The backs of her friends formed an impenetrable wall of fabric and flesh all around her. This wasn't going to work.
Curse her diminutive height. And curse the fact that she had decided not to wear her heels for the occasion.
After all, why would she have needed them? It was just going to be a simple day at the amusement park. She and everyone else had dressed down to casual attire. She did not wear her expensive jewelry She had no need for her fancy dress. Not that it was wearable anymore as it was after she had been impaled by spear at the Battle of Haven.
However, without her heels, Weiss' true stature was made apparent for all to see. She was shorter than Ruby. One should never be shorter than Ruby...
"Yo, Weiss! Get up here!"
Thankfully Yang had her in mind as the group formed up for the group photo. Weiss would not have trusted giving her scroll to a stranger in order to take a picture of them all, but Yang insisted that everyone be included in the photo. This was a day to remember. A day of celebration.
With Haven saved and the trip to Atlas looming over all their heads, Teams RWBY and JNR needed time to relax. They needed to blow off some steam. They needed time away from Qrow and Ozpin. With Atlas' borders closed, the only way into the kingdom would be via smuggling. And smugglers didn't just show up to take you to your destination whenever you wanted. It would take time. It would take patience. So they might as well do at least one fun thing in the meantime.
Weiss moved through the assembled group of teens to stand at the front of the group so that she would be seen in the photograph. She was flanked by Ruby and Nora in similar positions, with her taller friends standing in the back row. The stranger with Yang's scroll held it sideways, ready to capture the moment in time forever.
That was when Yang sprung her trap.
"Thanks, Weiss," she said as she lay her arms atop the ex-heiress' head. "Man, my arms were killing me."
Not taking kindly to being turned into a makeshift armrest, Weiss turned and slapped the offending limbs from her head. "Unhand me, you barbarian! Do I look like a piece of furniture to you?"
"Alright, here ya go," the stranger said.
Weiss turned to see the man walking back over to hand Yang her scroll. She could only hope that the picture was taken before Yang had decided to ruin her perfect snow-white hair with those dumb heavy arms of hers. Before she had turned back to angrily squawk at the annoying blonde girl.
Sadly it had not been. The moment would be forever remembered with Weiss looking up angrily at the shit-eating grin of Yang Xiao Long.
"Perfect," the blonde smiled. "So, who's up for some rides now?"
"Oh oh oh!" Ruby yelled, jumping up and down with unbridled energy and excitement. "Me me me!"
"Alright. Let's go."
The group travelled in a herd toward the first ride of the day. The Grimm End.
The ominous black and white cars of the roller coaster sat upon a black track. With impossibly steep inclines, copious amounts of vertical loops, and breath-stopping plunges, it would be quite a thrilling ride. Weiss could not help but feel her body shiver with both nervousness and excitement. Her first roller coaster would most certainly be a memorable one.
There was a line before the line even begun. It took what felt like hours, but eventually they reached the point where they would be next in line. Only a few more minutes. Then all the wait would be worth it.
That was, until the ride operator took a good look at the group.
"Excuse me, miss?" he asked. Weiss realized he was looking in her direction. "Could you come up here for a moment?"
Weiss smiled. Not only was her patience about to be rewarded, but perhaps she would be able to skip ahead of everyone else to get her choice in seating. It was about time someone recognized her for her greatness.
She approached the park employee, who directed her to stand next to a funny looking sign. The caricature of a person was crudely painted on it, and it seemed to have measurement lines on it going all the way up to the top of the painting's head.
"Please stand here," he instructed.
Weiss nodded and complied. Pressing her back up against the sign, she waited for her reward.
"I'm sorry, miss. But I'm afraid you're too short for this ride."
She felt her stomach drop and her heart freeze. And she hadn't even been on the ride yet. "Excuse me?"
"I am sorry, but it's the rules." The man pointed to the sign that had just betrayed her. "You have to be this tall in order to ride. For safety reasons."
Weiss once again cursed her lack of high heels today.
Apparently she was tall enough to battle the creatures of Grimm, thwart the plans of radical faunus terrorists, and save not one, but two huntsmen academies from the forces of evil. However, she wasn't tall enough to ride on a stupid roller coaster? That was stupid! That was beyond stupid! This was stupider than a hypothetical lovechild of Ruby and Jaune, the two stupidest people she knew!
She was at a loss for words. Unluckily for her, Yang was not. "Aww, it's okay, Ice Queen," she attempted to say comfortingly. Unsurprisingly she failed at that. "We'll go on an easier ride next. Maybe."
Hurt and betrayal crossed Weiss' face. "You mean you're all still going? Without me?"
"Uh..." she began, but was quickly distracted when the chain that blocked passage to the roller coaster cars was removed. "Whoops, looks like it's time for us to go! We'll see you in a few minutes!"
And with that the group was gone. They had abandoned her and all of her shortness to be alone. Weiss was condemned to stand alone on the outside looking in. Like a poor beggar outside a dining room while everyone else inside enjoyed a turkey feast on Nondenominational Winter Holiday.
