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find my hand and don't let me go

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The wind is rushing in her ears, her hair wild and unrestrained as it whips her face, blows around in every direction and she screams. Rose petals scatter away and she’s free falling, the ocean, disturbed by the giant metal shoes that lie beneath, is coming closer at a dangerously fast rate as she hurtles towards it. Ruby squeezes her eyes shut, feels her body tighten as she prepares for the impact, readies herself for the water to seep into her clothes and freeze her to the core. 

But the blow never comes, the water never chokes her, never drowns her lungs. Instead, she feels the air force its way out of her at once as she collides with something hard and smooth. A grunt comes out at the impact, but she’s quick to turn back to Cordovin, smugness clear on her face as she flies further away from the mech. 

That’s when she feels it, the grip like death around her wrist, unforgiving and afraid. Ruby’s attention darts to it, eyes the fingers that are locked around her in a vice hold and suddenly her heart is in her throat as they tighten even more, nails digging in painfully. 

“What if I hadn’t caught you?!”

Weiss’s voice rings out over the wind, her terror louder than any gunshot in the distance, her grip doesn’t loosen, even when Ruby faces her, their eyes locking. Weiss looks horrified and it hurts Ruby to see her like this, her eyes wide with nightmares playing out in her mind, mouth slightly open; her hair is frazzled, windswept and messy, even with it all tied up high, and a small part of Ruby likes it like that, thinks it’s beautiful and she wants nothing more than to run her fingers through it; wants to comb through the knots and scratch along Weiss’s scalp. 

Her heart is beating uncomfortably its tempo quicking, pounding into her and she isn’t sure if it’s the adrenaline in her veins, the warmth flowing through her wrist and up her arm to her cheeks or the scent of Weiss’s shampoo, but she’s giddy and shaking and maybe that’s why she snatches her hand back, brings it to her face and blinds Weiss with her most dazzling smile. 

“I knew you would.” 

The response is immediate, even if it’s not the desired one. Weiss scoffs, disbelieving and annoyed and Ruby just barely catches her eye roll before she turns her back to her, shoulders tense and back noticeably straighter. Ruby sags, the weight of what just transpired pressing down heavily on her shoulders. Her wrist burns, the crescent moons embedded in her skin shine an angry red before they slowly start to fade and Ruby feels her stomach sink with shame.

An unwelcome memory out of many unwelcome memories springs to the forefront of her mind as she eyes the girl in front of her, white hair whipping around in the wind as the Lancer does a wide 180, begins to circle back to the fight. Weiss on the ground, blood pouring out of a slit in her dress on her side, eyes closed and breathing weak, wheezing. Ruby remembers the grip she had, leaving her own moons on Weiss’s skin as she watched helplessly in fear.

Ruby holds her left wrist, thumbs at the marks and flinches as she hears the whirring of the mech suit gradually come back within her ear shot. Weiss is still facing forward, a hand clasped tightly around her weapon, knuckles white and Ruby doesn’t think before she’s moving, doesn’t second guess herself as she slides across the expanse of the summon they are riding and curls her arms around Weiss’s waist, presses against her back and rests her chin on lean shoulders taut with anxiety and burdens that she shouldn't have to hold. 

Weiss jolts softly in her embrace, body rigid before relaxing the smallest of amounts, pushes back into Ruby with a sigh, soaking up the comfort that her leader freely gives. Weiss is so warm, even in the ocean breeze, with mist clinging to her skin and beads of sweat rolling down her temple. Ruby loves this, loves the wave of peacefulness that Weiss brings even when she isn’t doing anything, loves her smell and her security; as familiar to her as the dents and marks upon Crescent Rose. Her lips graze Weiss’s ear as her thumb strokes circles against her side, against the scar that’s hidden under clothing, her hold secure and strong. 

