PART 1: FALL SEMESTER
Beep. Beep. Beep .
A pale hand slammed down onto the phone going off next to the sleeping girl. She attempted to shut it off, but her fingers failed to slide the button on the screen to the off position. She wasn't yet fully awake, unable to stop the noise that was bringing her out of sleep.
Beep. Beep. Beep .
The girl sat upwards in bed, grumbling to herself about the annoying alarm sound. She grabbed her phone and slid the alarm off, finally silencing the noise. She twisted her back and reached up above her head to stretch herself out. Spinning herself to the side, she hopped off the bed and silently landed on the floor. The girl wandered towards the mirror that hung in the room, looking at herself in the mirror as she pulled her long black hair out of its bun. She ran her fingers through the hair from the top of her head backwards, loosening it from the waves the bun had left it in.
The black haired girl turned from the mirror to look at the rest of the room. Today was her last day of peace in the dorm by herself, before she was certain that all hell would break loose.
Of course, she'd made early preparations to move in a week ago. She had paid a little bit of extra money, but in her opinion, it was more than worth the cost. Doing so avoided awkward questions from both her roommate and her roommate’s family about why she was moving in alone, or why she had so little possessions. Plus, it meant that she didn’t have to deal with her roommate in general for at least a little bit longer.
Even after the girl had moved in, the room was still pretty empty, even if it was only half inhabited. Her side of the room was as simple as she could make it. Her bed was plain, a simple set of sheets and a comforter with a single pillow. The desk was neat, with a desk lamp, her cheap laptop, and a small cup of pens. Her closet was half-empty, and neatly organized. Under her bed was a microwave, still packed inside its box, waiting to be placed on her roommate’s mini-fridge. Aside from those items, the only other thing visible in her room were her books. Stashed under her bed were several crates stuffed to the brim with books, the only thing that she owned in plenty. Her side would never really be messy. Her roommate, however?
Ugh, her roommate. She'd been dreading this day for some time. She'd had roommates before, that was nothing new. She'd just never had good experiences with them, and based on what she'd gathered so far... Her expectations were not very high.
The girl turned to the closet to get dressed. She needed to get out of the room as soon as possible. She had no clue when her roommate would show up.
A few minutes later, she was dressed and ready to go, her backpack slung over her back, packed with her laptop and a book or two. She opened the dorm room door, slightly blinded by the bright lights of the hallway. She blinked a few times, shaking her head. Those lights stayed on 24/7, and goodness, they were as bright as the sun in the middle of July.
The girl closed the door behind her, turning to lock it before she left. She glanced up at the nametags on the door, written in overly perfect handwriting on little apples. Blake . Yang .
Yang . The first time Blake had seen that name, it was in an email she'd received from the reslife office about her roommate assignment. The girl's full name was Yang Xiao Long. She'd punched the name into Google, and got back a couple of results. The top was Yang's Facebook profile, which was... Telling. The girl was blonde, with giant, poofy, blonde hair, and her pictures reeked of party girl. It only took a couple of profile pictures for Blake to know that she was going to have a bad, bad year.
Blake was the opposite of a party girl. She just wanted to get her education, read, write, and get a job. That's all she'd ever wanted! But instead, she had to live with a party girl for her freshman year. All freshmen were required to live on campus, so it's not like she could exactly get out of it. She'd weighed her chances at a room switch the moment she closed that Facebook page. Blake would likely get moved to the shitty dorms, with smaller rooms, more parties, and a worse location on the very edge of campus. She'd determined that she'd try to stick it out, at least for a little while, to determine whether or not this Yang character would really be bearable to live with.
Blake turned towards the stairs and began to walk down, looking at the sky through the large glass windows in the stairwell. The sun had barely risen. The campus was quiet, the calm before the storm of first years moving in.
Blake had already done a few searches around campus in the days prior. She'd looked for smaller, more secluded spots, where she could get away from people if she needed to. There were still some limitations, however, as most buildings on campus were magnetically locked until the first day of classes. For now, she only had access to the public buildings, like the student union, or the bookstore.
The bookstore was a solid no for today. People would be flooding in and out like crazy once they got moved in to pick up last minute items, or even some of their textbooks for the semester. The library was locked until the first day of classes, as were most of the academic buildings, and she had no clue what the population would be like in those buildings. The student union would be... Complicated, but probably her best shot. She'd have to explore the upper floors a bit more than she already had, in hopes of finding a quiet spot that most people wouldn't be visiting on their first day on campus. The lower floors would be crawling with people in just a few hours. Outdoors wasn't an option. It was far too hot, and lost students might stop and ask her for directions. Ugh .
The walk to the union was not very long. It only took Blake about five minutes to enter through the doors. There were a few people wandering about- mostly RAs waiting in line at the coffee shop for the long day ahead of them. No one paid much attention to Blake, just the way she liked it.
It wasn't long before Blake had found a quiet place to sit- a ring of armchairs outside of the Queer Center, hidden away in a corner on the top floor of the union. The QC had signs advertising it's grand opening tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe, she'd consider going. But that was a tomorrow problem. Today, her only problem was how she was going to deal with Yang. But even that wasn't a problem for right now.
Blake shoved her earbuds into her phone, putting on some music to listen to while she read. She figured she might as well drown out the fact that she was going to have to deal with Yang eventually while she still could.
This was the day she'd been waiting for.
Yang would be lying if she claimed that she wasn't excited. Or nervous. Or both. She'd literally been waiting years for this moment, years to get out of Patch. But the slow car ride in the line of move-in day traffic certainly had her on edge.
The small car was packed to the brim, but barely contained a fourth of her stuff. Following her from behind was her father, in his big pickup truck, with the remainder of her stuff held in the bed of the truck. Her younger sister, Ruby, sat in the passenger seat of Yang's smaller car, bouncing up and down with way more excitement than Yang was showing.
"Ohhh! Do you think Beacon University has a video game club?" the younger girl asked.
Yang shook her head. "Of course Beacon has a video game club, Rubes. It's a university! There's clubs for everything there."
"Only two more years till I get to join you! I'm super excited!" Ruby's bouncing seemed to speed up, although Yang wasn't entirely sure how that was physically possible.
"Easy there, squirt. You've still got half of your high school years ahead of you. You should try to enjoy it while you can. You also have to get admitted to BU before you're allowed to be this excited."
"Hey!" Ruby interjected, sticking out her tongue at her older sister. "I'll be excited all I want! I'll get into BU, and then you'll be helping me move in!"
Yang smirked. "I sure will, kiddo. Hopefully I'll be out of the dorms by then. I can't imagine being stuffed into one of those little rooms for four straight years."
"Speaking of the dorms, did you ever hear back from your roommate?"
The older girl sighed, perking up a bit as the slow line of cars suddenly moved forward several feet. "No, she never responded."
Yang's roommate was... A mystery. Yang knew next to nothing about the girl, other than her name. Blake Belladonna. The girl had no social media, no trace anywhere on the internet. The girl had only sent one email to Yang, telling her that she'd already gotten the microwave and hoped that Yang had a minifridge, because she wouldn't be able to afford one. Blake had also noted in her email that she'd be moving in a week early, and would be out of the dorm on move-in day, to stay out of Yang's way as she moved in. Yang had replied warmly, asking the girl questions about herself. But that was weeks ago, and she'd never gotten a response. Yang had even sent another email last night, saying that she'd hoped that Blake was enjoying the dorm, and letting her know roughly what time she'd be moving in. But still, no response.
Ruby shrugged, a smile still on her face. "Oh well! I'm sure she's a nice girl, Yang. Besides, you know what Dad always says!"
Yang sighed as the two spoke in unison. "Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet."
"I know he really likes that saying, but I just don't know. What teenager doesn't have social media nowadays? And why wouldn't she answer my questions? It was just like, what's your major, what are your hobbies, stuff like that! Basic roommate stuff!"
The younger girl put a reassuring hand on Yang's shoulder. "Maybe she's just shy, or hasn't checked her school email, considering school hasn't started yet. And maybe she just doesn't like social media, like me! Sometimes it can really do more harm than good."
Yang took a moment before speaking again. "Yeah, I guess. I didn't really think of it like that. I just... still feel weird about it."
"Don't!" Ruby said with a big smile. "I'm sure she'll be just fine. She's just a friend you haven't met yet."
The line of cars began moving again, at a much more rapid pace than the slow crawl they had been moving at so far. The conversation between the sisters stopped as Ruby was filled with excitement, and Yang, a mixture of excitement and anxiety.
"Oh boy! We're so close!" Ruby exclaimed.
"I can see the campus from here," Yang whispered.
"You okay, Yang?"
She nodded. "Just nervous."
"You're gonna be fine, Yang! No one knows how to make friends better than you!"
A small smile formed over the older sister’s lips, before disappearing again. "Thanks, Ruby. It's not just me I'm worried about, though."
The line of cars slowed to a dead stop.
Ruby furrowed her brow. "What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean."
The car was quiet for a moment. "Me?" Ruby asked.
"Yes, you. You know I worry."
"Yaaang," the younger sister groaned, "I'll be fine! I can take care of myself. I'm back in karate lessons, Cinder graduated, and I have Penny!"
"I know, Ruby, I'm not just worried about you at school."
There was a moment of silence between the two of them.
"I'll be okay, Yang. I promise."
"Anyone gives you shit at school, who do you go to?"
"Straight to the principal."
"And out and about?"
"Straight to Dad if they pose no immediate physical threat."
"And if they do?"
"Kick them in the crotch."
Yang smirked, as the line of cars began moving again. "Good, I've trained you well."
Ruby pressed her face up against the window of the car. "Look, Yang! The sign!"
On the right side of the road was a black sign with large, bolded, yellow lettering. "BEACON UNIVERSITY ". Beneath the bolded words were a smaller tagline. " Beacon Bees: Men's Lacrosse Team National Championships ". Underneath that was a full list of all the years the most popular team at BU had won the championships: 17 times. It filled up the remainder of the huge, black sign.
As they passed the sign, the girls both thought the same thing: they had officially entered campus.
Thanks so much for reading! I really appreciate your support! I'd also like to give a thank you to the RT Writing Community on Discord for being an awesome community and getting me back into writing and uploading! Another HUGE thank you to my beta reader, masterread, for putting up with my nonsense.
Updates for this fic should come every Thursday, roughly in the evening/night EST!
Yang Xiao Long is moving in, but not without a number of shenanigans and banter from her family members. However, she still hasn't met her roommate yet. Where could she be?
Yang flopped onto her bed. The past several hours had been absolutely exhausting .
She was finally all moved in, although it had been an incredibly long process. They'd finally arrived at the dorm, Vale Hall, and quickly gotten everything out of the cars and into these big bins. Yang supposed that they were originally intended as industrial sized laundry bins, like the type that she'd seen at hotels. They'd been repurposed and rebranded with BU's logo, for students moving into the dorms.
After everything had been put into the bins, Yang and Tai had gone to park their vehicles. They made their way back to the lawn outside Vale Hall, where Ruby was waiting with Yang's things. The wait to get the bins up the elevator was almost as long as the wait from the highway to campus in the traffic line of cars.
Still, they'd made it eventually. Unpacking things themselves wasn't too bad either. They'd managed to get everything on Yang's half of the room squared away in just a few hours. It was decently helpful to not have an extra body in the room while they were unpacking, but Yang couldn't help but wonder where Blake was...
Halfway through unpacking, someone had come to greet Yang and her family. She was a shorter girl, with long white hair, tied in a side ponytail. Her demeanor was formal, and her smile appeared to be a bit forced. Yang immediately guessed who she was based on the reslife t-shirt that she wore: the floor RA.
"Hello! My name is Weiss, and I'll be your RA this year," the girl had called into the room through the propped-open door.
Yang stepped towards the door to greet Weiss with a smile, holding out her hand for a handshake. Instead, a thick, stiff flyer was shoved into her open hand.
"This is a list of all of the opening weekend activities. There's floor bonding on the lawn outside in 3 hours. There's also a mandatory floor meeting tomorrow night, in the lounge downstairs at 8pm. I'll see you there!"
Without another word, Weiss had disappeared, leaving Yang baffled in the doorway with a thick piece of paper covered in information about times and locations for events all weekend.
"Um, okay," she called into the doorway, at no one in particular, since Weiss was long gone.
"She certainly seems... well, interesting," Taiyang chuckled as he lowered an empty box from the bed.
"Yeah, you can say that again. I probably won't be seeing too much of her, so it is what it is." Yang scanned the paper before tossing it to the side.
Ruby tilted her head. "Why wouldn't you see too much of her? She's your RA!"
"Rubes," a new voice called from the doorway, "you usually don't see your RA much unless you're a troublemaker. And Yang better not be getting herself into trouble."
The sisters turned to see the source of the voice, a tall, dark haired man in a campus police uniform. "Uncle Qrow!" they exclaimed in unison.
"Hey, kiddos," Qrow said with a smile as he embraced their hugs.
Tai let out a small chuckle. "You spent your lunch break coming to help us?"
"Who said anything about helping?" Qrow released the girls from the hug and pulled a half-squashed sandwich from the back of his pants. "I came to talk and eat!"
Yang shook her head, a wide smile across her face. "Of course you did, Uncle Qrow. Of course you did."
"Well, I had to come congratulate my niece on her first day at BU! And also, introduce myself to her roommate, so she knows there's no funny business in this dorm room."
"You won't find her here, Qrow. She was gone before we even got here." Tai jabbed his head towards Blake's half of the room.
Qrow entered, glancing around the dorm. "Lots of books, I see. Good sign. Less likely to be a partier."
"Uncle Qrow," Yang groaned. "That's not true, and you know it. Neither is the thing about RAs and troublemakers! You really just won't believe I turned over a new leaf, will you?"
"I'll believe it when I see it, kiddo."
Yang rolled her eyes, smirking. "I'll just have to prove it to you then."
"Now that's what I like to hear." Qrow pulled out the desk chair, sitting down. "Now, I do genuinely need to eat my lunch. Today's a particularly long day. Directing traffic in the August heat is never fun."
Tai chuckled. "Well, Qrow, if you'd stayed with the Patch force, there wouldn't be much of that."
"You know why I left, Tai. Besides, I like it much better up here. Rubes, could you grab me a water?" He pointed to the package of water bottles sitting underneath Yang's bed.
The younger girl nodded, quickly grabbing a bottle and passing it to her uncle. "Why did you leave Patch, Uncle Qrow?"
Qrow opened the bottle and chugged half of it before closing it again. "A story for another day, kiddo. A story for another day. Say, you're going into your junior year of high school now, right?"
Ruby nodded in excitement. "Yep! Junior year!"
"How are you feeling about not having Yang there?"
Her face fell slightly, but then perked back up again after a second. "It'll be weird at first, but I'll get used to it! Besides, Cinder graduated, so things will be easier."
"Cinder... That's the girl who...?"
"Yes." Yang cut off her uncle. "She goes here now, for whatever reason, Beacon decided it would be okay to accept her, even after what she'd done."
"She was a minor," Tai sighed. "The records were sealed, and her father helped her get them destroyed the moment she turned 18. And plus, that sleazebag of a lawyer got her out of actually harmful charges."
"I still don't know how that was legal," Qrow muttered bitterly between bites of his sandwich.
"It's a grey area, legally speaking."
"Someone should probably get that checked out by a doctor. A steaming pile of bullshit isn't supposed to be grey."
The two sisters exchanged glances, holding back giggles. Even when talking about Cinder, whom the mere mention of could bring fury to every member of the family, the banter between Tai and Qrow never missed a beat. If the girls didn't know any better, they would think that their father and uncle were actually brothers.
Qrow placed down his sandwich. "Well, I can guarantee you, if she tries anything of the like here, she'd be getting a big shiny boot out of campus, and an arrest that her father can't just evaporate away. What about the other two though?"
"Emerald and Mercury?" Ruby asked, to which Qrow nodded. "They got held back. Still allowed to go to Patch High, for whatever reason. They're a lot less untouchable now that they aren't following around the mayor's daughter like a couple of lost puppy dogs. Plus, if they so much as step a toe out of line or even look at me the wrong way, they're on the block for expulsion."
Qrow took another long swig from the water bottle. "Good to hear."
"I still just can't believe that their parents cared about them failing, but didn't care that they-," Tai shook his head, "Nevermind. Let's not dwell on the past too much, shall we?"
"That sounds like a spectacular idea," Yang said, opening up another box. After a brief look inside, she slammed it closed again.
Qrow rose an eyebrow at the girl. "Yang, why'd you do that?"
"Absolutely no reason whatsoever," she said, shoving the box underneath the bed.
"Yang," Tai said sternly.
"Give me the box."
"Pssh, there's no reason for anyone to look in there whatsoever!"
" Yang Xiao Long ."
"Fineee, Dad, jeez." Yang pulled the box up, and placed it back on the bed. She gave her younger sister a sly wink. "Take a look for yourself!"
Tai grabbed the box and opened it, looking inside for only a moment, puzzled. "It's... your boxing gloves? And your workout gear?"
"Exactly!" Yang smiled, a huge smile on her face. "The two of you thought it was going to be shot glasses or a bong or something. I told you I was turning over a new leaf!"
"Yang Xiao Long, I swear to god, you're going to be the reason I die ten years earlier than I'm supposed to," Qrow said with a long sigh, watching Tai investigate the gloves further to find absolutely nothing weird about them.
But Yang, nor Ruby, had even heard what their uncle had said. They were too busy laughing hysterically at the sight of their father peering into a boxing glove, incredibly confused.
All of those shenanigans had taken place a few hours ago. Yang had been able to spend a little bit more time with her family after they'd finished unpacking before everyone left. She'd barely said goodbye to Qrow, as he worked on campus and lived only a few minutes away. Plus, he was letting Yang store her car at his house, since she wasn't allowed to have one on campus yet, so she'd be seeing plenty of him all year.
Saying goodbye to her father was difficult, but saying goodbye to Ruby was incredibly hard. She knew it wasn't a permanent goodbye, as they'd see each other by Thanksgiving again at the absolute latest, but it would be the first time she'd be spending more than two days away from her sister since, well, since Ruby had been born . It was a bit of an understatement to say that Yang was a bit protective, but well, in recent years, she'd had very good reason to be.
Still, the sisters managed to part ways after a tearful goodbye, and Yang had been left alone in the dorm room. She was beginning to regret not opting to go to the corny looking events outside on the lawn, but they had long since left for another location. The loneliness was starting to set in, especially since her roommate still hadn't returned from god-knows-where.
Yang turned and looked to the other side of the room. Where could Blake even be all day? She'd moved in early, Yang knew that, but she had no idea where on campus she could have stayed. She wasn't in the lounge when Yang had explored the building, and she highly doubted Blake was the type for group activities. Most of the buildings were closed until the first day of classes, Qrow had told her that months ago. There was no way Blake could still be outside somewhere. It was late August, and the heat was unbearable.
Where Blake was wasn't the only question Yang had. Why was her side of the room so empty ? It was so... bare, nothing much above basic necessities. It almost reminded Yang of the old movies her and Ruby used to watch as kids about old orphanages. It was... just plain sad.
The only part of Blake's half of the room that made her look remotely human, according to Yang, was the books under the bed. Sure, they were in boxes, and somewhat organized, but goddamn, there were so many! If what was in her closet was all the clothes that Blake had, Yang estimated that she owned at least five times as many books as she did clothes.
Literally, who even was this girl? Yang didn't even have the slightest clue of what she looked like, nor anything about her. Judging by the wardrobe she had, she seemed to really like the color black. What other things could Yang guess about her? Her major? Obviously, something to do with English or literature. Who else has hundreds of books stored underneath their bed? A STEM major? Hell no. Maybe she wanted to be an English teacher, or a journalist. Maybe a poet or an author. Yang had no clue.
Whoever Blake truly was, whatever sort of personality she had, Yang wanted to know more. She was so intrigued by the mystery of her roommate. Yang wanted to know as much about her as she could possibly learn. After all, they were going to be living together for an entire year. Based on the narratives from friends back home, this wasn't the normal path that freshman year roommates took
Yang's thirst for knowledge about the ever mysterious Blake Belladonna was insatiable.
Yang finally meets Blake after weeks of Blake avoiding her as much as possible, but their first interactions with each other don't exactly go as planned.
Yang had finally collapsed onto her bed to think about the day’s events and wonder about what was to come. She was interrupted mid-thought of theories about her mysterious roommate when she heard the jingling of keys, followed by the click of the doorknob.
She leapt off the bed in one movement, much to the surprise of Blake, who was standing in the doorway, stunned at the sight of her roommate.
"Hi! I'm Yang! It's really great to finally get to meet you!"
Blake blinked twice. She really hadn't been expecting Yang to still be here. She figured she'd be with the rest of the floor, doing whatever silly activities that the university had lined up for the day. She shuffled awkwardly into the room, closing the door behind her.
"You are Blake, right?" Yang asked with a goofy smile.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm Blake. Sorry, I was just... caught off guard a little."
"It's really nice to meet you, Blake! I tried to email you a couple times over the summer, but I guess they never went through..."
"Oh, uh, yeah. I didn't really check my school email until today, honestly. Sorry about that."
"No problem, Blake! It happens!"
Blake nodded, praying silently that the conversation would end there. She dropped her backpack on her bed, and reached to pull her laptop out of it.
"I assume you weren't with the rest of the floor all day, huh?" Yang asked with a smile.
"No, I'm not much of an icebreakers person."
"Is anyone, really?"
"I guess not."
"I didn't go either. The RA seemed really... cold, and I've been too tired to do any weird bonding activities in the August heat."
Blake hummed in response. She hopped onto her bed, flipping open her laptop as she sat propped up against her headboard.
"So, what's your major?" Yang asked, hoping to pull any sort of information out of her roommate.
Blake looked up and blinked at Yang. "English."
"Oh, cool! What concentration?"
"Creative writing," she replied blankly, looking back down at her laptop.
"I should have guessed, based on all those books!"
Blake hummed again, causing Yang to frown for a moment, unseen by Blake. She put her smile back on though as she hopped into her own bed.
"Well, I'm a criminal justice major, so we're studying pretty different things, but a lot of our gen eds are similar!" Yang said excitedly.
Blake's eyes glanced up from her computer screen at Yang, an eyebrow raising along with them. "Criminal justice?"
Yang nodded with a large smile. "Both my dad and uncle are cops. So was my mom."
"Ah." Blake's eyes lowered back to her computer screen. "Never been a fan of cops."
"Oh." Yang's shoulders fell. "Why's that?"
"It's a long story, and a bit too personal for me to feel comfortable sharing it."
Yang pulled out her phone, staring at the home screen, her cheeks growing pink in embarrassment. She couldn't believe this was going so badly! It was a completely one-sided conversation, and Blake had just said that she didn't like cops, but wouldn't say why. A million possibilities were running through Yang's head. How could this be going so poorly?
Blake, on the other hand, was relieved that Yang had finally stopped asking her questions. She knew she should have stayed out longer. Although, this entire conversation was inevitable, Blake still wanted to melt into the bedsheets. Why had she said that she didn't like cops? Yang didn't need to know that! Now she was constantly going to be questioned about it until Blake gave an answer! She'd have to come up with an excuse, something fake so she didn't have to tell the truth.
It wouldn't be that big a deal, honestly. Lying to cops was her specialty. Someone who was barely a cop in training would be no problem.
Blake didn't dare to look back up at her roommate. Her eyes were firmly locked on the computer screen. If she was lucky, Yang would leave, or just keep quiet, and Blake could get some writing done. It had been impossible out at the Union today to do anything other than read. Blake needed quiet for writing, and the balcony-style floors of the Union had a tendency to carry all the noise from the first few floors up to the top. She opened her work, silently praying that Yang wouldn't press any further.
"Are you going to go to convocation tonight?"
Unfortunately, luck wasn't exactly Blake's strong suit.
Blake looked up at her roommate, who had placed her phone down and was looking at Blake. "What?"
"Convocation, are you going to go to it?"
Blake blinked at Yang. "I don't know what that is."
"It's like the opposite of graduation, where our entire class gets together and there's a ceremony that kicks off our years here. They talked about it at orientation."
"Oh, yeah, that. I remember them talking about that. I didn't really plan on it, no."
Yang gave a goofy grin. "You should go with me! It'll be cool, and it's the only time our whole class together, since graduation is based on each college within the university. Plus, they give out free stuff!"
"What type of free stuff?"
"From what my uncle told me, there's these little electric candles that they give out, since, you know, we aren't allowed real candles in the dorms. Uncle Qrow says that if you stick around a little afterwards, you can collect a bunch of them laying around on the ground, and they're nice for when your eyes get sick of the burning dorm lights. Oh, and t-shirts!"
"Your uncle told you that?"
"Oh yeah, my Uncle Qrow is a campus police officer here. He's been around for a while, told me a lot of things about this place."
Blake hummed again, her eyes glancing back down at the screen. Of course her roommate wasn't only studying to be a police officer, she was from a family of cops, one who happened to work on campus! "I don't know. Doesn't really seem to be my type of event."
"Oh, okay. Well, it's not for another few hours, if you change your mind." Yang laid down on her bed, unlocking her phone again.
"I'll consider it," Blake replied flatly, her focus reshifting to her writing.
Blake stared at the page. She'd left off at a long inner monologue from the main character. She knew what she wanted to happen next, but she had no way to smoothly transition to it. Her eyes narrowed as she re-read the monologue. Reading it back now, it felt more like something posted by an edgy fifteen year old in an online forum, not an inner monologue on the difference between loneliness and being alone. A quick highlight followed by the press of a single key removed the entire monologue from the screen.
Blake glanced back up at her roommate, careful to only move her eyes, so that Yang wouldn't notice. She was laying on her bed, simply scrolling on her phone. Blake attempted to read Yang’s expression, but Yang’s face was obscured by her hair. Blake couldn’t help but feel bad once she realized that she had no real way of knowing if she had hurt Yang’s feelings with her cold introduction. She didn't know why she felt bad, considering this was not normal for her, but she just did. It wasn't like she hadn't been preparing for this meeting for months.
She closed her eyes, trying to brush the thoughts away. Yang was a party girl, there was no getting around that. Blake didn't want anything to have to do with that nonsense.
Blake's eyes opened again, looking down at the screen once more. She typed a few words before stopping again.
What if being nice to Yang now would be useful later? If Blake was currently presenting herself as stone cold and unapproachable, when Yang inevitably came home drunk every night, any attempts Blake could make to confront her about it would probably be met with drunken accusations of Blake being bitchy. As if it weren't the first time that she'd heard that one.
Her closed her eyes again. She had to stop getting carried away with the hypotheticals. Sure, there was some benefit to being on good terms with Yang now, but it didn't mean that Yang was going to call her a bitch if she didn't.
Blake looked back up at her roommate. "What time did you say convocation was again?"
Yang's head shot towards Blake. "In two hours."
"I'll go with you."
A huge smile sprawled across Yang's face. "Awesome!"
Blake offered a small smile back. She would get through this, one way or another. She just had to work things in her favor where she could, and everything would be okay.
About a half hour before convocation started, the roommates headed out towards the center of campus. The walk was quiet at first, but Yang spoke up after about five minutes of walking in silence.
"Hey, Blake, I just wanted to apologize for before. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable with the cops thing. I wouldn't have mentioned it if I'd known. If you want, I'll try not to bring up cops again."
Blake looked at her roommate and gave a soft smile. "Thanks, Yang. That really means a lot. You don't have to not necessarily talk about cop stuff though. That seems a bit unfair, considering you're a criminal justice major and all."
"I just wanna make sure you aren't uncomfortable in your own room. That seems unfair to you."
"Well, I may dislike cops, but you aren't a cop yet . You still have what, at least four years of college, and then however long the police academy takes?"
"Six months, if I manage to get a place straight out of college, and that's being incredibly lucky," Yang said with a sigh. "But hey, that means I have a minimum of four and a half years before you're allowed to dislike me!" A goofy grin formed across her face.
Blake smirked as she raised an eyebrow. "I don't think that's how that works, Yang."
Still smiling, Yang held her hands up in defense. "Hey, I don't make the rules."
"Okay, sure, we can go with that," Blake said as she rolled her eyes, a smile still on her face.
"Enough about me and my nonsense, though, what about you? I know you're an English major, but, what else? If you're comfortable, of course."
Blake looked at Yang again. Her roommate was definitely being cautious. Blake appreciated that.
"Well, I love to read and write, and I'm hoping to become an author one day, which is why I'm doing a creative writing concentration. To be honest, there isn't much else about me," Blake said with a shrug.
"Hmm... Well, where are you from?"
"The capital," she replied dryly. Yang picked up on the tone immediately, and decided to deflect.
"Oh, cool! I grew up in Patch. It's a small town, down on the coastline. It's such a peninsula, it's practically an island. Barely one sixth of Beacon students would cover its entire population, though. This is quite a jump for me." Yang looked at the crowd that they were approaching, the entire freshman class.
"Beacon University is smaller than the capital, unsurprisingly," Blake shrugged. "I like the bigger populations though. Easier to blend in that way, and keep to myself."
Yang nodded. "Yeah, I wish I'd had that ability a lot growing up. Still, Beacon is a chance to start over again! Be whoever you want to be, the past doesn't matter. Maybe you won't want or need to blend in as much here."
The conversation was cut short as the girls approached one of the many entrance tables. Some student employees asked them for their shirt sizes before handing them a pair of fake candles and Beacon University shirts. Their class year was printed on the front, along with a giant picture of a bee, the school mascot.
"You know," Yang said, "they really missed out on a prime opportunity when they picked the mascot. They should have renamed the school Bee con University."
Blake looked at her roommate, blinking as she stared blankly at the huge grin spread across her face. "That might have just about been the absolute worst pun I have ever heard."
Yang's smile spread wider. "Oh, Blake, honey , you sure are in for a real treat. My puns are the bee's knees !"
Blake sighed, shaking her head at the girl. "You have gotta bee kidding me."
Yang burst out laughing, unable to control herself anymore. "Oh, boy, am I gonna have fun this year. So many new people to meet, so many new puns to make. It's almost un- bee -lievable!"
Blake simply lowered her head into her palm. Partier, she had been expecting. This, she most certainly had not.
"Alright, alright, I'll stop the bee puns, for now," Yang said, recomposing herself. "Just be aware, I have been called a true pun master by some."
"Oh? And who, exactly, calls you a pun master?" Blake smirked as she looked back up at Yang.
"Uh... well, myself, mostly."
Blake chuckled, but her next sentence was cut off by the start of the ceremony.
The ceremony itself was kind of long and boring, but Yang tried her best to make it enjoyable for the both of them. She cracked jokes about the school president, who she vowed to only refer to as the queen bee from now on, and made fun of the corniness of the orientation leaders who were attempting to lead the crowd in school chants.
Blake watched Yang carefully when she wasn't looking. Maybe, just maybe , Blake had been wrong about her roommate. She really didn't seem that half bad.
Blake decided to abandon her original plan, and give Yang a chance.
Yang and Blake meet their neighbors, make some friends, spend some time exploring campus, and find themselves in a chance encounter at a surprise location.
The second day of opening weekend was beginning on a much better note for Blake.
For one, she didn't need to wake up at the crack of dawn today. Her and Yang had agreed the night before that they'd sleep in so they could skip the floor breakfast and today's silly icebreaker activities. It was nearly 10am before the roommates rose from bed, several hours after the scheduled meet up time for the rest of the floor.
They took their time getting ready, they had no reason to rush. Eventually, they made their way out into the hall, still both a bit asleep as Blake waited for Yang to fumble with the keys and lock the door.
"Hello!" a voice yelled excitedly behind them, causing both of the girls to jump. They both turned around to see the source of the voice, a short girl who seemed to bubble with excitement.
The girl practically bounced up and down as she waved at the roommates. "I'm Nora, your neighbor! And this is..." She looked behind her, shaking her head. "Oh, where did he go! Ren! Ren!"
A tall boy who seemed much more refined than the bubbly girl turned the corner.
"What is it, Nora?" he asked, before spotting the roommates. "Oh, hello."
"These are our neighbors, Ren!" Nora exclaimed as she practically dragged the boy over to the still stunned girls.
"It's a pleasure to meet you both. I'm Ren, as Nora has already told you, just a few times," Ren said with a slight bow.
"It's nice to meet you both! I'm Yang!'
"And I'm Blake."
"Wait, backtrack for a second here, you said our neighbors. Are you two roommates somehow?" Yang asked.
"Oh no!" Nora said with a laugh. "I live to the right of you, with my roommate, Pyrrha. Ren lives on the other side of you, with Jaune!"
"Oh, okay, that makes more sense," Yang said with a nod. "I take it you both are skipping the activities too?"
Nora nodded enthusiastically. "Pyrrha lectured me about it like, 50 million times, but I don't want to spend the day doing silly old icebreakers! I'd rather go exploring, and find all my classes and stuff. And maybe some tall perching spots. Oooh, Ren, can we go searching for tall perching spots?" She turned to Ren, practically bouncing up and down.
"Maybe, we'll see if we have time after we go find our classrooms."
"Oh, yay! Would you two like to join us?" Nora asked as she turned back to the girls.
"We were actually just about to go get breakfast," Blake commented.
"Oh, so were Ren and I! Wanna get breakfast together?"
The two roommates looked at each other.
Yang shrugged. "Up to you, Blake."
"Sure, why not."
"Oh, goody! Take that, Pyrrha! I can make friends without icebreakers!" Nora punched the air with a giddy grin.
Ren spoke up again. "I don't think anyone ever doubted that, Nora. You're a people person."
"Aww, why thank you Ren! Now, come on, let's go get food. I hear they have pancakes!" With that final word, Nora shot off like a rocket, down the hall and towards the staircase.
"Is she uh... Always this hyper in the morning?" Yang asked Ren as the remaining three began to walk towards the staircase.
"Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You get used to it, though. It's a nice change of pace from the slow march of daily life. She keeps me on my toes."
Yang and Blake exchanged a glance. What on Earth had they walked into?
It wasn't long before the four neighbors had found themselves at a table in the dining hall, plates piled high with breakfast food. Nora was scarfing down a plate full of pancakes, while the others talked a bit.
"So, how long have you two known each other?" Yang asked.
“Sins fe fer kiffs,” Nora attempted to say through a mouth full of pancakes.
"She means, since we were kids," Ren explained. "We were neighbors growing up, met in kindergarten."
"Wow, that's a really long friendship," Blake commented.
Nora swallowed her pancakes and laughed. "We're a bit more than friends nowadays, though!"
"Oh?" Yang asked.
"Yep! We've been together-together for five years now!" Nora smiled very widely at Ren, who gave a much softer smile in return.
"Oh, well, congratulations on five years!" Yang grinned happily as she picked up some eggs with her fork. "I love hearing about people who have been in relationships for a really long time. I'm a sucker for romance."
"Ren might not seem like it, but he's totally a romantic. Like super hardcore romantic," Nora said with a smirk as she watched Ren blush.
"Nora, please," he said softly.
"Isn't he just the cutest!" Nora smiled wider, but then swiftly jerked her head towards the pair of girls on the other side of the table. "But hands off, ladies. He's mine."
Yang laughed, nudging Blake. "See, this shit? Adorable. This is the stuff I live for. My own love life is so dry that it can only go syrup from here.”
"God, no," Blake groaned as she shook her head. "I've known her for barely 18 hours and I've heard more puns than I ever have in my entire life. She keeps calling herself the punmaster," she said to Nora and Ren.
"The only way to defeat the puns is to out-pun the punmaster." Ren nodded his head towards Nora. "I would know. She had a pun phase too."
Yang shook her head. "Puns are not a phase, they're a way of life. You wouldn't punderstand."
"Oh good god," Blake sighed, shaking her head. "Ren, you gotta save me."
"There's no help for you now," Ren chuckled. "You're on your own. That's the only way to defeat a punmaster."
"Isn't it punderful, Blake?" Yang smirked.
"I swear to god, Yang."
"Okay, okay, I'm done. For now."
Blake glared at Yang for a moment, before rolling her eyes with a slight smile. "Don't you mean you're pun for now?"
The three stared at Blake for a moment, blinking.
Yang gave her a reassuring pat on the back. "You'll get there, Blake. You'll get there."
Breakfast didn't last much longer. The four neighbors found themselves wandering about campus, their phones open with campus maps pulled up as they attempted to find the locations of their classes.
Yang switched the app on her phone from the map to a list. "Okay, I only have two more buildings left to find, Blake has three, Nora has one, and Ren has four. I don't know how we haven't found more of your buildings yet, Ren."
"It's because I'm an animation major. Most of my classes are in the arts complex."
"Oh, that's really cool!" Yang smiled. "The arts complex is sort of near our dorms, we can loop back around that way on our way back."
"Sounds good," Ren said with a nod.
"I'll probably be heading out before then. I have something I want to go to later today, and I might be late if I head back to the dorms that close to the start time," Blake added.
"Okay, no problem Blake! What are you going to?" Yang asked.
"It's a long story."
"Okay, no problem." Yang had quickly picked up on when Blake didn't want to be pressed any further. "What about you, Nora? What's your major?"
Blake glanced at Nora. "Huh, I never took you for an engineer."
"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked.
"Nothing bad, Nora. I just meant like, I don't know, you have the energy of an elementary school teacher, or a physical education teacher or something."
"I used to want to be a gym teacher, but then I discovered how much I love electrical stuff! It's so interesting!"
"She really likes making wires spark together," Ren said.
He smiled. "It's true, I've caught her taking apart stuff just to make electrical sparks on multiple occasions."
Yang and Blake exchanged glances as they laughed at the couple's banter.
Nora huffed as she crossed her arms. "Well, what about you two? What are your majors?"
"I'm an English major, with a concentration in creative writing."
Nora looked up to the sky for a moment, thinking. "An author and a cop... Authorcop! Solving crime... with words! Coming soon to a... theater? bookstore? near you!"
Blake laughed again. "I'll be sure to work authorcop into my next crime novel."
"You already write novels?" Yang asked her roommate.
She nodded. "Well, none are published, yet, but they're written."
"That's so cool!" Nora chirped in. "Oh, look up ahead! It's Pyrrha and Jaune!" She sprinted forward, towards a guy and a girl a bit further up the road
The trio speed-walked a bit to catch up to the quick-footed girl. Her endless bounds of energy certainly seemed to extend to physical activity.
"Hello there! I'm Pyrrha," the girl introduced herself as the other three reached them. "Nora tells me you're our neighbors!"
"Yep! I'm Yang!"
"And I'm Blake."
"I'm Jaune, Ren's roommate," the guy said, offering a handshake to each of the girls.
Yang shook his hand. "It's nice to meet you both."
"Definitely!" Blake shook Jaune's hand. "Unfortunately, I need to go if I want to make it to my event on time."
"Oh, okay. See you later, Blake!" Yang called out.
A number of goodbyes were exchanged as Blake headed off in a different direction.
"Where's she off to?" Pyrrha asked.
Yang shrugged. "She wouldn't say. She's a bit of a mysterious type."
"Perfect for Detective Yang!" Nora exclaimed.
"Yeah, in my dreams."
“Well, I think that’s all of your classes, Ren. These art buildings are really cool!” Nora exclaimed. “They’re wayyy cooler than the boring old science buildings.”
“Well, Beacon’s architecture program is in the school of fine arts,” Ren said plainly as he held the door open for the other two.
Yang’s phone began to buzz in her pocket. She pulled it out, glancing at the screen. “Oh shit!”
“What’s wrong?” Nora asked.
“I forgot about the meeting I was going to go to! It’s all the way at the student union, I’m gonna be late! I’ll see y’all later!” Before either Nora or Ren could say anything else, Yang was off like a bullet, heading off in the direction of the center of campus.
Yang couldn't believe she'd made that mistake. This was the one event she'd genuinely been looking forward to!
After a solid 5 minute sprint, Yang finally arrived at the union. She entered the Queer Center late, as expected. A girl, assumedly a student worker, sat behind the front desk.
"Are you here for the open house?"
"Just head on in, someone will give you the brochure. They're almost done with the presentation, but there's still a lot more afterwards."
Yang walked through the inner doors to the center, and quickly took a seat in the back. Most people hadn't noticed her come in, but another student worker, with wildly colored hair and a particular affinity for polka dots, came and handed her a brochure and some other flyers. She sat and waited for the presentation to be over as the director of the QC and some student workers talked about what the center had to offer.
"That's the end of the presentation! Be sure to visit a student worker for a tour of the center, and feel free to grab a flag! We have a huge bin of them up here," the director said as the final slide popped up on the TV at the front of the room.
Yang watched as the small crowd of people dispersed throughout the center, most headed in the direction of student employees that were offering tours. Yang decided she'd wait a few on the tour, and grab a flag first.
She pushed through the crowd towards the front of the room, avoiding eye contact with most people. It wasn't that she didn't want people to know about her identity, it was that people had known back home for so long, she'd forgotten what it was like to have to deal with coming out again.
It had crossed her mind earlier when Nora had joked about her and Blake backing off Ren. She had so desperately wanted to make a lesbian joke then, but she'd stopped herself. She didn't know how any of them would react. She had honestly completely forgotten about having to come out to her roommate.
How exactly was she going to do that? She could do it right away, and just hang up the flag when she got back to the dorm, or she could wait until it was more necessary, like when Yang ended up going on a date or something.
The idea of being back in the closet was a weird thought, and Yang certainly didn’t like the sound of it.
Yang reached the bin, deep in thought. She shoved her hand in, reaching for a rainbow flag, when her hand bumped into someone else's.
"Oh, sorry," Yang said as she looked up.
Blake looked like she was a deer caught in headlights. Yang didn’t exactly know how to respond either. The two girls simply stared at each other for a moment before Blake shook her head slightly, snapping out of it. She grabbed a bi flag and quickly turned around and towards the exit of the center.
"Wait!" Yang called out, but Blake was already gone.
Yang was stunned. Why had Blake ran off like that? Obviously Yang wasn't going to judge her. Plus, it solved the whole needing-to-come-out thing she had just been thinking about. She could only assume that at some point, Blake was struggling with that same question. But instead of addressing it right then and there, she had run off! Was Blake okay?
"Excuse me?" a voice said behind Yang. She turned around to see the girl who had been sitting behind the front desk. "Have you gotten a tour yet?"
Yang shook her head. "No, not yet."
"I can give you one if you want. I'm about to give one to a couple other people."
"Sure." Yang grabbed a rainbow flag from the bin.
"Okay well, here at the Queer Center, we introduce ourselves with our names and our pronouns. So my name is Coco, and I use she/her/hers pronouns. And you all?"
"I'm Yang, she/her/hers."
The rest of the introductions were already drained out of Yang's mind. All she could see was Blake's shocked expression, and her running off.
Yang really, really hoped that whatever had made Blake run wouldn't ruin their friendship.
So that new RWBY episode, huh? I actually rewrote how part of this chapter went just because I really wanted to include the "Yang?". It's necessary for life now, I don't make the rules.
Also, I feel obligated to tell you that my incredible beta reader, masterread, took this chapter to another level... He decided that my "Nora talking with a mouthful of pancakes" wasn't good enough, so we went to the dining hall, he got a plate full of waffles (as it was sadly not a pancake day), and repeatedly shoved waffles into his mouth and repeated the line until I was able to accurately hear the way Nora would be saying it. A true icon, please give him your love as the unnoticed hero of this fic.
Thanks again for all your support and comments! I really appreciate it!
Quick next day edit: Thanks to Reeves3 on FF for pointing out a flaw that somehow both my beta and I overlooked! It's been fixed.
Yang returns to her dorm, hoping to have a talk with Blake about what happened. Blake attends one of her classes and watches an unbelievable exchange go down.
Yang stood at the door to her dorm room, staring at the names on the door.
She knew she'd have to go in at some point, but she couldn't shake the feeling twisting throughout her gut. It had only been a few hours since she had last seen her roommate. Blake had fled from the Queer Center after bumping into Yang, who still couldn't figure out why. She'd only said one word before she left hastily.
Yang sighed, pushing her key into the lock. She had to face this problem now, before it got worse.
The room was dark, the only light coming from the open door and window. Blake was laying on her bed, facing the wall. Yang shut the door behind her, feeling her heart slowly sink into her stomach.
"Blake, you awake?" she whispered into the darkness.
There was no response.
