Weiss pinched the bridge of her nose and silently counted to ten. Then once more for good measure, making sure that she had herself under control; That she had her plan to confront her partner, what there was of it, at the forefront of her mind and their conversation instead of her temper.
She needed the moment. There were very few people that could shake Weiss' self-control as easily as Xiao-Long could. Very, very few. Two to be exact, with Winter being the other; The emotions they evoked were entirely different, of course, but Weiss had to be honest with herself as far as that went.
Yang could get under her skin in moments if Weiss allowed it. Always with a quip, a barb, an anecdote or a blatant distraction away from an issue and onto another, more 'interesting' one... The ease with which she went about doing so, dragging Weiss and their team along in her wake, had long since turned into a study in patience.
It would serve her well when she had to deal with the board. It was very similar. They were about as mercurial if not more so.
But she wasn't dealing with the board right then, was she? She was dealing with something other. With a mad huntress smuggling unregistered weapons into weapon-free areas without a qualm or a care. Such blatant rulebreaking couldn't be allowed, no matter what Xiao-Long thought.
Yang was not immune to consequences. Just oddly insulated for someone that had nearly burnt down a forest and had organized a scroll-networked lynch mob that had continued far past her getting bored and leaving.
Weiss took another ten-count and ignored the pang that thought caused in her right temple.
… In the end, this couldn't be ignored. Her expulsion wouldn't just affect her. It would affect them all, even if only because they'd be down, as painful as it was to admit, a valuable and skilled member of the team. That Xiao-Long was also responsible for the entertainment and the procurement of snacks had its place in the list, somewhere far down. Her couch rated higher.
It was a very nice couch. Very comfortable.
The rest of the team had agreed with her. Agreed, and helped her set up what could only have been called an intervention. Impromptu, and done before any of them had even changed out of their workout clothes, yes, but an intervention all the same.
Weiss rolled her shoulders lightly. Firmed her upper lip. Got herself the nod from an unusually interested Blake and an exhausted, but informed and forcefully alert, Jaune from their places near the door; Yang's fussing and cooing over her hair (an oddly cute, almost puffball style that day) in the dorm's standing mirror leaving her entirely unprepared for what was going to happen.
This had been a long time coming. That Weiss, her partner, was at the forefront of this effort was only right.
"Xiao-Long," Weiss started flatly from behind and to the side of the monstrously tall blonde. The only place she could stand, really, if she wanted them to see her in the mirror at all. Unnatural was what it was. Irksome… At least she didn't have to deal with the smell of sweat, the persistent and pleasant aroma of sandalwood wafting off of them doing a wonderful job of covering it up. "We need to talk."
"We do? What about? Is it something big? Is it something small?" Yang's violet eyes flickered to the side to take her in, as eerily bright and piercing as ever while the brute ran their fingers through the chaotic yellow mass that they called hair. "Or, maybe, you just want to talk about nothing at all?"
She was feeling playful this morning, it seemed. Keeping her on track and on topic was going to be the biggest problem they were going to have to deal with then. Joy.
"If it's the reason why Jaune is still awake and Blake hasn't buried herself in a book yet, I'm guessing it's something big." She leaned closer to the mirror with a hum. "And you guys do know that we have a window, right? If I really wanted out I wouldn't be going through the door."
Or maybe not. And she'd thought they were being subtle about their attempts at corralling her. Yang continued to surprise.
"Alright then. We're all here. In private. Where no one outside the team can hear us. Whatever it is, I can take it. Hell, I probably deserve it if you're all here as a united front," Yang continued calmly, taking Weiss' short silence as consent. "Lay it on me."
"As soon as you stop preening, we will."
"Yeah. Sure." Yang clicked her tongue, but did what Weiss asked her to do without arguing in an astonishing show of maturity for her. That she was quick to cross her arms over her chest, not under for once, said everything about how seriously she was taking this. "What's this about?"
That was as good an opening as any of them were going to get from her. Weiss might have only known her for a month but pattern recognition had never been a skill that she'd lacked.
