It begins with ice skating.
Winter watches, eyes hard and mouth taut, as her sister glides across the ice. She holds a natural aptitude for the sport, lightly spinning and dancing around the rink under the watchful eyes of the elder Schnee.
It's obvious Weiss enjoys it—she enjoys anything she's skilled at.
She's a Schnee. She craves success.
Her feet leave the rink with a scrape of her skates as she pushes herself into a jump. She spins tightly in the air before landing gracefully on one leg, her momentum carrying her backwards across the ice.
Weiss sneaks a glance at her sister, but Winter's eyes hold no glimmer of interest as she tracks her sister's progress. Weiss sets her jaw, looking away.
Her routine continues under the bright lights of the rink. She jumps, spins, twirls, and weaves her way across the ice. It's silent in the arena save for the sound of Weiss' skates as she pushes on. Any errors are met with a dissatisfied huff from Winter and a rush of embarrassment from Weiss, who quickly moves on to the next portion of her performance.
When her routine draws to a close, the young heiress drops into a refined curtsey, awaiting her sister's judgment.
Winter enters the rink, her footing sure despite the ice as she crosses over to where Weiss stands, fiddling nervously with the hem of her skirt.
"Your form needs work," Winter murmurs, casting a disapproving glance at the grooves her sister's skates had left in the ice. "Your movements are not tight enough. You need to be cleaner, more precise."
Weiss nods once, the charm on her necklace catching the light as she does.
"You are too hasty in your jumps," Winter goes on. "You need to secure your footing before you go leaping off into the air." She lifts her gaze to her sister's and their eyes clash. Weiss nods again.
Satisfied, Winter turns away. "Once more then," she orders, making her way back to the entrance of the rink.
Weiss feels her shoulders sag in defeat. "The whole thing?" she asks, a dejected cut to her voice.
Winter pauses, stopping in the middle of the rink. The words eat at her. All Weiss wants is to be told she has done well; it's a simple fact of her character. But she can't be praised—not yet. There is too much left to learn. There is too much danger still.
So the elder Schnee hardens her heart and keeps walking, never sparing her sister a backwards glance.
"The whole thing," she confirms, her words clipped and sharpened. "Twice, in fact. Perhaps next time you will mind yourself properly."
She ignores the murmured apology Weiss offers as she skates off to begin again and instead reclaims her post.
Weiss performs her routine two more times.
She doesn't look at Winter during either of them.
The next lesson is glyphs.
Weiss is mesmerized by the symbols. She watches closely as they shimmer and shine in the air, expanding and contracting depending on how Weiss moves her hand. Winter watches too, knowing that if not for her interference, the glyphs would remain a pretty little trick for her sister to call upon.
She wonders if it is wrong to turn her sister's Semblance into a weapon. Then she remembers the lives lost in the last White Fang attack and her expression hardens.
"They are more than just lovely images," Winter explains. At the sound of her sister's voice, Weiss immediately drops her hand and the glyphs vanish from sight. "They are tools to aid you."
"Aid me in what?" Weiss asks, frowning.
A dark look crosses over Winter's face, and she lifts a finger, pointing to the space above Weiss' head.
"Create a glyph," she orders. "Right there."
Still looking uncertain, Weiss does as she's told; lifting a hand and channeling her power to summon a glyph in the designated spot. It unfolds itself gracefully in the air—pure-white and gleaming. Winter eyes the Schnee crest in the center with distaste before looking back to Weiss.
"Now, climb the glyph."
Weiss blanches, looking at her sister in disbelief. "Climb it?" she repeats. "Winter, it's not—"
Winter lifts a hand and Weiss swallows the rest of her complaint.
"It's perfectly solid," the eldest assures her. "Mind the edges, they're quite sharp."
Still looking thoroughly unconvinced, Weiss turns back to the glyph that hangs in the air.
"And be sure to keep up your concentration," Winter calls, watching as Weiss tentatively reaches out to touch the tip of the glyph. "If you lose focus, the glyph will dissolve and you'll fall."
Weiss swallows hard, stealing a quick glance at her sister. Winter gazes back at her impassively.
With a hand she desperately hopes isn't shaking, Weiss stretches out to grab hold of the glyph's edge, more than a little surprised when her hand doesn't pass straight through. Embolden by her discovery, Weiss brings up her other hand and seizes the other side. She strains for a moment, but eventually is able to pull herself up and onto the glyph.
She stands there, looking fairly amazed.
"It's…solid," she murmurs, tapping her foot experimentally on the glyph's surface.
"It's a platform," Winter explains, taking a few steps and looking up at where her sister stands in the air. "Or a shield. Depending on what the situation calls for. Glyphs have many uses, but this, a solid substance, is its most basic form."
