Her Broken Memories
Time heals all wounds.
People like to say that. A small comfort, a promise of a better future, something to make them feel significant when struck by life's biggest cruelties.
Weiss Schnee had stopped believing in that many years ago.
In the physical side of things, though, she supposed it was correct to say that. It hadn't taken long for Beacon to be rebuilt. Standing at its gates, five years later, she realized it looked as well and safe as ever. But at the same time, it felt… wrong. There shouldn't be students and teachers walking around without a hint of worry or fear.
Her hand trembled as she reached unconsciously for the hilt of her sword. Her fingers closed around it, trying to find solace in the touch, but it was no use. She wanted to turn around, run and forget this place had ever been a part of her life.
It took all her will not to draw her weapon right then. She spun and faced the speaker. It was a small man, barely reaching her own size, who wore glasses and offered a weak smile. She noticed he was shaking slightly, but decided not to comment on that.
"Hello." She greeted. Her tone was so cold the man took a step back "Who are you?"
"I-I'm…" He gulped, then shook his head and looked at her seriously, trying to appear more confident "I'm the headmaster of this academy. My name is-"
"William Gray." Weiss realized "I've heard about you. It's a pleasure to meet you."
She had to force those nice words out. She had never been particularly fond of Ozpin, but he was one of the few people she had felt a profound sense of respect for. Right from the moment she saw him, she knew Gray couldn't even dream of being his substitute.
"It is an honor to have you here, Miss Schnee." He said loudly "You are a hero to everyone in this school. Perhaps you would agree to talk with-"
"No. I'm not a hero." She interrupted "I'm here on a very serious business. Could you give me the directions to the memorial?"
Gray blinked, and for a few seconds, he stared rather obviously at the object on her other hand. She narrowed her eyes and closed her arms around the urn.
"Might I ask whose ashes-"
An icy mist surrounded her for a brief moment. The headmaster stuttered, but managed to stay still in spite of his fear.
"I'd be happy to show you the way." He offered nervously.
"Thank you… But I'll find it on my own." Weiss shook her head "Good luck running your school, Mister Gray."
She walked past him, not bothering to give him another glance. It was impossible for her to even look at him without getting bothered. She had lost so much already, and now she was expected to allow something else to fill the void left behind. No, she would never do that.
Her memories were just too precious.
The day had begun like any other. Weiss had been woken by her partner, like she always was. She had frequently wondered if Ruby's energy had a limit. If her immediate disposal at morning and excitement to face each day as it came were anything to go by, Weiss guessed that, indeed, she had none.
Blake had greeted her silently. She was the only one who woke up before Ruby, and she was always reading a book while she waited for their morning ritual to end. It had taken time for her and Weiss to see eye to eye, especially after the night the faunus had ran away, but they had managed. Their relationship wasn't all flowers and rainbows, but they could call themselves friends.
And then… Then came Yang. Weiss honestly couldn't tell which of the siblings annoyed her more. While Ruby did so without even realizing, Weiss was sure her sister did on purpose. Ice Queen this, Princess that… Sometimes she felt like locking the blonde out of their room for a whole week. Still, Yang had also earned a spot in the heiress's heart.
Classes went as usual. Oobleck was barely comprehensible, but she paid attention anyway, scribbling furiously on her notebook anything she managed to single out from the professor's ramblings. Port was also memorable… And not for good reasons, unfortunately. Sometimes, she felt genuinely disturbed by his boasting and… well, flirting with the female students. At least he had never tried anything on her.
When the lessons were over, the team headed to the cafeteria, where they shared their lunch time with JNPR. Weiss didn't share much more than a friendship with any of them (especially Jaune), but she appreciated them. Nora's antics certainly distracted Yang enough for her not to focus on teasing her, and for that, she was grateful.
"And then… The pancake ate him!" The hammer-wielder had yelled. She attempted to jump on the table, but was held down by Ren, who had a patient expression on his face "It ate Ren whole! It didn't chew!"
"It was very disturbing." Her partner deadpanned.
