss didn't turn as Ruby stood right next to her. They both looked over the statue, into the weathered, stone eyes of the great warriors. Ruby's eyes drifted to the vibrant eyes of the great warrior next to her. The redhead ran her dry tongue over her teeth. She needed to break the ice, but words were starting to fail her. She swallowed. Weiss didn't look like she was willing to speak first. Ruby reached into the depths of her brain and latched onto the first word she could find.

"Hello."

She wanted to run and hide. She kept her eyes focused on the statue instead.

"Hi," Weiss replied.

"So, missed you back there. This where you had to go?" Ruby asked. She ran her thumb over the box she held behind her back.

"Yeah, I uh," Weiss put a hand over eyes. "I just needed some air."

Ruby took a deep breath. "Perfect night for that. Not too cold, not too warm. Just right."

"I agree."

Silence. Ruby spared Weiss another glance, only to catch the heiress looking at her. "What are you doing out here, Ruby?"

Ruby pulled the box out from behind. "Well, when I was with Yang the other day, I saw this place and, well," she offered Weiss the gift box, "I got you this."

Weiss blinked and took the package. Her fingers brushed against Ruby's, and the contact sent a shiver up the redhead's spine. The heiress examined the simple package, turned it over in her hands, and then peeled off the piece of tape that kept it closed. Ruby bit her lip. Weiss reached in and pushed away the tissue paper inside to reveal the coffee mug.

An amused smile spread across Weiss' lips. She pulled the plain, white mug out and read the words Ruby had chosen aloud. "'Number one teammate.' Wow, Ruby, I don't know what to say."

Weiss put the mug back in the box. Ruby had never seen Weiss smile so much, but this time, it didn't creep her out. Weiss said, "Thank you. Thank you very much."

Ruby rubbed the back of her head to distract herself from her blushing. "Aw, geez, Weiss, it was nothing."

Weiss looked at the box in her hands. She bit her lip and Ruby felt a surge of panic. Had she done something wrong? Maybe she should've gotten the mug with the gold rim instead of the plain white mug.

All of the fears Ruby had were banished when she registered that something warm was pressing against her cheek. When her eyes focused, she saw Weiss was moving back. When had she gotten so close? Ruby's hand instinctively slapped against the spot Weiss had just kissed. It was still warm and wet. Ruby was about to ask what just happened when Weiss turned away.

"Thanks again for the gift, Ruby."

"Wait!" Ruby shouted and grabbed Weiss' hand, cutting off the heiress' escape.

Weiss took a deep breath. Ruby could see that the tips of the heiress' ears had turned red. When she spoke, her voice was shaking. "I'm sorry, Ruby. I shouldn't have done that. I'll make sure that I never lose control like that again."

Ruby blinked. Why was Weiss apologizing? Was she expecting to be yelled at? "Weiss, I'm not mad with you." She tried to swallow and said, "I actually really liked it."

She felt the heiress deflate, but she didn't turn to look at Ruby. "It shouldn't have happened."

The words pierced Ruby's heart and she almost let go. Her head swam, just like the first day of classes. Why was Weiss being so cold? Ruby asked, "Why not?"

"Because it was wrong!" Weiss stamped a foot on the ground. "What do you want me to do now, Ruby? Just because I kissed you, should I now get on my knees and declare my undying love for you?" Weiss shook her head. "You don't even know what love is like, do you?"

"Yes, I do," Ruby said.

"If you did, you wouldn't be saying any of this to me," Weiss snapped. She closed her eyes when she saw the pain on Ruby's face. "If people found out I was… like that, and if I dated a girl, there would be so many consequences. The Schnee name would have a blemish, one that could hurt my parents' business, and I don't want that. You don't want that." Weiss cleared her throat to keep it from wavering. She tightened her grip on Ruby's hand and lowered her voice.

"You are a smart, quirky, hyperactive girl with a very big heart. You will have no problem finding someone else who can… who can give you more. I'm sorry." Weiss gave the hand one last squeeze before letting go.

Weiss should have known that Ruby would hold on.

"Weiss," the redhead said, voice shaking, "was that supposed to make me feel better?"

The heiress stiffened. "Let me go, Ruby."

"No!" Tears fell freely from Ruby's silver eyes and dampened her cloak. Despite that, Weiss saw the same steel in Ruby's eyes that was always there in the training room, when the redhead couldn't conceive of losing. The only thing missing was that confident, little smile. Instead, Ruby had gritted her teeth as if she was hanging on for dear life.

