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Brewed Awakening

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Weiss Schnee had never been in a restaurant like this before. It was so…small and had so many windows. In fact, none of the overhead lights were even turned on – the entire dining area was illuminated with natural light. While that was all well and good and did give the place a natural feel – all the windows meant that anyone and everyone walking by could stand there was watch you eat.

There were people here of all different shapes and sizes and not one of them was dressed up for the occasion. Sure, it was just breakfast, but they were still out in public and she was pretty sure she saw a man in sweat pants and a shirt with fake abs on the front.

The setup was even stranger than the patrons. Instead of a maître d' at the front waiting to sit customers at a table – people were expected to seat themselves. It took Weiss nearly five minutes to realize no one was coming to direct her to a table and then another five minutes scouring the empty ones because she had no idea if they were clean or not.

There were menus already at the table, but those weren’t much help either because there were only four items on the entire breakfast menu. There were three people working over a few stoves and fryers. One of them bouncing around to the music circulating throughout the restaurant as her thick, blonde ponytail swayed back and forth.

Weiss could only imagine how many customers ended up with hair in their food.

To say that she felt out of place would be a massive understatement. Weiss knew she didn’t belong here. She noticed a few people glance her way and that those people probably knew exactly who she was. She simply hoped they didn’t care enough to confront her about it.

The sounds of this restaurant were scattered and constant. Varying conversations that Weiss could never hear enough of to understand and the constant movement and cooking in the kitchen. All coated with soft music playing on the speakers placed all over.

Slowly, she walked all the way to the back and found a spot in a corner between two windows. There were so many windows – people walking by could literally watch you eat, and Weiss could not understand why anyone would want that.

As she sat down in the big red booth, it made a noise underneath of her that was extremely unpleasant. Weiss looked around to see if anyone was staring. They weren’t, probably because all the booths made the exact same noise, and nobody thought she actually—

Her train of thought stopped as she glanced up at the counter. She wasn’t sure if she was supposed to go up there to order or if someone would come and take it. Unfortunately, that might not matter as she was suddenly staring into the deep, golden eyes of a Faunus. She wasn’t wearing a uniform – not like the cooks or the few other people she’d seen back there.

This girl was wearing a black sweatshirt and had her Faunus ears standing straight up as she stared Weiss down. There was a laptop in front of her and a stack of books alongside them – much like a student would— and she was glaring in Weiss’ direction.

The thought of standing up and running as fast as she could out the door seemed suddenly appealing. She had merely wanted some coffee because she hadn’t been able to sleep on the awful motel bed the night before – but perhaps her father was right – there really was no place for her to go.

Weiss forced herself to break contact with the Faunus girl and instead stare at her hands or literally anything else. She had to focus on something because she refused to cry in this restaurant in front of all these strangers who knew nothing about her.

Reaching into her bag, Weiss clutched at her scroll. Perhaps it would be better to text Winter and ask for help? She’d certainly offered it enough. But what good would she be if she couldn’t do this on her own? She’d just be going from one Schnee to the other and asking them to take care of her.

Still, it might be for the best. Perhaps she couldn’t do this. She didn’t know how to handle life on her own. She didn’t even know where to start.

Suddenly, she heard footsteps drawing closer to her and in that moment, she’d made the decision to leave. She wasn’t about to get into a fight with a Faunus she didn’t even know just because she was born with the wrong last name.

Grabbing her bag, she went to stand up, but a chirpy voice spoke before she could.

“Welcome to Brewed Awakening! What can I get you?”

Stopping, Weiss looked up and found a warm smile and a pair of silver eyes staring down at her. This girl was glowing with happiness – to the point Weiss couldn’t understand how anyone could be this excited to be up and working before nine in the morning.

She had dark, shoulder length hair with red tips. Her hair was a bit wild in some places, but somehow she made it look intentional. Speaking of shoulders, the uniform she was wearing showed off just how strong this girl was, and Weiss allowed her eyes to trail down to her firm biceps and defined forearms and –

The girl was giving her a strange look and Weiss realized she’d been staring far too long.

“Coffee…is…what I’ll have.” Weiss stammered, apparently unable to form a competent sentence.

Fortunately, the waitress laughed. “Then coffee is what you will be given.” She said with a wink and Weiss was starting to wish she’d just ran and saved herself from this utter humiliation. As if she didn’t have enough guilt and confusion going on in her life. “Do you want anything special done to it?”

Weiss came back to reality and looked up at the girl. She’d been thrown off all morning by the strangeness of this restaurant – she could only imagine what ‘special’ things they did to coffee here.

“Such as?” She asked with a leery tone.

This only made the girl’s smile grow and Weiss was starting to wonder if she was on one of those degenerate hidden camera shows because nobody was this kind. “Sugar, cream, milk – sometimes we even offer cinnamon to the cute customers.”

