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Blake’s first reaction when Dr. Oobleck announced that the final for the class was going to be a partnered project was absolute terror. She hated group work, and it was even worse when it was for a large portion of her grade. She also didn’t actually know anyone in her AP History class, which meant she’d be forced to pair up with a stranger, which was the last thing she wanted. 

“And to save you the trouble of having to find a partner, I went ahead and assigned them for you, you can thank me later.” The class groaned as their teacher droned on about the assignment, explaining all of the key points of the assignment that would definitely be in the packet if he would just  pass it out  so she could read it. “Now, when I call your names, just raise your hand so your partner for the project can find you. Ready? First pair; Jaune Arc and Pyrrha Nikos.” 

Blake winced internally. She didn’t know either of them personally, but she did know them by reputation, and they were two of the only people in class she would have been okay working with, and now they were partnered up with each other. 

“You’ll be doing your report on the early settlement of Solitas and the formation of Mantle.” Dr. Oobleck handed Pyrrha, who was the closest to the front of the class, the assignment. “Next is Coco Adel and Velvet Scarlatina, your report will be on the Occupation of Vacuo and its role in bringing Vacuo into global politics.” 

And he went on and on, handing out assignments about various historical events to her classmates until he finally got to her. “...and the final pair, Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long who’ll be covering the Faunus Rebellions to wrap up our world history section. You have the rest of the class period to talk to your partner and start working on the assignment.” Blake had automatically raised her hand when it was called, but she froze the moment she heard her partner’s name called. 

The room erupted into chaos as people scrambled around to find their partners and start “working” on their projects. Blake immediately sank further into her seat to try to keep from getting hit by the moving bodies, figuring she’d go find her partner once the commotion had died down. 

That plan was dashed as an imposing figure appeared next to her, and Blake recognized her partner with a single glance. 

Yang Xiao Long was one of the school’s problem kids. Rumor had it that the only reason she hadn’t been expelled for getting into fights was because half of her family worked at the school, which was probably accurate from what Blake had seen. Yang was tall and muscular, with half a dozen visible piercings and a full sleeve tattoo on her left arm. She placed one hand on the desk in front of Blake and one hand on the chair behind her and leaned down, so she was face to face with Blake without towering over her. Blake watched as she positioned herself in the middle of the walkway. Pointedly forcing their classmates to walk around and bump into her as she grinned at Blake, the scent of weed and leather surrounding the both of them.

“So, guess we’ll be working together then. Looking forward to it.” Yang jolted slightly as someone rammed into her but otherwise didn’t show any signs of discomfort. “Know much about the topic already, or are we gonna be needing to do a shit ton of research?” 

“I know a thing or two about it.” Blake barely hid a smirk as she responded, feeling a little more confident knowing the topic was school. She made a point of flicking the cat ears on top of her head and raising an eyebrow at Yang.

“I didn’t want to go making any assumptions,” Yang shrugged. “Not everyone’s super into history, even if it’s pretty recent.”

“Well, I happen to like history and know some people we can talk to if we want some primary sources that aren’t off of the extranet.” 

“Well then, I guess we’ll manage this assignment just fine.” Yang slid the packet with their assignment onto the desk in front of Blake, who immediately grabbed it and pulled it closer so she could start reading over the instructions, her earlier fears forgotten.

It wasn’t until much later that she realized that Yang had stayed there for the rest of class, blocking her from the other students who were causing an uproar in their “free time” during class. She had been too deeply invested in the assignment to notice. 

#6 They go out of their way to make me comfortable

 

Blake wasn’t really used to having someone with her when she was walking home, but Yang had insisted on accompanying her home after school when she’d learned the Faunus girl had been making the hour-long trek alone. Apparently, they lived close to each other, so it  just makes more sense to walk together, Blake. It’s the middle of winter after all … completely ignoring the fact that Yang had a motorcycle she usually rode to and from school. 

Yang was talking animatedly about some fight she’d gotten into at school while giving Blake a blow-by-blow reenactment complete with her fake choking herself out and dramatically falling to the ground as she was “beaten”. Blake hid her smile behind her hand, trying to not show how much the display amused her. 

“And then he grabbed my hair and I fu-” 

Meow

They froze, staring at each other as they silently tried to confirm the other one had heard the noise coming from the bushes they were walking past. 

