"Did you have a nice Christmas?" Yang asked, scooting a little closer to Blake while asking the question.
When Blake smiled in response, Yang could've sworn the sun shone brighter outside their dorm room window - even though the sun was setting at the moment - and maybe a bird or two decided to brave the snow just to sing them a parting song.
"I did." Inching a tad closer, Blake allowed their knees to lightly touch near the edge of the bed and looked up at Yang through long, utterly-gorgeous lashes. "Did you?"
As Yang leaned nearer still, the scent of Blake's shampoo registered, and she felt the combined body heat they were beginning to share - heat that rose the longer the two of them occupied the same space. But Blake showed no signs of wanting to leave - and Yang definitely didn't want to leave. Instead, she threw on a bright smile that probably only showed a fraction of how happy she was in this moment.
"Any day with you is a nice day," she answered, watching Blake's ears flicker with a fleeting display of surprise and delight. "Today was no exception."
The response was reassurance as much as it was the truth, because Yang knew that Blake needed to hear the words. Maybe if she said it enough - how much she loved having Blake as her partner, how much she loved spending time together - then someday Blake would fully believe it.
Today, Blake smiled at the words before glancing at her lap - where her fingers curled into loose fists before releasing.
"Maybe...I can give you your gift now?" she asked, looking up and catching Yang in another one of those piercing amber gazes.
"You don't have to give me anything -"
"I know, but I want to," Blake quickly replied, moving closer and casually resting her hand on top of Yang's thigh.
The gesture was casual for Blake, but Yang felt her heart climb in her chest in anticipation.
"Ok then," she said with a smile, hoping Blake couldn't hear the loud thumps her heart was making. "Ready when you are."
After briefly glancing away and taking a deep breath, Blake looked up at Yang - giving her that same look they'd been sharing for the past couple months while they danced around this particular moment. And Yang realized that it was finally here. The yearning and longing and waiting was finally over.
When Blake leaned forward, Yang pressed forward to match, watching Blake's eyes fall shut while their lips moved just inches apart. Just a little closer and -
Yang jolted back at the unexpected voice, and again when the door of their room slammed against the wall.
"Jesus, Ruby!" she shouted, holding a hand over her heart while shooting a look at Blake - who'd somehow found time to move a respectable distance away but hadn't yet willed the blush from her cheeks.
Understanding that Blake wouldn't make eye contact for at least the next few minutes, Yang shook her head and turned towards the open doorway. Even then, it took her several extra seconds to digest exactly what she was seeing there.
"Merry RWBY Christmas!" Ruby carried on with as much zeal and gusto as she'd used to throw the door open. "The day of the year to spread good cheer!"
While she said the words, she waved her hand through the air and scattered a handful of fake snowflakes in front of them.
"Uh, what're you doing?" After watching the snowflakes fall to the ground, Yang looked at Ruby - and Ruby's outfit. "And what are you wearing?"
"This?" Picking up the hem of her red and white skirt, Ruby waited for Yang to nod before grinning. "I'm Santa Ruby today!"
To prove that point, Ruby spun in a quick circle - showing them the red Santa's hat she wore along with the big, red bag she had slung over one shoulder.
"Oh…" Sharing a glance with Blake - who was, thankfully, more interested in what was happening versus being embarrassed about what almost happened - Yang chuckled and nodded towards Ruby's side. "Is Weiss supposed to be your elf?"
"She wishes," Weiss huffed, folding her arms across her chest. Her matching dark green and white ensemble seemed to disagree with her, but…
"She's my helper!" Ruby declared with a smile that even Weiss couldn't say 'no' to. "Santa always needs a helper for Christmas."
"That's why he has elves," Blake pointed out, earning a glare from Weiss.
"Yeah, and you realize Christmas is kinda already over?" To make her point, Yang gestured towards the darkening sky outside their dorm window.
"Christmas is over when I say it's over!"
"Or when it hits midnight?" Yang added, sharing a look and smile with Blake.
"Stop being difficult," Weiss scolded her. "And listen to Santa."
The instant the words left Weiss' mouth, she shook her head and wrinkled her nose - just like Yang did.
"Uh Weiss, please never say that again."
"I don't plan on it."
"You guys!" Ruby interrupted with a whine. "Come on - Christmas is almost over and there's just one more thing I want to do!"
After looking at Blake, who shrugged, Yang turned back to Ruby and sighed. Whatever Ruby had planned was delaying her from receiving her gift from Blake, but...Blake might not be willing to give the same gift anymore anyway.
