Hunting – 3.1

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Friday mornings were always awesome. First, there was the fact that it was Friday. Like, yesss! And then there was the fact that it was morning, which meant there was a whole day of Friday stuff to do! 

Except today. Today there weren’t normal Friday things to do. Today they were going on a Hunt!

Aaaaaaaah!

Professor Port had announced that this Friday they’d actually be skipping Professor Rustheart’s training session to go on what he called a “chaperoned, objective-based mission”. The chaperoned part made sense; they were brand new students and the professors wanted to keep an eye on them so they wouldn’t get hurt. And probably to see how they did. The objective-based part had Ruby scratching her head a little. Like, what, was it going to be ‘Objective: Go forth and slay all the Grimm-dudes’ or something? 

It would probably be more complicated than that. 

Professor Porkybutt said Professor Ozpin would explain everything today. So that was cool! Professor Ozpin was neat. All… old and knowy and stuff. 

She’d been woken up by the sound of Weiss returning from her morning run, which was kind of the routine now. Weiss would get back, Ruby would wake up, Ruby would wake up Yang and the noise of that would wake up Blake. Then they’d all go eat! Or in Weiss’ case, not eat and sulk about losing to Pyrrha instead. 

It made no sense! Ruby had told her over and over again that she’d been awesome! Heck, even Yang told her she was awesome! Like, that gravity well bomb black hole of snowflakey doom? THAT WAS THE SWEETEST THING EVER!!! And all her super ice blasts and the way she used her stairflakes? Raaaaad. And her sword fight at the end with Pyrrha? That looked like action movie awesomeness!

But Weiss lost, and apparently that had been all that mattered to her. 

She’d been extra hard on herself after realizing the rest of the team had won their matches. Yang beat Nora because Nora definitely didn’t know how to fight Yang. She’d shocked herself with lightning Dust to power up and walloped Yang, thinking that would be enough, but Yang was too dang tanky. And then she’d been powered up by a full on Nora bop, so when she bopped back… 

Well, it was Yang. It went about how one could expect a Yang bop to go. 

And Blake beat Ren. It had been an epic dual-wielding battle of ninja jutsu flippy slashy awesomeness that had actually gone on for a while ‘cause they had a hard time hitting each other, but it ended up just coming down to Blake being harder to hit because she has a semblance that’s actually useful. Ren’s is apparent just “emotional stability” or something. Like, what? 

Ruby felt bad for people with lame semblances. Or… not lame, but not useful in a fight. Like Ren. Or Remus, who could warg into animals. That wouldn’t be very useful if someone was attacking him. Or Orianna, who apparently was just really really really good at finding things or something. Like… her car keys? And Jaune still hasn’t discovered his semblance, which totally sucked. Knowing you had a superpower and not knowing what it was?

That would totally suck.

Meanwhile, Yang had a button that said “dodge or die”, Weiss was a wizard, Blake was a shadow clone ninja, and Ruby went NYEEEEEEEEERM. 

Team RWBY was pretty stacked. 

“Yang!” she squeaked as she bounced over to her sister’s bunk, trying to be quiet so she wouldn’t wake up Blake (she always did though, somehow). “Yang, wake up! Greet the new day!” 

She gave her sister a shake or two or ten–it always took at least three to wake up Yang–and Yang finally responded by sleepily swiping at her, twisting awkwardly to do it since she was lying face down. 

“Stahp bein’ shhhhtupid, Rubeh,” she grumbled groggily into her pillows. 

“No!” Ruby chirped in defiance. “Come on! Praise the sun!” 

“Yer sush a geek.” 

Ruby rolled her eyes. She wasn’t sure why her sister always made this such an ordeal. Once she actually got out of bed, Yang was a thousand percent a morning person! Probably ‘cause Dad always called her his Sunny Little Dragon, so she felt like she was supposed to be energetic when the sun was up. Or maybe she just was that way. 

Dad always called Ruby Peanut, which… yeah, she wasn’t really sure what time of day a peanut was supposed to be energetic at. So she was energetic all the time! She was a morning person, and a night person, and an afternoon person, and a midnight snack person, and an any-other-time snack person…

“Yang!” she whisper-shouted. 

“… wut?” 

“It’s Friday!” 

“Don’ chu haf an heiress tah go bother?” 

Weiss’ princess voice rang out from behind Ruby. “She couldn’t. I was in the bathroom.” 

“Weiss!” Ruby cheered, immediately bounding over to her partner’s side. Weiss looked like a million bajillion bucks in her combat outfit, as always. That was probably about the amount of money she was wearing in clothing, come to think of it.

“Help, I’ve made a mistake,” Weiss muttered, eyes twinkling. 

Ruby giggled, then gave Weiss a quick hug. “Good morning!” she cooed, trying to sound extra cheerful to prevent Weiss from falling into her self-depreciating funk. 

Depreciating? Was that the right word? Depr…essing? De… Deprecating! That was it. Self-deprecating. 

Blake had taught her that word yesterday when they were talking about how boo Weiss was being. Ruby had a Smart Person word in the Rubytionary now. 

“Good morning,” Weiss replied softly, giving Ruby a pat on the back instead of a hug because she’s weird like that. 

“Yang, wake up!” Ruby hissed across the room again.

“No, you.” 

“Sweet Lights, get out of bed so she shuts up, Yang,” Blake groaned, pushing herself up to sit and rub at her eyes. 

“Fiiiiiiine,” Yang groaned, rolling out her bed and landing clumsily on the floor in front of Blake. It was easy for Yang to just roll out of bed ‘cause she almost never slept under her blankets. She’d always said she didn’t need ‘em ‘cause she’s hot enough. 

Then she’d wiggle her eyebrows like a total goomba.

She wandered over to her and Blake’s bathroom to brush her teeth, leaning against the doorway and glaring mock-grumpily at Ruby while she did. 

“You guys ready to hunt some evil Grimm?” Ruby asked, punching the air. “We gotta come up with, like, callouts and stuff, like what the spec ops dudes in the movies use so we can sound cool and so we can execute sweet combos without letting the Grimm know what we’re doing.” 

“I don’t think the Grimm speak Valish, Ruby,” Blake pointed out as she rubbed her eyes. 

“You’re just going to spend the whole time trying to come up with ridiculous names for our combos, aren’t you?” Weiss asked. 