Yang sighed as she dropped her flag onto her desk. She changed quickly and quietly, getting ready to crawl into bed. When her head hit the pillow, she stared at the ceiling, sighing as quietly as she could.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. She'd been doing so good at getting Blake to at least try to be friends. She still didn't know why she'd run like that, and if Blake wouldn't talk to her about it, what could Yang even do?
Yang's eyes closed and she took a deep breath. She was just going to have to try again in the morning.
"Yeah, I'm awake."
Her eyes shot back open at the sound of Blake's voice. She turned her head to see Blake rolling over to face her.
"Are you okay?" Yang asked.
Blake was quiet for a moment. "I think so. I just... I..."
"I just want to know why... why you ran."
More silence filled the room. "I was scared."
Yang sat up on her bed, leaning against the wall. "You don't have to be scared of me, Blake. I'm not going to judge you."
Blake mirrored Yang's actions, so that the two were directly facing each other. Despite this, she was pretty much only looking at the floor, unable to keep eye contact with Yang.
"I know, I just..." Blake's voice broke slightly, but she continued. "I've never been out to anyone before. It took me weeks to work up the courage to go to the open house, and I just..." She got a bit choked up again.
"It's okay, Blake. Take your time."
Blake took a deep breath before speaking again. "I just didn't expect to see you there, or anyone I knew, for that matter. Considering the list of people I know here is sitting at five, four of which I met just hours before... It never crossed my mind as a possibility. I froze up and freaked out."
"You know, as I was going up to get that flag, I was worrying about how I was going to come out to you," Yang said.
Blake looked up at her. "Really?"
Yang nodded. "It's been years since I actually came out to anyone. I grew up in a small town, there were always rumors. Then I got a girlfriend in high school, and everyone just kind of knew and moved on. It never really crossed my mind as something I'd have to do at college until I was at the QC. Kind of ironic, looking back at it, how quickly my problem solved itself."
"That's not what irony is, but I get your point." Blake smiled softly, shaking her head.
"I totally knew that. That's why I did it, actually, to make you smile about my misuse of the word."
"Yeah, sure, that's definitely it." Blake's smile got wider for a moment, but then she stopped. "I'm sorry for overreacting, Yang."
"Shit happens, it's okay. Just promise me something?"
"Next time something happens that you're worried about, just... talk to me about it? I promise I don't bite."
Blake nodded, the small smile returning. "I'll try. My anxiety gets the better of me sometimes, but I'll try."
Yang returned the smile. "Thanks, Blake."
"Nora and Ren, do you plan on coming out to them?"
Yang thought for a moment. "I don't know if I'm going to do it outright. If it comes up, I will. But I just kinda planned on hanging up my rainbow flag in my room. Plus I got some pride pins from the QC, and I was gonna put them on my backpack. They'd figure it out eventually if I don't tell them directly."
Blake nodded. "That makes sense. I just don't exactly know how to navigate all of this."
"Well, lucky for you, I'm a bit of a professional gay," Yang smirked, pointing to herself with both thumbs. "I practically ran the GSA back in Patch. I've been giving people guidance for years."
"I'm glad I've got you on my side."
Out of all the classes Blake had this semester, she had expected that her creative writing course would be interesting, but she didn't expect it to be this interesting.
She'd been sitting and listening for a while. They'd been given a brief assignment almost immediately, to spend 15 minutes writing a poem about something you'd lost without naming exactly what it is. They'd been going around the room, reading poems for the remainder of class as part of the introductions. It was quite possibly the most ridiculously complicated ice breaker Blake had ever seen, but at least it was something she knew how to do well.
Blake's poem had come and gone already. She'd written hers about the loss of her parents. The poem itself was nothing special, in her opinion. It was a topic she'd written about plenty of times before, something she could churn out well in a short period of time.
The other student's poems were a mixture of mundane, edgy, and actually heartfelt. Some were about the loss of objects, or money through student debt. Others were extremely extra, in Blake's opinion, frilly poems about the loss of childhood due to the rise in technology, or even one poem that was extremely detailed about the loss of virginity. A few stood out to Blake as poems that spoke to her, about the loss of a loved one or a pet. She'd like to imagine that her poem had fit into the last group.
There were only a handful of poems left, but the one currently being read had certainly caught Blake's attention. A boy was standing at the front of the room, reading his poem, and Blake was captivated by his every word. His poem spoke to Blake in a way that she had not realized was possible.
He was perfectly describing her childhood.
The boy finished his poem, looking up from his paper. "My name is Sun, I'm a freshman. I'm undecided on my major right now."
"That was very good, Sun," the professor commented, giving him a nod. "Can anyone tell me what Sun's poem was describing the loss of?"
There was a long period of silence. Blake began tapping her foot, silently and involuntarily. She knew, but she didn't want to have to be the one to answer.
"Anyone?" the professor asked again.
Blake observed Sun's face. He was looking back down at his paper as the silence grew longer. His poem was incredible , but it was obvious no one else in the class got it like Blake got it. A quick glance around the room, and she could see that everyone was avoiding eye contact with both Sun and the professor.
She slowly raised her hand, despite every ounce of her being telling her not to. She'd always had anxiety about talking in class, but she couldn't just... she couldn't just let this poem go to waste without Sun knowing that she understood.
"Yes, Blake?" the professor nodded in her direction.
"Well... I interpreted it as a loss of childhood, but in a very specific way. It felt like the loss of the ability to be a carefree child, when a huge burden has been placed on you."
Blake's eyes drifted from the professor to Sun. He was staring at her, eyes wide. She was getting it, exactly how he intended.
"It's the loss of childhood due to growing up in foster care," Blake finished.
The professor looked at Sun. "Was that your lost thing, Sun?"
Sun nodded. "That was exactly it, yeah."
"Oh, you have got to be kidding me," a girl sitting near Blake muttered.
Blake turned towards the girl. She was the one who had written about the loss of childhood because of technology. Blake couldn't remember her name, but she could remember what a pretentious prick she was. "Excuse me?"
The girl's face flushed bright red. It was obvious she hadn't intended on anyone hearing her, but unfortunately for her, Blake had spectacular hearing. "I... uh..."
"If you have something to share about Sun's poem, Cinder, please share it with all of us," the professor said.
"I... I just thought the poem was unrealistic, is all."
Sun blinked. "You thought... it was unrealistic?"
"This is a literal account of my childhood. It's as real as it gets."
"Oh, please . You're telling me you didn't exaggerate any of that?"
The entire class sat in stunned silence at Cinder's words. Even the professor didn't know how to handle this.
"No, I didn't exaggerate a single word of that. That's literally my life story ," Sun finally said, appalled at the girl's audacity.
Cinder shook her head. "I just can't reasonably believe that."
Blake had a million things on her mind, but her brain refused to create the thoughts into words that she could say out loud. There was no way this girl was that pretentious!
The professor finally spoke, snapping out of the stunned silence. "While peer comments and constructive criticism is encouraged in this course, I'm afraid I'm going to have to stop you there, Cinder. This... this is not even remotely appropriate for this class, or any academic setting."
"I never intended on that opinion becoming public," Cinder's eyes flashed a quick glare in Blake's direction, "but it won't happen again, professor."
There was an extra beat of silence. Blake could feel both the tension in the air and the anger flowing through her body. This bitch was going to push the blame for her shitty opinions on Blake.
"I think this is where we should wrap up for the day." The professor began shuffling papers on the podium. "Cinder, please come speak with me privately before you leave."
It was a matter of seconds before people were flooding out of the room, desperate to get away from the thickening tension. Blake snapped her laptop shut and shoved it into her bag. Standing up with her things, she watched as Sun handed the professor his poem and headed for the door, his own backpack strung over his shoulder.
Blake followed Sun out, weaving through the mess of people in the hallway.
He turned around, an angry expression on his face. When he saw that Blake was the source of his name being called out, his frown lessened. "Oh, hi. Blake, right?"
"Yeah, I'm Blake. I... uh...well, I know that was a big mess, but I wanted to tell you I really liked your poem. It spoke to me a lot, especially since well... I was a foster kid too."
"I figured," Sun smirked. "You were the only one to even know what I was talking about."
"Yeah, I picked up on all the double meanings almost immediately. Not surprising that no one else did. They're really specific."
Sun glanced at his watch. "I really, really have to get going to my next class. It's across campus and I've got ten minutes to get there. We should absolutely get together for coffee sometime and talk about, well, foster experiences and what not."
"Oh yeah, absolutely!" Blake nodded.
Sun turned on his heel, running down the hallway. He called over his shoulder, "Add me on Facebook! Sun Wukong!"
"I don't... have... one..." she replied, getting quieter as she spoke, as she watched the boy disappear from her sight.
Blake adjusted her backpack so that it was actually on both of her shoulders. She'd made a friend outside of Yang and her neighbors, but she had no real way of contacting the guy. The thought of creating a Facebook, and the thought of the one person she was trying so hard to hide from finding it, gave her the largest knot of anxiety in her stomach that she had ever experienced.
Blake and Yang have a talk about the day's events, and Blake opens up a little bit more.
Blake sat cross legged on her bed, leaning up against the wall with her laptop propped on her knees. Her earbuds were plugged in as she watched some videos online of her favorite gaming group. She'd never considered herself to be much of a gamer, but she loved watching this particular group. They never failed to make her laugh.
She was in the middle of a particularly funny video about her favorite lovable idiots trying to complete a parkour course on bicycles not meant for stunts (while they constantly repeated the silly description for the level, naturally), when she heard the doorknob jiggle. She pulled out one headphone and looked up to watch as Yang entered the room.
"Heya, Blake," Yang said as she tossed her bag onto her bed. "How was your day?"
Blake tapped the spacebar on her laptop, pausing the video as she pulled the other earbud out. "Long, and really weird."
"Oh?" Yang hopped up onto her own bed, matching Blake's cross legged position. "Do tell!"
"Well, I had my first creative writing class, right?"
"Mhm, was it not what you expected?"
Blake shook her head. "Not exactly. The class itself seems good, but the people... well, I'm getting there."
"Oh, right, I should probably let you finish the story before jumping to conclusions." Yang laughed nervously as she awkwardly scratched the back of her head.
"Seems like a good idea," Blake giggled. "But anyways, the professor had us do an assignment like, immediately. It wasn't graded on content, just for like, participation for the day."
"Participation? During syllabus week?"
"Yeah, I know, right? Anyhow, our task was to write a poem about something in our life that we'd lost, without naming exactly what it was. Then, the class had to guess what the poem was about after the person introduced themselves at the end of the poem. It was definitely interesting. The most memorable was probably the one that was an incredibly detailed loss of virginity poem, until the very last poem."
Yang held up a hand in Blake's direction. "Wait, hold up. Loss of virginity poem ?"
Blake nodded, laughing slightly. "Really, I'm not kidding. It was something , that's for sure."
"And there was one more memorable than... that?"
"Yeah, okay, so, there's this guy, and he goes up in front of the class, and he reads his poem. Last person to go, like I said. His poem is about the loss of his childhood because his parents died and he ended up in foster care. Incredibly well written, very captivating. No one in the class knew what it was about, except me. So I answered the question, and this guy, Sun, he tells me I'm right." Blake took a deep breath to calm herself. "And then this girl, this god awful girl, she accuses him of exaggerating the poem, and that she doesn't believe him, all this stuff."
"Oh my god," Yang gasped. "She can't be for real."
"She absolutely was," Blake shook her head. "So Sun starts defending himself, and the professor basically gets them to stop. The girl apologizes to him, but then blames me for this."
"What? How?" Yang had moved to the edge of her bed, hands gripping the side, as she listened intently to Blake's story.
"She said something real quiet after Sun said I was right with my guess, like sneering. I called her out on it and the professor made her voice her opinion loud enough for Sun to hear. I don't think anyone in the class was expecting how ignorant she would be!"
"And she blamed you ?"
"Yeah!" Blake threw her hands up in the air. "Absolutely ridiculous. Here's hoping she drops after that catastrophe. But uh, can I ask for advice on something?"
"Yeah, of course!" Yang smiled, leaning back up against the wall. "What's the issue?"
"So, after class, I ran into Sun, and we were talking about what happened and stuff, and he wants to talk more, and told me to add him on Facebook."
"Ooh, he wants to talk more?" Yang wiggled her eyebrows. "Do I sense an early college relationship coming on?"
"No, no, no." Blake shook her head furiously, crossing her hands over each other to form an x. "This isn't like that at all."
"I don't know about that, Blake. You seemed really into the description of his poem," Yang said with a smirk.
"Absolutely not. I'm really, really not interested in dating anyone right now, and especially not a guy currently. And that's not even what I'm asking for advice on."
Blake gave a small nod. "It's alright. So, anyways, he wants me to add him on Facebook, right? I don't have one."
"Why not just make one? I know you didn't have one before, but it's so vital to college life, at this point."
"Well, you see... okay, well, basically, my last relationship was bad. Really bad. I literally had to get a restraining order and change my last name so he wouldn't find me."
Yang blinked. "Jesus."
"Yeah. I never really had a Facebook because I didn't really have friends outside of my ex, and I don't really want to make one currently because, well, I don't want him to be able to find me online."
"Okay, well, you have a couple options there," Yang said with a nod. "You could make your profile with your middle name instead of your last name. Does he know your new last name?"
Blake shook her head. "No, he doesn't. He knows I changed it, but he doesn't know what to."
"Okay, so middle name probably wouldn't work, since he might know that."
"Yeah, he knows my middle name."
"Okay, well, you could set up your profile so that it's super restricted unless someone is already your friend. It's pretty easy to do that, I could help you."
"That sounds good," Blake said with a nod.
"You could, if you wanted, also preemptively block his profile."
"Like, find his profile, and block him, well before he ever finds you. He'd literally never be able to see your profile, ever, if you have him blocked," Yang explained.
"I wouldn't have to do as extensive privacy then, right?"
Yang gave a small shrug. "Probably not. It'd be incredibly difficult for him to find, but it might be worth it to only put very few things open publically".
Blake nodded. "Okay, yeah, that works. Can you uh... help me make the profile? I've never had social media before... like ever."
"Really?" Yang hopped off the bed.
"Yeah, just only ever like, Tumblr, and I don't exactly count that to be in the same vein of social media as Facebook."
"Fair enough. I can help you, do you mind if I join you on your bed so I can show you what to do?"
Blake nodded, patting the area next to her. "Sure."
Yang climbed up onto Blake's bed and sat down next to her. They sat with their backs leaning up against the wall, Blake shifting a bit so Yang could get comfortable. Yang glanced over at her roommate's screen, which had a fresh tab opened up to Facebook. Her eyes glanced at the other tabs, and stopped on a YouTube tab titled with a channel she recognized.
"You watch them too?"
"What?" Blake asked, confused, as all she was still looking at was the Facebook tab.
"I didn't mark you as the type who'd be into them."
"They're funny, and help me to pass the time. And their podcast is great background entertainment for when I'm writing," Blake said with a shrug.
Yang smiled. "We should watch some stuff together sometime, it's always fun to experience it with someone else. My sister and I used to watch the new GTA video together every single week.
"Sure, Yang, but we have to make this Facebook profile first."
"Okay, okay. Facebook first, then YouTube."
Blake began filling out the basic sign-up sheet, nothing she particularly needed help with. As she put her birthday into the form, Yang spoke again.
"Wait, your birthday is on Valentine's Day?"
"Yeah, it is."
"That's pretty cool!"
"I guess so," Blake said with a shrug as she hit enter on the form. "Now what?"
"Well, you start filling out your profile, and making sure the security options are set to friends only wherever possible. Unless you want to block him now, right away."
Blake shook her head. "I'm going to need to mentally prepare myself to look at a picture of him, even if it is to block him. I'll do it later."
"Understandable," Yang nodded in return. "He won't be able to see anything anyways, not that he actually knows who you are." She waited a moment before speaking again. "Oh, uh, I was supposed to ask you something."
"Oh?" Blake looked up at Yang, raising an eyebrow.
"Do you remember when I mentioned that my uncle is a campus cop?"
"He wants to meet you and have lunch with both of us sometime."
Blake was quiet for a moment. "Why would he want to do that?"
"He wants to put himself out there as a 'friendly face'," Yang said, placing air quotes around the last two words. "You don't have to go if you don't want to. I don't want you to feel obligated to do something that makes you uncomfortable."
Blake blinked a few times at Yang, thinking. After a few more long moments of silence between the two, she finally spoke. "I'll go."
"Are you sure? You really don't have to if you don't want to."
"Yang, I'm sure."
"Okay," Yang nodded, a smile creeping onto her face. "He's not free until Saturday, does that work for you?"
Blake nodded, turning her attention back to the laptop screen. "Yeah, I'm free Saturday."
"Awesome!" Yang pulled her phone out of her pocket, sending a text to her uncle letting him know what Blake had decided.
She looked back up at Blake. "Yeah?"
"What do I use for a profile picture?"
"A picture of you, silly!" Yang smirked.
"I don't have any."
"You don't have any pictures of you?"
Yang thought for a moment, glancing at Blake's laptop screen. "What are you doing the rest of this afternoon?"
"I don't know, nothing, really," Blake said with a shrug.
"Put on your cutest outfit." Yang leaped off the bed, making a beeline for her desk. "We're doing a photoshoot."
"I... Yang, you don't have to do that."
"But I want to!" Yang pulled a camera out of one of her drawers. "My sister and I used to do photoshoots of each other like, all the time. I'm nowhere near as good as she is, but it doesn't need to be perfect."
"I don't know... I don't exactly look good in pictures."
"Just give it a shot. Getting nice pictures taken can be really empowering. If you don't like them, you can delete them yourself, and no one else will see them except us." Yang held out her hand to Blake, who was still sitting on her bed. "What do you say?"
Blake looked at Yang, then at the computer screen, and then to Yang again. She sighed, closing her laptop. "I have a feeling you aren't gonna let up on this easily."
"Nope!" Yang popped the o as she rolled forwards on the balls of her feet. She grabbed at the air with her outstretched hand. "It'll be fun, I promise!"
Blake took her hand, using it as support as she got off the bed. "You owe me if it isn't," she said with a smirk.
"What would I owe you?" Yang smiled back, releasing Blake's hand once she was on the ground.
"Hmm..." Blake looked towards the sky, stroking her chin dramatically as she thought. "I think... You'd owe me a dinner. But not dining hall food, a dinner down at Beacon Center." The idea of a dinner at an actual restaurant, with the cute backdrop of the small downtown area on the border of campus, was exciting to Blake.
Yang's smile grew wider. "You have yourself a deal, Blake!"
Blake glanced over at her closet. "I honestly don't even know what the cutest outfit that I own would be."
"I can help with that too!"
Yang tossed her camera onto the bed, and approached the closet, rummaging through the various clothes hung up. She pulled a few different outfits from the hangers, handing them off to Blake. After a few different times of trying different things on, Yang declared which outfit was the best.
"It could use one more thing, though..." Yang said as she stepped away from Blake and towards her own closet. "How do you feel about hair bows?"
"Uh... I used to wear them when I was a kid, but I'm not opposed to them, I guess?"
Yang rummaged through the plastic drawer storage sitting in the bottom of her closet. She hummed quietly, shuffling through a few different colors of ribbon before she had found the perfect one.
"Aha!" Yang exclaimed as she pulled out a long, black ribbon. She walked back over to Blake, tying it up in her hair. Blake felt the bow gently with her hand as Yang continued to talk. "It's perfect! Not exactly the same shade as your hair, which is nice, since it makes it stick out, and compliments the outfit really well. Absolutely adorable!"
Blake walked over to the mirror, looking at herself in it. Yang was absolutely right. It was perfect.
She turned towards Yang and smiled. "I love it."
"It's yours to keep," Yang said as she grabbed her camera off the bed.
"You don't have to do that, Yang."
"I don't have any use for it, so it's all yours! Black isn't really my color." Yang shrugged as she walked towards the door, holding it open, giving a dramatic and sarcastic bow. "After you, Blake.
Blake smiled and shook her head at Yang as she headed out the door. "Yang Xiao Long, you are truly something else."
Yang and Blake meet up with Qrow for lunch. It's awkward and messy, and filled with teasing, but what part of Yang's family isn't?
Blake looked up from her book at Yang. She was approaching the table with two cups in hand, and a paper bag hanging from her wrist. She had just emerged from the small coffee shop inside the bookstore. The other tables around Blake were crowded with people talking and studying. Despite the typical college atmosphere that the outdoor seating gave off, the scent of construction ruined the aesthetic. It was all Blake could smell, the dust and dirt from the construction site across the street, which was at least a hundred yards wide.
"Thanks for grabbing these, Yang," Blake said as she closed the book she had been reading and Yang sat down at one of the two empty seats at the table.
"No problem! These tables fill up so fast, we're lucky to have gotten one!" Yang pushed one of the cups in Blake's direction. "Chai tea, just like you asked."
Blake hummed with happiness as she picked up the warm cup and got a whiff of the drink. "God, that smells good."
" Somebody gets a little bit excited about tea," Yang said with a smirk as she picked up her own cup.
"Chai tea is just so good. I don't get nearly enough of it." Blake took a long sip, despite the liquid being hot.
Yang pulled two sandwiches out of the paper bag, handing one to Blake. "Unsurprisingly, Uncle Qrow is late, as always."
Blake placed her cup back down and took the sandwich. "I'm in no rush, nothing to do but homework today."
"Yeah, same," Yang said as she stirred her coffee. "It just gets annoying after a while, you know? When someone is always late?"
"Hey, at least I'm consistent," a voice said from behind Blake.
Blake turned around to see a man in a campus police uniform. He carried a lunch bag in his hand, and a large water bottle in the other. "You must be Qrow."
He nodded. "Yeah, I'm Qrow. You must be the mysterious Blake, eh?" He outstretched a hand to the girl.
" Qrow ," Yang whispered loudly.
"Yeah, that'd be me," Blake said with a smirk, shaking his hand.
"Nice to finally meet you." Qrow took the last empty seat at the table. "Now what was that, about me being late?"
"You're always late, Uncle Qrow." Yang rolled her eyes as she unwrapped her sandwich.
"I was only a couple minutes late today, so hey, improvement."
"Late is still late," Yang chided.
"Again, at least I'm consistent."
"And I'm not?"
"Yeah, Ms. Turning-Over-A-New-Leaf."
"That's going spectacularly, thank you very much." Yang stuck her tongue out at her uncle.
Qrow turned to Blake, putting up a hand to cover his mouth in Yang's direction, as if she couldn't hear him. "Keep an eye on this one, she's a bit of a wild partier."
Blake burst out laughing. "Yang? Partier? She's in bed by eleven every night!"
Yang crossed her arms, glaring at Qrow. "See, I told you!"
"Don't get ahead of yourself, kiddo. It's only been a couple of weeks," Qrow said as he leaned back, smirking. "If you're still party-free by the end of the semester, maybe I'll believe it."
"Wait, you actually don't believe her?" Blake asked, to which Qrow shook his head.
"I did get up to some nonsense in high school," Yang said with a sigh, "but that's not who I am anymore."
Blake nodded. She thought back to the first time she had searched Yang's name on Google. She'd seen her Facebook profile, and she had marked Yang as a partier back then, but that was just because her pictures made her look like such a typical party girl. There were no actual pictures of her at parties, at least not public ones, but Blake had still marked her up that way. She'd learned during their photoshoot the other day that Yang, and presumably her sister as well, was really good at making photos tell a story.
She felt bad for Yang. She couldn't fully tell if Qrow was just teasing her, or if he seriously believed that Yang was going to go back to partying. The idea made a knot in Blake's stomach. She didn't know if she could handle having a drunk Yang around all the time. Blake still wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. Someone had to believe in her, after all.
"I think she can do it," Blake said with a smirk. "And if she doesn't, I'll kick her butt into shape."
Qrow chuckled as he pulled out his own lunch. "Good to hear."
"You? Kick my butt?" Yang laughed, flexing her arm. "I'd like to see you try!"
"I might not be the same type of strong as you, Yang, but don't underestimate me." Blake waved her finger in Yang's direction as she picked up her sandwich with her free hand.
"We'll have to put that to the test sometime."
"If I win, you owe me another dinner."
"Another? I won the last bet!"
"Yeah, well, double or nothing. Two dinners!"
"Deal!" Yang reached her arm across the table, to which Blake immediately shook.
"I don't exactly know what I just witnessed," Qrow said, bewildered as he held his sandwich, "but I just hope whatever the hell it meant, you girls are being safe."
" Uncle Qrow ."
"Hey, just doing my job."
Yang shook her head with a smirk, leaning back in her chair as she finally took a bite of her sandwich.
"On the topic of my job," Qrow said as he turned towards Blake, "Yang told you why I wanted to have this lunch, right?"
Blake nodded. "To make yourself a friendly face, right?"
Qrow nodded. "Exactly that. Not much happens up around here, outside of kids smoking pot and doing a bad job at hiding it, but I just wanted to make sure my niece's roommate knew who I was in case anything ever happened."
"You always act like the absolute worst possible thing is gonna happen." Yang rolled her eyes before taking another bite of her sandwich.
"Like I said, just in case ."
Yang held her hands up in defense, half a sandwich in one, shrugging as she chewed. Blake couldn't help but giggle at how ridiculous she looked.
"You should try teasing her more often, Blake, it's pretty fun. Anyhow, what are you majoring in?" Qrow asked.
"English, with a concentration in creative writing."
"Ah, an author." Qrow glanced down at his badge on his chest. He covered it with his hand before looking back up at Blake. "Entirely off the books, are you a partier?"
Blake rose an eyebrow. "No, can't say that I am or ever have been."
"Good, good to hear." Qrow lowered his hand again. "You're already one step above Yang."
"Hey! I'm still here, ya know!"
Qrow brushed her off, causing Blake to chuckle again. "Where are you from, Blake?"
"Ah, I used to be on the force there, many years ago. Great city. Your parents work in the city too?"
"Well... they used to," Blake said quietly. She was dreading this conversation. Yang didn't even know.
"Used to?" Qrow asked.
Blake took a moment, looking at her tea as she spun the cup slightly. "They passed away when I was very young."
"Oh." Qrow was silent for a moment before speaking again. "I'm sorry for your loss."
Yang stared at Blake, shocked. She never would have guessed this, but looking back on it, it made sense. Why Blake had so little, why she talked so little about her past, why she moved in early, all of those questions that had plagued Yang for a while.
However, Blake wasn't looking at Yang. She was still staring at her teacup. "It's okay, it's been a long time. I've come to terms with it since then."
Qrow nodded. "Losing loved ones is always hard, especially at a young age. Glad to see you're still making the best of your life, despite everything."
Blake nodded. "I'd like to think they'd be proud of how far I've gotten."
"I'm sure they are."
"I'm-really-sorry-for-your-loss-Blake-I'm-sorry-I-had-no-idea-I'm-here-if-you-need-anything!" Yang blurted out all at once. She could feel her face turning bright red the moment the words left her mouth. It had been just a bit too much.
Both Blake and Qrow blinked in Yang's general direction.
"Thanks, Yang," Blake said awkwardly, unsure of what else to say.
Qrow just stared at his niece, blinking, and sighed. "On a, uh, lighter, note, how have you been liking Beacon so far?"
"I love it here," Blake answered quickly, relieved to be moving on with the conversation. "Definitely took some getting used to, but I absolutely love it now that I've been here for a little while."
"I'm glad to hear. Not everyone has a smooth transition, but you both seem to be adapting well."
Yang snapped out of her embarrassment, trying to move past her incident of word vomit. "You know, Uncle Qrow, it was almost like I'd been telling you'd I'd be fine for the last several months."
"Firecracker, I helped raise you. I get to be worried. It's my job as your uncle." Qrow took another bite of his sandwich.
"I actually do have a question that you might have the answer to, Qrow," Blake said before Yang had the opportunity to banter back with Qrow.
Qrow nodded, unable to speak as he chewed with a full mouth.
"The big construction site across the street," Blake gestured in the direction of the site, "what are they building there? All the other construction sites on campus have signs on the side saying what they're for. That one doesn't have anything on it, and it's the biggest one on campus, as far as I can tell."
Qrow swallowed, nodding again. "That would be the location for the new rec center. Or, at least, it was supposed to be."
"What do you mean?" Yang asked.
"You see, two years ago, the university made these plans to make a new recreation center, since the old one is far too small for the population. There used to be these dorm buildings there, called BU Commons. They knocked down the dorms last year, and started digging this really big hole. Then the university ran into some budgeting problems, and the project got put on hold for at least a semester. Unfortunately it's still in a state where it's literally just a massive hole in the ground, so everyone's taken to calling it BU Crater for the time being. They took the signs off the sides when they put the project on hold, since they don't even know if construction will start back up next semester."
"Interesting," Blake said. "It certainly is an eyesore... and it smells disgusting too."
"You get used to it after a while," Qrow said with a shrug. "There's always construction on campus. Some bullshit about an evolving university or whatever."
"It would be nice to not have those ugly fence things around every other building," Yang commented.
"It'd be nice if this university did a lot of things. Alas, we put up with what we have, and hope that one day, BU Crater gets filled again." Qrow took the final bite of his sandwich, crumpling up the plastic wrap it had been held in. "On that note, though, I do need to get going. As much as I'd love to stay and chat more, my lunch break is nearly up."
"It was nice to meet you, Qrow," Blake said with a nod.
"It was nice to meet you too, Blake. And again, if you ever need anything, don't hesitate to ask. And you," he turned towards Yang, "you better stay out of trouble."
"I promise to stay out of trouble, Uncle Qrow." Yang rolled her eyes, although a small smirk formed on her face.
"See you two around." Qrow stood up from his chair, grabbing his water bottle, and heading off in the direction of the center of campus.
"He seemed... nice," Blake remarked once he was out of earshot.
Yang shook her head. "He certainly is a character."
"I mean, he is related to you , after all."
Blake smirked. Qrow was right. Teasing Yang was in fact really fun after all.
Woah, what's this? Two chapters in one day? It sure is!
For those of you who are not aware, the day that this is being published, February 1, 2018, is the three year anniversary since Monty Oum, the creator of RWBY, passed away. This is my first year since his death being an active content creator, and I wanted to do something special.
The stars aligned, and Chapter 6 headed in a direction that I didn't plan, but hey, characters have a mind of their own sometime, and it looked like what was originally going to just be Chapter 6 was getting split into two chapters, so I figured, why not?
As well as these two chapters being uploaded today, I have also uploaded two one shots, "For Eternity, I'm Shattered" and "The Keeper of My Pride". They are about Yang and Weiss respectively, based heavily on canon, in a post-volume 5 setting. If you'd like a little extra read, and my attempt at something that's shorter (as well as my first attempt at really writing Weiss, oops) please go check them out!
Love you all and thank you all so much for your reviews, favorites, and follows! It really means the world to me!
Blake finishes up classes for the day and heads to the Queer Center, where she finds some familiar faces and meets some new friends.
Blake sighed as she exited the mathematics building. Why her philosophy lecture was hosted in the math building was beyond her, but she tried to ignore the ridiculous ways that the classroom selection for Beacon University worked.
It had been about two weeks since the lunch with Qrow, and Blake was a bit stunned at just how good life was. She spent at least one or more meals a day with Yang, and often hung out with Yang and their neighbors for study sessions. She'd hung out with Sun a few times outside of class too. He seemed pretty cool, in Blake's opinion. He'd moved up to BU from down South, way out of state. He hadn't really fully explained why, since they'd mostly just been talking about their foster care experiences. It was very interesting to Blake, to see the differences between the systems they had experienced.
Aside from her social life, things were going great in Blake's academic life. She enjoyed almost all of her classes, except for philosophy, but it was an easy intro class, so she knew she'd get through it. Cinder, the problem girl from her creative writing class, had calmed down significantly since that first day of class. She'd even apologized to Sun and Blake, and talked to both of them a few times in class since.
Blake couldn't help but feel a deep sense of pride. She'd been through so much in the last few years, in her entire life, and for once, things were, well, stable. She had friends, a schedule, people looking out for her, and felt comfortable with herself for the first time since... ever.
She'd done it. She still had a long way to go with life, but damn, life was good .
Yang's efforts to increase Blake's friendship circle had been working. While Blake still felt like the numbers were really low for a girl her age (which Yang would absolutely agree to), she had acquired about fifteen Facebook friends since creating the account. It consisted of Yang, their neighbors, Sun, some other people from classes, and her last foster host. That was fourteen more friends than she could ever remember having, and well, she wasn't entirely sure that she would have ever considered him to be a friend.
Blake's thoughts were interrupted by a blast of wind. She reached up, hanging onto the hair bow Yang had given her. She now wore it almost every day, even when nature seemed to be against it.
Wind was nothing new for Blake, even though it was only mid-September. She had been told during orientation that Beacon University had been designed by an architect who usually designed schools in the South, where temperatures hit over the 100F mark regularly during the warmer months, so wind tunnels were a necessity. Unfortunately, Beacon University was a school in the Northeast, where it regularly dropped below 0F in the winter. Even though it had been four months ago when Blake learned that fact, Yang reminded her about it on the daily. Yang really hated what the wind did to her hair. Not a single day went past without Blake getting a ranting complaint about the wind messing up Yang's hair.
Blake clung tight to the bow as she pushed her way through the bout of wind. She had almost made it to her destination: the student union. She'd promised Yang she'd come hang out at the Queer Center after classes today, instead of holing up somewhere in the library or back in their dorm. Yang had seemed pretty convinced to get Blake to socialize, although Yang had been doing a pretty good job about letting Blake take it slowly, and at her own pace.
Blake hadn't been to the Queer Center since the open house. She had to admit, she was still pretty embarrassed about the whole ordeal, how she had run out like that. Yang had convinced her that no one would remember that, since open house was a pretty hectic day. Blake just really hoped that Yang was right about that one.
She finally arrived at the student union, her bow nearly completely undone from the wind. She tugged at it, releasing it, and held it in her hand as she approached the elevator. She pressed the button, and readjusted her bow, using the metal doors of the elevator as a mirror.
Much to Blake's horror, the doors opened far before she was expecting, and she found herself face-to-face with someone as she was halfway done adjusting her bow. She blinked and took a step back, apologizing to... Cinder?
"Oh, hey Blake!" Cinder laughed as she stepped off the elevator.
"Hey, Cinder. Sorry about that, I was, uh, well, using the doors for a mirror."
Cinder laughed again. "Don't worry about it! See you in Creative Writing tomorrow!"
"Yeah, see you then." Blake stepped into the elevator, the doors closing as Cinder walked away.
Blake finished adjusting her bow, this time using the actual mirror on the wall of the elevator. She finished just as the soft ding! went off, signifying that Blake had arrived at the top floor. She stepped off, headed down the long hallway towards the Queer Center, hidden away in the corner of the top floor of the union.
As Blake entered the Queer Center, a student worker sitting behind the desk greeted her, and complimented her bow. She smiled, complimenting their hair, which was wildly colored in what looked to Blake to be about three different colors. This time was far more relaxing than the open house, which had been crawling with people. This time, as Blake entered the main room, she only counted one person sitting on a couch, with familiar looking short blonde hair...
Sun turned around to see Blake. "Oh, hey Blake! Wasn't expecting to see you here!"
"Yeah, me neither. Well, you, not me." Blake's heart was racing. Why did she always have to run into people she knew here? She still wasn't wholly comfortable being out about her sexuality.
He laughed, gesturing to one of the couches near him. "How’s your day been, Blake?"
Blake pulled off her bag, placing it down on one of the seats Sun had gestured to, before sitting down. "Pretty average, mostly boring classes without anything really standing out. I'm supposed to be meeting my roommate here after she gets out of class. She’s dragging me off to do god knows what this afternoon." She gave a small laugh.
"Oh, fun! I'm waiting for my boyfriend to get out of class too."
Blake made a small mental note. Sun had a boyfriend. Being so open about these types of things was still rather odd to her, but she was trying rather hard to not make a big deal out of it. She thought back to when Yang and her had found out that Ren and Nora were dating. They had talked about how long the couple had been together. Blake decided that would be a normal question to ask.
"How long have you two been together?"
"Just passed three years, right before the semester started."
"Thanks," a new voice said from behind Blake. She turned to see the source of the voice, a tall boy with eccentric blue hair.
Blue hair that she, and anyone else on campus, recognized all too well.
"Neptune!" Sun smiled. "You're out early!"
"Yeah, the professor got through his slides early, which was nice." Neptune dropped his backpack on the seat next to Sun. He leaped over the back of the couch, causing Sun to stick his tongue out at him.
"Yeah, yeah. Anyways, you gonna introduce me to your friend, Sun?"
Sun shook his head slightly. "Right, sorry! Blake, this is my boyfriend, Neptune. Neptune, this is my friend, Blake, from creative writing."
Neptune offered a large smile, his teeth so white they almost seemed to twinkle. "Nice to meet you, Blake!"
"Same to you, Neptune."
But this wasn't Blake's first time seeing Neptune. In person, sure, but not his picture. It was kind of hard to miss him, considering his picture was plastered everywhere on campus. On the sides of construction, on the sides of the athletic complex, on the banners attached to the light poles, and well, everywhere. It was kind of hard to miss, considering he was a star lacrosse player, and well, Beacon University was pretty much known for their men's lacrosse team. Blake didn't even like sports, but it was impossible to ignore the lacrosse photos everywhere. The team had won seventeen national championships over the years. The administration worshipped them in every way possible.
Neptune was not only arguably the best player on the team currently, his blue hair gave him a sort of signature style. He was a bit of a celebrity on campus, and well, Blake had never really expected to ever meet him, let alone like this, in the Queer Center, with his boyfriend, who was Blake's friend from creative writing class.
"Are you the one from Sun's creative writing class who... has the similar experiences?" Neptune asked, raising an eyebrow.
Blake nodded. "Yeah, that's me. I don't mind mentioning it by name, as long as Sun's okay with it."
"Oh, yeah, absolutely. Being a foster kid isn't exactly up there on my list of big secrets." Sun laughed, to which Neptune smiled.
"Cool! I'm glad Sun made a friend who he can talk to about that kind of stuff."
"Yeah, it's great to have someone who understands these things." Blake could feel the conversation already running dry. God, she hated small talk.
"Well, well, if it ain't Neptune Vasilias, Beacon's sports boy himself," a voice called from the entrance, allowing Blake a small sigh of relief from the awkwardness of the conversation. She wasn't exactly sure that the direct mention of Neptune's fame was exactly the best move either, but she wasn't about to question it.
The trio turned to see Coco and Yang entering the room. Blake was stunned by Coco's outfit. Yang had mentioned that Coco was majoring in fashion and design, but Blake had never expected Coco to be this stunning in her outfit choices. Yang spotted Blake, and gave a small, excited wave, to which Blake returned.
Coco smirked at Neptune, continuing to talk. "Saw your last game, buddy. It certainly was something."
Neptune groaned. "Don't remind me."
"What, Beacon's literal poster boy can't handle a little blood?" Coco crossed her arms, still smirking.
"No, I can't. I'm really not good with blood." Neptune sunk into the couch a bit.
Yang dropped her backpack on the spot next to Blake, walking around the couch. "What happened?"
"Someone got hurt and started bleeding on the field," Sun said, wrapping an arm around his boyfriend's shoulders. "Nep has a bit of a fear of blood, and had to sit out for a bit."
"It's gross!" Neptune called out in response, throwing his hands up in the air.
Sun patted his shoulder. "You're getting better, Nep. You handled my last emergency tampon run much better than you ever have."
"Yeah, well, you're different." Neptune shook his head, settling into his boyfriend's arms. "Besides, what am I going to let you do, bleed all the way to the pharmacy?"
"Wouldn't be the first time I've had to," Sun shrugged.
"Yeah, well, hopefully it's the last."
Coco took a spot next to Yang on the couch. "Did your doctor raise your T dose?"
"Yeah, only took another period to convince her my levels weren't right." Sun rolled his eyes. "I'm probably gonna end up switching to someone up here soon. It's just too much work for the information constantly getting sent back and forth, and well, I'm pretty sure my doctor shouldn't even be practicing medicine at this point, let alone trans healthcare, but that's besides the point."
Blake felt like she was missing out on some important piece of information that she wasn't quite connecting. She looked at Yang, who didn't seem to have a confused look on her face, but more of a curious look.
"The doctors at student health services do HRT," Yang commented, causing all heads to snap to her.
"Are you...?" Sun tilted his head slightly.
Yang shook her head. "I ran the GSA back home, we had college profiles on all the state schools, and the different services they offered for LGBT students. It was kinda my big project the last two years of high school, I did a lot of research."
"Ah," Sun said with a nod. "Yeah, I've heard good things about them. After my last skype appointment with my old doctor, I'm gonna switch."
Blake finally decided to speak up. "I... feel like I'm missing some important piece of information here. I'm really confused."
"Oh!" Sun's eyes lit up. "I never told you! I'm a transgender guy. Kind of need to know that for literally any of this conversation to make sense."
"Ohh, okay! Yeah, everything makes sense now." Blake laughed. "I'm surprised I didn't put that together myself.”
"That's my bad, I should have mentioned. I just wasn't exactly sure what you'd say the first time we got coffee, about either the gay thing or the trans thing, ya know?"
Blake nodded. "Completely understandable."
Sun's phone buzzed on his leg. He picked it up, glancing at the screen. Unlocking it swiftly, his eyes scanned the screen, taking in every word. Neptune glanced over Sun's shoulder, his smile growing huge as he read the screen with his boyfriend.
"What are you goofballs smiling at?" Coco asked.
"The surgeon got back to me! I have a consultation for top surgery next week! I can get my surgery three months after that." Sun's smile was as wide and bright as his namesake.
Coco's eyes widened. "That's awesome!"
Neptune gave his boyfriend a huge hug. "I'm so excited for you!"
"Congrats, dude!" Yang gave him a thumbs up.
"Congratulations," Blake said with a small smile.
"What are we congratulating Sun for?" another new voice joined the conversation. Blake couldn't help but wonder how many people were going to show up today.
"Vel!" Coco smiled as she tilted her head back to see the girl standing behind her who had just placed a hand on her shoulder. "Sun got his top surgery consultation!"
Sun smiled, releasing Neptune from the hug. "Thanks, y'all. I can't believe this is happening so soon after getting here."
"No better time," Neptune said.
"You know, Nep, you're going to have to help me with my drains."
"Blood and excess fluids from the swelling in my chest. I’ll probably have them for about a week, but they’ll have to be emptied a couple times a day at most."
" Oh ." Neptune’s face fell slightly.
Coco snorted. "Please count the number of times he faints."
"Coco," Velvet chided, "be nice."
"Being nice to Neptune is no fun, though!"
" Coco ."
"Fine," Coco sighed, placing her hand over Velvet's, which was still resting on Coco's shoulder. "You escape this time, Vasilias."
Neptune stuck his tongue out at Coco. "I'll show you I can handle it. I'll have to."
"We'll cross that bridge when we get there, Nep," Sun shook his head. "Let's just enjoy today, shall we?"
"I guess ," Neptune said sarcastically, leaning into Sun's shoulder.
Blake looked around at the group. Both couples were so damn cute together, especially with Sun grinning like an idiot about his news he had just gotten. She couldn't help but feel a twinge in her chest, some sense of longing for what she was seeing around her.
She blinked, trying to clear her thoughts. She knew exactly what a relationship would bring, and she couldn't let this get to her head.
Things were just too good right now for thoughts of him to ruin it.
Yang stumbles into her uncle at a crime scene. Blake's past comes up, rearing its ugliest head, and it's up to Yang to comfort her.
Note's going at the beginning this time, sorry folks. I wanted to touch on a few things before this chapter started, so here we are.
First of all, for those of you reading this as it comes out, you'll in fact notice that it is Monday, not Thursday. I got on a bit of a writing kick this weekend and wrote well... A lot of chapters. It would take me nearly 2 months to upload it if I only did one a week, so I've decided that I'm taking up a twice a week upload schedule. Uploads from here will happen twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. This is subject to change at any time, because, well, Yang, Blake, and co. aren't the only college students around here, as I am one myself. The semester can get hectic, and I have a pretty big stock of finished chapters right now, so you can continue to expect twice a week uploads for about a month longer, but there's no promises I won't revert back to Thursdays only at some point, especially around exam season.
Secondly, things in this story are about to get a little intense. I didn't want to put the note in between chapters 9 and 10 and mess up the flow of things, but the next two chapters have a pretty heavy arc in them. This is a romantic drama, and not every dramatic arc is going to be as heavy as this one, but I wanted to give out a warning about it ahead of time. General warnings for physical and emotional abuse, and implied sexual abuse apply, but primarily in chapter 10.
