“From this day forward you will work together as Team RWBY, led by… Ruby Rose.”
Weiss fought to keep the tears from her eyes as Professor Ozpin’s words from this morning played in her head over and over.
Led by a child! Her, Weiss Schnee, being commanded by a little girl that probably couldn’t tie her own boots!
Rationally, she knew that she didn’t really know Ruby yet, and even Weiss had to admit that the girl had been impressive taking on the Nevermore in the Emerald Forest, but it was far easier for her to be angry at Ruby than it was for her to be disappointed in and ashamed of herself. She’d been here a total of three days and already she was failing.
Her father had despised her plan to go to Beacon and be a huntress from the start. The only reason he’d agreed to it was because Weiss assured him she was going to be the best huntress of their generation, and that doing so would bring renown to the family name.
If Father found out that Weiss had been supplanted by a fifteen year old that was here two years up on scholarship…
Luckily, her father cared very little about her anyway, and hadn’t bothered to check in at all. Maybe he never would! As long he paid her tuition for her to forge her own life, it didn’t really matter how he thought she was performing, right? Other than to her shattered pride.
But what if he did find out? What if he found out about this and decided the whole idea was ridiculous and forced her to pack her bags and come home tomorrow? If he messaged or called and asked how everything was going, should she lie? How easy would it be for him to find out that she wasn’t the leader of her team? Did the academies post their rosters as public information?
Weiss needed to do some research and find out. She pulled out her scroll and stared down at it for a few long moments.
She flipped to her contact list and selected one of the two people on her favorites list. She glanced around to make sure she was still alone. Sure enough, the dark, empty classroom she had ducked into to be alone with her thoughts was still both dark and empty.
She hit call.
Ring. Ring. Click.
“Hello, Weiss,” responded the familiar, comforting voice.
Weiss held in a sigh of relief. It wouldn’t due to broadcast her emotions right now. “Hello, Winter,” she replied.
“To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Oh.” Weiss wasn’t actually sure what she wanted to say to her sister. She just knew she needed her guidance now. After a moment of consideration, Weiss decided to start at the beginning. Winter always preferred having context.
“Well, we were given our trial to determine our teams today.”
She heard what sounded like a folder snapping shut on the other end. “Oh?” Winter asked, her interest clearly piqued. “And how did that go?”
Weiss huffed out a laugh. “Oh, it was fine. Professor Ozpin launched us off a mountain into a forest filled with Grimm for a treasure hunt,” she explained nonchalantly.
“I’m sorry, what?”
Weiss figured she’d get an amusing reaction from that.
“Yes,” she elaborated. “There were launchpads on the edge of a cliff that we had to stand on and get thrown into the Emerald Forest. We were tasked with finding chess pieces, of all things.”
“Weiss, I wanted an actual update, not whatever this strange excuse for a joke is.” The doubt in Winter’s tone of voice, however, betrayed the fact that she suspected Weiss was telling the truth.
“You think I would make a joke like this?” Weiss countered.
Winter gave a noncommittal “hm” in response.
“It was no problem, though!” Weiss continued. “Landing was easy with our glyphs.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Did you remember to start small and only put more power into the glyph when you stepped onto it?”
Weiss smiled. Winter staying true to form. “Of course, Winter.”
“Good, good. What happened next?”
Weiss sighed. Her story kind of took a dip here. She kicked her feet under the desk she was sitting on.
“Well, you see, Professor Ozpin told us the first person we saw would be our partner for the next four years…”
“What? What kind of system is that?!” Weiss knew that Winter had very little regard for the huntsman academies that weren’t Atlas, and this story likely wasn’t helping.
“I’m not really sure,” she admitted. “I was hoping to find Pyrrha Nikos first, but–”
“Oh, Miss Nikos is attending Beacon?”
Weiss smiled. Perhaps that would help Winter have a bit more respect for the school Weiss had chosen. “Indeed! Do you know her?”
“Know of her, yes, of course,” Winter clarified. “She is a prodigy. General Ironwood likes to stay informed on all talented huntsmen and huntresses.” There was a small pause. “He’s asked about you several times.”
Uh-oh. Weiss felt this heading down familiar territory. It was nice to know she was being asked about, though.
“I wasn’t able to explain to him your decision to attend Beacon instead of Atlas,” Winter continued, “mostly because I did not understand it myself…” Her voice trailed off, the implied question hanging heavily in the air.
