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Tales of the Wild Side

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The door was hardly open before Ruby raced inside, fumbling to pull her key out of the lock as she nearly tripped over her feet.

"Weiss!" she called out, turning back to the door handle when it refused to set her free.

This always happened when she was excited - her key got stuck in the lock so she couldn't run inside! It was like the door intentionally tried to ruin her excitement or something! She asked Weiss if it was a special type of lock - one that hated fun - but Weiss swore it wasn't.

Ruby swore too - but under her breath while fiddling with her keys.

"Weiss!" she said again, only this time in a whine while she struggled against her mighty foe. No matter which direction she turned the key, it always seemed to stick...

"Did you get stuck again?"

Hearing the calming, slightly-amused voice, Ruby gave up her struggles and turned around.

"Yes!" she answered as Weiss walked over to her. "Please help me."

With a light chuckle, Weiss reached out and easily pulled the key from the lock. Holding Ruby's keys in the air with that amused smile still on her face, she gave them a little shake before dropping them in Ruby's hand.

"What's got you in such a rush?"

"This!"

Her excitement returning now that she was freed of the door, Ruby held up the long, thin box she'd run home with. Tilting her head to the side, Weiss read the title scrawled across the top of the box in blue pen.

"'Tales of the Wild Side?'" she asked, giving Ruby a curious glance. "Is this a new board game?"

"Yes! Can we play it now? Please?"

As soon as Ruby threw in a 'please,' she knew Weiss would agree - because Weiss always agreed when Ruby asked nicely! That was supposed to be a secret, but she'd figured it out pretty early into their relationship. And, if a straight 'please' didn't do the trick, a 'please' coupled with some puppy dog eyes always worked.

"Before dinner?" Weiss asked and, after Ruby nodded, shrugged in acceptance. "If that's what you want to do."

"It is!"

Ruby was about to race into the living room but stopped when a hand appeared on her elbow to stop her.

"But first -" Weiss said, catching Ruby's attention once more. "Aren't you forgetting something?"

Briefly confused by the question, Ruby looked at her hands - where she held her keys and the board game - before understanding hit her over the head like one of those fake clown-hammers.

"Oh!" she exclaimed before leaning forward and kissing Weiss on the lips. "Hi, Weiss! I missed you!"

"I missed you too," Weiss replied before stepping to the side and waving for Ruby to lead the way to the living room. "Now after you."

With a hop, skip, and jump, Ruby found herself in the comfortable room with a sofa, coffee table, TV and stuff, and a desk in the far corner. She really liked this room because it was where they spent most of their time - watching movies, talking, or playing one of an assortment of board games. They liked board games! Well, Ruby did. Weiss got a little competitive sometimes (especially if Yang was playing) but when it was just the two of them things were fine.

"What's special about this one?" Weiss asked while collecting a couple of magazines from the coffee table to make room for Ruby to set down the box.

"I don't know yet!" Ruby replied, claiming her spot on the floor across from the sofa. "But look at the pretty design on the box!"

Before pulling off the lid, she pointed to the intricate, animalistic patterns drawn across the top of an otherwise plain cardboard box. The level of detail made her think this was going to be one of the best games yet, but she couldn't confirm that until they tried it out.

Removing the cover and setting it to the side, Ruby let out a soft squeal of excitement when she saw the folded-up board on top. Taking that out and laying it flat on the coffee table, she found more intricate designs - but done in color this time. Reds, blues, yellows, greens, purples - all swirled together to create an awesome background of colors that was partially hidden by the plain squares of the game board.

"Where do you find these, anyway?" Weiss asked while looking at the board.

"Oh, just around."

"They look like they're made in alleys."

Ruby chuckled at the comment but didn't answer.

She didn't think the games were made in the alley, but that's where she went to buy them! There was one alley where all these uniquely-dressed people set up their games and stuff to buy - all these cool, homemade things that couldn't be found anywhere else! As great as 'regular' board games were, she'd discovered that the 'alley' ones were usually more fun. Some of them had rules that didn't make sense, or stories that were super crazy, but that was part of the thrill of trying something new.

"Here - let me help."

Reaching out, Weiss took several stacks of cards - the backs of them either blue, yellow, or red - and started shuffling them in their separate piles.

"Oh, before I forget," she added while setting one stack onto a matching colored-space on the board. "Where'd you put that book we borrowed from Blake?"

"Which one?"

"The one about dragons you wanted to read?"

"Ohhhh." Chuckling, Ruby swiped a hand through her hair and sent Weiss a sheepish grin. "I used it to hold the garage door open..."

"Don't tell her that," Weiss teased, returning her gaze to the board and setting a stack of yellow cards on top of a yellow square. "She said she'd come get it soon."

"Ok. At least I know where it is this time!"