Meow

Meow

Yang’s eyes went wide, and after a moment of hesitation, she dived into the bushes where the tiny cries were coming from. Blake watched, eyes wide as Yang’s upper half disappeared, a blush spreading across her face. 

“Aww… poor babies…” Yang cooed, and before Blake could ask what was happening, Yang was wriggling back out of the bushes. Still on her knees, she straightened, gazing up at Blake with a look of wonder in her eyes. 

Gently held in each of her hands were two of the tiniest balls of fluff Blake had ever seen. 

“Blake… they’re so  little  and  cold . Yang looked up at her with wide, watering eyes, and Blake couldn’t help thinking it was probably the sweetest thing she’d ever seen. Blake knelt down next to Yang and gently ran her finger down the spine of the larger of the two kittens, which was somehow still smaller than Yang’s hand. “Their mama was dead, looked like her and their siblings froze to death. They were the only ones left.” 

“Poor little kittens,” Blake watched as Yang transferred them to one hand and reached up to unzip her jacket without warning, giving Blake a glimpse of her fishnet crop top before just as quickly zipping it back up with the kittens cradled against her chest. 

“Quick! Find a pet store on your scroll, we have to save them.” Yang gently kissed the tops of each of their heads, the only part of them sticking out of her jacket. “Oh, gods… what do they even eat? I’m too young to be a mother… oh, gods…” 

Blake couldn’t help giggling at the other girl’s panic as she started looking for a pet store on the way home they could pick up some supplies at. “Relax Yang, we can figure this out together. Don’t worry.”

Blake found a store not that far out of the way, and after explaining their predicament to the owner, they were lucky enough to leave the shop without having to pay a penny for the supplies needed to care for the little kittens. Though Blake was nearly sure it was because Yang had started crying at one point when the littler of the two had woken up and started chewing on her hair because she was hungry. 

Leaving the store, they both taken one, and using the premade bottles the shop owner had given them, they started to feed the hungry kittens on the way home. 

“They’re so cute, Blake.” Yang said, half leaning against her so she could be as close to the kitten Blake was feeding as possible. “What’re we going to call them.” 

“Hmm…” Blake hummed, looking between the little orange tabby Yang was holding and the pure black baby in her arms. “I’m thinking Shroud for this little one… and Ember for yours.” 

“I love it.” 

Blake offered to keep the kittens until they were old enough to find a permanent home. 

She should have known there was no way they’d let anyone take their kittens away. 

#1 They are nice to cats

 

“Shit…” Blake glanced between Yang and her completely blank computer screen and felt a sick feeling settle into her gut. “Um… Yang?” 

“Yeah?” Yang didn’t bother looking up from her own computer as she kept typing away looking sources for their final project. 

“My computer just crashed, and it’s not turning back on… I think I just lost everything.” Blake shivered as Yang stopped what she was doing to glance over at Blake’s dead laptop and let out a low whistle. “I’m so sorry. I knew it was on its last leg, but I was hoping it would last until the year was over so I could wait to get a new one until college started and…” 

“Hey, hey, hey. Calm down, it’s alright.” Yang reached over and started rubbing Blake’s back in a soothing gesture as she looked over Blake’s laptop. “Let me take it home with me, and I’ll see if Rube’s can get it up and running again. And even if she can’t she’ll probably be able to get the files no problem.” 

“You… aren’t upset?” 

“What? Of course not. Your computer crashed, it’s not that big of a deal. We’ll just share mine until yours is fixed.” 

“Oh, okay.” Blake froze for a moment, her eyes trained on Yang. “Are… are you sure it’s not too much trouble?” 

“I’m sure, Blake. Don’t worry.” Yang kissed Blake on the cheek and went back to work, leaving Blake a blushing, stuttering mess for the rest of the evening. 

#5 They don’t make me feel bad for making mistakes

 

Blake wasn’t exactly sure when she had fallen asleep, but she woke up, surrounded by a comforting warmth with the familiar sound of her parents chatting in the kitchen nearby. She was too tired and comfortable to care what was going on, she hadn’t slept this well in ages, and she intended to take advantage of the rare sleepy state she was in. 

“...that girl? I don’t recognize her as any of Blake’s old friends,” her mother said. She heard her father let out a small noise of agreement. 

