For the first time in months Ruby was alone. Being both precocious and extraverted this normally would have bothered her, but tonight was different. It had been a fun day of shopping and socializing, and it had been the first time she had seen her wife look like her wife in a long time. The furniture was going to be delivered tomorrow and she was already making mental plans on where everything was going to be put.
It wasn't going to be enough to fill the house of course. That would take more than a single shopping trip, but their bedroom and living room, at least, was going to look like a real adults finally instead of a poor bachelor pad.
Given the house's current rate of occupancy it might get the lived in feel about five years from now. Now that was a depressing thought.
Tonight was a night for herself however. Weiss was off at the meeting with the rest of Phoenix. Ruby had no need to be there and no desire either. Business meetings were too boring, and she had nothing of interest to report that Weiss couldn't say.
She had other things to be doing besides. After being sure Blake and Weiss were out of sight she made her way back to the front door and went to pull out the envelope from her mailbox.
And then the panic hit.
After a half hour of useless searching, and she had known it would be useless from the start, she forced herself to calm down and think. Her mind could still go into circular logic, if logic is the right word, which spun further and further out of control. Fear was the most effective way for it to start, hence why the first clear thought took this long to form.
She didn't find it. If Weiss was the one who found it I would know, She reassured herself. The entire neighborhood would know. Thinking clearly again she followed the logic, real logic this time, on what could have happened.
Only two other people had a chance to know what I did; the person who put the envelope there in the first place, or Blake if she was there early enough to see me do it. Blake hadn't said anything, but we were never away from Weiss, so that's possible. Whoever is delivering those tips might have, but I can't think of why.
Blake was the likely culprit then, which meant she was trusting Ruby. The team may have split after graduation, but their bond and trust amongst them was still absolute, so that was more than believable. That Blake had taken it however meant she knew something, or was intent on finding answers to the questions the envelope posed. She was probably the most suited to that job Ruby reflected, given the resources at her command now.
Well, that destroyed her plans for the night. She couldn't confirm her guess right away, and no matter what the true answer was she had no control over it right then. So what else was there for her that evening?
Grudgingly Weiss had to admit the shopping trip had been good for her. It had taken two hours to stop worrying about what was going on beyond the walls and enjoy the company, but once she did she felt a weight begin to lift she hadn't known was there. It had been there so long she had simply considered it part of who she was, its continued growth unnoticed.
Even her breathing felt lighter now. The first time she laughed took her by surprise. She couldn't remember the last one to pass her lips, and when she heard Ruby's matching laugh another light touched her heart.529Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡkoeYFx6pIR
Yes, Ruby had been right. They needed this time off. And she was still going to be of help to Phoenix while she was in town. Blake was right as well; the mess with Whicker Mining was going to require more skill than Daniel had. It would be a good learning experience for him and a good change of gears for her.
Helping Phoenix, aside from helping out a friend, was furthering her goals as well. The more freedom the faunus had, the fewer options her father would be able to exploit. It would force him to do what was right simply to keep SDC competitive.
It had been a long time since she had sat in on a meeting, and this one was reminding her of when Phoenix first truly began. The biggest change from then was the number of humans in the circle. Back then only RWBY had been in the mix, and they had only been in advisory positions and barely accepted.
Today while the core leaders were still, by some miracle, the same, many of their seconds were not. Among them, and including the exchequer, there were humans. If you looked at the rest of the membership you would also find about twenty percent of them were human, and growing.
It was one of the things Weiss respected the most. Humans were actively recruited here, keeping a balance. Not only was it improving Phoenix's acceptability by the public, it was reminding its members that not all humans were the enemy. The anger that had infiltrated White Fang was not going to find purchase here.
Blake, whether she admitted it or not, was proven yet again to be the leader the faunus movement needed.
There was one member missing of the White Wing, and she shouldn't have been. Blake was nervous, and Weiss didn't blame her. Velvet was rarely not available, and always present at meetings. Even as out of touch as Weiss had become she knew that much.
It was being ignored however. As much as it could be ignored at least.
There were three major problems in the works that was taking priority. The one in Vacuo hit too close to home. Aside from being close from their days as part of RWBY, Yang was her sister in law. She felt that bond that connected them by their mutual love for Ruby.
Oh god, Ruby is going to lose it if she finds out, was Weiss's first thought when hearing the details. Blake had the same mindset and cautioned bringing it up to her wife. Ideally there are never any secrets between spouses. That required an ideal world however, and this world was not it.
She didn't have anything to add to that however. Alice had that in hand, along with the trouble, whatever kind of trouble that was, that JNPR was dealing with. Like everyone else sitting at the table she wanted more information to go on than a report that was mostly purposeful misdirection, and no clear ideas what the real message was.
