Well, I had my dentist appointment yesterday. Had a tooth removed and need to go in for another check later. I swear, yesterday after it I was like "Welp, they're getting nothing tomorrow. This hurts so much I'd strangle a toddler", but today – after painkillers – I feel better than I expected.

Still painful, but a dull throbbing pain.

I think I can work with this

Cover Art: Terakali

Chapter 13

"So," Yang said, finally cornering Weiss alone. "Want to tell me what happened?"

Weiss busied herself collecting her dress and laying out her shoes. The dance was in only a few hours and she intended to be on time. "I don't think that I do."

"Blake is in the shower and Ruby is off talking with Jaune. No one to hear us."

"I don't want to talk about it."

"It's just that the last I heard from you, you were making out with Sun. Then you come back, nothing has changed, and you've pushed Blake into taking him to the dance."

"As was decided before he and I even left. He would help me by pretending to be my boyfriend and Blake would go to the dance with him." Weiss slapped her shoes down on the bed. "That was the deal, and that's what is going to happen."

"Blake will give him more than just the dance if I'm reading things right. They might even start dating."

Weiss took a deep breath and let it go. "Good."


"Yes. Sun deserves a chance with her. He was a perfect gentleman and will make her happy. They both deserve the chance to be happy."

Yang smiled sadly. "So do you, Weiss."

"I… I am happy."

"If you say so." Yang came up behind her and wrapped her arms around her, drawing Weiss back into a sudden and sisterly hug.

"W-What are you doing?" Weiss snapped, fighting back sudden tears. "I said I'm happy. I don't need this." She struggled to break free. "Release me at once."

"I just wanted a hug," Yang said, lying so blatantly. "Not to help you or anything. Just because I feel bad. Can't you help your teammate for a moment?"

Sniffing, Weiss nodded, pretending that she believed this was for Yang's benefit and not her own. Weiss' head fell, resting against Yang's arm and taking some small comfort there. "I-I suppose that I can put up with it. F-For your sake…"

Yang squeezed her tighter. "Thanks Weiss."

If Yang noticed how Weiss slumped in her arms and shook silently, she made no mention of it.

When Blake left the shower in her purple dress, Weiss had broken free and wiped her face dry, hiding it in preparing her own outfit, unable to look at Blake. Unable to look at anything. It wasn't too late to pretend she was sick and skip the whole thing. Yang would lie for her, she knew. Yang would make excuses. Tell people she hadn't been feeling it.

No one would ever have to know.

A knock at the door saw Blake's date arriving for the evening.

"Hey Blake." Sun's voice, so soft and familiar. "You look amazing."

"You're not so bad yourself," Blake said, and Weiss could hear the honesty there. Blake liked what she saw. "Are you ready to go or would you like to talk to-?"

Weiss pushed into the bathroom before either of them could finish that statement. She slammed the door shut behind her, dragged the shower door open and twisted the knob so that water poured out loudly, drowning off any sound outside and making it impossible for anyone to try and talk to her.

Once that was done, Weiss walked up to the mirror, pushed her forehead against it and counted slowly to one hundred. It helped to calm her. Helped to slow her racing heart and push that nauseating feeling away.

Blake had Sun's interest long before she did. The whole thing had been to help Sun get with Blake. There was no room for jealousy now, no room for her. Even if there had been, it couldn't work. Father would never approve, and her life was not her own to live.

It could be, she thought, thinking of Azure. And of Winter. Both had won their freedom in a sense, and hers would not even be hard to achieve. All she had to do was reach out and take it and she would be able to make her own decisions, live her life and do whatever she wanted.

All she'd need to give up would be the SDC and her position within it.

Stepping into the shower, Weiss did her best to forget about everything.


Yang was still waiting for her outside.

"Aren't you supposed to be working at the entrance?"

"Velvet and Coco got back from their mission and offered to take over."

"You can't just shirk your responsibilities."

"Actually, I can. No skin off my nose." Yang grinned, and Weiss was reminded of Azure in a way. Both were content to do what they liked doing and prepared to fight for it. "Sun and Blake are gone, you know. You can come out."

Stepping out the bathroom in her white gown, Weiss said, "I was not hiding from them."


"I wasn't!"