Yang and Blake had shared a look of amusement, then shrugged. Weiss felt a poke on her side. She took her eyes off her food to glare at Ruby.
"What?" She snapped "I'm eating!"
"Oh… Sorry." The redhead said, sinking a little on her seat "I just wanted to ask you something."
"Ask me after I'm done." The heiress told.
She stared at her food again and frowned. She hadn't meant to be so mean, but the words just flied out of her mouth without consideration. For someone who prided herself with being so disciplined, that seemed to happen a lot.
"Hey, Ice Queen." Yang piped up "What's gotten into you?"
"Nothing!" Weiss exclaimed again "I just want to have lunch in peace."
The blonde raised her hands in a gesture of peace, then turned to focus on her own food. Blake didn't look at Weiss directly as she spoke in a low tone.
"You don't have to be like this, you know?" She commented "We're your friends. If you don't want to talk, we understand. There's no need to be so… angry."
Weiss looked at her plate silently. She already knew Blake was right, but hearing her say it made everything much more relevant. As far as she had gone since the first semester, Weiss sometimes still acted as the cold, spoiled girl who arrived at Beacon thinking she could own the world.
She closed her fists and turned to look at Blake. She opened her mouth to apologize, but she noticed something strange about the faunus. The brunette's eyes were narrowed as she looked past her friend and into the entrance of the cafeteria.
"Torchwick." She muttered.
Blake jumped to her feet and reached for Gambol Shroud, and Weiss mimicked her action. The rest of the group took a while more to realize what was happening, but soon they were all standing, ready to lunge at the criminal.
Roman was in the doorway, blocking the exit to the rest of the school. He smiled arrogantly as he swung his cane in circles in front of him and looked through the crowd of students.
"What a bunch of happy, promising youths." He declared "Wouldn't it be a tragedy if they were all gone?"
Blake hissed and jumped on the table, then boosted herself with another foot to lunge towards her foe. Torchwick rolled his eyes and swung his cane, and she was struck in mid-air. The faunus flied right back to her team, where she was caught by Yang.
At that point, everyone in the room was aware that they were in a dangerous situation. The fact that they were more than a hundred against one, yet Roman was still smiling confidently, only made them more apprehensive.
"I'm sure you have a lot of questions." He said "But the truth of the world is… Sometimes, you just can't know things. Sorry, kiddos."
He flicked a finger, and the curved end of his cane fell to the side, revealing one round red button.
Even the cafeteria looked brand new. There wasn't a single spot ruined, scorched or falling apart. It looked identical to how it had been before the explosion. There were a few students having snacks on the tables.
Weiss closed her fists and looked down at her feet. It was too painful to see this place so pristine and normal after what had happened.
She realized that she was standing on the same spot Roman Torchwick had first been seen by Blake. The thought alarmed her, and she turned and ran from the doorway, holding the urn tightly to her. She never should have gone to look there.
When she awakened, her ears were ringing. She could barely see anything past a few meters, because the air was filled with smoke and embers. She felt heat coming from her right, and when she looked to that side, her world seemed to shatter.
Everything had fallen apart. The walls had collapsed entirely, as did the ceiling. The wood of the tables was thrown in all directions. Fire was spreading everywhere, with one large flame at the center of the room, spreading steadily outward.
Weiss rose to her feet, wobbling a bit. She endured the nauseating feeling and looked down at the ground. Her vision fell on Blake, who was lying down, unconscious. Aside from a few bruises and scratches, she didn't seem injured. The faunus came back at the first touch.
"W-What happened?!" The brunette shouted "Where's Torchwick?!"
"I don't know!" Weiss yelled back "Where are the others?!"
Blake jumped to her feet and immediately began rummaging through the rubble. She turned to her teammate after a few seconds.
"I found Ruby!" She told "Where's Yang?"
The blonde walked out of the smoke. Her eyes were blood-red, and her posture indicated she was ready to launch herself at the first enemy she saw. Blake approached Weiss and her, carrying Ruby in her arms.
Yang looked at her sister, and her eyes turned violet again.