“Pbbbbt! Noooooo!” Ruby did her best to look offended. 

Weiss raised an eyebrow at her. 

“…. Maybe a little bit,” she admitted. 

Weiss rolled her eyes and moved to sit on her bed so she could pull her heels on. 

“Breakfast time?” Ruby asked excitedly. 

Her partner shrugged. “That’s what comes next, right?” 

Yang spit and rinsed, then turned and pointed her toothbrush at Ruby. “Ruby!” 

“Wot?!” 

“I have an idea.” 

“Uh-oh,” Weiss said quietly, making Ruby giggle. 

“What idea?” she asked her sister. 

Yang cleaned her toothbrush and put it up, then walked back out to the room. “Instead of you waking up and totally ruining my and Blake’s sleep like the heathen you are, why don’t you go work off your stupid amounts of energy by running with Weiss?” 

Eyes widening, Ruby turned to her partner. That was a great idea! Yang usually had really good ideas, but this one might take the cake! 

If Ruby didn’t eat the cake first…

Weiss sighed and her face fell into her hands. “I knew something horrible was going to happen the moment you said ‘I have an idea’,” she lamented at Yang. 

“Heehee,” Yang replied. She gave Blake a hand and pulled the girl to her feet, then Blake went to go brush her own teeth. 

“Sooooo… is that a no?” Ruby asked Weiss. That would make her sad. Running with Weiss in the morning sounded awesome! But… not if it was gonna make Weiss grumpy, and Weiss seemed to need alone time sometimes, so it might make her grumpy to have Ruby there…

“… Nooo,” Weiss sighed. “You’re gonna be all sad if I say no now that you have the idea in your head, and we can’t have that, can we.” 

“Nnnnope!” Ruby cheered, ploppin’ her patooty on Weiss’ bed to give the girl a big ol’ sideways hug. “It’s gonna be so much fun!” 

“It’s a morning run, Ruby,” Weiss replied tiredly. “It’s not supposed to be fun.” 

That sounded dumb. Why would you do something that wasn’t fun? “But it can be,” Ruby stressed. 

“It doesn’t have to b–you know what? Nevermind. I’m not winning this.” Weiss stood and headed to the door, pulling it open and holding it, looking at Ruby. “Breakfast?” 

“Breakfaaast!” Ruby agreed. “Our stuff or cafeteria?” 

Weiss shrugged. “Up to you. I assume you’ll say ‘cafeteria’ because it has–” 

“Cookieeees!” Ruby cheered. 

“So loud,” Blake grumbled, trudging after Yang, who was filing out behind Ruby. 

“Um,” Weiss declared in a tone of voice that very clearly meant ‘Stop’. 

“What?” Ruby asked, bouncing excitedly in the hallway and impatient to get to the food. 

“You’re all still in your pajamas?” Weiss said, like that should be obvious and a problem and obviously a problem. 

Ruby looked at herself, with her slightly-too-small tank top and pink-with-roses pajama bottoms, then at Weiss, who looked like a princess. 

Maybe there was something off here…

“Pfft, who cares?” Yang asked, waddling down the hall. “It’s Friday. And we know everyone that’s gonna be there anyway. Which isn’t many people anyway, ‘cause most people aren’t up at eight every morning ‘cause they’re not psychopaths!” 

Weiss huffed and crossed her arms, still standing firmly in the doorway. “Yang, you look positively indecent!” 

Yang stopped and turned. “Huh?! What? Why?”

“Look how short your shorts are! They might as well be underwear!” 

Yang’s eyes went wide for a moment, then she smirked. “You checkin’ out my butt, Ice Queen?” 

Weiss rolled her eyes. “I don’t have to be ‘checking it out’, it’s already hanging out for the whole world to see!” 

Yang shrugged. “It’s fiiiine. What do you think, Blake?” She turned her back to the group and the looked back over her shoulder at her partner, giving her butt a shake. “Do I look ‘decent’ enough?” 

Blake’s cheeks went bright red, but she managed to keep her cool, nonchalant look up. She took a moment to scrutinize Yang’s posterior, then shrugged lightly. 

“Seems fine to me.” 

“Ugh!” Weiss huffed, storming down the hall past all of them. “You’re sitting at another table!” she declared as she passed Yang. “I don’t want to be affiliated with any of you! Ever again!”

“What did I do?!” Ruby cried, skipping up to Weiss’ side. 

“You’re related to her!” 

“That’s not my fault!” 

“Ruby Rose!” Yang shouted. “Stop bein’ a traitor!” 

“No!” 

“Are you telling us you want to be judged by your family members, Weiss?” Blake asked dryly. 

Weiss wheeled around with a glare, but when she opened her mouth to speak, she floundered for a second. “… Y-you mean the richest, most successful family in the world?” she finally stammered haughtily. 

“That everyone hates?” 

“That’s not true at all,” Weiss shot back. “Just because you’re an animal lover doesn’t mean everyone agrees with you.” 

With that, Weiss turned and stormed away again, and Blake was now steaming furiously. 

“Blaaaaake,” Ruby whined. “Why’d you do thaaat?!” 

“Do what?” 

“Pick a fight,” Yang answered. “I’m not one to shy away from fights, but that was just… pointless.”

“I thought things were better!” Ruby whined some more. 

Hadn’t she fixed this?

Blake crossed her arms. “I mean, I’m fine being around her now, but… what, we’re just supposed to all be okay with the fact that she’s a racist ass?” 

“No, but do you really think that’s helping?” Yang asked. 

“Wha-why is it our responsibility to help her?” 

“Because that’s what friends do!” Ruby chirped. 

Blake raised an eyebrow, unimpressed. 

“What do you want here, Blake?” Yang asked. “Are you just trying to make her feel bad about her views, or are you actually trying to change them? Because you’re not succeeding at either and you’re just pissing her and yourself off and making my and Ruby’s day miserable.” 

Blake glowered and lowered her head. “I’ve tried changing the minds of people like that. It never works. What’s the point in trying?” 

Yang shrugged. “Oh, I dunno. Maybe getting the future CEO of the SDC to be kind to and respect faunus might make things better for them in the future or something,” she drawled, kinda sarcastically. 

Blake’s eyes narrowed at Yang’s tone, then widened as she considered Yang’s words. 

“Yeah!” Ruby agreed, though she wasn’t totally following why Yang thought that was important to say. Shouldn’t people being kind and respectful to others be… like, duh?

