Six Years Ago
Back at the cafeteria with the two teams, they happily chatted with each other, re calling moment’s from earlier that day and discussing school and the days to come. Ruby would have loved to participate in such conversations, but right now she was extremely agitated and distracted. Weiss was really getting to her and she was currently taking it out on an innocent pea that kept shooting from the grasp of her fork. Jabbing her fork violently into her plate and mumbling to herself, JNPR and Yang didn’t seem to realise. Blake on the other hand, well Blake was very observant.
“Ruby!” she hissed, “Will you calm down!”
“I can’t I’m too distracted” she complained.
“Yes I can see that. Will you leave that pea alone?” Blake hissed back as she continued to watch the pea fly around Ruby’s plate.
“I need an outlet” Ruby reasoned, jabbing the pea one more time. This time the pea flew off her plate and landed in front of the faunas, rolling off the table and into her lap. Ruby smiled sheepishly, and Blake glared at her, Ruby could have sworn she saw her bow twitch.
“Ruby just listen to what I told you!”
“Blake I can’t I need to be sure-“
“What did you tell my sister?” Yang asked cutting in. Ruby ceased the opportunity.
“She told me to go, get her something from our dorm I’ll be right back” Ruby quickly stood up and left toward the dorm. Blake growled quietly as she watched the crimson girl go.
“What was that about?” Yang asked a little confused.
“Nothing” Blake replied. Jabbing her own fork at a pea, which ironically shot out of her plate. Blake watched the pea fly and instantly put her fork down.
Weiss had remained seated in her position from when she abruptly ended the call. She had just cut her father off but he wouldn’t be angry, he very well understood the position she was in. She just sat there and stared at the disabled vid screen, memories flooding back to her. That day six years ago is the clearest memory she possesses and one that remains unforgotten. Her father had told her that Schnee have a heart of stone, so why did hers break every time she thought of Winter? Was she being reasonable with herself? Has she been living these past six years as a fool? Was her fear just an irrational phobia that she should simply get over?
The risk is far too great to simply disregard it. Fear keeps her alert, makes her see things for what they truly are, makes her realise how to keep those she loves safe. In this case, it’s to not be with them. It was a simple belief, simple but devastating on too many levels. She made a mistake that nearly costed her beloved sister her life, so to avoid making that mistake ever again, she removed the source from the equation, herself.
She had led herself to believe that it was her actions that nearly got Winter killed, or more importantly, her lack of action.
Six years ago, when she was eleven, Winter had been eight, and befitting of her name, she loved winter and currently it was snowing outside! It was a perfect day, Weiss was with her and the weather was exactly how they both loved it, cold, white and soft! Life back then wasn’t as bad as it had become now, the White Fang hadn’t really come to power yet, so her family was still quite close and, warm. One fine afternoon, as the snow flakes slightly peppered the sky and floated to the ground, Winter dragged her oldest sister out into the garden for what seemed like the hundredth time that week.
“C’mon Weiss before it runs out!” Winter stated, hurriedly pulling on her sisters arm.
Winter was almost a splitting image of Weiss, just as pretty and just as elegant. She had shorter hair that reached just a hands length below her shoulders which had a slight yellow tinge to it, almost a very bleached gold. Her eyes mirrored those of her sister’s and her fathers and her features were just as sharp as Weiss’ albeit a little softer and more rounded. It was believed to be an age difference thing, but as Winter grew her soft nature remained, something that couldn’t be said for Weiss.
The two of them were dressed heavily, fur boots, gloves, warm pants and a very warming coat, layered thick with wool. The two sisters shared the same interest in the colours blue and white, Weiss in a white coat and light blue pants, and Winter contrasting her older sister with a blue coat and white pants.
“Winter don’t be silly, snow simply doesn’t ‘run out’ especially during this season.” Weiss explained smiling all the while as she trudged through the snow with her sister. Winter let go of her arm and jumped ahead of her, spinning in circles giggling and laughing before collapsing into the snow and forming a snow angel. Weiss watched her sister go through this same routine she must have completed hundreds of times in the past few weeks since the snow began to fall, yet every time she watched it did nothing but warm her heart and bring a smile to her face. Winter finally stood up and took a step back to examine her handy work.
“Look Weiss! It’s you!” She stated proudly, pointing at the expertly crafted snow angel. Weiss moved to stand beside her sister, and cocked her head to the side, a little confused.
“I’m sorry I don’t follow.” She finally admitted, turning to her sister for a little more information than ‘it’s you’.
