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The Right to Rock Steady

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Yang stared at the stage, absently twirling a stick in one hand. It usually helped her think but the motion brought nothing but annoyance now, feeling awkward and sluggish. She usually twirled with her right hand. Yeah, she could do either, but she preferred the right.

Now… it just didn’t feel right.

“That was a pun,” she said to no one in particular and without a trace of mirth in her voice. Not even her own sense of humor could distract her from the thoughts swirling through her mind, disjointed memories playing in a loop. She thought coming and seeing the stage before they played, visualizing herself behind the kit, would help, but she couldn’t see it, couldn’t begin to imagine the screaming fans and the lights and sitting behind the set- she could get part of the visual, but not all of it. Not like before.

Her fingers spasmed, the muscles still not used to doing the majority of the work, day in and day out. Switching dominant hands- it wasn’t something she’d ever thought she’d have to do, yet here she was, dropping a drumstick like some newbie sitting at their first kit. She didn’t even look down as it clattered to the ground, just kept staring at the stage, the very one they would be playing on tomorrow night. The starting point for RWBY’s come back tour.

That’s when it hit her like a ton of bricks. “I can’t do this.”

Even after months of physical therapy to adapt to the prosthetic.

Even after months of physical therapy to make the phantom pain go away.

Even after months of healing and fighting and breaking and healing again.

She couldn’t go back to being Yang Xiao Long. That wasn’t her anymore. The loud drummer who would take on the world and keep swinging, go out on a bender and play the next night- there would be alcohol backstage, of course there would be, and she couldn’t, no, that wasn’t her, it wasn’t-

“Yang?” 

Her head snapped up, and only then did she realize her gaze had dropped to the floor as tears fell, snot leaking from her nose. Hurriedly, she wiped at her face and turned her head. “Go away.”

“You know that won’t work on me,” Winter said, walking down the isle between the seats to the front row, still a good fifty meters from the little barriers that ringed the stage- a good sized mosh pit for the fans but a barren, open space that set her on edge for some reason. The woman walked around, easing down into the seat beside her and crossing one leg over the other, straightening out the lapels of her long coat and brushing the tails off her thighs.

And just sat there, quietly, waiting for Yang to break.

Which… she did.

“I can’t do it.” She scrubbed at one eye with the heel of her left palm, sobs beginning to break free from her chest. “I can’t- I can’t do this.”

“You can’t or you don’t want to?”

“Does it fucking matter?” She shot to her feet, rounding on the woman and with fire in her eyes as she threw an arm towards the stage. “I can’t go up there and pretend I’m her! I’m not! I’m not- I’m not her anymore!”

It always came back to this and bile rose in the back of her throat as she remembered the first time she’d shouted those words at Winter.

Just like back then, and every time in between when she felt like it wouldn’t get better, her girlfriend weathered them, tilting her chin up proudly to stare straight into her eyes. “Yes, you are. You’re still Yang Xiao Long. No one can take that from you.”

He did!” She wouldn’t say his name. The boiling blood running through her veins would turn cold if she did and she needed that anger now as she began to pace. “I’m not going to be able to- to- to get up there tomorrow night and play- I can’t even twirl a damn drumstick! I-”

She blinked.

That’s all it took, because when she opened her eyes, she wasn’t in front of the stage at the venue- she was in a darkened alley way, flat on her back, a heavy boot on her stomach keeping her down, looking up into the lenses on those horrid shades he wore, his mouth gaping open in a primal scream as the pipe lifted up and-

“Yang!” She blinked and it faded, the sight and sounds but not the memory of what was to come, and the pain in her arm flared once again, making her knees weak. Yang slumped against something solid but soft that held her up even as her anger drained away completely, leaving nothing but an agony that refused to abate. She clutched at her arm- her real arm, not the hunk of metal attached to the end that clicked and whirred, responding to stimuli that she couldn’t feel herself, because she didn’t have an arm anymore, she couldn’t do this, she couldn’t- “Yang, listen to me, please.”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said, through the snot and the tears and the sobs bursting from her chest as she shook, terrified by reliving the night again and again and hating every moment of it. “Stop! Stop- someone make it stop-”

“Sundrop!” Startled, she looked up into blue eyes and couldn’t, for the life of her, understand why there were tears streaming down the woman’s face. “Can you see me?”