That's all for now folks! Thanks again for all your comments and kudos. I really appreciate it! I hope you enjoy!
The doors to the gym shut behind Yang and Nora as they walked out onto the street. The early October air was a bit crisp, and the wind picked up as they walked. The two girls had just left a long Saturday morning workout session, and Nora was talking up a storm, something Yang had been learning to adapt to. Yang had taken a really long shower, and somehow Nora had still managed to talk to her the entire time she was in there, over the stall.
"I cannot believe how many machines they have in there! Hundreds! Thousands! Maybe even a million machines!" Nora exclaimed as they walked.
Yang shook her head and sighed. "Nora, Beacon barely has 30,000 undergrads. I doubt they have a million machines, or even a thousand."
"Yeah, well, they should."
"Write to the president, maybe they'll put it in the new budget."
"No, Nora, not really."
Nora pouted, but her little display only lasted a few seconds longer. "Hey, what do you think that's all about?" Nora pointed across the street.
Yang looked to where Nora was pointing: BU Crater. About a dozen police cars surrounded the construction site, with police tape barring off people, even into the road. A single cop directed the small flow of traffic down a now one-lane road, while the rest wandered in and out of the crime scene, or stood around it.
Yang squinted, trying to see who the officers were a little bit better. Her eyes lit up when they settled on a tall, lanky man, with scruffy black hair. "My uncle is over there, he might know what's happening."
"Well, let's go ask!"
Before Yang could do anything else, Nora had bolted across the street. Yang sighed, shaking her head as she jogged after Nora. "I don't know how Ren's done this for five years," she muttered.
Yang caught up to Nora as the pair approached the yellow tape. An officer saw them, and turned from his conversation to approach. Qrow noticed the officer turn, and spotted his niece and her friend. He stopped the other officer, jogging up to the pair himself.
"Uncle Qrow!" Yang greeted him. "What's going on?"
"Yang, you and your friend need to go back to your dorm," he replied immediately, his voice low and heavy.
"Why?" Nora asked, rolling on the balls of her feet.
"You really just need to go. Read the crime report on your way back, and stay away from here for the rest of the day. And call me if you hear anything, okay, kiddo?"
Yang nodded slowly, as she left, Nora reluctantly following behind. Yang had only ever seen that expression in her uncle a few times in her life, and those times had always been bad.
The last time she'd seen it, he told Ruby and her that he had to leave Patch.
Yang reached into her pocket, pulling out her phone. She took note of the notification she had, an email. It was the crime alert that Qrow had mentioned.
"Man, what's so bad that your uncle couldn't even talk to you about it?" Nora asked once they were out of earshot of the officers.
"I don't know, but I have a feeling we're about to find out." Yang waved her phone, showing Nora the email, before she began to read out loud.
"Beacon University Crime Alert, Saturday, October 6, 2017. At 7:30 a.m., two police officers found a man sleeping inside of the construction site at the future home of the new Beacon Recreation Center, more commonly known as 'BU Crater'. The man was found with two guns and three knives on his person. After a brief standoff with police, the man was taken into custody. The man has no identification, and will not cooperate with the police officers in regards to his identity. It is believed he has been residing in the construction site for at least two weeks, potentially more. Attached is an image of the man. If anyone knows any information that could assist in determining this man's identity, please contact the Beacon University Police Department." Yang stopped, seeing a phone number, and then a picture of the man.
Yang's eyes settled on the picture of the man. His hair was bright red, a shade of the color she knew to be her sister's favorite. His skin was pale, as white as a sheet. He was incredibly skinny, his cheeks sunken in, and looked like he hadn't gotten a decent meal in weeks, or maybe even months. His eyes were wild, the same color as his hair, and led Yang to believe that he wasn't all there. A huge smile was on his face, despite the image being a mugshot. The way he smiled, the way his lips curled up... it was chilling.
"Let me see!" Nora's voice broke Yang's train of thought. She handed Nora her phone, who took a look at the picture herself. "Wow, he looks creepy ."
"Yeah, you can say that again." Yang took back her phone.
"He looks creepy."
"That's not quite what I meant, Nora, but the point gets across."
"That's absolutely crazy though! Who lives in a construction site for two weeks with guns and knives?"
Yang took another glance at the image, which sent a chill down her spine. "I don't know, Nora, I don't know."
Yang parted ways with Nora in the hallway, pulling her keys from her pocket as she approached the door. She pushed the key into the lock, spinning it until she heard the distinct click! She pushed open the door, light leaking into the dark room as she entered.
It was odd, Yang noted, how dark it was. Blake was usually awake by 10 a.m. on the weekends, and it was nearly an hour after that time. They hadn't been up too late the night prior, so there didn't seem to be much reason for her to sleep in today.
Yang's eyes went to Blake's bed before closing the door. She couldn't make out exactly what Blake was doing, as the light from the doorway didn't fully reach the bed, but she certainly was sitting up, not laying down or asleep. Yang flicked on the light switch.
Blake was leaning against the wall, sitting with her arms wrapped around her knees. Her head was buried into her pillow, which rested against her knees.
She was shaking.
"Blake?" Yang asked softly. "Are you okay?"
A single sob emerged from behind the pillow.
Yang dropped her gym bag on the floor and made a beeline for Blake's bed. "What's wrong, Blake?"
Blake looked up from behind the pillow. Her face was stained with tears, and the side of the pillow facing her was completely soaked. She took one look at Yang before she began sobbing uncontrollably, burying her face back into the pillow.
"Hey, hey." Yang climbed onto the bed, sitting next to Blake. She hovered her arm for a moment, thinking, before asking, "Is it okay to hug you?"
Blake nodded her head in the pillow, muffled sobs still coming from her.
Yang wrapped her arms around Blake, pulling her in close. Blake let go of the pillow, dropping her knees from her grasp, and let herself fall into Yang's bear hug.
Although she had no idea what had happened, Yang knew how to comfort someone with a hug when they needed it. One hand hugged Blake around her back, while the other gently ran over her hair, trying her hardest not to get tangled in it. She whispered to Blake, soft and gentle, and kept telling her that it was going to be okay.
They sat like that for a while, for a long while, as Blake cried and Yang did her best to soothe her. Eventually, Blake's sobs began to have longer separations between them, before they became nothing but an occasional sniffle.
"You okay, Blake?" Yang asked softly, still running her hand gently over Blake's hair.
"No," Blake croaked, her throat raw from crying. "Not really."
"I'm gonna get you a bottle of water, and I want you to drink some, and then you can tell me what happened if you want."
Blake nodded, reluctant to let go of Yang's hug, but allowing her roommate to pull back. Yang slid off the bed, headed over to the mini-fridge. She pulled out a bottle of water, and started twisting open the cap. Her eyes scanned the room again, spotting the box of tissues on her desk, and grabbed that as well. Yang climbed back onto the bed, handing the box and the bottle to Blake.
Blake began drinking the water, chugging at least half the bottle down in one shot. She paused, closing the bottle, and blew her nose with a tissue. She grabbed another to wipe her face off, placing all three items down next to her. She turned to Yang and took a deep breath.
"Did... you see the crime report?" Blake asked, her words forming slowly.
Yang nodded. "Yeah, I did. With the guy in the crater?"
"That... that guy..." Blake closed her eyes, swallowing hard as she struggled to form the next words in her mouth. "He's my ex."
"The one who..."
Blake's eyes shot open as she nodded, not wanting Yang to finish the sentence. "I don't know how, but he found me. He... he came here to find me."
Yang offered her arms for another hug, an offer Blake took immediately. She wasn't crying this time, but she still buried herself as much as she could into Yang's shoulder, wanting to melt out of the world. Yang held her close, embracing her in the warm bear hug.
"He's not going to find you. He's not even going to come near you," Yang said softly. "You're safe, and you're okay, and he's going to go to jail for a long time."
"But he did find me," Blake murmured. "He had guns. He was going to... kill me."
"He didn't find you," Yang reassured her. "If he had those intentions, and he really had found you, don't you think he would have tried something before getting caught?"
"He was here for two weeks. Two weeks , I walked past that crater every day, and he was there, with guns."
Yang could feel her shoulder getting wet again, causing her to hold Blake a little tighter, and began running her hands up and down Blake's back.
"You're okay, Blake. You're safe. The cops have him, and he's not getting back out there. He can't hurt you. You're safe, I promise."
Blake was quiet for a few more moments. "I'm sorry for crying all over you."
"Blake," Yang pulled back a bit, looking her in the eyes, "you have nothing to be sorry for."
Another tear rolled down Blake's cheek. "Thank... thank you, Yang."
Yang pulled her closer again. "Blake, I care about you. You don't have to thank me for just doing what a friend should do."
"No one's ever hugged me when I cried before."
Yang was speechless. She didn't know how to react, except to engulf Blake in as big of a hug as she possibly could. Blake deserved it, Yang decided. Blake deserved so much more than she'd been given in life.
The two sat in silence for a while, simply hugging on Blake's bed. For a time, it was peaceful, quiet. No crying, no words. Just a very long, very needed hug.
Yang was the first to break the silence. "Blake," she said as she pulled back, just enough so that she could look at Blake's face as she talked to her, "they still don't know who he is. The police."
Blake closed her eyes, swallowing hard. "I knew that was coming."
"I know you don't like cops, I know you don't, and I wouldn't ask you to do this if it were any less serious." Yang placed her hands on Blake's shoulders as she opened her eyes again, pulling back a little bit more. "The sooner you tell them who he is, the sooner they can put him away, and for longer. You have a restraining order, right?"
"Once they know that, and if they can get him to admit to his intentions..." Yang trailed off, not wanting to say the words again. "He's going to go away for a long, long time, Blake. But they need to know who he is for that to happen."
"Can... can you make sure it's your uncle? I trust him."
Yang smiled. "Of course I can. I'm going to go call him right now, okay? And then I'll be right back."
Blake nodded again as Yang climbed off the bed, her own phone in hand. Yang pointed at the water bottle, which Blake picked up and began to drink from again.
Yang slipped out into the hallway, leaning against the door to her dorm. She stared at her uncle's phone contact for a moment, taking a deep breath.
Blake sat in silence in the room, eyes closed as she rested her head against the wall. She was focusing hard on the door, trying to listen to what Yang was doing in the hallway.
Blake's eyes shot open when she heard her voice.
"You're going to want to get here as soon as possible."
Qrow comes to the dorm room to talk to Blake about her connections to the mystery man. Yang finds herself in a role of comforting Blake after the whole ordeal.
There was a gentle knock on the door to the dorm room.
"Campus police." Qrow's voice rung out through the room.
Yang, who had been sitting next to Blake with one arm wrapped around her shoulder, released Blake, and began to stand up. Blake pulled away from Yang, who she had been leaning against.
Yang looked back at Blake before walking towards the door. "You ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be."
Yang opened up the door, facing her uncle, and a woman she vaguely recognized, but couldn't remember the name of. "Come in."
Qrow and the other woman entered the dorm room, Qrow nodding at Blake as he saw her on the bed. Yang shut the door behind the officers, praying that no one else in the hall had seen them enter, for the sake of Blake's privacy.
"Hey, Blake. This is my partner, Officer Glynda Goodwitch. I know Yang told me that you just wanted me here, but because it's official police business, and this case is a very big deal, I have to have my partner here. She's just going to be running the recording equipment and taking notes, so that you're comfortable. Is that okay?"
Blake nodded. "That's fine, thank you."
Qrow and Glynda pulled the two desk chairs out from the desks. Glynda began messing with some equipment that she had pulled out and placed on Blake's desk, which was next to her bed. Qrow pulled Yang’s desk chair near Blake's bed, but was careful to give her some space.
Blake spotted Yang in the corner, leaning up against the wall behind the door. She waved Yang over, patting the spot next to her on the bed again. Yang nodded, walking towards the bed.
"Is it okay if Yang stays with me through this?" Blake asked Qrow.
Qrow nodded. "As long as she stays quiet during the recording, it's fine."
Yang climbed onto the bed, sitting next to Blake. She wrapped one arm around her shoulder again, and pretended to zip her lips shut with her free hand.
Blake glanced at Yang and smiled very slightly. "Thank you," she whispered.
Yang squeezed Blake's shoulders. "Of course, Blake. Whatever you need to get through this," she whispered back.
Qrow looked over to his partner, who nodded. "Okay, Blake, we're going to start the recording in just a few moments. I'm just going to walk you through what's going to happen first, so you know what to expect."
"Okay," Blake nodded.
"I'm going to ask you some questions about yourself, just questions to fill out the report with later. Name, date of birth, permanent address, all of that stuff."
"I don't have a permanent address," Blake said quietly.
Qrow nodded, trying not to dwell on that question too long. "Okay, when I ask that question, just say you don't have a permanent address, and give your dorm address instead. After those basic questions, we're going to move on to questions about the man in the crater, and what you know about him, okay?"
Blake nodded again.
"We're going to need you to tell us as much as possible, but if it gets to be too much for you at any point, just let us know, and we can take a break, okay?"
"Okay." Blake straightened up, adjusting herself, causing Yang to readjust her grip on Blake's shoulder. "I'm ready."
Qrow nodded to Glynda, who pressed a button on the recording.
"Officer Qrow Branwen, October 6, 2016. 12:54 p.m. Interviewing witness for BU Crater case." Qrow spoke clearly into the room, not at anyone in particular. He then turned to Blake, looking her in the eyes, silently nodding. "Can you please state your full name and date of birth for the record?"
"Blake Belladonna, born February 14, 1998."
"Thank you, Ms. Belladonna. Can you please state your permanent address for the record."
"I don't have a permanent address, but my dorm address is 205 Vale Hall."
"Thank you. Ms. Belladonna, are you aware of the events that occurred today, at approximately 7:30 a.m., at the construction site of the new Beacon University Recreation Center?"
"I am as aware of the details that were sent out in the crime alert, yes."
"Do you recognize the man in the photo?"
Blake paused for a moment, taking a deep breath. Yang squeezed her shoulder, reminding her that Yang was still there for support.
"Yes. That man is Adam. Adam Taurus."
Qrow glanced at his partner, who was scribbling down notes along with the recording. “Could you please spell both those names out for me, Ms. Belladonna?”
"Thank you. What is your connection to Mr. Taurus?"
"He..." Another squeeze. "He is my ex-boyfriend, my abuser, and my stalker."
Qrow nodded, absorbing the information. Out of all the places he thought this job would lead him, having this conversation with his niece’s roommate was not one of them. "How did you first meet Mr. Taurus?"
Blake shifted her weight, taking a moment to mentally prepare herself for the story she was about to tell.
"I was a foster kid. My parents died when I was 8, nearly 9, and I had no other family. I became a ward of the state, and entered into the foster care system. I was in the system for about a year alone before I met Adam. He's two years older than me, so he was 12 at the time, I was 10. We were put into a home together. I'd been with other foster kids in homes before, but they'd always seen me as weak, and taken advantage of me, in whatever way they could. Beating on me, taking what little things I had, and whatever else they could do to me. Adam was the first other foster kid to actually be nice to me. He stopped one of the biological kids in the house we were in from trying to hurt me. It took me a couple months to actually start to trust him, but once I did trust him, he took full advantage of that."
"Can you please clarify what you mean by him taking full advantage?"
"We continued to spend a couple of years bouncing around from home to home. We kept getting placed together at first, since we had the same social worker, and she saw me trusting Adam, which was the first progress she'd seen me make since my parents died. When I was 12, and he was 14, he told me he wanted to be in a relationship with me. I was young, and he was the only person I trusted and I felt cared about me, so I agreed, even if I didn't really want a relationship at the time, nor was I ready. We spent a year or so in secret, until the foster we were with found out, and sent us back to the social worker. We were separated after that, but Adam got me a secret cell phone. He convinced me to run away from homes, from good homes, to be with him. And I always gave in. Whatever he said, I did it. I wasn't allowed to say no."
"What happened if you did say no?"
"He'd hit me. Or worse." Blake’s voice cracked on the last word.
Qrow took a deep breath, repositioning himself. He'd dealt with a lot over the years, and he didn't exactly need to have a wild imagination to figure out what "or worse" meant. He looked back at Blake, in the eyes, and mouthed to her, "You okay?"
Blake nodded, to which Qrow reciprocated.
"Mr. Taurus is two years older than you, correct?"
"Yes, that is correct."
"What happened when he turned 18 and aged out of the system?"
"I was 16 at the time. I got place in this home, a home that specializes in 'troubled' teenagers." Blake placed air quotes around the word ‘troubled’. "Because I was a chronic runaway, I had been marked as troubled for a long time, but it was my first time in a home that focused on troubled teens. They found my secret cell phone, a different one than the original thing Adam had bought me when I was 14. They took it, went through it, found a lot of messages from him. A lot of bad, bad messages, threatening to do things to me if I didn't respond within a certain amount of time, or if I didn't manage to get out of homes in a certain amount of time, and get back to him. They realized that I wasn't running away from the homes to get away, I was running away to avoid his threats. I got sent to therapy, and spent some time in support groups. They helped me come to terms with what had happened to me over the years, how he had abused and manipulated me. He knew I was in a high-security home, a 'high-risk' home, a troubled home, whatever you want to call it. He knew he had to take his time before he could try to get me out of there, and he did certainly try."
"When I was 17, almost 18, nearly two years after I started going to this home, he found me walking home from school one day. He told me to run away with him. I told him I didn't want to go, I was focusing on school and trying really hard to get into college. He didn't like that answer.” A deep, shaky breath from Blake, followed by a squeeze from Yang. “He tried to grab me, tried to force me to come with him. He almost got me to do it. I shut down, I couldn't move. He dragged me halfway down the street, yelling that he would kill me before I could even think about going off to college, think about leaving him. A bookstore owner saw what was happening, came out, and started yelling at Adam. The guy was huge, and he was more than ready to fight Adam. When the owner threatened to call the cops, Adam ran off. The man walked me back home, told the adults in the house what he saw. That's when I got the restraining order and changed my last name."
"You have a restraining order against Mr. Taurus?"
"Correct. He isn't allowed within 100 yards of me."
"Ms. Belladonna, how often would you say you've walked past the construction site in the past two weeks?"
"Every day. Several times a day. It's the quickest way to the center of campus from my dorm. At least two to three times a day, if not more." Blake's voice was shaking as she spoke, the reality of her words weighing on her.
"Ms. Belladonna, which side of the street do you walk on when walking down that street?"
"The construction side."
"And he's threatened to kill you in the past?"
"Yes, on the last time I saw him."
"Thank you, Ms. Belladonna. I believe that's enough questions for today." Qrow nodded at Glynda, who turned off the recording device.
"Blake," Qrow said softly, leaning in closer to the bed, "I want you to know that it will be my personal mission to make sure that man-, no, that monster goes to jail for a very, very long time."
Blake nodded. "Thank you." Her voice was softer, weaker, and seemed to shake harder than it did at any point during the entire interview.
"Yang," Qrow stood up, "I need to speak with you in the hall for a moment before I go."
She nodded, giving Blake another squeeze before climbing off the bed. Glynda was still putting away the recording equipment as Qrow led Yang out into the hallway.
He shut the dorm door behind them, looking up and down the hall to ensure no one was in the hall. He spoke with a very, very low voice, not higher than a whisper.
"Stay with her for the rest of the day, tomorrow too, if you think she needs it. She needs someone to rely on right now."
Yang nodded. "Of course, Uncle Qrow."
"I mean it. I don't want you leaving her side for the day."
" Uncle Qrow ," Yang hissed in her hushed whisper. "I'm not going to leave her alone for the rest of the weekend. I promise. I know how to support someone through something hard like this."
"Good." Qrow sighed, shaking his head. "Sorry, firecracker. I just wanted to make sure."
"It's alright, just give me a little more credit, okay?"
Qrow nodded, jerking his head back towards the door. "Glynda and I will leave in just a moment, do your magic, kiddo."
Yang smiled softly. "I'll try my best."
The duo re-entered the dorm room to see Glynda zipping the bag of equipment shut, and Blake staring blankly into space, her arms wrapped around her legs again. She didn't even react to the sound of the door opening and closing again.
"We're all done here," Qrow said, gaining the attention of Blake. "I'll be in touch when we get all of this information processed, and if we need anything else from you, Blake."
Blake nodded. "Thank you."
"Informally," Qrow leaned a bit closer towards Blake's bed, "I'll let you know exactly how long that scumbag is going to get. And if you need anything, anything at all Blake, don't hesitate to ask. Yang can give you my number." He jerked his head towards his niece, who was leaning up against her own bed.
"Thanks, Qrow." A very small smile formed over Blake's lips.
There were a few brief goodbyes before the officers had left the room, leaving Yang and Blake alone in an extended silence.
"What's your favorite let's play?" Yang asked, her voice piercing the silence after about thirty seconds.
"What's your favorite let's play?" Yang repeated, reaching for her laptop in her backpack that rested on her bed.
"Uh... I don't know, I guess I like the GTA series a lot."
"Those are good ones," Yang said with a smile, climbing up onto Blake's bed with her laptop in hand. "There's a new one I haven't seen from last week, do you want to watch it?"
"I don't know, Yang." Blake lowered her eyes. "I don't really want to do anything right now."
"I know today has been a lot, and I know it's been really hard on you. And I know talking about all that stuff was a lot too."
"Yeah, it was."
Yang wrapped her arm over Blake's shoulders again. "But I don't want you to sit here stewing in what happened. We can talk about it more later, if you want, and you can cry it all out all over again. But you need a break, your brain needs a break. However I can help you do that, I'm going to help you do that."
Blake looked up at Yang. "I don't want you to waste your day with me, Yang. Don't you have the criminal justice club later?"
"It's not a waste of time, Blake. I'm your friend, I want to make sure that you're okay. There will be other meetings in the future. Helping you is more important."
Blake thought for a moment, looking away from Yang's face. Then she nodded, allowing herself to give in. "Alright. But can we lean up against the headboard, and can you grab some of your pillows? The wall is really hurting my back."
Yang flashed a smile, stifling a small laugh. "Of course, Blake."
Within a few minutes, the two were leaning up against the headboard to Blake's bed, plenty of pillows stacked behind them. Yang's laptop rested between Yang's and Blake's laps, a YouTube video playing on the screen. Yang had an arm wrapped around Blake, but holding her more around her mid-section that her shoulders. Blake had found herself leaning into Yang's embrace, allowing herself to rest her head up against Yang's shoulder.
Blake smiled softly as she watched the video. She was warm, safe, and okay.
Everything was going to be okay.
Yang and Blake have a heart-to-heart about names and the past. Yang gets a call from Ruby, and learns some amazing news. Blake meets Ruby for the first time.
"Okay, one more time from the top?"
Blake and Yang were sitting on the floor, facing each other. Blake had a stack of notecards in her hands and next to her, and was waiting on a response from Yang.
"I guess ," Yang groaned. "I'm really kicking myself in the ass over not taking a third year of a language in high school."
"You know, saying that over and over isn't going to change the fact that you're in Italian classes for four semesters."
"I know, I know."
"I wish I had signed up this semester. We could have been in the same class!"
"You could probably test into a more advanced class," Yang said, waving her hand dismissively. "You already speak a little bit!"
"Yeah, a little bit. My parents used to speak it a lot when I was little, but well, I don't remember a whole lot from before age 8, ya know?"
"Oh, right." Yang scratched the back of her head awkwardly. It was pretty easy to forget sometimes, as much as Yang tried to be sensitive about it all. Parents weren't the thing that bothered Blake, luckily. She was pretty good at turning it into a joke. If Yang accidentally brought up past relationships, however, that was a different story...
Well, to be entirely honest, Yang wasn't exactly sure how Blake would react to her referencing Adam. It had been about two weeks since the incident. Qrow had kept true to his promise and kept the girls updated. Adam was being kept in a jail in the capital, without bail, and, from what they knew right now, was facing up to 50 years in prison. The capital police apparently had some warrants out for his arrest as well, on top of the 50 years that the charges brought against him from the Beacon University police force, and things were looking pretty bad for him.
Other than Qrow keeping them updated, they hadn't exactly talked about it at all since the day he was found in BU Crater. Yang didn't want to bring it up again if Blake wasn't ready, and Blake just hadn't brought it up.
Yang really didn't want to ruin the unspoken thing that they had going. They had spent the entire weekend together after it happened, and it just sort of... continued into the week. Blake had asked Yang to walk with her to classes, being admittedly on edge since the incident. Yang had instantly agreed, and they'd begun spending, well, every waking moment together.
They'd wake up at the same time, get ready, and get breakfast together. They'd walk to the center of campus, and since Blake had far earlier classes than Yang, Yang would walk her to class, and then go wait at the Queer Center. Blake would meet Yang at the Queer Center in-between classes, and then Blake would walk with Yang to her classes. They'd get lunch together, do homework together, study together, do everything together.
That routine just simply hadn't stopped in the past two weeks. That's what led Yang and Blake to sit on their floor, while Blake helped Yang study for Italian for the third time that day. Yang had her first exam tomorrow, and was highly nervous about the whole thing. Yet, Blake was there, ready to drill vocabulary with her and go over grammar concepts until her confidence was higher.
"Alright, let's go again."
Blake nodded, shuffling the index cards in her hands. She picked up the first card, blocking the back from Yang's sight. " Che tempo fa ?" Her accent was near perfect, far better than Yang's.
"What's the weather like?"
Blake nodded, putting the card down on the ground next to her. " Arrivederci ."
" L'Inghilterra ."
" Forte ."
" L'uomo ."
" La macchina ."
" Bello ."
" L'italiano ."
Yang laughed. "Blake, I know that one."
Blake rose her eyebrows at Yang. " L'italiano ," she repeated.
"Italian," Yang snickered as she rolled her eyes playfully.
" La donna ."
"Woman." Yang paused for a moment, holding up a finger towards Blake. "Wait a moment... You're Italian, right?"
Blake nodded. "Both of my parents were immigrants from Italy, and I was the first in the family born in America."
"Your last name..."
"Is Italian, yes. Belladonna means 'beautiful woman', roughly speaking."
"I just thought it was like the flower."
Blake chuckled. "Well, yeah, that too. But the flower isn't why I chose it though."
"Why'd you choose it?"
"Well, when I was a little girl, my mother always used to say to me, 'Blake, when you grow up, you're going to be una donna bella .' In that exact accent and all. I thought Belladonna had a better ring to it than Donnabella, and besides, in English, you put the adjective before the noun, unlike Italian."
Yang tilted her head slightly, lost in thought. "I'd honestly mark you more as bella da morire ."
Oh shit , had she just said that out loud? Yang had just called Blake "drop-dead gorgeous", out loud ! That wasn't supposed to leave her head!
Yang quickly scrambled to fix her error. "Uh, well, you know, you've got that whole goth thing going on."
Blake shook her head and laughed slightly. "You should focus on learning the language a bit better before trying to make puns in it. You didn't even use the right grammar."
"And you act like you wouldn't pass a test to push you through the first class," Yang snickered as she rolled her eyes. "You should do it so we can take it together next semester! You have to take a language at some point too."
"Yeah, I guess. I'll figure it out." Blake placed the card she had in her hand down next to her. "Anyways, back to Italian for you, Yang Xiao Long." She paused again before picking up the next card. "Actually, on the subject of last names, what does yours mean? It's Chinese, right?"
"Sort of." Yang tossed her head back and forth. "Well, my last name is. I'm not Chinese myself, well, I don't exactly know what I am in terms of ethnicity. I think there's some Asian in there somewhere, and who knows, maybe I am at least a little Chinese, but not nearly as much as my last name lets on. My dad was an orphan, adopted by a Chinese family, and he sort of blended the two together to Americanize it a bit as he got older and changed the way he pronounced his name and stuff. His name is Taiyang Xiao Long, and it almost means the same thing as mine. 'Sun Little Dragon'. Except the 'Tai' part can mean like, 'very', 'excessive', 'big', or 'elder'."
"Wow, he really named you almost exactly after him?"
Yang shook her head, laughing slightly. "Not exactly. It's... well, it's pretty complicated."
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want Yang, but, well," Blake shrugged her shoulders, smirking slightly, "I'm not exactly in a position to judge."
"Fair, fair." Yang smiled back. "Well, you see, my father didn't exactly pick my name. He didn't even know I was born until after it happened."
"He didn't know he was having a kid?"
"No, no, he knew that much. He just didn't know I was born until I was dropped off on his doorstep with my birth certificate, a couple days after my birth. No one's seen my birth mother since before I was born. She picked out the name, at the hospital. No one exactly knows why she chose Yang, or why she left."
Blake tilted her head slightly. "But don't you have a little sister?"
"Half-sister," Yang corrected. "Don't know anything about my birth mother, other than Qrow's her twin brother, and her name is Raven. My dad doesn't like to talk about her much. The only information I ever get is from Qrow, and well, all I've literally gotten is her name, and the fact that they're twins."
Blake stared blankly at Yang. "Your uncle, the only family you have outside of your dad and your sister, is the twin brother of your mother, who literally left you on your dad's doorstep days after you were born?"
"Yep, you're following. I told you, it's complicated ," Yang sighed.
"If you don't mind me asking... and you absolutely don't have to answer if you don't want, but... what happened to Ruby's mother?"
"She passed away a long time ago, when I was 8, and Ruby was 6."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear."
"It's okay. I've come to terms with it over the years. It's been a long time, almost 10 years." Yang nodded, not sure of what else to say. "I mean, hey, the random roommate thing did a pretty damn good job matching us up. Who else can I bond over dead parents with?" She cracked a small smile, praying that Blake wouldn't be offended by her off-color joke.
Blake laughed, shaking her head. "No one, Yang. No one. But if I do recall, you need to finish studying your Italian."
"Ugh, fine." Yang rolled her eyes with a smirk.
" Come ti chiami ?"
"Really, Blake? Didn't we just answer all of this?"
" Come ti chiami, Yang ?"
" Blake ."
" Come ti chiami ?"
"What is your name?"
A single pillow flew across the room, which Blake deflected with her arm, laughing hysterically.
Yang sighed, shaking her head and smiling. She was being honest about the random roommate system doing a good job. She couldn't consider herself to be any luckier than to end up with Blake.
The Italian study session had continued on for about an hour longer before Yang's phone began to buzz in her pocket. She pulled it out, confused, as she looked at the screen. Blake watched as her face morphed from confusion to realization, and then panic.
"Oh shit!" Yang declared. "I totally forgot I told Ruby I was going to Skype with her tonight!" She looked up at Blake. "Sorry, do you mind if I cut this short?"
Blake nodded, putting all of the flashcards in a pile and handing them to Yang. "Of course, Yang. Enjoy the call with your sister. I'll just be on my bed with my headphones in."
Yang leaped up, grabbing her laptop from her backpack. She popped it open, booting it up as quickly as possible, while she jumped onto her own bed. Her phone stopped buzzing, and she sighed. She typed onto her laptop for a moment, waiting for Skype to boot up.
There was a few moments of silence in the room before the sound of ringing filled the air. A connection noise cut the ringing short.
Yang smiled at her laptop, where her younger sister took up nearly the entire screen. From what Yang could tell, Ruby was sitting at her desk in her room. "Hey Rubes! Sorry I didn't get the call at first, I didn't have my laptop booted up."
Ruby placed a hand on her hip, shaking her head. "Did you forget again Yang?"
"You can't prove anything." Yang wagged her finger at the camera. "Enough about that. How's junior year treating ya?"
"Pretty good! Homework's a bit harder, with APs and all, but I'm doing good!"
"Any problems with the kids?" Yang asked in a lower, more serious voice.
"No, Yang, still nothing since the last time we talked."
"Good. I'm just checking."
"How about you, Yang? How's college life?"
"Really good!" Yang smiled very wide. "I've got a pretty solid friend group! There's Ren, Nora, Jaune, and Pyrrha; they're our neighbors on both sides. Ren and Nora date, and Nora and I have a bet that Jaune and Pyrrha will be together by the end of the semester."
"Aww! I love love !" Ruby clutched her hand over her heart dramatically.
Yang rolled her eyes. "You're the world's biggest romantic, Rubes. What else is new."
"Right, so there's that group, and then there's Sun, Neptune, Coco, and Velvet. We hang out with them outside of the dorm a lot too."
"Oh, Blake and I! We don't do much without each without each other these days."
"Cool! Sounds like she's a great roommate!"
Yang smiled softly, glancing over her shoulder. Blake had her earbuds in, and was watching her own laptop screen intently. She showed no signs of being able to hear what was happening between Yang and Ruby. "Yeah, she's pretty great."
"Wait a moment... You said Neptune before... Do you mean... the Neptune? Blue hair Neptune? Lacrosse star Neptune?"
"Yes, Rubes, that Neptune." Yang shook her head, smirking. "He's pretty close with Sun."
"Is that the blonde boy who always wears those funny button downs that Neptune's kissing in all his Instagram pictures?"
Yang chuckled. "Yeah, that'll be him." She was glad that Ruby had already known that Neptune was dating a boy. She definitely didn't want to out her friends, and she honestly had no clue what their levels of outness were. She made a mental note to find out that information from all of her friends later, so she could know what she could tell her younger sister about when she called again wanting more of Yang's college stories.
"That's sooo cool! You're friends with a lacrosse star and his boyfriend."
"Well, Blake was Sun's friend first." Yang jerked her head in the direction of Blake's bed, which was out of frame for Ruby. "He's in her creative writing class and hit it off as friends. Neptune was a bit of a surprise, but he's super laid back, even for someone who the whole school seems to worship."
"Wow!" Ruby's silver eyes seemed to sparkle through her webcam. "Do you know any other athletes?"
Yang shook her head. "No, just Nep."
A new voice came through Yang's laptop speaker. "Is that my sunny little dragon I hear?"
"Hi Dad!" a smile filled Yang's face as she watched him crouch next to Ruby in frame.
"Hey Yang. How's it going?"
"Good! Was just telling Ruby about all my friends and stuff."
"Good!" Tai's smile mirrored that of Yang's. "Any plans to visit home anytime soon?"
"Honestly?" Yang avoided looking at her family's faces for a moment. "Not particularly. I'm really enjoying it here, and I don't really want to miss hanging out with my friends on the weekends."
"It's not because of parties, is it?"
" Dad ."
"I kid, I kid. Qrow told me you're doing really good."
"I told you I was turning over a new leaf."
"I just like to tease you, firecracker."
Yang stuck out her tongue in response, causing her father to laugh.
"I gotta go finish dinner, I'll talk to you later, Yang."
Yang watched as Tai stood up and ruffled Ruby's hair, causing her to yell "Hey!" after him as he left the room.
"How's he been doing with me gone?" Yang asked, lowering her voice once she heard the distinct sound of Ruby's door closing.
Ruby's voice dropped in volume, even lower than Yang's. She leaned in, closer to her microphone, and whispered. "He's been doing better. He had some problems at first, but I was able to take care of myself until he started getting back into the swing of things."
Yang nodded. "Good, and he's back to normal?"
"For the most part," Ruby nodded. "He still has his off days, but that's always been like that."
"I'm glad he's adjusting."
"I miss you."
A bittersweet smile crossed Yang's face. "I miss you too, Rubes."
"You're still coming back for Thanksgiving, right?"
"Of course, Ruby. I wouldn't miss it for the world."
"Good." Ruby smiled, but looked down, avoiding the screen. "It's just really lonely without you here, you know?"
"I know, squirt. But you're doing good, and it's only another two years before you get to go off to college too."
Yang rose an eyebrow, concerned. "What about it?"
"I was talking to some of the guidance counselors at school, and if I take senior English online next semester... I can graduate a year early."
Yang blinked. "Are you serious, Ruby?"
Ruby nodded. "I mean, Penny graduates this year, and you're already gone, and well... I don't exactly have many other people here who really want to talk to me, let alone be friends with me, you know? And yeah, I'll miss out on some of the classic senior year stuff, but honestly?" Ruby glanced around the room. "I really want to get out of Patch."
"I know you do, Ruby." Yang sighed. "If that's what you want to do, I'll support you through it."
Ruby smiled. "Thanks, Yang."
"How are you going to apply for colleges though?"
"I'm already talking with an admissions counselor at Beacon, Dr. Ozpin. He's really nice! I've got the grades and the credits, as long as I do the online class. They're going to hand off my information to the softball coach up at Beacon, too. Dr. Ozpin seems to think the team might be interested in me. It'll be a little bit unorthodox, but they're willing to work with me. Especially once I told my sob story," Ruby gave a small smile, "they were more than willing to offer me a conditional spot."
"You'd be coming to Beacon next year?"
"Ruby, that's incredible!" Yang's smile was as wide as the sun. "My little sister, at Beacon, early. I don't know of anyone who's ever done that!"
"I would be the first, according to Dr. Ozpin. But my situation is so unique, and I'm really good at softball, and, well, I may have said that the bullying and isolation was still going on, which is like, half true. People still don't talk to me." Ruby touched the tips of her pointer fingers together nervously.
"Just be careful about lying, Ruby."
"I know, I know!" Ruby sighed. "I get to enroll in senior English after winter break, and then I'll officially be considered a 'Super Junior'." Ruby placed air quotes around the words 'Super Junior'. "Two weeks before graduation, I have to finish the course, and then I'll be considered a senior."
"I'm so proud of you!" Yang clapped her hands in excitement. "What does Dad think about all this?"
"He's proud and excited, but I also think he's going to be lonely."
"Yeah, he doesn't exactly do well with being alone. Maybe we could convince him to come live with Uncle Qrow again."
"Maybe," Ruby flashed a smile. "We'll work on that over time though."
"Mom would be really, really proud of you right now."
Ruby was silent for a moment, nodding and smiling softly. "Yeah, she would."
The two sisters were quiet for a moment, just thinking and sitting as they looked at each other. A small part of Yang regretted saying it, but she knew there was zero chance their father had told Ruby that Mom would have been proud of them. He never mentioned her, ever. Ruby deserved to hear that, in Yang's opinion, because it was the truth.
She would be endlessly proud of her little girl.
Blake wasn't exactly sure how long the call between Yang and her sister had been going on. She'd been watching some YouTube videos, and staring at her latest creative writing assignment, debating internally on whether or not she'd actually get around to doing it today.
Her eyes flickered over to Yang's half of the room. She was talking excitedly to her sister, her hands fully animated as she spoke. Blake stifled a small chuckle. If she didn't know any better, she'd say that Yang was Italian herself, with how much she talked with her hands.
Well, Yang could be Italian. She'd just told Blake earlier that she honestly didn't know what her family history was, or at least half of it. She'd imagined that Qrow would be able to fill in some of the blanks about Yang's mother, but even then, Qrow's ethnicity baffled Blake. What kind of person named their kid Qrow, especially spelt with a Q ?
Perhaps she focused too much on ethnicity, Blake thought. Being Italian was one of the only things Blake felt like she had left in connection to her parents, especially since all those years with him -.
Blake flinched. She really didn't want to deal with thinking about that right now.
A part of her felt guilty. She hadn't given much thought to her parents in years, outside of when it played things in her favor. Getting pity points from teachers at her old high school, or from strangers, during her times on the streets. She hadn't even made it to visit their grave on the anniversary of their death in the last few years.
Blake promised herself that she'd go this year. Yeah, it was still a few months down the line, but she had to make that promise to herself now . Yang had a car, and Blake was more than sure that she could convince Yang to take a day trip into the capital with her. Especially knowing more about Yang's family now... Blake doubted that Yang would pass up an opportunity to let Blake visit her parents.
She had to go see them this year. She missed them, dearly.
A tap on Blake's shoulder made her nearly jump out of her bed. She turned and saw Yang standing next to Blake's bed, looking concerned, and gesturing to her own ears. Blake pulled out her earbuds, having been so lost in thought that she hadn't realized that they were still in.
"Didn't mean to scare you, Blake. Ruby wanted to meet you, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask you to say hi."
"Oh, of course!" Blake pushed her laptop off to the side. "And don't worry about scaring me. I've always been a bit jumpy."
"I could tell," Yang let out a small laugh, walking the whole five feet back to her own bed and grabbing her laptop.
Blake moved so that she was sitting on the edge of the bed, and patted the spot next to her when Yang headed back towards her with the laptop. With a quick jump, Yang managed to get onto the edge of the bed without the use of her arms, a feat that impressed Blake.
"Blake, this is my little sister, Ruby. Ruby, this is my roommate, Blake," Yang said, gesturing between the girl next to her and the girl on the screen.
"Hiya, Blake! It's so great to finally get to meet you!" Ruby's hand seemed to be waving a mile a minute.
"Hello, Ruby." A genuine smile formed over Blake's face after seeing Ruby's pure excitement. "It's nice to meet you too. I've heard a lot about you."
"Nothing bad, Rubes, don't worry," Yang laughed. "What can I say, I'm proud of my little sister!"
Ruby stuck her tongue out at Yang. "How many times are you going to say that today?"
"Well, it isn't every day that I find out my little sister is going to graduate a year early and become the first Beacon student to be granted early admission!"
Blake's eyes widened. "You're what now?"
Within seconds, Ruby was talking, explaining the story at a mile a minute. Blake struggled to keep up, and felt like she was missing some key points - such as some big secret that Ruby kept alluding to, as well as something that happened two years ago, and something about bullying, maybe? They were probably all connected, but it wasn't like Blake had the chance to ask her to clarify. She couldn't help but wonder if this girl even took time to breathe when she talked.
For once, Blake could see where Yang built up her immense amount of energy from. With a little sister this hyperactive, it was pretty clear that Yang was used to conversations like this, something she hadn't gotten much of at Beacon, aside from some conversations with Nora. So instead, she had excess energy, which was usually used in interactions with Blake, despite her typical desire to do none of the things Yang had in mind.
But Blake always did them anyways. She couldn't entirely pinpoint the reason why, but indulging Yang definitely made Blake feel good.
Blake glanced over at Yang, who was smiling proudly at her younger sister on the screen as Ruby's story continued.
On second thought, maybe she could pinpoint the reason why.
Yang has a talk with Coco that reveals something that Yang had not yet realized. Yang turns to Nora to help her talk through the situation.
As the month of October drew to a close, Yang's life had become little more than a peaceful and enjoyable routine. Her life was still revolving primarily around Blake's schedule, and the ways that it intertwined with her own. This particular morning, the day before Halloween, Yang found herself on her way to the Queer Center, just after dropping Blake off at her first class for the day.
Coco was the only other person at the QC this early in the morning. She worked the opening hours on most days, as Yang had learned. The two had sort of been friends before Yang started revolving her life around Blake, but they had certainly got closer as Yang spent more and more mornings in the QC with Coco.
"Morning, Yang!" Coco called up from the front desk as she saw Yang enter.
"Morning, Coco." Yang tugged a chair from the reception area to the side of the desk. Normally non-employees weren't really allowed to hang out near the desk, but the staff seemed to like Yang, and turned a blind eye to her morning talks with Coco in an otherwise empty center.
"Man, I gotta say, my mornings have become significantly more entertaining since you and Blake became attached at the hip."
Yang sat down, getting a closer look at what Coco was up to this morning. She was drawing in a sketchbook, one with premade figures. All Coco was adding to it was the outfit, a standard assignment in many of Coco's fashion and design courses. "Well, you get to explain to me your outfit of the day that you're always drawing, so it works for both of us."
Coco glanced over her work, looking down at it. "Well, today's more of a fairy-tale inspired look. I'm going for a goth beauty from Beauty and the Beast ?"
"You mean Belle?"
"Yeah, yeah, her." Coco's pencil hit the paper again as she continued shading. "It's a bit harder to make, since her main color scheme is yellow..."
"What's wrong with yellow?" Yang crossed her arms over her sunny coloured t-shirt.
"Yellow's fine, Yang, but it isn't goth."
"Fair enough." Yang uncrossed her arms, giving a small shrug, then glanced over the outfit again. "It needs a hair accessory. Maybe a black hair bow?"
"Ah, you've got your own goth beauty on your mind, I see."
Yang blinked a few times.. "What?"
"Yang, who do we know who wears a black hair bow, I don't know, every single day?"
" Oh . I- I don't-"
"Save yourself the breath, Yang, I'm just teasing. You don't have to deny that you've got a thing for Blake though."
"I don't!" Even as she said it, her cheeks turned pink with an uncomfortable heat.
