The sound of glass shattering echoed throughout the kitchen, as Winter and Jaune stared open-mouthed at the text he had received sometime the night before. In his shocked state, he had let his glass of water fall to the floor, yet neither one reacted to it, or to the maids furiously cleaning up the remains. "They're… Together-together," Jaune whispered to no one in particular. He had never believed it would happen. One day, perhaps, but not while they were still attending Beacon. The food lie cold and untouched on the table, and their previous conversation on famous poets went forgotten. Winter felt happy for her friends, but deep inside she felt disconnected, unhappy that she was still alone and somewhat uncertain of her future. They at least had it figured out somewhat, and judging from everything Jaune had told her about the two of them, and from what she learned when speaking to them, they were going to be happy for a long while. She wished she could feel that sense of security that came from being in a stable relationship.
She looked to Jaune as he finally sat down his scroll. The voice clip that played stuck on repeat as the photo of Ren kissing Nora on the cheek took up the screen.
"Hey, Jaune, Winter, you guys aren't going to believe it, but the craziest thing just happened. Well, it's not really crazy, I'm sure you both saw it coming… Me and Ren are together now! Like, together-together! Isn't that great? Anyways, just wanted to uh, to tell ya, since you aren't really here to celebrate with us!" Loud cheers could be heard in the background as what sounded like a party popper was set off.
"Ruby! Now there's confetti everywhere, I said no party poppers," came the voice of Weiss. Jaune smiled as he did every time her voice played. Winter clenched her fists and looked away for the umpteenth time, merely an instinctual reaction. It had felt so good to be in his arms last night, and she was even more sure of how she felt about him. There was something there, she could feel it. But the way he looked when he heard her sister's voice didn't really give her much hope.
"I'm running out of time for this message, so I hope you two are having fun, but not that kind of fun, if you know what I mean!" Jaune winced and Winter blushed, they were slowly becoming desensitized to that part of the message, but the effect it initially had was still very much there. "I'll see you soon, Jaune! Hopefully you too, Winter!"The message cut off and cycled back to the start, Jaune finally turned it off and pushed his breakfast away from him.
"Yeah, my appetites gone," he said.
"Mine too," Winter replied.
The knowledge that soon she would have to spill her guts out to Jaune was too much for her, and she was very nearly hyperventilating. Blake, Ruby, and Yang all gave her space. "I was going to back out, I was going to back out, but it's too late now!" Ruby smiled weakly and slid up next to her, breaking the gap of space between them on the bench. The cafeteria was all but silent as students talked to one another, and if one were to listen closely enough they could catch the beginnings and endings of sentences, often crossing over like a whirlwind of conversations. This was a normal sound to all of them, familiar, calming in a way. But at that moment, Weiss didn't like the noise at all. She would much rather have been in the dorm, thinking of just how she was going to confess to Jaune when he got back in peaceful silence.
"Weiss, everything will be fine. You know how awkward Jaune is about this stuff, the most that'll happen is he'll run. And if he does, you have us to hold him down!" A chorus of agreement echoed around the table.
"And if he rejects you, we can break his legs!"
"Thanks everyone," Weiss said as Ruby slid an arm around her shoulders. "But I'd much rather do this on my own, you know, in private." And that was that. There was no more talk, just eating in silence as each one of them realized just how boring lunch had become. Since Nora and Ren had become a thing, Nora had been calmer than anyone had ever seen her, and without Jaune and Ruby's daily antics and friendly bickering, there wasn't much excitement.
In the silence, Weiss pondered on exactly what saying those words to Jaune would mean. Of course, it would mean a great many things. The exclamation of an unspoken truth, a proposal to be in a relationship, and even granting permission for him to… Kiss her. Just the thought of it was enough to send her into fits of broken words and flushed faces. He would, eventually, touch her. Caress her hair, her skin - every inch of it - and not to forget, he would even kiss it.
All of it. She could feel her cheeks fire up, and she pushed her food away from her and got up to leave. The others watched her as she went, but she paid them no mind. She rushed to the bathroom, and forgetting completely about the fact that she was wearing makeup (or just not caring), she turned on the cold water and splashed her face.
Look up, in the mirror,she did. If you aren't going to listen to anyone else, then listen to yourself. You love him, he loves you, you're going to be fine. It'll be easy, and nothing you can do will mess it up. For either of you. She finally allowed herself to calm down, and suddenly nothing scared her anymore. She could do it. And nothing was going to stop her from doing it. As soon as he showed up, as soon as she saw his face again, she was going to pull him aside, and she was going to do it. Even if she didn't really know what it was.
He's doing it again, thought Winter. Jaune checked his scroll and happily texted away, and she knew that it was her sister that message was being sent to. He never typed that fast for anyone else, and yet he also took the time to proofread it. To make sure there were absolutely no mistake. Only the best for his precious Snow Angel. That nickname had been Weiss' originally, but then he started calling her that. He never did anymore. It was as if it was suddenly reserved for Weiss once again. Winter felt sick. Acid forced its way up to her throat, and she swallowed it back down forcefully, hurting her throat with a gulp of air that managed its way down. She cursed silently in her mind, and felt for the first time true, unadulterated jealousy.
There was absolutely nothing she could do but sit back and watch him go to Weiss, after all he was in love with her. She sighed quietly and went back to doing her own thing while he sent text after text. The past days had been odd to say the least. He payed attention to her, yes, and he always gave her his time. They had conversations, they had fun playing games, and doing whatever, but it didn't feel like she wanted it to. At first she had been happy, but then Weiss started texting. Suddenly every few seconds he's checking his scroll, and she feels abandoned. Like he doesn't even know she exists for however long it takes to respond. All of his focus is taken up in thinking about what he's going to say to her.