"Alright," Yang said, motioning for Ruby to talk. "Let's hear it, Santa Ruby and Tiny Weiss."
Yang grinned at the glare Weiss sent her way, but there was no time for a rebuttal before Ruby started talking.
"Ok, ok - last part of Christmas is…" Dropping the red bag on the ground, Ruby scrounged inside before grabbing ahold of something and looking up at Weiss. "Weiss, drumroll?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Make a drum sound!"
"Why would I do that?"
"Just - ok." Forgoing the theatrics, Ruby pulled her hand out of the bag to reveal a...container of icing and box of gingerbread pieces. "We're having a gingerbread house competition!"
"Making the houses or eating them?" Yang asked while Ruby pulled more supplies from her bag. "Because one of those is really unfair."
"Making them!" Ruby answered, handing several containers to Weiss with a smile. "Thank you, little helper!"
Weiss couldn't help but smile at Ruby while setting everything in neat piles on the floor between their beds - their unofficial dining room table.
"For you," Weiss murmured while setting a stack of gingerbread squares in front of Yang.
"Thank you, little helper!" Yang replied with a huge grin.
"Call me 'little' again and you won't see new years," Weiss replied with a scarily-perfect smile before setting a few more pieces in front of Blake.
Chuckling at the threat (just a little nervously), Yang turned to Blake to see what she thought about this unexpected alteration to their evening.
"Sounds like fun, right?"
"I'm never made a gingerbread house before," Blake replied with a smile. "It's always looked like fun."
"Then it's settled. We're in!"
"Awesome!" Thrilled that her idea was turning out to be a success, Ruby clapped her hands before waving for everyone to take their seats around the table. "And no big deal or anything, but there might be a super awesome prize for whoever makes the best house."
"Super awesome?" Blake repeated, her ears twitching with curiosity.
"Yup! But it's a secret."
"Who decides the winner?" Yang asked while taking a seat on the floor to start building.
"I do! Because I'm Santa!"
Sharing one last amused look with Blake, Yang laughed and grabbed two squares of gingerbread to use as the bottom of her house and the first wall.
"Let me know if you need any help?" she offered to Blake.
"Thank you, but this seems...pretty intuitive."
Proving her point, Blake motioned down to her house, which already had four walls.
"Of course you'd be a pro at this," Yang replied with a smile. "Is there anything you aren't great at?"
Yang meant the compliment to be pretty all-encompassing, so it surprised her when Blake glanced away and shrugged.
"By the way," Ruby whispered into Yang's ear, making her jump and nearly crush her house in surprise. "You only have three minutes until the competition ends - go!"
"Seriously?" After looking at Ruby - who nodded pretty smugly - Yang turned to Weiss instead. "What gives, Weiss?"
"Just let her do her thing," Weiss muttered while piping another layer of icing onto her house and sticking several small gumdrops in the center.
Yang decided to listen to Weiss this time - but only because she wanted to win the competition and see what this super awesome prize was. If Weiss bought it, it could actually be really awesome. If Ruby made it up, it could be...well, a lifetime hug or something. Not that that wasn't awesome, but Yang already had five of those from Christmases past.
"Our competitors have two minutes left!"
"Who are you talking to?" Yang asked while fitting a roof onto her house and drawing a smiley face in icing on top of it.
"Oh, uh, you guys, mostly."
"Mostly?" Looking up from her work, Blake caught Yang's eyes and flashed an amused smirk. "I don't think I want to know who the others are."
"What? Just - one and a half minutes left!"
Laughing at Ruby's impatience and the weird Christmas activity, Yang added as much red to her house as possible - because that was Ruby's favorite color, Ruby was deciding the winner, and Yang wasn't ashamed of using sisterly knowledge to her advantage. Although everyone probably knew Ruby's favorite color by now…
For the next ninety seconds, she worked as fast as possible putting her gingerbread house together. Making one of these without a time limit was hard enough - this was a straight-up challenge.
"Time! Hands where I can see them!"
Laughing at Ruby's order - which sounded very much like a hold up - Yang raised her hands in the air and checked out her competition.
For having never made a gingerbread house before, Blake built freaking adorable one. The color scheme was white and purple, of course, with tiny windows and a short wall/fence edging in the yard. There was a purple gumdrop chimney, and some expertly-done snow drifts draping the roof - dusted with some purple sprinkles.
"Wow, Blake," Yang said, leaning over until her shoulder lightly grazed Blake's. "That looks fantastic!"
"Thank you." Looking up, Blake met Yang's eyes and smiled. "Yours is really good too."
