Weiss had never been the same since then.

Whenever they asked her if she was okay, she would just brush it off and say she was. No matter how many times they asked, she would repeat the same answer, almost tirelessly. Except, she was really tired. So they stopped asking questions – they didn't want to give her a push on the proverbial cliff which end she was already edging towards.

Weiss stopped wearing her bolero – the one bearing her family crest. No one said a word, but they thought they had some inkling about it. It wasn't much of a secret that Weiss grew up in a family demanding perfection in every aspect of life possible. If they didn't know this initially, they knew after six months of bunking in together. But really, not visiting their daughter, who loved her family oh so dearly and would do anything to achieve the perfection they wanted, at all when she was at her most broken was beyond heartless. Could it be that her family just left her to die? The others thought about it. They didn't ask of course, not when Weiss said nothing about it. They were sure they were the first few ones to reach her though.

Sometimes Blake felt guilty for judging Weiss then. They were both innocent victims of a war that bore out of a lust for power and revenge. A war which neither could stop or be blamed for. A war which they could only bear the brunt of. So how could she fault her for being discriminatory?

During the argument that day, words that were spoken in a rush of blood to their heads couldn't be retracted. Thankfully, they patched up and things were going rather smoothly from that day onwards. Everyone got to know each other better and soon, they realized the cold, apathetic and arrogant front of the ice princess was really nothing more than a façade. Deep down, she yearned for freedom and friends – things that eluded her before Beacon. And while Blake and Weiss both experienced events far too harsh to paint any semblance of a normal childhood, this was the difference between them. Back when she was in White Fang, Blake still had people she could call brethren and she was free to follow the wind. Weiss, on the other hand, was surrounded by pretentious people who made use of her identity and status to climb a rung higher on the corporate ladder, and was always trapped in a prison she affectionately called 'home'.

Thinking about it, Weiss had everything anyone could ever wish for, but at the same time, she had nothing that everyone had.

Life was mocking her.

They could've arrived a minute later that day when they found her. Weiss' clothes were more than just torn and tattered. The left sleeve was shredded into smithereens, providing little to no coverage of her arm that was brutally mangled into a bloody mess beyond recognition. Such a sight sent a wave of nausea over her teammates; some of them suppressing the rise of bile their stomachs. That was not all, for there were dozens of fresh and livid wounds running up and down her body, marring her once perfect skin. It was a miracle that Weiss had yet to bleed to death.

It wasn't just because of the dire straits Weiss was in that overwhelmed Blake, it was also the first words she said to her.

"Maybe I was wrong." Weiss' breathing was labored, and blood was oozing out of the corner of her lips. Still she continued, "We did push you too hard."

Tears brimmed in Blake's amber eyes as she embraced Weiss in a warm yet tentative hug. After going this hell of an ordeal and this was the first thing Weiss said? You're the idiot, Blake thought.

"Don't cry you dunce, it's not your fault."

But it's not your fault either.

Weiss began pushing herself more and more. She thought she had to, as her supply to Dust was cut off permanently the day she was kidnapped by the White Fang. More effort was definitely warranted in conjuring glyphs with her aura and wielding Myrtenaster as purely a melee weapon. Not to mention, her left arm was maimed.

Ruby noticed all of these. However, there was nothing much she could do for Weiss except sympathize with her. There was no way Ruby could've experienced what Weiss had gone through, or felt what Weiss had. She didn't fully understand why Weiss was doing this to herself. Unbeknownst to her, pain was the only thing that made Weiss feel alive; it was the only evidence that Weiss was living and not a lifeless, worthless shell. So Weiss just kept going on with the intense trainings, no matter what Ruby said.

It was all too much to bear that sometimes, the young leader was the one who broken down instead of the victim. Weiss would be there to hold Ruby and calm her down when she cried about how unfair it was for something like that to happen to Weiss. The situation was almost amusing but it was only a matter of time before their roles reversed.

After all, Weiss was only 17. How much more could she take before breaking?

It ticked Yang off whenever Weiss smiled. Yes, Weiss smiled now and even more than before.

What irony.

Yang knew why. However, just how could the former heiress manage to console and assure her teammates when she herself was on the verge of a meltdown? Yang did not know, and it was getting increasingly difficult for her to hide the fury and indignant cries raging on in her heart.

There were times when she wished she could shake the fragile, white-haired girl out of her mechanical, hollow state, or scream her head off, or even send her flying across Vale with a full-force punch. Would these help? If they would, Yang wouldn't mind getting berated by the ice princess after that.

Weiss got struck by a Grimm.

The others hastily brought her to the infirmary at Beacon, with Yang carrying her on her back. Blood pooled around her abdomen, staining her outfit an angry, foreboding crimson.

"I'm sorry…,' Weiss whispered. Pain wrapped its claws around her ribs with every step Yang took.

"Just quit talking already!" Yang raged, innards squirming at Weiss' apology. This girl!

Weiss smiled again. "I mean for-" A cough interrupted her, wrecking her body like it wasn't already battered.

"Please." Blake pleaded, eyes narrowing in concern and slight frustration.

"No please, let me finish." It was the first time Weiss begged anyone. And they knew to refuse her would be too cruel.

"I'm sorry for… being beyond broken.. and beyond repair. I'm so sorry.."

"We never minded! Weiss, you're the biggest idiot!" Ruby shouted, excruciating pain threatening to tear her heart asunder.

"Thanks…" The faintest smile graced Weiss' lips while tears rolled down her cheeks.

It's the first genuine emotion she's felt since a while.

Hey guys, author's note here haha. Just want to say that this is my very first fic on this site, and apologies if it's not well-done. I just hope that everyone's not too out of character, but hey, if you guys think that I could improve on it in any way, please do tell me.

And oh yes, I didn't make whatever happened to Weiss clear in this, so well, I guess I'll just leave it up to you guys.

Lastly, thanks for the read, and if you've reviewed too, thank you :)