She sighed heavily. “Can we not do this again, Winter? I promise I have my reasons.”
Winter echoed Weiss’ with a sigh of her own. “I know, little sister. I just wish you would share them with me.”
But how could she, when Winter was the reason Weiss didn’t want to go to Atlas? If Winter thought of Pyrrha as a prodigy… It wasn’t even a display of humility for Weiss to admit that she was nowhere and hadn’t ever been anywhere even close to Winter in talent and power and skill. It was simply recognizing indisputable facts. How could she try to make a name for herself if she attended a school where she would just be constantly living in her sister’s shadow?
To accomplish her goals, Weiss needed to go somewhere where her first name mattered more than her last. Atlas Academy would be just another place where the Schnee name already carried its own weight, albeit because of her sister instead of her father.
The pause stretched uncomfortably as Weiss refused to give Winter an answer. Winter had only ever been helpful and supportive to Weiss; Weiss refused to admit to her that she was also her biggest source of self doubt.
Eventually, Winter cleared her throat and got the conversation moving again. “From how you said it, I’m guessing you didn’t find Miss Nikos first?”
Weiss laughed awkwardly at that. “No, no I most certainly did not.”
How in Remnant do I even explain Ruby?
“So who did you end up finding instead?” Winter prompted her.
Weiss took a deep breath. “A girl–a fifteen year old girl named Ruby Rose.”
Winter’s confusion was audible when she asked, “How was someone so young with you? She is a student, yes?”
It took a moment for Weiss to figure out what her sister might be envisioning. She laughed at the image of herself just stumbling upon some random child out in the woods and being stuck with her as a partner. Ozpin seemed just crazy enough that he might possibly enforce that.
“Yes, yes,” she explained through her giggles. “She, uh… Apparently she is here on scholarship from personal invitation by Professor Ozpin himself.”
“Oh. Wow. I’ve never heard of a headmaster doing that,” Winter wondered aloud. “She must be impress–”
“She’s a child!” Weiss snapped, her frustration erupting out of her.
There was another heavy pause before Winter let out a long breath. “Ah,” was all she said.
Weiss felt her anger boiling in her veins. “She’s a klutz, she’s immature, she has no sense of timing or communication or fashion or–” Weiss quickly cut herself off as Winter’s reaction registered to her. “‘Ah?’” she demanded. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Winter was silent for a long while. “I… “ She trailed off. “Nothing, I’m sorry. Please continue, Weiss.”
What had Winter wanted to say? Weiss didn’t have the patience or desire to figure it out, though, as her frustration came rushing back.
“She nearly killed us both by sneezing on my Dust case in front of the school, she attacked out of turn and almost made me set the forest on fire, her plan to kill the Nevermore was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen–”
“You took down a Nevermore?” Winter interrupted.
“Yes, the two of us and two other girls that ended up getting assigned to our team. One of them is apparently Ruby’s sister, though they look absolutely nothing alike. I have no idea how that works.”
That was one of the most confusing things about the past few days. Yang and Ruby didn’t look remotely related, and they didn’t even have the same surname! Weiss assumed there was some sort of deranged story there. They probably weren’t actually sisters, just really old friends of something. As Weiss understood it, friends calling each other siblings was a thing amongst the uneducated.
“Well, taking out a Nevermore on your first day is quite impressive. Congratulations.”
Weiss took a deep breath and smiled. Her sister was not one to simply dole out compliments, and Weiss felt a swell of pride in her chest at the praise.
“Thank you,” she whispered, her anger seeping away.
“Of course, Weiss. What happened next?”
With her anger gone, Weiss could only hang her head in shame as she recounted the next part. “Then the teams got announced before the whole school. In front of an entire auditorium, the headmaster announced that I wasn’t good enough, and gave the title of team leader to a child.”
Her voice broke on that last word, and she clenched her fist as tears threatened to spill over.
“Oh, Weiss,” her sister sighed.
That brought a tear out. Silently, though. Despite her feelings about her father, she was still a Schnee. Schnees can’t be seen or heard crying, even to each other.
Deep breathes, she told herself. Count to five.
It took her to the count of seven before she felt confident that her composure wouldn’t crack before she spoke again. Winter was respectfully silent as she waited.
“What will I do when Father finds out?” she whispered. “What if he cuts me off and makes me go back home?”
Winter didn’t respond at first. Weiss heard what sounded like a chair squeaking as Winter sat down wherever she was.
