The Prince and the Pauper
"Early this morning, a Schnee Company freight train was hijacked near Forever Fall. By the time authorities located the stolen half of the train, millions of lien in Dust and robotics had already been stolen."
Kyousuke frowned as he watched the news report. He vaguely registered Yang talking to Ruby from somewhere in the kitchen, but he tuned them out.
"Evidence at the crime scene suggests that the individuals responsible were a small, elite team that utilized both melee and ranged tactics. The culprits — as of now — remain unidentified. However, both the police and military suspect this to be the work of the White Fang, who notoriously hold the Atlesian company in contempt."
"Well, shit." Kyousuke sighed, tossing the television remote aside and sinking further into the couch. He'd had a sneaking suspicion that something bad had happened, but he'd had no idea it had been this bad. Early this morning, his mother had taken off without a word; a frantic look on her face being his only clue to the situation at hand.
Likewise, Weiss had been acting strangely all day. She'd holed herself up in her room, only coming down for meals and even then, she ate quickly and kept to herself. The heiress had also steadfastly refused to say what was wrong, regardless of how much they prodded her. But even then, the black-haired teen simply figured that she needed space. The date of her father's birthday gala was fast approaching, after all. She likely wanted to spend what time she could practicing for her performance.
It was only after she had politely thanked Yang of all people for making lunch did he finally realize that something was seriously amiss. Kyousuke had tried calling his mother for information, seeing as he wouldn't be getting any answers from Weiss. But Yoshino's line had been busy all day so he hadn't been able to contact her. It was only after getting ahold of her secretary, Rachel, (after five attempts, mind you) did he finally get a hint.
"Turn on the news," the mousy-haired secretary told him. And from there, it all went downhill.
As soon as he saw the headline 'White Fang Strikes Again?' a feeling of dread settled in the pit of his stomach. It was no secret that the White Fang viewed the Schnee Company with contempt and that was putting it mildly.
Compound that with the fact that he still vividly remembered spending the day with a guilt-ridden Faunus who'd taken her leave with another Faunus whose last words to him had been, 'Sorry, but we've got a train to catch.' and Kyousuke found his emotions teetering precariously between disappointment and guilt.
It was only the news anchor's parting remarks that kept him from making any rash decisions. "Thankfully, no one was injured in the hijacking and minimal damage was caused to the train itself."
"Damn it, Blake…" the boy muttered.
"Hmm?" Yang's voice startled him out of his musing. "Blake? Who's that?"
"It…" Kyousuke sighed. "It's nothing."
"Sure doesn't sound like nothing," the blonde said plainly before striding over and taking a glance at the headline herself. "Oh, wow. No wonder Ice Queen's been looking like someone spat in her afternoon tea."
"Yeah," he muttered. "Have you seen her lately?"
"Nope," Yang shook her head. "She went up to her room right after lunch. Haven't seen her since."
Kyousuke frowned. He could understand that she would be upset by something like this, but this was admittedly out of character. This was the White Fang. The boy would have expected her to be enraged about yet another attack on the company, not subdued.
"I should try to talk to her," the black-haired teen muttered.
"Yeah, good luck with that," Yang snorted. "Ruby's been trying to coax her out for over an hour now. Hell, even your sister's tried a few times."
Even Kirino had been trying to help?
"...This is even worse than I thought..." Kyousuke murmured, his concern immediately skyrocketing. He quickly stood and made his way towards the stairs, Yang just a step behind him. As the two climbed upwards, he could hear Ruby speaking softly.
"Weiss?" the redhead called. "It'll be dinner soon. You should come out. Everyone's worried."
"Stop brooding already, Ice Queen!" Kirino's voice barked. "This is getting real old, real fast."
"What? It's true!"
"Girls, I don't think this is helping," Kyousuke said dryly as he and Yang rounded the corner and came to a stop just behind the two younger girls. Their sisters squeaked at the sudden proximity of his voice.
"B-Bro! Sis!" Ruby exclaimed as they spun around to face him. "When did you get here?"
"Just now," Yang said, crossing her arms. "Still no luck?"