"R-Ruby?" She muttered "Is she-"
The redhead coughed and opened her eyes. Her sister held back her tears and hugged her. Blake sighed in relief. Ruby looked past Yang's shoulder and smiled at Weiss. The heiress reciprocated shakily.
"Did you guys find Juniper?" Ruby asked.
"No sign of them." Blake answered "They were on the opposite side of our table, so maybe they got blown in another direction."
"I'm sure they're okay. A simple explosion wouldn't… you know." Yang shook her head "We have to get out of here."
Ruby nodded and began to run. Her team followed her, careful to not lose track of her red cloak in the smoke. Eventually, they all got out of the heavy air and stepped outside.
"This is the campus." Blake realized "He really blew up the cafeteria… We need to find him."
"Are you crazy?!" Weiss shouted "The school is exploding, and you wanna search for a criminal instead of helping other people?"
"I never said that!" The faunus snapped.
A roar interrupted the discussion. Suddenly, Ruby was on the ground, a beowolf on her back slashing at her. Yang screamed furiously and punched it away. A horde of Grimm surrounded them.
The blonde stepped back and helped her sister up. Ruby looked at the monsters and frowned.
"What are they doing here?" Weiss asked.
"It doesn't matter." The redhead stated calmly "Focus on killing them. Remember our training! Bumble-"
A Kind Taijitu burst out of the ground in front of them. It spun in the air and brought its tail end down. They barely managed to dodge out of the way, but the ground shook so much Yang fell on her back.
Blake rushed to her and got her up, but a dozen of Grimm were already falling upon them. Ruby and Weiss yelled for them to get back, but there was a wall of the monster between them.
"Ruby!" Weiss grabbed her partner's right arm "We have to-"
Suddenly, Blake skidded out of the horde. Her eyes were wide with terror, and as Ruby laid her hands on her arms and brought her closer, tears started to stream down her face.
"Y-Yang…" The faunus stuttered "She…"
A burst of fire erupted in the middle of the Grimm, accompanied by a savage roar of their separated teammate. Flames kept on exploding in all directions, making holes in the crowd, but there were just too many. After a few minutes, they stopped.
Ruby stared at the Grimm, frozen in shock.
"Ruby…" Weiss managed to say "Let's go. There's nothing we can do."
She shared a look with Blake, who nodded silently. Each one of them grabbed one of their leader's arms and ran before the Grimm focused on them.
At last, she found something that hadn't been completely changed, at least not yet. In the campus, patches of grass were still singed, like a large fire had been lit there long ago.
For the first months after the tragedy, Weiss had wondered if Yang knew the full extent of her actions. Had she decided those would be her final moments, or had she just done her best to stay alive?
The heiress didn't ask herself that anymore. Somehow, she knew Yang was in full control. When Blake had arrived out of the Grimm, her shock evident on her face, it was clear that her partner had saved her, at the cost of her own life.
Yang was just like that, a girl of the moment, with no worries about her future… And in her final moments, her thoughts had been of Blake's safety, not her own.
Weiss wished she had appreciated her more. Even when she had been pestering her with nicknames or spouting nonsense about romance and such things, Yang had been a beacon of happiness in the heiress's life, but she just couldn't accept that. In the end, she had been nothing more than an Ice Queen.
They realized the cafeteria wasn't the only place that had been targeted when they rushed inside the main hall and found it burning. A few students were stumbling outside, ignoring the three girls that stood in the entryway.
"We should go to Vale." Weiss muttered "It's no use staying here."
"We can't let Torchwick do more harm, Weiss." Blake replied determinedly "If you want to, go, and take Ruby with you."
The redhead snapped out of her catatonic state at the sound of her name. She looked between her friends and frowned.
"We have to get him." She stated coldly "I'm going to kill Torchwick."
Weiss looked at her partner fearfully. That was definitely not the Ruby she knew speaking. Even Blake seemed to tense at the phrase.
"No. I'll do it." The brunette decided.
There was a clear message behind those words. Even if her friends said otherwise, Blake thought of herself as a killer. Her past tortured her, and her memories always came to the surface in these moments of crisis. She would never allow anyone else to suffer like she had.