"I believe you," Yang said, voice making it clear she didn't. "Sun looked good, though. Damn good. White suit and blue shirt combo. I half-expected him to come with his top open like usual, not that it's a bad thing but a guy has to know when to dress formal too, right?"

"Of course. It must be the suit I bought him. There was a formal dance," she explained when Yang looked confused.

"Oh right. I remember. So, you already got to see him in it."

"No. I didn't."

"Hmm. He looked good, Weiss. Real good."

Weiss slumped, sitting on the bed. "Why are you doing this, Yang?"

"See, that's the question I want to ask you," Yang said, sitting beside her. "Why are you doing this? Why are you letting Blake and Sun go together when it's obvious you're carrying a torch for him? And him for you. You might not have seen it, scurrying into the bathroom like your ass was on fire, but Sun kept looking past Blake to try and get a look at you." Yang grinned. "Probably wanted to see how you looked in your dress."

"He would have seen me half-dressed…"

"Not sure he'd complain about that either."

"Idiot." Weiss huffed and stared at the floor. "And carrying a torch, really? I spent one week with him. Not even that. I've hardly fallen in love."

"Didn't say you had. Torches can go out, be relit or even thrown away. You and Sun are hardly the be all and end all. If you don't go out with him, maybe you'll find someone better. Maybe he will." Yang looked to the door. "Maybe it'll be Blake. She could do worse."

"She could."

"But that doesn't change the fact you and Sun both like one another. It's obvious to me."

"Only because I told you we'd kissed," Weiss hissed at her teammate.

"Okay, fair enough." Yang laughed. "I'd probably never have guessed without that hint, but knowing that you did make out, I can see the signs. I'm just wondering why you're both giving up on something that could make you happy. It doesn't make sense to me."

"He's a transfer student. He'll be going back to Mistral."

"I'm not an idiot, Weiss. You were totally cool flirting with Neptune. Try again."

"It wouldn't work. We're too different."

"Okay, see, that one's a little better. Let me pose a question right back, though. What does that matter?"

"What? W-Well, it's destined for heartbreak."

"Like there's no way the two of you could make it work?"

"Well, maybe…" Weiss admitted.

"There you go. If you try, there's a small chance it could work out. If you don't? Well, there's no chance." Yang poked her cheek and grinned when Weiss swatted the offending finger away. "But I think you're holding out on me. If there's one thing I know about you, it's that you're no coward."

"You don't know that."

"I do. And quit with the self-pity; it doesn't suit you. Our odds in the Vytal Festival are low as mud compared to Pyrrha and the more experienced teams, yet you and Ruby are both determined we're gonna win it. I doubt you being `oh so different` would scare you off something you wanted. There's something more. Hit me with it."

"I'd like to hit you in general…"

"Yeah, you and most guys in Beacon. Come on, Weiss. You don't go from making out romantically with some guy on a beachside holiday to pushing him onto your best friend in a matter of days. Not without something else happening. If he did something and you were turned off, that makes sense, but-"

"No," Weiss said quickly, defensively. "Sun did nothing. He was… He was wonderful."

"Huh." Yang looked at her closely. "You really mean that. So… what happened?"

"You're really not going to give this up, are you?"

"When you're looking so down? No. Never."

Weiss sighed. Yang wanted to help of course, it was just like her pushy teammate to be like this. In a way, she should have been pleased Yang cared enough to do this at all – and she was. She just wished it could have come at a time when everything made a little more sense. Preferably when the Vytal Festival was over, and Sun was back in Mistral. Out of sight, out of mind.

Gone. Gone forever. Her stomach fell.

"It's my father," Weiss blurted out.

In a deluge it came, all the things that had happened on the holiday spilling out of her mouth like an avalanche. From the first meeting with Azure to the first kiss with Sun, that moment when they'd both been covered in salt water and glistening in the moonlight. His warmth, his touch, the little laughs they'd had laying on either side of a wall of pillows.

Her feelings, her resistance, Sun's pain. The racism. The arguments. Her father's words. His warnings. Her giving in and promising to date Azure, and the ultimate battle that had been won not by her or Sun, but by Azure finally standing up for himself.

Her team had received an edited version of that the night before, but Yang got the full and unbridled truth.

"That…" Yang sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Okay. Good on that Azure guy for standing up for himself, but fucking hell, Weiss, couldn't you have learned a thing or two from him? Fight for what you want! Not what your stupid dad wants."