“Don’t worry,” she reassured Weiss, her voice heavy with sincerity. “If he does, just let me know and I will cover your school bills.”
Weiss blinked, stunned.
“You would do that?” she asked breathlessly.
“Of course, Little Sister. You deserve a chance to forge your own life. I just want you to promise me you’ll do your best, regardless of who is paying the bills.”
“Always,” Weiss promised immediately. “But… Winter, can you afford that?”
Weiss realized that she didn’t really know how much Winter made as a Special Operative in the Atlas military. Nothing anywhere close to the family fortune, that was for sure. But her apartment was nice! But…
She began to worry as Winter stayed quiet.
“Yes. Yes, I can afford it.” There was a pause, and Weiss realized her sister was trying to figure out how much she wanted to say. “I would need to make some… changes, but it would be worth it to make sure you have this opportunity.”
All at once, the tears she’d been holding back came flowing out of Weiss in silent waves of love and guilt.
“Then I’m going to do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t c-come to that,” she swore, sniffing halfway through her sentence as her composure broke down.
“I believe you, Little Snowflake.”
Her breathe hitching in her chest as she transitioned into full blown sobbing, Weiss wiped furiously at her eyes before pinching herself in the arm, trying to force herself to stop crying.
Nothing had changed. Weiss still was going to be the best. She needed to be the best. She couldn’t allow a world where her sister paid the price for her inadequacy.
Weiss sobbed quietly for several minutes, tightly clutching her scroll and the comfort of her sister’s presence that it brought her. Winter stayed silent the entire time, waiting patiently and supportively.
Eventually the knot in Weiss’ chest loosened as her grief poured out. Her eyes dried, and her breathing fell back into its normal rhythm. Sensing the change, Winter gently spoke up.
“I love you, Weiss,” she said.
“I love you, too,” Weiss whispered back.
Winter cleared her throat, and Weiss heard the clacking of keys on the other end of the call. “Now, you said her name was Ruby Rose?”
Weiss smiled, realizing what her sister was doing. “Mhm.”
“Let’s see here,” Winter muttered to herself. “Hmm.”
Weiss raised an eyebrow. “What is it?” she whispered conspiratorially.
“She went to Signal Academy before this, a fairly well regarded intermediary school. Her… hmph. Her grades are pretty lackluster.”
“There’s a shocker,” Weiss muttered.
“But,” Winter continued, “her performance scores in battle are actually incredibly high.”
Weiss grunted begrudgingly. She supposed she could concede that the girl could handle herself fairly well when she wasn’t getting Weiss to set the forest on fire, or trying to show off by soloing a Death Stalker.
“Let’s see next of kin to see about that sister,” Winter narrated her search. “Ah, is this sister of hers a Miss Yang Xaio Long?”
“That’s the one.”
“It would appear they are half sisters. Miss Xaio Long uses their father’s surname, but it seems Miss Rose uses her mother’s.”
“Ah.” That explained it. Kind of. It still seemed highly unorthodox.
Weiss jumped as she heard something slam on Winter’s end of the call. “Qr-!” shouted her sister, before growling angrily.
That was a noise Weiss had never heard from her sister before.
“What is it?!” she cried. What could possibly be wrong with Ruby to get that kind of reaction for the ultra-composed Winter Schnee?
“Weiss, this Ruby wouldn’t happen… she wouldn’t happen to wield a greatsword or a scythe, would she?”
Weiss blinked, confused. “Y-yes, a scythe that transforms into a high-caliber sniper rifle. Why do you ask?”
Winter stayed silent for too long.
“Winter,” Weiss pressed, “do you know her?”
Her sister let out a long breath. “No, no. I know her uncle.”
“Oh.” Weiss wasn’t expecting that. “Is he… bad?” She couldn’t imagine why Winter would react this way to this revelation.
“He’s a drunken idiot,” Winter answered flatly.
“Oh,” Weiss repeated. “Well… I guess that fits…”
Winter sighed. “But, and you CANNOT tell anyone I said this… He is also incredibly powerful and skilled.”
Weiss nodded. Talented fool seemed to be a running theme in her new partner’s family, then. “More than you?” she teased.
When Winter didn’t answer, Weiss’ eyebrows shot up.
“It appears that Miss Rose studied under her uncle at Signal,” she said, bulldozing past the question. “If she is a good learner, then she will be quite a formidable teammate. I doubt she’s a Miss Nikos, but you should still have quite a bit to work with.”