"Listen… We either go inside, or leave, together." Weiss said "Since you two seem so determined on finding Torchwick, I'd say we get to searching."
Her two teammates nodded their agreement. They headed inside, making their way through the flaming rubble. They could barely recognize the place, but the structure was familiar enough for them to not get lost.
"Ozpin." Blake spoke up suddenly "My guess is Torchwick is after him."
"Yeah. Let's go!" Ruby exclaimed.
She sped off towards a set of stairs, her friends maintaining a safe distance behind her. Grimm had broken into the school, and they were chasing people around, but they had no time to give support. If Blake's guess was correct, they had to give priority to finding their headmaster.
Unfortunately, his office was in the uppermost floor, and it took them minutes to reach it because of the constant distractions from the monsters and injured students and staff.
When they finally made it there, Weiss found Glynda Goodwitch facing a pair of students. She looked at them, confused by the situation. They were from Haven, she realized, but why would they be hostile towards a teacher?
Her friends didn't seem to notice the situation, and kept running. Glynda glared at the students and raised her wand, but suddenly, the boy dashed forward and kicked. Caught off guard, the woman went flying back and crashed through a window.
The heiress stared in shock, but then ran after her friends before the pair noticed her. As she ran, though, the scene didn't leave her mind. She realized sadly that, if she hadn't been there, no one would have witnessed Glynda's final moments.
"We're here!" Ruby yelled.
She kicked down the door to the headmaster's office, losing no momentum in the process. She unfolded her scythe and skidded to a halt, immediately aiming at a figure in the middle of the room.
Ozpin was on the ground, sprawled above the shattered remains of his desk. His eyes were closed and, as hard as they looked, his chest didn't seem to be moving. A black-haired girl was standing in front of him, two palms turned up with flames hovering near them. She looked behind her over her shoulder and smirked.
"You arrived late." She said slowly "Sorry about this, girls. I'm sure you are all innocent."
"What- who are you?!" Blake exclaimed "Why did you kill him?"
"Call me Cinder." The stranger raised a finger "And… It's a long story."
She pointed to the floor, and it exploded under their feet.
She was almost at her destination when a hand was laid on her shoulder. Weiss froze and spun on her heels. In a split second, the end of her rapier was hovering below the assailant's chin.
She stared at the man silently, waiting for any sign of aggression. She examined the scars around his left eye, and the color of his iris made her realize something…
"Ren?" She blurted out.
He smiled with a hint of amusement, and then looked at her sword. Weiss coughed embarrassedly and sheathed it.
"It's nice to see you too, Weiss." He said.
"Yeah… I…" She shook her head in disconcert "I didn't know you were… You know…"
"Alive." Ren nodded "I've been teaching here for two years, actually. It's rather…"
He shrugged. Weiss didn't know exactly how he felt, but she could guess confidently. If visiting the school felt this awful, living in it should be even worse. She couldn't even entertain the thought of doing it.
"What about…" She started to ask, but froze when his face soured.
What about Nora?
He shook his head.
"What are you doing here?" Ren asked suddenly, as if he wanted to leave her presence as soon as possible.
"I need to…" She raised the urn.
He looked at it and closed his eyes. Weiss was sure he wanted to ask more about it, but just like she knew about Nora, he must have known the answer to his questions already.
"The memorial is nearby. Just go up the stairs and you'll find it." Ren directed "I hope you can find the solace you're looking for."
"…Thank you." She muttered.
He began to walk away, but she took hold of his arm before he was too far. He looked back and raised an eyebrow curiously.
"Have you… found your solace?" She asked.
"Perhaps." Ren muttered "Like I used to say… Keep moving forward."
He broke from her hold and walked away. Weiss stared at him go in silence.
Thankfully, Weiss still had enough Aura to protect herself when she fell on the floor below, but then a fireball came from above and crashed beside her, making it break beneath her. She heard her friends yelling nearby as they too fell.
The disorientating event only stopped when they reached the main hall again. Weiss stood up slowly. She felt like her head was being pierced with a thousand needles at once and her legs were made of glass, but she ignored the pain and looked around.
