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How to Fake Your Way into Love

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As far as Weiss Schnee remembered, her life in Atlas had been miserable. She had always been alone, had no friends, no real social life whatsoever. Only mere acquaintances and a neverending stream of servants and tutors – people that weren't really interested in her and only gave her some kind of attention because it was their job.

Her family wasn't any better, either. Her father only cared about her education, not about her as a person – she was a tool to him, not a daughter, only good for improving the family's reputation. Her mother was distant and cold, and Weiss was pretty sure she loved a glass (or bottle) of wine more than her. Her younger brother Whitley was a manipulative, little brat. The only member of her family Weiss was fond of was her older sister Winter, even though she had abandoned her to join the military. But on the other hand, the younger girl couldn't really blame her for taking this chance to finally leave this prison called their home.

There had been only one person in this desolate manor Weiss actually liked besides Winter – the family's butler, Klein Sieben. He was the only other one the young girl thought of as family. He had taken way more care of and interest in her than her actual parents, had cheered her up when she was sad, had listened to her problems and had given her lots of useful advice without being commanding. Nevertheless, Klein always had a lot of stuff to do, so his time with Weiss had been pretty limited.

Her life in Atlas had been miserable indeed but, fortunately, it was only a distant memory now.

After a year at Beacon Academy, her life was great. Admittedly, the first few weeks (or even months) had been pretty awkward. Weiss had needed some time to get used to the new environment and the new people since the majority was kind of weird. But now...

She was free. Nobody controlled her anymore. And to top that:

She had friends! Finally! Real friends, people to confide in, people who truly cared for her. People who didn't just want to kiss her ass because of her family's name. Friends...

First and foremost, her team:

Yang Xiao Long, the brutish blonde. This girl was definitely more brawn than brain and utterly annoying because of her terrible puns and jokes, but once Weiss had gotten to know her better, she had realized that the only thing bigger than her mouth was her heart. Yang was someone who would charge into a giant horde of Grimm for her friends without even thinking about her own safety. A bit naive but incredibly loyal to those she cared for.

Blake Belladonna, the mysterious Faunus. Weiss' father would probably choke on his own mustache if he knew that one of her best friends was one of these animals as he addressed them. Of course, the white-haired girl had been prejudiced at first as well but she was more than glad that she wasn't anymore. Blake was always so calm and collected, and a nice, normal conversation with her was a welcome change from dealing with Yang's hot-headedness.

And finally, her team leader: Ruby Rose... now this girl was pretty indescribable. She had been Weiss' first real friend, even though the heiress had no idea how that came about. Not that she cared anymore – her self-proclaimed BFF had become one of the most important people in Weiss' life. Admittedly, Ruby's bubbliness and childish antics annoyed her from time to time and she scolded the younger girl if she took it too far but the white-haired girl secretly envied her leader for her constant happiness and her enthusiasm over almost everything. And if Weiss was completely honest, Ruby didn't deserve most of the scoldings. The crimsonette was without a doubt the nicest and purest person she had ever met.

These three people had been complete strangers to her a year ago but now they were like a second family to Weiss. Well, more like a real family compared to her biological relatives. And her teammates weren't even her only friends. Pyrrha, Ren, Nora... even Jaune (after he had stopped flirting with her)... all of them had helped her grow over the past year, helped her to make some huge steps towards becoming the person she wanted to be, not the one her family tried to make of her.

Overall, her life at Beacon was awesome. For people with a normal childhood and normal parents, it was probably just a little above average but for Weiss, it was the most amazing thing ever. She was away from her controlling father, she could finally live her own life, and most importantly:

She wasn't lonely anymore.

However, this life she held so dear was in grave danger. With an irritated expression, she looked over the piece of paper in her hands this Friday evening. It was a letter from her father – this alone was a bad sign. Jacques Schnee only wrote her daughter if he wanted her to do something: Sending grade reports, doing extra courses, and so on. This letter, however, described a worst case scenario:

Dear Weiss

I hope you are doing well and enjoy your time at Beacon Academy.

The white-haired girl had never understood why he always went through the trouble to try and sound like he was interested in her life. She knew it was fake, he knew that she knew, so why bother? Wasn't it more sensible to save them both some time and get straight to the point?

Nevertheless, I expect you not to neglect your studies and score immaculate results. Always remember that you are representing the Schnee family.

Okay, now that sounded more like him. He saw her more as walking advertisement for the family's (and, of course, the company's) magnificence than his own daughter. Not that Weiss had doubted this for one second. She knew this man for too long now to think otherwise after just one, obviously fake sentence.

I hope you understand why I stress this matter –

Then skip it, geez...

I'm doing it for the sake of our name and the company your dear grandfather committed to my care. After your sister decided to join the military and left her legacy behind, all my hopes are on you to avoid the mistakes she has made in the past.

At this point, Weiss was on the brink of stopping to read this crap. Her knuckles were already turning white and her fingernails threated to break through the paper. Mistakes her sister had made? The only one Winter had made so far was not leaving this uncaring family sooner. But given that, you could say Weiss had already made the same mistakes as her sister.

All in all, even the first six sentences were enough to completely drag her down. What a way to start her weekend... However, it was the next paragraph of the letter that had devastated her.

Anyway, enough with parental supervision. I am most certain you won't give in to the laziness of the commons and will live up to my expectations like you always had so far.

The real reason I'm corresponding with you is another one. I am expecting you to return to Atlas for your upcoming semester break. The son of one of my business partners seems to have taken a liking to you – a charming young man, indeed, and I want you to meet him. I'm most certain you're going to like him as well. The relationship between our families is very important, so I want you to act at your best behavior when meeting him. As long as you don't have any other highly important matters to attend to or reasons why you can't participate in this social engagement, which I doubt, I expect you to be ready to leave on the first Monday of your semester break. We are going to discuss the details once you are back in Atlas.


your father.

He had done it again... He had found another suitor he wanted her to meet – which was just some kind of code for marrying her off. It had been the same on her sixteenth birthday, at a party a bit over half a year later, and then again about one month before her departure to Beacon. Another reason why Winter had fled from this family: He had done this to her before, too.

In their father's eyes, their sole purpose was to be beneficial for the company: Attending all kinds of events (even performing in Weiss' case), promoting the SDC's reputation, establishing close ties to business partners, and the like. And if the Schnee daughters had to marry a stranger for the sake of the company, then so be it – at least that was Jacques' point of view.

The white-haired girl read the letter all over again. Attached to it was a photograph of some snobby, rich, full-of-himself kind of guy with gelled, jet-black hair and a smug grin on his face. He was posing next to a fireplace with a big, mostly white ravener on his arm. Everything in this picture screamed: "I'm better than everybody else and I want the world to know." Weiss was already sick of him, even though she hadn't met him yet.

It didn't surprise her in the slightest, though. Everyone her father had picked for her to meet so far had been like this: arrogant, self-absorbed brats who only liked her for her last name (maybe for her looks, too). Jacques hadn't been any different when he had been younger and tried to marry into the family, too.

But Weiss won't make the same mistake her mother had made, damned to spend the rest of her days as a trophy wife and becoming an alcoholic in the process. The white-haired girl wanted to live her own life, to make her own decisions and, most importantly, to find the special someone herself. Someone who truly cared about her, not just about her money or her appearance. Was it really too much to ask not to be treated as property?

Until now, it had been pure luck that she wasn't already forced to date one of the suitors her father had chosen for her. The first one showed up at her sixteenth birthday party, more or less a gathering of the sons and daughters of rich and influential businesspeople – her friends, in her father's opinion but weird and annoying strangers in Weiss'. Luckily for her, the guy was caught making out with one of these friends (some stuck-up bitch with her character as fake as her blonde hair color) sometime during the party and that was it.

She was set up with the second one during a gala, a Mantle fundraiser or something, the white-haired girl really didn't remember anymore. This suitor wasn't a complete douche... but still a pretty big one, nonetheless. Fortunately (even though Weiss hated herself for thinking that way about it) there had been a White Fang attack. Even though it was just a minor one and barely anyone got injured, the guy turned out to be such a coward that even Jacques thought that he wasn't suited for his daughter. Of course, he wanted to strengthen business ties but he most certainly didn't want weak genes in his bloodline.

As for the third one, her father tried a different approach. Instead of them meeting at a social gathering, her father had set them up on a date in a fancy restaurant, just the two of them. Her date, a twenty-three-year-old guy from some big air cargo company, had been drinking a few glasses of wine too much. He had insisted on her drinking as well, which the white-haired girl declined. When he had brought her back home he tried to kiss her and, when she declined this as well, he tried to force her to. If it hadn't been for Klein who heard her scream in front of the door and came to her rescue, who knew what would've happened.

At least her father hadn't been mad at her for ruining this alliance – quite the contrary, actually. He had been proud that she didn't act like a disgusting animal that day, boozing and groping someone out in the open. He even pulled some strings and wrecked the air cargo company. It was probably the only nice thing he had ever done for her, even though he most certainly did it out of other motives... like getting rid of someone who wasn't of any use to him anymore.

But if the guy hadn't been such a colossal jerk that day but just a regular jerk, things probably would've taken a different course. Her father would've forced her to go on another date with him, then another one, not caring about the fact that she hated him, and eventually married her off in his effort to strengthen the business ties with this cargo company (or to take it over entirely). Luckily, this suitor had been enough of an asshole that even Jacques couldn't stand him anymore – which spoke volumes about him.

However, this time her father seemed to be even more... serious about this. Maybe he was still disgruntled because Weiss had chosen Beacon over Atlas and he wanted to get her back under his thumb as fast as possible. Maybe he was afraid of her leading the company alone someday because she was (or had become) so different – as in NOT cold, vindictive, overbearing, selfish, unloving and amoral. Or maybe the family of the guy he had chosen this time was powerful and influential enough that he wouldn't care about promiscuity, cowardness or drinking issues anymore.

Weiss didn't know her father's reasons entirely... but she knew one thing for sure:

She had to come up with a plan to stop this, or her worst nightmare would eventually become reality.

Chapter Text

This Friday night, Weiss had a weird dream. She was back in Atlas, in a canopy bed. Ornate and apparently highly expensive fabric was draped across the upper space and the posts. The heiress turned over and saw that the walls of the room she was lying in were made of pristine white marble, accented by luxuriant pillars here and there. The sheets were of silk and incredibly soft... but uncomfortably cold, for some reason.

"Good morning, my love."

The voice that suddenly addressed her sent a wave of disgust through her entire body. It was an icy and arrogant voice, dripping with sarcasm. No fondness, no warmth, no nothing... It was now that Weiss realized what had happened: Her father had finally succeeded in marrying her off. The person next to her was her husband, one of these snobby, rich guys from a wealthy family and she was his trophy wife, her life reduced to keeping up the Schnee family's reputation and most certainly producing an heir in the near future. The mere thought of it made her want to vomit.

Weiss stood up, not even bothering with turning around to face her husband, walked to a nearby window and looked outside. They must be on the fourth floor of this mansion, at least. The white-haired girl looked down and her mind began to wander. How long would it take for her to hit the ground? Three seconds, maybe four? Four beautiful seconds of freedom, four seconds in which her life would truly be hers and hers alone before everything would be over. She wouldn't use her glyphs or activate her Aura... she would just fall... into freedom.

Suddenly, the scene changed...

She was lying in another bed, a normal one this time. The sheets were rough and the mattress had seen better days, too. But, somehow, it was pleasantly warm. She looked around and realized that she was in her dorm room at Beacon now. That explained the small bed, way too small for two people. Wait... two people?

"Good morning, my love."

Another voice addressed her, but it sounded too distorted to be recognized properly. However, it was completely different from the earlier one. It sounded sincere and actually happy... happy that Weiss was there. The heiress wanted to turn around this time, but she couldn't since this mysterious person was hugging her from behind firmly... but not firmly enough to be uncomfortable. The touch was pleasant, warm and gentle. Weiss relaxed into the embrace and let out a content sigh. A flowery scent filled her nostrils as she drifted back to sleep.

Then, everything went dark again.

Weiss awoke earlier than usual this Saturday morning. The dream of last night had left her with all kinds of weird emotions. The beginning and the end of it had been too different to tell exactly. However, the most prominent feeling that still lingered in her body was disgust... and fear. The first part of this dream (or nightmare, she wasn't sure what it had been exactly) mustn't come true at all cost.

As quietly as possible, the heiress got up and made her way to the desk. Fortunately, her teammates were still fast asleep. Weiss sat down and fetched her father's letter from the drawer she had hidden it in yesterday. There had to be a solution to this problem, something she could tell this man that would convince him to leave her be. Something to stop his attempts to marry her off into another industrial magnate's family... and into a miserable life.

The white-haired girl read the abhorrent letter all over again and the earlier feelings were replaced with just a single one: hatred! How dared this man to make such decisions without her consent?! How dared he to treat her just like another thing he owned?! Her whole childhood, she had done everything he wanted... and she was sick of it! This life was hers!

In a fit of rage, Weiss ripped the detested piece of paper apart. One time, two times, three, four... She then balled up the remaining strips and threw them into the waste bin. The thought of setting it on fire additionally came to her mind (a suitcase full of fire Dust sat beside her bed anyway) but she shook it off. This wasn't the time to do something stupid on impulse. Therefore, she massaged her temples to calm herself down.

'Deep breaths, Weiss...', she thought, 'Answering this letter in rage will just make things worse. You need to be calm and collected and find a plausible reason why you can't veg out as a fucking trophy wife for the rest of your life... and better not use these words.'

After her breathing had returned to normal, the white-haired girl grabbed an envelope and another sheet of paper. Actually calling her father was a red rag to her, so this had to do. In addition, she could express herself better this way and proofread everything. In a verbal conversation, she would most certainly get angry and yell at him – and this would be counter-productive.

First, she labeled the envelope. She made sure to send it to her father's office instead of using his home address – he would probably take what she had to say more serious this way. Also, the SDC layout on the wrapping would call his attention. But when she put the envelope aside and actually wanted to write her letter, her brain was empty. Just telling him the truth would fall on deaf ears, so she had to come up with something else. But what? The heiress let out an annoyed groan and deflated in her chair. What should she tell her father? Or better: What could she possibly tell him to stop this as well as any further attempts to marry her off?

"Hey, Weiss. Whatcha doing?", a quiet voice suddenly addressed her and a mop of black-and-red hair appeared in the corner of her eye. These two simple things made the heiress almost jump out of her skin.

"Wah!!! Ruby! What the hell?!", the white-haired girl yelled and turned around, covering the papers on the table with her hands.

"Can you keep it down?", came the sleepy, yet pretty annoyed voice of Yang from her bunk.

"Sorry...", both girls apologized. Then, after they heard an approving hum and the rustling of sheets, Weiss continued, quietly, of course.

"You can't just sneak up on people this early.", the heiress explained, "You need a bell or something."

"If you buy me one, I might wear it.", Ruby responded with a sugar-sweet grin.

"Whatever.", Weiss sighed at this remark, "Why are you up this early anyway?"

"I heard the rustling of paper and pretty annoyed groans, so I wanted to know what's up.", the younger girl explained, "Did something bad happen? You look... concerned."

"No, everything's fine... I guess...", the heiress lied, "I, umm, just noticed I forgot about an assignment."

At this comment, Ruby raised an eyebrow. It didn't sound like Weiss at all to forget about school stuff. Nevertheless, she believed it. Maybe it had happened because her partner had a lot on her mind lately. Maybe she needed a little help as well.

"I'm going to the library to finish this and shower after breakfast.", the white-haired girl explained, sorted her papers and made sure to put them back on the desk face down, "I'll see you guys at the cafeteria." Then she stood up, went over to the closet and grabbed her usual attire. She didn't want anybody to know about the whole situation, at least not before she had come up with a solution. Also, there was no way she could think of something when Ruby was around, pestering her with questions.

But when Weiss made her way towards the bathroom to change, the younger girl (big surprise) jumped up and chirped: "I'll accompany you. I'll just change real quick in the closet while you're in the bathroom."

"No, Ruby.", the heiress said, "I need some peace and quiet while working on this."

"But I can help.", the younger girl explained, "And wouldn't it..."

"Ruby. Sit!", Weiss simply commanded.

"Aww...", the crimsonette pouted but sat down on the chair her partner had sat on before, nonetheless.

"Good girl.", the heiress said with a grin and patted Ruby's head gently which caused the younger girl to smile.

Some time ago, Weiss had noticed that the best way to deal with the crimsonette and her seemingly endless energy was using dog commands instead of complicated explanations. Of course, it was all in good fun and Ruby played along happily, mostly for the pets and sometimes even ear scratches as they were somewhat part of the game. Over the past few months, they had developed a (to outsiders) pretty weird dynamic but there was no doubt that they had become really close friends.

"Okay, I'll leave you be.", Ruby sighed, yet she gave her partner an approving nod, "But if I can help you with anything, don't hesitate to ask, okay?"

"Of course. Thank you for your understanding.", Weiss responded, then she went to the bathroom to change.

The moment the door fell shut, Yang's voice echoed through the dorm room again: "You really suck, guys... now I'm awake."

At the library, Weiss finally had her peace to come up with an answer to her father. However, it proved itself harder to write the letter than she had thought. Maybe she should just start writing away and something would come to mind eventually. Therefore, the white-haired girl began:

Dearest father,

A quiet, sarcastic chuckle left her mouth as she wrote these two words. But if she would write what she actually thought at the moment, her father would probably drag her back to Atlas personally.

Thank you very much for your kind words and your effort with the aim of ensuring that I find a suitable partner to share my future with.

Did this sound too sarcastic as well? Nah, probably not. The old man was just too full of himself to notice.

Unfortunately, I must inform you that I won't be able to accept this social engagement during my upcoming semester break because

Because? Yeah, because what exactly? That was the problem. What could she tell him to avoid returning to Atlas over her semester break? No, this wouldn't quite cut it. She needed to come up with a reason that would prevent something like this to happen ever again. Therefore, important projects or extracurricular activities were off the table. Fabricating a story about an illness or something in that direction was too easy to check up. Hmm, a reason why she couldn't be married off to a complete stranger... if not always and evermore then at least for the semester break to buy her some more time...

And what if she had already found someone? If she was just off the market at the moment? Well, it was highly unlikely that her father would approve of any guy she had chosen herself. Also, who could she ask to play along:

Jaune? Everything but that!

Ren? Even though he was her friend, she didn't really know him that well – and Nora would probably kill her if she asked.

Cardin? She would prefer swimming through the contaminated container port of Mantle, naked and with open wounds all over her body.

Sun? Nah... While she tolerated him, he was still too annoying. He wasn't at Beacon at the moment anyway. However, it would be fun to see her father getting a heart attack when she told him her boyfriend was a Faunus rapscallion.

No, looking for a fake boyfriend was a stupid idea. Even if she would find someone who was willing to play her significant other, her father would most certainly sabotage their relationship or harass him or his family long and bad enough until they couldn't bear it anymore. Whichever way the heiress looked at it, in the end, the CEO would choose the man for her.

But what if...

Suddenly, it hit her like a bolt from the sky.

What if she didn't date a man... a boy at the moment... but a girl?! How come Weiss hadn't thought of this in the first place?

It was perfect: If her father thought that she was homosexual, it would become a lot harder if not completely impossible to find somebody to marry her off to. Even better, he would probably try to keep it a secret from the public since the Atlesian upper class still had a pretty outdated attitude towards same-sex relationships. In addition, he would probably leave her alone to ensure her silence about it as well.

Would he disinherit her because of it? Most certainly not. To justify disinheritance to the press he would need a pretty good reason or it would damage his reputation. If he just did it because her daughter was gay, the majority of the people (the more normal ones) would start to boycott the SDC and he couldn't afford this. She would stay the heiress and eventually be in total control of the company without an arrogant and narrow-minded business snob at her side, which was essential if she wanted to right her father's wrongs someday.

Okay, telling her father that she was gay seemed like a plan that could work. However, now she still had the same problem as before: She needed someone to play her girlfriend. Just telling her father that she was a lesbian without any proof wouldn't work – he won't believe her or just tell her it was just a phase she was going through. The heiress needed a girl she was dating at the moment, so the people her father sent to check on her story (which he'd do for sure) would be convinced.

It was most certainly best to choose someone from her team. The white-haired girl didn't trust Nora enough to pull it off the way she wanted and Pyrrha was kinda together with Jaune already, even though these two didn't notice it for the time being. Also, choosing a girl from her team would make it easier to come up with an origin story for their fake relationship. Of course, Nora and Pyrrha were good friends with her but she probably didn't spend enough time with them to pull off this whole girlfriend scam naturally.

Still, which one should she choose? And more importantly, who would most likely agree to do it? Yang's hot-headedness could blow their cover too easily in the wrong moment. Also, her inevitable teasing and the bad jokes about their fake romance would be something the heiress probably couldn't bear with, even for such a short time. Blake was a lot more tolerable in that last matter. She was also far less impulsive than Yang... but maybe that would be too calm already and the black-haired girl would come off a little distant. To make this whole thing work Weiss needed somebody who could fake total adoration for her easily, somebody that would leave no doubt about the fact that this relationship was something serious without the chance to ruin everything with her fiery temperament.

Even though the heiress couldn't believe that this girl was her only hope now, by the method of elimination the only one left was...

'Okay, Ruby.', Weiss thought with a sigh as she recalled the earlier conversation with her leader, 'There is indeed something you can help me with.'

Chapter Text

Even though one would hardly believe that such a cute and bubbly girl was capable of this emotion, there were two things Ruby outright hated: baddies (might they be Grimm, serious criminals or just big jerks) and not knowing what to do with herself. She noticed once again how bad she had become in busying herself alone after just one year of constantly being around her friends. The days back in Patch she would've tinkered with her weapon, watched TV or played video games at times like this. But now the next part shop (she didn't have enough money for the cool stuff she wanted anyway) was too far away, the movies on her Scroll didn't seem very appealing anymore and she had finished all the games on the device as well.

Yang had left for the gym after she had woken up for a pre-breakfast workout to "whet her appetite", as she put it. Ruby would've accompanied her, but she was still a little sore from Thursday's sparring class. Even though Cardin was pretty annoying most of the times, the crimsonette had to admit that he had a really hefty backhand with his mace. One second of inattentiveness and she had to pay it with a backache... she had won the match, though.

Blake had left for Beacon's bookstore and would most certainly take an airship to Vale to visit Tucson's Booktrade after breakfast due to its greater choice options. While Ruby was interested in books, she was (as said) a little short on cash at the moment – she should ask her dad to raise her allowance a bit. However, it wasn't a big deal. The crimsonette could still ask her teammate to borrow her books when the Faunus had read them through. Blake had a pretty... interesting taste.

Team JNPR wasn't home at the moment either, at least knocking at their door had been left unanswered. They were probably trying to make good use of the whole Saturday and had gone on a hike early. Jaune suggested doing this rather often as some kind of team bonding exercise. Yet, they mostly ended up getting lost. It was still fun, though.

However, it didn't bother Ruby that much that she couldn't accompany Yang, or Blake, or team JNPR, mostly because there were reasons she couldn't. But in Weiss' case... The heiress just didn't want to hang out with her! Admittedly, the younger girl knew she could be annoying sometimes but her partner had seen on more than one occasion that she could be quiet, focused and helpful, too. At least, she would've tried... just for Weiss.

Urgh... there it was... the other reason why it was so much more annoying when the white-haired girl told her off than when somebody else did. If Yang or Blake had wanted to go to the library, would Ruby have offered her help on her lazy Saturday? Most certainly not. But for Weiss? Right away. Ruby would've helped her study, gotten her books, brought her coffee, heck, she would've carried her partner to the library as well. Once again, the younger girl began to wonder when all of this had started. Had there been an exact moment when the white-haired girl had become her crush?

Had it been the same when they had gone from partners to friends as well? Did any kind of relationship work that way? Ruby had no idea, but she wasn't the most social person anyway. However, she knew for sure that these weird feelings were there and also that they went beyond normal friendship.

Ruby didn't even know she was into girls until she had met the heiress. Admittedly, she hadn't been interested in boys during her time at Signal despite being a teenager and in puberty and all of this... but she had thought this was because she hadn't been interested in people in general at that time. She had been busy with her weapon tuning, training, and preparation for her time at Beacon Academy – Top priority at that point: Becoming a Huntress.

And once she would've accomplished this goal, the crimsonette had been sure that there would still be enough time for all this other stuff... normal stuff. She would find a nice boy, fall in love, marry him, start a family... But then, everything changed as an heiress appeared.

There had been the disaster when they had met, the disaster on the initiation mission and the disaster about the whole leader thing. Weiss had been pretty mean to her at first, yet Ruby still wanted to be her friend and found the cold, distant heiress somewhat fascinating since day one. Was it possible that she had one of these fetish thingies like the people in Blake's books sometimes, masochism, humiliation issues or the like? Probably not, Weiss had been a lot nicer to her after they had sorted out all of their problems with each other.

Had it something to do with the heiress' pride, or confidence, or grace, or beauty, or... damn. There was no use trying to come up with a logical explanation. Now Ruby was just listing the things she liked about Weiss, not thinking about the reason why she had started to like her in the first place anymore. Maybe it was none of the above, maybe all of the above. It didn't matter anyway. Ruby had no idea how it had come to this but there were no two ways about it: She had a crush on Weiss.

