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Ice Flower

Chapter Text

"Ruby! Dinner is ready!" Yang called up to her little sister as she set the casserole on the table, slipping the oven mitts off of her hands. Their father had been called away to work overseas, leaving Yang in charge of the house. It was nothing she wasn't already used to, it was pretty much her everyday life now. She frowned when she didn't hear footsteps running down the staircase, but it was quickly replaced by a knowing smirk. "The girl's got it bad," she whispered to herself as she started up to Ruby's bedroom, already faintly hearing music blasting from her half-open door.

Yang peeked through the crevice and silently chuckled. Ruby was sitting at her desk and her silver eyes were practically glued to her computer, following a white-haired girl dancing across the screen as the music video started over. She had it on loop. Yang found herself standing behind her little sister with her hands on her hips and a sly smirk tugging at the corners of her mouth, "Ruby, you're drooling."

That seemed to snap the young artist out of her stupor and her eyes darted between Yang and the video, she reached up to wipe away the drool, only to find that there was none there. "Yaaang!" She whined, pausing the video and turning to face her sister, "Don't sneak up on me like that. Is dinner ready?"

"Yeah, I called you, but you didn't hear me." Yang's smirk never left her face, "You were too busy swooning over the Ice Queen." A blush crept its way up to Ruby's face and she averted her eyes from her sister's growing smirk, "You know. . . She's going to be performing downtown in a few weeks. Have you bought tickets?"

Ruby absentmindedly spun herself around in her chair, shaking her head dejectedly, "Dad would never let us go. Not after what happened at the Mistral concert. . ." The girl whispered, turning back to her computer. "I still can't believe the White Fang did that. . ."

Yang shrugged, glancing away with a thoughtful expression, "Isn't that Roman Torchwick guy still in jail?" Ruby nodded and Yang turned back to her, "Then there's nothing to worry about. Besides, Dad isn't going to be in town, and who says he has to know?"

"Are you suggesting we sneak out to attend the concert?" Ruby asked, her eyes leaving Yang's to examine her bedroom. Scattered across the walls was every Ice Flower poster she could get her hands on, she even owned two versions of the same poster as one had the name of the album across the top and the other was blank. Sitting on her shelves was every album the band had ever released. She knew every single one of them by name, even the girl that only become a main part of the band a week ago.

There were also countless pictures of them Ruby had drawn, some colored and some sketched. Most of them were just sketches of Weiss, though. Her excuse? 'I'm practicing how to draw her'. 

In reality, she just thought she was really pretty.

Ruby never thought she would be so obsessed with something and had often teased her sister for her obsession with a certain boy-band.

The older girl chuckled, "Well I wouldn't call it sneaking out if he isn't home," mischief sparkled in Yang's lilac eyes, "besides, don't you want to meet your princess?" A bright red blush immediately came to Ruby's cheeks and Yang's grin grew once more. "You're hopelessly in love."

"Speaking of love," Ruby started, desperate to change the subject, "when am I going to meet the girl who won Yang Xiao Long's heart?" The sister's expressions switched, Ruby's smirk rivaled her sister's and Yang's face turned red. "You've been dating for over six months now, you talk about her all the time and yet I've never seen her!"

Yang hummed, glancing away and folding her arms over her chest. "She's going to be attending the concert, actually. I was thinking about introducing the two of you then since she'll be in town." The blonde glanced at her little sister and offered her a smile, "She also has a cute friend I think you'll like." She offered Ruby a wink as she pulled two tickets from out of thin air, "You're going to that concert."

Ruby's jaw dropped and she flew out of her chair, snatching the tickets from her older sister in process. Yang stifled a laugh. Ruby's silver eyes were locked on the tickets as if she was trying to confirm that they were indeed real and not copies. "How did you get these?! They were sold out!"

"I have my ways," Yang replied, waving it off as if it was nothing.

Ruby rolled her eyes, hesitantly handing the tickets back over to her blonde sister and returning to her chair. "Let me guess, you know somebody who knows a person who knows this guy who got you the tickets." Yang laughed again.

"In a way, yeah, but a lot less complicated." Yang slipped the tickets back into her pocket and started for the door, "Anyway, I'll leave you to fawn over the Ice Queen." A whine of complaint came from Ruby as Yang closed the bedroom door. The music resumed almost immediately.

"If only she knew." The smell of dinner downstairs struck her and she suddenly remembered what she'd come upstairs for, she swung the door back open. "When you're done re-watching that for the ten millionth time, dinner's waiting! Don't let it get cold, it wouldn't taste very good heated up." Yang reminded her sister, who sent a thumbs up in a response, her eyes never leaving the screen. Yang chuckled and closed the door again.


 

[A few weeks later]

"It sure is crowded. . ." Yang mumbled as she parked Bumblebee in the first empty parking space she found, she shut the motorcycle off and removed her helmet, freeing her hair. She glanced to Ruby as the younger girl practically flew off, bouncing in place with anticipation. They'd handed in the tickets a few minutes ago.

"I didn't think there would be this many people." Yang said as Ruby grabbed her arm the second she got up off of Bumblebee and started dragging her towards the clearing where a stage had been set up. There were over three hundred people at least, all gathering in the small area the clearing provided.

"You didn't- Yang! Ice Flower is just as popular as your Achieve Men!" Ruby exclaimed, coming to a dead stop when a ice-blue tour bus caught her attention. It was sitting just behind the stage, almost out of sight. Her heart skipped a beat when she noticed a small group of people standing outside of it.

Her eyes trailed from the bus to a white-haired girl sitting on the steps, clearly having nothing to do with the conversation or the people around her. She seemed to be more focused on whatever she was staring at. Her phone? A notebook? They were too far away for Ruby to tell.

"You're staring." Yang chuckled, turning her little sister around to bring her back to reality. "Don't be creepy." Yang hummed and glanced at the time on her phone. A small smile came to her lips, reading a message that had just come in all the while ignoring Ruby's whining that she wasn't staring.

"We have about an hour before the concert starts," lilac eyes met a confused pair of silver, "do you think you're ready to meet my girlfriend?" Yang asked with an unreadable smirk.

Ruby frowned at her, "Of course I'm ready! I'm starting to think you don't want me to meet her or something. Would Dad approve of her? Is that why you've kept her a secret?"

"He already knows," Yang informed her, "come on! She's this way!" Ruby followed her sister through the crowd, just barely managing to stay at her side while she excused herself and apologizing for stepping on anybody's toes. The clearing was already packed and was almost slap full, everybody was practically shoulder-to-shoulder. It was very difficult to navigate your way through-

She lost her.

Ruby had lost track of Yang. A small whine escaped her lips as the realization that she was alone washed over her. Hopefully she wasn't too far ahead, maybe she could catch up with her? "Excuse me. Coming through," Ruby pardoned her way through the crowd once more, searching for her sister's fiery blonde hair.

Frustration struck her again when a particular couple refused to acknowledge her, despite being very well aware that she was there. "Um, hello?" Being trapped in the mob without Yang anywhere around had her anxiety going through the roof.

"You piece of SHIT!"

WHAM!

Before she had a chance to comprehend what was going on, another body had slammed into hers and a fight had erupted. The crowd around her suddenly grew bigger as people gathered around to watch. Screams and cheers echoed through the air, yet nobody noticed the small teenager crawling her way through the mob as an attempt to escape.

She had to be careful where she put her hands, the chances of somebody accidentally stepping on them were high. She was not about to go home with broken hands and have to explain what happened to her father.

Ruby could hear the enraged swearing and hollering mixing in with the sound of fists meeting skin, yelps of pain and angry growls.

"That's enough!" Ruby quickly shot to her feet to see a broad man with graying black hair and stern, cold blue eyes suddenly standing in between the fighting boys with his hands behind his back. He seemed calm, but the look on his face said otherwise. "Security will escort the two of you out, and if any of the rest of you feel like fighting, you will be kicked out as well." The crowd nervously returned to what they were doing as the frustrated teenagers were forced out of the clearing.

Ruby felt fear race up her spine as the man's gaze landed on her and he approached her, "Are you Ruby Rose?" He asked coolly, she nodded, "Your sister sent me to find you, come with me." Ruby wanted to ask how he knew her sister, but decided against it, perhaps Yang would tell her later. The man lead her backstage and departed from her once Yang was in their line of view.

"Ruby!" Yang grinned, waving the younger girl over. Standing beside Yang was a girl with long black hair and golden eyes, her feline ears twitched on top of her head when Ruby approached. "I lost you, I turned around and you were gone. Anyway, this is-"

"Blake Belladonna." Ruby muttered.

Chapter Text


 

"Blake Belladonna."

A warm smile crossed the faunus' lips and she spared a glance at Yang before approaching the young girl, "So, you're Yang's little sister?" She asked with a familiar indecipherable look in her eyes; she must've picked it up from Yang. "It's nice to finally meet you, Yang speaks of you a lot." Blake's posture gave off a welcoming aura that made Ruby feel comfortable in the woman's presence. She nodded her response, her mouth was far too dry for her to utter any words. She caught movement behind Blake and her silver eyes darted away from Blake's golden pair, she felt a lump rise up in her throat and she swore her heart skipped a beat.

"Who's this?" Blake turned around at the sound of her best friend's voice and the faunus' smile brightened, "What did I say about letting strangers in without my permission...? Honestly, don't you remember what happened in Mistral?" The singer came to a stop in front of the raven-haired woman, who seemed unfazed by the girl's rude approach.

"Of course I didn't forget," Blake shrugged and gestured to her girlfriend as Ruby slowly returned to her sister's side, she refused to look up, "remember when I told you I'll be introducing you to my girlfriend? Well, that's now." The faunus offered the sisters a warm smile when a brief look of understand crossed the singer's face.

Ruby frowned and grabbed her sister's elbow, giving it a yank as an attempt to drag the older girl away. Yang glanced back at her, "Um, excuse us for a minute. Lil' Sis wants to talk." She managed to inform them before she was pulled out of sight. The blonde straightened her sleeves, meeting Ruby's annoyed silver eyes. "Yes?"

The girl's growl came out as a low, threatening sound; "You're dating Weiss Schnee's best friend and you never told me?" She asked, more disappointed than she was frustrated.

"I wanted it to be a surprise." Yang replied calmly.

"Well it's a surprise, alright." Ruby muttered in response.

After a brief argument that Yang won, the sisters returned to the black and white duo. Ruby gave an awkward smile, struggling to come up with an acceptable first impression. She could practically see her sister's smirk when silver eyes met blue and all her nervousness flew out the window. "Y'know," Ruby started, glancing over the singer's form, "you're shorter in person."

Irritation flickered through those icy blue eyes, "I will have security escort you out." The singer spoke in a serious manner and Ruby had to bite back a chuckle.

Cute! Ruby thought, glancing up when she caught a glimpse of a tall redhead heading towards them. Pyrrha Nikos, Ruby recognized, bass guitarist, and doesn't she sing a little too? I know she sang in a few of their newest songs. "Blake, there you are!" Pyrrha hadn't noticed them yet, "Jaune needs your help backstage."

Blake nodded, "Alright, I'll be there in a minute." She gestured to Yang, "Pyrrha, meet Yang Xiao Long. She's the girlfriend I've been telling you all about, and this is her little sister, Ruby Rose." Pyrrha greeted the blonde with a friendly 'hello' and a wave. Yang returned the greeting while Ruby stood beside her sister awkwardly.

"Anyway," Pyrrha gestured to the stage, "Ozpin sent me to tell you that we've procrastinated enough and the concert needs to begin immediately."

"Right." Weiss muttered to herself and spun around to leave without saying a word to the sisters, "Pyrrha, would you mind getting my mic ready?" The taller girl said goodbye and quickly followed her friend, "Make sure this one isn't broken, please." The words were a lot less harsher, they almost sounded kind and soft.

Ruby stiffened when her sister called out; "Make sure the microphone isn't too high for her! She might have to grab a step stool!" If the older girls hadn't turned back to look at them, Ruby would have facepalmed. Gods, that was embarrassing.

Pure rage replaced the softness in Weiss' eyes and she stalked over to the blonde, "Do you have any idea who you're talking to-" Ruby had to swallow her own laughter when Pyrrha suddenly grabbed the white-haired girl by the waist, lifting her up and carrying her away effortlessly. "Put me down, I'm not done with her yet!"

Out of the corner of her eye, Ruby could see the shadow of a smile making its way to Blake's stoic expression and amusement was twinkling in the faunus' golden eyes. "Yang," Blake turned her attention to Yang, "as funny as that was. . . Try not to do that again, you could get yourself banned from ever coming backstage again. Or possibly even kicked out."

Yang simply smiled, "Worth it."

A few minutes later, the sisters made their way back into the crowd and patiently (or rather impatiently in Ruby's case) for the concert to start. Nearly thirty minutes had passed and the lights hadn't even clicked on yet. "Wow, you'd think she'd be on time to her own concerts." Yang whispered, leaning in towards Ruby with her eyes still locked on the stage. "You've watched her live performances before, Ruby, does it always start late?"

Ruby glanced at her, "No. It usually starts before time. . ." She whispered back, slightly worried. Judging by the chatter she heard going on around her, she wasn't the only one concerned. "I wonder what happened. Should we head back there and see if everything's okay? I mean, you have a backstage pass for being Blake's girlfriend, right?"

"No," Yang replied honestly, "I was only allowed back there because Blake was waiting for me." The blonde crossed her arms, a small smile came to lips and she chuckled, "We probably shouldn't worry too much. They're probably having trouble finding mic stand that's not too tall."

"Yang, that's going to come back and bite you." The sisters spun around to see Blake standing behind them with a hand on her hip, she wasted no time and immediately turned her attention to Ruby, who moved closer to Yang. "Yang told me you know all of their songs and dances. Is that right?"

The young girl stared at the faunus for a second before meekly noddinged. Blake glanced at Yang and a few silent words were exchanged before the raven-haired woman turned and gestured for Ruby to follow. "Come with me. We need your help."

Ruby allowed the words to process for a second. "What?!" She almost screeched, "I can't go on stage! I-I'll make a fool of myself! Yang doesn't know what she's talking about, I don't know all of the dances." She leaned in to her sister, "Yang, help!" Ruby pleaded pathetically, begging for her sister to reject the offer and insist she stay with her. Instead, the blonde gave her a push on the back in Blake's direction. Betrayal crossed her features and she reluctantly followed her sister's girlfriend out of the crowd, she scowled at the victorious smirk on Yang's face.

"What if I mess up?" Ruby asked timidly, matching Blake's quick stride. "There's probably many girls out in the crowd who'd loved to go on stage."

Blake didn't even glance at her as they entered the gate, "Probably so," she started, "but it would have taken longer to find one. Needless to say, there would have been some jealous fans trying to sabotage the concert because so and so was selected as the back up dancer."

"True." Ruby whispered under her breath and she glanced up to see a group of dancers and the band gathered around a girl with short, light blonde hair and hazel brown eyes. Her ankle seemed to be wrapped and the other dancers were fretting over her, very clearly overwhelming her.

A man with grey hair and a cane met her eyes briefly before he turned back to the small crowd. Whatever he said fell deaf on the young girl's ears, but the band seemed to understand him. "What happened?" Ruby noticed a short redhead lean into a tall raven-haired man and she immediately recognized them. Nora Valkyrie and Lie Ren; they were close friends and had supposedly grown up together.

"One of the dancers broke her ankle while practicing earlier and we were just now informed of the incident," Blake whispered to her before quickening her pace and heading straight towards Weiss, "stay here." Ruby stopped dead in her tracks, feeling like a deer in the headlights now that everybody's attention was now focused on her.

A few words were exchanged between Blake and Weiss before the vocalist finally decided to acknowledge her, "Is it true that you know all of the dance steps?" She asked with a harsh and irritated voice, Ruby nodded, "Hmm. Alright, I suppose you can fill in for Jasmine." Weiss frowned, "Please try not to embarrass us. We've worked too hard this year for a child to come in and screw everything up."

Out of nowhere one the dancers approached Ruby and handed her an outfit, asking if it would fit and leading her away to change when Ruby replied that it would.


Three hours later, everybody was leaving the stage and preparing to pack up for the night. Ruby had changed back into her regular clothes and had collapsed in the first chair she seen; she wasn't tired at all, she was a track star for Gods' sake. It was just being onstage with the lights shining on them, knowing she was performing for the first time in front of thousands of people without rehearsal. The fact she had been performing at all. . . The moment she had been dragged up onstage, she had experienced sheer terror, already felt humiliated, and feared she would mess up and ruin the entire concert.

She almost did, but it didn't appear that anybody noticed her slight slip-up. Though, when she was dancing, she'd glanced over at the band every few minutes and the deafening music surrounding her would fall silent on her ears. Every member had their own part to play, but they were all in perfect sync as if they'd rehearsed it a thousand times. Which, they probably did. Still, it had been mesmerizing to watch. Would've been better if I could've watched from the audience. Ruby thought in slight irritation. She was dragged backstage and forced to perform during her first concert. . . How nice.

"Ruby!" Said girl glanced up to see her sister running over in her direction with Blake walking calmly behind her. "You did fantastic! It's like you belonged up there!" When Ruby stood up, she was yanked into a bear hug that felt more like being strangled in a very strange way. Yang released her and stepped back, "So, how was your first concert, little sister?"

Ruby shot a glare, "I think you know very well how it went, Yang. I almost ruined the entire concert!" Note to self: Never trust Yang with helping you out of a crisis.

"What do you mean?" Yang asked in confusion. Had she not seen her almost trip and stumble up there on stage? Surely the rest of the world seen it. Thankfully, the band didn't need to notice. "Oh, here comes. . ." The blonde glanced at her sister, waiting for the girl's name, Ruby whispered it to her, "Here comes Nora! Isn't she the one who throws her guitar out into the audience."

Yang jumped when Nora responded from right beside her, "That's me! Nice to meet you!" Yang returned the greeting and stepped away from the hyperactive girl, "Anyway, Ruby right? Our manager wants to meet you!" The sisters exchanged a wordless glance and Ruby hesitantly nodded.

Had it been that obvious? Was she going to be asked to leave and never come near the band again? Okay, Ruby, you're just overthinking everything. It'll be fine. After a minute, Nora lead Ruby towards the group gathered around the tall grey-haired man. Ruby's attention didn't stay focused on him for long when she noticed Weiss standing beside him.

Why had she nearly tripped and stumbled on stage? She'd been watching the singer. She couldn't help it, though. The white lights illuminating the stage made Weiss appear to be a literal angel; the genuine smile she'd been wearing didn't help much, either. She'd been at peace. "You're staring." Yang whispered in her ear, snapping her out of her trance. Ruby glanced at her and briefly seen the smirk that crossed her sister's face.

The perky redhead, Nora, rejoined the rest of the band as the two men speaking to their manager walked off with papers in hand. "Ruby Rose, correct?" Silver eyes snapped back towards the man's brown eyes and she nodded, "Was that really your first time on stage?" He asked with a warm smile.

"Yes sir," Ruby replied stiffly, "but I'm not a dancer."

"I see." Ozpin hummed, "Well," he glanced towards the band chattering a little ways away, "we have been low on stage crew members since the White Fang attack, and you seem to know everything there is to know about the band. . . So, how would you feel about joining us on tour?"

Chapter Text

"How would you feel about joining us on tour?"


Ruby's heart skipped a beat as she played the question over in her head. He couldn't be serious, this had to be a joke. What would she do? She wasn't a dancer, she didn't want to be a dancer. Then again, he did mention stage crew members, so she would be working with mechanical stuff just like she did at home.


"She'll do it." Ruby spun around to look at her sister, "Ruby, I'm leaving town in a few weeks and Dad is almost never home since he got his promotion. You'll be with Blake, I trust her. Plus, this will be good for you." Yang told her seriously, placing a hand on her shoulder, "I wouldn't suggest you do if it I didn't think it was best."


Oh, yeah, that's right. Yang was leaving in a few weeks. . . She'd completely forgotten about that. Yang had applied to a college all the way across the country and she'd been accepted, Ruby didn't want her to have to give up on her dreams just to stay home and take care of her.


Traveling with the band would be fun, right? She would see the world, she would get to live the life many others wish they had. Her eyes skimmed over the current stage crew consisting of at least twenty people, she glanced around the stage set up and momentarily wondered what 'running low' meant. They seemed just fine to her, everything was set up perfectly and the show was flawless. In her opinion, anyway. "Some of them do not work for us," Ozpin informed her, "they're just experienced volunteers from your city. They won't be traveling with us."


With a sigh, she turned around to meet Ozpin's eyes. "I'll do it." She whispered, surprising herself. "But as long as I have some time to myself. I don't like crowded spaces." What in the world had she just agreed to? Had she really just said that?


"Delightful," Ozpin gave her an unreadable smile, "I'll see what I can do about-"


Nora spoke up, interrupting Ozpin. "I wouldn't mind giving my room to you, it's too small for my taste anyway." She glanced at Ren, who met her gaze without uttering a word. Exactly how many rooms were in that RV? Ruby glanced at the tour bus sitting a little ways away, imagining what the interior would look like. If she had to guess, it was extremely fancy and a commoner like herself would feel inadequate living in it.


"Okay first, if she's going to stay with us, then she'll need some more training. I brushed it off, but I seen her almost trip. Thankfully, nobody caught it or else the paparazzi will be on our asses." Weiss' voice caught her attention and she glanced towards the white-haired singer, "And, Nora, the stage crew don't stay in the bus with us. She can stay in the sleeper bus like the rest of them." Weiss glared at the perky redhead, "We can't treat her any differently than we do the others."


Ozpin turned to Weiss, narrowing his brows. "Miss Rose would be considered a roadie, but given the circumstances, she will be staying in the bus with you all." Ozpin spoke up, silencing the vocalist as his cool gaze towards a young blonde man fiddling with the equipment, "Mister Arc," blue eyes turned towards Ozpin, “would you mind showing her the ropes?" A silent nod was his response, "Now that that's settled, I think you children should turn in for the night. I'll take care of everything else; we have another concert tomorrow starting at ten, but I'm assuming Miss Schnee will want to begin rehearsal early."


"I'm staying in Ice Flower's tour bus? Wait what? I didn't agree to this." Reality was catching up with her, making her want to curl into a ball and hide from the world.


Everything was going far too fast for Ruby to keep up, which was funny because she was pretty fast. First she finds out she's attending Ice Flower's concert, then she's dragged up onstage as a back-up dancer, she's offered a spot on the stage crew, and then suddenly she's staying in their tour bus and would be traveling with them? Ruby silently turned to Yang, seeking help from her older sister. Shouldn't she be happy? Everybody dreamed of meeting the band, everybody wanted some type of association with them.


Yang grinned at her and draped an arm across her sister's shoulders, "I know, you're nervous. Think about it this way: You'll be traveling with Weiss! You'll get to see the world and make new friends!"


Ruby still wasn't too sure. Of course she wanted to befriend Weiss, but, just like every other fan, she was hopelessly in love with her. She didn’t even know anything about her. What if she made things awkward? What if Weiss found her more annoying than she already did? "I don't know, Yang," she whispered, "I mean, I don't want to be a burden to Dad and make him think I'm staying at home forever. . . But this is all happening so fast."


Her older sister chuckled, "Good. You'll fit right in."


". . . Right." Ruby whispered.


"Like I said before," all eyes turned to Weiss, "if she's really going to be staying with us, she needs training." Ruby exchanged a glance with Yang as the white-haired singer turned away from them and stalked towards the tour bus.


Once the girl was out of earshot, Ozpin offered them an apology and retreated to assist the crew. "What the hell?" Yang turned to her girlfriend and Ruby ripped her eyes away from the bus "Is she always like that? It was Ruby's first time on stage, I think she did great!"


"She's been rather tense and irritable since the White Fang attack in Mistral." Blake replied, glancing towards the bus and back to Yang. Some words were left unsaid, and Ruby could only assume that it was something personal.


"That doesn't give her the right to look at my little sister as if she were a disgusting insect," Yang grumbled in slight annoyance, Ruby just barely caught what her sister had whispered; "Blake, are you sure this is a good idea? I don't want her being anywhere she'd be unwelcome. . ."


Blake met Ruby's eyes and smiled, "Yeah, I'm positive."


What?

The Next Day


"I'm gonna be traveling with the freaking band? Yang, what have you done?!" Ruby was pacing back and forth, wearing a path into the living room carpet. Her sister lay sprawled on her couch, her lilac eyes glancing to Ruby and to the television as the young girl passed by her muttering random incoherent stuff under her breath.


"Uh, I'm helping you break out of your shell. Duh." Yang shrugged, leaning to the side as Ruby walked by again.


"Helping me break out of my shell wouldn't be practically shoving me into a tour bus to travel the world with people I barely know!" Ruby stopped in front of Yang, meeting the blonde's gaze. Yang simply raised a brow at the panicking teenager and set the remote aside. Ruby returned to pacing, biting at her fingernails.


Yang rolled her eyes and stood to her feet, grabbing Ruby by the shoulders and spinning her around to face her. "How about this: I accompany you for the first week, since they're heading in the general direction I will be in a few weeks, and halfway there we will part ways. That way you have a good idea of what they're like!"


Ruby deadpanned, "You're still leaving me."


"Well, I can't stay with you forever." Yang shrugged, "I'll give Blake a call so she can inform everybody I'll be tagging along for a bit. Now, come on, we should probably start packing. I imagine they'll want to set out first thing in the morning."


She knew Yang was right. . . God, I hate it when she's right. Reluctantly, the girl followed her sister upstairs and into her room. "Start pulling out the stuff you want to take with you, but don't over-pack. You're guaranteed to get new clothes during the tour," Yang told her, "I'll fetch a suitcase or two."


Ruby's eyes glanced towards something sitting in the corner of her room, "Grab the case for Crescent Rose, too!" She called after her sister. Crescent Rose was nothing fancy, she was simply a black and red acoustic guitar sharing similarities with her uncle's guitar, Harbinger. Before he became an alcoholic, the man used to play at family cook-outs or at gatherings, sometimes he and one of his buddies would perform at their local bar.


For a reason unknown to Ruby, her uncle had tossed his music business aside. He never wanted  his music to become known, he kept them to himself or only shared it with family or trusted friends. Nobody had heard him play in years, though. He'd disappeared off the face of the Earth one day, letting everybody know he was alive by sending letters as an attempt to ease their worries. He occasionally stopped by, but he was always gone before morning.