“Well, whoever she is Blake certainly seems… comfortable with her.” Blake heard her mom laugh at the comment. 

“I think it’s really cute. Never would have assumed our daughter was the  clingy  cuddler type though.” 

Blake felt the couch shift beneath her and she dug her fingers deeper into the fabric with a dissatisfied groan. “Nooo…” 

The couch chuckled sleepily. 

“Blake I think we fell asleep.” 

There was a long pause while Blake considered the couch’s proposition before her eyes shot open and she found herself lying chest to chest with Yang, who was looking down at her with an unreadable look on her face. Blake let out an uncharacteristic squeak and fell off of Yang (and the actual couch) and onto the floor with a hard  thwap

“I-I… Yang… I…” Blake stuttered as she felt her face heating up. Finding herself asleep in the arms of the girl she had begun to develop feelings for had  not  been in her plans for the day. Yang was leaning over the edge of the couch, a sleepy smile on her face as she stared down at her. 

“Good morning, sweetheart. Have a nice nap?” 

Blake felt like a fish out of water as she gapped up at the other girl, words failing her as her brain failed to process the term of endearment. Thankfully (or not) she was saved the need to respond when she heard laughter coming from the kitchen and glancing over she found her mother and father watching them over the kitchen counter. She saw Yang’s face shift into what probably looked like a neutral expression to most people but told Blake that she was nervous.

Blake hadn’t wanted to introduce her parents to Yang for fear they’d react to her the same way they’d responded to Adam. Yet here they were.

“Well, did you?” It took Blake a second to figure out what her mother meant and immediately her face heated up enough she was actually worried her head would set on fire.

“Mom!” 

“What? It’s an innocent question.” 

Yang pulled herself off the couch, the muscles in her arms rippling in excursion under her own body weight as she got to her feet. Looking up at Yang, Blake forgot for a moment that she was supposed to be embarrassed and instead admired the way the muscles in Yang’s chest and stomach flexed against the skin-tight tank top she was wearing. 

Blake hadn’t even realized that Yang was holding a hand out to help her up (or that she’d taken it) until she was suddenly airborne as Yang yanked her onto her feet in a move that had left her breathless and giggling the first time she’d done it. 

“Yes, mom. I slept fine.” Blake avoided Yang’s gaze, not wanting to seem the smug smirk that surely blossomed across her face at the admission. 

“Are you going to introduce us to your friend, or are we going to just stand here staring awkwardly at each other for the rest of the evening.” Her father’s tone was light, but there was something about the way he said ‘friend’ that implied something that both excited and terrified Blake. 

“Yeah. Uh. Mom, Dad, this Yang. She is my partner  for my history class .” Blake saw her mom’s eyes light up despite the clarification and groaned internally. “She’salsoEmberandShroud’sothermother.” Blake rushed out almost under her breath, her face heating up as her mom’s ears flicked up, easily catching the mumbled words. 

Oh , she’s  that  friend.” Blake’s ears flattened as her mom handed the ladle over to her dad and with more excitement than a mother should reasonably show meeting her daughter’s friends, came over to stand in front of Yang, who had relaxed into her natural state of loose smiles and sparkling eyes that just seemed to draw people to her like a moth to the flame. “Hello, it’s so nice to meet you, Yang, you can call me Kali and… wow, you’re very muscular.” 

Blake felt her face heat up as her mom, who had reached out and gently place a hard on Yang’s arm, started complimenting her crush’s physique. Something Yang seemed to happily lean into as she started flexing just to show off her  delicious normal  biceps. 

“You know, Blake has a thing for strong people.”

“Mom!” 

“Yeah, I know.” Yang smiled, her gaze almost softening as she glanced down at Blake, who was suddenly wishing she had Ilia’s ability to blend into the furniture. “I do too.” 

“Ooo, I like her.” 

Yeah… me too, mom.

#3 They are safe to fall asleep near

#4 They are liked by my parents

 

Blake had never actually seen Yang get into a fight before. 

She knew that she did. She’d even patched her up a couple of times afterward when Yang didn’t want to go to the nurse’s office. But actually, being there and seeing it? That had never happened. 

And then Adam had shown up on campus. 

Yang had a vague idea of who he was. Blake hadn’t told her everything, hell, she’d barely scratched the surface of everything that was her relationship with Adam Taurus with Yang.

