Burden and Blame Chapter 4


Blake could understand why Weiss had gotten so upset when she was blamed for Ruby's injury. Yang had never even stopped to consider that Ruby had defended the girl who had always complained about her.

"B-but, why?" Yang choked out.

"Apparently Ms. Rose possessed the motive to do what she did." Ozpin stated calmly.

"Yang, you and I both know why she did what she did." Blake said, evidently hinting.

"Ha, not possible in this lifetime. Not the Ice Princess. Not her. All she ever does is push Ruby around."

"This sounds like a matter you two should discuss on your own." Professor Ozpin said, standing up from his desk. "I'm sure both of you want to think this over and talk among yourselves."

He walked slowly over to the door, turning the knob and opening it. As he opened the door, Yang saw Weiss a little ways down the hall, huddled against a wall with her head on her knees and arms wrapped around her legs. Blake caught sight and immediately got up and ran down the hall towards her teammate with Yang hot on her tail.

"Weiss, are you alright?" Blake asked with concern as she and Yang reached the audibly sobbing girl.

Weiss looked up, and Blake flinched as she saw the mixture of pain and guilt. Tears shone against the light and continued to trickle out.

Yang had turned away after seeing the expression, knowing that it was because Weiss still blamed herself for what happened to Ruby, and Yang had only made it worse by blaming and yelling at her. Now, Yang was trying not to cry herself as she saw the damage that had been done by her.

"I-I'm just…"

"Weiss, I'm incredibly sorry for pinning what happened on you. I know it wasn't your fault. I just needed someone to blame. Ruby was protecting you and what happened was her choice..." Yang trailed off as she faced Weiss, a tear rolling down her own cheek.

A moment of deathly silence passed before Weiss spoke, hurt filling her voice.

"I shouldn't have made such a stupid mistake! I should have died for slipping up that badly! Ruby shouldn't have risked her life for me to begin with! I never wanted to see her like that, and I made that thing pay! I suffocated it slowly, making sure it hurt for what it did!" Weiss was now sending words like bullets at Yang who recoiled at every pause.

"I never knew what it was like to have a friend, and now, the only person I had any ounce of true caring for is currently sitting in bed comatose! It's all my fault! You were right when you yelled at me!" Weiss had nearly screamed the last word before collapsing back into her knees and continued crying.

Yang was hurt in a way that made getting shot feel like getting pricked by a pin. Every ounce of happiness seemed voided as Yang sat down next to Weiss and leaned on her shoulder.

Blake was still trying to figure out what had just happened as she walked away, deciding to let this solve itself.

After a few minutes of misery, Weiss had finally gotten around to the point of coherent speech.

"While you and Blake were watching what happened, I came out here and called my dad."

Yang lifted her head quickly. "What?! Are you leaving?!"

"No. I'll explain later. Where did Blake go?"

"She can't handle sad or emotional things. Don't worry though." Yang smiled widely. "I'm working on fixing that."

"Then let's go find her so I can clue you two into what happened."

Yang and Weiss searched the school from top to bottom, and eventually found Blake reading her book on the roof.

"Can you come down Ms. Acrobat?" Yang called. "Weiss has something she needs to tell us."

"Well this ought to be amusing. Has our Snow Angel confessed her love and adoration for Ruby?"

"You know, you're really starting to push it!" Weiss said with blood filling her face.

"What was that? I didn't hear any denial…" Yang said grinning.

"Huh? Ugh! I-I'd never! You two are insufferable!" Weiss was silently begging for the torture to end. She knew they were right, but there was no way in hell she'd openly admit it.

Blake decided she had her fill of amusement with the flustered heiress, so she slid down, ready to hear the news.

"Alright." Yang said optimistically. "What's the deal with you calling your father?"

"Um… Well, I did some research a few days ago into current dust applications, and I came across something that seemed interesting. Apparently green dust can be used as a healing agent in small amounts."

"What's this got to do with your father?" Blake asked inquisitively.

"Schnee Dust Company ring a bell?" Weiss responded rhetorically.

"Yeah?"