"That's a good start," Weiss replied with a shake of her head. But she still smiled - one of those smiles that said she was more amused than anything else.

Last time, Ruby lost the book Blake loaned them. They were so sure Blake would flip out, they tore the house apart looking for it. When they still couldn't find it, they raced to the bookstore and bought a new copy along with like twenty other books. The hope was that Blake would be so distracted by the new books that she wouldn't realize that her book was different.

Yeah, that didn't work. Blake immediately noticed and swore she'd never lend them anything ever again. She still took the other books though...and she offered to loan them another book like two weeks later.

Looking into the game box, Ruby grinned and snatched one of the small, colored figurines from inside. "I'll be red!" she said, holding up a miniature carving of a fox that was painted red. "And I'm guessing you'll be wife!"

She'd already grabbed the white token by the time she realized her slip-up.

"I mean white!" she added, nervously laughing while setting both pieces on the square that said 'begin.' "This board is cool, huh?" she quickly added, hoping to change the subject, but Weiss had already arched one brow in interest.

"What's with you and that word recently?" she asked, reaching forward and turning her little white pony so it faced the right direction.

"N-nothing! It's just - 'Weiss' and 'wife' kinda sound the same, don't they?"

Unconvinced, Weiss leaned back against the sofa and said a soft "Uh huh..."

"Anyway!" Ruby said, grabbing the instructions and unfolding them. "Let's see..."

Finding the short introduction, she started reading out loud.

"Tales of the Wild Side is a cooperative game that will have you channel your inner spirit - learning more about yourself as well as those closest to you. Through the course of this game, you'll be presented with unique challenges and opportunities that will help you embrace your wild side."

Lowering the paper, Ruby grinned at Weiss - who smiled back at her.

"Sounds exciting," Weiss added, although Ruby couldn't tell if that was said only for her benefit.

Even though playing board games wasn't really Weiss' thing, she still played with Ruby. It didn't even matter how awful some of the games were; somehow, they always found ways to have fun.

"It does!"

Looking back at the instructions, Ruby scanned the rules to figure out how to start the game.

"Ok, so each person gets a token," she said, picking up her little red fox and immediately setting it back down. "Then we roll a die. Whoever gets the higher number goes first."

Searching the box, Ruby pulled out a little white cube that looked like a die, but...

"There aren't any dots on it," Weiss pointed out.

"Maybe we're supposed to draw them?" Ruby asked, turning the cube over in her hand to make sure it was blank.

"Maybe. But that seems strange when everything else is finished."

Weiss had a good point there. Plus, there was no instruction to create their own die. So...this had to be the right one, right?

Dropping the cube on the board to test it out, Ruby gasped when a single black dot suddenly appeared.

"No way!" she shouted, grabbing the die to try it again. Three dots appeared this time. "That's so cool! It must be like...weighted to appear only when it touches a surface!"

Tossing the die one more time, Ruby sighed when she got another single dot. "Well, you pretty much won," she said while handing it over to Weiss.

"Not necessarily," Weiss commented while inspecting the unique little cube. "I have a fairly high probability of getting the same number as you. Then we'd have to re-roll."

When Weiss dropped the die to the table, Ruby leaned forward on her knees to see the result. Finding a cube filled with black dots, she sat back and laughed.

"Or you can get the highest number possible!" she remarked, accepting defeat and picking up the instructions one more time. "Ok, so you're going first. And it says...the second player writes the first player's animal on a piece of paper and puts it in the Box of Becoming - then the first player's adventure will begin."

Searching the box, Ruby pulled out a small, wooden chest that was just as intricately carved as the figurines. 'Box of Becoming' was etched into the wood on the top of the box, and there was a small opening for a slip of paper to be pushed through.

Conveniently, there were also a few pieces of paper in the box, along with one of those mini pencils. Taking those out, Ruby tapped the end of the pencil to her lip and stared at Weiss - trying to think of what animal to write down. Was it supposed to be the animal Weiss most closely reminded her of? Or looked like? Or acted like? Or just any animal?

Seeing as how there weren't very specific instructions for this part of the game, Ruby decided it was up to her. After a few moments of deliberation - during which Weiss watched her with a small smile - Ruby landed on her choice and wrote it down on the paper. Folding it in half, she slipped it into the Box of Becoming and picked up the instructions once more.

"Ok, now that that's done…" she mumbled. "Oh, I'll roll the die and move your token forward however many spaces. The color of the square it lands on determines what type of card we draw - from the 'Challenge,' 'Teamwork,' or 'Opportunity' pile. Sounds easy enough, right?"

Lowering the sheet of paper, Ruby looked across the coffee table and -

Found herself looking at a fluffy, white cat.

A cat was sitting on the sofa.

Wait.

Yup, a cat was sitting on the sofa.

