Ruby doesn’t know what big words like ‘feverish’ and ‘undiagnosable’ mean, but she knows what Daddy’s face looks like when he’s worried. Her little fingers curl tight around the edge of the wall as she watches Daddy nod and look down at his feet, frowning. The doctor lady keeps talking to him with more big words, shaking her head and moving her hand around as she speaks.
Her fingers keep fluttering like wings and Ruby is almost expecting her hand to detach itself from her arm and take off, soaring through the sky and joining the flocks of birds that have been flying over their home just like every Fall. Then it’ll play in the Bird Winter Playhouse that Mummy told her about and fly back over their roof in Spring and attach itself again to the doctor lady’s arm.
Daddy thanks the doctor lady and says goodbye to her as she leaves. Once the door is closed, he goes back to looking at the floor with a worried expression, and Ruby thinks she should go hug him and ask him what’s wrong with the floor.
Instead, she quickly ducks away from the room’s edge and presses herself against the wall when he starts to look up. She holds a hand over her mouth, her stomach flipping around in the thrill of sneaking around her parents, and waits for a while, willing her bladder to not relieve itself just yet.
When she turns back to look again, Daddy is gone and the entrance is empty. Ruby sighs and smiles mischievously at her success in hiding from Daddy.
However, the smile is slapped off her face when two hands grab her shoulders and a loud RAWR sounds from behind her. Ruby shrieks and spins around so fast that she topples onto her butt, her chest pounding as the lion that snuck up on her giggles. Yang kneels down in front of her and grins with a brightness to rival her hair. “Got you!”
Ruby presses her lips together and tells herself not to cry. Yang can’t make her cry. She definitely can’t. Instead, she pouts towards her shoes. “Daddy said you had to stay in bed.”
“Yeah, but I got bored.” Yang moves and sits next to her sister, bouncing as she shifts and keeping the grin on her face. “I don’t feel sick, so why bother?”
Mummy and Daddy had both said that Yang was too warm. Too warm, so she might be sick, so she has to stay in bed to get better and she has to stay away from Ruby so she doesn’t get sick too.
But Ruby doesn’t think she’s sick. Mummy was sick once and she was tired and sad during it. Yang doesn’t look tired. And she definitely isn’t sad. She’s just warm.
Warm is nice, isn’t it?
“Come on!” Yang says, jumping to her feet and holding her hands out to Ruby. “I heard Mum tell Dad that there were cookies on the pantry’s top shelf last night! If you stand on my shoulders we might be able to reach it!” She pulls Ruby to her feet and they both run as quickly as possible with tiny feet towards the promise of cookies.
They don’t reach it, and Mummy catches them and scolds them before sending Yang back to bed so she doesn’t get sicker. Before bed, Ruby asks Mummy why she and Daddy are so worried that Yang might be sick, because she doesn’t seem sick and all, and Mummy explains to her that when people get very warm it can be dangerous, even if it seems like it won’t be.
“Don’t worry, sweetie,” Mummy says, brushing Ruby’s hair. “Yang will be fine. Her fever will cool down in a few days and everything will go back to normal.”
(Yang never cools down.)
Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.
Yang’s leg bounces up and down continuously and the heel of her shoe sends echoes down the long, empty corridor. Ruby watches her in silence; the tapping foot, the wringing hands, the bitten lip. Yang’s eyes are fixed on the door that sits across the hallway from them.
Ruby’s never seen her big sister this scared before.
Their father has been in there for ages, and with every minute that passes, Yang and Ruby can hear the voices on the other side of the door raise higher and higher. Ruby flinches as one particular exchange from the school’s vice principal breaks through the door to reach her ears.
“I do not care about the circumstances of the event, Mr. Xiao Long. We can not keep a living bomb within this school!”
Ruby looks over at Yang, barely managing to catch a glimpse of her face before her sister pulls her knees up to sit under her chin and lets her hair sweep forward to cover her face. Ruby thinks about going over to see if she can do anything to help, but there are four seats between them and Dad said not to move from those seats and Ruby is little and awkward and scared and she has no idea how Yang does the magic comforting thing anyway.
“Hey Yang…” Ruby starts, letting her voice trail off as loud, commanding footsteps begin to echo through the corridor. Summer Rose, clothed in her huntress’ garb, frizzy and misplaced hair, and a clearly annoyed frown, strides down the hallway towards them, her eyes fixed on the office’s door.
