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Caught in the Moment

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This is a terrible idea. Blake couldn’t help but wonder how she’d managed to find herself standing outside team CFVY’s suite and what was clearly one hell of a rager, with the intention to actually go inside. A scent she could only describe as “drunken idiot” assaulted her nose (she couldn’t help but envy humans their piss-poor sense of smell), while it took all of her effort to keep her sensitive ears from flattening against her skull to block out the excessively loud music. Blake had had plans for her Friday night. She was going to read, avoid other people, and read some more, while her roommates were out socializing (such a dirty word). Once Ruby and Weiss had left with Ruby’s uncle (the grungy one. What was his name again? Krow, or something?), Blake had settled down for reading and blessed solitude, only for Yang to burst into the room a moment later and inform her that they were going to a party right now and that Blake was to wear that slinky black dress that Yang liked so much, and so it had been.

Right. This is Yang’s fault.

Little as she liked to admit it, Blake had trouble saying “no” to Yang. So when their team’s resident firebrand had burst in on her reading to tell her to get ready, Blake hadn’t put up much of a fight. She’d complained, sure, but she’d started wriggling into that damned dress before Yang had even gotten around to telling her where they were going. Yang loved going out; she positively glowed when she was excited and surrounded by friends and fans. And as much as Blake loved reading, she also loved to see Yang happy, and her energy was contagious.

If humoring Yang also happened to involve seeing her in some of the tightest pants Blake had ever laid eyes on, then she certainly wasn’t about to complain.

“You ready?” Yang asked, signature grin on her face and eyes bright with excitement, golden hair flowing everywhere and damn that top doesn’t really cover much, does it...?

“As I’ll ever be.” was Blake’s reserved response. She made sure to roll her eyes and punctuate it with a long-suffering sigh, even if she couldn’t entirely keep the smile off her face (or the flush off her cheeks). Can’t be too soft. I’ve got a reputation to maintain.

“Then let’s make our entrance!” Yang announced, and punched the door open with a gleeful shout that was either a cheer or a war cry; with Yang those were pretty much the same thing, anyway. Blake only had a moment to worry about the door’s hinges before Yang was ushering her inside with a hand on her waist, and she didn’t even get time to think about that before she was engulfed by pounding music, boisterous greetings from their classmates, and so many colorful lights. They were so bright, and they moved, and there’s that little red one up at the corner and...

“Yo, Blakey!” Yang’s voice broke Blake’s concentration. “Stop doing the Cat Thing with the lights and dance with me!”

“Cat thing?” Blake scoffed. “I was not, it was just a lot to take in, I wasn’t...” but her protests were lost on Yang, who was already tugging her to the open space in the middle of the suite that had been repurposed into a dance floor. Somehow Yang managed to knock back a shot (or several? It was actually pretty impressive) offered by a classmate and also manhandle Blake halfway to the middle of the dance floor before Blake could gather herself enough to properly balk.

“I don’t dance.”

“C’moooon, not this again!” Yang groaned, though she didn’t sound truly frustrated yet. Usually Blake would’ve made her stealthy exit here, but tonight Yang was having none of it, and stopped her with a firm hand on her arm, which Blake most certainly definitely did not find hot.

“No way. If I let you go now you’ll just go hide and then I’ll have to dance alone!” she complained.

“But I don’t...” Blake tried again, only to be cut off with a finger to her lips. Also not... okay maybe it was hot. But just a little?

“Sure you do. Just listen to the music and move!” Yang insisted, punctuating her point with an outrageous punching and hip roll combo that could’ve passed as a dance move by only the most generous of standards. Blake couldn’t help but forget her discomfort for a moment as she choked out a startled laugh. How can someone so coordinated in a fight still manage to move like a drunk, three-legged ursa? Yang, sensing her advantage, continued with a ridiculous and entirely unsexy half-kick, half-wave that actually threw her off balance enough that she had to flail her arms to recover, leaving Blake doubled over with laughter. Drunk ursa indeed.

