Chapter 6: First Day

Weiss the Heiress

Time moved forward, but the dining room had lost all motion aside from Father who politely took small bites from his staek. Never so much food as to pause for too long before speaking, as if this was the most normal conversation to ever grace the table before. The rest of the guests seemed frozen. Ruby sat mouth agape and eyes wide with confusion and anxiety. Blake was the most reserved juxtaposed to Ruby, however her amber eyes stared with fire at father. Mother just looked down at her food, unsure of herself. Weiss could see she knew about this, she was part of the trap, likely why she seemed so afraid to look at the Heiress. Yang was the odd one; she looked almost pleased and angry all at the same time. She almost had the fight she truly wanted.

"Father, I don't understand. I've been the top score at school I was just out with friends one time." All of Weiss's fury emptied out of her. She didn't know why she even bothered pretending to not know exactly what this was all about. There was no way to hide this as mere friendship; they had kissed that night, kissed in open air for all who watched. The worst feeling was knowing she could have simply waited that night to get home.

"If you have any sense Weiss you will know not to play the fool with me. Your illicit dealings are what I speak of. Keeping a mistress is ill advised, but to do so publicly is unheard of. Ungrateful, this family gave you everything yet you insist on sullying the name. Do you have any idea what you have done? " Father's voice raised, but never approached shouting outright. It had power enough in it to force Weiss back to her seat. He had that way about him, made others feel meek and stupid around him, and forced them down without even needing to shout over them. It was infuriating. "Even now our relatives mock you, 'Weiss the heirless' they call you. Your great uncle has already offered his son as a replacement for you. An insult I never thought that idiot brave enough for."

"I….we didn't mean to be caught. I...I can do better about it sir. I...please let Weiss go back to school." Weiss was shocked to see Ruby beg, to look up at father for the first time today and at a time when no one seemed to have the courage to stand up to him at all. Father noticed this and grimaced stopping his eating to look back."

"No. Not a bankert and not a Rose. Not for my daughter." Weiss wanted to scream back, scream back 'Why not?!' It wouldn't matter her status or background if it was secret. She wouldn't have been the first. Kings and Queens of Vale had lived much the same, but no it wasn't about that. It was about hiding it and failing at it, it was somehow about whom Ruby was and for all her anger Weiss knew her father had them all trapped.

"It's go time? I think its go time!" Yang shouted her gauntlets coming alive as she stood up. Weiss tried to shout for her to stop, but those golden gauntlets were out pointed straight at her father, Yang's eyes and hair ablaze. That was it, the last checkmate for them and oh how father relished it. The man never smiled, but for a moment he grinned at Yang's threat of violence. "You're about to rethink this whole thing gramps, or taste a big sisters wrath." Weiss would have called her a fool, but it hardly mattered now.

"You can't do this!" Ruby shouted standing with her sister, at least with the sense not to pull Crescent Rose out and mark them both. Father seemed assumed by it, raising one brow as he took another small bite of meat, ending his rather small meal.

"And what court of law will deny me, hmm? Weiss is a seventeen year old girl. You are her fifteen year old half-orphaned consort. I am her father, a lord by birth but more importantly CEO of Remnant's largest distributor of dust." He paused for a moment to drink a light sip of water, making light of the threats of violence. Yang didn't back down and Blake remained suspiciously silent. "Now that you have threatened me, I could by law have you all thrown in jail or killed in defense. I do feel oh so threatened. That is the law, correct Zawisza?" Father finished turning back to his cohort who stood unmoved by the proceedings.

"Yes my lord, I do believe that is the law." The old knight replied tugging on his tuxedo casually.

"And I do feel threatened, don't you Zawisza?" Father replied in very unconvincing manner, between sips, and tapping his hands on the table. Weiss had never felt so absolutely defeated. She wanted to stab him right then and there. Of course she wouldn't, but the man had stepped on her pride, her friends, her teammates, her Rose. Oh how she hated him.

"Oh absolutely my lord. Miss Long is a very powerful young lady. Strongest in her class and prone to bloodshed some say, but of course I would never listen to such gossip." Zawisza replied with a smile as if congratulating Yang, such a friend to her father he was, such a polite man, and such a worm.

"My love I don't think that is very necessary, they seem like sweet girls." Mother replied reaching over to him, grasping his palm trying to calm him down. Father nodded, though awkward as he seemed accepting the slightest gentle touch.

