you'll find something waiting @maximeue
right there where you left it

Ruby;

“Are you really… my friend?”

Ruby reaches out her hand, but it feels like she’s moving through water. Penny is there, just feet away, but it might as well have been miles. Ruby desperately pushes through, towards her, with a familiar sense of urgency. Penny waves at her, a huge smile on her face. Instead of the warmth Ruby usually feels, she feels ice-cold fear. She has to warn Penny-warn her about what?

As the wires wrap around Penny’s limbs, Ruby remembers. She screams as the sound of tearing metal fills the air and Penny is torn apart in front of her. No, no, no, not again-

“Penny!” Ruby bolts upright, panting and shaking. Her face is wet with tears which she frantically rubs away with the blanket she’s curled up in. It’s been months since the fall of Beacon, and, while the nightmares have become less frequent, they still hurt as deeply as always.

Ruby pushes the covers away and stands up, wobbling on unsteady legs. Her heart is still hammering away in her chest and her hands are shaking. She wraps her arms around herself as she slips her feet into a pair of slippers.

They were safe-did safe even exist in her vocabulary anymore?-in Mistral, but it did nothing to comfort her. There was no way she’d feel comfortable enough to go back to sleep, so Ruby decides to try and make herself some hot chocolate.

Ruby tries to be as quiet as possible as she digs through the cabinets, but her hands are still shaking and her vision blurs with tears. As she tries to jerk a pot free, several fall out of the cabinet and clatter to the floor. No no no, I hope that didn’t wake anyone-

“Ru...by?” A sleepy voice calls from the direction of the stairs. Then Ruby hears the sound of several soft footfalls. Nora and Pyrrha are the first ones down. Nora’s arms are wrapped around Pyrrha as she leans against her. Pyrrha was still blinking sleep out of her eyes. Almost directly behind them came Jaune, who was holding Ren’s hand and guiding him down the stairs.

“O-oh geez, d-did I wake you guys up? I-I’m sorry-” Ruby stammers, hastily wiping more tears from her face and hoping no one saw them.

“Actually, Nora snoring woke me up, then we heard a loud crash down here,” Pyrrha explains, bringing a hand up to shake Nora’s shoulder as she starts to nod off against Pyrrha's arm.

“Oh c’mon,” Nora yawns, “I still don’t think I was snoring that loud.”

“I mean…” Jaune comments, grinning, “We heard you from our room-”

“Ssshhhhhh, as if you could hear that over the second of you two making o-” Ren loudly clears his throat before Nora can finish the sentence. He gestures towards Ruby with his eyes, giving his teammates a Look. Pyrrha is the first to realize what he’s trying to communicate.

Anyway, what are you doing up, Ruby?” She asks the younger teen, a look of concern on her face. Ruby barely registers the question, her eyes resting on Jaune and Ren’s interlocked hands, reminding her of their new relationship. She sees Penny’s face in her mind, in a field surrounded by fireflies. Her charming smile and unique mannerisms. Oh Ruby, you are a bioluminescent bug to me as well! Tears fill her eyes again and she sniffles.

The older teens exchange looks of alarm. Ren, letting go of Jaune’s hand, walks over to her first. He gently puts his hand on Ruby’s shoulder, “Why don’t we make some hot chocolate, then we can talk. How does that sound?”

Ruby sniffles and nods, not trusting herself to talk. Jaune walks over to her side next and wraps an arm around Ruby’s shoulders. Then he leads her to a chair at the dining room table. Nora darts off, saying something about grabbing blankets, while Pyrrha moves to help Ren make the hot chocolate.

Ruby sits down on the chair Jaune directs her to, feeling an intense pang of guilt of losing control over her emotions. Ruby’s fingers curl into the fabric of her pajama pants and she starts tearing up again. Jaune pulls a chair over, next to hers, and rubs reassuring circles into her back. 

They’re all trying so hard to make her feel better, which somehow makes Ruby feel worse. The tears start spilling down her cheeks. Jaune pauses for a second before scooting closer and resuming, this time humming a melody he knows Ruby likes.

Let’s go in the garden, you’ll find something waiting… Right there where you left it lying upside down… When you finally find it, you’ll see how it’s faded…” He sings softly to her. Ruby relaxes a little as she focuses on the song, trying to block out the lingering memory of the dream or thoughts of Penny. She sings along with him, in her head. The underside is lighter when you turn it around...