"Well, I called my dad and told him that my team was a bunch of weak idiots, and that one had gotten knocked unconscious, so I had to step in and help because the medical staff here at Beacon was pathetic." Weiss looked down at her feet guiltily.

"With a little more narcissism and praise for his work, he gave me an idea to infuse the medicine and dispatched two company airships. One incoming to Beacon now with a crate of green dust and a team of his finest dust agents, and another sent to the lab I financed to pick up the chemists and experimental medicine." Weiss glanced upwards to see two smiling faces.

"So, how long?" Blake asked calmly.

"Both should be here in an hour at best."

"So that's why I've gotten word of a request to land here from your father's company…" A voice spoke from the doorway to the roof.

Professor Ozpin stood with a coffee mug and his cane, a faint smile spread across his face.

"You're going to need some equipment, so I have told the medical staff to follow your orders." He took a sip from his mug. "It's all in your hands now." He turned to walk back down. "I highly suggest you inform Ms. Rose of your emotional state whenever she wakes up." A small chuckle was heard as he disappeared down the stairs.

Weiss wanted to scream. How could everyone know how she felt?

"I bet Yang or Blake went and told JNPR, then they told everyone." Then she considered something else. "No, it's Ozpin. He knows everything anyway."

"Well that was a thing." Yang repeated her catch phrase as she smirked.

Blake spoke up as Weiss groaned deeply. "I guess we all have work to do. We don't have much time before everyone gets here."

Weiss regained her train of thought. "Alright, so we'll go brief the nurses on what we're doing, and have everything ready once my father's agents get here. We're going to have Ruby back by tonight."

The team walked towards the medical ward and opened the door to Ruby's room. Massive amounts of movement surprised them as they walked in. Machines were everywhere, bright lights illuminating the normally dim room, and medical staff everywhere. Ozpin had been right when he said he had prepared them.

A doctor walked towards them. As he approached, they noticed a name tag the read "Henry Grey, Head of Staff".

"Hello Ms. Schnee, my name is Dr. Grey, and I'll be the operations leader. Professor Ozpin gave me strict orders to follow what you and your staff say, but I will offer my advice if it comes within my field."

Weiss returned the formal introduction. "Thank you Doctor, I'll make sure to keep you in touch with our experimental dust expert and lead chemist. They'll be your co-workers on this project."

"Understood." The doctor turned to give brief tour of the setup. "We have any and every type of medical tool that has been cleared for use. Every machine has been tested and run through diagnostics several times. Accuracy is guaranteed, and no flaws have been found." He took a pause to let the information soak in. "Your friend is in good hands, and with everything coming together, she'll be awake before you know it."

A nurse with a clipboard walked towards the doctor.

"Sir, the dust has arrived and the chemists and other medicines are three minutes away."

"Alright, thank you Sandy, please have the dust ready by the time everyone else gets here."

"I'll see to it immediately." She walked away as she began calling orders out to everyone.

The doctor turned back to the team. "You see, there has been no severe injury to any student until now to actually have needed our full attention. We are over-staffed by plenty, but it's just a precaution. We're glad to help."

"So that's why I haven't seen this many people here before…" Yang was still mystified by the amount of attention Weiss had drawn to Ruby.

"Yes, precisely."

An intercom system beeped, and everyone became silent and still.

"Attention everyone, all medical staff on call. Please gather in the fusion lab."

"They're here. It's time we prepared."

The doctor led the team into a large room with several long tables and many chairs. In all of them, highly ranked medical professionals, her father's top dust agents, and an assortment of different companies' top chemists sat in silence, ready to start. A man who had been sitting behind a laptop stood up and called to the room.

"I have an idea! We're going to need one vial of powdered green dust, and a liquid ounce of the testing medicine. If my equation is correct, this will allow the medicine to function, initiate the side effects, and then the dust will activate, neutralizing all of them."

"Can we run the numbers for ourselves?" A man spoke up from one of the tables.

"I'll send it to you now."

Soon, everyone had pitched their own ideas and had eventually agreed on one simple solution: Inject the dust infused medicine in small doses until something happened, for better or worse.

Somewhere along the line, someone asked why they just didn't perfect the medicine to start with, but that would have taken days. Nothing compared to the months it would have originally been, but still too much time.

