A small yawn escaped his mouth as he turned another page in the dim light of the common room. As of recently, staying up to odd hours of the night was becoming the new norm for Oscar. Most nights were spent tuck away on the small ‘Atlesian White’ couch, reading whatever book he was able to find in what free time he had. Oscar had been surprised to come across a familiar text, “The Girl in the Tower.”
…” Forgive me then,” she said, and walked past her sister, out the door, and down the steps into the roaring festival gathering below…
“Geez, Ruby…” Oscar’s head shot up to come face-to-face with the small silver-eyed warrior, “Where did you come from?” He turned his head, scanning the room to see if anyone else happened to walk into the common room while he was reading.
She leaned back, shrugging in the process. She smirked, “Sometimes, I just appear.”
“What,” Oscar rolled his eyes with a smile, “No, rose petals?”
“Too messy,” Ruby gave him a small smile, she crossed her arms. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I honestly didn’t think anyone was up at this hour…”
He had not noticed her appearance until now. Actually, she looked as though she hadn’t fallen asleep. She must have been in bed before coming out into the common room. Her pajamas were slightly wrinkled. “You okay?” Using his hand, he marked the page in his book.
Ruby turned her head away, “Me? Pssh...Yeah, I’m fine.” She quickly uncrossed her arms. Oscar raised an eyebrow as she started to frantically started waving her arms around. “What about you? Why are you up so late?”
Oscar sighed as he leaned back into the couch, “I couldn’t sleep.” He gestured to the book in his hand, “So, I figure I would catch up on some reading.” He tilted his head sideways, “Why are you awake?”
Ruby ruffled her hair, “ I-” she paused. “I just have a lot on my mind at the moment.”
Oscar’s golden eyes passed on the huntress in front of him. The last few months have not been easy on any of them. With Ozpin’s disappearance, the abrupt arrival into Atlas, and the weeks of training with the Ace Operatives. “It certainly hasn’t been easy.”
The dark-haired girl spun so she could occupy the empty space next to him, “ What’s your book about?”
“ It’s about a woman who is accused of being a witch since she chooses not to marry or go to a convent. So, she flees her village. She sets out towards her elder sister’s kingdom, disguised as a boy.” He looked over to see the silver-eye girl staring at him. She appeared to be intrigued, “The maiden, however, must keep up the act of her being a boy for her sister’s safety. Unfortunately, when this was written, women were only fit for household duties.”
“ Laaaaaaaaame,” she whined.
Oscar let out a laugh, “ I figured you were going to say that.” He turned the book over in his hand, “ The maiden kinda reminds me a lot of you...” He paused as Ruby gave him a look,” I mean, she is strong, not just physically but in her beliefs. She is resilient, cunning, resourceful...”
Ruby put her hand up to stop him, “Please stop. That’s nice of you to say but, I am certainly am not any maiden in your book.” She had pink dusting her cheeks.
“ No, you are certainly more than that,” He smiled.
“ Excuse me?”
“ I mean,” Abort, abort the mission. Oscar had to recover quickly. He quickly turned his head and body forward trying to hide his blush, not looking at the girl sitting next to him, “ You are similar, but I would like to think that would be open to sharing your feelings.”
Ruby sighed as she drew her legs up to her chin. “ I don’t think you have to worry about that.” She let out a nervous giggle.
Oscar held his index finger out to her, “ What’s with the nervous giggle?”
" Not a nervous giggle," She retorted, " Just curious as to how you came across this book?”
“ Uh-huh…” Oscar gazed down at the book in hand. “Actually, my aunt was the one who originally read this story to me.”
Ruby stretched out next to him on the couch. “Yang use to read to me all the time when we were little.” She stretched her arms over her head, causing her shirt to ride up just enough to show a bit of her stomach. Oscar’s cheek turned pink as he lowered his gaze to the book in his lap. “You can guess how long ago that was…”
“Two years ago,” he said sarcastically. He was not ready for the barefoot to push him towards the armrest.
“Ha. Ha.” Ruby made a small pout. They burst out laughing in the open air. They shared a smile between the two. Ruby crossed her arms over her stomach and stared over at the young man across from her, “Do you mind reading to me?”
“I don’t think I’ll be that entertaining for you.” Oscar spoke, settling in on his end of the couch, “But, I’ll do my best.”
“You’ll do great.” She whispered, smiling at him.
He smiled as he opened the book where he left off, “Kasyan met her at the gate…”
Neither of them knew who fell asleep first in the comfort of the reading light. Only that a good book was meant to be shared amongst friends.