"Are you planning on impressing the Ice Queen with that or something?" Ruby spun around to see her sister already at her bed, two suitcases laying atop her blankets and the case for her guitar leaning against the headboard. How had she not heard her come in. . .?


"No! I mean. . . I wouldn't really do it." Ruby muttered under her breath. She would be lying if the thought of playing a piece of music for a certain white-haired singer hadn't come to her mind a few times, but those thoughts were only part of her imagination.


Yang smiled, "Well your art impressed her, did it not? Your music is pretty good, too."


A few months ago, Ruby had drawn a rather beautiful scene from one of Ice Flower's music videos and posted it on Twitter. Her heart had nearly stopped when she'd seen the notification alerting her that Weiss Schnee had liked and shared her picture. She'd even left a comment, praising Ruby's work. Since then, she's been receiving so many notifs that she'd muted Twitter on her phone. Her account was slowly became a large fan-page as her work was released and shared with the public.


In the past she only received a handful of likes and shares, most of the time from the same people, so all of this new attention was taking some time to get used to.


"Yeah," Ruby whispered as she pulled her sketchbook off of her desk, flipping it open, "but with my art, I can remain anonymous. The only know me as the 'Red Reaper'. With music, everybody would know my name." She could hear her sister shifting through her closet and removing clothes behind her. She snapped the sketchbook closed and carefully set it into the suitcase.


"Then what's the use of dragging you guitar along if you're not going to play anything?" Yang asked, placing a hand on her hip as she examined Ruby's closet. "I never realized how many hoodies you own. I don't see any other colors besides red or black. I should've had you come shopping with me last week."


Ruby huffed, "My clothes are fine!" She heard Yang mutter something under her breath, but she didn't catch it. The sisters turned towards Ruby's phone when it suddenly began ringing, a picture of their father flashing on the screen. "Oh, it's Dad." The redhead smiled, reaching over and sliding up to answer the call, "Hey Dad! You usually don't call this late, what's up?"


"Hey Ruby!" The man greeted back as Yang came to her sister's side, "Is Yang there?"


"Yo." Yang alerted her presence.


"Oh good, I just wanted to let you two know that I'm heading home and I'll be there in a few hours. Would you mind fixing supper for me? I know it's late, but I haven't eaten all day!" Tai laughed. Horror crossed Yang's face and Ruby frowned, "Ruby? Yang? Are you still there? Did I lose service again- oh my God. . ."


Yang bit her lip, "You're heading home, now ?" She asked nervously, Ruby's eyes widened. They hadn't told their father. . . They weren't even supposed to be at the concert.


"Um. . . Yeah, I'm about two hours away if my GPS is correct." Tai replied, his voice trailing off towards the end signalling that he was checking his GPS. "Why?"


"Oh, just wondering!" Yang grabbed Ruby's phone, "We'll see you when you get home, bye!" Before the man could answer, she ended the call and turned to Ruby, "What're we gonna do?"


Ruby frowned again, "Why are you asking me?! You got us into this mess! I would've been perfectly fine watching the performance live on their website. But nooo, you had to go and get tickets, have a girlfriend who works backstage, allow her to drag me up onstage, and not to mention the fact you're the one who pushed me into agreeing to go on tour with the band."


"Yeah, this is all my fault, isn't it?"


"Yep."

 

Chapter Text

"I don't like her, she's just going to mess everything up."

"No, she isn't."

Weiss stopped to look her best friend in the eyes, raising a brow at the faunus girl. "Did you not see what almost happened? Had she tripped, it would have ruined the entire concert!" One mistake and her career could be destroyed, what did Blake not understand about that? Everything had to be absolutely perfect! "He saw that! I know he did, and now he's gonna be watching us."

The incident with the White Fang was being held over her head like a noose, and he was just waiting for another reason to destroy her career. . . He hadn't been too happy when she'd walked into his office and informed him of her decision to become a singer, but he agreed to it because would help uphold his reputation. Despite her protesting, he had insisted he would pay for it all so long as everything was perfection. (Of course, there was a stand-in-manager to take his place.) She was in no place to argue as he'd approved of her choice of career, although he believed that it would be a temporary one. . .

This was her freedom. . . At least, considered it her freedom. She was away from home and could make her own decisions, for the most part.

"He might be, but that's no reason for you to try and treat the girl like shit." Blake muttered under her breath, "I still remember your first time performing in front of a live audience, and not those campaigns your father would hold, I mean your actual first performance as a singer."

The white-haired girl stopped dead in her tracks, sending Blake an unreadable glare. "Let's not talk about that." During her first performance, Weiss had frozen like a deer in the headlights when the music had begun to play, causing everybody to turn to stare at her. She should've been used to it considering she has been in the spotlight her entire life, but it was different when she was out on her own.

People back in Atlas were never genuine with their compliments, they only admired her voice because they had to. She'd never come across somebody who thoroughly enjoyed her songs, until she began her career as a singer. . .

Now, her songs were touching people's hearts. . .

Blake chuckled, reeling Weiss back to reality "Don't be so hard on her, alright? With a bit of training, she'll be perfect in no time." The raven-haired woman rolled her eyes and Weiss growled quietly at her, beginning to pace in circles again. "Well, she's at least cute, don't you think?"

"Not my type." Weiss replied bluntly, not sparing a glance towards her, "Besides, I'm straight!" Humiliation struck her when Blake failed to stifle her laughter, "What's so funny?" In truth, she was still questioning her sexuality, but she insisted that she was straight. She had to be, right? She was a Schnee!

Her friend met her eyes, golden piercing into light blue as if she knew all of her secrets. "I have only known you for two years, but I can say that you are the gayest person I've ever met." Weiss glanced at her again and narrowed her brows, receiving a playful scoff from Blake in response. "Don't think I haven't noticed your little crush on Pyrrha," Weiss felt embarrassment clawing at her chest, "oh, and that girl who helped you record your most recent music video." Blake's lips curled up into a smirk, "I also remember-"

"Okay, I see your point!" Weiss snapped, turning away from her friend as heat rose to her face. If Blake had been able to figure it out, did other people know, too?! Did her father know?! "And I do not have a crush on Pyrrha! She likes. . . Um," Weiss trailed off, scanning her brain for the name of the annoying blonde boy her friends had hired, "Joseph, Jacob, uhh. . . Jefferson."

"Jaune?" Blake smirked.

"I thought it was Jefferson?" Weiss stopped and glanced back at her friend with a baffled expression.

"No, it's Jaune."

Weiss was silent for a moment, "Then who's Jefferson?!"

"I don't know, but his name is Jaune."

Weiss rolled her eyes and rubbed her forehead, "I'm really tired, I keep thinking you're saying yawn. . ." Blake raised a brow, "Actually, do you think he'll mind if I called him that from now on?"

"You're really bad at this," Blake sighed, "Weiss, be nice."

"No."

Weiss' eyes snapped up to a loud crash coming from the front, "I swear, does anybody around here know what they're doing?" She growled underneath her breath, "Could you make sure everybody's okay?" Weiss muttered to her friend, who simply shrugged in response and sprinted towards the sound. The white-haired vocalist rubbed her forehead and started for her RV, wanting to get inside the air conditioning and finally relax. Unless Nora decided she wanted to play her PS4, she was looking forward to a good rest.

She'd been on the move for nearly a month, rehearsing almost everyday to perfect the upcoming concerts with very little rest in between. For herself, that is, she made sure her band-mates had a good night's rest, but she had to stay up and write new songs. Her manager had threatened he would put an end to her career if she didn't have any new songs written within the next few months; she actually used to enjoy writing songs, she would put her emotions into words and let the world hear them. Now, everything she's wanted to say seems to have been sung. . .

She couldn't go back home, she loved traveling, she loved sharing her songs with the world and meeting her fans. She'd learned a few of her pieces had helped people through a bad time in their lives and it made her feel proud. Weiss didn't want to lose all of this; her freedom, her friends, her career, her fans. . .

"Hey, Weiss!"

Oh here we go again. Weiss sighed and turned to face a blonde boy coming her way, carrying some of the equipment. "If you forgot where it goes, just ask Sun." She muttered, starting for the RV again and hoping the boy wouldn't follow.

"Actually," oh no, "I was wondering if we could maybe go explore the city tomorrow? Before the concert?" Jefferson - no, wait, Jaune - asked timidly. Weiss glanced back at him, her hand on the door knob, she just gave him a brief 'no' and opened the door, stepping inside of the RV as quickly as she could and shutting the door behind her.

She released a sigh as the cool air embraced her, already feeling the day's stress melting away as she ascended the staircase, ignoring the sounds of laughter behind her. The rest of her band, and Blake, were sitting in the small lounge gathered by the television, watching as Nora and Pyrrha battled their way through the game's levels.

They were happy and relaxed, their worries and stress having already faded. As for Weiss, she needed to at least try and write down some new lyrics. . . "I'm going to try and-"

Nora appeared in front of her faster than she could blink, "No, you are playing Hallucinations 3 with Ren, Pyrrha, and me. Relax a little." Didn't look like she really had a choice. . .


[Ruby]

"So, you're joining the band on tour as a. . . What again?" Tai replied, tapping at his plate to get his daughter's attention.

Ruby glanced up from her sketchbook, hiding her sketch with her arm and meeting her father's eyes. "A roadie, from what their manager told me." She replied, pushing her plate away and moving her attention back to her drawing. Tai had gotten home just as Yang began setting the plates out for supper, that was when they explained their decision to their father, well, Yang informed him, Ruby was too focused on sketching out the image in her head to be bothered with the conversation.

Tai frowned. "Does that mean you'll be," she cleared his throat, "sleeping with them?" Tai was cut off as Ruby's head shot up, accidentally sending her sketchbook flying as she wildly waved her hands in the air.

"No, no, no! That's- that's a groupie!" Panic coursed through Ruby, fearing that her father would get the wrong idea and forbid her from taking the job. "I'll be a roadie, I'll be helping them out with their equipment and-" she glanced to her sister, who had failed to bite back a bark of laughter, realization snapped and she yelped, "Yang! No! You know that's not what I meant! I'll be like a stagehand! Technician? How do I explain this?!"

Yang chuckled, "No, she won't," the blonde responded to their father as Ruby leaned down to grab her art book, "she'll be like an assistant, helping the stage crew out with managing everything backstage, getting it all set up, and whatever else needs to be done."

Tai nodded, "It sounds like a good plan to me, considering Ruby never leaves the house, so as long as there's no. . . activity involved, I'm alright with it." The man glanced to Yang, "You'll be with her, right?" Yang nodded and threw an arm around her sister, who flinched and covered her sketch with one hand to hide it from Yang's line of view.

"Of course!" Yang grinned, glancing to her little sister before fixing her attention on their father and smiling, "I'll be accompanying her for the first two weeks, but once we reach Vacuo, we'll be parting ways so I can get ready for college. We'll keep in touch."

The man shrugged, "Alright, what time do you girls leave?" He asked curiously, standing and taking the empty plates from the table.

"Well, the next concert is at nine tomorrow night, so probably early in the morning in case they need our help." Yang replied, Ruby zoning out from the discussion again.

In her mind, she was replaying that night's concert and sketching it out onto the paper. Well, actually, she was drawing Weiss from memory, and this piece needed to be finished and inked as soon as possible. She lightened the strokes of her pencil on the outline of the girl's long white hair, her eyes fixed on the paper as she began to darken the lines and erase the sketch marks. The picture needed to be perfect, it needed to capture exactly what she saw while she was up on stage.

She had to make sure the smile and the light in the girl's eyes shone through and captured the viewer's attention, drawing out the true beauty Ruby knew lay behind Weiss' rough exterior. She could see it in her eyes; she wasn't just the bitchy, spoiled perfectionist everybody else saw, somebody just needed to figure out a way to help her lower her guard and step out of her shell to embrace herself.

Ruby could tell a lot by just looking at somebody, despite not being a very social person. She considered it to be a gift. . . For example, when she met Blake earlier, she could tell that the raven-haired girl didn't have any intentions of ever harming her sister, emotionally or physically. Ruby trusted her.

Ruby blinked herself back to reality and glanced around to find that she was alone in the kitchen, her sister having gone upstairs and her father relaxing in the living room. The crimson-haired teenager shrugged and grabbed her sketchbook, heading up to her bedroom. Well, the picture was complete. Now she just had to digitize the drawing and add the lighting effects along with a background.

I probably should have sketched this out on my computer.

. . .

. . .

Four in a half hours later, the digital clock 2:30am, the alarm was set to 7:15 so that Ruby would have time to freshen up and grab her things before she and her sister head to meet the band. Yang pushed her little sister's bedroom door open and chuckled silently at the sight of Ruby.

She'd fallen asleep at her desk, and judging by her position, she'd be tense and cramped in the mornings. Oh well, she should've went to sleep when she was supposed to. Yang thought, glancing to the desktop as the screen illuminating the bedroom flickered as a message popped up in the corner.

Yang just barely managed to read the name of the sender before the computer shut off into sleep mode: Weiss Schnee.

Chapter Text

[Weiss]

"What are you still doing up?"

Weiss glanced towards her door as Blake stepped into the slightly cramped room wearing a tank top and shorts, her long black hair was brushed over her shoulder and by the looks of it, she'd just gotten out of the shower. Weiss offered her best friend a smile, "I could ask you the same thing," she patted the space next to her and the other girl took a seat on the bed, "why didn't you head back to your hotel?"

Blake shrugged, leaning back against the pillows beside the white-haired singer. "Ah, I figured you could use some company. You've been in a sour mood for nearly half of the tour," worried golden eyes glanced over to Weiss and Weiss' shoulders slacked, "you know you can talk to me if something's wrong, right?"

A frown crossed Weiss' lips and she immediately turned her attention back to her computer, shifting so that she was leaning against the bed frame with the computer propped up in her lap. "Everybody's saying that, but I'm fine." Her blue eyes glanced to the corner of her screen when a notification popped up and the singer hummed, "I didn't think the Red Reaper would be streaming this late." She whispered as she opened the live stream, the chat box was active and already overflowing with compliments and greetings to the anonymous artist.

'Hello everybody!' was written in red marker when the screen finally popped up, Weiss immediately recognized the song that began to play in the background as the artist erased the greeting to their viewers. "Well, I haven't heard that song in forever!" Blake laughed, leaning over to watch the stream with her friend, "Path to Isolation, right?"

Although The Path to Isolation was the song that began her career, it was not listed in the band's top ten most popular songs. Weiss slowly began to zone out as the artist started sketching her drawing using dark blue ink, they would pause every few minutes before continuing.

Meanwhile, Weiss was trying to tune the music out and focus on watching the stream, but her mind kept returning to the place she'd been when she'd written the song playing. She'd been trapped inside of her own mansion and forced to follow in her father's footsteps, she was kept at his beck 'n call and there were severe consequences whenever she dared to disobey or spite him. After catching a glimpse of freedom, she'd written the song and recorded it in private with prerecorded music.

Of course, the freedom that inspired the song had been stripped away before she could go any further, keeping her under her father's control. "Weiss?" Weiss was reeled back into reality when Blake shook her, "You alright?" Weiss nodded and she rid herself of her thoughts and moved into the chat room to type a message, she switched into anonymous mode and sent her message

She mentioned the artist in her comment, requesting that the song be changed. The song was paused and the artist's mouse moved off screen, but all Weiss could see of the sketch was what looked to be an unfinished-hand shape. "Why did the music stop?" Blake asked and Weiss looked at her, stifling a chuckle when she realized that her friend was holding a book and wearing a puzzled expression.

"How are you able to listen to a song and read at the same time?" Weiss asked as the chat began to flood with song suggestions that the artist was clearly ignoring. Blake simply stuck her tongue out playfully and returned to her book; music began to play again and Weiss' eyes snapped back to the chat box when the artist addressed her comment.

'Is this song okay?'

It wasn't one of her songs, but it was better than the one that had been playing previously. She typed in a brief 'sure' in response and refocused her attention on the drawing as it was zoomed out to reveal what had been drawn so far: the outline of a person, female judging by the build. Another layer was created, the ink was changed to black, and the artist began lining the character's facial shape. Once that was complete, the eyes were next and the image was enhanced, tweaking the shape of the eyes and taking several strokes with the paint brush before erasing it, each stroke smaller than the last.

When it seemed they finally decided the shape of the iris was decent enough, they moved on to the pupil and drew a quick circle. The face was quickly finished up and the outline of the hair was started as a sketch, causing Weiss' heart to nearly stop. They were drawing her, no wonder the character looked so familiar. . . They took their time perfecting her hair, erasing and redrawing her bangs and ponytail more times than she could count. When the sketch of her hair was finished and lined, the video was zoomed out again.

'How's it looking'? The artist asked in the chat box, instantly receiving dozens upon dozens of compliments and love. In the top right corner a notification showed a donation of $20 to the artist, and as a response a 'thank you!' was written in red at the top of the picture.

"Wait," Blake leaned over, taking Weiss by surprise, "they opened donations? Artists can do that?"

Weiss shrugged, "They stream themselves playing some kind of horror game pretty often too, one of their followers told them to open donations because people go around donating money to random streamers. It just so happened to be one of their art streams this time.

Next to her, Blake smirked. "How do you know that?"

"I- I watch a few of their gaming streams while we're traveling. . ." Weiss confessed, "It's weird. . . They never speak, they never show themselves, they've never even given us a name or gender."

"Well," Blake snapped her book closed after checking the page number and slid off the bed, "they probably don't want their identity to be known. I don't blame them, honestly." Blake bid the young woman goodnight and headed for the door, but Weiss stopped her.

"Wait, where are you sleeping? Isn't it too late to head back to your hotel room?" After what happened in Mistral, Weiss was concerned for her friend's safety and would worry when the woman would head off on her own. She trusted Blake wholeheartedly, but she didn't trust society. . . Her best friend was a faunus, after all.

Blake smirked again as she opened the door, "Your bunk, remember? The other three sleep in bunk beds, but Miss Schnee decided she didn't want to share a room with commoners." Weiss just smiled as the woman left the room, closing the door behind her and leaving Weiss alone in her small bedroom.

Weiss refocused her attention on the drawing and glanced towards the clock that read 12:49. She had to get some rest soon if she didn't want to be running off of caffeine for the concert, the last time she'd performed like that she'd nearly passed out during the last song.

First, she wanted to see what the completed piece would look like.

Two hours later, the art was finished and the stream was shut off so that the artist could post it to her Twitter. The instant it was posted, Weiss retweeted it and enlarged the picture to take it in.

The first thing that Weiss noticed about the piece was how it was drawn to look like somebody's perspective of her, considering the background was dark and the rest of the band, especially the audience were blurred out. Her white hair and clothes were swirling around her as though she'd been caught in mid-twirl, she'd been drawn to wear a wide smile and her eyes were practically sparkling. The art-version of her radiated happiness and joy.

There was something else there, too. An aura that the artist had drawn in just for them, but Weiss couldn't quite place it. Weiss' eyes widened when a thought struck her and she quickly brought up the artist's page again, clicking to open a new message.

She began to type.


[That Morning]
[Ruby]

She was dreaming, right? The message wasn't real, she was still asleep, it was just way too good to be true. First she dreams about being invited to join the band on tour, then she wakes up to a message from Weiss Schnee. Her heart hammered in her chest as she hovered her mouse over the unopened notification, ignoring the cramping in her back from sleeping slumped over on her desk.

Maybe it was spam? Somebody pretending to be Weiss as an attempt to hack Ruby's account? Ruby's eyes scanned over the username and a sigh escaped her, it was Weiss' account all right. Ruby clicked the notification and the chat box popped up in the right corner, she glanced to it immediately and her heart jumped to her throat.

Joy spread through her being and adrenaline pumped through her veins, Ruby flew out of her chair with a loud squeal and bolted out of her room as fast as she could move. She jogged down the staircase, her eyes scanning the living room for her elder sister before barging into the kitchen. Yang sat at the table with a suitcase next to her and her phone in hand.

"Yang!" Ruby screamed excitedly and Yang's attention snapped up to her from her phone, "You won't believe this!" The blonde smirked and raised a brow, "Weiss Schnee wants to commission me to draw art for her next album cover! I mean, there are many qualified artists out there to do so, but she chose me! I'm not even a professional artist! Did her manager approve of this? Wait, of course he did, she wouldn't have messaged me if he didn't. . ."

Ruby's eyes widened, "Oh my God. What if she doesn't like the finished piece?! What if I embarrass her and myself?! She'd hate me! I mean, she doesn't even know me, but she wouldn't want to get to know me! I can't say no to the request either because I need money, and because I don't want to disappoint her. . . You know what? I'm going to accept the commission and turn it into the best piece I've ever made! It needs to be perfect!"

Yang chuckled and clicked her phone off, standing from her chair and sliding the device into her coat pocket, "That's great, Ruby, but how are you going to work on the commission without her knowing that you're Red Reaper?" Ruby sent her sister a puzzled expression and Yang just barely bit back a laugh, "Did you forget? You're their roadie now!"

"What?"

It wasn't a dream? That didn't make sense! Everything had been jumping from scene to scene, she hadn't been able to make sense of anything, and that only happened in her dreams! Her reality was dull and boring, she basically followed the same routine everyday: wake up, freshen up, eat breakfast, draw little, watch TV, take Zwei for a walk, draw some more, watch TV, and go to bed.

Yang laughed out loud and Ruby's anxiety sky-rocketed, "You don't remember going to the concert and meeting Weiss? Oh, what about dancing with her?"

Ruby blinked again, her cheeks becoming redder by the second. "I-I thought it was just a dream."

Yang tossed her arm around the younger girl's shoulders, pulling her into a side-hug, "No, it's real. You'll be working for your favorite band, alongside Weiss~!" Ruby tried to protest, but her throat was dry and she was unable to think of a response, "And you have your big sis to thank for all of this!" Ruby rolled her eyes and shrugged her sister's arm off of her, muttering something inaudible under her breath. "Go get your bags, Dad offered to drive us up there when he gets back inside."

"I don't-" Yang cut her off and waved her hands, muttering something about Ruby needing to be fully prepared for the trip. Ruby bit back a snarl and turned around to head back up to her bedroom, "Yeah. I should make sure I've got everything." What was she going to do about school? Would the tour excuse her absence, especially since she would be working as a roadie? It should, Yang wouldn't have had her accept the job if it didn't.

She heard a door open and shut downstairs and Ruby glanced over her shoulders, "You girls ready to go?" Her father called happily and Ruby sighed, calling down that she would be ready once she got everything. If she remembered correctly, Yang helped her pack last night so she should be mostly ready. "All right! Don't take too long!"

"I won't!"

Ruby closed her bedroom door and quickly took a seat at her desk, opening her Twitter and responding to Weiss' message before kicking herself back to pull her suitcase out from under her bed. It was full, her closet was empty, her essentials had been stuffed down into the front pocket, the only thing she needed was her sketchbook, laptop, and her drawing tablet. She reached over and shut her desktop down, unplugging it before standing up and glancing around the room.

She still believed that it was all just a dream and she would wake up in her bed, everything was moving far too fast for her to comprehend anything. Ruby drew in a deep breath and exited her bedroom, "I'm ready!"

I'm not ready.

Chapter Text

"I apologize for not contacting you about this decision."

"Oh it's alright, Ruby needs to get out of the house more anyway."

Ruby shot a glare of disapproval towards her father as she pulled her suitcase out of the trunk, it landed with a dull 'thump' and she righted it so that she could stretch the handle up. She glanced back to her father and Ozpin, cringing when she noticed that her father had started laughing and the older man, Ozpin, was wearing a forced smile. 'Oh that poor man, he must've pulled one of his jokes. . .' One of the perks of getting away from home: She wouldn't have to tolerate his Dad Jokes - then again, there was Yang.

"Is the rehearsal studio set up?" Ruby glanced back and her heart skipped a beat when her eyes found Weiss, who was standing a few feet away with a notebook in hand. The rest of the band was behind her and seemingly discuss something quietly amongst themselves, "Hey! I asked a question!" Ruby flinched, watching Weiss whip around to face the rest of the group, "Alright, now that you're actually listening; is the rehearsal studio ready to go?"

"Need some help?" She turned to see a young blonde standing behind her with a smile, "you're Ruby, right?" He asked as he took her suitcase, grabbing her duffel bag from the small compartment. Ruby nodded, just barely recognizing the boy as one of the technicians from last night. "Follow me! I'll show you where to put your stuff," he gestured to the guitar case that was still in the trunk, "what's that?"

Ruby offered a small smile, "Just my own guitar," she replied briefly, "I take her everywhere."

"Her?" Jaune's brows furrowed, he shook his head, "Never mind, Blake will show you where to put it." He grinned, "Anyway, the name's Jaune Arc," Ruby visibly winced when Jaune winked at her, "short, sweet, rolls off the-"

"I'm gay," Ruby immediately said, Jaune frowned and whispered an apology, "sorry, Jaune. . ." Ruby frowned at the mention of the familiar name, she scanned her brain for any recognition and a small smirk came to her lips. A few months back, a clumsy blonde boy had asked Weiss out during an interview and Weiss had rejected him, hollering at him to get back to work. Oh that must've been so humiliating! She couldn't bring herself to feel sorry for him, though.

"Wait," she started and the boy's grin fell immediately, "so you're boy who got humiliated on live television by Weiss." Ruby chuckled, "Dang, that must've been embarrassing." Jaune deflated and turned away from her, "I'm sorry," she apologized, "it was funnier than the time she turned that Neptune boy down."

Last year, there had been a rumor going around saying Neptune Vasilias and Weiss Schnee were dating based on an interaction they had back in Vacuo, but the moment Weiss heard the rumor she'd shut it down and confirmed people's suspicions of the boy being a casanova. Apparently it wasn't the first time the boy had tried to woo Weiss.

"Yeah," Jaune muttered, downhearted, "she rejected me again yesterday. I don't get it, Mom said that all girls look for is confidence!" He was kidding, right? He had to be joking. . . The look on his face said otherwise.

Ruby had to resist the urge to roll her eyes, "You know what you should do?" He'd been rejected on live television! Exactly how dense was this boy?

The boy sighed, shrugging his shoulders. "I know, I know. Keep trying."

