"Weiss!" - Regular Speech

'Dolt!' - Thoughts

-{Sis!}- Radio/Scroll communications.

Chapter 1: Poison Rose

Cafeteria, Beacon Academy

"Cookies, cookies, cookies~!" Ruby Rose sang cheerfully as she skipped into the room. Dressed in her comfortable combat outfit of a black battle dress, black and red boots and a crimson cloak, she was a girl on a mission; to acquire her chosen culinary confection so she could endure studying with Weiss.

Thinking about her alabaster-haired partner made Ruby frown. Ever since she was little, she had had a kind of sixth sense when it came to people who needed help and, after getting to know Weiss over the last couple of months, every alarm bell that Ruby possessed was ringing urgently.

If the crimson-cloaked Huntress-in-Training had to pick a word to describe her partner, she would have to pick 'lonely' every time. Every so often, Weiss would look at the joking antics of her teammates and Ruby could catch a hint of wistful envy, right before the wall of harsh words and icy distaste slammed down.

Something that was a little more worrying was her seeming lack of knowledge of regular, everyday things that Ruby took for granted. Like one time last week, the day after the whole Blake-is-a-Faunus-and-ex-member-of-the-White-Fang incident, Team RWBY had gone to a fast food burger place in Vale. Weiss had looked confused and wondered aloud to her teammates as to why there was no cutlery.

After a moment of 'You are kidding, right?' from Yang, the two sisters had taken a few minutes to explain that yes, the food was eaten by hand and no, people would not think less of her for doing so.

The slight, but genuine, fear in the Schnee Heiress' eyes when she asked about the latter had made Ruby want to weep. She had known, vaguely, that Schwartz Schnee, Weiss' father, was an anti-Faunus bigot and a cold man, but seeing Weiss so scared of seeming unrefined shouted loudly of over-the-top discipline…and punishments.

Lost in thought, Ruby absently grabbed the last plate of cookies that was laid out on the counter. Everyone in Beacon knew to leave at least one plate left for her; otherwise, she'd try using her Semblance to go into Vale to get her cookie fix.

Her mind continued to worry about her partner as she headed towards the door. When Blake had been revealed as a cat Faunus and a former member of the paramilitary, pro-Faunus terrorist organisation The White Fang, it had also revealed the mental scars that Weiss bore. The Schnee Dust Corporation was infamous for their inhumane treatment of their Faunus labourers and had thus been a favourite target of the White Fang.

Weiss had lost people she had cared for. She hadn't stated it explicitly, but Ruby had seen the pain in her eyes as the Schnee Heiress had shouted at both Blake and her. This had explained the prickly and uncaring exterior she had developed; she deliberately kept people from getting close to her so she wouldn't be affected by anything that happened to them, so she never felt that excruciating pain ever again.

That Weiss had forgiven Blake for her past was a miracle; that she was doing her best to get over her brainwashed attitude towards the Faunus was an even bigger one. Regardless of all that, Ruby wanted to help Weiss. She didn't know why it was so important to her, but she wanted to, so she would.


Ruby let out a yelp as someone collided with her. She of course dropped her plate of cookies, which shattered on the floor and scattered the sweets all over the place.

"My cookies!" the crimson-cloaked Huntress-in-Training wailed in dismay.

"I am so sorry!" the boy who bumped into her apologised sincerely, "You alright?"

"I am, but my cookies…" Ruby replied mournfully, "That was the last plate too…"

"Cookies is it?" the boy, a dog Faunus with brown hair and floppy ears, asked with a raised eyebrow, "I have a packet of cookies in my bag here. Take them as an apology for ruining yours."

"Thanks!" Ruby squealed, "Are you sure?"

"Yeah." the boy nodded, "I prefer savoury treats, myself. A friend gave me those and refused to take 'no' for an answer. You'd be doing me a favour if you take them off my hands. They'll go to waste otherwise."

"Well we can't have that." Ruby said with a smile, "I'll gladly accept them."

"Here you go then." the boy dug around in his backpack for a moment before bringing out a packet of cookies. They were just a regular mass produced packet, but to Ruby, some cookies were better than no cookies.

"Thanks again." Ruby said with a smile, "Oh…I'd better clean all this up…"

"My fault, my job." the Faunus disagreed, "You can leave it to me and go study."

This innocent sentence made Ruby freeze up and look at the clock. Oh no!

"I'm late!" she babbled, "Sorry, study session with my partner, gotta go!"

Ruby activated her Semblance and vanished, leaving a trail of rose petals leading out the door in her wake.

The Faunus smirked and sent a message with his scroll.

-{The package is delivered.}-

Team RWBY Dorm Room

"Grrrrr. Where IS that dunce?!" Weiss Schnee grumbled. The SDC Heiress glared at the door as she spoke as if the inoffensive wood had gravely offended her.