It was an unexpected shock when she heard a familiar voice from behind her. "You okay?"
Weiss turned to see Jaune standing alone as well. Well, not alone in reality. They were together. They were alone together. Did that make sense? No. But that was the situation they found themselves in regardless.
"Why are you still here?" she asked. She pointed to the stupid sign. "You're tall enough to ride the roller coaster."
"Yeah, but I can't go on rides like these because of my motion sickness."
"Then why did you stand in line with us for so long if you knew you wouldn't be able to ride? Why not go and do something you could do?"
He shrugged. "Yeah, I could have done that. But... going to an amusement park by yourself is no fun. I'd much rather spend time with all you guys and not go on a ride than do a bunch of stuff by myself."
Weiss wanted to make some sort of snide or sarcastic remark, but she could not muster one. Jaune was right. It wasn't about what you did, but rather who you did it with. Weiss had had all the lien in the world growing up, but she had no friends. No real friends, at least.
Now that she was cut off from her family's wealth and prestige, however, she was for all intents and purposes poor. What she did have, however, was an abundance of friends around her. Even if right now it didn't seem like it. And because of those wonderful people, she felt like the richest girl in all of Remnant.
"You're right," she said. Confidence once more filled her body. "And you know what? I don't feel like waiting for them to get done with their stupid roller coaster. We have each other. Let's do something to show how much we don't need them."
"Uh... you sure about that?"
Weiss felt a vengefulness in her heart that needed to be sated. "Of course! Now come on. What should we do first?"
Jaune looked around for a moment before he started walking. Weiss was quick to come up beside him as they left the line area for the roller coaster. "You ever have funnel cake before?" he asked.
Funnel cake? She had never even heard of it. Of all the cakes she had ever had back home in Atlas, this was one that her cake butler had never made before.
She let out a soft sigh. Of all the thing she would miss about the Schnee mansion, the cake butler was the biggest. "I have not," she admitted. "What is it?"
"Oh, you're gonna love it." He waved his hand for her to follow, and he excitedly picked up his pace. "Come on, I saw a booth over this way while we were walking."
It was an effort to keep up with the tall young man, and Weiss' short legs worked overtime in order to match his pace. "Hey, slow down!" she called when she began losing that battle.
Jaune looked back and her and smirked. "Oh. Sorry."
The girl pouted. She cursed her short height for the third time today.
It took only a couple minutes to reach the stand in question. Bright lights and colorful pictures adorned the eatery, and soon enough Weiss saw what a funnel cake was. While not visually appealing, there was no denying that the sweet, sugary smell was making her mouth water.
"Two funnel cakes, please," Jaune said to the woman behind the counter.
Weiss reached into her purse for a few lien notes to pay for hers. She was stopped in her tracks by Jaune's voice. "It's okay, Weiss," he smiled. "My treat."
With a hand still dug in her purse, she eyed him suspiciously. "Are you sure?"
"Yup. It way my idea anyway. I'll pay for it."
She stared at him a little longer. "Fine. But I'm paying for whatever's next. I refuse to be in someone else's debt."
"It's just a funnel cake, Weiss."
"It's not just a funnel cake. It's the principle of the matter."
Jaune rolled his eyes. "Whatever you say." Upon receiving the two treats, he handed one to her. "Here. Try it."
The skeptic in her wanted to describe the food as a collection of tiny mangled logs covered in snow. However, she saw people all around her enjoying the treat, so its taste must not have reflected its appearance.
Still, she could not help but voice that pessimism. "This looks atrociously unhealthy."
She saw Jaune take a bite of his. "The most delicious things always are."
Very true. "So, it's deep fried cake batter covered in powdered sugar?"
Jaune nodded wordlessly, his mouth filled with said deep fried cake batter.
"Do you want me to have a coronary?"
He swallowed his food before he replied. At least he was better than Ruby in that regard. "Would you rather not have a coronary, or would you rather rub it in Yang's face that you had funnel cake and she didn't?"
Weiss looked down at the tantalizingly tempting treat in her hands. He was right.
She brought it up to her mouth and took a delicate bite. Her world exploded in sweet flavor.
By the time Weiss was finished with her fourth funnel cake, Jaune decided that he had to cut her off.
"Weiss," he said. When she didn't respond he initially feared that she had gone into some sort of sugar-induced coma. However, she appeared to be fully aware of her surroundings once he placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Huh?" she asked. Or at least he assumed that was what she said with a mouth full of funnel cake.
"I think... I think you've had enough."
She swallowed before speaking this time. There was a dreamy look in her eyes. "Where has this been all my life?"
Jaune was about to say that it's been in places that the common people who were beneath her went, but even saying that in jest might provoke some sort of argument. And he did not want that. He was having too good of a time seeing Weiss having fun to risk ruining it.
"So what do you want to do next?" he asked instead.
"What about a ride of some sort that both of us can enjoy?"
Translation, a ride that she was tall enough to go on, and that would not trigger his motion sickness. Those were few and far between.
He was about to make a suggestion, but was stopped when he saw that her face was covered in powdered sugar. He couldn't help but smirk at the sight of the prim and proper girl with a messy face.