"I'm not going to let go of you because this whole time you've only been thinking about what your parents want! Why can't you just live for yourself and be happy for a change?"

Ruby looked down at their hands, the fire gone from her voice. "You are strong and smart. You shouldn't have a problem being successful on your own, right? And maybe… maybe you could set some time away for us."

Weiss cursed her weakening resolve.

Ruby tentatively brought Weiss' hand up to her lips, giving the heiress plenty of time to slip out of her grip. Receiving no resistance, Ruby gently kissed Weiss' hand. It was warm and silky smooth, but like the rest of Weiss, lean and full of power. Ruby stared at the hand when she was done and was able to see the outline of her lips clearly on the pale skin. When she sought Weiss' ice blue eyes, she saw that they were full of tears that were begging to be released.

"Why did you have to say that, you dunce? Why couldn't you just let me go?"

"Because I love you, Weiss," Ruby said without thinking. Putting the words out into the open lifted a weight off of Ruby's chest, and she looked down at Weiss' hands again as if she was afraid that the girl would vanish.

Weiss' grip loosened for a moment, which almost caused Ruby's heart to stop, but tightened immediately afterwards. She put her free hand under Ruby's chin and forced the redhead to look up and into her eyes. The tears had started falling.

"Ruby," she said, "I'm scared. I-I want to take this chance with you, but what if it doesn't work? What if something goes wrong? I mean, we're going to be Huntresses. We're going to fight Grimm for most of our lives. I don't think I could stand to lose you."

The joy rising in Ruby's chest forced all of her tears out. She wrapped Weiss in the strongest hug she could muster, which the heiress was quick to return. Ruby felt the gift box against her back and Weiss' tears staining her shoulder. The redhead noticed that her own tears had left their mark on the heiress' jacket. Ruby wasn't surprised to find Weiss was shaking.

Leaning close, Ruby whispered, "We'll just have to make it work, then. I've thought about your family and us becoming Huntresses and all that. So much that I've stayed up whole nights. And each time, right before I'm able to close my eyes and finally sleep, I always found myself thinking that I would be willing to stand by your side and take on anything in the world. Between the two of us, nothing would ever stand a chance." Encouraged by the rising joy, Ruby risked giving Weiss a small kiss under her ear. "You know I'll never let you go, Weiss Schnee."

The heiress sniffed loudly and had stopped sobbing. "I know you won't, Ruby Rose."

Ruby wasn't able to see the large smile that spread across Weiss' face, but she did feel the heiress' heart speed up. Ruby closed her eyes and rested her chin on Weiss' shoulder. Together, Weiss led the two into a slow dance in the dark courtyard, keeping pace with the rhythm of their shared heartbeats.

Weiss eked back into consciousness. Ruby had clung tightly to her while they slept, and the younger girl was as warm as a furnace. Weiss felt a blush form, but she kept her eyes closed, preferring to enjoy the sensation for as long as possible. She had never woken up in the arms of someone else, and she found that she liked it. She managed to snuggle closer to her little heater. Any possibility of retreat was cut off as Ruby subconsciously tightened her grip. The heiress had just enough room to rearrange herself so that Ruby's head was in the crook of her neck.

The younger girl's slow, regular breathing brushed over Weiss' skin. Weiss buried her nose in Ruby's messy hair and inhaled. She noted with amusement that Ruby even smelled like a rose.

The team leader stirred under Weiss' ministrations. The heiress felt Ruby's eyelashes open and close rapidly before closing again.

"Oh good," Ruby said, though Weiss felt the words vibrate through her body. "I thought that was all a dream." She shifted to look Weiss in the eyes. "Good morning," Ruby offered with a tired smile.

Weiss smiled when she saw the lively spark in Ruby's silver eyes. If she could wake up to those eyes every day, she would be happy. "Good morning."

Ruby darted forward and planted a kiss on Weiss' jaw. She had aimed for the heiress' lips, but Weiss had jerked away. "You're not getting that until you brush your teeth," Weiss huffed.

Ruby pouted. "But Weiss, I love yoooouuuuu!" she whined.

Weiss shook her head. "I love you too, but-" she was cut off by Ruby quickly climbing on top of her. The younger girl flashed a smile as she straddled the heiress.

"Weiss, as your team leader," Ruby said, gradually lowering herself until their noses touched, "I order you to accept my stinky kisses."