Slowly, she nodded, suddenly aware of the hands on her biceps holding her up, keeping her steady. When had she even stood up? “Y-yeah.”

“Okay.” Winter nodded, sniffling but still seeming in control. “Alright. Come with me. Let’s sit down.”

She was led on unsteady legs to the nearest chair, pulled into her girlfriend’s lap and immediately curling up. Hugging her knees to her chest with her good arm, she let the prosthetic hang, pressing against the woman’s chest- it probably wasn’t comfortable but she couldn’t seem to process that moving it would be beneficial in any way, because it just felt like there existed this void at the end of her stump that she could and couldn’t feel, and it made it so hard to tell what was real. She hated feeling like this- weak, scared, suffering- but it wouldn’t stop, she’d never get better. “There’s no fixing me.”

“Hush.” A pair of lips pressed lightly against the top of her head as Winter’s arms wrapped around her, holding her gently. “It’s not as simple as that. You aren’t like your bike, where it just takes swapping out a part to be good as new. You’re a person; people aren’t like that. There’s no ‘fixing’ any of us.”

She didn’t respond to the reassurance, too focused on the little drops pattering against her shoulder. Finally, Yang turned her head to look at her. “Why are you crying?”

“Because you’re in pain,” she replied, blinking rapidly to clear her eyes as one hand cupped Yang’s cheek, thumb brushing away tears. “If I possessed the ability, I would reach into your mind and take away the memories- the nightmares, the moments where you forget where you are, the times you’ve nearly been crushed by this. I would take them all away.” Then she shrugged. “But I can’t. I can’t make this go away. I can’t bring you that peace and it hurts to see you like this, trapped in this memory alone. I’m trying to help but I’m not sure how and it hurts.”

Yang squeezed her eyes shut and tucked her chin into her chest. She felt so small then. She remembered a time when Winter was worse than her sister, never admitting fault and never even insinuating that she could err at all, but that felt like a different lifetime. She’d started opening up the more they’d hung around, and even more when they started seeing each other as more than just friends, but the past few months, it was as if the dam had burst. Maybe it was reciprocation, because Yang couldn’t keep anything to herself anymore, feeling the need to release her anger, her fear, her frustration in whatever manner she could, and it seemed like every time she broke down sobbing in anger or sadness, Winter would be there to be honest, encouraging, sometimes in a blunt way and others like she was wearing kid gloves… 

Haltingly, in between the hiccuping sobs tearing from her chest and the sniffling to keep the snot at bay, she finally voiced the words that had sat at the back of her throat for months. “Why are you even still here?”

“There’s no place I’d rather be.” The arms around her squeezed tighter. “I will be here for you, for every step of the journey. That was the deal.“

That only made her sob harder. She should be strong enough to push Winter away. What was she getting out of this? Except sleepless nights when Yang woke up from another nightmare, constant verbal beatdowns from an ungrateful… whatever she was now. Bum? Washed up has been?

She was nothing.

“Sundrop?” With a sniffle, she looked up, noting that Winter seemed to be better composed now. How long had passed? “May I try something?”

“Sure.” The mutter came out wet- she probably looked disgusting with snot running down her face and tears staining her cheeks. Ducking her head, she wiped some of it off on her scarf before being scooped up into her girlfriend’s arms, startling her. “Hey-”

“I just need to move us a bit,” Winter said, her voice calm and steady, though there was a little warble at the end. “Will you trust me?”

“… yeah.” That seemed like a silly question. After everything her girlfriend put up with, how could she not trust her? She’d seen Yang at her worst- her absolute worst- and somehow stuck around, the crutch she could lean on every time.

She really didn’t deserve someone like Winter. Before, when she was her- whole and strong and ready to take on the world- she might’ve been good enough. They were just getting to the part in their relationship where they were serious, where they weren’t sneaking around trying not to get caught. It was easier, then, because she had no fears- she thought herself invincible. With Winter beside her, she was happy, because only she could make the woman laugh without restraint, coax smiles and even giggles from her, and all sorts of things. When they were together… the rest of the world didn’t matter. She could do anything.