Her next move, however, was decidedly un-ursine. Very, very un-ursine. Blake didn’t like to stare but Yang’s chest really did... things when she moved like that and Yang’s top really left nothing to the imagination and...

Once again, Yang had pulled Blake in while she was... distracted. Not that she was any less distracted now that her teammate’s hands were brushing against her bare midriff, violet eyes burning into Blake’s own.

“No fair!” Blake protested (weakly), breaking eye contact and hoping Yang hadn’t seen her flush.

“When have I ever fought fair?” Yang retorted, hold on Blake growing firmer as she began to move them in time with the music. Clearly the drunk ursa-tripod move was just an act.

“In fact...” Yang continued, eyes glinting with mischief and something else Blake couldn’t quite place...

“... I think it’s a lot more fun to fight dirty.” and Blake knew that Yang was her teammate and there’s no way she meant it like that, even if a traitorous voice deep inside insisted that there was no way someone who made as many shameless puns as Yang did wasn’t completely aware of every double entendre that left her frustratingly full lips. Yet Yang’s hands shifted downward at this and if Blake had been an actual cat she probably would’ve been purring, to her shame. Keep it together Blake! Your reputation, remember?

Blake did not in fact remember her reputation, however. Instead she allowed herself to be caught up in the moment, distracted from the noise and the smells and even the pretty moving lights by Yang’s fierce sensuality as her warm, strong hands guided the both of them to the rumbling beat of the music.
Of course, the inconvenient thing about moments is that they never last for very long.

“Watch out!” Blake’s daze was broken just before a drunk Jaune stumbled into them, followed by an alarmingly chipper Nora and a predictably resigned Ren.

“Yang, Blake, wanna play beer pong?!” Nora rambled. Blake knew she had to have been drinking, she could smell it on her and whatever it was, it was a lot stronger than beer, but Nora seemed completely unfazed, which was somehow entirely unsurprising.

What was also entirely unsurprising was Yang’s response. She was never one to back down from a challenge.

“You’re on!” Challenge accepted, and oh, this was bad. Just as Blake had a reputation, Yang also had a reputation, except that Yang’s reputation included being a near-legend at drinking games, and Blake’s did not. The last thing Blake needed was for Yang to find out about her crush and her complete lack of skill at beer pong at the same time. Hopefully, Yang would be too caught up in trying to trash talk Nora to notice Blake’s hesitation, so Blake could find an easy exit before her partner made a scene and dragged her into it. And, as it always seemed when Yang was involved, she wasn’t quite quick enough.

“You think I’d lose to you at beer pong?” at this Yang turned to Blake and winked and oh, no, she could see it coming and there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it...

“Not by a Xiao Long shot!” There were groans all around, even from people Blake could’ve sworn were too busy necking to be listening in. Still, Blake was never one to waste an easy escape route.

“You’re unbelievable.” Blake made sure to groan and hide her face with a hand so Yang wouldn’t suspect that she might mean that in more than one way.

“You guys have fun, I’m going to get some air. I need some time to recover from that awful pun.” With that Blake tried to make her exit, but was once again stopped by a hand on her arm. Yang’s eyes bore into hers once more, but this time they were softer, and full of concern.

“You alright?” Yang asked, quieter than she’d been all night. Blake, of course, heard her far more clearly than she wanted to even amidst the noise. Why can’t she make this easy for me? For once?

Plastering on a facial expression that probably (hopefully) resembled composed rather than pathetically crushing on her best friend, Blake managed a sincere(ish) smile.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I just want to get out for a little while. I’ll catch up with you in a bit?” The reassurance and promise seemed to satisfy Yang, and it was all Blake could do not to flush again at her grin, this time less cocky but full of sincerity and warmth.

“Don’t take too long, yeah? You’ve gotta see me school these losers at beer pong! I bet I can win even with Jaune on my team!” Yang’s contagious energy was returning, and Blake quickly slipped away before it could draw her in once more.

***

Blake heaved the sigh she’d been holding in as soon as she stepped out into the cool night air, and allowed herself a moment to enjoy the relative quiet.

It was only natural that her moment’s peace didn’t last long, of course.

