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Oh God...She's Even Hotter at Christmas

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This might be a little late, but Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays! Please enjoy this random Christmas-themed oneshot in the Oh God...She's Hot universe.


“What do you think?”  Picking up a light-blue candle, Yang turned it over in her hands before reading the description printed across the bottom.  “This one’s supposed to help you ‘unwind.’  Lavender blossoms, mild notes of honey, and ‘soft spring air.’” 

“Because hard spring air would absolutely clash,” Ruby joked while Yang sniffed the candle and made a face.

“Smells like flowers.  What do you think?  This one or the ‘rejuvenate’ one?”

When Yang held out the candle, Ruby sniffed and wrinkled her nose at the powerful floral smell.

“I don’t know, Yang...they all smell the same now.”

“You’re right.  They do.”

Pondering that ‘predicament,’ Yang tapped the side of the candle and looked around the bustling candle store.  Over the past fifteen minutes, they’d smelled every possible scent combination known to mankind...all while being jostled by other shoppers angling for last-minute Christmas gifts.

“This is why they should only sell one really amazing candle,” Yang finally concluded.  “Then you walk in, the whole place smells like it, and your nose doesn’t get confused.”

Even though Ruby laughed at the idea, there was a certain amount of genius to it.  Of course, that was her sister in general - a certain amount of genius, and a larger amount of jokes.

“I’m sure people who love only that scent will be thrilled.”

“That’s why you formulate it to appeal to the greatest number of people,” Yang answered before waving off the potential business idea in favor of mulling over two candles she’d separated from the rest.

“Ok, I think we can agree everything smells the same.”  When Yang turned to Ruby for approval and Ruby made a ‘so-so’ gesture, she nodded.  “In that case, we don’t even consider how they smell - which seems counterintuitive since candles are all about how they smell, but whatever.  So...does Weiss need to relax or rejuvenate more?  I’m leaning towards relax.”

“She seems pretty relaxed to me though.”

“Oh, that’s right,” Yang said before tapping Ruby’s arm.  “That’s what she has you for.”

“I mean...you’re not wrong,” Ruby admitted, and smiled when Yang laughed and pushed the blue candle back a few inches.

“Why would I get her a candle to replace what you do?”

“A candle could never replace what I do,” Ruby scoffed, but Yang waved off the response.

“So she doesn’t need help relaxing...and you’re probably all the rejuvenation she needs to...that leaves us with color.  Blue or white?”

“White.”

“Perfect!  See?  That was easy.”  Picking up the white candle, which was literally the first one they’d looked at upon entering the store, Yang grinned.  “I thought white was too obvious.”

“No, she actually really likes white.  Maybe because it looks clean?”

“Unlike her mind,” Yang joked while leading Ruby towards the registers.

Like every store in the mall today, a sizable line had formed as far more people than normal waited to pay.  But crowds were expected on the day before Christmas, as everyone finished their shopping or decided that a trip to the packed mall sounded like a fun time.

“Where to next?” Yang asked as they waited for their turn to pay.

“I just need to pick up what I ordered for Weiss.”

“Then we’re done, right?”

Catching the underlying reason for that question, Ruby playfully elbowed Yang in the side.

“You miss Blake that much already?  You’ve only been separated for like...an hour and a half.”

“But I can feel her nearby,” Yang said, making a grasping motion as if she could pluck Blake out of thin air.  “And when I can feel her nearby, I want to feel her nearby - if you know what I mean.”  

Everyone knew what Yang meant.  At least, everyone who had ever seen Yang and Blake together knew what she meant.  That made her wink entirely unnecessary, but she still did it before laughing at Ruby’s eyeroll.

“You can’t say you don’t feel the same about Weiss,” she teased while nudging Ruby’s shoulder.

“I could,” Ruby said, but managed a straight face for only a second before smiling.  “But I’d be lying.”

Chuckling at the response, Yang took another step forward before glancing at the candle in her hands.

“God, when’d we get so whipped?”

“Pretty sure it was the night we picked them up at the train station.”

“That sounds about right.”

After another soft chuckle, Yang trailed off for the next few moments.  Based on her small, happy smile, she was remembering that night just like Ruby was. 

Ruby had known for basically her entire life that Weiss was the one for her, but it wasn’t until they reconnected that she confirmed it.  Or maybe it was Weiss who confirmed it by growing up to be drop-dead gorgeous, incredible, and irresistible.  And, as fortune had it, Weiss had brought her best friend and roommate with her that night...who Yang immediately fell head over heels for. 

Ruby and Weiss started dating almost immediately after; Yang and Blake did too.  They helped Weiss and Blake finalize their move from Atlas to Vale, into an apartment so close that they saw each other practically every day.  Months in and Ruby still never missed an opportunity to be with Weiss.  She knew Yang felt the same about Blake, which brought them here - Christmas shopping for the two most incredible girls in the world.

“This is enough, right?” Yang asked as they neared the front of the line, gesturing with the candle in her hand.

“It’s the thought that counts,” Ruby reminded her.  “And you put way more thought into a candle than just about anyone in the history of buying candles.”

“I want it to be something she likes!”

“She’ll like it.  Besides, aren’t you giving her some ‘no joking’ cards or something?”

“Shut up cards,” Yang corrected with a big grin.

“Exactly,” Ruby continued.  “Between those and this, she’ll be happy.”

When Yang nodded at the reassurance, seeming to finally accept it, Ruby didn’t bother saying that the candle was probably unnecessary.  Those ‘shut up cards’ were invaluable - even Ruby wanted some - and Weiss would appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into them.

“Next person in line,” one of the employees called out, waving Yang and Ruby over to an open register.  With the line behind them only growing longer, Yang wasted no time walking over to check out, with Ruby following close behind.

Ruby immediately noticed the quick doubletake the girl running the register did when Yang walked up to her.  Yang must have noticed it too - she was way better at picking up those looks than Ruby - but she just smiled and set the candle on the counter.

“Did you find everything alright?” the girl asked while ringing up the candle.

“Sure did - the perfect gift for this girl’s stunning girlfriend.”

When Yang pointed at Ruby before swiping her credit card, the girl glanced between them.

“Does that mean you’re buying it for yourself?” 

“Thank you,” Yang said, responding to the compliment with a chuckle while shaking her head.  “But no.  This is my sister, and she actually has a stunning girlfriend I’m buying this for.”

“Oh.  Sorry, my mistake.”

Now thoroughly embarrassed, the girl busied herself wrapping the candle in tissue paper before putting it in a small bag and grabbing the receipt.

“I hope she likes it,” she said while offering both to Yang, who accepted the items with another soft laugh.

“Me too.  Thanks.”

As the cashier’s attention shifted to the next person in line, Yang made a face at Ruby before motioning for them to leave the candle store behind.

“Why does everyone think we’re dating?” she asked as soon as they reached the general walkway of the mall, with its blissfully-scent free air.

“Because we look nothing alike?” Ruby suggested, but Yang made another face and shook her head.

“This is why we need Blake and Weiss.  No one makes that mistake when they’re around.”

“Because you can’t keep your hands off of Blake when she’s around,” Ruby pointed out as they joined the throngs of people moving from one store to the next.

“The curse of having a super-hot girlfriend...as you’re well aware.”

“Amen to that.”

Laughing at their shared plight, which neither of them would ever complain about, they headed to their final destination - the arts-and-crafts store where Ruby had ordered Weiss’ gift.

The store wasn’t far from the candle shop, but everything felt further when navigating through so many people.  Even though most of them were here for the same reason - buying gifts for loved ones - everyone had a different pace for accomplishing that goal.  For some people, that pace was slow.  Much too slow for people like Ruby, whose normal pace bordered on a jog.

“In a hurry?” Yang teased when Ruby led them near the wall to speed walk around a particularly slow-moving family.

“You know I have long legs.”

“I do.  And I know many people who enjoy watching you use those long legs.”

After making a face at Yang, who laughed at the tease, Ruby shook her head and led them around a few groups standing idly in the middle of the walkway.  Thankfully, the arts-and-crafts store came into view moments later, and she only slowed her pace upon walking inside. 

“Wow, even this place is busy,” Yang remarked as they snuck past a crowd poring over a table of stocking stuffers near the entrance.  The rest of the store was equally busy, with parents, friends, and family searching the shelves stocked with paintbrushes, modeling clay, and a thousand different shades of colored pencils.

The jam-packed aisles extended all the way to the back of the store, where a large counter advertised custom picture framing.  Fortunately, no one was picking up custom orders at the moment, and Ruby walked right up to the counter before looking around for someone to help.  The only employees she saw were manning the registers near the front of the store, where another long line had formed, or fielding questions from nearly every customer they passed.

“I thought you weren’t doing gifts,” Yang said while they waited.

“She’s not allowed to buy me anything, but I can still get something for her.”

“The earrings were that expensive?” Yang asked, her eyes flitting towards the diamond earrings Weiss had given Ruby several months ago.  

“She won’t tell me how much they cost,” Ruby explained while subconsciously touching the small, sparkling stones dangling from her ears.  “Which means they count as a Christmas gift and then some.”

“Why don’t you just let her buy you what she wants?”

“Because then she’ll buy me an island, Yang.”  While Yang chuckled at that thought, which they both knew held an element of truth, Ruby smiled and shook her head.  “I don’t want her to spend a fortune on me.  I just want to spend time with her.”

“God, you’re so sappy…” Yang teased.  “I bet if I told Ruby from a year ago that her childhood crush would practically beg to lavish her with gifts, she’d be over the moon.”

“I’d rather she lavish me with attention.”

“Which she does too,” Yang pointed out, drawing another smile from Ruby as she again touched the earrings.

“Yeah, she definitely does.”

Thinking about Weiss, and the relationship they’d built so far, Ruby suddenly felt restless to be together once more.  That restlessness prompted her to look around the store again, searching for an unoccupied employee to help them finish the last part of their shopping.

“I think you’re supposed to ring the bell.”  

When Yang reached towards the small, silver bell near the register, Ruby swatted her hand away.

“She’s right over there,” Ruby said, nodding to the store employee who had just noticed them and motioned that she would be right over.  “Don’t be annoying.”

“It literally says to ring bell for service.”

“And only annoying people do that.”

“Or people following directions,” Yang argued before she and Ruby smiled at the tired girl stepping behind the counter.

“Sorry about the wait.  It’s a little crazy in here today.”

“No problem,” Ruby replied, waving off the apology.  “We haven’t been here long.”

“And definitely weren’t going to ring that bell,” Yang added, nodding towards the bell.  

“Thank god,” the girl replied with a laugh.  “That thing’s so annoying.”