She was absolutely fed up with it, and she honestly didn't know how long she could take it. She took a deep breath and calmed herself, remembering that more was on the line than a simple relationship with a crush. Her relationship with Weiss was far more important, and if it meant giving up Jaune to maintain it… But was she really willing to give that up? She knew that no matter what, nothing was going to change his mind. She didn't want to lose both Weiss and Jaune. Because in losing them, she also loses Ruby. As the harsh truth settled inside the pit of her stomach, she could feel the acid, unsettled, force its way up her throat. She swallowed painfully, feeling that the future would hold events far too hard to force down, like pills that were too large for her throat, or a vile tasting liquid claiming to taste like a grape but utterly failing at it. It was almost time.
She had been so happy to see him there, cooking in the kitchen. She had been so happy to talk to him, to hear his voice. But she knew from the start it was hopeless, and the smile on his face spoke volumes about how much he loved Weiss. Once the week was over, would she be able to look him in the eyes again? Would she be able to talk to him as she has been? Would the simple knowledge of the fact that they were never going to be together ruin everything between them?
No. She wouldn't let it. And she would make sure he was damn happy with Weiss.
Winter felt truly, honestly devastated. She didn't know what she was expecting, but it hadn't been a hug and forced smiles. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she envisioned tears, and perhaps a kiss on the cheek with romantic subtext if you read into it deep enough. But of course life wasn't romantic, and often times it was horribly straightforward. Even the most poetic of minds (or those that have a habit of thinking they're poetic) have moments they just can't find the emotion in. And the goodbye they shared was one of those times for Winter. The doors shut with an awful, dull bang, and the oversized entrance hall, with its huge, open space, and reverberating ticks and tocks from the grandfather clock filled her with fear. She was once again alone, and nothing could be done about it.
With her head down she walked to her room slowly, imagining the look on her sister's face as his airship docked at Beacon. Probably eager, a bit overexcited. She could see the exact face in her mind, perhaps a distant flash of memory from a time long past. A time when their Grandfather used to visit the manor and give them sweets and presents, his smiling face greeting them warmly as he stepped through the door with a pronounced cry of "I'm here, now where are my two special snowflakes?" And they'd come running excitedly down the halls, following the sound of his voice as he amusedly listened to the approaching pitter-patter of their tiny feet. Now everything had changed, and their grandfather passed on a few years earlier. He would be so sad to see how everything was now. How she and her sister's relationship had become strained, how there was mental anguish over things that couldn't be helped, and how there was loneliness when there should have been happiness.
She let that word roll around inside her head, and it seemed perfectly true in that moment. She knew it wasn't, she had friends. And could you really be lonely if you have friends? She felt the familiar vibration from her leg, and she pulled her scroll out and smiled faintly as she read his message.
Motion sickness sucks, it read. She laughed (truly, wholeheartedly laughed) and she couldn't help but realize that it wasn't the end of their relationship. They would still always be good friends, and nothing could possibly change that. Not even jealousy or envy, and indeed there would be a lot of that coming soon. She was sure of it.
Happiness was what Weiss decided she was feeling. An emotion she seldom felt in large quantities. There was a skip in her step, and she looked the best she had since Jaune left. There was no heartbreaking news, and for that she felt truly blessed. She figured if something did happen between them, he would tell her immediately. But he didn't, so she can only assume that he was still open. And though it was still a tiny speck in the distance, she grew eager and just maybe a tad bit over excited at the fact she could see Jaune's ship coming in from the horizon.
As she stood with the others on the airship docks of Beacon, she felt hopeful that her first encounter with him after his visit would go well. She really didn't know what she was going to say, or what she was going to do, but the pep-talk she gave herself never really left her mind. It was still a thing that was happening, but she was still left completely in the dark. One part of her brain screamed at her to do it, while the other side kept asking what it was. It was terrifying, and a little bit exciting all at the same time, and she had talked to the rest of her team about it non-stop. She held her skirt down as the airship landed, and as soon as he came out clutching his stomach in relief, she ran forward. "Jaune," she shouted in glee, and he laughed as he caught her mid-air.
"Woah, hey there Snow Angel. Did ya miss me," he asked cheekily. His response was a kiss. A deep, longing, personal (and a tiny bit sweaty) kiss. She put all of her love into it, all of the feelings she had ever felt for him. Anger, passion, angst, disappointment, fear, and even doubt went into it, and she had never felt anything more amazing. The stress, the tension, the doubt, it all just seemed to fly away as he returned it with equal amounts of everything included. And as they pulled away there was heavy breathing, and looks of surprise, as well as looks of amazement. "I love you," he said simply. And the look in her eyes, mixed with the tears that spilled as soon as the words left his mouth answered him before she even had the chance.
"I love you too."
The others looked on with joy, and even though they Ruby was confused she was also happy. Her two best friends were together, and they were happy and that was all that mattered. But she still wanted to know "what was that?" She giggled childishly as Weiss led Jaune off by the hand.
"That, my dear little sister, was it." And suddenly everything made sense. Ruby, Blake, and Yang all watched as she ran off with him, and Yang couldn't help but shout "use protection!" She could practically feel the heat from their blushing faces, even from their great distance apart. Ruby was about to as what she meant, when Blake pulled her away from the now hysterical Yang.
Finally, for Weiss everything seemed to be resolved. Of course, there was one more thing she needed to worry about. One more thing that would be even more difficult now. She would see it through to the end, and she would make sure everything was alright. She didn't need any more regrets in her life, and she would be damned before she let Winter be one of them.