Then Blake sighed and started trudging down the hall, head down. “It doesn’t matter. It’s like I said. People like that don’t change.” 

“I dunno,” Yang said again, though she obviously knew (again) ‘cause she was wise and cool like that. “Maybe if someone, say, had some personal experience about life as a faunus, or a unique perspective on them that Weiss hasn’t seen or heard before because she grew up with an asswipe family, and that someone, say, shared those things with her, then, ya know, maybe she could change.” 

Blake stopped and turned to look at Yang with wide, horrified eyes. “Wh-what do you mean?” 

Yang rolled her eyes. “I mean I’m not an idiot, Blake.” 

“Weeeeeelllll,” Ruby joked. 

“Shush,” Yang hissed lightly, not taking her eyes off Blake’s. “Not now, Ruby.” 

… Oh. 

What the heck was going on?

“You… know?” Blake asked, still looking totally spooked. 

“I carried your drunk ass to bed, babe. Of course I know. You see these?” Yang pointed at her eyes. “They’re called eyeballs. And mine work. Not as well as your ears, probably, but they work.” 

‘… Do ninjas have really good hearing? Probably. That sounds right.’

Blake went from horrified to just flat stunned. Face blank, eyes wide, unmoving. Kinda like Weiss when she went all frozen statue-y, though Blake’s bow kinda wiggled from the breeze of the AC or something, sorta ruining the effect. 

“I…” Blake trailed off. 

“What are we talking about right now?” Ruby asked. This conversation had gotten really confusing. 

“Yeah, Blake. What are we talking about right now?” Yang prodded. “Why don’t you share with your teammates?” 

Blake’s eyes still hadn’t left Yang, and she still looked like a twitchy statue. 

A long moment passed…

… then Blake shook her head. 

“Nothing. We’re not talking about anything.”

“Blake–” 

“No.” Blake cut her partner off with a jerk of her hands. “We’re not telling her so she’s not telling Weiss.” 

“Blake! Iorderyouasyourcaptaintotellmewhat’sgoingon!” Ruby shouted as she stamped her foot, her voice unintentionally hiking up a thousand octaves. 

Yang sighed heavily. “Ruby?” 

“What?!” Ruby cried. Yang sounded disappointed or something and Ruby wasn’t sure what she’d done wrong. 

“You see how serious we’re being, right? Can you at least try sounding serious? It’s easy. Even I can do it.” 

“How am I supposed to sound as serious as you? You’re four inches taller than me!”

“I… what? What does that–you know what? Nevermind. I need to talk to Blake. You should go after Weiss, make sure she’s aight and–” 

A snort from Blake interrupted her, and Yang turned on her fast enough that her hair whooshed around. 

What?” 

Blake shrugged. “Nothing. Just, why are you worried if she’s okay? She made another racist rant when I didn’t even say anything bad–” 

“You did though, Blake!” 

“Like what?” 

“You threw her family in her face! For no reason! She was making a joke!” 

“That was a joke? She said she didn’t want to have anything to do with us!” 

Yang rolled her eyes. “You think she was being serious?” 

“She sounded serious.” 

“She’s got a weird sense of humor, Blake. She was homeschooled and spent ninety-nine point nine percent of her life with her butthole family and doesn’t know how having friends works. And you, again, threw that family in her face!” 

“Threw–Yang, she defended them! ‘Richest and most succe–” 

“Of course she defended them! They’re her family and she’s stubborn and defiant and has some weird ideas in her head about her responsibilities for upholding the Schnee reputation. And do you think I wouldn’t react the same way if you talked about Ruby that way?” 

Blake’s arms flew out to her sides in an exaggerated ‘what the heck’ motion. “Ruby is a good person that’s worth defending! Of course you should defend her!” 

“And you think Weiss shouldn’t defend herself?” 

“She’s not, she’s defending her f–” 

“No, she is. Because she knows people make assumptions about her based on her family! Just like you’re doing now!” 

“You mean just like she does with faunus?” 

“YES!” Yang answered, loud as heck. Her eyes were red and there were some licks of flame crawling up her hair now. “If you hate that she does it to you, why is it okay for you to do it to her!” 

Blake frowned, staying silent. 

“You’re right, she’s doing the same thing to faunus that people do to her because of her family. Which means you have the perfect opportunity to get her to relate and realize what she’s doing and how she feels is wrong!” 

Blake blinked. “Bu-but if she thinks she’s supposed to represent her family of racist assholes that profit from grinding the poor and bully and bribe to dominate their industry, why would she ever feel like her views are wrong?” 

“Well if you’d bothered to stick around when her father called, you’d know she doesn’t actually like her family. She’s terrified of her abusive douchebag father and knows he’s a terrible person, she’s disgusted by her drunk socialite mother, she doesn’t like her little brother ‘cause she sees a lot of traits she has in him but hasn’t realized that’s why, and she loves her sister but has some huge self esteem issues because apparently her sister is, like, a super person.” 

Ruby’s mouth hung open a bit. “How do you know all that, Yang?” Ruby hadn’t known… well, most of that, actually, and she’d been hanging out with Weiss way more than Yang. 

“I–” 

“And what,” Blake cut in, “you think my life hasn’t been painful and complicated? She’s not the only one deali–” 

“We wouldn’t fucking know, Blake, ‘cause you won’t tell us anything about yourself!” 

Blake was stunned into silence again. 

“Yaaang,” Ruby whispered. “Your eyes are doing the thing…” She reached up to try to pat out some of the little flames in Yang’s hair. 

“Sorry,” Yang whispered back, closing her eyes and taking a moment to chill out. She then reached up to wrap her fingers around Ruby’s to pull her close and give her a kiss on top of her head. “Go on, Rubes. Talk to Weiss, make sure she’s not too upset. If she is, when we walk into the cafeteria just shake your head at me and we’ll sit somewhere else, okay?” 

“But Yaaaang! We gotta eat breakfast as a team!” 

This was the worst! Why was there so much drama in this team again?! Why couldn’t they just be friends? It was really easy! Just instead of something dumb, mean things, you say nice things! And maybe share some cookies! Cookies made everything better. 

“I know. Hopefully Weiss is okay and we can. But I don’t want more fights to happen right before we’re about to go wander into a forest filled with monsters and need to rely on each other to not die..” 

That… made sense. 