While Ruby shot Yang a silent ‘I told you so,’ the girl looked between them before her gaze settled on Ruby.

“What can I help you with?”

“I’m here to pick up a picture,” Ruby explained.  “I got a message yesterday that it’s ready.”

“What’s your name?”

“Ruby Rose.”

“Ruby Rose…” the girl repeated before scanning the labels on several boxes leaning against the wall.  Not finding what she was searching for, she looked at several others stacked on the far side of the counter.  “I know I’ve seen that name somewhere…aha.” 

After pulling a small cardboard box from the stack, she set it in front of Ruby.

“Want to open it up and make sure everything’s good?” 

“Sure!”

Wanting to see the end result anyway, Ruby opened the box and pulled out the silver, rectangular frame from inside.  As soon as she turned it around and saw the photograph inside, her heart swooned.

“Oh, that’s super cute,” Yang said while looking over Ruby’s shoulder.

“Isn’t it?”  

Ruby glanced at Yang long enough to catch her nod before smiling at the framed photograph.  Finding the perfect picture had taken longer than expected, but the result was more than worth several hours of sneezing in her dad’s dusty attic.

Before Weiss moved to Atlas, she spent one Christmas with Ruby’s family.  Weiss’ dad had gone on a business trip over the holiday that year, and her mom hadn’t felt like going through the whole Christmas ‘ordeal’ when none of her children believed in Santa Claus anymore.  

As soon as Ruby found out, she’d immediately invited Weiss to her house, and it was one of the best Christmases she remembered.  Her parents had gone out of their way to make Weiss feel included; they even bought her and Ruby matching Christmas sweaters, which they were both wearing in the picture in Ruby’s hands.

“Is that you?”

When the store employee leaned over for a better look, Ruby held up the photograph for her to see.

“Yup!  Me and my best friend when we were little.”  

“That’s adorable.”

Ruby whole-heartedly agreed, even though she looked silly with her hair sticking up in every direction.  Weiss was the adorable one, with her pristine white dress covered by the slightly-baggy, far more comfortable sweater.  Her smile suggested she was humoring the way Ruby leaned against her side, but her eyes gave away her happiness.

“Can you believe I’m dating her now?” Ruby asked, smiling at the image of younger Weiss before looking at the cashier.

“They’re ridiculously adorable too,” Yang added.

“That’s so cute - I’m sure she’ll love this then.  At least, I’m guessing it’s for her?”

“Yup.  For Christmas.”  After turning the frame over in her hands, Ruby slipped it back into the box to keep it safe.  “Now she can’t forget me even when I’m not around.”

“Like she could ever forget you when you’re at her apartment all the time,” Yang teased while the girl scanned the barcode on the back of the box and took Ruby’s card to pay.

“Doesn’t hurt to make sure.”

“I doubt anyone could forget someone like you,” the girl commented while returning Ruby’s card along with a receipt.  When she briefly turned away to find a paper bag fitting the frame, Yang waggled her brow at Ruby, who elbowed her in the side to get her to stop.  Both of them dropped the antics when the perfect-sized bag was found and the cardboard box carefully placed inside.

“Alright, there you go,” she said while handing the bag to Ruby.  “Do you need anything else?”

“That was it, thank you.”  Bag in hand, Ruby smiled and backed away from the counter.  “Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas,” the girl replied, smiling and waving as Ruby and Yang headed back the way they came.

“Alright,” Ruby said as she and Yang rejoined the crowded main walkway.  Motioning Yang off to the side, she stopped and consolidated the bags in her hands.  In an effort to keep things a surprise, the arts-and-crafts bag went into the larger, nondescript bag she got from the bookstore earlier.  “I think we’re done, right?”

“Unless you have something else you want to buy.”

Thinking about the gifts she’d either purchased or planned, Ruby shook her head.  They’d promised not to spend too much on each other this year so, unless it was something they could make for relatively nothing or give with their time, only small gifts were allowed.

“Then we’re done,” Yang concluded with a smile.  “Think they’re ready yet?”

“Most likely,” Ruby said while they left the art store behind.  “They’re always waiting on us.”

“Because they’re way more organized than us.”

“That’s true,” Ruby agreed, smiling as Yang chuckled beside her.

She wouldn’t say they were horribly unorganized, but compared to Weiss and Blake...they might as well be.  Blake, in particular, had a knack for condensing everything into easy-to-follow graphs, tables, or checklists.  That mentality influenced Weiss to do the same - together, forming an incredible duo that always had their shit together.

Whereas Ruby understood Weiss’ quirks pretty well by now, Blake remained a bit of a mystery.  While similar to Weiss in many ways, Blake was different in some aspects Ruby hadn’t quite put her finger on yet.  That made Blake the hardest to shop for, but Ruby had relied on Yang for help - something she didn’t know if she would or wouldn’t regret later.

“You’re sure Blake will like that book, right?” Ruby asked for the third time as they headed towards their designated meeting spot for today - the mall’s large, open ‘courtyard’ area.

“Positive.”

“But there’s so many to choose from…”

“Ruby, trust me,” Yang said, laughing at Ruby’s lack of faith.  “I’ve seen Blake read about a million books by now; I know what she likes.  It just needs a fancy cover with a blonde lead character - the more she looks like me, the better - and a title implying some type of pain like ‘forever heartbreak’ or ‘crimson sorrow.’”

That didn’t sound very scientific, but it was better than Ruby randomly picking a book on her own - the only other option she had.

“You just have her all figured out, don’t you?” she teased as they scooted past a group of high schoolers in the walkway.

“Not in the slightest,” Yang admitted with a laugh.  “But I know what books she likes, and that one’s a winner.”

“Guess we’ll see tomorrow, right?”

When Yang didn’t lose an ounce of her certainty, Ruby accepted the reassurance in her choice of gift for Blake.  With this being their first Christmas together, she didn’t want to spoil the fun by giving Blake a terrible present.  Of course, Blake was too nice to ever say anything - she would just take the book home and never read it.  Worrying about making a good impression on Blake would have to wait until later though, as Ruby’s excitement grew the closer she and Yang drew to the courtyard.

On any given occasion, the mall’s courtyard was used for a variety of special events or holiday gatherings.  With plenty of benches and small tables scattered around the large, circular space acting as a hub for the many hallways branching off of it, it was the perfect place for shoppers to pause before continuing the rest of their mall adventure.

At the moment, an extravagant Santa’s workshop took up the center of the room.  Fake snow lay on the roof and piled on the floor behind red, velvety ropes.  Giant plastic candy canes stood in the ‘yard,’ and yet another line formed - this time parents with small children waiting for their turn to take a picture with the fake Santa waiting inside.

The festive scene didn’t hold Ruby’s attention for long, as her gaze was immediately drawn towards the back of the workshop where Weiss stood with Blake.  As usual, just seeing Weiss made Ruby want to race over - manners be damned - wrap her in a hug and kiss her hello.

The only thing that stopped her, besides not wanting to accidentally knock over a small child in her haste, was that Weiss and Blake weren’t alone.

“Uh...are those elves flirting with our girlfriends?” Yang asked, her pace subconsciously slowing as she and Ruby watched a young man and woman dressed in green-and-red outfits fawn over Blake and Weiss.  

“I’m going to say...yes, definitely.”

By now, Ruby wasn’t even surprised by the attention Weiss garnered everywhere .  From her long, white hair and striking blue eyes to her impeccable outfit and poised demeanor, she easily came across as elegant, gorgeous, and sexy - who wouldn’t want her?  

Usually, her ‘I’m busy’ vibe kept the suitors at bay, but that effect had worn off as soon as the holiday season arrived.  Her eyes sparkled in the Christmas lights, the cold brought out the most adorable blush on her cheeks, and Ruby caught her singing holiday songs whenever there was a quiet moment.  

To Ruby, she was more attractive than ever.  To everyone else, she was suddenly more approachable - approachable enough to make a pass at.

Apparently, two elves had decided to take their chances - a testament to their courage considering the combination of Weiss and Blake was usually enough to scare most people off.  The two close friends were beautiful on their own, but together they could make supermodels insecure.  Plus, their unmistakable aura of intelligence suggested a minimum IQ was necessary to talk to them.

Had Ruby not known Weiss in grade school, she might have been one of those people pining from afar.  Instead, Weiss drew her in like a moth to a flame.  They shared an incredible, unshakable attraction that glowed just as brightly now as it had when they first reconnected.

But, even though Ruby wanted to march over and draw Weiss up into her arms, she paused and watched the interaction from a distance.  Part fascinated by the recent transformation and part amused by the image of Weiss talking to an elf, she chuckled when one of the elves motioned towards Blake’s hair.  He didn’t touch Blake’s hair, thank god, but he got close enough that Yang scoffed. 

“What’s up with people recently?” 

“I told you,” Ruby said, her eyes glued to Weiss’ reaction.  “It’s the holiday spirit.”

“Holiday spirit means it’s open season to hit on our girlfriends?”

Before Ruby could respond, the boy elf told a joke that earned a full laugh from his female counterpart.  Blake and Weiss, meanwhile, smiled at each other as if the elves thinking they were funny was the real laughing matter.

Unfortunately, the elves interpreted those smiles as confirmation of their good humor rather than evidence of being humored.  Grins widening, they edged closer to continue the conversation, broadcasting their interest to anyone watching.

“Ok,” Yang said while the boy elf attempted to flatter Blake some more.  “I know this isn’t very Christmas-y, but we have to put those elves in their place.”

Or we could accept that we have the two hottest girlfriends on the planet,” Ruby suggested.  “Of course they get hit on all the time.”

“Yeah, but...where’s the fun in that?”  When Ruby rolled her eyes, Yang grinned.  “Besides, Blake loves it when I…‘stake my claim,’ if you will.”

“How do you know?”

“She told me.”  While Ruby shook her head at the answer, Yang laughed and lightly slapped her shoulder.  “Come on, you can’t tell me you don’t want to go over there and let them know Weiss is taken.”

Glancing over right as the girl elf laughed and lightly touched Weiss’ elbow, Ruby sighed.  Based on Weiss’ polite smile and the way she kept sharing amused glances with Blake, she was only half-interested in the conversation.  

Even if both elves were world-class flirters, they wouldn’t even enter her thoughts as potential dates.  She was taken, trustworthy, and almost adorably oblivious to people coming on to her.  

What made that trait so funny was that she was good at reading people’s intentions and, as Blake confirmed for Ruby, used to be good at reading romantic interest too.  Now, it was almost as if being in a relationship made her forget that she was dropdead gorgeous and worth every pick-up line sent her way. 

