A Wise Man
Weiss found herself outside on one of the many balconies that lined Beacon Academy, leaning against the railing with her hands firmly grasped around the spokes. She arrived at the same time the sun began to touch the horizon and flood the sky with a dim warm light that turned the clouds shades of warm pink and red.
Her perch on the balcony gave Weiss a wonderful vista of the rest of the school, and she watched as students hurriedly made their way, presumably, back to their dorms from their last class that day. But Weiss' mind was elsewhere, which it seemed to be doing a lot lately. Thinking over the things that had just happened, her talk with her father, that horrible flash back, she tightened her grip on the railing at the thought. Then there was Ruby's… attack? She wasn't sure what to call it. It was a little unexpected but Weiss had always known it was going to happen sooner or later with the way she was treating Ruby, but she didn't know it would happen at her most vulnerable point.
‘Urgh! That red headed buffoon!’ She thought to herself, scoffing out loud and releasing her grip on the fence to turn around.
"Good evening Miss Schnee" Weiss jumped at the sight of the headmaster, she hadn't heard him walk up behind her. She was either extremely distracted or this man was more then he seemed.
"Professor Ozpin! Uh good evening to you too." She said, adopting her usual formal manner, standing straight, head held high.
"How are you this fine evening?" He asked, gently waving his ever present cup toward her, before taking a sip from it. Weiss assessed her principal, trying to understand why he was here but couldn't find a suitable answer.
"I'm" she paused to find the right word, "fine" she breathed, turning back around and leaning against the railing, fixing her gaze on the sunset, wishing she could absorb it's warmth, wrap herself in it and get away from all those chilling memories, but the sun was out of her reach, and even so, she felt too cold for even the sun to warm her.
"'Fine' seems like a bit of understatement" Ozpin said, stepping up beside her and following her gaze whilst taking another sip of his drink. "Am I correct in assuming so?" And there it was.
Weiss sighed, understanding where this was going, but for some reason she went down that road anyway. It was just that Ozpin had this air about him, as if he knew exactly what was going on but never said so, as if he knew exactly what to say and how to say it. Weiss knew that this man next to her was a very wise and understanding person and was probably why she explained herself to him.
"I just have a lot on my mind right now" she replied, it was the truth, but a very vague truth.
"Weiss you're strangling the fence" Ozpin pointed out. Weiss looked down and noticed that she was gripping the spoke quite roughly and quickly let go, placing her hands by her side.
"Ok, maybe I have a bit more than a lot on my mind" she confessed, still not giving much away. Nevertheless Ozpin nodded in understanding.
"Would it have anything to do with that call with your father?" He asked casually, looking out to the horizon.
Weiss looked at the professor with a little bit of shock, she was about to ask how he knew when he surprised her once more. "Or that talk with Ruby shortly thereafter?"
"Wha- How did you know?" Weiss asked flabbergasted.
"Weiss there isn't much that gets past me, especially when all calls through the school network are monitored."
"Oh" Weiss said softly, "But what abo-"
"As for the one with Ruby, well let's just say I've been keeping a close eye on her" Ozpin explained, sipping from his cup once more.
"Okaaaay" Weiss said, slightly confused and slightly worried about what that meant.
"But let's not tell her that shall we. In any case, would you like to talk about it?" he offered, quickly moving on from the subject of Ruby. Weiss' gaze dropped a little at the offer, then she looked back up at the grey haired man and made her decision.
"My father has hired a, guard to 'watch over me'. He feels as if I haven't changed, he said I am the same as when I left home two years ago and when I told him to remove the man he called me ungrateful, said that I should be 'thankful'. I told him I could protect myself and then he…" Weiss trailed off, reaching the point that had brought her here. "He said something he didn't need to" she finally finished. Yet another half-truth. This time Ozpin had something to nod about and he did.
"So are you upset about the watchman or the fact that he hasn't recognised your change?" Weiss remained silent, knowing the answer but not wanting to say it. So why not lie? A part of her wanted to tell the truth and lucky for that part, the wise professor gave her that push. "Or do you believe that you have not changed?" he said stressing the 'you' softly.
Weiss looked back over the balcony, the sky had become a dark hue now and the few remaining people below appeared as shadows, their features lost in the darkness. "I- I" she returned her grip on the fence subconsciously, part of her fuming with frustration.
"Weiss, let me tell you this. You are a brilliant student and you are an extremely intelligent young lady, so please don't tell me you believe that to be true." Weiss looked up at her headmaster, her eye's gleaming with something, was it hope?