"Oh most certainly I would prefer a nice supper without incident." Father offered staring Yang down, the blonde not moving, the fire in her eyes turning even more hateful. While Weiss wanted to knock the life out of him, this was not the right time or place.

"Don't do it Yang, we have three days. I assume we are still free to do as we will for the next three days right? That is what you said Lord Schnee." Blake had a special venom in her voice when she said Schnee. It did not offend Father though there was no way he did not notice. Instead he nodded with agreement.

"We won't let you stop her from going to Beacon." Ruby spoke up, not sounding angry or vicious just as if stating the obvious. Weiss felt a little warm hearing her declare war over the Heiress, but it was naive to think it meant anything in the end. There was no way to beat Father, but perhaps convincing him was possible.

"You have your three days, after that we will see how strong your conviction is." Father finished as he downed what little remained of his drink, tossing his napkin over the remains of his plate politely. "Excuse me while I go deal with the usurpers." Father stood politely, needing no permission to leave his own table, the maids taking away his dishes immediately. Weiss stood as well knowing it was now or never.

"Father may I speak to you in private." Weiss asked, pushing her own plate aside as politely as she could.

"I should expect as much. Do so after dinner and showing our guests to their rooms. We wouldn't want to be rude."

The dinner didn't last much longer after that. Mother had slinked off shortly after, trying to speak as sweetly about each and every one of them before she went off to bed as if she was not just as much a part of this decision as Father was. Soon Zawisza called the supper officially over. It was not without some charm however. Yang had decided the most immediate way to get revenge was to literally eat everything on the table rendering her both very ill and bloated. It was enough of a push to get everyone back to normal as they started their trek to the guest rooms. Everyone except Weiss who remained focused on her future meeting with Father.

"Alright just this way the rooms are just up these steps." Zawisza announced bringing them to the fourth floor, where Weiss lived among the long line of empty bedrooms. At least Father had been kind enough to let them all stay on the same floor, though each of the ladies of RWBY would undoubtedly have a separate room, all of which predetermined and likely bugged. That was to be expected, however something along the moonstone halls that greeted them was completely unexpected.

"Yo cousin!" As if the nightmare of mockery would never end Weiss was greeted by her most vilified of cousins, dressed in uniform of her knightly rank. A white uniform trimmed in red, the red snowflake crest of the Knights of Schnee sown into the front of her coat. Her hands rested on her two bow-blades, ever the tools of false adventurers. Her hair was shorter than Weiss had remembered. the silver strains let loose to just her shoulders.

"What are you doing here?!" Weiss started, standing defensively. She had never liked this particular cousin of all her family. In what little time they spent together as children was nothing more than irritable. She was never held to the same standard as Weiss was, being last in line to a cadet part of the Schnee family, she had no restraints.

"Not going to bother introducing me? You always were rude. I'm Weiss Schnee, but call me Vera. Everyone does to avoid the confusion." Weiss Schnee the 3rd of Vermillion to be exact. Not to be confused with Weiss Schnee the 4th of Castle White who was the Weiss of team RWBY. For national leaders nobility had a difficult time coming up with new names. "If you must know, I came here with my dad. He's currently getting kicked out of the castle for trying to convince your pops to let my brother inherit this oversized concrete nightmare."

"I heard, I'm asking why you are bothering us." Weiss had no time for Vera's foolishness. Though knowing Father had not exaggerated the family infighting was both a comfort and a horrible feeling.

"I want to check out your plaything everyone's talking about." Vera dared to say stepping passed Weiss and towards the other members of RWBY. "Who is it? The Blonde? No too simple not risqué enough. The younger one? A cradle robber, how delightful! Or perhaps the Faunus, oh that would be scandalous wouldn't it!" Vera mused looking over each one of them.

"Leave them alone Vera." Weiss growled, hand on her blade thinking of how a duel might turn out between them.

"Oh someone is mad! Afraid I'll steal your girl brat?" Vera started turning back to Weiss with a smile on her lips as she got the exact reaction she wanted.

"Leave Weiss alone!" Ruby shouted stepping right up to Vera, a small thing by comparison to Vera's older and taller body.

"There you are!" The cousin shouted with insulting glee.

"Do I get to punch this one?" Yang added backing her sister up.

"Vera. I do not mean to be rude, but I think you will find it a very good idea to leave. Your father is likely waiting for you at the gate." Zawisza cut in, sliding between all of them ever the peace keeper. It was enough to convince Vera to scoff and walk away. She was always the spoiled child; all the wealth and luxury Weiss was born into without any of the struggle produced such a thing.