Ruby knew that she didn’t have to worry about anything, so she wasn’t jealous.  But...she was also human, and there was a certain allure to letting two elves know that the beautiful girl they were flirting with - literally the hottest person in the mall today - was going home with her.

“Fine,” she acquiesced, much to Yang’s delight.  “What do you suggest?”

“Nothing outrageous.  We just...go over there and flaunt a little?”  

“So the usual.”

“More or less.”

After running a hand through her hair, Yang looked down and undid one more button on her shirt.  Then she hesitated, clearly thinking about toeing the line between alluring and indecent, so Ruby swatted her hand away.

“Any more and mall security’s escorting you out of here.”

“Alright, alright.  Now you.”

“Now me what?”  When Yang nodded towards Ruby’s top, Ruby scoffed and shook her head.  “I’m not doing that.”

“Come on, Ruby.  You know you’ve got the goods too.”

“That doesn’t mean I have to show everyone!”  

When Yang jokingly reached for Ruby’s shirt, Ruby slapped her hand away and made her laugh.

“Ok, fine,” Yang conceded.  “Then you have to do the smile.”

“What smile?”

“You know, the one that makes people fall in love with you.”

“That’s my normal smile, Yang,” Ruby argued.  “It’s not my fault people like it so much.”

“Uh huh…” Yang replied, playfully rolling her eyes before settling into a smile of her own.  “Just do that, and I’ll do the rest.  Those elves will be running back to Santa in no time.”

“Why are you like this…” Ruby mumbled while Yang grabbed her hand and dragged her towards the unfortunate, unsuspecting elves.  Their only crime was trying to score with two unbelievably attractive girls who happened to be taken by one possessive and one not-as-possessive girlfriend.

That mattered less to Ruby when Weiss finally spotted her - blue eyes locking onto her and a real smile springing onto soft, irresistible lips.  Ruby’s heart fluttered at the silent greeting, and she became an unwittingly willing participant in Yang’s plan as her feet let her over to Weiss on their own.

Blake caught sight of Yang a split second later and, sensing the sudden distraction of their muses, the two elves turned around right as Yang and Ruby reached them.

“Hey you,” Yang said, brushing past the elves without a glance and drawing Blake into a kiss.  That kiss quickly involved some very obvious tongue, but Ruby paid them no mind while focusing on Weiss instead.

As soon as Weiss’ eyes locked onto hers, she smiled - not because Yang told her to, but because she couldn’t help but smile whenever Weiss looked at her like that.

“Hey,” she whispered before leaning in for a kiss.  “How’re you?”

“Much better now,” Weiss murmured while tilting her cheek to accept the kiss.  As soon as Ruby pulled away, she smiled and brushed her fingers through Ruby’s hair.  

Weiss often brushed her fingers through Ruby’s hair, but that didn’t mean Ruby loved it any less.  The tender, intimate gesture still made her heart flutter and mind churn with thoughts of the many other ways she’d experienced similar moments.  

If they didn’t have an audience, she would wrap Weiss up in her arms and express her happiness in more tangible ways.  But they did have an audience - a shocked one - and that was the only reason she remained content without pressing further.  That was also the only reason Yang separated from Blake’s lips after only a few passionate kisses rather than a full-fledged makeout.

“Did you finish shopping?” Yang asked, her hands settling on Blake’s waist as if also wishing for a little more privacy.

“We did.  So we’ve just been waiting here, talking about different types of Christmas shoppers.”

When Blake motioned towards the two elves, the obvious source of such Christmas tales, Yang finally glanced their way.

“Oh yeah?” she asked while wrapping an arm around Blake’s waist.  “That sounds fun.”

Yang’s smile was genuine and, when she glanced at Ruby, Ruby wasted no time nodding and adding a smile of her own.  

Kill them with kindness, as Yang always said.  It wasn’t until recently that Ruby learned that ‘kindness’ meant a subtly-flirty aura and not-so-subtle implication that if anyone was worthy of taking Blake or Weiss home, it was them.  

“I bet people are pretty crazy this close to Christmas,” Ruby added while Weiss’ hand slipped into hers, brightening her smile even more. 

“Y-yeah,” the boy elf replied while his gaze slipped a little too low on Yang’s chest, erasing whatever goodwill he’d earned with Blake before his eyes snapped up.  “Parents especially.”

“You’d be surprised what makes some of them snap,” the girl elf added, smiling at Weiss only to discover that Weiss’ attention lingered on Ruby.  “And the kids aren’t any easier,” she continued, speaking more to Ruby this time.  “They all want to ‘see the reindeer.’”

“In the mall?” Yang asked.  When the elves nodded, she chuckled and gently tucked a strand of Blake’s hair behind her ear.  “I’d love to see that too,” Yang admitted, though her words and smile were for Blake only.

Yang seemed to have calmed down now that she had her hands on Blake again.  Ruby felt equally content being by Weiss’ side.  The elves, meanwhile, sensed that they were suddenly the odd ones out, evidenced by the glance they shared before backing away.

“We, uh, should probably get back to work,” the boy said, pointing towards Santa’s house while his coworker nodded.  “But thanks for humoring us.”

“Yeah,” his female counterpart quickly added, along with one last-ditch smile for Weiss.  “I feel a little more sane.”

“Glad to be of help,” Weiss replied.  Her polite smile and nod left no room for further interpretation; neither did the way she intertwined her fingers with Ruby’s and leaned into her side.

“It was nice to meet you,” Blake added, her hand now wrapped in Yang’s too.

“Yeah...nice to meet you too.”

The elves were disappointed, and maybe a little miffed, at the sudden reversal of their fortune.  They didn’t question the end result though - they just shared glances before hurrying away and disappearing through the back door of Santa’s house.  The quick exit left Yang grinning in their wake, but that grin drew Blake’s amused gaze her way.

“They weren’t flirting.”

“What?”  After glancing at Ruby, Yang scoffed.  “We didn’t think they were.”

“Yes, you did,” Blake said, laughing while Weiss nodded in agreement.  “That’s why you’re doing that thing.”

“What thing?”

“You know.”  For a split second, Blake’s gaze dipped a little low before snapping back to Yang’s eyes.  “Where you’re all charming and...sparkly.”

“Sparkly?” Ruby repeated before sharing a look with Yang.  Considering this wasn’t part of the plan, they fell back on what they normally did when they didn’t know what to do - turned their smiles up to an eleven and prayed their girlfriends granted mercy.

The odds seemed pretty good when Blake opened her mouth but didn’t say anything.  Meanwhile, Weiss stared at Ruby - one of those looks appearing in her eyes - before she shook her head.

“Do you two have any idea how it feels when you do that?”

“This is just how we smile at the two most beautiful girls in the world,” Yang said while cozying up to Blake, who welcomed her back into her space with a smile.

“Then you charm their pants off,” Blake teased. 

“Which Blake usually falls for…” Weiss muttered, smiling when Blake sent a playful glare her way.  Her gaze returned to Ruby’s almost immediately, and her smile grew.  “Fortunately…” she added while running her fingers through Ruby’s hair.  “I’ve learned to resist by now.”

The same couldn’t be said for Ruby, who fell more under Weiss’ spell with every second Weiss’ gentle, caring fingers wove through her hair.

“Does that mean I have to try harder?” she asked, silently wishing those fingers would tug and pull like they did during more rousing times.

“As if that’s possible,” Blake interrupted, giving Weiss an amused smile.  “You’ve already convinced her to wear skirts all the time.  Wonder why that is…”

“I like them.”

“I’m sure…” Blake teased before smiling at Ruby.  “What do you think about Weiss’ newfound affinity for skirts?”

Faced with the direct question, Ruby glanced at Weiss, then Weiss’ legs, before pointedly looking away and clearing her throat.

“I think she looks beautiful no matter what.”

That was the right answer, as Weiss hummed and kissed Ruby’s cheek before shooting Blake a look.  Unperturbed by the lack of a suggestive response, Blake rolled her eyes and returned her attention to Yang.  More specifically, to Yang’s shirt.

“How does this keep coming unbuttoned?” she asked, trailing a finger as far as Yang’s shirt currently allowed.

“Magic?”

The joke earned another eyeroll from Blake while she deftly refastened the buttons - every single one, including the top-most button that brought the collar together around Yang’s neck. 

“Am I a nun now?” Yang teased, having gone from nearly indecent to baring no visible skin in only a few seconds.

“Until we’re in private you are.” 

When Blake playfully tapped the tip of Yang’s nose, Yang smiled.

“Sounds like I need to get you somewhere private...”  

Blake’s coy shrug did nothing to discourage the behavior.  The gesture invited it, actually, as Yang’s eyes gained that hungry sheen Ruby knew all-too-well.

“I think it’s time we wrap up shopping and get out of here.”  As soon as Blake nodded - again, no discouragement there - Yang grinned at Weiss.  “I’ll take her off your hands, Weiss.  Thanks for keeping her company.”

“You realize Blake and I spent more than enough time together before you were in the picture, right?”

“Thanks for keeping her company then, too,” Yang replied.  “And keeping the boys away from her,” she added with a wink that drew Weiss’ scoff.

“She was more than capable of doing that on her own, believe me.”

Blake made a face at Weiss’ lighthearted tease before leaning into Yang’s side, proving that her ‘not interested’ aura didn’t extend to certain blondes.  Any closer and they would probably meld together.  Of course, neither of them looked opposed to that possibility.

“She was just waiting for me to sweep her off her feet.”  After quickly kissing Blake’s temple, Yang smiled - one of those smiles Ruby had only ever seen her use with Blake.  “What do you think?  Ready to grab a few more gifts and call it a night?”

“Or call it the beginning of a night…” Blake suggested, only increasing the hunger in Yang’s eyes.  Blake didn’t even need to look at Yang to know it though.  Instead, she offered a more affable smile to Weiss and Ruby.

“Have a good night,” she added, her eyes briefly landing on Ruby before a subtle smirk lifted her lips.  “Especially you, Ruby.”

“‘Especially me?’” Ruby repeated, but Blake didn’t elaborate while Yang tugged her away.

“See you tomorrow morning,” Yang said before sneaking a glance Blake’s way.  “Not too early though.”

“Definitely not too early,” Blake agreed, sharing a laugh with Yang before the two of them walked away together.  As they headed out for their night of guaranteed debauchery, Ruby shook her head and turned towards Weiss.

“‘Especially me?’  What’s that mean?”

“It’s nothing,” Weiss assured her before smiling up at her and offering a quick, happy, “Hi.”

“Hi,” Ruby replied.  A smile immediately appeared on her lips and, now that they were alone, she thought nothing of pulling Weiss in for a much longer, much more satisfying kiss.