"No!" Ruby snapped and Jaune's head jerked up to meet her eyes, the brunette frowned in sheer annoyance, "Stop asking her, she gave you an answer and it isn't going to change." The boy's jaw dropped in surprise and Ruby took her suitcase from him, "When a girl says 'no', back off. It's not hard to understand. Maybe if you get to know a girl first she'll go out with you."

Jaune blinked at her and quietly nodded, "Are you. . . Her girlfriend?" He asked as she approached the tour bus and placed her bags in the opened trunk.

Alarm bells went off inside the brunette's head, she spun back to the boy as wild blush crept up her neck and her face turning red. "I-I- No, I'm not! I'm just the new r-roadie! I-I literally just met her last night! There's no way I could be her girlfriend!"

"Oh, I'm sorry," Jaune apologized, stepping away, "you defended her so fiercely that I thought you two were a thing." Ruby shook her head again and the blonde shrugged, "Ah, well, we should probably get started." Jaune shut the trunk to the tour bus and started towards the stage, Ruby followed in suit and listened closely as he began to speak, "Okay, first of all, I need to ask how much do you know about the band. As your mentor, I need to know this stuff."

Ruby rolled her eyes, "Sure, fire away."

"Who is the band sponsored by?"

"The Schnee Dust Company, which really doesn't make sense to me since the SDC is anti-faunus and, well, Ice Flower is incredibly faunus-friendly. How does that work. . .?"

Jaune glanced at her as he lead her around to front-stage, whispering a few things to himself as he scanned the empty area. He turned back to her, "I'm not sure, to be honest. I think that's something only the band can tell you." He replied with a heavy sigh, he was quiet for a moment before shaking his head, "Anyway, when was the band founded?"

"Easy," Ruby beamed, "last year, but they had a few demos released beforehand and Weiss had a few songs recorded."

"Good," Jaune smiled, facing away from her before asking his next question, "Alright, how does the band use the dust we are sent?"

Ruby hummed, deep in thought. "From the videos and live performances I've watched, I'm going to assume there is some kind of machine that grinds the dust down into small particles? That really depends on what it's being used for, though."

"I suppose you'll have to learn!" Jaune smiled. "Don't worry, when I first became part of the crew, Pyrrha had to teach me everything! That is, before she was officially made part of the band."

Ruby's eyes widened in surprise, "Wait, she was part of the stagecrew? I thought she was a friend of Weiss' and rehearsed with them a few times before she was invited to join the band. . ."

Jaune laughed, "No, you're right," he gave a sad smile, "I think she was only made part of the band because Weiss has a crush on her." The boy shrugged, his eyes glancing off somewhere in the distance. "That's why I was pursuing her, to be honest, I know Pyrrha doesn't like her that way so I figured, 'hey, made I could make her fall for me!', but it hasn't worked out. She can't even remember my name."

He was right, any Ice Flower fanatic would know Pyrrha was included in the band because Weiss has a huge crush on her, which didn't sit well with some people as the girl had practically appeared out of nowhere.

"Hey!" The pair whirled around at the sound of a high-pitched, annoyed voice coming from behind them and Jaune sighed deeply when Weiss approached him. The white-haired girl paid no attention to the boy and stopped in front of Ruby, "You're the roadie Ozpin hired, correct?" She asked with a brow raised, Ruby just nodded, "Oh good," Weiss fixed her eyes on Jaune, "leave." She muttered curtly, Jaune just raised his hands in defense and walked away.

Ruby was suddenly nervous, having been left alone with the singer. "So, um," she clasped her hands behind her back, "what do you need?"

"We need some groceries for the bus," Weiss started as she turned her attention back to Ruby, "so that's now become one of your jobs." The singer whipped out a wad of cash from seemingly nowhere and Ruby's eyes widened, "Here's some cash, just pick up whatever looks good. We're not picky." Without another word, Weiss spun on her heel and stalked away. Ruby breathed a sigh of relief when the girl was out of sight and she turned to head to the nearest grocery store.

'Did she seriously just hand me a wad of cash and walk off?' Ruby counted the green slips of paper in her hand, her eyes widening when it totaled up to $175, 'I wouldn't trust a complete stranger with this much money, even if they did work for me. She must have money she can blow.'

"They are very picky."

Ruby's head jerked up and she screeched in surprise, finding a redheaded girl about her height and age standing right in front of her with a kind, but slightly creepy, smile on her face. "Where did you come from?!" Ruby took a step back to put distance between her and the mysterious girl.

"I have been here the whole time," confusion crossed the other girl's face, "I am sorry, did I startle you?"

"Uh, yeah!" Ruby placed a hand on her chest and breathed in deeply to calm herself down, "You should really tell people when you're around, gods that was terrifying. . ." She let out a soft 'whew' and straightened herself, "I haven't seen you around, who are you?" She probably shouldn't have asked. . .

The other girl grinned, "My name is Penny! I came here with Mister Ironwood, I am training to be the new bodyguard for Miss Schnee! But she does not know me yet," Penny examined her, "are you the new servant for the band?" She asked kindly, not batting an eyelash when the word 'servant' was spoken so calmly.

Ruby blinked, "I um. . . I'm the roadie, not servant."

"Is there a difference?" Penny tilted her head and Ruby's eyes widened in offense, Penny took notice. "I am sorry, I do not mean to be rude. . ."

"I, um, well," Ruby stuttered before shaking her head and walking past the redhead, "I have a job to do, okay? You should probably get back to whatever you were-"

Penny was by her side in an instant, "I will assist you!" She grinned, causing Ruby to want to roll her eyes, "That way you purchase the correct foods!" She leaned in, "I can help you find what Miss Schnee likes, that way you two can be friends!" Penny took the list from her and Ruby stood still, staring at the perky, and somewhat unpleasant and strange, girl as she happily marched away. "Come on!"

Ruby raised a brow in bewilderment and silently followed the girl, quickly glancing at her tag to make sure that she was an official part of the staff and not some stranger wanting to lead her into her death.

"Tell me," Penny turned to her and Ruby quietly leaned away, "are you in love with Miss Schnee?"

"What?!" Ruby's eyes widened again in disbelief and embarrassment, her heart rate picked up as heat rushed to her face. "Why does everybody say that? I literally just met her yesterday!"

Penny laughed, "Because you appear to become very. . ." she hummed in thought and a grin came to her lips, "You seem very flustered around her! Oh, and you were ready to accept whatever she told you to do! Kind of like a dog-"

'A dog?!'

"Because I'm the new roadie, it's my job to follow orders!" Ruby protested, "And I'm nervous because, well, who wouldn't be speaking to somebody famous?" The brunette averted her eyes when the strange girl smirked, "We're not even friends. I'm just part of the staff. . . She probably doesn't even know my name."

Penny grinned again, leading her out from behind the stage. "Alright! Here we go!" The strange girl smiled, marching away from her and towards the city. "Come on-" she paused for a moment and turned back to Ruby with an apologetic and concerned expression, "I just realized I never received your name! Oh my gosh, I'm sorry!"

Ruby smiled in response, "Ruby. Ruby Rose."

"Ruby Rose the Roadie." Penny laughed, testing her name out as though it was the funniest thing she'd ever heard. "That's a mouthful!"

"Now that I think about it, it really is." Ruby chuckled alongside the laughing girl. Well, she seemed nice enough. . . Perhaps she could make friends here after all. Despite having a creepy first impression, the redhead did give off a warm aura, she seemed to be too naive and too trusting to do anything harmful. "My sister actually calls me 'Ruby the Rubster Racer'." Ruby smiled.

Penny hummed, "That sounds familiar. Is it a reference to some kind of kids' show?"

Ruby rolled her eyes, "Yes. It is, unfortunately."

"Oh my goodness, that must be so humiliating!" Penny covered her mouth with one hand, Ruby just shrugged. "Don't you worry, my friend! I'll never give you an embarrassing nickname!" Penny vowed with a large grin, "Now come on! We need to purchase groceries for our friends!" Penny paused and turned back to Ruby, "I do not know where I am going."

Ruby laughed, "Alright, Penny. Follow me."

[Weiss]

"Where is that girl?!"

Weiss was pacing back and forth outside the RV, impatiently waiting for the brunette's return with the food. Her stomach growled and her chest burned with irritation, "I bet she took it and ran! Yeah, that's what I get for trusting a child with the band's money!" She whirled around to face Pyrrha, who sat on the steps, watching her with a calm expression. "We should probably go pick up the food ourselves if we want anything to eat before the concert tonight."

To anybody nearby, her voice would sound considerably softer when she spoke to her redheaded friend. Pyrrha just offered her a warm smile. Weiss' heart skipped a beat and relaxation washed over her. "Wait a few more minutes, Weiss," the tall woman stood to her feet, "she's probably just having trouble finding everything on the list. If she doesn't return, we can just have Ironwood send somebody out to find her."

"Alright," Weiss relented, "I'll wait a little while longer. . ." She shook her head and frowned again, "But only ten minutes! If she's not back by then, I'll have to order takeout and you know I despise having to use my fake identity!"

"Yeah, I know," Pyrrha shrugged, "but it's safer at the moment for us not to be seen out in public. The White Fang could still be after us. . . I heard that Ironwood had to send a faunus boy out yesterday after provoking somebody before the concert started, they almost trampled a poor girl!"

"Probably somebody from the blasted White Fang, then," Weiss muttered in annoyance, "I wish they would just leave us the hell alone. I almost lost my entire career because of those rapscallions. . ."

Pyrrha opened her mouth to respond, but she was cut off by Ozpin calling out to them, "Miss Schnee! Would you mind rounding up your friends and meeting me in the bus?" He asked, Weiss frowned as she turned to him, "It's a very important matter, I wish for the entire band to hear this." He sounded solemn, remorseful, almost. Weiss turned to Pyrrha, worry fluttering through her chest as anxiety built up.

"Do you think. . ." Weiss whispered painfully.

Pyrrha met her gaze, "Sounds like it. . . I know where Ren and Nora are, you go on in and wait for us. . ." Weiss nodded and turned to enter the bus, glancing over her shoulder as Pyrrha strode away to fetch their friends. She shook her head and opened the door, stepping inside and immediately taking a seat on the couch.

A few minutes later, the rest of the band piled in and Ozpin entered from somewhere in the back. All eyes turned to him as he drew in a deep breath, "I was hoping it would not come down to this," he muttered quietly, causing the teenagers to lean up in anticipation, "but unfortunately, it was inevitable. A new offer came in last week, somebody with lots of experience offered to become your new manager. Which means," his eyes moved to Weiss, "tonight's concert has been cancelled. . ."

"Excuse me?!" Weiss stood to her feet, followed by Nora and Ren. "Why didn't we hear about this? Don't you think this decision would have involved us as well?! You at least could have told us who our new manager would be instead of just springing this on us! Oh, and cancelling the concert? Whose decision was that?!"

Ozpin waited patiently for the girl to finish before answering her questions. "Your new manager decided that two concerts in a small town like this wouldn't be necessary, so he booked you another one in Coalford."

Ren spoke up this time, "Coalford? That's like, one of the largest cities in Vale. . ."

"Precisely," Ozpin smiled, "he knows your band needs funds and managed to book you there, I know nearly half the city will be attending the concert." He turned back to Weiss, "He also purchased you a new tour bus, it'll be brought to you once you arrive in Coalford."

"Who is 'he'?" Pyrrha finally asked with a polite voice, approaching the group with a curious expression, "If he managed to book a concert in Coalford and get us a new bus, then he must be a wealthy man."

Ozpin hesitated, "He is a man of much wealth," he muttered quietly, "but do not confuse his wealth for kindness. . ."

"Just tell us who he is." Weiss growled and Ren placed a hand on her shoulder to silence her.

"Very well," Ozpin frowned at her, "your new manager is a young man who goes by the name 'Henry Marigold'. I hope that-"

Weiss felt irritation bubble up in her chest at the sound of the name and instead of any kind of retort her friends were clearly expecting, she began laughing. "This is just great! He is in charge of my band! Ha ha ha, my career is going to hell."

"Who's Henry Marigold?" Nora asked, turning back to Ozpin for an answer when Weiss collapsed on the couch, giggling darkly.

Weiss answered before Ozpin could respond, "He's just another fuckboy like Neptune, he has so many casual 'girlfriends' that I don't think he remembers who is who! He always said that I would regret not dating him, insisting that he would 'ruin' me." Weiss threw her hands up, "Now look! He's in charge of my band and that means he could very well destroy us!"

Knock knock knock.

Ozpin turned back to the group, "I will still be around to check up on you all, but please treat your new manager with respect. . ." Without another word, he leaned up off his cane and approached the door. He opened it and glanced to Weiss silently.

When he exited, Weiss lifted her head to see Ruby hesitantly entering the tour bus and glancing around. Silver eyes met blue, "Um," the brunette held up the groceries, "where do I set them?" She asked Weiss nervously.

"We'll take them," Nora smiled as she came to the younger girl's side and took a few bags from her, "thank you!" Ren took the rest of the and the two stepped into the bus's small, cramped kitchen. Weiss drew in a deep sigh and examined the bus she'd lived in for nearly a year now.

It was a very small bus, but they'd made it their home and adjusted rather quickly. The walls were an indefinable pastel color that they'd all come to love, the lounge had a maroon-ish carpet floor while the kitchen was a polished hardwood floor.

When you enter, there was the lounge consisting of a curved three-seater couch and a spare sofa chair they'd added a few days after moving in. The kitchen had stacked wooden cabinets, a one-racked stove with four burners, and a small sink holding a drainer with a few dishes inside. There was a decent sized window above the couch and a sliding window in the kitchen. There was an average-sized fridge installed to the left of the kitchen/

At the back of the bus was their rooms, Weiss' room being directly across from the rest of the band's bunkbeds. Her room had a slanted door while the other room only had a curtain at the entrance. Her eyes glanced towards the front of the bus. There was a thin wall and a usually locked door separating from the driver's quarters. Nora says that he keeps a mini fridge and a microwave in there under the dash, but Weiss had never seen it for herself.

Gods, she would miss this bus. . .

"Um, Weiss?" She reeled herself back to her senses and looked up to see Ruby standing near her with something behind her back. The brunette smiled weakly, but politely, and pulled a little carton of blueberry ice cream into Weiss' field of view. "I thought you might like this. I know it wasn't on the list, but-"

"Where did you find it?" Weiss interrupted, leaning up and taking the carton. "The last few times we've been out- I mean, sent out people to find it, they said they weren't in stock. . ."

Ruby smiled again, "I found it at a store on the outskirts of Vale! It's why I was gone so long, I remembered seeing it there and figured I'd pick it up for the bus!"

Weiss blinked at her, a little surprised that the young roadie had gone out of her way to find something for them. "Uh," she stiffly stood to her feet, and approached the kitchen "thank you."

"So, umm, where do Yang and I sleep?" Ruby asked cautiously as Weiss opened the freezer.

"Weiss' room," Pyrrha suddenly answered, "she'll be bunking with us. Her room should be big enough to hold the two of you."

Weiss slammed the freezer door shut, "Don't break anything while you're in there. Find your sister, we don't have a concert to prepare for, so we need to get everything up and head to Coalford."

Ruby nodded once, "Alright. . ."

[The next morning]

"RUBY!"

Ruby's eyes snapped open and she shot upright, adrenaline rushing through her as she came to her senses and turned her attention to the blonde at the edge of the bed. Her body felt cold and heavy, as though she would fall like dead weight if she dared to stand up. The possibilities of that happening were very likely. "Oh good, you're up! It's already eleven in the morning! Why were you so tired?" Yang asked, seating herself on the bed and crossing her legs.

Ruby rubbed her eyes and her vision cleared, reminding her of her location: She was in Weiss' room on the tour bus, they were heading to Coalford after the concert had been cancelled. She'd been up half the night working on Weiss' commission while everybody else slept, she'd had her headphones in and was listening to the band's music for motivation and inspiration.

"Commission," Ruby replied groggily, "I don't know how soon she wants it, so I was working on it last night. . ." A yawn escaped her and she kicked the blankets off, "Is everybody awake?"

"Yep!" Yang replied. As if on cue, a loud crash echoed from the front of the tour bus, followed by laughter. "You missed breakfast." Yang didn't pay attention to the noise behind her.

Ruby shook her head and slid out of the bed, "I'll find something. . ." She glanced down when her sketchbook dropped to the floor beside her out of the heap of blankets.. "Ooohhhh~" Yang sing-songed as she grabbed the book, flipping it open to the sketch. Yang grinned proudly, "Ruby, this is really good!" Ruby rolled her eyes and took her book back, shutting it and stashing it in her bag, "Is it that commission the Ice Queen ordered?"

Ruby hesitated, "Y-yeah," she replied carefully, "it's just the sketch. I don't like it, so I'm gonna scrap it and start over tonight. . ."

"Wait," Yang interrupted, "but I like it! You captured her perfectly! It looks amazing!" Ruby bit her lip and shook her head, "Alright, what do you not like about it?" Yang sighed as Ruby reluctantly flipped her book open for Yang to see the sketch, "Maybe I can help."

Usually, Ruby didn't show her sister her drawings and told her to wait until it was posted online to see it. Mainly because she was always self-conscious about the unfinished piece and wanted it to be absolutely perfect. "I just don't like it. . . Like, the eyes look off and her bangs aren't right, and she just doesn't look like herself! Plus, the bus looks hideous because I couldn't get the anatomy right, and I completely messed up the instruments and Pyrrha's-"

"I don't get it. It looks amazing to me," Yang muttered in confusion, glancing at her sister's confused expression, "you're too hard on yourself, Ruby."

Irritation boiling inside of her, Ruby snapped the sketchbook shut again and groaned, "You just don't get it! Of course it looks good to you, you're my sister and you're not an artist!"

"I'm sorry?" Yang blinked in confusion, "Maybe you should get a second opinion, then? Blake could help-"

"I don't want help Yang," Ruby cut her sister off quickly, "I'll figure this out on my own." She didn't really want her friends' help. . . She didn't want to have to rely on them. What if their 'help' ruined the picture and her followers disliked it? What if Weiss hated her commission? It had to be perfect. . .

"Alright," Yang whispered as she started for the door, "come on, maybe we can find something to eat in the groceries you picked up yesterday." The brunette slid her sketchbook into her bag and approached the door, but instead of turning and following her out to the lounge of the bus, she spun around and stepped into the bathroom. "Ruby-?"

Ruby held her hand up, "Teeth. Hair. Morning. Bathroom, goodbye." She closed the door.

After a few minutes, she stepped out just in time to hear a crash echoing from the kitchen that was instantly followed by a loud "Nora!" Well, she was in for a ride. . . Quite literally, by the sound of it. Cautiously, the brunette peeked through the curtains and glanced around in case something was thrown at her. Instead, she found Yang, Blake, and the band gathered in the small lounge with the latter two standing with their backs facing her.

"What's. . . Going on?" She called, carefully approaching the group and stepping in between the two of them.

Yang glanced down at her and grinned, "You just missed Nora here falling all over your girlfriend while playing Remnant: Fusion! Unplugged the game while she was at it!"

"This is why you keep the cord off the floor." Ruby rolled her eyes and glanced at the screen as it clicked back on, "She is not my girlfriend." She turned away and spun around into the kitchen with one step. "Did you find anything to eat?" The brunette asked, opening one of the cabinets to search for food.

"I ate the last of Ren's pancakes," Yang replied as a dull thrumming sound floated through the RV from the gaming system, "you can probably find some cereal if you need-"

Weiss cut her off, her voice silencing the bus. "The only one here who really eats 'cereal' is Nora, and that's pretty rare." The singer explained, sounding slightly annoyed, "You're gonna have to find something else, Red."

"Ruby." The brunette replied bluntly, glaring in the woman's direction. "My name is Ruby-" Turning to face her, her eyes met with a pair of light blue and she fell quiet as Weiss stepped closer to her, observing her in complete silence. Feeling attention on them, the game paused, Ruby cleared her throat, "What is it?"

"Your eyes. . ." Weiss whispered almost inaudibly, "They seem very. . . Familiar, now that I actually look."

"Familiar how. . .?"

Before Weiss could answer, the bus skidded to a sudden stop and Nora peered out the window, a wide grin coming to her lips as she spun around to face the rest of them.

"We're in Coalford!"

Chapter Text

“Ah, Ms. Schnee! You and your friends have finally arrived!”

 

“Were you waiting on us this whole time?”

 

Ruby glanced between Weiss and the unfamiliar blue-haired man, shrinking away at the cold tone of the singer’s voice. The man had an unreadable glint in his eye when he smiled at Weiss, clasping his hands behind his back and approaching her. “Of course I was, darling,” Weiss’ fists clenched, but her expression remained stoic, “I’m your manager after all. I should be the first to welcome you to Coalford! By the way, your new bus is just around the corner, I hope you find it to your liking, sweetheart!”

 

“I’ve told you before to top calling me those sweet names, I’m not going to go out with you. By the way, what’s going to happen to our old one?” Weiss asked coldly, gesturing for her friends to go on ahead of her and check out the bus. “Ohh, let me guess,” she offered a sweet smile, “scrap it! It’s no use anyway! Is that right, Henry?”

 

The man shrugged, “It’s old and worn out. This one is a newly modeled luxury tour bus.” He smiled when Weiss’ eyes lit up briefly, “I had it designed myself. A double-decker luxury bus, how does that sound?”

 

A double-decker luxury tour bus. . . That meant there would be more room for the growing group, they wouldn’t be crowded in a small, outdated rental bus. Ruby turned her head to look at Weiss, waiting for her reaction. It would certainly be a good look for the band, and it was custom-made, so there was a small chance she’d turn it down. 

 

The expression the singer wore was a conflicted one, seemingly torn between keeping the old bus or accepting the new one bought by a man she obviously didn’t like. After a few moments of hesitation, she spoke; “I suppose the bus would be,” Weiss glanced to her friends, who were coming around the corner wearing large, approving grins, “acceptable. . .”

 

“As I thought. I’m sure you’ll find it to your liking, it’s just as beautiful as you are, you two match-” 

 

Ruby found herself stepping in front of the older girl, wearing an annoyed frown. “She said stop .” The brunette muttered bluntly, “What did you not understand about that?” 

 

Henry raised a brow at her examined her quietly, offering her a flirtatious smile. Ruby fought the urge to roll her eyes and gag in disgust. “Aw, are you jealous? Don’t worry, babe, I can spare some affection for you too. Actually, why don’t we have some dinner tonight? Just you and me, what do you say?”

 

Hearing a low, protective growl behind her, Ruby glanced to Weiss as she moved to her side, aggravation was clear in the woman’s eyes. Weiss slid an arm out to gently push Ruby behind her. “She won’t be going anywhere with you, and you will not lay one filthy finger on her. Do you understand me?” Henry just raised a brow nonchalantly, “Leave, you won’t be needed anymore today.”

 

‘She’s defending me?’ Ruby glanced to the singer in astonishment, her eyes flickering between Henry and Weiss. The man remained silent, his attention locked on Weiss, daring her to challenge him again. ‘Why?’

 

After a long minute of silence, Henry rolled his eyes and turned away from the pair, “As you wish, Ms. Schnee. Farewell,” he glanced over his shoulder and winked, “ ladies .”

 

Why can’t men just take a hint?’ Ruby groaned internally, ‘Oh, right, we’re not in Patch, that explains everything.’ She added sarcastically, “What a douchebag. . .” Ruby mumbled under her breath when he was out of earshot, she turned to Weiss to thank her, only to find that the woman was already walking away from her. “H-hey!” Weiss glanced back at her. The brunette panicked briefly, almost shrinking away from the icy glare she was being sent. “Uhm, do you know where Yang and Blake went?”

 

Weiss sighed heavily, reluctantly answering her. “No, but I would suggest refraining from finding them.”

 

Ruby was about to ask why before realization crashed into her and she grimaced, “Uh,” she shook her head to rid herself of the thought, “thank you.” So, she couldn’t find Yang and stay with her. . .  Not knowing where to go, the young girl quietly and hesitantly followed the singer, keeping her distance from her.

 

Suddenly, Weiss stopped in her tracks and turned around, her eyes immediately locking with Ruby’s. “What do you need?” She asked in slight aggravation, “If you don’t know where to go, why don’t you go find Jason?”

 

“Jaune.” Nora called from behind the girl.

 

Weiss’ expression turned into one of bewilderment. “What-?” Weiss turned to face the redhead, who just smiled at her. Shaking her head and glancing to Ruby, “Yeah, whatever she said. Go find him.”

 

“Where would he be-?” Ruby asked meekly, taking a step back from the band. ‘I’m interrupting something, aren’t I?’ Her eyes wandered to Weiss, who had already turned her back to her.

 

Unseen by Ruby, a smirk came to Nora’s lips and she quietly stepped into the space between the two, clasping her hands together with a wide smile. “Hey! I have an idea!” The redhead announced as Weiss’ expression morphed into confusion again. “Weiss could show you around! She’s been to Coalford many times!”

 

“Excuse me?” Weiss snapped from behind the redhead, but Nora pretended not to hear her and enthusiastically continued.

 

“Well, she is your roadie. She’s gonna be around for a while, so I don’t see why you shouldn’t get to know her! Oooh! Maybe we could have an outing tonight and bring Ruby along!” Nora spun around to face Weiss, “Come on, it’ll be fun! Just like old times, but with somebody new.”

 

Weiss rolled her eyes, sending an unreadable glare to Ruby. “Fine.” She hesitantly agreed, Nora just grinned and bolted back to the rest of the group, calling over her shoulder as she ran.

 

“But you still gotta show her around before tonight!”

 

“Of course I do,” Weiss muttered loudly enough for Ruby to hear, “very well, come Red. Let’s get this over with. . .” 

 


 

“Do you really think they’ll get along?” Yang asked, checking her phone for a text from her little sister for the millionth time since they’d left. After how bitchy the singer was being to Ruby, Yang was beginning to have second thoughts on agreeing to the plan and convincing her to work for the band. 

 

At first, it had seemed like a good idea because it got Ruby out of the house and interacting with people, but Weiss wasn’t as polite as Blake had described. . . Well, it made sense considering they were best friends, you were always nicer with your friends.