"Why is everyone in your family a jerk?" Blake asked monotone as always, the black cat unsurprisingly unimpressed with the family.

"I'm not that bad." Weiss replied defensively, which earned her a raised eyebrow from Blake. "Shut up!" Weiss let out feeling her face go red at the silent accusation.

"Well everyone never mind that. Your rooms are on the left, in the order of Miss Rose, Miss Belladonna and Miss Long. At the end of the hall we have lovely Lady Weiss' room. I've already unpacked your things so feel free to relax and be at home here. If you need anything just call for me, I'll come as soon as I can." Zawisza explained politely taking a stage bow as he finished. The rooms were all nicely laid out, though identical and all keeping to the monochrome white and black style of Castle White. Each had a massive bed, full baths and balcony, so truly they were the nicest rooms one could find in Winterstown. For a trap this was a rather luxurious trap.

"Tell me Zawisza, do you enjoy spying on us and going through our things?" Blake asked taking note of the secondary reason for him being the one to unpack everyone's things. Weiss couldn't decide whether to be mad at Zawisza, proud that Blake caught it, or ashamed that the Heiresses family ordered it.

"Well I can say I did enjoy your literature. It is delightfully heretical, though be careful you might be showing your hand too early by leaving out such...interesting examinations on romantic affairs." Zawisza replied without missing a single beat, smiling wildly as Blake turned red with embarrassment. It was impressive how well he could flip a conversation on its head so quickly. Weiss had to admit it made her a little more interested in exactly what Blake was hiding in her smutting novels.

"These rooms are awesome! Alright I'ma play spin the bottle to celebrate, who is with me!?" Yang announced from her room, easily forgetting the troubles of the night and settling in with her weekend trip. That was fine, Weiss had to leave, so let them be foolish. It was time to see her Father.

"Yang...two of us are a couple, all of us are girls and one is your sister. Do you really want to play?" She heard Blake reply as Weiss began towards the stairs again.

"Oh wow, yeah what was I thinking, nice call Blake." Yang answered faint, so faint the sound of footsteps outmatched it.

"Where are you going Weiss?" It was Ruby the sweet girl running after Weiss.

"To see if I can't beat my father."

"Father may I come in?" The office was chill by now, night setting in. The color was mostly dark and with some light from the moon, a small steady fire and father's Scroll. There was little sound besides the chiming of the music boxes Father seemed so in love with. Weiss had never liked this place, nor the discussions she had with father here. When she was little it was nice, she could sit at Father's feet as he worked, eventually though the silence became unbearable. Nothing is lonelier than two people in a room not speaking.

"Yes, I assume you have come here about the bankert?" He did not bother to turn or look back, Father instead stayed focused on his scroll issuing some sort of corporate edict. The choice of words was irritable to Weiss. The constant insistence of Ruby being a bastard while perhaps accurate was just a trick to get the Heiress mad and she knew it.

"Don't call her that...Her name is Ruby Rose." The worst part is despite knowing that, it worked like a charm.

"Yes and she is a bankert." He called her a bastard as easily as one calls water clear or the moon silver. Weiss began to feel her anger flare though she held her tongue. The silence finally caught Father's attention. He turned to look at Weiss, expression unamused "Will calling her something else alleviate that stain from her? Pleasantries are nothing, but comforting lies. Her life will not become easier due to them." He spoke with shockingly soft confidence for such a cruel person; it took a kind of egotism that Weiss despised. Mostly because she saw herself as becoming much the same recently.

"You once said everything has a price. I...I want to make a deal with you. You're a man of business so let's do it that way Father. What can I trade for Beacon?" Weiss could not fully choke down her pride. She instead thought Father would respond better to someone willing to barter rather than beg. At first it seemed true, his eyes widened a little in surprised, though his expression simply said 'I see.' The balding man slim and tall as he was seemed to chew on Weiss' words comfortable letting his daughter wait on him. Just when Weiss would begin to feel like maybe this could work out, reason could win him over, the music box stopped playing and Father opened his mouth to speak.

"And pray tell what child do you have to offer that I do not own? Everything you are belongs to me, the title of huntress was my training and my weapon, the very clothes on your back I paid for, are by definition mine. Weiss my child you have nothing."