And then, she’s being swaddled with what seems like twenty blankets. Nora adjusts them so that only Ruby’s face is poking out. She fondly brushes Ruby’s messy bangs to the side and softly goes, “Boop,” as she boops Ruby’s nose. Ruby can’t help but smile a little at that, and Nora grins.

Ruby hears the sound of pots and pans dropping into the sink and the smell of fresh hot chocolate wafts through the room. Nora goes to help Ren and Pyrrha carry the mugs over to the dining room table.

Ruby shifts the blankets so she can free her arms and take the mug Pyrrha holds out to her. Ren hands another mug to Jaune before sitting down on the floor beside him, shifting so he can lean his shoulder against Jaune’s legs. Nora sits down on Ren’s other side, facing Ruby. Then Pyrrha sits down last on the floor between Nora and Ruby’s chair.

Holding the warm cup of chocolate, Ruby inhales deeply, letting the warmth hit her face and the smell wash over her. Then she takes a deep drink from her mug. For a few minutes it’s quiet as everyone sips from their mugs.

“Alright Ruby, do you want to talk about why you’re up in the middle of the night?” Ren asks softly after she finishes taking another sip. Ruby licks the chocolate from her lips and rubs her thumbs nervously against the mug. How do I even start?

Taking a deep breath, Ruby decides to start with the nightmare that woke her up. After she starts talking, everything pours out of her like a dam inside of her has burst. She talks about how much she misses Penny despite knowing Penny is dead and won’t come back. Pyrrha looks away from her, a guilty look on her face, and Nora puts a hand on Pyrrha’s knee in reassurance.

Team JNPR is silent as Ruby talks and talks. She tells them about the first time she met Penny, about the first time she saw Penny fight with her swords, even the day Penny saved her from being hit by a truck... Which was also the day Penny told Ruby about her being a robot. I’m not a real girl. But she was, she was so painfully real that it hurt. Ruby starts tearing up again, gripping her mug tightly.

Then she tells them about how much she hates it that she feels so horribly sad every time she sees Jaune and Ren together. Because… because she wishes she could’ve held Penny’s hand at least once. Or that she kissed Penny that night under the stars and among the fireflies, like she’d wanted to. She can still see Penny’s face, highlighted by the light of the stars and the light of the fireflies.

“Oh brothers, I’m still attached to a girl that’s gone, and I’ll never get the chance to tell her how I feel,” Ruby wipes away her tears with one hand. She feels incredibly cold and sad at finally saying those words out loud. She looks at her hands for a second and watches them shake. Jaune gently takes her mug and sets it on the table.

“Is… is it wrong? That I still feel this way…? What if she doesn’t-didn’t-feel the same way? She’s dead. She’s gone. I shouldn’t be thinking this way at all. W-why can’t I just deal with it normally like everyone else?” She clenches her hands into fists out of frustration, gritting her teeth together. Then she just sighs, dropping her hands into her lap.

JNPR all look at each other before looking back at Ruby, who’s fallen silent. Jaune puts his hand over one of hers. “Feel better?” He asks gently. Ruby slowly nods. “I’m… so sorry about Penny, Ruby.” She sniffles, a stray tear dripping from her chin onto the top of his hand.

Ren shifts so he’s sitting on his knees in front of her. He wraps his hands around Ruby’s other hand, rubbing circles into the top of it with his thumbs. 

“Ruby, I know you must feel guilty, for feeling like her death is your fault. For being like you were too slow. For still being attached to her,” He starts, keeping his voice soft and calming. “For being alive while she’s gone. But… it’s okay. It’s okay for you to still miss her and be dealing with these thoughts. 

“Grief, especially when you have unresolved feelings for someone, is messy and nonlinear. And… it’s okay to cry. If you need a shoulder to cry on, well…” Ren gestures to the other members of team JNPR, all of whom are looking at Ruby with love and care plain on their faces, “we’re all here for you, because we love you, Ruby.”

Ruby sniffles but smiles at Ren, and then smiles at everyone else. “T-thanks, you guys…”

Nora puts a hand on Ren’s shoulder as she leans forward, grinning. “Want a hug, Rubes?”

Ruby smiles even wider and nods shyly. “Y-yes, please.”

And then, without a second of hesitation, four pairs of arms wrap around Ruby and she’s surrounded by warmth. Pyrrha even presses a soft kiss to the top of her head.

So this is what safety feels like... 


Penny;

Penny;

A green beam of light slices a sabyr Grimm neatly in half. The night is quiet again, save for the mechanical humming of Penny’s jet boots as she hovers in the air. The bodies of the slain grimm are already fading into black petals, carried away by the wind.