Blake was on her knees, regaining her breathing. Weiss felt a bit of relief, but then she looked past the brunette and she froze. Ruby was lying on the ground, unconscious, with blood on her forehead and eyes.
"Blake!" The heiress screeched.
The faunus followed her stare and immediately dashed to their leader. She lowered her ear to her chest.
"She's breathing." Blake stated "But she's bleeding… She must have hit her head on something during the fall."
"She's going to survive, right?" Weiss asked fearfully.
"Not unless we don't get her to a hospital soon!" The faunus yelled.
She made to grab the redhead, but a barrage of flames hit her side. Blake gritted her teeth and spun around to face Cinder. The pyromancer seemed unhurt, and she still had the same confident smirk planted on her lips.
"Sorry, dear. This isn't about you, but I just can't let anyone leave alive." She sighed "I promise to make this as painless as-"
A yell reached them. Suddenly, Jaune came leaping out of the flames, his sword raised high. Cinder flinched for a brief moment before she raised her hands, blocking the attack with a barrier of Dust. The blond warrior skidded back, his eyes fixed on the woman.
"Who do you think you are?!" Cinder snarled, losing her composure "Do you think you can kill me?!"
"Nope." Jaune shook his head "But maybe she can."
He raised his shield above his head. Pyrrha jumped through the fire and boosted herself on his shield, then spun in midair and landed behind Cinder. She swirled and brought her sword in a horizontal slash that hit the villain in her right arm.
Cinder shoved a hand towards the champion. Fire followed her gesture, but Pyrrha managed to avoid it and make another offensive, dashing and bringing her weapon in a low swing towards her foe's legs.
Cinder's eyes seemed to flash red for a split second. She stomped down on the sword, and it broke against the ground. Pyrrha stumbled back and stared at the useless hilt.
"Playtime's over." The villain said.
The redhead took a step back, but in the blink of an eye, Cinder was in front of her, holding her neck in one hand. Pyrrha stared at her in shock. The pyromancer smirked again and spun her hand.
A loud crack echoed above the crackle of the fire, and then the champion's body fell lifelessly.
"PYRRHA!" Jaune roared.
He dashed to Cinder and began to swing his sword wildly. The woman laughed, dodging his attacks effortlessly. Jaune only tried harder and harder, sinking deeper into his despair.
"I'm going to help him." Blake said.
The heiress began to run towards the fight, but she was pulled back by the wrist. She stared angrily at her friend, but Blake just shook her head.
"You have to get Ruby away from here." She decided.
"You'll never get out of here alive." Weiss muttered "Not if I don't help."
"No!" Blake hissed, then laid her hands on Weiss's shoulders "Listen to me. Ruby is going to die if she doesn't get to a hospital. And Cinder is going to kill Jaune, and then come after us before we can get out of here. I'll distract her so at least you and Ruby can survive."
"You can't do this!" The heiress screamed in frustration "You're just being a martyr because-"
Blake hugged her. Her hold was tight for a good amount of time, before she stepped back. After a moment of hesitation, she untied her bow and handed it to her.
"Don't forget me."
Before Weiss could do anything, the faunus turned and ran to Jaune's side, disrupting the fight and pressing Cinder back. The villain glared at her and started counterattacking.
The heiress sobbed and ran to Ruby. She picked her up and made to the exit, ignoring the ever-growing heat behind her.
Finally, she stood before the door to the memorial room. She reached for the doorknob, her hand shaking uncontrollably. For minutes, she just stayed there, hesitating.
She wasn't sure why she was so afraid of going in. The same memories had been haunting her for years. Her friends all falling around her, her whole world destroyed in a single day… And now she had the opportunity to bury the final nail on the coffin and never have to think about the tragedy again.
Why couldn't she just do it? What was stopping her?
Weiss took a deep breath and turned the doorknob.
She reached outside with Ruby in her arms, still unconscious. The heiress looked at her partner in desperation, not sure how long she had before it was too late for her. Weiss shook her head. If she wanted everything to go right, she needed to not worry about time, and just run.