"Chillax, Princess." Yang Xiao Long said in amusement. Ruby's blond half-sister was lying on her bed reading a magazine as she spoke, "Rubes'll be back soon. She promised you that she would study with you and she never breaks her promises."

This made Weiss' glare soften slightly. To the Schnee Family, giving one's word was just as binding as a written contract and must be kept at all costs. She had been taught that her entire life, but had discovered that most people didn't treat it as such, just the members of high-Atlesian society that the Schnee Family rubbed shoulders with most of the time, so it was refreshing to find someone who liked to keep promises out of principle aside from herself.


"…she could at least be on time!" she muttered.

"She might have gotten caught up talking to someone she knows." Blake Belladonna suggested, "Or maybe she spotted a rare weapon. You know how Ruby is with those."

The Faunus as reading a book on her bunk as she spoke, occasionally peeking at Weiss to make sure she was listening.

Weiss did have to admit that those were likely scenarios. Ruby was shy with people she didn't know and clung to those she did, talking to them often to make sure they knew she valued their company. Her fondness (read: obsession) with rare and esoteric weapons was also prominent. She had spent an hour examining Weiss and Blake's weapons once she got her hands on them. Her reaction to getting a chance to see Sun Wukong's 'gunchucks' had firmly entrenched 'weapons-maniac' in Weiss' mental personality file for the girl.

"Rubes always was more comfortable with weapons than people." Yang said sadly, putting her mag down to stare sightlessly at the ceiling, "She's like really, really shy until she gets to know someone. That's why I was a bit surprised when she tried to impress you during Initiation, Princess, especially considering the whole 'Crater Face' incident and everything."

Weiss flushed. "To be fair, that wasn't entirely Ruby's fault."

She had to wonder what she had been thinking, opening the case and shaking a loosened jar of Burn Dust at someone like it was talcum powder just to make a point? Really.

"Besides, klutziness to one side, Ruby is a far better partner than that idiot Jaune Arc would be." she added.

"Pyrrha would disagree." Blake commented with a smirk.

"She has, for some highly implausible reason, developed a crush the size of Mistral on him." Weiss replied with a dismissive gesture, "Granted, he has a large amount of Aura and his skill with his blade has improved…but his skill with Dust can't be called anything but a sin against humanity, even Ruby is better with it, and he has no clue as to what his Semblance is. Not to mention his persistence in continually asking me out despite my repeatedly telling him I have no interest in him."

"Man, that was just Weiss cold." Yang grinned.

"Dammit all, Yang!" her two present teammates groaned as one.

Just then, the door opened to admit one Ruby Rose, with a packet of cookies in hand.

"And just where have you been?!" Weiss barked irritably.

"Picking up these!" Ruby replied cheerfully, used to Weiss being irate with her by this time, "Sorry it took so long."

"It doesn't take three-quarters of an hour to pick up a single packet of cookies from the cafeteria!" Weiss berated her, "Honestly! Like I've said before, you may have a speed-type Semblance but you excel at wasting time!"

"I got knocked over!" Ruby pouted, "Then-"

"You got knocked over? Who did it?" Yang growled, her Mama Bear instincts towards her baby sister rising to the surface.

"Yaaaaannnnggg, it was just an accident!" Ruby groaned, "The guy was a dog Faunus I'd never seen before! He apologised and gave me these cookies as an apology for running into me!"

If anything, rather than appeasing her, this bit of information, which translated to Yang as a boy hitting on her sweet and innocent baby sister, made the blond brawler's violet eyes change to burning crimson as she jumped down from her bed and put her shoes on.

"I'm off for a walk. I might even stop by the cafeteria." Yang growled as she stomped out the door.

"Blake…could you…?" Ruby asked wearily.

"On it." the cat Faunus replied as she tied her bow over her cat ears, put her shoes on and grabbed Gambol Shroud before taking after Yang to run interference and prevent her from killing the boy for the perceived sin of flirting with Yang Xiao Long's little sister.

"While Blake is taking care of Yang, we need to start studying!" Weiss insisted after a moment.

"I knowwwww." Ruby pouted. She hated studying!

As the two settled down to study, Ruby grabbed one of the plastic plates they kept in the room and emptied her cookies onto it.

"Urgh…Professor Port's classes suck!" the younger girl groaned.

The assignment was to write an essay on how to eliminate an Elder King Taijitu solo…as Professor Port claimed to have done once in one of his many and varied tales from his youth.

"I still don't believe that he did that." Weiss scoffed, "It took all four of Team RWBY to beat that Ancient Nevermore and all four of Team JNPR to deal with an Ancient Death Stalker."

"I dunno, Weiss." Ruby said with a thoughtful look on her face, "At close range, Professor Port's Blunderaxe would be pretty effective, both the blunderbuss portion and the axe part. Combined with Aura-enhanced strength and whatever his Semblance is, it is feasible…theoretically."