Summer has come to Solitas, yet Penny cannot shake the loneliness of winter away.

She turns her head to look at the looming walls of Mantle, the city which she has been named the protector of. It is a great honor, of course, but Penny still finds herself missing her old teammates from Atlas Academy. Penny flies up to the top of the wall and sits on the edge, taking a moment just for herself.

More than anything, she finds herself missing Ruby Rose. The girl from Vale, her first real friend. Penny always felt like her teammates merely tolerated her and her slightly off-center mannerisms. But Ruby… Ruby never made her feel like she was just being tolerated.

You think just because you got nuts and bolts instead of squishy guts makes you any less real than me?

Nearly a year has passed since the events of the Vytal Festival. It took several months for Penny to ‘wake up’ from the long slumber that followed. Penny remembers the terrified eyes of her opponent and then her swords are flying backwards, the strings getting tangled with her own limbs.

Darkness.

Then, she was waking up in the Atlas Labs. The first face she saw was her father’s. He looked so relieved to see her wake up, there were even tears in his eyes. Welcome back, starlight.

At first, she was too busy with getting combat ready following her reactivation to ask about the status of team RWBY. Her father and the other Atlas scientists kept her busy with tests, tests, and more tests. Though they did not tell her, Penny thinks it had something to with whether or not her core would take to her new body.

Penny still thinks it is odd, sometimes, that this body is not her original one. It is different in little ways. The jetpack boots, for instance, took getting used to. At first, when she would get too excited, she would shoot up right through the roof by accident.

But eventually things settled down. Penny was not so busy anymore, and she found herself feeling a great deal of loneliness. When she ‘died’, the General disbanded her team. 

So her days were filled with interacting with serious adults like Winter Schnee and the General. Captain Ebi was… warmer than most. Sometimes on missions he would think of puns to tell her, just to make her smile. Maybe we should be partners more often! Since I’m a lucky clover and you’re a lucky penny.

She did not feel very lucky.

Earlier in the day, Penny finally worked up the courage to ask the General if he knew anything about the status of Ruby Rose.

He’d looked at her for a moment, thinking over what he should say to her. Winter stood to his side, and even she looked a little bit curious about what he would tell Penny.

Eventually the General spoke. Penny, there’s no easy way to put this. Ruby Rose is most likely dead, like many of those who lost their lives the night Beacon fell. I understand how conflicted you may feel. One of your old teammates, Ciel Soleil, gave me the impression that you and Ruby were good friends. I am truly sorry for your loss, but think about the people you can help here, in Mantle. After all, that is the reason we made you it’s protector. Don’t let your feelings for Ruby hold you back, Penny. Utilize them to protect Mantle, in the ways we weren’t able to protect Beacon.

Yes, sir. I understand. Is what she said to him then. Satisfied with her answer, the General moved on to talking about other important things, but Penny could hardly focus.

Later, when she and Winter were alone together, Penny tried bringing up the topic with her. Winter, do you think Ruby is dead?

Winter stopped walking and turned to look at Penny. Her stern features softened into something resembling sympathy before she reached out to put a hand on Penny’s shoulder.

Penny… Sometimes these things happen. Winter told her gently but firmly. I heard a saying once, however, that one cannot truly die if their memory lives on. Your friend, Ruby Rose, lives on in your heart, now. It falls to you to honor her memory and keep walking forward.

Penny appreciates the sentiment, but she doubts either of them really understand how she feels.

A firefly lands on Penny’s hand, startling her. She carefully lifts her hand up to her face. The firefly lazily rubs its wings together. Penny still remembers the night she and Ruby snuck out to go see the fireflies in Vale.

You know, you’re a lot like those fireflies, Penny.

Oh, how so?

You… light up my life.

Penny feels a deep sadness. She rubs nonexistent tears from her eyes with her free hand. Despite trying to follow the advice of the General and Winter, she cannot help herself from missing Ruby ever so horribly.

She sits there, on the wall, for a while. She lets the wind ruffle through her hair and watches the fireflies dance around her. The floating city of Atlas looms overhead.

Penny knows she has to return to her dorm at Atlas Academy sooner or later. They will be expecting her to return from her patrol.

Her jetpack boots whurr to life and Penny kicks away from the wall. Yet, instead of flying up in the direction of Atlas, Penny decides to make a detour.

Eventually she arrives at the familiar building in lower Mantle. She takes a deep breath before turning the door handle and walking inside. Distantly, she can hear the humming of machines.