The hitch she hears, even as they race back to the others rings clear, the sudden redness she spies creeping up Weiss’s neck sends a searing rush of emotion from her heart and into her stomach and Ruby has to fight back the urge to kiss her, has to fight back the need to spill out absolutely everything she feels. 

They’ve been dancing for awhile now, twirling around the tension that always seems to heat up between them, tiptoe around the fact that it burns them both from the inside out. The night that Yang had arrived, with Weiss in tow had stoked the fire; disturbed the embers that had simmered down into fractured yearning, a longing to have the other close and brought it back to life, bright and smouldering until it consumed their very beings.

After everyone had had their reunion, hearts mending and smiles glowing brighter than they had in months, after everyone had settled in for the night, Ruby had stayed awake, sitting by her window and staring up at the shattered moon. Mind racing and chest constricting with emotions she didn’t have time to unpack. 

When a tentative knock that echoed loudly in her ears made her turn, tired silver eyes meeting scared, worried blue. They didn’t say anything to each other, just stared until one of them couldn’t take it anymore, until one of them broke. Ruby doesn’t know how it happened, doesn’t remember who it was that moved first, but suddenly they were wrapped up in each other, arms a vice and fingers searching and twisting in clothing and hair as they held on, desperate and clinging.

Quiet sobs that made their souls bleed and shudders that rippled throughout their frames, rattling their bones were the only things that happened for a moment as they stood in Ruby’s room in the middle of the night, until Weiss’s sobs brought forth a cracked voice, smothered by Ruby’s neck as she molded her body into the one supporting her. 

“I thought... I didn’t know what had happened to you.” 

Another shudder, another hiccup and the world might as well of cracked and split beneath them, swallowed them whole and made them lost to the abyss as Ruby lowered them both to the floor, arms briefly leaving Weiss as she sought out the edges of her cloak, encircling them in a pile of red. 

“For months,” Weiss continues, lips trembling against Ruby’s skin, “I didn’t know. The last time I saw you, you went up that tower and-” she doesn’t finish, but she doesn’t need to; Ruby knows and it’s enough. “I missed you so much, Ruby.” It's whispered so brokenly, tattered and devastated and Ruby doesn't know how either of them survived the grief, the loss of being forced apart and she had finally fallen apart, her face burying deep into Weiss as tears streamed down her face, months worth of anguish tumbling out of her. 

“I missed you too.”

They had fallen asleep like that, curled around one another like the world would end if they weren’t in some way touching. And when they had woken up, they hadn’t separated, not like either of them had expected to. Instead they had stayed, content and alive and soaking in the others presence, finally at home. Since then, their interactions have been nothing but lingering touches and wondering eyes and soft smiles. Voices too gentle and moments intimate enough to make them blush and avert their gaze. It’s like the war going on around them didn’t exist, like the world had finally mended itself and found its balance. 

Weiss’s voice brings her back, sends a tingle up her spine that makes her scoot closer, makes her hold on tighter, makes her hands clutch together and her face burn. “Ruby, what are you doing?” 

The shame from before still bubbles in her stomach, makes her chest ache and her eyes water, she knows that fear Weiss had felt, knows that sickening pressure that settles in the throat and claws, swallows you whole until there is nothing left. Her voice is but a murmur, as her mouth settles more firmly against Weiss’s now red ear and Ruby delights in the tremor that runs through Weiss’s body.

“I’m sorry.”

“Ruby-”

Nora’s screech slices through the haze that’s settled around them and the weight of where they are and what they are doing slaps them right in the face and Weiss cuts herself off as she wills the Lancer to where Ren and Qrow are atop the giant robot. 

“Jump on!”

Ruby pulls away from where her face is planted against Weiss and sits up a little straighter, arms still wrapped around her waist, hands resting against her stomach. 

“Later.” she hears, uttered quickly and for her ears only and there’s a tender squeeze on her hands and she knows that she is wearing her feelings as clear as day as she smiles lovingly into blue eyes and Ruby’s heart flutters when she sees that look reflected back at her.