“Rough night?” Blake prided herself on being difficult to sneak up on, but the quiet, crisply accented voice still made her jump.

“Oh, hey, Velvet.” Blake managed, once she was certain her voice would remain steady. “I didn’t see you there.”

“Sorry for scaring you.” Velvet stepped away from the door and joined Blake in leaning against the patio railing, while Blake tried to stifle her embarrassment at not only failing to notice her classmate, but also sighing in front of her like a lovesick schoolgirl.

Velvet simply smiled and said nothing. That was something Blake really appreciated about Velvet; the girl knew the beauty of silence. On the occasions the two spent time together, they didn’t talk as much as they did, and Blake wouldn’t have had it any other way. But this time, there was something expectant about the silence, and just as Velvet could recognize when one of her friends needed to talk, Blake could recognize her wordless invitation to share her troubles.

That didn’t make it any less awkward, of course. Blake had never been one for sharing, generally hated to even think about her feelings, let alone talk about them, so of course she fell back her tried and true strategy for both people and Grimm: evasion.

“So, uh. Wild party, right?” she tried. Hey, it wasn’t her fault that she was much better at dodging Grimm than dodging questions.

“Hm.” Velvet’s murmured assent made it clear she knew exactly what Blake was doing but was generous enough to let her get away with it for the moment.

“Have you been sitting out here all night? I mean, it’s pretty loud in there...” Blake was momentarily distracted from her own emotional turmoil by concern. If she found the noise borderline intolerable at times, she couldn’t imagine what it was like for Velvet, and Velvet lived there.

“It’s fine, I just needed a bit of a break.” Velvet smiled at her concern. “Looks like we both have that in common.” And Blake knew from Velvet’s tone that she wasn’t talking about their sensitive hearing. Damn. Change the subject, or...?

“It’s Yang.” Blake cringed as soon as the words left her mouth. Ooor you could just, you know. Say that. It would have been better to go with talking about the weather, or literally anything else at all, but we can roll with this too. Blake didn’t even like admitting her crush to herself, although technically she hadn’t said anything about a crush yet...

“She’s very pretty, isn’t she?” Velvet’s tone suggested that she knew exactly how Blake would answer that question if she were an honest and straightforward-answering type.

“Yeah. She’s really beautiful.” And she’d even sighed when she said it. Not even a cursory attempt to dodge the question and spare her pride. She’d have been ashamed if she weren’t momentarily caught up in the memory of Yang’s dancing.

“So what are you doing out here, then?”

“I needed to cool my head! I was about to climb her like a tree!” Blake responded, face in her hands to hide her embarrassment at her oversharing. Talking about feelings really wasn’t her thing.

“And is that such a bad thing?” Velvet laughed softly, but it was somehow soothing, sympathetic rather than judgmental.

“Of course it is!” Blake snapped, exasperated. “Yang’s my best friend! And she’s... well. She’s bold, and strong, and beautiful, and sometimes I feel like I can be all those things too, when she’s with me...” Blake trailed off.

“But...?” Velvet prompted her.

“But I’m not those things, Velvet! I’m just me! I’m quiet, and... bookish. I’m not exciting and fun like Yang is. I’m not even that nice. I’m just... me.” Blake’s ears flattened themselves with frustration and uncertainty.

“And there’s just no way that someone like me could be enough for someone like her.”

Velvet was quiet for several moments after that. Just as Blake was wondering if flinging herself off the patio and fleeing for the Emerald Forest was a viable option, however, Velvet responded.

“Why are you so certain that you aren’t enough, just as you are?”

“I already told you, I...”

“No, you told me that you aren’t like Yang. But that’s not the same thing as not being good enough for Yang.”

“But-“

“No buts.” At this, Velvet held Blake’s gaze, and Blake was surprised enough not to argue. She’d rarely seen her friend be so assertive.

“You talk as if you think being just yourself is a bad thing. But the Blake I know is smart, loyal, and considerate. You’re always there for your team and your friends, whether they need a listening ear or a kick in the...” Velvet finally broke eye contact at this, gazing out across the commons, before continuing.

