"It's not your fault," Yang says to her.

Some thinking, conscious part of Ruby's mind realizes this, but it's overshadowed by raw emotion. Emotion is telling her that Yang is wrong, that the things that happened were all because she couldn't lead well enough, or because she didn't love Weiss enough, or because she allowed her girlfriend to jump in front of her when the monsters charged.

For the first time in Ruby's life, she hates emotion. For a moment, she wishes that she could be as cold and emotionless as Weiss in her grave.


Some would say that Weiss was cold in life, too. Ruby didn't disagree, but she doubted that people understood Weiss's particular brand of cold. Weiss was like dry ice, cold enough to burn. Ruby had tasted that enough when the two first met, and was almost shocked when the older woman began to… well… keep her cool.

(somewhere in the present, Ruby lets out an emotionless laugh at the pun, and Yang stares at her, concerned.)

It was a month past Ruby's eighteenth birthday, a month until graduation from Beacon, when she took Weiss to bed, when she took Weiss by surprise. Since she started dating, she'd wondered what it would be like. She would steal Blake's romance novels sometimes and read them when she was alone, replacing the main characters with herself and her girlfriend. She tried to imitate the actions on herself more than once. Some things worked much better than others.

Nothing was as good as Weiss.

Ruby had expected Weiss to have some experience… after all, the woman was two years older at twenty… but when she learned that Weiss hadn't even read any of Blake's silly smut, she was more than happy to take charge.

If only she could have done that five days later, when she called out orders, blissfully unaware of the Grimm that ran towards her. If only she could have taken charge of her own fate and pushed Weiss out of the way when the pale woman stood between Ruby and the monster.


Too late now.

Ruby blinks. Yang's still sitting in front of her, trying to be the good big sister and stay strong, but Ruby knows her well enough to know she'll fall apart the moment the two are in different rooms.

Blake is taking it the same way Ruby is, by blocking things out, by turning on her own emotions. Her eyes are like fish eyes. She looks worse than Weiss did at the viewing earlier that day. They'd prettied the dead heiress up at the request of her parents. They wiped the blood off and did her hair. It was symmetrical. Weiss would have hated it.

The incorrect hair was what anchored Ruby, what reminded her that this was not Weiss except it was and she was dead and it was Ruby's own fault and maybe the fault of whatever dumb fuck thought putting the youngest person in charge of the team was a good idea, but probably not.

Ruby stands, and Yang looks at her hopefully. "Sis?" she asks, wanting to be reassured that Ruby was feeling better, if only slightly.

"I need to go," Ruby says instead. Her voice is cold. Not burning cold like dry ice, not angry cold like a blizzard, not soft cold like snowfall. Her voice is morgue cold, like Weiss is now. Not like Weiss was before.

Ruby does not let her sister respond. She leaves the room, leaves the school building. Her cape trails behind her, and her expression warns people to stay away.

She walks until she hits trees and forest. She feels Crescent Rose in her hands, doesn't remember getting the weapon, but she is glad she did. The monsters are coming, the monsters that killed Weiss, and with her, part of Ruby.

She will not kill herself. She has been through too much for that. Besides, if she does and an afterlife does exist, Weiss will never speak to her again, unless it is to scoff at the younger woman's weakness.

She wants to kill though. She hates these feelings that stir in her heart and soul. She's never hated anything before, not really, not even the things she's trained to fight. Why would she? Up until two days ago, fighting was a game. Killing was a game. Now, it is nothing but a welcome distraction, something she seeks to utilize.

The first Grimm comes at her, and she almost flashes back to Weiss's death, but manages to keep focused. As she raises her scythe, she lets go of the feelings she so hates.

All except one. All except anger.

She brings down her weapon.