How the heck did a cat get in here? They didn't have any pets (even though Ruby was laying the groundwork to beg for a puppy). They didn't even know anyone who had a cat! So...where did this one come from?

"Uh, Weiss?" she called out. "Did you bring a cat home?"

No response, so she kept staring at the cat - which was looking at itself like it was surprised about something.

"Weiss?" Ruby called out again, dropping the instructions on the floor and slowly standing up. As soon as she moved, the cat looked at her with super clear blue eyes. The color looked exactly like -

"Weiss!" Ruby shouted louder this time, her eyes sticking to the cat - which was now staring at her. "Weiss, if this is a joke or something - uh, it's very funny! But can you come out now? Please?"

Instead of Weiss popping up from behind the sofa to claim the best practical joke in the history of practical jokes, the cat stood up and walked towards Ruby.

"Meow?"

"Uh yes, hello cat," Ruby said, backing away like the tiny creature might try to hurt her. "I'm - I'm sure we can find your owner! I just...I need Weiss to tell me what to do."

Risking a glance towards the hall nearly cost Ruby her life when she tripped over the edge of the sofa and almost fell over. She caught herself at the last second! But during that brief moment in time where she'd been falling, the cat raced forward - almost as if - as if it was...worried…

"Meow," it called out again. And this time the 'meow' might as well have been 'Ruby' - the same 'Ruby' she heard whenever she injured herself. Combined with the same concerned blue eyes that followed her around the house.

Forgetting her attempt to escape, Ruby dropped to her knees in front of the tiny creature.

"Weiss?" she asked, watching the cat turn around to look at its tail swishing back and forth. "Uh - ok - this is gonna sound crazy but...is that you?"

"Mrow," was the disgruntled response as the cat spun in a circle before sitting down and giving Ruby the most cat-like glare she'd ever seen.

"No - for real," Ruby said, still not believing her eyes. "Is that really you? You need to give me a sign or something, like - swish your tail!"

When the cat swished its tail back and forth, Ruby's eyes widened further.

"That could've been a coincidence," she muttered to herself before saying, "Uh, ok, now raise your right paw."

When the cute little right paw lifted from the ground, Ruby gasped and reached out.

"Oh my god! Weiss, I'm so sorry!" Without thinking, she plucked the small creature off the ground and held it up in the air. "I didn't think you'd actually turn into a cat! I thought - I mean -"

Looking into pretty blue eyes, Ruby felt her surprise melting - replaced by a much stronger emotion.

"You're so cuteeeeee!" she squealed, pulling Weiss close to her chest. Pressing her front paws into Ruby's shoulder and leaning as far away as possible, Weiss looked very much like she wanted to jump away.

"Mrrrrr," she protested, struggling against Ruby's embrace. But Ruby refused to let go - because she'd never had a little, tiny, Weiss-cat before!

"Sooooo cute!" she repeated, sitting down on the sofa and standing Weiss on her knees. "Look at you! So pretty and white and softtttt." Running a hand down Weiss' back, Ruby scratched towards the base of her tail and laughed when her back arched in happiness. "Yeah you like that, don't you," Ruby giggled, but the next second, Weiss hopped away and gave Ruby another glare.

"Mrrrr…"

"Ok, so you're not entirely happy with this," Ruby said, sensing the tone even though Weiss couldn't speak. "But you are super cute! Look at your cute ears and little nose and - and - I'll totally figure out how to get you back! Like, right now!"

While those blue eyes continued to stare, Ruby rushed to the other side of the coffee table and picked up the instructions for the game.

"Ok, how to turn back," she muttered while scanning the page. "How to turn back, how to turn - aha! 'How to regain your original form!'"

After reading the small section, Ruby set the paper down and looked at Weiss.

"It's easy! We just have to finish the game!" Ruby held out the paper like Weiss might like to read it, then withdrew it when she thought that...maybe cats don't read?

Meanwhile, Weiss hopped off the sofa, but then she wasn't tall enough to see the game board. Standing on her two back legs, she put her front paws on the coffee table to look - andddd still wasn't tall enough.

"Weissss," Ruby giggled at the sight. "If you want to see, just get on the table!"

When Weiss dropped to all fours, Ruby could practically hear the tirade going through her little cat-head. 'Get on the table? Preposterous. What kind of person would I be if I stood on the coffee table? A heathen. A hooligan. That's something Yang would do.'

"Guess you just won't see what's going on…" Ruby teased - and then smiled when Weiss hopped onto the table and sat down - like a pretty cat princess.

This was still really weird, but super cute. Ruby kind of wanted to get Weiss a little cat-tiara or something, but...she probably shouldn't say that out loud at the moment. Not when Weiss was sending fierce cat-glares everywhere.

Not to fear though! Ruby was a pro at playing board games! She could totally handle this situation, even though she was a little nervous because normally she'd ask Weiss to help with something like this. Instead, she'd have to figure everything out on her own...and she definitely wasn't the 'brains' of the two of them. She wasn't the 'beauty' either.