Ruby scoots to the edge of her seat, grinning, and upon seeing her, the frown melts away to make room for the sun. Summer smiles and bends down to plant a kiss on her cheek. Ruby opens her arms up for a hug, but is denied with a shaking head.
“Mum stinks of monsters right now,” Summer says, stroking Ruby’s hair. “I’ll give you a hug later.” When Ruby nods, she stands back up and walks over to crouch in front of Yang, still curled up and hiding her face.
Ruby doesn’t hear what Summer mutters to Yang, but she certainly hears Yang’s retort.
“It wasn’t my fault! I told him to leave Ruby alone, and he didn’t! I just…” She once again ducks her face underneath her hair. “I just thought if I hit him once he’d stop…”
She’s cut off when the voices behind the door once again louden. Instantly, Summer’s face is snapped back into a frown, and she stands up, making straight for the door. “Dad and I will just be a few more minutes, girls. Don’t worry.” She shoots them both fleeting smiles before opening the door and stepping into the office.
Ruby and Yang both flinch as the door is slammed shut.
The flinch again when Summer’s voice cuts through the rest of the yelling in the room.
“You all realize that the girls can hear every word you are saying through this door, don’t you?”
The volume of the conversation is instantly dropped, leaving the corridor to drop back down into a hollow silence that extends until the door opens once again for their thin-lipped parents to walk out, grab the hands of both Ruby and Yang, and direct them out of the school.
It's an early night for them all; neither of the girls argue when they are sent to bed right after dinner and a story. Yang doesn't even go through her usual process of getting out of bed every ten minutes and trying to sneak around the house until she's told to go to sleep for the twelfth time.
She does however, get out of bed a few minutes after they've been set down, and kneels on the floor of her and Ruby's room, pressing her ear against the door.
Ruby sits up on her own bed when Yang moves. "What are you doing?"
"Trying to listen. Shh."
Ruby can hear the voices of their parents talking in the room across, but she can't make out any proper words, so she watches her sister strain to try and hear something, one hand pulling at her hair. After a while the voices stop, and Yang sighs and moves back into her bed.
"Do you think Mum and Dad are gonna send me away?" She asks, looking up at the glowing star stickers on their roof.
"You didn't do anything wrong." Ruby rolls over to face her, clutching her blanket. "Why would they send you away?"
"Kids aren't s’posed to burn other kids, Ruby."
Ruby kicks at her tangled sheet and rolls back to face the roof. "Well I think Tobias deserved it, anyway,” she speaks loudly to the stars.
She hears Yang giggle from across the room. "Maybe they should start calling him 'To-fry-us' from now on." The new name launches both of the girls into fits of laughter, and Ruby presses her face into her blanket to stifle her giggles.
Yang is still laughing into her pillow when Ruby drags her blanket and herself out of her own bed to plop down on Yang's. Yang instinctively moves over and wraps an arm around the younger girl while Ruby squeezes her own arms around Yang's waist.
"Mum and Dad won't send you away," she whispers. "I'll make sure they don't."
(She never needs to make sure of it.)
It’s two schools and three heated incidents later by the time summer break rolls around and their mother decides that their family is going to spend the holiday at Uncle Qrow's place.
It’s a large house for just one man, positioned on the skirts of Patch, with Signal Academy just on the other side of a three mile stretch. There’s plenty of empty land around; perfect to keep one six year old girl entertained while her sister has little daily ‘lessons’ with Uncle Qrow.
However it’s not the expanse of fresh air and free space that draws Ruby’s attention, but instead the giant, rounded room, wallpapered with shelves and shelves of books. There are leather-bound cases of letters and drawings stretching up towards the sun.
Ruby’s first thought is that she didn’t think this many books existed in the world.
Her second thought is of how it could even be possible to fill these many books with words.
She pulls on the first spine she can reach, sitting on the floor and dropping the heavy book into her lap. Her fingers brush on the cover – blue and silver-titled – Ruby narrows her eyes and tries to sound out the letters on the front.
“The… A-ar-art of… Ssss….ca?”
Stomping, commanding footsteps begin to echo down the hall and into the room as Yang marches in with Uncle Qrow on her tail. She holds a self-satisfied smile on her face as she leads him around, but pauses as they enter the library, her eyes settling on Ruby.
She grins and seats herself on the ground next to her sister with a soft bump. “Watcha lookin’ at sis?”
Ruby points at the title. “Can you read this?”
“Mhmm! The Art of Sa-… Saca? Uh…” Qrow chuckles to himself, walking up to stand behind them.