"I have my word. I could promise you that. You want this family to win the next Vytal Competition, I can do it. I can make number one on the charts at Beacon, I'll beat them all if I have to. I can win and I will bring fame and recognition to this family, just like I did when I sang. I'll start back that too. Is that not worth letting me have just one thing." Ruby would understand if she sacrificed their dates and time together for practice. They could spend that time sparring together or Weiss could practice singing while she watched. It didn't matter they would still be together. Weiss would promise the world and see it through for that. She didn't want to be alone ever again. "The one thing Father is the freedom to see her. Give me that one thing. I deserve it after everything you've put me through!"

Silence filled the room after that, after Weiss felt her temper get the better of her. She had just said one thing she never should have. Her Father clenched his teeth so tight at this he seemed close to shattering them. Red colored his cheeks and fire burned in his eyes. Even the fireplace flame seemed to flare with anger.

"You deserve it? You are spoiled! I have given you every little thing you desired and you have squandered it all without a care." He stood as he shouted, taking a step closer to Weiss with every word. Each step his anger became almost sadness, his voice grew quieter and with a shake of the head he speak again. "The cruelest part, I would have agreed to that if I believed for a second you would keep your word. You are a meek and cowardly child. At first you wanted to become a botanist, I bought you the best teachers and equipment there was. Then you wanted to sing, I had you classically trained by former masters and used my pool of influence to get you high end performances. Each time you quit when faced with the slightest pressure and strain." Weiss watched her Father grimace once more, eyes looking sadder than she had ever seen him, voice nearly a whisper at the words he started to speak again.

"Then a Huntress. I remember when you defeated the armored guardian. Despite all my grief that day, I was never more proud of you. Not when you sold out your final concert, not when you built that garden all that was a shadow on the wall compared to that moment. I was proud because you came back to me blooded and beaten yet asked to leave for Beacon. You didn't give in." Weiss felt her body be drained at the sound of the word proud, like a leech to all her strength. Proud was something her Father never was. The Heiress' best was always just 'acceptable;' to him. It was a thirst so dry she forgot she had it. "And now I've watched you over the last few months steadily drop in all your classes as you abandon being a huntress for another fleeting passion."

Weiss felt a lot of things in that small moonstone office. The fireplace's heat grew unbearable as did her anger. There was a moment when all she wanted to do was stab him, ruin him for all the cruel things he had done and said to Weiss, her mother, Ruby, everyone. Another was a deep sense of failure. Ruby was going to be taken from her and she had already lost her Father's pride without even knowing it was there. As cold air from the window twisted with the warped air heated by the fire so did her two emotions mix. The result of which was something in all her pride and ferocity, Weiss never thought she would do. With a proper bow and hateful shame, she begged.

"Father, I beg of you to give me a chance to prove myself capable. I'm sorry I failed you and my family. Give me this chance to go to Beacon, give me it not just for Ruby, but for you and mother. I am not perfect, but I can be so much more with her than without. Let me show you. Please father I beg of you…" Weiss did not move to look back up, but stayed still awaiting the response. She wanted to scream, to be so low as to beg for it, but for once in her life this was worth more than her pride. RWBY, her home in Beacon. Her work as a huntress in training, it was more than just Ruby.

"Never beg child…Not you, not a Schnee." Weiss expected anger from those words, but Father's expression as she looked up was so melancholy, like an echo of something from long ago. "You will be great one day, you have a future. I will do what I can to assist you in becoming a huntress." His voice marked it, the 'but' was coming. "However, Beacon and the… Rose girl is out of the question." He grimaced at his own words, turning away from Weiss and back to his fire, the flame giving him a thin red outline. "You are too young and her family is our bane. You will understand better one day when you sit in my chair on the board, when you must carry the weight of the nation. Vale is a fire, a fire surrounded by the darkness of grimm. We are the keepers of that fire. Our dust keeps it aflame. As miners sacrifice health we do our freedom. When you are older, if you continue to prefer the feminine, your mother and I will look for a husband with a similar….issue. That way the will be more understanding of your proclivities. Then after you have a child, you will be free to consort with any manner of women."

"So that's it then? You won't even give me a chance? You just want to uproot me over a grudge you won't even explain!" That was it, Father had mocked any deal that would have been made, shamed Weiss for begging and now wanted to lecture her on duty to the family. She had enough of this. Enough of his games his mockery.