The redhead shook her head. "No," she muttered, glancing at the door sadly. "Not for lack of trying, though."
"Who knew Ice Queen could be so damn stubborn?" Kirino grumbled.
"Maybe it would help if you didn't call her that every thirty seconds," Ruby said, sending the taller girl a cross look.
Kyousuke ignored their argument, instead focusing his attention on the door in front of him. Yang noticed his attentive stare and walked over. "Why don't we just force our way in?" Her question drew the younger girls' attention.
"Kirino already tried that," Ruby admitted.
"She pushed something in front of the door, so we can't get in," the other girl explained, crossing her arms.
"Hmm..." The male murmured before prying his gaze from the door and turning to face them. "I'm gonna try and talk to her."
"Yeah, that's kinda why we came up here, Kyo," Yang said, rolling her eyes.
"Alone." Kyousuke stressed. This caused all three girls to pause.
"Ahaha!" The blonde chuckled. "Good one, Kyo. You, alone with Ice Queen. In her room. Ha!"
"I'm being serious, Yang." The boy sighed. "She's obviously feeling defensive with you three nipping at her heels like this. I need to try to make her feel comfortable enough to talk to me."
"I have a better idea." His childhood friend said, stepping towards the door and cracking her knuckles.
"No," Kyousuke immediately snapped. "I don't want a repeat of the Collapsing Wall Incident."
"Oh, come on! That only happened once!"
"The fact that it happened at all is what worries me!" Kyousuke countered. "My dad had half a mind to arrest you for property damage! Just trust me on this, Yang."
"But…" Whatever argument Yang was about to retort with died in her throat as she looked into his eyes. "...You're serious, aren't you?" She sighed.
"Eh?" Ruby exclaimed, glancing at her sister in shock as she grabbed her and Kirino by the shoulders to lead them back downstairs. "You're giving up? Just like that? Who are you and what have you done with Yang?"
"I know better than to try to dissuade Kyo when he's got that look in his eye," the blonde girl said, glancing over her shoulder at Kyousuke, who'd turned his attention to the door once more.
'A look I haven't seen in years,' Yang thought mildly to herself. 'One I've been waiting a long time to see again.'
So, she would allow a small concession just this once; even if it was to Weiss, of all people.
'Enjoy this while it lasts. There's no way I'm losing to you, Ice Queen.'
Kyousuke watched them go. Only when they rounded the corner did he turn back to the Schnee heiress's door with a sigh. "They're gone, Weiss," the teen said, crossing his arms.
He heard the sound of shuffling from the other side of the door. A moment later it creaked open and a single, icy-blue eye peered through the opening. She glanced around for a moment before sighing and opening the door wider.
"Thank God," the girl murmured. "I would have gone ballistic if I heard that girl's voice one more time."
"They're just trying to help," Kyousuke said as he stepped inside. "You've been holed up in here all day. Hell, even Kirino was worried; in her own strange, roundabout way."
He took the opportunity to look around. This was the first time he'd been inside the room since the heiress had moved in. He found that quite a bit had changed. Yang's belongings had all been moved out; namely, the boy band posters lining the walls had been replaced by classical pieces of art and sitting in the far corner was a large pile of suitcases.
"I just want to be left alone," Weiss sighed, shutting the door and striding over to the bed. "My father's birthday is a little more than a week away. I don't have time for all these distractions."
"You could have just told them that," he said. "Instead of acting all cold and secretive."
"Well frankly, it's none of their business," the heiress retorted, an annoyed scowl on her face.
"If you say so," the black-haired teen sighed. He walked over and picked up one of the music sheets that was currently spread across the mattress. It appeared she'd made copies. "So, this is what you've been doing? And here I was thinking it had to do with the incident this morning."
"So, you heard about that, huh?" The girl scowled. "Believe me; it played a large part, just not directly."
"How do you mean?"
"I caught wind of it over our network," Weiss sighed. "And checked in with my father early this morning. He was… My father was furious. He ended up ranting to me for well over an hour."
"Ouch." Kyousuke winced sympathetically.
