Yang raises a hand to knock on Blake’s door, more nervous than she ever has been before in her life. It’s ridiculous—she’s been in countless fights where she could easily have lost her life, she’s seen her entire school destroyed, she’s lost her arm—but this is what’s making her feel like a swarm of butterflies have taken up residence in her stomach.
But then, she thinks, nervousness and fear are two different things. She's scared of Salem and the potential devastation to the world if they don’t stop her, but nothing about Blake could ever make her feel fear. Nervousness, though? Yeah, Blake definitely makes her feel plenty of that, most of the time without even trying.
Deciding that she’s absolutely overthinking this, she raps her knuckles lightly against the door, and a few moments later it swings open to reveal her partner. She wonders if there’ll ever be a time when the sight of Blake doesn’t leave her just a little awestruck, but if there is then it certainly isn’t now.
Blake has changed into more casual clothes, pulled her hair up into a ponytail, and the slight difference has Yang staring shamelessly. Her partner looks softer—more unguarded—like this, but her strength is still clearly drawn in the determined set of her shoulders, the sharp line of her jaw, the lean definition of her arms.
She swallows, and it takes her several seconds to remember what she came here to do in the first place. “Can— can I talk to you about something?”
“Sure.” Blake steps back to let her in, and Yang moves past her into the room, starting to pace up and down as she tries to work up the courage to say what she wants to say.
“I… I’ve been thinking and—” She gives up, running a hand over her face in frustration. This really shouldn’t be so difficult. But Blake comes over, rests her own hand on Yang’s arm, looks at her with that soft expression—a small smile, eyes a little brighter—and some of her confidence returns.
“It’s okay, Yang. Take your time.”
She exhales slowly, and tries again. “I’ve been thinking and… well, I heard about this restaurant that’s kind of near here, and apparently they do really good seafood, and I— I was wondering if you wanted to check it out?”
“You mean just the two of us?”
And Yang’s certainty wavers once more as she tries to read the emotion behind the question— is it excitement or disappointment?
“Yeah,” she says anyway, not knowing how to be anything other than honest with Blake, and then adds just in case, “If— if you want it to be, that is.”
Blake’s smile grows wider, her hand sliding down to take Yang’s, their fingers intertwining like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Yang’s starting to think that maybe it is. “I would love that.” Yang feels an answering grin brighten her own face, but her cheeks flood with heat as Blake continues. “So, when are you taking me on this date?”
Yang freezes— she knows there was a question she needs to answer somewhere there but her mind is stuck, repeating the word date over and over like a broken record. They’re going on a date. She’s going on a date with Blake.
Dust, okay. She can handle this. She’s a mature adult, a trained fighter— she can take the girl of her dreams on a date without blushing and stammering constantly.
“How about tonight?” she responds, leaving out that she wants to make sure they don’t wait too long and miss their chance. “Around 7? Assuming you don’t have any other plans,” she finishes teasingly, knowing full well that none of them have any plans with the fate of the world at stake but wanting to get her own back for Blake flustering her so effortlessly.
“Not that I can think of.” Blake taps a finger to her chin, pretending to be deep in thought before her smile sharpens into a smirk. “Looks like I’m all yours, Miss Xiao Long.”
And she should have known that it wouldn’t work. She’s sure her blush must be even worse now, but she manages to only stammer slightly when she says, “G-great! Then I’ll see you then.”
She bolts from the room before she can do anything else embarrassing, and Blake’s laugh follows her down the corridor to her own room. It’s worth making a bit of a fool of herself sometimes if she gets to hear that sound more often, she decides.
It’s five hours later when Yang knocks on Blake’s door again. She lifts a hand to straighten her jacket as she waits— she thought about going with a dress like when they danced at Beacon, but the suit is all she has with her thanks to their travelling, and she can’t say she’s disappointed. She doesn’t always get why people seem to find her quite so attractive, but she knows that this particular outfit highlights her broad shoulders and hard-earned muscular physique especially well, and that the purple of the tie matches perfectly with her eyes.
More than that, though, she knows that Blake has never seen her in a suit before, and so she’s hoping it will help with impressing her date.
Her date. Blake is her date.
She’s never going to get tired of remembering that.
She doesn’t need to just remember it, however, as the door opens and Blake steps out into the hallway. She would laugh when she processes that Blake has also picked out a suit, but instead she feels her mouth fall open slightly as she tries not to ogle her partner too obviously.
If she thought a suit looked good on herself, then it must look at least ten times better on Blake. Her partner has always had beautifully defined features, and they’re only emphasised more by the crisp cut of the dress shirt. Not to mention the way that the dark grey of the jacket and trousers only seem to make Blake’s already gorgeous hair an even deeper, more enticing shade of black, or how the gold of her tie plays off the amber of her eyes and Yang’s heart skips a beat because Blake is wearing her colour—
Wow. She definitely needs to stop staring.
