When those doors open, Weiss is walking out of this godsforaken elevator, and she'll drag Ruby kicking and screaming by the ankles if she has to. Every time her girlfriend rambles about their ‘own little world’ she’s further pushed to the realization that she needs to tear it down. With a flourish of her rapier, Weiss prepares herself to carve a path forward.
Even if she has to go through her beloved to do it.
Their blades clash with a show of sparks, and the shrill ping of metal on metal buzzes in her ears. Not a moment goes to waste. Weiss veers to the side as she slides Myrtenaster free, one foot behind the other to skirt around Crescent Rose’s strike. Ruby is skilled, that much is obvious. Weiss knows she’ll need to use whatever remaining brain cells that haven't been fried by her time in the elevator to clutch victory. Think, Schnee, think!
Both Ruby’s and Weiss’ eyes widen in surprise and follow the noise, the former’s expression twisting into a frown while the latter holds back a laugh. A white scar cuts across the ceiling and ends at the outer end of Crescent Rose, unable to budge further thanks to its massive size. Would you look at that? Weiss stifles a chuckle as she readies her fighting stance. It appears today's battle will be an easy one. “En garde!” she declares with subtle confidence if subtle meant not bothering to hide it whatsoever.
Ruby’s eyes darken when she gazes up and down the length of her scythe. The traitorously large weapon gleams back. If there’s a single testament to how far gone she is, it’s that she’s treating her weapon with anything less than unconditional adoration. Weiss could spend decades with Ruby in holy matrimony, and she’d still question whether her wife’s love for her could ever match her love for Crescent. One flick of a switch later, and the scythe furls into its rifle mode. A pang of disappointment flutters through Weiss that they won’t be having a proper fight after all, but at least this will be easier to deal with. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to duel after they’ve left the elevator.
“Sorry in advance,” Ruby murmurs. She presses the butt of her rifle into her shoulder and stares down the barrel. She’s already lined up her shot and squeezed the trigger by the time Weiss reacts, crossing Myrtenaster against her body. Bang! Weiss tenses up as a bullet screams past her ear, deflected off her rapier by inches. Bang! The second ricochets off her blade and off two different walls before a corner catches it. Ruby hesitates for only a second, peering curiously at the second round, then presses on with her assault. Bang! Bang! Bang!
Three barrel towards her chest. Weiss spins her revolver with her thumb and wills a black snowflake to blossom before her. All three slow to a crawl, caught by the time dust rune. She swats them from the air like flies.
“Someone’s trigger happy,” Weiss says, hand planted on her hip. Ruby pouts, scrunching the corner of her mouth in an adorable little way makes Weiss want to shower her with--not now! Admiring her girlfriend comes later! She needs to focus on not getting shot through the heart.
Ruby aims again and Weiss squeezes the handle of Myrtenaster, ready to intercept. Then Ruby lowers her rifle, a wry little grin finding its way onto her face.
“Giving up?” Weiss says, not daring to lower her guard.
Ruby shakes her head. “Just admiring how cute you look when you’re nervous.”
“Wow, I literally don’t know how to respond to that.”
“While you think about it, I’m just gonna...” Bang!
The shot goes wide, too wide to be an accident. Weiss snaps in the direction of the bullet just in time to hear two pings and then get smacked across the cheek. She shrieks and tumbles to one knee. Her aura flickers bright cyan. She cups her face in spite of the throbbing pain, but she knows she can’t sit tight long. Another shot rings out and Weiss launches off the ground, somersaulting through the air while a rush of wind tells her she barely avoided the followup.
She lands on her feet and whirls on Ruby. “Since when could you do that?”
Ruby shrugs. “I’unno.”
“You don’t know?! You ricocheted it into my face! How do you not... whatever!” Weiss cuts herself off before frustration can get the better of her. She hazards a glance at her dust cylinders. There’s but a smidge of ice dust left, most of it eaten up by the table Ruby cobbled together. Weiss wonders if that was a strategic decision rather than an act of kindness. Did Ruby expect her resistance from the start? For the sake of her sanity, she chooses not to assume the worst.
Time to adjust her plan. Weiss sets one foot behind the other, ready to strike forward with all of her speed. She’ll never be able to predict which direction the shot will ricochet in from, but who says she has to? Another snowflake rune blooms behind Weiss and she propels off of it at a breakneck pace. Crescent Rose fires, and Weiss decides she won’t worry about it until she has to. Instead she thrusts her sword forward with an embittered cry. Ruby gasps and reacts the only way she can to defend herself against the sudden advance--she unfurls Crescent Rose.
Just as Weiss expected.