"Yes. Enjoy the weekend for what it's worth." Father found himself the seat, his eyes locked on to the flame, the balding silver hair all that Weiss was allowed to see of his face. "You are my legacy Weiss. You will inherit all the wealthy and responsibility I have. When that comes you will have to steel yourself. No more crying now, it's unsightly. Goodnight."

Weiss did not need to wish him goodnight. Silence was all she would offer him. Filled with fury and vile feelings she left him to sit in his moonstone office. She didn't want him or any of this his schemes or responsibility. Weiss toyed with the idea of disowning herself out of nothing, but spite. Of course she wouldn't, but the look on his face. It would have been priceless.

It was only outside that Weiss began to realize she had been crying. She had long ago learned to do it silently and for the most part not at all, but these hot tears were of anger. 'How dare he, how could he, how can he' and all other spiteful childish things. In truth it was easy; he had the power and authority to do so. Weiss had nothing. She for all her combat expertise and training was completely powerless. 'Damn him.'
-++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The walk back to her room had luckily been devoid of any people or distractions, instead only silent robotic guards watching. They were soulless and could not judge her. Sure Weiss had stopped crying the moment she felt the tears on her cheek, but the redness of her eyes and heat off her burning cheeks, the way she grinded her teeth in irritation. Yes there was no subtlety left to her and anyone left in this moonstone prison could see it.

That luck ended at her room door. Dressed in the same pajamas as school, bobbing her head to the personalized rose branded headphones was the aforementioned center of this whole night. The lovely idiot Ruby Rose. Emotions already high, Weiss felt a mixture of longing and frustration knowing she would get to spend time with Ruby, but with a bruised pride and red eyes, though it was her loneliness that won out though and so Weiss walked over tapping Ruby to wake her from the musical dream.

"Weiss!" Ruby shouted with a smile, tackling Weiss. That same panicky claustrophobia hit her, but at this point that had begun to become bearable.

"Ruby, you're blocking the way to my room." Weiss mumbled in a pout, feeling the need to be spoiled with Ruby, to be all prideful and pretend to be nothing, but a unmovable statue. She wanted to be the tough girl again, the one not so easily shaken by her Father's nature.

"Oh yeah, I wanted to see your room!" Ruby replied releasing Weiss from her thick embrace. She seemed completely unaffected by today's news, like this was Beacon and not a giant trap. Like they were not going to be separated in just a few short days.

"Okay, but only for a moment!" Weiss allowed, opening the fine wooden door to her bedroom. Inside it remained just the same as before, perfectly preserved in this Ice fortress by her mother. The bed was the same massive monstrosity of stuffed animals and finely folded crisp white sheets. Such a waste. A few other oddities like her old recording equipment set up in the soundproofed closet, a few side chairs and drawers, but it all kept to one theme. The room was as monochrome as the entire structure; the only real deviation from the white and black pattern was the large mirror in front of her bed, an old family relic tailored in gold, and the balcony garden which was a flood of colors, the flowers fully coming to life in spring.

"Oh wow! It's huge!" Ruby shouted running through her room quickly jumping on the bed, rolling off and taking half of the cast of stuffed animals with her, and finally stepping out to the balcony, the true center piece of the room. "Is that a garden?!" Ruby added running her hands across the custom heating and cooling system.

"Yes, just be careful and don't touch anything you dolt, you're liable to blow us all up messing with dust heating system!" Weiss ordered, never forgetting the explosion that marked Ruby's rather unsightly introduction.

"This is so cool! The roses are so pretty." Ruby called out ignoring Weiss entirely. Stepping out the mixed cool evening air greeted her, the heaters turned down for the spring. The balcony was always her favorite place at Castle White. A single respite in this insufferable place.

"They are actually growing properly now that spring is here, in the winter it was just the one stubborn one growing on the heater." Weiss noted examining the original flower which now grew large red and vibrant next to the smaller new ones she had asked mother to add when the seasons changed. Ruby chuckled at this with a goofy grin, looking shyly at Weiss. "Don't even compare yourself, it's cuter and you are certainly more stubborn." Weiss added pouting slightly and looking over the sky."

"Liar." Ruby whispered with a blush touching her fingers gently to Weiss. At first the Heiress resisted, but the touch was warm and sweet. Against her own pride she acquiesced and let Ruby's thin fingers cross with hers.

"So where are the others?" Weiss asked wanting to say something as the two of them stood together looking over the lights of winters down between the castle's flying buttresses. The air was warm enough though the snow freely flew in from the open balcony, the last snows of spring. So reminiscent of one of the most satisfying winters of Weiss' life despite all the dramatics.

