A younger Weiss walked through the halls of her family home. Her piercing blue eyes looking straight ahead, her mouth a hard line. Every rushed step making her heels click loudly in the floor.
"Do you know why my father would summon me so suddenly?" She asked, turning slightly to the maid that was following her.
The maid shook her head. "I'm sorry Miss Schnee, I don't know. He only told me to get you home as soon as possible."
"I can't believe he forgot I had piano classes today, he knows how important they are to me." Weiss said, almost pouting. Her chauffeur had turned around without even telling her what was going on and now she was going to have to deal with the annoyed teacher the next time she went to class.
What could be so important as to disrupt her schedule? Her father always emphasized how important her education was. The only reason would be… Winter, Weiss thought excitedly.
The sister who had left, leaving her alone for what felt forever. There had been no note, no goodbyes. Winter had vanished and the only thing her father would say about the topic was that her sister was doing her best and that he was proud of her.
When was the last time her father had mentioned Winter? Weiss couldn't remember, but it had been at least months. Her father's mood worsening every day since.
Maybe her sister had finally returned and her father was waiting with her, maybe it was all a surprise. She expected to have more time to practice the song she was preparing to welcome Winter but she would do her best. Her sister was worth it.
Weiss smiled, now walking with a bounce in her step, not caring about the worried look in her maid's eyes.
A faint light coming through the window woke Weiss up. She sat up slowly, feeling every muscle in her back protest against her new bed. She would have to complain to her father about it.
It was only after opening her eyes and seeing her surroundings that Weiss remembered how impossible that would be. "Just a dream…" she mumbled before standing up and dragging herself to the bathroom.
She couldn't recognize the girl that looked her back in the mirror, None of the confidence she had seen in her dream present. Her eyes were puffy from falling asleep crying and she could see a sleep mark in her cheek. But it wasn't like the line would be noticeable, she thought sardonically, her eyes tracing the light scar that crossed her right eye, the bathroom's bad light emphasizing it.
Her dream –her memories– haunted her and she closed her eyes trying to avoid remembering that day. Winter hadn't returned and her father had reached the end of his patience. He had suspected that Weiss knew where her sister was and he had interrogated her about it. It had been an accident, Weiss still hoped. He had been gesticulating around, yelling at Weiss like never before when he had moved too close to her, slapping her with a strength that had surprised them both.
Schnee or no Schnee, Weiss would always carry a reminder of her father's family ring in her face.
It hadn't been the only consequence, she thought taking her eyes off her scar, the tightness in her chest returning for a moment.
Drying her hair after a quick shower, Weiss checked her phone. No missed calls from her father.
Her cheeks warmed with embarrassment after remembering how disastrous the previous day had been. She had vastly overestimated her ability to deal with new situations. Not only she had collapsed in the middle of her new school's hallway but she had ended up running away from her savior.
She didn't want to imagine what could have happened if that blonde girl hadn't been there to calm her down. It had been the first time someone had got through during one of her attacks but most of them had been in private. In any case she'd need to thank the girl if she saw her again.
Weiss looked around searching for her school things but it wasn't hard to find them in her tiny, desolate apartment. A futon, a chair and a small dinner table comprised all her furniture, and she still wasn't sure the table had been a good idea considering how much it had cut into the very small monthly allowance that her father had setup for her.
It probably wasn't what her grand-grand-grandfather had in mind when he started the whole thing but at some point one of her ancestors had decided it was better to send their heirs some nominal amount of money than to make them work.
Thank god for small favors, Weiss thought sighing, keeping good grades and having a job was impossible for anyone, maybe even for her.
Beacon Academy was as normal as a high school could be. Following her schedule Weiss went from class to class, sitting down quietly and focused on getting through her first day. Thanks to her dream that morning, she had a clear image of how weak she was compared to how she had been. A Schnee always spoke their mind, always got what they wanted, but now she couldn't even force herself to answer her teachers' questions unless they were made directly to her.
During the day she had dreaded being recognized as the girl who had made a show of herself but so far either no one had seen her or no one cared. The only problem had been…
"Here!" Weiss answered without thinking once it clicked the teacher was talking to her. There was some tittering around her and she blushed. It wasn't the first time that day she had missed someone calling her new name.
"Welcome back to Earth," the man in front of the class said, "you weren't present last class so I assume you don't have the handout?"
Weiss shook her head holding her breath.
"One of you, please share your copy with your classmate," the teacher asked looking at the students seated near her before turning around to write in the whiteboard. Silence followed his words and Weiss stomach dropped. She couldn't bring herself to look at her classmates. She'd have to improvise during the class and see if he could get the teacher to give her a copy after.
The sound of a desk being dragged interrupted her thoughts, and everyone else's. Even her teeth seemed to vibrate and complain with the metallic sound. It continued until Weiss felt her own desk shake and then it stopped.
"Oh my God, Ruby!" someone complained, making Weiss finally turn to the source of the noise.
"Sorry!" A young looking girl with black hair and a red hoodie said loudly with a sheepish expression in her face before sitting down next to Weiss. "Hi! I'm Ruby!" she said so cheerily that Weiss had to blink once or twice before replying with her own name. "Here's the handout. Hopefully you're better at math than I am, I have no idea how to solve this!"