"This isn't the first time something like this has happened," the white-haired princess said, glowering out the window. "But this is easily the biggest incident in years. And for it to happen so close to his birthday…"
The boy flinched at the venom in Weiss' voice; feelings of guilt beginning to resurface in the back of his mind.
"There were only two of them, you know," the girl continued darkly. "Security footage was admittedly blurry and my father covered it up well enough, but the fact remains that two individuals faced an entire squad of my father's finest security drones and still managed to get away with millions of lien in Dust and weaponry. It was beyond humiliating. For my father; for all of us."
"...So, how does that translate into practicing your performance?" Kyousuke asked, desperately wanting to change the subject.
"Because that's all I can do," Weiss sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose wearily. "I don't know where the White Fang is or what they're planning. And even if I did, what could I possibly do? I couldn't even take on a training drone by myself. What could I possibly do against a band of terrorists?"
The girl sighed again and shook her head tiredly. "That's why… my mother's song… my father's gala… Everything has to be perfect. Because that's all I can do for him."
"...I suppose you're right," he murmured. "That is all we can do for him."
The white-haired girl turned to him in surprise. "Pardon?"
"Weiss," Kyousuke said, giving her a meaningful stare. "You keep saying 'I'. 'I can't do it.', 'I couldn't beat the training droid.', 'That's all I can do for him.'. But you forget that you're not alone. Everyone was worried about you today; even Yang and Kirino… and me. I'm right here beside you and I'll do anything I can to help, Weiss."
The heiress simply stared at him for several moments, her mouth agape. Finally, after several moments of bewildered silence, she spoke. "...Why?"
"We're friends, aren't we?" he smiled.
Weiss stared at him for a while longer before returning the gesture. "I suppose we are, aren't we?"
"Alright. Now, enough of this mushy business." Kyousuke chuckled before glancing down at the music sheets once again. "What were you working on before I came in?"
The girl nodded and pointed out a particular section near the end of the piece. "Right here," she said. "It's the highlight of the entire song."
Kyousuke took a good look and hummed thoughtfully. "The crescendo?" he questioned, reaching over towards Weiss's nightstand, upon which a familiar harmonica lay. "Well, let's hear it."
"Alright, then." Weiss cleared her throat. "Give me a C." Kyousuke blew into the small instrument and the white-haired girl began to sing.
Yang hummed to herself as she and Ruby worked on dinner. Kirino was currently in the dining room setting the table since the two siblings were the designated cooks whenever Mrs. Kousaka was out of the house. This was mainly because Kyousuke and his little sister had the inexplicable ability to burn water. Surprisingly enough however, Weiss was also a fairly competent chef, but always complained about having to do so; often citing that such activities were beneath her.
The blonde had just begun dicing the vegetables when her sister spoke up. "Yang, do you think Kyousuke got Weiss to talk to him?"
"Come on," the buxom girl scoffed. "It's Kyo we're talking about, Sis. If he really puts his mind to it, there's nothing he can't do." Well, besides cooking something edible that is.
"I know, but still…"
"Well," Yang muttered with a small frown, turning to gaze up at the ceiling. "Now that you mention it, he has been at it for a while..."
"That was fantastic," Kyousuke praised.
"From a technical standpoint, perhaps," Weiss sighed as frustration began seeping into her voice. "But like I said, this is the highlight of the entire song. A crescendo, both dynamically and emotionally. It's here that all of my mother's feelings come together."
"And you want to emulate your mother's emotions," the boy surmised.
"Precisely," the girl nodded. "If I'm unable to project her emotions through this song, then the entire thing will be pointless; nothing but empty words."
"And the problem is…?"
"Well, I - er," Weiss coughed slightly, her face growing rosy. "I've never been in love before." The two stared at each other for a moment before quickly glancing away, their faces flushing slightly.
"I-I see," he mumbled, scratching his cheek awkwardly. "That is a problem." The girl simply nodded, still the two still not making eye contact. However, in doing so, Kyousuke's eyes found Yuki's box sitting atop the nightstand. "Wait a moment…"
Weiss looked up as he reached over and took hold of the box. Pulling it towards them, he opened it to reveal all the journals still sitting within. "What are you doing?"
