A new one-shot for all of you. Schedule is still a release every Monday, but this one was something I thought would be better as a story outside the schedule. Who knows? Maybe if I have more short stories like this, I can release them other days of the week. Although, there would be no rhyme or reason for their release schedule.

Edit: Gave this baby a new name. Used to be Summer Changes. As you can see now, it's called A Rose at Dusk. I felt like the old title made it sound more like a story about Summer Rose than one about Ruby. Hope you guys like the new title more, but the story remains the exact same.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy.


Salt.

That was the one taste which surpassed others. Her sweat was salt, and her face was drenched in it. Beads of sweat poured from her forehead and neck. She blinked away the substance from her eyes and licked her lips once more, tasting the mixture of fluids. Her breathing was slow. Her heart hammered desperately in her chest, filling her eardrums with the rhythmic pulsing. And yet she continued.

Her movements were calm, yet powerful. Each one a practiced strike or block which had long since been mastered. Ten thousand hours of mastery had passed years ago. When Crescent Rose was still being developed. The wooden grip and iron blade had long since been replaced with steel and titanium. The handgun taped to the grip was now a powerful sniper rifle. Designed and built entirely with her own two hands. Perfectly sized for her and perfectly weighted in her hands.

The scythe was lifted high; the heavy blade was as big as she was yet flowed almost rhythmically around her body. Her shoulder muscles bulged under the weight. Muscles almost always hidden by a cape or cloak, but now were open to the cool summer air. It was too hot for the thick red hooded cloak she was known for. Her tank-top and fitted shorts were enough to keep her covered. Her combat outfit was great for combat. But training was different.

Training like she did was even more so.

The shattered moon filled the night sky, along with the buzzing of insects and occasional howl of grimm in the distance. Few stars could be seen, but those that did were the brightest. Forming constellations whose shapes and stories the young reaper had long since put to memory. The ground was hard. Sand with sprouting grass. It was still warm from the daytime sun. The girl let her feet drag through the crystalline stones, the sand getting caught between her bare toes and marking intricate patterns wherever she moved.

The scythe did not touch the ground. No matter the strike. Even as it flipped and spun and rotated in every direction, it stayed aloft. A weapon as tall as she was. Taller. It flipped between forms. The blade expanding outwards and retracting inwards. The girl had been taught by her uncle the power behind wielding a scythe, but also the limitations. Her sister had taught her the need to practice with something smaller. Her father had trained with her; helping her to develop a fighting style using the length and breadth of a sniper rifle as a martial weapon as well as a ranged one. How the retracting and expanding of a blade can in it of itself be an attack or defence, then just the preparation for one.

Sweat pooled around her body and still she practiced. There was no reason to stop. Her arms had been num for hours. Her grip had long since diminished to the bare minimum. Her eyesight was fuzzy and eyelids prone to drooping. And yet there was no reason to pause. The movements flowed too perfectly to do so. A dance of death and destruction for any who strayed into her path. Many had before. None remained now.

"Hey," came the soothing voice from behind her. She did not stop her motions, giving a small grunt of acknowledgement in return. She spun; her dance having happened to put her face to face with her onlooker. Her sister's lilac eyes sparked with awareness and exhaustion. She had trained all day and deserved to be tired.

That was the difference between her and her sister. One rose with the sun; the other the moon.

"It's supposed to start raining soon," her sister commented, taking a seat on a wood log, watching the young girl's strong movements.

"I don't smell anything." The reaper replied. There was no smell of petrichor in the air. There were grey clouds, but not enough to cover the moon nor bright stars.

A strike with the curve of her blade stopped mere centimeters from the sandy floor, sending ripples of energy through the ground. Almost immediately, the scythe was retracted, and the dance continued with the sniper rifle form of the weapon. It spun around her body, resting in her palms and on her shoulders. If her sister had not seen the weapon being used to take down opponents, she would have assumed it was less so an attack and more of a distraction. Somehow, the young girl had turned a movement that trained huntsman and huntresses used as a flashy distraction, into a strike capable of breaking armour and shattering bones. She knew. It had taken a month to recover.