“Anyway. Yang trusts and values you, so don’t try to say that you’re not enough for her.”

“But she’s so...” Blake still couldn’t resist the urge to argue. Yang relying on her was all well and good, but no matter how hard she tried to push her feelings away, she wanted more than that.

“Different? Yes, you two are very different.” Velvet acknowledged, and Blake’s heart sank. Of course; the differences between Blake and Yang were as apparent as night and day.

“... but I don’t see why that’s so bad.” Velvet’s expression lightened. “Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do if you were just like her. Yang is... a lot.” At this Velvet gestured around her hair and chest in a way that startled a laugh out of Blake.

“Maybe you’re right.” Blake admitted, feeling a little better. “But I still have no idea how she feels!”

“That’s because you haven’t asked her!” Velvet retorted brightly. Blake rolled her eyes at Velvet’s chipper tone; the thought of talking about her crush on Yang to Yang herself was about as appealing as spending a day at a dog park with Ruby’s dog Zwei.

“Easy for you to say! And even if I could bring myself to ask her, she’d probably say we’re just friends. Platonic friends. It might even make things weird between us...”

Velvet paused for a moment to consider her answer.

“I don’t know Yang like you do, so I can’t claim to know how she feels,” she began, “but I saw the two of you dancing earlier...” Blake blushed at the memory.

“And trust me when I say that the way she was looking at you was anything but platonic.”

Blake’s ears flicked forward in surprise even as her blush deepened.

“R-Really?”

“Really.” Velvet replied, as sincere as Blake had ever heard her.

“You mean you think...?”

“Like I said, Yang’s the only one who really knows how she feels.” Velvet shrugged. “All the same, I know what I saw, and it looked to me like she was undressing you with her eyes.”

Blake was pretty sure her blush had spread to her ears and the noise that escaped her throat was hardly dignified.

“So, go get ‘em... tiger?” Blake groaned at that even as Velvet giggled; Yang’s bad pun habit seemed to be spreading.

“I guess I should get back inside. I really only came out here to escape Yang’s terrible jokes, but there’s no point in staying if you’re just gonna do it too.” As excuses went it was pretty weak but Velvet was generous enough to let it go.

“Of course. And good luck. Just be yourself!”

“Thanks, Velvet. You’re the best.” Blake’s smile softened as Velvet tried to dodge the compliment and both of them headed back towards the door. Velvet really was an understanding friend. Almost... too understanding?

“Oh, Velvet? One more thing.” Blake paused just before opening the door again, smirk sneaking across her face as the realization hit her.
“When are you going to take your own advice?” Blake asked, slipping back into the lights and the noise with Velvet stammering and protesting behind her.

***

The party seemed to have died down a bit in the time Blake was gone, so she could hear the sounds of Yang and Nora bickering clear as day as soon as she stepped inside. Slipping through the remaining students, she followed the voices to the kitchen where Yang and Nora stood on opposite sides of a beer pong table, while Ren slumped and Jaune... well, Blake wasn’t quite sure what to call whatever Jaune was doing, but it was clear he was very drunk.

Should’ve known better than playing a drinking game with Yang. Or Nora.

Nora, it seemed, was the victor of the most recent round, and from what Blake could gather, was insisting that Yang do body shots.

Wait. What?

“You lost, and loser has to do what the winner says.” Nora crowed. “And I say body shots! Body shots!” Nora continued to chant while Yang noticed Blake, and if Blake didn’t know better, she’d have said that Yang’s eyes lit up. Maybe just a little bit? But Blake was dragged back to reality all too quickly by Nora’s chanting and Jaune’s miserable moans. He seemed to be saying something about Pyrrha, but she couldn’t be sure, and had more pressing concerns anyway.

Like Yang doing body shots. How did Nora even come up with this stuff?

“Body shots it is. Nora did win, after all.” Blake turned to see Coco Adel lounging against the wall, smirking over her shades as Velvet sidled up next to her and leaned over to whisper something in her ear. Blake was immediately suspicious, but couldn’t place why; Coco was always smirking and Velvet often whispered, so why did she have a bad feeling about this?