"If we can't rely on your own experiences, why not take a peek at your mother's?" The boy smiled, waving one of the small books slightly. "I've been meaning to help you start translating them anyway."
Realization dawned in the heiress' eyes. "We can see their relationship through her eyes," the girl exclaimed, a bright smile making its way onto her face.
"Exactly," Kyousuke grinned. "Help me find one dated on the same year she met your father." Weiss wasted no time diving into the small pile, her fingers furiously leafing through the pages as she glanced at each date. The black-haired teen was about to join her when his scroll let out a series of noises. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his iScroll 6 to see a message from Yang.
"Dinner'll be in about an hour. Have you broken through Ice Queen's thick skull yet?"
Smiling bemusedly, Kyousuke began formulating a reply. He paused however, upon hearing the sound of Weiss' leafing stop and glanced up to see the girl glaring at him heatedly; or rather, at the device in his hand.
"...Something wrong?" he questioned.
"Your scroll," the girl said irritably. "It's Makishima brand. Why aren't you using a Schnee scroll?"
"Ah..." Kyousuke winced slightly.
Makishima Robotics was a group that had arisen about twenty years ago. It had taken the world by storm and was a major competitor to the Schnee Company. It was no surprise that she found it odd that he — the son of a prominent Schnee executive — was using a competitor's product.
But the Schnee Company had arrived late to the mobile market and it was no secret that Makishima scrolls were superior by far.
"If it makes you feel any better," he offered weakly. "My PC is Schnee brand."
"Ugh, whatever," Weiss muttered, massaging her temples.
"A-Anyway, Yang says dinner should be ready in about an hour." The boy said quickly, wanting to get back on track. "That should give us plenty of time to start going through your mom's journals. Have you found a match yet?"
"I did," the heiress nodded, handing the book over to him. "This one is dated on the year they met. It starts mid-June."
"Alright then, let's take a look," Kyousuke murmured, flipping the journal open. Weiss leaned over his shoulder to look down at the script written on the page. "Hmm… Interesting…"
"What is it?"
"Well," he said, pointing out one of the characters. "See this? It's the kanji for father. Chichi. The kanji after it means higher or above. And when you put them together, it roughly translates to 'Honored Father' — Chichi-ue. It's not very common wording and is extremely respectful. As a matter of fact, it's used almost exclusively by the upper class."
"Really?" Weiss' eyebrows rose in surprise.
"She does the same thing with her mother," Kyousuke continued, pointing out the appropriate kanji. "Haha-ue. Honored Mother. To tell you the truth, a lot of the grammar and kanji she's using indicates a very privileged upbringing."
"But that doesn't make any sense," the heiress said with a frown. "My mother was practically a pauper when she met my father. She never even mentioned having family let alone wealthy ones."
"Perhaps for good reason," the boy muttered, his eyes scanning the page with a deep frown forming on his face. "It says here that she was... disowned."
"WHAT?" Weiss demanded hotly. "What do you mean 'disowned'?"
"Exactly what I said," Kyousuke frowned, skimming through several passages. It was one of the perks of the Japanese language. He merely had to glance at the kanji to understand exactly what Yuki was saying.
"Her parents didn't approve of her dream to become a singer. When she refused to go to college and inherit the family business, they were furious. They argued for days on end until her father finally had enough. He called her a failure and declared that she was no daughter of his."
"That — I..." The white-haired girl had no words as she stared at the book in his hands. "I had no idea…"
"She talks about how she bounced around from place to place — eating and taking shelter where she could." Kyousuke murmured, flipping through the pages. "She talks about her struggles both financially and emotionally. She… She had several emotional breakdowns during all this."
That much was obvious, even to Weiss. Some of the pages they looked through were nearly illegible. Feeling a tightness forming in her chest, the white-haired girl looked down at the tearstained page and felt the corners of her own eyes beginning to sting.
Kyousuke placed a hand on her shoulder, smiling at her sadly. "But she never gave up," he said, glancing back down at the journal. "No matter what happened, she refused to abandon her dream. After every rejection, she got back up and tried again."