"What?" she asked.
"You, uh... you have some sugar around your mouth."
Pale blue eyes widened in embarrassment, and she was quick to grab a napkin. A few delicate dabs later she looked back to him. "Better?"
No. She had inhaled those funnel cakes. The entire bottom portion of her face looked like a greasy and powdery-white warzone.
"Not quite," he said. Grabbing another napkin, Jaune gently wiped away one last portion of the former heiress' face that had been missed.
She reacted in a not at all surprising manner, swatting his hand away from her. "Hey! Do I look like a child to you? I can clean myself, you know."
"Then why is it that you ate like one? You looked exactly like one of my little sisters who I'd always have to clean up."
"Shut up. Let's just go find a ride."
Jaune couldn't stop smiling at her embarrassment and anger. "Whatever you say."
The two made their way through the crowded throngs of people, this time Weiss taking the lead. In her mind it must have been "her turn" to find an activity for them to do. Jaune had found and paid for the funnel cakes, and so now she wanted to return the favor. It was so very Weiss-like of her.
Looking around as they went, Jaune could not help but notice that the vast majority of the rides would not be compatible at all with his motion sickness. Most had high speeds, insane amounts of spinning, or both. Meanwhile Weiss' choices were equally plagued by her short stature. Anything that required a safety bar to lock her in place was off-limits.
And so, it was a painful, if not slightly humorous conclusion to their journey when they finally found a ride that they could both go on.
Chugging along at a brisk five miles per hour, the kid's ride was a colorful locomotive teeming to the brim with small children of all ages. But this was their lot in life. They had come to this park in order to have fun. And they were going to have fun. By any means necessary.
Weiss took the lead once more as she approached the ride operator. With the train pulling back into the station, and a very, very short line, they would be able to go on the ride immediately.
There was obvious embarrassment in her voice when she addressed the man guarding the entrance to the ride. "Um. We... we would like to ride the train, please," she said softly.
The employee gave her a curious look at first, and it was not hard to see why. All around them, the other guests who would be joining them on the ride were children half her size. Weiss looked like a titan in comparison to the other passengers. And Jaune... Jaune must have looked utterly foolish.
He felt foolish when he sat down in the train car next to Weiss. His knees were nearly touching his chest. There was no legroom to speak of. This was going to be the most awkward and painful ten minutes of his life.
Looking over at Weiss, she had no such problems. Her knees weren't even touching the front end of the car's interior. But she, much like him, looked mortified beyond belief to be on such a ride. However, that Schnee stubbornness meant that they were going to enjoy the ride. They had to enjoy it. They would enjoy it.
It wasn't too long ago that Jaune would have been thrilled at the prospect of being crammed in a small area next to Weiss. His shoulder was touching hers, and she did not seem to be bothered by the physical contact. Probably because she was already too embarrassed at being on the kid's ride surrounded by children. In any case, Jaune wasn't too focused on their closeness either. His worst fear had come to pass. There was a rumbling in his stomach.
This stupid kiddie ride was causing his motion sickness to act up.
Jaune placed a hand on his stomach, while his face focused on his lap and the area under his feet. Come on, Jaune. Get it together. You can't throw up. Not here. Not now.
Never mind the fact that he would be a laughingstock if this slow, peaceful ride caused him to vomit. He was next to Weiss. He did not want her to see him like that. He did not want to risk getting anything on her. He did not want to ruin their time here at the amusement park.
Apparently she noticed the worried and focused look on his face. "Jaune?" she asked softly. "Are you okay?"
Jaune didn't want to nod his head, lest he risk upsetting his body even more. The slightest of movements or shakes could result in everything spilling forth. "Uh... yeah. I'm... I'm okay."
He flinched when he felt something on his back. It took a moment to realize it was her hand, which began to move around in slow, gentle circles. "Motion sickness?"
The very feel of her hand upon him made him forget all about his stomach and instead focus on his back. "Y-yeah..."
"It's okay. I think we're almost done."
Sure enough, the agonizingly slow train was on the final leg of its journey and would soon be back to the station. Jaune would need to stretch his legs for a few minutes when he was finally free in order to get the blood flowing properly again. He sincerely hoped he would not need a vomit bag as well.
Freedom. It tasted so sweet.
Stupid train. Stupid motion sickness. Stupid friends for abandoning them. Jaune felt as though he was channeling his inner-Weiss with such thoughts.
As if needing to overcompensate for these issues, Jaune gave his thoughts voice. "You know what?" he asked her. "We don't need any of our so-called friends to have fun."
The girl next to him gave an emphatic nod. "I agree! I don't know about you, but I'm having a wonderful time!"
"Yup," Jaune agreed. "Tons of fun."
"Yes. The funnel cake was delicious."
"And the train was thrilling. It had to be if it made my motion sickness act up."
She nodded again. "Absolutely. There was nothing wrong with that train. It was a perfectly enjoyable ride."
"Way better than those stupid roller coasters."
"Agreed. Who needs sharp drops and stupid loops to have fun?"