Coco glanced over the top of her sunglasses, which she would never be caught without, regardless of whether she was outdoors or not. "Xiao Long, you can not seriously be in denial about this!"
"I don't have a thing for Blake, Coco. We're just roommates and really good friends."
Coco tapped her pencil against her face. "Oh, yeah, because spending every waking moment together and waiting for each other, walking each other to classes, talking about the other when the other isn't around, and all those other things you do is absolutely just a roommate thing."
Yang was flustered. She found herself at a bit of an impasse. They had started doing all those things because of what happened with that creep in the crater, and it was clear Blake felt safer with Yang around, but Yang knew better than to just admit all of that to Coco. That was Blake's story to tell, if she chose to tell it to anyone else at all. Even if Yang did chalk up most of that stuff to the incident, she had no excuse for the last one. "I... I..."
"You can deny it all you want, Yang, but you're hopelessly obvious, and oblivious, by the looks of it." Coco put her pencil back on the paper, adding in the black hair bow Yang had suggested. "Invite her to the center's Halloween party tomorrow. Make it a date. You'd be surprised what happens when you just bite the bullet and stop denying things."
Yang just stared at the paper as Coco filled in the black bow, her mind running wild with possibilities.
Did... Did she really have feelings for Blake?
Come at me ,
And you'll see ,
I'm more than meets the eye .
You think that ,
You'll break me .
You're gonna find in time ,
You're standing too close to a flame that's burning ,
Hotter than the sun in the middle of July .
Yang felt a tap on her shoulder. She jumped and whirled around, turning away from the punching bag with her fist raised for another strike, to face the source of the tap. She found herself facing Nora, who had arrived for their workout session. She had her hands up in mock defense and she grinned as Yang pulled her earbuds out.
"Easy there, neighbor."
Yang lowered her fist, shocked for a moment. “Sorry, Nora. My bad.”
"You got here early," Nora commented, walking away from Yang and shoving her workout bag into a cubby.
"Yeah, well, I've got a lot on my mind."
"Wanna talk about it, or are you just gonna keep solving your problems by laying into that bag?"
Yang glanced over at the punching bag she had been hammering away on for the last fifteen minutes. It still hadn't stopped swinging from the last hit. "How did you and Ren start dating?"
Nora's eyes narrowed with a suspicious glint. "You got your eyes on Ren, blondie?"
"Nora, for the last time, I'm a lesbian ."
"Oh, right. You got your eyes on me?"
"No! Just... answer the question and I'll explain."
"Fine, but I'm watching you." Nora put up two fingers, pointed at her own eyes, and then at Yang, who responded by rolling her own eyes with a smirk. "Ren and I have known each other since we were little kids. We grew up next to each other in an apartment building. Our families were both rich, we lived in the two penthouse style apartments in the building. Since they were so rich, it was hard to really trust any of the other kids. They just wanted money or toys or their families convincing them to become friends with us. So Ren and I got really close."
"As soon as we were old enough, about 12, our parents sent us off to boarding school. At first they were going to send us to different ones, single gender schools but I cried and begged enough, and we got sent to a co-ed school instead, together. But not together together, you know?"
"Yes, Nora, I know what you mean."
"When we were 13, we started dating. I mean, it only made sense. We were made for each other!"
Yang stifled a laugh. If anything, Nora and Ren were two halves of a person, two opposites, that when put together, became whole.
"Then, when we were 15, and we were away at school, we found out that the apartment building we had grown up in caught on fire."
Yang's heart sunk into her stomach. There was only one way this was going.
"Neither of our families made it out."
"I'm sorry, Nora." Why did everyone Yang knew, including herself , have dead parents? Was there a single member of their friend group that still had both parents? Okay, Yang had to admit that the last part was a bit of a stretch, but the point got across.
"It's alright. Ren and I still have each other, just like always."
"I'm glad you still have each other."
"Me too. Now why were you asking about Ren and I?" A manic gleam sparkled in Nora’s eyes.
Yang took a deep breath. "I... I think I have a crush on Blake, and I don't know what to do about it."
Nora took a moment to process the words that Yang had just said to her. For a moment there was silence and Yang could see Nora’s brain at work as she realised what Yang had admitted before finally letting out a shrill squeal. " Ohmygosh ! You two would be sooooo cute together! And like, together together! I ship it so hard! Oh, you two need a ship name! Hmm ..."
"Nora, I don't think that's necess-"
Yang sighed. She had walked herself right into that one. "Shipping real people is a little weird, don't you think?"
Nora shrugged. "You'd still make a cute couple."
"Okay, call it that then."
"Okay. Authorcop would make a cute couple."
"Maybe I would have been better off with the punching bag," Yang grumbled.
"Alright, alright. I'll get serious. You need advice, yeah?"
"You said you think you like her, but that implies you don't know if you do."
"I'm not the best at reading my own emotions, especially when it comes to romantic stuff. Usually my little sister had to spell it out for me. Except this time it wasn't my sister, it was Coco."
"Well, I was with Coco this morning, and she accused me of having a crush on Blake."
"Well, duh," answered Nora, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Yang was taken aback. "You think so too?"
"Yang, I've seen the way you look at her when you think no one is looking. You totally like her!"
"I... I guess I do."
"Good! Then ask her out!"
"What? No! I don't... I don't think she likes me like that."
"You aren't the only one who looks, Yang," singsonged Nora, with a teasing smile.
"What does that even mean , Nora?"
Yang received a cheshire grin in return. "She looks at you when you aren't looking. The same way you look at her."
Yang could feel blood rushing to her cheeks. "I..."
"Ask. Her. Out." Nora put more emphasis on each word as it continued. "It's obvious you like her, and that she likes you."
"I don't know if she's ready for a relationship right now!" Yang blurted out, immediately feeling her entire face turning red, not just her cheeks this time. That was probably a little bit too much than what Nora should know, but the more Yang made that obvious, the worse it would be.
"I... shouldn't get into the details. It isn't my story to tell, but she had a real, real bad last relationship. She told me herself just a few weeks ago that she's not ready for a new relationship yet."
"When'd she tell you that?"
"...A few weeks ago."
"No, silly ! Like before or after the two of you became joined at the hip?"
"Uh..." Yang had to genuinely think about it for a moment. They'd had so many conversations over the last few weeks, it was hard to remember. Then it hit her, the conversation in which Yang had teased Blake because she thought Blake liked Sun. "Before."
"Well maybe things have changed since then!"
"I doubt it."
"I've seen the way she looks at you, Yang." Nora crossed her arms. "There is literally no denying it."
Yang looked down at the ground. "I just don't want to make her feel uncomfortable, I guess. I don't want her to think I've been hanging out with her and being nice to her because I want to get in her pants or whatever."
"So make that clear."
Yang rose an eyebrow at Nora. "Explain?"
"Ask her out, and if it doesn't go well, make it clear what your intentions are. The only way to make sure that she doesn't think you did something for a reason is to communicate it clearly. How do you think Ren and I have managed to stay together for 5 years?"
"Uh, I don't know. I haven't exactly been successful in any sort of long-term relationship."
"Remember the three Cs." Nora held up her hand, pointing up one finger at a time. "Communication, communication, communication!"
"Okay, I get it, communication is important."
"Vital. Now go get her, neighbor. And you better keep me updated on the progress of Authorcop!"
"Nora, I'm not going to ask her out right now. We still have a workout to do."
"Oh, right! Let's get to it then!"
Yang turned back towards the punching bag, putting her earbuds back in. The song had changed. It was not nearly as intense as Yang's usual workout music, but it was still one that brought a smile to her face.
There's a garden where I go...
Quick edit a couple hours later because I accidentally missed something that should have been edited out!
Additionally, wanted to give a quick shout-out to my new beta, Reeves3. Please be sure to thank them for all their incredible work in helping me with this fic!
Thanks again for all your support! I appreciate all of the kudos and comments, and they mean the world to me!
Blake is grappling with her feelings and is unsure of what to do, so she turns to Sun for advice.
Blake let out a long sigh, tapping her fingers on the edge of her laptop. She stared at the blank word processor, the only mark on the white page being the blinking caret. While she may have been looking at the screen, it was obvious to anyone who saw her that her eyes weren't actually focused. They were glazed over, staring into nothing.
Sun's voice beside her pulled Blake out of her daze, ever so slightly. "Hmm?"
"Oh, cat's got your tongue now too?" Sun laughed, nudging Blake’s side with his elbow.
Blake blinked, shaking her head slightly. She brought herself back to Earth. She was in the Queer Center, with Sun, doing homework in the small back room. "Sorry, I’m a little out of it today."
"Yeah, I could tell. You’ve sighed like, ten times in the last five minutes."
"Oh... Sorry," said Blake, still a little lost in her distracted mind.
"There's nothing to be sorry for, Blake." Sun closed his laptop gently. "Is everything okay?"
"I..." Blake stammered, glancing back down at her laptop. She had tried to start her creative writing assignment a half hour ago but had struggled to get anywhere since noon. . That was unlike her, very unlike her. She closed her own laptop and turned slightly to face Sun, her hands bundled nervously in her lap. "When you started dating Neptune... Did you have a crush on him first?"
"Of course I did. Why do you ask?"
"I guess I'm just curious as to how you two started dating."
Sun rose an eyebrow at Blake. "This isn't about a particular blonde, is it?"
"Maybe it is, maybe it isn't." She gave a small shrug and her eyes lowered to the ground.
The room was quiet for a moment before Sun began talking again. "Do you know how I ended up in foster care, Blake?"
Blake lifted her eyes back to Sun. She was a little surprised at the change of direction of the conversation but she was willing to listen to what her friend had to say, especially on a topic that was sensitive to the both of them. "Your parents died, right?"
"That's the short version of the story, and it's the story I reserve for more public settings, like our creative writing class... But it isn't the full story." Sun leaned back, giving off a small sigh before continuing. "My parents did die, yeah, when I was 4. I don't remember them, not at all. My grandmother, she took me in but she didn't like the way I acted. I didn't know I was trans back then. I didn't even know it was possible. I just hated being a girl, I always did. She loathed the fact I refused to wear dresses. I once stripped naked on Easter when I was six because I hated the dress she made me wear so much. Imagine that, a six year old running around butt naked at Easter mass."
Blake struggled to stifle a little laugh. "I'm sorry, that's kinda funny."
"No, it absolutely is funny," assured Sun, letting out a laugh himself. "When I was eight I cut off all my hair with a pair of scissors. I hated long hair, and there was nothing she could do about it once it was gone. Or so I thought. She got worse after that, a lot worse. I basically went into kiddie lockdown for a couple years. I always managed a way to keep it fairly short though, even after the time she threw out all the scissors in the house." This time a sad chuckle escaped his lips. "I refused to be a girl, even though I just felt like I was rebelling against my grandmother." Sun shook his head, his face becoming more serious. "When I was twelve, I learned what it meant to be transgender. I saw it on Degrassi, you know, that Canadian TV show?"
"Yeah, I know the one," Blake said with a nod.
"There was this character, Adam. He was a trans guy too. As soon as I saw it... I understood. He was me. I was Adam. I was trans. I kept it a secret for a little bit, but I started seeking support groups online. Then one day, I forgot to delete the internet history when I was done. My grandmother, as old as she was, somehow understood how internet history works. She found out and confronted me. So I told her. My name is Sun, and I'm a boy. A transgender boy, but a boy all the same."
Sun lowered his eyes, unable to say the next line while looking in Blake's eyes.
"I found myself on the streets that night."
"She... kicked you out?" Blake asked, her eyes wide and her mouth slightly agape
"Yeah. She said it was the final straw and all that. She never wanted me, that I got dumped on her. She tried my whole life to make me like her and, I assume like my mother: a good old-fashioned God-fearing woman. To her I was possessed by the devil and all that rubbish. So I ended up in foster care."
"I'm sorry, Sun. That's horrible," said Blake, resting a comforting hand on her friends arm for a moment.
Sun shrugged. "Family doesn't have to be blood. It's the people you care about, and who care about you. She never cared about me. She only cared about the girl I used to be, before my parents died. But I'm not her anymore, and arguably, I never really was her ." He sighed, shaking his head. "That's enough of my trans sob story for today, though. It's necessary for the setup to the Neptune story though."
Blake perked up and nodded, realising Sun was bringing the topic back around to their original conversation. "Go on."
"It took two years for the state to take me seriously enough for them to actually put me with someone who had any grasp on transgender issues. I got put in this home with this lesbian couple, amazing, amazing ladies. They took in a lot of gay and bi kids who got kicked out by their families. They'd never had a trans kid before, but they were willing to put in the effort and learn." He paused, smiling fondly for a moment, before continuing with his story. "So, here I am. This scared little fourteen year old, still not on testosterone yet, and only recently got my first binder."
Blake poked a finger into the air. "Why was having a binder so important? It just holds papers and stuff."
Sun laughed. "No, no. Binders for trans masculine people aren't your standard school binders. A binder is this compression tank top that makes my chest flatter, or at least look flatter. It's a game of illusion at the end of the day. It's why I wear so many button downs too. It helps."
"Oh, okay. Makes sense," nodded Blake.
"Anyways, so I'm this scared little freshman. It's my first day of school, and it's a couple weeks into the school year already, so it draws more attention to me. I really had to use the bathroom, and I didn't know where they were, or if I even passed enough to safely go in the men's bathroom. So I'm walking down the hall, hoping to find some guy who looks approachable, and ask him where the bathroom is. If he points me to the mens, I'll go there. So I run into this kid, with bright blue hair, and he's talking to these two girls in the hallway who are holding hands. I ask him where the bathrooms are, and he explains it to me, but I don't understand his directions because I have no idea where anything is. So he leads me there, and he keeps talking to me along the way. He says he's never seen me around before, and asks my name and stuff. I tell him my name's Sun, and he just... smiled and said it was nice to meet me. Me, Sun!"
"That was the first time someone my age had accepted the fact that my name was Sun, and didn't question it, or misgender me right after. He just treated me like a normal person. It was nice. One thing leads to another, and we end up being pretty good friends. He invites me to one of his lacrosse games one day, and let me tell you, Nep is a beast on the field! The whole high school worshipped him, and he was openly gay. In the South!" Sun threw his hands up in the air. "That's unheard of, Blake, unheard of."
"I can imagine," Blake replied. She made a mental note to herself that she needed to brush up on queer history more. She didn't know much of the experience outside of the Northeast, and well, that was pretty tame compared to other parts of the country.
"One day, before winter break, Neptune asks me out. I'm absolutely flattered, but mind you, I'm still stealth at this point."
"Stealth?" Blake questioned, her brow furrowing.
"I was passing as a guy full time,” explained Sun. “I just told people I was a late bloomer, and they excused my squeaky voice. All I had to do was just act embarrassed about it. No one knew I was trans. They kinda guessed I was gay, but no one guessed I was trans. Just a young, late blooming twink." Sun laughed slightly, glancing at his arm muscles as he paused to flex. Sun had more muscles than anyone Blake had ever seen, Neptune included, and Neptune was in the NCAA. "How things have changed."
Blake nodded. "Makes sense."
"Right, so this dork, he asks me out, and he does this whole elaborate thing for it. And I say yes, I mean, how could I not say yes? It's Neptune! And he was head over heels for me ! Some skinny little twink who was constantly terrified of people finding out about his past. So I go on this date with him, and it goes well. And I kept telling myself I had to tell him I was trans, I had to. But I couldn't make myself do it on that first date. I was a nervous wreck. Nep, bless his heart, he thought he ruined the whole date because I was a nervous wreck, and he sends me this really long text message the next day asking what he did wrong and how he could make it up to me." Sun shook his head. "Such a dork."
"I decide I need to tell him, but I need to tell him in person. My foster moms, they were worried, and wanted to make sure I was safe, so they offer to clear the other kids out of the house for the day so Nep and I could talk in the house, and one of my foster moms could hang back in case Nep reacted negatively. She's this big, burly, butch woman. The only person I've seen Nep genuinely fear, but I mean hey, she played the overprotective parent role when we started dating. Threatened him a couple times if he ever hurt me. Same with my other foster mom, but she's a lot smaller." Sun smiled, shaking his head. "Love both of them to pieces."
"So, I set up this whole thing, right, and I'm a nervous wreck. Neptune comes over, and he's all nervous, because he has no clue what's going on. So, he thinks I'm about to tell him some wild story about how I ended up as a foster kid, which, well, I did, but instead, the story is the same as the one I told you, except it pretty much started with me coming out as trans."
"I told him my story, and he sat there, and he listened. He asked questions if he didn't know things, like you've been doing, and he listened to what I had to say and let me ramble my entire life story to him. Mind you, we'd been on one date at that point. One ! But my dumb fourteen year old self did it, utterly terrified, and started to cry . And do you know what Neptune did?"
Blake cocked an eyebrow. "What he'd do?"
"He hugged me. He sat there, and he hugged me. He hugged me until I stopped crying, and then told me that me being trans didn't matter to him. Then my foster mom came out, made sure everything was okay, threatened his life a couple times, and made us lunch." Sun smiled softly at the memory. "He went home that day and did a ton of his own research. Probably rivaled the amount of research my foster moms did when they took me in."
"Nep fell head over heels for me, and I fell head over heels for him. It was perfect. We were made for each other, and I can't genuinely think of someone who would be better than him. Hell, he even narrowed down his college search to make sure that schools were trans friendly. Mind you, Neptune the lacrosse star was insistent that whatever college he went to, it was trans friendly. Schools were fighting to get him. We got lucky when he got the bid from Beacon. Best men's lacrosse team in the country, and one of the top ten trans friendly schools in the country. He graduated high school a year before I did, and I spent the last year working my ass off to make sure I made it to Beacon with him." Sun smiled again, shaking his head. "And here we are, sitting in the QC library as I just rambled away my life story to you. Sorry about that. Talking about Neptune just... gets me going."
"I could tell," Blake chuckled, shaking her head at Sun.
"So, why the curiosity about Nep and I?" Sun leaned forward, resting his chin in his hand. "I just rambled for a solid fifteen minutes, it's your turn now."
"I... okay, well, I've got a crush on someone here."
Sun rolled his eyes, smirking. "Yeah, like the fact that you're into tall, blonde, and punny isn't incredibly obvious to everyone with a pair of eyes."
Blake blinked. "What?"
"You're into Yang, and you aren't subtle about it."
"I..." Blake stammered, then sighed before admitting. "I only really figured this out like, last week."
"Okay, well, from an outsider's perspective? It looked like things were happening between you two for like, a month."
"Really?" Blake asked, her eyebrows raising.
Sun nodded. "Since early October, when the two of you became joined at the hip. I see the way you look at her when she isn't looking."
Blake buried her face into her hands, letting out a small groan. "I didn't know I was being that obvious."
"What's the problem, Blake? If you like her, just ask her out."
Blake peered up through her fingers. "It isn't that simple, Sun."
"Well, why not?" Sun tilted his head. "You like her, she likes you... it makes sense!"
"Wait, she likes me?" Blake asked, her voice going an octave higher than usual.
Sun grinned from ear to ear. "You aren't the only one looking when the other isn't, Blake."
Blake could feel her cheeks heating up. "Really?"
"Not a doubt in my mind she also likes you," said Sun, shaking his head.
"It still isn't that simple."
"Okay, well, why isn't it simple?"
Blake sighed. "I know you just dished out your whole life story to me, but to be completely honest, and this is nothing against you, Sun, but I really don't have the emotional energy to tell all of mine today."
Sun nodded. "That's valid, I wouldn't take it personally."
Blake ran a hand through her hair and bit her lip as she thought of what information to give out. "The short version, is that my last relationship was really, really bad. My ex was awful, for a vast number of reasons. And I just don't know if I'm ready for another relationship yet."
"If you aren't ready, then you aren't ready. I wouldn't have been so adamant about asking her out if I'd known that. I'm sorry, Blake."
Blake shook her head. "But I want to ask her out."
"I... don't follow. You aren't ready for a relationship, but you want to ask her out?" Sun scratched the top of his head.
"I... this is all so complicated without the full story." Blake sighed. "Another long story short, a couple weeks ago, my ex kind of... appeared out of nowhere. He's gone again now, and Yang learned my whole story. She helped me get through it. That's when we became, as you said, 'joined at the hip'." Blake placed air quotes around the last four words. "Part of me is terrified of a relationship because of my last one, but I know that's the anxiety talking, and that Yang isn't like him . She helped me get through having to deal with him . Yang... Yang did what Neptune did for you, she hugged me until I was okay again that day."
Sun nodded. "So you want to ask her out, but your anxiety and your past experiences are making you hesitate?"
"Yes, that's exactly it."
"Hmm..." Sun paused for a moment, thinking. "When Yang hugged you, how did you feel?"
Blake blinked at him, taking a moment to think. "Well, warm, for one thing. That girl has so much body heat, I'd think your name would be more appropriate for her." That comment got a small laugh from Sun before Blake continued. "She also made me feel safe. Like I was okay, and that he didn't exist, and that he couldn't hurt me."
"Has she made you feel that way since then, to any degree?"
"Yeah, somewhat. Not as much as the hugs did though."
"Do you miss the hugs?"
Sun clapped his hands together, standing up. "That settles it, You should ask out Yang."
Blake shook her head. "What? How did you jump to that?"
Sun began to count off on his fingers. "One. You like Yang. Two. Yang likes you. Three. Yang makes you feel safe. Four. You're consciously aware that your anxiety is making you hesitate. Five. Yang knows your full story. I'm sure she'd be more than willing to take things at your pace. Six. She's good at making you feel safe and good. Seven. You miss her hugs, which you described to be the best she's made you feel. Eight. You two are so goddamn oblivious to each other, it's painful to watch! Just ask each other out already!" Sun tossed his hands into the air, goofy smile still on his face. "In all seriousness, Blake, just do it. You're going to regret not doing something sooner if you don't."
Blake smiled back, nodding her head. "Thanks, Sun. That really helped a lot."
"Of course, Blake. That's what friends are for."
"One more thing, Sun."
"If there's an afterlife, and when I die, I promise you, if I see your grandmother wherever we may be... I'm going to kick her goddamn teeth in."
Sun smiled. "And I'll beat the shit out of whatever shitstain of an ex hurt you."
Blake reciprocated the smile. "That's what friends are for."
I very stupidly forgot to include in my author's note on Thursday (until I got to update it later) that I have a new beta reader! Super special thanks to Reeves3 for being amazing and helping me out with all of this! I wanted to include it in this week as well in case those who read last weeks chapter before the updated version didn't see it.
I'm also considering (over the summer most likely, when I have more time), writing a short spin off that's the fluffy story of Sun and Neptune summarized in this chapter. Would people be interested in reading a ~10 chapter fic that's just pure fluff about their relationship in high school and leading up to this story?
Thank you all so much for your support and feedback! I appreciate it so much!
Tomorrow is the Queer Center Halloween Party, and someone needs to ask someone else out before it's too late. There's only one small problem that stands in their way...
Blake found herself pacing in the space between the beds of her dorm room, her hands moving wildly as she muttered to herself.
"Hey, Yang, I was wondering if you..." Blake shook her head and turned on the spot. "No, that's no good..." She reached her bed and spun around again. "Yang, would you like to… No, that’s not good either." Blake let out a frustrated groan and threw her hands into the air. "Why is this so hard? Why does my brain have to be like this?" she asked herself, slamming her hands into her face and clutching at the skin. "Why does my anxiety have to ruin everything ?"
For at least half an hour Blake had walked up and down like this, trying to dispel her nerves. She knew Yang had a workout session with Nora today, but she wasn’t sure what time she would be back, except that it would be soon . Blake was working with an unknown time crunch in which she had to get herself together and work up the courage to actually ask Yang out.
Needless to say, it wasn't exactly going well .
"So, what are you going to do?" Nora asked as she stepped into the dorm elevator.
Yang followed closely behind Nora, with her chin raised, her shoulders set and her eyes forward. "I'm going to go in there, and ask her out!"
"Yes! You’ve got this, Yang."
Yang’s bravado facade crumbled as her finger hesitated, hovering over the button for their floor. "But what if I'm making a huge mistake?"
" Yaaaang ," Nora groaned, a palm coming up to slap onto her face. "Do I need to give you a pep talk again? How many times have we been through this? You aren't making a mistake."
"But what if I am ?” Yang cried out, bringing her shaking hand up to run through her hair. “What if she gets mad at me and thinks I've just been trying to take advantage of her?"
"But you aren't !" Nora stressed, and she reached over to press the elevator button instead. "Worst comes to worst, you're able to clear it up. What are the three C’s again?"
"Communication, communication, communication," sighed Yang. The elevator doors smoothly closed in front of them and the small metal box jerked to life. The rise of the lift made Yang’s stomach drop which didn’t help with the butterflies already flying around in there. She closed her eyes and willed herself not to be sick.
"Exactly." Nora crossed her arms over her chest. "You're going to be fine , Yang."
Yang opened her eyes as the elevator dinged and the doors opened up on their floor. She let out a sigh and sent a sidewards glare to Nora. "If I die from anxiety, I'm blaming you."
"If you die from anxiety, it'll be anxiety, not me, duh!" Nora walked off the elevator with a skip in her step. "Now, go get 'em, tiger."
Yang lowered her eyes. "Please never say that again."
Nora burst out laughing as she took off down the hall with Yang a few steps behind. Her laughter died off as they approached their doors. Nora unlocked her own room and gave a pointed look at Yang then nodded towards her door.
"You got this."
Blake was still slowly walking around the room, but she was much quieter this time. Her monologues had become internal, yet her hands were still moving wildly. She shook her head again, sighing loudly. She knew this fight with her brain was a lost cause. There was no way she was going to be able to ask Yang out, at least not today.
She stopped dead in her tracks when she heard keys jingling out in the hallway. She leaped onto her bed, unlocking her phone and tapping around mindlessly on it. Blake could feel her heart going a million miles a minute when she heard the noise of the door being pushed open.
"Blake!" Yang exclaimed, as she walked into the room. Seeing her roommate sent her nerves skyrocketing. She had briefly hoped that Blake would still be working on assignments in the QC, to give Yang a bit more time to practice what she was going to say. But as she was here, Yang worked up her courage and recalled Nora’s advice.
"Yang!" Blake replied, matching her tone and volume. She moved her legs and sat up straight at the edge of her bed.
Yang tossed her gym bag onto her own bed before turning to face Blake. "I have something to ask you!"
Blake's heart skipped a beat and she leaned forward, eager to hear what Yang had to say. "What's up?"
"Will you..." Yang took a deep breath, closing her eyes for just a moment before opening them up again. "Will you go to the QC Halloween party with me? Like..." Yang paused and swallowed the lump in her throat, "...on a date?"
For a moment Blake was stunned, but then her mouth stretched into a huge smile. "I would love to, Yang."
Yang reciprocated the smile, her shoulders dropping in relief as she let out a sigh. She opened her mouth to speak again, but Blake beat her to it.
"There's just one problem."
Yang's smile fell immediately. "What's wrong?"
Blake glanced up at the ceiling, tilting her head side to side slightly. "I don't exactly have a Halloween costume."
"Oh,” said Yang, then she grinned. “Well, we can fix that!"
"Do you have any plans for the remainder of the afternoon?" Yang asked, still grinning from ear to ear.
Blake rose an eyebrow. "Why do I have a feeling I'm about to be dragged on one of your grand adventures?"
"Because you are." There was a distinct twinkle in Yang's eye. "We'll go down to the shops in BU Center. There's gotta be something left!"
"Yang, it's October 30th. I doubt there will be literally so much a single pair of cat ears," said Blake, shaking her head.
"Oh yeah? Wanna bet?" Yang smirked.
"Hmm, let me guess..." An idea sparked in Blake’s mind, and she jumped off her bed, stroking her chin dramatically. "You'll bet me a dinner in one of the restaurants in BU Center?"
"You know me too well," laughed Yang.
"You have yourself a bet, Ms. Xiao Long." Blake held out her hand and Yang took it in her own.
"Pleasure doing business with you, Ms. Belladonna." Yang shook Blake's hand, giving a small bow, which caused Blake to giggle. "Now, come on! Most people are still in classes for today, we'll have better pickings if we go now!" Yang tugged on Blake's hand, pulling her towards the door.
Blake couldn't help but smile wildly at the goofball she called her roommate pulling her out the door. Yang had asked her out, and she didn't even have to win a fight with her anxiety for it!
Today, Blake decided, had been a very good day.
Little did she know, today was only getting started.
"Well, I knew it was the day before Halloween, but, I wasn't expecting this ..."
Yang and Blake stood in the costume isle at the CVS in BU Center, the only place within walking distance of campus to sell Halloween costumes. Most of the costumes would have been kid sized, but Yang was certain she could have found a way to make it work.
"I told you so..."
But instead of what she had been expecting, she found herself face to face with completely empty shelves. Blake, who stood at her side, had a smug look on her face.
"You know what," Yang said, shaking her head, "I refuse to accept this. There has to be something here, anything ."
"Yang... what are you planning to do?" Blake asked, as she watched Yang begin to walk away from her.
"I'm going to find you a Halloween costume, even if it kills me," she declared. Blake quickly jogged to catch up to Yang’s side and held her hand.
"Yang, you don't need to go intensely searching. I might be able to muster something up out of my clothing," suggested Blake, giving a soft smile.
"If I find a single pair of cat ears, I'm holding you to that bet," vowed Yang. Blake rolled her eyes but continued to follow Yang down the aisles. Yang was on a mission and there was no stopping her.
"Excuse me," said Yang, as she approached the lone cashier. "I know it's kind of last minute, but do you have any Halloween stuff left?"
"Was there anything left in the seasonal aisle?" the cashier asked, looking between the two of them.
Yang shook her head.
"That would be a no, then. Sorry."
Yang thought for a moment, still standing there, much to the confusion of both Blake and the cashier. "What about regular headbands? Do you have any of those?"
"We should have some in the hair supplies section." The cashier walked out from behind the large front desk area, guiding the two in the right direction. They stopped in front of a selection of various plastic headbands.
Yang crouched down, flicking through the selection on a lower shelf. She glanced up at Blake, squinting her eyes. She looked back at the selection, and pulled out a large, black headband.
"And how exactly does a headband that's the color of my hair make a Halloween costume, Yang?"
Yang stood up, comparing the color of the headband to Blake's hair. "The headband isn't going to make the costume, Blake. I am."
Blake rose an eyebrow, smirking. "You're really determined about this, aren't you?"
"Don't worry about it, Blake. You're going to be absolutely adorable." Yang tapped Blake's nose gently with the tip of her finger, causing Blake to blush. "I'll make sure of it."
Blake stood in the mirror, looking at the handmade set of cat ears that now rested on her head.
"See, I told you!" Yang stood next to Blake, beaming as she wrapped an arm around Blake's shoulders. "Absolutely adorable!"
Blake could feel herself blushing again, but tried really hard to brush it off. It wasn't exactly easy, considering Yang's smile was getting wider in the mirror the redder Blake's cheeks got. "Where'd you even learn to do this, Yang?"
"My little sister is really into cosplay. She's taught me a thing or two over the years, and I'm always helping her out with her costumes and stuff. Making those cat ears was a piece of cake! It could use one final touch, though." Yang released her grip from Blake's shoulders, walking over to her closet.
Blake watched as Yang rummaged through her small bin of accessories. She pulled out another hair bow, not the same color of black one Yang had given her a few weeks before. This one was a dark grey, not quite black, but pretty close.
"Can I see the ears real quick?"
Blake nodded, pulling them off and handing them to Yang, who immediately began wrapping the base of the plastic headband in the ribbon. Blake watched closely as Yang threaded the ribbon around the headband with gentle and steady hands.
She glanced up to look at Yang's face. Yang was staring intently at the headband as she worked. Her tongue stuck out ever so slightly, a clear sign of concentration and focus. Blake felt her smile get wider and her chest fill with a flood of warmth as she noticed the detail.
Yang tightened the last loop, a huge grin on her face, looking back up at Blake. "All done! It'll be a lot more comfortable now, especially if you end up having it on for a couple hours. Ruby had some of those plastic headbands for cosplays before, and they're cheap and easy to mess with, but they get really itchy really fast unless you wrap them in fabric."
"Thanks, Yang," Blake took the cat ears with a smile, putting them back on her head. "The grey blends into my hair pretty well."
"I'm glad you like it!" Yang was beaming next to Blake as they looked in the mirror together. "I assume you can muster up an all black outfit for tomorrow?"
"Hmm," Blake said as she stroked her chin dramatically once more, looking at her closet. Almost every piece of clothing there was black. "I think I might be able to find something that'll work."
"Good!" Yang smirked. "I'll help you draw on a nose and whiskers tomorrow, I have just the thing for it."
Blake pulled the headband off, and placed it gently on her desk. "I can't thank you enough, Yang. You really didn't have to do all this for me."
"I didn't have to, but I wanted to! I want to be able to take you to the party tomorrow," she said, a little bashful.
"I'm excited." Blake smiled softly. "Although, there is one more thing we need to do tonight."
Yang rose an eyebrow. "What's that?"
"If I do recall," Blake smirked, crossing her arms, " someone bet me a dinner in BU Center that we would find at least a pair of cat ears at CVS."
Yang groaned, rolling her eyes sarcastically with a smile. "I guess someone did."
"I do think I'm going to be taking that someone up on that bet."
"That someone did not think that this would take this long," Yang sighed, her smile falling. "And this someone also has a criminal justice exam tomorrow that she hasn't started studying for yet."
Blake's eyes went wide. " Yang !"
Yang held her hands up in defense. "It's common sense stuff, I'm not too worried. I do have to stay in the rest of the night studying, but I promise you, I'll hold up my end of that bet on Saturday."
"Good. Now where are your notecards? We need to get started."
Yang sighed, grabbing her backpack off of her bed. "You don't have to help me, you know."
"I don't have to, but I want to," Blake repeated, smirking.
"Quit using my own words against me!"
"Don't think I will."
Yang handed Blake a stack of notecards, a smile creeping onto her face. "Blake, did we just plan our second date before we even started our first?"
Blake took the cards from Yang, sitting down on the floor. "I think we just did."
I promised myself I wasn't going to do a note for this chapter, but here I am anyways. I wanted to tell everyone about a pretty awesome discord server that got started up the other day for Bumbleby lovers, authors, fan artists, and general community members alike! If you're interested in joining, you can message me here or on Tumblr at SuperbBirbFics. It's a really awesome little community and it'd be awesome to see it grow!
Thanks as always for all your feedback and support!
It's finally Halloween! It's time for everyone to get all dressed up, and for the girls to have their first date.
Real quick shout-out to my new second beta, Minks, for helping out! He doesn't write fanfiction himself but is willing to beta for money, and can be reached at glitchedgengar on Tumblr.
Now that that's out of the way, enjoy the chapter I have been so excited for months to release.
Blake couldn't help but feel self-conscious as she walked down the hall towards her dorm room. She was mostly dressed up in her costume, minus the ears and makeup. Still, Blake used the term 'costume' lightly. She was simply wearing tight black clothing. It wasn't the clothing that made her self-conscious, it was the fact that she knew what was coming when she walked back through the door to her dorm room.
Yang had insisted that Blake not come in until she was fully dressed in her costume. Blake had been sitting in the lounge, playing around on her phone, waiting for the text from Yang telling her that she could return. That text had finally come, and now Blake was just feet away from the door.
Was this 'costume' good enough for Yang? Yang had been adamant about keeping her own costume a secret from Blake, but Blake knew it was far better than this standard black cat. Was Blake good enough for Yang? That was the much bigger question her costume worries had been trying to hide. She was terrified of Yang deciding that she didn’t actually want to be with Blake, despite everything that Sun had told her yesterday.
Blake shook her head, trying to chase the thoughts out of her brain. She was going to open that door, and go in there, and she would be fine .
She took a deep breath, putting her hand on the doorknob and repeating I will be fine in her head over and over again as she pushed the door open.
Blake stopped dead in her tracks when her eyes landed on Yang.
Yang was looking in the mirror, making sure the braided ponytails that hung from either side of her head were in order. Her costume consisted of a light blue dress, white tights, and black flats. She spun around at the sight of Blake in the mirror, smiling from ear to ear.
"You like what you see?"
Blake couldn't help but devolve into a giggling fit when she saw the front of the dress. It had a half-apron with three small pockets, each of which had a tiny teddy bear sticking out of it.
"What?" Yang asked, her smile faltering. "What's so funny?"
Blake took a moment to steady her breathing and calm herself down. She walked over to Yang, shaking her head and smiling. "You're a dork. An absolutely adorable dork."
Yang blushed, grinning widely. "Why, thank you, kitty cat."
"I'm not a cat yet, Yang."
"Close enough." Yang looked behind her, grabbing Blake's cat ears, which were still laying on her desk. She handed them to Blake, smirking as she put them on. "There, now you're a kitty cat."
"Still not quite," Blake wagged her finger. "You need to help me with the nose and whiskers."
"You're right, I forgot about that!" Yang walked over to her side of the room, grabbing her makeup bag off of her desk. "Take a seat, kitty cat. I'm going to make you look purrfect ."
Blake shook her head as she sat in Yang's desk chair. "Don't make me regret saying yes, Yang Xiao Long."
"My puns are just like me: irresistible," Yang winked, "and you know it!"
Blake rolled her eyes, smirking as she tried to stop her cheeks from heating up. "Just put the makeup on me, please."
"You got it, kitty cat!"
Yang got to work, being careful not to mess up Blake's layer of actual makeup as she worked on adding whiskers and a nose. In retrospect, Yang was pretty sure Blake could have done this herself... but Yang had offered yesterday, and she didn't think either of them was going to pass up this opportunity to be so close to the other.
Blake couldn't help but get flooded with emotions as Yang's face was less than a foot away from hers. She struggled not to smile, and keep her face relaxed, so Yang wouldn't mess up the lines she was drawing. She almost lost it when she noticed Yang was doing the thing again: sticking out her tongue ever so slightly while she focused on her task.
It was official, Blake decided. Yang Xiao Long was going to be the death of her. Whether it be by puns, or by sheer adorableness, she would be the one to kill Blake.
"And... purrfect !"
" Yang ," Blake groaned, rolling her eyes. She got up, walking to the mirror. She stopped for a moment, admiring Yang's work. "Okay, now you have purrmission to call me kitty cat."
Yang squealed, running over and hugging Blake's shoulders. "They grow up so fast!"
"If horrible cat puns are the theme for tonight, then you can bet I'm getting in on it."
"My puns are not horrible , thank you very much."
"Yes they are."
"One day, you will learn to appreciate the pun master."
Blake smirked. "Still not sure about that one."
"Oh, you will!" Yang laughed. "What time is it?"
"Uh," Blake paused, pulling her phone out of her pocket, "4:53?"
"We're gonna be late!"
Yang ran over to her desk, grabbing her phone, and stuffing it in the half-apron with one of the bears. "You ready, kitten?"
Blake crossed her arms and smirked. "Ooh, the nicknames are getting creative now, Goldilocks. Yes, I'm ready."
"Goldilocks isn't a creative nickname! That's literally just my costume!"
"And I'm literally just a cat," Blake commented, following Yang out the door and into the hall. "Kitty cat and kitten aren't exactly creative either."
"I'll have you know, you are a cat, not a kitty cat, nor a kitten."
The light banter continued back and forth as they made their way out of the dorm building. To an outsider, it would have seemed that they were legitimately arguing.
But anyone who cared enough to look more closely would see that both girls had the biggest smiles on their faces.
The cheerful banter came to a halt as soon as Blake left the dorm building. She stopped dead in her tracks, much to Yang’s surprise.
"Blake, what's wrong?"
Blake's only reply was to point down the road. There was a car crash. It didn't look too severe to Yang, but a large portion of the road was blocked off.
"Oh, wow. I hope everyone's okay."
"That's not it, Yang. Look at what the police tape is blocking off."
Yang squinted, her eyes following the yellow lines suspended in the air. The realization hit her like a bag of bricks and her heart sank into her stomach. "Oh."
The route to the center of campus, the one that avoided BU Crater, was blocked off by the tape, the only route that Yang and Blake had taken since the incident at the beginning of the month.
Blake couldn’t keep herself from trembling. She was going to have to walk past the crater to get to the center of campus, to the party. She knew he wasn't there anymore, or even near Beacon University for that matter, but the sheer thought of him having been there for two weeks made her incredibly paranoid about being near that place.
Warm fingers wrapped around Blake's right hand, pulling her out of her thoughts and back into the moment.
"Hey," Yang said softly, "I've got you, okay?"
Blake looked at her. "I..."
"I'll hold your hand the entire way, and we'll walk on the other side of the street, and I'll walk between you and it."
Blake couldn't break eye contact with Yang. Amber eyes saw sincerity and protection. A look Yang hadn't shown since the day of the incident. Blake took a deep breath, and then nodded. "Thank you."
"Of course. I've got you." Yang flexed her fingers a bit, silently asking permission to interlock her fingers with Blake's. Blake loosened her hand momentarily, allowing her fingers to find their places between Yang's.
Yang gave her hand a small squeeze, and then nodded with a soft smile. They began to walk, Yang talking the entire time, trying to keep Blake distracted as they walked past the crater. She started the moment they started walking, and did not stop for even a moment.
Somehow, Yang's plan had worked, because Blake didn't even realize that they had passed it entirely until she found herself face-to-face with the doors of the student union.
Blake turned to Yang, giving Yang's hand a small squeeze. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Now, are you ready to have some fun?" Yang asked, with a grin.
"Yeah." Blake smiled. "I'm so ready."
"I gotta admit, Coco, you've really outdone yourself with this one."
Sun Wukong was leaning against the doorframe to one of the smaller rooms inside the Queer Center, watching the main room from the sidelines. Coco Adel stood next to him with a cup of soda in hand. She was dressed up rather nicely and donned a short, white wig, but Sun couldn't pinpoint exactly what her costume was supposed to be.
"Of course I did, I throw the best events," Coco said with a smirk, raising the cup to her lips.
"Quick question, though. What exactly are you dressed as again?" Sun rose an eyebrow.
Coco huffed, appearing offended. “I will have you know, I am dressed as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada ! Meryl Streep’s greatest role, in my opinion. She’s one of my all time favorite characters in my all time favorite movie. I’ve dressed as her every year since 2011, and my costume has gotten better every year.”
“Why the same costume every year?”
“Well…” Coco shifted uncomfortably. “I used to dress up as Coco Chanel, my namesake, every year. Then there was this book that got released in 2011, and uh, as it turns out, she was a literal Nazi.”
“ Yikes ,” Sun hissed. “Your parents named you after a Nazi?”
“They didn’t know that back in 1997. They gave me the option to change my name after the book came out, but I ended up deciding against it. I wanted to bring a better image to the name, you know? I want the first thing that comes to mind to be Coco Adel , superstar designer, not Coco Chanel, literal Nazi.”
Sun tilted his head slightly. “I gotta say, that’s pretty ambitious.”
“Oh, I know. It’s a big dream, and there’s no guarantee I’ll succeed, but I’m going to try anyways.”
“Admirable. I still can’t believe your parents literally named you after a fashion designer, regardless.”
"At least my parents didn't name me after a giant ball of gas."
Sun burst out laughing. "Coco, I chose my name, not my parents."
"Oh, right. Sorry?" Coco looked up hopefully, praying she hadn't said the wrong thing.
He straightened up, trying to stop himself from doubling over with laughter. "No offense taken. It's just pretty amusing when people forget, I guess."
"Well, if you're through ruining the image of Meryl Streep’s greatest role, you could always enlighten me to what your costume is." Coco crossed her arms.
"I'm dressed as a monkey, duh !"
Her eyes narrowed. "... What ."
Sun tugged at a fake tail that hung from the back of his jeans, poking Coco with it. "See! Monkey!"
Coco stared at him blankly. Or she could have been blinking, Sun couldn't exactly tell. She was wearing sunglasses inside, as per usual. "You... just wore your normal clothes and added a tail, and called yourself a monkey?"
"Yeah, exactly that!"
"Dear lord, Sun," Coco shook her head, "you are truly something else."
"What?! Blake's dressed up as an animal too! And you know she'd wear that black outfit any day!" Sun nodded towards the middle of the main room, where many attendees, including Blake and Yang, were dancing.
"Blake wears a lot of black, but never a tight black-on-black outfit like that. And she at least had the decency to paint some whiskers on her face, and her cat ears are obvious ."