This wouldn't last forever. The iron was hot.
"You've been hiding something from us. From us and from the school," Weiss quickly accused, causing Yang to blink in surprise when the much smaller huntress stuck a finger in their face. "It's time to come clean."
There was a long period of silence then. That, and an aborted snore from Jaune when Blake poked him in the neck to wake him up.
"... Hiding something? What?" Yang leaned back carefully, her eyes locked on that finger as if it were threatening to bite her. "You weren't going to tell me to lay off Jaune and stop trampling over his authority as our assigned leader?"
"Let's do that." Jaune perked up, the bags under his eyes losing depth as they spoke. "I think we should talk about that."
"What? No. Of course not. Why would we?" How Yang had come to that conclusion, Weiss had no clue. The woman's mind was a maze, she swore. Jaune's hopes would be dashed once more. "As unorthodox as your methods may be, your training plan is showing results."
Yang brightened in sync with Jaune's depressed slump. Blake's awkward but supportive patting on his back came soon after. If anyone needed a spine... "I know, right? My thought was that I'd bring him up to snuff first, give him that manly and heroic archetype to fit the part before we threw him in with the sharks."
"Building a body is easier than building an image," Weiss acknowledged as she cupped her chin and narrowed her eyes. "We've never actually talked about this. What are your plans?"
"Broader shoulders for one. Much broader. He's six feet tall, and not the lanky sort of six feet, yeah? That would totally work. So then, while that was going on, we'd start figuring out his uniform for when he hit peak performance."
"That would take years," Weiss pointed out. "He can't just wear what he has until then, Yang. There has to be something in the interim."
"It would evolve overtime, Weiss. Of course there would be an interim. Don't be silly." Yang dismissed Weiss' concerns with a wave of the hand. "I'm thinking he'd look good with a braid." She stroked her cheeks. "Maybe a beard?"
"No." Weiss grimaced at the very idea. Jaune hadn't the features for it, she could already tell. "No beard."
"I'm not a doll…" Jaune sighed.
"Alright, no beard. You're probably right. We'll see." Yang nodded, ignoring Jaune's aside much like Weiss had. His opinion on this would matter when he could reliably dress himself and not a second before. "So what would you think of-"
Blake coughed, cutting Yang off mid-sentence and bringing their back-and-forth to a screeching halt. Rude. "I think you two forgot something. Something important." She raised a brow as she propped an insensate Jaune up on a shoulder before giving him a gentle push towards his bed, his job done for the morning. "Yang was hiding something, right?"
Weiss froze. The small, thoughtful smile that had begun to cross her face became brittle and uncomfortable. The tendons in her neck went tight. The hand holding her chin curled up into a claw, her own nails digging lightly into her skin as heat rushed to her head in a caustic, vitriol-filled wave.
She hadn't felt this angry in...she couldn't remember ever feeling this angry. Weiss hadn't even known it was possible to feel this angry.
Yang had done it again.
"Oh. Oops." Yang chuckled as she gave the room an apologetic grin, Jaune stumbling past as she did. "Sorry about that. I didn't mean to cut you off like that. I'll keep quiet this time, honest."
"I- You…!" Weiss gurgled. "Dolt!"
"You broke her, Yang," Blake chipped in. "Good job."
"I didn't mean to. It just sort of - happened."
"Yeah. I noticed. Is it that hard to be serious? To take her seriously?"
There were no words. Even if Weiss could speak them intelligibly, she wouldn't bother. They'd tried that already. They'd tried that already. They'd tried to act like reasonable, mature adults and Yang had used that to play one of their games.
Yang recoiled. "This is entrapment!"
Blake blinked. "Wow. Like that, huh?"
There were no words.
"Uh, Weiss?" Yang left that losing battle behind with a splash of red in her cheeks. "You okay? Do you need to sit down? … Do you need a nurse?" Yang's voice sounded like it was coming from underwater, the blood pulsing in the heiress' ears taking priority. "Guys, I think Weiss needs a nurse."