Weiss returned the smile weakly. Neither of them said anything for a while and merely sat together, quietly venerating the strength of the deceased woman. To have overcome such adversity was no small feat. After several minutes of silence, Kyousuke began skimming through the pages once more.
"Eventually, she found a place that would hire her," he said. "It was a small bar — newly opened. And it says that around the same time, she met a young aspiring scientist named Yoshino."
"Your mother," Weiss acknowledged with a small smile.
"Ha!" Kyousuke chuckled. "It seems they became fast friends. She often refers to my mother as Yoshinon — a kind of cutesy pet name. Quite a surprise, actually; a real shift from her formal way of writing."
"Well, your mother seems to have that kind of effect on people," the girl said wryly. "Even my father is more relaxed around her than I've ever seen before."
"That's Mom for you." He grinned sheepishly. "Anyway, this part here should interest you."
Weiss leaned over his shoulder, despite being unable to read the script and was surprised to see a word written in the English alphabet. "My father's name…?"
"Yup," Kyousuke nodded, clearing his throat. "This'll be a little rough, but… Yoshinon came to see me again today…"
...and she brought a man with her. He seemed very shy around me. It was quite adorable! Yoshinon said his name was… I am not even going to attempt to pronounce it, but it is spelled SVERNARE. He has hair the color of snow and the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen.
"My father? Shy?" The heiress smirked. "I find that hard to believe."
"Yeah, no kidding," Kyousuke muttered. "Your old man's the one of the pushiest people I've ever met. Well, besides Yang, that is…" He winced at Weiss smacked him on the shoulder.
"Well, it seems they both had a good first impression, at least," the girl said with a small smile.
"Perhaps, but the next few impressions?" the black-haired teen smirked. "Not so much."
"What do you mean?"
"It seems your father ended up spilling his drink all over her dress," Kyousuke chuckled as he scanned the page.
"You're kidding." The mortified look on Weiss' face just caused him to laugh even harder.
"Haha! The look on your face matches your mom's description of your old man's," the boy exclaimed, wiping a tear from his eye and beginning to read aloud once more.
Svernare-san was mortified by the mishap. I told him it was no fault of his, but he kept insisting that he purchase me a new dress. No matter how many times I attempted to brush it off, he vehemently disagreed. Honestly! This man is motivated by the strangest of things. I suppose it really is true that it is the quiet ones you must watch out for.
It has been a few days since Svernare-san spilled his drink on my dress and after much prodding, he finally convinced me to accept his offer. To my shock however, he ended up buying me a gorgeous dress that was easily more expensive than the entirety of my wardrobe combined. I demanded that he return it or at least allow me to compensate him for half of its cost, but he brushed my concerns aside. He
There was a noticeable break in the flow of writing that indicated she had paused to gather her thoughts before continuing on.
He said it fit well with someone as beautiful as me. I must say, he can be quite charming when he doesn't allow his shyness to get in the way. Why, I nearly swooned! Yoshinon is lucky to have him.
"Wait, what?" Weiss broke in, a startled look on her face.
"Huh…" Kyousuke muttered, frowning slightly. "It seems your mother thought my mom was dating your old man."
"That's ridiculous, why would he ever… not date someone as wonderful as your mother?"
"Nice save," the boy snorted.
"Forgive me if I find the thought of our parents in that kind of relationship disturbing," Weiss said with a wry smile.
"Forgiven." Kyousuke shuddered. "Anyway, as their relationship progressed, she starts talking about the guilt of falling in love with her friend's lover."
"Oh, boy." The heiress sighed embarrassedly, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "This is starting to sound like an afternoon drama."
"You're tellin' me." The boy grunted. "Thankfully, it gets resolved; though in a rather embarrassing fashion…"
Oh, I feel like such a fool!
I walked in on Yoshinon being intimate with a man I'd never met before and nearly shouted myself hoarse calling her all sorts of nasty things before she finally managed to calm me down. She was surprisingly composed as she explained that the man's name was Kousaka-san and that she was not romantically involved with Svernare.
I had never been so embarrassed in my life! But it was worth it. Perhaps now I actually stand a chance.