“Hello, my love.” 

They’d been eating lunch out on the lawn in front of the school. It was one of the more and more typical sunny days that spring had gifted them and they (mostly Yang) were determined to enjoy their time away from the library. Even if Blake had spent the last twenty minutes with her face buried in the book she was reading, trying to finish at least the next chapter before they had to get back to classes.

Yang didn’t mind. She was fine having Blake pressed up against her side while she tried to capture all of the Pokemon that spawned on campus in Pokemon Go before the other students managed to snag them. 

Blake had tensed at the words. Her mind reeling for any excuse for hearing his voice that wasn’t the obvious, terrifying truth. 

It had been almost a year since the last time she’d seen him. Since she’d ended up in the hospital with a stab wound in her gut and a restraining order against the man who’d put it there. The man who was supposed to be in jail but instead was standing in front of her, a familiar gleam in his eyes as he stared down at her. 

“You shouldn’t be here, Adam.” The words are clearer, steadier than she’d expected, and she was almost proud of herself until his lips curled up into a grin, sending a chill down her spine as she gazed defiantly into his eyes. 

Yang had tensed next to her, seeming to recognize the name. 

“We don’t have time for this, darling. Just come with me and don’t make a scene. You’ve made enough of a mess for me to clean up.” 

Blake had pulled herself to her feet with the full intent to tell him to fuck off when his closed fist clamped down like iron around her wrist. She froze, panic flooding her system as she was pulled back to a time when there wasn’t anything she could do but listen to him. 

And just as suddenly as his hand was there, it was being ripped away as Yang full-body tackled him to the ground. Her opponent clearly not expecting resistance from the blonde as he fell to the ground. 

Blake cradled her wrist to her chest and watched in horror as the two powerhouses started trading uncoordinated blows as they tussled on the lawn, drawing the school’s security officer's attention from across the street. 

Blake had just begun to uncoil at the promise of help when she noticed the shimmer of metal in Adam’s hand, and her world froze as he raised the knife above him and plunged it down towards Yang’s chest.

“Yang! Watch out!” 

Yang seemed to hear her just in time as her prosthetic arm snapped forward, the metallic black and yellow fingers of the artificial limb curling around the knife and keeping it from sinking into her body. 

Just then, the security officer arrived and tackled Adam off of Yang, her body hitting his with a sick thwacking sound. Yang leaped back onto her feet and for a second, Blake thought she was going to jump right back into the fight. Instead, she did a full one-eighty and marched back over towards Blake, her fists clenched tight and her eyes burning red as she reached out and roughly grabbed the front of Blake’s jacket and dragged her into her arms. 

Blake expected to flinch or panic in some way. It didn’t matter how much she trusted Yang. She was clearly pissed off and angry people were scary. Blake had flinched the last time her  father  raised his voice around her. 

But as Yang’s arms caged her in, pulling her close and keeping her pressed up against Yang’s front, the only thing Blake felt was relief. She melted into Yang’s arms, feeling secure despite Adam existing not ten feet away from her. 

Yang’s fingers buried themselves in her hair near the base of her ears, scratching gently as she spun them around slightly so she could keep an eye on Adam. Blake felt a deep rumbling feeling in her chest, and it took her a moment to realize that she’d started purring from the combination of stress and being wrapped up in Yang’s arms. 

“It’s alright, sweetheart. I’ve got you.” 

#2 They don’t make me feel scared when they’re angry 

#7 They aren’t scared of my scars  

 

Blake lay stretched out across Yang’s bed, trying desperately to focus on her computer and the work she was doing with Yang and not on the piece of paper burning a hole in the pocket of her jacket.

There was a small, sharp inhalation next to her and glancing over she found Yang rubbing at her arm for the fifth or sixth time since she’d come over to work. 

“You okay?” Blake asked, her hand automatically finding a place on Yang’s shoulder. Yang flinched when she touched her and Blake pulled away like she’d been set on fire. 

“I’m fine. Arm’s just bugging me a bit today.” Yang gave her a small, pained smile. 

“Can I help?” 

“No, I mean. Yes, but I don’t want to ask you to do that. It’s… kinda a lot.” Yang shrugged like she was just repeating a known fact. 