"Playing Pajama poker." Ruby replied, her own eyes entranced by the city below smiling at the beautiful mix of modern industry and Vale's feudal past. It only occurred to Weiss now how immense a view this must seem to her and how mundane it had become to Weiss.

"Pajama poker?" Weiss asked wondering if she even wanted to know.

"Yang and Blake made it up, it's like strip poker, but you're just switching over to pajamas in front of everyone." Ruby explained not thinking about the fact that she was in pajamas right now. The bite of jealousy was clouding Weiss' mind at the realization that Ruby must have been very bad at poker.

"So does that mean Blake saw you nak-"

"No no no! I changed in my room as soon as you left!" Ruby shouted back waving her hands in embarrassment, the redness in her cheeks

"You promise." Weiss couldn't seem to lose the jealousy and instead preferred to act like a child, pouting at the slightest threat. She reserved that right for just one night. It wouldn't be long till...

"Yeah." Was all Ruby had to say back to ease the stupid envy and let their hands come together again.

"Why were you in such a hurry anyways?" Weiss asked returning her gaze back to the city lights. The snow was starting to get heavy again, the evening getting cooler and cooler as it went on. Weiss didn't mind it though. She didn't feel cold like this.

"Wanted to be there when you got back." The answer was simple enough though it made Weiss fill a bit embarrassed and guilty.

"You don't have to wait on me dunc-"

"Why were you crying?" Ruby cut her off turning serious for a moment. Looking up at Weiss with a rare confidence the crimson huntress rarely expressed out of battle. It looked like the redness in the heiress' eyes gave her away.

"I wasn't crying." Weiss lied.

"Liar." And Ruby caught it.

"I just, I was arguing with my Father…He won't change his mind." Weiss admitted, feeling the strange heaviness of failure. She had meant to end everything come back, and be Ruby's hero who fixed it all. Instead it looked like the conversation had seemed only to solidified Father's decision to separate them

"We'll fix it." Ruby did her best to be assuring, facing Weiss directly and grasping both her hands tightly.

"Ruby-" Weiss started, but Ruby stopped her, reaching up and kissing her gently on the lips, the taste of it sudden and sharp. The garden smelled of her and made it all the more intoxicating an experience for Weiss. 'Wow she is getting bolder.'

"We will fix it." Ruby finished, lowering herself from the kiss, face blush and bright. Her eyes shifted in all directions, but at Weiss. Perhaps not as bold as the Heiress thought, but definitely bolder. A moment passed in mostly stillness, eventually though Weiss knew it was time to part. She needed sleep for whatever trouble her family might have in store for them

"I need to change and go to sleep. Do you mind stepping out?" Weiss asked finally, taking a step back from Ruby, to which the crimson huntress immediately stepped back into position.

"Yes." She mumbled getting close enough to meekly hug Weiss, the redness still painted on her cheeks.

"Ruby don't be a pain." Weiss let out with a groan, not wanting to argue with Ruby when she was trying to act cute. 'Manipulation I swear!'

"I don't wanna, just change I'll turn around" Ruby begged spinning herself right around to the snow and lights of Winterstown. Weiss groaned, but her girlfriend did not move an inch. Knowing full well it was inevitable; Weiss finally let out a massive "hmph" and stomped over to her dresser.

"Don't you dare look or I will. Kill. You." Weiss commanded, turning herself away from Ruby so even if she did look it would only be her back and well…. The thought made the paleness of her skin turn a little dark. Nervously she changed, like she had a million times before in front of Ruby, but this had been the first time as a couple. It was really odd how much of a difference that made. The pajamas she wore were the same as school, but a bit more loose fitting as before, she even wore a matching set of undergarments she switched to so fast Ruby might have a hard time beating the record. Silky and comfortable to wear. Something Weiss valued in nightwear. Finally she let her hair lose, the lengthy strains reaching all the way to her legs. Sometimes she wondered who had the longest hair. Her or Yang.

"I'm done." Weiss announced, turning around to see a very very red Ruby, eyes looking every way like the guilty child she most certainly was. "You did not!?" Weiss shouted face turning a matching red, but of anger. Ruby didn't say anything; instead she looked down shrugging silently and nodding a nearly invisible yes. "Ugh, I never thought you would be a creep!" Ruby mouthed back 'I'm sorry' Weiss groaned again, this time with a shake of her head and crashing onto her bed. "I'll forgive you tomorrow. Go to bed."