 

“They will,” Blake gave the blonde a reassuring smile, “just give them some time. They’ll figure things out on their own.” At the sound of the restaurant door opening and slamming, the woman flinched briefly and peeked over Yang’s shoulder, visibly relaxing when she saw an older lady entering. 

 

She looked back to Yang, reeling herself back into the conversation. “Believe it or not, Weiss and I didn’t exactly get along when we first met either. There was a lot of bickering, racist comments, disagreements, and finally we accepted each other’s differences. Though, she needs someone other than me to be around for her. . .”

 

Yang sighed, “Yeah, you’ve told me about your fight with Weiss. . . But, Blake, this is my little sister, are sure it’s her? She spends so much time in the shop with Uncle Qrow and Dad that I think she actually forgot how people work. I don’t think she’s ever been to Atlas, either.”

 

Blake raised a brow, taking a long sip from her tea as Yang spoke. “How do you know she hasn’t?” She asked once her girlfriend was finished, “You said she came to live with you and Tai when she was eight-years old, right? She could’ve been to Atlas with her mother before she died.”

 

The blonde nodded, “Yeah, true, but she doesn’t remember anything before she came to live with us. So, is there anything really leading to Ruby being that girl. . .?” 

 

Blake smiled, “Well, from what Weiss described once, I would say we have near an exact match. Just, neither one of them remembers.” Seeing the look in the blonde’s eyes, Blake gently reached up and cupped her cheeks, “Honey, trust me,” she whispered, watching as the paranoia and concern slowly slipped away from Yang’s lilac eyes, “I wouldn’t be doing this if I was not one-hundred percent  certain that it’s her.”

 

“Alright,” Yang said as Blake sat back down, “let’s say Ruby is her. What then?”

 

“We don’t do anything,” Blake replied, “but until one of them remembers, we need to find ways to keep those two together.”

 

Yang snorted, “We sound like we’re trying to get the two of them to hook up instead of reconcile.” Blake remained silent and the grin dropped from Yang’s face, “That’s phase two of the plan, isn’t it?” If phase one was for the two girls to become friends, then the second act would be for them to date. . . She was helping her little sister get a girlfriend. Blake just smiled sweetly and the blonde let out a loud groan, “This is awkward. Alright. . . Do you think Nora remembered?”

 

Blake nodded, “Yeah, she did. She sent me a text and told me that they were heading out a few minutes ago. We might run into them on our way back to the bus.”

 

“Probably, but Coalford is a big city. There’s a very small chance that we’ll run into them.”  Yang replied.

 

Blake glanced at her,  “You lived all the way on the other side of Vale. Or, if I have to be precise, a small patch of Vale.” Yang raised a brow at her in amusement, “Yet we met.”

 

“Hey! You’re the one who stopped by the restaurant!” Yang playfully replied, pointing her pen at her girlfriend and poking her. “I would say that you went out of your way to meet me if I didn’t know any better.”

 

Blake rolled her eyes, “You ditched your male customer to talk to me. You’re lucky he didn’t complain.”

 

Yang chuckled, absentmindedly spinning the pen she held in her finger. “Well I wasn’t gonna pass up the chance to impress a cute girl!”

 

“Yang, you set yourself and the food on fire.”

 

She scoffed, “I had it under control,” Yang slid her arm around the other woman, “besides, it got you to talk to me, didn’t it?”

 

Blake took the pen from her girlfriend and clicked it once, glancing up as the waiter came by and handed them the bill. “I only spoke to you to make sure you were okay.” The woman responded, shrugging Yang’s arm off of her shoulders and sliding the bill over to Yang.

 

Yang grinned, handing the bill to the waiter.  “You couldn’t stop looking at me. I guess I was so hot that you couldn’t look away.” 

 

“How does that work?” Blake hummed, propping one arm up on the table and smirking at her girlfriend, “Usually if something is hot, it hurts your eyes and you have to look away-”

 

“Oh you know what I mean, but seriously-” Yang was cut off by a loud screeching, whirring noise and the sound of metal colliding with metal. Quietly, she turned to her girlfriend and exchanged a quick, wordless glance, answering each other’s silent question before the two of them bolted to the door.


The collision was minor, a small corvette had collided with an SUV. Though, both drivers didn’t seem to be quarreling over who caused the crash. . . As Yang pulled out her phone to call for 911, Blake approached the two, relieved that there wasn’t a cause for panic.

 

“Where did he go?” The woman asked, peering around the corner and turning her head to search for somebody
“I dunno! He was there, an’ then suddenly he wasn’t! ” The man replied, making small gestures with his hands.
“I know, I saw him!” 

 

‘Is there somebody missing?’ The woman cleared her throat, getting their attention. “Excuse me? Is everyone okay?” It appeared that everybody involved was unharmed, so that was good. The two turned to Blake and the man’s eyes narrowed. 

 

“Why d'ya care?” The man growled, threateningly sauntering up to the young woman, his posture both relaxed and menacing. Blake had to bite her tongue and remained calm. “You’re one’a them. For all we know, ya coulda-”

 

Yang was suddenly at her side, “The police are on their way, what happened here?” 

 

The man’s eyes flickered between Blake and Yang for a moment, “One of ya lil’ buddies” he glanced to Blake, “suddenly appeared in front’a me an’ drove me off the road. One’a ya lil’ schemes to destroy humanity, ey?”

 

Blake frowned at the man and he scowled back, almost sneering as though he had convinced himself that he was correct. Yang broke the silence, “Okay, what did they look like? Where did they go?”

 

He growled, “Hell if I fuckin’ know, all ya fuckin’ faunus scumbags look the same.”

 

The woman behind him spoke up, giving the man a wordless glare. “He was tall had had red, spiky hair. Looked like he had some horns on his head.” She gestured somewhere behind her as the man trudged off to speak to the arriving policemen. “He took off in the direction of the museum.” 

 

‘Did she say…’ An image of the man described flashed through her mind. ‘Oh no.’

 




“That was amazing!” 

 

“Ruby, it was just an art museum.” 

 

“No, not that part,” Weiss stopped in her tracks as the hyper girl spun around in front of her, grinning at her excitedly, “the part in the park - wow, that rhymed -  where that little girl came running up to you, and you just l it up . You were like a child on Christmas!” The brunette’s fun and lively demeanor seemed so familiar, but instead of feeling unnerved, she felt safe somehow. . . She couldn’t place it. 

 

A small smile formed at the corner of her lips, unable to resist the girl’s radiating positivity. After Weiss had revealed her ‘kinder’ side, Ruby had opened up and didn’t seem to be as scared of her anymore. Strangely enough, she’d come to enjoy the younger girl’s presence. “Well,” she whispered as Ruby fell back into stride with her, “I’m not as cold as you think I am.” 

 

A shy grin came to Ruby’s face and she averted her eyes, “To be honest, I never thought you were like that.” Weiss raised a brow in bewilderment, but kept quiet and allowed the meek girl to continue, “I just kind of felt like. . . I felt like you just needed a friend other than Blake.” She sounded genuine, and her voice was so soft. Ruby sighed, “I was too shy to say anything because-” She was cut off by the sound of Weiss’ phone ringing, “You gonna answer that?”

 

‘But, I was listening to you. . .’ Weiss reluctantly pulled her phone out of her pocket and looked at the screen, “It’s Blake,” she informed the brunette, glancing around before swiping to answer and putting it on speaker, “hello? Blake?” 

 

“Weiss! Where are you right now?” She sounded panicked. That wasn’t good at all. . . 

 

Weiss frowned, glancing up at the nearest sign. “Heading back to the bus, we’re on Greenw-”

 

“Is Ruby still with you?” 

 

Said woman approached Weiss’ side, “Yeah, I’m right here. Where’s Yang? What’s going on?” 

 

A heavy sigh came from the other end of the line, the red and white duo exchanged a confused glance. “Okay, good. Get back to the bus as quickly as you can, we’ll explain everything.”

 

“Wait,  Blake, are you o-” The call shut off and anxiety washed over Weiss like a wave. There was only one other time Blake had sounded this panicked, and that was before the Mistral attack. She hadn’t listened. . . ‘No, I’m overreacting, it’s probably nothing major.’ No matter how many times she told herself that, she couldn’t convince herself.

 

“Weiss,” Ruby whispered from beside her, her voice sounding soothing and comforting, “everything will be alright. . .” It was clear the brunette didn’t know what to say to relax her, but the kindness in her eyes was more than enough. The younger girl smiled, knowing she had Weiss’ full attention. “Alright! No more negative thoughts!”

 

“Alright! No more negative thoughts!”  

 

Nostalgia hit her like a bus, replaying the words over in her mind repeatedly. Weiss blinked. “What?”

 

Ruby grinned again, “I said, ‘No more negative thoughts’! Now let’s go, before Blake and Yang get so worried about us that they send Ironwood out to find us-” She paused and turned to the woman, who was still frozen in place. “Would they do that? Is that too extreme? I mean, you are the lead singer of the band and all. . .”

 

Weiss shook herself back into reality. “Yeah, um, let’s go, before they freak out.” Ruby smiled at her.


‘Could it be?’ Weiss glanced at her. ‘No, it can’t be. She disappeared a long time ago, it’s not her.’

Chapter Text

“So what’s going on?” Weiss asked, slamming the door of the RV behind her and crossing her arms. They’d gathered in the old bus after Weiss had ordered the rest of the band to start moving everything they own to the new one, leaving the old one almost empty. “What was so urgent that you had to interrupt us?”

 

A sly grin formed on Yang’s lips and the blonde sat down, crossing one leg over her other and stretching her arms out across the couch. “I’m sorry, did we ruin your date with your girlfriend?” She asked with a slight chuckle, her grin widening when Ruby’s face turned as red as her namesake. Weiss glared in the blonde’s direction, scowling at Blake when the girl bit back a snort of laughter. “You can get back to it later, okay?”

 

“It wasn’t a date!” Ruby yelped in humiliation, “We’re not dating! We just met like two days ago! Was it two days ago? I think it was, I don’t know, I lost track of time. Anyway, we are not dating!”

 

‘Cute.’The singer smirked, an idea sparking as the girl rambled on, causing more laughter to come from the black and yellow duo. She turned to face the younger girl, placing a hand over her heart in mock offense, “We’re not? You’ve been lying to me all this time?” Weiss asked, feigning hurt. Ruby stiffened, glancing over in her direction. Weiss swore her eyes grew wider and her face grew redder. “Sweetheart, I’m hurt!”

 

“Sw- sweet. . . Did you-? I don’t- But we’re-” Ruby hid her face behind her hair, practically steaming with embarrassment. “Weeeiiissss!” The brunette turned away and trudged to the couch, clearly trying to ignore the roaring of Yang’s laughter and Blake’s giggling. “I hate you all.” 

 

Yang’s laughter died down to short snorts, she placed a hand on her sister’s shoulder and drew her in for a hug. “We love you too, Ruby.”

 

Weiss sat down on the other side of Blake, resting her legs in her best friend’s lap. “Anyway,” she started, drawing them all back on track, “why did you call us here?” Blake hesitated, stiffly pulling her phone out from the cushion behind her, clicking it open and bringing up the band’s schedule. The raven-haired girl was silent, fear flickering in her eyes momentarily. Deciding to reel her friend back to reality, Weiss spoke up gently, “Blake, we don’t have all day.” 

 

Blake sighed, her shoulders slacking as she glanced around her. “We may have to delay the Coalford concert and assign more security,” She looked to the singer, drawing in a shaky breath, “he’s back and he probably brought more people with him.” 

 

Weiss’ eyes widened and she sat up, “Damn it. . . Are you sure?” She asked, Blake just nodded once and the singer swung her legs off of the couch. “Where did you see him? Did he come near you? What happened? Are you okay?” 

 

Blake offered her a small, reassuring smile. It didn’t do much, though. It was obvious Blake was trying to convince herself of the same thing. “I’m just fine, Weiss, and I didn’t see him.”

 

Yang spoke up this time, taking over for Blake. “There was a crash outside the restaurant and we went to check up on everybody. Some lady said that he ran in front of them and disappeared in the direction of the museum.”

 

“He was coming after us,” Weiss muttered, “he was getting our attention.”

 

Yang tilted her head, “I haven’t seen this guy, but Blake has told me a lot about him. . . And what I don’t understand is, why would he do that?”

 

The singer hummed, resting her elbow in her palm, “You’re right. It doesn’t seem like him, if he wanted to get our attention, he would have done it in a more destructive way. Like. . .” She lifted her gaze to meet Blake’s, whose eyes widened in realization. “We need to be on guard for the rest of the tour. Blake, could you alert Ironwood?”

 

Blake nodded and slipped off the couch, tapping at her phone as she exited the bus. “Yang? Could you go with her? I don’t want her to be alone. . .” Weiss sighed, the blonde simply offered a thumbs up and followed the woman. Though, Weiss was sure she would’ve followed her anyway.

 

Ruby cleared her throat, reminding Weiss that she was there. The brunette stood up, sounding nervous when she spoke. “Sorry, but. . .  Who are you talking about? Why do we have to delay the concert? Would that even be allowed? Also, why is he coming after you and Blake?”

 

The only people who knew the reason behind the Mistral attack were the band members themselves, they kept a secret from the media and from their sponsors. It wasn’t a very big one, but it was big enough that it painted a target across their backs, Weiss especially. If the fans knew they were in danger attending their concerts. . . The band would be destroyed. 

 

“Well,” Weiss began hesitantly, “since you’re stuck with us for who knows how long, I suppose I should tell you.” Ruby raised a brow and carefully sat back down on the couch, waiting patiently for Weiss to continue.

 

“Do you know how Blake and I met?” Weiss asked, Ruby just shook her head and Weiss sighed. “What about how the band was created?”

 

Ruby shrugged, “All we know is that the band was a group of friends who enjoyed creating music together.”

 

Weiss chuckled weakly, “Ah, fuck, that’s right. . . I figured the media would’ve leaked it by now. Anyway, it seems like I’ll have to start from the beginning. . .” She replied reluctantly.

 

“Two years ago, I ran away from my home in Atlas and ended up somewhere here in Vale. It was all over the news that I had gone missing and everybody was searching for me, my father had put out a reward cost to persuade people to find me and bring me back home. During the night, while seeking shelter, I had come into contact with a policeman and he recognized me. He tried to catch me, and I ran. While running, I bumped into a girl around the same age as me, she thought I would report her to the authorities because she was also a runaway, so she attacked.

 

“I managed to convince her that I wasn’t going to say anything to anybody, and she realized who I was. Right then, we made a promise: Neither one of us would turn in the other as long as we protect each other. Me, the runaway Heiress, and a former criminal hiding in plain view.” Weiss chuckled forlornly, “She led me to her friends, who were helping her survive here in Vale. Those friends were Ren and Nora, and it’s no big secret that they were orphans as children and ran away from foster care.” 

 

Ruby smiled, “Yeah, Nora makes sure the fans know that she and Ren were ‘survivors’. I think she exaggerates the story.”

 

Weiss smirked, “Yeah, she puts on a facade acting like she’s fine after everything happened,” a sad look crossed the singer’s face, “but deep down, she’s hurting. . . I mean, who wouldn’t be after losing their family as a young child?”

 

The brunette leaned forward, “Did you miss your family?”

 

Weiss shook her head and straightened her posture, “Hell no, I ran away for a reason. I didn’t ever want to go back.”

 

“But, you did?”

 

She sighed, “Yeah. . . When Ren and Nora found out I liked to sing, they told me about their musical passion as well and we began creating songs together, recording them in the basement of our house -”

 

“House?”

 

“It was abandoned. Anyway,” Weiss continued, “Somewhere during that time, Blake and I developed feelings for each other, and we became an ‘item’. One day, one of our supposed allies turned us in and my father came for me, and at the same time, he came for Blake. He ambushed us while we were off guard and Blake was injured, Ren and Nora held him off while I got Blake to safety, and when I came out to see if my friends were okay. . . My father was waiting for me. He brought me back home, and I later found out from Ren that all of them were alright. 

 

“After a while, I showed the demos we recorded to my father and convinced him that if I created a band, it would give the Schnees a higher rank in status. That’s all he really cares about, fortune and fame. . . Miraculously, he allowed me to choose whoever I wanted to be in the band as long as Ironwood accompanied me. Being a retired military officer, he became the band’s bodyguard.

 

“With my sister’s help, I managed to contact my friends and inform them of my decision. They agreed and we met up in Argus. Blake was with them. . . We agreed that we were no longer an item for our safety, her safety to be more precise. Since we protected her, he painted a target across our backs. He will stop at nothing to have us destroyed.”

 

Ruby stared at her in complete silence, not blinking. Weiss fidgeted under her gaze, unsure of her response. She’d just met the girl, she didn’t know anything about her. Did she make a mistake telling her? Would Ruby grab her phone and reveal their secret to the world? Would she wreck their reputation and expose them? She didn’t seem like the kind who would. . .

 

“Ruby?” Weiss whispered with uncertainty, “Say something, please?”

 

The brunette blinked and reeled herself back to reality, shaking her head as she processed everything. “So, basically, just because you protected your girlfr- I mean friend, you and your band are a target for the White Fang? Meaning the White Fang could show up just about anywhere at any time and kill you?” 

 

“Uh, ha ha. . . When you put it that way, it sounds pretty dangerous.”

 

“No!” Weiss leaned back up when Ruby’s silver eyes lit up with interest and amazement, “No, that sounds awesome! Like, like it’s right out of a book! Or a movie! Or a video game! Living a life where you never know what will happen? It’s freaking cool! I mean, sure, it’s dangerous if you actually think about it. But the fact that y’all didn’t just back down and give up is pretty badass! You’re just out here sharing your music with everybody, and behind the scenes you’re going up against criminals! It’s-it’s-it’s amazing!”

 

Weiss raised a brow, her chest swelling with an indescribable emotion. They were running from criminals, and Ruby found it amazing ? What in the world was wrong with this girl? Was she dropped on her head as a baby? “It is?” She asked in bewilderment, “Ruby, we put our fans and ourselves in danger when we perform. How is that cool?”

 

Ruby tapped her chin, “Yeah, that part is bad. . . But, you do take extreme caution during the concerts and try to make sure nothing happens, so that’s good. You didn’t let the Mistral attack put y’all down either and unlike most people, you took blame for it knowing it would cost you a bit of reputation.”

 

The singer bit her lip, “I mean, it’s the least I could do after some of our fans were wrongly injured. . . Hell, I even stopped by the hospital and visited them to make sure they were okay, when I was allowed to, that is.” Anger boiled up inside of the white-haired girl and she rose to her feet, “I swear to God, or whoever is listening, that when I find that man again. . . He will regret ever coming after us. He’ll put behind bars to rot like the waste of space that he is. . .”

 

The brunette smiled, “You’re protective of your friends,” she whispered in admiration, “you love them and would protect them at all costs. . . I don’t understand why people say you’re an Ice Queen, you’re actually really sweet.”

 

Weiss sighed, turning to face the younger girl. “I can be sweet when I choose to be. I can also be your worst enemy, so do not test me, Red.” Sighing in aggravation, Weiss rubbed at her forehead. “If we can’t delay the concert, we need all of our security and staff to be on high alert. I doubt Marigold would understand safety precautions.”

 

The younger girl cast her gaze downwards. “Does that mean we won’t be continuing the tour?” She asked meekly, lightly kicking her boot across the floor. “I mean, I was hoping to see more of Coalford, but if it’s too dangerous. . .” Weiss felt something twist inside her gut and she reached out to touch the brunette’s shoulder. She couldn’t allow this sweet, positive young girl to shut down. . . They needed someone like her around.

 

“No, we can’t continue the tour right now,” she whispered soothingly, offering her a gentle smile, “but I could show you the ropes? Like, what to do during a concert, how the dust works, how to manage stuff backstage. . . I don’t think your assigned mentor would be much help since he can barely remember what to do himself.” Ruby raised a brow and Weiss chuckled, “You remember the performance we had with Jagged Talons? Yeah, after the concerts, he put our equipment in the wrong bus.” 

 

Ruby giggled, the light returning to her eyes. Weiss’ heartbeat quickened.  “Watch me blow the whole set up somehow, yeah, alright, Weiss, let’s go.”

 

____

 

“Okay, so you just grab whatever dust you’re using, drop it down into the machine and select a level, and it grinds the dust up?” Ruby asked, staring down at the box of dust and picking up a red dust gem, “That seems simple enough.”

 

Weiss nodded, “If you put too little dust while it’s grinding on the high level, the machine will overheat. If too much dust is poured into it at any level, the machine will over-circulate and possibly explode.” She explained, taking the dust from Ruby and dropping it into the machine. She clicked it on and pulled the lever down to the lowest selection. Immediately, it hummed to life and began chopping the rock into small particles. 

 

Ruby leaned over the balcony and a sound of astonishment escaped her, watching as the dust rained down and spread across the stage before flickering away into nothingness. “The machine is designed to grind it down to where the dust fades away after being exposed to the air for too long. Otherwise, it could be very dangerous to use.” She glanced back to Weiss, who stared at her with wide eyes, “Right?”

 

The singer smiled at her, “You catch on quick!” 

 

Ruby blushed and averted her eyes, “Yeah, well, I was raised in a workshop. You tend to know this stuff.” She knelt down and tapped a button on the machine, humming when it shut off and clicked open. “So, you have a different machine for each kind of dust?” She asked, not giving Weiss a chance to answer, “Judging by the way this was designed, it wouldn’t be able to grind down Earth and Water dust, maybe Lightning, but definitely not Water.” 

 

Her eyes widened when she noticed another lever on the side of the machine, “Oh! Is this how y’all make those fire blast things?!” She asked, grabbing the lever and pulling it down. A small cannon-shaped machine popped out from it and Ruby grinned, “It’s like a gun! But for dust!”

 

Weiss chuckled, “I wish the rest of the staff caught on as quickly as you did. That’s impressive! Also, they're called fireballs.”

 

“I-um,” Ruby’s face turned red again, “you’re the only person who has ever found that ‘impressive’. . . Others just think I’m a nerd and ignore my rambling.”

 

“Well, not here.” Weiss offered her a kind smile, “If anybody ever ridicules you for this, just let me know and I’ll take care of them personally.”

 

“Thanks, Weiss. . .” Ruby whispered honestly.

 

“Weiss!” The two peered over the balcony, seeing the rest of the band below them with the crewmembers setting everything up. This time, due to weather conditions, it was an indoor concert and they’d been given some kind of auditorium to perform inside of. “People are already lining up outside waiting to be let in! We need to get ready for the concert!” Nora called up to the singer, “By the way, I can’t find my br-” Ren’s hand slapped over her mouth.

 

The young man looked up to them, “She’s right! The concert starts in an hour! We’re a bit behind schedule, especially after having to move everything into the new bus!” 

 

“Alright, I’ll be down in just a minute! Go on and get ready!” Weiss called back down. Turning to Ruby, she released a deep sigh. “I know you’re the roadie, but I need you to make sure that everything runs smoothly. The stage crew need someone to keep them in order because some of them don’t know how to do their damn jobs. . .” Weiss frowned at her, seemingly have slipped back into her obnoxious side, “Do not screw this up, Red. My career is all I have.”

 

Without another word, the singer quickly left and followed her friends into the dressing room to prepare. 

 

‘ I can’t disappoint her.’ Ruby thought, watching the older girl leave. ‘ She’s depending on me, I can’t let her down. . .’

 

Once Weiss was out of sight, Ruby started down the exit in search of Jaune and the others. They had a concert to prepare for. Everything had to run flawlessly and she had to make sure to have the staff on their high alert for any possible interference. She had a job to do.

Chapter Text

She could hear them singing, the fans’ voices echoing through the halls and bouncing off the walls as a few voices increased in volume. Amongst the singing, there was a loud chattering and laughter.  It was impossible not to hear them. . . Ruby couldn’t even hear herself think at some times! ‘Ugh, I wish I had earmuffs.’She didn’t remember the last concert being this loud. . . Maybe it was because they were indoors this time?

 

Ruby shook her head, ridding herself of her headache and the ringing in her ears. Glaring in the audience’s direction, she released a growl before heading towards where the stage crew had gathered. Thankfully the noise wasn’t as loud back here, otherwise she would have difficulty hearing everybody, herself included.

 

The brunette paused just in front of the crew, annoyance struck her when she realized that they were just lounging about despite the concert taking place in half an hour. ‘ You mean to tell me that during every show, these idiots wait until the very last second to get to work?!’ Was this what they were doing during her first show while she was in the pit? 

 

Why was nobody putting them to work?!

 

“Hey!” The brunette yelled, making sure her voice was higher than the screaming in the theater; all eyes turned to her and Ruby felt a bolt of anxiety shoot through her. Oh great, she’d gotten their attention, now she had to speak. “Why is nobody working?” She asked, trying to maintain her calm appearance. On the inside, she was screaming to apologize and run away from the small group.

 

“Who are you?” A woman asked.

 

“My name is Ruby Rose, I was assigned to be the band’s roadie and Weiss asked to make sure the stage crew were doing their jobs,” she glared at the group, “but it appears that they want to laze around just minutes before the concert, and that isn’t acceptable.”

 

Someone snorted in response, “Who do you think you are? Our-” 

 

“Did you not hear me?” Ruby cut him off, “Weiss asked me to make sure you do your jobs, so that’s what I’m doing.” 

 

Silence.

 

“Now, I need everyone to be working at their very best for the concert,” Ruby announced, pushing her anxiety down and taking charge, “that means you can’t be slacking off whatsoever before or during the performance.” She turned her attention to Jaune, who stared at her with an incredulous expression. “If something goes wrong, we’ll lose our jobs. . .”

 

A young man with jet black hair rolled his eyes, “Oh please, if Schnee wanted to fire us, she would have already, but she can’t! She needs us and she knows it.” He didn’t seem like a pleasant person.

 

The woman next to him scoffed, her accent was thick, “She should be thankful we’re even still working for this dumb band after how she treats us. Seriously! We make one mistake and she threatens to fire us!”

 

The first person laughed, “Yeah, she can’t fire us anyway! She’d be lost without us! What’s a band without techies?”

 

Ruby was fuming. They acted like it was a joke . . . Didn’t they understand how serious this was? “Listen!” She snapped, her voice booming over the screaming audience’s, “If this concert doesn’t go smoothly and flawlessly, we all lose our jobs! Not because we’re fired, but because the band was shut down due to poor performance! If you don’t want this job, then why are you still here when you can very easily quit and go home?”