She made for the gates of the school, and to her dismay, found someone waiting there. Torchwick gave her his trademark smile.
"Well, that's a sight. I guess Red got it bad, huh?" He chuckled "Have mercy on her and just let me finish this. It's not like the girl will ever be the same."
"Shut up, you bastard!" She screamed.
Roman spun his cane and shot at her. Weiss narrowed her eyes and raised a hand, forming a glyph just in time to block the explosion.
"How long can you do that for, I wonder?" The criminal taunted.
She dropped Ruby on the ground and dashed towards him. Roman raised an eyebrow and shot again. Instead of dodging, Weiss closed her eyes and ran through the explosion, feeling her body protest. The man opened his mouth in disbelief, and didn't react as she stabbed him in the chest. She sunk her sword to its hilt, making the end of it poke out from his back, and then she brought it back to her and let him fall dead on the ground.
She turned to face Cinder, who was walking slowly towards her, clapping mockingly. Her dress was ripped in several spots, and there were cuts and burns covering her body, but she didn't seem to care. The villain gave Ruby a discreet look as she passed by her, but then she set her stare on the heiress.
"I didn't know you little students could be so ruthless." Cinder admitted "Tell me, did it feel good?"
"F-fuck you!" Weiss snarled.
"Watch your language!"
With a single movement of an arm, Cinder threw a fireball at Weiss. She was hit in her right shoulder, and she spun and fell on the ground. She tried to get up, but the pain was unbearable.
Cinder approached her and leaned down to look her in the eyes.
"Your friends gave me a lot of trouble." She told "That boy even managed to hit me a few times. I guess my killing his girlfriend gave him a lot of motivation…"
"Go to hell…" Weiss muttered in defeat.
The pyromancer swung her hand in front of her face, and a whip of fire hit the heiress on her neck. Weiss screamed in agony, feeling her skin burn where it had been struck.
"Let me talk… I've been waiting for this moment for so long…" Cinder said with mirth "Your other friend… The cat girl, now she was real difficult. But she was nothing I couldn't handle. Do you want to hear how I killed her?"
"Stop, please…" Weiss sobbed.
The villain leaned her head to whisper at her ear. She brought a finger close to her cheek and rubbed it slowly against her skin, burning her wherever she touched.
"I got her arm… And I ripped it out, with just my strength." Cinder whispered "Then, I made her kneel, and made her beg. I'll give her some credit, because she refused to do it… I had to make her open her mouth forcefully, then, and I shoved a fireball down her throat." She distanced her face and smiled "Do you want to know how it feels? I can show you…"
Weiss tried to get up, but Cinder was now kneeling above her, her hands holding down both of her arms. The heiress closed her eyes and accepted her fate.
"No, no, dear…" The pyromancer chuckled "You have to beg first. Where's the fun if you don't-"
A blade pierced through Cinder's chest. She looked down at it with no emotion as blood poured of her mouth. Then, the blade disappeared and she fell on her side, dead.
Weiss opened her eyes and stared at Ruby, who was wobbling on her feet. She was holding Crescent Rose in one hand, its blade was red with blood.
"Ruby…" The heiress coughed "What are you doing…?"
"Come on…" The redhead pulled at her hand and forced her to get up "L-Let's get you to a hospital."
"R-Ruby!" Weiss protested "You can't-"
The leader took her in her arms and began to run, becoming a red blur as she raced towards the city. Weiss braced herself, expecting them both to collapse at any moment. Blood poured from Ruby's head still, dropping down on her occasionally.
She lost track of how long they moved. It might have been seconds or minutes, but finally Ruby barged inside a hospital and kneeled on the floor, putting her partner before her. People raised from their seats in a panic, and soon a group of medics surrounded Weiss and began to lift her up.
"N-no!" The heiress screamed "Help her! Ruby! RUBY!"
The last thing she saw before she blacked out was a pair of silver eyes and a bright, comforting smile.
The memorial had once been a classroom in one of the school's most isolated corners. It made sense to use it now for this purpose. Nobody would have liked to be reminded of Beacon's tragedy every time they moved through the academy.