"This is an abuse of power!" Weiss said, moving her head so that Ruby kissed her on the cheek.

"You know you love it," Ruby teased. She moved in for the kiss as Weiss was busy thinking of something to say.

The heiress did balk at the taste, but she did not hesitate to return the gesture. Ruby's warmth poured into her, chasing away the chill that had always gripped her heart. She wrapped her arms around Ruby's neck and kept the girl close. A part of her remembered that, in order to properly kiss, you had to close your eyes. Weiss kept hers open, just as Ruby had. For that moment, her world was reduced to silver and roses.

When Ruby pulled back for breath, Weiss sat up and flipped Ruby on her back. The team leader gave a surprised yelp as the tables turned. However, when Weiss leaned in, Ruby sat up to meet her half way. The kiss was no less heated than the one before. Weiss dared to open her mouth just a bit and was immediately greeted by the tip of Ruby's tongue. The heiress felt like her head was spinning from the sensation, or maybe she had just forgotten to breathe. She broke the kiss but maintained eye contact with Ruby.

The two were gasping and flushed. Weiss' long, unbound hair fell over her shoulders and framed Ruby's face perfectly. Neither of them wanted to break the moment. But silence couldn't last forever, and eventually Ruby opened her mouth.

"I forgot my sister was still in the room," she whispered.

Weiss almost giggled. "Me too."

"Think she'll be upset?"

"About what?"

"Seeing you on top of me."

"She'll just have to deal with it, because I do not want to move." Weiss brushed her lips against Ruby's.

Ruby smiled. "Morning kisses aren't so bad after all, huh?"

Weiss narrowed her eyes and slowly said, "I could get used to them, but don't think you're not going to brush your teeth."

Ruby rolled her eyes. "Whatever you say, princess," she drawled. Then she perked up and said, "So, what do you want to do today?"

Weiss shrugged. "Well, with it being Saturday, we could go into town. Maybe see a movie."

Ruby groaned, "But that would involve getting up."

"It would."

"So why don't we just stay in bed?"

Weiss thought for a moment before nodding. "I like that plan."

Ruby pulled Weiss back down and rolled the heiress off of her. They both lay on their sides and Ruby brushed Weiss' hair away from her face. It wasn't long before they both fell back asleep in each other's arms.

Blake had agreed to meet Yang in a café in the middle of downtown Vale. The black haired girl had thought that the surly blonde would be less willing to cause a scene in public. Blake sipped her tea and shifted in her seat. She was loathe to look at Yang, but forced herself to do so. Thankfully, Yang's eyes had maintained their normal lilac color.

"I don't know if I should still be upset with you," Yang said. She tapped the side of her gigantic coffee cup. When Blake had said she was buying, Yang had bought the biggest item on the menu. Blake's wallet had cried.

"I understand," Blake said. She tried to keep herself from choking. "I manipulated your sister's feelings and I overstepped my bounds."

Yang's gaze bored through Blake. "Yeah, you did." She took a long sip of her drink. When she put the cup down, she continued. "You know my sister's happiness means a lot to me, and the fact that you went behind my back like that still irritates me, but she is happy now." She took another drink. "The ends still don't justify the means, Blake. You shouldn't have done that."

Blake swallowed. She knew Yang was right. Under her bow, she felt her ears lower. "So what happens now?"

Yang raised an eyebrow. She stared long and hard at Blake before saying, "I imagine I'm going to stay mad for a while. Then we're going to go back to being friends." Blake was about to let out the breath she had been holding when Yang added, "That being said, I've been feeling a little tense lately. How about we finish these drinks and then we hit the sparring ring?"

"I have an assignment I have to work on." It wasn't a lie, either. Blake had spent so much time wondering about how to get Ruby and Weiss together that one of her due dates had managed to sneak up on her.

Yang leaned forward. "No you don't." She picked up her cup and managed to empty it in one gulp. She wiped her lips and said, "Let's go."

Blake closed her eyes and got up from her chair. She knew that she deserved the pummeling she was about to receive, even though she planned to do everything in her power to not be turned into a bloodstain in the sparring ring.

As she left the café with Yang, her mind flickered back to the sight she had woken up to. Ruby and Weiss had still been sleeping, but they had been holding on to each other like they couldn't bear the thought of ever letting go. Blake managed a smile, feeling a warm sense of calm and happiness as she walked towards her unofficial execution at Beacon.