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Oh God...She's Hot

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After stepping off the train, dragging her travel bag behind her, Weiss paused on the platform and looked at the bustling city in front of her.  New buildings altered the skyline and new advertisements lined the walls of the station, but the familiar sounds of the city - vehicle congestion, mostly - filled the night air.  The pre-recorded voice announcing arriving and departing trains sounded the same.  The street names printed on the low wall across from her were the same.  Even the graffiti-covered benches looked the same, much to her amusement.

“Feel familiar?” 

With her bag slung over one shoulder, Blake stopped beside Weiss and studied the train station with a level of discernment Weiss had come to expect from her closest friend. 

“In some ways, yes.  In others, no.”  

It still looked like Vale, sounded like Vale, and smelled like Vale, but it lacked the childhood gleam she once cast upon it.  Standing here, she felt a little silly for ever being sad about leaving this place, especially with how much better off she was now.  Or how much better off she used to be...since that better life would soon come to an end - temporarily, at least.

The thought of moving back to Vale was...less than thrilling...but she was determined to make the best of it.  This weekend would serve as a reminder - just dipping her toe into the water, so to speak - of what living here again would be like.

“Let’s head downstairs.”  

Motioning Blake after her, she joined the stream of travelers using the staircase to exit the station.  Upon reaching street level, they were greeted by Vale’s infamous traffic - taxis, buses, and private vehicles jockeying for position on the roads while bicyclists and mopeds darted between them.  Pedestrians only added to the chaos, rushing along the sidewalks or waiting at the crosswalks for the lights to turn.

“Is it always this busy?” Blake asked as a family of three rushed in front of them and hailed the closest taxi.

“Pretty much.  This part of town is, at least.”

When Blake nodded and gave the city another good inspection, Weiss dropped her bag on a nearby bench and checked her phone.  One new message waited for her, and the number of exclamation points in it made her smile and shake her head.

“They’ll be here soon,” she told Blake while putting her phone away.

“Ok.”  After setting her bag beside Weiss’, Blake stood and watched traffic ease along the street outside the train station.  “What do they look like?”

“Yang’s blonde.  Ruby’s brunette.”  When the response earned a scoff, Weiss gave Blake a look.  “What?”

“Real descriptive,” Blake replied with a playful roll of her eyes.

“I haven’t seen them in like fifteen years,” Weiss pointed out.  “All I remember is that Yang’s blonde, taller, and kind of annoying.  Ruby’s shorter, with brown hair, and can hardly get her feet moving in the same direction at once.”

“Hopefully she’s grown out of that,” Blake offered with a smile, but Weiss shook her head.

“I don’t know...that girl belonged in a protective bubble.”

After chuckling at the response, which was beyond accurate, Blake sent Weiss a thoughtful look.  

“Are you sure we should stay with them?”

“Well, since someone didn’t want to pay for a hotel...”

“I don’t want you to keep paying for things -”

“Then this was the most economical alternative,” Weiss concluded.  “Besides, they were always very kind.  I might not have kept in touch, but I’m sure they’re still decent people.”  Briefly considering a few of the worst-case scenarios, which seemed impossible but could theoretically happen, she added, “And if they’ve changed, we’ll get a hotel anyway.”

“Deal,” Blake readily agreed.  “But we shouldn’t be in their way too much.  Just need a place to sleep after checking out those apartments and exploring.”

“Exactly.  We’ll probably only spend an hour with them.  Maybe we’ll buy them dinner or something as thanks, but that’s it.”  

The response pacified Blake, who nodded before continuing her thoughtful inspection of the buildings and the traffic passing by.  Realistically, a similar street - with similar traffic, sounds, and sights - could be found in downtown Atlas, but Vale made everything feel different.  

Maybe it was the architecture, which featured flat rather than pitched roofs.  Maybe it was the weather, which was warm but not yet warm enough to forgo a jacket.  Or maybe it was all in Weiss’ mind, as returning to Vale after being away for so long felt like reconnecting with her childhood yet being somewhere new at the same time.

And that was just the city; she had no idea how she would feel seeing Ruby after so long.  What would Ruby even be like now?  Would she still be happy-go-lucky, easily excitable, and sweet as could be?  That’s how Weiss always imagined her but...who knew what could happen in that much time.

“Sure you’re ok moving here?” she asked, breaking the silence and drawing Blake’s gaze her way.

“I don’t mind.”  Blake’s nonchalant shrug gave away no nerves, which was reassurance enough.  “Will you be ok moving back here?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”  When Blake’s brow rose, Weiss sighed and shook her head.  “I might’ve said some slightly derogatory things about Vale in the past, but that’s only because I like Atlas so much.  Besides, it’s not like this is forever.  It’s just...for now.”

“That’s true.  After a couple of years, you could always transfer back to Atlas.”

“Exactly.”  

With Blake’s agreement, Weiss nodded and checked her phone again.  Ruby’s last message said that they had left their apartment, which was only a few minutes from the train station...

“Weiss!” 

Spotting someone waving from the other side of the street, she turned that way and -

Well, she had planned on smiling politely.  Instead, her eyes widened and her jaw dropped.

Their hosts for the weekend were currently waiting to cross the intersection, talking amongst themselves while Ruby lifted a hand to wave one more time.  Even though so much time had passed, she was instantly recognizable...yet completely unrecognizable at the same time.

She was...all grown up.  Yang was also all grown up, but Ruby was all grown up...and they were both stunningly beautiful.

“Oh my god...” Blake breathed out, catching sight of the two girls and sending Weiss a look of dismay.  “You didn’t mention that they’re the most attractive people on the planet...”

“Because they weren’t...” Weiss whispered back, unable to peel her eyes away from Ruby.

Ruby wasn’t so short anymore - not by a long shot.  Now, she was just as tall as Yang - who’d always been tall for their age - with long, slender legs that would draw anyone’s gaze.  Her outfit was impeccable and flattering, clinging to her attractive figure in all of the right places.  Her hair looked messy yet perfect at the same time.  And that smile -

“Weiss!” she called out again and, as soon as the light at the intersection turned, jogged across.  The clumsy kid was no more, as long, graceful strides brought her over to Weiss in no time.  

“It’s so good to see you!” 

Before Weiss wondered how they were supposed to greet each other after so much time apart, Ruby wrapped her in a hug, lifted her feet right off the ground, and spun her in a circle.

“Look at you!”  After setting Weiss down, Ruby put her hands on Weiss’ shoulders and blatantly checked her out.  “Wow, you’re gorgeous.” 

The compliment brought a blush onto Weiss’ cheeks, and the night air grew considerably warmer the longer Ruby grinned at her. 

Weiss remembered the abundant happiness correctly.  What she hadn’t remembered was that Ruby’s eyes were the most stunning silver she’d ever seen, and that Ruby’s physique rivaled that of a professional athlete, and that she looked effortlessly beautiful in tight jeans and a nice jacket.

“Hi Ruby…” she managed to say while Yang walked over to Blake and extended her hand.  

“Hey, I’m Yang,” she introduced herself with a warm smile, and Blake shot another glance Weiss’ way before shaking Yang’s hand.

“Um, yeah.  Wow.”  

“You’re Blake, I’m guessing?” Yang added, her smile growing while she held onto Blake’s hand for a second longer than customary.

“Right.  Yes, I am.”

After chuckling at the response, which made her lilac eyes sparkle, Yang turned that brilliant smile towards Weiss.  

“Hey Weiss!  Good to see you again.”  

When Yang reached out for a hug, Weiss willingly obliged - this time for a traditional hug lacking in lifts or twirls.  Although Blake did mouth ‘she’s hot’ to Weiss behind Yang’s back...but Ruby quickly gained her attention. 

“Hey Blake!  I’m Ruby.”

“It’s nice to meet you.”  Finally regaining her ability to speak, Blake shook Ruby’s hand and shot another disbelieving glance Weiss’ way.  “You’re...not at all how Weiss described you.”

“Weiss hasn’t seen me since I was like six!” Ruby replied with a giggle that made Weiss’ blush grow.  

But, regardless of how warm her cheeks were, she couldn’t turn away from Ruby.  Was this really the same girl who used to follow her around on the playground?  The doe-eyed child she alternatively didn’t have the patience for yet couldn’t get rid of?

“It’s been a long time,” she agreed, and her heart fluttered when Ruby turned that silver gaze upon her.  

There was enough familiarity in Ruby’s eyes to confirm that she was the same person, but...she grew up astonishingly well.  So well that any thought of spending the weekend with childhood Ruby flew out the window.  In its place flitted some...decidedly more grown-up thoughts and desires...none of which Weiss had expected coming into this weekend.  Fortunately, it appeared she wasn’t alone, as the way Blake stared at Yang suggested they were both on the same page.

“See Yang - told you she’d be gorgeous.”

With that million-dollar smile aimed her way, Weiss couldn’t fathom responding to the compliment.  Even if she was pretty, she couldn’t compare herself to Ruby - or Yang, even.  The two of them radiated effortless charm and style, and Weiss might feel intimidated if she wasn’t already so drawn into that allure.

“Yeah, you grew up alright, Weiss.”  Smiling, Yang reached over and playfully tapped Weiss’ shoulder.  “Ruby was ready to fight anyone who thought otherwise -”

“Because they’d be wrong,” Ruby stated before touching Weiss’ hand.  The feather-light touch seemed like nothing more than habit, but it sent a tendril of thrill down Weiss’ spine.  “How was the train ride?”

“Long…” Weiss sighed, though that feeling disappeared the instant she looked at Ruby again.  “But otherwise fine,” she added.  “Fairly scenic.”

“How long is it from Atlas to here?” Yang asked.

“About five hours.”  

And you guys went to work today?” Ruby asked, reminding Weiss of just how long the day had been.

“Yes.  That...might not have been the smartest decision...”  

Like idiots, she and Blake figured that they could nap on the train if they were tired.  Instead, they spent the entire time discussing their plans for the weekend and beyond.  What they hadn’t discussed, or even remotely considered, was that Weiss’ childhood friend might now be drop-dead gorgeous, with an almost equally gorgeous older sister.  

“You guys hungry then?” Yang asked before sending another winning smile Blake’s way.  That alone was enough to make Blake blush and lower her gaze, though the modesty didn’t last long before she returned Yang’s smile.

“We ate on the train, actually,” Weiss answered when it became evident that Blake wouldn’t.

“Ah, smart.  Should we head back to our place then?”

After glancing at Blake, who snuck another look and bashful smile at Yang, Weiss nodded.  “That sounds nice.”  

At this point, they needed to walk, or move, or do anything that served as a distraction from the two beauties picking them up from the train station.  Otherwise Blake might melt into a puddle right there on the sidewalk, and Weiss didn’t trust herself to not immediately follow suit.  As soon as she reached for her bag, however, Ruby stepped forward and gently brushed her hand away.

“Let me get your bag!”  

After waiting for Weiss’ flustered nod, Ruby grinned and slung the bag over her shoulder.

“And I’ll get yours?” Yang asked before doing the same for Blake.

“Um, thank you...” 

“No problem!”  Yang must see Blake’s blush - Weiss could see it clear as day - but she just smiled and led them away from the train station.  “It’s not far,” she added while they approached the crosswalk.

When Ruby fell into step by Weiss’ side, Weiss glanced up at her and experienced yet another shock at who she saw.  It wasn’t often - or ever, actually - that she was so instantly attracted to someone, but Ruby was that person.  Ruby was absolutely that person…

“Sorry we’re late,” she said, thankfully oblivious to Weiss’ thoughts.  “Yang took forever picking out her shoes.”

When Ruby sent her sister a glare for the transgression, Yang just laughed and glanced Blake’s way.

“I wanted to make a good impression.  First impressions are important, right?”

The question appeared solely for Blake, whose gaze dropped a little far down Yang’s chest before snapping back to Yang’s eyes.

“You’ve made a great one.”

Weiss’ brow rose at the forthcoming answer, which wasn’t something Blake would normally say.  Blake also must have felt the divergence, as she took a deep breath and stared at the businesses across the street.  Or stared anywhere but at Yang, really.

“She could’ve picked out her shoes in advance like I did...” Ruby grumbled so only Weiss would hear.  When Weiss chuckled at the response, Ruby beamed and gently bumped her shoulder.  “It’s great to see you again.”

“Yeah,” Weiss said, her skin heating up in anticipation of something the longer she held Ruby’s gaze.  “Yeah, it’s great seeing you again too,” she added, only for that anticipation to grow when Ruby’s eyes slid over her outfit.

The glance might be nothing more than Ruby familiarizing herself with how Weiss looked now, but it didn’t take much imagination to believe Ruby was very blatantly checking her out.  Her skin tingled at the thought of it, and an unmistakable spark of hunger appeared when Ruby’s gaze finally returned to hers.

“You’re even prettier than I remembered,” Ruby said with the warmest, most heart-stopping smile.

The feeling was more than mutual, but Weiss’ mouth wouldn’t cooperate enough to say those words out loud.  Not with her heart fluttering, her skin warming, and her mind wondering how the hell this was who little Ruby Rose grew up to be.  From a clumsy child constantly covered in scrapes and bruises to a tall, graceful brunette heartthrob - had anyone else seen that coming?

“Does anything look familiar, Weiss?” Yang asked from up ahead, but Weiss was so caught in Ruby’s gaze that she shook her head before processing the question.

“Um, sort of,” she corrected herself, forcing her eyes away from Ruby in an effort to concentrate.  “I recognized the bigger landmarks on the ride in, but there’s a lot that’s new too.”

“Vale’s changed a lot since you lived here.”

“You could say that again…”  

Her gaze slipped towards Ruby before Blake turned around and gave her a knowing look.  Fortunately, she was saved from discussing what exactly changed by Ruby waving towards an apartment building standing in the middle of a block.  

“Here we are!” 

“Home sweet home,” Yang added, holding the door for everyone to walk inside.

“How long have you lived here?” Blake asked while following Ruby towards the elevators on the far side of the lobby.

“Couple of years now.  Yang moved here after graduation -”

“And Ruby decided she was sick of living on campus,” Yang finished for her sister, who nodded as they waited for an elevator to arrive on the ground floor.

“Living on campus is fun but a little...loud.  Besides, I couldn’t pass up the chance to live with my favorite roommate!”

When Ruby grinned and poked Yang in the side, Yang responded by rustling Ruby’s hair on the way into the elevator.  The quick interaction filled Weiss with an incredible sense of deja vu, having seen the pair repeat that same sequence who-knew-how-many times in the past.  Now that they were older, however, they looked less like cute kids and more like...adorable models.

“We figured you’d be tired,” Ruby added while pushing the button for the fifth floor.  “So you can head right to sleep if you want.”  Noticing Weiss’ brow furrow, considering it wasn’t very polite to arrive and go to sleep right away, Ruby smiled and gave her elbow a reassuring squeeze.  “Don’t worry.  Yang and I usually go to sleep pretty early anyway.”

“Really?”  

When Blake gave Yang a look of disbelief, Yang laughed.

“Why do you sound so surprised?  Do I look like the ‘party-all-night’ type?”

She did.  They both did, with their casual-yet-flattering attire and effortless beauty perfect for a night on the town.  Weiss would have admitted it, but Blake kept quiet and shrugged.  

“It’s your hair,” Ruby teased, getting everyone to laugh as the elevator doors opened.  After catching Weiss’ gaze for a split second, long enough to make Weiss’ heart do more gymnastics, she pulled out her keys and hurried to one of the doors in the hall.  After getting the door unlocked, she pushed it open and stepped out of the way.  

“Welcome to Casa de Rose!”

“And Xiao Long,” Yang added, playfully nudging Ruby’s shoulder before following Blake and Weiss into the apartment.

Yang and Ruby’s home wasn’t overly large but more than comfortable enough for two people.  There wasn’t a formal entryway, so the front door opened right into the main living area.  A marble bar with several bar stools separated the kitchen from the living room, offering an additional eating area while also keeping the space big and open.  

Everything looked neat, clean, and perfectly hospitable for a weekend.  Although, considering their hosts, Weiss would have accepted far less optimal arrangements, and Blake would probably agree.

“Sorry it’s not much,” Ruby said upon joining them inside.

“This is perfect,” Weiss replied, and Blake nodded.  “Thank you so much for letting us stay here.”

“Of course!  How could I ever turn down the most beautiful girl in elementary school?”

Ruby gave the compliment as if it was the truest statement in the world, but Weiss blushed upon hearing it.  Having someone as gorgeous as Ruby call her beautiful was enough to fluster her.  If she felt capable of forming a coherent sentence right now, she would try to flatter Ruby in return.  But, somehow, she didn’t think that “Um, wow, you’re like...so hot,” would make her look very intelligent or articulate.

But those were the words flashing through her mind right now, especially when Ruby ran her fingers through her hair and lightly shook every strand back into place.  The effortlessly-sexy motion only added to Ruby’s growing appeal, and Weiss only realized she was staring when Ruby caught her in the act.  

Some people might be curious or confused about being stared at, but Ruby just smiled.  Honestly, she looked happy to have Weiss’ full attention on her...and Weiss was more than willing to give it.

“I reminded Ruby that I was the most beautiful girl in elementary school,” Yang joked.  “But that I’d love to have the second-most-beautiful girl visit for the weekend.”

When Yang grinned at Weiss, Weiss rolled her eyes - not because she was annoyed, but because that was clearly the response Yang wanted.  Yang’s laugh confirmed as much, and the playful banter put Weiss even more at ease.  The two of them hadn’t gotten along exceptionally well when they were children, but she could see the possibility of being friends now.  If she learned how to not be intimidated by Yang’s beauty, of course.

“Regardless, we appreciate the hospitality.”

“You’re still so formal,” Ruby responded with an adorable little giggle.  “I love that.”

Ordinarily, Weiss would argue that using a word like ‘hospitality’ didn’t make her formal, but she didn’t mind being called anything if it made Ruby giggle like that.

“She says stuff like that all the time,” Blake pointed out, and Ruby turned towards her with a big smile.

“Does she?”

“Oh yeah.  She never misses a chance to be super formal.”

“I always thought it was so cute,” Ruby said so plainly that Weiss’ blush returned yet again.  Thankfully, Ruby didn’t dwell on that thought for long.  Instead, she glanced at Blake before shifting Weiss’ bag on her shoulder.  “Are you guys ok with sharing a bed?  I figured you could stay in my room.”

“That’s fine,” Weiss answered after Blake shrugged.

“Ok, cool!  Follow me.”  

With a hop in her step, Ruby headed towards the doors on the far side of the living room.  After following Ruby through one of the doorways, Weiss suddenly found herself standing in Ruby’s bedroom, surrounded by all of Ruby’s belongings, looking at Ruby’s bed.  

“I just washed all the covers and stuff today, so it’s clean.”

Clean sheets were the last thought on Weiss’ mind at the moment, but she pushed the others aside to focus on the big picture.  The bed would be perfectly fine for her and Blake to share, but there wasn’t another space in the room for Ruby.  And, as far as she could tell, the apartment only had two bedrooms.

“Thank you, but...where will you sleep?”

“On the sofa.  And don’t worry,” Ruby added as soon as Weiss opened her mouth to protest.  “It’s actually really comfortable.”

Weiss wasn’t sure how she felt about forcing Ruby out of her bed, but Ruby seemed more than willing to make the sacrifice.

“Besides, this way you’ll have your own bathroom.”  After nodding towards the other door in the room, Ruby raised a hand when she somehow sensed Weiss’ incoming worry.  “And I’ll share with Yang!  Which is no big deal - we’ve had to share everything for basically our entire lives.”

“But if you don’t want to share,” Yang added, touching Blake’s elbow to draw her attention.  “You can sleep in my room, and I’ll wrestle Ruby for the sofa.”

Surprisingly, Ruby didn’t look put off by the prospect of sleeping...on the floor, it sounded like.  Instead, she and Yang both patiently waited for Blake’s response.

“I, um, think we’re fine for now.”  Blake’s gaze inevitably drifted back to Yang, who only needed Blake to look at her in order to smile.  “Thank you,” Blake added at the last second, and Yang’s smile grew.

“No problem.  If you change your mind, or if Weiss kicks you in her sleep or something, just let me know.  

When Yang grinned at the joke, Weiss rolled her eyes and shook her head.  Apparently, Yang hadn’t outgrown her propensity to tease.  But being teased by an eight-year-old versus a beautiful, mature young woman were two entirely different experiences.  One was annoying, the other was...somehow flattering.

But there was probably nothing more flattering than the way Ruby was looking at her right now, with a radiant smile and inexplicable adoration in her eyes.

“I can’t believe you’re here,” she said, swinging her arms back and forth as if she had energy to spare.  “After all these years, you’re actually here.  In my room.”

“It is...pretty remarkable...”

“Pretty amazing,” Ruby corrected, her eyes shining with delight.  “But now that you’re here, I kind of want to keep you up all night.”

Yang’s brow rose at the comment, and Weiss glanced at Blake to confirm she heard that correctly.

“I meant talking,” Ruby corrected before sharing a look and laugh with her sister.  “Talking.  Totally talking.”

“Maybe you can do that tomorrow.”  Winking at Weiss with the suggestion, Yang set a hand on Ruby’s shoulder.  “But they had a long day, remember?  We should let them get some sleep.  Or at least rest a little before keeping them up all night.”

“Right.  You’re right.”  

After chuckling at what was likely a joke, Ruby stepped forward and lightly grasped both of Weiss’ hands.  The touch alone sent Weiss’ heart racing, but the earnest look in Ruby’s eyes made something closer to longing swell in her chest.  

“I’m glad you’re here,” Ruby said quietly, sharing that look with Weiss for several long seconds before turning towards Blake.  “Both of you.”

“Alright Romeo.”  Shaking her head, Yang grabbed Ruby by the shoulders and pulled her towards the door.  “Save it for tomorrow.”

“Do you need anything though?” Ruby added while slowly backing away.  “Water?  Food?  Extra pillows?”  

When Weiss and Blake looked at each other and shook their heads, Ruby nodded.  

“If you think of anything, you can wake me up.  I’ll be right out there.”  After pointing towards the living room, she sent them one last grin.  “Seriously, anything at all,” she added before Yang pulled her out of the room. 

“We’ll see you guys tomorrow,” Yang added, ducking her head back inside to wink and pull the door closed.

Unsure of what to say or do with herself right now, Weiss just stood there and listened to Yang and Ruby’s muffled voices in the living room.  Now that she wasn’t being blinded by their beauty, she felt capable of functioning normally.  Or, at the very least, functioning in a way that let her process the last few minutes.

“What just happened?” she asked aloud, turning to Blake for an explanation of recent events.

“We just met your childhood friend and her sister...”

There was a lot more to it than that, but Blake didn’t get into it.  Weiss didn’t want to get into it either, but her mind refused to get out of it.  Reconnecting with friends after such a long time apart was supposed to be fun, possibly awkward, yet nostalgic.  Then again, most childhood friends didn’t grow up to look like what everyone closed their eyes and imagined their soulmate to look like.

“Should we get ready for bed?” she asked after trying and failing to shake those thoughts from her head.  Fortunately, Blake nodded and knelt on the floor to open her bag.

They were tired from a long day of work and travel.  At least, theoretically they were.  Weiss felt tired yet wired at the same time, but she went through the motions of getting ready for bed regardless.  In the meantime, her mind never stopped thinking about Ruby.

Ruby’s room offered endless hints and possibilities of the type of person she was now.  From the textbooks stacked on the desk to the posters on the walls - all women, Weiss noted - to the scores of little knick-knacks lying about...there were plenty of clues to build out this new, more mature version of Ruby.

Just yesterday, Weiss would have thought nothing of sleeping in Ruby’s bed.  Tonight, she tried to think nothing of it.  Even with the lights off, and even if she closed her eyes, she could smell Ruby.  Or she could smell Ruby’s laundry detergent, but that wouldn’t stop her from imagining that this was what Ruby smelled like.

“So...” Blake said after they laid there in silence for a few minutes.  “Will you judge me if I say I’m ridiculously attracted to Yang?”

“Of course not.  She is really pretty.”

“But you weren’t expecting Ruby to be anything like her.”

Even without looking, Weiss could hear Blake’s smile.  There was no point denying it either; Blake knew her too well to fall for such an obvious lie. 

“I wasn’t,” she admitted.  Thinking about the girl she just reconnected with, who might as well be a goddess in human form, she sighed.  “God, she’s hot…” 

How had Ruby gotten so attractive?  Not only did she look and dress amazing, but her personality - the way she talked, smiled, and offered such willing affection - everything about her came across as charming bordering on enticing.  And Weiss definitely felt enticed.

“You should’ve told her to keep you up all night.”

“Blake!” she exclaimed while Blake chuckled beside her.  “We just got here.”

“So?  I wouldn’t judge you.”

“You’re unbelievable...” Weiss grumbled, grateful that Blake couldn’t see her blush in the dark.  “We’re here to look at apartments,” she reminded Blake...and herself.

“We will.  But we can also see what else Vale has to offer, right?”

Even though Weiss shook her head, she didn’t argue.  Their primary reason for traveling here was to pick an apartment, but they also wanted to explore the city.  With their moving date just weeks away, they wanted to get a good feel for their new, temporary, home.  If reconnecting with Ruby and Yang was a part of that, then...they would already know two people once they moved.  And that wouldn’t be a bad thing.  That could be a very good thing, actually.

“Well this should be interesting…” she muttered, and Blake hummed in agreement before they drifted into silence.

This was, in a sense, Weiss’ fault.  She was the one who expected to see Ruby Rose, the clumsy kid who spent most of her time picking out bandaids for various scrapes and bruises.  What she hadn’t expected was that Ruby grew up, and grew up well.  No longer clumsy, no longer shy, no longer hiding in the shadows.  Very much beautiful.  Very much a mature young woman who looked very capable of...doing mature young woman things.

With a soft sigh, Weiss closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep.  The sooner she fell asleep, the sooner she could wake up and see Ruby again.

That was a great incentive.

Chapter Text

The next morning arrived early, with the sun shining through the window and the sounds of the city drifting up to them.  Cars honked, buses rumbled down the streets, and a radio played from a nearby apartment.

None of that bothered Weiss or Blake, who wasted no time getting ready for the day.  Even though their only appointment wasn’t until later in the afternoon, Weiss was eager to get dressed and leave the room behind.  Yang and Ruby’s soft chatter already filtered through the door, confirming that the duo were early risers and providing ample encouragement to join then.

“Wish I brought something else to wear...” Blake muttered while running a brush through her hair and looking at her reflection in the bathroom mirror.