Everything was just so immensely strange. The first few days or so she had been in constant quarrel with this cold and bossy girl but now Ruby couldn't imagine being separated from her beloved partner anymore, at least for a longer period of time, that is. She didn't have the need to follow the heiress wherever she went, the bathroom for example... But on the other hand, the shower stall was big enough for two people...

Ruby shook the thought out of her head. Lewd thoughts about Weiss were the worst – they left her hot and bothered at the worst moment imaginable nine times out of ten. Normal thoughts about Weiss (about them as a couple, to be more precise) were less annoying yet kind of hurtful since the crimsonette knew these ones were just as impossible to become reality. Not that this stopped Ruby from imagining or daydreaming about these highly unlikely what-ifs frequently anyway. Maybe she really had a little masochistic streak...

And since she had nothing better to do, why not going for another round of oh so sweet emotional self-harm:

We have just finished a dangerous mission and are currently at a small safe house. Tomorrow, we will return to Beacon by airship but for today we are stuck here. It's already pretty late and thick night outside. Yang and Blake have gone to sleep a while ago, being exhausted from the day's adventures, but Weiss and I are still sitting in the small living room in front of a crackling fireplace.

We are sharing a worn armchair and a rough blanket. However, we couldn't be more comfortable at the moment. I'm currently sitting in Weiss' lap, being hugged from behind while Weiss has rested her chin on my head, occasionally taking in a deep breath through her nose. It seems that somebody really likes roses.

"It's kind of weird sitting here like this and cuddling when we were fighting a bunch of Ursai just about an hour ago, don't you think?", I ask lazily as I relax even further into the embrace.

"A little weird, indeed, but utterly pleasant.", Weiss whispers back and kisses the top of my head.

"I'm right there with you.", I agree and bury my head further into my girlfriend's chest. We continue to cuddle for a while, listening to the crackling of the fire and enjoying our time together.

"Thank you for having my back out there.", Weiss suddenly says in a low voice, "That one time was really a close call."

"I'll always have your back, Weiss.", I respond, "I couldn't bear it when something bad would happen to you... I love you, Weiss."

For a moment, there's complete silence. Neither of us says a word. The only thing that's happening is Weiss pulling me even closer to her body.

The younger girl could swear that she almost felt her partner's touch for real. But when the white-haired girl of her dreams should, as usual, reply "I love you too, Ruby.", the crimsonette instead heard: "Hey?! Remnant to dolt! I said I have something important to talk to you about."

Ruby immediately snapped out of her daydream and almost fell out of Weiss' bed she was lying upon at the moment. The touch she had felt was someone trying to shake her awake. How could she not have noticed that? Also, how long was this person talking to her already? She turned around and saw a pair of beautiful blue eyes looking at her expectantly.

"Welcome back to the land of the living.", the girl of her daydream addressed her jokingly.

"Don't startle me like that, Weiss.", Ruby pouted, "You need a bell."

"Buy me one and I won't wear it.", Weiss responded, referring to her partner's earlier remark.

"I'm short on cash anyway.", the crimsonette sighed and relaxed back into the pillow.

"I'd say I'd borrow you some money but you already owe me about a million Lien you've spent on cookies.", the heiress said with a grin, earning one from her partner in the process as well.

"I promise you I'll pay it back someday.", Ruby replied, "In rates... small ones... sell our house... work two jobs..."

'She's adorable...', Weiss thought with a giggle, 'How come this girl can make me smile even though I'm still down because... Oh, right! Straight to the point, then.'

"Anyway.", the heiress said, regaining her composure and suddenly dead serious, "As I said, I have a really important matter to talk to you about."

"Is it about the assignment? Do you need my help?", Ruby asked, trying not to sound too hopeful or needy.

"Actually, there is no assignment.", Weiss admitted, "But it's about earlier. You see... I've gotten a letter from my father and it had... irritated me for a moment."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.", the crimsonette said, "Did something bad happen?"

"Yes... yes, you could say so.", the white-haired girl answered, not sure anymore how to express herself, "My father... well, he... it all started when I was..."

Ruby was confused. There weren't a lot of things that discomposed Weiss to such a degree. From all she had heard so far, the white-haired girl's father wasn't exactly a nice person, to put it kindly. And now that the crimsonette saw her partner like this, she expected the worst – and wasn't disappointed.

"My father wants to marry me off to some son of one of his business partners again.", the heiress suddenly said, "He had tried this before but now he seems more serious about it than ever."

"What?!", Ruby gasped, "But... he just can't, right? What about your feelings?" The moment the question escaped her lips, the younger girl noticed how stupid it sounded.

"It might not surprise you that he doesn't care about them.", Weiss said, her voice full of disdain, "All he wants is to strengthen the ties with another company and take them over eventually. He tried to force my sister into something like this, too. That's the reason why she left, well, one of the many, many reasons. Anyway, if he succeeds with his plan this time, I'll have to go back to Atlas to spend the rest of my days as a trophy wife and my dream of becoming a Huntress will be over."

"B-but... We have to do something to prevent this!", the crimsonette exclaimed, "This is not right! You belong to me, t-to us, I mean. Team RWBY. You belong to Beacon."

"I know. And I don't want to leave. And I won't leave!", the heiress said determined which caused Ruby to cheer, "That's why I came up with a plan."

"I'll do anything to help you!", the younger girl immediately yelled, "We have to stop this madness!"

"Ruby, calm down and let me explain.", Weiss requested, "What I have in mind is going to sound pretty mad as well. But I'm certain that it'll work if we manage to pull it off perfectly."

"Then stop beating around the bush.", Ruby chirped, "Tell me already. Do we have to fight him? Then I'll definitely upgrade Crescent Rose first. Or do we feign your death? Yang and I still have a lot of fake blood from last Halloween slash my birthday. Or do we..."

'And that's the exact reason why I wanted to come up with something alone first.', the heiress thought and rolled her eyes. Fortunately, a stern look directed at her partner afterwards silenced the rambling girl.

"First things first, so I won't sound completely nuts.", Weiss began and pinched the bridge of her nose, "The upper class in Atlas, in all of Solitas, actually, has a pretty, umm, old-fashioned worldview, regarding Faunus, marriage, se... sexuality and the like." She blushed a bit at the last part but continued: "Same-sex relationships are hardly tolerated by the long-established business families. Fortunately, the majority of the normal people are not that narrowminded."

"And what does that have to do with...", Ruby began, again utterly confused.

"I'm getting to it.", the heiress interrupted with a hint of annoyance in her voice, "The point is that none of the well-known business families want the public to know that their children are attracted to the same sex. That also makes forcing them into these utilitarian marriages pretty complicated if not impossible for the parents. However, the public most certainly won't react well if they'd hear that the CEO of a big company treats their offspring bad because of their sexual preferences."

At this point, Ruby's brain was on the brink of shutting down. Why the hell did her partner tell her all of this? Was this some kind of weird social studies lesson? Did Weiss trick her into learning something on her lazy Saturday?

"Well, what I'm trying to say is the following.", the white-haired went on, "If my father thinks that I'm a... a lesbian, it will be impossible for him to marry me off. There will be, most likely, no other daughters of businessmen that are into girls and even if, they won't be allowed to admit it. And he can't force me into marrying a man because he'll be afraid that I'm going to tell the press. It's going to be a much bigger deal if he forces me to marry a person of a gender I don't like instead of just a person I don't like. If we can make my father believe that I'm into girls he'll most certainly stop trying to find a suitor."

"But... you're not into girls, right?", Ruby asked.

"Of course not.", Weiss answered matter-of-factly, "That's why I said we need to make my father believe it. Which he most certainly won't if I just tell him I am. He'll be sending somebody to check on me, that's for sure."

"But then he'll know that all of this was a hoax.", the crimsonette said.

"Not when I have a... girlfriend.", the heiress said, blushing a little. Then, she made a pause.

Was it really okay to ask Ruby this? Admittedly, she was her best friend and they went through a lot of things together. But what the white-haired girl was requesting now was something completely different. If her father would find out that everything was just a scam, not just Weiss but also Ruby would be finished – Ruby even more so since the coldhearted CEO didn't have any use for her and would therefore simply crush her life. Thinking about the risks, maybe it was a bad idea after all. But then again, Weiss didn't have much of another choice. And after everything she had told Ruby so far, there was no turning back now.

"And I want you to play the part of her for the time being.", the white-haired girl finally finished.

There was a long silence. The crimsonette just stared at her with a look of utter confusion as if she didn't believe what she had heard a mere moment ago. Admittedly, the request of playing someone's lesbian girlfriend was a lot to take in, but still... It was unlike Ruby to show no reaction at all. Maybe this whole thing had really been a bad idea.

"I know this is a lot to ask and probably dangerous if my father finds out we're just lying to him, so I understand if you...", the heiress began anew but was quickly interrupted.

"I'll do it.", Ruby said determinedly.

"R-really?", Weiss asked dumbfounded. She hadn't thought that her crimson-haired friend would agree to this scam with so little hesitation.

"Of course.", the younger girl responded, "I can't let it happen that your father forces you to marry someone you don't love. I'll do anything to help you. You're my BFF!"

"Wow... t-thank you.", the heiress said, moved by Ruby's support, "I'm overjoyed that I can count on you regarding this."

"You can always count on me.", the crimsonette explained, "I don't care how odd your request is, as long as it is for a greater good, I'll always have your back."

Of course, Ruby was sure that she didn't do it just because she had romantic feelings for her partner. She would... probably... do something like this for anyone of her friends if they were faced with a similar serious problem ('Well, except Yang because ewww...', she thought). And maybe it would even be a lot easier to play the role of Weiss' girlfriend convincingly because she thought so often about it.

The thought that it would be a lot harder being this close to her crush while knowing it was just a fake didn't cross Ruby's mind at this point.

Fortunately for Weiss, she didn't have to worry about this kind of stuff since the white-haired girl didn't have those feelings and also wasn't aware of her partner's. However, she felt a bit bad for using Ruby like this. But the younger girl was willing to participate, after all, so she shrugged it off.

'Okay, I guess I've overcome the biggest hurdle.', the heiress thought with relief, 'But I still need a few other people in the know of this scam so it will work perfectly.'

She was certain that they could pull it off, though. Her plan won't fail. It mustn't fail!

Chapter Text

"You want us to do what?", Yang asked confused. She was still trying to process everything her white-haired teammate had told her. And given the dumbfounded faces of Blake and team JNPR who sat with her at the cafeteria table, they needed a moment to comprehend all of this, too.

"We want you to play along that Weiss and I are a couple when Weiss' father sends someone to check on us so she won't be forced to marry somebody she doesn't love and is sent back to Atlas.", Ruby summarized.

"So we have to pretend you guys are together as long as your father's lackeys are here in case they ask us about you?", Blake checked again.

"When they ask you about us.", Weiss stressed, "My father will most certainly tell his servants to verify this thoroughly and if they find anything fishy about it, he won't stop his attempts to find a suitor or even try to sabotage this... well, relationship, so that I have to go back to playing just another pawn in his schemes."

"But you aren't actually together, right?", Yang said, still curious for whatever reason.

"What part of pretend or play along did you not get?", the heiress asked annoyed. She and Ruby had explained everything to them multiple times by now.

"Yeah, alright. No need to be snippy.", the blonde responded defensively, "Just wanted to make that sure so we know who's won the pool of the be... Ow!" A kick from Blake from underneath the table silenced her abruptly. Weiss raised an eyebrow at that but decided it was probably better not to know about her teammates' shenanigans. She had other things to focus on right now anyway.

"Yeah, whatever...", Weiss simply responded to her friends' weird actions, "So? Can I count on you or do I have to look for new friends?"

"Don't be like that. Of course, you can count on us.", Jaune immediately said, "What your father wants to do isn't right, so we're going to help you putting an end to this." Then, he added quietly, and mostly to himself, "I also kinda doubt that you can find other friends."

"What was that?", the heiress asked irritated, even though she didn't quite get his last remark.

"N-nothing.", the blonde leader replied quickly and avoided eye contact with the white-haired girl.

"You can be sure that we'll do everything within our possibilities to help you in this endeavor.", Pyrrha now tossed in, "It can't be allowed that your father treats you like property." Ren only nodded at that statement.

"Yeah!", Nora cheered, "And if your plan doesn't work, we can still break his legs!"

"That will be as impossible as unnecessary. But thank you for your support.", Weiss said, "Anyway, you don't have to shout it from the housetops that Ruby and I are a couple now. I guess it fits my personality better and is more believable if I've only told my closest friends about it."

"There won't be any need for that, anyway.", Yang explained nonchalantly, "Given how clingy Ruby is towards you, I'm pretty sure a lot of people already think that you two are an item."

"What?", the heiress asked confused and raised an eyebrow, then she turned to her partner with a scolding expression.

"Umm, sorry?", the crimsonette half-said, half-asked with an apologetic smile, "But I guess it helps us with this whole scam thing, right?"

"Well, I guess you're correct about this..." Weiss sighed, "But as soon as everything is over, we need to get this straight... since we are, too." This comment made Ruby look a little crestfallen, yet she made sure that her friends didn't notice.

"As straight as spaghetti until it gets wet.", the blonde mumbled but, fortunately, nobody besides her (and maybe Blake, given her Faunus ears) heard it.

"So... what exactly are we have to do anyway?", Jaune asked, "You've said that there's a bunch of weirdos coming to ask us stuff about you and Ruby. As in you AND Ruby."

"This is correct.", Weiss confirmed, "My father's servants will most certainly ask you about how we got together, how we're treating each other and the like. A lot of personal stuff Ruby and I still have to come up with. We'll brief you as soon as that is done." She shared a look with the crimsonette, who nodded in response.

"As for any other, more or less unpredictable questions...", the white-haired girl continued, "You don't have to answer anything if you think it's personal enough that you doubt we have told you... the frequency of exchanging affections, for example. Any questions will probably be centered around me rather than Ruby, so just think of what I would do if I really were in a relationship with her to make everything seem credible."

"Then I guess I shouldn't say something like: it annoys me that you two get freaky every night, right?", Yang asked nonchalantly. At this comment, Ruby and Weiss blushed furiously.

"Most certainly not!", the heiress shrieked immediately in such a high pitch that it was almost supersonic. The younger girl only looked away sheepishly, trying to hide her face with her cloak a bit, succeeding doing so because its color blended perfectly with that of her cheeks now.

"Alright, I get it. It was just a joke. And also: Ow, my ears.", Yang said and rubbed the aforementioned sensory organs.

"Please stop your teasing, Yang.", Pyrrha requested politely, "This is serious. We all don't want Weiss to be taken away."

"Yeah, you're right. I'm sorry.", the blonde apologized, then she started to get contemplative, "Okay... Weiss-thoughts... If I wasn't a fun person, what would I do in a lesbian relationship that has nothing to do with clam diving?"

'I've made a horrible mistake...', the white-haired girl thought while shaking her head in regret.

Back in the dorm room, Weiss immediately finished the letter to her father. She told him that she couldn't attend the social engagement he had arranged (and a few apologies for not being able to) because she was seeing someone at the moment. It took her a while to figure out how to explain that the person she was currently dating was a girl and also apologized that she hadn't told him sooner. This circumstance was simply explained by telling him that she hadn't been sure if her feelings were really romantic ones herself, however, now she was certain that she was attracted to girls in general and to her beloved team leader in particular, a "charming, well-mannered and highly ambitious young lady", as she put it. The letter was finished with another apology about not living up to her father's expectations as well as wishing that he could understand since she couldn't do anything about her preferences – she doubted that the cold-hearted CEO was actually able to feel guilty about anything, but she could at least try.

The white-haired girl proofread the letter three times to make sure her web of lies was ironclad, changing some expressions here and there to stress that she was immensely sorry for this unexpected outcome. Then, she put the two pages into the envelope she had prepared earlier and went to Beacon's mail room to send it off. There was no turning back now!

However, Weiss knew that the real struggle had just begun. She still needed to make a presentable girlfriend out of Ruby – the crimsonette was nowhere near charming or well-mannered from an Atlesian upper-class man's point of view at the moment. This would require some training... scratch that, a LOT of training. This girl had tried to eat a cookie through her nose that one time, after all.

Fortunately, the heiress didn't have to lie about Ruby's ambitiousness. Once the crimson-haired girl had set her mind on something, she wouldn't back down, no matter what. And if something was concerning her friends, her determination grew even bigger – and Weiss was her BFF, after all. Hopefully, it would help the white-haired girl in her endeavor to make a convincing and acceptable girlfriend out of her – at least for a few days.

Even though the CEO of the Schnee Dust Company was most certainly working through Saturday and Sunday, Weiss was sure that she wouldn't get his answer before Monday. Corresponding by mail had its advantages, after all. The white-haired girl was thankful for that because they had gotten a horrid amount of homework over the weekend.

And while she knew that preparing everything for this scam had to be her top priority, Weiss couldn't bring herself to neglect her studies for this. Any unfinished assignment would only nag at her and disturb her concentration – Homework first, then shaping Ruby up and working on the details of this relationship. She still had a lot of time, right?

However, the white-haired girl was grievously mistaken.

It was Sunday afternoon and she was working on the last assignment for next week when her Scroll suddenly rung. The annoying noise broke her concentration – who the f-word wanted something from her on a Sunday? Her team was with her right now and her only friends lived across the hall.

With an annoyed huff, Weiss turned away from her studies and grabbed the device. However, the second she looked at the screen, a shiver went down her spine. It was almost surreal that six simple letters could scare her to the core, yet, it was happening at this very moment. The alphabetic characters glowed almost menacingly over the symbols for accepting or declining the call: FATHER.

Her teammates noticed the heiress' sudden mood change and that her body tensed up visibly. Yet, before they could say or ask anything, she simply excused herself and went outside. Ruby, Blake, and Yang didn't need to be geniuses to figure out that something bad must've happened. The three girls immediately shared a worried look.

Outside of the dorm room, Weiss took a deep breath and pressed the accept button with trembling fingers. It was obvious what her father wanted to talk about. Now it was important not to lose her cool and radiate self-confidence instead. She was a lesbian and Ruby her girlfriend, they were deeply in love and therefore she wasn't interested in any dates this man had arranged or would arrange in the future anymore.

"Hello, Father.", the white-haired girl said politely, "It's a pleasure to hear from you."

"Hello, Weiss, my dearest.", Jacques greeted as well, his voice stern as always but, luckily, not angry or annoyed, "I hope I'm not calling at an inconvenient moment." The heiress knew that he just said that out of courtesy. He was the most powerful businessman in all of Atlas, after all, probably even worldwide, so he only could be bothered and never bother himself – at least in his opinion.

"Not at all, Father.", the white-haired girl responded with feigned happiness, "I was just about to finish my last assignment for the next week as well as the optional tasks, of course. I have a reputation to uphold, after all."

"Well, the reason for my call somewhat concerns this reputation you're speaking about.", the CEO said, "You may have already guessed that I want to talk to you about the letter you've sent me yesterday."

'So it's right to the point then...', Weiss sighed inwardly.

"As I already wrote to you, I am immensely sorry that things have turned out like that.", the heiress quickly apologized again, trying to take the victim role, "I haven't planned for this to happen and it was cowardly of me to send this letter instead of talking to you face-to-face. I know that you put a lot of effort into finding an admirable suitor for me. I hope you can forgive me."

"Weiss, dear. There is nothing for you to worry about as well as nothing to forgive.", Jacques responded, "Feeling that way about a person of the same sex is perfectly normal. We don't live in the Middle Ages anymore. As for your way of informing me, I understand that there has to be a lot on your mind regarding this matter and talking about it with a parent can, no, must be difficult. Be sure that I am neither angry nor disappointed with you."

"R-really?", Weiss asked confused. This person didn't sound like her father at all. Was this man telling her that he was accepting her choice? That he would stop his attempts at trying to marry her off? That it was over?!

"However...", the CEO began anew.

'Of course...', the white-haired girl groaned inwardly again, 'This was going waaay to smooth.'

"Since our family is well-renowned and, well, incredibly wealthy, the likes of us shouldn't rush into a relationship with... common folk without taking safety measures.", Jacques continued.

'Ruby isn't common folk.', Weiss spat inwardly but was able to keep her mouth shut.

"Since you have provided that little information about this Miss... Rose, as I recall, and you are probably still seeing her through rose-colored glasses, colloquially spoken, I recommend to examine her and her background thoroughly.", the CEO explained, "Not that I don't trust your judgment but there are a lot of bad people in this world who are just after our money or status, after all."

'How dare you talking about her like this!', the heiress thought enraged, 'YOU are the one who had done all of this! A person as kindhearted as Ruby would never do something like that.'

But, again, she didn't say anything and only clenched her teeth. It was better to just listen at the moment anyway. Her father was most certainly about to tell her about the people he would send to check on them now. And that was highly important information.

"Your emotional well-being is my top priority, after all.", the head of the Schnee family said, even though he was obviously lying, "I just couldn't stand to see my little girl heartbroken because she didn't take care of herself and dove into an early love thoughtlessly. Therefore, I rearranged my schedule for the next week to pay you and your... girlfriend... a visit over the weekend, just to make sure that she holds you in as high regard as you do regarding her."

At this comment, Weiss almost dropped her Scroll. Did her father just say that he was coming to Beacon? To check on them? Personally?! She felt her heart stop.

"This probably sounds like I still treat you like a child, but I can't stress enough that a person of your status has to be cautious.", Jacques explained, "Don't see this as an act of surveillance but a proof of my deep care for you. I love you and I only want the best for you, after all. I hope you understand."

Too terrified to say anything else, the white-haired girl simply replied: "Y-yes, Father. Thank you, Father."

"Splendid.", the CEO finished politely, yet there was something menacing in his voice, "You'll receive further details on my arrival over the next week. I'm looking forward to becoming acquainted with your school as well as the... charming, young lady you've told me about. I'll leave you to your studies now. Have a good day, dear."

"L-likewise.", the heiress croaked out. Then, her father abruptly ended the call.

Weiss stayed in the hallway for a while, petrified, her Scroll still at her ear. Having to pretend that she and Ruby were a couple in front of her father's henchmen would've already been pretty bad. But having to pretend all of that in front of her father himself would be horrendous. Fooling this man would be a lot harder... if not impossible. For some reason, Weiss wasn't her usual, calm and collected self when he was around, as if she reverted to her past, self-conscious and neurotic form.

But failure wasn't an option. If her father would see through this scam, not only her life but Ruby's as well would be over. And that mustn't happen. They needed to improve this web of lies even more and work on the details with much more attention to make sure that everything, from the important stuff like their origin story to something as simple as knowing each other's favorite dessert, was perfectly plotted out. However, the heiress had no idea how to do so for now.

After about ten minutes of standing completely frozen in the hallway, Weiss reentered the dorm room. As expected, all eyes of her teammates were on her in an instant. And once they noticed that she looked terrible, they started to worry, too. Blake was the first one who addressed it.

"What's the matter?", she asked carefully.

"I... got a call...", the heiress muttered, "From my father... A highly disturbing one..."

"Did he say something bad?", Ruby wanted to know now, "Was it about our fake relationship or the people he wants to send?"

"Well... you see...", Weiss sighed, "I think the appropriate metaphor here involves a waterway consisting of excrements and a small water vessel without any means of propulsion."

"Being up shit creek without a paddle?", Yang asked confused.

The white-haired girl didn't answer. She just sat back down on her chair at the desk, still an empty expression on her even paler than usual face. Even though the aforementioned figure of speech was able to outline their situation... it was still a complete and utter understatement.

Chapter Text

The heiress needed some time to explain everything that had happened on the phone to her friends, as well as why it was so much worse that her father was visiting personally instead of just sending his minions. Now it was even more important to perfect this scam and work on every single lie and little aspect. Yet, Weiss was too shocked at the moment to think about anything – understandable, at least in her teammates' opinion.

On Monday, however, the white-haired girl woke up an hour early. She had digested the news by now and was more than eager to come up with everything needed so her relationship with Ruby would seem credible. After a quick shower and her first cup of coffee, she immediately started to work on a list, trying to note down everything that could be of importance for a couple... even though her knowledge in that department was pretty limited.

That they had classes to attend to this day didn't bother her. Her teammates were pretty surprised that the white-haired girl listened to their professors with only half an ear and barely took any notes. Every bit of energy she could spare went into the list. And her determination didn't end at that: The moment the final bell rang on Monday, she grabbed Ruby by the hand and dragged her back to the dorm room to come up with everything they needed to convince her father that this relationship was totally real.

Yang and Blake looked after them, unsure how to react. It was probably better to give the two lovebirds some privacy, as the grinning blonde put it, so they could figure everything out. With this in thought, team Bumblebee left for the library to kill some time.

"Okay, Ruby. Listen here and listen closely.", Weiss began as soon as they were back in the dorm room, "We need to be the perfect couple in order to make this scam credible. Every single lie has to be completely ironclad. This fake relationship is the only thing that can save me from a meaningless life as a trophy wife. So give it your all when coming up with what we need to pull it off."

Scam. Lie. Fake. The words her partner used reminded Ruby immediately of the fact that this relationship was anything but real. However, she didn't show her sadness about it: This wasn't about her weird fantasies or wishful thinking, it was about helping a friend, her best friend. They needed to succeed so Weiss wouldn't be taken away from her.

Therefore, the crimson-haired girl simply said: "Alright. Then what do we need to come up with?"

"Let's start with the basics.", the heiress suggested and checked her list, "We can go with the truth for how we met. Even though it was a disaster, it adds a little comedic effect to the fact that we ended up together. But how exactly did that happen? We need a pretty good origin story."