"I'll tell you who needs them," Jaune said, giving a momentary pause for dramatic effect. "Ruby needs them. Because she's the real child here."
Weiss nodded forcefully once more. "That's right. It doesn't matter that she was tall enough to ride the roller coaster. She's still younger than us. So of course she would be easily entertained by such a stupid little contraption like a roller coaster."
"Oh look at me," Jaune said in a fake falsetto voice. His arms began to flail about wildly as he and Weiss walked. "I'm Ruby! Rides are soooooo much fun! I wanna ride the rides! I sound like I'm eight years old so I might as well act like it too!"
Weiss snorted a most un-Schnee-like laugh at his antics, and soon broke down into full-fledged laughter. Jaune couldn't help but smile at seeing his handiwork, and after a few moments the laughter became contagious.
Wiping a tear away from her eye, Weiss continued where they had left off. "Oh I'm Ren," she said in the most deadpan voice she could muster in between laughs. Her face was dead serious as she looked into Jaune's eyes. "I'm enjoying the roller coaster, I think? But because I never show emotion no one would know if I'm having fun or not."
This time it was Jaune's turn to cry from laughter. Yes. That was so Ren. He loved his teammate like the brother he'd never had, but by the gods, was Weiss' caricature of him funny.
"And don't get me started on Yang," Jaune continued. "Hey I wanna punch things! Where's the punching game where I can punch stuff? And while I'm punching I'll make a pun! It'll be a punch!"
Now Weiss was seized with full roaring laughter. They both were. Who needed all their friends? This was great. Having fun at their friend's expense was fun in itself.
"Yeah, they're all so stupid," Weiss said. "We don't need them. So what should we do next without them?"
Their aimless wandering through the park had carried them near a dark and ominous looking building. Jaune would not have needed to even look at the words on the face of the place to know what it was.
"How about a haunted house?" he suggested.
Weiss gave him a quizzical look. "Jaune, we've stared down death on numerous occasions. Do you really think a haunted house is going to scare us?"
"Only one way to find out."
She hummed in thought. "I suppose you're right. Let's do it."
With no line or group to wait on, entrance to the haunted house was almost instantaneous. As soon as they stepped inside, the light from the outside world was swallowed by the spooky building. The inside was dimly lit with only just enough light so that the guests would not trip of their own feet or run into a wall.
Fog machines created a misty haze all around them, and Jaune was hard-pressed to see even ten feet in front of him. The piercing beams from bright strobe lights above them was an assault on their sense of sight. This place had certainly gone all out in creating a confusing and foreboding atmosphere. And they hadn't even gotten to the main attractions yet.
Weiss obviously did not realize this. "I don't see what's so scary about this place," she said, sounding rather unimpressed. "It's not like there are wild Grimm roaming the place."
Of course not. This was a controlled environment. Even the people who operated the haunted house were not allowed to touch their guests. However, fear was far more than actually being harmed. Fear was about the unknown. About unexpected shock.
Cages and fences dotted both sides of the darkened hall they walked. This was probably where there would be workers who would suddenly lunge out at them. The jump-scare was a staple in all things horror. This place would be no different.
"Or perhaps I am merely braver than the average patron," she continued. "After all, you'd have to be somebody like Ruby to be afraid of-eeeeeeeek!"
Jaune saw how Weiss turned in an instant, and heard how she screamed again when she saw a filthy, decayed-looking man standing directly behind her. His head tilted in interest, but he remained utterly silent.
For long moments Weiss stared at the man, and Jaune could see her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. Finally she grabbed onto his sleeve and pulled at him. "Come on. Let's go."
Her grip on his hoodie was tight, and Jaune complied as she dragged him along. "Weiss? What happened?"
"I felt something on the back of my neck," she explained. "Like he blew air on me or something." A moment later she released her hold on his hoodie, and continued walking. "I wasn't scared. It was merely an unexpected sensation. That's all."
In other words, she got scared. She was just too proud to admit it.
Now deeper into the place, the attacks were becoming a bit more frequent. More zombies would come up to them from both the front and the rear and attempt to scare them. Sometimes they succeeded, and other times they failed. The rattling of cage bars from either side sometimes startled them as they went. All the while, Weiss would occasionally grab onto Jaune's hoodie. Sometimes even his whole arm.
Suddenly Jaune felt how Weiss latched onto his arm and pressed her body against his side completely. "J-jaune? Did you just hear a chainsaw?"
He hadn't. But he would not have been surprised if there was a man with a fake chainsaw roaming the place. "No. Why?"
"I heard a chainsaw."
Her head was on a swivel as she looked around into the darkness. "You inconsiderate reprobates! I am a trained huntress! I could kill you all where you stand! What insane idea convinced you that scaring me was an intelligent idea!"
Oh yes. She was scared. That's why she was screaming into the darkness like a madwoman.
"Weiss, they're just doing their jobs."
"Stupid. Stupid! Why did I not bring Myrtenaster?"
Jaune would have laughed, but the fact that she was clinging to his arm told him that laughing at Weiss at this moment was probably not the brightest of ideas.