 

Dumbfounded faces stared back at her, she knew she had their full attention now. “That’s right, you can’t because you need the money. Or else you won’t have a home to go to when the tour ends. It’s like you said,” she gestured to the man with black hair, “what’s a band without a tech crew? The techs are the backbone of the band, without one, there wouldn’t really be much of a band. They rely on those backstages more than you know, so of course they’d be disappointed and annoyed when the people they depend on slack off!”

 

Ruby drew in a deep breath and relaxed, “We operate and supervise what happens during a performance, we have the most important job there can be in this kind of field.” She narrowed her eyes, “If this band falls apart, you’ll be looking back someday and you’ll be thinking ‘I caused that band’s downfall, I destroyed someone’s dreams because I didn’t want to do my job.’ I know I’m just the band’s roadie, but Weiss herself asked me to make sure everything runs smoothly backstage, so that’s what I’m doing, because I have a job to do.” 

 

She turned away from them, “The concert starts in thirty-five minutes and we need to make sure everything is ready to go.” 

 

She couldn’t believe it. These people had the audacity to demand respect from the band when they hardly ever did their jobs! The technical crew and the band members were a team, they worked together, not individually! Her first time backstage, she’d noticed the people slacking off their jobs, it’d infuriated her beyond words. Weiss and her friends worked together as a team, so why didn’t the crew? 

 

“Do you really think ‘working harder’ will earn us respect?” There it was again. . . 

 

Ruby turned to face the group again, “Yes. I do. Work harder, earn their trust, and you become a team. You rely on them and vice versa. You prepared the stage long before the band arrived, and we will be here hours after the concert taking it all down, but with this crew, everything seems to be rushed and last minute. It’s a damn miracle this band hasn’t fallen apart because of you all. . .”

 

The man sighed, running a hand through his hair. “I suppose we did start slacking off. . .”

 

“That we did.” A woman smiled, “You, child, have the fire. Tell us what to do.”

 

Ruby held up her hands, taking a step back from them. “Woah, I’m not reassigning jobs. . . I’m just a roadie, not a stage manager. Just, do your respected roles with more passion. I mean, you were doing a decent job before because I couldn’t even tell something was wrong backstage until I joined. So, just give it some more, um, ‘fire’.”

 

“Um, Ruby?” Ruby glanced to Jaune, who was tapping at his phone screen, “Twenty-eight minutes. Time’s running out. . .”

 

They’re relying on me.’ She told herself quietly, ‘They don’t have a manager they can trust. They need me. . .’

 

Making up her mind, the brunette turned back to the crew with a determined expression, “Fine. Alright! Let’s do this!” She faced a small group to the left, “Everything is already set up, so. . . Lighting crew; test out the lighting systems; the audience needs to be able to see what’s happening onstage clearly. That means the focus, the dust machines for lighting, and the hanging lights need to have a quick test-run before the concert.”

 

The group left wordlessly and Ruby felt a bit of pride bloom in her chest. She looked to the second group, “Sound crew; you should know your cues by now. Minimize sounds that are not supposed to be heard on stage, and make sure the background noises do not cause interference with the performance. You seem to be pretty good at that, so keep it up.”

 

As they walked away, Ruby turned to face Jaune and two other boys. “You’re a cameraman, correct?” Before he could respond, Ruby continued. “You three are in charge of recording the live performance, make sure that nothing offstage is captured. I’m sure you already know what to do, though.”

 

“Yeah, yeah, I got it,” Jaune muttered under his breath and Ruby smiled, “come on, guys.” He gestured for the boys behind him to follow him. Ruby bit back a laugh when the men sneered in Jaune’s direction and reluctantly followed him.

 

With the crew having been sent to work, Ruby was left alone. Why did it feel like she wasn’t doing her job? Ruby bit her lip, the nervousness and anxiety rushing back to her. She’d been hired to be a roadie, but Weiss had asked her to keep the stage crew in check. Wait, do roadies go on stage? All she knew was that she was expected to help out with technical stuff, but that couldn’t be all she was here for. . . God, she probably should’ve researched this. Then again, the responsibility had just suddenly been thrown at her, she hadn’t had time to prepare.

 

‘Guess I should see how the band is coming along.’ Ruby started for the dressing rooms, glancing over her shoulder to see one of the dust machines fire up. At least things seemed to be running smoothly so far. Then again, the actual concert hadn’t yet begun. ‘Why do I get the feeling this is gonna be a disaster? Is it always like this? Well, this is their first world tour, I think, so maybe it’ll just take some getting used to?’ 

 

She’d eventually grasp how she felt about the whole situation, now’s just not that time. 

 

“Are the instruments all tuned up?” Ruby’s head swiveled around to see Weiss approaching somebody out of her line of view. The brunette’s heart skipped a beat when she noticed the woman’s outfit; a white strapless dress with a faint light blue color at the hem and red outlining, she wore a white sash around her waist, leggings, and a silver pendant around her neck. Noticing that she was taller than usual, Ruby’s eyes glanced down to the woman’s heels, noticing that she was wearing white wedges with red lining.

 

‘How short would she be without them?’She wondered quietly, her attention snapping up when Weiss spoke again.

 

“Great!” Weiss was actually smiling, “We have fifteen minutes before we need to be out there, and there’s quite a crowd, so everything needs to be perfect.”

 

“We got that,” Ren laughed as he stepped out into view, “it’s not like you say it every time there’s a concert.” He was wearing a diluted dark green tailcoat with a diagonally-buttoned black trim with gold lining and white jeans.

 

“Yeah!” Nora walked out behind him, “It’s like, become your signature quote next to your infamous ‘Wh-” Ren placed a hand on her mouth before she could finish the sentence, shushing her with a finger to his lips. Nora rolled her eyes and Ren removed his hand. Ruby stepped closer so that she could get a better look at the woman’s outfit; she wore a zippered navy blue jacket possessing red lining, a white top with a small heart-cut out above her chest, a pink skirt and a matching belt.

 

Ruby glanced back to Weiss, who was now facing away from her and her heart leaped to her chest. She forced her eyes away from the woman, drawing a few deep breaths before looking in their direction again.

 

Pyrrha was walking towards Weiss with a white, red ruffled bolero in hand. “Here, I found it,” the woman smiled as Weiss took the clothing and slipped it on, covering her shoulders and back, “it’d fallen behind the clothing rack.” Pyrrha was wearing a leather brown jacket and matching jeans, a golden corset with a white long-sleeved t-shirt, a long red sash around her waist, and black boots that stretched up to her knees.

 

Ruby squinted as Weiss turned to Pyrrha wearing a soft smile, “Thank you,” she replied, “didn’t want to go out there without this on.” The woman smirked, “Damn, I can’t even begin to imagine what would’ve happened.”

 

“Should we tighten security?” Pyrrha asked, sounding rather concerned, “Make sure no one is lurking around?”

 

The singer shook her head, “No, it’s fine Pyrrha.”

 

Ruby glanced to the clock and drew in a deep breath, the concert started in ten minutes. Everything was running smoothly by the looks of it, and it was time to make her report. Clasping her hands together and shaking off the nerves, she approached the band. “Hey,” all eyes turned to her and it took all of her willpower not to stare at Weiss. “you need to be out there in ten. Everything’s set up and ready to go.”

 

Weiss met her eyes and Ruby’s heart nearly flew out of her chest, “Are you sure they’re all at their correct stations?” She asked, her voice stern almost threatening. Ruby didn’t allow it to faze her and simply nodded, “Good, but if anything happens tonight, it’s on you.”

 

‘I’m not even the stage manager. . .’Ruby rolled her eyes as Weiss turned away to head towards the stage with the rest of the band behind her.

 

A hand was placed on her shoulder and Ruby flinched, “She’s always like this before a concert,” Pyrrha smiled from behind her, “one moment she’s all peppy and enthusiastic, the next moment she’s threatening to end your career if the concert doesn’t go according to plan. Don’t let it faze you.”

 

“I won’t,” Ruby answered, “she’s told me that the band is all she has,  so I’ll make sure to protect it with everything I have.”

 

Pyrrha’s green eyes briefly lit up and the tall redhead grinned, “I see, so that’s why Blake brought you around. She made a good choice!”

 

Blake? She hadn’t even met Blake until two or three days ago, what was Pyrrha talking about? Maybe she’d been misinformed? Ruby’s brows furrowed and she faced the woman, “What do you mean?” She asked in confusion, “Blake didn’t bring me here, Yang managed to get two extra-. . .”

“You’re going to that concert.”
“How did you get these?! They were sold out!”
“I have my ways.”

Blake was in on all of it, she’d given her the tickets. . . 

“Think about it this way: You'll be traveling with Weiss!”

That’s why she’d been so eager for Ruby to travel with the band. . . 

“I’m sorry, did we ruin your date with your girlfriend?”

 

They were trying to set them up! That’s why Yang had bought the tickets and how she’d managed to get them backstage, she probably even planned Ruby becoming the band’s roadie! In some sense, Yang had chosen her friends and career for her. . . Ruby had never really had a say in anything.

 

“Ruby?” Pyrrha’s voice reeled the brunette back to reality.

 

Ruby shook her head, “I’m fine, Pyrrha, I’m fine. You should probably hurry and catch up with the others.” She offered a tiny smile, “You know how Weiss is.” Pyrrha said something else, but Ruby hadn’t caught it as she was already retreating further backstage. Casting one last glance to the band gathering just behind the stage, Ruby forced her emotions down and ascended the staircase leading to the lighting crew. “I hope it’s all good to go because I just told Weiss that everything was set up, she’s really depending on all of you. . .” 

 

A boy with peach colored hair responded to her, “Yep! It’s all set up!” Why was he yelling? 

 

“Good.” Ruby sighed with relief, leaning against the railing and staring down at the stage below. Now that her thoughts were racing a mile a minute, she was very aware of the crowd in the audience. She couldn’t even hear herself think now! “Damn, that’s a huge crowd.” She whispered under her breath, her silver eyes fixed on the swarm of people.

 

Another girl appeared at her side, “If you’re worried about the amount of people, don’t worry! It’s not even our largest crowd!” She said at the top of her lungs, her eyes flickering towards someone offstage and giving them a thumbs up, “The concert is about to start, so if you wanna stay up here, please don’t get in the way!” 

 

Ruby stepped back and a tiny grin came to her lips as the light on the stage slowly began to dimmer, she winced when the crowd suddenly began cheering at the top of their lungs. ‘Goddamn! Was it this loud during the first concert?!’Maybe it was the fact they were in an actual theater now, so the noise was bouncing off the walls. 

 

As an attempt to avoid severe hearing loss, the brunette moved out of the room as the announcer signaled for the band to make their appearance; she slipped backstage again and started for the camera crew as quickly as she could. The lights onstage clicked on to reveal the band, briefly blinding a bypassing Ruby. Rubbing her eyes and turning away from the bright lights, she started up the staircase leading to the camera crew’s department.

 

“Hello people of Coalford!” She heard Weiss call out to the audience, only increasing the pitch of their already ear-shattering screams. Screams of excitement, thankfully, but they were still at risk of an attack now that the concert was beginning. Ruby’s brain felt like it was racing. “How are you all tonight?!”

 

Ruby poked her room into the camera room, breathing a sigh of relief when she noticed that they were all preoccupied. She decided not to bother them and quickly make her descent, tuning out whatever else the singer was shouting onstage. 

 

Ruby paused in the center of the open room, glancing back and forth as nervousness washed over her. She felt like she should be doing something , but everybody seemed to be busy and she was still in training so she would only be a bother to them. . .

 

Maybe she could sit down and watch the band perform? It didn’t look like she would be needed for a while. . . 

 

Finding a spot where she could view performance perfectly, Ruby made herself comfortable and focused her attention on the show. If there were any minor slip ups, she could talk to the techies about it and make sure to avoid it in their next show. Right now, things seemed to be running just perfectly. Well, at least she thought it was. . . Weiss might be able to find some things she didn’t like. 

 

No, she’d definitely be unhappy about something . . . 

 

The next hour sped by rather quickly as Ruby got lost in the music; her eyes were trained on Weiss and watching her practically dance across the stage. The fans’ cheering was easily tuned out, but they still remained a distant noise that Ruby couldn’t seem to be able to ignore.

 

When the music came to a stop for the night,  she’d forced herself out of her chair to make sure the band’s requests were fulfilled by the caterers (thankfully they had everything they needed to refresh and relax) and had left to meet the band backstage. Ruby paused when she realized Weiss wasn’t with them and she frowned in confusion, scanning the room for any sign of the singer. She was nowhere to be found. . .

 

“I think that was our best performance yet,” Pyrrha muttered under her breath tiredly as Ruby approached them, she glanced up to the brunette and whispered a ‘thank you’ as she took the water bottle from Ruby, “though I’m a bit curious, we haven’t met up with the other bands recently, why is that?”

 

Nora spoke up next, taking her own bottle from Ruby and turning to face Pyrrha. “Weiss said that we should meet up with the Jagged crew at our next show,” she answered after taking a long swig, “speaking of which, where is the Ice Queen?”

 

“She probably wandered off to complain about something that happened during the show,” Ren sighed in exasperation, “I hate to say it, but I don’t think she’ll ever be fully satisfied.”

 

Ruby raised a brow, “You mean she’s never been happy about-”

 

“Ruby!” The brunette flinched at the sound of Weiss’ voice coming from somewhere behind her.

 

“Ah, there she is.” Nora chuckled, making a small gesture to the approaching singer as Ruby turned around. Oh she was in trouble. . .

 

Ruby’s heart skipped a beat when her silver eyes met with a pair of enthusiastic light blue. Weiss was. . . Smiling. Well, she was in a good mood and probably had nothing to complain about. . . Ruby’s eyes widened in surprise; she swore to god that she saw the singer skip a step before she broke into an excited run- wait, she was running in her direction. Oh shit. . . “W-Weiss?!” She managed to yelp before she was tackled into a hug.

 

Ruby felt her heart soar as realization struck her, flying out and above her before crashing back into her with a wave of affection. Weiss was hugging her! Weiss was huggingher! She was so warm. . .  Ruby was sure she’d already died and gone to heaven, this couldn’t be real. Carefully, she slid her arms around the older girl and returned the hug, her heart racing in her chest as her face flushed with embarrassment and happiness. 

 

“The concert went perfectly!” Weiss giggled as she pulled away from the hug; it took everything inside of Ruby not to whine in disappointment. “Ruby it was perfect ! I’ve never heard them cheer so loud!” Unconsciously, Ruby slid her hands down the singer’s arms as she stepped away and she interlocked their fingers.

 

The brunette smiled, “Don’t thank me,” she gestured to the approaching techies with a slight nod of her head, “thank them. I simply gave them a little push.” 

 

Weiss pulled one hand away from Ruby and turned to the waiting crew, her other one remaining gently locked with Ruby’s. The brunette glanced to the crew and smiled in reassurance when she realized that a few of them fiddling with their fingers in anticipation, “Thank you,” Weiss whispered with a warm smile on her face, “thank you so much. . .”

 

A familiar lady spoke up, wearing a smirk on her face. “Well, we couldn’t have done it without Red here giving us that little push.” She crossed her arms, “The girl knows how to get into people’s heads.” All eyes turned to her again.

 

“Wh-” Ruby tensed up, unconsciously gripping Weiss’ hand a little harder, “Hey, hey, stop it! I was just doing my-”

 

Click.

 

Ruby turned her head to see Pyrrha standing a few feet away from them with her phone in hand, holding it sideways and aiming it directly at Ruby and Weiss. The redhead smiled sweetly innocently, “Hello!” 

 

Weiss frowned in confusion and her eyes strayed down to her hand that was still holding Ruby’s, Ruby followed her gaze and her eyes widened. Both girls jerked away, the younger one mumbling a wave of apologies under her breath. Weiss replied with a quiet ‘no, it’s okay’ that was barely audible even to Ruby.

 

Before things could get more awkward, an unfamiliar voice caught their attention; “The performance went wonderfully!” Ruby furrowed her brows as a short man with balding brown hair and light brown eyes stepped into view, offering the group a warm and kind smile. Who was this man and why did he have the audacity to sneak backstage?! Where was their security?!

 

Ruby glanced to Weiss, ready to ask if she should call for security. The brunette paused, examining the young singer whose attention was fixed on the man with familiarity in her eyes. 

 

“Klein?”

Chapter Text

“I can’t believe you’re actually here!” Weiss whispered in astonishment as she started towards her old friend, ignoring the confused stares following her.  “I haven’t seen you since we went back to Atlas! I thought I’d never see you again!” 

 

“I was informed that your little band was undergoing some changes, and I offered to become your new driver.” Klein smiled in response, glancing over Weiss’ shoulder to look at the crowd watching them. “Now that I’m here, would you mind introducing me to your friends?”

 

Weiss’ eyes widened and she turned around, a smile coming to her lips as she gestured for them to approach. “Klein, these are my friends,” she started carefully, “Pyrrha Nikos, she just joined the band a little over three weeks ago, but we’ve known her for about a year. She’s the bandleader and bass guitarist.” The redhead gave a polite smile and a little ‘hello!’ in greeting. “But she can’t make any decisions without running it by the rest of the band and me.” 

 

Weiss came to Ren’s side, “Lie Ren, he is the rehearsal director and the lead guitarist. He’s in charge of scheduling rehearsals and keeping everybody cool and collected before a concert or rehearsal.” She turned to him, “Oh, he can also play the keyboard whenever it is needed.” Weiss gestured to Nora, “And this is Nora Valkyrie, she’s the drummer and she manages our public relations.”

 

Nora slammed her fist into her palm, “Yeah! I get to interrogate our managers and break-”

 

Weiss cut her off, “No she doesn’t.” Nora opened her mouth to protest, but Weiss continued without giving her a chance to speak. “She’s in charge of the band’s image, any promotion we need is her responsibility, and she does it without breaking anybody’s limbs.”

 

“Oh you’re so boring.” Nora groaned.

 

Klein chuckled in amusement.“It’s nice to meet you all, my name is Klein Sieben, I was a friend of Weiss’ when she was very young.” A distant look came to his eyes, followed by a small, thankful smile.” It makes me happy that she's met good friends like all of you.” He made a small gesture to Ruby, who was shooing the stage crew back to pack up the equipment. “I see she’s still here, too.”

 

Pyrrha looked over her shoulder, “Oh, Ruby? She just became our Roadie about two weeks ago. . .”

 

‘Still here?’ Weiss frowned. An image flashed through her mind; one of a small, young girl with reddish black hair smiling back at her in pure joy, she had her eyes closed. . .  “Wait, what do you mean ‘still here’?” Weiss asked, glancing back to the roadie.

 

Klein gave her a confused look, “Ruby.” How did he know her name? “Is she not your friend?”

 

‘What?’

 

“Excuse me!” Ruby called to the band, “I just got a text saying that you all are needed at the RV!” She waved her phone, “Actually, it was a group text but none of you have your phones, so. . .”

 

Weiss remained silent, staring at the brunette and examining her. Images flashed through her mind, some going by too quickly for her to be able to comprehend. 

 

There was a girl. . . A little girl with a broad, happy grin, a little girl with unruly dark hair and unique colored eyes, a child with a laugh that somehow always brought a smile to Weiss’ lips. As far back as Weiss could remember, the girl was always positive and could shine light on the darkest of situations. Even when she moved away. . .

 

“Hey, Weiss?”

 

“Hey, Weiss?” Ruby tilted her head, “What are you looking at?”

 

Yeah?”

 

“We’ll always be best friends, right?”

 

“Hmm. . . Always is a strong word.”

 

“Weiss. . .?”

 

“Weiss?” Ruby called again, now looking a little bit uncomfortable.

“I didn’t say no, but you know Father might come back-”

 

“Alright! No more negative thoughts!”

 

This couldn’t be possible. . . Weiss shook her head and reeled herself to reality, “Um, yeah, tell him we’ll meet him there in a few, we need to meet the fans.” Ruby just nodded and Weiss turned away, brushing off the weird looks her friends were giving her. “Come on, the crowd awaits.”

 

----

 

“Of course he wouldn’t be here! Of course!”

 

After meeting the fans, they’d made their way back to the RV together, only to find that the man was nowhere to be found. Twenty minutes had passed since they’d arrived, and needless to say, Weiss was getting impatient.

 

Ruby stood, approaching the pacing woman and placing a hand on her shoulder to stop her when she passed. “Weiss, calm down, he’s probably just held-”

 

Weiss whirled to face her, “He’s not held up! I know him! He’s probably out there with some poor, unfortunate girl because he wooed her with his ‘I’m rich, good-looking, and I manage a famous band! Please sleep with me’ act!” She threw her hands up, stalking away. 

 

Everybody sat on the new, leather couch watching Weiss as she paced back and forth. Their eyes flitting between Ruby and Weiss as one ranted on and the other tried to soothe them. It was best not to interfere. 

 

“I’d say we kick him out and find a new manager, but we can’t!” Weiss groaned, falling backwards into the armchair behind her.

 

Ruby tilted her head, “Wait, why? I was told the band chooses the manager who is good at all that. . . Deal-making stuff.”

 

Weiss cut her off with a loud snap. “The fucking asshole has experience in ‘deal-making stuff’, Ruby! He knows how to get people’s attention! Oh, and not to mention, he is acquaintances with multiple publishing companies that would help us tremendously .” The woman pushed herself to her feet and began pacing again, whispering swears underneath her breath.

 

The brunette sighed, “He’s a jerk, but Weiss, he’ll help the band. . . Maybe he does have good intentions-”

 

“He wants to destroy our band!” Weiss yelled again, “Why do you think he even considered becoming our manager?” She paused, “Oh, that explains it! He knows! He knows what we did,” the singer turned to her friends, “see? I told you we’d be caught someday!”

 

Blake sighed, “No, Weiss. Nobody knows. . . If he knew, he would’ve already released the evidence and we’d be in jail.”

 

Weiss felt a hand gently grabbing hers and she turned around, glaring at the brunette standing beside her. Ruby just smiled and gave her hand a squeeze, “Everything’s alright, Weiss. If you really don’t like him, I’m sure everybody would be willing to help find a new manager.” She gestured to the group sitting on the couch, “This is our career, too. . .” 

 

“We’ll break his legs if we have to.” Nora smirked devilishly and Pyrrha gaped at her, “And if he tries to do anything, just toss him into a landfill!” 

 

“Okay, nothing that extreme.” Ruby cut her off before the redhead tried to suggest anything else, Weiss simply stared at the younger girl in brief surprise. She was actually willing to help? “Anyway, if Marigold says anything about the band not being here, oh well, we waited and he never showed up.” Ruby let go of her hand and a cold wave struck Weiss, she wanted the warmth back. . . “We should probably leave so that Weiss here can get to work with the whole ‘money’ thing. ”

 

Ah, that’s right. She kept track of the band’s finances for taxing purposes, she was in charge of keeping everything on-budget during the tour. Although, she still had another matter to discuss. . . With Ruby.

 

“Ruby?” Weiss called after the brunette, stopping her in her tracks as the rest of the band head on out, casting concerned glances over their shoulders. “I wouldn’t mind some company?” She whispered with a tiny smile, watching as confusion and surprise flickered through Ruby’s silver eyes. 

 

The younger girl nodded and stepped back inside the RV, closing the door behind her and staring at Weiss in silence. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something,” Weiss whispered as she approached her, “I remember playing with this little girl when I was a child,” she came around to stand by Ruby’s side, she watched as curiosity formed in the girl’s eyes, “I want your help to find her.” Ruby’s brows furrowed and Weiss just smiled, “I think you’re the only one who can help me.”

 

Ruby blinked multiple times and leaned against the door, “Oookay. . . Considering you’re a big-time singer and heiress-” Weiss glared at her, “ah, um, former heiress, it shouldn’t be too hard to locate her. What did you two do as kids? Maybe it can help us find her.”

 

Weiss rolled her eyes and returned to the couch, making herself comfortable and fixing her attention on Ruby. “Well, when I first moved to Vale with my mother, this little girl would keep coming over to our house and insisted that I would become her best friend when I just wanted to be left alone.” She watched Ruby’s eyes for any sign of recognition, “Eventually, I warmed up to her and she would drag me outside to play ‘Warriors’, I always played the ‘princess warrior’ while she played the ‘hero’. When school started, it was her first year there and she stuck right at my side like glue whenever she could, she ignored me when I encouraged her to play with other kids and said I was the only friend she needed.”

 

Ruby tilted her head and Weiss chuckled, continuing her little story. “One day, she got a dog and invited me over to meet him. At first I was a little scared because my ‘Father’ said dogs were mangy, vicious animals, but he proved to be the sweetest dog I’ve ever met.” Weiss hummed, “I still remember what she said. . . She looked me in the eyes, smiling, and said ‘you should smile more, you’re really, really pretty’.”

 

Ruby laughed suddenly, “That’s funny, I remember telling one of my old friends that. Seriously, I don’t think she girl ever smiled! I also used to have a dog and she just adored him! What a coincidence, huh?”

 

Weiss smirked, “Really? What did this dog look like?”

 

Silver eyes lit up, “Oh! He was a blackish silver and white Corgi! He had a lil’ nub for a tail so it looked like his butt was wagging whenever he wagged his tail.”

 

The singer giggled and stood to her feet, “Strange. . . My childhood best friend had a dog that looked like that.” She propped one hand on her hip and rose the other to her chin thoughtfully, “Though, this dog’s name was. . . Zuccini? Zeus? Zeke? Zero?”

 

“. . . Zwei?” 

 

Weiss clapped her hands together, “That’s it!” She exclaimed, smiling when realization flashed across Ruby’s face. She had to drag this on a little longer. . . “Ah, who am I kidding? It’s probably not even the same dog,” Weiss shrugged, “besides, this little girl loved to draw and you? Well. . .”

 

Weiss turned away from the girl, the silence that had embraced them now clawing at her heart like a dagger. If Ruby remembered, would she still see her the same way? Her heart fell when she heard footsteps walking away from her, she glanced over her shoulder to find that Ruby was no longer there. Weiss sighed and pulled out her phone, checking the time and swallowing the irritation rising up inside of her. It’d been forty-five minutes since they’d been asked to meet up here.

 

Her eyes trailed to the star-shaped pendant dangling from the corner of her phone. ‘I wonder if she still has it?’