It was at times like this, Weiss decided, that Ruby Rose showed a completely different side of herself. When it came to analyzing weapons or fighting the Grimm, the bubbly and hyperactive cookie-obsessed girl vanished and a Huntress shone through.

"…regardless of whether Professor Port did it or not, we have to write about how we would do it." Weiss stated firmly.

"I'd zoom in with my Semblance and use my Sweetheart to cut its heads off!" Ruby declared happily.

"…the way you talk about your High-Impact Sniper Rifle Scythe is as creepy as ever." Weiss deadpanned, "You wouldn't catch me talking about Myrtenaster like that."

"Crescent Rose is my baby! My child!" Ruby protested with a cute pout, "I started designing her as soon as I knew I could wield scythes! I built her and I raised her! She and I are one, like all good Hunters and Huntresses are with their weapons! If anything, the way you treat Myrtenaster is odd…to me anyway."

"'A sword may be an extension of yourself but, in the end, it is merely a tool, to be used and discarded when it can be used no longer.'" Weiss quoted, "My fencing instructor, the three-time world fencing champion Grau Trapp told me that. Are you saying you are right and he is wrong?"

"Was he ever a Huntsman?" Ruby asked.

This made Weiss hesitate. "…no." she admitted, "He doesn't even have an unlocked Aura."

"So he doesn't know what he's talking about, at least when it comes to fighting the Grimm." the black-haired girl pointed out triumphantly, "Sure, without taking Aura into consideration as a factor what he said is sorta right, if a bit cold, when it comes to normal fencing, but the Grimm are another thing altogether. I'd trust Uncle Qrow over your fencing master any day of the week."

With that, Ruby snagged a cookie from the plate and bit into it with a grin.

"I suppose." Weiss allowed. She had been told about Qrow Branwen by his nieces and even done some research on Qrow 'The Silent Reaper' herself. If anyone knew what he was talking about, it would be a professor at a Hunter's Academy like Signal, "Still, to return to our original topic, you have to write an essay, not a single sentence."

"Weiss!" Ruby whined, "I know that! It's just…not easy to know how to start! You know how bad I am with essays!"

"Dunce." Weiss sighed, "Look, you start off like this…"

The partners once more settled down to work on their essays. Every so often, Ruby would scrunch her face up in thought at a particular paragraph before writing on. Whenever she did so, she'd treat herself to a cookie as a reward.

With her usual sterling efficiency, Weiss was finished before Ruby and settled back in her chair. She was waiting for the inevitable questions from Ruby to come. It was part of their usual pattern and Weiss had to confess that it was something she rather looked forward to.

It was…nice, for lack of a better term, to be depended upon, she supposed. Living with her family, everyone, from her father and sister, to her tutors made absolutely certain to impress upon her how weak/stupid/unskilled/inexperienced she was compared to them. At the White Castle, she was run ragged all day, every day and treated like an object, a mere thing with the label 'Heiress of the Schnee Dust Corporation' attached to it.

For this reason, the way her team, Ruby especially, treated her was so special for her. With them, she wasn't 'Weiss Schnee of the SDC'; she was 'Weiss, Huntress-in-Training, Teammate and Partner'. It was a delight for Weiss, although she would rather fight an Ursa barehanded rather than admit it.

'I guess…I should be nicer to them.' the Heiress thought guiltily. Her upbringing had made her abrupt and abrasive, which she had kept up out of habit. She was especially guilty of doing that to poor Ruby.

Weiss was brought out of her thoughts by the sound of heavy coughing from Ruby. It sounded wet and not very healthy at all.

"Ruby?" Weiss asked in concern. Her only answer was more coughing, "Ruby! Are you alright?!"

The younger girl hadn't coughed once since Weiss had met her. She had only sneezed because she accidentally inhaled Burn Dust, so what was going on? This was completely unlike the irrepressible ball of energy that was Ruby Rose.

"…I…" Ruby started to say, her voice muffled by her hand. Then, she was wracked by another bout of coughing that was worse than the last. When she remover her hand from her mouth, it was covered by shining red blood.

"Ruby!" Weiss squeaked in fright. She didn't have to be a doctor to tell that something was badly wrong with her partner when she coughed up blood!

"Weiss…I…." Ruby coughed again, "…I don't…feel so good…"

With that, Ruby collapsed on top of her essay, blood running from her mouth in a thin trickle, unconscious.

"Ruby!" the Heiress shrieked. Even as she shot to her feet and started to fret over her partner, her mind was already running through what she should do.

Reasserting a fragile hold over her actions, Weiss quickly, but gently picked up Ruby. Cradling her in her arms, the alabaster-haired girl fled the dorm room, headed for the infirmary.

Behind her, the last cookie lay innocently on the plate.


Next Chapter: Poison Aura