Now that should be easy. The younger girl had thought a lot about this already. It was like she had a whole folder of awesome ideas in her head. But she didn't reply immediately – that would seem suspicious. Therefore, Ruby waited a few minutes before finally making a proposal... as natural and spontaneous as possible, of course.

"Oh, I have an idea!", she chirped, "We were out on a mission, a pack of Beowolves attacked you and I saved you in a really, really cool and brave way. Then, you immediately fell for me."

Of all the scenarios she had already come up with in her daydreams, the crimsonette liked this one best. It was the knight in shining armor kind of stuff she had always loved in the stories Yang had read to her when they were little. However, Weiss didn't seem to share her opinion.

"Most certainly not!", the white-haired girl objected immediately, "This will just make my father think I'm weak and not suited to become a Huntress. If something like this would've happened, it would be the other way around."

"Then... you saved me and I fell for you? Like, on our initiation with the Death Stalker?", Ruby asked, "But then your father might think I'm weak and not suited for you."

"Nobody saved anybody.", Weiss sighed annoyed, "This story is way too stereotypical and therefore too inauthentic. Let's settle for something more... normal and gradual. None of this movie nonsense where one moment changed the lives of the protagonists completely."

"Huh... I guess you're right.", the crimsonette pondered, "But it has to be something that made you realize you like girls. Since your father doesn't know me, I can just tell him I was always into them. But in your case..."

The heiress had to admit that her partner had a point. This was mostly about her, not about Ruby. But what event could've triggered her affection to the crimsonette?

"Okay, how about...", Weiss pondered and scanned her list again, "It started when I was upset over something and you comforted me."

"Upset about what?", Ruby wanted to know and giggled afterwards, "Getting a B+?"

"Ruby, take this more seriously!", the white-haired girl scolded her partner, "I mean, like, getting bad news or something."

"What about this whole getting married off thing?", the younger girl suggested, "This seems like bad news."

"Do I really have to explain to you why exactly this isn't going to work?", Weiss sighed annoyed.

"Oh, yeah. I get it now.", Ruby responded with a grin, "We were together before all of this had happened."

"Urgh... maybe this was a terrible idea.", the white-haired girl groaned, "We're failing at point one already... How can we pull this scam off, when we can't even come up with something like a simple origin story?"

"That's it.", the young leader suddenly mumbled.

"What's it?", Weiss asked confused. Did her partner just agree that their plan was futile?

"Your constant self-doubts.", Ruby explained, "That's the solution."

"Huh?", the heiress couldn't follow.

"There was this mission about two months ago.", the crimsonette continued, "We kinda screwed up and if it wasn't for Professor Port's help, who knows what could've happened. To the village, the townspeople... us..."

Weiss remembered all too well. They had attended a simple search and destroy mission – a village had reported a pack of Ursai and wanted them eradicated. Team RWBY, under the supervision of Professor Port, wanted to accomplish the task. However, for some reason, everything went wrong. There were way more Grimm than they had expected, her Dust rapier had a malfunction and if their teacher hadn't been with them, there would've been deaths for sure... of the villagers, and maybe even...

"After the mission, you were pretty devastated.", Ruby recalled, "You doubted that you were able to become a Huntress, or able to bear seeing this much suffering and all that. And I comforted you and told you that everything's going to be alright. That we're still learning and stuff – that's the reason Professor Port was supervising us, after all. And then you felt better. We even cuddled for a short time – completely platonic, of course." While this was the truth, the crimsonette liked to interpret that last part a little different... at least in her mind.

"Yeah... I remember that.", the heiress said, deep in thought, "That day had been a disaster. I isolated myself after the mission and chased everybody who wanted to talk to me away. But you didn't back down and continued to pester me with your solace attempts... and in the end, you succeeded."

"I just couldn't give up on you.", the younger girl explained, "I can't bear to see you sad. You're my BFF."

"Thank you... for always being there for me in moments like that.", Weiss responded with a small smile, "You're really a great friend." Okay, that friend-part stung a little, but Ruby tried to appreciate the compliment nonetheless.

"Anyway, what I meant is that we could use this little episode as our origin story.", the crimson-haired girl continued, "It a little like this knight in shining armor kind of stuff, but not too much so. After I comforted you, you realized that you like me... and not just in the, well, friend way. And then, after you had thought about it for a while, you confessed to me. In the dorm room or whatever, somewhere simple. And I told you something like: "I always spend so much time with you because I've feelings for you"... and not because I'm just clingy.", she added that part hastily, "And then, it somehow... clicked: we kissed and became a couple afterwards."

The white-haired girl thought it over. It seemed like a good enough origin story, not too exaggerated but not too mundane, either. And even Professor Port had seen that Ruby had tried to comfort her on the airship ride back to Beacon, so if he would be asked about it by her father or his entourage, he could confirm that it had happened. And since Weiss didn't have a better idea, nor believed that she could come up with one, she was satisfied with this as their background. It had been a pretty cute moment, after all.

Wait... cute? Where did that come from? It had been nice to be comforted, yeah... but cute? Weiss shook the weird thought out of her head. There were a lot of other things to come up with, so it was most certainly better not to waste any more time.

"Okay... I guess this seems credible. You comforted me after a bad mission and I realized I like you in... that way.", the heiress summarized, eager to move on, then she checked her list again, "Next up: Favorite movie. Do you know any romances we could've watched as a couple? Maybe even something that reminded us of this origin story? Oh, and none of the stuff Blake made us watch so far! These things were disgraceful." There were, again, a few moments of silence afterwards.

"Huh... Beats me...", Ruby responded after recalling some romance movies she had seen (which weren't a lot), "What about you?"

"As you know, I'm not exactly a fan of TV and that stuff.", Weiss reminded her partner, "It's not that important that we have one, though. I just thought this couple scam would be more believable if we had common interests."

"Wait!", the crimsonette suddenly exclaimed, "There's this one scene in In My Sight where Skye Tenebrae..."

"We won't pick this bloody and barbaric sniper movie you like as our favorite romance just because it has one kissing scene.", the heiress interrupted her immediately, "And I'm still a little mad at you for making me watch this waste of time."

"Okay...", Ruby said meekly, "Sorry... My favorites are all action movies, so..."

"Urgh... this isn't of any use.", Weiss sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, "Let's just say we don't have a favorite movie. My father knows I have no interest in this stuff anyway. What about music? Maybe we can find some common ground here. But please, not this weird boy band stuff your sister is obsessed with."

"Well... I mostly listen to rock stuff.", the younger girl explained, "Y'know, fast drums, screeching guitars, booming base runs, and these epic lyrics about... wow, I can already see your complete disinterest about everything I was talking about." Of course, she interpreted her partner's facial expression correctly.

Therefore, she asked again: "Umm... what about you?"

"Do you have any knowledge about classical music?", Weiss wanted to know.

"Well... by classical music you don't mean classic rock, right?", Ruby asked back sheepishly.

"Urgh... no.", Weiss sighed again, "This is a disaster." There was another long silence. Again, the heiress thought that picking Ruby for playing her girlfriend had been a bad idea. They had so little in common. How could they come off as a couple without any shared hobbies or interests? Or were her self-doubts just getting the better of her again?

"I... umm... like what you sing.", Ruby suddenly said, catching the heiress completely by surprise.

"Y-you what?", the white-haired girl asked confused.

"I like the stuff you sing.", the crimsonette repeated, "Even though it's pretty sad sometimes, I like to listen to you."

"When did you hear me sing?", the heiress wanted to know. She did that pretty rarely, after all.

"Sometimes... when you think you're alone... I caught it. And, for some reason, I liked it. It... kinda calms me down. Y-you have a beautiful voice. Umm... I'm really sorry for eavesdropping."

Now that surprised the white-haired girl. Ruby liked her singing? Her songs were always either sad or pretty dramatic, completely unlike to what the crimsonette usually listened to. And the girl thought her voice was beautiful? Weiss felt her cheeks heat up a bit at that, yet she couldn't help but smile a little, for whatever reasons.

"It's okay.", the white-haired girl simply responded to her partner's apology, "Singing calms me down as well. And thanks for the compliments."

"You're welcome.", Ruby said, trying to hide the faint blush that covered her face now, "A-anyway, I guess that covers the favorite music stuff. And it's probably an answer your father is going to be pleased with. What's next?"

"Oh, umm, let's see...", the heiress checked her list, "What about... favorite food? Desserts and stuff."

"Now that should be a... piece of cake.", Ruby said, giggling at her lame pun, "I like pretty much everything as long as there's sugar in it, so you just pick something and I'm fine with it. It's going to be something with blueberries, right?"

"How do you...?", Weiss asked surprised.

"I'm pretty observant, you know.", the younger girl grinned, "It's no secret that you always make sure the stuff you eat is healthy, but sometimes I saw you sinning. And it was always stuff with blueberries: Ice cream, muffins, a slice of pie here and there. You don't need to be a genius to figure out this is your favorite flavor."

"I don't do that that often.", the heiress pouted, "But whatever. Let's just say our favorite dessert is blueberry pie topped with strawberries and whipped cream, so your preferences won't be left out."

"Awww... you remember I love strawberries.", Ruby gushed over Weiss' choice of dessert, "You're like... the best girlfriend ever."

"The key to a successful relationship is compromise.", the white-haired girl joked. But then she was taken aback. Even though it had been just a joke, saying something like that felt... weird... but not exactly in a bad way. Just in a... weird way. The heiress shook the thought out of her head again and returned her attention back to the list.

"O-okay. Next issue: Pet names.", Weiss read off of it, "You go first. Preferably something affectionate that fits my personality or my appearance."

"Umm...", Ruby quickly pondered, "How about Snow Angel?"

"Please, anything but that.", the heiress groaned and suppressed a gag. She would probably never forget Jaune's first, very awkward flirting attempt. And even though they were friends now, this weird episode would always remain in the back of her mind.

"What's with... Princess?", the crimsonette asked.

"Too plain. Also, could be understood as sarcasm. Your sister uses it that way all the time.", Weiss simply answered.

"You're probably right.", Ruby nodded and tried to think of something else, "Sparkle? Y'know, like ice and stuff."

"That sounds like a cat name.", the white-haired girl objected but then added with a chuckle, "But let's keep that in mind if one of us has to pretend to be Blake's girlfriend someday."

"Yeah, can't wait for this to happen.", the crimsonette said and giggled as well. However, her smile didn't reach her eyes. She had been reminded yet again that all of this was just a fake. But she knew she mustn't show her sadness.

"Come on, Ruby. This can't be that hard to do.", Weiss sighed, "Any other ideas?"

Of course, Ruby had another one: her secret pet name for her partner and crush. A name for the Weiss in her fantasy, the Weiss that wanted to be with her, too. A name that captured all of her essence, and beauty, and all the other things, big or small, that Ruby loved and cherished about her. But this name was hers, and hers alone. The idea of using it for this fake relationship felt... wrong. It would become meaningless then.

"Can't I just go with Weissy or something?", the crimson-haired girl groaned.

"No, you can't.", Weiss said almost scoldingly, "We need some good nicknames to prove we're so deeply in love that we went through the trouble of coming up with sappy stuff."

So deeply in love that you come up with sappy stuff, huh? Once again, Ruby was reminded of the depth of her feelings for the white-haired girl, this time even from the person of her interest herself. But if their plan failed, it was highly possible that this person would be married off and taken back to Atlas and Ruby would never see her again. Of course, the crimsonette didn't believe to get anywhere if Weiss stayed at Beacon but this way they could at least stay friends... and she could admire her from afar. Therefore, she made a decision.

"Umm... I think... Snowdrop sounds nice.", Ruby suddenly said with a faint blush, "Y'know, like the flower. They bloom in winter and the petals are white, so the name fits your appearance. They are also cute and delicate but still strong and tough, breaking through snow and ice just to show the world their beauty. So, yeah... I guess that one probably... might... kind of... suit you."

The younger girl then looked away, embarrassed, a little afraid of how her partner would react to her explanation. What if Weiss didn't like it? What if the heiress hated the name she held so dearly? What if her partner thought she was trying to mock her because of her size or something? Weiss remained silent for what felt like hours and just stared at her while Ruby grew more and more anxious by the second. But then...

"Wow... that's...", Weiss breathed in awe and a weird, yet pleasant warmth spread through her body... but before the word beautiful could slip out of her mouth, she quickly regained her composure and finished in a more casual tone, "A-acceptable, I guess."

"Y-you like it?", the crimson-haired girl asked, trying not to sound too hopeful.

"Well... at least it's original and... cute, I guess...", Weiss answered, still trying to shake off the strange feeling inside of her, "A-and it sounds kind of childish, too, so there'll be no doubt about that you came up with it."

"Hey...", Ruby pouted and deflated slightly.

"Okay, that sounded harsher than I meant it.", the heiress apologized, "It's a really nice name and by far the best one anyone came up with so far."

"Thank you.", the younger girl said happily, hoping she wouldn't blush again right now. To avoid this, she quickly changed the topic: "Okay, now you need a cute nickname for me, right?"

At this statement, a faint shade of red crept into Weiss' face now. This kind of had slipped her mind but it was obvious that her partner had a point. But how to address her girlfriend in front of her father without sounding like a lovestruck idiot AND still make the whole scam seem believable?

"I guess I'll just stick with something generic like sweetie or cookie or the like.", Weiss quickly said, "My father will probably get suspicious if I'm suddenly all lovey-dovey. Coming up with an immensely thoughtful pet name doesn't sound like me at all."

"Hey, no fair!", Ruby exclaimed, "I gave mine a ton of thought and you just use something out of a third-class schmaltzy flick?!"

"Ton of thought?", the heiress asked and raised an eyebrow in confusion, "You just came up with it in a few minutes or so." It was now that the younger girl realized she had almost let the cat out of the bag.

"Oh... yeah... that might be true but...", she said, trying to detract the attention from herself, "But at least mine's pretty unique. And a Weiss who's so deeply in love with me would probably go the extra mile, don't you think?"

Now that was a perfect response. Not only that it would help them to convince Weiss' father that they were actually together so Weiss could stay at Beacon, Ruby would also hear something cute out of the heiress' actual mouth that was meant just for her. Maybe she could even include it in her future daydreams.

"I guess you're right...", the white-haired girl sighed, "But as I told you, I really suck at this stuff."

"Come on, my little Snowdrop.", Ruby said, trying to sound at least a little like she was joking so Weiss wouldn't notice how overjoyed she was to actually use her pet name, "It's not that hard. You said it yourself: Just find something cute that fits my personality or my appearance."

A little annoyed by the fact that her partner turned her own words against her now, Weiss started thinking. But how to approach the problem? First, themes for nicknames: Animals, flowers, sweets... Cookie actually hadn't been that bad because of the crimsonette's fondness for these sugary treats. But Ruby was right – a lot of people (especially in these obnoxious schmaltzy flicks Blake sometimes watched) addressed their significant other that way. Snowdrop was amazing and even though the heiress didn't really care about a unique pet name for the crimson-haired girl, her pride prohibited her from coming up with anything less amazing.

In the seat next to her, Ruby began to get sadder by the second. Could Weiss really not think of something nice about her? Was she really just a nuisance to the heiress? Of course not, they were friends and partners, but her mind just made her think of all this depressing stuff for some reason. Damn it, feelings were complicated. Needless to say, she had a good pet name for herself, one the Weiss in her daydreams called her every time. It wasn't even that original, too. How come her partner couldn't think of a single thing?!

"It's no use.", the white-haired girl sighed annoyed, "I got nothing. How can such an insignificant task like coming up with a nickname be so difficult?" The word insignificant worsened the crimsonette's mood further, but she didn't let it show.

This whole thing began to frustrate the heiress. There had to be something suitable to call Ruby by. She was cute, objectively speaking, of course, and she always smelled of roses, even though Weiss had no idea why. She was nice and bubbly, still a child sometimes but had also made a lot of progress, acting and becoming more mature over the past year. Just a little longer and she would probably... come into flower. Then it hit her!

"Okay...", Ruby sighed gloomily, "If you really can't think of anything, just go with..."

"Rosebud.", both girls suddenly said in unison.

There was a long moment of silence. Ruby and Weiss just stared into each other's eyes, trying to comprehend what had happened. For some reason, they felt a strange connection as time slowed down around them. Weiss was the first one to shake it off and speak up again.

"Wow...", she simply said, "That was... weird."

"Y-yeah.", Ruby muttered, "Weird..." Then, she turned away, blushing. A million thoughts went through her mind at the moment. Was this a sign? This had to be a sign. No, it wasn't a sign. Thinking that this was a sign was too superstitious. But what if it was a sign? Urgh, this was frustrating. And stupid. Was she stupid? Wait... Weiss was talking to her.

"B-but at least we have that off the table.", the white-haired said, "So it's Snowdrop and Rosebud. Both flower-themed, so they go well with each other."

"Yup. Well with each other. You're totally right.", Ruby responded and looked up to face the heiress again. Then she noticed something odd: Was Weiss... also blushing?!

"A-anyway. I guess that'll do for the moment.", the white-haired girl remarked hastily, even though they were only one third through her list, "I'm going to the library to, umm, study... for the week... and stuff. If you have any additional ideas for this scam (for some reason, she put emphasis on this word), send me a text. If you excuse me..." Then, she quickly grabbed a notebook from the desk and stormed out of the dorm room.

After the door had fallen shut, Weiss leaned against it and took a deep breath. What the hell had happened back there?! The moment she had heard her pet name and the moment she and Ruby said the one for the younger girl together, she had felt really weird. Why?! Was she that nervous about her father's arrival? Had it to do something with Ruby? No, that was impossible. It was just that this whole scenario was wearing her out. Her life was at stake, after all. This wasn't about Ruby.

In the dorm room, the crimson-haired girl had similar thoughts. Could it be that this weird connection she had felt was a sign after all? Had Weiss felt the same that moment? Most certainly not... but then again, the heiress had been a little flustered.

'Do I have a chance?', Ruby thought, 'No, this is ridiculous. This is just a fake relationship so Weiss won't be married off. If I do anything weird or wrong, it'll endanger the plan AND ruin our friendship. That mustn't happen. Pull yourself together, Ruby!'

Suddenly, a weird, somewhat terrifying thought struck both girls at the same time:

'What if I have to kiss her?!'

Chapter Text

Weiss got the exact time of her father's arrival on Tuesday evening. If there wasn't a giant blizzard haunting over Atlas which made traveling by airship impossible (something the heiress secretly prayed for), she and her girlfriend would meet him on Friday at five o'clock sharp at Beacon's docks. Up until then, every single aspect of their scam had to be perfect.

Ruby and Weiss continued preparing everything during the whole week, using every minute they could spare. Sometimes, they even worked on it during the lectures, which only showed their teammates how serious this whole scenario was. Weiss' determination was easily understandable, though – her life was at stake, after all.

After she and Ruby had gone through all the couple stuff about five times, improving some details here and there every time, they briefed Blake, Yang and team JNPR about everything they had come up with. At least the feedback they got in return reassured them a little: Their friends thought that it was pretty credible as well, from the origin story right up to the cute pet names.

However, the heiress didn't stop there. She knew that it wasn't enough if it was just believable that she and Ruby were a couple. The crimsonette also needed to be acceptable company in general. Not that Weiss thought she wasn't, but in her father's opinion, it meant being ridiculously well-mannered, educated, cultivated, and who knew what else. In the younger girl's case, the CEO would probably set even higher standards since she was about to ruin his plans. Therefore, after the young Huntresses had taken care of the lies about them as a couple, they tackled this issue.

Ruby had to learn everything about sophisticated behavior: the use of elevated speech, formal gestures like certain handshakes, bows, curtsies, and the like, the basics of classical music and art, and, of course, table manners and the correct use of the cutlery. Especially the last thing gave Ruby an incredibly hard time – she just couldn't manage to keep the approximately two-hundred knives, forks and spoons apart. Why must rich people make everything so complicated, even something as simple as eating?

However, the crimson-haired girl knew she had to get this right somehow – for Weiss. Failure wasn't an option.

Soon, it was Friday... the moment of truth (even though it was a scam they were pulling off). But even Yang knew better than to make a lame pun about it – this was dead serious now. At quarter to five, a perfectly dressed and styled Ruby and Weiss left for the airship docks to put an end to the CEO's attempts to marry the white-haired girl off.

The rest of the group was instructed to do whatever and act all natural so they won't seem suspicious – Weiss' father or his henchmen would eventually come to them. The heiress stressed one last time how important it was to stick to the plan: If they were asked about her and Ruby's relationship they had to provide some general information about it but avoid spilling anything that might be too personal for them to know about.

The young couple made their way to Beacon's airship docks in silence. Everything that had to be said had been said a few hours ago. Now it was time for action.

Soon, Ruby and Weiss reached their destination. The white-haired girl's father had told them to wait for his arrival in front of the main landing site. The two young Huntresses-in-training barely stood there for a couple minutes when they heard the roaring of an aircraft engine in the sky. They immediately noticed the pristine white vehicle with the SDC crest on the hull that was heading their way.

"Okay, Ruby. There he is...", Weiss mumbled, "Now please don't get nervous." Even though the heiress won't admit it, the last part was mostly said to herself. She knew this man all too well and if he would find a single weakness in their scam, regardless of how minuscule it was, he would tear this whole web of lies to pieces and then their lives would be over.

"But you told me I should pretend to be at least a little nervous.", the crimsonette reminded her partner, "Meeting the parents is a pretty big deal and I should show this a bit to seem more credible. Your words, not mine."

"Yeah, but... not some kind of insincere nervousness.", Weiss explained, even though she knew how weird that sounded.

"Then what's the difference between sincere and insincere nervousness?", Ruby asked confused, "I don't think I can follow your train of thought at the moment."

"Well, I mean not some kind of Please don't let him see through this scam nervousness.", the heiress explained further and got a little annoyed now, "Instead... y'know... confident nervousness."

"Confident nervousness?", the crimsonette repeated and raised one of her raven eyebrows, "You don't make any sense, Weiss."

"I know that I don't, you dolt!", the white-haired girl snarled back in a high-pitched voice, "I'm kind of having a panic attack here! J-just... do what you think feels natural."

Suddenly, she felt a hand gently grabbing her own and the fingers of said hand intertwining with hers. Weiss immediately tensed up and instinctively pulled her hand away again. Then she gave Ruby an irritated look.

"What do you think you're doing?!", the white-haired girl asked.

"Comforting my girlfriend.", Ruby simply responded, "Being loving and supportive is kind of my job now, don't you think?"

"I... guess you're right.", Weiss sighed, "But not right now. We can hold hands after I've introduced you to my father so he doesn't see us all lovey-dovey immediately."

"Alright... sorry.", the younger girl apologized and deflated slightly.

"No, I'm sorry.", the heiress corrected, "I'm just... pretty nervous about everything. And, umm, thanks. For trying to cheer me up... Rosebud."

"Don't mention it.", Ruby responded, now smiling again, "As I said, I always have your back... Snowdrop."

The couple shared another smile and a small blush, then, their attention was called by the loud thud of the white airship's landing gear hitting the ground about fifty yards from them. Soon after, the door opened and the ramp extended.

'So it begins...', the white-haired girl thought.

Three people exited the airship now. A tall woman with a clipboard was the first one. She wore her platinum blonde hair in a professional ponytail and her long, angular face with the curved nose made her look like a ravener. Behind her walked a stocky, balding, and bespectacled man with a full beard and a suitcase. Even though his features looked a little more friendly and tolerant, the stern look on his face told otherwise. However, these two people lost the title most intimidating person at the docks by a long shot.

Another person exited the airship behind them. The man had gray-white hair and a pale complexion as well as a large, gray mustache and cold, blue eyes. He wore a pure white double-breasted jacket with a red handkerchief in the breast pocket, a blue shirt and vest underneath, and a gray-white tie. Elegant pants and shoes completed the look... and there was a silver-colored ring on his right hand. The whole appearance screamed superiority. Even Ruby immediately knew it: That was Jacques Schnee.

The CEO of the SDC exited the airship in a pretty casual manner. He quickly spotted his daughter and her acquaintance and wasted no time approaching them. With a firm and confident step, he overtook his minions and positioned himself right in front of Weiss and Ruby. He still had his arms behind his back, a clear sign that he didn't want to exchange any physical contact, even though this was his own flesh and blood standing in front of him.

There was a long silence. Neither party seemed to want to make the first step. However, after a few moments...

"Weiss, dear. It is so good to see you again.", Jacques began in a comradely manner.

"Likewise, Father.", the white-haired girl answered with a polite bow of her head. She had her hands behind her back, too, but not just because she didn't want to touch the man as well. It was mostly so her father wouldn't see her fidgeting with her fingers – she was nervous as hell, after all.

"And this must be Miss Rose.", Jacques continued and fixated Ruby with his cold, blue eyes, "The girl my precious daughter spoke of in such a high regard."

Weiss' eyes darted to her fake girlfriend as well. It was time for the first impression. If Ruby fucked this up, everything would be over before it even began. The white-haired girl knew that this man could be pretty intimidating with just his eyes and voice and if he noticed any kind of weakness or, to be honest, any detail he wasn't pleased with, heads would roll. However...

"It's a pleasure and an honor to finally meet you in person, sir.", the younger girl responded with honest-sounding kindness and made a small but still perfect curtsy, "Weiss had already told me a lot about the world-famous head of the Schnee Dust Company."

"The pleasure is all mine, Miss Rose.", Jacques replied with a small nod, "I was looking forward to meeting the... extraordinary person who was able to... win my daughter's heart." At this statement, Ruby blushed a little and quickly shared a look and a small smile with her girlfriend.