Now, fear ran through her veins. She avoided poorly lit areas, kept her back to the wall, watched everyone- everyone- she didn’t recognize. Crowds made her anxious… how could she even think she’d be able to stand up in front of thousands and perform? At first, it seemed like the obvious choice, to show that bastard that he couldn’t keep her down, but now… well… maybe… maybe he succeeded.

He didn’t actually kill her that night… but he might as well have.

Blinking, she became aware of herself again as she was shifted away from Winter’s body and sat on a throne behind the drum kit on stage- not her rig, of course, but the one used by their opener, some little band called Juniper or something. Fleetingly, she admired their drummer’s dual kick drum pedals and extra cymbals, the corner of her mouth twitching; whoever sat behind this monster of a set up had to love their job to keep up with the sort of lines that would require them all. Then, her expression fell as she slumped on the stool, because she’d never be able to keep up with someone like this.

Maybe they could ask this drummer to cover for her, seeing as she wouldn’t be able to play the following night. It wouldn’t be RWBY but… maybe RWBY just didn’t exist anymore.

“I hope they’ll forgive us for using their equipment,” Winter said, turning on an amp off to the side and plugging it into a bass guitar, adjusting the strap so it sat comfortably.

“That’s just one of our tuners.” She recognized the little stamp on the neck. Then, her brows furrowed. “Wait, you play?”

“It’s a recent hobby I’ve picked up.” Her girlfriend flashed her a small smile, taking a moment to gather her bearings before beginning to pluck out a bass line from one of the songs off RWBY’s debut album. While better than Yang would’ve expected for a newbie, the woman obviously lacked Blake’s skill and familiarity, and her timing was off, dragging some notes out and hurrying others, nearly missing some because of it.

“Your rhythm’s off.”

“Beg pardon?”

“Your rhythm,” she said, making a vague motion with her hand. “You’re off beat.”

“I see. Let me try again.” Starting from the beginning, Winter gave it another go, and while she didn’t repeat her previous timing mistakes, she made entirely new ones instead. “Was that better?”

“No- I mean, it wan’t bad, but… here.” She turned, settling her foot on one of the pedals. “I’ll give you the beat.” The thump of the kick drum boomed out as she pressed down, echoing in the venue with such perfect acoustics that Yang couldn’t help but smile, nodding her head along as Winter played the bass line a third time, the notes singing out in time with the thumping of the drum. “Yeah. Like that.”

“That did sound rather nice.” Her girlfriend smiled, picking out a few notes before humming softly to herself. “I wonder.” A few more notes followed, belonging to no song Yang recognized but forming a sort of melody all the same. “Now, if I just…”

Closing her eyes, she let the bass notes wash over her as Winter followed some unseen sheet music, still offering a kick to keep time, and in her head she could stack the sounds together- the toms, the crashes, the hi-hat. Yang hadn’t had a proper jam session since before everything happened; Blake hadn’t quite been able to face her until recently, and even then the two hadn’t really talked things out like they should. The bassist probably blamed herself and she was in no position to comfort her. Yang wasn’t mad- Blake couldn’t have stopped the attack anymore than she could’ve, not with how drunk they were- but that probably wasn’t how her friend and bandmate saw the whole ordeal. Coming together long enough for Ruby to talk them into the come back tour, with Weiss watching anxiously and throwing in her two cents to coax them into the deal.

Now that she thought about it, she really hadn’t listened to any music since the incident. She normally hated silence, always craving some sort of white noise or providing her own by tapping out rhythms on whatever hard surface happened to be nearby, but she’d avoided the radio and news shows, not wanting to see his face or hear his name. Usually, she put on a telanovella- she couldn’t speak or understand Spanish, but she might be picking things up a little, and the drama did a lot for context. But she always thought the soundtracks playing behind the dramatic moments lacked a certain… oomph.

Her fingers twitched and she opened her eyes, looking down and spotting the pouch hanging off to the side of the throne, filled with sets of drumsticks- either a precaution against the drummer breaking them or tossing them out into the crowd like Yang liked to do, she couldn’t tell. Plucking two from the bunch, she bobbed her head as Winter continued to play, finding just the right point to jump in with the hi-hat.

