The Uncanny Penny

Chapter 3

"WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"

Weiss' outburst caused the rest of the team to wake up. Saturday was supposed to be one of the two days they can get extra sleep, especially after staying up late for last night's party. Weiss' outburst put a nix to that, and they weren't happy about it.

"Jeez Weiss, wake up all of Vale while you're at it," moaned Yang.

"What's going on?" asked Ruby.

"My family's been robbed!" said Weiss. Weiss played the news report on her scroll and turned up the volume so the others could listen.

"In what may be the biggest dust heist in history, an entire vault's worth of dust was stolen last night on the eastern side of Vale. Nothing remains of this vault except for a basement full of broken down machines. The machines are owned by Cadet Security, hired by the Schnee Dust Company to protect their vaults. We reached out to the presidents of both companies to explain how this robbery could have happened, but neither have yet to comment. A representative from Schnee claims that the blame solely rests on Cadet, claiming they sold Schnee an inferior form of security. Cadet responded that their machines are top of the line in security, but did not explain how or why they failed to stop whoever intruded into the vault. The Vale police force are continuing to investigate if this robbery is connected to the string of dust robberies recently committed by Roman Torchwick, a wanted fugitive still on the loose."

"Top of the line they say?" yelled Weiss. "If they were so top of the line, my family's company wouldn't have lost millions worth of dust in one night!"

"Who has that kind of manpower to rob a vault?" asked Yang.

"You don't think it could be Roman and the White Fang again, could it?" asked Ruby.

"If it really was the White Fang," said Blake, "then it would mean even the higher-ups are cooperating with Roman. I don't understand why, unless they really have become nothing more than a terrorist organization now."

"I don't care if it's the White Fang or not!" said Weiss. "I am not going to sit back and let some low-lives make off with my family's property! I need to make some calls!"

Weiss grabbed her scroll, quickly got dressed, and headed out the door. Since going back to sleep wasn't going to be possible, the rest of Team RWBY decided to get up.

"Well this weekend is off to a fantastic start," said Yang sarcastically. "Once again we have another dust robbery mystery to solve."

"But who else aside from Roman and the White Fang would rob the place?" asked Ruby.

"Maybe it was an inside job," said Blake.

"An inside job?" asked Ruby. "By who?"

"It could be that the Schnee Dust Company wanted the place robbed, or maybe Cadet Security sent them weak security on purpose. Those are two possibilities," explained Blake.

"After seeing the way Weiss blew her top," said Ruby, "I doubt anyone at Schnee is happy about it."

"So maybe Cadet really is behind this," said Yang. "You've said before there have been unflattering rumors about Cadet going around."

"But why would Cadet purposely screw over Schnee?" asked Ruby.

"Corporations are always willing to backstab one another for their own gain," said Blake. "Perhaps Cadet really is behind this somehow."

"That's enough investigating for now," said Yang. "Time for breakfast."

#

Later that day, Team RWBY were walking in the city. Weiss went off on her own to play private investigator, trying to find any clues that could lead to the identities of the dust thieves. The rest of her team doubted she would actually get any useful information, but didn't want to tick her off more than she already was. They decided to walk around the commercial district when they came across the boardwalk by the pier. The place was currently under construction for a carnival to be taking place next week.

"Too bad Weiss isn't here to see this," said Yang. "She would love to see such organization."

"How many years has it been since we last went to one?" asked Ruby.

"About eight years ago. I still remember uncle Qrow getting mad at that one guy over the milk bottle game."

"I remember that too! He nearly took his head off with that one throw. That's when we learned to never play carnival games again."

"We should totally come here next week."

"But what about the dust robberies?" asked Blake.

"Let Weiss and the police worry about that," said Yang. "I'm not going to pass up having fun because of some criminal investigation."

As they were looking over the boardwalk, they were soon greeted by their familiar robotic friend.

"Hey Ruby!" greeted Penny.

"She actually said hi first," remarked Yang. "She's improving."

"Hey Penny," said Ruby. "What's up?"

"I was walking around the city when I came across this flyer," said Penny. She showed them the flyer advertising the carnival to celebrate the start of summer. "I've never seen a carnival before."

"We were just talking about coming here next week," said Ruby. "Why don't you join us?"

"Actually Ruby, about that..."

"Is something wrong?" asked Ruby.

"I was going to ask for you to come with me...alone," said Penny.

"Alone?" said Ruby. "You mean, just you and me?"

Penny nodded. Team RWBY were surprised by Penny's request. Just yesterday Penny was overjoyed with having lots of friends, and now she only wanted to hang out with Ruby.