"If you excuse me now...", the CEO continued, "I have a meeting with the headmaster followed by a tour through the school. I want to make sure that everything here conforms to my standards since my family's well-being is my top priority. However, I have booked a table at an exquisite restaurant in Vale at 8 o'clock for us to... become acquainted with each other." The way he said this, although it seemed friendly, sent a shiver down both girls' spines. His lips showed a small smile under the mustache, but his eyes had something pretty threatening to them.

"That sounds lovely, Father.", Weiss croaked out, "Do you want us to meet you there or..."

"We will depart with my airship from here at quarter past seven precisely.", Jacques explained, "I expect you to be punctual. And do not worry about the price, I will treat you to it."

"Thank you, sir.", Ruby said with another bow of her head, "That is very generous of you."

"It is nothing.", the CEO retorted flatly, "Everything... for the family. See you soon."

He gave both girls one last nod, then he simply made his way to the main building. A simple wave and his entourage, who had stood behind him the entire time, followed suit.

Weiss and Ruby looked after them for a few moments. The latter had a confused expression on her face. Now that guy was Weiss' father...

"Did he explicitly say that we had to meet him at the airship docks?", the younger girl asked her partner after the small group was out of earshot.

"Yup!", Weiss answered, popping the P, "But we would've done this even if he hadn't requested it."

"No... I understand this but... He barely said anything before he ditched us.", Ruby mentioned, "Just a quick greeting and an announcement. I won't call that an invitation. I mean, that was a pretty long walk for us for such little talk."

"That's all part of his performance.", the white-haired girl explained, "He wanted to make a point: He is in charge and we have to do how he says. But we can't let this intimidate us. We'll endure his bullshit for two days and then he will have to realize that he can't marry me off and finally leave me alone."

"Let's hope so. This guy gives me the creeps.", the crimsonette sighed, then she asked nervously, "Did I do good?"

"You did superbly.", Weiss reassured her friend, "But that was just the beginning. The real interrogation will start at the dinner he is going to treat us to... in barely three hours."

"Hey, cheer up.", Ruby said and pulled her girlfriend into a one-armed hug, "You don't have to worry about anything. We're the perfect couple. We have all these cute stories to tell and as long as you get this fear of being touched under control, we're totally fine."

"I don't have a fear of being touched.", the white-haired girl pouted. However, while she had said it, she had already wriggled herself out of Ruby's hug. The moment she noticed it and saw her partner's superior grin, she facepalmed at her actions.

"Okay, I'll work on that.", the heiress then sighed, "At least it's not that bad if it's someone I like."

"Aww... You really know how to make a girl feel special.", Ruby giggled and hugged Weiss yet again, but this time the heiress returned the hug, if only hesitantly.

"By the way: Why do you do this weird pet play stuff with me when you don't like physical contact.", the crimsonette asked after they broke away from each other.

"Touching other people is easier for me than being touched by them.", Weiss explained, "And, as I said, it's kind of easier for me if it's you. You're my best friend, after all."

"And you're mine.", Ruby responded smiling, even though there was a little sadness showing in her eyes while saying this. Fortunately, the heiress didn't notice.

"Also, it's part of the commands and you listening to them, so it's a small sacrifice for some peace and quiet.", the white-haired girl suddenly added with a grin.

"Hey!", the crimsonette pouted upon hearing that.

"We can still go back to the occasional scolding, Rosebud.", Weiss suggested while her grin grew a little wider.

"I haven't said anything.", Ruby quickly said with faked fear of the white-haired girl, which caused Weiss to giggle. Soon after, the younger girl joined in.

'How does this girl do this?', the heiress suddenly asked herself inwardly, 'I was a nervous wreck just a few minutes ago and now I'm standing here, giggling like an idiot, and have almost forgotten about my miserable situation.'

The moment she looked back into her partner's eyes and saw her beaming smile, a warm and fuzzy feeling slowly spread through her body. This happy face was somehow immensely comforting, these silver eyes like beacons of hope, and this girl's seemingly endless energy managed to recharge Weiss whenever she was near her.

The heiress shook this weird feeling she was having off again. As much as she liked Ruby's company, she had other things to focus on. They had a scam to pull off, after all.

Chapter Text

Ruby and Weiss spent the time until their dinner with the CEO near the cliffside to avoid running into him and his henchmen – as well as Professor Ozpin. Jacques had stated that the headmaster was showing him around the school, after all, and it would probably be a little awkward to act all couple-like in front of the gray-haired man. The fewer people who knew about this scam, the better. It would be easier that way once everything was over.

At least, the two young Huntresses-in-training could use their time to fine-tune their lies once again without interruption. This dinner would be the real deal, the real first impression after this rather short meeting at the airship docks.

Time flew by while they were talking to each other – not only about the scam but about other things as well. You could almost say they were walking down the memory lane, but every time they did so, they also thought about integrating another story or two into their scam, in case they were asked about their time together. Ruby noticed once more how serious and determined Weiss was about all of this. And, of course, the crimsonette understood it – her partner's life was on the line, after all.

Soon, it was seven o'clock and almost time for them to meet up with Jacques at his airship. The girls set out for their meeting place early, even though it was a pretty short walk. But it was probably best to be a little over-punctual, so the CEO would believe they were actually looking forward to this first get-together – which they didn't...

To their surprise, even though they were about ten minutes early, Jacques was already waiting by the airship, this time without his henchmen. The heiress knew that these were running around the school at the moment, trying to gather information about the young couple and pestering staff members and friends alike with weird and maybe even inappropriate questions. Hopefully, Ruby's obvious and everlasting clinginess over the last few months would provide that even those not on the inside of this scam assumed they could be together.

But now was not the time to worry about that. Weiss and Ruby had their own problems to face right now.

"Greetings again, girls.", Jacques said as soon as they were within earshot, "I am glad you could make it in time. Over-punctual, even."

"I'd rather be in Professor Port's class right now...", Ruby whispered to her partner, "...forced to listen by some weird, medieval torturing device."

"I'm pretty sure that not even that could make you pay attention.", Weiss responded with a small chuckle.

"True that. You know me so well, Snowdrop.", the crimson-haired girl said with a giggle.

"What's with the whispering?", Jacques asked and raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, Ruby is just a little nervous.", Weiss explained nonchalantly, "Meeting the parents of each other is a big deal, after all."

"Miss Rose, there is nothing to worry about.", the CEO reassured the younger girl, "It is just a dinner and I am only human. Simply getting acquainted with your partner's father should not be something scaring you. You fight colossal monsters every other day, after all."

'To be honest... I don't feel that much of a difference at the moment.', Ruby thought but knew better than to actually say it out loud.

"I just want to make a good first impression, sir, is all.", she responded instead, "Your blessing to our relationship is immensely important to me."

"If my daughter has chosen you, then I am certain that you are a charming, young lady.", Jacques replied with a small smile. However, the crimsonette noticed that his eyes said something more like: "We will see about that."

"Well, then. Let us depart. I assume that, even if we arrive a little early, our table will be ready.", the CEO continued, then he turned to Ruby once more, "One of the many advantages of being or being with a Schnee. I guess that must come in handy when you are with my daughter... on a date or the like..."

"I actually don't really think about that.", Ruby replied honestly, "I guess I don't see Weiss as a Schnee, but more like... y'know... just Weiss. As my partner and my friend... and now girlfriend." The younger girl was smart enough to figure out that this was a test to check if she was just after the family's fortune or reputation, so she was sure she had answered right. But even if this whole scenario wouldn't be a scam, Ruby would never date Weiss just because she was rich. To even think that the white-haired girl could only be loved because of that, like the CEO apparently implied, was wrong, and mean, and it made the younger girl angry. She knew she mustn't show that, though.

"You are indeed an interesting person. A little naive, but pure. I like that.", the CEO noted. However, the crimsonette and even her partner couldn't make out if he really meant it the way he had said it... or if he even believed Ruby's answer.

Therefore, the younger girl simply responded: "Uhh... thank you, sir?" This was only answered with a curt nod.

"Anyway, let us not waste any more time chatting at a dirty airport, when we can do the same at a fine restaurant.", Jacques suggested, "I also start to get somewhat hungry. And the cafeteria's menu was... disappointing, to say at least."

"You should try the pancakes.", Ruby recommended.

"For dinner?", came the CEO's flouting response.

"My mom made me and my family pancakes for dinner all the time and they were always delicious.", the crimsonette replied with a shrug.

"Seems like your mother must be an interesting woman as well.", Jacques noted dryly and with a hint of sarcasm. At this remark, Weiss pressed her lips tightly together and her blue eyes went wide.

"Yeah, she was...", Ruby confirmed and started to look grief-stricken.

The CEO immediately realized what that had to mean. And even though he wasn't very fond of this little girl (for obvious reasons), he wasn't a complete monster.

Therefore, he said, not very compassionate but at least honestly: "My condolences for your loss, Miss Rose. I am sorry I have brought it up."

"It's okay.", the crimsonette sighed, yet, it didn't sound that convincing, "You couldn't have known. And it happened long ago, so I guess I'm kinda over it."

Weiss knew that this wasn't even remotely true. Ruby was still mourning her mother, even crying sometimes, like when she had a bad dream about Summer's death. However, here she was, lying about something that important to her just to make sure this scam would go smoothly. It nearly broke the heiress' heart. Therefore, she did something she pretty much never did, especially in front of other people.

"Rosebud...", Weiss said soothingly and pulled her partner into a gentle hug, caressing the back of her head, "Cheer up again, okay? You know I can't bear to see you sad." The heiress wasn't even lying – seeing the usually happy and bubbly girl like that was really something that got under her skin. She didn't even know why, but a sad Ruby made her sad as well.

"Thank you, Snowdrop. But I'm fine, really.", the crimsonette replied and wriggled herself out of the embrace, even though she did so reluctantly, "We want to have a nice evening today, after all." She then gave the white-haired girl a reassuring smile.

Upon hearing the pet names, Jacques raised an eyebrow and a somewhat disgruntled look appeared on his face. However, he immediately regained his composure before anyone else could notice.

"Miss Rose is right, dear.", he addressed his daughter, "So? Shall we depart?" He tilted his head slightly in the direction of his airship and both girls were sure that he wasn't actually asking a question.

"Of course, Father.", the white-haired girl agreed, "And thanks again for the invitation."

"Again, don't mention it.", the CEO simply replied, "As your partner has said, we want to have a... nice evening, after all."

The way he said that didn't make it sound very convincing, though. The words had barely left his mouth before he turned around and made his way to the airship. Ruby and Weiss followed suit, a queasy feeling in their stomachs.

The flight to Vale passed mostly in silence. Jacques was sitting on one side of the foremost seat row, Ruby and Weiss together on the other. Occasionally, the CEO would make some remarks about the school (mostly how everything was a little behind compared to Atlas Academy), but asked nothing personal about the crimsonette in general or her relationship with his daughter. He would most certainly save that for the dinner, when the girls were more distracted and more likely to make a mistake by saying (or doing) something inappropriate.

A cab was waiting for them at the city's airport already, probably ordered by Jacques beforehand. There wasn't much conversation during the drive to the restaurant, either. Was this just part of her father's plan, the heiress wondered. Getting them nervous by giving them the silent treatment? Fortunately, they soon arrived at their destination.

The place was indeed one of the fanciest, most expensive restaurants in all of Vale. The moment they entered, they were immediately greeted by an overly enthusiastic waiter who ushered them to their already set table. Barely a minute later, they got their menus and a carafe of water. Apparently, Jacques hadn't been exaggerating about how a Schnee was treated.

Luckily for Ruby, the menu was numbered, so she couldn't embarrass herself by pronouncing these (in her eyes) weird clusters of letters wrong. After a few minutes, another waiter arrived, ready to take their orders. When asked about a bottle of wine, Ruby and Weiss politely declined. To their surprise, even Jacques passed. He explained it by the fact that nothing here fit his tastes, but Weiss knew that he most certainly just wanted to keep a clear head so he could question and/or intimidate them properly. After the waiter had taken their orders and left, the CEO suddenly got talkative again.

'So it begins...', Weiss thought the moment her father addressed her partner.

They were chatting about Ruby's upbringing, her childhood (of course, they tried to avoid a certain topic) and herself in general for a while. The heiress noticed how much her father tried to make this look like a normal conversation, but she and Ruby already knew what it actually was: an interrogation.

After the CEO had asked about a few details of the younger girl's life, mostly things he already knew due to the background checks he had arranged beforehand as well as some additional, more private and emotional information, he decided it was time to delve a little deeper. The fact that this girl herself seemed to be pretty normal, maybe even above average, didn't have to mean that there was nothing he could use against her relationship with his daughter. Everyone had skeletons in their closet and the CEO would leave no stone unturned to find them. This crimson-haired brat was endangering his plans and (in his eyes) his family's reputation, after all.

"Well, I must say you are indeed a fascinating young woman, Miss Rose.", he noted, "As well as a capable Huntress already since you were able to get accepted into Beacon two years early."

"Thanks a lot, sir.", the crimson-haired girl replied politely, "It means a lot to me that you think so."

"You are welcome.", Jacques simply said, "So... How did you actually meet my precious, little girl... if you allow me the curiosity of a parent."

"Well, umm, you see...", Ruby mumbled and shared a look with her partner.

"Fine...", Weiss sighed after a few seconds, "Tell him the embarrassing story about our first encounter. You were the one to blame, after all." At this, the CEO raised an eyebrow and his gaze got a little... predatory. Maybe he would hear something he wanted to hear now.

"Okay, then.", Ruby began, "It was the first day at Beacon. I had no idea where to go because my sister ditched me and I was pretty lost. Then, while strolling through the campus, looking for directions and not paying attention to my surroundings, I fell over some suitcases filled with Dust, which happened to belong to Weiss. I even spilled some of the contents of one. After this, your daughter gave me a pretty harsh scolding... the first of many."

Again, the crimsonette looked over to her partner with a sheepish smile but, much to her relief, she got one in return. Even Jacques' lips curled up into a small one. Yet, it didn't look very sincere.

"And then I accidentally breathed in some of the Dust.", Ruby continued, "And when I sneezed, she and I... kinda... exploded. So you could say, everything started... with a bang." The last part was spoken with a chuckle. The younger girl was sure Yang would've been proud of her. But then she remembered who she was talking to.

"I'm sorry for the bad joke.", she immediately apologized, "This stuff kinda runs in my family."

"No need to apologize, Miss Rose.", Jacques simply replied with a shrug, "A certain sense of humor can be appealing to... some people. And even though I probably do not create the impression, even I appreciate a good joke or pun every now and then. Yours was... decent, I assume."

"Well, I want to be a Huntress one day, not a comedian.", Ruby chuckled awkwardly, "But I promise I'll try to improve until I live up to your expectations."

"Now that one was pretty funny.", the CEO said with a challenging grin, "To think that you may live up to my expectations someday." At this comment, the crimsonette visibly tensed up and a feared expression appeared on her face.

"Please relax, Miss Rose. It was only a joke.", Jacques added calmly, "I told you I have some sense of humor as well. We have met barely four hours ago. You still have a lot of time to... disappoint me."

The younger girl was about to be intimidated, but then she noticed the small smile that appeared on the CEO's face again. Therefore, she assumed that it was just another joke and forced herself to smile as well, even though that guy still gave her the creeps.

However, Weiss knew that her father most certainly had meant it exactly the way he had said it. The man was like a predator, waiting for a weakness, a moment of inattention, to then strike mercilessly and tear his prey apart. Yet, the heiress forced herself to smile, too.

"Moving on, then...", Jacques continued and took a sip of his water, "Again, pardon my curiosity, but my youngest daughter is very important to me, after all. So you will have to understand that I can be a little... overprotective... and want to completely ensure that you are good company for her."

"Father!", Weiss exclaimed but was quickly interrupted by her partner.

"Of course I understand this, sir.", Ruby responded with a polite nod, "My sister can be pretty overprotective as well. And if I were in your place, I won't act any differently since I hold Weiss incredibly dearly myself. Therefore, I will answer everything you ask me honestly so you can be certain that I have only the best intentions regarding my relationship with your daughter."

"Well, the way I have put it probably sounded a lot more intimidating than I meant it to.", the CEO stated, even though this didn't sound completely sincere, "I only want to get to know you, Miss Rose... to be able to take the measure of you, so to speak."

"As I said, ask me anything. I promise to answer every single one of your questions honestly.", the crimsonette reassured him again.

"Please, this isn't an interrogation. Just a conversation between a curious parent and his daughter's girlfriend.", Jacques said conciliatorily but, again, it lacked a little sincerity, "So tell me... how did you two actually... got together after this rather uncomfortable first encounter?"

"Well, I have liked Weiss long before we actually got together.", Ruby explained, "I really don't know why. Maybe it was her pride, or her beauty, or one of the other million things I love about her, like her cleverness and her voice and... well, you get the picture. But after we made up after I had blown us up, I tried really hard to become her friend as a start. Umm, trying might be a... kinda weak word for it. I guess that I was pretty annoying to her at first... am I right?" The last question was directed at the white-haired girl.

"Only a little...", Weiss responded and gave her partner a friendly nudge with her elbow, "I guess the first time I realized that I feel something more than friendship for Ruby was after a terrible mission. I was pretty down and she persistently tried to comfort me, even though I didn't want to talk to anybody at that time. And when I finally let her cheer me up, I felt... better... but not just in a less sad way. I felt... that I mattered, that I was important to someone... besides my family, of course.", she quickly added, even though she knew that wasn't true (if she excluded Winter), "I felt... well, loved. I realized that Ruby, despite being a complete dolt sometimes, was really caring, affectionate even, in her own, weird way... and also... kind of cute."

At that, she looked over to her girlfriend, who had a happy smile on her face, as well as a small... blush? Wait, was she also blushing? Her face felt warm. Whatever! She had a story to finish, and it had to sound convincing.

Therefore, the heiress shook her weird feelings off again and continued: "And I also realized that I wanted someone like her in my life, not just as a friend but as someone... kind of... exclusively mine, if that makes any sense. After some time, when I finally had come to terms with my feelings, I confessed them to her. And then she told me that she was feeling the same and... well, here we are."

There was a long silence. Jacques had an unreadable expression on his face after his daughter had finished her explanation. It was sink or swim now. Would he believe their story? Had it sounded convincing at all? With every passing second, the mood got tenser and tenser. Then, after some time, the CEO spoke up.

"What a... heartwarming... story.", Jacques said calmly, however, his eyes had something displeased to them, "I guess I should be happy that Weiss had found someone who cares so deeply for her."

"I really do, sir.", Ruby responded and grabbed her partner's hand under the table, which was noticed even by the CEO, "I would do anything for her."

The crimsonette's voice, as well as the look in her silver eyes, left no doubt that she was completely honest about that... which caused Weiss to blush slightly again. This girl was really the best friend anyone could ask for. She would undeniably do anything for her friends – most certainly not just for her, but for Blake or Jaune or anybody else as well. However, the heiress hoped it wouldn't come that far and Ruby wouldn't have to play the girlfriend of any of them... wait, would she be jealous if that were about to happen?

Fortunately, the white-haired girl didn't have to bother with her weird feelings again because the first dish of their food arrived – a salad for everybody as well as a basket of bread slices accompanied by a large piece of butter, carved into the shape of a flower.

When the waiters had left, Ruby started to inspect her cutlery. Then, after she had made sure that everything was in place, she grabbed her butter knife and prepared herself a small slice of bread. After that, she put the knife aside, took her salad fork and ate a piece of tomato, then she used her napkin to pat her mouth clean.

Weiss was rather impressed how much the crimsonette had taken her words to heart and actually ate like a sophisticated human being rather than a little child or a starving barbarian like she usually did... especially when her sister was around. Even her father seemed to notice.

"I am impressed by your table manners, Miss Rose.", Jacques noted, "Even though you come from a... modest background, you seem to know about the proper usage of the diverse cutlery."

"Oh, Weiss kind of insisted that I learn it so I make a good first impression in case we were having a meal together.", Ruby simply explained, "And, of course, for every other occasion in the future when I'm with her while she has to meet fancy business people and the like."

At this statement, Weiss visibly paled, even more than usual. Was it really okay to tell her father the truth so bluntly? Admittedly, lying about such a small detail could be pretty suspicious since Ruby really came from humble stock, but still... Fortunately, the crimsonette's little explanation didn't seem to be the wrong answer.

"I thought so.", the CEO responded, yet, the thought about a future with this girl still in it brought a frown to his face, "I also assume learning anything under my daughter's supervision can be a bit... difficult though effective, am I right?"

"Oh, yeah. Definitely.", Ruby agreed with a small grin, then she pulled her partner into a gentle, one-armed hug, "My little Snowdrop can be a real handful sometimes."

"A real handful, indeed...", the CEO replied ominously.

The rest of the meal was pretty short of conversation.

Their trip back to Beacon passed mostly in silence as well. On their way to the airship, Jacques asked a few more questions about their relationship every now and then, but it was mostly just meaningless chit-chat and easily answered by the couple. After this simple inquiry-response cycle, the CEO went silent again, a cloudy, otherwise barely readable expression on his face. Weiss chalked that up as a win: If her father seemed displeased with the current situation, they had probably done everything right.

Now, they were sitting in Jacques' airship. Again, the CEO sat on one side of the seats, while Ruby and Weiss occupied the other one, next to each other. It was pretty late by now and the recent events, as well as the lavish meal, had left the crimsonette somewhat weary. The flight back would take half an hour, after all, and she needed a nap. On the other hand, she didn't want to leave a bad impression with Weiss' father, now that he apparently believed they were a real couple. Then, an idea struck her.

The white-haired girl tensed up a bit the moment she felt a weight on her shoulder as well as something tickling the side of her neck. A look to her left revealed a mop of tousled, black and red hair. Ruby was leaning into her and had rested her head on her shoulder. Weiss heard her partner letting out a content sigh as the girl relaxed into her body.

The heiress' gaze wandered to her right. Her father was watching them out of the corner of his eyes and had raised one of his eyebrows. He looked... kind of displeased, even though he tried to maintain a neutral expression. Suddenly, Weiss understood her friend's intentions and she grinned inwardly. Since it was just the three of them in here, he couldn't really say anything against them exchanging affections.

Therefore, she just gave her father a shrug (of course, with only one shoulder) and leaned in as well. As expected, the white-haired girl was immediately met with the smell of roses and, again, wondered why and/or how her partner always smelled like this. Was it her shampoo? No, that was strawberry-scented. Had it something to do with her Semblance?

Whatever the answer to this question was, the heiress had to admit that it was oddly pleasant. Cuddling with Ruby wasn't so bad after all. Maybe they should do this more often.


Again, Weiss was taken aback while a weird warmth spread through her body once more. However, she simply shrugged it off again. Being hugged by Ruby every now and then was pretty much the norm already, but actively wanting to hug her? No. After this scam was over, they had to return to normality. No awkward moments, no weirdness anymore, just going back to being Ruby and Weiss – Huntresses, partners, friends. Period.

But then again, at the moment, the heiress had to keep up her act, so she played along. Therefore, she just let out a content sigh herself and relaxed into Ruby's body as well. These weird emotions tried to come up again, but Weiss managed to repress them once more. However, that seemed to be a little harder now, for whatever reason.

'Let's hope these annoying, unplaceable feelings won't mess with our scam.', the heiress told herself inwardly as she took another breath of rose-scented air, 'We can't afford to screw this up. Not after this first little victory.'

Chapter Text

After Ruby, Weiss, and Jacques had returned to Beacon, the CEO immediately bid his goodbye. He told the girls that he was tired because of the long flight from Atlas to Vale and especially now after the meal (something the crimsonette could relate to). And while his explanation might be partly true, Weiss knew exactly why her father wanted to get away from them as fast as possible: He was fuming internally because he hadn't been able to dig up any dirt on them. However, the heiress knew that this first defeat wouldn't stop him from trying again.

After the CEO had left, saying that they would meet up again tomorrow, Ruby and Weiss decided to return to their room as well. It had gotten late anyway and they were tired, too. Also, the white-haired girl wanted to ask her teammates about her father's henchmen and what questions they had pestered them with. She knew that these people had tried to gather even more information for their boss while he had been at the restaurant.

And, of course, Weiss wasn't going to be disappointed.

"Urgh... these people were the worst.", Yang groaned at the heiress' question and collapsed onto Blake's bed next to her Faunus friend, "They ganged up on me when I was training and started to get on my tits with weird questions about the two of you. Totally cut into my gym time. I even considered using them as new punching bags."

"Fine, I get it. They annoyed you.", the white-haired girl sighed, "What about the questions? What did they ask you?"

"Just a whole lot of awkward stuff about you guys.", the blonde explained with a wave in Weiss' and Ruby's direction, "Like, your fake origin story, how everything happened, how things went from that, and so on. I told them everything you have told me to say. There was no need to improvise that much."

"Whew, thank goodness.", Ruby sighed with relief.

"Then they asked me what I personally think of you guys as a couple.", Yang continued. At this statement, the crimsonette and her partner went even paler than they usually were. Of course, the brawler noticed that.

"Relax... don't get your panties in a knot. Especially not with the other's.", Yang joked with a smug grin which caused Ruby and Weiss to blush furiously, "I've told them that it's none of my business and I'm okay with Weissicle dating my baby sis as long as she's good to her... which she had been so far. But I also added that I'm going to beat you up, Weiss, if you ever were to hurt Ruby. Y'know, to appear a little more credible since I'm such an overprotective sister." Now that was an answer that was totally Yang.