"What else can they do?" Weiss asks.
And so she learns. Winter teaches her the power her glyphs possess, and how much more she can achieve with glyphs that have been combined with Dust. For weeks, Weiss summons glyph after glyph, some laced with Dust, some not.
She discovers how glyphs can propel her forward, and how quickly she can move when they're placed in a precise order. She glides about the room as if on skates.
She conjures glyphs of different color: black glyphs that hold things in place and blue glyphs that she can use to shoot projectiles.
Winter is there the whole time, coaching her sister as she slowly masters her Semblance.
After a month of hard practice, Winter finally declares she's earned a break, and Weiss nearly collapses in relief. If she never sees another glyph in her life it'll be too soon.
Still, she casts a quizzical look at her sister.
"Winter…when am I going to use this?" Weiss asks hesitantly, gesturing to one of the glyphs.
Winter crosses her arms, staring at the Schnee insignia in the glyph.
"I'm sure you'll find a use for it," she murmurs back.
Finally, she receives Myrtenaster.
Weiss is surprised at the weapon, and even more so when Winter offers it to her, hilt first.
"It's a…sword," Weiss murmurs, looking decidedly uncomfortable.
"It's a Multi Action Dust Rapier," Winter corrects in a clipped voice. "It's called Myrtenaster."
"Ah." Weiss looks unsure how to hold it, or why she has it at all.
"There's a rotating chamber within the guard," Winter explains, pointing. "Those are Dust capsules."
"Right," Weiss replies, frowning in confusion. "Of course."
Rolling her eyes, Winter decides to show rather than tell. There's a crystalline ring as her own sword clears its sheath, and Weiss looks up in alarm. The elder heiress levels her weapon at her sister.
"Blade up, Weiss," Winter instructs. "Never hold a weapon slack at your side."
Slowly, Weiss lifts the rapier. "Like this?" she asks.
She turns out to be a natural, as Winter had suspected she would be. Days go by, and the shriek of steel on steel fills the air as the girls trade blows. Winter constantly calls out corrections as they move about the floor, and Weiss tightens her mouth as she makes her adjustments.
"Remember your footwork," Winter orders, blocking a swing from her sister. "One misstep can spell death."
Weiss grits her teeth as Winter's blade whistles towards her. The elder Schnee is far stronger, and her attack knocks Weiss off-balance. Winter disarms her with a flourish, and Myrtenaster clatters across the floor, out of reach.
Winter poises the point of her blade above her sister for a brief moment, before backing away and smoothly sheathing her blade.
"You need to learn to angle your deflections," she remarks, watching as Weiss collects her own weapon. "With the right slant, you could have forced an opening and countered."
Weiss draws herself back to full height, lifting Myrtenaster before her.
Winter prepares to begin another spar, when Weiss' words give her pause.
"It's the White Fang, isn't it?"
The heiress freezes, staring at her sister.
"That's why we're doing all this. The skating, the glyphs, the swordplay." Weiss frowns at Winter. "You're worried they're going to come for me. For us."
Images flash before Winter's eyes: derailed trains, destroyed factories, dead Schnee Dust Company employees. She looks at her sister. Small, frail, but eyes that shine with resolve.
"I'm teaching you," Winter says quietly, "because there was no one to teach me."
Weiss lowers her weapon, eyes wide. Winter sighs, looking away.
"You may do with these skills what you wish," Winter murmurs. "But the fact remains that you will have options." She lifts her head, crossing gazes with her sister. "Perhaps you will join the fight against the White Fang. Perhaps you will join the Council somewhere. Perhaps you will become a Huntress." She offers a wan smile that doesn't reach her eyes. "Or perhaps you will simply become another heiress, content with her life." Winter shrugs, turning her back and striding out of the room.
"The point is, you will have a choice. You will write your own story."
Weiss watches her sister leave, a cold feeling of dread settling over her shoulders before falling away to a wave of red-hot anger.
She grips Myrtenaster tightly. She'll do more than write her own story. She'll rewrite the Schnee name entirely.
Well, it happened. I wrote something for RWBY, which means I have fully and completely sold my soul to this show. So hooray for that.
Basically I was just wondering how/why Weiss got the way she was. I mean, she's rad as hell, but I doubt a Huntress was her intended career path. In my head, Winter was groomed from the beginning to probably take over the SDC at some point, as opposed to being exposed to other career options. I think she would be the one to teach Weiss how to fight, not to just protect herself from the White Fang, but also so she could choose to do what she wanted. Maybe I'm reaching too far but hey, I tried.