"Alright, alright, I get it. I need to up my game for next year. I'll bring a banana with me."
Coco shook her head, sighing. "You're hopeless, Sun." The buzz of her phone in her pocket distracted her from her annoyance at Sun. "Oh, Vel's finally on her way!"
"Why's she so late? Normally she's early to anything you're running."
"Last I checked, your boyfriend wasn't here yet either. Vel's got a good excuse. Her last class of the day ran till 5 p.m."
"Neptune also has a good excuse! Lacrosse practice takes priority over like, everything. But a class ending at 5 p.m., on a Friday? Oof ."
"Yeah, and she can't skip, like, ever. It's one of her computer engineering courses, so it's super hard."
"Your girlfriend is a goddamn genius," Sun sighed, "I can barely handle the problem solving class Beacon offers, and that's the most basic math they’ve got!"
"She's gonna take over the world someday, I'll tell you that. All the computer engineering majors are. The stuff she does for classes blows my mind . I feel like my major is child's play compared to her exams. I just doodle clothes on people."
"Don't sell yourself short. I think we both know that I'm the prime example that fashion sense is not something everyone has." Sun gestured up and down his current outfit, monkey tail and all.
Coco laughed. "You've got potential, at least. You could just use a little variety here and there, you know?"
"I'll make you a deal. After I've had my surgery, and I'm healed up, you can come with me to Savers and help me find some new outfits outside of button downs."
"Really?" Coco's jaw dropped.
Sun nodded. "I only ever wear button downs because it helps give the illusion that my chest is flatter than it actually is. I'd kinda like to try some different things in fashion, you know?"
"Don't you worry, Sun," Coco smirked, "I'm going to make you look like a goddamn celebrity ."
"Hey, there's only enough room in this relationship for one celebrity."
Sun and Coco turned to see the source of the newest voice, Neptune. He approached the duo wearing nothing but a toga, a plastic trident in hand.
"Nep!" Sun greeted him with a smile. "Looking good!"
"Did you seriously... dress up as Neptune... the Roman god?" Coco asked dryly.
"Yeah, I did! Would have gone entirely shirtless if it wouldn't get me kicked out of the union." Neptune took his place next to Sun, wrapping an arm around his waist.
Sun grumbled something under his breath about "party-poopers", which Coco rolled her eyes at.
"I'll leave you two to be hopelessly gay, so I can go mope until my own girlfriend gets here so we can be hopelessly gay," she said, ready to walk away.
"Wait, Coco!" Sun called out, causing her to halt. "Speaking of hopelessly gay," Sun nodded in the direction of Yang and Blake once again, who were still dancing among the small crowd, "what are the bets that they'll kiss by the end of the night?"
"Oh, Wukong," Coco replied, pushing up her sunglasses, "that is a bet you cannot get me to make."
"Because there's no question whether it'll happen or not. It will happen."
Sun snickered. "Fair enough, Adel, fair enough."
"So, are we gonna stand here and banter all night, or are you going to dance with me?" Neptune asked, raising an eyebrow as he tugged on Sun's waist.
"And that is my cue to be, how did you put it... oh, yes, hopelessly gay." Sun smirked as he allowed Neptune to lead him out towards the dance floor by his waist.
Coco rolled her eyes, shaking her head. "Boys," she muttered, leaning back up against the wall as she watched and observed. Blake and Yang were obviously flirting with each other, and Coco couldn't help but smile at that. It was about time those two actually did something about the increasing romantic and sexual tension between them. She couldn't help but feel like a proud mom, watching her kids grow up.
"Whatcha smiling at?"
Coco turned, her smile broadening, to see Velvet had finally arrived. A large, floppy pair of rabbit ears sat atop her head. Coco greeted her girlfriend with a kiss on the cheek, causing the shyer one of the pair to blush.
"Nice to see you too, Coco."
"Hey, I don't see you complaining about these greetings."
"No one said I was," Velvet smirked.
"To answer your question, I'm smiling at the blossoming of young love." Coco gestured towards Blake and Yang.
"Aww, they're so cute!" Velvet clasped her hands together, pressing them against her cheek.
"Not as cute as a certain bunny rabbit tonight. Did you wear the tail too?" Coco reached a hand behind Velvet's back, giving her butt a little squeeze.
Velvet squeaked, blushing profusely. "You could have just felt for the tail, you know."
"I did, but how could I resist a little teasing?" Coco smiled, before going serious for a moment. "Was that okay, though?"
"Yeah, that was fine." Velvet leaned in closer to Coco's ear, turning her voice into a whisper. "Would be a shame if you didn't do that more often."
Coco rose an eyebrow at her girlfriend. "Teasing me while I'm working? Oh, it's gonna be a long night, Vel." Coco glanced at the small crowd again, a smirk on her face. "Let's go dance, and show the baby gays how it's done."
"Well, tonight was amazing ."
Blake said as she closed the door to the dorm room behind her. Yang had entered before her, and was tugging her hair out of the ponytails already.
"Yeah, it sure was." Yang's smile was huge, even as she tugged at and combed through her mane. "Sorry, I just really wanted to get this undone. It's been so long since I've had my hair up like that, and it's been uncomfortable as hell for a little while now."
"Do you want me to help?" Blake asked, pulling off her cat ears and placing them on her desk.
"Sure," Yang nodded towards her dresser. "There's another brush in the top drawer, you can help me with the other side."
Blake pulled open the dresser, finding the second hairbrush Yang had been talking about. It had to be the thickest hairbrush Blake had ever seen, but it made sense, considering Yang's literal mane. Yang had already pulled off the hair tie on the second ponytail, but it was still mostly braided. Blake got to work unweaving and brushing through it, helping it return to a semi-normal state.
"You know," Yang said, "you're the first person to ever be allowed to touch my hair, other than my mom and Ruby."
"Really?" Blake paused her brushing mid-stroke.
Yang gave her a small nod, careful not to accidentally tug the brush out of Blake’s grasp with the movement of her head. "I'm kind of protective of it. I only let people I really trust touch it."
"I'm flattered," Blake smiled, continuing to gently pull the brush through her hair. "I must say, if you had told me when we first met that this is what I'd be doing two months later... I don't think I would have believed you."
"I wouldn't have either," Yang laughed. "To go from literally not knowing anything about you, to letting you brush my hair in just two months? That's unheard of for me."
"Well, I hope I'm doing a good job."
"You know, when I first saw that you were my roommate, I did a google search on you. I saw your Facebook profile, and I was convinced you were going to be a nightmare roommate. Constant partier and all that." Blake pulled the brush away, allowing Yang to brush down the middle of her hair, combining the two halves again. "I'm really glad you proved me wrong."
"Me too," Yang said, smiling. "Want some help getting the whiskers off?"
Blake peered in the mirror and laughed. "Yes, please. I forgot about those."
Yang pulled some makeup wipes from her makeup bag, which was still resting on her desk. She began to gently wipe the black marks from Blake's face, which made Blake feel like her makeup wasn’t the only thing that was completely melting .
The two girls seemed to be getting closer and closer as Yang continued to wipe at Blake's face. Yang was doing the thing with her tongue yet again. Between the gentle touches, the closeness, and the absolutely adorable face Yang was making, Blake was pretty sure she was dying.
"You know," Yang said softly as she tossed the dirty makeup wipe aside, "I knew it wouldn't happen at the party, but I was kind of hoping for at least one slow dance tonight."
"Lucky for you," Blake replied, smiling, "we have all the time in the world tonight."
Yang returned the smile, before quickly putting on a song on her phone. She turned it up all the way, and then tossed the phone onto her bed, where the music began playing.
Yang extended a hand to Blake, which she took, leading Yang to pull her close in a smooth motion. Blake gave a small squeak - she knew slow dancing meant being close, but the sudden lack of distance between them caught her just a bit off guard. Yang placed her arms around Blake's waist, and Blake rested her hands on the back of Yang's neck.
Look from you
The two began swaying slowly to the music.
And I'm on that faded love
Blake smiled softly at Yang, who reciprocated.
Out of my body
"Good music choice," Blake said, her voice as gentle as the hands touching Yang’s neck.
And flying above
Yang nodded. "I'm always a sucker for Fall Out Boy."
If there were any more left of me
I'd give it to you
Yang pulled Blake in a little closer.
And I'll tell you that I am fine
Blake readjusted her grip slightly, nearly entirely up against Yang's body at this point, her chin practically resting on Yang’s shoulder.
But I'm a missle that's guided to you
"So it's safe to say our first date was a success?" Yang asked.
Go out in the world to start over again and again
"I'd certainly say so."
As many times as ya can
"You're absolutely beautiful, you know that?" Yang murmured, lightly resting the side of her head against Blake’s.
And in the end if I don't make it on the list
Blake's entire face flushed red. She buried her head in Yang's shoulder, trying to hide.
Would you sneak me a wrist band?
"Nooo, Blake, come back," Yang half-whined in a soft whisper.
Would you give me
Yang moved one of her hands, placing her fingers under Blake’s chin and tipping her head up.
Lilac eyes met amber, just inches away. They blinked at each other, taking in every inch of the other's face.
Their eyes fluttered shut.
Give me a boost
Blake leaned in, and her lips met Yang's.
A boost over heaven's gate
The music carried on, but it didn't matter to either of them. All that mattered was each other, as they shared a long, gentle kiss, in the middle of the dorm room. That was their entire world.
Blake and Yang wake up the morning after the Halloween party and have a talk before their second date. They run into some familiar faces while out on their date.
This chapter verges on an M rating for some mature themes. Nothing explicit. You've been warned.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
That was the first thought running through Blake’s mind as she woke up. She was so warm and cozy, she didn't even want to open her eyes. She nuzzled deeper into the source of the warmth. Inhaling, she noticed it smelt like... strawberries?
A single amber eye opened halfway. At first, all she saw was a mess of yellow, and she didn't know what to make of it. Her brain was still foggy, and she couldn't seem to think about anything beyond the sea of yellow and the aroma of strawberries she had been met with.
Then she heard the voice. Her voice.
"Good morning, sleeping beauty."
Both of Blake's eyes shot open fully, amber meeting lilac.
Yang . The source of the warmth and the yellow was Yang. Her head was on Yang's shoulder. Blake had just woken up in Yang's arms, and her own arm was draped over Yang's chest, hanging onto Yang's other shoulder.
The next thing Blake noticed was that there was no shirt sleeve, or even a bra strap for that matter, where her hand rested on Yang. Blake shifted her leg slightly, and realized Yang wasn't wearing pants either.
Blake suddenly became very aware of her own nudity.
The entire night's events came flooding back to Blake all at once. The costumes, Yang, the party, Yang, the dance in their dorm, Yang, the kiss, Yang, and what came after the kiss... and Yang .
Blake smiled softly at Yang, her initial panic soothing as she remembered what had occurred. "Good morning." She lowered her head, nuzzling back into the crook of Yang's neck. "You're soooo warm. How are you this warm? It's intoxicating ."
"I've been called a personal space heater on a number of occasions," Yang chuckled, pulling Blake in closer. "I'm glad you like my excess body heat."
"I love it," Blake murmured, snuggling up to Yang as closely as she could, still smiling.
"Good." Yang played with the ends of Blake's hair with one of her hands. "I had a lot of fun last night."
"Me too," Blake giggled. "You're really great, you know that?"
"I try my best." Yang got nudged with Blake's elbow. " Okay, okay . Thank you."
"You're welcome," Blake said with a smirk, pulling her head back out so she could look at Yang some more. She was just so damn beautiful , even after she just woke up.
"You're pretty great yourself."
Blake's face flushed bright red, and she tried to bury her head in Yang's neck again, but a quick hand was suddenly holding her chin up.
"Why do you always hide when you're blushing? It's adorable."
"I..." Blake stammered, her face getting redder. "Because you make me melt when you say stuff like that."
Yang smirked, pulling Blake's chin closer to her face. Yang locked lips with Blake in a long, passionate kiss, wrapping herself around Blake like a warm blanket in the process. When Yang finally pulled away, she gently caressed Blake's cheek. "Melted enough yet?"
Blake was only able to nod and let out a soft noise, still stunned from the kiss.
"Good," Yang murmured, running her hand through Blake's hair.
"I don't want to leave this spot all day," Blake said, sighing, burying her face in Yang's neck again.
"Well, lucky for you, it's Saturday, and my plans currently include both cuddling you and kissing you, so I think that might just work."
"Good." Blake smiled, rubbing her nose up against the crook of Yang's neck. "Although there's one thing we have to do today."
"Oh? What's that?"
"I do believe I won a bet on Thursday."
"That you did, Blake. That you did."
"So dinner tonight in BU Center?" Blake asked, her voice muffled by Yang’s skin as she placed a few kisses along her jaw.
"As long as we get to cuddle for most of the day." Yang let out a pleased hum at Blake’s gentle kisses. Being touched by her felt heavenly.
Yang pulled away from Blake for just a moment, turning in bed, the sudden movement causing Blake to let out a small squeak. When she was pulled back into Yang's embrace, Yang was laying on her side, not on her back, now facing Blake. Yang pressed her forehead up against Blake's.
"God, Yang," Blake whispered, closing her eyes and breathing in the sweet strawberry smell. "I'm never sleeping in my own bed again. You are so warm."
"This is going to be a reoccurring thing, then?"
Blake opened her eyes. " Duh . You think I'm giving up this warmth now that I've discovered how wonderful it is?"
"We should push our beds together later. It'll give us a bit more space," Yang mused.
"That sounds like a great idea, but that’s for later. Right now, cuddles."
Blake was taken aback by another surprise kiss, but closed her eyes and leaned into it. If surprise kisses were going to become a regular thing, Blake could certainly get used to that.
After a minute or so, Yang pulled back slightly, opening her eyes. "Hey, Blake?"
Amber eyes opened to meet lilac. "Yeah?"
"What are we?"
"Well, what do you want us to be?"
"I..." Yang hesitated for a moment. "I want to be your girlfriend, but I don't want to push you into anything you aren't ready for, and I don't want to seem like I'm pressuring you into something you don't want to do, and I-"
This time, Yang got cut off and stunned by a surprise kiss.
Blake paused for a moment as she pulled away from the kiss. "I would love to be your girlfriend." This time, when their lips met again, the kiss was mutual, not a surprise for either of them.
Yep, Blake could definitely get used to doing this.
The kiss continued on, Blake getting as close to Yang as physically possible. Blake began intertwining her legs with Yang's, pulling her lower half closer. Yang gasped into the kiss, her eyes shooting open as Blake moved enough for her leg to brush up against Yang’s inner thigh.
Blake rose an eyebrow, opening one eye and pulling away enough to speak as she felt the brush and the gasp. "Someone's excited for seconds."
Yang whimpered, a sound that was like music to Blake's ears. "Just a little..."
"That sounds like something I could fix right now...".
Yang nodded furiously, her voice soft. "Yes. Please."
Blake smiled, a devious look in her eyes. "Slow down there, Yang. You didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?"
And with that, Blake pulled Yang's head towards hers, gripping her hair to hold her in place, as she ambushed her with another long kiss.
It was going to be a long day for the two of them, especially for Yang.
The coffee shop seemed like the perfect place to go to for Blake. It sat on the corner of the main street in BU Center, and certainly captured the downtown atmosphere that the people behind BU Center had been striving to create. Even though Blake knew that there was farmland only a mile down the road, the coffee shop made her feel like she was back in the capital, sitting in a tiny café, enjoying a coffee while doing her homework.
Instead, she was sitting in the cutest place in BU Center, with the cutest girl in the world. Yang sat opposite her, trying to create some form of origami out of the little extra napkins on the table. She was doing the thing again, and Blake felt like she was dreaming.
Of course, the fact that the two had been cuddling, napping, and... more all day didn't exactly help things. They'd finally lugged themselves out of bed around late afternoon and got themselves all dressed up for their little date. Neither wore anything fancy, but still more fashionable than their usual choices.
Blake had to admit, Yang spending most of her mornings hanging out with Coco had certainly influenced her fashion choices. But Blake wasn't complaining. Yang was stunning .
"There!" Yang declared, handing a tiny origami flower to Blake. "Finally! I thought I'd messed it up at a couple points."
"That’s adorable." Blake held the little flower up to eye level, admiring it.
" You are adorable."
Blake's cheeks flushed red. " Yang , is that really necessary in public?"
Yang smiled from ear to ear. "Yep!"
"There's no winning this, is there?"
"And the more I get flustered, the more you're gonna do it?"
"You're catching on fast, kitten!"
Blake rolled her eyes, but smiled all the same. "You really like that nickname, don't you?"
"You betcha!" Yang winked.
"I can't take you anywhere , Yang Xiao Long," Blake said sarcastically, slowly shaking her head, her smile only broadening.
Yang opened her mouth to say something else, but was interrupted by a barista calling out her name. She winked at Blake again and said, "Hold that thought," before standing up to go grab their food.
Blake couldn't help but keep smiling as she watched her girlfriend go up to get the tray with their food and drinks. That realization alone would’ve been enough to knock her clean off her feet, if she hadn’t been sitting. She had a girlfriend ! And it was Yang ! And she was perfect !
A voice jolted Blake out of her thoughts. "Fancy seeing you here, Blake."
She looked up to see the source - Qrow Branwen, in full uniform, stopping in front of their table.
"Oh, hello Qrow," Blake said with a nod. Her heart began racing. She hadn't even thought about Yang's family finding out. Did they even know she was gay?
Okay, Blake had to admit to herself that that was a dumb question. Yang had a giant rainbow flag hanging up in her room. Qrow had seen it on more than one occasion and Yang had previously told Blake she'd been out to her family for years.
But did they know Blake was bi?
Blake still hadn't gotten around to hanging up her flag. It still scared her a little bit, people knowing. She'd talked herself into wearing a tiny rubber bracelet in the colors of the bisexual flag that the QC offered for free, but it was subtle, and those outside of the QC rarely noticed it, nor knew what it meant. The little friend group from the QC all knew, simply because they'd all seen the bracelet, but her neighbors? She didn't think they had a clue.
And here she was, face-to-face with her girlfriend's cop uncle, one of the men who raised her, while on their second date.
All those thoughts ran through Blake's mind in just under a few seconds. She realized Qrow had been talking to her, and blinked a few times.
"I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I spaced out for a moment there."
"What brings you to the coffee shop?"
"Oh, I'm here with Yang." Blake looked over and gestured to Yang, who had just begun her return to their table, the tray of food and drinks in hand. She spotted her uncle and smiled.
"Hi Uncle Qrow!" Yang greeted him as she got closer, placing the tray on the table.
"Hey, firecracker." Qrow smirked at his niece. "Was just stopping by to say hello to Blake here. Didn't know you were around as well."
"Yeah, we're uh," Yang paused as she sat down, raising an eyebrow at Blake. Blake nodded, so Yang continued. "We're on a date."
"Oh? A date?" Qrow raised his eyebrow at Blake, mirroring Yang. "A date -date?"
Yang started giggling. "You sound like our neighbor Nora. Pfft, date-date ."
Blake smiled as she rolled her eyes. "Yes, we're on a... date-date." Yang only laughed harder.
"I see..." Qrow glanced around the room for a moment. "I'm currently in uniform, so I can't exactly give you the if-you-hurt-my-niece talk, but I assume you understand what I mean?"
Blake felt her face flush red. "Yes, I certainly know where that goes."
"Good. Don't forget, Yang's whole family are cops. And I'm sure Ruby would have no qualms about kicking your butt too if you hurt Yang."
" Qrow !"
"I'm kidding, I'm kidding." Qrow glanced at Blake again. "Maybe."
Yang opened her mouth to complain again, but he cut her off.
"I'll leave you girls to your fun, then. Blake, you can expect that talk to happen in a less... public setting."
Blake nodded, shifting uncomfortably. "Understandable."
"Enjoy, and stay safe," Qrow said before wandering off towards the cashier to order a coffee.
Yang held her head in her hands. "Ugh, I'm sorry about him."
"Don't worry about it." Blake reached across the table, putting a hand on Yang's arm. "I kinda forgot about your family, if I'm being honest."
"Yeah, I did too..."
"How do you think they'll react?"
"Me dating is nothing new to them. Me dating girls is nothing new to them. Me dating my roommate ? My dad might have something to say about that."
Blake's heart sunk into her stomach. "Why..?"
"He's convinced nothing good comes out of dating your roommates, which is really suspicious if you ask me."
"His college roommate? Right there." Yang pointed at Qrow, who was still ordering his coffee.
"Just a hunch," Yang added, shrugging. "He'll get over it. You'll get a ‘talk’ from him too, though."
"He is your dad, after all."
"Yeah, and he and Qrow are uh... a little protective of Ruby and I," Yang said sarcastically, stressing the word 'little'. "Qrow spent the first few years after Mom died helping Dad raise us, so he's got a bit of leeway on the parental front too."
"How do you think Ruby will react?"
"Oh, she's going to squeal with joy," Yang assured her, laughing.
Blake's eyes went wide. "Really?"
Yang nodded. "She's always super interested in my love life, but I promise I keep the details to a minimum. She'll be super excited, though."
"By the way, Blake?" Yang asked.
"Hmm?" Blake looked up, a fork full of pasta halfway in her mouth.
Yang giggled for a moment at the scene before straightening herself out. "What are you doing for Thanksgiving break?"
Blake held up a finger, chewing and swallowing the bite of food. "I was just going to stay on campus. I don't have to pay any extra, and it's not exactly like I have anywhere to go."
"Not even your last foster home?"
"No," Blake shook her head, "it's a place for troubled teens. They let me stay there for the summer because I was going off to college, but now that I'm here, I don't have anywhere to go back to."
"You should come with me," Yang blurted out. "To Patch, I mean. For Thanksgiving break."
"I appreciate the offer, but I don't want to impose on your family's holiday."
"Well," Yang said, putting up her fingers as she counted things off, "one, I have to call my dad and sister as soon as we get back and tell them about us before Qrow does, or I'll never hear the end of it. Two, he's going to immediately ask how soon he can meet you, same for Ruby. Three, you wouldn't be imposing on anything. Four, I want you to come, and I think it'll be fun. Five... do I really need to continue?"
Blake sighed, thinking for a moment. "If your dad and sister are okay with it, I'll come."
"Oh, yay!" Yang's smile stretched across her whole face. "It's going to be so much fun!"
"Your dad and sister have to agree first, Yang. Don't get ahead of yourself."
"Ruby will definitely say yes, and so will my dad."
"Does Qrow come down for Thanksgiving too?"
Yang nodded, swallowing a bite of her sandwich. "He comes down on Thanksgiving Day. He comes while Ruby and I are watching the local football game, and he's always at the house by the time we get back. Usually ends up crashing at ours from food coma if he's not scheduled to work the next day."
"Oh boy," Blake sighed, shaking her head. "What have I gotten myself into?"
Coco absolutely adored BU Center. It was one of her favorite places on campus - even if it technically wasn't on campus. The privately owned shops and restaurants had to be off-campus, but when the rest of the campus is surrounded by nothing but farmland and forests, and BU Center is literally across the street from the edge of campus, it's pretty damn close to being on campus.
Being a lover of fashion, Coco would be lying if she said she didn’t sometimes regret going to Beacon University for Fashion and Design. It had a fantastic program, yes, but they were literally in the middle of nowhere . She sometimes fantasized about transferring to a school in one of the big cities in the country, or even aiming for the capital.
Then, there were moments like these, where Coco found herself walking hand-in-hand with her girlfriend in BU Center, and she remembered why she'd picked Beacon University, and why she stayed.
It was unique . The mixture of an urban feel of the inner portions of campus, mixed with the rural landscape and the ability to check out of her hectic schedule, even for just a few hours, allowed Coco the chance to get her head together when things got a little too crazy. And since this was college, that happened at least once a week.
And, of course, Velvet was the number one reason that she stayed. Velvet was far too anxious for the bigger cities and Coco vowed that she would never try to force her into that situation. How Coco would manage a career as a fashion designer while not living in the city was a question she hadn't yet been able to answer, but she knew she'd cross that bridge when she got there.
"Coco," Velvet said, pulling Coco out of her thoughts by tugging on her hand, "is that Blake and Yang?"
Coco's eyes darted around, eventually landing on the two girls leaving the coffee shop. They were dressed up rather nicely, more so than usual, and Yang certainly had elements of Coco's style in her outfit. Coco couldn't help but feel a bit of pride at that.
"Oh, this is too good," Coco said with a smirk, pushing her sunglasses a bit further up on her nose. "See that, Velvet? They're holding hands . I have to find out how last night went."
Velvet first found herself being tugged along towards the other couple, but quickly caught up with Coco's pace. They'd been dating for over a year now, at this point, she knew how to effectively go from getting pulled along to matching Coco's stride.
"Yang! Blake!" Coco called out, waving her free hand towards the two. They turned, both reciprocating the wave. It was almost picturesque, watching the two of them wave in unison, their free hands intertwined. They began walking towards Coco and Velvet, meeting them halfway.
"Hi Coco, hi Velvet!" Yang said cheerfully, one hand still firmly holding Blake's.
"Hey!" Blake greeted.
"Hi Yang, hi Blake." Velvet gave a small nod, her voice soft, as per usual.
"Didn't expect to run into you two here today." Coco smirked, making a point of glancing over her sunglasses and at their hands. "I'd say it's safe to assume that last night went well?"
Blake's cheeks flushed red, but Yang simply nodded. "I think well is an understatement, but yeah."
"I must ask a bit of an awkward question," Coco said, "but I have a bit of a bet with Sun going on."
"Oh?" Blake raised an eyebrow.
"Did you two kiss last night?"
" Coco !" Velvet gasped, lightly elbowing her girlfriend in the ribs. Her face seemed to get far redder than Blake's ever had, and much faster too.
"Hey, I want to win that bet!"
Yang and Blake exchanged glances before both burst out laughing at the sight of the other couple's interaction.
"Yes, we kissed," Blake managed to get out in between bouts of laughter.
"Congratulations! You also just won me a nice little bet." Coco let out a small laugh of her own.
"Unfortunately, we have to get going," Yang said, glancing at the time on a large clock on one of the buildings. "I have to call my dad tonight and tell him I got a girlfriend. My uncle kind of ran into the middle of our date, and I'll never hear the end of it if my uncle beats me to it."
"Good luck!" Coco called after the couple as the four parted ways.
"Coco," Velvet said as they began to walk in the direction of the restaurant they were headed to, "I thought you were the one that said you would never make that bet with Sun, because you knew it was going to happen."
"Oh, I know ." Coco smirked as she typed on her phone with her free hand. "I knew it would happen, but I just wanted to make sure."
"Mmhmm." Velvet rolled her eyes with a smirk. " Sure , Coco, sure ."
"Hey, I was the one who planted the idea in Yang's head! I needed to see it through!"
"Pretty sure Sun did more heavy lifting than you did," Velvet chided.
"There." Coco locked her phone, sliding it into her pocket. "That's all done. Now, I do believe we had a nice little pizza date planned for tonight?"
Velvet smiled and nodded. "My vegan cheese awaits me!"
Coco shook her head, smiling as they continued to walk. "Come on, cutie. We've got a date to enjoy."
Before anyone asks, this is about the closest Beecon University is going to see to a smut scene. I don't write smut.
Secondly, there will be no updates next week, on Monday 3/12 nor Thursday 3/15. I will be out of state without my laptop all week. Regular updates will resume on Monday 3/19.
Have a good week y'all!
Blake and Yang spend some time hanging out with a friend before Thanksgiving Break.
Yang burst through the door to the dorm room, letting out an incredibly long sigh as she entered.
Blake looked up from laying on their bed, which consisted of both of their beds smushed together in the middle of the room. "You okay, Yang?"
"Don't think I did too great on my math exam," Yang groaned, dropping her bag on her desk and walking over to the bed, " and we went over statistics of on-the-job law enforcement deaths today in criminal justice."
Blake held open her arms as Yang climbed into bed, immediately embracing her in a huge hug. "Do you wanna talk about it?"
Yang thought for a moment, her head resting in the crook of Blake's shoulder. "It's just hard is all. I know what I'm getting into by going into this profession, and I know there’s the possibility I face the same fate as my mom, but... it's just hard sometimes, you know?"
"Did I never tell you how she died?"
"I don't think so, no. Just that she died about ten years ago."
"Ten years in February. I don't wanna get into the details today; I don't have the energy for it. But yeah, she died on the job."
Blake pulled Yang in a bit closer. "I'm sorry today's been rough."
Yang clung to Blake, taking a deep breath. "It's okay, I've got a pretty great girlfriend who's here to make it all better."
Blake smiled, planting a small kiss on top of Yang's head. "Good, that's the goal."
Yang pulled out of Blake's neck to face her. "How was your day, by the way?"
"Not too bad. Creative writing was a little weird without Sun there."
"Ah, yeah, it's the first creative writing class since his surgery, right?"
"Yeah. The one that was supposed to be on the day of his surgery got canceled, because the professor's kid had a stomach bug. Still weird not having him there, though. Who else am I gonna exchange glances with when the pretentious kids read their pieces?"
Yang chuckled a bit. "Have you heard from him?"
Blake shook her head. "Not much since Neptune sent out those texts from his phone saying he got home well and was resting up and everything. I was thinking about sending him a message sometime tomorrow and seeing if he needed anything before Thanksgiving break, but I'm willing to bet Neptune has it covered. I'm still gonna send him a message though."
"Good. I'd like to see him before we leave this weekend."
"Yeah, me too."
"You excited for break?"
"A little, but I'm also nervous."
Yang smirked. "Cause of my family?"
"You gotta admit, it's a little scary."
"My dad will do his whole spiel about not hurting me, and then he'll be fine. And so will you." Yang kissed her gently on the nose, causing Blake to blush.
"I'm just scared that your dad and sister won't like me."
"Oh, please . When I called and told Ruby, she practically screamed and dropped the phone out of pure excitement. And my dad-."
Yang was cut off by the buzzing of Blake's phone on the dresser that now served as a bedside table. Blake rose an eyebrow, rolling over and grabbing her phone.
"It's Neptune," Blake said, reading the screen. She turned, laying back down on her back, and answered the call as Yang curled up with her head on Blake's chest. "Hello?"
"Hey, Blake, it's Nep!"
"Hey, what's up?"
"Can I ask a favor of you?"
"Depends, what is it?"
"Okay, so, I was supposed to have a lacrosse game in the next state over next week, but because they're predicting this huge blizzard at the school we're supposed to be playing at, they moved the game up to this Saturday. I wasn't supposed to need to leave Sun for more than a couple hours until at least a full week after his surgery, but now I have to be gone for the entire day. Like over 15 hours."
There was a voice from the background of the call. "Neptune, I'll be fine . You don't need to do this."
"Ignore him," Neptune continued, causing Blake to giggle a bit. "I was wondering if it would be possible for you and Yang to come spend some time with him on Saturday? You wouldn't have to be there for the entire time I'm gone, but just like, enough time so that he can get his meds and get food and if he needs help with anything. I know it's really close to Thanksgiving Break and I totally get it if you can't because you're leaving for Yang's before that and-."
"Neptune, I'd love to come. I just have to ask Yang first and make sure she's okay with it too."
Yang rose an eyebrow, only having heard Blake's half of the conversation.
Neptune sighed. "Okay, yeah, good idea. Ask her."
"One moment." Blake pulled away the phone, muting it before talking to Yang. "One of Neptune's out of state lacrosse games got rescheduled to this Saturday and he was wondering if we could go spend time with Sun and help him out for some of the day while Neptune is away."
"Yeah, we can head back Saturday night or Sunday morning or literally whenever. After 5 p.m. on Friday, I can get my car from my uncle's house and park it on campus without a parking pass. We can head to Patch whenever. I'm sure if I explain the situation to my dad, he won't mind if we get there a day late."
Blake nodded, unmuting the phone and holding it back up to her ear. "Yeah, we can do that!"
"Awesome! I'll text you all the details and stuff Friday, okay?"
"Sounds good! Talk to you later."
"Thanks again! Bye!"
Blake chuckled as she disconnected from the call and put her phone back down. "Sun did not sound happy that Neptune is asking us to do this."
"I'm willing to bet Neptune's one to worry over everything."
"Probably, but hey, he could probably use the social interaction for a little bit."
Yang leaned in, laying her head on Blake's chest and wrapping her arms and legs around Blake. They lay there for a moment, just quiet, as Blake ran her hand up and down Yang's back.
"Do you have anything planned for this evening?"
"Not really, no. Just some homework at some point."
"Can we cuddle for a while?"
Blake looked down, planting a gentle kiss on Yang's forehead. "Sounds like an ideal afternoon."
"Good." A smile spread across Yang's face as she snuggled in closer. She decided that Blake was right, this was an ideal way to spend the afternoon after such a bad day.
"Hey, thanks for coming," Sun said as he pushed open the door to his dorm building for Yang and Blake.
Blake nodded. "No problem."
"Always willing to help out a friend!" Yang exclaimed with a smile.
"Nep was all bent out of shape over having to leave me for the day, and I know I would be fine on my own, it’s just one day, but you know how he can be." Sun shrugged, gesturing up the stairs. "Anyhow, welcome to my dorm building."
"The buildings on this part of the campus are so gorgeous. They look so much older than the ones where we live," Yang commented as she followed Sun up the stairs.
Sun nodded. "Yeah, that's cause these are the oldest dorm buildings on campus. Which has its drawbacks at times, but it's pretty neat. I like it."
"I didn't know they even had freshman dorms in these buildings, if I'm being entirely honest." Blake looked at the doors as they passed by room after room. Most of the rooms were singles, and they all had pronouns on the door tags alongside the usual names.
"That's because I live in gender inclusive dorms. It's the only building in this part of campus where first years can live, but it's also by choice."
"Gender inclusive?" Yang asked.
"The bathrooms are all gender-free, and gender markers don't matter for roommates, if you choose to have one." Sun pointed at a bathroom, which had a distinct Gender-Free Restroom sign next to the door.
Yang smiled at the sign. "That's... really cool! I didn't know Beacon even had dorms like this."
"It's just this one building," Sun explained, "but it's a really nice community here."
"Do you have to be trans to live here?" Yang asked.
Sun shook his head. "No, you don't have to be. Not everyone on the floor is trans, but everyone here either gets it or is, at the very least, incredibly respectful about it. Otherwise they'd get booted off the floor."
Yang smiled. "Awesome."
"Here's mine and Nep's room," Sun stopped in front of a door in the corner of the hall. The door tags were cute, little butterflies with names and pronouns written on them. Sun's was yellow and Neptune's was blue. Sun opened the door, letting in his guests.
" Woah ," Blake gasped. "This room is huge !"
Sun nodded. "The doubles in this part of campus are pretty much the largest traditional doubles on campus. It's why they're so hard to get into outside of GI. I think this room is about 200 square feet?"
"Ours is like... 180 square feet?" Yang rose an eyebrow as she looked at Blake.
"I think a little bit less," Blake shrugged. "Like 175 or something. I don't remember exactly, the last time I looked at the floor plans was a long time ago."
"Sounds about right." Sun hopped onto the beds, which had been smushed together, just like in the girls' dorm. The extra room allowed the boys to have a pretty nice setup outside of the beds. They had a nice TV, coffee table, and futon pushed into one corner of the room. There were also a couple of beanbags laying around, on top of the normal dressers, closet space, and desks.
"This is a really cool setup you guys have going on." Yang gestured around. "It looks more like a bachelor pad than a dorm room to me."
"Nep's got team members in and out a lot, hanging out and playing games and stuff. They're all really chill, but it meant that Nep had to buy a lot more furniture for people to sit on."
Blake nodded. "Makes sense." She sat down on a beanbag, Yang following her lead. "How have you been doing? I feel like I haven't gotten the chance to talk to you since you got out of surgery."
Sun's smile grew huge. "I'm doing really great, actually! I'm healing way faster than expected. I'm still on meds and in some pain and stuff, but I'm way more functional than I expected, based on what I heard online."
"Yeah, I can like, pick stuff up and walk around for a while without getting too tired, as much as Neptune tries to stop me from doing it. I'm still listening to my body and I know when I need to stop. I'm just weeks ahead on the healing timeline and it's only been like, four days. Neptune keeps joking that I'm superhuman."
"That's great to hear," Blake nodded with a smile. "You better be listening to your body though, or I'm gonna kick your butt."
Sun rolled his eyes. "You sound like Nep. I am , I promise."
Yang raised her hand as if she was in class. "Hey, Sun, can I, uh, can I ask a question if it's not too personal?"
Sun nodded. "No promises I'll answer, but go for it."
"How'd you pick your name?"
"Oh, that's not too personal at all!" Sun smirked, crossing his arms. "Well, I am half Chinese, and I was really into Chinese Mythology as a kid. Journey to the West was always one of my favorite books. I always wanted to be Sun Wukong, and when I realized I was trans, it was my top choice for a name. Then after I got kicked out of my grandmother's house, I vowed I would change my last name too when I got the chance. So I did and I truly became the monkey king."
"I love hearing stories about how people picked their names," Yang said, smiling. "It's always really interesting to me."
"Yeah, it really is. People almost always spell it S-O-N, unless they see it first, but I wouldn't go back and pick any other name. It fits me."
“Yeah, it does,” Yang replied.
Blake glanced around the room, taking in the decorations. Most were pretty standard posters you would expect in a dorm room belonging to two boys, but there was one piece that stood out to her. It was a large canvas, with a beautiful sunset over an ocean skyline.
Sun caught her looking at it. "You like that painting?" he asked, to which Blake replied with a nod. "It was a gift from a friend of ours back home, they gave it to me before I left to join Nep at college. It's supposed to be a representation of the two of us, the sun and the sea, coming together as one."
"That is adorable!" Yang declared, a huge smile on her face. "You two are just like, goals."
"Heh, thanks. We try our best to uphold our image as gay posterboys."
"Speaking of... how do Neptune's teammates react to the two of you and to, well, you being trans?" Blake gestured to the two flags over their windows, a trans flag and a rainbow flag. "You said he has teammates in here to play video games often."
Sun shrugged. "There haven't been many problems. Neptune's a star player, they don't want to get on his bad side. Besides, most of the people from around here are pretty progressive and stuff. They knew he was gay before I came up here and they knew he had a boyfriend from back home. Then I showed up and when he said he was moving across campus from where the athletes usually live to gender inclusive with me... well, they weren't really sure what to make of it at first." He shook his head, a smile on his face. "Some of them didn't know what to make of me at first. A couple got really confused, thought I was a trans woman. Neptune took it as an education opportunity and made sure that no one asks me any weird questions. He took those first, answered everything that wasn’t super personal, weird or offensive, and explained why some things aren't okay to ask."
"Wow, he really did all that?"
"Yeah. He's really good about not putting me through stressful stuff like that.” Sun shrugged. “That’s enough about all that for today, though. Anyone down for some video games?"
"Oh hell yeah!" Yang's face lit up with a huge smile. "It's been months since I got some classic gaming in."
"You like Smash Bros?"
"Do I?" Yang gasped, holding her hand over her heart dramatically. "Only the four time champion of the video game club at my high school!"
"Oh, I'm so in for this challenge." Sun smirked, climbing off the bed. "You want in, Blake?"
"You'd both wipe the floor with me in Smash," Blake conceded while shaking her head, "but if we play some Mario Kart later, I'm in."
"A couple matches of Smash followed by some Mario Kart sounds like a fantastic Saturday to me." Yang got up from the beanbag, joining Sun on the futon, with Blake following closely behind.
"Sure does," Sun smiled, handing Yang a controller. "This is gonna be good ."
I'm back! I hope everyone had a good week in the meantime, and a good spring break if that was last week for you too!
I wanted to give a brief update on the future of this story, as I've gotten a few questions lately in private about how long this story will be. I have broke the story currently into 4 parts: 1. Fall semester 2. Winter break 3. Spring semester 4. Summer break. It may continue beyond that. I don't know yet, I haven't made a decision there, nor do I currently have plots to fill something longer. We will see.
I have nearly written all of Part 1, and it will be around 25 chapters for part 1, give or take a chapter or two. While Part 2 of this story takes place over a shorter period of time, it does have quite a bit packed into it, so I imagine it will take around 20 chapters to get that out there. Part 3 I estimate to take as long as Part 1, if not longer, so 25-30 chapters. Part 4 hasn't been fully plotted out yet and this is a completely wild guess, but we can estimate that Part 4 will take 20-25 chapters as well. So yeah, this fic is aiming for around 100 chapters total, perhaps longer, perhaps shorter. Only time will tell.
On Thursday we dive into Thanksgiving Break, and I hope y'all are ready, because I really think you'll enjoy this upcoming arc! Thanks again for all the support and feedback!
Yang and Blake head back to Patch for Thanksgiving Break. Blake meets Taiyang and Ruby, as well as an unexpected third member of the family.
The drive from Beacon University to Patch was taking significantly longer than Blake had imagined. Of course, Yang had insisted they stop in a town off the highway and grab lunch, so that hadn't helped either. Yang, much to Blake's annoyance, had also insisted on paying for Blake's meal. Blake knew she wasn't going to be able to pay Yang or her father a penny back for anything they were doing for her this week, despite how much Blake felt like she was intruding. She had been told that Taiyang would be even more stubborn about her paying them back for anything than Yang was, which was disappointing, yet made sense. Yang had to get her stubbornness from somewhere, after all.
"Only about 10 minutes left," Yang commented, pulling Blake out of her thoughts. "Isn't too bad a ride, in my opinion."
"It got a lot better once we were past the capital,"
"Well, yeah. Patch is just a small town on the coast. Not many people go out this far. The route between BU and the capital is much more congested."
"Makes sense," Blake agreed, shrugging.
"You okay?" Yang was sure that something had to be on Blake’s mind, considering her short replies.
Blake glanced over at her, tapping her fingers against her knees. "Just nervous, I guess."
"I'm telling you, Blake. Everything will be okay."
"I know," Blake sighed, "but that doesn't mean that I can stop my anxiety over it."
"I know, but it'll be over with soon. Meeting them, that is." Yang was interrupted by the sound of her phone, which rested in the cup holder between her and Blake, receiving a text. "Can you see who that is?"
"Sure." Happy about the distraction, Blake picked up the phone and tapped its screen to see the notification. "Text from Ruby."
"What's it say?"
" Ahem ." Blake cleared her throat, preparing herself for her best impression of the hyperactive girl she had met over video call just a few weeks ago. " Yaaaaaaaaang ! I'm so sorry! I totally forgot I had a date planned with Penny this afternoon and I'm going to be late for you coming home. I'll be home before dinner, I promise !"
"Wow," Yang laughed, "that was scarily accurate. Can you text her back for me? My passcode is one-seven-zero-zero."
Blake nodded, unlocking the phone. "What do you want me to say?"
"'No problem, Rubes. I'll see you soon.'" Yang paused for a moment. "Oh, and in parentheses, put 'Don't worry, I'm not texting and driving, Blake's texting for me.'"
Blake took a few moments to tap away on the phone. "Okay, sent." The message was immediately marked as read and a message was returned nearly instantly. "Wow, Ruby responds fast."
"She's really fast in general. She’s the fastest runner on her track team and does softball in the spring. Still, she has endless energy." Yang shook her head with a laugh. "I don't understand where she gets all of it. What'd she respond with?"
Blake reentered her Ruby voice. "Thanks, Blake! I'll see you both soon!"
"Respond with a yellow heart emoji."
"Uh, okay." Blake did as she was told, a red heart popping up in reply. "She responded with-"
"A red heart?"
"Yeah, that's how we end a lot of conversations."
"God, that's adorable." Blake locked Yang's phone and placed it back in the cup holder. "You seem like a pretty good older sister."
"I try," Yang said with a smirk. "She'd never admit it, but I'm the best."
"I do have a question though."
"Go for it."
"Is Penny Ruby's girlfriend?"
Yang was quiet for a moment. "They do date, but Penny isn't Ruby's girlfriend. They're her partner."
Blake cocked her head to the side. "I don't follow."
"It isn't really my place to explain all of it, but just... stick to gender-neutral terms when talking about Penny. They use they/them pronouns primarily. She/her sometimes, they'll announce when they're leaning more towards she/her, but even then, keep it to gender-neutral terms."
"Okay, I can do that. Sorry. So, Penny is Ruby's partner?"
"How long have they been dating?"
"Wow, since uh... the middle of Ruby's freshman year? So about a year and a half now."
"Is Penny a junior too?"