"WHAT ARE YOU HIDING!?" Weiss howled as she jabbed her finger into the blonde's face once more. "WHAT?!"
"Yeah, Yang. Lay it all out for us." Blake's frown twitched erratically, up and down in turns as her chest heaved with what Weiss could only assume was shared anger. "Show us what you're hiding. Now."
"I… What?" Yang turned to keep the two of them within her sight, eyes wide with surprise. "Didn't we already do this part of the ta-"
Weiss lashed out. The hand that wasn't busy threatening Yang's eyes went down low, quick as a whip in mid-snap, to grab that bulge laying flat against her inner thigh; nails out. Grip as strong as it had ever been.
The first impression that Weiss received when she held that weapon, and felt it through what felt to be two separate layers of material, was soft. The second impression was that she'd never seen anyone's face lose color quite so quickly as Yang's did right then, as if someone had pulled a plug and let it swirl down a drain. The third impression was that, other than the blood in her ears, all she could hear was Blake coughing madly in the corner.
The fourth and final impression was that, just before Yang screamed like a steam whistle and her pupils narrowed into reptilian slits, the thing she'd had in her hand had been as heated as a pan fresh off the stove.
The implications of such, what with it being in Weiss' palm, were not far behind.
"My hand! You burned my hand, you fool!" Weiss cried out as she clutched said hand to her chest with a smothered whimper. Even with her Aura pulling the heat away and dulling the pain, it hurt. "Do you have active Dust weaponry under there!? Unstable Dust weaponry? What is wrong with you!"
"What's wrong with me? What's wrong with you!? There is no weapon!" Yang howled back, hunched over like she'd just been punched in the gut; hands placed protectively over her leg and face somehow becoming even more pale as she spoke; the AC started to whir as the room's temperature began to rise. "And did you have to use your nails? Did you? What the fuck, Weiss!"
"No weapon! No weapon!? Liar! Dotard!" Weiss held a hand up, the thick, red and quickly fading, line cutting across it from end-to-end an argument all its own. "What the hell is this then, you idiot! Your lunch!?"
Blake fell to her knees, still making choking noises as she pounded a fist against the floor.
"Oh. Oh, crap. I didn't know that this was what they were talking about when they- Oh, shit." Jaune, who had sat up in bed and was currently cupping his crotch for some odd reason, could have given even Yang's current pallor a run for its money. That this was what brought him out of his half-slumber, and not everything else that had come before, continued to hammer in that he had just been there for the illusion of solidarity. "Are you okay?"
What sort of question was that? Was Yang okay? Was Yang okay?! What about her!? She was the one with the first-degree burns!
"She put her Aura into that, Jaune! Her fucking Aura! Do I look okay to you?! " Yang slowly sank into a squat, her forehead thunking loudly into her knees as she curled up on herself. "That was my fucking dick! What do you-" She cut herself off with a groan as Blake fell over on her side, wheezing. "Nails."
"Dick?" Weiss repeated dumbly, that single word wrapping everything up. The moment; whatever it was as the penny dropped and Weiss forgot everything to stare at her hand as horror rose up from the darkest depths of her very soul. That, and disgust as she realized that she'd just been branded by a... Weiss choked. "Penis?"
"Blake! This isn't funny!" Yang whined. "I just got shanked in the dick and Weiss is scarred for life! Mentally! Not physically!" She paused. "I hope! That was a defense mechanism! Stop laughing!"
Blake sputtered and coughed some more.
"Erection." Weiss mumbled to herself as she slowly spun in place and the world fell apart around her, sanity going with it. Up was left, right was plaid, and sweet was the sound of one hand clapping. She started towards the bathroom as her vision started to swim. Clean. She needed to clean. Herself, the dorm, the entire world. Something. "My first exposure to a penis...and this is it."
Reality was a cold, cruel mistress.
The choking and thumping suddenly cut off with all the finality of a gunshot, Blake's whole body going limp at once and in sync as she lost all consciousness.
Weiss envied her.