With the roar of the fire my heart rose to its feet
Like the ashes of ash I saw rise in the heat
Settle soft and as pure as snow
I fell in love with the fire long ago
With each love I cut loose I was never the same
Watching still living roots be consumed by the flame
I was fixed on your hand of gold
Laying waste to my loving long ago
~ "Would That I” by Hozier
“-sound easy, Mom! I can’t just tell-Yang! Good morning!”
Yang paused in the doorway of the Belladonnas’ dining room. Clearly, she’d caught her partner in the middle of an important conversation as Blake’s flattened ears served as a clear sign of her distress.
“Am I interrupting something?”
“Not at all, dear,” Kali said before her daughter could say otherwise. “Blake and I were just discussing what she plans to wear tonight.”
“Cool.” Yang took a seat on the pillow next to Blake’s and the cup of tea Kali offered her. “What’s happening tonight?”
“Why the Bonfire of course.”
At Yang’s look of confusion, Blake explained, “On the eve of every new year, Kuo Kuana hosts a big party around an enormous bonfire. Supposedly, the all good cheer from the festivities will keep Grimm away for the entire year, but that’s just the legend.”
“And as chieftain, it’s Ghira’s duty to host the festivities with his family in attendance,” Kali finished. “I was just telling Blake that she should invite you to join us.”
“Oh. It sounds fun, but wouldn’t be awkward...you know me being a human and all?”
“Nonsense. You can’t always tell, but there are quite a few human citizens here on Menagerie. Most of them are either married to a Faunus or the child of such a couple.”
Something about the way Kali said the last statement struck Yang as odd and made her look at Blake. Her partner was blushing and staring at her mother with an unreadable expression. Yang knew that was missing something, but she let it go.
“If it won’t cause any problems then I’d love to come.”
Kali smiled at her. “Wonderful! I’ll see about getting you something suitable wear. Old traditions die hard I’m afraid so there is a slight dress code.”
“Alright. I trust you to make me look good, Kali," Yang said with a wink making the elder woman laugh.
“Honey I don’t think I could make you look bad if I tried. Right, Blake?”
Blake tensed up, completely red in the face at the thought of what her mother would pick for Yang. “Right.”
Yang laughed as well before getting to her feet. “Well, I’m gonna go call Ruby and tell her about tonight. See you two later.”
Once alone, Blake glared even harder at her mother for her scheming. Unfazed, Kali simply finished the last of her tea and said, “Your father and I shared our first kiss at the Bonfire, you know.”
“Mom. I told you. Yang isn’t interested in me like that. We’re just friends.”
Kali gave her daughter a withering look then shook her head. A mother’s work was truly never done.
Evening came far too quickly for Blake’s liking. Anxiously, she got dressed in the short violet halter top and long black flowing skirt she’d finally decided upon at the last minute. Both pieces were embroidered with a matching floral pattern with gold thread. Blake rounded out the outfit with a pair of golden bracelets that Yang had bought her for her birthday. Her feet were bare, as per tradition, and she’d pulled her hair back into a ponytail in preparation for being by the roaring flames of the bonfire all night. With a final deep breath, Blake left her room to wait in the den with her father for her mother and Yang.
“Blake,” Ghira said upon seeing her. “You look beautiful, sweetie. I’m so glad you decided to join us tonight.”
“Thanks, Dad. Mom wouldn’t take no for an answer, but I really am happy go again after all these years.”
They both then became lost in the memory of Blake’s last Bonfire. She’d been twelve and had spent the night laughing with her parents and kids from all over Kuo Kuana. It had been one her happiest childhood memories. Two months after that night, she’d left to join the White Fang. There hadn't been many happy memories afterwards for the five years. Her darkening thoughts were interrupted by two sets of footsteps entering the den.
Looking up, Blake felt her heart skip a beat at the vision in front of her. Kali had chosen a short halter top and skirt combination for Yang to wear as well. However, Yang’s top had a split down the front that exposed a hint of her cleavage, and her skirt stopped just below her knees. Both were dyed so that the neck of top was a bright yellow which slowly darkened as it descended with the hem of the skirt ending in a dark orange hue. Finally, her mother had lent Yang a golden ankle bracelet that had several onyx stones hanging from it and left Yang's hair to flow freely down her back.
“How do I look?” Yang asked with a shy smile. She was confident about her looks, but Blake’s opinion meant so much more to her than a stranger's.