 

She was snatched out of her daze when she heard something dull and heavy being dropped onto the couch next to her, Weiss looked up to see Ruby standing in front of her with a faraway look in her eyes. “You said this girl loved to draw. . .” She nodded towards the sketchbook on the couch, “Well, so do I.” Well, that confirmed it for Weiss. 

 

“May I?” She asked, glancing up to the roadie. Ruby meekly nodded and Weiss flipped the book open to the front page, briefly taken by surprise when she caught sight of a small, matching star pendant weaved between the wires of the book and attached to the corner of the front page. Images flashed through Weiss’ eyes again.

 

“What’s this?” Weiss asked as her friend tossed a necklace over her head, grinning as she readjusted the pendant to lay above her chest, “Ruby, I already have several necklaces.”

 

“It’s a promise necklace,” the little girl replied, placing her hands on Weiss’ shoulders, “Mama told me that it means that whoever it belongs to will help them find the other piece belonging to the other person.” Ruby paused, “That makes sense right?”

 

Weiss smiled, “Yeah. . . Thank you, Ruby.”

 

“My best friend when I was little had one that looked just like it,” Ruby muttered as she sat down next to Weiss, “I gave it to her as some kind of. . . Promise, I think. When I got older, I realized that maybe the necklace didn’t mean anything to my friend, but it still meant something to me so I attached it to my book.”

 

Weiss didn’t say anything, instead her attention had fixed on the very first picture in the book. Or more specifically, the signature at the bottom right corner. Her heart started thudding in her chest, picking up speed as realization slowly but surely washed over her. She knew this art style. . . She knew that signature. . . It couldn’t be, she was dreaming, she had to be dreaming! There’s no way Ruby was them! Weiss slowly lifted her head and locked her eyes with Ruby’s, “You’re the Red Reaper.” She whispered in astonishment.

 

Her long lost best friend was the Red Reaper. Ruby was the artist

 

Ruby giggled nervously, wringing her hands together and averting her eyes. “Well, um, yeah. . . That’s me.” She rubbed her neck, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you-”

 

Her commission! “How?” Weiss cut her off, “How have you been doing this and working too? You’re not exhausting yourself, are you? Damn it, Ruby!” She didn’t want her overworking herself for her sake. . .

 

Ruby tapped her fingers together, “I stay up late at night drawing, mostly when everybody else is asleep.” she confessed, awkwardly meeting Weiss’ eyes, “I’m fine! I’m still fully functional! I-”

 

“Please don’t overwork yourself,” Weiss pleaded, “if you need me to, I can organize you a schedule so you can do both. . .” A smirk came to the woman’s face, “Hell, I’ll even give you a day off and make Yang do the work.”

 

Realization flashed through Ruby’s eyes, “Um. Yeah, about Yang. . .” She whispered, giggling nervously, “I found out something earlier. . .” Weiss closed the artbook and set it aside, not bothering to flip through the other pieces of art. “Have you noticed that, uh, they’ve been leaving us alone and encouraging us to interact here recently?” 

 

Weiss’ brows furrowed, “Blake has always been like that, she’s always encouraged me to ‘make more friends’. What’s strange about it?” 

 

Ruby tugged at the hem of her shirt, avoiding eye contact with the singer. Worry coursed through the vocalist, but before she could ask her if she was okay, the brunette blurted out something; “BlakeandYangaretryingtosetusup.” Weiss stared at her in mild confusion, attempting to comprehend whatever the artist had said. Ruby drew in a deep breath and spoke again, this time calmly. “They’re trying to set us up . . And the rest of the band is in on it.”

 

“How do you know?” Weiss asked, not yet following.

 

“It’s why I was even at the concert, and it’s why Ozpin asked to hire me. I also realized that, at home, Yang kept mentioning my friend I used to always tell her about as if I would soon meet her again. . . Then she comes in with tickets to the concert, Blake has us meet her backstage, and it explains why I was Blake’s first choice to stand in for the dancer. . .”

 

Weiss blinked, “You think they set it all up?”

 

Ruby shook her head, her fists digging into the cushion below. “I think the dancer thing was by sheer luck, to be honest. But I’ve noticed Blake and Yang whispering behind our backs. . . They’re trying to act all ‘subtle’ about it.” 

 

Weiss sat back in surprise, replaying her friend’s explanation a few times to try and understand it. “I see,” Weiss smirked ever so slightly, “so our friends are trying to set us up romantically. . .” The woman sat up and slowly slid an arm around the artist, drawing in close. “Why don’t we play the part?”

 

Heat rose to Ruby’s cheeks at the closeness, but she made no attempt to move. “S-sure. . .”

Chapter Text

A full twenty-four hours had passed since the Coalford concert and they were on their way to Vacuo, where they would drop Yang off and continue the tour. At least there would be some more space in the bus. . . In addition, it would also give her some more time to focus on her commission since Yang wouldn’t be bothering her every five minutes with her loud snoring. 

 

Not to mention, they wouldn’t be trying to set her and Weiss up anymore. . . Unless Blake continued where Yang left off. 

 

A tiny, shy smile came to Ruby’s lips as she gazed down at her artbook, admiring her most recent work. She’d set her commission aside to work on something personal, and not to boast, but it was probably her best work. She glanced up to the band gathered in the lounge and she looked back down to her paper, pride rolling through her.

 

It was a detailed, full black-and-white drawing of the band. Nora and Ren were on the right, Nora leaning against the window and stiffening her body whenever the RV swerved. Ren sat comfortably in the armchair, seeming like he was in his own little world. 

 

Weiss and Pyrrha were off to the left on the couch; Pyrrha had her hair up in a comfortable, messy bun and was wearing a too-big sweatshirt and gym pants. Weiss, on the other hand, wore sleeveless tank-top and knee-knockers. If Ruby had to be honest, she’d found herself staring at the singer one too many times while drawing the picture. Weiss didn’t seem to mind, though.

In the picture, Ruby had drawn her to be wearing a happy, almost enchanting smile, and her hair cascaded down behind her like a waterfall. Ruby paid extra close attention to perfecting her appearance, wanting to capture her full beauty in the picture. She couldn’t tell how many times she’d erased and redrawn her eyes because something was off. 

 

Was she too obsessed? 

 

The brunette tapped her pencil against the counter, glancing up to look at the singer just across from her. Her breath caught in her throat, silver eyes lingering on the woman’s exposed skin. God, she’s gorgeous.’ It was like looking at an angel who’d fallen from Heaven to Earth. . . 

 

Ruby’s attention trailed towards Weiss’ top, her breathing became labored and an indescribable emotion welling up inside of her. Weiss was wearing a black tank top that hugged her body just right, giving just a slight curve across her chest area and exposing her collarbone. Her upper back was bare as well, and if Ruby looked close enough, she could see her bra strap peeking out from behind Weiss’ long, white hair.

 

‘She’d look better if she wasn’t wearing a-’ Ruby froze, WHOA. Wrong turn of thought! Nope! Don’t think like that! Bad Ruby!’ She shook her head, clearing the thoughts from her mind. 

 

“Gooood morning!” Irritation pricked at Ruby as her sister walked into the lounge, completely breaking her focus on Weiss.

 

‘How dare you.’ Ruby grunted softly, she turned away when Yang glanced over at her. 

 

“Ruby?” Yang frowned, approaching her with a puzzled look on her face, “Hey what’s th-” Ruby slammed her book closed and pushed it away from Yang’s reach, “What? Why can’t I see?”

 

The brunette glared at her, “Maybe because I don’t want you to see.” 

 

Yang frowned at her and propped herself up against the counter, “Alright, what’s up, Ruby? Talk to Yang.”

 

‘Why would I talk to you? You planned out my entire career.’ Ruby rolled her eyes, “I don’t need to tell you absolutely everything, do I?” Without giving Yang a chance to answer, Ruby stalked around the corner of the counter and made her way to the band. She could feel her sister watching her with a bewildered expression.

 

“Ruby.” Weiss greeted warmly as Ruby flopped down on the couch next to her. Weiss moved over just a hair to wrap one arm around the brunette’s shoulders, pulling her close against her. Heat rushed to her face and her heart beat erratically in her chest. “Good morning~” The singer cooed to her quietly, sending Ruby’s heart soaring to the heavens.

 

“The next one is in Vacuo,” Ren announced calmly, sparing the two of them no mind, “we’ll drop Yang off and then head to prepare  for the concert.” Weiss nudged Ruby’s shoulder and gestured down to the sketchbook, “We’ll come across the Jagged Thorns there, Nora says she received an email asking if they could perform with us.” As he spoke, Ruby flipped through her book for her most recent work.

 

Weiss looked up, keeping one arm around the blushing girl. “Would we have time to rehearse with them?” She asked, glancing down when Ruby reached up and poked her. Ruby tapped the drawing with a shy smile and watched as blue eyes lit up in adoration. 

 

“Ooooh, whatcha got there?” Nora asks from over Weiss’ shoulder, peering down at the picture, her eyes flickering between Weiss and Ruby with a smirk on her face. “I’m not talking about the drawing.”

 

Weiss tilted her back back to look at the redhead, “Nora, go sit down.”

 

Weiss’ arm slid around Ruby’s midsection and a burst of butterflies flew through her, part of her wanted to melt into her, but the other side of her screamed that it wasn’t right. They weren’t dating, they shouldn’t be this close. It was unfair for her, knowing she had feelings for the older woman and being unable to express for a multitude of reasons.

 

The singer was famous, she could have anybody she wanted.


Ruby was only a seventeen year old child who just happened to be her childhood friend, and at this point in time, their past friendship was probably only a distant memory for the two of them.


Weiss’ crush on Pyrrha was still evident, and Ruby could see her sneaking glances towards the redhead.

They were just pretending to get back at Blake and Yang, Ruby knew she wasn’t in love with her. So why did it hurt so much. . .? 

 

Ruby’s chest tightened and she sat up, her heart raced in her chest and she placed her sketchbook on the back of the couch. “I-I have to get some air,” she whispered hoarsely, “give me a few.” Weiss dropped her arm from around her waist to let her up, whispering a quiet ‘you okay?’ to her as Ruby stood to her feet.

 

“I’m fine, it’s just stuffy in here.” Ruby smiled, stiffening her body as the vehicle made a sharp turn that could’ve very easily sent her tumbling. Just as she started for the back of the bus, they suddenly came to  stop and the engine shut off. “What’s going on?” She asked as Nora scrambled to look out the window, all eyes turning to her as perplexity and bewilderment crossed her face.

 

Nora turned back to them, turquoise eyes flickering around the room to make sure everybody was present. Blake and Yang were in the kitchen, leaning against the counter and watching her, Pyrrha and Weiss remained seated on the couch, Ren and Ruby were the only two standing up. “Nora,” Ruby muttered, “where are we? What did you see?”

 

“I don’t know, all I saw were mountains.” Nora responded honestly as everybody approached the door to see for themselves. Ruby slid the RV door open and stepped out, the rest of the band following in suit behind her. “We’re in the middle of nowhere,” Nora said, coming to Ruby’s side, “I don’t even have data.”

 

“At least it’s a scenic view!” Yang grinned, Ruby glanced over her shoulder to see Yang elbowing her girlfriend and ‘discreetly’ gesturing to Weiss and Ruby. 

 

Anger swelled up inside of the artist and she bit her lip to keep it down, starting for the front of the bus as the driver came around the corner. Ruby paused in her tracks, “What happened?” She asked the short man as he came to stand in front of her, “I don’t recall this being on our stop list.”

 

“It isn’t.” Klein replied calmly as the rest of the crew gathered around, impatiently waiting to find out why they’d stopped, “The engine began sputtering so I had to pull over, but the battery went completely dead when I tried to turn the engine back on.”

 

“Oh,” Yang said from beside Ruby, “did anything else happen with it? It sounds like the battery’s just trying to go dead.”

 

Klein looked at them, “I noticed during our last few stops that it would take a few tries to get it up and running. The lights would flicker on, but the engine wouldn’t start. Which is strange because we just received this vehicle-”

 

“Do you have jumper cables?” Ruby cut him off as she turned to Blake, having noticed the woman had placed herself in charge of making sure their bus had everything. 

 

“What?” Weiss frowned in confusion as Blake walked away to open one of the bus’ side compartments, “What are jumping cables? This isn’t exactly the time for a game, Ruby.”

 

Ruby smiled at the singer, “The battery’s dead, we need to jump it off and probably replace it once we reach the next city.” She informed her, “I’ll take care of it. . . We’ll be in the next city by nightfall or sunrise, I promise.”

 

“Yep!” Blake called to them as she pulled the wires out, “Looks like we have a battery, too!” 

 

“Really?” Ruby said as she came to the woman’s side to glance inside the compartment, “Great! That means she can just replace the battery now! Won’t have to worry about making it to the next city, we’d have a fresh battery already!” She grinned, reaching inside to grab the large object. 

 

Weiss was suddenly beside her, momentarily startling the roadie and causing her to release an ‘eep’ of surprise. “Do any of us even know how to change a car battery? I say we should call someone-”

 

Yang cut her off and Ruby fought the urge to groan, instead focusing on dragging the battery out and carrying it to the front of the RV. “Don’t worry, Ice Queen,” Yang grinned as Ruby walked past her, Ruby could feel the smirking glance she shot her and irritation pricked at her, “Ruby and I have been working on vehicles since we were little! We’ll take care of this.”

 

‘And by we, you mean me.’ Ruby thought as she set the battery down, “Can you pop the hood?” She asked the driver. The hood popped open and Ruby hoisted it upwards, grunting as she pushed it to sit all the way open. “I need a step stool!” She called, perking up when she heard Weiss laughed loudly from somewhere near her.

 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” The singer giggled as she approached. Ruby’s heart went soaring at the sound of her laughter and a tiny smile came to her lips as the white-haired girl lifted herself up to stand on the tire, leaning over and gazing down at the motor. “So, that’s what you’ve been doing this whole time? Changing car batteries?”

 

Ruby smirked at her as Yang pushed the stool to them, not catching the glare Ruby sent in the blonde’s direction. Ruby stepped up and leaned forward. “Nope,” she whispered, “I mean, as far as I can remember, I’ve always been working on something. Tools!” She hollered to everybody else, “I can’t change a car battery without tools!”

 

“Stop yelling!” Blake snapped from beside her, sliding a tray of tools up onto the hood next to Ruby. “Here. The rest of us will head off to explore.”

 

‘No, you’re just leaving us alone because you know Weiss is staying with me.’

 

“Hmm. . .” Weiss rested her head in her palms, “How can I help?” She asked and Ruby glanced up, a small smirk crossed her lips and she gestured for the singer to approach. Weiss hopped down off the tire and came to stand next to her. Ruby stepped aside and instructed her to stand up in front of her, she slid her arms around her and grasped her hands. “Wh- h-how is this supposed to help?”

 

Weiss’ face was red, and it was the most adorable thing Ruby had ever seen. Weiss was blushing . “Don’t worry,” Ruby whispered, placing her chin on Weiss’ shoulder in the crook of her neck, “my father used to help me learn how to do this when I was little.” She reached down and pulled Weiss’ midsection closer to her, “Lean close to me, I don’t want you getting shocked.”

 

Technically, she’d still get shocked either way since she was in front of her, but she wouldn’t let her get hurt. 

 

“O-okay.” Weiss whispered, having completely surrendered to Ruby and allowing her to take control. Ruby felt a pang of guilt strike her and she closed her eyes, breathing in and out slowly before gently beginning to show Weiss through the process. 

 

Her hands were soft, unblemished and new to the world of machinery. Her body fit right in against Ruby’s just perfectly, like a puzzle piece with no other edges to it. Weiss was so close, comfortably pressed up against her as if it were always meant to be this way, Ruby felt like she was soaring to heaven.

 

She didn’t want to come back down. . .

 

“Should we pull the battery out now?” Weiss’ voice caught her attention and Ruby snapped herself back to reality, glancing down to see that they’d already unhooked the battery. Ruby just gave her a soft smile and removed her arms from the singer’s waist, taking the battery from the vehicle and starting for the back of the RV.

 

“Can you hold it?” Ruby asked, handing the object over the Weiss and carefully slipping it into the singer’s hands. Weiss released an ‘oomph’ of surprise at the weight, but otherwise held it firm and steady as Ruby flipped the compartment open again. “Push it inside.” The singer obeyed and pushed the battery into the compartment, quickly retracting her hands as Ruby let the door flip closed. 

 

With a ‘click’ of the key, Ruby turned back to the woman. “I’ll put the battery in real quick, you check on the others.” She gestured beyond the cliff’s railing, “They went down there, let me know if you see dead bodies.”

 

“What?! Dead bodies?! Have people really died here?! ” Weiss shrieked, rushing to the railing and catching herself, leaning over to search for their friends. “Fuck, we have to get them back up here before-” 

 

Ruby laughed and followed her friend, sliding her arms around Weiss’ midsection and hauling her away from the railing. Weiss kicked at her, flailing around as an attempt to escape and find the others. “Weiss, Weiss, Weiss,” Weiss glanced back at her, eyes wide with fear and horror, “relax, I’m sorry. They didn’t head down there, they went the other way. They’re safe.”

 

The singer stared at her for a long moment before narrowing her brows in realization, “You little shit !” She snapped and Ruby giggled, pulling her arms away from the white-haired woman’s waist. “What are you doing?” Weiss grabbed her hands real quick and Ruby frowned in confusion as she pulled them back around her. “I liked it. . .” She whispered timidly.

 

‘No, no you don’t.’ Weiss was just toying with her, pretending to be interested in her just for a little prank. She had to remember this wasn’t real. . . Weiss wasn’t helping at all.

 

“Your eyes, they seem. . . Very familiar.” 

“Well, I’m not as cold as you think I am.”

“Sweetheart! I’m hurt!”
“Thank you, thank you so much. . .”

“Ruby? I wouldn’t mind some company.”

“I see. . . Why don’t we play the part?”

 

Ruby bit her lip and buried her face into the singer’s hair to hide herself, biting back a choked whine before she responded, “Please stop doing this to me.” 

 

“What?” Weiss asked in confusion as she stepped out of her arms to look at the roadie. “What am I doing?”  

 

“You know what you’re doing!” Ruby almost hollered, she clenched her fists as tears pricked at the corners of her eyes. “We’re just trying to make Yang and Blake believe something that isn’t true! It’s supposed to be a prank ! But I can’t do this. . . It’s cruel.”

 

She’d had the biggest fan crush on the older girl since their demos were released, having fallen in love with her voice and the pure joy in her eyes when performing or singing. It was a simple fan crush, nothing more. . . Then she actually met Weiss and learned who she truly was. 

 

Her crush had become something even more deep. . .

 

“Ruby,” Weiss whispered worriedly, “tell me, please. What am I doing?”

 

“Making me fall in love with you.”


[Weiss]

 

Ten minutes later, Weiss found herself sitting outside the RV, waiting for her friends’ return and keeping watch over the tour bus. Klein was a few feet away on the phone, making sure that they would be a little late coming into town due to mechanical problems. 

 

The sleeper bus had already reached their destination, but were unable to do anything considering the band was still behind. According to the driver of the other bus security was already preparing for the concert in the next few days. 

 

Their allies Jagged Thorns, the Blaze crew, and Six Black Collections had arrived as well, leaving Ice Flower just a day behind. Which was fine, they had a few days to rehearse and set up for everything. 

 

“Weiss?”

 

The singer tilted her head up to see Klein approaching and she readjusted herself for him to take a seat beside her, “You’ve been down since the others left to explore, what’s the matter?” He asked, placing a hand on Weiss’ shoulder comfortingly.

 

Weiss glanced to the RV, her heart tightened in her chest and she bowed her head in regret.

 

“Making me fall in love with you.”

 

Had she really toyed with the roadie’s heart, is that what she’d been doing this whole time? How long had she been hurting her? Thinking back, she would’ve noticed the girl’s feelings had she just paid attention. There was always a hidden, yet affectionate emotion in those silver eyes whenever Ruby was around her. She was aware of the lingering stares Ruby had given her while drawing, or whenever Weiss was rehearsing.

 

“Ruby said I was making her fall in love with me.” Weiss explained shortly, “She seemed so hurt and broken about it, and it was only to get back at Yang and Blake. Judging by how she acted, she had those feelings before we agreed on that.”

 

Klein laughed and patted the singer’s shoulder, “Child, she’s always harbored feelings of some sort for you.” Weiss gave him a confused look at the man chuckled, “When you two were kids, she would always put this little tiara in your hair and say you were as pretty as a princess, and when her mother asked how she liked you, I remember that girl’s response loud and clear. ‘She’s really pretty.’”

 

“Looks like I need to talk to her, then.” Weiss whispered, guilt twisting and tearing at her gut. “It was supposed to be a joke, I didn’t think she’d actually have feelings for me, but now that I’ve stopped and looked back. . .”

 

“You can see it?” Klein asked.

 

Weiss nodded, “It shows in her drawings; the way she pays extra close attention to perfecting every little thing. Her eyes light up whenever she speaks to me as well, and she seemed so comfortable with me. Finding out I was her best friend when she was little didn’t jar her at all, she kind of just accepted it.” She stared at the ground, “She said she’ll help out in whatever way she can to protect my career, she even got the staff to work like they should.”

 

Klein gave her a warm smile, “I see. . . Well, she did always say she’d take care of you when something happened.”

 

“Huh?” Weiss lifted her head to look at him. “Take care of me?”

 

“There was a night where your mothers asked me to babysit the two of you, you got sick and Ruby stayed right beside you. I couldn’t get her to leave you for nothing, she was so scared something would happen to you if she left.”

 

She remembered that. . . Weiss giggled softly. “Right. She told me if I needed anything to tell her and she’ll do it, even if it meant running all the way to Mistral to get something. I always associated that with Winter, I couldn’t remember who told me that.”

 

“Well, it was your little friend.” The short man smiled as he stood up, gesturing to the approaching group. “The new battery is all hooked up, and once you’re all aboard, we can get going!” He said enthusiastically, “Don’t wanna be late to your own concert, do we?”

 

“It’s not just our concert.” Nora corrected, “It’s a. . . Uh, collab concert! Yeah, that!” 

 

Weiss rolled her eyes and stood up, “Come on,” she said to the rest of the band as she opened the door, “we need to get there and start setting up and rehearsing as soon as possible.” She smiled when Nora released a loud groan of protest, Weiss turned away and entered the RV with the others flooding in behind her.

 

“You know what we saw?” Yang smirked as she came to Weiss’ side, the singer swung the door shut, “A waterfall! You shoulda seen it, it was Weiss cold!”

 

“Ha ha.” The vocalist raised a brow, her attention immediately moving to a sketchbook laying on the counter. “What’s this?” She asked, locking the door and quickly making her way over to the table, ignoring yet another awful pun being shot at her from Yang. Weiss paused, staring down at a detailed, shaded picture splashed across the page. Ruby’s name was written in the lower left corner. 

 

Her commission. . .

Chapter Text

Three hours. . . 

 

Ruby had been locked up in her room for three hours. Yang couldn’t even get her to come out, and she wouldn’t talk to Blake or Pyrrha either. She was dead silent, they couldn’t hear anything through the door, Yang suggested she may have not felt well and went to sleep. Weiss didn’t have the courage to tell her what had happened between them. Who knows what the brawler would do to her? 

 

Had she really fucked up that bad? Then again, she had technically played with the girl’s affections.

 

A loud explosion like noise snapped Weiss back to her sense and she glanced over to see the TV in the center of the room, against the wall, on and flashing as the furred dragon onscreen roared fire at the character.

 

“Eat shit, dragon!” Nora yelled, laying half on-half-off the couch violently pressing at the controls, eyes locked on the TV where a wolf-looking character stood on its hind legs wielding a glowing sword and striking at the bloodied dragon coming at them. “Don’t you blast fire at me!” She hollered, rolling off the couch completely, “I have a sword! I am the chosen one! I will murder you and gain your power! Die!”

 

The screen suddenly went black and the character was shown falling to the side, “No! Get up! We’re not dead yet! No!” Nora wailed, desperately trying to revive the character before Ren gently pulled her back onto the couch and took the controller from her. “I was so close!” She cried, “I coulda gotten the Eye!” 

 

“My turn!” Yang exclaimed as she grabbed the control, shouting a quiet ‘woo’ before switching to her recently made account. “Which one should I go with?” She asked, tilting her head back to look at Blake behind her, “The pretty kitty or the badass blonde warrior?” Blake just raised a brow, “Pretty kitty it is!”

 

“Weiss?” The singer looked up to see Pyrrha standing next to her, wearing a sad, but soft smile. “Can I speak to you?” 

 

Weiss swung herself off the couch and stood up, “Yeah,” she said in response, “what is it?” She asked as Pyrrha anxiously led her away from the rest of the band and into her bedroom. Weiss’ brows furrowed as the door slammed shut. Oh shit. . .

 

Pyrrha turned to her and clasped her hands together. “Okay! Neither Yang, Blake, or I can get Ruby to open the door.”

 

“No shit.” Weiss deadpanned. 

 

“So, we need you to try and talk to her.” What? She couldn’t do that! That would just make matters worse! Before Weiss could protest, Pyrrha cut her off. “She loves you.” 

 

Was it that obvious? Ruby was in love with her? What had she done. . .? 

 

“She might talk to you.” 

 

No, she wouldn’t. 

 

“Then we can figure out how to help her, I bet she’s probably just feeling homesick-” 

 

“I hurt her!” Weiss cried, her heart tightening and twisting in her chest. She couldn’t stand to remember the broken expression her friend had worn, but it was all she’d been seeing for the past few hours. “I asked her to pretend to be my girlfriend to get back at Yang and Blake! But I didn’t know she had actual feelings for me! I hurt her!” 

 

Pyrrha frowned, reaching out for her. “Weiss, it’s okay-”

 

Weiss flinched away from the redhead, “No! It’s not! She was in love with me and I hurt her!” She averted her eyes, “I had my attention on someone else, she had her eyes on me, and I asked her to pretend, Pyrrha! Just for a fucking prank! That’s not okay!”

 

“Do you regret it?” Pyrrha asked softly, making no move to approach the singer. “Do you wish you hadn’t hurt her?”