"Alright. Sounds good... kinda... so far.", Weiss said, deep in thought, "And did they believe you? Did they buy it?"

"What do you think? I was wearing my gauntlets at that moment.", the blonde deadpanned and cracked her knuckles, "I could've told them the black mist that shows up when a Grimm evaporates is their death fart and they would've believed me. Wait... is it their death fart?"

"Most certainly not.", the heiress said with an annoyed sigh, "But I think you've done alright sooo... thanks a lot, Yang."

"Don't forget that when I fuck something up and need your help to fix it.", the brawler said nonchalantly, but then she added, "I mean, seriously, this is going to happen sooner or later. We all know that."

"Unfortunately, we do...", Blake sighed with a small chuckle. Even Ruby couldn't suppress a giggle and Yang started to grin as well. Only one person remained serious.

"So? What about you, Blake?", Weiss addressed the Faunus, "Did my father's goons asked you any weird questions as well?"

"Much to my surprise... yeah, they did.", the black-haired girl responded flatly, "And it had been about the same ones they had asked Yang. So, well... nothing much to add myself besides when they asked me what I think about your relationship."

"And what did you answer?", Ruby asked quickly, maybe sounding a little too interested. Weiss even raised an eyebrow at her partner's outburst but didn't say anything since she wanted to listen to Blake.

"I told them that I think you two are a cute couple.", the Faunus simply responded, "And that I believe that Yang is a little jealous of Weiss now that she is more important to Ruby than her."

"Hey!", the blonde exclaimed slightly annoyed.

"Very well.", Weiss said, ignoring Yang's fake anger completely, which caused the brawler to pout a bit, "I guess you guys did a pretty good job. Of course, you too, Ruby." At the compliment, a beaming smile appeared on the crimsonette's face.

"Let's just hope team JNPR said similar things and less personal stuff since they're not as close to me and Ruby as you two... and I think we have cleared the first hurdle.", the heiress continued, "But don't get too confident now. And don't believe it's smooth sailing from now on. My father most certainly still has some tricks up his sleeve. My relationship with Ruby endangers his nefarious business plans, after all, so he won't give up that easily. If he really thinks that we are actually a couple by now, he may try to sabotage us somehow."

"Man... this guy has some serious issues.", Yang said flatly. A look towards Ruby, who nodded furiously, confirmed her assumption.

"Well, I think we should go to bed.", Weiss suddenly suggested, "It's pretty late already and tomorrow's going to be tough again."

"Hitting the hay sounds like a good idea.", Yang seconded and yawned, "I'm tired anyway after today's gym session. Even though it was interrupted."

"Yeah, my bed awaits me as well.", Ruby agreed, "Especially after that big meal."

Blake only nodded at the heiress' suggestion.

Suddenly, Yang put a finger on her own nose and yelled: "Dibs on the first shower!"

"Second.", the Faunus announced immediately afterwards while mimicking her partner's action.

"T-third!", the white-haired girl quickly said and participated as well.

That only left...

"Fou... Goddamnit!!!"

After she was finally done showering (and cursing because a team consisted of only four people), Ruby put on her pajamas and left the bathroom. Her teammates were already lying in their respective beds, Blake reading and Yang and Weiss fumbling with their Scrolls. They looked pretty relaxed, unlike the crimsonette – since she had been forced to take the last shower and all of the other girls had pretty long hair, there hadn't been that much warm water left.

'Stupid Yang and her stupid, silly nose game.', Ruby grumbled inwardly as she made her way to her bunk, 'And they call ME childish...' However, the moment she wanted to climb onto her death trap of a bed, she was immediately called back by Weiss.

"Excuse me, Ruby?", the white-haired girl asked, "What exactly do you think you're doing?" For whatever reason, she seemed to be a little annoyed.

"Going to bed?", the younger girl asked insecurely. Of course, this wasn't the answer her partner had wanted to hear. But what came next caught the crimsonette completely off guard.

"I'm pretty sure that, since we're together, you're supposed to sleep with me in my bed.", Weiss explained matter-of-factly. However, the moment she realized what she had just said, she (and, of course, Ruby too) went as red as the younger girl's cape. The teasing "Ohhhh..." and a wolf-whistle from Yang didn't make the situation any less awkward.

"I... I mean, just cuddling.", the heiress quickly clarified, "Y-you know... keeping up the scam."

"W-why?", Ruby stammered, "We're in private here. Just among us." Not that she didn't want to cuddle with Weiss – there was nothing she would love more. But was it really necessary? It would be meaningless anyway... and she was so nervous at the moment. What if she would do something embarrassing?

Or worse: What if her partner somehow found out about her crush?

"We can't be cautious enough.", the white-haired girl explained, regaining her composure, "My father is cunning, resourceful, and stops at nothing."

"So what? Do you think he had gotten this place bugged with concealed microphones and cameras?", Ruby asked further and raised an eyebrow.

"Don't be ridiculous.", Weiss said and rolled her eyes, "If I would have assumed this, then I wouldn't have talked about the scam with Blake or Yang right after we got back, would I?" At this comment, Ruby deflated slightly. It was now that she realized how stupid her question had been.

"Also, Professor Ozpin would never allow something like that to happen.", Blake explained, "The dorm room was locked every time Yang and I were away and the only time they could've checked it, we as well as Ozpin were always present."

"Also also, I have double-checked this place and found nothing.", Yang announced proudly, "And I have seen every spy movie there is, so I can say for sure that we are bug-free."

"While I think that wasn't exactly necessary, I appreciate the effort.", the heiress said with only a hint of sarcasm, then she turned back to her partner, "And now get into my bed and pretend we're cuddling or something like that."

"Wait. You still haven't answered Ruby's first question.", Blake suddenly said, "Do you really think your father is going to bust through the door at night, or spying through the window, or something like that to check if you act like a couple even in here?" Maybe her white-haired friend had gotten a little paranoid.

"Believe me, you don't know my father.", Weiss responded disdainfully, "He will leave nothing untried to dig up some dirt about us if he can use it to break me and Ruby up. I would even trust him to send a spying drone to our window to check on us in our sleep."

"Man... this guy really has some serious issues.", Yang said flatly... again.

"You have no idea.", the heiress sighed while Ruby slipped under the covers of her partner's bunk.

The bed was pretty small (it was meant for only one person, after all), so they had to lie close to each other. Admittedly, that was the plan, but yet... Weiss was barely comfortable with Ruby hugging her, which usually lasted for only a few seconds each time, and now they had to spend a whole night like this?! Why, for goodness' sake, had she thought this would be a good idea?!

"So, umm, how are we going to do this?", Ruby asked nervously as she wriggled a little closer to her girlfriend.

"I-I don't know...", the heiress responded, a little confounded by the sudden intrusion into her personal space, "Maybe... spooning or something. Y-yeah, that sounds okay."

"A-alright...", the crimsonette agreed, "Here goes nothing." Then, she carefully wrapped an arm around her partner's mid-section and gently pressed her body into the white-haired girl's back.

"I-is this good?", she asked self-consciously.

"It's... fine, I guess...", Weiss responded, "Are you comfortable?"

"Uh-huh.", Ruby nodded, "You?"

"I'm okay.", the white-haired girl retorted flatly, trying to sound indifferent. However, a faint blush started to creep to her cheeks.

"Oh, and guys?", Yang suddenly said with a mischievous grin, "Good girls always sleep with their hands above the covers. If you know what I mean." Then, she started to wriggle her eyebrows suggestively.

"To hell with you!", Weiss spat while the crimsonette just blushed in an even deeper shade of red than her cape. Luckily for her, nobody noticed it since the white-haired girl was the little spoon, so Ruby could easily hide her face in her back. However, that didn't help the burning heat that she felt on her cheeks now... and in other areas. The perfectly shaped butt that was pressed into her groin wasn't that helpful either.

Ruby briefly considered to go for another shower (this time, she would welcome the cold water), but then Weiss turned off the last desk light and the room went dark.

Trying to sleep like this felt weird for the heiress. Not necessarily bad, but weird nonetheless. Her family had never been one for sentiments and affections: There had been no hugs, no caresses, no gentle pats on the head, no nothing. Even Winter and Klein hadn't done this to her – the former because she had been raised the same way, the latter to not overstep his bounds as a servant (for a simple butler, he had been too close to the girl already). Therefore, Weiss wasn't a fan of cuddling and all the other unnecessary emotional stuff as well.

Or that's what she had thought.

However, this right now felt... nice? Was nice the appropriate word? Weiss didn't know. But she knew that lying here with Ruby wasn't as bad as she had thought... quite the contrary, actually. She felt... protected, cared for, cherished even.

Had she ever thanked Ruby for doing of all of this? Well, kind of... But had she ever told her what it truly meant to her? What their whole friendship meant to her? What Ruby meant to her?

Was this an appropriate time to say something? Probably not. However, for some reason, Weiss felt like she had to say something right now.

"Ruby?", she whispered, careful not to wake anybody else up.

"W-what is it?", the crimsonette asked nervously, apparently still awake as well, "Am I too close? Should I do anything differently?"

"No, everything's fine.", Weiss reassured her partner, "I just... I wanted to thank you... for going through all of this just to help me."

"Anytime.", Ruby responded softly as if it were the most natural thing in the world to play somebody's lesbian girlfriend to save them from being forced into a loveless marriage. This caused the white-haired girl to blush again.

'Thank goodness Ruby can't see my face right now.', she thought while she felt the heat creep to her cheeks. But then, she was taken aback. Why the hell was she blushing in the first place?

"It's not just the scam...", the heiress continued, "It's... everything. Everything you've done for me so far. I... sometimes I really don't know how my life would be if I haven't met you. I don't want to imagine it, either. You were always there for me, no matter what. I have no idea how I can ever make this up to you."

"Well, just subtract it from the cookie money I owe you and we're good.", the crimsonette whispered with a small giggle. Even Weiss couldn't help but smile a little.

"Sometimes I really don't get you.", the white-haired girl said, "Y'know, doing all that stuff for me without hesitation as if it just goes without saying."

"Well, you're my best friend. You're important to me. ('More than you know.')", the younger girl simply replied, "It's that simple."

"Thank you, Ruby.", Weiss whispered one last time, then she relaxed into the embrace.

"At the risk of repeating myself: Anytime.", Ruby responded and pulled her partner a little closer.

For some reason, now it didn't feel weird for the heiress to lie here with her partner anymore. It just felt... right. Her fear of being touched, as the crimsonette had put it, was gone completely. As long as it was Ruby, Weiss didn't care anymore – she knew that her adorable dolt only had the best of intentions every time she did something like this. And it made the heiress happy.

This unplaceable, warm feeling started to spread through her body once more, but this time, Weiss didn't shrug it off. It was... nice, after all. She just tried not to think about it and tried to fall asleep. Tomorrow, they had to spend another horrid day with her father, so she needed to be well rested.

But for tonight, she could just relax and feel contented. Tonight, here in Ruby's arms, she was safe.

Weiss awoke from the best sleep she had had in years, maybe ever. For some reason, she had slept deeper, easier, and even more comfortable. As she slowly regained her senses, she was met with the heavenly scent of roses. It was beautifully warm under the covers... and wasn't there something tickling her face?

When the heiress finally opened her eyes, she was suddenly staring into two big, bright, yet sleepy silver orbs – which immediately went as wide and looked at least as confused as hers. Then, it dawned on Weiss: Ruby had been sleeping in her bed! These were her eyes, her smell, her breath on her face. Apparently, they had turned around in their sleep so that they were facing each other now, noses touching and lips mere inches away from one another.

"What the...", the white-haired girl immediately yelled and backed away, blushing furiously. Unfortunately, she had been lying on the edge of the bed, so the moment she moved backwards, she fell out of it with a loud thud.

Suddenly, a gale of laughter echoed through the dorm room, accompanied by a clicking noise. When Weiss had finally recovered from her crash landing and looked up, she noticed Yang standing by the bathroom door. The blonde had her Scroll in one hand (she had most certainly taken a picture) and was clinging to the door frame with the other as another fit of giggles shook her body.

This raised two questions: Since when was Yang the first one up and about, especially on a Saturday? And, of course, would she ever let them live that down?

Needless to say, during breakfast, there was an awkward silence between the two young girls – which was pretty bad since they had to act like they were together. It didn't help at all that Yang was showing the photos she had taken of the couple to team JNPR at the moment. Apparently, the one she had made from Weiss landing on her butt hadn't been the first one.

Even though everyone reassured them that they looked cute together and there was no need to be embarrassed about this obvious accident, by the time Yang was through with presenting the pictures (and, unfortunately, started over again), Weiss was on the brink of hiding under the table. However, the white-haired girl immediately snatched the blonde's Scroll away and slammed it shut the moment an icy voice addressed their table... and her and Ruby in particular.

"Good morning, students... Weiss... Miss Rose."

When the two girls turned around, they were met with the sight of Jacques. A small smile covered his face, but his eyes were as stern and intimidating as yesterday, maybe even more so. Hopefully, he hadn't seen the pictures, especially the last one.

"And a good morning to you as well, Father.", Weiss replied politely and with fake joy, "To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?"

"I was having breakfast with the headmaster... here, among the students, for some reason...", Jacques explained, sounding a little displeased.

"Did you try the pancakes?", Yang asked casually, but when the heiress shot her an annoyed glare, she added, quickly and in a respectful tone, "Sir?" The CEO gave her an irritated look but otherwise ignored her question completely and continued to speak to his daughter.

"I just came over to kindly request you to keep your afternoon free today.", he said politely, yet, Weiss knew it was more a command than a request, "I will continue to inspect the school until lunchtime, presumably, but after that I want to spend some more time with you and your lovely partner since I will have to return to Atlas tomorrow morning already, after all."

"I think that should be manageable.", Ruby replied (like the heiress', she knew that declining wasn't an option), "Umm... May I ask you what you have in mind for today, sir?"

"Please, Miss Rose. Do not get all nervous again.", Jacques responded with a smile, but the look in his eyes was cold, malicious even, "I promise I have some... how do you young people say it... fun activities planned for us today." The way he said it sent a shiver down both girls' spines.

"I will give you a call when I have finished my duties.", the CEO concluded his speech, "Enjoy your meal." With these words, he turned around and left them alone again. But even after he was gone, a heavy silence continued to hang over the table for a few more minutes.

"Let me guess...", Yang suddenly said, "Whatever this guy has planned spells trouble, right?"

"Oh really? What gave you the idea?", Weiss snarled sarcastically, "And delete these goddamn photos!"

The day had barely begun and it was a complete disaster already. The heiress was pretty sure that if reincarnation, and karma, and all this spiritual stuff really existed, she must've been an atrocious person in her last life. Probably someone like her father...

Chapter Text

Time passed way too quickly in Weiss' opinion. After their encounter with Jacques at the cafeteria, it appeared to be lunchtime almost immediately. The young couple wished that they had eaten a more copious breakfast this morning because now they didn't feel like eating at all.

At about one o'clock, Weiss received a text message. She was hoping for anything else at the moment (even spam), however, it was a message from her father. This time, he was requesting to meet them in front of the campus at half past one. Both girls knew that whatever was awaiting them would be something pretty bad.

Ruby and Weiss finished their meal (just a single apple and a glass of orange juice for either of them) in silence, then they left to meet up with the CEO. On their way, they puzzled over what they had to do this time to prove that this relationship was something serious: Go on a date, recite self-written love-poetry, build each other a statue, slay a giant monster? Admittedly, a lot of the assumptions they came up with sounded pretty ridiculous, but the young couple was pretty sure that everything could be a possibility.

Little did they know that some of these guesses weren't far from what Jacques had actually in mind for them.

A little before half past one, Ruby and Weiss arrived in front of the main building's gate – the agreed meeting point. But, much to their surprise, the white-haired girl's father wasn't there. Could it be that they had misunderstood the text message? No, that was impossible. But then again, there were still a few minutes left. Maybe Jacques was keeping them waiting on purpose to wear them out.

Half past one came and went but the CEO still hadn't shown up yet. Weiss knew it was pretty unlike him to be late – maybe something had come up, hopefully, some kind of accident. Yet, the white-haired girl doubted it. She and Ruby kept waiting for almost ten more minutes since simply leaving again wasn't an option. But just as the heiress was about to call her father, he suddenly showed up, accompanied by...

"Greetings, ladies. My apologies for keeping you waiting.", the CEO said politely, followed by Port's booming voice, "Hello, students."

"Professor Port? What are you doing here?", the heiress asked confused. Why the hell was their teacher accompanying her father, out of all people? However, she knew whatever she was about to hear would probably be... unpleasant. And she wasn't going to be disappointed.

"You see, Miss Schnee, your father had come to me with an... odd request. Something I had to think over for a while.", Professor Port explained, "He wants you and your partner to participate in a little... test, to put it simply. As in a little fight against a few creatures of Grimm."

"Only if you want to, of course.", Jacques added, however, his tone made it clear that there wasn't much room for declining, "I am incredibly inquisitive about my little girl's improvements over the last year here at Beacon. In addition, I want to evaluate Miss Rose's fighting capabilities as well to get a better picture of her. I have been told that she is a Huntress of incredible skill already, after all."

"She is indeed.", Professor Port suddenly tossed in, "Even though her willingness to learn the theoretical subject material could use some improvements." At this comment, the CEO raised an eyebrow at the crimsonette. Ruby just chuckled awkwardly and scratched the back of her head.

"Your teacher had informed me about how well you two fight together... among other things.", Jacques mentioned (that last part in a pretty disgruntled tone), "Therefore, I was hoping for a little demonstration. Nothing too difficult, of course. After all, it would be a... real shame if you were about to get injured over this meaningless test."

Ruby and Weiss shared a concerned look. They knew that this was just another scheme of the heiress' father to find something he could use against their relationship. However, the younger girl's expression soon turned into one of confidence and determination. If the CEO was searching for anything he could criticize, then their team play and fighting capabilities definitely were the wrong aspects to look at.

"Well, I can only speak for myself but I'm sure we can handle everything you throw at us.", Ruby said enthusiastically.

"I, too, am confident that we will meet your expectations, Father.", Weiss seconded. However, she knew that the CEO was incredibly malicious, so whatever he had planned for them would obviously not be as easy as her partner was thinking. The man's response, especially his tone, confirmed her thoughts.

"Splendid.", Jacques replied ominously, "Then let us proceed to the training grounds, shall we? Or do you need some more time to prepare yourself?" Again, this was most certainly just a rhetorical question.

"Nope!", the crimson-haired girl answered, popping the P in her usual, energetic tone, "We're ready whenever you want!"

"I am pleased to hear that you are so eager to prove yourself and rise to any challenge you are met with, Miss Rose.", the CEO noted in a friendly tone, "I can understand what my daughter sees in you."

Yet, Ruby and Weiss could almost hear his eyes saying: "You'll soon be laughing out of the other side of your face."

"Alright, students, Mr. Schnee! Let's get to it!", Professor Port announced, then the group made their way to the gym and the attached training grounds.

The gray-haired teacher always had some Grimm in stock for various training exercises, like the Boarbatusk Weiss had had to fight during the first lecture as a trial. Of course, they had to be used rather quickly – the creatures usually died off in a short period of time (a week tops) when in captivity since they weren't able to kill anything or feed on negative emotions. Fortunately, the Emerald Forest always provided a large variety of Grimm, so the old Huntsman never ran low on replacements for his... interesting style of teaching.

Beacon's outdoor training grounds had some kind of gladiator pit specifically designed for this kind of exercise. And at the moment, Ruby and Weiss were standing in the middle of it, surrounded by six trembling, growling cages. The two girls stood back to back, their weapons ready, and were eyeing the small, remote-controlled explosive charges on the locks. Outside of the makeshift arena, Professor Port and Jacques were observing everything – the teacher was armed as well in case there was an accident.

"Alright, students.", Professor Port's voice echoed through the pit, "In these cages, there are several Beowolves, about fifteen, I guess... as well as one Alpha. And while their number probably won't pose as much of a threat, remember that you're surrounded. But do not worry. Even if something should go wrong, I can ensure you that I have the situation completely under control at any time."

Then, he turned to Jacques and asked in a low voice: "Mr. Schnee... do you really think this is necessary? I can assure you these two are capable fighters. But an ambush, even just a simulated one, is always a dangerous scenario, even to more experienced Huntsmen."

"They have told us they are fine with it.", the CEO replied in a cold tone, "And I have complete confidence in... Miss Rose's abilities. Everyone was telling me that she is a prodigy, after all. So let us see if she lives up to her reputation."

With these words, he simply snatched the remote control out of Professor Port's hand and set off the charges.

Without are warning, the cages' doors burst open and the pack of Beowolves entered the arena. Since Ruby and Weiss had been waiting for at least some kind of countdown from their teacher, this sudden development caught them by surprise. However, they knew they mustn't show their distraction – they had to show the heiress' father that they were a perfect team.

The first attack of one of the creatures was easily dodged by Weiss; she wasn't an amateur, after all. However, the second one would've probably hit her – if it wasn't for Ruby who thrust her scythe between the Beowolf's claw and her partner. The white-haired girl used this opportunity to drive her rapier through the creature's chest, killing it instantly. In just two seconds, the two girls were perfectly in sync again.

Two Beowolves that tried to charge at the crimsonette from behind were stopped dead in their tracks when they suddenly crashed into a glyph. Then, in the blink of an eye, Crescent Rose spun around and cut them in half. Weiss herself slew another two of the creatures and when a third Grimm tried to lunge at her, his head was penetrated by a bullet before it even got in melee range. Despite the young Huntresses' obvious disadvantage in this situation, they were doing overwhelmingly well.

The enemy's numbers were dwindling rapidly. The pack of Beowolves didn't stand a chance against the girls' combined skill. Ruby and Weiss slew Grimm after Grimm and soon, only the Alpha remained.

"Just the big one left, huh?", the younger girl said.

"Piece of cake.", Weiss responded, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Ice flower?", Ruby asked back and slammed her scythe into the ground, using the blade as a monopod.

"Exactly.", the heiress responded with a grin and cast a glyph in front of Crescent Rose's barrel.

The moment the giant Grimm started charging at the girls, the crimsonette opened fire.

The first two shots hit the Beowolf into the shoulder and torso, slowing it down significantly. The third one hit one of its hind legs, completely freezing it to the ground. Then, Ruby started to dash forward, using her Semblance, ready to finish their last enemy off.

Without even thinking about it, Weiss cast an acceleration glyph in front of her partner, which the younger girl used immediately as if she had known that it would appear. The glyph propelled her high in the air and the moment she reached to top of her trajectory, she unfolded Crescent Rose completely and dashed down with a fierce battle cry. A split-second later, the scythe's blade precisely and effortlessly pierced through the Grimm's skull. With a final howl, the creature went limp and evaporated shortly after. The fight was over.

"Excellent work, students!", Professor Port's booming voice suddenly echoed through the arena, "But, of course, I didn't expect anything less since you two were taught by a masterful Huntsman, if I do say so myself. Nevertheless, I'm proud of you!"

"W-we did it?", Weiss asked confused as the adrenaline slowly started to wear out of her system. It was now that she realized that they had won. They had defeated not only these Grimm but her father and another one of his horrendous plans once again.

"We. Did. It!", Ruby exclaimed ecstatically and pumped her fist into the air. Then, she collapsed Crescent Rose, returned it to the harness on her back, and started a little victory dance.

Weiss couldn't help but giggle at her partner's childish actions – this girl always managed to bring a smile to her lips somehow. Then, the heiress simply turned around to face her father. The displeased expression on his face caused her grin to grow even wider and, in a fit of malicious glee, she put her rapier away and made a mocking curtsy. However, this action was quickly interrupted by the crimsonette who suddenly tackled her partner into a bone-crushing hug.

"We did it, Snowdrop!", Ruby gushed over her partner, "You were so awesome."

"So were you, Rosebud.", Weiss responded and returned the hug.

"Ahh, it's really nice to see that these girls have grown so close over the last year.", Professor Port said to Jacques with a chuckle upon seeing his students' little celebration, "And these new nicknames... Huh, I know it's none of my business, but you could almost assume they are a little more than friends, don't you think?"

"So it seems...", the CEO responded, trying to sound indifferent but clenching his teeth nonetheless.

After the girls had showered and changed into clean clothes, they were pretty much worn out since there wasn't any adrenaline left in their bodies anymore to cover up the exhaustion from the fight. The positive side effect: Now they had a pretty good excuse to avoid any tasks that would mean even more physical or mental exertion. Not that Ruby and Weiss were expecting these kinds of tests anymore: They had already proven that they were pretty skilled Huntresses, after all.

However, both girls knew that the CEO most certainly won't give up that easily – the day was still long. Their thoughts were confirmed when they left the gym and saw Jacques already waiting for them outside.

"You did a splendid job in the arena.", the CEO addressed them as soon as they were within earshot, "I am pleasantly surprised about your improvements, Weiss. And as for your partner, it seems that her enrollment into Beacon two years early is more than justified. I must admit that I am impressed." He tried to sound comradely but there still was a kind of disappointed tone to his voice.

Upon the praise, even though it was most certainly given pretty reluctantly, the two girls shared a happy glance. So their skill as Huntresses really was another aspect Jacques wasn't able to criticize anymore. But then again, the day wasn' over yet.