“You think I should work with her?” Weiss asked incredulously.
“Well… yes, Weiss. She’s your teammate now. What else would you…?” Her question trailed off in confusion.
Work with this child that bumbled her way into this prestigious academy? Why couldn’t Weiss just focus on getting better herself and supplanting this kid as team leader?
Winter seemed to sense something from Weiss’ hesitation to answer. “Weiss, Atlas and Beacon may be very different schools, but one thing that is universal is that your teammates are like a second family. A first family for people like you and me.”
Weiss wasn’t sure what to do with that explanation. That sentimentality was something that Winter only expressed when talking about Weiss. Winter and Weiss both shared their distaste for their father and what he’s done to the family company and name, but to say that she’d found another family in her academy team?
“Do you feel that way about your own team?”
Weiss digested that new bit of information. Winter wasn’t the type of person to just throw around ideas and emotions like this. “You never talk about them.”
“No,” Winter replied simply.
What was she supposed to make out of that? Weiss opened her mouth to inquire further, but before she could even figure out what to ask, Winter pushed on.
“Give your team a chance, Weiss. I know you are disappointed you aren’t team leader, but don’t let that spoil the relationships you should be making with these people. You’ll be fighting through hell together soon enough, and…” Winter broke off. “It’s important that you get to know them and trust them, if nothing else.”
“Okay…” Weiss conceded. She wasn’t really sure how she was supposed to go about doing that, but if Winter wanted her to try, then she’d try.
The fact that Winter had changed the subject away from her own team hadn’t escaped her, but Winter clearly didn’t want to talk about it, and Weiss knew she should respect that.
“Now, go,” Winter directed her. “Today is your first day with your new team, people your life is going to depend on more times that I care to relate in the next four years. Go be with them.”
“Okay!” Weiss replied, with much more confidence this time. “I will.”
“Good. Keep me updated, and be well, Weiss.”
“You too, Winter. I love you.”
“I love you, too.” The line clicked.
Winter sighed. She’d rather go back into the Emerald Forest than suffer through the social akwardties of getting to know new people, especially unclassy, rambunctious fools like Ruby and Yang. Blake seemed okay, though. She was quiet, and in a way that made her seem thoughtful rather than the opposite. Perhaps Weiss should start there.
Weiss pushed herself off the desk and to her feet, trudging out the door.
As soon as she opened the door, a blast of air hit her in the face, pushing back her ponytail and skirt as a shower of flower petals materialized in the air and a streak of red raced past.
“WE DID IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!” shouted the shrill voice of Weiss’ new team “leader”.
Weiss sighed and hung her head, staring dejectedly at the floor. This is what she was passed over for for leader. Maybe this wasn’t as complicated as she thought. Maybe Ozpin was just an idiot. She wondered if Winter would agree with that assessment.
Yang came skipping around the corner Ruby had just blasted from, laughing happily.
“Oh, there you are, Weiss!” the buxom blonde remarked. “We got the keys to our room, here!” She tossed a tiny silver key to Weiss, who stopped it in the air near her with a glyph before gingerly pinching it between her fingers.
“Our room?” she asked. “Singular?”
Yang skipped past her, following the trail of rose petals her sister left behind. “Well, yeah! We’re going to be roomies!”
Weiss blinked in disbelief as Yang’s golden hair bounced around a corner and out of view.
“They’re going to be a handful,” said a voice next to her, causing Weiss to jump. She turned to see Blake standing not even three feet away from her.
Dang, she’s quiet.
Weiss used the back of her hand to smooth out some wrinkles in her skirt, and pulled on the knot in the thick ribbon tied around her waist that served as a stylish belt.
“I’m sure we can handle them,” she said confidently, putting on a false smile.
Blake chuckled and walked after their teammates.
Weiss’ lip curled in amusement as she followed. She noted the scent of roses that lingered lightly in the still air of the hallway.
Oh, Grimm. If our lives end up constantly smelling like a bouquet, that’s going to be really annoying.
How did Ruby’s semblance even work? What exactly was she turning into when she turned into a red, speedy blur that seemed to shed flower petals?
Then again, Weiss was the last person that should be confused by other people’s semblances. The glyphs were one thing, but the summoning that Winter was capable of that Weiss had yet to master was so strange and abstract that Weiss often wondered if it was some sort of fluke by the universe. And it was hereditary, apparently the only case of that anyone has ever heard about. A part of Weiss hated her semblance: yet another thing defined by her being a Schnee. The more rational part of her that was grateful for such a powerful and versatile ability often took a back seat to that voice of self-loathing.