"Honestly…" Weiss muttered, flushing slightly. "I had no idea my mother was so tactless." Kyousuke merely hummed in response. The white-haired girl watched as he read through the words on the page with a strange intensity.
"Hey, Weiss?" he said after a while. "I think this is what we've been looking for." The heiress immediately perked up and leaned over his shoulder once more, gazing down at the journal in his lap. Clearing his throat, Kyousuke began to read aloud.
He came to watch me again tonight. He sat by himself in the far corner. There is little I can do to deny it anymore. I once told myself I would never give up my dream and that remains true...
But people change and their dreams along with them. I want nothing more than for him to take me in his arms and hold me through the night. The way he makes me feel whenever our eyes meet... I feel like I am the only person in the world. His shy smile causes my heart to erupt in flames. I wore the dress he bought me tonight. But does he see me for who I am? Or just what I do?
How can I let him know? Our eyes locked once again and I gently reached out to him. His eyes softened and he sent me another of his beautiful smiles. Perhaps one day, he'll understand that I am more than a dress and a voice.
"I... That…" Weiss whispered. "That was beautiful."
"It was," Kyousuke muttered, though a slightly frustrated frown made its way onto his face. "But it's difficult to convey her feelings in English. The way she wrote it is very poetic and doesn't translate very well. I'm sorry."
"No." The girl shook her head, dabbing her eyes with a small handkerchief. "I'm glad you did. Thank you for this. For everything."
"You're welcome," he mumbled. "So, did that help at all?"
"Yes," Weiss nodded, still choked up a bit. "That was… exactly what I needed. That last bit especially."
"Hey, Ice Queen!" Kirino's voice called from the other side of the door, causing both teens to jump. "Is my pervert brother still in there? Blondie and Red say that dinner's ready, so hurry it up!"
"That little…! We're busy in here-" The heiress began, but was cut off by the sound of her own stomach letting out a loud rumble. Her face immediately flushing red, she placed one hand over her mouth and the other on her stomach.
Kyousuke just laughed. "Well, I think that answers for the both of us," he said with a grin. "Come on, we can continue this some other time."
Nodding, she began to gather the journals piled on her bed and placed them back in Yuki's box. Kyousuke helped by gathering the music sheets spread across the mattress. However, as he did so, he came across one that was completely different from the others.
"Huh?" he questioned, picking the piece up. "What's this…? Mirror, Mirror?" Immediately, Weiss froze. It lasted only a moment before she sprung into action, snatching the paper from his hand.
"You can't look at that!" she said hastily.
"Is that one of yours?" Kyousuke asked. "I remember you saying that you planned on doing an original song. Was that it?"
"Y-Yes," Weiss coughed, hiding the sheet behind her back. "I was preparing it, just in case I was unable to adapt to my mother's song."
"Ah." He nodded, a small smile on his face. "Well, I'd love to hear it some time."
The white-haired girl stared at him for several moments. Slowly, she pulled the music sheet out once more. She gazed down at it for a moment before a look of resolution crossed her face. The girl raised the sheet to eye level and — to Kyousuke's shock — promptly tore it to shreds.
"Hey!" the boy exclaimed. "What was that for?"
"You remember what I told you?" Weiss asked as she dumped the ruined paper into a trash can. "That without emotion, a song becomes pointless, empty words?"
"Yeah," Kyousuke nodded, still dumbfounded by her actions. "But what does that have to do with this? I'm sure you worked hard on that song."
"Let's just say I'm never going to be able to sing it with its original emotional intent." The girl smiled as she grabbed him by the arm and began leading him out the door.
'After all, I can't exactly call myself lonely anymore, can I?'
Later that evening, Kyousuke found himself stomping into his room and unceremoniously flopping onto his bed. Yang and Kirino had been relentless in probing him for information on what had occurred in Weiss' room. No matter how many times he denied all of the explicit situations they kept accusing him of, they simply did not believe him; citing Weiss' unusually contented expression as evidence.
Sighing deeply, he hugged his body pillow close in an attempt to comfort himself. Thankfully, they had let him be after dinner, which gave him to opportunity to quietly slip away. 'Man, this pillow is comfortable, I-" Kyousuke froze as a feeling of dreadful realization dawned on him.