"If that's what you really want to do; I mean, what do you guys think?"

"I don't have a problem with it," said Yang.

"I'm not going anyway," said Blake.

"That's great!" said Penny. "We'll meet here next week at around seven?"

"Seven is good," said Ruby.

"Thank you so much Ruby! See you next week!" said Penny, before walking off. As soon as Penny wasn't in listening distance, Yang started to speak up.

"Tell me I'm not the only one who sees what's going on," said Yang.

"I think I know," said Blake.

"Know what?" asked Ruby. "What's going on?"

"Ruby, don't you think it's weird that she started asking you about love, then kissed you on the cheek, and now wants to go to the carnival with just you and her?" said Yang.

"I'll admit it's a bit strange," said Ruby, "but I think it's just Penny getting used to how friendship works."

"I don't think this is merely about friendship anymore."

"What do you mean?"

"Ruby, I think Penny might actually be in love with you."

Ruby was a bit taken aback by Yang's claim. Now that Ruby thought about it, it did sound like Penny was asking Ruby out to a date, and it seemed more than coincidental that Penny had asked Ruby for the meaning of love just two days before. The thought of Penny being in love with Ruby was causing Ruby to blush.

"Oh my God, maybe she really is in love with me," said Ruby.

"And am I right to assume you're not in love with her?" asked Yang.

"Of course I'm not. How can I when she's...you know."

"Batting for the other team?"

"Well not that! I mean the other, more obvious reason?"

"So how are you going to break the news to Penny?"

"I'll just have to explain to her why it wouldn't work out between us. I'm sure she'll understand."

#

Nick was in Gainsboro's lab receiving his weekly tune-up as Gainsboro studied his latest combat data.

"These results turned out far better than I thought," said Gainsboro. "You barely suffered any damage to your systems from that mission. I was almost afraid your body wouldn't be able to take such heavy fire."

"So I will not require any tuning?" asked Nick.

"Just for cosmetic reasons. As far as I'm concerned, you are becoming the perfect weapon I've always hoped for."

"Thank you professor."

As Gainsboro was working on Nick, Penny walked into the lab.

"Hello Penny," said Gainsboro. "Did you need something?"

"Professor Gainsboro, may I ask you for a favor?" asked Penny.

"What kind of favor?"

"Will you lend me lien?"

"That depends. Lien for what?"

"I'm going on a date next week."

Gainsboro stopped working on Nick and turned his attention to Penny.

"I'm sorry," said Gainsboro. "Did you say date?"

"Yes. I've asked a close friend of mine-"

"Absolutely not! You are NOT going on a date!"

"But professor-"

"But nothing! You've already been dangerously close to exposing what you are. I am not going to allow you to do it on some date! That isn't what we built you for!"

"This isn't fair!" yelled Penny, stomping the ground in anger. "All you want me to do is stay here and be tested! Why can't I go out and have a life?"

"Because you're an android!" said Gainsboro. "You're not supposed to have a life!"

"But I want to! I want to make friends, have fun, and do all the things normal people do!"

"Enough Penny! You're not going and that's it, and if you say another word about it I'll have you dismantled!"

"Excuse me Penny," said Nick. "May I have a word alone with the professor? You may come back after I am finished."

As much as Penny wanted to keep arguing, she decided to leave the lab.

"Professor Gainsboro, please do not be too hard on Penny's emotional expressions," said Nick. "That is how she was initially programmed after all."

"Are you trying to defend her Model-005?"

"Yes. Penny, aka Model-001, was designed to express human emotions as realistically as possible to test how emotions can play into combat. What the design failed to realize however was how that emotional programming can play into non-combat roles."

"Where are you going with this?"

"Although Penny is at risk of exposing her identity, I query that these social gatherings Penny attends will actually benefit her combat abilities by better understanding said emotions."

"Nonsense!" replied Gainsboro. "You were programmed without any emotions and you've proven to be perfect in combat. If anything, these emotions Model-001 has is holding her back from her true potential."

"You haven't the necessary data to prove that hypothesis," said Nick. "I query that it is possible that the opposite could be true, but we cannot prove either if you continue to, as humans would put it, 'shun' her emotions."

"Very well," sighed Gainsboro. "I'll allow Penny to go on this date of hers. You better not make me regret this Model-005."

"Thank you professor," said Nick. Nick sent a transmission to Penny telling her to come back in. When Penny entered the lab, Gainsboro reached into his desk and pulled out lien cards to give to Penny. Penny gasped as it meant Gainsboro had a change of heart.

"This is all you'll be getting," said Gainsboro.

