Ruby Rose had never understood the fuss of it all. It was something she had seen everywhere practically as long as she could remember but she didn’t think about it at all. There was always something better to think or do, there was the latest articles on the fresh faced rock bands, the leaked song on the solo artist who had been around forever and their scandals. More importantly there was her own work which kept her up later every night in perfecting the composition of the next song before ditching it for a new one.
Ruby found that not thinking about it ever had always made her different from other people.
Her big sister Yang started to get her first crushes with boys about the age of eight. The blonde was an early developer which meant she got the attention of basically every boy who laid eyes on her while she was growing up, she was pretty and she knew it but it meant that unfortunately the boys who were going through puberty themselves tended to only think about one thing in particular. While she was happy with public displays of affection, being confident and wearing skirts shorter than most girls, it meant she unfortunately started to get an undeserved reputation. When punching the people who spread lies behind her back got her in trouble, she picked up drumming to vent and never put it back down.
Yang had told Ruby the first time she had dated a girl as well. It was around the time she was fifteen but Yang had crushes on other girls long before. Yang was still the object of everyone’s affections like she had always been but there had been a girl who liked her too, she made a big deal about saving up all her money so she could invite Yang to the movies and pay for the tickets and any of the overpriced snacks. There had always been a small smile on Yang’s face when she told people this story; she had always been open and honest with her little sister about everything. Ruby had always waited for that one person. Not in a way that she craved affection and romance, far from it in fact. It was always the expectation. Whoever that girl had been to Yang, Yang in turn had been the woman to blow the breath out of a number of women. Perhaps it was the air of confidence and permanent smile on her face perhaps it had been the combination of stereotypically feminine hair and large curves with finely sculpted muscles but no matter people went, there was always someone smitten with her. Ruby however had never been smitten with anyone. While Yang had been in the most popular cliques, Ruby had always been considered band geek.
In the end, it was easier to tell her tale from the beginning much like Yang.
At the age of ten, a part of her still gagged inside while she saw people kiss on tv. It didn’t help that it was always the same bland looking “Nice Guy” who was seemingly nice with mildly misogynistic tendencies’ that were constantly overlooked by the writers and plot liked a pretty girl. The girl was never allowed to be a fully fleshed out character or her own interest that were ever shown on screen. Sometimes the story would revolve around the man ‘Realising the error of his ways’ and make a ten second speech before a kiss and fade to black, sometimes the man would constantly harass the woman and tear down her defences and patience over 4 seasons of content. No matter how many times it was re-flavoured, it always was what it was.
Ruby scoffed at the idea.
“Come on Ruby,” Taiyang would always say before looking back at the screen “One day you’ll find someone and get it.”
“Why do I have to?” she’d reply back, twirling the remote in her hands “It’s boring.”
That was a lie and everyone in the house knew it. Yang had told Ruby about everything that had happened to their dad. She knows the tale Taiyang told her, of how her father had reunited with his childhood love while he had gone through a ‘Dark Time’ (as he put it) and how they became best friends and married but were tragically separated when Summer had died in childbirth. Ruby had also know the story Taiyang wouldn’t tell her about how he was first in love with Yang’s mother Raven but she had left him right after less than a year after she given birth to Yang which resulted in him first entering his constant struggle with depression.
While Ruby would have certainly thought it would have made for a far more gripping plot for a tv series, she knows her father had not been happy, as evident with his service dog Zwei.
No matter what, the story didn’t end the way anyone really wanted.
Taiyang turns from the tv for a short while to look at his youngest daughter with a peculiar expression, not exactly a smile or a frown. His life hadn’t exactly been a fairy tale romance but he didn’t want Ruby to give up on finding happiness.
“One day, you’ll find someone whose right for you. I can guarantee that.”
Ruby rolled her eyes before picking up her magazine.
It wasn’t until a chance hearing that Ruby had found her calling. She was about thirteen when she heard a song from Cinder Fall. Something had spoken to her in there and she couldn’t quite pin it down, was it the perfectly composed riffs of the instrumental guitar solo? The hard hitting sound that pulled no punches and was alarmingly unapologetic? The tragically beautiful lyrics that upon closer inspection held a beautifully tragic story or Cinders voice that brought it all together as if it was some sort of magnum opus to Ruby.