“Father, are you awake?” Penny calls hesitantly.

Immediately, she hears the sound of her father’s special wheelchair tapping across the floor towards the doorway. Pietro appears around the corner, a wide smile on his face.

“Penny, darling, come in, come in! How are you doing, starlight?”

Penny does not move from the doorway, opting instead to play with the hem of her dress. “Father… can I talk to you? I feel conflicted about something and I… always feel better talking to you about it.”

“Of course, darling, come get comfortable and tell me all about it,” Pietro tells her with no hesitation, gesturing for her to come into the pharmacy. Penny follows him and carefully sits down on one of the comfy chairs strewn about.

Pietro waits patiently for Penny to feel comfortable enough to start talking. He takes a sip of warm soup from the thermos he was carrying. Then Penny lifts her head and starts. She pours out everything to her father. From what Ironwood said to what Winter said, and then to her problems reconciling it with how she feels about Ruby.

Then she tells him about the fireflies, fisting the fabric of her dress in her hands. She tells him about how she and Ruby snuck out to see the fireflies together in Vale, and how Ruby told her that Penny reminded her of fireflies. Then she tells him about seeing the fireflies during her patrol of Mantle’s walls and how they reminded her of that night with Ruby.

When Penny is done, she falls silent. She toys with the hem of her dress, looking down at her boots. Pietro reaches over and puts a hand over his daughter’s. Penny looks up at him, desperately wanting to feel better.

“Starlight, isn’t it amazing how varied relationships are?” Pietro begins, smiling at her. Penny finds herself calming down at the sound of her father’s soft, safe voice. “From how others make us feel and how we make others feel, every relationship is unique in its own way. Your relationship with Ruby Rose is unique to you and her. Neither the General, nor miss Schnee, nor even me, can begin to imagine how you feel about her. There’s nothing wrong with how you feel about her, and there’s nothing wrong with not giving up hope that she’s alive and that you’ll meet her again someday.”

Penny relaxes a little more and smiles back at him. She nods, “I think I understand…”

Pietro pats her hand before opening his arms for an embrace, “Come here starlight, it’ll be okay.”

One day… One day I just know I will meet Ruby again.


Reunion;

Reunion;

The day they reunite passes by in a blurr. One second they’re fighting off sabyr Grimm on the streets of Mantle, and the next Ruby’s whole world is shaken for what feels like the millionth time. Highlighted against the backdrop of the broken moon and the starry night sky, there she is.

Penny Polendina.

Penny Polendina.

The next second, Penny’s arms are wrapped around her as the other girl tackled Ruby to the ground. As soon as the shock wore off, Ruby’s arms wrapped around Penny in return and hugged her as close as she possibly could.

Ruby buried her face in Penny’s neck, laughing and crying simultaneously.

Shortly after Penny introduced them to her father, Pietro, she’s called off on more Grimm hunting duties. Ruby had to hold herself back from begging Penny not to go. Not right after I find out you’re alive.

Though it’s not like Ruby had long to dwell on it since Ironwood’s Ace-Ops swung in right after Penny left. Being arrested wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience. All Ruby could think about was Penny, Penny, Penny…

After everything else involving being arrested and meeting the General, Penny gave them a tour of Atlas Academy. By that point, everyone was exhausted. Nora basically pleaded with Penny to show them where they’d be staying. So, Penny showed them to their dorms and made to leave.

Ruby caught Penny’s arm before the other girl left them. She pulled out her scroll and asked if she could get Penny’s number before she left again. Penny smiled at her-Brothers I missed that smile-and agreed.

Once she had Penny’s scroll number, Ruby couldn’t think of anything else she could do to keep Penny there for just a little longer. So she said, Good night, Penny.

Penny gave her a salute before replying, Good night, Ruby.

That was about an hour ago. Ruby is still awake, staring at the bottom of the bunk above her. There’s too many thoughts swirling around her head for her to even begin to think about sleeping. Her teammates were already asleep from what Ruby could tell. As soon as the lights went out, Blake was climbing up to curl up in Yang’s bunk. Ruby can hear the faint hum of music from Weiss’s bunk, probably to calm her down so she could sleep easier.

Finally, Ruby gives in to temptation and pulls out her scroll. She pulls up Penny’s picture.

Hey, Penny, are you awake?

Indeed I am! Is something the matter?

Well. Kinda. I can’t sleep.

I have an idea! Do you remember where the stairway is?

Uh, I think so?

