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Ren liked his sleep.

Ren liked his sleep a lot.

Ren also preferred that this sleep not be had on hard academy floors surrounded by a whole haggle of strangers that snored and spoke and did who knew what else in their sleep.

It took all he had that first day to simply ignore the pinching pain lancing through his side as he tried to get his much needed and loved rest with nothing more than a pillow and the most basic amenities. And because of that dismal sleep, he’d woken up in a sour mood and with nothing more than a cramped back to show for it.

This was barbaric, that was what it was. Sleeping on cold floors, surrounded by other people and still alone.

And so, when room assignments to suites finally came up based on teams, Ren was more than relieved. Even if he had to share a room with Jaune. He didn’t care about the snickers and taunts that followed the admittedly bumbling boy down the halls, he just cared about his sleep.

If Jaune interfered with sleep, Jaune needed to be dealt with.

But as long as sleep remained safe and intact, Jaune remained safe and intact.

Simple.

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He’d almost felt like humming when he’d first walked into their shared suite, an urge that was quickly suppressed by the sudden appearance of Pyrrha who’d cornered him and explained quickly and haltingly that they needed to switch room assignments—for the great good.

Nothing to do with her positively obvious burgeoning crush on the soft boy, of course not. She simply didn’t know if her sanity could stand living in close proximity to Nora for so long without dissolving and leaving her just an empty shell of a person, hollow and rocking back and forth on the floor.

If she hadn’t been so intent on keeping her true motives hidden from him, Ren was sure that Pyrrha would have noticed that he was far from reluctant to room with Nora. As it stood, he’d managed to haggle a month’s worth of laundry duty and free pancakes out of her before accepting and she’d still had the most absolutely relieved face after the ordeal, with just a dash of guilt that made it obvious that she worried how he’d deal with that homicidally chipper Valkyrie girl for so long a time.

Ren resolved to himself that he’d wait a bit before informing her that he’d been sharing a room with Nora for as long as he could remember.

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Nora was, of course, ecstatic to hear that she wouldn’t have to be sneaking into his room just in order to wake him up every morning as usual. As for Ren, he was just looking forward to his first night of actual good sleep, barring any unfortunate accidents.

Like the ones Nora was all too fond of creating.

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“Ren, Ren, did you know that these showers are actually the absolute best! Not just usual best, but I mean yes, the hot water is fantastic and do you think it ever runs out? Cause it’s been running for a while now, no, I wasn’t actually taking a shower for all that time, silly, I just wanted to see how much steam would build up and if I could write a secret message to you on the mirror, and ooh. Secret messages! Can we start giving those to each other?”

Without even opening his eyes or moving an inch from his carefully arranging sleeping position atop his bed, Ren reminded, “We’re on the same team and in the same room, Nora. We don’t need secret messages, we can just give each other regular ones.”

“Oh. Yea.” Nora was silent for a moment. “But that’s boring! C’mon, Ren, where’s your sense of adventure? Secret bathroom messages! Secret breakfast messages in syrup! Secret sloth calls in the forest!”

At this Ren finally let out a sigh, turning over to check the time. He needed sleep. Sleep was great. He counted down the minutes he could have it often and did so again as he glanced over the clock, looking slowly from his bedside towards the figure eagerly skipping in place in the middle of the room (some would argue that wasn’t possible, he had years of proof in the form of one Nora Valkyrie) and rambling away her ideas.

His eyes passed casually over her towards the suspiciously familiar decorations on her side of the room, before snapping back and narrowing as he took her in once more.

He was silent for a moment, not entirely a rare phenomenon, but strange in that it seemed to be affecting his brain as well. When his mouth finally found purchase to move, all Ren could think to ask was, “Don’t you have a towel?”

Pouting slightly, a reflex Ren was happy about as it drew his eyes away from the rest of her regardless of how counterproductive staring at her lips was, Nora huffed and pointed at her admittedly towel-clad head. “I needed to dry my hair.”

Wanting to sigh but fearing some other noise would escape instead, Ren allowed himself a fair few moments to wonder how exactly he’d gotten into this particular situation—alone in a locked room with a disturbingly naked girl who happened to be his best friend and lifelong partner and knowing full well what shouldn’t be allowed to happen—before simply giving her another completely casual, cursory glance and closing his eyes.

Nora could only play hell with his nerves if she let him. He’d learned the hard way to never let her.