That faunus had too much on her plate, and they said she needed time off.
Weiss was sure that Blake thought her part was simply to catch Daniel after the meeting to discuss his troubles, but she had other ideas. Stopping Whicker Mining was going to be a multi-wing effort to combat. Financially everything was handled as well as it could be. Overwhelming capital was impossible to defeat when faced on its own field of combat. The most that could be done was to slow it down.
She made sure to congratulate Daniel on that. She didn't want her coming in to help to damage his confidence or undermine his position. If he had as much training as Weiss did she had no doubts that he would be the better one at business.
No, Weiss was going to call in the PR, Defense, and Demonstration wings to make a collaborative effort. All should have been fairly obvious actually. Phoenix had grown large enough they didn't need to fear negative reception any longer. Not to the degree they did in the early days. Because of that Simon's wing could act more directly as an offensive weapon, not simply defensive.
They were going to take the fight back at Whicker by making sure everyone knew exactly what they were doing and why. Contrary to what it would appear to be on the surface there was more faunus supporters than the fear mongers would have you believe. A negative blitz would cause a huge cut into their profits and them acting this reckless was giving them the opportunity to do exactly that. They were practically doing the work for them.
The Demonstrations wing was going to work in concert, allowing people to express their anger at these attacks. They were going to draw in more than simply Phoenix's feathers, which would be large enough, but hopefully a large portion of the populace as well. It could go so far as being a recruitment opportunity bolstering their numbers with both faunus and human alike. Again, Whicker was doing their job for them.
The Defense wing was possibly the least obvious. Naturally they were going to keep doing what they had been: protecting businesses and those at the rallies. What would be new was protecting the employees of Whicker Mining. They couldn't afford for the anger to overflow and cause that kind of violence. It would ruin all the possible benefits and reduce Phoenix to nothing but another hate group like White Fang. Instead they will make themselves look better than their predecessor as well as the ones they were fighting.
It was a good plan, and one quickly agreed upon. Alice chimed in offering to have her operatives look for more dirt for Simon to work with in his coming media firestorm, but it was turned down. If they were caught with their hand in that cookie jar it would almost be as bad as an attack on Whicker. And again, Whicker was giving them enough ammo on their own.
The discussion that followed as they coordinated their efforts lasted well into the night. Alice, having nothing to add, made her leave not long into it, leaving her second, a human named Phil, to keep notes and tell her what happened while she dealt with Yang's issues.
Blake made her leave not long after that, heading towards Alice's office. It wasn't anything that Weiss worried about. She had business to do.
The silence was killing her! Ruby's earlier relief at having time to herself had gotten old in relatively short order. She checked in on Weiss, but found her wife busy and seemingly happy. She was definitely excited. There was no chance of having her company anytime soon.
Neither the vid screen nor sound system would be delivered until tomorrow, giving her no options to break the monotony. There was only one thing to do then. Getting dressed she headed to a BDSM club frequented by her and Weiss named Deviations. It was a place where they could find people that shared the unconventional interests with a certain level of anonymity. There were friends there she hadn't seen in a long time as well. Ones not connected to grimm, or Phoenix, or fighting in general.
The club had multiple sections. The front half, or the public drinking area, was a bar in feel though there was no alcohol on tap beyond their virgin counterparts, and all other forms of drugs were actively looked for and removed by the alert and competent security of the establishment. It was one of the selling points for Ruby who had never gotten a taste for either. She liked to remain in control too much. Weiss missed having access to her wine when she came, but she understood the reasons.
This was the portion she was looking forward to tonight. The back half, which was where shows of an erotic nature were held, she only would go see with Weiss normally. Upstairs was the play area. There was no reason to go there without Weiss in Ruby's mind.
If it wasn't for the multiple rows of cars the outside of the building would look nearly abandoned. There were no signs to proclaim its existence, and the windows were purposely blacked out from outside viewing.
Once she came through the front door her membership ID was checked. Being a huntress the vetting process for getting it had been easy. Being easily identified by her emblem, her police record was public and quick to locate on any scroll. The difficult part had been proving that she was going to fit in. For that she had had Nora to vouch for her, who was already a member. How Nora found the place Ruby would rather not think about.
Once she was past that checkpoint she walked into the club proper. The music, already noticeable from the bouncer's desk, hit her in the face when she went through the doors. Immediately to her right was a changing room for those who wanted to put on clothes appropriate for the location but not for the streets outside. She passed those without a second thought. Her current clothing was what she always wore. It was Weiss who would have needed changing had she been with her.
