"Come on, you know you want to!"
"l really don't."
"Noooo Yang! It looks scary!"
When Yang laughed at the responses, Blake smiled and shook her head.
For the past half hour, she'd listened to Yang goading Weiss and Ruby - trying to get them into the haunted house up the hill. So far, the two hadn't fallen for the near-constant teases. If anything, they dug their heels in further.
"It doesn't look that scary." Shaking her head, Yang turned to Blake with a grin. "Right, Blake?"
As usual, Blake was dragged into the conversation on Yang's behalf. Apparently, being Yang Xiao Long's partner wasn't limited to fighting Grimm - it also included finishing homework assignments, pulling practical jokes, teasing their teammates, and anything else she needed help with at that particular moment.
Not that Blake minded. If anything, the constant requests for her attention and assistance made her feel...included.
It was a nice feeling.
"I've seen scarier," she replied with a shrug and smile that grew when Yang beamed.
"See? Blake's not scared. Why're you two such chickens?"
"We're not chickens."
Upon hearing the snappy retort, Blake rolled her eyes. After much effort, Yang finally needled her way through Weiss' poise and got her to engage.
"Oh yeah? Why don't you prove it then? By going into the haunted house!"
With a great deal of flair, Yang pointed towards the entrance of the dark, thematically-decorated house. As they watched, a steady line of park visitors filed up the porch steps and through the front doors, while others left through a side door after completing their 'haunted experience.'
As far as haunted houses went, it was decently decorated. The screams coming from inside were a good sign, too. Overall, Blake would assume it was average, at best. But in an amusement park filled with guests of all ages, it couldn't be too scary.
"Ruby doesn't want to go," Weiss huffed, holding her partner's hand to prevent them from moving closer.
"I-I mean...I would, but...I'm kind of hungry, aren't you?"
Yang laughed at the obvious excuse, shaking her head while leading them past the building.
"You guys are such babies!" she said as they went. "I bet it's not even that scary, but whatever you say..."
As soon as Yang made the comment, Blake stopped walking. Her halt was so abrupt that her teammates kept walking for several seconds before noticing her absence and turning around.
Yang's eyes briefly widened at the agreement, but then she smiled again.
"See guys? Blake's not scared of some fake haunted house!"
Even though the compliment meant little in terms of their regular lives, Blake happily accepted it. No matter how small it may be, she loved when Yang thought highly of her in any way.
"You'll go with me?" Blake asked, smiling as she gestured towards the haunted house. "Ruby and Weiss can get food while we walk through."
Ruby and Weiss immediately nodded at the suggestion - it was Yang who waved away the offer.
"Nah...we don't have to do that. What happens when the two kids get lost? We'll never be able to find them."
"We aren't children," Weiss replied with a scowl. "And we have our scrolls."
"Yeah!" Ruby added with several quick nods. "Message us when you're done, and we'll meet you back here!"
For a split second, it looked like Yang wanted to argue. Instead, she shrugged and found another charming smile. "Alright then. We'll see you guys in a bit!"
While Ruby and Weiss walked away - both pleased with the situation - Blake smiled at Yang and walked back towards the entrance of the haunted house.
"Have you been through one of these before?" she asked, noticing the way Yang's eyes scanned each and every person emerging from the exit.
"Uh, a long time ago, yeah."
Under ordinary circumstances, a lively story or several jokes would accompany the response. Today, however, Yang fell silent as the eerie music and terrified screams grew louder. A few steps further - within feet of reaching the front porch - she abruptly stopped.
"You know, you really don't have to do this," she said, giving Blake a kind, reassuring smile. "I already know you're tough as nails, so you don't have to prove anything to me! We can just hang out here and tell Ruby and Weiss how scary it was later. I don't want you to actually be scared or anything..."
The proposal was exactly what Blake expected, and she smiled upon proving her intuition right.
Over the course of their time together, she and Yang had grown quite close. So close, in fact, that Blake liked to believe she knew Yang just as well as Ruby did, if not better. Ruby knew Yang's past - and the two had an uncanny ability to finish each other's jokes - but she always fell for Yang's fake charm and boasting. Blake, however, saw through Yang's bravado.
What started as a sneaky suspicion was now undeniable fact - while Yang mercilessly teased Weiss and Ruby about the haunted house, she'd had no intention of going in it herself.
"I'd actually like to go," Blake answered, testing the limits of what Yang would do for her. Her heart immediately soared when Yang let out a soft sigh - a reluctant agreement she would give no one else.
"If you want to go, then of course we'll go."
Smiling, Blake turned and led them up the creaking porch steps, with Yang's feet dragging the entire way. Passing through the open doorway, they entered a dimly-lit entryway covered in an assortment of fake cobwebs, fake blood, fake spiders, and a few fake rats.
"Creepy," Blake said, chuckling at the atmosphere.
"Are you ok?" she finally asked, pulling Yang off to the side and allowing several people to pass them.
A black curtain separated them from the interior of the home, and it was through this curtain that everyone passed before the 'experience' began. It was also where Yang's eyes were fixed as if an Ursa would burst through at any second.
"What? Of course!" As soon as Yang threw on a confident smile, Blake raised a brow in disbelief. Reading the expression, Yang sighed and slumped her shoulders.