There was a mutual agreement that even with all of their knowledge and expertise, there was still a decent chance for things to go terribly wrong.

Too much medicine and Ruby would die instantly. Too much green dust and Ruby would burn from the inside out, resulting in a slow and painful death.

Weiss was pacing nervously as she and her remaining team waited outside the fusion lab, hoping for the expedient completion of the first batch of their miracle cure. About half an hour later, the chemists and dust agents emerged from the blast proof door. The man who came out first held a case, nitrogen vaporizing as it warmed.

"This is our best set. We've tested it on rodents, and all of them seemed perfectly fine. Even when we ran full spectrum analyses, they showed that nothing was harmed. So we upped the dosage to fit a human of her size, and this is what we created."

"Are you sure this is the best you can accomplish?" Weiss asked in her most commanding tone.

"Ms. Schnee, you have brought together the best of the best; if there is better, then no one is good enough to reach it."

Yang and Blake came to Weiss' side and stood by her.

"Don't worry Weiss; I'm sure that this will work." Yang said confidently.

"Let's just get this over with." Weiss said with a hidden tone of fear.

As they reentered Ruby's now well-lit room, they noticed her current state. A heart monitor beeped slowly to match the sleeping girl's heart rate showing a steady pace, as multiple other devices were aiding her survival.

Everyone stopped to look at the group that had entered, making way for them to get to Ruby's bed.

The lead chemist, head doctor, and dust expert gathered around the bed. The chemist twisted the lock on the medicine's case and pulled out a vial. The medicine was dark green in color, but shone brightly. Handing the medicine to the doctor, he uncapped the glass tube and picked up a syringe. Filling the needle to the top, he sat the empty vial down, and cleaned the end of the needle off with a sterile wipe.

"How many milligrams is the initial dose?" He asked prepping an area on Ruby's neck for injection. "Six, then halve the amount to three." The chemist replied. "You may want to wait fifteen seconds in between each set so the dust won't accumulate and burn her." The dust expert said.

"Noted. Well, for whatever happens, thank you all." He said as he steadied the needle above Ruby's neck and slowly pushed it in. Breaking skin, the doctor injected the amount that was advised. Fifteen seconds passed, nothing.

Beep went Ruby's heart monitor.

Three more milligrams and fifteen seconds later, still nothing.

Beep.

The process was repeated, nothing. Ruby's heartbeat wasn't showing any signs that would indicate a change.

Beep.

"Upping the dosage to eight milligrams and wait twenty seconds would be the next step." The chemist announced, looking at his chart. The amount was injected, and nothing.

Beep.

Half the medicine was gone, and no results had been found. Again, the doctor injected more of the green substance. Time passed. No signs of change revealed themselves.

Yang had been holding Blake's hand, and had cut off the blood. Weiss was keeping her hands in tight fists, turning her knuckles white from tension.

Beep.

"More. Up the dosage."

They were up to twelve milligrams a dosage, and it was beginning to get risky.

Beep.

"One more dosage at fourteen milligrams, and we'll be out of medicine."

"Do it." Weiss whispered inaudibly.

"This has to work. I know it has to. She's too strong to waste her life like this." Weiss thought.

The last dose was administered, and minutes had passed. The same beep had filled the silent room as everyone had stopped to watch what would happen.

As a few minutes turned to a half hour, Weiss felt broken. Everything she had done to wake Ruby up was in vein. She began to cry silently, as did Yang who watched as her sister lay dormant; the only sign of her being alive was the calm rise and fall of her chest. Even Blake had a tough time keeping tears away as she saw her overly active teammate lay unmoving.

Nothing in the world was right. Everything team RWBY had accomplished, and how far they had come was all for naught without their companion to help cherish the memories.

Weiss snapped on the inside. Somewhere, all of her feelings became unhinged as she fell to the ground, squeezing her eyes shut, trying to control herself.

Yang and Blake did their best to console the girl, but nothing was working. For hours, long into the night, Weiss wept next to Ruby. Everyone had left. Yang had gone off into town, trying to find some way to release her emotion, Blake thought it would be best to let Weiss get it all out on her own, and all but the permanent medical staff had gone back to their normal duties.