"Ok," Ruby murmured, picking up the die. "No reason to panic...just gotta roll this and play through the board…"

Dropping the die on the table, she sighed when a single dot appeared in the center of it.

"Man, I have the worst luck with this thing."

Moving Weiss' white pony forward one spot, Ruby saw that the token landed on a green 'opportunity' square.

"Now we take one of these…" she said, pulling the top card from a stack of green ones and flipping it over. A short phrase was written on the back, which she read aloud because of the whole 'cat reading' thing.

"'Introductions set the stage for any relationship, but different eyes offer a second glance. Human player - now's your chance.'"

Dropping the card onto the table, Ruby scratched her head and mulled over the not-very-clear instructions. "Second glance?" she repeated. "Now's my chance?"

She looked at Weiss for help, but...Weiss was still a cat.

"Ok, it's a riddle," Ruby said, puzzling her way through it without the help of the super-genius sitting on the table in front of her. "Introductions set the stage...different eyes - you have the same eyes though."

Leaning forward, Ruby stared into Weiss' eyes and tried to find any differences. And the closer she leaned, the bigger Weiss' pupils got. Like, they were huge!

"That's different," Ruby remarked, moving away and watching Weiss' pupils shrink to a more normal size. "So maybe you have different eyes, even though they're the same color! Does everything look different?"

In response to the question, Weiss glanced around the room before looking down at the ground.

Oh wait.

"Was that supposed to be a nod?" Ruby asked before giggling. "I don't think I've ever seen a cat nod before!"

From the way Weiss swished her tail and tilted her chin up in the air, Ruby knew she wouldn't ever see it again either.

"Ok, different eyes, second glance…" Ruby mused. "Now's my chance to...oh! Now's my chance to introduce myself!"

The game wanted her to introduce herself again - only this time to Weiss as a cat versus Weiss as a human. Which sounded good to Ruby! Her first introduction included a whole lot of apologizing for accidentally running into Weiss and knocking her drink all over her. Iced tea, thankfully, but still embarrassing!

Clearing her throat, Ruby looked at Weiss and…felt a little ridiculous for talking to a cat. But the cat was so Weiss-like, it kind of felt like talking to the real Weiss…

"Alright," Ruby said, throwing on a smile while Weiss stared at her with unblinking eyes. "H-hey there!" she stumbled out of the gate. "Uh, I'm - my name's Ruby, and I'm - I'm...still totally nervous!"

Burying her face in her hands, Ruby groaned before looking back at Weiss. "How're you so intimidating as a cat?"

After her tail gave a quick swish, Weiss walked over to the edge of the coffee table and sat down - her eyes never leaving Ruby's. Without words, she clearly said - 'Try again - only this time I'll sit closer so you're more nervous.'

"K," Ruby said, shaking her hands to get rid of the jitters. "Right, this should be easy. I'm introducing myself now. And now, I'm your girlfriend!"

When Weiss' ears twitched - looking almost happy at the term - Ruby grinned and continued.

"I'm Ruby," she said, her confidence growing when Weiss' tail made a soft swoop across the table. "And I'm your girlfriend - have been for like four years now! We live in this nice house together -" Looking around the room, Ruby smiled at the memories they'd shared here. "And...I dunno what else...people say I'm always happy, but I'm pretty sure that's because I'm with you."

Nodding at the brief introduction, Ruby did a double take when she noticed that the card she'd drawn was now blank. The words had disappeared!

"Guess that means we did it!" she exclaimed, reaching out and lifting Weiss' paw for an itty-bitty high-five that disgruntled the heck out of her. Before Ruby was bitten or something, she grabbed the die and tossed it onto the coffee table a second time.

"Five!" she announced, quickly counting out five places and moving Weiss' token forward. "We're making progress now!"

The token landed on a red square, so Ruby grabbed a corresponding red card from another pile.

"Challenge!" she said as she sat back and read their next task.

"'We're masters of our own form," she read aloud. "Upon taking another, what was once the norm might now cause a storm."

Setting the card on the table, Ruby shook her head and tried to interpret the saying.

"You'd think they'd make this a little more obvious," she joked, smiling at Weiss and receiving another steady stare in the process. "Oook...so...what was once the norm - what was once normal - now causes a storm. Like...makes us upset?"

"Mrow..."

"Yeah?" Ruby asked, grinning at what sounded an awful lot like confirmation of that line of reasoning. "So something you hate, but you hate a lot of things…oh! Or something a cat hates! Something you'd do as a human that you'd hate as a cat!"

That felt like the right answer. She doubted that Weiss-the-Cat would hate unfolded linens the way Weiss-the-Human did, so she needed to figure out what cats hated.