Her bad feeling only got worse when Velvet started smirking too. Blake hadn’t even known Velvet could smirk. This is going nowhere good.

“Since Yang lost, she’ll be doing body shots with...” Blake may have been a cat faunus but she felt like more of a mouse as Coco turned to look at her over her sunglasses, somehow even smugger than before.

“... Blake.” She announced. “Body shots for Yang and Blake. Velvet, grab the tequila!”

Velvet looked entirely too pleased with herself as she skipped to a cabinet grab an expensive looking bottle, merely shrugging and mouthing an “I’m sorry” that was entirely insincere in response to Blake’s incredulous (and terrified) glare. Blake couldn’t quite bring herself to glare at Coco too, even though she seemed almost as pleased with this turn of events as Velvet clearly was. Coco, after all, also had a reputation of sorts. She also had a massive minigun inside her purse. Some things just weren’t worth it.

Of course, Blake couldn’t find the nerve to glare at Yang either (or look at her at all, really), but for entirely different reasons. If she looked at her now, what would she see? Disgust or disappointment? Or... something else?

“Whaat? But Blake didn’t even play! And why do you get to pick?” Nora’s whining saved Blake from further conjecture and also from her increasingly pathetic attempts to not-glare at Coco and avoid Yang’s gaze entirely.

“My party, my rules, kid.” Coco’s tone brooked no argument. “Now be a dear and clear off the table. Doing body shots off the floor is just trashy."

Nora looked like she wanted to argue some more, but then her gaze flicked between Blake and Yang a couple of times, pout morphing into a smirk and eyes brightening with realization as Blake watched with something verging on horror. Nora flashed Blake one of her signature manic grins that promised nothing good before she began to clear away the remainder of the red solo cups with far more cheer than Blake felt the situation merited. She’d have to make time later to pray to whatever deity would listen that Nora was complying because she was drunk and not because Blake was really that transparent, but somehow she also doubted it would do any good.

So I won’t be getting out of this, then. Coco began to pour shots from the bottle Velvet had handed her as she impatiently motioned Blake over. Blake walked up to the table and took the offered shot, stifling the impulse to down it immediately for a little liquid courage.

“Now, I’m going to assume you haven’t done this before.”

“Hey-“

“Hush, you’re embarrassing yourself.” Coco silenced her with a dismissive hand wave before continuing. Blake wanted to argue, she really did, but... Right. The minigun.

“I broke out the good tequila for this, so I’m expecting a decent show from you ladies.”

“Hear that, Blakey? You get Coco’s good booze. I’m jealous.” Yang interrupted as she swung herself up onto the table, and Blake finally met her partner’s eyes. She seemed... Excited? That made sense; Yang never backed down from a dare. But there was something more than that in her gaze as well. It was almost... encouraging. As if she wanted Blake to be as comfortable with this as she seemingly was. And for a moment, Blake thought maybe she could be.

“Maybe once you’re done we can trade places.” Yang finished her statement with a shameless wink and Blake couldn’t decide whether she’d rather just run (she could probably make it to the window before the minigun came out) or flirt back.

“No interrupting.” Coco unceremoniously silenced Yang by shoving a lime slice into her mouth. At this Yang met Blake’s eyes again and waggled her eyebrows suggestively.

You’re unbelievable. Blake couldn’t deny that she definitely meant it in more than one way this time. Even when she was being cheesy and shameless Yang glowed, and that brilliance mesmerized her more than any fast-moving light ever could.

“Hate to intrude on your little sexual staredown, but you two lovebirds mind paying attention for a moment? I’m trying to teach you an important life skill.” Coco’s tart remark brought Blake back to the present.

“Grab that salt and sprinkle some in whatever place you don’t mind getting real intimate with. You’ve got your choice of.... prime real estate, so make sure you pick somewhere good.” Coco smirked at Blake’s flush.

“Then, you take your shot,” at this, Coco tossed back one of the many tequila shots she’d poured, “lick up the salt, and bite the lime. Not so hard, is it?”

