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Guaranteed Win

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"How 'bout thirty seconds?"

Huffing at the measly number, Weiss crossed her arms and looked away from Ruby.

"Three hundred seconds?" Ruby immediately added, countering her offer without Weiss' response.

"Ruby," Weiss finally replied, giving Ruby a patient-yet-impatient look. "What kind of fool do you take me for?"

"You're not a fool! You're a genius! Just...a slow genius."

Weiss laughed at the unexpected response, which brought a smile back to her lips in no time.

"A slow genius?" she repeated, her smile growing when Ruby nodded emphatically at the phrase. "What an oxymoron."

"Pretty sure I'm just a moron," Ruby replied - again, making Weiss laugh.

"You're not a moron. But what's got you so dogged?"

"Dunno what that means, but please, Weiss? Pleaseee?"

The moment Ruby clasped her hands together and pulled out those dangerously pleading puppy dog eyes, Weiss knew she was done for. She had yet to say 'no' to that face, and she found it hard to believe that today would be the first.

"I don't know why you want to do this so much…" she said instead, trying to wiggle her way out of the request using reason and logic rather than a firm 'no.'

"Because it'll be fun! And I'm bored - like, super bored."

"But we already know what will happen -"

"No we don't!" Ruby interrupted, hopping to the side when Weiss tried to turn away from those silver eyes. "We don't know for sure! Either one of us could win!"

"Uh huh…"

That was somewhere between a lie and a misrepresentation, and Ruby knew it. They both knew it, which was why Weiss didn't see the point in playing along. Why not skip the effort and concede the loss right now?

"Ok." Waving her hands in the air, Ruby wiped away that approach and tried another. "How about...if I don't catch you, you win. But if I do catch you, you still win."

Now that caught Weiss' attention.

"If you don't catch me, I win. If you catch me, I win?" she repeated, making sure she heard the offer correctly.

After nodding, Ruby started bouncing on her toes, knowing she was close to convincing Weiss to go along with this childish game. Which...she kind of was.

"What you're saying is…either way, I win."

"Yup!"

"Huh." Thinking about the situation for a while longer, Weiss felt another inescapable smile coming on.

"What you're suggesting is a guaranteed win," she concluded. When Ruby nodded, Weiss felt her skin tingle in anticipation.

Which was stupid - especially in this instance - but...she liked winning. Even if she was only winning Ruby's hyperactive creation, it was still winning. And Grimm knew she needed a win right about now.

"I don't know, Ruby…" she replied with fake reticence, turning away from her partner and shaking her head. "It just really doesn't seem like - you can catch me!"

The instant the words left her mouth, Weiss bolted through the doorway and into the next train car. She heard Ruby squeal before pursuing - a sound Weiss couldn't help but laugh at while racing down the center aisle as quickly and safely as possible.

"Excuse me!" she called out while brushing past a man talking on his scroll in the aisle. Once she maneuvered around him, she made it to the doorway to the next train car, which she slipped through while continuing her evasion from Ruby.

Which was lasting a lot longer than she expected it to...

Quite frankly, Ruby should've caught her long ago.

Glancing over her shoulder, Weiss discovered the reason for the delay - Ruby wasn't using her semblance. Instead, she ran through the aisle like a kid who'd never learned proper coordination - her legs too long and her arms too clumsy to move in a cohesive fashion.

But Ruby beamed with happiness - an image that filled Weiss' heart with unmistakable love and joy. That is, until Ruby suddenly reached out to tag her, in which case she squealed and darted away from the encroaching hand.

Weiss' squeal made Ruby laugh, which in turn made Weiss laugh while leading them through the train one car at a time. As they garnered more and more attention from fellow passengers, she grew acutely aware of the optics of this situation.

To the outside observer, it looked like she - Weiss Schnee - was beating Ruby Rose in a footrace. Now that was a win.

Sensing Ruby's hand growing closer (or seeing it in the reflection of the window), Weiss squealed again and ducked to the side before spurring her legs faster. While she hadn't expected to run the length of the train, she had to admit it felt good to be doing something - anything other than sitting around waiting to arrive at their destination.