There were very few things Ruby loved more than kissing Weiss - many of which they shouldn’t do right outside Santa’s workshop.  But a long, soft kiss?  That was enough to make Ruby’s heart melt a little more and remind her that she was a certifiable genius for never letting Weiss slip from her thoughts.

Before that kiss went too far, she pulled away and watched with a smile as Weiss’ eyes fluttered open and locked onto hers.

“I missed you,” she said while wrapping her arms around Weiss’ back.  “And I know I just saw you this morning,” she added before Weiss did.  “But that’s still an entire day without you.”

Weiss’ eyes sparkled at the admission, loving Ruby’s candor as she always did.

“I missed you too.”  

After pressing another quick kiss to Ruby’s lips, Weiss dropped back to her heels and brushed Ruby’s hair out of her eyes.  When it stubbornly fell right back into place, Weiss laughed and reached for Ruby’s hand.

“Shall we?” she asked, motioning towards one of the hallways splitting off of the mall’s atrium.

“We shall.”

Giggling at the formal response, Ruby followed Weiss away from Santa’s workshop and rejoined the throngs of shoppers flitting from one store to the next.  The atmosphere hadn’t changed, but Ruby’s acceptance of it had.  Now that she wasn’t waiting to see Weiss, there was no need to hurry.  If it took all night to finish the rest of their shopping, then so be it.  As long as they were together, she was happy.

“I love when you wear skirts, by the way,” she said as they passed the art store from earlier.  “Just...want to make sure you know that.”

“I know,” Weiss said, her musical laugh prodding Ruby’s butterflies to life.  “You’re like a puppy when you try to hide what makes you excited.”

When Ruby’s brow rose, Weiss sent her a smug smile.

“Yes, that means I know you love when I wear heels too.  And the color red, anything even vaguely lacy, v-necks, skinny jeans, or...any of your track gear.”

A warm blush immediately spread across Ruby’s cheeks, especially with the look Weiss gave her after that last one.  She hadn’t realized she was that see-through when it came to...loving how hot her girlfriend was...but either she was obvious or Weiss was perceptive - probably both.  Rather than deny the truth, however, she cleared her throat and tried to change the subject.

“So...what’d you get Yang?”

A golden opportunity to embarrass Ruby even further rested in Weiss’ grasp, but she granted mercy - this time, at least.

“Some type of workout equipment.”  Opening the shopping bag in her hands, she held it out so Ruby could see the set of coiled resistance bands inside.  “Blake said she’s mentioned them a few times.”

“Oh yeah!  Those are awesome.  We used to have some, but they wore out a while back.”

“I thought you might benefit from them too.”  Noticing Ruby’s quirked brow, Weiss laughed.  “What?  I didn’t buy them for you - I bought them for Yang.  That doesn’t count as a gift.”

“But technically …” Ruby began, but gave up the moment Weiss’ brow rose in anticipation of an argument.  “Alright, fine.  That doesn’t count, but I’m watching you.”

Ruby narrowed her eyes and pointed two fingers at Weiss, who responded with a laugh while leaning into Ruby’s side.  The closeness encouraged Ruby to wrap an arm around Weiss’ shoulders as she glanced at Yang’s present one last time.

“Wait a second...there’s another bag in here.”

“Which I bought for myself,” Weiss said before playfully pulling the bag out of Ruby’s view.  “Is that not allowed either?”

“Of course it is!”  Satisfied with that answer, Ruby grinned and tugged Weiss closer to her side.  “I just have to make sure, you know.  Rules are rules, after all.”

“Uh huh…”

Remembering how challenging it had been to make Weiss accept her ‘punishment,’ Ruby chuckled and settled in for their leisurely stroll.  They still had shopping to do, but she was more interested in reconnecting after a day apart.  Weiss would get them back on track eventually, as she always did, but Ruby would enjoy the moment right now.

“I’m really excited for our first Christmas together,” she said, squeezing Weiss’ hand along with the statement.

“But we’ve already spent Christmas together.  When I was eight, remember?  My dad was out of town and you invited me over to your house.”

“That’s right.”  Knowing that Weiss remembered the day like she did made Ruby smile.  “But this is our first Christmas together together.”

“Ah…that makes it a little different.”  

“A lot different,” Ruby corrected.  “Like...we’re adults now, so we get to do adult things.”

“What kind of ‘adult things’ are you referring to?”

The sparkle in Weiss’ eyes gave away the tease, which immediately had Ruby floundering for an answer.

“Like...go to the mall without our parents!” she said as soon as she spotted a teenager suffering that same fate. 

“A nice perk,” Weiss agreed.  Her smile suggested there was a lot more she could add to that, but she again let Ruby off the hook - possibly the holiday spirit at work again.  “I’m guessing you got Blake a book?” she asked, her tone so certain and matter-of-fact that Ruby sent her a surprised look.

“How do you know that?”

“Because you went to the bookstore.”

“And how do you know that? ”  

Sensing something wasn’t being said, Ruby walked sideways so she could read Weiss’ expression.  The smile threatening to appear gave away that Weiss was happy about something ; now, she was just waiting for Ruby to guess.

“I knew it - you followed us.”

“We absolutely did not,” Weiss said, laughing at the accusation that had been suggested immediately after the four of them decided on this shopping adventure.  “In case you’ve forgotten, Blake’s physically incapable of passing a bookstore without going in.  So we did, and we chanced upon one of the employees gushing about two ‘super hot’ girls she recently helped.”

“She could’ve been talking about someone else,” Ruby pointed out.

“She could have,” Weiss agreed with a patronizing nod.  “But in this case, she was talking about two sisters - one of them with ‘incredible blonde hair’ and the other with a ‘heart-melting smile.’  They were shopping for their girlfriends -”

“That could still be a lot of different people.”

“And the ‘hotter’ one was named Ruby,” Weiss concluded, ending Ruby’s argument then and there.

Faced with that slightly damning evidence and Weiss’ infinitely-entertained smile, Ruby couldn’t even hope to argue.  Instead, she chuckled and ran a hand through her hair.

“Ok, that kind of sounds like us,” she admitted while Weiss laughed and leaned back into her side.  “But you can’t prove anything!”

“I bet I could if I took you back to the store and asked if you’re the person she was gushing about.”

“Right, but...we don’t have to do that.”

“Right,” Weiss agreed before smiling and shaking her head.  “You know, if I ever lose track of you, all I’ll have to do is follow the trail of thirsty girls you leave in your wake.”

A startled laugh slipped through Ruby’s lips at the unexpected comment, and Weiss smiled up at her.

“I’m serious.  I should start selling water or something.  Even better - rose water.”

The image of Weiss selling bottled water to anyone was enough to make Ruby break down in giggles.  Not only was Weiss way too sophisticated and accomplished to be selling water, but she was quite possibly thirstier than any of her potential customers.  At least, that was what Ruby liked to believe.     

“But the real reason you won’t lose me is because you planted a tracking device on me,” she teased as they passed one of the mall’s many fountains.  “It’s in the earrings, isn’t it.”

“If I did plant a tracking device on you, which you have no evidence to support, it would be beside the point to tell you.”

Seeing the straight-laced expression accompanying that response, Ruby couldn’t help but laugh.  Her laughter prompted Weiss to smile, which lifted Ruby’s heart to new highs.

After all those years apart, during which Ruby had always remembered and missed her first best friend, she couldn’t believe this was her life.  Not only was she dating the girl of her dreams, but the girl of her dreams was the most incredible, down-to-earth, sexiest person alive.

Considering Weiss was also super attractive, it was reasonable that Ruby had some pretty indecent thoughts about her on a regular basis.  Right now was one of those times, as Ruby pretended to look at the fountain when she was actually checking out Weiss’ outfit once again.  The skirt got her imagination going, as usual, but she tempered those thoughts when Weiss glanced over and caught her staring.

“So maybe you didn’t follow us,” she quickly said - the first topic that popped into her mind.  “Maybe you just used that tracking device to see which stores we went to.”

“There you go,” Weiss agreed with a smile.  “What book did you get her?”

“I wasn’t sure what she liked, so Yang suggested one.” 

Unable to remember the title, Ruby pulled the book out of her bag and showed it to Weiss.  To Ruby, it was just a random romance-adventure novel that Yang picked out.  Weiss, however, looked at the cover and laughed.

“Alright,” she said, grabbing Ruby’s hand and dragging her in the opposite direction.  “Back to the bookstore we go.”

“What?  Why?”

“Because Blake just bought that one for herself.”

Miffed by the response, Ruby said nothing for the next few moments as Weiss led them back to the bookstore.  

“Are you serious?” she eventually said, drawing Weiss’ smile her way.  “How’s that even possible?  There were about a million different options to choose from.”

“I’m serious.”  While Ruby shook her head, Weiss laughed at their predicament.  “I told her not to buy anything for herself, especially a book, but she insisted there was no way someone would get her the same one.  Apparently, she was wrong.”

“Does this mean they’ve finally merged into one?” Ruby asked.

“Possibly...or it means Blake has an obvious type - she saw that blonde on the cover and couldn’t help herself.  Said she didn’t want to wait until after Christmas.”

“Ironic since now she’s going home with Yang and probably won’t even read it…”

“Exactly.  But I can help you pick another one,” Weiss reassured Ruby before flashing a smirk her way.  “Besides, a certain employee will be thrilled to see you again.”

“Why does that make you so happy?”

“I like when people fawn over you.” 

“Because...you know you don’t have to be jealous when you’re the only one for me?”

It was a legitimate guess, and Ruby’s heart swooned when Weiss responded with an adoring smile.

“Something like that.”  

After kissing Ruby’s cheek, Weiss led them into the sprawling bookstore occupying one prominent corner of the mall.  Like every other store today, there was no shortage of people doing their last-minute Christmas shopping inside.  Soft holiday music and holiday-themed decorations created a light, jovial atmosphere that seemed to put everyone in a good mood, though that spirit of giving faded near the long line weaving towards the checkout counters.

“This way,” Weiss said before leading Ruby over to the fantasy section of the store just like Yang did not so long ago.  

“Am I the only one who doesn’t know what Blake likes to read?” Ruby asked while following Weiss down one of the aisles.

“I’m sure you’d know her better if Yang and I ever let you two spend time alone...” Weiss replied, scanning the titles on the shelves while slowly walking down the aisle.  “But we’re both too selfish to do that.”

Suddenly feeling much better about not knowing Blake’s favorite books, Ruby blew a breath through her lips and smiled.

“Should we look for another blonde on the cover?” Ruby asked when Weiss stopped at one section of the aisle and read the spines a little more intently.