The outer edge of Crescent Rose explodes outward and smacks Weiss in the jaw. She growls and bears it and twists her sword arm into position. She clicks the trigger and lets loose the last of her ice dust. At the same moment, Weiss hears a whistle in the air then the back of her head erupts with pain when the bullet hits square. She’s sent careening just in time to see Crescent Rose’s muzzle flash with another shot. Unfortunately, she happens to be pressed against it.
Point blank? She’d be impressed by Ruby’s audacity if she weren’t busy bracing herself for a hellscape of agony.
Her sense of direction may as well warp inside out as she’s swept off her feet and delivered against a steel wall. Her aura flashes brightly in protest, flickers, and then fades without shattering. Weiss heaves a breath of relief; it has to be on its last leg by now. No way she can take another hit like that. Or any at all, if she’s realistic. Has Ruby always fought this dirty?
She perishes the thought. Honorably dubious tactics or not, this is a fight she must win. Ruby is her challenge, and Weiss swears she’ll conquer her.
...Phrasing, Weiss, phrasing.
She puffs a stray hair out of her eyes and surveys the scene. She nearly cheers when she discovers her plan bore fruit. Ruby's mouth hangs open in an 'O' shape. Disbelief covers her face. At the end of Crescent Rose sits a chunk of solid ice that encases the end of the barrel and the underside of the blade. Weiss' favored dust type proved its worth once again!
“It appears I’ve won,” Weiss says, standing tall with triumph. Her girlfriend presses the switch to retract the blade, but the gears whir in defiance. She does it again, and then a third time, still to no avail. It’s frozen in place with a miniature glacier to lock it down
Ruby blinks blankly then meets Weiss's eyes. “What are you talking about?” she says with such earnest curiosity that it makes Weiss frown.
Isn't it obvious, you dolt? One would certainly think so. “Crescent Rose is too large to swing in here, and now you can't retract it. You can't even aim it.”
Ruby chews the corner of her lip in thought then clicks the switch again. Still no movement. When she says nothing, Weiss continues. “I'll admit that our little lover's quarrel made for a fun duel... despite your underhanded tactics... but now it's time to drop the charade. I held the advantage from the start. You were fighting a losing battle. Are you ready to admit how ridiculous you're acting?”
Ruby ignores her. She turns her attention back to the ice, curious expression unchanged. Then she adjusts her grip to hold her weapon below and above the ice patch with each hand.
“We're not staying in here,” Weiss says. She prattles on, patience wearing thinner with each word that falls from her lips. “Surrender, Ruby Rose. You've been outplayed and out--”
Ice shards scatter across the elevator. Weiss’s eyes go wide and she pivots away to shield herself. The unmistakable sound of a blade swishing through the air reaches her ears, but she tells herself she must be mishearing. Crescent Rose is useless in here! Yet when she looks again and sees what’s happened, her blood runs cold with disbelief.
Crescent Rose, Ruby’s first love, lays in two halves over its owner’s knee. The end of the barrel is snapped in half, separating the scythe from the rifle. Ruby drops the latter portion and twirls the blade in one hand, held reversed like a tonfa. She winks at Weiss. “Up for round two?”
Abstract horror would be an understatement if Weiss were to describe herself right now. “What have you done with my girlfriend?!”
“Hey, it needed a new barrel anyways! I didn’t want to break it like that, but you gave me no choice!” She sticks her tongue out, and Weiss huffs at how immature that girl can be even at a time like this.
“Don’t pin this on me.”
“I’d rather pin you directly.”
“Then quit stalling and fight!” Weiss practically snarls at her and bounds forward, her blade becoming a dozen as she puts her skill on display. Ruby has the nerve to grin at her and match her advance. Weiss isn’t sure whether to be relieved or annoyed that the part of her girlfriend that loves a fight is still very much present.
Their weapons clash countlessly in a matter of seconds, metal grinding across metal loud enough to deafen Weiss’s own thoughts. With little room to navigate, their duel becomes an acrobatic dance that weaves their movements into a tapestry of swordplay. Rather, scythe-on-swordplay? Not important, Weiss. Focus on the fight.
Runes and rose petals decorate the elevator. Weiss dives under and soars over each of Ruby’s attacks. Even after being halved, Crescent Rose’s swipes dominate the air space. What she can’t dodge she deflects lest her remaining pool of aura be stolen away.
Weiss parries a strike but lurches too far to follow up on it. Exhaustion is catching up with her and she knows it. She speaks up, trying to buy a moment to rest. “Even like that, Crescent Rose is still massive! You're only delaying the inevita...” She clams up when the scythe reaches close enough to take a lock of white hair with it. "...ble." She bites back the rest of her taunt and reengages.
Ruby twirls on her toes, harnessing the weight of her weapon to carry her into a spinning slash. She carves out gashes along the walls like claw marks from a caged beast that's long past feeding time. Weiss contorts her body to somersault over the attack, deadly yet telegraphed, just in time for her face to be introduced to boot. She yelps indignantly and stumbles back.