Leave it to Ruby to come up with an enjoyable and unorthodox way to release the tension…

Their little adventure was coming to an end though - with the front of the train just up ahead. The door to the conductor's cabin was their unofficial-yet-official finish line of the race, and if Weiss could keep just a little bit of separation for the next few seconds...

When someone suddenly stood up and moved into the aisle, Weiss slid to a stop to avoid plowing into them at a run. Fortunately, due to quick reflexes and even-quicker thinking, she stopped with plenty of distance to spare.

And then Ruby slammed into her from behind.

The next thing she knew, she was laying on the floor in a jumbled up pile of limbs that were only half hers. The half of the limbs that weren't hers quickly detangled themselves as Ruby rolled off of Weiss and helped her to her feet.

"I'm sorry!" Ruby wailed, holding Weiss' shoulder and looking her over for injuries. "I didn't know you could stop so fast! Are you ok? Are you hurt?"

"I'm fine." Testing her limbs to confirm those words, Weiss found she was perfectly fine. Besides her left elbow feeling a little bruised, she was none the worse for wear. From the worried look in Ruby's eyes, however, she must be clinging to life after her harsh meeting with the floor.

"I'm fine," she repeated before noticing that Ruby was still clutching her arm, looking almost afraid to let go. So Weiss reached out and gently held Ruby's hand in her own, meeting Ruby's eyes and smiling.

"I'm just fine," she said one more time, hoping that would erase the concern from Ruby's eyes. When it was only mildly successful, however, she searched for an alternative means of easing Ruby's worry and fear that Weiss somehow wasn't ok.

Thankfully, she found one - the door of the conductor's cabin, a mere ten feet away.

"Looks like you caught me."

It took a couple of seconds for Weiss' words to sink in, but eventually Ruby caught on and finally smiled.

"Totally did! Didn't think I was going to for a second there. You're really fast!"

Leaning back, Ruby gave a pretend huff of exertion while wiping her arm across her forehead. Of course, she wasn't actually breathless or tired in the slightest, but Weiss appreciated the act.

And she was grateful to see Ruby smiling again.

"You know what that means," Weiss replied, arching a brow. "I win."

"What? But I -" When realization finally dawned, Ruby briefly paused and let out an adorable giggle. "Oh. That's right. Yup, you won!"

Weiss laughed at the response while Ruby smiled and shuffled her feet - for an instant, looking just like the girl Weiss met at Beacon what felt like lifetimes ago. The expression was a welcome one - a sight for sore eyes that made Weiss' heart swell with waves of strong emotions.

"That was fun," she said softly, watching the compliment light even more giddiness in Ruby's silver eyes - the purest of colors Weiss had ever seen.

"Yeah?" Again, Ruby shuffled her feet, and then ran a hand through her short hair - making it a tousled mess. "I'm glad!"

For a moment, it was just the two of them standing in the middle of the aisle smiling at each other, enjoying their temporary reprieve from the monotony of the train. When Ruby's eyes flitted to the side, however, Weiss realized that their little race was more than a break from boredom - it was a distraction.

"Race back?" she offered, wanting to stay in this moment of youthful freedom for as long as possible.

This time, however, Ruby was the one who looked hesitant about the idea.

"I dunno, Weiss...after that fall you just took...no way you'll catch me!"

When Ruby took off in the opposite direction, Weiss laughed and set out in pursuit. Again, Ruby used a human pace - one that let Weiss imagine she could catch up. And again, Ruby giggled like this was the funnest thing she'd ever done.

While it probably wasn't the funnest thing ever, it was definitely the most fun Weiss had had in a very long time. And while she chased Ruby through a train filled with strangers, she realized just how much she'd missed this - whatever this was. Being silly and goofy and not caring about the trials and tribulations facing them at every turn. Acting like kids. Making up games just because they were bored on a train. Finding ways to laugh and have a good time together.

Most importantly, she'd missed spending time with Ruby. After what they'd gone through, she'd worried that the Ruby she knew was gone - but she was just proven wrong.

Deep down, Ruby was still that klutzy, innocent kid who ran into Weiss on the first day at Beacon. She still had a heart of gold and a smile that could lift anyone's spirits. Maybe things would never be the same, but the old Ruby was still in there, somewhere.

That, to Weiss, was the real win today.

(But she also beat Ruby in a footrace, for the record.)