"It's not as easy as that."

"To hell it isn't! Just do what makes you happy."

"And what if being a part of the SDC makes me happy?" Weiss snapped. "What if you had a chance to be happy but it meant leaving Ruby to be unhappy? Stop acting like everything is so cut and dry when it isn't. Yes, I like Sun. Yes, I'd love to have a chance to date him and explore whether we could work. Yes, I've never felt about a person like I have him."

It wasn't love, she wasn't so foolish as to say that, but it could be. It could become that, she felt.

"But it's not as easy as saying I should reach out and take it. Actions have consequences. Azure got to make his because he didn't care about those consequences. He didn't care about upsetting his family or losing out on his inheritance because he weighed what he stood to gain against it and decided that he wanted that more."

"And you don't want Sun more than you want to run the SDC?" Yang asked, the disdain clear in her voice.

"I… I don't know." It was horrible when said like that; that she would consider a company of more importance than Sun. Or any person. How could she profess to have any respect in him if she couldn't decide like this? "That's why he's better with Blake. She isn't going to have hang ups over whether to pick him or her legacy."

"Oh sure, like the White Fang thing isn't even an issue. Blake is totally over that. As for you, are you sure the SDC is what you want, or is it just what other people want of you?"

Weiss stared suspiciously at Yang. "Who told you that?"

Yang was surprised. "Told me what?"

"You didn't…?" Weiss sighed and looked away. "Sorry. My sister… It's just that your words echoed hers. I thought for a moment… Never mind…"

"That your sister coached me?" Yang laughed. "Sounds like something I'd do in her situation, but no, I've never met her. I'm just saying what I think is true. And maybe if we're both sayin' it, you should accept that there's some truth in it."

Weiss grimaced.

"The SDC isn't yours," Yang went on. "Not properly. Sure, it belongs to your family and your dad currently runs it, but do you really want to live your life for something you didn't even have a hand creating? What are you going to get out of that?"

"The chance to make a difference."

"And you can't do that in any other way? Is this about the faunus?" Yang sighed. "Sure, if you take over the SDC, you can help a lot of them – but that's, what, when your dad retires? If he ever does. You think he's going to hand it over within the next ten years and then let you have complete control over it? I don't even know the guy but that sounds unlikely."

It did. It really did. Father would not retire until he absolutely had to, and even then would likely retain some control over the company. Either in terms of shares, influence or just direct ownership. She could be made a figurehead if he wanted her to.

And, of course, if she resisted then he could disown her.

"So, assuming you stay, he's, what, forty? Let's say forty. So, if we assume he lives for another forty years – and it could be longer with how rich he is – then that means you'll be living your life as he dictates it until you're fifty-seven."

Weiss struggled to breathe.

"Yeah. I'd ask you what you think about that but your face kinda says it all…"

"That's… it…" Weiss swallowed. She'd never considered it quite that way before, but Yang… she wasn't wrong. Father was forty-five, but that made little difference. Unless an accident took him out of the picture, he would have control over her until she was fifty at least.

He'd retain control of the SDC, too.

She might be able to make some small changes of course but rock the boat too much and he would join forces with the Board of Directors to oust her. Investors, hedge funds and financial experts all, they only cared about profit, and giving equal rights to their workers, and higher pay, certainly wasn't going to bring the money in.

They would never allow it.

For the first time in her life, Weiss felt lost. Adrift in an ocean of uncertainty.

"I'm not tryin' to break your dreams here, Weiss, but you've told us how your old man is. If he won't even let you date a guy make-believe on a one week holiday in the middle of nowhere, why do you think he's going to let you do any of the things you've ever planned in your life?"

"I… But… I…"

"You'll marry who he wants you to marry. Have as many children as he wants you to have. Make the decisions he wants you to make and say what he wants you to say. And every time you try to argue, he's going to pull out the same card he did here. And why not? If it works, what reason does he have to change anything?"

Gods, she'd been a fool. Wiess scrunched her face up and fought back the rage that coursed through her. Winter had tried so hard to warn her, but it had all been ignored, and father, damn him, had sunk his claws deep into her.

Azure was free because he didn't fear the consequences, but she did. She feared what her father could do to her, and in admitting it she had given him the ability to control her life forevermore. Before, she'd always convinced herself it would be temporary. Just until she was of age. Just until she graduated Beacon. Just until she could move out and be her own woman.