"Dogs?" she suggested. "But where would we get a dog right now?"

"Mrowwww," Weiss...said.

"I know, I know - you wanna be human again. Then do you have any ideas? Like..." Looking around the living room, Ruby's eyes landed on a vase of roses she'd just watered to yesterday.

"Oh! I got it!" When the perfect answer popped into her mind, she grinned at Weiss - whose long, slinky tail stilled while waiting for the suggestion.

"I'll give you a bath!"

From what Ruby knew about cats (learned from cartoons and movies), they hated water. No cat wanted to take a bath, but people took baths all the time!

"Alright - upstairs we go!" Ruby announced, scrambling to her feet. As she reached down to scoop Weiss up, she froze when the doorbell rang. Spinning towards the front door, her eyes widened when she realized who it was.

"That must be Blake!" she said, looking around and then at Weiss - who was still very much a cat. "Crap! Ok, ok, uh, she's here for the book, so I'll get the book and get rid of her - and you hide!"

With a single nod at that hasty plan, Ruby raced to the garage and grabbed the book off the floor. After dusting off the cover and making sure it looked fine, she ran to the front door - taking a quick glance into the living room and finding Weiss standing near the doorway.

Raising one finger to her lips in a shushing motion, Ruby threw open the front door and thrust the book into a very-surprised Blake's hands.

"Here you go, Blake! See you later!"

She tried to close the door as fast as possible, but a hand grabbed the edge and stopped her.

"Woah woah woah - what's the rush?"

Sighing at Yang's voice, Ruby poked her head outside to find Blake and Yang standing on the front porch. "Nothing! Just giving Blake's book back!"

"By throwing it at her?" Yang asked, casting an attentive glance Blake's way. But when Blake looked over her book and smiled, Yang immediately broke into a smile of her own.

"Anyway, before you slam the door, we thought you and Weiss would want to grab dinner!"

On any other day, Ruby's answer was a happy 'heck yes!' She loved when the four of them had dinner together! Unfortunately, today wasn't such a great day for that, mostly because restaurants probably had 'no-cats' policies.

"Oh, uh, well, we're kinda in the middle of something right now."

Yang's nose wrinkled at the response.

"Is that why you won't let us in?"

"What?" Ruby asked before her cheeks flushed with understanding. "N-no! Nothing like that! It's just - uh, like -" Trying to save this conversation, she searched for something other than 'Weiss is a cat right now.'

"We're playing a game!"

"Then why can't we come in?" Blake asked, tilting her head to the side - which was a bad sign. Very bad. When Blake caught the scent of a secret or a lie, she was like a freaking bloodhound tracking down the truth.

"W-well, because - it's a private game," Ruby stammered, realizing she was only making this worse. But that's why she wasn't in charge of talking to people! This was Weiss' job - Weiss was super good at staying calm under pressure!

Feeling something rub against her leg, Ruby looked down and found Weiss standing by her ankle.

"You got a cat!" Yang exclaimed, shooting Ruby an excited-yet-incredulous look before kneeling down on the front step. "Oh my god - did you ask Weiss first? She's gonna kill you if you brought home a stray cat without asking."

"She's not a stray!" Ruby whined. "She's - I'm - I'm watching her for someone."

"Uh huh…" Reaching out a hand, Yang tried to pet Weiss - but Weiss hissed and backed away.

"Wow, ok. Weiss will love this cat." Standing up, Yang shook her head and retook Blake's hand.

"It has her eyes," Blake commented, studying Weiss intently.

"What?" Chuckling at the (very accurate) observation, Ruby waved off the words. "Totally does not!"

"Uh, yeah," Yang said, looking at Ruby like she was crazy. "Its eyes are the same color as Weiss'."

"Ohhh." This time, Ruby laughed at the misunderstanding. "Same color. Got it - right, they're pretty close!"

Narrowing her eyes, Yang gave Ruby a thoughtful look.

"What's up with you? Why're you being weird?"

"I'm not being weird," Ruby replied, reaching down and picking Weiss up. "l thought you meant that this cat had Weiss' actual eyes, which, you know, couldn't happen. Because Weiss is a person, and this is a cat."

Yang and Blake shared a look then - as if Ruby was speaking in some foreign language they didn't understand. Which was...probably not unusual.

"Now if you'll excuse me," Ruby said, clutching Weiss closer to her chest and stepping backward into the house. "I need to give this cat a bath!"

Giving up on figuring out what was going on, Yang chuckled and shook her head.

"Good luck with that. Hope it doesn't scratch you all up." Stepping off the front porch, Yang gave Ruby a wave as she and Blake left. "Let us know if you guys wanna have dinner this weekend then."

"Yeah! Definitely!"

Closing the front door before Yang and Blake even made it to their car, Ruby made sure to lock it before looking down and picking up one of Weiss' paws. Gently feeling them, she giggled when she made an important discovery.