Now accompanied properly, her girlfriend began throwing some flare into the melody, screaming down the string to land on the next note. The wail of the bass on the higher notes contrasted nicely to the toms while the thrumming of lower notes made the cymbals ring brighter.

“Sing something!” She called out above the crash of the drums and the thrumming of the bass.

Winter furrowed her brows, hardly faltering in her playing. “This isn’t a song!”

“Don’t need words!” Yang smiled, going through a rapid progression across the toms before going back into the melody. “Just sing!”

They couldn’t add in a guitar, obviously, but she’d found a knack for picking out the parts needed for a four piece band, and adding some sort of vocal component would help her nail down in her head how it should go. The bass and drums drove the impromptu song forward, so it would be the job of the others to dress it up, really push it to the next level.

She might not have the same amount of training and practice, but Winter could sing just as well as her sister, managing to move from note to note at half time, lending a beautiful, haunting quality to the driving beat. It was exactly the sort of union between classical singing and punk rock that helped make RWBY so distinctive, and Yang felt a little burst of excitement swell in her chest.

This was the part she loved about being in the band. The drinking, the shows, the jets, the traveling- all that was well and good, but she loved the music. Bringing things together, radically different elements and mashing them into something people could bang their heads to and shout at the top of their lungs to an empty city. The pulse of a rebellious heart pounding in all of them and they’d made that clear with every song and every show- every lost set of drumsticks, every broken guitar, every impromptu encore. It drove Qrow crazy because he could never understand it, never really feel it the way Ruby did, the way Weiss did, the way Blake did… the way she did.

She crashed again, and this time not in the sense of breaking down into a useless mess for someone else to put back together. This time, she lost herself to the music, launching into a drum solo just like the old days, even adding in a flourish with the sticks before settling back into the beat and letting Winter take over, her fingers flying as she did her best. Blake would probably be able to turn the solo into something that would make the old rock gods weep, and with a nod towards her girlfriend, they brought the jam to a close with the lingering deep notes of the bass and the crashing of cymbals ringing out into the empty venue.

“That was awesome!”

“It truly was,” Winter said, her voice conveying enough wonder that it piqued her curiosity. When Yang looked over, she saw the woman standing there, absolutely gobsmacked. “I’ve never seen or heard or… anything like that.”

“Well, you’re learning.” She shrugged, setting the drumsticks back in the bag- surprisingly, she hadn’t snapped the one in her prosthetic hand… huh. “When you… uh… when you play with people, you can just jam-”

“I don’t mean that. Well, I suppose I do, but…” She shook her head, slipping the bass strap over her head and setting it back on the stand, not bothering with the amp. “I… never actually had the opportunity to watch you play. Not from this close, anyway.” Her girlfriend took a few steps towards the kit, eyes darting around as she searched for words. “It was- incredible, absolutely breathtaking to watch. You appeared to be entirely in your element, enthralled with the music, and all off the cuff.” She stopped hardly a step away, looking down at her with a smile. “I daresay you looked exactly like Yang Xiao Long.”

Blinking, she looked down at her lap because she could feel a blush rising in her cheeks- and for a number of reasons. Seeing the genuine amount of awe shining in blue eyes, realizing that she’d never personally invited Winter to come watch them perform or given her a backstage pass- Weiss had, a few times, but that might’ve been before they officially started dating- and just… she couldn’t deny that it felt great to play again. Her shoulders felt a little sore, likely because she hadn’t stretched them out or warmed up, just jumped into it straight away. Her right shoulder felt a little weird but, considering it was moving a lot more weight than before, she kinda expected it, and the physical therapy was geared towards strengthening it for that very reason.

She… very well might be able to do this.

“You really think so?” She glanced at the woman as she knelt down beside the throne. “Think I’m good enough to fool them?”

She made a vague motion towards the empty seats soon to be filled with screaming fans.