How stupid had she been? How gullible?

He wouldn't stop. He would never stop.

"B-But my dream…"

"Was it really ever your dream?" Yang asked.

"O-Of course! I want to help redeem my family name and the family company."

"You sure that's a dream? Hear me out," Yang said. "I want to look after Ruby and dad forever, but that doesn't mean it's my dream. A dream shouldn't be to look after something that belongs to someone else. That's more of an obligation. Or, well, not an obligation." She laughed. "I don't see Ruby that way. More like… well, I'll always look after Ruby, but I'm not going to dedicate my life to it. I want to have a family of my own one day."

"Your dream is to be a brood mare?" Weiss asked caustically.

"My dream is to be surrounded by family who love me and who I love in turn. And to never disappear on them."

Weiss grimaced and dropped her head. "I'm sorry…"

"Don't be. You're angry. I can take it. Pont is, your dream should be something that fulfils you. Helping the faunus is all well and good, but it's not going to keep you warm on lonely nights. Help them but do that on the side. Hell, you don't even need the SDC for that. You're a famous singer and a kickass huntress. Open up a charity. Release albums. That'll make a difference a lot sooner than waiting for your old man to croak will."

A charity?

Why had she never considered that?

Because I always saw my singing as something father used. I wanted to sing and enjoyed it, but he turned it into a PR stunt for himself and the SDC. Like so many things before her, it had lost its lustre because he used and tarnished it.

But if she were to start again, and commit it to something she truly wanted?

That sounded exciting.

Of course, her father would try and intervene. Try and decide where the money would go, who she would sing for and where – how much she would charge and what kind of songs she could release. Any decision she ever made would be controlled by him.

Unless she broke free.

"I… I'll lose everything. I'll lose my position as heiress…"

"Weiss." Yang wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "Did you ever have that position?"

She froze.

"I don't want to be the bitch, but he disowned your sister for becoming a solider and then you run off to be a huntress. Meanwhile, he has his son who you've already said is more like him than you. Who do you really think is going to be made heir to the SDC in the end?" Yang smiled sadly. "Do you really think it's ever going to be you?"

Her heart broke.

Whitley… He… She wanted to say he was too young, but that was pointless. Father wasn't going to retire until he was sixty at the earliest, and in fifteen years Whitley would be thirty. Age simply didn't play a factor at that point and their father would decide who to give ultimate control to.

It was never going to be her.

How had she been so stupid as to think otherwise?

A lonely tear ran down her cheek.

"Sorry," Yang said. "I feel like I'm really mucking up the `trying to make you happy` thing."

"No. It… I probably needed to have this pointed out." Weiss wiped a tear away and laughed awkwardly. "You've saved me a decade or more under his thumb. I'm not sure why I never realised it, but the only reason he didn't disown me like he did Winter is because I'm still of value. My singing is good for PR, as is being a huntress, and as a potential heir I can serve as a means to threaten Whitley into compliance as well."

Just as father used Whitley against her whenever she acted up, he was probably using her against her brother. Little wonder they'd all come to mistrust one another. Jacques was putting them in constant competition to keep any of them from getting too strong.

"So, you going to go sweeping in after Sun?"


Yang sighed.

"You were right about my father, and about my future. I need to find my own path. One he can't influence. But that doesn't change that Sun and Blake are going to the dance together, and that they're better for one another." Standing, Weiss dusted herself down. "I'll always remember him fondly, and the times we had together, but I think it's for the best that we both move on."

Standing before Yang, Weiss spread her arms.

"How do I look?"

"Lonely. Broken. Sad."

"I meant aesthetically…"

Yang smiled sadly. "Perfect."


The dancers flowed below like an ocean of brightly-lit colours. Reds, whites, blues and purples interposed with the more common black and grey of the boys. The occasional white suit, any of which could have been Sun if she'd dared to look.

Neptune had made the offer to come with her. Not an invitation, but an offer. That alone told her he knew of what had happened while she was gone. Sun must have told him. It seemed impossible he wouldn't have been honest with his team, and Neptune obviously held no ill-will for it. His offer, chivalrous as it was, smacked of pity. Or perhaps sympathy.

Either way, Weiss rejected it. He should find his own enjoyment.

