Mad About You
Clutching a stack of books, Weiss made her way back to the study area in the remarkably quiet library. No students clustered around board games, groaning and cheering. No third years loudly flirting between bookcases. Not even that one idiot with a dry, periodic cough that quiet places attracted. It was perfect.
Except for the one annoyance quietly pouting at their shared table.
Ruby glanced up from her scribbling as Weiss dropped the books onto the desk with a soft thump. Ruby's pout intensified and she pointedly looked away with a humph. Ruby was obviously mad at her, the problem was that Weiss had no idea why.
Sitting, Weiss attempted to return back to her work. Tapping her pen against the polished wooden desk, her attention drifting away from the dry text on automated agriculture. She pondered Ruby's behaviour; the usual upbeat routine had been replaced by a sullen indifference. Joyous greetings swapped for dismissive grunts. And that pouting.
It's like being savaged by a puppy, she thought.
At first Weiss ignored Ruby. She had often been on receiving end of such treatment – her father's famously chilly demeanour could last for weeks. She had fond memories of those little vacations. Yet as Ruby’s attitude persisted, a strange restless sensation swelled in her stomach. Unfamiliar and distressing. Entirely unpleasant.
A glint of white in the corner of her eye pulled Weiss out of her head. Jaune clumsily made his way through the scattered desks towards them. She gave him a disinterested look, but was secretly grateful for a slight distraction. And a chance to deliver a good verbal barb or two.
“Hey Weiss, Ruby.” Jaune said, earning a curt nod and a wave respectively. He scanned the desk and let out a pained grunt.
“Professor Oobleck's assignment? Yeah, that's a doozy. Mind if I join?” Jaune asked hopefully. “My partner is Cardin, so it's not going too well...”
Weiss opened her mouth to retort, only for Ruby to speak up first.
“Sure, Jaune! Happy to have you!” she said, bubbly again.
While Jaune scrambled for a chair, Weiss glowered at her partner, Ruby smirked back.
Jaune slumped into his seat with a sigh. “Thanks Ruby, you got lucky by drawing Weiss. Cardin is a nightmare.”
“Yeah it's great, I can't imagine having such a rude partner, that must be horrible.” Ruby replied, maintaining eye contact with Weiss. Slowly, Ruby poked her tongue out.
Why, that little...!
Miffed, Weiss' chair scraped against the hardwood floor as she abruptly stood up.
“I just remembered I have an important appointment.” she said.
“Oh, what for?” Jaune said, interested.
Weiss mentally grasped for an excuse to shut down further conversation. The image of her blonde team-mate easily declining advances shook loose an idea.
“It's for... it’s a girl issue.” Weiss tried casually.
“Oh? I have seven sisters I know all about girl problems.” Jaune said without hesitation.
Weiss' mind blanked. That's not how that’s supposed to work! she screamed internally. A guffaw from Ruby coloured Weiss’ cheeks pink.
“Well, b-be that as it may, I must – I'm late.” She stammered.
“Oh. I don't know much about that issue...” Jaune trailed off, rubbing the back of his head.
Weiss' blush deepened. “No! Not... that.” She said forcefully and snatched her notes off the table.
Ruby put a hand over mouth to suppress giggles, eyes gleaming with mirth. Ignoring her, Weiss hurried away, face burning with embarrassment.
What is wrong with her? She silently fumed. I need a qualified Ruby interpreter.
The walk back to the dorms allowed Weiss to regain her composure. She entered their room and spotted her target lounging on Blake's bunk, intently focused on a novel in their hands. Weiss gave a polite cough to gain her attention.
“Crap!” Yang yelped, cramming the book back under the pillow. “I found it by accident, I swear– Oh, you're not Blake.”
“Astute as always, Yang.”
“Can't be too careful.” Yang said cheerfully.
Weiss gave her a level look. “You could try not snooping through Blake's possessions.”
“I don't follow.”