“I've been practicing hand to hand!” Ruby chirps as if hearing Weiss's thoughts. “Bet you didn't see that combo coming, huh?”
“Clearly not because you landed it,” Weiss says. Hopefully the full force of her deadpan is enough to convey how done she is with all this. Oh well. No more getting distracted. A loss here means... Okay, if she's being honest, she doesn't know. Obviously they can't stay in here forever contrary to what her batshit crazy scythe girlfriend would have her believe. At the very least, it'll be a pain to drag her out of here and...
She's slapped back to reality as another slash nearly disables her sword arm. What did she just say about not getting distracted?! Channeling her anger, she levels Myrtenaster and races forward. Ruby's held the center of the room for long enough. Time to claim ground.
Ruby clutches her reverse-held scythe close to her chest, the two weapons colliding with a clang. Weiss has the quicker weapon she knows it. She yanks back like a revolver cocking and then fires, unleashing a six-pointed flurry of jabs. Step by step, Ruby's forced to retreat to handle the barrage.
In the midst of a high-octane fight, it only takes a millisecond to slip up. A skilled opponent can capitalize without thinking twice, and Weiss is more than happy to consider herself as such. She targets a chink in Ruby's armor and lets the tip of her rapier soar. It skids across Crescent Rose and stabs Ruby square in the chest. She winces, red aura flashing. Weiss lands two more thrusts before Ruby recovers enough to kick off the wall behind her.
Suddenly rose petals burst around Weiss, twin flurries circling around her on either side. The swordswoman whips around just in time to catch Ruby reform whole and throw her strength into a crushing blow from above. Weiss's eyes widen and she braces on instinct, letting it crash onto the length of her sword and then uses her free arm to push back. They lock together, neither combatant willing to back down.
“Do you know how I use my eyes?” Ruby asks without missing a beat. She smiles through the strain of keeping their blades locked together. A bead of sweat rolls down her cheek, the only indication that she’s starting to tire out.
“What are you talking about?” Weiss snaps. Whatever game Ruby is trying to play by bringing that up, she wants no part of it.
“You!” Ruby drives forward and Weiss groans trying to hold the line, boots skidding against the floor. “I think of everyone I love and want to protect.” She channels her aura and shoves again. “Yang, Blake.” And again. “Jaune, Nora, Ren, Pyrrha.” And again! “Penny, Oscar, Uncle Qrow... and you!”
Weiss grimaces as all the ground she made is lost just like that. She's taken far more punishment than Ruby has and the consequences are making themselves known. The black outer edge of Crescent Rose hovers inches below her chin with only her rapier to keep it at bay.
“You could at least act like it...” Weiss murmurs, too quiet for anyone but herself to hear.
If she didn't know better, she'd say a touch of melancholy reaches Ruby's expression. “I'm glad we ended up in here. If we didn't, we would've gone on being the awkwardest pair of partners on Remnant. It took a miracle for you to realize you had a crush on me!” Weiss opens her mouth then shuts it. Okay, fair point. “And now it's just you and me, no worries, no responsibilities... Weiss, you're all I can think of.”
Weiss's heart pangs and her face twists with conflict. That was awfully... honest. For a brief moment she wonders if there's more to all this than Ruby is letting on, then Ruby's eyes flutter closed, so serene she may as well have fallen asleep.
Realization jolts Weiss like a lightning strike. How could it take her this long to realize what Ruby's planning?! It was only a few hours earlier that she was introduced to that power up close! “Ruby!”
In an instant, silver light cascades over the world. Weiss throws her free arm over her face and clenches her eyes tight, but she’s milliseconds too late. Nausea swells up in her head from the sudden flash. Before she can so much as blink the gaps from her vision, she’s swiped off her feet with a yelp. Something kicks out her legs sideways, then barrels into her gut. The wind gets sucked out of her, making her gasp painfully. Sent into the air and Weiss loses whatever remained of her senses. A rush of cool air breezes past her, then what she hopes is the finale of Ruby’s assault crashes upon her. A red blur craters her into gravity's cruel embrace. She slams against the steel slab of the floor, spread eagle and Myrtenaster clattering out of her hand. A brief flicker of cyan blue light in her peripheral tells her that her aura must have finally shattered.
That... hurt. Weiss hacks for breath and tries to turn onto her side. A weight comes down on her, holding her in place and putting an end to that idea. “What...?” She silences when the sharp edge of a blade presses under her chin and against her neck, not enough to break skin but just enough to send a message.
Consider it received and acknowledged. With a solemn vow to never again underestimate the depths Ruby will sink to win a fight, Weiss lays there and waits for her vision to clear up. The first thing she sees is a toothy grin and then rose petals floating through the air, framing her lover like a portrait.
“I know.” Weiss says. It doesn't need to be said.