In truth it wasn’t even the most popular song on the album when it had been originally released by a long shot and had only been put on by accident by the DJ who just rolled with it. Still it had been the first punk song she had truly listened to properly and it had held a special place in her heart for it.
Cinder had genre hopped a fair amount and Ruby riding on a high of her music had listened to it all: Punk, Metal, Alternative, Industrial… Rock however was the easiest to engage as it was more popular at her school and something she could talk about with people. Ruby bought every album of Cinder’s she could find alongside posters and other merch. Yang joked that Ruby was crushing hard but the moment she bought her first guitar she got to work and told Yang something back in turn.
“I’m going to be the best.”
Although the idolisation faded, the drive to be the best never faded. Nothing was as important to her as that, it was no surprise to anyone that she never dated.
No matter what she did, the people she was around had all been in relationships. Yang’s rich friend Weiss had joined them and finally formed a band like she had always wanted only for someone who had consistently showed up at their garage ‘shows’ and join the band as well. The new girl Blake was pleasant to say the least and although she and Weiss seemed to be an odd match, they smiled more together and that was enough.
Yang had been crushing on Blake hard and Ruby could tell first having learned on all the telltale signs but Weiss and Blake seemed monogamous and Yang was respecting that. It didn’t stop her from having a fling with a reporter who had been trailing them though. Ruby was happy speaking to the reporter, Coco seemed nice and genuinely interested in actual conversation but as she expected with Yang the relationship was a firework; Fiery and burned bright, but not for long.
The girls had been in a ‘Battle of the Bands’ and RWBY had recently played against Juniper. Ruby had missed them play at first so about a month later she had found out where they were next playing. If she had been Weiss then she would have been scouting out the enemy, Yang would have been looking to see who was hot, Blake… would probably be sitting inside reading. Ruby however was driven with pure innocent curiosity. It had been about the music with her, it always had been.
Having been so busy with playing and moving to the next show lately, Ruby hadn’t been to another bands gig in a while. The club or bar… wherever she was, wasn’t that big, there couldn’t be more than a hundred people attending. She was able to move inconspicuously throughout the crowd at this size – keep her head down and having a beanie over her head meant no one would bother looking. Not that she could be well seen in the darkness anyways.
Then the darkness was cut clean.
White light cut through the stage simple and clean. It shone down on the woman in the centre of the stage. Her red hair had the colour of fire and flowed like a blaze with her movements. Her figure was tall and statuesque with a build similar to Yang’s but more feminine due to a smaller frame and muscle.
“Here I am back again, was this always your plan?”
“Thought I was free, thought I was free.”
“But you got a hold of my chains and you hold them tight.”
“Won’t you let me go? Why won’t you let me go?”
Somehow that eighteen year old in the crowd had gotten five years younger on the spot, the lyrics had been carried by that perfect voice.
As the lyrics continued the message was conveyed to her. It was pain, plain and simple, this woman whoever she was had been wronged but couldn’t let go of their relationship as although it was abusive she still was in love with the other person. The agony of the song was married perfectly in that performance with the whole crowd roaring. Ruby herself sung out the chorus in time with the singer herself.
“I love you, I hate you, there’s no one quite like you”
“I keep telling myself your heart is like this too,”
“But my heart and skin is broken now, I’m a cautionary tale,
“Oh hell no,”
“I’m in that bad love railroad.”
Ruby wonders for a moment what this feeling is. This woman might just be the coolest person she knew. There’s something about the way she moves, the way she talks that reminds her of Cinder Fall. Strong, demanding all of your attention and knowing she owned it up there, even the way she dressed with a short red dress and thigh high leather boots. Oddly enough there’s her own old fantasies of what she thought a rock goddess was back when she was an acne ridden teen.
Those old fires of admiration had been stoked like nothing before, no music video she had seen had her quite like this. Above all else, that singing was perfect and Ruby was not going to have this be her last fix of it.