"Thank you professor!" said Penny. "I promise not to cause any trouble!"

"Well just to make sure you don't, Nick will be accompanying you."

Penny was about to protest Gainsboro's order of Nick tagging along, but decided to not risk angering the professor and losing her chance again.

"Understood professor," said Penny before leaving. After Nick was done with his tuning, he went back to his room where he was greeted with a hug by Penny.

"Thanks for changing the professor's mind Nick," said Penny.

"I hope my presence will not be a burden on your date," said Nick.

"It won't be," said Penny. "I'm already coming up with the proper adjustments to make sure the date goes just as planned. This is going to be the perfect date."

#

The week quickly passed by without much incident. With no leads into finding Torchwick and the stolen dust, strict blockades were put around Vale to prevent the dust from leaving the city. The media began reporting on the theory that the robbery may have been an inside job. Despite these claims, Schnee continued to pay Cadet large sums of money to increase security to their other vaults. Gainsboro was more than pleased to see two large sources of income coming his way.

Weiss' private investigation went nowhere, and so she decided to buy what she claimed was top of the line spying equipment so she can find the thieves herself. Included in said equipment was a machine to pick up sounds far away, night-vision binoculars, GPS bugs, and a bunch of other seemingly unnecessary gadgets.

That afternoon, Weiss was going over her equipment before her and Blake would set out to one of the vaults Weiss believed would be robbed. The others were worried that Weiss was going overboard.

"Don't you think this is overdoing it?" asked Ruby.

"It's been an entire week and they still haven't found out who stole the dust," said Weiss. "If they're not going to find out who's behind it, I will."

Weiss threw all her spy gear in a backpack plus two suitcases and was about to head off, but the backpack was too heavy to carry by herself. Blake sighed and took the backpack instead.

"Are you sure you want to go Blake?" asked Yang.

"Even if the White Fang aren't involved, I still need to find out for myself," said Blake. "Enjoy the carnival."

A few minutes after Weiss and Blake left, Yang and Ruby headed out with Team JNPR. Nora was jumping up and down, more excited to be going to the carnival than everybody else.

"What should we do first?" asked Nora. "The bumper cars? The roller coaster? Or maybe...the tunnel of love?"

"They don't have a tunnel of love at carnivals Nora," said Ren.

"That's a shame," said Yang. "Guess this means Ruby won't be-"

Ruby punched Yang in the shoulder before she can finish.

"What was that for?" asked Pyrrha.

"It's nothing," quickly said Ruby.

"Ruby here is going on a date," said Yang.

"It's not a date!" replied Ruby.

"You have a date Ruby?" asked Nora, taking sudden interest in the topic. "With who?"

"I do not have a date," said Ruby. "I'm just spending time alone with Penny."

"Sounds like a date to me!" said Nora. "So who asked who out?"

"Penny asked Ruby," said Yang. "I think she might be in love. Ruby on the other hand not so much."

"I think you two would make a cute couple!" said Nora.

"We are not going to be a couple!" yelled Ruby.

"Not with that attitude," said Yang. Ruby punched Yang in the shoulder again and ignored them both for the rest of the trip.

#

Gainsboro was working in his lab when he received a text message on his scroll. He looked at his scroll to see the message came from Torchwick, demanding to meet with Gainsboro for another job he had for Nick. Usually him and Torchwick would discuss this over the phone, but with Cadet starting to investigate suspicious behavior in their employees, Gainsboro had to keep a lower profile than usual. Gainsboro agreed to meet with Torchwick and asked for the location. When Torchwick gave him the time and place, Gainsboro wasn't pleased. The location just happened to be near Schnee's biggest vault located in uptown Vale.

"Of all the places you had to pick, you pick the one that's going to cause us the most trouble," muttered Gainsboro to himself. "At least the pay will be worth it."

Meanwhile, Penny was excited that the day for her date with Ruby had finally come. Even if Nick was forced to tag along, she wasn't going to let anything ruin her date. All week long she had discussed with Nick about the date in perfect detail; what rides they would go in order, what games they would be playing, and what time they would step aside to watch the late night fireworks show. Before they left, Penny was going over her overly detailed plan to Nick one last time.

"So what do you think?" asked Penny.

"Sounds fine to me," said Nick. "But I have noticed you are lacking a fail-safe procedure."

"Fail-safe?" asked Penny.

"What were to happen if this date doesn't go as planned?"

"I'm sure it'll go just as planned."

"Based on what?"

"Well...I just think it will."

"Oh no," said Nick, sounding like he was worried. "I should have known to bring this up sooner."