Whenever Blake looked at Yang like this, it was easy for her to forget the rest of the room existed.
It was less easy to forget when a loud, tiny elf cleared her throat to get their attentions.
Begrudgingly turning away from Blake, Yang was fully prepared to tease Weiss about her subpar gingerbread house. That was, until she saw Weiss' subpar gingerbread...mansion.
It was at least four times as big as Blake's or Yang's - a full three stories tall with iced-white pillars standing in front. There was a chimney, icicles hanging from the eves, and a blue-gel lake in the front yard.
"Uh, wow Weiss…"
"We should make these more often," Weiss said, capping her nearly-empty tube of icing and giving her creation a satisfied nod.
Ruby appeared over Weiss' right shoulder then, eyeing the gingerbread mansion before giving it a quick "Good!" and darting away. She then gave Blake's house a much longer inspection, which earned a thoughtful "hmm" before she finally knelt down by Yang's side.
"Look at all this red…" she whispered in awe, gently picking up the house and turning it around in front of her eyes.
"That's right, Ruby," Yang said, winking at Blake. "Look at all that red."
Blake chuckled at the clear appeal to Ruby's personal tastes, while Weiss shook her head and rolled her eyes.
After putting the house down, Ruby stood to the side and tapped her chin.
"Hmm…" she murmured, deliberating her answer for a second before saying, "Yang wins!"
While Yang pumped her fist in victory, Weiss' jaw fell open in shock.
"What?!" she asked (more like shrieked). "How could hers possibly be better than mine? It's tiny for one thing."
"It's the perfect elf-house, don't you think?" Yang cut in, picking up her house so Ruby looked at it again. "Wouldn't a cute little elf live so happily in here?"
Ruby's eyes darted to Weiss (which was just about the cutest thing ever) before her face lit up with a goofy smile.
"A little elf would live really happily there!" she agreed. When Weiss huffed, Ruby quickly turned her way. "Sorry, Weiss. Yours is really amazing, but if I say it's the best, I'd be playing favorites! And Santa can't play favorites."
"So instead of objectively picking the house that's clearly the best, you just won't pick mine because we're partners?"
Weiss looked miffed by the response, but Ruby was already pulling her Santa's bag over to reveal the grand prize.
"Stand up, stand up," she directed everyone while removing a small bag and holding it behind her back. "Ok Yang - Blake gets to see your gift first, ok?"
"So turn towards her!"
Doing as told, Yang turned towards Blake and smiled - mostly because this was kind of ridiculous, but also because Blake looked so entertained by how ridiculous it was. Leave it to Ruby to make something uniquely silly and fun for them to do at the end of Christmas.
"Ok, now I'm going to put it in your hand," Ruby said, placing something between Yang's thumb and forefinger before appearing by her side. "On the count of three, hold it above your head! 'K? One...two...three!"
As soon as Ruby said 'three,' Yang held her prize above her head exactly as instructed. Blake looked up at it - and then immediately blushed and turned away.
Surprised by the response, Yang lowered her hand and found that...
She was holding a tiny bundle of mistletoe.
"Ruby!" she yelled, spinning around right as the door slammed shut, leaving just her and Blake in the room while Santa and the miniscule elf beat the heck out of dodge. Tossing the mistletoe on the floor, she heard a nervous chuckle slip out while her mind scrambled to find a way to erase the blush on Blake's cheeks.
"That's Ruby…" she said with a smile and shake of her head. "She's...well, she's dead as soon as I find her."
Thankfully, Blake laughed at the joke and met Yang's gaze.
"Good thing you'll never catch her," she teased. "I think we need our team leader."
"Yeah, you're right…" Yang grumbled, feeling better by the second as Blake inched closer, carefully stepping around their little houses. "I'm gonna have to yell at her later though."
"You could do that." Bending down, Blake plucked the mistletoe from the floor and twirled it between her fingers. "Or...you could thank her."
Holding the mistletoe above her head, Blake gave Yang one of the shiest, most unsure smiles she'd ever received.
Not one to leave Blake unsure about herself - and not one to deny the magic of mistletoe - Yang wasted no time leaning forward while Blake tilted her head up and let her eyes fall shut.
This time, there was no interruption - their lips met in a kiss. It was short and sweet, but it was the most perfect moment Yang could've imagined.
When the moment ended and Blake looked up at her with a smile, Yang realized that Ruby's prize was actually worth about a million times more than she initially thought.
"Merry Christmas, Yang."