Blake was so busy staring that it took a subtle nudge from her father for her to respond. “Ga-Great! You look great, Yang.”
“Thanks. You look beautiful, too.”
Unbeknownst to the blushing pair, Ghira and Kali shared a look. Ghira shook his head before linking arms with his wife. “Come along you two. We need to get going before the sun is fully down.”
Without her heels, Blake noticed the size difference between her and Yang as they walked to the festival grounds. Her face was now at a level with her partner’s chest, and the backless top left Yang’s broad and well-muscled shoulders on full display. Fighting off the urge to run her hands over all the exposed skin before her, Blake clenched them into fists and looked away. Yang was truly a goddess made flesh, and nothing–not even the prosthetic Yang utterly despised sometimes–would make her think otherwise.
If I overheat and pass put tonight, it won't be because of the bonfire.
At last, the group arrived at the clearing. A shallow pit had been dug out in the center and structure of logs several meters tall had been erected in it. The citizens of Kuo Kuana were already moving about the area. Stands for food, games and crafts had already been set up as the band tuned their instruments on the stage. All of them immediately stopped and gave notice when their chief arrived with his family. They instantly cleared a path to the wooden tower making Blake freeze.
She’d forgotten about this part. Her dad needed to give a speech before he lit the bonfire. Every Faunus in Menagerie would have their eyes on him and by extension, her and Yang.
“Yang, you don’t have to-” Her attempt to offer an escape was cut short by Yang linking arms with her just as Ghira had with Kali and following her parents to the center.
Blake didn’t even listen to her father’s speech after that. She was too busy being hyperaware of Yang's right hand slowly slipping into her left. Thanks to her semblance, the aura powered prosthetic was hardly ever cold to the touch. Blake wouldn’t have cared even if it was. Having Yang by her side was more than worth any minor discomfort.
At last, her father’s speech ended, and he lit the bonfire behind them with a torch. A canopy of cheers went up all around them, and the band struck up a joyful beat. Ghira led them to his ceremonial seat through the now dancing crowd. Relaxing on the plush pillows, Ghira gratefully drank the glass of water Kali poured for him.
“I swear I end up giving a longer speech every year,” he said once finished.
Kali laughed at her husband. “That’s only because you try to be completely original every year, love.”
“Well excuse me for not wanting to repeat myself.”
Blake tuned out her parents’ playful banter and looked at Yang. With the bonfire lighting her face, Blake watch her stare at the dancing crowd, her head bopping slightly to the band’s drum-heavy beat. Out of nowhere, something soft hit her back. Blake whirled around to see her mother, a bowl of grapes in her lap, giving her a rather pointed look before flicking her eyes to Yang then back again. To her right, Ghira simply shook his head but was fighting back a smile at his wife’s meddling ways.
Finally, Blake caved to her mother’s silent insistence and stood up, offering her hand to Yang. “Would you like to dance?”
“Sure, but I’m not sure if I know the steps to this kind of music.”
Blake chuckled. “Don’t worry. I’ll teach you.”
With that, the pair made their way to the dance area close to the bonfire. Smiling happily, Kali leaned back against Ghira‘s bare chest and ate another grape.
“You’re terrible, you know that?” came his low voice from behind her teasingly.
“Well I had to do something. She’s just as bad as you were, and Yang isn’t much better.”
“I stepped up eventually,” he replied, watching his daughter teach Yang to dance.
“You did. After, I got sick of waiting and kissed you first.”
By the bonfire, Yang proved to be a quick learner, mastering the simple footwork Blake showed her before moving on to mimic the harder steps she saw people around her do. Caught up in the excitement of dancing with Blake, Yang pulled her partner closer then into a low dip only to freeze upon realizing how close they’d become. The firelight reflected in Blake’s amber eyes making them shine beautifully. Before Yang could find the right words to say, Blake threaded her fingers in her hair and pulled Yang into a searing kiss. Faintly, Blake heard a woman's excited cheer in the distance was too focused on the feel of Yang’s lips on hers to really care. When the need for air became to great, Blake pulled away, panting heavily.
“I’m sorry, Yang. I’ve just wanted to do that all evening.”
Yang pulled them both back upright. With her arms still around Blake, she leaned down and pressed their foreheads together.
“Don’t be sorry,” she said, her voice practically a whisper. “Just do it again.”