"Is something wrong Nick?"

"Penny, we need to talk."

"About what?"

"I query your emotional programming has caused you to make severe miscalculations."

"What are you talking about?"

"This date you will be going on with Ruby. You're so sure that this date will go just as you planned, you have not calculated any possibility of failure."

"How it can fail? Ruby and I are going to have a great time and then I'll finally get to tell her my true feelings."

"If you recall, the final step of the procedure involves subject B having the same feelings as subject A. You don't know if Ruby shares the same feelings you do. What will you do when you find out she doesn't?"

Penny stalled, trying to come up with an answer. Just as Nick said, Penny didn't think of what would happen if Ruby wasn't in love with her.

"I'll...think of something," said Penny. "Besides, why dwell on one of many possible outcomes?"

"This is worse than I calculated," said Nick.

"What's worse than you calculated?"

"Penny, your emotional programming has caused you to be in denial."

"I am not in denial!" yelled Penny. Now she was starting to get irritated by Nick.

"Correction: You are only focusing on a solution you believe is possible, but based on my calculations, has a zero percent chance of occurrence," explained Nick.

"What makes you think I have zero chance with Ruby?"

"You really don't know, or is your programming causing you to express denial?"

"What are you trying to say Nick?"

"Penny, we are built to never tell a lie, but at the same time, we are able to withhold the truth. I query your decision; would you like to hear the truth about why you and Ruby cannot be together, or would you rather I withhold it as classified information?"

"Keep your opinion to yourself," said an agitated Penny.

Before Nick can reply, he received a transmission from Gainsboro.

"What is it professor?" asked Nick.

"Nick, I need you to come with me," said Gainsboro. "We've got a meeting we need to attend."

"But professor, I was previously ordered to accompany Penny on her date."

"We've got more important matters on our hands. I would tell Model-001 to cancel her date, but knowing her she'll just sneak out and disobey me anyway. Report to my lab at once."

"Understood professor," said Nick, hanging up. "The professor requires my presence. You'll be on your own after all."

"Sensational!" said Penny, smiling wide.

"Enjoy your date with Ruby, although based on my calculations-"

"I will, thank you!" said Penny, not wanting to hear about Nick's opinion.

#

After they arrived, Yang and JNPR went ahead while Ruby waited by the entrance for Penny. As Ruby was waiting, she was going over in her mind how she was going to tell Penny the truth. Should she just say it bluntly, or ease her way into it to soften the blow? Either way, she knew she had to tell her before things got too far.

"Ruby!" shouted Penny, running up to Ruby. All right, thought Ruby. Time to tell her.

"Hey Penny," said Ruby. "Ready to have some fun?"

"You bet I am!" said Penny. "I've been looking forward to this for so long. My professor even gave me lien, so everything is going to be on me!"

"Wow Penny, that's...really nice of you. But before we go, there's something I need to tell you."

"What is it?" asked Penny.

Ruby tried to look into the eyes of Penny and tell her, but suddenly tensed up and froze upon looking at Penny's innocent, smiling face. If Ruby told Penny the truth now, Penny might get upset and it would just makes things awkward between them for the rest of the night. The last thing Ruby wanted to do was make Penny upset after all the good Ruby has done to help Penny make friends.

"Never mind," said Ruby. "Let's go enjoy the carnival."

"Okay!" said Penny, grabbing Ruby's hand and heading to the ticket booth. Once they got inside, Penny looked around at everything the carnival had to offer. Ruby felt strained; she needed to tell Penny this wasn't a date, yet every time she looked at how happy Penny was, she couldn't bear to do it. Ruby decided she was going to ride this out as long as possible before having to give in to telling Penny.

"So what did you want to do first?" asked Ruby.

"Let's go play the games!" said Penny.

"I wouldn't play them if I were you."

"Why not? Aren't games supposed to be fun?"

"These games aren't. They're rigged so that you have no chance of winning any of the good prizes." Ruby pointed to a nearby booth where kids were tossing rings over milk bottles. "Like see that ring toss game? The rings are just barely big enough to fit on those bottles, and they set the best prizes on the bottles you can't possibly land on."

"We'll see about that!" said Penny. Penny went right up to the booth and paid to play.

"I'm telling you Penny, it's too hard to win."

"It's not hard. All you need to do is calculate the distance, put your arm at the right angle, and then give it just the right amount of force and..."

Penny tossed the small ring at the bottle located in the direct center. Ruby expected the ring to bounce right off, but instead the ring easily went through the bottle. Everyone looking was shocked to see the ring wrapped around the neck of the bottle.