Weiss wholeheartedly agreed with the sentiment.  The outfits she packed were...fine.  They were functional, reasonably fashionable, and appropriate for the weekend she expected.  Now that she was here, however, she wished she had brought something a little more...appealing

“Maybe we should go shopping today,” she suggested, straightening the hem of her shirt before accepting her appearance with a nod.

“That sounds good.  Maybe we can find some cute new stores for later too.”

“Exactly.”  After checking that she had everything in her purse, Weiss waited for Blake to grab her bag from the floor and do the same.  “Ready?” she asked after Blake nodded and zipped it closed.

“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

Armed with that response, Weiss smiled, opened the door, and walked out of the room.  She made it only a step, however, before the other bathroom door opened and Yang walked out...wearing nothing but a towel.

“Oh hey!” she said upon seeing them, ignoring their matching deer-in-headlights expressions.  “Did you sleep alright?”

Yang directed the question to Blake at the same time she swept her damp hair behind her shoulders, giving everyone a very clear view of her collarbone.

“Um, yes.”  

If Blake was trying to look away, it wasn’t working.  Instead, her gaze slipped lower and lower until Weiss felt morally obligated to nudge her elbow.

“Yes, I did,” Blake spit out as her gaze snapped back to Yang’s eyes.  “Thanks for asking.”

“That’s too bad.”  Not at all uncomfortable holding a conversation in nothing but a towel, Yang leaned forward - silently daring Blake’s gaze to drop again - and lowered her voice to a whisper.  “I was hoping you’d want my bed tonight.” 

When Yang pulled away and winked, Blake managed a small laugh and deep blush.

“I’m gonna dry my hair real quick,” Yang added shortly after, gesturing towards her room.  “But I’ll catch up with you in a bit.”

Once Blake nodded, Yang smiled and headed towards her bedroom.  She didn’t step through the doorway, however, without throwing one last glance over her shoulder and catching Blake staring after her.  The attention - or obvious attraction - made her smile grow as she ducked into her room.

“I was wrong,” Blake whispered as soon as Yang disappeared.  “I wasn’t ready.”

“You don’t say,” Weiss teased, earning a sigh and eyeroll from her friend while dragging her further into the living room.

“Weiss!” Ruby called out from the kitchen as soon as she spotted them, and Weiss’ heart jumped into high speed soon after.  Wearing a pair of sweats and t-shirt, Ruby somehow looked even hotter than last night.  Was it the messy hair, which looked like a style at the same time it looked like something Weiss wished to claim credit for?

“I wanted to make you breakfast in bed,” Ruby admitted.  “Since you’re already up, let me make you breakfast in the kitchen!  Is an omelet ok?  We have all this stuff to put in it.”

When Ruby waved towards the counter, Weiss looked over the bar and found multiple bowls arranged near the stovetop.  Each contained a different ingredient, ranging from onions to peppers to several types of cheese.

“I didn’t know what you’d like,” Ruby explained before Weiss asked if this was a typical weekend meal.  “So I bought some of everything.”

“That’s sweet of you…”

“Naw, it’s the least I could do.  We haven’t seen each other in like fifteen years, right?  So...one topping for each year.”  

With a wave towards the ingredients and a big grin, Ruby looked so unabashedly happy with the thoughtful gesture that Weiss couldn’t help but smile in return.  This was more like the Ruby she remembered - exceedingly sweet, kind, and willing to go out of the way for others, even if that meant buying every omelet ingredient known to mankind.

“In that case...these ones.”

When Weiss reached over the counter and separated three different bowls from the group, Ruby rubbed her hands together.  

“Your wish is my command,” she added before grabbing the bowls and turning on the stove.  “What about you, Blake?” she asked while waiting for the pan to heat up.  “Want an omelet too?  I’ll make one for you!”

“That sounds great, actually.”  

“Yeah?”  Ruby’s cheshire grin suggested she was even happier to make two omelets than one, which made Blake smile as she sat on the barstool next to Weiss.  “What do you want in yours?”

“Cheese, onions, and peppers, please.”  

“You got it.”  After pulling those ingredients aside, Ruby tossed Weiss’ choices into the frying pan and gave them a good stir.  “How’d you guys sleep?” she asked at the same time, glancing up to check their response. 

“I slept pretty well,” Blake answered before turning towards Weiss.  “What about you?”

“I slept really well.”  

“Good!  I was worried you’d be uncomfortable or something.”

“Not at all.  Your bed’s very comfortable.”  

Weiss noticed Blake’s brow rise at the comment, but Ruby just bobbed her head and poured scrambled eggs into the pan.  While Ruby was distracted by that, Weiss gently slapped Blake’s leg and mouthed ‘what?’ to which Blake playfully shrugged and mouthed ‘nothing’ in return.  

There was nothing wrong with admitting that someone’s bed was comfortable.  Beds were supposed to be comfortable.  In that sense, Weiss was only stating the obvious - an argument Blake would understand if she weren’t so busy being smug.

As fortune had it, that smugness didn’t last long.  In fact, it evaporated the instant Yang walked into the room wearing a form-fitting tee that accented her...assets...and tight jeans that highlighted her...other asset. 

“So you’re both moving here?” Yang asked while rubbing a towel through her hair, oblivious to the amber eyes glued upon her every move.

“Next month,” Weiss answered since Blake just lost the ability to speak.

“That’s pretty soon!  You excited?”

“Not entirely…”  

“But you’ll be back in Vale!” Ruby added while setting a perfect omelet on the counter in front of Weiss.  “That won’t be so bad, right?  We can hang out like we used to!  Only I won’t make you play with blocks anymore, promise.”

Spending time with Ruby sounded incredible.  After so long apart, and after one of them grew up to be a near-literal goddess, Weiss wanted to know what type of person Ruby was now.  Besides the obvious - hot at first sight.

“That sounds nice,” she replied, and Ruby grinned before starting Blake’s omelet next.

“Yeah, she’ll hang out with you once she stops living at the track,” Yang added while taking the barstool beside Blake.  “Don’t you have a meet this morning?”

“In a couple hours,” Ruby answered as Weiss gave her a curious look.

“You’re on the track team?”

“Yeah!  I’ve been running for like...seven years now.”

“You must enjoy it then.”

“It’s pretty fun,” Ruby replied with a small laugh.  “Keeps me busy and in good shape!”

“Don’t let her fool you,” Yang added.  “She’s team captain and an all-star.  Best in the city.”

“Yang...” Ruby whined while her sister raised her hands.  Weiss, meanwhile, looked at Ruby in a whole new light.

“You’re the team captain?” 

“I’m one of the captains,” Ruby explained, waving the spatula as if that erased her accomplishment.  “We have a few.”

“She’s the only person who’s ever been captain all four years,” Yang pointed out, much to Ruby’s dismay.  “And she bosses around all the young kids like a pro.”

“I don’t boss them around - I help them.”

“Same difference,” Yang teased.  From her smile, however, it was clear how proud she was of Ruby’s achievements.  

Gorgeous, sweet, considerate, successful...and a leader?  Weiss remembered holding Ruby’s hand to cross the street, or whenever a curb came into view so she wouldn’t trip and fall.  Apparently, she didn’t need that help anymore.  Now, she was the one helping others.

“I never would’ve guessed,” Weiss admitted before taking the first bite of her breakfast, only to look down at her plate in surprise.  “Wow.  This is really good.”  

When she pointed her fork towards the fluffy omelet with just the perfect amount of fillings inside, Ruby beamed.

“Thanks!  Had to learn how to cook since Yang’s terrible at it.”

“Hey!” Yang protested while Ruby slid Blake’s omelet onto another plate and set it on the countertop.  “I’m a perfectly decent cook,” Yang added while Blake accepted her breakfast with a soft, “Thank you.”

“Uh huh,” Ruby teased, wiping her hands on the dishtowel before setting them on the counter.  “What can you cook?”

“Plenty of things!  Usually if they have microwave instructions.”

When Ruby laughed and started cleaning up the kitchen, Weiss shared an amused look with Blake before eating the rest of her breakfast.  Which Ruby made for her.  Right in front of her, actually.  And it was delicious.

“What do you think, Weiss?” Yang asked, walking into the kitchen and shaking Ruby’s shoulders.  “She’s hot and she cooks.”

Yang…

“What?” Yang asked with feigned innocence.  “I’m just pointing out that you’re a catch.”  When Ruby whipped the dishtowel at her, Yang ducked and whispered towards Weiss, “She’s a catch, right?  Tell her she’s a catch.”

“Ignore her, please,” Ruby said, sending Weiss an apologetic look before batting her sister on the head.  “Apparently she hit her head on something this morning.”

“Your hand just hit me on the head!” Yang pointed out, and laughed when Ruby sent her an unamused look.  “Anyway...Ruby said you’ve got a few places to look at this weekend?” 

“Just two,” Weiss answered, though the subject change didn’t escape her notice.  “One this afternoon and one tomorrow morning.”

“Only two?  Shouldn’t you look at as many as you can?”

“We already looked at hundreds online…”  

“Jeez,” Yang replied, chuckling while Ruby brushed past her to clear away more dishes.  “How’d you ever narrow it down?”

“We came up with a list of criteria we were looking for - price range, distance to work, etc.  Then we compared each listing to those criteria and assigned a ranking based on how well they fit.  After going through everything in the right area, we had two choices left - those are the two we set up appointments to see.”

The longer Weiss’ explanation dragged on, the wider Yang’s eyes grew.  Once Weiss stopped talking, Yang laughed.

“That sounds exactly like something you would do.”

“Actually...it was my idea.”

Blake gave an embarrassed smile with the admission - though why she would be embarrassed about being organized, Weiss had no idea - and Yang stared at her for several seconds before grinning.

“How come when I think Weiss did it, it’s like ‘of course,’ but imagining you coming up with that is really hot?”

Just like that, Blake’s blush returned, and she suddenly found her empty plate exceedingly interesting.

“I’m glad you value efficient processes…” 

“And it would still be hot if Weiss came up with it,” Ruby butted in on Weiss’ behalf, offering Weiss yet another smile while Yang waved the compliment away.

“Bottom line, you’ve only got one appointment today,” she summarized before leaning towards Blake, finally prompting Blake’s gaze back to hers.  “Want to explore with me until then?  I can show you all the cool places to eat or shop or whatever you’re interested in.”

From Blake’s hopelessly-smitten smile, that offer sounded like a dream come true.  

“Weiss, you can totally come too,” Yang added as an afterthought, which is exactly what Weiss would be if she joined them.

“Or you could come to my meet!” Ruby suggested almost immediately.  “Then we can catch up with them for your appointment.”

Relegate herself to third wheel or spend the day with Ruby?  One of those options was clearly superior to the other, but their original plan had been to explore the city together.  Of course, they could explore separately and share their findings later on.

“What do you think?” Weiss asked Blake, who managed a nonchalant shrug and a not-at-all subtle glance Yang’s way.

“Whatever you want.  We have all day tomorrow too.”

The response said everything Weiss needed to know, and she resisted the urge to roll her eyes at how enamored Blake was.  Sure, Yang looked like she just stepped out of a magazine, with the smile and the hair and the revealing top, but...well, who was Weiss to judge.  If Blake wanted to throw herself at Yang, she should have at it.  

“Then watching your track meet sounds fun,” Weiss told Ruby, who lit up at the response.

“Really?  That’s awesome!  You won’t be disappointed, I swear - I’ll make sure you have a good time!”

“Hear that, Weiss?”  Still leaning on the counter, Yang winked at Weiss.  “Ruby will make sure you have a good time.”

The wink changed the meaning of that sentence, but Weiss did her best to ignore the suggestion and focus on what Ruby actually offered.  Watching a track meet hadn’t been in the plans, but this weekend was already off to a strange and unexpected start.  They still had the afternoon and all of tomorrow to explore, so she felt comfortable spending a few hours reconnecting with Ruby.  Besides, if the two of them were going to hang out again in the future, they should reconnect more.

“If they’re going to the meet,” Yang added, walking out of the kitchen to stand beside Blake.  “We can head out whenever you’re ready?”

When Yang motioned towards the door, Blake wasted no time standing up and nodding.

“I’m ready now, actually.”

“It’s a little cold out,” Yang said after looking over Blake’s outfit.  “Did you bring a jacket?  Or you can borrow one of mine.”

“She was wearing a jacket last night,” Ruby pointed out, only to roll her eyes when Yang waved a hand for her to shush.

“I do have one.”  Even though Yang looked moderately disappointed by the response, Blake backed towards the room so she could grab her coat.  “I’ll be right back.”

“Sure thing!”  

While Blake hurried into the room, Yang turned towards Ruby and raised a hand to suggest Ruby just ruined one of her plans.  Unphased by the response, Ruby shook her head and smiled at Weiss.

“I’ll grab my track stuff then we can head over to campus?”

“Sure.” 

“But where’d your jacket go?  I’ll get it for you!”  Before Weiss protested or even moved from her seat, Ruby rushed around the counter and touched her hand to keep her in place.  “Just tell me where it is, and I’ll grab it.”

“I put it on the desk chair.”

“Got it!  Or I will get it.”  

With a light laugh, Ruby headed into her room.  Weiss, meanwhile, watched her go with a smile - a smile that Blake caught when she emerged from the room wearing her coat.  She didn’t say anything - not this time, at least - but she gave Weiss an amused look before returning to Yang.

“Now I’m ready,” she said, only to blush when Yang checked her out before nodding.

“You definitely are.”  With a smile that could probably convince Blake that wearing less was more, Yang motioned for Blake to follow her out of the apartment.  “We’ll see you later, Weiss!” she added once they stepped into the hall, but Blake caught Weiss’ eyes before leaving.

“Text if you need anything,” she said, and Weiss nodded while waving them away.

“Have fun,” she replied at the same time, noticing Blake’s gaze return to Yang before the door even closed.  Their voices and footsteps moved away from the apartment over the next few seconds, but eventually that faded into nothing.

In any other circumstance, Weiss would feel guilty for making Blake spend the day with someone she just met.  In this circumstance, however, Weiss certainly hadn’t twisted Blake’s arm.  If anything, Blake was the one who ditched her.

“Alright!”  

With a duffle bag in one hand and Weiss’ jacket in the other, Ruby walked out of her room and reminded Weiss that she didn’t mind the change in plans.

“A jacket for the lady,” Ruby said while handing the jacket to Weiss, who accepted it with a small smile and stood to put it on.  “Promise we’ll make it to your apartment thingy in time,” Ruby added as she grabbed a pair of sneakers and sat on the sofa to tie them.  “Then we can explore tonight or tomorrow if you want.”

“That sounds perfect.”

Ideally, Weiss wanted to get a good feel for the neighborhood of their two apartment choices, but that wouldn’t take long.  Besides, as part of Blake’s ‘hot’ research process, they had already looked at every business in the immediate vicinities and mapped distances to each.  But working off of a map and walking the streets were two different things.

“Ready?” 

When Ruby hopped to her feet and grabbed her bag, Weiss took a second to appreciate Ruby’s appearance before nodding.  She never would have thought she’d be so into the sweatpants and track jacket look, but...Ruby made it work.  That became even clearer when she followed Ruby to the door and took the opportunity to check out Ruby from behind.

“Have you ever been to a track meet before?”

Ruby nearly caught Weiss staring at her ass, but Weiss lifted her gaze just in time.

“I haven’t,” she answered as they headed to the elevators.

“I’m not sure how fun they are to watch,” Ruby admitted while leading them into the next available elevator and pressing the button for the lobby.  “Some people say they’re boring, but I think some of the events are pretty cool.”

“It’s probably more fun when you have someone to cheer on.”

“You’ll cheer for me, right?” Ruby asked with such a hopeful look that Weiss laughed as they walked into the lobby.

“Of course, Ruby.  Who else would I cheer for?”

“I dunno...maybe you know someone on one of the other teams.”

“I don’t know anyone who runs track.”

“Except me!”  

Pausing at the statement, and the certainty behind it, Weiss felt a happy warmth spread through her chest and a smile lift her lips.  Regardless of how long they had been apart and how much they had changed, it still felt like they knew each other in a strange, deeply-rooted way.  They might be nearly strangers - at the same time, they were close friends.

“Except you,” she agreed, and basked in Ruby’s smile until another blush took up residence on her cheeks.  

They were friends, but she had never felt this flustered around a friend before.

“Campus isn’t far - want to walk?”

“Do you usually walk?” Weiss asked while following Ruby away from the apartment building.  

“I usually run,” Ruby replied with a laugh.  “But I won’t make you do that.  Today, at least.”

When Ruby waggled her brow at the comment, Weiss smiled and shook her head as she fell into step by Ruby’s side.  Now that the day had begun, the city had taken on more life than last night.  Plenty of cars raced down the street, and more than a few pedestrians hurried about their weekend plans.  

The bustling atmosphere felt like Atlas, yet the buildings and weather made everything different.  Living here as a child, she really only knew the neighborhood she grew up in and the elementary school she attended.  Anything outside of those bubbles went far beyond her at that age, so returning now was an experience in nostalgia yet adventure.  And that sensation didn’t apply only to Vale.

Glancing at Ruby, who set a slow, easy-to-match pace with those long legs of hers, Weiss smiled.

“Still can’t believe you’re here,” Ruby said, shaking her head and chuckling to herself.

“Why’s that?”

“It just...feels like a crazy dream.”  Turning to the side, Ruby gave a heartwarming smile.  “It’s been a long time.”

“It has been.”  

When Weiss returned the smile, Ruby held her gaze for several long seconds before motioning left at the next intersection.  A short way down the next block, Ruby laughed.

“Remember that time I tried to sneak into your class for a day?  And Ms. Goodwitch immediately caught me?”

“I still don’t know why you thought that would work,” Weiss replied with an amused scoff.  “Wearing that ridiculous hat only made you more conspicuous.”

“I thought it would hide me!” Ruby said before laughing at the memory.  “I just really wanted to spend the day with you, even if it meant being in a different class.”

The admission warmed Weiss’ heart, and she snuck a smile at Ruby while they crossed the next street and entered Vale University’s campus.  Looking back on it, she understood that Ruby just wanted to spend time together.  At the time, however, she thought it was a dumb decision made by a young, immature girl.

She wished that she had shown more patience to Ruby back then, but she’d been nothing more than a child.  A difficult child, at that.  Having friends wasn’t something that happened for her until...well, until Ruby started following her around.  Even then, she didn’t want Ruby’s friendship at first.  That changed over time, and with Ruby’s persistence, but still...she could have been friendlier.

“Pretty sure I gave Yang a heart attack when you messaged me,” Ruby added while leading them along landscaped university paths.  “I might’ve screamed right in her ear.”

“Really?”

“Yeah!  You have no idea how excited I was to see your name pop up.”  Thinking about that moment, Ruby grinned.  “I’ve always wanted to see you again, and there you were!  Messaging out of the blue, asking to visit - it sounded too good to be true.  Now you’re here and this feels too good to be true.  And when you move back to Vale?”

Ruby chuckled and shook her head at that, leaving the answer to Weiss’ interpretation.

Hearing how excited Ruby had been about their reunion almost made Weiss feel bad, but she had also looked forward to this trip more than she might have otherwise.  While she couldn’t say with as much certainty that Ruby was the cause...maybe there was a reason she reached out to Ruby as soon as Blake voiced opposition to paying for a hotel.  She could have convinced Blake it was the only reasonable option, like she had so many times in the past.  Instead, she immediately let it go and suggested staying with the girl she hadn’t seen in years.  

At the time, she convinced herself it was the next-best option.  Now, she couldn’t deny that she was happy to be here, and that being around Ruby was exciting and new at the same time as comforting and familiar.  

“I’m sorry I didn’t do a better job of keeping in touch,” she still said, but Ruby shook her head.

“How would we have kept in touch?  It’s not like we had phones that young.”

“Yes, but when we got older...I could’ve reached out sooner.”

“Water under the bridge.”  Ruby’s smile made it clear that she harbored no negative feelings towards Weiss for the years of silence.  “Besides,” she added while they waited for one of the campus trolleys to pass.  “It’s not like I reached out to you either.  I wanted to, and I thought about you a lot, but I always figured our paths just weren’t meant to cross again or something.”  

Unperturbed by the admission, Ruby shrugged and let the subject drift away.  Weiss, however, grasped onto the knowledge and held on tight.  

What did it mean that Ruby thought about her a lot?  Was it more of an ‘I wonder what Weiss is up to?’ type of thing or something closer to an ‘I miss being friends’ feeling?

“I missed you too,” she said, only for her eyes to widen when she realized Ruby hadn’t actually said that.  

“I mean,” she added as soon as Ruby looked at her.  “I missed you a lot when I first moved, and I’d think about you every so often and wonder what you were up to now.  What you were like now.  And you’re...you’re doing really well.”

She didn’t know if she made that better or worse.  All she knew was that Ruby smiled at her for a long, long time before finally speaking.

“I missed you too, Weiss.”  

Just like that, Ruby prompted another blush onto Weiss’ cheeks, and she stared straight forward rather than get lost in those disarmingly beautiful eyes.  Ruby had always been willing to express her feelings...and apparently that hadn’t changed.  

It was that openness and eagerness for affection that made Ruby the first person outside of family that Weiss had ever hugged.  The first person whose hand Weiss would willingly hold.  And the first person to tell her that they loved her - in a platonic way, of course.

Being around Ruby again only reminded her of how hard it had been to move away.  How terrible those first few weeks and months had been.  But that was all in the past now, as they had both grown up and somehow found their way back into each other’s lives.  Even if she didn’t want to live in Vale...being Ruby’s friend again might make the relocation worth it.

“Here we are.”

After skipping a few steps forward, Ruby made a grand wave towards the entrance of the track-and-field stadium.  From the number of people milling about, the event would soon be underway.  Family members and friends mingled in the bleachers, a line waited to order snacks at the concession stand, and the competing teams roamed around the track and center of the field.

“Wow…” Weiss mumbled while following Ruby further into the stadium.  The members of the track teams inevitably drew her gaze - all young, athletic, attractive girls wearing tank tops and snug shorts that showed off their enviable muscles.

It didn’t take much longer to realize that Weiss had just stepped into Ruby’s realm, and Ruby was the queen of this world.  Only that explained the glances, smiles, and waves sent her way.  Only that explained the energy funneling towards her, as if everyone had secretly only shown up to see her.

Obviously, Weiss wasn’t the only one who saw Ruby’s many attractive qualities.  And she had a feeling she was about to witness her childhood-friend-turned-heartthrob get swarmed by dozens of attractive, age-appropriate girls...

Chapter Text

“I’m only in the first few events,” Ruby explained while the two of them approached the edge of the track.  Continuing the theme of everyone - and Weiss meant everyone - thirsting after Ruby, two of the girls warming up on the track slowed down as soon as they caught sight of her.

“Hey Ruby!” one of them called out.  “Want to warm up with us?”

“I can in a bit,” Ruby replied, sending them a smile and waving them along.  Their smiles grew at her acceptance, and they exchanged excited glances before resuming their jog around the track.

“I’ll ask my coach if I can leave early,” Ruby continued without missing a beat, unperturbed at having just made their day.  Dropping her duffel bag on a nearby bench, she swung her arms from side to side before bending forward to stretch her legs.

Weiss tried not to stare, but Ruby was stretching right in front of her.  How could she not stare?

“He should be fine with that.”  Leaning to the right, Ruby easily touched her hands to the ground and held the position for several seconds before repeating on the left.  “That way we’ll have plenty of time to grab lunch and make it to your appointment.”

“Ok...” Weiss mumbled when it sounded like her turn to speak.  Her mind, however, stuck on some more-than-friendly thoughts.

Ruby was flexible, as she just showed everyone in the immediate proximity.  A great skill for athletics, but an added perk for other physical activities...

“Will you be ok in the stands by yourself?” Ruby asked, leaning straight down and pressing her palms flat against the ground.  Her short brown hair fell in front of her eyes as she did so, but she shook her head to get it out of the way as she looked up at Weiss.  “Or do you want to watch from down here?”

“The...stands are fine.”  

Honestly, if Weiss stood too close to Ruby for much longer, she might make a fool out of herself.  She had no idea how, or what she might do, but she didn’t know if she wanted to find out.

“Then I’ll help you pick a seat!”

When Ruby finally stopped stretching, Weiss nearly sighed in relief.  Instead, her breath caught in her throat when Ruby grabbed her hand and led her towards the metal bleachers located alongside the track.  

“I want you to have the best spot to watch from,” Ruby explained, oblivious to Weiss’ racing heart while leading her up into the stands.  “How about...here.”  After stopping near the middle of an empty row and looking around, Ruby nodded and patted the bench.  

“Right here’s perfect.”  Still holding Weiss’ hand, Ruby raised her free hand and pointed towards one side of the track.  “That’s where the races start, and they finished right here, so you’ll have a great view.”

“Thank you,” Weiss replied, wondering when Ruby might let go of her hand yet refusing to pull away first.  There was something so nice about holding hands with Ruby...something she couldn’t quite explain but felt in every quick, excited breath.

“Do you need anything?  Drinks?  Snacks?  Popcorn?  I can grab you something from concessions.” 

Weiss smiled at the offer, which again proved that Ruby hadn’t changed that much.  She might be hotter than a model now, but she was still considerate as could be.

“I’m fine for now, thanks.”

“Ok, but let me know if you change your mind.”  Once Weiss nodded, Ruby glanced in both directions before leaning close and whispering, “So...what’re my chances of getting a good luck kiss?”

That was a change - one that sent Weiss’ heart racing while Ruby held her gaze and grinned.  

Was Ruby actually asking for a good luck kiss?  It looked like she was serious, especially as she waited for a response.  And Weiss wanted to kiss her - but Weiss wanted to really kiss her.  Somehow, she didn’t think Ruby meant that type of kiss.  A kiss on the cheek, perhaps?  That would be wholly unsatisfying but innocuous enough to not cause a commotion...

“Ruby!” someone called out before Weiss made a decision, and Ruby turned towards her name.  “Are you coming?” the girl waving up to them asked, and Ruby motioned that she’d be there in a minute.

“I’m just kidding,” Ruby said, finally letting go of Weiss’ hand and backing away with a smile.  “Having you here is luck enough!”  

“But I - wouldn’t mind -” Weiss got out, suddenly worried the opportunity might slip away.

“Wait, really?”

“Unless you don’t want one,” Weiss corrected upon sensing Ruby’s shock, but Ruby quickly shook her head.  

“I do!  I do.  But what kind of kiss are we talking about?”

A blush crept up Weiss’ cheeks from the way Ruby was looking at her, but she tried to keep her composure while responding with a simple shrug.

“What do you consider a good luck kiss?” she asked in return, lobbing the question back to Ruby in hopes of clarification.  