Yang shook her head. "No, Penny is a senior now. They're a year younger than us and a year older than Ruby."
"Okay, good to know."
"Oh, look," Yang pointed out, tilting her head towards the sign coming up, "next exit is Patch. You ready?"
Blake took a deep breath and nodded. "As ready as I'll ever be."
The first thing Blake noticed about Yang's house was how it was somehow both big and small at the same time. It was by no means a mansion and it definitely leaned on the larger side when it came to houses, especially for only three people, but it still had the aesthetic and feel of a cottage.
The house was located near the edge of a tall cliff overlooking the ocean bay, a staple for the small town of Patch. Yang had spent most of the ride rambling about the cliffs and all the crazy hiking on them she used to do with Ruby when they were kids. Blake only really saw the full extent of the cliffs as they approached the house, which could only be accessed by driving along a cliffside road on the other side of the bay. Blake guessed that the top of the cliff was about a hundred feet from the water. Yang's house towered over the top of the cliff, tall in the distance.
Yet, as they got closer, it became apparent that Yang's childhood home was little more than an oversized log cabin. The siding was plain, nothing but layers of logs on top of each other. The entire house had a large, wrap-around porch with simplistic pillars holding up a slanted roof. The house was probably two stories tall, with what looked like a small attic window at the very top. Blake took note of the windows that opened onto the porch roof on the second floor and wondered if Yang ever went out onto the roof at night.
It would make a fantastic place for watching the stars.
The road became dirt not long after they got out of the woods and approached the house. There wasn't much else around. The southern side of the building faced the cliff, while the northern side faced the road and woods. The yard, or at least the clearing between the woods and the cliff's edge, which Blake figured was their yard, was rather expansive. There were at least two other standalone buildings near the house, which Blake assumed to be a garage and a shed.
It was cute, quaint, and looked to be the perfect place to grow up. It was everything Blake had ever wanted. No neighbors on the other side of a thin wall, no chain fences, no loud cars or trash littering the streets. It was everything she had imagined a childhood home should be, not tiny rooms that constantly changed and temporary people that left her life as fast as they’d entered it.
Blake couldn't help but wonder if Yang ever dreamed about the city the way Blake dreamed about the country. The grass is always greener on the other side, after all. She was sure this place had its problems, the first of which that came to Blake's mind being the fact that it was crazy far from other people, let alone commercial areas. Yet, others dreamed of the ideal city, something far off from Blake's experiences.
If Yang had those dreams too, about the city, maybe Blake would take her there one day. Maybe she’d show her the old home she spent the first years of her life in, before her parents died. Maybe the parks she used to go to to get away and read. Maybe the group home where she spent the past couple of years, the place that saved her life.
Maybe she wouldn't. It was ugly compared to this house on the cliffside. On its own, however, it had its own beauty. It was beautiful through memories, history, and the way the city sounded at night. The way it looked in the winter, with the snowflake lights hanging from every streetlamp. The people in their fashionable winter clothes wandering through the downtown areas with winter Starbucks cups in hand and the kids in the residential zones having snowball fights on their way to school. There was the way the communities would come together in the summer, throwing block parties and popping hydrants when the heat became unbearable.
Sure, it had its problems. Everywhere had them. But seeing the way Yang's eyes lit up when they pulled off the highway and into the town she called home... Blake had to admit she missed the capital just a little bit.
But that, that was a problem for another day. Today, she was in Patch, with Yang, getting ready to meet Yang's dad and sister. Blake had to focus.
As Yang pulled up the dirt road towards the house, Blake watched the front door swing open. A tall blonde man, who Blake assumed to be Yang's father, emerged from the house, resting his hands against the porch railing.
"Took you long enough!" he called out as Yang put the car in park.
Yang unbuckled her seatbelt and popped her door open. "Oh, please, we didn't take that long."
"If I recall correctly, you were originally supposed to get here yesterday ."
Yang stood up from the car, throwing her hands up in the air. "Hey, we were helping out a friend!"
"I'm kidding , Yang." Taiyang walked down the steps to the porch. "I've got a couple months worth of teasing built up, so you should’ve expected this. Now get over here and give your old man a hug."
Blake got out of the car herself, watching as Yang ran towards her dad with a huge smile on her face. Their embrace lasted a few moments, before Yang pulled away, gesturing back towards Blake.
"Dad, this is my girlfriend, Blake. Blake, this is my dad."
"It's nice to meet you, Mr. Xiao Long," Blake greeted him, nodding and smiling.
Taiyang approached her, holding out his hand. "Please, call me Taiyang or Tai. Mr. Xiao Long makes me feel old."
Blake took his hand and shook it. "Well, nice to meet you, Tai."
"That's better," he said with a smile as he let go. "How much stuff did you girls bring home?"
"Just two bags each." Yang approached the car again. "One bag each with clothes and toiletries and stuff and our backpacks with our laptops."
"Not bad. I'm shocked you're traveling light, Yang. Usually, if you're somewhere for a week, I can count on at least four bags."
" Dad ," Yang groaned, watching as her father opened up the back door to her car and grabbed the two duffel bags from the backseat. "We could have carried those."
Tai adjusted his grip on the bags, one in each hand. "Just let me help you. I don't exactly get to do dad stuff for you much anymore, so I'm going to take it and run with it this week."
"Whatever makes you happy." Yang rolled her eyes with a smirk as her father walked towards the house with the duffle bags. She grabbed the two backpacks from the backseat, handing Blake's to her, before closing the door and locking the car.
Blake followed closely behind Yang, still amazed at the house. The front steps creaked as she climbed them, the air smelling of damp wood. A soft breeze blew and Blake could hear the sound of gentle wind chimes jingling behind her.
It felt so much like the place she'd always wanted to live, but never had.
Yang held the front door open for Blake, who was still absorbing everything. She nudged Blake and whispered, "I'll give you a full house tour later."
Blake smiled and nodded. "That would be great."
She looked around the foyer as she entered. To the right of the front door was a set of stairs that only went up a few steps, before evening out into a landing that connected to another short flight of stairs on the other side. The landing connected to more stairs on the left, which led to the upper floor. In front of the stairs that were closest to Blake was a sort of coat area, with hooks on the walls covered in coats, and boots and shoes lining the walls.
Straight ahead from the front door was a bit of a hallway. It wasn’t very long, but long enough to fit three doors. Two were on the left wall, and one was on the back wall, all of them open. The door dead ahead opened into what looked like the living room, judging from the couch Blake could see. She briefly peered into the other two rooms; the further door appeared to lead to the kitchen and the closer door appeared to contain some sort of dining room.
Tai placed the two duffel bags down at the bottom of the stairs to their right. "I trust you girls can get yourselves settled in upstairs. I've still got dinner cooking and I want to make sure it doesn't burn."
"No problem, Dad!" Yang called after him as he left for the kitchen and she headed towards the stairs.
" Woof ? Woof !"
Blake jumped. This couldn't be happening.
A tiny dog came barreling through the open kitchen door at full speed. Yang bent down and picked him up before he could trip over his own overly excited legs as he continued to bark excitedly. The moment he was in her arms, he began licking her face all over.
"Zwei! I missed you too buddy!" Yang rubbed him behind his ears, causing him to yap a little bit more and kiss her nose. "Zwei, meet Blake. Blake, meet-" Yang's eyes met Blake's and she stopped mid-sentence. "Are you okay?"
Blake realized she had backed up against the wall, as far away from the dog as she could get. She blinked. "Uh, yeah. I just... I'm not the biggest fan of dogs."
" Oh ."
"I got chased by a lot of them when I was a kid. I got bit a couple times too." Blake rubbed the back of her wrist instinctively.
"I didn't even think to bring him up, I'm sorry." Yang looked at the dog in her hands, who was staring at Blake with wide eyes, his floppy tongue hanging out of his mouth. He let out a small boof , causing Blake to jump. "He doesn't bite or anything, I promise. The most he'll do is jump in people's arms and lick their faces."
"I'm sure I'll get used to him eventually, it'll just take some time." Blake forced herself to take a deep breath, lowering her shoulders.
Yang nodded. "I can keep him in Ruby's room for the time being and I can help you get more comfortable with him later. If you want."
"Of course." Yang gave Blake a small smile before heading upstairs with Zwei in her arms, who seemed to have lost interest in Blake and had once again found Yang's face to be the prime spot for licking.
"She must care about you a lot to go put away Zwei minutes after seeing him for the first time in months."
Blake jumped at the unexpected voice behind her.
"Easy, Blake. It's just me," Tai said as she turned around to see him leaning against the doorway to the kitchen.
"Sorry, I startle easily."
"I can tell. No need to be sorry. It happens."
Blake nodded awkwardly, unsure of where this conversation was going.
"I trust Qrow already gave you the talk when he found out you were dating Yang?"
So that's where this was going.
Blake's face was as red as a tomato as she nodded. "Yes, he did."
"Good, because I assure you," Tai continued, crossing his arms and flexing slightly, "it would be unwise to hurt my daughter. Understood?"
"Understood." Blake swallowed and nodded.
"Dad, please stop threatening my girlfriend. She already got the whole thing from Uncle Qrow, she doesn't need it again." Yang leaped off the bottom two steps, causing the whole house to shake.
Tai sighed and shook his head. "Yang, what have I told you about jumping off the stairs?"
"Why, dear father, it's been so long, I must have forgotten!" Yang placed her hand over her heart dramatically while sneaking a wink at Blake, who couldn't help but giggle.
"Yang Xiao Long, you're going to be the death of me." Tai shook his head.
"Come on, Blake, let's go get unpacked and settled in upstairs and then I'll give you a tour of the house." Yang glared at her father as she grabbed her girlfriend's hand, dragging her towards the stairs. Both girls grabbed their duffle bags as they headed up the steps.
"One rule, girls," Tai called after them, "no sex in the house! At least while anyone else is home!"
" DAD !"
Yang led Blake to the upper floor of the mostly square house. The hallway seemed to be more of a central room that connected rooms on this floor than the actual hall downstairs. She gestured to closed doors along the walls of the hallway.
“That’s my dad’s office, although he doesn’t use it as much anymore. Ruby’s bedroom is next to that, which is where Zwei will be a lot of the time.”
Blake noted that Ruby’s door literally had her name painted on in gorgeous red calligraphy. That should be fairly easy to remember.
Yang pointed at a blank wall with no door. “Behind that is the master bathroom. That can only be accessed from my dad’s room.” She gestured to a door on the next wall, which Blake assumed to be the door to Tai’s bedroom. “He’s usually the only one that uses it.”
She then pointed up to a trap door on the ceiling. “That’s the attic. There’s a drop-down half-staircase, half-ladder that comes from there.”
Blake nodded. “Do you ever go up there?”
“Not really. It’s mostly used for storage and we pretty much only go up there around the winter holidays to get decoration out,” Yang said as she shook her head.
“And this,” Yang announced as she stepped towards the last door, “is my room.”
She led Blake inside, tossing her bag onto the floor. It felt stiff, like people hadn't been moving around in there for a while. The only surface not covered in dust were the sheets on the queen sized bed that was pushed up against one of the walls. Yang had made her dad promise to change the sheets before they got home, so they had something fresh to sleep in.
"Home sweet home," Yang sighed, closing the door once Blake was in the room with her. "I'm sorry about Zwei, I should have thought to check in with you about dogs ahead of time." She pulled her backpack off, placing it on the floor near the door, Blake following suit.
"Yang," Blake said, placing her hand on Yang's shoulder, "I promise you, it's okay. I'll just need a bit to warm up to him, is all. He's much smaller than the dogs that hurt me."
"I don't think he could hurt a fly if he tried," Yang smirked. "He's the biggest softie I know."
"Debatable. You're a pretty big softie yourself." Blake planted a kiss on Yang's cheek, causing her to blush.
"I..." Yang was flustered. "Okay, I'll give you that one."
Blake smiled, pleased with herself and her ability to bring Yang to a complete stop. "Of course, I am always right after all."
"Mmhmm, sure." Yang shook her head, pulling away from Blake's hand and opening up one of the drawers in her dresser. It was empty. "You can unpack your clothes into here, if you'd like. It's better than living out of a bag for a week."
Blake nodded, placing her bag down on top of Yang's bed before opening it. "Your dad seems nice."
"Oh god. I'm so sorry about him." Yang's bag was lifted onto her bed too.
"It's fine," Blake giggled. "He only threatened my life, like, once."
"So far. Besides, his little rule, ugh ." Yang shook her head, pulling her clothes from her bag and stuffing them into a drawer next to the one she had opened for Blake.
"He's a dad, of course he'd make things awkward." Blake closed her drawer. "It's what dads do."
"I guess you're right there." Yang shook her head, placing her toiletries on top of the dresser, gesturing for Blake to follow suit. "I just didn't expect him to be that blunt."
"You are his daughter, after all."
Yang raised an eyebrow. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You are not exactly good at being subtle," Blake pointed out, smirking and nudging Yang’s side.
"I can be subtle," Yang pouted, crossing her arms.
"God, Yang, you are adorable . I can’t argue with someone that adorable." Blake leaned over, kissing Yang on the cheek again.
Yang's face flushed bright red, glancing between Blake and the bed. "Let's cuddle until dinner."
"Your dad will totally think we're having sex."
Yang brushed off Blake's statement, making a dismissive gesture with her hand. "We're going to get teased no matter what we do." She reached for her girlfriend, her arms wrapping around Blake's waist. "We could go back down there right this moment and he'd claim we tried for a quickie."
Blake glanced over her shoulder at the bed and then back at Yang. "Alright, just until dinner." The two collapsed backwards onto the bed in unison, Blake curling up against Yang's side. "How long does he usually take to make dinner anyways?"
Yang shrugged, playing with the ends of Blake's hair. "I don't know exactly when he started, but I'm sure he gave Ruby a timeframe. She'd be in deep shit if she came back after dinner was ready. We'll get a warning sign from her beforehand."
Blake nodded, nuzzling into Yang's neck. "How are you always so warm ?"
"It's my little secret." Yang winked, planting a kiss on Blake's forehead.
"I'm glad I'll have my own personal space heater this winter," Blake said with a chuckle, looking up at her girlfriend. "Don't think for a single second that I won't be mooching off of your excess body heat every second I can."
"I have plenty to go around." Yang closed her eyes as she pulled Blake closer to her.
Blake melted into Yang’s embrace, pressing her forehead into Yang's neck once more. She closed her own eyes, taking in the faint strawberry scent as it enveloped her.
For a few minutes, they lay like this, quiet and peaceful. Absorbed in each other, existing in each other's warmth. Yang wanted these few minutes to last forever, to never let Blake go.
It had only been a few weeks, but Yang couldn't help but feel like she l-.
" YANG !"
A door slammed shut downstairs.
Yang's eyes shot open, her train of thought interrupted.
Blake rose up. "Is that...?"
Yang nodded. "We better get down there before she bursts in here. I'd never hear the end of it."
Yang had barely hit the floor from walking down the stairs before she was nearly toppled over by the force of a bear hug from her younger sister. Blake stood a few steps above Yang, watching in stunned amusement as the much shorter girl nearly took Yang to the ground.
" Yaaaaang, I missed you so much!" Ruby exclaimed, still buried in her sister's arms.
"I missed you too, Rubes," Yang said with a smile, giving her a tight squeeze.
"I feel like I haven't seen you in forever !"
"We talked on Skype the other night, Ruby." Yang ruffled her younger sister's hair, earning a whine of protest from Ruby and causing her to pull out of the hug that she had tackled Yang with.
"Yeah, but that's not the same ." Ruby looked up as Blake walked down the remaining two steps. "Hi, Blake!" She gave Blake a hug as well, a much shorter and gentler one than the tackle she had given Yang.
Blake reciprocated the hug with a smile. "Hello, Ruby. It's nice to finally get to meet you in person."
"Come on girls, dinner is ready," Tai called from the kitchen. "We can all catch up over tuna casserole."
"You made Mom's tuna casserole?" Ruby asked, silver eyes growing wide.
"Of course, it's a special occasion, after all. Now get in here and come make your plates."
It didn't take another word to get Ruby to rush into the kitchen at the same speed she had tackled Yang with.
Blake glanced at Yang, who was rocking back and forth on the heels of her feet and pretending to look away inconspicuously with a smirk on her face. "You told him I like seafood, didn't you?" she whispered to Yang.
"You can't prove anything," Yang whispered back, before following her sister into the kitchen.
"Yang Xiao Long," Blake muttered under her breath, shaking her head as she followed her girlfriend, "you are truly something else."
Yang, Blake, Tai, and Ruby have a family dinner. Blake gets her first real exposure to Zwei, and Yang comforts her after the fact.
Blake couldn't exactly remember the last time she'd had a family dinner. She had to imagine it was before her parents passed away, but it was possible that it had happened at least once in a foster home at some point in time. She couldn't remember. She often tried hard to forget.
This family dinner, on the other hand, she was certain it was unlike any family dinner she'd ever potentially had before, or any family dinner she'd ever dreamed about.
The dining room table was round, with only four chairs. Blake figured that her chair was typically saved for Qrow, on the occasions that he came to visit. Perhaps it was Penny's chair at times, when they came over to spend time with Ruby. But today, it was Blake's and the others at the table made her feel like she'd been there at every dinner ever eaten at this table.
The dinner was loud, silverware clinking together, bowls being picked up and put down, and the chatter of the ever talkative family. Ruby was rambling about her date with Penny while Yang tucked in on a plate full of tuna casserole, roasted carrots, caesar salad, and fresh biscuits. Blake couldn't remember how long it had been since she'd had a meal this good. She'd been living on dining hall food for months and before that, she'd rarely seen home cooked meals in the group home. She remembered the way Ruby reacted earlier, when Tai mentioned the tuna casserole. Their mother's tuna casserole.
As Blake swallowed another bite, she silently thanked her girlfriend's mother for this incredible casserole. She'd have to try and get Yang to give her the recipe sometime.
"Will we get to see Penny this week, Ruby?" Yang asked, her voice pulling Blake out of her thoughts.
Ruby shook her head. "No, they're going up North to visit their mother for Thanksgiving. They leave after school on Tuesday." There was a certain solemn tone to her voice.
"That's okay, Rubes! We can introduce Blake to Penny another time."
Ruby nodded excitedly, a huge grin on her face. "Yeah, of course!"
"Ruby, if you don't start eating now, your casserole is going to get cold," Tai commented, causing his younger daughter's eyes to go wide as she dove into her meal. He let out a small chuckle. "So, Yang, Blake, how is school going?"
Yang swallowed another bite before speaking. "Really good!"
Blake nodded. "Yes, it's going well."
"I'm even doing well in Italian," Yang added. "Blake's been helping me."
Tai smiled at Blake. "You know Italian?"
"A little bit," Blake admitted, flushing a little. "My parents used to speak it around the house when I was a little kid. They died before too much of it really stuck, but I always tried to kinda keep up with knowing at least a little bit of it."
"Ah, I see." Tai leaned in a little closer, dropping his voice to an easy to overhear whisper. "Thanks for helping Yang out, it baffles me that she even manages to speak English sometimes."
" HEY !"
Blake and Ruby burst into a fit of giggles as they watched Yang's face grow redder and redder.
"You're an English major, correct?" Tai asked once Blake and Ruby had settled down a bit.
"Yes, with a concentration in creative writing."
"Are you in any classes for your major this semester, or just gen eds?"
"I'm in an intro to creative writing class this semester, but otherwise just all gen eds."
"Oh, interesting!" Tai nodded. "Do you like the class?"
Blake nodded furiously. "Absolutely! It's got some rather, er, interesting students, but the content is good."
Tai let out a small chuckle. "Ah, college freshmen. Peak oddities at that age."
"You aren't wrong there," Yang smirked. "Our friends are pretty prime examples of that."
"Oh?" Tai leaned forward in his chair. "I trust you two are keeping good company?"
" Very good company," Blake affirmed with a laugh.
"Well," Yang began, "there's Sun, Neptune, Coco, Velvet, Nora, and Ren from our main friend group, although Nora and Ren don't interact too much with the rest of them. Nora and Ren are our neighbors, on either side of us. They're a couple too and we eat in the dining hall with them a lot. Nora rooms with Pyrrha and Ren rooms with Jaune. We eat meals with all four of them sometimes, but we don't talk to Pyrrha and Jaune too much. They have their own circles they run with."
"Neptune? As in Neptune Vasilias?" Tai asked.
"Glad to see you listen," Yang huffed, shaking her head.
Blake rolled her eyes at Yang with a smirk, before answering Tai's question. "Yes, that Neptune. He dates Sun, who I met in my creative writing class. We all became friends by extension."
"What do they major in?" Ruby asked between bites of salad.
"Sun is undeclared and Neptune is a sports management major," Blake replied.
" Typical ," Tai laughed. "What about the others, Nora and Ren? What do they major in?"
"Nora is an electrical engineering major, while Ren studies animation. And the last two, Coco and Velvet, they date too. Coco studies fashion and design and Velvet is a computer science and engineering major." Yang counted off their friends on her fingers. "That's the whole group."
"So four sets of couples, huh?" Tai chuckled. "Can't say I've ever seen that one before."
Ruby groaned. " Dad , I don't want to hear about your college dating habits."
"Course you don't, Rubes." Tai reached over, Ruby only narrowly dodging his attempts to ruffle her hair. "Once you go down that rabbit hole, you'll never be able to forget it."
" Ewwww ." Ruby stuck her tongue out at her father, who laughed in response.
"Okay, change of subject before Dad gets too gross on us." Yang put her fork down. "How's ol' Patch High, Rubes?"
"It's high school," Ruby sighed, "it doesn't exactly get interesting ." She began counting on her fingers as she listed things. "I go to class, people avoid me. I sit at lunch with Penny, people avoid me. I go to track practice, people don't avoid me as much there, but they still try to. It's the same old stuff."
"What about the GSA? How's that doing?" Yang asked.
"Well, once everyone moved past the fact that you picked me to be the new co-president and they got over the whole sibling thing," Ruby flashed a quick glare at her sister, "things got good again. We officially passed the motion to rename the club to the Gender Sexuality Alliance!"
"Congrats, Sis!" Yang's smile stretched a mile wide. "I still can't believe they kept refusing my requests for years."
" Sometimes ," Ruby smirked, "you have to learn to use pity to your advantage."
"You told Yang and Blake about your plans for next year, right?" Tai asked.
"Yeah, I told them! Graduating early with conditional acceptance to Beacon!" she announced, beaming.
"That's my little sister," Yang cooed as she smiled back. "Smart as all hell."
" Language , Yang."
"Sorry, Dad." Yang smiled sheepishly. "I'm just excited!"
"Aren't we all, firecracker, aren't we all..." Tai sighed.
"If Ruby gets into Beacon, what are you going to do, Dad?" Yang asked.
Tai placed his fork down. "I've been talking to Qrow. He seems to be convinced he can get me a job with the Beacon University police force."
"He got back to you?" Ruby asked excitedly.
"Yes, just this morning. The chief seems to be on board with the idea. It's a bit less mundane than Patch's police force, but it's not as intense as back when we worked in the capital. Once Ruby's accepted to Beacon, I put in my two weeks and we sell the house. We'll be moving up to Qrow's sometime during the summer."
"All of us are gonna fit into Uncle Qrow's little house?" Yang asked, raising an eyebrow.
"God, no!" Tai let out a long laugh. "Qrow's moving into a bigger place before we move up there too. We'll be following a couple weeks behind him."
"Oh, that's so exciting !" Ruby clapped her hands together, a huge smile on her face. "We're going to be a whole family again! You, Uncle Qrow, Yang, me, Zwei... and Blake!"
Blake's eyes grew wide with shock. "I..." she stammered, "I don't want to intrude."
"Nonsense," Tai shook his head. "You're always welcome here."
A small smile formed on Blake's face. "Thank you."
Perhaps she could get used to the concept of these family dinners after all.
"Are you sure you're okay with doing this tonight?"
Blake looked at Yang, who was sitting cross legged on the couch next to her. She nodded. "Yes, I'm sure."
Yang placed her hand on Blake's knee, giving a small smile and a soft nod. She looked over her shoulder, towards the stairs. "Okay Ruby, bring him down!"
Blake felt her chest clench when she heard the barking from upstairs. He was on a leash, under Ruby's control. He wasn't dangerous. He just wanted to be friends. She would be okay.
She took a deep breath as she watched Ruby emerge at the top of the stairs. Zwei was in her arms and attached to a leash that was firmly wrapped around her wrist. He was preoccupied by a squeaky toy that was sticking out of the pocket of her sweatpants, struggling against Ruby's grasp to get it.
"Zwei, behave ," she chided, clutching him tighter to her chest as she walked down the stairs.
"Zwei will be Zwei," Yang laughed. "He's always been food and toy motivated, more than anything else. Even seeing one of his loving owners for the first time in months ." She huffed, crossing her arms, causing Blake to smile.
She couldn't help it, pouting Yang was too damn cute .
"Okay, I'm going to put him down now, but I’ll still have him by his leash," Ruby started explaining, standing at the opposite side of the living room as Yang and Blake. "You can watch how he acts while I play with him. I'll stay where I am for now, but if he wants to explore and you're okay with it, I'll walk around with him still on the leash. And if, at any time, you get too uncomfortable, just let me know and I'll scoop him back up right away, okay?"
Blake nodded. "That sounds good."
Ruby placed the corgi down on the ground, who immediately tried to jump back up and get the toy. She shook her head at him, sighing. She reached into her pocket with her free hand, grabbing the toy and holding it above him. "Zwei, sit."
Blake watched his back legs collapse and his butt immediately hit the ground. He tilted his head, ears turned straight forward towards Ruby, as he panted.
"Lie down," Ruby commanded and Zwei obliged. He slid down, his front legs touching the ground. She crouched down next to him, still holding the toy above his head as he watched with wide eyes. "Wait... wait..." She paused a few more seconds before handing him the toy and scratching between his ears. "Good boy!"
Zwei grabbed the toy with his mouth, squeaking it rapidly. He rolled over on his back, biting at it and trying to paw at it, only succeeding occasionally at the latter. He looked like a bit of a baby to Blake. Harmless, happy. Enjoying himself.
The three girls and the dog stayed like that for a while, Blake and Yang watching as Ruby played with the small dog on the other side of the room. He had little interest in Blake, or even Yang. He was solely interested in his toy and Ruby, who was actively engaging him with the toy.
After about ten minutes of Blake watching Zwei and smiling when he gave off random small barks or accidentally threw his toy into the air and got confused, Ruby spoke again.
"Do you think you're ready for him to explore?"
"I think so," Blake nodded. She felt a nudge from Yang, who was offering her a hand to hold. Blake took it, squeezing it for a moment before simply holding it.
"Zwei," Ruby called, getting his attention away from the toy long enough for her to put it back in her pocket. "Let's wander around a little bit, buddy."
Zwei sniffed at her legs for a moment, smelling the toy stuffed in her pocket. He gave up after a few moments once he realized she was making no attempt to take it back out. He sniffed the air and caught onto a scent he had been ignoring. He looked directly at Blake, who tensed up slightly.
Yang squeezed her hand. "He's just noticed you, is all. He might just come over and smell you, or he'll ignore you."
"Okay." Blake took a deep breath, squeezing Yang's hand back. She tried to focus her brain on the pressure she was putting on Yang's hand to distract herself from the dog that was trotting towards her, Ruby less than a full step behind him, leash still in hand.
He jumped up onto the couch next to Blake, wiggling his butt in an attempt to wag his stubby tail as he sniffed the cushion next to her. Blake watched him carefully, consistently squeezing Yang's hand, as he inched his way closer towards her. He lifted up his head when he got to her leg, sniffing it once. He jumped up into her lap, looking at her, and giving a soft boof !
Blake froze, startled by the sudden presence of a dog in her lap, but she tried to settle back down quickly. He was kinda cute, but she didn’t expect him to just walk up to her and do that so quickly.
"I, uh, think I've had enough for today."
"Okay!" Ruby exclaimed, quickly scooping Zwei out of Blake's lap.
"Are you okay?" Yang asked softly, placing her free hand on Blake's knee.
Blake nodded, taking a deep breath. "Yes, I'm okay. I know my limits for anxiety and that was pushing it a little."
Yang released Blake's hand, wrapping her arm around Blake's shoulders, allowing Blake to lean into her. "You did good, Blake. You did good."
Blake nodded, leaning her head on Yang's shoulder. Her heart rate was still fast, but she would be okay.
Yang sat on her bed, cross-legged, playing on her phone as she waited for Blake to return from the bathroom. The day had finally wound down and the two were getting ready for bed. Yang was exhausted from the travel and the events of the evening; she could only imagine that Blake felt the same.
She heard the door open and looked up to see Blake emerging, toothbrush in hand, dressed entirely in her pajamas.
"So, that sign in the bathroom, huh?" Blake asked with a smirk.
"What sig- ohhh ..." Yang burst out laughing, remembering the sign Blake was talking about. It read, Dad, Ruby, take your goddamn meds. Yang, make sure to ask Dad and Ruby if they read the sign and took their damn meds . "Yeah, I had to install that a couple years ago after several days when both of them forgot their medication."
Blake placed her toothbrush on the dresser with her other toiletries before joining Yang on the bed. "Why was there a scratched out part at the bottom?"
"Dad wasn't too keen on the last part I had written on there. As if a reminder for me to keep being a studmuffin wasn't perfect for a bathroom sign," Yang explained with a smirk.
Blake couldn't control her laughter once the word studmuffin left Yang's mouth. Yang rolled her eyes and smiled at her girlfriend's outburst of laughter, before just deciding to grab her by the waist, pulling her down onto the bed with her. Blake squeaked, not expecting the sudden movement, but smiled once she realized she was now laying next to Yang. She snuggled closer, putting her forehead against Yang's. "You're a dork."
Yang flashed a large smirk. "You know it." She paused for a moment before speaking again. "I hope you liked your first day in Patch."
"I did. Your family seems really cool, even if your dad is a little... overprotective at times."
"Ugh, I'm still sorry about that," Yang sighed, shaking her head. "He acts all tough and stuff, but he's just really a big softie with an even bigger heart."
"I could tell, with the way he talked to you and Ruby about stuff at dinner. And the fact that he made tuna casserole because you told him I like seafood."
"That one may have been a lot more me than him, but you know, he still did it, sooo ..."
Blake rolled her eyes with a smile and lifted her head up slightly, giving Yang a gentle kiss on the forehead. "Dork."
Yang's cheeks flushed pink at the touch of Blake's lips as she found herself at a loss for words.
Blake pushed a lock of hair out of Yang's face before she spoke again. "I promise you, it's okay. Your dad, I mean. And your dog. You don't have to keep apologizing about them."
Blake cut her off with a kiss, this time on the lips. She pulled away after a moment. "Nope. No more."
"Well, if it means you cut me off with kisses..."
"Yang, there are far better ways to get me to kiss you."
"Oh, really? Like how?"
"Like this ."
Yang was a little less stunned this time when Blake's lips met hers. Her arms still firmly planted around Blake's waist, she pulled Blake closer to her, allowing them to be flush against each other.
"You know," Blake murmured as she pulled back slightly, "if all week is going to be cuddling and kissing, I might have to come with you on school breaks more often."
"Well, it isn't going to just be all loafing around the house," Yang admitted. "I do have some stuff planned for this week."
"Oh? Like what?"
Yang tilted her head to the side, looking up into the air as she talked. "Well, I wanted to take you on a couple cute dates around town tomorrow and Tuesday and show you around all of my favorite places. Ruby has a half day on Wednesday, so we're taking her out to lunch to this one diner in town after she gets out. Her and I have been doing that for years, since I was in middle school. Thursday is Thanksgiving, of course, so we'll be going out to the high school football game with Ruby in the morning, which is another family tradition of ours. When we come back, Uncle Qrow will be here and join us for Thanksgiving dinner. Friday we usually all hang around and play video games and board games as a family, Uncle Qrow included. Saturday he goes back up and Dad wants to take the three of us out to a nice dinner a couple towns over. Sunday we head back to Beacon."
"Wow, this is going to be quite a week."
"I know," Yang said with a smirk, "I have it all planned out nicely."
"As long as there's lots of time for cuddles in between..." Blake whispered thoughtfully, leaning her forehead back against Yang's.
"Oh, trust me, we've got plenty of time for that," Yang responded with a wink.
"Good," Blake said as she brushed her nose against Yang's.
"But for tonight," Yang sighed, "I think it's time for us to head to sleep."
" Nooo ," Blake grumbled, quickly burying her face in Yang's neck. "I don't wanna!"
"If you don't get up so I can put the blanket over us, I'm going to have to tickle you..."
Blake shot up in an instant, sitting up on the bed again. "Okay, okay, You got me."
Yang followed suit, sitting up and grabbing the blankets that they had been laying on. She pulled them over herself as she laid back down on her back, patting the spot next to her. Blake slipped in under the blankets next to Yang, resting her head on her girlfriend's chest and nuzzling close.
"You're evil, you know," Blake grumbled.
"I don't see you shying away from my cuddles, though."
"It's not my fault you're an unstoppable force of warmth."
Yang smirked, giving Blake a gentle kiss on the top of her head. "You gotta admit, the blankets make it comfier."
Blake was quiet for a moment before she sighed. "Stop being right."
A small laugh escaped Yang's lips. "Impossible."
"Oh, hush," Blake whispered, leaning up for a moment and planting another kiss on Yang's lips before pulling away again. "Goodnight, Yang."
"Night, Blake. Sleep well."
Blake didn't have to worry about that. She always slept well when she was this close to Yang.
It's the day before Thanksgiving, and the girls have a fun afternoon planned. After getting Ruby from school, they head to a diner, where they have a particularly interesting lunch conversation.
Blake had to admit that this week was going pretty great so far. Yang had taken her on two dates over the last two days, one a pizza date at a place that Yang frequented at least once a week during high school and the other a nice picnic in a grassy clearing in the woods not far from her house. They'd both been cute, but rather standard, as far as dates went. That wasn't to say that Blake didn't like them, if anything she enjoyed the simplicity of this break.
Now it was Wednesday and Blake was sitting with Yang in her car outside of Patch High School, waiting for Ruby to get out of class. It was a half day for Ruby and she was supposed to be let out at about noon. However, much to Blake's dismay, Yang had insisted that they get there at 11:30 a.m, at the latest. Of course, once Blake saw how ridiculously long the lines of parents coming to pick up their kids were on this half day, Blake understood why Yang had insisted on getting there so early.
"Do you see that window, on the top floor, two to the left from the right edge?" Yang asked, pulling Blake out of her thoughts.
Blake scanned the top row of windows on the building. "The one with the turkey stickers in the window?"
"Yep! That was my 10th grade English classroom. I led a revolution in there when we did a dramatic reading of Romeo and Juliet, because the teacher wouldn't let me play Romeo."
Blake smirked. "How exactly did that go down?"
"It was the honors class and the honors English classes didn't have many boys in them," Yang said with a shrug. "There was only one boy and he didn't want to be Romeo, so I volunteered for it. Old homophobic pig of a teacher wouldn't let me at first, but I started arguing with him and before I knew it, the whole class was on my side. The kid who he assigned Romeo refused to read and I read every time instead. I got detention every day for a week, but the teacher eventually gave up." Yang smiled fondly at the memory. " Totally worth it."
"Detention, huh? How often did you land yourself in there?"
Yang went quiet for a moment. "Probably far too often for my own good."
"I can see why your father has concerns about the company you keep," Blake said with a smirk.
" Hey ! I was a good kid!"
"Key word being was ."
" Blakeeee ," Yang groaned, leaning her head dramatically over towards Blake.
"I'm kidding ," Blake responded, planting a kiss on the top of Yang's head. "Of course you're still a good person."
Yang sat back up straight before continuing, "I just liked to have fun and make people laugh from time to time. Unfortunately, the teachers usually weren't the ones laughing. They all knew I wasn't a bad kid though. A little odd, but not bad. Plus, I still did get into Beacon after all."
"You know, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some bribery involved on your part there."
Yang huffed, crossing her arms. "I did no such thing!"
" Kidding , Yang. I'm kidding ."
"I know," she laughed. "I like to tease back sometimes too. Otherwise, where's the fun in that?"
Blake smirked deviously. "Oh yeah, you are pretty fun to tease."
Yang's face flushed bright red. "Not like that!"
"Oh, exactly like that."
"We won't be alone again until Sunday."
"Oh I know ."
"You are the worst , Blake Belladonna."
"No, I'm not."
"No, you aren't."
"Good," Blake said with a smile, leaning across the gap and giving Yang a short kiss. "Can't be doing that for too long, your sister will be coming out soon."
Yang slumped back in her seat, feeling a bit defeated. "You’re so getting it when we get back to Beacon."
"I get to have plenty of fun before that, don't you worry."
Yang groaned, dropping her head against the top of the wheel and leaving a rather devious looking Blake smirking in her passenger seat. She wasn't wrong. Yang knew Blake was going to have the time of her life teasing the hell out of her over the next couple days and Yang might just actually die before this week was over.
When the last bell of the day finally rang, Ruby was out of her seat in under a second, heading for the door to the classroom. She'd always been told she was fast, but it was usually in the context of sports or actual sprinting. People tended not to realize how quick she was in her everyday movements unless they spent a ton of time around her and paid attention to her.
That list was a whole two people long: Yang and Penny. Some days the fact that the list was so short upset Ruby, but most days, it was okay. Even if one of those people was her sister and the other her partner, she knew that they were both the greatest friends Ruby could ever ask for.
Ruby burst out the front doors of the school, one of the first kids to leave the building. Her eyes scanned the lines of cars, looking for her sister's car. Once she spotted it, she made a direct beeline towards it, hoping to get out of here fast enough to avoid all the other students and their parents.
Yang saw her approaching and waved, pressing a button in the door to unlock the backseat. Ruby opened the rear passenger side door, tossing in her backpack before climbing into the seat behind Blake.
"Hi," Ruby said, buckling her seatbelt. "Let's get out of here before the parents start getting crazy."
Yang knew well enough to get going as quickly as possible, moving out of the line of parked cars. "So, how was school?" she asked her younger sister as she drove towards the exit of the high school campus.
" Boring ," Ruby groaned. "Typical half day and all that. Penny wasn't there, so I didn't have anyone to talk to all day. At least I got to text them for most of the day without any of the teachers caring about me having my phone out."
"That was the best part of half days," Yang said as she looked into the rear view mirror, allowing Ruby to catch the twinkle in her eye, "being able to be on your phone all day and getting away with it."
"Especially before a holiday," Blake agreed. She earned a look from both of the sisters. "What? High schoolers are the same everywhere , regardless of if the school is urban or rural."
Yang shrugged. "Yeah, guess I didn't really think of it like that."
"I'm just glad today's over and it's finally Thanksgiving break!" Ruby exclaimed, slumping into her seat.
"Just wait till next year and you'll be getting a full week off," Yang responded with a smirk.
"Oh, I can't wait! It'll be weird not being in Patch, though."
"You'll get used to it, leaving where you grew up for the first time," Blake said with a shrug. "It's scary, but you learn to find your comfort zone in a new place."
"You moved from the capital, right?" Ruby asked.
Blake nodded. "I moved around a lot in the capital, but only once or twice did I ever end up outside of the city until college. Took me a couple weeks, but I found where I was comfortable." Blake glanced over at Yang, her thoughts briefly lingering on the role Yang had played in helping her get to that point.
"I sure hope the same will go for me too," Ruby said with a sigh that drew Blake back out of her thoughts.
"Sure it will, Rubes," Yang assured her. "Beacon is way different from Patch, in terms of the people. You'll find your friend group, don't worry. That's something for much later, though. Right now, it's time to be happy! It's the long weekend and we're headed to the Oak!"
Ruby smiled from ear to ear. "Yeah we are!"
"The Oak?" Blake asked, raising an eyebrow.
"It's the nickname of the diner I told you about," Yang explained. "Its full name is the Oakland Family Diner, but everyone just calls it the Oak."
"Ah, okay. How far away is it?"
Yang held up a single finger, waiting for a light to turn green. Once she was allowed to, she turned the corner and moved her finger to point at the plaza up the street they were headed down. "Right there!"
"Thank goodness, I'm starving !" Ruby exclaimed, her stomach letting out a huge growl to emphasize her point. Both Blake and Yang laughed at the extended sound of Ruby's stomach, which Ruby took in stride. "See, even my stomach agrees! It's time for the Xiao Long-Rose tradition of the pre-Thanksgiving meal!"
The Oakland Family Diner was a quaint place in one of the few plazas in downtown Patch. It was a staple of Patch culture, Yang thought, especially for high schoolers. Most sports teams had meals at the Oak after important games and there were always huge crowds after school concerts and plays. There was also the typical crowds on the last day of school and on the day before winter break.
For whatever reason, however, the Oak did not draw the crowds of high school students on the day before Thanksgiving. Yang had never fully been able to figure out why, but she was certainly okay with it. Less people on that day meant that Yang could keep up the pre-Thanksgiving tradition that she'd established with Ruby all those years ago.
Yang could only wonder what they were going to do next year, when they all lived closer to Beacon. She would gladly drive Ruby down to Patch on the day before Thanksgiving just to go to the Oak if they couldn't find a suitable replacement near Beacon. She was pretty sure they'd manage to find something good, though.
"So," Blake said, pulling Yang out of her thoughts, "Ruby. I've been dying to ask this since I got to Patch."
Ruby placed down her glass of chocolate milk, suspiciously raising an eyebrow. "Oh?"
Yang could see the flash of fear in her sister's eyes, as if Blake might know something that no one had fully addressed. She didn't think Blake would mention anything without talking to Yang first, but her heart was racing a little bit all the same.
"Do you have any embarrassing stories about Yang growing up?" Blake asked with a mischievous, giddy smile.
Ruby burst out laughing, a look of relief on her face. "Oh, you can bet on that. I have so many stories about Yang."
Yang extended her leg under the table, giving her younger sister a gentle kick. "I swear, Ruby..."
"No, no, I want to hear them!" Blake exclaimed, smirking. "Do tell, Ruby."
"Well," Ruby began with another giggle, trying to avoid the daggers Yang was glaring at her, "one time, when we were little, Yang tried to bring Zwei to school."
Yang let out a low laugh. "Okay, that one's a good one."
"You brought a dog to school?" Blake asked with raised eyebrows.
"Yep! Nearly got away with it too. I didn't get caught until last period."
"Last period? How old were you?"
Yang thought for a moment before smiling sheepishly. "I, uh, plead the fifth?"
"Thirteen," Ruby said with a smirk.
" Thirteen ? You brought a dog to school when you were thirteen ?" Blake asked, half amused, half shocked.
Yang crossed her arms and pouted. "Ruby was having a hard time adjusting to middle school, okay? I snuck Zwei into my backpack so he could pop out on the bus and make her happy. I was in 8th grade and dumb and I didn't exactly think it through beyond that. I had to hide a dog all day."
"I'm a little amazed you nearly made it the whole day, honestly." Blake shook her head and sighed. "I can imagine you doing something like that even now, honestly."
"Oh, for sure," Ruby laughed. "Yang hasn't changed that much, especially the dumb part."
" Hey !"
"I'm kidding, I'm kidding," Ruby said as she held her hands up in defense. "Yang's a little less dumb now, maybe just stupid."
" Ruby !" Yang tried to kick her sister under the table, but all her foot connected with was the bottom of the booth, as Ruby was now sitting cross-legged. "Oww," Yang groaned.
Ruby stuck out her tongue. "Point proven."
Blake placed a hand on Yang's shoulder. "I asked your sister for embarrassing stories about you, not for you to make new ones in the middle of the diner."
Yang smirked and rolled her eyes, rubbing her foot with one hand. "Yeah, yeah. Keep 'em coming, Rubes, I see no escape here."
"We were homeschooled for a couple years, before our Mom died," Ruby began again, "and we used to go on these like, field trips, with a bunch of other kids who were also homeschooled in the area. Now, Blake, I want you to imagine the most annoying, spoiled kid on the planet."
"Okay, yeah. I'm imagining them."
"Well, that kid always happened to join us on our field trips and Yang and I hated him," Ruby hissed. "Even though we complained to our parents about him, they still made us go. Socialization with other children and all that. However, Yang came up with this little game to put this kid back in his place."
Blake rose an eyebrow at Yang, who was innocently sipping her drink, avoiding eye contact with her girlfriend and her sister.