"Nonetheless, I am sincerely sorry to put you through all of this out of selfish reasons.", the heiress' father continued, "And seeing you two exhausting yourselves just to sate my curiosity left a sour taste in my mouth. Let me make it up to you."

His suggestion turned the couple's happy expressions into concerned ones. They knew only too well that another nefarious scheme was hiding behind this innocuous-looking statement. Nevertheless, they knew they had to play along... for the sake of Weiss' freedom.

"That sounds lovely, Father.", the heiress responded, "Ruby and I really could use a break. What do you have in mind?"

"Well, how about you show me around town a little.", Jacques suggested, "I haven't seen much of Vale yet besides some of the corporate buildings and hotels while I was here for a business meeting or two some time ago."

"Sure. We can do that.", Ruby agreed, trying to sound cheery. However, she knew that she and Weiss still had to be cautious. Something smelled fishy about all of this.

"Splendid. I am looking forward to an interesting tour through the city.", the CEO responded, "Maybe the two of you can even try not to mind me that much and pretend this is a little date. Of course, I will pay for all of your expenses. Consider it compensation for all the trouble I have caused you today already."

Now that was what this was all about: Jacques wanted to see how they interacted while they were out on a date. Apparently, he still wasn't one-hundred percent sure that they were a real couple. The two girls didn't complain, though. Something as simple as just spending time together in the city was a thousand times better than fighting a pack of Beowolves, after all.

"Well, I guess that sounds like... a good idea.", Weiss pondered, "And it's also very generous of you, Father." Then, the white-haired girl shared a look with her girlfriend. Ruby simply smiled and gave her a nod in return. And so it was settled.

Once again, the three of them sat in the CEO's airship and headed to Vale. But this time, instead of grabbing a cab after they had arrived, they simply walked through the city, the young couple trying to show Jacques the beauty of their new hometown. Of course, they knew that he would most certainly be underwhelmed since he would compare it to the metropolis of Atlas, but maybe they could at least prove to him that Weiss was in good hands here.

The tour through the town passed pretty smoothly: They were visiting the docks, the CCT Tower, and the commercial district. Ruby even suggested a trip to the Vale City Museum, probably to appear all cultured again, Weiss thought. Otherwise, this girl would most certainly never set a foot in a museum voluntarily. Yet, she had to admit that it was a good idea.

All in all, the day went by without any complications. Since the young couple was in public they wouldn't have to exchange any affections, at least that was what Weiss thought. Ruby tried to hold her hand from time to time, but the white-haired girl simply refused it – her father would most certainly not approve of such a display out in the open. And while this was probably true, the heiress hadn't thought about the possibility that her withdrawnness also could backfire on them.

Of course, Jacques noticed that his daughter and her girlfriend weren't exchanging any affections at all, not even something as innocent as holding hands or just simply flirting with each other... Of course, he welcomed this pretty much since they were in public, but maybe he could also use this to his advantage... to unsettle Ruby, for example.

The younger girl was obviously trying to act a little more couple-like but his daughter shot her down over and over again. And weren't they whispering something every time that happened? It almost sounded like they were arguing. This could really be something, Jacques thought with malicious glee... Weiss had told him that they weren't together for that long, after all. And he was able to manipulate powerful businessmen, so a little girl should be no problem.

Of course, he didn't know that everything was just a scam, so his plan to break them up would be completely useless... under normal circumstances. However, Weiss on her part didn't know that Ruby had real feelings for her... and that this could cause trouble...

Back at Beacon, the two girls thanked the CEO for everything and excused themselves, planning to head back to their dorm room since it was already late in the evening. But, much to their surprise, Jacques offered to accompany them since he had "Nothing better to do at the moment", as he put it. Yet, his actual intentions became obvious as soon as they were about to enter the corridor that contained team RWBY's dorm room.

"Oh, this reminds me...", Jacques suddenly noted as casually as he could, "I haven't had the chance to talk to Miss Rose in private yet."

At this comment, both girls went even paler than usual. And they had been stupid enough to think that today was over and they had almost succeeded already. But, of course, the CEO had yet another trick up his sleeve. Now everything depended on Ruby.

"Do not worry, Weiss.", Jacques said soothingly, even though his eyes were all devious again, "I will return your... girlfriend... unharmed. It is just a little talk. Please grant me that opportunity before my departure. It won't take that long, I promise."

"Of course, Father.", the white-haired girl relented (anything else would be pretty suspicious, after all), "But please try not to scare her away. Always remember: this is my girlfriend, not one of your business competitors."

"It's alright, Snowdrop. Really.", Ruby reassured her partner, "Since we're a couple and haven't told your father from the beginning, I guess I owe him that much."

"Okay, Rosebud.", Weiss responded, "I'll wait for you here in case you need anything. Even though Father usually has the best intentions (a blatant lie!), he can be a little... difficult sometimes."

"You make it sound like I am a cruel businessman all the time, dear.", the CEO said, trying to sound like he was joking. However, the look he gave his daughter afterwards made it sure that he was anything but pleased with her statement. And exactly this was the reason why Weiss had wanted to stay at Ruby's side every time the man was around. But now she had no choice but to trust her partner that she could handle him alone for a few minutes.

"Let us take a little walk, shall we?", Jacques addressed the younger girl and, without even waiting for a response, he made his way down the corridor. Ruby gave Weiss one last, nervous glance, tried to smile and almost succeeded, then, she followed suit.

'Be safe, Ruby...', the white-haired girl thought before her partner and her father disappeared behind the next corner.

Jacques and Ruby continued to walk down the dorm's corridors in silence for a while. Apparently, the CEO had no intentions to start their little conversation anytime soon and the crimson-haired girl was way too nervous to make an attempt herself. But then, after about five minutes of walking through the hallways, Jacques suddenly came to a halt.

"Miss Rose... I want to be completely honest with you.", he began in an uninterpretable voice, "As you may have noticed, the purpose of my visit wasn't just getting acquainted with you but, well, testing you. I wanted to ensure that your abilities as a Huntress as well as your overall behavior and character as a person are good enough to be a suitable partner for my dear daughter. First of all, my sincerest apologies for that."

"Oh, it was nothing, Sir.", Ruby simply replied in a polite voice, even though she was still incredibly nervous, "But, umm, I did alright, right?"

"You did superbly.", Jacques answered, "I must admit that Weiss was describing you correctly in her letter: You are, without a doubt, a charming, well-mannered and highly ambitious young lady."

"So... does this mean you're fine with me being your daughter's girlfriend?", the crimsonette asked hopefully, "Have I proven myself? Do you accept me?"

"I really wished it would be that easy.", the CEO sighed melancholically, "Do not get me wrong, Miss Rose. As for myself, I have no objections to you dating Weiss."

At this statement, Ruby's eyes visibly lit up. However, her hopes were crushed almost immediately afterwards.

"Unfortunately, the reality is much more complicated.", Jacques continued, "The Atlesian upper class is incredibly intolerant... unlike me. In their opinion, a same-sex relationship is something frowned upon – they are just too narrowminded to grasp the concept that one cannot choose who or what they love. Therefore, it will most certainly have a bad influence on Weiss' reputation if it becomes public that she is dating a girl. And since the focus of the media is on our family because of the company, the risk of being discovered is ever-present. I hope I am making any sense to you."

Of course, Ruby understood the CEO's explanation; it was pretty much what her partner had told her already. However, while everything the younger girl had heard so far was comprehensible, another thing suddenly made a lot less sense.

"So why were you testing me then if you still think that me and Weiss being together is a bad idea?", Ruby asked confused. She wasn't willing to let herself be scared away that easily. She and Weiss were a couple for a reason, after all.

"As I said, I wanted to be able to take the measure of you.", Jacques explained, "As reprehensible as that may sound, there are a lot of people who are just after our money or status and I had to ensure that you're not one of them. That I can trust you. But now that I know that you really love my daughter, I can finally be completely honest with you and tell you about these circumstances."

Okay, now that made a little more sense. However, Ruby knew that she mustn't let her guard down. She knew the CEO was up to no good.

"At least we have found some common ground over the last two days.", Jacques continued, "We both love Weiss dearly. So I am asking you: Shouldn't we do what is best for her? Shouldn't we try to protect her?"

"But what's the alternative then?", Ruby asked, "Being forced to spend your life with someone you don't love just because other people expect you to be normal and not yourself?" However, the moment the words had left her mouth, the crimson-haired girl realized that she had implicitly mentioned the stuff with the arranged marriages. At the realization, Ruby went even paler than usual. But maybe the CEO wouldn't notice. Unfortunately, the way his eyes started to glisten maliciously told otherwise.

"So Weiss had told you about this, huh?", Jacques said ominously.

"O-of course. She's my girlfriend. We tell each other everything.", Ruby explained, trying to wing the unpleasant situation she had maneuvered herself into, "Maybe that's why she fell for someone like me in the first place. Because I'm kind of the opposite of everything she had to deal with so far. Yeah! That makes sense to me."

"Hmm, an interesting guess. You may even be correct about that.", the CEO pondered, "But before you think that I was trying to force Weiss into a loveless marriage, I can assure you that this was neither my intention nor I pressured her. I was just trying to find an acceptable suitor for her. To help her... fit in, for the lack of a better word. And, of course, now I know about her... preferences, I won't set her up with anybody anymore. I know I can appear a little cold but I am not that despicable."

Now that caught Ruby by surprise. Was this guy willing to make a compromise? No, that must be a trap! He was obviously lying.

"But that does not change the fact that you are a girl and of humble birth. No offense, Miss Rose, but... I know it may sound incredibly ridiculous but people like us, people like the Schnee family, actually can't freely choose who we love.", Jacques explained further, trying to take the victim role, "Everything we do, especially things that are frowned upon by other influential people, will have serious consequences not only for ourselves but for all the people in our social environment. I know I can't forbid the two of you to be together and, first and foremost, I won't do something as atrocious as that. I am not just another one of these intolerant business elites, after all. I am just trying to explain the situation to you and appeal to your sense of reason. If you really love Weiss, you should take everything I have told you just now into consideration before planning your next move. You do really love her, right?"

"O-of course!", Ruby immediately answered, "More than anything." She didn't even have to lie about that part.

"That is good to hear.", the CEO sighed with faked relief, "But given that, do you think that feeling is completely mutual?"

The question caught Ruby completely off guard, so everything she could respond was a confused: "Huh?"

"Well, I know I do not look the part, but in my youth, I have done my fair share of dating as well. I wasn't born in a business suit, after all.", Jacques explained with a small, probably fake chuckle, "And after watching you two today, I am not quite sure if you have the right... how do I put it... chemistry, so to speak. You do not appear to be a... real couple."

Once more, Ruby was reminded that everything was just a fake. Even people who believed it wasn't seemed to notice. And even though the younger girl tried to repress it, a sad expression suddenly appeared on her face. Unfortunately, Jacques noticed.

"Maybe it is better not to rush something like this... a serious relationship... if you both are not completely sure about it, don't you think?", the CEO asked, "Weiss has a whole lot to lose if it gets discovered by the media. Barely anyone in Atlas is as tolerant as me, after all. We both only want the best for Weiss and this scandal would most certainly turn her life upside down. Do you really want to be the one to blame for that?"

Ruby only shook her head at that. It was now, for the first time, that she actually thought about the consequences. Of course, she and Weiss were originally doing this so the white-haired girl's father would stop trying to marry her off. But even if this scam was successful and everything would go back to normal after that, it would most certainly still bring a few aftereffects with it. What if Weiss' reputation in Altas really got damaged? What if she lost the title as the heiress because of it? Admittedly, Weiss had told her that was highly unlikely to happen... but what if? After everything the CEO had told her now, it still could be a possibility.

What if the white-haired girl really got disinherited because the media and these snobby business families were gossiping viciously about their relationship, as fake and/or brief as it might have been. What if Weiss would hate her because of it? Ruby couldn't live with the thought of her beloved Snowdrop hating her. Her expression saddened even more.

"I can see you understand.", Jacques continued upon seeing the crimson-haired girl's reaction and his eyes glistened maliciously, "Don't you think it would be reckless to ruin Weiss' life with this little crush if you know that it won't be lasting eventually? Just because she may be a little... curious, but not serious... Think about it: no company, no girlfriend, maybe even no friendship anymore... everything lost just because of this. You wouldn't want to be responsible for that, right?"

"I... I don't.", Ruby whispered, almost to herself, but Jacques heard it anyway.

"So if you have any doubts about this relationship after everything I have just told you, you should probably reconsider dating my daughter.", the CEO finished his little speech, "After all, it is... ultimately... for the sake of our beloved... Snowdrop was it, right?"

"Umm, you see...", the crimsonette began, fear getting a hold of her body.

No! She couldn't tell him anything anymore! She had said too much already! She won't betray Weiss any further, even though this man seemed to be able to somehow manipulate her and force her to spill everything she had so far by playing with her emotions. She had to get away from him somehow... Now!

"Miss Rose...", Jacques said intimidatingly and leaned in a little closer, "Is there anything you want to tell me?"

"I-I... umm, well...", Ruby struggled, and then, in a fit of panic, she pointed to the side and exclaimed, "Oh, look! A distraction!"

"What?", the CEO asked confused but his gaze followed the younger girl's gesture nonetheless.

The crimsonette used this opportunity to escape, activating her Semblance to dash into the other direction and leaving a trail of rose petals behind. Why the hell had she said all of this? She knew that she had fucked everything up completely... just because of her stupid, irrational, one-sided feelings. She and Weiss had been so close to victory. And now that?!

This couldn't have happened!

Weiss was still waiting in front of the dorm room, expecting her father's and Ruby's return. They were gone for a pretty long time now, and she started to worry. But just before she wanted to look for them, her partner turned the corner to their corridor. She was obviously in a hurry and... alone? The CEO remained missing while Ruby dashed down the hallway. That couldn't be good.

"Weiss!", the crimsonette stammered, "I-I did something bad... something really, really bad."

"Ruby, calm down.", the white-haired girl tried to comfort her partner, even though she was even more worried now, "Just tell me what happened."

"Your father... and then he... and I...", Ruby started to ramble but was quickly interrupted by Weiss again.

"Ruby, deep breath.", the heiress ordered and the younger girl complied, "Now tell me."

"I...", the crimsonette began while hanging her head in shame, "I may have said something that could've put your father up to think that there... may be something fishy about our relationship."

"You did what?!", Weiss exclaimed in shock.

"And I may have said that I'm kinda insecure about it...", Ruby explained further, "That I don't know if it's a good idea anymore. For whatever reason."

"W-why?!", the heiress asked further, "How could you tell him something like that? This relationship isn't real anyway."

"I-it was because you were so rejecting on our date. He told me that this relationship isn't how it should be and stuff. That it doesn't seem that we're really together.", the crimsonette rambled, "And then he said something about bad consequences if the media finds out about you dating a girl. That you won't be able to stay heiress of the SDC or something. And I thought it over, and then, well, I kinda... slipped up. And then, I kinda... fled."

'The innocent never run...', she thought in regret.

"Why the hell did you do all of that?!", Weiss asked furiously, "You must've known that something like this is exactly what he wanted to hear! Now he has something that he can use against us. Something that justifies him looking for another suitor! You complete dolt!"

"I'm sorry, okay?", Ruby apologized and her eyes started to tear up, "I-I was intimidated. I don't know what had gotten into me." Of course, she knew why she had said what she had. She couldn't believe that her stupid crush was now endangering this scam and Weiss' freedom, after everything they had been through so far. There were no words to describe how much she hated herself at the moment.

As if the situation wasn't bad enough already, in the corner of her eye, Weiss suddenly saw her father approaching them. He had most certainly seen them fight, another thing he could use to break them up or to simply declare that this relationship was no good. The white-haired girl's body started to tremble in fear. Was this it? Had the plan they had put so much time and energy into finally failed. No, this couldn't be...

Wait... Ruby had told her that the CEO had been able to manipulate her because she had been so rejecting on their date. So what if she simply convinced her father of the contrary – that she and Ruby were actually as close to each other as a couple should be? Admittedly, not a pretty good plan, but the only one they had left. Unfortunately, Weiss only saw one way to accomplish that...

She had never done this before and, most certainly, so had Ruby. The white-haired girl really didn't want to do it now, either, but she knew she had to. This was the last resort.

"I'm sorry, Rosebud. I didn't mean to scold you. You know how much you mean to me, right?", she suddenly said, loud and clear, and put a hand on Ruby's cheek. Then, she added in a whisper, only for her partner to hear: "Just play along, please. It's the only way out." And with these words (and a confused look from Ruby), Weiss closed the gap between them.

Jacques immediately came to a halt when he saw his daughter pulling the younger girl close to her and pressing their lips together in a soft kiss. Ruby herself was at least as surprised as the CEO, but the moment she noticed the man standing mere yards away from them, too, she immediately understood why Weiss was doing this. Therefore, she just played along.

However, the moment the younger girl closed her eyes and concentrated on the taste and softness of her partner's lips, the whole scam and everything that had come along with it, was blown out of her mind. It was replaced with just a single thought: She was doing it! She was kissing the person she loved. Never had she thought that this moment would ever happen in her life, yet, here it was. She wanted it to last forever.

But the moment the last thought crossed her mind, Ruby immediately remembered one thing: This wasn't real. This kiss... it was meaningless, at least in the way she saw it. This was just the last trump card they had to convince the CEO so he would see that they were really a couple and leave Weiss alone in the future. And after that, it would never happen again.

A tear tried to come to her eye, but she blinked it back. Her stupid, one-sided crush had almost ruined everything once already and Ruby won't let it happen again. And if she had to lock her feelings away forever after just this one kiss, then so be it! She was doing this for Weiss! And that was all that mattered!

Weiss, for her part, went through a comparable emotional chaos. There were a million feelings running wild in her body and mind, too diverse to describe them all even if she tried to. Yet, one (at least at the moment) was the most prominent:

It felt wrong. Her first kiss... as well as Ruby's... wasted. Sacrificed to accomplish her own, selfish goals without giving a damn about the crimson-haired girl's thoughts and feelings. A once-in-a-lifetime moment... simply tossed away... and gone forever...

However, as wrong as this whole scenario seemed to be, there was a different, equally powerful feeling – one that Weiss had gotten to know all too well over the last few days but still couldn't place. The kiss wasn't unpleasant, quite the contrary. It actually felt... nice... amazing even... and, for some reason... honest? No, that couldn't be. This was just a scam, after all. They were just doing this so her father would stop trying to marry her off... right?

Without herself even noticing, one of the heiress' hands wandered to the back of Ruby's neck while the other one wrapped itself around the younger girl's waist. Barely a second later, the crimsonette mimicked her partner's actions and shuffled a little closer, until their bodies were closely pressed together. The world around them slowly faded into the background as they stood there in the hallway, enjoying each other's presence. The warmth of the other's body, the gentle touch of a trusted hand, the taste of strange, yet familiar lips... for some, strange reason, this moment felt as if it was meant to happen.

However, reality hit the young couple again the moment they heard somebody clearing his throat. When their lips (reluctantly) separated from the other's and they turned around, they suddenly noticed that Jacques was standing right in front of them. Both girls immediately let go of each other and took a step back.

"Oh my gosh! I-I-I... I'm sorry... i-it's just... girlfriend... love... kiss... words... umm...", Ruby stammered, completely flabbergasted. Then, she regained her composure and finished while hanging her head in shame, "I-I sincerely apologize for my inappropriate behavior. It was entirely my fault. Please don't be mad at Weiss."

"I perceived that a little different since it was my daughter who threw herself at you, Miss Rose, not the other way around.", the CEO uttered under clenched teeth, trying and, fortunately, succeeding to keep his cool, "But I appreciate that you wanted to take the bullet for her. That speaks in favor of you. Weiss, a word please..."

"Father, please. I was just trying to comfort Ruby because she was distressed.", Weiss explained, "And I'm pretty sure that you were the one who had caused this since you..."

"Weiss.", Jacques cut her off sternly, almost menacingly, "A. Word." Then, he simply turned around and strode off, expecting his daughter to follow him.

The white-haired girl shared a concerned look with Ruby, knowing that whatever was about to come would be ugly. However, the younger girl just gave her a comforting smile that, for whatever reason, suddenly filled Weiss with a confidence she had never felt before. Whatever her father would say to her now, after what just had happened, there could be no way that he still believed he could break them up somehow. After all, a few minutes ago, even she had forgotten that she and Ruby weren't a real couple.

Wait, what?

Weiss shook the weird thought out of her mind and followed the CEO down the hallway.

After they were a few steps away from Ruby and passed a corner, Jacques suddenly came to a halt. He scanned the corridor for anyone that could eavesdrop on them but, much to his relief, he found it completely empty. Then, he turned around and faced his daughter.

"Listen, Father. I'm really sorry...", Weiss began but immediately shut her mouth the moment she looked into the man's eyes. His expression was full of a hatred the white-haired girl had never seen before. However, there was lying something underneath, something she couldn't quite interpret. Was it... defeat? Could it be?

Whatever it was, Weiss was still pretty sure that she was about to hear a scolding that would put anything her father had said to her in the past to shame.

"Okay... I know that you are just a young, hormonal, stupid, little brat and your emotions are running wild right now. And, apparently, there is nothing I can do to change that. And believe me, I have tried!", Jacques snarled, anger and disdain apparent in his voice, "But whatever it is that is causing these abnormal preferences of yours doesn't give you the right to make out with this girl out in the open! You have a reputation to uphold, damn it! The media is all over our family. And I hope I don't have to tell you what uproar it would cause if somebody you can't completely trust gets wind of you being romantically involved with a girl! I am willing to turn a blind eye to your ridiculous little relationship with this... person... but think about the family, the company! If you really want to continue... seeing (he croaked out the word as if it caused him pain)... her then I demand that you show some decency, for fuck's sake!"

At her father's declaration and, of course, by his rude choice of words, Weiss was taken aback. However, the curses didn't overshadow the overall meaning of his little speech. Her father accepted her relationship with Ruby? He admitted defeat? He realized that there was nothing he could do to change it anymore? Was this the moment she had waited for so long?

"I don't want to be the bad guy in this anymore since you apparently seem to have fallen for this Rose-girl for whatever reason I honestly can't understand...", the CEO continued wrathfully, "But I haven't raised you that stupid to think that you can just flamboyantly show everybody around what you hooked yourself... boy, girl, whatever, I don't give a flying fuck! But mark my words, if you manage that the Atlesian upper class somehow gets to the bottom of your unnatural behavior and I have nothing to lose on you anymore, I won't hesitate to do everything within my power to make sure you won't see your little fling ever again!"

"Hey! Don't talk that way about Ruby!", Weiss hissed back, suddenly taken over by rage as well. Nobody had the right to talk that way about this adorable girl.

"Don't you dare raise your voice against me!", Jacques spat and raised his hand. However, the heiress immediately noticed that it lacked his usual energy... or any energy at all. He won't hit her, he couldn't anymore – he had accepted that he was defeated.

"De-cen-cy, Weiss! That's the keyword!", the CEO continued, anger still apparent in his voice, but now it sounded kind of spiritless, "Fly below my radar... as deep as possible... so deep that I may forget this Rose-person even exists... and we won't run into any difficulties. Have I made myself clear?!"

Weiss couldn't believe her own ears. Had she understood correctly? Her father wanted to leave her and Ruby alone as long as she didn't do anything stupid? Saying that this was wonderful news would be the understatement of the century.

"Alright, Father.", Weiss said, trying to sound composed and submissive, even though her head was spinning with happiness, "I promise you that I won't let something like earlier happen again... as long as you keep your promise as well and let me and my girlfriend be." She put a lot of emphasis on the last part.

"I guess that is a compromise I have to live with.", Jacques responded in a disgruntled tone, "But remember: If I see, hear or read any gossip in the news about you and this girl, you will wish that you have never met her or even discovered your abnormal preferences."

"Well, you can't choose who you love...", Weiss simply replied with a shrug.

"Urgh... whatever.", the CEO sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, "Let us return to your... girlfriend before she worries too much about you... And when we are back, we are a happy, little family again: I am the caring, understanding father and you are the well-behaved daughter. Got it?!" Then, he made his way back to where they had left Ruby, assuming the girl was still waiting there.

"Yeah, I already know the drill.", the heiress responded, trying to sound indifferent. However, she needed every bit of willpower she had to not perform a dance of joy or grin like an idiot. Their plan had been successful. She was free!

The younger girl was still standing exactly where they had left her, fidgeting with her fingers and an overall nervous expression on her face. When Ruby saw the Schnees coming back, she immediately approached them. Hopefully, the CEO hadn't been too mean to her partner.

"Again, Mr. Schnee, I'm incredibly sorry.", the crimsonette apologized once more, "I didn't mean to..."

However, her impending rambling was quickly prevented by Weiss. The white-haired girl made sure that no one besides them was in the corridor (obvious enough for her father to notice), then, she pulled Ruby into a firm embrace. Of course, that was a surprise to the younger girl, but a welcomed one nonetheless.

"We did it...", the heiress whispered into her ear and gave her body a happy squeeze, "I'm free..."

Upon hearing this, Ruby finally returned the hug and a beaming smile appeared on her face. It didn't matter to her anymore that their relationship would be over again as soon as Weiss' father left tomorrow. All that mattered right now was that her partner wouldn't be forced to date someone she didn't love ever again. Weiss could live her life the way she wanted and, most importantly, she would stay at Beacon. They could stay friends. And if this was all Ruby could hope for, she was fine with it... she had to, after all.