“Well…” Ruby began slowly, her eyes sparkling at the opportunity to make up her own definition.  “I think that the longer it is, the luckier it is.”

The answer didn’t give Weiss much to go off of, but that seemed to be the point.  

When had Ruby become so playful?  Her joyful eyes suggested that she knew what conundrum Weiss faced, but she enjoyed waiting for an answer more than clarifying the situation.  She...wanted?...Weiss to decide what this ‘good luck’ kiss should be.

“Ruby!” someone else called out, but Ruby waved them away without even looking at them.  Her eyes were only for Weiss right now, and Weiss knew she had to make a decision soon or risk letting the moment pass them by.

Did she want to give Ruby a good luck kiss?  Yes.  

Did she want it to be a real kiss?  Yes.  

But Ruby was also her friend, who she hadn’t seen in a long time and probably shouldn’t be lusting over so much.  What if Ruby was only being playful because she thought that Weiss would never kiss her in that way?

A cheek kiss was the safest answer.  But, if she was brave, she could go for a quick kiss on the lips.

She couldn’t believe that she was about to kiss Ruby at all, but her heart already raced in anticipation.  Her palms were clammy, and she licked her lips when she realized just how dry her mouth felt, but she was going to kiss Ruby - for luck.

Setting her hand on the crook of Ruby’s elbow, savoring their sudden closeness when Ruby edged nearer, she steeled her nerves and leaned forward.  

She wanted that real kiss so badly that she almost went for it.  But with Ruby’s eyes locked onto her every move, she chickened out at the last second - with their lips nearly brushing - and pressed a kiss near the corner of Ruby’s mouth instead.

The mistake would have been mortifying had she not felt Ruby’s fingers clutch her side, gently pulling her closer.  Then Ruby seamlessly turned and captured Weiss’ lips in a kiss.

One second, she was kicking herself for making a fool of herself.  The next, Ruby was kissing her, and that emboldened her like nothing else could.  Ruby’s other hand settling on her hip only added to her unleashed desires, as she wrapped both arms around Ruby’s neck and dragged her closer.

Her heart could beat out of her chest right now, and her breathing was already growing heavier, but that didn’t stop her from kissing Ruby with unregulated greed.  As much as Ruby was willing to give, Weiss was willing to take, especially as she savored Ruby’s soft lips moving with hers.

She’d never imagined anything like this - doing anything like this - but it felt incredible.  And, had a loud whistle not reminded her that they were in public, she would have chased that feeling as far as possible.  Instead, she broke away from the kiss and watched Ruby’s eyes flutter open as a smile settled upon her lips.  

“Good luck?” Weiss offered, passing off the moment as nothing more than what Ruby requested even though her deep breaths and flushed cheeks must suggest otherwise.

“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that...” Ruby whispered.  It looked like she had more to say but was cut off by another whistle - this one wielded by one of the coaches, who waved everyone to him.

“Shoot.  I gotta go.”  Finally separating from Weiss, Ruby backed away and winked.  “I’m about to beat all my personal records,” she added before hurrying out of the stands and jogging over to join her team.

Still in shock by what just happened, Weiss stood there until she noticed the looks and glances thrown her way.  Only then did she sit in the spot Ruby picked out for her and watched the teams organize before beginning the competition.  Her cheeks were steaming right now, and her mind raced through what just happened.

Ruby just kissed her.  She kissed Ruby.  They kissed.  

But what did Ruby mean - that Weiss didn’t know how long she’d wanted to do that?  How long she’d wanted to kiss Weiss?  Was that it?  

She needed another opinion, and she needed it before her mind wrapped itself in knots.  So, while the first of the races got underway, she pulled out her phone and sent a message to someone who would definitely have an opinion.

‘If you make-out with someone for good luck, it’s probably just a one-time thing, right?’

Because that’s what just happened.  She made-out with Ruby, her childhood friend, as good luck for a track meet.

‘Did you just make-out with Ruby?’ was Blake’s response, and Weiss’ heart fluttered at the question.

‘Perhaps.’

Blake would see through that reply, but Weiss didn’t feel like admitting much more at the moment.  She wasn’t the type of person who did something like that, but when Ruby was so sweet, pretty, and...familiar yet new and exciting at the same time...she certainly didn’t have any regrets.

‘Seriously?’

‘Yes.’

‘And?’

Knowing exactly what Blake was asking, Weiss sighed.

‘And she’s a really good kisser,’ she admitted while little bursts of nerves and excitement filled her chest.  If she could have anything she wanted right now, she would go back and experience that kiss all over again.  From the embarrassment to the surprise to the pure, unadulterated desire…

Actually, if she could have anything she wanted, she’d like to do it again.  But in private, without interruptions.

‘Lucky,’ Blake’s next message said, only to be quickly followed by,  ‘I’d make-out with Yang even if she didn’t have a reason.’

“Ok Blake,” Weiss muttered, shaking her head and chuckling at the lack of restraint.  “Try to hold yourself together...”

But who was she to give that advice?  It only took a few hours for her to jump at the opportunity to kiss Ruby, so why shouldn’t Blake jump at any opportunity to kiss Yang?  If Yang was even half as good a kisser as Ruby, it would be more than worth it.

“You need to calm down, Weiss,” she told herself while setting her phone in her lap and attempting to focus on the track meet.  Now that the competition was underway, her focus should be figuring out how track-and-field worked and watching Ruby. 

Mostly watching Ruby, who flitted around talking to teammates and helping where needed.  She had always been helpful, so that wasn’t much of a surprise.  But, the longer Weiss watched, the more she saw Ruby helping the other teams.  Regardless of uniform color, everyone seemed to know Ruby and requested her attention.

In a lot of cases, the other girls ‘needed’ help stretching or taping injuries - anything that got them up close and personal with Ruby.  Ruby, of course, never complained.  With a smile that never faltered, she let those girls fawn all over her before leaving them tittering to their friends in her wake.

Being such a remarkable presence on the field, it was no wonder the other runners looked up to her.  That incredible respect and admiration followed her to the starting line for the third race of the track meet, and Weiss’ anticipation grew right along with the crowd’s.

Realistically, the spectators weren’t all here to watch Ruby, but Weiss felt like they grew quiet as Ruby prepared for the next event.  There was more stretching near the starting line - god, the stretching - before Ruby slapped hands with a few teammates and moved into her lane.  Before mimicking the other runners in a starting stance, however, she glanced into the stands and smiled when she confirmed that Weiss was watching.  Only then did she set her foot on the block, place her hands on the ground, and freeze in that position.

Being so focused on memorizing everything about Ruby’s form, Weiss jumped when the starting gun went off and the runners shot forward.  

An instant later, it became clear that Ruby was the best one out there.  Her lead grew with each long, beautiful stride she took, and no one had a chance at catching her before she crossed the finish line.  The entire event lasted only a few seconds - nothing more than a sprint - but Weiss’ heart raced from the thrill of it.  The crowd must have felt the same, as they whistled and cheered for the group of runners.  

Weiss added her applause while watching Ruby accept congratulations from her teammates and several of the other runners, many of whom offered hugs and kisses on the cheek.  Weiss would have guessed that the cheek kisses were a track thing but, considering the first few events included nothing of the sort, she had to assume it was a Ruby thing.

Before leaving the track, Ruby turned towards the stands, caught Weiss’ gaze, and playfully tapped her fingers to her lips before blowing a kiss.  The gesture, and the memory behind it, immediately made Weiss blush.  Thankfully, Ruby couldn’t see that blush from the track, and smiled while hurrying to rejoin her team.

Yang was right - Ruby was a great runner, but that only explained a fraction of the attention directed her way.  Some people were probably awed by her athletic ability, others probably adored how kind and helpful she was, but everyone seemed to agree that she was the most desirable one out there.

The ease with which she handled the attention surprised Weiss, who remembered how shy Ruby used to be.  By the time she walked to the starting line for her second race, chatting amicably with teammates and opponents alike, Weiss realized that version of Ruby was long gone.  

Which was for the best, really.  The only reason they became friends was because Ruby followed Weiss like a mouse for weeks, during which time Weiss did her best to ignore the shadow she picked up.  When that strategy didn’t work, she told Ruby to leave her alone.  When that didn’t work, she reluctantly let Ruby follow her around and sometimes shared a thought or two.  Eventually, they reached the point where they rarely stopped talking.  Then Weiss moved to Atlas, and now...she was pining over Ruby just like every other girl here.

That hopeless attraction only grew when Ruby froze in her starting stance once again, waited for the pop of the starting gun, and shot off like a rocket the instant the sound cracked through the air.  Her long limbs worked to her advantage once again, and she forged an immediate lead that widened with each stride.  Running looked easy to her - effortless, even - as she flew around the track like that’s what she’d been born to do. 

This race was longer than the first, and Weiss relished the opportunity to watch Ruby run.  The spandex shorts and fitted top let everyone see Ruby’s muscles flexing and releasing as her arms pumped up and down and her legs propelled her forward.  Her brow was set with determination, and her eyes trained dead ahead while she rounded one corner of the track before sprinting into the next.

The spectators seated around Weiss began clapping as the runners soared across the far straightaway, and Weiss’ exhilaration grew as Ruby entered the next curve.  The crowd grew louder still, prompting Weiss to add her applause and rise to her feet as the end of the race approached.

Ruby was going to win again.  Only one of the other runners managed to stay close, but even she was several paces behind when they crossed the finish line.  Of course, she didn’t seem discouraged by the second-place result.  Instead, she seized the opportunity to be the first to congratulate Ruby - again with a kiss on the cheek and lingering hand on Ruby’s shoulder.

The spotlight trained upon Ruby seemed almost absurd...but also well deserved.  She was beautiful, kind, gregarious, and shared her breathtaking smile with anyone - why wouldn’t everyone love her?  

That feeling became doubly true when Ruby caught Weiss’ gaze and blew another kiss, warming Weiss’ cheeks in the process.  Weiss doubted that one kiss, while amazing, had any impact on Ruby’s speed, but she was flattered that Ruby kept bringing it up.  

She shouldn’t dwell on it too much though.  For all she knew, it was a one-time thing.  Or worse - something Ruby did with all of the girls after her affection.  

Somehow...Weiss didn’t think so.  Call it a hunch, or call it observation, since Ruby’s interactions with the other runners looked nothing more than friendly.  She smiled and laughed with them, but her mannerisms didn’t suggest romance was on her mind.  Whereas with Weiss…

Weiss felt special, but maybe that was only wishful thinking.  Maybe Ruby was treating her differently, but that preferential treatment could have more to do with their history than attraction.

That was a surprisingly disappointing thought, but she pushed it from her mind when Ruby waved for her attention and motioned for her to wait.  Once Weiss nodded, Ruby raced to the center of the track and spoke to one of Vale’s coaches for several minutes.  After he nodded and patted her on the back, she grabbed her bag, slung it over her shoulder, and waved Weiss down to her.

Understanding that it was time to go, Weiss gathered her belongings and made her way to the edge of the track to meet Ruby.  Her excitement rose at the same time, wondering if Ruby might bring up their kiss, but that thought disappeared the moment she stepped down from the bleachers.

Apparently, she wasn’t the only one excited about the chance to talk to Ruby, as several other girls had already stopped Ruby to chat.  Based on their uniforms, they were from the other schools, but they shared many other things in common - they were all athletic, beautiful, and eager for Ruby’s attention.

Their eagerness meant that Weiss felt even more special when Ruby lit up upon seeing her, and briefly broke away from the crowd to grab her hand and pull her closer.

“Hey guys, this is my friend Weiss!”

While Ruby let go of Weiss’ hand and beamed down at her, the rest of the girls wasted no time sizing her up.  This happened to her quite often, actually, but she couldn’t say it had ever happened in regards to a person before.  Typically, people were intimidated or jealous of her family’s wealth.  In this case though...they had other intentions in mind, though Ruby seemed none the wiser.  

“It’s nice to meet you,” Weiss replied, opting to be polite for Ruby’s sake.

“I used to follow Weiss around in elementary school,” Ruby explained.  “I thought she was the coolest person on the planet.”

Weiss’ blushed at the response, and at the way Ruby smiled at her, but Ruby’s admirers were less than thrilled by the open gushing.  Yet their thin smiles gave away the currency they spoke in - closeness to Ruby.  As luck would have it, Weiss had plenty of that too.

“Remember the time you made me Valentine’s chocolates, but they were just dried mud with pebbles -”

“Shh!!”  Laughing at the memory, Ruby playfully wrapped an arm around Weiss’ stomach, pulled her close, and covered her mouth.  “No need to point out how dumb I was back then!”

With Ruby’s arm around her waist and hand over her mouth, Weiss managed an innocent shrug while fighting a massive blush.  One glance at Ruby’s admirers confirmed that she just revealed herself as a legitimate threat to their goal, but it was hard to care about them anymore.  Even after Ruby released her, she felt bubbly, light, and filled with butterflies.

“That’s...cute,” one of the girls said before a whistle caught her attention.  “I’m up next.  See you around?”

“Yeah, of course!”

“You should come on a run with us tomorrow,” one of the others offered while the first jogged back to the track.  “We’re running the greenbelt.”

“And we could get lunch after,” the girl’s teammate added with a smile.  “Pretty sure I still owe you lunch.”

“Oh, sorry, but I’m hanging with Weiss this weekend!  Maybe next week?” 

When the girls glanced at Weiss, she did her best not to show how happy the answer made her.  But she could practically hear them wondering just who she was before finally smiling at Ruby.

“Next week sounds good,” one of them finally agreed.  “I’ll text you.”

“Perfect.  And good luck with the rest of your races!”

Faced with Ruby’s genuine smile, the two girls cheered up before hurrying back to the track.  They might not have succeeded in inviting Ruby out for tomorrow, but they had tentative plans for next week.  Apparently, that was good enough for them.

“So…?” Ruby said as soon as they left, the sparkle in her eyes sending Weiss’ heart fluttering in no time.

“So...what?”

“So...what did you think?” Ruby asked while grabbing her water bottle and taking a long drink, and Weiss did her best not to stare as a drop of water slid down Ruby’s neck.

“I think…”  

That the sheen of perspiration on Ruby’s skin and her slightly-damp hair made her look more attractive.  And that Weiss had some exceptionally indecent ideas as for what she wanted to do about that drop of water.

When Ruby snapped the top back on her bottle and wiped the water away, Weiss said the first thing that came to her mind.

“You’re really hot.”

“What?” Ruby asked before laughing.  “I mean yeah, I just ran a lot, but I’ll cool down in a bit.”

It would be physically impossible for Ruby to cool down in the way Weiss meant, but she smiled and thanked her lucky stars that Ruby misinterpreted that latest mistake.

“You’re a great runner,” she tried again.

“I had a really good day,” Ruby replied before motioning Weiss away from the track.  “Pretty sure I had wings on my feet, cuz I’m usually not that fast.  My coach even said that whatever I did today, I need to keep doing.”

Weiss’ heart jumped at the words and burst into butterflies when Ruby sent a sly grin her way.  

“So...I hope you’re willing to watch some more meets once you move here.”

“I wouldn’t mind that.”  That sounded like something Weiss wanted to do, but she studied the buildings they passed so Ruby wouldn’t see just how much she enjoyed the idea.  “Are they always on Saturday?”

“Yup!”

“Then I should be free…”

“And you’ll be my good luck charm?”

From the look Ruby sent Weiss’ way, she was suggesting exactly what Weiss couldn’t stop thinking about.

“I can try…” she hedged, though she didn’t know how many more of those kisses her heart could take.  She’d like to find out though.  She would really like to find out.

Ruby hummed at the response and couldn’t keep a smile off her lips.  The expression implied that she also enjoyed the thought of repeating that moment, but what about it did she enjoy?

“I just need to shower real quick.”  Moving on from that thought far more easily than Weiss could, Ruby gestured towards a nearby building.  “Then we can grab lunch and meet up with Yang and Blake?”

“Perfect.”

“Alright, follow me.”  

With another smile, Ruby led them to the entrance of the building and held the door for Weiss.  Once inside, Weiss heard the sound of sneakers nearby, probably from a basketball game or practice, but Ruby led her down a hallway that some other track members were following.  

“Good job today, Ruby!” someone said, patting Ruby’s back before hurrying away.

“Thanks!” Ruby called after them before stopping outside a locker room door.  “You want to wait out here?” she asked, and Weiss briefly considered following Ruby inside before thinking better of it.  Instead, she nodded and moved to the side of the hall.

“I’ll be right back,” Ruby added before disappearing into the locker room.  Whistles and cheers greeted her, but those faded away as the door fell shut.

Left alone to wait, Weiss took a deep breath and leaned against the wall.  This wasn’t how she expected the weekend to go.  She thought that she would spend most of her time with Blake, and that maybe she and Ruby would catch up over dinner.  But she also expected Ruby to be...Ruby.  Not Ruby.

Her heart jumped when the locker room door opened, only to scold herself when two other girls slipped into the hall.

“Did you see her?” one of them said, instantly catching her attention.

“God, she’s so hot...” the other groaned.  “And she just ran all over us.” 

“Jackie said she was kissing some girl before the meet.”

“Hopefully not a girlfriend.”

“I mean, I’m fine with her keeping the girlfriend as long as she still marries me,” the other argued, and both of them giggled while heading down the hall.

Apparently, Weiss wasn’t the only one who found Ruby absurdly attractive.  Was it her smile?  Her amazing body?  Her confidence?  What was it about her that made Weiss, and everyone else, want to throw themselves at her?

Sighing and leaning her head back against the wall, Weiss easily got lost in thinking about Ruby.  So much had changed, so much hadn’t changed, and she hoped that she had the opportunity to learn exactly what shaped Ruby into the person she was today.

Weiss snapped out of that daydream when Ruby hurried out of the locker room, now with shower-fresh hair that made her even more attractive.  Then she shook her head, ruffling her hair everywhere, and...well, it really wasn’t fair, but Weiss was happy to witness every second of it.  

“Ready?” she asked with that endearing smile of hers.  When Weiss nodded, that smile only grew.  “There’s a great sandwich-ish place nearby if that sounds like something you’d like.”

“‘Sandwich-ish?’”

“Yeah!  It’s - well, you’ll see?”

“Alright.”  Chuckling at yet another unexpected adventure, Weiss motioned for Ruby to lead the way.  

As they left the land of athletic, gorgeous young women behind, Weiss couldn’t help but feel a little smug about walking away with the most attractive one.

Chapter Text

“See, what’d I tell you?”  With their meals in hand, Ruby held the door for Weiss and grinned as they left the sandwich shop behind.  “It’s a sandwich!  Ish.”

“It’s...kind of a wrap,” Weiss mused while looking over her order.  “Only with bread.  A rolled sandwich?”

“Or…?” Ruby prodded, only to laugh when Weiss playfully rolled her eyes.

“Or ‘sandwich-ish.’”

“Exactly!”  Thrilled by Weiss’ use of the term, Ruby grinned and took a big bite of her lunch.  

“You must be starving after all the running you did,” Weiss commented before biting into her...sandwich...and giving it a second glance as she chewed.  Once her mind accepted the weirdness of fluffy, rolled bread stuffed with vegetables, deli meats, and cheeses, it was actually pretty good.  Unusual, but not bad.

“It’s been an exciting morning, that’s for sure.”

Ruby winked with the comment before taking another bite to eat, and Weiss focused on her to-go meal while trying to get her heart under control.  

When Ruby called it an exciting morning, what did she mean?  Was she referring to the track meet, or...something else?  The good luck kiss they shared right before, maybe?

And since when did Ruby wink like that?  Had she picked up that flirty gesture from Yang, or was it something she did without realizing how preposterously attractive it was?  She was attractive enough without the winking, which the cashier at the sandwich-ish shop had immediately picked up on - then tried to pick up on Ruby.

The blatant flirting appeared to be a common occurrence, and Weiss might be jealous if Ruby wasn’t treating her with so much special consideration.  The cute cashier could flirt as much as she wanted, because that didn’t stop Ruby from giggling at Weiss’ jokes, smiling only for her, and complimenting her hair.  It made her feel a bit like a queen, actually, to have somehow earned Ruby’s attention while everyone else coveted it so much.

“What street did you say it’s on again?” Ruby asked after a few seconds of eating and walking.

“Fifteenth.”  

Taking another nibble of lunch, Weiss read the nearest street signs and set off in the right direction.  It wasn’t until they reached the next intersection, however, that she realized Ruby was grinning at her as if she just accomplished something extraordinary.

“What?” she asked, though she didn’t mind the look in the slightest.

“You remember where to go!”

“Of course I do.  The streets are numbered.”

“But you still know which way!” Ruby argued as they crossed the street.

“Lower numbers are closer to downtown.”  

When Weiss waved towards the towering, clustered buildings growing closer with each passing street, Ruby just grinned and returned to eating.  Something about Weiss remembering those directions made Ruby surprisingly happy, but she couldn’t figure out what it was.  Instead, she took several more bites of her sandwich and surveyed the city around them.

As much as she wished that she remembered the finer details of Vale, she had been too young to do much exploring when she lived here last.  The extent of her experiences in the heart of the city entailed accompanying her mother or father on shopping or business trips.  Even then, they were driven to and from their destinations and rarely walked more than a few blocks on their own.

Now she had the opportunity to live in downtown Vale, which probably wouldn’t be much different from downtown Atlas.  Lots of traffic, people, and noise, but from the commotion emerged a sense of life and purpose.  Everyone had somewhere to go and something to do, and they were in a hurry to get there and get it done.

Weiss also had somewhere to be, looking at a potential apartment with Blake, but didn’t mind matching Ruby’s meandering pace as they walked the city streets together.  This was something they’d never done before, having been too young to do anything unsupervised, and the freedom felt nice.  They weren’t kids anymore - they were adults, and they chose to be here, with each other, walking around downtown and eating their sandwich-ish.

“Oh!  This is a really good bakery.”  Having already finished her lunch, Ruby brushed off her hands and pointed towards the bakery window beside them.  “They have the best red velvet cookies.”

“Red velvet cookies are a thing?”

“They are!  And they’re really good.  Do you want some?”  

When Ruby gently touched Weiss’ elbow and stepped towards the door, Weiss smiled and shook her head. 

“I’ll take your word for it,” she said before teasingly narrowing her eyes.  “Unless you want some?”

“You just got back to Vale...I don’t think you need to see me eat two dozen cookies in one sitting yet.”  

Ruby tried to walk away after that comment, but Weiss grabbed her hand to stop her.

“Wait a second.  Maybe I do want to see that.”

“Me eat two dozen cookies?” Ruby replied, laughing when Weiss nodded.  “Do you want me to make myself look super unattractive?”

By this point, Weiss doubted Ruby could do anything to decrease how attractive she was.  In all likelihood, eating two dozen cookies would only make her seem cute or sweet or some other positive trait that made Weiss like her even more.  

“I think you’ll enjoy it,” Weiss said, tugging Ruby towards the door while she playfully dragged her heels.

“Well if I’m with you, I’ll enjoy anything.”

They hadn’t made it through the door yet, and Ruby was already being exceptionally sweet.

“But there’s a line.”  Before Weiss opened the door, Ruby put her hand on the handle and pointed out the line of people waiting to order.  “And I don’t want you to be late,” she added while setting a hand on Weiss’ shoulder and gently turning her away from the bakery.  “How about next time?”  

The genuine caring in Ruby’s eyes had Weiss’ heart fluttering in no time, and she smiled while willingly following Ruby away from the door.

“I like the sound of that,” she replied, noting that Ruby held onto her hand for the rest of the block before finally letting go.

Even if she hadn’t just watched three track teams trip over themselves trying to spend a few minutes with Ruby, the offer would have made her smile.  A long time had passed, but it hardly felt like it now that they were together again.  They might be older and, in one of their cases, about a hundred times more beautiful, but it was still easy to be around each other.  

The butterflies were new though.  She didn’t use to get butterflies when Ruby was around, or when Ruby brushed against her, or when Ruby so much as smiled at her.  That was something she would have to get used to, but she was positive that she could in time.

“Your new office is around here, right?”  

When Ruby looked in all directions as if she might somehow spot the building, Weiss pointed to their right.

“It’s that way.  Near the art museum.”

“That’s pretty close to everything.”

“It is, which is nice.  Made searching for apartments easier.”

“I’m sure having someone come up with a complicated rating system helped,” Ruby teased, and Weiss huffed.

“I could’ve come up with it on my own,” she argued, and Ruby laughed while looping her arm through Weiss’.

“I know, which makes it funny that Blake beat you to it!  You guys must be good friends.”

Ruby pulled Weiss closer with the comment, and Weiss struggled with the definition of ‘friends’ when pressed against Ruby’s side.  She and Blake were friends.  She and Ruby were also, supposedly, friends.  

Those two friendships couldn’t feel more different.  Maybe things would change over time, and after she officially moved back, but right now...she had to admit that she had a massive crush on one of her friends.  And it wasn’t the friend currently giving Yang’s arm a playful shove while laughing at something the blonde just said.

“There they are,” Ruby said, releasing Weiss’ arm to wave at the two girls standing outside the apartment building up ahead.

Blake and Yang only stopped smiling at each other when they noticed they had company, but Blake probably couldn’t stop radiating happiness if someone paid her too.  Without asking, Weiss knew that the pair must have had a great time together, which made her feel better about not worrying about them all morning.

“Oh, hey guys!” Yang greeted them, her smile as charming as ever.  “How’d the meet go?”

“Pretty good!  I won.”

With no more explanation than that - no details on how thoroughly she won - Ruby accepted a hug from Yang and motioned towards the building.  

“This place looks nice.”

“I was just telling Blake about that old grocery store a few blocks over - the one that sells stuff we haven’t seen since we were kids?”

“Oh, that’s right!  I love that place!”  Suddenly excited, Ruby turned and grabbed Weiss’ hands.  “Remember those little red-and-white candies you like?  They sell those there!”

“You...remember those?” Weiss asked in disbelief, only for Ruby’s smile to widen.

“Of course I do.  Want to get some later?”

Caught between the excitement in Ruby’s eyes and the amusement in Blake’s, Weiss wished she could just stand there holding Ruby’s hands forever.  She didn’t know how or why Ruby remembered such a small detail from so long ago, but now she felt incredibly special.

“If we have time,” she answered.  “If not, then...we’ll go next time?”

“Deal.”

With Ruby’s agreement, Weiss smiled and tried to hide her blush from Blake.  She was very aware that she kept making future plans with Ruby, but...she was moving back to Vale.  And she would have plenty of time outside of work to watch track meets, go shopping, or try out new restaurants.  If Blake wanted to join any of those plans, she was more than welcome.  Though it looked like she would be making some plans of her own...