Blake might’ve argued if she hadn’t been faced with a bigger problem: where to put the salt. Yang’s continued eyebrow waggles suggested that anywhere was fair game, but that didn’t do much to ease Blake’s internal panic. Cleavage? No, tempting but too forward. Limbs are a cop out. If I go for the neck I’ll end up getting salt in her hair. So that leaves...

Steeling herself, Blake poured a bit of salt around Yang’s navel. For all her partner’s bluster, Blake could’ve sworn she saw Yang shiver. One glance at her face confirmed that Yang was as flushed as she was.

“Navel, huh? Always a classic.” Coco murmured approvingly.

“Should’ve picked her boobs!” Nora whined.

“Urrrggghhhh...” Jaune moaned from the floor.

“Mind your own business, thanks!” Blake snapped, finally finding her voice again. Tuning out her friends’ commentary, Blake looked between the shot and her partner. Yang held her gaze for a moment, eyes bright with unspoken challenge. No bailing out this time, kitty cat.

This time, though, Blake didn’t want to back down either. Now or never. She quickly tossed back the shot, barely giving herself time to feel the burn before leaning down to lick the salt from Yang’s smooth skin. No hesitation.

*CRASH*

Before Blake could react to the sound of breaking glass, something barreled into the back of her head and threw off her aim, causing her to jam her tongue into Yang’s belly button and mash her face into the carefully poured salt. Yang, as startled as she was, flailed briefly before falling off the table, taking Blake and most of the tequila shots with her, limbs askew and lime slice still in her mouth.

Both girls turned to see Blake’s assailant. A large, grungy black bird was sprawled on the ground, apparently still dazed by its entrance through the window. Blake briefly wondered if it might be a young nevermore as the bird staggered to its feet, but quickly revised her opinion when the bird let out a ragged caw and began to lap at the tequila remaining in one of the overturned glasses.

“Is that bird drunk?” She found herself asking.

“Wait, is that...?” Yang said at the same time.

“UNCLE QROOOOW! COME BACK!!!!!!!” Ruby’s high-pitched wail preceded her as she burst through the doorway, Weiss immediately behind her.
Blake had a moment to consider how the whole situation would look to her other two teammates. Ruby was innocent, to put it lightly, and Blake was about to start scrambling out of the rather compromising position she’d found herself in with Ruby’s sister when the crow in front of her hiccupped (could birds even do that? Blake was pretty sure that wasn’t a normal bird thing), flopped over on its side, and turned into a man as grungy (and drunk) as it had been.

“Uncle Qrow, you can’t just barge in like that. You’re making a scene!” Blake could only stare as Ruby tugged on her uncle’s shoulder, trying to pull him up from the floor and seemingly ignoring the fact that her sister was literally straddling Blake. Small blessings.

Qrow slurred out something unintelligible as Ruby hauled him to his feet, Weiss stepped in to help, and everyone else looked on in astounded silence.

“We’re very sorry for the intrusion. I’ll see about having that window repaired tomorrow.” To her credit, Weiss kept her face straight and her tone neutral as she gave her apologies. Blake couldn’t help but envy Weiss her composure.

“Should we help them? Blake asked as Ruby and Weiss managed to haul Qrow to his feet and towards the door.

“Naaah, this happens all the time. Rubes can handle it.” Yang answered as she picked the lime out of her mouth. Yang seemed as unconcerned about the whole situation as she was by the fact that she’d been sitting on Blake the whole time.

“Hey, looks like you’ve got some salt on your face.” Yang said. She stopped Blake when she brought a hand up to her mouth to brush it off. “Let me.”

Instead of touching her face the way Blake expected (and maybe hoped), Yang reached up to the table and grabbed one of the few remaining tequila shots. Knocking it back far more skillfully than Blake had earlier, she leaned in and licked the salt off of Blake’s mouth, letting her tongue roam for a few very long moments before pulling back and biting the lime in her hand with a wink.

“You’re supposed to hold the lime in your mouth, but what can I say? I like this way much better.” Yang panted.

For the millionth time that night, Blake flushed.