"How did you...," said the booth man. "I mean, congratulations! You win the grand prize!"

"Actually, could I have that toy instead?" asked Penny, pointing to a small rag doll.

"That thing? Whatever you say."

Penny picked a rag doll with short orange hair, a pink bow on top, and a green princess dress.

"Why'd you pick that doll?" asked Ruby.

"I like this doll," said Penny. "Something about its look seems so appealing to me."

"Actually, she kind of looks like you," said Ruby.

"So she does!" said Penny, looking over the doll. "I'm going to call you Penny junior!"

Ruby giggled at Penny naming the doll. "Penny junior? You can't name a girl junior!"

"Why not?"

"I don't know, it just isn't normal that way."

"But just because it isn't normal doesn't mean it's wrong, right?"

"You know what Penny? You're right. Penny junior it is!"

Penny would go on to play several more games at the carnival. Despite their purposely difficult nature, she would easily win all of them without much effort. Penny didn't care about the prizes; she already had what she considered the best prize imaginable in that princess doll. She played the games for fun and would give away her won prizes to other kids, as Ruby wasn't interested in dolls.

"I think that's enough games for tonight," said Ruby. "Let's check out the rides."

"Okay!" said Penny. "I know the first ride I want to check out!"

Penny pointed to the giant Ferris wheel. Ruby nodded in approval as they ran to the Ferris wheel. They got into their booth and looked out the windows to see the view. Once they reached the top, they were able to get a view of the city.

"I've never seen the city like this," said Penny. "It's so beautiful. Look at the beautiful city Penny junior!"

Penny held up her doll towards the window. Ruby smiled. She was having such a good time with Penny, it was saddening to her that she still needed to tell Penny that this wasn't the date Penny thought it was.

Or maybe, she began to thought, she didn't need to tell her. At least not tonight.

#

Weiss and Blake were camped out on top of a building in uptown Vale, located near one of the Schnee vaults. Weiss was laying low and scoping out the area with her night-vision goggles while listening to a police scanner. Blake was simply looking around.

"What makes you think they'll be attacking this place?" asked Blake.

"This is the biggest dust vault in the entire city," said Weiss. "If there's one place dust criminals would definitely strike, it's this one."

"That doesn't necessarily mean they're going to show up here tonight."

"Then I'll just keep showing up every night until they do."

The two of them had waited for about a couple hours until a limo pulled up and parked on the street perpendicular to the vault. Weiss tapped Blake's shoulder and pointed to the limo that pulled up.

"What'd I tell you?" said Weiss. "Now help me set up the equipment."

Blake and Weiss set up the audio enhancing equipment and pointed it towards the limo. A few minutes later, another limo pulled up and parked across from the other. Once that limo parked, one man came out from the back of each limo. Out of the first limo was Roman Torchwick, and out of the second was Gainsboro.

"It's Torchwick," said Blake. "Figures he'd be involved. But who's the other man?"

"Let's find out," said Weiss. Weiss went over to the amplifier and turned up the volume.

"I know you pay well Torchwick," said Gainsboro, "but even this is beyond our limits."

"Are you saying that new toy of yours doesn't have what it takes to break into that vault?" asked Roman.

"A vault with the highest form of security imaginable," remarked Gainsboro. "Security I might add that were designed by my company. So I know exactly what we're dealing with."

"Look," said Roman, "how much do I have to pay you to get this job done?"

"Considering the size and risk of the task at hand, I'm going to have to double our price."

"Double?" said Roman. "Are you insane?"

"Look at this way Torchwick," said Gainsboro. "You're already going to make a fortune from all that dust you stole the other night. What's a small advanced payment to an even greater fortune?"

"Well okay," said Roman. "I'll agree to pay you double. But only because that model robot of yours did such a good job last time."

"They're going to attack with a robot?" said Blake.

"This robot of theirs is going to have to be the size of a tank in order to break into this vault," said Weiss.

Gainsboro went to his limo and opened the back door. Blake and Weiss were shocked to see the person coming out of the limo was someone they have met before.

"Isn't that Nick?" asked a shocked Weiss.

"It is Nick!" said an equally shocked Blake.

"If Nick is there, does that mean Penny is involved as well?" asked Weiss.

"I hope not," said Blake.

"Good to see you again Nick," said Roman. "Ready for another mission?"

"Only if professor Gainsboro approves," said Nick.

"I approve," said Gainsboro. "But be careful Nick; this vault has our company's strongest defense."

"I've already done the calculations," said Nick. "I predict a ninety-five..."

Nick suddenly stopped and started to look around.

