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Falling Slowly

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It had started snowing in the early morning. Big, fat snowflakes were drifting down from the clouds, settling down in the trees and bushes, making fat piles on the ground. By early morning, the Rose-Xiao Long's yard was just a big patch of white powder, sparkling in the dawn.

Ruby was delighted to find it had snowed. A wide smile bloomed on her face as soon as she caught sight of the weather out her window. She felt something in her spine tingle with excitement. The whole world had changed overnight. Everything was quieter and slower, and it was finally seasonally appropriate for her to wear as puffy a coat as she pleased. Plus, the added bonus of her being able to drink as much hot chocolate as she wanted without raising any questions!

She threw the covers off and stretched, turning the alarm off on her phone. She thumbed through her notifications with a little yawn. It was probably too much to hope for that their school would call it a snow day, right?

Right.

Oh, well. She could find her joy in the little things. She switched over to her music app, playing her morning playlist. Music, soft and slow at first, drifted in through the speakers in her room. Ruby went through her morning routine.

Brush the teeth, wash the face, pick the outfit, pack the bag. Her dancey little ritual before school. The music ramped up in intensity with every song, so by the end, she'd end up miming a sweet electric guitar solo in the mirror. She did it because it was awesome, and there was literally nothing anybody could say to convince her otherwise.

She shredded the last notes with a flourish, sticking her tongue out and whooping.

"Rubes, come on down for breakfast!" Yang called out through her door, giving a quick, hefty knock. Ruby jumped a little in front of her imaginary audience, before regaining her composure and thanking them with a bow.

"I'll be right down!" she called out to her real, less cool audience. Ruby gave the mirror another quick air kiss before hefting her bag on one shoulder and heading down the stairs.

The smell of pancakes wafted through the air as soon as she hit the bottom step. Pancakes! On a snowy day! After her cool rock concert! Ruby sighed, feeling rather content, despite the fact that she had to go to school still. She took a moment to appreciate the quiet murmur of her dad and Yang talking, the pan sizzling and the tv in the living room playing at a muffled volume. It was something like normalcy. It was home, and after a long time, it was starting to feel like a complete home again. She stepped into the kitchen with a dopey little smile on her face.

"There she is," Taiyang called out as he scooped a third pancake onto a plate. "Sit down and have some pancakes before you girls head off," he pushed the syrup on the table with his spatula. Ruby didn't need to be told twice.

"Chuck the butter, sis!" Ruby called out to her sister across the table, who was holding onto the stick of butter with an amused expression. She raised her eyebrows as she cut a bit onto her golden stack of pancakes, melting it beautifully into the fluffy surface. God. It was obscene. Probably wasn't appropriate for Ruby to see, honestly.

"You want me to throw you the stick of butter," Yang replied, less question, more incredulous statement. She waved the aluminium wrapped yellow bar in her hand. "This stick of butter. This thing."

"Uh huh, yup."

"Ruby, when was the last time you've properly managed to catch something out of the air?"

"I don't do it often enough to recall."

"And you want me to throw the butter. The slippery... stick of butter? To you. For you to catch."

"Oh, yeah. Big time."

"I'm just gonna put it, right here. In the middle of the table, okay?"

"Oh, good call."

"And you can grab it."

"Smart."

Taiyang leaned on the kitchen counter, sipping his coffee. He nodded approvingly. "Good work, Yang. That was a really sensible thing to do. I'm proud of you. You've really learned and grown over this past year."

Yang beamed at their father. "Thanks, dad! Oh, hey, can we borrow your car? Blake invited me and fartmuncher here to her place after school. Her parents are out of town and we're going to do hardcore drugs and light the stump in their backyard on fire."

Taiyang locked eyes with her smiling daughter. She didn't falter. He rolled his eyes. "Only because it won't be Ruby driving," he fished the keys out of the pocket of his very practical, very cool cargo shorts, tossing them to Yang, who caught them easily.

Ruby's fork slipped out of her butter coated hands, clattering onto the floor. She sighed a little, but barely missed a beat before she abandoned her untensils entirely to shove pancakes into her face hole with her bare hands.