"What did you do?" She ended up asking, looking back and forth between the two sisters.
"I told him that only the best kids were allowed to touch the really expensive stuff," explained Yang and Blake let out a small groan. "So we took turns touching paintings, delicate tapestries, mummy remains, and all that jazz without being caught by our parents."
"Which was all fun and games,” Ruby added, before wincing at the memory. “Until the time Yang did get caught and got us all kicked out of the science museum because she licked the rock exhibit."
"That bratty little shit was doing it too!" Yang threw her hands up in defence.
Blake burst into a fit of giggles. "Dork," she chided affectionately.
"Oh and then there was the time in high school when she got two weeks worth of detention for rollerblading through the hallways in a chicken costume ."
"Yang, why ?" Blake asked flatly.
"You want the real reason or what I told the principal?"
Blake's eyes narrowed. "The real reason."
"Well," Yang began, giving Ruby a quick glance, "you know how at high schools, whenever there's drama, it's all people talk about until there's new drama?"
"Well, Ruby was the center of attention for some rather negative drama and I decided that the best way to get the attention off her was to do something really stupid and get the whole school talking about that instead."
"I mean," Ruby shrugged, "it worked for a bit. It at least drew the negative part of the attention away. No one's really forgotten, people just don't say anything about it anymore. Or to me in general, really."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Blake said softly. "I was an outcast for most of high school too. You have Penny at least, right?"
Ruby nodded. "And some of the kids at the GSA will talk to me sometimes. It's high school. It sucks. But there's life after that, you know?"
"A girl wise beyond her years," Yang said before she slurped down the last bits of her near empty drink.
" Yang , we're in public ," Ruby groaned.
"What? I wanted all of my drink."
Blake rolled her eyes and smirked. "You know, most of these so-called 'embarrassing' stories seem to mostly revolve around Yang trying to be a good sister."
Ruby thought for a moment. "Huh, I guess you're right. I never really put that together."
Yang smirked, leaning back into her seat. "Yep, that's me! Older sister Yang, to the rescue!"
"You never put that together either, did you?" Blake asked with a raised eyebrow.
Yang's gaze dropped. "No."
"That's what I thought."
"Ladies," the waitress interrupted, plates of food in hand. "I have a garbage burger?"
Yang raised her hand. "Right here."
"Over here," Blake called out.
"And lastly, the Oakland Burger."
Ruby nodded as the waitress put the last plate down in front of her.
"Enjoy!" she said as she whisked away Yang’s empty glass and moved to another table.
"I still can't believe you got something called the garbage burger ," Blake said with a sigh as she looked at Yang's huge, messy burger.
"It's just a name! It just has everything on it! Like, everything you could ever want on a burger."
Blake shook her head. "I know, I know. Still doesn't make the concept any less gross."
" Listen , I gotta get some good burgers in before we go back to Beacon. You know how gross those blended burgers are!"
"What are blended burgers?" Ruby asked.
"Devil spawn," Yang grumbled, before biting into her burger.
Blake rolled her eyes. "They're these burgers that are like, 40% beef, 60% mushroom."
" What ," Ruby said, deadpan.
Yang quickly swallowed her bite. "I told you! Devil spawn!"
"They save money and water and are better for the environment," Blake said with a shrug.
Yang put a hand up over her mouth, blocking Blake from seeing her lips, and whispered very loudly, "Blake doesn't really like red meat."
Ruby gasped, dramatically putting a hand over her heart in feigned offense. "Yang, you must break up with her immediately ."
"Ha ha ." Blake shook her head with a smile.
"Those aren't even burgers at that point! Just mushroom monstrosities!" Ruby exclaimed, exasperated, as she looked at her own burger in shock.
"Better stock up while you still can," Yang said, raising her burger back up to her mouth.
"You know it!" Ruby picked up her own burger, taking a large bite out of it.
The table turned silent as the three girls ate, with only occasional bursts of bickering from the two sisters. Blake joined in once or twice, taking Ruby's side and teasing Yang.
She had to admit, it was incredibly easy for her to fit into Yang's family dynamic. Blake had been exposed to plenty of different dynamics over the years and had never quite found her place in families with other kids her age. Yang, of course, had made things different. Yang made sure she felt welcome and accommodated and that whatever needs she had were met.
Yang had made sure that Tai knew Blake liked tuna. Yang had made sure Blake got invited to the annual tradition of pre-Thanksgiving meal at the Oak. Yang had planned the last two days to be filled with adorable dates and family bonding time as well. Yang had made sure Blake was comfortable on the occasions that she was exposed to Zwei, which she was getting a lot better at.
Yang was doing everything perfectly, and Blake was very happy.
It's Thanksgiving Day, and the girls are at the local high school football game, where they run into someone who is a very familiar face for all three of them.
The Thanksgiving Day football game between the Patch High School Wolves and their rivals, the St. Paul's Prep School Friars, was well underway.
They had gotten there a little late, of course, showing up about halfway through the first quarter. All three girls had woken up late and struggled in taking turns for the bathroom. They weren't in a huge rush and still made it in with plenty of time to get good seats to settle into and enjoy the game.
Blake spent the remainder of the first quarter looking around the stadium and observing it. It felt rather large for a high school football stadium, but Blake knew better than to question the power of sports in a small town. She'd done some readings on how high school sports often dominated small town culture for one of her AP classes back in high school. She quickly realized that Patch was no exception to that trend.
She noted how tall the bleachers were. They were a massive concrete structure, built with more concrete than probably all of the very few sidewalks in the town. The bleachers were topped with metal benches, just as she had seen in other stadiums. There were no bleachers on the opposite side of the field. It seemed that both the home and away teams sat on one side, which Blake had to note was a bit odd . It made sense, however, when she took in the surrounding area. It seemed that the local high school was built next to more of the rather tall cliffs that Yang's house sat upon. They were nowhere near as close to the edge as they were at Yang's house, but the view of the ocean here was outstanding.
A huge gust of wind blew in from the ocean, pulling Blake's thoughts from the landscape to the temperature. It was rather cold, she noted, even for Thanksgiving Day. Perhaps it was because it was so early in the morning, but the air around them was bitter and crisp. All three girls had bundled up in warm winter clothing. Blake had borrowed one of Yang's jackets, the only coat she had brought was hardly warm enough for this weather. It wasn't like Blake could complain, sitting in a larger, fluffier jacket that smelled like Yang. Plus, she was sitting up against her, gravitating towards the endless body heat Yang provided.
Her attention was finally brought back to the actual game when the ball went soaring through the air. She glanced at the scoreboard - the time noted that the second quarter had just begun.
"Looks like Patch is gonna beat St. Paul's this year," Yang said with a smile, nudging Blake’s side. "The Thanksgiving Game is always a huge fight."
"I'll be honest, I have no idea what's going on," Blake admitted, biting her lower lip.
"Have you never been to a football game before?" Ruby asked from the Yang’s other side.
Blake shook her head. "I wasn't interested in sports in high school. I was too busy burying myself in books and AP classes."
"Of course you were," Yang said with a smirk.
Blake rolled her eyes with a smile. "I'm more surprised you thought I would know what's going on."
"Well, okay, I'll try and give you a brief run down." Yang leaned closer to Blake and pointed down at the field. "What they just did is a kick-off. They do that at the start of every quarter and after every touchdown. One team kicks off and the other team gets the ball. The other team has to run it to the other end of the field. If they make it to the end zone, where the logos are, then they score a touchdown and get six points. After a touchdown, the team that scored gets the chance to get a field goal, which is where they kick it in between the goal posts for an additional point. They can do some other stuff that are worth extra points, like safeties and stuff, instead of a field goal, but it's not that important for the basic rules of the game. We might see one later in the game if it gets close, but I don't think we will."
"Okay," Blake said with a nod. "What are the downs? Like, first down, second down, all that?"
"So, when a team has the ball, they have four chances, or downs, to make it ten yards with the ball. See that guy over there, with the orange target on a stick?" Yang pointed at someone on the side of the field. Blake squinted before nodding. "That's where the ball starts. There's a second guy with an orange target, ten yards away, and they have to make it past that target with the ball."
"What happens if they don't make it to the second target?"
"If the person with the ball gets tackled before making it ten yards, they move onto the next down. If they go through all four downs without making it to the second target, the other team gets the ball."
"Is there anything else that would make the other team get the ball?"
Yang nodded. "If the person holding the ball drops the ball, it's called a fumble and the other team gets the ball."
"Makes sense. What about when they throw the ball?"
"The quarterback throws the ball, usually at the start of a play, and if someone on his team catches it, they run with it. If someone on the other team catches it or no one catches it, the ball goes to the other team."
"Okay, I think I got it." Blake looked at Yang and smiled. "Thank you."
"Of course!" Yang smiled back. "I'm glad you mentioned it now, instead of way later in the game. It's really boring if you don't really know what's going on."
"OH! GOGOGOGOGOGO !!" Ruby yelled, getting up out of her seat.
Someone in a Patch High School uniform was booking it across the field with the ball. It didn't look like anyone on the other team was going to catch up to him.
Yang got up too, yelling along with her sister and the rest of the crowd on this side of the field. The player ran across the end zone and scored, for which even Blake got up and cheered.
"TOUCHDOWN for the Wolves!" a voice boomed over the loudspeaker as the crowd erupted into even louder cheers.
Okay, maybe Blake could see what small towns found so interesting about high school sports teams. There was such a deep sense of pride and accomplishment among the people that sat on the home half of the bleachers. Perhaps sports weren't really her thing, but it was hard to not get into it when people reacted like that.
And if Patch winning made Yang keep smiling the way she was, Blake knew it would be impossible for her to not get into this game.
Halftime arrived and the three girls watched the marching band and cheerleaders perform. Yang always loved watching the marching band. She was never in it herself, but many of her friends from the GSA found their place in band. Despite being a smaller school with a smaller band, they always managed to pull off some rather cool looking shows, with easily recognizable music.
The cheerleaders were less interesting, Yang noted. She'd been going to the high school football games ever since she got to high school and she always felt like the routines barely changed. Sure, they required a lot of skill and Yang certainly respected that, they just weren't really her thing.
After it was all over, Yang noticed her younger sister looking in the direction of the bathrooms a couple times, shifting uncomfortably in her seat.
Yang glanced at Blake, who was watching as the marching band slowly got back into the stands. Noting that Blake wasn't paying attention,Yang nudged her younger sister in the side.
Ruby looked up at her sister, who nodded slightly in the direction of the bathroom, asking a silent question that Ruby knew all too well.
Do you need to go?
She nodded in response, causing Yang to face forward and stretch out her back.
"Ugh, I need to pee," Yang groaned, standing up.
"Me too," Ruby sighed, getting up from her seat. "Let's go now, before we miss too much of the game. It always gets way more interesting in the second half."
The two sisters flashed a look at Blake, waiting for input.
"I'll come down too," Blake shrugged, standing up. Yang figured that would be the response. Blake wasn't really the type to opt to stay somewhere alone when the only other people she knew were leaving.
The three girls moved down the steps and past the crowds of people in the stands. Yang slipped her hand into Blake's, who gladly took the extra touch of warmth. Yang scanned the crowd as they walked, ready for dirty looks. To her surprise, none came their way.
The concrete bleachers came to an end, leading the girls down to a paved walkway that ran along the fence on the side of the track that surrounded the field towards the facilities near the entrance to the stadium. There were hardly any other people around this area, allowing Yang to relax her shoulders and let her guard down.
"What do you think so far?" Ruby asked Blake, her voice pulling Yang away from her thoughts.
"I'm just glad the team I'm rooting for is winning my first football game," laughed Blake. "Makes it a lot more fun."
"It sure does," Yang said with a smile. "Not that we'd know it with Beacon's football team. They're godawful !"
"Yeah, cause all their money and talent goes to lacrosse," Blake reminded her. "Seeing one of those games is insane."
"You've been?" Yang asked. She was pretty sure she would have noticed Blake going to a lacrosse game, unless she'd gone in the month of school before they'd gotten super close. Still, Blake wasn't close with Sun yet either and supporting a friend was pretty much the only reason Yang could imagine Blake voluntarily going to a sports game, Beacon Lacrosse or not.
"Well, no," Blake answered, "but Sun's told me plenty of stories. We'll have to go with him next year to support Neptune. At least one game."
"Ooh, ooh, can I come?" Ruby asked, bouncing up and down.
"Of course," Blake said with a smile. "You'll love Sun and Neptune when you meet them."
"I can't wait for college friends," Ruby said excitedly as they turned the corner at the edge of the field. The ticket booth and gateway they had used to enter the stadium were only about twenty feet to their left. In front of them was a concession stand, with only a few people hanging around outside of it. About twenty feet beyond the concession stand was a square concrete building with the word RESTROOMS painted on the side in giant block letters.
"I don't have to pee," Blake admitted, "but I'll buy us all some hot chocolate at the concession stand."
Ruby's eyes lit up. "Yes please!"
"You don't have to do that," Yang said in a lowered voice.
"Yeah, but I want to."
"I'll pay you back."
" Yang , don't worry about it. After everything you're doing for me this week, this is the least I can do."
"I'm doing it," Blake insisted, releasing Yang's hand and coming to a stop in front of the concession stand.
Yang sighed. "Okay, okay. They make the drinks really fast, so just wait for us out here, okay?"
Blake nodded and watched as Yang and Ruby headed off towards the women's restroom.
"Next," the cashier called out.
"Hi," Blake said, stepping forward. "Can I get three hot chocolates please?"
" ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN FOR THE PATCH HIGH SCHOOL WOLVES !"
Blake stood only a few feet away from the concession stand, tray of hot chocolates in hand. Yang was right, it had only taken her a couple minutes to get the hot chocolates from the concession stand. It had only been about five minutes since Blake had seen the two sisters walk off towards the concrete building and they had yet to return from the bathroom.
As she waited for them, she attempted to watch the game from where she stood. It was pretty hard to see anything from the ground as opposed to the raised seating of the bleachers. The only things Blake could see were the mess of boys in uniforms as they ran around the field and an occasional glimpse of the ball. She could see the scoreboard on the other end of the field, of course, as it towered far above the field. The third quarter had still yet to reach anything close to the halfway mark. It seemed to Blake that football was in reality a very slow game.
Blake spotted the ball soaring through the air, a field goal point scored for the Wolves. She watched as the numbers on the scoreboard went up yet again, the Wolves still clearly maintaining their lead over the Friars.
She strained her neck again, trying to see if she could see the actual kick-off in action. They were still setting up for it, but she had hopes that if she kept her eyes on the ball as it rested on the field, she might have a chance. Instead, she was pulled from her thoughts by a voice, one that was distinctly neither Yang nor Ruby.
Blake turned to the source of the voice. It was Cinder Fall, from her creative writing class, walking towards her. "Oh, hey Cinder! Didn't expect to see you here," Blake replied, surprise in her voice.
Cinder stopped next to her, a smile on her face. "Me neither! What are you doing here?"
"Oh, I'm here with my girlfriend." Blake winced as soon as the words left her mouth. She hadn't been out to Cinder, at least not until now.
"Oh, your girlfriend." There was a tone of surprise in Cinder's voice that Blake did not like. It would make sense if Cinder was homophobic, considering the way she'd seemed so sheltered nearly every time marginalized people got brought up in creative writing class. "Is she from Patch?"
Blake nodded. "Yeah, I'm here with her for all of Thanksgiving break, visiting her family."
"That's cool! Who is she? I probably know her, I grew up here too. The gay circles here run pretty small."
Gay circles? Was Cinder a part of the gay circles in Patch?
Was Cinder gay?
A thought crossed Blake's mind, something Yang had said to her when Blake had asked how Yang's family would react to the news of them dating.
Me dating girls is nothing new to them.
Had Yang ever dated Cinder ?
Blake realized she was overthinking things again and had been hesitating. She opened her mouth to finally answer, but she was cut off by another voice.
" Blake ."
This time, the voice was distinctly Yang's. And she was not happy.
Blake looked up to see Yang storming towards her, fury in her eyes. She could have sworn that the normal lilac was almost tinted red. Ruby was behind Yang by a couple feet, her shoulders tense and a distinct look of fear in her eyes.
" Fuck off, Cinder," Yang snarled, taking Blake's hand. "Haven't you done enough? Leave my girlfriend the fuck alone."
"Yang," Blake said in a lowered voice, "what's going on?"
"Ah, I see," Cinder scoffed, looking Yang up and down. She glanced back over to Blake. "Blake, you could be doing so much better."
"Excuse me?" Blake asked, highly offended. She didn't know what the hell was happening, but she could not believe that Cinder had just insulted Yang like that.
Cinder rolled her eyes. They landed on Ruby for a moment, who was nearly cowering behind Yang. "I said , you could do better than the blood relative of a fucking freak like that one."
Blake was stunned. "Excuse me?" she said again.
" Fuck . Off ," Yang snarled again, her free arm reflexively reaching out for Ruby. "I told you once before, and I'll tell you again. Leave my sister and my girlfriend the fuck alone, and stay the fuck out of my life."
Cinder stared down Yang for a few more moments before shaking her head and retreating to a couple of friends near the fence. Blake noted that the two friends, a girl with green hair and a boy with silver hair, were staring Yang and Ruby down.
"That fucking bitch ," Yang hissed. She took Ruby's hand in her free hand and began walking towards the exit. "We're leaving. Right now."
"What the hell just happened?" Blake asked, discarding the tray of drinks on a nearby picnic table.
"What did she say to you? Before we walked up?" Ruby asked softly, fear in her voice.
"She just said like, hi, it was weird to see me here and asked me what I was doing in Patch. I said I was-"
"Wait, you know her?" Yang cut Blake off, bringing both girls to a dead stop.
"Yeah, she's in my creative writing class. She was the one who said all those dumb comments to Sun on the first day, but then apologized for it later." Blake blinked a couple times. "You know Cinder?"
"Oh, I fucking know Cinder alright," Yang snarled again. Her face dropped as she felt Ruby squeezing her hand.
" Please , Yang, not here."
Yang took a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment and breathing. She nodded as she reopened them. "Let's go home." She began walking again, faster this time, with her girlfriend’s hand in one hand and her sister’s in the other.
Ruby looked over at Blake. "I'll explain everything to you when we get home, I promise."
Blake looked over her shoulder back at the other trio. They were still staring and whispering to each other as Yang dragged the other two from the stadium. She looked back at Ruby. "Okay."
"Just not here," Ruby whispered with a shaky voice, glancing at the school. "Anywhere but here."
In the aftermath of the confrontation at the football game, the girls have a much needed talk. Ruby explains (with the help of Yang) to Blake what happened to her.
"When does the game usually end again, Tai?"
Taiyang stood in the kitchen, stuffing the turkey on the counter. He glanced over his shoulder at Qrow, who was leaning up against the window near the front of the kitchen with a mug of coffee in hand. "Uh, what time is it?"
"Usually not for another hour or so. Why?"
The distinct sound of a car door slamming shut echoed through the house.
" That is why," Qrow said, raising his mug to his lips and taking a sip.
Tai stepped away from the turkey, heading for the window where Qrow stood. The two men watched as Yang stormed away from her car, Blake and Ruby following close behind her. Tai narrowed his eyes, staring as the girls approached the house.
"This... can't be good..." he murmured, stepping away from the window and towards the doorway between the kitchen and the hall.
The front door opened with a SLAM, stirring up dust in the hall. Tai shuddered, taking a deep breath.
Qrow placed a hand on Tai's shoulder, bringing him to a dead stop and causing him to turn and face Qrow. "Let me handle this one."
Tai nodded, taking a deep breath, his shoulders relaxing. He knew Qrow had a way of getting Yang to be a lot more honest about her feelings. Maybe it was because of the image of the cool uncle that Qrow had strived to create, maybe it wasn’t. To Tai, it didn't really matter how Qrow succeeded at this point, just that he did.
Qrow stepped around him, out into the hallway, finding himself face to face with a furious Yang. Her eyes seemed tinted red with anger. Behind her was a confused Blake and a frightened Ruby. In a split second, he decided to take a direct approach. "Hey, kiddos. Whatcha doing home so early?"
"Fucking Cinder , that's why," Yang said with a snarl. She pulled off her coat, throwing it on a hook by the door.
"She was at the game?" Qrow asked.
Ruby nodded. "Yeah, she was."
Tai emerged from the kitchen with a pale face. "Did she do anything to you?"
"Nothing physical," Ruby said with a shake of her head. "Just some nasty words."
"Are you okay, Rubes?" Qrow asked, concerned.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay." Ruby sighed, pulling off her own coat slowly. "I'm just a little shaken up is all."
Blake spoke up again. "I know things are really emotionally tense right now, but can someone please explain to me what just happened?"
Qrow raised an eyebrow at his nieces. "You didn't tell Blake?"
Yang took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she steadied her shaking and tried to ease her anger. "It wasn't my story to tell," she said as she opened her eyes again.
Ruby's gaze fell down to the ground, a hand reaching up to rub the choker around her neck. "I didn't want to tell the story there. Not where we were."
"Where were you?" Tai asked, a panicked tone in his voice.
"Near the bathrooms," Yang replied instantly. "So fucking close to where it happened and that fucking bitch had the nerve to speak to us."
"Easy, Yang." Qrow placed a hand on her shoulder. "I know that there's a lot going on right now, but getting caught up in your anger isn't going to help anything."
Yang closed her eyes again, focusing on her breathing.
Tai turned to Ruby. "Are you okay with telling Blake about what happened?"
Ruby looked up at Blake and then at her father. She nodded. "Yes." She looked back at Blake. "You should know what a horrible person she is. You should know what she's done."
Yang's eyes opened, glancing at her sister. "Can we talk for a second first?"
Ruby nodded. "I'll meet you in the living room," she said to Blake, who replied with a nod before heading down the hall towards the living room.
Yang took Ruby's hand, pulling her into the dining room, leaving Qrow and Tai standing in the hallway. She shut the door to the dining room behind Ruby and turned to face her younger sister.
"Are you sure you want to tell her?"
Ruby nodded, slowly. "Yes, I am. Why shouldn't I be? I thought you told me you knew she would be okay with this stuff."
"I know she will be," Yang reassured her. "That's not why I'm double checking."
"Then why are you?"
"I want to make sure you're okay."
"Yang," Ruby said, slightly annoyed, "I'm okay. I can talk about it now. I can take care of myself, I promise. Things aren't the way they used to be."
"Okay," Yang said with a nod. "Okay, I just wanted to make sure. I'll be right there if you need me to pick up at any point."
Ruby nodded, turning back towards the door. "Let's get this over with."
Blake sat on the couch, waiting and watching nervously as Ruby and Yang reentered the living room from the hallway. Ruby sat down in an armchair, facing Blake. Yang chose to stand, not sit, placing her hands on the top of the couch Blake was sitting on, leaning on it with a sigh.
Ruby looked at Blake and took a very long breath.
"Okay," she said, "okay. This is going to be a very long story, so just bear with me, okay?"
Blake nodded. "Take all the time you need."
Ruby slightly shifted in her seat. "Well, to understand what happened to me, you first need to understand who I am." Ruby's eyes darted up for a second as Yang stepped away from the couch and began pacing behind it. She glanced down at her lap. "I'm trans."
Blake blinked, having been taken aback for a moment by the statement. This was certainly not the way she had expected this conversation to go. Ruby, however, did not notice Blake's stunned expression, having not yet looked up from her lap, and continued talking.
"I knew from a very young age, unlike many others. I started insisting on being called a girl at age three. I didn't have the name Ruby yet, but I insisted my parents call me their daughter and Yang her sister. After a couple months, I asked my mom what she would have named me if I had been assigned female at birth. She told me she would have named me Ruby and from that point forward, it was the only name I would respond to. I would correct people if they called me anything else."
Ruby looked up, glancing over at the window before looking back at Blake. "They realized at that point that this was something they should take seriously. They put me in therapy and pulled Yang out of school when it was time for me to start kindergarten. They homeschooled us instead of thrusting me into public school, head on, during a time that was even less accepting of trans kids than today. We had private tutors while our parents worked, and I didn't start public school until we moved to Patch, after Mom died."
"It wasn't immediate," Yang interjected. "Mom died in February, we moved here in April. We kept up homeschooling until Dad got Ruby's name changed legally. Took us about another year before we fully started in public school."
Ruby nodded. "She's right. Dad asked me if I wanted to be Ruby Xiao Long or Ruby Rose, which was my mom's last name. I chose Ruby Rose, because I wanted to keep that connection to her. He convinced the judge that Ruby was the nickname my mom called me, after her grandmother, and that I wanted to change it to honor my mom after her death. I agreed in court and by some miracle, the judge agreed to it, even though my paperwork still clearly said 'male'."
"It's because your deadname was already unisex, plus it helped that the old bat was half-blind," Yang remarked. "Doesn't matter though, we were all relieved that it went through."
"When Dad signed me up for public school," Ruby continued, "he... fudged the paperwork a bit."
Blake rose an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"He put me down in their systems as a girl, even though on my social security paperwork and other documents, I was still legally considered male. I started public school and no one knew I was trans. I finished up the last three years of elementary school and no one ever found out. I kept up with therapy and within my first year of middle school, I was able to start hormone blockers."
"What are hormone blockers?" Blake asked.
"They delay puberty," Ruby explained. "Just kind of stopped my body from producing enough testosterone to make lasting effects on my body. They don't do anything permanent, just delay things a bit. Trans kids usually have to take them for a couple years before starting other hormones, so they're sure they want to go on hormones."
"Not like you needed someone to tell you that," Yang chimed in.
Ruby rolled her eyes with a smile. "Yeah, adults often use it as a first step to make sure kids aren't going through a phase. If you want to count eight out of eleven years of my life at that point as a phase, then sure, it was a phase."
Blake smirked back. "Yeah, totally a phase."
"Two years after that, when I was 13, I got to start taking estrogen on top of the blockers."
"You didn't stop blockers when you started hormones?"
Ruby shook her head. "People who go on estrogen based hormone replacement therapy have to keep taking testosterone blockers when they're on estrogen. Testosterone is the dominant sex hormone, so it'll always try to take over estrogen. Someone on testosterone based hormone replacement therapy wouldn't have to use blockers in most cases, because the testosterone would suppress the estrogen naturally. There are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, that's how it goes."
"Okay, I think I get it now."
"Right, so I got on estrogen right after my thirteenth birthday, which was in January. I started high school that following September. Yang was a junior, I was a freshman. That's when things started getting out of control." Ruby looked up at her sister. "I think the next part of this story is yours, Yang."
Blake turned around to see Yang, who had finally stopped pacing behind the couch. Yang sighed, before nodding.
"I was the co-president of the GSA at school. I dragged Ruby along to meetings, mostly because I was her ride home. Cinder ," Yang sneered the name, "started coming to the meetings too. Things were going okay for the first few months of that year. Then I made the mistake of getting flirty with Cinder."
" Yang ," Ruby interrupted. "It's not your fault."
"I know it's not, but that doesn't mean that speaking to her wasn't a giant mistake." Yang shook her head, pacing again. "Most of the people in the club were gay guys and a couple of freshmen girls that were way too young for me. Cinder started coming and came out as a lesbian. I thought she was totally perfect at first. She's the mayor's daughter, absolutely loaded, and was pretty attractive at the time, at least before I knew her personality. And she was a lesbian, my age, at my school. What else does a teenage lesbian need? I started making moves. We went on a couple dates and then became an official couple. We dated for like, a month. Things were going relatively well. But then, then shit got bad ."
She stopped pacing, leaning on the top of the couch again. "We were in a GSA meeting, around February, just a couple days after the anniversary of when our mom died, so I was already pretty... emo, for the lack of a better word. We had just gotten a new member."
"Penny," Ruby interjected. "They came for the first time and introduced themselves with their pronouns too."
"No one at the club had ever met anyone who used they/them pronouns before," Yang added. "Penny took it as a teaching opportunity and tried to educate us."
"Cinder... exploded," Ruby continued. "She said so many horrible things that day. Things that are better left not repeated. Just a whole lot of TERF rhetoric."
"TERF?" Blake asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist," Ruby explained. "It's just a ton of hate speech and really awful stuff about trans people, especially trans women, dressed up in feminist clothing. You can look it up later if you want, but it's not stuff I'd like to repeat."
Blake nodded. "Understandable. Continue."
"Penny and Cinder got into this huge argument. The advisor ended up telling Cinder to leave and that she wasn't allowed to return to the GSA ever again. It was a huge thing, since her girlfriend was the co-president of the club she'd just been banned from."
"I was supposed to be Cinder's ride home that day too," Yang said. "She waited for Ruby and I outside of the school, near my car. I told her there was absolutely no way I could be with her anymore after she said all of that and that she'd have to find her own way home. She was pissed. She was even more pissed when she realized we were giving Penny a ride home instead. She stormed off after that and didn't come back to school for a few days."
"Penny told us more about their identity on the way back home. They're a transfeminine non-binary person and, well, it was the first time I had ever really met someone like me." Ruby looked down at her lap. "I didn't tell them about me at first. I spent so many years trying to hide it, I was too scared to tell anyone other than my family about who I was."
"What we didn't know at that time," Yang continued, "was that Cinder was busy doing research. She knew it was just after the anniversary of our mom's death and started doing research on her. Maybe she thought our mom was trans or something and that's why I'd broken up with her. Instead, she somehow found this really, really old article."
"I was a baby when it was published," Ruby sighed. "Under a year old. I didn't even know it existed. Our mom got this award through the police department she worked for, and the local newspaper where we used to live had published an article about her. It said she had a two year old daughter, Yang, and an infant son... and my deadname."
Blake's throat clenched up. "Did she tell anyone else?"
"Not at first. She avoided us for a while, spent time glaring at Yang in the halls. Wouldn't even make eye contact with me for the rest of the school year. I thought nothing of it at the time. Instead, I was busy with Penny. I came out to them after about a month of being friends and we started dating not long after that."
"Cinder held onto it until the first few weeks of our senior year, Ruby's sophomore year. One day, she printed out hundreds of copies. Maybe even a thousand. And she posted them everywhere. Every locker, every wall, every door, all over the floors... Everywhere." Yang's hands balled into fists as she began pacing again. "It happened before school one morning. By the time we got there, it was too late. Everyone had seen them. Everyone."
"The bullying started almost immediately," Ruby said softly, looking down at her lap. "I hadn't heard my deadname in years and suddenly, it was everywhere, all the time. People started calling me horrible, horrible things. People threatened me if I went into the girl's bathroom. I wasn't allowed to go to gym anymore because I was banned from changing in the girl's locker room and I refused to use the boy's. It was humiliating."
"The administration was useless ," Yang snarled. "They didn't give a fuck that Ruby was getting bullied. They didn't give a damn that someone had plastered those fucking flyers everywhere. They weren't even investigating who did it. They were only concerned with the fact that Ruby's records had been messed with way back when we entered the Patch Public School system. That's all they cared about. I was in those offices, arguing with them every couple of weeks. They never cared."
"This went on for the rest of the semester," Ruby sighed. "Usually, when drama happens, people move on. But people wouldn't move on for more than a couple days. Yang started doing ridiculous stunts to try and get the attention off of me, but it only ever worked for a few days or a week or so. Yang walked me to all my classes and I was constantly scared that someone would take it from verbal to physical."
Ruby closed her eyes, raising her hand to her neck, rubbing her wide choker. "Then they did get physical."
Her eyes opened again and she leaned back in her seat. "It happened just after winter break. I had just turned 15. It was after school. Yang was arguing with the principal again. I'd had a really bad day and didn't want to hear another argument I knew would get us nowhere, so I went and waited outside, sitting on the steps near the student parking lot while I waited for Yang, not too far away from the football field."
"I wasn’t paying attention. I was playing on my phone. I didn't see them coming until it was too late." Ruby fell quiet for a moment. "Cinder and her little cronies that you saw today, Emerald and Mercury. It was… bad. Really bad. It ended with this .”
Ruby pulled down the top of her choker, exposing her neck. A long, thin line stretched from one side to the other.
Blake's heart sank right down into her stomach. There was no mistaking that line. It was a very clear scar left by a knife. Her jaw dropped open, unable to fully process this information. Yang stopped pacing and instead came and sat down next to Blake on the couch.
"I heard her screaming from the principal's office," Yang said coldly, breaking the silence. "I sprinted down the stairs, through the school, and out the door. By the time I got out there, they were gone and Ruby was… I thought…” Yang shook her head, taking a deep breath. “The principal followed me out a few seconds after. He called 911 while I tried to do what I could for her."
"They rushed her to the hospital. They did some emergency surgeries and a bunch of blood transfusions. She was in a coma afterwards. Dad was an emotional wreck. He'd lost so many people in his life and when they told him her chances of waking up were at about 50%... He didn't take it well. Qrow came down and stayed with us. He made sure Dad and I were both sleeping and eating and everything. And I... I was furious . The school was responsible for this, all of it. Their lack of action and concern about the bullying and the flyers led to what happened to her. Qrow was like me, filled with anger. We went to the school together and pretty much exploded in the principal's office with the superintendent there. We demanded to know who did it and showed them pictures of her in the hospital and told them about her survival chances. I don't think I've ever seen Qrow get that scary."
"Well, I don't think I actually made an impact until I threatened to sue them for so much that their great-grandchildren would be paying off their debts."
All three girls jumped at the sound of Qrow's voice. They looked up to see him leaning in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen.
"It's true. Money talks in this town. It's pretty much the only thing that motivates people." Qrow shook his head. "They finally told us then that the police were investigating the posters and the attack and believed that the two were linked. As if anyone with two brain cells couldn't put that one together. They wouldn't tell Tai anything either, despite him being on the force and it being his daughter that was hurt. They all cared too damn much about the connections to the mayor's daughter and the fact that Ruby is trans."
"I woke up later that day," Ruby said. "Three weeks after I was attacked, I finally woke up. I told them it was Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury. Yang and Qrow had only recently gotten back from the hospital after the meeting at the school. I said it, over and over, but the school still wouldn't take action."
"Cinder was suspended . Not expelled. Just suspended for two weeks. Two weeks !" Yang closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. "Emerald and Mercury were deemed as the main perpetrators and were suspended from the school for the remainder of the year. They were supposed to graduate with my class, but were held back a year. Cinder, however, graduated on time and was still allowed to go to Beacon."
"She wasn't 18 yet," Qrow commented. "She was arrested at 17, on minimal charges. By the time she turned 18, her father helped her get the sealed charges erased incredibly fast. Beacon wasn't allowed to know the nature of the charges because she was a minor. Plus, her father is an alumnus, as well as a regular donor to the school, so I'm sure that helped things for her."
"When I came back to school a few weeks later, Cinder was just told to stay away from Yang and I. No one was bullying me anymore. People just didn't talk to me. They pitied me, but didn't want to be seen talking to me, so they just avoided me at all costs. Only Yang and Penny talked to me when I got back. All the teachers pitied me too. Despite missing all that class time, I didn't get anything lower than an A last year. It's obvious they all still do, which is why it was so easy for me to push my way into graduating early."
"And all of that brings us back to what happened today," Yang said. "I'm sorry for exploding the way I did earlier. It's been under a year and it's still a very hard thing to process. Especially seeing her like that today..."
"It's okay, it's completely understandable." Blake placed a hand on Yang's knee. "It's just a lot to process is all."
"Yeah," Ruby said, rubbing the choker around her neck again, pushing it back into place to cover her scar. "That's for sure."
"I just... never suspected anything of that degree from her after our conversations in class." Blake shook her head. "She always seemed a little entitled, but nothing that bad."
"She only really mentions stuff when the people she hates are around," Yang said. "We dated for a month and I had no clue about any of it, since we didn’t exactly openly talk about Ruby’s gender."
" Oh my god ," Blake said suddenly, her face paling as her eyes widened.
"What?" Yang asked, concerned.
" Sun ."
"What about- oh god ..." Yang suddenly realized the same thing as Blake.
"What?" Ruby echoed her sister, scooting forward to the edge of her seat. "What about Sun?"
Blake glanced at Yang, who nodded, before speaking. "Normally, I wouldn't out someone like this, but these are special circumstances. Sun... is also trans and he’s in the same class as Cinder and I."
Ruby's eyes grew wide. " Oh ."
"Can we tell Sun your story?" Yang asked. "He needs to know how much of a monster she really is so he can protect himself before she finds out."
"I'd rather tell him myself, if that's possible."
Blake nodded. "We can Skype him tomorrow and talk to him, all three of us." She pulled out her phone. "I'm going to text him and tell him to not talk to Cinder under any circumstances in the meantime and that we'll explain tomorrow over Skype if he's available."
Yang placed her head in her hands. "I can't believe she's back in our fucking lives again."
"Yang, listen," Blake said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "It's going to be okay. Everything's going to be okay."
Yang looked up at her younger sister, before waving her over. Ruby moved to sit on the couch on Yang’s other side, leaning into a side hug that Yang was offering.
"Honestly," Yang said with a sigh, "I'm not so sure about that."
The day following a family Thanksgiving dinner with the Xiao Long family, the girls have a talk with Sun about the latest revelation about their classmate.
There hadn't been a lot of discussion after the big talk earlier, simply the three girls watching TV and waiting for dinner to be ready while Tai and Qrow talked quietly in the kitchen behind closed doors. Yang had spent most of her afternoon curled up against Blake's side, not saying a whole lot.
When Thanksgiving dinner finally rolled around, Tai and Qrow announced that they weren't going to talk about any Cinder related topics at the table, much to the relief of all of them. It felt like a breath of fresh air for Yang and Ruby, but Blake couldn't shake the uncomfortable sensation that had settled in her stomach since the sisters had told her everything.
Everyone settled down around the large, circular table in the dining room. Qrow had found a folding chair and, despite Blake's protests, took it for himself, allowing Blake to take his normal dinner chair. Things were quiet for the first few minutes as everyone began eating their food.
Blake was the first to break the silence. "This is all so good, Tai."
Tai smiled and nodded. "Thank you. I must admit, most of the recipes are Summer's. I'd be hopeless if she hadn't spent a couple years actually teaching me how to cook."
"Yeah, you should have seen his cooking skills in college," Qrow butted in, a smirk on his lips.
"Hey, we ate in the dining hall most of the time for our first two years. It's not like I had time to get practice in," Tai said.
"Except when you did get the chance, it was bad ." Qrow turned to the girls. "One time in our freshman year, he tried to bake Raven and I a birthday cake. Summer told him he should have just bought one from the grocery store, but he refused ."
Blake's eyes quickly darted to Yang at the mention of Raven. She could distinctly see Yang tense up. Blake nudged her leg slightly to the side, touching Yang. Yang's eyes darted back to Blake. As soon as Yang caught Blake's eyes, she dropped her tensed shoulders. No one else at the table seemed to notice their exchange, Tai carrying on with the story.
"You were my roommate, and I was trying to impress Raven. Of course I wanted to bake it myself."
"It's a miracle she ever gave you a chance after that disaster," Qrow said with a laugh. "Have you girls experienced a fire alarm in the dorms yet?"
Blake nodded. "Yeah, once. At six in the morning. It sucked ."
"Did anyone get stuck outside in a towel?" Qrow asked.
"Yeah, one poor girl," Yang replied.
"The poor girl in this situation was Raven , who Tai was trying to impress with the cake that he burnt and set the fire alarm off with."
Ruby burst out into a fit of giggles.
"I tried , okay?" Tai threw his hands up in the air in defense.
"Tai, that thing was like a charred brick ."
Tai crossed his arms, huffing as he leaned back in his chair.
Qrow shook his head with a smirk. "Still as much of a child as always, I see." He turned towards Blake to continue the story. "As a friend group, we decided Tai was banned from baking after that. Summer and Raven took turns based on who's birthday it was, but Summer always made the best cakes."
"Raven's weren't half bad either," Tai chimed in.
"They weren't, but they couldn’t hold a candle to Summer's."
"Sooo," Yang interrupted slowly, "have you heard from Raven lately, Uncle Qrow?"
The guys shared a quick glance at each other. They hadn't realized how casually they'd been talking about Raven in front of Yang, which was something that usually did not happen.
"Nothing new, firecracker," Qrow said with a sigh. "I got wind of her a couple years back. She's running with some motorcycle gang out West."
"Do you think there's any chance she'll find her way out here again?" Yang asked softly.
Qrow shook his head. "I doubt it. She's not the type to return somewhere once she's left. Sorry, kiddo."
Yang sunk down in her chair, poking at her food with her fork. Blake frowned slightly, pushing her leg up against Yang's under the table.
"Sooo," Tai chimed in, desperate to change the topic, "how are the houses you've been looking at, Qrow?"
Qrow leaned forward in his seat, eager to talk about anything other than his sister. "I think I've found the perfect place."
"Do tell!" Ruby exclaimed.
"It's really nice. Four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms. The basement doubles as an apartment if we ever want to rent it out. Reasonably priced, even for being so close to BU. It's about ten minutes further from campus than my current place and my current place is like, three-fourths of the price. Oh, it even has a pool in the backyard."
Ruby's eyes grew wide. "That sounds incredible !"
Qrow nodded. "It's not as big as this house here, but much bigger than my current place."
"Your current place is a one bedroom apartment," Yang pointed out.
"You aren't wrong," Qrow said with a shrug. "The old owner is looking to sell because he's sick of college kids. He likes the idea of two cops living there and thinks we're the best option. He built the place himself and wants to make sure it goes to good hands, not just some frat boys who will trash it in a week."
"When can we come take a look?" Tai asked.
"I'll talk to the owner and see when he's available, but probably before the semester ends. If we finalize all the paperwork and stuff, I can start to move in when my current lease is up in April."
Ruby clapped her hands together. " Oooh , I'm so excited !"
Qrow nodded. "It is exciting. It'll be a bit crazy for a couple months though, with me moving in April, Yang and Blake moving in May, and Tai and you moving in June."
Blake blinked. "Me?"
Qrow nodded. "Of course."
"You don't have to do that." Blake could feel her face flushing red.
"Do you have any other summer plans?" Qrow asked, leaning forward in his chair.
Blake paused for a moment. "No, not really."
"It's settled then," Qrow said with a clap. "As long as you want, you're welcome with us."
"I... Thank you," she said with a small smile.
"You're welcome," Qrow smiled back.
"So, Uncle Qrow..." Yang smirked. "Would this new place happen to have room for my motorcycle?"
Qrow rolled his eyes, still smiling. "Yes, kiddo. There's room for your motorcycle."
"Hell yeah!" Yang cheered, raising a fist in the air.
"You have a motorcycle?" Blake asked.
Yang nodded. "It's in the garage for the winter. I can only really use it when it's warm out. No point in going out in the cold on it. If it were warmer, I'd take you out on a ride on it."
"Maybe over spring break, if we're lucky," Blake replied. "It'd be cool."
Yang smiled. "Definitely!"
The conversation at the table carried on, the two sisters asking their uncle more and more questions about the new house. Blake simply sat and listened, trying her best to be happy with all this new information, but there was no shaking the rock that had settled in her stomach ever since the conversation earlier. The distant future was exciting and all, but the near future was much scarier.
Sun sat on the couch in his dorm room. It was mostly quiet around campus, given that the vast majority of students had gone home for break. Neptune was off at practice for a big game coming up, leaving Sun to himself in the dorm. Sun had spent most of the last week playing video games and the current situation was no exception.
He leaned back into the couch, adjusting his posture as he held down the right trigger on his controller. Grand Theft Auto V was displayed on the TV screen, with Franklin driving from one mission to another. Sun's attention was pulled away from the game as his nearby laptop lit up with a Skype call he had been expecting. He paused his game, leaning forward and picking up his laptop.
The call sprung to life as he clicked on the accept button. His screen filled with the image of Yang, Blake, and a third, younger girl that Sun did not recognize. His own tiny image appeared in the corner, showing him what they saw from his webcam.
"Hey," Sun said with a nod. "So I assume I'm finally going to find out what all those cryptic messages were about?"
Blake nodded. "Sorry about that. I had to be vague."
"Sun, this is Ruby, my younger sister," Yang said, gesturing to the girl he hadn’t recognized. "Ruby, this is Sun, our friend."
"Hi," Ruby gave a small wave.
"Nice to meet you," Sun replied, with a raised eyebrow. "Are you going to be the one to explain to me what's going on?"
Ruby nodded. "Mostly, yes."
"Do you remember Cinder, from our creative writing class?" Blake asked.