“She’s always had a thing for blondes...” Not finding whatever she was looking for, Weiss moved on to the next shelf.  “Pretty sure Yang just made it worse,” she mused to herself before grabbing one of the books with a soft “aha.”

“This one.”

Another beautiful, busty blonde graced the cover of the book in Weiss’ hands but, besides that, it looked identical to the one Ruby already bought.

“She hasn’t read this one?” 

“She has.”  Before Ruby asked the obvious next question, Weiss added, “It’s one of her favorites, but she lost hers when we moved to Vale and refuses to buy another one.  Pretty sure it ended up in one of the boxes we donated.”

“How’d that happen?”

The thought of Blake making a mistake like that was surprising to Ruby, but Weiss rolled her eyes.

“That’s what happens when you decide to pack and...entertain...at the same time.  I’m honestly surprised more of her things didn’t go missing.”

“None of your stuff ended up missing,” Ruby pointed out.  “And you were...entertaining…too.”

Thinking about the weekend she and Yang visited Atlas to help Weiss and Blake pack was enough to make Ruby blush.  The weekend had been a whirlwind of packing and...other activities...all of which Ruby recalled fondly as cementing the beginning of their relationship.  Just helping Weiss move back to Vale would have made the weekend memorable, but Weiss had taken it upon herself to make certain moments unforgettable.

Like really, really unforgettable.  She couldn’t even think about it without a shiver running down her spine and the rest of her body wanting to do all of that again.  

“What are you thinking about?” Weiss asked, a patient smile on her lips as she pulled Ruby away from those arousing thoughts.

“Just...you.”

To emphasize that answer, Ruby glanced towards both ends of the aisle, confirming they were alone, before pulling Weiss into a kiss.  Being in public meant she couldn’t fully express how much she still wanted Weiss, but a deep, passionate kiss was something she deemed appropriate and acceptable at any time.

Weiss always agreed, as she returned that kiss with excitement bordering on zeal.  When she moved closer, her body pressing against Ruby’s as their lips did all the talking, it felt like either of them could tip into impropriety at any second.  

Somehow, they kept their desire under control until Ruby found the resolve to pull away first.  Watching Weiss’ eyes flutter open, she smiled.

“Still thinking about you,” she joked, though her thoughts now tilted towards indecent.  

If they were alone, or if they knew they wouldn’t be interrupted, they might mutually decide to make this Christmas-shopping excursion even more memorable.  Having dated for several months now, Ruby knew exactly where to kiss Weiss’ neck to get her breath to hitch and her cheeks to flush.  Of course, Weiss knew exactly how to tug Ruby’s hair to send thrill tingling down her spine and anticipation surging through her veins.

But they were in public right now.  Another young couple walking into the aisle proved as much, so Ruby cleared her throat and shook those desires away.

“This sounds like the perfect gift,” she said, holding up Weiss’ suggested book in an effort to get them back on track.  “I’ll get this for her instead.”

“She’ll be happy to see it again.”  No sooner had the comment left Weiss’ lips did a smirk settle upon them.  “Just like that employee of yours when she sees you again,” she teased, pulling Ruby out of the aisle.

“She’s not my employee,” Ruby protested while following Weiss towards the registers, where a long line of customers waited to pay.  “She just helped me once.”

“If you wanted her to be yours, she would be.”

Ruby didn’t want anyone else to be hers, but she didn’t have time to point that out before they stumbled across the subject of their conversation.  

Just like earlier in the day, the girl was restocking displays of ‘last-minute ideas’ near the checkout counters.  She was, in Ruby’s opinion, fairly attractive, with wavy brown hair, pretty green eyes, and a friendly smile.  A lot of people would be thrilled to take her out to dinner, but Ruby’s dinners were already spoken for by the amused goddess nudging her side.

Considering Weiss’ obvious desire for the interaction to happen, and that avoiding it would require a disguise of some sort, Ruby headed towards the back of the line without hesitation.  For a split second, it looked like her presence might go unnoticed, but that Christmas miracle disappeared when the girl spotted her.

“Back again?” 

As the girl, whose name tag said to call her Molly, smiled and set a stack of books on the table, Ruby glanced at Weiss.  Weiss, however, just smiled and nodded for Ruby to respond.

“Uh, yeah, I need to make an exchange,” Ruby explained.  “Turns out my friend already has the book I got her, so I’m getting this one instead.”  After waving the new gift in one hand, she motioned towards the line.  “I’ll just wait in line.”

“But I can help you with that.”  Before Ruby insisted on waiting in line, Molly waved her and Weiss over to a closed register located near the information desk in the middle of the store.  “A lot of them are new anyway,” Molly explained as she logged into the system.  “They probably don’t know how to do exchanges yet.”

“Seasonal workers?” Weiss guessed while Ruby dug the previous book out of her bag and set it on the counter.

“Almost all of them.”  After scanning the original book, Molly paused and smiled at Weiss.  “Are you two together?” she asked, gesturing between Weiss and Ruby.  “Because you’re really pretty.”

The unexpected - but well-deserved - compliment made Ruby’s month, but she tried hard not to laugh when she saw Weiss’ surprise.

“Oh, um, yes.  Yes, we are, and...thank you.”

That was about as flustered a response as Ruby had ever heard from Weiss, who was rarely, if ever, caught off guard.  Having expected Molly’s attention to be funneled Ruby’s way, she hadn’t prepared herself for the possibility that the tables would be turned.

“Isn’t she?” Ruby agreed, her excitement growing when she noticed the soft blush on Weiss’ cheeks. 

“Are you a model or something?”

Liking Molly more by the second, Ruby leaned against the counter and beamed.  Weiss, meanwhile, searched for an appropriately-modest response.

“I’m not, actually.  I have a...normal job, I guess.”

“But you could be a model if you wanted to.  I know I’d be a huge fan.”  

Still smiling, Ruby nudged Weiss’ side while Molly nodded and scanned the new book.  Under ordinary circumstances, Weiss would have somehow directed the compliment back Ruby’s way.  But these were no ordinary circumstances, as the blush on her cheeks proved.  Instead, she met Ruby’s gaze and silently asked what had happened - what went wrong with her foolproof plan to entice another random girl into flirting with Ruby?

“Pretty sure a lot of people would be fans.” After handing Ruby a bag holding the new book, Molly again smiled at Weiss.  “If you’re ever interested in picking up something for yourself, you should stop back in sometime.  I’m usually here in the evenings.”

“I’ll...keep that in mind…”  Ignoring Ruby’s blinding grin, Weiss looped an arm through Ruby’s and tugged her away from the counter.  “Thank you for the help.”

“And merry Christmas!” Ruby added before following Weiss towards the exit.

“That was fun,” she whispered before giggling at what had turned out to be an extremely enjoyable interaction.  And here she’d been hesitant to get hit on in front of her girlfriend...instead, it was her girlfriend who got hit on in front of her.

“Did you put her up to that?”

Knowing where that question was headed, Ruby laughed and shook her head.

“You really think I somehow bought the same book I didn’t know Blake would buy, then convinced you to return it with me, all so I could get someone to tell you you’re beautiful?”

“Honestly...I wouldn’t put it past you.”

Thinking about it a little more seriously, Ruby realized Weiss had a point.  Not-so-secretly, she loved watching people flatter Weiss - because Weiss was gorgeous, amazing, smart, and everything in between.  Shouldn’t everyone acknowledge it?  Hell yeah they should, and Ruby loved being around to witness it.

“You’re right, that’s totally something I’d do,” she admitted as they rejoined the crowd of shoppers in the mall’s main corridor.  “But I didn’t ask her to do that, I swear.  She genuinely thought you’re an extremely sexy, extremely hot individual.”  

When Weiss rolled her eyes, Ruby wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to whisper “I do too” in her ear.

Weiss enjoyed the compliment - Ruby knew she did - but she was too embarrassed to admit that out loud right now.  Instead, she blew a breath through her lips, brushed her hair behind her ear, and pretended that the unforeseen praise hadn’t rattled her.

“Do you know what you want to get Yang?”

The obvious subject change gave Ruby even more reason to smile, but she willingly granted the silent request.  Not only had Weiss already let her off the hook several times today, but the question also brought up a topic Ruby had wanted to discuss sooner rather than later.

“I do, actually!  But it’s not something I have to buy.”  

“What is it then?”

Glancing over, Ruby noted Weiss’ curious expression before taking a deep breath.

“I’m giving her an empty apartment for the week of Blake’s birthday,” she explained.  “I have no idea what she’s planning, but she kept suggesting they’d like some privacy.  So I figured that’d be a good gift - they don’t have to worry about me walking in on anything, and I don’t have to worry about walking in on anything.” 

“A whole week though?” Weiss asked, meeting Ruby’s gaze as they turned down another long hallway filled with stores.  “Where will you stay?”

“Depends…”  This next part made Ruby a little nervous, but one look at Weiss convinced her to ask anyway - it was what she wanted, after all.  “Can I stay with you for a week?”

For a split second, Weiss looked surprised by the request.  That reaction didn’t last long though, as a smile quickly appeared.

“Of course you can.”

“Are you sure?”  Even though the idea of spending an entire week with Weiss sounded like heaven, Ruby didn’t want to overstep any boundaries.  “Because I can go home and spend time with my dad or couch surf with some friends.”

“Would you rather do that?”

“No way,” Ruby said, laughing at the thought that either of those options were preferable.  “But I don’t want to, like, invade your space or anything.”

Getting on Weiss’ nerves was Ruby’s biggest worry.  Even though they spent nearly every night together anyway, they always had their own apartments to return to if needed.  In this situation, that never-used safety net would disappear - what would happen then?

Apparently, that wasn’t something Ruby should be concerned about, as Weiss smiled and leaned over to kiss her cheek.

“Ruby...I’d love it if you stayed with me.”  

“Yeah?  You’re sure?”

“Positive.  That sounds like a Christmas gift for me too.”

“You’re incredible.”  Overjoyed by Weiss’ easy acceptance, Ruby pulled her close and kissed her cheek.  “But I still bought you something,” she whispered in Weiss’ ear before giggling at Weiss’ immediate pout.

Even though they lived only a few blocks apart, she’d always wondered what it would be like if she didn’t have to run back to her apartment to grab clean clothes or do laundry.  Now, she would finally find out.  Chances were, she would love it so much that she wouldn’t want to leave.

“But that means I’ve finished all my shopping,” she added, knowing there was plenty of time to talk about that later.  “That leaves...your gift for Blake?”

“I wanted to get her some new tea to try.  And her favorite, of course, but maybe she’ll find some new flavors she likes.”

“To the tea shop then?”