"What's wrong?" said Gainsboro.

"I'm picking up a signal interference nearby," said Nick. "Someone is using some kind of special equipment."

"Uh oh," said Blake. "I think that means he's spotted us."

"How could he?" asked Weiss.

"Weiss, think about who we're dealing with here," said Blake. "We don't really know what he's capable of."

"Special equipment?" asked Gainsboro, looking towards Roman. "You better not be backstabbing us Roman!"

"I can say the same thing about you!" replied Roman.

"The signal is coming from the roof of that building," said Nick, pointing towards the building Blake and Weiss were on. Roman pointed his cane towards the building.

"Show yourselves!" shouted Roman.

"Well so much for using stealth," said Weiss.

"So what now?" asked Blake. "Do we run or fight?"

"Like I'm going to run and let these rapscallions steal more of my family's dust?"

"Not that I care about your family's plight, but I would like to find out what's going on."

Blake and Weiss jumped off the roof and used their semblances to land safely on the ground.

"Oh joy!" said Roman sarcastically. "It's a bunch of teenage girls here to ruin my frigging plan! What is it with me and teenage girls?"

"I know these two," said Nick.

"You know them?" asked Gainsboro.

"They're friends of Penny. The one in white is Weiss Schnee, the one in black is Blake Belladonna."

"Schnee? As in THE Schnee corporation?" said Gainsboro.

"That's right," said Weiss. "Care to explain why you're sending those robots of yours to rob from my family?"

"What else my dear?" said Gainsboro. "For the money!"

"I just have a thing for dust," said Roman. "More specifically, stealing tons of it for plans that are none of your business."

"I'm making it my business!" said Weiss.

"It appears that they are willing to fight us," said Nick. "I can easily fight them off for you if you wish."

"That won't be necessary," said Roman. "Considering my luck with huntresses lately, I've decided to bring a little backup."

Roman banged on the roof of his limo. The door opened and out came two twin girls wearing dresses and heavy makeup. One was dressed in red and had claws attached to her wrists; the other was dressed in white and wore boots with sharpened heels.

"So are these like the huntresses you want us to fight?" asked Miltia, the red dressed girl.

"They don't look tough," replied Melanie, the white dressed girl. "I mean that one over there looks like a ten-year-old."

"Dibs on the smart mouth," said Weiss.

"Fine with me," replied Blake.

"Nick!" said Roman. "You focus on taking down the vault's security. We'll handle things here."

"Understood Mr. Torchwick," said Nick, walking away from the fight.

"I'll just be out of your way," said Gainsboro, getting back in his limo and taking off.

#

After going on more rides, Ruby and Penny were now waiting for the fireworks show. Penny had asked to go somewhere more private and where they would get a better view. They went to an outer area of the boardwalk outside the carnival and sat on a bench.

"The night is so clear," said Ruby. "Maybe we'll see a shooting star."

"What's that?" asked Penny.

"It's like a giant ball of light that flashes quickly through the sky. If you see one, make a wish and it'll come true!"

"Shooting stars can do that?"

"It doesn't hurt to try!"

"What would you wish for Ruby?"

"You can't tell someone your wish. That'll jinx it."

"All right. I'll keep an eye out for shooting stars."

Ruby and Penny went back to looking up at the sky. It was peacefully quiet with only the two of them. This was it, Penny thought. It was finally time.

"Ruby?" said Penny.

"Yeah Penny?" said Ruby.

"You're...you're a really good friend."

"Well thank you Penny. You're a really good friend too."

"Actually, you're more than a good friend. You're my best friend. I couldn't ask for a better friend than you."

"Um...thanks Penny," said Ruby, starting to blush slightly. Penny turned around and grabbed Ruby's hand. Ruby turned to Penny, who had a serious look on her face.

"You're kind, caring, beautiful, and you always make me feel so happy," said Penny.

Oh no, thought Ruby. It was the moment Ruby was hoping would not be happening. As much as Ruby appreciated all the heartfelt things Penny was saying, it was time to tell Penny the truth.

"Listen Penny," said Ruby. "I'm grateful you feel this way about me, but there's something we need to discuss. We-"

Before Ruby knew it, Penny leaned forward and kissed Ruby on the lips. The kiss lasted for about three seconds; the only reason it lasted so long was Ruby was so initially shocked at what was going on she had no idea what to do. Once she quickly regained her composure, Ruby pushed Penny away and stood up.

"Penny!" exclaimed Ruby. "What are you doing?"

"I was trying to kiss you," said Penny. "Did I not follow the correct procedure?"