“You… you look amazing. Gods, I’m so lucky.” She didn’t mean to say the second part out loud, but how can she mind when Blake giggles, her cheeks dusting with colour as Yang finally manages to make her blush.
“So do you.” Blake steps forward, smoothing her hands over the lapels of Yang’s jacket, and Yang gulps at the smooth silk woven into her voice. “You’re so strong. So powerful. So beautiful.” And then the seductive tone vanishes, and Blake leans up to press a chaste kiss to Yang’s cheek before withdrawing. “I think I’m the fortunate one here.”
“Th-thank you,” Yang manages, lost for what else she can say but hoping that those two words let Blake know how much she appreciates the flattery. Keen not to let things become awkward, she offers her arm. “Well then, my lady, shall we go?”
Yang pushes her plate away, leaning back in her chair. The restaurant has turned out to be just as good—and just as Faunus-friendly—as Weiss promised, and she couldn’t be more grateful that she went through with the idea of coming here.
Across the table Blake is finishing off the last few bites of her fish, letting out an appreciative sound of delight that sounds enough like a moan for Yang’s gut to clench pleasantly, but she pushes that thought down for the moment. They might have known each other for a long time, but this is so incredibly new, and moving too fast is the last mistake she wants to make.
Everything else in their lives is so chaotic and tenuous— fragile. For once she wants to do things normally with Blake—to treat her right, the way she deserves—and that means being a gentlewoman. Besides, she might not connect with fairytales the way Ruby does, and she certainly hasn’t read even half as many romance novels as her partner, but Yang knows she’s a bit of a sap when it comes to this.
She likes the idea of taking things slow, just spending time together— letting Blake know that she’s loved, not just desired. She’s fallen hard, and she wants to show it.
“Do you feel like dessert?” she asks as the waiter takes their plates away, and Blake is silent for a few seconds, like she’s giving it serious consideration.
“Hmm. I think I could be up for sharing something sweet with you.” She says it nonchalantly, innocently, but Yang picks up on the possible unspoken implications without any problem.
She wonders if this means that they’ll kiss at the end of tonight— if she’ll get to find out whether Blake’s lips are as soft as she’s imagined before they go back to their own rooms to sleep and maybe replay the moment in their dreams. She hopes so, and when Blake reaches out to lay her hand over Yang’s prosthetic in the middle of the table—she swears she can feel the warmth of her skin faintly even though the metal can’t sense temperature—she thinks that her partner probably feels the same way.
For now, though, they order a portion of chocolate cake to share, and when Blake lifts up her fork Yang can’t help grinning like an idiot as she leans in to take the bite. Blake laughs, and Yang’s heart soars with the rising joy in her tone. She feels young, happy, for the first time in as long as she can remember.
“So, what’s The Queen’s Secret about then?” she asks, having just spent the last half hour listening to her partner describe the merits of each of her favourite books— well, only the absolute favourites actually, since all of her favourites could take almost a whole day, Blake joked.
Blake tells the tale of a young woman who is drawn into a situation beyond her control, who goes through hardship after hardship and thinks they are all her own fault.
“Does it at least have a happy ending?” Yang questions, her voice shaking more than she would like. “Does she go back to her friends again?”
“Yes,” Blake says, and it sounds like she’s talking about much more than the plot of a novel. “Yes, she does.”
“Good,” Yang says, and it sounds like something final— complete.
The tension dissipates as Blake goes on to talk about another series that she can’t wait to finish, and Yang rests her chin in her palm, knowing that there’s a dopey smile on her face as she listens but unable—and unwilling—to hide the depths of her fondness for the woman sitting across from her.
Everything with Blake is so easy, from fighting to talking to listening— just being herself with no expectations or worries, simply the calm comfort of being with someone she trusts as much as she trusts herself.
When they’re done they split the bill equally and leave the restaurant. Blake giggles when Yang holds open the door for her, and Yang realises that she isn’t ready for their time together to end just yet. She glances around, and across the street she sees something that might just be what she’s looking for.
VORNHEM MEMORIAL GARDENS
She rests a hand on Blake’s arm, getting her partner’s attention, and then she inclines her head towards the sign.
“If you want we could take a walk through there before heading back to the inn?”
Blake readjusts to take her hand, giving it a squeeze. “That sounds like a great idea.”
And so they head for the entrance, fingers automatically intertwining in the small space between them. Even though there’s no conversation, it doesn’t feel awkward. It’s peaceful and relaxing instead, and Yang wants to share more moments like this with Blake. With nothing to worry about, and nothing to think about except for each other.