It really didn't feel right not having her there. While she wanted to see her friends this had also always been 'their' place. Their little secret life the outside world would never know. She was tempted to call Weiss again, on the off chance she was free but stopped herself. She knew her wife, and she knew that right at that point she would be so deep into planning that she probably wouldn't even notice her scroll ringing.
Noting how many new faces were in the building she walked directly to the bar where a couple of her friends were already noting her presence and smiling. How long had it been? Six months? It was amazing they still remembered her.
"Where's your pet?" Sally asked when she was in earshot above the music.
Grinning despite the pang the reminder of Weiss's absence caused, Ruby replied "busy tonight, but I'll drag her along next time whether she wants to or not."
"Preferably 'or not,'" Paul replied with a matching grin. "That's a shame though. Sasha and Faux Bear are performing tonight. I know how you two enjoy watching their shows." Faux Bear was obviously not his real name. Ruby didn't know his real name. No one did except those who vetted him. That's part of the anonymity the club gave. Ruby was fairly sure Sasha's real name wasn't Sasha for that matter.
Neither Ruby nor Weiss bothered hiding their names. Their faces were too well known for it to stick unless they wore masks, which Ruby hated, and she refused to have Weiss do anything Ruby wasn't willing to do herself.
That did bother Ruby however. She did love their shows. While borderline erotic, maybe beyond that border for anyone with the proper appreciation of the male body, they were also imaginative and beautiful. It fueled her own imagination, which is why watching it with Weiss was so enjoyable.
What the heck. Maybe I'll get some ideas for tonight when she gets home, Ruby decided. "When does it start?"
Ruby started awake to the sound of an unfamiliar voice. She recognized the feel of her bed, and the light was still dark from her window so it was night, but she couldn't remember coming home. The last clear memory she had was getting up from the show to head back to the bar area. It had been a good show she had to admit and it did give her a lot of ideas.
Then the words from the voice registered. "Your bitch ass is mine."
Looking around she saw someone she hadn't seen in person for years. She had only been a presence on the news standing feet from her father during one of his news conferences. The ones that Weiss would watch religiously. The ones of her father.
"Winter!" Ruby yelled in shock. "What are you doing in my room?"
Self-consciously she started to wrap her sheet around her naked body until she realized that she had pulled the sheet off of her partner. Quickly moving to recover Weiss she stopped mid-reach when the other person's black hair registered.
"I repeat, your ass is mine."
Winter started dropping pictures on the floor, showing in detail events she couldn't remember from that night. They were definitely taken to highlight Ruby's pure enjoyment as she performed acts reserved only for Weiss in the middle of their bed.
The pictures continued afterwards changing over to earlier in the morning when Ruby had found and hidden the envelope. "And here's the best part," Winter continued. The pictures continued, now showing Blake's arrival and subsequent hiding of the envelope on her part. "I need to give these to my sister. It's in her best interest and my duty as family."
Ruby wasn't naïve. She knew Winter was going to blackmail her. "Your ass is mine" pretty much said it all. It was a question of what she was going to be forced to do or risk losing it all.
And she knew that this could cost her everything. Their relationship was already strained. One day of relative sanity and peace wasn't going to repair that strain. Sadly it wasn't the evidence of her cheating that could destroy their relationship. Damage it sure, but it could be repaired.
The envelope however... Weiss would never trust her after that. Ruby knew that from the depths of her soul.
What locked it was Blake being caught doing the same thing to her wife. What Weiss would do with that loss of trust Ruby wasn't sure, but her thoughts were decidedly dark on the possibilities. The worst, and would be in her future nightmares, was Weiss disappearing into the woods and never coming back.
"I won't let you hurt Weiss," Ruby said in barely suppressed rage.
She may have the evidence of what would destroy Weiss, but apparently Winter wasn't aware of which piece that was. She pressed her advantage on the one that was merely damaging. "Kathy dear, please remind the slut what a good girl she was to you tonight," Winter instructed.
The stranger behind her, Kathy, casually obeyed. "Well it was a dull night at Deviations, and it emptied pretty early. Then this pretty little thing came up, bought me a soda, and commented on what a boring night it was. Well, I didn't have many options, and she was cute so if figured what the hell..."
"You're lying," Ruby interrupted quickly, her voice shaking. "Weiss would never believe you." She wasn't sure if Kathy was lying, to be honest. Ruby knew she wouldn't do that. She was, and always had been, faithful to Weiss. But then there were those pictures....
Winter was enjoying herself, picking up one of the more telling pictures from the floor. "Are you sure?"
Defeated, Ruby repeated "I won't let you hurt Weiss."
"I'm glad to hear it, my good little bitch," Winter gloated over Ruby's tears.ns220.127.116.11da2