“It’s a nice neighborhood,” Yang said, glancing around and barely missing the look Blake sent her.  “There’s a bunch of cute little shops a couple blocks over.  Plus the metro tunnel just over there.”

“And the mall’s not far,” Ruby added before nudging Weiss’ elbow.  “If you’re still more of a mall girl.”

“She is,” Blake laughed, only to shrug when Weiss sent her a look.  “What?  You are.”

“I like the convenience,” she argued on her behalf, but gave up the instant Ruby giggled and wrapped her in a sideways hug.  

“So cute,” Ruby murmured at the same time, adding to Weiss’ blush and Blake’s entertainment.

“Weiss is cute.”  Before Blake took that train of thought any further, Weiss sent her a glare that convinced her out of it.  “Ready to head in?” she asked instead, nodding towards the building beside them.

Yang was the first to nod, but she took her agreement a step further by extending her arm to Blake.  Even more surprisingly, Blake willingly accepted the gesture, and the two of them led the way through the front doors.  Following them inside, Weiss studied the entryway of what might become her future home.  

The lobby was clean and well-maintained - a positive start to any possible living situation.  There were two elevators, a good thing considering they were headed to the sixth floor.  While five flights of stairs were manageable on a day-to-day basis, moving day would be easier if they weren’t hogging the one-and-only elevator.  

“You said sixth floor, right?” Yang asked as they walked into the first available elevator.  Once Blake nodded, Yang pressed the button with the number six on it and returned to Blake’s side.

For having known each other for less than a full day, they looked extremely comfortable together.  Blake had lost some of her starry-eyed blushing, though her gaze still flitted to Yang more often than not.  Yang, meanwhile, seemed intent upon gluing herself to Blake’s side and seizing every opportunity to casually touch.

There were definitely sparks between them, but how many and how long they would take to develop was still up for debate.  Weiss would have to pick Blake’s thoughts later, once they had a moment alone.

“The realtor should be already here,” Blake explained while the elevator climbed higher.  “She mentioned having an appointment right before ours.”

“So you have competition?” Yang asked.

“Not necessarily...but if we like it, we should get back to her quickly.”

Yang nodded at the answer as the elevator doors opened and the four of them stepped out.  The hallway, like the lobby, was clean and well-kept.  It was also relatively quiet for a Saturday afternoon, which Weiss noted as another positive sign as they made their way to the apartment they were looking at today.  

“This shouldn’t take long,” Blake added.  “We’ve already seen photos, we just want to see how it feels in person.”

“Take your time!  Ruby and I aren’t in any rush - are we, Ruby?”  

When Yang nudged Ruby’s arm, Ruby shook her head.  

“Nope!  Not in a rush at all.”

Armed with that reassurance, Blake and Weiss shared a glance before stopping at the correct apartment door.  It was a decent distance from the elevator - another perk that Weiss noted while ringing the bell.

A soft chime sounded from the other side of the door, and several seconds passed before footsteps approached.  Moments later, the door swung open to reveal a shorter, middle-aged woman with plenty of freckles.

“Hi,” Blake greeted the woman with a friendly smile.  “I’m Blake, and this is my roommate, Weiss.  We spoke on the phone -”

“Of course!”  Sporting a big smile, the woman motioned them inside.  “Come in, come in!  I hope you found it alright?”

“We did, thank you,” Blake replied while Weiss nodded.   

“Perfect.”  With that smile still in place, the woman briefly clasped her hands in front of her before motioning to the room around them.  “Feel free to look around and let me know if you have any questions.  I’ve got some work to catch up on, so I’ll be right over there.”

After pointing out a small table at the far side of the apartment, where she would be both visible and out of the way, she walked over to sit down.   As she left them to look around and discuss in private, Weiss focused on getting a better feel of the space.

“This place is cool.”  After slowly spinning in a circle, Yang nodded.  “I love how the kitchen opens into the living room.”

“That is nice.  And it feels bigger than in the photographs.”

“It does,” Weiss agreed before walking around the edge of the living room, which separated the kitchen on her right from the bedrooms on her left.  There was no formal dining room, something they were both fine with, but the kitchen included the small breakfast nook where the realtor currently sat.  Overall, clean and more than large enough for the two of them.  

“You could set up your reading area by the window,” Weiss said, pointing towards the wide window opposite the entrance.

“I could,” Blake mused.  After checking out that area, she nodded and motioned towards the living room.  “This looks bigger than our living room.”

“I thought so too.  Plenty big enough to invite people over.”

Weiss’ gaze flitted to Ruby with the comment, and Ruby responded by lighting up.  Her expression gave away her answer to the unspoken invitation, and Weiss’ heart stuttered in return.  Looking around the apartment held a little more purpose after that, as she imagined where they would put their sofa, their television, and what Ruby would think about all of it.

“But you know the most important room in any apartment?” Yang asked before smiling and answering the question herself.  “The bedrooms.  Let’s check ‘em out.”  

Taking Blake by the hands and pulling her in that direction, Yang grinned when Blake didn’t resist.  As the two of them walked away, however, Ruby shook her head and motioned Weiss in the opposite direction. 

“Yang’s wrong.  The kitchen’s the most important room.”

“I don’t know about that...” Weiss mused, following Ruby into the kitchen and mindlessly opening a few cabinets.  

“But where do you spend more time?” 

“Well, technically I spend about eight hours a day in my room.  Sometimes more depending on...the circumstances...”  

As soon as Weiss saw the look Ruby gave her, she trailed off and felt a blush rise on her cheeks.  That blush only grew when Ruby closed the drawer she’d been looking in and turned around. 

“What kind of ‘circumstances’ are we talking about?”

“Like if I’m sick,” Weiss offered as a plausible explanation, but Ruby’s grin widened.

“Uh huh...but there’s probably a line outside your door, right?” 

“Ruby!”  Shocked that Ruby said that out loud, Weiss lightly slapped her arm while she laughed.  “What kind of girl do you think I am?”

“A really, really pretty one?” Ruby asked, and smiled when Weiss set her hands on her steaming cheeks.  “Come on, you’ve gotta have like a hundred people after you.”

“I don’t.”

“You probably just don’t realize it!  I’d bet every dollar I have that there’s tons of people dying to get with you, but they’re too intimidated to try.”

Ruby was wrong - she was the one with the line of people dying to get with her.

“There’s no line,” Weiss insisted.

“Then I’ll start one.”   

“...excuse me?”

“I’m starting the line!”  

Straightening to her full, beautiful height and giving a sincere smile, Ruby seemed completely unaware of how she made Weiss’ heart flip in her chest.  

“What line?” Yang asked, rejoining the conversation at the worst possible time.

“The line to sleep with Weiss.”

The blunt response, which Ruby uttered without an ounce of embarrassment, made Weiss’ blush even hotter.  That heat crept all the way up to her ears as Yang briefly froze and Blake’s brow shot up.

“Oh,” was all Yang said before chuckling and shaking her head, but Blake gave Weiss a curious-yet-amused look.  She didn’t say anything, but she didn’t have to - Weiss already knew that she was trying to figure out exactly how that topic came up and what Weiss’ response to it would be.

“The kitchen’s nice,” Weiss said, opting for an immediate subject change.  “I’m going to check out the rooms,” she added before making a beeline across the apartment.

If she thought she could use the short walk to compose herself, however, she was mistaken.  It took all of two long strides for Ruby to catch up to her, and only a second longer for Ruby to loop one arm through hers.

“Sorry,” Ruby whispered as they reached the short hallway separating two bedrooms.  “I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”

Just like that, Weiss’ embarrassment evaporated.  Her growing attraction to Ruby took its place, as she suddenly found herself even more head over heels for the girl. 

Gorgeous, friendly, kind, and thoughtful?  If Weiss had known this was who Ruby would grow up to be, she would have made considerable efforts to stay as close as possible.  Not that their time apart seemed to be an issue, as Ruby gently held her arm and opened the first bedroom door for her.  When she noticed Ruby’s concerned expression, however, she knew she needed to respond.

“It’s alright,” she said, her smiling coming easily.  “I’m not embarrassed.  I’m...flattered.”

“Yeah?”  The way Ruby brightened up made Weiss’ heart flutter, as did the adorable, slightly-hesitant expression that followed.  “Then maybe you’ll tell me, like, my place in line?”

“What?”

“How many people are ahead of me?” Ruby clarified, and Weiss floundered for words yet again.  

Up until this point in time, work had been her priority, and she convinced herself that she didn’t have the time or patience for a relationship outside of that.  Faced with Ruby’s question, however, she realized that there was an exception.  Then again...Ruby had always been the exception, hadn’t she?

“There’s no one,” Weiss answered honestly, even though it returned the blush to her cheeks.  “You’re first in line.”

She didn’t know what Ruby would do with that information, but she turned her focus towards the bedrooms in hopes of finding a distraction from the joy in Ruby’s eyes.  There was nothing quite like the experience of making Ruby happy - something Weiss had also come to enjoy when they were young.  A small gift, a hug, a well-placed compliment...Ruby had always been quick to reward little bits of affection with an outpouring of love.

But the bedrooms.  Weiss was here to look at bedrooms, not dwell upon how much she loved being around Ruby again.

“They’re...nice,” she surmised after walking around the first bedroom and the bathroom attached to it.

“They’re squares,” Ruby replied, and Weiss smiled while heading across the hall to the second room.

As soon as she stepped inside, it became obvious that this room was bigger than the first.  She and Blake had searched for equally-sized bedrooms in an effort to make things fair but understood that might be a difficult goal.  In this instance, they would have to discuss who got the larger room and what offsets could be made in the interest of fairness.

“You should wrestle Blake for this one.”

Laughing at the idea, which was just about the last thing she or Blake would do to settle an argument, Weiss shook her head at Ruby.

“But it’s fair!” Ruby pointed out.  “Yang and I wrestle sometimes, so I can give you pointers.”

“Oh really.”

“Really!”

Weiss didn’t think Ruby was being serious, but that thought changed when Ruby walked over, wrapped her arms under Weiss’, and pulled them flush together.  Suddenly finding herself pressed against Ruby, with their lips inches apart and what felt like every inch of them touching, Weiss’ heart started beating like crazy.  Ruby felt that, right?  Ruby had to be able to feel Weiss’ pounding heart with their chests melded together like this.

“What’re you doing?” Weiss whispered, trying to keep her words calm while her mind overloaded on new sensations.

“This is how you should wrap someone up,” Ruby explained, unphased by their proximity.  “Then use your leverage to flip ‘em.”

“To what?” 

That was all Weiss got out before squeaking in surprise when Ruby spun her around and took her right off her feet.  For a split second, she was falling, but she didn’t fall to the floor.  She couldn’t fall when she was still trapped in Ruby’s strong arms, and Ruby gently lowered her to the ground before climbing on top of her.

“Then you pin her,” Ruby explained while doing exactly that.  “Knees around the hips, hands down at their sides.”

Straddling Weiss’ hips, Ruby grabbed one of Weiss’ wrists in each hand and held them to the floor.  In this position...well, Weiss couldn’t move, but that was the last thought crossing her mind as Ruby sat on top of her.

The position unleashed her hunger like nothing else before, and her skin heated up while Ruby smiled down at her.  Fantasies raced through her mind, each one more outlandish than the last but doing nothing to put out her burning desire.

“Now you’ve gotta buck me off of you.”

The sentence dragged Weiss’ imagination back to reality, and she blinked once before shaking her head.

“What?”

“Buck your hips.”  As if Weiss didn’t know where her hips were, Ruby squeezed her legs around them, only adding to Weiss’ growing ache.  “Come on, try!”

“I...I’m not doing that.”

“Then how’re you going to get up?”

“I’ll just wait for you to move...” 

When Ruby shifted her positioning, subtly grinding against Weiss in the process, Weiss forgot what she’d been trying to say.

“What if I don’t get up?” Ruby asked while resituating again, nearly making Weiss groan as a result.  “What if I just sit here?”

That would be torture.  This was torture, but the most enjoyable kind.   

“Then...I guess we’re stuck here.”

“What??  But Weiss Schnee doesn’t give up!’  Clearly, Ruby couldn’t read Weiss’ thoughts right now.  Otherwise, she would know that Weiss had already surrendered.  “Come on, just buck your hips.  I know you can do it.”

“Ruby -”

“Please?”

As soon as Ruby used those puppy dog eyes of hers, Weiss sighed.  She felt ridiculous, and ridiculously self-conscious, but Ruby’s persistence won out.  So, against her better judgment, she took a deep breath and tried to get Ruby off of her by thrusting her hips upward.

“Harder than that,” Ruby laughed, hardly moving at all from the effort.  “Put some force into it.”

Weiss’ cheeks were seconds away from bursting into flame, but she did as Ruby requested and tried again.  This time, she bucked her hips up with as much power as she could muster, but Ruby only slightly raised up before settling back into place.

“Harder,” Ruby prodded her.  “Don’t worry about me, I can take it.”

The encouragement was not helping the situation.  And, just when Weiss thought she couldn’t get any more flustered, she heard footsteps.  Still pinned to the floor, the only thing she could do was turn her head and watch Blake and Yang appear in the doorway.

“Oh -” Blake said as soon as she spotted them, and had almost turned away before she stopped and grew much more amused.  “Sorry to interrupt.”

“You two need a few minutes?” Yang teased, and Weiss would have buried her face in her hands if Ruby didn’t still have her hands trapped by her sides.

“I was teaching Weiss how to wrestle!”  Finally hopping up, Ruby reached down and pulled Weiss to her feet.  “That way she gets the better room.”

“Is that so?” Blake asked, looking even more entertained by the explanation.

“Looks like Weiss still has some work to do.”  Eyes sparkling, Yang wrapped an arm around Ruby’s shoulders and patted Weiss’ arm with the other.  “You’ve just gotta thrust your hips, Weiss.  Hard, too.  She was asking for it.  She wanted it.”

Accepting that her cheeks might be permanently red from that adventure, Weiss mustered a quick smile while Yang laughed and dragged her sister out of the room.  Unfortunately, the embarrassment didn’t end there, as Blake grabbed her arm and led her after them.

“You let her top?” Blake teased her on the way.

“I’d let her do anything, Blake,” Weiss whispered back, diving headfirst into the admission since there was nowhere else to go.  

If Blake had something else to add, it disappeared when Yang winked at her.

“God...I know the feeling,” she sighed instead, presenting Weiss with the opportunity to tease.

“I’m surprised you haven’t jumped her already.  Or jumped under her, apparently.”

“Shush,” Blake said, gently slapping Weiss’ arm.  While Weiss smiled at her tiny moment of payback, Blake blew a breath through her lips and refocused.

“What do you think of this place?”

“It’s nice.”  Glancing around the living room one more time, Weiss nodded.  “Affordable, close to work, clean -”

“Decent kitchen,” Blake added.  “And supposedly a good neighborhood.”

“Pretty much everything we were looking for,” Weiss concluded.  “But we should probably look at the other one before deciding.”

“Agreed.”  With both of them on the same page, Blake walked over and caught the realtor’s attention.  “Thank you for letting us stop by,” she said while the woman stood and shook her hand.  “We have another place to look at tomorrow morning, then we’ll be in touch.”

“Absolutely.  Feel free to send me any questions in the meantime.”

“We will.”  

After adding a polite smile for good measure, Blake turned and motioned that they could leave.  The rest of them filed out of the apartment not much later, and Weiss could hardly look at Ruby without her blush returning.

“So Ruby and I had an idea,” Yang said, walking backward in the hall so she could look at them and talk at the same time.  “If you’re up for it, we could check out the shops and stuff around here then grab dinner.  What do you think?” 

When Weiss looked at Blake, Blake gave her a knowing smile in return.  They both realized that their original plan was to explore on their own and bother their hosts as little as possible, but that idea got tossed out somewhere between Yang’s morning greeting in nothing but a towel and making out with Ruby for good luck.  Now...if Yang and Ruby were offering their time, they had two very willing visitors ready to join them.

“We’d love to.”

Chapter Text

“I’ve always wanted to try this place!”  

A skip emphasized Ruby’s enthusiasm as she raced forward, opened the door to the restaurant, and waved Weiss through.  The courteous gesture wasn’t lost on her, and her cheeks didn’t miss another opportunity to blush as she walked inside.  

One would think, or hope, that after spending the entire day together she would have stopped blushing so easily.  Instead, the opposite seemed true - the more time they spent together, and the more little moments they shared, the more easily she blushed.

“It’s pretty good.”  Once the four of them made it into the restaurant, Yang looked around the crowded entryway and chuckled.  “And busy.  Now I’m extra glad you convinced me to make a reservation,” she told Blake, who blushed at the praise.  “Hang tight.  I’ll let ‘em know we’re here.”

While Yang made her way over to the host, Weiss nudged Blake’s elbow.

“Willing to admit when she’s wrong,” she pointed out, not that Blake needed any more reasons to like Yang.  The two of them just spent the entire afternoon flirting and otherwise implying that they were perfect for each other.

“Yang doesn’t mind being wrong,” Ruby piped in.  “She doesn’t have to be right or anything.”

“Unlike someone else I know.”  

When Blake nudged Weiss in return, Weiss gave her an unamused look.

“But that’s different!”  Ruby’s comment drew their attention, but her smile was only for Weiss.  “Weiss doesn’t have to be right; she just is right.”

Blake’s brow rose at the response, but eventually she just smiled and shook her head.  When she muttered, “Marry her,” under her breath, however, Weiss elbowed her in the side.  Fortunately, Yang motioned them over then, and the three of them wasted no time joining her near the host.

“Please follow me,” he said before leading them away from the entrance.  After weaving through a maze of tables set up in the main dining room, he gestured to a table near the front windows.  While he set menus in front of each seat, Yang gravitated towards the same side of the table as Blake, clearly wanting to sit beside her.  Ruby, meanwhile, showed no hesitation taking the chair beside Weiss.

“Your server will be with you shortly.”

As their host returned to his post, Weiss looked around the restaurant.  It was exactly as Yang described: trendy, laidback, with something for everyone - the perfect catch-all for four people still getting reacquainted with each other.  Or getting to know each other, in Blake’s case.

“They have some great drinks if you’re interested.”  Yang offered Blake the drink menu while waving towards the bar behind them, but Blake only glanced that way before shaking her head.  

“I’m good for now, thank you.”

Knowing Blake, she was probably thinking that she didn’t need to drink when Yang’s presence was so intoxicating.  At least, that’s what Weiss imagined Blake’s overly-romantic mind conjured up in this instance.

“What about you, Weiss?”  Grabbing the menu from her sister, Ruby offered it to Weiss with a smile.  “Can I get you something?”

Faced with that charming, addictive smile, Weiss experienced firsthand why Blake declined.  Ruby’s presence alone was enough to make her question her self-control, as their impromptu wrestling lesson had proven.  Adding alcohol to the mix was almost guaranteed to make her say or do something horribly inappropriate.

“Thanks, but I think I’ll pass.”

Although she liked the idea of getting a drink with Ruby sometime.  Maybe a couple of drinks.  Would lowered inhibitions change the way Ruby treated her?  Would it convince Ruby to act on the weird, magnetic energy that seemed to course between them?

“But if you want something…” Weiss offered, but Ruby waved off the suggestion and set the menu aside.  

“Ruby doesn’t need to drink,” Yang said from across the table.  “Because she’s constantly drunk on life.”

Or because I don’t want to feel all groggy and slow tomorrow.”

“And why don’t you want to feel groggy and slow?” Yang teased before flinching when Ruby kicked her under the table.  The response caught Weiss’ attention and curiosity, but their waitress chose that moment to appear beside them.

“Hi, I’m Stacy -”  

That was all she got out before her gaze fell upon Yang, where it lingered for several seconds before locking onto Ruby.

“I’ll be your server,” she continued before turning towards Ruby with a bright, friendly smile.  “You look really familiar.  Have you been here before?”

“Uh, no.  This is my first time.”  

Unperturbed by the mistaken identity, Ruby smiled and, in doing so, drew even more interest from their suddenly-enamored waitress.

“In that case, welcome to the Brew Pub.”  Only talking to Ruby by this point, Stacy waved her pad of paper around the restaurant before motioning towards the menus.  “I can walk you through the menu if you’d like.”

“I think we’re good.”  Ruby glanced around the table to see if anyone else wanted a menu tour, obviously unaware that the offer was only meant for her.

“Then let me know if you have any questions.  I can start you off with drinks now - do you know what you’d like?  We have a house special that’s to die for.”

“How about you pick for me?” Ruby said while handing Stacy the drink menu.  “Nothing alcoholic though.”

“I’d love to.”  Stacy looked so thrilled by the opportunity to pick Ruby’s drink that Weiss nearly got caught in the midst of an eyeroll when she finally acknowledged the rest of the table.  “What about you three?”

“Water for me,” Weiss said, mustering a polite smile while Yang and Blake echoed the order and Stacy peeled her eyes away from Ruby long enough to write it down.

“I’ll be right back with those,” she added as she left, and Yang waited for her to move out of earshot before leaning forward.

“The classic ‘have you been here before?’ line.”

“Yang…” Ruby warned, but Yang just grinned.  

“I’m bummed she didn’t try the ‘You look like my future girlfriend’ one.”  

One time that happened,” Ruby whined when Yang started laughing.

“You guys should’ve seen the look on Ruby’s face.”  After briefly trying to recreate whatever Ruby’s expression had been, Yang gave up when she couldn’t stop laughing.  “The best part -” she added while Ruby sighed.  “Without missing a beat, Ruby says, ‘No spoilers, I haven’t made it that far yet.’”

While Yang dissolved into laughter at the memory, Blake chuckled along with her and Weiss couldn’t help but smile.  She appreciated a quick wit, even if that wit applied to turning down solicitations from strangers.

“Ok, how about we decide what we want?” Ruby cut in, opening her menu and looking around the table.  “We came here to eat, right?”

“I thought we came here to talk about people hitting on you,” Yang joked, but she didn’t need Ruby’s glare to convince her to change the subject.  Flipping open the menu, she leaned so close to Blake that their shoulders brushed.  “Know what you want?” 

“Why don’t you order for me?” Blake asked.  “Since you’ve been here before.”

“Sure!”  Just like their waitress liked the idea of choosing Ruby’s drink, Yang loved the idea of choosing Blake’s dinner.  “What kind of stuff do you like?” she asked while pulling the menu closer to take on this important task.

“I like fish, usually.”

“A lot,” Weiss fake coughed into one hand.  “All types of fish, Yang,” she added, earning a glare from Blake.  “Anything fishy, she loves to eat.” 

Quickly catching on, Yang sent Blake the most amused, delighted smile.

“So...fish?”

“Sure.”  After only a glance at Yang, Blake played with her silverware and muttered, “And she’s not wrong...”

Yang’s grin widened at the admission, and Weiss rolled her eyes at Blake’s bashfulness.  Having watched her roommate cross all sorts of lines and boundaries with Yang today, she knew there was a substantial amount of interest between the two.  Would they act on it?  Or were they content with progressively-heavier flirting?

“Ruby’s also very down with fish,” Yang added, gaining Weiss’ attention in a heartbeat.

“Of course I am,” Ruby replied with a patient smile for her sister.  “It’s amazing, and it makes ordering easy.”

When Ruby went back to reading the menu, Weiss stared at her for several seconds before glancing at Blake.  Blake looked vindicated, which was not at all what Weiss was after.  She wanted to know if Blake thought Ruby was actually talking about food.

“Here we go.”  Choosing the worst time to interrupt yet again, Stacy reappeared and set tall glasses of water in front of each of them.  “And I made you a peach-mint lemonade,” she told Ruby while placing a light-pink drink in front of her.  “It’s not on the menu, but it’s one of my favorites.”

“Sounds awesome.  Thank you!”

“Let me know what you think of it.”  After adding a wink so that everyone knew her intent, Stacy pulled a pen and notepad from her apron and looked at the rest of the table.  “Do you know what you’d like to order?”

“Uh, yeah,” Yang said when Ruby motioned for her to order first.  “She’ll have the salmon,” she said while pointing to Blake.  “And I’ll have the tuna in case she’s feeling extra hungry tonight.”

The wink Yang sent Blake succeeded in drawing out another blush.

“Ahi salad,” Weiss said when Stacy’s attention briefly landed upon her before returning to Ruby.

“And for you?” 

“I’ll have the salmon too,” Ruby said, lightly laughing while gathering the menus and handing them to Stacy.  “Have to prove how much I like fish.”

Even out of context, the offhand remark implied much more than Ruby probably intended it to.  Not that their waitress minded, as her smile returned.

“I’ll get those right out to you,” she said before rushing off, and Ruby glanced after her before shrugging and taking a sip of her drink.  

If Ruby noticed the attention, she was doing a great job of pretending it was nothing.  Maybe it was nothing to her.  Or maybe it was nothing more than being friendly.  It wasn’t her fault that their waitress wanted to hit on her - well, it was her fault, in a way, but Weiss was impressed by how she handled it.

“So how’d you guys meet?” Yang asked, starting off the conversation by gesturing between Blake and Weiss.

“College roommates,” Weiss answered when Blake glanced at her.  “We were in the same major then ended up working together.”

“That’s cool.  I never thought you’d have any friends.”  

“Don’t be like that, Yang,” Ruby immediately said.

“What?”  Raising her hands, Yang glanced at Weiss before turning back to her sister.  “Pretty sure she’ll agree that she’s always been...difficult.”

“Maybe you should look in the mirror,” Ruby replied, shaking her head.  “Because she’s not difficult.  She’s amazing.”

When Ruby smiled at Weiss with that genuine admission, Weiss’ heart melted.  

Honestly, she would agree that she had always been more difficult than most.  But Ruby had always liked her, for some reason.  She never knew what Ruby saw in her, but was it too much to hope that she still felt the same?

“I don’t think she’s difficult,” Blake added in Weiss’ defense.  “She just...takes a little while to warm up to people.”

That was a fair assessment, but Ruby giggled before Weiss could say so.

“I think you’re most difficult when you’re trying to win something,” Ruby said - another factuality.  “Remember when your class had a competition to see who could identify the most insects?”

“You remember that?”

“Remember?  Weiss, I spent all weekend chasing bugs for you.  And I got stung by a bee.”

“That’s right.”  The memory became clearer the more Weiss thought back on it, and she smiled at yet another one of their little adventures.  “I found a bandaid with bees on it and convinced you that the two canceled out.  That was the only way to get you to stop crying.”

“Actually, I stopped crying because you kissed it to make it better.”

“Did I?”  

Weiss didn’t recall doing that, but Ruby nodded.