"Merry Christmas, Blake," Yang replied with a grin that probably wasn't going away anytime soon. Not with Blake standing so close, not with the room to themselves, not with the afterglow of their first kiss still sending shivers of exhilaration down her spine.
"So…" Blake said with the beginnings of a smirk, still twisting the small bunch of mistletoe between her fingers. "Would you like your gift now?"
That was the easiest question in the history of easy questions.
While Yang made a show of bracing herself to get ready, Blake laughed - and then lightly grabbed the front of Yang's shirt to drag her into another kiss (or several more kisses…).
This was, officially, the best Christmas ever.
"So...how much do you think she's gonna kill me later?" Ruby asked, swinging her arms while the two of them walked across the freshly-shoveled paths outside.
"If everything goes as planned…" Weiss replied. "Probably not very much."
"Oh good." Letting out a big sigh and running her arm across her brow, Ruby smiled when the exaggeration made Weiss laugh.
"That was very thoughtful of you, you know."
"Yeahhh well...I can't stand them making googly-eyes at each other all the time! Like seriously - just kiss already!"
Weiss laughed at Ruby's exasperation - exasperation they'd shared over the past couple of months. Yang and Blake's perpetual 'googly-eyes' weren't annoying, however. It was more...entertaining, and gave her and Ruby a reason to spend more time together.
Why else would they have spent all afternoon shopping for supplies to make gingerbread houses, all while crafting an 'elaborate' plan that involved Weiss pretending to pitch a fit when her clearly superior house wasn't chosen as the winner? And why else would she be wearing this ridiculous -
Actually, she liked the outfit. Dark green looked good on her.
"How much time do you think we should give them before going back?" Ruby asked after a few minutes of silence.
"Probably another half hour or so."
"At least it's nice out, right?"
With some time to spare before returning to the room, Weiss realized this was the perfect moment to unveil her contribution to this evening. So, she reached out for Ruby's hand and gently pulled the girl away from the path they'd been walking ever since sprinting away from their room a little while ago.
"In the meantime, I have something to show you."
"Yes." Even though Ruby was already willingly following, Weiss turned around and gave her partner a smile. "It won't take long."
Ruby made a noise of delight while the two of them headed towards the edge of the forest, where the lights of campus began to fade away. It wasn't long until they stood in front of a wall of black - the trees indistinguishable from darkness at this time of night.
"Here we are," Weiss said, double-checking that they were in the perfect spot before nodding to herself.
"Uh...it's the forest…"
"Wait for it."
Without dropping Ruby's hand, Weiss subtly reached for her scroll with her free hand and clicked the button on the side three times.
The outer wall of the forest suddenly lit up with an array of Christmas lights in all colors. White, blue, purple, green, and - most importantly - lots of red. Thousands of tiny lights sparkling amongst the evergreen branches like stars spending the night on earth instead of trapped in the night sky.
Smiling at the single-word response, Weiss squeezed Ruby's hand and leaned over to kiss her cheek.
"Merry RWBY Christmas," she whispered before pulling away. Silver eyes quickly latched onto her - wide with awe, surprise, and delight.
"You did this for me?"
"Of course." Looking at the wall of colors in front of them, flickering in no particular order but managing to look spectacular regardless, Weiss smiled. "I hope you like it."
"Like it? Weiss, I love it!"
Even though she'd expected the response, it was still a relief to hear. She wasn't exactly great at this whole 'Christmas' thing, but she wanted to give Ruby something special. Something like those silly gingerbread houses she talked about incessantly for the past few weeks. Something bright, cheerful, extravagant, and...uniquely Ruby.
"I, uh, I got you something too."
Turning away from the lightshow in front of them, Weiss laughed when she saw Ruby holding a second sprig of mistletoe above her head.
"Ruby Rose," she said, mustering as much shock as possible. "Was this your plan the entire time?"
"You know it!" When Weiss stepped closer to her, Ruby lowered her arm to her side and grinned. "Did it work?"
Weiss rolled her eyes but looped her hand behind Ruby's neck and gently pulled her down for a kiss. It was slow, sweet, and meaningful - just like this day they'd spent together.
"Merry Christmas, Ruby," Weiss whispered, watching the lights from the forest illuminate the air between them.
Leaning forward, Ruby stole another kiss before grinning.
"Merry Christmas, world's most adorable elf."
While Ruby giggled in delight, Weiss sighed in fake exasperation and turned back towards the lights twinkling in the trees. When Ruby laced her fingers through Weiss' though, she smiled.
"Next year, you're the elf."