"You're declawed!"

With a disgruntled sound, Weiss catapulted out of Ruby's hands and landed on the ground. She then ran upstairs while Ruby watched that super adorable white tail curl in what looked like the top half of a question mark.

"You really wanna get this over with, don't you?" she asked, jogging up the stairs and down the hall before finding Weiss already sitting on the edge of the tub. Closing the door behind her, Ruby walked over to the tub and knelt down on the bath rug.

"Ok, uh...should I like...fill it with water?"

When Ruby looked at Weiss for an answer, she got nothing but another cat gaze and soft 'meow.'

"I don't know if that means 'yes' or 'no!'" Ruby protested before sighing and making a decision on her own. "Ok, I'll fill it with warm water, but just enough that you can stand in it."

Turning on the faucet, Ruby adjusted the temperature until the water felt about right - not too hot, but not too cold.

"Can you test it?" she asked while watching the stream of water pour into the tub, unsure if 'just right' for a human was 'just right' for a cat.

Walking along the edge of the tub (with perfect balance) Weiss stopped near the faucet and stretched a paw towards the water - but she couldn't reach.

"Such cute little legs!" Ruby squealed in delight while watching Weiss give a second attempt. "Lemme help."

Again lifting Weiss up, Ruby held her in front of the faucet so she could swipe one paw through the water. As soon as she did so, however, she jerked her paw away and flicked it several times to get the water off.

"Too hot?" Ruby asked after setting Weiss down.

"Mrow."

"Again - no idea what that means." Creasing her brow, Ruby stared into Weiss' eyes and tried to read her cat-thoughts. "Can you lift your right paw if it was too hot?"

When Weiss did nothing, Ruby took it as a sign that the temperature was ok.

"You just didn't like the water?" she clarified, receiving another cute 'mrow' that was more than enough of an answer.

"Guess this is going to be a challenge," Ruby replied, letting water fill the bottom six inches of the tub before turning the faucet off. "But we can totally do this! Bath time!"

Perched atop the tub, Weiss faced the water and looked like she'd jump right in - wiggling her adorable cat-booty in the process. But instead of jumping down, she prowled the ledge and repeatedly looked at the water.

"Uh, Weiss?" Ruby finally asked after Weiss had paced for a long time. "Are you gonna get in?"

The question drew clear blue eyes her way, and Ruby immediately knew - no way was Weiss jumping into the water on her own.

"How about I set you in it?" she offered, extending both hands. Weiss looked towards the water one last time - staring for a few seconds while her tail swished thoughtfully. When the water didn't go away, she turned back to Ruby and walked forward.

Silently delighted that Weiss just acquiesced, Ruby smiled and carefully picked her up before slowly lowering her into the tub.

"Thereeee you go," she murmured at the same time. "Just a little furth - woah!"

The second Weiss' paws touched the water, she squirmed out of Ruby's hands and leapt from the tub - spraying water all over Ruby in the process.

"Wha - Weiss!" she yelped, wiping water off her face and turning to find Weiss behind her. Thankfully, Ruby'd been smart enough (or lucky enough) to close the bathroom door, meaning Weiss couldn't escape from the bathroom.

"Weiss!" she called out again, waving Weiss back to her. "You have to do this!"

"Mrrrrr…" was Weiss response as she backed closer to the door, repeatedly flicking one of her wet paws.

"Seriously? It's just water!"

"Mrrr," Weiss grumbled again - voicing her obvious agitation at the situation. Which was just a little bit Ruby's fault, but she couldn't fix it if Weiss wouldn't cooperate!

"We have to do this if you want to be human again!" Ruby finally said. "Don't you want to be human again?"

The last comment did the trick - as Weiss' ears drooped slightly before she trudged back, looking very much like she was being punished for something.

"Thank you," Ruby replied, picking Weiss up and kissing the top of her furry head. "This won't take long - you just need to resist all your urges to get away."

When Weiss was silent, Ruby took a deep breath and slowly lowered her back into the water. This time she didn't jump away, but she did flick her paws several times and splashed water in the process. After a few seconds passed and no escape attempts were made, Ruby let go and quickly grabbed the small cup she usually used for rinsing her mouth out after brushing her teeth.

"Now the worst part," she mumbled, dipping the cup into the lukewarm water before pouring it over Weiss' back.

"Mrrrrrr," Weiss protested, squirming as the water soaked her fur - but she stayed put in the tub.

"Gooood girl," Ruby cooed while emptying several more cups over Weiss, adding enough water that all her pretty white fur was wet and sticking to her remarkably-thin body. Honestly, this was a bit of a challenge for Ruby too. Weiss looked so miserable that Ruby wanted to stop the entire ordeal - but she also wanted her regular girlfriend back!