"Thanks for worrying about me, Rosebud. But everything's fine.", Weiss explained casually after the two girls had pulled away from each other, "Father was just a little miffed about me kissing you in public since as a Schnee I should show a little decency out in the open. My family is prone to bad press, after all. Revealing the relationship of a big company's heiress with another girl demands great sense of tact and it is way too early to do so anyway. But Father told me that he is completely fine with us dating as long as we can avoid any bad publicity – and since we usually don't do stuff like earlier in public, I'm pretty sure we will manage."

"I know keeping your relationship a secret for the time being is an odd request...", Jacques suddenly tossed in, "But I have already explained to you why it is necessary, Miss Rose. If the two of you really want to stay together, it has to be done. It would be a real shame if Weiss' reputation would be damaged when she... t-takes over the company one day." Even though he tried to keep his composure, he could barely bring himself to say these last words, his voice cracking a little and sounding like he was in pain.

"O-of course!", Ruby exclaimed, "So... as long as we don't attract negative attention, you give us your blessing?" At this question, the younger girl immediately noticed that the CEO's expression visibly darkened – even more than it had been a few seconds ago. However, at this point, he knew he had no other choice but to give in.

"As long as you do not attract any attention harmful to the company, I guess I could hardly forbid you to be a... couple... if that really is what you want...", Jacques croaked out under clenched teeth. It sounded anything but happy, but that didn't make his statement any less honest.

"Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou!", Ruby chirped, smiling from ear to ear, "That really means the world to me! I really want to hug you but I know that you won't like that in the slightest."

"Exactly.", the CEO deadpanned, "I am not really a man of showing affections. So let us just limit the exchange of them between us to a minimum. Miss Rose?" He reluctantly offered the crimsonette a handshake.

Ruby immediately took the offered hand and started to shake it vigorously while her smile grew even wider – if that was possible. Then, barely a second after she had let go of Jacques, she turned around and, spurred on by her happiness, pulled her partner into yet another embrace. She tried not to make it a bear hug this time... and she almost succeeded.

"Ruby, please...", Weiss groaned but she couldn't help but smile as well, "We literally just talked about this."

"I'm sorry, Snowdrop. I promise it won't happen again.", the younger girl chirped but squeezed Weiss even tighter to her body nonetheless, "It's just that I'm so happy right now. Your father accepts me. He's fine with us. That's huge!"

"Yes, it is, Rosebud.", the heiress agreed and wriggled herself out of the embrace. However, she did it reluctantly. The warmth, the smell of roses, the feeling of safety... she enjoyed it. Weiss had to admit that there was no other word to describe it.

"Well, if you excuse me now, ladies.", Jacques suddenly said and cleared his throat, "It has been a long day and I will have to take my leave pretty early tomorrow... at about eight o'clock. I hope I will see the two of you again at the airship docks before I depart to Atlas again."

"Of course, Father.", Weiss promised, "And... thank you for being so accepting. Again, I'm sorry for putting you through all of this but you know I can't do anything about my feelings."

She looked over to her partner and, while blushing for a reason she couldn't explain herself, she finished: "I love her..."

Now that statement caused Ruby to blush furiously as well but she gave the heiress a warm smile. However, the white-haired girl immediately noticed that it didn't reach her eyes. Why?

"Please, Weiss. You have nothing to apologize for.", the CEO responded, even though it didn't sound very sincere and his eyes told so as well, "I will see you tomorrow. Be punctual. Good night, girls."

Then, he turned around and made his way out of the dorm. He was, most certainly, still beyond pissed and probably wanted to vent his anger on somebody... Weiss kind of pitied his henchmen at the moment.

After she was sure that Jacques had left the building, the white-haired girl immediately tackled Ruby into a bone-crushing hug again.

"Thank you...", she half-sighed, half-sobbed, "Thank you so much..."

"Anytime.", Ruby simply responded and tightened the embrace even more.

Weiss' mind was spinning. All kinds of emotions were overwhelming her now that she was free: They had done it! They had won! Her father believed that they were a full-fledged couple and he had no other choice but to accept that. He most certainly would leave her alone from now on and stop trying to find any more suitors – as long as she won't do anything stupid like shouting her relationship with a girl from the rooftops, that is.

But that wasn't going to happen anyway. After her father would've left tomorrow, everything would return to normal, after all: her life at Beacon, her striving for becoming a Huntress...

...her friendship with Ruby...

Everything had gone according to plan. She should be ecstatic. Okay, she was but... she should be only ecstatic! That raised one weird question:

Why wasn't she?

Suddenly, the hug felt awkward...

Chapter Text

Tonight's cuddling session (the second and last one) was kind of weird. Admittedly, Weiss still enjoyed it, but something was different. The white-haired girl didn't know how to describe it but for some reason, Ruby... well, didn't radiate the same energy as yesterday, for the lack of better words. Of course, Weiss still felt protected, still felt cherished, but something... something was missing. She couldn't explain it herself.

Maybe it felt different because it was the last time they would do something like this. Tomorrow, after her father had left, everything would return to normal, after all. She and Ruby would just be friends and could finally sleep separately again. Maybe it was because they had kissed and the atmosphere between them was still a little awkward. Hopefully, this wouldn't be permanent. The thought of not being able to be proper friends with Ruby saddened Weiss the moment it appeared on her mind. But at the same time, the thought of being friends with her again wasn't cheering her up in the slightest. Why?

Sleep eluded the heiress that night for a long time. And when she finally managed to fall asleep it wasn't for long before she was woken up again by her weird dreams or thoughts... about Ruby... always. A proper rest seemed to be impossible with so much on her mind. Hopefully, this wouldn't be permanent, too, as the white-haired girl bounced from nap to unrelaxing nap.

The next day, her Scroll's alarm sounded at seven o'clock, way too early in Weiss' opinion. But the young couple knew that they had to get up – they had promised to meet up with Jacques one last time, after all. The white-haired girl turned the alarm off, crawled out of bed (even though she didn't want to leave Ruby's embrace), and, accompanied by a few sleepy curses from Yang who had been woken up as well, started to get ready for the day.

At ten to eight, Ruby and Weiss arrived at Beacon's airship docks. The CEO was already waiting for them while his henchmen were loading his and their belongings on the aircraft in the back. Jacques seemed to have processed everything by now: He was his indifferent, composed self again and while his eyes still had an unpleased glint to them upon seeing the girls, he forced himself to smile politely at their arrival.

"I am glad you could make it.", he addressed them as soon as they were within earshot, "I guess we won't see each other for some time, after all."

"I was looking forward to it.", Ruby explained, immediately adopting the role of the grateful girlfriend again, "I wanted to thank you once more for being so accepting of our relationship. It really means the world to me and my Snowdrop."

"Please, Miss Rose. There is no need to mention it. I have told you that I do not conform with the narrowmindedness of the other Atlesian business families. I wish you all the best.", the CEO replied politely (even though both girls knew that this wasn't true at all), then, he turned to his daughter, "Well, Weiss. It... has been two days."

"I really enjoyed seeing you again, Father.", the white-haired girl lied, "Be safe on your way back to Atlas. I promise to write you some time to keep you up-to-date regarding my life here at Beacon."

"If needs must...", Jacques simply said, "However, I must admit that I am impressed with the progress you made so far and, of course, I am... glad... that you found yourself such an interesting companion."

At these words, Ruby and Weiss shared a happy glance. The crimsonette even went a little further and gently touched the other girl's forearm, giving it a tender squeeze before pulling away again. This action caused Weiss' smile to grow wider and her face (for some reason) to blush slightly.

"Nevertheless...", the CEO continued, "If this relationship is going to affect your studies or... other aspects of your or our family's lives in the future, there will be consequences. I hope you understand that you still have a reputation to uphold. But we have discussed this yesterday already. I expect you not to attract any negative attention, Weiss. The same goes for Miss Rose until I have figured out how to... deal with this romantic involvement. Regarding the press and public, of course."

The last part was added quickly after the foregoing sentence, probably to emphasize that he was completely fine with their relationship. However, both girls knew that he most certainly meant it a little differently. Apparently, he still hadn't fully given up on sabotaging their relationship but, at least for now, they were safe.

"Oh, and Weiss: If you are still considering returning to Atlas over the semester break, feel free to take your partner along with you.", Jacques explained politely. However, the look in his eyes made it clear that he had said it only out of courtesy. Weiss knew he didn't want her to come and he wanted her to bring Ruby with her even less. Suddenly, an idea struck the white-haired girl.

"I am really sorry to decline, Father, but I wanted to visit Patch with Ruby during that time so she can introduce me to her family as well.", Weiss responded, "Her father also doesn't know about our relationship yet and it would be inconsiderate not to tell him as soon as possible now that you already know. Of course, we will stress that it has to remain a secret to the public."

"I see...", the CEO uttered under clenched teeth, "I guess you are right about that. Give him my regards to raising such a charming young lady. If you excuse me now, it is going to be a long trip back to Atlas. Be safe, girls. Farewell." With these words and a curt nod, he turned around and made his way to the waiting airship.

"Have a nice flight, Father.", Weiss said politely.

"And thanks again, Mr. Schnee!", Ruby added cheerily, "I promise we won't cause any trouble."

The CEO dismissed her comment with a simple wave, then, he boarded the airship and the hatchway fell shut behind him.

Both girls watched the vessel take off and leave. This was it: they had won. The heiress was finally free. The moment Jacques' airship disappeared behind the cliffs, Ruby and Weiss erupted with jubilation.

"We did it!", the younger girl cheered, "You're safe, Weiss! Now you can stay... urgh..."

Her rambling was immediately interrupted by the white-haired girl who threw herself at her, clinging to her like a lifeline. Ruby almost lost balance but managed to stay at her feet by pulling her partner even closer to her body. A small smile appeared on the crimsonette's face and even though there was a hint of sadness to it, she was still happy for Weiss.

'You've done it, Ruby.', she thought, 'And even though everything is over now, you saved your friend without screwing this up too much. And you'll always remember this one kiss you could share with her.' At this thought, she tightened the embrace even more.

"There are no words to describe how grateful I am for everything you've done for me.", Weiss whispered tenderly, a soft sob in her voice, "How thankful I am for having you in my life."

"Anytime, Snowdrop.", Ruby whispered back and started to caress her partner's back softly, then, she added with a small giggle, "I'm going to miss the nicknames, though."

"You can call me Snowdrop anytime you want.", the heiress responded, "After all, it really sounds nice... Rosebud."

Suddenly, an incredible warmth spread through her body. The weird feeling she was having way too often these last days had returned – with an intensity she had never felt before. The gentle hand that was caressing her back, the delightful smell of roses, the soft thumps of Ruby's heartbeat... in sync with hers... it made her mind all fuzzy.

What the hell was all of this about?! She needed to figure that out... and soon!

The next days passed by pretty uneventfully. Of course, Yang, Blake, and team JNPR threw the young couple a little party to celebrate that everything had turned out fine and Weiss wouldn't be forced to marry a stranger someday anymore. The two girls' relationship had more or less returned to normal again as well. However, the white-haired girl still felt a little awkward around her partner and she still hadn't found out why.

The following nights, her bed felt incredibly empty now that Ruby slept in her own bunk again and it was a lot harder for Weiss to fall asleep, too, for some reason. The peace and quiet she had always enjoyed were completely gone, loneliness the only thing in its place. Weiss tossed and turned around, trying to find something to hold on to, but nothing useful was in reach. Every night, she unconsciously listened to the soft snores coming from the bunk above her, wishing they would be... closer? What had this stupid scam done to her?!

It was Sunday again, a whole week after her relationship with Ruby had ended... a whole week the weird feeling hadn't left the heiress alone. All the time, Weiss had been pondering about this and why she suddenly felt so strange around Ruby, yet, she was still short of any answers. There had to be a logical explanation – there was one to everything, right?

At the moment, the white-haired girl headed back to the dorm room from the community kitchen, a mug of coffee in her hand. However, it wasn't for herself. Since planning and preparing everything for the scam had consumed a lot of time the last week, she and Ruby had gotten a little behind with their studying. And while Weiss had been able to catch up on everything by now, the younger girl had a little trouble to do so. She had never been a fan of studying, after all, and now she had to trudge through a whole extra week of it.

But Ruby was determined to do so – to be a good example as a leader, as she put it. At eight o'clock sharp, she had gotten up and had started to tackle her duties. She even denied herself her beloved cartoons and skipped breakfast and lunch as well. Soon, Weiss had started to pity the girl and she wanted to make all of this a little easier for her partner – therefore, the coffee.

When the white-haired girl reentered the dorm room, she immediately spotted the crimsonette. Her partner was still sitting at her desk over a ton of books and schematics, taking notes with one hand while munching on an energy bar with the other. Apparently, the younger girl was dead set on catching up on everything. Weiss found it pretty admirable as well as incredibly adorable.

"Hey, Rosebud.", the heiress chirped, "I've got you a coffee since you're studying so hard." Upon hearing her pet name, the crimsonette perked up her ears. She and Weiss rarely used them anymore, mostly when they were joking about some couple-like situations, even though these were just simple acts of kindness in their case.

"Oh, thank you.", Ruby responded happily, but then, her smile faltered a bit, "Umm, did you..."

"Yeah... cream and five sugars.", the white-haired girl sighed annoyed, yet, she couldn't help but smile as well.

"Yay! Diabetes!", the crimsonette cheered and stood up from her chair.

"Sometimes you're still a complete dolt.", Weiss chuckled and handed over the steaming mug carefully.

"But I'm your dolt... Snowdrop.", Ruby replied with a giggle and grabbed the coffee.

Then, something odd happened.

The moment their fingers touched, this weird, unplaceable feeling jolted through the white-haired girl's body again as if she had received a shock by brushing her partner's hand. That their eyes met barely a second later only amplified the effects. Weiss could feel a blush creeping to her cheeks and she immediately noticed that Ruby was blushing as well. Both girls simultaneously pulled their hands back, which caused the coffee mug to fall to the ground.

Weiss was completely stunned for a moment and she couldn't avert her gaze. These bright, beautiful, sparkling silver orbs seemed to have cast a spell over her. She and Ruby stood there for what felt like an eternity, staring into each other's eyes as their blushes deepened. Suddenly, the heiress woke from her trance.

"I-I'm sorry, Ruby...", she stammered, "I d-didn't mean to..."

"N-no. It... it was my fault.", the crimsonette responded quickly, "I, umm, I'm going to clean this up."

"O-okay...", Weiss said, "Then I, umm, I'll get you a new coffee. See you later!" With these words, she turned around and left the dorm room as quickly as possible, totally forgetting about the mug on the ground and slamming the door behind her shut way louder than necessary.

Outside of the room, the white-haired girl tried to calm herself down again. Her face felt like it was on fire and she was breathing heavily. What in all of Dust's sake had happened a few seconds ago? Was she getting sick? Had she gotten a brain tumor? Or was it some kind of childhood trauma that was acting up again because she had seen her father recently?

No, it hadn't had to do anything with the old man – these weird feelings had shown up already before he had been visiting her. But what was the common denominator then? The letter, the scam, pretending to be a couple with...

And then it hit her! Suddenly, everything that had happened over the last two weeks made sense to her, from starting to plan their fake relationship to this awkward moment right now. Every time she and Ruby were sharing a moment of closeness, physically or mentally, Weiss had always gotten this weird, unplaceable feeling – but she could place it now. This was neither nervousness because of her father's visit nor discomfort because of all the closeness she disliked... or to be more precise, she had thought she disliked.

This was about Ruby... about them. The feeling of warmth, safety and joy whenever the younger girl was holding her or just near her, the sadness upon the realization that their fake relationship would eventually come to an end, the tension between them afterwards... these beautiful, silver eyes that wouldn't leave her mind, no matter how hard she tried to push them out of there...

Weiss didn't feel awkward around Ruby because they had had to pretend to be a couple and needed some time to figure out how to simply be friends again now. She felt awkward around her partner because she didn't want them to be friends again... because she wanted more.

The sudden realization took her breath away once again:

She had a crush on Ruby!

Chapter Text

How the hell did that happen?! And so suddenly... wait, that wasn't entirely true. Weiss had always felt, well, different around Ruby compared to other people. But she had thought this was because the younger girl was her BFF, even though she would never admit that out loud. And now she was having romantic feelings for the girl?! No, that couldn't be true!

The white-haired girl had no idea how to proceed from here. She and Ruby... for real? That was preposterous. Admittedly, they had a certain... dynamic and they deeply cared for each other. But love? Or at least something in that direction? Impossible!

However, Weiss couldn't explain these weird feelings she was having in her partner's presence otherwise – and she had been trying as if her life depended on it. It still seemed pretty ridiculous to her, though. She had never liked girls that way. Well, she had never liked anyone that way. But Ruby? Out of all people?

What should she do with her feelings now? Should she tell one of her teammates? If so, Blake was probably the best choice – Yang tended to react a little... impulsive if there was something concerning her sister. But then again, the Faunus wasn't exactly her closest friend, as well as Yang or the members of team JNPR. Unfortunately, her closest friend was...

Should she simply confess to her partner? Stupid idea! Weiss knew all too well how awkward it was to be confronted with something like that out of the blue (Jaune...). Also, what if her confession would endanger her and Ruby's friendship? This was something the white-haired girl didn't even want to think about.

Besides, how would a conversation like this pass off anyway:

"Hey Rosebud, I kinda liked you pretending to be my girlfriend and now I can't stop thinking about you in a pretty weird way. All I can say is that it has something to do with the clam-diving joke your sister has made a while ago when all of this scam stuff began. So... wanna be together for real?"

No, most certainly not! A little exaggerated, of course, but it got the point across...

Maybe these weird feelings for her partner would simply fade away after some time. Maybe it just had to do something with their closeness over the last few days: the hugs, the gentle touches, the cuddling, the kiss... This fake, wrong, oh so sweet kiss... Just thinking about it caused the white-haired girl to smile and a faint blush crept across her cheeks again.

Wait! This wasn't the time to wallow in memories. She had a serious problem here! Maybe it really was the best to simply ignore it. Maybe she and Ruby just needed some more time to figure out how to be normal friends again after everything that had happened – it was a lot, after all. Maybe she was just overreacting...

Yeah, that must be it... Her feelings would go away after a while, right?

Another week passed and life at Beacon continued as normally as could be... for every other student, that is. However, in the heiress' case, it was a complete and utter mess. Her feelings hadn't changed one bit, much to her frustration. If anything, they had become even worse – to an extent where just being in the same room as her partner felt incredibly awkward already. It was the worst when they were alone. Heavy silence, stuttered conversation attempts, shy glances, blushing and turning away again... This couldn't go on like this.

Since simply doing nothing wasn't helping at all, Weiss re-evaluated the whole situation and soon came up with another plan. The reason for the current, messed up state of their friendship had been all of the closeness they had shared while they had to pretend to be a couple, after all. So why not counter it with the opposite until things had cooled down again? Maybe she just needed some more time to herself to recompose herself.

It wasn't that easy to do so, though. She and Ruby were partners, after all, and they shared the same dorm room. However, Weiss was determined to pull through with her plan. Whenever possible, she avoided the dorm room unless she knew for sure that the crimson-haired girl wasn't present. At the meal times, the heiress came up with fragile excuses not to eat with her team or went to the cafeteria half an hour earlier or later. She and Ruby didn't study together anymore as well. During training, she chose other sparring partners, anyone besides the younger girl. Of course, it was pretty annoying to rearrange her life like that, but Weiss was sure that it would be for the best.

Yet another week passed... the most horrible week in the white-haired girl's young life so far, even compared to her time in Atlas. Her plan had completely backfired on her: Avoiding Ruby, lying to her about the reasons why she did so, and, most importantly, simply not being able to spend time with her had only made Weiss feel even more miserable. She had lost her best friend.

Her feelings had changed, though – the initial awkwardness around her partner had turned into a deep yearning for being close to her again... no, even closer than they had been before this stupid scam. No simple hugs or pets, no friendly pats on the back, no comradely nudges anymore. Instead, Weiss wanted the cuddling back, the tender touches, the loving embraces... the feeling of Ruby's soft, sweet lips on her own...

But this time, she wanted it to be real. Weiss wanted Ruby and herself to do all of this not because they had to pretend they were a couple to fool her father. She wanted them to do it because they really meant it; because they wanted it for themselves; because they... loved each other. This wasn't a simple crush anymore, the heiress realized:

She had fallen head over heels for Ruby.

Who could blame her, though? This girl was everything anyone could hope for: She was nice, sweet, incredibly cute... Despite her young age and delicate figure, she was amazingly strong, both physically and mentally. She was absolutely selfless when it came to the people she cared for, always putting others first and herself second. And these eyes... these beautiful, bright, sparkling silver eyes... They were a paradox: A giant ocean of mercury in which you could easily get lost as well as a shining beacon guiding you home. Every time they looked at her, Weiss felt... special, treasures... loved.

Things couldn't stay like they were at the moment! Ignoring everything wasn't doing any good and avoiding the girl had only brought her misery. Weiss knew she had to sort this out somehow, to diffuse the tension between them, so they could at least be friends again... if nothing else. She didn't care if the younger girl wasn't loving her back, she probably wasn't into girls anyway. But not having Ruby in her life was unacceptable, unbearable.

Therefore, Weiss made a decision: She had to tell her partner how she felt!

However, this was easier said, well, thought than done. The heiress had no idea how to confess her feelings to the crimson-haired girl. This wasn't something one could simply slip into a normal conversation. Time, location and execution had to be planned precisely. Weiss had never done something like that (she had never liked anyone that way, after all) and her knowledge on the topic was pretty limited. Now she regretted that she hadn't watched more of these weird schmaltzy flicks Blake liked so much.

The white-haired girl tried to tackle the issue the logical way like she had done it regarding this stupid scam that was responsible for all of this. Coming up with another plan wasn't completely impossible, she was sure of it. She would just start with the most simple things to get everything going and would slowly progress to the most difficult part, calm and collected.

First off, the time: she would do it the next time she was alone with Ruby. However, she had to make sure that nobody would interrupt them after her confession so she and her partner could sort everything out afterwards. Yet, it was probably better to confess as soon as possible and not waiting another few weeks for the perfect moment. The current awkwardness between them mustn't continue for too long, after all.

Next up, the place: it was probably easiest to tell Ruby how she really felt in their dorm room. She would probably be a lot more comfortable in a familiar environment. This was the place she would most likely have a chance to talk to her partner in private anyway. Additionally, confessing to a girl in public was out of the question. While the heiress hated her father with every fiber of her very being, the old man (unfortunately) had a point regarding their family attracting negative attention. Besides, she didn't want the humiliation of getting the brush-off in front of other people.

Now for the most difficult part: the execution. How should Weiss approach this sensitive topic?

Should she just spit it out? Three little words? Like ripping off a band-aid? No, this was probably the worst option. Simply throwing something that important into Ruby's face without a proper warning would most certainly be bad for their friendship. They didn't need even more awkwardness.

Maybe she should write a letter. That would be way more her style. But then again, she was a romance novice and hadn't read a lot of love poetry or the like so far. Therefore, the document that should cover the deepest feelings of her heart would probably turn out like an elementary school kid writing to their crush: "Do you like me? Yes? No? Maybe? None of the above? Answer till lunch break." Unacceptable.

Or should she sing a song? That was way more romantic and it had worked in a few operas she had watched as a child with her family, after all. But these had been just made up stories. No, a song would be way too overdramatic. Admittedly, she was musically gifted but surprising Ruby with something like this was most certainly too much... the white-haired girl immediately remembered Jaune and his guitar, asking her out to the Beacon Dance, and a shiver of disgust ran down her spine.

No, every one of these ideas was terrible. But maybe she was overthinking this completely anyway. How about simply telling the truth? Carefully, of course. But no gimmicks. She liked Ruby, she felt protected and cherished every time the younger girl was near her, and she was wondering if maybe, only maybe, there was more than simple friendship going on between them. She, for her part, wanted this to be, as ridiculous as it sounded after everything they had been through during their time as a fake couple.

Shy, insecure... but honest. That was how Weiss really felt, after all. And didn't she owe Ruby to simply tell her that? So that they could at least be friends again. The crimson-haired girl didn't need to feel obliged to like her back or to treat her any different than before this scam had happened. She just wanted her BFF back. The rejection wouldn't break her heart... probably...

An opportunity to talk to Ruby in private came pretty quickly. It was Saturday evening when Weiss finally got her chance. She and her partner were alone at the moment. Yang and Blake were who knew where... the heiress hadn't listened and she didn't care anyway. The only thing she knew right now was that she had to get what she wanted to say off her chest.

Ruby was sitting at their shared desk and studied half-heartedly – probably additional stuff since she had already caught up on everything a few days ago and there were no bigger assignments due to next week. Weiss herself was sitting on her bed, trying to busy herself with her Scroll in order to avoid any conversation. But the moment their teammates had left, she saw no point in doing so anymore. This was the chance she had hoped for to finally sort everything out. Maybe the only one she would get for a long time.

Therefore, she put her Scroll away barely a minute after the door had fallen shut behind Yang and Blake and approached her partner. And even though she was nervous as hell, she knew that it was necessary – at least for her relationship with the crimsonette to return to normal.

"U-umm... Ruby?", she asked carefully.

Upon hearing her name, the crimson-haired girl perked up her ears and turned around. The moment their eyes met, all the awkwardness between them immediately returned, making Weiss feel uncomfortable. But the white-haired girl knew that she had to get this over with now.

"Y-yeah?", Ruby asked back, nervousness apparent in her voice, "What is it?"