 

“Of course I regret it!” Weiss hollered, her body trembled. “You didn’t see that look on her face! She was hurt! It looked like I’d ripped her heart out! B-but at that moment, it wasn’t a prank! I-I did like it, but telling her that destroyed her because everything was pretend.” She bowed her head, tears streaming down her face, “What have I done?”

 

The room was silent save for Weiss’ quiet, restrained sobs. 

 

She couldn’t get the image out of her head. She’d saw the affection and the purity in Ruby’s eyes when they were joking around, she’d saw the delight and excitement whenever she was in Weiss’ presence. Then Weiss just obliterated that, she’d gone and ruined what they had. She wouldn’t blame her if Ruby didn’t want to forgive her.

 

“How do you feel about her?” Pyrrha took a seat on her bed, crossing her legs and watching Weiss with an unreadable expression. “Like, not as a roadie, as a friend.”

 

“Why? It doesn’t matter.” Weiss replied coldly, her body still quivering. “She’s probably gonna go home the first chance she has. How would you like to be played by someone you’re in love with?”

 

Pyrrha sighed and rubbed her forehead in exasperation. “Weiss. What are your feelings towards her? Give me something to work with here.” How was she supposed to answer that? Tell her how she felt about Ruby being her childhood best friend? “Anything will do.”

 

Giving in, the singer rolled her eyes.  “She can be a bit annoying,” Weiss started carefully as she took a seat next to Pyrrha, “but it’s honestly kind of cute. I like how her eyes light up when she’s drawing and how focused she is, I like how she’s so easy to talk to and how I can trust her with anything.” 

 

“Go on.”

 

Her eyes went downcast and her chest hurt, “I remember how she always used to be there for me when we were kids, she would go out of her way just to see me. Ruby would always find a way to make me smile again at the expense of her own humiliation. I was her first ever friend and vice versa, and I never believed her, but she would insist that we would be best friends forever. She has always been so positive and nothing has ever brought her down.”

 

“Well,” Pyrrha said softly, drawing Weiss’ attention back to her, “if she’s not leaving her room, she’s feeling pretty down right now.”  

 

“I know,” Weiss replied hesitantly, her chest aching, “it’s my fault.”

 

Pyrrha tapped her chin thought, leaning up against the wall behind her. “How is your fault?” She asked curiously, “You keep saying that you hurt her, that it was your fault, but you never say how. Besides asking her to pretend, how did you hurt her?”

 

Weiss glanced away immediately, scanning her memory for the possible explanation. What had she done? 

 

There was the cuddling that morning, and Ruby had seemed pretty on the edge about that, but she’d come to learn that she was shy and Weiss figured it’d been a bit too forward for her.  Helping her remove the car battery. . . Ruby was the one being forward there. The joke about the dead bodies and Ruby dragging her away by the waist, but that couldn’t- oh. . .

 

“I liked it.”

 

That was when Ruby had broke. She’d already seemed depressive when Weiss had held her that morning, she’d almost looked like she’d been battling down something now that Weiss thought back. Having Weiss help her with the car battery wasn’t needed at all, but looking at it now, it was Ruby’s way of getting back at her, to try and roll along with their prank. 

 

But Weiss had liked her touch, and she remembered a cold wave hitting her when Ruby moved, having refocused on the job at hand.

 

She’d had her arms back around her when she was bringing her away from the edge, and she’d removed them a second time. . . ‘She was warm.’ 

 

Weiss lifted her head and breathed in a shaky breath, “She had her arms around me,” she whispered, watching Pyrrha’s attention peek, “I said that I liked it when she tried to move away. . . Then she broke, and told me to stop. I-I didn’t know what she was talking about, I was so confused, and when she said I was making her fall in love with me, I thought maybe my suggestion to fool our friends was it.”

 

Pyrrha moved back to Weiss’ side as the singer spoke, but Weiss avoided eye contact with her. “I flirted with her, too. . . But it was just a joke, I didn’t know it would hurt her.”

 

“Weiss.” She finally looked at her friend and Pyrrha smiled sadly, “She’s hurt because she was receiving affection she’d only dreamt of, but the reason behind it was just to fool somebody.”

 

“I know that-”

 

Pyrrha cut her off, “You’re hurt because she’s hurt.” Okay, now she just wasn’t making any sense. She hurt her friend, why wouldn’t she be upset? She’d feel the same way if it were someone else. Pyrrha just smiled at her, clearly having read the confusion in her eyes. “Like I said,” the redhead sighed, “just try talking to her. Bring something that would cheer her up.”

 

Cheer her up? That sounded familiar. . .

 

A smile came to her lips. “I have an idea.”

 

Before she could do anything, a loud squeal interrupted them. “We’re in Vacuo! We’re crossing the border right now!” Nora called as Pyrrha opened the door, the two of them making their way down the double-decker bus staircase. “Wow, there’s nothing to look at here.” The smaller redhead muttered as Weiss came to her side to look out the window. 

 

She was right. There was nothing but desert out there. Sand, sand, and more sand. ‘Ugh.’ Well, it wasn’t the worst thing they’d experienced.When they were younger, before the band took off, they’d been practically forced to live next to a sewer considering the building was the only one stable enough to support them. The things they’d seen and smelled there were unspeakable. . .

 

“How about a cactus?” Blake laughed from next to Weiss, gesturing to a cactus as they drove by one. Her eyes glanced up, “Or cacti?” 

 

“Oh just say cactuses.” Yang groaned from the couch, “Cacti is such a weird word!” 

 

“Cac-ti.” Blake said slowly, approaching her girlfriend with a smirk. “Catcuses sounds dumb.”

 

Yang frowned at her, “No it doesn’t. Cactuses means there is more than one. Cacti sounds like you’re saying ‘fat guy’ while choking.”

 

Weiss rolled her eyes and leaned up against the wall behind her, steadying herself to watch the black and yellow duo bicker back and forth. At least it offered her something interesting to do. . . It’d probably be more intriguing if Ruby was with her, then the two of them could tease and joke about them behind their backs, adding a bit of personal spice to the situation. Her attention moved to the back of the bus, lifting her head towards the staircase and furrowing her brows.

 

Was she even in here? The guest room (across from the band’s bunk-bed quarters) had been completely silent since they’d left. Oh no, what if they’d left her behind?! But, how would they? Weiss saw her enter the bus, she had to be in there. . . Unless she left while she wasn’t looking.

 

“No, no, no, Blake, listen. This is why the word cactuses wo-”

 

“Yang it isn’t even a word!”

 

“It is! I can prove it! Hold on, lemme just get my pho-. . .” The blonde trailed off and her head moved up, she blinked a few times in surprise and a wide grin crossed her face. “Ruby!”

 

All eyes turned to the brunette standing at the bottom of the staircase. ‘She’s okay.’ Weiss thought, examining the younger girl from afar. She looked okay, but that didn’t mean she was alright. Weiss pushed herself off the wall, watching as Yang got up and ran to her sister’s side. “Ruby! We were worried about you!”

 

Ruby stepped away from her and Yang’s brows furrowed in confusion, but before she could ask anything, the rest of the group started questioning her.

 

“I was starting to think we left you behind!” Blake said from the couch

 

“Yeah! Why wouldn’t you come out? What happened?” Nora asked, holding onto the railing as the bus turned.

 

“Are you okay?” Pyrrha spoke next, sitting up from the armchair with a worried expression.

 

Ren stood up and stepped in between the group, herding them away from Ruby to give her space. “Everybody just give her some room,” he said calmly, “don’t overwhelm her. She’ll explain everything when she’s ready.”

 

Weiss remained where she was, her eyes fixed on Ruby as guilt rushed through her. She hadn’t even acknowledged her since she came out, she really was mad at her, wasn’t she? ‘I’m sorry.’ She silently apologized, wanting to reach out to her childhood friend and beg for forgiveness, to say she was sorry from the very bottom of her heart for hurting her. ‘I’m an asshole.’

 

“Yang.” Ruby finally spoke, her voice cold and lacking emotion when she spoke to her sister. “I want to go home.”

 

Ice ran through Weiss and she felt her heart wail in despair, internally blaming herself for the roadie’s decision. “Ruby, no,” she whispered, her voice cracking, “please, we need you here.” If she left, Weiss didn’t know if she’d ever see her again. She just got her best friend back, she didn’t want to lose her so soon over a mistake. . . 

 

“Why do you want to go home?” Yang asked gently, disregarding Weiss’ plea and placing a hand on her sibling’s shoulder. “Did something happen? Are you homesick?”

 

Suddenly, time slowed down as Ruby’s hand came up to smack Yang’s hand off of her. The blonde took a step back, and Weiss could practically feel the rage radiating off of the young artist. “Did something happen, you ask?” Yang frowned, “You were trying to decide my entire life for me! I got this job because you wanted me to! You persuaded me into taking it when I really didn’t want it!”

 

Well, that hurt. . . Knowing Ruby hadn’t even wanted it in the first place.

 

“I was doing just fine making money off of my art! Then you swoop in and just toss this at me! Oh! And let us not forget, you were trying to set me up with Weiss the entire time!” A look of surprise crossed Yang’s face, but Ruby wasn’t even close to finished. “First you decide my career path, and then you choose my love life for me! What the hell,Yang?!”

 

“Ruby,” Yang held her hands up, “this was for your own good. You’re seventeen years old, you needed-”

 

“I would’ve figured out what I needed had you left me alone!” Ruby cut her off, her voice raising louder with each word. “Because of your and Blake’s stupid little ‘mission’, Weiss asked me to fakedate her! Well I can’t do that! I can’t pretend to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t even love me back!”

 

She should be yelling at her then. . . Weiss was the one to suggest it. It was all her fault, and she would gladly take the blame.

 

Yang stepped closer to her, but Ruby backed up against the counter, still seething with rage and hurt. “Do you know how much that hurts?!” Her breathing was heavy and ragged now, tears were streaming down her cheeks. “Do you know how much it hurts to be pretending like that?! Knowing they don’t love you?! Knowing everything they’re doing is just for a pra-”

 

“It’s my fault!” 

 

Weiss could’ve sworn that was her own voice hollering out like that, drawing all eyes towards her direction. It took her a few seconds to comprehend that it had indeed been her voice. Tears were staining her face and her chest was heavy with both pain and guilt combined. 

 

“It’s my fault. . .” She said again, “Had I not suggested that, w-we would be fine. . . You wouldn’t be hurting.” She carefully started for the brunette, stopping in her tracks when Ruby finally looked at her, face lacking emotion again. “I’m sorry.” Weiss whispered under her breath, her voice cracking, “I should’ve taken your feelings into account before even considering it. I’m so sorry. . . I never meant to hurt you.”

 

“It’s not your fault.” Ruby said plainly, turning back to Yang as the bus began to slow down. “It’s hers. Everything leads back to her. We wouldn’t have to pretend if she wasn’t trying to set us up.” Her glare looked like it could slay an entire army. “Thankfully we won’t have to deal with her anymore, because I believe this is her stop. College, was it?”

 

“Um, I know this is a bad time, but,” Blake’s voice caught their attention and the woman entered the circle, “this is kind of my stop too.”

 

Weiss’ eyes widened, “What?! What do you mean this is your stop?!”

 

Blake chuckled nervously, coming to Yang’s side. “We applied to the same college, it’s kind of the main reason we had Ruby join. . .” She gestured to the brunette, who was gripping the edge of the counter with gritted teeth. “I knew you would need someone to, um, rely on, and your histories with friends were just too coincidental, so we kind of-”

 

“That doesn’t excuse trying to set us up!” Ruby hollered, “Besides, Weiss likes Pyrrha! Not me! That’s not gonna change!”

 

Upon the announcement, Weiss spun around to see Pyrrha staring at her with a bewildered expression. The secret was out. . . Fuck, what should she do? Run out of the bus at breakneck speed? Jump out? Hide in her room for the rest of eternity? All of the options sounded good. Wait, but what about Ruby?

 

Weiss turned back around to see Ruby heading up the staircase again, not even bothering to say goodbye to everybody. 

 

“I can’t pretend to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t even love me back!”

 

She had to fix this. She couldn’t let her leave, she couldn’t lose her again. . . “I- Blake, Yang, I’ll be down to see you off soon if you have everything ready. I need to speak with Ruby.” Without waiting for a response, the woman jogged up the staircase after the artist. “Ruby! Wait!”

 

Once she was up the staircase, she found Ruby standing in front of her door, hand on the knob and glaring back at her. Well, at least she waited for her. “We need to talk.” The singer whispered pathetically, Ruby just watched her and Weiss slowly started towards her, knowing very well that the rest of the band were listening from the bottom of the staircase. “Be honest. . . Are you leaving because of me?”

 

“I don’t belong here, Weiss.” The artist said softly, “I’m only here because of Ya-”

 

“I know.” Weiss cut her off, “But you do belong here, despite how you came here. . . Ruby, because of you, our techies are doing their jobs. They respect you, and you make sure the concerts run smoothly without a single flaw. Do you know how hard that was to do when you had a staff that didn’t want to work?”

 

“So I’m only needed here to keep everybody from falling behind?!”

 

“No,” Weiss shook her head, “the band loves you. Not because of what you do, but because of who you are. Hell, you could be a freeloader like Blake and I’m one-hundred percent sure they wouldn’t care less because you’re family. I’m pretty sure Nora’s adopted you as a sister-”

 

Blake’s voice hollered up from the staircase. “Hold up! Did you just call me a freeloader?!”

 

“Well, she’s not wrong. . .” Nora said in response.

 

Weiss shook her head and continued, “And you’re my best friend from when we were little, you’re one of the reasons I even kept singing in the first place. . . Because you liked my songs.” Ruby’s face turned red, “It’s embarrassing, I know, but that friend I had as a child inspired me. I wouldn’t be where I am today had I never met you.” Her voice fell quiet, “I mean, if you really want to go home, we won’t stop you, but we’d appreciate it if you stayed.” 

 

Ruby heaved a deep sigh, her hand dropping from the door knob. She was quiet for a few long, agonizing seconds. Weiss’ mind raced; would she still go home? Would she stay?

 

“Please?” Weiss whispered. Wait, she was sounding weak. Nope, she couldn’t beg. Not right now. “B-besides, what’s a band without a roadie? And you are traveling with one of Remnant’s most well known bands.”

 

“Ah, so I should stay for the band’s fame? Or should I stay because Weiss Schnee would miss me?” Weiss didn’t say anything, knowing the younger girl had her by the throat. When Weiss didn’t respond, Ruby simply turned away and closed the door.

 

“W-wait!” Weiss panicked, attempting to catch the door and sighing when it closed. Ruby made her decision. . . She wanted to go home. When they reached their rehearsal studio, she’d likely be booking a flight back to Vale with the money Weiss gave her for the commission. She was leaving, and Weiss probably wouldn’t see her again. . .

 

Weiss turned away from the door, slowly processing what just happened. What went wrong? Ruby waited for her, so why did she suddenly change her mind? Was it something she said? Weiss’ brows furrowed, replaying the scene carefully in her mind. Or, was it something she didn’t say. . .? If Ruby hadn’t wanted a response, she would’ve slammed the door in her face before Weiss even had a chance to answer.

 

Weiss drew in a deep breath and turned back to the door. If she left, things wouldn’t be the same again. She’d likely never see her again, she’d lose her. “Ruby.” She said with a practiced, calm voice. “I want you to stay.”

 

She waited a couple minutes, her heart pounding in her ears and her throat tight. She glanced up when she heard the soft click of the door and her eyes met with Ruby’s confused pair. “What?” The brunette asked quietly. 

 

Oh hell no, she was not repeating- no. . .

 

Weiss swallowed her pride, “I said. . . I want you to stay.” Ruby’s eyes were conflicted, and it didn’t look like she was even looking at Weiss, just focused on something behind her. After a few seconds, the brunette’s eyes flickered to the floor, her body slacking with hesitation as a sigh escaped her lips. “But, if you want to head back to Vale,” Ruby glanced at her, “I’ll miss you, but I won’t stop you. . . It’s your decision.”

 

“I’ll stay. . .” Ruby whispered after a long moment, “But only because you asked me to.” She looked away, “Thank you. . .” 

 

“Y-you’ll stay?” Weiss’ eyes widened with surprise. She was staying, Ruby wasn’t gonna leave! She wasn’t going home! 

 

“Yeah.” Ruby said quietly, her voice almost inaudible.

 

Before they could say anything else, Blake’s voice called up to them from the staircase, “We’re approaching campus, are we gonna get a goodbye or what?” Her voice was joking, but it was also laced with a bit of concern. She’d never been able to hide that well.

 

Weiss turned back to Ruby, only to see her closing the door with a betrayed, angered expression on her face. “I’ll come back.” Weiss whispered to her before the door shut. Judging by her reaction, she wasn’t going to come down and see her sister off. Which was understandable after what just happened. Weiss quickly spun around on her heel and jogged down the staircase, glancing up to see Blake and Yang at the door with their suitcases ready?

 

Wait, where did those suitcases come from? She didn’t remember seeing them anywhere on the bus. . .

 

She shook her head and approached the two of them. “Don’t cause any trouble.” She muttered bluntly to the blonde, who just stuck her tongue out in response. Blue eyes met golden and Weiss offered a small smile, “I’ll admit, I’m proud of you. . . You’re getting back on your feet and starting a new life. How long have you been saving money for college?” 

 

“Since we were on the streets.” Blake smirked, “I took some of the money and hid it in my own jar.” Weiss’ eyes widened, “Hey, you don’t need it now, do you?” 

 

Weiss sighed, “No, I suppose not.” She gestured a finger to Yang as the bus came to a stop. “Watch her and keep her out of trouble.”

 

“Where’s Ruby?” Yang whispered, glancing to the staircase for her sister.

 

“She’s not coming.” Pyrrha said from the couch, a sad look on her face. “But I’m sure she wishes you the best.”

 

Nora nodded in agreement, “Yeah! She’ll probably be calling you in the next few days because she misses her sister.

 

“I hope so.” Yang sighed, “I didn’t mean for all of this to happen. . . I didn’t think it’d go this far! I didn’t- ugh, I really owe her an apology.” 

 

“You do,” Ren agreed, “but at the moment, I do not think that would be the best idea. Give her some time. We’ll let you know when she comes around.”

 

Yang’s shoulders slackened, “Alright,” she muttered hesitantly, “thank you.” She said as Blake opened the door to step out and onto campus, gasping in astonishment at the three-story building in front of them. Yang stepped out to follow her, the two of them whispering amongst themselves for a moment before turning back to the band gathering at the door.

 

They didn’t have time for tearful goodbyes.

 

“Bye!” Yang called as Blake waved.

“Have fun!” Nora answered.

“Keep in touch!” Pyrrha called after them.
“Don’t do anything reckless.” Ren said plainly, his eyes fixed on Yang.

 

The blonde just shrugged and quickly trotted up to the gates where a man was waiting with many other students. 

 

“Bye.” Weiss whispered under her breath, quietly closing the door. So they were two down. . .

Chapter Text

Chapter Thirteen:

Love Hurts… A Lot
[Ruby]


“It’s my fault!”

 

Ruby’s heart tightened and she squeezed her eyes shut, her grip tightening on her pencil as the heartbroken look in the singer’s eyes earlier came to mind. She’d thoroughly been convinced that everything that had happened was her fault, she’d been so ready to take responsibility for all the pain they’d experienced. 

 

The brunette lay her head back against the pillows, drawing in deep, relaxing breaths as an attempt to rid the image from her head. She’d never blamed her, not even a little bit. She just couldn’t , her gut knew that Weiss was in the wrong for agreeing to play along with their friends’ plan, but Ruby just couldn’t bring herself to place the blame of the situation on Weiss. 

 

Especially not after she’d seen the grief and guilt in the singer’s eyes.

 

“It’s not your fault.”

 

Ruby remembered feeling anger bubbling up inside her upon seeing the pain on her friend’s face, and her mind immediately held her sister accountable for it. She remembered thinking that, maybe had Yang and Blake never tried to set them up, Weiss wouldn’t have been hurt like that, she didn’t care what would happen to herself, she just wanted to see the other girl smiling .

 

“I want you to stay. . . But, if you want to head back to Vale. . . I’ll miss you, but I won’t stop you.”

 

Ruby released her pencil before it could crack and she heaved a strained sigh, she could feel her hand shaking as her heart tightened and twisted inside of her. At the back of her mind, there was a voice telling her that Weiss only wanted her to stay so that her career didn’t spiral downhill. There was another voice saying that Weiss might actually care about her, even if it was platonically. 

 

“I’ll stay.”

 

She shouldn’t have said that. She shouldn’t have-. . . Staying meant that she would be staying with Weiss, it meant that she would have no choice but to watch Weiss’ potential relationship with Pyrrha blossom. 

 

It hurt. It hurt so bad. . .  

 

Ruby wasn’t blind, she was aware of the glances the singer would send her redheaded friend, she could see the softness in her eyes from a mile away. Each time she saw that look, she remembered thinking that she would’ve given anything to have the singer look at her like that, but she knew she’d always be Ruby the Roadie to her. . .

 

Ruby squeezed her eyes shut again. None of her other crushes had ever hurt this badly, she’d suffer a rejection and she’d be fine the next day, as though none of it had ever happened. Why did this one go deeper. . .? Maybe it would’ve stayed a little fan crush had she never left home. 

 

‘Stupid Yang.’ Ruby had been more than fine staying at home and silently pinning for the singer just like all of the other fans. She would have been just fine with Weiss never knowing of her existence. Ruby’s heart clenched and she bit her tongue as an attempt to bury the pain tearing away at her insides. Anything to distract herself. . .

 

She couldn’t get those images out of her mind, she couldn’t forget how gentle Weiss’ touch had been when she’d held her, or the softness in her voice when Ruby had her arms around her. She saw with her own eyes how Weiss just lit up when she was onstage, how her voice matched the emotions of the song just right, and how she thoroughly enjoyed what she was doing. She was happy .

 

Whenever Weiss smiled and it was genuine, Ruby would feel her heart beating out of her chest and her day would instantly become brighter. 

 

She had to bury these feelings. . . What if they started affecting her work?

 

Drawing a deep breath, the artist refocused her attention on her sketchbook and her heart instantly stopped at the sight of what she’d drawn. Too late. . . ‘No.’ Ruby’s sketchbook slid out of her lap as she pulled her knees to her chest, tears stinging at the corners of her eyes.  ‘I can’t- I can’t let her see this.’ 

 

“We’re here!” Nora’s voice called from downstairs.

 

Ruby reached up and wiped the tears away, sliding out of her bed to approach the door. When they arrived, the band would leave to meet up with the others and Ruby would be restocking the bus with supplies. She’d also been informed that she’d need to pick up a new gaming controller and toaster after Nora got a little too excited and broke them. 

 

But where would she find a toaster? 

 

Ruby shook her head and exited her room, making her way to the front of the bus with the rest of the band. Her eyes briefly met with Weiss’ before the singer turned away, avoiding eye contact with her and refocusing her attention on her notebook. Ruby’s heart tightened momentarily, realizing that Weiss had begun to avoid her. No wonder she didn’t come back. . .

 

‘I’m sorry. . .’ 

 

“Ruby! There you are! Here’s the list.” Pyrrha caught her attention and the brunette turned to see the redhead coming towards her with a slip of paper in hand, “We’ll be in Studio 14,” an Ice Flower staff tag was handed to her, “this will help you get in. Security will be tight and they’ll need to know that you’re one of us.”

 

Ruby just nodded and the older woman smiled warmly, her eyes trailed to Weiss. “Don’t worry,” she whispered quietly, “I’ll talk to her. . . We’re not gonna let her start distancing herself again.”

 

Her brows furrowed, “Wait, what do you mean-” Her voice went unheard as the vocalist had already approached the white-haired singer. “Okay. . .” Ruby felt a stab of pain course through her, noticing the brief softness in Weiss’ eyes as Pyrrha sat down in front of her. ‘I’m not her. . .’ 

 

Shaking her head again, the roadie turned to follow Ren and Nora off the bus. Kicking the door shut with her foot, the brunette started for the exit of the studio, thankful that it wasn’t too crowded. She had some work to do, and she couldn’t let her crush get in the way of that. . . 

 

Ruby focused her full attention on the list she held in her hands. She would have to pick up some more breakfast foods, such as bacon, pancake mix, sausage, milk, eggs, and grits, she’d already known that. A few small microwavable foods such as ramen, pasta, 5-minute macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, and a few specific canned foods.

 

The brunette hummed. Perhaps she could pick up some pizza kits, too! And some cookies.

 

Anything to distract herself. . .



Exactly four hours had passed since Blake and Yang were dropped off at the Vacuo college, and two hours since the band arrived for rehearsal. Despite being a day late, the other bands were more than accepting and very understanding of the situation, they’d even been willing to help set everything up since they were behind.

 

Upon meeting the other bands, Ruby had come to learn that the collaboration was for some kind of festival. Vytal’s Music Festival, if she remembered correctly. She hadn’t really listened to Weiss’ explanation for it, she’d been more focused on the fact they would have to work twice as hard and she wasn’t exactly feeling up to it, especially when they’d stepped backstage.

 

Ruby had instantly felt small and afraid, wanting to huddle into the farthest corner away from everybody. She’d shoved those thoughts below the surface and instantly got to work, falling into step with the rest of the staff from the band. She’d even met some of the other band roadies who assisted her with some stuff she was still getting the hang of, which she was more than thankful for.

 

Due to being in the background, she’d happened to get a good look of what the other bands were actually all about.

 

Jagged Thorns’ music paralleled Ice Flowers, as did their style, just like Weiss had said. Unfortunately, the group was ever-so-slightly bordering the line of straight up copying their band, so they weren’t exactly able to do anything about it. Their inspiration was blatantly obvious, though. 

 

The Blaze Crew seemed to be on bad terms with Ice Flower, but Weiss and the lead guitarist seemed to make it work. Although, their music wasn’t really Ruby’s preference, it was alright. She could see why people would like it. Perhaps if it weren’t for Weiss’ very existence, she might actually have taken a liking to them instead. She’d never say that to anybody’s face.

 

Six Black Collections had music that didn’t exactly suit their name; most of them were lovey dovey and sappy, and quite a few of them caused Ruby to be just a little bit sick to her stomach. 

 

There were some other bands here, too. They didn’t interact much with Ice Flower, but that didn’t really matter considering they performed on different days. Ruby recognized just a few of the names.