Yang and Ruby were down there making their own. Yang had danced with Jaune, all gangly limbs and uncertainty, before pushing him at Ruby and watching the two go at it. No romance there, no barely-concealed feelings, just genuine happiness as the two dorks made fools of themselves together and loved every moment of it. At least until Pyrrha came and stole a dance from her not-so-secret crush. Ren and Nora cut their own path through the crowd, one more exuberant about it than the other.

She stayed above it all. Aloof. Sipping the last of her drink, Weiss finally let her eyes fall upon Sun and Blake.

Yang had been right.

He looked handsome tonight.

His cream suit fit him well, perfectly. One sold by a racist but now used on a date between two faunus. It was fitting in a sense. Blake's purple and black gown stood out against it, but she looked happy, smiling as Sun whirled her around and laughing at something he said. Sun, meanwhile, had a hand on the small of her back and the other on hers, never straying further.

He was a gentleman like that, though Weiss knew from experience that he could become heated and passionate in an instant. A raging inferno that threatened to swallow you whole.

That could have been her down there. It could have been the two of them.

Perhaps, in a different life, it would have been.

Blake would look after him though, if she pulled her head out of her ass and stopped focusing everything on the White Fang and the past. If not… well, Sun would find someone else. He was almost too good not to. He would make someone happy. Someone who deserved and was willing to grasp that happiness – and him – with both hands.

Someone who wouldn't consider her own ambitions, motives and reasons more important than him and his happiness. Someone who would really care for him.

Slowly, with a fond smile, Weiss turned and walked away.


He found her standing outside looking up at the shattered moon. She had a melancholy about her, a certain sense of defeat that didn't quite fit the Weiss he'd come to know. Even so, he strode up to stand beside her, arms crossed and watching the moon with her.

"You're supposed to be inside," she said, sighing.

"Yeah. Wanted to steal a dance off you, though, and couldn't find you."

"Idiot… Won't Blake be upset her date has run off?"

"Not really. Blake only ever put up with me. She likes me as a person, maybe as a friend." Sun shrugged. "It could be more, but she's the one who told me we should cut tonight short."

"Why? She promised you a date. She said she was willing."

"She was. I wasn't."

Weiss grimaced. "Sun…"

"Blake's the one who noticed it." he said. "We were dancing, chatting, having fun, and then she just asked who I was lookin' for." He ran a hand through his hair and coughed in embarrassment. "Didn't even realise I was doin' it but talk about a dick move. Finally convinced her to give me a chance and I spent the whole time barely paying attention to her."

The girl beside him didn't say a word. Nor did she turn to look at him.

"She said… she said that if I didn't want to go with her, I shouldn't. That if my heart wasn't in it, we shouldn't pretend for the sake of it."

"I'm sorry…" Weiss whispered.

"I'm not. Well, I am, but not in the way you think. I'm sorrier for making things awkward with her. I think Blake was relieved, though. Not sure if she just never liked me that way or just doesn't have the time for romance, but this date… It always felt like something she was doing to return the favour, you know. Like she didn't really want it all that much."

"Blake is…" Weiss tried to find the right words to defend her teammate. Idiot came to mind and wouldn't have been wrong, but it felt unfair. "Complicated. She's had a bizarre life compared to most people. I suppose that's set her up for some… warped priorities."

"You mean the whole `White Fang obsession` thing?"


"Yeah, I noticed. I mean, hard not to. First time she and I really talked is when she ran away from you guys." He sighed again. "Kinda weird though, looking back. I really did love her. Or like her," he admitted with a shrug. "Fancied her. I thought she was gorgeous, and the more I learned about her, the more I liked her."

"Feelings are fluid. I disliked Ruby at first and not we're firm friends. I loved and respected my father… once upon a time."

"Guess so. Blake going from someone I fancy to a friend isn't such a bad thing, I guess."

Weiss didn't say anything.

They both knew what he was hinting at, what he was trying to say. They were beating around the bush – or he was. In his head, there'd been something a lot more spectacular to say. He couldn't remember the words now, and what few bits stuck with him seemed pathetic.

"You look good in that suit," Weiss finally said.

"Azure sent it to me." He thumbed the collar and grinned. "Said he found it left in our lodge and didn't want it to go to waste. Sent a little message along with it, too."

"What did it say?"