“Okayyy,” Ruby sighed, giving Yang a hug and then turning to shuffle away.

She trudged a bit, trying to go really slow so she could listen a bit more to Yang getting all wisdomy and confusing on Blake…

Go, Ruby.” 

“Maaaaaan.” 

Ruby rosed away.

Weiss was just walking away from the cafeteria counter with a plate with apple slices and grapes, a glass of orange juice in her other hand. 

Like, literally all the fruits. 

Ruby zipped over and skidded to a stop in front of the princess. 

“Hiya!”

Weiss stopped and met Ruby’s eyes, pursing her lips like she was trying not to smile. Then she looked Ruby up and down and remembered Ruby was still in her PJs and half rolled her eyes, walking to a table. 

“Get your breakfast cookies, dolt,” she sighed as she passed Ruby. It didn’t seem like an upset sigh, though. So that was good!

Ruby zoomed through the line, grabbing cookies and some bacon (‘cause Yang and Dad were always telling her to make sure she ate lots of protein), then rushed to the booth where Weiss sat, sliding next to her with a bounce. 

“Hiya,” Weiss said softly. 

“Hehe, that sounds totally ridiculous when you say it,” Ruby giggled. 

“What?! Why?”

“‘Cause you’re all sophisticated and princessy, so it’s really funny to hear you say ‘hiya’!”

Weiss pouted and crunched on an apple slice. “Fine. I guess I just won’t try speaking Ruby…ese again.” 

“Noooo, keep doing it!” Ruby cooed. 

“You said I sounded ridiculous!” 

“Yeah! Sounding ridiculous is awesome!” 

Weiss leveled a deadpan glare at Ruby, then popped a grape into her mouth without breaking eye contact. Ruby narrowed her eyes, and Weiss narrowed hers back. 

Ruby broke first, letting out a little giggle then dominoed into a fit of them. 

Looking really pleased with herself, Weiss went back to her food. 

“So howya doin’?” Ruby asked before shoving a cookie in her face. 

“You’re asking how pissed off I am at Blake right now,” she replied darkly. 

“Hrrmph?! Nh-hrrr!” Ruby grunted through her mouthful. She swallowed. “I just, ya know, wanted to know how you were doing!” 

The look Weiss gave her at the answer was definitely unimpressed. “I’m fine, Ruby.” 

Weiss was always saying she was “fine”, but… she wasn’t doing the statue thing, and she’d just been smiling and being silly with Ruby, so maybe she really was fine?

She hoped so. 

“So… I was thinking about combo move names for the two of us…” Ruby started. 

“Of course you were,” Weiss smiled. 

“Mhm!” Ruby took a bite of bacon. “Whatchu think abou’ Ishe Frower?”

“What have I told you about–” 

“I know, I know,” Ruby interrupted with a wave before swallowing. “So, Ice Flower!” 

“Seems a little on the nose.” 

“What abooout, like, White… Flower? White Rose?” 

“But why am I a color and you’re a symbol?” Weiss asked. “Wouldn’t, say, Snow Rose make more sense?” 

“We could have two different names with the color/symbol theme! Like, White Rose and then… Red Snow?” 

“That sounds like we’re bleeding on snow or something.” 

Ruby grinned. “We’re not bleeding, Weiss. Our enemies are! Huehuehue!” 

Weiss half rolled her eyes. “Have you thought about naming the combos after what they actually do instead of the people performing them?” 

“Hm. We’d need to figure what the combos are to do that, though.” Ruby ate another cookies as she thought. Did that make it a Thinking Cookie? 

“True.” 

“What about that thing we did against the Nevermore? All four of us did that. What should we call it?” 

“Well, we slingshotted you at the bad guy, so… Ruby… Shot? No, that was terrible.” 

“Lil’ bit, yeah,” Ruby laughed. 

Yang and Blake walked into the cafeteria then, and Ruby waited while Yang scanned the tables to find her. When she did, she gave Ruby a questioning thumbs up, to which Ruby nodded excitedly. 

Weiss was busy arranging her remaining five apple slices into a cute little star and didn’t notice. 

“What about tomorrow?” Ruby asked. 

“What about it?” 

“You ready to go on a Hunt?!” Ruby bounced on the booth cushion as she asked. “We’re gonna kill, like, all the Grimm!” 

“In the Emerald Forest?” 

“Why stop there? Les go get ‘em all!” 

Weiss quirked an eyebrow at her. “There are some pretty scary Grimm out there.” 

“Pfft! Grimm aren’t scary. They’re super lame and totally killable!” 

That got her a frown. “I dunno. The Ursai are… they’re definitely pretty scary, and they’re not even that big compared to some of the greater Grimm.” 

“You think Ursai are scary?” Ruby blinked. She’d never even considered a huntress could be scared of Grimm. Their whole thing was killing Grimm! And Weiss was, like, super duper powerful! There was no reason for her to be scared of those glorified angry teddy bears!

“I mean… I think all Grimm are a little scary.” 

“Even Beowolves?” 

“Not a lot!” Weiss quickly modified. “Just… I don’t know. They’re big and scary-looking and they just… radiate hate. How can you stand in front of a monster that wants nothing but to kill you and not be… freaked out?” 

Huh. Ruby hadn’t really considered that. For her it had always been Grimm were evil monsters and she was a good huntress. How the Grimm made her feel had never been something she considered. It was just… she was supposed to kill the monsters, so she did. 

But Weiss hadn’t grown up in a family of huntsman like she had. The Schnee Mansion also probably hadn’t ever had the occasional Grimm visitors that their house in Patch had. Maybe Weiss just needed to get used to the Grimm. 

“I suppose that are pretty freaky,” Ruby agreed. She didn’t think they were freaky, but she could see why Weiss might. 

Weiss nodded, turning back to her plate, where she put a grape in the spaces between each of her apple slices. It was pretty cute.

“Suh, dudettes,” Yang announced herself, carrying a plate of eggs and bacon and the sorry cafeteria excuses for has browns. Blake was with her, with the same things minus the eggs, and in much smaller portions. 

“Suh!” Ruby chirped. 

Blake stayed silent, as did Weiss. Awkwarrrrd.

“Of course you jerks took both the booth seats, Yang grumbled as she sat in the chair across from Ruby. 

“Don’t be a slowpoke, then!”

“You have a skewed perception of slow, Cap. We were walking right behind you, you just went all zoomy like a crazy person.” 