“You’re fooling no one; they’ll come tomorrow expecting to see Yang Xiao Long sitting behind the drum kit, and that’s exactly where you’ll be, giving them a show they’ll brag about to everyone they know for years to come.” Winter reached into her pocket and drew out a long, thin box wrapped in yellow paper with a purple bow, the edges crumpled somewhat- likely from when she’d picked Yang up earlier. “I… actually thought it would be prudent to celebrate the occasion. So I got you this.”

Furrowing her brows, she took the box in her right hand, using her left to tear away the paper. “You should’ve told me; I didn’t get you anything.”

“You just gave me the private show of a lifetime,” Winter replied with a smile. “I’d say that’s quite the gift.”

Yang laughed, prying open the plain white box beneath the paper and cutting herself off with a gasp, quite nearly choking on air. There, on a bed of soft cotton, lay two drumsticks- yellow, with a long, snarling dragon wrapped around each, the design etched into the wood and filled in with glass or something, so the sticks felt smooth and cool to the touch. At the very bottom were her initials plus a little something extra, causing her eyes to go wide.

“Winter…” She looked up, unsure how to articulate anything for a moment, words flying from her grasp.

“I’m not quite certain they’re entirely usable, if the design holds any bearing on the sound, but I thought you should have something to mark the moment.” Her girlfriend leaned up, pressing a kiss to her cheek. “This is who you are, Yang. You’re the drummer, the beat, the pounding drive- your the rhythm of my heart. So keep playing. I know you can do it.”

As much as she appreciated the sentiment, her mind remained stuck on the little detail. “At the bottom…”

“I had them inscribe your initials. YXL’s, lest there be any doubt as to whom they belong.”

“Wait, Y-X-L’s?” Yang started smiling, trying hard to hold in her laughter. “That explains it.”

Expression falling from beaming encouragement and adoration into concern, Winter glanced at the sticks as they were pulled free. “Explains what?”

To demonstrate, she flipped the sticks around to show off the bottom, where just under the dragons’ curled tails proudly stood the initials, all the same size and spacing with no punctuation to be found.

Winter’s brows furrowed. “They forgot the apostrophe.”

“Nah, they just got my whole name.” She couldn’t possibly resist. “Yang Xiao Long Schnee.”

White brows climbed to her hairline, a splash of panic amid the overwhelming surprise. Obviously, she hadn’t checked over the custom sticks herself for any mistakes in the design. Her mouth worked, opening and closing in fits without any words coming forth, and Yang opted to save her girlfriend from the awkward moment… in her own special way.

“I hope you talked to Ruby first; she’ll get mad if she finds out you proposed without asking her blessing.” She teased, smiling and laughing. “I’m not sure how we’ll be able to afford the dowry.”

“Hush, you,” Winter replied finally, running a hand through her bangs. “I’m sure I can get them replaced.”

“Oh, no.” Yang immediately pulled the sticks out of reach, hiding them behind her back. “You’re not taking these away! No take backs!” She didn’t miss the fact her girlfriend said ‘replaced’, not ‘fixed’. Even if the error wasn’t intended, it seemed like Winter wasn’t keen on dismissing the prospect entirely or even insinuating that she might be against the idea. She just didn’t plan it. “But when you propose for real, I expect something a little more impressive than custom sticks.” A pause. “I gotta be honest, though, these are awesome.”

“I’m glad you like them.” Relieved for the most part- the way her eyes darted away, as if she was mentally filing something away for later consideration, went by unremarked- Winter nodded towards the kit. “Perhaps you could use them during practice-”

“I’m using them tomorrow night!” She pulled them out to admire them again, biting her lip. Frankly, it would be nice to have something to ground herself to this moment tomorrow, when she’d be combating anxiety and all manner of demons in within the confines of her mind. Something to remind her of the exhilaration she felt just juamming out, letting the music take control- a constant reminder that she could again reach where she used to be. “Thank you, Snowdrift.”

She leaned over, smiling into the kiss and tempted to draw her girlfriend into something a little more heated but pushing the thought aside. For one thing, she wouldn’t disrespect another drummer’s kit like that, and for another, she’d rather focus on the upcoming show.

When the kiss broke, she stood up, pulling out her scroll and opening the group chat for the band, which hadn’t been touched in the months they’d spent broken up. Tucking the drumsticks into her belt, she focused on the blinking line in the chat box. Yang took a deep breath, tapped on a few settings to update her name, and then messaged everyone with an alert.