"The biggest regret in my life was waiting for the right opportunity to say what I'd always longed to say. I'll never be able to reclaim all those missed opportunities I had to be honest with my feelings and my family, and those years have been wasted."

Weiss chuckled. "Poetic…"

"Yeah. That was all the letter said but… you know, it kinda hit me."

"Sun. Don't…"

"Sorry, Weiss, I'm not willing to live in regret over this." Looking at her, he watched her shoulders stiffen. "I want to have a dance with you."

Weiss froze, glanced his way and then relaxed. Her relief was palpable, as was her shock. It looked like she'd expected something more. Something heavier. Her shoulders relaxed. "A… A Dance…?" she asked.

"Sure. This suit was made to go with that dress."

"That is a store-bought suit…"

"Okay, fine. It was purchased to go with that dress." He rolled his eyes. "You're so particular."

A small and amused smile slipped across her lips. "I'm specific, you mean."

"Semantics." He held a hand out. "Dance with me?"

"Out here?"

"Sure. Unless you want to dance in there where everything is cramped, sweaty and loud." They could still hear the music from inside easily enough, so it wasn't as if they'd have nothing to dance to. "As a benefit, there's no one to witness my terrible dance moves."

Weiss laughed. "Except me."

"Ah, but I'm hoping you will take sweet mercy on me."

"I suppose I'll have to," she said, placing her hand in his. "Someone owes you a dance at any rate. If Blake won't do it, I guess I shall have to."

"You're too kind my lady. To dance with an undesirable scoundrel like myself." He grinned and swept an imaginary and floppy hat off his head. "I am a master of the vague shuffle, the awkward waltz and know the hidden secrets of the confused bumble. Your choice."

Stepping into him, Weiss drew one of his hands behind her back and placed hers on his chest. "Let me lead," she said.

"You assume I even know how to follow…"

"You'll learn. Or I'll punish you for stepping on my toes."

Drawing him to the side as the music shifted, Weiss led him through the opening stages of a slow dance. Her gown swept around her legs as she moved, feet stepping purposefully alongside his, one hand on his chest and the other in his hand.

Their bodes were close. Their breath mingled. Sun tightened his hold on her, drawing her in a little closer, and Weiss didn't protest. Soon, they were moving across the grassy field outside the hall, dancing in the moonlight to the low music in the distance.

When the first song ended and the next began, Sun made no move to let go of her and Weiss made no effort to stop dancing. He wasn't sure how many they danced through, or for how long. Only that they did, and that Weiss' head was now laid against his chest, eyes closed.

"You liar," she whispered, hoarse. "You know how to dance…"

"To be fair, I didn't an hour or two ago. Blake's glares when you step on her toes are good motivation to learn quickly. You ever seen that evil look?"

Weiss laughed. "Every morning when she looks at Zwei…"

"Yeah. That's the one." Sun swept Weiss along, twirling her gently and marvelling at how she so easily kept up, never once losing her balance. Despite the differences in their height and build, she seemed to fit so effortlessly against him. "It's funny," he said. "I spent so long dreaming of dancing like this with Blake, and then the moment it finally happened all I could do was look for you."

Her face became troubled. "Sun…"

"Maybe that makes me shallow. That I'd claim to love her and then have my whole world shift in the space of a week. Maybe I am shallow. Maybe I was an idiot to call it love when it obviously wasn't." He brought his hand higher, up to Weiss' shoulder. "I'm not sure. I'm only seventeen. But… one thing I am sure of is that whatever I felt for Blake, I now feel for you."

"Is that…" Weiss laughed bitterly. "Is that supposed to be romantic…? Saying that you feel for me the same you did for a girl you fell out of love with in a single week?"

"It sounded better in my head, I'll admit…"

"You and I sound better in the head than we do in real life, Sun. We… Look at us. We're so different, both in terms of personality, ambitions and everything else. How would we work? How would we even fit together?"

"Awkwardly. Stupidly." He brought a hand under her chin to tilt her head up towards his. "Wonderfully."

"Terribly," she countered.

"Maybe. But I think that's what Azure was trying to say. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But I don't think I could look back on this moment and not regret it if I walked away now and pretended everything that happened in Mistral didn't." He held onto her. "Could you?"

"I don't know. I… I was horrible to you. I placed my position as heiress over you and your feelings."