He did not own a body pillow.
"Nya," the pillow mumbled sleepily. Despite his instincts demanding that he shriek like a prepubescent school girl, he refrained from doing so. Instead, he restricted himself to squeaking and tumbling off his bed with a loud thump. Scrambling towards his bedside lamp, he flicked the lights on and stared in shock at the person just now beginning to wake.
"What the hell?!" he nearly roared. "BLAKE?!"
The Faunus girl looked up at him through bleary eyes. "Hmm? You're back?" she mumbled sleepily. A mere moment later, however, she realized what had just happened and leapt off the bed as though it was scalding water. "Y-You're back! I'm sorry! It's just, I've been waiting for hours and it looked comfortable, so…"
"What do you mean you've been waiting for hours?" Kyousuke demanded, glaring at her heatedly. "Just what the hell do you think you're doing here? You've got a lot of nerve to show up after this morning's little incident."
Blake flinched and had her ears been visible, he was sure they would be flat against her skull by now. "I know that," she murmured. "I know I said I'd atone, but-"
"But what? You thought 'to hell with that' and decided to raid a Schnee freight train?" he ranted. "You do realize who my mother is, don't you? Our surname isn't exactly common."
"I know that!" Blake whispered furiously. "Please, just listen to me!" Kyousuke glared at her for several moments. The Faunus stared back at him, her eyes pleading with him to hear her out.
Finally, he took a deep breath and nodded. "Alright, fine."
"Thank you," Blake murmured before clearing her throat. "I understand that after… this morning, my word isn't exactly the most trustworthy to you. But please believe me when I say that I'm done with them — with everything."
"Done?" Kyousuke raised an eyebrow at him. "I imagine the White Fang isn't exactly going to let you just walk away."
"No." The girl shook her head, a tight smile on her face. "They won't; which is why I'm trying to lay low for the moment."
"And you thought that here would be a good place to hide?" Kyousuke asked incredulously. "How do you even know where I live?"
"I overheard Ruri exchanging contact information with your sister and Saori," Blake said before shaking her head. "But that's not why I came here."
She didn't answer right away, but the anxiousness in her eyes gave him plenty of cause for concern. Finally, after several moments, she took a deep breath and looked him in the eye. "The White Fang, they… they're planning something," she said quietly. "Something big. My partner, or rather, former partner was ranting about it last night."
"Something big?" Kyousuke murmured, his brow furrowing slightly. "Something bigger than stealing millions of lien worth of Dust and weaponry? I find that hard to believe."
"He said it should take place within the next few weeks," Blake offered. "Does that help at all?"
"Within the next few weeks?" He repeated with a frown. "But the only thing happening is— Oh, God."
"What? What's wrong?" The black-haired girl grew concerned as Kyousuke turned pale as a ghost. "What's happening?"
"I-It's Svernare Schnee's birthday in less than two weeks," the boy whispered. "And what could possibly be bigger than—"
"An attempt on the president of the Schnee Company's life." Blake paled as well. "Even if they are unsuccessful, the fact that there was an attempt at all would cause uproar among the public."
"God damnit!" Kyousuke snarled, kicking his nightstand and causing it to shudder violently from the impact. "That was supposed to be their special night. Those bastards! Why?!"
"We can still stop them," Blake whispered urgently, placing a hand on his shoulder. "We know what they're planning; I know their tactics. We have the advantage."
"God damnit...!" The boy cursed once more. He stood there, breathing heavily for several moments more before taking a deep, calming breath and nodding. "Alright. You have any ideas?"
"A few," the Faunus nodded. "With the President himself being there, security is bound to be tighter than they have ever encountered before. So, they'll likely send a large force to cause a disruption and distract the guards before sending a small, elite team to break through to the President."
"Like the 'small, elite team' that raided the train this morning?"
Blake flinched, but nodded. "...Yes," she muttered. "The larger force will likely be nothing but fresh recruits, so the elites are the ones we'll have to worry about."
"I should just tell the President everything you just told me," Kyousuke growled. "There's no reason to gamble with his life."