There were photos and texts from students that died that day on the walls. Weiss walked slowly around the room, examining thoughtlessly all of the different memories. She hadn't known even an eight of these people, but her heart still weighted heavily with their losses.
She stopped in their tracks in specific section. A picture of team Juniper, together, was posted on the wall, along with individual photos of Jaune, Pyrrha and Nora. Weiss touched the main picture and closed her eyes, silently mourning the passing of her friends.
Then she moved to side and stood frozen as she stared at the next group. Yang's name was written on the wall, accompanied by many pictures of her, sometimes with her sister or father, and even one with Weiss and Blake. In all of them, with no exception, she was smiling widely, even if her companions weren't. The heiress wished there was something she could add to her memories, but she would have to content with her sadness.
Blake's section was the size of an ant compared to her partner's. There was one photo of her reading alone, and one with each of her teammates. Even in the pictures it could be noticed how she tried to carry the world on her back, as if it was her own personal burden to make things right. Still, there was a spark of something in her eyes when she was beside her friends, a playful ember that displayed a lighter side of her personality.
I haven't forgotten you. Weiss thought and fixed her black bow atop her lone picture.
She had woken up days later, confused as to where she was. A nurse had begun to tell her about her condition, when the events of before rushed back to her and she broke down. Weiss Schnee, the perfect heiress, burst in tears in front of a stranger, and she couldn't care less.
Despite the nurse's frantic attempts at keeping her in bed, she got up and demanded to be taken to Ruby. The staff had looked away, but at last, one doctor caved in and guided her to another room.
Her friend was lying on a bed, eyes closed, unmoving. Bandage covered her forehead. Weiss took one of her hands and sighed in relief. She was still alive…
"Thank you… Thank you!" She mumbled almost incomprehensibly to the doctor, who seemed to shrink at her words "When… When will she wake up?"
"She won't, Miss Schnee." He told her gently.
Weiss froze, her eyes fixed on her leader's face.
"What?" She said flatly "Explain."
"When she arrived here… It was just too late." He sighed "Ruby used the last of her strength to carry you here, using her Semblance, even. Her already critical condition was worsened by that effort. We can keep her alive for as long as we want to, but there is little to no hope of her waking up." He fidgeted with his fingers "And even so, it might be best that she never does so… She wouldn't be the same Ruby you knew."
Weiss didn't know how long she stayed silent, slowly registering the meaning of the doctor's words. Ruby was gone. There was no hope of her ever seeing her smile or hear her unintentionally annoying outbursts ever again. She had endured Yang, she had endured Blake. She would have endured anything.
But not this. Not Ruby.
"Where do I sign?" She muttered.
"I'm sorry… What do you mean, Miss Schnee?" The doctor asked.
"I want you to turn these machines off. Ruby wouldn't want this." Weiss clarified "Where do I sign?"
"You can't make that decision. Our patients' families are the only ones allowed to make such calls. The hospital trying to contact Ruby's father as we speak." He told "I am terribly sorry."
Her hand flew to her hip, where her sword usually stayed. She could use Fire Dust. She couldn't risk Ruby suffering this awful fate. If she had to, she would do the deed herself. But she had been changed into a hospital gown, and her weapon was nowhere to be seen.
The doctor must have noticed her attempt and shouted for help, because in a matter of seconds she was dragged away from the room. She didn't say a word as they took her away, only reached a helpless hand towards her friend. Nothing else mattered to her but the redhead in that bed, the last remnant of happiness in her ruined life.
She would live in a broken world for five more years before she was allowed in that room again.
For a while, the heiress just stayed there, looking between Blake and Yang as she braced herself for the next step to her visit. She took a deep breath and walked a little more to the side, then grabbed a pencil and paper from one of the nearby tables. She wrote a name, and then stared at it for a long time, shaking slightly.
"I-I'm sorry." She whispered "I'm s-so s-sorry…"
Weiss fixed the paper on the wall and moved one of the tables so it was in front of it. She set the urn on top and lowered her head in respect, letting her tears fall as she cried uncontrollably.