“To the tea shop,” Weiss agreed, and Ruby happily led them that way.  

The mall seemed even more crowded, but Ruby had less of an issue with the packed hallways now.  Hand-in-hand, she and Weiss held an unhurried, but not too slow, pace while weaving through families, couples, and groups of friends enjoying the beginning of the holiday.

“Is this the last present we have to get?” Ruby asked as they neared their destination - a small store specializing in only tea.

“I think so.  Unless you want to do some shopping for yourself?”

Considering it was Christmas Eve, Ruby chuckled at the idea.

“Unlike Blake, I’ll wait until after Christmas to do that.  Besides...”  Even though the likelihood of anyone paying attention to them seemed slim to none, Ruby glanced around before leaning closer to Weiss and lowering her voice.  “I kind of just want to take you home and cuddle you to sleep.”

“Just cuddle?”

Faced with Weiss’ serious - and seriously amused - expression, Ruby’s thoughts instantly dove into the gutter.

“I-I mean - if you want to do something else, I’m fine with that too.”

“I don’t know how I feel about ‘fine with’...” Weiss mused.  “I want you to want it.”

The statement was so nonchalant that Ruby glanced around to see if anyone else noticed.  Finding only strangers minding their own business and conversations, she turned back to Weiss with her jaw still hanging open.

“But - I do,” she managed to get out.  Weiss, however, gave her a coy smile before walking into the small, busy tea store.

“Let’s get a box of her favorite first,” Weiss said, still holding Ruby’s hand while making her way over to a display of individual flavors.

“What’s her favorite?  Lavender, honey, and soft spring air?” 

When Ruby laughed at her joke, Weiss sent her an amused smile.

“That sounds like a candle.”

“You’re right,” Ruby said, nodding as giggles slipped out.  “It does.”

Weiss didn’t understand what was so funny, but that didn’t stop her from smiling at Ruby’s giggles.

“Chamomile is her favorite,” she explained while returning her attention to the boxes.  “She’ll have others sometimes, but mostly it’s just chamomile.  Here we go.”

Picking up a light-purple box from a stack of them, Weiss held it out for Ruby to read the label.  With their first objective in hand, Weiss motioned Ruby to the other side of the store.  There, several signs advertised the ‘perfect gifts’ for any tea drinker.

“Help me pick one?” Weiss asked, waving at the various tea collections on display.  “Anything that sounds good to you.”

“Sure!”

Ruby didn’t drink a lot of tea, but apparently there were about a thousand different flavors.  Every type of flower seemed to have made it onto a box, as well as fruits, herbs, and even some vegetables.  The bright, colorful packaging drew her gaze from one set of flavors to another, but eventually a white, black, and bronze box caught her eye.

“What about this one?” she asked while holding it up for Weiss to see.  “The box is cute too.”

“It is,” Weiss agreed before reading the label printed on one side.  “Vanilla...chocolate...and cinnamon,” she read aloud before smiling at Ruby.  “Ok, this is Blake we’re talking about.  She doesn’t have quite the same sweet tooth you do.”

“Oh...right.”

“How do you feel about this berry sampler?” Weiss added while holding up a pretty blue-and-purple box.  “Blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry...all the berries, basically.”

“That sounds like something Blake would like better,” Ruby agreed, setting the box of ill-conceived sugar teas aside.

“But if you want to try that one, I’ll get it for you.”

Weiss made the offer as nonchalant as possible, but Ruby just laughed and wrapped an arm around her waist.

“That sounds an awful lot like a gift, Weiss,” she teased while leading Weiss to the registers.

“Not a gift, a...thank you.  For being so sweet.”

“Well thank you for being so considerate.”  As they stopped and waited for one of the cashiers to become available, Ruby kissed Weiss on the temple.  “But I have you.  I don’t need anything else.”

Again, Weiss sighed as her effort to buy Ruby something was thwarted, but she didn’t argue.  She smiled, actually, and turned into Ruby’s arms as they waited for the people in front of them to finish up.

“You looked great today,” she said, her fingers again lightly brushing through Ruby’s hair.  “You look great every day,” she added almost immediately.  “But especially today.  Those jeans look good on you...”  

Ruby’s skin tingled when Weiss so obviously checked her out with the compliment.  But it was the way Weiss quickly bit her bottom lip while her eyes flashed with desire that really got Ruby’s thoughts going.

“Next?” one of the cashiers called out then, waving them over as the previous customer left.  Not missing a beat, Weiss walked over and set her two gifts on the counter.

“Find everything alright?” the cashier asked while quickly scanning both and putting them into a small bag.

“I did, thank you.”

After setting her credit card down, Weiss smiled at Ruby while the cashier rang up the bill and completed the transaction.  The way her gaze roved across Ruby’s outfit suggested other thoughts lingered in her mind, but the rest of her persona gave nothing away.  Ruby knew what was going through Weiss’ mind though, and that understanding was a bit of a distraction.

Actually, it was a lot of a distraction, explaining Weiss’ amused smile as she accepted the bag from the cashier and motioned towards the door.

“Time to go?”

“Yeah!”  Breaking out of that temporary trance, Ruby nodded and returned to Weiss’ side.  “Let’s go back to your place now?”

“If that’s what you want to do…”

“It is.”  Catching the sidelong smile Weiss sent her way, Ruby laughed.  “It really, really is.”  

“Then let’s do it.  Leave, I mean.”

Even though the slip was obviously intentional, a burst of energy rushed through Ruby’s veins.

“Let me carry those for you?” she asked, motioning at the bags in Weiss’ hands as they paused outside the tea store.  Sometimes, Weiss resisted the chivalry by insisting that Ruby didn’t need to do ‘everything’ for her.  But she also knew when to pick her battles, especially when Ruby had a clear argument based on efficiency.

When she willingly handed over the bags, Ruby set everything on the floor and knelt down to consolidate all of their gifts in one bag.  Secretly, she wished Weiss would let her do this more often because there was nothing she wanted more than to treat Weiss like a princess.  Weiss was a little too independent for that...but Ruby could still hope.

While dropping the smaller bags into the largest one, however, she glanced over and noticed a young man walking over to them.  More specifically, walking over to Weiss.

Anyone walking up to Weiss caught Ruby’s attention, but young men especially.  Young women too.  Actually, anyone in an age-appropriate range who looked like they were about to flirt with her girlfriend, and this young man had obvious thoughts of flirting on his mind.

“Hey,” he said, adding a small wave to catch Weiss’ attention.  “Sorry to bother you, but I was just wondering if...uh, if you know where the theater is?”

Ruby smiled and shook her head at the aborted pick-up line but didn’t interrupt.  He looked and sounded nervous, as he should, but she didn’t want to immediately rain on his parade.  Instead, she dawdled with the bag on the floor, out of sight and out of mind, and waited for Weiss’ response.  

“It’s downstairs near the food court,” Weiss replied in a nonchalant tone, coupled with a nonchalant nod in the right direction.

“That’s, uh, that way, right?”

“Yes.  Then down the escalators and it’ll be right in front of you - can’t miss it.”

“Great.  Um...thanks.”

When Weiss nodded, satisfied to have helped, Ruby nearly laughed.  

The poor boy’s interest was evident to everyone but Weiss, who honestly believed he randomly chose her , of all people, to ask for directions.  With dozens of legitimate mall employees hurrying around, all of them willing and able to provide directions, the most beautiful, attractive girl was his choice.

That decision wasn’t panning out as expected, and he nearly turned away before finding enough courage to make one last effort.

“Know if any good movies are playing?”

That question should clue Weiss into what was happening.  At least, it would have if she had any idea how unbelievably attractive she was. 

“I don’t, actually.  But maybe my girlfriend does.  Ruby?”

“Yeah?” she asked, forcing a neutral expression as she grabbed the bag and stood up.

As suspected, the boy hadn’t noticed her, and his shock at her appearance was wonderfully palpable.  That shock only grew when Weiss thought nothing of reaching for Ruby’s hand as soon as she was near enough.

“Do you know if any good movies are playing?” Weiss asked, waving towards the boy while he stared at them with mouth agape.

Honestly, Ruby loved when this happened.  He was trying to hit on Weiss because she was gorgeous - because she was that gorgeous - but he had no idea how incredible she actually was.  Kind, smart, sassy, soft as a marshmallow...she was the perfect woman in every possible way.

“That depends,” Ruby said, meeting his gaze and smiling at his dismay.  “Are you just looking for some action or more interested in romance?”

“Uh…”  After his gaze flitted to Weiss, a nervous chuckle slipped through his lips.  “You know,” he said, lightly clapping his hands and backing away.  “My friends will probably choose.  But thanks for the directions.”

“No problem!” Ruby said as he hurried back to his group of friends, who immediately started ribbing him for the failed overture.  Ruby, meanwhile, smiled and shook her head at Weiss.

“So you couldn’t even throw him a bone?” she teased, only making Weiss’ brow furrow.

“What do you mean?”

“He was trying to ask you out!” Ruby said, but Weiss just laughed and started walking towards the mall’s exit.  

“He was not.  He was asking for directions.”

“Yeah, so he could ask you out!”  Walking slightly ahead to see Weiss’ reaction, Ruby nodded while Weiss shook her head.  

“It is,” Ruby insisted.  “They ask if you know any good movies, you say ‘Oh, there’s a new zombie movie that looks great,’ they say ‘Zombies?  You’re the coolest girl ever.  Tell you what, I have a ticket with your name on it.’”

“Sounds like you’re speaking from experience.”

“Someone might have asked me out like that once,” Ruby admitted, making Weiss laugh again.  “But that’s not the point!  The point is he was trying to ask you out because you’re gorgeous.”  When Weiss scoffed, Ruby lightly shook her hand.

“Just admit it - you’re super hot.”

“Ruby, I’ve watched entire track teams trip over themselves just for the chance to talk to you.  If anyone’s hot, it’s you.”

“Why can’t we both be hot?”

“Ruby!”

Turning towards the sound of her name, Ruby found two familiar faces walking through the doors to the mall.  The two girls had run track with her a couple years ago but stayed in tentative touch via various track gatherings.  Now, they waved before heading over to talk.

“Oh, perfect,” Weiss laughed as they neared.  “I love when the universe immediately proves me right.”

The universe often proved Weiss right, but Ruby had no time to say as much while throwing on a smile and hugging the first of her former teammates - the taller blonde with blue eyes and an easygoing smile.

“Ruby Rose,” she said, gently squeezing Ruby’s arms before releasing her.  “We haven’t seen you in ages.”

“It’s only been a few months,” Ruby corrected before hugging her other former teammate - still with blonde hair, but a little shorter and with green eyes instead.