“C’mon Weiss I thought you were smart” she teased, “Don’t you get it, you’re a snow angel!” she exclaimed jumping in her spot in anticipation of her sisters reaction. Weiss’ eyes widened with realisation and her smile seemed to grow even more.
“That’s really sweet Winter. But don’t be silly. I don’t even have wings” Weiss replied without malice but in a teasing manner.
“Well my angles don’t need wings” Winter replied happily, following her sister as they moved further into their back yard. “You can be one of my angels!” Winter proclaimed, beaming at her solution to their problem. Weiss paused at the proposition, pretending to be thinking it over before nodding lightly.
“Well I suppose that’s not such a bad idea. But that implies I will always have to be by your side and look after you.” She stated, ‘as-a-matter-of-factly’, enjoying the little role play they had begun.
“Mhmm, I wouldn’t expect anything less of a good angel” Winter replied in a more formal tone. As if she was interviewing Weiss for a job.
“But that also mean I have to make sure you don’t do anything naughty and if you do it is my duty to report it for your own good. You must learn from your mistakes” Weiss turned to her sister, smiling as she saw her sister’s face drop at the realisation that she had just hired a party pooper.
“You wouldn’t dare!” She recoiled, pointing an accusing finger at her sister, keeping in character within the impromptu role play.
“I would” Weiss declared, leaning closer to her younger sister.
“If-if you tell on me, I’ll tell on you!”
“Winter don’t be silly you don’t have anything on me!” Winter thought over her sisters words and realised she was right, but an cute little evil grin spread across her face as devised a plan to give her some leverage over the heiress.
“But as my snow angle you must follow me everywhere correct?” Weiss hummed in confirmation. “Good.” Winter nodded and trudged off toward the rear wall that stretched around their mansion.
“Winter where are you going?” Weiss called, perking an eyebrow at the sudden change of action.
“I don’t see you following!” she yelled back, Weiss humphed, shaking her head and moved to follow her sister, yet still smiling genuinely. Thinking back to this day Weiss realised how happy she had been back then, not anymore. She finally caught up to Winter at the face of the wall, Winter was standing with her hands on her hips, looking at the three meter wall scrutinisingly.
“What are you looking for?” Weiss asked, annoyed by her silence.
“Hand holds” she replied simply.
“Hand holds for wha- No! Winter stop you can’t do that you know what father said” Weiss exclaimed as she watched her ‘o so delicate younger sister’ scale a wall three times her size. Winter ignored her sisters warnings and continued to climb, she paused after the third hand hold and looked down at her sister.
“Tell me what part comes first, the part where you follow me or the part where you dob me in?” Weiss looked at her sister in disbelief.
“You can’t be serious can you?” she breathed, looking up at her reckless sister. “What if you fall?”
“You’ll catch me. You are my snow angel” she answered, as if it was commence sense. “Now come on your not gonna let roam around outside all alone are you?” she asked as she pulled herself up onto the top of the wall.
“I can’t believe you would do this just to have something to dob me in for” Weiss said exasperated, reluctantly finding her own hand hold and lifting herself onto the wall.
“You know you could have just asked if you wanted to go outside” Weiss stated as she followed her younger sister around their neighbourhood, nervously looking around to see if any of her father’s men were running toward them.
“Weiss you know dad doesn’t let us out often.”
“Yeah maybe there’s a good reason” she mumbled to herself looking to the shadows between the trees that lined the back of their house and the houses next to them.
Their street was home to a few other houses, which were more like mansions. They were spaced quite far apart and the street was tucked away in its own little corner just on the outskirts of town, an expensive place to live, but a nice and quiet place. The girls got bored often and longed to go into town every now and then, but their father only allowed it if they went with their mother and even then he had copious amounts of guards stationed to them. Weiss wasn’t alone when she wished they had a little more freedom, but she believed there was a reason to her father’s actions and she was going to find out just what they were very soon.
Winter decided to move along the back end of the houses, not wanting to walk along the road and instead along the tree line that was now beautifully peppered with snow. “Where are you even going?” Weiss asked, still looking around nervously, she thought she noticed something in the trees to their left but disregarded it quickly.
“I dunno, and stop looking around so much, it’s weird” Winter pointed out.
“I’m sorry I can’t help it.”
“Hey do you wanna build a snowman?” Winter stopped to ask. Weiss stopped and looked at her sister in utter disbelief.