"I don't know your father personally, but I know a lot about him," was there anything he didn't know, "and what I know is that he is a very particular man. Maybe he believes you haven't changed, that doesn't mean you haven't, one man's opinion does not out way the fact. He may have just been looking for a specific change and not looking at the big picture." Now Weiss had turned to face Ozpin completely, showing her full attention.
"Weiss believe me when I say this, in these two years you have changed, you and your father have been looking in the wrong places. It's not just in your academic or your physical skills, but within you yourself. Haven't you noticed, you've made friends, you don't care too much if something doesn't go your way, your less, for the lack of a better word, 'snobby' and you’re more understanding and accepting of others, thank Blake for that one, and I've even seen you make a few jokes and actually enjoy yourself. I still haven't forgotten that little RWBY and JNPR fight in the cafeteria" The mention of the two teams first food fight brought a smile to Weiss' lips, even if she tried to fight it. "Weiss, your father may be a cold man but a father's child need not follow in his footsteps. Weiss believe it or not, you my dear have warmed a little, stop trying to hide it and maybe you might begin to believe it."
That last part was spoken almost as a plea, as if it was in his own interests to get Weiss to see it herself. Weiss looked at the man before her, taking in his words and decided whether to believe them or not. "Ruby was only half true, you aren't only shutting her out, your shutting yourself out" he added gently. Weiss recoiled slightly at the accusation.
"I have good reason to do that" she said firmly, breaking eye contact and looking over the balcony once more. It was dark now, no warm hue, just the cold beams of the shattered moon above.
"What reason does a partner have to shut out her other partner? I didn't force you to be together for four years so that you could remain as strangers"
"We aren't strangers. Ruby has more than enough to call me her teammate!"
Back at the dorm
Ruby was alone, sitting atop her precariously set up bed for the second year in a row, with a book in her lap that wasn't getting much attention. Of course Ruby planned to read it, but her mind was still distracted by a certain, noticeably fragile, heiress.
Blake and Yang had left a short while ago, stating they were going with Ren and Nora to eat or something like that. Ruby found it weird, it was kinda like a double date. Hehe, Ruby laughed at the idea. If anything it should be Ren and Nora with Jaune and Pyrrah, after all they are in the same team. Which led her back to her team, which led her to bumblebee which led her to her half of the team, which included non other than the one person that was occupying the majority of her mind, Weiss.
"Urgh!" Ruby groaned throwing her pen down and slamming the book shut, she needed a drink, preferably something with sugar, a lot of sugar. She was rubbing her eyes when she walked past the vid screen Weiss had been using and noticed something. The small blue light indicated a call, was flashing.
Ruby froze and looked at the light flash repeatedly, should she? She shouldn't. But it could be for anyone. She reasoned with herself before feeling that her actions would be justified she sat down at the desk and turned the screen on. "Uh oh" she breathed, Weiss was still logged on and she had an incoming call from a private number. Ruby eyed the answer button, wishing that her childish nature would leave her and that she wouldn't answer the call. But the thought that it could be that man from earlier pushed her over the edge.
Like a band aid, she quickly keyed the answer button, and boy was she in for it now.
"Uh excuse me, is my sister there?"
“Maybe you can be called her teammate, but you are also her partner. I could have simply formed you into teams without the need of having partners, but I didn’t. Your teammates are there for your team, the partners are there for each other, nobody wants be alone and sometimes you just need someone to talk to, someone that’s not only by your side because they are required to be, but because they want to be. I understand that all the members of your team, maybe even other teams, may reach that point but your partners may become someone a little bit more special.” Ozpin explained, trying to make Weiss understand why Ruby was acting the way she was.
“But professor why does it have to be with Ruby?!” Weiss complained, turning away and waving an arm over the balcony. Weiss wasn’t really getting anywhere with Ozpin, she had expressed her distaste with Ruby attempting to reach out to her and Ozpin believed that she, Weiss Schnee, was in the wrong.
“Because Weiss, you still have three more years with her, so who else but the one you’ll be spending all your time with? Besides, after you leave Beacon I have a feeling you will all be keeping in touch for a long time”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Weiss asked, raising an eyebrow. She had never thought about life after Beacon and she wasn’t sure whether the concept of staying in touch with her team was something she would enjoy or something she would be irritated with. Strangely a part of her agreed with the former.