"It was a complicated situation," he said. "I didn't handle it all that well either. I was kinda pushy…"

Weiss laughed. "Is that how you put it?"

Flushing, Sun would have rubbed his head if not for the desire to keep his hands on her. He grinned nervously instead. "It's the nice way of putting it. I wasn't perfect."

"Nor was I." Weiss sighed. "Yang pointed out some truths to me. Father… He was never going to make me the real heiress. I suppose I was just so naïve, thinking that I could keep on pleasing him forever and taking over."

"You can do better," Sun said. "You're smart, driven and you don't have his bad reputation. You could make your own company, build it up from scratch and change the world your way. Make something you'd be proud of."

Weiss closed her eyes. "Yang suggested the same."

"Then she knows her stuff. Just like I do." Hesitantly, Sun brought one hand up to stroke her cheek. "Last time I checked, you said that was the one thing holding you back."

Her lips curled up. "I did."

"The last time…"

He cut off, enraptured by Weiss' eyes as she opened them before him. Her thick lashes cut dark lines across pale blue as she looked up at him. His breath was stolen away and slammed back into his lungs with such a shock that he almost faltered and fell.

"The last time…" Forcing himself to keep going, he swallowed and said, "The last time I kissed you, you told me it was a mistake."

Wiess held his gaze. "I did."

"If… If I were to kiss you again now. Would it still be a mistake?"

"I don't know…" she whispered. She sounded afraid.

Slowly, gently, he brought his face to hers. He let his arms loosen, enough that she could pull away if she wanted to, even if the thought hurt. He tilted his head to the side and held it there, eyes lidded, watching to see what she would do.

Weiss tilted her head back, parted her lips and closed her eyes.

It was the permission he'd been looking for.

His lips touched hers, moulded against them, and then Weiss was pushing back, pushing up into him and wrapping her arms around his neck, pulling his head down at the same time. His hands slid down to her hips.

It was neither as heated or as rushed as their last. As their first. Sun broke it first, drawing breath, and then dove back down again, capturing her words before they could be spoken, showing his with his actions instead, making her feel his desire. Weiss' hands rose from his neck to fist in his hair, holding him still as her lips bruised his. She wasn't one to be a silent observer. If he was trying to make a point to her then she was making her own abundantly clear in return.

Eventually, they broke apart. Sun's cheeks were red, and he fought for breath, staring down into lidded eyes as Weiss' lips shone in the moonlight.

Emotions flashed through her eyes. Doubt, fear, uncertainty, denial and so much more. Every part of her knew they shouldn't work, even as he did. The chances that this would work out were slim to none, but if Azure had taught him anything it was that even the smallest chance was better than none. He would never regret giving it a damn good shot.

"Was that…" He gasped. "Was that a mistake?"

Weiss' arms tightened behind him, drawing him back down. "I don't know," she whispered against his lips. "Try it again."

Yep. That's it, the end.

I'm going to fight my instinctual urge to try and write an epilogue for this and instead leave it there. Can Weiss and Sun make it work out? Will the relationship hold? Does it matter if they can or can't? Is not the fact they're willing to try enough?

Weirdly enough, I suppose the message or theme of this story is kind of an atypical one for a romance. It's saying that we can really fall in or out of love with anyone, and that there is no "perfect one" but rather hundreds and thousands of possibilities that people never choose to take a risk with every day of their lives.

Weiss and Sun represent one such possibility. Who can say whether it will go the distance or not, but the two of them ultimately decide to give it a go – and to hell with anyone who tells them that it can't or won't work. Or maybe that's just all the painkillers talking. Wheeee.

Anyway, I have my week off from this Saturday on because of my work event on the 28th, which means that the next chapter of this would normally not be until the 9th, but, this story is over. Which means I need a week between to write and plan the story to replace this.

That means that the NEW story will come out on the 23rd April.

Insane, I know. It's because this Tuesday slot is biweekly, and, with one week absent, that means it's 5 weeks to a new story coming out. Service with a Smile will continue as normal on its usual days.

As for the new story, I have something planned but want to keep it secret until it comes out. It's not "Null" as shown on my profile, just because I've been trying to perfect Null and get an idea of where I want it to go. It's a different story altogether.

Unless the title changes, it will be called "Arcanum"

Story End

Next Story: 23rd April – Arcanum

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