“I feel that book is going to be a bit difficult for either of you to read,” he says, bending down to pick up The Art of Scythe-Wielding from Ruby’s hands, and placing it back in its spot on the shelf. “Maybe when you’re both a little older.”
Two sets of innocent eyes follow him as he moves to another section of his library, crouching down next to a lower shelf. He pulls multiple books out of the shelf, setting them into a pile on the floor.
Exchanging glances, the two sisters follow Qrow to the pile of books; many of them thinner this time, with pictures gracing the pages. “Try with reading these ones first,” Qrow says, stepping up and leaving the girls to fawn over their new form of entertainment.
“Pick one,” Yang says, nudging Ruby. “I’ll read it for us.”
Ruby looks through the numerous options. There’s a cover with two baby crows on it; another with a princess, holding her sword as she faces a giant, unseen monster. One cover shows a picture of a train; one has a smiling, waving robot. Another cover shows a young woman, a huntress, facing off, preparing to slay a pack of beowolf.
Ruby points to that one, and it is pulled out from the pile to open up on the floor. The swish of turning pages sounds across the room and Yang reads out the words while Ruby stares, her face as close as possible, at the illustrations.
“D’you think this is what Mum does at work?” Ruby whispers once the story is finished. Yang pouts and cocks her head to the side.
“I think so? Maybe? I dunno, but it looks cool!” Her head tilts even further. “I think I wanna be a huntress when I grow up.”
“I thought you wanted to be a firefighter.”
Yang grins and lies back on the wooden floorboards, staring up at the roof. “Can’t really be a firefighter when you’re the one that keeps starting ‘em. But hey,” her glance darts to Ruby, smile beaming, “you could be a huntress too! We can be huntresses together!”
Ruby also lies down while her sister continues to chatter away. “I mean, huntresses sometimes work in teams, right? We could be a team!” Yang raises her voice for it to echo around the room. “We’ll be the greatest team of huntresses anyone has ever seen!”
She rolls over to prop herself up on her elbows and smile down at Ruby. “What do you think,” she says. “Wanna be a huntress too?”
Ruby holds the book above her head, open on the illustrated scene of the young huntress’ great battle, and giggles.
(Next summer, she ignores what Uncle Qrow said and goes straight for The Art of Scythe-Wielding. The words she can’t read, she asks Qrow about, and it’s only so long before he gives in and reads the entire book to her.)
With the lessons Yang gains from Uncle Qrow over the summers – learning to count instead of flaming up when she gets angry or upset – the multiple shifts and transfers between schools stops. The girls get a chance to get to know their peers, and over time, form their own friendship groups.
Though Ruby really, really wishes that Laurie Jenklestein – Lying Laurie – wasn’t among her school group.
Laurie always makes sure to show everyone her lunch; always full of sweets and sugary snacks that she’ll flaunt to everyone while they eat their sandwiches (sandwiches that never got the crusts cut off because their parents tell them that crust is good for them). She has a wide, obnoxious smile that she’ll beam out to the group while she talks about how her mum will let her do anything she wants.
“She’s a hairdresser,” Laurie smacks her lips together after one long suck on a yellow lollipop. “So she knows like- everything. About everyone. She tells me the secrets she hears sometimes, so I know about a lot of secrets.”
Ruby stops herself from biting down on her lower lip and looks towards Laurie. “I know some secrets too. My mum’s told me secrets she knows too.”
“Yeah?” Laurie let’s her jaw drop away from the lollipop – a tiny dangle of salvia still sticks there, connecting the two. “And what kind of secrets would she know?”
Ruby tries to think back on anything remotely ‘secretive’ that Summer has told her before. “Secrets like… Like the best way to defeat a Boarbatusk! She told me that the secret is to go for the belly, because it’s the place with the least armour.”
The blank looks she receives from Laurie and the rest of her friends make her want to grab back every word that walked out of her mouth and go bury them, along with her face, into the sandpit.
“Oh…” Laurie says, her lips overextending the ‘o’. “Ruby… Your mum’s a huntress, isn’t she?”
Laurie nods with a serious face and a professional air. “Of course. My mum talks about hunters and huntresses all the time. She says they’re outdated. And she’s right, of course – she’s always right. She says there is really no point to having huntsmen these days; modern technology can defeat the Grimm easy. All the huntresses and hunters do these days is go around getting themselves killed.”
Her string of words ties up to form a large knot in Ruby’s chest, and Ruby quickly makes up a story of forgetting to return a library book, scampering away before anyone can say anything, and hiding in the library for the remainder of lunch. Once the bell sounds, she goes to her teacher while everyone else is groaning and dragging themselves back to class, telling him that her stomach really doesn’t feel good, and maybe she could get a sick-bay note to lie down for the rest of school?