 


 

Later it turns out, comes a lot later than she originally thought. When the moon is high and the stars become a blanket that encompases the sky, drowns out the terrors of the day and brings forward new worries. Everyone had settled down a little bit ago, recovering and relishing in the brief moment of peace as they soar through the clouds, the glow of the moon lighting up the cabin and bouncing off of Weiss’s hair, illuminating her in a way that makes her seem ethereal.

The low rumbling of the engines brings a small comfort to Ruby as she snuggles closer to her partner, shoulders knocking and knees brushing as she angles her body, loops her arm through Weiss’s and fiddles with long, delicate fingers, hesitating. Weiss huffs quietly and twists her hand palm up as she intertwines their fingers together, slotting them like a puzzle piece, finally whole.

A sigh breathes out passed chapped lips, lungs deflating and worry evaporating as red tipped hair falls as her cheek smooches itself into the crook of Weiss’s shoulder, the slow, steady rise and fall of her breathing grounding Ruby as she allows herself a moment to just breathe. 

There’s an ache in her side and she’s positive that if she were to look, she’d find dustings of purple and blue coated along her ribs, spread out like the cosmos that surrounds them. The crash landing that she endured had left her stumbling and gasping, the whole world thrown off its axis as she collapsed out and onto the cold hard dirt.

A shift from Weiss has her wincing and then she’s everywhere, Ruby falls for a split second at the loss of her support but hands are now cupping her face and Weiss comes blearily into view as she blinks rapidly, forces herself to focus on what is tumbling out of her mouth and not on the way Weiss’s thumbs are caressing under her eyes or how her heart starts to throb harder the more she realises that Weiss’s lips are so wonderfully close to her own.

“...so stop being so reckless, you goddamn idiot .”

“Huh? What?”

Weiss stills all movements and Ruby almost whines at the loss of the ministrations on her face, but the disbelieving shattered stare that she is being leveled with is enough to make her catch it in her throat, choke it down before it can come forth and erupt. She holds her breath as Weiss continues to stare her down, eyes growing hard and voice taking an edge that reminds Ruby of their Beacon days.

“Stop trying to get yourself killed.”

“Weiss I-”

And all at once, Ruby’s heart breaks again, beats so hard that it cracks and shatters into pieces as she watches the bite fade away from weary eyes and Weiss shivers, brings their foreheads together and her voice is as fragile as Ruby feels. “You promised me Ruby. You promised you wouldn’t leave me.” Ruby tentatively traces lines down Weiss’s back, anchoring her and it’s like the rest of the cabin doesn’t exist anymore, not when she can feel Weiss’s breaths against her mouth and the faint thundering of her heart through her body. “So please,” it’s whispered so quietly, so pleadingly, “stop getting hurt.”

Ruby pulls back, just enough to meet Weiss head on and she cradles her, thumbs at the bottom of her scar underneath her eye before brushing her lips against it, warm and comforting and full of love and apologies. A darkening, beautiful flush rises to fill both of their cheeks and the heat radiates below her palm. Weiss stares at her, long and hard for an excruciating length of time and Ruby shuffles uncomfortably, nerves wired and strung high.  

She’s about to open her mouth, a rush of apologies already on her tongue, ready to drown them both but she freezes up when the tips of Weiss’s fingers dig that little bit harder into her, just under her jaw, makes her heart rate skip and spike and the fire that’s been burning inside of her ever since Weiss came back to her is now scorching and if she doesn’t move away from her now she’s going to fall off the cliff she and Weiss have been dancing on and she isn’t going to be able to recover.

Weiss takes the leap for both of them. 

A squeak sounds unbidden from Ruby as those fingers pull her forward, her head knocks gingerly against Weiss’s as a warm, smooth weight settles itself against her lips. Her lungs fill aggressively with air as she inhales sharply through her nose, the hand that’s still on Weiss’s back clutches frantically, the fabric of her dress scrunched up in her fist. 