“I distinctly remember because that was the first time you kissed me!”

“‘First?’” Blake repeated, voicing exactly what Weiss was thinking.  “Were there more?”

“Yup!  She kissed all my scapes from then on.  And -”  Suddenly bashful, Ruby glanced at the table before looking at Weiss.  “You kissed my cheek the day you moved.”

As soon as Ruby said it, Weiss remembered doing it.  That day was such a blur, especially now that so much time had passed, but she remembered saying goodbye to Ruby.  Her parents had driven her to Yang and Ruby’s house on the way out of town.  They waited in the car, and she went inside by herself to say goodbye.

Looking back on it, she couldn’t believe they only gave her a few minutes to say goodbye to her only friend.  Maybe they assumed that was long enough.  Maybe they thought it ultimately wouldn’t matter since she and Ruby were so young.  That they would grow up, grow apart, and forget like so many childhood friends did.

That’s exactly what happened, but she wished it hadn’t.  She wished that she had more time to say goodbye, or remembered enough to prompt her to reach out sooner.

But she had kissed Ruby’s cheek before hurrying back to the car.

“I did do that, didn’t I…” she mused, smiling as more of that memory returned to her.

“And…?”

Instantly knowing where Blake was going with that, Weiss shot a look across the table.  Unfortunately, Ruby had already tilted her head.

“‘And’ what?”

Blake already knew about their kiss at the track meet, but Ruby didn’t know that.  And, if it was just a one-time thing, Ruby shouldn’t find out that Weiss immediately gushed to her roommate about it.  So she did the only thing she could think of to fix the situation - she leaned over and kissed Ruby’s cheek.

As soon as her lips touched Ruby’s soft skin and she breathed in rose-scented shampoo, she wanted more than just that kiss.  More wasn’t an option, unfortunately, but she lingered as long as possible before pulling away.  

When Ruby turned towards her, it was with surprised eyes clearly wanting an explanation.

“And I kissed your cheek the day I came back...” Weiss whispered, feeling her heart flutter when a smile crept onto Ruby’s lips and delight sparkled in her eyes.

Weiss could stay there, lost in Ruby’s eyes, forever.  So of course their food arrived then, ending that moment before she experienced nearly enough.

“Here we are,” Stacy said while placing their meals in front of them, and Ruby regretfully turned away from Weiss.  “And this is from the guy at the end of the bar,” she added while setting a drink in front of Yang.

“The guy?” Yang asked in disbelief, and Stacy gave her an almost-apologetic smile before turning back to Ruby.

“Let me know if you need anything else?” she asked, waiting for Ruby’s nod before smiling and heading off to help her other tables. 

“What’re you going to do with that?”

When Ruby nodded towards the drink, Yang stared at it for a few seconds before sighing.

“I’m about to ask Blake for a big favor,” she said, picking up the glass and turning towards Blake.  “You mind pretending we’re dating for a second?”

Blake had zero problems with that but managed a neutral expression while shaking her head.  

“Awesome.  So I’ll turn around and acknowledge him, but you’re going to give him an annoyed look, ok?  Hopefully, he gets the picture.”

“Maybe you should kiss my cheek too,” Blake suggested. 

“Oh, good idea.”

“Why don’t you just kiss her for real?” Weiss added.   “That would make it really clear.”

Yang looked as if the thought never occurred to her, but Blake shot a glance Weiss’ way before shrugging.

“I’d be fine with that...”

Perking up at the response, Yang sent Blake a blinding smile before wrapping an arm around her shoulders and turning around.  After finding the guy sitting at the end of the bar, Yang lifted the glass and gave a polite smile before leaning over and kissing Blake without hesitation.

The kiss started off sweet and innocent, but Blake returned it as if she’d been waiting for it all day.  And Yang responded to the enthusiasm by pressing closer, her lips exploring Blake’s while Blake’s hand touched her cheek.

That was all Weiss needed to see before clearing her throat, reminding them that they weren’t alone, but several more seconds passed before they finally separated.  While Blake’s eyes fluttered open, Yang grinned, and Weiss rolled her eyes to Ruby.

“Uh, wow,” Yang said before clearing her throat and taking a sip of the drink.  “Hey, this is actually pretty good.  Want to try?”  

When Yang offered the glass to Blake, Blake gave it a thoughtful look before shrugging.  After taking a sip, she hummed and returned it to Yang.

“That is good.”

“Feel free to have more,” Yang said, setting the glass within Blake’s reach.  “And any of this, too,” she added with a motion towards her food.  “I thought maybe you’d want some of each.”

As if Blake needed a reason to like Yang more...now she couldn’t stop smiling as they began their meals.  Weiss, meanwhile, actually felt a little jealous as she took her first bite to eat.  It didn’t take much effort to imagine kissing Ruby like that, in the middle of the restaurant no less, but she tried to control those thoughts as best she could.

“So Ruby,” Blake asked after a few minutes of silence passed, having descended from her euphoria enough to make conversation.  “Any plans for after graduation?”

“Not really.  But I know a girl working at a marketing firm nearby - she said she could get me a job if I want.”

“Of course she did...” Weiss muttered.  Honestly, Ruby could get anything she wanted so long as she batted her eyes and smiled.  That included Weiss, who would marry her tonight if given the opportunity.

“But if that doesn’t work out, I’ll...I dunno.  I’ll figure something out.”

“Don’t worry.  I make enough for the both of us.”

As soon as Blake’s brow shot up, Weiss heard what she just said.  

“I mean,” she quickly added, only to discover that her options lay somewhere between embarrassing and mortally embarrassing.  “You shouldn’t rush yourself,” she tried instead.  “I’m sure you’ll do great regardless, but I’d be more than willing to...do that.  Help you, I mean.  Because that’s what friends do.”

She probably couldn’t dig a bigger hole for herself, which Yang confirmed by laughing.

“Hear that, Ruby?  Weiss will take care of you.  And I’m pretty sure she means that in any way you need her.”  

When Yang winked, a blush rushed onto Weiss’ cheeks.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t save herself from more embarrassment at this point.  

“What’re you up to these days?” she asked Yang instead, hoping to divert the conversation.

“I work at one of the labs downtown.”

“Like...a research lab?”

“Yeah!  Immuno-oncology research.”  

Yang shrugged as if the profession was no big deal, but Weiss sent a shocked look towards Blake.  Blake obviously already knew what Yang did for a living, which explained her slow, ‘I can’t believe it either’ nod.

“I wouldn’t have guessed,” Weiss admitted.

“It’s not as complicated as it sounds.”

“Please enlighten us,” Weiss immediately said, having a hunch that Blake would enjoy listening to Yang talk about work.

She was right.  By the time they finished their meals and Yang taught them all about how the immune system worked, Blake looked in need of a very cold shower.

“That’s so interesting,” Weiss said as their plates were cleared away.  “Blake, isn’t that interesting?”

“Mhmm…”

Blake’s eyes said much more than that, but Weiss smiled and let it slide.  Considering Blake was calm and composed under almost all circumstances, Weiss had never been able to tease her like this before.  Honestly, Weiss was enjoying it immensely.

“How was everything?” Stacy asked upon returning to their table, and checked all of their responses - especially Ruby’s - before smiling.  “If you don’t need anything else, then I’ll leave this here - but no rush.”

As soon as Stacy left the bill on the table and walked away, Weiss pulled it towards her and searched for her wallet.

“Weiss -” Yang said while doing the same.  “Don’t you dare.  We’re paying.”

“No, we are.  As thanks for letting us stay with you.”

“A simple ‘thank you’ is enough!” Ruby said while trying to reach across Weiss for the check.  “We wanted to treat you to dinner since we haven’t seen you in forever.”

“That’s very sweet of you.”  

That was a sweet offer, and when Weiss smiled, Ruby visibly relaxed thinking she was about to get her way.  When Blake subtly shook her head, however, Weiss grabbed the check and hurried towards the counter to pay.

“Weiss!” 

A loud bump accompanied her name, but she didn’t pause.  Unfortunately, she didn’t think to run inside the restaurant like Ruby did.  Only halfway across the dining room, a pair of strong arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her into a tight hug.

“Weiss,” Ruby repeated, this time as a whisper that sent a shiver down Weiss’ spine.  “I’m going to need that check.”

“Sorry, but I can’t hear you.”  

Weiss held onto the bill tightly, but there was nothing else she could do while trapped in Ruby’s embrace.  Or maybe there was nothing else she wanted to do while trapped in Ruby’s embrace.  That became especially true when Ruby leaned closer and pressed her lips right to Weiss’ ear.

“I need that check back,” she said again, her voice tickling Weiss’ ear and spiking her arousal at the same time. 

“You’re going to have to take it.”

While Weiss held the check out of reach, her heart stuttered when Ruby nuzzled into her hair and took a deep breath.  Suddenly, she cared less about paying for dinner and more about losing herself in that moment.  She wanted to melt in Ruby’s arms, especially when Ruby ran her hands across Weiss’ stomach and pulled them even closer together.

“You’re making me do this…” Ruby sighed, and Weiss’ breath caught in anticipation.

Then Ruby started tickling her sides, and she burst into giggles.

“Ruby!” she got out while trying to squirm away, but Ruby’s grasp was too strong and her fingers too good at finding Weiss’ most ticklish spots.  “Wait -!” she tried again, struggling to breathe through the laughter while holding onto Ruby’s hands.

With Weiss defenseless to protect herself, Ruby snatched the check from her hand and backed away with a grin.

“That was - evil,” Weiss huffed out, trying to catch her breath.

“I won’t deny it, but you left me no choice!”

“You’re lucky you’re so damn cute,” Weiss grumbled while straightening the hem of her shirt.

“You...think I’m cute?”

From Ruby’s shocked expression, one might think she’d never been called cute before.  That couldn’t possibly be true, but Weiss still blushed at having voiced that thought out loud.  Now that it was out in the open, however, she wouldn’t take it back.

“Of course you are,” she said while tucking her hair behind her ear.  “You’ve always been cute.”

She added that last part to make it sound a little less like she was calling Ruby cute now, but that didn’t seem to matter to Ruby.  Her eyes lit up with joy, and her smile warmed Weiss’ heart.

“I think you’re cute too.  More than cute, you’re...you’re really, really pretty.”  When Weiss couldn’t respond to that with anything other than a deeper blush, Ruby glanced at the check before clearing her throat and pointing over her shoulder.

“I’m, uh, going to pay this real quick,” she said while backing away.  “And be right back.”

The time for argument had ended, so Weiss simply nodded and watched Ruby walk away.  It took several more deep breaths before her heart stopped beating so frantically, and a couple more before she regained enough composure to return to the table.

“We’re paying next time,” she said as soon as she saw Yang’s grin.

“Pretty sure that’s still up for negotiation,” Yang teased before standing up and stretching her back.  “What do you guys think - ready to go home?”

While Weiss nodded, hoping that moving outside would cool the residual heat from her cheeks, Blake stood up and briefly froze.  

“I’m going to use the restroom real quick,” she said, grabbing her bag and sending Weiss a look.  “I’ll meet you outside.”

“Sounds good.”  

With Blake heading off to the restroom, Yang motioned for Weiss to follow her out of the restaurant.  Now that the dinner rush had ended, the entryway was empty of everyone except the host...and he was currently having an animated conversation with Ruby.

“Ruby,” Yang called out, catching Ruby’s attention and pointing towards the door.  

Once Ruby motioned that she would be right there, Yang nodded and opened the door for Weiss.  Cool, night air and the sounds of the city greeted them just outside, but Weiss sighed as her thoughts returned to the restaurant.  Even though she’d been called pretty before, when Ruby said it...her heart really responded.

“You know, Weiss, I’m glad you turned out alright.”

Unsure if that was an insult or not, Weiss sent Yang a curious look.

“Thanks, I think?”

“I mean…”  Glancing towards the door, Yang thought about her words for several moments before meeting Weiss’ gaze with a more serious one of her own.  “I mean that she’s spent the last fifteen years comparing everyone to you, Weiss.”

“...what?”

“And no one was ever good enough,” Yang added, throwing her arms in the air.  “It didn’t matter if they were insanely wealthy, or smart, or literally a model.  In her mind, you’re like...the perfect woman, and no one else ever came close.”

Dumbfounded by the admission, Weiss stared at Yang and struggled to comprehend what that meant.  Yang, however, stuck her hands in her pockets and shook her head.

“I told her so many times that she should call you up and see how you’re doing, but she’d always give me some crap about how ‘if it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be.’  Pretty sure she was scared you wouldn’t remember her.”

“Of course I remember her...” 

Staring at the restaurant door, thinking about the girl just inside, Weiss felt extraordinarily guilty and special at the same time.  She wasn’t perfect - she never had been - so she didn’t feel deserving of those thoughts.  They only became friends due to Ruby’s efforts, and they grew close because Ruby refused to write Weiss off as spoiled and difficult like so many others did.

“I was pretty worried she’d be let down.”  After thinking about that concern, Yang chuckled and patted Weiss’ shoulder.  “So I’m glad you turned out alright.”

Weiss liked to believe she turned out alright.  Or, at least, that she’d become a decent person.  But now she wondered...how much of who she was today hinged upon the first real friendship she’d had?  How would her life be different if she hadn’t learned how to tolerate, appreciate, then ultimately treasure another person?  

When Blake exited the restaurant and walked over to join them, Weiss smiled and let those questions go for now.  But she had a suspicion that if she really thought about it, those early years with Ruby were more impactful than she might ever know.

“Ruby will be right out,” Blake said before they even asked.  “She...got caught up.”

“Caught up by a waitress asking her out?” Yang asked, and Blake responded by giving Weiss an apologetic smile.  

But Weiss shrugged off the sympathy.  After what Yang just told her, how could she be bothered by someone asking Ruby out?  Even if Ruby agreed, that didn’t change Weiss’ growing belief that what they had was truly special.  When Ruby hurried outside and Weiss’ heart cartwheeled in her chest, that belief only grew stronger.

“Sorry about that!”

“You score a date?” Yang teased, and gestured to the restaurant when Ruby’s brow furrowed.

“Oh.  No, told her thanks but not interested.”

And that was all there was to it, according to Ruby’s shrug.  The next second, she was smiling at Weiss again, and Weiss returned the smile as the four of them set off for the night.

Yang easily carried the conversation on their short walk home, getting Blake to laugh time-and-time again with exaggerated stories and cheesy jokes alike.  Trailing behind them, Weiss sorted through her thoughts and glanced at Ruby more often than not.  She wanted to ask about what Yang said, but she had no idea how to put her emotions into words.

“What?” Ruby finally asked, catching her glance and responding with a curious smile.

“Oh, I was just...wondering if that happens often?”  When Ruby didn’t immediately catch on, Weiss waved behind them.  “Waitresses asking you out?”

“Oh.”  After glancing over her shoulder, Ruby shook her head.  “Not as often as Yang makes it sound.  Of course it happens with you here though...”

When Ruby sighed and looked at the sidewalk, Weiss nodded and fell silent for the rest of the walk back to their apartment.  She wanted Ruby to know that she wasn’t upset about it, just like she wasn’t upset about anything else that happened today.  Now didn’t feel like the right time to do so, however, especially when they walked into Yang and Ruby’s living room and Ruby immediately yawned.

“Sorry,” she said once the yawn ended, and shook her head as if that might wake her up.  “Didn’t mean to keep you guys out so late.”

“Don’t be.  It was a lot of fun.”

Weiss knew Blake shared the sentiment, especially since she’d hardly stopped smiling the entire night.  

“We should probably let Ruby catch some z’s though,” Yang teased when Ruby covered another yawn.  “She was up super early.”

“I wanted to get breakfast ready and stuff…” she mumbled before sending a tired, still-breathtaking smile Weiss’ way.  Now that she looked so sleepy, however, Weiss just wanted to hug her and stroke her hair while she slept.

“Let’s let them get some sleep,” Blake whispered to Weiss while gently prodding her out of that daydream.

“Right.  We should probably get some rest too...but we’ll see you in the morning?”

“Yeah, of course,” Yang said while Ruby nodded.

“Hope you both sleep well!” Ruby added, though her gaze locked onto Weiss’ and lingered long enough that her heart responded with a loud thump.

“Did you two used to do goodnight kisses too?”

As soon as the question left Blake’s mouth, Weiss nudged her side and dragged her towards the room.  She only caught a glimpse of Ruby’s smile before pushing Blake into the room and shutting the door behind them.

Blake,” she hissed while Blake laughed and innocently raised her hands.

“What?  I was just curious...”

“Uh huh.”  

Weiss knew what Blake was doing, but it wouldn’t work.  Well, it might work, but Weiss could turn the tables.

“If anyone should be sharing goodnight kisses, it’s you and Yang.”

Just like that, Blake’s triumphant smile disappeared.

“I don’t think she’d want to do that…”

“Why not?  She obviously likes you.”

“You really think so?”

“Seriously, Blake?” Weiss asked with a quiet laugh.  “You just made out in the middle of the restaurant.”

“I know, but...I thought maybe she was just...like that…”

“That doesn’t explain why she’s been smiling at you the whole day.  Or how she hardly takes her eyes off you.  And is constantly trying to touch you -”

“Ok.”  Raising her hands in defeat, Blake finally smiled.  “Ok.  Maybe you’re right.”

“Maybe I’m right…” Weiss scoffed before sending Blake a playful grin.  “How was it, by the way?” she teased, only to laugh when Blake threw a pillow at her.

“Honestly...if you and Ruby weren’t there, I wouldn’t have stopped.”  When Weiss’ brow rose, Blake nodded and collapsed backward onto the bed.  “It was a really good kiss…”

The comment brought back memories of Weiss’ kiss with Ruby earlier that day, which she dwelled upon now that she had the opportunity.  Ruby’s soft lips, commanding yet tender...her strong hands...the way she felt pressed against Weiss, as if she couldn’t get close enough...

“How was the track meet?”

As if reading Weiss’ mind, Blake sat up and watched Weiss struggle to find an appropriate answer.

“Well...from how the other girls were acting, it wasn’t a track meet so much as a competition for Ruby’s hand in marriage.”  

“Seriously?”

“It’s like watching a goddess run, Blake,” Weiss replied without a hint of sarcasm.  “I swear she used to be the clumsiest kid on the planet, now she’s so…”

“Hot?” Blake suggested, and Weiss scoffed.

“I was going to say graceful, but yes.  Plus, her legs…”  

When Blake hummed at the words, Weiss trailed off and let her mind drift back to Ruby.  With her tall, toned physique, Ruby looked the part of a model.  And watching her push herself to the limit, her muscles straining and sweat glistening on her skin…

“We should get ready for bed,” Weiss said before her mind wandered too far down that road.

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” 

While the two of them went about their nightly routines, Weiss’ mind refused to let go of what Yang said - that Ruby compared everyone to her.  If true...maybe all of these emotions and feelings weren’t as one-sided as they seemed.  Maybe she wasn’t just reacting to how gorgeous and attractive Ruby was now.  Maybe something else was there.  Something she never expected to find in a piece of her past.

Chapter Text

The next morning arrived sooner than expected, but excitement kept Weiss from feeling as exhausted as she should have.  Falling asleep hadn’t come easily with so many thoughts to sort through, all revolving around who Ruby was now and who she once was.  

After hours of overanalyzing every interaction they had shared so far, Weiss wished she could say she reached an epiphany, or some kind of actionable conclusion, but she hadn’t.  She knew that she was very, very attracted to Ruby, both physically and emotionally, but couldn’t say how Ruby felt about her.  Was Ruby just happy to have an old friend back, or was there another reason behind her apparent joy to have Weiss around?

Hopefully, today provided more clarity.  For that reason alone, she didn’t feel the effects of limited sleep.  Instead, she rushed through her morning routine and said a silent thanks that Blake was in an equal hurry to start the day.  Of course, Blake was probably just as eager to see Yang as Weiss was to see Ruby.

“What’s our plan?” Weiss asked while brushing her hair, which had finally dried from her early-morning shower.

“Look at the second place and make a decision,” Blake answered before shrugging.  “Then...see what else Vale has to offer?”

“Pretty sure you’re only interested in one thing Vale has to offer.” 

“I’m sure there’s more to see.”  After considering her reflection for a few seconds, Blake walked into the room and searched through her bag.  “Although...I’ll admit I’m more excited about moving here now.”

“Well please don’t show it, Blake,” Weiss teased.  “The world might implode if you look excited about something.”  

When Blake responded with an impressively-unamused look, Weiss smiled and set her brush aside.  

“And I might be warming up to moving here too,” she admitted.  

Considering Blake had been on the receiving end of Weiss’ complaints for the past few months, it was no surprise that her brow rose.  Before she made Weiss admit why her feelings had changed, however, someone knocked on the door.

“Hey Weiss?” Ruby whispered a second later, and Blake sent Weiss a knowing smirk as she hurried to open it.  

Her first glimpse of Ruby for the day, and her heart stuttered.

It didn’t seem to matter what Ruby wore - she looked gorgeous.  Casual, dressy, casual-dressy...her wardrobe was flawless.  But her outfits were only the icing on an already wonderful, inherently-beautiful cake.  Even if she wore a trash bag, Weiss would still want to tear it right off of her.

“Sorry to bother you,” Ruby said, thankfully unable to hear Weiss’ thoughts.  “I just need to grab a shirt.  Spilled hot sauce all over this one.”

When Ruby pointed at the stain on her shirt, Weiss stepped aside and motioned her into the room.

“Thanks,” Ruby said while heading over to her dresser and opening the top drawer.  “And good morning!” she added, throwing a warm smile over her shoulder before searching for another top.  “I hope you slept ok?”

Ordinarily, Weiss would answer the question.  But words were suddenly hard to come by when Ruby picked out a new top, stood up, and pulled her shirt over her head.  Blessed with a front-row view of Ruby’s white, lacy bra and toned stomach, Weiss couldn’t look away - she should look away, for decency’s sake, but she was still staring when Ruby tugged the new shirt into place and smiled at her.

“Looks like you got some on your jeans too.”

When Blake pointed to a spot on Ruby’s jeans, Ruby looked down and laughed.

“Oh damn, there too?”  

As soon as Ruby unbuttoned her pants, Weiss averted her gaze and willed her cheeks not to catch fire.  Ruby was obviously confident in her body - as she damn well should be - but that didn’t mean other people possessed the same level of confidence in their self-restraint.  

But Weiss couldn’t help sneaking a look Ruby’s way.  The instant she saw Ruby’s matching underwear, however, she spun away and blew a long, slow breath of air through her lips.  It was way too early to be this aroused, but her imagination was already running wild.  Especially with all that white lace covering silky smooth skin…

“Good catch!” 

Mercifully clothed again, Ruby sent Blake a thumbs up while Weiss gave her roommate a sarcastic smile.

“Yes, great catch, Blake.  Ruby couldn’t have walked around with a tiny stain on her jeans, after all...”

“Not with Miss Put-Together around,” Ruby said while wrapping an arm around Weiss’ shoulders and tugging her close.  “You look amazing, by the way.  But you always do.”

The compliment wiped Blake’s transgression from Weiss’ thoughts, and she suddenly found herself blushing again.  Apparently, that’s how today was going to go...with a side of sexual torment thrown in.  Why did that make her even more excited?

“How do you guys feel about another omelet for breakfast?” Ruby asked, dropping her arm from Weiss’ shoulders and backing towards the door.  Once they both nodded, she clapped her hands and headed towards the kitchen with a light, “I’ll start now!”

As soon as Ruby was gone, Weiss set her hands on her still-warm cheeks and wondered how she was going to survive the day.  More importantly...did Ruby usually wear lace or was this a special occasion?  Could Weiss somehow find out without making it obvious that she peeked?

“Need a few minutes to settle down?” Blake teased, gently nudging Weiss’ side to break her concentration.  On the verge of embarrassing herself yet again, Weiss managed an eyeroll while grabbing her purse and pretending she wasn’t at all affected by seeing Ruby in her underwear.

“There will be repercussions for that...” Weiss muttered to Blake as they left the room.  As soon as they spotted Yang in the living room, however, she stopped and glanced at her roommate.

“Although it looks like I won’t have to do anything,” she added while Blake’s eyes locked onto the blonde, who had decided that a sports bra and spandex shorts were appropriate for a Sunday morning.

“Morning!” Yang greeted them.  “Just finished a workout,” she explained with a gesture, either purposefully or not, to her abs.  

“That’s…”  Struggling to decide which flattering word she wanted to use most, Blake eventually cleared her throat and settled on a simple, “Great.”

“Ruby and I usually take turns trying to kill each other on ab days, but not after meets.”

“I’m supposed to rest today,” Ruby explained from the kitchen.  “Otherwise, Yang would be in a lot more pain right now.”

After making a face at her sister, Yang ran a hand through her ponytail and turned her smile up to an eleven.

“What about you?” she asked, blatantly checking Blake out yet again.  “You look like you work out.”

“Not as much as I should…”

“Maybe we can hit the gym sometime,” Yang immediately offered.  “Or we could workout here.  If Ruby’s teaching Weiss to wrestle, I can show you how to pin someone so they can’t even hope of getting up.”

“That sounds...useful,” Blake replied, her cheeks already rosy at the thought.

“Definitely useful.  By the time we’re done, you’ll be able to pin me so hard that I’ll be at your mercy.”

It didn’t feel like they were talking about wrestling anymore, especially with the way they were looking at each other.  From the hungry expressions, they were ready to start pinning each other right now and see where that led them.  Obviously, everyone knew what would happen if the two of them got their hands all over each other - and Weiss didn’t need a front-row seat to that.

“Need to use the restroom again?” she whispered to Blake before dodging an elbow and joining Ruby in the kitchen.  No sooner had she sat at the bar did Ruby slide a freshly-made omelet in front of her.

“Thank you,” she said while picking up a fork.

“No problem.  I like cooking for you.”  Already making a second omelet, Ruby only briefly glanced up and smiled.  “Especially now that I can make things that aren’t mud and rocks.”

While Ruby chuckled to herself and stirred the ingredients in the pan, Weiss felt her heart warm while taking her first bite.  It was delicious, but the fact that Ruby made it for her made it even better.  From mud chocolates to real, delectable meals - who could have guessed how far they would come?

“When’re you looking at the second place?” Ruby asked as Blake finally joined them.

“This morning.”

“In just under an hour, actually,” Blake added while Ruby set her breakfast in front of her.  “Thank you.”

Waving off the gratitude, Ruby set her hands on the counter and smiled.  

“Do you have plans after?  Or do you maybe want to hang out with Yang and me again?”

Weiss only had to glance at Blake to confirm that they both felt the same way about the offer.  Ruby, unfortunately, interpreted the look as hesitation.