However, the hour in sick-bay, making patterns out of the roof stains and listening to the nurse help the boy that comes in with a bleeding nose, does nothing to help with the fat, messy knot that has settled somewhere behind her ribs. The end of school bell doesn’t come fast enough, but as soon as it rings, Ruby is already out of the office and making her way to where she’s supposed to meet Yang.
The knot drops from her chest to her stomach when they get home and Mum isn’t back yet from her latest job. She only picks at her dinner, and when asked if something’s wrong, falls back on the same sore tummy excuse she used at school. Because of that, her father suggests it’s probably best to go to bed early, and she does with no complaints.
She buries herself under her blankets and pulls out a stuffed bear to cover her head, in some vain attempt to block Laurie’s words out of her mind. She hides under her covers for so long that at one moment she realizes she had fallen asleep. It’s completely dark outside and Yang in is the bed across the room, snoring.
But between the snores, Ruby can hear something else: a murmured conversation, a few clatters, a hiss to quiet down.
Ruby looks at Yang and considers waking her up, but no. She’s nine now. She can be brave enough to go out herself and see what’s happening.
The door creaks as she pulls it open, stepping into the dark hallway. She looks across to their parents’ room, seeing the open door.
Mum and Dad’s room is dark; the whole house is dark, except for a small glow of light coming from downstairs. The noises come from the same direction the light is coming from, and Ruby steps down the stairs slowly and quietly towards it.
There’s a single light on the kitchen, and Mum sits at the kitchen bench while Dad is fussing over something at the sink. Ruby stays around the corner, out of sight; she knows that it is way past her bedtime and she’ll so get in trouble if she’s caught out of bed this late.
“This is the third time this is happened in a month, Summer,” Dad whispers, moving away from the sink. “There’s something going on. Something’s changing, isn’t it?”
“It’s nothing we huntsmen can’t handle.”
A needle glints in the light as Dad stands at the bench in front of her. “Are you really sure about that?”
“Of course I’m sure.” Mum stills as she is approached, and her husband starts working on her arm that lies flat on the bench. It’s only then that Ruby’s attention is dragged to her mother’s arm, and she tilts her head slightly to get a better look.
“Fine. We’ll move on. Guess what your eldest daughter brought home from school today?”
As soon as she catches a glimpse however, she pulls away from the corner and jams a thumb into her mouth.
Ruby bites down.
“A brochure for Signal Academy. Turns out she’s pretty serious about wanting to become a huntress.”
She tells herself to be quiet, to run back up to her room before they notice, but she turns again for another, little look.
They’re wicked and ragged; two long, deep lacerations on Summer’s forearm. Blood stems through as Dad works on sewing the injuries up.
Finally, Ruby moves. As quickly as she can without making a sound, she goes back upstairs and into her room. She ignores the creaks as she pushes the door closed, and immediately climbs onto her sister’s bed, wriggling between blankets and hair to curl up next to Yang.
The minor commotion wakes Yang up, and she stares blankly at Ruby before registering what’s happening. “’Nother nightmare?” she asks, letting Ruby snuggling into her.
Ruby shakes her head and her voice trembles. “Mum’s home.”
“Yang…” Ruby shudders. “She was hurt.” She feels Yang freeze, before pushing herself up to frown down at Ruby.
It’s hard to see in the dark, but Ruby can still tell that Yang has her serious face on; the face she pulls when she’s nervous, the face where Ruby can tell that she’s counting in her head, trying to calm down. “In the kitchen,” Ruby whispers, and Yang practically jumps out of bed to go down and see what’s happening.
Ruby pulls at the edge of Yang’s pillow as she waits in the darkness for her sister to come back. As she fiddles, Laurie’s words start repeating in her head again, louder this time, cut between with a loud, panicked wail: “I told you so I told you so I told you so!”
She jumps when Yang comes back, closing the door and climbing back on the bed without a word. She doesn’t complain when Ruby latches onto her, even bringing her own arms around her little sister’s shoulders. Ruby buries herself in the warmth, letting it burn away all the words in her head.
But even Yang can’t burn away all of the fear.
“What if she gets hurt really bad one day?” Ruby whispers. “What if one day she-“
“Stop.” Yang hugs her tighter. “She won’t. She can’t. I mean, she’s Mum. Do you really think she’ll let any stupid monster beat her?”