It’s soft and dazing and she isn’t quite sure if it’s really happening, but when Weiss sucks in her bottom lip, lazy and deliberate Ruby knows there is no way she could’ve imagined the blistering desire that envelops her. She hums, deep in her throat and Weiss pushes harder into her, tries to stifle the sound with her tongue and succeeds in stopping Ruby’s heart completely.  

There is an ache in her lungs and it takes Ruby longer than it should to realise it’s because she isn’t breathing, her mind a haze and lungs utterly devoid of oxygen. She breaks away abruptly, gasps as quietly as she can without alerting the others; they are tucked away in the back corner, partially hidden by a seat jutting out from the wall and Ruby is thankful that no one seems to be paying them any mind.

Ruby’s ribs are killing her now, the agitation from her lungs making it worse, but she really doesn’t care. Both of their shoulders are heaving and Weiss has the most delightful glow on her face, rose red and her lips are parted, tongue poking out to wet them, drinking in Ruby’s taste, savouring it. Their eyes meet and they are still locked in each other’s grasp, the first syllable of Ruby’s name is all that makes it out of Weiss’s mouth before it’s suppressed, canceled out by Ruby’s own. 

It’s almost too much, the sound of Weiss’s hectic breathing, her hold on her face guiding her, centring her as she becomes delirious from the air rapidly leaving her lungs and the overwhelming scent of everything that is Weiss, Weiss, Weiss .

Weiss.”  

It wasn’t meant to come out or maybe it was, Ruby isn’t sure, she isn’t sure of anything anymore, she can barely remember to suck in enough air so she doesn’t pass out as Weiss’s tongue flicks languidly along her own; but it does and the reaction is instant. A dangerously high-pitched moan almost breaks their cover, almost alerts everyone in the airship to what they are doing in the dark, but Qrow’s voice tears through and sntaches everyone’s attention, unknowingly sparing them a few extra seconds to get themselves under control.

“Hey, if you’ve never seen Atlas is person before, you don’t wanna miss this.”

Shoes thud against the metal floor as everyone moves over to the front, eyes wide and full of awe at the view outside, but Ruby doesn’t move and neither does Weiss, they’re frozen in their own time, the world passing them by as they breathe, uneven and rough. Ruby’s lungs stutter, the air getting trapped in her airways as Weiss wipes at her bottom lip, a string of saliva that hadn’t evaporated when they broke apart resting there.

Somehow, her blush deepens and it’s only now do either of them notice Ruby’s hand that has snaked its way from Weiss’s back to her thigh. Ruby snatches her hand back like she’s been burnt and immediately looks to Weiss in apology, but Weiss just smiles, leans forward and kisses her cheek before rising, hand reaching out to help. Ruby takes it without hesitation and her grasp remains even after she gets to her feet, her brow furrowing in pain as the strain causes her ribs distress. 

Blue eyes watch in worry but Ruby smiles with ease, dashing away her anxiety with a squeeze of her hand. “I’m okay.” For a moment Weiss doesn’t look convinced, but after a moment she relaxes, the tension in her shoulders visibly deflating. 

“Are you two coming?” Yang’s voice makes them both jump and Ruby feels the fingers curled with her own loosen, but she stays strong, brings their hands closer and finds that everyone is looking at them. “Yeah,” she begins, voice a few notches higher, blush still present, “coming.”

They all turn back to Atlas as they start to walk over, but a tug on Ruby’s arm halts her midstep and she once again, forgets how to breathe, especially when Weiss is looking at her like she is everything in the entire world.

There are a million things that they need to talk about, that they need to acknowledge between them and Weiss can’t seem to say the words that are so very clearly on the tip of her tongue, but that’s okay, Ruby knows. She always knows when it comes to Weiss. 

“Later,” she promises and her voice is so soft, even to her own ears. Another squeeze and Ruby starts moving again and this time, Weiss follows. “Let’s go and save the world together.”