“A few months too long.”

As soon as their gazes flitted Weiss’ way, Ruby returned to her side and held her hand.

“Guys, this is my girlfriend, Weiss.  Weiss, this is Jo and Abbie - I think you’ve briefly met before?”  

“I think so,” Weiss replied, nodding and smiling warmly as they stared at her in surprise.  “It’s nice to see you again.”

Jo and Abbie didn’t know how to immediately respond, as usually happened when Ruby introduced Weiss.  They were taken apart, then impressed, before finally splitting into grins.

“Wow, Ruby,” Abbie teased while nudging Ruby’s shoulder.  “Can’t believe someone finally convinced you to settle down.  There must be so many broken hearts on the team right now.”

“She’s joking,” Jo explained before Weiss got the wrong idea.  “Ruby’s been too busy holding onto her childhood crush to date anyone.  Everyone knew she was ‘taken.’”

“Really?” Abbie asked after Jo put the word in air quotes.  “I remember someone getting wasted and forgetting that bit of information when trying to hook up with her at our graduation party.”

While Abbie smirked at the disclosure, Jo scoffed at her.

“That was you .”  

Abbie opened her mouth to argue but, as her memory returned, said nothing but a quick, “Oh.”

Rolling her eyes, Jo turned back to Weiss.

“Everyone thought Ruby was crazy,” she explained, unknowingly giving Weiss even more reason to send Ruby a loving smile.  “She could’ve had anyone but nope - no one was better than her best friend from first grade.

While Abbie and Jo laughed at those memories, Ruby chuckled and wrapped an arm around Weiss’ shoulders.

“Actually...Weiss and I have known each other since grade school.  She was my best friend until she moved away.”

When Weiss leaned into Ruby’s side and gave an adorable little wave, Abbie and Jo stared at her as if she had two heads.

“Shut up,” Jo eventually said.

“You’re joking,” Abbie immediately added.  “You’re just messing with us, aren’t you?”

“I’m not.”  Ruby laughed and shook her head as their jaws dropped.  “She moved back to Vale recently, and...now we’re dating.”

If the two girls didn’t know how to respond before, they certainly didn’t know how to respond now.  They stared instead, looking back and forth between Ruby and Weiss before finally laughing.

“That’s fucking adorable,” Abbie said while Jo put both hands on her cheeks and nodded.

“Ruby, we thought you were straight!

“What?” Ruby laughed.  “Why would you think that?”

“Why wouldn’t we??  We thought you made up a fake childhood crush so you wouldn’t have to date any of us!”

“She’s definitely not straight...” Weiss said, drawing their fascinated gazes as she laughed at the idea.

“Ok, we have a lot of questions.”

“Yeah, like -”  After glancing at Ruby, Jo leaned forward and whispered something in Weiss’ ear.  Whatever it was, it made Weiss laugh and nod.

“Oh, absolutely.”

“Knew it.” 

While Jo whispered the answer to Abbie, Ruby turned to Weiss for an explanation.  Unfortunately, Weiss just smiled and patted Ruby’s cheek.

“Ok, you two have to come to our party this weekend,” Jo said.  “It’s an ugly-sweater party -”

“With plenty of spiked eggnog...and mistletoe,” Abbie added before sneaking a smile Weiss’ way.  “Which I’ll totally hang out near if either of you want to stop by.”

Abbie’s wink caught Weiss by surprise, and this time Ruby smiled while squeezing Weiss’ hand.

“Thanks, but we’ve kind of already made a bunch of Christmas plans.  We’ll talk about it and let you know?”

“Sure!  I’ll text you.”

“I’ll text you too,” Jo added, sharing a slight glare with Abbie before both of them smiled.  “But we’ll let you go now to enjoy your Christmas Eve.”

“Yeah, and maybe we’ll run into you again sometime.  Like at the mall...or dinner or something.”

Knowing where that was headed, Ruby laughed and waved the two girls away.

“It was great to see you guys,” she added.  “Let me know about that party!”

“Definitely.”

After one last parting smile, Jo and Abbie finally turned around and headed further into the mall.  Watching them immediately put their heads together to discuss the conversation they just had, Ruby glanced at Weiss.

“They’re...amusing,” Weiss concluded.  Laughing at the succinct description, Ruby followed Weiss through the doors Abbie and Jo used to enter the mall moments ago.

“You can say that again.”  

Greeted by the chilly air outside, Ruby leaned closer to Weiss’ side to share their warmth.  Thankfully, the walk to Weiss’ apartment wouldn’t take long.  One of the many benefits of living in a big city - almost everything was within walking distance.

“What’d Jo ask?”

“Oh...she just had a question about your...preferences.”

Weiss’ smile suggested Ruby wasn’t learning more than that, leaving her to imagine what question could be so entertaining.  

“What are these other Christmas plans of ours?” Weiss asked, putting that topic to bed as they crossed the street.  Even as the mall fell behind them, the festive cheer - and shopping - continued at the various stores lining the street.  

“I made that up because I didn’t want to just say yes,” Ruby explained as they skirted around a crowd gathering outside the window of a bakery.  “But I didn’t want to say no either - not without talking to you first.”

“Ah.  Thank you for that.”

“Of course!”  Lightly swinging their hands, Ruby smiled at Weiss.  “What do you think though?  Want to wear ugly sweaters and go to a party with me?”

“I don’t know how you’re ever going to look ugly in anything,” Weiss mused.  “But if you want to go, then sure.  Fair warning though - if there’s mistletoe, I’m not leaving your side.”

“Just the way I like it.”

While waiting to cross the next intersection, Ruby noticed Weiss’ gaze slide off to the side.  Looking that way, she found that Weiss was looking at a small jewelry store serving several customers on this busy day.

“Don’t even think about it,” Ruby joked, pulling Weiss across the street as soon as the light turned.

“Are you positive I can’t get you anything?”

“Depends.  Are you ready to tell me how much these cost?”

When Ruby tapped one of her earrings, Weiss considered her options for several seconds before pursing her lips and shaking her head.

“Maybe after Valentine’s Day...”

“That’s what I thought,” Ruby replied, laughing as she pulled Weiss close and kissed the top of her head.  “These are more than enough.  Besides, having you back in my life is enough of a gift already - I don’t need anything else.”

Weiss loved the comment - her smile gave away as much - but she still blew a breath through her lips.

“Blake and Yang are doing gifts though,” she pointed out.

“Should we really call those gifts?  Or excuses to be even more inappropriate?”  

Ruby expected a laugh at the joke, but Weiss tilted her head back and sighed.

“What’s the point in having all this money if I can’t spend it on you?”   

“But I’m not interested in you because of your money,” Ruby said while Weiss leaned into her side and pouted. 

“I know that...but I love you and want to buy you things.”

“And I want you to buy things for yourself!”

“I did,” Weiss said, pointing to the bag in Ruby’s hand.

“Great!  Keep doing that.”  

That wasn’t the answer Weiss wanted, but Ruby refused to budge on this particular matter.  As much as she loved giving in to Weiss’ wishes, she didn’t want to give Weiss a reason to think her family’s money had anything to do with their relationship.  Ruby hadn’t even realized how rich Weiss was when they first met.  Weiss just...had a big house, a nice car, and a butler because her family worked that way.

“Fine...” Weiss eventually caved.  “But do you ever foresee a time when I can buy you nice things without getting locked out of Christmas?”

“Sure.  When we’re married.”

As soon as Weiss froze - midstep in the middle of the sidewalk - Ruby realized what she just said.

“I mean - obviously if we’re married, what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is…well, not mine if you don’t want it to be.  I wouldn’t mind that but - I’m just going to shut up now.”

Ruby zipped her lips before putting her foot even further in her big mouth, but Weiss smiled at her.

“Don’t give me ideas, Ruby Rose.”

The response sounded like a tease, but Ruby promptly blushed and couldn’t think of anything to say.  She wanted to know if it was just a joke but didn’t know how she would handle the answer.  If yes, she might be disappointed.  If no...she definitely wouldn’t be disappointed, but she would worry about moving too fast.

As fortune had it, a distraction chose that moment to appear, saving her from having to reply at all.

“Oh, look - carolers!”

When Ruby pointed at the group of carolers across the street, Weiss gave her a thoughtful, moderately-amused look before turning that way.  Standing outside the entrance of a large department store, the group of ten men and women sang a festive tune for passersby.  Their upbeat song and cheery outfits added an even-lighter feeling to the air as they reminded everyone that Christmas was near.

“You should be a caroler,” Ruby said, nudging Weiss’ elbow as they resumed their walk.

“I’ve done it before.”

“You have?”

“Yes.”  Hearing Ruby’s disbelief, Weiss laughed and nodded.  “My father thought it would be great publicity, and I’m the only one in my family who likes Christmas.  Pretty sure I picked that up from you.”

The idea of Weiss liking Christmas due to Ruby’s influence had her smiling in no time.

“I love Christmas,” she agreed.  “But I wish I could’ve seen that.”

“I think there are videos somewhere…”  As soon as Weiss noticed Ruby’s big eyes, she laughed.  “I’ll ask Winter to look for them.”

“Thank you!”  

When Weiss offered a soft “mhmm” in response, Ruby grinned and gently swung their joined hands as the blocks passed underfoot.

“It’s so interesting,” she added after not too long.  “I feel like I know you so well, but still have so much to learn.”

“I feel the same.  But we’ll have plenty of time to learn everything.”

When Weiss looked over and smiled, Ruby’s heart soared.  Words couldn’t capture how much she loved when Weiss made comments like that, suggesting that the past few months were just the beginning of the long journey ahead.  

Ruby had spent a long time imagining what it would be like if she and Weiss ever reconnected, and if something more than friendship would ever be possible between them.  Sometimes, she’d felt kind of silly for how much she held onto the memories from when they were younger.  Then Weiss came back to Vale and proved that Ruby was right all along.

“They finally lit the tree.”  

Breaking away from those happy thoughts, Ruby looked across the street when Weiss motioned that way.  In the courtyard of one of Vale’s nicer hotels, a towering evergreen stood tall, proud, and decked out with Christmas lights, ribbons, and an incredible, gold star on top.  

“It’s so pretty…”

“It is…” Weiss agreed as they paused to take in the sight.  They weren’t the only ones marveling, as other people milled around the base posing for pictures with friends and family.  

“We should take a picture.”

“You read my mind.”  After checking traffic, Ruby tugged Weiss across the street.  “I can never have enough pictures of you,” she added as they approached the tree, which stood out as a giant symbol of Christmas.

“What do you think?”  

Picking a spot closer to the tree, Ruby looked over her shoulder to gauge whether or not they could get the entire tree in the background of their photo.  