A friend of mine had said they always wanted to see a fic like this so that was inspiration for the second half.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It had been a few days and Ruby was still thinking about Pyrrha. She had since discovered that her band ‘Juniper’ had since released a music video online. They still didn’t have a label though so they only had about a thousand or so views and it had gotten to a point that she was certain that a fair portion of them were hers alone.
Over the next week, she had seen no trace of Pyrrha but she reconciled with the band. Weiss and Blake if anything had seemed to have gotten closer, there were less public displays of affection but they rarely were further than 10 feet away from each other. Yang however didn’t seem all there. She seemed to be gazing out of the window and texting a lot more.
The fixation with Pyrrha and her music was different to what dad and Yang had talked about but for a while she… still had no idea what was happening. It would change the next day.
Ruby was woken up to the sound of a loud blaring text message. Rubbing her eyes, she picked up her scroll and saw Yang had asked to meet up for coffee.
The cold wind against her face woke her up more than the drink would this early in the morning but in the corner of her eye she saw the blonde curly locks of Yang and long red hair she was drawn to like a moth to a flame, the same person who reminded her of all her childhood fantasies.
Yang invited her to sit with the two women and Ruby is timid but so is Pyrrha. It takes time to realise but it dawns on her that she may be in the same situation, at least she had been invited out by Yang apparently. Starting to properly listen in now, she realises that Pyrrha deflect anything based around her and keeps the focus on Yang. In a way it humanises her more, makes her approachable, which Ruby did.
“Bad love railroad?” Ruby say, catching the other two women off guard.
Yang gives a small hum while Pyrrha looks completely off guard. It’s remarkably mundane and quite silly but it’s all the more charming.
“The other week you were playing a show and that was a song I really like,” Ruby said, continuing her train of thought “But that sentence seemed a bit… different. What was the idea behind it.”
“Well,” a panicked laugh escapes Pyrrha’s mouth. Her eyes dart from side to side, utterly bewildered as her mouth stretched to each side of her face “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“I’m sorry but that last sentence wasn’t my idea. It was Nora; she wanted to name a song that and she’s difficult to say no to.”
A pause, followed by a laugh as both Ruby and Pyrrha gave a laugh at the idea. Yang’s expression was that of bewilderment.
“I used to be the same way,” Ruby said with another laugh “It’s why Weiss writes the lyrics.”
Pyrrha placed a hand on Rubys with a warm smile that despite how cold they were earlier now felt like they were burning. “I’ll get the next round, I’m still thirsty.”
And she’s gone.
“Still thirsty?” Yang said mockingly, a swift elbow to the arm piped her down though.
Ruby had never had any trouble with sleeping. She could easily doze through most disturbances without any trouble and usually required a high concentration of sugar and/or caffeine to rouse in the morning.
However upon seeing this notification, she ended up striding out and into the streets no problem. She’d always loved looking at new instruments and she was glad about who she was going to shop with.
The voice still caught her off guard with the heat of earlier crawling over her. Turning around she saw a tall red-haired woman, head tilted and an apologetic smile “I’m sorry.”
“That’s fine,” Ruby replies, and Pyrrha raises an eyebrow. She had a feeling there would be something up “I’m supprised Yang gave you my number.”
“It’s just… something I’ve been thinking about. I saw your band earlier at the show where your singer and bassist, well, kissed.”
“Yes?” Ruby said slowly.
“It was really nice the way you spoke about our music and… w-well,” Pyrrha’s words began to stall as her cheeks began to turn as red as her hair “I was wondering if you wanted to play some music together, as we already had coffee?”
With that, the breath is stolen from Ruby.
Everything that Yang and dad had said before came flooding back, she opens her mouth so something, anything, comes out, but nothing does. So she nods.
“Not like a date or anything,” Pyrrha hastily adds “Just playing music.”
Not a date.
In hoarse tones she finally replies “Sounds great.”
Pyrrha couldn’t help but smile at how innocent and cute she was at this as the two walked into the shop together.
Another (very) short chapter admittedly but after seeing the trailer for volume 5 I might be inspired to write more often.