“You don’t have to!” she hastily added.  “If you want to explore on your own, we’ll understand.  But if you want company or something, we’d love to hang out some more.”

By the time Ruby ended her ramble and flashed one of those winning smiles, Weiss couldn’t help the little laugh that slipped through her lips.  The briefly-flustered moment was just too cute, especially when she wanted to spend time with Ruby more than she wanted to look at another apartment.

“We’d love to hang out with you too,” she replied, somehow tempering her excitement while internally celebrating another wonderful day.

“Cool!  Then...that’s what we’ll do.”

Ruby made no such attempt to hide her excitement, and she cleaned up the kitchen while sporting a smile that hadn’t been there before.  She kept sneaking glances Weiss’ way too, which only made Weiss more excited for the day.

“Hey beautifuls.”  Now fully dressed, Yang walked over and set a hand on the back of Blake’s chair.  “Did Ruby convince you to let us tag along today?”

“Well…” Blake began but dropped the tease as soon as Yang’s brow shot up.  “Yes,” she said instead.  “But it was touch-and-go for a while there.”

“What was the sticking point?”  Smiling now, Yang seamlessly slid her hand from the chair to Blake’s elbow.  “Do you need me to prove my worth?  Because I’m more than willing.”

“And how would you do that?”

“However you want me to.”

Apparently, a ten-minute separation had done nothing to cool those two down, as they picked right up where they left off.

“Weiss and I can head out while you do that,” Ruby interrupted before they went any further.  The tiny smirk on her lips suggested she knew she just threw a bucket of cold water on their flirting, but they finally remembered they weren’t alone and stepped away from each other.  

“We should probably get going...” Blake mumbled, tucking her hair behind her ear and glancing anywhere but at Yang.  

“Let me just grab my shoes.”

As Yang hurried into the living room to put on a pair of shoes, Ruby caught Weiss’ attention and subtly rolled her eyes.  The gesture proved that she was aware of Blake and Yang’s flirting, and understood that the two were just waiting for the opportunity to push some boundaries.

“Meet us downstairs?” she asked while motioning Weiss to the door.  After glancing at Blake, who looked perfectly content waiting for Yang, Weiss grabbed her bag and followed Ruby out of the apartment.

“Maybe they’ll get it out of their system,” Ruby whispered as they headed down the hall.

“I don’t know...it could get worse before it gets better.”

“Then we’ll miss the next five minutes, at least,” Ruby bargained as they stepped into the elevator, and Weiss smiled while shaking her head.

“Sure you’re ok with us tagging along?” Ruby asked not long after.  “I don’t want to bother you or anything.”

“How would you bother me?” Weiss asked, sending Ruby a look as the elevator reached the lobby.

“I don’t know...maybe you’d rather hang out with Blake?  I’m sure you weren’t expecting me to tag along all weekend.”

Ruby might be right about that, but Weiss also hadn’t expected to experience so many strong emotions upon reconnecting with her childhood best friend.  Physical attraction was easy to understand - Ruby was very, very hot - but everything else was exciting, new, and a little scary at the same time.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed,” she said while following Ruby outside.  “But Blake isn’t exactly chomping at the bit to hang out with me.”  

Once Ruby chuckled at the joke, Weiss held her gaze and smiled.

“Besides...I like spending time with you, Ruby.  You’ve become...a pretty cool person.”

‘Pretty cool’ was the lamest description she could have used, but one wouldn’t think so from Ruby’s smile.  Her heart responded by fluttering in her chest, compelling her to glance at the buildings across the street in an effort to compose herself.

When Ruby smiled at her like that, maintaining her composure was so hard to do.  She didn’t want to be composed in those moments; she wanted to let go and follow those feelings as far as Ruby let her.

“Where’s this place anyway?” Ruby asked, and Weiss embraced the subject change.

“On Seventeenth, near Bleeker.”

“You’re kidding, right?”  When Weiss shook her head, Ruby laughed.  “Let me show you something.”

Taking Weiss by the hand, Ruby led her over to the nearest intersection and pointed to the street sign.

“This is 17th,” Ruby said before pointing down the road.  “And do you see the intersection three blocks down?  That’s Bleeker.”  

When Weiss’ eyes widened, Ruby laughed again.  

“Seriously,” she said before Weiss even asked.  “We’d practically be neighbors!”

That was an unexpected twist, and Weiss looked at Ruby one more time before staring down the street.  She knew that both apartments were near Ruby and Yang’s, but she never thought to map out how close.  They were more concerned with how close the apartments were to their new office or nearby stores...

“That’s…”

Exciting?  Enticing?

“- great,” she settled upon, hopefully not giving away just how exciting the new information was.  If they lived that close...they could see each other all the time.  They might randomly bump into each other on the street, or at the store.

“Hey Yang!” Ruby called out, breaking Weiss out of that daydream as Yang and Blake finally joined them.  “Guess where this apartment is?”

“It’s at least across the street, since you have to hold Weiss’ hand to get there.”

“What?”  Looking down and finding that she was still holding Weiss’ hand, Ruby quickly let go and shook her head.  “That’s not...it’s on 17th and Bleeker!”

“You’re joking.  That’s literally right down the street.”

“That’s what I was saying!”

“Really?” Blake asked, glancing at Weiss for confirmation while Yang grinned at her.

“Let’s check it out!  And remember to hold someone’s hand while crossing the street...for safety.”

After making a face at her sister, Ruby nudged Weiss in the right direction and whispered, “Don’t listen to her.”  

Though Weiss smiled at the reassurance, she was a little disappointed when they crossed the next street without holding hands.  She didn’t mind holding Ruby’s hand, if that’s what Ruby was worried about, but how could she make that known without explaining why she liked holding hands?

Three blocks passed without a solution, and soon she focused on another apartment building rather than how much she liked feeling like Ruby’s girlfriend.  Though this building was objectively similar to the one from yesterday, its proximity made it more significant.  She tried not to let that outweigh her other observations though.  At least, that’s what she told herself while walking into a lobby that was slightly bigger and moderately-cleaner than the other.

“Where’re we headed?” Yang asked after Blake pushed the call button and one of the elevator doors opened.

“Fourth floor.”

The low-level floor was even better for taking the stairs - a small perk Weiss and Blake had already discussed.  Elevators were a pain sometimes, especially if they were slow or perpetually crowded.  

Fortunately, the elevators didn’t seem to be slow, and the building didn’t seem exceptionally busy for a Sunday morning.  Weiss made note of those additional positives as the doors opened and they stepped into the hall on the fourth floor.

In terms of cleanliness, the two buildings were on equal footing.  She didn’t find anything to complain about while following Blake to an apartment door at the other end of the hall.  

“Only one neighbor,” Blake reminded her before ringing the doorbell.  A soft chime sounded in the room beyond, and only a few seconds passed before a young, slender woman with long amber hair opened the door and smiled.

“One of you must be Blake Belladonna,” she said, looking between each of them.

“That would be me.”  With a polite smile of her own, Blake dipped her chin.  “I hope you don’t mind, but we brought some...friends...who live here in Vale.”

“Not at all.  The more the merrier.”  After nodding to them, the woman backed away and motioned them inside.  “And this is the only showing I have this morning, so feel free to look around as much as you’d like.”

“Thank you.”

“Absolutely.  Let me know if you have any questions.”  

After one last smile, the woman graciously bowed out of the conversation so they could speak privately.  Left alone at the entrance of the apartment, which seamlessly fed into the living room, Weiss looked around and nodded at what she saw.

“Looks like the photos.”

“Only...bigger?” Blake asked, turning in a circle before her gaze landed on Yang.  “Bedrooms?” she asked, and Yang snapped her fingers.

“You read my mind.”

When the two of them wasted no time heading to the bedrooms, Weiss caught Ruby’s gaze and nodded towards the kitchen instead.  With Ruby falling into step beside her, she walked into the kitchen and was even more pleasantly surprised.

“Woah…”  Standing in the middle of the room, Ruby held her arms out and slowly spun in a circle.  “This place is huge!

“That’s one of the reasons we liked it.”  After looking over the appliances, which appeared almost brand new, and the plentiful cabinets, Weiss nodded.  “It looks even nicer in person,” she added before smiling at Ruby.  “Think you could cook here?”

“I could totally cook here!”  

When Weiss chuckled at the exuberance, Ruby gently grabbed a hold of her elbow.

“Wait, but I really could,” Ruby added much more earnestly.  “This place is so close, I could walk over and make dinner for you.”

The thought of seeing Ruby after work was enough to release butterflies in Weiss’ chest.  But for Ruby to come over and cook dinner for her?  She couldn’t possibly deserve to be spoiled so much.

“How about we cook dinner together?” she offered in return.

“I’d love to.”

When Ruby looked overjoyed at the prospect of cooking together, another wave of butterflies took flight in Weiss’ chest.  Not only did cooking together sound incredibly fun, but they would also be spending more time together - time that Weiss couldn’t seem to get enough of right now.

“It’s one of the largest kitchen floor plans in the building,” the realtor piped in, drawing their gazes as that moment abruptly ended.  “I think you two would be really happy here.”

Picking up on the implication, Weiss shook her head.  Ruby, however, laughed and nudged Weiss’ elbow.  

“I wish, but she’s way out of my league.”  

“Oh, I’m sorry.  You just seemed -”  After gesturing between them, the woman shook her head and threw on a polite, if not slightly embarrassed, smile.  “My mistake.  It would be a fun kitchen to cook in though, for whatever friendly get-togethers you have.”

With that said, the woman made a hasty retreat to the other side of the apartment.  Weiss, meanwhile, frowned at Ruby.

“I’m not out of your league.”

Ruby shouldn’t have looked so surprised by that response, but she did.

“But...you’re Weiss Schnee,” she said as if it answered everything.

“And?  You’re Ruby Rose.”

“That’s not the same!”

“Of course it’s not,” Weiss replied with a laugh.  “We’re different people.”

“Yeah, but you’re Weiss.”  When Weiss smiled and shook her head at the path they were about to repeat, Ruby waved her hands.  “You’re...special...to me,” she concluded, and Weiss’ smile briefly faltered.

Ruby was special to her too, which made her feel even more foolish for not getting back in touch years ago.  Why hadn’t she reached out in high school?  Or even in college?  Why had she assumed that because they grew up and grew apart, they couldn’t recapture what once made their friendship so unlikely and extraordinary?  

Why had she let Ruby hold onto all those memories alone?

“Ruby -” she began but stopped as soon as Ruby’s gaze slid away from her.

“The bedrooms are nice,” Blake said while she and Yang joined them in the kitchen. 

“I’d move into one in a heartbeat,” Yang joked before pulling open the refrigerator and glancing at the empty shelves inside.

With the added company, Weiss held onto the apology for now.  Instead, she caught Ruby’s gaze and nodded across the room.

“Want to check those out?”

“Of course!”  

The prior conversation easily faded away, as Ruby was quick to smile and loop her arm through Weiss’.  Weiss’ heart fluttered in the process, but Ruby was none the wiser while leading them across the living room and into the short hallway separating two bedrooms.

Glancing through the open doorways, Weiss estimated that these bedrooms were more equal in size, which was perfect.  If the rooms were comparable, no one would settle for the ‘worse’ room.  They would also have their own bathroom, which was a luxury she didn’t want to live without.

“Oh.”  Based on the placement of the doors, another important feature jumped out at her.  “I think I know why they liked the rooms so much.”

“Why?”

“They’re across the hall from each other.”

“And?”

“They’re further apart.  So there’s more...privacy.”

“Oh…”  Finally catching on, Ruby shook her head and followed Weiss into one of the rooms.  “Of course Yang likes that.”

“Does that mean she’s…?”  

“No!”  Quickly picking up on Weiss’ concern, Ruby shook her head and waved her hands in front of her.  “Not at all.  I mean, she flirts a lot sometimes.  But when she’s serious, she’s serious, you know?”

Considering Ruby looked mortified at accidentally implying that her sister was something of a womanizer, Weiss didn’t need to hear anything more.  They might have spent a long time apart, but she still trusted Ruby completely.  If she needed to worry about Blake, Ruby would make sure she knew.

“I believe you.”  

Adding a smile to ease Ruby’s concern, she opened one of the closet doors and looked inside.  Space-wise, it was a little smaller than her current closet, but it had some nice built-in cabinets that would come in handy.

“And, um, same goes for me.”

Surprised by the comment, Weiss turned around and was met by Ruby’s hesitant smile.

“In case you’re wondering,” Ruby added before sticking her hands in her pockets and scuffing her foot across the floor.

Thinking that Ruby was a womanizer had never crossed Weiss’ mind, even after witnessing multiple attractive girls practically throw themselves at her.  Flitting from person-to-person just didn’t seem to fit her very well.  Considering how sweet and caring she was, she probably wanted one person to shower with her love and affection - a position anyone would be lucky to earn.

“I never thought any differently,” Weiss admitted, and offered a reassuring smile before walking over to the window.  

The view was nothing to write home about, but her heart needed a few moments to settle down.  And her mind needed a few moments to stop dwelling on what it would be like to have Ruby’s full, undivided, romantic attention.

“So...which room would be yours?”

“I’m not sure…”

Grateful for the subject change, Weiss left the window and walked across the hall to see if one of the rooms was better than the other.  The closet appeared identical, though the room itself might be a smidge smaller than the first.  The view was better though, which she liked.  Most importantly...if this was her room, where would she put her furniture?  Her bed, her dresser - would everything fit the way she wanted it to?

“This one seems fine,” she concluded, though she would discuss with Blake before making any final decisions.

“Think we should test it out then?”

“Test what out?” 

“How private it is.”  

Just like that, Weiss’ warm blush returned with the force a full-fledged wildfire.  Ruby couldn’t possibly mean what Weiss was thinking, right?  Because her thoughts focused on one very-specific interpretation, which only solidified when Ruby moved closer.  Just one more step and they would be touching, which was exactly what Weiss hoped Ruby meant.

“How would we do that…?” she asked softly, praying that nothing interrupted this moment.  Especially not when Ruby smiled down at her...one of those effortlessly beautiful smiles that prodded her heart to beat even faster.

“Easy.  You’ve just gotta moan and see if they hear.”

The suggestion was so cavalier, Weiss wasn’t sure she heard it correctly.  When Ruby grinned, however, Weiss lightly slapped her across the shoulder.

“Ruby!”  Worried that Blake or Yang would burst in at any second, Weiss glanced at the door before lowering her voice.  “I’m not doing that.”

“Come on!  You know moans travel.”

“I -”  Before making an admission that embarrassed her even further, Weiss stopped and shook her head.  “I’m not doing that,” she reiterated instead.

“It’s foolproof and you know it,” Ruby teased, poking Weiss’ side at the same time.

“Not happening unless someone makes me.”

As soon as the comment slipped through Weiss’ lips, Ruby froze.  Weiss froze too, though her reason for freezing was far more embarrassment than she could handle.  Ruby, meanwhile, stared at Weiss for the longest time before leaning so close that every detail in her dazzling silver eyes became clear.

“Is that a challenge?”

From the sparkle in Ruby’s eyes, she was enjoying this.  Weiss was enjoying this too...possibly a bit much.  But that wouldn’t stop her from seeing what happened next, as she held Ruby’s gaze and felt the smallest of smirks slip onto her lips.

“Undoubtedly.”

For a split second, the word hung in the air between them, an open offer that Ruby alone could act upon.  She didn’t have to - she could walk away.  Instead, she set her hands on Weiss’ sides, eliciting a shiver of thrill in the process, and backed Weiss into the wall by the door.

Weiss’ back hardly touched the wall when Ruby pressed closer, their bodies melding together while her eyes never strayed.  Without words, she sought permissions that Weiss willingly granted.  Because Ruby was allowed in her space.  Ruby was allowed to touch her.  Ruby was allowed to do whatever she wanted.

Still, Ruby searched Weiss’ eyes for answers, silently asking if this was ok.  She would accept whatever Weiss wanted - her eyes said as much.  Yet Weiss didn’t move.  Her heart was racing, her skin tingled where Ruby’s hands rested, but every inch of her burned with the desire for more.  It wasn’t until she nodded, however, that Ruby leaned forward and kissed her neck.

Regardless of how softly Ruby’s lips touched her, Weiss sucked in a breath as pleasure surged through her veins.  

“God...” she breathed out, tilting her head to the side while Ruby trailed light, delicate kisses along her neck.  Each one was so soft yet sent waves of ecstasy pulsing through her, compounding with every touch.  

Her breathing was already growing deeper and more erratic, especially when Ruby’s hands started moving.  First, gripping her sides, then sliding around to the small of her back and pulling their hips flush together.

Feeling Ruby’s body pressed against hers sent her to another level of bliss, but she clamped back on the sound growing at the back of her throat.  The moan wanted to come out - so, so badly - but she didn’t want Ruby to stop.  She wanted this moment to last much, much longer.

But her breathing was heavier now, and her desire expanding out of control as Ruby’s kisses grew more fervent.  Her lips hardly left Weiss’ neck, sliding from one spot to the next before pressing messier and messier kisses into place.  Weiss couldn’t hold out much longer, as the immensely-pleasurable torture became almost too much to bear.  She wanted to give Ruby what she wanted - and Ruby wanted to hear how good her lips and touch felt.

Running her hands through Ruby’s hair, then wrapping them around Ruby’s neck to keep her from moving away, Weiss leaned her head back against the wall and tried to stifle the pressing urge to vocalize her pleasure.  She needed more but couldn’t take it at the same time.

Then Ruby softly bit her neck, and a moan finally escaped.

Both of them froze at the sound, which broke the silence of the room before fading away.  After waiting a few seconds longer, during which time nothing but their labored breathing could be heard, Ruby finally smiled.

“Guess you were right,” she whispered in Weiss’ ear before brushing her hair out of her eyes and pressing a soft kiss on her forehead.

That kiss was impossibly sweet and gentle, but Weiss could only stare while trying to catch her breath.  And her heart...her heart had no idea what to do right now.  It wanted to beat out of her chest and seize up at the same time.

Was she dreaming, or had that actually happened?  It seemed too good to be true.  It felt too good to be true.  Yet Ruby had no issue stepping away and sweeping a hand through her hair...as if kissing someone’s neck like that was just another Sunday morning.

Or Ruby had heard Blake and Yang before Weiss did, saving them from being caught in another compromising position when the two walked into the room.

“There you are,” Yang said while Blake cast an intent gaze between them.  Knowing how easily Blake could interpret a situation, or jump to conclusions, Weiss casually rubbed her neck and threw on a hopefully-normal smile.

“Ruby and I were just testing out the rooms.”  A half-truth, but she moved on before Blake picked apart the answer.  “What do you think?”

Fortunately, Blake’s gaze swept around the bedroom when Weiss waved that way.

“I think it’s really nice.”

“Right?” Weiss replied, only to pause when Ruby fidgeted.

“Sorry, we should let you guys discuss.”  Before either of them argued, or assured her that it was fine for her to stay, Ruby grabbed Yang by the arm and dragged her out of the room.  “We’ll wait in the living room!”

Smiling at the blatant attempt to give them privacy, Weiss watched Ruby go before turning back to Blake.  The consideration was unnecessary but appreciated for its thoughtfulness.  Plus, now she and Blake could speak freely about all matters regarding this apartment.

“It is nice,” Blake picked up where Weiss left off, and Weiss nodded.

“It’s what we’re looking for.  Clean, newer, close to work -”

“And close to their apartment.”

“You said it, not me.”

“You were thinking it,” Blake countered, and Weiss scoffed but didn’t argue.  They knew each other well enough by now to know when one of them was lying.  Fortunately, they didn’t know each other well enough to know when one of them nearly got a hickey from their childhood friend turned massive crush...

“Ok,” she admitted before Blake noticed her blush.  “Let’s just say we both like that it’s close to their apartment.  But we shouldn’t make a decision based on that alone, right?”

“Right.”  Even though Blake verbally agreed, it didn’t look like she believed the answer.  “You’re right, but this one’s still better than the one yesterday.”

“I agree.”  Once they both smiled, relieved to be in agreement, Weiss laughed and waved one hand.  “Do we have any reasons other than it being close to their apartment?”

“Well...the layout of the bedrooms is better in this one.”

“Of course you went there first,” Weiss teased with a shake of her head.  “But I also like the rooms - because they’re closer in size.”

“Exactly.  And the kitchen’s nicer, with more storage.”

“Then you’re ok with it being a little more expensive?” Weiss asked, and watched Blake purse her lips before nodding.

“I think it’s worth it, don’t you?”

Obviously, Weiss thought it was worth it.  Based on the past couple of days, she would pay much more for the opportunity to be so close to Ruby.  

“I do,” she said before looking around the room one more time.  “So...is this our place?”

“I think it is.”  Smiling now, Blake glanced around before nodding towards the doorway.  “Let’s tell them?”

After nodding, Weiss followed Blake into the living room.  Her excitement built with each step - the result of finding the perfect apartment, but also in anticipation of telling Ruby that they would be neighbors soon.  Living right down the street was a luxury they never had in childhood, and she couldn’t wait to see how it impacted their relationship now.

As she and Blake walked over to their weekend hosts, who leaned against the kitchen island while talking amongst themselves, that sense of anticipation grew.  She hoped the news made Ruby happy.  She thought it would, but...she would find out very soon.

“We’ve made a decision,” she said, drawing Ruby and Yang’s attention before motioning for Blake to deliver their verdict.

“We like this one better -” was all Blake got out before they pumped their fists and broke into huge grins.

“That’s awesome!” Ruby added before hurrying over and wrapping Weiss in a strong, wonderful hug.  “I was hoping you’d choose this one!”

“Definitely.”  Walking over to Blake, looking almost compelled by some unspoken force, Yang smiled and set a hand on Blake’s arm.   “We should celebrate.  You know, welcome you to the neighborhood and all that great stuff.”

Yang’s intent gaze and overly-friendly posture suggested the type of celebration she had in mind, and Blake had no issue smiling at the offer.  Or maybe she was smiling because Yang had gone out of the way to make physical contact yet again.

“Let’s show them the cool spots around here first.”  After nudging Yang’s side to interrupt the moment, Ruby grinned at Weiss.  “We can show you all our favorite places to eat and shop!”

As far as Weiss was concerned, nothing sounded better than exploring their new neighborhood with Ruby.  And it only took one glance at Blake to know she felt the same about Yang’s company.  Why would they ever explore by themselves when two gorgeous, affable beauties - who happened to live nearby - were willing to spend the day with them?

“I’d love that,” Weiss admitted, and another smile sprang into being when Ruby’s happiness soared.  Before losing herself in that light-hearted joy, however, she motioned towards the last bit of business separating her from fully enjoying Ruby’s company.

“We just need to fill out some paperwork first...”

“That’s fine,” Ruby quickly assured her.

“Yeah, take your time.”  After waving them away, Yang smiled and gently elbowed Ruby in the side.  “We don’t mind waiting years if we have to.”

While the unusual response gave Weiss reason to pause, there was no opportunity to dwell over what it meant.  Not when Blake grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the realtor.

They were successful in choosing an apartment, which was a huge relief, yet Weiss still felt a great sense of anticipation at what was to come.  The entire day to explore, the entire day to marvel at the person Ruby had become.  By the end of it, Weiss would probably have an even bigger crush on the girl who once thought a backpack shaped like a squid was the coolest thing on the planet.

Chapter Text

“That was so good.”  Holding the door of the restaurant, Yang motioned the rest of them outside.  “Thanks again for dinner,” she added while returning to her nearly-permanent place by Blake’s side.

“Thanks again for joining us.  And for showing us around today.”

“You say that like it was some chore,” Yang said while waving off the gratitude.  “But who wouldn’t want to show you guys around?  Ruby and I are lucky that you chose us.”

Based on how many times Yang and Ruby got hit on in the last few hours alone, that response wasn’t entirely true.  But Yang, like Ruby, downplayed the advances in favor of lavishing Blake with attention - attention that Blake relished every second of.

Like right now, standing on the sidewalk just outside the restaurant, Yang smiled at Blake in a way that Weiss could only describe as kissing someone through a look alone.  It appeared as if Blake felt that kiss too - the only explanation for how fidgety she’d been all day.

“Where to next?” 

Ruby’s question drew Weiss’ gaze and made her heart do another stutter step.  After an entire day of smiling, laughing, and genuinely enjoying someone’s company, she could say with absolute certainty that Ruby was a beautiful person through-and-through.  And that Weiss was only falling harder for that all-encompassing beauty.

“There’s a few nice bars around here,” Ruby added when no one immediately responded.  “Or Yang knows like all of the clubs if you’re interested.  Although we’d probably have to change before going to any of those.”

“We probably shouldn’t tonight…”  Weiss glanced at Blake for approval of that statement, and Blake nodded.  “We’re taking the first train back tomorrow, and it leaves...very early.”

“Oh, that’s right.  Tomorrow’s Monday…”

Weiss’ disappointment grew right along with Ruby’s, who briefly lost her smile at the thought of Weiss returning to Atlas.  That expression didn’t linger long, however, as only seconds passed before she brightened once more.

“Then we should get you guys home so you’re nice and rested for the ride back.”

It wasn’t that late, but Weiss didn’t argue with Ruby’s suggestion.  Instead, she nodded and followed Ruby’s lead back to the apartment.  Maybe tonight, with it not being so late, they could talk some more before eventually heading to bed.  

And maybe Weiss could find some time with Ruby alone.  To talk, not necessarily anything more.  Even though spending the day with Blake and Yang had been very enjoyable, she craved one-on-one time with Ruby.  If it didn’t happen this visit, however, it wasn’t the end of the world.  It wouldn’t be long before she moved back here, and they could see each other as much or as little as they wanted. 

She already knew how much she would want to see Ruby.  The question then became...how much would Ruby want to see her?  Once the newness of Weiss’ presence wore off, would Ruby return to her normal routine - and Weiss to hers?  Was this apparent elation at being reunited just for now, or did it have staying power?

“Hey Weiss.”  

A tug on her sleeve accompanied the whisper, and Weiss slowed her steps to temporarily walk beside Blake.

“What’s up?” she asked in an equally-quiet voice.

“Are you tired?”

“Not really.  Why?”

“I was just wondering...” Blake began, and hurried out with it when Weiss gave her a look.  “If Yang and I head back now, maybe you and Ruby can stay out a bit longer?”

As soon as Blake’s eyes darted to Yang, Weiss understood what was happening.

“You’re going to sleep with her, aren’t you.”

“If she’s willing, yes.  God yes.”

“Seriously?” Weiss asked, amused by the forward and eager answer.