Weiss blinked again, feeling like she should have been the one lost considering how many classes she had missed, but giving the handout a look she realized that her old curriculum had already covered most of it. Ruby looked expectantly at her, not seeming bothered at all by how long it was taking Weiss to say something.
Sighing, Weiss took her pencil and began explaining, timidly at first but, seeing Ruby's enthusiasm, her voice slowly gained strength.
Ruby had been telling the truth about her math skills but she had picked up Weiss' explanation faster than what she expected. Much faster. The only difficulty had been keeping her attention but by the end Weiss had felt comfortable enough to glare at her classmate when Ruby's attention was flagging, making her focus again with a contrite smile in her face.
"Wow Weiss, it all makes so much more sense now, thanks!" Ruby said after class, holding the thoroughly checked handout in front of her like it was something precious. "I owe you lunch! What do you want?"
"What? No, don't worry. You shared your handout with me! If anything I should be the one paying for your lunch," Weiss said, regretting the words the second they came out of her mouth. Was she even carrying enough money?
Ruby looked at her for a second and then shrugged, smiling even harder, "but I invited you first!" And with that she began walking to the cafeteria obviously expecting Weiss would follow her. Feeling a bit lost, and having to go to the cafeteria anyway, she did.
At the door Ruby stopped and peeked in. "Coast is clear," she mumbled after a second and turned to Weiss who was looking at her in confusion. "Let's go!"
It didn't take long for them to be next in line to get their food, Ruby having been talking about the choices the entire time "…want to avoid that, but the chicken is not so bad."
"Hi Ruby," said the woman behind the counter smiling warmly at the girl, "the usual?"
Ruby looked around again before replying, "Nope! I want pizza today!"
The woman made a disapproving noise with her mouth but gave her a portion along with an apple and a juice box. "What about you, little lady?"
Narrowing her eyes at the nickname, Weiss asked for the chicken, making Ruby look incredulously at her. "But you can get pizza, Weiss! Pizza!" she said waving her tray in an attempt to tempt her.
"I'm not eating pizza for lunch," Weiss explained, raising an eyebrow at her classmate's antics, "I would be falling sleep all afternoon. In fact you shouldn't be havi–"
"Okay, okay!" Ruby interrupted, not liking where Weiss was going, "you don't know what you're missing." And then added to the woman, "Oh, please give her a juice and an apple too!"
The woman glanced at Ruby looking slightly surprised but shrugged and added the items to Weiss' tray.
"I'm going to pay, please go find a seat!" Ruby said, walking away from Weiss, leaving her feeling confused again.
The cafeteria wasn't full yet so there were enough free seats to avoid being too close to other people, something that Weiss felt was important considering how much energy talking to her classmate was already consuming. Picking a table at random near the door she took a step only to be stopped by Ruby who had already returned.
"Maaaybe not that table, let's sit over there," she said pointing at the opposite side of the room. It was only after sitting that Weiss noticed a pillar blocked the view from the entrance.
"Are you hiding from someone?" she asked Ruby, who immediately turned red and began denying it. Weiss stared at her for a moment before shrugging, Ruby was acting a bit mysterious but she had paid for her lunch, that was enough to give her classmate some leeway in her eyes.
They chatted lightly for a couple of minutes, Ruby asking why she hadn't seen her before and Weiss sticking to her cover story.
"Oh, so you're living on your own here? That sounds so hard!"
"It has been… a learning experience." Weiss said diplomatically, not mentioning how the overcooked chicken she was eating was the first thing she had eaten since the previous day. Or how she was running out of things to wear because she didn't know how or where to wash her clothes. Or how… Shaking her head she changed the topic, "do you live with your family then?"
"Yup, with my sister and my dad. And Zwei, he's the cutest dog ever!" Ruby said smiling.
Weiss opened her mouth to ask the obvious question but reconsidered, it wasn't her business after all. Instead, she mentioned something else that had been nagging at her, "you look a bit young to be in senior year…"
Ruby scratched her head and blushed a little, avoiding Weiss' eyes, "I skipped a grade… or two."
An uncomfortable silence followed while Weiss assimilated the information but a loud noise startled her out of her thoughts.
She turned to check what was going on. A tray was next to the pillar, probably having been thrown. A couple of boys were fighting near them, their friends trying to separate them without success.
It wasn't until a teacher appeared that the fight stopped, allowing Weiss to let out a breath she didn't know she was holding, covertly flexing her fingers that had been grabbing her tray as tight as she could.
"Welcome to Beacon," Ruby said weakly, looking pale.
"Does this happen often?"
"No, not really…" Ruby said, looking at the last piece of pizza before half shrugging and eating it. "It's not like there's fights everyday but it's a pretty big school, it happens sometimes. I think bullies are a bigger problem…" she looked up from her plate at Weiss who was feeling worse and worse, "But it's not something you have to worry about! They chase freshmen mostly, they won't bother a senior."
"What about you?" Weiss asked, worried about the tone her classmate was using, but Ruby shrugged again, nibbling at her apple.
"They bullied me when I first got here but… it's not a problem anymore. Sorry," she said grabbing her apple and standing up, "I need to go. Thanks again for the help, see you later Weiss!"
And with that Ruby left, leaving Weiss alone with her thoughts.
AN: I promise this is going to be freezerburn, but it may be a bit of a slow burn. I was worried about maybe Weiss being too OOC but this chapter should explain why she acts that way. Please let me know what you think!