"I'm not scared!" she shouted at no one in particular. "You don't scare me!"
That was when Jaune heard it. There was indeed a chainsaw. The sound was coming from right behind them.
He and Weiss both turned to see a masked man running toward them, his arms raised and brandishing the buzzing weapon.
In an instant the dark interior of the haunted house was lit up by a bright white Schnee summoning glyph.
It hadn't been him. It hadn't been him. It hadn't been him.
He was probably dead now. Killed at Mountain Glenn. Killed on the train.
This was just a haunted house. On another continent. It was just an employee. There was no way it could have been him.
The memory was pushed from her mind when Jaune spoke. "So let me get this straight. You're a trained huntress who's faced down legions of Grimm before, but you're afraid of zombies?"
She was ashamed to admit it, but she had been frightened. However, the men in zombie makeup weren't the true things that scared her. They weren't the things which prompted her to summon her knight.
Weiss scowled as she looked down at the ground. "They're unnatural!" she protested.
"So are Grimm."
Her body twisted to regard Jaune as she leveled a finger at him. "If you slay a Grimm it stays dead. But zombies? They just keep coming back."
"You're afraid of creatures that aren't real."
"Shut up. At least I didn't get sick on the kiddie train!"
Jaune's face turned serious now, and all former traces of joking and mocking had vanished. "Motion sickness is a very real problem that many people struggle with. They're just too afraid to admit it due to the kind of ridicule that you're giving me right now. If anything, I should be commended for my bravery."
"Right," she said, her fingers coming up to make air quotes. "Bravery."
"Better than Little Miss Scared-of-Zombies."
"Not a word to anybody about it!"
As quickly as it had come, that serious look on Jaune's face disappeared and was replaced by a small, warm smile. He ran a finger and thumb across his lips. "Not a word. Arc promise."
Weiss took comfort in those words. Up until a few weeks ago, she hadn't seen her friends since the fall of Beacon. One thing she did remember about this boy, however, was the strength of his word. It was the reason he had humiliated himself at the dance by dressing up in drag. If his word meant that he would don a dress, then she felt comfortable that her exploits in the haunted house would remain just between the two of them.
"Still, we're lucky we didn't get kicked out of the park," he continued. "What happened back there?"
A man with a chainsaw had come at her. The last time such a thing had happened...
Maybe one day she would tell him why she reacted how she had. But for now she did not want to spoil the mood. She was having a great time today. Jaune was too. There was no reason to ruin it.
"He scared me first," she argued. "He started it!"
"That's his job!"
"Well obviously he's not very good at it if I won."
"Won?" Jaune asked incredulously. "You didn't win! You nearly destroyed the haunted house!"
In hindsight, summoning her massive white knight inside an enclosed structure was probably not a good idea. However at the time she wasn't thinking straight. She was thinking of the last time she had been in a dark, scary environment with a chainsaw-wielding madman.
Still, she was not about to admit fault here. "Is he scaring anyone else? No. Why?" She poked her thumb into her chest. "Me. Therefore I win."
Jaune shook his head amusedly. The smile on his face was one of disbelief. "Whatever you say, Weiss. Actually now that I think about it, why weren't we kicked out after that?"
It was Weiss' turn to smile now. She looked straight ahead, unable to meet Jaune's gaze with what she was about to say. "Let's just say that the Schnee family name carries a lot of weight with it. Even out here."
Telling the park staff that her father would reimburse them for all damages had done the trick. She had provided them with all of his personal contact information in order to collect on the debt. And if he refused, well, that would be bad publicity for her father.
"Wait, didn't you run away from home?"
Weiss smirked. "Yes. But they don't know that."
The boy beside her laughed. "Oh man. Your dad's going to be mad."
Probably. But then again he was always mad. She wondered how he had reacted to finding out that she had fled from home in the middle of the night. She wondered if he had sent out search parties. Offered rewards for her safe return. Another part of her wondered if he even cared at all, or if he felt that the disappearance of his rebellious teenage daughter would be a good thing.
She wanted to cleanse her palate of these foul thoughts and experiences, however. "What should we do next?"
Jaune brought out his scroll and held it up to her. "I'm getting a bunch of messages from Ruby and Nora wondering where we are."
Weiss realized she was probably getting them as well. However, she had turned off her scroll in anger once she and Jaune had left to go do their own thing. As they said, they didn't need the rest of their stupid abandoning friends.
"Oh well," she said with unmasked bitterness. "I suppose they'll just have to know how it feels to be abandoned."
"That's right!" Jaune agreed earnestly. "Because who needs them?"
"Certainly not us."
"Certainly not us indeed."
"And that's why the next thing we're going to do is..." she trailed off, her arm extended out as she slowly spun in a circle. She pointed out the first booth she saw. "That!"
Jaune shrugged. "Okay. If you say so."
Weiss wasn't sure why Jaune was hesitant about the booth as she marched over to it. As she grew nearer, it seemed to be some sort of makeup salon. That would be fun. Maybe not for Jaune, but it would be for her. These people had strange taste in fashion, however. Maybe it was Mistrali custom?
