Scratching Scabs

The whole team had been moving and traveling for some time now; taking photos in and around Weiss's family's hotels and resorts. It all attracted many onlookers wanting to view the shoots and ask questions about the lines, models, or even the business itself. Weiss was happy to answer these questions, of course, and often encouraged others to take photos of their own. There had been some snags; but nothing too major. Heather got into verbal spats with some of the onlookers and the crew wasn't set up properly due to lack of outlets and power, but that was all worked through as it came up.

Now the team was resting poolside in their latest shot location. Though not all were in the water, most were while the rest smiled and relaxed in the overly-sized deck chairs. Yang was first in the water, laughing as she let the water and rays tan her skin to a healthy glow. Ren and Nora were playing and splashing – Nora doing most of the splashing – and Pyrrha was giggling and playfully pushing Jaune like a happy couple.

Heather was also in the water, trying to catch Ruby's eye; but the injured girl was happily talking to Weiss, who was rubbing sunscreen into the other as she nodded and hummed. She was still trying to get Ruby's attention. After all, how hot and funny would it be to steal away your boss' girlfriend? Another reason was that if things went well enough, she and Ruby could make their own lines where she was top model for everything! The fame! The money! It was all there! Damn it, she should never have let her go!

"Are you just going to sit there and read a book, Blake?" Yang groaned as she wadded closer to the edge of the pool.

"Yes." Blake replied effortlessly as she turned a page. "Now, let me read. I've gotten to a good bit."

"Oh~? A bit we can reenact?" Yang teased, her eyebrows wiggling, her lips turned into a smug grin.

"...No. Unless, you'd like for me to press a knife to your throat and demand the orders from your commanding general?" Blake offered, lowering the book to see Yang's look go from smug to confused and concerned.

"Wow, okay, no thanks." Yang huffed. "And here I thought you got to a steamy scene we can play at later." Yang whined, resting her head on her crossed arms.

The mood was still easy and fun, the soft hums and loud bursts of laughter filled any gaps that seemed to lull in the air when everyone shared a happy sigh. The sun was so warm and water so cool, it almost seemed far too good to be true. Especially since all this was paid for by someone else – after all, things like this cost money; and it always felt better when it was someone else's.

"How can you play that out here?" Weiss asked as she watched Ruby play some game on a small handheld device. "Don't you get tired from playing so much?"

"Yeah, a little, but what else can I do?" Ruby whined as she tilted her head toward the cast. "I much rather be in the pool but I can't get wet."

Weiss sighed before she leaned in a gave Ruby a soft kiss on the lips, her eyes giving off how sympathetic she was toward the runner. "I know. But at least you'll be getting this removed in a week, hm?" Weiss asked, a gentle hand moving over to touch the rough plaster. "Though that still doesn't mean you can just go running off; I hope you know this."

Ruby could only roll her eyes before she saw many pairs of eyes glaring at her. "Okay, okay, I won't just bounce off. I promise." The tagger could only sigh as everyone turned their gazes from her; it seemed the small promise was enough to sate them...at least for now.

"Ruby~!" Heather giggled as she wadded over and grinned as wide as she could. "What do you think of my bikini? I saw it and thought of you!" The model was hoping to at least make the redhead blush; best case was getting her to stammer something out.

"It's cute. I like the color but..." Ruby tilted her head a bit before she rubbed the back of her neck. "I remember you hating flowers. Why get a floral pattern?"

"One that's out of style, at that." Yang added with a snicker.

"I said, that it reminded me of you." Heather nearly growled out, just keeping her temper in check. "Look, just tell me I'm cute, alright."

"Sounds like you're fishing to me." Yang grumbled to Blake, making the each snicker and giggle, though Blake had enough manners to try and muffle the noise.

"I think everyone is cute!" Ruby grinned as she opened her arms. "I mean, even Ren and Jaune are cute and they're just in trunks!"

"I think you mean 'handsome.'" Jaune tried to correct, but the shaking head from his online clan leader had him blinking.

"Nah, 'cute' is the right word." Ruby smiled as she thought her word choice over. "Yeah, because if I imagine squeezing a cheek on either of you I can almost hear the noise it'll make."

"Oh my BOOP! You're right!" Nora gasped as she reached out to squeeze Ren's cheeks which only made the man groan and sigh.

"Thanks, Ruby." Ren glared as he merely let Nora have her fun.

Everyone else had a chuckle at that, though Heather was still clearly pouting. It seemed Ruby wasn't as easily talked or coaxed into things as she used to be. She'd have to up her game, or forget about the little tagger for now. It wasn't something she'd want to do, after all how many chances was she going to get to take away the girlfriend of a rich boss? Not many, and she was not going to pass that up so easily!