Weiss took a deep breath. There was no turning back now!

"Well, you see...", she started, trying to figure out how to express herself, "Umm... you... you may have noticed that things between us are a little... tense lately."

"Kinda...", the younger girl replied and averted her gaze, a slight blush covering her cheeks.

"I mean... after everything we went through, this is kind of understandable.", Weiss continued, "Pretending to be a couple and all that. The closeness, the hugs, sleeping in the same bed, and the... k-kiss..." Now the heiress was blushing as well.

"Yeah...", Ruby seconded, "That was especially... awkward."

"I think we need to talk about... something... to sort everything out.", the heiress explained shyly, "I-I mean... there's... something... I want to tell you."

"Umm, that's convenient because... I want to tell you something, too.", the crimsonette suddenly admitted.

Now that caught Weiss completely off guard. Her mind immediately spun around a million possibilities, one more ridiculous than the other. Did Ruby feel the same way as her? Or was she mad at her for overstepping boundaries back then? The white-haired girl had no idea what to respond and her partner seemed to be unsure how to start as well. This resulted in a long, awkward silence.

"Well...", both girls began in unison, effectively cutting each other off. This caused them to go silent again and their blushes to deepen.

"S-sorry...", Weiss quickly said, "Y-you go first."

"N-no... it's okay.", Ruby responded embarrassed, "Go ahead."

"Well, then...", the white-haired girl began anew. No turning back...

"First off, I wanted to thank you again for doing everything you've done for me.", she explained nervously, even anxiously, "The whole scam, I mean. No, actually all the nice things you've done for me so far. I really treasure our friendship to a great extent. But after everything we've been through the last few weeks, it's... different. I... I don't know how to explain it. I really like being friends with you but... but now... I mean... all of this... weirdness... It can't go on like this. I don't want that..."

Upon hearing these words, Ruby's eyes went wide in shock. Even though she somehow managed to keep her composure, internally, she was trembling with fear. What was Weiss trying to tell her? Oh no... was she trying to explain that they couldn't be friends anymore? That they couldn't continue with their little inside jokes, and pet plays, and hugs, and all the other things Ruby cherished so much? That they couldn't return to normal because the white-haired girl was too uncomfortable around her now? If she had known that everything would turn out like that she would've never agreed to this stupid scam. Her silver eyes started to tear up a bit.

No, she wouldn't let it end like this. Out of panic, the younger girl suddenly came to a conclusion: If Weiss wanted to end their friendship, then she HAD to tell her how she really felt beforehand. She would have nothing left to lose afterwards anyway. Maybe Weiss would even stay by her side out of pity... or at least not ditch her completely. Admittedly, it was a cowardly, pathetic plan... but Ruby didn't care. She would leave nothing untried to keep the white-haired girl in her life.

"And... well... that brings me to what I wanted to tell you...", Weiss continued. However, she was suddenly interrupted by her partner.

"No!", Ruby exclaimed, "I-I think I know what you're trying to say but don't do that, please!"

"Y-you know?!", the white-haired girl gasped in shock.

"I know we've been through a lot and I know I've said that you could go first...", the younger girl continued, "B-but, please, let me tell you what I wanted to tell you now before you ditch me as a friend because you're uncomfortable around me now."

"Huh?", was all Weiss could respond to that. Where the hell did Ruby get this idea from? Admittedly, the white-haired girl was still known to be cold and withdrawn... but she had never thought that her partner also still thought that way about her. It hurt. However, what came next caught Weiss completely off guard.

"So let me at least explain why I was acting so weird lately before you say anything. Let me tell you why I accepted to be your gir... p-play your girlfriend...", Ruby quickly corrected herself, "I-it wasn't all that selfless, y'know... I, umm, also... kinda... wanted to... b-because..." The last three words were spoken in a whisper, barely audible. However, Weiss understood them nonetheless.

"Ruby, what are you trying to say?", Weiss asked and raised an eyebrow, a look of utter confusion on her face. Was this girl trying to... no, that would be too good to be true.

However, she was met with silence. Ruby simply stood there and stared at her feet. She looked... scared. Therefore, Weiss took a step closer to her partner. The moment the younger girl noticed this, her body began to tremble.

"Ruby?", the heiress asked again, sounding concerned (and maybe a little hopeful), "You know you can tell me everything, right?"

The younger girl took a deep breath and blushed furiously. She was afraid of what was about to come next. But she would never forgive herself if she would back down now. Therefore, Ruby gathered all the courage she had and answered.

"I think you're really cool and smart and beautiful and I have a crush on you for a long time now actually and this is why I agreed to play your girlfriend in the first place because I wanted us to be together for real so I somehow tried to make you like me but I never had the courage to tell you how I really feel because I was afraid that it would end our friendship and I don't want you to hate me because I love you so pleasedon'tabandonmenow.", she rambled. Then, she squeezed her eyes shut and ducked her head, afraid of the scolding that was most certainly about to come... or maybe something even worse.

An embarrassed silence enveloped the dorm room once again. Ruby just stood there, rooted to the ground and trembling with fear. Weiss, for her part, needed a moment to process everything she had just heard. Ruby loved her? She really loved her? The white-haired girl would've never believed that if she hadn't heard it out of this sweet girl's mouth with her own ears...

Ruby loved her.

A tear of emotion came to her eye as all the awkwardness in her chest instantly turned into a heavenly warmth. The heiress was so overwhelmed by the feeling that she couldn't respond anything for a moment even though she wanted to. But then, suddenly, she knew exactly what to say... the only thing appropriate for this situation.

"You're a dolt...", Weiss finally sighed but since Ruby still had her eyes closed she couldn't see the small but gentle smile that appeared on her partner's face.

"I know.", the younger girl half-groaned, half-sobbed and hung her head in defeat.

"But you'll always be my dolt.", the heiress finished, took another step forward and put her hand to the back of the crimsonette's neck, rubbing her thumb tenderly up and down.

It was then that Ruby decided to open her eyes and look up again. What she saw left her speechless. Weiss' face was barely an inch away from hers, a smile on her lips and her ocean blue eyes full of affection. A deep blush covered the heiress' face but it wasn't an embarrassed one. No, this blush was different.

Suddenly, it clicked in Ruby's brain. Her partner felt the same! She loved her back! The moment this realization hit the younger girl a wave of emotions washed over, too many to describe. However, the most prominent ones were astonishment, relief... and happiness.

The heiress' question afterwards wasn't really necessary anymore.

"So... do you want me to be your dolt, too?", Weiss asked lovingly, her voice only a whisper by now.

The words had barely left her mouth before Ruby pulled her close and captured her lips in a soft, yet passionate kiss. The moment it happened, every single one of their worries was blown away in an instant. Everything that mattered right now was being with each other – the way they wanted to.

Weiss still heard the younger girl sob a time or two but she knew that it wasn't out of sadness anymore. The white-haired girl was on the verge of tears of happiness as well but she fought them back. She didn't want anything to interrupt this kiss. It felt exactly like the first one: tender, loving, honest. But there was one big difference: This time, it was real! This, right now, was their REAL first kiss. And Weiss knew immediately that it was a moment she would never forget in her life.

All the white-haired girl could concentrate on right now was how soft, tasty... in short, perfect Ruby's lips felt against hers. A soft moan reached her ears but she didn't know if she or her partner had made the noise. It didn't matter anyway to Weiss as she pressed her body closer to the younger girl's. A hand ran through her hair, gently caressing the back of her head and playing with the snow-white strands. The heiress quickly mimicked the gesture to show Ruby how much she appreciated, no, loved this simple yet affectionate action... and, of course, to pull the crimsonette's head closer to her slowly parting lips.

Their tongues met right in the middle (as if they could've sensed what the other had wanted to do) and hesitantly brushed against each other. However, they quickly got comfortable with the new form of contact and started to circle around. Ruby and Weiss immediately tilted their heads a little more for better access, the need to be even closer the only thing on their minds. Soon, they had begun to explore each other's mouths, savoring the sweet taste of the other's saliva and moaning softly as the kiss continued.

Only when the need to breathe became unbearable, the two girls pulled away, even though they did it reluctantly. After that, they put their foreheads together, stared into and immediately got lost in each other's eyes. They were blushing furiously, but they couldn't care less about that at the moment. There was nothing to be embarrassed about anymore – they were a couple now. It had finally happened.

"I'll take that as a yes to the dolt-question, then.", Weiss whispered out of breath, earning a small giggle from the equally panting Ruby.

"Yup... that was a yes... my dolt.", the crimson-haired girl simply replied and pulled her finally real girlfriend into a tender embrace. Her dream had come true: She and Weiss were together. This was definitely the happiest moment in her life so far.

However, while they had been kissing, the newly minted couple hadn't noticed that the door to their dorm room had been opened. That they weren't alone anymore had completely passed by as well. Ruby and Weiss had been in their own little world the moment the blissful feeling of the other's lips had made everything besides it insignificant. But now that they had come back to reality, a sudden cheer almost made them jump out of their skin.

"YES!!! I KNEW IT!!!", Yang's booming voice echoed through the dorm room.

Ruby and Weiss immediately let go of each other, stumbled backwards and turned to the annoying source of noise. What they saw caused their blushes to falter and them to pale even more than they usually were. Yang and Blake were standing right in front of them, the former with a shit-eating grin on her face while the latter looked... surprised, to say at least. The young couple didn't know how long their teammates had been standing there, but one thing was for sure: Long enough to have witnessed what they had done a few moments ago.

However, what happened next left them utterly confused.

"I've told you that nothing beats my Gay-dar!", Yang exclaimed and turned to her partner, "Look at the clock, kitty? You know what time it is? Time to pay up!"

"Damn it...", Blake sighed, fished her wallet out of one of her pockets and handed over a couple of Lien cards to the blonde.

"W-what the hell is going on?", was all Weiss could respond to the bizarre scene.

"That's... a long story.", Yang explained and scratched the back of her head, "Summary is that we've kinda been betting when you two will finally come out of the closet."

"You did what?", Ruby asked, still immensely confused, but now also sounding a little annoyed as well. The blonde noticed it and a slightly embarrassed expression crept across her face.

"Well, it's not that assuming that you guys had a thing for each other was made up out of thin air.", Blake noted, even though it was obvious that she was a little uncomfortable with this conversation.

"I mean... come on!", Yang continued, "The shy glances, the embarrassed hugs, your weird pet fetish play, this whole sneaking around each other... you barely could've been any more obvious. This was going on for so long now that we were kinda curious about the outcome."

This caused the young couple to stare at their teammates in utter disbelief. Did they really bet on them getting together or not? And, besides the fact that this was a pretty insensitive thing to do... had they really been looking that couple-like all the time?

"Anyway, duty calls. Gonna collect my money from team JNPR...", Yang said in a sing-song voice, then, she exited the room again and hammered against their friends' door across the hallway, "Pay up, bitches! They kissed – and you know what I mean! I won! And Momma wants a new leather jacket!"

"Well, that's kinda awkward, don't you think?", Ruby asked her partner and raised an eyebrow, "I don't really know how to feel about the fact that they were betting on our love lives."

"You tell me...", Weiss simply replied as she watched the blonde almost breaking down team JNPR's door, yelling something about honoring gambling debts.

"We really didn't do it out of malice or anything like that.", Blake suddenly said apologetically, "It was just supposed to be in good fun. The last thing we wanted to do was to mock at you or the like."

"So... let me get this straight...", Weiss addressed her Faunus teammate, "Since Yang is getting everybody to pay, does that mean you as well as team JNPR were betting against me and Ruby getting together?"

"Not exactly. I had the month after next.", Blake admitted with a small, awkward chuckle, "To be honest, everybody has thought that it was going to happen sooner or later."

"Was it really that obvious to you that me 'n Weiss... were getting together at some point?", the crimson-haired girl asked.

"Seriously?", the Faunus asked back and another giggle escaped her lips, "If an author would somehow get wind of this whole story they would probably write one of the sappiest novels ever out of it."

"Well, in retrospect...", Weiss pondered, "I guess we always had some kind of... special dynamic, am I right?" This caused Ruby as well as Blake to nod in agreement.

"By the way... about this whole scam you came up with...", the black-haired girl suddenly noted, "Y'know that pulling it off would've been a lot easier if you two would've realized and confessed your feelings a little sooner, don't you?"

At that statement, Ruby's and Weiss' eyes went wide. Now that their teammate had pointed it out, they noticed how accurate that was. The young couple shared an embarrassed glance and a slight blush before they suddenly burst into laughter. It was now that they realized how hilarious this whole situation was. All the awkwardness around her father would've been completely unnecessary.

But then again, it had helped Weiss to realize her feelings for her partner. And despite all the hard times they had to endure, the white-haired girl didn't want to change a single thing.

"If you excuse me, I should probably take care of Yang before she breaks down team JNPR's door.", Blake said with a warm smile, "And... even though you guys have cost me a lot of money... I'm really happy for you."

"Thank you, Blake.", both girls replied and returned the smile.

Then, the Faunus turned around and addressed her partner: "Yang! They aren't hiding. They're simply not there. Stop with... is this Ember Celica? YANG!"

After the door to their own room had fallen shut again, Ruby and Weiss just heard a loud bang. Both girls knew better than to follow Blake and ask any questions. It was pretty obvious what had happened anyway.

"Umm... about the scam and all that stuff...", Ruby suddenly said.

"Huh?", Weiss asked confused, "What do you mean?"

"Well, I guess, now that we're a real couple...", the younger girl continued, "...we have to take the rules your father has told us about a little more serious, right? Avoiding negative attention and all that... for you, Snowdrop..."

This caused the heiress to raise an eyebrow. But her look of confusion soon changed into one of adoration. As always, Ruby was only thinking about her partner's, and now girlfriend's, safety. And Weiss didn't want to have her adorable dolt any other way. However, she knew exactly how to react to the crimsonette's worries.

"Shut up, you dol... Rosebud.", Weiss responded with a loving smile before pulling the younger girl into a soft embrace and gently pressing their lips together once more.

Of course, Ruby was more than happy to participate. Not a single one of her daydreams, even the less innocent ones, could compare to the real thing. They were finally Snowdrop and Rosebud. The dreams had become reality.

As their romantic moment continued, the white-haired girl started contemplating:

Every single thing she had planned out for today had gone horribly wrong: Her timing had sucked since Yang and Blake had returned way too soon, the location had been a bad choice since it wasn't nearly as private as she had thought, and she didn't even want to start on her strategy of telling Ruby about her feelings. She hadn't even been able to really confess them. The whole idea of tackling the issue logically had been a disaster.

Weiss couldn't help but smile at that as she pulled her girlfriend even closer to her body.

Her plan had failed miserably... and yet, it had turned out better than she could've imagined in her wildest dreams. This moment now... it had everything Weiss had ever hoped for: Ruby's arms wrapped around her, the warmth her body radiated, the smell of roses, the sweet taste of the younger girl's lips, the feeling of comfort, care... and, most importantly, love...

For the first time in Weiss' life... everything was perfect.

Chapter Text

It was a peaceful, late Sunday evening. The recent events hadn't affected Beacon at all. Everything was as normal as can be: The teachers were in their offices, busy with their curriculum, the students were either in their respective dorm rooms, or studying in the library, or maybe at the training grounds, honing their fighting skills. It was just an ordinary day for everyone.

The sun was hanging low already. Most of the dorms blinds or curtains had been closed to block out the glaring light. The school's courtyard was void of any people... besides two young girls who sat on a bench, (un)intentionally close to their first meeting point, and watched the sunset over Beacon's cliff.

Ruby's head was resting on Weiss' shoulder while the white-haired girl was leaning into the crimsonette as well. They sat close to each other and seemed to be completely relaxed. All in all, that was pretty unsuspicious and nothing any other student at Beacon hadn't witnessed already. Everyone knew about Ruby's clinginess and Weiss' incomprehensible tolerance towards this girl... and only towards her, for whatever reason.

In short: to an inattentive observer, the two Huntresses-in-training still looked like simple friends and partners, just enjoying the evening and the sunset together... until said observer would notice their intertwined fingers, their hands resting on top of Weiss' thigh.

"It's kind of crazy how everything has turned out, don't you think?", Ruby asked, deep in thought, "I mean... considering everything that had happened the last few weeks... Is this even real?"

"Well... I don't care if this is just a dream...", Weiss responded and squeezed her girlfriend's hand affectionately, " long as we never wake up, that is."

"Awww... You're so cute.", the crimsonette purred in adoration, "This could've been just out of one of Blake's weird romance novels."

"I've never read any of them, Rosebud.", the heiress clarified, "That line was an original 'Weiss Schnee'. I can be romantic if I really want to, you know?"

"You should give one or two of those books a try, though.", the younger girl responded with a flirtatious grin, "There's some pretty... interesting stuff inside."

"Ruby Rose.", Weiss said, trying to adopt her usual scolding tone (even though her smile told otherwise), "Don't you think it's a bit early to try to seduce me?"

"Yeah, I know...", the crimsonette admitted with a sigh, "After all, I'm in this relationship way longer than it actually exists. I should give you some time to catch up on everything, right?"

"I would appreciate this.", the white-haired girl replied, "I mean... it's not that I'm against... being closer later on, but... I'm not really good at this relationship stuff. Or, as you've mentioned a few weeks ago, at being close to people in general."

At this statement, Ruby wanted to creep a few inches away to avoid making her girlfriend feel uncomfortable. However, Weiss quickly pulled her close again and guided the crimsonette's head back to her shoulder.

"You're the exception, you dolt.", the heiress giggled, "So don't bail on me now or you're sleeping in your own bed tonight." Of course, this was just a bluff – there was no way Weiss wanted to sleep alone ever again. Her girlfriend probably noticed that she didn't mean it, too, but played along nonetheless.

"Wouldn't dream of it, Snowdrop.", Ruby quickly responded and relaxed back into the white-haired girl's body.

They sat like this for a while and enjoyed each other's company: Holding hands, cuddling, being... them. To Weiss, it was wonderful. However, she still felt a little guilty because she had used Ruby for this scam without wasting a single thought about the younger girl's feelings. And it was gnawing away at her. She had to get this right again.

"What was the worst part of pretending to be my girlfriend?", Weiss therefore asked carefully, "Y'know... since you had already realized your feelings back then... unlike me."

"Oh, definitely the kiss!", Ruby responded without a second thought, "At first, I was so happy that it was finally happening... but afterwards I felt so miserable because I knew it was just a fake. Almost dropped my act and started crying. But then I remembered why I was doing this and managed to keep my cool. Didn't want my love to marry someone else, after all."

Then, she giggled a bit, probably to lighten up the mood again. However, the desired effect didn't come.

"I'm so sorry I've put you through all of this, Rosebud.", the heiress said and hung her head in shame.

"Don't be.", the younger girl replied with a warm smile, "This whole fooling you father stuff has gotten us together in the end, after all."

"I know... but still.", Weiss said, "I feel terrible because I used you for this scam without considering your feelings."

"I was the one who agreed to do it in the first place.", Ruby comforted her, "So don't waste a single thought about it anymore. Everything turned out fine, after all. Even better."

"No. I have to make it up to you somehow.", the white-haired girl explained determined, "I put you in a situation that made you feel miserable. I let you suffer emotionally for two entire days out of selfish reasons... I even stole your first kiss just because of this stupid scam. I need to right this somehow. I owe my... girlfriend at least that much." Then, without waiting for a response, she gently cupped Ruby's cheek and pulled her into a soft kiss.

The moment the younger girl felt her partner's lips on her own, she instantly melted away. Even though she could still count the times they had kissed so far on one hand, Ruby was already addicted to this heavenly sensation. Weiss' lips were so soft, so warm, so tasty... The crimsonette knew that she would never get tired of them, even in two lifetimes.

Just like yesterday, their tongues reached out for each other again after a while and soon, the slippery muscles were intertwined in a passionate dance, savoring every single moment. Of course, the kiss was anything but heated, yet, there was still something sensual, something yearning to it. A moan escaped the two girls' throats as they pulled each other as close as physically possible.

After about a minute, they finally broke the kiss. However, in Ruby's and Weiss' opinion, it had ended way too soon nonetheless.

"Was this one better?", the heiress asked with an apologetic smile, "Compared to the first, fake one?"

"It was perfect.", Ruby whispered back, "After THAT kiss, I even think that I owe you now."

"Keep the change.", the white-haired girl giggled and snuggled up to her girlfriend closely again. Then, they sat in silence for a while, simply enjoying the other's presence. The air around them slowly got crisper but the young couple didn't care. They had themselves to keep each other warm.

"Y'know what?", the crimsonette suddenly said, "From all the origin stories for us I've come up with over the last few months in my daydreams... I like this one best."

"Are there that many?", Weiss asked confused and a little bit amazed at the depth of Ruby's feelings for her. Again, she was wondering why she hadn't noticed anything sooner.

"Kinda...", the younger girl admitted in embarrassment and a faint blush crept to her cheeks.

"That's... actually really sweet.", the heiress said affectionately, "And you really think this whole fake relationship one is your favorite?" It had been pretty awful on the way, after all.

"Yup.", Ruby simply replied, popping the P in her usual manner, "Because it's real. It's finally real. It's even better than the one we came up with together when we went through your list."

"Hmm... Now that you mention it...", Weiss remarked tenderly, "In the end, you even got the ending you originally wanted."

"Huh?", was everything the younger girl could respond.

"Think about it." the white-haired girl said with a small chuckle, "I was in a devastating situation and you saved me in a really, really brave way... And... I fell for you... my knight in shining armor."

Upon hearing this, Ruby's cheeks rivaled her namesake immediately. It was now that she noticed that her girlfriend was right about it. Most of the origin stories in her daydreams, including the one she had proposed to Weiss during their actual planning phase, were about her saving the white-haired girl somehow. Suddenly, she realized that she had really done this in a way.

"Yeah... I guess I'm pretty awesome.", the crimsonette giggled.

"Normally, I would say you're a dolt for saying something like this...", the white-haired girl began, "But I think the recent events showed that you're quite right about that."

"Well, you make me wanna be awesome.", Ruby responded, "It's that simple."

"Is that a line out of one of Blake's weird romance novels?", Weiss asked with a teasing grin. But she was quickly taken aback.

"Nope!", Ruby answered matter-of-factly, "That line was an original 'Ruby Rose'. Custom-build for you, and only you... Patent pending..."

"Awww... Rosebud...", the white-haired girl whispered affectionately and kissed her girlfriend's forehead.

Then, she relaxed back into the embrace. The scent of roses immediately filled her nostrils and again, Weiss wondered why Ruby always smelled like that. Of course, she enjoyed it to a great extent, yet, she was pretty curious. Was it really because of the younger girl's Semblance? The heiress had to ask her girlfriend sometime in the future.

"Do you think we're going to be alright from now on?", Ruby suddenly asked, "I mean... your dad still seems to bear a grudge against me because, well, you're a Schnee and I'm a girl... and a nobody and all that."

"Don't you dare to say something like that about you ever again.", Weiss said determined, "You're a better person than him on your worst days, which are practically nonexistent, than he'll ever be even if he tries as hard as he can."

However, she added with a worried sigh: "But regarding your question... Unfortunately, I doubt this will be the last time my father was bothering us."

"Yeah... I thought as much.", the younger girl sighed, "But I'm pretty sure my super-smart Snowdrop will come up with another plan to keep him in his place." At this statement, she snuggled up even closer to her girlfriend.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.", the heiress simply replied but returned the cuddles nonetheless, "But if Father thinks he can break us up by any means after everything we had to pull through to finally find together, he's going to be very, very, very mistaken."

"Yeah!", Ruby seconded, "Whatever this guy is trying to do, we'll get through it... together."

At her girlfriend's determined words, Weiss face visibly lit up and she started to blush a bit. And, for some reason, she was sure that the younger girl was right: As long as they had each other, nothing could ever harm them. It had been like that before they became a couple and now even more so.

"Just out of curiosity...", the crimsonette suddenly said, "What would a plan of the supreme tactician Weiss Schnee look like if her father was about to sabotage us again?"

Now that caught the heiress by surprise. Thinking about what this despicable man would come up with to end their relationship was the last thing she wanted to do.

"Phew... coming up with something impromptu isn't exactly that easy...", Weiss pondered and went silent for a while, but then, she added jokingly, "Maybe we could fake our marriage and marry for real about three weeks later. That's kinda like us, don't you think?"

"I could live with that...", Ruby simply responded and a mischievous smile spread across her lips, "Maybe you should give your father a call and talk about some made up insecurities to get him on our tails again." Obviously, the idea of marrying Weiss pretty soon appealed to her.

"Dolt.", the heiress snorted in a fit of giggles and pulled her girlfriend closer to her body.

"But I'm your dolt.", the younger girl responded and added in a spooky voice, "Foreveeerrr..."

"You're insufferable.", Weiss sighed, "You're lucky you're cute."

"Likewise.", Ruby responded chuckling.

But then, her facial features softened again and she gazed deep into her girlfriend's eyes. Even though they were together for barely a day, the younger girl knew that this relationship was something meant to last forever. And, as if she could read Weiss' mind, she knew the heiress felt the same. The sparkle in her beautiful, blue eyes confirmed that.

"I love you, Snowdrop.", Ruby breathed tenderly.

"I love you too, Rosebud.", Weiss whispered back.

And with these words, the White Rose couple snuggled up even closer on the bench and enjoyed the crisp evening air, their closeness, and the warmth of each other as the sun slowly slipped behind Beacon's cliff.