“What. No. Tell me how to help. I’m not going to be able to focus on work if you’re just sitting next to me  in pain  the whole time.” Blake tried to keep the indignation out of her voice, but if the look on Yang’s face was anything to go on, she’d failed miserably. 

“I just didn’t have time to go through my normal care routine this morning cause I overslept. I have some medical ointment stuff I’m supposed to massage into the stump to help it heal or whatever, and I didn’t light up cause… you know.” 

“One,” Blake sat up. “You always smell like weed, I don’t know why you keep trying not to smoke around me, I know you need the stuff like, really badly. And two where’s this ointment you need?” 

“Top drawer in the bedside table…” 

“And your pipe?” 

“Same place.” Blake rolled over, yanked the drawer open, and found the items she needed fairly easily and tossed them onto the bed behind her. Turning back around, she found Yang had already grabbed her pipe and was in the process of stuffing a bud into it, her fingers shaking slightly as she did so. “Are you sure it’s okay? I don’t want you getting in trouble with your parents if you come home smelling like a refinery?” 

“I always smell like weed now, I spend too much time with you not too. Besides, they already know you’ve got your card and that I’m hanging out with you. And honestly, I doubt they’d care if  was smoking, so they definitely don’t care that you are.” 

“Okay, okay. If you insist.” Yang flicked the lighter on and held it up against the bowl, watching as the contents caught aflame. She brought it to her lips and took a deep drag, sighing as she slowly exhaled the smoke out the side of her mouth and away from Blake. “I forgot. I splurged and got some good stuff last time I was out.” 

“And your arm?”

Yang froze, a litany of expressions playing across her face as she played with her prosthetic fingers like she did when she was nervous. 

“I don’t want it to freak you out. It’s… well, it’s not exactly pretty.”

“Yang…” Blake felt herself melt at this exposed, vulnerable side of Yang she wasn’t used to seeing. “There isn’t a single thing about you that isn’t absolutely gorgeous.” 

A small gasp almost seemed to escape from Yang, who was looking at Blake with an intensity that made Blake feel like she was melting into a puddle on the bed. Yang swallowed and reached for the hem of her shirt, which she promptly tore over her head, leaving her in only her leggings and a sports bra. 

Yang reached up and fiddled with the top of the prosthetic and after a second, there was a soft hissing noise and the mechanical limb detached itself from the stump of Yang’s arm. The skin underneath was red and clearly irritated like it hadn’t been free to breathe for several days. 

Silently, as if actually speaking would break this delicate moment between them, Blake grabbed a towel from the end of the bed and moved closer to Yang, their legs tangling together automatically as she positioned herself across from her.

“Come’re.” Blake reached out and gently reached out to take Yang’s arm, watching as her breath hitched as Blake carefully dried the skin off with the clean towel. Once she was done, she folded the towel up and put it to the side so she could take the ointment from Yang. 

She could feel the intensity of Yang’s gaze boring into her, but she kept her eyes locked on Yang’s arm, not sure she trusted herself enough to actually acknowledge the intensity of the moment as she unscrewed the cap on the ointment and squeezed some out onto her fingers. 

“Does it hurt?” Blake asked as she slowly began massaging the ointment into the scarred tissue of Yang’s arm. 

“Sometimes. Normally when I get busy and don’t have time to hang around the house without the prosthetic on it’ll get all tender like that.” 

Blake finally looked up and almost completely forgot what she was doing as her eyes met Yang’s. The tension in the room was almost a physical presence, something that was just waiting to snap as months of unresolved feels suddenly made themselves known.

“Yang, I-”

Yang’s fingers trailed up her arm from their previous place on the bed and she tangled them in her hair, gently pulling Blake towards her as she shifted closer. 

“I would really like to kiss you right now.” 

Blake felt the breath catch in her throat and before she could consciously think about what she was doing, she surged forward and pressed her lips against Yang’s. 

Yang pressed forward and Blake felt herself get tipped onto her back as Yang took control of the kiss. Settling on top of Blake, Yang pressed her down against the bed, holding herself up with one arm as she also most tenderly sank her teeth into Blake’s lower lip. 

Blake was breathing heavily when Yang finally pulled back, a smug, happy grin on her face as she stared down at her. “Hey, sweetheart.”

“S-shut up.”

“Make me.”

She did, and for the first time in forever, that little list in her pocket didn’t matter. 

Only Yang did.