"Remember that time we...uh, shared a bath?" Ruby whispered while getting a tiny amount of soap and rubbing it into Weiss' fur as quickly and gently as possible.

"Pretty sure I almost got the nosebleed of the century," she continued, blushing at the memory before letting out a soft laugh. "Didn't I ask you if you knew CPR? In case I fainted?"

As Weiss turned towards Ruby - those blue eyes never changing their hue - Ruby dipped her hands in the water to wash the suds off before picking up her cup one more time.

"Almost done," she said, smiling at Weiss while emptying the first cup on her back, making her give a little flinch at the feeling. But Weiss stayed put - showing some extraordinary resolve while Ruby repeated the process over and over again, all while Weiss' eyes never left hers.

It wasn't long until Ruby couldn't find any more spots of soap, and only then did she set the cup down by her side and grin.

"Done!"

No sooner had the word left her mouth did Weiss leap out of the water. Racing away from the tub, she shook her entire body - spraying Ruby with water in the process.

"Hey!" she shouted, covering her face with her arms when Weiss shook a second time. "I'm not the one supposed to get a bath!"

"Mrowwwww," Weiss complained while giving another shake, which only somewhat worked to un-mat her soaking fur. She looked pretty miserable at the moment - soaked and still very much a cat.

"Ok, ok - come here." Grabbing a towel from the hook, Ruby sat down on the edge of the tub and patted one of her legs. Given how horrible it must be to wear a coat of wet fur, Weiss willingly hopped up and stood on Ruby's legs.

"There," Ruby muttered, covering Weiss with the towel and gently rubbing the water away. "I'd use the hair dryer but…" Hearing a low rumble of protest, she laughed and dried off Weiss' ears. "But you probably wouldn't like that," she concluded.

For the next few minutes, she toweled off Weiss' fur while Weiss stood patiently on top of her legs. Maybe it was crazy, but this was almost...relaxing. Of course, she could see that Weiss didn't feel the same way, with her ears slightly flattened in discontent.

"I know what you're thinking..." Ruby whispered while she worked. "What if you're stuck like this forever? What if you're destined to spend the rest of your life as a cat?"

Removing the towel and finding that Weiss' fur was much drier than it was before, Ruby smiled when Weiss turned around to look up at her.

"Don't worry - I'll still love you. I'll be that crazy cat lady everyone talks about. I'll take you on walks and buy you all the best toys and stuff to play with!"

The idea wasn't as alarming as Ruby might've thought a few minutes earlier. Sure, she'd miss kissing Weiss 'good morning' and 'good afternoon' and 'good night.' She'd miss snuggling and cuddling and hugs and…

Yeah, she'd miss a whole lot, but this little cat was still Weiss! It had her eyes and personality and everything.

Standing on Ruby's knees, Weiss looked up at her for a long time before jumping down and walking to the door. Now that she was mostly dry, she had a bit of her cat-swagger back - and her tail swished with a tremendous amount of flair.

"Ready to see what's next?" Ruby asked.

"Meoww."

Taking that as a 'yes,' Ruby pulled the stopper to drain the tub and opened the door so Weiss could hurry into the hall. And, for as much as she probably hated this situation, she took advantage of her super-quick form to race down the stairs before Ruby made it to the landing.

By the time Ruby walked into the living room, Weiss was sitting on the coffee table and staring at the board game laid out in front of her.

"Can you read it?" Ruby asked, retaking her seat on the floor. When Weiss' response was to stare at the board like something might pop out at her, Ruby picked up the card she'd drawn before and found it was blank - just like the first one.

"Looks like we did it! Your good behavior was rewarded." Placing the used card in the discard pile, Ruby was about to reach for the die when she leaned back and set her hands in her lap instead.

"You know," she said, briefly pausing when blue eyes locked onto her. "I know you're probably really mad that I turned you into a cat 'n all, but this is actually kind of...nice."

When the long, white tail suddenly stopped swishing, Ruby hurried to explain herself.

"I mean, it just feels like you're always the one taking care of me - making sure I don't forget things and stuff - so it's nice that I can take care of you for once!" Hesitating for a second, Ruby looked into blue eyes - the ones that sent her to sleep each night and woke her every morning - and smiled.

"I like taking care of you. Because I love you...a lot."

For a long time, Weiss stared. And then she hopped down from the table, walked over, and stepped onto Ruby's lap. Spinning around once, she curled up into a circle and nuzzled her head underneath Ruby's hand.

Smiling at the loving gesture, Ruby tenderly ran her hand through soft, white fur and heard a quiet, happy rumble come from the creature curled up in her lap - the girl who loved Ruby just as much as Ruby loved her.

"Let's finish this game," Ruby whispered, petting Weiss all the while. Reaching out for the die with her free hand, she rolled it and then moved the token forward another three squares.