"WHY were you trying to kiss me?" asked Ruby.

"To show that I'm in love with you," said Penny.

"You're serious aren't you?" asked Ruby in a state of disbelief.

"Why wouldn't I be? That is how love works does it not?"

"No! I mean, love kind of works that way, but this? This is not how it works! Not at all!"

"I don't understand. Did I do something wrong?"

"Yes! Well, not WRONG wrong, but you can't...we..."

"Ruby," said Penny, starting to get concerned. "What are you trying to say?"

"Penny," said Ruby, "I'm not sure what you think our relationship is, but whatever it is, it's not happening."

"I thought we were lovers," said Penny. Hearing that word caused Ruby to turn bright red. "Are you saying we're not lovers yet?"

"We're not lovers now and we never will be!"

"Never will be? But Ruby, I'm in love with you. That would indicate that...you could never love me."

"That's exactly it Penny. I can't ever fall in love with you."

Hearing that caused Penny to stand up as well, worried about why Ruby was starting to say such a thing.

"But why?" asked Penny. "Is it because you don't find girls attractive?"

"That's one of the reasons," said Ruby.

"There are more? Is it because you don't like me?"

"No Penny, of course I like you."

"Then I'm really confused. If it's because you are attracted to boys as per the norm, I would be sad but understanding. If it's because you don't actually like me, I would be even sadder but at least I would know how you felt. So what other reason could there be?"

"C'mon Penny, isn't it obvious?"

Penny paused and tried to figure out what Ruby was trying to say, and then it finally came to her.

"I get it now!" said Penny. "You are secretly in love with someone else!"

"No!" yelled Ruby. At this point Ruby was losing her patience with Penny. "Penny, we can't be together because you're NOT REAL!"

Penny was perplexed at Ruby's outburst.

"What...what do you mean I'm not real?" asked Penny.

"I can't believe I have to say this," said Ruby. "Penny, it doesn't matter how you ever feel about me or how I ever feel about you. The truth of the matter is, you're not a real human being."

"What does me being an android have anything to do with it?"

"Remember when I said that not all relationships are normal, and some are even wrong? This is one of the wrong ones. A human being can't fall in love with something that isn't human."

"But I'm just like a human!" said Penny. "It's not like I'm some kind of inanimate object or an entirely different species! Why is it wrong for us to be in love with each other?"

"Let's say I were to be in love with you," said Ruby, "and we became...lovers. Right now it would all look fine. You and I appear to be the same age. But what's going to happen five, even ten years from now? I'm going to grow up into a woman and travel the world as a huntress, but you? You're still going to be the same 'age' from when I've met you."

"If that's the problem, I can change!" said Penny. "I can ask my masters to rebuild me to look age appropriate!"

"But would they actually go for that?" asked Ruby. "And even then, how long would you be able to keep up this charade?"

"However long it would last!" said Penny. "Ruby, I would do anything it takes for us to be together! I want to be with you for the rest of my life! Nobody makes me feel the way you make me feel! Isn't that what love is?"

"I'm sorry Penny," said Ruby, "but even if all that were possible, the fact that I know you're not really a person...it can never work."

Penny took a few moments to take in what Ruby said. Penny thought she had love figured out, but it was just like Ruby at her told in the beginning: It was so complex with no concrete answers. Yet despite its complexity, Ruby was dead set on believing that the real and the unreal could not be in love with each other.

"I see. Thank you for your honesty Ruby," said Penny, turning around and starting to walk away.

"Penny?" said Ruby. "Where are you going?"

"I'm sorry Ruby," said Penny, "but right now I suddenly have this overwhelming urge to stay away from you forever!"

Before Ruby can respond, Penny started running as fast she could. Ruby ran after her but even with her semblance Penny was too fast. Ruby yelled for Penny to stop but Penny ignored Ruby. As soon as Penny turned a corner Ruby lost her. Ruby called out to Penny, but got no reply. She then noticed something on the ground; it was the doll Penny won that looked like her. Either Penny lost it from her running, or had gotten rid of it. Ruby felt like a large stone had sunk into her stomach. She knew Penny would get upset at hearing the truth, but not to the extent of wanting to never see Ruby again.

"What have I done?"

#

Despite being outnumbered, Weiss and Blake were easily able to take out the twin girls and Roman. The twin girls were laying unconscious inside one of the store buildings the fight broke into. Roman was sitting in the street laying back against the limo he had been thrown into.

"Why does Junior even keep those two around?" wondered Roman aloud. Blake and Weiss held up their blades near Torchwick, ready to thrust at a moment's notice.