"Of course, I don't know how I could forget her after the fiasco on the first day. Besides, all your super cryptic messages told me explicitly not to talk to her, so I figured all of this has something to do with her."
Ruby took a deep breath. "Well..."
"...so, yeah," Ruby said with a nod, finishing the same story she had recounted to Blake the day before.
Sun took a deep breath, running a hand through his hair. "Well, that was a lot ."
"Yeah, that's for sure," Ruby agreed.
"That's why all my messages were so cryptic," Blake sighed. "I didn't want to tell a story that wasn't mine, but it was crucial you knew to immediately stop talking to Cinder."
"It's not like we ever really talked outside of class anyways." Sun shook his head. "I ran into her at the Queer Center a couple times, so I figured she'd be chill with everything, but jeez , a TERF? I always thought those only existed on online forums."
"I wish," Ruby grumbled. "The world would be a lot safer if that were the case."
"Even in class, you shouldn't interact with her anymore," Blake said firmly. "She's already going to have a grudge against me because she knows I'm connected to Yang and Ruby now. She'd react horribly if she found out about you."
"Are you kidding me?" Sun placed his laptop down on his table, shaking his head. "She needs to be taught a lesson!"
Yang and Blake shared a look. Yang tilted her head to one side. "I don't think that's a good idea."
Sun shook his head. "I have to do this. The fact that she got away with what she did in the first place is ridiculous ." He quickly held up a hand. "That's not supposed to be a jab at you or your family, Ruby. I know you had no control over it back then, but Cinder can't get away with stuff like that forever. She's an adult now. Her father can't protect her if she does something else."
"You can't put yourself in that kind of danger!" Ruby blurted out, before softly adding, "I don't want anyone else to get hurt."
"I promise you, I will be okay," Sun insisted. "I know how to take care of myself."
"You shouldn't underestimate what Cinder is capable of," Yang replied.
"Not to brag, but I'm really buff. I work out almost every day. I've got more muscles than Nep and he's literally the best lacrosse player in the NCAA right now. I could easily overpower her if things came down to that."
"Sun, you just had top surgery ," Blake pointed out. "You're still recovering, you're in no shape to be overpowering anyone or putting yourself in any harm's way right now.
Sun was quiet for a moment, thinking. "While I'm not that out of commission anymore, I'm pretty sure Neptune would have a heart attack if I tried anything like that so soon after my surgery."
Blake nodded. " Exactly , which is why you shouldn't do this."
"Oh, I'm going to do this. I'll just wait till next semester."
Yang shook her head. "You can't go getting yourself into trouble over this. You worked so hard to get into Beacon, you can't just throw it all away because of her."
Sun let out a laugh. "I'm not going to get into any trouble. If she attacks me for being trans, that's a hate crime that she can't escape this time. Physical, verbal or otherwise. If she does so much as speak one ill word, Neptune will make sure she's thrown out of the school faster than you can count to ten, arrested, and sued into the next century . He's Beacon's poster boy for sports. He's got way more pull over the university than her father has."
"Are you sure?" Ruby asked.
Sun nodded. "100% positive. I mean, hell, they let him break the rules for his team and live with me in Gender Inclusive instead of in the dorms at the top of the hill with all the other athletes. But you didn't hear that from me."
"I'm just not so sure about all of this. I want you to be safe," Blake said.
"In all seriousness, why shouldn't I do this? She needs to be stopped and put in her place before she seriously harms anyone else. She's not going to get even remotely close to harming me in any way. I could very easily overpower her if need be, but I will do everything I can to make sure it doesn't even get that far."
"What exactly is your plan here?" Yang asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I don't know yet," Sun shrugged. "I have time. I'll do whatever I need to do to put an end to her getting away with this shit next semester. She needs to be stopped."
Ruby shook her head. "You don't have to fight my battles, you know."
"Cinder wormed her way out of that battle. If not me, who would be her next target? I'd rather not give her the chance to find out. I could take her down."
"Just, please don't get physical," Ruby blurted out. "I don't want anyone else to get hurt."
Sun didn't say anything for a few moments, before nodding slowly. "Okay. I won't get physical unless its in absolute self-defense, and I'll do everything I can to make sure it doesn't get to that point."
"Thank you," Ruby replied.
Blake glanced at Yang, their eyes meeting as they shared an uneasy look. This just screamed ‘horrible idea’ to both of them.
" Please , just trust me on this," Sun said, pulling their eyes away from each other and back at the screen. "I won't enact any part of any plan I come up with without running it by both of you first, and Neptune too. And if there's anyone who's going to make sure I'm as safe as possible at all times, it's Nep."
Blake sighed, giving in. "Okay, I trust you."
Yang blinked at the screen. "I just don't know, Sun. I really don't think this is a good idea. The whole reason that we contacted you was to make sure you stayed away from Cinder and stayed safe , not for you to try and take her down."
"Yang, Cinder is the scum of the Earth. If I do not stop her, if I do not teach her that she cannot get away with this , if she does not learn that her father can't buy her way out of being punished for hate crimes , she is never going to stop ," Sun emphasized slowly. "If it is not me who she targets next, and fails to do anything serious to, she will target someone else. There's no telling if that person will be lucky enough to survive her. I have to do this. Beacon isn't a safe place for trans students with her here. I need to make sure everyone knows that and that she gets what she deserves ."
"Yang," Ruby said softly, looking at her sister, "he's right, you know. Beacon isn’t a safe place for trans students with her there."
"Okay, okay," Yang sighed, dropping her shoulders. "I trust you," she said directly into the laptop camera.
"I'm gonna think on this and I'll give you a call if I come up with anything before you two get back to campus," Sun replied with a nod.
"Okay," Blake said. "Bye, Sun. Stay safe, okay?"
"Will do. Bye, y'all."
"Bye," Yang added.
"Bye, it was nice to meet you, despite the circumstances," Ruby quickly said before Yang clicked the button to end the call.
As soon as the call ended, Yang snapped the laptop shut and collapsed backwards into laying on her bed. She grabbed the nearest pillow, throwing it over her face before screaming into it.
"Yeah, that's the current mood." Blake sighed, placing her head in her hands.
"I'm going to go call Penny," Ruby said plainly, pushing herself off Yang's bed.
Yang pulled the pillow away from her face to look at her sister. "You okay, Rubes?"
Ruby nodded. "I'll be fine. I just need to talk with them through... everything that's been happening these last couple days."
"If you need anything, you know where to find me," Yang replied.
Ruby nodded again before heading out the door. The moment the door had clicked shut, Yang shoved her face back into the pillow and let out another long, muffled scream.
Blake allowed herself to fall backwards on the bed next to Yang. She looked up at the ceiling and sighed.
"He's really going to insist on doing this, isn't he?" Yang asked, pushing the pillow away from her face.
"If there's anything I've learned about Sun in these last couple months, it's that he absolutely is."
"Any chance we can talk Neptune into stopping him?"
"I don't know," Blake sighed. "I don't know what to do."
The two were quiet for a moment before Yang spoke again.
"What are you going to do when you get to creative writing on Tuesday?"
Blake turned her head and looked at her girlfriend.
"In all honesty, I have no fucking clue."
Yang nodded, curling up next to Blake and pulling her close. "Would it be possible to just... skip?"
"That's a future me problem." Blake welcomed Yang's embrace, giving the top of her head a gentle kiss. "For right now, let's just... exist here and try not to worry about her too much, okay?"
Yang nodded furiously, melting into Blake's arms. "Now that's an idea I can get behind."
The semester is drawing to a close, and the girls are preparing for their next adventure: winter break.
It was Wednesday, a few days after Yang and Blake had arrived back on campus. There was only a week and a half left until finals week began and both girls were working intensely on their homework that seemed to pile up far too quickly at this point in the semester.
They sat next to each other on the floor at the foot of their bed, leaning up against the rubber bins stored underneath. Yang was typing away, working on a script for her verbal final in Italian. Blake was working on the outline for her creative writing final, the last thing she needed to finish for that class. Her typing had come to a stop a few minutes ago and she stared at the screen, reading what she had written over and over.
"Hey," Blake said, nudging Yang's side, "could you help me out for a minute here?"
Yang looked up from her laptop. "Sure, what's up?"
"I've hit a wall with the plot for my short story," Blake said with a sigh. "I don't have enough experience with the topic to fully understand where I go from here."
"Okay, well, give me the premise." Yang closed her laptop, giving her full attention to Blake.
"Well, the story is about this girl, Bridget. She's just moved from a big city to a small town, and she hates it. She's having a really hard time adjusting until she meets this girl at school, Yasmine. Yasmine is the most beautiful girl Bridget has ever seen, and she falls for her really fast."
Yang smirked. "Sounds familiar."
Blake nudged Yang’s side again. " Shh , let me continue."
"So Bridget totally falls for her, but she didn't know she liked girls before Yasmine. Yasmine is already openly gay, but Bridget is still coming out to herself, let alone her family. Eventually Yasmine asks Bridget out on a date and they decide to be a couple, but Bridget wants to come out to her family. They're kind of religious and Bridget thinks it's going to go wrong, but in the end, her family is supportive and everyone is happy. I just have no idea what that actually feels like." Blake sighed, shaking her head. "The family, coming out, religion... None of that is anything I've ever experienced."
"Hmm, okay," Yang tilted her head back, thinking. "Well, I can't comment much on the religion part, but the others I can help with."
"Maybe I can twist it to be something other than religion."
"Maybe. We can work through that later. Tell me, what does her family look like? Who lives with her?"
"Her parents and her two brothers. One younger, one older. The older one is off at college, but he's home on the weekends sometimes."
Yang nodded. "Okay, I can work with that. How big are the age gaps?"
"Bridget is 16, her brothers are 13 and 18."
"So the older one is a college freshman?"
"Yeah, and the younger is in 8th grade."
"What are her relationships with her family members like?"
Blake stared blankly at Yang's question. "That's where I fall short."
"Okay, well, her and the older brother are closer in age, so it's more realistic that they'll have a closer relationship than with the younger brother. Maybe she can tell the older brother first, like on the phone. Maybe the younger brother overhears, but vows to keep quiet about it to their parents until Bridget is ready."
Blake nodded, furiously tapping notes into her word processor. "Yeah, I like that."
"Her parents, what do they do for a living?"
"Her father is a college professor and her mother is a physical therapist. He just got a new job in a university a few towns over from the small town, which is why they moved."
Yang smirked. "You know how the Queer Center offers that 'safe-zone' training to university faculty?"
"Yeah, do you think he should go through that?"
"Yes," Yang said with a nod, "and have him bring up the contents of the training at dinner one day. It goes over well and Bridget decides to tell them then and there about it."
"Okay, that sounds good." Blake put down more notes before looking back up at Yang. "What about the religion aspect? How do we replace that?"
"Instead of religion, maybe it's just a topic that's never come up before, so Bridget doesn't know how to approach it."
"Is that realistic? Never bringing up LGBT people?"
Yang shrugged. "I'd say so. I've known a few people whose families were like that. It literally never got brought up, until their kid came out. Some accepted their kid, others didn't. Either approach you take is reasonable in terms of realism."
"Okay, that works," Blake said with a nod as she finished up the notes on what Yang was saying. She looked back at her girlfriend. "Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it."
Yang smiled, planting a quick kiss on Blake's forehead. "Of course, I'm always willing to help however I can."
Blake blushed bright red at the touch of Yang's lips. She always knew how to make her melt. Her thoughts were pulled away by the vibrating of her phone next to her.
She picked up the phone, glancing at the notification. "Another announcement in creative writing," she said as she unlocked her phone.
"Do you think she's going to cancel class again ?"
Blake's eyes scanned the email. "Yeah, that's exactly what she's doing."
"Why is she canceling so close to finals?"
"Her kids got strep..." Blake trailed off, continuing reading. "And it says it's likely next week will be cancelled too. Our finals are just projects submitted online, so she's taking any questions over email... She's making decisions about class next week by Monday... But it’s leaning towards no class..." Blake smiled as she finished it, looking back at Yang. "I might just have been lucky enough to avoid Cinder for the rest of the semester."
Yang let out a sigh of relief. "Thank fucking goodness."
"I know for a fact she signed up for Creative Writing II next semester," Blake said with a sigh. "I'll have to deal with her eventually. Sun too."
"That's not till after break." Yang placed a hand on Blake's shoulder. "You have some time to figure things out before then."
"Yeah," Blake said with a nod. "I do."
"It's cruel, having our week break so close to the end of the semester." Yang sighed. "I can't wait to spend five weeks with you in Patch, just getting to relax."
"In Patch?" Blake repeated.
"Yeah, of course." Yang rose an eyebrow. "Why, did you have other winter break plans?"
"I mean, I always kinda planned to stay here over break. The fee isn't too high to stay in the dorms."
Yang shook her head. "It was kind of a given to me that you were gonna come back for winter break. You don't have to pay a fee and be lonely up here."
"I don't want to intrude..." Blake trailed off.
"Blake, you're never intruding."
"There's a pretty big difference between one and five weeks..."
"I promise you, you aren't intruding. You're more than welcome in our house, literally any time. There's no reason for you to spend several hundred dollars to be here when you can stay with us for free."
Blake sighed, her shoulders lowering. "Okay, okay. I'll come stay with you for winter break."
Yang's smile stretched across her face. "Yay!" She leaned over, planting a kiss on Blake's cheek. "I'm very excited."
"We should get back to our work." Blake gestured to her laptop. "This story isn't going to write itself."
"Yeah, we should." Yang glanced at her own closed laptop before looking back at Blake. "One last quick thing."
Blake was cut off by Yang's lips crashing into hers. She was stunned for a moment, but closed her eyes, leaning into the kiss, which seemed a little too long to be considered one last quick thing.
"You know," Blake murmured, "there's no way I'm going to be able to focus after that ."
"We could always take a longer break," Yang whispered back.
Blake smirked, pretending to spend a moment thinking about it. “Sounds like a responsible, studious thing to do,” she said, pulling away from Yang to close her laptop and shove it aside.
“Study breaks are important.” Yang did the same with her closed laptop before they both turned back to each other.
“You know what they say. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
“Or just makes Blake really worked up.”
Blake practically threw herself into Yang's lap as she drew her into another very long kiss.
The remaining weeks of the semester came and went without incident. Things weren't particularly eventful, much to the relief of both of the girls.
Creative writing continued to be cancelled for the remainder of the semester. Blake's short story about Bridget and Yasmine, which she had titled Carhop Out, was finished and submitted. The project wasn't completed without a dose of stress, but Yang helped her through it on each draft of the story.
The rest of Blake's finals went smoothly and she felt confident about how she did. Yang was similar, although she had to put a lot of extra studying into her Italian exam. Still, things worked out and both girls were rather relieved that the last few stressful weeks were finally over.
Blake stood in their room, packing her things for the five week long break. She zipped up her last bag, placing it on the ground next to their bed as the door opened.
"Car's parked outside in the loading zone," Yang said as she entered, immediately picking her bags up off the ground. "We've got fifteen minutes to get everything packed into the car and get out of there before the vultures come around."
Blake smirked, picking one of her own bags off the ground. "Parking services are vultures now?"
"They've always been like that," Yang shook her head. "Coco had her car parked for twenty minutes in a loading zone with a fifteen minute limit once and got a ticket for two hundred dollars ."
" Jeez ."
"Yeah, so we're getting out of here as soon as possible." Yang gave one more glance around the room. "I'm fairly sure I have everything, are you all set?"
Blake nodded. "Just finished up right before you got in here."
"Awesome." Yang walked over to her girlfriend, planting a quick, gentle kiss on Blake's lips. "Let's go load this up, shall we?"
Blake nodded, smiling as she followed Yang out of the room, bags in tow.
Yang climbed into the car, looking at Blake in the passenger seat as she sat down. "That's everything. You ready?"
Blake nodded with a smile. "I'm ready."
Yang turned her key in the ignition, bringing the car to life. She glanced at the clock on the dashboard. "Two minutes to spare."
"I think you would have been fine going slightly over." Blake looked around outside the car. "There doesn't seem to be any parking services employees or vehicles around."
"They appear out of nowhere, like ninjas," Yang said as she pulled the car out of the loading zone. "You might not be able to see them , but they can see you ."
"A little dramatic much?" Blake asked sarcastically.
"Dramatic is my middle name," Yang replied.
"You don't have a middle name."
"Yes I do. Yang Dramatic Xiao Long."
Blake rolled her eyes. "Sure, keep telling yourself that."
"Oh, I will." Yang let out a small chuckle. "Back in middle school, people used to insist my middle name was Xiao. As if having two words for a last name was just impossible ."
"I'm sure they didn't bat an eye at kids with Mc or Mac as part of their last name."
"Oh, you know it!" Yang's smile turned into a wicked grin. "You know what the worst thing was about my name growing up?"
Blake rose an eyebrow. "What?"
"The little boxes with the bubbles on standardized tests where I was supposed to fill in my last name was never Xiao Long enough to fit it."
Blake groaned, slamming her head against the headrest. "How did I not see that one coming?"
Yang was cackling from the driver's seat. "I haven't had one that good in a while ."
"I wouldn't call that good ."
"You wouldn't call any of my puns good."
" Exactly ," Blake said with a laugh. "They're never good."
"You pain me," Yang replied sarcastically as she turned the car around a corner of a street on campus.
Blake looked out the window, noticing that they were passing Sun's dorm building. "Not gonna lie, I'm a bit concerned about the fact that Sun doesn't have a plan yet."
"Yeah, me too," Yang sighed. "I'm still worried about this whole thing in general."
"Same. It's been stressing me out since Thanksgiving."
Yang nodded. "Same. I really wish she'd just kept to herself."
"Me too," Blake sighed. "I hope we don't run into her around town over break."
Yang shook her head. "Back in high school, she spent the holidays with her mother out West. I can only hope that it extends to almost all of winter break in college."
"If only we were so lucky... although I think I ran our luck dry by being able to avoid her so much the last couple weeks."
"Yeah... Hey, can we make a deal?"
Blake rose an eyebrow. "Sure, what's up?"
"I know it's hard but can we... try to avoid talking about and maybe even thinking about Cinder over this break? I don't want to be constantly bringing her up around Ruby and stressing her out further and honestly, I could use a break too."
"Yeah, of course," Blake said with a nod. "I'll try my best."
"Unless Sun contacts us with a plan," Yang corrected. "Because in that case, we're gonna have a lot to discuss."
"Oh yeah, absolutely."
The conversation came to a temporary halt as Yang pulled the car into a gas station with a coffee shop attached down the road from campus. She pulled up next to a gas pump, shutting off the car as she unbuckled her seatbelt.
"You know my usual, right?"
"Regular iced coffee, two creams and three sugars," Blake repeated without missing a beat as she unbuckled her own seatbelt.
Yang flashed a smile. "I'll see you back out here in a couple minutes."
Blake nodded, smiling back at her girlfriend before they both got out of the car, Yang ready to fill up her car with gas so it could run and Blake heading for the coffee shop so that they could run.
Blake climbed back into the car, a tray with two iced coffees in hand. Yang smiled at her from the driver's seat, taking the tray from Blake and putting the drinks into the cup holders in between them. Once Blake was buckled into her seat, Yang started the car back up.
"You excited to go back to Patch?" Yang asked as they pulled out of the parking lot.
Blake took a sip of her iced coffee before responding. "Yeah, absolutely. I'm excited to get to know Ruby and your dad more. Even Zwei."
A huge smile spread across Yang's face. "Aww, Blake!"
"It's true. I love your family. They make me feel welcome, like I belong there."
"Good," Yang replied, the smile still on her face. "I'm really happy you feel that way. That's the goal."
"Consider it achieved." Blake was cut off by the loud vibration of her phone in her pocket. She pulled it out, placing down her iced coffee back in the cupholder.
"Who is it?" Yang asked.
Blake didn't respond, her eyes scanning the notification. She unlocked her phone, opening up the full email and reading it.
As Blake got further into the email, her eyes grew wide and her jaw dropped open. "That's... impossible," she muttered, slowly shaking her head.
"What's wrong?" Yang asked again.
There was still no response directed at Yang. Blake continued to mumble to herself as she read, muttering the word no over and over again.
Yang pulled the car over to the side of the road, putting it in park before looking at her girlfriend, who was still staring with a gaping mouth at her phone. "Blake, what is happening ?"
"It's... I just got an email from... my parents ?"
END OF PART 1
And that's the end of Part 1 folks! I've made a slight edit to the very first chapter, just indicating that it begins Part 1, and that this story is split into parts.
Next week begins Part 2: Winter Break. Although Part 2 takes place over a shorter period of time, it should roughly be the same length in chapters as Part 1.
That being said, due to the more significant amount of work I will have over these next few weeks as the semester comes to a close, I may miss some days in which uploads should happen. I will post any updates on if a chapter is not being uploaded on a designated day on my tumblr, SuperbBirbFics. Once the first week of May ends and finals are over I will have more time to write and get things back on a consistent schedule. I will try to make sure at least one chapter goes up per week, but there are no promises on two per week until my finals are over.
Thank you so much for your continued support! I love reading all of your reviews and they bring a lot of joy to my life. Keep them coming!
The girls make it back to Patch for winter break, only to head back up to the capital to meet the people behind the mysterious emails Blake have been receiving.
PART 2: WINTER BREAK
Tai stood out on the porch, leaning against the railing as he watched his older daughter's car pull into her usual spot near the garage. He waited for the car to shut off before calling out to his daughter and her girlfriend.
"It's about time!" Tai yelled, grinning, as he pushed himself away from the railing.
Yang stepped out of the driver's side. "It's been a long day, Dad. I don't really wanna hear it."
The smile from Tai dropped as he raised an eyebrow. He stepped off the porch and onto the dirt, walking towards the car. He watched as Blake got out of the passenger seat, hiding her face behind her hair. She kept her head lowered, avoiding eye contact with him.
"Is everything okay?" Tai asked cautiously.
"I need to go to the bathroom," Blake declared, giving Yang a quick glance.
Yang nodded in response, causing Blake to make a beeline past Tai and into the house.
Tai looked over his shoulder as Blake power walked by, his eyebrow still raised. Once the front door of the house was shut behind Blake, he turned back to his daughter. "Is, uh... is everything okay with you two? Blake seems more like the Blake you told me about at the beginning of the semester as opposed to the Blake I met over Thanksgiving Break."
"I need to talk to you in private for a few minutes," Yang said in a lowered voice.
"Alright..." Tai said cautiously as he approached his daughter, deciding to lean against the side of her car. "What about?"
"Blake..." Yang hesitated, struggling to find the right words. "Blake got this email, right before we left the dorm today. It's from her parents ."
Tai's jaw dropped open. "Her... parents ?"
Yang nodded. "Yeah. Her parents."
"Aren't... I thought she said her parents were dead ?"
"Yeah, she thought so too." Yang let out a long sigh. "I read through the whole thing myself. It's... it's a lot, but it's legit, at least from what I could tell."
" How ? How is that even possible ?"
"The paperwork, the story, it all... matches. Stuff Blake's never told anyone. Not even me. No one. We're going to the capital tomorrow to meet them. They've been emailing back and forth since we've left campus and everything matches up."
Tai shook his head, holding up a hand. "Woah, woah, woah. Back up a second there. You're going to do what tomorrow?"
"Blake and I are going up to the capital tomorrow to meet them."
"Absolutely not !" Tai exclaimed, leaning in closer and lowering his voice more. "Are you out of your mind, Yang? You have no idea who these people are, who claim to be Blake's formerly dead parents, and for all you know, you could be walking directly into a setup by that kid they found in the crater!"
Yang raised an eyebrow. "You know about Adam?"
"Yes, of course I know, I talked to Qrow after it all went down." Tai shook his head and sighed. "That's not the point, though. The point is you are not going to the capital tomorrow."
"Dad, it's all we've been talking about for the last two hours. I was super suspicious at first, but the more Blake talked to them and the more Blake and I talked, the more on board I got with it. I looked up these people, they exist and they have absolutely zero connection to Adam or anyone connected to him whatsoever. They live on the opposite side of the capital for crying out loud!"
"The capital might be bigger than Patch, but it's not that big."
Yang shook her head, pulling out her phone. "Do you want to read the emails yourself? I have screenshots."
"Yes, absolutely ." Tai held out his hand, waiting for Yang to pull up the screenshots and hand the phone to him.
As soon as he had it, he read each screenshot carefully, occasionally stopping to ask questions. Yang answered them, having complete answers to every question he threw at her.
"Alright," Tai eventually said, handing the phone back to her, "I'm still uncomfortable, but... I know I can't actually stop you and I trust you'll use your better judgement here."
"I will, I promise," Yang replied with a nod, tucking her phone back into her pocket. "I'll send you text updates every step of the way."
Tai pulled out his own phone. "I'm going to text you some numbers of old co-workers from when I used to be on the police force in the capital. I want both you and Blake to save the numbers, just in case, and I'll fill them in on what's happening."
Yang opened her mouth to protest, but quickly shut it again before nodding. She knew that was a fight not worth picking, especially since he had just given in to them going to the capital in the first place.
"I'd rather take all precautions and you be safe rather than sorry." Tai shoved his phone back into his pocket and looked back at the bags still inside the car. "We should get all of this stuff inside."
"Yeah," Yang agreed, opening one of the doors and beginning to pull bags out of the car, handing them off to her father. He headed inside once his arms were full, Yang following not far behind.
She paused for a moment at the bottom of the porch steps, taking a deep breath. The next twenty-four hours were going to be something , that was for sure. She just didn't quite know exactly what that would mean yet.
And, in all honesty, she didn't think she would get to find out what that would mean anytime soon.
The car ride to the capital was quiet for a while. There wasn't a whole lot that could be said at first. They were driving into the fairly unknown, on their way to meet Blake's parents , who they hadn't even known existed just twenty-four hours before. They'd left fairly early in the morning, anxiety flowing through the both of them.
It took a while for Yang to notice the tapping. It was soft at first, almost silent. As time went on, the rhythm of Blake's fingers gently hitting the inside of the car door got louder and louder, until it was completely impossible to ignore.
"You okay?" Yang asked softly, breaking the silence and causing the tapping to stop.
"No," Blake replied, her voice cracking, causing her to take a deep, shaky breath. "Not really."
"We can talk about it, if you want," Yang offered.
Blake shook her head. "It's pointless. The anxiety isn't going to stop until all of this is over. Not until we get back to your house today. It probably won't even stop then."
"Well, yeah," Yang said with a shrug, "us talking isn't going to make it go away entirely. But it can lessen it a bit and help you out."
Blake was quiet for a few moments, taking deep breaths and trying to steady herself. "I..." she stammered, shaking her head before continuing. "I'm really scared."
"I know," Yang replied softly. "What about, exactly?"
"I'm scared about what information I'm about to learn." Blake began tapping again. "I wish they'd never sent that email. I wish I'd never read my email. I wish I didn't know about any of this."
"I know," Yang repeated, softly. "Ignorance is bliss, after all."
"My whole life feels like it's been flipped on its head. Like, everything I've known for the last eighteen years is a lie." Blake shook her head, dropping it into her hands. "Why me ? Why now ? Everything was going so well . I just want to be happy , is that too much to ask?"
"Hey," Yang said, reaching over and placing her right hand on Blake's knee, "everything is going to be okay. I promise you. Things might be a little crazy for a bit, yes, and things might be different than what they used to be, but we'll get through this, together."
Blake pulled her head out of her hands, looking up at Yang. "I... I'm going to have to come out to them. I didn't even think about that, oh my god."
"Hey," Yang repeated, "everything is going to be okay . I'm going to be right by your side, the entire time. We can leave whenever you want, no questions asked, and I will get us out of there. And after today, I'll be right there with you too, however you want to handle this going forward. You are going to be okay . Everything is going to be okay . I want to hear you say it."
"Okay," Blake agreed after a moment, placing her hand on top of Yang's. "Everything is going to be okay."
"Good," Yang replied. A sign passed above them, indicating that the capital would be coming up soon. "There's one more thing you should know before we get there. I was waiting for a good time to tell you, but I don't think there's going to be one."
"Oh?" Blake jerked her head up, alarmed. "What is it?"
"Yesterday, when I told my dad... He gave me the phone numbers of some of his old coworkers from when he used to be on the capital police force. He told them vaguely what's going on, in case we need to call."
Blake tilted her head to the side. "He... your dad used to work in the capital ?"
Yang nodded. "A long, long time ago. Before my mom died."
"Oh," Blake said softly, leaning back in her seat. "I appreciate the sentiment, but... God, that's embarrassing. I don't even want to think about the texts he sent them." She closed her eyes, shaking her head slightly.
"I know," Yang sighed. "I'm sorry, I wish I'd been able to tell you sooner. I know how you feel, but I also get where he's coming from. No one has met these people before and he was concerned about it being a setup from..."
"I figured," Blake cut her off, not wanting to hear the name. "I know he means well. It's just... hard. All of this is hard."
"I know," Yang repeated, shaking her head. "Everything's going to be okay."
Blake looked out the window, seeing the skyline of the capital approaching rapidly. "I really, really hope so."
The address they'd been given was not horribly difficult to find. The street was lined with multi-family houses, with small yards and chain link fences keeping them uniform. Parked cars lined both sides of the street, but Yang determined she didn't want to park there anyways, an underlying fear of someone connected to Adam sabotaging her car.
They found a parking garage a couple of blocks away, taking the walk towards the house slowly, Yang trying to talk Blake through some of her increasing anxiety as they got closer.
"Have you ever been to this part of the city?" Yang asked, her hand firmly wrapped around Blake's as they walked.
"The commercial area where we parked the car, yes, a couple of times. Never the residential parts around here. Never had any reason for that."
"Why'd you go to the commercial areas?"
"It's where the Planned Parenthood for the city is," Blake replied with a shrug. "It's the only place where I was able to get birth control as a teenager."
"Oh, okay." Yang paused a moment before asking another question. "Does this look anything like where you grew up?"
Blake shook her head. "I always lived in apartment complexes, never houses." She looked up at the houses as they walked past. "Although most of these are probably smaller than some of the apartments I've been in. The multi-family homes tend to be really small when it comes down to it."
"Huh, never would have guessed," Yang replied, now trying to visualize the insides of the houses.
Blake stopped walking and turned, staring at the number on the house she had stopped in front of. It was the same number as the address that they'd been given.
Yang squeezed her hand. "Are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," she said with a sigh, placing her hand on the gate to the chain link fence that stood in front of them. It took her a moment to actually lift the latch on the gate, her mind racing. Another squeeze came from Yang and she pushed up the latch, swinging the gate open.
"Door on the right," Yang repeated as they approached the front steps, remembering the instructions that they had been given in the email.
They walked up the steps, Blake's heart feeling as if it were pounding out of her chest. Her hand hovered in front of the door for a moment before she took a deep breath and gave the door a firm knock. She took a step back, planting herself firmly next to Yang and squeezing her hand. Yang reciprocated, having to stop herself from literally holding her breath as they waited for the door to open.
A few moments passed before the doorknob turned and the door swung open. On the other side was a shorter woman with cropped black hair. Yang immediately noticed her eyes as they grew wide - the same exact amber as Blake's.
"Hi," Blake said softly.
"You came!" the woman cried, joy in her voice. "You actually came!" She called over her shoulder into the house, "Ghira! Ghira! Come here! She's here! Our daughter is here!"
Blake and Yang have the talk with the senders of the email. Blake learns the truth about her past and realizes she still has a lot of things in her life to confront.
"Uh, hi," Blake repeated at the short woman standing in the doorway.
"Just bring her in!" a low voice called from inside the house.
"Okay honey!" the woman called over her shoulder. "Come in, come in!" she exclaimed as she waved the two girls into the house.
Blake instinctively found her hand reaching for Yang's as the two girls stepped forward into the house. Yang gave Blake's hand a soft squeeze, relieving a bit of Blake's anxiety.
The two girls followed the woman through the house, which was fairly small. The front room was a tiny living room, with a loveseat and a small TV. There was a short hall to their left, with an open door at the end that looked like it led to a bedroom, judging by the fact that it looked like the only thing that could fit in that room was the bed. There were a few other doors in the hall, presumably a bathroom or maybe some closets of some sort. There was an archway on the back wall that led to a small kitchen, where a very large and muscular man sat on a chair which was far too small for his build.
The man stood up the moment he saw the girls enter the room. "Blake..." he murmured.
Blake blinked. "Uh, hello."
The man shook his head, reaching out a hand for a handshake. "I'm sorry, I just... never thought I'd get the chance to meet you. I haven't seen you since you were a literal newborn. I’m Ghira Belladonna."
"Oh my gosh, I never introduced myself!" the woman exclaimed. "I'm Kali."
"I'm Blake, obviously." Blake reached out with her free hand to shake Ghira's outstretched one, her heart beating faster. "And this is Yang, my..." Blake hesitated for a moment, shooting a glance at Yang. Yang squeezed Blake's hand again and gave her a small nod. "This is Yang. My girlfriend."
Ghira rose an eyebrow at the word girlfriend, but released Blake's hand and reached out to Yang, who had to let go of Blake's hand to shake Ghira's. "It's nice to meet you as well, Yang."
"Can I... can I hug you?" Kali asked Blake.
"I guess," Blake replied, a little unsure.
The hug felt extremely awkward for Blake. Kali seemed to be happy however, finally getting to hug her daughter. But for Blake, it felt like she was hugging a complete stranger, which Kali honestly was.
Kali released her after a few seconds, clapping her hands together. "Can I get you girls anything to drink before we start talking?"
"A water would be great," Blake said with a nod.
"I'll take one too," Yang added.
Kali looked at her husband, who nodded, and proceeded to pull four bottles of water out of the fridge.
"Sit, sit," Ghira said, gesturing to the four chairs that centered around the small table. The two girls took their seats as Kali placed the four bottles of water down on the table before taking her own seat.
"So," Kali said with a sigh, "where do we even begin?"
"You could probably elaborate on what you said in the email a bit more," Blake replied.
Ghira nodded. "That seems like a good place to start."
"We... we were very young," Kali began. "When I got pregnant, that is. I was still in my senior year of high school and Ghira had just graduated a few months before we found out."
"We weren't ready for a child," Ghira admitted. "I got kicked out of my house as soon as I graduated. I was working a construction job and living in a one room apartment. I was barely making ends meet and I was considering joining the army. Kali still had a year left of school and her parents were going to kick her out if she dropped out. We both came from poor families and knew we wouldn't be able to take care of a child."
"We spent a while looking at our options, but we decided that adoption was the best route for both us and our child," Kali continued. "We did our research and found a nice agency in the capital. We contacted the agency and they helped us out throughout my pregnancy. They covered prenatal visits, vitamins, hospital bills, everything."
Ghira nodded. "About two months before you were born, the agency told us they had selected a couple that would be taking you. Because of their policies, we weren't allowed to know the name of the family, or what name they picked for you until you were 18. That couple, of course, was Marco and Angela Bugia."
Blake tensed up when Ghira mentioned those names. It had been many years since Blake had heard those names from someone other than herself.
"After you were born, Kali returned to school and I shipped off to the army. When I got back from basic, we got married and moved to the military base I was stationed at. Kali got some work as a secretary for the housing authority for the military families that lived near the base. We were there for two years when the towers got hit and I got deployed, off to war overseas."
"Ghira was sent back and forth a lot over the next decade," Kali continued. "It was very nerve wracking. He didn't come home for good until 2012."
"I was finally able to retire from the army about a year after I got stationed back at home. We moved back to the capital not long after that. Kali's mother had fallen ill and needed someone to come and take care of her. I went to work at the VA 1 hospital in the capital and Kali spent most of her time taking care of her mother until she passed last year."
"After my mother passed, we realized that your 18th birthday was in about a month. We vowed to contact the adoption agency that we used to try and see if we could connect with you."
"The agency had certain rules. We couldn't contact you without you making an attempt to contact us through the agency, so we weren't expecting to really get any information on that day. We just wanted to reestablish that connection with the agency in case you decided you wanted to try and get in contact," Ghira explained.
"We didn't expect what actually happened when we reached out," Kali said with the shake of her head. "They asked us to come down to their office in person after we called. We went and they told us what happened to the Bugias and how you became a ward of the state at age eight. They had no other information on you since then. Because the Bugias weren't around to make the choice of whether or not to tell you that you were adopted, the agency left it up to us. They admitted they had no policy in place in the event that a child that went through the agency became a ward of the state. They'd only ever have kids get passed on to other family members of their adopted family, but as you know, the Bugias had no other family."
"We... we were devastated," Ghira added with a sigh. "If we had known, we would have reached out years ago, but the policies forbid them from telling us. We argued with the people at the agency for a while. They said they'd consider changing their policies in the event that the child becomes a ward of the state, but I doubt anything will come of it."
"Once we left the agency that day, we vowed to find you. All we had was a name, Blake Bugia, which... isn't your name anymore, obviously." Kali shook her head. "We couldn't find anything online related to that name. We tried DCF 2 , but they were very unhelpful, considering we had no legal connection to you."
"I spent a lot of time at the library combing through government databases to find any connection to Blake Bugia whatsoever. Last week, I found a piece of legal information about a restraining order that linked the name to an address. We went and we found a group home for troubled teens. That was... a mess, but gave us the key information to find you."
"Ghira and I showed up and explained our story. Well, we tried to, at least. The woman at the door asked who we were and we gave them our names. She asked what we wanted and we said we were trying to find our daughter, Blake Bugia, who we had given up for adoption at birth. She laughed in our faces and told us to get lost. We asked why and she said that our last name was too much of a coincidence for us to not be connected to 'Adam'." Kali put air quotes around his name. "Then she laughed again and slammed the door in our faces and we left."
"We headed straight for the library to do some more searching. We couldn't figure out why the woman thought our last name was a coincidence. I tried searching for Blake Belladonna, and I found a link to what I assume is your Facebook. I don't actually know if it is, considering it's under extreme privacy lockdown," Ghira explained.
Blake nodded. "Yeah, it's mine."
"We figured," Kali said with a nod. "We did some more searching and found an article in the Beacon University newspaper that you were interviewed in."
"For the creative writing showcase?" Blake asked.
Ghira nodded. "Yes, that was the one."
Blake hummed in response, gesturing for them to continue.
"We learned the formula for the school emails. It's not exactly difficult to figure out. We went home and spent a couple days planning out exactly what we were going to say in our email. We finally sent it yesterday, which brings us to now," Kali said.
"I see," Blake replied flatly.
"What about you, Blake? How's, well, life been?" Ghira asked, leaning on the table.
"I’m not going to lie, it's been pretty shit until recently," Blake said with a shrug. "I don't remember much before my parents died and I'm going to keep calling them my parents because that's what they were. My parents."
Kali nodded. "Understandable."
"They died and I got thrown into the system. I bounced around a lot for a couple of years. I got caught up with a bad crowd and I ended up stuck in a really abusive relationship. I eventually ended up in that group home for troubled teens you went to. They helped me get out of my relationship, get a restraining order and a name change." Blake shook her head. "I chose the name Belladonna because when I was younger, my mom always told me I would grow up to be una donna bella, which is a beautiful woman in Italian. I don't know if she knew it was your last name or if the universe just happened to align things this way, but that's why the people at the group home laughed in your faces. And to be honest, I don't blame them. My ex has been popping up lately and they're more than aware of it."
"Well, things have been better recently, right? How's life going with that?" Kali asked, hopeful.
"Things are good. I go to Beacon, I'm doing good in my classes, I have good friends," Blake replied with another shrug.
"Any roommate issues?" Ghira asked.
Blake let out a small laugh, breaking her previously flat response pattern. "Quite the opposite, actually. Yang is both my roommate and my girlfriend."
Yang gave a small wave, reminding Kali and Ghira that she was still there.
"Oh, okay," Ghira replied with a nod.
"Are you back at the group home for break?" Kali asked, curious.
Blake shook her head, her face returning to its blank expression. "I'm staying with Yang's family for break."
"What do your parents do, Yang?" Ghira asked.
Yang blinked, surprised at a question directed towards her. "My dad's a cop."
Ghira nodded. "Ah, okay. What about your mother?"
"My mom's been dead for nearly ten years."
"Oh, I'm so sorry," Ghira said with a gaping mouth. "I didn't think..."
"Why exactly are you so interested in Yang's family?" Blake asked, her tone getting sharper as her blank face twisted into defensive anger.
"I... we just want to get to know our daughter more and know what's going on in your life. We want to make up for lost time," Kali explained.
Blake closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Number one, please stop calling me your daughter. Like, I get it, but I..." she sighed, shaking her head. "I can't do this to my parents. Marco and Angela. I just can't . You've known this for years, I've known it for less than twenty-four hours. And number two... it's too late to make up for lost time."
Ghira blinked. "What do you mean?"
"I mean that my life has been a living hell up until a few months ago. I've been tossed around from home to home and I spent the vast majority of my life feeling unwanted by everybody. To find out now that everything I've ever known is a lie... I just can't ." Blake shook her head. "No one ever bothered to tell me I had a second set of possible parents, extreme emphasis on possible . I'm an adult now and I've learned to fend for myself. How to care for myself. How to love myself. It's been really fucking hard and I'm still learning, but this... the ship has long since sailed for this."
"Blake, we didn't know what had happened. We would have reached out if we could have, but we didn't know," Kali replied gently.
"I know you didn't know and I'm not blaming you for this. I... I just found out my whole life is a lie , okay? You want to make up lost time, but I didn't even know there was time to be lost." Blake stood up from the table. "I can't do this, I'm sorry." She looked to Yang. "We're leaving."
"Blake, please," Kali begged as Yang stood up. "We just found you..."
"I'm sorry. I can't." Blake shook her head, heading for the archway back to the front of the house, Yang following closely behind. "Don't contact me again unless I contact you first."
Kali attempted to stand up, but Ghira placed an arm in front of her.
"No," he said firmly with the shake of his head, tears forming in his eyes. "Let her go."
That was the last thing Blake heard before she stepped out of the front door and onto the front steps.
"Are you okay?" Yang asked as she scurried up next to her and grabbed her hand.
Blake shook her head, her eyes filling with tears. "No. Not at all."
"Let's go back to the car and we'll find somewhere to go and talk, okay?"
Blake nodded, squeezing Yang's hand tightly as they left the yard and walked down the street.
Yang sat down in the car, taking a deep breath before turning to Blake. Blake was hiding in her hair, but the noise of her sobs made her attempts at hiding her crying fail. Yang reached into the backseat, pulling a box of tissues off the ground.
"Here," she said softly, handing the box to Blake.
Blake grabbed the box and pulled out a tissue, blowing her nose. "I'm sorry," she croaked when she stopped.
"There's nothing to be sorry for," Yang assured her, handing her a bottle of water from the cupholder.
Blake took the bottle and chugged it for a few moments. She took another tissue, wiping away her tears. After a long, shaky breath, she spoke again, her voice somewhat steadier this time. "I don't want to go back to Patch yet."
"Okay," Yang said with a nod.
"But I want to leave the capital. I can't stand being here any longer."
"Okay," Yang repeated. "We'll just go and drive for a little bit and find a rest stop or something off the highway to sit in and talk for a while, or just sit until you're ready, okay?"
Blake nodded. "That sounds good."
Yang pushed the key into the ignition and turned it, bringing the car to life. "Drink more water, you need it."
Blake took another long chug from the water bottle, draining it down to about half. She leaned back in her seat, closing her eyes as Yang continued to drive through the garage to get out. "Let me know when we're out of the capital. I just don't want to look at this place anymore."
"Will do," Yang said.
"Thanks for being such a trooper today and dealing with my bullshit," Blake said with a sigh.
"Shush, it's not bullshit. Your feelings are valid. That was a lot ."
"Well, thank you anyways."
"Of course. I'd do anything for you."
"Perhaps that's a policy you should rethink."
"Nah, I think I'm good."
"I..." Blake started to say something, but then stopped. "Nevermind."
"Nothing, just focus on getting us out of here."
Yang rose an eyebrow that Blake couldn't see, but let it go. "Okay." She knew all too well that the day was far from over and she didn't want to stress Blake out even more.
It wasn’t as if Blake wasn’t stressed out enough today.
For my non-American readers:
1: Veterans Affairs, a US government institution that services veterans. Most commonly known by non-veterans for their hospitals.
2: Department of Children and Families, a US government institution that handles issues involving families, abuse, and other services. Most commonly known for the foster care system.