~ Line Break~

After another two hotels, it was time for Ruby to finally see the doctor to have the cast removed. It was a big moment for her; the freedom it would give her, the break from sitting on her ass in that nasty wheelchair, and the sweet, sweet relief of scratching her skin that was covered up by that annoying plaster! Of course, Weiss has already seen her try to dig underneath to get that relief early on and scolded her for it; Yang had slapped her undamaged arm and shoulder to get her to stop when she caught her trying to fix it as well.

They didn't understand! It was far too thought-consuming at times! How was she to focus on her art and the payroll when all she could feel and think of was her leg?

The van gave a small jerk as it parked, making Ruby huff as the seatbelt dug into her chest and neck a tad. It was clear Weiss was simply not used to driving a van – maybe any vehicle close to its size.

"Alright, Yang, get the chair and help Ruby into it." Weiss said, turning off the car and opening her door.

"Yeah." Yang said, hopping out of the back of the van and pulling the wheelchair out and over to the passenger side. She opened it with a smile, beaming at her sister. "This is the last time you'll be getting a free ride, Sis! Better enjoy it!"

"Like hell!" Ruby laughed back, moving herself to fall into the offered seat and sigh as her sister wheeled her way, closed the car door, and started pushing her up the ramp to the office building. "Once I'm outta this thing, I'm going to do cartwheels all the way home!"

"You will do no such thing, Ruby Rose!" Weiss huffed out as she led them through the building and signed in. "Even with this off, you'll still have to take things easy."

"Yeah, I can tell you've gained a little bit of weight, so I know for a fact you're not in top form." Yang further added, rubbing her sister's shoulder as she watched her slump. "And that's okay, because you were healing and the doctor said that would happen."

"Gee, thanks, Yang." Ruby grumbled as she crossed her arms. Leave it to the model older sister to point that out without skipping a beat.

The removal went by smoother then she thought it would have, the group cheering and Ruby quickly moving in to scratch the pale skin. It was such a good feeling – a good day overall even! She knew that when she got back to the workplace everyone would be cheering and cutting up with her as they celebrated her finally getting that 'clean bill of health,' so to speak.

The drive back was even better, the trio listening to music, singing and joking. Weiss even sang a song or two with them, though in a far more practiced tone and not like a goofball-like the sisters were singing. Nothing could top this moment, nor bring it crashing down or burn it to dust. Ruby was sure of it! This was already proving to be one of the those days that you remember with a smile in your old age; a happy tale to speak about to others, with maybe a lesson for the kids to learn at the end of the story. The sun was out, sky blue a with few clouds – hell, there were even kids playing in the parks and yards of homes!

But sometimes days like these have a way of turning sour – fast. Like a cloudburst or a brush fire. It sucked every good thing up in a vortex of swirling despair – killing it and leaving in its place an icy feeling of sorrow or terror. It never takes much to set it off either; a buildup of emotions maybe, or just some misplaced word. Funny, how life could play out like movie scene, even when nobody knew they were staring in one.

Weiss rolled up to the hotel they were staying at, the place swarmed with police and first responders. It was a loud mess of people and things; a scene of chaos with people huddled in groups – some groups yelling while others mumbled and whispered.

"What the fuck is happening?!" Weiss cried out, getting out of the car with a slam of her door and approaching an officer. "What's happened?! Is everyone okay?"

"Miss Schnee, we're just finishing up." He stated with a wave of his hand. "Calm down, I'll tell you in a moment."

Ruby noticed Jaune in the back of a squad car, looking very upset, and oddly enough she noticed that it was Pyrrha who was screaming at the cops. She was left dumbfounded – had they fought? Jaune and Pyrrha would never hurt one another, but why was he in the car and Pyrrha so upset? Was he under arrest?! Surely Jaune could never... right?

"Yang-"

"Stay in the car, Ruby." Yang quickly said, she herself not moving. "We're not involved yet, and getting out and causing more of a scene with the police here ain't going to make things easier." She warned. "You don't have the best of records, and I don't have the best handle on tempers, do you understand?"

Ruby gave a quick nod – she knew where this was coming from. After all, at one time they were selling drugs on the street corners. Though they'd never been caught, who knew what could be going on behind the scenes.

"It seems your employees got into a physical confrontation. Apparently, by many witness reports, Heather Teese has been trying to make advances on another employee of yours – a Ruby Rose. Do you know this?"

"I- yes, she told everyone this. We're waiting for her contract to expire before we can fire her from the company. She's making the younger girl uncomfortable and clearly seeking out her attention." Weiss answered professionally, her stomach twisting in knots. "What does this have to do with anything?"

"It seems she was making rather... crude remarks about things. It quickly turned into a fight and the young man in the back of my car broke it all up, though Heather received some injuries." The officer stated, already seeing the worry and questions spinning in Weiss's eyes. "The physical assault happened – apparently, after she threw a drink at Miss Nikos. I'm surprised that she got off with the mere injuries she did, considering whom she was fighting."

"What do you mean?" Weiss asked, the cop giving her a smirk in return.

"Pyrrha Nikos is her region's wrestling champion. She's even still holder of the school's best times and dead weight lifts in her division." The cop said. "My son used to wrestle against her at meets, so we know each other well enough."