“You dragged me out here, disobeying dad’s instructions just so you could build a snow man when we have plenty of snow in our own backyard!?” she almost yelled, throwing her hand back toward their home. Winter simply shrugged off the anger and then literally shrugged.
“Well I realised this street is pretty boring and town is kinda far without a car so…. Change of plans?” Winter offered.
“Urgh! You’re unbelievable!” Winter chuckled nervously, rubbing her boot into the snow.
“You still my snow ange-“
“Yes I’ll still be your snow angel” Weiss stated, pinching the bridge of her nose, “Just get some sticks so we can get this over and done with”
“Yes!” Winter exclaimed in triumph, fist pumping the air and moving toward the tree line to find suitable twigs for arms.
As she went off to do her job, Weiss plonked into the snow on her knees and began to pile some snow up in a ball, mumbling to herself and glancing over at her sister every now and then. The scene didn’t change until the fifth glance.
Weiss frowned as she tried to spot what was out of place, her sister was happily humming to herself as she sifted through a pile of sticks and then she saw what it was. More like, who it was. There was a dark figure, shrouded by the shadows of the tree line, standing behind her sister. The man lifted his arm up and pointed something at the back of her unaware sister. She squinted to make out the shape, it looked like a gu- Oh no!
Weiss knew exactly what the object was. Knew exactly what the man’s intentions were, knew that her sister was in danger, knew that she should do something, that she could do something. Her sister wasn’t that far from her, only a couple of feet away.
Weiss knew that her most cherished being in the world was about to be shot dead. Yet, she. Did. Nothing.
She couldn’t move, she didn’t know why she was frozen in place, everything was in slow motion and her legs and arms wouldn’t move. She couldn’t seem to find her voice and her heart was beating at unimaginable speeds with each passing second. She was her snow angel, sworn to protect her, she had to move she couldn’t just watch as she got murdered. It was as if her body had cursed her to live this moment, frozen unable to fulfil her duty as her angel, as her sister.
Every night she would ask herself why she couldn’t move her body, every night would nearly end in tears and every night she wished she hadn’t agreed to be Winter’s snow angel, hadn’t agreed to follow her where ever she went, then she wouldn’t have climbed the wall.
Weiss didn’t hear the snarl, but she heard the gunshot and she felt her heart shatter. As soon as she did it was as if her body had released her at that moment just to scrutinise her, she couldn’t protect her sister, couldn’t do anything until it was too late.
The gun shot rang out through the neighbourhood, followed by Winter’s scream, followed by Weiss’s.
“Winter!” Weiss ran to her sister, ignoring the fact that man was now being mauled by some sort of grimm, just a few feet from where she was.
“Winter! Are you okay?!” she asked, tears already forming. She turned her over and saw that she shot had gone through her shoulder, just above her heart. Blood had begun to soak her clothes and had already seeped through and stained the snow beneath her.
“Winter please say something!” Weiss pleaded, gently shaking her slowly fading sister in her arms. “I’m sorry ! Please don’t leave I’m sorry I was a bad snow angel!”
The tears were flowing freely now, as the last pieces of her heart clattered to the ground.
‘My fault! My fault! Should have moved should have done something! Why didn’t I move!’ She thought over and over as she buried her face in her sister’s cloak, mixing her tears with the crimson.
“Weiss” she croaked. Weiss’ head shot up, to meet her sisters eyes, “Didn’t I tell you” she said softly. Weiss shook her head, sniffling and urging Winter to continue, all she managed was, “My snow angles aren’t allowed to cry, it makes me sad”.
It only succeeded in crushing the pieces of her shattered heart and made her cry even more, wailing and screaming for help, holding onto her sister tightly for one last time, as if she would die if she let her go.
The flash back ended as a tear rolled down Weiss’ cheek and softly splatted on her hand which was resting in her lap. She sniffled and brought a hand to her eye to wipe another tear away before that too left a trail down her cheek.
The wet feeling only aided in reminding her of the tears that flowed free that day. She still remembered how tightly she held onto her dear sister, how close she kept her, how she didn’t ever want to let go. Her sister was the closest person to her, and the way she held her in that moment spoke volumes, but as her father’s men reached her, her arms were too weak to hold on any longer, and she relieved her sister into immediate medical attention. Weiss cleared her throat and made to get out of her sea-
“Weiss?” the heiress jumped in her seat, placing her hands on the desk roughly, causing it to shudder.
“Ruby!?” she half yelled half hissed, recognising the voice and turning her head to hide her reddened eyes. She quickly wiped her eyes, sniffed one final time, composed herself and turned to face the red head.