“Like you wouldn’t jump Ruby right now if you thought you could,” Blake retorted, and Weiss scoffed but stopped short of lying.

She would jump at that opportunity if it presented itself; Blake knew her well enough to pick up on that much.  Blake finding more success with Yang made her a little envious, but she couldn’t say that she was surprised by the request.  The heavy flirting from yesterday had continued into today with the addition of each of them attempting to outdo the other in being touchy-feely.

Besides, if Blake and Yang were busy doing...each other...then Weiss’ wish was granted - she could spend time alone with Ruby.

“Fine,” she huffed regardless, not wanting to sound too accepting of the idea.  “We’ll keep walking around, but you owe me.”

“Absolutely.  And...the longer you’re out, the more I owe you.”

Weiss’ brow rose at the response, but Blake just nodded and gave her a little shove towards Ruby.  Considering she never knew what she might need that type of favor for, she smiled and returned to Ruby’s side.

“Actually, if you’re up for it, I’d like to explore a little longer.”

“Are you sure?  You have to leave early…”

“But I won’t be able to fall asleep now anyway,” she pointed out.  “Besides, I can always sleep on the train, and...I’d like to spend more time with you.”

Officially, she was doing this for Blake, but that was easy to forget when Ruby smiled.

“Then that’s what we’ll do,” Ruby said before turning around.  “Hey guys, want to stay out longer?”

When Weiss turned around, she found Blake and Yang already making some serious eyes at each other.  Only a blind person would miss the signals Blake was sending right now, which Yang definitely saw.  That probably explained why her hand was already resting on the small of Blake’s back.

“Actually...I think we’ll head back.”  When Blake nodded, confirming those suspicions, Yang grinned.  “Yeah, we’re heading back,” she concluded while grabbing Blake’s hand and pulling her in the direction of the apartment.

“See you later,” Blake added, though she hardly glanced Ruby or Weiss’ way before hurrying off with Yang.  Watching them leave - their quick, eager steps broadcasting impatience - Weiss shook her head.  

“...did we just get sexiled?” Ruby asked, and Weiss finally laughed.

“Possibly, but I don’t mind.  I like spending time with you.”

That feeling hadn’t changed over the course of another full day together, over which time she’d laughed, smiled, and blushed more than she could remember in recent memory.

“You’re not just saying that because you have no other option?”

“Of course not.”

“Good!”  Finally smiling, Ruby glanced at the businesses around them, some of which had come alive now that it was nighttime.  “Well, now that we finally ditched them, what do you want to do?”

“How about...whatever you want?” Weiss answered, only for her heart to falter when Ruby’s eyes briefly took on a hungry gleam.  “Maybe there’s someplace you like that Yang doesn’t?” she offered before that look made her respond in kind.  “Or someplace you go more often than she does?”

“Oh, um…”  The hunger disappeared, and Ruby pondered the questions before brightening with an idea.  “Oh!  There’s a great ice cream place nearby.  Want to get some?”

“How can you possibly eat after the dinner we just had?”

“It’s ice cream!  You don’t need room to eat ice cream.”

Chuckling at that logic, which made sense coming from someone who could eat as much as Ruby could, Weiss motioned for Ruby to lead the way.  Even though she probably couldn’t eat much, ice cream sounded good.  Or maybe it was spending time with Ruby, doing the things Ruby liked to do, that sounded good.  Whichever it was, Weiss felt happy and content while walking beside Ruby, heading towards their next mini-adventure.

“I hope you don’t mind Yang getting together with your roommate,” Ruby spoke up after not too long.   “I would’ve told her to cool it, but...I’ve never seen her like someone so much so fast.” 

“I don’t mind.”  Yet Weiss adored that Ruby considered telling Yang to back off on her behalf.  “And I feel the same - Blake usually doesn’t warm up so fast.”

“That’s good!  Well, good that she warmed up to Yang.  But...I hope they don’t, like, mess things up between us.”

When Ruby gestured between them, Weiss tilted her head.

“How would they mess things up between us?”

“Like if things don’t work out,” Ruby explained, looking so legitimately worried that Weiss shook her head.  “You know it could be awkward,” Ruby added.  “Especially if they don’t want to see or hear about each other or something like that...then we’ll have to sneak around just to spend time together...”

“Ruby.”  Weiss shook her head and set a hand on Ruby’s arm to end the ramble.  “They’re both adults,” she pointed out once she had Ruby’s attention.  “If something goes wrong - which, honestly, I don’t think will happen - then they’ll just have to deal with it.  That won’t stop me from spending time with you.”

The words were truth, and a slow smile appeared on Ruby’s lips as she digested them.

“You’re right.”  By the time she nodded, her worry had disappeared.  “What happens with them doesn’t have anything to do with us, which is why we’re about to get some amazing ice cream without them.”

When Ruby motioned Weiss towards the busy ice cream parlor up ahead, Weiss smiled and followed her towards the door.

“I think they might’ve gotten the better deal this time,” she joked, only to blush at the surprised glance Ruby sent her as they walked inside.

The first thing she noticed, besides the burning in her cheeks at implying she’d rather be having sex than getting ice cream, was the smell of sugar.  The sweetness permeated the small storefront, as did the cool from the air conditioning and the buzz of conversation.  Overall, the atmosphere was lively and happy as people young and old enjoyed a sugary treat at the end of their weekend.

“Don’t worry, the line goes fast.”

The short line of people waiting to order was the least of Weiss’ concerns, as her goal tonight was to spend as much time with Ruby as possible before returning to Atlas.  Waiting for their turn accomplished that objective while also providing a glimpse into the places Ruby liked to go.  An ice cream parlor, Weiss had to admit, fit Ruby like a glove.

“What do you usually get?” Weiss asked as they steadily approached the long, refrigerated cases holding dozens of vats of ice cream.

“Everything’s great, but their waffle cones are amazing.  I usually get one with three big scoops -”

Three?”  

Spotting a young man holding exactly what Ruby just described, a mammoth of a dessert, Weiss couldn’t keep the surprise out of her tone.

“It’s ice cream!”  

When Ruby laughed and gently leaned into Weiss’ side, Weiss smiled and playfully shook her head.  Internally, she loved that Ruby stayed so close and often leaned even closer.  Externally, she struggled to keep her blushing to a minimum.

Having spent the past couple of days together, she felt extremely blessed by the closeness they still shared.  At the same time, she didn’t want to misinterpret that closeness as something other than what it was - but what was it, exactly?  Ruby was playful and sweet and considerate, but then there were those moments...which Weiss remembered vividly...where her boldness suggested other feelings were in play. 

“Know what you’ll get?” Ruby asked as their time to order grew near, and Weiss glanced at the myriad of flavors with a little more determination.

“Not yet…”

Honestly, she wasn’t a huge fan of sweets, but she would gladly get ice cream with Ruby.  The biggest question was...what did she even want?  There were so many different flavors, toppings, and combinations that it was nearly overwhelming.  Before she made up her mind, however, the person in front of them moved out of the way, and the next available employee stepped up to help them.

“Hi!” the girl behind the counter greeted them before her gaze inevitably drifted to Ruby.  “Would you like a sample of anything?  The orange crush is really, really good.”

“That sounds really good, too.”  

With a friendly smile sliding into place, Ruby probably had no idea that she just made the girl behind the counter fall a little more in love with her.  But it would be hard for her to notice much when her gaze was reserved for the vats of ice cream in front of her, a fact that amused Weiss to no end.

“I’ll definitely try that,” Ruby added, nodding at her decision.  “With double chocolate chunk and...green tea.  In a waffle cone, please!”

“Orange, chocolate, and...green tea?” 

“It could be good, right?” Ruby replied, and no one would ever argue with that endearing grin.

“You could be a genius,” the girl joked, and chuckled softly before turning to Weiss.  “And you?”

Glancing over the ice cream cases, Weiss still didn’t feel drawn to any particular flavor.  The only thing she was drawn to in this shop was Ruby, who - apparently - was something of an ice cream savant.

“Actually, why don’t you order for me?” she asked Ruby, whose brow rose at the request.

“Really?  Ok, um…”  Suddenly much more discerning, Ruby pored over the ice cream cases, glancing Weiss’ way every few seconds, before smiling.  “How about...a scoop of blueberry swirl and raspberry-lemon, in a waffle bowl, for this pretty lady.”

The comment put butterflies in Weiss’ chest at the same time it earned her a much more inquisitive look from across the counter.  With two words, her status had changed from ‘random girl tagging along with the hot girl’ to someone of interest.  She could practically read the questions running through their helper’s eyes, wondering what Weiss and Ruby’s relationship was.  Were they just close, somewhat-flirty friends hanging out...or was this a date?

“I’ll get those ready for you two right away.”

Honestly, Weiss didn’t mind if people thought she and Ruby were on a date.  Actually, she kind of enjoyed the idea.  She especially enjoyed it when the girl glanced at her one last time, providing the opportunity to smile as if unaware of those burning questions.  Maybe she should feel jealous that seemingly everyone flirted with Ruby right in front of her, but it was hard to feel jealous when Ruby’s attention remained almost exclusively hers.

“What I ordered for you sounds ok, right?” Ruby asked, drawing Weiss’ gaze away from their orders being scooped out of the case.  “Because you can get something different!”

“Blueberry and raspberry-lemon sounds great.”  The response was a relief to Ruby, but Weiss sent her a curious look.  “What made you choose those?”

“Well, you’ve never liked really sweet things, so I figured the fruity flavors would be better.  And a waffle bowl because you probably won’t eat as fast as I will, but you won’t want to get messy.”

The answer was so on point, Weiss couldn’t help but laugh.

How do you still know me so well?  Have I not changed at all?”

“You’ve changed a lot!” Ruby argued while accepting her goliath ice cream cone.  “But there are little things that are kind of the same.  Like being neat and orderly, and super composed...you didn’t outgrow that.”

As strange as it was to think that habits or predispositions from elementary school survived to this day, Weiss couldn’t argue Ruby’s points.  Plus, this more-mature version of Ruby also held similarities with her younger self.  An avid sweet tooth, voracious appetite, kindness and patience for everyone...Ruby hadn’t outgrown those either.

“Here you go,” the girl behind the counter said while handing Weiss’ order to her.  “And what do you think?” she added as her gaze and smile returned to Ruby.  “Is it good?”

“I think I might’ve been a little ambitious with orange and green tea,” Ruby joked.  “But chocolate and green tea go together surprisingly well!”

“I’ll have to try it sometime,” the girl replied before motioning towards the line waiting for the register.  “She’ll charge you out right over there.  Hopefully we’ll see you again sometime!”

That hope was probably just to see Ruby again, but Weiss smiled and joined the line to pay.  

“Want to try some?” Ruby asked, offering her cone while they waited.

“Sure.”

Knowing that Ruby was watching, Weiss didn’t wimp out and only taste the chocolate and green tea together, or the orange and chocolate.  All three flavors made it onto her spoon and into her mouth, which sparked even more joy in Ruby’s eyes.

“Good?” Ruby asked, and Weiss worked through the competing flavors before swallowing and making a ‘so-so’ gesture with her hand.

“The green tea and chocolate do go together surprisingly well,” she mused.  “But that orange is...very, very sweet.”

“Totally agree.”  Chuckling at the answer, Ruby gently bumped Weiss’ shoulder.  “You’re more adventurous now though.  No way you would’ve tried all three when we were kids.”

Weiss’ heart warmed at the comment, which meant more coming from Ruby than anyone else.  Ruby knew what she used to be like, and she was happy to hear that some of her most-grating mannerisms had changed.

“I like a little adventure sometimes,” she replied, and briefly caught Ruby’s smile before stepping up to the register.  “I got it,” she added when she noticed Ruby searching for her wallet.

“But you paid for dinner!”

“Technically, Blake paid for dinner.” 

“Yeah, but -”  

When Weiss smiled and handed her card to the cashier, Ruby briefly pouted - one of the most adorable things Weiss had ever seen - before blowing a breath through her lips.

“Ok, fine.  But I’m buying yours next time.”

Weiss’ heart fluttered at the thought, which sounded like yet another invitation she couldn’t wait to accept.

“That sounds like a fair deal,” she replied, and Ruby nodded.  

“Awesome.  I’ve gotta spend my coaching money on something!”

Once her card was returned and they stepped away from the line, Weiss sent Ruby a curious look.

“‘Coaching money?’”

“Oh, I coach track over the summer!”  After glancing around the ice cream shop, with nearly every table filled with patrons, Ruby nodded towards the door.  “Want to walk and eat?”

“Sure.”

The weather was nearly perfect for walking around eating ice cream - not too hot or too cold.  What Weiss really craved, however, was the privacy of walking along the city streets together, having a conversation that was just for them.

“So...coaching?” she prodded as soon as they stepped outside.

“It’s not college or anything,” Ruby explained.  “It’s little kid track.  They need to learn basic running form and stuff.  Super easy to teach if you’ve run long enough!”

“So...basically...you spend your summer teaching little kids how to run track?”  When Ruby nodded at the summation, Weiss smiled.  “Do you like it?” 

“I love it!  The kids are so much fun.  The parents...sometimes not so much, but I spend most of the day with the kids anyway.  I get to be their coach, number one fan, and big sister all at once - it’s awesome.”

By this point, it almost felt like Ruby was going out of her way to be as absurdly desirable as possible.  She was beautiful, friendly, caring, and loved kids - what else could anyone possibly look for in a person?

“Maybe that’s something you could do after graduation,” Weiss suggested.  “Coach track, I mean.”

“Huh.”  Mindlessly licking her ice cream, Ruby mulled over the idea before smiling.  “That’s a good idea!  Although it doesn’t pay much.”

This time, Weiss stopped herself before mentioning that she made more than enough to support two people.  Ruby didn’t need to hear that...again…

“But if it’s something you love, you should consider it,” Weiss offered instead.  “Or you could be a model.  I’ve heard they make great money.”

A smile snuck onto Weiss’ lips when Ruby laughed - the sound incredibly carefree and delightful on this warm Sunday night.

“A model??” Ruby asked before running a hand through her hair and flashing a smile that would make any model jealous.  “Clearly you’ve never seen me walk in heels.”

“No, but that’s something I’d like to see.”  Hearing another soft laugh, Weiss sent Ruby a playful look.  “I’m sure you have some tucked away in your room somewhere...should we find them when we get back?”

“Tonight?”  When Weiss nodded, Ruby waved her free hand in front of her.  “Oh no no.  I don’t want to embarrass myself right before you leave!  How about...next time there’s a fancy event to go to, I’ll wear them.”

“My work has a fancy holiday party every year,” Weiss replied without a second thought.

“Deal!  I’ll wear heels to your holiday party.  Then you can laugh when I look like a baby giraffe on stilts.”

Just thinking about it made Weiss smile, as did the fact that they made yet another plan for the future.  The holiday party had never been her favorite obligation, but with Ruby there...it would probably be a lot of fun.

“It’s a date,” she said, only to freeze the instant the word slipped through her lips.  “Just don’t wear anything too tall,” she quickly added.  “I don’t want to look like a dwarf next to you.”

“Got it.”  Laughing now, Ruby snuck a smile Weiss’ way.  “You’ll just have to approve my outfit like you used to in school!”

“I can do that.”  

Taking in Ruby’s current outfit, which was impeccable, Weiss shook her head but said nothing.  Surely, Ruby understood that she didn’t need Weiss’ fashion advice anymore - though telling someone not to wear their t-shirt backwards or to tie their shoes probably shouldn’t count as fashion advice. 

“So...how was it?” Ruby asked, glancing Weiss’ way as they aimlessly strolled across the street.  “Coming back to Vale, I mean?”  

“It was...surprising,” she admitted, and Ruby’s brow rose.

“Surprising?”

“I guess...I thought things would be the same as how they were in elementary school.”  Understanding just how wrong she’d been, she shook her head.  “I know it was dumb,” she added before Ruby pointed out the obvious.  “But I never stopped and thought that if I grew up, why couldn’t...Vale...have done so too?” 

“But that’s a good thing, right?  That things changed?”

Very good,” Weiss replied with a nod and hopefully-subtle look at Ruby.  

They were both adults now, which became apparent every time she saw the gorgeous, confident young woman beside her and experienced the corresponding rush of emotions.  Things were the same - they were still friends - but there was something more to it now.  Something that hadn’t been there before.

“What’s one of the first things you’ll do once you’re officially back?” Ruby asked next, and Weiss took another small bite of her ice cream while mulling over an answer. 

“I’m buying you a dozen red velvet cookies from that bakery you showed me.”

“So you can watch me eat them all?” Ruby asked, and a surprised laugh slipped through her lips when Weiss nodded.  “Only a dozen though?”

“What do you mean only a dozen?”

“At least give me a challenge.  You know I like a challenge.” 

When Ruby winked, the memory of their previous challenge rushed into Weiss’ thoughts.  She couldn’t let Ruby win so easily this time though - she had some pride, after all.

“Fine, three dozen.”

Three dozen?  Do I have to eat them all in one sitting?”

As entertaining as that sounded, and possibly horrible depending on how Ruby’s stomach handled it, Weiss shook her head.

“I’ll give you a day.”

“What do I get if I eat them all?”

“Name your price.”

“A kiss.”

The answer was so fast and certain, Weiss couldn’t help wondering if Ruby had wanted that all along.  And if Ruby had wanted that all along...did she really want another kiss that badly?

“I agree to those terms…” Weiss replied, and Ruby grinned back at her.

“Should we shake on it or kiss to seal the deal?”  

Laughing at the tease, Weiss shook her head and gave Ruby’s shoulder a light shove.  It was so hard to tell if Ruby was joking sometimes, which made it impossible for Weiss to know whether or not she could accept.  

“Trying to steal a reward before winning it?” she joked in return, opting for the safest answer.  “I’m shocked by your gall, Ruby Rose.”

While Ruby chuckled at the response, Weiss smiled and snuck several glances Ruby’s way.  She was shocked, honestly, but pleasantly so.  Actually, everything about Ruby was a pleasant surprise so far, and Weiss had no reason to believe that would stop anytime soon.

“Man…” Ruby sighed as they crossed the street and headed into a small, city park.  “Today’s been awesome.”

“It has been.”

“Tonight, too,” Ruby added.  “I’ve always wanted to just walk around and talk to you.  Having ice cream only makes it better.”

When Ruby raised what was left of her ice cream and broke off a piece of the cone, Weiss smiled and swirled her spoon around the somewhat-melted remains in her waffle bowl.  That comment reminded her of what Yang said yesterday - about how Ruby held her in such high regard - and now felt like the right time to finally bring it up.

“Ruby…” 

“Hey Ruby!”  

They both turned towards the sound of Ruby’s name, and Weiss nearly sighed out loud at what she found - two beautiful blondes, dressed to the nines in their little black dresses and heels, with eyes only for Ruby.

“We thought it was you!” one of them said while the other walked over and hugged Ruby.  Both of them looked like they couldn’t believe their luck at having spotted Ruby out and about on a Sunday night, which, honestly, Weiss couldn’t blame them for.

“Hey guys,” Ruby responded with a friendly smile.  “What’re you up to?”

“Melissa’s having a party,” one of them answered before a flirty smile slipped onto her lips.  “And you should come with us.”

“Please?” the other added before Ruby could respond.  “Everyone will want to see you.  Besides, you still owe me a dance.”  

When she tapped Ruby’s nose and giggled, Weiss resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

“Sorry, but I’m hanging out with Weiss tonight.”  

The moment Ruby looped her arm through Weiss’, the pair locked onto her with renewed interest.  Just like what happened with the girl in the ice cream parlor, questions flashed through their eyes as they struggled to find the appropriate label to apply.  Friend?  Girlfriend?  Nobody?

“You should both come,” Blonde #1 bargained, and Weiss could practically read the thoughts going through her mind.  Just get Ruby to the party...then separate her from the unfortunate sidekick.

“Yeah, the more the merrier!”  

Blonde #2 gave Weiss a much friendlier look.  Very friendly, actually.  The type of look that suggested she’d rather join than separate Weiss from Ruby.

“Sorry, but we’ve gotta get up early.”  

When Ruby smiled at Weiss, Weiss smiled right back.  She probably looked like a lovestruck idiot doing so, but she didn’t care.  All that mattered was that while these girls wanted Ruby’s attention, she was the one who had it.  She may not fully understand how or why she had it, but that didn’t change the fact that she did, and she felt exceptionally special about it.

“Alright…”  Accepting that no progress would be made tonight - at least, not with Weiss around - they gave their best pouts before leaving.  “You’ll come next time though?”

“I’ll try.  Just let me know when?”

Ruby’s response was about as noncommittal as could be, but they still smiled as if she just agreed to date both of them at once.  

“I’ll text you!” Blonde #1 agreed, only for her friend to send her a look.

I’ll text you too,” she added.  

Fortunately for their pride, they walked away before they started elbowing each other and pulling each other’s hair.  Left in their wake, and with another...experience...to sort through, Weiss stared after them for a few seconds before chuckling to herself.

“How do you know them?” she asked as she and Ruby continued their stroll through the park.  

“The taller one ran track with me, but she graduated last year.  Shorter one ran for our rival school.  She’s always been more...flirty...than competitive.”

“Shocking,” Weiss replied with a soft scoff, and Ruby sent her a confused glance.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean…what happened to Ruby Rose?”  

“What?”

“Look at you!”  This time, Weiss stopped and motioned towards Ruby, who looked down at herself as if unable to see what the rest of the world saw.  “You’re gorgeous, smart, talented, and everyone loves you.  Even people who’ve only just met you want to date you!  You’re basically...Vale’s biggest heartthrob.” 

I’m a heartthrob?  What about you?”  

When Weiss chuckled and dropped the remainder of her ice cream in the nearest bin, Ruby kept in front of her and held her gaze.  

“You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met, Weiss.  You’re so graceful and funny, and I love spending time with you just like I did back in grade school.”

“Compared to you, I’m no more than average.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Ruby argued.  “You’re amazing.  I’ve never met anyone like you, or anyone that makes me so happy.  Like you’re my own personal ray of sunshine.”

“And you’re like some...hot, irresistible goddess I just want to put my hands all over.”

“...wait, really?”

Hearing the surprise in Ruby’s tone, and seeing it written on her face, Weiss realized she might have said too much.  But there was no turning back now, so she sighed and waved towards every inch of breathtakingly-sexy beauty Ruby owned.

“Ruby, please look at yourself,” she said while doing exactly that.  “I’ve been trying not to drool over you all weekend.”

“You...think I’m attractive?”

From Ruby’s awestruck expression, she’d never heard that before.  It was adorable and humble and completely inaccurate, but Weiss wouldn’t dare do anything to take away the hope in Ruby’s silver eyes.

“Of course I do…”

Any worry that she shouldn’t have admitted that much - that she might ruin their friendship or come off as desperate - disappeared when the biggest, brightest smile appeared on Ruby’s lips.  Anything worthy of such a smile couldn’t be a mistake, which Weiss believed even more firmly when Ruby stepped towards her.

“Does that mean you’re attracted to me?”

That seemed like the obvious conclusion to Weiss’ admission, but Ruby wanted her to say it aloud.  Ruby wanted to hear it and, surprisingly, Weiss wanted to put those words out into the open.  Whatever happened next, happened.  The least she could be was honest.

“Of course I am.”

When Ruby’s grin widened and she edged even closer, her proximity made Weiss’ skin tingle with anticipation.  But she didn’t shy away from the intent gaze.  She held onto it and longed for more.

“You know…” Ruby whispered, her eyes briefly leaving Weiss’ to look her up and down.  “My mom always said that you never forget your first crush...and you were mine.”  

“We were in elementary school…” Weiss pointed out, though her focus waned when Ruby set a hand on her hip and gave her a small, heart-melting smile.

“I know, but you were always so pretty and smart, and you let me follow you around even though you wouldn’t let anyone else.  You didn’t even want Yang around.”

“I wasn’t very fond of Yang…” Weiss mumbled, remembering all the jokes Yang used to play.  Her energy had been a little...annoying...back then, but Weiss also hadn’t learned how to handle the teasing yet.

“I know,” Ruby replied, her smile never wavering as her other hand settled on Weiss’ other side.  “But that made me feel really special.  You didn’t like anyone else, but you liked me.  I got to hang out with you at recess, and sit next to you at lunch, and go over to your house on the weekend - no one else got to do that.”

That was true and, when put that way, emphasized just how much Weiss had opened up to Ruby.  Ruby was the only one she’d ever invited over to her house.  Ruby was the only one she ever bought or planned out gifts for.  Ruby was the only one she ever trusted enough to do any of those things with.

“I was so sad when you moved away…”  One of Ruby’s hands trailed up Weiss’ side with the words, making her breath catch in her throat and her heart miss several beats.  “I felt like I lost the only friend I would ever have.”

“Ruby…”

“It’s ok.”  Before Weiss apologized for something that had been out of her control, Ruby shook her head and regained her smile.  “It ended up ok.  I needed to learn how to be my own person rather than just following you and Yang around.  Still...I always wondered what you’d be like now...”

When Ruby smiled and gently brushed Weiss’ hair behind her ear, Weiss leaned into the touch and felt her longing grow.

“I told Yang so many times that if I ever saw you again, I’d ask you out.  But when you got here, I lost the nerve.  Sure, you kissed me for good luck, but I convinced myself that was only because you were playing along with me.”

“Do you really think I go around kissing people for good luck?” Weiss asked, and Ruby chuckled at the disbelief.

“Some people are like that, right?  It was easy to convince myself it meant nothing.”

“It didn’t mean nothing.”  

The assurance slipped easily through Weiss’ lips, as the meaning behind Yang’s words and all the subtle teases over the weekend became clear.  Ruby liked her, and apparently had for quite some time.  Even though their lives led them in separate directions, Ruby held onto those feelings and let them grow into something much more.

Weiss wouldn’t argue how, when, where, or why it happened.  All that mattered was that Ruby liked her and, based on how rapidly her heart was beating right now, she liked Ruby too.

“Then, I’ve been wondering…when you move back to Vale, do you think we can...see each other?”

“You mean...date?”

It sounded too good to be true, and even better when Ruby smiled.

“Yes.  Will you go out with me?”

That was probably the easiest question Weiss had ever been asked, and her heart responded with a leap of joy.

“I’d love to.”

“Yeah?”  Ruby’s infectious smile only made Weiss’ elation grow, and she nodded as a laugh slipped out.

“Of course, Ruby.  I’d love nothing more than to go out with you.”

With one of Ruby’s hands still on her waist, Weiss felt her heart beat even faster when Ruby gently lifted her chin.  Ruby’s grin had now reached another level of happiness - happiness Weiss would gladly be the source of - as she looked into Weiss’ eyes.