What she didn't say yet was that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Weiss. She wanted them to get married and do all the things happy couples did - like play crazy board games that turned one of them into a cat. But...that conversation was probably best saved for when one of them wasn't forced to communicate through meows.

 


 

"What do you want to do tonight?" Blake asked, settling into her regular spot on the sofa with a cup of tea in her hands.

Tapping a finger to her chin, Yang thought through their options. There was always Plan A -

"How 'bout we -" As soon as Yang winked, Blake rolled her eyes.

"Yang."

"Alright, alright," Yang acquiesced with a laugh. "Oh! Why don't we try that game Ruby loaned us? The one she won't stop talking about?"

Setting her cup on the coffee table, Blake shrugged.

"Sure. That sounds like fun."

"Cool!" Looking on the side of the sofa - where some magazines and a few other board games were stacked - Yang glanced at Blake when she didn't find the one she was looking for.

"Uh, where is it?"

"You put it somewhere," Blake replied.

"Yeah…"

"We could always lose it like they lost my book."

Yang laughed at the dry comment, shaking her head before looking under the sofa.

"You're never gonna let them forget that, are you?"

"Of course not."

"Aha!" Yang exclaimed when she found the box hidden underneath the sofa. Pulling it out, she removed the lid and pulled out the game board.

"Aww look at this cute fox!" she said, holding up the small, red carving. "Which one do you wanna be?"

"If I'm the pony, how many jokes will you make about riding me?"

Blushing at the question, Yang caught Blake's smirk and tried to think of a witty response.

"U-uh, I mean - probably just - once or twice?"

Shaking her head at the not-at-all-witty answer, Blake reached over and grabbed the black cat from the box instead. Briefly disappointed, the feeling disappeared when Yang spotted her token of choice.

"Yellow dragon!" she exclaimed, pulling the carving from the box and brandishing it for the world to see.

"Yang, that's a lizard."

Taking a closer look at the small figurine, Yang sat back on her heels.

"Oh. Well still! Pretty cool."

Placing her dragon on the starting square, she grabbed the instructions next.

"Alright, let's see." Skimming the page, she searched for the most important rules. "Ok - something something, wild side. Something something box - ah, got it."

"Gotta roll to see who goes first," she said, picking up a blank white cube and tossing it onto the board. Two dots appeared on the side facing up, which she guessed meant she sucked at rolling dice.

"I bet you a night of fun that you get a six," she teased as Blake picked up the die. Letting out a soft huff, Blake rolled the die onto the board and…

"A six!" Yang called out. "Should we pack this up now or…?"

"I think it's best to play first," Blake replied with a small smile.

Sighing, Yang accepted that she'd have to wait and glanced at the next instruction. After finding something called a 'Box of Becoming' and setting it on the table, she grabbed a slip of paper and tiny pencil to complete her player-duties.

"'K, now I'll pick your animal and put it in the box," she explained to Blake. Tapping the pencil to her lip, she narrowed her eyes while staring at her extra-beautiful, poem-worthy girlfriend.

"Hmm…"

After a few moments of being intensely studied, Blake rolled her eyes and leaned back against the sofa.

"Should I get a book while you think of one?"

"I got it!" Yang said right at that moment. Scribbling the word onto the paper, she then stuck it into the box and picked up the instructions to see what happened next. While she read the next section, however, she heard a low, throaty growl come from across the table.

Lowering the instructions, she suddenly found herself looking into the large, amber eyes of a very big, very real, panther.

Eyes widening at what was probably her imminent demise, she slowly stood up and backed away from the coffee table.

"Uh...Blake?" she whispered to the room while the beast looked at itself like it was confused about why it was sitting on a sofa.

Yang was confused too! Confused, but also wanting to get the hell out of here. She needed to find Blake though - where did Blake go?

Yang only made it a few feet away before the panther turned its fierce gaze to her - freezing her in place while it stood up. With graceful steps, it walked right over the coffee table and stalked towards her - head lowered, long tail swishing back and forth, those eyes never leaving her.

Unsure of what to do, Yang remained frozen while the creature approached. Then, in one swift movement, it pounced forward and slammed into her - a hundred pounds of ferocious feline knocking her right off her feet.

As soon as she hit the ground – briefly thankful they'd gone with the 'plush' carpet - she covered her face with her arms and waited for the attack that was never to come. After several seconds of waiting, she lowered her arms and found the creature standing over her - staring down at her while its tail swished back and forth in what she could only describe as amusement.

The next second, the panther leaned down and licked her cheek. Giggling at the sensation, she raised her hands when the panther licked her again.

"Blake?" she asked, earning another lick before the creature started nosing into her hair - warm, deep breaths tickling her until she laughed.

"This is the only time I'll ever say this," she giggled while a hearty rumble reached her ears. "But please don't eat me."