Weiss felt her face go hot but before she could even process the thought of being flirted with, there was a groan from a distance behind them. She looked past her waitress to see the Faunus watching them with a scowl on her face.

When she looked back, the waitress’ cheeks suddenly matched the tips of her hair.

“We offer cinnamon to everyone.” The girl said quickly. “Not that you’re not cute – you are, but it’d be pretty crummy to not offer everything to all our customers. They can’t help it if they’re not cute.” 

A loud cough across the room made the girl finally stop speaking and Weiss was somehow even more charmed.

“A little sugar is fine.” She said and earned a nod.

As the girl turned away, she stopped and quickly spun back around. “My name is Ruby. If you need anything else.”

Ruby.

"Weiss," she wasn't sure if she was supposed to introduce herself to a waitress. This felt like an introduction moment.

"Nice to meet you Weiss! One coffee comin' up!" 

Weiss nodded and watched her waitress walk away a bit faster than she arrived and then watched an exchange between Ruby and the Faunus girl. There were a lot of inaudibly sharp whispers and then a hearty laugh from the blonde at the stove before Ruby was given a good tousling.

It had been a long time, and Weiss was never well suited in the matter – but she was certain she’d just been flirted with. That was the absolute last thing she’d considered when she ran away, the idea of dating anyone or even knowing anyone beyond a first name seemed impossible.

Not that one moment with a random waitress at a restaurant she’d never set foot in again mattered all that much. If anything, it was a nice confidence boost after a month or more of feeling like everyone hated her.

A buzzing at her side made her jump and Weiss turned to the offensive sound and saw her scroll lighting up from inside her bag. She pulled it out, knowing who it was because only one person had her new number. She tapped the screen and read her new message.

How are you adjusting?

Winter, as to the point as ever.

I’m doing fine, just grabbing a bit of breakfast before my interview.

She put her scroll down on the table just as footsteps were approaching her once again. Looking up, those silver eyes were back on her and matched with a bright smile. Ruby held a very large cup of coffee in one hand – much larger than Weiss had ever imagined a cup could be – and a plate of bacon in the other.

Wait…

“I didn’t order that.” Weiss said as she pointed at the plate.

This only made Ruby smile more. “I know, but coffee alone for breakfast isn’t breakfast! You need some food too, so…bacon.”

Weiss pursed her lips, finding it hard to refuse. “I’m on a very tight budget at the moment.” She said this knowing full well that her designer clothes and brand-new scroll didn’t exactly scream poor.

Still, Ruby seemed unfazed. “It’s on the house! We cooked too much and we’re just gonna throw it away anyways so…I thought you might like it.”

She looked so annoyingly hopeful about this that Weiss couldn’t even muster the strength to tell this girl that she didn’t actually like bacon.

No, in fact, Weiss was so suddenly weak that she picked up a piece and bit into it. “Thank you,” she said, feeling the salty, crunchy meat settle on her tongue and fighting with all she had not to wince.

Weiss had been flirted with throughout her life. Every fancy ball and fundraiser her father ever held usually ended up with a slew of rich old men and their sons asking to dance with her or trying to drag her away from the hall for a private conversation.

Those days had trained Weiss in the ways of being cold and distant and unapproachable. They made it easy to be mean because that was the only way to make the unwanted advances stop.

Now though, she found herself completely disarmed.

"If you need anything else, just let me know!” Ruby said with a little bounce in her step as she walked away.

Weiss swallowed down the offending meat and took a sip of her coffee. It wasn’t very good, certainly not as good as her chef back home used to brew it, but she wasn’t about to complain

As she sat in her booth, she watched Ruby move throughout the restaurant from one table to another. This girl was the epitome of cheery. She smiled at everyone, made jokes and conversation. It didn’t matter how old or young a person was, she could find a way to make them smile along with her.

It was mesmerizing to watch and so different from anyone she’d been around before. Certainly, it could be assumed that Ruby was only being kind for tips, but nobody could pretend that well.

Besides, Ruby wouldn’t have to be this nice for tips with most people considering how beautiful she was.

Stop it.

She took a much longer sip of her coffee and forced herself to look anywhere else but at the bubbly redhead.

Don’t get attached.

That was the mantra her father had told her countless times. Don’t get attached to people or ideals because they always leave and they always change. Most importantly, they always want something from you and are always willing to hurt you if it means benefiting themselves.

It was funny to her that the man who gave her that advice was the same one who hurt her countless times.

"Refill?" Weiss jumped at the voice and looked up to see Ruby smiling down at her with a pot in hand.

Weiss looked down at her cup, nearly empty and remembered she had an interview to get to in twenty minutes.

Still, it was hard to say no to this cute stranger. “Sure.” She held up her cup and let Ruby refill it. “Do you serve lunch?”