“I’m sorry if I scared you” she said softly, stepping into the room and gently closing the door behind her.
“What do you want Ruby?” She asked sharply. Ruby squinted at her as if noticing something out of place, causing Weiss to step back into the desk.
“Weiss have you been crying” Ruby asked cautiously, stepping closer to the ice princess to get a better look.
“No I haven’t don’t be ridiculous you dunce! Why would I have a reason to cry?!” Weiss argued.
“Yes you have, your eyes are red!”
“No I haven’t!”
“Yes Weiss, you have. Stop hiding from me!” Ruby yelled, taking another step toward her partner. Weiss recoiled at the slight outburst and looked over the usually docile team leader. “Weiss what’s going on with you, you’ve been acting so strange lately?”
“N- no I haven’t” Weiss tried to protest, re-adjusting her posture.
“Yes you have, that whole spat about me getting in your way, it was as if it was how we just met” Ruby stated, throwing her hands back toward the door, as if to refer to Forever Fall.
Weiss shuddered lightly, skin crawling, she was about to blow again. “Well maybe I haven’t changed Ruby!”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Ruby asked, genuinely confused.
“Oh I don’t know! Ask him!” Weiss yelled, stomping her foot and pointing to the disabled vid screen, unconsciously refereeing to her father. Ruby took a step back, realising this was about something more than what she could see on the outside. There was a pause in the conversation as Ruby watched her partner who was pinching the bridge of her nose and avoiding eye contact.
“Who is ‘he’? Weiss were you, talking to your dad?” Ruby questioned, realising she was walking on thin ice. Weiss brought her hands away from her face and let out a breath she didn’t realise she was holding. She moved to the window and leaned on the bookshelf below it. “Did you find out who that man was?” That was a slightly easier question to answer.
“Yes Ruby I did”
“My father sent him”
“To do what?”
“To ‘protect’ me” she answered, almost spitting the word ‘protect’.
“From what?” Ruby continued, still left in the dark. Weiss clenched her fist, growing frustrating with Ruby’s all too common barrage of questions.
“He thinks I need protection. That I can’t look after myself.”
“Is that why you were crying” Ruby asked.
“Ruby I wasn’t crying!” Weiss protested
“Yes. You. Were! Weiss stop leaving me out. I’m your partner why can’t you open up to me!”
“Because I don’t want to! I have nothing to open up about I-“
“Weiss you were just crying! Just- Just tell me something!” Ruby stuttered, her frustration impairing her speech.
“What do you want me to say Ruby! That my father is ridiculous! That he is cold! That I had a rough childhood! That my childhood only lasted for eleven year of my life! That I’ve been scared! What do you want Ruby!?” Ruby was taken aback, not expecting such a reaction, and truthfully not exactly sure how to answer her question.
Ruby brought her hands up to her chest, feeling very vulnerable and small. “We-Weiss I don-“
“You don’t even know! Well I suppose you already knew those things, so how about I tell you this! The reason why, I don’t ‘open up’ is because Schnee have hearts of stone. We don’t open up because we are cold and barren!” Those words hurt Ruby, they hurt her to hear them but she didn’t believe them, not for one second.
“Weiss that’s not true” she said, her words said so honest, that even Weiss felt her sincerity and caused her to falter a little.
“Yes it is! I’ve grown up and I have become immune to many things, in a world where people kept dying around me, there isn’t much that affects me!”
“Weiss, how can you say that, you aren’t cold hearted, I know you’re not. I’ve felt it bef-“
“RUBY!” Weiss yelled, cutting her off before she could finish her sentence. The seething heiress stared at the silver eyed girl in front of her, they both waited for each other to say something but instead Weiss stormed past Ruby and flung the door open.
Yang and Blake froze in place as Yang was just about to open the door herself. Weiss recoiled at the sudden appearance of the rest of her team, but quickly recovered and moved off briskly down the hall, with Yang and Blake watching her go. Blake turned to Ruby and she couldn’t help but feel for the red head. Ruby was looking very confused, very worried and overall a little hurt. She stood there in the middle of the room looking at the spot where Weiss was standing previously.
“Ruby what did I tell you.” She said delicately, not wanting to hurt the girl even more than what just happened must have.
“It’s too late now.” Ruby mumbled, dropping onto Weiss’ bed, feeling like a failure.
Weiss may believe that her heart was frozen solid, but Ruby knew that beneath the thin layer of ice, was something she was sure was capable of loving.