Ruby giggles. Mum wouldn’t back down from monsters any more than Yang would back down from bullies. She clings onto Yang and relaxes, just a little bit.
“Mum’ll be fine,” Yang whispers, “I promise.”
(Ruby believes her, of course. After all, Yang has never, ever broken a promise.)
The winter takes Summer away.
It’s a frozen night during winter break; you’re up with a mug of hot chocolate with your father, flicking between channels to find something decent on late night TV.
It’s so cold and dark outside that it takes you aback when a knock sounds out from the front. You spring up from the couch, feet dancing across the cold tiles towards the door, and open it to look up at the tall, somber-faced man standing in front of you.
He doesn't even give a greeting, asking immediately if your father is home; saying that he has something important to tell him, something to tell him as soon as possible. His tone stops you from arguing or trying to ask questions, and you coax your father away from the couch and to the door.
One look at the man's face stops your father in the middle of a playful groan for having to get up, and he steps outside, closing the door behind him before you can say anything. You wait on the other side of the wooden barrier, your fingers hovering close to the doorknob. You rock back on your heels and chew down on your lip. Whispers of cold air begin to tug at the fine hairs on your skin. After minutes of standing there, alternating between gearing yourself up to make a move and then hesitating, you lean forward and lightly rest the side of your head against the door. Your ear squeals at the cold surface, but does its job as you close your eyes and listen.
The heavy wind outside keeps snatching up the murmurs of the stranger, pulling them away before you can catch them, but it doesn't manage to blow away the words coming from your father.
Or more so, the non-words.
Your hand curls up against the door and something hard and twisty begins to yank at your stomach. You press you ear against the door harder, trying to see if you're hearing wrong - praying that you're hearing wrong.
You're not. That is crying that you can hear.
The knob is in your hand and your arm is pulling open the door before you can tell yourself to stop. The cold hand that is pulling at your stomach yanks harder, fiercer, but you still open the door and step outside, ignoring the way that the cold runs in and curls around your bare feet.
Your chest is heaving, and your glance darts between your father and the stranger. You open your mouth to ask what's going on but you can only peep out "Dad..." before the wind robs the rest of your voice away.
Your father turns his back to you, his hands covering his face. "Go inside, Ruby." His voice is thick and broken. "Go inside."
But there's something in the hands of the stranger that catches your eye. A short, tapered blade, silver shining in the light. A delicate, expertly designed hilt of red and yellow that you've been able to recognise since you could speak.
"Th- That's Mum's," you whisper, stepping towards the man with your hand outstretched. "Why-.. Why do you have that? That's Mum's."
The man doesn't move, looking at you with darkened, haunted eyes. You ignore your father's repeated plea to go inside and reach for the knife. "That's Mum's."
Your fingers clasp down on the hilt, picking it up for only a moment, when you freeze and the knife slips out of your hand to clatter on the patio.
It's ice cold.
The cold weather is still leaking its way into the house when Yang is brought home from Signal two days later. With the cold also comes a silence; a silence so stifling and heavy and omnipresent that even Yang - loud, explosive Yang - can't escape from it.
The frozen silence is getting everywhere already so you figure it's not going to be too harmful to just go towards it anyway.
It's still windy at least; there's still that essence of life in the howling gales outside that you're able to escape the heavy, dead air in your home by sitting outside amongst the wind. The hard, stinging fingers of the cold prod at your skin; sharp tendrils pull at your muscles. The breezy whispers tangle up in your hair and slide down your neck and you couldn't care less if you end up getting a cold out of this because this feels warmer and louder and more alive than anything behind that front door could offer right now.
Apparently your sister doesn't have the same opinion though, because you hear the door behind you open and slam shut, and those commanding footsteps stomp up towards you and drop a bundle of blankets on top of you. The sound that comes out of your mouth is almost a growl, as you push the blankets off and away and send a sharp look up to her.
"Just leave me alone," you say, glaring up at her and waiting for her to move; to take the blankets away and go back inside.
However, Yang just stares right back at you, holding your gaze until you're the one to break away, and only then bending over to pick up the blankets. Although instead of them being dragged inside, they're wrapped around your shoulders and tucked under your chin. There's a stubbornness in her movements that tell you that there's no way in hell she's going away; the only way she's going to leave you alone is if someone physically makes her.
It's so familiar and comforting that a small spot in your chest that the evil, cold fingers had taken solace in begins to melt and spark a little fire in its stead. Yang sits herself behind you, curling your knees closer to your chest so she can wrap herself right around you.