"I-I knew she worked out on her times off, but nothing of the sort." Weiss said, surprised by the news.

"Well, it was a few years ago, but it's clear she's still in form. Surprised me she became a seamstress, but I guess it makes sense, seeing how she works out." The cop offered before he cleared his throat. "Anyway, though it was Pyrrha and Heather fighting, Heather says it was Jaune who caused the injuries."

"Where is she? I don't see her out here." Weiss said as she looked around. "Surely Jaune wouldn't really hurt her, right? If so, it was an accident!" She stated with a huff. "He's as soft as they come!"

"He's detained until we have further proof. As for Miss Teese, she's getting stitches to close some of her injuries." The cop said, noticing another officer walking towards them. They share a look and a nod, making the one Weiss was speaking with move to the car and let Jaune out. "You're free to go. We have everything on video thanks to the hotel cameras."

"Oh, thank you!" Jaune breathed out, rubbing his wrists as they were freed from the cuffs. "It all happened so fast, I didn't want anyone getting hurt, Sir!"

"I get it, but next time, just call the cops. It's dangerous to jump in a fight like that." The man stated. "I know we were called during the fight, but you could have gotten hurt as well."

"In all fairness, Sir, I much rather get pushed around then my girlfriend. Just because she's strong doesn't mean I should just stand there and watch her get hurt." Jaune explained before Pyrrha rushed over to him, kissing him on the lips and pulling him into a tight hug.

She had a swollen eye, clearly from a punch, but was otherwise okay.

(Line Break)

After the police left and people settled down, Weiss gathered them all to their rented work space and asked about what had happened. It was explained that Heather and been drinking a tad, talking about some of the things she and Ruby would do with and to each other; and though she was asked to stop, kept getting louder about things. Her bedroom talk turned into insults – some directed at Ruby, but most at Weiss. This was when Pyrrha started to talk back and the two eventually got into a fight after a drink was thrown.

It wasn't too clear on why Heather blamed Jaune until Nora pointed out that it would have been easy for her to lie about a guy beating her up then another woman, thus in a sort of twisted way, hurt Pyrrha in the process of locking Jaune up. Ruby quickly agreed with this, even going on about how Heather had done something similar to a couple in school when Heather had been trying to shack up with the boyfriend. When her plan fell through, she lied and started to spread nasty rumors and even said he had hit her.

A silence came over the group of friends then, all downtrodden and tired. They gave half-cheers for Ruby's successful cast removal, but there was little else to say. Even Nora was somber as she leaned against Ren, whom held his eyes closed.

"Hey," Ruby piped up, making everyone look at her. "I...I'm sorry."

"For what, Rubbles?" Yang asked.

"Yes, I don't see where this is coming from." Weiss said with a tilt of her head, watching as her girlfriend stared down at her bundled hands that lay limply in her lap.

"It's my fault this happened. I should have stood up to her! I shouldn't have hidden behind you guys. Now I got my friend hurt and another nearly arrested!" Ruby said, her throat tight as her eyes burned with tears. "I knew what she was like! I thought I had gotten over being so...so embarrassed and shy and nervous when she would try to talk me into things! I was always so scared! Or shocked at what she wanted!" Ruby blurted out, shaking her head as she sniffled. "I'm still weak. I can still be pushed around."

"That's utter bullshit." Blake said, making Ruby jump and look at her, hurt and fear shining through. "How could her actions be your fault? She didn't sign up because of you, Ruby. You were merely a toy she found when she got here. As far as I'm concerned, she would have tried to pick on Jaune and Pyrrha if she hadn't found you."

"Yeah! Don't say sorry for her! That bitch was a bitch on her own! I say we should find where they took her and-" Ren gave Nora a hard nudge at that, making her stop and pout with a cross of her arms and a puff of her cheeks.

"You only give her power if you blame yourself for her actions, Ruby." Pyrrha said, pulling away a small ice pack from her eye. "She knows you'll answer and clean up after her. In fact, she's probably betting on it now. Though you should have stood up for yourself more, and much more firmly, her actions are not yours."

Ruby looked stunned at all the people smiling at her, their words setting deep as she thought it all over. They were right, she knew, and hearing others that really cared about her stand up for her made Ruby's heart pound. She threw them all a smile – it was returned in kind, and the group settled into a much calmer, peaceful silence for the night.

A/N: Hey guys looooong time no see! I really had to step back and gather myself for a long time. I fell out of love with this hobby and was so stressed out from the events around me. Things haven't gotten better, but I have gotten stronger and really took my hobbies back. I've been writing like a demon- so much so that my beta, Minesniper, is a little overworked plus he is about to start getting busy with college once more. I am looking for a second beta to lighten the load because I'm not only getting back to this wonderful story, but I've been reviving my as well! Please PM me if you are interested in becoming a beta! If not, please, enjoy the work and have a great day!