"All right Torchwick, start talking!" said Weiss. "What's your plan?"

"Isn't it obvious?" asked Roman. "To steal lots of dust."

Weiss suddenly thrust her sword into the limo, less than an inch off from Roman's neck.

"You know what I mean!" said Weiss.

"You must be the bad cop," said Roman, then turning to Blake. "I guess that makes you the good cop."

Blake thrust her sword through the limo, also less than an inch off from Roman's neck.

"Enough games Torchwick," said Blake. "Why are you taking the dust, and why was the White Fang helping you before?"

"Let's just say that the White Fang and I have been employed by a generous group of entrepreneurs," said Roman.

"And who is this group you're working for?" asked Weiss.

Before Torchwick could respond, an explosion went off in the distance. The three of them turned to see the explosion come from the vault. Weiss and Blake forgot about Torchwick and ran over to see what happened. Part of front of the main building had been demolished, and coming out of the destruction was Nick, completely unscathed. Weiss and Blake couldn't believe what they were seeing. Weiss was starting to shiver at the sight of Nick simply walking out of the building like nothing happened.

"What the hell is he?" muttered Weiss.

As Nick was approaching them, Weiss and Blake got into a fighting stance, ready to fight Nick despite what little chance they would actually have. Nick jumped over the fence and ignored Blake and Weiss, instead walking to Torchwick.

"The security was a lot tougher than initially calculated," said Nick, "but the deed has been done. The vault is now ready to be robbed per your command."

"Change of plans boy!" said Roman. "First I want you to obliterate those two damn huntresses!"

"I query that based on the surrounding damage and the incapacity of your backup that the huntresses have proven to be more than you're capable of handling."

"No kidding! Now go kill them!"

"Understood," said Nick. Nick pulled out two swords from his back and got into a fighting stance. "This should only take a few minutes at the very most."

Before anyone can make the first move, the sounds of loud sirens began to blare nearby.

"Looks like we're out of time," said Roman. "Get us out of here now."

"Understood," said Nick. Nick picked up Torchwick, then used his swords to stick into a building and create a ladder to escape. Blake and Weiss used their semblances to climb back onto the roof, get their equipment, and leave before the police arrived.

#

Everyone at the carnival looked up at the fireworks lighting up the night sky. Yang and Team JNPR were enjoying the show. Ruby however was solemnly walking past everyone. She looked around hoping to see Penny somewhere in the crowd, but all she saw was the look of happy faces enjoying the fireworks show; the show that Penny and Ruby should have been watching together right now. Along the way she passed by Yang and Team JNPR without realizing it. Yang noticed Ruby walk by without saying a word.

"Hey sis!" said Yang.

"Hi Yang," said Ruby, sounding like she just had her soul sucked out of her body.

"What's wrong?" asked Yang. "And where's Penny?"

"I've made a terrible mistake," said Ruby.

"What did you do?" asked Yang.

"I told Penny the truth. Now she never wants to see me again," explained Ruby, a tear flowing down one of her cheeks. Realizing something was seriously wrong, Yang went up to Ruby and hugged her.

Meanwhile, Penny was on the roof of a building, sitting with her knees up and trying to bury her face in them. She didn't once look up at the fireworks display. Instead she was focusing on closing her eyes as hard as she could, trying to form a single tear.

"Come on already!" said Penny. "I'm supposed to be sad! So why can't I cry?"

As Penny tried to cry, the words of Ruby's confession kept playing in her processed mind. More specifically, the part where Ruby had told Penny she wasn't real.

"But I am real! I have to be real! If I'm not real...then what am I?"

The thought of not being real overwhelmed Penny with sadness, but try as she might, she couldn't do what she wasn't built for. Penny could not cry. As she continued to attempt the impossible, she received an incoming transmission.

"Hello?" said Penny.

"Penny, it's Nick. Professor Gainsboro wants us back at the lab. Has your date been completed yet?"

"I guess you can say that," replied Penny.

"Very well. See you back at the lab," said Nick, then he hung up.

Penny got up and started to head back when she looked up and notice a bright light passing quickly through the sky. It must have been one of those shooting stars Ruby had talked about; the celestial objects with the power to make wishes come true. Seeing the star, Penny closed her eyes and folded her hands real tight.

"I wish to be real. I wish to be real. I wish to be real," she kept repeating to herself. After about a minute of wishing, Penny opened her eyes and still found herself to be an android. An android that was real enough to have emotions, yet couldn't fully express them. An android that was real enough to be considered a human, but couldn't do everything a human can do.

An android real enough to fall in love, but not enough to be loved back.

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