She rests her chin on your shoulder, and with blankets and a flaming sister cloaked around you, it’s impossible for the cold to reach you.
The night before her first year at Signal Academy, Ruby asks Yang to cut her hair. It’s too long and thick and in the way and she just needs it off, off, off.
“Dad’s gonna freak, you know,” Yang says, watching Ruby in the mirror with scissors hovering close to her dark hair.
“He’ll see us for like, an hour before we go to school for the rest of the year.” Ruby pulls at a lock. “He can get over it.”
Still, Yang holds the scissors motionless. “Are you sure about this?” Ruby sighs and grabs them from her sister. She grabs a clump of hair and pulls it straight, and holding the scissors close to her chin, closes down on and lets her hair fall away.
“I’m sure,” she says, handing the scissors back to Yang. Yang quietens and focuses on chopping the rest of Ruby’s hair off. With each snip another piece falls away and there’s a lightness in Ruby’s chest that grows. She closes her eyes and listens to the snips until Yang puts the scissors down and brushes off Ruby’s shoulders.
She grins at the mirror when she opens her eyes, and brings her hands up to play with the shortened ends around chin. The hair fluffs up around her hands, and she can feel the air on the back of her neck.
Yang leans on the back of the chair and Ruby catches her eyes in the mirror and chews on her lip. "Does it look okay?" she asks, pulling at her fingers in her lap.
Yang smiles. "It looks awesome," she says. "Do you like it?"
"Yeah," Ruby grins and turns around to kneel on the chair, facing her sister. "Do you want to cut some of your hair off too? Before we go to Signal?"
Yang stares into the mirror, at the blonde strands that curl up at the ends just below her shoulders. Her eyes narrow and she tilts her head to the side in thought, before sighing out an answer.
"Nah," she says. "I don't think it needs a cut." She looks down at the floor and, upon seeing the state of it, laughs. "We should probably sweep all this up quickly" she giggles as Ruby herself looks at the floor, and the clumps of thick, black hair scattered over the tiles. "Dad is definitely going to flip out if he sees your hair and where the rest of it all is." She walks out of the bathroom to grab a broom, while Ruby kneels down and starts gathering up the larger clumps.
(Even though she calls on Yang multiple times over the years to cut her hair short again, Yang never once agrees to so much as even trim her own.)
There's a literal crash when the four of them manage to find their dorm room and drag their luggage in. It's only 9pm, but with an entire day being spent in a forest fighting off monsters, and then almost an hour standing around the hall waiting for their team to be called up and presented, there is barely enough energy left for them to get themselves through the door and crash onto a bed each.
Weiss and Blake both give half-hearted 'goodnight's before they settle into their beds, the literal image of being asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows. Ruby tries to do the same, but there's still a scampering of remainder adrenaline in her chest and her brain won't stop thinking about so many things, so she stares up at the roof hoping that by counting the cracks, she'll be able to fall asleep.
Yang is still getting changed in the bathroom, trying to be as quiet as possible with poor results. Ruby's attempt to sleep isn't helped by the fact that she keeps being thrown into a fit of giggles every time she hears a small clutter and Yang whispering some curse after it. She holds a hand over her mouth to quiet herself down, but each time she thinks she may be calm, something else sounds out from the bathroom to launch her into laughter again.
Finally, the bathroom door opens, and a sock is thrown in Ruby's direction. "I can hear you laughing in there," Yang hisses, and Ruby clamps her cushion over her face.
The edge of her bed lowers, as if someone is sitting on it, and Ruby removes the cushion to look up at Yang. "Move over," her sister whispers, edging herself onto the mattress and underneath the blankets.
Yang ignores Ruby's groans and wraps her arms around her. Her eyes close and she smiles contently while Ruby rolls her own eyes.
“Yaaaang," Ruby whines quietly, "I'm not six. I don’t need you to stay in my bed during the first night of a new place anymore.” She tries to wriggle out of her sister’s grip, or at least kick Yang off the bed with the least noise possible, but Yang's arms hold fast.
“Who says this is for you?” She says. There’s a laugh in her voice and a joke in her words, but Ruby doesn’t miss the way Yang’s arms tighten a little bit more around her waist. The action, while not completely out of character for Yang, still makes Ruby pause in attempts to untangle herself from her sister.
It's not going to hurt anyone.
She snuggles back deeper into Yang's arms and lets her body slow down, finally getting to sleep.
(As it turns out, the dorms at Beacon have a habit of getting draughty, so it's fortunate Ruby has her own personal heat blanket.)