She sat down in the chair, and one of the employees came before her. "What'll it be?"
Not really having anything particular in mind, Weiss decided to go with the safe answer. "I'd like to try whatever is most popular."
The woman nodded. "Sure thing."
Weiss was used to makeup. Foundation. Eye shadow. Eyeliner. Blush. Everything and anything under the sun had been hers to make her look radiant and beautiful. The paints and soft pencils that the Mistrali woman used, however, were nothing like she had experienced before.
All the while Jaune stood off to the side with barely contained laughter on his face. Just what was so funny? And why couldn't he stop looking at her? Something seemed off about all of this.
After a few minutes the woman deemed her work to be finished. "All done," she said, handing Weiss a small mirror. "Congratulations, you're a cat."
She looked into the mirror. Sure enough, her face had been colored to resemble a cat's. Whiskers and all.
Weiss was mortified.
And Jaune laughed. "I don't mean to sound like Yang," he said between laughs. "But I think it looks purrfect!"
She scowled before setting the mirror aside and standing up. "Oh yeah? Get your butt into that chair right now!"
"Uh... I'll pass. I'm out of lien. Yeah."
A falsely innocent smile spread on her lips. "Oh, that's fine," she said as she pulled a few lien notes from her purse. "I still owe you for that funnel cake, remember?"
"Oh no, don't worry about that. It was my treat. No need to pay me back."
Weiss grabbed him by the sleeve again, and dragged him over to the chair. He didn't seem to be resisting much, and was forcibly put into the seat where she had just been vandalized. "Oh no, you're getting a makeover too. It'll be fun!"
"You're getting one, and that's final," she said through gritted teeth. "This is going to be a magical evening. By any means necessary."
Jaune's eyes widened like he was a prisoner on death row, and had just been seated in his execution chair. "S-sure..." he said uneasily.
The sickeningly-sweet smile on Weiss' face betrayed her true vengeful intentions. She turned to the face paint lady. "Make him look like a dog," she said as she handed the woman the lien. "A nice, dumb, loyal dog."
All in all, Jaune didn't mind the face paint all that much. A little humiliation was nothing to him. Besides, things like this were all in good fun. People got their faces painted at carnivals and amusement parks. No one would bat an eye.
Weiss on the other hand probably felt utterly embarrassed with her new cat visage. Still, to her credit she had not gone and washed it off. Maybe she refused to admit defeat. Or maybe it was the principle of not wasting lien. Whatever the case, a dog and a cat now walked side by side looking for the next thing to occupy their time.
They seemingly found it when Weiss' feet ground to a halt. Her eyes stared over to one of the booths.
"I want it."
Jaune turned to try and see what she was looking at. It appeared to be one of the shooting games where you tried to knock over a set of cans in order to win a prize. What prize Weiss was looking at exactly was unclear.
"Jaune. I want it," she said again. Her voice was soft, nearly resembling a whimper.
Weiss grabbed him by the hand and dragged him over to the counter where the rifle sat. "That one," she said as she pointed to the rear of the booth. "The dog."
Sure enough, there was a massive stuffed animal which must have been about four feet in height. A black and white dog of some sort. Jaune couldn't tell what breed it was supposed to resemble.
"Okay. Let's try to win it."
Weiss frowned. "Can't I just buy it instead?"
Jaune let out an exaggerated gasp at such a concept. "Of course not! Half the fun of an amusement park is trying to win all the games you know are rigged."
She growled softly. "That sounds dumb."
"Dumb but fun."
"Kind of like you."
He smiled as he turned to look at her and all her catty glory. "Weiss, did you just admit that I'm fun?"
Those icy eyes met his, but did not show a trace of amusement in them. "Did you just admit that you're dumb?"
Jaune shrugged. "I know who I am. And I'm comfortable with it. I'm just glad that you're finally starting to see it too."
Weiss rolled her eyes before making the final few steps up to the booth's counter. "Whatever. Let's just go win my dog already."
After paying for a round of the game, Weiss picked up and shouldered the rifle. It wasn't that large of a gun, but for someone of her size it must have looked comical. She would very likely have to tilt the gun upward in order to properly line up her shot.
Her first shot was off. The girl let out a frustrated growl at her lack of success.
"Ever fire a gun before?" Jaune asked.
She did not look back at him when she replied. "Of course not. Firearms are such crude and uncivilized weapons."
"Here, let me help."
Jaune placed his hands on her back and neck. Her body froze at the contact. "You want to be straight. Stand tall. And don't bend your neck down to line your eyes up with the sight. Instead bring the gun up in order for it to meet eye level."
His cheek was right next to hers. She felt a whisper of his breath against her face.
Weiss sucked in a soft breath. She followed his instructions to the letter. "Like this?" she asked.
His hands were warm. Large. The very same hands that had saved her life. His arms were powerful. She knew he had been training in the months since they last saw each other, but she never would have expected that tall, blonde and scraggly teen to fill out this much. Nora was right. Mister Muscles indeed.