"Can...can I sleep with you?" Ruby asked and Weiss replied with a shocked look and the widest eyes she could have. Very rarely was the Heiress surprised beyond being mad, but this was it. 'Yeah too bold too fast.' Ruby seemed to catch on Weiss's interpretation and turned the same color as her heart pajamas. "No not like that! I'm like way too young and like I don't even know where to start. I was never told how it would even work,. I mean I should wait till I'm at least 16 or something? That's a good year right-"

"Yes you may." Weiss answered not sure as to which question it was really meant for in the heat of the moment, but either way she had in practice agreed to cuddle and that's it. Sliding into bed Weiss wrapped herself in covers, strangely nervous knowing Ruby was going to move in next to her. They had cuddled before, but not in a bed. That was so weirdly specific. Without noticing it Ruby had moved into her side of the bed, sliding herself over to Weiss, the space between the, growing thin.

"Sorry Weiss." Ruby whispered into the Heiresses ear, urging her to turn on her back and look at Ruby. The crimson huntress quickly took the opening and dancing under the covers she slide herself on top of Weiss. Using her arms to prop herself up, Ruby's hands were placed on either side of Weiss' face locking them both in. Weiss could feel the heat off of Ruby, the closeness and it felt strangely intense. Maybe a bit too much so, yet Weiss didn't want to escape no matter how much her fear of touch struck her. "I won't let him take you away...I won't lose anyone else. I promise."

"Ruby I-" Weiss never finished, instead her lips were blocked by another, another's whom was riddled with fire. Quickly, Weiss' hands found their place at the back of Ruby's neck and the small of her back, not to move or shift. They kept kissing, more and more intensely. More so than Weiss would normally be okay with, but the moment it felt right like dancing with the flame. Just like the dance by moonlight, though this one was in the dark, in private. A much more personal dance that needed no music.

They kissed like that for a while, though they never moved beyond that. It might have for anyone else, but Ruby was too innocent and Weiss too sensible. Her girlfriend was right. She was too young for that yet especially considering the approaching fate. It was almost easy to forget though, in the moment. While they did nothing new, Weiss became more intimately aware of the nuances in the taste of Ruby's tongue and the feel of them together. Eventually Ruby just nuzzled into Weiss' neck and found sleep.

Weiss had no such luck.

Now the rose festered in her, the thorny stem around her heart encumbering it, heavy with foolish wants and desires. Weiss had to remove it, cut out the beloved infestation of Ruby's affections from her. Laying together, Weiss did not feel the awkwardness from touch, it was so irrelevant for once. Now she fixated on her vice's little breaths. Sweet Ruby laying there sleeping lightly, arms around Weiss, not letting go. Weiss stroked her soft crimson-black hair and felt a feeling she had almost forgotten. Loneliness.

Now it was different. Such a sweet, selfless, stupid, splendid, superb girl. Ruby had melted the frost Weiss lined her feelings with. Dolt. It was Weiss' shield, her defense from the abyss, but now it was cracked. Weiss had felt what it was like to not be alone, felt that wonderful bliss, now it would become an endless thirst. Ruby was the sweetest apple Weiss had ever eaten, but for all the sweetness it was poison. Now it was time to put her away forever.

No not now...there was still tomorrow and the next day...just a few more bites of the apple.

***Wow that was fun, l got to lace a bunch of stuff from AV in here that hasn't even happened yet :D Sorry about the long wait, I ended up going on vacation followed by a kind of break up all put on top of me getting super sick for like two or three weeks. D: But I'm back to normal (Except I'm still sick.) I was not in a great place when writing some of this chapter, hopefully that helped it more than hurt it?

For those desiring blood so patiently, I'm sorry this chapter must be a disappointment. XD There will be fighting before the end, but it's not the main focus, Fight scenes in books are subpar so I find a scene of people talking is worth three scenes of people dying.

Also props to Kuri for allowing me to reference White Rose of Vermillion, 'cus nothing would please me more than pretending it exists in the same universe as the Vale series. Also Vera only has like a 15% chance of ever showing up again in a future chapter, I just wanted to show a character whom both illustrated the internal threats Weiss faces and the idea of what Weiss would have likely grown up to be like without the strain of responsibility over her head. Now that she has done that I have no use for her. So enjoy her :D

Thanks again to A-rav for edits.