"Maybe it's time to stop for the night. You've been at it since dinner." She placed her elbows on her knees, leaning on the palms of her hand. Her thick blonde hair moved lightly in the breeze. Her eyes still focused on the one person who meant more to her than life itself.

"I still have another hour before the moon isn't up. Just an hour more of light before it gets really dark." The younger sister replied. Her strikes did not stop, but they did slow down. Even a prodigy with a semblance as powerful as hers could not have the stamina to keep going forever. She, however, continued, thrusting the sharp tip on the butt of Crescent Rose's shaft out in front of her. Another weapon among the already overpowered and over-developed arsenal that was Crescent Rose.

"Ruby. You are going to drop where you're standing. You don't need to practice so hard. Beacon is still years off for you. You'll be the best there is. Unless you burn yourself out." The blonde's frustrated sigh accentuated her point.

"And you're going to Beacon this year." Ruby pointed out. "I won't see you again for another two years at least."

"Ruby, of course you will see me."

"It won't be the same. Remember what dad and Uncle Qrow said?" For once, Ruby stopped her attacks against the air, planting her weapon into the sand, resting against it's frame. Her elder sister could see the worry within her unnaturally silver eyes. So fierce and determined, yet still so childish. The glimmer of immaturity that came from a life of safety and serenity. It amazed Yang that she was still a child. Even with everything that had happened to her, she held onto her childhood. She still did.

Yang nodded at Ruby's words. She did know.

"Just because they said your team at Beacon would be like a family doesn't mean that I'll be giving up my actual family."

"Tell that to out grandparents, uncles and aunts. Oh, wait. We don't know them. Not so much as a peep about any of dad's family. Or Uncle Qrow's. What if that happens with us?" Ruby's words were frightening for the both of them.

They both knew it was a possibility. If the two huntsmen in their life could be believed, it was a likely possibility. Yang stood from her spot and walked to the young reaper, taking her in a big hug. The little girl placed her chin on Yang's shoulder, nuzzling deeper into her sister's arms, wrapping her own tightly around Yang's neck. Tears dotted her eyes.

"Hey, hey." Yang crooned, softly petting Ruby's short hair from crown to the base of her neck. "You will never lose me. I promise. You're my baby sister. I could never leave you. I would never even think about leaving you behind. No matter what dad or Qrow says."

Yang broke the hug, holding her sister at arm's length with both hands resting on the reaper's shoulders. She squeezed tightly, letting her aura wash over and mix with her sister's. They were family. Time and distance could not change that indisputable fact. Yang smiled softly, her eyes filled with motherly calm. Ruby was more than a little sister. She was a bright and talented warrior. The strongest person, both physically and emotionally, that Yang had ever known. She was a goofball, and a klutz and so, so much more. More than could be put into words. Yang had raised her for years when her father and Qrow could not. Their bond was closer than sisters. There were no words to describe it. There never could be. And still, Yang hoped that Ruby knew what she meant when she stared and smiled at her.

"We still have all summer together before I head off to Beacon and even meet my team. You don't have to worry about me leaving with my team then and you sure as hell don't need to worry about me leaving now. Face it sis, you're stuck with me." She pulled Ruby back into a tight embrace.

Ruby giggled lightly, sniffling and wiping her wet eyes on Yang's shoulder.

"Are you drying your tears on me?"

Ruby shook her head into Yang's shoulder.

"Are you wiping your sweaty face on me?" Yang smirked.

Ruby giggled and shook her head again.

"Come on sis. Time to hit the hay. We'll spar tomorrow."

With that, Yang lead her little sister away from the training ground. Her arm was draped over Ruby's shoulders and Ruby held Yang around the waist, her other hand gripping tightly to her powerful weapon; still extended in all its glory.

There was nothing more that could be said. Ruby knew that things were going to change. Change was an irrefutable fact of life. The only choice she had was whether or not she would choose to change with it. If it meant keeping Yang in her life, she would do whatever it took. Whatever it took to keep her big sister with her forever. Just as she knew Yang would do the same. Pressed close together, the sisters felt better. They had an entire summer to spend with one another. Beacon was far enough away for them both. With one last gaze at the shining shattered moon, Ruby stepped inside with a small smile. A lot can change over a summer.