It took her a few seconds to realize just how close the boy was. Up until this moment she hadn't given it a second thought. He must not have given it one either. She could smell the deodorant he wore. It was nice. Even after a day of running around having fun together, it was still pleasant.
Oh gods. Was her own still holding out? What if at this distance she stank? Would Jaune even notice? Would he care? Or would the smells of the park distract him?
Her heart rate spiked. Her next breath was a shuddering one as she squeezed the trigger of the rifle once again. And just like the last time, she missed.
"Try to stay calm when you shoot," he told her.
Easy for him to say. He wasn't in the arms of the person who had saved his life. Weiss wasn't used to this level of closeness anyway, save for the few times that Ruby pushed past her self-imposed boundaries.
"You're just distracting me!" she protested. Wiggling her shoulders a little bit caused Jaune to release her. "Besides, I'd like to see you do better."
"Sure. I'll give it a try. We have one more shot left anyway."
"Don't you sound confident," she sneered. "And how do you know so much about guns, mister sword and shield?"
He smiled. "Pyrrha trained me personally for six months." There was a glimmer in his eyes, like he was looking back and remembering happier times. They were indeed happier for all of them. They had been so young and carefree back then. "So of course she let me fire Miló from time to time."
Weiss harrumphed. "Okay. Show me your skills, big shot."
Jaune shrugged, taking the rifle from her hands and shouldering it. He stood still as a statue for a few moments, his eyes focused with deadly intensity on the target in front of him. Weiss noticed how his breathing suddenly stopped. And then he fired.
A pyramid of cans came tumbling down.
"We have a winner," the booth attendant said. He sounded almost disappointed to have to say those words. "What'll it be?"
Jaune pointed to the target of Weiss' desire. "The giant dog."
A twitch of the eye betrayed the man's true feelings. He begrudgingly took the massive dog down from the shelf and handed it to Jaune. "Here ya go."
Jaune in turn handed it to Weiss. "And here you go."
Weiss' heart skipped a beat. She grabbed hold of the massive, fluffy thing and squeezed it tight.
Jaune had received yet more messages from Ruby and company. It seemed as if they were desperate to know where he and Weiss had run off to. The plan now was for them to get something to eat, and they wanted the errant pair of teens to join them.
"They're wanting us to meet up to get food," Jaune told the girl next to him.
Weiss still clutched her prize close to her chest. "Oh, so now I'm good enough to spend time with? I thought I'd be too short to eat dinner with."
She really wasn't letting go of being abandoned by them earlier in the day. Weiss seemed content to spend the entire day with Jaune just to spite the rest of the group. Jaune was having a great time himself too. If that's what Weiss wanted, that's what she would get.
"Heh, guess so," he agreed. "But I am feeling hungry. We should get something to eat."
"I agree. We can take pictures of us with our food and show them all what they're missing out on."
Jaune would have to be sure to make sure she got something low in sodium. That girl was filled with enough salt as it was.
Wanting to make it official, Jaune purposely sounded as formal as he could. "Weiss, would you care to accompany me to dinner tonight?"
She smiled and nodded at the gesture, and returned it in kind. "Why, I would be delighted to, Jaune."
There were a few restaurants located inside the amusement park for hungry guests such as themselves. They picked the first one that came into view.
After being seated in a small booth by the window, Jaune could not help but notice he was staring across at not only his friend, but the giant fluffy dog they had won. It was... unusual to say the least how it had its own seat next to the girl. It was even stranger to see how it was taller than her in that seat.
It was utterly hilarious.
Weiss must have noticed the smirk on his face when she looked up from her menu. "What?"
He had been caught red-handed, but he could not admit to what he was actually smiling about. "Uh... it's just weird how the dog has its own seat," he lied.
"His name is Drei," she said matter-of-factly. "And as a member of the family, of course he gets his own seat."
Jaune had heard stories about Weiss and her interactions with Ruby and Yang's dog, Zwei. Apparently that love stretched to even stuffed animals too as long as they were cute enough.
"If you say so." After staring at her cat makeup for a moment, he suddenly remembered something. "Wait, I thought you said dogs were dumb and loyal."
"No. I said you were dumb and loyal." She brought a hand up to pet fake fur. "Drei on the other hand is adorable."
He wasn't about to argue about it. They were probably drawing enough unwanted attention already as it was. Both clad in colorful makeup and carrying around a stuffed animal the size of a small child, they must have been quite a sight to see in the establishment.
Eventually a waitress came over to take their orders. Both ordered a fairly greasy and fatty meal considering of burgers and fries. It wasn't as if they had many other options in an amusement park. Most everything on the menu was some manner of fried or deep-fried.
Before the waitress left, she bent over to whisper into Jaune's ear. "If you'd like, I could bring your sister a booster seat."
His eyes glanced over to Weiss, who returned the look. Sister. Yes. She was just like one of his little sisters. One in need of a booster seat.
He could barely hold it together as he responded. "No, no we're okay."