Boomeryang: Hey @punks! Gotta favor to ask.
RubeCube: oh hey yang! what’s up?
RubeCube: also nice s/n?
RubeCube: i don’t get it. T_T
Boomeryang: I’m Yang and I’m comin’ back at ya.
Boomeryang: Like a BOOMERANG.
RubeCube: oh!
Weiss: Some part of me hates that you forced me to read that with my own two eyes and some part of me hates that it made me laugh. Welcome back, Yang.
Boomeryang: Stay salty, ice queen.
BlackCatMagic: That’s better than a doc note.
RubeCube: that’s such a neat idea! dibs on yo-yo! 
Boomeryang: Anyway, favor time. Can we add Winter on as a back-up singer?
Weiss: Wait. What.
Ro-ro: like that! how’s that, sis?
Boomeryang: Perf, Rubes, 10/10, I’m so proud.
BlackCatMagic: Now there’s two of them. Great.
Weiss: What.
Boomeryang: C’mon, Blakey. Play along!
Ro-ro: it’s fun!
BlackCatMagic: What would I even be?
Weiss: CAN WE GET BACK TO THE ‘WINTER AS A BACK-UP SINGER’ THING PLEASE?
Ro-ro: something to do with
Ro-ro: oh, yeah, i guess we should talk about that.
Weiss: I’m glad you’re so enamored with my sister, Yang, but I need more context for this request.

Yang looked at the woman walking beside her, a hand on her shoulder guiding them both towards the venue’s private entrance. Even if she was probably about to be shot down, she had to try.

Boomeryang: stg, I was gonna try to pull out for tomorrow night. Just had a long moment of doubt. Winter pulled me out and I’d just
Boomeryang: I’d feel more comfortable if she’s on stage with us. Even if it’s just off to the side. She doesn’t even have to sing, really, but I just found out she can, so I figured that’d be a good cover.
Boomeryang: I guess “with me” would be a better way to put it.
Weiss: Oh. 
Weiss: That’s fine.
Boomeryang: Really? With the caps lock thing I was expecting a no.
Weiss: I was more concerned you thought I wouldn’t be able to perform.
Weiss: I had my pride to consider.
Ro-ro: truth time weiss. are you really okay with this?
Weiss: Honestly, yes.
Weiss: It’s been years since we last sang together but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it before. Why should now be any different?
Weiss: Wait. Yang, have you even asked her if she’d want to?
Boomeryang: Weeeeeeeeeeell, not yet, but I kinda figured it’d be easier to see if it’d fly before trying to talk her into it.
Ro-ro: i mean, if weiss is okay with it, so am i! two sets of sisters on stage! it’s gonna be so kickass! uh, as long as blake’s okay with it, too.
Blaching4aCig: I have no complaints.
Blaching4aCig: I could even put in a call to Sun. He’s practically a brother at this point. He could… do flips in the bg???
Blaching4aCig: Nvmd that’s a dumb suggestion.
Boomeryang: … Blake wtf is that? 
Ro-ro: hey maybe he could provide back-up vocals too? he can rap pretty well!
Boomeryang: Blake. What are you doing right now? 
Ro-ro: you should def see if he’s interested!
Boomeryang: WUT R U DOIN RN WITH THAT SN!?
Blaching4aCig: Aching for a cig = nicotine craving = a recurring thing that always comes back, something I know all too well
Blaching4aCig: This is why you aren’t the song writer.
Boomeryang: This is why YOU are “the emo one”! You and those damn cancer sticks!
Ro-ro: hey i think it’s creative! and i think we shouldn’t hold ourselves to anything super serious rn. 
Ro-ro: tomorrow’s the first show of the come back tour! let’s be silly and have fun w/ it! let’s get comfy with playing again!
Ro-ro: i’ve really missed all of us playing together
SeasonalAllergies: Well put, Ruby. Adjustments for everyone’s comfort and benefit are hardly a ‘favor’.
Boomeryang: gfdi Weiss, you and Blake are a fuckin pair I stg
SeasonalAllergies: Are we NOT doing themed nicknames based on the premise of ‘things that come back’?
Boomeryang: You’re not even allergic to anything!
SeasonalAllergies: And you aren’t a boomerang!
Ro-ro: i dunno she probably comes for winter a lot
Ro-ro: *comes back
Ro-ro: *to
Boomeryang: RUBY!
SeasonalAllergies: asdfghjkl
SeasonalAllergies: It’s not like she’s wrong.
Boomeryang: WEISS!
Blaching4aCig: Yeah, hotel walls are p thin, FYI.
Boomeryang: BLAKE!
Boomeryang: ALL OF YOU! FFS!
Ro-ro: 1- that was autocorrect and 2- just no kissy faces on stage k cause qrow might actually kill one of us and i rly don’t know who
Blaching4aCig: Probs Winter
Boomeryang: He’d try.
SeasonalAllergies: ‘Try’ being the operative word there.
Boomeryang: Also, how is your autocorrect on if you’re typing lower case ‘i’s?
Ro-ro: hey, so i’m goin to go put winter in as a back-up singer! ttyl!
Boomeryang: RUBES GET BACK HERE!
Boomeryang: I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!
SeasonalAllergies: I’d say she knows where you sleep…
Blaching4aCig: … but you don’t do much of that, now do you?