Sure she was borderline insane (wait scratch that it was probably more actually insane) and hard to handle and things would probably go a lot better if he simply answered her less than subtle hints that they become more than the platonic partners that they currently were, but Ren was all in favor of the third, less heard of option.

The one that stated that he would put off informing the girl he planned to spend of his life with that he planned to spend the rest of his life with her until he actually came up with a way of preventing her from blowing up certain chunks of the world in excitement when she found out.

It was a work in progress. Had been for the better part of ten years, actually.

And this, this little tiny incident was not going to break him. What if he’d just gotten a jarring reminder that the scrawny girl who’d used to serve him mud pancakes when they were little was older and a lot more filled in and had these legs that—

No.

He was not doing this. He was not letting her do this.

Ren wanted sleep and he was getting it, and no euphemism was going to substitute it.

He remained sure of this up to the point where he felt the bed dip as she scooted onto it, still chattering away.

“I don’t know where you even put it, really, especially since I told you soooo many times that I needed all my brushes and hair products in the pretty pink bag especially. Y’know the pretty pink one with the gold trim not the pretty pink one with the silver, heh, that has my spare bullets in it and I hope you packed those too, the last time I had to give up and just use my hammer to kill the stupid monster and it was so fun! But messy. But fun! But people looked at me weird again and I hope you brought that special detergent that gets out the blood stains—“

A bare foot began to prod against the back of his knee and Ren expelled a deep lungful of air he didn’t even know he’d been holding in. Of course. He might as well run with this. “At least put a shirt on.”

There was a beat of silence. Then a soft giggle. “Sure!”

Ren rolled over onto his back, groaning as he did so. Who even cared anymore. He was tired and achy and now filled with the urge to pull her onto the bed and kiss her senseless on top of all that. Ugh, Nora. Why was he stupidly in love with her again?

“Done!”

Ren looked up.

Well. At least she’d put something on. And yes, maybe he would have preferred greatly that it hadn’t been his suit she’d chosen to throw on, especially with the way she’d completely neglected to button it.

A large swath of her chest was exposed, a rough line drawn from her surprisingly fragile looking collarbones sloping towards the rise of her chest where the cloth thankfully (or not so much) did its job and covered what needed to be. The tail of the suit fluttered lazily in a way Ren was pretty sure she was using aura to do, and as if to accentuate this Nora flashed him a sudden grin and started to spin.

The pink edges of the shirt flapped in the wind, too long for her arms despite how well she filled them in, muscular wise. It was a sight to behold, Nora Valkyrie giggling as she twirled in circles over and over, her still wet hair dripping and spraying water throughout the room. His chest giving an all too familiar clench, Ren didn’t hesitate in grabbing her by the wrist and pulling her towards the bed.

She fell forward with an oomph, still smiling and looking up at him in that way that made his brain want to short out and quit functioning. At the reminder, Ren realized the sight they made, splayed out across the bed, him with only a thin shirt and pants and her completely naked under his shirt.

Bad.

This was bad.

Before his rational mind could backtrack, Nora sprang forward and pushed him down onto the mattress, neatly straddling his stomach.

Sighing, Ren realized that his best friend was likely gifted with the ability to telepathically know exactly when he about to be sane and stop the offending action immediately. He attempted to focus on this slightly depressing fact and not so much on the feel of her atop him, her eyes glittering with mischief and disturbingly bare thighs clenching against his sides.

Rather than launching into a stilted narrative of some random thing or anything, Nora simply said brightly, “Heya, Ren!”

Stuck between the impulse to roll his eyes or close them and hope this was all a dream, Ren answered back despairingly, “Nora.”

She completely ignored his exasperated tone. He didn’t expect anything else, really.

Instead, keeping one hand braced against his chest (regarding which he hoped she couldn’t feel how fast his heart was beating, especially since he was doing such a fine job of pretending to be apathetic to the whole situation and the fact that shirt was his was beginning to droop on the front) she began to play with his hair.

Or more specifically, the pink streak in it.

Humming slightly, Nora cocked her head to the side and commented, “Pink is such a great color. My favorite, really!” She leaned forward a little, as if to inspect it, causing a few stray drips of water from her hair to fall on his face.

Ren used this as the excuse he needed to clench his eyes shut and attempt to bring his breathing back under regulation and control some of the more immediate effects of her proximity. That’s to say, hoping very much that she didn’t scoot back any further.