Luckily there are enough lights scattered throughout the park that it isn’t difficult to see, even if Yang doesn’t have Faunus night vision, and she takes in the beautiful surroundings. The warm ambience makes the flowers around them seem vibrant even in the partial darkness, and the medley of colours is almost like a reflection of the growing tangle of feelings beating in Yang’s chest.
It’s as though all of her joy, pain, longing, love—everything she’s ever felt for Blake, felt because of Blake—has been building to this one moment, and she needs to share it before it becomes too much to contain.
She tightens her grip on Blake’s hand just a little, bringing them to a halt, and her partner turns to look at her. She’s just so beautiful, the light of the moon painting her as something mysterious and almost untouchable, but Yang can touch her. And to prove it to herself, she lifts a hand, tucking a stray lock of hair behind Blake’s ear.
Her partner leans into the touch, turning her head to press a kiss to Yang’s palm, and when Blake meets her eyes again there is such unguarded affection that Yang just can’t wait any longer. She can’t.
But before she can finally make her move, Blake beats her to it. Slender fingers curl gracefully around Yang’s tie, pulling her in, and then there’s only an inch separating them, the distance so insignificant that their noses are almost brushing, and time seems to freeze around them, waiting for them to restart it.
They take the final step with effortless synchronisation, and slowly, delicately, their lips meet. It’s warm, and tender, and everything Yang ever wanted. She brings her other hand up to cup Blake’s jaw, needing as much contact as possible so she can commit all of this moment to memory— to convince herself that this is real.
But it isn’t just the smoothness of Blake’s skin under her palm that reassures her that this is actually happening, it’s everything. The cool stillness of the air sending a shiver down her spine, the heat of Blake’s mouth bringing a quiet sound of satisfaction from her throat, the softness of Blake’s lips leaving her aching, the faint scent of lavender that she recognises as her partner’s favourite perfume— each sensation layers until her knees are weak, her brain unable to process anything other than perfect, and she can’t remember why she ever thought that this might just be a dream.
Because this can’t be anything but true. A fantasy could never make her feel this much. A fantasy could never be this right.
Blake’s hands fall to rest on her waist instead, tugging her even closer, and Yang doesn’t intend for it to happen, but one kiss becomes two kisses, which becomes three kisses, which becomes four kisses— there’s too much passion built up and held back over too much time for them to separate so soon, but even as the kiss deepens it doesn’t become rough, or urgent, or desperate.
They don’t need to rush this. They might lead incredibly dangerous lives, but right now they’re free, young and in love, and Yang wouldn’t let her and Blake be broken apart for anything.
Except maybe oxygen.
Yang reluctantly pulls away, but she can’t bring herself to regret it when Blake opens her eyes again, looking dazed and breathless, and she gets to see the tangible proof that she makes Blake happy, written across every inch of her partner’s expression.
“Hi,” she says, knowing that she’s probably blushing hard, knowing that the smile on her face is probably embarrassingly shy, and not caring in the slightest when Blake is standing there with that look in her eyes.
“Hi,” Blake echoes, and Yang lets out a small laugh before hugging her. She needs to have Blake in her arms, to make this moment more tangible.
Her partner nuzzles into her, tucking her head under her chin, and Yang can feel herself melting. Blake snuggles closer with a soft sound of contentment, and Yang simply holds her, delighting in the way her partner's ears twitch slightly when she presses a kiss to the top of Blake's head.
All evening Yang's felt more calm and at peace than she has in far too long, but never more so than right now. There's just her, Blake and their love, alone in a beautiful garden where for only a few minutes they can pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist.
Eventually they have to untangle themselves from each other to head back to the inn, but when Yang moves to start walking Blake catches her by the arm and tugs her back in for one last kiss. It lingers far longer than Yang intends it to, but how is she meant to pull away from her partner’s mouth when it’s so wonderfully gentle against her own?
Still, she manages it somehow, and hand in hand they slowly make their way back to the street where they’ve been staying. They try to be quiet as they open the door and slip inside, mindful of the fact that their friends are probably sleeping already, but trying not to make any noise only serves to make them giggle, and they shut each other up by pressing their lips together again.
They separate long enough to make it up to the landing, and they reach Blake’s room first. Yang can sense in the way they both hesitate that neither one of them wants to be alone tonight, but she doesn’t totally trust herself, and so she reluctantly lets go of Blake’s hand.
“So, I guess this is goodnight.”
“I guess so.” Blake smiles at her, leans up to kiss her cheek, and Yang’s sure she must be blushing for about the twentieth time tonight. “Goodnight, Yang. Sweet dreams.”
The door closes behind Blake, and Yang doesn’t realise she should probably move herself until a good ten seconds later. She makes the way down the corridor to her own room, raising a hand to brush her fingertips over the imprint of Blake’s mouth left on her cheek, feeling her own lips curl into a hopelessly lovestruck smile.
Yeah, she’s pretty sure she’ll definitely have sweet dreams after that.