Shaking herself out of her train of thought, Weiss looked at Blake up ahead of her and wondered what her semblance was. She hadn’t noticed her use any extraordinary powers out in the forest that Weiss could remember. Unless she counted the incredible balance, coordination, and athleticism that Blake demonstrated against the Nevermore.
Should she ask? Was it a normal conversational ice breaker to walk up to people and ask, “Hello, would you please tell me what your semblance is?” Probably not, right? That seemed personal.
Dust! How was she supposed to get along with her teammates when she had pretty much zero experience meeting and bonding with people? Weiss couldn’t even remember if she’d ever met anyone her own age. Private tutoring and a sheltered pseudo-prison of a home led to an atrocious ability to know how to deal with people. The only time she ever saw anybody outside of her family and tutors was… There was when she visited Winter, but she didn’t interact with many strangers then. There were the visits to the Schnee manor when board members came for business talks and presentations with her father. Weiss scoffed at herself for even noting those events.
Oh! There were the couple of concerts she’d performed at. She’d met other kids her age then. She hadn’t really talked to them, though. And the ones she was around backstage had all shied away from her like she was contagious or something.
Weiss sighed. All she had was Winter. And she supposed Whitley existed, but she thought of him as family about as much as Father. Their mother was an alcoholic mess that had drowned in self pity and depression and wine long ago and was never the same since.
Winter told her that her team would be her new family, but did Weiss even know what that was supposed to mean?
She looked up to see Blake looking at her thoughtfully, waiting for her to catch up.
“You okay?” the girl asked.
Weiss took a deep breath, then put on a smile, one of the ones the Courtesy and Decorum tutor had drilled into her. “I am, thank you for asking.”
Blake, for her part, raised an eyebrow at Weiss, before nodding once and accepting the answer. She gestured down the hallway and said with a small smile, “Sounds like our favorite sisters have gotten us lost.”
Weiss tilted her head to try to hear what Blake was talking about, but couldn’t until they had resumed walking for a while and turned a corner.
“… no idea where you’re taking us!”
“What do you mean? I was just following your lead!”
“How, Ruby? I was behind you!”
“Yeah, but you said ‘The dorms are this way!’”
“Yes, and then you ran off and took, like, eighteen apparently random turns because you insist on being first!”
“Well, yeah! I gotta be! I’m Team Leader!”
Yang’s hearty laugh rang out, and Weiss realized the two sisters were just around the next corner.
“That’s all well and good, Cap,” Yang said. “But figure out where you’re leading us to first, yeah?”
“Okay, fine! Where are we going, then?”
“I don’t know!”
Blake and Weiss reached the two bickering siblings, Blake wearing a highly amused grin.
“Oh, hey guys,” Ruby greeted them sheepishly, silver eyes downcast while she gave them a quick little wave. “We’re just, uh, discussing directional stuff and… things.”
“Stuff and things,” repeated Weiss.
“Yup!” Ruby chirped. “More stuff than things if we’re being totally honest, but don’t tell Things that. He’s sensitive.”
Beside her, Yang nodded at Weiss solemnly.
Weiss couldn’t help rolling her eyes. “Ruby,” she said, “look through the window of this door.” She gestured at the door they were standing beside, and when Ruby peeked in through the rectangular window set in the wood, Weiss asked, “What do you see?”
Ruby scratched her head before turning back to Weiss. “Uh, a classroom?”
Ruby’s brow furrowed in confusion. “So? We already know this isn’t our room, silly.”
Weiss sighed. “Ruby, this is a class building. Why would our dorms be in a class building?”
Ruby shrugged innocently. “I don’t know. I guess… A dorm building?”
“Exactly!” Weiss cried in exasperation. “We need to find the dormitories!”
“Okay, I’m sorry! I’ve never been anywhere like this, okay?” Ruby swung her hands around in frustration.
“Everyone, calm down!” Yang interrupted. “Especially you, Blake. Chill.”
Blake’s eyes went wide and she blinked twice.
A goofy grin spread across Yang’s face before she continued. “The question here is where are the dormitories, Weiss?” The girl turned her lilac eyes on Weiss.
Weiss scoffed in response. “Well, I don’t know!”
“Well then that’s not really helpful then, is it?”