She ran a quick hand through his hair and kept humming that nonsensical tune. It seemed ages of nothing but darkness and the growing realization that loss of sight meant that he could only feel her pressing against him all the more, juxtaposed with the quick and loud beating of his own heart drumming through his ears.

Then there was a quick, almost nonexistent wind against his face.

Ren opened his eyes to see her own, wide and shining with something, not more than an inch away from him.

Her voice was strangely sincere as she said with a smile, “Pink really is my favorite color.”

He should say something.

Ren knew he should be saying something. Right about now. Something about how he’d noticed, what with her clothes bordered on obsessiveness towards the color, or how she bought just about every pink item she could find in the store (or rather, made him buy them), or maybe even something about how he remembered her telling him when they were little that the only reason she loved the color so was because it reminded her of his own eyes.

Instead, he finally made up his mind, agreed on the real end goal here, then neatly placed his hands on her hips and flipped them over until she laid back against the mattress with him hovering just inches above her.

It was Nora’s turn to look shocked now, although the slow smile her mouth was beginning to curve into spoke more of her goals than anything else in this roundabout interaction. Her arms reached up to twine around his neck and pull him downward, fingertips lightly ghosting across the back of his neck until he shivered. Ren hesitated a moment, taking in quickly the sight of her beneath him, flushed and blue eyes almost shining with anticipation.

Then he rolled over onto his side and returned to the position she had found him in just minutes ago—about to go to sleep.

An amazingly normal order of, “Bedtime, Nora,” managed to make its way out of his mouth, although he faulted himself a little on the husky tinge it took once he all but groaned her name.

Ren found that in certain situations, he could almost hear Nora’s pout. This was one of them. But then again, she’d somehow managed to snag the clasp for his hair so that it hung free against the pillow for her to play with, so her doomed plan had likely not all been for naught. The small pleased noise she made she snuggled closer and began twirling strands of it around her fingers was evidence enough.

Still not entirely satisfied with the arrangement, Ren allowed himself one small moment of weakness and didn’t move away when Nora laid her head against his back. Her breath came out in slow, warm exhales that he could feel against the skin between his shoulder blades, through his thin shirt. It filled him with a strange sense of contentment that squeezed against the inside of his chest.

It was nice knowing that despite anything, Nora would always be there.

And here he’d been worried that them going to Beacon Academy would mean they couldn’t sleep together anymore.

He’d almost had a heart attack the moment he’d realized that they’d be resting in open space upon the floor the first day—an entire night without Nora snuggled up against him? No wonder he had back problems, despite her usual morning wakeup.

And after all, wasn’t sleeping the most important thing here?

Ren almost smiled. Sleep. Happiness. 

Nora blew a loud raspberry against his back.

Normalcy.

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“Hey, Ren, I was wondering if you wanted to oh my god what is—“

Jaune froze in place at the doorway, taking in the sight before him. Ren in bed. Nora in bed. Ren and Nora in the same bed. The bedcovers appeared to have been kicked off long ago, as they laid crumpled on the floor at the foot of the small same (same!) bed.

Nora had her arms wrapped possessively around Ren, as well as her legs. Her bare legs. One of the disturbingly toned appendages was hooked around Ren’s hip. In fact, from this position it didn’t look like she was wearing much at all except for—oh please no is that Ren’s shirt--

Jaune began to hyperventilate from the stress. Was this actually happening? Half-naked Nora cuddling with a sleeping Ren? Well, if you could call that cuddling. It was almost like she was a monkey hanging onto his back, or like, a sloth or something.

At the sound of intrusion, Ren began to stir, his half-lidded eyes blinking blearily to look at Jaune’s stricken face. His long black hair hung neatly over his shoulders, and he moved freely despite the large chunk of black hair Nora appeared to have clenched in one fist. The moment he realized who was there, he began frowning.

It was scary.

“I’ll just…go…over there…to help, uh, Ruby with her,” Jaune began, inching towards the door. As he neared the edge, he gave up all sense of denial and simply began to run, slamming the door shut behind him. “Byeseeyoulater!”

Ren stared blankly at the offending door as Nora began to mumble softly against his shoulder. “Five more minutes, Ren.”

He sighed and settled back down, sparing only a moment to smile softly at her frustrated face before knocking out himself the moment his head hit the pillow.

Word spread fast and along with wondering and fearful stares that followed him down the hall, Ren soon found that now no one would dare disturb him while he slept again.

It was great.