“But it’s my semblance! Why is it crazy for me to zooooom?” 

Yang rolled her eyes. “It’s eight in the morning, Ruby! Who needs to go that fast at eight in the morning?!” 

Now it was Ruby’s turn to roll her eyes. “Anyway, you guys excited to go on a Hunt?! We should figure out, like, roles or whatever! Yang, you go first as our frontline, be our tank. Blake, you gotta be all flanky on the sides, be our assassin. Weiss, you be behind Yang, be our magey support girl. Then I’ll be in the way back sniping and being our hypercarry!” 

There was a long, definitely not-excited-enough silence. 

“Ruby,” Yang spoke up, “it’s a Hunt, not a video game.” 

“Pffft,” Ruby waved a hand at her dumb sister. “It’s totally a video game! I’ll tell you guys where to go and what to do like an RTS! It’ll be great!” 

“I don’t really know what that means, but I know I don’t like it,” Weiss commented snidely. 

Traitor!

“It means Ruby’s a dolt,” Yang said with a smile. 

“It is known,” Blake grinned. 

“Hey! Why are we beating up on Ruby again?!” Ruby protested. This kept happening! Why did this keep happening?! These hooligans had no respect for their captain!

“I’m just sayin’, you’re not the brightest cookie in the coffin,” Yang replied with a wicked grin. 

Blake busted out laughing at that, and even Weiss looked like she was hiding a grin behind her hand. 

“That’s brilliant,” Blake giggled. 

Ruby pouted. 

“And the faces you make are pretty funny,” Weiss added, her own expression perfectly back to her standard impassiveness. 

Ruby pouted harder. 

“Like that, yes,” Weiss said, cracking a tiny grin. 

“Ya’ll are butts!” Ruby complained, but she couldn’t help smiling back. Weiss smiling made her want to cheer. 

She didn’t though. That would get her yelled at. So she settled for just a smile. 

“We were trying to come up with cool combo move names for us to use today,” Ruby told her sister, slipping back to their previous discussion. 

We sounds like a lot of people,” Weiss grumbled. 

“Yeah okay Miss ‘Ruby Shot’,” Ruby teased back. 

Weiss pointed an apple slice at Ruby’s nose. “I already admitted that was terrible, okay? And I came up with that after, like, two seconds!” She nomphed on her apple slice with a loud crunch. 

“What even is a Ruby Shot supposed to be?” Blake asked. 

“That thing we did against the Nevermore!” Ruby answered, happy that the discussion was rolling. 

“Ooooh, like a Ruby Slingshot?” Yang realized. 

“Exactly!” Weiss perked up. 

“Yeah, that’s terrible.” 

Weiss slumped down.

“What if, like, we had Yang charge at people and Weiss summon glyphs in front of her to shield her and we call it Dragon Knight!” Ruby grinned. 

“That sounds metal,” Yang agreed. “I approve of being a Dragon Knight.” 

“Oooh, and Blake could toss me her ribbon and I can use my semblance and zip around and drag her behind me for her to slice and dice the baddies and we can call it Shadow Reaper!” 

Blake quirked a smile. “This seems acceptable.” 

“Would that even work?” Weiss asked. “If you take one end of the ribbon with you into your Rose dimension, would it stay connected to the rest of it?” 

“Uh… I dunno! Let’s find out!” 

Blake frowned. “Um, we’re not experimenting with Gambol Shroud.”

“We can use a string, chillll,” Yang said, bumping her partner’s shoulder. 

“Or Yang’s hair,” Weiss offered with a grin. “I’m sure it’s long enough.” 

Yang’s eyes narrowed at Weiss. “You’re making jokes.” 

Weiss nodded, pursing her lips with a smile like she was pleased with herself.

“I don’t like your jokes,” Yang said with a playful edge to her voice. 

Weiss’ face twisted into an adorable pout. “Well… you’re dumb!” 

“Ouch. Got me.” 

The rest of the breakfast passed happily, though Ruby noted that Weiss and Blake were back to not speaking directly to each other. 

Poo. 

When it came time to head to the airstrip to meet the class, they headed back to change into their combat outfits (with Weiss glaring at them the whole time), then Ruby led the way. 

“I hope we get Professor Awesome as our chaperone,” Yang said as they strolled across the sidewalk together. 

“Or Professor Oobles!” Ruby added. 

“Rubes, you’re the only one that would ever be able to keep up with that dude.” 

Ruby cackled at that. “Yeah, and then he’d tell you slowpokes to hurry up! And maybe you’ll actually listen to him, so I won’t have to wait for you guys so much anymore!” 

Yang sighed loudly. “Weiss, do you think you could beat her in a race? Knock her down a peg?” 

Ruby turned excitedly, skipping backwards now. She liked where this was going. 

“If she gets to use her semblance?” Weiss asked after a moment of thought. 

“Yeah.” 

“No.” 

Yang frowned. “But you can use yours too.” 

“Still no.” 

“Awww. What are we even paying you for?” 

Weiss’ eyebrows shot up. “Excuse me?” 

“What if you used your semblance to block her? Wall her off and run past her?” 

Weiss’ eyes narrowed in thought. “Hmm… Maybe…” 

“Hey, that sounds like cheating!” Ruby chirped. 

“Nawww, it would just be both of you using your abilities to their best advantage!” Yang argued. 

“Yeah, to cheat!” 

“What’s the matter, Rubes? Afraid you’d loooooooose?” 

… 

It would be super possible, really. If Weiss summoned those black glyphs in Ruby’s face as she ran, she could get super slowed down having to spend energy to unstick herself. 

“No!” 

“Uh-huh.” 

“Blake, help me out here! Blocking me with glyphs would be totally cheating, right?!”

Blake rolled her eyes at being dragged into the conversation. “Depends. If the competition is just ‘who’s fastest’, then yes. But we all know you’d win that anyway. But if the competition is ‘who can use their semblance to get from point A to point B first’, then it seems like fair game.” 

“Ya’ll are butts!” Ruby said again, turning back around. 

“Why don’t you test it out?” Yang grinned, reaching forward to tussle Ruby’s hair. Ruby’s back was turned to her sister now, so she didn’t know it was coming until it was too late to dodge. 

“Nah,” Ruby answered after hopping to the side, out of reach of her sister. “Weiss doesn’t want to.” 