“I’ve been at this school for a long time and I’ve seen many teams stay close together long after graduation. To be honest, I’m still in touch with my teammates” He explained, looking over the school as he did so, he hadn’t taken a drink from his cup, and he took this opportunity to do so, reminiscing his own team.
“Professor, you don’t understand,” Weiss breathed turning away from her headmaster not wanting to make eye contact. “I can’t grow closer to her, to Ruby, to any of them.”
“Don’t be ridiculous Weiss, I’m sure Ruby will do most of the work for you anyway” he said with a laugh.
“No! I can’t! As in I shouldn’t and I won’t” Weiss confessed, pointing a finger at her chest roughly. Ozpin raised an eyebrow and took another look at the heiress.
“Oh?” he queried, “and what has led you to believe that?” Weiss looked at her headmaster, her ice blue eyes quivering ever so slightly. Should she tell him? She shouldn’t.
She wouldn’t admit it, but she was breaking inside, she just hid it well. She was overwhelmed with all the recent events, all the memories, all the emotions have just been boiling and mixing within her, and her usually solid composure was slowly being battered and broken. She needed an outlet, needed someone to help her.
Wow. Weiss Schnee, heiress to the Schnee dust company, has just admitted she needs help. But this man in front of her, could he offer that help? Weiss exhaled and closed her eyes and turned away momentarily.
“The last person, I was close to. Was nearly killed because of me.” She said it, now she could just hope Ozpin had something to say that could convince her that she was wrong, a second time. There was a lull in the conversation, as Ozpin considered her words and formulated a wise response.
“I honestly don’t see how that applies here. Was this not a long time ago, how it could possibly affect the relationships you have now?” he asked sincerely, hiding his attempt to get her to explain further.
Weiss wasn’t sure if she should actually tell him what happened, or even if she could without crying again, she could already feel the tears and the regret and guilt boiling to the surface. She returned to the railing, griping the spokes once again, trying to squeeze the pain out of her. “I-I failed to protect…” she stopped as she tried to compose herself. Ozpin waited patiently, watching the usually composed heiress drop her ice queen act, with a hint of care visible in his expression.
Weiss tried once more, “I failed to protect my-my-“
“Someone you loved” Ozpin cut in, putting Weiss out of her misery. “Someone you held very close to you, someone irreplaceable” Weiss could only nod, she was crying again.
“Woah” Ruby breathed as she sat back in her seat, running a hand through her hair. What did she just do? She stared at the vid screen and the notification, ‘call ended’. She wasn’t sure exactly what had just happened, it was a bit surreal and extremely unexpected.
Had she just spoken to Weiss’ sister?
But Weiss doesn’t even have a sister. Or did she? How would Ruby know, there isn’t much she did know about the heiress after all. But why didn’t she tell us? I guess they never asked, so why was she so surprised about it? Ruby rubbed her eyes, what was she going to do? She didn’t think it was something Weiss wanted her to know about for some reason, even though she had never asked. It just felt…wrong.
Winter hadn’t said much, only that she wanted to speak to her sister.
“Is my sister there?” she asked as her face appeared on the screen. Ruby blinked, what was this? A mini Weiss, it certainly looked like one.
“Uh excuse me?” Ruby asked, still blinking. This can’t be real.
“My sister Weiss, is she there? I want to speak with her, it’s been a rather… long time” the girl spoke, suddenly saddened.
“Weiss has a sister!?” Ruby asked, her voice louder than usually
“Uh yeah, my names Winter, she hasn’t mentioned me?” Winter asked.
“No she hasn’t” Ruby explained, receiving yet another saddened look. “What did you mean it’s been a long time?”
“Weiss and I haven’t spoken in the past two years, even a little before that”
“Oh. Why?” She shouldn’t be asking questions!
“She hasn’t told you has she?”
“No, me and Weiss don’t talk much either” This time it was Ruby who had a saddened expression. “She’s actually out because we had a fight about it”
“Yeah those conversations don’t usually go well”
“So what happened?” Ruby asked, wanting to understand why Weiss was shutting her own family out as well. Winter opened her mouth to answer but a voice off screen stopped her. She looked at Ruby and hurriedly cut the call.
“I’m sorry I have to go. Please tell her I called”
“Uh what? Wait!” Too late, the call was closed.
Which brings her back to the present. “What happened between them?” she whispered to herself.
“Happened between who?”
“Jesus Yang!” Ruby yelled, flailing her arms around so as to not fall out of her chair. It didn’t help. “Ahh!” Thud.