A laugh burst from her lips as they walked across the parking lot, shaking her head at Winter’s curious expression.

Boomeryang: When did this happen?
Boomeryang: It’s MY job to make jokes like these!
Boomeryang: *I* do the teasing around here!
SeasonalAllergies: Welcome to the new and improved RWBY, where no one is on their own or solely responsible for telling terrible jokes.
Blaching4aCig: We’ve had months of you being a pun spectre lingering in the backs of our minds and making light of everything. 
Blaching4aCig: Now it’s time for you to reap what you’ve sowed.

Tearing her attention away from her device, she looked over at her girlfriend. “Hey, Snowdrift? Do you think you’d… maybe like to come on stage tomorrow night?”

Winter raised a brow as they reached her car, popping open the locks with the fob. “I don’t want to crowd you. Are you sure you’d like me to come?”

“Yeah.” She nodded, leaning against the car and watching Winter’s expression from across the roof. “I think I’d like you to be there. Maybe do some back-up vocals?”

She mulled it over for a moment. “If Weiss and the others have no objects, I’d love to… though… I can’t imagine what I might own that would be appropriate-”

“Say no more,” Yang said, smiling wide and pulling the door open- using her left hand, which still felt awkward, but she didn’t want to risk the metal-on-metal sound. “We’re going shopping. To the mall!”

As she settled into the passenger seat and buckled up, Winter smoothly slid into the driver’s side with a thoughtful hum. “There will be a lot of people at a mall.”

“Well, yeah.” She nodded, swallowing thickly as her anxiety spiked. “But I gotta get over it some time.”

Before she could fully relax into the car seat, a hand slipped into hers, squeezing lightly. When she looked over, her girlfriend smiled softly. “How about a thrift store instead? You’re about to play your first show in months. I think it might be prudent to take things one step at a time, don’t you think?”

“That’s not really my style.” Yang smirked, leaning over for a kiss. “But for you… I guess I can do that.”

“How very sweet of you.” Fingers entwined with hers as Winter raised their hands, pressing another kiss to the back of Yang’s as she started the car up. “I love you, Sundrop.”

“I love you, too,” she replied, smiling as they pulled away from the venue and started heading towards some downtown shop her girlfriend had seen. In the back of her mind, the doubts lurked- what if she froze up, or dropped a stick, or snapped at a fan- but the hand in hers gave a light squeeze and her other hand- despite being the prosthetic- plucked the sticks from her belt and she swore she could feel them, warm and cool in turn, wood and glass. Two forged into one.

Yang really didn’t know why Winter stuck around. But for every minute they had together, she would make the best of it.

“Sundrop,” her girlfriend said, in that faux casual way she used whenever she had a joke she wanted to tell and was trying not to spoil it. “Do you know why every store loves it when you shop there?”

“Why?”

“Because you really drum up good business for them,” Winter replied, looking so damn pleased with herself that she had to laugh.