That seemed like a diplomatic and totally plausible answer. 

“Oh really?” Yang teased. “You sure that’s why you don’t want to?” 

“Yep! Right, Weiss? You don’t want to spend energy racing right before a Hunt, right?” 

Weiss quirked an eyebrow and the corners of her lips at Ruby. “No, I suppose not,” she said.

‘Phew.’

Ruby was glad they wouldn’t have to race. Not ‘cause she was scared of losing! Just ‘cause… she didn’t want to embarrass Weiss!

Yep. That was it. 

And also, if she did lose–which she wouldn’t!–then that would be extra sad ‘cause speed was, like, kinda her thing.

Above their heads, two Chariots from the city flew by, their Dust engines giving a dull roar as they headed toward the airfield. Those were probably the ones they’d be getting on to head to the Emerald Forest! 

When they’d gone to the Emerald Forest a couple weeks ago–wow, was it really that long ago?–for the whole chess piece trial thing, that had been the first time Ruby had ridden in a Chariot. It was so cool! She had felt like a super soldier in an action movie about to be deployed in some super scary warzone. 

And the Sky Cruiser they’d ridden on to get to Beacon had been the first time she’d flown anywhere! Like, on a vehicle. She flew with her semblance all the time, obviously. 

Flying was so cool. It made her feel so… uninhibited. Like she could go anywhere, do anything. 

“You think they’ll ever teach use how to fly one of those?” Yang asked, looking up to follow the same things Ruby was looking at. 

“That would be so awesome!” Ruby exclaimed with a skip. “Whenever we get a mission we’d be able to fly out there like superheroes! And we can paint it red and black and put Roses on the side–or maybe on the wings? I dunno, but it would be really cool!” 

“Um, we’d definitely paint it yellow and black. Sorry, Cap,” Yang said. “And it would have a dragon on it. Somewhere.” 

“Nuh-uh! Red is way cooler than yellow!” 

“Hmm… Nope! It’s definitely yellow.” 

“Veto!” 

“We could just paint it black,” Blake interjected. “We all have black in our outfits.” 

“Weiss doesn’t!” Ruby chirped immediately. Weiss, who’d opened her mouth to speak–which Ruby probably should have let happen so she’d actually say something to Blake, crap–snapped it shut and blinked at Ruby in mild surprise. 

Yang and Blake looked over to inspect Weiss’ clothes, and she got all adorably self conscious and scrunched up her nose to frown at them. 

“Black and white?” Blake offered after confirming Ruby was right. 

“That’s just your outfit color!” Ruby complained. 

“Uh, yeah. I wouldn’t be wearing it if it wasn’t the best.” 

“Black and white’s so boring though!” 

“Wow, rude,” Blake huffed. 

Ruby immediately tried to backpedal. “Not you! Just the color scheme. It looks really good on you though! I’m sure a lot of things do! I just mea–” 

“Rubes, she’s kidding,” Yang cut her off. “Relax.” 

Blake was looking ahead now. Like, straight ahead. And if Ruby squinted really hard she could almost make out a lip twitch…

Darn that girl. 

“I like black and white,” Weiss declared. “It’s very… absolute. I think it would make a nice paint job on an airship.” 

“Hmneeeh?” Ruby protested in disbelief. Weiss was always wearing pretty blues and lilacs and purples! How could she be okay with black and white?!

“I’m… not sure what that means,” Weiss said, raising an eyebrow at Ruby. 

“It means I still want a dragon on it somewhere!” Yang grossly mistranslated. 

“It hardly matters anyway. We don’t know if they’re going to teach us to fly, and they almost definitely won’t give us our own Chariot. Or whatever that rubbish Valish one that it’s replacing is.”

“But you could totally buy us one!” Yang said cheerfully. 

“Well..sure. But I won’t if we don’t know how to fly it.” 

“So you will if we do?” Ruby asked, excitement building.

“I don’t know! We’ll have to see.” Weiss glanced sideways at Ruby then, and something in Ruby’s expression made her frown again. “Maybe. Just don’t beg me for it!” 

““Did she–” she leaned forward to look around Weiss and see Ruby’s face “–oof, yeah. Hittin’ you with those puppy dog eyes, huh? Have mercy, Rubes. You’ll break her spirit.”

“N–she–no!” Weiss sputtered. “… Shut up!” 

“I wasn’t even doing puppy dog eyes!” Ruby argued. She hadn’t been! Not on purpose, anyway. 

“Sure you weren’t,” Yang grinned. 

“I wasn’t!” 

“Shut up, both of you!” Weiss huffed. “At least try not to make us look like a bunch of idiots in front of the other teams!” 

Ruby looked forward to see they were almost to their destination. Two teams–it looked like Team KORL and Team CRDL from here–were already standing around in their groups, the Chariots that had flown overhead touching down nearby. All four professors and Professor Ozpin were also there, huddled up and discussing something that was probably super wise and serious. And also whatever Porkybutt said. 

“You forget, Weiss,” Yang said, “I am a bunch of idiots.” 

“You mean you are an idiot? Singular?” 

“I meant what I said.” 

Blake let out a girly little giggle at that, and Yang turned to beam at her proudly. 

“Ahem!” Ruby declared. “Silence thy ridiculousness, dear sister. Be a respectable, uh, dudette and comport yourself thusly!” 

Dudette probably was not the right word to use there. 

Weiss sighed heavily by her side. 

“Dolt?” Ruby asked. 

“Mhm.” 

“Darn.” 

She and Weiss stayed quiet for the little stretch to the group, though Yang and Blake kept chatting quietly. When they finally were walking up to everyone else, Ruby wasn’t sure what they were supposed to do. Were they supposed to go to the professors? Was just Ruby supposed to go to the professors? She was the team leader. She was supposed to represent them. But that also felt kinda presup… presmup… pres–

“Ah, Team RWBY, hello,” Professor Ozpin called out to them. The professors all changed their arrangement, making it look like at least someone was supposed to walk up. Ruby did so, and figured if the rest of the team wanted to come too then they’d make that decision themselves. 

They all came. 

“Good morning, girls,” Professor Ozpin greeted them again as they approached. “I hope you’re all well rested?” 

Ruby and Weiss both responded at the same time. 

“Yes, sir.” 

“Yep!… sir.” Ruby tacked the word on lamely at the end after she heard Weiss say it. 