Who did this top-heavy commoner think she was? Weiss stamped her foot and put her hands on her hips. “Listen, you–”
Blake’s quiet voice cut through the argument, and everyone turned to her. She held up a couple sheets of paper. “They had maps back in the auditorium.”
“Welp,” said Yang. “You probably coulda mentioned that before, you know.”
Blake chuckled softly. “I was kind of curious to see where exactly Ruby was taking us.”
Ruby scratched her head and laughed nervously. “Well I led youuuu…. right where I wanted to! Right here, so we could all have this great moment together to realize the Blake is the only one here that knows what she’s doing!”
Weiss scoffed at that, but Yang laughed. “Well, as long as one of us does, the rest of the team should be okay, right?”
“Exactly!” Ruby replied with a bounce.
Blake smiled at Ruby and handed one of the two maps she was holding to their leader, then slid over to Yang, the closest person to her, to share her map.
Ruby stepped next to Weiss, who tried not to scowl when she was assailed by the scent of roses. She leaned over to get a better view.
She spotted the label of the auditorium, and the attached “Class Hall 1”.
“I’m guessing we’re here,” she said, pointing it out on the map.
Ruby nodded. “And we need to get where?” she asked, turning her big silver eyes on Weiss.
Weiss frowned. I suppose I can’t be mad for not knowing if she’s asking for help. She went back to scouring the map to find the dorms.
“Looks like there are two dorm buildings,” Blake remarked.
Weiss nodded, noticing the same. “We’re probably in this one,” she told Ruby, pointing at the map again.
Ruby leaned into the map and squinted. “Eff arr dorms? What’s that mean?”
“Probably stands for freshmen,” Weiss explained, trying to stay patient at what she viewed a stupid question.
“Ooooooh, that makes sense. Let’s go!” She lifted up one knee in a dramatic running pose and started to run down the hallway.
“Hold up there, champ!” Yang chuckled, grabbing Ruby by the hood at the last possible millisecond.
“Hngh!” said Ruby as she was stopped in her tracks by her ridiculously tattered cape.
“So where are we going?” Yang asked Weiss and Blake. Ruby continued to struggle against Yang’s pull, apparently still trying to run off. Yang didn’t seem to have any trouble holding her in place, though.
Weiss frowned as she looked up and down the T-juncture of hallways they stood in. “The first step is getting outside.”
“Then heading east,” Blake finished.
The three older girls all nodded to each other while Ruby continued to flail noisally.
“Alright, Ruby,” announced Yang, suppressing a laugh at her sister’s antics. “Find us an exit out of here and then come back, okay?”
“‘Kay,” came Ruby’s strangled response.
Yang let go of her hood and she was gone with a whoosh and a shower of rose petals.
“Couldn’t we just–”
Yang cut Weiss off with a wave of her hand. “Just give her a sec, trust me.”
Trust. Winter had told her she’d need to trust her teammates. She might as well start practicing that now.
“Okay.” She hugged her arms to herself and leaned a shoulder against the wall to wait.
‘Schnees don’t lean,’ she heard her father’s voice in her head. She jerked herself upright and away from the wall.
Her teammates seemed startled by the motion.
“You… okay?” Yang asked her, one eyebrow raised questioningly.
Weiss blushed, embarrassed, and set her gaze down at the pointed toes of her high heels. “I.. yes. I’m fine.”
“Ooookay,” Yang replied before turning away, clearly not believing her.
Great. She’s on a team with Ruby “Crater Face” Rose and now her teammates are going to think she’s the weird one.
A rush of air filled the hallway, and Ruby practically materialized in front of them, a flurry of petals spinning into the three of them. Weiss waved them off with a scowl as Ruby chirped, “I found it!”
Yang clapped her fondly on the shoulder. “Lead the way then, Cap.” When Ruby started her big running wind up again, Yang stopped her. “But, uh, maybe at our pace, yeah?”
Ruby pouted. “But you’re so slooooooow!” she whined like a child. “Except for Weiss when she uses her super circles!”
“Hm?” Weiss was thrown off by what had sounded like a compliment.
Ruby skipped backwards as they followed her down the hallway, keeping eye contact with Weiss. “Your circle thingies that you use to go super fast and bounce around and stuff! They’re really, really cool!”
Weiss smiled shyly. “Oh, thank you. They’re called glyphs. At least, that’s what my sister and I call them.”
Ruby gasped, still skipping backwards. “You have a sister, too?!”
“Is yours as awesome as Yang?”