“You sisters will be the death of us.” Weiss muttered, rolling her eyes.
Dropping the unfinished homework onto her desk, Weiss sat down on her bed, head in hands.
“Don't worry, Ruby wouldn't go through your stuff.” Yang reassured her.
Weiss lifted her head and raised an eyebrow.
“I wouldn't either!” Yang added, waving frantically.
Sighing, Weiss flopped backwards. “Actually, I need your advice on Ruby.” She said.
“She's grumpy, refusing to talk, making faces.” Weiss said, ticking off Ruby's recent quirks on her fingers. Her weight shifted as Yang sat beside her.
“Let me guess, constantly pouting?”
“Yes!” Weiss exclaimed, throwing her hands up.
“Yeah, that’s her mad-at-you-face.” Yang patted Weiss on the knee and stood back up. “Apologise and she'll be fine.”
“I can't, I don't know what I did,” Weiss groaned. “That's if I did anything at all.” She muttered quietly.
“Nah, don't worry about details. Say sorry and, boom, problem solved.” Yang said confidently.
“What if she asks-”
“What if I didn't do-”
“Nope.” Yang repeated with hard pop of her lips.
Weiss pushed herself up onto her elbows. “Really? It's that simple?” She asked.
“Yep.” Yang said with another loud pop. She offered a hand to Weiss, pulling her up when she took it.
“Trust me, it's Ruby 101.” Yang smiled.
“Thank you for the insight.” Weiss said.
Yang gave a quick thumbs before slinking back to Blake's bed, freezing when there's a soft knock at the door. Before Weiss could answer, it's pushed open and Pyrrha poked her head through the gap.
“Hello,” She said, tone uneasy. ”Do you have a minute Weiss?”
“Yes?” Weiss said.
“I talked to Jaune and he said you may have, um, a problem?”
“No!” Weiss burst out. She took a deep breath, fighting back the creeping blush. “No, I'm not that. It was a misunderstanding.”
“Oh, I know,” Pyrrha reassured her, stepping into the room. “Jaune's all about misunderstandings.” She added a little bitterly.
“Then what do you need?”
“I just wanted to let you know he's been scolded, and he's sorry.” Pyrrha said.
“What's this about?” Yang chimed in.
Weiss and Pyrrha shared a quick glance.
“Jaune thought Weiss was... indisposed.” Pyrrha put delicately.
Yang looked at them blankly.
“It was kind of your fault, Yang. I used one for your excuses for boys and Jaune thought I was, you know, I was that.” Weiss explained further, looking down as she felt her face heat up.
Understanding dawned on Yang as she thumped a fist into an open palm.
“Oh, that. It's not embarrassing Weiss, happens to all of us.” She said.
“Well, not for a few years yet I should imagine.” Weiss said, relieved that Yang had caught on.
“Years? Happened to me last week.” Yang said casually.
“Yeah, too much meat not enough muffins.” Yang continued to the other girls disbelief.
“Muffins?” Weiss replied weakly.
“You know, the bran ones they serve in the cafeteria at breakfast.” Yang said. “Keeps you from getting that.”
Weiss and Pyrrha sagged with relief, nervous giggles escaping as they catch on to Yang.
“What did you think that meant?” Yang asked, tilting her head.
Weiss turned to Pyrrha. “I need to track down Ruby, can you sort this one out?” she asked brightly.
“It will by my pleasure.” Pyrrha said.
Yang better be right about this, Weiss thought, stomach unpleasantly tightening again. As she headed out to find Ruby, Yang’s dismay followed her down the corridor.
“I’ve been saying I’m what?!”
Weiss waited outside of the cafeteria as students trickled in for dinner service. Finally, she caught a flash of red and moved to intercept.
“Ruby? Do you have a minute to talk?” she said, stepping into her partner's path.
Ruby brightened then instantly soured. Turning her head away, she attempted to go around without a word. Weiss grabbed Ruby's wrist to stop her, surprising them both.