“Here’s good?” she asked Weiss, who took the more scientific approach of pulling out her phone to check.  She cozied up to Ruby in the process, convincing Ruby more and more that this was a great idea.

“Perfect.”  Satisfied with their background image, Weiss nodded and offered her phone to Ruby.  “Can you take it?”

“How come I’m always the one holding the phone?” Ruby teased while accepting the phone and holding it out in front of them.

“Because you have longer arms.”

“And why do I have longer arms?” 

“Genetics.”

“Close enough,” Ruby chuckled.  “One day, you’ll accept you’re the short one now.”

“But that day is not today,” Weiss teased.  Humor flitted through her eyes before she glanced at the phone and gently flipped her hair over one shoulder.

“You can’t possibly look more beautiful,” Ruby assured her, earning an appreciative smile before both of them turned towards the camera.  Ruby’s heart promptly thumped in her chest when she saw the image on the screen and felt Weiss press closer to her side.  

The giant, elaborately-decorated Christmas tree lit up the background, but Weiss stole the show.  Her white hair stood out against the dark green background, perfectly-styled with a slight curl.  Her blue eyes sparkled brighter than the twinkling lights.  And, uncaptured by the image, her hand lightly rested on Ruby’s side, sending tingles of thrill down Ruby’s spine.

“Ready?” Ruby asked, waiting for Weiss’ nod before focusing on the camera.  “Alright, on three.  One, two, thre-”

Ruby hardly got the word out before Weiss turned her cheek and kissed her.  Not just a soft kiss on the lips either - a full-blown, full-contact, passionate kiss that made her heart stutter and her mind go blank.  

But her body knew how to respond, her lips parting in sync with Weiss’ as that first kiss deepened into a second.  A deep, slow second that led seamlessly into a third - that one even slower, as if Weiss was in no hurry to take Ruby’s breath away.  

The warmth of Weiss’ lips and tongue against hers created a sharp contrast to the night’s chill, making it all the more jarring when that warmth disappeared as Weiss broke away first.  She didn’t go far though; she rested her forehead against Ruby’s first, their lips still tantalizingly close while her fingers ran through Ruby’s hair.

At that moment, Ruby knew she would follow Weiss to the ends of the earth.  There was no one else she would ever want the way she wanted Weiss, who was absolutely, stunningly perfect.  She believed that even more when Weiss smiled, stole one last sweet kiss, and backed away.

Still shocked by what just happened, Ruby could only watch as Weiss took the phone from her hand and looked at the screen.

“Oh,” she said, laughing at what she saw.  “You took a video.”  

A few seconds of silence passed as Weiss watched the video.  Upon reaching the end, she cleared her throat.

“Saving that…” she muttered, tapping a few buttons before holding her phone out and taking another picture - this time while softly kissing Ruby’s cheek.  Another glance at the screen, and she smiled.

“I’m sending this to Winter,” she explained while setting up the message to her sister.

“Uh -”  Finally breaking out of her Weiss-induced haze, Ruby shook her head.  “What were you going to do with the first one?”

“See where it went.”

Weiss’ wink stunned Ruby even more, leaving her without words as Weiss took her hand and led her back across the street.  

“You’re cute when you’re surprised,” Weiss added, prompting a blush as they left the Christmas tree behind.

Fortunately, Weiss’ apartment wasn’t far now, and a couple blocks of increasingly-chilly air gave Ruby time to cool off from that unexpectedly-steamy stop.  She would have thought that she’d be used to being caught off guard like that by now, but Weiss still found ways to take her by surprise.

Weiss knew it too.  She reveled in it, actually, as implied by the smile that lingered on her lips all the way up the stairs to her building.  

Ruby made it out of her trance just in time to get the door, which she held for Weiss to walk in first.  In the brief moment of solitude that followed, Ruby glanced up at the sky and blew a breath through her lips before hurrying inside and rejoining Weiss at the elevators.

“That was fun, right?”  When Weiss’ brow rose, Ruby shook her head.  “I meant shopping,” she clarified while they stepped into the next available elevator.  “And that too, obviously, but shopping together was fun, right?”

“It was,” Weiss agreed before pressing the button for her floor and waiting on the doors to close.  “We should do that again next year.”

Again, Weiss referred to a period far in the future as if they would obviously still be together and, again, Ruby’s heart swooned.

“Yeah.  Yeah, we should.”

Weiss lifted a brow at Ruby’s big smile but didn’t pry into the meaning behind it when the elevator doors opened.  Greeted by an empty hallway leading to her apartment, she held Ruby’s hand and headed that way.

“Do you know what time your dad’s expecting us tomorrow?” she asked while fishing the keys out of her bag with her free hand.

“He just said ‘tomorrow afternoon.’  So...I guess whenever we finish opening presents with Yang and Blake?”  

Hearing Weiss’ soft huff at the answer, Ruby leaned against the wall beside Weiss’ apartment door and grinned while she unlocked it. 

“I know you hate when they don’t set a time -”

“I don’t ‘hate’ it.”  After pushing the door open, Weiss walked inside and dropped her keys on the entryway table.  “It just makes planning things a little more difficult.”

“Then how about this - you pick a time, and that’s when we’ll head over.”

While Weiss hung up her jacket, Ruby set the shopping bags on the dining table and glanced over to see if that was an acceptable solution.  Based on Weiss’ adoring expression, which Ruby loved more than almost anything else in the world, it was an acceptable solution.

“Have I told you how incredible you are?” Weiss asked while walking over to the table.  After brushing her lips to Ruby’s cheek - the sweet gesture still making Ruby want more - she leaned across and lifted the corner of the bag. 

“Hey, no peeking!”

When Ruby snatched the bag away, Weiss laughed.

“I wasn’t trying to peek.  I just wanted to get my bag out.”

Ruby narrowed her eyes at the response, which could easily be the truth or a lie, before glancing into the bag and pulling out the bags holding Weiss’ gifts.

“Here you go,” she said, handing over Weiss’ things before closing the bag so Weiss couldn’t see inside.  “And I’m going to wrap your gift right now so you can’t peek.”

“Fine.”  Still smiling, Weiss waved towards the hallway leading to the bedrooms.  “I’ll be in the room.”

“It’ll only take a second.”

“I think I can wait.”

Weiss’ playful wink sent Ruby’s thoughts right back to that kiss from moments before, but she managed a chuckle before non-too-subtly staring as Weiss walked away.  Feeling Ruby’s gaze upon her, Weiss glanced over her shoulder and smiled before disappearing down the hall.

Suddenly in more of a hurry, Ruby hardly waited for Weiss to be out of sight before pulling over the wrapping supplies left out on the table.  After unraveling the wrapping paper, she glanced towards Weiss’ room one more time before grabbing the framed photograph from her bag of gifts.  Seeing the photo, and reminded of the memories attached to it, she stopped and smiled.

“Just wait,” she told the younger version of herself, lightly tapping the glass as if providing encouragement from afar.  “She’ll come back and make you the luckiest person in the world.  And she’ll still be gorgeous.  Not that you’ll ever worry about that.”

Chuckling at the thought, she set the frame on the wrapping paper and cut out a piece large enough to cover it.  Next, she folded everything together as nicely as possible, tapped the ends, and nodded at the result.

“Not too shabby.”

Now that it was ready, she couldn’t wait for Weiss to unwrap it.  That Christmas had been memorable to them both, but what would Weiss think of the evidence of how cute they were?  It sounded impossible that they could grow from such dorky, in Ruby’s case, kids into who they were now, but that was exactly what happened.  And Ruby wouldn’t complain - she got the girl in the end.

“Ruby?  Want to see what I got?”

“Sure!”

Setting the gift aside for now - maybe Weiss could open it early, after all - Ruby headed down the hall and into Weiss’ bedroom.  When she walked into the room and didn’t immediately see Weiss, her brow furrowed in confusion.  Then she heard the door close behind her, and she spun around only for her jaw to instantly hit the floor.

“Oh, god...”

If her mind was still working, maybe she could have thought of something else to say.  But her mind eschewed all other functions as it scrambled to memorize every detail of Weiss’ outfit.  Although ‘outfit’ might be too generous, as the red, lacy lingerie hardly covered enough to be considered clothing.  And the silver heels...accentuating her toned calves...those were just unfair.  

But that was the point.  That was absolutely the point. 

“Do you like it?” Weiss asked, stepping closer while Ruby remained rooted to the floor.

“Um, yes.”  

Ruby’s thoughts were still struggling to catch up, but she knew that much.  Yes, she liked it.  A lot.

“Weiss.  Wow, you look…”

Hot, hot, so very hot.  Ruby couldn’t even look at her without the most wanton thoughts surging to the front of her mind.  Every inch of soft, white, tantalizing skin begged for her touch.  Whether with her hands, lips, or tongue...semantics didn’t matter so long as she pledged to worship every detail of her girlfriend’s spectacular body - and that was a pledge she’d taken long ago.

“You know…” Weiss said, smiling as she reached up to play with Ruby’s earrings.  “I saw this and thought...you know what would make me really happy?  If I bought this as a gift for myself.  Because I know that I would really enjoy wearing it, and it would make me feel really, really good.”

Weiss knew what she was doing.  She knew every one of Ruby’s buttons to press, and her proximity teased Ruby with an even closer view of a masterpiece.  All she had to do was look down.

She did, and a raging fire instantly rushed through her veins.

“I know what you’re doing,” she said, shuddering when Weiss’ hand came to rest on her side and lithe fingers teased underneath her shirt.  “And I don’t want to let you get away with it,” she added.  “But I will just this once.”

Ruby wasn’t in any position to negotiate right now.  Weiss knew that, but she still gave a serious nod for appearance’s sake.

“Of course,” she even said, though she was unable to hide a smile for long.  She knew that she just found a foolproof way around Ruby’s ‘no gifts’ stipulation, and Ruby knew she was more than fine with the result.  That became especially true when she set her hands on Weiss’ sides and watched icy-blue eyes flash from seducing to desirous in an instant.

She would never get tired of Weiss looking at her like this.  Like she was wanted , not just for what she looked like but for who she was - now and when she’d been too young and dumb to be bothered with running a comb through her hair.

“Merry Christmas, Ruby,” Weiss said, brushing her fingers through Ruby’s hair and smiling as Ruby’s eyes swept over her once again.  Desire finally unleashing, Ruby took a deep breath before letting it out in a long, satisfying sigh.

“I really, really love you,” she whispered before drawing Weiss into a kiss - the first of many they would share that night.

Honestly, she didn’t need anything from Weiss because she was just happy being together.  But...this was a damn good gift.