Weiss couldn’t help but smile at how loving and simple the question was, while Yang beamed with pride. They might have a strange surname convention, but these two sisters definitely seemed to love each other.
“More awesome,” she answered Ruby, the twinkle of a challenge in her eye.
“Could she take Yang in a fight?”
Weiss laughed at the simplistic form of comparison. “She could take all of us in a fight,” she replied honestly.
Weiss simply smiled and nodded. She looked over to see Yang wrinkling her nose and Blake looking at Weiss questioningly.
“Where is she now?” Blake asked softly.
Weiss smiled at the question. It was nice to be able to brag about her sister. “She’s in Atlas. She’s a Special Operative in the military there.”
“Special Operative?” Ruby repeated breathlessly. “Whoa. That sounds AWESOME!”
“She is very awe–watch out!”
Ruby’s backwards skipping brought her right into a wall, the back of her head hitting it with a loud thunk!
“Owwww-uh!” she scowled, rubbing her head and disheveling her already messy hair. It took her a moment to realize her teammates were giggling and snickering at her.
“Uh, heh,” she stammered nervously. “This way!”
She skipped off down the side hallway. She didn’t seem to remember the lesson she should have just learned, though, because she quickly ended up turning and skipping backwards again.
“You know, I’ve seen Yang punch an Ursa through a tree before,” she said. “Can your sister do that?”
Weiss chuckled. “I don’t know. She tends to use more… finesse than that.”
“Alright you two, no need to be measuring sisters,” Yang interjected. “It’s not a competition.”
“It’s not much of one, no,” Weiss teased.
Weiss shrugged innocently in response.
“Do you have a sister, Blake?” Ruby asked.
Blake seemed surprised she’d been brought into the conversation. “Oh, no. I don’t.”
“What about brothers?”
Blake’s expression remained blank. “No, none of those either.”
“Oh,” Ruby said sadly. “That sounds lonely.”
Wow, this girl has absolutely no tact.
Blake offered a small smile and nod. “It can be, yes.”
Nobody seemed to have anything to say to that.
After a long moment, Weiss decided to offer something to the silence. “I have a brother, too, actually.”
“Whoa, you have a sister and a brother?” Ruby asked incredulously.
Weiss nodded with a laugh, unsure why Ruby thought that was so strange.
“Is he awesome like your sister, too?”
“Ha! No, not at all. He’s mostly just obnoxious.”
“Oh.” Ruby looked unsure how to respond to that. It seemed like the concept of an un-awesome sibling had never occurred to her. “Well,” she said after a moment, “I’m sure you’ll end up awesome like your sister!”
Weiss blushed, not knowing what to do with such a compliment. “Th-thank you.”
“I dunnoooo,” Yang drawled. She held up one hand, palm to the ceiling. “Weiss?” She raised her other hand. “Obnoxious?” She teetered her hands back and forth. “She sounds kinda like her brother.” She ended her insult with a big grin at Weiss, who did her best to try to glare daggers into the girl.
“Yang-uh! Don’t be rude!” chastised Ruby.
Yang laughed at that. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Weiss. I was just teasing.”
“Hm,” was all Weiss said in response.
They reached another T intersection, and this time Ruby thankfully noticed before suffering another head collision. Weiss suspected Ruby had very precious few of those left available to her before something critical got damaged. She darted off to the right, and as the rest of the team followed her around the corner to find wide glass doors that led into the Beacon Courtyard.
“Ta da!” Ruby exclaimed, spreading her arms out wide like she was presenting something much more impressive than a door.
“Nice work, Pipsqueak,” Yang said, ruffling Ruby’s hair as she passed.
Seriously, did nobody else see this girl’s hair? It needs help, not more people messing it up.
Yang held a door open for all the rest to pass through. Weiss gave her a polite nod as she did, before turning and once again falling in love with the Courtyard. The clean cut lawns that flanked the pristine white stone walkways that were bisected by a simple yet elegant fountain. And all the students! The fellow young huntsman and huntresses all there to learn and better themselves, bustling about individually or with their teams. Impressive buildings stood far enough from the courtyard that it didn’t feel crowded, but close enough to lend to the air of education and aspiration.
Weiss smiled. She could get used to this.
“Okay!” Ruby declared from behind her. “Before we go find our room, who wants to get something to eat? I’m reeeeeeeally hungry!”
Weiss sighed, raising a hand to pinch the bridge of her nose as she closed her eyes.
This was going to be a long four years.