Professor Ozpin gave her one of those amused smiles that said ‘I know everything that went through your head for the last hour and find it all very funny’, then gestured to Professor Goodwitch. 

“You, Team RWBY, will be escorting Professor Goodwitch to the relic that we have placed in the forest for you.” 

“Another relic hunt?” Yang asked, putting her hands on her hips. 

“Yes,” Professor Ozpin agreed, “but the purpose here is different. When we sent you for the relics last time, it was to serve as a retrieval mission. Go there, get the thing, come back. This time, the relic is simply marking a location for you to get to, and you have to get Professor Goodwitch there in one piece.” 

“Can’t she wallop Grimm way better than we can?” Ruby asked, confused. 

“I can, but I will not be fighting unless I absolutely must,” Professor Goodwitch answered. “The purpose of this exercise is to function as an escort mission, one of the most common types of contracts you will find yourself doing as huntresses. Most of them are contracts issued by groups of civilians that are looking to go settle a new village somewhere nearby a larger city, and you must get them to their build site safely–and usually defend them until they can construct shelter and a few defenses of their own.” 

“Ah, and you’re the placeholder for the civilians here?” Blake asked. 

“Precisely. Now most of the time such missions are usually long–but well paying–affairs, and you’d have to trek for several days and deal with logistics like mapping and camping and food breaks and night watch shifts. However, those are things that we will ease you into. Your buildsite–or relic, in this case–is only five to eight hours away, and I’ll give you some direction should you start getting lost.” 

“So this is, like, easy mode, huh?” Yang commented. 

“Indeed,” Professor Ozpin said. “Though this ordeal is mostly just to ease you into the life of a huntress, and for you to get used to functioning as a team, and for us to watch.” 

“Developing your teamwork is going to be far more difficult and rewarding than any escort or mapping or camping training we can give you,” Professor Awesome added. 

Ruby bounced a little bit. This was so exciting! 

Although Professor Goodwitch was a bit of a grumpy-grumps. Professor Awesome or Oobelooble woulda been more fun to go hike around the woods with. 

“Looks like we’re just waiting on Team JNPR,” Professor Ozpin said, scanning in the direction of the school. 

“Your group,” Professor Porkybutt snidely teased Professor Awesome. 

“Yeah, I knooow,” Professor Awesome sighed.    

“It’s your fault they’re late, you know,” Professor Goodwitch said with a grin. 

“I–pfft! Wha–how? Listen here, Goodbeoch–” 

“Nidas!” she cut him off. “There are children present!” 

“I said beoch!” 

“I’ve said worse,” Yang interjected flippantly. 

Professor Goodwitch frowned at her. “That’s not encouraging in the slightest.” 

Yang shrugged. “Blame my uncle.” 

Professor Awesome snort-laughed at that, but Professor Goodwitch’s frown deepened. “I think we need to have a word with the old Qrow. And Tai, for that matter.” 

“Yang-uh!” Ruby whined. “Why are you getting Dad in trouble?!” 

Grinning ear to ear, Yang gave an evil little “hee hee heeee!” 

It took Team JNPR a whole three more minutes to get to the airstrip, which felt like forever ‘cause Ruby really wanted to goooooo!

They ended up in a Chariot, Professor Goodwitch sitting next to them and Team KORL and Professor Oobledooble sitting across from them. 

“You guys excited?” Ruby asked her team and Team KORL and the professors and the world all at once. She wasn’t really sure who she was talking to. Really, she just wanted to say she was excited. 

“Totes,” Leona replied. “And it’ll be super easy, won’t it Ori?” She clapped her teammate Orianna on the shoulder as she said that, though it was a kinda awkward movement because they were all strapped and buckled in to the Chariot’s seats, so complicated and intricate things like moving your arm were really difficult. 

“Wait, is your semblance gonna work on the relic?” Ruby asked. If it did, that was super unfair! 

… Maybe noncombat semblances didn’t all suck. 

Orianna nodded happily. “Professor Oobleck said the relic was the same kind of chesspiece our team picked up a couple weeks ago. So I just gotta focus on finding a black knight chesspiece and I should be able to walk us right to it!” 

“Wait, what’s your semblance?” Yang asked. 

“You probably shouldn’t have told them that, Bart,” Professor Goodwitch chastised. 

Professor Oobly shrugged and took a swig of his liquid adrenaline. “Whynot? Itseemed… appropriatetoletthemmakeuse ofsucha… unique ability.” 

“Read: useless,” Orianna pouted. 

“Notatall, mydear Orianna,” Professor Oobylooby reassured her. “Yoursisasemblance thatcanbeoneof–ifnot, themost–useful inaHunt!”

“What’s her semblance?!” Yang asked again. 

“I’m really good at finding things,” Orianna said dejectedly. 

“There’s more to it than that,” Remus told her gently. 

“It’s… I call it ‘Pathfinder’,” Orianna expounded. “I can focus on a thing or a place or a person, and my semblance kind of… highlights a path to them? And the more familiar I am with the thing I’m pathfinding, the more of the path is revealed ahead of me. So, like, if I were to focus on… say, your toothbrush, Yang. I’ve never seen it before, but I’m sure you have one.” 

“Maaaaybe,” Yang grinned. 

“Oh, shut up,” Weiss huffed, though she did the half eye roll that meant she was smiling. 

“Anyway, my semblance would tell me…” Orianna closed her eyes, for a second, then opened them and looked around a bit. “Yep. It’s showing me a path about two steps that way.” She pointed at the raised ramp of the Chariot they’d entered on. “So not much, but if I kept following it, I’d eventually get to your toothbrush.” 

“Is it leading you off the ship?” Blake asked. “Like, asking you to jump out midair?” 

Orianna shrugged. “Yes. It’s drawing me the most direct line to my target. Sometimes I  can force it to… recalculate, but it wouldn’t be much good now since I’d have to get off this ship to get to her toothbrush no matter what.” 

Blake gave a thoughtful “hm” at that. 

“But for, say, Remus,” Orianna reached over and patted his hand, “I know exactly where he is from across the campus.” 

Remus blushed a bit and looked pretty much everywhere but other people’s eyes. 

“Not that you two are ever that far apart anyway,” Karn teased, making Orianna blush too, diligently inspecting the straps of her seatbelt. 

Oooooooooooooh!

That was pretty cute. 