Ruby was 15, but she was in junior year, same as her sister, having been bumped up a couple grades in middle school. Yes, this was the girl genius who from Beacon High School. The ones that parents always pointed out and classmates respected. That one smart girl, right, Ruby Rose? Yep. That's her.

"We're just gonna have dinner and watch a couple movies, dad," Ruby spoke through the wall of pancakes in her mouth. She chewed and swallowed. "Blake only invited Yang, but she's a scaredy cat, and wants me to come along."

Yang shot her a murderous glare, her usual lilac eyes burning a shade of red. The blood of the branwens ran deep in Yang Xiao Long's veins. "I'm not scared," she stabbed a pancake with a little bit more force than necessary. "She said the both of us should come."

Ruby gave their dad some sly side-eye. Taiyang winked at his youngest daughter.

"I always liked that Belladonna girl. Her family is good people. Gave us a nice welcome when we moved here. She seems sweet," he took a sip from his coffee mug as Yang blushed slightly. She moved to put her plate in the sink, covering up her rosy cheeks with the great blonde mane she'd let down today. She quickly gave her dad a kiss before mumbling something to the effect of 'mgonnastartthecar'.

Ruby giggled as soon as her sister left.

"It's not nice to make fun of your sister, Ruby," Taiyang admonished lightly, though the smile was still present on his face. She snorted at that.

"Oh come on dad, the two of them have been so googly eyed at each other lately. It's just gonna be a matter of time before they actually get together," Ruby said emphatically.

"Yeah, well what about you?" Taiyang gestured his mug towards his daughter. Ruby snorted again. "Oh come on, nobody at Beacon's struck your fancy? You're in the junior year ranks. You know I would have killed to go after some after the junior girls in my school when I was 15?"

"Ew, gross, oh my god dad!" Ruby cringed at her father, who was lost in his own memories. God.

She placed her own plate in the sink after devouring the last of her pancakes, forcing it down her throat to get as far away from this as possible. Taiyang placed a kiss on her forehead, then put his hand on Ruby's shoulder, a sudden serious expression on his face.

"So if your sister's actually going to have a moment...?"

Ruby shrugged. "I actually wasn't planning on staying very long. It's alright. I got some cab money."

"Good girl. You two be safe!" he called into the garage as Ruby exited the room. She dumped her bag in the back seat before getting into the passenger side.

"Let's blow this popsicle stand," Ruby said to her sister, before respectfully putting her seatbelt on and adjusting her chair to a more comfortable position. "Alright, we out this shi- actually wait for the garage door to go up all the way?"

Yang flicked her sister's head and reversed out.


Ruby, for all the credit she got for assimilating into the upperclassmen, still felt a little bit out of place sometimes. She was about two years younger than everyone in her class. Sometimes their concerns were a little bit out of her league.

She wasn't anti-social per se- she got along well enough with everyone. She had friends, even friends that were independent of her sister's social group, so there, she had put on her big girl pants and gone outside and did adult things like talk to strangers and make friends. It was just that, Ruby cared about other stuff a lot more than she cared about her social standing in school.

Ruby would never label herself a genius, although everyone else was happy to, but she would admit that she loved learning. Ruby was always, at any point in time, hungry for knowledge. Not that she was a know-it-all either, she just... liked it. It came easy when she wanted it.

They got to home room quick, eager to get out of the biting chill and frost. Ruby shoved her beanie down further to cover her ears and burrowed her hands deep into her jacket pockets. Yang simply brushed the snow from her hair and adjusted her scarf slightly. Yang wasn't cold very often. For some reason, she was always at a comfortably warm temperature. It was like a superpower, but it also made her a fantastic cuddle partner in the cold.

"Heya, Blake," Yang called out, taking her usual seat next to the raven haired girl as they entered the class room. Blake smiled at her, shifting over slightly to make space. Subtly, the ears atop her head twitched in response to Yang's presence. Though she'd hidden it with the bow she always wore, Yang and Ruby had spent more than enough time with her to be attuned to her subtle movements. Ruby had never fully learned why Blake chose to hide the fact that she was a faunus. While faunus around the world were still being discriminated against and oppressed, there wasn't really anything of the sort happening at Beacon High. There were more than a fair share of faunus students, like Velvet or Sun.