“Please?” Weiss asked.
Ruby nodded her approval.
A brisk walk led them to a small alcove between the cafeteria and a neighbouring building. Weiss peered around, confirming they had privacy before she turned to Ruby.
“Ruby, I'm sorry.” She said plainly.
Ruby's eyes widened.“You are?”
“Yes, I'm sorry.” Weiss repeated. “I promise I won't do it again.”
She fidgeted as Ruby's tapped her chin in thought, considering the apology. Relief washed over her when Ruby grinned.
“Apology accepted, Weiss.” Ruby said with mock formality.
Weiss felt the tension she was carrying release, a pleasant warmth raising in it's place at the restored Ruby.
“That worked out better than expected. Shall we go eat then?” Weiss said.
Leading the way back to the cafeteria, she stopped when Ruby failed to bounce past her.
“What went better than expected?” Ruby asked suspiciously.
“Oh, t-the apology, I wasn't sure if you would accept it?” Weiss stammered. Ruby's face scrunched up.
“Why wouldn't I accept-” She began, before her jaw dropped. “Wait, are you Yanging me?!”
Weiss shook her head furiously. “I- What are- No!” she protested.
“You are! You're totally Yanging me!” Ruby said, heat in her voice.
Indignation surged in Weiss. “Well, if you communicated like an adult instead of a rebellious teen then I wouldn't need to go to your sister for handling advice.” She said, tone icy.
“What do you mean?!" Ruby spluttered.
“I don't have a mind reading semblance, Ruby. Use grown up words instead of childish games.” Weiss said, jabbing a finger at her partner.
“You don’t even care!” Ruby gasped with realisation. “You don’t even know what you did, I practically spelled it for you!”
“Well I’m sorry I don’t speak in pouts.” Weiss said, sarcasm biting.
“It was so obvious, Jaune would’ve gotten it.” Ruby shot back.
“You made Jaune think I was that, you dolt!” Weiss screeched.
“Oh big deal, princess. Happens to Yang all the time after one too many cheeseburgers.” Ruby said dismissively.
“That's not what that means, it's-”
Weiss paused, remembering they were in public. She leaned in and whispered furiously into her partner's ear. Ruby blinked.
“Oh. Oh.” Ruby cringed, then horror set in. “We need to tell Yang! That's one of her top excuses to get rid of boys!”
“Taken care of, don't worry.” Weiss said, waving her off.
“Oh, good- Wait, I'm still mad at you!” Ruby said, pitch rising again.
“I'm still mad at you too!” Weiss retorted, stomping her foot.
“Friends should know better!”
“I don't know better! I've never had a friend before!”
Weiss slammed her hands over her mouth, too late to stop the impromptu confession. She watched as the anger faded from Ruby. Carefully, Ruby reached out to pull her hands down, holding them.
“You've never made friends before?” she asked gently.
Weiss slumped, the fight draining out of her. She sighed.
“No, not really. Acquaintances and flatterers, yes, but not something like this.” Weiss said, giving Ruby's hands a quick squeeze. “Not someone who treats me like me. Someone who drives me mad with worry when they're out of sorts.”
“Someone like me?” Ruby asked tentatively.
Weiss gave her a wry smile. “Someone I care about.” She added softly.
“Weiss, I'm sorry. I should of known better.”
“It's not entirely your fault. I'm sorry too.” Weiss said, this time sincerely.
Face lighting up with a toothy grin, Ruby let go and twirled happily towards the exit.
“I'm starving, let's go eat!”
Weiss rolled her eyes at her partner's sudden change of track.
“Fine, over dinner you can tell me what I did that made you angry.” She said
Ruby paused. “Hmm, you know what? I've forgotten!” She said with a half shrug.
Weiss' eye twitched. This friendship will be the death of me! she thought. Still, the pleasant warmth swirled up inside of her again and she smiled at Ruby darting ahead.
But it is nice.