And when Ruby leaned forward, Weiss realized that this wasn’t just a good luck kiss.  It wasn’t a teasing kiss.  It wasn’t a one-time kiss.  When Ruby kissed her this time, it was a first kiss.  The first of many, as butterflies fluttered through her chest and her heart warmed at the soft, caring, lingering touch.

The gentle kiss was enough to take her breath away, yet she craved more.  That feeling became especially strong when Ruby pulled back and searched Weiss’ eyes for assurance that the intimacy was ok.

It was more than ok.  And, feeling emboldened by the admissions that finally made it out into the open, Weiss ran her fingers through Ruby’s hair before rolling up onto the balls of her feet and drawing Ruby into another kiss.

This one was more desirous than the first, but that didn’t stop Weiss from pressing closer the instant Ruby hummed at the touch.  The kiss seamlessly deepened from there, as Weiss gave in to the wants she’d felt ever since setting eyes on Ruby again, and Ruby responded with an intensity that suggested Weiss wasn’t alone.

She certainly wasn’t alone in those passions now, with Ruby matching every escalation of that kiss and then some.  Their hands began to explore this time, taking pleasure in this newfound closeness and blanket permissions.  Their lips remained locked together, only parting when Ruby’s tongue slid into Weiss’ mouth. Their breaths deepened, becoming more labored as every bit of air was spent on each other.  Even then, it felt like there was so much further to go...so much more of this new side to Ruby that Weiss wanted to experience.

A car horn reminded her that now might not be the best time or place, as they were still standing in the middle of a busy, public park.  So, with a blush already on her cheeks, she broke away from the kiss and glanced away while tucking her hair behind her ear.

“U-um,” she said before clearing her throat.  That did nothing to wipe the Ruby-induced haze from her mind, which refused to dissipate even as the kiss ended.  “Maybe we should...continue somewhere more private…”

“Like at the apartment?” Ruby suggested, her grin even brighter than before.  “Think it’s safe?”

“I don’t particularly care if it isn’t...”

Thankfully, Weiss didn’t have to say more than that.  Looking beyond-ecstatic about what just happened, Ruby offered a hand to her, which she didn’t hesitate to accept.  Her heart raced with exhilaration, excitement, and anticipation of what was to come, but she knew she wouldn’t regret any of this one bit.

Before tonight, becoming friends with Ruby was probably the best thing that ever happened to her.  Through Ruby’s friendship, she learned patience, she learned kindness, and she realized how wonderful it was to open up and trust others outside of her family.  If she never became friends with Ruby, and to a lesser extent Yang, she might never have lowered the walls she built around herself.

After moving away, she nearly fell back into the same behaviors that made her the most difficult child on the playground.  Instead of embracing solitude, however, she searched for and made new friends.  None of them reached the level of closeness she shared with Ruby until Blake came along - a girl eerily similar to who she’d once been.

She was a better person because Ruby, for reasons unbeknownst to her, insisted upon being her friend.  That significance only made it more tragic that they drifted apart.  But, at the same time, that absence hardly mattered now, as Weiss’ heart beat happily in her chest and her smile refused to fall even a fraction of an inch.

Maybe they lost time, but they could make up for it.  They would make up for it - beginning tonight, as she planned on expressing just the beginning of her gratitude for her long-time friend...turned heartthrob, turned girlfriend.

Chapter Text

Were it not for feeling the bed dip beneath her, Weiss might not have woken until late in the day.  Instead, deep slumber left her in a jolt of memories and an even more pleasant confirmation of the night before.

“Shoot,” Ruby sighed while settling back into bed.  “Sorry...I didn’t mean to wake you, but you kinda stole all the covers and I got a little cold.”

Glancing down, Weiss found that she had, in fact, wrapped all of Ruby’s covers around herself.  She also found that she was still...lacking in attire…while Ruby now wore a loose tee and sweatpants.  Ruby had nothing underneath her shirt though, which Weiss could clearly see.  That knowledge, plus wondering if Ruby had forgone all undergarments, brought the first blush of the day to her cheeks.

“Are you always a blanket hog?” 

“I wouldn’t know…” Weiss mumbled, loosening the covers from beneath her and blushing deeper when Ruby showed no hesitation lifting them and sliding underneath.  

“Next time I’m making sure you wrap me up with you!”

The response, coupled with Ruby’s warmth, turned up the heat on her cheeks but also spread like a pleasant dream through her chest.

“How’d you sleep?” Ruby asked next, her voice quiet but her gaze never leaving Weiss while casually sliding a hand across her arm.  The touch elicited goosebumps in no time, and Weiss reminded herself to breathe.

“Really well,” she answered just as softly.  “What about you?”  

The way Ruby beamed was more than enough of an answer, and Weiss smiled at the blatant joy.  Seeing Ruby so happy made her feel absurdly happy as well, especially knowing that she played something of a starring role in that bliss.

Really well,” Ruby replied before pressing forward, prompting Weiss onto her back in the process.  “Probably better than I’ve ever slept...” Ruby added while seamlessly moving on top of Weiss and finding her lips for a kiss.

In a single action, memories from last night crowded to the front of Weiss’ mind and desire surged through her veins.  Feeling Ruby on top of her, so strong yet so tender, filled her with the incredible desire to submit and resist at the same time.  To hold her own or surrender and let Ruby have her way.

Ruby had already proven herself quite adept at sending Weiss to never before experienced levels of euphoria, and her lips suggested another encore was in order.  At least, that was Weiss’ hope as Ruby’s hand crawled up her bare side and chest.

But the kiss didn’t deepen.  Instead, it sweetened, becoming lighter and softer yet just as filled with emotions.  Ruby pulled away not long after, and her glowing smile held Weiss’ hunger at bay.

“Last night was ok, right?” 

“Weren’t you there?” Weiss asked, an amused smile creeping onto her lips as Ruby settled onto the bed beside her.  “Did it not seem ok?” she asked while rolling onto her side to face Ruby.

“It seemed...more than ok.”  The soft blush on Ruby’s cheeks did nothing to ease Weiss’ permanent red glow, but Ruby quickly cleared her throat and shook the adorable bashfulness away.  “I just mean...I wanted to make sure I didn’t rush you.”

“Of course not.  You didn’t feel rushed, did you?”

“Are you kidding me?  I got to sleep with the girl of my dreams - I’m two steps away from heaven right now.”

“God, you’re going to make me blush again...” Weiss muttered while pulling up the blankets to cover her steaming cheeks. 

“I’m just being honest!”

Feeling a tug on the covers, Weiss willingly released her grasp and let Ruby pull them back down.  The smile on Ruby’s lips betrayed softness and affection, but the subtle hunger in her silver eyes reignited Weiss’ desires.  

It was still a little unbelievable that Ruby held on to those feelings this entire time, but Weiss wouldn’t question it.  She couldn’t question it anymore.  Not with the way Ruby looked at her, and kissed her, and definitely not after the way Ruby treated her last night - like a queen deserving of everything she asked for...and then some things she didn’t ask for but would certainly ask for in the future.

“You didn’t rush me,” she stated as matter-of-factly as possible, though Ruby’s undeniable magnetism was eroding her concentration.  Especially with Ruby’s loose-fitted shirt draping off one of her shoulders and exposing a perfect, very-kissable collarbone...  “I was...am...more than willing to do...that...with you.”

The honesty worked, as Ruby’s grin brightened the entire room and lifted Weiss’ heart.

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

“Depends…” Weiss’ ability to play coy wouldn’t last long, but she would take advantage while she could.  “What do you think I’m saying?”

“That you’re not tired?”

Ruby knew exactly what Weiss was talking about - her mirthful eyes said as much - but she refused to take the shortcut to their inevitable conclusion.  Just as well...apparently, Weiss loved a certain amount of torturous teasing.

“Not quite...” she answered, pressing closer and feeling her lust spike when Ruby’s gaze briefly dropped from hers.  The glance lasted no more than a second but confirmed that Ruby was equally willing to start the day with a bang.

But it wasn’t meant to be, as two knocks interrupted the moment and drew their attention to the door.

“Hey Weiss?” Blake whispered, abruptly reminding Weiss that they had a train to catch.  “You up yet?”

“Uh, yes,” Weiss called back, glancing at Ruby and wondering just how fast she could get clothes on.

“Is Ruby in there with you?”

“Um...yes to that too.”  

Weiss really couldn’t say anything other than that, considering Ruby was in here and implying otherwise would make it impossible to explain her lack of clothing and Ruby’s absence from the rest of the apartment.  Still, she could practically see Blake’s smirk - somewhere between amused and smug at Weiss’ current predicament.

“Guessing I shouldn’t come in then?” Blake asked, and now Weiss could hear the smirk as well as seeing it.

“Can you give us a few minutes?”

This time, Blake laughed - but there was another laugh added in there.  Yang.  Of course.  Yang was just outside too.

“Can you just bring my bag to the station?” Blake asked.  “Yang and I can head over now.”

“Sure.  Absolutely.  We’ll do that.”

Wondering if the embarrassment would continue, Weiss sighed in relief when Blake and Yang’s voices moved away from the door.  That wasn’t the end of the conversation - she knew that much - but she’d been granted a reprieve during which she could prepare herself for Blake’s inevitable teasing.

“Sorry…” Ruby said after not too long.  “Guess I should’ve snuck out early...”

“It’s ok, really.  She would’ve found out anyway.”  

Of that, Weiss was certain.  Merely thinking about keeping a secret from Blake was enough to raise Blake’s suspicions.  Besides, with how elated Weiss felt right now, she wouldn’t even make it onto the train without spilling the beans on her own.

Thinking about the train yet again, she sighed and wrapped some of the covers around herself.  

“I should get ready to leave…” she said while sitting up, only for Ruby to groan and collapse onto the bed. 

“I was hoping you’d forget...” 

“How could I forget something like that?”

“I’d distract you!”

The cute, innocent answer belied the less-than-innocent methods Ruby had at her disposal, which could very conceivably, and quickly, make Weiss forget pesky obligations such as work.  Honestly, if Blake hadn’t knocked, she might have already forgotten and missed her ride home.

“Sure I can’t convince you to stay?” Ruby asked while rolling out of bed and stretching her hands towards the ceiling.  In doing so, her shirt lifted above her midriff, revealing a soft, toned stomach that Weiss definitely hadn’t touched or kissed enough yet.

“You could take off your shirt…” she mumbled, too busy staring at the private show to consider her words.  That turned out to be a mistake as, after a brief look of confusion, Ruby grinned and grabbed the bottom of her shirt.

“No, don’t take off your shirt!” Weiss sputtered before flopping back on the bed and covering her eyes with one arm.  At this rate, she was one stray glance away from a nosebleed, and that feeling only grew when Ruby climbed on top of her.

“But you told me to...”

“Don’t listen to me.”

“Ok, then I’m not letting you leave.”

“I’m supposed to go to work today!” Weiss pointed out, opening her eyes and accidentally looking right down Ruby’s shirt.

“You can go to work tomorrow,” Ruby replied with a grin, having caught the stray glance.

“Blake’s waiting for me at the train station.”

“Text her and tell her you can’t make it.”

“Like that won’t be obvious...”

“Maybe she’ll get jealous and skip work too,” Ruby mused.  

Sighing at the incredibly-convincing argument, Weiss looked up at Ruby and tried to decide what to do.  She didn’t want to go to work today.  She didn’t want to return to Atlas.  She didn’t want to leave Ruby.  If she didn’t leave now, however, she might never - then what job would send her back to Vale to stay?

“If I trusted my self-control, I’d stay in a heartbeat.”  With that admission out of the way, she ran her hands up Ruby’s sides, dragging the shirt up with it, and heard something approaching a whine slip through her lips.  “But I don’t think I have any left…”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Ruby teased before grabbing Weiss’ hands and pinning them to the bed above her head.  The new position instantly got Weiss’ heart going, thundering in her chest while Ruby leaned close enough that their lips were just inches apart.  “If you want to leave, you’re gonna have to get me off you.  And I know you can move your hips now.”

Resolve waning, and blush increasing, Weiss struggled through conflicting desires.  On the one hand, she didn’t have to go to work.  Today, or tomorrow, or...any day, really.  On the other hand...she already implied several times that she could financially support Ruby...and Blake was waiting for her…

“How am I supposed to do that with the covers…?”  

When Weiss nodded towards the blankets - the only things keeping her decency alive - Ruby grinned.

“Guess you’ll have to make a sacrifice then.”

“By ‘sacrifice,’ you mean completely exposing myself,” Weiss pointed out, this time to Ruby’s laughter.

“Nothing I haven’t seen before, right?” she teased.  Before Weiss thought of a rebuttal, however, Ruby released her hands, gave her a quick kiss, and got up.

Disappointment stirred in her chest at the sudden lack of Ruby’s proximity, but she blew a breath through her lips before carefully wrapping the bed sheet around her and standing up.  While Ruby picked up her shirt from last night, which had been hastily discarded upon their return, Weiss noticed that her own outfit hadn’t made it very far from the door.  

Maybe she should feel embarrassed about how quickly she shed her clothes, with Ruby’s help of course, but she was also strangely proud.  She showed no hesitation because that was what she wanted - this was what she wanted - and she pursued it with a sense of reckless abandon that proved as much.

“I’ll get changed,” she murmured, grabbing a new outfit from her bag and pointing to the bathroom.  Earning Ruby’s nod, she headed that way and hurried through her morning routine.

Now that her senses were returning to her, she realized that this morning’s late wake-up left little time to get ready.  The first train left within the hour, meaning she had to rush if she wanted any hope of making it on time.  Usually, she set alarms to avoid such a frantic situation, but the failsafe had been forgotten in the midst of last night’s...activities…

After getting ready in a mad dash, she returned to the room and found that Ruby had already changed into more appropriate, outside attire.  And, as usual, she looked impeccable and stunning.

“How’d you learn to dress so well?” Weiss asked, sneaking more than a few glances Ruby’s way while shoving her belongings into her bag.

“Yang made me read a bunch of fashion magazines.  Said if I ever wanted to impress you, I had to out dress you.”  After a brief pause to consider the memory, Ruby giggled.  “And undress you...” she added, and Weiss blushed yet again.

“Well...you’ve accomplished both of those things…” 

As soon as Weiss’ bag was packed, she moved over to Blake’s and stuffed a pair of pajamas and some toiletries inside.  Once confident nothing was being left behind, she zipped Blake’s bag closed and stood up.

“Alright -”  She hardly reached for the handle of Blake’s bag before Ruby stepped forward and motioned for it.

“At least let me carry one,” Ruby added, to which Weiss easily acquiesced.  

Ruby’s help made carrying her own bag easier, as she shifted the strap upon her shoulder and looked around the room one last time.  In the few seconds she had left, she memorized as much of the space as possible - what it looked like, what it smelled like, what it felt like to be enveloped in Ruby’s presence.  She wouldn’t be gone for long, but she wanted to take as much of this feeling home with her...to tide her over until she returned.

“Alright,” she repeated after dwelling on Ruby’s room as long as possible.  “I think that’s everything.”

“You probably don’t have time for breakfast, do you?” Ruby asked while following Weiss out of the room.  

After glancing at the time, Weiss sighed and shook her head.

“Unfortunately not.  I’ll just eat on the train.”

“Then I owe you breakfast.  No arguing either!  I can’t have a girl spend the night and not make her breakfast in the morning.”

“You’re too sweet.”  Pausing by the door, Weiss turned to Ruby and, aided by newfound confidence earned last night, kissed her cheek.  “I’ll absolutely accept that offer.”

“Good.”  

With that settled, Ruby opened the door, grabbed Weiss’ hand, and led them out of the apartment.  The nonchalance of the gesture didn’t match Weiss’ butterflies, but she smiled and gave a silent thanks that Ruby was so confident and assured of her feelings.  

“Thank you,” Weiss said as they headed downstairs and out into the early morning sun.  When Ruby sent her an inquisitive look, she nodded towards the apartment building being left behind.  “For letting us stay with you and...spending so much time with me this weekend.”

By this point, she understood that Ruby had always intended on spending as much time together as possible.  While not at all what Weiss expected coming into this weekend, she was happy that it came to pass - not just because of last night, either.  Reconnecting with Ruby was wonderful for reasons other than that, though that was a pretty remarkable advancement in their relationship.

“Of course!  I loved having you here.  And I’m pretty sure Yang loved it too.  That’s just a guess though - not totally sure.”

Chuckling at the joke, Weiss glancing around somewhat-familiar streets and relished the opportunity to walk hand-in-hand with Ruby.  Would their obvious relationship status keep the admirers at bay?  Maybe some, but probably not all.  Surprisingly, she didn’t mind, as it was a uniquely pleasurable experience to watch so many people chase after Ruby.  Validation, perhaps?  Confirmation that Ruby was that attractive and was worth making a pass at.  And, most importantly, Ruby deserved the adoration.

“So what was your favorite part of the weekend?” Ruby asked, only to grin when Weiss sent her a disbelieving look.  “I’ll try not to let that go to my head,” she added with a laugh.  “Second-most favorite part then?”

When another memory stuck out in Weiss’ mind, she smiled and shook her head.

“How about favorite part outside of the apartment?” Ruby asked after catching on.  “Somewhere I can take you again, like if we...I dunno...go on a date or something?”

Realistically, Weiss would go anywhere with Ruby if they called it a date.  A truck stop, a haunted house, a landfill...any of those sounded enjoyable so long as Ruby was nearby.  Understanding what Ruby actually wanted though - the ability to make tailored plans for the future - she thought through the events of the weekend before landing upon her answer.

“I loved watching your track meet.”

“Really?”  Ruby looked thrilled by the news, and even more so when Weiss nodded.  “That’s awesome!  Because I loved having you there.  And the...good luck part, and stuff...but mostly just trying to impress you.”

“You definitely impressed me,” Weiss admitted.  “Not just me, either.”

“Well I don’t care about anyone else,” Ruby replied, laughing and waving off the thought of others.  “When you’re back, want to come to another meet?”

“Can I come to all of them?”

“Y-yeah!  Absolutely!  I mean, I’d love that, but you don’t have to or anything...”

“I know.”  Knowing Ruby was being adorably considerate, as usual, Weiss smiled and squeezed her hand.  “I want to.  To watch but also to support you.

“Which makes you an amazing girlfriend.”

Both of them briefly froze at the term, their steps faltering midair before continuing with Weiss’ smile and Ruby’s laugh.

“Sounds so weird and awesome.”  Smiling, Ruby lightly swung her hand back and forth, taking Weiss’ hand right along with it.  “Never thought it’d happen, but now you’re here and…”  After taking a deep breath, she exhaled and shook her head.  “We’ve been apart for a while, but I still feel like I know you.  At the same time...I want to know you so much better.”

“I understand the feeling,” Weiss replied, and the two of them shared a smile before lapsing into comfortable silence.

For as long as they had been apart, one might expect some awkwardness between them.  Instead, there was a sense of familiarity in nearly everything Ruby did, and an ease in being around each other.  At the same time, Ruby’s words and actions stirred an incredible desire to learn everything there was to know about her.  But that would come in time - time Weiss would willingly devote to the person she should have devoted time to all along.

“So I was thinking...maybe I could visit you next weekend?”  When Weiss looked over, Ruby gave a hopeful smile.  “I can help you pack!” she even offered, must to Weiss’ amusement.

“I don’t know anyone who wants to help someone pack.”

“I love to pack!” Ruby said, but her bravado dwindled when Weiss raised one brow.  “Ok, it’s a bit of a pain and I’m probably not as good at it as you, but I can carry boxes and feed you chocolate-covered strawberries?”

Now Weiss was imagining Ruby carrying heavy boxes, flexing her enviable muscles and physique while breaking a sweat for Weiss’ sake.  She would probably want to shower after, in Weiss’ shower, before cuddling in bed and eating chocolate-covered strawberries...

“Are you trying to be perfect or does it just come naturally?” Weiss eventually asked, her mystification drawing another laugh.

“I just thought it sounded fun!  And I know you’re moving back soon, but I really want to spend time with you now too.”

The feeling couldn’t be more mutual, as Weiss still struggled with the idea of leaving today.  The hope of Ruby visiting this weekend though, or even the next weekend, eased the sting of separating this morning.  And Ruby only just brought it up, but Weiss was already excited for it.

“Yes, absolutely.  Whenever you’re free, you’re more than welcome.”  

“Cool.  Plan on it then!”

Weiss was already doing exactly that, and her heart skipped a beat when Ruby sent another gorgeous smile her way.  Knowing that Ruby would visit her was a wonderful feeling.  Knowing that Ruby wanted to visit her made it feel like she could float right off the sidewalk in bliss.

It was with that undeniable hop in her step that the train station came into view, but her imminent departure didn’t bother her nearly as much now.  Today was Monday, after all, which meant the weekend, and their reunitement, was only a few days away.

“There they are,” Ruby said as they crossed the street.  With their joined hands, she gestured towards Blake and Yang, currently sitting on one of the benches outside the station.  

From the look of it, the two girls were even closer than before.  Yang had an arm wrapped around Blake’s shoulders while whispering in her ear - something she found amusing or exciting based on her smile and the way her hand rested on Yang’s thigh.  They were in good spirits though, as they should be after the night they had.

“Hey guys!” Ruby called out, drawing their attention away from each other.

“Look who finally made it,” Yang teased while standing, her hand immediately seeking out Blake’s to hold.

“I’m honestly surprised.”

Amusement sparkled in Blake’s eyes as she accepted her bag from Ruby, but Weiss rolled her eyes in response.

“If I stayed, who would keep you company on the way home?”

“Who says I’d leave without you?”

“You have a presentation this week,” Weiss pointed out, but Blake shrugged as her gaze slipped to Yang.

“Maybe I came down with food poisoning or something.”

“From all that fish you ate,” Yang chimed in with a grin that made Blake’s cheeks rosy.

“There’s no such thing as ‘too much’ fish.”

“Oh really?”  Yang’s grin widened as she turned towards Blake, who had regained enough composure to shake her head.  “We should test that theory sometime.”

“Ready whenever you are.”

“God, you two,” Weiss interrupted and shook her head while Ruby giggled from beside her.  “Can you turn it down to an eleven, at least?”

“Funny…we thought the same about you last night.”

Blake won that round, as the fire igniting in Weiss’ cheeks confirmed.  Any rebuttal risked even more embarrassment, however, so Weiss remained quiet while Ruby kissed her temple.

“I enjoyed it,” Ruby whispered as additional assurance before pulling away and waving towards the train parked on the tracks above them.  “Guess you guys have to get going soon?”  

The speakers answered Ruby’s question, coming to life with a peal of static before announcing the first train’s impending departure.

“Or like now,” she added while a few other passengers in the area made their way upstairs.  “Let’s head up there.  Don’t want you to be late.”

Still holding Weiss’ hand, Ruby led them up the nearest staircase to the platform above.  The train’s doors stood open, welcoming guests on board, while the screens on the wall reminded everyone that only a few minutes separated them from departure time.

“So…I’ll see you soon?”  

Stopping near one of the empty cabins, Ruby turned Weiss towards her and smiled.  Realizing this was where they parted for now, Weiss felt no hesitation wrapping her arms around Ruby’s neck and drawing her in for a long, immensely-satisfying kiss.  In that moment, it didn’t matter who might be watching.  All that mattered was Ruby’s soft lips against hers, and Ruby’s hands settling upon the small of her back, pulling her even closer.

Her resolve nearly left her again, but she managed to hold onto one last shred - just enough to convince her to pull away when the speakers began the final boarding message.

“God, you’re hot…” Ruby breathed out, still holding Weiss close while Blake and Yang wrapped up their own version of a goodbye.

“That’s my line,” Weiss replied, smiling while running her fingers through Ruby’s hair one last time.  Being this intimate with one another felt incredibly good and...right, somehow.  As if her heart also knew that this was someone she could trust, even after all this time.

“I’ll talk to you soon, ok?”  After Ruby nodded, Weiss kissed her again and backed towards the train.  “Blake,” she said, finally breaking apart the more indecent duo.  Once Blake committed to actually leaving, Weiss smiled at Ruby before dragging her onto the train.

“Can you still call yourself a modest person?” Weiss whispered to her friend while choosing two seats by the window.

“I can try...but it might not be true.”

Smiling at the honest answer, Weiss quickly stowed her bag and sat down.  No sooner had she looked outside did Ruby smile and wave at her, providing one last round of butterflies before the doors closed and the train spurred into motion.

The slow, building speed of the train gave her plenty of time to wave in return, and share an eyeroll with Ruby when Yang made a vaguely lewd gesture and winked at Blake.  It wasn’t long after, however, that the train finally left the station, and she sat back in her seat as soon as the two girls disappeared from view.

While the loss of Ruby’s happy, considerate, hot presence was immediately noticeable, it didn’t take much effort to feel excited about the near future instead.  Ruby...in Atlas.  In Weiss’ apartment, Weiss’ bedroom...with chocolate-covered strawberries, perhaps?  And anything else Ruby wanted...Weiss included.

“Is it ok if Yang visits this weekend?” Blake asked, breaking Weiss away from those thoughts.  “She wants to help us pack.”

“Sure...as long as you’re ok with Ruby visiting too.”  

When Blake looked surprised by the response, Weiss nodded to prove that she was, in fact, serious.  Only then did a small, sly smile sneak onto Blake’s lips.

“Did we both just get girlfriends?”  

“It appears that way.

“That’s...a really productive weekend.”

Thinking about all that happened over the course of a few days, Weiss laughed.  They came to Vale with the intention of picking an apartment and ended up with a lot more than they bargained for.  Not that she was complaining, and she wouldn’t change a single thing.

“Should we argue about which one’s hotter?” Blake asked next, and Weiss immediately nodded.

Absolutely.”  

From Blake’s grin, she already knew that neither of them would ever convince the other that Ruby or Yang was hotter.  But that didn’t mean they couldn’t spend the five-hour return trip fawning over the two beauties they just left behind.

“Before that.”  Setting her hands on her lap, Blake met Weiss’ gaze with a serious-though-entertained one of her own.  “How do you feel about moving now?”

Considering her thoughts about Vale at the beginning of the weekend compared to now, Weiss laughed and shook her head. 

“Honestly, I’ve never been more excited about something.”

Ruby’s inherent hotness, while amazing and a joy to ogle at, was only one factor in Weiss’ change in mindset.  More important was Ruby’s demeanor - how much she smiled and how kindly she treated everyone around her - as well as the way she treated Weiss with caring and adoration beyond her wildest dreams. 

But god, Ruby was also just very, very hot.  Who wouldn’t move to Vale for the chance to be with someone like her?