“That’s pretty darn neat,” Yang decided. “If Ruby had that semblance, no cookie in the world would be safe.” 

Ruby gasped. “Can you do that?!” 

That sounded amazing! A mental map to every cookie, everywhere? Whaaaaaaaaaat?!

“I can, actually,” Orianna smiled. “When I was younger and living on the streets I used to use it to find food. Probably saved my life.” 

It got really quiet and Remus reached over to lightly hold Orianna’s hand. 

“Damn, I’m sorry,” Yang broke the silence. 

“Hm? Oh, no worries! It’s behind me. And it made me who I am.” 

“And who you are is pretty cool,” Remus said. 

They looked at each other for a split second, then both immediately blushed again and went back to investigating their seatbelts. 

“… Yes, they’re always like this,” Karn said, directing the comment to Yang, who laughed. 

“Shut up!” Remus squeaked, stomping on the bigger boy’s foot and eliciting exactly no reaction. 

“You should keep at those leg presses,” Karn teased. “I almost felt that one.” 

“Oh yeah?! I’ll show you feeling–hngh!” Remus tried to turn in his seat to kick Karn, but couldn’t really move well and just ended up flailing his feet. “Get over!… Here! Nyaaah!” He flopped back down with a huff. 

Karn was chuckling, a deep bass noise that made him sound way older than he was. Orianna was turning more and more pink in the cheeks, but smiling like she was glad a boy felt the need to spaghetti noodle his legs for her. Leona had one fist raised to her lowered forehead like she was embarrassed, a very Weiss-y pose. 

Ruby glanced over at the professors–and it was kinda hard to sneakily glance at Professor Goodwitch because she was right next to Ruby and quite a bit taller. She managed, though, and she got to see Professor Goodwitch smiling at Professor Obblybobbly as they listened to these antics, and Ruby again wandered what kind of memories the students made them revisit. 

What if these professors had been on a team? That would be neat! Ruby knew that Professor Awesome was too young, but maybe Professors Goodwitch and Oobleybeck and Porkybutt had been on a team together! 

But then… what would have happened to their fourth? 

Remembering the stories from Professor Awesome about his team and Weiss’ sister’s… well, she could imagine something. 

She looked over at her teammates on her left. These girls were awesome, and Ruby’s friends! She really didn’t want to… to lose them. What would she even do if she did? She sometimes felt like the only reason she had been able to make it out of bed after Mom… after Mom was because she was too young for everything to click, and now she had the benefit of all the memories being obscured by the haze of childhood. 

But if she lost one of these three now… 

Nope! Not something she wanted to think about. At all. Ever! And it would never ever ever happen, so thinking about it would be dumb anyway. 

Her tummy lurched lightly and she realized they were descending. 

They were here!

A couple minutes later and Ruby was bounding out of the ship to get to the launchpad that would send them flying into the forest, Yang close behind her. They were on the massive plateau in the not-quite-center of the Emerald Forest, vast expanses of green in every direction. To their south she could see the walls of Vale City, from here just a thin grey line jutting out of the horizon. To their… west? Yeah, west. To their west Ruby could just barely make out a smear of blue that was slightly darker than the sky. The sea. Not just the sea! Beacon Bay. Ruby knew that Beacon was, like, riiiiiiight there, but she couldn’t really see it. Atmospheric something or other, right? Where things got blurry in the distance. There was a bit of a smudgey looking thing on the horizon line that might be Beacon Island…

“Over here, Team RWBY,” Professor Goodwitch called out. 

Ruby skipped over and got lined up on one of the launchpads Professor Goodwitch indicated. They were facing… north-northwest? 

“Do you see that jagged outcropping about six miles that way?” the professor asked the team, prompting them all to look .

“Kiiinda?” Ruby said. It was kinda hard to see any distinguishing features considering the entire forest just looked like a flat mat of green. 

“I see it,” Blake answered. 

“Where?” Yang asked, stepping closer to Blake and bowing her head a little to try to see from the same spot that Blake was. 

Pointing, Blake said, “See that little triangle of… sandy-colored stone? The trees at the bottom are below the trees on the top, and there’s just rock in between.”

“… Ooooh, I see it!” Yang exclaimed. “Cool. Good eyes, Blake.” 

Blake smiled. 

Ruby still didn’t see iiii–

Oh!

“I see it too!” 

Haha! Sniper eyes for the win. 

… Wow, that was pretty far away. 

“Your relic is right at the base of that peak,” Professor Goodwitch explained. 

Now that Ruby thought about it… it wasn’t really that far. “I could totally just run over there a grab it,” she said. 

“There’s no way your semblance can get you anywhere near that far,” Weiss said.

“Wanna bet?” Ruby asked. 

“No, I want to succeed. Please take this seriously.” 

… Oof. Ruby glanced at Professor Goodwitch, who was closely watching them both. 

“… Yyyyou got it! That’s me, super serious Ruby!” 

There was a moment of silence. 

“Well, I’m convinced!” Yang finally said. “Let’s go!” 

“One moment, the headmaster would like a word first,” Professor Goodwitch tempered her. 

Ruby turned to see that the other teams were also lined up on their spots, all facing in different directions along a north-northwest to east spread. Professor Ozpin was standing in the center of all the teams, and they all turned to face him as he cleared his throat. 

“Alright, students. This is your first Hunt as an official team. Just so you are clear on how this will all work, you have an objective to reach out in the forest, and a professor to escort there. Your professors will defend themselves if they have to, but your goal is to not make them have to. There is no reward or penalty for speed, so focus on keeping your professor and yourselves safe. The only time you should be mindful of is that at four pm the professor will have you turn around and head back, as we do not want you out in the forest after dark. That still gives you six hours to get to where you’re going, so no rush. Communicate, work together, and protect your charge. You’ll be graded both on how well you defend your professor and how well you function as a team.

“With that, good luck, students, and may your wits and weapons stay sharp.” 

The teams all looked at each other for a long stretch of time, as if everyone was nervous and waiting for someone else to go first.” 

… Screw that! 

“Well, Team RWBY. Let’s goooo!” 

Ruby unholstered Crescent Rose and squatted low as its mechanisms clicked and whirred it into its fully expanded form. She pushed a tiny bit of aura into the pad to flick the aura switch and–

WHOOSH!

She was flying through the air, trees blurring beneath her as she rocketed into her first ever Hunt with her team. 

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