"You can't!" Blake exclaimed.
"And just why the hell not?" he demanded. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't."
"If you tell him, he'll want to know where you got the information," the girl said, staring at him imploringly. "I hold no illusions about how he must feel about members of the White Fang — former or otherwise." Blake shook her head. "Please. I don't want to be associated with them and what they do; not any more. I don't want to be seen as a member of the White Fang or as just a Faunus. I just want to be a normal person."
Kyousuke froze at this. Their eyes met, causing him to grimace at the pleading look in her eyes. Honestly, why did he have to be such a goddamn softie? With a sigh, he opened his mouth to reply when a soft knock at the door caused both teens to jump in shock. "Excuse me, Kyousuke?" Weiss' voice called. "May I speak to you?"
Blake glanced at him with a panicked look on her face, which was mirrored by Kyousuke. "J-Just a second!" he called before turning to the girl next to him. "C-Closet!" he hissed. She nodded and dove towards it. It was only after the closet gently clicked shut did he turn his attention to his bedroom door. Desperately attempting to collect himself, the teen took a deep breath before opening the door. "H-Hey, Weiss," he said with a tight smile.
"Are you okay?" The white-haired girl raised an eyebrow at him. "You seem flushed."
"Ah, just doing some exercises before bed." Kyousuke chuckled nervously. "A-Anyway, did you need something?"
"I just wanted to thank you again," Weiss smiled. "Thanks to you, my father's gift should be absolutely perfect."
The boy noticeably flinched, feelings of guilt gnawing at his conscience. He should tell her. Of all people, Weiss deserved to know. "Weiss, I—" Suddenly, Blake's pleading eyes surfaced in the forefront of his mind. 'I just want to be a normal person.'
"I...I'm glad I could help," he said tiredly. The girl smiled at him again before nodding and leaving him with a quiet, "Goodnight."
Kyousuke watched her go for a moment before sighing and shutting the door. He winced, however, when he heard the sound of something collapsing in his closet. Striding over towards it, he pulled the door open to see a disheveled Blake sitting amid a pile of clothes and books.
"Ow…" the Faunus mumbled as he gently pulled her out. "Thank you."
"Don't mention it." He sighed as he crouched down and began organizing the books. They were, ironically, the same ones she'd asked him to hold onto.
"That was Weiss Schnee," Blake noted as she dusted herself off. "Heiress to the Schnee Company."
"Yeah," Kyousuke muttered. "She's been staying here for a while now."
"Thank you for not saying anything to her," she said softly.
"Don't." He grunted, shoving the pile of books back into the shopping bag they'd fallen out of. "I was two seconds away from spilling everything."
"But you didn't."
"No, I didn't," the black-haired boy said with a deep sigh. He stood and faced her, staring her right in the eye. "I'm trusting you, Blake. Please. Don't make me regret it."
Blake's eyes widened for a moment before a smile took shape on her face. "You won't; I promise," she said, bowing deeply. "Thank you."
"We'll see," Kyousuke sighed once more. "Well—"
"Kyo!" Yang shouted as she slammed the door open. "I just saw Ice Queen come out of here! You weren't doing… anything… naughty…?" The blonde girl's jaw fell open as the two teens stared at her in mounting horror.
"W-WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!" Yang roared, pointing at Blake, who was growing paler by the second. The sound of Yang's voice caused the rest of the house's occupants to come rushing over.
"Just what is going on in here?" Weiss grumbled as she and Ruby forced their way past the stunned blonde. The heiress froze however, upon catching sight of the Faunus. "W-Who is this?!" She snarled, glaring at Kyousuke venomously. "Exercises, huh?"
"Th-There's a perfectly reasonable explanation for this!" the boy cried, flailing his arms desperately. "You see—"
"Why are you people being so noisy?!" another voice demanded. Kyousuke immediately paled as Kirino stepped into the crowded room. She glared at all the room's occupants before her eyes landed on Blake. "Ah! Y-You!" she cried out, pointing at the girl accusingly. "You're the girl that was molesting my brother yesterday!"
'Oh, God.' Kyousuke thought as the room descended into chaos.