Meet me there in five minutes!

It reminds her of the night Penny convinced her to sneak out to see the fireflies in Vale and she smiles. Penny’s rule breaking record is one of the endearing things about her… and it’s good to know that hasn’t changed.

Ruby carefully gets out of her bunk and grabs some basic clothes-a tee-shirt, pants, and her boots-and quickly changes out of her pjs. Then, she’s quietly slipping out of the door to RWBY’s dorm. She makes her way through the hallways, towards where she faintly remembers the stairway is.

Penny is already there waiting by the time Ruby arrives. She’s still in the dress from earlier and Ruby wonders if Penny even had time to change into casual clothes. Ruby is now aware of the fact she’s probably keeping Penny up and away from resting.

“Uh, hey Penny,” Ruby greets, twisting her hands together. “I’m not… keeping you up, am I?”

Penny tilts her head, smiling. “Not at all! I’m happy to spend time with you, Ruby.” Then she holds her hand out to the other girl. Ruby relaxes before taking Penny’s hand. “There is a place I would like to show you, is that okay?”

Ruby nods and then the two of them are off.

Eventually, they end up shuffling through a window in one of Atlas Academy’s spirals and find themselves on a flat piece of roof. Penny grins at Ruby as the other girl takes in the breathtaking view of Atlas. “Wow.”

“It is beautiful, is it not?” Penny asks, arms folded behind her. The wind ruffles through her hair, which is longer now, but still the same shade of orange she remembers. In the glow of the moonlight, Ruby can only think: Beautiful doesn’t cover even half of it.

Ruby’s eyes start to fill with tears. She tries to wipe them away, not wanting Penny to see, but they come hard and fast. “R-ruby? Are you okay?” Penny steps towards her, eyes wide with concern. With a loud sob, Ruby lurches forward and wraps her arms around Penny, pulling her close.

To her relief, Penny wraps her arms around Ruby in return and rests her cheek against the side of Ruby’s head. Ruby can’t hold it in anymore, and starts rambling on and on about how she thought Penny was dead for so painfully long, but part of her clung to their memories… and to the hope Penny was somehow still alive.

Penny stands there, swaying gently side to side. She holds Ruby close as she sobs into Penny’s shoulder. She even reaches a hand up and gently strokes Ruby’s hair as she cries.

When Ruby gets most of it out, she pulls back with a sniffle. Penny gently lets go of her and watches as Ruby tries to wipe away the rest of the tears on her face. Penny reaches out with a hand and swipes away a tear that Ruby misses, and Ruby reaches up to take Penny’s hand in hers.

“Brothers, I missed you,” Ruby murmurs, still a little teary-eyed, “I-Your death… I felt so horrible, for so long. For being too slow or too weak to save you. I’m… I’m so glad you’re alive.”

Penny smiles at her. “I am glad that you are alive, too, Ruby. I missed you an awful lot. No one here… is quite like you.” Ruby smiles back at her and lets go of Penny’s hand.

The other girl shimmies a backpack off of her shoulders and plops it on the ground. She pulls out some pillows and a blanket from inside of it and starts laying them down on the rooftop. Kneeling on the blanket, Penny holds a hand out to a confused Ruby.

“Will you come stargaze with me for a while? I have wanted to show you the stars over Atlas for such a long time,” Penny asks, an eager look on her face. Ruby’s smile deepens.

“Of course, Penny,” She says as she takes Penny’s hand and sits down beside her on the blanket. Penny turns so that her head is laying closer to the window than the edge of the roof, and lays down on one of the pillows.

While Penny is obviously expecting Ruby to lay down on the other pillow, she instead curls up against Penny’s side and rests her head against Penny’s chest. Penny wraps an arm around Ruby and rests her hand on Ruby’s head. The two of them look up at the stars and just… talk.

Ruby tells Penny all about her travels with team JNPR-“They sound like such good friends!” “...They are. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them.”-and in return, Penny tells Ruby about her new job being Mantle’s protector, and about her father, Pietro-“He sounds like an amazing dad.” “He is so dear to me. I am so very lucky to have him as my father.”

Eventually their conversations trail off and they look at the stars together in silence.

Penny hears the soft sound of snoring and realizes that Ruby has fallen asleep on top of her. Ever so carefully, Penny tugs the edges of the blanket up around the two of them and wraps her arms tightly around Ruby.

Looking back up at the stars with the warmth of Ruby Rose, alive and asleep beside her, Penny smiles.

1. right there where you left it 4617 1 2