The woman walked away to deliver their order to the kitchen. All the while Jaune's shoulders were heaving as he tried to stop himself from cracking up.
It would have been obvious to anyone. Especially the perceptive Weiss Schnee. "What did she say, Jaune?"
Jaune just shook his head wordlessly. Short bursts of laughter slipped through his lips.
The girl opposite him on the other hand was not amused, and her eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What did she say!"
She attempted to interrogate him up until the food arrived. Thankfully both of their mouths were too full at that point to keep it going.
After an unhealthy, but ultimately satisfying meal, Weiss and Jaune left the restaurant to discover the sun was setting. The boy had received yet more messages from their friends. It was time to leave.
It amazed the girl how she had spent nearly the entire day with Jaune and Jaune alone. It amazed her even more that she had had a wonderful time. She had never been to an amusement park before. She had not known what to expect. But even after being denied access to the roller coasters, she still somehow managed to have fun. She had that fun with the other person who was unable to enjoy the rides.
Maybe the old saying was true. Misery loved company.
Or maybe what Jaune said had indeed been one hundred percent correct. It wasn't what you did, but rather who you did it with. Maybe he was indeed fun.
How had she never noticed it before?
"What is thaaaaaaaaaat!"
A speeding red blur nearly collided with Weiss, and she knew it could only be one thing. Ruby Rose had entered the scene.
"You got a dog?" she asked excitedly. "How? Where? When?"
Weiss fell in line with the rest of the group as they walked. Jaune had gone off to rejoin Nora and Ren, while the former heiress was flanked by Ruby and Yang.
"Jaune won it for me," she said, squeezing the giant ball of fluff close to her chest.
"Did he now?" Yang asked amusedly.
"Yes," Weiss said proudly. "After you and Ruby abandoned me on the roller coaster, the two of us decided to go off and have our own fun. And we had a great time without you."
"This thing must be as big as Oscar is!" Ruby continued to gush. "I want one!"
"You already have a dog. A real one."
"Yeah... but... but..."
"By the way," Yang interrupted. "Nice makeup there, Weiss."
Weiss suddenly remembered that she was still wearing her cat paint. She must have been wearing it for a couple hours now. Originally she had intended to wash it off before meeting back up with the rest of her friends, but such thoughts had been lost in all the fun she and Jaune had been having.
"Yeah!" Ruby agreed, struggling to hold back her giggling. "It looks super great on you..."
The two sisters laughed at her expense. Weiss merely looked upon them with scorn. At least Blake wasn't making a big deal out of it.
Weiss turned to regard the faunus in question. "So how was your day, Blake?"
The raven-haired girl glowered in response. "Dressing up in cat face is racist."
Without saying another word, she pushed up ahead to go and talk to Sun. Weiss was left alone once more with the two annoying sisters.
"So... how was your date?" Yang asked teasingly.
The question caught Weiss off-guard. "E-excuse me? What date? We did not go on a date."
The blonde girl rubbed her chin in thought. "Let's see. Spend an entire day at the amusement park with a guy-"
"Because you abandoned us!" Weiss protested.
Such protests were ignored as the girl continued. "Go on rides together. Went to the haunted house, right?"
They had. It was one of the few things they could both do together. "Of course."
"So you got all scared and clung to his arm in the haunted house-"
"How did you know that!"
Yang turned and smirked at the girl. "I didn't. But I do now."
Weiss closed her eyes and sighed. She had just fallen for such a lame trick. "I hate you," she breathed softly.
"Boy wins girl a giant stuffed animal. Went to dinner together at the end." The girl turned to look at her younger sister. "Ruby, would you call that a date?"
Their team leader shrugged lightly. "Sounds pretty datish to me."
Yang pointed to Ruby, as if the girl's words were all the proof that was needed. "Thank you. I rest my case."
Weiss felt her face flushing. She looked over to where Jaune was chatting with an animated Nora.
She had never been on a date before. She certainly never thought that she would go out on one with Jaune Arc of all people. Her face grew warmer by the second, and Weiss looked to the ground as she walked. If this had been a date, it hadn't been a bad one.
If this is what a date with Jaune was like, she would like to go on another.
Author's Note: This thing was written on a whim due to a little conversation on the Work in Progress Discord server. My sincerest thanks go out to everyone who helped bring this idea to life. And if anyone wants to join, just send me a PM and I'll get you an invite link. We're mainly a RWBY and fan fiction discussion server.
My sincerest thanks go out to the two people responsible for this custom cover art. First, my friend Proto-Saber for commissioning the picture that was inspired by this story. And second, to Alex-kellar for bringing the words to life with his art. So thank you to both for your awesomeness, and providing the world with more amazing White Knight art.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little idea. It started out as just a "what can we do to make fun of Weiss' shortness" thing, but eventually evolved into full-blown White Knight. As a tall guy myself, the problems of short people are beneath me (hah, puns). So I hope I was able to portray Weiss' plight decently.
Thanks for reading.
Update: This story was originally planned as a one shot. However due to interest in the Discord server, it will now be an anthology full of short (hah) stories by various authors about Weiss and her shortness.