"Ok, I just...get a little spooked in these places," she finally admitted, meeting Blake's eyes with a sincere lilac gaze of her own. "It's...kind of embarrassing."
Yang's expression was so downtrodden that Blake immediately felt guilty for dragging the girl this far.
"We don't have to go -"
"No, we can! I mean, you want to go - and I want you to get what you want."
When Yang smiled, Blake felt her heart give a powerful thump in her chest.
She didn't know what she'd done to deserve someone like Yang in her life, but she was eternally grateful. Yang would do anything for her, no matter what was called for. The situation could be uncomfortable, difficult, or scary, and she would charge forward - all for Blake.
But one of the most wonderful things about being partners with someone like Yang Xiao Long was that...the feeling was mutual. As much as Yang gave, Blake wanted to give in return.
"I think it will be fun," she replied, extending one hand to Yang as an idea formed in her mind.
"I don't know if I'd say fun…" Yang muttered, accepting Blake's hand regardless. "But we should survive…"
Chuckling at the melodrama, Blake led them towards the entrance and paused just outside the black curtain separating them from whatever unspeakable horrors lay within.
"We'll definitely survive, but are you sure you want to do this?"
As willing as Blake was to help Yang through this, she didn't want to force her partner into anything. When a scream tore through the air and Yang cringed, Blake thought they were leaving immediately. Instead, Yang nodded.
"Promise you won't tell Ruby or Weiss if I scream?" she asked, giving Blake a pleading look.
"Of course I won't."
Looking at the curtain, Yang took a deep breath and nodded again.
"Ok, let's do it. I just need to...not punch anyone…"
"Then you can't let go of my hand - not unless I say you can. Got it?" Blake asked, smiling when Yang nodded. "Good. You can't punch anyone if you're holding my hand."
"I can't punch anyone alone if I'm holding your hand," Yang corrected, the joke making Blake laugh as she pulled back the curtain and tugged Yang into the dark hallway beyond.
The music was even louder here, as it attempted to mask the sounds of employees getting into place for their next big scare. The lights flickered on and off in a random pattern, playing tricks on the imagination as shapes moved and disappeared without a trace.
"Oh grimm…" Yang mumbled under her breath as they took several small steps forward. A skeleton sitting in the chair on their left started shaking as soon as they passed by - the abrupt noise and motion making Yang jump into Blake's side and tug at her hand.
"No punching," Blake whispered, smiling when Yang looked at her with wide eyes.
"How are you so cool with this?"
Pressing a finger to her lips, Blake tilted her head forward and led them further down the hall. If Yang wasn't on such high alert at the moment, she'd realize that Blake heard where all the scary 'events' were occuring. She knew what to expect and where to expect it. Plus, the lights were flickering, but she could still see pretty well in the darkness.
Making it past the loud cackle of a fake witch, they approached a corner up ahead. Yang squeezed Blake's hand tighter as they neared it, with good reason. Just around the bend, Blake heard someone with heavy shoes shuffling in wait. A loud, thumping sound caught her attention as they crept closer, and it took several seconds for her to realize it was Yang's heartbeat - growing louder as she anticipated the scare to come.
Yang was scared, and that was just about the most adorable thing Blake had ever witnessed. Yang Xiao Long - the girl who'd punched an Ursa in the face just the other day - was scared of some amusement park employee dressed up as a serial killer.
Not for long, if her partner had anything to say about it.
Pulling Yang closer, Blake leaned over and whispered "Watch this," right before they stepped around the corner - triggering the scary event.
A man in a ski mask revved his chainless chainsaw - raising it in the air and lunging towards them as the loud sound filled the hall. Feeling Yang's arm flinch in response, Blake dragged the girl a step away from danger before summoning two clones that tapped the man's shoulders from behind.
Instantly confused, he lowered the chainsaw and spun towards the unexpected presence. As soon as he did so, Blake dropped Yang's hand and slipped behind him. Two more clones flashed across the hall - serving as distraction while she leaned forward and whispered "Boo" in his ear.
"Ahh!" he screamed, whirling around as Blake smoothly returned to Yang's side - reaching down to hold Yang's hand as if she'd never moved at all. While he looked at her with wide eyes, she maintained a passive expression. That is, until she heard laughter.
Turning to the side, she smiled when she found Yang doubling over in laughter.
"Got s-spooked - huh?" Yang got out before dissolving into more giggles.
"Must've been a ghost," Blake added, feeling her smile grow when Yang laughed even harder.
Miffed but unsure about what just happened, the man gave Blake another long look before standing to the side of the hall and motioning for them to move along. Hurrying past, they only slowed their pace when he disappeared into the alcove behind them, waiting for his next 'victims' to arrive.
"Ok," Yang whispered as they trekked further into the house. "That was awesome. He totally wasn't expecting anything behind him."
When a fake zombie rattled a cage to their right and Yang hardly blinked, Blake squeezed Yang's hand.
"Feeling better now?" she asked, watching the sparkle return to Yang's eyes.
"Hell yeah! Let's flip the tables on these suckers!"
Laughing at the typical Yang response, Blake led them towards their next 'event' - which sounded like a fake banshee screaming at the other end of the hall. If she played the moment right, she should be able to prompt a real scream instead…