 

Performing the night after Ice Flower did was the Neon Neurons, a group made of four people wearing funky, vibrant colors to match their music. Ruby had met the supposed ‘guitarist’ of the band, a happy, go-lucky redhead with pigtails and dyed turquoise stripes in her hair. She swore the girl was more hyper-energized than Nora! 

 

Her preferred instrument? Something called a keytar, which looked very similar to a keyboard with a shoulder strap. Her partner played a trumpet, and the first time he’d played it during rehearsal mixed with the rest of the band, Ruby had been walking by and  swore up and down she’d become deaf. Thankfully, the instruments had been strung up too loudly so that was the first and last time she’d ever have to hear it.

 

Next was a group preparing to retire within the next year; Two Time Hearts, they’d been around for nearly a decade and had decided that it was time for them to step off the stage. The lead singer, Noel, was settling down with the band’s fashion designer, Rennea. 

 

Seeing the two of them together made Ruby’s heart smile, and she wished she’d had more time to speak with them before responsibility to her own band had called her away. The way the two women looked at each other had Ruby wondering if Weiss would ever look at her that way.

 

Probably not. . .

 

Especially since Weiss had begun to avoid her. 

 

“Oh, and there’s a soloist named, uh. . .” The sound of Nora’s voice called the brunette back to reality. Ruby glanced up to see Nora flipping through the pamphlet before realization struck the redhead. “Ailithia Dire! She’s performing with the Snow Foxes for some kind of collab or agreement she had with the singers.” The redhead tapped her chin as the brunette took a seat on the nearest bench.

 

“When do we go up?” Weiss’ voice came from next to Ruby and the brunette’s head whipped around to see the woman seated beside her, soda in hand and one leg crossed over the other and her spare arm draped across the back of the bench. Blue eyes met with Ruby’s silver pair and the singer frowned, “What?”  

 

Surprised that the woman hadn’t got up and left, Ruby just shook her head and looked away. “Nothing.”

 

“We’re up after them!” Nora snapped her book shut and an unreadable grin crossed her face, “I have an idea! I’ll sneak into the audience because I am not-

 

Weiss chuckled and Ruby felt her heart skip a beat. “You’re not missing when Wolfe throws his guitar out into the audience, we know. You won’t shut up about it.” Ruby frowned at the mention of the name. Sure, the Snow Foxes had a decent taste in music, but from what she understood, most of them were not very kind people. 

 

“How can I not?” Nora exclaimed, turquoise eyes wide. “I mean, come on!” Well, here comes another rant about how amazing the other band was. . . “Have you heard their music?! I say we should collab with them sometime! It’d be great for our image!”

 

Weiss heaved a sigh and Ruby saw uncertainty in the woman’s eyes, “I don’t know, Nora. Blake told us that they’re not polite people and take advantage of their fans.” 

 

“No, no, no! That’s Cliffside Tulips!” Nora insisted, suddenly spinning around. “Ruby! Agree with me!”

 

Ruby’s head snapped up to see Nora jumping in front of her, grabbing her shoulders with a wide smile. “Wh-what am I agreeing with?”

 

“About the Snow Foxes!” Nora’s jaw dropped. She frantically waved her hands.  “About how great their music is! Have you not heard Queen of the Castle?! What is wrong with you people?!” Before anybody could respond, she continued, “The album is one of the most amazing songs out there next to our Run Wild album!” 

 

Ruby frowned in confusion as Nora rambled on, she exchanged a puzzled glance with Weiss, who mouthed a silent ‘I don’t know’ back to her. Nora clapped her hands, grabbing their attention again. “Also I want to know who this ‘Alyssa Dire’ is. Has anybody heard of her?”

 

Ruby blinked, registering the name before responding. “Uhm, yeah. She’s the singer and writer of Love is an Illusion.”

 

“She is?” Nora’s brows furrowed.

 

“I am!” All eyes turned to see a young brunette leaning against the studio wall, wearing an amused smirk on her face. The woman giggled at them and Weiss’ grip tightened around the can, putting a small dent in it. “I’m sorry, I heard y’all talking about the Snow Foxes and was wondering if you knew what studio they were in.”

 

Nora blinked at her, raising a brow suspiciously. “Studio 12.” She replied carefully. Before soda went everywhere, Ruby reached over and gently pried the empty can from the singer’s hand, ignoring the fact that her friend had stiffened the very second she’d touched her. 

 

After the can was set aside, Weiss rose to her feet. “If you don’t know where they are, why are you performing with them?” Weiss asked, ignoring Ruby’s quiet requests for her to sit back down. Well, fuck. “Why weren’t we informed that you would be here? Why are you in our rehearsal room?”

 

The other singer simply stared at her, clearly unfazed by the singer’s threatening voice. “First, I don’t know where they are because they were previously in Studio 3, but they were moved. Secondly, you were told about me being here, but they put my manager’s name down instead of my own. Lastly, I’m here because I figured that you could help me find my friends.”

 

Before Weiss could reply, the woman just smiled sweetly and turned away, “Thank you, though!” She looked to Nora, “My name is Ailithia Dire, and I’ll see if I can talk Wolfe into collabing with your band.” 

 

Once Ailithia was out of earshot, Nora turned back to the band as Pyrrha and Ren entered. “Good, you’re here.” A malicious look crossed the redhead’s face, “I feel like she knows too much.I say we knock her out and hide the body somewhere nobody would ever be able to find her.”

 

“Nora, please.” Weiss muttered under her breath. “We’re not murdering anybody .”

 

“Why would we be doing that, anyway?” Pyrrha asked, setting the drinks on the table and beginning to organize them. That was something else Ruby had noticed during her time here, it seemed like Pyrrha was just as much as a neat freak as Weiss was. Whenever she’d opened the fridge in the RV, everything would be set in a specific order as though it drove them crazy if it wasn’t. 

 

That and the fact the bus always remained clean despite Nora living in it.

 

“Because I don’t trust that Alyssa chick-”

 

Ren was the one to cut her off this time, “Nora, we’re not on the streets anymore. We’re fine.” Ruby frowned. What did trusting somebody have to do with being on the streets? The young man shook his head and started for the exit again, his hands folded behind his back. He turned to the band, “It is time for rehearsal. I’m sure they are already waiting for us.”

 

“Ugh, but I was gonna sneak into the audience. . .” Nora groaned, trudging over to Ren’s side. 

 

“Speaking of audience.” Pyrrha whispered, emerald green eyes trailing to Weiss, “will you be okay?”

 

The singer just offered a strained smile, “I’ll be fine,” she clapped  her hands together, “come on! Let’s start rehearsing before the others think we’ve bailed!”

 

Ruby’s heart twisted as the singer jogged out of the room, not even sparing so much as a single glance back at the young roadie. She hadn’t even looked at Ruby the entire time she was in here, except for that once and she couldn’t count that because Weiss looked like she was ready to spring up at the smallest chance she had to leave.

 

The roadie snapped herself out of her thoughts, eyes widening when she noticed Pyrrha starting for the exit. “W-wait!” She yelped, quickly getting to her feet and rushing to the tall redhead. Pyrrha looked down at her and Ruby smiled weakly, “Y-you’ll treat her right, won’t you?”

 

Perplexity flashed through the woman’s eyes, “What do you mean?” 

 

Ruby’s posture slackened, “Weiss,” she whispered, her voice cracking, “she loves you. . .”  The words sent a few light tugs of pain to her heart. Sure, it would hurt her to see them together, but she just wanted her to be happy.

 

Her heart fell as Pyrrha looked away. Ruby’s brows furrowed as realization dawned on her, “You don’t. . . Like her that way, do you? That’s why you didn’t say anything.”

 

“I wish I could reciprocate,” the redhead replied honestly, “but she’s like my sister. I love her, just not like that. I love someone else. I’m sorry.”

 

That meant that Weiss would end up with her heart being broken, and if that happened. . . Ruby’s chest tightened and she drew in a few, quiet breaths as she attempted to get herself back together. “I- I know how that is.” She muttered under her breath, “I know how she feels. . .” The brunette faced away from Pyrrha, who watched her with a sorrowful gaze, “Please, don’t keep that from her. . . I’m begging you.”

 

“I intend on telling her tonight,” Pyrrha smiled, although Ruby couldn’t see it, “but tell me something, Ruby.”

 

“Mhm?”

 

The redhead took a step closer. The air around them became cold. “If you were to have her, if you were to win and-”

 

Ruby cut her off immediately, spinning around to face the woman with rage in her eyes. She calmed herself with a quick breath inwards, “You say ‘have her’, as if she were a prize to be won.” The brunette said coldly, “She isn’t a prize, she’s not a trophy . Earning her affections isn’t a competition, nobody wins because it’s Weiss’ choice, not anybody else’s.”

 

Pyrrha was her friend , how could she talk about Weiss that way? As if she was nothing more than a simple object?! 

 

Everything became still when Pyrrha just smiled at her, genuine joy in her emerald green eyes. Confusion struck Ruby like a truck. “Good answer.” Pyrrha replied, not giving Ruby a chance to respond before she disappeared around the corner to follow the rest of the band.

 

Ruby blinked, processing what had just happened. Could she have-

 

“Ruby! Kind of need your help back here?! Rehearsal is starting!” Jaune’s desperate voice caught her attention and the brunette quickly snapped herself into reality, she turned toe and sprinted off towards the direction of the rehearsal room.

 

She’d figure everything out later. She had a job to do.

Chapter Text

Chapter Fourteen

Voice

[Ruby]


“And what does this one do?”

 

A laugh, “That controls the sound.” 

 

Ruby frowned and tapped the button, making sure not to turn it on. “I thought that’s what this one was for?” She asked, making a small gesture to a switch to the right.

 

They’d made it to the rehearsal studio and Ruby made her way into the lighting room with the other band’s roadie, a dark young man who called himself ‘Pitch’ (his name tag said ‘Ash’) and he showed her the general ropes of their own music while the bands rehearsed. She knew everything already, but he seemed to be enjoying himself. 

 

The man chuckled from beside her. “Correct! Those electrical boxes are wired up to the bands’ instruments, and we control the sound with this device here.” He tapped a faded green and black box “Then these that go here are attached to the mics. We had to separate them because our crew sometimes forgot which switch was for which instrument.”

 

“Wow that was a mouthful.”

 

“Ah, yeah, but the box here has everything written on it.” Pitch said with a wide, almost boastful smile, “2018 model! One of the best! It can hold up to 20 tracks and has a built in signal processor!”

 

Ruby rolled her eyes and pulled her phone from her pocket, “First, the ‘box’ is called a  Tascam Digital Portastudio, and secondly, can you control it with your phone?” She asked as she tapped open an app she’d downloaded during her first night with the band, she grinned as the red and white device in front of her lit up. 

 

“No,” Pitch said in response, staring at the object in awe, “you mean you can control all of the tools for everything here on mobile?!” Ruby just nodded and the man’s eyes widened, “That’s amazing! What all does it do?”

 

Immediately, Ruby opened the settings and tapped on the mic. “Okay,” she announced as she tapped on Weiss’ mic, which was the only one currently connected, “you know how you turn up the volume using those switches?” Pitch nodded and she slid her finger up on the screen, the volume increased by several little white bars; showing little interest to the warning at the corner of the screen.

 

She looked up to see several people on the other side of the glass covering their ears, glaring towards the as of right now unoccupied mic. She shrugged it off, paying them no mind and turning to Pitch, who was watching the crowd with a puzzled expression. “Yeah, so that’s how we control ours!” She said proudly, “At that volume, we’d be able to hear-”

 

She was cut off by an echoing voice, “Ruby Rose.” Panic rushing through her like a wave, Ruby meekly faced the glass again, silver eyes meeting with an annoyed pair of icy blue. “ Do not touch the settings.” Ruby mouthed her apology and Weiss’ brows only narrowed, “We’re testing out Track 10, bring that up and don’t touch anything else unless I ask you to.” 

 

As she spoke, the rest of the band and the Blaze crew approached their own instruments. Edan, the lead singer of the other band, sent a thumbs up to Pitch, who switched on their own audio box. “If y’all’re playing Track 10, then we’ll probably be using Track 8.” The man grinned, “I think I overheard ‘em talking about combining the two songs!”

 

Ruby clicked her phone back on and switched the settings to the playlist, tapping Track 10 and adjusting the volume. “That’s cool,” she muttered under her breath, focusing her attention on the group across from her. “I’m sure it’ll sound great.”

 

Her attention focused on Weiss again as she grabbed her mic, her voice echoed through the recording room for all to hear, “The concert is tomorrow night, so we’ll be rehearsing all night! There will be a short relaxation time of two hours in the morning, then we get straight back to work.”

 

Ruby’s brows knitted together. “All night?” 

 

Eden’s voice came from beside Weiss and Ruby instantly felt anger rising up inside of her, “Y’all hear what the Snow Queen said? Get to it, don’t wanna disappoint ‘er, do we?” His words sickeningly sweet and the flirtatious smirk he cast towards the singer didn’t go unnoticed.  Ruby’s grip tightened around her phone as the man moved closer to Weiss as subtly as he could.

 

Weiss’ expression became guarded, watching the male singer with mild cautiousness. Behind Eden, his friends seemed to be quietly cheering him on, another surge of rage struck Ruby and she clenched her jaw. Pitch laughed from next to her, “Looks like E-man has a lil’ crush on the Snow Queen!” He clapped his hand down on the desk, “Why don’t we help’im out, ey?”

 

‘Everybody has a crush on her.’ Ruby wanted to say, her silver gaze fixed on Eden. ‘Some are just more forward and foolish than others.’She drew in a few relaxing breaths, releasing a deep sigh before responding to the man. “I have a better idea,” Ruby growled as Pyrrha placed herself between Weiss and Eden as casually as possible, “why don’t we tell your brother to back his ass off?”

 

She instantly regretted saying it. 

 

Pitch made a face of confusion, midnight blue eyes glancing between Weiss and Ruby as if he were trying to comprehend something. Slowly, his eyes widened and he smiled, “Oh- oh! I’m so sorry! I didn’t know she’s ya girlfriend!” Panic hit Ruby like a freight train, but before she could respond, Pitch cut her off. “No wonder you’re so protective! Congrats!”

 

“N-no, we’re not-” The sound of a guitar strumming interrupted her again and Pitch turned back to his work, adjusting the volume for the band’s instruments as Ice Flower prepared theirs. Ruby felt like a brick had fallen deep inside of her stomach and her body was heavy. She should not have said anything! Why had she said that? Weiss is capable of handling herself, if Eden became too much she’d put an end to it for good. 

 

They weren’t together, why had she felt. . . Jealous? Perhaps it was because of how forward and bold he’d been?

 

Upon hearing the music beginning to play, Ruby snapped herself back on track.

 

If she let her emotions control her, she would lose focus of what she was doing, she could be fired. Or worse, her friendship with the band would become strained. It’d be better for her to conceal her jealousy, it would fade away after a while, just like everything else. 

 

Ruby shook her head and refocused herself on the task at hand. ‘Don’t let your childish crush destroy this, Ruby.’ She told herself as she set the volume for the instruments on the other side of the glass, glancing up for approval and offering a small smile when she received a thumbs up from Nora. ‘You have a job to do. Focus on it enough and you’ll forget all about your little crush.’

 

The brunette drew in another breath and pushed her feelings below the surface, locking them away. “Alright.” She said with a determined smile, “Let’s do this.”

 


 

Six hours later, Ruby was confident that they had everything perfected down to the softest note. Pitch hadn’t been all that hard to work with either, it was actually quite enjoyable. Ruby had to admit that her view from the glass was amazing , too. She could see every detail, and with the audio connected to the instruments, she could hear everything as well. 

 

At first, they’d had trouble figuring out which note fit what song and when to cue the next one, but they eventually found something that worked out just fine. 

 

Although, Ruby had begun to worry about Weiss sometime during the middle of practice. The light in her eyes had completely gone out. . . Despite her voice carrying the tone required for the song, her expression had become dull, and at brief moments Ruby swore to the Gods she saw fear. The strange thing was that when panic crossed through her eyes, her attention would instantly turn to Ruby and she’d be back on track as though nothing had happened.

 

Pyrrha, Ren and Nora noticed it as well, but didn’t really pay any mind to it. Pyrrha just smiled at her, Nora acted like she didn’t see anything, and Ren wore an all-too-knowing look on his face. Ruby didn’t like it one bit, they knew something that she didn’t and it was unsettling.

 

As rehearsal came to a close, the Blaze Crew bid them a goodnight and retreated back to their own bus while Ice Flower remained behind. Ruby caught sight of Weiss propping her weight against her mic, forehead rested against the stand. It wasn’t hard to see that she’d burnt herself out, she looked absolutely exhausted , she was running on low and she was still determined to keep going.

 

She was pushing herself to the limit and nobody could understand why .

 

“Weiss, you’re tired, we need to rest.” Ren insisted, but the only response Weiss gave was a glare. She weakly ordered for the next track to be played. The sound crew’s attention turned to Ruby, waiting for her command with a nervous look in their eyes, Ruby simply shook her head.

 

“We already have everything down,” Nora said, placing her hand on Weiss’ shoulder, “we should really head back to the-”

 

“No!” The singer cut her off sharply, “N-no, we have to. . . Keep practicing. . .” She croaked out, pausing for breaths in between words.

 

“Weiss-”

 

“My father will be attending the damn festival!” Weiss snapped suddenly, her words coming out in one breath. 

 

What? They hadn’t heard about this.

 

“H-he called me early this morning and informed me that he’s cleared enough of his blasted schedule to be able to attend the concert.” Weiss explained quietly. “Everything has to be. . . absolutely perfect.” As she spoke, her voice became softer and softer as her eyes drifted shut, her breathing became labored and her body trembled. “We can’t. . . I can’t. . . my career. . . would be destroyed.”

She was overworking herself to keep her career. If their performance wasn’t satisfactory, that devil of a man would ruin them. But, working herself like this would mean she would have little to no energy left for the concert.

 

‘Not on my watch.’

 

“Um. No.” Ruby started for the exit, her attention focused on the woman as the door opened and she gave a soft smile when Weiss glanced in her direction. “Weiss,” she whispered lightly as she approached the tired singer, “I’ve got everything under control. We have three perfectly recorded audios of the song, so if anything happens we can fall back on those.”

 

Weiss’ brows furrowed into a look of aggravation, “We can’t. . . use pre-recorded stuff. H-he would know!”

 

“So what if he knows?!” Ruby snapped. You’re pushing yourself to exhaustion. If you keep on like this, you won’t have energy left for the concert!”

 

Weiss’ blue eyes filled with defiance almost instantly, “You don’t tell me what to do! You’re not in charge of me, Red , you don’t decide what I do and-”

 

Irritation settled inside of her and the brunette cut her off quickly, making sure that her own voice drowned out Weiss’ protests. “Listen to me!” Ruby shouted, silencing the singer, “If you don’t get inside that bus and rest, it’s either your voice gives out or you collapse tomorrow, whichever one comes first!” 

 

“I said everything has to be perfect! You people just don’t understand that!” Weiss’ glare didn’t waver. 

 

Ruby’s eyes widened in disbelief and a new wave of frustration washed over her. How dare she?! After everything they’d done to keep the band afloat, Weiss had the audacity to speak to them as though they were below her?

“I’m sorry, what was that?” She asked, her brows narrowing. “We’re trying to save your career, so don’t you accuse us of anything else! But hey, if you want to work yourself to exhaustion and destroy it all on your own, by all means, go ahead!” Ruby calmed her nerves and drew in a slow breath to relax herself, “If you really want to protect your career, then I suggest you go rest . None of us want to see you overworking yourself.”

 

“What do you want me to do?” Weiss demanded in annoyance.“Just drop everything and rest? I can’t rest!” She snapped, her volume rising with each word. “I cannot rest knowing that tomorrow decides the fate of my career!” Her voice cracked with desperation this time. “Everything needs to be perfect or else we’ll-” Weiss’ voice gradually became unsteady “We’ll have a repeat of the first time. . .”

 

What happened ‘the first time’? Ruby’s eyes turned to Ren and Nora, searching their expressions for answers, but they’d become guarded. This was an inside secret. . . Something Ruby wasn’t yet allowed to know.

 

Ruby drew a heavy breath and focused on the shaking figure. Weiss looked fragile and small , her chest heaving as if she couldn’t breathe properly, her knuckles were turning white as she gripped the stand to her mic, supporting her quivering frame. She looked so. . . scared.

 

“Weiss.” Ruby said under her breath, approaching the singer slowly. She knelt down just a little bit to look at her; unfocused blue eyes turned to her and the brunette forced a reassuring smile. “It’ll be fine, we’ll handle everything. We just need you to relax and rest.” Weiss’ glare didn’t waver, Ruby couldn’t help but to chuckle at the sight. 

 

‘So defiant.’Ruby playfully tapped the vocalist’s nose and giggled, “You look like an angry kitten. It’s cute.” She remarked, smiling when Weiss scowled at her.

 

“Don’t touch me.” Weiss said light-heartedly. “I’d rather not contract whatever diseases you have when I bite your finger off.”

 

Ruby snickered again and tapped the woman’s nose a second time, her heart doing a flip when mischief flashed through the singer’s eyes. While Ruby was momentarily off guard, Weiss took the opportunity to playfully snap at her finger. “No!” Ruby laughed, tilting herself back on her heels. “I taste horrible!”

 

Weiss let out a soft laugh and Ruby watched in awe as the light slowly returned to her eyes, “With all the sweets that you eat, yeah, I bet you do.”

 

“Well,” Nora interjected from somewhere behind them, “I’d never believe you two were at each other’s throats not two seconds ago.” Ruby giggled in response as Weiss pushed herself to stand upright, using her mic stand as a crutch.

 

The silver-eyed roadie released a soft sigh as she turned back to Weiss, a smile still on her face. “So, are you better now?” She asked gently, “Will you rest?”

 

Fire briefly ignited in the singer’s eyes and she straightened her posture again, “I don’t need rest.” Her voice was hoarse and the obvious struggle to even speak; Weiss cleared her throat in an attempt to raise her voice. “Now! Get in there and start the next tra- ack !” Having strained her voice, she erupted into rough, violent coughs. 

 

Weiss propped her weight against her stand again, body trembling and her chest heaving with each painful, strained cough. “Weiss. . .” Ruby whispered, sounding distraught. “Please, you need rest.” She carefully placed her hand on the singer’s back, ignoring the distorted growl of protest she received.

 

“We’ll wrap everything up. . .” Ren said suddenly, drawing Ruby’s attention to Weiss’ worried bandmates, “Take care of her.”

 

“Make sure she gets some rest.” Pyrrha requested, “She doesn’t need to speak for a few hours.”

 

Weiss’ head snapped up and she spun around to face her friends, her eyes burning with sheer annoyance. “We’re not wra-. . .” Her voice had been firm and steady to begin with, but all of a sudden, her voice completely gave out. Horror crossed her face and her hand slowly came up, lightly gripping at her throat.

 

Nora raised a brow at the stubborn woman. “We’re not what ?” It was more of a statement than a question, “Actually, you’re right! We aren’t doing anything. You need to rest, do you want to collapse on stage?!” All eyes turned to Nora as her voice grew louder with aggravation. “This isn’t just yourcareer, Weiss! It’s ours too! It’s all we have, while you have an entire fucking mansion and-”

 

“Nora!” Ren called from somewhere around the corner. Nora’s mouth clamped shut and she stiffly faced away from Weiss, stalking out after the guitarist.

 

Once they were gone, Ruby tenderly wrapped one arm around the singer’s waist, ignoring the voice screeching at her in the back of her head. “Let’s get you back to the RV.” She murmured softly, giving Weiss a light tug back. “Weiss?” Blue eyes glanced back to meet her silver pair, the rage and desperation had been replaced with insecurity and fear. Ruby offered her a reassuring smile, “They’re not mad at you, I promise.”

 

“But-” Weiss’ voice was hardly audible.

 

Ruby giggled, finding it almost adorable how Weiss had gone from an angry kitten to a meek, shy puppy. “But nothing,” she whispered as Weiss fell into step with her, “I’ll take care of you, and you won’t lose your career.” Ruby’s brows knit together into a determined look, “Not if I can help it.”

 

Weiss’ eyes grew soft and Ruby’s heart skipped a beat. “Thank you, Ruby.”

 


 

Bzzzt.

 

Blurrily, lilac eyes blinked open and Yang released a heavy sigh, placing her hand over her eyes and waiting for her phone to quit flashing. Whatever it was, it could wait till morning; or at least when she woke up. She’d been busy all day rearranging and decorating their dorm room, trying to give it more of a home like feel to it.

 

They’d be here for the next four years, after all. Might as well settle in. . . Although, it didn’t really feel like home without having a perky silver-eyed girl running around. That would take some getting used to.

 

Wait. 

 

Nobody else would text her this late unless it was Ruby.

 

Yang’s eyes snapped open and a cold rush raced through her, she launched herself out of the bed, hand reaching for her phone and toppling off of the mattress in the process. She clicked her phone on and her heart stopped.

 

“You okay?” Blake muttered from her corner, lifting her eyes up from her book and staring at her girlfriend in bewilderment. 

 

“It’s Ruby.” She whispered, almost too afraid to open the text. What if she was still mad at her and wanted to let her know she wouldn’t forgive her?

 

“Well,” Blake said, softly snapping her book shut and turning her lamp out, “open it. What did she say?” She asked, getting to her feet to approach the blonde sprawled out on the floor. 

 

Yang tapped the message open and her brows furrowed; “Nora said Ruby left her phone open and sent a picture,” she said as Blake knelt down behind her, Yang sighed heavily, “should I even open it?” Blake just hummed and reached over her shoulder to open the photo. “Coulda just said yeah-”

 

Blake released a quiet snort upon seeing the picture, while Yang struggled to comprehend exactly what she was seeing. 

 

The picture consisted of Ruby and Weiss, both hugged close on the RV's couch. Ruby slept with one arm stretched above her head, the other wrapped around Weiss in a protective hold. The other woman slept curled beneath the roadie, arms and legs tucked closely together while arms wrapped around her body.

 

“I told you she could do it.” Blake smiled.

 

Yang couldn’t help but to grin. “Well, I’ll be. . .”