Beep.

At some point, Weiss had curled up on the floor next to Ruby's bed, and cried herself into a troubled sleep. She began dreaming of the charismatic girl.

Beep.

Weiss was next to Ruby's bed. Ruby was still sleeping. But something was off, and Weiss knew it.

"Ruby! Are you alright?" Weiss asked. "Come on, get up!"

"I can't Weiss… I'm gone."

"Ruby! Don't say that!"

"Weiss, I hope you know this is your fault."

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Somewhere, Weiss heard shouting.

"I know it's my fault Ruby! I tried to get you back!"

"Weiss… It doesn't matter. I still hate you."

"Don't hate me! Please! You're my only friend!"

"I'm not friends with a selfish little girl. I've never wanted to be your friend, and you aren't worth my time."

"Weiss!" The shouting got louder.

"You're finally getting exactly what you deserve Weiss. This is what you get for taking me for granted. Goodbye. I won't be leaving you in life, but I'll leave you in mind."

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Slap!

Weiss woke up with a pain in the side of her face. She scrambled to her feet, adrenaline shooting through her.

"Weiss! Something's going on!" Yang was standing next to Blake, her right hand red from hitting Weiss."

"W-what?" Weiss was dazed as she regained her awareness.

"Ruby's heart rate jumped and her brain activity was going crazy!"

Weiss turned to look at the heart monitor. Several quick spikes showed that Yang was right.

"Where is the medical staff?!" Weiss' fear began drifting to her dream.

"They contacted the doctor and he's coming as fast as he can."

A sickening sound came from next to them. A painful scream echoed through the room as Ruby bolted straight up. Everyone froze in fear as Ruby started convulsing.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Her heart rate monitor was going wild.

"Someone get the nurses! NOW!" Weiss shouted as she watched in horror.

Blake dashed out of the room in search for help and Yang had gone to find something to help.

Ruby was now thrashing around, screaming in pure agony. Unexpectedly, her screams started sounding like she was gargling water, and blood erupted from her mouth. It splattered everywhere as the expected, albeit highly delayed, side effects took hold. Yang ran back into the room.

"Weiss, I've got the green dust…!" She froze as the sight before her sapped all ability to move.

"What are you waiting for?! Give it here!" Weiss ran over, grabbing the vial from Yang, who was still paralyzed.

Weiss ran back to Ruby's bedside, taking syringe from the bedside table. Loading the dust into the needle, she held down Ruby's arm as she injected a sizable amount into the flailing girl.

The doctor ran into the room with Blake. He hung a blood bag from a hook and putting the needle into Ruby after clearing her airway. Running over to a cabinet, he found an emergency needle of morphine. Putting the shot into Ruby's other arm, the medicines took effect and the green dust began reversing the adverse situation. Ruby's heart slowed down to a deadly pace as her eyes remained open and glossy. It seemed as though if a single heartbeat was missed, it could send Ruby into Death's cold grip.

The blood spattered girl was moved to a new bed and cleaned up. She gave occasional eye movements, but her mouth remained slightly open, and she never closed her eyes.

Weiss and the rest of the team were rushed out of the room into the waiting area by the doctor as the medical staff was called back to make sure everything was alright with Ruby. Nobody else was there to inform them of what had happened, or what was going to happen.

Weiss and the other two girls waited in the office for what seemed like hours, hoping for news soon. Early in hours of the next morning, the doctor opened the door and walked towards them. Weiss was still wide awake as she rushed over to him. Taking a deep breath as everyone else caught up, he spoke.

"She's alive, and she's awake. Her coma has subsided, but there was something else."

Everyone held their breath.

"She has lost parts of her memory. We still aren't sure what she does and doesn't remember, but we know it's extensive."

A tear rolled down Weiss' cheek. Part of her was happy Ruby was awake, and another was thinking back to her nightmare next to Ruby. But one phrase stuck out:

"I'll be leaving you in mind…"

"Wait." Weiss thought, her eyes going wide. "Mind… She'll leave me in mind. She might have memory loss… Oh no. She doesn't know who I am!"

Weiss dropped to the ground, hurting as a sharp pain ran through her heart.