The last time Ruby had asked, Blake had merely replied that it was 'easier' for her to keep her ears hidden away. She supposed her answer made sense, and Ruby tried her best to sympathize. She was just sad that her friend had to go around hiding a part of herself away.

"Hello Yang, Ruby," she nodded at the two sisters, though trained her gaze straight at Yang again as they started their usual routine of goofy little smiles and lovey dovey gazes. Sickening. Well, sweet, but- everyone had had enough at this point, they could just skip to the good bits.

"Did you hear?" Blake rested a cheek on her fist as she looked at the sisters. "Rumour's been going around that we're getting a new student."

"Ooh, la la," Yang wiggled her eyebrows. "Transfer student?"

"Apparently, from Atlas Academy," Blake said, keeping her cool as Yang ooh'd at the hot goss.

"Atlas Academy?" Ruby asked, only having marginally heard of it as being a notably big school out west. The significance of it, though, did not hit home for her as it did the other two.

"Yeah, wealthy boarding school, only accepts rich, snooty elites, children whose parents have connections or are alumnis, or smarty-farty pants types," Yang listed off her fingers.

"Though the overlap there is usually more or less a perfect circle," Blake supplied. Yang nodded.

"Typical high society boarding school, y'know?" Yang booped her sister's nose. "Mom and Dad probably would have pushed for you to go there if we'd known earlier how clever you turned out to be, Rubes."

Ruby scrunched her nose up, shaking her head slightly. "Eugh. Think I'll take a hard pass. I don't even know how to curtsie," she tilted her head, furrowing her brow. "So if the new student came from such a high and fancy place, why're they slumming it down here with us?"

"Who knows," Blake shrugged. "Maybe there's a really dramatic fall from grace story there."

"I'm sure we'll find out soon enough," Yang held her hands up above her head, stretching out. Ruby didn't miss Blake's stare. She was subtle, but at the same time, way, way too predictable. She wanted to roll her eyes a little bit.

The bell rang, and their teacher, Mr. Port, took his usual position leaning against the desk with his arms crossed, his magnificent, thick grey mustache on full display for the world to gaze upon. The Gods themselves looked upon the facial hair with pride, and nobody took more pleasure than Peter Port in maintaining it. In fact, between that and the giant eyebrows resting below his forehead, Mr. Port seemed almost entirely a sentient being controlled by fantastic hair.

He was cool, though. Kind, engaging (though maybe a little too engaged with himself and his old war stories), and he was genuinely passionate about the classes he taught. He was their homeroom teacher, and the shop class teacher.

"Ah, students, by now I'm sure you'll have heard rumours and the like about a new student transferring to our class. I know how you kids love to get on that tweeter, and hashtag about those mentions and whatnot," he stroked his mustache once, then cleared his throat. "In any case, I'll just tell you all right now that it's true. We're going to be getting a new student today. She'll be with us for the remainder of her high school years, or so they tell me. I expect you all to give her a warm welcome, and to make her feel at home."

"Mr. Port, what's her name?" Ruby asked. He smiled at her.

"Well, young Miss Rose, I think I'll let her introduce herself. She should be coming in right about now, anyways," he looked towards the door as he finished his sentence, and as if right on cue, there came a knock. Two figures stood outside.

"A-hah! Right on cue. I've still got it," he chuckled to himself as he opened the door. "Mr. Ozpin, good to see you!"

"Likewise, Peter," Principal Ozpin smiled warmly as he entered the classroom, the cane in hand. His usual green spectacles hung low on his nose, framed by the mess of grey hair he'd kept in a windswept fashion. He had a kind, wise face, one that had no hint of condesencion or apathy Ruby had been led to believe was the norm of school administrators. "Students, I know you all have bonded well over the years. It might be unusual to accept another into your fold this late into your school life, but all the same, unusual things happen all the time. You have a new student joining you all. I hope you'll make her feel welcome," he gestured to the side, and in she walked.

"This is Weiss Schnee."