“Who were you talking to?” Blake asked, stepping into their room along with a grinning Yang. Ruby pushed herself off the floor dusted herself off and standing up. She looked back at the vid screen before answering.
“Uhh I was talking toooo, Jaune! I was talking to Jaune.” She didn’t know why, but she felt that Weiss had wanted to keep Winter a secret.
“Uh huh” Blake breathed, eyeing her red headed leader suspiciously.
“Weiss isn’t back yet?” Yang asked, looking at her bed a little concerned. Yang was always like that, Ruby always said that Blake was the big sister in their team and Yang was the mother. Weiss, she wasn’t sure what Weiss was yet. Yang didn’t hate Weiss, she just liked to annoy her, they all knew that Yang had a soft spot for everyone.
“No” Ruby stated, peering back at the vid screen, “No she isn’t”
“Weiss, six years ago was a very long time ago”
“That doesn’t matter! It could still happen again! I could still fail!” Weiss argued, she was looking very fragile, her eyes were glistening from the held back tears and all the fight she usually carried with her seemed to have drained out in an instant.
“Weiss we just discussed this, six years is a long time, and in the past two you have changed quite a bit. Even if you are placed in such a position again, I believe it will be very different.”
“But what if I haven’t changed enough, I will never know if I have until I’m put to the test again, and if I haven’t! Then I’m just going to lose them for good!”
“So instead of protecting them you’re just going to shut them out?” Ozpin asked accusingly.
“If I’m out of the picture then I won’t be there to fail and they’ll be safer. If I keep away from them, they won’t rely on me to be there, so they won’t expect me to be there and will go to someone more reliable! Someone who won’t fail!” Weiss yelled, her frustration and anger at herself getting the better of her.
“Weiss don’t you think that’s a little ridiculous?” Ozpin said flatly, but in a soft manner.
“How can you say that!? I nearly lost her!” Weiss pleaded, she was losing it. “I sat and watched as that man shot my sister in the back! I SAT and WATCHED! I can’t do that to anyone! Oh damn it!” she swore, she was crying again.
“So you would put the people you love in someone else’s care?” Ozpin asked, he wasn’t making it any easier for Weiss, but then again this wasn’t going to be easy.
“Yes! If it means they’ll live!” she yelled between sobs, she turned away again to wipe her tears. She felt so pathetic.
“Weiss did it ever occur to you that no matter who’s care they are in, there is always a chance they will be in danger?” Weiss remained silent. “Who better to protect a loved one, than the person who loves them the most?”
“But I can-“
“Please listen to me” Ozpin cut in. “This may seem extremely cliché but, love is a powerful thing. Love can offer the strongest protection and I can feel that you love your sister very much. Some other person, who cannot dream to reciprocate the love that you have, is never going to be able to protect her as much as you could”
His words seemed to calm her down a little, she was listening and she was starting to understand his point. “I don’t completely understand” she confessed.
“Ah well then. Suppose your father hires a guard to watch over your sister. This man will do everything in his power to protect her as it is his job. Suppose he would literally take a bullet for her. But here is the thing. This man will do everything in his power, and that’s it” Ozpin paused to let those words so far sink in.
Weiss had wiped away her tears and she was intently listening to the man who seemed to be saving her from herself.
“You on the other hand, you who love your sister beyond reason, beyond expectation would no doubt do everything in your power to protect her, but that said power, will be far greater than that of the body guard. As I said earlier, love is a powerful thing, and it can cause people to do things unexpected. I do strongly believe that your love will push you further than anyone, further than anything, when those that you love are in danger. Weiss your heart is definitely not frozen.”
“So why did I just sit and watch all those years ago!?”
“Weiss you were young! Don’t be so hard on yourself, stop living in the past, be thankful that she is alive and that you can learn from your mistakes. I know it won’t be easy to get over, but you have a team and you have a partner who will no doubt be there for you, rain hail or shine”
Weiss was silent. She blinked a couple of times, Ozpin’s words sinking in, sinking far into the places they needed to be the most. A large part of her knew he was right, but there was a small part of her that still had her doubts. But she would deal with that later.
“Thankyou Professor” was all she said, stepping back.
“It was my pleasure” He stated, tipping his cup toward her before walking back inside. He knew his job was done.Weiss was a strong girl, a strong girl that was too hard on herself. She was not as cold as ice, and even if a heart can be turned to stone, it can definitely be turned back.